Review Blitz ~ Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00072]The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.

I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.

He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

 

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.

Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

 

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office.  He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.

Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.

I was swindled out of ten grand.

 

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.

I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients.  But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.

I never expected my body to react every time we argued.  Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

 

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships.  And my job was to help people save their marriages.

The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.

And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

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I would like to start this review by expressing my regret for having never picked up a VI Keeland book before.  I now realize my mistake and plan to rectify it as soon as humanly possible.  Egomaniac was on the fringes of the books that I usually read, so I almost passed up my chance to read it.  I can not tell you how glad I am that I didn’t pass, it was such a great book.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how emotionally connected I felt to this book.  Egomaniac is on the light side, for me, but it was rich and varied in the emotions in evoked.  I had picked it up for a bit of light reading after reading a heavier book but it wasn’t nearly as light as I had been expecting.  It was actually the perfect balance of light and heavy.  I appreciated the short moments of comedic interlude and fell in love the heavy themes that were the backbone of Emerie and Drew’s story.

Vi Keeland did an excellent job with her character development and growth in this book.  I slowly fell in love with both Emerie and Drew.  Emerie was sweet and naïve but grew into a strong, fierce woman who fought for what she knew she needed.  Drew, on the other hand, was jaded and cold, forged by deceptions from his past, his growth into a person who loved and trusted with abandon was quite lovely to behold.

Egomaniac was quite well-written and kept me wholly invested in what was going to happen next.  I was impressed with Ms. Keeland’s ability to lead me to believe that the story was going in one direction then completely surprise me with a turn I didn’t quite see coming in the way I anticipated.  The situations that Drew and Emerie faced in this book and the way they dealt with the hardships they faced kept me fully invested in them finding their happy endings.

Vi Keeland will be going on my list of go-to authors when I need something a little different from my usual reads.  Her writing is engrossing and he obviously cares greatly for her craft.  I am highly impressed with her ability to draw me in to a story and care deeply for the characters she has created.

4.5Feathers2

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author-photoVi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve languages.  She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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Cover Reveal ~ Singe by Aly Martinez

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She was my nightmare. Every time I closed my eyes, I watched her fall into that inferno. Over and over, I failed to save her.

I hadn’t been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.

Heroes aren’t always saints. Sometimes, we’re nothing more than jaded sinners driven by sleepless nights and hearts full of darkness.

And then I met her. She was a dreamer who managed to soothe my scars and heal my wounds.

But, as the flames closed in around us, I feared I wasn’t the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman I’d burn the world down to protect.singe-for-web

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aly martinezBorn and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five- including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

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NEW RELEASE,EXCERPT, AND REVIEW – To Have It All by BN Toler

 

Title: To Have It All

Author: B.N. Toler

Release Date: Jan 18, 2017

Add to your TBR

Rock bottom.

 

Liam had set up shop there.

 

After an accident left him injured and unable to work, it wasn’t long before he ended up on the street with his dreams in the gutter.

 

This was it.

 

This was his life.

 

Until the day he met Max Porter—a man who appeared to have it all. They didn’t meet so much as made eye contact as Max sneered at Liam, the bum occupying precious space on the sullied New York City street.

 

When Max stepped into oncoming traffic, a lesser man might’ve let him. But Liam risked his life to save Max only to be left to die without a second thought.

 

When Liam woke up days later, he wasn’t himself…at least he wasn’t in his body.

 

He was in Max’s.

 

And with Liam’s body on life support, there was only one logical conclusion: Max was trapped in Liam’s comatose body.

 

Somehow the twisted hands of fate had given Liam a second chance; a chance to have it all. But with all the perks of Max’s life also came his problems. Finding balance in his new identity was challenged more so once Liam fell for Waverly, Max’s beautiful ex.

 

Could Liam live out his life as another man or would he pull the plug and let fate decide?

 

Would he lose his chance at true love?

Would he lose the chance to have it all?

Scooting up, his body was gloved to mine, his mouth to my ear as he reached around me and pulled my left hand, placing it over the shifter, then he took my right hand and settled it over the throttle. “Think of this like a dance,” he instructed me, his voice husky. “Dance involves steps, coordination, knowing your partner. This isn’t much different.”

 

“Says you,” I griped. “This is hardly a dance partner. This is a death trap that could kill us.”

 

He chuckled, the sound low and deep, making my core clench. “You’re sitting on over five-hundred pounds of machinery here. Think about how much time and effort went into building this; the way someone had to know this bike so intricately to put it all together and make it move.”

 

“Just because they knew it doesn’t mean I do.” I appreciated the intricacy of the bike, but appreciating and driving it were very different things.

 

“I just mean there’s power here. You can make these 500 pounds of metal move if you want it to, if you trust yourself enough.”

