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Excerpt Reveal: When August Ends by Penelope Ward

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A Standalone Contemporary Romance Novel

NY Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Penelope Ward

RELEASE DATE: February 25, 2019

 

EXCERPT:

Noah stood up and walked off the porch to put his cigar out on the cement. When he returned, he remained standing across from me. I was reminded of just how tall he was as he towered over me. A breeze blew his scent—a mix of cigar and cologne—in my direction. The same smell saturated the shirt I was wearing. I could’ve breathed it in all night. His nearness was doing things to my body I hadn’t ever felt.

Noah looked around. “You mentioned some stuff around here needs to be repaired. What specifically?”

I blew out a breath. Even thinking about it was exhausting. “So much. I’d have to make a list.”

“Why don’t you do that? Make a list. I’m pretty good with my hands. I’ll see if there’s anything I can help with while I’m here.”

He’d lost me at pretty good with my hands. My imagination was running wild. Shit. I imagined those hands doing a lot of things—mostly to me.

“I can’t let you do that.”

“You’d be stupid not to take me up on it. I came for a change of pace, but the truth is, too much quiet isn’t good. I like to keep busy.”

Biting my bottom lip, I shook my head. “I don’t know…”

“Make the list,” he insisted.

Noah was right. It would be dumb not to take him up on his offer. It wasn’t like there was anyone else knocking down our door to help.

I tilted my head. “What would be in it for you?”

His expression turned dark. “People don’t always have to have ulterior motives.”

Suddenly feeling bold, I said, “I thought maybe you would want me to go out with you in exchange.”

Did you hear that? It was a record screeching.

I admit, that was ballsy, but being around him brought out my flirtatious side. Maybe his cologne and cigar smoke were going to my head.

“You’re joking, right?”

Okay. I shouldn’t have asked.

“Actually, I—”

“I’m practically old enough to be your father.”

Really? That’s how he saw me? I knew he was older than me…but he didn’t seem that old. No way. I’d pegged him as early thirties, though I truly had no idea how old he was.

I shook my head. “No, you’re not. That’s a lie. An older brother, maybe. How old are you?”

Instead of answering, he took two steps forward. “Let me make something clear.”

“Okay…”

“I was not insinuating anything by offering to help. And I will not be asking you out, propositioning you, or going anywhere near you, for that matter. We clear on that?”

Okay, then.

I swallowed. Disappointment washed over me as I cleared my throat. “Yes.”

“Good.” He made his way toward the door, turning around one last time. “You’d better go. It was nice chatting. Get me the list tomorrow.”

He disappeared into the house, leaving me on the porch to wallow in his lingering smell and feeling like a complete and utter idiot.

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Synopsis:

What do you do when a sexy, older man moves into your family’s summer rental?

Well, apparently, you make a fool of yourself—over and over. Things didn’t exactly get off on the right foot with Noah Cavallari. Our first encounter was embarrassing, to say the least.

But despite that, I found myself waking up every day with a newfound energy. Nothing exciting ever happened on the lake—not until Noah moved into the small boathouse on our property. He’d booked it for the entire summer…and I was still trying to figure out why.

When my mother became ill, I inherited the responsibility of making sure our guests were well taken care of. I should have been in college. Instead, I was living my best life…as a maid.

Dark, handsome, and mysterious, everything about Noah screamed forbidden.

I knew he was just passing through town for the summer.

I knew he was probably too old for me.

Yet, I was drawn to him.

Not to mention, he tried to save my life when he mistakenly thought I was drowning.

I wanted him and made no secret of it.

His own attempts to warn me away soon gave way to late-night moonlight chats by the lake. We were slowly easing into a friendship that was gearing up to explode into something I might not recover from.

Because he’s leaving at the end of the summer.

And I have no idea what I’ll do when August ends.

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About the Author:

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor.

Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over one-point-five million books sold, she is a twenty-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels.

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Find Penelope here:

Website: http://www.penelopewardauthor.com

Gmail: penelopewardauthor@gmail.com

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Hate Notes final ebook cover

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The Rush Series (2 Book Series)

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42273408_1114307782078738_186933142978822144_n

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Chapter Reveal: Jagged Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan’s Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs series continues with JAGGED INK, coming February 19, 2019! Read the first chapter below.

About JAGGED INK

Available February 19th, 2019

The Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs series continues with a couple fighting to keep what they thought they had and gain what they didn’t know they needed.

Roxie Montgomery met her soul mate when she least expected it. When he asked her to marry her, she thought her happily ever after was only just beginning. Then, she found that walking into the sunset was much harder than her favorite books made it out to be. After a crushing loss, she feels as though she doesn’t know her husband anymore, or rather…she doesn’t know herself.

Carter Marshall has loved Roxie since the first time he saw her. But as the days pass between them, so does the distance. He doesn’t know how to show her that he’s all in, and honestly doesn’t know if she’s in at all. When an accident changes everything, they’ll have to decide if what they have can be salvaged, or if starting over is the answer. Or even possible.

Without fighting, without a true new beginning, sometimes, the remnants of what was lost can leave anyone jagged, shells of what they were before. It will take more than the idea of forever for Roxie and Carter to find themselves again, but as the Montgomerys know, nothing worth fighting for is easy.

JAGGED INK releases February 19th, 2019 – preorder your copy now!

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Chapter One of JAGGED INK

Fire burned, bright and hot.

Those were the first things that had come to Carter Marshall’s mind when the explosion hit.

He hadn’t thought of what might happen, not even for a moment, when he threw himself on top of Thea’s body, trying to take the brunt of the heat.

But the heat.

It was so fucking hot.

Carter snorted to himself, thinking about that. Of course, fire was hot. Of course, it burned. Of course, it singed. Thankfully, he hadn’t been able to scent his own skin burning. But he had been able to smell burnt flour and other baked goods as the industrial bakery oven exploded in front of them.

