Virtual Tour – Leave The Night On

  
 
Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge–
life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .
 
 
 
LEAVE THE NIGHT ON
Cottonbloom #4
Laura Trentham
Releasing Aug 1, 2017
St. Martin’s Press
 
 
Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge–life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage–and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along? 

 
 
 

Jackson grabbed Wyatt’s arm and forced him around. “You like her.”

 

Everyone likes her. She’s nice.”

 

I mean, you like like her. You have since we were kids—I’ve not forgotten how you walked around with cow eyes around her—and that kiss out front wasn’t pretend. You two nearly melted the asphalt.”

 

Jackson’s twin powers had veered sharply annoying. “I maybe, sort of like her. What’s wrong with that? She’s single; I’m single.”

 

She’s been single for less than a week. She’s using you.”

 

I’m using her too. In return for me squiring her around, she’s going to get her judge daddy to talk up the garage at the country club. Send some more projects our way to make up for the Camaro.”

 

That kiss was all a selfless act for the garage?” Jackson’s sarcasm was not appreciated.

 

Wyatt had to look away from his brother’s gaze which prompted a muttered curse from Jackson.

 

Do not fall for this woman, Wyatt. Whether she means to or not, she’s going to rip your heart into little pieces and feed it to the gators before she goes back to her old life.”

 

We’re not getting serious. In fact, we agreed that after I take her to the gala, it’s over.”

 

Jackson didn’t look pleased with the news. He looked worried. “As long as you don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s anything more than that. She’ll be back with Tarwater or someone like him by Christmas.”

 

Because the thought had already burrowed into his chest, Wyatt’s reaction was knee-jerk and defensive. “Someone like him?”

 

You know, sophisticated. Worldly. Rich. Well-connected. Well-groomed.”

 

Eff you,” Wyatt shot back, but there was little heat to it.


Jackson was right. “I’ve been told I clean up real nice.”

 

Jackson’s smile revealed his dimples. A rare sight since their pop had died last year. “Doesn’t count if it’s from a female relative over the age of sixty.”

 

 

 

 
 
An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
 
 
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.
 

 

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Virtual Tour w/Review – Eye Candy

 
 
Don’t trust lust at first sight. 
 
 
 
EYE CANDY
Real Love #1
Jessica Lemmon
Releasing July 25th, 2017
Loveswept
 
 
Don’t trust lust at first sight. One woman chooses reality over fantasy in this friends-to-lovers romance. 

Jacqueline:
 
As an adult woman—and the vice president of a marketing firm—I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend–slash–colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.
 
Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.



 
 
 
 

VINCE

 

Admittedly, giving Jackie advice on how to get a guy to sleep with her is not my best plan.

 

Okay, Butler,” I say, fully focused on Jackie now. “Let’s hear it.”

 

She stops scribbling on the napkin in front of her, and I bite back a smile. Since I’ve given her a few tips, she has been frantically taking notes. She’s a planner. I’ve always been more go-with-the-flow.

She reads over her notes, squinting in concentration, her lips moving as she reads. Then those golden brown eyes hit mine and she gives me a resolute nod. “I’m ready.”

 

Her tongue swipes pink lips, making them glisten and making me regret again the route I’ve chosen to take with her. Part of me concedes I could call it off and tell her what I really want, but I know her. She’s barely convinced she can ask a dude out, so her best guy friend throwing a date on the table would be an automatic no.

 

Let’s see it,” I say, kind of excited to see what she’s come up with.

 

She takes the empty seat next to me and leans heavily on an elbow, fist under her chin. “Hi. I’m Jackie.”

I blink several times in quick succession at the transformation from my scatterbrained best friend to a gorgeous woman giving me bedroom eyes. She’s pretending. I’d do well to remember that.

 

Vince,” I introduce.

 

She straightens in her chair and frowns. “Shouldn’t you pretend to be J.T.?”

 

I’m not that good of an actor, Butler.” And I’m not pretending to be that jerk.

 

Fine.” She rolls her eyes, then slides into seduction mode so swiftly I find myself impressed. She’s better at this than she’s let on. “Do you have a last name, Vince?”

 

You know my last name, Butler.”

 

Call me Jackie.” She gives me a slow bat of her lashes.

 

My smile is real, and when I lean closer, I don’t even do it on purpose. “Well, Jackie. Last names are irrelevant, don’t you think?”

 

Her chest lifts as she takes a breath, and I’m not shy about checking out her cleavage, exposed down the V of her shirt. Normally I wouldn’t look so obviously, but this is a game. Our game.

 

That’s very assuming of you, Mr. No Last Name.” She quirks her lips in that way she has, and my smile broadens. “But let’s say”—she moves her half-full wineglass onto the cocktail napkin she wrote on—“for argument’s sake, you’re right, that last names are irrelevant.” She runs the tip of her finger along the rim of her glass like she’s doing it absentmindedly.

 

She’s doing it on purpose. I can tell.

 

Damn. She’s good.

 

We should have a real date before making plans, don’t you think?” she asks, her eyes on mine.

 

Yes.” Hell, yes. “Dinner, at the very least.”

 

And then if dinner works out . . .” She lets that statement hang and my heart beats triple time as I wait for what comes next. “We can talk about dessert.”

 

We can talk about dessert now.” I’m transfixed on her and the idea of exploring our new dynamic.

 

Ohmygod.” Her eyes go wide. “Would he say that?”

 

I give myself a mental shake when I realize I was caught up in the conversation. It was one I wanted to be real, and she was thinking about Running Man.

 

Probably,” I say, the spell broken. “Guys are assholes. Like I said.”

 

I lean back in my chair, find a TV, and stare blankly.

 

But if that’s the case, I’ll have to have sex with him sooner than I planned.”

 

No, you don’t, Jackie.” I hear the anger in my own voice. Because . . . “You don’t have to have sex with anyone. You could go to drinks, dinner, and dessert with this guy—you could end the night with tonsil hockey on your front porch or his, and you can still say no.”

 

She purses her lips. I hate the idea of her kissing that jackass. No matter what kind of person he is—even if he’s a volunteer firefighter who raises orphaned squirrels so they can perform at the local senior center—I hate him.

 

Tell me you know that,” I say.

 

I know I don’t have to. That’s not what I meant. I don’t want to chicken out. I want to get the first one over with. Like you did.”

 

I tip my head back and groan aloud. I can’t help it. I’m the example for her return to the dating world? Much as I don’t want to admit it, fair is fair. I salved my wounds with girls like Polly, so why can’t Jackie do it with J.T.? Jackie’s my friend and I care about her. I can’t make a double standard now.

 

Besides, he’s really hot,” she says, her face going glowy.

 

Spare me.”