 

He left my hands and softly ran his fingers up my arms to my shoulders. “It lives and moves so long as you let it, so long as you lead it, just like a good dance partner. Don’t think about the moves you need to make . . . feel them. Let the bike tell you when it’s time to shift.”

 

His fingers glided down my sides until they took a firm hold of my waist causing my breath to hitch as my back arched slightly. “It’s give and release, Waverly,” he went on, his voice deep and gravely. “You have to feel when it’s time to give and when it’s time to let go.”

 

Darting my tongue out, I wet my dry lips. How did he make shifting gears sound so hot? How in the heck was I supposed to manage this machine with Liam murmuring sexual innuendo in my ear? I wished I could somehow turn around and take him on the bike.

 

“You know, this would be an epic opening to a porn flick,” I announced causing him to burst into laughter.

 

“I hadn’t thought of that.” His body shook as he continued to laugh.

 

“I guess your mind isn’t as dirty as mine.” I shrugged.

 

“I guess not. What would the film title be?” he queried.

 

I twisted my mouth in thought. In my sexiest voice, I twisted my neck so he could see me as I pouted my mouth, “Shifting the Panhead. When good girls learn to ride.”

 

He choked he was laughing so hard. When he could form words again, he coughed out, “That does sound pretty dirty when you say it like that.”

 

“Anything can sound dirty when you say it the right way,” I quipped. “Sky,” I moaned. “Concrete,” I continued.

 

“Okay, okay,” he begged before clearing his throat. “Stop stalling your lesson with your dirty mind and your defiling of perfectly unperverted words.”

 

I wiggled my ass again. “You love how I defiled the word concrete. Admit it.”

“You keep shimmying your ass like that, this lesson is going to have to end while I go jump in the water.”

Whitney’s Five Star Review

I have loved BN Toler’s previous works and was in the mood for a good cry and some great angst so I figured this book would be right up my alley!  And while I didn’t really cry much, To Have It All definitely delivered on the angst.

Liam is as down on his luck as he’s ever been.  After being injured, he is homeless and too proud to turn to those he loves for help.  But no matter how difficult his life has become, he is a good man.  A great man, actually.  He watches out for his new friend, Pearl and gives of himself even when he has nothing.

Max is Liam’s opposite.  Good looking and wealthy, he seems to have it all.  But Max is estranged from his ex-wife and child and seems to live to be cruel to those around him.  He has no friends and no one to care about.  So when Liam gives his life to save him, Max walks away as Liam is dying on the street.

But fate steps in and soon Liam wakes up in Max’s body only to find the man he thought had it all is also at rock bottom.  Liam cannot live as Max did and others immediately notice the changes in Max.  He is warmer, caring and well.. not an a*shole.  Perhaps the person who notices the most is Waverly, Max’s ex-wife.  She spent months trying to make the man she fell in love with love her and instead he rejected her and their daughter.  But this new Max… he’s different.  As and scared as she is to get close to him, she is left with no choice after an accident of her own.

Soon Liam is wondering how much time he has with the woman he’s falling for while his body is dying in a hospital.  When he dies, will he and Max switch bodies?  Will they both die?  Will they both live?  Turns out, hat part is not up to fate.

***************

BN Toler did an amazing job with this story.  The prologue is perfect, staging Karma as a ‘character’ who is watching over the souls around her.  Of course, the whole body switching/fate thing requires you to suspend some belief but this is definitely a contemporary romance.  And instead of a second chance at romance, it’s a second chance at life!

I read this through in one night because I couldn’t wait to see how it ended.  It’s mostly told in dual POV between Liam and Waverly even though this is just as much Max’s story.  Karma gives all of these characters the chance to have it all, if they will only take it.  And in Liam’s case, even if it’s only a short while before he dies.

The traditional good v bed/evil argument is played out.  Of course, there is more to Max than meets the eye as Liam finds out some of his secrets.  Although I never doubted there would be an HEA, I wondered how the author would be able to deliver one that mostly satisfies all parties.  But as it turns out, I shouldn’t have because she nailed the ending.  I won’t give up any spoilers but I couldn’t have been happier.  I suppose there is a chance for a spin-off but I actually prefer to imagine the rest myself.

Character development is well thought out, the story flows well and there is no confusion surrounding the paranormal aspects of the book.  Everything is laid out in a manner that makes sense and is easy for the reader to understand.  Side characters add a nice punch to the storyline and setting.  This is a story with a beautiful message to not take life for granted and that money and power are not the equivalent of a happy and fulfilling life.  I cannot recommend this story enough!

BN Toler lives in Virginia. When she’s not reading and writing, she’s thinking about reading and writing. Before she became a self-proclaimed writer, she worked as a real estate agent and as an orthodontic technician. **She will notice your teeth before your eyes or hair or anything.**

 

She enjoys shopping (way too much) and is on a first name basis with several employees at the local Target in her town.

