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Kelly Bowen Sweepstakes + Vote on Kelly’s New Duke!

Kelly Bowen Sweepstakes + Vote on Kelly’s New Duke

Forever Romance is giving away a Kelly Bowen historical romance prize pack and asking for your help in choosing the cover design for Kelly’s February 2018 release. Click the link below to enter for a chance to win and you can cast your vote on the dreamiest duke while you’re at it!

Click here to enter for a chance to win.

Prize pack consists of a Forever/Forever Yours tote bag and the following six (6) Forever titles from Kelly Bowen:

Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen

A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen

Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

A Good Duke is Hard to Find by Kelly Bowen

I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm by Kelly Bowen

You’re the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE CHANCE OF WINNING. Void where prohibited. Must be legal US resident 18 years or older as of June 16, 2017 to enter. Sweepstakes begins June 16, 2017 at 12:01 am ET and ends June 30, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET. Visit http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/forever-romance/kellybowen/ for Official Rules and details. Sponsor: Hachette Book Group, Inc., 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104.

About the Author

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

Follow:

www.kellybowen.net

www.facebook.com/authorkellybowen

www.twitter.com/kellybowen09

Pre-order Kelly Bowen’s February 2018 release

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Release Blitz: Forgetting You, Forgetting Me by Monica James

FORGETTING YOU, FORGETTING ME
Monica James

Series: Memories From Yesterday Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 26th 2017
German Rights sold to: Heyne, Random House

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My name is Lucy Tucker, and my life…it was perfect.

I worked the dream job. I had the most incredible family and friends. My home, Whispering Willows, a ranch in Montana, was everything I could ever wish for. My adoring fiancé, Samuel Stone, loved me unconditionally.

I had everything a girl could ever want.

But one fateful event shattered my perfect life. It’s unimaginable how simple, ordinary words can change a person’s life forever. For me those words were, “There’s been an accident.”

I thought Sam was my forever, but that forever came to a close the day Saxon Stone, Sam’s identical twin brother, came back. Saxon returned to Montana to help save Sam, however, the moment he entered my life, he turned my world upside down. But through chaos I somehow found clarity—clarity of who I was meant to be.

As time progressed, as seasons changed, and as a fire began to burn, I soon realized that Saxon was there for another reason…he was there to help save me.

Excerpt

“Let’s pretend tomorrow doesn’t exist.” Pressing his forehead to mine, he earnestly says, “Whatever happens now, it’ll just be memories from yesterday.” I can feel the tremble rumble throughout his entire body, and his uncertainty leaves me abandoning any lingering doubts. For this stolen moment in time, I just want to…feel.
Gently pushing on his bare, solid chest, he allows me to climb onto his lap as he nestles into the rocky terrain. Without a second thought, I wrap my legs around his waist and hold on tight, with no intention of ever letting go. His chest is rising and falling so quickly, I’m certain I can hear his heart hammering wildly within his body. The cadence matches mine as I seal my mouth around his. The touch of his full lips pressed to mine is complete perfection. But when he angles my mouth at the perfect slope and skillfully tangles my tongue with his, I know that this is nirvana.
The kiss at first is slow, like a roller coaster beginning its incline. But as we reach the pinnacle, it’s an exhilarating head rush of fast, breathtaking passion. When he senses me coyly opening up, lowering my guard and losing myself in the moment, he growls into my mouth. He dominates me with a fierce desire and in this moment, I am his.
I can’t keep up with the frantic pace, and finally, I surrender all I am. I allow him total control, melting when he sucks my bottom lip with a long, wet pull. I madly fuse our lips together, unable to get enough of this heady feeling, needing him to consume me, devour me, make me whole.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.
She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Author Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormonicajames
Twitter: https://twitter.com/monicajames81
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MonicaJames
Instagram: @authormonicajames
Website: http://monicajamesbooks.blogspot.com.au/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/monicajames81/

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Blog Tour: Primrose Lane by Debbie Mason

Author: Debbie Mason

Series: Harmony Harbor, #3

On Sale: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She’s left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor’s most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she’s now guardian of her ex’s young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn’t have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she’s got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He’d really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn’t want his help. Since he’s returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he’s interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.

