New Release: Avoiding Matthew by Caroline Bell Foster

AVOIDING MATTHEW BY CAROLINE BELL FOSTER

A kiss. A promise. A mistake. 

Lacy Dawson would rather spend her days experimenting with brownie recipes and trying on wedding dresses, than go on yet another secret mission to save her country. She needed a way out and found it.

Deaf, Special Operative Matthew Edwards, stumbled across Lacy where she wasn’t supposed to be, while on an enforced vacation.

They’d never been able to stifle their sexual attraction and indulged every time their paths crossed. However, Matthew knew Lacy was working a dangerous mission outside of the bureau. But what? She was too soft and needed protecting from herself. 

Lacy’s secrets take her from America to Russia, to England, all the while with Matthew hot on her heels. 

How could she avoid Matthew? Did she want to?

AVAILABLE ON:

AMAZON

EXCERPT

Lacy pressed the gas and the car surged forward. A powerful engine under the guise of a rusty exterior. With one hand she managed to button up three buttons on her shirt, before seeing Matthew in the middle of the road, pointing a gun at her.

 No doubt it would be her gun, she thought, pursing her lips.

 Frowning deeply and knowing he would move, she kept going. Flooring the gas pedal.

 She did up another button.

 His hair was shorter than the last time she had seen him, she thought, noticing the burnished red being picked up by her headlights. She went full beam.

 He didn’t squint as she thought he would.

 She watched as he spread his legs wider, aiming the gun at her head and she narrowed her eyes driving faster. He would move. 

 Please move.

 Move!

 Move damn it!

 He didn’t.

 Lacy gasped, skidded out of control for a split second before pulling up the handbrake, gripping the steering wheel and spinning the car in the opposite direction.

 Matthew was lying motionless on his side in the middle of the road.

 “You idiot!” Lacy yelled frantically, coming to a stop and storming out of the car.

 Matthew had hit the hood hard, bumped up the windscreen to slide off the side. He’d frightened the life out of her. She watched as he lifted his head, shook it once then twice, before rolling over and hauling himself up.

 She catalogued his slow movements. He’d be sore in the morning, but otherwise, he was okay she thought charitably. Stupid man.

 “Matthew?!” Lacy yelled from a safe distance. If Matthew caught her now he would want answers. She wasn’t giving him, or anyone else answers, and that included their mutual employer.

 “You hit me!” Matthew charged.

 “You shouldn’t have been in the middle of the road!” Lacy shot back.

 “You’re fucking crazy,” he wiped his nose with his arm, “do you know that? You could have killed me!”

 “Running you over is not the way I plan to kill you.” She answered, noticing his small but gaining steps. She edged to the door.

 “Oh yeah,” he smirked, he couldn’t see much of her, what with the headlights trained his way, but he could see enough. She’d buttoned her shirt up wrong and hadn’t got to the top buttons yet. He could see the golden slope of her breasts. Breasts he had held in his hands not half an hour ago. “And how do you plan to kill me?” he asked conversationally.She didn’t answer but was looking down at her phone in her hand before throwing it into the car. 

 “I’ll tell you another time,” she advised on a laugh. “Duty calls.” She told him, getting into her small car.

 Matthew jogged towards her vehicle, but she was already driving off. Matthew watched her go with a smirk and the biggest hard-on he’d had in half an hour.

 When she was at a reasonable distance, she stopped.

 Matthew waited with his arms crossed over his chest.

 “Have a hot shower babe!” she yelled at him on a laugh, before driving off.

 Matthew laughed and laughed even harder as he picked her gun from the asphalt. She’d be back for it, he knew.

 Until next time sweetheart, he thought with a smirk.

CAROLINE BELL FOSTER IS GIVING AWAY A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

ABOUT CAROLINE BELL FOSTER

Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction. She is named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands and also listed in the Top 100 Most Influential Creatives.

Caroline spent her formative years in the Caribbean, where her thirst for exploring other cultures began. Ever the adventurer, she bought her first pair of high heels in Toronto and traded her pink sunglasses for a bus ride in the Rift Valley, Kenya at 18.

With themes of substance, Caroline’s latest novels’ defy convention and celebrate modern day Britain with several titles set primarily in the East Midlands, where she shares her love for the three main cities and the surrounding ‘shires’ with her readers. 

Caroline has come full circle and lives in Nottingham, England just twelve miles from where she was born. Married to her college sweetheart husband, David, they have two children and they are all ruled over by 17 year-old, rescue cat Naomi ‘Nay Nay Boo’.

CONNECT WITH CAROLINE BELL FOSTER

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Excerpt Reveal: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

HATE NOTES – EXCERPT REVEAL

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A standalone romance novel published by Montlake Romance

By: New York Times Bestselling Authors Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Release Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Add to Goodreads ➜ http://smarturl.it/xys920
Amazon ebook➜ https://amzn.to/2Q1U6xa
Amazon Print (Currently on sale!) ➜ http://smarturl.it/x5h99h
Amazon Audio ➜ https://amzn.to/2zR81AE
Amazon print UK (Currently on sale) ➜http://hyperurl.co/32k3q7 

Please Note: Because Hate Notes is published by Montlake Romance, a division of Amazon, the ebook and paperback will only be available on Amazon. If you are an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimted member, you should NOT pre-order the eBook. The Hate Notes ebook will be free for both Prime and KU members on release day!

Hate Notes coming November 6th

Grabbing my laptop, I searched my history and called up the last website I’d visited. Eastwood Properties is one of the largest independent brokerage firms in the world. We connect the most prestigious and exclusive properties with qualified buyers, assuring the utmost privacy for both parties. Whether you’re in the market for a luxury New York City penthouse with a view of the park, a waterfront Hampton estate, or an enchanting chateau escape in the mountains, or you’re ready for your own private island, Eastwood is where your dreams begin.

There was a link to search properties, so I typed in the name of the place the woman had mentioned in the voice mail: Millennium Tower. Sure enough, the penthouse popped up for sale. For only twelve million dollars, I could own an apartment on Columbus Avenue with sweeping views of Central Park. Let me write you a check.

After drooling through a video and two dozen photos, I clicked on the button to make an appointment to view the property. An application popped up, the top of which read: For the privacy and safety of our sellers, all prospective buyers are required to complete an application to view properties. Only buyers that meet our stringent prequalification criteria will be contacted.

I snorted. Great prequalification criteria you have there, Eastwood. I wasn’t sure I had enough money to take the train uptown to get to that swanky place, much less buy it. God knows what I’d written that had qualified me.

I closed the website and was just about to shut my laptop and go back to bed again when I decided to take one more peek at Mr. Romantic on Facebook.

God, he was gorgeous.

What if . . .

I shouldn’t.

No good ever came out of ideas formulated while drunk.

I couldn’t.

But . . .

That face . . .

And that note.

So romantic. So beautiful.

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

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Blog Tour: Hate Story by Nicole Williams

 

 

 

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Nina can’t let herself fall in love with the man she’s going to marry. Both of them have experienced the sting and sham of love and have no intentions of falling victim to it twice. Love is expensive—hate is free.

Three years. A million dollars. A solution to both of their problems. They planned it all, from the story of their first meeting to the date of their divorce. Nothing could go wrong.