He’d heard screams, mostly coming from Thea, and maybe from himself. He’d heard people rushing towards them. He’d heard other people crying out.

He had heard it all, but he hadn’t really felt much.

Maybe he wasn’t supposed to feel anything. Maybe, in that moment, it had been how it was supposed to be.

At least that’s what he’d thought when he attempted not to feel, when he tried to make sure Thea was okay and ensure he could maybe walk out of the inferno.

And then he’d woken up, and he hadn’t been dead.

And he hadn’t been alone.

Roxie had been there.

The Montgomerys had been there.

He hadn’t been alone.

And for someone who’d thought he always would be, that was a comfort. At least…it had been.

Someone had tried to destroy part of his sister-in-law’s bakery, Colorado Icing. And in doing so, that person had almost killed the love of his life’s sister. Had nearly killed Thea. And had almost killed him.

Now, he sat in a hospital bed, wondering what the fuck to do, because the explosion was only the beginning.

The heat, the flames, yes, they burned brightly and quickly.

But the dull ache running down his side and in his heart…that was what would last. That he would have to deal with.

“Are you okay over there?” Mace asked, his brows drawn. Carter turned to look at the other man with his dark hair and inked skin peeking out from under his shirt sleeves. Mace had been there for over an hour, just waiting. Waiting like all of them were doing.

Carter almost shrugged to say that he was okay, then stopped himself just in time. He had pretty severe burns down his side and leg, even some on his neck. And, because of that, shrugging would likely hurt like hell.

He would be okay. The doctors had told him that over and over again. He didn’t even have to worry about infection as much as he might have if he had been in the fire even a second longer. But because the flames had gone overhead, and he had flattened himself as much as possible over Thea’s body, he was going to be okay. Well, as okay as he could be with severe burns down his side, though, thankfully not life-threatening ones. And he had full mobility, or he would. I will be okay, he repeated to himself.

Theoretically.

Finally, he answered Mace. “I’m fine. Just tired.” He didn’t ask the question he wanted to. Didn’t ask the question that he should have the minute he woke up and saw Mace by his side.

It was the second day after the explosion, and when he was asleep through his surgery, things had gone to hell and back with his family. Thea had discharged herself from the hospital, thankfully, not as hurt as he was. Then, she’d gone off to see what had happened to her boyfriend as he had left her side and hadn’t come back. Apparently, Dimitri had gotten hurt in another accident and was even now in the same hospital as Carter.

The Montgomerys sure liked coming to medical centers.

Carter should know that, he had married a Montgomery after all, and he had spent more time in hospitals with Roxie than he cared to admit. He swallowed down bile from the pain, tried to push the thoughts from his head. He had to do that often when it came to Roxie. Not think. Not dwell.

It was better for both of them. He just focused on the now, and not the past…and sure as hell not the future.

Mace leaned forward in his chair, his expression concerned. “You want me to get you something?”

Carter shook his head, at least as much as he was able. “I’m fine. Just bored.” True. Somewhat.

Mace snorted. “Well, I’m not going to lie, I’m glad you’re bored. Because you’re here and able to be bored.”

“I guess that’s true. If I have time to be bored, I guess I have time to heal. I’d just rather be home while I do it.”

But as soon as Carter said the words, he wasn’t sure that was true. Home was awkward, it wasn’t easy. Home was full of memories, the depth of them piled on top of one another like coats of paint that had never been chipped away.

Taking away his breath.

He was suffocating, trying to figure out what to say, trying not to step on toes—even his own. He hated it, but he didn’t know how to stop it. Didn’t know how to make things better.

He didn’t know if there was a better.

It would be easier if he didn’t love Roxie. Things were always easier if love wasn’t in the equation.

“Carter?”

He pulled himself from his thoughts again. He needed to. “What?”

Mace’s voice was low and far too careful. “Her mom sent her home. Said she needed to take a shower and get some sleep. She’s been in the waiting room or by your side since she ran into the ER after we all found out about the accident. You know she’d be here if she could. But the folks pretty much dragged her out of the room to get herself together, and that’s why I’m here.”

Carter couldn’t think about that right then. He didn’t want her to see him like this. He already felt like only part of a man most days he saw her. This way? Weak, and not himself? He didn’t want to do that to her.

“Where’s Daisy?”

The she they had been talking about was Roxie, of course, but they could come back to that. The fact that Carter’s brother-in-law—or his soon-to-be brother-in-law if Mace and Adrienne had anything to say about it—was there, was nice. But the man had a daughter at home. He was the sole provider for the child ever since Daisy’s mom ran out on her. Between Adrienne and Mace, and the rest of the Montgomerys, there was always child care, but Carter didn’t like pulling Mace away from his kid.

“She’s with my sisters. They drove down from Denver,” Mace replied. Carter nodded, thankful that Mace’s two sisters had come to help out. He knew they didn’t see their niece very much and were trying to make the hour and a half trip more often, but still, he didn’t really like the fact that everyone had to change their plans because of him.

He decided to change the subject. “So, they caught the person that did it? The sabotage.”

Mace nodded. “Yeah, there was the one person who actually did it, but the person that orchestrated it…Molly? She is going to either be behind bars or getting the help she needs. She attacked Dimitri, too, in their old home. So something was definitely off there. But it makes me so fucking angry that it even got to this point. She could have hurt a lot more people. She did hurt a lot of people.”

“I’m just glad Thea wasn’t alone back there, you know?” Carter said, picking at some of the fuzz on his hospital blanket.

“I don’t think any of us want to think about it. Adrienne’s ready to bust some kneecaps I think, she’s so damn angry.”

“Well, your girl stood up for herself when she needed to, and she wants to stand up for others whenever she can. She could pretty much kick my ass if she wanted to.”

