Friday, March 5, 2021

To Catch A Dream...

TO CATCH A DREAM

Author: Audrey Carlan

ISBN: 9781335180933

Publication Date: March 9, 2020

Publisher: HQN Books



BOOK SUMMARY:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the worldwide phenomenon Calendar Girl series brings readers a poignant and honest look at life’s most complicated relationships.

When their mother passed away, Evie Ross and her sister were each given a stack of letters, one to be opened every year on their birthday; letters their free-spirited mother hoped would inspire and guide them through adulthood. But although Evie has made a successful career, her desire for the stability and security she never had from her parents has meant she’s never experienced the best life has to offer. But the discovery of more letters hidden in a safe-deposit box points to secrets her mother held close, and possibly a new way for Evie to think about her family, her heart and her dreams.


BUY LINKS:

Harlequin | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Walmart

Google | iBooks | Kobo


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PROLOGUE

Ten years ago…


Tears track down my face as Tahsuda, my Toko, which is the Comanche word for “grandfather,” hands me a large stack of pink envelopes tied with a ribbon. My mother’s beautiful handwriting is visible on the top. He hands another stack to my eighteen-year-old sister, Suda Kaye.

“From my Catori, for her Taabe and Huutsuu,” he begins, using the Comanche nicknames my mother gave us. “To have a piece of her on their birthdays. One for today, and one for each birthday and important moment in your life to come. I shall leave you to your peace but know I am here for you, forevermore.” Tahsuda puts his hands together under his worn red-and-black poncho and nods his head forward. His long, silky black hair gleams a dark midnight blue in the rays of the sunlight that streak through our bedroom window. His hair is so much like my mother’s I have to swallow down the sob that aches to come out in a flood of misery and grief.

Misery because I am so angry at her for all the time we could have had together. Grief because she left this world six months ago, and today, on my twentieth birthday and Suda Kaye’s eighteenth, we are facing our entire lives without her. This wasn’t another one of her many adventures. We’d grown used to the routine. She’d skip around the house, packing her battered suitcase while she told us all about what she hoped to see and do on her travels. While she fluttered around the globe, we stayed behind and went to school, dropped off for an undetermined amount of time at the reservation where our grandfather lived. Months later, with a smile on her face and a song in her heart, she’d reenter our lives as though she’d never even left.

At least she’d come back.

As much as I hated our mother’s wanderlust, I always knew eventually she’d find her way home. Her weary feet would be tired, and she’d come dancing into Toko’s home with grand tales about a world I didn’t ever care to see. I didn’t want to go anywhere that made me up and leave my family for months on end. Them always wondering where I was, who I was with and whether or not I was okay.

No way. That was not me. And it never would be.

I finger the ribbon on the stack of envelopes and take mine to the papasan chair in the corner of our shared room. Suda Kaye stretches out on her twin bed. We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Pueblo. Suda Kaye has just graduated high school. I attend the local community college.

The one thing Catori Ross never imagined could happen to her was illness. In all her plans to travel the globe, to experience absolutely everything she could, she didn’t factor in time to get regular checkups. Since she didn’t tend to get sick, Mom hadn’t been to a doctor in a solid decade before she started to feel unwell. After three solid months of lethargy and depression—two things our mother never was— the first round of tests gave us the first blow.

Cancer.

Stage four.

She believed with her whole heart that she could beat it, but as Toko says, cancer took both his wife and his daughter. He says it was written in the stars. That was the reason he never gave Mom hell about her traveling and leaving us with him. He always said a person must do what their heart wants. Dreams are not only for the sleeping. They are meant to be chased and caught.

Our mother lived. Chased every dream with a hunger that could never be quenched. I fear my sister will do the same.

Suda Kaye sits against her headboard as I cuddle into the chair. I untie the ribbon and then set all but the top letter to the side. The first envelope has today’s date on it and her nickname for me. Taabe, which means “sun” in Comanche. Mom called me her sun because I am light everywhere, while she and my sister were dark. Mom was full-blooded Native American like Toko. Suda Kaye and I are half, and we each have different fathers. I got a lot of my coloring from my father, Adam Ross. Like Dad, my hair is golden blond and I have his ice-blue eyes. Though my high cheekbones, the shape of my eyes and my full lips are my mother’s. Suda Kaye has dark, espresso-colored hair, amber eyes and will one day have a knockout figure. She already is growing into her womanly hourglass shape—full bosom, long legs and rounded hips. Me, I have the tall, lanky, athletic build. Still, there is no denying our heritage even with the play on light and dark in our coloring.

We are Catori’s daughters, a vibrant mix of her and our biological fathers. Though Suda Kaye and I don’t know much about her real dad. We just know what Mom told us much later in life—that she had made a mistake. She and her husband—my father, Adam—had been going through a rough time and separated for a year. In that year she’d gone on an adventure and come back pregnant with my sister. I was only two when she was born so none of that had ever mattered to me one way or the other. My father treated Suda Kaye mostly the same, which also didn’t matter because he wasn’t around much, either, always deployed someplace far away.

I thumb the envelope and run my fingers across her pretty handwriting.

I miss you, Mom.

