Friday, May 20, 2022

New Release Spotlight/Giveaway: Wreck My Mind by Brooke Taylor

Wreck My Mind by Brooke Taylor

Book 2 in the Wicked Games series

Word Count: 79,989
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 326

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

Treasure abounds for those who dare, but only truth can set you free in this island paradise.

Truth…

Because honesty is always the best policy.

Mysteries abound on Marakata Cay—an exotic, Eden-esque island owned by a multi-billionaire known as OZ. Perhaps the biggest secret of all is the one haunting capable and passionate Aziza. Dutifully, Zee has served the eccentric and reclusive OZ as his right hand, even to the detriment of her own freedoms. In fact, she’s never so much as stepped foot off the island since washing up on its shores. But when the man she’s falling in love with disappears amidst lies and betrayal, Zee begins to wonder. Has the paradise sanctuary protecting her from her past actually been a trap?

Or dare?

Because with great risks come even better rewards.

Former Navy SEAL Michael Cooper has spent his life thwarting death. Playing scarecrow for Beryl Enterprises as OZ’s Director of Defense and Specialized Operations is no exception. But for the first time in his life, Coop finds himself truly facing reality—he’s not invincible. Not at all. When OZ offers Coop an insanely lucrative mission, he’s in no position to turn it down. The deep-sea treasure recovery should be easy for a man with Coop’s diving and demolition skills, but the job comes with more than its fair share of danger. Sharks, modern-day pirates, and the possibility of losing the love of his life, the beautiful and tenacious Aziza.

Even Eden had a snake, and for the first time in the island paradise’s illusive history, money and power can’t mend what’s been wrecked upon its shores, daring Aziza to pull the curtain back and reveal the truth, no matter the cost.

Reader advisory: This book includes scenes of violence and murder (sometimes graphic), and mentions of the mistreatment of neurodivergent characters, kidnapping, child abuse, and human trafficking.

Excerpt

Coop

Aziza and I were not friends, we weren’t enemies, and we certainly weren’t lovers…we were liars. The biggest lie of all, the one I’d been telling myself for years, had become damn impossible to keep up. But the constraints of reality had never stopped me before, no sense starting on a boat speeding into the shadowed heart of the Amazon river basin at zero dark thirty.

Aziza

“You’re not happy to see him!” I scolded myself. “You’re just glad the stubborn, prideful, stupid…man isn’t dead.” Because if anyone or anything was going to kill Michael Cooper, it was going to be me!

I growled over the sounds of the tropical storm battering Marakata Cay.

Pulse punching, I scrolled back through the video capture dated nearly twenty-four hours ago. The heavily bearded profile blending into a small crowd of people before disappearing into the thin blue air of Rio de Janeiro most definitely belonged to an alive and well Michael Cooper.

What the hell are you doing in Brazil?

If he was even still there.

Twenty-four hours may as well have been a month. He could be anywhere now, even in a morgue. It wasn’t like he hadn’t made serious enemies working for Beryl Enterprises. As our Director of Defense and Specialized Operations, he contracted with major private sector corporations as well as notable governments for high-level security solutions. His teams were often called in to deliver asset reconnaissance and recovery, be it intel or high-value targets. And occasionally those clients required more direct and unconventional warfare resolutions. It was these uniquely focused, clandestine operations that often put Beryl Enterprises in the crosshairs.

Concerned for his safety, I’d boldly asked Coop to relocate his home office from Dubai to Marakata Cay—the crown jewel of Beryl Enterprises. I’d proposed it would help shield both him and Omar Zaki’s private island. But it certainly hadn’t been my main motivation.

I’d truly believed he’d felt the same attraction, connection, to me that I did for him. Sure, our relationship was primarily professional. But for the past year or more our virtual meetings had lingered long after all work talk had been settled. We’d joke and laugh, talk about life. What had started as fun flirtation had quickly turned into something special.

Oh fuck it, I thought we were in love.

How could I’ve been so wrong?

So foolish!

I’d risked much more than my heart and pride when I’d dared ask him to make good on the flirtatious dance we’d been doing for years. And what had been his response? To send Brecken Wolfe, his top operator, here in his stead. To take off on an indefinite vacation while avoiding all forms of contact. To go completely off grid while simultaneously evading all SIGINT—every CCTV camera and satellite surveillance mechanism known to man. To freaking ghost me!

