New Release + Release Blitz: Hold Me Forever by Layla Hagen

Release Date: January 18

As the hockey league’s star goalie, I live by three simple principles:

1. Keep a pristine image.

2. Work hard on the ice. 

3. Don’t piss off the bosses…too much.

 

I was killing it until a mishap tarnished my image. Now, management has me cleaning up my reputation and coaching a bunch of kids. And damn, those little punks are growing on me, and so is the program coordinator, Kendra. 

 

I’m hellbent on proving myself, but my attraction to Kendra takes me by complete surprise. 

Her defenses are up, but I like a good challenge.

Management’s directives are clear: “Kendra is off-limits.”

 

But like I said, I’m the goalie. I do the blocking. I won’t let anyone stand in my way.

Grab Your Copy Here:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU   Nook | Kobo | Apple | Audio | Audible 

Meet Layla Hagen
Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it 😀


I am represented by Louise Fury (The Bent Agency)


Connect with Layla Hagen:



Hosted By:

New Release + Release Blitz + Excerpt: Pike by Brenda Rothert

Title: Pike
Series: Sin City Saints #2
Author: Brenda Rothert
Genre: Hockey Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2022
BLURB
In Sin City, the stakes are high. Bet big and you may win it all—but you could also lose far more than you bargained for.

Indie Garrison is in over her head. Ditched by her husband in the dead of the night, she’s suddenly a broke single mom living with her sister. Sure, she and pro hockey player Pike Morgan got off on the wrong foot in a big way, and admittedly, it was entirely her fault. But Indie’s been fooled by a man for the last time, and no matter how hard Pike tries to break down her walls, she’s not falling for him. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.
Pike Morgan is at the top of his game. Being drafted by the new Las Vegas expansion team was ideal for the bearded, blue-eyed NHL goalie who’s only serious about two things: hockey and partying. When he accepts a bet from a teammate, he finds himself wooing a spirited woman who wants nothing to do with him. Once he gets to know her and her young son, though, he regrets his wager. If Indie finds out the truth, she’s going to hate the player and the game.
PURCHASE LINKS
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
EXCERPT

“What do you think of the new blocker?” Katz asks me.
We’ve just finished up practice but we’re still on the ice. I smile as I watch Rudy getting hit with rapid-fire pucks. He’s a good guy who dreamed of playing pro hockey but didn’t make it, so he became a trainer instead. His name’s actually John, but we call him Rudy because of his enthusiasm for being the best practice goalie ever.
“It’s okay,” I say, taking off the blocker I’m wearing. It’s a new model Katz asked me to try out in practice.
“You’re not ready to wear it in games yet,” Katz says.
“No way. Me and my blocker are like Smeagol and his ring.”
Katz grins. “I never would have pegged you as a Lord of the Rings fan.”
“Are you kidding? I love that shit. The movies, I mean. It would take me years to get through the books, and I’m not much of a reader.”
“Morgan!” Our head coach, Phil Bear, calls out to me while pointing at someone standing next to him. “This intern needs to see you. Get your ass over there!”
Coach never bothers to learn the names of any of the front office interns. I look over, squinting to make out the face Coach is talking about. I think his name is Shawn, but I’m not confident enough to call him that out loud. I nod in response to him and set my blocker, catcher, and mask on the bench before skating over to the intern at the end of the rink.
I think I talked to Shawn once, and he seemed like a good guy. He’s a college student from what I remember. My gaze immediately shifts to the woman next to him, who is smoking hot. She’s petite, with glossy black hair that falls just to her shoulders in a straight line, beautiful light brown skin, and warm brown eyes. Unfortunately, though, she’s glaring at me.
“What can I do for you?” I ask.
“Sorry to interrupt practice,” Shawn says. “This woman says—”
The exotic hottie cuts him off. “You’re Pike Morgan?”
I grin. “The one and only.”
“You bought a baseball from Vegas Sports Collectors.”
“Yeah?”
“The Roger Maris one?”
“Right.”
What’s this about? I furrow my brow, wondering what this woman has to do with the baseball I just added to my collection.
“I’m the seller,” she says. “They brokered it for a commission. And when my sister gave it to the guy from Vegas Sports Collectors, she didn’t realize I had put my grandmother’s ring inside the case. Can I please have the ring back?”
“There was no ring inside that case.”
Her nostrils flare slightly. I’d find it cute if she wasn’t so pissed off at me for no reason.
“I distinctly remember putting it in the Roger Maris baseball case a few weeks ago. It’s not valuable. I mean, it’s not monetarily valuable, but it holds a lot of sentimental value for me. It was my grandma’s, and it’s all I have left of her.” Tears shine in her eyes. “Can I please have it back?”
“I’d give it to you if I had it, but I don’t.”
“I know it was in there.”
I shake my head. “I already took the ball out of the case it was in and put it in a new one. There was nothing but the ball in that case.”
“That’s impossible! The case has a latch, so there’s no way it opened and fell out on accident.”
I shrug.
“Look, you must make good money, so what’s a little sapphire ring to you?”
“Listen—what’s your name?”
“Indie Garrison.”
“Listen, Indie Garrison—I don’t have it, okay?”
She buries her face in her hands, and the picture tugs on my heartstrings because it looks like she’s crying, but it only lasts a nanosecond. Because when she lifts her face to look at me, the only expression I see if complete and utter fury.
“I’m willing to buy it,” she says in a level tone.
This chick is about half crazy. She’s right—why would I give a shit about someone’s sapphire ring? I wouldn’t care if it was a giant diamond ring. If it wasn’t mine, I’d return it.
If I had it.
“I can’t sell you something I don’t have.”
“So what, it just disappeared into thin air?”
“I have no idea. I paid for the ball and picked it up yesterday, then took it out of the case and put it in my display case. You’re welcome to have the original case back, but it’s empty.”
“Okay…” Shawn tactfully clears his throat and gives me an apologetic look. “You asked me to see Mr. Morgan and you’ve done that, so…”
Indie gives him a withering glare. She may be small, but damn, this woman has some fire.

