Cover Reveal for SWEET LIFE

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for an upcoming contemporary romance from Nina Lane. SWEET LIFE is the fifth book in her Sugar Rush series, and sure to melt hearts just in time for Christmas.

About the book:
He knows if she’s been bad or good.
Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she’s having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she’s ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.

Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for fourteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes.

Just when Julia thinks Warren is all she wants for Christmas, an old flame comes to town and reminds her of the carefree girl she used to be. As the new year approaches, Julia is forced to decide if she wants to relive the past or embrace the future.

Interested? You can preorder SWEET LIFE in advance of its release Dec 12th on Amazon and iBooks.

Mmmm…these covers make me hungry…. 😉

About the Author:
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.

Catch up with Nina on her website, Facebook, twitter, or sign up for her newsletter.

Out Today! DIGNITY Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. DIGNITY is the second book in her The Breaking Point series, and the sequel to HONOR. Like most Crownover series, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. This one features a reclusive computer genius and the homeless  woman who picks a fight with the biggest dog in the yard. Expect gritty moments and love that transcends living on the edge of the law.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
About the book:
Looks can be deceiving.

I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter.

I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.

I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.

I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.

That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime, and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim, and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.

I shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.

When a woman comes along that melts all the frozen, hard things you’re made of; you’ll do anything you have to, to bring her home.

What you see is not always what you get…and with a man like me, what you get is more than anyone ever bargained for.

How about a little taste?

Protective and possessive instincts coiled around my gut and rage felt like it was going to choke me. I was so used to being cold and numb, I didn’t know what to do with the fire that was licking at my insides.

“I saw him take her out of the trunk when they got to the docks. He moved like a cop. Not the kind who is there to actually protect and serve, but the kind who pulls you over for no reason and slaps cuffs on you to prove a point. I was locked up for a lot of years, boy genius. I know what a dirty cop looks like. He had a busted-up nose and stitches on the side of his face. Should be pretty easy for Titus to identify him.”

Titus King was Bax’s half-brother and the only law enforcement officer in the entire city any of us slightly trusted. He was one of the few men the Point hadn’t tainted. He was a good guy, trying to do right by the people in our city, and he wouldn’t hesitate to throw Goddard’s dirty cop under the bus. But I didn’t want anyone going after the Mayor. His sadistic ass was all mine.

“Do you think they made it out of the container after you hit it with the truck?” That had been my idea. Nassir was only sending in Booker and Benny to get Noe out, but I didn’t think it was enough fire power. Since he refused to let me go, even siccing Chuck on me as a babysitter until the job was done, I made Benny go over the plan with me no less than a hundred times until I came up with a better one. Knocking the container sideways with one of the big semi-trucks that littered the area would give Benny the time he needed to get Noe out and distract the outside security detail enough that Booker could do his thing. It was a risk because the people inside the container—including Noe and Benny—might have ended up injured when the thing flipped, but the odds of them making it out were much higher than if Benny tried to take on everyone on his own.

“If Benny made it out, we won’t hear from him again. That was the deal he made with Nassir. He would get your girl and then disappear, so he can go and live happily ever after with his. As for the rest of them,” he shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Your girl said someone had a gun, so if they were shooting at Benny, he would do whatever he could to make sure they stopped. He’s not about to catch a bullet for any of us. I know you want that asshole alive for your own reasons, but honestly, it’s better if Benny popped him.”

It was better, but it wasn’t what I wanted. A bullet between the eyes was way too easy for a guy like Goddard. People would bemoan how bad the Point had become, how Goddard had been a staunch supporter of crime prevention measures. He would die a martyr and a legend. I couldn’t stand the thought of that. I wanted who Goddard was, who he really was, out in the open. I wanted his mansion doors flung wide open and every skeleton inside the walls exposed and thrown out on the perfectly manicured lawn for the entire world to see. I hated people who hid behind the law. I hated when men in any position of power got off on using their elevated status to jerk the helpless and hopeless around. Death wasn’t the answer. Devastation was.

I closed my eyes and squeezed the cold, still hand that was clasped in mine. Failure weighed heavy on my shoulders and fury lit up my blood like popping and sizzling firecrackers.

“When do we ever end up with anything that’s better for us?” That wasn’t how the Point worked. That wasn’t how we worked.

Booker grunted and I felt him move behind me. “It happens. It doesn’t seem like better should be able to find a foothold in this place, but despite all odds, it does.”

