Chapter Reveal: Salt by Mara White

 

 

 

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

 

Salana Livingston did everything right, from taking her multi-vitamin to kneeling before bed to say her prayers every night. She followed the path her parents had planned before she was born, never questioned the role until the day a bus-load of sweaty kids from the Bronx got dropped at her parent’s horse farm.

Tiago Alcazar knew a life of hard knocks. An incarcerated father, a missing and strung-out mother who left him to rely on his aged grandmother for most of his life.

Tiago runs the mean streets of the neighborhood that raised him, living hand-to-mouth, everyday a gift, if he can just make it.

Burdened by a world that only wants to see her as perfect, Salana finds her greatest confidant in a boy society has labeled as worthless. Their paths cross too many times for their stubborn hearts to deny the connection, but can the delinquent and the debutant defy the odds and overcome the social constructs that condemn them?

Tiago

“I’m telling you, homie! As soon as this bitch-ass arm heals we’re going back to Connecticut. You got the code for the garage, we roll out a Lamborghini and we’re set for life mother fucker!” They were sitting in Chico’s living room. The air was hot and sticky circulated by only a lazy ceiling fan that was covered in years of greasy dust and the dangling remnants of some bygone party streamers. They’d ordered a pizza and demolished the whole thing. Chico was only gaining more of gut rendered immobile by his collarbone break. He had pizza sauce on his tank top. A real gem. A catch—this kid. But the horse ranch trip, the fall, and Tiago’s ride home from the princess were still high on their list of the most exciting things to happen that summer. They rehashed it all, spilling the details to their friends.
“I don’t want to steal her car. I liked that chick,” Tiago said in weak protest. He flipped through the channels now that Chico’s mom had gone out to get groceries and relieved them from endless Telemundo. He left the television on a basketball game and did his best slam dunk swoosh leaping up from the couch.

“Mano, we won’t be stealing from her really if you think about it. That’s her parent’s car—not hers. And what the fuck would she care, she’s got so much money anyway? We’d be doing them a favor taking one of those off their hands.”

“That’s pushing it, Chico. Why don’t we just steal a different car from someone else in the same neighborhood?”

“Cause you got the code for her garage fuck face! Jesus Christ!” Chico hit his forehead exaggeratedly. “How many cars can one family even drive?”

“What you don’t have the guts to break in?”

“Neither do you, bitch. Can you help me take my shirt off so I can take a shower?”

“Fucking baby, you are on your own for that shit cause you stink. Check you later. I gotta go home and check on my Ma anyway.”

“I’d help you if it was the other way around!”

“Never will be, cause I ain’t fucking stupid, bro!” Tiago punched Chico hard in the arm that wasn’t in a sling. He got up and threw the remote at Chico’s belly. “I’ll fucking go if you park that shit downtown and the fuck away from my building. I’ll drive it, but I don’t want to sell it.”

“Deal!” Chico said, smiling triumphantly. Tiago wasn’t giving him a bath. He had to draw the line somewhere.

The tickets for the metro north just about cleaned them out. There must have been irony in the deal, spend all your money on transportation to go steal something that could help you get around and then sell it to make money. Tiago was so nervous his sweat stunk, Chico however, was riding on cloud nine, already ticking off the list of things he was going to buy in his head. Tiago would buy a washing machine for his grandmother, so she wouldn’t have to lug laundry down to the corner, or wash it in the tub with her arthritic hands like she sometimes did.

“’Mijo, there was no laundromat when I was growing up. My mother scrubbed the clothes on a board in the yard, hung it to dry on a line between two trees.”

“Look at your hands, Ma. You not even sixty but your hands are eighty. That’s why.” He kissed her on the cheek and grabbed his book bag off the back of the chair. “I’ll be home late, don’t wait up.”

Tiago had spent countless hours in school daydreaming about being able to provide for his grandmother. Visions of washing machines with a red bow on top, a new refrigerator that didn’t drip or smell. He never imagined what he’d get for himself, just fantasize about the amenities that would make her life easier.

“Shit, this train is huge. The seats look like couches!” Chico couldn’t play it cool to save his life. The kid was green as fuck, not a seasoned car thief. The only thing Chico was good at was remembering stats on baseball cards and eating everyone under the table.

“Bro, we’re trying to not call attention to ourselves, you hear me?” Tiago sat down by the window, the uneasy feeling creeping through his belly. They stuck out like sore thumbs with the evening commuters. Everyone in suits and blazers, reading newspapers, scrolling through stocks on their phones. How could they pull off a car theft with so many witnesses? Every single one of these jerks would remember them. Nobody who looked like them was on their way to Connecticut. Tiago’s gut felt heavier with each mile gained toward their destination. How fucked up was it that they were gonna go after the girl who’d been so kind to them? Rip her off in return? No wonder people branded them as thugs, maybe that’s what they were.

