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Excerpt Reveal: Shimmy Bang Sparkle by Nicola Rendell

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EXCERPT REVEAL!!

TWO WEEKS LEFT!!

Shimmy Bang Sparkle by Nicola Rendell

Release Date: August 21st

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BLURB

To catch a thief…or fall for one?

All Nick Norton wants is to stay on the straight and narrow…and never get caught stealing again. Then he lays eyes on her: Stella Peretti—100 percent sexy and absolutely irresistible. Especially when he sees her smooth moves lifting a two-karat diamond. Nick realizes he’s found the sparkling woman of his dreams—one so perfect for him it’s almost criminal.

The Shimmy Shimmy Bangs are master jewel thieves who are planning the heist of the century. And Shimmy leader, Stella, isn’t about to let anyone—even if he is a hunky, tatted-up studmuffin—get in her way. But when two of her girls are put out of commission, Stella realizes that Nick isn’t just a red-hot distraction. He might be the answer to her pilfering prayers.

Now, Nick and Stella are putting everything on the line for one last job. But when two thieves have this much chemistry, it’s only a matter of time before somebody’s heart gets stolen.

Excerpt

Two hours later, I was standing in a department store in Palm Desert, wearing gray dress pants, a pair of Italian loafers that squeaked when I walked, a light blue button-up shirt, and . . .

Suspenders.

When she’d picked them out, I’d said, “Oh, fuck no,” but as she stood in front of me outside the men’s dressing room, buttoning them into the slacks and making helpless groans and moans, I knew I didn’t have the strength to tell her no for real. At this rate, I’d be buying dipped fruit and suspenders for the rest of my life, and honestly . . .

I was psyched about it. When I turned to check myself out in the mirror, I realized the suspenders didn’t look so bad. Not at all. They looked sharp. Old-fashioned in the right way, like out of Peaky Blinders. But I was an ex-con who weighed 275 pounds and drove a motorcycle. I couldn’t be wearing suspenders, for Chrissake.

“It’s a big ask, Stella,” I said, eyeing her as she riffled through a rack of dress shirts. Over her shoulder was a dog carrier bag she’d brought with her, pink-and-white with black paw prints. Priscilla had nodded off and was slowly sliding down into the bag, her lip stuck on the top edge.

Stella froze with one finger perched on a hanger hook as she chewed an enormous chunk of apple, moving it around in her mouth so that it expanded the inside of her cheek. “I know,” she said, with her palm covering her overstuffed mouth. “But just look at you.”

As she said it, a woman approached, pushing a stock cart. When she glanced in my direction, she promptly drove the cart right into a mannequin, and its arm popped off. That, in turn, knocked over a second mannequin, which knocked over a third. Everything the lady did just made it all so much worse. I stepped in to stop the domino-mannequin effect, while Stella stood next to the shirts with a big told you so smile on her face. The woman clutched an arm and a foot, and stared at me, as I tried to reposition a mannequin in a fuzzy track suit on its stand.

“Oh sir, that ensemble is very nice!” she cooed, with big Bambi eyes. Her gaze went from my tattoos to the suspenders, to the pants, and back again.

“You like it?” I asked as I rolled up my sleeves.

The woman gulped. “I do. Very much. Very much.”

Stella circled back around a table covered with dress shirts, and I saw that in her hand she was holding a fedora—like a stylish hipster sort of thing. Not my jam at all.

“Oh no you don’t,” I growled, teasing her, trying to snatch it out of her hands. But she pressed her body up against mine, and instinctively I pulled her into me. She took advantage of me being a fucking sucker for her body, and put the hat on my head. Her eyes lit up, and she leaned back in my arms. Then she said to the salesgirl. “What do you think?”

The salesgirl didn’t even speak. Just dropped a plastic mannequin arm and smiled. Stella made a long, adorable, “Mmmhmmmm!” as she slipped from my grasp, and headed off toward cocktail dresses.

Once I’d changed, and made was sure the woman wasn’t going to knock over another row of mannequins, I followed along behind Stella, weaving and dodging between racks and displays. Stella held up a stunning little black dress, classy and with a slit up a side that was mouthwatering even on the hanger. But then, behind her, there it was. The dress. Little black dresses were fine, but we were going out on the town for our first real date, and that dress was the one. A showstopper. So I shook my head at the black one in her hand, and Stella rumpled up her eyebrows. She put the dress back on the rack, plunged her hand into her purse, and emerged holding the apple on its stick. She took a bite, and stuck it back in its bag, and turned her attention to a strapless red number that would’ve looked great on her, no doubt. But still, it wasn’t the dress.

I tickled her side to get her attention, and when she turned to me, I pointed behind her, at a two-story atrium. The mannequin was set up on a round platform, with a spotlight on it, next to a piano that wasn’t being played. The dress was nothing but rhinestones, with thin jeweled straps coming up from a plunging neckline.

Stella hooted and approached the dress while laughing and shaking her head. “I can’t possibly wear this,” she said, and ran her fingertips over the jeweled front. “I’m not sure anybody can wear this.”

“Oh yeah,” I said as I circled her. “You most definitely can.”

I took the first dress off the nearby rack and held it up. The tag said XS/S. Seemed about right. I held it out, imagining her in it. The very idea made me start to get hard. I let it dangle from my finger and waited for her to take it.

