Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 5, 2017

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The Christmas Groom by Taylor Hart

Nathan Pennington, aka billionaire attorney, had only one idea on his mind the week before Christmas…forget about the past year and enjoy the beautiful Park City ski slopes. His plan was working, until some annoying ski bunny sprayed snow in his face. Her rudeness wasn’t something he could let slide. Nathan chases the woman down the hill intent on chewing her out, but when face-to-face, he’s struck by the vulnerability and anger in her eyes.

Storm Goodman has heard every weather joke in the book—and she’s not in the mood for another. Lately her life has lived up to her name. After a year of personal setbacks in her skiing career and her grandfather passing, she thought the worst of it was over until Four days before Christmas her lawyer tells her she can’t inherit the ranch her grandfather left her—unless she’s married by noon on Christmas day. Good thing she has a guy to marry—too bad he’s also the same guy who cheated on her last year. She’ll have to put up with him if she wants to keep the land from being turned over to the BLM.

When a mysterious guy shows up, chewing her out for spraying snow on him, she never would have imagined she’d end up on a date with him. Or kiss him! Why does her life have such rotten timing? After night skiing, soaking in the hot tub, and dancing at an old folk’s home, Storm begins to wonder if she can really go through with the marriage to her ex.

Now she and Nathan are faced with a choice—walk away or let the timing of love sync up once and for all.

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Praise for The Christmas Groom

I’m a big fan of the Bachelor Billionaire Romance Series. I read it all in one day and loved every word! Park City is one of my favorite places, and I loved the spunky interaction between Nathan and Storm. I highly recommend. It’s the perfect book to read this Christmas!—Jennifer Youngblood

This was another Billionaire success! The characters were fun, the location was awesome and I loved that it was a clean romance.—Donna C.

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“So don’t stand here and give me life lessons, okay? When people like you already have their millions, they can say anything they want.”

He decided not to correct her statement by informing her he was a billionaire. Instead, he turned for the tent opening.

She sighed. “I’m sorry. Look, it’s just been one of those days, okay?”

He turned back.

She shook her head and reached for another coat, letting out a derisive laugh. “It’s kinda been one of those years to tell you the truth.”

He paused and then moved back, offering his hand. “Let’s start over. I’m Nathan.”

Letting out a puff of air, she looked at his hand, but shook her head.

“Really, let’s start over. I’m Nathan.” He insisted.

“You’re not going to leave until I give you my name, are you?”

He had to smile at her brashness, her sarcasm with a bit of pissed off sprinkled in. Every woman he’d dated for the past few years had been the political type—polished, schooled in the right topics, dressed in the right clothes, and they always said the right things. This woman was refreshing. “Nope, not gonna leave without a name.”

Shaking his hand, she gave him a little smile. “I’m Storm.”

Oh yeah, that fit her.

She pulled back. “And I’m not in the mood for weather jokes, okay? My mother grew up here and was fascinated by the storms that blew through.”

The information interested him, but he didn’t push her. “Nice to meet you.”

She studied him for a moment before grinning. “Man, that’s a practiced smile.” Cocking her head to the side, she lifted an eyebrow. “Completely fake.”

Finding all thoughts of aches and pains and hunger gone, he realized he wanted to know more about her. “Really?”

“Completely.”

“How do you know?”

She gestured to him. “’Cause I’ve been talking to you, and I’ve seen the real one.” She stuck her chin out. “When you were teasing me. Now it looks like you’re running for president.”

Thoughts of his father flashed through his mind. His gut twisted, and he felt himself wincing.

“I’m sorry.” She was giving him an intense look.

He quickly changed the subject. “Tell me about this bad day or year.”

A derisive laugh escaped her as she opened another bin and loaded more merchandise into it. “Ah, no. It’s … complicated.”

Taking a chance, he put his bag of stuff down and moved next to her, folding one of the coats the way she was doing.

She shook her head, but kept packing. “Now you’re helping me?”

“Why not?” He leaned over the table and put it neatly in her bin. Then he reached for another. “It’s the Christmas spirit, right?”

Lifting her eyebrows, she put another coat in the bin and closed it. “So you’re a Mr. Do-Gooder, are you?”

He was the completely opposite kind of guy, and he knew it, but he just grinned and said, “Yep, that’s me.”

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About the Author

Taylor Hart has always been drawn to a good love triangle, hot chocolate and long conversations with new friends. Writing has always been a passion that has consumed her dreams and forced her to sit in a trance for long hours, completely obsessed with people that don’t really exist. Taylor would have been a country star if she could have carried a tune—maybe in the next life.

 

 

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Also by Author Taylor Hart

Nathan’s story’s is a stand alone book. But, there’s more other fun bachelor billionaires who have already fallen in love.
If you wanted to read Bachelor Billionaire Romances in order it would go like this:
The Football Groom
The Country Groom
The Unfinished Groom
The Barefoot Groom
The Masquerading Groom
The Christmas Groom
The Lost Groom
The Undercover Groom
The Lone Star Groom



 

Last Play Romances:
Last Play
The Rookie
Just Play
A Player for Christmas
End Zone
Hail Mary


 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/18/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 4, 2017

 

Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

What does dating the boss + meddling ex-wife + most adorable three-year-old ever equal? Trouble in Loveland.

At seventeen, Charlee Jensen packed her bags and left her beloved hometown of Loveland, swearing she would never have anything to do with the men that left her heartbroken: her father, the man that taught her heroes can fall; and Ryan Carter, her much older neighbor and teenage crush.

Now eight years later, Charlee has two degrees she never wanted and no job prospects, forcing her to swallow her pride and come home to work for her father’s accounting firm—the same firm where newly divorced Ryan Carter is now a partner.

