Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Blog Tour Stop/Giveaway: Truth and Dare

 



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ann M. Trader will award a randomly drawn winner a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



A bright and talented environmental engineer, Goldie Vreeland understands facts and figures, but Max Corda, her secret office obsession, remains a puzzle. On the eve of a business trip to a coastal island, fate intervenes, pairing her with her sexy crush. As she thinks about sharing the same space with Max for a week, her world veers dangerously off course.

Fueled by success as engineer and president of his family’s firm, recently divorced Max needs to jumpstart his life. When his father unexpectedly assigns him to Goldie’s project, his closely guarded attraction to her comes front and center. Thoughts of spending a week alone with this beautiful intelligent woman make his internal compass glitch.

Romance stirs with the island breeze, so simple when they’re hundreds of miles away from normal. But as Goldie and Max return to reality, will they discover real love is more than a game?


Read an Excerpt

“Those lips,” I said, the words slipping off my tongue.

“Excuse me?”

His question broke my trance. “Oh, Lord. I’m sorry I—”

“Wait. You feel it, too, don’t you?”

I hesitated then nodded.

Max leaned toward me. “You know, I’ve been trying to get a read on you tonight, but I’m pretty rusty at all this.”

“Let’s get one thing straight, Max. There’s nothing about you that’s rusty.”

A smile quirked at the corner of his mouth. “The word means nothing to you because you’re young and beautiful.”

I crossed my arms over my chest. “You really think a lot about this age thing, don’t you?”

He sighed. “I’m thirty-one, Goldie.”

“Well, lucky for you my ceiling’s a good thirty-three.”

He bit back a smile, his eyes growing softer, warmer. “I like you, Goldie.”

“I like you, too, Max.”

“I really want to kiss you.”

“So, what’s stopping you?”

“The very real possibility I won’t be able to stop,” he said with a reverent tone.

About the Author


I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring recipes on the lighter side of southern comfort foods. I’m a member of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and I love relaxing on my back porch to read and write. These days I take walks around my neighborhood, but when I was sixteen, I hiked the Grand Canyon with a group of friends. I love watching television dramas (in no special order): Palm Royale, The Buccaneers, The Bear, Mary and George, Emily in Paris, Outlander, Shrinking, Shogun, Bridgerton, Outer Banks, Stranger Things, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders and reading a great romance book.

Website: http://www.annmtrader.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/annmtrader
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ann-m-trader
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annmtraderbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21925238.Ann_M_Trader
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anntrader5

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Dare-Wonder-Wildflowers-Book-ebook/dp/B0D3JG5KQ8/ref=sr_1_1

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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Book Spotlight: The Ex Vows by Jessica Joyce

 


Check out the new book by Jessica Joyce today, The Ex Vows.

Estranged exes must stick close together to save their best friend’s wedding after a string of disasters in this swoony and steamy second-chance romance from the USA Today bestselling author of You, with a View.

Georgia Woodward lives by her lists, none more so than the one about her ex, Eli Mora. It’s full of the ironclad dos and don’ts they’ve been following since she returned to the Bay Area after their cataclysmic breakup five years ago. 

     With the wedding of their mutual best friend, Adam, looming, and them about to step into their roles as best woman and man, Georgia’s never needed it more. She refuses to threaten their tight-knit friend group with her messy—and still very present—feelings. The rules on that list will keep her cool, calm, and compartmentalized. 

     
What’s not on her list? Eli arriving from New York with a new rule-breaking attitude or the all-inclusive venue burning to the ground, leaving the bride and groom in dire straits. Nor does she anticipate Adam asking her and Eli to help him make a miracle happen. Together.

     As Georgia and Eli rush up to Napa Valley to pull off the perfect wedding, their old chemistry comes back in technicolor. Somewhere between cake tastings gone wrong, disastrous DJ auditions, and Eli’s heated attention, Georgia starts recognizing the man she fell in love with before. And if she lets herself break her rules, she might find what they’re building isn’t the something old that ruined them—it’s a chance at something new.



Excerpted from The Ex Vows by Jessica Joyce Copyright © 2024 by Jessica Joyce. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

 


This wedding is cursed

"Not again," I mutter.

To the untrained eye, this text probably looks like a joke, or the beginning of one of those chain emails our elders get duped into forwarding to twenty of their nearest and dearest, lest they inherit multigenerational bad luck.

In actuality, it's been Adam's mantra for the past eight months.

