Book Tour and Excerpt ~ Icing on the Cake by @AnnMarie_Walker @SMPRomance

Icing on the Cake

by Ann Marie Walker
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Notting Hill meets The Prince & Me in Icing on the Cake, the second standalone laugh-out-loud romance in Ann Marie Walker’s Wild Wedding series

Cassandra Miller doesn’t have time for men. She’s far too busy trying to open a cupcake shop with her silent partner and best friend, not to mention catering her brother’s wedding. And let’s face it, it’s not like Prince Charming is going to stroll into the bakery and sweep her off her feet.

Henry has been a prince his entire life but for one wild wedding he wants to be nothing more than an “Average Joe”, or in this instance, “Average Hank”. However, when a case of mistaken identity and a batch of burned cupcakes ends in a night of passion, Cassie and Hank must decide if theirs is a recipe for disaster or the makings of true romance.

 

Excerpt

He lifted his head and when his gaze met hers, he smiled. Shy and sexy all at once, Cassie knew without question it was the sort of smile that meant nothing but trouble. The kind that got him whatever he wanted. The kind that was absolutely irresistible.

And as if that wasn’t enough, he had the whole sexy accent thing going for him.

The stranger leaned closer, close enough for her to smell the faint scent of his soap. It was clean and yet a little spicy and made her want to lick his neck. Because yeah, that was something a perfectly sane woman would do.

The energy between them crackled with anticipation. Then again, maybe it was all in her head. Maybe she’d finally read one too many romance novels and her brain was permanently rewired to think every handsome stranger had the potential to be Mr. Right. Or at the very least, Mr. Right Now.

A beat of silence ticked between them offering her the perfect opportunity to play it safe, to explain what she actually meant and end the whole matter with an awkward laugh. But this handsome stranger had awakened something deep inside her and for once in her life Cassandra Miller didn’t feel like playing it safe. Instead she felt wild and reckless, and the last thing she wanted was to end the moment in any way at all. In fact, she wanted to prolong it, to suspend it in time like something from The Matrix. Then maybe she could even step back and watch from all angles because holy hell, this gorgeous stranger was going to kiss her. Right there. In the shop. With her hair up in a messy bun and flour and dough all over her hands. And what’s more, she was going to let him. So instead of playing it safe, Cassie lifted her chin just as he dipped his head and then . . . .

About Ann Marie Walker

Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Enter to win a Royal Romance Pack + $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

#BookBlitz Excerpt & Giveaway ~ Icing on the Cake by @AnnMarie_Walker

One of my favorite authors has just released another book!  I’m excited to share this excerpt for Icing on the Cake by Ann Marie Walker with you today.  Stay tuned for my full review later this week.

Icing on the Cake

by Ann Marie Walker
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Notting Hill meets The Prince & Me in Icing on the Cake, the second standalone laugh-out-loud romance in Ann Marie Walker’s Wild Wedding series

Cassandra Miller doesn’t have time for men. She’s far too busy trying to open a cupcake shop with her silent partner and best friend, not to mention catering her brother’s wedding. And let’s face it, it’s not like Prince Charming is going to stroll into the bakery and sweep her off her feet.

Henry has been a prince his entire life but for one wild wedding he wants to be nothing more than an “Average Joe”, or in this instance, “Average Hank”. However, when a case of mistaken identity and a batch of burned cupcakes ends in a night of passion, Cassie and Hank must decide if theirs is a recipe for disaster or the makings of true romance.

Excerpt

 

His fingers rested on her hips, barely touching her, and yet she felt as though she were melting into his hands. Without thinking, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. She wanted to feel the weight of him against her, to know he was as affected by her as she was him. He pressed against her and she felt the shape of him, hard against her softness, and she couldn’t help but wonder how long he’d been that way, if this perfect man had wanted her this whole time as badly as she’d wanted him.

 

When he broke their kiss, she was more than ready for whatever came next.

 

“Come up to my room,” Hank breathed. His lips moved over her jaw and down her throat, leaving a trail of feather light kisses that left her aching for more. “I have a lovely four-poster bed that’s far too big for one.”

 

His room, his bed. Sex in his bed. She couldn’t pretend she didn’t want one wild night with this handsome stranger, but sex in a bed was so . . . so . . . normal. She’d done normal. And although normal sex was better than no sex, something told her that the man in front of her was offering good sex, and that was something that was long overdue.

 

Cassie blinked hard. She took a moment to gather her composure, but like her resistance it was currently scattered all over the bakery floor. Hmm, the floor would work just fine.

 

When she didn’t answer he pulled back, slipping a finger under her chin and lifting her eyes to his once again. “Shall I take that as a yes?”

 

“Why can’t we just stay here?” Her voice sounded as shaky as the rest of her. But it wasn’t from intimidation or nerves. On the contrary, for the first time in her life Cassie felt strong and fearless and brave. Still, something about this man made her tremble in the most delicious way.

 

His eyes glowed with a mixture of amusement and lust. “Believe me, luv, I’d like nothing better than to take you right here, against this door.”

 

Her heart hammered inside her chest. Did he really just say that? And in an accent that was nearly enough to finish her off? Who was this man who had come into her life as if a direct answer to Olivia’s outrageous suggestion? The images her friend had conjured two days prior flooded her senses. Oh yes, that was exactly what she wanted. Right then and there.

 

Lucky for her, Hank was a bit more aware of their surroundings. “But those windows don’t have any curtains,” he said, nodding over his shoulder. “And I would hate for some random pub-goer to get an eyeful of your beautiful curves as he stumbled home.”

