Review: The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts

Imagine you work for a magazine called Posh! and your boss asks you to interview the most eligible titled bad-boy bachelor in the country? That’s Polly’s situation in The Plus One. We follow the previously unlucky at love reporter as she embarks on a whirlwind relationship with Jasper Milton, a sexy and too handsome for his own good aristocrat who’s got a reputation for being a playboy. 

The Plus One is a total rom-com with a fun and irreverent tone of voice and relatable characters. I thought the premise of how Polly and Jasper meet worked really well and hooked me from the beginning. However, the last few chapters left me feeling like something was missing, or as though the ending was rushed — which is a little frustrating since I enjoyed the rest of the book. 

And because the last third of the book felt so rushed, I give the book three stars. Would I recommend the book? Yes. It was a fun read and I really liked the characters and the premise. It was fun and frothy with just enough serious bits.

I just hated the ending.

New Release: Baby I’m Yours by Carrie Elks

Title: Baby I’m Yours

Author: Carrie Elks

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: Feb 12, 2020

Cover Designed by: Najla Qamber

Two tiny lines that change everything…

Doctor James Tanner is gorgeous, successful and decisively single.

He’s also a widower with a broken heart.

When he meets a beautiful woman on a fateful night out, their chemistry shocks him to the core.

Harper Hayes is irresistible. 

With her pink-tipped hair and tantalizing smile, she makes him forget all his pain.

One night together won’t hurt, will it? 

One night to get her out of his system. 

Then he’ll leave in the morning without a backward glance.

But actions have consequences, and this one will change their lives forever.

And when Harper sees those two little lines she knows exactly what that means.

Now she just needs to find her baby’s father.

What a shame she doesn’t even know his name…

Buy Links 

AMAZON US LINK: https://amzn.to/35F6taf

AMAZON UK LINK: https://amzn.to/35F6taf

AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: http://mybook.to/BabyImYours

GOODREADS LINK:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48672424-baby-i-m-yours

BEGIN THE SERIES WITH LET ME BURN (Angel Sands Book 1) for FREE in KU: mybook.to/LetMeBurn

Excerpt 

“I’m sorry I walked out that night,” he said when he closed the break room door behind them. “I don’t usually do that kind of thing.”

“Walk out after a night of amazing sex?” She raised an eyebrow.

“I meant having the amazing sex in the first place. But yeah, I don’t usually walk out without a word either.” He shook his head. “It was an asshole thing to do. The least I could have done was taken you to breakfast.”

“Don’t worry. Breakfast was included with the room. And it isn’t your midnight ghosting I wanted to talk about.”

“It isn’t?” 

“Nope.” She glanced at the door, as if to make extra sure it was closed. “Look, this is embarrassing and not at all how I imagined spending my day. I’d assumed I’d never see you again, and I was okay with that. Or as okay as you can be after waking up to an empty bed.” She took a deep breath. “So anyway, the thing is, I didn’t give you an STD that night, but you did give me something.”

“You think I gave you an STD?” He shook his head. “I couldn’t have.” She was the first person he’d had sex with in three years. “You’ve got the wrong guy.”

“I haven’t.” She pulled her lip between her teeth, her gaze meeting his. “It wasn’t an STD you gave me, James. It was a few extra sperm; I’m pregnant.”

Advance Praise For Baby I’m Yours

‘It had me smiling a lot and crying quite a bit too, definitely one that you should get ASAP..’ – A Book Lover’s Emporium Blog ★★★★★

‘A story that will touch your heart and have you cheering for James and Harper until the very end!’ – Merry, Booksprout reviewer ★★★★★

‘Baby I’m Yours has just shot straight to #1 as my favourite book in this amazing series!’ – Clare, Goodreads reviewer ★★★★★

‘One click this you will not be disappointed.’ – Mrs Kebab’s Book Blog ★★★★★

‘Grabbed my heart. Love this series. So ready for more’ – Teresa, Goodreads reviewer ★★★★★

About The Author

Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/CarrieElksAuthor/

FACEBOOK GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarrieElksWaterCooler/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CarrieElks

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/carrie.elks/

NEWSLETTER: http://www.subscribepage.com/e4u8i8

WEBSITE: https://carrieelks.co

Review: The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

Title: The Winter Companion

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publication Date: 11 February

Available for preorder

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Yet again, Mimi Matthews delivers a deliciously addictive and wonderfully written love story with The Winter Companion. This time, we delve into the lives of Neville Cross and Clara Hartwright. If you’ve been following the Parish Orphans of Devon series, then you’ve already had glimpses of Neville. Of all the boys (now men) who’d grown up together in the orphanage, I was always most curious about Neville, especially considering the injury he’d sustained from his fall from the cliffs. We get more insight into his life and how his BTI has affected him and the choices he’s made along the way.