Adam is the brother I never had and I'm truly honored to be along for the ride on his wedding journey. But had sixth-grade Georgia anticipated I'd be fielding forty-seven daily texts from my more-unhinged-by-the-minute best friend, I would've thought twice about complimenting his Hannah Montana shirt the day we met.

My Spidey senses tingle with this text, though. It hasn't been delivered in aggressive caps lock, nor is it accompanied by a chaotic menagerie of GIFs (my kingdom for a Michael Scott alternative). Whatever has happened now might actually be an emergency.

Then again, the wedding is ten days away. At this point, anything that isn't objectively awesome is a disaster.

I pluck my phone off my desk, typing, What's the damage?

A bubble immediately pops up, disappears, reappears, then stops again.

"Great sign."

It's nearly four p.m. on Wednesday, the day before my week-long PTO for the wedding starts, and I still have half a page of unchecked boxes on my to-do list, plus a detailed While I'm Away email to draft for my boss. I can't leave Adam hanging in his moment of need, though. What kind of best woman would I be?

No better than the largely absent best man? comes the uncharitable punchline. I slam the door on that thought. It's not like I've minded executing most of the best-people activities; it's been a godsend for multiple reasons. It's just so typical of him to-

I catch my own eye in the computer's reflection, delivering a silent message with the downward slash of my dark eyebrows: Shut. Up. I'd rather think about curses than anything tangentially related to the subject of Eli Mora.

Not that I believe in curses at all.

Except . . . deep down, I do worry that Adam's been hounded by bad vibes since he proposed to his fiancée, Grace Song, on New Year's Eve. Their plans have involved a comedy of errors that have escalated from bummer to oh shit: the wrong wedding dress ordered by the bridal salon, names misspelled on their printed wedding invitations twice, and-the one that nearly got me to believe-their wedding planner quit three months ago because his Bernedoodle had amassed such a following on social media that he was making triple his salary as her manager.

For Adam, whose natural temperament hovers somewhere near live wire, it's been a constant test of his sanity. Even Grace, who's brutally chill, the perfect emotional foil for Adam, has been fraying.

But then, she would've been fine eloping. Every new disaster probably only further solidifies the urge to book it to Vegas.

Adam's texts tumble over one another:

Georgia

Our fucking DJ

BROKE THEIR HIP

LINE DANCING AT A BACHELORETTE PARTY

IN NASHVILLE

I need to know what I've done in my 28 years on this dying earth that is causing this to happen

I start to type, but he beats me to it.

That was rhetorical, Woodward, DON'T

Clearly Adam's shifting out of his panic fugue, so I shift into fix-it mode. It's the reason he came to me out of everyone-he knows I'll step up without hesitation.

Deep breath. Nothing's burned to the ground, right? I text back. This is problematic but not fatal. We'll come up with a new list.

The bubbles of doom pop up again and I wait. Again.

I wish I could say my eagerness to jump into this shitstorm is fully altruistic, but since I got back from a six-month work stint in Seattle three months ago, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen Adam, all wedding-related. This has been the only way to reliably stay in his orbit.

For now, anyway.


About the Author

Credit: Jessica Joyce

Jessica Joyce
 lives happily-ever-ongoing with her husband and son in the Bay Area. When she’s not writing character-driven, realistic and relatable tales of millennials who are just Doing Their Best while falling in love, you can find her listening to one of her dozens of chaotically curated Spotify playlists, trying out a new skincare face mask, crying over cute animal TikToks, or watching the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Cover Reveal: The Wrong Bride by Gena Showalter & Jill Monroe

 

Vacationing in Scotland, schoolteacher Elizabeth “Elle” Darcy anticipates picturesque landscapes, castles of old and kilt-wearing charmers, not awakening in someone else's body. Worse, that someone just married enigmatic billionaire Callen Bruce. Though that’s not the biggest problem. To the rest of the world, her new “husband” runs an elite empire. But behind his public persona, he’s a king of berserkers locked in an ancient, supernatural war with wolf-shifters.


Determined to reclaim her normal life, Elle will do anything necessary to switch back with Callen’s real wife. First, she must ditch the disciplined warrior. An impossibility when he refuses to relinquish the bride chosen for him by fate, even though he despises her. Or does he? The growing heat in his eyes says otherwise. Not that it matters. There’s no way this temporary queen will fall for the moody, broody secretive warrior who belongs to another woman. Nope. Not Elle. Not ever. Probably.