But what they didn’t consider was chemistry, and Nina and Max have no shortage of it. After too many near-kisses, Nina convinces herself that hating Max is better than loving him, and the more she gets to know this soon-to-be-husband of hers, the more she discovers just how very much she truly, madly, and deeply . . . hates him.

This isn’t a love story. This is the other kind.

 

He hadn’t stopped smiling at me, and it wasn’t the friendly kind of smile. It was the kind that made it seem like he was in on some secret I wasn’t privy to. The kind of smile that made me feel like I was being trifled with and made the punch line of a hundred jokes I had yet to hear.
I wanted to wipe the cocky smile off his face, but that would have required touching him and even I wasn’t gutsy enough for that. A woman did not touch a guy like him unless she wanted him to be her undoing. Nope. You didn’t play with fire. You didn’t touch it. You didn’t even come close.
Fire. That was all I saw when I looked at him. I was playing with it by agreeing to this kind of arrangement with him.
Even the way he lounged in the chair was smug. Like it was his throne and he was just waiting for minions to come bow before him.
“You’re younger than I thought you’d be.” He broke the silence first.
Though it was faint, I could just make out an accent. It was European, but I couldn’t nail down the country. To look at the bastard, you’d think he was Scandinavian—blond hair, blue eyes, commanding frame—but his accent was too sharp to hail from the land of Vikings.
I was tempted to glare at the tipped smile aimed at me, but I didn’t want to lead him to the impression I cared. I gave him my version of the same smile, abandoning my “no expectations” policy for the prospect of pissing him off. “You’re older than I thought you’d be.”
His smile shifted into the realm of a smirk, like he knew I was lying. So yeah, maybe I was lying about thinking he was older, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of confirming his silent accusation. He was older than me, but not by much. He might have been closing in on thirty, but he wasn’t past it.
He leaned forward in the chair. When his gaze circled my face to my fiery red hair, his brow elevated. Yes, I am the stereotype. Be warned.
“Prettier too.”
I stiffened. He was fucking with me now. I’d already agreed to marry him. How much more did he think he could screw me over?
I gave him a cursory glance and kept the unaffected look on my face. “Uglier.”
He cocked a brow like he knew better. “And the personality of ten women rolled into one.”
“Intimidated?”
His head shook once. “Intrigued.”
“Irritated?”
His eyes investigated me again. It felt intrusive, definitely not cursory. “Impressed.”
“As impressed by me as the woman in heat who was just mauling you over by the bar?”
“You mean the woman who gave me this?” He pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and set it on the small table between us.
It was a hotel card key. With a lipstick kiss pressed into it.
“Classy place, this five-star hotel.” I glanced back at the woman at the bar. She was still there, watching him as though he was the height of the male species. “Did you tell her the reason you were here?”
His attention stayed on me. “Yes, I told her I was here to meet the woman I was going to marry.”
My stomach wrung. This was the man I was going to marry.
Holy shit.
“And she didn’t ask for her room key back?” I asked.
“She didn’t give it to me until right after I mentioned that.” His stare was intense. Too intense. I felt like every secret—every piece of who I was—was strewn out on that table for him to see. “Women love a man who isn’t afraid of commitment. It’s like an aphrodisiac.”
“You know what else women like?” I didn’t pause for an answer because I guessed he didn’t have a clue. “A man who’s humble.”
He fought a smile and leaned back in his chair when a server approached with a couple of drinks on a tray. “No, they like to think they do, but they don’t.” His head shook authoritatively. “They like the cocky bastard who goes after what he wants and doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Because the server was shielding some of me from his view, I allowed myself to shift. I was getting fired up, and if he kept saying the same kinds of things with the same kinds of looks on his face, that drink was going to wind up in his face.
That was when I noticed what the server had set in front of me. A tumbler with something amber in color. The same thing she was setting in front of him. Although from the curve of her smile, she was offering to give him a blow job on the side, compliments of the house.
“What is this?” I asked. Him. Her. Whoever wanted to answer.
“Scotch,” he answered, ignoring the server lingering between us.
My nose curled at the drink.
“Expensive scotch.”
“I don’t care if it came from the fountain of youth. I won’t drink it.”
His forehead creased with what appeared to be irritation, but I couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was confusion, like he couldn’t decide what to make of me. “You would have me believe you wouldn’t take a sip of that if you knew it would give you eternal life?” When I shook my head, his head tipped. “Why?”
“Because I value my free will far more than long life.” I pushed the drink away until it clinked against his. “I’d rather live one day free than an eternity in a cage.”
He was quiet for a moment. The server stayed between us, staring at him, waiting.
“Then why are you here?” he asked me finally.
I leaned forward and hoped my stare was as powerful as his. “Because free will is expensive.”
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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

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Book Blast: Maybe by Joy Avery

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce Maybe, Book Blast Tour with Joy Avery. August 3, 2017. @wnlbooktours @authorjoyavery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ASIN: B072VJ9P6K

About The Book

Sometimes, all it takes is the right motivation…

Artist Rana Lassiter has sworn off men. After being hurt, she prefers painting passionate scenes of love on her canvas instead of the real thing. But when she meets Mount Pleasance’s newest arrival, sexy and suave fireman Dallas Fontaine, she envisions a different kind of stroke than the ones she performs with her brush. To say she’s attracted to the debonair man is an understatement, but she refuses to fall victim to his good looks, charm or persistence.
Dallas has never had a problem getting any woman he wants. And he wants Rana. In a way he’s never wanted any woman before. There’s just one problem…she doesn’t want him. But she will. By the time he’s done, she won’t be able to resist his blazing kisses.
But nothing is easy, especially love. When a life-altering event occurs, it will test them both. Are they strong enough to forge through the catastrophic storm, or will they allow it to destroy their chance at happily-ever-after?

Rana eyed him curiously. “I like you?”
“I know.”
She barked a laugh. “I wasn’t confessing. I was asking—”
“If I wanted to kiss you? Why, yes, I do.”
When he tilted his head forward, Rana reeled back. “What do you think you’re doing?”
He would have actually been convinced she was insulted, had her eyes not been fixed on his mouth. “Giving you what you want.”

About The Author

By day, Joy Avery works as a customer service assistant. By night, the North Carolina native travels to imaginary worlds–creating characters whose romantic journeys invariably end happily ever after.
Since she was a young girl growing up in Garner, Joy knew she wanted to write. Stumbling onto romance novels, she discovered her passion for love stories; instantly, she knew these were the type stories she wanted to pen. Real characters. Real journeys. Real good love is what you’ll find in a Joy Avery romance.

Joy is married with one child. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cake decorating, pretending to expertly play the piano, driving her husband insane, and playing with her two dogs. Joy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.