 

Sex god and a gentleman? This guy was too good to be true.

 

“Ask me again,” she said.

 

A momentary frown drifted across his face until realization took hold. He leaned closer and whispered roughly against her ear. “Let’s go up to my room, so I can make you come all night.”

 

Holy hell, that he didn’t have to offer twice.

 

About Ann Marie Walker

Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Enter to win a Royal Romance Pack + $25 Amazon Gift Card!

#Release Blitz & Excerpt Combust by @KBrombergDriven

Here’s another book to add to my never ending TBR read.  I loved the Driven Series and am looking forward to reading this book ASAP.  Check it out!

Combust, an all new sexy and emotional standalone by K. Bromberg is Available NOW!

 

From New York Times Bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes the second standalone book in the Everyday Heroes series. Just how hot will firefighter Grady Malone turn up the heat?

Songwriter Dylan McCoy has been burned.

By her boyfriend she found in her bed . . . with someone else.

By the contract she signed that obligates her to work with him until the songs for his new album are complete.

By her agent when she asked Dylan to keep their breakup on the down-low.

When she finds herself in Sunnyville, she refuses to let her new roommate burn her too. Still . . . a rebound has never looked so good.

That’s her first thought when she sees firefighter Grady Malone.
Sexy. Charismatic. Unapologetic. He’s a man who carries his own scars—the ones on his back, the survivor’s guilt on his soul, and the fear in his heart.

When an unexpected visitor puts their roommate status to the test, will their undeniable attraction burn out, or will they both take a chance and play with fire?

 

Purchase your copy today!

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2DUI1Hc

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2FlPDQk

Amazon CA – http://amzn.to/2BzsBTE

iBooks – https://apple.co/2CBOtm5

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/2CPGb7K

Kobo – http://bit.ly/2CzIyhT

Amazon Paperback – http://amzn.to/2lRSKY2

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2kQ9z8P

 

 

EXCERPT

Preoccupied with a text on my phone from my agent, I walk into the kitchen and suck in a breath when I come face to back with Grady. He’s standing with his hand on the refrigerator door, head leaned inside, and his back fully exposed to me. It’s broad and strong and scarred immeasurably.

I stare.

I can’t help it. The marks are a dizzying array of dark and light and ridged and smooth. And they’re undeniably burns. Goosebumps chase over my skin as I imagine the pain he must have endured when he got those. I think of his habit of wearing unbuttoned shirts but never going shirtless and the hint of scars just visible above his collar that I never could have imagined led to this roadmap to hell on his back.

A part of me instinctively wants to reach out to touch them, bring some kind of comfort. It sounds ridiculous, even to me, but that doesn’t abate the urge.

“Not pretty, huh? Get a good look while you can.” His voice is gruff as his spine stiffens and body stills, emotion woven through the words.

“Thank God not all of you is pretty. I was beginning to feel majorly insecure having to live with perfection like you,” I say off the cuff, trying to make this situation less awkward. My attempt to settle the sudden tension sparking in the air around us.

“Perfection?” he asks as he turns to face me with a smile that masks the emotion swirling in his eyes.

“Yeah. You have scars. I have mermaid thighs.”

“Mermaid thighs?” He laughs. “What in the world are you talking about?”

“Thighs that touch from the top all the way to my knees.” I shrug as if it doesn’t bug me, as if I’m not highlighting one of the insults Tara threw at me. It’s a whole lot easier to make fun of myself so long as it puts him at ease.

“Do you ever give yourself a break?”

Do you?” I ask the question, sparking a silent battle of wills as we stare at each other and wonder what to say next about the other’s insecurities. Coming up empty, I shift gears. “I think there is some type of rule about how many abs are fair for a guy to have when the rest of us are just struggling to find one of them.”

His smile rings more genuine as he steps toward me, and I step back, my hips leaning against the counter now.

“Is that so?” His voice lowers as his eyes flick to my lips and then back up. “I’m sure you have some under your shirt there.”

Why does the simple action make it seem so hard to swallow?

He takes another step.

“What are you building outside?”

“A playroom.”

A nervous chuckle falls from my lips as I think of all of the versions of playrooms I’ve read about in my romance books. My cheeks stain red as I imagine Grady with a flogger in one hand standing beside a St. Andrew’s Cross.

“A playroom?”

“Yeah.” He takes a step closer so we’re breathing the same air, his voice husky enough to cause every part of my body to grow alert. “A playroom. You know . . . a pool table. Foosball. A real man cave.”

I exhale a shaky sigh, suddenly more than aware that he’s so close, shirtless, sweaty, and smelling like sun and soap mixed together. But it’s his eyes that make my thoughts falter. There’s an intensity to them I don’t expect from the perpetually cheerful Grady Malone.

“Ah, that kind of playroom . . .” But my words trail off as he steps even closer and braces his hands on the counter on either side of me. I can hear his intake of breath. The music floating in from outside. The pound of my pulse in my ears.

“Hey, Dyl?”

“Yes?” Our eyes hold, my lips fall lax.

“I need you to open up.”

What?” I question as his hand brushes against my hip and his fingers pull on the drawer handle I’m standing in front of.

“I need the bottle opener. You’re standing in front of the drawer it’s in.” His lips spread into a full-fledged grin as I scramble away from the counter and, of course, run smack dab into the hardness, all six foot plus of him.

And then I rebound off him again in a flustered state that has him laughing and me stuttering. “Sorry. I wasn’t—I didn’t . . .” His arms hold on to my biceps to steady me, which prompts me to look up and meet his eyes.