They filed off the train with a million commuters, it was nearing dark when they arrived and everyone rushed to the park and ride lot to get home to their families. Must be nice, Tiago thought. A house and a car, back yard and people acting happy you came home, a jumping dog, kids with spelling tests to show you. Probably a fucking pool to swim in. He’d seen it in the movies and on TV. That wasn’t what happened in his neighborhood. Broken families were the norm, functional ones, the exception. At least half of his friends were being raised by their grandparents. A parent in jail, addicted to drugs, never made it to the States, was plain old down-on-their-luck, were the stories he heard on his block. Domestic violence, child abuse, neglect—those were the cuts that tore families apart.

The park and ride lot emptied just as fast as the train to leave Tiago and Chico standing under the bright sweep of street light looking caught in the headlights. Tiago started walking toward the street and Chico followed him. He had a good sense of direction and he knew Salana’s house, her estate, was walking distance from the train station. Walking distance in a town where nobody walked. Again they stuck out like strobe lights ambling along the side of a residential street with no fucking sidewalk.

“These people probably gonna call the police on us just because of how we look. Probably got cameras set up.”

They walked for twenty minutes, the houses bordering the streets becoming more and more opulent, the gates taller, the security tighter. Tiago recognized Salana’s house as soon as they neared. Not because he’d cased the place to steal, but because he’d wanted to see her again, to return to the spot under different circumstances. He’d imagined himself as her boyfriend countless times in his head.

“It’s this one up here with the all the lights on. How we gonna stay hidden when they got that place lit up like a stadium?”

“We crawl on the border and then stand up and sprint to get to the garage.” Chico flicked his cigarette and the cherry bounced on the street and spewed sparks. The kid had watched too many action flicks.

“Bet the fucking gate is wired,” Tiago said. He was getting cold feet.

“We move fast. That way if we trigger the gate, by the time they get there to check it out, we’re basically already in the garage with our pick of cars.” Tiago thought Chico was being unrealistically optimistic. Grand Theft Auto had inflated his ego to carjacker extraordinaire, when in reality the most he’d ever stolen was a handful of cash out of the collection plate at church. Their luck peaked in the unexpected arrival of a car, it’s lights looming larger out of the darkness. The driver signaled and pulled into Salana’s driveway. A young man stuck his head out and said something into the intercom. He smiled like a million bucks and Tiago already hated him. Fucking Hitler haircut, first car—a Tesla. But what really made him want to smash the guy’s head in was the idea of him touching Salana, her laughing at his jokes. Tiago would fight with bloody fists for her, that douche would throw his money in the air as a distraction and start crying before someone even hit him.

The boys crouched and ran, slipped through the gates right before they closed. As they approached the house, it became apparent they’d crashed some kind of party. The half-moon driveway was crowded with parked cars, not a Ford or a Toyota in sight. The sickest cars Tiago and Chico had ever seen. They stared openly, the lighted up mansion, the driveway turned car showroom. Drake was sounding from a top of the line stereo reverberating through the walls and bursting forth into the still night and the silence of the suburbs. They were slow to process that this was real life. Sure they’d seen it in music videos and placed themselves in the role of protagonist in plenty of daydreams, why not? Honey’s with string bikinis, pouring out label Champagne into the hot tub, the ice and gold, the cars, the clothes, the sunglasses that cost as much as their family’s annual food budget. But that was fantasy and this was someone’s real life.

“Salt is a fucking pimp, bro. She’s straight up balling that bitch,” Chico said, jaw on the floor.

“Good. They won’t even miss the car,” Tiago said. His voice was full of rancor. He felt jealously swim in his bloodstream—toxic—like the sewage that overflowed into the Hudson during a rainstorm. He strutted across the brightly lit, meticulously manicured lawns like a boss, pimp limp fired, repping the dignity of who he was in the face of this great wealth.

“Yo, Tiago, wait up!” Chico yelled. Chico’s ambling limp was real on account of his one arm still braced in a sling and useless. They were a ramshackle crew. No guns, knives or experience, just hood attitude bolstered by the accomplishment of seeing the task this far through—they’d made it to Connecticut, it was worth something.

Tiago’s hair stood on end and nerves seesawed in his stomach. He wasn’t afraid, but rather on high alert, excited, reckless and ruthless, ready to take someone down just for looking at him the wrong way. A car door slammed and Chico and Tiago both froze. A tall blond guy in a sweater vest looked at them inquisitively.

“Who the fuck are you?” he asked. The guy threw his joint to the ground. Tiago could smell the sweet burn of weed, but to his seasoned nose he could also tell it wasn’t good. Not like the premium he could get these rich kids. Sell it for more, take them all for a ride and then roll around in cash like a dog in mud from the profits.

How the hell would they pull off taking a car now? Tiago didn’t even know what they were there for anymore. What if they missed the last train back to the city? Would they sleep in the station like bums? And what if they got arrested? His grandmother wasn’t capable of making a trip all the way to Connecticut to bail him out for trespassing.