With the coming Christmas holidays as the backdrop, Matthews sets the stage for a very nice slow-burn love story. We have Neville, painfully shy at times and more at home outdoors than in drawing rooms making small talk, and Clara, a paid companion to Mrs. Bainbridge who longs to learn and know more–but held back because of her gender and a secret from her past. Already from their first meeting, thanks to an elderly pug called Bertie, we know that Neville and Clara are meant to be. The question is how will it come to pass. And their path to love is very satisfying.

There are so many things that I loved about The Winter Companion: the richness of the setting, how Matthews weaves in the cast of characters we recognize from previous books in the series, how even the secondary characters come across as fully realized people and not simply as props… I could go on. But the most important factor for me in loving this book was how Matthews writes about Neville and his brain trauma injury. Gaining insight into how it has affected his life and how he’s tried to deal with it…as well as the initial resentment he felt at being the one left behind…made me as a reader feel such empathy for him and gave me a better understanding of why Neville never strayed far from the abbey.

I also enjoyed that Matthews allows us time to get to know Neville and Clara. They’re complex characters and having the chance to find out how life’s experiences made them who they are gave even more depth to their story.

If you like historical romance, then I think you’ll love the Winter Companion. For me, reading this book was pure pleasure. Highly recommended!

Review: The Wicked Sister by Mary Lancaster

Another winner from Mary Lancaster! I’ve truly enjoyed the Blackhaven Brides series, and the Wicked Sister is a worthy finale to the series. 

When Maria, returns from London with a scandal (stemming from a misunderstanding) behind her, she expects to be punished by her mama and scolded by her older brother, Gervaise, Lord Braithwaite. She doesn’t expect to cross paths with Michael Hanson, who happens to be Gervaise’s personal secretary and something of a radical. He’s highly unsuitable – but when did that ever stop a flirt…or the possibility of love?

Add to it political intrigue as news of an impending battle with Napoleon Bonaparte threatens to tear Europe apart again…well, you’ve got yourself one hell of a fun page turner.

Great characters whom you instantly empathise with and the setting of Blackhaven is as wonderfully described in Book 13 as it was in the earlier books in the series. I feel as though I have been there many times. 🙂 

Loved it from start to finish. Highly recommended!

Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun AgeSuch a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not often that I get to read a novel set in my hometown of Philadelphia, so I was pretty excited to read Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age.

So what’s the premise? Emira is a young African-American woman who, at the age of 25, doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life. She’s graduated from Temple University with a so-so GPA, and she’s babysitting for the Chamberlains, who’ve recently moved to downtown Philadelphia from New York. All of her friends are getting “real” jobs or have them already and Emira is feeling like a failure compared to them. Alix Chamberlain, her boss, is a successful blogger/influencer with a publishing deal, a husband who’s a news anchor on a local TV channel, and two picture-perfect daughters–even if Briar, the oldest, tries her nerves. Two unexpected events lead to both women examining their identities, race, friendship, love, and trust.

As much as I enjoyed reading the story, I felt like the alternating points of view were a bit unbalanced. I wanted more of Emira’s side of the story. Too often, it felt like Alix’s actions and worries were more in focus. Emira sometimes felt like an enigma whereas Alix was an open book.

Still, I really enjoyed reading Such a Fun Age and I am looking forward to reading Kiley Reid’s next novel.

View all my reviews

Book Blitz: Love and Hiplife by Nana Prah

LOVE AND HIPLIFE BY NANA PRAH

Lamisi Imoro will do anything to complete her PhD before the extension is up. It doesn’t matter who dies, leaves her high and dry, or hates her guts, she’s on fire. But, her supervisor wants to prove just how much he’d love to see her fail by throwing obstacles to thwart her from reaching her goal. Desperate for help and nowhere else to turn, she’s forced to ask for the assistance of the hiplife artist who once saved her from a nasty fall. She finds that their scorching attraction is a problem and is determined to tamp her rising emotions because nothing will stop her from getting what she set out to accomplish.

Blaise Ayoma is on the verge of taking African Francophone countries by storm with his new style of music. Learning how to sing in French without butchering the beautiful language is harder than he thought. Multi-linguist, Lamisi is the key to his success. When his presence in her life puts her in danger, will he end the budding relationship in order to keep her safe?

AVAILABLE ON
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ABOUT NANA PRAH

Nana Prah first discovered romance in a book from her eighth-grade summer reading list and has been obsessed with it ever since. Her fascination with love inspired her to write in her favorite genre where happily-ever-after is the rule. She is a published author of contemporary, multicultural romances. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s reading, over-indulging in chocolate, and enjoying life with friends and family.