My Review:
Snowden Stark was a good kid with an amazing talent for writing code. His parents and twin sister were his whole world, but a series of unfortunate events–not likely random–left him isolated with his intellect and a huge grudge against the government. He grew up in the wealthy part of The Point, fast friends with Nassir, the man who rules the crime-ridden enterprises that drag it down. With no one to trust, he stuck with Nassir, and they’ve made life hard for folks who deserved it. Think of him as a digital Robin Hood, of a sort.

Noe Lee is a Korean runaway from a horror of an adopted family. She’d rather live on the streets using her wits than return to their unholy embrace–but she won’t leave The Point either. She makes cash by creating new identities for people who desperately need them, and one of her recent customers was the 16 y/o pregnant stepdaughter of The Point’s crooked Mayor Goddard. Oh sure, he looks squeaky-clean to his constituents and donors, but he’s a bad, bad dude in a city filled with them. Noe’s on the run, and wants Snowden Stark’s help–which he refuses to give. At first. But when it comes to a rescue, this man can bring the fire.

Stark takes Noe in to his world, and she’s as committed to bringing Goddard to justice as Stark seems to be. An abuse survivor herself, Noe recognized the pattern with Goddard and helps flush out many other victims. Meanwhile, Stark and Noe have an attraction that won’t be stopped. They understand life on the fringes, and have the ability to smooth each other’s rough edges. But, Stark’s sense of duty is a little strong, and his single-minded pursuit of Goddard leaves Noe feeling a bit cold. Good thing Stark has a pal who won’t let him let a good woman slip away.

This is a dark story and abuse survivors should be warned that there are graphic descriptions of molestation experiences. It’s a bit Batman, too, with all the gadgets and tech warfare. I liked how they plotted their revenge, and unmasking Goddard was a sweet, and very dangerous, enterprise. It’s always good when the bad guys get taken down, even if it’s merely in fiction. The world is well-described enough that the more unseemly sides of it seem perfectly commonplace. Corrupt, pedophile mayor? Sure. Computer geniuses who live in the shadows doing white hat work? Yep! Big, mean bouncer/enforcers who have a soft side? Why not! The juxtapositions are interesting, and the delayed gratification of the sexytimes was in-character for Stark, at the very least. It’s a twisty ride to love, but it does happen.

Interested? You can find DIGNITY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Sneak Peek at RIDE WILD!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt for a new for a new contemporary romance coming soon from Laura Kaye. RIDE WILD is the third book in her Raven Riders series and if you want to catch up on the series, check out my review for RIDE HARD and RIDE ROUGH.

There’s a sale on RIDE HARD (currently $.99) and buying RIDE ROUGH will net you a bonus story.

About the book:
Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders…

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter.

Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her…

Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.

A note from author Laura Kaye

OMG you guys! I’m so excited! Because the first book in my new Raven Riders series is on sale for just $.99 for a limited time AND I’ve got an advance excerpt from the newest book here for you to enjoy! The Raven Riders is a sexy contemporary romance series, and a spin-off from my Hard Ink world, about a different kind of a motorcycle club with a protective mission. Ride Hard tells the story of a sheltered woman on the run who’s been rescued by the jaded and tormented president of the Raven Riders, who learns that she’s strong enough to save herself and the man she loves, too. Ride Wild is the story of a sexy single father wild with grief over the death of his wife several years before and the strong survivor he hires to be his nanny. It’s hot and emotional and I adored writing it! I hope you’ll check both out – plus they’re standalones, so you can jump in anywhere!

Also, did you know that I’m donating a portion of all my sales from Ride Wild through 11/5 to Noah’s Arks Rescue? AND that you can get a bonus story for grabbing your copy?

Now, enjoy this delicious tease from Ride Wild, coming 10/31/17, and grab your copies of BOTH! Thanks for reading! ~ Laura Kaye

How about a little taste?

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”

“Do what?” Of course, healing from this was going to take some time. And he’d help her with that however he could. And forgiving herself, well, even when there was nothing to forgive, it was possible to beat yourself up till the end of time. Slider knew that too damn well, didn’t he? As for getting justice—or revenge—the Ravens had already taken care of that when they’d killed her degenerate drunk of a father at their racetrack the night Haven’s father attacked the club.