 

 
 
 

Eye Candy (Real Love. #1)Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vince is in love with his best friend but has no idea how to tell her, or himself. He knows these feelings are growing for this amazing woman he spends so much time with. They both have been hurt so badly in the past. Together, things are just right.

Jacqueline AKA Jackie really does want to have a fling to enjoy. She is still stinging from the hard slap her ex gave her by choosing another woman. With her best friend, she is a confident and fun woman. Where is that confidence when she needs it most?

This story has a little bit for everyone. There is humor, hot guys, sexy times, pop culture, movie quotes, and more. Did I mention there is seriously hot men? I love the banter and the friendship portrayed here. What is so excellent for me, is that these two show how much they care, long before we get the words.

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.
 
Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers. You can learn more at her website.
 

 

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Book Spotlight & Review – Check My Heart

 

 

 

Check My Heart

By: Christi Barth

Releasing July 17, 2017
Self-Published

 

Blurb:


The death of his little brother turned Kurt Lundquist’s world upside down. He channeled his grief into skating his heart out–and ultimately leading his hockey team to win the championship. Now, all he wants to do is throw a party with the Cup in his brother’s honor. He’s got no clue where to start…until he runs into the gorgeous hospice nurse who took such great care of Jasper. She’s waaay off limits, but he’s desperate, and hires her to help him.

 

Lisette Broussard’s heart broke a little more every time a patient died. Losing the brave brother of a hockey star was the last straw. Learning a new specialty was supposed to change her life for the better, but it used up her savings. Then the slam dunk job with the New Orleans championship hockey team mysteriously disappears. So she jumps at Kurt’s offer of a job, no matter how temporary. No matter how…dangerous, given how much she’s always crushed on him. No matter how risky it is to fall for Kurt, since he’ll always associate her with the grief of losing his brother.

 

But the more time they spend together, the deeper they both fall. Kurt’s heart begins to thaw…and then heat. Lisette can’t resist him, and throws caution to the wind. She’ll take whatever time he gives her. Can they move beyond the pain of the past and focus on a future together?

 

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Author Info:

 

USA Today bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.

 

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

 

For information on books, new releases and more, visit her Website

 

Author Links:   Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

Excerpt:

 

God. Why would Lisette want to keep touching such a wallowing, messed-up son of a bitch? The words, the truth that kept him immobilized on this decision ripped from his throat like gravel spraying from his Harley tires. “Tell me how I can turn my back on my team and my friends and still be able to look myself in the mirror.”

 

She pressed up against his back, arms circling his waist like a life preserver. “How do you do it now? How do you look past your grief to see what’s truly in your reflection?”

 

I don’t.”

 

Her fingers curved into his stomach. “You don’t look in mirrors?”

 

Not for a while now.” Trying to make light of it, Kurt rasped a hand across his two-day-old stubble. “I’ve got an electric razor. Makes it so easy I can do it with my eyes shut. I was tired of seeing nothing but a scowl.”

 

Oh, I get it, believe me. But feeling good, being happy? It takes practice every bit as much as skating.” Going up on her tiptoes, Lisette murmured into his ear, “I declare that smile practice is now in session.”

 

Then her fingers splayed, arrowing down to just below the waist of his shorts. Just enough to make him wish they’d damn well keep going. She scraped her teeth along the cords of his neck, then licked a path down to where Kurt knew she could feel his pulse jackrabbiting through the skin. Lisette sucked. Sucked and swirled her tongue. That was all it took to bring his dick into a full-out lunge, trying to meet her fingertips.

 

Kurt reached back and around to pull her closer. He got two handfuls of the sweetest ass he’d ever touched and squeezed. Kneaded. His hands almost completely covered those taut globes. He couldn’t wait to see how they’d look doing exactly that on her naked skin.

 

He didn’t care if she gave him a hickey. Didn’t care that the guys would give him a mountain of shit if he walked into the locker room with a love bite like a teenager. The only thing Kurt cared about was the way her tongue lapped at him, sending shivers of sensation straight down to his dick.

 

They weren’t really kissing. They were fully clothed, in a fucking warehouse. They weren’t even face-to-face. But her assault on his neck was so damn hot, Kurt was ready to shove up her skirt and take her on the floor, with the goddamned goldfish watching.

 

Whispering, breath feathering against his ear, Lisette ordered, “Look at your reflection in the bowl, Kurt. What do you see?”

 

He turned his head to catch a smug, satisfied grin curling up the edges of his mouth. Huh. Kurt twisted to see her wet lips and flushed cheeks. Guess she’d enjoyed giving as well as getting. Which turned him on even more. “You think I’m good in a practice session? You should catch me in the real deal.”

 

 

 

 

Check My HeartCheck My Heart by Christi Barth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kurt met Lisette while she was working with this dying brother. When they meet again, she brings back memories of that time in his life. She is looking for work with his team, and he is not up to seeing her everyday.

Lisette just wants to find a job in her new field. Being a nurse is fulfilling, but working with terminally ill patients has a cost. She is hoping to get into a new field, helping heal those she can. Kurt has always been attractive to her. Under such sad circumstances can they learn to love where they have a future?

This story was as sad as it was sweet. The genuine love felt for a family member can be very strong and this felt very real and sincere. I was touched by the gentle way the author had it brought out in the book.

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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Virtual Tour w/Review – Lucky Charmed

  
 
It seems he and Carmen are at each other’s throats one minute—
and on each other’s lips the next. Someone’s gotta give . . .
 
 
LUCKY CHARMED
Charmed in Texas #2
Sharla Lovelace
Releasing July 18th, 2017
Lyrical Shine
 
 
Carmen Frost hates honey. And bees. And in her hometown of Charmed, Texas, which practically invented the stuff, that’s a problem. The good news is that the summer Honey Festival is finally over. Even better, so is the annual Lucky Hart carnival, a road show that made off with her dreams years ago—including the boy she loved. Now she’s got a divorce behind her, and a successful law career in front of her, but in a tiny town, big memories die hard. Or they don’t die at all—as Carmen discovers when she runs into an all too familiar pair of eyes—older, wiser, and just as heart-melting as ever . . .

 

Sully Hart has had enough of the nomad lifestyle. Travelling with his father’s carnival gave him adventures, but it cost him much more. Now he’s home to stay, contracted to create an entertainment complex in Charmed. He wants roots, a house with a yard and all the mundane pleasures that go with it. But the girl he loved has become a woman who still wants freedom. Can she still want him? It seems he and Carmen are at each other’s throats one minute—and on each other’s lips the next. Someone’s gotta give . . .
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series. For more about Sharla’s books, visit her website, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
 
 
 
 
 
 

A tattoo peeked out from his muscle, under a shirt sleeve. The tattoo. Shit. It was all I could do not to run my thumb across my left breast where its clone resided.