Taking a full deep breath, I ease back against my chair and open the first letter.

Evie, my golden Taabe,

Never in a million years did I think I’d be in this situation. Gone from you and your sister in a way that I cannot come back from. I know you’ve always hated my need to wander, as it took me away from you and Suda Kaye, but you were never far from my mind or my heart. Never unloved.

I had to chase my dreams, Taabe. One day, you’ll understand.

My greatest hope is that you know my love for you transcends any reality, location or final destination. It is as the sun, shining brightly each day. Never ending, always warm, forever shedding light onto you and your sister.

With me gone, without the burden of having to take care of me and Suda Kaye, I want you to think long and hard about what it is you want in life. Just you. Think big. Live out loud.

What is still out there to explore?

Where in the world do you see yourself visiting? What new journey have you wished to undertake?

Think of all the beauty I’ve shared through my stories and photos over the years. Those experiences are a huge part of me. And I’m so grateful I had them. It gave me the ability to open your eyes to the fact that anything in life is possible.

My only regret was having to leave you and your sister behind. Though I hope now, you will take time out for yourself.

Evie, you are so grounded. Your feet firmly rooted to God’s green earth. Pull those roots, my lovely girl. Break away from all that keeps you still and give yourself an experience unlike any other. Perhaps then you will understand my need to go, to feel the wind in my hair, the sand between my toes, the gravel under my boots. I lived every moment to the fullest and I want that for you so deeply.

Please take the inheritance I left you and use it to live.

See the world, my precious girl.

With all my love,

Mom

I grind down on my teeth and wipe my nose with the back of my hand. I fold my letter into thirds and stuff it back into the envelope. Clearing my throat, I flatten my hand along the front before lifting it to my nose and inhaling the familiar scent of citrus with a hint of patchouli.

“Smells like her.” I clear my throat as a traitorous tear slides down my cheek.

Suda Kaye sniffs her letter and smiles sadly. “Mom always said if you’re going to smell like anything, let it be natural. Fruit and spice.”

“And everything nice!” I chuckle, then sigh as the weight of everything in my letter festers in my heart and soul, mixing with the intense sorrow I haven’t shaken off in the six months since she passed.

“I miss her. Sometimes I pretend she’s just gone off on another one of her adventures, you know? Then I can be pissed off and plan out all the catty things I’m going to say to her when she finally returns with a suitcase full of dirty clothes and presents to smooth over the hurt.”

My sister gasps and her stunning amber eyes fill with more tears. “Evie, she didn’t want to leave…”

I fist my hands, rekindling the anger that never seems to disappear when I think of all the years we might have had with her. “Not this time, Kaye, but what about all the other times? Years and years of time lost. And for what?” I huff and stand, pacing our small room with Mom’s letters plastered to my chest like a well-loved teddy bear. “Fun. Wild experiences. Adventures! It killed her. This need to see the greener grass on the other side.” Scowling, I point at myself. “Well, that won’t be me. No way. No how. I’ve got my feet firmly planted on terra firma. I’m going to finish school, get my bachelor’s in finance, then my master’s, and make something of myself. And I’m going to be happy!”

How I’m going to be happy without my mother in my life, I don’t know. I never knew how to fill the hole she left with each adventure she took. It just seemed that the void got bigger and bigger. But my mother…she was such a glorious woman, an incredible presence when she was there. She could easily fill up that gaping wound that I call my heart each and every time she came back.

Finding that the pacing isn’t doing much, I toss my stack of letters onto the chair and drop onto the bed next to Kaye, face planted dramatically in the crook of my arms, my nose touching the mattress as I breathe deeply and try my best not to break down in front of my baby sister.

Slowly, she strokes my hair in long, soothing sweeps of her hand. Once I’ve gotten myself under control emotionally—for now, that is—I turn over.

“What did your letter say?” I ask. Kaye licks her lips and glances away. We don’t have any secrets from one another, but I can tell this is one she’d rather keep from me. Eventually she caves and hands me her letter. Pulling myself up, I sit cross-legged and read out loud.

“‘Suda Kaye, my little huutsuu.’” I cover my mouth and close my eyes. The last word comes out as a croak. Mom’s nickname for Suda Kaye meant “little bird” in Comanche. Huutsuu to my Taabe. My sister has always been the one up for a grand adventure. She could make going grocery shopping the highlight of anyone’s week with her dramatic flair and interest in all things. Same goes for a laundromat, the car wash, a walk around the neighborhood. Always something to experience, to see, hear, sense. My sister soaks up life like a sponge until she’s wrung out, and then starts all over again. That apple did not fall far from the tree, much to my dismay.

She smiles wide. “Always and forever, Taabe,” she responds. Not wanting to make Suda Kaye more emotional, I quickly read her letter. With every sentence my heart sinks. Basically, Mom has told my sister to leave home. To get in her car and travel the world, starting with the States. To leave me in order to allow me to find my own calling, without the worry of my baby sister there to hold me back. My stomach churns and acid creeps up my throat as I read the last couple sentences that tell her that if Camden, Suda Kaye’s longtime boyfriend, truly loves her, he will set her free.