 

She loves music,(bluegrass, country, 80’s, actually she loves most music ~her favorite song is American Pie by Don McLean and she worships anything that is Elvis and Johnny Cash and Eric Church) dancing, (even though she sucks at it)reading, writing, eating (too much) sleeping late, (which she rarely gets to do) and laughing. If you can make her laugh, she will love you forever.

 

Random and insignificant facts:

 

She is addicted to Coca Cola

She hates onions

She loves thunderstorms

She wants to have Karen Marie Moning’s babies

She curses….a lot…like way too much

She’s immensely afraid of snakes

She fangirls over M.Pierce

She HATES reality television

She loves books and movies that make her cry

She cries over anything remotely sad

She LOVES Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale. (too much)

She hopes she hasn’t bored you to death.

 

Excerpt Reveal ~ Riveted by Jay Crownover

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Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with Riveted, available February 14th, 2017

riveted_finalEveryone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

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Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift in advance…Preorder and fill out the form herehttps://a.pgtb.me/t0JkQX 

Pre-order Riveted today and on February 14th, you’ll also receive a glossy Saints of Denver poster and an exclusive first-look at Chapters 1 and 2 of Avenged, her forthcoming Mackenzie Family novella.

Avenged combines the grit of Saints of Denver series with the all-out heat of The Point series with a mind-blowing, mystery, yet-to-be-revealed, couple combining both of these worlds. Be one of the first to find out who it is, pre-order Riveted today. 

Posters will be mailed the week of February 14th and Avenged chapters will arrive via email.

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Church

“You’ve been awfully quiet tonight.”

The southern drawl was lighter than mine, more lyrical and smooth. The Blue Hills of Kentucky rolled thick and unmistakable in Asa Cross’s twang as he looked at me steadily from behind the massive oak bar he was currently in the middle of wiping down.

“I talk when I have something to say.” No one would ever accuse me of being the chatty type. When I did choose to speak the Mississippi Delta was deep and locked thickly around all my words. My drawl was much slower than the blond bartender’s and far less practiced. Asa used his inflection and his southern charm to work whoever was sitting on the other side of the bar like they were one of his marks in a long con. He turned up the south in his voice to make hearts flutter and to fool drunks into thinking he was far less sharp than he was. His Kentucky-flavored tone was nothing more than a tool he used to his advantage whenever he needed it, while my unhurried inflection reminded me of a home I hadn’t seen in far too long. That was one of the reasons I never had much to say. Every time I opened my mouth the sound of my voice, like molasses over gravel and deep as the Mississippi River, took me back to a place I had been actively avoiding for over a decade.

I’d spent a little over ten years serving my country in various capacities while enlisted in the army. I’d been around different types of men from a million different walks of life. In all that time I’d never met anyone as hard to unravel as the man standing across from me. He had eyes the exact same color as the aged whiskey on the shelf behind him, and they were picking me apart with a perceptiveness that made me uneasy. I wasn’t used to being so transparent. Whatever shield I had up, whatever ironclad curtains I had pulled around me, Asa Cross saw right through them.

“You are usually quiet, but tonight you didn’t say a single word. You look like you have something on your mind.” His eyebrows lifted and that smirk on his face turned into a grin that I wanted to put my fist in. He wouldn’t be half as pretty as he was with missing teeth and a bloody nose. “Dixie had a date tonight. I figure you were worried about her since she’s been spending time with those internet guys over the last few months, and the bar is never the same on her nights off.”

My back teeth clicked together in aggravation and a low growl escaped my throat. My hands curled into fists at my sides without me being aware they were doing it and I could feel a furious heat climb up the back of my neck.

The idea of Dixie, sweet, sunny Dixie, out there with God only knew what kind of troll she was going to find on the internet made me want to destroy everything. I wanted to break the bar top in half. I wanted to throw chairs through windows. I wanted to smash all the meticulously placed bottles displayed behind Asa into smithereens. I wanted to dropkick the remaining few stragglers nursing their last-call drinks out the door and I wanted to get my hands on whoever had taken Dixie out tonight and throttle him within an inch of his life.

Logically, I knew there were decent, normal individuals using the internet to find love and sex . . . the sex being more likely. There were millions of people online dating and while I thought that was okay for them I refused to think it was an option Dixie should be utilizing. I hated the idea of her dating at all, but there was something about her meeting strangers, meeting men that hadn’t had the opportunity to see her in person before taking her out, that really rubbed me the wrong way.

Dixie Carmichael was the nicest girl I had ever met. She didn’t have a mean bone in her perfectly curvy and petite body. She was always smiling, always laughing, and there wasn’t a moment spent in her company where it didn’t feel like the sun was shining directly on you. She embodied warmth and care. Someone behind a computer monitor would never understand that. They would never feel the way her innate ability to make everything seem like it would be okay made the world seem like it was worth saving. There was a lot of bad shoved at us all on a day-to-day basis but somehow Dixie was a filter for it, and when you were around her it seemed like the only thing you could focus on was the good she let through.

