Desperate by AK Evans ~ Sarah A’s Review

Ekko Rose is no stranger to struggle. Even though she’s experienced more than her fair share of hardship, she has dreams she wants to fulfill. But when another stroke of bad luck leaves her homeless, Ekko’s only option is to focus on survival. 

Dominick ‘Dom’ Moore has had his eyes on Ekko ever since he saved her life several months ago. He kept his distance then because she was attached to another man. Now, seeing her living out of her car, Dom resolves to help her get back on her feet.

When Dom approaches Ekko, she wrestles with knowing her rightful place in the world and desperately wanting to latch onto something better.

Just as the pair fall hard for one another, Ekko’s streak of misfortune delivers one more blow. With their relationship thrown into a pit of despair and hopeless desire, Dom must crack the case he’s been trying to solve for weeks. 

Because if he can’t, Ekko might be lost to him forever.

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“You can’t sleep out here tonight.”

“I’ll be fine,” she assured me.

“I won’t.”

“What?”

“Ekko, follow me and you can stay at my place as long as you need.”

She shook her head and vehemently refused. “I can’t do that.  You’ve already been generous enough and you don’t even know me.”

I narrowed my eyes a bit before I teased, “I think I can protect myself if you try to harm me.”

She let out a laugh but quickly stopped herself.  “That’s not what I meant.”

I barely heard her words because I was so intrigued by the sound of her laughter.  It was captivating.

“I know,” I confessed.  “I also know that you’ve fallen on some hard times and you need some help.  There’s nothing wrong with that. I can help you.”

“Okay, but I don’t really know you.”

“I rescued you from an attempted abduction and we just had dessert together.  You know I work for a private investigation company and that the local police know who I am because of the work I do.  Do you really think I’d hurt you?”

She shook her head and responded, “No.”

“So you’ll stay with me then?”

“I don’t think I should.” She held firm in her decision.  

“Fine,” I declared.  “Then let me get you a hotel room for a few nights while you get your living arrangements sorted.  There’s no deadline.”

“You would do that?”

There was no denying the surprise in her voice.  

“Yes.”

“Why?”

I grinned at her before I answered honestly, “Because you need help right now and I’ve got the means to give you that help.”

Her lips parted, and my eyes dropped to them.

“What’s it going to be, sugar?”

“You’ve already given me so much,” she argued.  “I can’t accept any more money from you.”

“Looks like you’re staying at my place then,” I noted as I crossed my arms over my chest and cocked an eyebrow.  I couldn’t miss the heat that flashed in her eyes.

A moment later when I thought she was going to give in, she said, “I’ll get myself a hotel room.”

I held my hand out to her car door and said, “Lead the way.”

“What?”

“I’m going to make sure you have a safe, clean place to stay tonight.”

She sighed and got in her car.  Once she started it up, I got in my truck and followed her out of the lot.  Not much later, I pulled in behind her at what had to be the dumpiest, most unsafe motel in the entire city.

I hopped out of the truck, marched up to her door, and opened it.  “Not a chance in hell you’re staying here,” I warned her.

She looked at the motel and back at me.  “Why not?”

“I’m not convinced they even have beds here.  Besides, if you moved out of your boyfriend’s place because you don’t want to be around drugs, then you shouldn’t be staying here.”

“Dom, this is all I can afford,” she croaked.

“Let. Me. Help. You.”

I enunciated each word so she’d understand just how serious I was.  

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re you.”

“Yes, I am me.  That’s not really a good reason.”

“I have no business being anywhere near someone like you.”

What the fuck did that mean?

“Someone like me?”

“You’re going to make me say it out loud?” she worried.

Even though I had a feeling I knew what she was getting at, I returned, “Ekko, I have no idea what you are talking about.  If you don’t want to tell me what that means then tell me that you’ll come with me back to my place where I’ll give you a safe, clean, comfortable place to stay for a few days while you get your stuff sorted.”

She closed her eyes and let out a sigh.

Finally, she gave in.  “Alright, it’s not like my luck could possibly get any worse.  If you kill me, you’ll really just be helping me out of a very difficult situation.”

I didn’t like hearing her say that.  

“Nobody is killing you,” I asserted.

“I’m just saying…it wouldn’t be the worst thing that’s happened.”

A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business), she pursued a career in the insurance and financial services industry. Not long after, Evans realized the career was not for her. She went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business and drive the shop race cars for the next thirteen years. While the business afforded her freedoms she wouldn’t necessarily have had in a typical 9-5 job, after eleven years she was no longer receiving personal fulfillment from her chosen career path. Following many discussions, lots of thought, and tons of encouragement, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

Between her day job, writing, and homeschooling her two boys, Evans is left with very little free time. When she finds scraps of spare time, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).

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Control by K Bromberg ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author K. Bromberg comes a new story in her Everyday Heroes series…

Control is something Desi Whitman abhors. Why live life in black and white perfection when you can messily color outside the lines?

But when she comes face to face with SWAT officer Reznor Mayne, he’s about to show her just how good control can feel.

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Control was a great novella, but I kind of felt like we were barely getting to scratch the surface of Desi and Reznor’s story. The story was complete; I just felt like there was so much more to both of them just under the surface. Things that were briefly glossed over but never really explored. I have a love/hate relationship with novellas, and this was a perfect example of why. They’re so much fun when you only have a small amount of reading time, but they always leave me craving more.

Control is the second book I’ve read in as many days where the woman is leery of relationships in general, and the man slowly wears down her walls, and I’ve got to tell you I’m there for it. As much as I love a broody bad boy – and I do, I really do – it’s refreshing to have the roles reversed occasionally. I loved that Reznor was equally unsure about love and domesticity, but he knew what he and Desi had was special and worth fighting for and fight he did.

Desi was not my favorite heroine. She was frustrating and a little hard to love, but she was damn sure of herself and knew what she wanted, so she did have a certain appeal to the part of me that loves a strong woman. There were definitely times I just wanted to shake some sense into her and make her see what was standing right in front of her. For all the frustration I held for Desi, I did eventually understand why she felt like she did, and it broke my heart a little for her.

Control was predicated on some heavier themes, that weren’t delved too deeply into – as is the nature of a novella – but the strongest part of this book was the banter between Desi and Reznor. They were both quick-witted and knew how to get under each other’s skin, which lent a great deal of levity and humor to the story. I did appreciate the heavier moments of the book, when they were actually living and sharing their truths, and would have loved to see more of that.

Control is the fourth book in K. Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes series and can be read as a standalone. There are a few cameos from one of the previous couples in the series, but nothing that spoils their story. Control is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Desi and Reznor.

“Remind me not to like him.”

“Like who?” she asks.

Gotta keep her on her toes.

“Logan St. Assh*le,” I say. “Guys who have cats—correction, guys who name their cat Pussy—either aren’t getting any or are using the name as a way to state they’re not gay when everyone already knows they are.”

“Is that so?”

