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Hi I'm Janna and I am a book whore! I started this blog after being a part of another for years. While being a big blog may be nice I like to stay true to me having a love for books, that's why I blog. I love books and I want to share that love with my readers of this blog. I love to read, books are my escape and a huge part of my life besides my husband and two children. I am honest and sometimes sassy in my reviews but never mean. Some of my favorite authors include Kristen Ashley, Penelope Douglas, T.M. Frazier, M.N. Forgy, Rachel Van Dyken, Meghan March and Vi Keeland to only name a few!

Please note that I am the ONLY reviewer on the blog beyond a few guest reviews. It has been brought to my attention that people not associated with my blog have been requesting ARCs please if you ever question a request please email me at the blog's email.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cover Reveal! Wild By Laramie Briscoe



Release Date: October 5, 2018


He was my salvation.

Addalyn “Addie” Blackfoot

I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been, doing something I shouldn’t have been doing. As Tyler Blackfoot’s daughter, I know better. There are expectations to being who I am, but I’ve never fully lived up to them.

Adoption.

It’s supposed to be the answer to prayers – both for the parents and the child. Me? I’ve always felt a little out of place, like I couldn’t settle down, a flower blowing in the breeze, waiting to be uprooted.

Until the moment he stepped in front of me, taking the blade of the knife meant for me. I didn’t know his name, but the way he looked at me, it was like he knew all my secrets, but didn’t care. It was reckless and passionate, and I never thought of the consequences.

I figured after I got what I wanted from him, I could break it off and never see him again.

I was wrong…….


Wilder “Wild” Evans

She came into my life when I least expected it. Strong, fearless, and ready to take whatever the asshole holding the knife was going to dish out.

For months after, I couldn’t get enough of her. Her joy in life, the way her eyes lit up when she saw me, and the smile that popped dimples in her cheeks when she wasn’t paying attention. She calmed every part of a man who’d never had steady and I craved it.

Then it was gone. She became a different person, left without a trace, and ignored my texts.

Fate intervened, and I found her again.

I got my calm...

She got her wild...




Pre-order Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU


Also Available


99c for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU


Author Bio

Laramie Briscoe is the best-selling author of the Heaven Hill Series & the Rockin' Country Series.

Since self-publishing her first book in May of 2013, Laramie Briscoe has published over 10 books. She's appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling E-books Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. She's been called "a very young Maya Banks" (Amazon reviewer) and her books have been accused of being "sexy, family-oriented, romances with heart".

When she's not writing alpha males who seriously love their women, she loves spending time with friends, reading, and marathoning shows on her DVR. Married to her high school sweetheart, Laramie lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband (the Travel Coordinator) and a sometimes crazy cat named Beau.


Author Links

Cover Reveal! Royally Yours By Emma Chase


          Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco. It’s a big deal. When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning. What she isn’t…is married. It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want. Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty. Even Queens. Especially them. ** Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home. And a sacred promise keeps him there. To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure. ** Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever. Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story. This is theirs. ADD TO GOODREADS      

ROYALLY YOURS will be available on October 30th

Pre-order:

iBooks | B&N | Google Play | Kobo

Get an alert when the book is available on Amazon

     

   Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine. WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER | GOODREADS | READER FAN GROUP    

Cover Reveal! Wicked Needs By L.A. Cotton



 
Wicked Needs, an all-new edgy, angsty, addictive YA/NA crossover from L. A. Cotton is releasing October 24th!
 
It’s a fine line between love and hate.

Bitch ... Ice Queen ... Frigid.
Macey Prince is no stranger to a nickname or two. The words once hurt, now they’re her armor. Being a Prince might be a life sentence she can never escape but Macey isn’t willing for her heart to be collateral again.
Then in a rare moment of weakness Macey lets someone in. Without realizing, she gives a piece of herself to him and it’s not long until he wants more. To uncover the girl behind cruel words and icy stares.
She should hate him.
She does hate him.
Anything less would be a disaster waiting to happen.
But sometimes the thing we hate is the thing we need most.
~
Wicked Needs is the fifth book in the Wicked Bay Series but can be read as a standalone
 

Pre-Order Your copy Today!

