#BlogTour STICKING TO THE SCRIPT by Stella Weaver @Stellarweaving @smartypantsrom #5Stars #OurReviews @jennw23

CO02-BTBANNER-SBPR

Sticking to the Script, an all-new standalone in the romantic comedy Cipher Office series, from Stella Weaver is available now!

OUR REVIEW: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t know how to write this review. But I have to start by saying that I could not love this book more! As a big fan of Penny Reid and her stories, I went into this book with a bit of trepidation. The obnoxious and conceited Doctor Ken Miles was a character that I thought I knew a bit about but never expected THIS!

“His pretty outside couldn’t hold a candle to his inside.  He had a wide, open heart and a wealth of love dying to be reciprocated. He needed someone to dig beyond his crusty attitude and revel in the hidden passion and sweetness he held inside.”

In this slow burn MM romance it definitely takes Steven quite a while to discover the wonderful and quirky man that is underneath the public exterior of DKM and even longer to get on the same page of their script.

“Oscar Wilde said, “The heart was made to be broken.” … Perhaps I needed to help myself believe what was happening to my brain—the violent despair and agonizing pain—was simply a rite of passage.  I had a heart therefore it must break.”

At times I felt my heart break for these characters, but only because I found myself head over heals in love with them. This story is funny and smart and swoony. I laughed out loud and highlighted so many favorite parts. My only complaint is I want more! More of Steven and Doctor Ken and more from this author!!

-5 Stars!!!-

-Diane-

20180715_CO01_Sticking to the Script_Weaver_KDP_FINAL

Steven Thompson had a bad year. A string of mean, kinky (the alarming kind, not the good kind), and crazy dating debacles combined with a boss who appears to be experiencing male-prenatal-psychosis means Steven’s stress levels are high. They’re so high, he’s decided to quit dating and focus instead solely on his job.

Until he meets Dr. Ken Miles.

Doctor Ken Miles is having a fantastic year. His hard work is paying off in a big way . . . professionally. But his social life? Not so much.

Until he meets Steven Thompson.

Steven isn’t so sure about Dr. Miles, but Ken is one hundred percent certain about Mr. Thompson. And even though both men know full well that the key to getting what you want out of life is hard work, they can’t seem to make them—together—work.

Will they ever get on the same page? Or just keep sticking to the same old script?

‘Sticking to the Script’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#2 in the Cipher Office series, Knitting in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Copy of CO02-LIVE

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/35BGZLv

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/StickingtotheScript

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Excerpt

“He asked you to a movie?” She blinked, nonplussed.

“Who are we talking about?” Nico asked, leaning around Elizabeth to look at me. His green eyes held a mischievous twinkle, no doubt eager to hear a new chapter of farce and lunacy in Steven’s Big Book of Dating Disasters.

“Ken Miles,” I replied.

Nico’s twinkle and dimple disappeared. Whether Elizabeth disliked Ken or not, I was sure Nico loathed the man. I couldn’t blame him; it was his prerogative to hate men who used to lust after his wife. He arched one raven eyebrow and asked, “How’d that come about?”

“Yeah,” Elizabeth said. “How, Steven?” Her tone was curious, but I thought I detected a little tinge of disapproval that I didn’t like.

Not wanting to make an issue of anything, I replied with an easy nonchalance. “I ran into him at Buzzy’s. We started talking about Mystery Science Theater 3000—”

“That show’s a riot,” Nico asserted, reaching for his fritter. “The reboot is pretty good, too.”

“That’s what I told DKM.” I took Nico’s lead and grabbed my own heavenly pastry.

“Then, when he found out the movie was playing at the Music Box,” he asked me if I wanted to see it. So, we went.” I shrugged.

“There’s a movie?” Nico asked. “How did I not know this?”

I mumbled around my fritter bite, “You’re not missing much.”

“Stinker, eh?”

“Little bit.” I shrugged again. That had been two, overly casual shrugs in just a few seconds and I worried I was playing it too cool. Elizabeth’s powers of observation surpassed my own. If I wasn’t careful, she’d have me giving her every last detail of the evening.

“So,” she broke in. “Are you thinking this might have been like, you know, a date?” Her brows were drawn together in concern, her words tentative.

I tilted my head in stern exasperation. “Puh-leeze. The man didn’t know who McSteamy was. I got the memo that he’s straight.”

“Who’s McSteamy?” Nico asked.

I pursed my lips together, raised my eyebrows and gestured to Nico. “I rest my case.”

Elizabeth laughed. “I’m sorry, I just didn’t want you getting the wrong idea or anything. He’s”—she looked at her husband in apology—“he’s very good-looking, and I could see how asking you to a movie could get your hopes up.”

“Nah,” I waved dismissively. “I know what’s up. But I think we could hang out,” I volunteered without thinking. I instantly regretted my slip.

“Good luck with that,” Nico said with a laugh.

“We had a good time. He’s kind of funny,” I defended.

“Not possible,” he declared. Nico was a comedian, and a very successful one at that. He knew what was funny and wasn’t about to give the odious Dr. Miles any benefit of the doubt where humor was concerned.

Inexplicable annoyance spurred me to continue. “I think I might make hanging out with him a regular thing.”

“I don’t think a stiff like that knows how to have fun.”

Elizabeth grimaced at her husband’s uncharacteristic snark, then issued me a sympathetic smile. “Well, it will be good for Dr. Ken Miles. He’s not the most colorful person in the city, that’s for sure. Maybe you’ll broaden his horizons.”

About Stella Weaver

Stella Weaver is a reader, writer, sloppy crafter and family-woman. She’s a native of coastal northern California who now lives on the Texas Gulf coast. She’s won the much coveted #1 Mom of the Year Award and has the coffee mug to prove it.

Connect with Stella Weaver

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2kkyQs5

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Website: https://stellarweavings.blogspot.com/

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#NewRelease ONE MORE SONG by C.M. Seabrook @ChantelSeabrook @XpressoTours #OneClick #excerpt

One More Song
C.M. Seabrook
Publication date: October 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

My band, Absinthe, is sent to the middle of nowhere to get our shit together.
It’s time to keep my cock in my pants, my head on straight, and to stay out of trouble.
Hard to do when the landlord is Ember Skye.
Long brown hair, eyes flecked with gold.
One look and she has me, heart and soul.

Fire burns.
But when I’m with this girl?
There’s a heat I’ve never known before.

She’s a single mom carrying it all on her own with an ex on her heels.
I want to help, be the man she needs.
I’m all wrong for her.
She knows it and I know it.
But people change.
Or do they?

