Release Blitz: Cheater’s Regret by Rachel Van Dyken

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Cheater’s Regret by Rachel Van Dyken

On Sale: May 23, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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SYNOPSIS

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken returns with a smoking-hot story about the satisfaction of plotting revenge on your ex—until he turns your world upside down again.

Austin Rogers’s dreams of domestic bliss involved watching Netflix and eating hot dogs with the love of her life. But then he cheated on her. And dumped her—as if the whole thing was her fault. To maintain her pride and restore her sanity, she decides to get revenge. It feels immensely satisfying to plot her ex’s downfall—but so does kissing him.

Thatch Holloway, a plastic surgeon straight out of residency, knows he ruined the best thing that ever happened to him. But not all cheaters are created equal. He got himself into this messed-up situation—true—but he has his reasons for what happened, and he’d do it all again to protect Austin.

He’s not over her. And she’s not over him.

Austin wants closure, but since Thatch refuses to give it to her, she takes matters into her own hands. She needs to write a human-interest piece for her MBA, so she demands the full plastic-surgery experience. Sparks fly as they’re forced to work together. But Thatch isn’t afraid to play dirty in return. And he’s still hiding something—something that has the power to destroy not only Austin but their second chance at finding forever…

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

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Cover Reveal: My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn

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My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn

On Sale: June June 1, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Photographer: Neil Danvers

 

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SYNOPSIS

When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A BLONDE AT HEART

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

​Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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Release Day Blitz: Finding You by Jo Watson

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Finding You by Jo Watson

On Sale: May 2, 2017

Series: Destination Love #3

Format: Trade Paperback

Price: $14.99 USD

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destination-love

BURNING MOON, #1

ALMOST A BRIDE, #2

FINDING YOU, #3

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SYNOPSIS

Being adopted never made Jane Smith feel unloved, just unlike the rest of her family. As her twenty-fifth birthday approaches, she is struck by an overwhelming longing to finally find her place in the world. So, in a very un-Jane-like move, she books a last-minute ticket to Greece to find her birth father and the real Jane. All she knows about him is that he was a tour guide named Dimitri. Armed with this knowledge and several surprise boxes of condoms from her mom (not embarrassing at all), Jane takes off.

Within minutes of landing she makes two important discoveries. First, everyone in Greece is named Dimitri, and second, fate might be playing a sick joke on her when a sexy tour guide called Dimitri comes to fetch her from the airport. After failing to find concrete information about her father, Dimitri offers to help Jane with her search – if she’ll go on an adventure with him. Stable Jane would never risk a steamy vacation romance, but real Jane might finally be ready to listen to her heart. Will Jane find her biological father, or will she end up finding something else entirely?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Jo Watson is an award-winning writer of romantic comedies. Burning Moon won a Watty Award in 2014. Jo is an Adidas addict and a Depeche Mode devotee.

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EXCERPT

He stepped toward me. My heart stopped pumping. He leaned in close and pulled my hand from behind my back and placed his card in the center of my palm. My nerve endings prickled and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

“Just in case.” He repeated the words and they sounded so loaded.

In case what? In case I decided to lose all common sense, judgment, control, my mind (although that was already up for debate) and call you for a midnight beach romp. I’ll be sure to bring my watch so I can take note of how long it takes you to make me start screaming your name in wild ecstasy…Oh God, that sounded good!

I took a large step back. He took a large step forward. Back. Forward. Then he leaned in again. Holy Crap! He was coming in for that double-cheek kiss again and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to remain cool and calm and controlled this time. Only he didn’t. He did something far, far more odd and unsettling. He pulled my sunglasses off, placed them in the same hand as the card and then closed my fingers around them. He squeezed my hand closed while looking into my eyes in a way that rattled me to my very core.

My head started spinning and suddenly I felt a tad unsteady. I hoped to hell that I wasn’t about to be knocked off my feet by my raging hormones and fall into his arms. He gave my hand one last squeeze, and then… he was gone!

What the hell did that mean? You can’t just take off a person’s glasses, put them in their hands, stare into their eyes meaningfully and then mysteriously walk away without saying a word. What the hell was he playing at?

And why was it so hard to keep myself from falling for it?

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Release Day Blitz: Aces Wild by Emmy Curtis

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Aces Wild by Emmy Curtis

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SYNOPSIS

In the heat of the Nevada desert, the most elite military pilots in the world are about to engage in some friendly competition. Only this year, someone is changing all the rules… 

RAF pilot Dexter Stone has been through his fair share of sticky situations. After living through a crash in enemy territory where no one expected him to walk away, the Red Flag training exercises should be a piece of cake-assuming he can keep his mind on the mission and not on the smart mouth of his gorgeous American competition.

