Escape to the Sea with Cait Sidhe’s Review of Piper J. Drake’s Siren’s Calling!

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“Human legends whispered stories of my kind, giving us multiple names. Siren. We called ourselves merfolk. We were myths, fairy tales, and to humans, we didn’t exist. Our kind has fled these oceans centuries ago, so in some ways, the humans were right.”

 

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Amae Waters will never live up to her father’s expectations–she’s not a leader and she’s not a soldier. Rather than live with his disappointment, she’s left his realm and built a life

for herself in Seattle, a mermaid blending in with humankind. Her mission? To prepare the oceans for the return of her people. But she’s not sure she’s cut out to accomplish that either.

A new predator has entered the waters of the Puget Sound, ravaging orcas and leaving their carcasses to wash ashore for humans to find. Whatever is killing them is beyond human understanding and Amae must find it before it irrevocably damages the complex balance of the ocean ecosystems.

But a greater danger lurks in the deep. Amae is done evading traps. She’ll defend her territory and prove she needn’t be a soldier to be a warrior or become the sacrifice used to end her people.

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Look for other stories in this exciting Urban Fantasy series from Philippa Ballantine, Stacia D. Kelly, Lauren Harris, Katee Robert, and Asa Maria Bradley.

Siren’s Surge/Siren’s Curse/Siren’s Tide /Siren’s Serenity

If you plan to buy any of the books please use the links provided.  This helps the blog and doesn’t cost you anything extra.  –Thank you for your support from the Wickedcoolflight Crew.

Excerpt from Siren’s Calling:

I tasted blood in the water.
Changing course with a flick of my tail, I swam against the fast-moving ocean current toward the source. There were no vibrations in the water to indicate the thrashing of a living thing in distress and the seas were quieter than usual. Not surprising, with this much blood carried on the currents. Predators would be drawn to it and prey would be wise to leave the area or hide.
Curious, I’d come to investigate, thinking one of the killer whale pods had taken a baleen whale. It wasn’t unheard of, though it didn’t happen often. A big kill like that would draw plenty of ocean denizens, and I hadn’t tasted whale in a long time. I wouldn’t kill one, not when I couldn’t finish consuming it myself and not when so many whale species were endangered, but I wouldn’t let it go to waste, either.
When I didn’t find anything in open water, I’d pulled myself up onto the rocky outcropping between islands and found it. The body. But it wasn’t a humpback or gray whale, not a mink or fin whale, either. It was an orca, a killer whale, and that didn’t make any kind of sense.
Before I could take a closer look, the sound of a powerful motor cut through the morning calls of seabirds. Harbor seals lifted their heads and looked around from where they lay on another rock outcropping. A lone Steller sea lion grunted and scratched his head with a huge hind flipper. He turned to stare at me and I met his gaze, unconcerned. He was a prime specimen of a bull, the largest I’d ever encountered, but he posed no threat to me.
The waves slapped against the rocks around my tail fin in a changed cadence. A boat was approaching, and with it, humans. They were probably whale watching, which meant every one of them would be on the lookout for wildlife. Most of them would have binoculars. I couldn’t let them see me in this form.
I dove back into the water, darting through forests of kelp and berating myself for lingering past dawn. There was too much light and I had to dive deep to be sure nothing on the surface caught sight of even a tail flick from me.
As far as humans were concerned, I didn’t exist. I was a myth, a fairy tale.
If they saw me, they might not even believe what they’d seen. In their dreams or after too many drinks, they might whisper, “Mermaid.”
And they’d be right.

Cait Sidhe’s Review:

Amae is not Disney’s mermaid. While she lives among the humans after being exiled from Salacia by her father, there is no denying that she is something alien and other. Her true form is sharp and dangerous, all shark teeth and razor-sharp fins and claws. Terrifyingly beautiful, she’s otherworldly and predatory. Even the way she thinks is cold and calculating, yet that isn’t even close to the soldier her father wants her to be.

However, as she discovers, she is not the scariest predator in the ocean right now. Something is decimating killer whales and leaving their bodies for humans to find. When she is contacted by a field biologist conducting research on orcas in the Puget Sound, she realizes that she needs to uncover the truth of these killings. Working together with a selkie, albeit grudgingly, they need to stop whatever is merciless killing before it draws even more attention from the humans and possibly reveals their secret as well.

I appreciated the mythology of Siren’s Calling. Not only are the merfolk, like Amae hiding from the humans, so are werewolves and vampires, though they are only mentioned in passing. The aquarium is cared for by a “lesser fae”, probably a brownie if we have to put a name to it. Then, of course, we have the selkie, though his form is as a Steller sea lion, instead of the usual seal. Also making their appearance are the Deep Dwellers, nightmarish eel-like humanoid creatures. They are not named other than to be possible distant relations to the merfolk but I’m guessing them to be merrows or something like.

Siren’s Calling was certainly more of a dark urban fantasy than the paranormal romance I expected. While there is some appreciation of Keegan, the brawny selkie, (and who wouldn’t!) it never goes beyond comfortable friendship. With good pacing, mystery, and adventure, Siren’s Calling is a great addition to The Sea King’s Daughters series.

4 out of 5 propellers!

 

About Piper J. Drake:

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Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. She is often distracted by dogs, cupcakes, and random shenanigans.

Connect with Piper at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | GoodReads| Youtube

The Brightest Stars by Anna Todd is LIVE! And NICUnurse gives you the low down on this new release.