She grabbed the size tag of the dress I was holding. A huge laugh shot out of her mouth, echoing around the marble foyer. “Oh you,” she said, shaking her head, and then grabbed the dressed marked M/L. She took the dog bag off her shoulder, and I transferred it to mine. Priscilla was out cold, snoring softly. I gave her tummy a little scratch as Stella headed off to the ladies’ fitting rooms.

While she was gone, I picked out a gorgeous light-pink teddy for her, and a pair of black panties that had a red ribbon up the back, corset-style. I was thinking through what it’d be like to pull that ribbon off with my teeth while she had them on when my phone buzzed in my pocket.

I don’t think I can pull this off.

Let me see.

I look like I just got Bedazzled.

Let me see.

I feel like my phone case.

Let me see.

Or like a disco ball.

Let me see.

Or like the rhinestone aisle at Michaels.

Stella . . .

I can’t wear a bra OR panties!

You’re getting the fucking dress.

About the Author

Bestselling author Nicola Rendell loves writing naughty romantic comedies. After receiving a handful of degrees from a handful of places, she now works as a professor in New England. Nicola’s work has been featured in USA Today’s Happy Ever After and the Huffington Post. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. Her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady, but she’s totally okay with that. She is represented by Emily Sylvan Kim at the Prospect Agency.

Connect with Nicola

Website: http://nicolarendell.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorNRendell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15292581.Nicola_Rendell

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nicola-Rendell/e/B01JCVXOAU/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nicola-rendell

First Look at IT BEGAN WITH A LIE by Michele PW

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Here’s your FIRST LOOK Michele PW’s upcoming romantic psychological thriller, IT BEGAN WITH A LIE! Join us as we get our first peek at this psychological thriller with an eerie twist of romantic suspense. Plus, enter to win one of ten digital ARCs of IT BEGAN WITH A LIE!

Title: It Began With A Lie

Author: Michele Pariza Wacek

Release Date: September 10, 2018

Publisher: Love-Based Publishing

Series: Secrets of Redemption #1

Genre: Psychological thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal

Word Count: 110K

Format: Print and digital

Synopsis:

A fresh start. That was what Becca hoped the move from New York to Redemption, Wisconsin would be for her troubled family. A way to get her crumbling marriage back on track, and to bond with her difficult 16-year-old stepdaughter.

But instead of a new beginning, Becca is thrust into the mysterious past she barely remembers, as she is now living in her aunt’s house (or what the locals call “The Witch House”).

But is the house really haunted? Or is there something far more sinister out to destroy them?

Add to Goodreads http://bit.ly/2zzkGtN

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Don’t miss Michele’s bonus novella THE SECRET DIARY OF HELEN BLACKSTONE. 

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IT BEGAN WITH A LIE Excerpt

Copyright © 2018 Michele PW

“You’re right. It’s perfect for us. I’m so glad we’re here,” I said, lying through my carefully pasted-on smile.

I tried to make my voice bright and cheery, but it sounded brittle and forced, even to me. I sucked in my breath and widened my smile, though my teeth were so clenched, my jaw hurt.

Stefan smiled back—actually, his mouth smiled but his dark brown eyes, framed with those long, thick lashes any woman would envy, looked flat … distracted. He hugged me with one arm. “I told you everything would be okay,” he whispered into my hair. His scent was even more musky than usual, probably from two straight days of driving and lack of shower.

I hugged him back, reminding myself to relax. Yes, everything is going to be okay. Remember, this move represents a fresh start for us—time for us to reconnect and get our marriage back on track. It’s not going to happen overnight.

His iPhone buzzed. He didn’t look at me as he dropped his arm and pulled it out of his pocket, his attention already elsewhere. “Sorry babe, gotta take this.” He turned his back to me as he answered the call, walking away quickly. His dark hair, streaked with silver that added a quiet, distinguished air to his All-American good looks was longer than normal, curling around his collar. He definitely needed a haircut, but of course, we couldn’t afford his normal stylist, and not just anyone was qualified to touch his hair.

I wrapped my arms around myself, goosebumps forming on my skin as a sudden breeze, especially cool for mid-May, brushed past me—the cold all the more shocking in the absence of Stefan’s warm body.

He has to work, I reminded myself.  Remember why we’re here.

I remembered, all right. How could I forget?

I rubbed my hands up and down my arms as I took a deep breath, and finally focused on the house.

It was just as I remembered from my childhood—white with black shutters, outlined by bushy green shrubs, framed by tall, gently-swaying pine trees and the red porch with the swinging chair. It sat all by its lonesome in the middle of a never-developed cul-de-sac, the only “neighbors” being an overgrown forest on one side, and a marshy field on the other.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly the way I remembered it. The bushes actually looked pretty straggly. The lawn was overgrown, full of dandelions going to seed, and the porch could definitely use a new paint job.

I sighed. If the outside looked like this, what on earth waited for me on the inside?

Inside.

I swallowed back the bile that rose in the back of my throat. It slid to my stomach, turning into a cold, slimy lump.

The house of my childhood.

The house of my nightmares.

About Michele PW:

Michele Pariza Wacek (also known as Michele PW) taught herself to read at three years old because she so badly wanted to write fiction. As an adult, she became a professional copywriter (copywriters write promotional materials for businesses, nothing to do with protecting intellectual property or putting a copyright on something) and eventually founded a copywriting and marketing company. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and currently lives with her husband and dogs in the mountains of Arizona. You can reach her at MicheleParizaWacek.com. She’s published two novels, “The Stolen Twin” and “Mirror Image,” both psychological thrillers/mystery/suspense books.

