New Release + Excerpt + 5 Star Review: Empire by Rachel Van Dyken – The Eagle Elite Series – Book 7

Empire 0 days

 

empire smash cover art

I have lost everything.

My purpose

My love

My soul

Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle — the promise I made her brings me back.

So I breathe.

I live.

I hate.

And I allow the anger to oil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don’t want to be fixed.

But the Empire is crumbling and it’s my job to fix it.

My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.

A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of our mafia family.

The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do something I swore I’d never do again.

An arranged marriage.

Only this time.

I won’t fall.

Or so help me God, I will kill her myself.

My name is Sergio Abandonoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate?

You have no idea.

I am the mafia.

I am the darkness.

Blood in. No out.

AMAZON US / AMAZON UK / AMAZON AU / AMAZON CA / B&N / iBOOKS / KOBO

 

 

The loving couple in the rain

 

EXCERPT

 

“Taxi.” I held up my hand. “It’s too cold to walk.”

“Is it?”

“For those of us who have hearts,” I said under my breath.

He paused and then burst out laughing. “Holy shit, was that a dig at me?”

I shrugged as the taxi pulled up.

“Damn, and you’re not even apologizing.”

“It was more of a passing comment under my breath…” I got into the taxi and slid across the cold, worn vinyl seat. “But true.”

Sergio slammed the door after him. “And here I thought I was making a good impression.”

“You offered to kill me if I kissed you.”

The taxi driver frowned into the rearview mirror.

“She’s kidding,” Sergio reassured him.

I refused to let him get off that easy. “You also look at me like you want to throw up.”

Mr. Taxi Driver’s nostrils flared.

“Uh.” Sergio laughed uncomfortably. “I just have a lot on my mind.”

“The wife.”

Taxi Driver’s eyes looked like they were going to bug out of his head. Yeah, this was probably the best entertainment he’d had all day.

“I don’t talk about it,” Sergio said in a drop-the-subject voice.

“Maybe you should.”

“I have enough money to afford a therapist, thank you,” he said through clenched teeth.

“Money doesn’t buy happiness,” I fired back.

Sergio released a string of pithy curses. “Did someone spike your milk this morning during show and tell?”

“Lactose intolerant.”

“Sorry. Your Kool-Aid.” His eyes narrowed. “It’s like you’re trying to piss me off.”

Bingo. I smiled. “Funny, that’s what Dante says to me all the time. Just think of all the things you get to look forward to. Isn’t that what you said you wanted?”

Sergio looked ready to strangle me. “No. I don’t believe I asked for an annoying little sister, but if that’s what you’re offering, please don’t let me stop you. Just know, I won’t hesitate to put you over my knee if you get out of hand.”

The minute the words left his mouth. I froze.

He froze.

The taxi driver stared little laser-like holes into the rearview mirror.

And Sergio leaned toward me.

I swallowed as tension swirled around us.

He gripped me by the chin and turned my head to the side, his lips brushing my ear. “It’s like you have a death wish.”

“You wouldn’t do it.”

He pulled back as both of his eyebrows shot up, and then he looked down, like something had caught his eye.

I followed the direction of his gaze and let out a little gasp as a gun dug into my stomach.

“It’s been directed at you for the last four minutes,” Sergio said through a practiced smile. “I meant what I said. Listen well. I keep my word. Kiss me, and blood will be spilled.”

“Y-you’re a crazy person!” I hissed, shoving at his chest. “And I wasn’t going to kiss you!”

“Sure you weren’t.” He put the gun away. “Good talk though, right? Oh look, the movie theater.”

To say that I scrambled out of the car like a kid running away from her kidnapper would be a gross understatement, but the minute my feet hit the pavement, I paused.

My body told me to run.

The guy had pulled a gun.

On me.

I didn’t even watch violent movies, I’d just panicked and said the first thing that popped into my head!

And I was about to go to the theater with a guy who probably showered in blood on a daily basis and by the looks of it — got off on it.

Shivering, I forced myself to take a deep breath and wrapped my jacket tighter around my body.

That was the thing about men like Sergio, or maybe just loyalty in general. He’d promised he would keep me safe, but I wondered if that promise was only extended until I was more trouble than I was worth.

I was safe, not because of what I was to him.

But because of who my dad had been to him.

I was nothing.

And yet, a part of me still yearned to be… something.

Anything really.

Pathetic.

“Change your mind?” Sergio’s smooth voice interrupted my thoughts. He was the type of man you felt even when he wasn’t speaking. His presence was impossible to ignore, kind of like his ridiculous good looks.

Weren’t mafia guys supposed to be old?

Fat?

Chain smokers who bought Cuban cigars and sat behind large desks while counting money and ordering hits on people who pissed them off?

“No.” I finally found my voice. “I was just thinking….”

“About?” His hand touched my back, ushering me forward, but not pushing, almost as if he was giving me the option of still saying no.

I increased my pace so that I couldn’t feel the warmth of his fingertips. “Popcorn.” I turned and winked, hoping it would hide the fact that my body was shaking.

Maybe I was the crazy one.

Because he was armed.

The man was armed.

And he had no qualms about pointing his weapon at me whenever I got too close.

Huh, we’d have a happy marriage.

I guess we’d never argue, since I liked living.