Hint. Taken.

But why go to such great lengths to stay undetected? Was it to dodge me, or was something else going on?

Coop had been acting off for months now, and if it wasn’t because he’d been fighting his feelings for me, then why? Someone else? Something even worse? Just because I hated him didn’t mean I’d stopped caring. Hoping.

My nerves knotted tight enough to fray as I fretted over what I might discover. But I couldn’t hide from the truth any longer.

Ignoring my heart overfilling like a balloon and bursting on every beat, I replayed the loop in slow motion. I should’ve been scanning the background for clues as to what exactly Coop was doing in Rio, and more importantly why he’d slipped up and gotten caught when he’d expended great effort the past month to stay off grid. Instead, my questions and frustration evaporated as I paused on the singular image of him. He looked just like when I’d first met him over ten years ago—a little angry and a lot tired. Hardened from too many tours in the sandbox. Handsome as sin. Hot AF.

Despite the shitty resolution, those deep, ocean eyes of his managed to steal my air and throttle my heart.

“I’ve missed you, My-sharky,” I whispered on a sigh.

The pet name was his butchered reiteration of mushaeghib—the Arabic word I often called him in frustration. It meant troublemaker and it fit him as well as calling him my shark did.

He was my protector. My warrior. My worst freaking headache. I wasn’t about to lose him forever and have him become my greatest heartache, too.

My gaze traced along his jawline. The carved edges were now covered by a thick, rough beard. He hadn’t shaved in a month, but the dark mass cloaking those panty-melting dimples of his looked more like a year’s worth of growth. Same with the wild, black licks of hair.

Licks…

My eyes drifted to the slight protrusion of his tongue. Suddenly it was if his lips weren’t on my computer screen or thousands of miles away in Brazil anymore. They were here on Marakata Cay right where I wanted—needed—them. My conjured vision of him had blown through my bedroom door with the same force as the tropical storm pelting my windows.

Dear Lord! My head needed to be examined. I’d spent weeks terrified I’d never see Coop again. I was furious at him for inexplicably leaving. Frightened, confused, hurt…and though it was tough to admit considering we’d never even touched, my heart had been wrecked when he’d vanished without a trace. Yet a stupid screenshot of him could still completely derail me with delusions and desire.

How could one gorgeous, but frustrating—infuriating—man have such a massive effect on me? I was a capable, intelligent, task-driven professional. As Omar Zaki’s right hand, I had authority over the Beryl Enterprises empire, which included multiple specialized operations teams full of cocksure alpha men.

So why couldn’t I control my own thoughts when it came to one, very annoying, smoking hot, Michael freaking Cooper?

The man had a way of slipping up on me and taking over my mind the same way scents of plumeria and rain had slid beneath my balcony’s French doors to saturate my room. Being unable to stop myself from jumping his bones was half the reason I’d kept him in the Dubai offices and far away from the island for so long. I had too much to lose to be getting sexually involved with anyone I had true feelings for.

Asking him to relocate had been reckless and impetuous.

Foolhardy.

The mere sight of him, even on a computer screen, melted my resolve and my body like butter on a beach. Now was no different.

I wanted him here—not just here…here with me—more than I’d ever wanted anything.

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Brooke Taylor

Brooke Taylor lives and writes from her country home in Oklahoma where her pets are a constant, but happy, distraction. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys horseback riding, going to the lake, and traveling.

Brooke has worked extensively in the travel industry, from dude ranches to ski resorts to cruise lines. Her many overseas adventures include sky diving in New Zealand, scuba diving with sharks, sailing through hurricanes, and having her tent attacked by wild animals in the Mara game reserve in Kenya. Due to current health insurance rates, Brooke is letting her characters do most of the risk-taking from now on.

Find out more about Brooke at her website.

Giveaway

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Cover Reveal: Julia Kent's Love You Again

 


COVER REVEAL—Love You Again (Love You, Maine, Book 2) by Julia Kent (@jkentauthor) #romanticcomedy #romcom #contemporaryromance #romance

 An unexpected rescue rekindles an old romance between a single dad widower and a woman caught in a small town scandal that made her flee the one place where she belongs. Can a second chance at first love end in a happily ever after? 