 

My mouth went dry as all kinds of confusion exploded in my head. Keep it together. Don’t show weakness. He left you.

 

He left you.

 

A calm washed over me and all my strength as a professional business woman, as just a woman who’d been through and seen a few things, came back and held me up. What did it matter that the love of my life, the man that shattered me into a million pieces in a stadium parking lot was standing in front of me fifteen years later looking good enough to lick from head to toe?

 

 

I was better than that.

 

 

 

 

Lucky Charmed (Charmed in Texas, #2)Lucky Charmed by Sharla Lovelace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book is #2, in the Charmed In Texas series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and enjoyment of the series, I recommend reading this in order.

Sullivan AKA Sully has a past with Carmen. A past that brings him back and thinking of a future. When she sees him again, however, there are doubts that will happen.

Carmen is not big on her hometown. She has wanted to be long gone. She has ties here that keep her coming back. Her friends, family, and yes even her heart.

This series is just hot! The characters have great banter, and the heat seems to be turned up on high. I love the sparks that sizzle and nearly jump off the page. Second chance romance always seems to be hotter than the simple. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.

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Excerpt Reveal – Ready To Run

 
 
A reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: 
a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show. 
 
 
READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept
 

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


PRE-ORDER TODAY!
 
 
 
 
 
Damn. Charlie hadn’t been lying about the hot blonde.
 
The woman walking straight toward him was all tight jeans, high heels, and confi-dence. And hot. Very, very hot.
 
Charlie muttered something admiring under his breath, and Luke’s gaze flicked to the man beside the woman. Tried to place him. Couldn’t.
 
Not too many guys around here who wore light-purple shirts and white pants with the same easy comfort that Lucky Hollow residents wore jeans and flannel.
 
No doubt about it—neither was from around here. Not by a long shot.
 
The man was a half step behind the woman, and Luke assessed that the woman was calling the shots.
 
His eyes narrowed as he realized that she hadn’t once wavered in her approach.
 
She knew what she was after:
 
Him.
 
She got closer and Luke saw that the face matched the body. Wide blue eyes, full lips, sassy shoulder-length blond hair that was just tousled enough to make a man wonder how it had gotten that way—to want to be the one to muss it.
 
Her gaze flicked over him, and Charlie whistled and muttered under his breath. “She just checked you out, man.”
 
She had indeed, but Luke was far from flattered. It hadn’t been the assessment of a woman checking out a man so much as a predator evaluating its prey.
 
As though she was evaluating him for . . . something.
 
Blondie stopped in front of him, and the second her blue eyes locked on his, Luke felt a little jolt of awareness and was irrationally annoyed. It had been a long time since he’d been quite so aware of a woman.
 
Once, he’d enjoyed the feeling—sexual chemistry was almost the perfect combination of pain and pleasure. A subtle punch in the gut that you wanted to experience again and again.
These days, though, he was having a hard time getting past the pain part. The shitty parts had outweighed the good parts just one time too many. Now he mostly settled for casual hookups with a divorcée a few towns over who was even less interested in com-mitment than Luke was.
 
He had zero use for attraction to a pretty, bold woman in high heels.
 
Luke noticed that for a sheer moment she had a slightly off-balance look, as though she too had felt the annoying zip of arousal when their eyes met, but she recovered quick-ly.
Pasting a sunny, generic smile on her face, she stuck out her right hand. “Luke Elliott. I’m Jordan Carpenter. This is my colleague, Simon Nash.”
 
Good manners had him setting down his equipment and extending his own right hand toward hers even as his brain caught on her name. Familiar, and . . .
 
Shit. Shit!
 
He managed to stop from jerking his hand back, but just barely. Instead, he gritted his teeth, gave her hand a perfunctory shake, and then fixed her with a glare. “You’re wasting your time, Ms. Carpenter. And mine.”
 
Blue eyes narrowed. “Aha. So you did get my emails.”
 
Those. The voicemails. The letters.
 
“Sure,” he said with a nod, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Just like I suspect you got the message that I didn’t want to be a part of your show.”
 
Charlie looked from the woman to Luke and back again. “Show?”
 
Ryan ambled over, his shit-eating grin telling Luke that this damn woman had already spilled the beans on why she was here. “Luke’s gonna be a national heartthrob.”
 
“International,” said the blond guy in the purple shirt.
 
Jordan Carpenter didn’t look at her companion, but all three firefighters did.
 
The other man gave the sort of easy smile that probably had him making friends easily. Luke didn’t want a new friend.
 
Especially not one who wanted to use his shitty romantic past for the sake of TV ratings.

 

 
 
 
 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

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Release Blast – Can’t Stop Lovin’ You

 
Brawley must find a way to convince Maggie 
that their one true home is with each other.
 
 
CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU
Maverick Junction #3
Lynnette Austin
Forever

 

 
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
 
Maggie Sullivan can’t wait to get out of Texas. Luckily, she just got the break she needed to make her big-city dreams a reality. But then Brawley Odell swaggers back into Maverick Junction, looking hotter than ever in his dusty cowboy boots and well-worn jeans. He’s the guy she still dreams of at night. The guy who broke her heart when he left her behind.
 
Fed up with city life, Brawley jumps at the chance to return home and take over the local vet’s practice—and get back to the smart, sassy woman he’s never been able forget. He couldn’t be prouder of Maggie’s new wedding-dress business . . . until he realizes it may mean losing her all over again. Determined to win her back, Brawley must find a way to convince Maggie that their one true home is with each other.

NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Brawley Odell figured his life wouldn’t be worth one plug-nickel the second he stepped foot inside Maggie’s shop. Too damn bad. He hadn’t driven the thirty miles from Maverick Junction to back out now. He was goin’ in.

 

After all this time, he’d come home…and she was leaving.

 

He grasped the brass knob and shoulder-butted the oak door. It flew open, the bell overhead jangling. Maggie Sullivan, all that gorgeous red hair scooped into a jumbled mass, stood dead-center in the room. Dressed in a skirt and top the color of a forest at twilight, she held a fuzzy sweater up in front of her like a shield. Those amazing green eyes widened as he stormed in.

 

We need to talk.” He ignored the woman at the back of the store who flipped through a rack of tops.

 

What the—?”

 

He held up a hand. “Don’t speak. Not yet.”

 

Her mouth opened, then closed.

 

Anger boiled in him, but he needed to find some modicum of control. Taking a deep breath, he held it for the count of ten, then slowly released it. “Did you plan on telling me?”

 

Her eyes narrowed, but she said nothing.

 

You’re invited to New York City for a showing of your new line, and you don’t share that with me? I have to learn about it secondhand?”

 

Last I heard this wasn’t about you, Brawley. In fact, my life, my business has absolutely nothing to do with you.”

