New Release + Release Blitz: The Gravedigger’s Son by Darynda Jones

The Gravedigger’s Son, an all new 1,001 Dark Nights novella in the Charley Davidson series from New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones, is available now!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones comes a new story in her Charley Davidson series…

The job should have been easy.

Get in. Assess the situation. Get out. But for veteran tracker Quentin Rutherford, things get sticky when the girl he’s loved since puberty shows up, conducting her own investigation into the strange occurrences of the small, New Mexico town. He knew it would be a risk coming back to the area, but he had no idea Amber Kowalski had become a bona fide PI, investigating things that go bump in the night. He shouldn’t be surprised, however. She can see through the dead as clearly as he can. The real question is, can she see through him?

But is anything that’s worth it ever easy?

To say that Amber is shocked to see her childhood crush would be the understatement of her fragile second life. One look at him tells her everything she needs to know. He’s changed. So drastically she barely recognizes him. He is savage now, a hardened—in all the right places—demon hunter, and she is simply the awkward, lovestruck girl he left behind.
But she doesn’t have time to dwell on the past. A supernatural entity has set up shop, and it’s up to them to stop it before it kills again.
While thousands of questions burn inside her, she has to put her concern over him, over what he’s become, aside for now. Because he’s about to learn one, undeniable fact: she’s changed, too.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Grab your copy today exclusively on Amazon!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uEI01f
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Gravediggerson

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3qL3yHr

About Darynda Jones

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier, and her books have been translated into 17 languages. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that legacy. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Connect with Darynda
Facebook: https://bit.ly/3ePZwY2
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Website: https://darynda.com/

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New Release + Release Blitz: Taggart Family Values by Lexi Blake

Taggart Family Values, compilation of previously released and a brand new novella from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake, is available now!

From Ian and Charlotte’s first meeting in Paris to a look into the future, Taggart Family Values chronicles Masters and Mercenaries’ favorite family through a series of short stories and novellas. Includes one brand new short story and one new novella. Lexi hopes readers will have a blast connecting with Ian and Charlotte and all their little monsters!

Taggart Family Values includes the novellas Paradise City, Sweet Child o’ Mine, Homecoming and Countdown. It also includes the short stories Adam Tells All, Make Lemonade, Rough Night and Stuck at the Office.

Some of the stories were previously published in newsletters and cookbooks.

Grab your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3eyWM3W
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TaggertFam
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2Qq5Zlq
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2QhvRjA
Nook: https://bit.ly/3uNnqeW
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3dfJPeY
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3y1onmb

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3g8DZ0A

About Lexi Blake
New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. Since starting her publishing journey in 2010, she’s sold over three million copies of her books. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings.

Connect with Lexi
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vTyQyb
Facebook: http://bit.ly/339Svf9
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2JGwnBn
Instagram: http://bit.ly/36oVxOP
Website: https://www.lexiblake.net

New Release + Release Blitz: Here With Me by Samantha Young

 

Here With Me by Samantha Young is now live!

 

Settled in the tranquil remoteness of the Scottish Highlands, Ardnoch Estate caters to the rich and famous. It is as unattainable and as mysterious as its owner –ex-Hollywood leading man Lachlan Adair–and it’s poised on the edge of a dark scandal.

After narrowly escaping death, police officer Robyn Penhaligon leaves behind her life in Boston in search of some answers. Starting with Mac Galbraith, the Scottish father who abandoned her to pursue his career in private security. To re-connect with Mac, Robyn will finally meet a man she’s long resented. Lachlan Adair. Hostility instantly brews between Robyn and Lachlan. She thinks the head of the Adair family is high-handed and self-important. And finding closure with Mac is proving more difficult than she ever imagined. Robyn would sooner leave Ardnoch, but when she discovers Mac is embroiled in a threat against the Adairs and the exclusive members of the estate, she finds she’s not yet ready to give up on her father.