“Yep. Why be ashamed of who you are and hide behind a cat? Just live the best life.”

There’s something I say that has her head tilting to the side again. She takes me in a little longer than expected. “It’s the former,” she finally admits.

I shrug. “Why is he an assh*le?”

“The bigger question is how is he not an assh*le?” For the briefest of moments I see a ghost of a smile on her lips, and it reminds me of how pretty she was the other day before the defense class began when she was chatting me up.

“Doggy Style?” I ask.

“That’s the name.”

“But Pussy is a cat.”

“You’re quite observant…”

“I can imagine you attract all kinds of interesting folks with that name,” I say, dismissing her sarcasm.

For the briefest of moments something flickers through her eyes and before I can put a finger on it, the emotion is gone, but it reminds me of what I saw in them the other day after class.

“Just as I’m sure you do working with SWAT.”

“Always.” I look at the cute cottage-style house. “You lived here long?”

We stare at each other in silence, and it’s almost as if she remembers she isn’t supposed to like me. Her expression and posture suddenly stiffen…probably because she realized she was smiling at me.

And f*ck if I know why it turns me on.

“It’s none of your business.”

So that’s how she wants to play it? Fine.

“Then it’s also none of my business that Pussy ran into the house about two minutes ago.” She narrows her eyes and sneers at me again. “It’s your loss, Desi.”

“What is?”

“That you don’t trust me to show you just how good I am with something wet and groomed.” And with that parting comment, I flash her a lightning-quick grin before heading to my side of the fence, while she grumbles and curses me out under her breath.

I hear her door slam.

I hear her call for Pussy again.

And all I can think about is how damn unexpected she is—and at the same time such a very welcome distraction.

I think I’m going to like my time in Sunnyville.

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New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, K. has sold over one million copies of her books and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times.

In April, she’ll release The Player, the first in a two-book sports romance series (The Catch, book 2, will be released late June), with many more already outlined and ready to be written.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

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Confessions: the Princess, the Prick, & the Priest ~ Sarah A’s Review

Confessions: The Princess, The Prick, and The Priest, a fun, flirty story in the Confessions Series from USA Today bestselling author Ella Frank is LIVE!

Everyone said our love wouldn’t work.

That it was too hard, too complicated, too messy.

Oh how I enjoy proving everyone wrong.

My men are smart, sexy, sophisticated—

and most of all, crazy about me.

The only problem is trying to explain

that to my big, opinionated Italian family.

But after all we’ve been through, we deserve a

happily ever after. And if there’s one

thing I know about my guys, they always

manage to have a few surprises up their sleeves.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Confessions: the Princess, the Prick, & the Priest was like an extended epilogue after all the suspense and drama that we’d experiences with this threesome in the first three books of their story. It was so nice to get to check in on them beginning, and living, their happily ever after.

Confessions: the Princess, the Prick, & the Priest is drama free, angst-free, and really just a wonderful way to wrap up a series that was so hard on the people living it. Robbie, Julien, and Priest had already been through so much, overcome so many things, healed so completely, it was good to see them finally living out from under the clouds they’d been covered by for so long.

I loved Robbie’s family and how accepting they were of his less than conventional relationship. It was also so heartwarming to see how completely and lovingly they brought Julien and Priest into the fold. They both needed that kind of unconditional love and acceptance; I’m sure finally having that kind of unfettered welcome helped to heal the final broken pieces in both men.

Confessions: the Princess, the Prick, & the Priest is the fourth and final book in Ella Frank’s Confessions series. These books are one continuous story told in four installments and must be read in order. The Confessions series is a spin-off from Ms. Frank’s Temptation series, but that series doesn’t need to be read before reading this one. Confessions: the Princess, the Prick, & the Priest is written in third-person limited perspective, alternatively following Robbie, Julien, and Priest’s thoughts.

CHAPTER ONE

I’m not sure why everyone dreads their thirties.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s going to be
the best decade ever ~ Robbie

Six Months Later…

“LOVERS, I’M HOME,” Robbie Bianchi called out to his boyfriends, as he juggled several shopping bags in one hand and kicked the front door shut behind him. He stuffed his car keys into the pocket of his shorts, and as he evened out what he was carrying, he took the stairs that led him up to the first floor of their new home.

With the same smile on his face that he’d left with that morning, Robbie headed across the hardwood floors past the dining room, and into the kitchen, where he spotted a note waiting for him: We’re upstairs, princesse. Come find us when you get home.

Robbie grinned at the messy crown drawn above the i in princesse, but then quickly did as he was told. With one hand on the steel rail, he took the stairs two at a time, and as he reached the second floor where the bedroom was located, he walked inside to find it empty except for the fish swimming around the tank that lined the wall facing their bed.

Dropping his shopping bags on the end of the mattress, Robbie headed up to the final floor, where he knew his men were waiting for him. He opened up the glass door that led to the penthouse deck, and when he stepped outside and the warm rays washed over him, Robbie took in a breath of fresh air.

Ah, he’d always loved summer. Everything about it. The sun, the smell of the freshly cut grass, and the clothes—or lack thereof—Robbie thought, as he reached for the edge of his white tank top and drew it over his head.

As he tucked it into the back of his shorts, Robbie scanned the wide deck, his eyes roaming over the wooden slat floor, the hot tub over in the corner, and the glistening water of the lap pool surrounded by the potted greenery bordering their rooftop oasis.

This space had been the final selling point with all three of them when they’d made the decision to leave the condo after what had happened there with Jimmy. It was the perfect place for Julien to relax and do his yoga, for Priest, who loved a good soak to clear his mind, and for Robbie, for whom it was all about the calm he got from finally seeing his men happy and at peace. And that was exactly how he found one of them right now. There, stretched out on one of the sun loungers, was the brand-new reason that Robbie loved summer—an almost-naked Julien Thornton.

Dressed in tight, black, barely there swim shorts that left little—okay, nothing—to the imagination, the only other thing Julien was wearing was a pair of Aviator sunglasses. His rich, olive-colored skin was glistening with water droplets as he lay sprawled out with his hands behind his head, and oh my God was he a feast for the eyes.

As Robbie walked to the end of the lounger, his eyes roamed up Julien’s toned legs to his muscular thighs, and ended at the bulge that tight material was cupping like a glove.

Oh yes, this was hands down the best part about summer now, and luckily for Robbie and Priest, tanning was a favorite pastime of their seriously sexy Frenchman.

Bonjour, princesse.” Julien’s honey-toned voice wrapped around Robbie, informing him that he’d been caught staring. But he didn’t care—not one little bit.

“One second, please. I’m concentrating here,”Robbie said, his gaze trailing up all he could see to finally land on Julien’s face. “Now, sorry, what were you saying?”

Julien chuckled as Robbie walked alongside him. “Bonjour, princesse.”

“Oh, yes,” Robbie said, and bent down to brush a kiss across Julien’s lips. “Bonjour, Jules.”