An unexpected rescue rekindles an old romance between a single dad widower and a woman caught in a small town scandal that made her flee the one place where she belongs. Can a second chance at first love end in a happily ever after? 


Luke Luview has given up on love. Finally ready to let go of his late wife’s clothes, the grieving small-town police officer and single dad thinks he’s hearing things when he opens the charity box door. Who knocks from the inside of a donation bin?

 

The raccoon he assumes is in there turns out to be way prettier – and very familiar. Rescuing the first girl he ever kissed means life has dealt him a wild card with Kylie Hood, his late wife’s best friend who left town suddenly fifteen years ago under a cloud of scandal.

 

Kylie Hood will never depend on a man again. Dumped by her boyfriend and fired by his parents from her children’s programming job at their ski resort in rural Maine, she hits rock bottom while throwing out her ex’s clothes — along with her phone and car keys. 

 

Being rescued by Luke Luview, of all people, is a gift and a curse. The boy she once loved is now all grown up, everything her ex wasn’t – and absolutely off limits.

 

Accepting his offer to be his temporary nanny while she job searches in New York City, Kylie falls hard for his sweet daughter, and even harder for Luke. A clause in her employment contract means they can’t fraternize, but fate has other plans, and forbidden fruit is twice as sweet.

 

As the town she reluctantly left years ago accepts her more and more, and Luke makes it clear he wants ta second chance with her in their close-knit community, Kylie has to decide: an exciting new career in Manhattan on her own, or an instant family and a sense of belonging in her small hometown?

 

And as Luke wrestles with the pain of being left behind by his wife’s accidental death, he has to balance his responsibilities to his daughter with his own needs. Needs he’s ignored for far too long.

 

Needs only Kylie can meet.

 

But not if she leaves.

 

Can Luke and Kylie rekindle their first love and find a new future together in a place where love conquers all?

 

If you’re looking for a fun read about first kisses and second chances, featuring a hot single-dad police officer and his accidental nanny, set in a small town in New England, with a golden retriever named Jester, a heroine whose dream in life is to run a fairy camp, and a hero who wants to build a place where everyone belongs–then this is your book.

 

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and maybe some edible glitter, and get your happy meter ready as you read the second book in the Love You, Maine, series–where love isn’t just a feeling… it’s a way of life.

 

Standalone

Slow burn

Single dad widower

Nanny/police officer

Second chance

and a golden retriever named Jester

 

Release date: July 19, 2022

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer:  Najla Qamber, Qamber Designs (https://www.qamberdesignsmedia.com/)

Audiobook Narrators:  Erin Mallon and Teddy Hamilton

Tropes/Themes:  Small Town, Second Chance, Single Dad/Nanny, Slow Burn

 

Buy Links: 

 

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09R1C3JJ9

 

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09R1C3JJ9

 

Amazon AU:  https://www.amazon.com.au/Love-You-Right-Enemies-Romantic-ebook/dp/B09R15LTCH/

 

Amazon CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/Love-You-Again-Second-Romantic-ebook/dp/B09R1C3JJ9/

 

Apple Books:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/love-you-again/id1606789311

 

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-you-again-1

 

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-you-again-julia-kent/1141369096?ean=2940160947457

 

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Julia_Kent_Love_You_Again?id=hr5rEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US

 

Print:  https://www.amazon.com/Love-You-Again-Second-Romantic/dp/1638800634/

 

Website:  https://jkentauthor.com/books/love-you-maine/love-you-again/

 

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-you-again-small-town-second-chance-romantic-comedy-love-you-maine-book-2-by-julia-kent

 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59694685-love-you-again

 

Audible:  COMING SOON

 

Amazon Audio:  COMING SOON

 

iTunes:  COMING SOON

 

Excerpt:

 

A white puff of air filled the space between him and the steering wheel, and he realized he’d sighed. How long had he been sitting here, mind and memory in the past? Shoving his hands into gloves, he opened the rear door, grabbed the white plastic bag, and made his way to the front of the bin.