CONNECT WITH NANA
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It may not be snowing today in Stockholm but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means I can indulge in one of my favorite guilty pleasures — reading holiday romances! I love Christmas romances and I am trying to find some Hanukkah romances to add to my reading list. If you have some faves (both Christmas and Hanukkah romances), drop me a line!

The Night Before Christian by Joy Avery

Sometimes…love is the only thing that can free you.

When Emory Chambers asked Santa for someone to warm her cold nights, she hadn’t expected him to actually deliver. But he does. The only problem… He delivers the wrong man. Her ex is the last person she expects to see stroll into her floral design shop. The second their eyes meet old feelings rush back, and their connection sparks as potent as ever. But she has to ignore the fact that she still loves him. Especially since he’s engaged to be married.

Christian St. Claire is a man lost. That’s until a floral consultation for his upcoming wedding brings him face-to-face with Emory—the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He refuses to allow himself to fall under her spell again. But despite how hard he’s trying, he can’t shake his feelings for the woman who shattered him. Reconnecting with Emory forces him to question himself. Can he vow his life to another when his heart still pounds for the one who got away?

Get your copy today

The Best Christmas Ever by Stacy-Deanne

All hell’s breaking loose in the Bible Belt.

After getting out of prison, 23-year-old LJ McCormick settles in Beluga, Georgia for a fresh start. That won’t be easy thanks to Beluga’s bible-thumping residents who have issues with LJ’s past and him being an atheist.

Everything the community doesn’t like about LJ makes him irresistible to Ginger, the wild and flirtatious daughter of Reuben and Nola Ryder, the pastor and first lady of the church.

Sick of being seen as just the preacher’s daughter, Ginger finds solace in LJ and the two fall in love despite the obstacles in their way.

Meanwhile, 45-year-old Nola is desperate to get her marriage back on track but her world turns upside down when she meets Quinn Moretti, an ex-con with a heart of gold, who gives her the attention and passion she’s not getting at home.

Get your copy here!

Resolutions: a novella by Lucy Eden

Mike is my best friend.

My tall, gorgeous, and bearded best friend.

We both share a love for music, Monty Python, dirty jokes and my grandmother’s homemade cookies.
I also have a giant crush on Mike.

And he has no idea.

I tried to tell him at a New Year’s Eve party last year, but I lost my nerve, and he ended up with someone else.
Armed with a broken heart and a massive hangover, I wrote a list of New Year’s resolutions intent on turning myself into New and Improved Jane who doesn’t let life pass her by.
With resolutions to check off the list and limited time to finish, I accepted Mike’s offer to help.

But spending all this time with Mike is bringing up feelings that I’d spent a better part of a year keeping under control. Mike has a girlfriend and I can’t risk losing my best friend, but sometimes the way he looks at me makes me think, maybe, he feels them too?

I’m probably just daydreaming, as usual…

This novella has NO cheating and is a standalone, friends-to-lovers romantic comedy full of alphas, steam, sarcasm and Monty Python references.

Going live on December 17 – preorder now at the special price of 99 cents – price increases to $2.99 after launch!

All I Want by Susan Scott Shelley

Damon Kallis is always in control, whether in his VP position for his family’s toy company, captaining his men’s rec league hockey team, or taking care of his friends. There isn’t any room for romance in his well-ordered life. He made that mistake once, and it nearly cost him everything. Work, family, and friends are all he needs.

 All Emily Lombardi needs is a job. After her ex poisoned her reputation as a reporter, no TV station is willing to give her a chance. When the job as Damon’s executive assistant opens up, she’s in the right place at the right time. Landing the position is simple compared to dealing with Damon — the stubborn man won’t let her in. 

Working in close quarters leads to accidental touches, lingering glances, and simmering passion. Soon, they can’t deny their attraction.

With the holiday season underway, Damon’s ice starts to thaw and Emily sees someone caring and real, someone she could count on. But their past experiences are hard to forget, and when their new-found love is tested, only a Christmas miracle can give them a happily-ever-after.

Grab your copy today!
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A Christmas Spirit by LaVerne Thompson

Time’s almost running out for a spirit of Christmas. She has to find some way to bring Lily and Devin, two lonely souls, together. Even if she’s got to brew up a snowstorm to do it.

A FREE read in Kindle Unlimited

A Winter Wonderland by Rebecca Hunter

What’s worse than a broken-down car during a winter storm?
When the hot tow truck driver is your ex-boyfriend, the one you left behind
.

Coming face-to-face with Jace after nine years is a reminder of everything Selena tried to forget when she left her hometown. A very sexy reminder. And it’s even more dangerous when mixed with a little holiday magic.