Robbie went to straighten, but before he got too far away, Julien took hold of the back of his neck and craned up for a deeper kiss. Robbie’s lips parted, and Julien slipped his tongue inside, making Robbie’s cock jerk to attention, as he braced his hand on the back of the lounger and sank into the deliciousness that was all Julien.

Relationships are complex.
Love ever-changing.
And when it comes to rules of the heart,
they were made to be broken…

That’s what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway.
Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what—or who—he’d done.

No excuse, except for his lonely heart, a pitcher of margaritas, four Bitter Bitches, and the apparent need to confess all his weaknesses to the two men he knew would bring him nothing but trouble.

But trouble was nothing new.
Just ask his crazy sisters or any of his friends, and they’d be the first to tell you:
If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it.

And thus begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick.

***  AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED  ***
Amazon

People are complex.
Love a double-edged sword.
And when it comes to a broken heart, there are no rules, only time…

For the past eight years, Julien Thornton has been living with a secret. One that only a handful of people know about.

To the outside world, he has it all.
A thriving career. A loving husband. And a face that the American public fell for by the millions, on a reality show that inadvertently saved his life.

But behind the shine of celebrity, behind the easygoing nature, a crippling truth fills Julien with pain and self-loathing. It’s a truth that he fights to overcome daily with the help of his husband, Joel Priestley, and now their boyfriend, Robbie Bianchi.

But unlike Priest, Robbie doesn’t know what he’s helping Julien to fight. He doesn’t know what Julien did all those years ago. And with the anniversary of his sister’s death fast approaching, the time for explanations is running out.

And thus the question: will the princess be able to forgive the prick as the priest once did?

Only time will tell.

***  AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED  ***
Amazon

I am complex.

My love is all-encompassing.
And when it comes to my heart, there is only one rule:
Don’t mess with what’s mine.

Until the age of seven, I was Joel Alexander Donovan, son of Jimmy.
The man who terrorized a town and made its citizens fear
the very ground he walked on. Including me,
the day I realized that ground ran red with blood.

At age eighteen, I became Priest.
A man without a past.
A man determined to right the wrongs of my father.
A man who never believed anyone could love the son of such a monster.

But then a thief stole my heart.
A sweetheart lit up my world.
And I forgot for a moment you should never turn your back on your enemy.

And thus begins a lesson to those who would seek to harm: Never underestimate what the Priest will do to protect the Princess and the Prick.

***  AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED  ***
Amazon

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.

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Wild Collision by Micalea Smeltzer ~ EXCERPT REVEAL

He was a beautiful nightmare.

Mia Hayes is comfortable with her life as it is.
Boring is good.
Boring is normal.
Boring is safe.
But the thing with boring is it makes temptation all the sweeter.

She was a sweet dream.

Hollis Wilder goes a hundred miles an hour after everything he wants.
Fast is fun.
Fast is crazy.
Fast is dangerous.
But the thing with fast is it keeps you from thinking before you act.

Together they were the notes in their favorite song.

When Mia and Hollis collide—literally—music’s new bad boy can’t help but notice the beautiful red-haired woman with soft curves. She calls to him like a siren, and since the word no isn’t in his vocabulary he’s determined to get what he wants.

The problem is, one night won’t be enough, and the fact that Mia is his mentor’s daughter complicates things royally.

Mia’s the one girl that’s off limits, but she might be the only one he wants for real.

***  PREORDER NOW ~ NOVEMBER 23  ***
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I don’t know how long we’re in the alley kissing, but finally he releases me. We’re both breathless. My lips feel swollen and bruised. I don’t mind one bit.

“Do you have to go home yet?” he asks, his voice low and husky. His eyes fall to my lips and he rubs his thumb against them. They’re tender, but I don’t mind his touch.

I shake my head.

He cracks a small smile. “Come to the hotel with me.”

“But the guys…” I hesitate.

“They already know about you. The nosy bastards figured it out without me saying a word.” I can tell he’s irritated by this fact, but they’re also his best friends so he can laugh about it.

“I don’t know…”

“We can watch a movie or something. Nothing more,” he explains, seeing where my mind is going. “We can order a pizza too—or whatever you want from room service.”

I think a moment longer before nodding. I’m not ready to go home yet. Spending more time with Hollis sounds nice. As much as I love kissing him, I enjoy hanging out with him even more, which shocks me. I never expected to like him. From the moment he walked out of my bathroom in nothing but a towel I’d made up my mind to hate him.

But hating Hollis is impossible.

We walk back to the hotel, too worried to hold hands, but close enough our fingers graze often. Some people, mostly college girls, eye him up and down. He’s hot, so it’s expected, but word has also gotten around about the new band in town recording their album. While most people in this town are over it and don’t care, The Wild is like a new shiny toy to be played with and admired.

I don’t know how famous people do it—enjoy being gawked at like a specimen under a microscope. Heck, even I’ve been gawked at and had paparazzi follow me even though I’m literally the most boring person on the planet. I don’t understand the obsession people have with celebrities, wanting to know every single detail about their lives, where they go, who their friends are, what they eat—give them a break and room to breathe. I saw a pap follow my dad into a public restroom once—he stormed out a second later and gave management a mouthful.

Hollis and I reach the hotel and ride up in the elevator together careful to stand apart and not say a word.

When he opens the door to their suite my mouth falls open.

“Whoa, this place is cool.”

Fox’s head whips over in our direction from the couch when he hears my voice.

“Yo, Mia, what are you doing here?”

“Hollis invited me for pizza and a movie.”

“Sweet—as long as it’s not a chick flick.”

I fake a yawn. “Pass.”

“Can I keep you?” Fox jokes making a kissy face at me.

Rush strides out of a room then in only a towel. As he passes Fox he whips it off and smacks him with it.

Hollis slaps his hands over my eyes, but it’s too late, I already got an eyeful.

“Pretty sure she’s already taken dude.”

“Rush,” Hollis hisses, “cover up, man.”

“What? Afraid she’ll see what I’m packing and come running?”

“It was impressive,” I admit with a laugh.

Hollis growls and mutters, “Don’t make me remind you what’s really impressive.”

I give him a sly smile as he lowers his hands. “I don’t know, sounds enjoyable.”

His eyes darken with desire.

“Not here,” Cannon warns coming into the room.

“Yeah, down boy,” I tell Hollis. “I’m here for pizza and a movie. If you don’t feed me I might bite.”

He lowers his head and whispers in my ear, “I wouldn’t mind.”

I can’t help but smile. Patting him on the chest, I say, “Now go order my pizza, peasant.”

All three of the other guys bust out laughing. “Peasant? More like he’s your bitch,” Fox chortles.

Hollis shakes his head, but his lips quirk in amusement. “What kind of pizza do you want?”

“Pepperoni.”

“A pepperoni pizza for milady coming right up,” he says bowing theatrically before slipping away.

I sit down on the couch beside Fox and swipe the remote from him.