My hands shake as I pass it back to her, my entire body stiff as a board. I feel as though I’ve been staked through the heart and left for dead.

My mother wants my sister—my best friend—to leave me.

To go away for as long as it took for Mom to find herself.

“You’re not going to do it, are you?” I ask, the fear clear in my tone.

She bites down on the side of her cheek and nods.

“Kaye…you can’t do that. What about Camden? He won’t understand. A guy like that…the life he wants to give you. No way. You just…” I let out a breath, grab my sister’s hands and squeeze, trying to transfer all the worry and fear I’ll experience with her leaving me behind. And yet I don’t say a word. In this moment, she has to make the choice that’s right for her.

I swallow down the lump of emotion swelling in my throat and whisper, “What are you going to do?” She stares into my eyes, right through to my soul, and says the five words I never wanted to hear from her.

“I’m going to fly free.”

I close my eyes, lean forward to kiss her forehead. “I love you, Suda Kaye.” It’s the only thing I can say. It’s raw, honest and life-changing.

“You know you could come with me?” Her voice fills with hope, but the last thing she needs is me tying her down, trying to run her life for her. Mom made that very clear in her letter. Heck, she made it clear in mine.

Shaking my head, I cup her soft cheek. “You have to make your own choices.”

She nods, folds up her letter, puts it back in the envelope and then ties up the stack in a bundle once more.

My sister, not one to let grass grow under her feet, pulls the big suitcase from under her bed that Mom gave her for graduation and sets it on the comforter. Methodically, without saying a word, I help my sister pack her things. The last item she puts on top of her clothes is a picture of me, Mom and her, taken last year before Mom became too sick. It had been a good day; we’d had a picnic in the park. Laughing, snacking and listening to our mother share one story after another.

I knew then that those good days would be few and far between, so I encouraged her storytelling, while Suda Kaye ate up every ounce as though it were her very favorite dish.

Holding hands, I walk my sister to her car and put her suitcase in the trunk.

“Do you know where you’ll go after you see Camden?” I ask, knowing she wouldn’t leave without seeing him first.

She smiles and shrugs. “We’re in the middle of the country. I’m going to pick a direction and just keep driving until I get too tired. Then I’ll stop and decide where I’m meant to be next.”

“You call me. I’ll come get you anywhere, any place. No matter w-what.” My voice shakes as I pull her into my arms and inhale her fragrance—cherry-scented shampoo and lotion. I allow the scent to imprint on my memory bank for I know I’ll need it in the lonely months, maybe even years, to come.

Suda Kaye walks around her car and opens the driver’s side door. “Miss me,” she says, and the deluge of tears falls from my eyes like a waterfall.

“Miss me more,” I whisper, and hold up my hand.

She mimics the gesture, placing her palm against mine. “Always.”

Then I watch for a long time as my sister’s taillights eventually fade and disappear into the black night. Before long, I look up into the open sky and the wealth of sparkling stars blanketing the sky like diamonds over black velvet.

I pick a star and make the same wish I’ve been making since I was a child. “One of these days, I wish someone I love would stay.”

Excerpted from To Catch a Dream by Audrey Carlan Copyright © Audrey Carlan. Published by HQN Books.


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BIO:

Audrey Carlan is a #1 New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 40 novels, including the worldwide phenomenon Calendar Girl serial, and her books have been translated into more than 30 languages across the globe. Audrey lives in the California Valley with her two children and the love of her life.


SOCIAL:

Author Website: https://audreycarlan.com/

TWITTER: @AudreyCarlan

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

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/audreycarlan/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7831156.Audrey_Carlan

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Lost Apothecary...

 


The Lost Apothecary : A Novel

Sarah Penner

On Sale Date: March 2, 2021

9780778311010, 0778311015

Hardcover

$27.99 USD

320 pages



About the Book:

In this addictive and spectacularly imagined debut, a female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Pitched as Kate Morton meets The Miniaturist, The Lost Apothecary is a bold work of historical fiction with a rebellious twist that heralds the coming of an explosive new talent.

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Apple Books

Kobo | Google Play | Books-A-Million | Target | Libro.fm


EXCERPT:


Nella

February 3, 1791


She would come at daybreak—the woman whose letter I held in my hands, the woman whose name I did not yet know.

I knew neither her age nor where she lived. I did not know her rank in society nor the dark things of which she dreamed when night fell. She could be a victim or a transgressor. A new wife or a vengeful widow. A nursemaid or a courtesan.

But despite all that I did not know, I understood this: the woman knew exactly who she wanted dead.

I lifted the blush-colored paper, illuminated by the dying f lame of a single rush wick candle. I ran my fingers over the ink of her words, imagining what despair brought the woman to seek out someone like me. Not just an apothecary, but a murderer. A master of disguise.

Her request was simple and straightforward. For my mistress’s husband, with his breakfast. Daybreak, 4 Feb. At once, I drew to mind a middle-aged housemaid, called to do the bidding of her mistress. And with an instinct perfected over the last two decades, I knew immediately the remedy most suited to this request: a chicken egg laced with nux vomica.

