GIVEAWAY ~ Salvaged by Jay Crownover ~ Release Blitz & Excerpt

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

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I didn’t want her to be scared of anything ever again.

Things at home had been rocky, rougher than class-five rapids in winter, but I was paddling for my life and prepared to ride it out. I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t let go. I saw Poppy the day she walked through my shop and I started to feel how sore my hands and my heart were from holding on.

Her head was down, focused on the tips of her shoes. Her shoulders were hunched over and her long hair hid her face. She was skinny, so skinny, nothing but skin and bones. She was nothing that I should have noticed, not because she was clearly doing everything in her power to be invisible, but because I was supposed to have my eyes locked on my future and doing whatever I could do to salvage it. But I did notice her and I couldn’t look away once I did.

She was obviously terrified, clearly out of her element and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t her unease that called to me…it was her loneliness. I could feel it filling up the space that separated us. Stretching, growing, expanding until it was all I was breathing in and exhaling back out. It was bitter on my tongue and heavy across my skin because I knew the feeling well. I lived with it pressing me down and pushing me forward every minute of every day. The reason I was so set on the way things had to be, the reason I was singlemindedly set on settling down and building a life with the girl that was slipping through my fingers was because I never again wanted to be as alone as this girl was. I didn’t want to be left and forgotten. I’d barely survived it the first time.

I did my best to sell her a car that was as beautiful as she was…a classic with clean lines and a flawless finish. She picked something practical and boring but that was ultimately safe and reliable. I understood her choice but it grated and annoyed me long after she left the shop. When she wasn’t standing in front of me, she should have been easy to forget; after all, everything in front of me, everything I had been working for and toward, was falling down in front of my eyes. My world was collapsing in on itself and everything I thought I was so goddamn sure about turned out to be nothing more than lies and illusions. In the middle of all of it, I couldn’t forget her sad eyes and shivering, shaking form. Her loneliness clung to me, unshakable and unforgettable. I didn’t think I would see her again and against my better judgment I often found myself wondering how she was doing and if she had gotten a handle on all the things that seemed to be crushing her under their inescapable weight.

I was wrong about seeing her again, just like I was wrong about thinking that doing everything in my life differently from how my mother had lived hers would ensure my happiness and a future built on an unshakeable foundation. I was wrong about hard work and sacrifice being enough. I was wrong about holding on when what I was holding on to desperately wanted me to let go. All I was left with was bleeding palms, rope burns around my heart and scars on my soul.

The next time I saw Poppy Cruz it was my loneliness that was filling up the space, suffocating me, choking me, making me forget to handle her with care. I was nothing more than a vast, open wound. One that was raw, aching, throbbing, and leaking my heart and shattered emotions out everywhere. I felt like I’d lost everything, like my entire life had been nothing but a waste of time, nothing more than building blocks knocked over with the swipe of a careless hand. The girl I loved didn’t love me back, my future was ultimately nothing more than a fuzzy, fractured blur. I couldn’t see anything clearly other than waste and ruin.

But I saw her. And I saw that I scared her.

It was the last thing I wanted to do but my loneliness was just as big and just as consuming as hers was. It spread out, hungry and angry, looking to consume anyone that might try and challenge its reign.

I tried to pull myself together, apologized because I knew our paths would cross again now that she lived next door to my best friend. I didn’t want to be another man that she was terrified of. I locked the loneliness down, wrestled it into submission, and tried to quiet down the wild inside of me that was howling, screaming at the loss of its mate. I wanted to be nothing more than gnashing teeth and tearing claws but I swallowed those instincts and allowed myself to be like a kicked puppy that just wanted to whimper and cry.

Poppy had been through more than I could imagine. She was the one I couldn’t look away from, but even then, she managed to slip past me and disappear. She looked like honey but she moved like a ghost. I memorized everything about her even though she hardly let me see her face.

I wasn’t supposed to be looking at anything other than how to salvage the mess my life was in, but she was all I could see.

 

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Jay 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 dogs.

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GIVEAWAY ~ Salvaged by Jay Crownover ~ Review & Excerpt Tour ~ Sarah A’s Review

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

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Pre-Order Incentive

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with SALVAGED, available June 20, 2017

Preorder and fill out the form herehttps://a.pgtb.me/MdHvvG

Enter your name, email address, and the order number from your pre-order receipt on the form to receive an advance excerpt of DIGNITY and a Saints of Denver Doodle download to print at home. 

Entries must be received by midnight PST on June 19th to be eligible.

The print-at-home Doodle and Dignity excerpt will be emailed the week of June 20th

I was reluctant to start this book, not because I was worried about content or not loving it, but because after ten other books I was so sad to see the end of this world.  These characters have taken up residence in my heart and I have so enjoyed being able to check in with them time and again over the course of the last five years.  I distinctly remember stalking the Barnes & Noble website for Rule before he was released for Nook and before I had a kindle.  Saying goodbye to Jay Crownover’s Denver crew is bittersweet, I love knowing they’re all happy and healthy, but it is so sad to know I won’t be popping in on them again.

Poppy and Wheeler were both characters we had seen being damaged and destroyed in other books of the Saints of Denver and Marked Men series.  They were also the characters I was most excited to see find peace and love and all those things that come with finding the person who is the other half of your soul.  When I found out they were going to find that in each other I was beyond ecstatic, if there were ever two characters that deserved a happily ever after it was these two.

The dynamic between Poppy and Wheeler was incredibly sweet.  The way he was so careful and mindful of Poppy and the things she’d been through made me cry real tears at different times throughout the book.  She was so broken, so skittish, so beautifully sad, she needed someone who knew what it felt like to be forsaken by the people who were supposed to love you most to take all her broken parts and make them wonderfully whole again.  She needed Wheeler to show her how to shine those parts up and make them run better than they ever had.  What I didn’t anticipate, and what maybe was the best part of their relationship, was how much Wheeler needed Poppy to heal the broken pieces within him.

There was so much story to be told about Poppy and Wheeler and the things they’d been through, I was glad Salvaged was lighter on the action than some of the other books within the Marked Men and Saints of Denver series.  I think that adding anything else would have taken away from the importance of the things they had already lived through.  I found it wildly satisfying that both of their stories came to a pinnacle and were resolved concurrently, though one ending was far more awful, it was good to know that they were able to move on without the spectre of their pasts lingering in the shadows.

