Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: The Crush by Penelope Ward

Title: The Crush
Author: Penelope Ward
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2021
BLURB
From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone, second-chance story of forbidden love… 
It’s natural to want the one you can’t have. And for as long as I could remember, I’d secretly wanted my brother’s best friend, Jace.
He was six years older and always treated me like the sister he never had.
Fast forward a decade.
We were all in our twenties now. Jace had moved in with my brother, Nathan, and me to help us make ends meet after our parents died.
It was just the three of us—an odd family dynamic.
Living under our roof, Jace was as bossy and protective as ever.
But he certainly didn’t look at me like a sister anymore. That was what made things so complicated.
I was pretty much hot and bothered twenty-four-seven.
And he was torn.
The signs were subtle, at first. Like on movie night, I’d casually rest my leg against his, and he wouldn’t exactly shift away.
Still, I assumed he would never…go there. 
Nathan would kill us.
The knowledge of that wasn’t enough to stop the inevitable, though.
Eventually our slow burn exploded.
But more than the physical attraction, we’d developed a strong connection.
We just couldn’t get caught, right?
That sounded simple.
Until it wasn’t.
This is a story of forbidden love, broken trust, and an unexpected second chance.
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EXCERPT
“I’m gonna grab a beer,” he said. “You want something?”
“I’ll take a beer, too.”
He chuckled. “Is it bad that I had to think for a second whether you’re legal to drink? It feels wrong giving you alcohol, for some reason.”
“You’ve dropped me off at the damn bar! How could you think that?”
“I know. It’s fucked-up.” He laughed as he walked backwards into the house. “Be right back.”
A minute later, Jace returned with two chilled bottles of Miller Lite. He popped one open and handed it to me.
“Thanks.” I took a long sip that felt great going down.
We polished off the rest of the food, and by the time I finished the beer, I felt pretty tipsy. Between the soft breeze blowing Jace’s scent my way and the buzz, I was on cloud nine.
Jace took it upon himself to clear our wrappers and napkins, stuffing everything into the paper bag. As he went back into the kitchen, he asked, “Want another beer?”
“I’d love one.”
When he returned, he set the bottle in front of me and sat back down. He put his feet up on an empty chair and leaned his head back, closing his eyes.
He sighed. “This is exactly what I needed…to chill at home.”
That made me happy. “Give your head a break tonight. You can always worry about work tomorrow.”
“Yeah. I think I’m gonna take your advice on that.”
While his eyes were closed, I was able to enjoy staring at his profile—his strong, angular jaw and slightly cleft chin, his perfect nose and kissable lips, the way the sun brought out a reddish tone in his otherwise black hair. Jace was even more beautiful with the sun shining on him.
I eventually closed my eyes as well, enjoying the breeze that offset a little of the heat. My eyes opened suddenly when I heard his chair skid against the cement.
“Fuck it.” He got up. “I’ll be right back.”
My heart raced a little. What is he doing?
A few minutes later, Jace returned in his swim trunks. They were blue with tiny anchors, a nautical pattern. Not that I was looking closely at his lower half or anything. I’d just started to make my way up to his chest when he dove into the pool, his gorgeous, hard body disappearing under the sky blue water.
He emerged and shook his head to clear the water from his hair. “You comin’ in or what?”
I got goose bumps. I hadn’t planned to, but I couldn’t resist the invitation.
“Sure.” I got up from my seat and unwrapped the towel.
Jace watched as I entered the pool. But what was he thinking?
I dove in and swam toward him, feeling more comfortable in my bathing suit now that I was submerged in the water.
He flashed a mischievous grin. “Wanna race?”
I splashed him. “Why? You think you can beat me just cuz your legs are longer?”
He cocked a brow. “There’s only one way to find out, right?”
Over the next several minutes, Jace and I swam in tandem from one end of the pool to the other. Sometimes he’d beat me to the other side, and a few times, I beat him.
Eventually, we got into a water fight. The next thing I knew, he was chasing me, then lifting me up and tossing me in the water. He did that several times. It was the most fun I’d had in a long time. I hadn’t a care in the world.
Then he lifted me up again, and I was certain he was going to toss me into the water, just like all of the other times. Instead, though, he just held me. Our eyes locked as my legs wrapped around his waist. He was going to have to drop me, because I sure as hell wasn’t climbing off him willingly. As he continued to hold me, the world seemed to stop. I could see the reflection of the palm trees in his gorgeous eyes, made luminescent by the sun. Those eyes then dropped to my lips. I could see his chest rising and falling. He swallowed hard. Holy shit. Something was happening. My heart was going a mile a minute.
And then…
“What are you doing?”
Jace dropped me like a hot potato at the sound of Nathan’s voice. My body hit the water with a loud splash.
What the hell is he doing here? My voice was shaky as I wiped the water from my eyes. “Wha…why are you home? I thought you were driving to meet that girl.”
“She canceled on me, so I came back after the job interview.” Nathan’s eyes traveled between Jace and me. He seemed suspicious.
“Oh.” I exhaled, moving a strand of hair out of my mouth. “How…how did the interview go?”
“It was okay. Too hard to tell if they’re gonna call me back, though.” He looked straight at Jace. “You guys seemed to be having fun. Didn’t realize I was missing out on a…pool party.”
Jace was silent.
I felt the need to chime in. “Jace decided to take his debut dip in the pool. We were just playing around.”
Nathan looked between us again. “I see.”
Jace finally spoke. “Well, it’s hot as all hell today. So…”
“You guys down if I make some dinner?” Nathan finally asked.
“We actually already ate,” I told him. “Jace went to Checkers.”
Nathan turned to his friend. “Since when do you eat dinner this early?”
Jace cleared his throat. “I was starving.”
“We didn’t think you were going to be home,” I said. “Otherwise, we would’ve waited.”
“I guess I’ll give you that.”
Jace got out of the water and dried himself off. He then laid out on one of the loungers, displaying his gorgeous, tanned body in all of its glistening glory. His feet dangled off the end of the chair.
Nathan snapped his fingers in front of my face. “I asked if I got anything in the mail. Earth to Farrah.”
Jesus. I hadn’t even heard him the first time.
AUTHOR BIO
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.
 
She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.
 
With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.
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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order + Giveaway: Beneath the Stars by A.L. Jackson

Beneath the Stars Excerpt Blitz

A Friends-to-Lovers Rockstar Romance from A.L. Jackson

Coming February 22nd

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Beneath the Stars is coming 02/22, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the except blitz. Check out the fire that is coming to you in this friends-to-lovers romance!

 

“Just how strong are ya, Mag Pie? Think you can sling me on that back and carry me inside?” He managed to only half slur the words.

Droplets of giddiness dripped into my chest. A well gathering fast. “You’re asking me if I can lift a Mack truck?” 

“Hell, no. Just if you can tackle a stallion.”

He waggled his brows, though it was sloppy and goofy and kind of adorable, and god, how easily I could fall for this man.

Like slipping into quicksand. 

“What would you say if I wanted to try?” I whispered, throat so tight it was difficult to speak. 

He grunted. “I’d say that sounds like a mistake.” 

“I thought you said I needed to make a few mistakes along the way?” I lifted my chin, my eyes searching his face in the darkness.

