NEW RELEASE!! Dear Jane by Kendall Ryan ~ Sarah A’s Review

broke her heart ten years ago and left town.

She hates me, and rightly so. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the country loves me, that I’m a starting quarterback with a multimillion-dollar contract. Because when I look in the mirror, all I see is a failure who was too young—and too afraid—to fight for what I wanted.

But I’m not that guy anymore, and all I need is one shot to convince her.

***

He has no idea what happened after he left. And now I’m supposed to work alongside him like we don’t have this huge, messy history?

But I’m older now, wiser, and I won’t let anything stand in my way of doing a good job for this league. Not even one overpaid, arrogant player who thinks we’re going to kiss and make up.

News flash, buddy: I am over you. 

***  PREORDER NOW ~ RELEASES OCTOBER 15  ***
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Dear Jane was a sweet, swoony, story; great for a lazy afternoon read.  I had such a fun time getting to know Jane and Weston, along with his teammates.  I live for second chance romances, and Dear Jane catered to my guilty pleasure in a fun, delightful way.

I loved how feisty Jane was.  She knew what her worth was and wasn’t going to settle for anything less than she deserved.  The fact that she didn’t just crumble at Weston’s feet when she realized there was still something between them was amazing.  My heart broke for what she had been through, but I was impressed with her strength to overcome it and forgive Weston for the sins of their shared history.

For me, too often second-chance romances leave out a vital part of the story: the forgiveness and understanding of what went wrong in the past.  Either it comes so late in the recoupling it feels unimportant, or it’s barely glossed over and forgotten.  I was happy to see Jane and Weston confront their parts in what had happened, and it felt like they came to a place of true reconciliation regarding their past.

Dear Jane is a standalone novel, though there have been mentions of Weston in other books he hasn’t played a major part in any of them.  Also, there will be a spinoff of Dear Jane, Finding Alexei which will also be a standalone, but we meet Alexei in this novel.  Dear Jane is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Jane and Weston.

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

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The Boy I Grew Up With by Tijan ~ COVERS REVEAL

I have loved Channing Monroe all my life.

In first grade, he asked for my Trapper Keeper.
I hit him in the head with it.
Third grade, we were best friends. We kissed in seventh grade.
Eighth grade, he turned into a bad boy and the rest was a tumultuous storm.

Growing up, the problem was never love for us.
Bad times. Good times. There were times when I felt our love in every inch of my body, vibrating, making me feel like it could bring me back to life.

The problem was us.

The problem is that we’re from two different worlds now.
Fallen Crest and its millionaires for me. Roussou and their criminals for him. I was thriving in mine and he was running his.

But…

But there were nights I felt we couldn’t be further apart than we were, and there were nights I felt we shared the same heartbeat.

When was it time?
When was it time to either sacrifice, make a change, or walk away from the boy I grew up with?

** 103k standalone **

***  PREORDER NOW  ***
NO Amazon preorder, THE BOY I GREW UP WITH will be a LIVE AMAZON RELEASE on Oct 29th

* About the two separate covers! *

This is not something I normally do! I don’t think I’ve ever done this before with having a different ebook cover than the paperback cover, but with Heather’s book, both images spoke to me. He was Channing and she was Heather. I felt both needed their moment because this book is truly from both of them. 

TITLE: The Boy I Grew Up With
AUTHOR: Tijan
GENRE: Standalone Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: October 29, 2018

“What are you doing here?”

His arms tightened a little around me, and his hand rubbed over my leg. I was buck naked in his arms. I should’ve dressed, but I didn’t have the energy.

His breath felt good on my neck as he answered. “I was up with the guys. I missed you.”

Meaning: he’d either been fighting or drinking with the group of guys he considered more family than family.

I lifted one of his hands to inspect the knuckles, rubbing a thumb over them. “They don’t look bruised up.”

His body tensed, all six feet of pure muscle.

Channing had a face for the fashion runways, a body of tattoos that could appear in any magazine, and an attitude that made him a leader among the rowdiest and most criminally inclined. He was whip smart, ruthless, cunning, cocky, and had a charming side that had started some of our fights. He could be too charming at times, putting his name on a lot of girls’ to-do lists. It’d been a problem for us since we were kids, and though it’d gotten better over the last few years, I knew women came onto him regularly.

But being transparent here, that wasn’t the cause of our problems lately.

His voice was quiet. “I wasn’t fighting.”

I turned and tried to smell his breath. There was a slight trace of bourbon, but that might’ve been mine. “You don’t seem drunk either.”

He chuckled, his eyes studying every inch of my face. He did this when he was trying to figure out where I was going with my statements and if that’d take us into a fight. We acted like we were married and in our sixties by now.

His thumb went to my mouth and pressed there, softly. “I really was just hanging out with the guys. Cruz came over, said you closed for him. I gambled, thought maybe you’d be up—or not.” That dimple again. “I was hoping just to slide in next to you.”

I sighed, and his thumb caressed my cheek before his hand returned to my leg. I moved back, resting in his arms again.

Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author that writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing later in life and once she started, she was hooked. She’s written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She is currently writing a new YA series along with so many more from north Minnesota where she lives with a man she couldn’t be without and an English Cocker she adores.

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Found in Bliss by Lexi Blake ~ Sarah A’s Review

Re-released in a second edition with new content.

Holly Lang has a hard time trusting men. Eight years ago, her husband tossed her aside and took her son away from her. Finding the little town of Bliss has given her a second chance at life, new friends, and sense of belonging. Unfortunately, Bliss also seems to have filled her days and nights with dreams of two beautiful men. She can’t stop thinking about the gentle but haunted Dr. Caleb Burke, and the exotic and dangerous Alexei Markov.

Caleb Burke isn’t your ordinary town doctor, but he’s always dedicated himself to trying to be a good man. His journey to this quirky little town was not an easy one. Some of the stops along the way left him scarred in more ways than one. But when he first sees Holly, it’s like someone threw open the blinds and let the sunlight into his life for the first time in years.

Alexei Markov is nothing like Caleb Burke. Working as a hit man for the Russian mafia, he was forced to do unspeakable things. He suffered through all the moral compromises to fulfill one simple goal, killing the man who murdered his brother. When a mission led him to Bliss, he found something more precious than vengeance. A woman named Holly Lang. Throughout months of living in witness protection, testifying against his former employers, all he could think about was finding his way back to her.

After returning to Bliss, Alexei and his strange new ally Caleb discover that they aren’t the only ones interested in Holly. Someone else is stalking her and appears to want her dead. The only way to discover the identity of the killer is for all three to face up to the secrets of their past and work together to fight for everything they have found in Bliss.

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I have been looking forward to Holly, Caleb, and Alexei’s story since we got our first glimpse of their dynamic in One to Keep and I think I built it up too far in my head.  It was still a fun book, with plenty of comedic relief in the form of the interesting population of Bliss and Alexei’s tenuous grasp of the English language, and I loved the triad together, I just expected more.

I felt like the Alexei we got to know in Found in Bliss was a much lighter, freer Alexei than we met in One to Keep.  He was unencumbered by the revenge he’d sought, unrestricted by the criminal mask he’d been wearing to seek that revenge.  I loved that he was able to bring both Holly and Caleb out of their shells and make them admit to the feelings they had.  Alexei was the catalyst and the glue of their threesome.  Caleb was my favorite character in this book.  I have a soft spot for broody, damaged men.  I loved his awkwardness and straightforward demeanor.  I was ecstatic Alexei saw what was behind Caleb’s walls and did whatever he could to make Caleb acknowledge his feeling and begin to shed his crusty shell.  Honestly, I didn’t care much for Holly one way or the other.  I felt like I didn’t know who she was beyond the surface and it made it hard for me to connect with her in a meaningful way.