The preparation would take mere minutes; the poison was within reach. But for a reason yet unknown to me, something about the letter left me unsettled. It was not the subtle, woodsy odor of the parchment or the way the lower left corner curled forward slightly, as though once damp with tears. Instead, the disquiet brewed inside of me. An intuitive understanding that something must be avoided.

But what unwritten warning could reside on a single sheet of parchment, shrouded beneath pen strokes? None at all, I assured myself; this letter was no omen. My troubling thoughts were merely the result of my fatigue—the hour was late—and the persistent discomfort in my joints.

I drew my attention to my calfskin register on the table in front of me. My precious register was a record of life and death; an inventory of the many women who sought potions from here, the darkest of apothecary shops.

In the front pages of my register, the ink was soft, written with a lighter hand, void of grief and resistance. These faded, worn entries belonged to my mother. This apothecary shop for women’s maladies, situated at 3 Back Alley, was hers long before it was mine.

On occasion I read her entries—23 Mar 1767, Mrs. R. Ranford, Yarrow Milfoil 15 dr. 3x—and the words evoked memories of her: the way her hair fell against the back of her neck as she ground the yarrow stem with the pestle, or the taut, papery skin of her hand as she plucked seeds from the flower’s head. But my mother had not disguised her shop behind a false wall, and she had not slipped her remedies into vessels of dark red wine. She’d had no need to hide. The tinctures she dispensed were meant only for good: soothing the raw, tender parts of a new mother, or bringing menses upon a barren wife. Thus, she filled her register pages with the most benign of herbal remedies. They would raise no suspicion.

On my register pages, I wrote things such as nettle and hyssop and amaranth, yes, but also remedies more sinister: nightshade and hellebore and arsenic. Beneath the ink strokes of my register hid betrayal, anguish…and dark secrets.

Secrets about the vigorous young man who suffered an ailing heart on the eve of his wedding, or how it came to pass that a healthy new father fell victim to a sudden fever. My register laid it all bare: these were not weak hearts and fevers at all, but thorn apple juice and nightshade slipped into wines and pies by cunning women whose names now stained my register.

Oh, but if only the register told my own secret, the truth about how this all began. For I had documented every victim in these pages, all but one: Frederick. The sharp, black lines of his name defaced only my sullen heart, my scarred womb.

I gently closed the register, for I had no use of it tonight, and returned my attention to the letter. What worried me so? The edge of the parchment continued to catch my eye, as though something crawled beneath it. And the longer I remained at my table, the more my belly ached and my fingers trembled. In the distance, beyond the walls of the shop, the bells on a carriage sounded frighteningly similar to the chains on a constable’s belt. But I assured myself that the bailiffs would not come tonight, just as they had not come for the last two decades. My shop, like my poisons, was too cleverly disguised. No man would find this place; it was buried deep behind a cupboard wall at the base of a twisted alleyway in the darkest depths of London.

I drew my eyes to the soot-stained wall that I had not the heart, nor the strength, to scrub clean. An empty bottle on a shelf caught my reflection. My eyes, once bright green like my mother’s, now held little life within them. My cheeks, too, once flushed with vitality, were sallow and sunken. I had the appearance of a ghost, much older than my forty-one years of age.

Tenderly, I began to rub the round bone in my left wrist, swollen with heat like a stone left in the fire and forgotten. The discomfort in my joints had crawled through my body for years; it had grown so severe, I lived not a waking hour without pain. Every poison I dispensed brought a new wave of it upon me; some evenings, my fingers were so distended and stiff, I felt sure the skin would split open and expose what lay underneath.

Killing and secret-keeping had done this to me. It had begun to rot me from the inside out, and something inside meant to tear me open.

At once, the air grew stagnant, and smoke began to curl into the low stone ceiling of my hidden room. The candle was nearly spent, and soon the laudanum drops would wrap me in their heavy warmth. Night had long ago fallen, and she would arrive in just a few hours: the woman whose name I would add to my register and whose mystery I would begin to unravel, no matter the unease it brewed inside of me.


Excerpted from The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Penner. Published by Park Row Books.



About the Author:

Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, to be translated in eleven languages worldwide. She works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women's Fiction Writers Association. She and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit slpenner.com.


Social Links:

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

Facebook: @SarahPennerAuthor

Instagram: @sarah_penner_author

Twitter: @sl_penner


 


Monday, March 1, 2021

Wishing For A Cowboy...

Today we have the release day blitz of Victoria James’ Wishing for A Cowboy! Check out this gorgeous new romance and be sure to get your copy today!

