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Category Archives: Excerpt Reveal

First look at WEB OF FROST by Lindsay Smith! 

 

First look at WEB OF FROST by Lindsay Smith! 

A too-young queen must learn to control her powers in order to save her empire, but can she trust the man who’s taught her to use her gift?

About WEB OF FROST

The saints of Russalka work their blessings in mysterious ways, allowing the royal family to perform miracles for their people. But the young princess Katza fears her powers. She’s seen grave visions of her bloodied hands destroying her family’s empire. When her older brother succumbs to illness, leaving her next in line for the throne, Katza turns to a young rebellious prophet named Ravin who promises to teach her how to control her gift. As unrest grows in Russalka and a foreign monarchy threatens, Ravin understands Katza’s fears and helps her find confidence in her gift, and her own heart. Under Ravin’s unorthodox training, Katza learns to hear the saints once more—until revolutionaries claim her father’s life.

Reeling and desperate, Katza draws upon darker and darker powers to stop the revolutionaries, the foreign invaders, and the members of her own court who would see her fail. But the more Ravin whispers in her ear, the more Katza questions whether he—and the saints—have her best interests at heart. She must choose between her love of Ravin and her love of Russalka itself—and decide whether her empire might not be better off without her.

Here is an exclusive excerpt from WEB OF FROST:

“An incredible show of power,” Ravin said. “But you are capable of even more.” He paused, and turned his head, almost peering back at her over his shoulder. Again her gaze was drawn to the sharp line of his forehead, his nose beneath a dark sheaf of his hair where it had fallen across his brow. “Show me.”

Katza rolled her shoulders back. She had never before prayed to Saint Morozov; she’d never had reason to. She scanned the icons in the sanctuary, looking for his face—the blue eyes piercing with ice, the gray pallor of his skin as flecks of frost wreathed him. But all the colors were washed out on the ancient icons—he was hard to find. Saint Morozov. Her lips worked as she sought him out. Saint Morozov. Grant me the chill in your bones . . .

“No, no.” Ravin stalked toward her, shoulders bristling with cold fury. “You don’t need to focus on his icon. You must be able to draw the power anywhere. Anytime. Morozov is only a filter for turning the raw power into ice. You must reach past him.” He trembled with intensity. “Seize the power for yourself. It’s already there, just waiting for you to grasp it.”

“I—I’m sorry.” Katza bit her lower lip and looked down. Morozov. Let your cold envelop me . . .

And then she felt it, crawling inside her skin—the faintest threads of ice. If the saints were filters for Boj’s raw power, then Katza imagined herself reaching through that filter to grasp it at the source. Her breath crystallized before her as she exhaled, then twinkled like glass as it fell to the floor. Frost coated her hands, her face, and yet the cold was soothing, hardening around her like a shelter . . .

No. Like a tomb.

Katza thrashed, panicking as her skin became solid, stiff with cold. “O, Boj,” she cried. “I can’t—”

“You have to release it,” Ravin shouted. “Don’t keep it trapped inside you!”

Katza’s throat was closing up, turning into a block of ice. She tried to scream. Tried to move her arms—she had to force the cold away from her—

She flung her arms out wide.

Frost shot out from all around her, spinning fine as a spider’s web. It spread up the chapel walls, crunching and cracking as it went, riming the icons and choking the candles Ravin had lit. Katza’s breathing eased and she felt a tide surging through her. She was one with the ice, letting it into her as she spun it from her, a perfect symbiosis.

Katza’s chest rose and fell as she admired the ice thickening into columns and pillars and intricate lacework all around them. With a command, she could pull it all away. But she wouldn’t. She had made this, and she was in control, and everything was beautiful.

A voice inside her sighed happily and whispered in her ear, Yes.

“Incredible.” Ravin was breathing heavily too as he approached her once more, stepping around a pillar of ice. His dark eyes danced, reflecting the sunlight-kissed frost. “You are truly in control of it.”

Katza tested, fingers twitching; a column of ice thinned, melting, then thickened again at her command. “I am. I can feel that power you were talking about, that well. It’s just below the surface. But it’s rolling through me, a give and take . . .”

“Yes. You are in control of your power. But I, too, am blessed by Saint Morozov.” He drew closer and raised his palm. Ice sheathed his fingers, glinting with the menace of steel. “Can you stop it when someone else is using that blessing? Can you melt it all away?”

Katza staggered back from him, but backed into one of the columns of ice. She tried to melt it, but it was one he’d created—she had no power over it. Frost fringed onto her clothing, her hair, her neck, as if the column were consuming her, swallowing her up. Again she felt that burn in her chest, crystals sprouting and slicing her up, but it wasn’t in her control. She couldn’t push it away.