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First Look: Claiming His Lioness by Kerry Adrienne

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USA Today bestselling author Kerry Adrienne’s Shifter Wars series comes to its epic conclusion when former enemies align, but is it too late to protect everyone they’ve come to love?

#Preorder your copy of CLAIMING HIS LIONESS and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at CLAIMING HIS LIONESS!

Title: Claiming His Lioness

Author: Kerry Adrienne

Release Date: September 3, 2018

Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Shifter Wars

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Format: Digital

Synopsis:

Lara has always relished being a thorn in Mason’s paw. When she was chosen as pride Enforcer, it was easier than ever to get under the passionate shifter’s skin. But with the scent of humans in the air comes a threat she’s powerless to battle alone.

It’s time Lara unites with the one man she needs, the one man she’s secretly drawn to…as if by fate.

If there’s one thing Mason hates more than relinquishing control to a female, it’s the attraction he feels for the fiery lioness. Joining forces with Lara against an insidious enemy only makes their primal bond hotter—and the two of them stronger.

Now it’s up to them, side by side, to bring together three warring shifter clans, win the final fight and save Deep Creek.

Pre-order at:  

Carina → http://bit.ly/2M0Rm10

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2mTUEbs

B&N → http://bit.ly/2v3uaJc

iBooks → https://apple.co/2M3ZNsy

Google Play → http://bit.ly/2mZlU8E

Enter to win an ebook or print book from Kerry Adrienne (winner’s choice)!

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Claiming His Lioness Excerpt

Copyright © 2018 Kerry Adrienne

One, two, three, four…

A deep breath, and the world didn’t seem quite as red. Another breath. Don’t let him get to you.

“Women have roles and men have roles.” Mason cleared his throat then narrowed his eyes. “Not better or worse. Different.”

“This isn’t the Middle Ages.” Her voice was calm. Soft but firm.

“I know. Women have babies. Men fight.”

“Wow, seriously? Women have babies and fight. You saw how much help the lionesses were at the cave. We’d have lost a lot more lions if we hadn’t been there…to fight. We weren’t there to nurse cubs.” He was getting to her. She kicked at the leaves on the ground.

Only an hour or so till dark. The faint strains of sunset were already slanting through the trees, painting an orange glow to the surroundings, and the forest sounds were shifting to nocturnal melodies.

“You helped a lot and I appreciate that. My point is, why not let the men take care of you now? We aren’t in desperate need of your help like we were at the cave, so why not let us protect you?”

He really didn’t get it. Lara started to speak but paused. What could she say to make him understand? Did he really think women had roles that were so defined, they couldn’t do other things too? Or did he feel that it was his role to make sure women were safe and secure?

Regardless, it was obnoxious. And a prime example of how tall, dark and dangerous wasn’t enough.

“It’s noble of you to want to protect the women.” She chewed the inside of her cheek, trying to maintain her calm and phrase things in a nonconfrontational way. No point in having him dismiss her thoughts because he felt intimidated. “But you don’t need to protect us unless we ask you to. We can protect ourselves. You should accept the help or you’re going to have a lot of pissed-off lionesses. Trust me, you don’t want that.”

Mason looked deeper into the forest, his shoulders bunched with tension. His back, broad and sloping to a muscular ass, filled his black T-shirt perfectly. Wrestling with him wasn’t so bad, was it? In other circumstances, it could be a lot of fun.

She might even win.

She fought the urge to run her hand over his shoulders to comfort him and satisfy her craving. Yank his T-shirt off and press herself against those muscles. They were definitely hard. She’d felt them when he lay across her on the ground.

No. She shook her head.

Mason was off-limits.

Don’t miss any of the Shifter Wars Series by Kerry Adrienne!

WAKING THE BEAR https://amzn.to/2M4TiFO

PURSUING THE BEAR https://amzn.to/2v42vYv

TAMING THE LION http://bit.ly/2v4OMR3

SAVIhttp://bit.ly/2v4OMR3NG HIS WOLF (A Shifter Wars Novella) https://amzn.to/2vktwq4

Author Bio:

Repped by Marisa Corvisiero, USA Today Bestselling author Kerry Adrienne writes in many genres including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, m/m, erotic romance, and more. In her spare time, she homeschools, is a part-time college instructor, editor, and dabbler in most things creative. You can usually find her posting cat pictures on Facebook and Twitter when she’s not working.

 Connect with Kerry: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Excerpt Reveal: Opportunity by Kennedy Layne

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The final book in Kennedy Layne’s Office Roulette trilogy, OPPORTUNITY, releases August 14th! You can read the first chapter below!

About OPPORTUNITY (Office Roulette #3)

Available August 14th

USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne brings you the thrilling conclusion to the Office Roulette trilogy…

Gareth Nicollet had been born into wealth, but he’d learned at an early age that money wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. Regrettably, he’d made a meaningful choice early on in his life that now threatened his future with the woman he loved.

Cynthia Ellsworth valued many things, but trust and loyalty were at the top of her list. She’d always known the man who shared her bed had secrets, but she never thought in a million years that he had the ability to destroy her career and her heart with a single blow.

