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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cover Reveal! Empire By Kathy Coopmans

We've loved.

We've lost.

We've hated.

Our Empire is crumbling right before my eyes. No one can be trusted for reasons that are consuming me, controlling me and ripping me away from my family.

This new family who has taken over the streets of New York has taken someone away from us. We will not let them take anymore. The only way to stop them is to sacrifice one of us.

But who? They want to end me and my cousin, Calla.

I will never allow that to happen.

This is our EMPIRE. Our LIFE.

What it boils down to is... her life or mine.

The answer is MINE!

I'm perceived as weak, all because I'm a woman.

A woman on a mission now that they've stolen someone I love.

They have threatened my family, my child, my love.

I may be a woman but, I'm the daughter of a notorious killer.

They want to end me and my cousin, Roan.

I will never allow that to happen.

This is our EMPIRE. Our LIFE.

What it boils down to is... his life or mine.

The answer is MINE!

I'm loved.

I'm lost.

I hate.





.99 cent special pre-order price for EMPIRE by Kathy Coopmans. Releasing October 5th. 

This is the final book in The Syndicate Series. 

Price increases to 2.99 on release day! 

Pre-order links for EMPIRE. 









Amazon Best Selling Author Kathy Coopmans, lives in Michigan with her husband Tony where they have two grown sons.

After raising her children she decided to publish her first book and retiring from being a hairstylist.

She now writes full time.

She's a huge sports fan with her favorite being Football and Tennis.

She's a giver and will do anything she can to help another person succeed!
Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Newsletter signup


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Cover Reveal! Dirty Player By Stacey Lynn




 Release Date: September 13, 2016

Shannon Hale knows what she wants in life. Or so she thought.

But one cheating fiancé and shredded wedding dress later, she skips town desperately needing a do-over. So she moves in with her brother, the new quarterback for the Raleigh Rough Riders, starts her own business, and vows to live by her own rules and no one else’s.

Oliver Powell is a man who always gets what he wants. As the sexy as sin MVP Tight End, he’s arrogant. He’s loaded. He’s also got a sizeable package below the belt that drives the women crazy.

And he’s focused. The prize—a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

His concentration on getting that ring is unwavering—until Shannon Hale shows up. Now the only game he wants to win involves her ending up in his bed.

The problem? Shannon wants nothing to do with NFL’s resident playboy.

The solution? Play dirty.


Author Bio


Stacey Lynn currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children. When she’s not conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or on the boat with her family enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful, yet too short, summer.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

Author Links




Release Blitz & Blog Tour! King of Wall Street by Louise Bay


AN AMBITIOUS BOMBSHELL IS ABOUT TO BRING THE KING OF WALL STREET TO HIS KNEES.

I keep my two worlds separate.

At work, I’m King of Wall Street. The heaviest hitters in Manhattan come to me to make money. They do whatever I say because I’m always right. I’m shrewd. Exacting. Some say ruthless.

At home, I’m a single dad trying to keep his fourteen year old daughter a kid for as long as possible. If my daughter does what I say, somewhere there’s a snowball surviving in hell. And nothing I say is ever right.

When Harper Jayne starts as a junior researcher at my firm, the barriers between my worlds begin to dissolve. She’s the most infuriating woman I’ve ever worked with.

I don’t like the way she bends over the photocopier—it makes my mouth water.

I hate the way she’s so eager to do a good job—it makes my dick twitch.

And I can’t stand the way she wears her hair up exposing her long neck. It makes me want to strip her naked, bend her over my desk and trail my tongue all over her body.

If my two worlds are going to collide, Harper Jayne will have to learn that I don't just rule the boardroom. I’m in charge of the bedroom, too.


This is my 2nd book by this author, I read and LOVED Indigo Nights, so I was excited to delve into the world of Max King and see where I ended up.

Well, now I know. Max King is a lot of fun. He is a compelling man, authoritative in the boardroom, and in the bedroom, but with a heart of gold and misty eyes when it comes to his teenage daughter.

Harper is a fun heroine, a little naïve at first and hurt by Max’s initial treatment of her, as she had fantasies about entering the work world, being at her dream job, and starting off on a high note, wowing her boss, and being the best junior researcher in the history of ever. The kind of fantasies that all of us have, the ones that rarely work out that way.

I loved everything about this book. Especially the cover. Have you seen it? Did you pause and then go back for a second look? I know I did. I am not sure what it is about that cover, but oh my I loved it.

The pacing is perfect. The book flows well and there are no places where it drags or seems to jump too quickly. I was fully engaged throughout the entire book, which is a requirement if I am going to give a book 5 stars.

The characters were wonderful. Nuanced, compelling, and true to themselves in ways that I both expected and in ways that impressed me, as there were some areas where the author could have used the plot that was already there to create tension, and instead she stayed true to the characters and away from some of the more obvious clichés that can appear in books.

The plot, as I have said, I believed it. I could follow along, and I thought that it was possible real people, in real life, could live the events that unfolded in the story.

The angst was missing in this, for the most part. Yes, there was some, but it didn’t come from the obvious places. I appreciated that, as it showed that Max was the stand up guy you thnknn he is, that he treats the people in his life with respect, and that he gets it in return. When I started the book, I was a little worried that the characters who were so different in their public and private lives wouldn’t mesh, well, I had nothing to worry about there. Max is a full, nuanced person. With more than one side, more than one aspect to his life…just like all of us.

I highly recommend this book.

My grabby hands are out for the next thing Louise Bay writes, as you can guarantee I will be reading it.