He forced a grin that felt wholly faked. “Ahhh…a few mistakes are called for. But believe me, baby, you don’t want this kind of tragedy.” 

“Rhys—” 

He shook his head to cut me off. “Don’t.” 

I glanced back at the house. “I really should get Royce. He can help me get you inside.” 

Rhys huffed out a laugh, shoving off the darkness that had gathered around him like a violent storm. He cocked a playful grin. “Think I’ve received my full allotment of death threats from your brother today, thank you very much. I can make it just fine.” 

“Death threats?” 

“Let’s just say he made our boundaries very clear.” He gestured at the bare space between us. “Just so you know, we’re already crossin’ them.” 

I scowled. “When?” 

“Doesn’t matter.” 

I huffed a sigh. 

Freaking Royce. 

“Richard?” I offered instead. 

“Nope. Good as new. Can’t keep a good man down.” His words were all slurry and mushed together.

He hopped up like he was going to prove the point. 

Only he stumbled three feet to the side. 

A goliath who swayed. 

I jumped up and rushed to his side. “Whoa there, cowboy. You keep it up, and you’re definitely going down.”

He leaned against me, slinging his arm over my shoulders. 

The man heavy and hard and pure masculinity. 

He staggered a bit, and I struggled to keep him upright, because holy crap, he was made of brick. 

Suddenly, his nose was in my hair. “Why you gotta smell so good, Mags? And this dress.” 

My brain was short-circuiting with him this close. 

With the words that slipped from his mouth so errantly. 

With the way his fingertips grazed over the silky fabric in the barest brush.

Wildfire. 

It consumed my flesh.

But it was my heart that was at risk. 

 

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“AL Jackson wrecked me and put me back together with this book. I fell for Rhys and Maggie’s story from page one!”

-Jessica Prince, Romance Author

 


 

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A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, and FALLING STARS novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, BENEATH THE STARS, releasing February 22nd.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

 

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Excerpt Reveal: The Invitation by Vi Keeland

Title: The Invitation
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2021
Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, The Invitation? Check out this SNEAK PEEK of CHAPTER 1!
CHAPTER 1 