Someone once said that greed was balanced by fear, but that wasn’t entirely true when there was nothing left to lose. Unfortunately, Gareth’s secret is the very reason the roulette wheel is spinning and Cynthia’s life hangs in the balance.

OPPORTUNITY releases August 14th – preorder your copy now!

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Read the first chapter of OPPORTUNITY

“Steve, you can’t order this gift for the client.”

Cynthia Ellsworth made her way across the trading room floor with her favorite pair of black high heels clicking precisely the way she wanted. She’d purposefully pulled them out of the back of her closet for this purpose. The designer shoes were like battle gear to her, and she needed all the ammunition she could get, today of all days.

“Why?”

“Did you really just have the audacity to ask me that?” Cynthia’s steel tone got Steve Lewis to turn around in his desk chair. She understood that he was busy and in the middle of the stock market’s opening, but that didn’t mean she would allow him to cut corners. The last thing this firm needed was to raise another red flag. “I can actually see those little black squirrels in your head running a million miles an hour on that treadmill. You’ve got less than zero chance of putting one over on me. You know the SEC rules regarding gifts, as well as our own compliance regulations. You’ll have to choose another gift with a lesser value.”

“The gift is only a few dollars over the usual acceptable tolerance.” Steve went back to monitoring his screens, as if her role here at Manon Investments wasn’t as esteemed as his. She’d already had a hell of a morning. This situation was something she could nip in the bud, which she fully intended to do. “Jerry and Darla are getting married next month. I’m sure you can figure out a way to skirt the rules.”

“Oh, really?” Cynthia asked, tacking on a bit of syrupy inference to her words. She was quicker than he was when it came to answering one of the many ringing lines. He came up short when she leaned down and managed to set the palm of her hand over the receiver before him. “I’m glad to see I now have your attention, Steve. In case you’ve forgotten, my role here as compliance officer is to protect the firm— unfortunately, that includes protecting you from yourself. So, you are going to pick another gift to give Jerry and his future wife or you’re going to pay for it out of your own pocket like any true friend would do under normal circumstances.”

Cynthia didn’t wait for Steve to acknowledge her request as she walked away.

Okay, it wasn’t a request, but she didn’t have the patience to draw out a heated debate knowing full well she would win in the end. Besides, she’d spent the past hour taking care of smaller issues that had risen this morning. She had more important things on her to-do list.

It was finally time for her to focus on the issue that had kept her up most of the night.

“Cynthia?” Marilyn called out from her seat behind the reception desk, preventing Cynthia from walking to her office. The older woman was in her sixties and the glue that held this company together. “Paul called in and said to tell you that he’s running a few minutes late.”

Of course.

Why wouldn’t Paul be running late today of all days?

The universe had been conspiring against Cynthia for the past eight months. She hadn’t known about that bit of treachery until yesterday, but it had been there all the same.

“Thank you, Marilyn.” Cynthia managed a smile, not wanting to take her bad mood out on the older woman. Steve had been another matter altogether. “Would you please let me know when Paul comes in?”

Marilyn nodded her response, but it was clear that she had something else to say. She leaned forward so that her words didn’t carry outside the large foyer. Cynthia’s stomach knotted, because now wasn’t the time for the mother hen to smooth over ruffled feathers. She was wasting her time.

Nothing could be said or done to ease Cynthia’s pride at being duped by a man she’d thought was better than the rest.

Gareth Nicollet had pretty much brought her to her knees, and she’d been the one to give him that power on a silver platter. Apparently, she’d even tied a bow around the fucking thing.

Why was it that the most important lessons were always the hardest to learn?

“You know that Steve is having a hard time.” Marilyn gave a rather sad smile, conveying the remorse that most of the employees were dealing with at the moment. Was it wrong that Cynthia didn’t care about any of them when her own heart had all but been ripped to shreds? “He’s just trying to—”

“Steve had an affair with his boss’ ex-wife, lied to his former colleague and friend, and then attempted to taint my reputation in front of the entire staff not even three weeks past.” Cynthia could go on and on about Steve’s behavior over the last month, but it would have been a useless endeavor. She was just grateful for the sliver of anger that pushed aside the hurt. “Look, you and I both know that Steve is most likely moving to London to work with his brother-in-law when Manon investments closes its doors. So save the drama. Honestly, I think that’s the wisest choice, but that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass to do as he pleases until that eventuality.”

Cynthia was saved from another lecture delivered by Marilyn when Laurel Calanthe and Grace Dorrance breezed through the glass entry doors from the elevator bank. Her two best friends must have gone downstairs to the café to caffeinate themselves, because Laurel was holding a smoothie in her left hand that clearly wasn’t hers. The woman was a coffee drinker through and through. She’d have an IV installed if it were medically possible.

“Looks like we’re just in time,” Laurel said with a tentative smile that was meant for Marilyn. “Cynthia hasn’t had her protein smoothie this morning. You know how she gets.”

“I’m standing right here in front of you,” Cynthia responded wryly, not wanting to get dragged into Laurel’s office for a pep talk that was only going to make things worse. “Remind me why we’re friends?”

“Because you have the keys to the gates of hell,” Grace called out without hesitation as she continued to walk toward Laurel’s office. “We wouldn’t want to be left standing out in the cold.”

“Come on,” Laurel encouraged as she handed over the smoothie. Cynthia’s stomach revolted, but she took the cold beverage anyway. “Let’s go into my office and walk through what you’re going to say to Gareth.”