Jay Crownover is one of my go-to, no questions asked, I’ll read anything she writes, authors.  The strength she gives to her heroines is one of the things I love most about her writing.  Even when those heroines are broken beyond measure, like Poppy was, they all have an inherent strength to them.  They are resilient and badass and there is never any question that their men would be completely lost without them.  Jay also writes characters who are relatable, even in the craziest of her characters it’s easy to find something familiar within them.  While each character has these inherent qualities, each storyline is new and fresh, she makes sure every person she writes faces their own struggles and approaches them in a manner consistent with their personality.

“I don’t know that I have the time to take on a puppy right now, Poppy.” He lifted a hand and rubbed it across the back of his neck. His mahogany-colored eyebrows pulled into a vee over the top of his nose and the corners of his mouth pulled down in a frown that was too harsh for his pretty face. I liked it much better when he smiled and his twin dimples cut deeply into his cheeks.

I bit my bottom lip to keep the distressed noise that I could feel climbing up the back of my throat at bay. I knew he might say no but I couldn’t hide the fact that I was disappointed by his decision. I honestly felt like he and the puppy would be good for one another, that they could bring a little joy into each other’s life. It broke my heart a little that Wheeler wasn’t ready to open his heart up again, even when it was to something that was so obviously eager to love him unconditionally and irrevocably, unlike his ex.

“It’s okay, Wheeler. Like I said, I’ll take him home until I can find a place for him. I’m sure Dolly could use a friend.” I crouched down and wiggled my fingers to get the dog’s attention, and grinned when he bounded over, tripping over his front legs as he scrambled in my direction. “I can take him to work with me and hold on to him until I figure something out. One of the boys at the shop will step up if Dixie doesn’t want another dog.”

I heard him sigh and looked up to see him watching me intently. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something, then let it snap shut with his teeth audibly clicking together. I didn’t know much about Wheeler, but what I did know I liked. He was nice. He was polite. He was thoughtful and he was kind. But more than any of those things, he went out of his way to hold himself in a way that wasn’t threatening or intimidating because he was aware without me saying a word how jumpy I was around people, men in particular. I hated that they were bigger than me. I hated that I knew firsthand how badly they could hurt me if they had a mind to. I hated that I wilted and cowered under their attention, even if it was innocent and friendly. The fact that he took care not to spook me spoke volumes and made me feel awful for putting him in such an awkward position.

“Poppy…” He sounded regretful and I had no interest in dragging the torture out any longer for either of us. I scooped up the dog and buried my nose in the top of his head.

“Seriously it’s no big deal. I love him and I’m happy to wait until I can find him a proper home. It was stupid of me not to consider how busy you are with everything you have going on in your life right now. A puppy is a big commitment and that’s not something you can put on someone else without discussing it with them first.” The dog swiped his tongue across my face, no doubt feeling my distress and rising panic. I wanted to tuck his warm little body to my chest and run away like I was trying to score a touchdown in the other team’s end zone. “I should have known better.”

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Jay 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 dogs.

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Blog Tour ~ Groupie by CM Stunich

Groupie
C.M. Stunich
(Rock-Hard Beautiful, #1)
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.
But can one broken person really put another back together again?

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(Sex Scene From Copeland’s POV)

I close my eyes, my skin achy and hot, my balls tight, my entire body this ball of energy that craves more of whatever this is, this twisted ball of four fucked-up souls.  We might just be bodies in motion, but there’s something more here.  I can feel it.

The sex was good—it was great, actually—but it wasn’t their be-all, end-all.  No, it was their outlet.  Whatever they did, however kinky, dark, twisted, or different, it was all just an expression of their love, a way to get as close as possible, to keep the blackness inside their souls at bay for another night, another day.  No, the touching, joining, rubbing of their bodies wasn’t the answer to all their problems, but it was the symptom of their solution.

I blink past the swirl of literary porn inside my head and drive myself into Lilith harder, deeper, rocking the couch and everyone on it with each thrust.  A single movement of my hips drives my cock into Lilith, slides her pussy along Ran’s shaft, pushes Muse deeper into her throat.  I control the entire thing, moving us in this strange, wild rhythm that shouldn’t work but totally does.

It’s Lilith that comes first, before all of us, screaming and arching her back, her lips temporarily falling off Muse’s shaft as she digs her nails into Ran’s shoulders and shudders around me and him both, squeezing us with her body.  It’s intense and long, but I keep moving through it, even as she tries to collapse, holding her up by tightening my fingers on her hips.

As soon as she recovers a little, Lilith sits back up and wraps a hand around Muse, pulling him back to her mouth, squeezing the base of his dick as she swirls her tongue along the underside, teases the sensitive spot just beneath the head.

I enjoy watching that, moving faster and harder, feeling my pulse race inside my head, my skin tightening as an orgasm builds up quick and desperate inside of me.  Muse comes next, both hands on the back of Lilith’s head as he makes these wild sounds low in his throat, making Ran buck and thrash beneath us.  I realize he’s coming, too, and hold a steady pace, sweat dripping off my chin onto Lilith’s perfect round ass.  Once I drop my gaze down to the joining of our bodies, I can’t look away, watching her take both Ran and me, soothe away some of that darkness in our souls with the beauty of her own pain.

“Fuck, sweetheart,” Ran gasps, shaking and quivering again as Muse stumbles away and collapses into one of the swivel chairs.  But Lilith and me … we’re not done.

Carefully and quickly, I pull out and toss my condom into the trash, putting a new one on and pulling the sweaty crying girl into my lap.  Because she is crying again, and that’s okay.  She can cry as much as she wants.

I swipe a tear away with my thumb as I pull her onto my shaft, filling the space where Ransom just was and curling my arms around her waist as she rides me.  Those hunter green eyes finally meet mine, searching and tearing through me, asking me what secrets I have to uncover, making me actually want to spill them all.

It’s her next orgasm that finally gets me, her body grasping tight, her face pressed into my neck, hot lips against my pulse.  Her bare breasts smashed up to my chest, I groan and we both end up screaming a little, making so much damn noise that Michael comes storming out of the hall to stare at us.

The look in his eyes … it’s pure hunger.

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

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Excerpt Reveal ~ Salvaged by Jay Crownover

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series with the next thrilling standalone, SALVAGED! Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below and pre-order your copy today!

 

 

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

 

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EXCERPT:

Poppy

I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.