“Careful, tsarechka.” Ravin laughed behind pressed lips. “Or I’ll make a martyr of you.”

Panic spiked through her, a shard of ice in the warmth of the saints’ gifts. “Please, stop!”

His face loomed before hers. Gray washed over his features; his lips were deathly blue. “You must stop me.”

Katza swallowed. She couldn’t. She would never be strong enough—but she had to. It was what Russalka needed.

It was what she’d been craving, all along.

Pre-Order this title at these online retailers:

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Enter the Giveaway!

1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and 3 runners up will receive 1 ebook from Lindsay Smith’s backlist (winner’s choice).

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Other Books by Lindsay Smith

SEKRET http://amzn.to/2AXTMHu

DREAM STRIDER  http://amzn.to/2EEox6y

Author Bio:

Lindsay is the author of the young adult novels SekretDreamstrider, and A Darkly Beating Heart, and is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box’s The Witch Who Came In From the Cold. Her work has appeared on Tor.com and in the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil & Trouble, and she has written for Green Ronin Publishing’s RPG properties. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and dog.

​Follow Lindsay:
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Chapter Reveal: Unlocking Fear by Kennedy Layne

We’re a week away from the release of UNLOCKING FEAR by Kennedy Layne – but you don’t have to wait! You can read the first chapter now. Check it out and be sure to preorder your copy!

About UNLOCKING FEAR

A chance mishap with a sledgehammer was the sole reason a chilling nightmare was unleashed in Blyth Lake.

Noah Kendall’s grisly discovery left him in the middle of a murder investigation and a neighbor who knew more than she was willing to say. Reese Woodward had returned to town with dark secrets, and he was determined to unravel them. While evil lurks in the darkness, seduction burns between them…only time was their enemy.

Will her secrets destroy what they’ve built, or can he earn her trust before the killer strikes again?

Add UNLOCKING FEAR to your Goodreads list here!

UNLOCKING FEAR releases January 23rd, 2018 – preorder your copy now!

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2oDD6Tg
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2ouRvO6
✦Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2AYCo5e
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2odmleE

About the Keys to Love Series

Their homecoming wasn’t so welcoming. Four brothers and one sister each gave twelve years of their lives to serve their country and fulfill their family’s legacy of service. As each of them return to their home of record, they weren’t prepared for what awaited them—an unforgivable sin that has been hidden for twelve long years. Secrets and lies are concealed in the dark shadows of the very town they were raised in, and the Kendall family will have no choice but to rely on one another to unravel the sinister evil that they all hold the keys to unlock.

Read the First Chapter of UNLOCKING FEAR:

Twelve years ago…

The deepening shadows stretched out across the small cluster of trees, causing the footpath to become somewhat obscured by the dark. The dying leaves that covered the floor of the woods rustled as the cool October breeze turned into a strong gust of wind.

A storm must be rolling into town.

Emma didn’t slow down her pace. She was already an hour late for her curfew, but at least this old shortcut would take ten minutes off her trip home. Her parents would probably ground her for at least a week, if not more. She needed to find a better way to sneak back inside the house. The back door squeaked horribly. It could wake the dead.

What was the odd chance her sister would cover for her?

Emma grimaced, already knowing the answer to that question. This was all Shae’s fault, anyway. Why did she always get the car, just because she was older? It was so unfair that she didn’t have to share.

Emma quickened her pace despite the darkness and the chance of tripping over a root. She imagined that she could walk this route with her eyes closed just as easily. She’d come this way a thousand times over. It was used by most of the kids who were still relegated to riding their bikes and walking out to Yoder’s farm to party, especially since most of them lived on the far side of the old woods in town.

A twig snapped in the distance, bringing her up short. Its piercing crack echoed off the trees. Was someone else walking home?

“Who’s there?”

Emma waited for a reply, wincing when her voice was amplified through the small stretch of woods. She tried to peer through the trees, expecting to see Brynn or Julie, but it was too dark to make anything out beyond a few yards.

The faint and comforting sound of her favorite song drifted from the old farmhouse. She looked over her shoulder, still able to make out the orange sparks rising from the top of the raging bonfire as they reached into the night’s sky. It was almost as if the flames were dancing, reminding her of how Billy held her in his arms earlier as they swayed to the music.

Emma smiled as she wrapped her arms around her waist in an effort to keep warm. She could still smell the bonfire on her sweater, along with his father’s cologne that Billy had been wearing. Maybe he graduated to buying his own though, choosing from the limited selection at Murphy’s dry goods. Not eve n the chilly night air could take away her happiness at having secured a chance at a relationship. She’d waited so long for him to notice her.