I’ve run out of second chances.
But we’re Ember & Ash.
It’s time to fan this flame.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“You can’t stay here,” I say, my voice shaky, because I know there’s no way I’ll be able to afford the reimbursement. I already spent a small chunk of the money Maryll gave me on this month’s bills.

With his back to me, his fingers expertly dancing over the keys as he plays the scales. I try not to notice the way his muscles bunch and tense under the fabric of his t-shirt.

“When was the last time you had this tuned?”

“I…uh…I don’t know.” I shake my head, knowing he’s trying to distract me. “Look. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m sure you can find somewhere else to go.” Even as I say the words, I can hear the lack of conviction in them. I need the money.

The music stops, and he turns, straddling the piano bench. And when those gray eyes are on me again, my body betrays me, and I can feel the flush rising to my cheeks.

I try to fight it, the attraction, the heat, the pull, but it’s impossible. And I wonder if he feels it too, or if he has this effect on every woman. I have a feeling it’s the latter because I can’t read anything in those stormy eyes.

“No,” he finally says, his words absolute, like he’s used to getting what he wants. “I like it here.” Those gorgeous lips of his twitch up slightly. “I was worried that this place would be boring. But this could be fun.”

I scoff. “Fun?” That’s one word for it. Millie would find this entire situation hilarious. But I’m not Millie with her heart-on-her-sleeve attitude. I’m Ember – a woman who always has responsibilities.

And as I look into Ash’s eyes, I realize I don’t have a choice.

“Yeah, fun,” he says with a dare in his voice and a promise in his eyes.

A promise.

My track record with promises is fifty-fifty. And right now, I can’t handle another thing in my life breaking.

I have no choice but to try and make this work. Not just for me. But for Cadence.

Author Bio:

Amazon bestselling author C.M. Seabrook writes hot, steamy romances with possessive bad boys and the passionate, fiery women who love them. Swoonworthy romances from the heart!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

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#LiveNow #KILynn #ForeveAndAllTheAfters #TenStars #SecondChance #HEA #Excerpt #Giveaway

Release Date: September 23, 2019
Cover Design: T.E. Black Designs

He promised me forever.

Then he boarded a plane for a college a thousand miles away and never returned. A decade later there’s a ring on my finger with a new promise from a new love.

Just as my life falls into place, pretty as the pages of a magazine, my world is knocked over. The moment he touches me everything around me begins to crack, exposing all the lies I’ve told myself.

Every glance reminds me. Every touch ignites.

Things aren’t how they used to be.

Love isn’t easy.

Goodreads
http://bit.ly/2ZfOrHP

https://books2read.com/ForeverAndAllTheAfters

Excerpt

The air burns my lungs, my morning run down. For months I’d been running, building up endurance and trying to slim my thighs down. I’ve made it up to about three miles, which is good considering when I started I could barely do one.

While my shape has improved, I still have a ways to go. The wedding is fast approaching and I want to look perfect for Caleb. Monday I’m going to push myself and do four miles.

He has a meeting today with the engineer and he’s allowed me to be there. I’m excited to see what they say and to get designing the space.

As soon as I get home my phone goes off with a text from Caleb.

Hey, babe, when are you bringing my coffee? – Caleb

Shit, my day is already a mess and it’s only eight in the morning.

Where are you? – Aubrey

Before I even get to shower I’m in my car and off again. The Starbucks is so close I’m still sweating when I step in. While the run helps get me going, I need coffee. At least the delay getting home will give it enough time to cool down.

I can drop it off before heading home.

Warmth spreads through me as I smile down at the screen and the little kisses. In just over six months I will be Aubrey Manning. Someone different, and hopefully better than my former self. I want to be better, for him.

There’s still so much to do, we’ve barely scratched the surface, and I’m thankful for my mom and Nora are around to help. Thankfully we were able to secure the location. It isn’t my dream venue, but Caleb was able to book it on our shorter timetable. Considering we got engaged at Christmas, we were doing pretty good.

With Nora and my mom, we were heading wedding dress shopping in a week. Caleb insisted on going against tradition to help me pick out the perfect dress.

“What can I get started for you?” the barista asks.

I manage to remember my order and pay before stepping to the side to wait with the others.

Speaking of Nora, I pull up my messenger and look at the pictures she sent me this morning while I wait. She sent me three outfits last night and two this morning. Two have possibilities, but the others are a no. I shoot her back the ones for our fashion show on Saturday before making a few suggestions.

As I type a tingle spreads across my back. Almost like a wave of heat from a fire. I’ve felt it before. Years ago.

The energy radiating from behind me flickers in the back of my brain, igniting memories from long ago. Forgotten times buried under heartache. I can never forget it–forget him–but I refuse to turn around to believe it.

Pike isn’t here.

He lives in New York, why would he come back to Indianapolis?

Not only that, how in the world would the two of us end up at the same place at the same time?

I draw in a ragged breath as heat surges through my body.

One man in my entire life made me feel this way. Only one.

My knees grow weak and I want to blame it on my run, but I know the truth. The mere thought of Pike being close has sent every part of me into chaos. Ten years of silence is suddenly as loud as a rock concert surging through me.

I don’t even have the courage to turn around, to see if it is him. Too scared that I’ll have to face him after years apart. That I’ll have to admit that it’s him doing this complete system hijak.

I take a deep breath, that is shaky as hell, and peek over my shoulder. The hair of my ponytail over my shoulder hides my face some, but one small glance and every fear is confirmed–Pike Warren is home. Not only is Pike back in Indiana, he somehow wound up at the same Starbucks as me at the same time, miles from where we grew up.

His lips are parted, blue eyes dark as he stares at me, catching me in my casual attempt to spy. It almost looks like he is just as shocked as I am.

“Aubrey?”

Suddenly he seems to be growing taller, and it isn’t until I feel the shock of his hands on my waist that I realize it’s my knees giving up the ghost. Warmth crawls through me from his touch, taking over.

“Whoa, are you okay?” he asks as he pulls me up and to him.

Okay? Okay?

No, I am not okay. I was perfectly fine before he got in line behind me minutes ago. But after, my life is suddenly in an upheaval of epic proportions.

Fuck you, Pike.

“Yeah, fine,” I say as I struggle to get my legs under me again. But my hands are on his chest and he’s holding me close and everything is wrong but so right. Stronger, larger, angular and still every bit the boy I loved. “Um…Hi.”

“Hi.”

Giveaway
One of Five ARC’s of Forever and All the Afters

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d512/?

💛💛💛Review by Tasha M💛💛💛

OMG I Fucking loved this book so so much. KI Lynn is an absolute spell bounding writer. Her Words never fail to always touch your heart and soul.

