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
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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
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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.

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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.

mack-daddy-cover

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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Cover Reveal ~ The Truth About Lennon by KL Grayson

Today we have the gorgeous cover reveal for The Truth About Lennon by K.L. Grayson! Check out this gorgeous cover and be sure to preorder your copy today!

lennon_amazonLennon Barrick-St. James is making headlines as New York City’s hottest new socialite. Only she isn’t new at all. One well-intentioned night gone wrong has landed the daughter of the vice presidential candidate Christopher St. James on the front pages of every newspaper and magazine in the country.

Forced by her father to stay out of the limelight, Lennon flees to the quiet town of Haven, Texas, where she vows to lie low and avoid men. Well, except for the sexy biker she just ran off the road–she definitely won’t be avoiding him.

 

Noah Cunningham

Already has a girl in his life, and he sure as hell doesn’t need another. Especially the beautiful and sinfully sweet angel that just descended upon the quiet little town he calls home.

The only problem is that the more time he spends with Lennon, the more he wants to be with her. And that’s just not going to work for Noah. He’s already been burned once and he’s not so sure he’s ready to go down that road again.

 

Noah has spent the last five years putting his life back together after secrets and lies ripped it apart. So what will happen when he learns the Truth about Lennon.

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“Can I help you?”

“Yes, I’m looking for Noah Cunningham. He was brought in by ambulance a little while ago.”

The woman looks me over and she smiles, but it isn’t as friendly as it should be. “Are you family?”

“Um…” I shake my head. “No.” Her smile fades, and I quickly improvise because I know that look. If I’m not family, she won’t let me back there to see him. “Not yet, at least,” I say, mustering up as much conviction as I can. “I’m his fiancée.”

Oh shit. I can’t believe I just said that.

Too late now.

That makes her frown. “Noah doesn’t have a fiancée.”

“How do you know?”

Narrowing her eyes, the woman stands behind her desk. “I grew up with Noah. Our brothers are friends. I think I’d know if he was dating, let alone engaged,” she says—a bit too defensively, if you ask me.

Does this woman have a thing for Noah? A hint of jealousy sparks in my veins, surprising me.

“I assure you he does,” I say with just as much bite, because as it turns out, I have a thing for him too.

The bitch crosses her arms over her chest. “Where’s your ring?”

“I didn’t put it on this morning. What are you, the engagement police?” Not the cleverest thing to say, I know, but it’s the best I could come up with.

Lips pressed firmly together, the woman glares. If looks could kill I’d be dead, buried, and forgotten about. I glance at the woman’s name tag before meeting her death stare head on.

“Now I get it,” I say, snapping my fingers as though I should’ve recognized her sooner. “You’re Penny.”

Penny’s scowl turns into more of a frown.

“Noah told me all about you.”

As expected, this perks her up. “He did?” She quickly realizes her mistake. “I mean, of course he did.”

“There you are, Lennon!”

I turn to see Mikey, the guy from the ambulance, walking toward us. If the look on his face is any indication, he caught some—if not all—of my little white lie.

Leaning against the desk, he smiles warmly at the woman. “How are ya, Penny?”

It’s amazing how her demeanor changes in the presence of a man. “Hey, Mikey. I’m good. Just been workin’ a lot, ya know?”

Mikey nods, and Penny glances at me somewhat timidly. “This woman is trying to tell me she’s engaged to Noah.”

“Wait…” Mikey waves a finger between me and Penny. “You mean you didn’t know about Lennon? Brad didn’t tell you?”

Penny shakes her head and opens her mouth to respond, but Mikey cuts her off with a fake disappointed sigh.

“I guess I’m not really surprised,” he says. “He hasn’t been around much lately, what with his new job and all. How’s that going for him, anyway?”

“Good,” she says, looking back toward me, clearly wanting to redirect the conversation.

“Good.” Mikey nods. “That’s good. Well,” he says, clapping a hand on the desk, “I’ll take Lennon down to Noah’s room before I go, if it’s all right with you.”

Plopping down in her seat, Penny huffs. “Fine.”

With a hand pressed to my back, Mikey guides me down the hall.

“Thank you,” I whisper when I’m certain we’re out of earshot.

“Are you kidding me? Noah should be thanking you. He’s been turning down Penny since the third grade, and now maybe she’ll get off of his back for good.”

“Well, then…” I puff out my chest. “I’m glad I was able to help. But I’ll be honest; I thought for sure I lied to the wrong person. I was really worried there for a second.”

“This is a small town, Lennon. The kind where everybody knows everybody, everybody thinks they know everything, and you can’t piss without it ending up in the paper or on Facebook. It’ll do you good to remember that.”

“Does that mean—”

“Yup.” He nods before I even finish. “Penny has probably already posted about it, tweeted it, Snapchatted it, and found a way to put it up on Instagram.”

“Great.” I stare at the hospital door. “Now Noah’s really going to hate me, and we don’t even know each other.”