“We need to stop meeting like this,” he murmurs, the heat of his breath hitting my lips.

“We do.” Brilliant, Dylan. Freaking brilliant response. “I’ve gotta . . . I’ve gotta get back to . . . to writing.”

About K. Bromberg

New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, Kristy has sold over one million copies of her books across sixteen different countries and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by Passionflix with the first movie slated to release in the summer of 2018.

She is currently working on her Everyday Heroes trilogy. This series consists of three complete standalone novels—Cuffed, Combust, and Cockpit (late spring 2018)—and is about three brothers who are emergency responders, the jobs that call to them, and the women who challenge them.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

 

Connect with K. Bromberg

Website: http://www.kbromberg.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KBrombergDriven

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kbromberg13/

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/204Qnfz

GoodReads: http://bit.ly/1koZIkL

Join her Reader Group: http://bit.ly/1PMUoG3

Sign up for her Newsletter: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

Virtual Blog Tour – Dog Tags for Christmas by @lindsaymckenna @authorjmmadden @KaLynCooperbook @TastyBookTours

 

Three heartwarming military homecoming stories. 

 

DOG TAGS FOR CHRISTMAS

Holiday Anthology

Lindsay McKenna, J.M. Madden 

& KaLyn Cooper

Released Oct 6th, 2016

Men and women in the armed forces are often away from

home, family and their beloved pets for the holidays. But this year, three

service members will be home for Christmas in heartwarming military homecoming

stories by New York Times Bestselling Authors Lindsay McKenna, KaLyn Cooper and

J.M. Madden.

 

Snowflake’s

Gift by Lindsay McKenna

 

Two veterans—one human, one canine—have returned to

Montana to recover from the traumas of war. Former Army Ranger Nick Conway

depended on his WMD dog Snowflake to help him navigate IEDs on the battlefield.

Now he needs his best friend to help him cope with his PTSD and acclimate to

civilian life. When he meets Holly McGuire and agrees to help her deliver meals

to the elderly, her inner light calls to him, but his demons hold him back from

giving in to his attraction. But Snowflake takes an immediate shine to the

kindhearted Holly—and he has never led Nick down the wrong path.

 

 

SEAL’s

Christmas Dream by J.M. Madden

 

When Veterinarian Willow James’ office is broken into, it’s natural that she

turn to her soul mate, former Navy SEAL K9 handler Joe Flynn, to track down the

culprits. The trail leads to a notorious Pit-Bull fighting ring. It may take a

Christmas miracle and a helpful nudge from an old partner to get everyone home

safely.

 

 

Noel’s Puppy Power by KaLyn Cooper

 

Tanner Hill is better at communicating with animals than women. That might be

why he hasn’t had a second date in over two years. He’s also been extremely

busy with his kennel that has become the premier training facility,

specializing in supplying dogs to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress

Disorder. Then again, there is this psychologist he can’t get out of his head,

or his heart.

Dr. Bailey Conrad would never allow the loss of half her right leg to an IED in

Iraq to stop her. Every day at the VA hospital, she sees patients who have lost

so much more to the war effort. It’s her goal in life to help as many vets as

possible to find a ‘new normal’, because she knows firsthand, it’s the internal

scars that can be the most difficult to heal.

 

BUY NOW

Amazon | B

& N | iTunes | Kobo

 

Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write:

romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and

continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance

novel in 1981. The rest is history. Because she went into the military, this experience became the backbone of her writing—she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive

of Fate, 1983, Silhouette Special Edition) and has created a thriving sub-genre

within the romance field! As a New York Times Best Selling author, she has sold

23 million books and in 32 foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many

experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military

in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an

ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!

 

Lindsay has gone Indie in 2015 and has created a new family saga on par with

Morgan’s Mercenaries It is known as the DELOS SERIES. There will be paperback

and eBooks created under Blue Turtle Publishing, her company for her fans.

Readers who love Morgan and his family are bound to fall in love with the

Culver family. Delos is romantic suspense, which Lindsay is well known for. It

took her five years to create and bring DELOS to her readers. It was worth the

wait, but we’ll let you decide that.

Lindsay loves to hear from her readers and loves to know what they’d like to

see her write next. Stay up with the latest on the Delos Series here.

Please visit her Web site at www.lindsaymckenna.com. And be sure to sign up for her free quarterly

newsletter. It contains exclusive content found nowhere else on the Net. Plus,

giveaways and other surprises, to her loyal and faithful subscribers!

 

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author J.M. Madden writes compelling romances between ‘combat modified’ military men and the women who love them. J.M. (the J stands for

Jennifer, not Jim as she’s been asked MANY times!) loves any and all good love

stories, most particularly her own. She has two beautiful children and a husband

who always keeps her on her toes.

J.M. was a Deputy Sheriff in Ohio for nine years, until hubby moved the clan to

Kentucky. When not chasing the family around, she’s at the computer, reading

and writing, perfecting her craft. She occasionally takes breaks to feed her

animal horde and is trying to control her office-supply addiction, but both

tasks are uphill battles. Happily, she is writing full-time and always has

several projects in the works. She also dearly loves to hear from readers!

 

KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense.

Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination.

She, her husband, and bird dog live in Eastern Tennessee on a micro-plantation

filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the

shooting range or paddling on the river.