As one of the few women in a sky full of hotshot flyboys, Maj. Eleanor Daniels has worked day and night to earn a coveted spot at Red Flag. And she’s not about to let some cocky British bad boy distract her from winning. But when the games take a deadly turn, he may be her only hope for survival.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emmy Curtis is an editor and a romance writer. An ex-pat Brit, she quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled for the time being, in North Carolina. When not writing, Emmy loves to travel with her military husband and take long walks with their Lab. All things considered, her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference…well, she already considers you kin.

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EXCERPT

There was little that would keep them warm tonight, except each other’s body heat. Dex tried not to smile, reminding himself that they were stranded in the middle of a desert with little water.

Water. He bent to get the half bottle that was left. A small piece of rock jumped, blowing a tiny amount of dust in the air. He was moving before his brain had caught up with what he’d seen. He jumped at Eleanor, yanking her to the ground. “Sniper!” he yelled, even though she was underneath him.

Another sliver of rock exploded, close to his knee. “We’re pinned.” Adrenaline spiked through his blood.

“We’ve got company,” he said, moving his body fractionally so she could turn her head to see the truck steaming across the flat base of the valley. Dust spat up behind it like it was on fire.

“Can you reach the backpack?” she asked.

Nope. Not without being target practice. “Sure. Wait a moment.” He slid off her and crawled, flat-out like a crab, toward the bag. He hooked it in his elbow and made his way back. He knew he was a wide open target. But there was no shot. No chipped off rocks, and no dust.

“The sniper is not trying to kill us,” he said.

“Care to test that theory?” she asked rooting around in the backpack.

“Not really.”

“Okay, I will.” Before he could say anything, she sat up bag between her legs and looked at the truck coming toward them.

“Damn, do you have a death-wish?” Now he just felt like a complete tool, lying down, as if he were cowering from something she wasn’t scared of. He sat up and joined her.

“He’s pinning us down all right, but I think he’s just keeping us in place so that these guys can get us.” She pulled a Maglite from the bag they had taken.

“And that’s your weapon of choice?”

She turned and smiled at him. “Only for the sniper.”

Then he understood what she was doing. He pulled out his weapon and chambered a round. “It’s going to be tricky.”

“What have we got to lose?” She cocked an eyebrow.

“A beautiful wedding in Gretna Green?” he asked.

“What’s Gretna Green?” She took her weapon from her pocket and charged it.

“It’s where we are will be eloping to. A town in Scotland where you can get married without any ceremony, or registration. It’s like the Vegas of Europe.”

“What makes you think I want to elope? What makes you think I don’t want a huge dress, a huge cake, and eight attendants?”

“Well I’m certainly up for a huge cake.” He shrugged. “Whatever gets you to the altar.”

Her mouth dropped open. “Wait a minute, you don’t think we getting out of this alive, do you? You think we’re going to die here in the desert at the hands of these…whoever is trying to kill us, and you’ll never have to marry me. We’ll be dead, won’t we?”

“I’m hurt by your cynicism. And yes, maybe you’re right, but it’s got to say something that I’m at death’s door and the only woman I want to marry is you.” He tried not to smile.

“I’m the only woman here.” She reached over and shoved him.

A rock exploded at their feet. “Shit. Now you’re just trying to get me killed, so you don’t have to marry me.”

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Release Week Blitz: Too Hard To Forget by Tessa Bailey

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TOO HARD TO FORGET by Tessa Bailey

Series: Romancing The Clarksons, #3

On Sale: April 25, 2017

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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Romancing the Clarksons Series

TOO HOT TO HANDLE, #1

TOO WILD TO TAME, #2

TOO HARD TO FORGET, #3

TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK, #4

Series Page on Goodreads

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SYNOPSIS

The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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EXCERPT

“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”

Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”

“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”

“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”

“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”

No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”

The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”

“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”

“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”

“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”

Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.

He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”

TOO HOT TO HANDLE DREAM CAST

TESSA BAILEY

For the record, this is SO HARD. For the Romancing the Clarksons series especially, I have a specific image in my mind for each character and none of them match an actor/actress perfectly. So I am going to take Elsa’s advice and Let it Go (let go of the images in my head, that is). Enough rambling! Here is my dream cast (the main characters, anyway) for TOO HARD TO FORGET!