I always love the type of suspense Ms. Blake writes, and how she uses the tension and danger to drive her couples together, but I’m not sure that it added a lot to Holly, Caleb, and Alexei’s story.  If anything, I felt like it detracted from their connection.  I felt like they already had so much to overcome with their combined pasts that the book could have only focused on that and been a wonderful and complete story.

My wish for Found in Bliss was just to have seen more of Caleb’s healing from his past, we were just getting into working on his issues when the story finished, and I was let down that there wasn’t more.  Hopefully, we’ll see more of him overcoming the traumas he’s experienced further into the series.

Found in Bliss is the fifth book in Lexi Blake’s Nights in Bliss, Colorado series.  These books are interconnected standalones and can be read independently.  However, I highly suggest at least reading One to Keep before reading Found in Bliss to have a complete understanding of Alexei and a complete picture of his life.  Found in Bliss is written in third-person limited perspective, alternatively following Holly, Alexei, and Caleb’s thoughts.

“No.” He said the word. He said it a lot, but this time he really, really meant it. Caleb Burke watched as that big Russian stood over sweet Holly, his dark eyes promising all manner of comfort, and he knew he wasn’t ready to let her go.

Of course, he also wasn’t ready to take her.

Fuck.

“No?” Alexei turned to him, seeming to notice for the first time that he wasn’t alone with Holly. Moments before, the Russian had walked into the reception hall where Stefan Talbot and his new wife, Jennifer, were hosting their wedding party. He’d marched in like he owned the place and zeroed in on Holly.

Alexei looked the same as he had months before, but it was easy to tell he’d changed. There was a relaxed set to his shoulders he hadn’t had the last time he was in Bliss. But then the last time Alexei Markov had been in Bliss, it had been as a member of the Russian mob.

“Get your hands off her.”

“My hands are entirely to myself.” And Alexei still had trouble with English.

“Caleb, what’s wrong?” Holly asked, her face turning to him. Wide green eyes stared up at him in confusion. She was so gorgeous. Every time she looked at him, he felt it straight in his gut. And his cock. Damn it. He had to turn away from her.

“You shouldn’t be here.” Caleb couldn’t take his eyes off the Russian. It was nothing less than the truth, though he had selfish reasons for pointing it out. “You’re supposed to be in witness protection.”

Alexei shrugged, his eyes going back to Holly as though her presence was a magnet he couldn’t avoid. “I told you. The trials are over. All the men who worked with Pushkin have been put in proper jails. I finish my testimony last week. I am here today. I am free man.”

Free? After everything he’d done? Alexei Markov had blown into town eight months before as a mobster. Just because he’d turned state’s witness and saved Jennifer Waters and Callie Hollister-Wright didn’t give him a free pass. He tried not to think about the fact that the Russian had saved Holly, too. Alexei had thrown his own body over hers, taking the bullet that would have ended her life. It didn’t erase the crimes he’d committed before. “You killed a bunch of people, and they let you go free?”

“He only killed them to save me, Caleb. And Stef got a couple, too. No one’s talking about putting him in jail.” Holly was already reaching for the Russian’s hands, her face turning upward in greeting. “I’m so happy for you, Alexei. I’m happy they let you come back to Bliss.”

A cloud crossed Alexei’s face telling Caleb everything he needed to know.

“They didn’t let you come back, did they?” Caleb asked. “You’re on the run.”

“No running. I take taxi and then train and then bus. Bus drop off at the Trading Post. It was closed, but Ms. Teeny was kind enough to leave note on door telling me about the wedding.” After his quick explanation, Alexei turned back to Holly. “You look like beautiful doll.”

Caleb grabbed at his tie, loosening it. The damn thing was a noose around his neck. Why had he come to this thing? He should have done what he always did. He should have stayed at home until someone needed him. He should have barricaded himself in his office and stared at medical books until his eyes wouldn’t stay open one second more and he was forced to fall into that hell he called sleep. Yeah, that would have made for a great night. But no, he’d gotten on this monkey suit and headed to the Feed Store Church to attend a wedding, all because he’d wanted to watch Holly walk down the aisle. He’d wanted to see her in a beautiful dress and imagine for one second that she was walking toward him and he was normal. That he was twenty-two again, marrying the right woman this time with his whole life ahead of him.

Not once in that daydream had he included a second man in the scenario, though given where he lived, he should have known that would happen whether he liked it or not.

“Thanks,” Holly said to Alexei, her face lighting up.

Caleb flushed. He hadn’t told her she was beautiful. He’d nodded at her. Why couldn’t he talk to her? He’d been good at this once. He’d gone to parties and balls. Why couldn’t he talk to one small-town waitress?

Because she was the one, but he was too fucked up to deal with it.

“You do look really pretty.” He forced the words out of his mouth. He didn’t say the ones that were locked inside. She didn’t look pretty. She was beautiful. Inside and out. Holly Lang practically glowed in his mind. With auburn hair that curled and caressed her porcelain shoulders, Holly was a vision of everything feminine. She stirred his cock and his mind. He thought about her all the time.

Yeah. He wasn’t going to say any of that.

Holly turned toward him, a vibrant smile on her lips. When she smiled that sunshine-goddess, center-of-his-whole-fucking-world smile, he always thought he would turn into a puddle of goo at her feet. Yeah. That would be really sexy, Burke.

“Tell her more, Caleb. You do well.” Alexei was smiling at him like he was a toddler who’d finally managed to walk.

What the hell was that about?

Re-released in a second edition with two new chapters and additional new content.

Rachel Swift is a woman on the run.

A stalker sent Rachel’s world reeling. Now she’s running for her life, and Bliss, CO, seems like the perfect place to hide. Bliss is a strange little town, filled with artists, nudists, and the occasional conspiracy nut. It’s a good place to start over.

Max and Rye are just the men to catch her.

Horse trainer Max and Sheriff Rye gave up on their dream of finding one perfect woman to share long ago. Rachel walks in, and they’re both in love and fighting their true natures.

A town like no other….

When Rachel’s past catches up with her, all of Bliss is in danger. Rachel knows she should run, but how can she leave behind the love she’s found with Max and Rye and the home she’s built in Bliss? With her whole town behind her, Rachel is ready to make her stand. It’s time for her to get back in the saddle and ride.

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Re-released in a second edition with new content.

Three lost souls

Growing up in the eclectic, small town of Bliss was wonderful for Callie Sheppard. She loved everything about it, except for the lack of potential romantic partners. She only went wild once in her life, sharing a perfect weekend in Dallas with two incredible men she never thought she would see again. When they parted, she was left with a hole in her heart she feared would never be filled.

One romantic weekend

DEA agents Nathan Wright and Zane Hollister were thrilled when Callie agreed to spend the weekend with them. Just days away from a long, undercover assignment, they considered this passionate affair to be an ideal way to spend their last days of freedom. They never expected to fall in love. Leaving her behind was the hardest decision of their lives.

An unexpected reunion

Six years later, Callie is preparing to break in a new sheriff after Rye Harper walked out on the job. Her heart skips a few beats when the man walking through the door is none other than Nate Wright. Nate and Zane have come to Bliss, but their time undercover has left them broken and scarred. The boys are determined to win back Callie’s heart. But when the criminals they took down come seeking revenge, Nate and Zane may have to save the strange little town of Bliss before they can reclaim the woman they love.