Determined, focused, and grim: That was Luke Luview these days. A bad match for a town that existed to make people feel good about love.

Living in Love You, Maine–heck, being a Luview–was never harder than when you had a broken heart.

Time to let go of some of the pain.

“AAAAAAooooooooo,” called out a band of coyotes in the distance, making Luke jolt. His personal weapon was at home. He didn’t carry it in the glove compartment or on his body when he was off duty, but as the coyote population grew in the area, maybe he should.

A few feet from the donation bin’s front, he looked at the lever to pull down, squeezing the bag slightly. A whiff of Amber’s perfume caught his nose, so faint he almost imagined it.

Colleen had washed all the clothes a few weeks ago, so he knew he imagined Amber’s scent. Didn’t matter. He’d take the illusion. That was how much he hurt.

A skitter inside the box made him frown.

Damn animals. They got in those bins all the time. He felt sorry for the poor sap who emptied these metal boxes, carting all the goods to the warehouse in Manchester where they cleaned and sorted, getting it all ready for the second-hand retail stores.

Just do this, he thought, swallowing hard as the coyotes mated in the distance. The sound was violent and creepy, but for whatever reason, it felt fitting.

Throwing the tangible reminders of that terrible day into the donation box felt dangerous, too.

“I love you, Amber,” he murmured. “But I have to let you go. Have to let that day go. Harriet needs a daddy who isn’t tied down by grief. Just because I’m doing this doesn’t mean I love you any less, though.”

Tears pricked his eyes. “Why is this so hard? Because it’s hard,” he said with a huff. “That’s what you would say if you were here. You’d hug me and comfort me and tell me feelings are meant to be felt or they’d be called something else. You’d have all the right words. I don’t have any. I just have a big hole in my life, Amber. And you’re never going to fill it. Colleen says I can’t feel guilty for moving on. I don’t. But I sure do feel weird.”

And then he reached for the handle, pulled it down, and threw the bag in while calling out loudly, “I love you.”

To his utter shock, she replied from the darkness of the box, “I’m in here!”


Author Bio:

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 21 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French, German, and Italian, with more titles releasing in the future.

 

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

 

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

 

She loves to hear from her readers by email at julia@jkentauthor.com, on Twitter @jkentauthor, on Facebook at @jkentauthor, and on Instagram @jkentauthor. Visit her at http://jkentauthor.com

 

Social Media Links:

 

Website:  http://jkentauthor.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jkentauthor

Newsletter:  http://bit.ly/2PIBi9n

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jkentauthor/

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/julia-kent

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3238619.Julia_Kent

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Julia-Kent/e/B00A99V268/

 

 

Cover reveal organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 

 


 

 


Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Rock My Heart



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nadia Blair will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

She never meant to end up in a rock star’s bed …

By day, Madelynn Crenshaw is the perfect senator’s daughter. By night, she’s a struggling artist. She doesn’t do scandal or media scrutiny, but when wicked rock god Sloan Elliot asks her to paint him for a charity event, she can’t resist. It’s for a good cause, right? She promises herself she won’t become his latest conquest—or have her love life splashed all over page one. During their studio sessions, Madelynn can’t deny their sizzling attraction, but it’s the man behind the rock god persona she really can’t resist. Sloan tempts her, teases her, and makes her long for things she’s never allowed herself to want…

When their affair hits the tabloids, and all hell breaks loose, Madelynn and Sloan must decide if they can risk love—and heartbreak—with the whole world watching.


Read an Excerpt

Sloan let his gaze flick past her, to where her friend was having the guys sign her jean jacket.

“So, what can I do for you, darlin’?”

“Nothing, thank you,” she said coolly.

“What, no drink? No autograph? No licensed T-shirt?”

“Well, now that you mention it, I’d like my locket, please.”

“You know, this is the second time you forgot it. If I didn’t know better, I might think you’d done it on purpose, so you’d have an excuse to see me again.”

“Oh, no. You’ve figured out my ploy.” She rolled her eyes. “And for your information, I’m not a Park Avenue princess.”

He looked her up and down, from the long silver earrings and sleek ponytail to the tailored blazer. Prim from head to—well, not quite. She wore heels with her jeans.