 

Excerpt

Excerpt from Snowflakes Gift by Lindsay McKenna

Snow was coming down hard in town as Nick drove the van toward the shut-in area at four p.m. The smell of spaghetti and buttered, garlic toast filled the vehicle. Myra had made sweet potato cupcakes for dessert, and he stole one before they left the charity facility. It was nearly Thanksgiving and he was looking forward to taking Holly to his folks place for the afternoon and evening. The wipers were rhythmically swinging back and forth, throwing off the heavy, wet flakes. The roads were salted, but still Nick was wary of invisible black ice. In the late afternoon the heat of the day was gone and things got slick real fast.

“Oh dear,” Holly called, sitting up, pointing out her passenger-side window. “Look, Nick!”

Snowflake, who stood between them, heard the pitch of her voice change, and whined.

Nick slowed and pulled over to the curb, then looked to where she was pointing. There was a yellow Labrador moving awkwardly through the belly deep snow between two brick buildings. Her ribs were prominent even though she had a short, thick winter coat on. “She’s starving,” he muttered, scowling. “It looks like a female Lab. She’s too dainty looking to be a male.”

“She’s terribly thin,” Holly said, worried. “I wonder if someone dumped her—they do that all the time around here. I hate it.”

“No collar on her, either,” Nick agreed. The Lab was about a hundred-feet down the alley between the two buildings, slugging it out with the snow. Nick heard Holly make a little sound of urgency. She had such a big heart, and she hated to see animals or humans suffer.

Nick knew she wanted to get out and try to call the dog over to her. From the looks of the animal, her light-brown eyes wild looking, tongue lolling out of her mouth, her fur matted, he intuitively knew this was a dog that had been left behind a long time ago to fend for herself.

“She’s feral,” he warned Holly. She turned, her huge, blue eyes filled with tears. “She won’t let us near her. I’m sorry.” And he was. It wouldn’t be the first dog dumped here that Nick had found, or that Holly had come upon around the building of one of her shut-ins. They had a no-kill shelter here, and this Lab would have had a warm place to stay, food, and care if they could befriend her.

“Can’t we do something for her, Nick?”

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#BlogTour #NewRelease #Excerpt #Giveaway – You Before Anyone Else by @Juliecross1980 @MarkTPerini @TastyBookTours

Be a #ModelCitizen and Enter to Win!

YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE
Julie Cross & Mark Perini
Releasing August 2nd, 2016
Sourcebooks Fire
Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with international model Mark Perini to create You Before Anyone Else, a poignant and authentic contemporary YA novel and companion to Halfway Perfect.
The supportive friend, the reliable daughter, the doting big sister: Finley is used to being the glue that holds everyone
together. But while her sweet demeanor makes her the perfect confidant, her wholesome look isn’t landing her the high-paying modeling jobs, which are what Finley needs if she is going to reopen her mother’s dance studio.
Enter Eddie. He’s intense and driven, not to mention the life of every party, and he completely charms Finley. The last thing she
wants is another commitment to stand in the way of her dreams, but when she’s with Eddie, their chemistry takes over and she can let go of her
responsibilities and just be. After all, what’s so wrong about putting herself first once in a while?
Except Eddie is hiding a secret. A big secret. And when it surfaces, he and Finley are going to have to choose between their love
for each other and everything else… 
 
BUY NOW
Amazon | B& N | Google | iTunes 
Julie Cross and Mark Perini, along with Tasty Book Tours, are celebrating those who have taken the steps in Breaking the Mold on society’sexpectations, like Finley, the heroine from YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!  We are looking for anyone who would like to share their story and be entered to win a 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner!
 
Head over to fb.me/TastyBookTours and leave a comment with your story.  Feel free to share picture of your journey and use #breakingthemold at the end of your comment!
 
Entries must be in by 11:59pm, Aug 15th, 2016.  No purchase necessary to enter.  If under 12 years old, you must have approval by a guardian to enter.   

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Excerpt

FINLEY

 

“What are you so afraid of?” Summer asks.

I take a sip of the beer Dima brought me a few minutes ago. “Oh, I don’t know, addiction, overdose, puking on some innocent victim’s shoes, random drug testing by the agency…”

Summer laughs. “Drug testing on models? Yeah, that’ll be the day.”

Okay, so maybe I just don’t want to do it. Even if I should be in my so-called experimental phase.

I wouldn’t exactly label myself a rule follower, but I guess I’m just cautious. I haven’t always been this way. Not that I’ve done drugs, but before high school, I was all about ballet. Let’s just say I had a rep for being the sassy troublemaker. My mom being my ballet teacher may have had something to do with my behavior. My fingers immediately move to the cross dangling from my neck—I’ve only removed it a couple times over the last four years. Somehow, it’s always warmer than my hands.

I debate texting my dad to ask him if he’s done coke or molly. He’d probably tell me. But I wouldn’t want to freak him out. Seems like a conversation better reserved for a weekend visit instead of late on a Friday night when I could be too far gone to help, for all he knows.

I glance around the room and finally spot someone I know: my friend Alex and his girlfriend Eve. Alex and I did a big Calvin Klein shoot last year, and Eve was the photographer’s assistant. Actually, Eve used to be a model too, another preteen/teen phenom like Elana, who headlined that CK shoot along with Alex. My part had been fairly small, and still, that was my biggest job ever.

“Have you met Alex?”

Summer shrugs, grabs two more shots of vodka, and hands me one. “Like I would remember.”

I down the shot quickly and prepare to talk to Alex and Eve. Maybe they’ve done drugs and can advise me. But my buzzing phone distracts me. I pull it out of my purse and glance at the new text.

 

JASON: Yeah, it’s so weird to be home again. But I missed it.