He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.

The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.

I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.

I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”

It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?”

The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.

“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.

My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.

“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”

 

 

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with SALVAGED, available June 20, 2017

Preorder and fill out the form here: https://a.pgtb.me/MdHvvG

Enter your name, email address, and the order number from your pre-order receipt on the form to receive an advance excerpt of DIGNITY and a Saints of Denver Doodle download to print at home.

Entries must be received by midnight PST on June 19th to be eligible.

The print-at-home Doodle and Dignity excerpt will be emailed the week of June 20th

 

 

About Jay Crownover:

Jay 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 dogs.

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt Reveal ~ Betrayed by Lies by Rebecca Shea

USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Shea brings you the third title in her thrilling and sexy romantic suspense Bound & Broken Series, BETRAYED BY LIES, releasing April 24, 2017. Don’t miss the amazing first chapter below! Pre-order BETRAYED BY LIES, and be sure to grab your copies of BROKEN BY LIES and BOUND BY LIES today! Fall into the deliciously dark world where the line between good and evil becomes blurred.

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Unbreakable series, comes a sexy, heart-wrenching novel…Betrayed by Lies.

As an ATF agent, bringing down the Estrada cartel has been my sole mission. I’m a skilled agent, determined and fearless, but a relentless pursuit and a willingness to risk everything almost killed me.

A year later, when an opportunity in Los Angeles presents itself, I jump at the chance to start over and rebuild the career and life I almost lost.

Kate Stevens was not part of my new plan. I never expected she would be the one to save me from my past. She was exactly what I needed—smart, beautiful and independent. I finally have a future I look forward to.

Only nothing in my life ever goes according to plan. Losing Kate is not an option, but fate seems poised to ruin me, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.

Preorder BETRAYED BY LIES Today!

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Amazon Live Release on April 24th!

 

CHAPTER ONE:

Sam

I wake with a start, sitting straight up in my bed. Cool air fills my lungs when I gasp, pulling a deep breath in. My eyes slowly adjust to the dark room, and I rub the sweat from my forehead before swinging my feet over the edge of the bed and resting my arms on my knees. The dream is always the same, the piercing pain of the bullets hitting my flesh…and the fear of dying, scared and alone.

An exaggerated huff leaves my mouth when I see the alarm clock on the bedside table. It reads four-ten in the morning. That puts three hours and twenty minutes of sleep under my belt. It’s the longest I’ve slept since I arrived in Los Angeles three days ago.

I’m used to surviving on very little sleep, but the nightmares of that night are back and making it more difficult to find rest. I push myself out of bed and throw on a pair of athletic shorts and t-shirt. Grabbing my phone and hotel room key, I head to the gym. With no one else up this early, I play music directly from my phone while watching CNN with subtitles as I get my daily seven-mile run in.

I like running outdoors better, but it’s easier to use the gym and treadmill here at the hotel. My phone pings with incoming texts, but I focus on my run. The burn in my lungs relieves the stress in my shoulders. Sweat coats my skin and drips from my nose as I increase my speed—pushing myself harder. The treadmill roars as I increase the speed yet again, and my heart pounds wildly against my ribcage as my lungs fight for air.

Pain—it’s the only way I know I’m alive.

Pain in my chest. My mind. My body.

The treadmill slows just as my phone pings again, multiple times, alerting me to more incoming text messages—messages that I ignore. I’ve got three days’ worth waiting for a response, and I’m in no hurry to get to them. Transferring to the ATF offices in Los Angeles makes for an easy reason to avoid everyone and everything. Avoidance is what I do best.

I grab a bottle of water and return to my room for a shower before heading into my new office. New office. New job. New city. New state. New life.

A chance to start over. A chance to leave the past where it belongs…in the past. I pull a suit out of the closet and turn on the shower to let the water warm up.

Raking my hands over my face, I do my best to shove the events of last year to the back of my mind, but the life goes out of my eyes when I see the scars scattered across my chest. They’re a constant reminder of the day I lost almost everything…including my life.

Standing in front of the mirror, I run my hand up over my chest and shoulder, my fingertips brushing the smooth surface of the scars spread across the left side of my chest. I ball my hands tightly and release, repeating two more times, a coping mechanism my physical therapist taught me to deal with my anger.

I step into the shower and let the hot water ease my tension. My neck, shoulders, and back instantly begin to relax, and I allow my mind to let go at the same time. “New beginnings,” I mumble to myself as the shower cleanses me of my anger, a baptism of sorts.

I dress and am out the door in less than thirty minutes, easing my car onto the bumper-to-bumper packed L.A. freeway. A commute that would take me less than ten minutes in Phoenix takes me damn near forty-five. I find a covered parking spot just as my phone begins to ring. A number I don’t recognize flashes on the screen, and I decline the call. I don’t have the time nor patience to deal with unknown callers. Gathering my suit coat and phone, I find my way to the main entrance, using the security badge that was sent to me prior to my arrival to allow me entrance into the building.

My phone begins ringing again just as I’m weaving my way through the lobby and headed to the elevators. Same number. This time I press accept and answer. Before I even speak, the female voice on the other end catches me off guard.

“Oh my god, I didn’t expect you to answer.” She pauses. “I was leaving a voice mail and my call dropped so I was just calling back to finish the message.” I hear her sigh. “This is Kate Stevens. Nick Stevens sister. He gave me your number.” Nick Stevens, my new boss. “He mentioned that you might need a place to rent. I have a guesthouse he thought would be perfect for you, and he asked me to call you. I’m sorry if this caught you off guard. He said he was going to speak with you.” She finally stops speaking so I can get a word in.

“Hello, Kate. Nick didn’t mention this to me.”

I hear her sigh loudly. “He’s the most unorganized human being alive,” she mumbles, and I can’t help but chuckle. I’ve met the guy three times, and she’s right from my observation as well. “I’m so sorry to have called you,” she apologizes.

“Don’t be. I’d love to check out the place. I got here Friday, and I’ve been staying in a hotel while I look for something more permanent—”

“Don’t feel obligated,” she cuts me off.

“I don’t,” I answer her honestly. “I’m mainly looking for something not too far from the office and just somewhere to lay my head. Nothing fancy. I won’t be around much because all I ever do is work.”