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Tour hosted by Write Now Literary 


Click here to follow the tour

Excerpt Reveal: A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole

 
To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.
Caresa

I closed my eyes as the music pounded through my body. The air was sticky from the mass of bodies on the dance floor. My body swayed to the beat, my feet ached from the five-inch Louboutin heels I was wearing, and my skin was flushed from the copious amounts of 1990 Dom Pérignon I had consumed.
“Caresa!” My name split through the harsh sound of drums and synthesized piano notes. I rolled my eyes open and looked across our cornered-off section of the club at my best friend.
Marietta was sitting on an oversized plush couch, waving a new bottle of champagne in my direction. Laughing, I followed my throbbing feet to where she sat and slumped down beside her. In seconds, a champagne flute was in my hand and the bubbly was flowing once more.
Marietta sat forward, swishing her long blond hair over her shoulder. She raised her glass as though she was going to make a toast. But instead, her bottom lip jutted out into a pathetic pout.
I tipped my head to one side, silently asking her what was wrong.
“I was going to make a toast to the Duchessa di Parma, my very best friend,” she shouted over a new but similar-to-the-last song. “To my best friend leaving me here in dull old New York to go marry a real-life godforsaken prince in Italy.” Marietta sighed and her shoulders slumped. “But I don’t want to. Because that would mean this night is almost over, and tomorrow I lose my partner-in-crime.” A sudden sadness bloomed in my chest at her words. Then, when her eyes filled with tears, those words became a punch in the gut.
Placing my glass on the table before us, I moved forward and put my hand on her arm. “Marietta, don’t get upset.”
She put down her own drink and grabbed my hand. “I just don’t want to lose you.”
My stomach rolled. “I know,” I said. Then I didn’t say anything else, but I could see Marietta register my unspoken words. I don’t want to go either.
Keeping my hand in hers, I slumped back against the couch and let my eyes drift over the busy dance floor below. I watched the throng of Upper East Siders losing themselves in the music. A pang of fear swept through me.
This really would be my last night in New York. In the morning, I would fly to Italy, where I would live from that day on.
Marietta shuffled closer to me and cast me a watery smile. “How are you doing?” she asked as she squeezed my hand.
“I’m okay. Just nervous, I guess.”
Marietta nodded her head. “And your papa?”
I sighed. “Ecstatic. Overjoyed that his precious daughter will be marrying the prince he chose for me as a child.” I felt a pang of guilt for speaking about him so negatively. “That was uncalled for,” I said. “You know as well as I do, Baroness von Todesco” —Marietta scowled playfully at my use of her title— “that we don’t really get a choice in whom we marry.” I leaned forward and picked up my champagne. I took a long swig, enjoying the feel of the bubbles traveling down my throat. I handed Marietta her glass and raised mine in the air. “To arranged marriages and duty over love!”
Marietta laughed and clinked her glass with mine. “But seriously,” Marietta said, “are you okay? Truly okay?”
I shrugged. “I honestly don’t know how to answer that, Etta. Am I okay with the arranged marriage? I suppose so. Am I okay with moving to Italy permanently? Not really. I love Italy—it’s my home, I was born there—but it’s not New York. Everyone I know is here in America.”
Marietta’s eyes softened with sympathy. “And am I okay with marrying Zeno Savona? The infamous Playboy Prince of Toscana?” I took a deep breath. “I have no idea. I guess that will become apparent in the next three months.”
“In your ‘courting period,’” Marietta said using air quotes, and snorted with laughter. “What a joke. What twenty-three-year-old woman and twenty-six-year-old man need a courting period?”
I laughed at her sassy tone, but then soberly replied, “Ones who don’t know each other at all? Ones who have to see if they can stand each other’s company before sealing their marital fates forever?”
Marietta shuffled closer. “You know as well as I do that you could hate this so-called prince, detest everything he is—and he you—and I’d still be your maid of honor at your wedding on New Year’s Eve.” She sputtered a laugh. “The very fact that the date has been set says it all. This marriage is happening.” Marietta held up her glass, got to her feet and, with arms spread wide, shouted, “Welcome to the life of the European blue bloods of the Upper East Side! Drowning in Prada and Gucci, dripping in diamonds, but having no free will to call our own!”
I laughed, pulling her back down. She broke into hysterics as her ass hit the couch, spilling champagne all over the expensive upholstery. But our laughter waned as the house lights came on one by one. The last of the dance music drifted into silence, and the rich patrons of Manhattan’s most exclusive nightclub began making their way to their limos and town cars. It was three o’clock in the morning, and I had six hours left in the city I loved beyond measure.
Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

 

Preorder Blitz: In the Best Interest of the Child by Felicia Denise

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Preorder Blitz

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Book Title: In the Best Interest of the Child
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Psychological
Release Date: September 17, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads Button with Shadow

book blurb

Ten-year-old Olivia Chandler has a school she loves, good friends, a nice home, a talented mom, and a successful father she adores. Tragedy rips all of this away from her, and plunges Olivia into the foster care system, where for eight years she is neglected, humiliated, abused, and nearly raped.

Fate smiles on Olivia shortly before she ages out of the system, allowing her the means to attend college and law school.

Years later, Olivia is a successful child advocate attorney, giving a voice to children who are so easily ignored by those claiming to act in their best interest. She has little time for personal relationships, and her lifelong fear of abandonment reminds her never to get too close to anyone.

The successful attorney stumbles though when she’s assigned a case by the court that too closely mirrors her own haunted childhood. Olivia never gives her minor clients less than her all, and the only way she can help her eleven year old client is to face down and acknowledge her demons. This same case also brings a man into her life who sees her for who she truly is, and will not allow Olivia to push him away.

excerpt

Making sure Rena was still sleeping, Olivia exited her vehicle, following the sidewalk to the driveway where a flatbed tow truck came fully into view. A large, burly, dark haired man was winching a late model Mercedes up onto the flatbed. Nearby, a far shorter man stood with his arms folded across his chest obviously not happy. As she got closer, Olivia believed the shorter man to be near her age, even though a head full of curly black hair gave him a more youthful appearance. Olivia smiled as she passed the tow truck driver, noticing how his eyes lingered on her hips. The shorter man didn’t seem to notice her until she was right in front of him, and he started as though coming out of a trance.

“Hello. Can I help you?” Olivia widened her smile.

“Hello. I’m looking for the Bellamy residence.” He regarded her warily.

“I’m Courtney Bellamy. What can I do for you?” She stuck out her right hand.

“Mr. Bellamy, I’m Olivia Chandler, Rena’s court-appointed attorney. It’s nice to meet you.” Courtney Bellamy visibly relaxed.

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Chandler. My wife, Marissa, mentioned you were meeting with Rena today. We can go inside and chat shortly, I just have to see when this guy will have my car up and running.” He spoke the last part of the sentence in a raised voice, making sure the tow truck driver heard him. The driver pulled a face in his direction.

“C’mon, Court! I don’t even know what’s wrong with it. How can I tell you when it will be fixed?”

“There is way too much going on in this family for us to depend on one car, Bruce. There will be whining, tears and harsh words…and my wife will be upset too!” Olivia and Bruce both laughed out loud at Courtney’s snarky comment.

“Let me get it back to the shop and find the problem. If it’s not a quick fix, I have a loaner vehicle you can use until yours is ready. Deal?” Courtney pumped his fist in the air.

“This is why you’re my favorite mechanic! I love you, man!” Bruce guffawed.

“No. I’m your favorite mechanic because I’m your cousin and give you family discounts!”

“Well, there’s that too,” Courtney quipped. Reaching for the side door entrance, Courtney Bellamy addressed Olivia.

“Forgive me, Ms. Chandler. Would you like to have a seat inside while I wrap this up?”