Tonight had been as perfect as it could get.

Now all she had to do was figure out a way to sneak into her house without her parents catching her in the act or that stupid door screeching out into the night. She needed to be able to say yes to Billy if he asked her out for next weekend. And he would, she was sure of it.

Emma slowly spun around looking for the source o f the noise, not seeing anyone or anything. A quick glance up at the sky told her that the clouds were gathering. She hesitated before walking deeper into the woods that would lead her right to the edge of Seventh Street and the town’s cemetery.

A vision of her standing by her school locker and saying yes to Billy had her continuing forward with a determined stride.

This annual bonfire wouldn’t be their last, of that she was certain, but it was one she would always remember.

She’d heard that old Yoder’s far m had been sold, so future get- togethers would most likely be in the clearing on the north side of the woods. She noticed the new owners had even started renovating the farmhouse, but that hadn’t stopped Chad Schaeffer from organizing one last bash out by the farm pond. It was a miracle the sheriff hadn’t cruised by earlier and sent everyone home. He was usually a real stickler when it came to parties involving the local teens.

No one recognized the name of the new owner. There were no relatives of the Yoders around these parts anymore, so the town council must have decided to auction off the land after clearing it with the courts. She’d meant to ask her dad how someone determined if a piece of property was derelict. She’d heard a teacher talking about it in class. It probably had something to do with property taxes.

Emma hadn’t wanted to bring up the matter, because then her dad would have figured out that she was part of the gang who hung out on the same property the town council complained about.

Now that would have earned her a grounding for at least a month or more.

There was a break in the clouds, allowing for the dirt path in front of her to suddenly became clear. She took another step forward before realizing something was quite wrong, but by then it was far too late.

Emma walked directly into the arms of her killer.

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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram

Sneak Peek: Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland

My relationship with Hunter Delucia started backwards.

We met at a wedding—him sitting on the groom’s side, me sitting on the bride’s. Stealing glances at each other throughout the night, there was no denying an intense, mutual attraction.

I caught the bouquet; he caught the garter. Hunter held me tightly while we danced and suggested we explore the chemistry sparking between us. His blunt, dirty mouth should’ve turned me off. But for some crazy reason, it had the opposite effect on me.

We ended up back in my hotel room. The next morning, I headed home to New York leaving him behind in California with the wrong number.

I thought about him often, but after my last relationship, I’d sworn off of charming, cocky, gorgeous-as-sin men. A year later, Hunter and I met again at the birth of our friends’ baby. Our attraction hadn’t dulled one bit. After a whirlwind trip, he demanded a real phone number this time. So I left him with my mother’s—she could scare away any man with her talks of babies and marriage—and flew back home.

I’d thought it was funny, until the following week when he rang the bell at Mom’s house for Sunday night dinner. The crazy, gorgeous man had won over my mother and taken an eight-week assignment in my city. He proposed we spend that time screwing each other out of our systems.

Eight weeks of mind-blowing sex with no strings attached? What did I have to lose?

Nothing, I thought.

It’s just sex, not love.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

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(Amazon eBook will be a live release, no pre-order)

“You’re not going anywhere before you do two things.”

“Two things?”

“Leave your number and kiss me goodbye.”

“I…I…you haven’t brushed your teeth.”

Hunter chuckled. It felt like he could see through all of my bullshit. Reaching over to the nightstand, he grabbed his phone and held it out to me before getting up. “Toothpaste in the bathroom still?”

“The little one the hotel sets out.”

“I’ll brush. You type.”

While he was in the bathroom, I mulled over not typing anything into his phone. There was no way I was keeping in touch with a man living three-thousand miles away. A guy like him was the last thing I needed. But then I thought better of just telling him I’d put my number in. He seemed to have figured me out pretty quick. So instead, I typed my name and number, only I changed the last two digits.

And it was a good thing I did, because when Hunter returned from his bathroom trip, the first thing he did was check that I’d entered something. Luckily, he didn’t attempt to call me. Satisfied, he tossed his phone on the bed and nodded.

“Thank you. Now kiss me.”

I could see he wasn’t going to let me leave without this. So, sacrificing to make my plane, I pushed up on my toes and delivered a quick peck to his lips.

Mmm…. Nice and soft.

(And minty fresh.)

“Well…it was nice to meet you.” I turned to dart out the door, but Hunter grabbed my wrist yet again.

“I said kiss me.”

“I did!”

“Kiss me the way you kissed me last night.”