This book is no different from the other Ten Star reads she has given us. This beautifully written second chance love story has so much of heart break.

Aubrey and Pike love each other since school days. When Pike went away to University he left her behind with a broken heart. Bree couldn’t get over her soul mate even when she thought she met the right guy years later.

When Pike come back into town. Those feelings cant be hidden. Bree’s past and future colid. Watching Pike win her back, protect her and love her was all you can ask for in a love story.

Hot and sexy ladies. This book is Phenomenal. I loved every single word in it.

Enjoy!!!!

#ExcerptReveal THE AMENDMENT (Contract #3) by Melanie Moreland @MorelandMelanie #ComingSoon #MustRead #FavoriteAuthors

THE AMENDMENT (The Contract #3) from@MorelandMelanie is coming 10/7!!
Read an Excerpt Here: https://wp.me/pax1MW-Op

Pre-Order Today!! 

Amazon:

iBooks: https://apple.co/33yUPgq

Nook: http://bit.ly/2z6ZQPf

Blurb:

Richard VanRyan has it all. 

A loving wife, a beautiful family, great friends, and a career he excels at. 

He is riding high on the crest of life.

 

What happens when the ride stops? 

 

When the unthinkable becomes reality and life may never again be the same? 

The Contract has changed.  

Can Richard and Katy overcome The Amendment?

 

 

Series Synopsis: 

The Contract Series

Follow Richard VanRyan and Katy as they hate, love, and grow in this gripping, deeply emotional series. 

 

Book #1

What do you do when the one person you loath becomes the one person you can’t live without?

 

Book #2

Richard VanRyan just added another description to his resume. 

Daddy.

How will he handle it?

 

Book #3

When the life you know becomes the life you had, how do you cope?

How will Richard and Katy overcome The Amendment?

 

Excerpt:

I pulled back the blankets on her side and slid her in. I left her sleeping, grabbed a long, hot shower, and got ready for bed, slipping in beside her. In a second, she was nestled against me, her head on my chest and her leg tossed over mine—my own personal starfish. There was no doubt Gracie had inherited that from her.

 

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

She shifted, lifting her leg, her knee rubbing over my groin, making my cock stir. Maybe she wasn’t as sleepy as I had thought.

 

“Katy,” I warned. “Don’t be starting something you’re too tired to finish.”

 

She burrowed closer, running her hand down my chest, her voice low and raspy from sleep. “I missed you so much.”

 

I lifted my head, peering down at her. Her eyes were drowsy and narrow but still filled with adoration. She had a way of looking at me that made me feel ten feet tall. As if I could do anything. Be anything for her.

 

I tugged her up my chest, my lips close to hers. “I missed you too, baby. I always miss you.”

 

Her hand slid under the waistband of my sleep pants. Nude sleeping had stopped once Gracie began to walk. She was adventurous and had no trouble climbing into our bed in the middle of the night.

 

Katy’s hand closed around my hardening cock. “I missed this, too.”

 

“We’re both happy to be home.”

 

She sat up, throwing her leg over my hips and gripping my waistband. “Up,” she commanded.

 

I arched, and she dragged my pants down, lowering herself until we were skin-to-skin.

 

“Jesus, Katy, you had underwear on a few minutes ago.”

 

She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “My undies exploded.”

 

“Exploded?”

 

Her voice was raspy and sexy. “They heard Richard VanRyan was back. Boom! They were gone.”

 

“Is that a fact?”

 

She stretched over my torso, the heat of her sliding along my cock. “Yeah.”

 

“I hope you weren’t hurt during the blast.”

 

“A little scorched. I’m sure you can put out the fire.” She kissed me, her lips devouring mine, hungry and urgent. I gripped her hip and wound my other hand into her hair, kissing her back. The taste of my wife, the feel of her skin on mine, was like nothing else. I loved these moments with her—when it was simply us. Together.

 

I eased back, gazing up at her. Her quiet beauty overwhelmed me at times. I stroked her soft skin, spreading my hands over her stomach.

 

She bit her lip, for the first time not meeting my eyes as I ran small circles over the gentle curves of her. She stilled my actions, her fingers restless on top of mine.

 

“Hey,” I called quietly. “Katy, baby, come back to me.”

 

She lifted her eyes, and I shook my head, knowing exactly what she was thinking. I traced the light lines that bothered her so much along her hips and stomach. It wasn’t very often she was insecure with me anymore, and this was something I needed to address, once and for all.

 

“These don’t bother me, Katy, and they shouldn’t bother you. They don’t make you less beautiful—only more so to me. They’re part of you. Part of us. You have them because for nine months you cradled, nurtured, and carried our children—my children—inside you. These little lines are proof of the strength you have. Tiny reminders of the wonder that your body is to me.” I raised myself up and kissed her, pouring all the love I felt into the kiss. “Of the wonder you are to me.”

 

“How do you always know the right thing to say?”

 

“It’s not the right thing, Katy. It’s the truth.”

 

“I love you,” she whispered.

 

“Good.” I winked at her. “Because I’m about to fuck you, and I need you to be with me on that.”

 

She grinned, her dark moment passing. She pushed me back to the mattress. “Oh, I’m with you, VanRyan.”

 

 

 

About the Author:

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat, Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them. 

 

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys traveling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip. 

 

Melanie loves stories, especially paired with a good wine, and enjoys skydiving (free falling over a fleck of dust) extreme snowboarding (falling down stairs) and piloting her own helicopter (tripping over her own feet.) She’s learned happily ever afters, even bumpy ones, are all in how you tell the story.

Melanie is represented by Flavia Viotti at Bookcase Literary Agency. For any questions regarding subsidiary or translation rights please contact her atflavia@bookcaseagency.com

 

Connect w/Melanie:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/MMAuthorFacebook

Melanie’s Minions (FB reader group) http://bit.ly/MMReaderGroupFB

Newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/melaniemoreland

Website: http://bit.ly/MMorelandWebsite

Twitter: http://bit.ly/MMorelandTwitter

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ql5R95

Instagram: http://bit.ly/MMorelandIG

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/MMorelandBB

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Goodreads: http://bit.ly/MMorelandGR

Tumblr: http://bit.ly/MMorelandTumblr
Book + Main: http://bit.ly/MMorelandBM

United By Romance Goodreads Group:http://bit.ly/UBRGoodreads

 

 

 

#CoverReveal #KILynn #ForeverAndAllTheAfters #ComingSoon #September23rd #Teaser #Excerpt

Release Date: September 23, 2019
Cover Design: T.E. Black Designs

Synopsis

He promised me forever.

