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Blog Tour: Fate (Trinity Series #5) by Audrey Carlan

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Fate (Trinity Series #5) by Audrey Carlan
Release Date: 22nd August

Buy Today:

Fate: https://audreycarlan.com/fate

Genre: Contemporary Romance
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Synopsis
 Not many can say they were burned by fate. I’m the exception.
Scalded figuratively, emotionally, and physically… I have the scars running down my arm, ribs, and side to prove it.
The doctors have done what they can to heal me by smoothing the abraded skin using other parts of my body. But they can only do so much. Sometimes, what can’t be seen can’t be healed.
The fire that night took more than a pound of flesh. It obliterated my talent, beauty, and most importantly, seared the connection I had with the man I loved. Sure, it was me who pushed him away, but I had my reasons. I did what any woman would do in my situation. I gave up everything so that one day he’d find happiness and peace.
Now I’ve healed a bit on the outside, and on the inside, but I still crave the one I let go. To this day he looks at me with fire in his eyes, a heat so bright in his being he glows with it. I fear the light, the flames that could consume me whole. The problem now is, he’s not mine anymore. I just may have waited too long to fight for him, for us, for a future together.
There’s only one thing I can do. Let fate decide.

Meet The Author

Audrey Carlan is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She writes wicked hot love stories that are designed to give the reader a romantic experience that’s sexy, sweet, and so hot your ereader might melt. Some of her works include the wildly successful Calendar Girl Serial, Falling Series, and the Trinity Trilogy.
She lives in the California Valley where she enjoys her two children and the love of her life. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching yoga, sipping wine with her “soul sisters” or with her nose stuck in a wicked hot romance novel.
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Blog Tour: Bad Deeds by Lisa Renee Jones

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Bad Deeds: A Dirty Money Novel by Lisa Renee Jones
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Would you bleed for the one you love?

To save his family empire from the grip of the drug cartel, Shane is pushed to the edge of darkness, forced to make choices he might never make. His father is dying. His brother is desperate to rule the empire and this means war and all gloves are off. His brother only thought he knew what dirty meant. Shane is about to give it new meaning. There is another war brewing though, and that one, is inside him, his battle between right and wrong, light and dark, and in the heat of the night, it is Emily he turns to for escape. Driving her to new limits, pushing her to accept a part of him that even he cannot.

In every one of Shane’s seductive demands, Emily can taste and feel, his torment, his struggle to save his family and not lose himself. But he is losing himself, and that is a problem just as dangerous as her secret, that still lurk in the shadows, a threat to the Brandon Family waiting to erupt. No matter where she and Shane have traveled, or will travel in the future, she can’t just sit back and watch him become everything he hates, everything he never wanted to become, everything she tried to save him from when she tried to run. It could be their undoing, the end. His end.

This is war, blood will spill, and someone in the heart of the Brandon family will not survive….

Excerpt:

“What is in your head right now?”

His eyes heat, darken. “You. Always.” He inches back and looks at me. “You’re mine. Mine to protect.” His voice is low, fierce, and he grips my panties and yanks them away. “Mine to fuck.”

I gasp and grab his shoulders. “Shane.”

His answer is to wrap his arm around my waist, pull me close, his cheek against mine, his fingers pressing into the V of my body. “Wet, just the way I like you,” he says, pressing two fingers inside me. “Wet for me. And too fucking perfect for my sanity sometimes.”

“That doesn’t sound like a compliment,” I pant out, grabbing the lapel to his suit as a sweet ache begins to build in my sex as his thumb strokes my clit.

“And no one else,” he murmurs, nipping my earlobe, “will ever touch you like this.” His fingers caress deeper inside me. “No one,” he adds, “will ever make you say their name like I want you to say mine right now. Say it.”

“Shane,” I whisper, and not because he wants me to, but rather because it’s there on my lips, the way I wish his tongue was on my lips now. “Shane, I—”

Seeming to know what I need, he cups my head and kisses me, long, slow, sensual strokes of his tongue that somehow make every touch of his fingers more intense.

“Come for me,” he murmurs, and this time when he kisses me, I start climbing that wall to release, and I’m there at the top in an instant. I stiffen while his fingers and tongue tease, please, and then I jerk, I’m over it, tumbling in an instant into shudders and shakes. Shane’s lips lift from mine as he breathes with me. His fingers slow as he eases me through the waves until I collapse against his chest.

He tangles his fingers in my hair and drags my mouth back to his. “And no one but me will ever make you come like that again,” he declares, the waves of his emotions beating down any embarrassment I might feel over having had an orgasm on his father’s desk.

“No one has ever made me feel what you make me feel, Shane.”