But trouble starts to stir when Ryan realizes the girl next door is all grown up and completely smitten with his adorable three-year-old. Ryan finds it hard to resist his beautiful, yet annoyingly charming neighbor and coworker, but is torn between his feelings and trying to keep the peace with his ex-wife, the mother of his child. It’s a recipe for trouble. Will Charlee and Ryan find the formula for success?

 

Praise for Trouble in Loveland

“Jennifer Peel’s writing captures you from the start and pulls you in. Trouble in Loveland is a fantastic book and was the perfect escape that I look for when I read. It has it all! Drama, humor, and romance. Highly recommend!” – Becky Monson, Author of The Spinster Series ★★★★★

“I absolutely loved this book! I just discovered Jennifer Peel, and I’m so glad I did. Her writing is fun, the dialogue witty, and her character development brilliant. Trouble in Loveland is the third book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be my last. I am definitely a new fan!!” Cindy Roland Anderson,Author of Under a Georgia Moon ★★★★★

 

 

Trouble in Loveland Excerpt

My heart pounded erratically as Ryan looked up at me and smiled. The butterflies were beyond excited and swearing like sailors. I bit my lip nervously and watched Ryan walk my way. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I knew it didn’t mean anything to him, but not to sound cheesy, it was like a dream come true for me. All I needed was some fog behind him as he sauntered over to me.

He held out his hand as soon as he approached me. “Will you give me the pleasure of dancing with me?” I think that was the sexiest thing I’d ever heard in my life.

I couldn’t talk very well, which was saying something. I always had something to say. I nodded my head and held out my hand, that I prayed wasn’t sweaty. Before he led me away, I tossed the bouquet to Amy, who wore a sly grin.

As we made it to the middle of the floor, I heard the DJ say, “Now don’t they make a lovely couple? Maybe there will be another love connection tonight.” I think I turned about ten shades of red. Ryan didn’t seem fazed by it as he pulled me to him and held me firmly, but gently. His hand rested on my mid-back. With his other hand he took my hand, and instead of holding it out, he brought it in, more intimately, against our bodies. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” began to play. Ryan was obviously an experienced dancer as his steps kept in time with the rhythm of my new favorite song.

Ryan’s eyes seared into mine. “I was hoping I would get to dance with you tonight.”

“You were?”

“Yes, but you’ve been quite popular.” He pulled back a tad and looked down at my dress. “You look very …”

“Please don’t say grown up.”

He smiled and shook his head. “I wasn’t going to say that, I was going to say …” he tried to think of something.

“You were going to say it, weren’t you?”

He sighed. “Charlee, you really know how to make a guy feel inadequate, don’t you?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I find I like it.”

“You do?”

He nodded his head. “I also find you to be very …” he hesitated.

“Very what?”

“Beautiful and annoyingly charming.”

“How can somebody be annoying and charming at the same time?”

“See what I mean?” He held me close.

 

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More Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Another Timeless Single Romance! Join Jennifer Peel for MORE TROUBLE IN LOVELAND, a companion story to the beloved romance TROUBLE IN LOVELAND.

Charlee Jensen-Carter has been looking forward to her first Christmas with her new husband, Ryan, and her adorable stepson for weeks. Not only is her dad tying the knot, but she’s looking forward to two weeks of no exes, no drama, and especially no trouble. At least that’s what she thinks.

First, she gets talked into wearing red hooker heels again. Next, she finds herself trying to save her dad’s wedding. And if that isn’t bad enough, more than one ex shows up, and she’s suddenly in the middle of more trouble than she ever bargained for.

Will she ever find the right moment to give Ryan the best Christmas present ever? Or will her Christmas hopes and dreams die a fiery death in this comical holiday tale?

Praise for More Trouble in Loveland

“Are you in the mood for a Christmassy book full of love, laughter and swoon worthy moments? Then look no further than More Trouble in Loveland! It’s the perfect afternoon read!” – Kathy Jo, KJ’s Book Nook ★★★★★

“Jennifer Peel’s holiday-themed contemporary romantic comedy novel, More Trouble in Loveland, is a humorous and enjoyable tale . . . highly recommended.” Jack Magnus, Readers Favorite ★★★★★

“I’ve been eagerly awaiting a return trip to Loveland with some of my favorite characters. Oh how I’ve missed Charlee and her very active, sighing and swearing butterflies! Even in the midst of heaping family drama, Charlee and Ryan’s love is the stuff happy sighs are made of.” – Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On ★★★★★

 

Excerpt

Before I finished up the case and psychotherapy notes, I pulled out my phone and called my favorite number. “I love you.” I didn’t even let him say hello.

“Rough sessions today?”

“How did you know?”

“Because I know you.”

The butterflies in my stomach still erupted when he talked to me like that. Some of them had been on a 24/7 bender ever since we were married six months ago.

“I could move some meetings around and come have lunch with you,” Ryan offered.

“Sounds perfect, but I have my last study group in an hour. I can’t wait until finals are over at the end of this week. And then we get Josh all to ourselves for two weeks. It’s going to be perfect.”

“Even with all the wedding chaos?”

“Thanks for reminding me.” My dad and Felicity were finally getting married on Christmas Eve. Their love affair had been a series of ups and downs. They had planned on getting married in May, but they broke up in April, only to rekindle in June at my surprise wedding. Summer was mostly good for them. The beginning of fall was iffy, but supposedly this was a done deal. I wasn’t so sure, but I was trying to keep my personal and semi-professional feelings out of it. I loved Felicity. I loved my dad. But they had more trouble in Loveland than most couples, as my dad liked to say. Not unlike Danica and Jake, my dad and Felicity had insecurities too. Unfortunately, a lot of them were fueled by Felicity’s mom. That dear needed to get a new hobby and stop bashing my dad. But I couldn’t think about it right now. I had finals, a husband who adored me, and a stepson I loved to pieces.

“I’m sorry. Take a breath, Charlee. I love you. And if you aren’t too tired tonight after Josh’s Christmas concert, I’ll show you exactly how much.”