Buy Links

 

Add to your TBR on Goodreads: 



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30653421-king-of-wall-street?ac=1&from_search=true

About the Author:


USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels - the kind she likes to read. Her books include the novels Faithful and Hopeful and the novella series' The Empire State Series, What the Lightning Sees and Calling Me. The novels and together the series are stand-alone although there are some overlapping characters.

Ruined by romantic mini-series of the eighties, Louise loves all things romantic. There's not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when she doesn't have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!


Connect with Louise:


Faceboook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlouisebay/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/louisesbay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056592.Louise_Bay

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WqwGAf

Website: http://www.louisebay.com

Double Cover Reveal! Full Package & Joy Stick By Lauren Blakely


From the NYT Bestselling author of BIG ROCK and MISTER O, comes two brand new, hot and hilarious standalone romantic comedies…
FULL PACKAGE and JOY STICK!
 
FPANDJSCOVERREVEAL

Readers will find witty dialogue, smoking hot sex scenes, and heartfelt moments in these side-splitting romantic comedies, mixed with the dirty-talking, gifted heroes we’ve come to love from Lauren Blakely! FULL PACKAGE is set to release on January 9, 2017, and JOY STICK is coming your way in May 2017! Check out these fantastic covers designed by Helen Williams with photography by Rob Lang. 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00023]From the New York Times Bestselling author of MISTER O and BIG ROCK, comes a hot & hilarious new standalone romantic comedy…
I’ve been told I have quite a gift.
Hey, I don’t just mean in my pants. I’ve got a big brain too, and a huge heart of gold. And I like to use all my gifts to the fullest, the package included. Life is smooth sailing....
Until I find myself stuck between a rock and a sexy roommate, which makes for one very hard…place.
Because scoring an apartment in this city is harder than finding true love. So even if I have to shack up with my buddy’s smoking hot and incredibly amazing little sister, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.
I can resist Josie. I’m disciplined, I’m focused, and I keep my hands to myself, even in the mere five-hundred square feet we share. Until the one night she insists on sliding under the covers with me. It’ll help her sleep after what happened that day, she says.
Surprise—neither one of us sleeps.
And even though we agree to return to roomies-without-benefits, I quickly realize I want more than someone to split the utilities with. Now all I want is to spend every night—and every day—with my gorgeous roommate.
Did I mention she’s also one of my best friends? That she’s brilliant, beautiful and a total firecracker? Guess that makes her the full package too.
What’s a man stuck in a hard place to do
?

 
FINALFULLPACKAGEJACKETSMALLER

Pre-Order FULL PACKAGE (Releasing January 9, 2016)
✦ Barnes and Noble➙ http://bit.ly/2b7fWxj
✦ Amazon Paperback➙ http://amzn.to/2avft4u
✦ GooglePlay➙ https://goo.gl/U5ND2B
✦ Goodreads➙ http://bit.ly/2alCbfM


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00023]
Let’s be honest, ladies. A good man is a lot like the perfect car. You want a hot body, an engine that purrs, and superior performance under the hood. You probably also crave a ride that can go all night long.
I’m at your service. Come and ride on my Joy Stick…
That's what I like to say to the ladies. Or I would if I were total pig. It's far too easy in this world to strut around like a peacock when you’ve got all these other features in your favor. But just like the custom cars I build with class and sophistication, that’s how I treat my women.
Don’t worry. I absolutely do my best work dirty…both in the shop, and between the sheets. Work and play — that’s what my life has been, and I f&*king love it. I’m completely, 100% driven. Until one woman comes along and throws a wrench in my plans. The one woman I should absolutely, positively never take for a joy ride.
Now that's all I want to do with her…she’s so far off-limits, but that’s exactly where I want to go with her.
Get ready for a wild ride…




Pre-Order JOY STICK (Coming May 2017)
✦ Exclusive iBooks Pre-Order ➙ http://tinyurl.com/JoyStickLB✦ Goodreads➙ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30640850-joy-stick

 
MENOFROMCOM


Don’t Miss All of Lauren’s Romantic Comedies written from the Male POV!
 

KindleFiregiveaway
 

Lauren Blakely’s Romantic Comedy Celebration!
August 24-September 1, 2016*

Win a Kindle Fire loaded with Lauren Blakely’s complete collection* of currently released titles, as well as some of Lauren’s favorite romantic comedies!
*Does not include WELL HUNG, FULL PACKAGE or JOY STICK, Winner will be announced first week of September.
To enter to win, simply subscribe to Lauren’s newsletter here:
http://www.subscribepage.com/LaurenBlakely


DaisyWhitneyLaurenBlakelyheadshot_small  About Lauren Blakely: Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that's full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With ten New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than fifty times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone romantic comedies like BIG ROCK and MISTER O, which were both instant New York Times Bestsellers. In the fall she'll release WELL HUNG, another romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter: laurenblakely.com/newsletter. Links: Website: http://www.laurenblakely.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenBlakelyBooks Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenBlakely3 Newsletter: http://laurenblakely.com/newsletter/ FULL PACKAGE Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30283662-full-package JOY STICK Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30640850-joy-stick Lauren Blakely Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860216.Lauren_Blakely
InkSlinger Blogger Final

Excerpt Reveal! The Hard Way By Katie Ashley


Cade Hall has always been the golden boy of the gridiron. Because of his talent at football, coupled with his father’s wealth, he’s always gotten his way. But when a night of drunken debauchery lands him in hot water with the college athletic board, neither his influential father nor his charming grin can save him. He finds it a total buzz kill when he is sentenced to community service with troubled youth at an inner-city shelter. But his nightmare is only beginning when his greatest high school regret is the very one in charge of the program, and she has him by the balls in more ways than one.