Add it to your TBR - https://bit.ly/2MOuT7a
Check out all of the Wicked Bay Series novels - http://lacotton.com/series/wicked-bay/
   

About L.A. Cotton

Author of mature young adult and new adult novels, L A is happiest writing the kind of books she loves to read: addictive stories full of teenage angst, tension, twists and turns.
Home is a small town in the middle of England where she currently juggles being a full-time writer with being a mother/referee to two little people. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find L A immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.  

Follow L.A. Cotton

   

Cover Reveal! I Bet You By Ilsa Madden Mills

IBY-SBPRBANNER-CR.jpg

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love.

I Bet You, an all-new sexy college romance standalone is coming October 29th, and we have the hot new cover!

I-BET-You-REALFINAL-3.jpg
Sexy Athlete: I bet you…

Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.
The late night text is random but Penelope knows exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn't take his wager.
Ryker Voss.
Football star.
Walks on water and God's gift to women.
Just ask him.
His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the nerdy guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he'll realize what he's missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?
Penelope Graham.
Virgin.
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.
Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.
Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secret mean everyone loses at this game of love?
Cover Designer: Shanoff Designs
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Model: Steven
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: October 29, 2018

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2vLgSkX
Be notified as soon as I BET YOU goes live: TEXT “ROMANCE” to 21000
Start the series of standalones today with I DARE YOU
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/IDareYou
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/IDareYouHookUp

Ilsa Logo.jpgAbout the Author Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She's best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances. A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. She's also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Diaries, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.
Join her Unicorn Girls FB group for special excerpts, prizes, and snarky fun!
Connect with Ilsa
Stay up to date with Ilsa by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2MkYqK4 Website: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com/

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Release Blitz! HOT Secrets By Lynn Raye Harris



She nearly ruined his life. Now she needs him to save hers.

It was supposed to be a simple job for hacker Bliss Bennett: access confidential files and turn them over to the CIA. But something went wrong—and now Bliss has a target on her back. With no idea who to trust, she heads straight toward the one man she hopes won’t turn her away.

Sky “Hacker” Kelley is a badass Special Operator with lethal moves and mad computer skills. He hasn’t seen his former lover—former wife—in four years, not since she nearly cost him his military career. Her arrival on his doorstep in the middle of the night reveals a gut-deep truth—he might want nothing to do with her, but he still wants her. And as much as he’d love to slam the door in her face, Sky isn’t wired to turn away anyone in distress.

Protecting Bliss won’t be easy. The files she stole are at the heart of a dangerous conspiracy, and someone is willing to do whatever it takes—including kill—to get them back. It’ll take all Sky’s considerable black-ops skills to keep Bliss safe—and all his willpower to resist falling into her bed, and her life, ever again…
I must have been in the mood for a military suspense type romance because I did not want to put Sky and Bliss’ book down. Lies, covert-ops, secrets, deception, action, second chances, sexiness, suspense, this one has it all. It would be really easy for me to spoil HOT Secrets and that is the last thing that I want to do, so I am keeping this short and sweet.

Sky and Bliss have amazing chemistry, they are also divorced. Secrets, betrayals, and mistrust destroyed their marriage, but can they trust each other when Bliss ends up on Sky’s door asking him for help? This one kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning until the end. And no, I will not tell you what happens because it would take away from the suspense that this book has.


Lynn Raye Harris knows how to write a suspense filled romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you coming back for more. Have HOT Secrets at the top of your TBR list if you are looking for a new romantic suspense to read!







AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU



*Sky, I need to see you. Please. Bliss*
Sky “Hacker” Kelley stared at the message on his laptop before snapping it closed with a growl. Why had he clicked it? Why? It’d been in his inbox for a couple of days now. He’d been steadfastly ignoring it, though he hadn’t been able to ignore the range of emotions it called up inside.
Fury, hate, desire, rage. More rage, more hate, more desire. The desire was the maddening part. He got up and headed for the kitchen, intent on getting another beer and getting drunk before the night was over. He’d been over at Garret “Iceman” Spencer’s house with his Alpha and Echo Squad teammates, drinking and having a good time. Except he hadn’t been having all that great a time, mostly because fucking Bliss’s message was preying on his mind. The fact she’d messaged him at all, actually, because he still hadn’t read it at that point. It took a lot of fucking nerve to contact him after so long. 
After what she’d done.
He hadn’t taken three steps toward the kitchen when the doorbell rang. Fuck. It was almost ten o’clock at night. It could be Mrs. Ernst wanting to borrow a cup of sugar. The woman found an excuse to visit him every couple of days. Hell, she didn’t even bake because she’d never once offered him a brownie or a cookie, even when she insisted that’s what she needed the sugar for.
He never had the sugar because he didn’t cook. And he damned sure didn’t bake. He went to the door and looked out the peephole.
His heart stopped. Just stopped. A small figure stood on the other side. Dark sleek hair, full lips, wide-set eyes, an air of innocence that was an absolute fucking lie. 
He felt nothing at seeing that face. Nothing at all.
And then he felt everything. Anger, hot and swift, rushed through his veins. He started to leave her standing there but he’d had enough to drink that his inhibitions were down. He jerked the door open before he could think better of it.
She blinked up at him, long dark lashes framing pretty blue eyes. She was wearing a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a tank top that clung to her breasts. A Louis Vuitton bag hung from her shoulder. Of course it did. Bliss liked her luxuries.
She smiled tentatively. “Hello, Sky. It’s been a while.”
Rage urged him to slam the door. Curiosity wouldn’t let him. He should, but he had to know. What the fuck was she doing here?
“What the hell do you want, Bliss?” 
She arched an eyebrow. And then she wrapped a mantle of self-righteousness around her shoulders just like she’d thrown on a blanket to ward off a chill. “Is that any way to talk to your wife?”
A strange kind of melancholy rolled over him. “We aren’t married. Got a divorce, remember?”
She nibbled her lip and threw a glance over her shoulder. “I know that. But we used to be.”
He gripped the door frame and tried not to rip it off the hinges. “And now we’re not. Any obligation I had toward you is over.”
She frowned and threw a glance over her shoulder. “Can I come in?”
His eyebrows climbed his forehead. “Are you kidding me? No. What for anyway? You think we’re going to have a tea party and discuss the past?”
“I need your help, Sky. Someone is trying to kill me.”
“Good for them. You probably deserve it.” He started to push the door closed but she launched herself at it. Wedged her small body into the opening. Her eyes were wide, frightened. Determined.
“Sky, please. I’m not kidding. Just hear me out. If you don’t want to help me once I’ve told you what’s going on, I’ll leave. Just give me a chance.”
He wanted to push her backward and shut the door in her face. He envisioned it. Relished it. But, fuck, the fear on her face was real. He’d worked long enough in Special Ops to recognize terror when he saw it. Part of him wanted to throw her out anyway.
Bliss was a con woman. A brilliant hacker who had no problems stealing or lying or cheating her way to a paycheck. Sure, she’d been working for the government when she’d conned him, but it didn’t matter. She’d have done it for anybody who paid her.
And maybe she was doing it now. Maybe this whole thing was an act and the fact he’d been drinking was messing up his bullshit censors and making him believe she was really scared. Or maybe her acting had improved. 
But refusing to help people wasn’t what he did. It wasn’t who he was. He yanked the door open. “Five minutes, Bliss. And it better be good or I’m throwing your ass onto the street and I don’t care what happens after that.”
She came inside and he closed the door behind her. But not before looking at the parking lot and the street. Nothing moved—or nothing that was out of place, anyway. A cat. A car that crawled past on its way out of the complex. A dog barked. Someone shouted, but he couldn’t see them.
He turned to face her. She stood in his living room, bag still on her shoulder, looking small and more vulnerable than he believed she was. There was a con here somewhere, but he couldn’t see it yet.
He headed toward the kitchen and retrieved the beer he’d been after. “Want one?” he asked, throwing her a glance from the coolness of the fridge.
“I shouldn’t.”
He shut the door and shrugged. “Suit yourself.” Then he strolled over and sank onto the couch, kicking up his feet and crossing them at the ankles. “So what’s the problem, Bliss? You piss somebody off?”
She sighed and perched on the arm of a chair, letting the Louis Vuitton drop slowly to the floor. Like wax melting from a candle. Her shoulders sagged. Her dark hair dropped over her shoulder and she pushed it back again. Her tank top was black, her jeans tight. She wasn’t dressed in anything special, but she tempted him more than he liked.
“I don’t know what happened. I only know I’m in trouble.”
He picked up the remote and flipped the channels, sipping his beer. Every once in a while he cast an eye in her direction. She chewed the inside of her lip and one leg bounced up and down. Whatever was going on with her, she clearly wasn’t comfortable.
But how could she be? She’d turned up at his house after four years. After she’d betrayed him and left him to deal with the fallout from her bullshit. He’d nearly lost his Army career because of her.
“Yeah? And? What do you want me to do about it?”
She suddenly stood and crossed the distance between them, snatching the remote from his fingers and stabbing the button to turn off the television. He stared at her. Her face was flushed as she tossed the remote onto the couch. “I want you to listen. And then I want you to use that brain of yours and help me figure out what to do.”
He sat up a little straighter. “Seriously? You fucking betrayed me, lied to me, and now you want me to help you figure out what to do? What happened, Bliss? You steal from the wrong person this time?”
She frowned. Hard. Her cheeks flushed as she folded her arms over her chest and looked away from him. “Apparently so.”


Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris burst onto the scene when she won a writing contest held by Harlequin. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former military husband and two crazy cats. Lynn writes about hot military heroes, sizzling international billionaires, and the women who dare to tame them. Her books have been called "exceptional and emotional," "intense," and "sizzling." To date, Lynn's books have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.


Author Links


Cover Reveal! Volatile Obsessions By Dee Garcia


Release Date: October 16, 2018 

__Lux__
The streets of Miami became my home at a young age, streets that weren’t always very pleasant or forgiving. I hustled hard to get by, refused to seek help. I did plenty of things I’m not proud of either.
But I made it... Now, this is my city. 
My merciless streets. 
My empire. 
So I don’t know who the hell Roman King thinks he is, storming in here and throwing around demands. He wants my power. 
My throne. 
Well, news flash for him…
Over my. Dead. Body.
I’ll wreak havoc on his life far worse than the demons of his past, demons that somehow mesh so well with my own.
He π’˜π’Šπ’π’ bow down to this Queen.
__Roman__
She bloody warned me, threatened me with war, but those threats hold no power over me. 
They don’t faze me.
Summoned to aid this city in ending her era, I’m the leading pawn on the chess board meant to dethrone the Queen.
She’s vicious, ruthless, corrupt—a challenge I fancy a little too much.
So let this vow be heard today...
Miami will burn to the ashes, but in the end, it will rise, reborn from the blood of her empire. The depravity that runs through my veins will consume every tear and relish her cries for mercy.
Lux Mercier π’˜π’Šπ’π’ kneel at my altar.
The King will reign.