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The Brightest Stars, a beautiful and gripping novel from New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author Anna Todd, is LIVE!

 

International bestselling author Anna Todd returns with a gripping novel about a young woman’s journey towards love, and the obstacles life throws up at every turn.

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Karina knows the harsh realities of military life. And like anyone who has grown up around an army base, she knows the background noise that follows a soldier home from war. That’s why she’s forging her own quiet life in her own little house. But she hasn’t turned her back on her family. She’s the glue that holds them together–when her father is deployed, when her brother, Austin, has another brush with the law.

Karina knows that she has to look after herself, that she can’t always fix what’s broken. But when Austin’s behavior worsens and her father’s reactions grow more extreme, Karina feels her own edges beginning to fray. That’s when she meets him–a closed book she’s desperate to open.

At just twenty, Kael is a handsome, brooding soldier struggling with the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. He’s emotionally damaged and closed off. Quiet doesn’t begin to describe him. But as Karina gets used to his stable presence, she finds it hard to ignore the way he makes her feel. In their time together, she finds the stillness she has always wanted and never found. She lets down her guard. And she lets herself fill in the blanks about this mysterious man.

But illusions quickly made are quickly shattered. That’s when Karina has to find her own courage–to untangle the truth from the lies, and decide what she’s going to do about it.

A riveting story about love and lies, THE BRIGHTEST STARS will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

NICUnurse’s Review of The Brightest Stars by Anna Todd

Anna Todd is a new author to me, but the blub of The Brightest Stars was intriguing, so I decided to give this author a try. And to be honest, I’m still on the fence about this story. Give me a few minutes to explain. I hate cliffhangers. And this book has a BIG one. I was not prepared for that. So, if you are like me and hate cliffhangers, stop right here and wait for the next book (books?). And here’s why I’m on the fence… I really liked the story! So, it’s a bit of a conundrum for me… Do I like it, or do I hate it, or am I somewhere in between?? I think I fall more towards the like it side of that line. The author’s writing style was interesting, the characters were well-developed, and the storyline intriguing and kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could.

 

Both main characters are very young, and they are still trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in this world. This is definitely a New Adult story, and at times I wanted to sit them down and tell them to just chill. Karina is quite dramatic, and that bugs me. But that is a personal thing and has nothing to do with the story. I have a daughter, and at 8 years old, she’s very dramatic. So this tends to bug me, even in literature. But that’s neither here nor there. The writing is quite good and was a pleasant surprise for me. I was pulled into the story from the prologue and wanted to yell and throw my iPad at the end because of the cliffhanger. Needless to say, I’m anxiously awaiting the next book. Until then, I’ll be over here shooting Ms. Todd the side eye for making me wait!

 

NICUnurse’s Rating: As much as it pains me to not take off any propellers for the cliffhanger (Hey… no judging… this is MY opinion after all!), I give this book 4 solid propellers. There were a few spots here and there that I was a bit confused as to where the author was taking the story and felt a few things would have been OK to be left out. But all in all, it was a very pleasant read, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, either.

Download your copy today

iBooks: HERE

Amazon: HERE

Nook: HERE

Audible: HERE

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/TheBrightestStars

Amazon Paperback: HERE

Barnes and Noble Paperback: HERE

 

Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2JWokC4

 

Win a Day With Anna!

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Anna is celebrating the special edition paperback of THE BRIGHTEST STARS sold exclusively at Target Stores with a Golden Ticket Sweepstakes!

 

Two (2) Winners will each receive:

  • Three (3) days and two (2) nights hotel accommodations in Los Angeles, CA
  • One (1) round-trip ticket to Los Angeles, CA for Winner and one (1) guest.
  • Ground transportation to and from the airport and hotel in Los Angeles, CA.
  • A fun-filled activity with Anna Todd
  • One (1) copy of each of the After book series, The Brightest Stars and Nothing More/Nothing Less signed by Anna Todd

 

For more information on how to enter, visit: http://www.annatodd.com/contest-rules/

 

About Anna:

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Anna  Todd  is the  New York Times  and #1 internationally bestselling author of the After series.  An avid reader, Anna began writing stories on her phone on Wattpad, the reading and writing multi-platform for original stories, with  After  becoming the most read series on the platform with over 1.5 billion reads.  The print edition published in 2014. AFTER has been published in over 30 languages, with more than 10 million copies sold worldwide, and is a #1 bestseller in Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. 

 

The film adaptation of AFTER, which Anna is co-producing, is set to be released in early 2019. Anna  and her husband currently live in Los Angeles. 

 

Find her at AnnaTodd.com, on Twitter at @imaginator1d, on Instagram at @imaginator1d, and on Wattpad as Imaginator1D.

 

Connect with Anna:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/imaginator1d

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imaginator1d/

Website: http://www.annatodd.com

Stay up to date with Anna by signing up for her mailing list here:

https://goo.gl/KbGJ7F

Emma Chase has a Cover Reveal…

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Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco. It’s a big deal. When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning. What she isn’t…is married. It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want. Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty. Even Queens. Especially them. **  Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home. And a sacred promise keeps him there. To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure. ** Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever. Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story. This is theirs. ROYALLY YOURS will be available on October 30th

Pre-order:

iBooks: HERE

B&N: HERE

Google Play: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursGooglePlay

Kobo: HERE

Amazon live alert: http://authoremmachase.com/newsletter/

GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/RoyallyYoursGoodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefsseries. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine. Website: http://authoremmachase.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEmmaChase/?fref=ts Newsletter: http://authoremmachase.com/newsletter/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/emmachse Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551005.Emma_Chase

Calling all Carrie Ann Ryan fans…Restless Ink is available for purchase TODAY!