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Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.

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Laura Niles walked out the door and never looked back. As she left Washington, DC, her career was in ruins and her love life decimated. Her desperate flight eventually led her to Bliss, Colorado, where she managed to find a new home and a little peace. That will have to be enough because Laura cannot imagine finding happiness without the men she left behind.

For five years, Rafe Kincaid and Cameron Briggs have searched for the only woman they ever loved. When she disappeared, everything became crystal clear. For one night, everything had been perfect and instead of embracing what they had found, they let it all slip away. They had let worries about their FBI careers and what others might think destroy the most precious gift they had ever been given. Now they have finally tracked her down, and they want answers.

Laura is shocked when her former loves show up in her new home. When the full force of the FBI arrives with them, Laura knows that the quirky little town is in for a rough ride. The killer that ruined her life has been watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike again. For Rafe, Cam, and Laura it’s time for second chances — to stop a monster, and to reclaim everything they lost.

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NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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Lock by Molly McAdams ~ Sarah A’s Review

The next thrilling installment in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’s REBEL series.

I’ve waited for him for over a decade.
Loyalties kept us apart. A death set us free.
Our passion unleashed, nothing could stop us.

Until my world was rocked—my greatest failure leaving me with my greatest heartbreak.

Now Maverick is baring his soul to me, begging me to let him in. God knows I want to, but I love him, and that means I’ll do anything to keep him from the pain haunting me. Even if it destroys us both.

Someone has been waiting for this perfect moment to strike.
Watching me.
Studying me.
Waiting for me to be too consumed with hurt to notice he was there.
Someone who knows me.

I’m Einstein . . . like the genius, only smarter and with better hair.
There’s nothing I can’t hack into, crack open, or figure out. Well, almost nothing.

And if I can’t beat his sinister game, it won’t just be my heart that stops beating.

Amazon | Signed Paperback

Every time I read a Molly Mc Adams book I feel like her writing has surpassed everything I’ve read by her before. Lock was an incredibly emotional and challenging read. Some parts of the book were so heartbreaking I could feel the ache in my chest. Other moments were so harrowing I could only set my kindle down and allow myself a moment to breathe and recuperate. Einstein’s story wasn’t easy, but it was beautifully told.

Avery, aka Einstein, has been a huge question mark for me since we first met her in Firefly. There was an inherent melancholy around her I needed to understand. Her story ended up being far more tragic than I could have anticipated. Her huge heart had been battered and bruised by the worst kind of human, all the while it was reaching for someone else entirely. Then, just when I thought her story was going to turn a corner life took that damaged but healing heart and obliterated it. God, my heart broke for her. Watching her experience that, then continue to wallow in that devastation while also subjecting herself to more pain was heartrending.

Andrew, aka Maverick, was a perfect and beautiful partner for Einstein. He was supportive and selfless, and I fell irrevocably in love with the way he relentlessly loved her. The pain and suffering he and Einstein experienced was 100% worth it because of him. As much as they had been through Maverick always had a light and hope that shone through his pain. Even in the greatest devastation of his life, there was something in him that allowed me to feel there was nothing he wouldn’t do to ensure he and Einstein find the happiness they’d earned.

Lock was intense, both in Einstein and Maverick’s love story and in the plot. There were so many moving pieces, so many points of interest to distract from figuring out the endgame; I was on edge through the entirety of the novel trying to understand how everything fit together. Written by any other author Lock may have had too many plots and subplots, but Molly McAdams wove each part together seamlessly and produced an intricate and sublime story of pain, heartache, suspense, and love.

Lock is the second book in Molly McAdams’ Rebel series. These books are interconnected standalones, each focusing on a different couple, and can be read independently. However, I would highly suggest starting with the Redemption series in its entirety, then moving on to the Rebel series and reading both books, in order, to fully understand the intense, crazy world Ms. Mc Adams has created. Lock is written in dual first-person perspective, alternating between past and present, and is narrated by Einstein and Maverick.

Molly McAdams is a true wordsmith. She takes these words, bends them to her will, and fabricates a story that is sharp, solid, and stunning. I am taken aback again and again by the sheer artistry she produces with the brush that is the English language. I continually find myself eagerly anticipating the next time I will be able to lose myself in her words and her worlds, as they always leave me with more emotions and things to consider than I could ever imagine.

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Fragments of Ash by Katy Regnery ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times bestselling author Katy Regnery comes a dark and twisted retelling of the beloved fairytale, Cinderella!

My name is Ashley Ellis…

I was thirteen years old when my mother – retired supermodel, Tig – married Mosier Răumann, who was twice her age and the head of the Răumann crime family.

When I turned eighteen, my mother mysteriously died. Only then did I discover the dark plans my stepfather had in store for me all along; the debauched “work” he expected me to do.

With the help of my godfather, Gus, I have escaped from Mosier’s clutches, but his twin sons and henchmen have been tasked with hunting me down. And they will stop at nothing to return my virgin body to their father

…dead or alive.

** Contemporary Romance. Due to profanity and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Fragments of Ash is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection: contemporary, standalone romances inspired by beloved fairy tales.

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Fragments of Ash may have just replaced The Vixen and the Vet as my favorite of Katy Regnery’s Modern Fairytales.  It was superb and emotional, sweet and a little sultry, with dark themes and beautiful characters.  While Cinderella has never been my favorite fairytale, this is my favorite retelling of any fairytale, ever.

Ashley’s life made the Cinderella we all know and love seem like she was living the dream.  Ashley had spent the entirety of her life experiencing the worst parts of humanity, yet still seemed to see and hope for the best in people.  She was so pure and kind; it was painful as we slowly understood the type of life she’d been exposed to.  Her strength was quiet, but it was fierce, and I admired how well she carried the burden she’d been forced to bear.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the idea of an evil stepfather, but I was quickly proved wrong when I realized how much more terrifying that change could be.  I loved how intense and horrific Ms. Regnery made Ashley’s situation.  It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking in one fell swoop.  One of my very favorite aspects of Fragments of Ash was the way Ashley connected with her mother, it was unique and compelling, and really let both Ashley and me, as a reader, understand the struggles of a woman who otherwise seemed completely disconnected and unforgivable.

Fragments of Ash is the seventh book in Katy Regnery’s Modern Fairytale series.  These books are all complete standalones, the only thread connecting them is that they are retellings of classic fairytales.  Fragments of Ash is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Ashley and Julian.

Katy Regnery is a versatile author, and I have loved every type of story I’ve read by her.  She knows how to make her readers connect with her characters and care for them.   Her plots always feel fresh and interesting, and she knows how to keep her storylines well-paced and compelling.  I always look forward to her new releases and know I will be a longtime reader of her work.