 

My stomach flip-flops. He replied to my text. Hours later, but still…this could mean—

“Oh lord, you’re pathetic.” Summer is leaned toward me, reading over my shoulder. “That’s probably enough for you to live off of for another six months or so, right?”

I glare at her and shove the phone back into my purse.

“No comeback? Wonder why…” She pretends to be in deep thought. “He said he missed it. Not you. Cut the fucking cord already. It’s not healthy.”

If only it were that easy. When you’re in a relationship with someone for four years, you get so comfortable with that person. It’s daunting to start all over again.

I make my way across the room to see Alex and Eve, who are leaning against the back of the couch, more absorbed in each other than anything else.

“I heard Elana’s back from France?” Alex asks me, keeping his voice low.

“Yep, her and her mom. I think her mom is driving her crazy, but that’s to be expected. French Mama is driving me crazy too.”

They both laugh at the mention of French Mama, but I can’t take credit for that title. Summer made it up.

“I can’t believe her parents let her come back to New York,” Eve says.

Alex smiles at her. “You’re just upset that they’re here and not in France where we can hit them up for lodging.”

My gaze travels back and forth between the two of them. “You guys are going to France? Are you going for Fashion Week?”

Eve shakes her head. “Nope. I did the Prada shoot, and I’m done for good. Got tuition for next year covered.”

Even though Eve had supposedly quit modeling a few years ago, she pulled a one-last-job stunt last spring to cover her tuition at Columbia. She’s a photography student with a lot of experience under her belt.

“We’re doing the cheap travel, backpacking in Europe but without actual backpacks thing,” Alex explains.

Across the room, another beer pong player is being requested. This could possibly be the most adventurous thing I’m willing to do here. I turn to Alex and Eve again. “Well, good luck in Europe. I’m gonna go play beer pong.”

“Hey.” I grab Dima’s shirt sleeve. “You need another player?”

He looks me over, deliberating. “Sure. Be the new guy’s partner.”

“The new guy?” I glance around. What does that even mean? New to the party, like he just walked in? I’ve been here fifteen minutes.

“He’s new to the agency,” Dima says. “First casting, and he books some big job.”

“So we hate him then, right?” I joke. I turn around to head toward the game table and run right into a guy about my age with wild, dark curly hair and designer jeans.

“This guy,” Dima says to me and then turns to the new guy. “Got you a partner. Finley. She lives in the agency apartment downstairs.”

They exchange a look that says I’ve been mentioned before. I’m not liking that too much, but usually, I don’t come to these parties. Instead, I bang on the door at two in the morning to tell them to

stop thumping around like elephants. Maybe I got a bad rep.

While we wait for Dima to find a partner, I snatch two beers from a nearby cooler and offer one up to New Guy. “So, Dima said you’re new, but he didn’t say where you’re from.”

“Uh…the Midwest.”

“The Midwest.” Okay. Someone doesn’t want to get personal. “Like Wisconsin or like Chicago?”

“Chicago…well, not in Chicago, but around it, you know?” he says.

“Right.” I pop open my can and take a drink. “What’s your name? I’m sorry, I don’t think Dima said…”

“Eddie.” He lifts his gaze again. “Eddie Wells. And you’re Finley Belton, the girl who lives downstairs.”

Summer breezes past me but stops when she spots me holding the beer pong ball. “Beer pong? Oh, you wild animal…grrrr.” She holds up her tiger paws and growls at me.

I give her the finger and then turn back to Eddie. “I’m one of the girls who live downstairs.”

“One is too bitchy, one is too underage, and one is nice,” he recites, most likely quoting Dima.

This is exactly what I’m trying to escape tonight. “Dima called me the baby bear?” I’m secretly hoping he catches my reference to Goldilocks.

“No,” Eddie says. “He called you Finley Belton, but I added the nice part, because you brought me a beer. And it is just right, not to mention you’re talking to me instead of staring and whispering to other people about me.”

Points for his fairy tale knowledge, and I’m sure the whispering is the result of whatever big job he’s landed. Too many models at this party.

Eve tries to be Dima’s partner, but he refuses and tells Alex to play with him. Eve opens her mouth to protest, but Dima holds up a hand. “Don’t even. I know your type. You’ll engineer some fancy trick shots. No Ivy League players showing me up. I got a rep to protect.”

“Fine,” Eve snaps. “I’ll just stand here and look pretty. And I’m definitely rooting for Fin and…” She gestures toward the new guy.

“Eddie,” I fill in for her. “Eddie from Chicago.”

“Eddie from Chicago,” Eve repeats. “Good luck.”

Summer returns and stands beside Eve, both leaning against the back of the love seat.

“Fin makes a great partner,” Summer says to Eddie. “She knits. Lots of finger dexterity.”

I shoot her a glare and will my face not to heat up. So not cool.

 


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Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest
series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).
She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.

She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach
vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

 

Mark Perini is a New York City based author debuting his first YA novel, Halfway Perfect.
Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.
Mark began his career as an international fashion model when he was 18 years old, while simultaneously obtaining a
business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven ancient wonders of the world before he’s thirty. Four down three to go.
 
Don’t miss the companion novel
HALFWAY PERFECT

Release Day Blast #Excerpt & #Giveaway – Sweet Carolina Morning by @susan_schild @TastyBookTours

Life down South just got a whole lot sweeter…

 

SWEET CAROLINA MORNING
Willow Hill #2
Susan Schild
Releasing Aug 2nd, 2016
Lyrical Press

Life down South just got a whole lot sweeter in Susan Schild’s new novel about a woman whose happily-ever-after is about to begin…whether she’s ready for it or not. 