Stella 
“I can’t do this…” I stopped halfway up the marble staircase. 
Fisher paused a few steps ahead of me. He walked back down to where I stood. “Sure you can. Remember the time we were in sixth grade and you had to make that presentation about your favorite president? You were a nervous wreck. You thought you were going to forget everything you’d memorized and be standing there with everyone staring at you.” 
“Yes, what about it?” 
“Well, this is no different. You got through that, didn’t you?” 
Fisher had lost his mind. “My fears all came true that day. I got up in front of the blackboard and started to sweat. I couldn’t remember a single word I’d written. Everyone in the class stared, and then you heckled me.” 
Fisher nodded. “Exactly. Your worst fear came true, and yet you lived to see another day. In fact, that day turned out to be the best day of your life.” 
I shook my head, bewildered. “How so?” 
“That was the first time we’d ever been in the same class. I thought you were just another annoying girl like the rest of them. But after school that day, you ripped into me for teasing you while you were trying to do your presentation. That made me realize you weren’t like the other girls. And that very day I decided we were going to be best friends.” 
I shook my head. “I didn’t speak to you for the rest of the school year.” 
Fisher shrugged. “Yeah, but I won you over the next year, didn’t I? And right now you feel a little calmer than you did two minutes ago, don’t you?” 
I sighed. “I guess I do.” 
He held out his tuxedo-clad elbow. “Shall we go in?” 
I swallowed. As terrified as I was of what we were about to do, I also couldn’t wait to see what the inside of the library looked like all done up for a wedding. I’d spent countless hours sitting on these steps, wondering about the people walking by. 
Fisher waited patiently with his elbow out while I debated another minute. Finally, with another loud sigh, I took his arm. “If we wind up in jail, you’re going to have to come up with the bail money for both of us. I’m way too broke.” 
He flashed his movie-star smile. “Deal.” 
As we climbed the remaining steps to the doors of the New York Public Library, I went over all of the details we’d discussed in the Uber on the way here. Our names for the evening were Evelyn Whitley and Maximilian Reynard. Max was in real estate—his family owned Reynard Properties—and I’d gotten my MBA at Wharton and recently moved back to the City. We both lived on the Upper East Side—at least that part was true. 
Two uniformed waiters wearing white gloves stood at the towering entrance doors. One held a tray of champagne flutes, and the other a clipboard. Though my legs somehow kept going, my heart felt like it was trying to escape from my chest and take off in the opposite direction. 
“Good evening.” The waiter with the clipboard nodded. “May I have your names, please?” 
Fisher didn’t flinch as he doled out the first of what would be a night full of lies. 
The man, who I noticed had an earpiece in, scanned his list and nodded. He held a hand out for us to enter, and his partner handed us each bubbly. “Welcome. The ceremony will take place in the rotunda. Seating for the bride is on your left.” 
“Thank you,” Fisher said. As soon as we were out of earshot, he leaned close. “See? Easy peasy.” He sipped his champagne. “Oooh, this is good.” 
I had no idea how he was so calm. Then again, I also had no idea how he’d managed to talk me into this insanity. Two months ago, I’d come home from work to find Fisher, who was also my neighbor, raiding my refrigerator for leftovers—a common occurrence. As he ate two-day-old chicken Milanese, I’d sat at the kitchen table sorting through my mail and having a glass of wine. While we talked, I’d sliced open the back of an oversized envelope without checking the address on the front. The most stunning wedding invitation had been inside—black and white with raised gold leaf. It was like a gilded work of art. And the wedding was at the New York Public Library, of all places—right near my old office and where I’d often sat and had my lunch on the iconic stairs. I hadn’t visited in at least a year, so I was seriously pumped to get to go to a wedding there. 
Though I’d had no idea whose wedding it was—a distant relative I’d forgotten, maybe? The names weren’t even vaguely familiar. When I turned the envelope over, I quickly realized why. I’d opened my ex-roommate’s mail. Ugh. That figured. It wasn’t me who was invited to a fairytale wedding at one of my favorite places in the world. 
But after a couple of glasses of wine, Fisher had convinced me it should be me going, and not Evelyn. It was the least my deadbeat ex-roommate could do for me, he’d said. After all, she’d snuck out in the middle of the night, taken some of my favorite shoes with her, and the check she’d left behind for the two months of back rent she owed had bounced. At a minimum, I ought to get to attend a ritzy, thousand-dollars-a-plate wedding, rather than her. Lord knew none of my friends were ever getting married at a venue like that. By the time we’d polished off the second bottle of merlot, Fisher had decided we would go in Evelyn’s place—crash the wedding for a fun night out, compliments of my no-good former roomie. Fisher had even filled out the response card, writing that two guests would attend, and slipped it into his back pocket to mail the next day. 
I’d honestly forgotten all about our drunken plans until two weeks ago when Fisher came home with a tuxedo he’d borrowed from a friend for the upcoming nuptials. I’d balked and told him I wasn’t going to crash some expensive wedding for people I didn’t know, and he’d done what he always did: gotten me to think his bad idea wasn’t really that bad. 
Until now. I stood in the middle of the sprawling lobby of what was probably a two-hundred-thousand-dollar wedding and felt like I might literally pee my pants. 
“Drink your champagne,” Fisher said. “It’ll help you relax a bit and put some color back in your cheeks. You look like you’re about to attempt to tell the class why you like John Quincy Adams so much.” 
I squinted at Fisher, though he smiled back, undeterred. I was certain nothing was going to help me loosen up. But nevertheless, I gulped back the contents of my glass. 
Fisher tucked one hand casually into his trouser pocket and looked around with his head held high, like he didn’t have a fear in the world. “I haven’t seen my old friend party animal Stella in a long time,” he said. “Might she come out to play tonight?” 
I handed him my empty champagne flute. “Shut up and go find me another glass before I bolt.” 
He chuckled. “No problem, Evelyn. You just sit tight and try not to blow our cover before we even get to see the beautiful bride.” 
“Beautiful? You don’t even know what she looks like.” 
“All brides look beautiful. That’s why they wear a veil—so you can’t see the ugly ones, and everything is magical on their special day.” 
“That’s so romantic.” 
Fisher winked. “Not everyone can be as pretty as me.” 
Three glasses of champagne helped calm me enough to sit through the wedding ceremony. And the bride definitely didn’t need a veil. Olivia Rothschild—or Olivia Royce, as she would be now—was gorgeous. I got a little teary eyed watching the groom say his vows. It was a shame the happy couple weren’t really my friends, because one of their groomsmen was insanely attractive. I might’ve daydreamed that Livi—that’s what I called her in my head—would fix me up with her new hubby’s buddy. But alas, tonight was a ruse, and I was no Cinderella story. 
The cocktail hour took place in a beautiful room I’d never been in. I studied the artwork on the ceiling as I waited at the bar for my drink. Fisher had told me he needed to use the restroom, but I had a feeling he’d really snuck off to talk to the handsome waiter who had been eyeing him since we’d walked in. 
“Here you go, miss.” The bartender slid a drink over to me. 
“Thank you.” I took a quick look around to see if anyone was paying attention before dipping my nose inside the glass and taking a deep sniff. Definitely not what I ordered. 
“Ummm, excuse me. Is it possible you made this with Beefeater gin and not Hendricks?” 
The bartender frowned. “I don’t think so.” 
I sniffed a second time, now certain he’d made it wrong. 
A man’s voice to my left caught me off guard. “You didn’t even taste it, yet you think he poured the wrong gin?” 
I smiled politely. “Beefeater is made with juniper, orange peels, bitter almond, and blended teas, which produces a licorice taste. Hendricks is made of juniper, rose, and cucumber. There’s a different smell to each.” 
“Are you drinking it straight or on the rocks?” 
“Neither. It’s a gin martini, so it has vermouth.” 
“But you think you can smell that he used the wrong gin, without even tasting it?” The guy’s voice made it clear he didn’t think I could. 
“I have a very good sense of smell.” 
The man looked over my shoulder. “Hey, Hudson, I got a hundred bucks that says she can’t tell the difference between the two gins if we line them up.” 
A second man’s voice came from my right, this one behind my shoulder a bit. The sound was deep, yet velvety and smooth—sort of like the gin the bartender should’ve used to make my drink. 
“Make it two hundred, and you’re on.” 
Turning to get a look at the man willing to wager on my abilities, I felt my eyes widen. 
Oh. Wow. The gorgeous guy from the bridal party. I’d stared at him during most of the wedding. He was handsome from afar, but up close he was breathtaking in a way that made my belly flutter—dark hair, tanned skin, a chiseled jawline, and luscious, full lips. The way his hair was styled—slicked back and parted to the side—reminded me of an old-time movie star. What I hadn’t been able to see from the back row during the ceremony was the intensity of his ocean blue eyes. Those were currently scanning my face like I was a book. 
I cleared my throat. “You’re going to bet two-hundred dollars that I can identify gin?” 
The gorgeous man stepped forward, and my olfactory sense perked up. Now that smells better than any gin. I wasn’t sure if it was his cologne or some sort of a body wash, but whatever it was, it took everything in my power to not lean toward him and take a deep whiff. The sinfully sexy man smelled as good as he looked. That pairing was my kryptonite. 
There was a hint of amusement in his voice. “Are you telling me it’s a bad bet?” 
I shook my head and turned back to speak to his friend. “I’ll play along with your little bet, but I’m in for two hundred, too.” 
When my eyes returned to the handsome man on my right, the corner of his lip twitched just slightly. “Nice.” He lifted his chin to his friend. “Tell the bartender to pour a shot of Beefeater and a shot of Hendricks. Line ’em up in front of her, and don’t let us know which is which.” 
A minute later, I lifted the first shot glass and sniffed. It honestly wasn’t even necessary for me to smell the other, though I did it anyway, just to be safe. Damn… I should’ve bet more. This was too easy, like taking candy from a baby. I slid one shot glass forward and spoke to the waiting bartender. “This one is the Hendricks.” 
The bartender looked impressed. “She’s right.” 
“Damn it,” the guy who had started this game huffed. He dug into his front pocket, pulled out an impressive billfold, and peeled off four hundred-dollar bills. Tossing them in our direction on top of the bar, he shook his head. “I’ll win it back by Monday.” 
Gorgeous Guy smiled at me as he collected his cash. Once I took mine, he lowered his head to whisper in my ear. 
“Nice job.” 
Oh myHis hot breath sent a shiver down my spine. It had been way too long since I’d had contact with a man. Sadly, my knees felt a little weak. But I forced myself to ignore it. “Thank you.” 
He reached around me to the bar and lifted one of the shots. Bringing it to his nose, he sniffed before setting it back down and smelling the other. 
“I don’t smell anything different.” 
“That just means you have a normal sense of smell.” 
“Ah, I see. And yours is…extraordinary?” 
I smiled. “Why yes, it is.” 
He looked amused as he passed me one of the shots and held the other up in toast. “To being extraordinary,” he said. 
I wasn’t generally a shot drinker, but what the hell? I clinked my glass with his before knocking it back. Maybe the alcohol would help settle the nerves this man seemed to have jolted awake. 
I set my empty shot glass on the bar next to his. “I take it this is something the two of you do on a regular basis, since your friend plans to win it back by Monday?” 
“Jack’s family and mine have been friends since we were kids. But the betting started when we went to the same college. I’m a Notre Dame fan, and he’s a USC fan. We were broke back then, so we used to bet a Taser zap on games.” 
“A Taser zap?” 
“His father was a cop. He gave him a Taser to keep under his car seat just in case. But I don’t think he envisioned his son taking hits of fifty-thousand volts when a last-minute interception made his team lose.” 
I shook my head. “That’s a little crazy.” 
“Definitely not our wisest decision. At least I won a lot more than he did. A little brain damage might help explain some of his choices in college.” 
I laughed. “So today was just a continuation of that pattern, then?” 
“Pretty much.” He smiled and extended his hand. “I’m Hudson, by the way.” 
“Nice to meet you. I’m St—” I caught myself in the nick of time. “I’m Evelyn.” 
“So are you a gin aficionado, Evelyn? Is that why I didn’t smell anything different between the two?” 
I smiled. “I wouldn’t consider myself an aficionado of gin, no. To be honest, I mostly drink wine. But did I mention my occupation? I’m a fragrance chemist—a perfumist.” 
“You make perfume?” 
I nodded. “Among other things. I developed scents for a cosmetics and fragrance company for six years. Sometimes it was a new perfume, other times it was the scent for a wipe that removes makeup, or maybe a cosmetic that needs a more pleasant smell.” 
“Pretty sure I never met a perfumist before.” 
I smiled. “Is it as exciting as you’d hoped?” 
He chuckled. “What exactly is the training for a job like that?” 
“Well, I have a chemistry degree. But you can have all the education you want, and you still won’t be able to do the job unless you also have hyperosmia.” 
“And that is…” 
“An enhanced ability to smell odors, an increased olfactory acuity.” 
“So you’re good at smelling shit?” 
I laughed. “Exactly.” 
A lot of people think they have a good sense of smell, but they don’t really understand how heightened the sense is for someone with hyperosmia. Demonstrating always worked best. Plus, I really wanted to know what cologne he was wearing. So, I leaned in and took a deep inhale of Hudson. 
Exhaling, I said, “Dove soap.” 
He didn’t look completely sold. “Yes, but that’s a pretty common soap choice.” 
I smiled. “You didn’t let me finish. Dove Cool Moisture. It’s got cucumber and green tea in it—also a common ingredient in gins, by the way. And you use L’Oreal Elvive shampoo, same as me. I can smell gardenia tahitensis flower extract, rosa canina flower extract, and a slight hint of coconut oil. Oh, and you use Irish Spring deodorant. I don’t think you’re wearing any cologne, actually.” 
Hudson’s brows rose. “Now that’s impressive. The wedding party stayed in a hotel last night, and I forgot to pack my cologne.” 
“Which one do you normally wear?” 
“Ah… I can’t tell you that. What will we do on our second date for entertainment if we don’t play the sniff test?” 
“Our second date? I didn’t realize we were going to have a first.” 
Hudson smiled and held out his hand. “The night’s young, Evelyn. Dance with me?” 
A knot in the pit of my stomach warned me it was a bad idea. Fisher and I were supposed to stick together and limit contact with other people to minimize our chances of getting caught. But glancing around, my date was nowhere in sight. Plus, this man was seriously magnetic. Somehow, before my brain even finished debating the pros and cons, I found myself putting my hand in his. He led me to the dance floor and wrapped one arm around my waist, leading with the other. Not surprisingly, he knew how to dance. 
“So, Evelyn with the extraordinary sense of smell, I’ve never seen you before. Are you a guest or a plus one?” He looked around the room. “Is some guy giving me the evil eye behind my back right now? Am I going to need to get Jack’s Taser from the car to ward off a jealous boyfriend?” 
I laughed. “I am here with someone, but he’s just a friend.” 
“The poor guy…” 
I smiled. Hudson’s flirting was over the top, yet I gobbled it up. “Fisher is more interested in the guy who was passing out champagne than me.” 
Hudson held me a little closer. “I like your date much better than I did thirty seconds ago.” 
Goose bumps prickled my arms as he lowered his head, and his nose briefly brushed against my neck. 
“You smell incredible. Are you wearing one of the perfumes you make?” 
“I am. But it’s not one that can be ordered. I like the idea of having a true signature scent that someone can remember me by.” 
“I don’t think you need the perfume to be remembered.” 
He led me around the dance floor with such grace, I wondered if he had taken professional lessons. Most men his age thought slow dancing meant rocking back and forth and grinding an erection against you. 
“You’re a good dancer,” I said. 
Hudson responded by twirling us around. “My mother was a professional ballroom dancer. Learning wasn’t an option; it was a requirement if I wanted to be fed.” 
I laughed. “That’s really cool. Did you ever consider following in her footsteps?” 
“Absolutely not. I grew up watching her suffer with hip bursitis, stress fractures, torn ligaments—it’s definitely not the glamorous profession they make it out to be on all those dance-contest TV shows. You gotta love what you do for a job like that.” 
“I think you have to love what you do for any job.” 
“That’s a very good point.” 
The song came to an end, and the emcee told everyone to take their seats. 
“Where are you sitting?” Hudson asked. 
I pointed to the side of the room where Fisher and I had been seated. “Somewhere over there. Table Sixteen.” 
He nodded. “I’ll walk you.” 
We approached the table at the same moment as Fisher, who was coming from the other direction. He looked between Hudson and me, and his face asked the question he didn’t say aloud. 
“Umm…this is my friend Fisher. Fisher, this is Hudson.” 
Hudson extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.” 
After shaking with a silent Fisher, who seemed to have forgotten how to speak, he turned to me and took my hand once again. “I should get back to my table with the rest of the wedding party.” 
“Okay.” 
“Save a dance for me later?” 
I smiled. “I’d love to.” 
Hudson turned to walk away and then turned back. As he walked backwards, he called, “In case you pull a Cinderella on me and disappear, what’s your last name, Evelyn?” 
Thankfully, him using my fake name reminded me not to give him my real one as I’d almost done the first time. “It’s Whitley.” 
“Whitley?” 
Oh GodDid he know Evelyn? 
His eyes swept over my face. “Beautiful name. I’ll see you later.” 
“Uhh…okay, sure.” 
When Hudson was barely out of earshot, Fisher leaned close to me. “My name’s supposed to be Maximilian, sweetheart.” 
“Oh my God, Fisher. We have to leave.” 
“Nah.” He shrugged. “It’s no big deal. We made up Maximilian anyway. I’m your plus one. No one knows the name of the person Evelyn brought. Though I still want to play a real estate tycoon.” 
“No, it’s not that.” 
“Then what is it?” 
“We have to leave because he knows…” 
★★★ 