Coach Elliott Brooks: Jon Hamm. Now, I’m not talking about suave Don Draper. If Jon is going to pull off my hard-ass football coach, he’s going to need some scruff and a bad attitude. There was an episode of Mad Men where Jon went juuuuust the right amount of dominant and that’s what makes him my Elliott.

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Peggy Clarkson: Ashley Greene. This one is a little easier. I think Ashley Greene is incredibly beautiful and she could also pull off Peggy’s devil-may-care flirtatious presence, while still guarding secrets with her eyes.

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Kyler Tate: Christian McCaffrey. Okay, so he’s not an actor. He plays for the Broncos. But he has the perfect sexy charmer smile and a ton of charisma. I would pay for his acting classes myself!

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Alice Brooks: Kiernan Shipka. Might as well stick with a Mad Men theme, right? She already played Don Draper’s daughter (Sally Draper) and can exude angst like nobody’s business, so she’s a great choice for Alice!

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Release Day Blitz: Feels Like The First Time by Marina Adair

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FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME by Marina Adair

Series: Destiny Bay, #2

On Sale: April 25, 2017

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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Desiny Bay

LAST KISS OF SUMMER, #1

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME, #2

Series Page on Goodreads

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SYNOPSIS

In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Gibson, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis, comes the second book in a funny and charming new small-town contemporary romance series by Marina Adair.

What’s wrong with a little white lie?

There are a lot of things Ali Marshal doesn’t do: pink anything, a day without chocolate, and Hawk, her sister’s ex-husband. Sure, he’s a sexy former NHL star who can make her pulse pound with just a wink. But he belonged to Bridget first. And no matter how long she’s had a crush on him, how great he’s always been to her dad, or that her sister is engaged to someone else now and Ali needs a date to their engagement party, she can’t give in to temptation. Can she?

It’s been years since his disastrous marriage crashed and burned, and Bradley Hawk has finally moved on. So when Bridget blows back into town with her new fiancé, throwing the engagement party of the year, he could care less . . . until Ali tells one little lie that lands him smack dab in a fake relationship. After one promise to be Ali’s date and two of the hottest kisses he’s ever had, Hawk can’t deny how much he wants her. But what happens when this fauxmance starts to feel very, very real?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marina Adair CREDIT Tosh Tanaka

Marina Adair is a #1 National bestselling author of romance novels and holds a Master of Fine arts in creative writing. Along with the Destiny Bay series, she is also the author of the Sugar, Georgia series, the St. Helena Vineyard series, and her new Heroes of St. Helena series. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and two neurotic cats in Northern California.

As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive.

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EXCERPT

Ali nodded because she needed him more than she needed her next breath.

The intensity of her feelings terrified her. They always had. Even at seventeen she knew what she felt went beyond the run-of-the-mill teenage crush. She’d been in love. Sure, it was a young, simple love, but it was love all the same.

Only he’d loved someone else.

So when he married her sister, she did her best to let him go. But no matter how painful it had been for her, and at times the ache was so acute it had been paralyzing, she was never able to set him completely free. Choosing the pain over the loss.

Now he was back, looking at her how she always looked at him, as if he’d never let go, and Ali gave in to the fantasy. Played out the what-ifs she carried with her for over a decade. He’d been hers for so long, she let herself believe that she was his, too.

He was asking for right here, right now—this she knew. Tomorrow, reality would creep in, and everything would go back to the way it was. But tonight, sitting on this beach, overlooking a world bigger than the two of them, Ali wanted to feel what it was like to be loved by the man who owned her heart.

“I want,” she said.

“What do you want, Aliana?” he whispered, the sound of her name on his lips doing crazy things to her. Crazy girly things that made her feel delicate and desirable.

“I want you.” She trailed her hands down his pecs to that flat stomach and lower, loving how his muscles rippled and curled under her touch. “I want you to pamper me so hard I won’t remember how to walk come morning.”

Hawk’s eyes darkened, and his mouth was on hers. Hard and demanding, and just how she’d imagined. There was no warm-up, no testing the waters. He was kissing her as if he knew what he wanted.

And he wanted Aliana.

Their mouths were fused together, her hands gripping his shoulders for purchase, but his fingers were gentle, languidly exploring her face, her neck, the curve of her shoulder, slowly moving down her arm and bringing the wide neckline of her shirt with him.

He never stopped kissing her, but she felt his lashes flutter open, realized that she’d never closed her own. Then his deep brown eyes locked on hers, watching her as they kissed, and it was erotic and unexpected. As she watched him back, she felt his lips curl into a smile. Could feel the dimples on both cheeks come alive under her touch.