Finally, just shy of forty years old, Linny Taylor is living the life of her dreams in her charming hometown of Willow Hill, North Carolina. The past few years have been anything but a fairy tale: Left broke by her con man late-husband, Linny has struggled to rebuild her life from scratch. Then she met Jack Avery, the town’s much-adored veterinarian. And she’s marrying him.

Everything should be coming up roses for Linny. So why does she have such a serious case of pre-wedding jitters? It could be because Jack’s prosperous family doesn’t approve of her rough-and-tumble background. Or that his ex-wife is suddenly back on the scene. Or that Linny has yet to win over his son’s heart. All these obstacles—not to mention what she should wear when she walks down the aisle—are taking the joy out of planning her wedding. Linny better find a way to trust love again, or she might risk losing the one man she wants to be with—forever…

 
BUY NOW
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Start the Willow Hill Series at the beginning!

Excerpt

from Chapter 1: Trouble in the Stepmother Hood

Though it was February, the galley kitchen at her future husband’s old farmhouse was steamy and hot, but Linny hardly noticed. Peering at the pages on the counter, she pushed back up her nose the reading glasses she’d had to borrow from Jack and double-checked to make sure she’d not left out any key ingredients. Why had she printed the recipe in ten-point font?

Tonight’s menu came from a website she’d found called Recipes for Picky Eaters, and she hoped it was a winner. She shook her head, chagrined at Jack’s reaction to the first possible menu she’d suggested. He’d kept that pleasant smile on his handsome face, but his eyebrows had shot up. Once they’d come back down to normal, his veto had been so diplomatic. “Darlin’, the mountain trout, braised Brussels sprouts, and beet salad sounds tasty, and I hope you cook them for me real soon, but eleven-year-old boys’ tastes tend to be more… well, mainstream.”

Blowing back a stray lock of hair, she turned on the oven light and peeked inside. The neat rows of crusted chicken breasts were browning nicely in their casserole dish home. The side dishes—creamy-looking mac and cheese and green bean casserole topped with onion rings—were both bubbling gently. She breathed in cooking smells and was transported back to Sunday suppers at the farm when Nana and Paw-Paw were still alive. Sighing, she felt a wash of safety, contentment, belonging. Those were just the feelings she wanted to infuse in this new little family.

Sliding into the chair, Linny admired the old kitchen table and touched the swirls of the tiger oak. It felt warm, solid. How many other families had sat around it and shared their lives over meals? She pictured her and her two men gathered around like in a scene from the Hallmark Channel, talking and laughing about their day. Jack and Neal would lavishly compliment her on her cooking, she’d blush, wave them off, and act as though it was no big deal. “I just threw the meal together,” she’d trill.

Trouble was, it was a big deal, and not just because Linny was just learning to cook. She rubbed her chin and thought about it. This morning, Jack had sat his son down after they’d cleaned up from their pancake breakfast and told him that he and Linny were marrying in the summer. Linny had just sat beside Jack and let him do the talking but felt a stab of sadness as she saw Neal’s face fall. Forlorn. He looked forlorn. When he asked in a trembling voice, “So, you and Mom aren’t ever getting back together?” she thought her heart might break. He still held out hope for his family to be whole again, the way it used to be. Never mind that Neal’s mother, Vera, had already remarried the year before. Though Linny and Jack had been dating officially since October, she’d only just started spending a lot of time with the two of them. Jack hadn’t wanted to introduce her to his son until they knew they were serious, so Linny was only just getting to know the young man.

Linny got a nervous flip in her stomach when she thought about becoming a stepmother. She’d gone thirty-eight years without children, and in a few short months, she’d be slipping into this new role without even a course or certificate. Linny got up and made herself a mug of Chamomile tea. Calming, the label said.  She sat back down and blew on the tea to cool it and tried to quell the thrum of the squadron of butterflies that was revving up in the pit of her stomach.

Staring out the window, she thought of the other scenarios she’d been imagining, in living color and the minutest detail. If she messed up in this new job, he’d be that troubled teen with the shaved head who sold pot and lived in their basement after he dropped out of school in tenth grade. Neal would end up being the inebriated driver of a speeding car full of kids who drove them into a tree after leaving an unchaperoned party. Her heart banged as she tried to obliterate the image she’d seen in this morning’s News and Clarion -the mangled wreckage of a barely recognizable car driven by a teen going the wrong way on I-40. He’d killed himself and badly injured a whole vanload of kids on the way home late from a church youth group retreat. Pulling out her phone, she scrolled through her emails as the good smells wafted from the oven and felt her shoulders relax as she reread Mary Catherine’s note. Nice to have a best friend who practiced family law.

Under the subject line, Impending Stepmother Hood, her friend wrote:

You asked for advice on your new parenting gig. Remember, a lot of divorced couples and blended families don’t talk civilly and don’t act in the best interests of children. In my practice, we serve more of the send-the-kids-home-dirty and talk-trash-about-the-stepmother crowd. What not to do may be more useful than what to do.

Another disclaimer: I’m no expert on teenage boys just because I had one. Remember just a few months back, my nineteen-year-old almost got a DUI on a bike. Boys are knuckleheads between the ages of eleven and twenty-four. Your nerves will fray no matter how hard you try to be a good mother—or, harder yet, stepmother—but I will tell you what I know.

 Meet me for a quick breakfast 7:00 a.m. Wednesday at Jumpin’ Joe’s Bean House?

Blowing out a sigh of relief, Linny replied, Perfect. She let herself sink back into the chair for a moment. Thank goodness for Mary Catherine.