BONUS: The eBook edition includes a complete novel from BookShots Flames, THE MCCULLAGH INN IN MAINE by Jen McLaughlin!

BUY THE BOOK HERE

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THE HARMONY HARBOR SERIES

MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1

CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5

STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2

PRIMROSE LANE, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews).  When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

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Cover Reveal: Big Shot by Kim Karr

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Big Shot -Book Info

Title: Big Shot

Author: Kim Karr

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 27, 2017

Cover Designer: Michele Catalano – Creative

Model: Mitchell Wick

Photographer: Wong Sim

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Big Shot - About book

BIG SHOT_Amazon To believe one person can change your destiny sounds absurd. But it happened to me… twice.

Ten years ago I had no idea what I wanted out of life, until I met Hannah Michaels. She was a computer-engineering student ready to conquer the social media world, and I was smitten. Even though I knew she was taken, I had to have her.

Being the big shot that I was, I didn’t let her status stand in my way. It wasn’t long before my hands were on her thighs and my name a whisper on her lips. This smart, sexy girl inspired me to greatness, helped me grow into the kind of man I never knew I wanted to be. The man I am today.

Too bad I hadn’t grown fast enough to keep her.

Moving on wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to let her go. Eventually, I found someone to share my days and nights with, and together we had a daughter. My life was nearly perfect until my world turned upside down.

A single father has challenges, and one of those is learning how to calmly deal with your child coming home in tears. I had no idea the day I pounded on my daughter’s classmate’s door, Hannah would be the one standing on the other side.

The wild, burning desire that rushed through my veins was unwanted, and yet impossible to ignore. Letting her in meant so much more this time around. Guilt hit me like a hammer. I hated myself. I hated her. The problem was I really didn’t hate her—I wanted her more than ever.

But this time around, I can’t have her.

This time it’s my status that stands in our way—and going up against myself just might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Big Shot - Pre-Order

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ADD TO GOODREADS_ FBIG SHOT W. COVER

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Big Shot - About author

Kim Karr is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.

She grew up in Rochester, NY and now lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She’s always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, she wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. She went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise her family. Kim currently works part-time with her husband and recently decided to embrace one of her biggest passions–writing.

Kim wears a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of her family. However, she always finds time to read. One of her favorite family outings was taking her kids when they were little to the bookstore or the library. Today, Kim’s oldest child is seventeen and no longer goes with her on these, now rare and infrequent, outings. She finds that she doesn’t need to go on them anymore because she has the greatest device ever invented–a Kindle.

Kim likes to believe in soul mates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. She loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.

Big Shot -connect author

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Big Shot Kim Karr Coming Soon

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Cover Reveal: Black by K.L. Grayson

★★#CoverReveal #Giveaway & #99c #PreOrder #Sale★★

Black (A Bloodlines Novel) by K.L. Grayson will be released June 29th and #PreOrder is now available at a special price of #99cents! 


This beautiful cover was designed by the very talented Sara Eirew! 

★PRE-ORDER NOW AVAILABLE★

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2s8xyOt

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2u1C7LZ

All other Amazon: http://mybook.to/BLK

★SYNOPSIS★

Family.

Everyone has one.

Some are close.

Some are dysfunctional.

Some are simply gone.

Nine-year-old Shae Black entered the Witness Protection Program after the murder of her father, mob boss Luca DiMarco. New name. New identity. And a ready-made family that had no idea who she really was.

Fourteen years later, a letter from a ghost thrusts Shae back into the life she was forced to leave behind. As secrets unravel, revealing unexpected truths, Shae sees an opportunity to avenge her father’s death by destroying patriarch Sal Ambrosi, the man responsible for her father’s murder. Getting to the heart of the family will be difficult, but nothing and no one is going to stop her—not even the heirs to the Ambrosi family empire.