“Sounds like Nick,” she says with a small laugh. “You’re welcome to check out the house anytime. It’s close to your office, but it’s a little off the beaten path near the foothills. Either call or text me, and we’ll schedule a time for you to stop by, or have Nick show it to you anytime. He knows where I hide the spare key. I’m also not home often so coordinating our schedules might be tough.”

I hear a horn honk in the background as she mutters a string of curse words worthy of an R-rating, and I can’t help but laugh. “That sounds great. Thanks for calling, Kate.”

She ends the call without another word, and I’m left standing in the lobby of my new office, laughing.

The morning is spent being briefed on projects that the team is working on and investigating. I’ll be taking over a case that my predecessor left when he was promoted to a position in Washington D.C., as well as anything new that comes in.

There’s a quick knock on my doorjamb before Nick sticks his head in my office. “You got any lunch plans?”

“Not today,” I toss over my shoulder as I close the folder on my desk.

“Let’s go grab a quick bite. I need to get the hell out of this office.” He loosens the tie around his neck. Nick is about my height and build, probably a few years older than me, California born and raised, and started in the San Diego field office. Worked his way up to Los Angeles and plans to retire here.

I grab my phone and slide it into the pocket of my suit jacket.

“How’s the first day treating you?” he asks as we weave through cubicles lining the rectangular office floor outside our offices.

“Good. Just briefing myself on the Navarro case.”

“We’ve been working on that for years,” he grumbles. “Hoping you can close the deal on that one.” His car beeps as we approach and he unlocks the doors. “Hey,” he buckles himself in and starts the car. “You do great work. I heard how you took down the Estrada cartel.” He slides his sunglasses on his face.

My heart races as I wonder how much he knows—if he’s aware the Estradas are my family. It was well known in the Phoenix office, but I’m not sure how much Los Angeles knows about my ‘family’ history. I nod but don’t say anything.

“You’re the best of the best, which is why you’re going to take down Navarro,” he continues as we take off down the road. “It was easy for me to approve the transfer request.”

“Thanks.” I offer a tight smile and turn to look out the passenger window.

“I’m excited for you to kick ass here in L.A. So why the hell did you want to leave Phoenix anyway? There’s so much shit going on in that office, you must’ve had years of work still.”

I blow a puff of air from my mouth. “My injuries—”

“Shit, I forgot about that. Sorry, continue.” He winces as I continue.

“My injuries fully healed with time and physical therapy, and I wrapped up the cases I was working on.” I look at him out of the corner of my eye to gauge his response. He raps his thumb against the steering wheel and nods his head slowly. “And it just felt like it was a good time to start fresh. Start over with a clean slate.”

He turns his head to look at me. “I cannot tell you how lucky we are to have you here in Los Angeles. I hope you’re fully prepared to kick ass and take names.”

I can’t help but smile, appreciating the vote of confidence.

***

As the day winds down and the office empties, I find myself wrapped up in the case file on my desk, familiarizing myself with all the key players, the locations where the guns are being held, and the evidence that we have to date, along with notes on what we still need to document.

Nick doesn’t knock when he enters my office this time, rather throwing himself into the chair across my desk with an exaggerated sigh.

“What’s the sigh for?” I ask him as I tuck the case file into my bag. I’ll finish combing through the remaining details tonight and make my own notes. I have a system for how I set up my case folders, and I need to rework all of these.

“Just a Monday,” he states, looking around my bare office. “You going to decorate or something? Throw a poster on the wall?” He waves his hand around, gesturing to the stark gray walls.

“Decorate? No. I do have some awards and diplomas I’ll hang once they arrive. They’re being sent from Phoenix.”

He nods, content with that answer.

I clear my throat. “Speaking of decorating, I got a call from Kate.” I raise my eyebrows and sit back in my desk chair. “She said something about having a guesthouse to rent. Were you going to tell me she was going to call?”

“I did. I sent you a text on Saturday.” He relaxes in his chair and props a foot on his opposite knee.  I really need to stop ignoring my messages. He continues, “I stopped by to see her this weekend and forgot she had that guesthouse. Immediately thought of you when I saw it.”

“Thanks. I need to find some time to check it out. Living out of a hotel room is less than ideal.” I reach over and power down my laptop.

“Let’s go now. It’s just down the road a few miles. I know where she keeps the spare key if she’s not there.”

“She also mentioned that,” I laugh.

“Grab your shit and let’s go. You can follow me there.” He jumps up from the chair and quickly pulls his tie off. Nick looks more like an outdoorsman than a senior agent with the ATF. He looks uncomfortable in a suit. I see him more as the park ranger type, running around in cargos and hiking boots.

I follow suit, loosening my tie as I follow him to our cars.

A few miles is more like fifteen, and about half of those miles are in bumper-to-bumper L.A. traffic. Something that I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to. Once we exit the freeway, we wind through gorgeous neighborhoods all the way back to the base of the foothills. I would never in a million years guess the house we pull up to is a house in a suburb of Los Angeles. It sits on what I assume is about an acre of lush green land with neighbors spread out down a long secluded, tree-lined street. The ranch style house is simple yet modern with an updated exterior, wood shutters, and wrought iron accessories.

“Not a bad drive, eh,” Nick says as we both step out of our cars in the driveway. “I should say for L.A. standards. If your commute is under an hour, you’re pretty much living the life,” he laughs.

It really wasn’t a bad commute. I eyeball the watch on my wrist and the drive was just under thirty minutes. Nick reaches inside a hanging planter that swings from the covered front porch and pulls out a key. He waves me toward the side of the house where a brick sidewalk snakes around to the guesthouse that sits just off the main house. It looks exactly like the main house, just slightly smaller.

“This is it,” he says, sliding the key into the front door. “One bedroom, a small office slash library, kitchen, living room, and one and a half baths.”

We step inside. It’s obviously been remodeled recently. The smell of fresh paint hits me as I walk deeper into the house. Everything is brand new, sleek, and modern. Bright white trim and doors offset light gray walls. A dark wood floor makes the bright white kitchen pop against the stainless steel appliances.

“The only thing that’s missing is a washer and dryer. She said she’d order those once she leased the house. The laundry room is off the back.” He points to a door off the kitchen. “It’s a large pantry and a laundry room.”