“Salana around?” Tiago asked the guy staring them down. The way the words took a bite out of his heart made him realize stealing cars was pretense all along. He’d only wanted to see her, to stroke her blonde hair, to rub his nose against her little one and have his insides turned out. But if he had to break the law to see her, he would.

“It’s her fucking party. She know you’re coming?”

The guy was wearing loafers. He had to answer to a guy wearing loafers and a sweater vest. A fucking asshole Mr. Rogers was what he was.

“Dude, what are you doing?” Chico screeched at him. Tiago’s pants felt heavy, his kicks impossibly clunky, he couldn’t remember if he’s put on cologne or deodorant for that matter. His shirt was clean, but it was old and suddenly felt so cheap to have Billionaire Boy’s Club emblazoned across the front of his chest, when he was in the presence of the real Billionaire’s Club. It didn’t help that the guy stared at them like unsavory rats that had wandered across his clean pasture.

“Can you get Salana for us? Tell her we’re in the garage when she gets a chance?”

“Why don’t you wait here,” the guy said quickly texting on his phone. Tiago walked toward the garage anyway; he couldn’t stand to be scrutinized by the judgmental mother fucker anymore.

“Ti, bro. I swear to fucking God you lost your mind!” Chico said as Santiago disabled the alarm on the garage. There were cameras, two he could see plainly right over the door.

“Let’s bounce. This is crazy,” Chico said. He didn’t want to go to jail he liked his mother’s cooking too much. He loved sitting in the sun and playing basketball in the park for twenty-three hours a day as opposed to one. “I’m out!” Chico said, turned on a dime and ran.

“Ditch me, why don’t you, when the going gets tough?” Tiago wanted to scream, Unleash the hounds! But he wasn’t so mean he’d want his friend to pee his pants.

Tiago decided to go through the motions. He chose the Rover for the resale ease and value. It was unlocked and the door opened smooth like honey. All the keys were in the lockbox by the door, just as they had been when Salana did it all in front of him. Like a temptress, like an invitation to take one.

Here’s the big red juicy apple. I know you’re starving. Bite it!

There was something about the feel and smell of brand new that was extraordinarily pleasing, that gave an air of authority and power without doing a thing. Wealth and pipe dreams of attaining it could be as addictive as a drug and probably just as dangerous. He was about to slide into the driver’s seat when someone grabbed him from behind. He cursed, angry at himself for having let his guard down. One held him back against the car, while the other, the blond, knocked his fist into Tiago’s face, hitting him just below the nose. Not a trained fighter, just beginner’s luck that he made contact. It was a weak punch but it landed and stung like a bitch. Tiago heaved his shoulders forward to throw off the one he couldn’t see. The taste of blood in his mouth made him vicious and he landed a punch right in Vest and Loafer’s gut that promptly knocked the wind out of him. Tiago was used to fighting dirty and street. He’d been in scuffles on the corner since first grade. The boys in Connecticut had never taken a real beating.

“Call the police!” the guy shouted at his friend.

“Don’t fucking call the police!” Tiago responded almost casually. “Why call the cops? Because we hit each other? Come on! Don’t be a pussy.”

“Then get the fuck out of here right now! Leave!” Loafer’s feathers were ruffled, his face was red and his hair disheveled.

“Did you tell Salana like I told you too, bitch?”

“I’m right here,” she said. Salana walked into the garage and put her hand on Loafer’s arm.

“I just wanted to talk to you,” Tiago said. “Alone.”

He wiped his hand across his mouth, it felt warm and burned. There was blood on the back of his hand and he spat blood on the floor gaining a look of fury from the handsome boys.

“Brandt, just go. It’s fine, I know him.”

“If you fucking touch her, you’re a dead man,” Brandt pointed his finger at Santiago like his threat carried weight. Tiago spat again. “Piece of shit, thug,” Brandt muttered as he turned to go.

Once alone, the silence between them rose up and expanded like leavened bread in an oven, filling even the dark corners and the ceiling above them. They stood ten feet away from one another and took the other in. Tiago clenched his fists and Salana watched blood drip from his split lip. She cut across the space first and grabbed his chin so as to better inspect his face.

“You’re bleeding,” she said. “Come inside, we can put something on it.”

“Give me a minute to cool down so I don’t kill your friend, Salt.”

“Why did you come here, Tiago? You should have at least called.”

“To steal a car. You let me see that code. It was an invitation I couldn’t resist.”

She crossed her arms across her chest and looked relatively unaffected by what he said.

“Take one if you want, but I’m sure there will be repercussions.”

“Naw, when I got here, I realized what I really wanted was to steal you instead.”

He saw her pupils dilate. He heard how her breath caught in her chest. He felt tingly all over like he might pass the fuck out at her feet after one bitchass punch.

“Come on, let’s get your face cleaned up.” She took his hand and led him around the side of the huge estate.