Preorder Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Bride-Kings-Fury-ebook/dp/B0D4MCL3WC


Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-wrong-bride/id6502619332


Nook/Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wrong-bride-gena-showalter/1145622917


Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-wrong-bride-7


Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gena_Showalter_The_Wrong_Bride?id=aosHEQAAQBAJ


Books2Read:

https://books2read.com/u/bzAggz


Author Details:

Gena Showalter

genashowalter.com

Social Media: @genashowalter

Newsletter: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/610294733a133d5424e6b0a8


Jill Monroe

jillmonroe.com

Instagram: @jillmonroebooks

Newsletter: https://jillmonroe.com/newsletter/

New Release Spotlight: His Second Chance by Carrie Ann Ryan #MontgomeryInkLegacySeries

 


HIS SECOND CHANCE - July 15th



Tropes: 

Touch Her and Die

Right Person, Wrong Time

Secret Romance

Second Chance Romance

Secret family (Not what you think?)

#SPOILERS

 



Blurb:

The rules were simple. Protect the woman I love. And try to stop loving her along the way.

Kane Montgomery Carr and Phoebe Dixon's romance went from a fiery temptation to a fizzled out heartbreak.

Only Kane has no idea why.

All he knows is that he has to keep her safe when a stalker sets Phoebe in their sights.

Yet as the two of them are forced once again into each other's lives, the truth behind their breakup surfaces and they are forced to face the facts: the feelings and heat they buried aren't quite as gone as they'd like.

If they give in, they'll have to face the demons that broke them up in the first place—including a startling secret that shocks them both.

Yet if they don't, they might lose the chance of a life time.

That is, of course, if they can survive what lurks in the shadows for them both.


New Release Spotlight: His Second Chance by Carrie Ann Ryan (Montgomery Ink Legacy Series)

 


When I first dipped my toes into Carrie Ann Ryan's Montgomery Ink series (the original series), I was sucked into this huge family that had all my cat nip tropes that just stole my heart. Now countless books and different cities, business and more, we are looking into the lives of the Montgomery Ink kids and Carrie Ann Ryan delivers another stellar book in the Montgomery Ink Legacy series in His Second Chance.


His Second Chance
Montgomery Ink Legacy Book 6
Release Date: July 15th, 2024
Contemporary Romance
All the Buy Links HERE

The rules were simple. Protect the woman I love. And try to stop loving her along the way.

Kane Montgomery Carr and Phoebe Dixon’s romance went from a fiery temptation to a fizzled out heartbreak.

Only Kane has no idea why.

All he knows is that he has to keep her safe when a stalker sets Phoebe in their sights.

Yet as the two of them are forced once again into each other’s lives, the truth behind their breakup surfaces and they are forced to face the facts: the feelings and heat they buried aren’t quite as gone as they’d like.

If they give in, they’ll have to face the demons that broke them up in the first place—including a startling secret that shocks them both.

Yet if they don’t, they might lose the chance of a life time.

That is, of course, if they can survive what lurks in the shadows for them both.


Tropes: 

Touch Her and Die

Right Person, Wrong Time

Secret Romance

Second Chance Romance

Secret family (Not what you think?)

#SPOILERS

About the Author:

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, paranormal, and young adult romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Wilder Brothers, Promise Me, and Elements of Five series, which have sold millions of books worldwide. She’s the winner of a RT Book of the Year and a Prism Award in her genres. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over one hundred novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not losing herself in her emotional and action-packed worlds, she’s reading as much as she can while wrangling her clowder of cats who have more followers than she does.

Check out her Website for all the latest updates and more

Release Blitz: The Physician by Magdalene Dietchka

 



The Physician: Book One in the Stolen Ones Series by Magdalene Dietchka (@PublishConquest @MDietchka)


Jake Perlman’s fate changed forever as a child when a dam broke on the way to school, washing his bus over a bridge. Before the Angel of Death could claim him, a Shepherd named Omiel stole Jake from his fate. Now as a Stolen in his adulthood, Jake uses his powers under Omiel’s guidance to assemble his coterie, a group of Stolen with abilities like his.

Yael Taube learned in her youth she would become a Companion, the soulmate to a Stolen. After an unfortunate event finds Yael in the presence of her Stolen, Jake, things take motion.

Jake and Yael learn of their fates and see hope for their future. However, pulling the coterie together is anything but easy. Between their shared trauma, doubt in their fate, and evil beings called Sirens trying to harm them, the coterie’s future is anything but certain. Despite the Shepherds’ direction, there are dangers ahead. If the Stolen and their Companions come together too soon, it could lead to their undoing, but the world and the coterie are counting on their success.