The butterflies were now swearing. “I’ll do my best. Sorry I’ve been so exhausted lately, you know it’s not you, right?”

“I’ve been wondering,” he teased. “I know you’ve had a lot on your plate lately.”

My schedule had been insane. Between school, practicum, wedding, Ryan, Josh, Victoria (Ryan’s ex-wife), my best friend Krissy and her baby Taylar Ann (Krissy reneged on naming the baby after me. She went with her mom instead. What could I say to that?), I was wiped out. I fell asleep every night as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was being a pitiful newlywed, which was a shame because I loved every part of Ryan, and he was a rock star in the bedroom. “You’re always my main course.”

“I love it when you talk dirty to me like that.”

I laughed. “I love you. I’ll see you tonight.”

“You have no idea how much I look forward to it.”

Believe me, I did.

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About the Author

Jennifer Peel is the award-winning bestselling author of the Dating by Design and Women of Merryton series, as well as several other contemporary romances. Though she lives and breathes writing, her first love is her family. She is the mother of three amazing kiddos and has recently added the title of mother-in-law, with the addition of two terrific sons-in-law. She’s been married to her best friend and partner in crime for a lot longer than seems possible. Some of her favorite things are late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and Southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

 

 

Also by Author Jennifer Peel

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/17/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Posted in excerpt, romance on December 2, 2017

Synopsis

Welcome back to New York Times bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where love heats up the Louisiana bayou . . .

Former Chicago cop Simone LeDeux is back home in the bayou, sharing a double wide in the Pearly Gates trailer park to help her mama recover from surgery. Her one rule: no Cajun men. Loved and left by too many double-crossing Cajuns, Simone puts bad experience to good use by opening Legal Belles: an agency that uncovers cheating spouses.

Suddenly she’s confronting a two-timer about to swindle his wife out of millions and antagonizing New Orleans bigwigs over an illegal sex club. Adam Lanier learns of the dangerous game Simone is playing . . . and the sexy single dad comes to her aid. Known as a rogue in the courtroom and a player in the bedroom, the ragin’ Cajun has Simone triply on guard.

With their crazy chemistry, danger on their trail, and infamous LeDeux relative Tante Lulu working her magical matchmaking, the bayou has never been this steamy.

Google Play * Indiebound

Excerpt

“I’ve been attracted to you from the first moment we met.”

“I’m surprised that you would admit that. Kind of lessens your odds.”

“You’re assuming this is a game. I’m too old to play games. Actually, they never interested me

much. How about you?”

“Oh, games can be fun sometimes.”

“Tease!” Adam said with a chuckle and nipped her on the chin with his teeth.

It wasn’t a kiss or a bite, but she felt it all the way down to “Red-dy and Willing,” the color of her toenail polish.

Simone remembered her bad history with Cajun men and her resolution to avoid them in the future.

“Um, I think it’s time to cut this flower in the bud. I am not going to do this again.”

“Do what, darlin’?”

That damn “darlin’ ” again! “Get involved with another Cajun man.”

“You’re going to give me the boot just because

I’m Cajun?”

She nodded.

“Well, lucky you, babe, because I’m only half Cajun.”

About the Author

 

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than ten years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Giveaway, romance, Young Adult on December 2, 2017

Synopsis

Summer vacation is Levi London’s favorite time of the year. Each summer, he and his brothers are shipped off to Florida to stay with their grandparents. For ten weeks everything is perfect. He has freedom, fun, and Summer West—the cute and spunky girl across the street—for whom he’s planned to confess his giant crush. Right before the London boys are scheduled to leave, a scandalous family situation causes their mom to accompany them on vacation. Not only does Levi’s fun quotient promise to take a nose dive, but all the drama has him feeling less than his normal happy self. Summer decides that Levi needs a distraction, in the form of a prank war. But he gets more than he bargains for when his older brother Lucas is both better at pranking and determined to date Summer too. Levi is a peacekeeper, but he isn’t sure he can mediate his family’s struggles or strike the right balance between mischief and romance. Especially when Lucas keeps reminding him that all is fair in love and war.

Excerpt

“So, your birthday is coming up soon. The big 1-6. We need to do something epic. I’m thinking a huge party…” I trailed off, knowing she’d shoot me down. There’s only one thing she’s ever wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. That was to go on her first date.

Summer’s parents only had one formal rule—that I knew of, at least. No dating until you’re sixteen. I was surprised the first time I heard it, because her parents never seemed to care that I was always in her bedroom. I mean, we didn’t shut the door or do anything dodgy, but still. Hunter broke that rule all the time, but Summer had stayed obedient. She’d yet to go on an official date. I think the reason she didn’t push it the way Hunter did was because she was scared and a little naïve. But, regardless of the reason, the waiting had built up a lot of anticipation for her sixteenth birthday.

“You know me better than that by now.” Summer smiled. “I don’t want a party.”

I winked at her. “I know you don’t. The real question is, who do you want to take you on your very first date?” I tried to play it off like I didn’t care, but I already knew the answer. “Let me guess, you want me to pull some strings so my dopey older brother will ask you out?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s never going to happen.” She waved me off, then got quiet, like she was nervous. Summer looked down at the stuffed animal she was holding. “Actually, I was hoping you’d take me on my first date.”

“Me?” I was beyond surprised.

Summer grinned and said, “Yes, you. Who else would I want to take me?”

Something exploded in my chest, and my body got warm and tingly. I’d been out on plenty of dates, kissed my share of girls, too. But the thought of doing either of those things with Summer made my emotions do a happy dance. She wanted me to take her on her first date. Maybe by default because she didn’t think Lucas was an option, but I’d take it. This would be the perfect opportunity to show her why Lucas sucked and I should be the man of her dreams.

“I’d be honored,” I replied coolly, trying to hide how giddy I was. I didn’t want to look like a desperate chump. “Do you have anything specific that you want to do?”