“We’ll just go downstairs and that way we can avoid Brandt and the others.” Salana punched in another code and allowed Tiago to see it. He felt like he had to memorize those numbers because they were symbolic of her letting him in. Seeing those numbers meant something. Code for: trust. Cipher for: I accept you just as you are.

He followed her down a sweeping staircase and into what looked like a basement entertainment room. A pool table, leather couches, a full bar and a fireplace. Basically a space he and his friends would sacrifice their left nuts for. Salana flicked on stained-glass low hanging lights in the basement room which was bigger than his entire apartment.

“The bathroom is right there, I’ll grab the first aid kit.”

The lights rose by themselves as he stepped into the bathroom, a room so spotless and sparkling it nearly strained his eyes. Salana’s life looked like a Hollywood set whereas his looked like a public service announcement for the dangers of drug use. He ran his hand underwater to wash off the blood.

“Sit up here,” Salana said, patting the counter sink. She ran a white washcloth under warm water and brought it to his lip. “I’m sorry he punched you,” she whispered as she dapped at the gash.

“Probably deserved it,” he said through the towel. “What’s the occasion for the party?”
Salana squirted some ointment on her finger and brought it to his upper lip.

“Oh, my friend Justine’s birthday. She’s upstairs. My parents are in Europe so everyone decided to come here.” She tried to touch the bleeding gash and Tiago grabbed her wrist. She stopped and made eye contact.

“You’re so fucking fine, Salt. I can’t stop thinking about you. I wouldn’t steal from you. I just wanted to see you.” His grip on her wrist was tight, because his confession felt important. He usually let a girl know he was into her with body language, lingering hands and soft words in her ear, but with Salana he told her as if he were in the confessional. “I like you and I don’t know what the fuck to do about it.”

Who knew honesty could feel like getting run over by a steam roller. Cracking your head open and letting the rabid butterflies escape to fly upwards in a swarm. It was almost too much for him. Butterflies? They were bats and he was a goner.

Her lips were parted and she stared intently at his face. Her blue eyes flared with emotion and his searched her face for even a hint of reciprocation. “I know it ain’t even possible. I just wanted to let you know how I felt, and shit.”
“I—” was all she could get out
“You can go back to your party, back to Branch. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
Salana blinked and her eyes were filling with tears. She closed them and leaned into Tiago. He caught her face in his hands and his lips found hers. The kiss was so soft and ghostly like a whisper—almost nothing—until it wasn’t and then, it was real, it was perfect, it was fucking everything.

She gasped when he took her whole mouth, prying open the seam of her lips with his tongue. Tiago kissed like a carnivore. Wolf-mouth. No rich-pansy orthodontist’s dream. He came from real life. His cut was the ghetto. He kissed projects and food stamps and lives that were cut short. He kissed give.it.all.to.me.now because punk-ass-bitches steal what doesn’t belong to them. His hands went to her hair, soft like silk and cool like the flip side of a pillow. He wanted to eat her, make a meal out of her flesh and touch the raw center of her heart after he’d consumed her.

“Fuck,” he whispered into her mouth. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”

His dick was already hard, pressing against his jeans with an urgency that was painful. He’d blow his load from her tongue alone like a fucking kid looking at a Hustler under the covers with a flashlight.

“God, I want you so bad,” he lamented. Was he kissing for the first time? No, but it fucking felt like it.

His fingers speared through her hair cupping her ears and the back of her skull as he devoured her mouth and pulled her to him, registering nothing, only desperate for more. Tiago hopped down from the counter, scooped Salana up and placed her where he’d been. Jerking her forward by the hips he brought her flush with his erection. Salana opened her eyes wide suddenly, the blue piercing right through him. Her eye contact sent a surge of power to his groin. He leaned into her again and thumbed her nipples through her white cotton shirt. Salana tipped her head back and mewled. The heat coming from her center made him lose control. He couldn’t stand how erotic she looked, head thrown back, nipples tipped to the ceiling and her long hair almost touching the sink behind her. His blood smeared on her full lips made his stomach muscles clench with something forbidden and primal.

“Stop,” she said still kissing him. “Stop!” she pushed at his chest this time and he backed all the way up to the wall.

“Fuck, I’m sorry. Shit, Salana. I’m sorry, I lost control.” His longing was so fierce that kissing her felt like survival. He was the hunter, she was the doe. He didn’t want to kill her, but he wanted to make the damn shot even if it killed him in the process.
She shook her head and wiped at her mouth with her fingers.

His chest heaved like he’d been running, but he was standing there in her bathroom, palms upturned like a fucking idiot. That kiss meant the world to him.
“I’ll show myself out. I shouldn’t have come.”

 

 

AP  new -about the author.jpg

 

 

Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.