“Marilyn, I’ll be in Laurel’s office. Please let me know the moment Paul walks through those doors.” Cynthia fell into step beside Laurel as they both slowly followed Grace down the corridor. “Laurel, I’ve already decided not to say anything to Gareth, and I don’t want to argue about it anymore. I’m dumping this entire situation into Paul’s lap later this morning before washing my hands of it. Then I can finally move on with my life.”

Cynthia didn’t miss Laurel’s quick glance toward the corner office door at the end of the hallway, so she most likely hadn’t heard a word that was said. Her friend’s revolted shudder was more than evident, but Cynthia couldn’t blame her after what had taken place.

“It’s probably a good thing we’re moving offices at the beginning of the year.” Cynthia hated that Laurel had to continually see the place where she’d found their boss— Brad Manon— murdered with his throat cut a little over three weeks ago. It couldn’t have been healthy to look at that view numerous times a day. “A fresh start is exactly what we all need.”

“What you need is to find out why Gareth Nicollet didn’t tell you the truth about being Brad Manon’s brother,” Grace interjected from her seat on Laurel’s credenza as she waited for them to cross the threshold. “None of us believe that Gareth is capable of murder, but he obviously kept his family relationship with Brad a secret for a reason. You need to find out why exactly that is.”

“No, I don’t.” Cynthia ignored the throbbing pain in her chest. She was a business professional. She had known better than to mix business with pleasure, but she’d done it anyway. Now it was time to pay the piper. “As I was just telling Laurel, I’m meeting with Paul the moment he sees fit to get his ass into the office today. He can make any decisions that need to be made regarding Gareth. I’m out.”

Cynthia reluctantly took a seat in one of Laurel’s guest chairs, crossing her legs and smoothing the material of her black skirt. When was the last time any of them had a conversation that didn’t involve any one of them or their colleagues going to prison?

Far too damn long, that’s when.

It was all Laurel’s fault. She just had to come into the office three weeks ago at some ungodly hour to grab some stupid files. Leave it to her to stumble upon Brad’s dead body and unknowingly set all their lives on a collision course for the deepest pit of hell.

It was times like these that unfortunate secrets were revealed and lives were ruined.

These days, it seemed like everyone and their uncle had something to hide.

The police certainly weren’t lacking for suspects in Brad’s murder. Almost every employee had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the gruesome act according to the record thus far. The changes in Brad’s personality over the years hadn’t gone unnoticed by many, and the man had basically become isolated in that corner office as a result of his own actions.

It only seemed fitting that he’d died there in a cell of his making, but Cynthia wasn’t known for her tact. She told it like it was, and she didn’t harbor any regrets.

Well, sometimes.

Very few.

Other colleagues weren’t so blunt, and that was part of the problem. It was hard to tell where people stood in the grand scheme of things. Not that they had to declare their allegiances, for fuck’s sake.

Take Paul Slater, for instance. He’d been Brad’s best friend and business partner. Over the years, Paul had spent more of his time out of the office persuading high net worth individuals to invest their money in Manon Investments than he had in the office dealing with Brad’s insolence over minor issues that could be mitigated by others.

Then there was Steve Lewis, the head trader she’d had to deal with a few minutes ago. He’d been having an affair with Meredith Manon and keeping that little secret from his best friend and colleagues, not that it was technically any of their business. Normally, no one cared who was sleeping with who, but when it involved the ex-wife of the once beloved boss… well, people tended to get their hackles up in situations like that.

Speaking of the recent ex-widow, it wasn’t like she was inheriting a fortune, considering Brad had been in massive debt at the time of his death. Still, the police always seemed to suspect the spouse… or ex-spouse, in cases like these.

Then there were the conflicting motives of Vern Roberts, Blair Holmes, Phil Colbert, Joshua Green, Marilyn Kent, Smith Gallo, the two ladies currently in this office, and quite a few others. As a matter of fact, all of those individuals were just some of the employees who met all three of the criteria to commit murder.

“You’ve been seeing Gareth Nicollet on and off for close to a year,” Laurel said, taking a seat in her desk chair as she set a sympathizing gaze on Cynthia. She didn’t bother to correct her friend by saying it had only been eight months. Her speaking would only drag out this conversation, but it did take all her effort not to snap at her friend. Both Laurel and Grace were only trying to help. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could ease the pain of betrayal Cynthia was currently suffering at the glaring omission manifested by the man she’d fallen in love with. “Your instincts are better than both of ours. You can’t tell us that you think Gareth is capable of murder.”

“I never dreamed he would deceive me, either,” Cynthia countered sharply, wincing when her anger slipped through her composure. She was fully aware that the employees of Manon Investments weren’t the only suspects the police had on their rather large list. And now it was she who was liable for adding another name to the catalog of suspects. “Look, I appreciate what you two are trying to do right now. I really do, but nothing can erase the fact that Gareth kept the truth from me from the very start.”

Cynthia didn’t even bother to bring Brad into the equation. Hell, the police were likely to include her name in the pool after discovering that Brad hadn’t seen fit to tell her that he was related to Gareth— a client, for that matter.

It was now official.

The throbbing in her temples had now become a full-fledged headache.