Determined to ensure Mac’s safety, Robyn investigates the disturbing crimes at Ardnoch, forcing her and Lachlan to spend time together. Soon it becomes clear a searing attraction exists beneath their animosity, and temptation leads them down a perilous path.
While they discover they are connected by something far more addictive than passion, Lachlan cannot let go of his grip on a painful past: a past that will destroy his future … if the insidious presence of an enemy lurking in the shadows of Ardnoch doesn’t do the job first.

 

Download today on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3tAypax

Apple Books: http://apple.co/2YIp1Ve

Nook: http://bit.ly/3rneRWu

Kobo: http://bit.ly/39Pta08

 

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3oRdCgi

 

 

Meet Samantha

Samantha is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty books, several of which have been nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards. She writes adult contemporary and paranormal romance, YA urban fantasy and YA contemporary fiction. Her books have been published in 28 languages in 30 countries. She resides in Scotland.

For more information visit http://authorsamanthayoung.com

Connect with Samantha

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSamanthaYoung/

Website – http://authorsamanthayoung.com

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/authorsamanthayoung/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/samyoungauthor/

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2H47kEP

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2FWgYdn

Bookbub – http://bit.ly/2D241eO

Pinterest- https://www.pinterest.co.uk/samyoungauthor

Book+Main- https://bit.ly/2P6faUB

New Release + Release Blitz: Off the Record by Kristen Proby

Off the Record: A With Me in Seattle Mafia Novel by Kristen Proby is now live!

From New York Times Bestselling Author Kristen Proby comes the thrilling conclusion to her With Me in Seattle Mafia series…

Rafe “Rocco” Martinelli was never one for the family business. Alas, being born into a crime syndicate means doing the family’s bidding and making sure you’re connected–and, yes, breaking a few kneecaps. Rafe would love nothing more than to hang up his enforcer apron and live a quiet life, but as more and more higher-ups in rival clans turn up dead, Rafe realizes he doesn’t have a choice. Especially not when the captivating and gorgeous bratva princess needs his help.

Dr. Annika Tarenkov learned early on that her belongs to her family. She’s a pawn in the long game, a bargaining chip for power and prestige. She gave up the only person in her life she thought she could be happy with, all for the greater good of the family. Now, a newly made widow and desperately seeking answers, she’s forced to confront her past as it converges with her present. But all it does is make her wonder about her future and how she can make Rafe hers again. While being with him is like wrangling a toddler at times, he still makes her heart race and her breath catch. And she wouldn’t feel safer with anyone else.

With the chips seemingly stacked against them, they must work to uncover the perpetrators of the nefarious plot that’s been brewing for some time–before it’s too late.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3o3ZS3f

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3gkhbt2

Nook: https://bit.ly/37zJO1e

Kobo: https://bit.ly/33JTnd1

Audio: https://amzn.to/3f9ug8f

Narrated by: Jason Clarke & Erin Mallon

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3mW2fU8

Meet Kristen


Kristen Proby has published more than forty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion and Romancing Manhattan Series.


Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two cats.

Connect with Kristen

Website: https://www.kristenprobyauthor.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550037.Kristen_Proby

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BD4vfq

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

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/684662744993031/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristenproby/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Handbagjunkie

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kristen-proby

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/handbagjunkie/

Book+Main: https://bit.ly/30ImsmP

New Release + Release Blitz: Royal Line by Nana Malone and Carrie Ann Ryan

Royal Line by Nana Malone & Carrie Ann Ryan is now live!

The first book in the TATTERED ROYALS series!

You are cordially invited into the lives and secrets of the Waterford Royals, leaders and unwavering socialites of the country of Alden.

Royal backstabbing is only the beginning, with the court and nation’s gazes on the Waterford siblings at all times. With eyes on the throne, the family will have to look beyond the lineage that set them on their paths and the connections they’ve lost with each other as their worlds crash down around them.

The Waterfords know their duty and their place. Only falling in love with the ones that could shatter their legacy might be exactly what these royals need.

Download today on Amazon, Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Kobo, Barnes & Noble!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3be31YP

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3jUWioO

Nook: https://bit.ly/3bIUpc3

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2ReFooA

Audio: https://amzn.to/2Q9gV7u

Narrated by: Lacy Laurel & Graham Halstead

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3hRz6Gu

Meet Nana

USA Today Bestseller, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she “borrowed” from her cousin.