“Please, it’s Olivia. And actually, I have a sleeping Rena in my car out front.”

“Oh! I thought the medical shuttle was bringing her home. And call me Courtney.”

“That was the initial plan, but she was getting tired, and I didn’t want her to have to sit and wait not knowing how long the shuttle would take to get to her. Bringing her myself was easier.”

“How kind of you. Let me grab her chair, and I’ll meet you out front.”

“Sounds good.” Olivia turned and started back down the driveway.” Courtney threw one last taunt at his cousin.

“Bruce, if you put one scratch on my baby, I’m calling your mother!”

“And if you call my mother, I will call YOUR mother and tell her who really broke the garage window when we were kids.” Courtney gasped.

“You wouldn’t dare!” he countered.

“Stay away from my mother, and I’ll stay away from yours.” He caught Olivia’s eye as she passed and winked. She laughed at the easy banter of the cousins, and just for a second wondered what it was like to have someone in your life who had known you all of your life. She heard her name being called just as she reached the sidewalk. Olivia turned to see Bruce jogging towards her. He stopped only after he had more than invaded her personal space. He was taller than she first thought. Her three inch heels put her at an even five foot, ten inches, and she still had to take a step back and raise her head to fully see his face. His light brown eyes had an amused glint to match the devilish smirk on his clean shaven face. His collar length dark brown hair was curly, though not as much as Courtney’s, and had the beginnings of grey at the temples much like her own.

“Forgive me if I’m being forward, Ms. Chandler, but I wanted to give you my business card. I own Bellamy’s over on Mason. If you ever need anything…um, for your car…give me a call. She reached for the card. “Anything…at all.” The man was positively shameless. Olivia couldn’t help but grin.

“Call me Olivia, and thank you. That’s nice of you.” Glancing at the card in her hand, a realization suddenly dawned on her. “Wait. You’re that Bellamy? Bellamy Motorsports of “We have twelve locations to serve you in Hennepin and Olmstead counties?” His face took on the brightest shade of red as he blushed like a teenager.

“Guess you’ve seen our commercials, huh?” She laughed as she backed towards her car.

“Yes. A time or two…or twelve. The commercials never mentioned you were so…hands on.” His eyes widened, but she pointed at the tow truck and continued before he could respond. “The boss answering service calls?” He slid his hands into his back pockets and cocked his head to the side.

“Okay, you got me. But Court won’t let anyone else touch his Precious. I was with him the day he bought her, but I’m not sure who owns whom. Marissa always teases him by telling him she leaving and he can have the house, but she’s taking the kid and the car. He nearly has a heart attack.”

Olivia reached her car and noticed Rena was still sleeping. There was no sign of Courtney at the front door yet. She heard movement behind her and noticed Bruce had taken a couple of steps in her direction.

“I didn’t see a ring. Are you married?”

“No.”

“Involved?”

“No.”

“Do you wanna be?” Olivia laughed in spite of herself.

“You’re definitely not the shy type, are you Bruce?”

“Nope. But I’m usually not this forward either.” Suddenly serious, he continued. “It’s just not everyday I meet a woman I’m so drawn to.” The sincerity in his voice caused her pulse to race.

“I’m flattered, Bruce.” He started to say something else, but both their attention was drawn to the front door as Courtney backed the wheelchair down the one step entrance, then turned and headed towards Olivia’s car.

“Olivia?” She glanced in Bruce’s direction, but looked away quickly, unable to hold his intense gaze. “Olivia?” Taking a deep breath, she met his gaze. “Call me.” She smiled and gave him a single nod. His attention made her feel light-headed, but she knew she’d never call him. She couldn’t. He definitely seemed like the type of man who wanted all or nothing…and nothing was all she had.

Courtney brought the wheelchair to a stop in front of her. “Cinderella’s carriage has arrived. Shall we wake her?” Olivia moved to the car door as she unlocked it with the remote. She reached in to unfasten Rena’s seatbelt, but caught the banter between the cousins.

“Bruce, go fix my car.”

“Shut it, Court!”

“I’m nominating your house for Thanksgiving dinner this year!”

“And I’ll nominate yours for Christmas dinner! And I’ll insist great-aunt Mae bring her dogs…all four of them!”

“You’re an evil man, Bellamy.”

“We share DNA, Bellamy.”

If Olivia didn’t know they were grown men, she would have sworn they were seventh graders. Rena began to stir, and looked around, confused.

“Hey angel. You’re home.” Still disoriented, Rena tried to sit upright. She cried in obvious pain and gripped Olivia’s arm. “It’s okay, angel! It’s okay, I got you. Just breathe through it. C’mon, now. Breathe.” Olivia took her own advice and took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself. She couldn’t comfort the child if she needed comfort herself.

“Olivia?” She looked back at Courtney. “She’s as light as a feather, but that cast adds weight. Step back and I’ll transfer her to the chair.” Rena still held Olivia’s arm, but her grip was loosening.

“You okay, angel? Mr. Bellamy wants to transfer you to the chair. You’ll probably feel better once you can stretch out in your bed, okay?” Rena nodded, and Olivia stepped back out of the way to give Courtney room to transfer her to the chair. She could feel Bruce’s eyes on her but refused to look at him. Her face grew hot and she felt awkward and out of place. Her resolve was weakening and she was about to look in his direction, when a green minivan pulled up behind her car. Bruce clapped his hands together excitedly.

“Oh yeah! The fun is really about to start.” Olivia could tell he was enjoying the moment and glanced back to the minivan not knowing what to expect. A plump woman hurriedly exited the van and rushed towards them. She was short – maybe an even five feet in height – and African American with a mass of hair worn in a long, natural, wavy style. Though plump, her hourglass shape was more than obvious. She wore very little makeup, and she didn’t need too. Her full lips and smooth brown skin were enhanced by large expressive eyes that right now were filled with worry.

“What happened? Is everything alright?” Just as she reached Olivia’s car, Courtney raised Rena into his arms, pivoted, and placed her into the wheelchair. The woman glanced from face to face waiting for an answer. She threw a quick wave in Bruce’s direction, and he returned it. Olivia smiled at her while Courtney leaned over Rena’s chair and kissed the woman on the cheek.

“Hi, Honey. This is Rena’s attorney, Olivia Chandler, and she just brought the munchkin home. Olivia, this is my wife, Marissa.” She took Olivia’s outstretched hand in both of hers and squeezed.

“Oh yes. We spoke on the phone. So nice to meet you. And thank you for seeing her home.” She lightly patted Rena’s shoulder and kissed the top of her head. “Hey Munchkin. Did you hit all your markers in therapy today?” Rena nodded slightly.

“All except the steps. I could only do two.” Marissa stepped behind her chair and started towards the front door.

“That’s still good. Remember last week you could only do one? Progress, munchkin, progress.” She stopped suddenly and turned around. “Courtney, what are you doing here?”

He folded his arms across his chest defiantly.

“I live here.”

Bruce, Rena and Olivia all snickered. Marissa pursed her lips.

“It’s the middle of the day, Courtney.” He started.

“Oh! Geeze, yes. So much happening at once. The school called me. Brian has a low grade fever and an upset stomach. He’s up in his room. The school nurse said she called you first, but didn’t get an answer. I figured you were still with your mom at the dialysis center.”