I’m impressed with what I’ve seen thus far. I walk through the open living room and down the hall to the bedroom. It’s large and bright with one wall of windows that start near the ceiling and stretch about three quarters of the way down the wall. Long, dark gray curtains hang to each side of the paneled windows that overlooks more of the lush backyard. There’s a single French door that leads to a small brick patio off the master bedroom, and a table and chairs sit out there. In the middle of the table is a fire pit. I instantly imagine myself relaxing around this table with a beer after a long day at the office.

I head back down the hallway where I stop and peek my head in the office. It’s got two glass French doors that lead into the square room. One entire wall has built in bookshelves and a built in desk. It’s the perfect home office.

I scan the living room and kitchen again and make note that my dark furniture will fit perfectly in the space and complements the gray and white theme throughout. This might be the easiest decision I’ve made since deciding to move to Los Angeles.

Nick steps out front while I take one last look around, making mental notes of the space and things I’ll need shipped from Phoenix.

After we step outside and Nick locks the door, I hear him shuffling behind me on the brick walkway. “So what do you think?”

“Perfect. It’s everything I was looking for,” I say as I spin around and am met face-to-face with the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. I stumble momentarily because, for half a second, those words mean so much more than just the house I was looking at.

“I’m Kate,” she says, her voice strong and secure. She holds her hand out to shake mine. She’s tall with light brown hair that hangs just past her shoulders, and she’s wearing a navy blue dress and heels that put her at almost my six-foot-two. Confident. She’s confident. I can read a woman by the way she carries herself, the tone of her voice, and what she wears.

I take her hand in mine and smile. “Sam. Sam Cortez. I’ll take it.” Again, those words mean so much more than just the house.

Her lips turn into a half smile, and she holds eye contact with me. She licks her lips and tilts her head before glancing over to Nick and then back to me. “Nice to meet you, Sam Cortez. Welcome home.”

And my heart begins to beat again for the first time in eighteen months.

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Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.

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EXCERPT REVEAL – Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole

 

 

Coming April 18th

 

 

EVEN THE BROKEN, THROUGH LOVE, CAN FIND GRACE…

Secrets never stay hidden.

The burden of guilt never lifts from the heart.

Born and raised in The Order of David, Sister Phebe knows nothing but cult life. Head of the Sacred Sisters of New Zion, Phebe was groomed from childhood for one purpose: to seduce. Prized as a harlot, as a New Zion whore, Phebe is taken from the doomed cult by Meister, the notorious leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. Taken as his possession. Taken to be the woman who will obey his every sexual demand. Under his heavy hand, Phebe finds herself in a place much worse than she could ever have imagined… with absolutely no one to help. And no glimpse of hope.

Xavier ‘AK’ Deyes is content with his life as Sergeant-At-Arms of the Hades Hangmen. Leader of the infamous ‘Psycho Trio’ and ex-special ops sniper, AK knows how to fight. Experienced in warfare and schooled in military operations, AK is vital to the Hangmen. When his Vice President needs help retrieving his missing sister-in-law, Phebe, from a Klan-funded trafficking ring, AK volunteers to go in. AK remembers the redhead from New Zion. Remembers everything about her from the single time they met—her red hair, blue eyes and freckled face. But when he finds her, heavily drugged and under Meister’s control, her sorry condition causes him to remember more than the beautiful woman he once tied to a tree. Saving Phebe forces hidden demons from his past to return. A past he can never move on from, no matter how hard he tries.

As AK fights to help Phebe, and in turn she strives to help him, they realize their secret sins will never leave them alone. Kindred broken souls, they realize the only way they can be rid of their ghosts is to face them together and try to find peace.

Despair soon turns to hope, and damaged hearts soon start to heal. But when their deep, painful scars resurface, becoming too much to bear, the time comes when they must make a heavy choice: stay forever damned; or together, find grace.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for age 18 and over.