“No chick flicks,” Rush warns coming out of his room to join us. At least he’s wearing pants now.

“What is it with you guys and chick flicks?” I mutter. “Afraid a little kissing and romance will make your dick shrivel up and die?”

“They’re boring,” Rush defends.

“Mhmm,” I hum. “Keep telling yourself that.”

“Don’t listen to him,” Cannon speaks up. “He’s bitching because he cried at Titanic.”

“It was one tear,” Rush defends in mock anger. “And Jack shouldn’t have died. He was the best character in the whole damn movie.”

Cannon smirks at him as Rush sits on my other side.

I log into my Netflix account. “We’re going to watch my favorite movie of all time,” I warn them.

“If Reese Witherspoon is in it giving legal advice I’m out,” Rush warns, raising his hands.

I snort. “Nope.”

I click the movie and the guys all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Pussies.

“Jurassic Park is your favorite movie?” Fox asks, sounding surprised.

“Dinosaurs and Jeff Goldblum … um yeah, it’s my favorite movie.”

“You have a crush on Jeff Goldblum?” Rush asks with amusement.

“Duh, have you seen him? Or listened to him speak? He could read me the dictionary and I’d happily sit there and listen.”

Rush chuckles. “How does Hollis feel about that?”

“How do I feel about what?” Hollis asks, stepping back into the room. He gets a disgruntled look when he sees Fox and Rush beside me, but then shakes his head as a determined smile takes over his face.

He strides over to me and I squeal as he picks me up and sits down with me in his lap.

“Mia, here, has a crush on Jeff Goldblum,” Fox explains.

“Really?” he asks, eyeing me with surprise.

“Why is this shocking?”

“I don’t know,” Hollis admits. “I guess it’s unexpected is all.”

“Can we watch the movie now?” I ask.

“Wait, we need popcorn,” Cannon says in his gruff voice, hopping up.

I don’t know why but I’m still always surprised when he opens his mouth. He’s broody and quiet all the time. When he shows any bit of enthusiasm for something it takes me by surprise.

As the movie begins Cannon pops popcorn in the suite’s kitchen making the room smell like buttery goodness and causing my mouth to water.

“I can’t believe you guys have popcorn here,” I mutter to Hollis.

He chuckles, the sound rumbling against my back as he holds me tight. “Only because Cannon is a mother hen and went to the grocery store the day after we got here to make sure we had everything we needed.”

“Better to be a mother hen than to starve,” Cannon defends from the kitchen.

“Shh, I want to watch the movie.”

Hollis pinches my side and whispers in my ear, “You started it.”

Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know.  My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life.

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Contact Stephanie with SBR Media for any foreign or audio rights questions:  stephanie@sbrmedia.com

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Control by K Bromberg

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author K. Bromberg comes a new story in her Everyday Heroes series…

Control is something Desi Whitman abhors. Why live life in black and white perfection when you can messily color outside the lines?

But when she comes face to face with SWAT officer Reznor Mayne, he’s about to show her just how good control can feel.

Amazon

Men are on women.

Women are on women.

Grunts and groans fill the air.

There is cheering from the sidelines as bystanders watch them writhe and buck and try to get the other off them.

“It’s like a big orgy in here,” I say to the woman standing beside me. I don’t know her, but she’s standing like we are, back against the gym wall, eyes glued to the men and women fighting for positioning—moving, bucking, defending—on the mats where they’re lying.

She emits a nervous laugh and looks to me. Prim and proper, she resembles a Stepford wife, and all I can think is that her ladies’ club decided to do this together and she’s the only one who decided to show up.

At least I’m not the only one nervous about being here. There could be worse things I guess…like actually needing to use the skills I’m supposed to learn here in Sunnyville Self Defense Class to protect myself.

A group at the far side of the gym erupts in applause, and I stand on my tiptoes to see a woman standing with her foot on the instructor’s throat while he’s lying on the mat. His red SSDC T-shirt matches everyone else standing around trying to look official with a whistle and gym pants on.

“Exactly,” a deep rumble of a voice on the other side of me says.

I glance over and whoa…all my attention shifts from the grunts and groans on the floor to how I wouldn’t mind grunting and groaning with the man on his cell beside me. Our gazes meet for the briefest of seconds—chocolate-brown eyes giving me a passing glance and a curt smile before turning back to whoever is on the phone while watching the action beyond.

Taking my time and trying not to pay attention to HottieMcTotty, I scan the gym. Basic blue gymnastic mats cover the majority of the hardwood floors, basketball hoops hang from the lofty ceiling but have been drawn up, and championship banners hang, partially hiding the painted mural of the Sunnyville High School mascot on the wall at the far end.

But no matter how hard I try to not look back at him, that is where my attention lands. He’s a good six inches taller than I am, has dark hair, and his body beneath his Under Armour workout shirt hints at how ridiculously fit he is. His bicep closest to me stretches the fabric and is covered in a dizzying tattooed array of colors and images I can’t openly look at to decipher. You can only do so much with a sideways stare.

But his voice. It’s like liquid sex with a rasp and a rumble and a whole earth-shattering orgasm in between.

Hello to you, Mister A-Little-Rugged-And-Whole-Lot-Sexy.

I listen to him talk. Not stalkerish-like…well, maybe stalkerish-like, but damn if the background of grunting and groaning only serves to enhance the things my mind is dreaming up.

And then it hits me.

He’s not here as an instructor—no red SSDC shirt on. So that means he’s here as a boyfriend or a husband and therefore completely off limits.

Damn it.

If he were an instructor, I’d make sure to be in his group so he could grind on me for a bit…and I’m talking the pelvis kind of grind…if I’m being truthful.

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New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, K. has sold over one million copies of her books and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times.

In April, she’ll release The Player, the first in a two-book sports romance series (The Catch, book 2, will be released late June), with many more already outlined and ready to be written.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

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NEW RELEASE!! Desperate by AK Evans

Ekko Rose is no stranger to struggle. Even though she’s experienced more than her fair share of hardship, she has dreams she wants to fulfill. But when another stroke of bad luck leaves her homeless, Ekko’s only option is to focus on survival. 

Dominick ‘Dom’ Moore has had his eyes on Ekko ever since he saved her life several months ago. He kept his distance then because she was attached to another man. Now, seeing her living out of her car, Dom resolves to help her get back on her feet.

When Dom approaches Ekko, she wrestles with knowing her rightful place in the world and desperately wanting to latch onto something better.

Just as the pair fall hard for one another, Ekko’s streak of misfortune delivers one more blow. With their relationship thrown into a pit of despair and hopeless desire, Dom must crack the case he’s been trying to solve for weeks. 

Because if he can’t, Ekko might be lost to him forever.

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“You can’t sleep out here tonight.”

“I’ll be fine,” she assured me.

“I won’t.”

“What?”

“Ekko, follow me and you can stay at my place as long as you need.”

She shook her head and vehemently refused. “I can’t do that.  You’ve already been generous enough and you don’t even know me.”