 

Author Links

 

New Release: Salt by Mara White

 

 

 

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

 

Salana Livingston did everything right, from taking her multi-vitamin to kneeling before bed to say her prayers every night. She followed the path her parents had planned before she was born, never questioned the role until the day a bus-load of sweaty kids from the Bronx got dropped at her parent’s horse farm.

Tiago Alcazar knew a life of hard knocks. An incarcerated father, a missing and strung-out mother who left him to rely on his aged grandmother for most of his life.

Tiago runs the mean streets of the neighborhood that raised him, living hand-to-mouth, everyday a gift, if he can just make it.

Burdened by a world that only wants to see her as perfect, Salana finds her greatest confidant in a boy society has labeled as worthless. Their paths cross too many times for their stubborn hearts to deny the connection, but can the delinquent and the debutant defy the odds and overcome the social constructs that condemn them?

 

AP  new -about the author.jpg

 

 

Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.

 

Author Links

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Cover Reveal: The Naked Truth by Vi Keeland

TNT_Title_Black

A Standalone Second Chance Romance Novel

By: #1 NY Times Best Selling Author, Vi Keeland

RELEASE DATE: Monday, July 23, 2018

Synopsis:

It was just a typical Monday.

Until the big boss asked me to make the pitch for a prospective new client.

After two years on shaky ground at work because of my screw up, an opportunity to impress the senior partners was just what I needed.

Or so I thought…

Until I walked into the conference room and collided with the man I was supposed to pitch.

My coffee spilled, my files tumbled to the ground, and I almost lost my balance.

And that was the good part of my day.

Because the gorgeous man crouched down and looking at me like he wanted to eat me alive, was none other than my ex, Gray Westbrook.

A man who I’d only just begun to move on from.

A man who my heart despised—yet my body obviously still had other ideas about.

A man who was as charismatic and confident as he was sexy.

Somehow, I managed to make it through my presentation ignoring his intense stare.

Although it was impossible to ignore all the dirty things he whispered into my ear right after I was done.

But there was no way I was giving him another chance, especially now that he was a client…was there?

TNT_FullCover

TNT_FrontCoverPhoto/Cover Details

Photo Credits: Mondadori Portfolio/Paolo Stella

ARTeProduction/Jonathan Segade

Model: Simone Bredariol – D’men – www.dmanagementgroup.com

Cover Designer: Sommer Stein, Perfect Pear Creative

**Watch out for a special excerpt sneak peak of The Naked Truth on July 18th!!**

 

 

PURCHASE LINKS

ibooks: https://apple.co/2xliFQZ

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2H0XH9p

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2kuv7V6

**No Amazon ebook preorder. Will go live on Amazon on release day.

Sign up for Vi’s mailing list and/or text alerts now and be the first one notified when it goes live! https://www.subscribepage.com/i6h3o5 – Text the word BOOKS to 77948

TNT_NameBar

91FFBs19XQL._UX250_

About the Author:

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

Sign up for Vi’s mailing list: https://www.subscribepage.com/i6h3o5

Do you like texts better than email? Receive text notices of Vi’s new releases by texting the word BOOKS to 77948 You will ONLY receive a text when a new book goes live – no other messages at all!

Find Vi here

Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKeelandFanGroup/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Vi-Keeland/435952616513958

https://www.facebook.com/vi.keeland

Website: http://www.vikeeland.com

Twitter: @vikeeland – https://twitter.com/ViKeeland

Instagram: @Vi_Keeland – http://instagram.com/Vi_Keeland/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6887119.Vi_Keeland

New Release: Rebel Heart by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

 

RebelHeart_Title

(Book Two in the Rush Series)

A Contemporary Romance Duet

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Authors 

Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland 

 

Rush and Gia’s story continues in the gripping conclusion to Rebel Heir…

How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons:

Sleep with your boss. Check.

Blow all your money on a rental you can’t afford. Check.

How to walk away from a man you fall in love with at the end of a summer:

…I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Rebel Heir is the second book in the Rush Series Duet. Book One, Rebel Heir, is available for sale now.

 

REBEL HEART AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two)   | iBooks ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | B&N ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | Kobo ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two)  | Google Play ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two)

 

 

How to kick off a great summer in the Hamptons:

Snag a gorgeous rental on the beach. Check.

Get a job at a trendy summer haunt. Check.

How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons:

Fall for the one guy with a dark leather jacket, scruff on his face, and intense eyes that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tony looking crowd.  A guy you can’t have when you’ll be leaving at the end of the season.

Check. Check. Check.

I should add—especially when the guy is your sexy, tattooed God of a boss.

Especially when he not only owns your place of employment but inherited half of the town.

Especially when he’s mean to you.

Or so I thought.

Until one night when he demanded I get in his car so he could drive me home because he didn’t want me walking in the dark.

That was sort of how it all started with Rush.

And then little by little, some of the walls of this hardass man started to come down.

I never expected that the two of us, seemingly opposites from the outside, would grow so close.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the rebel heir, especially when he made it clear he didn’t want to cross the line with me.