“Well?” Ky asked.
Tanner ran his hand over his head. The brother hadn’t attended one of our cookouts or slutfests in weeks. Not that he ever entertained himself with sluts—still too hard for his piece of pussy down in Mexico. He’d been busy trying to track down Meister. Unlike most of the white-power shit Tanner and Tank grew up with, this Meister was untraceable and off the grid. As much of a computer whizz kid as Tanner was, Meister was proving to be one slippery fucking snake to pin down.
“Gotta be honest, I didn’t think I was anywhere close to finding anything on this prick.” Tanner nodded toward Tank. “We knew of him, of course. I knew he had dealings with my father and uncle, just never met him myself. He’s Aryan Brotherhood, but works closely with the Klan. And there’s nothing on him. No email traces, no invoices, no texts. Nothing.”
I gritted my teeth and glanced at Styx, who was listening closely. Ky wasn’t originally gonna tell the prez about the plan to get Phebe, because of his fucking wedding, but that didn’t last long. Styx knew something was up with his VP. He read him like I read Flame and Vike. So Ky fessed up, and Styx was all for the plan. He’d had to push his wedding back by a month anyhow to get the pastor Mae wanted to conduct the ceremony, so he had time to kill.
“But you found something?” Ky translated as Styx signed.
Tanner sighed, the black circles around his eyes showing how hard the brother had been working. “I got something.” He shook his head, and my blood ran cold. I knew whatever he had found wasn’t good.
Tanner opened the file in front of him and threw a photograph toward the prez. Styx looked at it, then gave it to Ky. “Some middle-of-nowhere ghost town?”
Ky passed the picture around. Vike handed it to me, and I studied it. It was an aerial shot, and the picture was grainy, but from what I could make out, it was just a huge piece of land scattered with decrepit old buildings.
I passed the picture along. “Fucker owns this?”
Tanner faced me. “Yeah, or at least his father did. He’s dead now, but the deeds are still in his father’s name. Been in the family for decades. Took me a while to trace it.” He shook his head. “Meister is notorious among the Klan. Right, Tank?”
“Yeah,” Tank agreed. “Never met him either, but we’d all heard of him. Prick has been mobilizing for years for the race war they think is coming. Real serious, Oklahoma-City-bomb shit. From what we’ve heard, the guy has a one-track mind when it comes to advancing the white race. You think Hitler was fucked up? Well, imagine if he had a kid who was one built motherfucker, with a fucking carbon copy of his psycho mind; and you’ve got Meister. Fucker ain’t even German. Just wishes he was, spouting German phrases around like he’s born and bred Berlin. Delusional asshole.”
“This ain’t gonna be easy,” Tanner finished, looking at me, Vike, Flame, Hush and Cowboy. It was the five of us who had agreed to go looking for Phebe. Hush and Cowboy nodded at me to let me know they were still in.
“So he’s in this ghost town?” Ky asked, translating Styx’s sign language again. “If so, we’ll all just go in and get him, make the fucker talk and tell us where he’s got Phebe.”
Tanner sat forward. “He ain’t just living in the ghost town or hiding out. That’s where he has his enterprise.”
“Enterprise?” Ky echoed. It was his own question this time.
Tanner nodded. “From what I can tell, it’s a fucking brothel. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, Klan, or Klan sympathizers, can go there for a night or a few days at a time.” Tank shifted uncomfortably next to him. “Ain’t sure, but I’m thinking it ain’t just getting your dick sucked and fucked. It’ll be real fucked-up shit. If Meister’s reputation is anything to go by, we would be walking into an organized, armed hellhole.” Tanner’s eyes darkened. “I get the Klan has a reputation for being full of backward rednecks. I ain’t gonna lie—growing up, most of my father’s cronies were that way. Thick as fuck and couldn’t do shit without screwing it up. Skinheads, lower-ranked soldiers, you know?”
“But there were some members that weren’t,” Tank continued. He cast an embarrassed glance at Tanner. “We weren’t, for starters.”
Tanner nodded. “It’s not the norm, but some of us were good. Smart, strong fighters, or just outright fucking psychos. The skinheads and rednecks are the foot soldiers. The likes of us, the likes of Meister, are the fucking SS. The planners, leaders, the generals—the ones who believe in the cause so much that they’re fucking lethal with what they’ll do, what they’re capable of. Meister is true Aryan Brotherhood; he’s preparing for war. He’s the real fucking deal.”
“And now he’s in our neck of the woods to stir up shit?” I asked.
Tanner nodded. “Comes from northern Texas. Never moved our way before. But the Klan are building day by day, joining forces with other white supremacist gangs—like the Brotherhood—and with the shit that’s on the news twenty-four-seven, blacks and whites at each others throats, he’s moved to the headquarters.” The brother’s jaw clenched. “To my father and uncle, who’ll be protecting him from being found out by the feds.” He sighed and ran his hand down his face. “From what I can figure out, this ghost-town brothel of his has only existed in the last year or so. He’s looking to fund something.”
“They ain’t dealing guns?” Cowboy drawled. “I thought that’s what Rider said the contract with the cult was for?”
“Rider was sure it was guns. At least it was when he was dealing with the Klan—it was all about arms. The Klan was selling them on and taking a cut.”
“His fucking twin,” Hush spat. “He changed the arrangement, didn’t he? When Rider was locked up in cult prison?”
“Think so,” Tanner said after a few seconds of silence.
“Then what the fuck are they dealing? What was Judah giving them if not Israeli guns?”
“Women.”
Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.
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Excerpt Tour ~ Figure Eight by Calia Read

figure-eightDear Selah,

Do you remember me?

Of course you don’t. So I’m going to give you a refresher course.

I’ve known you for years and years. We used to have beautiful conversations. There was no one that knew you better than me. We were handmade for each other.

Lately, it’s become achingly obvious you’re miserable. You’ve moved back home to take care of your ailing mother. You’ve been looking for a new job, but that’s not going well. Admit it: it’s all too much.

Everyone around you sees your suffering, but they’re not willing to help you.

Everyone but Jackson.

He comes into your life at the perfect moment and offers you everything you could want: a shoulder to lean on, love, and most importantly, hope.

But there’s no one that can compare to me. You seem to forget that I’m your figure 8. Your infinity. You try to run, but I will always find you.

Yours Truly,
Figure 8

AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

ALP GoodreadsOwl

      From that first e-mail Jackson sent you, love attacked. And now you were given two choices: continue the conversation or ignore him and go about your life.

We both know what your decision was on that.

You take your phone with you everywhere. Even when it doesn’t ring you glance at the screen on the off chance that you somehow missed a text or call. Sometimes, and you’d be mortified if anybody found this out, you fall asleep clutching your phone. You’ve even had a few late night talks that ended up with you falling asleep with your phone to your ear like some love-struck high schooler.

Right now you’re a walking cliché. And you know it too. I can tell when you think about Jackson because your cheeks turn pink. You feel ridiculous yet you can’t help yourself.

What did I tell you, hmm? I knew you’d like my gift. I’d like to say that you can’t remember the last time you felt this way but I’d be lying. If you dug deep enough, you’d remember.

But I’m wasting time. Back to you. It’s been just mere days since you first started talking to Jackson. The spectacle between the two of you is so sweet, anyone within a mile radius of you and Jackson are liable to get a fucking cavity. No one would ever guess the two of you have just started talking. That’s how intense it was between the two of you.

I don’t mind it. I find it quite fascinating; gone are the days of you being a Negative Nelly. Jackson is your passport to a whole other world, one where you’re allowed to look at your problems in a whole other light. You’re a glass half-full kind of person. You haven’t found a job, yet you’re handling it well. Your savings account is slowly drying up. Yesterday, when you weren’t looking, I glanced at your bank account. I give it one month. Tops. Before you admit defeat and cancel Internet. After that it’s just a matter of time before creditors start knocking on you door.

Yet you moved some money around and wrote down a reminder to cancel the cable. And I could see you thinking to yourself. Shit. Will the Internet be next? 

But let’s be honest, you’re in bad times. But not that bad.

It sounds strange but I feel a bit conceited because this is going exactly how I planned. Nothing really fazes you.  Look at each new day as a fresh start. Last week I saw you write a few times this past week. It was nothing major but for a while it was getting to a point where a few words within a week felt like progress. You even sent Jackson a few chapters to read.

Simply put, you were starting to have a spark back in your eyes.

Yet you’re being greedy with my gift. A little too zealous if I’m being honest. You enjoy my gifts left, right, front and center and you take every single on. Yet you continue not to see me. But don’t worry, whether you like it or now, we’re going to meet.

Because I love you so much I feel the need to warn you to slow down because you’ve never seen the dark side of love. You’ve never seen how twisted and malignant it can become. How it can eat you alive from the inside out. How it can drive you completely and utterly insane.

ALP AuthBio2 Owl

13319891_838523882920080_9005192063279712585_nCalia Read is the author of Unhinge, Unravel, Breaking the Wrong, Ruin You Completely, and Every Which Way. She lives in Texas with her husband and their five children.