I narrowed my eyes a bit before I teased, “I think I can protect myself if you try to harm me.”

She let out a laugh but quickly stopped herself.  “That’s not what I meant.”

I barely heard her words because I was so intrigued by the sound of her laughter.  It was captivating.

“I know,” I confessed.  “I also know that you’ve fallen on some hard times and you need some help.  There’s nothing wrong with that. I can help you.”

“Okay, but I don’t really know you.”

“I rescued you from an attempted abduction and we just had dessert together.  You know I work for a private investigation company and that the local police know who I am because of the work I do.  Do you really think I’d hurt you?”

She shook her head and responded, “No.”

“So you’ll stay with me then?”

“I don’t think I should.” She held firm in her decision.  

“Fine,” I declared.  “Then let me get you a hotel room for a few nights while you get your living arrangements sorted.  There’s no deadline.”

“You would do that?”

There was no denying the surprise in her voice.  

“Yes.”

“Why?”

I grinned at her before I answered honestly, “Because you need help right now and I’ve got the means to give you that help.”

Her lips parted, and my eyes dropped to them.

“What’s it going to be, sugar?”

“You’ve already given me so much,” she argued.  “I can’t accept any more money from you.”

“Looks like you’re staying at my place then,” I noted as I crossed my arms over my chest and cocked an eyebrow.  I couldn’t miss the heat that flashed in her eyes.

A moment later when I thought she was going to give in, she said, “I’ll get myself a hotel room.”

I held my hand out to her car door and said, “Lead the way.”

“What?”

“I’m going to make sure you have a safe, clean place to stay tonight.”

She sighed and got in her car.  Once she started it up, I got in my truck and followed her out of the lot.  Not much later, I pulled in behind her at what had to be the dumpiest, most unsafe motel in the entire city.

I hopped out of the truck, marched up to her door, and opened it.  “Not a chance in hell you’re staying here,” I warned her.

She looked at the motel and back at me.  “Why not?”

“I’m not convinced they even have beds here.  Besides, if you moved out of your boyfriend’s place because you don’t want to be around drugs, then you shouldn’t be staying here.”

“Dom, this is all I can afford,” she croaked.

“Let. Me. Help. You.”

I enunciated each word so she’d understand just how serious I was.  

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re you.”

“Yes, I am me.  That’s not really a good reason.”

“I have no business being anywhere near someone like you.”

What the fuck did that mean?

“Someone like me?”

“You’re going to make me say it out loud?” she worried.

Even though I had a feeling I knew what she was getting at, I returned, “Ekko, I have no idea what you are talking about.  If you don’t want to tell me what that means then tell me that you’ll come with me back to my place where I’ll give you a safe, clean, comfortable place to stay for a few days while you get your stuff sorted.”

She closed her eyes and let out a sigh.

Finally, she gave in.  “Alright, it’s not like my luck could possibly get any worse.  If you kill me, you’ll really just be helping me out of a very difficult situation.”

I didn’t like hearing her say that.  

“Nobody is killing you,” I asserted.

“I’m just saying…it wouldn’t be the worst thing that’s happened.”

A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business), she pursued a career in the insurance and financial services industry. Not long after, Evans realized the career was not for her. She went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business and drive the shop race cars for the next thirteen years. While the business afforded her freedoms she wouldn’t necessarily have had in a typical 9-5 job, after eleven years she was no longer receiving personal fulfillment from her chosen career path. Following many discussions, lots of thought, and tons of encouragement, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

Between her day job, writing, and homeschooling her two boys, Evans is left with very little free time. When she finds scraps of spare time, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).

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P.S. I Dare You by Winter Renshaw ~ Sarah A’s Review

Dear Ms. Keane,

Before this ridiculous little arrangement commences, I’d like to make myself indubitably clear: I know who you are, I know that my father hired you, I know why my father hired you, and lastly, your services aren’t needed.

In fact, I want no part of my father’s billion-dollar empire, and him “gifting” me with one of the “best concierges in the county” won’t change that. He’s wasting his money. You’re wasting your time.

However, seeing as how you foolishly signed an ironclad contract with an Act of God clause and my father has strong-armed me into taking this position, it appears as though we’re stuck together—at least until your contract is up next month.

That said, our time together at WellesTech should be relatively painless but please don’t fool yourself into thinking I don’t notice when that pretty little stare lingers a little too long or the way your breath catches when our hands graze. You’re fascinated by me and it kills you because you can hardly stand to be in the same room as me.

Think I’m a problem worth solving? An impossible riddle worth figuring out? By all means, go ahead and try. Solve for X. Crack the code. It might even be fun (but only for me, not you).

V/r,

Calder Welles, II

P.S. I dare you.

Amazon

While I did enjoy P.S. I Dare You; it didn’t quite stand up to the other books in this series. It was an entertaining, quick little read; I loved Aerin and Calder, and how they complemented one another.

I loved the concept of this book. I’m a little bit of a sucker for office romances, and the situation these two were manipulated into made it all the more intriguing. Add the less than idyllic childhoods – and the effect those childhoods had on Aerin and Calder’s personalities – and P.S. I Dare You was bursting with dysfunction. Aerin and Calder served as a great balance for one another, both in highlighting each other’s strengths and helping to overcome some of their weaknesses.

Aerin and Calder both had a lot of baggage they were dragging around with no idea how to let it go. Watching them, each learn to let go of the pain and find new ways to deal with the lack of true parental concern in their youths, was heartwarming. I loved how much they gave to one another simply by being who they were and allowing the other to have a safe, judgment-free place to fall apart when they needed it.

P.S. I Dare You is the third book in Winter Renshaw’s P.S. series. These books are standalones, with minor character overlap. They do not need to be read in order, nor does the series need to be read in its entirety. P.S. I Dare You is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Aerin and Calder.

My biggest wish for the novel is I would have liked to have seen more of the emotional connection between the character. It seemed like Aerin and Calder were either fighting or connecting physically, with little time spent working on the part of their relationship that would make it last. I felt like the book could have been a little longer and explored that dynamic more and still delivered a sweet enemies-to-lovers romance.