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion, and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Connect with Nana

Website: http://nanamaloneromance.net/

Facebook: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneFB

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneGR

Twitter: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneTwitter

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneAB

Instagram: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneIG

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Wwz3t9

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneBB

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/malone2904/

Book+Main: https://bit.ly/3f5v0JH

Meet Carrie Ann

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, paranormal, and young adult romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Talon Pack, Promise Me, and Elements of Five series, which have sold millions of books worldwide. She’s the winner of a RT Book of the Year and a Prism Award in her genres. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over seventy-five novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not losing herself in her emotional and action-packed worlds, she’s reading as much as she can while wrangling her clowder of cats who have more followers than she does.

The Montgomery Ink World contains the following series, though each series is a stand alone and can be read in any order. Feel free to hop around:

The Montgomery Ink Series

The Gallagher Brothers Series

The Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs Series

The Whiskey and Lies Series

The Fractured Connections Series

The Montgomery Ink: Boulder Series

The Less Than Series

The Promise Me Series

Her Elements of Five Series is her Young Adult Romance series while her other series are all adult.

Her Talon Pack series is set in the same world as the Redwood Pack series, only 30 years later.

The Dante’s Circle, Holiday, Montana, and Branded Packs series are all individual series as well.

New Release + Release Blitz + Excerpt: The One I Want by S.L. Scott

Release Date: May 10

Narrators: Sebastian York & Summer Morton

Tropes: Unforgettable Meet-Cute, Opposites Attract, Office Romance, Neighbors-to-Lovers, Friends-to-Lovers, Perfect Spring Read.

💗 

She was everything he never knew he needed.

He was everything she avoided.

💗 


It’s not the first time I’ve been called a stalker.


I can’t blame Andrew Christiansen for thinking that since we keep crossing paths, especially when I pop up in the most unexpected of places—his office.


We’re opposites in every way. Not the kind that attract.


I’ve been called a ray of sunshine. He’s been called a grumpy workaholic that needs an attitude adjustment. By me.


Somehow, we become friends, the teasing, flirting, and kissing kind. But this thing blooming between us threatens to turn this relationship from friends-to-lovers into a full-blown office romance. 


That’s the least of my worries because one or two, little, okay big, secrets I’ve been keeping may turn him from the one I want into the one I can’t have.

Grab your copy here

Excerpt

I hear a familiar bark and turn back. The woman from the park rushes toward the nearest shop as if I didn’t just bust her for following me. “What are you doing?” I ask. “Are you stalking me?” I might be jumping ahead of myself, but better to settle it now. A lot of weird stuff was happening at the park. Is she to blame?

Despite Rascal’s joy to see me, obstinance stiffens her shoulders, and she scoffs. “You wish.” Her hand flies out. “It just so happens that I’m walking in the same direction. So what?”

“Defensive,” I reply, analyzing her body language. Crossed arms. Straight line across her lips. Half-mast eyelids as she glares at me. 

“I’m not defensive. I’m offended. You just called me a stalker.”

“My bad.”

“You’re bad, all right.” She angles her chin up, and adds, “You can go about your day now.”

I’m tempted to chuckle, but I’m thinking it’s wise to restrain myself. “I will. Good day.”

“Good day, sir,” she says to my back as I walk away. 

I stop again, but this time, I don’t look back. Forcing myself to walk forward, I continue through the upscale neighborhood to the next block. I busy my attention on the architecture until I hear Rascal bark again. 

I knew I shouldn’t have talked to a stranger. She may be hot, but she could also be deranged, using her dog as a ploy to trick her next victim to her lair. What am I even talking about?

When I turn back this time, she sidles quickly up to a coffee shop window, pretending to know the people sitting on the other side. 

By how they turn their backs to her, they don’t reciprocate. “Nice try,” I tease.

Glancing at me, she huffs. “I’m walking in the same direction. It’s no big deal, for God’s sake.” She punctuates the words with an epic eye roll as if I’m putting her out. Huffing, she grabs Rascal, clutching him to her side. 