“Nope. I trust you to make it amazing and unforgettable.”

“Geez, no pressure or anything.”

Summer laughed. “Of course not. No pressure at all. I’ve only got a full page reserved for the event in my scrapbook.”

“Do you really?”

“What do you think?” she countered, but I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or not. Forget one page. Honestly, I could see her making a whole “first date scrapbook”.

“I’m invoking my right to plead the Fifth Amendment on this matter.”

“I think you’re smarter than Lucas gives you credit for,” she replied.

About the Author

Robin Daniels is married to an amazing guy and has five equally amazing but crazy kids. When she’s not chasing children or writing books, she’s probably coaching volleyball or working with her church youth group. She tries to read as much as possible, especially if she’s got housework to do. And if she’s not home during the day, you’ll likely find her hanging out at her sister’s house—where they mostly talk about writing and reading books. Robin loves long naps, yummy food, Diet Coke and being outside in the Arizona winters.

 

Amazon Author Page * Website * Facebook * Instagram * Twitter

Giveaway

Winner receives a signed copy of each book in the Perfect Series along with a Christmas/Holiday card containing a $20 Amazon gift card. Winner can keep for themselves or choose to gift the prize. If gifting, I will wrap and mail directly to the recipient upon request—hopefully in time for Christmas.

Ends December 10th at midnight

Click Here to Enter

 

 

 

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Posted in 5 paws, excerpt, Historical, Review, romance on December 1, 2017

Synopsis

Armed with her six-shooter, Ava De La Vega dips the pen into the inkwell and etches her name on the Esmeralda County tax record book. A formidable force, that’s what her peers have called her. The woman in a man’s world, what did she know of mining ore, silver, and copper? Plenty. And it’s this knowledge that makes her of the richest miners in Nevada in 1903. Of course, it also makes her a target.

Traveling back and forth from Tonopah, Nevada and San Francisco, Ava blazes the trail from the dirt and grime of her mines to the fanciest hotel rooms, enjoying the finest wines, the most decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men.

Unfortunately, for Ava, she doesn’t see Craig Harrison coming.

A miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig has traveled from the harsh Canadian mountains down to city streets of San Francisco. Not looking for work, he’s happy with the comfortable life away from the deep mines, the dirt, and the ever sought-after gold.

Unfortunately, for Craig, he doesn’t see Ava coming.

Review

I was in a reading funk until I picked up this book and was pulled into a story of love, loss, adventure and deception.

I have many thoughts about Ava and her character. She is very strong willed, and at times I thought too strong. However, Ava does have a softer side it just isn’t revealed as much because she is a woman in a man’s world in 1899. Because she owns many mines, she has to be tough and aware of what is going on around her and of those that want to take what she has away.  This does not stop her from enjoying women’s couture.

Craig’s character is a bit deceptive – but not in a bad way. He meets Ava and falls for her right away and perhaps he lets her be the alpha in the relationship in the beginning, but i think that is to break through her defenses and learn to love him and what he can bring to their relationship. While many may consider him a “pretty boy”, he offers wisdom and knowledge to the mines and some issues that have appeared.

The relationship between Ava and Craig seems fast, but then who is to say how long it takes to find your soul mate? While they may be lovers it takes longer for them to admit their feelings and talk about their past with each other. The tension between the two made it harder for me to put the book down.

Overall I really loved this book – imagining life in Nevada as a miner, having a woman own so many mines, a lonely past for both Ava and Craig and the desire to make their lives better.

We give this 5 paws up.

Excerpt

Face after face fluttered past my vision until I finally found the oval one I’d been searching for, a familiar one amongst a sea of strangers.

Sitting in the corner just as John had mentioned, Walter McCoy flipped through the pages of the latest issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper glowed with the sunlight, making the parchment appear almost translucent and the black letters jumble together. Dressed in his usual cream-color suit, his sandy blond hair was flecked with silver gray strands that showed his age and matched the salt and pepper color in his handlebar mustache.

My grip tightened on the handbag in my arms so tight my knuckles whitened. Although I desired to cause a scene, doing so would only reflect poorly upon me, not him. Instead, I needed to remain calm and reserved—the picture of sophistication, and yet, still holding the disposition of someone not to underestimate. Reflections of polite behavior I’d learned long ago that would bring me what I wanted faster than raving like a lunatic who would be denigrated to nothing more than a pathetic woman.

“Good afternoon, Mr. McCoy,” I said as I approached him. My stride deliberately calculated with each step.

“Why Miss De La Vega, this is quite the surprise seeing you at the Cliff House, of all places.” Although Water smiled as he peered around yellow parchment, a darkness that clouded through the blue hue of his irises and seemed to deepen his sonorous voice.

Always the man of statute, he spoke and moved slowly, as though he believed this display of eloquence propelled him to a higher social standing above everyone else. In my youth, I thought it did too, but the older I became and the more knowledgeable about the man Walter was, I just found it annoying.

“Are you really so surprised, Mr. McCoy? I mean, we both frequent the place when we are in town, so it’s almost inevitable for us to see one another, isn’t it?”

“I suppose that is so . . . or perhaps, it’s as simple as some of your little messengers around the city informed you of my whereabouts.”

He folded his newspaper, laying it on the table before he fetched his glass of sinfully red wine and took a sip, letting out a satisfied breath.

Anger seethed through my veins.

“At least my spies didn’t follow you around at night while you are going to dinner, or wait around in your hotel lobby for you to leave your room.”

His lips twitched with my accusations, claims he ignored as he asked. “What brings you to San Francisco, business or pleasure?”

“Actually, business. Rather important business.”

His interest piqued, sparkling in the arch of his brow as though he didn’t expect my answer. “Oh really? I believe that is a first for you, is it not? Aren’t you usually in town to . . . enjoy the pleasures of the city and the men living in it?”