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AUTHOR BIO
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: One Time Only by Lauren Blakely

ONE TIME ONLY by Lauren Blakely

Release Date: November 18th

Add to Goodreads:

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An all-new fiery, passionate MM romance novel from #1 New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Blakely!! ONE TIME ONLY is coming in Audio on November 16th and eBook on November 18th!

CHECK OUT TODAY’S LITTLE SNEAK PEEK BELOW!!

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✦Audible ➜ ONE TIME ONLY is performed by Jacob Morgan and Teddy Hamilton!

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Excerpt:

“And what’s it going to take for you to have a clear mind?”

He inhales deeply, then licks his lips. “Maybe it’s going to take going through the distraction, rather than ignoring it.”

Ohhhh.

Keep talking. I am listening.

“And how would you like to do that?” I let him lay it out. He’s the one with the bigger risks, the one with the job worries.

He gives a casual, sexy shrug. “Maybe we need to deal with it.”

In the bedroom. Please say in the bedroom.

“How?”

“Get it out of our systems.”

And there it is. The recipe for my favorite kind of activity.

“Get it out of our systems . . . tonight?” I ask, waiting on a tightrope for the answer.

“One time only. Then I can think.”

My chest heats, and my lips form the only answer in my universe. “Far be it from me to stand in the way of your logic.”