Then he boarded a plane for a college a thousand miles away and never returned. A decade later there’s a ring on my finger with a new promise from a new love.

Just as my life falls into place, pretty as the pages of a magazine, my world is knocked over. The moment he touches me everything around me begins to crack, exposing all the lies I’ve told myself.

Every glance reminds me. Every touch ignites.

Things aren’t how they used to be.

Love isn’t easy.

Goodreads
http://bit.ly/2ZfOrHP

https://books2read.com/ForeverAndAllTheAfters

Excerpt

The air burns my lungs, my morning run down. For months I’d been running, building up endurance and trying to slim my thighs down. I’ve made it up to about three miles, which is good considering when I started I could barely do one.

While my shape has improved, I still have a ways to go. The wedding is fast approaching and I want to look perfect for Caleb. Monday I’m going to push myself and do four miles.

He has a meeting today with the engineer and he’s allowed me to be there. I’m excited to see what they say and to get designing the space.

As soon as I get home my phone goes off with a text from Caleb.

Hey, babe, when are you bringing my coffee? – Caleb

Shit, my day is already a mess and it’s only eight in the morning.

Where are you? – Aubrey

Before I even get to shower I’m in my car and off again. The Starbucks is so close I’m still sweating when I step in. While the run helps get me going, I need coffee. At least the delay getting home will give it enough time to cool down.

I can drop it off before heading home.

Warmth spreads through me as I smile down at the screen and the little kisses. In just over six months I will be Aubrey Manning. Someone different, and hopefully better than my former self. I want to be better, for him.

There’s still so much to do, we’ve barely scratched the surface, and I’m thankful for my mom and Nora are around to help. Thankfully we were able to secure the location. It isn’t my dream venue, but Caleb was able to book it on our shorter timetable. Considering we got engaged at Christmas, we were doing pretty good.

With Nora and my mom, we were heading wedding dress shopping in a week. Caleb insisted on going against tradition to help me pick out the perfect dress.

“What can I get started for you?” the barista asks.

I manage to remember my order and pay before stepping to the side to wait with the others.

Speaking of Nora, I pull up my messenger and look at the pictures she sent me this morning while I wait. She sent me three outfits last night and two this morning. Two have possibilities, but the others are a no. I shoot her back the ones for our fashion show on Saturday before making a few suggestions.

As I type a tingle spreads across my back. Almost like a wave of heat from a fire. I’ve felt it before. Years ago.

The energy radiating from behind me flickers in the back of my brain, igniting memories from long ago. Forgotten times buried under heartache. I can never forget it–forget him–but I refuse to turn around to believe it.

Pike isn’t here.

He lives in New York, why would he come back to Indianapolis?

Not only that, how in the world would the two of us end up at the same place at the same time?

I draw in a ragged breath as heat surges through my body.

One man in my entire life made me feel this way. Only one.

My knees grow weak and I want to blame it on my run, but I know the truth. The mere thought of Pike being close has sent every part of me into chaos. Ten years of silence is suddenly as loud as a rock concert surging through me.

I don’t even have the courage to turn around, to see if it is him. Too scared that I’ll have to face him after years apart. That I’ll have to admit that it’s him doing this complete system hijak.

I take a deep breath, that is shaky as hell, and peek over my shoulder. The hair of my ponytail over my shoulder hides my face some, but one small glance and every fear is confirmed–Pike Warren is home. Not only is Pike back in Indiana, he somehow wound up at the same Starbucks as me at the same time, miles from where we grew up.

His lips are parted, blue eyes dark as he stares at me, catching me in my casual attempt to spy. It almost looks like he is just as shocked as I am.

“Aubrey?”

Suddenly he seems to be growing taller, and it isn’t until I feel the shock of his hands on my waist that I realize it’s my knees giving up the ghost. Warmth crawls through me from his touch, taking over.

“Whoa, are you okay?” he asks as he pulls me up and to him.

Okay? Okay?

No, I am not okay. I was perfectly fine before he got in line behind me minutes ago. But after, my life is suddenly in an upheaval of epic proportions.

Fuck you, Pike.

“Yeah, fine,” I say as I struggle to get my legs under me again. But my hands are on his chest and he’s holding me close and everything is wrong but so right. Stronger, larger, angular and still every bit the boy I loved. “Um…Hi.”

“Hi.”

Giveaway
One of Five ARC’s of Forever and All the Afters

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d512/?

HTML:
a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

About the Author

K.I. Lynn is the USA Today Bestselling Author from The Bend Anthology and the Amazon Bestselling Series, Breach. She spent her life in the arts, everything from music to painting and ceramics, then to writing. Characters have always run around in her head, acting out their stories, but it wasn’t until later in life she would put them to pen. It would turn out to be the one thing she was really passionate about.

Since she began posting stories online, she’s garnered acclaim for her diverse stories and hard hitting writing style. Two stories and characters are never the same, her brain moving through different ideas faster than she can write them down as it also plots its quest for world domination…or cheese. Whichever is easier to obtain… Usually it’s cheese.

Connect with K.I.

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/2ruu5Kt
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#ComingSoon FEAST OF SPARKS (Thornchapel #2) by Sierra Simone @TheSierraSimone #TBR #Thornchapel #Excerpt

#ComingSoon FEAST OF SPARKS (Thornchapel #2) by Sierra Simone @TheSierraSimone #TBR #Thornchapel

FEAST OF SPARKS (Thornchapel #2) by Sierra Simone

Release Date: August 1st

Cover Designer: Hang Le

Photographer: Regina Wamba

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PRE-ORDER FEAST OF SPARKS (THORNCHAPEL #2) TODAY!

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START THE SERIES TODAY WITH 

A LESSON IN THORNS (Thornchapel  #1)

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OgiJGp

Amazon INTL: mybook.to/ALIT

B&N: http://bit.ly/2UO1VsN

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Blurb:

I’m an outcast and a loner, named for death itself.  Fate wasn’t supposed to have plans for me.

 

But then she came back—the girl I once kissed in a thorn-covered chapel in the woods.  She came back, and I could no more resist her than I could pry out my own heart.  And by some trick of fate, she wants me as much as I want her.  The only problem?  She also wants the man who owns Thornchapel, Auden Guest.

 

And so do I.

 

Eight years ago, I did something to Auden, something terrible.  He hurt me back the only way he knew how, and so here we are: our hatred seasoned with pain and my loneliness seasoned with longing.  The only thing we can agree on is Proserpina Markham, and she wants us to find a way to be together—all three of us. 

 

If Auden wants to earn her as his submissive, then he has to earn me as well.