“What? What the fuck do you want?” I questioned in frustration as he whipped me inside the office and locked the door behind us, drowning the music out to a dull throb.
“What I want? You wanna know what I want,” he muttered through clenched teeth, backing me right into the wall I hadn’t seen. Warm hands instinctively fell to my hips, tip of his nose skating along my jaw. “I want you to stop letting Vic put his grimy little hands all over you.”
Ridiculously dazed after two point five seconds of contact, I managed to shove at his chest, jerking him off me just slightly. The look that awaited me—while satisfied to have me where he wanted me—was also completely serious. I saw red. Who the fuck did he think he was?
“You don’t ow—“
“EHHH,” he cut me off with that obnoxious buzzer sound, cocking his head to one side. “Don’t come at me with that bullshit answer again because right now, at this point time, it’s the wrong fucking answer.” He growled that last bit, and fucking hell, it was just so deep and so deliciously malevolent, I actually found myself shivering. 
That damned sinister grin slid across his face because, of course, my reaction did not go unnoticed. 
Feeling victorious, he assessed me closely from head to toe before he was just inches away, blue eyes blazing, his breath hot against my cheek. “Remember me mentioning I’d own you one day? Remember that, Lux, one of our many nights up on the Panorama? Well guess what? Today’s that lucky day. Newsflash for you, my naughty little Kitty Kat, I do indeed own you.”
“No, you don’t,” I bit back, struggling against him, which in turn only prompted him to press himself further against me. 
“Oh, but I do,” he cooed, ghosting a hand up my sternum to my throat. You gave me this pussy of your own volition, so now, it’s mine. You are mine.”
“No one owns me.”
“No one except me, Roman—fucking—King. Say it.”
“No.”
“Say it.” His demand came with a tight squeeze of his hand, claiming my air supply, and still I managed to grit out a, “NO.”
“SAY. IT. LUX, or I’ll make you scream it.”
The threat his visual presented rooted me in place. 
He could.
He would.
And I wanted him to…
Sex with Rome was sublime, unlike anything I’d ever experienced before, but we’d crossed a line. I might not have felt the need put a bullet through his head anymore, but…no, just no. Too complicated.
“Fuck you,” I muttered, trying and failing to seem unaffected.
He knew though, the arch of his eyebrow said it all.
“You did already, baby, which is why we’re having this conversation.”







Dee Garcia is a voracious fan of romance novels and a long time lover of the written word. Her mission is to craft unique, compelling stories that will give her readers a place to briefly escape the trials and tribulations of everyday reality. With headstrong heroine's who don't need a man to stand on their own two feet, Dee hopes to leave her mark in the Indie world, one plot twist at a time.



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Excerpt Reveal! Five Years Gone By Marie Force

Today we are sharing an excerpt from FIVE YEARS GONE, a romantic standalone title by Marie Force. Five Years Gone will be releasing on October 9th! Pre-order links can be found below.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.
That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.
The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.
From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

PRE-ORDER IT NOW!


Kindle US | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

PURCHASE IN AUDIO: Amazon | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU


 
Read this excerpt from Five Years Gone.
Prologue Ava We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me. Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally. “I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues. I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet. “Are you all right?” he asked. Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.” And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew. “I’m John.” I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.” Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?” “Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.” “What do you think so far?” “I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.” As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?” I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.” “The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.” “I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool. “Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along. “Do people always do what you say?” “If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?” Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan. “Go big or go home,” he said with admiration. “That’s my motto.” I was so full of shit. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier. When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.” I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.” “So, where’re you from, Ava?” “New York.” “I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.” I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?” Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.” “I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?” “I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.” “Where’s home?” “Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?” I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?” “Somewhere we can talk.” “What do you want to talk about?” He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”   That’s how we started. We were intense from the first second we met until the last time I saw him five years ago today. I can’t believe it’s been five years since I looked into those incredible blue eyes or woke to him on the pillow next to me or heard his voice in my ear, whispering words that’re permanently carved into my heart as he made love to me. The worst part is I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, being held captive or if he’s living his life somewhere else with someone else. I don’t know, and the not knowing is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. I love him as much today as I ever did. No amount of time could ever change that simple fact of my life. We had two beautiful, magnificent years together, caught up in our own little bubble. He never met my family. I never met his. We didn’t make couple friends. We didn’t talk about the future. We didn’t need to. Our future was decided that first night, and it would take care of itself in due time. I honestly and naΓ―vely believed that. Now, with hindsight, I realize the bubble was strategic on his part. He gave me everything he had to give, including no promise of tomorrow. Five years ago today, we watched the horror unfold on live television. A US-based cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. Four thousand lives extinguished in a heartbeat. Our world permanently changed once again, our country declaring yet another war on terrorists. After 9/11 we thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong. “I have to go,” he said, grabbing the duffel that stood ready in the front hall closet. He called it his “go bag.” I’d thought nothing of it. “Where’re you going?” “I don’t know.” “When will you be back?” “I don’t know that either.” He held my face in his hands and gazed at me, seemingly trying to memorize my every feature. “I love you. I’ll always love you.” Then he kissed me as passionately as he ever had and was gone, out the door in a flash of camouflage. I never saw him again. I’m not his wife or even his fiancΓ©e, so no one notified me of his whereabouts. And three months after he left, when I found a way onto the base in a desperate quest for information, no one there could tell me anything either. I tried to locate his parents and other people he mentioned, but it was like they didn’t exist. I could find no record of a retired general named West in the Marine Corps, Army or Air Force. Furthermore, an exhaustive search for information on the John West I had known led nowhere. No high school, no college, no military service, no nothing. Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed the two years we spent together, doing mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, watching TV and sleeping together after long days at work. But then I’d remember the blissful passion, the scorching pleasure, the desire that ruled us from the beginning, and I’d know I didn’t dream him. I didn’t dream us. We were real, and he was everything to me. Sitting on the floor in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, I take a few minutes before the movers arrive to memorize every detail of the place where we lived together. I’ve packed his things along with mine, and I’m moving home to New York. Today was my deadline. I gave it five years, and I simply can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit in our home among our things, waiting for something that’s never going to happen. It’s over. It’s time for me to move on. It’s probably long past time, if I’m being honest with myself. And though I know it’s the right move at the right time, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t shattering all over again as I dismantle the place where we were us. My sister is getting married next month. I promised her I’d be home in time to hold her hand through the festivities. Other than occasional trips home for holidays and other occasions, I’ve been gone more than ten years. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to the girl who left home at eighteen seeking independence from her overbearing family at a faraway college out West. I accomplished all my goals, finishing college, landing a decent job and falling in love with the man of my dreams. I found out what happens when dreams come true and how painful it is when they blow up in your face. It’s time now to set new goals, to start over, to begin a life that doesn’t have John at the center of it the way it did here. It’ll be nice to be back with people who love me and care about me, even if they tend toward smothering at times. That’s looking rather good to me after years of loneliness and grief. The intercom sounds to let me know the movers are here. I pick myself up off the floor and steel my heart for the day ahead. I can do this. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll survive this the same way I’ve survived everything else. Despite my resolve, my eyes fill with tears as I press the button that opens the door downstairs to the movers. It doesn’t take them long to pack my belongings into their truck. I keep with me the things that can’t be replaced—precious photos, gifts he gave me, the clothing he left behind. After taking a final look around the apartment, I pack those boxes into my car, turn my apartment keys into the leasing office and head east, feeling as if I’m leaving behind everything that ever mattered to me. It’s like I’m losing him all over again. I cry all the way through the desert of Southern California and well into Arizona. I relive every minute I can remember, every conversation, every special moment. I think about what it was like to make love with him and wonder how I’ll ever to do that with anyone but him. Maybe I won’t. Maybe that part of my life ended with him, and even though I’m only twenty-eight now, I’m okay with that possibility. Once you’ve experienced perfection, it’s hard to imagine settling for anything less. The tears finally dry up somewhere in northern Arizona, but the ache inside… I take that with me all the way to New York, where I will try my very best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and put them back together into some new version of myself. After all, what choice do I have?

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.
All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.
Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.
Join Marie's mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie's many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.
 

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