Blurb:
A fiery, passionate MM forbidden romance novel from #1 New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Blakely…

Ever hear the story about the bodyguard who falls for the rock star?

Yeah, it never ends well.

Each day I remind myself that it’s my job to protect Stone. And nowhere in the job description does it say I should lust after the charismatic, charming man.

Especially since we’re opposites.

But every night I spend with him the dangerous, off-limits attraction grows more intense.

Until one night in a limo when we combust.

One time only will have to be enough. One scorching, forbidden night.

Because the mistakes from the past are chasing me. And if I give in again, I’ll lose everything.

But sometimes you grab hold of the desire. And other times, the desire takes hold of you.

No matter the cost.

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About the Author:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling, #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and #1 Audible
Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s
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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: Happily Letter After by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

Title: Happily Letter After
Authors: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 20, 2020
BLURB
From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes a love story about taking chances and the surprises that come with them. 

My love story all started with a letter. 
Only it wasn’t from the man I’d eventually fall in love with. It was from his daughter. A sweet little girl named Birdie Maxwell who’d written to the magazine that I worked for. 
You see, once a year my employer fulfilled a few wishes for readers. Only that column didn’t start up again for months. 
So I fulfilled some of her wishes myself. It was harmless…so I thought. Until one day I took things too far. 
While anonymously granting yet another of Birdie’s wishes, I got a look at her father. Her devastatingly handsome, single dad father. 
I should have stopped playing fairy godmother then. I should have left well enough alone. But I just couldn’t help myself. I had a connection to this girl. One that had me acting irrationally. 
Like when I showed up on their doorstep.
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EXCERPT
Copyright © 2019 by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward 

“I cannot believe we are doing this.” Devin and I took the C train to Columbus Circle and stopped at Starbucks before walking over to the carousel. My partner in crime came dressed for surveillance, wearing head-to-toe black, dark sun- glasses, and a wool cap . . . in July. We were lucky it was New York or she might look like the weirdo she is. I, on the other hand, had on jeans and an Aerosmith T-shirt. Because . . . you know . . . Steven Tyler and those lips. I didn’t even care he was probably pushing seventy. I’d still suck on those babies. 
We took a seat on a bench located to the right of the carousel—not directly in front of it but where we could still see everyone who walked in and out. As we got into position, I started to feel really bad about what we were about to do—invade little Birdie’s privacy. 
“Maybe we shouldn’t do this.” 
Devin put her hand on my shoulder and applied pressure—just in case I tried to get up. “We’re doing this. Don’t even try to make a run for it.” 
I slouched back onto the bench. “Fine.” 
We sat for the better part of an hour, sipping coffee, gossiping about work, and looking around for a little girl and her dad. When I caught the time on my phone, I said, “It’s after eleven. I don’t think they’re coming.” 
“Let’s give it until eleven thirty.” 
I rolled my eyes. But screw it, we were in this far—I might as well go along with the rest of the ride. Otherwise, Devin would never let me hear the end of it. At eleven thirty on the dot, I stood. “Let’s go, Lacey.” 
“Who?” 
Cagney & Lacey. It was a show my mom used to watch when I was little. It had two women detectives.” 
“Well, which one was hotter? Maybe I don’t want to be Lacey.” 
I laughed. “You can be whichever one you want to be.” 
I turned to throw out my coffee cup in the basket next to the bench and was just about to start to leave when I spotted a little girl and a man who had just turned into the entrance of the park. They were pretty far off, but I thought it could be Birdie. “Oh my God. Sit! Sit! I think that’s them.” 
The two of us planted our asses back on the bench at the same exact time. Devin leaned forward and squinted. “Are you sure?” 
I grabbed her arm and pulled her to sit back. “Don’t be so obvious.” 
We watched, while completely failing at looking casual, as the man and the little girl moved closer. The man was tall, broad-shouldered, and had on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. He was holding the hand of the little girl. And she had on . . . a bodysuit and tutu. It was definitely Birdie! 
“Oh my God. It’s them!” 
Neither of us said a word as the father and daughter approached the carousel. When they got close enough so I could finally see their faces, I gasped. “Oh my God. He’s . . .” 
Devin grabbed my hand. “I call dibs. I want to have his babies.” 
I couldn’t believe my eyes. While I was expecting a modern version of my dad twenty years ago, the man standing before me was anything but. For the record, my dad is awesome, and he’s not too shabby-looking. But this man . . . was . . . drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Wow. Just . . . yeah. Wow. 
Sebastian Maxwell had dark hair, bone structure to die for, and full, beautiful lips. I’d joked how Devin thought the guy was a super- model, but this man could actually be a supermodel. He had that longish, messy hair—the kind that he could drag a hand through, and it would look like he’d been both thoroughly fucked and just finished a photo shoot. Yeah, that was him. I was absolutely, positively speechless.
VI KEELAND
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
PENELOPE WARD
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance. 

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism. 
With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.
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Free in Kindle Unlimited
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Excerpt Blitz: Falling Into You by A.L. Jackson

Falling into You
A Falling Stars stand-alone romance from A.L. Jackson
Coming September 21st

 

I swooped her up. She squealed in surprise, and then she wrapped her arms around my neck and melted into me.

I carried her into her room. The whole time, I kissed her slow and desperate.

She whimpered and sighed, that honeyed tongue playing and dancing and teasing against mine.

Strokes and licks.

Desire lapped and sizzled and flamed.

Growing in strength.

I only stopped long enough to shut her door and click the lock before I set her in the middle of her room. “Let me look at you.”

“I think you’ve been lookin’ at me all night,” she teased.

A rough chuckle curled up my chest. “Not possible to pay attention to anything else when I’ve got heaven staring back at me.”

Heat crept up her chest and splashed her cheeks.

Girl so fucking sexy and so fucking sweet.

“You wreck me, Violet. Absolutely destroy me.”

“You ruined me the first time you touched me.”

“Hope you’re good with me touchin’ you time and time again.” It came out a warning.

She breezed out the wisp of a sigh. “I’m just fine with you ripping me apart while you’re keeping me together.”

Lust burst in my blood. A dam breaking way and sweeping away all control.

Need overwhelming.

Crushing.

Guts tied up and body aching to get lost in this girl.

“Gonna devour every inch of that delicious body,” I muttered, voice scraping the heated air.

Energy banged against the walls.

Trembled underfoot.

“You better.” I heard it for what it was. A demand.

My hands drove into her hair, and I jerked her mouth against mine in a punishing kiss.

She returned it, this girl giving me her all.

My hands found her neck, and I rode them all the way down to tease at her nipples through the clingy fabric. “This dress. This fucking dress, Violet. You are killing me, baby. Can’t handle how bad I want you. Every second. Every day. Not ever gonna let you go.”

“That’s good because I won’t let you leave me.” She pushed her hands to my chest and ran them up under my jacket, shoving it from my shoulders. I twisted out of it and let it drop to the floor, my hands rushing back to grip her by the hips.

I tugged her against my throbbing cock. “Feel that? What you do to me?”

Violet whimpered, and she started jerking through the buttons on my shirt. “I want to feel it. Want to feel it all.”

Yes-fucking-please.