 

But with the discovery of bones behind the altar and the carnal revel of Beltane fast approaching, it’s becoming clear that Thornchapel’s secrets are much deeper and older than any of us could have ever guessed.  And no matter how bright and merry a feast of sparks may be, it’s always followed by ashes. 

 

And darkness.

 

Excerpt: 

I can feel that beat, that pulsing, between the three of us so strongly right now, and I know Auden and Poe can too.  I know they can feel that what we have together is more than biology, more than our odd little religion, more than years of knowing each other.  

 

Those things we have with the other three in our group.

 

But this?  This holy, ravening, primal, and marrow-deep need for each other?  This is something unique to the three of us, and there’s no denying it, no arguing with it.  

 

Fighting it is as pointless as screaming up at a storm on the heath.

 

Auden reaches down with his other hand; I hear the tear of fabric. The muscles in his arm contract and flex as he works her underneath her skirt.  “So wet, little bride,” he purrs.  “So ready to be fucked in this little hole.”

 

He grabs my hand and pulls me forward before I can react, and he guides me to her.  Past the tear in her cute librarian tights to the place where she’s wet enough that a man could shove in with a single stroke.  My shaft—huge and latex-shiny in the dark—pulses as Auden presses my fingers into her with his own until two of my fingers are curling up inside her and both our hands are wet.

 

Poe rocks against us both, her hands scrabbling for any kind of purchase until she manages to brace one on the bookshelf behind her and the other on Auden’s shoulder.  

 

“Please, please fuck me,” she begs, and I know at this point she doesn’t care who she’s talking to.  Auden or me—or hell, maybe Rebecca or Delphine or Becket.  

 

“Oh, we’re going to,” Auden growls, and I like that we, I like it so much that I couldn’t deny Poe is right about fixing whatever is between the three of us even if I wanted to.  

 

Could I have ever been content without knowing this?  Knowing the feel of Auden’s hands on my hips as they are now, guiding me between Proserpina’s waiting thighs as she wraps her arms around my neck?  Knowing once again the feel of being between them, as I was that night, of Auden reaching around me and gripping my cock with a casual arrogance that has me shuddering?

 

He notches my tip against her, his hand moving past me to grip her arse under her skirt, and then he brings us together, like we’re his to join.  His pets to breed, his concubines to amuse him.  It’s this I’m thinking of as I sink deep into Poe, letting out a long breath as her sweetness grips me, squeezes me.

 

“How does she feel?” Auden asks in my ear.  He sounds bored, but I know that trick for what it is; I know that when his blood gets hot, his voice gets cold.  And maybe it’s the thrills dancing up my body from the head of my cock to the soles of my feet, maybe it’s Poe biting her lower lip like she wishes it were my mouth she was nibbling—or maybe it’s the sheer fucking filth of this moment, Auden and me wedging her against the bookshelves in the dark while the others continue to laugh and drink only a stone’s throw away—

 

Whatever it is, I want to test Auden’s coolness, I want to make him feel for me just a little bit of what I feel for him always—desperate, clawing ache.  A pining so animalistic and rough it shames me.

 

I want him to shame me.

 

And maybe it’s that last impulse more than anything that makes me do it.  I turn my head to his—he’s so close that I can feel his breath on my cheek, so warm in the cool air of the library—and I kiss his throat.  Right next to his Adam’s apple, right in the little hollow there.  I kiss him and then I part my lips just enough to taste him with a small dart of my tongue.  He tastes like clean skin with just the barest hint of sweat, like a man just beginning to get worked up.  And he smells—God, he smells how he always smells.  

 

Like this wonderful, terrible place tucked into the wild, wind-whipped moors.  Like Thornchapel.

 

He stills at the touch of my lips, as if he can’t bear to breathe, and then at the flicker of my tongue, he lets out a low sound of fury.  For a minute I wonder if he’ll hit me again, and I don’t care how wrong it is, how against the rules of kink, I want to eat up all his passion, all of his energy, I want him to be lost like me and I want to see it and feel it and take it into my body to remember as long as I live.

 

He doesn’t hit me.

 

He bites me. 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author: 

Sierra Simone is a USA Today Bestselling former librarian (who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk.) She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.

 

Connect w/Sierra Simone:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sierra-Simone-497450453680395/?fref=ts

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SierraSimonesLambs

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheSierraSimone

Amazon : http://amzn.to/1PDR4K4

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

Website: http://authorsierrasimone.com/

 

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#WrittenWithRegretDuet #AlyMartinez #LiveNow #10StarReview #HolyFuckingShit #Excerpt

Written With Regret, the first in an all-new emotional duet from USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez, is available now!

Every little girl dreams of the fairytale. The one where the white knight rushes in to save her from the clutches of evil. They fall in love, have babies, and live happily ever after.

By that definition, my life should have been a fairytale too.

When I was eight years old, Caven Hunt saved me from the worst kind of evil to walk the Earth. It didn’t matter that I was a kid. I fell in love with him all the same.

But that was where my fairytale ended.

Years later, a one-night stand during the darkest time imaginable gave us a little girl. It was nothing compared to the pitch black that consumed me when I was forced to leave her with Caven for good.

At the end of every fairytale, the happily-ever-after is the one thing that remains consistent. It wasn’t going to be mine, but there hadn’t been a night that passed where I hadn’t prayed that it would be hers.

I owed Caven my life.
However, I owed that innocent child more.
And that included ripping the heart from my chest and facing her father again.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Qbg6qg
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/WrittenwRegret

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2IOYdg5

❣❣❣❣ Review By TashaM ❣❣❣❣

I always always start Aly Martinez Book sitting at the edge because I never know wher where she is going to take me. I just know that there will be tears, my heart will break, I will swoon and I will need plenty wine.

Aly you never fail me. You always give us such captivating and thrilling experiences with your stories. Like always the characters, scenes, and dialogue was outstanding.

I’m still trying to get over that Cliffy by the way and I keep checking my Kindle for the next book.

I have no idea how to write a review about Hadley and Caven. I wish I could just tell you to read it and you trust me and read it.

Its fucking magnificent and trust me you wanna go in blind.

This story is brilliant. These two are up and down.

Your heart will break for them. They go through some really tough issues…. there are times you gonna want to throw your kindle don’t cos you gonna miss out on a Fan-fucking-tastic Story.

I hope you love this book as much as I did…

Enjoy!!!!