 

His jaw clenched. “Anything that affects you is my business, Mags.”

 

She snorted. “Get real, Odell. You gave up any and all rights years ago.” Her head tilted. “Why are you even interested? You want to attend so you can show off your latest Dallas Cowboy cheerleader? Maybe order her trousseau?”

 

He shot her a deadly look, one that had made grown men back away.

 

Not Maggie. She actually took a couple steps toward him. The woman had no survival instincts. Another reason she had no business heading off to New York alone.

 

She tapped a scarlet-tipped finger on her chin. “Oh, that’s right. There’d be no trousseau for your honey, would there? Maybe a weekend-fling outfit for your date du jour? A one-night-stand set of lacy lingerie.”

 

Shut up, Maggie.”

 

Make me.” Her eyes flashed.

 

This time the look in his eyes must have warned her she’d treaded too close to the edge. She stepped back.

 

You challenging me, Maggie?”

 

When she wet her lips, his gaze dropped to her mouth, followed the tip of her pink tongue as it darted out.

 

Only one way I could ever get you quiet,” he said.

 

Her hand shot up. “Don’t even think about it.”

 

No thought required. Been wanting to do this a long time now.” He closed the distance between them and dropped his mouth to hers. Fire. Smoke. Hell, a full-out volcanic eruption.

 

 

 

 

Can't Stop Lovin' You (Maverick Junction, #3)Can’t Stop Lovin’ You by Lynnette Austin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is # 3, in the Maverick Junction series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

Brawley is moving back to his hometown. He wants to take back the one who got away. Only she is about to make a second slip right through his fingers. Again. Can the secrets of the past be overcome to find the happiness they deserve?

Maggie is finally getting her dreams to come true with this big move to New York. While it is far from her Texas home, it provides opportunity and customers she needs to get her dress designing firmly off the ground. What she may pay in the end is a different story.

This series is just as sweet as it is sassy. This book was the one I held my breath for. Let me tell you, it is absolutely worth it! Characters like these, are why I read romance. They have the spark about to ignite, and just need a little flame.

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Lynnette Austin, a recovering middle school teacher, loves long rides with the top down and the music cranked up, the Gulf of Mexico when a storm is brewing, chocolate frozen custard, anything by Blake Shelton, Chris Young, and Thomas Rhett, and sitting in her local coffee shop reading and enjoying an iced coffee. She and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse. Writing for Grand Central and Sourcebooks, she’s published twelve novels and is at work on a new series.
 

 

 

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Release Blast – Digital Velocity

 
 
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
 
 
DIGITAL VELOCITY
McAllister Justice #1
Reily Garrett
Releasing July 10, 2017
 
 
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
 
Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a pervert threatens her friend, she sends an anonymous message to police, leading to a firefight that leaves a cop wounded.
 
Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity and arrest. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle  indicating the identity of the next murder victim.
 
The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs, a psychopath bearing equal talent.
 
Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.
 
Digital Velocity is a fast-paced romantic suspense thriller that sophisticatedly weaves drama, excitement, grit, raw emotions and mystery. Garrett takes her readers on a journey where suspense and romance are taken up several notches as she unfolds and reveals the identity of a murderer that is on the loose. With her vivid prose, Garrett entices readers to see the bond that is brewing between Detective Ethan McAllister and his unlikely informant.” – RT Book Reviews
 
 
 
 
 

 

I move frequently—but gain no distance.

I am warm, moist, and dark but give no comfort.

I can stretch and shrink, giving or taking at will, bringing both pain and pleasure with each.

 

If God wanted you to tie the knot, he’d give you a near-death experience to better appreciate life, along with a craving for procreation. Then he’d smother your soul with the essence of venison, squirrel, frog legs, taters, or beer, to attract a likely counterpart from the sticks. No, wait. The latter has already happened, hasn’t it? Sorry.” Ethan narrowly kept his balance on the green-slicked, handmade bricks leading up the two-story, mauve-colored Victorian. If his 210-pound mass ended up sprawled on the steps, no doubt the picture would be splashed all over the precinct by noon with various unsavory captions.

 

Maybe you should try it. The stick up your ass has to cause at least minor discomfort.” Larrick’s early-morning snark was a common greeting.

 

Hey, I’m a normal guy.” Ethan glared over his shoulder.

 

Larrick snorted.

 

Still wet from our early-morning storm. Watch your step, it’s slippery.” Scanning the myriad amorphous shadows lurking in the wood line, realization struck that he and his partner were sitting ducks if a sniper perched among the loblolly pine and oak trees lining the front and side yards.

 

Larrick’s reply came in equal measure of soft tones. “Either that or a large flock of birds dropped in recently to help her redecorate. Great detective work.”

 

Bird droppings are—”

 

Sought after for facials. Especially the Japanese Nightingale shit.” Larrick grinned.

 

Only you would know that.” Ethan adjusted his tie, an acknowledgment of the apprehension filling his mind.

 

Are we whispering because your paranoid gut can’t assimilate food well enough to distinguish indigestion from an outside threat? This woman lives alone, gonna think we’re a couple of perverts and liable to shoot us.”

 

Word has it she’s a pacifist.”

 

Fine. You’re one to talk about signs—dragging my ass to a stranger’s house at this ungodly morning hour. I love knocking on a stranger’s door and asking, ‘Lady, are you all right? We’re police detectives who received an anonymous tip that you might have a hangnail. Perhaps we could lend you a pair of nail clippers…’ then ask if she needs the gutters cleaned.” Derision and humor warred for dominance in Larrick’s tone, yet his sharp gaze continually scanned the perimeter in consideration of his partner’s unarticulated hunch. Yin and yang, they fit together, a clean-cut detective and his partner whose hair length had passed regulation specs weeks ago.

 

You know this isn’t the first tip we’ve gotten, not to mention the fact that the other leads were solid and led to arrests. And while we’re at it, why don’t you step to the side? Standard police procedure when approaching an unknown situation.” Ethan turned sideways, standing by the door with his hand poised to knock on the solid oak. He hesitated. Moisture coated his palms, a rare occurrence. Scrutinizing the interior through the narrow sidelights yielded nothing more than expected. Elegantly upholstered furniture, gleaming hardwood floors, and delicate bric-a-brac adorning the thick mantle and each side table completed the sophisticated picture. “Don’t see any problem. Maybe she’s fallen and can’t get to a phone.”

 

You expected an old lady brandishing her curling iron? As for leads, I get mine from three-dimensional people while you get yours from a bunch of ones and zeroes. Why can’t our IT department trace your anonymous texts further than the loony bin? Though that’s probably appropriate since your secret admirer’s last present consisted of a flower basket bigger than my TV along with fur-lined cuffs. I’ve never laughed so hard I pissed myself. I thought that was hogwash, a myth made up by old ladies.” Larrick leaned over the iron railing to peer through the window. “Can’t see squat, bottom sill’s too high.”