But none of that was what she meant. Instead, she surprised the hell out of him—not with what she revealed, exactly, because he had an inkling. But instead she surprised him with her courage. “Pretend that I don’t have feelings for you,” she said.

If she hadn’t owned him already, she did as of that very moment. Emotion this in his throat, he tried to tell her. “I’ve been such a fucking wreck, Cora.”

“I know. I didn’t admit that to try to make you say anything back.”

He cupped her face in his hand, because he sure as shit was going to respond to that. “I’m a wreck, and I’d convinced myself that I always would be. But lately, I’ve been trying. I’ve been better. Hopeful, for the first time in years.” Admitting that should’ve been freeing, and it was. But, maybe ridiculously, it was also scary as fuck. Because when you’d become wed to a certain narrative of your life, letting go of it threatened to crumble the ground beneath your feet, leaving you with no idea where you’d be left standing when the dust settled.

Her expression went so, so soft. For him. “I’m really glad of that, Slider. So glad you feel better.”

“It’s you, Cora. It’s me, too, some. But you worked your way into my heart and my head and my house and my whole life until I could see again that I had a life. One I’d been neglecting. One I hadn’t been appreciating. So I don’t know how I’m going to pretend either. And frankly, I don’t want to, not anymore. Because I care about you, too. And not just as a friend.”

“You…really?” she asked, her eyes so wide and her face so damn pretty.

God, she didn’t get it, did she? Just how much she’d done to change his life…But he was going to make sure she did from here on out. “Really. I don’t know where we go or what we call it or how public we go with it, but there’s something here. And I want it. I want you.”

Interested? You can pre-order RIDE WILD in advance of it’s 10/31 release on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and GooglePlay.

PREORDER RIDE WILD & HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Animal rescue is a big part of the storyline of Ride Wild, and that’s something that’s close to Laura’s heart, so Laura’s giving to the cause by donating a portion of all preorders and sales through 11/5 to Noah’s Arks Rescue, a fantastic organization that serves as a source of inspiration for the book. When you grab your copy of RIDE WILD, you’re helping a great cause AND you’ll get a bonus story when you submit your order info, too!

Submit Your Preorder Info to Get A Bonus Story!

Learn more about Noah’s Arks

You can find RIDE HARD on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

You can find RIDE ROUGH on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

LauraKayeAbout the Author:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Newsletter SignUp

InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Coming Soon! DIGNITY

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover and blurb for a new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. DIGNITY is the second book in her The Breaking Point series, and the sequel to HONOR. Like most Crownover series, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. Expect gritty moments and love that transcends lives on the edge of the law.

About the book:
Looks can be deceiving.

I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter.

I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.

I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.

I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.

That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime, and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim, and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.

I shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.

When a woman comes along that melts all the frozen, hard things you’re made of; you’ll do anything you have to, to bring her home.

What you see is not always what you get…and with a man like me, what you get is more than anyone ever bargained for.

I’m really excited to read this one!

Interested? You can find DIGNITY on Goodreads, and pre-order in advance of its 10/17 release date on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Building Something TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary romance from Tessa Bailey. TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK is the fourth, and final, book in her Romancing the Clarkson’s series. I’ve read the first three books, TOO HOT TO HANDLE, TOO WILD TO TAME, and TOO HARD TO FORGET, and really enjoyed them so I couldn’t wait to read this last one…especially as it features shy, reserved Belmont finally opening up emotionally and sexually to shy, reserved Sage!

Catch and excerpt below and be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway for one of 10 paperback copies of TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK, too!

About the book:
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!

A love of a lifetime . . .

Leaving Belmont Clarkson is the hardest thing Sage Alexander has ever done. From the moment they met, she knew Belmont was the one, and getting up close and personal with him on his family’s epic road trip has taken her desire to a new, even hotter level. But there’s no way she can go there—not without revealing secrets that could devastate them both.

Losing Sage is not an option. Belmont’s heart is hers, has always been hers. He knows she’s hiding something from him, but nothing will stand in his way of telling her just how much she means to him. Finding her is easy—saving her from her past could cost him everything.

How about a little taste?

“You don’t have to leave right away,” Sage said when Belmont turned, watching her from beneath his eyebrows. “Can you wait here while I take a quick shower?”

Maybe that hadn’t been the right thing to say. His big back heaved and the touch of his tongue in her mouth came crashing in like a behemoth wave. They had crossed an unspoken boundary on the train platform. There was no going back to before, to when they stopped at rough, crushing embraces. As if that hadn’t been…more than sexual somehow.