Before I could even attempt to let that sink in, Hunter yanked me against him. One of his large hands cupped the back of my neck, and he squeezed firmly to direct my head where he wanted it. Then, his lips crashed down on mine.

The shock of feeling his mouth against mine quickly dissipated as he licked my lips, encouraging me to open for him. His tongue dipped inside, and he groaned as he tilted my head and deepened the kiss. The vibration of the sound traveled between us and sent a hum through my body. Soft and gentle went out the window after that. He grabbed a fistful of my ass, and I lifted my body up onto his, wrapping my legs around his waist. As he backed us to the wall, a sense of familiarity overcame me. I couldn’t remember the specifics of our previous kiss, but I now knew deep inside what it had felt like.

My cell dropped from my hand so my fingers could tangle in his hair. Yanking on the soft strands, I couldn’t get enough. A moan from deep inside my chest moved through our connected mouths. Hunter pushed harder, his thick erection pressing into the center of my open legs. He rocked as he kissed me, causing a friction through two layers of clothing that was leading me to a place I didn’t think it was possible to go fully dressed.

It felt like he wanted to swallow me whole, and in that moment, I would have let him. My breasts were crushed to his chest, and a heartbeat raged out of control—only I wasn’t sure if it was my own or his. Jesus, where does a man learn to kiss like this?

I was breathless and stunned when our kiss broke. Hunter sucked on my bottom lip, tugging it before releasing my mouth.

His voice was strained. “Change your flight. We’re not done here.”

I swallowed, trying to gain some composure. “I can’t.” My voice was barely a whisper. It was all I could muster.

“Can’t or don’t want to?”

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in nineteen languages. She lives in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Other books from Vi Keeland:

Standalone novels

Beautiful Mistake
Amazon http://amzn.to/2Ep0Cb0
iBooks http://smarturl.it/20x53a
B&N http://smarturl.it/n8jey6
Kobo http://smarturl.it/1btxsz

Egomaniac
Amazon:http://amzn.to/2DbubNL
iBooks: http://apple.co/2fIsmvC
B&N: http://smarturl.it/t4ohsv
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/azmhq9

Bossman
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DbOECg
iBooks: http://apple.co/25x2jyX
B&N: http://bit.ly/29sL4H2
Kobo: http://bit.ly/29lW19I

The Baller
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DbJeHC
iBooks: http://bit.ly/iBooksBaller
B&N: http:// bit.ly/BarnesBaller
Kobo: http:// bit.ly/KoboBaller

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)
http://amzn.to/2FfBggZ

Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat
http://amzn.to/2qMZZWM

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beat/id983959123 https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/beat-5

Throb
http://amzn.to/2Df0sUx
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/throb/id948747986
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/throb-vi-keeland/1121112695
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/throb-4

MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)
Worth the Fight
http://amzn.to/2FhRB4O
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-fight/id805540252
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-fight-vi-keeland/1117014180
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-the-fight

Worth the Chance
http://amzn.to/2maNcbi
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-chance/id813714461
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-chance-vi-keeland/1118634058
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-the-chance

Worth Forgiving

http://amzn.to/2AK8ykU
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-forgiving/id906130022?ls=1&mt=11
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-forgiving-vi-keeland/1120173153
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-forgiving

The Cole Series (2 book serial)
Belong to You
http://amzn.to/2DcXnnV
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/belong-to-you/id639401754
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belong-to-you-vi-keeland/1114962845
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/belong-to-you

Made for You
http://amzn.to/2CIEKXG
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/made-for-you/id84550637
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/made-for-you-vi-keeland/1115883225
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/belong-to-you

Co-written novels

Cocky Bastard
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2FircUB
iTunes: http://apple.co/1PffE2J
B&N: http://bit.ly/1EjxNpY
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1UxCSUO

Stuck-Up Suit
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DegCNy
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Qbwy57
B&N: http://bit.ly/29vrQhV
Kobo: http:// bit.ly/1RJdUif

Playboy Pilot
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mdXlDQ
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Wb06Cf
Nook: bit.ly/2caXPEK
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2cJDXO1

Mister Moneybags
Amazon http://amzn.to/2mcMA4Z
Barnes & Noble http://smarturl.it/kx7h8m
iBooks http://smarturl.it/3y1tuq
Kobo http://smarturl.it/qqf5ho

Dear Bridget, I Want You
Amazon: ➜ http://amzn.to/2DdEDo7

iBooks: ➜ http://smarturl.it/y4x3xi
B&N ➜ http://smarturl.it/o780mb
Kobo: ➜ http://smarturl.it/kfgc6a
Google: ➜ http://smarturl.it/7cvewu

 

Chapter Reveal: Undefeated by Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

 
Amazon
Nook
iBooks
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AP new - synopsis.jpg

A powerful contemporary romance set in the fast-moving world of international rugby.