Bad Deeds Available

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99 CENT SALE – Hard Rules (Dirty Money book 1)

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And Lisa has a chance for readers to read the first TWO CHAPTERS of book 4, END GAME, early PLUS the first chapter of SETH’S story (Poison Kisses) as well!

More info: https://us.macmillan.com/smp/promo/endgamepreordergiveaway

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES series. Presently, Lisa is working on her Murder Girl/Lilah Love series to be published by Montlake.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

Lisa Renee Jones

Connect with the Author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaReneeJones/

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Twitter: @LisaReneeJones

Stay in touch with Lisa by joining her mailing list:

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Website: http://lisareneejones.com

Blog Tour: Devil’s Run by Beverly Oakley

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Devil’s Run 
Scandalous Miss Brightwells series
By Beverley Oakley


Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here

BLURB: 
A rigged horserace and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?
George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.

Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But with her heart suddenly engaged by handsome, charming Rufus Patmore who has just bought a horse from her betrothed George Bramley in whose household her son lives as a pauper child, the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

**This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.
~*~*~*~*~*~
Excerpt: 
This excerpt begins after Eliza has just plunged into the lake to rescue three drowning children and their nanny. Having dragged them – and herself – to shore, she makes a shocking discovery.
Chapter Two
Eliza had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a man’s attention. He’d started to dry her in a vigorous attempt to warm her but then his touch gentled and he simply stared down at her.
The wonder in his eye as he murmured words of praise was a rare sensation. Embarrassed, she turned away. Yes, turned away because she could not afford to be so obviously disquieted by another man when she was affianced to George Bramley who stood a few feet away from her. He was also staring but there was no softness in his countenance.
Hoping to avoid any more gestures of admiration or kindness from Mr Patmore, Eliza politely extricated herself and put out her hand to arrest the progress of the Foundling Home lad whom Nanny Brown was pursuing with a piece of dry linen.
 His impish grin reminded her of young Miss Katherine’s, Lady Fenton’s daughter. Clearly the two had had a great adventure unlike Young George who was lying on his stomach upon the grass, shaking with sobs.
“Did you drink a lot of water, Young George?” Eliza asked, looking down at the crying boy but he ignored her. “I said we shouldn’t go out! I said!” He pounded his fists. “No one ever listens to what I say!”
 Eliza shared a wry smile with the rather lovely Mr Patmore whom she found still staring at her but, as he looked about to approach her again, she turned her back on him and instead brought the Foundling Home boy to stand in front of her now that she’d succeeded in catching him. Eliza would not have Mr Bramley – or anyone else – accuse her of encouraging the attentions of a man not her betrothed.
 “Jack – that’s your name, isn’t it? Well, you’ll have something to tell them back at the Foundling Home.” She’d seen him only from a distance and now, mud bespattered and with his hair matted over his forehead it was difficult to make out his features though she knew from various anecdotes that young Jack distinguished himself for keeping Miss Katherine’s wilfulness in check and peace between Katherine and her cousin, Young George.
Jack stood obediently before her as he started to wring out his threadbare shirt. “Nah, I’m fine, m’lady,” he said, glancing up to reveal a pair of small white teeth in a freckled face. “But thanks for savin’ me, an’ all.”
Eliza was about to let him go. Releasing her grip a second later might have changed the course of her life, she thought later that evening, and perhaps it would have been better if she had. Why repeat the trauma she’d already experienced?
But for now she was acting on instinct and instead of letting him go when it would have seemed natural, her grip on his wrist tightened while the air in her lungs disappeared, and she had to open and close her eyes three times before she was ready to believe what she saw.
“Gideon?” There seemed still no air to say his name. A great pressure was building in her head. Finally she was able to gasp in a breath, forcing herself to resist the urge to draw him into her embrace and wail her joy.
And pain.
How many other boys of seven years sported a tiny extra claw on their left hand? Or had been thrust into the cold, unloving world of the Foundling Home, she thought bitterly.
He stopped what he was doing to look at her uncomprehendingly and she added faintly, “Though that’s not what they call you, of course.”
An amused look crossed his face, making him look older and wiser than his seven years. Nearby, the weeping and wailing George was a puling infant. Smiling at her was a little man.
He pushed out his chest and said in a tone that was neither boastful nor self pitying, “There’s some ‘at call me Devil’s Cub, or bastard, but at the manor here they call me Jack.”
Devil’s Cub? The sixth finger accounted for the nickname, of course.
“Miss Montrose?” In the distance, Lady Fenton was calling her. Eliza was suddenly shaking like one suffering the ague. “Jack,” she repeated in a whisper, still staring at him as she clenched her own fists. Was the child tormented by his deformity? It looked as if not much troubled him though Eliza couldn’t remember how many times Eliza had been told the sixth finger was God’s punishment upon her bastard babe.
“Miss Montrose! Come away! Susan is waiting in the house with a warm bath and blankets. You must be chilled to the bone!”
Vaguely, she could hear the sounds of concern all around her but all Eliza could focus on was the impish face before her: that of her lost child.
~*~*~*~*~*~
Author Info: 

Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.
Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.
You can get in contact with Beverley at:

Blog Tour: Trouble by Avery Flynn

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Trouble by Avery Flynn

Release Date: June 27th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Trouble, an all-new sexy standalone from Avery Flynn is available NOW!