“Yes, I’ll wait,” he said, his voice sounding like serrated metal. “I can light the fire for you.”

I’ll say. God, why did everything sound like an innuendo now? If her body weren’t flush and sweating beneath the jumpsuit, she would have laughed about it. But there was nothing funny about having Belmont looming mere yards away, looking like one word of encouragement would snap his chain and send him barreling toward her. “That would be perfect. I’ll just be…a few minutes.”

Sage all but dove into the itty-bitty bathroom, pressing her back up against the door and willing her racing heart to calm down. Why had she asked him to stay? Her resolve would weaken with every passing second. Biting down on her lower lip, she began the excruciating task of lowering the zipper of her jumpsuit, which kicked up a protest in her triceps and shoulder muscles. When she finally got it down, she gripped the hem of her T-shirt and attempted to lift it over her head.

Her arms wouldn’t cooperate. They flat out wouldn’t rise any higher than her ribs, leaving the T-shirt suspended in midair. Her muscles burned like someone had doused them in lighter fluid and held them above a flame. Sage’s agony must have escaped in the form of a whimper, because Belmont’s boots scraped just outside the door. And her stomach hollowed with awareness, lightning racing all over her skin.

“Sage.” His voice was deep, urgent. “Do you need help?”

No. Say no. She’d only gotten finished reminding him she didn’t need him. But in this case, it would be a lie and she’d done so much of that lately. With Belmont. The most truthful person she knew. “I can’t get my shirt off.” Her nose started to ache, the tip probably turning red. “My arms hurt.”

His growl was short and broken. A beat passed before the door opened and she felt Belmont filling the doorway behind her. She flicked a glance up to the ancient mirror and confirmed what she’d seen in her mind’s eyes. Belmont towering over her like an avenging angel, outlined by candlelight. He’d taken off his coat, leaving him in a black long-sleeved shirt, which he’d rolled up to the elbows. Every inch of visible skin was shot through with strained cords of muscle, as if his frustration were written on him like a road map.

Sage still had the shirt halfway lifted, so her lower back was visible. Not a big deal to most people. But Belmont had never seen anything below her neck. Or above her knees. With the jumpsuit peeled halfway down, the band of her underwear might even be peeking out.

Breathing grew difficult as Belmont took one step closer and took hold of the T-shirt, his knuckles grazing the small of her back. “You’re wearing”—his breath ghosted down her neck—“my shirt.”

Sage only realized she’d closed her eyes when they popped open. Oh God. In the shock of Belmont arriving, she’d forgotten. “I am?” Her mouth was parched. “L-look at that.”

“I am looking.” She jumped when Belmont reached over her shoulder with his left hand and turned on the shower, the sound of spray filling the room. Then the roughness of his knuckles returned, sliding up her spine along with the shirt. “I like knowing there was a layer of me standing between you and the earth.”

Her legs took on the consistency of Jell-O. His touch was a drug, making her languid, although it was different than the way he usually touched her. There was sex this time. So much of it. And it was that major difference that allowed Sage to accept the skimming of his fingers. Accept the part of herself that lusted. They were in a dark room and time had surely suspended anywhere outside this little plot of square footage. Words ached to leave her mouth, words that wouldn’t be suitable in the sunlight. This man, so warm and brave and large at her back, knew things about her no one else did. What was one more secret? “I stole it out of your suitcase. I broke a commandment and everything.”

“Why?” He breathed into her hair, sinking heat like an anchor in her belly. The shirt came off, her arms dropped to her sides, and she was left in nothing but a bra from the waist up. Inches from Belmont. “Why, sweetest girl?”

A light steam had begun curling in the air like beckoning fingers. Maybe this is a dream. It felt like one of the fevered fantasies she woke from on occasion, sweat slicking her breasts and neck. “Because I like the way you smell and it hadn’t been washed.”

His exhale was gravelly. “Sage.

“Yes.”

She thought he might not respond, but finally he asked a question that made her nipples turn to hard points. “Can you manage”—a long, windy inhale—“the bra?”

Sage tried. She really, truly did. Her arms felt as though they might break off and hit the floor, but she reached back until her muscles locked up, refusing to move farther. But Belmont was already there, pushing them back down, holding them at her hips.