“You sure look like one to me. Just can’t say no to fuck-me heels, can you, darlin’?”

“These aren’t—”

“Why don’t you have a seat?” He patted his lap. “There’s more ‘n room enough for two.” His lips curved into a mocking semblance of a smile.

“No, thank you. I prefer standing.” Her voice was cool, her face expressionless. But those cobalt eyes blazed. What would it take for him to get an honest response out of her? If he swept her off her feet and kissed her, would she swoon into his arms, or poke out his eyes?

About the Author:Nadia Blair writes steamy contemporary romance featuring outrageous bad boys and gutsy girls who give as good as they get. She has a thing for snappy dialog, humorous situations, and swoon-worthy happily-ever-afters.

When she's not having conversations with fictional people, she enjoys summer thunderstorms, top-shelf whiskey, and rockin' out to a classic guitar solo.

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
BookBub
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Amazon Author Page

Buy the book for $0.99 during the tour: Amazon.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Book Spotlight/Giveaaway: The Group

 


Check out the newest book from a new to me author, Kevin R. Doyle, in The Group below. Make sure to enter the giveaway as well for a chance to win a $10 Amazon/BN Gift card fromt he author on this tour. This tour is sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions and you can find all the tour stops HERE.


The Group

by Kevin R. Doyle

 GENRE: Mystery


BLURB:

 

Sure, Ron Green had made a mistake, but it wasn't one that millions of other guys hadn't made before him. And maybe he deserved some sort of punishment, like his wife leaving him or his kids hating his guts. But this? Being the main suspect in a single murder was bad enough, but at the same time knowing he was a potential victim of a serial killer was even worse. However, before Green could convince the cops of his innocence, he first had to convince them the serial killer actually existed, and at the moment they weren't believing a thing he said.

 

NOTE: The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.

 



Excerpt Three:

 

“Tell me one thing, though. Am I officially a suspect?”

 

“They didn’t charge you and lock you up. But like I keep telling you, it’s early yet. As far as I could tell, yeah, they’re looking at you. There’s one tone with questioning witnesses and another with people they’re actually focusing on.”

 

“Yes?” So far, Ron hadn’t taken a single bite out of his chicken sandwich and had only idly toyed with the fries.

 

“More than likely, if you haven’t done anything, you’ll be okay.”

 

“If?”

 

“Let me finish. You’ll more than likely be okay. But if it gets bad, and I mean really bad, then we’ll have to call someone else in.”

 

“Why? You’re a criminal lawyer, right?”

 

“I am. But something like this is way out of my league. If it would happen to get as far as a courtroom, we’ll have to call in a bigger gun.”

 

“Someone else from your firm?”

 

“Maybe, but I’d actually feel better with a few names I can think of on the outside.”

Ron had thought, over the last twenty-four hours, his stomach couldn’t lurch any more. Now, the thought of mounting, and major, legal bills facing him down, at the same time as dissension with his wife and children, made him want to go in a corner somewhere and curl up into a ball.

 

And the worst part was, he had absolutely no idea how long all this hell was going to last.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

A high-school teacher, former college instructor, and fiction writer, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of numerous short horror stories. He’s also written three crime thrillers, The Group, When You Have to Go There, and And the Devil Walks Away, and one horror novel, The Litter. In the last few years, he’s begun working on the Sam Quinton private eye series, published by Camel Press. The first Quinton book, Squatter’s Rights, was nominated for the 2021 Shamus award for Best First PI Novel.  The second book, Heel Turn, was released in March of 2021, while the third in the series, Double Frame, came out in March of 2022.

 

Web site: kevindoylefiction.com

Facebook: facebook.com/kevindoylefiction

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473241.Kevin_R_Doyle

 


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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Discover Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan

 


Get ready for beach season with a heartwarmming story from author Sarah Morgan in her Deach House Summer.


BEACH HOUSE SUMMER

Author: Sarah Morgan

ISBN: 9781335462824

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Publisher: HQN Books


Book Summary:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with the ultimate beach read, as one woman forges the most unlikely friendship of all, and embarks on a summer of confrotning her past in order to build the future she wants...