She needed someone that could appreciate that. She needed a man that shined as bright as she did and that would hold her above the shit that was always trying to drag everyone else down. I doubted that guy was on Tinder or Bumble. In fact, I doubted that guy existed at all.

“I don’t keep track of her comings and goings.” I rubbed a hand over my mouth and watched as Asa’s eyebrows shot up and his lips twitched. I was a damn good liar. I lied to myself for years and years about the kind of man I was in order to convince myself that the choices I made were the right ones. But I was currently trying to lie to a man that was a professional liar, so it was no surprise that he saw right through the bullshit I was laying down.

“Ahh . . . I see. You have no interest in the fact she might be out there with a serial killer that wants to turn her pretty hair into a coat for his pet hamster?”

I glowered at him and crossed my arms over my chest. I was a big guy. Years of doing PT and boredom in the desert had led to a strenuous fitness routine I still maintained, partly out of habit and partly because when my muscles burned and I made myself sweat I could shut off all the other stuff that was crowding my head. Some of it nagging, niggling regret from the past, a whole lot of it new nightmares and realizations from my present. I had a couple inches in height on the Kentucky charmer and a whole lot more brute strength. Yet none of that or the glower that I was sure was stamped across my face kept Asa from keeping his stupid, sound advice to himself.

“Dixie is a good girl, she deserves someone who can give her that kind of good back.” I could see the surprise on Asa’s face as I finally gave him something that was wholeheartedly true.

He pushed off the bar and hollered that it was time for the last few customers to finish up. There were some grumbles but everyone left was a regular and as soon as the clock hit one thirty they would move towards the door without any hassle. I liked nights like this, where there were no fights to break up, no crying girls to console, no puke to clean off the floor, no amorous couples to shoo out of the bathrooms. Typically on a night like this I would watch Dixie scamper around shutting the bar down while pretending I wasn’t looking at her. I couldn’t help myself. My eyes were pulled to her and when she laughed or smiled I felt it in my gut like a punch. She did things to me that no woman had ever done to me before.

She made me want to smile and that alone was enough to have my feet itching to hit the road before I did something stupid, like fall in love or take her up on her blatant invitation into her bed. I wanted to fuck her, but I knew if I did it would fuck us both. She was nothing but good and when I got good in my life it always went bad, so I didn’t allow myself, or her, to go there. She shone as bright as the sun every single day but I was a man that knew all too well that too much time in the sun could lead to some serious burns.

I’d spent the last few months biting my tongue until it bled while she dated men that weren’t me and I went to bed alone each night wondering why I didn’t just pick up one of the barflies that hung around making it known they were ripe for the picking.

I’d never been the kind of guy that burned through women. My mother, and subsequently the women that stepped in to raise me after my mom was gone, Elma Mae and Caroline, taught me to understand that women’s hearts were fragile and you had to be careful with them. They tried to teach me how to take care of the good when you had it, how to respect it and earn it. I kept the lessons close because they were some of the only things I had left of the women that shared them with me. I never played with a woman’s body if I didn’t know for sure her heart was kept in a separate box somewhere. I liked my hands on soft tits and full hips, and silky legs wrapped around my back as much as any other guy. What I didn’t like was wiping away tears, explaining myself, and dramatic good-byes when I didn’t stick around after a good time. I was picky about who I went to bed with and I made sure they understood all my hard and fast rules about not committing or sticking around before I ever put my hands on them.

“Denver was just a pit stop.” I rubbed my hand over the top of my buzzed head and looked down at the wooden floor under my boots. “With everything that happened with Brite and Avett a few weeks ago I think it’s about time I put some space between me and the Mile High.” A friend and his daughter had recently run afoul of some really nasty people. My old commanding officer and current boss and I had moved in to help in any way we could, which ended with bullets and blood and some seriously pissed-off drug dealers. Holding a weapon in my hand and kicking in doors was second nature to me. I missed the fire of combat in my blood and the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I was made to fight, not to rest on my laurels. “Well past time I made my way home and tried to mend some fences.”

This was why Asa was such a good bartender. He pulled your story out of you whether you were planning on telling it or not, and he listened like he cared even if my story was told in fewer words than he was used to.

He nodded at me and pushed a rocks glass filled with amber liquor towards me. He typically drank Scotch at the end of the night, but I was a bourbon guy through and through. “I know all about mending fences, brother. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to dig a hole for a new post and string up some new wire.” He took a swig of his own drink and plastered that arrogant smirk back on his face. “Plus you might as well run before that girl you’ve been watching when she isn’t watching you fall in love with someone who ain’t you.”