Title: Wishing for A Cowboy

Author: Victoria James

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Wishing for A Cowboy:

π‘­π’“π’π’Ž π‘΅π’†π’˜ π’€π’π’“π’Œ π‘»π’Šπ’Žπ’†π’” π’ƒπ’†π’”π’•π’”π’†π’π’π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒂𝒖𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒓 π‘½π’Šπ’„π’•π’π’“π’Šπ’‚ π‘±π’‚π’Žπ’†π’” π’„π’π’Žπ’†π’” 𝒂 π’‰π’†π’‚π’“π’•π’˜π’‚π’“π’Žπ’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 π’”π’•π’π’“π’š 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 π’‡π’‚π’Žπ’Šπ’π’š, π’‡π’π’“π’ˆπ’Šπ’—π’†π’π’†π’”π’”, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒆 π’Žπ’†π’‚π’π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒐𝒇 "π’‰π’π’Žπ’†."   Janie Adams has been a single parent to her nephew since he was a baby. Fifteen years later, she’s finally found out who his father might be, so the two of them travel across the country to find him. She’d do anything for this kid. But when they arrive in the small town of Wishing River, Montana, and Janie finally meets the ruggedly handsome cowboy she’d been told had abandoned his son, his shocked response changes everything.   Aiden Rivers can’t dispute this is his kid when he sees his own features staring back at him, but he had no idea Janie’s sister was pregnant when she left him. He didn’t even know she had a sister—clearly they’d all been lied to. Now he has fifteen years of fatherhood to make up for and no idea how to be a dad. This was never in his plans.   Janie sticks around to help him ease into parenting, everything from showing him how to lure a sulky kid out of his bedroom to keeping up with the latest teen-speak. Together, they surprisingly make a good team, this city girl and country boy. But when the past catches up with them, Aiden and Janie must decide what’s best for the boy who's connecting them, not only for each other…which could mean splitting them apart.   

Get Your Copy!

Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | Kobo CA | iBooks | Audible | Goodreads


EXCERPT:

Aiden tensed at the sound of someone whispering. He quietly left the kitchen and spotted Morris jumping on the couch and Janie sitting up.


Did I wake you?”


He heard a sigh, and then the table lamp turned on. Janie was sitting up, wrapped in a blanket, a tangle of gorgeous, shiny hair around her head. She snatched her glasses from the end table and put them on. “Couldn’t sleep, actually.”


Her gaze flickered over him, and then her face turned red. He hadn’t bothered with a shirt because he didn’t think he’d see anyone and he was used to being the only person in the house. His plan had been to take his coffee back to his room.


I, uh, didn’t think you’d be awake. I’m just going to go grab a shirt. Coffee is brewing if you want some,” he said over his shoulder, heading back to his room, trying to brush off the strange sense of intimacy that hit him when she looked at him.


When he came back, Janie was in the kitchen, still wrapped up in the blanket, drinking coffee. She quickly poured him a cup. He found the hurried gesture odd but chalked it up to the nerves of being in a stranger’s home. “Thanks,” he said, accepting the mug.


He noticed she went out of her way to not touch him, and if he hadn’t been fast, the cup would have ended up on the floor. “So…why couldn’t you sleep? Is it the couch? I really don’t mind switching with you.”



She shook her head, her eyes on him as she took a sip of coffee. “No, no. It’s not the couch,

it’s…” She let out a weak laugh. “Life.”


He ran a hand through his hair. “Yeah. Tell me about it.”


You’re not on any social media,” she said abruptly, tilting her head, her eyes on him intently.


He swallowed, having the distinct feeling he was being evaluated again. That was fine. Deserved. “I’ve lived in Wishing River my entire life. I know everyone I need to know, and I know way too much about them already. Why would I want to see these same people online? Selfies and all that? No thanks.”


She smiled as though that answer was acceptable. “You were looking me up?”


She shrugged, the blanket falling slightly, revealing a glimpse of the smooth, creamy skin of her shoulder and the strap of a pink tank top. He tore his gaze from that and kept his eyes on hers. “I had looked you up before, but it dawned on me as I was lying on the couch that we really don’t know much about you. And you don’t know me, either, but I don’t just sleep at strange guys’ houses, especially not with my nephew, who I’m supposed to be protecting.”


He kept his expression neutral and definitely didn’t open his big mouth until he could appropriately filter his thoughts.


 

About Victoria James:

Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again. In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction. Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after's for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she's quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat. Sign up for Victoria's Newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming releases and exclusive giveaways, follow her blog for daily antics and insight into her daily life, and get to know her on twitter and Facebook. She loves hearing from readers! www.victoriajames.ca

Connect with Victoria:

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Keeper Series Teaser Reveal...

Jillian Liota is joining us to feature her contemporary romance duology, The Keeper Series. Check it out and be sure to order yours today!

Title: The Keeper

Author: Jillian Liota

 

About The Keeper:

Soccer goalie Rachel Jameson is in her final year at Glendale College on academic and athletic scholarships. It’s quite the achievement for a young woman who grew up in a home filled with drunken abuse, who barely made it out of high school alive. But she’s smart, dedicated, and has her eyes set on that cap and gown next spring. Nothing’s going to get in the way of a hard-fought battle for the freedom and independence she’s so desperately craved. Until she meets Mack. He stumbles into her world with a flirty smile and warm eyes – a man that pushes Rachel out of her comfort zone and into his arms. Their chemistry is swift and undeniable, and soon after meeting the two recognize the depth of their connection. But an unfortunate circumstance forces the two to abandon their romance before it has truly begun. Rachel’s carefully planned life begins to shake like an unstable house of cards, and when she risks losing Mack completely, she has to decide what’s more important. Her future. Or theirs.   