For Avery Prescott, senior year was a nightmare of epic proportions, and Cade Hall played the lead villain. After she fled her small town for college in the bright lights of Atlanta, she thought she had escaped the painful memories of her past. She never could have imagined Cade would waltz through the door of the outreach program she presided over. But Avery has news for Cade--she isn’t the same shy, doormat of a girl she was in high school. Since she holds Cade's football future in her hands, she’s more than ready to make payback a real bitch.

Will the two stay in the defensive zone or discover that sometimes life's greatest lessons are learned the hard way?

Sports + Bad Boy + Second Chance 

The Hard Way by Katie Ashley Releases on August 31st! 

Add to your TBR at: 



Fuuuuuuuuuck! This seriously was not happening. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, apparently the universe didn’t just hate me. It fucking despised me. Not only was I stuck working forty hours a week at this shithole, but now I had the worst blast from my past standing before me. Avery Fucking Prescott.

In every “manwhore with seemingly no soul’s” world, there is one girl he regrets. One girl he thinks about from time to time. One girl he measures all the other ones against. One girl he even cries about when he’s shitfaced.

Mine was Avery Fucking Prescott.

I couldn’t help noticing that the Avery standing in front of me didn’t seem the same. Sure, she still had the same long, dark hair that she swept back in one of those ponytail things. Gone were the glasses, which made it a lot easier to see her green eyes that had flecks of gold in them. Of course, today there was pure and unadulterated hate burning in them directed at me where back in the day, there had been love.

But I had managed to kill that love by being a prick. Yeah, I’m sure you’re thinking that isn’t all too shocking based on the pure stupidity you’ve seen me exhibit so far. The thing is that Avery brought out the good that was buried deep down inside me. The good that you needed a fucking bulldozer to unearth.

While there were slight differences in her appearance, her entire personality seemed different, and no, I don’t mean just about how she hated me with a fiery passion. She wasn’t the wide-eyed, innocent farm girl who seemed so out of place at Harlington Prep. It was like she’d had a personality transplant. It reminded of me of what happened to my older sister, Catherine, the summer she turned fifteen, and my mother sent her off to some glamour school shit to detox the awkward out of her. When she came back a month later, it was like she had become a Stepford Kid. Catherine no longer took the time to play with me. She had “more important” things to do like contouring her brows or preparing for cotillions. Things were never the same between us after that.

My ego couldn’t help wondering if what had happened between us had caused the seismic shift in Avery. Like I’d broken the Old Avery with my actions, and this was what had been rebuilt in its place. But another voice rationalized that unlike me, Avery had probably gotten her shit together in the last three years. College had matured her.

After a few moments of a silent standoff, Avery said, “Hello again, Cade.” Her words might have been polite, but her voice was strained. I could tell it was taking everything within her not to go off on me.

“Oh, you two know each other?” Tammy or Theresa, or whatever the hell her name was, questioned.

Do we know each other? Oh yeah, we know each other. Like in the biblical sense. I can even tell you about the heart-shaped birthmark on the inside of her right thigh.

But I knew I would mortify the hell out of Avery if I said anything like that in front of her boss. So instead, I cocked my brows at Avery for her to take the lead on how she wanted us to respond to that question.

“A little. We went to high school together,” she replied diplomatically. The wounded look that momentarily flashed in her eyes told an entirely different story—the story where I played the villain.

But Tammy didn’t seem to pick up on it. “Well, isn’t it a small world?” she mused.

“Yeah,” Avery and I said in unison.

Tammy smiled at me. “I was just about to sing all of Avery’s praises to you, but since you know her, I don’t need to waste my breath, right?”

“Right,” I muttered.

“Well, then. I’ll leave you two alone to catch up, and for Avery to show you the ropes.”

“Thank you, Tamar,” Avery said politely.

Oh it was Tamar. Shit, I needed to remember that. “Yeah, thanks, Tamar.”

Tamar started out of the door and then stopped. She threw a grin over her shoulder. “Now, Avery, just because you know Cade, you can’t go easy on him. He has a debt to pay to Georgia Tech’s athletic department.”

Avery glared at me before flashing a fake smile at Tamar. “Oh, I promise to make him earn his keep.”

Apparently Tamar wasn’t picking up on the heavy tension between us. “Unfuckingbeliveable,” I muttered under my breath.

“Excuse me?” Avery demanded.

I held up my hands. “Nothing.”

Avery crossed her arms over her chest. “I never thought I’d have to see you again.” She shook her head at me, which caused her ponytail to swish back and forth like a whip. “Yet here you are standing before me. I guess, I must’ve done something epic to piss the universe off this much to put you back in my path.”

Whoa, that was sure as hell not what I was expecting. “I could say the same.”

Her green eyes narrowed to fury-filled slits. “Excuse me? You have some nerve to stand here in front of me and say that considering what you did.”

She was right. Only an epic tool would not immediately apologize for what I did to her. It should have been the first words out of my mouth. And not just to make things run smoothly here at The Ark, but because it was the right thing to do. After all, she had truly been an innocent in the whole fucked up situation of me being an emotionally crippled bastard. I’d let her be tortured by a psychotic chick who thought she belonged to me. I’d humiliated her with my deceptive words and cruel actions. But the greatest of my crimes was I had broken her heart.

But in this instance, I was being King Epic Tool because I couldn’t get those words to come out of my mouth. It wasn’t something I struggled with today. I’d had three years to stay those two words. Hell, I’d started off a hundred texts, but I’d never sent them. I’d even done a few stalkerish drives by her house to say how sorry I was in person, but being an emotional pansy ass, I had never gotten out of the car.

So instead of taking the emotional high road, I went slumming. “It’s been three years, Prescott. You really need to get over that.”


Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her two very spoiled dogs. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.

Twitter Facebook Goodreads Amazon Page | Pinterest

Excerpt Reveal! Wide Open Spaces By Aurora Rose Reynolds


That moment your life changes.

That moment that changes your life.

That moment you love someone more than you love yourself.

That was the moment we gave our son up for adoption and the moment I was left bare. A wide-open space that would forever be empty.

There are moments that define you as a person, moments that prove just how strong you are, moments you push yourself to keep going forward when all you really want to do is give up. It was in one of those moments when I reached out and found him waiting for me.

When Shelby Calder left home fifteen years ago, she never planned on returning to the Alaskan town she left behind. But after the death of her grandfather and a bitter divorce, she hopes going home will be a fresh start for her and her ten-year-old son.

Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder, looking more beautiful than ever, standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won't be a mistake he ever makes again.

Some things never change and love is one of them.

Wide Open Spaces releases August 2016! 

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1PDVZsf


Chapter 1

Shelby

Shutting off my car, I stare at the two-story house I used to call home. It looks the same as it did when I left. The deep blue is still vibrant, even more so now against the backdrop of the gray sky behind it. The white porch is still welcoming, with flowers hanging from the banister.

My grandmother and I would spend hours planting flowers in those boxes during the summer. When she passed away during my sophomore year of high school, I made sure to keep up the tradition in her memory. It looks like, in my absence over these last fifteen years, someone else had taken over the job.

Looking at the bright blooms growing wild, hanging over the sides of the boxes, I wonder if Granddad hired someone to plant them for him when he left to live in Florida. He never mentioned that he cared about the flowers we planted. Honesty, I don’t remember him mentioning them. Growing up, I didn’t even think he noticed, but now, looking at the blooming buds that are artfully arranged, I know they meant something to him after all.

“Mom?” Turning my head, I look at my son Hunter and force a smile as aching pain and regret slice through my chest.

“Sorry, honey. I spaced out. Do you want to unpack tonight, or do you want to wait until tomorrow, kiddo?”

Looking over his shoulder, he eyes the boxes and suitcases piled in the back then looks at me. I hate the sadness I see in his eyes. I hate I’m the cause of his pain. I know he misses his father already, and I know that at ten years old, he doesn’t understand why we’re no longer together even if it’s been over two years since we separated and divorced.

“Tomorrow,” he grumbles, and I feel that ache in my chest expand. He hates me for moving him across the country. Away from his friends, away from everything he knew. And I hate myself a little bit, too, for failing miserably at keeping my family together. I just hope this move will be a new start for us.

“Tomorrow,” I agree softly, unhooking my belt and opening the door.

Rounding the hood of the van, Hunter has already made it to the porch and is waiting at the top of the stairs, with his eyes pointed over my shoulder. Stopping, I look behind me as rain soaks through my clothes. I can’t believe how much the town has changed and grown. When I’d left home, you could see the sound from the front porch of my grandparents’ home. Now, the view is blocked by houses that have been built up side-by-side across the road. The street looks more like a New York City block, rather than a street in small-town Alaska.

“Is it always raining?” Hunter’s voice breaks into my thoughts, and I turn back toward him and take the steps slowly, noticing they are rotting out in a few spots. Something I will have to fix soon.

“Not always, but this is a rainforest, so I guess the answer in some ways is yes,” I tell him, when I make it up to the covered porch.

His brows draw together over his blue eyes, making him look like his father, as he asks, “This is a rainforest?”

“It is.” I want so badly to reach out and run my finger down his cheek, but I keep my hand locked at my side. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but some time ago, he stopped wanting my affection. Stopped being my little boy.

“Really?” he asks curiously, with wide eyes. “It doesn’t look like a rainforest,” he states, and he’s right; it doesn’t look like what you might imagine a rainforest would look like.

“It doesn’t look like one, but it is all the same.” I smile, and his eyes move over my face then to the view, and his face loses the curiosity it held a moment ago.

He turns, muttering, “Whatever.”

Biting my lip, I take the key the lawyer mailed me out of the front pocket of my jeans, put it in the lock, and turn. The door opens with a loud creak and dust rises up from the floors. A loud alarm sounds, making us both jump. Running into the house, I look frantically for some kind of alarm system, finally finding the small white box off the door in the kitchen. Flipping the panel open, I stare at the numbers.

“What’s the code?” Hunter yells over the siren, covering his ears.

“I don’t know,” I yell back, pressing in every single number combination I can think of, but none of them work.

“Is it in the papers in the car?”

“Maybe,” I yell, then run for the door and down the stairs to the van. Swinging open the back door, I shove three boxes out of the way before finding the one I’m looking for. Ripping off the tape, I shuffle through the contents and scan the papers the lawyer sent, searching for the code, but stop and look over the hood of the van when the alarm goes quiet. “What was the code?” I ask Hunter, when he steps out onto the porch.

“I don’t know.” He shrugs, looking over his shoulder into the house, like he’s waiting for someone to come out, which makes me frown.

“Did it just stop?” I question, slamming the van door. His eyes come back to me and he shakes his head then starts to open his mouth to say something else, but is cut off by a deep voice.

“I turned it off.”

It takes one breath to realize who just stepped out of my grandparents’ house. One breath for every moment I spent with the man standing before me to flash through my head. Two seconds for me to feel my world come to a stop.

The boy I once knew is gone. There’s nothing boyish about Zach Watters anymore. His jaw is now sharp, the stubble on it giving him a rugged look while accentuating his full lips. His dark hair has silvered around the edges, drawing attention to his expressive hazel eyes that look like they hold a thousand stories. His red and black plaid shirt is stretched tight across broad shoulders, giving a glimpse of the muscles it’s covering. He’s still every bit as beautiful as he once was, only more so now that time has aged him, taking him from a handsome boy to a gorgeous man.