I was going to hit him. My intent must have been clear because he put his glass down on the bar and lifted his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “My girlfriend is armed and she likes my pretty face the way it is. Keep that in mind, soldier.”

I slammed back the rest of the bourbon and let it burn its way down my throat. “Fuck you, Opie.”

He chuckled at me and turned to cash out the register behind him. “That’s why they say the truth hurts, Church.”

Before I had been Church I’d been Dash. And before I had been Dash I’d been Dashel. It was already hard enough being a kid with less than white skin and with parents in an interracial relationship, but having a name that was as uncommon as mine down in the Deep South was fuel on an already burning fire. I’d hated it growing up and even with shortening it to Dash I’d still struggled with it. But now I’d been Church for a long time, and he was a man that didn’t give any kind of shit what anyone else thought of his name. I’d earned that nickname through service and blood. It wasn’t a name that was given to me. It was one I had taken and made my own. Elma Mae was going to hate it and she was still going to call me Dashel even when I begged her not to but there was a part of me that couldn’t wait to hear the stubborn old woman tell me, I’ll call you by the name your mother picked out for you, son. That’s the name she wanted for you and you should respect it. I should, but there were a lot of things I should have done to make my mom proud that I didn’t do.

The truth Asa was laying down did hurt, because there was no hiding from him that part of the reason I was ready to bolt was because I really couldn’t stomach the idea of watching someone else take Dixie’s heart.

“Didn’t ask you for the truth.” I stuck my head out the front door and watched as the last two bar patrons climbed into their Uber. I locked the front door and shut off most of the lights and made my way back to the bar.

I liked the operation Rome had set up here. I liked the people, both the ones who worked for him and the ones he served, and I liked that the atmosphere was usually festive but pretty mellow. On the nights that heads needed to be cracked and tempers needed to be tamed I enjoyed the exertion and physicality of that as well, but I wasn’t meant to be a bouncer. I had too much training, too much experience, and frankly too many demons that needed an outlet, to babysit drunks and party girls for the long haul. It was time for me to stop drifting.

Asa finished up with the money and shot a glance at his phone. I could tell by the genuine smile that crossed his face and the way his gaze sparked that his gorgeous redheaded girlfriend was the one behind the message. Royal Hastings, the pretty Denver policewoman had recently moved in with the annoying southerner and it wouldn’t surprise me if she ended up with a ring on her finger before the year was out. The cop and the con had something special going on even if I firmly believed it was doomed to fail.

“Most folks don’t ask for the truth but that doesn’t stop me from giving it to them.” He gave me a look that told me if I was any kind of man I would take that truth he was so fond of and do something smart with it. I didn’t bother to tell him good and I didn’t really see eye to eye. We made our way to the back door after a quick stop at the office to lock the money up in the safe. Asa scribbled a note to Rome and then quickly checked the security cameras. He typed out a message on his phone and by the time we hit the parking lot at the back of the bar a brand-new Toyota 4Runner was pulling in with a smiling redhead behind the wheel.

Asa clapped a hand on my shoulder and gave me a look that burned with understanding and seriousness. I felt like he was speaking directly into my soul when he told me quietly, “The real truth is, I let something good go, so I know how that feels. Got it back and would move heaven and earth to keep it by my side, so I know exactly what you’re walking away from, soldier. Be smarter than I was and don’t let all that goodness slip through your fingers.” He turned around and walked backwards for a second while flashing me that shit-eating grin of his. “It’s always better to be warm than it is to suffer the cold, Church.”

He moved towards the SUV and I had to look away when he leaned into the driver’s side window to kiss his girl. There was so much intimacy there, so much passion that it made everything I swore I knew about love and togetherness pull against the reins that held it tight.

I gave a halfhearted wave as Royal honked the horn at me and pulled out of the parking lot, then made my way over to my Harley. It was still nice enough weather to ride, another reason I needed to get my ass in gear and head south. In a few weeks it was going to be too cold to have the bike on the road and I wasn’t interested in putting the beauty on a trailer and driving her like some expensive piece of luggage back to Mississippi.

I was swinging my leg over the chrome-and-leather beast when my phone vibrated in my back pocket. It was after two in the morning so I knew anything buzzing through at this time of night couldn’t be good. Considering I’d recently shot Denver’s top drug supplier’s right-hand man and put down another one of his henchmen for good, I was dreading seeing what was waiting for me on the display.

It was almost as bad as I expected it to be. The number was one I’d been ignoring since I landed in Denver months ago. It was a number that belonged to a man that I owed more than some simple conversation or a handful of words. It was a call I would have continued to ignore if it hadn’t come in the middle of the night and on the heels of three other calls throughout the day that I had turned a blind eye to.

It was time to stop running from my past. It was time to man up.

It was time to be a better man, the man the person calling had tried his best to raise me to be.