“His feet have—”

“Shit.” 

“Exactly.”

Anger fills her chest, and she shakes her head, exhaling it loudly with a foot stomp. “Ugh! I’ll go this way.”

As. If. I’m the nuisance.

Me?

Why am I even sticking around to have this conversation? Why am I bothering? Going in different directions—that’s us. She crosses the street, and I turn the corner, both of us heading back to our own lives and hopefully never seeing each other again.

I continue toward the building up ahead alone. I’m good. I’m fine. Alone is how I thrive. I’ll be here a year or two. That’s nothing. I have plenty of work to keep me busy.

Work.

I’m here for work. That’s it. I have a plan in place, and nothing and no one will keep me from achieving my goals.

Meet S.L. Scott
New York Times and USA Bestselling Author, S. L. Scott, was always interested in the arts. She grew up painting, writing poetry and short stories, and wiling her days away lost in a good book and the movies.
With a degree in Journalism, she continued her love of the written word by reading American authors like Salinger and Fitzgerald. 

She was intrigued by their flawed characters living in picture perfect worlds, but could still debate that the worlds those characters lived in were actually the flawed ones. 
This dynamic of leaving the reader invested in the words, inspired Scott to start writing with emotion while interjecting an underlying passion into her own stories.

Living in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. She dreams of seeing one of her own books made into a movie one day as well as returning to Europe. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.


Connect with S.L. Scott
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Cover Reveal + Pre-Order: Tie Me Down by Melanie Harlow

Tie Me Down, an all new friends-to-lovers sexy small town romance from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is coming May 24th and we have the H-O-T cover!

Just friends.
That’s all Beckett Weaver and I have ever been.
Sure, he’s a hot cowboy who left Wall Street behind to take over his family’s ranch. Yes, I’ve had a secret crush on him since we were seventeen. And who wouldn’t appreciate those strong hands, that massive chest, and the way he fills out a pair of Levis?
He makes a girl sweat just looking at him . . . and I look. A lot.
But I’m a single mom trying to move on with my life, and he’s running that ranch single-handedly while taking care of his elderly father. We don’t even live in the same state. I only returned to my hometown of Bellamy Creek to sell my late mother’s house, and he just invited me and my son to stay with him because he’s got a big heart.
That’s not the only big thing he’s got–which I discover the night I finally sneak across the hall to his bedroom and shed my inhibitions right alongside my pajamas. And once we give into each other, we can’t stop.
The hayloft. The bed of his truck. The dock by the pond.
Nothing has ever felt so right, but his past has taught him not to believe in happily ever after, and every perfect night I spend in his arms brings us closer to goodbye.
Like any cowboy, he’s good with a rope and knows exactly how to tie me up.
But what if I want him to tie me down?

Reserve your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3o3kl8p
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TieMeDown

Add Tie Me Down to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3suOrlu

Cover Designer: Hang Le
Photographer: Michelle Lancaster
Model: Tommy Pearce

About Melanie Harlow

USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like Schitt’s Creek, Homeland, and Fleabag. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the CLOVERLEIGH FARMS series, the ONE & ONLY series, AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

Connect with Melanie

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2RPwr51
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NPkYKs
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/36kL7yB
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2NW3UtA
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2sVOz55
Facebook Reader Group: https://bit.ly/3mYzBBo
Stay up to date, sign up for Melanie’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/2P7MATT
Website: http://www.melanieharlow.com

Cover Reveal + Pre-Order: Wiz’s Remedy by Xavier Neal

WIZ’S REMEDY (Camelot Misfits #4) by Xavier Neal

Release Date: May 13th

Genre/Tropes: MC/Romantic Suspense/Dark elements

Series: Book #4 of the Camelot Misfits

Add to Goodreads:

http://bit.ly/WRTBR

Pre-order Wiz’s Remedy (Camelot Misfits MC Series #4): https://amzn.to/2QY1cs9

Start the series today for ONLY $0.99 CENTS or FOR FREE with KINDLE UNLIMITED!

https://amzn.to/3vDD1y3

Blurb:

Wizards still exist.