ALSO AVAILABLE
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
AUTHOR BIO
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

Series Cover Reveal + Excerpt + Pre-Order: The V-Card Diaries by Lili Valente

Series: The V-Card Diaries Series
Author: Lili Valente
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: Kelly Greer
Photo: Wander Aguiar
SCORED
Releasing March 1
Begging my brother’s best friend—aka NHL superstar, Ian Fox—to help me ditch my V Card wasn’t part of my “make it big in NYC” plans.

But after years of being “cute little Evie,” I’m tired of waiting for Mr. Right. I’m ready for Mr. Right Now, and Ian is everything I’ve ever wanted in a first time. He’s kind, funny, confident, and has a legendary…stick.

Seriously, his stick has its own page of search results, complete with gray sweatpants shots hot enough to make even a clueless virgin drool.

And yes, my brother will murder us if he finds out, but we’re both grownups.

We can keep a secret. We have to since I just landed an art therapy job working with his troubled team.

All we’re doing is a little practice. (Or…ehembig practice.)

Too bad my heart didn’t get the memo.

PRE-ORDER LINKS
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
EXCERPT
“No good comes from insomnia scrolling or reading articles about sugar.” I head into the kitchen, fetching the stepladder from beside the fridge.

“And what about withholding funny texts from one of your best friends?” Jess tosses casually over her shoulder. “Any good come from that?”
“It was nothing,” I say, collecting the small Tupperware container from under the pile of empty coffee bags we’re collecting to earn a free sock cap. “Just a goofy thing. Not worth sharing.”
She hums thoughtfully. “Right. And I wasn’t secretly hoping to be teacher’s pet and get Ian’s monster cock to sledgehammer through my V-card.”
I tumble off the stepladder in surprise, sending the cookies flying as I reach out to catch myself on the lower cabinets before I crush my tailbone on the tile.
“You okay?” Jess calls out.
“I’m fine,” I say, my heart still racing.
“And the cookies?”
I glance over to see the Tupperware container still closed though it has rolled halfway into Cam’s giant tennis shoe. “Also fine, but what are you… How did you…”
“Nothing gets past me,” Jess says. “You should know that by now. I appear to see nothing, but I see all. Like the Eye of Sauron.”
SCREWED
Releasing April 19
My best friend’s older brother excels at many things—being a bossy grump, a jerk, and…this hopeless virgin’s fake fiancé?

I need a guy who understands that this is all pretend, and who better than a man who can’t stand me—and vice versa? Besides, Derrick is the kind of cocky, confident, successful dude bro my gram will adore.
We’ll convince my ailing grandmother I’m not going to die alone, Derrick will honor that favor he owes me, and we’ll part ways as enemies with NO benefits.
It’s a rock-solid plan…until it isn’t.
Turns out I may have made a slight miscalculation.

Now Derrick is charming my family, sweeping me off my feet, and making me want crazy things.

Suddenly, I think I might actually want him to be my first and maybe…my only?

Yeah, I’m screwed.
So bleeping screwed.

SEDUCED
Releasing June 7
Last night I made out with a gorgeous, funny, quirky older woman. Today I learned she’s the new executive chef at my restaurant. AKA my new boss.

Yep, that’s the hot mess I’m in at the moment.
But the chemistry between Beth and me is even hotter.
The problem? She’s a single mom focused on helping her little girl adjust to life in the big city. Dating right now—especially a co-worker—is asking for trouble.

So, what’s my next move? Seduce the hell out of the woman, of course.

I may still technically be hanging onto my V Card, but I know how to drive a woman wild in bed.

Even more importantly, I know I’m the kind of man Beth’s looking for. I love hard, keep my promises, and I’ll put her and her daughter first.

And then I learn the real reason she’s been holding me at a distance…
Most men would be scared away. Me?
I’m even more determined to prove I can make this wounded woman’s dreams come true.
SPARKED
Releasing July 26
Eight years ago, Sam Baxter and I were best friends and the goofiest computer nerds to matriculate from our swanky high school.

We also made a pact to meet up and get busy if one or both of us were still virgins by our twenty-fourth birthdays.
I assumed that was a silly pinky swear we’d both forgotten about until Sam shows up at my twenty-fourth birthday party. He no longer needs a V-Card puncher, but he’s ready and willing to help me out.

Boy is he ready…

Gone is the lanky kid with glasses who made me snort-laugh when we played video games. In his place is a sex god with massive biceps, designer clothes, and a smolder that transforms women to quivering puddles of lust.

I’m out of my league with this new Sam.
But I’m also every bit as drawn to him as I used to be.

So, when he dares me to give him three dates to prove he can be trusted to rock my world, I agree. What do I have to lose aside from my V Card?

Oh, right. My heart…

AUTHOR BIO
Author of over forty novels, USA Today Bestseller Lili Valente writes everything from steamy suspense to laugh-out-loud romantic comedies. A die-hard romantic, she can’t resist a story where love wins big. Because love should always win. She lives in the Northeast with her two big-hearted boy children and a dog named Pippa Jane.