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Title: Keep Away

Author: Jillian Liota

 

About Keep Away:

Nursing student Charlie Davenport has never gotten over her freshman year fling with her best friend’s older brother. Sure, she’s enjoyed her time at Glendale College – maybe a little too much. But for some reason, he’s always been in the back of her mind. But even though she’s sure their flame would still burn hot four years later, she doesn’t appreciate his sudden and relentless presence in her life. Because he’s suddenly ready to pick things back up, she should drop everything? She doesn’t think so. That man is one mistake she can’t make again. *** Professional soccer player Jeremy Jameson has hit a serious road bump in life. Miraculously, his poor decisions have opened the door to rekindling things with his sister’s best friend, Charlie – the only woman that has ever made him consider a relationship. He doesn’t believe he’ll ever be worthy of her, but he can’t let her slip through his fingers again. And as he realizes its time to make some much needed changes in his life, he recruits Charlie to help. Hopefully along the way, he can convince her to give him another chance. Jeremy knows Charlie thinks it’s a mistake to start things up again, but he also knows that’s just not true. The real mistake was letting her go. ***This book is a novella follow up to The Keeper. While it can function as a stand-alone, it is highly encouraged to read The Keeper, as some major plot points and spoilers are referenced.   

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About Jillian Liota

Jillian Liota is a new author writing contemporary romance and new adult fiction. She lives in Kailua, Hawaii with her amazing husband, 2 cats, and 3-legged pup.  She is the author of the new adult romance novel The Keeper, which focuses on a female college soccer goalie, as well as the follow up novella, Keep Away. Her newest release, Like You Mean It, is in the contemporary romance genre and has a more mature voice, as it follows a pregnant mother finding love in a new town. The next novel in the Like You Series, Like You Want It, will be published in Spring 2019 She has a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and she is passionate about all things improvement, development and organization. She’s also a big fan of taking walks with her husband and dog Maia, reading romance (obviously), watching a handful of horrible reality TV shows, and exploring the island she calls home. Check out her Contact page for more information on how to connect.    

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Red Velvet...

Today we have the blog tour of JP Roth’s Red Velvet! Check out this gorgeous new romance and be sure to get your copy today!

Title: Red Velvet

Author: JP Roth

Genre: Paranormal Romance

About Red Velvet:

Magic is sacred, but real love is divine.   To save them from the Guillotine a spell is cast, and Marie-ThΓ©rΓ¨se Charlotte of France, daughter of Marie Antoinette, is changed into an owl, her brother, the young dauphin, into a golden stag. The old gypsy witch who repaid a blood debt by saving their lives, takes the princess’s memories and names her Velvet. For eight years Velvet exists safely wrapped in the spell. On her eighteenth year, rumors of her life reach the ears of King George III. In a bout of fearful madness, he orders the death of the French heirs. When soldiers torch their camp, Velvet and her brother, are forced to run for their lives.   Nora Hardington, a young woman on a mission into the dangerous underbelly of London, finds Velvet wounded and dying. Risking her own life, she rescues Velvet. Together, they enlist the help of the dark stranger sent to carry out the king’s command. As they search for the spell to return her brother’s humanity, Velvet lives all the sides of life she was previously denied.   Her adventures are fraught with assassins, pirates, ancient enchantments, bloody battle, mythical lore, and all manner of dastardly love.

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EXCERPT:

Velvet tried to stand. Fresh, sizzling pain jolted through her, but she did not utter a sound. She reached for the knife in her boot; it hissed when it cleared the sheath. She was outside the pain, there was only focus, movement, and survival—survival most of all. Every sense spiking, Velvet listened to how her mind amplified the surrounding sounds. Screams from the bawdy houses, the pattering feet of beggar boys running for their loot, or their life—and the men, Velvet could hear the men best of all, accelerated heartbeats pounding over short, excited breaths. Nora’s screeching sounds were all that mattered. Her face was turning a mottled shade of purple and there was no time to wait for the ideal moment, time had become a thing they were fast running out of.

Velvet sprang up and buried her knife in the taut neck of Nora’s attacker. The man shrieked, as blood filled his mouth, and the scream turned to a slurry, garbled wail. Nora crumpled to the ground, clawing at her throat, gasping for air. Velvet spun around, instinctively dodging the fist aimed at her face. Her arm moved, this time her knife sunk in the second man’s stomach. She stabbed again and again, short quick jabs that were over almost before he registered them. The man stumbled back—smacked a meaty hand to his bleeding gut—and fell on his backside, then lost consciousness with a groan. Velvet heard a sick crack when his skull hit the stone. In front of them, the first man was on his knees, the gash in his neck spewing obscene amounts of blood. Both the hands he pressed to the wound did nothing to staunch the flow.

I’ve never seen so much blood in my life,” gasped Nora, dragging herself to her knees. “Now I will faint, and who could blame me?” Shaking hands encircling her battered throat, she coughed until tears ran down her cheeks. More hot blood pooled around the man’s knees so the cracks between the stones could not contain it. Crimson liquid bubbled up, rushing toward the lacy hem of Nora’s dress.

Run!” Velvet panted. “Get out of here!” Hand shaking, she lifted the bloody knife, her eyes searching for danger—she found only shadows.

I will do no such thing! Spencer!” wailed Nora. “Spencer!”