“And why would I not enjoy myself if I am here to see to my bank accounts or take pleasure in some rest and relaxation? Honestly, Walter, you act as though you are jealous of me.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, but jealousy isn’t in my nature. It shows weakness, and I am not weak.”

I shrugged my shoulders, hinting to the fact that I also shrugged off his words.

“May I sit for a moment?” I grabbed the back of the chair and slid onto the cushion before he answered my question.

“Well, since you left me no choice, I suppose then it would be my pleasure to enjoy the company of a woman, even if it has to be one such as yourself.”

I laughed. “Oh, Walter, I always have found it amusing that you believe your words can wound me when they don’t.”

His shoulders tensed as his lips curved into a scowl. He grabbed the bottle of wine sitting on the table and filled the empty glass sitting in front of me.

“So what is this important business?” he asked.

“A little of this, a little of that.” I clutched the glass in my fingers and took a sip, toying with his curiosity in order to torture him, even if it was just for a few seconds. Always privy to the gossip, not knowing information bugged him the most in life.

“And is this business with anyone in particular?”

As I cocked my head to the side, my eyes narrowed. “As a matter of fact, it’s you.”

“Me?” He ever so slightly jerked his head. A faint smirk lit his expression and he gulped the rest of the wine in his glass. “Are you finally ready to sell me your land and all your claims, then?”

I placed both of my elbows on the table and clasped my hands together. Tension brewed between us, darkening over the table with an invisible thick haze that I wanted to bathe in. I loved making him squirm inside, believing—even if it was just a moment—that he might finally have what he’d always desired most in life: my land.

“For the rock bottom price you keep offering me? Not a chance in hell.”

“My offers have always been fair market value. It’s not my fault that you have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the net worth of what you own.”

“Fair market value is double what you offered me. Don’t think for one second that I haven’t researched my deeds.”

“I’ve always said the mines are no place for a woman.” Walter poured himself another drink, tapping the top of the bottle against the rim to fend off spilling a single drop. “Rough and rugged, mining requires a strength that the fairer sex just doesn’t possess. You really should consider one of my offers.”

“Ah, yes, the notions that a dainty female shouldn’t own, excavate, or protect a claim.” I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms. “And yet, here I am, one of the richest land owners in the Tonopah basin—even more than yourself.”

“I suppose you are one of the lucky ones, then.”

“Yes, because it’s luck that keeps me in business.”

He rolled his eyes as though my words were nothing more than a preposterous notion. “If you are not here to sell me your land, then what can I do for you today, Ava?”

“You can stop ordering Billy Jack and your men to attack my homestead.”

Accused of a crime, tautness built through Walter’s chest. Words swam in wrinkles of his face, deepening with every slight twitch of his lips or the furrowing of his brow as though he was thinking of different excuses to lie at my feet. Which would he use? Which untruth would speak from his evil lips? Would he create an elaborate story or simply deny it? Given he had done both in the last few years; the chance ran right down the middle.

“I’m afraid that I have no idea what you are talking about,” he said.

I lifted my glass and sipped the wine again, clicking my tongue as I set it back down. I knew the back and forth game about to occur between us, a battle of wits, a battle of landowners.

I fought to protect my land.

He fought to steal it.

“Is that the stance you are going to take, then?” I asked. “That you know nothing of the recent attack on my homestead?”

“Well, when one isn’t involved then usually they know nothing of the events that transpired.”

“Isn’t involved?”

“That is what I said, isn’t it?” He paused for a moment as if to exaggerate his defense. “Billy Jack and his men haven’t worked for me in over two years. I have no more control over that man than you do. What he does is his own business. I know nothing of his actions, nor do I order him to do my bidding anymore.”

“I highly doubt that.”

“You know, one shouldn’t hold onto resentment and anger when it comes to the past.”

“I don’t hold concern over what happened all those years ago anymore, and I haven’t for a long time.”

The smirk on his lips told me that a rebuttal sat on his tongue, and yet, he didn’t utter a word. Ah yes, another method of denial—silence—as if to say how dare I come at him with this. Did I not know who he was? Did I not know what he was capable of?

I did know, though.

It was he, who didn’t know what I was capable of doing.

“Is there anything else I can do for you today, Ava?” he finally asked. Indifference breathed through the tone of every word.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I’m rather busy and, quite frankly, I do not wish to waste any more of my time speaking with you if you are only going to accuse me of actions I know nothing about.”

“I know you calculated the attack on my homestead.”

He slightly shook his head. “As I told you before, I didn’t.”

“I know you did.”

“But you can’t prove it.”

I rose to my feet and yanked dozens of red satchels from my handbag, dangling them in my fingers for a few minutes before I tossed them on the table. A few of them fell open and coins rolled from the material, dropping to the floor with a few clangs.

Walter scrutinized the bags, but didn’t move an inch. A detail he hadn’t seen coming. A detail that pinned him to the crime. Evidence he couldn’t refute and that condemned him as though he was there that day.

“I’m sorry to inform you that you lost all of your men in the attack,” I continued. “I know you ordered the attack on my homestead.”

I stepped forward until I stood next to him. I leaned down, my face inches from his, and my hot breath whispered against his skin.

“And if you plan another one, I promise that I’ll gun you down myself.”

About the Author

Growing up in Nevada, reading was always a pastime that took second place to trail riding and showing horses. When she did find the time in her youth to curl up with a book, she found enjoyment in the Saddle Club Series, the Sweet Valley High series, and the classics of Anne of Green Gables, The Box Car Children, and Little House on the Prairie. Although, writing always piqued her curiosity, it wasn’t until September 2009 that she worked up the courage to put her passion to paper and started her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Angela spends her days from dawn to dusk as a stay at home, homeschooling mom. She also works in her garden and takes care of her many farm animals, as well as loves to bake and cook from scratch. She doesn’t show horses anymore, but she still loves to trail ride her paint horse, Honky, as well as enjoys teaching her daughters how to ride their horses, Sunny and Cowboy.