 

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“Gripping, passionate, romantic and suspenseful, Richard and Violet’s love story is perfectly imperfect. It’s also everything I could hope for and a whole lot more!!!!”
Susan, Goodreads Reviewer

 

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A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, and FALLING STARS novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, FALLING INTO YOU, releasing September 21st.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: The Anti-Boyfriend by Penelope Ward

 

Title: The Anti-Boyfriend
Author: Penelope Ward
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 31, 2020

 

Blurb

 

From New York Times bestselling author
Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.
At first,
my neighbor Deacon frustrated me.
Sure, he
was great-looking and friendly.
But our
walls were thin, and on occasion, he’d bring women to his place and keep me
awake while he “entertained” them.
As a single
mother to an infant, I didn’t appreciate it.
So, finally
it was my turn.
When my
daughter wouldn’t stop wailing one night, Mr. Manwhore came knocking on my
door.

Miraculously,
at the sound of his voice, Sunny stopped crying. And when he held her…she
eventually fell asleep in his arms.
Deacon was
rough on the exterior, but apparently on the inside? Mr.
Single-and-Ready-to-Mingle was a baby whisperer.
After that
night, we became friends.
He’d go for
coffee runs. Come over to chat. Normal friend stuff.
But over
time, our conversations ran deeper. We got closer.
Until one
night we crossed the line.
Our
friendship turned into a complicated mess.
I’d gone
and fallen for a guy who’d sworn off commitment and kids.
I knew
Deacon was starting to care for me too, even though Sunny and I didn’t fit into
any plan he’d ever imagined for himself.
He was
wrong for me—so wrong that I’d dubbed him the “anti-boyfriend.”
Then why
did I wish more than anything that I could be the one woman to change him?

 

Pre-Order Links

 

Excerpt

 

Copyright © 2020
By Penelope Ward
Today, just as I got back to my door, Deacon was exiting his apartment.
“Oh, hey, Carys-Like-Paris. How goes it?” He flashed a wide smile.
When people ask me my name, for some stupid reason, I sometimes answer,
“Carys, like Paris,” particularly when I’m nervous. That was the case the first
time I met Deacon.
A whiff of his amazing smell put my body on alert. He looked handsome as
always. Today he wore a camel-colored suede coat with a shearling collar. His
blue eyes, which stood out against his tanned skin, glimmered under the
fluorescent lights overhead, which also brought out the copper tint to his
otherwise medium-brown hair. He was at least six-foot-two—a beanstalk to my
five-foot-four self.
This was my opportunity to bring up last night. But now that he was right
here, towering over me, his musky smell saturating the air, I seemed to have
lost the words. Still, I was determined to speak up now or never.
My heartbeat accelerated. Here
goes.
Still out of breath from my sprint up the stairs, I said, “Well,
honestly, in answer to your question… I’d love to say I’m doing great, but I
had a hard time getting to sleep last night. So, I’ve been better.”
He frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Actually, it’s sort of your fault.”
Deacon’s forehead crinkled. “My fault?”
“Yeah. I don’t know if you realize this, but your bed is right up against
mine, on the opposite side of the wall. Your…interactions…last night woke me up, and I had a hard time getting
back to sleep.”
Boom.
There.
Said it.
Deacon closed his eyes momentarily. “Shit. I’m sorry. I didn’t know you
were right behind me.”
“Yeah. It’s basically like I’m…right there.”
“Well, that was rude of me. I should’ve invited you to join.”
What? It felt
like all my blood rushed to my head.
He held out his palms. “I’m kidding. Bad sense of humor comes out when I
feel awkward, I guess.”
Slipping a piece of my hair behind my ear, I brushed off his comment. “I
know you’re kidding.”
“Totally kidding.” He smiled. “But I’ll try to be more considerate now
that I know you can hear everything. You should’ve said something.”
I tilted my head. “How exactly would that have worked? Barging in on two
naked people? That’s why I’m saying something now.”
“Solid point. But I take it last night wasn’t the first time you
overheard things?”
I looked down at my feet. “No, it wasn’t.”
“You could’ve banged on the wall or something.”
“I’m not one to rudely interrupt someone’s…personal happenings. I just
wanted you to be aware of the situation. We don’t need to discuss it further.”
“Maybe we should come up with a code.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, If I’m disturbing your peace, you play a song and crank it up to
send me a message.” He snapped his fingers. “Something ironic like ‘The Sounds
of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel.”
“Can’t exactly crank up a song when a baby is sleeping.”
His smile faded. “See? That goes to show you how clueless I am. Clueless
and so sorry, Carys. Truly. I’ll try not to let it happen again.”
“It better not, fuckboy!” a voice shouted from behind one of the
apartment doors.
Deacon and I turned around in unison. I noticed Mrs. Winsbanger’s door
move across the hall. The old lady must have been listening in. She lived
alone, and I often spotted her peeking out her door, spying on people.
Deacon grimaced. “Mrs. Winsbanger loves me.”
“Apparently I’m not the only one who overheard things last night,” I
said.
His face turned red. His embarrassment was a bit surprising. I’d expected
him to be more cocky.
“I’ll move my bed to the other side of the room. That should help.”
“Well, that would be nice, if it’s not too much trouble.”
“It’s not.”
Happy to have the conversation over with, I let out a long breath. “Okay,
well, I’ll let you get going.”
He didn’t budge and seemed to be examining my face. “You okay?”
“Yeah. Why?”
“You seem frazzled.”
Well, yeah. I didn’t
get good sleep, I’m trying to get things done in possibly the only hour of the
day I have free, and we just had the most awkward conversation EVER.
“This is just me—my life. I have what could be barely more than an hour
to eat my lunch and have some quiet time before my daughter wakes up from her
nap.”
“Ah.” He scratched his chin. “How old is she now?”
“Six months.”
Deacon knew I was a single mom. He’d run into me one day and helped me
bring groceries in while I tried to juggle Sunny and her stroller.
I was just about to head back inside my apartment when his voice stopped
me.
“Do you need anything?”
I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant. “Like what?”
“Something from the store? A…coffee, maybe? I’m just headed out to run a
quick errand, but I can stop somewhere on the way back.”
“It’s the least you can do, monkey balls!” Mrs. Winsbanger chimed in from
across the hall.
She was apparently still listening.
“Did she just fucking call me monkey
balls
?” he whispered.
At that moment, I lost it. Laughter got a hold of me, and it took almost
a minute before I could even speak. Deacon laughed, too, but I think he was
more cracking up at my reaction.
“No idea why she just called you monkey balls. But I haven’t laughed this
hard in weeks.”
After I finally calmed down, Deacon repeated his earlier question.
“Anyway, as I was saying, can I get you a coffee or something?”
His offer gave me pause. It was rare that anyone asked if I needed
anything. I had a couple of good friends in the city, but they worked and had
busy social lives. It wasn’t like they were around in the middle of the day to
run to the store for me. And given that it was fall in New York, it was getting
chilly out. I had to have a damn good reason to take Sunny out in the cold.
Honestly, I was dying for a latte from Starbucks. Running to the coffee
shop was definitely something people without babies took for granted. It wasn’t
worth having to bundle Sunny up.
“I would love a vanilla latte from Starbucks, if you pass one on your way
back,” I finally said.
“Done.” He smiled. “That’s it?”
“Just one pump of vanilla would be great.”
“One pump. Got it. Anything else?”
“Isn’t that enough? It’s hardly a necessity. I shouldn’t be taking
advantage.”
“Take advantage of me. What else do you need? Seriously. It’s the least I
can do after disturbing your peace last night.”
Take advantage of me. Yup. Mind straight in the gutter.
“You’re not my gopher.”
“Carys….” His baritone voice turned serious, and he repeated in a slow
and exaggerated manner, “What. Do. You. Need? I could run to the store.”
There was something else I
desperately needed.
“Diapers?” I said hesitantly.
“Okay.” He laughed. “You’re gonna have to help me out with those. I’ve
never purchased them in my life.”
Before I could tell him what size, he handed me his phone. I was all too
aware of the brief touch of his hand.
“Enter your digits. I’ll text you from the store to make sure I get the
right kind.”
I did as he said before handing him back the phone, once again enjoying
the contact from that brief exchange. Cheap thrills were as good as it got
these days.
He put it in his pocket. “Anything else?”
“Not that I can think of.”
“Alright. Well, if you change your mind, you can let me know when I
text.”
“Thank you. I really appreciate
it.”
“Talk to ya in a bit,” he said before heading down the hall.
I stood by my door and watched him walk away. The view from the back was
just as good as the front. And moreover, it seemed Deacon was just as lovely on
the inside as he was on the outside.
“One pump my ass,” I heard Mrs. Winsbanger say before she slammed her
door.