Jace is supposed to be long over Selena, but he still hasn’t forgotten that she left for college without saying goodbye and never looked back. When she calls from the side of the highway, the temptation to see her again is too strong to resist.

Will a taste of holiday magic make the reunion more tempting?

** A shorter version of this sexy, second-chance romance originally appeared in the 12 Nights of Christmas anthology. It has been revised and expanded into a novella. **

Get your copy today! 

A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINE BY TASHA L. HARRISON

A TASTE OF HER OWN MEDICINE

BY TASHA L. HARRISON

“He looks like he could plow my north field without a horse.”

Sonja Watts needs to re-enter the workforce after divorcing her husband of thirteen years. Taking the advice of her sister Birdie and her best friend Estelle, she signs up for a six-week course for entrepreneurs; hoping that she will learn everything she needs to know to build a business to support herself and her kids.

On the first night of class, Sonja is able to ignore the fact that most of the students were younger than her by ten years or more. It was what she expected. But when the instructor walks in, she debates packing up here new twelve hundred dollar laptop and walking out.

Sonja couldn’t remember the last time she looked at a man with little more interest than she give a sturdy dining room table. She was just disinterested.

But wow, did Atlas James grab her interest.

Atlas hasn’t been interested in dating since he moved back home California. Adjusting to new found success in the town where everyone sees him as that big, geeky guy who cut grass for pocket change when they were in high school has been awkward. Aside from a couple of one night stands, he hasn’t really wanted to pursue a relationship with anyone until sweet, shy Sonja signs up for his class.

Compact, curvy, and juicy in all the right places, being in the same room Sonja Watts ignites all of those giddy feelings he felt when he had his first crush. He wants to know her and he’s pretty sure she wants to know him — despite the age difference that she seems to be so fixated on.

With her future riding on the success of her new business, Sonja has no time for distraction. Will she be able to keep her eyes on her own paper or will they remain glued to Atlas’s biceps and thick thighs?

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON

chapter one  

Sonja

The strip of shops, eateries, and galleries in The Village of West Greenville were dark and quiet when I pulled my Subaru into the parking lot a few blocks away from The CoWorking Spot. In the last few years, this part of town had experienced some growth with the arrival of a few restaurants and specialty shops. But that was just a handful of businesses; most of which closed at or around six o’clock, leaving the streets quiet on a late summer evening. I took advantage of this moment of quiet. Closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths to settle the nervous butterflies in my stomach.

About a month ago, I allowed myself to be convinced to sign up for a six-week entrepreneurship course— something I’ve been regretting since the day the payment cleared. 

What makes me think I could run my own business? 

The only thing I’d managed in the last ten years was a household, and occasionally, the front desk at my ex-husband’s real estate offices. Those skills didn’t necessarily translate into the sort of hustle one needed to be an entrepreneur. But at the time, my sisters Birdie and Agostina, as well as my friend Estelle, made it seem like a great idea to start a business with the skincare products I made from the herbs and medicinal flowers in my garden. And I agreed. Or maybe the gallon of wine I drank that night agreed because now that I was sitting in my car with my brand new laptop, in a brand new laptop bag, I wondered if I’d temporarily lost my mind.

The Bluetooth in my car announced that I had an incoming call from Estelle Murphy.

“Hello?”

“Get out of the car, Sonja,” she ordered. 

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” I groaned and opened the car door, slightly annoyed that she knew me so well. 

“Because you’re more than ready for it. We’ve gone through this. Get out of the car, and I’ll walk down there with you.” 

“Okay. I’m coming.”

I’d arrived a good forty minutes early, mostly because I needed to stop by Ink Blue Yoga to get a pep talk from my Estelle. 

Ink Blue, Estelle’s yoga studio,was one of my favorite places. The front windows went floor to ceiling, which made the interior look and feel bright and warm. The smooth, shiny hardwood floors were warm in the winter months and cool in the summer. They welcomed bare feet and I almost wanted to drop my bags, strip down and get in a few vinyasas. Estelle was good at this business thing and was brilliant at getting her studio seen. If I checked our town’s hashtag on Instagram on any given day, her yoga studio always showed up in the top nine. 

“Hey, Soni,” my friend said and gave me a knowing look as I came in. “Amelia?” 

The woman sweeping at the far end of the studio looked up.

“I’m going to walk Soni down to the The Coworking Spot. I’ll be right back.”

“No, problem. I’ll get everything set up for the six-thirty class.” 

She grabbed two bottles of water out of the cold case near the cash wrap and handed me one. I opened it and followed her back out to the sidewalk. 