Swallowing, I look at my son then back again. “Thanks,” I whisper, and Zach’s eyebrows pull together as he sweeps his gaze over me. I have no doubt that I too have changed, but unlike him, time hasn’t been good to me. I’ve gained a few too many pound from eating my feelings over the last year. My skin has lost its youthful glow, and my hair has grown out at the roots without my bi-monthly maintenance appointments.

“Shelby?” he asks, but all I can do is confirm with a nod, since my mouth has dried up and I can’t find my voice. “Jesus.” His eyes widen as he looks down at Hunter then back toward me. “What are you doing here?”

“My… my son Hunter and I are moving in,” I stutter, caught off guard by his presence. I wasn’t stupid enough to believe I wouldn’t see him when I moved home, but I had convinced myself that seeing him would be on my terms, or sporadic at best.

“What?” he whispers, leaning back on his boots, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ignoring his question, I start to move back toward the stairs, asking, “Do you mind giving me the code for the alarm? I’m sure it’s somewhere in the papers the lawyer sent, but...” I stop and look to the left when Zach’s name is called. Standing on the porch of the house next door is a woman I know he got with a few months after I left. A woman he married soon after she gave birth to their twins. A woman I used to call my friend.

A woman I now hate.

I absently hear him say something to her, but the nausea turning my stomach and the sadness prickling my skin have me moving quickly up the steps, focusing on not falling over as I move past him. “Never mind about the code. I’m sure I’ll find it. Thanks for shutting off the alarm,” I mumble, as I walk through the door.

“Mom.”

“Come on, honey. Let’s have a look around, and then we need to get to the store.”

“Mom,” Hunter repeats, sounding confused. I plaster a fake smile on my face.

“The pizza place we drove past has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. We could do that for dinner.”

“Mom.”

“Right here, honey.” I laugh, even though that laugh feels like glass edging down my windpipe.

Studying me for a long moment, he finally mutters, “Pizza sounds good. I’m gonna call Dad before we go, and tell him we’re here.”

“Sure,” I agree, watching him pull out his cell phone and walk toward the kitchen. I didn’t agree that he needed a cell phone at his age, but like all things with his dad, there was never any kind of conversation. He didn’t ask what I thought about it; he just did what he wanted to do.

I hear a familiar throat clear. “You’re back?” Zach asks from behind me, making my shoulders slump forward and my eyes slide closed briefly.

“Yeah.” I turn to face him and wrap my arms around my waist, feeling my stomach twist into knots. When I left town, we didn’t fight, didn’t yell at each other, didn’t say things we would end up regretting one day. I just knew there was too much pain between us to make what we had left work, and Zach, knowing the same, didn’t put up a fight when I told him my plans.

“You're staying here?” he asks, and I nod. Running a hand over his head as his eyes move to the right, where Tina had been moments ago, before bringing his gaze back to mine. “The code for the alarm is one, two, three, four. I told Pat to change it, but you know Pat,” he mutters, and I nod, knowing exactly how stubborn Gramps was. Shoving his hands into the front pocket of his jeans, his voice drops. “I’m really sorry about Pat.”

“Thanks.” I hold myself a little tighter. His eyes drop to my arms around my waist and soften before moving up to meet mine once more.

“If you need anything, I’m next door.” He lifts his chin in that direction, and my world stops again.

“Pardon?” I breathe.

“I live next door.”

Okay, maybe I should have guessed that, since Tina was over there, but I didn’t, and this is not good… as in really not good. There is not one damn thing I can do about it, though, unless I want to load Hunter back into the van and live out of it for the next year or so, which I don’t think will win me any brownie points with my son.

“Cool,” I whisper pathetically, with nothing else to say. Something familiar-looking and soft slides through his features, making my stomachache twist again, but this time in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

“Well…” I pause, needing this encounter to be over. “Thanks again for turning off the alarm. I wish we had time to catch up,” I lie. “But I need to get to the store before it closes, and then I need to get Hunter some food. Growing boys don’t do well without food,” I ramble, as I put my hand to the door, wanting so badly to shove it closed.

“Sure.” He nods then looks over my shoulder, into the house. “Nice meeting you, Hunter.”

“You too—” Hunter looks between Zach and me.

“Mr. Watters, honey,” I mutter, answering his unspoken question, as he comes to stand at my side with his cell phone in his hand.

“You too, Mr. Watters.”

Zach’s eyes come to me and his face softens once more. “See you around, Shelby.”

“Yeah, see you around,” I lie again, since I plan to pretend he doesn’t exist from this moment forward. I wait, even though I don’t want to, until he is walking away to close the door then stand there for a moment, trying to process what just happened.

“How do you know him, Mom?” Hunter asks.

“When I was younger,” I say, turning to face him, “we were friends.” I shrug, looking toward the stairs. “My room used to be in the attic—it’s the best room in the house—and if you make it there before me, I’ll let you have it.” I raise my brows before taking off in a sprint up the stairs, listening to my son, who I haven’t heard laugh in weeks, giggle as he runs up the stairs behind me.

“Wow, this is awesome.”

Looking over my shoulder at Hunter I smile as he walks into the room with wide eyes. “I told you it’s the coolest room in the house.” I used to love hanging out up here when I was a teenager. The vastness of the space, with its angled ceilings and four large skylights, was a cool place to spend time. Looking at my son now, I can see the excitement in his eyes as he wanders around the room.