 

As my partner, you’re supposed to have my back, not stab me in the back. You didn’t have to broadcast it through the whole department by hanging the cuffs from the sprinkler system with a bunch of roses twined in them. Now my brothers won’t let up, and I’ve been subscribed to every kinky magazine known to the publishing world. You think I should know why some whacko chose me for their personal marionette?” Ethan suppressed a shudder before his partner gained more verbal ammunition. If his suspicions were correct, his informant was in fact a beautiful enigma with waist-length, chestnut hair and an emerald gaze capable of melting steel.

 

Maybe because you were the youngest to make detective? Rising star, golden boy, and all that shit.”

 

No. Probably afraid your redneck ways would rub off on them, or maybe because I’m the biggest sap.” Ethan’s gut rumbled, more of a warning sign from a well-heeled intuition than hunger. “Larrick, this doesn’t feel right.” Behind him, the slide of metal on leather let him know his partner just palmed his Glock. Three years of working together circumvented the formality of dissecting gut reactions.

 

A creak of leather sole betrayed Larrick’s backtracking to scrutinize the surroundings. “Side windows are lower. I’ll take a look.”

 

Hood of her BMW is cold. Didn’t go anywhere recently.” Larrick’s harsh whisper halted a nearby squirrel scampering up a tree, its head cocked to one side while studying the strange human interlopers.

 

Sunshine warmed the first spring buds on the low shrubbery bordering the walkway to complete the idyllic setting. Nothing but peace and serenity, yet Ethan’s heart hammered against his ribcage like an aggressive punk drummer. With his partner disappearing around the corner, he again scanned the perimeter while the morning’s corrupted equanimity formed a sour wad in his chest. A lazy March breeze combed its cool fingers through his short hair while the deep foreboding received with the initial text message blossomed into multiple horrific scenarios, leaving one of them a corpse, their life’s essence forming macabre shapes on gleaming hardwood floors.

 

I see bare feet beyond the kitchen island. Toes up. Probably female.” Larrick’s disembodied whisper just provided probable cause. “Backup?”

 

 
 
 
 
 
Reily is a West Coast girl transplanted to the opposite shore. When she’s not working with her dogs, you can find her curled up with a book or writing her next story. Past employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
 
Over time, and several careers, many incidents have flavored the plots of her stories. Man’s cruelty and ingenuity for torment and torture is boundless, not contained by an infinite imagination. Witnessing the after-effects of a teenager mugged at knifepoint for a pair of tennis shoes, or an elderly woman stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver for no apparent reason, left an indelible impression that will forever haunt her subconscious. In counterpoint, she has observed a woman stop her vehicle in severe, snowy weather to offer her own winter coat to a stranger, a teenager wearing a threadbare hoodie. Life’s diversities are endless.
 
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.

In reading, take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four-legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.
 

 

 

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Virtual Tour – Primrose Lane

 
 
 
Love is the best medicine.
 
 
 
 
PRIMROSE LANE
Harmony Harbor #3
Debbie Mason
Releasing June 27, 2017
Forever
 
 
Love is the best medicine.

Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She’s left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor’s most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she’s now guardian of her ex’s young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn’t have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she’s got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He’d really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn’t want his help. Since he’s returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he’s interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.

 
 
 
 
 
 

What are you two still doing in the pond? You can see that we’ve rescued Miller and George, can’t you?” his baby brother Liam asked.

 

Finn was about to make a smartass comeback when his other brother shouted, “Finn, on your six!”

 

The wedding guests and waitstaff yelled, “Run!”

 

Finn glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, two swans were doing their running-on-water thing and coming toward him with their wings spread wide. “Liv, get out of here!” he yelled, turning to splash the big white birds in order to distract them so she could get to shore. It didn’t feel very manly or heroic, but he couldn’t exactly scoop Liv up and run from the pond with her in his arms. His leg wouldn’t make it. But it’s the thought that counted. Or so he was telling himself when he heard the sound of a warrior’s cry. If his brothers raced into the pond to rescue him, he was going to kill them.

 

Somebody brushed past him, knocking him off balance. It was Liv. Brandishing her shoes like weapons, she made a beeline for the birds. The swan on the right dipped forward and grabbed the shoe. . . and Liv’s hand. Finn launched himself at Liv, wrapping an arm around her waist and dragging her away from the posturing birds.

 

A piece of bread hit Finn in the side of the head. The swan dropped Liv’s shoe and joined his three pals to glide gracefully to where the guests were now throwing bread into the pond. Too bad someone hadn’t thought of that earlier.

 

If I never see a swan again, it’ll be too soon,” he muttered, half-dragging Liv out of the pond after him. It wasn’t until they’d climbed out that he realized she hadn’t said a word. He slowly turned. She was pale and shaking. “Liv, what is it?”

 

She looked at him, stared at him really, as if she expected him to understand what was going on. And there was definitely something going on, and it had nothing to do with a lost shoe. It hit him then. It had to do with a loss of another kind, a gut-wrenching, soul-crushing, heart-breaking loss that no one should ever have to bear.

 

He put his hands on her shoulders and ducked to look in her glassy eyes. “She’s fine, Liv. She was never in any real danger. We were here.”

 

What if we hadn’t been?” she whispered, looking to where his brothers were drying George and Miller with towels. “She wanders off all the time and won’t come when I call. She hides from me, climbs rocks and trees, runs into the woods and the ocean at high tide.” A tear rolled down her cheek. She wiped her face and looked away. “If something happened to her . . .” She slowly shook her head. “I can’t do this, Finn.”

 

 
 
 
Debbie Mason is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and the Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children and son-in-law, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.
 
 
 
 
 

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Virtual Tour w/Review – Playing For Keeps

 
  
 
Will the couple find the strength and courage to put it all on the line 
when love means playing for keeps?
 
  
 
 PLAYING FOR KEEPS
York Bombers #3
Lisa B. Kamps
Releasing June 28th, 2017
 
 
Tyler Bowie is the serious and focused goalie for the York Bombers. He has his mind on the game and his eye on the future. And he always plays by the rules–until he meets Jennifer Emory, his teammate’s sister. What is it about the troubled woman that tempts him to break the biggest rule of all?
 
Jennifer Emory is looking to start a new life and finds the distraction she needs in Tyler Bowie, her brother’s intensely sexy teammate. But the distraction quickly turns to something else. She knows all about the bro code, but there’s just something about Tyler that makes her want to take a chance and risk so much more than her brother’s ire.
 
Will the couple find the strength and courage to put it all on the line when love means playing for keeps?
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

But God, she hated it. Hated running away. Hated having to rely on her brother. Hated feeling like a burden.