“I think she could kick all our asses, especially with you down for the count right now. But you’re going to be okay, you’re going to be right back to fighting shape and ready to kick all of our asses soon. Especially considering that out of the four of us—Dimitri, me, Shep and you—you’re pretty much the most built.”

“Well, with my job, I have to be.”

“That’s the truth, with two tattoo artists and a teacher, the mechanic who has to lift things other than a pencil or pen all day is probably going to be the one with the most muscle.”

“It’s going to be okay, Carter, make sure you tell your wife that,” Mace said, his voice low.

Carter didn’t say anything then, knowing that Mace was fishing. They all were. Everyone wanted to know what was going on between Roxie and Carter. And he hated the fact that he didn’t have answers for them. He saw the looks, heard the whispers. He wasn’t the dumb mechanic that others often thought of him as.

The Montgomerys may love him, may have taken him into their family when he didn’t have anyone else, but he still wasn’t one of them. Not really. He was the guy who had gone to mechanic school and took a couple of business classes to open up his shop. He was the guy that had fallen in love with someone he never thought would actually love him back.

And he was the guy who had gotten married because he thought he was making the right decision, who had thought he was doing it because everything would be better for it. Because he loved her.

And people wondered about the reasons behind it.

It wasn’t any of their goddamn business.

Carter loved Roxie Montgomery.

He just didn’t know if love was enough anymore.

“I’m going to go get a soda or something. Shep will be in soon to take over. You want anything?”

“I’m fine. I can call the nurses if I need anything, but I think I’m just going to take a nap or something.”

Carter didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t really want anyone near him. All he wanted to do was heal and figure out what the fucking next step was. Something he had been thinking about forever it seemed. What was the next step with his business? What was the next step with his life? What was the next step with the woman who wouldn’t talk to him?

“Roxie should be here soon too, you know,” Mace said as he stepped toward the door. “I don’t think her mom is going to keep her away for too long. I’m pretty sure they had to drag her out, and probably scared the nurses and staff in order for her to actually leave. But she’ll be back.”

“Yeah, she will.” Carter didn’t say anything else as Mace left, he could only wonder how long Roxie would stay when she came back.

He hated this. Hated not knowing anything. That was always the problem, the not knowing, the feeling of being two steps behind like he was a fucking idiot. But more and more these days, every time he thought about his wife, he couldn’t help but feel stupid. And that was on his shoulders, that was never on her. But he would have to figure out what to do about this feeling.

But, deep down in his gut, he knew that the accident would only make things harder for everybody.

Carter settled in for a nap and noticed that Shep, Roxie’s brother, walked in, checked on him, and then left again. A couple of other people came in, and he figured they were nurses and doctors. He was just so damned tired. His body exhausted, hurting. His mind hurting. His heart hurting.

He hated feeling like this. He was a man who worked with his hands, someone who knew what the fuck he was doing when it came to what was in front of him. But what surrounded him, what was behind him and lurking? That, he couldn’t stop thinking about. That was what he couldn’t control. And he was afraid everything he couldn’t control would end up slipping through his fingers.

A few hours later, the door opened, and Carter knew she was there before he saw her. Even over the scent of antiseptic and all the ointments on his body, he knew it was her. She tried different perfumes and lotions, but there was always just the smell of Roxie. The one that was uniquely her, sweet and a little floral. Maybe a little spice on certain days. It didn’t matter what she was wearing, how long her day had been, or how long she went without a shower. It was just Roxie.

His Roxie.

Carter resisted rubbing his hand over his heart at the thought. His Roxie wasn’t really a phrase he could use anymore, was it?

She hadn’t been his for a while, no matter what the paperwork said.

Damn, he hated himself.

And he couldn’t help but wonder…if he hated himself for any longer, would he end up hating her, too?

“You’re awake,” Roxie said, her voice soft, hesitant.

She was always so cautious around him.

Where had the woman gone who was such a force? Where did the woman who couldn’t keep her hands off him—just like he couldn’t do with her—go?

“I am.”

He didn’t know what to say after that. How could he not know what to say to the woman he loved with everything he had? What the hell was wrong with them?

Or rather, what the hell was wrong with him?

He just needed to open his mouth and say something. Anything. Tell her how he felt. That he loved her. That he wanted to work this out. That they could figure out whatever this was. But he didn’t know how to do that. Not when she looked so unhappy, so…not Roxie around him.

He didn’t want to force her to love him. Didn’t want to push her to be with him. To speak to him. To tell him her fears when he knew deep down that he was her fear.

He was going to lose everything he’d ever wanted, and he wasn’t sure how to deal with that. It wasn’t like he was dealing with it well at the moment.

Carter looked into her deep blue eyes and willed himself not to beg. It wouldn’t do either of them any good, and with the pain meds he was on, he was afraid he’d say something senseless.

When she came to sit down next to him, he just turned his head and stared at her, wanting to keep her on his mind and in his memories, feeling like the time was too short for them. Seconds and moments were passing in a blink, like sand between the fingers as it fell, and he couldn’t hold on any longer.

She reached out and put her hand on his, and he almost moved his away, startled at not only her movement but also his reaction. He turned his hand over and clasped hers as if knowing it might be forever if he let go.

“The doctors said you would be okay. That you can come home soon.” She wasn’t looking at his face but their joined hands.

He didn’t want to let go.

He never wanted to let go.

He cleared his throat and looked at her face, willing her to look at him. “That’s what I hear. Maybe another night or two while they get me ready for PT and are sure that I don’t catch an infection, and then I can come home.”

She gave him a tight nod, still not looking directly at him. “I’m…I’m glad.” She cleared her throat again. “I…I’m so sorry you got hurt, Carter. I can’t believe it all happened like it did. I don’t know what I would have done if—” She didn’t finish her statement, but she didn’t need to.

He didn’t know what he’d do if he lost her either.

Just thinking those words made him want to throw up.

“I’m okay, Roxie.”