They just call them hackers now.

The Misfits MC is known for maintaining the balance.

Providing common ground.

Protecting the innocent.

However, when Maddox “Wiz” Lind, their residential hacker, is forced to leave the computer keys to save a broken soul in need of healing, he quickly realizes there’s much more to life than cracking codes…

About the Author:

Xavier Neal is a best-selling romance author who enjoys hopping from sub genre to sub genre like a game of Hopscotch she can’t resist.

In between writing, she loves to read (everything from romance to self improvement books), watch movies (old and new), eat too much Tex-Mex (her Chuy’s t-shirt collection is out of control), and watch AHL hockey games LIVE (preferably against the glass whenever possible).

She currently resides happily in Texas with her bearded husband “Lumberjack” and her rather lazy dog, Missy.

Connect w/Xavier:

Website: https://www.xavierneal.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/xavierneal87

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorxavierneal

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4990135.Xavier_Neal

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KAOA4z

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2KA7tEW

NL Signup: https://www.xavierneal.com/newsletter

Cover Reveal + Pre-Order + Excerpt + Giveaway: Reel by Kennedy Ryan

Reel, Kennedy Ryan’s new breathtaking standalone romance set in the glamorous world of film and theater, is coming June 8th, and we have the beautiful cover and your first look!

Award-Winning Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Kennedy Ryan launches a brand new series with a Hollywood tale of wild ambition, artistic obsession, and unrelenting love.

One moment in the spotlight.

For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for my time to shine.
I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night.
Canon Holt.
Famous film director.
Fascinating. Talented. Fine.
Before I could catch my breath, everything changed.
I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood.
From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips.
Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic, catapulting me into another stratosphere.

But stars shine brightest in the dead of night.
Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond my control jeopardize my dream.
Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?

Reserve your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xFYGay
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Reel
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3dWwUyG
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2QCKcHS
Nook: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3gHMDUc
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3xFYHLE
Barnes and Noble Paperback: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr

➜ Enter the Goodreads Giveaway! Kennedy is giving away 10 Signed Reel Paperbacks!
http://bit.ly/REELGoodreadsGive

➜ Follow Hollywood Renaissance series on Instagram:
@TheHollywoodRenaissanceSeries

Keep reading for the very first excerpt from Reel!

When the show reaches its climax, at the very end, the song pries the final note from my diaphragm, pulls it from my throat and suspends it—leaves it throbbing in the air. The theater goes quiet for the space of a breath held by 800 people and then explodes. 

Applause.

The relief is knee-weakening. I literally have to grab John, the lead actor’s arm for support. He doesn’t miss a beat, pulling me into his side and squeezing.

“Bravo,” he whispers, a broad, genuine smile spread across his face. The last song made me cry, and my face, still wet from those tears, splits into a wide, disbelieving grin.

I did it. I survived my first Broadway performance. 

The lights drop and we rush backstage, a cacophony of laughter and chatter filling the hidden passageways. When the curtain call begins, the cast return to the stage in small waves, the applause building as the principals take their bows. 

And then it’s my turn. On legs still shaky, I leave the safety of the wings, the long skirt of my costume belling out around me. I take center stage. The applause crescendos, approval vibrating through my bones and jolting my soul. Someone thrusts flowers into my arms and the sweet smell wafts around me. Every sense, every molecule of my being strains, opens, stretches to absorb this small slice of triumph. I can’t breathe deeply enough. The air comes in shallow sips, and I’m dizzy. The world spins like a top, a kaleidoscope of colors and light and sound that threatens to overwhelm me. The whirl of it makes me giddy, and I laugh. Eyes welling with tears, I laugh.

These are the moments a lifetime in the making. We toil in the shadows of our dreams. In the alleys of preparation and hard work where it’s dark and nothing’s promised. For years, we cling by a thread of hope and imagination, dedicating our lives to a pursuit with no guarantees.

But tonight, if only for tonight, it’s all worth it.

I’m still floating when Takira bursts into the dressing room.