“In case you forgot, I was falsely accused of murdering Brad,” Grace said while sharing a concerned glance with Laurel. “Detective Nielsen arrested me in front of all my friends and colleagues. It was beyond humiliating. You coming clean about Gareth’s connection to Brad might very well lead the police to you. Don’t you realize your own situation? It gives both of you motive.”

Cynthia’s hands had been cold since yesterday, when she’d discovered Gareth’s lie in Brad’s personnel file. She must have stared in horror at that seemingly inconsequential piece of information for at least ten minutes before she’d accepted it as truth. As it stood, she didn’t need the added chill from the smoothie, so she set the plastic cup on Laurel’s desk before curling her fingers into her palms.

“I know exactly what Gareth’s omission has done to the both of us, but covering up for someone is exactly what got you arrested in the first place.”

None of them had been overlooked by Detective Nielsen.

Laurel was the first to be questioned, and not just for the reason that she’d found Brad dead in his office. She’d been having an affair with Smith Gallo, another employee and the man with whom she’d been competing in regard to partnership at the firm. Both of them had been under scrutiny, especially when the police discovered that Smith had been planning to leave Manon Investments in order to open his own hedge fund.

Neither Cynthia nor Laurel had known at the time that Grace had given a false alibi for the timeframe of Brad’s death. She’d lied to protect the man she was seeing— Rye Marshall— who just happened to be Manon Investments’ largest competitor.

The killer had obviously discovered Grace’s attempt to protect Rye, because a knife had been planted inside of her vehicle. An anonymous call had led the police straight to Grace’s doorstep— or in this case, to the offices of Manon Investments.

Whoever was responsible for Brad’s death was connected to all of them in some way or another, giving that individual the advantage. That specific detail told her that this wasn’t a circumstance to be trifled with, which was why she was washing her hands of the entire situation.

“Grace isn’t saying that you should lie.” That was exactly what their friend was suggesting, but Laurel ignored the obvious. “Having been in similar situations, we’re suggesting that speaking with Gareth before you talk to anyone else might be in both your best interests.”

“Similar situations?” Cynthia slowly stood, not wanting to take her anger out on the two people who had her back in this cutthroat business. She fully understood that her friends were trying their best to help her deal with the fallout of a relationship that never should have begun in the first place, but they were going about it the wrong way. “You seem to be forgetting something rather important, ladies. The men in your lives never lied to you about who they were. Now as I stated earlier, I’m dumping this police matter into Paul’s inbox and washing my hands of this whole problem.”

Cynthia sensed Gareth’s presence before either of her friends glanced toward the doorway in shock. She wasn’t sure how to explain it, but a blanket of warmth always came over her when he was in the vicinity. The fact that he could still have that effect on her after what he’d done gave her the internal fortitude to compose herself.

Hell would freeze over before she ever showed Gareth Nicollet that he still had the power to destroy her heart. Bracing herself, she straightened her shoulders before turning on the heels that had gotten her through many power struggles. Unfortunately, he gained the upper hand when he spoke first.

“Do you think it’s going to be that easy to get rid of me, Cyn?”

Missed MEANS (Office Roulette #1) and need to catch up? Get your hands on it now!

About MEANS (Office Roulette #1)

From USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne comes a sexy trilogy that involves greed, power, and the desire to do it all over again…

Smith Gallo has everything a man could ever want at the tip of his fingertips, except of course the woman he loves. To what lengths will he be willing to go to make his ambitions come true?

Laurel Calanthe is one successful stock pick away from making partner when she finds herself in desperate need of an alibi. There’s only one problem. The man who can save her from being arrested is her only competitor and the one who now holds her fate in his hands.

Greed is a powerful motivator in the game of making money, but desire can overcome even the strongest motive.

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About MOTIVE (Office Roulette #2)

The Office Roulette trilogy continues with an epic battle between blame and forgiveness…

Rye Marshall had it all—wealth, prominence, and the love of his life. But nothing lasts forever, and his perfect world came crashing down around him. When the dust settled, he found himself alone and starting from a clean slate.

Grace Dorrance had made many mistakes in her life, but one stood out above the rest—an epic ending to a complex and passionate relationship. She left her former lover’s life in complete ruins and tried her best never to look back at the wreckage.

Seconds chances are hard to come by, but even more difficult when Grace is arrested for a murder she didn’t commit. This gives Rye the perfect motive to forgive and forget, allowing for new beginnings. Unfortunately, someone’s playing a game of office roulette with everyone’s lives.

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About Kennedy Layne

Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.

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Excerpt Reveal: Mixed Up Love by Natasha Madison

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Hunter

When my business partner asked me to do him a favor, I had no idea he was sending me on a blind date his mother arranged for him. I walked in the bar, saw the woman drinking her third martini, and knew I was in for an eventful night.

After the unexpected second date, she didn’t know my real name or who I really was. By that time, the lie was too far gone, and I wanted her too much to admit the truth.

Laney

It’s not every day you find out your ex-boyfriend is engaged.

I shouldn’t have agreed to the blind date. My mother insisted, and I wasn’t in any position to turn down a night out.

I will admit, I definitely shouldn’t have ordered that fourth martini before said blind date even arrived.

The man turned out to be swoon worthy, handsome, condescending—a perfect distraction. Then I found out he was a liar.

I’ve never been in over my head to this degree.

Then again, I’ve never been in love.