Sitting in an old, broken-in wicker chair that looks out at the barn and meadow, I place my food on the table beside me and bow my head in prayer.
“Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
When I look up, I see the barn door slam shut and find Bruno standing across the gravel driveway, watching me. He makes a baying sound, then crosses toward me, the pitter-patter of his paws on the gravel making me grin.
“Good morning, sweet boy,” I say, as he approaches. “Are you coming to visit me?”
He pads up the three back porch stairs to my chair, sits at my bare feet, and looks up at me expectantly.
“Are you hungry, baby?”
As if he can understand my words, he darts a glance to my eggs and licks his lips.
“I’m not sure I’m allowed to feed you,” I tell him.
Rowr. Rowr,” he rumbles, looking at my eggs again.
“Hm. Okay. How about I have one and you have one?”
I lower my plate and slide one egg off the side and onto the porch floor. Before it hits the ground, it’s gone.
“Whoa!”
He looks surprised, then sits down genteelly, staring up at me like I’ve hung the moon. I giggle at his hopeful expression.
“More? Doesn’t your master feed you?”
I pick up my fork and try to avoid his eyes as I cut a small piece of egg then spear it with the tines. But I can’t avoid the small movements of his head, which track my every movement.
“Still hungry?”
He whines hopefully, his amber tail swinging back and forth on the porch floor like a duster.
“Oh, fine!” I say, placing the plate on the floor with another giggle. “You win.”
He leans down, gobbling up my second egg, and I make a mental note to change my grocery order from one dozen eggs to two.
“He’s taking advantage of you.”
Julian is standing halfway between the barn and the house, hands on his hips and a difficult-to-read expression on his face. Annoyed? Amused? Hmm. I’m not sure.
“Did you let him eat your whole breakfast?” he asks.
“Wh-what? No! We just . . . I was just sharing . . .”
“. . . your whole breakfast,” he finishes for me matter-of-factly.
He whistles—a short, high-pitched sound—and Bruno immediately trots down the porch steps and sits down in the gravel next to his owner.
“I’m . . . I’m sorry,” I say, reaching for my orange like I’m trying to even the score. You have a dog? Well, look at me, buster. I have an orange. “I should have asked your permission before feeding him.”
“Probably,” he says, reaching down to ruffle Bruno’s head. “But it’s okay. He’s a hound. It’s not like he’s going to get sick. Hounds aren’t prissy.”
“Are some dogs . . . prissy?” I ask, clasping my orange between both hands. This is the longest I’ve spoken to a single, young, available man, on my own, since I was thirteen, and I can almost feel the fourteen-, fifteen-, sixteen-, and seventeen-year-old parts of me jumping up and down and swooning inside.
“Ever meet a poodle? Or a Chihuahua?”
My shoulders skim my ears when I shrug. “I don’t really know that much about dogs.”
“Never had one?”
“No.”
“Okay. Well, Bruno’s a hound. Specifically, he’s a redbone coonhound. He’s a working dog. A hunter.”
“He hunts . . . raccoons?”
“His breed does.”
“Oh.” I think this over. “Poor raccoons.”
And then the most miraculous thing happens. Miraculous because I wasn’t expecting it. Miraculous because I thought Julian was beautiful when I first saw him yesterday, but I had no idea how he could look . . . when he smiled.
I’m not ready for it. None of me is ready for the lightning bolt of pleasure that enters through my eyes and zaps my whole body, down to the tips of my toes and back up again. I feel lit up from the inside. Hot and bright.
Poor raccoons.” He chuckles softly, like he’s surprised, then shakes his head, staring down at Bruno. “Yeah. Okay.” He looks up and meets my eyes, his own still slightly crinkled from his smile. “Don’t worry. I let him tree them, not kill them.”
I realize that my mouth’s hanging open, and I close it, passing my orange from hand to hand as my racing heart pounds in my ears.
His smile fades as he stares back at me, the silence taut between us. His eyes widen, darkening to a deep forest green, and I watch, mesmerized, as he licks his lips before glancing over his shoulder at the barn.
“I should . . . get back to work.”
“Me too,” I murmur.
“You too?” he asks, his brows furrowing in confusion.
“No. Not me,” I say, popping up from my chair, my face flaming as my fingernails dig into the skin of the orange, spraying bitter juice onto my fingers. “I’m not . . . working. I’m just . . . I . . . I have to go, um, too.”
He stares at me for an extra beat, then chuckles softly before heading back to the barn.
I stare at his back, lowering my eyes to his waist, then still lower to his—
“Hey, Ashley,” he says, turning so fast, he catches me staring at his backside.
Can you clock the speed at which a human neck snaps up? Whatever the record used to be, I’m positive I just beat it. “Hmm? Y-yes?”
He grins at me, and I know I’ve been caught gaping. Lord, help me. I brace myself, expecting him to say something lewd or, at the very least, suggestive. Heck, I haven’t been called a bitch in almost thirty-six hours. I suppose I’m long past due.
“Thanks for dinner,” he says softly, then turns back around and saunters into the barn.

The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) – available now
Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) – available now
Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) – available now
Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) – available now
Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) – available now
Sheer Heaven (Rapunzel) – available now
Fragments of Ash (Cinderella) – coming October 1, 2018
Swan Song (The Ugly Duckling) – coming soon

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract, and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Forty books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled New York Times and USA Today bestselling Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other stand-alone novels and novellas, including the critically-acclaimed, 2018 RITA© nominated, USA Today bestselling contemporary romance, Unloved, a love story.

Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, became a New York Times e-book bestseller.

Katy’s books are available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

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NEW RELEASE!! Not Until You by Corinne Michaels ~ Sarah A’s Review

I have two rules in life:
1. No relationships, falling in love or attachments.
2. No sleeping with clients of my interior design firm.

Since the last guy turned out to be married, they’ve been easy to follow.

Until him.

Callum Huxley is a ridiculously sexy Brit, and the connection we have the moment our eyes lock scares the ever-loving hell out of me. Thank God I came to my senses before going back to his hotel where I would’ve ended up naked, panting, and unable to forget him.

Thinking I walked away from that night unscathed was stupid. Sure enough, at the biggest meeting of my career waits the CEO of Dovetail Enterprises—him. It might be the most embarrassing moment of my professional life. And breaking my no-client rule might just be the hottest moment of my personal life.

Learning to trust has never felt so good, but falling has never hurt so bad.

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I’ve been anticipating Nicole’s book since we first started on the journey with Heather in We Own the Night and it was 100% worth the wait.  Corinne Michaels totally delivered with this book and, dare I say she’s totally figuring out this romcom thing.  Not Until You still has the emotional pull all of Ms. Michaels’ books have, but there were a lot more moments of levity and jest than her normal fare.

I freaking loved Nicole.  I loved her in We Own Tonight and One Last Time, and I fell even more in love with her in Not Until You.  I have a girl crush on her and wish that I had an iota of her fire and confidence.  She is my opposite in almost every way, and I loved that she was unremorsefully herself.  Nicole had a spine of steel and a heart of gold, especially regarding her loved ones.  She was outspoken, knew what she wanted, and strived for her goals without apology.

Nicole and Callum had fabulous chemistry.  They had a fun push and pull, and it lent to them developing a deeper connection than they were expecting in a fun, organic way.  Their banter and teasing allowed them to let down the walls they’d both build to protect their hearts without either of them realizing it.  Their relationship was sweet and fulfilling, and I was happy to have had the opportunity to take that ride with them.

Not Until You is a standalone novel and can be enjoyed completely on its own.  However, two books were published before about characters that appear in this book.  We Own Tonight and One Last Time are stories about two of Nicole’s best friends, and there is a fourth book If I Only Knew, that will be about the final friend in their group.  Not Until You is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Nicole and Callum.

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

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NEW RELEASE!! I Like You, I Love Her by JR Rogue ~ Sarah A’s Review

In a lot of ways, I was one of the lucky ones. My high school crush liked me back. It should have been magic and fire, but it was tragic and brutal. I wrote it that way, anyways.

His name was Bryan Winthrop. He was our high school basketball star. The prom king. The most beautiful boy I had ever laid eyes on. He liked me — the theatre geek who never should have caught his eye — but he loved her.

It’s been more than 10 years since the homecoming dance. Since the night he kissed me, breaking both of our hearts for the first time.

