Friday, October 28, 2016

BLOG TOUR & FIVE STAR REVIEW for Marry Me Mad by Katy Regnery + Excerpt!

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Marry Me Mad is one swoonworthy read!




madnytimesebookcover








mmm-nowavailable

BUY NOW:
Playing piano

Blurb:

Did you fall in love with The English Brothers? 
Were you hot for the Winslows? 

Katy Regnery's New York Times bestselling Blueberry Lane series continues with The Rousseau siblings in 2016!

For as long as Madeleine “Mad” Rousseau can remember, she’s been the “sweet” twin to her sister Jax’s “sassy.” But after an especially painful break-up, Mad decides she’s had enough of being sweet. Children’s librarian during the day, she begins visiting Philly’s seedier nightspots on a quest for adventure. When Cortlandt “Cort” Ambler, the ex-boyfriend of Mad’s sister, Jax, saves her from disaster on one such evening, an unlikely friendship is born between the rebellious librarian and the moonlighting pianist…and two broken hearts begin a journey toward being whole again. Get to know the families of Blueberry Lane! 

 *All books in The Blueberry Lane Series can be enjoyed as standalone novels.*


**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
This Book Nerd Says: 
Confession time, I have several of Katy Regnery's Fairy Tale Series sitting on my Kindle after one clicking them some time ago. Somehow I hadn't gotten a chance to read any of them when I received the opportunity to read and review Marry Me Mad. So of course because of this, I walked into this story as both a first time reader of the series and this author and within only a few pages I was captivated both by the author's incredible voice and tone as well as the world she has built for these characters.
If you are like me and haven't read any of the Blueberry Lane series prior to grabbing this, NO WORRIES. I can personally attest that this book stands on its own as a remarkable standalone and I didn't have any moments where I felt lost trying to figure out the character backgrounds.

Mad Rousseau is having the worst bad day ever so when path crosses with Cort it seems like the timing couldn't be worse.... or better.
I don't want to get too much into the actual story because it all develops with great timing and impeccable skill. The pace of the plot is perfect and kept me engaged from start to finish. 
I loved these characters. They were great independently but far greater together. Their chemistry is natural and palpable and I found myself madly in love with Cort.
The angst was perfectly balanced that didn't keep me on edge and the sweetness filled my heart from bottom to top and left it overfilling. This book is now on the top of my favorite second chance romance list.

I am officially a fan girl for Katy Regnery and I hurried to make sure I ordered both the preceding and forthcoming books featuring the Rosseaus. I can't wait to read both of them.

5 Stars!!


Portrait of attractive young couple in love pose

EXCERPT:
She stood on the sidewalk facing him, a sweet smile on her lips. Cort gestured to his front door with a flick of his chin. “Want to come in?” “Yes. But we have to talk first.” “What happened to ‘Take me to bed’?” She sighed. “Fresh air cleared my head.” He glanced down at his swollen cock, all but bursting against the zipper of his jeans. “I’m dying a little here, baby.” Her eyes followed his, dancing with mirth when she looked back up at him. “So I see.” “I’m not alone either,” he said, dropping his eyes to her nipples, which strained against her thin, billowy blouse. “No,” she said, her voice slightly lower, her smile giving way to a hotter, more needy look. “You’re not.” “So let’s talk inside.” She shook her head no. “Here.” Cort sighed, hitching her flowered bag a little higher on his shoulder, waiting for her to continue. “No talking about Jax or Thatcher,” she said. “If you talk about Jax, I won’t be able to stay. I’ll feel too guilty. And if you talk about Thatcher, I’ll feel too angry. Promise?” “I promise.” She took a step closer to him. “And this one’s big…No falling in love with each other. We’re just about impossible, you and me, so we can’t—you know—bring that sort of emotion into this. We can enjoy each other, but that’s all, Cort. Promise.” He flinched as she finished. He could feel the involuntary muscle reaction that narrowed his eyes and told him that it was too late. It was a lifetime too late to tell him not to love her, because he’d loved her for most of his life. Her gentleness, her quiet grace, the peace he’d always found in her presence now combined with the scorching chemistry between them that couldn’t be denied. Over and over again throughout his life, he’d looked for her, tried to find someone like her, but his heart had fixed on hers so long ago, it was all but impossible for him not to love her. The only way he could promise her was to promise not to “fall” this weekend, only because he’d already fallen years before. “I promise not to fall.” She smiled at him, though the smile had lost a bit of the lightheartedness it had held minutes earlier. “Do you need any promises from me?” He nodded, closing the distance between them. “Yeah, I do.” Her eyes widened, flaring with heat, the black of her pupils obliterating the green of her irises as she pressed her breasts against his chest. “Promise to leave nothing on the table, Mad. Give me everything you’ve got for twenty-four hours.” “Except…” Her voice broke. “Except my love. I promise.” His heart clenched at her omission, and it made him want to push her out of her comfort zone a little. “Promise to touch me everywhere with your hot little mouth.” “I promise,” she murmured, her throat moving as she swallowed. His eyes narrowed. “Promise to open your legs so I can slide inside of you as if I’ve been doing it all my life.” “Cort,” she whimpered, her eyes fluttering closed as she looked down at where her chest heaved into his. “I need you.”