“Hey, Julian.” I rested the Harley back on the kickstand and ran a hand over my face. I could practically feel the shock wafting across the phone line. He hadn’t expected me to answer and that made me a special kind of asshole.

“Dash.” His voice was even deeper and coarser than mine. People often told me I sounded like Johnny Cash but Julian Churchill really had the Man in Black’s rough growl embedded throughout his tone. “I didn’t think you were going to answer.” I sighed and felt like the wild five-year-old he had tried to wrangle all over again. “Been busy. Took a while to settle in and get used to sleeping without bombs going off overhead.”

He didn’t say anything for a long minute and when he spoke I could tell he was trying really hard to keep the hurt and censure out of his deep voice. “You have a perfectly good bed here and last I heard there weren’t any bombs in Lowry.” Lowry was the small town where I had been born and raised, just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi. There weren’t bombs there but there was a bucket load of memories that blasted me with emotional shrapnel that hurt worse than the kind I’d had surgically removed from my skin.

“I needed time, Jules.”

“Had more than enough time, son. You need to come home.” I bristled just like I always did when he tried to tell me what to do. I thought I’d squashed that urge after we stood side by side and lowered my mom into the ground but there was something about him talking to me like I should know better that always made me feel like an unruly kid.

“Planning on it. Have to tie up a few loose ends around here, and I have to make sure I don’t leave my friend that helped me out in a lurch.” Rome would send me on my way with a pat on the back and a foot in my ass if he knew the real reason I was hiding in Colorado instead of hightailing it home. He was understanding, but the man was all about family first and he wouldn’t abide the way I’d been avoiding mine for the last decade or so. I was a coward and I didn’t want a man I’d been in the trenches with, a man I would die for and knew would die for me, to know just how deeply that weakness ran.

“Dash.” There was a sigh and then Julian cleared his throat, so I knew he was struggling to keep his emotions in check. “Elma Mae had an accident.”

I almost dropped the phone as I bolted up from my lounging position on the bike. “What do you mean she had an accident?” My fingers tightened around the phone to the point that my knuckles hurt and the blood rushing furiously between my ears made hearing his response difficult.

“She was carrying her laundry in off the line and tripped going up the stairs. She fell backwards and busted her hip. A neighbor heard the commotion and ran to help. They had to airlift her to the hospital in Tupelo. She’s also got a dislocated shoulder and a sprained wrist. She’s back in the Lowry hospital now recovering and she should be going home at the end of the week.”

“Jesus.” Elma Mae was chasing down eighty if she was a day. None of us knew her exact age and she refused to tell. She would just smile at us and tell us we kept her young. Those kinds of injuries were serious for someone in their prime. In a woman Elma’s age they were life threatening. “She gonna be all right?”

“Elma is a tough old bird. It’ll take more than a tumble to keep her down. She’s been asking about you.”

Well, if that wasn’t just a fucking red-hot poker right through the guts. It was also a slap across the face with the reality of everything I’d purposely been avoiding and denying for way too long.

“I bought a Harley. Gonna have to ride it home, so I’ll be there in a couple days.” My homecoming was happening sooner than I’d planned, but there was no way I couldn’t be there for the woman that had always been my true north. When nothing else in my life made sense there was Elma Mae. She was the only safe place I had ever known and if she needed me I was going to be there to return the favor. I owed the woman everything and the fact I’d waited so long to see her after years of deployment was a startlingly clear reminder of why I was correct and considerate in staying the hell away from Dixie.

She lived in the light and I was far more comfortable hiding in the dark.

“I’ll let her know. That will make her day.” He paused for a second, which made me brace for whatever was coming next. “She mentioned a girl. Elma told me the reason you weren’t in any hurry to come home from Denver was because of a girl. That true?”

Son of a bitch. The truth might hurt but the lies I told, and they were more gray than white, were going to outright kill me. “There’s a girl.” And there was, but she wasn’t entirely the reason I wasn’t ready to face Julian or anyone else back in Lowry. She had been one of my reasons for sticking around Denver longer than I’d planned. She was an excuse that would buy me time and one that wasn’t entirely untrue.

“Do me a favor and see if you can bring her with you. Elma would love nothing more than to see you happy, to know you’re finally settling down and moving past the things that happened with your mom and with Caroline. You bring your girl home with you and give all of us some peace of mind. Make an old woman happy, Dash. You owe Elma a few years where she doesn’t have to worry about you catching bullets or ending up alone.”

Shit. I rubbed my temples and kicked at the loose gravel under the soles of my boots. “I’ll see what I can do.” That was bullshit. Dixie would drop everything and come with me if I explained the situation. She was too nice and too sweet to tell me no. Elma Mae was going to goddamn love her after she gave her a ration of hell in order to make sure she was the right girl for her boy.