That was … interesting.
I have to admit, I expected her to throw herself at me today. I expected tension so ripe, we’d have no choice but to act on it—especially since we went all of Friday without so much as exchanging a single word thanks to my father hijacking my schedule. But what I got was a girl who showed up, did exactly what I told her to do, and kept her hands to herself.
I’m not used to this—girls with self-restraint.
But it’s for the best.
Over the course of the past week, my life has become unrecognizable. Throwing a few more complications into the mix won’t help anything. And besides, if I fuck my assistant, that makes me no better than the man whose shoes I’m being forced to fill.
I’m better than that.
She’s better than that.
And I meant what I said—I don’t fuck girls I have to see every day.
“Closing up?” the security guard asks, looking up from his Spiderman comic.
I nod, heading back to my father’s office to grab summaries and lock the door. Five minutes later, I hit the pavement, opting to take the long way home. I haven’t been able to run all week and my muscles are screaming from too much sitting. My body wasn’t designed to be this sedentary.
Popping into a little Eastern medicine shop off Houston, I grab this miracle balm one of my Olympic skier friends told me about. I don’t know what the hell is in it, I just know it smells like nothing and works like magic the instant I rub it into my skin.
I leave the shop and hook a left, passing a trendy Japanese eatery across the street called Kaio, where their waitlist spans months because apparently pancakes shaped like sushi is the next hot thing. A small outdoor dining area is filled with patrons, and the benches outside hold even more, all of them patiently waiting, noses buried in their phones.
Crossing the street, I glance back at the restaurant once more when something catches my eye. Seated at a table for two on the patio is Aerin Keane and an exceptionally handsome gentleman in green scrubs.
I watch them long enough to see him smile, her laugh.
She reaches across the table and bats at his hand.
He rolls his eyes.
They look like they’ve known each other forever, completely comfortable in each other’s presence. Her shoulders are relaxed, his legs crossed.
So that’s why she was so adamant about us not sleeping together again—she has a boyfriend.
I smirk, rounding the corner and getting the hell away before I start to care again, only ten steps later, I’m in the presence of an overly excitable blonde with flailing arms running in my direction.
“Oh my God! Calder? Calder Welles, is that you?” Thessaly Thomas, a socialite-turned-reality-TV-star I foolishly stuck my dick into in my early twenties, practically wraps her entire body around me, nearly letting her mint green Birkin fall to the ground in the process. “I can’t believe it’s you! How are you? Ugh. You look so good. It isn’t fair. I swear you look even better than when we were dating and that’s saying a lot because …”
Dating?
We went on five dates.
I’d hardly call that dating.
And the only reason I knew it was five was because she went all out for our “one-month anniversary,” hiring some C-list band to give us a private concert on the rooftop of her father’s pool club in the Meatpacking District.
“What are you up to these days?” she asks, hand on her hip and smile on her face. Her forehead is smooth, glass-like. And her lips are much larger than I remember. “What’s new?”
She asks like it’s any of her business, like she cares. But I see that thirsty look in her eyes. Rejection does something to you. It makes you want the things you shouldn’t have, the things you can’t have.
“You’re looking good. CrossFit?” She smooths a palm down my arm.
Thessaly knows she can’t have me, and God, does she still want me even after all these years.
“I was just telling Raya—you remember Raya, right? About how you took me skiing in Vermont for our third date. Do you still have your plane?” she asks. “A Cessna, was it?”
Her phone chimes twice, and she lifts a finger before reading a quick text and typing back an even quicker response.
“Sorry about that.” She peers up at me through fake lashes the color of midnight, and she’s still wearing that same dopey grin. “I can’t believe I ran into you on Houston of all places. Do you live around here now? I’m still on Lexington.”
She rolls her eyes, like she’s ashamed to live in a two-thousand-square foot classic six bought and paid for by her parents the day she graduated from NYU.
Thessaly is still talking, though I’ve tuned her out. Something about a mutual friend who thought they saw me in Paris over the summer. It’s kind of crazy, but all my mind can think about in this moment is Aerin smiling with that fucking Dr. McDreamy-looking tool. Her hand on his. Her eyes lit. Her body at ease.
God, she’s so easy to be around—even if she hates me with every fiber of her classy little being.
She isn’t like Thessaly or the other women that tend to hurl themselves at me. Those women have desperation in their eyes, insecurity in their smiles, and diffidence in their demeanors.
They just want me to like them.
Aerin doesn’t.
And I’d be lying to myself if I said that didn’t make me feel some kind of way.
“We should do coffee or something sometime,” Thessaly says, her hand swatting at my arm. It’s like she needs every excuse she can get to touch me. “What are you doing right now? You have plans?”
“Yeah, today’s not good for me.”
She pouts her Kylie Jenner lips. “Your number still the same?”
Indeed. “Yeah.”
Her pout transforms and she rises on her toes. “Great. I’ll text you and we can figure something out. It was great running into you, Calder. Glad you’re doing well.”
How would she know? I couldn’t get a word in.
Thessaly runs her hand along my arm one more time before readjusting her Birkin over her left forearm and giving me one of those cutesy girl waves complete with a shoulder shrug.
I wave back before continuing on my way.
Good lord, that was painful.
Almost as painful as seeing Aerin on a date.

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Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

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Havoc by Kindle Alexander ~ COVER REVEAL

Keyes Dixon’s life is challenging enough as a full patch member of the Disciples of Havoc Motorcycle Club but being a gay biker leaves him traveling down one tough road. With an abusive past and his vow to the club cementing his future, he doesn’t believe in love and steers clear of commitment. But a midnight ride leads to a chance meeting with a sexy pretty-boy in a wicked hot sports car that has him going down quicker than a Harley on ice.

Cocky Assistant District Attorney Alec Pierce lives in the shadow of his politically connected family. A life of privilege doesn’t equal a life of love, a fact made obvious at every family gathering. Driven yet lonely, Alec yields to his family’s demands for his career path, hoping for the acceptance he craves. Until he meets a gorgeous biker who tips the scales in the favor of truth…and he can no longer live a lie.

Can two men from completely different worlds…and sides of the law…find common ground, or will all their desires only wreak Havoc?

TITLE: Havoc
AUTHOR: Kindle Alexander
GENRE: M/M MC Romance
RELEASE DATE: November 27, 2018
COVER DESIGN:
 Reese Dante

The screen illuminated Alec’s face, and even though Keyes wasn’t religious, he swore he heard the angels sing in that moment… The sight stole Keyes’s breath. He came to a stop directly in front of the tempting driver. Resting both hands on his hips, he got lost just looking at this beautiful man. Keyes opened his mouth to speak. He could absolutely take care of this problem, but the words didn’t come. Instead, he stayed mesmerized by the most gorgeous guy he’d ever seen.

“I have roadside assistance. I just have to remember which app to use.”

Keyes almost lost his bad boy composure when Alec distractedly glanced up from his phone and winked at him. Hold it together, Key. He finally got his head to stop spinning and all the cheesy porn music to quit playing on continuous loop in the background. Alec probably just had a twitch. Why would the guy be flirting with him? On the off chance Alec happened to be gay, Keyes obviously wasn’t his type if the passenger were anything to go by. There was nothing refined or delicate about Key.

Even with the neurons misfiring in Keyes’s brain, he managed to clear his throat and lower his gaze to the grass to help find some fucking perspective. “Where you headed?” Wait. That wasn’t the statement he’d planned to make.

“I live in McKinney. He lives in the Uptown area of Dallas,” Alec answered, reading the screen as he cocked his head toward his putout passenger.

“What’re you doin’ out here?” Keyes asked. McKinney was a long way from the current location and as different as two places could possibly be.