“Nah. Noah’s pretty laid back.”

I look up at him, cocking a brow.

“Okay, he’s uptight, but he’ll see the humor in it,” he says, opening the door before quietly adding, “I think.”

A man in a long, white coat is standing in the room, waving his hands as he talks to Noah, who is stretched out on the bed, his jeans and T-shirt now replaced by a green hospital gown. Noah’s eyes widen when he notices me walking into the room behind Mikey.

“What is she doing here?” he says, cutting off the doctor.

“She’s your fiancée; where else would she be?”

We all turn toward the snide voice. Penny. Go figure, she must’ve followed us. She flits around the room. Doing what? No clue. Probably just being nosy.

“Fiancée?” Noah looks from Penny to Mikey and narrows his eyes when they land on me.

I’m going to go straight to hell.

“It’s okay,” I soothe, sitting on the bed next to him. Smiling down, I brush his hair off of his forehead. It’s soft, and I let my fingers linger longer than necessary as I imagine what it would be like to belong to this man—to be able to touch him whenever I wanted, run my fingers through his shaggy hair, kiss him. The thoughts in my mind have no business being there, but I can’t help but wish for every single one.

Feeling the weight of silence, I clear my throat. “I told her.” I glance at Penny, who is frowning. “And she’s not going to say anything, are you, Penny? Because we haven’t officially announced it yet.”

Her eyes widen, guilt splattered across her face. “Uh…”

“I’m so lost,” Noah mumbles, running a hand over his ruggedly handsome face. “Maybe I did hit my head, doc.”

“I’m sorry, I missed your name.” The young doctor sticks out his hand, which I quickly accept.

“Lennon.”

He smiles. “It’s nice to meet you, Lennon. My name is Dr. Ward, and I took care of your fiancé when he came in. In fact,” he says, looking at Noah, “I was just telling him what will need to be done once he gets home.”

“Yes.” I turn toward the doctor, giving him my full attention like any dutiful fiancée would. “Please, fill me in.”

“You don’t have to fill her in,” Noah says, trying to nudge me off the bed. “She’s not—”

“Shush.” Pressing a finger against his mouth, I frown. So does Noah. “He absolutely will fill me in. Who else is going to take care of you?”

He swats my hand away. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”

“That’s not entirely true,” Dr. Ward interjects.

“Fine.” Noah rolls his eyes. “I’ll have my mother come help me.”

“She’s on vacation,” Mikey offers, holding his hands up in surrender when Noah shoots him a nasty glare.

“Noah, this is good. You’ll need some assistance for a few days, someone to help you get around the house so you can stay off your ankle,” Dr. Ward says.

“I’m good, doc, really.”

He nudges me again, but I just wrap his hand in mine and kiss his knuckles adoringly. Noah furrows his brow and presses his lips together. His gaze on me is so powerful, I swear the man can hold a conversation with just his eyes.

What the fuck are you up to?

I squint at him, letting him know I’ve got the wheel right now. Play along or I’ll run you off the road again.

Noah blows out a long, frustrated breath, and I know I’ve won him over.

“Anyway.” The doctor clears his throat. “Noah sprained his ankle during the accident. Nothing is broken, but he did a number on it. He also has a laceration on his leg that we cleaned up. It didn’t need stitches, but I’d like for him to keep an eye on it, because we don’t want it to get infected. I’ll have Penny print out the instructions and give them to you.”

I nod, and when Dr. Ward isn’t looking, Penny rolls her eyes.

“I would like it if you could stay off your foot for a couple of days,” he says to Noah. “Your ankle needs rest and ice.”

“Rest and Ice. Got it.” I turn to Noah. “I’ll just plan on staying with you for the next couple of days.”

“He’s your fiancée,” Penny exclaims. “Don’t you live with him?”

“No.” I might not be southern, but I do my best to tack on some southern belle charm. I press a hand to my chest, feigning disbelief. “Daddy would not approve of that. No shackin’ up until we’re married. Right, sweetie?”

“Shackin’ up?” Noah says.

“Whatever.” Penny walks out, followed by the doctor, and Mikey claps his hands together.

“Well, folks, I’ve gotta get going.” He walks toward me and squeezes my shoulder. “Lennon, I’ll swing by Noah’s tonight and make sure you two don’t need anything.”

“Wait. What?” Noah pulls his hand from mine and scowls up at Mikey. “She’s not really coming home with me.”

“Yes, she is.” Mikey looks to me for confirmation, and I nod. “How else would you get home? You don’t have your bike, and your parents are out of town.”

“You,” Noah says. “You can take me home.”

“Sorry, man. Can’t. Gotta finish my shift. Plus, there’s no way in hell I’m taking care of your ass.”

“But you’re a fucking paramedic.”

Mikey shrugs. “So? I do that shit all day long. I don’t want to do it when I’m off. Plus, Lennon here has already volunteered to take care of your gimp ass.”