 

Hated knowing that no matter where she went, one tiny little mistake could follow her forever.

 

She sighed and drew her knees up to her chest. It didn’t matter how gorgeous Tyler Bowie was, or how much she was attracted to him, or even if she had a tiny little crush on him. She couldn’t allow anything to happen. Not that he was interested but still…no, nothing would happen. He was a hockey player. He was her brother’s teammate.

 

No—no matter how hot Tyler was, it was strictly a case of look but don’t touch. She didn’t think he was like her ex but she couldn’t be sure because she didn’t know him that well. And she couldn’t trust her own judgement, not anymore. Not after what her ex had done.

 

Except it had been ten long months and Tyler was so gorgeous. Would it really hurt, just to sample a small taste?

 

And oh God, what was she thinking? No, absolutely not. She could not think like that, couldn’t even afford to pretend to think like that. No matter how much—

 

She heard the muffled sound of footsteps against the thick carpeting and turned on the sofa, her eyes widening at the sight of Tyler shuffling up the short hall toward her. His thick hair was tousled, his lids half-lowered over dark, sleepy eyes. He paused and ran a hand over his broad chest, which caused the hem of the thin t-shirt to lift. Her mouth dried as she caught a glimpse of smooth skin pulled tight over the hard muscle of defined abs.

 

Smooth skin broken only by a thin line of dark hair that disappeared into the waistband of the loose gym shorts riding low on his lean hips.

 

Jenny blinked, her face heating as her gaze travelled down his sturdy legs, taking in the long muscles of strong thighs, lightly dusted with dark hair. Even his bare feet were sexy. Since when did she ever notice a man’s feet? Since never, that’s when.

 

She tore her gaze away, forcing herself to look anywhere else. At the generic prints scattered on the wall behind him. At the small dinette table with its two chairs and pile of mail sitting on top of a dark green placemat. At the television, its screen now dark because she had turned it off.

 

Anywhere except at Tyler.

 

Oh God, she was in so much trouble.

 

Look but don’t touch? No, she couldn’t even do that, not when the simple act of just looking made her want to do so much more.

 
 
 

Playing For Keeps (York Bombers, #3)Playing For Keeps by Lisa B. Kamps
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 3rd book in the York Bombers series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Jennifer had to start over. She just needed a new place and new scenery to get over the past. Her brother lets her stay with him. Then she meets his teammate….

Tyler has already got the hots for his friends sister. The code among the team is you don’t poach family. He just cannot stop how he feels. She seems to feel something too.

This is such a fast paced story. I like the characters and the heat. Love that it has hockey. This series is just a really great read. I am hoping for another installment.

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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Tasty Q&A with Lisa B. Kamps

 

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Honestly, it depends on my mood. But there are two that always seem to be at the top of my list:

Fight Song by Rachel Platten and…

 

Wait for it…

 

Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen!

 

Name three things on your desk right now.

  • A large bag of almond M&Ms (I won’t tell you how many are left in the bag)

  • Large mug of coffee (strong with cream and sugar if you’re really curious)

  • My planner and notepad, pens and post-its (yes, that only counts as one item in my world!!)

 

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

Okay, I’m really not that great at Twitter but I’ll give it a shot:

#secretpast #steamyread #bestfriendssister #forbiddenlove #nevergiveup #loveconquersall #hockeyromance #alwayshopeful

Did I go over??

 

What do you do when you are not writing?

Plan for the next book? Seriously, my mind is always going: thinking, dreaming, wondering, planning. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, there’s always something involving writing going on in my head.

Except when I go into total slug-mode, which does happen every once in a while. If that’s the case, I’m either literally doing absolutely nothing (I mean I literally turn completely OFF), or I’m either reading or playing SIMS. Hey, don’t judge me !

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

The best piece of advice I can give (and have given) any aspiring writer is one that’s been around for ages: Just do it. Don’t think about doing it, don’t talk about doing it, don’t dream about doing it. Just sit your butt down and get those words on the page. Talking is easy, but if you’re serious, stop talking and just write. You can fix it later, worry about it later, angst over it later. But you need to get those words on paper first. In this case, actions really do speak louder than words.

 

Don’t get so caught up in the rules that you end up hampering your creative flow. Yes, learn the rules, be aware of them, but don’t let them rule your writing (or your creative process). There are so many rules out there that “they” say can’t be broken. But guess what? They get broken all the time, and it works. Do what works for you, your story, your characters. Don’t let the rules silence your unique voice. (Note: I’m not talking about grammar and punctuation–those are important. It’s those other pesky rules, like don’t write in first person, don’t write about a sports hero, etc.)

 

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

To my current readers and fans: THANK YOU so much for taking a chance and joining me on this wonderful journey! It really wouldn’t be possible without all of you! To those readers who haven’t yet read my books: don’t be afraid to take a chance! You might surprise yourself and find a new favorite author (if not favorite, then hopefully one you really like!).

 

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My next scheduled release is PLAYING IT UP, The York Bombers Book 4.

Many of you have already met Zach and Haley in the other York Bomber titles. These two love to hate each other and are always butting heads. And when they finally get together…?

There’s a fine line between love and hate, a line the mismatched pair crosses with as much passion in bed as out of it. No strings, no expectations. When Haley’s past comes back to haunt her, putting her life in peril, Zach realizes that some things are worth fighting for—no matter the cost—and Haley learns she must let go of the past if she wants to hang on to the future.

This one is a steamy twist on your enemies-to-lovers story, with a few more surprises thrown in! PLAYING IT UP releases on August 30 and is available for pre-order now. You can find the link here: https://books2read.com/PlayingItUp

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lisa B. Kamps is the author of the best-selling series The Baltimore Banners, featuring “hard-hitting, heart-melting hockey players” [USA Today], on and off the ice. Her Firehouse Fourteen series features hot and heroic firefighters who put more than their lives on the line. She’s introduced a whole new team of hot hockey players who play hard and love even harder in her newest series, The York Bombers.
 
In a previous life, she worked as a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department then did a very brief (and not very successful) stint at bartending in east Baltimore, and finally served as the Director of Retail Operations for a busy Civil War non-profit.
 
Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons (who are mostly sorta-kinda out of the house), one very spoiled Border Collie, two cats with major attitude, several head of cattle, and entirely too many chickens to count. When she’s not busy writing or chasing animals, she’s cheering loudly for her favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals–or going through withdrawal and waiting for October to roll back around!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Release Blast w/Review – Rock Star

 
 
 
A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty 
and a whole lot more complicated!
 
 
 
 
ROCK STAR
A Bad Boy Homecoming Novel
Stacey Kennedy
Releasing June 27, 2017
 

 

A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new erotic romance from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy.