If you enjoyed reads such as The Irin Chronicles by Elizabeth Hunter and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick; you won't be able to put this one down.

Buy Links:

Ingram: https://shop.ingramspark.com/b/084?D1otvfjPsz0UGe2bHUFCillMXyYbmZphlUzUdkj6R8A

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Physician-Book-One-Stolen-Ones/dp/1962739015/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Physician-Book-One-Stolen-Ones/dp/1962739015/

Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/4jM2ak

 

Excerpt

The landscape was littered with nature’s destruction. Last night’s storm matched Jacob Perlman’s dark mood. He hated his rural middle school and his freshman year sucked. Jake stared out of one of the closed bus windows at the downed limbs and flooded lawns. He was so sick of assholes destined to peak in high school and go nowhere in life. Getting shoved into another locker because he aced a test everyone else failed got old. Yeah, they called him a nerd, but his ambition forced him to be the best at everything he did. He had to be. Being the son of two leading pharmaceutical researchers already placed pressure on him to achieve academic excellence. Jake would graduate in three years and could not wait to spend the new millennium away from here.

The bus driver slowly wound his way down the road, cursing the school not so quietly for not closing due to the flooding and debris clogging the roads. Jake agreed with the old man. He didn’t want to look at his schoolmates, the day had been rough enough already. Out of the corner of his eye, Jake saw Shepherds near each student, which concerned him. The Shepherds were humanoid, almost translucent, and glowed with a golden hue. They bore two wings on their back, and their hair flowed like fire. The creatures rarely stayed near their charges for long. He had always been able to see them and talk with them whenever he wanted, but no one else could. The Shepherds had told him they lived between the worlds of the living and the dead.

When Jake was a child, his parents thought the Shepherds were just imaginary friends. By the time Jake turned ten, he realized adults became uncomfortable when he spoke to the Shepherds or talked about them. His parents told him he was too old for imaginary friends and took him to child psychologists. Jake quickly learned to shut up and limit his interactions with Omiel, his Shepherd. Omiel was a constant presence in his life and taught him to cope with his ability to see into the Veil between worlds. Over time, Jake learned to block out the Shepherds as just another part of the terrain, but if he focused, he witnessed them appearing and briefly following their charges.

Today, every student on the bus had a Shepherd near them, another reason he stared out the window. Normally, he might see two or three. Omiel floated particularly close to him today. Jake’s friendship with his Shepherd had become strained as of late, and he avoided speaking with the creature.

“When the time comes, grasp my hand,” Omiel whispered to him, which alarmed Jake.

He scanned the bus, but as usual no one else heard a thing. The language used by the Shepherds wasn’t English or Hebrew. He knew both, albeit his Hebrew was rudimentary at best, as he had only learned what he needed for his bar mitzvah. Yet, he could understand the beings when they spoke. He wanted to respond, but hell, that would paint a bigger target on his back.

Just as the bus driver crossed the bridge taking them over the river, Jake saw a wall of water and storm debris rushing toward them.

“Watch out!” he yelled at the driver.

Instead of gunning it, the bus driver panicked and hit the brakes. The water slammed into the bus, shoving them to the opposite side of the bridge. They crashed against the guardrails, breaking them like toothpicks. The bus plunged over the edge into the water with a crash, tossing students in all directions. The middle schoolers cried in fear as the bus bobbed upright in the water. The driver was slumped over the wheel unconscious. A tree the floodwaters had ripped up torpedoed through the glass door of the bus. Water roared inside, and everyone’s screaming and panicking hurt Jake’s ears.

He scrambled to the emergency exit window, but the bus spun around in the torrent, slamming into large debris and the underwater riverbanks, tossing him into the seat. Jake was finally able to reach the window and tried to get it open. One girl, Deanna, recovered her wits and helped him yank on it. Deanna was a serious girl who normally left him alone. Jake didn’t know if it was a good idea or a bad idea to open the exit; all he knew was staying inside the bus was a death sentence. The Shepherds stayed with their charges, but again, no one could see them. He wanted to yell at them to do something, but he didn’t have time. The bus was sinking quickly.

 

About the Author:

Magdalene Dietchka was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania to a large, loving, and crazy family. She is an avid reader, storyteller, and gamer with a deep passion for Dungeons and Dragons. Always proud of her Eastern European heritage, Magdalene studied international relations with a specialization in Eastern European studies. After living in Moscow for a summer in the late nineties, the following year Magdalene met her husband online, and it was love at first sight.