“Do you think I could get a telescope?” he asks, looking up at the cloud-covered sky through one of the skylights.

“Definitely.” I bump my shoulder with his as I walk past him toward the couch in the corner that’s covered with a sheet and pull it off. “We may also want to find a cover for this thing while we’re at it,” I say, looking from the floral-covered couch to his scrunched up face.

“Yeah.” He nods, moving to the bed, where he rips off the sheet that is covering the mattress. “I can’t wait to tell Dad about this. He’s going to think it’s so cool,” he mutters, and I bite my tongue to keep from saying, No, your dad will definitely not think it’s cool.

Max, Hunter’s father, grew up wealthy. He never owned anything that had been used. Even when we got married, he insisted I sell the Victorian house I bought when I graduated college, wanting instead for us to buy a newly built house in a cliché subdivision, where all of his friends lived. Shortly thereafter, he insisted I sell all of my old furniture, things I had bought secondhand and refurbished over the years. At the time, I was blinded by hope and love, so I didn’t think anything about it. But over time, I slowly realized I was no longer the person I used to be. I had turned into a trophy wife who lived in a show home and neither of us had any real character.

“Mom,” Hunter calls, bringing me out of my thoughts, and I turn to look at him and notice he has a stack of photos in his hand. “Who’s this?”

“That’s my mom,” I say softly, while walking over to where he’s sitting on the bed, holding out a picture of my mom and me. In the photo, we’re sitting outside on the porch, with our arms wrapped around each other, smiling at the camera.

“You look like her,” he says thoughtfully. “You have her eyes and hair.”

“You think so?” I ask, looking at my mom, who had to have been about my age when the photo was taken. She was beautiful, with long dark blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a smile that lit up the world.

“Yeah.” He nods then looks at me, and asks quietly, “Do you miss her?”

“Every day.” I nod, taking the photo from his hands. “She gave the best hugs,” I say, fighting back the tears I feel creeping up my throat. My mom and dad both died in a plane crash when I was fifteen. My father was the owner and pilot of a local adventure company, and he had taken my mom with him to drop off supplies to some men who were bear hunting out at one of the islands. On their way back into town, the weather shifted, and their plane went down on one of the mountains. Neither of them survived. That’s when I moved to Cordova to live with my dad’s parents.

“Do you have any pictures of your dad?”

I pause, trying to recall if I’ve ever really spoken to Hunter about my parents, if Max ever asked about them, but I can’t think of a single time. “There are a few downstairs on the wall. I’ll point them out to you.” I lean into him a little then stop when his arm wraps around my shoulders, surprising me. “I love you, kid,” I whisper, not surprised when he doesn’t say it back, but happy that his arm tightens ever so slightly.

“I’m starving.” He chuckles releasing me when his stomach growls loudly, breaking the moment.

“We can’t have that.” I laugh, standing from the bed. “Let’s go to Joe’s. Hopefully, the pizza is still awesome. If not, you’re gonna have to suffer and eat it anyway, ‘cause the store is probably closed by now.

“Is there such a thing as bad pizza?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” I murmur, and then head out of the room and down the stairs, grabbing my purse as we leave.

When we make it to Joe’s, I find nothing has changed in the years I’ve been gone. The owner Joe, an older Korean gentleman, is still in the back making the pizzas, and his wife Kim is still working the counter, gossiping about everything and everyone. While we wait for our pizza, Kim talks my ear off, telling me about the people in town, including Zach, who she informs me is not only a cop, but also the sheriff. She also tells me that Zach is single. He and Tina supposedly got divorced nine years ago, and Zach has had full custody of both his kids since then. I tell myself I don’t care that Zach is no longer with Tina, but I still feel some relief knowing I won’t have to witness seeing them together.

“Can I sleep in my room tonight?” Hunter asks, as I finish off my third slice of pizza and wipe my mouth with a paper towel.

“I don’t mind, but everything in the house needs to be washed. So if you want to sleep up there, we have to get your stuff from the van.”

“I’ll get it, and then we can bring in everything else too.”

“You want to clean out the van?” I ask, not at all excited about lugging stuff up three flights of stairs.

“Yeah.” He nods again, taking his half of the pizza box lid that he used as a plate to the trash bin.

“If that’s what you want,” I agree, regretting those words an hour later as I head out for the last box. My arms and legs are tired from carting everything inside and up the stairs. I haven’t worked out in the last year, and I can feel it now as every muscle in my body protest.

Stopping when I hear a door close, I hold the box in my hands closer to my chest and look toward the house next door. I spot a handsome blond boy, who looks a lot like Zach, hopping down the steps, with Tina following close behind. Ducking down, I hide and watch them as they get into an old pickup truck, only coming out of hiding when they drive off.

Having over fifteen years to deal with the adoption of Samuel should make it easier to see Zach’s other children, but it doesn’t. I still feel bitter about the situation. I know it’s the fact that Zach’s children were born a little over a year after Samuel, meaning Tina got pregnant not long after I left town. So not only did Zach have a relationship with Tina, but he built a family with her and kept the kids they had together.

Heading back into the house with the final box, I wonder how I’m going to do what I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years. It was easy to block out thoughts of Zach when I was gone, but now that I’m back and living next door to him, I wonder if it will be as easy to ignore the feeling in my chest that coincides with thoughts of him.

~*~*~

Grabbing my quilt from the end the my bed, I carefully balance my Kindle and glass of wine in one hand as I open the sliding glass door in my room and step out onto the balcony. Tonight is one of the first nights it hasn’t rained since we moved in, and I have been looking forward to sitting outside under the stars with a good book all day long. Grabbing my glass, I take a sip then look to the left when the sound of rock music starts up and light flutters across the back deck next door, making me wonder if Zach’s room is off the balcony like mine.