“They were short staffed today for some reason, so Mom got a late start on her treatment.” She glanced up at the house. I told that boy to go easy on the chili con carne last night. He never listens and this always happens.” She nodded her head in Bruce’s direction. “And why is Bigfoot here?” The laugh escaped Olivia’s mouth before she could suppress it. These people were nuts…and she loved it. Bruce shot a glance at her and mouthed the word “traitor.”

“After I got Bri settled inside, I was going to return to the office, and my car wouldn’t start. I called Bruce to come over and diagnose the problem, but…she’s really sick. He has to take her in.” Courtney Bellamy looked as though tears might be a real possibility.

Marissa turned her head and covered her mouth to hide the grin. She looked back and addressed Olivia.

“Please excuse our family. We’re not usually this scatterbrained and dysfunctional. And we usually care more about our sick children than our sick cars.” Before Olivia could tell her they were all just fine, Bruce chimed in.

“Look up ‘dysfunctional’ in Webster’s and you’ll find our family portrait.” Marissa popped a clenched fist on one hip and shot back.

“Don’t you have little children to scare or people to annoy?”

“Yes, and here I am!”

“Problem child!”

“Diva!”

“Yeti!”

“Smurfette!”

Olivia heard someone join her in the laughter, but when she glanced at Courtney, his eyes were full of love and fixed on his wife. Olivia stepped around Marissa and looked down at Rena, who had dissolved into a fit of laughter. She clutched her bag of snacks with one hand and her stomach with the other. Olivia’s heart melted at the sight. She then noticed Courtney had stepped behind his wife, sliding his hand around her waist. Rena was still laughing when he softly said, “Once they get started, they won’t stop until Rena laughs.” He kissed his wife behind the ear while giving the thumbs up to his cousin.

Olivia was taken aback. Most of what she’d just witnessed was a performance purely for Rena’s benefit. She was so glad she had not prejudged these people and admonished herself for any negative thoughts she may have had about them. These were good, loving people who were just living life. Parents and kids get sick and cars break down, but it didn’t distract them enough that they didn’t have time for a little girl who was…at least temporarily…an orphan. Although Olivia was sure the Bellamys and Averests must have had a pretty strong friendship for Courtney and Marissa to take Rena in, she felt this family would probably help any child in need. Olivia followed as Marissa pushed Rena into the house, but something made her stop and look over in Bruce’s direction. He was still standing there, hands in pockets, focused on her. Shaking her head, she smiled at him, which caused him to throw a big toothy grin back at her.

Marissa had cleared the doorway and Courtney held the door for Olivia. When she walked past him, he touched her arm lightly and quietly said, “He’s a good guy.” Her face heated up again, but she was rescued when she heard Marissa call out to her to follow her voice to get to Rena’s room.

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meet the author

An avid reader from a very early age, Felicia would re-write the stories she read, making the women a little bit tougher. Not to outdo the men, but raised by parents who taught their six daughters to always stand up for themselves, and to always “be a lady”, Felicia has very little patience with ‘crybabies’ – female or male. Introduced to creative writing in grade school, Felicia amused herself by creating stories, poems, and song lyrics…that she never showed to anyone.

Now embracing the concept of sharing, Felicia’s first published novel, In The Best Interest of the Child” debuts in September 2016.

Felicia left the harsh winters of Michigan and now resides in Arizona with her husband of more than thirty years, who’s always trying to read over her shoulder. Their three adult children are scattered around Arizona. She is looking forward to having grandchildren, but feels she may win the lottery first…or get struck by lightning. Though she enjoys a good rain storm, Felicia no longer goes outside when it rains. She’s not taking any chances.

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Release Blitz: Falling by Allyn Lesley

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Book Title: Falling
Author: allyn lesley
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Release Date: September 27,, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

A good man falls seven times,
But I’m far from a good man.

I’ve got my own set of rules,
And I never stray from them.
I live by a simple set of guidelines and they’re easy to follow.

But when Chelsea Robinson walked into my garage,
The rules went out the door.
Suddenly, I was falling.
No, that’s not right.
It was more like a crash-landing,
Because I sure as hell couldn’t stop myself.
And now, I’m still falling,
Uncontrollably.
For a woman I shouldn’t even want.
But when love steps in, you have no option but to break your own rules.

excerpt

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Anita,” Chelsea says, looking like the Cheshire Cat.

Her low, satin-like voice is doing all kinds of things to my cock. I barely respond with, “Anita who?”Maybe I can cool down with a sip of water. My hand finds one of the bottled waters I’d pulled out from the refrigerator earlier.

“Anita dick inside me!” she says, cracking up.

Water comes flying from between my lips. Chelsea is beside me, cackling, and I’m choking. Did she just say she needs a dick inside her? I can’t catch my breath. I think about my next move. How much can I say?Fuck it. Might as well be upfront. Once I collect myself and put the bottle down, I catch and hold Chelsea’s gaze. “How about mine?”

“What?” she whispers, leaning away from me in a hurry.

I move closer to her as I’ve longed to do since we sat down. I have to touch her, and I settle on fingering a few of her long curls, twirling them around. I’m trying to collect myself and not come off as a desperate fool. I take in a few deep breaths to help me regain some of my composure. “I know where I’d like this to end, Chelsea.”

Her tongue slips through her lips and moistens them. I move closer to her, breathing her in, and I do believe I could actually come right now. Mutual desire saturates the air as our eyes connect and our bodies lean in at the same time. Unable to decide where to touch again, my hands drop to her thighs, where her skirt is hiked up.

Counting helps to calm me down. “I’ve been dying to see what’s under this thing since I saw you at the garage.” My hand slides up from her bare flesh to the edge of her skirt.

She hesitates, even though her mouth opens.

“Come on; you can tell me,” I prompt.

“I’ve wanted to see more of this for the last two weeks.” Her hand travels up my arm then grips it.

That’s all I needed to hear. I drag her over my lap so she’s straddling me. Her skirt rides up even more. All of her is exposed: gorgeous thighs and her more-than-handfuls ass cheeks. My hands get greedy, palming the body part—one of many—that has driven me wild since seeing her in those denim cut-offs. My finger trails down the thin strip of material that’s between her ass.

“Mmm,” she hums.

“Chels, you have to tell me to stop.” I give her an out, just in case she needs one. But she rubs her barely-covered pussy on me, and I take that as her answer.

“I don’t want you to stop.”

teasers

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meet the author

allyn lesley writes real stories about real people.

As a teen, allyn lost herself in the pages of some of Romance’s heavyweights, trusting that a happy ever after was just around the corner. In allyn’s own writing journey, as in life, she’s learned that people don’t always experience recovery and restoration after a fall. Her stories speak to the gritty side of life where the right choice isn’t always easily identified and happiness not quickly gained.

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Review

I’m not usually a fan of alpha male love interests. Usually I find that I don’t feel I know enough about the character to understand *why* he is the way that he is, which is annoying.