As the temperature turned cooler, the nights became hotter.  My summer became a lot more interesting—and complicated.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

AmazoniBooks |  B&N  | Kobo  |  Google Play  |  Amazon Paperback 

 

 

 

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over a million books sold, she is a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over fifteen novels, including RoomHate which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Other New York Times bestsellers include Stepbrother Dearest, Neighbor Dearest, Drunk Dial, Cocky Bastard, Stuck-Up Suit, Playboy Pilot and Mister Moneybags (the latter four co-written with Vi Keeland).

Connect with Penelope Ward

Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram

 

 

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

Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Perception by Terri Fleming

Screen Shot 2018-05-10 at 14.28.45Title: Perception

Author: Terri Fleming

Publication Date: July 13, 2017

Synopsis:

Mary Bennet does not dream of marriage. Much to her mother’s horror, Mary is determined not to follow in the footsteps of her elder sisters, Jane (now Mrs Bingley) and Lizzy (now Mrs Darcy). Living at home with her remaining sister, Kitty, and her parents, Mary does not care for fashions or flattery. Her hopes are simple – a roof over her head, music at the piano, a book in her hand and the freedom not to marry the first bachelor her mother can snare for her.

But Mrs Bennet is not accustomed to listening to her daughters.

While Kitty is presented with tempting choices and left trying to resist old habits, May discovers that things are not always what they seem and that happiness has a price. But by the time she realises that her perceptions might be false, could she have missed her chance at a future she’d never imagined?

REVIEW

As much as I love Jane Austen’s novels, I tend to avoid the stream of sequels to them written by contemporary authors. Initially, I fall under their spell and read them, but more often than not they don’t really leave me feeling satisfied. Imagine my happiness now that I’ve finally read a Jane Austen sequel that was very satisfying and left me wanting to read more! Yes, I can happily say that Perception is a Jane Austen sequel I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Perception picks up several years after Pride and Prejudice. We follow the lives of Mary and Kitty Bennet, the only daughters still at home with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet now that Jane, Lizzy and Lydia are married. As with Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet bemoans the plight of still having two unmarried daughters and wonders what will become of them. Mary, who is a bookish introvert who has accepted that she is not as beautiful as her sisters and also hates the societal conventions that require women to be frivolous and vapid, seems to accepted her lot in life. She assumes she will be a spinster who must take care of her parents when her sister Kitty eventually marries. For her part, Kitty worries that she will never meet anyone she wants to marry. She also assumes that she will end up a spinster, still living in her childhood bedroom and caring for her ageing parents. But, of course, fate…and the arrival of a very eligible bachelor shakes things up for both Mary and Kitty.

Perception excels at returning the reader to Longbourn House of Pride and Prejudice and into Mary and Kitty’s lives. Fleming does a wonderful job of recreating slightly older and (not always) wiser Mary and Kitty and their every day worries and squabbles. I loved watching the evolution of two women as individuals and as sisters. I also felt that the potential suitors Fleming created for the sisters were perfect choices and the arcs of their relationships was enjoyable to read, especially as Fleming often took unpredictable turns in the course of the story.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I can highly recommend Terri Fleming’s Perception. I loved following this wonderfully written sequel to Pride and Prejudice, and I look forward to reading more novels by Fleming.

My rating? 5 stars

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 16.39.30

Book Blitz: Bound to Favor by Kiru Taye

BoundtoFavor_Cover600pw

❤🎉🎈😍 📚🔞✔💯❤

Title: Bound to Favor

Author: Kiru Taye

Series: Bound #4

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Africa

Tagline: He doesn’t want to get married again. She doesn’t do families. Can they fake perfect together?

BLURB

Kamali Danladi has sworn never to get married again. But his meddling mother is bent on hitching him to any eligible female that comes along to the next family gathering. There’s only one thing for it. Get fake-hitched to his executive assistant. If anyone is more averse to marriage than he is, it’s her. So they’ll be perfect together. Or at least, they’ll fake perfect together.

Ebun Forson doesn’t do families. She certainly doesn’t do festivities. So when she has to spend a week playing fiancée to her boss, how is she going to cope with the extensive Danladi kinsfolk without breaking out in hives? Her next shopping trip funded by the bonus he’s giving her should more than make up for the inconvenience.

However, she soon finds the real threat is to her heart. The dark and intense Kamali behaves as if he sees through to her soul, making her almost forget that this is all an act. In any case, someone with a past like hers doesn’t deserve a happy ever after, surely.

Bound to Favor is a story about learning to heal from emotional pain and finding love in the most unexpected places.

BoundtoFavor_Teaser1

BUY LINKS

EXCERPT

“Oh, don’t you dare patronise me. I am not your fiancée. I’m not polished or elegant enough to be considered your wife. According to your family the only reason you would consider me is if I were pregnant.”