Jesus. Please, stop. I can’t watch it.” His touch disappeared only for a second and then the cotton material of the bra tightened over her breasts. She could feel him working the back clasp with fingers she knew so well. They’d tunneled through her hair so many times, twisted in her clothing, but had never, ever, touched her with any kind of…intent. Intent to seduce. And that’s what he was doing, intentional or not. The inhibitions she’d held close forever, circled the drain, along with the shower water. “Your back is so beautiful.” A ghost of a fingertip traced down her spine. “But I need to leave before I—”

“What?”

“Before I turn you around.” They weren’t touching, but she could sense the shudder that ran through him. “Or look in that mirror.”

Right or wrong, the mine, their codependency aside, Sage knew if she let him leave just then, she would regret it for all time. Her body had been woken up. By one man. He’d kept her on the razor’s edge for thousands of miles, surrounding her with his power and taking it away. Over and over. And this fever wrapping around them in the tiny bathroom was completely different from easing his anxiety. Finally, she felt like a woman standing in front of him, instead of a calming device. This was mutual and alive and she couldn’t stand it to end. Tomorrow might be a different story, but this moment was the culmination of a thousand dreams and she could no more deny herself than she could forget his face.

“Belmont, do you think of the kiss?”

I never stop,” he groaned into her hair. “Never.”

She took a deep breath for courage. “Will you shower with me?”

My Review:
This is the final book in a four-part series about the Clarksons, adult siblings who began a road trip from San Diego to NYC at the behest of their late mother. They were meant to bond with each other–because this is a rather dysfunctional family–and all jump into the ocean on January 1st. While you can read this one on its own, I know I enjoyed it more for having read the first and second books already. As the books progress, one of the Clarksons find his/her soulmate and stops traveling with the promise of reuniting for the Big Plunge.

Now, with Rita, Aaron and Peggy building love and life with their soulmates, Belmont Clarkson and Sage, Peggy’s best friend and wedding planner, are in the big ol’ Suburban on their way to NYC. Or, not so much. Because Sage decides she’s leaving Belmont and the dysfunctional friendship they have built.

See, Belmont fell into a well when he was ten–and it took four days to rescue him. He’s been a reserved, “gentle giant” since that time. A silent protector to his younger siblings, and now Sage, whose presence quiets his mind. Sage, for her part, loves cuddling with Belmont, loves him, but can’t be his security blanket anymore. And, she’s got a family obligation to attend.

Sage comes form tiny Sibley, Louisiana. The main employer there is a salt mine–and the owner is Augie, a wealthy, lonely man who fell hard for Sage’s mother way back when. Her mom chose another man to marry, and Augie’s employed that man his whole life–and lent him money when needed, relishing sending Sage’s father into the worst areas of the mine. Now, Sage’s dad is (supposedly) only a couple months from retirement, but he’s physically unable to do his job. Sage bargains with Augie to take her daddy’s place, if only he’ll let her work the final couple of months, and her daddy will get his full pension.

Belmont’s fear of the dark, and of enclosed spaces has followed him since his descent into the well. He has some black memories of that experience, including the reason he was down there in the first place. But putting his Sage in the ground, working a mine, is an untenable situation. He is going to take her place no matter what.

So, this book is long on self-sacrifice, yet contains a good amount of communication for characters who’ve been so muted to this point. I liked how Sage and Belmont both acknowledged their co-dependency and worked to reveal more of themselves to one another–to banish the misconceptions between them. Sage believes that Belmont can’t see her as a woman–and Belmont’s stunned because so much of his reserve was keeping himself in check physically; he’s wanted Sage a long, hard time… Meanwhile, Belmont saw the polished Sage and thought she was perfection, an ideal she couldn’t hope to live up to–but it doesn’t mean he loves her any less upon seeing her faults.

I’ve learned that Tessa Bailey will include some outrageous sexy scene in each of her books, but the double-first in a house of god was a capper, hands down. The tentative loving was to be expected, and the unleashed passions was frosting on the cupcake. I loved how Belmont’s siblings came to support him in his hour of need, and how the judgemental townsfolk of Sibley stood up for what was right at just the right time. I bet Augie didn’t expect that, as he turned his Machiavellian screws.