Portrait of charming model lovingly looks at tattooed man



graphic6final-2

Make sure you don't miss the start of the Rousseau series! Jonquils for Jax is now available!

jonquilsforjax-ecover
BUY NOW:

PREORDER JC AND THE BIJOUIX JOLIS! releasing November 29, 2016

51wxqkyekhl






About the Author:
authorphoto New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013. Twenty-five books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas. Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times E-book bestseller. In 2016, Katy signed a print-only agreement with Spencerhill Press. As a result, her Blueberry Lane paperback books will now be distributed to brick and mortar bookstores all over the United States. Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home

BLOG TOUR... Prophet Takes All by Melissa Brown






Prophet Takes All  (Compound Series #4)
by Melissa Brown
Release Date: October 25, 2016 

Add to Goodreads

Amazon


SYNOPSIS


Fools.
So many fools. Nothing but fools.

That worm of a detective, my mother, Paul. Fools—all of them. But Aspen, oh Aspen…she was the biggest fool of all.

Aspen Black, a seemingly ordinary woman of the compound, transformed into the utter bane of my existence in just a matter of months. She had the gall to question me, to seek the counsel of an outsider, and to disobey my word.

To add to her list of transgressions, Aspen recruited my own brother in the crusade against me. For this, they must both be punished. And their daughter, Ruthie, is the key to their retribution.

Aspen and Paul will pay for their crimes against the one true prophet. If it’s the very last thing I do.




Other Books in The Compound Series 






GIVEAWAY



AUTHOR PROFILE


 Melissa Brown was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois and is the mother of two fantastic kids. She's an avid reader who enjoys making handmade gifts for her family and friends, as well as baking and painting. Melissa has an unhealthy obsession with pop culture. She speaks fluent movie quotes from the 1980s (John Hughes = genius), reads celebrity gossip magazines and never misses an episode of Scandal. She enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and young adult novels.

All of Melissa's books are currently available exclusively through Amazon.com and are part of the Kindle Unlimited Program.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

5 STAR REVIEW... KEEPSAKE by Sarina Bowen






There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.







This Book Nerd Says: 

Oh good gracious where do I begin?!
I love (read LOVE) me a beta guy... and I knew Zach was about to steal my heart from the moment he appeared in Bittersweet. I wasn't disappointed at all. 

Lark comes to Shipley Farms looking for solace and shelter. Her usual adventurous spirit is wounded but not broken (because Sarina always writes some seriously strong and fantastic female heroines) and is drawn to Zach. 
Now if you're familiar with the preceding books in the series you know we were privy to some basic history when it comes to Zach... it was enough to make my heart call out for his book. This book. I quickly found myself more enraptured with him. His life is the furthest thing from easy yet his heart is so sweet and sensitive. 
I'm not going to lie Zach is my favorite person in this entire series... yeah he's that incredible. 

For me the story builds gradually and gives us time to see the natural pull of chemistry between Lark and Zach. Lark has some things going on that kept me guessing and ready for answers but nothing was ever too much or not enough. The balance of angst, love, resolution, and connection all works together to give us yet another five star book to this series.


5 STARS

Friday, October 21, 2016

RELEASE BLITZ for Marry Me Mad by Katy Regnery

mmm-banner-release-blitz

Marry Me Mad is one swoonworthy read! 

AND IT'S LIVE!

madnytimesebookcover






mmm-nowavailable

BUY NOW:
Playing piano
Blurb:
Did you fall in love with The English Brothers? 
Were you hot for the Winslows? 
Katy Regnery's New York Times bestselling Blueberry Lane series continues with The Rousseau siblings in 2016!