He moved and sat at the edge of the bed. “Don’t mind my sisters. Their opinions don’t matter.”

“So if I discount your sisters, what about you?” She waved her hand in the air at him.

“What about me?” His eyes narrowed as his brows creased.

“I’ve worked with you for two years and you’ve never even noticed me, never paid me any attention other than for work. I’m here now because you need a fake fiancée. Your sisters think we’ve been having sex in the office. If only they knew you wouldn’t touch me with a barge pole.”

She suddenly had no wish to hide her emotions about him, as anger bolstered her resolve.

“You think I never noticed you all these years?” Kamali asked in a gravelly voice that carried a warning.

Ebun halted before she reached the door to the bathroom. Heart racing, she folded her arms around her midriff to hide their trembling and didn’t turn to face him.

“When you’re deep in concentration you bite your bottom lip until it turns pink,” he continued, his tone deeper than normal. “When you smile, a dimple appears on your left cheek … and when you’re excited, your brown eyes sparkle like gold dust.”

So enthralled by his words, she hadn’t heard his approaching footsteps until her back prickled with his body heat.

“Ebunoluwa, I notice you every goddamned day.”

His candour undid her, and smashed through defences she’d erected around her. All the while she’d thought he’d overlooked her, he’d been paying attention. Warmth seeped into her heart and tingled across her chest.

What could she say to him? ‘Thank you’ seemed inadequate and inappropriate.

In any case, it wasn’t gratitude making her pulse accelerate and her body tremble as she turned around.

Her heart slammed against her ribs when she met Kamali’s burning gaze.

The intensity of his stare pinned her to the spot and she couldn’t move.

“Granted, we’re here now because I need your help. But it doesn’t take away the fact that you are a beautiful woman. There’s no way anybody will not notice you. Trust me.”

Before she could assimilate his words, his lips descended on her. First it was a light brush against hers from one edge to the other. But in that heart-stopping moment, her lips parted as she wanted closer contact, the urge to taste him increasing by the second.

He didn’t disappoint her. His tongue delved into her mouth. Plundered and possessed her. She yielded and opened up. Welcomed the heat, and the intensity.

He unleashed repressed feelings, allowing passion to reign supreme.

Her fingers clutched his shirt, clinging on, needing his solidity to keep her standing when her knees threatened to give way.

He was her anchor keeping her grounded in a world where she was boneless and about to float away.

He broke the kiss and whispered against her lips, “Look at what you do to me.”

The deep timbre of his voice made her heart race as his fingers gripped the nape and tilted her head back.

“If you knew the thoughts in my head, the things I want to do to you, to your beautiful body,” he continued.

She breathed in short bursts, his words as electrifying as his touch. He thought she had a beautiful body?

There was no mistaking the lust in his dark gaze. But there was something else, enthralling and revealing, all at the same time.

“You want me?” She couldn’t hide the surprise in her voice. She’d just had the most exhilarating kiss of her life. Was there a chance for more?

“Yes. Don’t look so surprised. I’ve wanted you from the first day I met you. But I swore I wouldn’t touch you.” His thumb stroked the sensitive skin of her neck.

The weight on her chest fizzled away leaving her lightheaded as her pulse sped up and adrenaline rushed through her.

“I thought…” Her mouth had dried out. She licked her lip and swallowed. “I thought you didn’t want me. Couldn’t want me. Look at me, I’m not pretty.”

“Ebunoluwa,” his voice suddenly took on a stern, warning tone. “Don’t ever say that. You are beautiful.”

She shook her head. He had to say it to cheer her up.

How could he describe her as beautiful? His sisters were beautiful. The woman they’d called Laila was beautiful.

He gripped her hand and tugged it down. “Do you need proof of how beautiful you are, of how much I want you?”

She lowered her gaze to his groin before he placed her hand on the bulge tenting his trousers. He was hard and hot under the fabric.

“This is what you do to me every time I see you.”

“Really?” she asked in a breathless voice.

“Yes,” his voice sounded gruff as if he was fighting for control.

Desire burnt away the last of her inhibitions. Feeling emboldened, she stroked his turgid length through the linen.

His groan rumbled around them, his eyes gleaming. “If you keep doing that, I’m going to come. But I’d rather do it while buried inside you.”

BoundtoFavor_Teaser2

GIVEAWAY
Kiru is giving away $10/£10 Gift card or N3000 Okadabooks credit

 

Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a commission–at no additional cost to you–if you click on them and make a purchase. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 20.40.51

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Release Date: 9 May 2017

Synopsis

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story–their story–at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated–perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.

Review

Some books tell stories that are bound to make you a little (or, okay, extremely) emotional. And you have to simply accept that it will happen. You’ll re-read passages, feel completely immersed in the scenes and wonder if everyone else who’s read it experienced the same thing. For me, this was the case with Jill Santopolo’s The Light We Lost. I’d heard a lot about the book, I’d even 1-clicked it for my Kindle but never got around to reading it until last week.