Interested? You can find TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo Books-A-Million, and IndieBound. A review copy was provided by NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this giveaway link for your chance to win one of 10 paperback copies of TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - coverInterested in the first book, TOO HOT TO HANDLE? Watch shy Rita get wooed by a man working hard to turn his lady-killer reputation around.
It is both sweet and sexy…

And the second book of the series, TOO WILD TO TAME, was a surprisingly tender book that featured the jaded political analyst, Aaron, falling for a girl suffering years of PTSD. Catch my review for more deets.

And, the third book, TOO HARD TO FORGET features the youngest Clarkson–Peggy–finding her ‘one that got away’…and bringing him back. Peggy scores a touchdown wooing her widowed coach back to the land of the loving.

Tessa Bailey - headshotAbout the Author:
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving 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 of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

You can catch up to Tessa online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Near the Climax–DRAGON BURN-Review and Excerpt

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. DRAGON BURN is a novella in her Dark Kings series, (Book 11.5!) and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, and BLAZE, so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Marked by passion
A promise made eons ago sends Sebastian to Italy on the hunt to find an enemy. His quarry proves difficult to locate, but there is someone who can point him in the right direction – a woman as frigid as the north. Using every seductive skill he’s acquired over his immortal life, his seduction begins. Until he discovers that the passion he stirs within her makes him burn for more…

Gianna Santini has one love in her life – work. A disastrous failed marriage was evidence enough to realize she was better off on her own. That is until a handsome Scot strolled into her life and literally swept her off her feet. She is unprepared for the blazing passion between them or the truth he exposes. But as her world begins to unravel, she realizes the only one she can depend on is the very one destroying everything – a Dragon King.

In this scorching Dark Kings novella, New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant brings together a determined Dragon King used to getting what he wants and an Ice Queen who thaws for no one.

How about a little taste?

Sebastian was there.

She turned her head to look at him. He met her gaze, his clear eyes holding some kind of emotion she couldn’t quite name, but through it she saw the fires of desire as if he were lit from the inside with them.

It caused her stomach to flutter in excitement and her feet to stop working. She stumbled, which caused his arm to wrap around her waist as he drew to a stop and hauled her against him. They stared silently into each other’s eyes as the crowds parted and walked around them. The steady thumping of his heartbeat could be felt beneath her palms.

What was it about Sebastian that made her forget herself? She was a different person with him, one that not only enjoyed his touch—but craved it.

The problem was, she liked how she felt around him. She enjoyed how he made her feel, and how she wanted to feel. The desire, the need, the hunger. She reached for it, accepted it.

Embraced it.

She didn’t know how long they stood there lost in each other’s eyes. For a brief moment, she wondered if it was one-sided. Could Sebastian feel the same as her? Did she dare allow herself to follow wherever this road led, no matter how many doorways she walked through?

No matter what it might expose within herself?

No matter what longing it might reveal?

No matter if she found herself walking alone?

She was standing on the edge of a precipice while he stood on nothing but air, holding out his hand and urging her to jump. Never one to take such a chance, she found herself wanting to do just that.

Even if it meant that she could hit the ground so hard she might never get up again.

It was strange to even consider any of this. Yet here she was. There should be more fear, more concern. Perhaps it was the desire overshadowing those other emotions.

“Gianna,” he began.

Her cell phone vibrated in her purse, causing her to jump and shattering whatever had held them enthralled. She couldn’t help but wonder if destiny was trying to tell her something. It was the second time they’d been interrupted that day when she’d felt sure he was going to kiss her.

My Review:
Sebastian is a Dragon King who promised to help Ulrik no matter what centuries ago, and he regrets having to bind Ulrik’s magic to prevent the destruction of humanity centuries ago. He doesn’t believe that Ulrik is the menace behind the troubles facing the Dragon Kings of Dreagan. So, he’s off to Venice to investigate a lead in the search for Ulrik. It seems there’s a man who looks quite a lot like Ulrik operating there under the name of Oscar Cox, and Seb believes him to be Ulrik’s disgruntled uncle Mikkel in disguise. Seb positions himself to meet Cox’s beautiful American assistant, Gianna Santini, in order to gain access to her boss and discover his true identity.

Gianna is done with relationships. Divorced and bitter, she eschews meeting men and prefers to be solitary–filling her time with her work for “Oscar Cox,” a powerful British man to whom she’s an assistant. She loves Mr. Cox’s power and how quickly she’s risen within his company. Still, the man seated beside her for the past two nights at her favorite tavern is quite attractive. And, when she strikes up the nerve to chat with him, Seb’s brogue is tasty, too.