 

When Joanna Whitman's ex-husband, one of California's most beloved celebrity chefs, dies in a car accident, she doesn't know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, but when she discovers a young woman was with him in the crash--who's now in hospital, on her own, and pregnant --Joanna sees red. How dare he ruin yet another woman's life? More than anyone, Joanna knows the brutal spotlight this girl is going to find herself in...unless she can find a way for them both to disappear?

 

Ashley can't believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and offers to spirit them both away for the summer to her secluded beach house on the Californian coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But orphaned and pregnant, Ashley can't turn Joanna down. Even though she knows that if Joanna ever discovers the real truth of why Ashley was in her ex's car, their tentative bond would never hold.

 

Together, they escape to the beach house, nestled high above the sleepy Californian town where Joanna grew up, and left without a backward glance. Joanna's only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return creates waves in the community, not least for the best friend she left behind. Both Joanna and Ashley are hiding secrets, but as they fall under the spell of their summer home - and draw on each other's courage - these unlikely friends realise that to seize the futures they want, they must step out of the shadows and into the sunshine. 

Buy Links:

BookShop.org

Harlequin

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s


Teaser Excerpt:


one

ASHLEY

She slid into his car, hoping this wasn’t a mistake. It hadn’t been her first choice of plan, but the others had failed and she was desperate.

He smiled at her, and there was so much charm in that smile that she forgot everything around her. The way he looked at her made her feel as if she was the only woman in the world.

To add to the charm he had the car, a high-performance convertible, low, sleek and expensive. It shrieked, Look at me, in case the other trappings of wealth and power hadn’t already drawn your attention.

Her mother would have warned her not to get in the car with him, but her mother was gone now and Ashley was mak­ing the best decisions she could with no one close to offer her advice or caution. She remembered the first time she’d ridden a bike on her own, unsteady, unbalanced, hands sweating on the handlebars, her mother shouting, Keep pedaling! She re­membered her first swimming lesson where she’d slid under the surface and gulped down so much water she’d thought she was going to empty the pool. She’d been sure she was going to drown but then she felt hands lifting her to the surface and a voice cutting through water clogged ears: Keep kicking!

She was on her own now. There was no one to tug her to the surface if she was drowning. No one to steady the wheels of her bike when she wobbled. Her mother had been the safety net in her life and they’d grown even closer after her father died. But now if she fell she’d hit the ground with nothing and no one to cushion her fall.

He turned onto Mulholland Drive and picked up speed. The engine gave a throaty roar and the wind played with her hair as they sped upward through the Hollywood Hills. She’d never been in a car like this before. Never met a man like him.

They climbed higher and higher, passing luxury mansions, catching glimpses of a lifestyle beyond the reach of even her imagination. Envy slid through her. Did problems go away when you had so much? Did the people living here experi­ence the same anxieties as normal people or did those high walls and security cameras insulate them from life? Could you buy happiness?

No, but money could make life easier, which was why she was here.

Spread beneath them were views of downtown, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

Stay focused.

I know the best place to see the sunset.” His warm, deep voice had helped propel him from yet another TV personality to a megastar. “You’re never going to forget it.”

She was sure of it. This moment was significant for so many reasons.

What would happen to that confidence when she told him her news?

Nausea rolled in her stomach and she was relieved she’d been unable to eat breakfast or lunch.

“You’re quiet.” He drove with one hand on the wheel, su­premely confident. One hand, his eyes mostly on her. She wanted to tell him to keep his attention on the road.

“I’m a little nervous.”

“Are you intimidated? Don’t be. I’m just a normal, regular guy.”

Yeah, right.

He was driving fast now, enjoying the car, the moment, his life. She knew that was about to change. She’d rehearsed a speech. Practiced a hundred times in front of the mirror.

I’ve got something to tell you.

Could you slow down?”

“You prefer slow?” His hand caressed the wheel. “I can go slow when I need to. What did you say your name was?”

He didn’t recognize her. He didn’t have a clue who she was. How could he not know?

She sat rigid in her seat. Was she really that forgettable and unimportant?

In this part of town, where everyone was someone, she was no one.

She fought the disillusion and the humiliation.

“I’m Mandy. I’m from Connecticut.”

Her name wasn’t Mandy. She’d never been to Connecticut. Couldn’t even put it on a map.