Lili also writes naughty serials as Everly Stone. Learn more at www.lilivalente.com.
AUTHOR LINKS

New Release + Release Blitz: The Summer Proposal by Vi Keeland

Title: The Summer Proposal
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 10, 2022
BLURB
The first time I met Max Yearwood was on a blind date.

Max was insanely gorgeous, funny, and our chemistry was off the charts. He also had the biggest dimples I’d ever laid eyes on.
Exactly what I needed after my breakup.

Or so I thought…

Until my real date arrived.
Turned out, Max wasn’t who I was there to meet. He only pretended to be until my real date showed up.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
Before he left, he slipped me a ticket to a hockey game a few blocks away, in case things didn’t work out on my actual date.
I tossed the ticket into my purse and went about trying to enjoy the man I was supposed to meet.
But my real blind date and I had no connection.
So on my way home, I decided to take a chance and stop by the game.
When I arrived, the seat next to me was empty.
Disappointed again, I decided to leave at the end of the period.
Just before the buzzer, one of the teams scored, and the entire arena went crazy.
A player’s face flashed up on the Jumbotron. He was wearing a helmet, but I froze when he smiled.
You guessed it: Dimples.
Apparently, my fake blind date hadn’t invited me to watch hockey with him, he’d invited me to watch him play.
And so began my adventure with Max Yearwood.
He was everything I needed at the time—fun, sexy, up for anything, and only around for a few months since he’d signed with a new team three-thousand miles away.
Max proposed we spend the summer helping me forget my ex. It sounded like a good plan. Things couldn’t get too serious when we had an expiration date. Right?
Though, you know what they say about the best-laid plans.
PURCHASE LINKS
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
OTHER BOOKS BY VI
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: The Summer Proposal by Vi Keeland

Title: The Summer Proposal
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 10, 2022
Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, 
The Summer Proposal? 
Check out this SNEAK PEEK of CHAPTER 1!
CHAPTER 1

Georgia
“What can I get you?” The bartender set a napkin down in front of me.

“Ummm… I’m meeting someone, so maybe I should wait.”
He rapped his knuckles against the bar. “Good enough. I’ll keep my eye out and stop back over when I see someone join you.”
But as he started to walk away, I reconsidered. “Actually!” I raised my hand like I was in school.
He turned around with a smile and arched a brow. “Change your mind?”
I nodded. “I’m about to meet a blind date, so I wanted to be polite, but I think I could use something to take the edge off.”
“Probably a good idea. What are you drinking?”
“A pinot grigio would be great. Thank you.”
He came back a few minutes later with a hefty pour and leaned his elbow on the bar. “So, blind date, huh?”
I sipped my wine and let out a sigh as I nodded. “I let my mom’s seventy-four-year-old friend Frannie set me up with her grandnephew to make my mom happy. She described him as ‘a smidge ordinary, but nice’. We’re supposed to meet here at five thirty. I’m a few minutes early.”
“First time letting someone fix you up?”
“Second, actually. The first was seven years ago. It took me this long to recover from it, if that tells you anything.”
The bartender laughed. “That bad?”
“I was told he was a comedian. So I figured, how terrible could it be going out with someone who makes people laugh for a living? The guy showed up with a puppet. Apparently his comedy act was as a ventriloquist. He refused to speak to me directly—wanted me to talk only to his dummy. Who, by the way, was named Dirty Dave, and every other comment out of its mouth was obscene. Oh, and my date’s mouth moved the entire time, so he wasn’t even a very good ventriloquist.”
“Damn.” The bartender chuckled. “Not sure I’d give another blind date a chance after that, even after a few years.”
I sighed. “I’m sort of regretting it already.”
“Well, if anyone comes in with a puppet, I got you covered.” He gestured toward a hallway behind him. “I know where all the emergency exits are, and I can sneak you out.”
I smiled. “Thanks.”
A couple sat down on the other end of the bar, so the bartender went to help them while I continued to stare at the entrance. I’d purposely taken a seat in the back corner so I could watch the front door, hoping to get a look at my date before he saw me. Not that I planned to ditch if he wasn’t handsome, but I didn’t want him to read disappointment on my face if I felt any. I’d always been terrible at masking my feelings.
A few minutes later, the restaurant’s door opened and a drop-dead gorgeous guy walked in. He looked like he belonged on a men’s cologne ad, probably emerging from crystal blue Caribbean water. I got excited, until I realized he couldn’t be my date.
Frannie had described Adam as a computer nerd. And pretty much any question I’d asked her about him, she’d answered, “About average.”

How tall is he? About average.
Is he handsome? About average.
Body type? About average.

This guy was tall, with broad shoulders, big, blue bedroom eyes, a chiseled jawline, dark hair that was sort of messy, but totally worked for him, and even though he was wearing a simple dress shirt and slacks, I could tell he was buff underneath. Frannie would have to be crazy to think anything about him was average.
Oh.

Oh!

Well, she was a little…different. Last time I went to Florida to see Mom, we went to lunch with Frannie, and she’d glowed orange from an excessive amount of self-tanner she’d bought on the Home Shopping Network. She also spent all afternoon telling us about her recent road trip to New Mexico to attend a UFO convention in Roswell.
But even with that factored in, this guy didn’t look like a computer nerd. Nevertheless, his eyes scanned the room, and when they met mine, he smiled.

Dimples.

Deep ones.
Oh, Lord. My heart did a little pitter-patter.

Could I be this lucky?