Glancing at the clock, she rose and fretted as she checked the timer. Last weekend’s cookout at her place had been a bust. Neal had picked at his food, claiming he “’just wasn’t hungry.”’ What American boy didn’t like grilled hamburgers and French fries made from scratch—from the actual potato? Could it be that he didn’t like her? She tried to dismiss the thought. How could he not like her when she was already so fond of him? He was whip smart, mostly well mannered, sensitive, and had an offbeat sense of humor that would catch her when she wasn’t expecting it and make her burst out laughing.

Tonight would be different, she decided, setting flatware firmly at the three places at the table. After grilling Jack extensively about his son’s food likes and dislikes, she’d scoured the internet for the perfect menu. If she was finally going to embark on this mother thing, she sure as heck was going to excel at it. She’d do the whole shebang: soccer weekends, volunteering on field trips, deep talks about life. She’d waited long enough for this little family, and now that she’d got it, dang it, she was going to do it right. The water glasses spilled over as she set them too firmly down on the table.

Jack and Neal were still at the barn with the mare that was about to foal. She picked up the walkie-talkie and pressed the button. “Supper’s ready, men.”

The line crackled. “Be right up,” Jack said cheerfully. “I’m hungry as a bear.”

She’d just finished putting on a slick of lip gloss as they clattered into the room, bringing with them a wash of fresh February air. Her heart still skipped a beat when Jack gave her a boyish grin, and she longed for a kiss, but there was sweet-faced Neal, right on his heels. She felt a pang of regret. She and Jack had talked about it and agreed on the rule of no smooching or PDAs in front of the boy right on the brink of becoming a man. She felt wistful. Leaning against the stove, she smiled as she took them in, amazed at how much commotion the two could make just walking into a room, with their thudding boots, unzippering coats, biceps punching, and easy laughter. Linny raked back her hair with her fingers. Man, her too quiet life had sure changed.


Susan Schild writes wholesome and sunny Southern fiction. She likes stories about charming men,
missing money, adventuresome women, sweet dogs, and happily ever afters at any age. 
Susan is a wife and a stepmother. She enjoys rummaging through thrift store for treasures like four dollar cashmere sweaters and amateur watercolor paintings. She likes taking walks with her Lab mix, Tucker, and his buddies. She and her family live in North Carolina.Susan has used her professional background as a psychotherapist and a management consultant to add authenticity to her characters.

SWEET SOUTHERN HEARTS, the final book in the Willow Hill series, will be released in January of 2017.
Readers can look forward to more adventures, new beaus, sinister ministers, lovebirds over fifty, a road trip for Mama and her pals, and maybe even an “I Do”…or two.

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Cover Reveal & Excerpt – Caught In The Flames by @KaceySheaBooks

 

Cover Reveal

Caught in the Flames by Kacey Shea

Release Day: August 23

 

Model: Shane Williams
Photographer: Eric Battershell
Designer: Perfect Pear Creative Covers
Preorder price of $2.99 only available through release week!
iBooks: Coming soon
Add to Goodreads: https://goo.gl/00CrKu

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Callie Gordon is more than a little obsessed…

 

I Love firemen.
Heroic. Selfless. Brave.
Not to mention the uniform with those damn sexy pants…I can’t get enough.
Imagine my surprise when local fire captain, Chase Matthews, wanders into my yard on moving day. I’ve hit real estate gold. Hot as sin with that all-knowing smirk creates an instant spark. Welcome to the neighborhood never looked so good.
But dating a firefighter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Chase keeps me at distance even when I attempt to break down his walls. A friendship with the nosy eccentric woman down the street reveals there’s more to Chase than he’s willing to share. I’m playing with fire and bound to get burned.
Secrets unfold.
Truths are brought to light.
Can I handle the heat? Or will my love for this man prove that sometimes even good girls have to burn down the house?

 

Excerpt:

 

 