“Neevah!” she screams, throwing her arms around me and rocking me back and forth. “You did it. You chewed that performance up and spat it out. You hear me?”

I laugh and return her squeeze, new tears trailing down my cheeks. 

“Thank you.” I pull back to peer into my friend’s face. “I can’t believe it.”

“Well, believe it. You served notice.” She snaps her fingers and grins. “Neevah Saint is here.”

“Now to do it seven more times.” I laugh and start taking pins from the wig, which is as hot as a herd of sheep on my head.

“Oh, you got it, unless Elise hears how amazing you were and cuts her vacation short.”

“Not happening. She was ready for a break, but she’d never missed a show.” 

I strip off the costume and stand in only panties, unselfconscious. Modesty is one of the first things to go in this business. I’ve undressed hurriedly in a roomful of actors and dancers in smaller shows where there was a dressing room, so we get real communal real fast. 

I tug on skinny jeans with a tight-fitting orange sweater, and layer it with a brown leather jacket, scarf, boots. I wipe away the heavy stage makeup. It feels like my skin can breathe for the first time in hours. I assume there will be some fans at the stage door, even if it’s just a few. They’ll have to get the real Neevah because I don’t want anything more than a slick of lip gloss and a bit of mascara. A brown, orange and green plaid newsboy cap covering the neat cornrows I wore under my wig is all I’m doing for hair. Slim oversized gold hoops in my ears finish the look.

“Ready?” I ask Takira, hefting a slouchy bag on my shoulder.

“Let’s do this. Hopefully your adoring fans won’t take all night, ’cause your girl is starving.”

We’re still laughing, and I’m so preoccupied with my empty stomach, I’m completely unprepared for the crowd at the stage door. Are they here for John? For some principal player because surely they’re not all here for the understudy.

“Neevah!” a young girl, maybe ten or eleven, calls. “Can you sign this?”

She thrusts a pen and a Splendor playbill toward me. She glows, her smooth brown cheeks rounded with a wide grin. Her eyes shine with . . . pride?

“Oh, sure,” I mumble dazedly, taking the pen and signing my name. 

She’s the first in a long line of girls, all shapes and colors and ages, saying what it meant to see me onstage. Mothers whispering how impactful it was for their Black and brown daughters to be in the audience tonight. The impact is on me; what could feel like a weight or burden or responsibility feels like a warm embrace. Feels like strong arms encircling me. Supporting me. The first time I saw someone who looked like me onstage, it planted a seed inside of me. It whispered a dream.

That could be you.

It makes me emotional to think I might have done that for any of these girls tonight, and I spend the next twenty minutes scribbling my name on playbills through a film of tears.

“Neevah!” a deep male voice calls from the back of the now-thinning crowd.

I squint at the tall man, frowning until I place him.

“Wright!” I take a few steps and he meets me halfway, giving me a tight hug. “Oh, my God. You were here tonight?”

“Was I here?” When he pulls back, a warm smile creases his handsome face. “You blew it out of the water. I knew you were good, but damn.”

Laughter spills out of me and I don’t think this night could get more perfect. I randomly met Wright Bellamy a few weeks back at a gig when he subbed for the pianist, giving the audience more than they bargained for with such a famous musician tickling the ivories that night.

“Thank you.” I step away and shove my hands into the pockets of my jeans, huddling in the leather jacket against the chill of an October night. “I was nervous as hell.”

“Didn’t show. Your voice is spectacular. I knew that from the gig we did, but I had no idea you were that good. Wow. Glad I saw your post on Instagram or I would’ve missed it.”

I’m stone-still, shocked that he came tonight specifically to see me perform. “I’m so glad you made it. You’re still in LA, right?”

“Yeah, but I’m here for some stuff. Heading back home in a few days.”

Takira walks up, linking her arm through mine. “Girl, if we don’t get some food,” she whispers.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” I turn back to Wright. “Takira, this is Wright Bellamy. Wright, my friend Takira.”

“Nice to meet you,” Takira says. “You got any food on you? I’m about to eat your hat.” 