He should know that. She wanted him to know that. She wanted him to say, I know you’re not Mandy, but he didn’t, of course, because women came and went from his life and he was already moving on to the next one.

“And you’re sure we’ve met before? I wouldn’t have forgot­ten someone as pretty as you.”

She’d had dreams about him. Fantasies. She’d thought about him day and night for the past couple of months, ever since she’d first laid eyes on him.

But he didn’t know her. There was no recognition.

Her eyes stung. She told herself it was the wind in her face because her mother had drummed into her that life was too short to cry over a man. She wouldn’t be here at all except that she’d felt alone and scared and needed to do something to help herself. She was afraid she couldn’t do this on her own, and he had to take some responsibility, surely? He shouldn’t be allowed to just walk away. That wasn’t right. Like it or not, they were bonded.

“We’ve met.” She rested her hand on her abdomen. Blinked away the tears. The time to wish she’d been more careful was long gone. She had to look forward. Had to do the right thing, but it wasn’t easy.

Her body told her she was an adult, but inside she still felt like the child who had wobbled on that bike with her pony­tail flying.

He glanced at her again, curious. “Now I think about it, you do look familiar. Can’t place you, though. Don’t be of­fended.” He gave her another flash of those perfect white teeth. “I meet a lot of women.”

She knew that. She knew his reputation, and yet still she was here. What did that say about her? She should have more pride, but pride and desperation didn’t fit comfortably together.

“I’m not offended.” Under the fear she was furious. And fiercely determined.

She wasn’t going to let this guy ruin her life. That wasn’t going to happen.

They were climbing now. Climbing, climbing, the road winding upward into the hills while the city lay beneath them like a glittering carpet. She felt like Peter Pan, flying over rooftops.

Should she tell him now? Was this a good moment?

Her heart started to pound, heavy beats thudding a warn­ing against her ribs. She hadn’t thought he’d bring her some­where this remote. She shouldn’t have climbed into his car. Another bad decision to add to the ones she’d already made. The longer she waited to tell him, the farther they were from civilization and people. People who could help her. But who would help? Who was there?

She had no one. Just herself, which was why she was here now, doing what needed to be done regardless of the conse­quences.

Thinking of consequences made her palms grow damp. She should do it right now, while half his attention was on the road.

She waited as he waltzed the car around another bend and hit another straight stretch of road. She could already see the next bend up ahead.

“Mr. Whitman? Cliff? There’s something I need to tell you.”

 

Excerpted from Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2022 by Sarah Morgan. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

 


Author Bio:

 

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women's fiction. She has sold more than 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives with her family near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office. Visit her at www.sarahmorgan.com

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @SarahMorgan_

Facebook: Sarah Morgan

Instagram: @sarahmorganwrites

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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Discover Lena Austin's Blue Rose and a Giveaway

Title: Blue Rose

Author: Lena Austin

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: May 13, 2022

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male/Female (Male/Male interaction)

Length: 114 pages

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Alternative Universe, Bisexual Pansexual & Multisexual, Elves Dragons & Magical Creatures

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Synopsis

Princess Zara knows one of royal blood is sometimes forced into political alliances, but what’s wrong with wanting a real Prince Charming? Few princes would want a wife who could best them with any weapon, still, there are more rivals for her hand -- and her father’s kingdom -- than she expects, but only two catch her eye. Prince Bram seems perfect, but he’s more interested in Prince Kennit than Zara. And the nearsighted Kennit isn’t perfect enough -- her father will never approve the marriage.

Prince Kennit knows there’s only one woman for him, but few princesses would find a shape shifting dragon to their liking. When Zara is poisoned, Kennit’s the first to volunteer for the expedition to save the princess, though the quest will lead them deep within the ninth circle of Hell. Zara refuses to be left behind, and Bram’s along for the ride.

Things have changed a little -- okay, a lot -- since the days of Dante’s Inferno. This time the tourists are Zara, the poisoned princess, and her two suitors. Together they must find a single blue rose in the deepest part of Hell before the next full moon, or Zara will run out of time -- and choices.

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Lena Austin

Zara shrieked in rage and aimed the next statue from the mantel at her father’s head. The heft of the clay dog might open up his thick skull. “I am not a fucking piece of merchandise!”