Excerpt:

Life had never been easy for me. Chaos had been following me like a dark cloud, looming and hovering, casting its shadow far and wide despite how bright the path in front of me should have appeared. After growing up the way I had, where happiness had been more of a privilege than a choice, I knew better than to believe that that moment would be anything other than fleeting.
And one second later, the universe proved me right.
I opened the door to see who had rung the bell—a cursory check revealed an empty hallway.
And that’s when I heard it: the sound that changed not only my entire life in the present, but my life for all future days to come.
At first, it was just a grunt, but as if that baby could feel my gaze, the minute my eyes made contact, it let out a sharp cry.
Confusion hit me like a lightning bolt, sending me back a step. I used the door frame for balance as I took in the yellow blanket with a hole only big enough to reveal a pale-pink face.
“What the fuck?” I breathed. Glancing around the hall, I waited for someone to jump out and start laughing. When no one spoke up to issue a punchline, I took a step closer and repeated, “What the fuck?”
I was utterly unable to process the absurdity in front of me.
Of course, I knew the facts.
It was a baby.
On my doorstep.
Alone.
But the why in that equation was glaringly absent.
“Uhhh,” Ian drawled, peering over my shoulder. “Why is there a kid at your door?”
“I have no idea,” I replied, staring down at the squirming and now-screaming bundle. “It was just there when I opened the door.”
Ian shoved me to the side so he could stand beside me. “You’re shitting me, right?”
“Does it look like I’m shitting you?”
He looked from me to the baby, then back again. “How did it get there?”
We were two incredibly smart men who had created a technology empire out of nothing. But, clearly, a baby was too big for either of us to wrap our minds around.
I swept an arm out and pointed to the kid. “I have no clue, but I’m assuming it didn’t catch a cab.”
A light of understanding hit his eyes. He moved first, stepping over the crying baby and hurrying down the hall, searching around the corner near the elevator before returning alone.
The party continued behind me, but even with the door open, the loud chatter was no match for the ear-piecing cries happening in that hallway.
Veronica suddenly appeared beside me, her body going solid as she stammered out. “Is that…a baby?”
“Back up,” I urged, throwing my arm out to block her path as though the infant were going to suddenly morph into a rabid animal. And let’s be honest, I knew nothing about babies. Anything was possible.
Ian dropped to his knees, scooping up the wailing child. Meanwhile, I stood there like a gawking idiot, paralyzed by a weight I didn’t yet understand.
“Call the pol—” He stopped abruptly and reached into the top of the child’s blanket. “Oh shit,” he whispered, his wide, panic-filled eyes flashing to mine.
“What?” I asked, stepping toward him to get a better look at the kid. Only it wasn’t that tiny baby cradled in his arms that made my heart stop and bile rise in my throat.
There, in my best friend’s hand, was a folded piece of notebook paper that had been tucked into the child’s blanket. From the looks of it, the paper was unremarkable in every sense of the word. Blue lines, white spaces, hanging remnants from where it had been haphazardly ripped from a spiral bound notebook. Even the crease was crooked. But it was my name scrawled on the outside in messy, black ink that made it the most remarkable paper in existence.
I snatched it from his hand and, with blood roaring in my ears, opened it.

Caven,
I’m sorry. I never meant for this to happen. This is our daughter Keira. I’ll love her forever. Take care of her the way I can’t.
Written with regret,
Hadley

The hall began to spin, my head feeling like every ounce of blood had been drained from my body. The thundering in my ears faded and the loud chatter of my guests, who were suddenly aware that something was happening at the door, roared to life.
And then the chaos finally found me all over again—the past playing out in my head like my life flashing before my eyes.
I sucked in a deep breath and looked at the baby in his arms. The blanket had fallen off its head just enough to reveal a patch of fine hairs, more orange than its mother’s red.
“Call the police,” I declared, turning on a toe and walking back into my apartment, leaving Ian standing in the hall with Hadley’s child.
Shoving through the crowd of concerned onlookers, I headed straight to the bottles of liquor lining the counter. I didn’t bother with ice or even a glass. I threw back that bottle of vodka, hoping like hell the burn of the alcohol could numb the panic coursing through my veins.
Through it all, that baby never stopped crying.

Pre-order the stunning conclusion, Written With You, today!
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About Aly

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her husband and four young children.
Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and olives. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.
She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

Connect with Aly
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlyMartinez/
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#NewRelease UNTIL MANI by Rochelle Paige @RochellePaige1 #HappilyEverAlphaWorld #Novella #Live #5Stars

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ NEW RELEASE ♥

Until Mani by @RochellePaige1 is #LIVE

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2WUSOHs

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2IkQ96q

iTunes: https://apple.co/2GgpWT6

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2vd17md

Title: Until Mani: Happily Ever Alpha World

Author: Rochelle Paige

Release: April 16, 2019

Genre: Novella Romance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44056534-until-mani

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Unti Mani

By Rochelle Paige

This is a true Until book, I’m so in love with this book!

Mani the owner of Bryson’s Steakhouse where all the Mayson’s go for celebrations. Vivian lands into town jobless and homeless to stay at her college roommate’s apartment.

Lyla takes her out to the restaurant her boyfriend manages which happens to be Bryson’s. One look at Vivian and Mani understand the Mayson’s BOOM!

This is a sweet book and only a little drama that’ll have you wanting to reread it all over again. Mani is your perfect alpha sweet male who ranks right up there with all the Mayson’s!

-5 Stars!-

-Sue-

Until Mani

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2WUSOHs

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2UgY6vd

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Xdzrto

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2Ikp5Ey

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2IkQ96q

iTunes: https://apple.co/2GgpWT6

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2vd17md

Books2Read: books2read.com/UntilMani

Until Mani Blurb:

Bryson’s Steakhouse is the go-to place for the Mayson family to celebrate all their big occasions. As its owner, Mani has had a front row seat to the second generation of Maysons finding their boom. But he’s always on the outside looking in, and he doubts it’ll ever be his turn…until Vivian comes crashing into his life.

Vivian doesn’t think she has a lot in common with Mani. He owns a fancy restaurant, and she’s having a hard time finding a job. She’s searching for a cheap place to rent, and he has a beautiful house. Fast food drive-throughs are more her style, and Mani is all about gourmet.

To Mani, these aren’t differences. They’re opportunities to give Vivian everything she deserves.

Until Mani Excerpt:

My mind was on the drink recipes I was planning to try out when I walked into the bar area of my restaurant a few hours before closing. Tuesday nights were our slowest, and there were only a couple of booths occupied and a few people seated at the far end of the bar. I quickly spotted Jayce talking to two women. I recognized the brunette as his girlfriend, but I hadn’t seen the blonde around here before. I would definitely remember if I had because she was the kind of woman a man didn’t forget.