“If the girl cares about you then she’ll figure out a way to be here. If she can’t figure it out, she isn’t worth your time. Come home, son, we miss you.”

I missed home, too, but I could do without the memories and reminders that had kept me away since the day I signed my life away to my country.

It was my turn to sigh. “I’ll see you soon, Jules.” He hung up and I wanted to kick myself because after all these years and all the time and effort he put into raising me I still couldn’t call the man Dad. He deserved the title, after all it was his last name I carried around with me, not that of the man who had knocked my mom up and run. He had earned it much like I had earned my name, but whenever I tried to say it the word got stuck and I fell back on something that seemed less important. It felt like I was fooling God and everyone under the sun about just how important Julian was to me if I refused to call him the only thing he had ever been to me. I was trying to trick fate so Jules didn’t end up the way so many others I loved had.

I was also going home, and I was going to put some sunshine in my pocket and take it with me

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headshot-3Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

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NEW RELEASE! Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

 

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The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.
I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.
He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.
Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office. He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.
Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.
I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.
I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients. But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.
I never expected my body to react every time we argued. Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships. And my job was to help people save their marriages.
The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.
And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

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Available Now!

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About the Author

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Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

 

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Excerpt Reveal ~ STAY by AL Jackson

aljackson-staybookcover525x8_bw_mediumFrom NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson comes the next sexy, gripping Bleeding Stars Stand-Alone Novel…

I’m Ash Evans.
The life of the party.
Hot. Rich. Charismatic.
A tattooed rock star with the world at my feet.
I burn through women faster than the strike of a match.

I’ve embraced my lifestyle and live it to the fullest.
Until the day my lifestyle caught up to me.

Willow Langston found me at my lowest.
Literally.
Facedown in a puddle of my own blood.

I owe her my life and I have three months to repay that debt.
What I never should have done was touch her. Kiss her. Take her to my bed.

Love wasn’t supposed to be a part of the equation.
I gave up that nasty complication a long damned time ago.
Now I want her more than my next breath.
But she doesn’t know what I know.

Do I leave to protect her? Or can I face my demons and ask her to Stay?

ALP GoodreadsOwl

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Get notified of LIVE release on Amazon

ALP Excerpt Owl

His hands slid across the slope of my cheeks. He gripped me there and let his forehead drop to mine as he panted for a breath. “Pretend with me, Peaches. Pretend with me.”

Confusion distorted my already clouded judgment, and I clung tighter to his wrists to keep from falling to the floor. “What?”

“Pretend with me. Pretend that everything that article said was true. Pretend that you’re mine and I’m yours. That you tamed the ultimate bad boy. Let’s show up at your reunion and show that bastard exactly what he lost. What he’s missing out on. Let him know he’s the loser at his own game.”

He swept his tongue over his swollen lips. “And after two months, when you finish this job, when you leave your mark on my house with your amazing talent, you can publicly break up with the world’s most notorious rock star. Because you and me both know he doesn’t come close to bein’ good enough for you. Let’s go. Let’s show Bates and that bitch they can both go fuck themselves.”

He squeezed his eyes closed and nearly begged it. “Pretend with me.”

What if you hurt me?

What if I fall in love with you?

What if I want you to stay?

All my reservations howled and roared.

All I’d ever wanted was to be loved.

This man was offering me a counterfeit version of that.

“That won’t change the fact those pictures are a lie.” The words were tight when I forced them from between my lips.

“So it’ll be our lie. Ours. I want to try. Let me try to put some of those broken pieces back together again. Make you remember who you are. Shake you out from that battered shell so you’ll be ready when that guy comes looking for you.”

The last of those reservations screamed.

What if I want him to be you?

His lips touched mine.

Soft. Sweet. Fire.

“Please,” he said.

“Okay.”

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ALP AuthBio2 Owl

aljacksonphotoA.L. Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and new adult romance.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full-length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children.

Facebook | FB Reader Group | A.L. Jackson Author App | Amazon | Bookbub | Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat: @aljacksonauthor

BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW – Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino

 

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luciandivine_03-1-1-1“My guardian angel is a drunk.”

Evelyn Casey’s life is at a standstill. She’s in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It’s absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.

 

And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he’s a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he’s brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he’s brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as —-. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.

For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.

Yes, God as in God.

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Whitney’s Five Star Review

Renee Carlino is good at breaking hearts. Every book she writes makes me cry at some point but I think Lucian Divine might take the cake as far as angst goes. And the thing is, it’s not actually a sad book. There are a lot of lighter and funny moments as well.