She looked up at the sound of her name, and he realized he hadn’t said it aloud in far too long. He needed to change that. Needed to change a lot of things.

But, sometimes, there was no going back.

“I don’t like seeing you hurt.”

“I don’t like being hurt.”

“Thank you.” She licked her lips. “Thank you for saving my sister.” She wiped away a tear, and it wasn’t lost on him that he hadn’t seen her cry for him, but for her sister. Maybe it was all too much for her, or perhaps it was because she didn’t love him enough to break through that barrier of hers.

“Thea’s family,” he said, watching Roxie’s face for her reaction.

She just nodded, still looking partly down at their clasped hands. “And you’re the kind of guy who will throw yourself in harm’s way for family, for strangers, for…everyone.” She let out a shaky breath. “You’re a good man, Carter.”

He didn’t know why those words hurt. They shouldn’t. But then again, most things hurt these days.

They sat in silence for a few more moments and then talked about the family, never themselves. They were good at that. Talking without saying anything. He didn’t know how to fix things without hurting her.

He’d just hurt himself instead.

It took five more days for him to go home, and he knew PT and recovery wouldn’t be easy. It was going to take time. Time he didn’t have with his shop, though his crew was working hard for him. Time he didn’t have because he knew it would be hard on his wife.

But he’d push through.

It wasn’t like he had a choice.

Roxie drove them home, having told the rest of her family she could handle it. He didn’t mind since he didn’t want to deal with the others watching them, trying to see what was going on beneath the surface. He just wanted to be alone, wanted to heal. And he wanted to fix what was going on between him and his wife.

When they walked inside, he winced every few steps, going slow as he tried to catch his breath.

“Here, let me help,” Roxie said after she’d closed the front door. She slid under his good arm and pressed against his unmarred side, taking some of his weight. “Lean on me, I’ve got you.”

Oh, how he wished that were true.

Because he wasn’t looking at her now.

Wasn’t even truly feeling her.

Instead, he looked at the hutch to the side of the entryway, to the stack of papers and folders that hadn’t been there before he was hurt. To the mail that had been delivered in pristine and professional envelopes.

He knew that company.

Knew the name on the label.

And he knew exactly what it was.

He couldn’t look at his wife. At his Roxie.

Because he’d been right.

She wasn’t his.

Because those papers meant it was over.

“Were you going to tell me about the divorce papers, or were you just going to wait and see if I saw them?” he asked, his voice devoid of emotion.

When she didn’t say anything, he moved away from her, walked away.

He couldn’t fix this.

No one could.

He’d lost his Montgomery, his heart.

And there was no going back.

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.

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Excerpt Reveal: Stroke of Luck by B.J. Daniels

From New York Times bestselling author B.J. Daniels, comes STROKE OF LUCK—the stunning first novel in her brand new Western-set romantic suspense Sterling’s Montana Series!

STROKE OF LUCK releases on February 19, 2019. Pre-order your copy today!

STROKE OF LUCK Synopsis:

He’s hoping to bury the past. She’s ready to settle the score.

The Sterling Ranch’s season opening isn’t going so smoothly. With the ranch’s lodge full of guests and a Montana blizzard threatening, Will Sterling needs help—and he needs it fast. So when his childhood friend Poppy Carmichael agrees to lend a hand, he’s grateful for a second chance…and more enticed by the woman she’s become than he cares to admit.

For Poppy, it was supposed to be a retreat full of horse rides and hoedowns—with a side of showing Will what he’s been missing all these years. But as the snow deepens outside, the guests’ suspicion and mistrust turn sinister inside, catching Will and Poppy in the crosshairs.

Weathering the storm in each other’s arms is all too easy for Will and Poppy, but will a confrontation with a killer mean their reunion is short-lived?

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author B.J. Daniels starts her Sterling’s Ranch series off with a bang in this suspenseful story of romance and revenge.

Preorder STROKE OF LUCK here!

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Excerpt:

“Bad luck always comes in threes.”

Standing in the large kitchen of the Sterling Mon­tana Guest Ranch, Will Sterling shot the woman an impatient look. “I don’t have time for this right now, Dorothea.”

“Just sayin’,” Dorothea Brand muttered under her breath. The fifty-year-old housekeeper was short and stout with a helmet of dark hair and piercing dark eyes. She’d been part of the fixtures on the ranch since Will and his brothers were kids, which made her invaluable, but also as bossy as an old mother hen.

After the Sterling boys had lost their mother, Dor­othea had stepped in. Their father, Wyatt, had con­tinued to run the guest ranch alone and then with the help of his sons until his death last year. For the first time, Will would finally be running the guest ranch without his father calling all the shots. He’d been looking forward to the challenge and to carry on the family business.

But now his cook was laid up with a broken leg? He definitely didn’t like the way the season was starting, Will thought as the housekeeper leaned against the counter, giving him one of her you’re-going-to-regret-this looks as he considered who he could call.

As his brother Garrett brought in a box of sup­plies from town, Will asked, “Do you know anyone who can cook?”

“What about Poppy Carmichael?” Garrett sug­gested as he pulled a bottle of water from the re­frigerator, opened it and took a long drink. “She’s a caterer now.”

Will frowned. “Poppy?” An image appeared of a girl with freckles, braces, skinned knees and reddish brown hair in pigtails. “I haven’t thought of Poppy in years. I thought she moved away.”

“She did, but she came back about six months ago and started a catering business in Whitefish,” Garrett said. “I only know because I ran into her at a party recently. The food was really good, if that helps.”

“Wait, I remember her. Cute kid. Didn’t her father work for the forest service?” their younger brother, Shade, asked as he also came into the kitchen with a box of supplies. He deposited the box inside the large pantry just off the kitchen. “Last box,” he an­nounced, dusting off his hands.