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It’s time to purchase your copy of the next book in the Montgomery Ink Series.

You know that you’ve been waiting for it so do it now!

If you’re undecided then read the steamy excerpt below…you will be hooked!

Come back on September 26th to read BlueSeal’s Review!

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About Restless Ink

The Montgomery Ink series continues with the so-called sensible sister and the one man she never should have fallen for.

For Thea Montgomery, baking isn’t only therapeutic, it’s also her dream job. She’s worked countless hours keeping her bakery afloat, and now that it’s where she wants it to be, she’s ready to expand and take the next step. When it comes to work and her family, she’s on top of her game. Her personal life, however, is a different story.

When Dimitri Carr isn’t teaching and hiding his ink under long sleeves to keep the bosses happy, he’s trying to be the best brother and friend he can be. After his divorce, he’d thought he would lose Thea from his life forever because she’s his ex-wife’s best friend. But now that he’s free, and the two of them realize they want to keep their friendship. Then he finally sees what he’s been missing all this time.

But there are more problems than the fact that Dimitri is Thea’s best friend’s ex. And when accidental touches and flirtations aren’t enough for either of them, and they’re finally ready to take the next step, they’ll find out exactly what that cost is for crossing that line. And will need to find the strength to face it.

 

Restless Ink - Teasers - MI Continues (1)

 

Get your hands on RESTLESS INK now:

Amazon HERE

iBooks HERE

Barnes & Noble HERE

Kobo HERE

Google Play http://bit.ly/2MoqgEm

Amazon Paperback: HERE

Audio: HERE

 

You are going to love this steamy excerpt from Restless Ink

Thea knew she’d had one too many glasses of wine by the time her family walked out of her house to their waiting drivers. All of them had opted to use Lyft rather than drive, and for that, Thea was grateful. Hell, she was glad all she had to do was clean up before going to bed. No one had made too much of a mess, and everyone had helped clean up some of it already, but she just wanted to sleep.

Of course, one person had stayed behind to help her, and now she was sure she’d had too much wine. She was tipsy, not drunk, and much too warm to make any good decisions. So, she wouldn’t make any.

“You don’t have to stay, Dimitri.”

“I’m helping you clean. You might be able to push your family out because they’re going to host soon, but you can’t push me out.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “How drunk are you? Should I be calling you a Lyft, too?”

He shook his head. “I had a few beers and will schedule my own Lyft. I like that we all did that instead of trying to risk it. Makes me happy that you all think ahead.”

“We don’t drink together that often anymore and, apparently, that final game of Twister sent us all over the edge.”

Dimitri snorted. “I still think you cheated on right foot yellow.”

She gasped. “Liar. I didn’t cheat. You fell. You don’t have the moves to twist, Dimitri. Just let it be known.”

“Cheat.”

Her face warmed, and she went right up to him, tilting her head back since he was so much taller. “What? I could beat you again, and we both know it.”

He held up the board and casually flicked the spinner. “Prove it.”

“Just the two of us? I don’t think so.”

“Bawk.”

“Did you just… did you just make a chicken noise at me?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, all I hear is clucking. Bawk.”

She lifted her chin, then stripped off her shrug so she wore only her maxi dress. She needed space to move, and it wasn’t easy to play in a dress to begin with, but she was no cheat. She ignored the way Dimitri’s eyes followed her movements, thinking the warmth she felt had to be the wine, nothing else.

“Fine. Game on.”

Dimitri just smiled, and soon, the two of them were standing on the floor mat, laughing like loons as they tried to twist. Having him spin for the two of them wasn’t easy, but she’d be damned if she allowed him to call her a cheat.

Only, when she went for left foot green, her leg twisted with Dimitri’s and they both went down. He tried to move so he took the brunt of the fall, but her dress got in the way, and she ended up on her back, her dress hiked up to her thighs, and Dimitri nestled between them.

She stiffened, her breath going ragged.

“Shit,” Dimitri muttered. “Shit.”

She didn’t say anything, couldn’t say anything. She could only feel him, feel the wine in her system. She wasn’t drunk enough to make a mistake, but not sober enough to move away from him either.

And when his breath warmed her cheek, she did the one thing she shouldn’t, she tilted her head ever so slightly, so their lips brushed.

And then, she was lost.

 

19225111_1741761059169187_1868782524644015674_n-300x300About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

Website: http://carrieannryan.com/

Newsletter: http://carrieannryan.com/newsletter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarrieAnnRyan

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

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5360266.Carrie_Ann_Ryan

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/carrieannryan/

Tumblr: http://carrieannryan.tumblr.com/

The highly anticipated new book from Marie Force, Five Years Gone, is coming October 9th! We have a sneak peek and you pre-order links TODAY!

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Today we are sharing an excerpt from FIVE YEARS GONE, a romantic standalone title by Marie Force. Five Years Gone will be releasing on October 9th! Pre-order links can be found below.

 

FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

Coming October 9

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

PRE-ORDER IT NOW!