Apparently it was possible. Because the guy headed right toward me. I probably should’ve played it cool and looked away, but it was impossible not to stare.
“Adam?”
He shrugged. “Sure.”
I thought that was a bit of an odd response, but his smile widened, and those cavernous dimples seemed to turn my brain to mush.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Frannie. My mom is friends with Georgia.” I shook my head. “Sorry. I mean, I’m Georgia. My mom is friends with Frannie.”
“Nice to meet you, Georgia.”
He extended his hand, and when I placed mine in it, mine felt really…small.
“I have to say, you are definitely not what I was expecting. Frannie didn’t describe you very accurately.”
“Better or worse?”
Was he joking? “She may have described you as a nerd.”
He sat down on the stool next to me. “I usually don’t admit this when I first meet a woman, but I do have a Star Wars action figure collection.” He reached into his pocket and pulled something out. “In fact, I almost always have one on me. I’m a bit superstitious, and they bring me luck.”
Adam unfolded his big hand to reveal a tiny Yoda. He leaned over and set it on the bar in front of me, and a hint of cologne wafted through the air. Smells as good as he looks. There had to be something majorly wrong with him.
“Women tend to not like Star Wars for some reason,” he said. “Or a grown man carrying around an action figure.”
“I actually like Star Wars.”
He put his hand over his heart. “A beautiful woman who likes Star Wars? Should we skip the formalities and just grab a flight to Vegas to get married?”
I laughed. “Maybe, but first promise me you aren’t into ventriloquism.”
He crossed his heart. “Star Wars is as bad as it gets.”
The bartender came over to take Adam’s drink order. I was surprised when he asked for a Diet Coke.
“You’re not going to join me for a cocktail or a glass of wine?”
He shook his head. “Wish I could, but I have to work later.”
“Tonight?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I wish I didn’t. But I actually need to get out of here in a little while.”
I’d thought we were meeting for drinks and dinner, but perhaps Frannie had gotten that wrong.
“Oh, okay.” I forced a smile.
Apparently Adam saw right through it.
“I swear I’m not making that up. I do have to work. But I definitely would love to stay. Since I can’t, is it too early to say I’d love to see you again?”
I sipped my wine. “Hmmm… I’m not sure about that. Normally, I get to know someone on a first date, so I can weed out the serial killers and nutjobs. How am I supposed to know you’re not the next Ted Bundy if you’re running out of here?”
Adam stroked the scruff on his chin and looked at his watch. “I have about fifteen minutes. Why don’t we cut the small talk and you can ask me anything?”
“Anything?”
He shrugged. “I’m an open book. Take your best shot.”
I gulped my wine and turned in my seat to face him. “Alright. But I want to watch your face as I grill you. I’m terrible at hiding lies on mine but great at reading others.”
He smiled and turned, giving me his full attention. “Go for it.”
“Okay. Do you live with your mother?”
“No, ma’am. She doesn’t even live in the same state. But I do call home every Sunday.”
“Have you ever been arrested?”
“Public indecency in college. I was pledging a fraternity, and me and a bunch of other guys had to walk through the center of town naked. A group of girls stopped us and asked if any of us could hula hoop. Everyone else kept walking. I figured they were all too chicken, so I stopped. Apparently, the guys weren’t afraid; I was just the only one who didn’t see the cop coming out of a store a couple of doors down.”
I laughed. “Can you actually hula hoop?”
He winked. “Only naked. You wanna see?”
The smile on my face widened. “I’ll take your word for it.”
“Shame.”
“When was the last time you had sex?”
For the first time, the smile on his face wilted. “Two weeks ago. Are you gonna hold that against me?”
I shook my head. “Not necessarily. I appreciate the honesty. You could have lied and said a while ago.”
“Okay, good. What else you got?”
“Have you ever been in a relationship?”
“Twice. Once in college for a year, and then I dated a woman for eighteen months, and that ended two years ago.”
“Why did they end?”
“College, because I was twenty and…it was a crazy time in my life. And the woman I dated a few years back, because she wanted to get married and start a family, and I wasn’t ready.”
I tapped my pointer to my bottom lip. “Hmm… Yet you just asked me to go to Vegas and marry you.”
He grinned. “She didn’t like Star Wars.”
We were both too busy laughing to notice a guy walk up to us. I figured he must have known Adam, so I politely smiled and looked to him. But the guy spoke to me.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, but are you Georgia Delaney?”
“Yes?”
He smiled. “I’m Adam Foster. Frannie showed me a picture of you, but it was from a costume party.” He motioned to the side of his head, twirling his hand around in a circle. “You were dressed as Princess Leia, with your hair all pinned up on the sides, so you looked a little different than you do now.”
I furrowed my brow. “You’re…Adam?”
The guy seemed just as confused as I was. “Yes.”
Now this man looked like what I’d been expecting: worn, brown tweed jacket, cropped hair parted to one side—sort of the average Joe that worked in the IT department at your office. But…
If he was Adam, then who was this?
I looked at the guy sitting next to me for an answer. Though that’s not what I got.
“Did you really dress as Princess Leia for a Halloween party?”
“Yes, but…”
Adam, or whoever the hell the guy sitting next to me was, put his finger over my lips and turned to the man who was apparently my date. “Can you just give us a minute?” he asked.
“Umm…sure.”
As soon as average Adam walked away, I laid into hot Adam. “Who the hell are you?”
“Sorry. My name is Max.”
“Do you make a habit of pretending to be someone else?”
He shook his head. “I just…I saw you sitting at the bar through the window when I was passing by, and you had such a pretty smile. I came over to introduce myself, and it was clear you were here to meet someone else. I guess I sort of panicked that you weren’t going to talk to me since I wasn’t Adam. So I went with it.”
“And what if my date hadn’t showed up? Would you have pretended to be Adam on a second date?”
Max dragged a hand through his hair. “I didn’t think that far ahead.”
Normally catching a date in a lie would make me angry, but finding out Max wasn’t Adam was more disappointing than anything. We’d had great chemistry, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed so much meeting someone new.
“Was every answer a lie? Do you even like Star Wars?”
He held up both hands. “I swear. The only thing that wasn’t the truth was my name.”
I sighed. “Well, Max, thanks for the entertainment. But I don’t want to keep my real date waiting.”
He frowned, but nodded and stood. “It was nice meeting you. I guess asking for your number would be stupid right about now?”
I gave him a look. “Yes, it would. Have a good night, Max.”
He looked at me for a few seconds, then slipped a bill out of his wallet and tossed a hundred on the counter. “You, too, Georgia. I really enjoyed meeting you.”
Max took a few steps away, but then stopped and walked back. He again took out his billfold, only this time he peeled off what looked like a ticket of some sort and placed it on the bar in front of me. “I’d really love to see you again. If your real date turns out to be a dud or you change your mind, I promise I will never tell you another lie.” He pointed to the ticket. “I’ll be at the hockey game over at the Garden at seven thirty, if you would consider giving me another shot.”
What he said seemed heartfelt, but I was here to meet another man. Not to mention, I was really disappointed. I shook my head. “I don’t think so.”
With a sullen face, Max nodded one last time before walking away. I didn’t have time to process everything, but I felt a strange sense of loss when I watched him walk out the door. Though as soon as he disappeared from sight, my real date was next to me.
I had to force a smile. “Sorry about that. We, um, just had some business to wrap up.”
“No problem.” He smiled. “I’m just glad that guy wasn’t hitting on you, and I didn’t have to defend your honor. He was a tank.” Real Adam sat down. “Can I order you another wine?”
“That would be great. Thank you.”
“So…I take it you’re a big Star Wars fan?”
“Hmm? Oh, because of the costume.”
Adam pointed to the bar. “And the little Yoda.”
I looked down. Max had left his Yoda figurine behind. I guess he hadn’t been lying about being a Star Wars fan, considering he carried an action figure in his pocket. At least I hoped it wasn’t just a prop he used when he told strangers tall tales at bars and lied about his name.
***