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Review Tour ~ Figure Eight by Calia Read ~ Sarah A’s Review

figure-eightDear Selah,

Do you remember me?

Of course you don’t. So I’m going to give you a refresher course.

I’ve known you for years and years. We used to have beautiful conversations. There was no one that knew you better than me. We were handmade for each other.

Lately, it’s become achingly obvious you’re miserable. You’ve moved back home to take care of your ailing mother. You’ve been looking for a new job, but that’s not going well. Admit it: it’s all too much.

Everyone around you sees your suffering, but they’re not willing to help you.

Everyone but Jackson.

He comes into your life at the perfect moment and offers you everything you could want: a shoulder to lean on, love, and most importantly, hope.

But there’s no one that can compare to me. You seem to forget that I’m your figure 8. Your infinity. You try to run, but I will always find you.

Yours Truly,
Figure 8

AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

ALP GoodreadsOwl

I’m reeling from this book.  Just circling back and back and back trying to figure out when was the first time I had an inkling of what was going on and I find myself feeling a lot like Selah; I think I knew the whole time but I didn’t want to acknowledge it.  There were times I wasn’t sure if the book was full of tiny, almost imperceptible, errors or if I was crazy or if it was intentional and made to make me feel crazy.  Honestly, I’m still not sure; though, I suspect the latter.

This is a book that has so many layers, so many facets and secrets, telling any one of them would destroy the experience that is Figure Eight.  There are so many beautiful things that happen in this book, so many things I desire to dissect and tell you about in great detail, but to do so would ruin the sublime magic that Calia Read wove with this story.  More so than almost any other book I’ve read, Figure Eight must be read with no foresight as to what is going to happen; the experience of being Selah, of living what she lived in these pages is important and intense.

Calia Read constantly amazes me with her words, the way she constructs each sentence to draw you in and then makes you question every second of the words you’ve read is unique and wildly impressive.  I am in love with her writing and the important stories she tells.  Her stories are consistently among the most wonderfully written and compelling books I’ve read.  I always find myself wanting more story, while simultaneously being totally satisfied that the story is complete and left exactly where it should be.  It’s not an easy balance to strike, but Ms. Read is near perfection in finding that balance in all of her books.

I have discovered that from a distance it is incredibly easy to read people. In the shadows, people don’t notice you. They let their guard down. Let you into their life without even knowing it. After a while their movements become predictable and you start to feel more intimate with them. You know when they’re irritable or sad. Happy or anxious. And while they keep desperately seeking a cure- all for their afflictions, you stand there in shadows, knowing what they need. My last gift was what you needed. But you barely noticed. You were too busy with your despair.

Ah, despair, despair, despair. Too many people get caught in that bitch’s web. And the sad truth is that they never find their way out. They never find their figure eight.

They never find me.

Yet the truth of the matter is that you didn’t find me. You got lucky and had the tables turned.

You may not see me yet. But you will.

Something as big as me takes time to acclimate to. Until then I’m going to give you another present. This one you’re going to take notice of. It is truly something.

I’m actually quite proud of myself with this one. It’s so good that I’m going to let you think that fate, kismet or whatever bull shit you call it, was responsible for it. Besides, I have a million more gifts just waiting for you, that I can take credit for.

Each one is bigger and better than the last.

You’ll see.

ALP AuthBio2 Owl

13319891_838523882920080_9005192063279712585_nCalia Read is the author of Unhinge, Unravel, Breaking the Wrong, Ruin You Completely, and Every Which Way. She lives in Texas with her husband and their five children.

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Excerpt Tour ~ Riveted by Jay Crownover

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.

 

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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“I can’t believe it gets worse, Dixie.” She shook her hair at me and I wanted to reach out and touch the bronze strands. They glimmered like they were lit from within. Everything about her was meant to shimmer and shine through the shadows that surrounded her. Eventually that inner glow was going to break free and I hoped I was around to see it. “I didn’t think it could get worse than the guy who wanted you to be third person in a ménage à trois with his wife.”

I sucked back a mouthful of wine at that and shuddered. “Yeah, when he told me it was fine because their kids were with his parents for the weekend I almost threw my water at him. That was bad, but this mother was still the worst. It was a shame because her son was actually really cute and I think if he wasn’t so browbeaten he might actually be a good guy.” I lifted a shoulder and let it fall. “Oh well, you live and you learn.”

Something crossed her beautiful face, something tragic and painful that hurt to look at, but it was only there for a second and then her typical serene and unaffected expression was firmly back in place. “If you’re lucky you get to live. So no more online dating?”

I nodded and finished off the rest of my wine. “No more. There seems to be an infinite amount of crazy out there in the world and I’m a magnet for it.”

They can be whoever they want to be on the internet, Dixie. You’ll never know who you’re dealing with, and that’s dangerous. Church’s warning drifted through my mind and it made me want to hit something. He was right. He also always seemed to be looking out for me, which would be thrilling, exciting, and exactly what I wanted if he had been doing it out of something other than some misguided need to watch out for me because we worked together. If he cared about what happened to me because he cared about me in some way, shape, or form, I would be over the moon. But really it all boiled down to the fact that I was important to the people that were important to him, so he didn’t want to see anything bad happen to me.

I was turning to pour another glass of wine when Poppy and I both started as someone started pounding on the apartment door. I gasped a little as Poppy jumped to her feet in a panic with a startled yelp pealing out of her throat. Alarmed by the human’s distress Dolly started to growl and stalked to the door like the born protector that she was. She let out a sharp bark that had me practically sprinting across the room to see who was causing the commotion so that her gruff growling and sharp yapping didn’t wake up the neighbors.

I glanced at Poppy and frowned when I saw that she was as white as my countertop and looked like she was going to pass out. Her hand was to her throat and her fingers were shaking so badly I could see the tremors all the way across the room. She was terrified. I wanted to fix that for her but I didn’t know how. “Dixie, open the door. I left Kallie and I need a place to crash for a few days.” The voice on the other side of the door was as familiar as my own. His words made me swear out loud as I pulled the door open without another thought given to the fact that Poppy might end up facedown on the carpet.

“You left Kallie?” I barely got the words out before my little sister’s obviously furious and clearly frustrated fiancé barreled into the tiny living space. I shut the door behind him. Dolly went about her typically happy greeting once she realized she knew the tall, lanky, auburn-haired man that was now frantically pacing through my living room, raking his heavily tattooed hands through his messy hair.