Magdalene Dietchka now spends her days in West Virginia with her husband and two dogs.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mdietchka/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Magdalene-Dietchka/61550730204957/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MDietchka

 


Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.


Sunday, July 14, 2024

Summer Book Tour Stop: The Backtrack

 


The Backtrack 

Erin La Rosa

On Sale Date: July 16, 2024

June 19, 2024

9781335009456

Trade Paperback

$18.99 USD


From the author of FOR BUTTER OR WORSE and PLOT TWIST comes a new speculative contemporary romance. One woman is sucked into the past—and shown glimpses of what her life could have been—as she listens to nostalgic hits on her old CD player. For fans of Rebecca Serle and Allison Winn Scotch. 

When pilot Sam Leto jet-setted out of small town Georgia, she promised she’d never be back—even though it meant leaving behind her best friend, Damon Rocha. Now on a forced vacation home to pack up her childhood house (and help her injured grandmother), Sam is unexpectedly hit with nostalgia from her teens--especially her bedroom, perfectly preserved from the time she left all those years ago. Sam discovers an old CD player among her teenage possessions, and in listening to the burned disc inside, she receives flashbacks from her past life--senior prom, graduation, leaving home. But the memories aren't as she remembers them. They show an alternate past. What could have been. If she never left Georgia all those years ago, would she now have the life (and love) she always wanted for herself?

  

BUY LINKS:

Ripped Bodice: https://www.therippedbodicela.com/product/erin-la-rosa-signed-books

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/p/books/change-your-tune-original-erin-la-rosa/20602549?ean=9781335009456

B&N:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-backtrack-erin-la-rosa/1144343035

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Backtrack-Erin-Rosa/dp/1335009450/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0

Excerpted from The Backtrack by Erin La Rosa, Copyright © 2024 by Erin La Rosa. Published by Canary Street Press.

Prologue

At fifteen years old, Sam Leto knew a few things: humidity was not her hair’s friend, she was going to graduate valedictorian of her class and music was life.

“‘I Will Follow You into the Dark’ was by far the best song of last year.” Sam tucked her thumbs into the loops of her jeans, narrowly avoiding the spiky knobs of her metal studded belt. The spider-web chain she’d bought from Hot Topic slapped against her thigh as she walked across the asphalt of the Tybee Island High School parking lot. “It’s mesmerizing and so poetic, and Ben Gibbard—”

“What are you talking about?” her best friend, Damon Rocha, interrupted. He threw his head back to get a strand of long dyedred hair off his forehead. He’d smudged dark black eyeliner all around his eyes to the point where he looked like he was cosplaying as the Hamburglar. She’d told him as much, but in the loving way they told each other everything. They walked so closely that they lazily bumped into each other, as if swaying to music only they could hear. “‘Sugar, We’re Goin Down’ reignited the genre.”

Sam blew air out through her lips to suggest her disagreement, then added, “That song is tight, but there are way too many words in the chorus. You can’t even hear what Patrick Stump’s saying.”

“It doesn’t matter what he’s saying.” Damon hoisted his snare drum backpack higher on his shoulder. Night had settled, but the fluorescent glow from the football field lit their way to his car. “They owned that melody.”

But Sam knew why Damon was making such a hard push for Fall Out Boy. “You just want me to like Pete Wentz so those dyed red tips make sense.” She gave him a half grin.

“Whatever,” he said, holding back a smile of his own. Sometimes they agreed on music, but when they disagreed it was even more fun. And Sam knew she was right about this one. “I read in Kerrang! that Ben wrote the song in fifteen minutes. Can you believe that?” Sam looked off, knowing that if she was in a band, she’d be talented like that, too.

“Yes,” Damon said. “I believe it only took fifteen minutes, because it’s not the best song of 2005.”

She was choosing to ignore that dig. “What he wrote is totally romantic. To love someone so much that you’d follow them into the afterlife. It’s cool, don’t you think?” Sam realized she sounded a little ridiculous, but Damon always made her feel safe enough to say anything.

“Yeah, or pretentious.” Damon pursed his lips.

“Whatever,” Sam mimicked his sullen tone back. Then she jabbed him with the corner of her sticker-covered clarinet case.

The sky was inky-black, and her arms prickled against the brisk air. Fall in Tybee was hard to plan for. The air was almost always balmy, because they were so close to the ocean, but it occasionally cooled down, as it had tonight. Still, she’d nearly sweat through her graphic skull T-shirt as their marching band played Beyoncé’s “Déjà Vu” during the football halftime show.