Real Adam talked about artificial intelligence—a lot.
I tried to get my head back in the game after the Max letdown, but I knew before my actual date and I had finished a drink at the bar that this would be our only date. Adam was a nice-enough guy; there was just no connection, physical or mental. I wasn’t into computers or Bitcoin, which seemed to be a big thing for him, and he wasn’t into any of my hobbies, such as hiking, traveling, and watching old black-and-white movies. He didn’t even enjoy going to the movies. Who doesn’t love bingeing on popcorn and a gallon of soda while watching a big screen? Not to mention, when I told him about my work, he said he was allergic to flowers.
So when the waitress came by with a dessert menu, I politely declined.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like a coffee or something?” Adam asked.
I shook my head. “I have to work in the morning. Having caffeine after noon keeps me up all night. But thank you.”
He nodded, though I could tell he was disappointed.
Outside the restaurant, he offered to share a cab, but I only lived eight blocks away. So I extended my hand to set the tone for the end of the evening.
“It was very nice to meet you, Adam.”
“You, too. Maybe we can…do this again sometime?”
It was so much easier to be upfront and tell a guy there wouldn’t be a second date when he was a jerk. But I always struggled with the nice ones. I shrugged. “Yeah, maybe. Take care, Adam.”
It was late April, but the cold weather just wouldn’t relent and allow spring to start this year, and a gust of wind blew while I waited at the intersection at the corner of the restaurant. I shoved my hands into my pockets for some warmth, and inside, something pointy pricked at my fingers. I slipped it out to see what it was.
Yoda.
His plastic ears were tapered to points, and there was a tiny chip on the left one. I’d forgotten I’d stuck him in my pocket when Adam and I had moved from the bar to a table. Looking down at him, I sighed. God, why couldn’t your owner have been my actual date tonight?
It had been a very long time since a man gave me the warm fuzzies in the pit of my belly—not since the day I’d met Gabriel. So maybe finding Yoda in my pocket was a sign? The light changed, and I walked a few more blocks, lost in thought.
Did it really matter that he’d pretended to be Adam? I mean, if he was telling the truth, he only did it so I’d talk to him. Let’s face it, if he had walked over and introduced himself as Max, I wouldn’t have invited him to sit down. I would have been polite and told him I was waiting for my date, no matter how gorgeous the man was. So, I couldn’t really say I blamed him…I guess.
I stopped for another red light at the crosswalk on 29th Street, this time at the corner of 7th as I made my way down to 2nd Avenue where I lived. While I waited, I looked to my right, and the neon lights of a sign hit me. Madison Square Garden. Now that was definitely a sign—quite literally. Between Yoda and walking right past the place Fake Adam had said he’d be…perhaps it was more than that.
I checked the time on my phone. Twenty after eight. He’d said he would be there at seven thirty, but I was sure the game took a few hours. Should I?
I nibbled on my lip as the light in front of me turned green. People on both sides of me started to walk…but I just stood there, staring down at Yoda.

Screw it.
Why not?
What do I have to lose?