After the scandal, after graduation, I left our small town and made a name for myself on Broadway, then in Hollywood. I didn’t mean for the play I wrote about our high school affair to blow up. I didn’t mean for it to reach all the way back to my roots, wreaking havoc, wrecking families.

Bryan Winthrop and I were not friends, not lovers.

But I’m back. And for one summer — if she lets us — maybe we can be.

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After reading Kiss Me Like You Mean It I promised myself I wouldn’t miss another of JR Rogue’s releases, but when I read the blurb for this one I wasn’t sure what to think. While I have nothing against cheating in books, this seemed maybe too intentional to me. I was 100% wrong. I should have known Ms. Rogue would deliver, even when, at first blush, the content felt questionable. After KMLYMI I should have expected her beautiful prose, and intricate storytelling would deliver a poignant and personal story.

Over the last several months I’ve seen more than a few people discussing what the difference is between a romance and women’s fiction is. There are a million opinions and a million ways you can cross them over, and I Like You, I Love Her definitely eked over the line into women’s fiction for me. As much as there were plenty of romantic elements in the book, I felt like the primary focus of the book was Severin’s journey to rediscovering who she is.

I freaking love Severin, I identified with her on so many levels. I felt like Ms. Rogue took pieces of me and wrote them into Severin. I feel like there are so many universal truths we all experience as females – and she translates them so well into her characters – that her heroines are easy to relate to. The fact that we got to see parts of her past only added to the solidarity I felt with her, and I loved that her story was not easy, but it gave her the strength to discover who she was and what she wanted.

JR Rogue blows me away with her storytelling prowess. The stories she tells aren’t easy, and they aren’t always pretty, yet she turns them into the gorgeous works of art I have no choice but to be in awe of. It’s evident in her prose that her roots are in poetry because there is a lyricism to her words that not a lot of authors can pull off. And that is precisely why she can take something not traditionally beautiful and mold it into something stunning.

J.R. Rogue first put pen to paper at the age of fifteen after developing an unrequited High School crush & has never stopped writing about heartache.

She has published multiple volumes of poetry such as Tell Me Where It Hurts, All Of My Bullshit Truths  & Exits, Desires, & Slow Fires, & two novels, Burning Muses & Background Music. Her third novel, Kiss Me Like You Mean It, will release 3/22/18.

Two of her poetry collections, La Douleur Exquise & Exits, Desires, & Slow Fires, have been Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees.

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Perversion by TM Frazier ~ Sarah A’s Review

USA Today best-selling author of the King series, TM Frazier, brings you an all-new trilogy with an anti-hero you’re going to love to hate and a ballsy heroine with tricks up her sleeve.

Love is supposed to be magical.

Ours is suicidal.

The first time I met Emma Jean Parish,

she conned me into taking her p*ssy.

Her 𝑐𝑎𝑡

When she was sixteen,

she manipulated me into giving her

her very first kiss.

At eighteen she gave me 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔.

She’s a con artist.

I’m a criminal.

I use her.

She manipulates me.

The attraction between us is explosive.

When it detonates

we could both wind up dead.

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Perversion made me uncomfortable in the most delicious way.  It was not without horrific circumstances or the worst parts of the human race, but there were wonderful moments of real love and care that somewhat tempered the more atrocious happening of the book.  Perversion is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you like your books dark and aren’t worried about triggers, it’s a fantastic start to what promises to be a sordid Romeo and Juliet-esque tale.

The imagery and scene setting in Perversion was so immersive I felt like I was in the town of Lacking.  To the point, I could nearly feel the dust and grit of the town and the Los Muertos compound on my skin.  Between that and the fabulously engrossing storytelling, I was completely spellbound by the book with morbid fascination.  I was enthralled with every aspect of the story and impressed by how different it felt from other star-crossed lover and gang books.

Emma Jean and Tristan were both very intriguing characters.  There was also a very interesting duality between them regarding the ways they’d grown and changed in the opposing familial dynamics they’d been thrust into in the opening chapters of the novel.  I am quite looking forward to seeing how the differences in their experiences during the years they spent apart will inform the rest of their relationship.

Perversion is the first book in TM Frazier’s Perversion trilogy.  These books are a true trilogy and will need to be read in order, for the complete story.  There is a small tie to one of Ms. Frazier’s other series, but it has no bearing on the understanding of this book.  Perversion is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Emma Jean and Tristan.

Though I am relatively new to TM Frazier’s writing, I am definitely a believer.  She has completely won me over with her taboo, gritty writing and heavily flawed characters.  She has a great ability to make situations and people who should be wholly unforgivable sympathetic and easy to relate to.  I am continually impressed with her work and look forward to enjoying her stories for years to come.

Emma Jean

When I was younger, I fell in love with magic. I learned every card trick there was from library books and unmasking magic TV specials. I used to put on shows for Gabby that included escaping from complicated knots and trick handcuffs. But what’s magic besides a sleight of hand?

It’s a lie.

And lying is what I’m damn good at.

My ability to spin a tall tale or two lead to stealing wallets and conning people into taking stray pets for the thrill of it. Now, I’m using it to earn for Marco. The thrill is there, but it’s muted, hindered, lost under his pile of mounting threats.

The inside of the casino smells like stale cigarettes, spilled beer, and burnt coffee. We’re not supposed to be in here. It’s Bedlam territory. But that’s also why it’s perfect.

It isn’t like anyone would recognize us here.

We’ve made friends with a few of the cocktail waitresses by giving them a small cut, and they don’t ask questions or ring any alarms when they see us working. I’ve also been straightening my hair over the last few years since my crazy curls stand out like a reflector on a dark highway. I’ve dyed it a few shades darker than my normal honey blonde to help blend in.  

Tonight is starting off well. Gabby and I are working a con we’ve run a few times before.

Gabby walks away, her long dark hair swooshing behind her. She gives me a nod as she passes me by on the slot machine I’m pretending to play. She’s just faked losing an expensive engagement ring at another slot machine. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she frantically looked around for it, then loudly announced a thousand-dollar reward would be waiting at the casino cage for whoever returned it.

She is flawless. She should be an actress. And in another life, she would be.

But we don’t live in another life.

We live in Lacking and belong to Los Muertos.

Our lives are not our own.

A few people casually look around the area, then return to their machines when they don’t find the ring Gabby was ranting about. They won’t either. Because it’s not there.

Yet.

It’s go time.

I strut over to the area Gabby just left and put a dollar in the machine. While the wheels spin, I pretend to pick up the dime store ring I already have in my hand. By the time the machine dings to tell me I’ve lost my dollar, I’m turning the ring over, inspecting it like I don’t have half a dozen more just like it in my drawer back at the apartment.

“Would you look at that?” I mutter to myself loud enough so others around me can hear.  

A man in an Adidas jumpsuit with a potbelly taps me on the shoulder. “I’ll take that. I saw the woman who dropped it. I’ll go return it to her.”

Liar. You just want the reward.

“That’s so nice of you,” I say. I hold it out, about to drop it into his hand when I pull it back. “I bet there’s a reward for something this valuable.” I start to walk around the man. “I’ll take it up to management. Maybe, they know…”

“Here,” the man says, holding up a hundred-dollar bill. “Take this. I’ll take it to her. I just…you know, as I said, I want to make sure it gets back to the right person.”

You’re not even a good liar.

Sometimes, it’s just too freaking easy. And this scam wasn’t even an Emma Jean and Gabby original. We saw it a long time ago in a movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Doesn’t anyone else watch movies?