Velvet fell. Regardless of how much she wished it was otherwise, darkness had won the battle for her sight—the world faded to black.


About JP Roth:

Author, dreamer and wild child extraordinaire: JP Roth is an American Novelist, and owner of Rothic comics, founded in 2012, through which she has produced and published five of her original series. JP Roth in California with her beautiful family, and their adorable Bichon Frise. Her days are spent writing fanciful stories, walking on the beach, and attending comic conventions across the globe. While JP Roth enjoys travelling to exotic locations, she admittedly prefers to stay home, wrapped in a soft fluffy blanket, drinking tea and penning her next novel.

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Room for Us Cover Reveal...

Today we have the cover reveal for L.M. Halloran’s Room For Us. Check it out and be sure to preorder your copy today!

Title: Room For Us

Author: L.M. Halloran

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 18th

About Room For Us:

Ethan Hart thinks I’m his maid. Too bad I need his money more than my pride. The intense, arrogant author has booked my entire Inn to write his next fictional masterpiece. I have no choice but to put up with his demands.   Breakfast is a daily endurance test. Making his bed and doing his wash? A different kind of torture. And that’s not even the worst part.   With his haunted eyes, frozen heart, and heated touch, Ethan makes me burn in ways I swore I never would again.   There’s no place in my life for him, nor in his for me. But six weeks together might create...   Just enough room for us.   

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About L.M. Halloran:

When not writing or reading, the author enjoys walking barefoot, subjecting her husband to questionable recipes, and chasing her spirited daughter. She’s a rabid fan of coffee, moon-gazing, and small dogs that resemble Ewoks. Home is Portland, Oregon.   

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Return to Me...

Today we have the release day blitz of Michele Arris’s Return To Me! Check out this gorgeous new romance and be sure to order your copy today!

Title: Return To Me

Author: Michele Arris

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Return To Me:

All she wants is to move on as quickly as possible—if only the universe agreed.   Custom pastry chef Evie Powell’s life is in disarray. Not only is she trying to divorce her husband, but her lawyer has a heart attack and her case is turned over to the firm’s senior partner, a man Evie knew intimately in her past. A man she hasn’t seen in over twelve years and who she wants nothing to do with. So why does he still leave her breathless?   Attorney Vincent Scott is a man of humble beginnings who has now made a name for himself running one of D.C.’s most prestigious law firms. When he’s handed a divorce case for the woman who left him back when he was a lowly car mechanic, he wants to refuse. Yet even now, Vincent is still drawn to Evie and will do anything to protect her.   But when a life-altering secret is discovered, can Vincent tell Evie something that would destroy everything?   

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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Can I take your jacket?” “Thanks.” Evie shuffled out of the trench while catching last sight of the poor soul struggling to breath as the elevator doors sealed him within. “Is this a bad time?” Jasmine dashed to the closet at the right of the receptionist’s desk, then returned. “You were to see Mr. Rosati— I’m sorry. One moment.” She tapped her headset once more. The atmosphere hummed, conversations intersecting. People went about their business—Jasmine included—as if they hadn’t just witnessed a man getting carted off on a stretcher, as though it was merely another day at the office. Jasmine ended her call. “Sorry about that. My counterpart on twelve is out sick today. His calls are rerouted to me. Now, as I was about to say, I’m afraid Mr. Rosati has taken ill. That was him you saw with the EMTs.” Evie’s eyes bulged. “Oh goodness!” “We’ll get an update soon on his condition, I’m sure. In the meantime, alternative arrangements have been made. Please follow me.” “I can postpone. Clearly, this isn’t a good time.” “I assure you the firm has everything under control.” She extended a hand toward the stairs and started off. Evie kept in close step as they moved through the bustling activity of power-suited professionals and took a set of glossy pine stairs up to the next floor. It was a luxurious suite of spotless glass, high-polished finishes, and rich ivory leather furnishings. The dΓ©cor said the retainer fee would bite deep into her wallet. If her attorney did his job right, Patrick would be footing the bill. On that note— “Is Mr. Rosati all right?” Jasmine glanced back while never missing a strut. “His assistant will provide an update when it becomes available. With his absence, the senior partners understand the concern you have as well as the rest of Mr. Rosati’s clients when news of his abrupt departure is made known. But no worries. They’ve decided to divide his roster among them.” There was an excited lift in her otherwise monotone voice. “In other words, you’ll get to work with one of the four top legal counsels here. You can’t go wrong; they’re all amazing.” That familiar knot coiled in Evie’s belly. She touched Jasmine’s arm, slowing her determined stride. “Senior partners? Which senior partner?” “I’m not sure. Everything happened so fast. The four are meeting as we speak to decide who gets which case.” Jasmine continued forward. The twelfth floor was even more posh than the one below. Wall upon wall of glass separated spacious executive office suites. They entered a rather large conference room. “Hope you don’t mind; this is the only meeting space unoccupied. It’s been a crazy day. Please have a seat. Can I get you some coffee? Tea?” She gestured to three Keurigs and a host of condiments that lined the credenza on the other side of the room. “No, thank you.” “Good afternoon, Mrs. Powell.” They turned, and Evie’s stomach did yet another roller coaster-quick drop as she stared back into the very eyes she didn’t wish to see. Why did her damn luck always have to misfire? “Afternoon, Mr. Scott.”      