She’s prepared for the two brothers, Dante and Rex, to put up a fight, but she isn’t at all prepared for the danger they will bring to her life and her heart.

One will love her.

One will hate her.

One will vow to protect her.

One will vow to kill her.

All in the name of family.

★ABOUT THE AUTHOR★

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

★GIVEAWAY★

$20 Amazon Giftcard! Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a1178061145/?

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SALE!!! Love Restored by Carrie Ann Ryan is FREE for a limited time!!

LOVE RESTORED by Carrie Ann Ryan is available now for FREE and trust us – you want to meet Graham Gallagher. If you love a man who is good with his hands, make sure to grab LOVE RESTORED today!

Love RestoredAbout LOVE RESTORED

In the first of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan, a broken man uncovers the truth of what it means to take a second chance with the most unexpected woman…

Graham Gallagher has seen it all. And when tragedy struck, lost it all. He’s been the backbone of his brothers, the one they all rely on in their lives and business. And when it comes to falling in love and creating a life, he knows what it’s like to have it all and watch it crumble. He’s done with looking for another person to warm his bed, but apparently he didn’t learn his lesson because the new piercer at Montgomery Ink tempts him like no other.

Blake Brennen may have been born a trust fund baby, but she’s created a whole new life for herself in the world of ink, piercings, and freedom. Only the ties she’d thought she’d cut long ago aren’t as severed as she’d believed. When she finds Graham constantly in her path, she knows from first glance that he’s the wrong kind of guy for her. Except that Blake excels at making the wrong choice and Graham might be the ultimate temptation for the bad girl she’d thought long buried.

Add LOVE RESTORED to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on LOVE RESTORED for FREE:

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Read an excerpt of LOVE RESTORED:

When the game started, and the Avs took the ice, Graham kept his attention on the players rather than the very sexy woman beside him. His team needed his head to be in the game and not on Blake’s curves. And, yes, he might be a little superstitious, but whatever.

At the face off, Toronto took possession of the puck, and Blake let out a little cheer— not loud enough for others to hear, but just those on either side of her. Holy hell, had Austin sent a traitor into their midst? A freaking Toronto fan at a home game for the Avalanche? What the hell was that Montgomery thinking?

He growled at her as she quietly cheered the first Maple Leaf goal and met Derek’s eyes. Why the hell was the other man laughing? Couldn’t he see that Blake was cheering for the wrong team? She lived in freaking Denver for God’s sake, and considering that her family’s ancestral home was here, she had to be a native. And yet, she cheered for Toronto? It was as if she were trying to annoy him.

After the first period, he got up, his hands fisting at his sides. “I need another beer.”

Owen, who had been quiet the entire time since he was apparently answering emails on his phone, looked up. “Grab me a soda, will you? I need some caffeine, and since I’m driving us home, I’ll let you drink.” He winked toward Blake. “I think you’re going to need alcohol tonight.”

Graham grunted and stomped his way through the aisle and up the stairs so he could get a beer. Since everyone and their mother got up during intermission, he’d have to wait in line, but maybe that would help him cool off. He was just so freaking pissed that she would dare root for another team. And that made no sense. Why could she get under his skin so easily?

“Hey, Graham, wait up,” Derek said as he jogged up behind him.

“I don’t know what you did to piss Blake off, but I should probably let you know she’d rooting for Toronto just to needle you.”

Graham turned. “Excuse me?”

He must have looked like he wanted to rip someone’s arm off because a few people moved back in the line and Derek held up his hands. “She’s a diehard Avs fan. Even owns a signed Sakic jersey and keeps a spare she can wear during games. The signed one only comes out during the playoffs. It’s got to be killing her to root for the other team, and it must be because of you.”

That little witch. “How do you know it’s not because of you?” he asked, intrigued and pissed off all at the same time that she would do something like that.