I shrug and pass him the ring. Plucking the bill from his hand, I tuck it into my bra. “Thanks,” I say before quickly making my way toward the large glass front doors. It’s Thursday. Marco’s money is due in two days, and we’re short this week.

Really short.

I walk slowly and wave goodbye to the valets with a smile on my face. “Any luck, tonight?” One asks me.

“I think so,” I answer with a smile. Once I’m down the sidewalk and out of view, I scramble to the side of the casino where I kick off my heels and change from the sequined dress I’d stolen from a dry-cleaner into a pair of cut-off shorts and my yellow Keds.

Now, all I have to do is wait for Gabby.  

I don’t have to wait long.

“Run!” Gabby yells, darting from the doors of the casino with two large men wearing tight black security t-shirts close behind. Running from security is terrifying enough, knowing that we’re running from members of the Bedlam Brotherhood kicks it up a notch.

I grab my backpack and sling it across my shoulders. I move as fast as I can until I’m running right alongside her. We race through the gates, cross the street, narrowly avoiding being hit by two cars. We duck into a hole in a fence and run through one backyard after the other.

“One of those cunt waitresses must have tipped them off!” Gabby says, through shallow breaths. She’s barefoot in a black mini-dress hiked up to her ass to give her long legs room to run. Her long thick hair is wrapped around her face, sticking to her mouth.

We hit the sixth backyard. Without another word, we separate behind a clothesline. We’ve mapped out this escape plan a thousand times, but this is the first time we’ve ever had to use it.

When I make it into the central part of town, to the Los Muertos/Bedlam border, I can no longer hear the shouts of the security guards. I lost them.

Hopefully, Gabby did, too.

I use a tower of stacked-up wooden pallets on the sidewalk like a ladder to scale a concrete wall, then drop down into the alley.

I grow more panic-stricken the longer I wait for Gabby. I bite the inside of my lip, pacing back and forth along the high wall. The Bedlam Brotherhood runs the security at the casino. If they catch her and find out who she is? Or worse? Who her brother is? They’ll… I shake the thought from my mind. She’ll be fine.

She HAS to be fine.

Please be okay, Gabby. Please.

I’m trying to catch my breath and pull myself together when I hear a clink echo through the alley as if someone dropped some spare change, followed by the sound of something heavy dropping to the asphalt.

“Gabby?” I ask into the darkness. Thinking it’s her, relief washes over me like rain on a barren desert.  

My only answer is the flickering of a fluorescent light mounted high on the roof’s edge of the adjoining building. And the hiss of what sounds like a cat behind a dumpster.

I walk over and peer around it.  “Gabby? Are you hurt? Say something!” I whisper-shout.

Someone moves from within the shadow.  “Get out here, Gabby. We’ve got to go before Mar…”

The light flickers again, for just a second. That second is all I need to see that the someone slowly stalking toward me is not Gabby.  

It’s a man…twice my size.

“Who are you?” I ask, shuffling backward as the man cloaked in a black leather hood emerges from the shadows. The front of his jacket is open. Underneath, he’s shirtless, covered in a sheen of sweat, and more tattoos than visible skin all the way up the front of his throat. His muscled chest and abs flex with each step he takes. The hood shadows most of his face, but when the lights flicker again, yellow eyes glow from within.

And they’re locked on me.

My ‘save your ass’ mode kicks in.

The man is blocking the only exit. My only other chance of escape is to scale the same wall I used to drop into the alley.

I keep moving backward as he approaches until my back hits the wall. I look left and right for something to use to climb on.

There’s nothing but emptiness.

My stomach sinks, but surrender is not an option.

I swallow hard as the alarm bells scream in my head for me to run. Somewhere. Anywhere.

There’s nowhere to go!

My legs tremble. Fear crawls like a million spiders along the backs of my legs. I push myself further against the wall as if I can squish the feeling away, but it’s useless.

Fear consumes me. Swallows me whole.

He continues toward me. As he gets closer, I realize it’s not just sweat glistening on his skin. There’s something else splattered across the tattoos on his chest and on his stubbled jaw.  

It almost looks like wet paint.

My breathing stops when he’s close enough that I can make out the tattoo on the front of his throat.

A bleeding black rose.

The symbol of the Bedlam Brotherhood.

I’ve heard stories about Grim. The man in the hood. The executioner for Bedlam. They were all terrifying, but not nearly as terrifying as the reality of coming face to face with the man himself.

“We didn’t do anything,” I blurt. “I mean, we did, but it wasn’t a big deal. I’ll…I’ll give the money back. Just tell your men not to hurt my friend. It was all my idea. Let her go, and you can take me.”  

“Who the fuck are you?” he asks. His voice is so thick and deep I feel it more than hear it. Shivers erupt all over my body.

He raises his arm, revealing a long curved blade.

For the first time in my life, I can’t seem to be able to hide my fear with my wit or sarcasm. My throat tightens. I can’t swallow, never mind speak. I’ve lost my words completely, along with my nerve.

The man’s blade drips red onto the pavement from the serrated tip.

Every fear response I didn’t even know I had runs rampant. I’m holding my breath. My muscles tense as if running was still an option. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck prickle my skin as they stand on end. I raise up to my tip-toes and push back, trying to make myself disappear into the wall.

I glance from the knife back to his chest, then back again. The splatters across his skin?

It’s not fucking paint.

Before I can process what the hell is happening, he switches from slow-stalking mode into hyper-speed, pinning my wrists above my head. His hard, bloodied chest pushes against me, smearing blood across my white tank top, forcing the back of my head to connect roughly with the wall.  

“I’ll only ask you this one more time. Who the fuck are you?” His low guttural growl rattles my bones.

His unblinking, angry, golden eyes lock onto mine. Without the fluorescent light, they’re more golden brown than a glowing yellow. As much as I want to, I can’t look away. He could be the last person I ever see.

The thought is just the spike of adrenaline I need.

“Let me go,” I say, finally finding my words. I try and jerk my wrists from his grip with no luck. I’m trapped. My fear and anger rise to the surface, but I shove it back down. Fear won’t get me out of this situation, so it will have to wait for its damned turn.

He digs his rough fingers into my skin. “Answer me. Who the fuck are you?”

The bite of pain only makes me angrier. I throw his question back at him. “Who the fuck are you?”   

He glances down at my rapidly rising and falling chest before pinning me with his stare. The corner of his mouth tugs up in a half-smirk.

“So much confidence for someone who’s trembling,” he says with an amused glint shining in his demonic eyes.

I shrug. “Maybe, I’m just not a fan of enclosed spaces,” I say through gritted teeth.

“You didn’t answer me,” he says.

“Why do you have blood all over you?” I answer him with yet another question. “You know, if you were committing some kind of crime back there, you should be more careful. I recommend a bleach bath and death by fire for your clothes the first chance you get. If it’s self-harm, I’m sure there’s a helpline you can call.”

He cocks his head to the side. His nostrils flare. His face is only inches away. I can feel the heat from his body against mine. His cool breath flutters against my neck.

I’ve never been this close to a man before. My trembling grows. My inner thighs shake sending a rippling wave of something very unfamiliar coursing through the center my body.  I try and press my legs together to stop it from happening again, but when he uses his knee to wedge my legs apart, caging me in even further, it only grows, uncoiling from within like a slinky being pulled apart at the ends.  

I swallow hard as the stubble of his jaw presses against my neck.

“Name,” he demands, his voice raspier than before.