“She’s been cheating on me . . . again. I was such an idiot to believe her when she told me it would never happen again after the last time. How could she do this to me after all we’ve been through together?” His heated blue eyes locked on me and I could see he was struggling to keep both his emotions and the moisture trapped in his eyes in check. “We’re supposed to be getting married in a few months.” His voice cracked and I couldn’t stop myself from walking over and wrapping my arms around his trim waist.

“Oh, Wheeler. I’m so sorry.” My sister was an idiot, but in all honesty so was he. My sister didn’t know how to be an adult without him and he didn’t know how to be a family without her. They were scarily dependent on each other and had been since they were kids. Now Kallie was barely twenty-two and had everything I wanted in the palm of her hand—the brand new house Wheeler bought for them to start their lives together, an engagement ring that made my heart squeeze with envy. I would treasure the love and promises she had been given and part of me died every single time I watched my sister be careless and reckless with what Wheeler had handed her. “You can stay here for as long as you need to. Do you want me to call her?” If I did I was going to rip her a new one. I loved my sister dearly, but at the moment I would gladly strangle her with my bare hands.

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And read Chapter Two of RIVETED here!

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

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift in advance…Preorder and fill out the form here: https://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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Jay Crownover - headshotJay 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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EXCERPT REVEAL – Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward

 

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From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a sexy, STANDALONE second-chance romance.

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They called him Mack Daddy. No, seriously, his name was Mack. Short for Mackenzie. Thus, the nickname. Perfect, right?

So was he: perfect. The perfect physical male specimen.

At the private school where I taught, Mack Morrison was the only man around in a sea of women.

Everyone wanted a piece of the hot single father of the sweet little boy.

I was riddled with jealousy, because they didn’t know that—to me—he was much more.

They didn’t know about our past.

He’d chosen my school for his son on purpose, because Mack and I, we had unfinished business.

As my friend Lorelai so eloquently put it: “Unfinished business between two people who are clearly attracted to each other is like an eternal case of blue balls.” And I was suffering in pain from my case.

I was still intensely attracted to Mack. I tried to resist him, immersing myself further into a relationship with another man just to protect my heart.

Not to mention, getting involved with a parent was strictly against school rules. But seeing Mack day in and day out was breaking me down.

And soon I might be breaking all the rules.

Author’s note – Told in alternating points of view, Mack Daddy is a full-length standalone novel.

 

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MACK DADDY EXCERPT

Copyright © 2016 by

Penelope Ward

It was the evening of our monthly PTO meeting. On the agenda was to designate the volunteers for several fundraisers that would take place in the spring.

Setting up the refreshments and a coffee urn in the hallway outside of the classroom, I couldn’t wait to get this over with so that I could go home, get into my pajamas, and relax. It was always exhausting to have evening commitments when the workday ran so late to begin with.

A deep voice from behind startled me. “A keg would be much more fun, wouldn’t it?”

I turned around to find Mack standing there, holding a box of chocolate chip cookies from the supermarket.

“What are you doing here?”

He placed the cookies on the table. “This is the parent and teachers meeting, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but…” I hesitated, not even knowing what to say.

He finished my sentence. “But I’m not supposed to be included in that group?” Mack snapped his finger. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought PTO stood for ‘pissing teacher off.’ My bad.”

“Well, if that were the case, you might be in the right place.”

“This is the right place for me tonight.”

“This meeting is for serious participants.”

“I’m serious about the teacher. Does that count?”

“No.”

“Actually, in all seriousness, I’d also like to help. It’s the least I can do after crashing your school year. I really would like to be as involved as I can in Jonah’s education. That’s the truth, okay? Getting to spend time with you is an added benefit.”

What could I say? He had just as much right to be here as anyone else.

“Just be aware that this isn’t the right place to be joking around or distracting the other attendees, for that matter.”

“I don’t plan on distracting anyone but you.”

“Yeah, well you have quite the fan base here. We have a very strict agenda to adhere to.”

He moved in closer and just stared me down for a bit. The contact caused my skin to prickle and my nipples to harden. “Don’t worry,” he said as he looked down, seeming to notice that my nipples were piercing through the fabric of my shirt. “Your points are well noted, Miss O’Hara.” He wriggled his brows. “I’ll see you inside.”

I hated that he knew he was having an effect on me. If my body had this kind of response now, what would have happened if he’d actually done more? Spontaneous impregnation? Some things just never change, and my reaction to this man was an example of that.

A long table sat in the middle of the spare classroom where we held the meeting. There wasn’t a single man in the room besides Mack. He was like the centerpiece.

I took my seat at the end of the table. “So, shall we get started?” Looking down at my list, I said, “First on the agenda is the book fair. We need to elect someone to be in charge of it and coordinate the volunteers.”

Mack raised his hand.

“Yes?” I asked.

“That sounds like it’s right down my alley. I’d like to volunteer to run the book fair.”

“What makes you want that task? It’s a lot of responsibility.”

He thought about it for a moment then said, “I write children’s books. I think I’d be a perfect fit.”

“That’s a good point,” one of the women said. “He might be the perfect fit.”

I’m sure you’re thinking he’d be the perfect fit, alright…in your vagina.

“Okay…but I hope you know that there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into organizing that particular event. It takes place over the course of an entire weekend. You have to place orders with the bookseller, do inventory, delegate tasks, and arrange for an onsite food vendor because many people just come for the food. Ultimately, the food is the bait.”

“I can bait people. I’m a master baiter.” He paused. “I mean…I can handle it. I’ll get a shitload of people to sign up.”

An attending nun gave him a dirty look for his use of foul language.

He cleared his throat, seeming to regret his choice of terminology. “I’ll get people to attend. Don’t worry.”

“I’ll put your name down as a possibility. We’ll take a vote at the end.”

“Thank you.”

Looking around the room, I asked, “Is there anyone else here who is interested in taking the reigns on the book fair?”

Not a single person budged.

One woman said, “No, but I’ll be happy to help Mack with whatever he needs.”

I’m sure you will.

Mack nodded then offered a smug smile. “Thank you.” He then took a bite of his cookie and winked at me.

 

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Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She’s a fifteen-time New York Times bestseller of twelve novels.

Having grown up in Boston with five older brothers, she spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

 

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