“Because we’re friends, not close ones, but friends. This isn’t a date or anything, just to let you know. I think she’s single, but since my girlfriend up in Seattle would skin me if I even dared to look at Blake that way, I’m just fine as I am. Anyway, I thought you should know that she’s just trying to piss you off. Bro code and all that.”

Graham clenched his teeth. “Bro code.” He ordered his beer, Owen’s soda, and paid for Derek and Blake’s drinks since Derek had been so helpful.

“What are you going to do about Blake?” Derek asked as they made their way back to the entrance and showed their tickets.

“Don’t know yet.” And that was the problem. He never knew about anything where it came to this woman. She could intrigue him, turn him on, and piss him off all in the span of ten minutes. That had to be a record.

He handed Owen his drink and sat back down, studying Blake as he did so.

“What?” she asked, brows raised.

“Nothing,” he said softly. “Not yet anyway.”

She blinked and opened her mouth to say something, then froze as people started to chant, “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” around them.

Graham slowly looked up at the huge screen on top of the ice and cursed. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

Blake laughed. “No way. No fucking way.”

“Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”

He was pretty sure Owen was yelling the loudest, and Graham was going to have to kick his brother’s ass when this was over.

“Fuck it,” Graham growled and gripped the back of Blake’s head and crushed his mouth to hers. They both froze a moment as cheers erupted around them before he sank deeper into the kiss. He didn’t open his mouth, wouldn’t let his tongue touch hers, but the moment of lips against lips left him breathless.

He pulled back, his eyes wide, Blake’s even wider.

“What the hell was that?” Blake gasped, her cheeks slashed with red.

“I…” He cleared his throat. “Just watch the game. And you can cheer for your precious Avs. Don’t hurt yourself going for Toronto.”

He turned away from her and gulped half his beer down in one go.

He could feel Blake’s eyes on him before she turned away, and see her hands shaking out of the corner of his eye.

“Dude,” Owen whispered. “This is going to be fun.”

“Fuck you,” Graham growled and drank the last of his beer.

He didn’t know what had come over him, but that had to be the last of it. There was no way he was going to go there. If he were this unraveled and tense at the same time with just one kiss, with just one look, he wouldn’t make it if he had her in his arms. In his bed.

Blake wasn’t for him, and damn it, he didn’t want her to be.

The Kiss Cam could go straight to hell.

About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

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Blog Tour: Scored by Marquita Valentine

Title: Scored
Author: Marquita Valentine
Publication Date: June 20th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Scored, a sexy all-new STANDALONE from Marquita Valentine is available now!!!

Dallas Drake has a big salary and an even bigger…ego…and he’s not afraid to use either of them to his advantage. As infamous as he is attractive, Dallas has all the equipment necessary to bring home the win.

The first time I met him, I was in handcuffs.
The second, he saved me when I fell off a ladder.

Now? Now we’re working together to plan a charity event.

I may not be interested in what Dallas has to offer, but as the game goes on, I’m becoming more open to his passes.
Is he looking for the win, or just determined to score?

Excerpt:

The one good piece of advice my mom gave me concerning men is that their egos are huge yet fragile and it takes the delicate, yet strong touch of a woman to handle them.
Leave it to a man I know only by reputation to drive that point home.
Dallas sits in my office, an ice pack on his lip and the back of his head. To be nice, and since it was my fault he’s in pain in the first place, I’m holding the one on his head, so he can have at least one hand free.
“Sorry,” I say for what has to be the tenth time in the past twenty minutes. “I didn’t get to explain myself before, but I wasn’t laughing at you…well, it was at you, but not your pain. Pain is not funny. When I fell out of a tree and broke my wrist at the growth plate, I laughed the whole way there because that’s the only way I could deal with the pain. Finley didn’t order to me stop either.”
Dallas glances at me, his normally warm eyes icy. “Not sure how that helps.”
“Hopefully, it lets you know that I’m not laughing all willy-nilly.”
“Willy-nilly,” he mutters. “Who says willy-nilly?”
“I do, and to be honest, you’re not that soft. It actually hurt to fall on you.”
He arches a brow. “You weren’t exactly a pile of feathers.”
“Yeah… that’s not helping either.” I take the ice pack away and gently inspect the back of his head. “There’s a tiny,” he hisses, “bump here, but um, I’m sure if you go to the doctor that you’ll get fixed up in time for your next game.”
“You do realize that if I have a concussion, I can’t play this week.”
Slowly, I shake my head. “I didn’t know that.” Now I feel even worse for freaking out when I fell off the ladder. The dang thing is only three feet off the ground. I wasn’t falling to my death or into a pit of snakes.
I shiver.
Pushing away the thoughts of snakes and pits, I focus on Dallas. Although, I plan on making it up to him, I do need to say something about his sneaky ways.
“This could have been avoided altogether if you hadn’t sneaked up on me.”
His jaw works. “I spoke to let you know I was there, so I wasn’t sneaking up on you.”
This time, I’m the one arching a brow. “Next time, do you mind waiting until you’re standing on the ladder with me, or I don’t know… wait until I’m done with said ladder before scaring me to death?”
Dallas tosses the ice pack on my desk. “I guess you have a point.”
He’s agreeing with me? From my Google snooping, or Snoogling as I like to call it, everything about Dallas screams he is a cocky, confident man who has been known to argue with a referee a time or two. Then again, according to the article I read, Dallas argued with the ref over not throwing a flag for unnecessary roughness due to player being tackled after the whistle was blown. That kind of behavior, the other player’s, I mean, is considered very poor sportsmanship and worth some sort of penalization.
So maybe he was right to argue… and maybe I’m wrong to assume the worst about him. Even Finley says he’s not that bad, which for her is practically an endorsement.
But not for us to date—I’m not that stupid.
Or am I…?
“Is there any way I can make it up to you?” I ask. Yes, that is a hopeful tone in my voice. I do want to go out with him, try something new, and see what happens. Besides, it’s not like he’s going to ask me out again. That ship has sailed based on his grumpiness.
“Have drinks with me tonight at 451,” he says.
The ice pack I’m holding plops onto his head, and he grunts. “Sorry. Dang it.” I grab the pack and toss it onto my desk, where it slides precariously close to the edge. “Yes, I’d love to have drinks with you. My treat, of course, since I’m the cause of your injury and… you can send me any outstanding bills.”
“Why would I do that? You didn’t make me try to save you, and I sure as hell could have finessed my approach better.”
“Drinks only, then?”
“Appetizers, too. My treat.” His infamous grin curves his lips. “Don’t want you to think I’m trying to take advantage of you due to an empty stomach.”
So smooth. I eye him. “You might want to get your head looked at first because I’m pretty sure that alcohol and concussions don’t play nice together.”
He salutes me. “Will do.”
I fist my hands on my hips. “Did you come by here to see me, or to see the event space?”
He bites the unbruised side of his lip. “Would it bother you if I said both?”
My stomach flips at his answer. “No. I like honesty.”
“Then you’re going to love this,” he says with a serious look in his eyes that is in direct opposition of his tone, “because I need you to help me win a bet so a fellow teammate can get some mentoring.”
Intrigued, I reach across my desk and drag my office chair around. The floor is smooth and the feet have wheels, so it’s relative easy to do. Plus, I’m pretty sure Dallas is checking out my butt right now and I kind of like it.
Plopping down, I cross my legs and lean forward. “Tell me more.”
“You might not like it,” he warns.
“Do we have to kill anyone?”
His brows shoot up to his hairline. “No, but it’s kind of scary and insulting that you’d go there first.”
“Had to be asked.” I shrug.

Read Today!

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Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/jhXuJe

About the Author:

Marquita Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Holland Springs and Boys of the South series.

Since first taking the plunge in July of 2012 to self publish, Marquita Valentine has appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling Ebooks Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes&Noble. She’s been called “one of the best new voices in romance” (Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews) and her books have been accused of being “a sexy, fun, and slightly addicting contemporary read” (The Book Queen).