I hate coffee.
Okay, that’s a lie. I just hate the way it’s impossible to jog and drink coffee at the same time. After tossing and turning alone last night when I should have been tangled up with Chase, I woke early and decided if I’m not getting lucky I might as well get in better shape. Besides, what else do I have to do on a Sunday morning?
I lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement with purpose. But that energy fades with each advancing step. My abstinent morning exercise plan messes with my normally caffeine infused routine. So when I turn the corner about a half mile into my jog and Kiki flags me down with a cup of java in her hands, I have to stop.
The cool morning air hits the hot brew and causes a swirl of steam to rise over the mug. She observes my infatuation and invites me inside to join her in a cup. I can’t not say yes. Not saying yes to coffee is like refusing Jesus. Okay, bad example. Lots of people refuse Jesus. I can still be friends with those people. But people who refuse coffee? I don’t trust those fuckers.
So, instead of running to stay in shape for my hot ass fireman boyfriend, I’m having coffee with Kiki at her kitchen table. Enjoying every second. I inhale the roasted brew before cooling it with my exhale to take a long sip.
Kiki’s interior décor is a mix between eclectic grandma and boho chic. Really, I wouldn’t expect normal from Kiki, so it fits her perfectly.
“So, what is it you do for a job, Callie?”
“I’m a graphic designer.”
“Oh, that’s lovely, dear. Do you make T-shirts?” She furrows her brows and sips from her mug. I grin in response. “I actually do design for a firm that specializes in website development and company re-branding. Sometimes I get to design logos that go on T-shirts.”
“A creative mind. I knew we were kindred spirits.” She pats my arm. “Plus, you’re a coffee addict like me.”
“How did you know?” I sigh as I take another sip. She laughs, a throaty chuckle with a knowing look on her wrinkled face.
“It’s written all over your face. I’m what I like to call seasoned. I’ve been on this earth a while. I can tell these things.”
I bite my lip. She does seem to exceptionally intuitive. Maybe she can help me out. “What else can you tell about me?”
“You love yourself one of those fire boys,” she answers with a glint in her eyes.
“How do you know that?” I almost gasp. Maybe she’s psychic or a fortune teller. Oh, maybe she can read my aura.
“I just know.” She shrugs as Silas jumps onto the table. Kiki shoos him down and he complies with an irritated meow. “That, and the ladies at tai chi told me you’ve been dating the captain.” She smirks. When she raises her mug to salute mine I have to let loose a little laugh of my own. No special mind reading powers, just good old fashion neighborhood gossip at its finest.
“Yes, I’ve been dating Chase for a few weeks now.” Remembering the disappointment of yesterday and our missed date I have to resist the urge to pull out my phone to see if he’s called or texted. I’m sure he hasn’t. He won’t get off until nine and with this being his third shift in a row I don’t expect he’ll want to come over.
“Trouble in paradise already? That’s not good! You’re a beautiful woman. He’s hot as sin. What’s the problem?”
“No trouble. Really.” My lips pull into a frown as I remember the Evil Grocery woman. Maybe there’s more trouble than I’m aware of.
“I’m not convinced. Tell Kiki about it and I’m sure I can help. Besides, I know everything about everyone.”
I grin and consider her offer. I’m sure she does know everything. But I wonder how good she is with sharing secrets. I don’t have the time or energy to be involved in neighborhood politics. She
scratches at her neck and it reveals a little of her weathered skin. I’m surprised at the colorful ink scrolled across her shoulder. This woman is full of surprises and there’s something in the way she smiles at me that makes me
want to be her friend.
“Okay. I’ll tell you my problems on one condition.”
“Shoot.”
“You tell me the stories behind all your tattoos.” I smirk and she does that throaty chuckle again.
“You sure about that? That could take days. I have lots of ’em.”
“Stories or tattoos?”
“Both.”
“Yeah. I’m sure. What’s that one on your shoulder?”
“Oh, this ol’ thing? This is one of my favorites.” She pulls down the neck of her blouse and her bra strap so I can see better. It’s a bouquet of flowers. I recognize the violets, periwinkle, and lilies, but it’s the foreign words scrolling through the center in script lettering that captures my focus. It’s beautiful.
“What does it say?”
Il dolce far niente.” The words roll off her tongue in a soft caress.
“Is that Spanish?”
“Italian. It means, it is sweet doing nothing. This was my first tattoo. I got it the summer I turned eighteen. My friend and I took our life’s savings and flew to Europe.” She chuckles that rough laughter. “You can imagine our parents weren’t too thrilled. We had been raised to grow up and find a spouse. Maybe spend a few years in college first, but then find a mate. Instead, Bets and I took off for an adventure. My parents tried to keep me from going. Insisted I was doing nothing with my life.”
“So you got a tattoo about doing nothing?” I grin.
“Yes. Though it was far from the truth. I ended up doing my fair share of Italian men that summer.” She waggles her almost translucent brow and I lean forward over the table. This woman is fascinating.
Her fingers stroke the rim of her mug, and light bounces off the diamond on her left ring finger.
“Did you marry one of those Italians?” Her eyes follow mine to her ring and she just grins.
“My turn is up. Tell me about the captain.”
I can’t help the way my face pulls into a smile just thinking about Chase. I take a gulp of coffee and try to put my feelings for him into words. “He’s the most attractive man I’ve ever dated. And I’ve always been a bit infatuated with his profession. But I didn’t pursue him. He asked me out, and, well, it’s only been a few weeks
but I’m a goner. He really is the most perfect man.” I know I’m gushing and sound more like an infatuated teen than a grown ass woman but I can’t seem to stop. Kiki smiles warmly and then pats my arm before standing to move to the counter. She brings back the coffee pot and motions to my cup. I nod with a
grin.
“Beautiful men. They were always my downfall, too. And a man in uniform is difficult to resist. I’d warn you to be careful, but sounds as though you’ve already crashed and burned for this one.”
“Is there any reason I should be careful with Chase?” I ask because something tells me if there is, this woman would know.
“Oh, honey, there’s always a reason to be careful in love. Doesn’t mean the heart listens.”
She smiles and I return it. I should excuse myself to leave now. It’d be polite after taking up so much of her morning, but I don’t want to take off just yet. I want to know more about Kiki—her tattoos, her stories, her life.
“Will you tell me about another tattoo?”
“If you have the time, dear. I’m sure you have other places to be than spending your day
with an old woman.”
“I have time.”
At my answer her grin pulls into a smile that fills her entire face. Her eyes crinkle so much they almost close.
“Well, how about this rose here . . .”
I get so wrapped up in Kiki’s tales that it’s hours before I finally jog home. The afternoon sun beats down on my skin and the humid air makes it difficult to breathe, but there’s a lightless on my soul and even in my steps as I trot the familiar path home. I’m glad fate crossed my path with Kiki today. Rather than spending the entire day obsessing about Chase I gained a new friend, one whose wisdom and life adventures fascinate me beyond measure. I can tell she’s a little lonely, and who wouldn’t be, living in that house alone with no career
and no family. But today I think I needed her company as much as she needed mine. 

 

About the Author

 

Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and indie author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.

When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.

She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.

Kacey one day aspires to be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.

Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!

Kacey enjoys interacting with her fans so please feel free to stalk her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.