“Hang it all, Zara! I don’t like this any more than you do, but I would appreciate the courtesy of being treated like the king now and then!” King Ragnar dodged another object and winced as it shattered behind him. “Damn it! That was your mother’s favorite.”

“She’s been dead for twenty-five years. I don’t think she’ll miss it.” Zara cast about for something else to use as a weapon, but the more useful items were behind her father’s desk, putting her in reach of his burly arms. “Did you already send a herald to announce, ‘One kingdom for sale! Marry the princess and rule Powell Mountains’?”

Ragnar snorted, but kept a wary eye on her. “Thank goodness I had the sense to rule all persons must be disarmed in my presence, or you’d be hacking at me with your sword.” He drew himself up. “As a matter of fact, I did indeed issue invitations to the local princes. They should arrive in time for tonight’s feast.”

Zara swallowed another shriek and ground her teeth instead. “You mean to sell me and the kingdom into marriage quickly, don’t you?”

Ragnar’s fingers opened and closed convulsively, and Zara guessed he’d love to have them around her throat. “At least I’m giving you a choice of princes, you ungrateful wretch. I could have simply chosen one and delivered you to him trussed up like a goose.”

“I’d much rather you changed the law that demands this kingdom be ruled by a wedded pair. Just because you got lucky and found Mother while you were children doesn’t make the law right.” Zara tossed her thick black braid over her shoulder and slammed out of the door, not waiting for a dismissal. The cold fury on her face magically cleared a path through the corridors before her.

She’d known something was wrong when the guardsmen who usually gave her a sword workout were conspicuously absent from the fields. Not even the sergeant looked her in the eye when he informed her they were all out on field maneuvers for the week. She sailed through the doors leading to the back of the castle and noted the guardsmen had miraculously reappeared from their maneuvers.

Now she knew the why of the lie, and her anger soared even higher to realize her father had ordered all her “masculine” activities curtailed. Few princes would find a wife charming when she could best them with any weapon. Fewer still would find her preference for masculine clothes alluring.

Zara turned from the now forbidden joys of beer by the smith’s fire, a joint of beef in the barracks, and the clash of metals on the practice field. She knew better than to approach her old friends and cause them to lie to her further. Her eyes stung, not with pain, but more anger than she’d felt in many a year. Her shoulders slumped as she headed for the cliffs to walk as she often did when troubled. The men would read her posture and know that while she didn’t like it, she’d accepted it wasn’t their fault.

The wind and sky played a tempestuous love affair, whipping her comfortable, woven shirt until it plastered against her body, revealing too many feminine curves even in leather pants and vest. She hated her soft skin, though she’d honed fine muscles beneath the easily bruised flesh, of which there always seemed to be too much. “Can I help it if I’m as tall as a man, and nearly as broad? Certainly not. I refuse to be one of the court wenches who daintily picks at her food and then throws up what little she does eat for fear of not appearing feminine and delicate. Pahh!”

She stepped around a particularly large boulder and beheld a sight so strange it stopped her angry ruminations.

A lanky man stood at the very edge of the cliff, his black cloak seeming to hang in the air as if riding the winds, and his shoulder-length black hair escaped its silver thong to join the cloak in flight. Nothing could be seen of the man’s face, for his back was to Zara, but the whole figure was one of tranquility.

That peace alone intrigued her, for so few could bear the fearful heights, and fewer still dared walk the edge on a day when the winds could yank a full-grown man over the precipice. Either this one was very brave or very crazed.

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Meet the Author

Someone cursed Lena Austin with "may you have a life so full you'll have many tales to tell your grandchildren." Lena's a "fallen" society wench with a checkered past. She's been a licensed minister, hairdresser, Realtor, radio DJ, exotic dancer, telephone service tech, live-steel medievalist swordswoman, BDSM Mistress, and investment property manager. Not necessarily in that order. She never finished that degree in marine archaeology, but did learn to scuba -- she's got a lifetime of "Research material!"

Hey, why waste these stories on kids who won't listen anyway? Writing them down is a nice way to spend her retirement. What? You expected an ex-BDSM Mistress to take up crocheting or something?

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