In December 2014, Angela launched Long Valley Press.

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Posted in Giveaway, romance on December 1, 2017

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This promotion is hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader and features 12 of her favorite authors whose books you can trust to be clean, fun and 100% worth reading!

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12 Days of Clean Romance Schedule

Jennifer Peel – December 4th
Taylor Hart – December 5th
Rachael Anderson – December 6th
Josi S. Kilpack – December 7th
Janette Rallison – December 8th
Jennifer Griffith – December 9th
Taylor Dean – December 11th
Sheralyn Pratt – December 12th
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on November 29, 2017

Title: The Duke Knows Best

Author: Jane Ashford

Series: The Duke’s Sons, #5

ISBN: 9781492621683

Pub Date: December 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

They’re wrong for each other, for all the right reasons…

Lord Randolph Gresham has come to London for one reason only-to find a suitable wife. Verity Sinclair may be intelligent, beautiful, and full of spirit, but her father knows a secret about Randolph that makes her entirely unsuitable as his bride. Not right for him at all, never, not a chance.

Verity knows that Lord Randolph lives in a country parish, and she wants nothing more than to escape to town. He may be fascinating, attractive, rich, and the son of a duke, but she’ll never marry him, nor will she talk to him, flirt with him, walk with him, or dine with him. She’ll sing a duet with him, but only this one time, and only because everyone insists.

But one duet invariably leads to another.

 

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Excerpt

Looking around the front hall of Langford House, with its soaring stair and rich marble floor, Verity judged it the grandest house she’d ever entered. Light poured down from high windows, glittered in a huge crystal chandelier, and gleamed in the gold stripes of the wallpaper. A hint of potpourri scented the air, along with beeswax and lemon. The clatter of the London streets didn’t penetrate the gracious silence. “Goodness,” murmured her mother. Verity was determined not to be intimidated.

A liveried footman led them through two beautiful reception rooms to the back of the house. He opened a door and stood back. Verity and her mother stepped over the threshold into a perfectly splendid music room. For a moment Verity forgot everything else as she took in the fine instruments waiting to be played, the older ones adorning the walls, and the piles of expensive sheet music. She could spend hours in a place like this and be blissfully happy, she thought.

And then a tall, stately woman came forward to greet them, and Verity was making her curtsy to the duchess, as well as wondering where Lord Randolph could be.

He hurried in on the heels of that thought. “I beg your pardon,” he said. “I was just… Mama, this is Mrs. Sinclair and Miss Verity Sinclair. Ladies, my mother.”

“Your Grace,” they murmured.

The duchess said, “Welcome to Langford House.” And with the warmth in her blue eyes and the ease of her smile, Verity felt the atmosphere in the room change from grandiose to relaxed. Or perhaps it was simply her own mood that had shifted, she thought. As they sat down and exchanged remarks about the weather and the season, she found she could talk to Lord Randolph’s mother with surprising ease.

“I know you have musical matters to discuss,” said the duchess after a while. She rose. “I will leave you to it. But I wanted to make sure you have all you need, Mrs. Sinclair.”

“You’re very kind.”

“I’ve seen to the arrangements, Mama,” said Lord Randolph.

“Sponge cakes and macaroons?” she asked.

“What else?”

The humorous look they exchanged gave Verity a glimpse into the Gresham family, which seemed a pleasant place. The door opened, and a maid came in with several sturdy working candles. “You said you’d bring some embroidery,” said Lord Randolph to Verity’s mother. “I wanted to make certain you had good light.”

The duchess gave him an approving nod and went out. Lord Randolph made a great production of getting Verity’s mother settled with the candles set just so and a cushion for her back and offers of tea or other refreshment. “So kind,” she murmured as she was settled in the front corner of the room.

Verity noticed that it was the corner farthest from the pianoforte. And that the special candles and cushions—which a less observant person might dismiss as finicky items for a man to consider—effectively rooted Mama at a distance. It was unlikely that she would overhear much of what they said, unless they started shouting. Which she might, if Lord Randolph tried to maneuver her in a similar way. And where had he acquired such skill at diverting chaperones?

“I’ve pulled out piles of music,” he said when they were at last free to begin. He led the way over to the table where the sheets were displayed. “I was thinking we should choose popular pieces rather than anything too complicated. Perhaps even repeat the song we did at Lady Tolland’s.”

Their eyes met, mirroring memories of that astonishing experience. Verity’s cheeks grew hot. A self-conscious silence stretched out. She could actually hear her mother’s needle prick the embroidery canvas.

Lord Randolph cleared his throat. “Ah, our audience at Carleton House will be varied,” he went on. “Not all will be particularly musical. But I’m eager to hear your opinion about the program, of course.”

He stopped and waited for her to speak. He gazed at her as if he actually wanted to know her views, and wasn’t just pausing to give the appearance of listening before telling her what to do. It was a point in his favor. “What about some Italian songs, varied with Scots or Irish ballads?” she suggested. “How long need we sing, do you think?”

“Long enough to satisfy the prince’s wounded vanity,” he responded wryly.

Verity looked down to hide a smile. “That sounds rather difficult to measure. An hour?”

“No more, certainly. We are doing a favor, not putting on a full concert. Shall we say six pieces? With one in reserve in case they insist on more?”

Verity agreed, and they looked through Mozart’s and Haydn’s arrangements of popular tunes and sheets of songs by Robert Burns and Thomas Moore. Langford House appeared to possess any piece one could desire, and Verity envied the bounty. She had to ration her purchases of sheet music on her allowance. The money her grandfather had left her was in trust until she married. And why was she thinking of that now? “‘Robin Adair’ would make a lovely base for a set of variations,” she said.