About Michele Arris:

Michele Arris is an award-winning author whose debut book, Devil’s Deal, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America, Golden Heart award in the Erotic Romance category. She has always had a fondness for romance and happy endings. Even when she’s not seated in front of her computer, shaping bad-ass alpha heroes who meet their match in strong, hardworking heroines, she’s plotting scenes in her head. She lives in the Washington D.C. area. Get to know more about Michele by visiting her website at michelearris.com. Find her also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Raise the Heat...

We are so excited to be bringing you the release of RAISE THE HEAT by New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo. If you're looking for a steamy, feel-good, enemies-to-lovers romance, this is the book for you!

About RAISE THE HEAT

Recipe for a successful promotion:

STEP 1: Never get fired by the most egotistical chef in Manhattan.

STEP 2: Never accept a job working for his infuriatingly sexy, deliciously tattooed twin brother.

STEP 3: Never let someone catch you licking chocolate sauce off your new boss’s utensil.

STEP 4: Never risk your career—for the second time—by falling in love with your boss.

***

Each book in the Beastly Bosses series can be read as a stand-alone, but you’ll love reading them as a series.

Add RAISE THE HEAT to your TBR!

Get your copy of RAISE THE HEAT today! Amazon | Apple | B&N | Kobo | Google Play

      

About CASSIA LEO


New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time re-watching Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. When she’s not binge watching, she’s usually enjoying the Oregon rain with a hot cup of coffee and a book. Find her on…

Fighting For Someday...

Today we have the release day blitz of M.M. Koenig’s FIGHTING FOR SOMEDAY! Check out this gorgeous new romance and be sure to get your copy today!

Title: Fighting For Someday

Author: M.M. Koenig

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Fighting For Someday:

Bri McAndrews is the envy of every girl at Chamberlain and the one every guy wants at their side. What most people don’t know is that there’s so much more to her than the picture-perfect life everyone sees on the surface. Being the daughter of a power-hungry senator has her under constant scrutiny. Even though she’s used to being in the spotlight, it’s becoming harder to meet her father’s expectations. When Trey Donovan stereotypes her as just another spoiled, rich kid, she’s more than determined to show him he’s wrong about her, and she doesn’t care about the consequences it will have for her at home.   After giving the most popular guy in school a beat down he’ll never forget, Trey Donovan becomes more than just the new, all-star quarterback at Chamberlain. He’s the bad boy from the south side every girl is dying to have on their arm. Unfazed by his new popularity, Trey isn’t about to let his guard down. But keeping everyone at a distance becomes a challenge, especially whenever Bri is nearby. She’s way out of his social stratosphere and the one girl he shouldn’t even consider pursuing.   As Bri and Trey grow closer, more than a few vengeful people have a problem with it. Can their budding new relationship survive when so many people are set on keeping them apart?   **This book is a prequel to the Secrets and Lies series.*

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

I turned around and saw a beautiful brunette with the most stunning green eyes staring at me. Her perfect complexion and killer bod weren’t what captivated me the most. I didn’t need to know a damn thing about her to know I’d follow her mesmerizing eyes anywhere. There was a kindness to them I rarely saw in people around here, or anywhere, for that matter. In a pair of skimpy black shorts and a tight blue tank top that left nothing to the imagination, she squeezed in between Mia and me, flashing a smile that showed off her perfect white teeth. She didn’t seem nearly as wiped out from soccer practice as Mia. Some water droplets trickled down her neck and I almost licked my lips while watching them fall into the curves of her shoulder. I wonder what it would be like to have my tongue travel along that line. How have our paths not crossed until today? Where the hell has this goddess been all my life? My mind ran away with itself. I didn’t know a thing about this chick and she’d only end up in heartbreak for me. She was one of them, so letting my guard down was out of the question—no matter how smoking hot she was. Try as I might on that front, the blood surging through my body settled in my dick. A wily grin fell from her succulent lips. I wasn’t about to let her think she was winning in whatever unspoken chat we were having, so I gave her a panty-dropping smile. She probably thought I’d ask for her number when I finally did speak, but I wanted to make sure she knew I had the upper hand. With her amazing rack, guys more than likely dropped to their knees at the bat of an eye, but I wasn’t about to give in to that impulse. Well, princess, I’m not one of those guys. You’ll have to work a lot harder and I can tell you’re going to enjoy trying. Let the games begin, sweetheart! Her eyes shifted from playful to intense. I raised an eyebrow and ran my tongue across my lips—just to mess with her some more. After she spotted my tongue ring, her knees wobbled and it was clear she was trying damn hard not to clench her thighs together.

About M.M. Koenig:

M. M. Koenig enjoys being active and has a variety of interests that coincide with her passion for life. Always one to try new things, she has acquired a variety of skills. Her sarcastic nature and multitude of experiences tend to find their way into her novels.   When she has free time and isn't writing, she spends as much time as she can with friends and family. To fuel her soul, she is constantly looking for new music, movies, and books to keep the writer's block at bay.

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