“You remember, Will. Poppy and her dad lived in the old forest service cabin a mile or so from here,” Garrett said, grinning at him. “She used to ride her bike over here and help us with our chores. At least, that was her excuse.”

Will avoided his brother’s gaze. It wasn’t like he’d ever forgotten.

“I just remember the day she decided to ride Lightning,” Shade said. “She climbed up on the cor­ral, and as the horse ran by, she jumped on it!” He shook his head, clearly filled with admiration. “I can’t imagine what she thought she was going to do, riding him bareback.” He laughed. “She stayed on a lot longer than I thought she would. But it’s a won­der she didn’t kill herself. The girl had grit. But I al­ways wondered what had possessed her to do that.”

Garrett laughed and shot another look at Will. “She was trying to impress our brother.”

“That poor little girl was smitten,” Dorothea agreed as she narrowed her dark gaze at Will. “And you, being fifteen and full of yourself, often didn’t give her the time of day. So what could possibly go wrong hiring her to cook for you?”

About B.J. Daniels:

NYT and USA Today Bestselling author B.J. Daniels was born in Texas but moved with her family to Montana at the age of five. Her first home was a cabin in the Gallatin Canyon and later a lake house on Hebgen Lake outside of West Yellowstone.

Most of her books are set in Montana, a place she loves. She lives now in a unique part of the state with her husband and three Springer Spaniels.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to play tennis, boat, camp, quilt and snowboard. There is nothing she enjoys more than curling up with a good book.

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Excerpt Reveal: COLD & DEADLY by Toni Anderson

Romantic Suspense lovers – the first book in Toni Anderson’s Cold Justice: Crossfire series releases February 12th – but you can get a look at a sneak peek from COLD & DEADLY below!

About COLD & DEADLY

Available February 12th

Hostage Negotiators can talk themselves out of anything—except falling in love.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Dominic Sheridan is an accomplished expert in the Crisis Negotiation Unit. Practiced, professional, used to dealing with high-stake situations under tense conditions, Dominic is a master at manipulating people. Everyone, that is, but the headstrong rookie agent bent on destroying her fledgling career.

As a child, Ava Kanas put her life on the line when the mob executed her father. Now someone has killed her mentor, the man who inspired her to become an FBI agent—and she’s the only one who recognizes it was anything but a tragic accident.

When another agent is murdered and Dominic nearly dies, it becomes obvious a serial killer is targeting the FBI. Together Dominic and Ava search for clues in the investigation, all the while fighting a forbidden attraction that will complicate everything, especially when the predator sets their sights on Ava.

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COLD & DEADLY releases February 12th – preorder your copy of COLD & DEADLY now!

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Read an excerpt of COLD & DEADLY:

He checked his watch. “I need to get back to Quantico.”

“What?” Kanas stopped and faced him, incredulous. “We need to go talk to the medical examiner. See if they took swabs for DNA. We need to trace Van’s movements the day he died. We might be able to place him with someone—”

“We’re not actively assigned to this investigation, remember?” Although he had an excuse as Aldrich had asked him to look at the files. Kanas didn’t. “You need to get back to the office before your boss notices you’re AWOL. I’ll contact the ME and the lab and—”

“No. No way.” She put her hands on her hips, her t-shirt stretching tight across her full breasts. He had to force himself not to let his gaze get distracted. Ava Kanas had the sort of body that could make a man break every rule in the book, and Dominic was not a rule breaker.

“You are not sidelining me on this,” she insisted.

And the sort of mouth that could drive a man insane. Not in a good way.

“Sidelining you?” Was she serious? “Taking the lead on something is not sidelining. Ever heard of teamwork? Cooperation? Or plain old saving your ass?”

“Saving my ass?” Gold flecks sparked in the depths of her eyes. “You wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for me.”

Dominic strove for his natural calm, the one that usually came so easily to him. “I’m trying to protect your FBI career from the kamikaze spin you seem determined to put it into.”

Her lips parted and her chest rose and fell rapidly as she clearly tried to hold on to her temper.

“There are rules and procedures for this. We have no solid evidence. We have no witnesses. All we have is a man who claims he adjusted the clothing of what is most likely a suicide victim.” He reined in the temper that was starting to fray. Ironic that he found it easier to deal with bank robbers and terrorists than Ava Kanas. “I’ll check the files and see what evidence was collected at the scene and ask the ME what samples they took during the postmortem.” The funeral had been postponed but, given the embalming process, Dominic couldn’t be sure what evidence might still be present. At least he was in a position where he could get them to check without losing his job.

She swallowed tightly. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Just do your job until we have more answers.” He pulled his tie from his pocket and slid it along his collar.

Her eyes followed every movement of his fingers. “I’m not letting this drop just because my ‘superiors’ are telling me to. That’s not what Van taught me about conducting investigations. Question everything. Don’t let anyone tell you to ignore your gut. Trust your instincts.”

God, she was infuriating. “You’re deliberately missing the point. I’m not letting you fuck up your career because you’re torn up with grief.”

“You’re not letting me?” A muscle flexed in her jaw.

“That’s right, Ava.” He got in her face. It would have been a hundred times easier to stare her down if he hadn’t wanted to crush her against him and kiss her until she couldn’t breathe. Fuck. “I’m not letting you. That’s what Van taught me—how not to fuck up a career.”

She stilled at his vehemence. After a long beat of silence, she finally said, “Fine.” But it sounded more like “fuck you.”

She brushed past him, her stride long and confident and pissed. “Let me know if I can do anything else to assist you, sir.”

He shook his head. God she was stubborn, but pissing off her superiors was not a great way of keeping her position. No way in hell would Ava Kanas let this go. The question was, how far would he be willing to go to protect her?