The black dress she was wearing showed off her curves to perfection. My hands itched to get on her luscious ass and give it a squeeze. My mouth watered to taste the creamy swell of her tits. And my cock twitched at the thought of having her long legs hiked over my shoulders while I worked my way down to her pussy to savor that as well. I had the feeling she’d be more delicious than any meal I’d ever prepared, and I was determined to find out if I was right.

As I got closer, I noticed how her blond hair was pulled back in a low ponytail that drew my gaze to her graceful neck. It wasn’t a detail I’d paid attention to on any other woman before, but I wanted to nibble my way down to her pulse point and leave my mark there for other men to see. I’d never been territorial over the women I’d dated in the past, but I recognized the feeling for what it was—possessiveness for a woman when I didn’t even know her name.

Then she turned towards me, and I felt a jolt run through my body when our gazes met. Her blue eyes widened in surprise, and I couldn’t help but think that James Mayson was right. I finally understood what it meant to be hit by the boom, and it’d only taken one glance. I only hoped she was feeling it as much as I was.

Rochelle Paige Bio:

Rochelle Paige is the Amazon bestselling author of more than twenty-five books. She absolutely adores reading and her friends growing up used to tease her when she trailed after them, trying to read and walk at the same time. She loves stories with alpha males, sassy heroines, hot sex and happily ever afters. She is a bit of a genre hopper in both her reading and her writing. So far she’s written books in several romance sub-genres including new adult, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense.

She is the mother of two wonderful sons who inspired her to chase her dream of being an author. She wants them to learn from her that you can live your dream as long as you are willing to work for it.

Rochelle Paige Social Media:

FB – http://www.facebook.com/rochellepaigeauthor

IG – https://www.instagram.com/rochellepaigeauthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rochell

#LiveNow #BeforeWeFall #StaceyLynn #FlovedThisBook #TenStarReveiw #Excerpt #KidsWeFallInLoveWith #HeartbrokenAndPutBackTogether

“An emotional, angsty story of two soulmates torn apart by circumstances beyond their control.
You’ll laugh, cry and root for them all the way. Stacey Lynn hits it out of the park!”
~ Carly Phillips NY Times Bestselling Author

“Sexy, gripping, and heartwarming. With a hero that made my book-boyfriend all-stars list and a fast-paced plot that had me turning pages way past my bedtime, Before We Fell is a top 2019 read for me!” ~Author P. Dangelico

Before We Fell, an all-new contemporary romance from Stacey Lynn is available now!

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The horror that rocked my small town last winter also brought Noah Wilkes into my life. The first almost broke all of us, but the second changed everything.

He stomped into my classroom all angry scowls and rudeness, the big-shot lawyer who was always too good for this small town. But the moment his smile softened toward his niece, it was me that melted.

The heartbreak that brought him back also brought me closer to him, to the man he hides from the world behind his swagger and aggression. The man I couldn’t help but fall for.

But life has a way of throwing a curveball when you least expect it, and this one could cost me everything–even him.
Turned out, our fates were written in the sky before we ever met—
Before we fell.

Download your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HICJ2W
Amazon Universal: mybook.to/BeforeWeFell
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2FoCqYE
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Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2FhBZAi

Excerpt:

It was the darkness covering us, shadowing everything except us. It was the tease of her all night. It was her laughter. Her scent. It was her.
I did exactly what I just said I shouldn’t. Couldn’t. My hand went to her cheek. I slid my fingers beneath her ear, brushing my thumb against the warmth of her skin. “Lauren.”
Her hand curled around my wrist. She didn’t push it away. She didn’t pull me toward her. She gaped at me, mouth parting, lip sliding along her bottom lip. Her pulse pounded against my fingertips.
“We shouldn’t,” she whispered. “You’re right. I’m Riley’s teacher. I don’t want to make things any harder for her than they already are.”
She was right.
The problem was I was harder than I’d ever been and what about my needs? It was selfish, but thirty-five years of selfish living wasn’t easily kicked to the curb despite my efforts.
“Okay,” I whispered back. “I understand.”
I leaned in anyway, dropping my head, and as I moved like I was going to kiss her, her breath caught, and her eyes fluttered closed. Tempting. So damn tempting.
It took a larger force of will than I normally used with women, but I ignored her mouth, moved to her cheek, but instead of kissing her cheek, I pressed my lips to my thumb on her. I tasted her flesh without touching her, lingered there while her muscles tensed and she inhaled a sharp breath. Her shoulders went tight and her scent invaded me so deeply I knew I’d need more from her.
And I’d take it when the time was right.
“Goodnight, Miss Frazier,” I said, grinning against my thumb, wishing she’d tell me to kiss her.
She didn’t. She pressed on my wrist, pushing my hand away from her. I let her go reluctantly, stepping back and licking my own lips.
“Goodnight, Mr. Wilkes.” Her grin shook. Like we shared a secret joke.
We definitely shared a secret. I admitted I wanted her.
She didn’t tell me she didn’t feel the same…just that we shouldn’t.
Which wasn’t close to being the same as couldn’t.
Or wouldn’t.
My lawyer-sharp mind found the loophole. Someday I’d figure out a way to exploit it.

💥💥💥 Review By TashaM 💥💥💥

OMFG WHAT A DAMN HEARTBREAKING YET UTTERLY BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN STORY…..

Take a bow Stacey Lynn. You so deserve it. This book was so so Beautiful…

Before We Fall will instantly, from the moment you start the Prologue, it will have your undiveded attention. Also it will definitely give you the feel of a certain movie but its absolutely nothing like it.

Noah, Lauren’s and Riley’s story is nothing like the movie that comes to mind. Its so much more. It’s damn Heartbreaking, it sad, you will definitely be trying to hold back a Sob a Time or two.

Noah is Riley’s Uncle. Circumstances calls for him to be her legal guardian. This no Nonsense, rich attorney has to give everything that goes with Rich Bacholar life up for his Niece. Which he does in a heart beat.

Lauren is Riley Teacher, she also is Noah’s new next door Neighbour. Everyone knows them in town so they know the family history.

Yet Noah’s first impression to Lauren is anything but amazing.

He is a Giant Jerk to Lauren but she wastes no time in putting him in his place. It doesn’t rake to long for him to start seeing that She is the best thing tp happen to him and Riley.

Watching them all come in with huge baggage and then heal slowly with each others love and support. Watching them all fall on love was just down writen awesome.

These two have it hard, faith really tries to mess with them as well… But the Gods finally know they have been through enough.

Watching them all get their HEA after all the hurt makes you have the biggest smile on facr when you reach the end of a perfect Epilogue….