“You like to watch,” Hawk growled, and she felt her cheeks flush.

Ali never considered herself a watcher. But Hawk was such a beautiful and commanding man, she’d never been able to look away. Not even now, when her body was begging for release. He was that good—a simple kiss and she was so turned on, she could feel her body shaking.

That smile turned cocky.

“It’s not like I stand there peering through your bedroom window at night,” she said, leaving out that night he was at the bar. His bedroom window during the morning, when he was walking around after a shower. She was more than guilty.

“I’ve peered through yours.”

And to prove he wasn’t the least bit ashamed, he lowered his head and placed an openmouthed kiss on her shoulder, those eyes of his never leaving hers. Not even when he moved lower toward her collarbone, his mouth working her with a softness that took her by surprise and a reverence that made her feel as if she was precious.

Ali wasn’t sure what to do. Hard, challenging, complicated—that was what she was used to. But this was light, simple—too easy to be real. It confused her as much as it terrified her.

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Launch Day Blitz: Royal Disaster by Parker Swift

RoyalDisaster_LaunchDayBlitz

ROYAL DISASTER by Parker Swift

Series: Royal Scandal Book 2

On Sale: April 2, 2017

eBook: $3.99

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Swift_RoyalDisaster_ebook

SYNOPSIS

“He’s not who you think he is . . . ”

Meeting Dylan Hale has turned my life upside down. I’m dating an actual duke who’s devastatingly handsome and deliciously naughty. On the surface, I’m living the high life. But this surreal world of royalty and paparazzi is getting out of control.

Someone knows way too much about Dylan and me-about the moments when we’re alone, about how his hands leave a trail of fire over my skin . . . about the complete control he has over me between the sheets. And worse, it’s starting to become clear that Dylan’s keeping secrets from me, too . . .

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Parker Swift grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and then grew up again in New York, London, and Minneapolis and currently lives in Connecticut. She has spent most of her adult life examining romantic relationships in an academic lab as a professor of social psychology. Now, she’s exploring the romantic lives of her fictional characters in the pages of her books. When she’s not writing, she spends her time with her bearded nautical husband and being told not to sing along to pop music in the car by her two sons.

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EXCERPT

Dylan urged me through the door to his bedroom, his palm spread widely across my lower back. “In you go,” he said firmly.

I stepped into the dark room, lit only by the light coming from the bathroom door.

Dylan moved behind me, to the side, and stood me in front of a leather club chair. I waited as he poured himself a glass of water and placed it on the table next to the chair after taking a long swig.

“What? No more Scotch?” I asked, following his eyes as he circled me, coming to stand behind me.

“I want my senses about me for this. You were bloody gorgeous tonight,” he said into my ear, his fingertips stroking my arms. “So perfectly yourself. I want to reward you. I want to sink into you. I want to goddamn consume you,” he said slowly, taking his time, and I gulped in anticipation. “And no more talking,” he said softly, finally settling into the chair before me and gazing up at me. “Undress.”

I giggled a little. “So it’s going to be that kind of night.”

He tsk-ed at me, wagging his finger as he sat down. “Shh, damsel. This will be better if you follow instructions.”

My skin was singing—it felt like there were a million little weather systems moving in the air around me, all electric, all feverish. My breathing was picking up.

I walked up to him, put my hands on the armrests of the chair where he sat, leaned over, and kissed him slowly on the lips. No tongue, just firm, warm lips.

“Can you unzip me at least?” I whispered, our faces centimeters apart, the air between us warming. Our eyes met, and my little challenge added heat to this game. He was getting ready to devour me.

I stood and turned, so my back was to him, and I felt him rise behind me. He dragged the zipper slowly down my back and slid his hands into the dress. They were so warm and felt so big, like he could grab me fully around my middle. His thumbs stroked my underarms, and the subtle movements caused a ripple, a shiver of anticipation.

The dress, now loose, slumped off my shoulders, making room for his hands. He unclasped my bra, and it fell into the dress. Then he pushed the whole thing off my arms and down my body, so it hung in front of me, and my bra spilled to the floor.

“On the bed, damsel.” He smacked my ass—hard. I smiled, eager, scurried to his majestic four-poster canopy bed, and perched myself on its edge. I bit my lip between my nervous teeth and sat on my hands. My hair drifted around my shoulders. The pit in my stomach and the round ache between my legs were getting sharper, firmer, more demanding. I wanted his hands on me, all over me. He was taking this too slowly, like he was stalking his prey.