When she’s not writing sexy heroes who adore their sassy heroines, she enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Married to her high school sweetheart, Marquita lives in a seriously small town in the south with her husband, two kids, and a dog.

Connect with Marquita:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarquitaValentine/
GoodReads: https://goo.gl/n84vKD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marquitaval
Website: http://www.marquitavalentine.com
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2k1AUDl
Newsletter: https://goo.gl/ACLMkk

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Blog Tour: Tycoon by Katy Evans

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Tycoon by Katy Evans
Publication Date: June 20th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tycoon, an all-new standalone from Katy Evans is available now!!!

Tycoon Amazon

He wasn’t always this rich. This hot. This difficult.

Aaric Christos was a guy who protected me. Wanted me. Maybe even loved me.

That man is gone.

In his place is the most powerful real estate tycoon in the city.

He’s a cold, ruthless, aggressive businessman.

The only one who can save me and my startup from ruin.

It takes every ounce of courage to put my pride aside and ask for his help.

I didn’t expect him to offer it easily.

And he doesn’t.

Instead, he vets me harder than he’s vetted anyone.

Don’t invest in what you don’t know, he says.

He’s assessing every piece of me, to the point I’ve never felt so bare.

I yearn for the boy I once knew, whose touch once craved me.

Putting it all on the line will be worth it, I tell myself.

Until I realize—too late—that some risks are not worth taking.

Excerpt:

I hop off the train and walk several walks to his building.

It’s a brownstone in Park Avenue, one of the most elite of the elite spaces in town.

My lungs feel a little bit overworked from awe as I head up the steps to the double doors, grateful that I came dressed to kill in a little black dress, a jacket, and pumps. Simple, but effective.

See, I may be feeling a little awkward, but at least I don’t look it.

I’m greeted by his maid. She’s dressed in black and white, her hair drawn back in a neat bun, her expression stoic and formal as she leads me down the hall to a gorgeous study.

I catch my breath when I notice all the books and shelves.

It’s like a reader’s paradise in here. There’s a sleek chrome bar, a modern mahogany glass-topped desk, and two huge whiskey-colored leather chairs that almost swallow me up when I’m instructed to wait in one.

I drum my fingers, inhaling the scent of leather and wine, remembering a guy I knew with his mechanic navy-blue uniform, black streaks on his jaw, his big nose always the first thing you’d see, which was a pity because he had beautiful eyes and a really sinful pair of lips.

He’s living in luxury now. Wow. Good for him.

I hear footsteps approaching and the little hair on my arms prick at attention. My head turns as a tall, dark figure steps into the room, and the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen enters and crosses the room toward the desk. He walks like he’s the shit…his strides proud and composed, elegant and powerful.

Christos, I hear myself breathe in surprise.

He’s so tall now…six three, at least. Dirty-blonde hair, gold-green eyes, chiseled jaw, and a gorgeous profile.

All in black, he looks very much a New Yorker.

He’s wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a black turtleneck beneath the jacket…

I stare at him, my jaw hanging a little bit open. The man is….all man. Testosterone. Muscles. Height. Width. My chest hurts all of a sudden because I realize…

The boy you knew is gone.

I force myself to stand. “Thank you for seeing me.”

He heads to the bar to pour two drinks, then he prowls over, takes the whiskey leather chair across from mine and leans forward, pushing a glass of cognac with one finger across a small table, toward me.

And he waits.

In silence.

But my stomach dips as if he’d said something ultra-sexy and decadent.

“You might not remember me, I’m sorry to be reaching out like this,” I say, nervous.

“What do you want?”

There’s a pleasant shiver as he speaks. Recognition of his voice, even though it’s far deeper than I remember.

“I was told you sometimes invest in startups.”

“I’d say more than sometimes.” He raises his eyebrows as if I should’ve done my homework better.

Ugh, Bryn! Focus! Be SMART! Make yourself and your business irresistible! A silence settles as he eyes me, slowly setting his drink down as he leans forward and finally, unexpectedly, smiles. At me.