The worst that could happen was that our initial connection fizzled or it turned out lying was one of Fake Adam’s hobbies. Or…the spark we’d had might lead to just the distraction I was looking for. I wouldn’t know unless I tried.
For the most part, I was pretty conservative with my choices in men. And look where that had gotten me. I was a twenty-eight-year-old workaholic, going on blind dates with my mom’s friend’s relatives. So screw it—I was going.
Once I made the decision, I couldn’t wait to get there. I practically jogged to Madison Square Garden, even in my heels from work. Inside, I showed my ticket to an usher standing at the entrance to the section listed, and he showed me to my seat.
As I walked down the stadium stairs, I looked around and noticed I was pretty overdressed. Most of the people had on jerseys and jeans. There were even a few shirtless guys with their bodies painted, and here I was wearing a cream silk blouse, red pencil skirt, and my favorite Valentino pumps. At least Max had been pretty dressed up.
I hadn’t noticed the row number on the ticket before handing it over to the usher, but the seats must’ve been decent because we just kept walking down toward the ice. When we hit the very first row, the usher extended his hand. “Here you go. Seat two is the second one in.”
“Wow, first row, directly in the middle on the fifty-yard line.”
The guy smiled. “In hockey we call it center ice.”
“Oh…okay.” But the seat next to the one he’d shown me to was empty, and Max was nowhere in sight. “Did you happen to see the person sitting in the seat at the end?” I asked.
The usher shrugged. “I’m not positive, but I don’t think they’ve arrived yet. Enjoy the game, miss.”
After he walked away, I stood looking down at the two empty seats. This was one outcome I hadn’t thought about: I might get stood up. Actually, would it even be considered standing someone up if the other person didn’t know you were coming? I wasn’t sure. But I was here, so I might as well take a seat and see if Max showed. He’d said he had to work, so perhaps he was running late. Or maybe he was already here, just in the men’s room or in line for a beer.
A woman sat on the other side of me. She smiled as I settled in. “Hi. Are you here to watch Yearwood? He’s on fire tonight, already slashed two in the net. Too bad they’re probably not going to be able to hold onto him for next season.”
I shook my head. “Oh. No, I’m actually meeting someone. I’ve never been to a live hockey game before.” Just as I said it, two guys slammed into the glass wall directly in front of me. I jumped, and the woman next to me laughed as they skated away.
“That happens a lot. You’ll get used to it.” She reached out her hand. “I’m Jenna, by the way. I’m married to Tomasso.” She pointed to the rink. “Number twelve.”
“Oh, wow. I guess I’m sitting next to the right person for my first game.” I put my hand to my chest. “I’m Georgia.”
“Anything you want explained, Georgia, you just let me know.”
For the next twenty minutes, I tried to watch the game. But I kept looking around to see if Max was coming down the stairs. Unfortunately, he never did. By nine o’clock, it was pretty clear I’d wasted my time. Since I had early meetings tomorrow morning, I decided to call it a night. The game clock showed less than a minute until the end of the second period, so I figured I’d wait until then so I wouldn’t be blocking people’s views as I climbed the stairs back up to the exit. These hockey fans seemed pretty into the game.
When the clock hit nine seconds, one of the guys scored a goal, and the place went crazy again. Everyone jumped up, so I did the same, only I used it as an opportunity to slip on my jacket. I leaned to the woman next to me and yelled. “I don’t think my date’s coming, so I’m going to head out. Have a good night.”
But as I turned to leave, something caught my attention on the Jumbotron. The player who’d scored held his stick up in the air celebrating, and a bunch of the guys on his team were whacking him on the head. His helmet covered most of his face, but those eyes… I know those eyes. The player took out his mouth guard, waved it in the air, and smiled right at the camera.

Dimples.

Big ones.
My eyes went wide.
No…it couldn’t be.
I continued to stare at the screen with my mouth hanging open until the guy’s face was no longer on it.
The woman next to me finished cheering. “See? I told you he was on fire. If this is your first game, you’ve picked a good one to watch. You don’t see a lot of hat tricks in a single period. Yearwood is having his best season ever. Too bad the rest of his team isn’t.”
“Yearwood? That’s the name of the guy who just scored?”
Jenna laughed at my question. “Yup. Team captain and arguably the best player in the NHL these days. They call him Pretty Boy for obvious reasons.”
“What’s his first name?”
“Max. I figured you knew him, since those are his seats you’re sitting in.”

★★★ 


Excited? We are too!
RELEASING
JANUARY 10th!
PRE-ORDER LINKS

Please note: There will not be an Amazon ebook pre-order, but it will be available on Amazon on release day.


Sign up for Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live!
SIGN UP HERE

Do you like texts better than email? Receive text notices of Vi’s new releases by texting the word BOOKS to 77948 You will ONLY receive a text when a new book goes live – no other messages at all!
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

New Release + Release Blitz + 4 Star Review: Pompous Player by Brenda Rothert

Title: Pompous Player
A Cocky Hero Club Novel
Author: Brenda Rothert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 14, 2021
Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward are excited to bring you the Cocky Hero Club: original works from various authors inspired by Keeland and Ward’s New York Times bestselling Cocky Bastard series.
BLURB
I hate Harry Stone.
Before I’d even met the selfish former pro hockey player turned CEO, he was at the top of my shit list.
The entire city of Chicago thinks he’s God’s gift to humanity, but I know the truth.
He knocked up my best friend and then ditched her when she needed him most.
She got sick after that, and before she passed away, she chose me to raise her newborn daughter.
I just need Harry to sign away his rights to the little girl who means everything to me.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
To stay in his daughter’s life, I end up moving in with the man I detest. Loathe. Despise.
Hating Harry Stone is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
But slowly discovering a way to not hate him?
Now that, I didn’t see coming.
Pompous Player is a secret baby/enemies to lovers/sports romance inspired by Cocky Bastard.
PURCHASE LINKS
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
4 star
Tracey’s Review
Winter Stevens never thought that she’d be raising her best friend’s daughter with no help from the father that left her friend when she needed him most. Harry Stone, sports legend, veteran, philanthropist, and, oh yes, player extraordinaire. Winter hates the very mention of his name, and when Harry comes back into the picture, she’s sure that he’s up to no good. But people aren’t always what they seem…