“Okay,” she said. “Out with it. What are you feeling right now?”

I gnawed on my bottom lip. “I’m nervous.”

“Be specific.”

“I’m probably going to be the oldest person in the class —”

“And that matters because…?”

“It makes me feel self-conscious. It’s been years since I’ve been in a classroom. I’m not sure if I can learn everything I need to know to make this thing work.”

“Sonja, you’re one of the smartest people I know. You’ll be fine.”

“How can you say I’ll be fine? It took me six days to figure out how to use this fucking computer you made me buy.”

Estelle laughed at me, and I joined her, realizing how pathetic I sounded. Doing something new was always scary. But it had been so long since I’d done anything new that this felt huge. She grabbed my hand as we walked the remaining two blocks to the building that hosted The Entrepreneur Academy.

“There’s no need to be intimidated by anything you’re presented with today. You’re there to learn, and the instructor is there to teach you. Who’s your instructor again?”

I laughed and rolled my eyes. “You sound like you’re escorting your kid to their first day of elementary school.”

“Aren’t I?” she joked.

I pulled up the email they sent me after I registered for the class. “My instructor is someone named Atlas James. You know him?”

Estelle gasped, and her steps faltered a bit. “Yeah… yeah, I know him.”

“What was that reaction about?” 

“Uh, nothing. Atlas James is … he’s an amazing teacher. I learned a lot from him.”

“Yeah, but you gasped.”

Estelle cleared her throat and smirked. “You’ll see.”

We arrived at the doors, and I turned to her with a smile. “So, I’ll meet you next door when the class is over so we can have some drinks?”

“Oh, most definitely! Relax, and have fun. It’s not nearly as hard as you think it will be. Especially not with Atlas teaching. I think you’re really going to enjoy yourself.”

I rolled my eyes. “Bye, Estelle.” 

Still laughing at my friend, I went inside the coworking space that doubled as the Entrepreneur Academyclassroom on evenings and weekends. From what I read online, the two people who owned the business and ran the programs were dedicated to helping an underserved group of entrepreneurs get a foothold in the economy growing in Greenville. The businesses that students started after attending the Academy were conscientious and interested in blending into existing community. That was precisely the kind of business I wanted to build; one that felt so familiar that my customers could easily imagine the hands that made the products and feel connected to the process. 

I’d entered on the street level across from the Village Journal into a small lobby and seating area. 

“Hi!” a young girl sitting behind the desk said with a smile. “Welcome to The CoWorking Spot. I’m, Chloe. Can I help you?”

“Uh, yes. Hi, Chloe. I’m here for the Entrepreneur Academy Course?”

“Ah, yes. Could you just sign in for me? They’ll be meeting in the Community Classroom at the big table down there,” she said, jerking her thumb over her shoulder. “But you’re a little early, so feel free to grab a cup of coffee and look around or just hang out up here. Atlas is around here somewhere.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said as I signed in.

When I was done, I adjusted my bag on my shoulder and made my way down the steps to the Community Classroom. The big table was in an open area, with about ten or fifteen chairs around it. The group was far smaller than I anticipated it would be, and for some reason, that made me feel even more nervous. That and the fact that this Atlas person was somewhere in the building and if no one else arrived soon, I would be the first to meet him. All that tittering Estelle had done on the sidewalk made me wonder what the hell I was in for.

After choosing a seat on the far end of the table away from the big screen TV  as the place to drop my laptop bag, I went back up to the lobby to grab a cup of that free coffee the girl at the desk had offered me. I was still considering the dark, strong-smelling brew when a young man bounded up the stairs. 

I swear my mouth went so dry that my tongue stuck to the roof of it. 

“Hi!” he said cheerily, his lips splitting into a grin that lit up his face. And Jesus Christ was it a gorgeous face. He had smooth dark skin and the sort of distinctive features that were so unusual that it was hard to look at him without really staring. Full lips, a broad nose, and bedroom eyes with thick lashes that squinted when he smiled like he was doing now.

“Hello,” I managed to croak, unable to tear my eyes away even though he was standing next to me now, and I had to look up, up, up to meet his gaze. This man was tall and built like he could plow my north field without a horse, with shoulders that he could probably throw a woman-sized stack of potatoes over. And by woman-sized, I meant me. I would like to be that woman-sized sack of potatoes.

That thought startled me. I couldn’t remember the last time I looked at a man with little more interest than I gave a sturdy dining room table.

“Trying to get that last dose of caffeine in, huh?” he said casually as if his deep baritone wasn’t designed to disintegrate my panties the moment he opened his mouth.