As usual, Takira never meets a stranger and has us laughing right away.

“We’re actually headed to Glass House Tavern,” I tell Wright. “Come if you want. It’s a group of us from the show. Just some of the cast celebrating, but you’re welcome. We can catch up.”

A small frown dents between his thick brows and he glances over his shoulder.

“I mean, no pressure obviously,” I rush to assure him. This is one of the biggest names in music, and here I go, inviting him to dinner with a group of strangers. 

“No, it sounds cool,” he says, looking back to us. “Lemme check with my boy. Can he come?”

I glance over his shoulder and spot a tall man turned away from us, his broad shoulders and back straining a wool blazer, a hoodie pulled up to cover his head and face in the cold. His hands burrow into the pockets of his blazer and he’s nodding like he’s talking to himself.

“He’s on the phone,” Wright explains. “But lemme see if he wants to roll.”

He steps away toward the man and Takira immediately squeezes my hand and squeals.

“Neeve.” Her eyes are wide and bright. Mouth dropped open. “That’s Wright Bellamy.”

“I know. He’s cool as a fan.”

“You know him? How—”

“We’re in,” Wright says, stepping back up beside us. “He’s finishing a call, but we’re ready. Lead the way.”

It’s just a few blocks, and the three of us chat about the show and what Wright’s been doing in New York. All the while his friend’s deep voice rumbles a few paces behind. I don’t want to be rude or nosy and look back, but the rich timbre, his towering height, his face obscured by the hoodie—I’m intrigued. He hangs back on the sidewalk, still on his call, when we enter the restaurant. 

Our friends already have a table and a shout goes up, congratulating me on popping my White Way cherry. My three understudy buddies came. John’s here, too, and one other principal. A few from the stage crew. Our little troupe has become a family and, as if eight shows a week isn’t enough time together, we gather and eat every chance we get. 

“You’re not paying tonight,” John says, holding out the seat beside him. “And drinks are on me.”

“Awwww.” I plop into the chair and drop my bag to the floor. “You’re so sweet. You don’t have to do that.”

“You were fantastic,” John says, baby blue eyes sincere and smiling. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

Takira is already sitting beside me, so Wright takes the seat next to her.

“Hey,” he says to Janie across the table. “Could you hold that seat beside you for my friend? He’s wrapping up a call, but’ll be in soon.”

“Sure.” Janie blushes. “I love your work, by the way. The score of Silent Midnight . . . gah.” 

“Thank you. That was a special project. Lots of fun,” Wright replies with a smile. “Now tell me about the show.”

Wright’s a genius, but he’s so unassuming and modest. A man as famous as he is could easily make this conversation about him, let everyone at this table give his ego a real nice hand job, but he doesn’t. He talks about our show, compliments the performance, asks John about his process. I liked him when we did that last-minute gig, and we’ve interacted some on social media since. My impression of him holds up. He’s a good guy. 

Not to state the obvious, but also fine. Like fine fine.

He has this Boris Kodjoe vibe. Real smooth. Kind of golden–brown. Clean-cut, close-cut. I can objectively recognize his appeal, even though he’s not my type. 

Not that I have a type lately. I’m so deep in this dick drought I’m past the point of thirst. 

At first I thought it was merely the grind. Auditioning constantly, taking craft classes, doing commercials and voiceover work to not just keep bills paid, but to save. This business is feast or famine. I’m eating now, but I’ve been hungry before. Not again. I’m thirty. Too old to still be living gig to gig and buying into that starving artist thing. I need health insurance and regularly scheduled meals, thank you very much. So yeah, the grind could account for my semi-disinterested libido, but I suspect it’s more. 

Maybe I’m disinterested.

I need a man who doesn’t think that because he has a dick and I don’t that I should defer to him—shrink my dreams down to a more manageable size. I’m cautious not only about who I share my heart and body with, but I’m also protective of my dreams; of my ambition. I won’t endanger my future for a man who can fuck. Though . . . a man who can fuck? I wouldn’t turn it down, but it will take more than that to pique my interest.