Veterinarian, Rae Evans expects to attend a dreadful ten-year high school reunion. Instead, she’s confronted by a past she’s never gotten over. The love of her life, Travis Walker, has returned to Catfish Creek, and the now-famous rock star wants only three things: Her. Naked. And screaming his name.
 
Fresh off his last world tour, Travis has returned to town to get a dose of reality. With fame casting a superficial cloud over Travis’s life, he’s scrambling to stay afloat. He needs an anchor, and Rae is that for him. But as he finds himself, he’s determined to remind Rae of the heat that once burned between them.
 
Before they know it, their one hot night is three, and soon, just like ten years ago, Travis holds the strings to Rae’s heart. But Rae’s not that young girl who watched her high school sweetheart race off to become famous. She’s a woman who knows what she wants and realizes when a man needs her. She just has to decide if she should put the past on repeat, or walk away from it forever.
 

 
 
 
 
 

Travis Walker made women’s panties disappear.

 

On most nights, anyway.

 

Tonight, sitting on a wooden stool set upon the stage at Catfish Creek High School’s conference center, only one woman was on his mind. His fingers strummed over the strings of the guitar, mouth rested near the microphone, and after he sang the final two lines of the chorus—I wanna kiss you under the moonlight. And love you ‘til the sun comes up—the applause from the crowd reopened his eyes.

 

Sparkling string lights and masquerade masks hung from the ceiling above him, reminding him that he wasn’t surrounded by thousands of his typical screaming and wild fans. In his Texas hometown, he stared out at teachers, old friends, and classmates, all dressed in formal wear and masquerade masks.

 

From his seat in the spotlight, he recalled playing for smaller crowds on this very stage back in high school. Those had been some of the happiest days of his life. Now, fresh off his last world tour, he realized he loved that scene, too. The energy of a smaller crowd, who knew him personally, and a larger crowd, who thought they were in love with him, was so different he couldn’t compare the two, but admittedly, he missed the intimacy that came from a smaller venue.

Done with his song, and with the crowd quieting, he slid the guitar strap over his head and handed the instrument back to a member of the band that’d been hired to play at Catfish Creek High School’s ten-year reunion. When he jumped off the stage, he sighed in relief, finding that all the cell phones pointed in his direction were now put away, and the flashing lights were gone.

 

That’s when he set his focus on what mattered tonight: finding her. Rae Evans—the muse behind the song he sang tonight, Moonlight.

 

He scanned the crowd overtop the decorated tables with their gold chairs, but the beauty had escaped him somehow. He recognized Annie Flowers, the librarian, who gave him a little wave, and Christopher Christianson, the principal, who was grabbing a drink from the bar. Travis could have sworn he spotted Rae entering the masquerade ball when he began his song. Desperation now clawed at his chest.

 

Determined to find her, he moved farther into the crowd, just as his cell vibrated in his pocket. Knowing exactly who it’d be, and that he couldn’t ignore the call, he reached for his phone and then frowned at the text from his manager, Scott Price.

 

Awesome job. The video is already up on YouTube. Fans are loving it. The mask was a nice touch. Don’t miss your flight in the a.m.

 

Travis shifted the black masquerade mask around his eyes, and the muscles along his shoulders tightened with the reminder of the weight they carried; of the need for him to always be on point, and the fact that nothing, not even his high school reunion, was sacred anymore.

 

Life had changed dramatically since the last time Travis stepped foot in the conference center. But he didn’t want to think about the shit weighing on him, so he fired off a response—I’ll be on it—then tucked his cell phone back into his pocket.

 

He had tonight to fix everything that was wrong with his life, and he wouldn’t waste it.

In the eyes of his manager, Travis had come to the reunion to put on a show and to look real to his fans. But Travis hadn’t come for the publicity; he had come for one very good reason: to find his anchor—the woman who stopped his world from spinning wildly out of control.

 

Lately, in a sea of chaos, he’d finally stopped drowning and saw a way back to the happiness he once had. That happiness had started with Rae, and surely, she was his way to find himself again.

 

One touch. One taste. He wanted to remember what that happiness felt like.

 

Again, he searched the crowd, ignoring the way some men glowered at him, and some women batted their lashes. Rae. That’s whom he’d come here to see tonight. Only her.

The band behind him started playing another ballad, and that’s when he found her, staring right at him from across the room. She wore a sleek, black, strapless gown around her slender figure with matching long, black gloves.

 

His muscles surged with adrenaline, and he went to move toward her when a hard voice came from behind him.

 

Karly wants you to play another song.”

 

Travis slowly glanced over his shoulder to find the biggest asshole in Catfish Creek High School history, Jason, a blond-haired, slender, one-time big shot. Rae was best friends with Kate, and Kate had loved—and later married and divorced—the dipshit behind him.

 

Times had changed.

 

Travis didn’t owe Jason anything now, and he certainly didn’t owe the reunion’s event planner, Karly, shit. “You can tell Karly that I told her I’d play one song, and that’s exactly what I did. Bother me again, and we’ll have a problem.”

 

Jason didn’t make a move or say a word in rebuttal. Once a coward, always a coward.

Refocused on the only person who mattered tonight, and pulled by the energy only Rae conjured, Travis stretched out his fingers, shedding his frustrations as he moved with purpose through the crowd. Her pretty, hazel eyes surrounded by dark makeup followed his every move, and she yanked him forward with a simple look.

 

She’d always been a pretty girl, but she’d grown into a blindingly beautiful and stunning woman. Her gown fit her like a glove. A gold filigree mask somehow made the creaminess of her skin appear richer. She wore her shoulder-length, brown hair in big waves framing her round face.

Tonight, she didn’t look so fresh-faced and innocent. She looked sexy as hell, and just the sight of her again caused Travis’s cock to swell eagerly.

 

While he’d talked to her through email, text, and the occasional late-night, drunk phone call every birthday and Christmas over the last ten years, he hadn’t seen her. Not since that day on his parents’ porch. Sure, he’d kept an eye on her through the Catfish Creek Chronicle when they featured her for her charity work, and also on the website for the vet clinic she owned. But after he’d walked the path that led away from her, he’d never found his way back. Life got busy. New friends were found. Fame overtook him.

 

Now, he was…home.

 

When he finally reached her, the air between them felt charged. “Rae,” he said.

Her eyes warmed. Dark, red-painted lips curved. “Travis.”

 

Christ, he remembered how those lips tasted. How she tasted—every goddamn inch of her.

Beneath her mask, those pretty eyes now turned a little suspicious. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to the reunion?”

 

Perhaps he should have called, but… “I wanted to surprise you.” Because there were important reasons he returned to his hometown, ones that he didn’t want her to know about. Yet.

It all began with an article in the Catfish Creek Chronicle.