Pushing that thought away, I turn on my Kindle then proceed to get lost in someone else’s happily ever after.

“Shelby.” Jumping, some of the contents from the glass in my hand sloshes out over the side and runs down my fingers as I swing my head to the left, where Zach is leaning on the banister, his eyes on me. A short glass full of dark liquid is in his hands, and the light casts a glow behind him.

“You scared the crap out of me,” I gripe, holding my free hand over my rapidly beating heart.

“I’ve been standing here awhile,” he mutters, then takes a swig of his drink. “I thought you would have noticed.” He rolls the glass between his hands while looking at me intently, making me fight the urge to squirm in my chair.

“When I’m lost in a good book, the world could crash down around me and I wouldn’t notice.” I shrug, taking a sip of wine, using the moment of reprieve as an excuse to look away from him, but realizing for the first time that I don’t know the man standing across from me. Yes, he looks a little like the guy I dated years ago, but he also seems more intense, like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s definitely not the easygoing kid I dated in high school.

“How are you guys settling in?”

Pulling my legs out from under me, I rest my Kindle on the edge of my lap and turn to face him fully while adjusting the blanket.

“It’s going to take a little bit to get everything cleaned up. I didn’t know Gramps was such a hoarder until now. I think I’ve thrown out about ten thousand issues of National Geographic, along with a hundred empty boxes and every single item you can possibly buy from an infomercial,” I reply, then smile when he laughs a deep rumbling laugh and leans a little farther over the railing between us, causing another plaid shirt—this one blues and yellows—to tighten across his wide chest.

“You didn’t keep them? You never know when you might need an automatic potato peeler.”

“I thought about it, but if I did, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put my shoes, since all of it was stacked up on the floor in his closet, everything unopened.” I smile, watching him grin for a moment before the smile slides away and his eyes move beyond me to the forest that sits behind the house.

“I’m gonna miss him. I know he’s been gone from town for years, but I’ll miss our talks,” he mutters, then looks up at the sky for a moment before meeting my gaze once more. “Why’d you come back? Last time I talked to Pat, he told me you were planning on following him down to Florida.”

His words catch me off guard, since Gramps never told me he kept in contact with Zach. But then again, I never asked. I shouldn’t be surprised they kept in touch, since they we’re close when I was home, and were obviously neighbors before Gramps moved to Florida. Plus, Zach is the sheriff in town. Yet, it still feels strange that he knows about me, while I know nothing about him.

“I was.” I let out a breath, adjusting the blanket around my shoulders. “But I had to wait until…” I trail off, not wanting to talk about my divorce to anyone, especially not him. “Then when Gramps passed away, there was nothing for me in Florida, so I decided to come back here instead.”

“You didn’t want to stay in Seattle?”

“No, I needed something different, so when I found out Gramps left me his house, I just knew I needed to come back here,” I whisper the truth. Ever since I read the will and found out this house was mine to do with as I please, I had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t get rid of. Something telling me that I needed to come back here.

“This is a good town,” he murmurs, but the look in his eyes is saying something I can’t quite figure out.

“This is the last place I remember being really happy. I hope that I can make it that way for Hunter,” I say quietly, and his face softens.

“He looks like you.” His words and tone catch me by surprise and I sit up a little taller. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be sitting on my granddad’s deck in the middle of the night talking to Zach about anything. Definitely not about my son.

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw his dad,” I return honestly. “When he was a baby, he looked like me, but not any more.”

“He has your eyes and your smile.” He pauses, taking a drink from his glass. “He seems like a good kid.”

“He’s the best kid.” I take a sip of wine, trying to keep whatever it is I’m feeling right now in check.

“I… I think I saw your son. Um, the other day. He looks like you,” I tell him, wanting to take the words back after I say them, because I don’t want him to think I was spying on him.

“He looks like his mom, but has my personality, which I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. My daughter, Aubrey, on the other hand, looks like me, but is sweet down to her core. Where she gets that sweetness, I have no fucking clue.”

“Oh.” I bite my lip, trying to figure out what to say to that. The Zach I knew was a good guy, sweet even. Tina, however, was mostly bitch, and I honestly don’t even know why we were friends. Then again, growing up here, there weren’t a hundred girls to choose from. My graduating class had five girls in it, and none of them liked Tina, which meant none of them really liked me either.

“I better go in,” he says abruptly, cutting into my thoughts, standing to his full height. “I need to be to the station early tomorrow.”

“Sure… uh… have a good night.” The urge to say something that will make him stay hits me hard, and it takes everything I have in me to keep my mouth shut.

“You too, Shelby. And be careful when you’re out here reading. Louie’s out and about around this time of night, searching for food.”

“Louie?” I question, scrunching up my nose. Cordova never had homeless people before, and I can’t imagine it would now.

“Louie’s a black bear. Normally, he sticks to the woods, but he’s been known to nap on the decks now and then.

“Oh, man.” I jump up, looking around for any sign of Louie, not sure how I could forget there are bears out here, since we are in Alaska. “What’s funny?” I frown, turning to face him when I hear his deep laughter.

“You’re in Alaska, babe. You lived here for years. You know there are bears out in those woods.” He nods to the trees.

Babe. Why, oh, why did that word make butterflies erupt in my stomach?

“I know that, but I forgot.” I shake my head and watch his face soften once again.

“Still sweet as pie,” I think I hear him say, but can’t be sure, because his voice dropped to a low rumble that I felt skid across my skin.

“Well, I’m gonna go in too,” I blurt, picking up my Kindle and wine glass. “Have a good night.” And with that, I duck my head and go back into my room. Closing the door I lock it behind me then hurry and get into bed where I try to forget once more about Zach Watters.