When your world crashes down
When they all say you’re out
When your body is broken
I will rise.
I will return.
And I will be undefeated.

Nick Renshaw is the golden boy of British rugby. When a serious injury threatens his career, he starts to spiral downwards, a broken man.
Feeling abandoned and betrayed by those closest to him, he fights to restart his life. Maybe there’s someone out there who can help him. Maybe he can find his way back toward the light. Maybe … not.
Dr. Anna Scott might be the one person who can help Nick, but she has her own secrets. And when Nick’s past comes back to haunt them both, the enigmatic doctor is more vulnerable than she seems.
Broken and betrayed, the struggle to survive seems intolerable. Who will give in, and who will rise, undefeated?

Coming January 23rd 2018
Prologue

It’s a beautiful game.

It’s a hard game.

And even on a good day your body is battered and bruised. It’s a brutal game with blood, mud and dirt.

See this scar on my cheek? Rugby.

See this scar running through my eyebrow? Rugby.

I have a lot of scars.

I have 13 scars on each arm from keyhole surgery, knee surgery, scars on my forehead and the back of my head, scars on my knuckles, broken fingers. I’ve had both eyelids stitched, surgery on both shoulders, suffered a broken nose twice and spiral fractures in my hands, I’ve broken my fingers so many times, I don’t event count those. I’ve had cartilage cleaned out of my left knee, two medial ligament grade two tears on each knee, three lots of surgery for Achilles tendon injuries, and once I put my bottom teeth through my top lip. Getting stitches in your mouth isn’t much fun. They tug when you eat or speak.

There’s nothing nice about rugby. Maybe that’s why I bloody love it.

Chicks dig scars? Yeah, I’ve heard that, too.

In my experience, they’re not so keen on being around while you’re healing. Being the loser who’s benched, not so sexy. Being the guy who’s career went down the toilet … I’m looking a lot less appealing now.

Trusting a woman when you’re at your lowest—dumbest, stupidest thing ever.

Beat me, break me, butcher my heart.

I’m coming for you. And this time…

I’m going to win.

AP new -about the author.jpg
Stuart Reardon

Stuart is a retired England International Rugby League player who’s career spanned 16 years as a professional playing for several top League clubs. He has had several major injuries that nearly ended his career just as in Undefeated, the amazing collaboration with Jane.
Currently he is a Personal trainer living in Cheshire, and has an online fitness program: Fear Nothing Fitness.

Web  Twitter  Facebook   Instagram  YouTube  Tumblr
Jane Harvey-Berrick

I enjoy watching surfers at my local beach, and weaving stories of romance in the modern world, with all its trials and tribulations.
It’s been the best fun working with Stu on this story. And yes, he did think about joining the Marines once.

Author Links
Web Facebook  Twitter  Amazon Page Goodreads Instagram
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Excerpt Reveal: The Thing About Love by Kim Karr

TTAL_ExcerptBANNER

An emotional and unforgettable new romance from New York Times bestselling author Kim Karr. The Thing About Love releases on JANUARY 3rd!

Keep reading for an excerpt!

TTAB_Amazon_KOBO_iBooks

ADD to your TBR → http://bit.ly/2hb3Ll8
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The whole stethoscope-and-white coat thing isn’t my cup of tea.

I prefer a man with an artistic vein in his body. 9 – 5 hours. And I can definitely do without the half-lidded, sleepy bedroom eyes. (Okay, so those are kind of sexy.)

Tall, dark, and handsome doesn’t change the fact that he’s arrogant, cocky, and rude.

Not that I care, but he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with a quirky girl like me, which is why he said no.

Turns out no isn’t an option.

I have a quickie wedding to plan, and Dr. Jake Kissinger doesn’t have a choice. He looks at our situation like he’s stuck with me, but in reality I’m stuck with him. Stuck with his pouty mouth. His long, lean body. And stuck with those loose, low riding scrub pants. (Okay, so the doctor thing is growing on me.)

When spending time together turns into more than it should, I know I’m in trouble.

He isn’t supposed to make my heart pound.

I’m not supposed to make him look twice.

And we aren’t supposed to spend the night together. (Okay, so he has more than one artistic vein in his body, and other places.)

Falling for him is definitely a mistake.

Here’s the thing…

Jake is unavailable, and I know it.
Just not in the way you might think.

I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

TTAL_TEASER4

EXCERPT:

THE THING ABOUT LOVE
By Kim Karr
Copyright 2017

If a barn could be magical, this one was definitely enchanting.