It’s always nice to return to a book world that I’ve enjoyed in the past. As a very happy fan of both the Cocky Hero world created by authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, and the books of Brenda Rothert, it was a pleasure to read POMPOUS PLAYER, Brenda’s contribution to the Cocky Hero Club.

Harry Stone may be one of my favorite of Brenda’s hockey men. Not only has he been a member of the Chicago Blaze hockey team, he’s also served his country, and gone on to continue to help others. Pretty much the whole package, unless you’re Winter Stevens, and you’re convinced that he’s the most selfish jerk you’ve ever met. But the Harry that Winter meets isn’t quite what she was expecting, and it’s not long before she’s having to take a good long look at the man that he actually is now.

Brenda works her usual magic here, crafting a story that takes two very different people and brings them together. Winter and Harry are more than they appear to be, and, once they start working as a team, there’s no stopping them and their feelings.

POMPOUS PLAYER is a nice addition to both the Cocky Hero world and the world of the Chicago Blaze. Sparks, sass, cooperation, and, finally, love, are all on the menu in this book, and Brenda brings it all together to give us an ultimately heartwarming and feel-good read with some spice for the win. A very enjoyable read, and one that I’m happy to recommend. ❤️

NOVEMBER RELEASES
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.
COCKY HERO CLUB

Cover Reveal + Pre-Order: Hold Me Forever by Layla Hagen

Release Date: January 18

As the hockey league’s star goalie, I live by three simple principles: 
1. Keep a pristine image.
2. Work hard on the ice.  
3. Stay out of relationships.

I was killing it until a mishap tarnished my image. Now, management has me cleaning up my reputation and coaching a bunch of kids. I’m hellbent on proving myself, but I can’t stop flirting with the volunteer coordinator. Kendra’s defenses are up, but sometimes she lets them slip, and I like what I see.

Management’s directives are clear: “Kendra is off-limits.” 
But like I said, I’m the goalie. I do the blocking. I won’t let anyone stand in my way.

Pre-Order Your Copy Here:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU   Nook | Kobo | Apple Books

Add to your Goodreads TBR List!

Meet Layla Hagen
Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it 😀


I am represented by Louise Fury (The Bent Agency)


Connect with Layla Hagen:



Hosted By:

New Release + Release Blitz: The Senior by Monica Murphy

The Senior by Monica Murphy is now live!

Eli Bennett.

Magnetic. Outspoken. Infuriating.

Top ranked college quarterback. Sexy. Funny.

Oh, and now my ex-boyfriend.

When he makes me choose between him or a once in a lifetime opportunity, I surprise us both — and don’t choose him. He can’t tell me what to do. Besides, he’ll get over my so-called betrayal and we’ll be back together in no time.

But when I return from my European study abroad program, Eli is still angry. He wants me to apologize for leaving him. I want him to apologize for giving me an ultimatum. Looks like we’re at a standstill.

He’s playing the season of his life thanks to him channeling his anger into aggressiveness out on the field, and now he’s got NFL prospects. His every dream is coming true, but I know he misses me. He still wishes he had his parents’ approval. He’s on top of his game, but secretly, he’s miserable.

Until a life changing moment has us both reconsidering what we’re going to do with our lives. And if we’re going to end up…

Together.

Download today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

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

Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/TheSenior

 

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

 

 

Meet Monica


Monica Murphy is a New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling romance author. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. Both a traditionally published and independently published author, she writes young adult, new adult and contemporary romance. She’s also known as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.

A native Californian, she lives on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere with her husband, two kids, one dog, and four cats. When she’s not writing, she’s an assistant coach for her daughter’s high school cheer team, which is a two season sport. Meaning, she’s at practice with a bunch of teenage girls all the time. Or she’s at a football game. Or a basketball game. Maybe someday, she’ll even write about this experience.

Connect with Monica

Website: http://monicamurphyauthor.com

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/MonicaMurphyGR

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YUl0Vm

Facebook: http://bit.ly/MonicaMurphyFB

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

Instagram: http://bit.ly/MonicaMurphyIG

Twitter: http://bit.ly/MonicaMurphyTW

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2ZAthV1

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

Verve: https://bit.ly/2ZXwx00

Excerpt Reveal: Well Played by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Title: Well Played
Authors: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 25, 2021
Excited about Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward’s upcoming release, Well Played? 
Check out this SNEAK PEEK!
Presley

Harper picked up the notebook that contained my to-do list from the table and opened to a fresh page. Clicking the pen open, she scribbled across the top.