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EXCERPT

Walking into the restaurant, the hostess stands there with a smile on her face while I look around and see if maybe there is a guy sitting alone. I notice a couple of guys at the bar, but they look like they are together. Most of the tables are taken but none of them with a single man. “Good evening. How many I help you?” she says.

“I’m supposed to be meeting someone, and I don’t see him, reservations under Anthony,” I say, still looking around. The clanking of plates and cutlery fill the room along with soft music coming out of the speaker. She looks down at the pad in front of her.

“Yes, Anthony, table for two?” she asks, and I look at her and nod. She grabs two menus and another one that I’m assuming is the wine list. “If you can follow me,” she says and walks to the right of the restaurant. Passing a couple of tables, she sits me at a table for two near the bar and in front of the outdoor patio. “Here you go. Your waiter will be right with you.” I take the seat facing the front door so I can see everyone coming in and out. I grab the linen napkin on the table under my utensils and place it on my lap. I grab the brown menu and open it, my eyes scanning to see what they serve here.

I’m not sitting here for more than a minute when the waiter comes to the table, pouring water into the two glasses on the table. “My name is Henry, and I’ll be your server for the evening. Can I start you off with a cocktail while you wait?”

“Oh, that sounds so good. I’ll have two.” I laugh, not really joking. “Give me two martinis, two olives with one ice cube.”

“Very well,” he says and nods at me. I giggle to myself, scanning the restaurant and people watching. I see a couple of men sitting at the bar facing me as they talk to each other. I look out at the street and watch as cars zoom through and around other cars. Henry comes over a couple of minutes later with two martinis on his tray. He places them both in front of me. I smile at him, raising a glass to him, then take a long gulp. Yup, no sipping here, not after the news I just got. “This is fantastic,” I say. “I’ll take another.” He just nods and walks away, no doubt judging me in his head. But it’s not every day you find out that your gay ex-boyfriend is engaged to another woman. I don’t even think there is a greeting card for that shit, but I could be wrong.

I finish off the first martini in record time. The heat of the alcohol slowly creeps up, making my cheeks flustered. I’m glad I took an Uber, I think as I grab the second martini and bring it to my lips. I’m one sip into drinking my second martini when I see a man walk in the door, and the glass stops midair. The only thing going through my mind is holy shit.

His black suit molds to his body with a crisp white button-down shirt underneath, and he left the top two buttons open, showing a hint of his tan skin. His black aviator glasses hide his eyes, but it doesn’t matter. His hair is cut short, his face is clean shaven, and his lips—oh my god, his lips are so full, which conjures an image of me sucking his bottom lip to run through my mind. I shake my head; it must be the vodka. “No more drinks for me,” I say under my breath, looking down at the drink in my hand. Then I make the mistake of looking up again, and I see the woman at the hostess stand turn and look around the room.

Her eyes stop on me as she points at me, smiling at the man who doesn’t even pay attention to her. He dips his head to her and makes his way over to me. I still can’t see his eyes, but there is no denying that I feel his stare right through me. “Oh, shit,” I whisper to myself, and as he comes closer, I see that his jaw is square, and his chest is wider than I thought. I don’t think I inhale or exhale a breath while he walks around the tables, finally stopping at mine. He takes off his glasses, and I finally see his smoky gray eyes. “Are you Laney?”

I don’t know what happens, but my throat closes. I try to talk, but no words come out of my mouth, so I don’t say anything. My mouth opens and then closes again, but not a sound is made. Instead, the waiter comes back, smiling. “Here are two more.” I look at who I think is my blind date as he glares at the man, and I laugh nervously.

“It isn’t what it looks like,” I tell the man standing beside the table.

“Really? I find it hard to believe. It looks like you’re sitting here waiting for something bad to happen.” He then looks around, eyeing everyone in the place, and it’s a good thing I’m not standing because my legs would give out.

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
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Excerpt Reveal: One Hundred Promises by Kelly Collins

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We are so excited to be sharing an excerpt with you today from the upcoming ONE HUNDRED PROMISES by Kelly Collins. ONE HUNDRED PROMISES is the fourth standalone contemporary romance in the Aspen Cove series and will be published on August 6th.

About ONE HUNDRED PROMISES

Join Bestselling Author Kelly Collins on another trip to Aspen Cove where anything is possible when it comes to love…

Aspen Cove, Colorado isn’t on Lydia Nichols’s wish list when she finishes her residency at Denver General Hospital, but life delivered several surprising blows. Her long-time boyfriend, who was also her boss, moved on with a nurse and took Lydia’s job with him. No boyfriend. No job. No options. As a favor to her sister, she arrives in the small mountain town for a temporary job as the clinic doctor. Her first question when she gets there is ‘how fast can I leave?’ That is, until sinfully, sexy Wes Covington comes into the clinic seeking care. With him around Lydia may have found a reason to stay—for now.

Wes Covington left his demons in Denver. Working for his family’s architectural firm, he was tired of being almost—almost good enough—almost rich enough—almost loveable enough. He abandoned his penthouse, his high-paying position and his Porsche for simple, small-town life. All he wants is to restore his ancestral home and find a good woman who’ll love him for who he is and not what he’s worth. When Wes meets Dr. Lydia Nichols, he likens her to a hellion with a halo. She’s the perfect mix of sassy and sweet, cunning and compassion, but she’ll never be his unless he can convince her to stay.

Love blooms when the timing is right, but will Lydia surrender her chance at love or can Wes convince her that everything she’ll ever want or need is right in Aspen Cove?