 

Author Bio
Penelope
Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling
author of contemporary romance.
She grew up
in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a
television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son,
and beautiful daughter with autism.
With over two
million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author
of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen
languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.
Author Links

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Excerpt Reveal + Giveaways: Restraint by Adriana Locke

 

RESTRAINT by Adriana Locke
Release Date: August 3rd (Amazon & KU

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https://geni.us/BBAL

 

 

 

 

Blurb:
Blaire Gibson knows better than to have one-night stands.

She prides herself on her decision-making skills. It’s the one asset that has never let her down. But even the best thinkers have weaknesses. Hers is a delicious business mogul with a quick tongue. Unfortunately for her, that tongue is good for more than just talking.

Holt Mason doesn’t need to justify anything to anyone.

He wants Blaire. He pursues Blaire. And he gets Blaire because that’s how his life works.

Until it doesn’t.

What begins as a single night in a hotel room spirals into an unusual agreement. As late nights provide the space to trade secrets and walls come tumbling down, more is shared than just pillow talk.

They both should’ve known better. They should’ve shown restraint. Because when guards are dropped, hearts get hurt.

*RESTRAINT is a brand-new standalone romance from USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke.

 

 

Excerpt:
There’s a look in his eye, something behind the brazen façade, that intrigues me. I haven’t given a man more than a dirty look in longer than I can remember. Who has the time? Who has the energy? Who wants to deal with that bullshit?

But as I stand on the porch of this beautiful home in the middle of a perfect southern evening, I remember Sienna’s instruction to enjoy my vacation.

“You don’t know enough about me to be right,” I volley back, continuing the banter because I can’t help myself.

“I disagree.” He shifts his weight, folding his arms across his chest. “I’ll tell you three things about you besides the obvious. If I’m right, you’ll go to dinner with me.”

I think this over. I didn’t tell him anything about me, not even my name. There’s no way he can actually come up with one thing, let alone three, that’s deep enough to warrant a dinner date.

If nothing else, it’ll be a fun little experiment and a chance for me to prove that men don’t know everything.

“Fine,” I say. “But you have to impress me. Hair color, eye color—those types of things don’t count.”

He grins. “Absolutely not. There’s no fun in that.”

“All right. Shoot.”

“Your name is Blaire,” he says, catching me off guard. “You like gummy bears but feel like it’s a childish thing to enjoy, so you try to be discreet about your obsession. You prefer the red ones and hate the green ones. You like shopping but hate spending loads of money on things you think are a waste.”

My jaw almost hits the floor.

“And,” he says, taking a step closer to me, “you don’t date because you don’t have time. You also find men to be barbaric, adolescent creatures which, may I add, I find offensive.”

“How could you possibly know all that?” I demand.

The heat rolling off his body clamors into me, upping the beat of my heart tenfold. I hate my reaction to him and I hate even more than I can’t control it.

“Lincoln said your name. You dropped the candy from your purse in the airport and I just happened to notice you had it hidden in a little pouch. All the red ones were gone and it was chock full of the green. Your lipstick was a type my mother uses, so I know it’s expensive as hell, but your earbuds earlier weren’t a name brand so I put together you don’t value them as much.”

“I just lose them constantly,” I say, still sorting his observations.

“And now you lost our bet. Ready to go?”

My summer dress billows in the breeze, reminding me, once again, I’m not home.
This wouldn’t be like a dinner with a man I see regularly or could even see regularly if I wanted to. He lives almost a thousand miles from me.

What could one dinner hurt?

“Fine,” I say, stepping around him. “But I’m driving.”

 

 

 

About the Author:
USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.

She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.

Connect w/Adriana:
Website: https://adrianalocke.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoradrianalocke
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/booksbyadrianalocke
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoralocke
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authoradrianalocke
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8379774.Adriana_Locke
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ivy7xd
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/adriana-locke
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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: The Rivals by Vi Keeland

Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release,
The Rivals? Check out this SNEAK PEEK

Title: The Rivals
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: July 13, 2020

Blurb

The feud
between Weston Lockwood and me started at the altar.
Only
neither of us attended the wedding, and the nuptials happened decades before
either of us was born.
Our
grandfathers had been best friends and business partners, at least up until my
grandfather’s wedding day—when his bride-to-be blurted out she couldn’t marry
him because she was also in love with Weston‘s grandfather.
The two men
spent years fighting over Grace Copeland, who also happened to be their third
business partner.  But in the end, neither man could steal half of her
heart away from the other.
Eventually,
they all went their separate ways.  Our
grandfathers married other women, and the two men became one of the biggest
business rivals in history.
Our fathers
continued the family tradition of feuding. 
And then Weston and I did, too.
For the
most part, we kept as much distance as possible.
Until the
day the woman who started the feud died—and unexpectedly left one of the most
valuable hotels in the world to our grandfathers to share.
Now I’m
stuck in a hotel with the man I was born to hate, trying to unravel the mess
our families inherited.
As usual,
it didn’t take long for us to be at each other’s throats.
Weston
Lockwood was everything I hated: tall, smart, cocky, and too gorgeous for his
own good.  We were fire and ice. 
But that
shouldn’t be an issue. Our families were used to being at war. There was just
one minor problem, though.   Every time
Weston and I fought, we somehow wound up in bed.