“This is a fucking joke.” Noah clenches his hands against the sheet. “She caused all of this,” he says, waving toward his ankle. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even be here.”

“And that’s exactly why I want you to let me help,” I plead. “I feel horrible. I promise I’ll take really good care of you, and I won’t get in your way at all. And I won’t really move in for the next few days; I’ll just come by and make sure you don’t need anything, maybe cook dinner for you.”

This isn’t exactly how I’d planned to spend my first few days in Heaven, but I like the idea of taking care of someone. Particularly this someone.

“You don’t even know me,” he argues.

I stick my hand out to shake his, and all he does is scowl. Mikey shoves an elbow into his arm and finally, reluctantly, Noah shakes my hand.

Mikey smiles. “Noah, meet Lennon, your fiancée.”

“Fuck.” Noah groans, dropping his head back on the pillow, and Mikey shoots me a wink.

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kirbyK.L. Grayson resides in a small town outside of St. Louis, MO.  She is entertained daily by her extraordinary husband, who will forever inspire every good quality she writes in a man.  Her entire life rests in the palms of six dirty little hands, and when the day is over and those pint-sized cherubs have been washed and tucked into bed, you can find her typing away furiously on her computer.  She has a love for alpha-males, brownies, reading, tattoos, sunglasses, and happy endings…and not particularly in that order.

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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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ALP Excerpt Owl

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

ALP AuthBio2 Owl

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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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?

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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.”

stayteaseroption2graphic

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

GIVEAWAY & Cover Reveal ~ Ever Over After by JA DeRouen

 

highres_eoaMarlo … wild-eyed, untamed, and every single thing I’ve ever wanted from this life. I wasn’t ready for her back then. I was a stupid boy with adult feelings and no idea what to do with them. I squandered away every chance she gave me.

Yes, love like ours either burns white hot or crumbles under the pressure.
And now I’m back to sift through the rubble.

Questions and excuses are two things I have in spades. What I need now are answers.
Answers and Low.
Always Low.

My name is Ever Montgomery, and this is my story of love resurrected.

Ever Over After (The Over Duet #2)
Cover Design: DCP Designs
Release Date: January 9, 2017

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Her Jeep is in the driveway. A soft top, fire engine red, Jeep Wrangler. Blood red is more like it. We’re talking about Marlo, after all. How fitting. One hundred, no, a thousand, vehicles lined up in a row, and that’s exactly what I’d pick for her. Lots has changed, but some things stand the test of time.

Low … my Low, is on the other side of that door, curled up in bed, her usual sass kept in check by sweet, sweet dreams. I imagine what it would be like to come home to her. Her eyes closed, lashes like butterfly wings resting on her flushed cheeks—an uninhibited smile playing on her naked lips. She’s got nothing on but a white tank top and panties … the elastic edging of the black silk denting deliciously into her flesh.  She’s curled in the fetal position, that fabulous ass rounded and waiting for me to palm it, hard nipples pushing into stretched, white cotton.

Damn. Damn.

I shift in my seat, pushing my palm into my lap, mentally chanting to myself to calm the hell down. Nothing like an active imagination and an ill-timed boner to make me really feel like a stalker.

I swipe the card off the dashboard, my rebuttal to Marlo’s note of warning, and fold out of the car. I look both ways as I cross the street, not for cars, but for nosy neighbors who may call the cops or wrestle the possible robber to the ground. Part of me wishes something would happen. I hope Marlo has people who look out for her.

A bigger part of me wishes she’d hear me coming and meet me on the porch for an epic showdown … in the previously mentioned tank and panties, if I had my way.

The need to see her, to run my eyes over every piece of her and remind myself she’s more than a memory, is staggering. There were times when I wasn’t sure. She feels like a lifetime ago … another time … when I was a different person. That’s partly true.

Back then, even in the deep haze of it all, I could feel my love for Low trying to claw its way out, begging to break free. But the cancer growing inside me, that extreme sense of loss, strangled everything else. In the end, I let the fog envelop me and opted for numb.

God, I was an idiot.

I’ll never make that mistake again. Never.

I wedge my note into the seam of the door and place a palm to the paned glass. I clench my eyes shut and rest my forehead on the door, only for a moment. As much as I want to curl my fingers into a fist and knock, it has to be her. I need her to come to me.

And when she does, I’ll be ready.

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Low Over High (The Over Duet #1)

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J.A. DeRouen lives in South Louisiana with her husband, son (aptly named “The Professor), and her furry friend, Scout. She holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and nursing.

When she’s not writing or inhaling romance novels by the stack, she works as a women’s health nurse. She’s been an avid reader and daydreamer since childhood, and she’s never stopped turning the page to get to the next happily ever after.

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One of Five ARCs of Ever Over After
Low Over High must be read first. Winners will also receive Low Over High if needed.

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