Kindle US | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

IndieBound | Booktopia AU | Books-a-Million

PURCHASE IN AUDIO: Amazon | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU

 

Read this excerpt from Five Years Gone.

Prologue

Ava

We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me.

Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues.

I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.”

And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew.

“I’m John.”

I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.”

Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?”

“Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.”

“What do you think so far?”

“I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.”

As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?”

I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.”

“The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.”

“I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool.

“Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along.

“Do people always do what you say?”

“If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?”

Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan.

“Go big or go home,” he said with admiration.

“That’s my motto.” I was so full of shit. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier.

When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.”

I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.”

“So, where’re you from, Ava?”

“New York.”

“I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.”

I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?”

Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.”

“I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?”

“I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.”

“Where’s home?”

“Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?”

I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?”

“Somewhere we can talk.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”

 

That’s how we started. We were intense from the first second we met until the last time I saw him five years ago today. I can’t believe it’s been five years since I looked into those incredible blue eyes or woke to him on the pillow next to me or heard his voice in my ear, whispering words that’re permanently carved into my heart as he made love to me.

The worst part is I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, being held captive or if he’s living his life somewhere else with someone else. I don’t know, and the not knowing is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

I love him as much today as I ever did. No amount of time could ever change that simple fact of my life. We had two beautiful, magnificent years together, caught up in our own little bubble. He never met my family. I never met his. We didn’t make couple friends. We didn’t talk about the future. We didn’t need to. Our future was decided that first night, and it would take care of itself in due time. I honestly and naively believed that.

Now, with hindsight, I realize the bubble was strategic on his part. He gave me everything he had to give, including no promise of tomorrow.

Five years ago today, we watched the horror unfold on live television. A US-based cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. Four thousand lives extinguished in a heartbeat. Our world permanently changed once again, our country declaring yet another war on terrorists. After 9/11 we thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong.

“I have to go,” he said, grabbing the duffel that stood ready in the front hall closet. He called it his “go bag.” I’d thought nothing of it.

“Where’re you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know that either.” He held my face in his hands and gazed at me, seemingly trying to memorize my every feature. “I love you. I’ll always love you.” Then he kissed me as passionately as he ever had and was gone, out the door in a flash of camouflage.

I never saw him again.

I’m not his wife or even his fiancee, so no one notified me of his whereabouts. And three months after he left, when I found a way onto the base in a desperate quest for information, no one there could tell me anything either. I tried to locate his parents and other people he mentioned, but it was like they didn’t exist. I could find no record of a retired general named West in the Marine Corps, Army or Air Force.

Furthermore, an exhaustive search for information on the John West I had known led nowhere. No high school, no college, no military service, no nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed the two years we spent together, doing mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, watching TV and sleeping together after long days at work. But then I’d remember the blissful passion, the scorching pleasure, the desire that ruled us from the beginning, and I’d know I didn’t dream him. I didn’t dream us. We were real, and he was everything to me.

Sitting on the floor in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, I take a few minutes before the movers arrive to memorize every detail of the place where we lived together. I’ve packed his things along with mine, and I’m moving home to New York. Today was my deadline. I gave it five years, and I simply can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit in our home among our things, waiting for something that’s never going to happen.

It’s over. It’s time for me to move on. It’s probably long past time, if I’m being honest with myself. And though I know it’s the right move at the right time, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t shattering all over again as I dismantle the place where we were us.

My sister is getting married next month. I promised her I’d be home in time to hold her hand through the festivities. Other than occasional trips home for holidays and other occasions, I’ve been gone more than ten years. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to the girl who left home at eighteen seeking independence from her overbearing family at a faraway college out West.

I accomplished all my goals, finishing college, landing a decent job and falling in love with the man of my dreams. I found out what happens when dreams come true and how painful it is when they blow up in your face.

It’s time now to set new goals, to start over, to begin a life that doesn’t have John at the center of it the way it did here. It’ll be nice to be back with people who love me and care about me, even if they tend toward smothering at times. That’s looking rather good to me after years of loneliness and grief.

The intercom sounds to let me know the movers are here. I pick myself up off the floor and steel my heart for the day ahead. I can do this. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll survive this the same way I’ve survived everything else. Despite my resolve, my eyes fill with tears as I press the button that opens the door downstairs to the movers.

It doesn’t take them long to pack my belongings into their truck. I keep with me the things that can’t be replaced… precious photos, gifts he gave me, the clothing he left behind. After taking a final look around the apartment, I pack those boxes into my car, turn my apartment keys into the leasing office and head east, feeling as if I’m leaving behind everything that ever mattered to me.

It’s like I’m losing him all over again. I cry all the way through the desert of Southern California and well into Arizona. I relive every minute I can remember, every conversation, every special moment. I think about what it was like to make love with him and wonder how I’ll ever to do that with anyone but him. Maybe I won’t. Maybe that part of my life ended with him, and even though I’m only twenty-eight now, I’m okay with that possibility. Once you’ve experienced perfection, it’s hard to imagine settling for anything less.

The tears finally dry up somewhere in northern Arizona, but the ache inside… I take that with me all the way to New York, where I will try my very best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and put them back together into some new version of myself.

After all, what choice do I have?

—————

 

ADD FIVE YEARS GONE TO GOODREADS

 

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

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Calling all Carrie Ann Ryan fans…Restless Ink is available for purchase TODAY!