Find out in One Hundred Promises


Pre-order your copy of ONE HUNDRED PROMISES on Amazon today!

Read an excerpt from ONE HUNDRED PROMISES

When she flicked her tongue out to taste the gloss, he got jealous.

“What flavor is that?”

She ringed her lips with her tongue. “Watermelon. Samantha gave each of us girls a tube the last time I was here.”

Wes wet his lips. Even though he couldn’t taste it, he could imagine how sweet a kiss from Lydia would be. If he didn’t get her in the truck and on the road, he knew he’d do just about anything to get a taste.

“Ready?”

She lifted her shoulders. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

Minutes later, he parked the truck in front of Bishop’s Brewhouse and raced around to let Lydia out. Sarge jumped across her lap and took off for the door. “Sorry about that. It’s hard to control him when he knows what he wants. He’s got a soft spot for your sister’s dog.”

“Otis has a way with everyone. He’s friends with the cat. You can’t account for taste.”

“It’s strange how happiness is found in the unlikeliest of places with unexpected companions.”

“Yeah, yeah, are we talking lemons again?”

“No, we’re talking lemonade. Let’s go, beautiful. The world awaits your greatness.”

He opened the door for her and entered the already full bar. In the corner was one empty stool. Wes rushed forward to save it for Lydia.

“Have a seat. What would you like?” Cannon walked over with a stout and a glass of white wine.

“Look, I’m already a regular.” She held up her glass and tapped his mug. “Here’s to hot men in bath towels.” When she winked, a warm heat washed over him.

“Any particular man in a towel you’re referring too?”

She looked around the bar which had men outnumbering women three to one. “Keeping my options open.”

“The odds are in your favor.”

“It would seem, but honestly the odds never fall in my favor.”

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make different choices and see what happens.”

About KELLY COLLINS

International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly lives in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her husband of twenty-eight years, their two dogs, and a bird that hates her. She has three amazing children, whom she loves to pieces.

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Excerpt Reveal: It’s Not Over by Grahame Claire

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Today we have an excerpt reveal for Grahame Claire’s It’s Not Over! We are so excited about this fantastic release—be sure to pre-order today!

Title: IT’S NOT OVER

Author: Grahame Claire

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: August 3th

About It’s Not Over:

Daniel

I have two lives.

One with the woman who owns me. The other tied to a past I can’t escape.

For eight years, I kept them separate, knowing one day their collision was inevitable.

That day has come.

She’ll have to accept it.

It’s over.

Vivian

He has two lives.

A beautiful one with me. Another shrouded in ugly secrets.

It didn’t matter, until now.

I don’t know why he’s destroyed us,

But fighting for him will be the battle of my life.

It’s not over.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Three days is all you could wait to see me again?” I feigned confidence to hide my surprise at the sight of the angel warrior in the lobby of Hamerstein and Associates. What in the dickens is he doing here?

And why the hell did he look like he just walked off a runway? Hands shoved in his pockets. A suit that hung on his broad frame like it was made for him. Dark hair mussed by the wind.

But those eyes…shrewd, yet pleasure evident in them as I approached. My heart stuttered, but my strides were fluid instead of betraying the slight tremor in my legs.

“We weren’t properly introduced,” he said as he closed the distance between us.

“Ever consider there’s a reason for that?”

He grinned, and I looked down at my clothes to make sure they hadn’t evaporated on the spot. Lord knew I felt like ripping them off.

“You don’t strike me as a runner.”

What the hell? Maybe I didn’t work out religiously—okay, at all—but I was in damn good shape. I lifted my chin. “Well, you strike me as a stalker.”

His eyes danced, but his mouth quirked down as if the accusation was a foreign one and he didn’t quite know what to do with it.

“Would you believe I happened to be in the neighborhood? Wanted to hear that Southern drawl again?”

“Not a chance.” I lifted my chin, and his eyes raked down the column of my neck. I flexed my fingers so as not to touch the skin where his look had singed me. I couldn’t do this. Feel whatever this was. “You’ve said hello. Now, I have work to do.”

I spun, and he caught me by the elbow. His breath on my ear raised every hair on my body. “See. A runner.”

Was he insinuating I was a coward? I whirled back around to set him straight and immediately regretted it. His face was inches from mine. I held my breath to keep from burying my nose in his suit. No one should smell that good. Not without a warning.

“I hope this isn’t your usual approach with women.”

Fuck him and that gorgeous smile. It lit his whole face and made him even more impossibly handsome.

“They usually approach me.”

I rolled my lips together. “That explains a lot.”

“Don’t you want to know why I’m here?” His voice was so low that I leaned in closer to hear him. Another mistake. I was too close, all in his personal space.

“You want a proper introduction.” I thrust my hand out, creating some distance. “Vivian DeGraw. Though you already know that. Now goodbye.”

His fingers clasped my hand and squeezed. He didn’t shake, just held me in place. “Daniel Elliott. And this most definitely isn’t goodbye.”

About Grahame Claire:

A writer. A blogger. United by our love of stories and all things romance. There was definitely some insta-love. Hello? Books involved. A little courting. A lot of writing. The result…Grahame Claire. Soulmates. Unashamed of our multiple book boyfriends. Especially the ones that rooted in our heads and wouldn’t leave us alone. Don’t worry. We’ll share. Pleased to meet you.

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