For as long as Madeleine “Mad” Rousseau can remember, she’s been the “sweet” twin to her sister Jax’s “sassy.” But after an especially painful break-up, Mad decides she’s had enough of being sweet. Children’s librarian during the day, she begins visiting Philly’s seedier nightspots on a quest for adventure. When Cortlandt “Cort” Ambler, the ex-boyfriend of Mad’s sister, Jax, saves her from disaster on one such evening, an unlikely friendship is born between the rebellious librarian and the moonlighting pianist…and two broken hearts begin a journey toward being whole again. Get to know the families of Blueberry Lane! 

 *All books in The Blueberry Lane Series can be enjoyed as standalone novels.*

Portrait of charming model lovingly looks at tattooed man


graphic6final-2

Make sure you don't miss the start of the Rousseau series! Jonquils for Jax is now available!

jonquilsforjax-ecover
BUY NOW:

PREORDER JC AND THE BIJOUIX JOLIS! releasing November 29, 2016

51wxqkyekhl




About the Author:
authorphoto New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013. Twenty-five books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas. Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times E-book bestseller. In 2016, Katy signed a print-only agreement with Spencerhill Press. As a result, her Blueberry Lane paperback books will now be distributed to brick and mortar bookstores all over the United States. Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home
Author Links:

Website/Newsletter Signup | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

COVER REVEAL... Hold My Breath by GInger Scott + Excerpt

Is it hot in here??? Check out the cover of HOLD MY BREATH by Ginger Scott!


HOLD MY BREATH
NA Contemporary Romance-Stand Alone
Scheduled to release: November 18, 2016

PREORDER:
More links to come!

BLURB:
Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.

I would know.

They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger
brother Evan be the one to shine.

Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.

The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.

My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.

And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.

In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.

EXCERPT:
The song breaks for a guitar solo, and I count the seconds, knowing that she’s going to slip away the moment everyone in here begins to clap. I won’t ask her to dance again. I won’t torture myself or push my luck. But I’ll remember this. As bad of an idea as it is, I’m glad I did it. So many painful memories woven into this place, I needed this one good one. It might just be the best memory I have out of everything in my life. I feel her shift in my arms, and when I pull away slightly, Maddy’s chin pushes into the center of my chest, her eyes blinking slowly while she looks up at me. Two shots and a beer are about to talk to me right now. I smile softly and nod.

“That was a much better dance,” she says.

I chuckle, tilting my head back to laugh before bringing it forward slowly, resting my brow against hers. My eyes look down at the curve of her lips, lower at the line of her jaw, and even lower at the swell of her breast under the soft black cotton of her dress. A heavy breath escapes
me.

“I make you nervous?” she asks.

I don’t answer right away, instead closing my eyes and swallowing again. I don’t even care if she can feel it. I drag my hands up her body to her neck until I’m cradling her head in my palms, my fingertips flirting with her hair along her neck and my thumbs caressing her jawline. 

“That’s what you said…before. You said you didn’t dance well because I make you nervous,” she says, her words coming out slow and sleepy.
My mouth smiles against the top of her head, and I give in, opening it enough to press a kiss against her, hoping only the strangers are our witness.
“Yes, Maddy. That’s right,” I say. “You make me incredibly nervous.”



About the Author:


Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams and The Hard Count.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BLOG TOUR... Tonic by Staci Hart + Excerpt!

SBPR-TONIC-BT.jpg

Tonic by Staci Hart 

Release Date: October 13th Genre: Contemporary Romance

tonic-wrap.jpg

Synopsis:

Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.
Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists. Annika Belousov takes everything seriously. Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way. The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line. Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.

Excerpt:

“Let me see it.”
“What?” I blustered, caught off guard. “Stand up and turn around. I want to see it.” I was too surprised and caught up in the moment to refuse, so I stood and turned, laying my palms on the armrests as I faced the back of the chair.
One hand rested on my hip.
My heart stopped as I wondered what the hell I’d gotten myself into. I glanced over my shoulder, my gaze bouncing between his face —turned down too much to read —and his reflection in the speckled, antique mirror, which I couldn’t see much of either. His free hand moved to the waistband of my tailored pants, and his fingers hooked and tugged, pulling the band down low. His thumb ran over where I knew the tattoo was, and I felt his breath. Every place where we connected spoke to me of ownership. “You got this done here? In New York?” His voice was rough. Mine wasn’t much better. “Yeah. In Brooklyn.” “Let me cover it up for you. Give you something you’re proud of. Your skin …” He paused, and I wished I could see his face, read his mind. “This shouldn’t be here, not on you. Let me … I want to …” He had moved closer, his hand on my hip pulling me back into him slightly enough for me to not have noticed that the backs of my thighs were touching his, my back arched just enough, his breath hot. And then, he disappeared. I stood, finding my hands were trembling, wondering where I was and how I’d gotten there. The shop was mostly empty —no one had seen, not that it would have looked like much from the outside. But from where I stood, I felt every single deliberate move like a telegraph, telling me exactly what he wanted to do without him having to finish the sentence. His back was to me when I turned around, his face down —I couldn’t see it in the mirror over his cabinet of ink and needles as he dug around in the drawers, seemingly for nothing in particular. “Let me know if you want me to draw something up.” “Okay, I will.” I paused, not knowing what else to say, feeling like I should say something. But there was nothing that I could say. “Well, have a good night, Joel. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He nodded, glancing at me in the mirror. “See you, Annika.” I tried not to bolt out of the shop, but once outside, I admit it —I took off. I hauled up the stairs and into the office to grab my bag, grateful that Laney was already gone, and I texted my driver, asking him to pick me up a few blocks away so I could walk, put some distance between me and Joel, get the energy out of my body, through my legs and feet, into the pavement.

Add to Goodreads

TONIC AN BLOG TOUR.jpg

Buy Links:

FREE on Kindle Unlimited

teaser-ink-and-milk.jpg




About the Author:

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Goodreads / Website

Thursday, October 13, 2016

RELEASE DAY BLITZ... Tonic by Staci Hart

SBPR-TONIC-RB copy.jpg

Tonic by Staci Hart 

Release Date: October 13th 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

tonic-wrap.jpg

Synopsis:

Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.
Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists. Annika Belousov takes everything seriously. Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way. The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line. Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.

Add to Goodreads

teaser-uncrossable-line.jpg

Buy Links:

FREE on Kindle Unlimited

teaser-mark-her.jpg

About the Author:

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Goodreads / Website

RELEASE DAY BLITZ... A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner + Excerpt








 A Love Letter to Whiskey
Author: Kandi Steiner
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 13, 2016



Blurb

It’s crazy how fast the buzz comes back after you’ve been sober for so long.

Whiskey stood there, on my doorstep, just like he had one year before. Except this time, there was no rain, no anger, no wedding invitation — it was just us.

It was just him — the old friend, the easy smile, the twisted solace wrapped in a glittering bottle.

It was just me — the alcoholic, pretending like I didn’t want to taste him, realizing too quickly that months of being clean didn’t make me crave him any less.

But we can’t start here.

No, to tell this story right, we need to go back.

Back to the beginning.

Back to the very first drop.


This is my love letter to Whiskey. I only hope he reads it.





Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU





Excerpt

The first time I tasted Whiskey, I fell flat on my face.

Literally.

I was drunk from the very first sip, and I guess that should have been my sign to stay away.

Jenna and I were running the trail around the lake near her house, sweat dripping into our eyes from the intense South Florida heat. It was early September, but in South Florida, it might as well have been July. There was no “boots and scarves” season, unless you counted the approximately six weeks in January and February where the temperature dropped below eighty degrees.

As it was, we were battling ninety-plus degrees, me trying to be a show off and prove I could keep up with Jenna’s cheerleading training program. She had finally made the varsity squad, and with that privilege came ridiculous standards she had to uphold. I hated running — absolutely loathed it. I would much rather have been on my surf board that day. But fortunately for Jenna, she had a competitive best friend who never turned down a challenge. So when she asked me to train with her, I’d agreed eagerly, even knowing I’d have screaming ribs and calves by the end of the day.

I saw him first.

I was just a few steps ahead of Jenna, and I’d been staring down at my hot pink sneakers as they hit the concrete. When I looked up, he was about fifty feet away, and even from that distance I could tell I was in trouble. He seemed sort of average at first — brown hair, lean build, soaked white running shirt — but the closer he got, the more I realized just how edible he was. I noticed the shift in the muscles of his legs as he ran, the way his hair bounced slightly, how he pressed his lips together in concentration as he neared us.

I looked over my shoulder, attempting to waggle my eyebrows at Jenna and give her the secret best friend code for “hot guy up ahead”, but she had stopped to tie her shoes. And when I turned back around, it was too late.

I smacked into him — hard — and fell to the pavement, rolling a bit to soften the fall. He cursed and I groaned, more from embarrassment than pain. I wish I could say I gracefully picked myself up, smiled radiantly, and asked him for his number, but the truth is I lost the ability to do anything the minute I looked up at him.