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It’s time to purchase your copy of the next book in the Montgomery Ink Series.

You know that you’ve been waiting for it so do it now!

If you’re undecided then read the steamy excerpt below…you will be hooked!

Come back on September 26th to read BlueSeal’s Review!

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About Restless Ink

The Montgomery Ink series continues with the so-called sensible sister and the one man she never should have fallen for.

For Thea Montgomery, baking isn’t only therapeutic, it’s also her dream job. She’s worked countless hours keeping her bakery afloat, and now that it’s where she wants it to be, she’s ready to expand and take the next step. When it comes to work and her family, she’s on top of her game. Her personal life, however, is a different story.

When Dimitri Carr isn’t teaching and hiding his ink under long sleeves to keep the bosses happy, he’s trying to be the best brother and friend he can be. After his divorce, he’d thought he would lose Thea from his life forever because she’s his ex-wife’s best friend. But now that he’s free, and the two of them realize they want to keep their friendship. Then he finally sees what he’s been missing all this time.

But there are more problems than the fact that Dimitri is Thea’s best friend’s ex. And when accidental touches and flirtations aren’t enough for either of them, and they’re finally ready to take the next step, they’ll find out exactly what that cost is for crossing that line. And will need to find the strength to face it.

 

Restless Ink - Teasers - MI Continues (1)

 

Get your hands on RESTLESS INK now:

Amazon HERE

iBooks HERE

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Amazon Paperback: HERE

Audio: HERE

 

You are going to love this steamy excerpt from Restless Ink

Thea knew she’d had one too many glasses of wine by the time her family walked out of her house to their waiting drivers. All of them had opted to use Lyft rather than drive, and for that, Thea was grateful. Hell, she was glad all she had to do was clean up before going to bed. No one had made too much of a mess, and everyone had helped clean up some of it already, but she just wanted to sleep.

Of course, one person had stayed behind to help her, and now she was sure she’d had too much wine. She was tipsy, not drunk, and much too warm to make any good decisions. So, she wouldn’t make any.

“You don’t have to stay, Dimitri.”

“I’m helping you clean. You might be able to push your family out because they’re going to host soon, but you can’t push me out.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “How drunk are you? Should I be calling you a Lyft, too?”

He shook his head. “I had a few beers and will schedule my own Lyft. I like that we all did that instead of trying to risk it. Makes me happy that you all think ahead.”

“We don’t drink together that often anymore and, apparently, that final game of Twister sent us all over the edge.”

Dimitri snorted. “I still think you cheated on right foot yellow.”

She gasped. “Liar. I didn’t cheat. You fell. You don’t have the moves to twist, Dimitri. Just let it be known.”

“Cheat.”

Her face warmed, and she went right up to him, tilting her head back since he was so much taller. “What? I could beat you again, and we both know it.”

He held up the board and casually flicked the spinner. “Prove it.”

“Just the two of us? I don’t think so.”

“Bawk.”

“Did you just… did you just make a chicken noise at me?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, all I hear is clucking. Bawk.”

She lifted her chin, then stripped off her shrug so she wore only her maxi dress. She needed space to move, and it wasn’t easy to play in a dress to begin with, but she was no cheat. She ignored the way Dimitri’s eyes followed her movements, thinking the warmth she felt had to be the wine, nothing else.

“Fine. Game on.”

Dimitri just smiled, and soon, the two of them were standing on the floor mat, laughing like loons as they tried to twist. Having him spin for the two of them wasn’t easy, but she’d be damned if she allowed him to call her a cheat.

Only, when she went for left foot green, her leg twisted with Dimitri’s and they both went down. He tried to move so he took the brunt of the fall, but her dress got in the way, and she ended up on her back, her dress hiked up to her thighs, and Dimitri nestled between them.

She stiffened, her breath going ragged.

“Shit,” Dimitri muttered. “Shit.”

She didn’t say anything, couldn’t say anything. She could only feel him, feel the wine in her system. She wasn’t drunk enough to make a mistake, but not sober enough to move away from him either.

And when his breath warmed her cheek, she did the one thing she shouldn’t, she tilted her head ever so slightly, so their lips brushed.

And then, she was lost.

 

19225111_1741761059169187_1868782524644015674_n-300x300About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

Website: http://carrieannryan.com/

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Shayla Black’s More than Crave You is LIVE today! Grab your copy HERE!

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04 MoreThanCraveYou (1)

Logical. Rich. Driven. And he wants her. . .

More Than Crave You, an all-new sexy standalone from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black is available now!

I’m Evan Cook—billionaire tech entrepreneur and widower. Professionally, I’ve got it all. But since my wife died, my personal life has fallen apart. Remarrying seems like the obvious answer, so I place an ad. I’m not asking for much. The ideal woman only needs to be smart, organized, pretty, and helpful—both in and out of bed—without expecting romance. I never thought to look right in front of me…but it turns out that Nia Wright, my sexy, sassy assistant, just might be the perfect candidate.

After an unexpectedly hot night together, I’m ready to stop interviewing strangers and simply marry her. On paper, she ticks every box on my list. Best of all, she’s far too sensible to fall for me. I didn’t see the flaw in my logic until it was too late. I never thought I’d lose my heart for the first time. And I definitely never imagined Nia could consume me. But she’s harboring a secret that could tear us apart. Can I prove I more than crave her before it’s too late?

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I charge down the hall toward what might be the stupidest mistake of my life.