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Excerpt

Sophia
“What the hell?” I pressed the button on the elevator panel a second
time. It illuminated, yet the car continued to sit there. So I jabbed my finger
at it a third time. Finally, the doors started to glide closed.
Just as they were about to shut completely, a shoe blocked them from
closing. 
A wingtip shoe. 
Weston’s smiling face was there to greet me when the doors bounced
open. 
My blood was near boiling. “So help me, Lockwood, if you try to get in
this car, I can’t be responsible for what happens to you. I’m not in the mood
anymore.” 
He entered the elevator anyway. “Come on, Fifi. What’s wrong? I’m just playing
around. You’re taking things way too seriously.” 
I counted to ten in my head, but it didn’t help. Fuck it. He
wanted to get a rise out of me? He was going to get one. The doors slid
shut again, and I turned and backed him into a corner. Seeing my face, he at
least had the decency to look a little nervous. 
“You wanna know what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong! My father
thinks I’m inept because I don’t have an appendage dangling between my legs.
The man I spent the last eighteen months with was cheating on me with one of my
cousins. Again. I hate New York City. I despise the Lockwood
family. And you think you can get away with anything you want just because you
have a big dick.” I jabbed my finger into his chest and punctuated each
staccato word with another stab.  
“I’m  
Tired.  
Of.  
Men.  
My father.  
Liam.  
You. 
Every single fucking one of you. So leave me the hell alone!” 
Frazzled, I turned back around and waited for the door to open, only to
realize we hadn’t started to move yet. Great.
Just fucking great. I jabbed the button a few more times, closed my eyes, and
took deep, cleansing breaths as we started to move. Halfway through breath
three, I felt the heat of Weston’s body behind me. He had to have moved closer.
I continued to try to ignore him.  
But the fucker still smelled good.  
How the hell could that be? Whose cologne lasted
for—what had it been now?—twelve hours? After the gauntlet run he’d
sent me on across town this morning, I probably smelled like BO. It pissed me
off that the asshole smelled…fucking delicious.  
He moved closer, and I felt his breath tickle my neck.  
“So,” he whispered in a gravelly voice. “You think my dick’s big.” 
I turned and scowled at him. While this morning he’d been clean-shaven,
he now had a five o’clock shadow all along his chiseled jaw. It gave
him a sinister look. The suit that hugged his broad shoulders probably cost
more than Liam’s entire sweater wardrobe. Weston Lockwood was everything I
hated in a man—wealthy, good looking, cocky, arrogant, and fearless. Liam would
hate him. My father already hated him. And at the moment, those were actually
Weston’s strong points.  
While I struggled with my body reacting to his scent and how much I liked
the stubble on his face, Weston slowly reached out and put a hand on my hip. At
first, I assumed he thought he needed to steady me, as he had when I’d wobbled
in the bar. Had I wobbled again? I didn’t think I had. But I
must’ve. 
Though when his hand glided from my hip around to my ass, there was
no misunderstanding his intention. He was not trying to
help me stay on my feet. In my head, my immediate reaction was to scream at
him, but somehow my throat felt too clogged to speak.  
I made the mistake of looking up from his jaw into his blue eyes. Heat
flickered, turning them almost gray, and his eyes dropped to my
lips.  
No.  
Just no. 
This was not happening.  
Not again. 
My heart thundered in my chest, and the blood in my ears roared so loudly
I almost didn’t hear the ding of the elevator announcing that we’d arrived at
my floor. Thankfully it snapped me out of whatever moment of insanity I’d
slipped into.  
“I…I need to go.” 
It took all of my focus to put one foot in front of the other, but I
managed to walk down the hall and make it to my room.  
Though… 
I wasn’t alone.

Author Bio

Vi Keeland
is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author.
With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred
Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She
resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is
living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
Author Links

Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: The Best Man by Andi Burns

 

THE BEST MAN (Chesapeake Shores #2) by Andi Burns
Release Date: June 24th

Add to Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52062154-the-best-man

Pre-Order:
https://amzn.to/2yUa7lo

 

 

Blurb:
Ev

I was coasting along, living life, but not living it to the fullest.
I was going through the motions. Complacent. Static.

Until that night in December.

One night with a stranger in a sleepy tourist town changed everything for me.

And I can’t get Grace off my mind.

No last name, no address, nothing. So imagine my surprise when I see her again and realize how closely our lives are intertwined.

Whether she likes it or not, she’s stuck with me for now and I have plans to make our arrangement a permanent one.

The Best Man is a dual POV standalone in The Chesapeake Shores series. It follows The IT Guy.

 

 

Excerpt:
Excerpt from The Best Man by Andi Burns

“So, where are we headed tomorrow?” he asks.

“What? Nowhere. We are not headed anywhere. If Elaine needs me to, I might be going to see another photographer after I check out a venue, but you are not invited.”

“Why the hostility? You’ve been mad since we got in the car to go meet the photographer.”

His question is sincere; there’s no malice behind it. He’s not even being snarky. And yet, he’s still pissing me off.

And that pisses me off.

And I don’t know what to do about it.

So I take a drink.

And snack on some nachos. I can’t answer if I’m chewing–that’s just rude.

“Wow, you must be really hungry and thirsty…” he deadpans.

I nod, because my mouth is full. Also, if I open my mouth (once I’m finished chewing, of course), I might say hateful things.

“You’re also thoroughly pissed at me.”

Still chewing. Yep, chewing really well. No choking hazards here.

“And I can’t figure out why.”

I take a sip. You know, to aid with the chewing

He arches an eyebrow at me, and I might have returned it with half a smirk. But only half. I’ve given him too much of myself already.

In a move that would rival the swiftness of an NBA star, Ev swipes the nacho platter in one hand and my water in the other, holding both just out of my reach.

Now, at 5’10”, I’m a tall gal. I’ve got long limbs. But he’s taller. And he’s got the wingspan of a condor. So unless I want to cause a scene in this restaurant, I’m not getting my food or beverage back any time soon.

“Really? You’re withholding food and drink?”

“Yep.” I want to wipe that smile right off his face.

“You want to know why you piss me off?”

“I do.”

“Fine. It’s because no one pisses me off. I am fucking charming and goddamn delightful at all times.” I tell him this as I’m basically breathing fire in his direction.

“You were fucking charming and goddamn delightful when I met you in December, “ he confirms.

“Right? That was me in my natural habitat. I. Am. Lovely.” I seethe.

“While I’m in full agreement, the steam that’s virtually spewing from your ears causes me a moment’s hesitation.” Ev says.

“It’s because you’re back! You’re not supposed to be back! And you’re Elaine’s brother. You are not supposed to be Elaine’s brother!”

“Should I be taking notes as to all the things I’m not supposed to be or do?”

“No.” I roll my eyes.

“Wait, so is asking you if I should take notes one of the things I’m not supposed to do? Or is taking notes the thing I shouldn’t do? I’m just seeking clarification.”

“Oh, my God. None of this is going to matter because I’m going to strangle you.”

“Best to wait until after the boudoir shoot, don’t you think? You don’t want to rouse Lori’s suspicions. Plus, I know you want to see me naked again.”

This standalone is #2 in Andi Burns’s Chesapeake Shores Series and it releases June 24th!

 

 

About the Author:

Andi Burns writes contemporary romance infused with humor, sass, and steam. She loves a happily-ever-after as much as her characters do, and she always reads the last page of a book first, just to make sure it all turns out okay.

Andi lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, folding laundry, or daydreaming about her next hero and heroine.

 

Connect w/Andi:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andiburnsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorandiburns
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19841983.Andi_Burns
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XY9jEy