It was an unfamiliar, warm ache that spread through my chest as I used my hand to shield the sun streaming in behind his silhouette, just how you’d expect the first sip of whiskey to feel. He was bent over, hand outstretched, saying something that wasn’t registering because I had somehow managed to slip my hand into his and just that one touch had set my skin on fire.

Handsome wasn’t the right word to describe him, but it was all I kept thinking as I traced his features. His hair was a sort of mocha color, damp at the roots, falling onto his forehead just slightly. His eyes were wide — almost too round — and a mixture of gold, green, and the deepest brown. I didn’t coin the nickname Whiskey until much later, but it was that moment that I saw it for the first time — those were whiskey eyes. The kind of eyes you get lost in. The kind that drink you in. He had the longest lashes and a firm, square jaw. It was so hard, the edges so clean that I would have sworn he was angry with me if it weren’t for the smile on his face.He was still talking as my eyes fell over his broad chest before snapping back up to his sideways grin.

“Oh my God, are you fucking blind?!” Jenna’s voice snapped me from my haze as she shoved Whiskey out of the way and latched onto my hand, ripping me back to standing position. I’d barely caught my balance before she whipped around to continue her scolding. “How about you brush that long ass hair out of your eyes and watch where you’re going, huh champ?”

Oh no.

I didn’t even have time to call dibs, I couldn’t even think the word, let alone say it, before it was too late. I watched it, in slow motion, as Whiskey fell for my best friend before I even had the chance to say a single word to him.

Jenna was standing tall, arms crossed, one hip popped in her usual fashion as she waited for him to defend himself. This was her protocol — it was one of the reasons we got along. We were both what you’d call “spitfires”, but Jenna had the distinct advantage of being cripplingly gorgeous on top of having an attitude. She flipped her long, wavy blonde ponytail behind her and cocked a brow.

And then he did, too.

His smile grew wider as he met her eyes, and it was the same look I’d watched fall over guy after countless guy. Jenna was a unicorn, and men were enamored by her. As they should have been — she had platinum blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, legs for days and a personality to boot. Now, before you go thinking that I was the insecure best friend - I had it going on, too. I worked hard, I was talented - just not at the things traditional high school boys valued.

But we’ll get to that.

“Hi,” Whiskey finally said, extending his hand to Jenna this time. His eyes were warm, smile inviting — if I had to pick the right word for him, just one, I’d say charming. He just oozed charm. “I’m Jamie.”

“Well, Jamie, maybe you should make an appointment with the eye doctor before you run over another innocent jogger. And you owe Brecks an apology.” She nodded to me then and I cringed at my name, wondering why she felt the need to spill it at all. She always called me B — everyone did — so why did she choose the moment I was face to face with the first boy to ever make my heart accelerate to use my full name?

Jamie was still grinning, eying Jenna, trying to figure her out, but he turned to me after a moment with that same crooked smile. “I’m sorry, I should have been watching where I was going.” He said the words with conviction, but lifted his brows on that last line because he and I both knew who wasn’t paying attention to the trail, and he wasn’t the guilty party.

“It’s fine,” I murmured, because for some reason I was still having a difficult time finding my voice. Jamie tilted his head just a fraction, his eyes hard on me this time, and I felt naked beneath his gaze. I’d never had anyone look at me that way — completely zeroed in. It was unnerving and exhilarating, too.

But before I could latch onto the feeling, he turned back to Jenna, their eyes meeting as slow smiles spread on both of their faces. I’d seen it a million times, but this was the first time I felt sick watching it happen.

I saw him first, but it didn’t matter.

Because he saw her.



Author Bio


Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.


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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

PRE-ORDER BLITZ... I Am Lioness by Dee Garcia


I AM LIONESS is coming on December 10



Synopsis:


With pain comes strength.
My name is Hazel Perry. You, however, can call me Lioness.
I live and breathe MMA -24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
That ring is mine. I'm the Queen.
Fierce, untouchable, and undefeated.
I've been asked how I willing subject myself to such an intense, brutal career.
My answer… Because it feels good.
The rush, the high, how all other pain in your life numbs away into nothing.
It's made me stronger. Every single stitch of pain I've experienced -both physically and emotionally- has made me stronger.
I've learned to protect myself. I don't trust easily and I never allow others to get too close.
Until Knox Carr.
He turned my world right side up and showed me how to feel again.
How to live again.
How to love again.
Through bouts of separation and trials along the way, will we make it out alive?


 Pre Order Today!



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