“Uh, yeah. I usually try not to drink coffee this late. It tends to mess with my sleep, but I’m not usually out after this hour, so—” 

What the hell was I even saying? Why was I talking about my caffeine intake like some old lady who needed to be at home before nine to make sure she took her remedies?

“I hear that,” the young man said as he tore open two sugar packets with the edge of his bright white teeth. His tongue swiped at a loose granule, and my pussy clenched like I knew how that tongue would feel between my thighs.

Look away, Sonja. Look a-damn-way. 

He gestured at the still empty cup in my hand with the carafe of coffee in his hand, offering to fill it up.

“Yes, please.” I held out the paper cup in my now trembling hand. “Thank you,” I said once it was filled and finally turned toward the coffee station to add some sugar and cream. 

“No, problem. I’ll see you down there,” he said, a smirk in the corner of his full lips. 

“Oh! You’re here for the Entrepreneur Academy thing?”

He pivoted around the corner to make his way back down the stairs. With his eyes on me, his smirk shifted into a smile. “I’m the instructor,” he said just before he disappeared from view.

“Holy fuck … that’s Atlas James?” 

“Yes, ma’am, it is,” the girl behind the desk said with a wistful sigh.

Leaving the cup of untouched coffee on the bar, I ducked into the nearest bathroom to call my so-called friend. Her self-satisfied giggle met my ears when she finally decided to pick up the phone. 

“Really, Estelle?”

“What? 

“You could have warned me that my instructor was a real-life action hero, so I didn’t embarrass myself by drooling and blubbering like an idiot.”

“You drooled and blubbered like an idiot? That’s surprising. I didn’t think he would get that much of a reaction out of you.”

“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Sonja,” she began gently. “I’ve known you for almost nine years, and I’ve never heard you so much as sigh at the sight of a pretty man. Even men that are universally handsome never seemed to move the meter for you.”

I scoffed. “Yeah, well, Atlas James sure as hell did.”

“Mmmhmm… six weeks of class with him was not an unpleasant experience.” 

“Estelle! You’re happily married!”

“I’m married, not dead, Sonja.” 

“I get that, but…”

“Yes, I allowed myself to enjoy his personage, then I went home to my husband. And since you no longer have one of those, none of that should matter to you.”

“I have no intentions on—”

“I gotta go. The six-thirty power hour is about to start. I’ll meet you for drinks, and we can talk about how Atlas made you squirm in your seat for an hour and a half.” Then she hung up before I could respond. 

I glared at my phone’s darkening screen for a moment and tried to figure out if there was a way that I could sneak downstairs, grab my new bag and twelve-hundred-dollar laptop, and duck out before the class started. because I couldn’t sit in the same room with that man. Hell, maybe I didn’t need to grab my stuff. Estelle could drive me home. My kids were there, so I didn’t need to worry about how I would get in. I could pick up my bag in the morning or some other time when I was sure he wouldn’t be here. Then I would quit the class because a woman my age should not be subjected to a man that young and that fine for six-long weeks without any sort of satisfaction. 

Satisfaction? I mean, seriously. What satisfaction did I want from this man? And more importantly, what satisfaction would he be willing to give? Did I want to know? Goddamn, he had successfully scrambled my brain. This was not right or okay.

I glanced in the mirror and smoothed my hand over my newly cropped hair. Around the same time that I allowed myself to be convinced to sign up for this course, my sister Agostina thought it was a good idea to chop off all of my hair. “A woman who cuts her hair is about to make big changes in her life,” or some foolishness she’d parroted from a mindfulness blog she read. Initially, I thought the cut looked cute. Fun. Now I just looked like a middle-aged woman who’d lobbed off her hair and dyed it to hide the grey.

I sighed and shook my head at myself, then turned on the water to wash my hands. I was making too big a deal out of this. He probably didn’t even notice that I’d drooled over him. I wasn’t unattractive, but I’d long ago realized that I’d become invisible to a specific type of man and definitely a certain age bracket. Atlas James fit that demographic. Yeah… I was worried about the wrong thing. 

By the time I made my way out of the bathroom and toward the low murmur of conversation in the Community Classroom, I’d convinced myself that I was overreacting. I’d only assumed that he had noticed me noticing him. That didn’t make it true. 

And I believed that until I realized that my bag had been moved to a seat other than where I’d left it. It was now in front of a chair closer to the middle of the table…

Right across from where Atlas was setting up his laptop and unloading his backpack. 

I glanced toward the place I’d left my things and saw that two girls were huddled there now. How wrong would it be if I put on my mom-voice and bullied them out of their seats? 

“Decided against the coffee?” Atlas asked, pulling me out of my reverie.

“Uh… yeah. I had a couple of sips, but I’m jittery enough. It would have been a mistake.”