I move through the sea of bodies, shrugging past the Latina dancer, a few of the French maids, then bump into my assistant’s handsy dance partner. I stare him down. He looks at me blankly. One thing I realize instantly? My gaydar is absolutely silent. He’s every bit as straight as I am.

As he hovers protectively around Nia’s dressing room, I snarl and shoulder my way past him.

He grabs my arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“To see Nia. Let go.”

His eyes narrow. “Is she expecting you?”

No. In fact, I’m about to shock the hell out of her. I don’t know if I’ll be unwelcome, but I’m going to test Bas’s theory that she wants me. If he’s right…this could get messy really fast.

I shake him off, barrel inside the room, and shut the door. Behind me, I immediately hear the asshole jimmying the knob. I throw my weight against the portal to keep him out and lock it behind me.

Nia whirls to the sound of my intrusion, dressed in an inch of stage makeup, a silky white robe—and nothing else.

The moment she recognizes me, her mouth drops open. Shock spreads across her face. “E-Evan?”

“Nia.” I can’t find more words. I can’t do anything except stare and put one foot in front of the other. I certainly can’t defuse the anger and possessiveness I know I have no right to feel.

“What are you doing here?”

“That’s my question for you,” I growl. “Why the fuck are you taking your clothes off for strangers?”

She rears back and blinks at me. I don’t think she’s ever heard me curse. I keep the office professional, totally aboveboard. But I can’t manage decorum now when she’s breathing hard and her nipples are poking her thin robe.

She raises her chin and glares at me. Everything about her demeanor is like waving a red cape in front of a bull.

“It’s burlesque, not stripping,” she snaps. “I don’t do this for money. I do it because I enjoy dancing.”

“Yeah? You enjoy that asshole’s hands all over you, too?” Even though the logical side of my brain tells me I’m way out of line, I point at the door behind me and stalk closer to her. “You enjoy sex standing up with him?”

Her nostrils flare. Her mouth presses into a firm line. “Last time I checked, boss, I don’t have to justify my personal life to you.”

The fact she’s right only pisses me off more. “You do when your behavior reflects badly on Stratus Solutions.”

She shoots me a quelling glare. “You’ll have to do better than that. No one in the audience knows who I am. I never take off my mask and I never use my real name. Nothing I do on stage can taint your reputation.” Arms crossed over her chest, she saunters closer. “Why don’t you be honest and tell me what’s really bothering you? I know you’re not this mad simply because I was dressed a little risqué and gyrated on stage with Kyle?”

I debate the wisdom of blurting the truth. The rational part of my brain tells me to shut up, leave, and act on Monday like nothing happened tonight. Every other part of me knows that ship has sailed. My cock is especially eager to lay my cards on the table, grab Nia in my arms…and not worry about what happens next.

“You’re right. I’m mad because I think you’ve fucked him.”

She jerks as if I’ve slapped her. “Not that it’s any of your business, but we haven’t been together in almost two years. Thanks for letting me know you think I’m a whore.”

Hearing I was right royally pisses me off. Having her put words in my mouth kills what’s left of my patience, stripping away anything resembling professional civility.

I try not to squeeze her arms as I drag her close. “I never said that. Or thought it. I’m telling you that I can’t stand knowing he’s touched you. I don’t like the fact you still have anything to do with him. I don’t even understand why I’m here yelling and angry. I’m just…”

How the hell do I put the storm raging inside me into words? No clue, but I need to get it all out somehow or I’m going to explode.

“Jealous?” Soft surprise crosses her face.

Something about her confusion rips the confession from me. “Yes.”

“Because you…want me?”

I grit my teeth and try again to think through the wisdom of spilling all this to her. But I can’t keep it in. The softness of warm silk and hot woman under my palms almost undoes me. “Yes. I know I shouldn’t. I’ve spent forty-eight hours telling myself what I’m feeling is ridiculous and I can’t allow this—whatever it is—into our perfectly comfortable, efficient working relationship. But I can’t turn it off. I can’t fight it. I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.”

“Is that what you’d rather do? Bury your head in the sand and not feel it?” She looks hurt.

Her expression makes me feel like an asshole. Nia always asks insightful questions. Why should now be different?

I shake my head. “For the first time in months—maybe years—I feel alive.”

Nia stares at me in silence, her gaze fused to mine. I swear I see a hundred thoughts whip through her head. For once, I can’t read a single one.

“Say something.” If she doesn’t soon, I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t even know if I can be responsible for what happens next.

“Have you been drinking?”

“Not enough to drown out how much I want you.”

“In spite of your opinion about my sexual past? And what about our working relationship?”

She’s not wrong, but they’re barbed questions. I have to maneuver around them carefully. “Nothing matters to me except touching you right now.”

Before Nia can chew on my answer and remember all the reasons she should say no, I pull her against me. She gasps. The instant her soft body makes contact with my hard, aching cock, I groan and hold her tighter, cupping her face and lowering my mouth to her parted lips.

Other books in the More Than Words Series

ShaylaBlack highresConnect with Shayla:
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Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Aly Martinez’s The Truth About Us stops back by today. Grab your copy HERE!

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The conclusion to the heart-stopping Truth Duet by Aly Martinez was worth the wait!

Today we are celebrating the second book in The Truth Duet by Aly Martinez. The Truth About Us is now available! The first book in the duet, The Truth About Lies, is available too and both titles can be read for FREE as part of KindleUnlimited!