Now, though, they weren’t marching across a field lit by hot lights, and she shivered. Damon pulled her in close as they walked. He’d often tuck her under his arm this way. Sam was tall, close to six feet, but Damon always made her feel delicate in those moments. It was something she got unexpected comfort from, but didn’t dare tell him.

When she looked up, Damon looked down with the most genuinely sweet smile she’d ever seen. His mouth quirked up as they reached someone’s Ford Explorer.

“Hope you don’t hate Fall Out Boy too much, because I put one of their songs on this.” He pulled a CD sleeve out of his back pocket and handed it to her. His slanted writing and doodles were visible through the clear plastic, and Sam bit her lip.

They were constantly trying to impress each other through music—a kind of unspoken game of who could make the best mixes. And while Sam prided herself on finding obscure bands, Damon had the uncanny ability to put together songs that made her feel something. She wanted to listen immediately, but wouldn’t show her excitement that easily. Before she could think of something nonchalant to say, he brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

Sam was taken aback by the gesture and nervously touched the spot his fingers had just left. She’d spent nearly a half hour flat-ironing it that morning, but now it was frizzed and tangled. As her fingers clumsily tried to untangle a knot, her earring fell to the ground. Before she knew what was happening, just as Sam went to reach for her earring, Damon closed the gap between them.

“You look really great.” He longingly admired her face. Damon reached for Sam’s hand and squeezed her open palm.

She instinctively squeezed back, but her heart raced. Damon and Sam were best friends. They had been since middle school. Yes, Damon was inarguably cute. He understood her like no one else did, and she had already admitted to herself that she had a crush on him…but he was also all she had, in so many ways. Her mom had left her a year ago. Damon was her only friend.

Sam knew that what he was doing might lead to a kiss, and she needed to stop him before he said something that would change them forever. She couldn’t lose his friendship, but if he tried to make them more, then she’d have no choice. Because she wasn’t going to end up stuck in Tybee.

Before she could find the words, he tilted her chin up gently with an index finger. His eyes locked on to hers as he asked, “Can I kiss you?”

Sam sucked in a deep breath to slow the intense rush of adrenaline that flew through her at his words. Damon wanted to kiss her. And her heart soared at that fact, until her mom’s voice broke through.

Don’t end up stuck in this place.

That’s what her mom, Bonnie, had told Sam right before she’d left. And Sam had taken the warning to heart.

She was getting out, even if that meant she had to leave Damon behind.

As Damon searched her eyes, Sam silently implored him to stop. They could still be friends, couldn’t they? If she gave him another few moments, maybe he’d take the words back, or say he’d just been joking.

She waited, but he was waiting, too. And she was going to have to answer him, even if what she said irrevocably changed them.

She took a step away and looked down at her Converse sneakers. She’d have to lie. She’d never lied to Damon before, but now she would. Her lower lip trembled, as unsure of the words as she was. “Actually, I’m not feeling well.”

And she didn’t feel well. She felt nauseous from this whole situation and the confusion that flashed across Damon’s face.

“Oh,” Damon said. “Let’s, uh, let’s bounce, then.” He ran a hand through his hair and avoided her eyes.

As Damon turned toward the driver’s side of the car, Sam instinctively reached for him. Maybe she should just do what her heart wanted and kiss him. Because what if not kissing him meant he wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore?

But then, she also knew Damon. Knew that he wanted to stay close to his family. Knew how much he loved Tybee. And knew that if she didn’t break him now, she’d do it when she left.

Sam pulled her hand back and hoped that he could forgive her. She held on to his CD so tightly she was sure it would snap in half, but it didn’t. In fact, the CD seemed to pulse in her hand with the throbbing of her heart. As she walked herself to the passenger side of the car, she tried to forget how the light in his eyes dimmed just before he’d turned away from her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

ERIN LA ROSA is the author of For Butter or Worse and Plot Twist, and on her way to writing romance, she’s also published two humorous nonfiction books, Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four daughters (two humans, two felines). Find her on Twitter and Instagram @erinlarosalit and on TikTok @erinlarosawrites.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.erinlarosacreative.com/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/erinlarosalit/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/erin.larosa

X: https://x.com/erinlarosalit

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@erinlarosawrites


Blog Tour Stop/Giveaway: Truth and Dare

  This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions . Ann M. Trader will award a randomly drawn winner a $20 Am...