About Toni Anderson

Toni Anderson is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, RITA® nominee, science nerd, professional tourist, dog lover, gardener, mom. Originally from a small town in England, Toni studied Marine Biology at University of Liverpool (B.Sc.) and University of St. Andrews (Ph.D.) with the intention she’d never be far from the ocean. Well, that plan backfired and she ended up in the Canadian prairies with her biology professor husband, two kids, a rescue dog, and two laid-back leopard geckos. Toni started writing while pregnant with her first child and never stopped. Her greatest achievements are mastering the Tokyo subway, climbing Ben Lomond, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and surviving fourteen Winnipeg winters (fingers crossed). She loves to travel for research purposes and was lucky enough to visit the Strategic Information and Operations Center inside FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 2016, and she also got to shove another car off the road during pursuit training at the Writer’s Police Academy in Wisconsin. Watch out world!

Toni’s books have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and the Top 10 on Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. Her novels have won many awards.

If you want to know when Toni’s next book will be out, visit her website (http://www.toniandersonauthor.com) and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson).

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Excerpt Reveal: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros

The right words can save your life.

For fans of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult… A soldier falls in love with his battle buddy’s sister through their letters and returns home from Afghanistan with a secret that could destroy their fragile relationship. Don’t miss THE LAST LETTER by Rebecca Yarros! Pre-order your copy today!

About THE LAST LETTER (Coming 2/26/2019):

Beckett,

If you’re reading this, well, you know the “last-letter” drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there were any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: Get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

Ryan

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“I cannot imagine a world without this story.” – Hypable

“A stunning, emotional romance.” – Jill Shalvis, NYT Bestselling Author

Excerpt:

“I’m not going anywhere. You need anything, and it’s yours. You need help? You’ve got it.”

She let loose a mocking laugh as she descended the steps.

“I don’t want or need you here, Mr.…” She opened the door to her SUV and pulled out a paper. “Mr. Gentry.”

“Beckett,” I answered, desperate to hear her say it. My real name.

“Okay, Mr. Gentry. Enjoy your vacation and then head home, because like I said, I’m not in need of a babysitter or anyone’s charity. I’ve been taking care of myself since Ryan ran off and joined the army after our parents died.”

I wanted to grab her, to hold her against my chest and block anything that wanted to harm her. My hands ached to sweep down the line of her back, to take away any of her suffering that she’d let me. I’d known this would be hard, but seeing her wasn’t anything I could have prepared myself for.

“It doesn’t matter if you want me, because I’m not here on your wishes. I’m here on Mac’s. This is all he asked of me, so unless you’re going to kick me off your property, I’m going to keep the promise I made.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Okay. Anything I need?”

“Anything.”

“When Ryan died—”

No. Anything but this.

“—he was on an op, right?”

Could she see the blood drain from my face? Because I sure as hell felt it. I heard the rotors. Saw the blood. Reached for his hand as it limply fell off the stretcher.

“Yes. It’s classified.”

Her hand gripped the open doorframe.

“So I’ve heard. I need…” She sighed, looking everywhere but at me for a second before straightening her shoulders and meeting my eyes. “I need to know what happened to Chaos. Was he there? When Ryan died? You were in the same unit, right?” Her throat moved as she swallowed, and her eyes took on a desperate plea.

Damn it. She deserved to know everything. That I wasn’t the man I wanted to be, that she needed. That I was the piece of shit who made it back with a beating heart while her brother came home draped in a flag. I needed her to know that I’d chosen to stop answering her letters because I knew that the only thing I could bring her in this life would be more pain.

I needed her to know that it was only Ryan’s letter that got me here, and the knowledge that it was the least I could do for my best friend. That I never meant to hurt her, never had the intention of smashing into her life like the wrecking ball I was—not when she lived under such breakable glass.

“Well? Was he?”

But what I needed didn’t matter.

I’ve never been able to give second chances when it comes to hurting the people I love. Letter number six.

If I told her those things, she’d shut me out, and I would fail Mac for a second time. I could tell myself that it was her choice, but really, it would be mine. I was the guy people looked for an excuse to get rid of, and truth was a gift-wrapped reason to kick me to the curb. There were two distinct paths ahead of me: the first, where I told her who I was and what had happened, and she promptly walked out of my life, and the second…where I did everything I could to help her, no matter what the cost.

Path number two it is.

“He was there,” I answered honestly.

Her lower lip trembled, and she bit onto it, like any sign of weakness had to be quashed. “And? What happened?”

“That’s classified.” I was a bastard, but an honest one.

“Classified. You’re all the same, you know that? Loyal as anything to one another and nothing left for anyone else. Just tell me if he’s dead. I deserve to know.”

“Knowing what happened to Mac…to Chaos…none of that would do you any good. It would hurt a hell of a lot more than it already does. Trust me.”

She scoffed, shaking her head as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. When she looked back up, the fake smile was in place, and those blue eyes had gone glacial.

“Welcome to Telluride, Mr. Gentry. I hope you enjoy your stay.”

She climbed into the SUV and slammed the door, throwing the vehicle into reverse to get out of the drive.

I watched until she disappeared into the thick forest of trees.

Havoc brushed against my leg. I looked down at her, and she stared back up at me, no doubt knowing that I was an imbecile for what I’d just let happen.

“Yeah, that didn’t go so well.” I looked up at the cloudless Colorado sky. “We did a number on her, Mac. So if you’ve got any pointers on how to win over your sister, I’m all ears.”

I opened the tailgate of my truck and started to unload my stuff.

It might be temporary, but I was here for as long as Ella would let me stay. Because somewhere between letter number one and letter number twenty-four, I’d fallen in love with her. Fallen for her words, her strength, her insight and kindness, her grace under impossible circumstances, her love for her children, and her determination to stand on her own. I could list a thousand reasons that woman owned whatever heart I had.

But none of them mattered because, even though she was the woman I loved, to her, I was just a stranger. An unwelcome one at that.

Which was more than I deserved.