They bent over the music together. “It would indeed,” said Lord Randolph. He sat at the pianoforte and began to play the simple melody, and then to embellish it. Verity hummed along, following his elaborations. “Just here,” he said, playing intricate series of notes. She caught the idea at once. Spontaneously they sang a verse with the new adornments, their voices blending in a twining harmony. By the end they were staring at each other, mutually astonished.

“Very pretty,” said Verity’s mother from the corner.

It was as if he could predict exactly what she meant to sing, Verity thought. Or, perhaps, his musical impulses ran in precisely the same direction. The phrase in tune took on a whole new meaning as they ran through the entire song, consulted briefly, and then tried it again. The result was equally lovely and interesting, but different with the varying choices of the moment. This must be what it was like to be intoxicated, she thought, as she fell into the music and a give and take with this man she barely knew— somehow they vibrated to the same pitch.

About the Author

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Beverly Hills, CA.

 

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Posted in Christian, excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on November 27, 2017

TOO FAR DOWN

Cimarron Legacy Book 3

by

MARY CONNEALY

  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 322

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With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.

When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

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Praise for Too Far Down

“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly

“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews

EXCERPT: CHAPTER ONE, PART ONE

TOO FAR DOWN

BY MARY CONNEALY

 

Skull Gulch, New Mexico Territory

February 1881

 

An explosion brought Cole Boden to his feet. His chair slammed backward into the wall. Cole ran for his office door and ripped it open.

Murray Elliot, his assistant, rounded his desk in the outer office. “What happened?”

A second explosion rocked the whole building.

Cole didn’t bother responding. He charged outside into the winter chill, just in time to duck flying rocks from the mountaintop. He threw himself back inside as stones blasted right over his head with the force of cannonballs.

“Murray, get down!” Cole grabbed at the man who’d responded much more cautiously and was well behind. He tackled Murray to the floor just as another explosion went off.

The log wall of the office buckled. This building was small but solid, so the rocks were coming with terrific force. Rocks sprayed in through the open door and smashed into Murray’s desk.

“What is happening?”

“I don’t know.” Cole glared at the man. “Something blew up. We’re not blasting today, are we?”

“Nope, but we just got a supply of dynamite in.”

“Where is it?” Cole imagined a wagonload of dynamite, and explosion after explosion. But no, that’d be just one big explosion.

“It’s stopped.” Murray lifted his head.

“Is the dynamite stored in that big cave?”

“Just like always, boss.”

Cole knew explosives, and he knew they brought them in by the wagonload. And they stored them in a cold cave a good distance from where anyone worked. Even if they exploded, they shouldn’t have done anything but rock that cave. At the worst it might seal the mouth of it.

Three explosions and nowhere near a wagonload had blown—which meant there was plenty more to come.

“I’m heading for the big cave. You stay in here.”

“No, I’m coming with you.”

“You aren’t.” Cole heaved himself to his feet. “It’s my mine and my risk.”

“I’m coming, Cole.” Murray was up.

A fourth explosion sent a rock the size of Cole’s head slamming through the roof.

Murray fell onto his backside, then scrambled into the kneehole of his desk. He’d been hired for his brains, not his guts.

Cole was glad he’d been delayed from running outside. But he also knew he was going now, and it was most likely a blamed fool idea.

“Stay under there until we’re sure the explosions have stopped.” He hoped Murray stayed put under the solid oak desk. It should protect him even if the whole building collapsed.

Cole raced out the door to see the smoldering ruins of the newly opened mine only about a hundred yards from his office. The entrance was collapsed, and he knew men were trapped inside. Before he could deal with that, though, he had to make sure the dynamite was done blowing up.

He charged toward the cave.

He hoped and prayed his men inside the new mine were all right. If they’d been far enough in, around the corner from the blasts, out of the line of any flying debris, they should still be alive. The entrance had collapsed, but they’d shored the mines up with thick timbers. There was a good chance the inside of the mine was still intact.

Once he got near the cave, grit and dust filled the air. Choking, Cole jerked his kerchief out of his pocket and covered his mouth. His eyes burned, but he had to see. Cole raced faster, thinking of all that could have gone wrong, all the men who could be hurt.

He saw one still form on the ground, so covered with dust he couldn’t identify the man. Yet Cole could see clearly enough to know the man was beyond help.

Running, stumbling over rocks, barely able to breathe, Cole finally reached the cave. Outside it was a burning fuse, heading for a wooden box, torn open, full of explosives.

He slid on his knees to beat the fuse from burning down. It ran shorter by the second. Cole fumbled for the knife he kept in his boot as he crawled the last foot through the rubble. He caught the fuse only inches from burning down. He slit the sparking fire with one slash.

He looked down the side of the mountain. The office of the CR Mining Company was near the top of Mount Kebbel, with only its snowcapped peak higher. The CR leased claims to many men, all spread over a hundred square miles. A few dozen of them were right here close to headquarters.

Cole’s eyes swept down the long, steep slope dotted with mine entrances and saw boxes of dynamite burning at a bunch of them. Enough to account for nearly every box they had in storage. Cole could never reach them all in time.

Yards away, he saw the next fuse burning toward a wooden box. Thinking furiously, he saw this fuse was longer. Whoever’d done this wanted the explosives to go in separate blasts, and the boxes were far enough apart not to be set off by an earlier explosion. Men were deep in their mines, so they might hear the explosions, and they might not.

This time, with the men inside, was deliberate. Midmorning. All the miners were hard at work at this time of day and very few were outside. The explosions would bury them alive.

(Click to read PART TWO on the 11/29/17 Lone Star Book Blog Tours stop with A Novel Reality blog.)

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Giveaway, romance on November 25, 2017

 

Coming Spring 2018

My Sister’s Intended by Rachael Anderson

For as long as Prudence can remember, it has been understood that her sister will one day wed the eldest son of their nearest neighbor. Such an alliance will benefit both families and bring a great deal of joy to all parents involved.