READ THE TRUTH ABOUT US NOW:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT US (The Truth Duet, #2)

Read it now:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

Synopsis:

Truth: Penn Walker entered my life like a summer storm… dark, ominous, and filled with thunder.

 

After witnessing my husband’s murder, I didn’t have much of a heart left to offer a man.

 

But Penn took it all.

Every jagged shard.

Every broken bit.

Even the dirty and twisted pieces that I wish never existed.

 

Lie: I didn’t need him to save me.

Lie: I knew exactly who he was.

Lie: Losing him wouldn’t destroy me.

 

But that’s the thing about lies… you never know who to believe.

 

NICUnurse’s Review of The Truth About Us by Aly Martinez

The Truth About Us is the second book in the Truth Duet, and yes, you DO have to read book one, or you will be completely lost! This is the conclusion to Cora and Penn’s story. And what a conclusion! At the end of The Truth About Lies (book one), it seemed as if most of the plot twists had been revealed, and I was left wondering if there was really that much left of the story to tell. And holy crap was I wrong! Seriously… you guys know my reviews are usually at least three paragraphs, but I’m still left with, “What?! I did NOT see that coming!” And I’m still a bit speechless over the ending.

This duet is definitely a 5 propeller read! It’s truly a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. There are moments of extreme highs, that lead to the of fastest falls to devastating lows, only to level out for a short time before Ms. Martinez has us climbing, falling, twisting, and turning all over again. I devoured both books in mere hours, as I could NOT stop turning the pages. Trust me. These bad boys are more than worth the price if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited. I still love her On the Ropes series, but this duet is my new favorite by Aly Martinez!

 

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES (The Truth Duet, #1)

AVAILABLE NOW:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Be sure to follow Aly’s newsletter for news about the duet.

Add THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES (The Truth Duet, #1) to Goodreads

Add THE TRUTH ABOUT US (The Truth Duet, #2) to Goodreads

———————

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. 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.

 

 

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In Remembrance. May We Never Forget. 9/11/2001

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Note from the Wickedcoolflight Crew

Out of respect and remembrance, we are not posting about books today, rather about people. The ones who went to work thinking it was just another Tuesday. The ones that got on an airplane thinking it was just another flight. The old. The young. All the people that never made it back home that night. And the families that still mourn them.

As I sit here and write this, I’m looking out my window, looking up at the blue sky… and I realize it’s a Tuesday morning. That day, the sky looked much like it does today where I am. And at this time 17 years ago, our world abruptly stopped turning. Most of us that were around that day were glued to our televisions or radios in horror. To say it was unbelievable would be a gross understatement. I grew up hearing the stories from grandfathers and uncles about World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. And before September 11, 2001, I never would have believed I would be one of those recounting the events of a major historical event.

At the end of the day on September 11, 2001, this was the most moving:

It’s blurry, but you get the idea. Here was a representation of all of our nation’s leaders gathered together in unity. The commentary of the days leading up to the terrorist attacks is eerily similar to our nation’s arguments of today. May it not take another day like September 11, 2001, to help us look beyond our differences, beyond the rhetoric, and beyond the hate to reach out to those around us that are in need.

Regardless of your views on religion, politics, race, or faith, the people that lost their lives that day, the heroes that sacrificed their lives on United flight 93, and everyone else that jumped into action to try to help and ended up giving up their lives to save others deserve to be remembered every day, really. But most importantly, they deserve to be remembered on THIS day. So, please take a few moments to remember. To be thankful. To hug your loved ones. And maybe honor the sacrifices of that day, and all of those leading up to today, by reaching out in kindness and love to someone who desperately needs those today.

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Take a peek at the cover of Ribbon of Light, Book 3 in the Begin Again Series!

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Ribbon of Light

Begin Again Series, Book 3
by Claire Yezbak Fadden
Publication Date: September 13, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords

Julie Rafferty’s life-long dream is within her grasp. But just as the toy company she founded verges on becoming a multi-million-dollar enterprise, her husband abandons their marriage.

Trevor had no choice but to walk away from Julie. How else could he show his wife that the business was her priority, not him and their three children? His drastic stunt backfires though, jeopardizing the family business and seemingly pushes Julie into the arms of a younger man.

Just when Julie and Trevor find their way back to each other, a ruthless competitor escalates a bogus lawsuit. Together they plot to reclaim control of the toy company, only to uncover a shattering betrayal that puts them in unimaginable danger.

Can they overcome their dreadful mistake and reclaim the passion, trust and commitment that once drew them together? Or will the greed of an evil man irreparably destroy everything they hold dear?

About Claire Yezbek Fadden

When she’s not playing with her granddaughters, Pennsylvania native Claire Yezbak Fadden is writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature strong women who overcome life’s challenges, always putting their families first. There’s a special spot in Claire’s heart for carousel horses – quite possibly the result of watching “Mary Poppins” 13 times as a young girl. She loves butterflies, ladybugs and confetti! Just ask anyone who’s received a birthday card from her. The mother of three lives in Orange County, California with her husband, Nick and three spoiled dogs. Claire’s work as an award-winning journalist, humor columnist and editor has appeared in more than 100 publications across the United States, Canada and Australia. Ribbon of Light is the third novel in her Begin Again series.