“This story gripped me from start to finish. The Last Letter is poignant, heartfelt and utterly consuming. I loved it!” – Mia Sheridan, NYT Bestselling Author

“Hands down, the best book I’ve read all year.” – Fic Wishes

About Rebecca Yarros:

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores. When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

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Excerpt Blitz: In The Dog House by Traci Hall

About IN THE DOG HOUSE:

Ten years ago, Jackson Hardy joined the Marines, leaving behind a woman he still dreams about. When he’s called home to care for his ten-year-old nephew, no one is more shocked than he to run into Emma again. Or to still have those same feelings. But Jackson isn’t looking for love, and neither is Emma, especially not with him. His precocious nephew, though, and a retriever named Bandit, are about to change that.

So what if Emma Mercer is an overachiever? She has plans to get her doctorate in psychology and create a no-kill shelter for the EST dogs she trains. Which leaves absolutely no time for romance. She’s fine with a furry family—dogs don’t teach you to love and then rip your heart to shreds. But young Matty’s situation tugs at her heartstrings and there’s no way she can’t help him…and Jackson.

She may have hotter-than-ever chemistry with the soldier, but forgetting the past isn’t easy.

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Excerpt from In the Dog House by Traci Hall

She’d said she was proud of him—did she mean it? Her forearm brushed his leg, and her throat turned a deep shade of rose as she held his gaze. Sweet. She wouldn’t say what she didn’t mean.

He tilted to the right, wanting to touch her mouth with his. Sample a quick taste of Emma to add to his memories. Her lips slightly parted, the pulse at the hollow of her throat sped, her eyes dilated. They were so close to a kiss that all he had to do was move his head forward…

She stood abruptly, smoothing the yellow fabric down over her hip with an eye toward Matty, racing around the fountain. “I’ll get dessert.”

Jackson snapped back. Was she inviting him inside?

“I’ll help.”

She held the door open for him, and he followed her. The instant they were out of sight she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around him to hold him tight—he couldn’t have broken free if he’d wanted to.

And he didn’t.

He buried his hands in her soft, soft hair and cupped her head so that he could study Emma and memorize each new line and freckle. He gently brought the pads of his thumbs to her smooth jaw and plump pink lower lip. Her eyes, swiped with copper, glittered sensually as she absorbed his touch. Auburn lashes at half-mast as she relaxed into him.

He dropped one arm to her hip to balance her, the other still cradling her head as he lowered his mouth. She lifted to him, their lips whispering across each other’s mouths before crashing together like surf against the sand.

She tasted different but the same. It was meeting his other half, something he’d been missing and suddenly needed more than his next breath.

“Em.”

“Jackson.” Her words were hot against his lips and brought the embers of desire flaming bright.

She entwined her fingers behind his neck and pressed in to him.

He clasped her tight, feeling the warmth of her feminine curves, the temptation she offered.

The smack of sneakers up the porch steps made them break away like guilty teenagers.

Jackson’s chest heaved. They weren’t that anymore.

Em’s eyes flashed, the pulse at her neck fast as a hummingbird’s.

“Emma,” Matty asked, innocently entering the kitchen. “Can I have some lemonade?”

“Sure, hon. I was just getting the cannoli out. Are you ready for dessert?” Emma turned her back to him, and Jackson detected a tremor in her voice.

Jackson knew then that he’d never be over Emma Mercer, not if he lived to be a thousand.

Excerpt Reveal: Changed by You by Kristin Mayer

changed by you promoReleasing February 4th… GET READY!

Changed By You by Kristin Mayer

I’m in over my head, and Teale Delaney is the reason why.

She’s beautiful, sassy, and I can’t stop thinking about her.

If I let myself, I could fall in love.

But I can’t. I won’t.

It’s to protect her, not me.

Someone out there wants vengeance. If I allow them to see my true feelings for Teale, they’ll stop at nothing to take her away.

I’m lying to everyone around me to protect the only woman who can bring me to my knees.

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🔹Read book 1, Intoxicated By You (standalone): https://amzn.to/2OPmAtM

🔹Read book 2, Wrecked For You (standalone): https://amzn.to/2SYOqpm

EXCERPT REVEAL

“Fuck, it’s too cold for this shit.” I slammed the door of my truck before clomping up the snow-covered stairs. Skagway was having one of the coldest winters in history. We were getting so much damn snow, and no one could keep up with it.

I glared at the door of the cabin my friend Butch had rented out. He’d asked if I could help the tenant with any problems while he was away. Of course, there would be problems with some stupid city slicker renting it out. Butch owed me big.

I’d gotten twenty text messages that the heater wasn’t working. Twenty damn text messages. Who sends that many? I had just as many voicemails but hadn’t listened to one. I’d gotten the picture from one text. No need for twenty.

Shit.

And it was some guy named Teske. What kind of name is that? I would have bet this guy wore some shiny-ass loafers with his fancy-ass business suit.

It was the middle of January. Normally, this was my chance to get away from all these jokers and recharge for the hunting season. Instead, I was here, dealing with a heating issue. Teske probably couldn’t find the pilot light to save his life.

I have too much shit to do.

The FBI was on my ass to find a potential serial killer. There had been a wave of unsolved murders all throughout Alaska. The last one had been in Juneau, which was too fucking close for comfort. In exchange for my help, the FBI agreed to leave Kory and Hayden alone. No more questions about all the shit that had happened. No more bothering them, period. They weren’t supposed to even look Kory and Hayden’s direction.

So far, the feds had been true to their word.

But now they wanted me to pull a rabbit out of my ass and make a murderer appear out of thin air.

News flash—rabbits aren’t found in people’s asses. At least not in mine.

I needed a fresh crime scene to track. The ones I’d been brought to so far were already tainted. In some cases, it had been four months since the murder. The Juneau incident was four weeks previous. By the time they brought me on board, the crime scene had been ruined. Even worse, the pictures they’d taken were shit. The whole case was a disaster. And they had no idea who was behind it.