I shut my eyes tight for a beat, trying to gain composure, control, something that will help me as I try and reason my way out of this. “Listen, I didn’t see anything,” I blurt. “That is if you did anything. I’m not going to call the police if that’s what you’re worried about. I wouldn’t anyway, even if I saw something, which I didn’t.”

His brows knit together in a harsh line. “Why?”

His question confuses me.

“Why what?”

“Why wouldn’t you tell the police?”

Because Marco owns them.

“Let’s just say that I haven’t exactly been a model citizen myself tonight. Let’s face it. If the police around here weren’t being paid not to do their jobs, half this town would be locked up.” I take a deep, shaky breath. “Especially people like us.”  

He stills. There’s no more talking. Only heavy breathing and a battle of wills. He releases one of my hands. I think he’s reaching for his knife. My blood turns cold. I can feel my face pale as my heart starts beating as faster and faster as if it wants to get in as many as possible before the end.

I’m surprised when he doesn’t go for his knife. Instead, his hand travels slowly down my chest into my cleavage.

“No, don’t!” I say, but it’s too late, he’s already yanked on my locket.

“Please just give it back, and let me go,” I plead. Feeling like it’s my real heart he’s torn from my chest. “It’s the only thing in this world that means anything to me. Besides my best friend, it’s all I have.”

I hate the desperation in my voice, but it’s the truth.

He’s silent for a moment. He raises his arms. I flinch, raising my arms over my face defensively. But when nothing happens, I lower them, just in time to see him push back his hood, revealing his face.  

“Why?” I ask, closing my eyes knowing full well that the only time a criminal reveals himself to a witness is right before they take them out.

“Look at me,” he demands, holding my face in his hand.  

“No!” I say, shutting my eyes tighter.

“Look at me!” he bellows. He’s on me again. This time, he holds my head in his large rough hands. “Open your fucking eyes so you can see me.”

With no other choice than to get my head squished like a turtle under a car tire, I do as he demands. Opening my eyes, I blink through the haze, and when it clears, I’m met with tousled, medium-length, light brown hair, slicked back on the top, shorn close to head on the sides. His nose is slightly crooked like it’s been broken a few times before. The stubble on his square, defined jaw is a few days over needing a shave. A jagged scar runs through his chin like an angry white lightning bolt.

He’s the most fucking beautifully terrifying man I’ve ever seen.

He’s searching my eyes for something, but I don’t know what.

“Why?” I ask in a whisper.   

His hands release mine, but he doesn’t step back. He leans in closer, speaking against my cheek in a rumble of a whisper. The strange feeling from earlier comes back as a zap of electricity bouncing around my insides looking for somewhere to ground.

I’m breathing heavy. Our lips are so close, almost touching. He slides one hand off my face, snaking it around my neck, pulling me closer. He starts to answer in a rumble of a whisper, causing goosebumps to rise on my already prickled skin. “Because I want you to see the face of the man who’s just—”    

“Where the fuck are you?” calls Gabby from the other side of the wall. “I lost them!”

The moment, whatever it is, is now broken. The man releases me so suddenly I brace myself against the wall to keep from falling. I turn my head toward her voice.

“Gabby!” I shout back.

My heart is beating out of control. Out of habit, I raise my hand to my chest, seeking familiar comfort.

I look up.  The man in the hood is gone.

And so is my locket.

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T.M. (Tracey Marie) Frazier never dreamed that a single person would ever read a word she wrote when she published her first book. Now, she is a five-time USA Today bestselling author and her books have been translated into numerous languages and published all around the world.

T.M. enjoys writing what she calls sexy ‘wrong side of the tracks romance’ with morally corrupt anti-heroes and ballsy heroines.

Her books have been described as raw, dark and gritty. Basically, what that means, is while some authors are great at describing a flower as it blooms, T.M. is better at describing it in the final stages of decay.

She loves meeting her readers, but if you see her at an event please don’t pinch her because she’s not ready to wake up from this amazing dream.

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NEW RELEASE!! Strong by Kylie Scott ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kylie Scott comes a new story in her Stage Dive series…

When the girl of your dreams is kind of a nightmare.

As head of security to Stage Dive, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Sam Knowles has plenty of experience dealing with trouble. But spoilt brat Martha Nicholson just might be the worst thing he’s ever encountered. The beautiful troublemaker claims to have reformed, but Sam knows better than to think with what’s in his pants. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to make his heart fall into line.

Martha’s had her sights on the seriously built bodyguard for years. Quiet and conservative, he’s not even remotely her type. So why the hell can’t she get him out of her mind? There’s more to her than the Louboutin wearing party-girl of previous years, however. Maybe it’s time to let him in on that fact and deal with this thing between them. 

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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The best part of this book was how much it made me want to go back and revisit all the boys of Stage Dive; it’s been YEARS since I’ve read their stories and I realized I missed them. Strong was a short, sweet little read, perfect for finding the world of Stage Dive or re-whetting your appetite for an old favorite.

Honestly, I scarcely remembered what had happened in this series when I started reading Strong, I’ve read hundreds of books since I finished the series, and while reading there were moments that tickled my memory and brought the familiar threads of a world I’d experienced before to light.

Strong hit all those spots that make me love a romance novel. The protective man who will do whatever it takes to love and protect his lover, the strong, independent woman who is afraid to let her soft side show lest she be hurt, and a little tension that isn’t a threat to the relationship but still adds a layer of interest to the overall mood of the book.

My only wish for this book, as is usual for me when I read novellas, is that it be full-length. I loved the little bit of Sam and Martha’s relationship that we got, but I would have loved to have seen more of it. Novellas, by definition, are short and as a consequence often feel rushed, and that was definitely the case with Strong. It was still a complete story, but I would have loved more of it, which maybe isn’t a criticism at all because what author doesn’t want to keep their readers wanting more?

Strong is the fifth (listed as 4.5) in Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series. The books in this series are all interconnected standalones and can be read independently, but I would highly suggest reading them in order for the best experience. Strong is written in first-person perspective, narrated by Martha.

“I don’t believe this,” I bitched. “My Valentino boots are actually sticking to the floor. That’s how gross this place is.”

Lizzy just smiled. “Told you to dress casual.”

“I am.”

The smile widened.

“Jeans and a tee is casual.”

“A tee? It’s velvet, Martha.” She held a bottle of beer up to her lips, taking a sip. “I said we were going to a dive bar. You have only yourself to blame for the fashion faux pas.”

“But velvet is in!”

“Would you two quit talking? I’m trying to listen,” said my brother, Ben. The big hairy idiot was slouched back in his chair, bopping his head in time to the music.

Lizzy shuffled closer all conspiratorial-like. “I know why you’re all dressed up.”

I said nothing. There was nothing to be said.

Next her gaze went to the man standing at the end of the bar across from us. No, no, I would not turn my head. I would not fall prey to her bullshit. After all, I’d managed to successfully avoid him for the forty-eight or so hours since my not so triumphant surprise return to the West Coast. Even with us both being in the same house. A very big sprawling house, but still.

On the other hand, it should probably be mentioned that he looked awfully good tonight in jeans and a white T-shirt with a leather jacket. Samuel Rhodes, otherwise known as Sam. Not a pretty man with his harsh features and bull-like neck, but something about him appealed to me. As always, his head was shaved and his body was built and my idiot fingers itched to explore.

Okay. So I guess at some point I must have turned my head. And shit, he caught me looking.