“I probably should have done the same, but you know…Y.O.L.O.”

I cringed inwardly. “Yeah…Y.O.L.O.,” I echoed then pulled out the chair. 

My son used that horrible slang phrase when he was in middle school. Was this Atlas in the same age bracket? Now I felt a little gross about lusting over someone who was probably only a few years older than my high school-age son. 

Yuck

I laughed at myself again. Unloaded my bag. 

Stay on task, Sonja.

“Okay… It looks like everyone is here!” Atlas said. “Let’s get started.” He clapped his hands together and moved toward the front of the room. “Welcome to The CoWorking Spot. I’m Atlas James, and I’m going to be your instructor for this cohort of the Entrepreneur Academy. A little bit about me…Yes, my name is really Atlas, but I don’t think my mother named me that in anticipation of me having shoulders big and strong enough to carry the world on them, but it helps that I grew into it.”

We all laughed at that, and he seemed to relax a little bit. “I’m a business coach for creative people who want to use their talents to make money. I’ve been at that for a little over six years, and before that, my best friend and I built a tiny home in a step-up panel truck and I traveled to every state in the continental US. I have two degrees, business and MBA in marketing, both of which used to build and run this business. Now…” He looked from one end of the table to the next, and then his eyes settled on me. “I’d like to get to know all of you.”

My mouth suddenly went dry, and my nipples drew up into tight little buds against the thin silken fabric of my bra. I folded my arms, leaned forward on the table, and prayed that he didn’t ask me to go first. Nothing but squawking high pitched sounds would come out of me if he did. 

Atlas smiled at me then turned his attention to one of the young girls at the far end of the table. 

Thank God

“You there in the pink sweater. State your name, state your business.”

Everyone at the table was at least ten or more years younger than me. They had internet jobs that I’d never heard of before — like social media manager and content strategist — that they’d joined the Entrepreneur Academy to grow. None of them had a business that sounded anything like mine. 

“And what about you, Miss…” Atlas pushed up the sleeves of his henley and pointed at me.

My brain short-circuited. 

“Sonja…” I stammered. Yes, that’s my name. “Sonja Watts and I want to open an online store to sell natural soaps, essential oils, hand, and body cremes, and maybe teas using recipes created by my Gullah grandmother.”

The room fell silent. 

“Excuse me…Sonja?” one of the girls at the end of the table began. She was sitting across from the girl in the pink sweater. I think her name was Ashley.

“Yes?”

“What is a Gullah exactly? You mean, like Gullah, Gullah Island? That show that used to come on Disney?” Ashley asked with a giggle that her friend in the pink sweater echoed. 

Atlas turned his attentions to Ashley and regarded her for a long critical moment. “Gullah people are Coastal Carolina African Americans who have maintained most of their West African culture, to include language and traditions,” he explained finally. “They practice a lot of holistic medicine through cherished recipes passed down through generations.” He looked at me again, his eyes soft and…was that appreciation I saw there? “I imagine your business will be no different than someone starting their own beauty brand.”

“I imagine so…” I said, feeling for the first time in an hour that I was right where I was supposed to be.

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ABOUT TASHA L. HARRISON

Often accused of navigating life without a filter, Tasha L. Harrison has managed to brand herself as the author who crafts characters and stories that make you feel all of the feels. She writes African American, interracial and intercultural erotica and erotic romance with heroines just as brazen, emotionally messy, and dramatic as herself and heroes that love them anyway.

She lives in Upstate South Carolina with her handsome hubbie, two not-so-smallish men, and one super needy boxer dog. When she’s not writing filth, she’s riding around with the top down on her Jeep Wrangler, Amber, blasting Southern Rock and pretending she’s in love with the mountains when she really misses the ocean.

She also edits romance and erotica because love stories are her business.

Tasha’s work and information on her editing rates and services can be found at tashalharrison.com.

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New Release: Mistletoe Over Manhattan

‘Tis the season for romance…

Misteletoe Over Manhattan

Title: Mistletoe Over Manhattan

Cover Design:Lou J Stock of LJ Designs

Release Date: December 3, 2019

About

Eight authors bring cheer, romance, and a whole lot of steam to the Big Apple this holiday season as they hang some Mistletoe over Manhattan in the very first Book Hoarder’s anthology.

All proceeds from eBook sales of this anthology will benefit Solar Responders. Led by CEO Hunter Johansson, Solar Responders is a non-profit organization focused on installing solar and battery storage systems on first responder stations.

“Our mission is to maximize the capacity of first responders to save lives with renewable energy. We donate all hardware and labor, hire local installers, and work collaboratively with first responder departments to ensure the successful, long-term impact of our systems.”