Happily that is NOT the case with Allyn Lesley’s Falling. We get enough of Dylan’s background to discern what makes him–initially–such a jerk. And then as we read, we learn he isn’t really the jerk we thought he was. As we peel away the layers, he begins to change, grow and mature as a man and it’s all because of love. Because of their age difference (Dylan is twenty-four, Chelsea is just turning eighteen) they want different things. They keep being thrown together because of their families and various circumstances, which Dylan initially hates. But it soon becomes obvious that Chelsea is the girl who chips away at the wall Dylan has built around himself (yes, that Alpha Male Wall). 🙂

One of the things I enjoyed about this story was that I found the characters to be very believable. They make mistakes, they screw up, they grow. This made me feel, as a reader, like I was always in their corner because I could empathise with them. And that is something I always appreciate.
Both characters have an interesting arc and the supporting characters (all the family members and mutual friends) add another rich layer to this story. I have the feeling there will be more to Dylan and Chelsea’s story.

A solid love story! My rating? 4 stars! A Recommended Read.

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Excerpt Reveal: Watching the Sky by J.B. Hartnett

 

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Excerpt

I never really appreciated the businesses open 24/7 until I stopped going out when the sun was up. But I’d come to find this necessity such a relief, I was close to sending the good people at Thrifty Corporate offices a thank you note. I could leave my house at midnight and buy a big-ass bottle of quality gin, a pint of the best mint chocolate chip ice cream in the world, and a jumbo-sized bottle of weed killer.

The guy at the cash register made a point of eyeing my products. So much so, for a split second, I wondered if I’d forgotten to wear pants. He had an obnoxious, patronizing smirk plastered to his face when he asked, “Big night planned?”

His customer service skills left a lot to be desired, and I was in no mood to take shit from anyone. So, I gave it to him honestly.

“Oh yeah,” I enthused, trying to remember if I’d brushed my teeth that day. “First,” I said holding up a single finger, “I’m gonna get drunk. Second,” I continued with two fingers and noticed he was staring at my chest, “I’m gonna murder the plant my husband gave to me.” That’s about the time his eyes met mine again. “And for my big finale,” I patted the tub of ice-cream lovingly, “I’m gonna eat my feelings.”

He had no response, whatsoever, to my smartass comments or manner, so I took my items, leaned in on my elbows, and gave him some solid, retail advice. “You know, it’s just a normal Saturday night for any single girl. Put these three items on a primary end-cap and sales will soar.”

Again, he didn’t find me funny.

I thought I was fucking hilarious.

A few hours later, I was on my fourth homemade Grey Goose cocktail. This consisted of gin and Diet Coke, because these were the things I had in the house. Not to mention the jar of maraschino cherries, which made for a lovely garnish.

Sometime after my third drink, I’d gotten into Nick’s CDs. With cocktail number four in hand, I stood in my front yard, Don’t Stop Believing blaring through the open windows—on repeat—and looked at the mess I’d made. My previous plan for the night was to simply shut my broken heart up by drowning it in liquor, then drowning that plant with poison. I thought…if I killed the plant, I could somehow move on from the pain. But the closer I got to home, my plan morphed into something a little more…sinister. The gin helped, of course, but I had two years of livid, confused emotions I’d denied for far too long, chomping at the bit for release.

I walked into the shed and saw the area dedicated to the care of that plumeria. I filled the wheelbarrow with big sheers and a shovel. My intention to release the plant from the earth was foiled by rock-hard soil which required me to soften it up with a little water. While a shallow pond formed around my flip-flop clad feet, I gave the offensive blooms their last trim and final rites.

“Forever’s a long time, isn’t it, little flowers? I bet you thought that nice man would take care of you until the end of time?” Then I opened the bottle of weed killer and poured it on top of the neat pile of blooms. “Wrong, wrong, wrong!” I said, shaking my head as I bathed them in poison.

I don’t know which one of my concerned neighbors called the cops. But if it had been me, and I knew what happened to that poor woman in the blue house, even if it had been two whole years, I would have minded my own fucking business and hoped she only had one night of power ballads in her

But sadly, no such luck. The flash of blue and red lights in my periphery reminded me what I hated about my neighborhood: around here, no one wanted to get involved in anyone else’s business. No one warned you to move your car before you got that ticket on street sweeping day. Everyone seemed to be suspicious of everyone else. When I was growing up, my brother and I spent summers and some holidays at our aunt and uncle’s place outside of Guerneville. Even now, with Johnny-Law approaching, I recalled how my uncle left in the middle of dinner one night because the neighbor’s truck needed to be pulled from a ditch. He didn’t ask the guy if he’d called Triple A. He said, “Be right there, buddy.” That’s the kind of place I wanted to live. Somewhere with kind, considerate neighbors.

I wouldn’t even think of asking my neighbors for a cup of sugar. Not that they’d answer the door. But this was all good, because these seemingly-small things were the catalyst to change. It was that very moment when I realized I needed to move. Not just from the house, but from Southern California. As soon as the thought drifted into my head, I realized how relieved it would make my parents. They’d watched me go through the motions, but I couldn’t move on if I stayed here. Everywhere I went, everything I did, had some kind of connection to Nick and my life with him.

Finally, I was met with the phrase, “Ma’am, we’ve had some calls from your neighbors…”

After that, I tuned out and answered “yes” or “no” to their questions when it was warranted. As intoxicated as I was, I managed to rein in my gin-surliness in order to avoid incarceration. But there was a small crowd gathered on my sidewalk. These same people had likely watched from afar while my life fell apart and did not one thing to offer help.
When I looked at the older couple that lived next door, I moved closer, close enough they’d be able to hear me and anyone else nearby. I used to drop a plate of cookies on their doorstep every Christmas, but not once had they thanked me.

“You’ve seen the entire show, haven’t you?” I asked quietly, not wanting the officer to hear. But the old man just kept hold of his wife and stared beyond me. But I knew he was the “man,” the “husband,” the half-of-a-whole I’d never have again. “You watched from your porch while a black limousine parked in front of my house. You would’ve seen me collapse, wracked with so much pain, my dad and brother had to carry me to the car. I came home to an empty house, stopped answering the door, and never, not once, did you come to offer a kind word. You saw us together,” I whispered. “We should’ve been you…and lucky, you’ve had a lifetime together. Think about that the next time you rob a woman of her grief.”

“Ma’am,” the officer started behind me.

“Shame on you,” I said and walked away.

I went back to my house, ignoring the officer who followed, and walked inside. I turned off the stereo and closed the windows. Then I returned to the officer waiting on my front porch. “I just need to shut the water off, and I’m all done for the night.”

He didn’t seem at all satisfied with my cooperation. “Is there someone we can call for you?” He made a point of looking at my hand. “Your husband?”

Two years… two, and I still hadn’t taken off my wedding rings.

“I’ve gone back to my maiden name, Officer.” I hoped that would be explanation enough.

He looked to his partner and nodded. Whatever that was meant to convey, I had no idea.

But he handed me a business card. “If you need me, Miz…”

“Truscott. Rylie, Truscott.”

He closed the distance between us and warily glanced behind him. “If you need me,” he said quietly, “you give me a call. I’m only a few blocks away.”

“I assure you, I won’t have any reason to call.”

Then he stepped a little closer. “Please don’t do anything stupid.”

His words weren’t meant to insult me, in fact, they communicated genuine concern he seemed to feel for a fellow human, and for that, gratitude welled up in me and formed in my eyes.