 

Dr. Rae Evans feels she’s done what was needed to help the animals in Catfish Creek, and she’s ready to begin a new journey. She’s looking to open another clinic in one of the neighboring towns.

 

At twenty-eight years old, she’d achieved what she hoped to do by thirty, and that article reminded him of the guy he used to be when she’d first made those plans. He wasn’t the same man who left Catfish Creek all those years ago, and he didn’t know when exactly he lost himself. While Rae had likely found all the happiness she wanted in her success, he simply wanted to find his way back to the carefree guy he once was.

 

To do that, he had to come back to the place where he was the happiest. He had to come back to her. “But to tell you why I wanted to surprise you, I need to tell you a story.” He offered his hand. “How about we dance, and I’ll share it.”

 

For a second, he thought she might refuse him. She simply stared at his hand.

When her eyes met his again, and she slowly slid her palm into his, the tightening in his chest eased. He closed his fingers around hers and sensed her soften, making him smile.

Reliving that infectious energy she carried, he led her into the middle of the dance floor, then he spun her around and pulled her to him, nice and close, sliding his hand across her lower back.

She laughed softly, eyes twinkling behind her mask. “You’ve still got the moves, I see.”

 

My moves will never fail me.” He grinned.

 

The band played the perfect song. Something a little sexy and slow, keeping her hips swaying perfectly with his. He did nothing to shield his erection, but one look into her eyes told him that was all right. With her breasts pressed against his chest, her cheeks a little pink now, he noticed the heat in the depths of her gaze. He’d recognize it anywhere. That fire felt like it belonged to him—always had, always would. Yet in the past, she’d shy away from that desire. Now, he noted how she firmly held his gaze, telling him she wasn’t the young lover he once had.

 

How long are you staying in town?” she asked, in an obvious attempt to divert their attention away from his cock.

 

Just tonight.” He stroked his thumb over the back of her hand, keeping her as close as he could, inhaling her flowery scent that had faded from his memory. “I fly out bright and early in the morning.”

 

Only tonight?” She shot him a questioning glance. “You came all the way here from New York just for the reunion?”

You seem surprised.”

 

She shrugged, seemingly unaffected when another couple bumped into her, her interest obviously centered on him. “Seems like a long way to come for only a few hours.”

 

A very good point, indeed. “Well, you see, that brings us to my story.” He sent her out, twirling her around before bringing her in close again and returning the smile she gave him. “But I think we need to go back even further for you to truly understand.”

 

Go on,” she said, watching him closely.

 

He paused, collecting his thoughts, then he began. “You’ll never hear me complain about my life. I have far more than I probably deserve.”

 

That’s a good thing,” she said firmly, even as a playful grin teased her lips. “You have a pretty amazing life, and you’d better not complain to me about all the fabulous trips you get to take around the world, or you might lose a tooth.”

 

He chuckled but leaned in, calling her out. “And how do you know so much about my life? Reading up on me?”

 

A little,” she admitted.

 

 

That’s what he liked most about Rae. She was honest, through and through. The fact that she followed his life could bite him in the ass later, but at this point, there was no going back, so he pushed the conversation along. “So, then you know that I have a very good life. I travel. I stay in fancy hotels. I eat at amazing restaurants. I never have to lift a finger. I have everything that anyone should want.”

 

Her eyes searched his. “But it’s not the life you want?”

 

Of course, she caught on. He didn’t expect otherwise. That’s why he’d come to the reunion—to be with someone who truly knew him. “It’s not that I don’t want the life I live,” he explained gently. “It’s that something is missing. Something very important.”

 

Which is?”

 

The guy I used to be.”

 

She began nibbling her lip like she used to do in high school when she became confused. “What do you mean?”

 

I can have anything I want, Rae. There is nothing that’s not available to me.” He slid his hand along her spine, pulling her in closer, leaving no room between them. “But the guy I was when we were together…I don’t know him anymore.”

 

Her eyes softened, and her voice grew quiet. “That’s really kinda sad, Travis.”

 

It is what it is.” He shrugged, not wanting to get stuck on the things he couldn’t change. “My manager told me that I’d been invited to the reunion and saw it as a business opportunity. But I saw it as a personal one.”

 

The song shifted to something faster, and the crowd began to fill the dance floor, bumping into his back. He refused to let her go, holding her tightly against him. “Do you want to know the real reason I came to the reunion tonight?”

 

Yes,” she said, a little breathlessly.

 

I came to relive the past, Rae.” He released her hand, wrapping his other arm around her and bringing his mouth close to hers. “That’s the only reason I’m here. I want to remember what it’s like to be with a woman who knows the real me.” He was encouraged by her shiver. An involuntary movement that spoke of her willingness to give him all that he wanted and more.

Hot and hard, he dropped his head into her neck, inhaled the subtle hints of her flowery perfume, and said into her ear, “We have a chance that many people don’t get. To go back and feel what we felt before.” He dragged his nose across her neck in the way he knew she liked, feeling her quiver under his hands. “Tomorrow, our lives will return to normal. Nothing will have changed. You’ll live here, entirely focused on your clinic and your life, and I’ll live mine in New York. Tonight’s our one free pass to dip into the past, and I want to take it. Because tonight, Rae”—he brushed his lips across her neck, and a soft moan escaped her mouth as he murmured—“I want one more taste of you.”

 

She gasped and stepped back, blinking rapidly. “I…sorry, excuse me. I need to get some air.” Then those pretty pink cheeks and wide, excited eyes were gone, her dress trailing behind her as she ran for the door.

 

 

Travis shoved his hands into the pockets of his suit and grinned. He didn’t mind hunting her, it sweetened his reward.

 
 
 

Rock Star (Bad Boy Homecoming, #5)Rock Star by Stacey Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #5, in the Bad Boy Homecoming series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Travis chose 10 years ago to live his dream. His girlfriend at the time chose the same. After spending so much time apart he has decided to go home. He has also figured a few key things out.

Rae gave up her man to follow her dreams. She knew he needed to follow his as well. Now he is a famous musician in demand, and they never see one another. With him home for their high school reunion – can they get a real second chance at the love they share?

This story was full of emotions. I loved how the characters desired to put one another first. There was a lot that impressed me in this book. I thought it was a great addition to the series. I cannot wait to see more from this author.

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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STACEY KENNEDY is the USA Today bestselling author of the Dirty Little Secrets and Club Sin series. She writes deeply emotional romances about powerful men and the wild women who tame them. When she’s not writing sensual stories, she spends her time in southwestern Ontario with her real life hero, her husband, their two young children, and her other babies: a mini labradoodle named Jax and a chocolate labrador named Murphy. Stacey is a proud chocolate, television show, Urban Barn, and wine addict. She likes her heroes in her books like she likes her coffee . . . strong and hot!