Wow. I loved following Lucy and Gabe’s story. Theirs is not a conventional love story. There is no HEA. I’m putting it out there for you now. If that’s what you want, this is not the story for you, but it is a heart wrenching portrayal of love found, love lost and what happens in between as these two lovers find themselves separated by distance, by principles and sometimes by other people.

What I especially liked with The Light We Lost was how flawed both Lucy and Gabe are as characters. Yes, they are both selfish sometimes and they will do things that will often leave you wondering why you even empathise with them, but ultimately they stand by the choices they make and, for me as a reader, I could completely understand their reactions and decisions, even when I could not imagine myself doing the same.

I just read that The Light We Lost is in development to be a movie. It will be interesting to see who they cast to play Lucy and Gabe.

Anyway, I loved The Light We Lost. I will probably re-read it in a few weeks just because. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. But bear in mind that, even those this is a romance, it’s more in the lines of One Day or Me Before You. And if you’ve read either of those, you know exactly what I mean.

My rating?

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 16.39.30

Disclaimer: The links included in this review are affiliate links.

Review: Royal Heir by Ruth Cardello

Royal Heir (Westerly Billionaire, #3)Royal Heir by Ruth Cardello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love royal romances. Always have. When I had the opportunity to read and review Royal Heir by Ruth Cardello, I jumped at it.

What did I love? It’s a fast-paced story with just enough of the royal fairytale to keep me going until Harry and Megan tie the knot in a few weeks. The story of the American commoner (who just happens to be an heiress in her own right, even if she doesn’t have access to her fortune yet) and the arrogant prince with a heart of gold is charming and has enough sexy moments to keep you wanting to turn the pages. I enjoyed the build up of Rachelle and Prince Magnus’s love story and the subplot of Rachelle trying to reunite family ties with her brother. It worked well and made for good tension throughout the story.

What was missing for me? I didn’t feel like I could get a sense of place when it came to the settings. There weren’t enough details to give me the feel of London or, once they were in Vandorra, I couldn’t picture it since the descriptions didn’t evoke the look or feel of the place. It also felt like the pacing was off as we closed in on the story’s denouement. The suspense subplot came off as a bit rushed and tied up a little too quickly for me.

But, all in all, I thought Royal Heir was an enjoyable read. It’s romantic, exciting and has enough spice to keep the story from being too sweet. Rachelle and Magnus had good chemistry and their sexual tension was fun to follow. So if you want a little royal romance for a weekend read, add Royal Heir to your TBR list.

NOTE: I received an ARC from Net Galley, which I chose to read and review.
screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-07-29-41

View all my reviews

Cover Reveal: Rebel Heart by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

RebelHeart_TitleWe are thrilled to bring you the cover for REBEL HEART the second book in the Rush Series Duet by New York Times bestsellers Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland, releasing on May 22nd!

Model: Micah Truitt
Photographer: Leonardo Corredor
Cover designer: Sommer Stein, Perfect Pear Creative

Rush and Gia’s story continues in the gripping conclusion to Rebel Heir…

How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons:

Sleep with your boss. Check.

Blow all your money on a rental you can’t afford. Check.

How to walk away from a man you fall in love with at the end of a summer:

…I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Rebel Heir is the second book in the Rush Series Duet. Book One, Rebel Heir, is available for sale now.

REBEL HEART

Amazon ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | iBooks ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | B&N ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | Kobo ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | Google Play ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two)

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live!

How to kick off a great summer in the Hamptons:

Snag a gorgeous rental on the beach. Check.

Get a job at a trendy summer haunt. Check.

How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons:

Fall for the one guy with a dark leather jacket, scruff on his face, and intense eyes that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tony looking crowd. A guy you can’t have when you’ll be leaving at the end of the season.

Check. Check. Check.

I should add—especially when the guy is your sexy, tattooed God of a boss.

Especially when he not only owns your place of employment but inherited half of the town.

Especially when he’s mean to you.

Or so I thought.

Until one night when he demanded I get in his car so he could drive me home because he didn’t want me walking in the dark.

That was sort of how it all started with Rush.

And then little by little, some of the walls of this hardass man started to come down.

I never expected that the two of us, seemingly opposites from the outside, would grow so close.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the rebel heir, especially when he made it clear he didn’t want to cross the line with me.

As the temperature turned cooler, the nights became hotter. My summer became a lot more interesting—and complicated.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

Amazon| iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon Paperback

About the Authors

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over a million books sold, she is a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over fifteen novels, including RoomHate which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Other New York Times bestsellers include Stepbrother Dearest, Neighbor Dearest, Drunk Dial, Cocky Bastard, Stuck-Up Suit, Playboy Pilot and Mister Moneybags (the latter four co-written with Vi Keeland).

Connect with Penelope Ward

Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram

 

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

Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook |

Twitter | Instagram