#CoverReveal #Tumble #AdrianaLocke #ComingSoon #Teasers #Snippet #Giveaway

Title: Tumble (Dogwood Lane #1)

Author: Adriana Locke

Release Date: February 26th

Releases In: Kindle Unlimited, Paperback, Audiobook

Quick:

From USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke comes a witty romance about first love and second chances. This is a standalone, small-town, blue-collar love story.

Giveaway: http://bit.ly/2TQRgwK

Synopsis:

After being burned by her dream job in New York City, sports journalist Neely Kimber suddenly finds herself jobless and paying a long-overdue visit to her hometown in Tennessee. Her plan? Relax, reset, and head back up the corporate ladder. There’s just one unexpected step. Neely’s back in Dogwood Lane for barely a day when she sees the man she ran from nine years ago: the bad boy next door who was her first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak.

Devoted sigle dad Dane Madden knows he hurt Neely in the worst way. He’s got a lot to make up for. And as passionate as their reconnection is, it’s a lot to hope for. Having her back in his arms feels so right. But falling in love all over again with a woman who wants to live a world away is bound to go so wrong.
What’s it going to take for Neely to give him—and Dogwood Lane—just one more chance?

Preorder Now for $3.99: https://amzn.to/2zMEnOO (bloggers, feel free to substitute your affiliate link!)

Ways to Save Money:
If you preorder the ebook of Tumble, you can add the Audible narration for just $1.99.
If you preorder the paperback of Tumble, you can grab the ebook for 99 cents.

Audio Features:
Narrated by the talented Aiden Snow and Summer Morton, this audio will rock your socks!

Snippet:

Splat!

The sound of the hammer crushing my thumb—swung with more force than was necessary, to boot—ricochets across the front lawn. The tool falls from my hand, striking against the sawhorse, and flips into the soft grass with a gentle thud.

“Son of a…!” My hand shakes, the top of my thumb threatening to explode. I tilt my head to the sky and try to find some peace in the clouds.

I come up empty. “Matt!” I call to my younger brother. “I’m taking ten.”

He nods from halfway up the ladder leaned against the side of the house.

Wrapping my good hand around my thumb, I head toward my truck. Sounds of construction ring out behind me. It’s usually music to my ears, the lifeblood of the Madden name. But each cut of a sawblade, buzz of a power drill, and swing of a hammer feels like a distraction this morning. I have a throbbing thumb to show for it.

Beads of sweat cluster along my forehead. I remove my hat with my good hand and run the back of my forearm along my brow.

“Damn it.” Everything feels sticky. Mildly irritating. And the progress on the project that usually energizes me has failed me epically this morning. I just don’t want to be here. Not that I have a better place to be. Quite frankly, I have a lot of places I shouldn’t be, and with Neely, or thinking about Neely, is one of them.

I would’ve recognized her anywhere. Same gray eyes that glimmer like she’s about to tell you a secret. Full lips that spread into a smile so infectious you can’t help but feel your own mouth following suit. The hint of floral perfume, the golden hair that may as well be silk, and the aura about her that’s just as strong as the day she left Dogwood Lane and me—it’s all the same. It’s like time forgot to age her. She somehow has become more beautiful, sexier, stronger.

The world hates me. I’ve postulated this for a long time, but it’s obvious today.

The tailgate of my truck lowers. Scooping a handful of ice from the cooler in the bed into a bandanna, I wrap it around my injured digit. The relief lasts only a few moments.

“What are you doing down here?” Penn rests his forearms over the side of the truck, the tattoos carved in his skin like mini masterpieces on full display. He eyes my makeshift bandage. “What happened to you?”

“Hammer,” I groan, adjusting the ice.

“That’s interesting.”

“How you figure?”

“Never knew you to hit yourself with a hammer before. I find that interesting.”

“If that’s interesting, you need a hobby. Or you could work like I’m paying you to do . . .”

“I have a hobby, thank you, and you should’ve seen her last night,” he says, smacking his lips together. “Lord Almighty, she’s a—”

“Penn.”

“Yeah?”

The tip of my finger sticks out of the bandanna. It’s bright red and hot to the touch despite the ice packed around it. “All your escapades really sound the same at this point.”

“Is that jealousy I hear?” He cups his hand to his ear. “I thought so. Not my fault you’re in a dry spell.”

Leaning against the truck, I look at him. “Jealousy isn’t how I’d describe it. But if that makes ya feel good, go for it.”

“My hobby makes me feel good.” He moves his lips around, like he’s fighting the next words trying to pop out. He does this when he knows he shouldn’t say something but can’t quite convince himself not to. “From the looks of you, I’d say you’re more than jealous. I’d say you’re . . . tempted.”

My tongue presses on the roof of my mouth. “Tempted to what?”

He leans against the truck, too, the gold St. Christopher’s medal he’s worn since elementary school clamoring against the side. The corners of his lips nearly touch the corners of his eyes. He knows.

“Word travels fast, huh?” I say, prodding around to see if my guess is right.

He slow blinks. Twice.

“What?” I ask.

“That’s all you have to say about Neely being back in town? ‘Word travels fast.’ What’s wrong with you?”

We don’t have time for that conversation.

I sigh. “What do you want me to say?”

“I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that little run-in.” Penn snickers. “Did you stutter around like I imagine? Or did you not manage to say an entire sentence?”

Working my jaw back and forth, I point a finger his way. “You better stop while you’re ahead.”

He reads me correctly, and his animation drops a notch. “Really, though. How’d it go? But before you answer that, let me toss out there that I heard sparks were flying all over the diner so hot Claire had to call the fire department.”

I shake my head. “Shut up.”

“Just telling you what I heard.”

“The firemen were there to order food, you idiot.”

He thinks he’s onto something. There’s a glee in his face that means only one thing: it’s going to be a long day around here.

“So, what happened?” he asks, resting his arms over the truck bed.

“You know, sometimes I think you should’ve been a girl with all the gossiping you do.”

“This isn’t gossip,” he contends. “This is Neely-freaking-Kimber, man. Every memory I have of my entire adolescence has her in it. She bailed me out of jail when I was too scared to call my dad and you and Matt were passed out on moonshine. Remember that?”

My chuckle is so hard, it causes my thumb to throb. “I forgot about that. She was pissed.”

“Neely came through, though. God, I miss her.”

Those last words echo through my mind.

I have shoved her out of my head for the last few years. Took over Dad’s business, took care of my business. Trudged forward without her because that was the only choice I had. I hardly even think about her anymore unless someone brings her up in conversation.

So why do I itch to crawl into the truck and hunt her down?