They begin a tentative acquaintance, and Gianna is intrigued by Seb’s sensuality and chivalry. Both are drawn to the other, and this is odd for many reasons; Gianna’s not interested in having alover after her disastrous marriage and Seb’s sworn to not take a human lover. Still, they have an easy-going day sharing breakfast and sightseeing. Gianna, wanting to experience more of the thrill of Seb, invites him to the masquerade ball she’s arranged–hosted by Oscar–and that’s when things get hinky.

Seb’s as attracted to Gianna as he’s ever been to any being. And, he’s conflicted about setting himself in her path, because she’s clearly in trouble. At the ball Seb’s suspicions are confirms, and Gianna’s boos recognizes that another Dragon King has been in contact with her. Expect capture, torture and potential casualties. Okay, definite casualties of you count Dark Fae henchmen in the body count. Seb’s connection to Gianna and Constatntine, King of the Dragon Kings, enables him to find out the truth behind Ulrik’s betrayal and Mikkel’s role in their millenia-old feud. Seb also meets the powerful Druid who’s been summoned to destroy both Ulrik and Constantine.

 

There’s still plenty of plotlines to weave together; this novella is a rather self-contained romance for Seb and Gianna, though it adds some critical pieces to the mix…if only Seb and Gianna could remember what those were. Dang Druids and their memory stealing charms. If my count is correct, partnering Seb with Gianna means that only Constantine and Ulrik are single Dragon Kings–and I expect they will find mates and settle scores in the final book, which I’d expect to come out in the coming months.

Interested? You can find DRAGON BURN on Goodreads and Amazon.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse August 2017–ANY DREAM WILL DO-A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m featuring a sweet, clean romance from Debbie Macomber. ANY DREAM WILL DO features a female ex-con who builds a new life with the help of a little divine guidance. This is the fourth book in the New Beginnings series which includes THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON and IF NOT FOR YOU, but is easily enjoyed as a standalone.

About the book:
Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.

Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.

But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.

My Review:
Shay Benson served three years after taking money form the bank where she worked to help her younger brother, Caden, pay off his drug supplier–and save his life. It’s time she never wanted to spend, but she didn’t have anyone left in her life to keep her or Caden out of harm’s way.

Now freed, she has $100 and some hand-me-down clothes with which to begin again. Tired and cold in the December weather, Shay stops into a church to find a little warmth. She also find Pastor Drew Douglas, a man still fighting his grief over the passing of his beloved wife three years prior. Pastor Drew makes it his mission to help Shay find shelter, and his connection with a womens’ center gets Shay not just a place to stay, but also counseling and job training. Over the course of a year, Shay and Drew see each other sporadically. His friend runs her jobs program, and she sometimes watches his daughter in a center-sponsored childcare. Both his children, surprisingly, gravitate toward Shay and want to include her in family dinners and special moments.It’s not long before Drew acknowledges his own attraction to Shay’s gentle nature and abundant kindness.

Though, it’s not all easy. Drew’s parishoners aren’t keen on him marrying an ex-con–not when there are so many “decent” women to marry. And, Drew’s bombarded by offers on many side before he recognizes that Shay is the gal for him. Naturally, there are some crises, and Shay falls under suspicion of wrong-doing–only to have things turn out sunny in the end.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of religious romance, but I really appreciate the delicate position of a minister looking for love. It brings an interesting gravitas to a romance. There’s no steam here, but there are plenty of feels. Drew’s plagued by doubt and guilt–in his faith and his love. Shay’s a good woman who had a bad start in life, and she’s paid her dues more than twice. I was glad she found a good stable man to love her, but she’s not going to take any guff from him either. I sure liked the ‘atta girl moments, and had a few times where I shook the bed holding in my laughter. Poor Pastor! Those eligible ladies sure had high hopes, and he’s called tot he carpet a few times defending Shay from some nasty allegations. Expect a hefty helping of redemption in this one, and all the folks who initially cast a gimlet eye on Shay ended up being smitten with her in the end. Its a sweet read, and I enjoyed it.

Interested? You can find ANY DREAM WILL DO on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other discount book outlets like Target, WalMart and your library, undoubtedly. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

about the Author:
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Sixteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

There’s so much more to know about her, but I’d suggest heading to her website, Facebook, or twitter for all that!

Thanks for popping in and don’t forget to pop in and see my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers sharing their fave reads of the month.