Dylan reached into his bag, parked by the base of the bed, and lifted out a long coil of velvety-looking fabric, wider than rope, softer looking. “You game for this, sweetness?” I nodded hungrily, shamelessly. “Good. Then up at the headboard. Now.”

I crawled on all fours and turned back to look at Dylan stalking me. “Thought this through, did you?”

Smack.

Another crisp slap to my ass.

Right, no talking. But if that was my punishment, I might have to keep rebelling. I couldn’t stop the eager smile forming on my face, and Dylan shook his head. “Incorrigible.”

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Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Cindy Pon

I am excited to be back with my second author spotlight for The Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour. Today I am spotlighting Cindy Pon. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see my interview with Cindy.

And also check out my other author spotlight on E. Katherine Kottaras for OTBF.

OTBF BANNER

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is on Saturday March 25th from 9 am to 5 pm at Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761. The Fest is UNTICKETED and is completely FREE. For more information visit The Ontario Teen Book Fest website: http://www.ontariotbf.org/

The event is sponsored by Once Upon A Time. They will have books available for purchase at the event. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase as well. Visit their website: http://www.shoponceuponatime.com/

Be sure to check out the rest of the Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour:

Blog Tour Schedule

March 15th:

Spotlight on Romina Russell – The Consummate Reader
Spotlight on E. Katherine Kottaras – Book You Very Much

March 16th:

Spotlight on Catherine Linka – What A Nerd Girl Says
Spotlight on BT Gottfred – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 17th:

Spotlight on Elana K Arnold – Read Now Sleep Later
Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana – Starkiller Readers

March 18th:

Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Spotlight on Charlotte Huang – A Traveling Book 

March 19th:

Spotlight on KM Walton – Recently Acquired Obsessions
Spotlight on Jeff Garvin – Reading Over Sleeping 

March 20th:

Spotlight on Jessica Brody – A Reader’s Antidote
Spotlight on Aditi Khorana – Read Now Sleep Later

March 21st:

Spotlight on Ann Stampler – Movies, Shows and Books
Spotlight on Nicole Maggi – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 22nd:

Spotlight on Julie Buxbaum – A Traveling Book
Spotlight on Cindy Pon – Book You Very Much

March 23rd:

Spotlight on Martina Boone – Movies, Shows and Books
Spotlight on Mary Weber – What A Nerd Girl Says

March 24th:

Spotlight on Jessica Love – Nite Lite Books
Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera – Starkiller Reads
Spotlight on Robin Reul – Reading Over Sleeping

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INTERVIEW

  1. You have co-founded Diversity In YA and are part of the We Need Diverse Books advisory board? How did you get involved and why do you believe it is important to we have more diversity in YA books?

    I didn’t realize until AFTER I had written Silver Phoenix that it was the story I wish I could have read as a voracious teen reader. For as much as I read as a kid and young adult, I had never ever seen a character who looked like myself in any of the books I read. Books are meant to broaden worlds, make you see and feel and experience through another character’s eyes. I saw no reason, given how diverse our country is, for the lack of representation in the books that are published. Malinda Lo and I started Diversity in YA to promote awareness of inclusive books and authors from marginalized backgrounds. WNDB really came at a time when the dialogue was going strong, and they have created so many great programs like internship grants and The Walter award to help effect change in publishing.

  2. Your book Serpentine was inspired by Chinese mythology. How did you get into Chinese mythology and what about it inspired you to write Serpentine?

    It really started with my debut Silver Phoenix. I had just started to take classes in Chinese brush painting, and wanted to try and write my first novel. Fantasy was my favorite genre, and I realized I had never read a fantasy that wasn’t based in the west. Why shouldn’t there be a Chinese inspired fantasy? As for Serpentine, my focus in that was more personal and interpersonal relationships, with a strong focus on sister friendship.

  3. What was it about Young Adult that made you want to write in that genre?

    I actually fell into young adult quite by accident. I thought my debut Silver Phoenix was adult. But since then, I’ve come to realize that I love to focus on coming of age as well as sexual awakenings in my stories, which are upper YA, and exactly when much of both happens!

  4. When you’re first starting a book what comes first: character or plot?

    I wish I could answer this. It’s like a salad and can happen all at once, messy and mixed.

  5. What were some of your favorite authors growing up?

    Noel Streatfeild was one for certain and also Madeleine L’Engle.

  6. What are you working on now?

    Just wrapped up the final page proofs and edits for my first near-future thriller set in Taipei titled WANT. It’s out with Simon Pulse in June!

Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: E. Katherine Kottaras

I am so excited to be participating in The Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour. This year I will be spotlighting two author that will be attending OTBF this year: E. Katherine Kottaras and Cindy Pon. Today I will be spotlighting E. Katherine Kottaras, author of How To Be Brave and The Best Possible Answer. Scroll down the post for my interview with her.

OTBF BANNERThe Ontario Teen Book Fest is on Saturday March 25th from 9 am to 5 pm at Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761. The Fest is UNTICKETED and is completely FREE. For more information visit The Ontario Teen Book Fest website: http://www.ontariotbf.org/

The event is sponsored by Once Upon A Time. They will have books available for purchase at the event. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase as well. Visit their website: http://www.shoponceuponatime.com/

Be sure to check out the rest of the Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour:

Blog Tour Schedule

March 15th:

Spotlight on Romina Russell – The Consummate Reader
Spotlight on E. Katherine Kottaras – Book You Very Much

March 16th:

Spotlight on Catherine Linka – What A Nerd Girl Says
Spotlight on BT Gottfred – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 17th:

Spotlight on Elana K Arnold – Read Now Sleep Later
Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana – Starkiller Readers

March 18th:

Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Spotlight on Charlotte Huang – A Traveling Book 

March 19th:

Spotlight on KM Walton – Recently Acquired Obsessions
Spotlight on Jeff Garvin – Reading Over Sleeping 

March 20th:

Spotlight on Jessica Brody – A Reader’s Antidote
Spotlight on Aditi Khorana – Read Now Sleep Later

March 21st:

Spotlight on Ann Stampler – Movies, Shows and Books
Spotlight on Nicole Maggi – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 22nd:

Spotlight on Julie Buxbaum – A Traveling Book
Spotlight on Cindy Pon – Book You Very Much

March 23rd:

Spotlight on Martina Boone – Movies, Shows and Books
Spotlight on Mary Weber – What A Nerd Girl Says

March 24th:

Spotlight on Jessica Love – Nite Lite Books
Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera – Starkiller Reads
Spotlight on Robin Reul – Reading Over Sleeping

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E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, and now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is an active member of NCTE and SCBWI, as well as a proud board member of the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California. Katherine is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true.

She is the author of the YA contemporary novel, HOW TO BE BRAVE (2015) and the forthcoming THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER (2016), both from St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen.

To find out more about E. Katherine Kottaras visit her website: www.ekatwrites.com

INTERVIEW

  1. What were the inspiration behind your books How To Be Brave and The Best Possible Answer?

Many writers talk about books that are the “stories of their hearts.” My first book, HOW TO BE BRAVE, was most definitely that since it is told through the eyes of Georgia, a Greek-American teenager whose mother passes away. I am half-Greek, and my father died when I was seventeen, so much of the story, in terms of its exploration of grief and loss, identity and love, came directly from my heart and my life. HOW TO BE BRAVE is about a girl who has lived her life in fear and who sets out to try new things, despite her insecurities. Before her death, her mom commanded Georgia to live differently—to try everything at least once and to never be ruled by fear. Of course, there are many similarities between Georgia and me. Georgia also feels uncomfortable in her body that’s deemed “overweight” by society’s standards, and part of her storyline is that she finds confidence in her body, as it is – that losing weight does not equal being brave. This has been part of my storyline has well.

My second book, THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER, is equally the story of my heart. Viviana is a driven honors student and the daughter of a Russian-Jewish immigrant mom and an American engineer dad who have extremely high academic expectations for her. As a result of both these expectations and an exposing mistake Viviana made in sharing a nude photo with her boyfriend (who proceeded to send it to the entire school), Viviana suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. She knows that she didn’t do anything wrong in sending the photo to him – she trusted and loved him at the time – but world still blames and shames her for it.

At her summer job, Viviana is finally able to escape the judgmental eyes of her school, but she soon becomes the odd vertex of a love triangle; her childhood best friend, Sammie, has a crush on the outgoing, college-aged lifeguard, Evan, but he seems to be more interested in Viviana. Against her better judgment, Viviana falls for him, thereby damaging yet another important relationship in her life and disappointing herself. Soon after, when her father finally returns from his mysterious six-month long business trip, Viviana discovers some deep, dark truths about him that force her to question all of her ideas about love and trust and the control she has over her life.

I am both first- and second- generation American (my father immigrated from Greece in 1952; my mother’s parents immigrated from Russia in 1913), so I am always interested in the unique pressures of being the child of immigrants, as I was, as many of my students are, and as Viviana is.