~~**~~

“Hello?” I answer the phone, still half asleep, then look at the clock and notice that even though it’s light out, it’s barely 6:00 a.m.

“Shelby, I’ve called three times,” Max, my ex-husband, says into my ear, and I pull my pillow over my head with thoughts of suffocating myself with it.

“It’s only six, Max. I haven’t gotten out of bed,” I grumble, tossing the covers back and sitting up. “What’s going on?”

“I want to fly out there this weekend,” he states, and I fight the urge to toss my phone across the room or scream at the top of my lungs.

“This weekend?” I verify, rubbing my face. “We haven’t even been here a week.”

“I have a few days off and would like to see Hunter.”

I sigh, considering him and his request. “Our stuff is going to be delivered in two days. Then I start my new job next week, and Hunter has swi—”

“You’re not keeping my boy from me,” he cuts me off, and I can tell by his tone that he’s mad and likely pulling at his ever-present tie in annoyance. Something I make him do often.

“I’m not saying you can’t see him, Max,” I clarify, wishing I had at least one cup of coffee before this conversation. “I’m just explaining to you that we’re trying to get settled in here. Can you wait a few weeks before you come out?”

“Such fucking bullshit. I can’t believe you moved to Alaska, of all goddamn places. A boy should have his dad in his life.” My heart stutters and I feel my pulse skyrocket. We didn’t have a custody battle, but I wouldn’t put it past Max to take me to court to gain custody of Hunter if I step out of line in his eyes.

“Max,” I soften my voice as I walk to the kitchen, “you know we talked about this. You can come see him anytime, and in a couple years, he can fly out to see you whenever he has a break,” I say, then drop my voice even lower. “We agreed on him living with me at least until he’s sixteen. After that, he can choose who he wants to live with.”

“I miss you both.” He sighs, making me roll my eyes. I know he doesn’t miss me. I know this, because he’s been dating woman after woman since I asked for a separation. For all I know, he was dating before that. Hell, the last year I spent under the same roof as him, he hardly spared me a glance. Hunter later suffered from his lack of attention, when we lived in the same town after our separation. With Max, it’s always about him getting his way.

“Max, please just wait a few more weeks, and then you can come and stay as long as you like,” I offer, the words leaving a horrid taste in my mouth. I will do whatever I have to in order to keep my son, though, including putting up with his dad in my childhood home for more than a few days.

“Fine, when?”

Closing my eyes, I whisper, “Next month. Whenever you like. Just let me know, so I can make sure I don’t make plans for Hunter. I know there are a few camps here he’s interested in.”

“Fine. Where is he now? I called his cell phone, but he didn’t pick up.”

“Sleeping. Like I said, it’s only six here, and he was up late talking to his friends back in Seattle on Skype.”

“You really shouldn’t let him stay up so late, Shelby,” he scolds, sounding disapproving, and again, that’s not a surprise.

“It’s summer, Max, and his ‘late’ is ten, not three in the morning,” I mutter, wondering how the hell I put up with him for so many years. “I’ll have him call you when he gets up.”

“Don’t tell him I’m coming out. I want to tell him that myself.”

“Will do,” I grumble, looking at the coffee pot and begging it to hurry up.

“Talk to you later.”

“Talk to you later,” I agree, setting the phone down on the counter. I make myself a cup of coffee and take it out to the back deck, drinking it while the morning sun beats down on me.

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who's husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She's married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it's beauty.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

ARC Review! Nailed by Opal Carew



“Opal Carew gives readers a taste of the forbidden.” –Romance Reviews Today

He’s about to take control of her body…and her dream.

When River set up a fundraiser to kick start her nail polish business, she never expected someone to pay five thousand dollars just to have dinner with her. But when she meets her mysterious benefactor, he turns out to be billionaire Kane Winters—the one man from her past who she never wanted to see again.

Kane is determined to right the wrong that happened to River in college—because of him. She’s been an obsession he can’t escape…and Kane wants River more than he’s ever wanted anything. So he offers her a deal she can’t refuse: marry him and her business will be success. But River’s knight in shining armor isn’t looking for a platonic business deal. He wants their marriage to be real…in every way.

“Carew brings erotic romance to a whole new level…she sets your senses on fire!” – Reader to Reader

From bestselling author Opal Carew comes her next erotic romance, Nailed.

I liked this one overall, but I had some issues with the resolution of the story that left me a little dissatisfied at the end of this book. 

The relationship with Kane and River was interesting and watching the development of their relationship was intriguing. The idea that Kane never got over River, that he has always wanted more with her, gave it a second chance feeling even though there was not a real relationship developed with them at the flashback scenes. I appreciated that there was an acknowledgement of the wrongs and things that happened in the past and that, while they played a part, this wasn’t drug out too long. 

I liked the arranged marriage idea, the thought that Kane wanted River so badly that he was willing to go to any lengths to achieve that goal. 

What I didn’t like: the dishonestly about the relationships in Kane’s life currently and the odd inclusion of the friend. I thought this added to the story and made it feel unfinished, like the inclusion was at the end, an afterthought. I also didn’t like that this book ended without really considering the change of the relationship. We didn’t see any of the new relationship, other than the sex. And I thought the inclusion of this without any real addition of the extra relationship made the entire thing not work as well. The book developed the relationship with River and Kane, but I think it dropped the ball with the additional ones. 

The writing was strong, the characters believable, the plot and pacing worked, except for at the end, where I think it was tied up to quickly to be realistic. 

I do recommend this overall, however the recommendation is with some hesitation. 




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