To do with Levi

I chuckled. “Are we making a dirty to-do list?”
She wiggled her eyebrows and put the pen to the paper. “We certainly are.” “Tell me one thing you fantasize about doing with him.”
Yep, I was definitely drunk, because sober me wouldn’t have participated in this. Though, even in this state, I felt my cheeks blush. “Well, every day he goes out back and does pull-ups in that big oak tree. Sometimes I imagine he’s naked while doing them, and then I walk out naked, too. I wrap myself around him like a koala and he’s a tree, and he keeps doing the pull-ups. Hoisting us both up and down.”
Harper smirked. “Nice start.” She then jotted down koala pull-ups. “What else you got?”
“Well, I also have this running fantasy that I’m watching him do the pull-ups from my bedroom window with binoculars, and then I lie down on the bed and…you know…go to town on myself. And when I’m just about to orgasm, I look up at the window and see Levi with the binoculars. He’s watching me masturbate from outside.”
“Oooh… I like that one.” Harper wrote down voyeur masturbation.
For the next half hour, we polished off our spiked lemonades, laughed a lot, and added more than a dozen sexual to-do tasks to my list. It was the most fun I’d had in ages. But Harper had to fly home in the morning, and I didn’t want her to have a raging hangover. So rather than make another pitcher of spiked lemonade, I grabbed her a water bottle and some Motrin and told her to drink up before going to bed.
But as I walked around and shut off the lights, another fantasy hit me. “That peach cobbler we had for dessert at the restaurant was orgasmic, wasn’t it?”
“It sure was.”
I pointed to the notepad. “Sit on Levi’s face while eating that pie.”
Harper had been drinking water and spit it out all over the place. “Oh my God. That is most definitely going on the list!” She picked up the pen and spoke while jotting something down. “Double orgasmic peach cobbler.”
We started to crack up, but a knock interrupted our laughter. At least it interrupted mine. I looked up to find Levi standing in the doorway to the living room.
My eyes widened. “Levi… What are you doing here?”
His brows lifted. “I own half the place.”
“No, I meant I didn’t know you were back.”
He looked between Harper and me and seemed to smirk. “Oh, I’m back.”
My palms started to sweat. “I didn’t hear you come in. How long have you been…standing there?”
Levi tilted his head, and his smirk elevated to a cocky smile. “Not too long.”
Oh my God. I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. What if he heard? I suddenly felt pretty damn sober. “Umm…well, this is my friend Harper. She’s leaving early tomorrow, so we were just going to bed.”
He nodded. “Nice to meet you, Harper.”
Harper stood and hiccupped. She covered her grinning mouth. “Nice to meet you, too. Your family’s inn is beautiful.”
“Thank you.”
Her eyes shifted to me. “Although there’s a lot to do around here. Presley and I made a list. You might want to take a look at it and get going on some of the new to-do tasks we added.”
My eyes nearly bulged out of my head, and I lunged for the notebook on the table.
Levi squinted at me. “Everything okay, Presley? You seem stressed.”
“I’m fine!”
He nodded slowly. “Right.”
“Alright….” I grabbed Harper’s arm and tugged. “We’re going to bed. Welcome home.”
Levi never moved from the living room doorway as he watched me drag my friend out of the room.
Harper waved over her shoulder. “’Night, Levi. Enjoy your to-do list!”
Somehow I managed to get Harper to her room without her yelling anything too obscene. But for the next half hour, I lay in my bed with my heart pounding. What if he’d heard us? What if he’d been standing there listening the entire time? Oh my God. I covered my face with my hands. The things I said I wanted to do to him. My head began to ache, and tomorrow’s hangover hadn’t even started yet.
After another twenty minutes of lying there freaking out in the dark, my mouth was so parched that I needed a bottle of water. But there was no way I wanted to run into Levi again. So I cracked open my bedroom door and listened for any sounds of someone moving out in the common area. Finding it quiet, I snuck down the hall and peered around the corner to see if any lights were still on. They weren’t, so I breathed a sigh of relief and went to the kitchen for a drink.
I guzzled half a bottle of water before turning to slink back to my bedroom. But I froze at the sight of Levi standing in the kitchen doorway. My hand flew up to cover my racing heart. “Oh my God. You scared me.”
“Sorry. I was just going to head out to grab a bite to eat.”
“Oh…there are leftovers from lunch in the fridge, if you want. I made chicken pot pies this morning.”
Levi held my eyes for a moment. “Thanks, but I think I’m going to go out.” He walked over and leaned down to whisper in my ear. “I have a real hankering for peach cobbler.”

Oh.
My.
God.

My jaw dropped to the ground. I had no idea what to do or say.
Levi winked as he walked to the door. “Get some sleep. I wouldn’t want you to be too tired to work on that to-do list.”

★★★ 


Excited? We are too!
RELEASING
OCTOBER 25th!

Please note: There will not be an Amazon ebook pre-order, but it will be available on Amazon in Kindle Unlimited on release day.

Sign up for Vi and Penelope’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live!


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.

New Release + Release Blitz: Rebel Yule by Kate Meader

 Release Date: October 12 

A holiday entry in the Rookie Rebels series, featuring a player who’s been here from the start . . . 

Goalie Erik “Fish” Jorgenson finally gets his shot at love . . . but first he’ll have to figure out what he did to offend the woman he’s had his eye on for some time. Can a little Yuletide cheer get him into her good graces, warm bed, and frozen heart? Or will he fumble the puck and lose his chance? 

Join the Chicago Rebels this holiday season and find out if Erik is as good at saving Christmas as he is at saving goals!


Grab Your Copy Here:

Amazon | Apple | Kobo | Nook

Meet Kate Meader 


Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, fire hose, or hockey stick, and she’s there. 

Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with big-hearted guys and strong heroines – and heroes – who can match their men quip for quip.


Connect with Kate Meader 

Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads    BookBub | Reader Group | Amazon Author Page


Hosted By