Furthermore, when I was in high school and college, I was in honors classes, including AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (the International Baccalaureate program). While some of the pressure to succeed came from my parents, much of it was simply part of the system. I continuously and secretly suffered from anxiety and paralyzing panic attacks through my twenties, both from the grief of losing my father and from the pressures of success. The thing is, I didn’t really know what was happening – that it was called GAD (general anxiety disorder) or panic attacks, or that it was something I should seek help for. In fact, I’d been told that if I ever sought psychological help via a therapist or group support, I should not use my own medical insurance for fear that my employers would find out that I was “unstable” and I might therefore lose my job. It took me many years to finally seek support and understand my own mind.

As a teacher at both the high school and community college levels, I’ve met many students who also feel the intense pressures of success, both from their families and from the mere need for financial survival, and who as a result, suffer from severe (and often secret) anxiety. I teach English where we focus on creative expression and the makings of an examined life, so students often want to share their inner lives with me, both in writing and in conversation, including their mental health. I remind them that I am not a psychologist or counselor, and I also direct them towards our free psychological services, but many students respond that their parents would – and I quote – “kill” them if they knew they had sought psychological help. Every time I hear this, my heart breaks. There is a stigma attached to the very real experience of GAD and panic attacks, as well as to psychological counseling. I wrote THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER for both myself when I was a teenager, and most certainly for my students and readers who are like my students, so that they can see their experience represented and also find that there does not have to be that stigma, that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of self-care and beautiful strength.

  1. You teach writing and literature at Pasadena City College. How do you balance teaching with your writing?

My writing informs my teaching, just as my teaching informs my writing. I couldn’t imagine not doing both; in fact, doing both is what provides the balance, as I am continually in a state of inquiry about the world outside the page, and that informs the world within the page.

Joan Didion said, “We write to discover what we think.” This speaks the core of my experience as a writer, and it’s a thought that I share with my students repeatedly. Whether I am teaching creative writing, literature, or composition, I want my students to begin from a place of inquiry. I want them to see writing as an exploration, a journey of discovery, a path towards knowledge.

I also think it’s important to be honest with my students when discussing how horribly frustrating that process can be. I tell them when I’m experiencing writer’s block; I show them my rejection letters; I let them know that I, too, cry sometimes when the words just will not come. I’ve always believed that my role as both a writer and a teacher is not to proselytize, that my role is to guide and to question. That being said, I do try to live by example, which to me means showing my own vulnerabilities as a human being who’s trying to figure it all out. I find that students appreciate hearing about these experiences, that when I share my own frustrations, they feel more comfortable sharing their own and thereby figuring out ways to deal with them and get their words on the page.

  1. When writing what comes first for you: character or plot?

Usually character, but I also need to know what their core problems are, which informs the movement of the plot. Give me a character with a strong voice but who’s found herself in the midst of a complicated situation where she must be tested in subtle ways – it’s not always life or death, dragons or horribly evil villains – it’s the quiet pressures that intrigue me, the barriers that we set up against ourselves. I love every day heroes, and I think it’s important that we explore these stories, not necessarily as brochures (I hate explicitly moralistic novels), but as more as questions about what it means to live a life of meaning. I hope that my readers will ask the same questions that my characters must ask of themselves: What is courage? What is truth? What is trust? What is strength? I like to say that there’s an invisible question mark at the end of How to Be Brave, and as for The Best Possible Answer, well, even when you think you’ve found it, it can only lead to more questions. And I love that.

  1. If your books How To Be Brave and The Best Possible Answer where made into movies who would you cast as the leads?

For Georgia in HOW TO BE BRAVE, I already DID cast her! We filmed an interactive trailer at http://howtobebravebook.com/opening%20main.html where you get to help Georgia choose how she’s going to be brave. Casting the actor for Georgia was so much fun. Her name is Elena Ross, and she was spunky and fun and just a little bit scared but totally willing to try anything, just as I’d imagined Georgia would be.

If I were to choose a well-known actor for Georgia, it would be Elizabeth Gillies, who plays Jade West on the Disney Channel’s Victorious. (I watch it with my daughter and love it!)

For Viviana in THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER, I would cast Ariel Winter from Modern Family.

  1. What were some of your favorite writers growing up?

Oh wow: SO many. I LOVED to read. When I was in high school, I loved Tim O’Brien, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Douglas Coupland, Sylvia Plath, J.D. Salinger, Ana Castillo, Margaret Atwood. I was always, always reading.