The corner of his lips rose just a little, just enough to mess with me, before he returned to doing his job by casually surveying the packed room. My heart did not speed up due to anything done by him. Clearly, I hadn’t totally caught my breath from when we’d walked in half an hour ago or something. That was all. Interesting to note, he did none of the checking me out typical of a heterosexual male who might have been into me. In fact, he didn’t really give me any signals at all. Ever.

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Lost in Bliss by Lexi Blake ~ Sarah A’s Review

Laura Niles walked out the door and never looked back. As she left Washington, DC, her career was in ruins and her love life decimated. Her desperate flight eventually led her to Bliss, Colorado, where she managed to find a new home and a little peace. That will have to be enough because Laura cannot imagine finding happiness without the men she left behind.

For five years, Rafe Kincaid and Cameron Briggs have searched for the only woman they ever loved. When she disappeared, everything became crystal clear. For one night, everything had been perfect and instead of embracing what they had found, they let it all slip away. They had let worries about their FBI careers and what others might think destroy the most precious gift they had ever been given. Now they have finally tracked her down, and they want answers.

Laura is shocked when her former loves show up in her new home. When the full force of the FBI arrives with them, Laura knows that the quirky little town is in for a rough ride. The killer that ruined her life has been watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike again. For Rafe, Cam, and Laura it’s time for second chances — to stop a monster, and to reclaim everything they lost.

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I always love visiting the quirky little town of Bliss; sometimes I wish it was real, so I could take a self-care day there.  Bliss didn’t play too big a role in Lost in Bliss, but it was still great to check in on my favorites from the town and feel the love and camaraderie the citizens of the town share.

I loved Cam, Laura, and Rafe together.  Especially Cam.  There was something about that man and his subtle vulnerability that endeared me to him.  I felt like he was the most sympathetic character in the book and he was also the glue that held their relationship together.  Rafe and Laura were both so stubborn and hard-headed they may have given up or pushed too hard before they realized what the other needed.

I love a good suspense, especially one that I can’t figure out exactly what is going on until the big reveal.  Lost in Bliss was particularly fun since I was sure the book was going one way they suddenly that option flew out the window.  Lexi Blake kept me on my toes in this book and kept a great balance between the serial killer investigation storyline and the love story.

My only wish for this book would be to have seen more of the triad’s relationship before Laura disappeared.  I felt like I was missing part of why their connection was so deep and vital. I loved them together in this book, but I would have loved a little glimpse of how their relationship was built.

Lost in Bliss is the fourth book in Lexi Blake’s Nights in Bliss, Colorado series.  The books in this series are interconnected standalones and do not need to be read in order.  While this book doesn’t have many connections to her other series, Lexi Blake’s series are all tied together by interpersonal relationships.  Lost in Bliss is written in third-person limited perspective, following Laura, Cameron, and Raphael’s thoughts.

Stef turned back to Jen. “Let’s move, Jennifer. I have a plane ready. We need to be at Love Field in an hour. I have an officer waiting to process you out.”

Jen’s head whirled. “Plane?”

“Yes, plane. We’re going back to Bliss.”

“No way.”

Cool, gray eyes slitted, and she could practically feel the will rolling off him. Stef was tense, and she knew it was a bad idea to push him, but she couldn’t help it.

“I’m serious, Stef. I’m not going anywhere with you.” She couldn’t go back to Bliss. Panic threatened to swamp her. He was here. He was right here in front of her, and her heart didn’t give a damn that he was a bastard. For the first time in months, she felt desire for something besides her art. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, go down that path again.

He got into her space, a move he’d perfected seemingly long before he met her. She held her ground. Even though he didn’t touch her physically, he seemed to surround her. Suddenly her whole world was Stef, his gray eyes, the heat of his body, his masculine, clean scent. He filled her every sense.

“I’m not going home with you.” She forced herself to say the words.

His lips hitched up. “At least you admit Bliss is your home.”

That wasn’t what she’d meant. Bliss, Colorado, had felt like home when she’d been there, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bliss wasn’t big enough for the two of them. “It’s your home. Hell, Stef, it’s your little kingdom, and you like to play the king, don’t you?”

“Yes, because everyone does what I say.” Stef’s low growl made her breath speed up. “Everyone in Bliss bows down to me. Have you been gone for so long that you forget Max regularly kicks my ass? And Nell and Henry are currently protesting my gardening practices.”

He was too close for comfort. She gave in and took a step back. She could see plainly that he was satisfied with her discomfort. “Don’t try to play the poor rich boy with me. You’re a puppet master. You like to pull the strings and see how people dance. Well, I’m not in your kingdom anymore, and there’s no way you can get me there again. So you can take your money and go back to Colorado.”

It was stupid. Even as she said the words, she wanted to take them back. She’d spent the last twenty-four hours terrified in a jail cell. She would have to be the stupidest woman in the world to turn him down, but she’d never thought around Stef. Since the moment she’d met him, she’d been a quivering mass of emotion and desire every time he entered a room.

“Stubborn thing. I’ll make it easy on you.” His hands caught hers, and before she could think she felt cold metal surrounding her wrists. He flicked the cuffs on with the cool precision of a man who often cuffed the women in his life.

“What are you doing?” She stared at her hands. At least this time they were in front of her. She preferred it that way. Damn, her life had taken a wrong turn when she could compare and contrast her experiences with men who handcuffed her.

“Taking you home, Jennifer. Whether you like it or not.”

He leaned down and picked her up. She was in his arms, nestled close to his chest. She looked up at the square, inflexible line of his jaw. His arms tightened around her, and she was caged more closely than she’d been in the holding cell. She had the suspicion that this time Stef would be harder to escape from than before. He kicked open the door and started down the hall.

Yep, like it or not, she was going back to Bliss.

Re-released in a second edition with two new chapters and additional new content.

Rachel Swift is a woman on the run.

A stalker sent Rachel’s world reeling. Now she’s running for her life, and Bliss, CO, seems like the perfect place to hide. Bliss is a strange little town, filled with artists, nudists, and the occasional conspiracy nut. It’s a good place to start over.

Max and Rye are just the men to catch her.

Horse trainer Max and Sheriff Rye gave up on their dream of finding one perfect woman to share long ago. Rachel walks in, and they’re both in love and fighting their true natures.

A town like no other….

When Rachel’s past catches up with her, all of Bliss is in danger. Rachel knows she should run, but how can she leave behind the love she’s found with Max and Rye and the home she’s built in Bliss? With her whole town behind her, Rachel is ready to make her stand. It’s time for her to get back in the saddle and ride.

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Re-released in a second edition with new content.

Three lost souls

Growing up in the eclectic, small town of Bliss was wonderful for Callie Sheppard. She loved everything about it, except for the lack of potential romantic partners. She only went wild once in her life, sharing a perfect weekend in Dallas with two incredible men she never thought she would see again. When they parted, she was left with a hole in her heart she feared would never be filled.

One romantic weekend

DEA agents Nathan Wright and Zane Hollister were thrilled when Callie agreed to spend the weekend with them. Just days away from a long, undercover assignment, they considered this passionate affair to be an ideal way to spend their last days of freedom. They never expected to fall in love. Leaving her behind was the hardest decision of their lives.

An unexpected reunion

Six years later, Callie is preparing to break in a new sheriff after Rye Harper walked out on the job. Her heart skips a few beats when the man walking through the door is none other than Nate Wright. Nate and Zane have come to Bliss, but their time undercover has left them broken and scarred. The boys are determined to win back Callie’s heart. But when the criminals they took down come seeking revenge, Nate and Zane may have to save the strange little town of Bliss before they can reclaim the woman they love.

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Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.

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NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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