It’s just a smile.

But the world tilts under its impact.

“Hello, little bit.” Amusement touches his gaze as he tilts his head and watches me. “You know, I’d think you’d have grown up the ten-plus years since I last saw you. At least an inch.” He leans back in his seat, seemingly displeased. Wow, this guy is not the lanky kid I knew once. This guy oozes danger.

Every ounce of “boy” is gone. Oh God. For a moment I wish that we could go back in time and I could discuss my startup with the guy I knew before.

But time travel is not really my talent, and it seems like I have yet to see if I even have any special talents at all—depending on what this guy thinks.

“I grew two in width,” I shock myself saying.

He laughs then, his eyes drinking me in openly.

“Shame on you, you’re not trying to see if it’s true?” I ask him, frowning now.

He shrugs casually, his lips curved at the corners. “I can’t help it. Something has to have changed.”

“Why?”

“Because nothing good ever lasts. Even you, little bit.” A smile touches those unforgettable gold-green eyes.

A shiver runs through me. Because…

Christos recognized me.

“I can tell you’re as incorrigible as ever.” I shake my head, but I’m smiling, truly just relieved that he recognized me.

“I try to be,” he purrs dangerously.

I’m feeling warm all of a sudden. I can’t believe I’m staring at him so much, but it’s like I cannot take my eyes away. He looks achingly familiar, but at the same time, so different I cannot help but stare and track the differences in his features. The way his jaw squared out even more, the way his body filled out with hard, lean muscles that shift and ripple beneath his expensive designer clothes. I cannot believe that this is a guy I knew once.

He seems to silently be taking in my changes too, his keen stare allowing me to see that he seems to approve of it all. Even the dress I’m wearing. “You changed enough for the both of us,” I blurt.

“Really. How so?” he asks.

“You grew into your nose.”

“Really?” He chuckles as if despite himself.

“Width and height too. Quite a bit,” I add.

“Anything else,” he prods, one eyebrow rising.

“You learned how to dress.”

He looks down at his black suit. “This old thing?” He grins, then shifts forward, sobering up. “What can I do for you, Bryn? Considering I’m rather surprised to see you here, I’m eager for you to satiate my curiosity.” His stare becomes keen.

“So am I. I didn’t expect to be here,” I admit, and for a moment when I look into his eyes, all I see is someone I’ve seen before. Someone who belonged in my life long ago. “You know when you had that misplaced crush on me and told me one day I’d know what it felt like to throw pebbles at someone’s window wanting them to open? I’m sort of throwing rocks here.”

“Not to sing me a love song,” he says flatly, his eyes shuttering.

“No. Well, you know that was never….I mean…” Don’t bring up your rejection of him, Bryn! “It’s for something better. Business.”

“Go on.”

“I knew that’d get you.” I smile privately. “So it’s true your love is money now.”

“She gives back what I put in. Though her ass isn’t as juicy as I like,” he says nonchalantly.

“Wow. No matter how polished you look, your mouth is still as crude as ever.”

“Thank you,” he purrs, his eyes grinning at me.

I laugh. Then I sober up and realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “I’m looking for money for my startup,” I say.

“How much.”

“One hundred thousand.”

“I don’t invest less than a million.” He twirls his whiskey in his glass, eyeing the liquid.

“Well then, I’ll ask for a million.”

He raises his brows, setting his glass down. “It’s not how much you want to ask for, it’s how much the company’s worth.” Eyebrows up, he skewers me with a cold, intimidating look.

“It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff.

“Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.”

This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately.

I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?”

“I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence.

This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say.

“I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase.

“Darling. Are you ready?”

I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out.

“We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me.

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body.

There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away.

“I’ll think about it,” he says.

“Christos.”

“I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door.

“Please do,” I say as he exits the room. I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly.

I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.”

“Nice to see you. Christos.”

Well, that went sort of awful.

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About the Author:

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

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