I was in a daze as I looked around. The rafters. The tables. The river. They all seemed to sparkle with a light I wanted to capture.

“Isn’t that right, sweetie?” The voice was deep and husky, but I was in my own world imaging what I could do with a place like this and not paying any attention.

An elbow nudged me, and it wasn’t until then that I realized I was sweetie.

Sweetie?

Seriously, the man with the DR before his name couldn’t find something a little sexier in his vocabulary to call me? Sugarcakes. Honeypie. Cookie, even.

“What’s that Chocolate Cake?” I smiled big and wide when I said it. Obviously, he was giving this little show all he had, so I figured I might as well, too.

Ignoring my taunt, Jake draped an arm around my chair just as Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine” came bellowing through the speakers.

When his fingertips brushed my shoulder, I wasn’t listening to the beat of the music though because butterflies took flight in my belly, and lower. I had to remind myself that this was part of the show, but still, I found myself having to squeeze my thighs together to sooth the ache his touch had ignited.

“I was just telling George how much you love to dance. Especially square dance,” he said.

I had been reaching for my water, and I practically spilled it when he said that. Was he out of his ever-loving mind? I didn’t know a thing about country dancing other than the fact that the word do-si-do had something to do with it.

I tucked a piece of hair behind my ear. “Yes, big boy, I do like to dance, but you know I prefer to watch you line dance because you’re so great at it. Besides, don’t forget, I did hurt my ankle not that long ago.”

His grin was beyond wicked. “You can be a klutz sometimes, but I seem to recall you assuring me your ankle was absolutely fine, and after I checked it out, I did concur with your self-diagnosis.”

Ethel tapped George on the shoulder, and when he looked at her, she whispered something in his ear.

“Did you say you wanted to dance, Jules?” George asked me over the music.

Before I could say no, George was on his feet and standing beside me with his hand extended. “Would you do me the honor of having this dance with me?”

Like I could say no now.

He really was so sweet. Dr. Kiss, on the other hand, well he was the devil reincarnated. “I’d be delighted,” I said and glared at Jake as I stood.

“Have fun, Sweetie,” Jake grinned.

I bent to whisper in his ear. “While I’m gone, do you think you could come up with something to call me that doesn’t make you sound like you might be George’s age.”

He narrowed that blue-eyed stare at me.

Satisfied with that, I pivoted around and didn’t look back.

The bridesmaids, in their short, peach dresses and cowboy boots, were having a blast stomping their feet and clapping their hands all while shaking their behinds and pressing their thumbs into their sides.

How on earth were George and I going to dance to this?

Thank God just when we reached the center of the dance floor, the music changed, and Tim McGraw’s voice came overhead. As Tim sang about how no one ever made him feel the way she did, George and I stepped into position.

He took my hands and started to move, ballroom style. This type of dancing I knew how to do. “So,” he said, “When are you and Jake planning on getting hitched?”

Up until now, I had been able to twist what I said so it didn’t sound like a blatant lie, but this question was pretty straightforward. “We haven’t decided yet.”

Which was true. In fact, we hadn’t decided a lot. Like as a starting point, if we were friends or enemies.

“I noticed you ain’t wearing a ring. He not gotten you one yet?”

“That’s complicated,” I answered.

And it was. He hadn’t gotten me one and he never would because he didn’t even like me, and after tonight, I was fairly certain he wouldn’t be able to stand me.

“Well, he’s a good man. Give him some time. He’ll come around.”

Yes, he’d come around all right. Come around to telling me I was fired, which reminded me of Finn.

Where had he gotten his information?

I leaned back. “Is Labor Day weekend available for a wedding?”

George started to laugh. “You’ll give the man a heart attack if you make him move that fast.”

“Oh, I know, but just in case, is it?”

“As a matter of fact, it might be. A lad called here today inquiring about it though, and I told him to come up and see the place before I reserved it for him. Since he ain’t shown, I reckon it could be yours.”

“Good to know.” I winked.

He raised a curious brow.

I shrugged. “Just in case.”

Yes, just in case I decided to come clean. And just in case I could figure out how this place was suitable for Rory. But even as I thought it, I knew it wasn’t.

I nearly missed a step when I caught a glimpse of Jake leaning against the wall, watching us.

He threw me off, and I had to order myself to tune back into George for the remainder of the dance. My lack of focus had to cease right now because the bottom line was that at the moment I couldn’t allow myself to be thrown off course.

When the music ended, I stepped back and curtsied.

“Thanks for indulging me.” George gave my hand a squeeze. “You and the Doc are really quite a couple.”