The agents had nicknamed him “Lumberjack Killer.” Talk about being original and unique. It was hard to even say the name with a straight face.

What the fuck ever.

I pounded on the door of Butch’s cabin. In the next second, it shot open.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re here! I’m about to become a Popsicle.”

For a second, I was frozen in shock. I hadn’t been expecting a woman to answer the door. Butch had said there was only one occupant, and I’d assumed it was a guy. She had on so much fur it was hard to see anything else. Whatever was on her head looked like what Hollis, our local town doctor who’d relocated from New York, considered a Paul Bunyan hat on steroids. Time and time again, I’d tried to tell Hollis that Paul Bunyan wore a beanie, but Hollis was Hollis, and he stuck to his beliefs.

“I’m looking for Teske,” I said.

“Who?”

“Teske.” I took a deep breath; my patience was growing thin. “That’s what the text said.”

She laughed. “No, that was supposed to say Teale. But my hands were so cold my fingers probably slipped. And I can’t see much with all this fur. I’m freezing.”

I stepped inside the cabin and was disappointed to find it just as cold inside as it was outside. That wasn’t good. “Why didn’t you start a fire?”

The poor girl was shivering. “Umm… I couldn’t find the remote.”

The what? “Remote?”

“Uhh… yeah. At home, I push a button and voilà… let there be fire. There wasn’t a remote or button to push.”

Well, shit.

I wanted to laugh, but I kept a straight face. A remote? Is she serious? Even Hollis would have been able to figure out the fireplace needed wood and matches.

“Let me check out the heater.”

“Okay.”

I walked to the back of the cabin and found the furnace tucked away in a closet.

Double shit.

The thing was old as dirt. It looked like a rusted tin bucket. What the hell? Butch should have known better than to rent out his cabin without a properly working heater. I screwed around with it for a few minutes, but the damn thing was completely shot. We needed to come up with a Plan B.

I walked into the living room where Teale sat with another blanket wrapped around her. There was a hell of a lot of luggage stacked at the door. Maybe she hadn’t had time to unpack. I thought she’d been here for a week or two already. Oh well. I couldn’t concern myself with that.

“Well, the heater is shot. Let me see if I can find some space heaters. Then we can get a fire going. You should be good to go until I can get the parts to fix it.”

“Okay… sure.”

I went to search the different closets, and I heard the front door open and close. When I walked back into the living room, Teale was gone. From the window, I saw her heaving one of her suitcases into the bed of my truck.

No. No. No. This isn’t going to happen.

I opened the door and yelled, “What are you doing?”

She folded her arms over her chest. The damn fur obscured her face even more. “I’m going anywhere but here. I’ll freeze to death here. You do not want my death on your conscience. I’ll come back to haunt you. I can be very scary.”

For the second time that day, I’d wanted to laugh, but I refused to allow it. Me laughing out loud in front of strangers never happened. She wasn’t coming with me. No way. “No, we’ll start a fire and get you a space heater.”

She opened the passenger door. “Hey, puppy. Don’t bite me. I just don’t want to freeze to death.” Mariah looked at me, her big blue husky eyes asking what was going on. I closed my fist to my side to let her know it was okay. I’d trained Mariah personally, and she was the best damn dog I’d ever had.

“Teale, be reasonable.”

“Nope. I’m going with you.”

This was getting us nowhere. I just had to get her back in the cabin and show her how warm I could make it. Calmly, I walked toward the truck. As I reached the door, the locks engaged.

Motherfucker.

She yelled through the window, “I need you to get the rest of my luggage first. Then I’ll let you in the truck.”

“Teale, get out of my truck.” This was ridiculous, and I was tired of playing games.

“Nope. Sorry. Luggage first. I’m coming with you.”

“Teale, I will get the cabin warm again.”

She cocked her head to the side and smiled at me. “Will you please get my luggage, Mr. Foster? Then you can take me into town. The one thing I do know is that I’m not staying in this cabin a second longer.”

I’d known her for five minutes, but this woman was going to be the death of me. Fine. I’d take her to the hotel and be done with this shit. The roads out to my cabin and Butch’s were still terrible. It had taken me nearly ninety minutes to make it out there. Normally it was only about a twenty-five-minute drive. I gritted my teeth and hoped the main road into town had been cleared enough for me to manage it. However, I knew I would be stuck in town for a minimum of a few days. From my cabin, it was still a thirty-minute drive to my parents’ on a good day. If I had to, I could stay with Mom and Dad. Butch, you owe me.

I pulled out my phone and texted Dad. My parents’ house was only about ten minutes or so from town.

Me: Heard anything about the roads in town?

Dad: If you’re thinking about coming into town, I wouldn’t. They’re still bad. One of the plow trucks broke down and the other needs a new blade.

Just my luck. Skagway had two plows and both were out of commission.

Me: Okay, thanks.

Dad: Everything okay?

Me: Yep. Just had a few errands to run.

If my brothers got wind of this… well, it wouldn’t be good. I had to talk sense into this woman. “Teale, let’s talk.”

She shook her head and pointed at the cabin. This woman was so damn stubborn. I grabbed all fifty million suitcases and threw them into the back of my truck.

Who the hell packs this much?

When the last bag was loaded, the locks disengaged, and I climbed in.

Teale pulled back her fur hat and looked at me. I was stunned momentarily in the deep dark pools of her eyes. They were gorgeous.

Well, fuck me.

I was in way over my head.

jan 30

MEET THE AUTHOR:
Kristin tries to live life to the fullest during every moment. She loves to travel, meet new people, and mark items off of her bucket list.
She loves to hear from her readers by email at kristinmayerwrites@gmail.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristinMayer/, on Twitter @author_Kristin, and on Instagram at kristin.mayer.