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We’re excited to show you the new cover for No Ordinary Duke by Sophie Barnes!

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No Ordinary Duke

by Sophie Barnes
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

He’s everything she’s trying to avoid…But somehow precisely what she needs…

Caleb Crawford doesn’t want to be a duke. He’d much rather build houses for a living. So when fate disrupts his peaceful life and burdens him with the responsibilities of a newly inherited title, he does what any sensible man would do by fleeing London, disguising himself as a laborer, and seeking refuge with three young spinsters who need his help with a leaky roof.

Ruined by a marquess who promised her the world, Mary Clemens has sworn to avoid marriage forever. Instead, she intends to live out her days with her friends and the orphaned children they’ve taken into their care. But when Mr. Crawford comes knocking, Mary finds herself in real danger of risking heartbreak all over again. Especially when she discovers that he’s not at all what he seems.

About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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The next Heartbreaker Bay novel by Jill Shalvis is coming September 25th!!!Hot Winter Nights!!!Until then, an excerpt will have to do!!

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Hot Winter Nights

Check out the latest installment of the Heartbreak Bay series out today!!

Who needs mistletoe?

Most people wouldn’t think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn’t most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she’s been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that—but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once . . .

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don’t mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he’s shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly’s brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can’t believe he’s drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who’s the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he’s ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he’s been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

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Excerpt:

It took Lucas Knight longer than it should have to realize he had a woman in his bed, but to be fair, he had a bitch of a hangover. Even worse than that, last night was a blur, prompting him to take quick stock. One, there was a bundle of sweet, soft curves against him. Two, his head was currently threatening to secede from the United States Of Lucas. And three, his side hurt like … well, like he’d been shot.

It’d been two weeks since he’d gotten caught in some crossfire on the job and he hadn’t yet been cleared for more than light duty – something he’d obviously managed to ignore last night given that he was palming a nice, warm, feminine ass.

Think, man.

Straining his brain, he remembered taking a pain med before going to O’Riley’s Pub to meet up with some friends. A client had been there, someone he’d recently helped save from a multi-million dollar corporate espionage. The guy had ordered shots to toast to Lucas and … shit. Knowing better than to mix pain meds and alcohol, he’d hesitated, but everyone had been waiting on him, glasses hoisted in the air. Thinking just one shot couldn’t hurt anything, he’d knocked back the drink.

Clearly, he’d been wrong and it’d been enough to mess him up big time, something he hadn’t been in years, not since his brother Josh had been killed. Shoving that away for another time – or never — Lucas cracked open one eye, but when his retina was stabbed by a streak of sunlight glaring in through the window, he immediately slammed it shut it again. Taking a deep breath, he told himself to suck it up and opened both eyes this time, learning two additional facts.

He was naked and completely uncovered.

And the woman snugged up at his side was rolled up in his comforter like a burrito.

What. The. Hell.

A few more images slowly began to filter into his brain. Kicking ass at the pool table and winning two hundred bucks from his boss Archer, who ran Hunt Investigations where Lucas worked as a security specialist.

Dancing with a sexy brunette…

And then making his way upstairs, but not alone.

His head was pounding too hard to remember anything more, but clearly the brunette had not only come up, but stayed. She was cuddled up too close to see her face, especially with the way she had the entire blanket wrapped around herself. The only thing visible was a mass of shiny brown waves peeking out the top.

Holding his breath, Lucas slowly pulled away until he could slide off his bed.

The brunette’s hair never so much as quivered.

Letting out a relieved breath, he shoved on the clothes he’d so thoughtfully left for himself on the floor – seriously, he was never taking another pain pill or drinking alcohol again – and headed for the door.

But unable to do it, unable to be the guy who just walked out, he stopped and detoured to his kitchen to make her a coffee. Leaving her caffeine was a nice gesture, right? Right, but … shit. He was out of coffee. Not surprisingly since he usually grabbed his from work because Molly, who ran the office at Hunt Investigations, made world-class coffee. And since one of the benefits of living on the fourth floor of the Pacific Pier Building and working on the second floor meant convenience, he texted the coffee master himself:

Any chance you’d send up a cup of coffee via the dumbwaiter?

A few seconds later, from his bedroom came a cellphone buzzing with an unfamiliar tone and he froze. If his plan was to leave before the awkward morning after – and that was always the plan — he was on borrowed time.

Since nothing came back to him from Molly, he moved onto Plan B and scrawled out a quick note: Sorry, had to get to work, take your time.

Then he hesitated. Did she even know his name? Having no idea, he added: I’m leaving cash for an Uber or Lyft – Lucas.

Other novels in the Heartbreaker Bay series

 

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Connect with Jill Shalvis

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis writes warm, funny, sexy contemporary romances and women’s fiction. An Amazon, BN & iBooks bestseller, she’s also a two-time RITA winner and has more than 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.

Jill lives with her family in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters (Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is mostly coincidental). She does most of her writing on her deck surrounded by more animals than humans. Which is quite astonishing considering she’s a city girl who was plucked from the wilds of L.A. to the wilds of the Sierra’s. Most of her books come from a combination of hard work, cookies, and hot guy pics, and not necessarily in that order.

Jill often travels to reader weekends & conventions where she LOVES getting to meet and hang-out with readers. The only problem being she tends to get lost in her hotels. So if you ever see NYTimes Bestselling author Jill Shalvis roaming the halls, someone please return her immediately.

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