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Synopsis

A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new romance from USA Today bestselling author Avery Flynn.

Brains and a badass attitude. That’s all troublemaker Leah Camacho took with her when she left Catfish Creek. She’d promised herself she’d never go back, but when the invite to her tenth high school reunion arrived along with the chance to show everyone who doubted her what a success she’s made of herself, she couldn’t resist. However, when she discovers a 15-carat, stolen diamond in her rental car’s glove box, there’s only one man she can turn to for help—the same sexy, stubborn domineering man who’d smashed her heart all those years ago.

Sheriff Drew Jackson knew a long time ago that Leah Camacho was nothing but trouble and has sworn to never get caught up in her again—no matter how damn sexy she is or how badly he’d failed to forget her. But, when the woman who test drove his heart right into a concrete wall rolls into Catfish Creek with some serious bad guys on her tail, it’s up to him to keep her safe—even if that means guarding her hot bod 24/7 without giving into temptation or losing his mind.

Excerpt

Spinning the wheel as he hit the brakes, he came to a stop behind the sports car at an angle that blocked it from reversing. Drew got out of his truck, keeping the open door between him and the other car and flicked open the leather strap on his hip holster that kept his sheriff’s office-issued 9mm locked in place.

“Get out of the vehicle,” he hollered.

The car’s driver’s side door opened wide. The first part of the driver to appear was one shapely leg wearing skin-tight denim punctuated with scuffed up black Doc Martens. Some sort of danger alarm sounded in Drew’s head, but not the kind that warned of bullets or other bodily danger. A woman got out, facing away from him, her hands up and her dark hair a long silky curtain that led his attention straight down her back to the high curve of her ass poured into those jeans. Parts of him that had no place in police business sat up and noticed. Her ass was a testament to the reason why society required women to wear full dresses for so long—because men were weak, lust-addled idiots when it came to asses like the one that looked more than a little familiar to Drew. His gaze snapped back up as his internal alarm went from quiet buzz to all-out blare. He knew that ass, that hair, and those damn boots.

“Turn around,” he ordered.

She did. Her lush mouth—one he knew far too well—was compressed into a tight line, her attention focused on something behind him. Leah Camacho was back and with her always came trouble—for him, for his sanity, and for the part of him that still thought of her at opportune moments in the shower.

“Drew,” she said, making his name sound like a curse and a promise. “Get on the other side of the door.”

Listening to Leah Camacho was the last thing he should be doing, but he did it anyway for reasons he didn’t understand. Just as he rounded the door, an extended cab pickup truck turned the corner. The tires were big, the windows dark, and the speed was slow. As it puttered by, Drew looked it over and mentally confirmed it didn’t belong to any of the usual suspects in Catfish Creek. Of course, the high school reunion was bringing in lots of folks who hadn’t been here in a while. At the corner, the truck sped up, peeling away from the stop sign and taking a hard right back toward the highway.

“Who was that?” he asked, the smell of burnt rubber drifting back toward them.

“No fucking clue but they’ve been on my ass for the past hour,” she said, reaching up and winding her long hair into a knot on the top of her head—the move emphasizing her amazing tits and making Drew’s mouth go dry. “I didn’t realize I’d be stopping on your turf.”

He bet not. After what happened last time they were together, she’d made avoiding him into an art form. However, the fact that he was the law in town, however temporarily, meant avoiding her was an impossibility because wherever Leah Camacho went, trouble was sure to follow. He glanced down at exhibit A.

“What happened to your tire?” he asked.

“No clue,” she said, her voice tight with a lie. “I must have run over something.”

Drew squatted down and took a closer look at the tire. It didn’t have a tear, it was just gone as if it had been a blow out. If Leah had run over something big enough to do that, she would have realized it.

“What in the hell is going on, Leah?”

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About the Author:

Avery Flynn is an award winning, USA Today bestselling romance author. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

Connect with Avery:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AveryFlynnAuthor/

Twitter: @averyflynn

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http://averyflynn.com/newsletter/

http://averyflynn.com

Blog Tour: Primrose Lane by Debbie Mason

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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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Blog Tour: Scored by Marquita Valentine

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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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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:
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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.

Tycoon-ANLOGOS

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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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Connect with the Author:

Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com

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Twitter @authorkatyevans