Alec gave a humorless laugh while briefly lifting his gaze from the screen. Curious light eyes pinned Keyes in place. He wasn’t sure he’d ever seen eyes that color. Keyes’s mouth watered, and his cock plumped, homing in on exactly what it wanted. “Google Maps said this was a detour. Hang on.” Alec lifted the phone to his ear. Keyes could hear a faint sound of a voice on the other end. “I’m on some side road in maybe South Dallas, perhaps even North Ellis County. Can you find my location?”

“Listen, I can take care of this. I own a tire shop that’s about fifteen minutes from here.” For the first time since the car had spun off the road, Alec truly looked at him. Their gazes connected for one maybe two heartbeats before Alec’s brow wrinkled and his eyes lowered. Keyes felt the weight of Alec’s stare as his eyes blatantly roamed the length of his body. Not only did his dick stand at attention but the damn thing attempted to parade down Main Street waving a rainbow-colored flag. A range of expressions crossed Alec’s handsome face until the hand holding the phone lowered and those extraordinary eyes were back on his. Had the guy noticed the impromptu party taking place in his pants? Keyes shifted his weight to his other foot.

“I’m Alec Pierce.”

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen-year-old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event, I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love, and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Find out more by visiting http://www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com

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NEW RELEASE!! P.S. I Dare You by Winter Renshaw

Dear Ms. Keane,

Before this ridiculous little arrangement commences, I’d like to make myself indubitably clear: I know who you are, I know that my father hired you, I know why my father hired you, and lastly, your services aren’t needed.

In fact, I want no part of my father’s billion-dollar empire, and him “gifting” me with one of the “best concierges in the county” won’t change that. He’s wasting his money. You’re wasting your time.

However, seeing as how you foolishly signed an ironclad contract with an Act of God clause and my father has strong-armed me into taking this position, it appears as though we’re stuck together—at least until your contract is up next month.

That said, our time together at WellesTech should be relatively painless but please don’t fool yourself into thinking I don’t notice when that pretty little stare lingers a little too long or the way your breath catches when our hands graze. You’re fascinated by me and it kills you because you can hardly stand to be in the same room as me.

Think I’m a problem worth solving? An impossible riddle worth figuring out? By all means, go ahead and try. Solve for X. Crack the code. It might even be fun (but only for me, not you).

V/r,

Calder Welles, II

P.S. I dare you.

Amazon

What.
The fuck.
Was that?
She’s the woman my father hired? The girl who spilled her coffee down her shirt after bumping into me in the hall?
That’s fucking golden. I can’t even be mad right now.
It makes perfect sense.
He brought on an assistant who happens to have all of the qualities he thinks I lack. She’s civil, tactful, punctual, classy as fuck.
I bet he thinks she’s going to be a good influence on me, like she can fucking domesticate me and turn me into a Corporate American civil servant.
Poor thing. She doesn’t realize she stepped inside the lion’s ring with nothing but a flimsy whip and a barstool. I’m not that easily tamed.
Regardless, I don’t know her name, but already I’m impressed. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself. I like that. If she’d given me a chance to explain, I’d have told her that’s what I meant when I said she was exactly my type.
I’m not a moron. I know she didn’t think I was flirting with her. I know she didn’t come back over because she wanted me. Quite the opposite. I saw the contention in that caramel-brown gaze of hers.
I also sensed a very raw, very real mutual attraction brewing—and that’s why I called it like it was and referred to her as a snack.
It was for the best.
I didn’t come here tonight to get laid. I’ve got bigger, more important things on my mind.
I watch the pretty little brunette with the black sweater grab her bag from her booth and storm out of the bar, her blonde friend in tow, and I toss back the rest of my Hennessy in one swallow.
Slapping some cash on the table, I take off and head back home, this time opting to walk.
Fresh air.
Deep thoughts.
A strong drink coursing through my veins.
If I’m lucky, these things plus a good night’s sleep will work together, helping me come to terms with what I’ve got to do in the morning.
Making my way through a crosswalk, I pass one of those sickeningly sweet couples walking hand-in-hand with that new-in-love look in their shiny eyes.
That kind of thing has never appealed to me, and if I’m being honest, a long-term relationship baked in exclusivity seems like a prison sentence. Who the hell wants someone they have to report to? Someone who has to know where they are at all times? Someone who expects them to be there when they call? Someone who has access to every aspect of their life?
It’s Bridgeforth Academy all over again, only the relationship version.
Pass.

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Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

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NOW LIVE!! Temptation by Micalea Smeltzer ~ Sarah A’s Review

temp·ta·tion
a desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

After the death of my boyfriend, my whole world is tossed upside down. I lose not only him but my home and, suddenly, nothing is the same.

Then I meet him.

Siva.

My savior.

He’s dark and brooding, the complete opposite of everything I’ve ever known. Somehow, though, I’m able to see the light in him that no one else can. He tempts me ever closer, my heart reaching out to him, even while my mind shouts out me to stay away.

That it’s too soon.

That it’s wrong.

But when temptation becomes too strong, who am I to resist?

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A few years ago I went on a Micalea Smeltzer reading-spree, and I fell in love with her work, then I’m not sure what happened, but she fell off my radar – probably Facebook logarithms kept her off my newsfeed, and I was inundated with other stuff.  After reading Temp·ta·tion, I’m kicking myself for not being more proactive and searching out her new releases before now.  I was utterly engrossed in Sloane and Siva’s story from the beginning, and I loved every moment of their journey.

Both Sloane and Siva traveled a rough and pothole-filled road to find their happiness.  There were moments that were gut-wrenching, some that were heartbreaking, and others that were beautifully poignant and heartwarming.  Temp·ta·tion ran me through the complete spectrum of human emotion and left me feeling fulfilled and beatific when I was finished.

Sloane and Siva both grew and healed so much throughout Temp·ta·tion.  They both learned who they were, what place their pasts should play in their presents, and, more than anything, they learned how to forgive themselves and find love and happiness.  It was all the more touching that they were able to discover those things in the wake of all the loss and trauma they’d experienced in their lives.

There were a few things I wish were a little different in this book, but nothing that took away from the overall experience of the story.  Sometimes the timeline was a bit nebulous, and I would have liked it to have been tightened up a little.  There was also one scene not told in the same voice as the rest of the novel that felt unnecessary and took away some of the intrigue of the climax; I wish I hadn’t read it and had been able to rely on the other foreshadowing to anticipate what was in store for Siva and Sloane.

Micalea Smeltzer amazes me, though I only know surface details of her struggles, the fact that she continues to press on and produce this caliber of work says a lot about her abilities and work ethic.  Her writing is emotional and engrossing; I found myself feeling exactly what her characters were experiencing time and again as I was reading.  I have promised myself I’ll not let myself go years without reading her work and plan to keep Ms. Smeltzer on my must read list.

PROLOGUE

I always knew death would touch my life at some point.

It’s inevitable, really.

We all die after all.

I guess I never expected it to be the man I loved—or if it was, I expected us to be old and gray in our beds.