To find out more about this excellent charity, please visit http://solarresponders.org

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• All proceeds to benefit Solar Responders •

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Teasers

• Check out these gorgeous teasers from the eight fabulous, holiday-themed romances in Mistletoe Over Manhattan

Andrea Bills
CD Bradley
Ginni Conquest
JA Low
Jeannine Colette
Kat T Masen
MC Decker
Stephanie Rose
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• Meet the team that brought Mistletoe Over Manhattan to life •

Stephanie Rose Jeannine Colette Kat T. Masen J.A. Low Ginni Conquest Andrea Bills M.C. Decker C.D. Bradley

Anthology organized by Helene Cuji of I Am A Book Hoarder

With a foreword by Aleatha Romig

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Book tour: The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan

THE REBEL KING BY KENNEDY RYAN

The Rebel King, the stunning, beautiful conclusion to the All The King’s Men Duet, from USA Today bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is available now! Get ready for a binge read! 

Ambition. Revenge. Love.

RITA® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan delivers the gripping conclusion to the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to resist. Bred to fight. Survival is in my blood and surrender is never an option.

Though surrender is what Maxim Cade demanded of my body and heart, I had other plans. We were fast-burning fascination and combustible chemistry, but the man I trusted with everything was a trickster. A thief who stole my love. If what we had was a lie, why did it feel so real? The man I swore to hate will have it all, and wants me at his side. But power is a game, and we’re the pawns and players.

Facing insurmountable odds, will we win the world, or will we lose it all?

Start the duet with THE KINGMAKER today! 

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EXCERPT

A fat raindrop plops on my nose, sliding down the bridge, followed by another and then a wet succession.

“Aw, hell.” I pull my jacket up on my elbows to provide some shelter for the two of us, but the rain trebles, more coming down and faster.

“We still have four blocks before my place,” I say. “Sorry, but the weather is unpredictable this time of year.”

Rain has already started molding the thin dress to her body, faithfully hugging every swell and curve. A hard shiver runs through her and her teeth chatter.

“Come on.” I grab her hand and duck into an alleyway. An overhang provides a tiny patch of dry ground and shelter. “We may be able to wait it out. These showers sprout up and pass over like they never happened.”

We’re sandwiched between two buildings and there is barely any light, but the moonlight finds her, sculpting shadows beneath her cheekbones and etching dark crescents of her lowered lashes. The rain has smeared her mascara, and water-slicked hair flattens to her head. She should look bedraggled, but she manages to be the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.

I bend, tentative at first, even after last night. Even after making love to her again this morning when I chased her up the stairs. I approach slowly, giving her the chance to refuse, but she doesn’t. She meets me, eyes open, lips eager, hands bunched in my wet hair. It’s a freshwater kiss, made of rain and passion. Slow touches pick up steam until we’re frantic against the wall, hands searching, desperate to find the flesh under our soaked clothes. The inside of her thigh is slick with rain, and I trace the droplets with my finger before inching higher and burrowing beneath her panties, inside. 

“Do that, Doc,” she says, a breath-starved command. “Yes.”

I lean into the damp, scented curve of her neck, leaving kisses there while my finger is knuckle-deep in paradise. Every sound she makes gets me harder, ready. She kisses my jaw, my cheekbone, pulls my bottom lip between hers. 

“We should stop,” I pant across her mouth. “I can’t . . . let’s stop before . . .” How do I tell her that if we don’t, I’ll be fucking her in an alley with no regard for who might see? How do I say that without sounding disrespectful and selfish?

“Don’t stop.” She fumbles at my waist, tugging the belt from its buckle and pulling the button loose, the zipper down. “Do it.”

“Baby.” I drop my head back and groan. So tempting. I want to so badly. “The rain should let up soon. We can make a dash for it to my house.”

“Or,” she says, working her hand into my pants; finding me. Squeezing me. 

“Dammit, Nix,” I groan. “Don’t make me want you any more than I already do.”

“Or,” she says again, “you can do what we both want. Take what I want to give. Right here. Right now.”

Is it surrender when you both want it? I’m not sure if it’s her will or mine that wins out, but I hitch her up, my hands full of her ass, and lock her legs at my back. I reach between us to push her panties aside and plunge in. 

I feel like a god. 

Yet every time she gasps and groans and tightens around my body, she conquerors me. She’s indelible. I may end up with someone else, may even love someone someday, but there is a place Lennix Moon has carved out inside of me in a matter of a few days where only she will ever fit. It’s irrational and goes against all the rules I’ve set for myself, but she feels like mine. For the next two days, she is mine.

And then we’ll walk away.

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THE KINGMAKER is available on audio!

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ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

USA Today bestseller, RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

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