Unfortunately, Prudence has never been able to feel as joyful. She believes her sister is mad to consider marrying a man she hardly knows, even if he will one day make her a countess. Titles and wealth shouldn’t factor into matters of the heart, and as an aspiring romance novelist, Prudence cannot fathom how anyone could even think of settling for less than love. She certainly wouldn’t, and she doesn’t want her sister to either.

Unable to stand by and do nothing, Prudence sets out to help the awkward couple discover the best in each other with the hope that they will eventually find love. What she neglected to foresee, however, was that she might fall in love with Lord Knave herself.

About the Author

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website

 

 

 

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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/17/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on November 16, 2017

Title: The Right Kind of Reckless

Author: Heather Van Fleet

Series: Reckless Hearts, #2

ISBN: 9781492658511

Pub Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

Maxwell Martinez

I’m in love with a woman I can’t have, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.

The problem? Her brother’s my best friend.

I shouldn’t want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I’ve never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.

But one look into her eyes and I’m a mess for her. She’s my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.

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Excerpt

Addie and I watched the guys play round after round of Skee-Ball, while Chloe jumped and cheered and stole the occasional ball from each of their rows. No matter what my state in life was, I was happy the three of them had found one another.

“Here, let’s get our picture drawn.” Knocking me out of my woolgathering, Addie guided me toward one of the caricature sketchers who sat just outside the carnival gates. The man had a unibrow the size of Lake Michigan’s shoreline, and his mustache was curled at the end, handlebar style. But his work was amazing. Charcoal sketches with colored eyes, balloon- shaped heads with movie-s tar hair.

“How much for both of us?” Addie asked, fishing through her purse. We sat on the stools, as directed, our shoulders touching.

“Thirty- five,” the guy said, his fake French accent too thick to be believable.

I groaned and looked at my friend. “Seriously? That’s too much.”

Seriously. We have to do this.” Addie mocked me. “Look at how cute those are.” She pointed to a couple with a heart surrounding their heads. Little doves swooped in the air around them, carrying heart balloons in their beaks. Had to hand it to the guy. He was talented.

“I’ve got this, ladies.” I looked up at the sound of Max’s deep voice, finding him searching through his wallet. He pulled out the money, handed it to the artist, then lifted his gaze to meet mine. A soft smile covered his bow-shaped lips, and everything inside me stirred to life at the view.

Addie faked a cough, then pressed a hand over her stomach. “Oh…oh no. I don’t feel very good, guys.”

I faced her and narrowed my eyes as she stood. Don’t, I mouthed, already knowing her game.

Ignoring me, she looked at Max and said, “You’ll take my place, won’t you, Max?” She batted those brown eyes and twirled a lock of her dark hair. No doubt her way of getting anyone and everyone to say yes to her. “Lia here was dying to get her picture drawn.”

Oh, the little liar…

Max nodded, immediately taking her empty seat to my right. With an extra hop in her step, Addie walked away, her ponytail swinging back and forth more the closer she got to Collin and Gavin and Chloe. I wanted to pull it out of her head.

“All right, look this way.” I blinked at the sound of the artist’s voice, my body far too aware of Max’s heady scent.

God, why did he have to smell so good? Fit so perfectly against me?

“You’re much too stiff.” The artist tsked from behind his easel. “Here, wrap your arm around zee pretty lady’s waist, like so.”

I sucked in a breath as Max’s hand was guided along my back, ending at my side with his fingers tucked just under the edge of my T- shirt. I swallowed, shifting in my seat and instantly remembering our kiss— the way he’d moved his mouth over mine.

Warmth pooled low in my stomach, drifting in between my thighs. His touch was like adrenaline, kick- starting my orgasm-starved body to life.

“Chin on her shoulder, lips close to her ear…” I shuddered as Max followed the artist’s directions to a T, the stubble on his chin igniting a stormy thunder inside me. Max seemed unaffected, his chest rising and falling at an even rate, while mine was suddenly in asthmatic mode.

“Relax,” Max whispered in my ear, his warm breath grazing my neck. “I’m not gonna bite ya.”

I shut my eyes and shifted once again, the ache between my thighs becoming unbearable. “I didn’t want to do this,” I finally murmured, refocusing on the artist.

Max laughed softly, his chest vibrating against my back and shoulder. “I know you didn’t.”

My eyebrows pushed together in annoyance. “Then why did you agree to sit here?”

“Because Addie wouldn’t give up until I did.” He sighed, far too relaxed compared to me.

I was jumping, itching, crawling with…something, yet he was unaffected. Which only further emphasized that he didn’t want me the way I did him.

“Plus, she folds my underwear, remember? Gotta make sure she doesn’t stick ants in them or something.”

“Yeah, like Addie would ever stoop to your level.” I couldn’t help but grin, my nerves easing slightly.

He squeezed my ribs. “You would.”

I turned to face him, our noses inches apart. “Damn right I would.”

A slow nod later, he moved even closer, our bodies in sync…

My smile fell away. “Maxwell,” I whispered, so lost in his dark eyes that I couldn’t concentrate. The apology was there on my tongue like earlier, but the need weighing me down was even heavier. How could I ever be just friends with a guy who was likely to break my heart, no matter what we were to each other?

“Tell me why you kissed me that night.” He looked at my lips, a serious glint in his eyes.

Blood rushed to my face at his out-o f- the- blue question. My composure slipped as confusion took its place. Why was he asking me this?

“Because I…” I gulped. “I owed you, remember? For bailing me out and for keeping me safe from those guys.”

Something shifted in his eyes. Disappointment? I squeezed my eyes shut at the thought. When I looked back at him, I knew I was imagining things, because flirty, fun Max was back, winking at me. “Well then.” He cleared his throat. “That’s good to know.”

“What’s good to know?” I frowned.

“That you still owe me.”

About the Author

Contemporary romance author Heather Van Fleet is a stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee. Heather was born and raised in Moline, Illinois, where she lives with her wonderful family.

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