“I won’t do anything stupid. I promise,” I said and looked at the house, “I’m done here.”
And I meant every word.

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New from J.B. Hartnett!

Watching the Sky Cry is an beautifully written,
emotional story releasing September 24th!

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/2bCJnat

 

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Blurb

Ten years is a long time when you’re thirty-two. We’d seen our share of ups and downs, but I could honestly say, they were mostly up. That’s the thing about happiness though. It lulls you into a false sense of security.

Neither one of us ever thought we’d ever be touched by crippling loss or immeasurable grief. But not all stories have a happy ending, and I knew, better than anyone, that sometimes, one of you won’t make it till the end. One of you has to go first. And one of you will be left behind to pick up the pieces.

That one is me.

But starting over isn’t what I thought it would be. I need escape from the memories that plague me, remind me. So I went back to where it all began. To the town where I was born. To the place whose beauty could pierce my pain. Where I experienced my first kiss, where I fell in love, where a man was my earth. And I…

I was his sky.

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About the Author

hartnett

Julie is a southern California native, a fan of a really good story (preferably a romance with a happily ever after), really good pie (preferably pumpkin)and copious amounts of coffee (preferably Folgers).

She has always enjoyed writing and at one time thought she might be a singer/songwriter. The ‘writer’ part is that one that stuck.

Julie is obsessed with Pi…the equation and the food. She’s allergic to cats, cantaloupe and hates mushrooms. So if you ever want to give her a gift, those are out for sure.

She currently lives with her romance hero husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.

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Blog Tour: Lies You Tell by LaQuette

Lies You Tell

by

LaQuette 

Blurb:

A mob boss finding his dead lover alive six years after her death, shocking.  Learning they’ve got a five-year-old son…deadly.

Six years ago Sanai Ward fled her life in Florida when her lover’s infidelity nearly brings her life to a fiery end.  Scared and devastated, Sanai starts over from nothing, determined to create a safe and happy life for the child she discovers she’s carrying.

Single parenthood isn’t easy. But the joy of watching her beloved Nazario thrive is more than enough motivation to ignore the ache in her heart for the man that shattered her soul.
Dante De Luca is a passionate man who’s had his life stolen from him.  Six years ago he was in love and happy, until his woman was killed in a fire. Sanai was gone.  There was nothing left in the ashes but the locket he’d placed around her neck.  Too angry to deal with his loss, Dante seeks to make the rest of the world pay for his broken heart by forming an unholy covenant with an unspeakable ally.  He knows he’ll live to regret it, but signing away your humanity to the devil seems meaningless when your soul is already gone.
When an accident involving a family member draws Dante to New York, and forces an unexpected meeting between he and Sanai, Dante has to decide what’s more important.  His rage and revenge, or the safety of the woman he once loved and the health of their son?
Just when Sanai’s deception is beginning to sting less, Dante is faced with the fallout of his own lies.  Will she forgive him?  Will they survive them, or will their lives become tragic casualties of the dangerous lies he told?

Excerpt:

She watched her son glance back and forth between the two men now sitting on either side of him. He was biting on his fingernails, a nervous habit he had developed when he began school. Sanai’s first instinct was to cross the room as quickly as she could and snatch her baby up.

 Yeah, it was just hair, and it was already falling out from the chemotherapy, but her protective instincts weren’t exactly running off of logic.
This plan Dante had of cutting it all off sounded rational, but being rational wasn’t really high on her list of priorities. That was her baby, and if he wasn’t on board with the idea, she was shutting this entire plan down.
She moved to take a step in their direction, but Dante’s smile halted her. He wasn’t looking in her direction—probably had no idea she was watching him so intently. But the easy way he smiled at her son, the way Nazario mirrored Dante’s same crooked smile that spread slowly across his little mouth and lit up his entire face—the power of it held her in place.
Tony opened his bag. He pulled out a drape and shook out its folds. She saw Nazario stare at the drape with a bit of trepidation shaking his small frame. Tony lifted it in the air and placed it carefully around Dante’s neck.
Her eyes met Dante’s, silently asking for answers. Before she could form the words of her question, Tony turned on his clippers and took a quick pass up the side of Dante’s head. When he pulled the clippers back, she saw scalp, or more aptly described, scalp covered by a short fuzz.
She glanced back at her son. He  had a front-row seat of Dante getting his hair shaved off. Nazario stared at the man, his fear morphing into curiosity. Without so much as a word this man took the fear out of something for her child, making it something fun.
In a few minutes, those beautiful dark curls that were Dante’s signature were gone. When Tony was done with Dante, he cleaned him up, shook out the drape, and motioned for Naz to take Dante’s place.
The boy hesitated for just a minute and then settled into his chair. Tony secured the drape and turned the clippers on. Nazario jumped a little at the sound, but Dante calmed him down by leaning in front of him and giving him a thumbs-up. While Dante kept him distracted, Tony shaved the boy’s hair down to his scalp, and with what appeared to be practiced ease, he lined the boy’s edges up, making the haircut look less like they were attempting to cover up illness and more like a trendy haircut a young boy would wear.
Tony dusted off the excess hair from Naz and pulled off the drape. When those dark brown eyes she loved so much looked up with both excitement and approval, she pulled on a trembling smile. She walked up to him, running a gentle hand over his head.
“You look real good, Naz. Mr. Tony did a good job.” Her voice felt thick and heavy as she spoke. The little boy fell into her arms. She hugged him as tight as she could and lifted watery eyes to Dante and Tony. Too full to speak over the growing ball of emotion in her chest, she simply mouthed a silent thank you to them.
They each nodded, but it was the red rim around Dante’s eyes that pulled her attention. In their depths she found understanding. Her brain questioned briefly how Dante could know just how relieved she was to see a happy smile on her boy’s face.
It almost didn’t compute that someone else could fathom how much it would mean to her that her son looked less like a sick cancer patient and more like an average five-year-old. But when Dante’s watery gaze fastened on to hers, she realized something crucial. Dante was Nazario’s father. Not just in blood, but in every way possible.
Orchestrating this haircut to preempt the trauma of hair loss was something only a parent would recognize as necessary. Only a father would sacrifice his own healthy mane to make his son feel less afraid, less abnormal.
Sanai opened her free arm to Dante, inviting him into the embrace she and their son shared. He hesitated briefly, and she hated that he thought he had to. Truth was, there was no one else she could blame for that.
She’d done this. She kept her arm open, and he finally leaned in. He circled
them both with strong arms, and she lightly scraped her fingers against his
near-smooth scalp.
“Thank you,” she whispered in his ear. He didn’t speak. If he was experiencing the same emotional overload, she understood why. He simply tightened his hold and squeezed Sanai and Nazario closer to him.
Her annoying mind kept trying to bully its way into the moment, but she refused to allow it. She wasn’t going to worry about how right it felt to be in Dante’s arms, how protected she felt with his arms surrounding them. She wasn’t going to listen to the fear screaming in the back of her mind that Dante was getting too close too soon. She simply burrowed into his embrace and let her battle shield fall.