At it’s heart, Lucian Divine is about star crossed love. Lucian, a guardian angel, breaks all the rules falling for his charge, Evey and even more so by telling her. Their love is not meant to be and this line is probably what caused the most tears:

“Evey, next time, in the next life we’ll be together—that’s how this will be corrected. This will be righted. This can’t be our forever fate. Next time we’ll live together, we’ll die together…”

Argh!! See what I mean? I don’t want to spoil anything but the story has it’s ups and downs emotionally. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. Lucian is so adorable neurotic and so sexy. Evey is a sweet heroine and the pain she and Lucian go through to try and be together is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

Renee did a great job developing the characters and throwing in some light moments like the Star Wars Bar. I totally wish that was real! I won’t lie, the emotional upheavals were frustrating at times but I love angst so it really worked for me. This story isn’t pretty but I loved it.

This is contemporary fantasy because of the Guardian Angel aspect so keep in mind you have to suspend belief a bit. I love fantasy and paranormal so again, not an issue for me. But if you’re a fan of this author don’t expect something exactly like her other books. Renee took a risk with this and for me, it paid off. Highly recommended!

 

Renee-121Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com

Cover Reveal-Repossess by Jennifer Foor

We are excited to bring you the cover for the upcoming standalone by Jennifer Foor, REPOSSESS releasing on February 24, 2017!

 

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Raised by my four brothers, I’m the poster girl of a hot-mess. A sucker for cheating assholes and shitty friends.

It’s the reason I’ve come home.

The only reason!

I arrive to find the family business in shambles. My brothers have managed to run it into the ground. With new competition, the stakes are high, especially when I realize whose stealing all of the business out from under us.

Seeing him again isn’t the hard part.

I’m over Crane Lord, his cocky, dangerous sex appeal, his criminal ways of getting by, and how he used to own every part of me.

He’s the enemy. I don’t want him.

I can’t.

Shit!

*Contains Adult Language and Content. Some sexual situations*

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EXCERPT

The driver pulls into the parking lot of my chosen location and spats off the amount I owe him. I pull out my ex’s bank card and wait. When he gives me a paper to sign, I tip him a hundred bucks. He graciously thanks me with his Russian accent, in which I return an easy smile and tell him it was my pleasure.
I’m spiteful and it feels so fucking good.
Revenge to me is like a fine aged wine is to a hoity-toity Stepford wife. It’s my happy place where I know I won’t be a victim of my stupidity.
My day is spent on a new tattoo; a piece representing the lying douchebag who doesn’t have a clue who he’s dealing with. It’s a giant cockroach with a vividly detailed Chuck Taylor slamming down on it. Underneath it states, ‘paybacks are a bitch and so am I’. Every single second of the needle penetrating my skin absolved the time and effort I’d put forth on another failed relationship. I’ve been around guys my whole life. He’s a dime a dozen. My only regret was getting serious in the first place. I should have learned a long time ago that you can’t count on anyone, at least not anyone I know.

 

 

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A Maryland native who spends most of her time devising a plan to live off the land on some remote island, where no one will ever find her.She is a married mother of two kids, who may or may not drive her completely bonkers. In her spare time she enjoys shooting pool, camping and spending time with friends and family.

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COVER REVEAL – The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan

THE PLAY MATE is the upcoming friends to lovers standalone from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Kendall Ryan releasing on March 14, 2017 and we have the spectacular cover to reveal for you!

 

 

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the-play-mate-kendall-ryanSmith Hamilton has it all—he’s smart, good-looking and loaded. But he remembers a time when he had nothing and no one, so he’s not about to mess up, especially with his best friend’s little sister. That means keeping Evie at arm’s length … even though the once pesky little girl is now a buxom bombshell. A sexy blonde who pushes his self-control to the limit the night she crawls into bed with him.

Evie Reed knows she’s blessed—with an exclusive education, a family who loves her, and a new job managing social media for her family’s lingerie company. But she wants more, like a reason to wear the sexy lingerie herself. She has just the man in mind to help with that. She’s crushed on Smith forever. Surely tricking her way into his bed will force him to see her in a new, adult way.

Except that when Evie’s plan leads to disaster, she and Smith must decide—ignore the attraction sizzling between them, or become play mates and risk it all.

 

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kendall-ryan-headshot-1-picA New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

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COVER REVEAL – Tequila and Tailgates by Andrea Johnston

Title: Tequila & Tailgates
Series: Country Road #2
Author: Andrea Johnston
Release Date: Jan 27, 2017

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Four years ago, I took the biggest risk of my life and it blew up in my face. I learned my lesson – love sucks.

Now self-preservation and protecting my heart have become second nature. But Jameson Strauss… he’s my weakness.

Give me the occasional shot of tequila, a game of Truth or Dare, and I’ll do almost anything for that man.

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Four years ago, I didn’t follow my heart. I let the one girl that consumed my soul walk away without a fight.

Now I go through the motions never truly living. But, the day Ashton Sullivan needed me was the day my world changed for the better.

Tequila, truths, and the occasional dare are all I need to show her how good we can be.

Sometimes the truth is in the dare.

Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper. An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told. A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.

Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs. When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.