“Thank you,” I told him, but I knew I should have been correcting him instead. I hated the lie, but I couldn’t undo it now, nor could I stop what he was doing. George had signaled Jake over, and he had started to move.

All tall, dark, and handsome, he strutted my way with a cat that ate the canary grin on his face. I wanted to wipe it away—with my lips.

No, I didn’t mean that.

“It’s your turn,” George told him.

“Oh, but he only likes to line dance,” I said.

George laughed like it was a joke and strode toward his Ethel, who had started clearing the buffet table.

“May I?” Jake asked, all debonair-like.

“I don’t know, may you?”

He shook his head. “Just give me your hands, will you? I’d hate to ruin George and Ethel’s night by admitting this was all a ruse.”

“Grrr…You are so frustrating,” I said offering my hands.

He laced his fingers in mine and drew me close. “Did you just growl?”

With a frown, I placed my hands on his shoulders. “I did no such thing.”

His hands fit my waist like they were made for me. “Yes, you did. And smile, they’re looking at us.”

Forcing myself to keep the corners of my mouth tilted upwards was very difficult because I could barely breathe when he slid his thigh between mine.

The crowd surged around us, and just like that, I forgot this wasn’t real. We were aligned thigh-to-thigh, belly-to-belly. If I turned my head, our mouths would be close enough to kiss.

Silly thought.

We moved together, and when my hands slid from his shoulder to cup the back of his neck, the edges of his soft brown hair tickled my knuckles. The heat of his skin was almost too much, as was the feel of his body so close to mine.

When his fingers splayed against my back and lingered there, I could have sworn the music thumped in the pit of my stomach, my wrists, and especially between my thighs

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He moved closer to me. “I believe it’s called dancing.”

“Are you still acting? Because if you are, George and Ethel are no longer watching us.” I whispered this in his ear.

“Does it matter?” he answered back, and when he did his breath caressed my ear.

“Do you want it to?”

He pulled back to look into my eyes, his smile less bemused and his gaze bright. “Do you always answer a question with a question?”

“Only when…I’m talking to you.” My hesitation sounded coy, but I hadn’t meant it to. Scared of something, but no idea what of, I said, “This place isn’t that bad. It just needs some more sparkle.”

“Sparkle?”

“Yes, like crystal chandeliers hanging from the beams.”

He chuckled. “I don’t think crystal chandeliers are George and Ethel’s style.”

“No,” I said. “We should probably go. You were right to begin with, this place isn’t appropriate for your sister’s wedding.”

All of a sudden, the music ended, and before I could say another word, I was being pushed into a very grabby crowd of women.

Oh, no! The bouquet toss.

I had to get out of here. I bent down and crawled around, through, and practically under, a number of jumping cowboy boots.

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

Rushing out of the side of the crowd, I stood up, and I could hardly believe it when the bouquet landed at my feet.

Without thinking, I picked it up to throw it back into the crowd, but it was too late.

“Oh Jules, you caught it.” It was Ethel, and she was escorting me to the front of the room. When I saw George leading Jake there as well, I wanted to end this charade.

It was too much to handle.

Having him so close was too much to handle.

He was too much to handle.

George and Ethel pushed us both together, and all of the girls started chanting, “Seal the deal. Seal the deal.”

“What are they talking about?” Jake muttered.

“Kiss her, Doc,” George clarified for me, and before either of us could step away from each other, George and Ethel were once again pushing us together.

I landed against Jake’s hard chest. My mouth flew open in surprise, and a small sigh escaped. My lips were so close to his. Tantalizingly close. I wanted to close the distance so very much.

He was breathing heavy, and I could see the muscle twitch at his temple, witness how tight his jaw was. Everything about him screamed he was holding himself back.

We were both losing that battle though.

Whether out of obligation, pressure, or need, his mouth came crashing down over mine, in the hardest, heated, and most demanding way.

Oh, God, I wanted this.

Wanted him.

Especially when his tongue pushed inward, hot and sensual. It glided over mine as he licked at the roof of my mouth and swirled around my tongue in the most erotic dance.

His lips were so soft.

His mouth so hot.

His possession unlike any I’d ever experienced.

I could hear the catcalls, but ignored them all because he wasn’t simply kissing me, he wasn’t just sealing the deal, he was devouring me.

In that moment, any other man I’d ever kissed faded away.

No one had ever kissed me this way.

TTAL_SmashedCake

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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Excerpt Reveal: Whore by Willow Aster

Enjoy a sneak peek into WHORE by Willow Aster! This contemporary romance/suspense is releasing on December 26th! Mark your calendars!!!

“I need a reason to exist.”

Beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong-willed, wealthy—Lilith Fontenot seems by all appearances, to have it all. But that’s not how the highest paid prostitute in New Orleans sees herself.

A stain on society. A scourge. A waste. Outsider. Prisoner…

Any idyllic dream of the normal life she may have once imagined, Lilith buried long ago. Her only plan now is survival.

But mob boss Nico Santelli and community center owner Soti Christos have not given up on Lilith. Each has his own very specific, very opposing, plans for her, and neither will rest until it becomes a reality.

WHORE is a singularly bracing take on an ancient tale of tireless love, betrayal, and the possibility of redemption.

“I don’t need any money,” I tell him. “I can make enough in the next few hours to cover me for the week.”

He flinches and turns toward me. The expression on his face makes my gut cinch. His eyes are like copper in the sun. So bright I have to look away.

I swallow and my voice shakes when I speak. “Thank you for everything. I won’t forget this.”

I put the phone in my pocket and decide to go while we’re on the topic.

“Wait, take this, please.” He reaches in his pocket and gives me a crumpled up wad of cash. “It’s not as much as I’d like to give you, but it’s all I have right now.”

“Can I do anything for you?” I ask, stepping toward him.

“No. Not everyone sees you as a business transaction, Lili,” he says softly.

My face is heated as I take the money and shove it in my pocket. I turn around and rush to the door. Before I leave, I chance another look at his face, but when we make eye contact I’m even more unsettled.

I lift a hand, whisper my goodbye, and stumble out of there. My eyes burn as I walk down the stairs, and even though the community center is bustling at this time of day, I don’t notice anyone else. By the time I step outside, tears are streaming down my face. I don’t even know why. His kindness … it confuses me.

Whore by Willow Aster from Bibliophile Productions on Vimeo.

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Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and the upcoming release, Whore. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming and make fun of her for reading while cooking.

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Excerpt Reveal: Outlaw Ride by Sarah Hawthorne

Today we have the excerpt reveal for OUTLAW RIDE by Sarah Hawthorne! Check it out and grab your copy February 5th!
Title: Outlaw Ride
Author: Sarah Hawthorne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 5th, 2018
About Outlaw Ride:

A recovering gambler

Hard-living biker Clint Remmick is fiercely loyal to the boys of the Demon Horde motorcycle club. He’s worked hard to redeem himself, and there’s no risk he won’t take to help his brothers, even when rivals threaten their safety. When his grandmother’s health takes a turn for the worse, though, he moves out of the clubhouse to take care of her. With his duties for the MC, he knows he can’t do it alone, so he hires Jo, a live-in nurse.

He didn’t expect her to heal him, as well.

A dedicated nurse

Jo Smith enjoys working for sweet old Anne Remmick, and she’s especially intrigued by her tattooed bad-boy grandson. Clint’s tough exterior scares her a little, but she feels a pull toward the sexy biker. Soon she’s dying to close the distance between them.

A losing bet

When Clint and his brothers have to pull a dangerous job in Reno, Jo is the perfect cover. With enemies around every corner, Clint needs to focus on keeping her safe—not the lust simmering between them. But when Clint is trapped by a rival club, Jo will have to save him…and their relationship. 

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Mackenzie Walton.

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Enforcer’s Pride:
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Rebel’s Custody:
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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Would you like to dance?” He gestured toward the wide spot of linoleum in front of the piano.

Dancing with Clint meant having his arms around me, feeling his breath on my cheek. I wanted to jump up and accept his offer. I looked around and no one else was dancing. He was standing there with his tattoos showing and his leather vest, a real tough guy—he couldn’t really want to dance with me in the middle of the senior community center.

I laughed. “You’re joking, right?”

“Uh, no. I wasn’t joking.” Clint shrugged and grabbed a newspaper off the rack next to me. He sat back down. “I just thought it might be fun, something different.”

Oh shit. He really did want to dance and I had totally blown it. He opened the paper to the sports page and then skipped to the local section. I’d hurt his feelings because I was afraid to take a chance. What could I say to make this better?

“I’ll dance with you, young man.” The woman in her seventies got up and held her hand out to Clint. “My name is Alma, and I know what to do when a handsome man asks you to dance. You say yes.”

Clint was caught. He looked from Alma and then back to me, unsure of what to say.

“All right.” He got to his feet. “Foxtrot?”

About the Author:

Sarah Hawthorne lives in the Pacific Northwest where she drinks too much coffee, plans a lot of vacations and writes romance novels. Her native habitats include her garden and the local library. Please visit her website, www.sarahhawthorne.com, for upcoming books, contests, freebies, and more!

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