But life had other plans, and now Devak is gone, and I’m … I’m numb.

I wiggle around on the hard pew, trying to get more comfortable. It doesn’t work.

The man at the podium drones on and on.

About nothing.

About everything.

About life.

About death.

Devak wouldn’t have liked this. He was a simple man. He wouldn’t appreciate so much fussing over him, and he definitely wouldn’t appreciate his step-mother blubbering her eyes out in the front pew.

His father, Rajas, pats his wife’s back in comfort.

It takes all my energy not to roll my eyes.

Although, I guess I’m bitter since they stuck me in the back like I’m unimportant. Since Devak and I weren’t married, Rajas and his wife, Lila, consider me null and void now. They never liked me. They thought me to only be a thieving American, after his money and name. They couldn’t be more wrong. I truly love Devak. Loved. I loved him. Past tense. I nearly choked. It didn’t seem right to be thinking of him in the past tense.

The man speaking finishes and everyone stands.

Everyone except me, that is. My legs feel like they weigh five-hundred pounds.

Probably five-hundred pounds of tears.

I haven’t cried, not once, since I got the news Devak was killed in the car accident. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I will the tears to come now, as Lila and Rajas take one last look at Devak, but nothing happens.

All that exists is the numbness.

Rajas looks sadly at his youngest and favorite son, gone from this world too soon. Dev has—had—an older brother, but I’ve never met him. I’ve never even seen a photo of him. He’s something of a pariah.

Although, if Rajas were my father maybe I’d be the same way. The man takes the word overbearing to another level.

Though, I never really understood why Dev didn’t talk about his brother.

He didn’t talk about his mother much either except to say she left shortly after his brother stopped coming around.

I look around the people still gathered in the church, and no one looks like they could be his mother or brother.

They probably don’t even know Dev’s gone, and it makes me sad. They deserve to know, though I’m sure Rajas would disagree.

Several people eye me, and I see Rajas say something to one of them. I’m sure it isn’t anything nice. If he’d ever actually bothered to get to know me he would’ve seen how much I loved his son.

They could think what they wanted, though, since I knew my love for him was true.

I wasn’t in the habit of caring what people thought of me. I learned a long time ago the opinion of others was useless.

The church emptied, and I was left alone with a somber Rajas and Lila, both of them looking at me like I was a speck of dirt they wanted to wipe off their designer shoes.

Rajas is tall and handsome like Devak.  He’s full Indian with dark caramel skin and inky black hair. His eyes are as dark as his hair, and his mouth is almost always set in a frown. He has a regal air about him, like royalty, though he’s not.

Lila has pale skin, light blond hair, and lifeless blue eyes. She’s the complete opposite of his first wife, Isla. I’d only ever seen a picture of the woman, but she was beautiful, with black hair, olive skin, and violet colored eyes.

“Sloane,” Rajas says sternly.

“Sir,” I address him. I’m not allowed to call him Rajas, or even Mr. Kapur.

“What are you doing?” he asks, his eyes raking over me where I sit, picking apart my black dress and shoes I’m sure.

“Sitting,” I say sarcastically, since it’s pretty obvious what I’m doing.

I’m not normally so short with him, since I usually want to impress him, but with Devak gone I can’t bring myself to care. What’s the point anymore?

He starts to smile but it quickly disappears when he catches himself. He clears his throat. “Aren’t you leaving?”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes. “Not yet. I’m not ready to leave,” I answer honestly. I need another moment with Dev. This is my last chance with him.

Lila stands slightly behind her husband, peering over his shoulder at me.

Rajas clears his throat. “Don’t be too long.”

I nod as he straightens his suit jacket.

“I won’t be much longer.”

Stiffly, he takes Lila’s hand and starts for the doors. I watch them leave. Rajas pauses at the door and looks back for one last look at his son. He looks heartbroken, and while he might be a raging asshole to me, I think he truly loved his son—well, at least the one.

He shakes his head and places his hand on Lila’s waist, ushering her out the door.

The heavy doors bang closed and I’m finally alone with Dev.

I lean forward with my elbows on my knees and bury my face in my hands.

One tear.

All I ask is for one tear.

One tear for the man I love.

I get nothing.

“Oh, Dev,” I whisper into the empty church. “Why has this happened?”

Of course no one answers.

Time passes slowly as I sit, and still no tears come even as I beg—beg to feel something besides this emptiness now residing in my chest.

The doors behind me open, and I jump to a standing position, thinking it’s Rajas come to tell me my time is up.

“Sorry, I’m sorry,” I stammer, my head bowed as I grab my coat. “I was going.”

“Oh?” responds a voice I don’t recognize but feels entirely familiar at the same time.

“What the—?” My head shoots up and my eyes connect with violet ones. I nearly choke on my tongue because the guy is gorgeous.

He narrows his eyes on me, his two dark brows drawing together. He’s handsome, it’s undeniable. His black hair is brushed away from his face and his skin is a beautiful honey color, and I wonder if it’s as soft as it looks. His face is chiseled, with full lips, and a dimple in his chin. He’s tall, easily six-feet, but I’d say taller, and lean but still well built so it’s clear he works out. His dress shirt clings to his chest and his gray dress pants hang delectably on his hips.

And I’m checking out a guy at my boyfriend’s funeral. Just fucking great.

The man stalks toward me slowly, his brows still drawn together, giving him an angry look. Each step is slow and deliberate like he’s stalking a frightened deer.

I probably do look like a deer caught in headlights.

“You are?” he asks in a British accent.

My hands wring together. His intensity has me unnerved. “Sloane,” I reply.

Sloane,” he repeats, testing out my name on my tongue. He makes a face, and I’m not sure he likes the flavor. His unusual violet eyes narrow on me. “What are you doing here?”

I swallow thickly. “I’m attending my boyfriend’s funeral.”

He looks around at the empty room and then back at me, as if to make a point.

I clear my throat. “Everyone … uh … left.”

“But not you?” He stares at me like I’m some fascinating exotic bird he’s just discovered. I have news for him—I’m not interesting.

I look to the floor, my shoes, anything but his inquisitive violet eyes that seem to see too much. “They don’t like me,” I finally respond. “I wanted a moment alone.”

His laugh fills the air, and it surprises me. I get the impression this isn’t a man who laughs a lot. “We have that in common, Sloane.”

“What?” I asked stupidly.

“They don’t like me either,” he whispers conspiratorially, like he’s letting me in on some sort of secret.

“Why?” I ask, my eyes roaming over him. He looks familiar, so much like Dev, but I know I’ve never met him before.

He shrugs. “Because I dare to go against the grain. I find rules are meant for breaking.”

“Who are you?” I finally ask, in awe of him.

I feel like he’s put a spell on me or something.

“Siva,” he answers.

My eyes narrow in thought. I know his name—but how?

My mouth pops open as clarity hits me.

Oh.

Siva … as in Siva Kapur.

Dev’s brother is back.

Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know.  My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life.

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