 
 
 

Author Bio:

LaQuette is an erotic, multicultural romance author of M/F and
M/M love stories.  Her writing style brings intellect to the drama.
She often crafts emotionally epic, fantastical tales that are deeply pigmented by reality’s paintbrush. Her novels are filled with a unique mixture of savvy, sarcastic, brazen, and unapologetically sexy characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page.
This bestselling Erotic Romance Author is the 2016 Author of the
Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2015 Swirl Awards Bronze Winner in Romantic Suspense, and 2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in Erotic Romance. LaQuette—a native of Brooklyn, New York—spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator.
Writing—her escape from everyday madness—has always been a friend and source of comfort. At the age of sixteen she read her first romance novel and realized the genre was missing something: people that looked and lived like her.  As a result, her characters and settings are always designed to provide positive representations of people of color and various marginalized communities.
She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running
around in her head causing so much trouble.  Contact her on FacebookTwitter, her website, NovelsbyLaQuette.com, Amazon, her Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge, and via email at LaQuette@NovelsbyLaQuette.com.
 
 

Lies You Tell

Book Trailer

by

LaQuette

Conquering William Blog Tour

Conquering William Blog Tour 

August 30-September 8

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Sir Arthur’s Legacy, Book 3  

by Sarah Hegger

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Series: Sir Arthur’s Legacy, Book 3

ISBN-10: 1601839162

ISBN-13: 978-1601839169

 

 

Blurb

 A practical marriage…

He married for convenience, but William of Anglesea had hoped for more than piety from his new bride. Raised in a convent and thrice widowed, prim Lady Alice of Tarnwych seems like an innocent when it comes to the marriage bed—except for the tentative passion he senses in her touch, and sees in her eyes. It seems the bold knight has a new challenge in alluring Alice. But will seducing his intriguing wife lead to his downfall?

An inconvenient desire…

Everything about charming, free-spirited William defies the cloistered world Lady Alice comes from. Duty brings her to their bed—and a long-held hope for a child. Yet after three indifferent husbands, the desire William shows her awakens her own. Little did Alice expect the powerful feelings he would inspire, emotions that make her ready to abandon her rigid beliefs, and the only family she’s ever known—when William’s life is on the line….

Conquering William Meme3

Buy/Pre-Order Links

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Excerpt

If she lived to be a hundred, Alice never wanted to attend another wedding, particularly not as the bride. The odor of roasting meats almost undid her, and she took a long draught from her water goblet. A bride did not vomit all over her wedding feast.

Her father, face ruddy with wine, sidled up and pinched her side. “God’s teeth! Smile, you stupid wench. I have found you a good ‘un this time. Far better than a butter-face like you could hope for.” Goblet held high, he strode away, sprinkling wine across the heads of those he passed. His forced laughter grated on her ear.

To her right, her groom drank from his goblet. In a deep, smooth voice, he murmured to his mother on his other side. As he shifted, his muscular thigh pinned her skirt to the bench.

Loathe to draw his attention, Alice tugged the dull brown wool.

He inclined his head with a smile, moved his leg, and freed her skirt. “I beg your pardon.”

God save her from her beautiful husband. “No matter.”

“May I serve you more water?” Eyes deeper blue than the lake beneath the castle twinkled at her. Candlelight gleamed off his dark hair and clung to his finely etched face.

“Thank you, but nay.”

With another smile, he turned back to his mother.

She would prefer if he did not smile so much. Or did not smell so appealing. His subtle woodsy-sweet spice teased her every time he leaned nearer. He did quivering things to her innards. How could she hope to hold a man such as this? Atop the scarred table, their trencher sat between them, still full of mutton, gravy oozing into a brown puddle on the table. It couldn’t be worse. Her father had outdone himself this time. Three husbands he’d chosen for her and this one, by far, the most daunting.

Aye, but William of Anglesea would make fine children. Tall, strong boys, broad and powerfully built like their sire, and girls to take after his mother and sisters. A child of her own. A downy head nestled against her breast, a tiny body cradled in her arms. She touched her palm to her flat, empty belly, and put her hand back on the table before anyone could notice. Even butter- faces had dreams.

A jester before the dais capered about, ringing his bells and doing his best to enthuse the assembly with joviality. Poor man raised only titters of amusement. He must have come with her father for the wedding, for they had no resident jester at Tarnwych. A few determined souls cheered the jester on his way, and a band of minstrels took his place. The cheery pipes led the lutes into songs praising the bride’s beauty and the groom’s virility. Could they not spare her those? She’d wager the minstrels would change their songs when they left for the inn tonight.

The bawdy ballad of Alice of Tarnwych and William of Anglesea. She made up her own words to the cheerful wedding song the minstrel band warbled.

The peacock ruts with a dull, brown wren,

 A dull brown wren,

 a dull brown wren

The peacock ruts with a dull, brown wren,

Fa, la, la, la la.

William, the peacock, with his striking looks and finery had stood beside her in the chapel, and the top of her head had only reached his shoulder. How the ladies in attendance had sighed as he dipped his dark head and recited his vows to her, the dull, little wren in her brown wool dress with her atrocious hair confined to a wimple. Both William’s sisters boasted glorious flaxen hair the hue of summer wheat, not brazen red. Willowy and graceful they glided in rich, silk slippers like butterflies, whilst she stomped around in her sensible clogs.

Sister Julianna leant in and kept her voice low. “This is a bad business. This family is sown with wild, spoiled seed.”

Then there was that. Whispers of the taint on Sir Arthur’s beautiful family carried even this far north.

“It is time.” Gracious and lovely, Lady Mary of Anglesea rose with a sweet smile for Alice. “Shall we?”

“Aye, let us get to the meat of the matter.” Smug grin eating his face, her father thumped the table.

Rising too, Sir William offered his hand to her. Grip warm and sure, he helped her climb over the bench, then straightened her skirts for her. No fault could she find with her groom’s manners. As far as she could see, he had no faults at all. Men like William should marry their faultless equals. How different would this be if she looked like his mother and sisters? If she could enter his bed with her head held high, confident in her groom’s delight in her beauty.

The other women stood with her. Lady Faye, flawless and serene in her pregnancy, golden hair framing her enchanting face. Her second new sister-in-law, Beatrice. Bea, they called her, and on occasion Sweet Bea. Not as fair as Faye, but her pretty countenance made more so by the lively march of humor across it.

God mocked her by surrounding her with all this overbearing comeliness.

“Come along, then.” Beatrice’s smile stretched false with forced good cheer. Nay, they no more welcomed this match for their brother than she did.

Another wedding night and she would endure.

Bio

Sarah Hegger B&W copy 

Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Colorado with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

Sarah is the recipient of the 2015 EPIC Award for Historical Romance.

She is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates.

 

Giveaway (to enter please go to sarahhegger.com)

To celebrate the release of #3 Sir Arthur’s Legacy, Conquering William, Sarah is giving away 3 copies of Conquering William (US winners may receive their copy as an e-book or paperback, international winners will be provided their copy as an e-book only) and 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards.

To enter, simply become a subscriber to Sarah’s quarterly newsletter. If you’re already subscribed, or wish to gain additional entries, leave a comment on one of the two blog posts below:

Why I Find That Mindfulness is Vital to My Work & What Cultivating Compassion Shares with Writing Romance

Writing and Research in Historical Fiction: A Peek Into My Method and My Madness

For even more entries, like Sarah’s Facebook page and Follow her on Twitter!

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