  1. What is a typical writing day for you?

I don’t really have a typical writing day. I steal time. Sometimes I write only at night, after my daughter goes to sleep. Sometimes I am awake before dawn. Sometimes I write on my Notes app on my phone while my daughter is in voice lessons. I often use holidays and breaks to dive into my writing, during which I can spend weeks or months writing every day. And I love those times. I am able to immerse myself in the world of my story and fully commit to the experience of being a writer.

  1. What was it about Young Adult that made you want to write for that genre?

I started writing YA because I was a YA fan! I was teaching high school, and my students were introducing me to authors like Sherman Alexie, John Green, Suzanne Collins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and more. I think that the reason why so many adults (and of course, teens!) love to read YA is because the novels usually focus on a moment of intense change, and though we’ve been sold the story that once we hit a certain point, we are “adults,” the truth is we are continuously facing intense moments of change and growth throughout our lives. I think that YA novels are a way for readers of all ages to reflect on those experiences.

  1. So far you have written contemporary YA. Is there another genre you would want to write? Would you ever consider writing adult books?

Yes, and yes! I am currently working on a middle grade historical set in Ancient Greece, sort of a HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON with a female lead. And I may one day be interested in writing books for adults! Right now I love writing for teens, but anything’s possible!

  1. What are you working on next?

My third YA contemporary is complete and it just went out on submission to publishers, and now I’m working on the middle grade and brainstorming some other YA contemporaries.

Thank you so much for having me!

Blog Tour: Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason

Mason_StarlightBridge_BlogTour

STARLIGHT BRIDGE by Debbie Mason

Series: Harmony Harbor, #2

On Sale: February 28, 2017

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1

CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5

STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2

PRIMROSE LANE, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

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SYNOPSIS

A second chance for romance…

Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one—especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher—can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it’s more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him…

Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what’s never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won’t give her up again without a fight. He knows there’s the real possibility of a future together…if the truth doesn’t burn the bridge between them forever.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

debbie-mason-credit-debbie-mazzura

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, three wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella in Ontario, Canada.

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EXCERPT

She sensed Griffin rising to his feet and heard him placing his mug on the desk. And then he was there, crouched in front of her. He took her mug, setting it on the floor before he gently smoothed the rough pads of his fingers over her cheek. “You know it kills me to see you cry.”

“Still?” she murmured without looking at him.

“Yeah, looks like,” he said, sounding as though the admission cost him.

A tiny flicker of hope ignited inside her. She smothered it, unwilling to put herself in the position of being disappointed. She didn’t think her heart could withstand another blow today.

“I know you did more than smooth the way for my father, Griffin. I don’t believe Gino’s monthly pension checks and insurance will come close to covering the cost. I need to know what I owe you. I doubt I can pay it all at once though, so maybe we could come up with a monthly payment plan?”

At her suggestion, a muscle pulsed in his clenched jaw, and his eyes narrowed. She was familiar with that look. It didn’t bode well for her repayment plan. And maybe because of that small hope that refused to be denied, she raised her hand to trace his stubbled jaw with her finger. “You know that look always annoyed me,” she said, thinking back to how long it had been since she’d touched him this way.

“Yeah, and you always knew how to get rid of it. Never could hold out against you for long.” His eyes darkened as though remembering their standoffs always ended in bed.

“What are we doing?” she whispered, the heat in his eyes weakening her resolve. She had to know if it was just her imagination. She’d deal with the consequences later.

“I—”

The study door swung open, and her cousin rushed in. “Ava, are—Oh, I…” Sophie’s gaze moved from Griffin to Ava. “Am I interrupting?”

Griffin rose to his feet, and Ava didn’t know if it was relief or regret she saw on his face.

He glanced at his watch. “I better get going. I have to meet up with Sully.”

Ah, so it had been relief after all, she thought, fighting to keep the disappointment from showing on her face.

Sophie smiled, stepping in front of Griffin as he walked to the door. “Welcome home,” she said, giving him a hug. “We’re so glad you took the job.”

“Job?” Ava asked, and there it was again, hope. Only this time it came out in her voice.

Griffin turned with his hand on the doorknob. “Sully offered me a job with the Coast Guard. Thought it was about time I came home.” He held her gaze. “We’ll talk later. If you need me, call.”

Sophie stared at her, openmouthed. “He…You.” Sophie found her voice and looked from the door to Ava. “What did I just interrupt?”

“I’m not sure,” she murmured, glad she was sitting, otherwise her legs might have given out.

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