“What are you getting?” Takira asks, leaning over to read my menu instead of hers. “Anything here meet your high standards?”

My standards aren’t that high. I’ve just cut out red meat and stopped drinking as much alcohol. My health demands it. 

“I’m thinking about the salmon, but I—”

A chair scraping across the floor catches my attention. Wright’s friend has finally come inside to join us. The table shrinks immediately when he settles his imposing frame into the seat beside Janie. He peels the hood away from his head and I bite off a gasp.

It’s Canon Holt.

Like the Canon Holt.

The director I, and probably every actress at this table and in this dining room, would sacrifice a pinky toe to work with. Canon Holt is at my table sitting across from me. 

Takira’s expression doesn’t register this massive earthquake of a revelation, but she kicks me under the table and hisses from the corner of her mouth. “Did you know?”

I pretend I need to reach for something on the floor so I can whisper back, “Do you think I would have kept my shit together this long if I knew?”

“True. True.” Takira casually glances up from her menu and smiles in Canon’s general direction, but he’s not looking at her. He’s studying his screen. He’s apparently in an exclusive relationship with his phone, and no one at this table tempts him to stray.

Which means I can look at him.

Good. God.

He’s not that handsome, but that’s irrelevant. Some might even call his features, examined on their own, unremarkable. 

They’d be wrong.

It’s a Maker’s sleight of hand. Now God knew this man did not need lashes that long and thick, a paradox against the hard, high slant of his cheekbones. Canon hasn’t looked twice at anyone here as far as I can tell, but I’ve stolen enough glances to know there’s a fathomlessness to his dark eyes that is arresting. His unsmiling mouth is wide, the lips full in the blunt elegance of his face. A five o’clock shadow licks the ridge of his jawline. There is a geometry to him—angles, lines, edges—that disregards the individual parts and illuminates the compelling sum. WANT MORE REEL? Click here for the rest >> http://www.thehollywoodrenaissanceseries.com/excerpt

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Cover Designer: Lori Jackson Design
Photographer: Sophia Barrett Studios
Models: Jasmine Raiford and Ajayi Bodden

About Kennedy Ryan

A USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Kennedy Ryan and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmo, TIME, O Mag and many others. A RITA® Award winner, Kennedy writes empowered women from all walks of life and centers those who have found themselves perennially on the margins of traditional storytelling.

Her Hoops Series (Long Shot, Block Shot and Hook Shot) and All the King’s Men Series (The Kingmaker, The Rebel King and Queen Move) have been optioned for television.

An autism mom, Kennedy co-founded LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable initiative, and has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for autism families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

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Cover Reveal + Pre-Order: The Secret Love Letters of Olivia Moretti by Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst has revealed the cover for The Secret Love Letters of Olivia Moretti !

Releasing: February 2, 2022

A secret romance pushes three estranged sisters to the Amalfi Coast to follow clues about their mother’s past, and challenges them to a whole new future, from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

Sisters Priscilla, Devon, and Bailey haven’t been close in years, but when they’re forced to come together to settle their mother’s estate, they discover a secret none of them knew. In an old trunk, they happen upon ownership papers for a house on the Amalfi Coast, along with a love letter from their mother to an anonymous man, promising to meet him in Italy during the summer of her seventieth year.

Now they’re questioning everything they knew about her history. In order to get answers about the woman they thought they knew, they’ll have to go back to where it all started. The sisters embark on a trip to the stunning cliffside village of Positano, Italy, to track down the mysterious ex-lover, and figure out who their mother really was.

As Priscilla, Devon, and Bailey unearth the truth, they also experience the magic of Italy, the power of sisterly love, a little unexpected romance, and newfound hope for the future.

Pre-order your copy today!

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Apple Books: Coming Soon

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Meet Jennifer

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She holds a masters in English Literature and lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. Her family keeps her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. Her passions include horse racing, Scrabble, rescue dogs, Italian food, and wine—not necessarily in that order.

She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, spent 26 weeks on the New York Times. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries, sold over a million copies, and was dubbed a “romance phenom” by Kirkus Reviews. She is also a proud three-time RITA finalist.

She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

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