And, you know, breathing.

It would suck not to make my twenty-first birthday because I didn’t fold the towels just right.

And again, I froze.

Was he that neurotic? Or was it just the closeness?

“On a scale of one to ten…” I was proud of the way I kept the shaking out of my voice. Why was I so scared? Oh right, because he’d pointed a gun, no, shoved a freaking gun into my stomach and done it with a smile on his face. “How OCD are you?”

An easy laugh escaped him as he glanced around the movie theater lobby and then back at me. “What makes you think I’m OCD?”

“Things.” I gulped then forced a smile that I didn’t feel. How was I supposed to go through an entire movie knowing he was one uncomfortable conversation away from losing it? “So?”

“What can I get you?” A teen boy looked at Sergio then smiled wider when his eyes fell to me.

Immediately, Sergio wrapped a protective arm around me, basically forcing my body to curve into his warmth. “My wife and I will have two buckets of popcorn, two packs of Sour Patch Kids, and a bottled water.”

I didn’t correct him about the water.

“Wait.” Sergio held up his hand. “Sorry, Dr. Pepper mixed with Coke.”

The teen scrunched up his face then rung us up. His eyes fell to me again then back at the register, like he was trying not to look but couldn’t help it, which was comical, since I didn’t really think I was anything to look at.

When he handed Sergio back his change I could have sworn I heard a growl from my “husband.”

As it was, he jerked the candy so hard out of the kid’s hands that I was surprised he didn’t do a front flip over the counter.

“He’s a boy,” I whispered under my breath. “No need to shoot him too.”

Sergio glanced down at me, muttered a curse. “He was staring.”

“He looked about one science project away from solving world hunger via his mom’s basement… hardly the type of guy that I’d date.”

“Date?” Sergio said it so loudly the people in front of us waiting to show the attendant their tickets jumped and then turned around. “What the hell do you mean date?”

Crap. I’d messed up again.

My palms went sweaty while my face felt numb with fear. Regardless of how pretty he was to look at — I was finally fully aware of how dangerous he was to me.

To everyone around me.

Sweat trickled down my lower back as I gulped down more soda and shrugged. “I just mean, he’s not my type.”

“No shit he isn’t, because you don’t get a type anymore.”

“Right.” I licked my lower lip, pretending not to be scared, pretending to be the brave person I wasn’t was wearing on me.

By the time we made it into the theater I was dizzy.

It was too much all at once.

“So…” Sergio’s voice was in my ear. I jumped a foot. He frowned as if he couldn’t figure out why I’d be so jumpy. “Dante sits behind you, right?”

“Right.” I exhaled in relief. I forgot. It wasn’t a date. It was a challenge. He’d called me his sister, so therefore he was my brother, right? Hah. I relaxed a bit as I pointed to a seat a few rows back and quickly stole the goodies out of his hands then made my way to my own seat before he could object.

The credits started rolling.

And I found myself ducking in the chair.

The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

As if I was being watched — because I was.

Ten minutes into the movie, I was so stressed out, I almost burst into tears. My back was to him.

Wasn’t that a big no-no? My back was to the dude with the gun.

Even though he was supposed to protect me with the gun, all bets were off now.

Sweat pooled in the palms of my hands.

The music rose as one of the actresses ran down the stairs screaming.

I couldn’t take it.

And then, a body sat down next to me.

Sergio gave me a suspicious look then put a seat between us.

I exhaled.

But it wasn’t relief.

At least I knew where he was.

And where the gun was, he was right handed, so there was that.

I finally allowed myself to relax enough to watch the movie when I saw Sergio’s right hand duck into his jacket.

I gripped the plastic arm rests, my fingers digging into the cheap sticky plastic material as he slowly pulled something out.

He turned.

And I flinched so hard that there was no mistaking what I thought he was doing.

Even though he had grabbed a black cell phone.

The damage was done.

My entire body shook as a big fat tear escaped, I tried to wipe it away but I wasn’t fast enough.

“S-sorry.” I shoved past him and ran.

But my body was too scared.

Too tired

To make it very far.

Empire Teaser #4

 

Get the beginning of Sergio’s story in Elude

elude

Twenty-Four hours before were were to be married–I offered to shoot her.

Ten hours before our wedding–I made a mockery of her dying wish.

Five hours before we were going to say our vows–I promised I’d never love her.

One hour before I said I do–I vowed I’d never shed a tear over her death.

But the minute we were pronounced man and wife–I knew.

I’d only use my gun to protect her.

I’d give my life for hers.

I’d cry.

And I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl–a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.

I always believed the mafia would be my end game–where I’d lose my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.

Or the beginning of something beautiful.

The beginning of her.

The end of us.

AMAZON / iBOOKS / NOOK

_______________________________________

5Star

Michel’s Review

I have been a huge fan of the Eagle Elite series since the beginning.  I have devoured each book and raved about this series.  The last book left me devastated.  My heart broke for Serigio.  Rachel Van Dyken has finally given Sergio the happily ever after he desperately needs.

Empire should not be read as a stand alone novel. To fully appreciate the Empire novel, the previous book , Elude should be read first.  I would go even further by recommending the entire series.  The dynamics of this series are very complex. I feel that even the seasoned reader is still trying to keep all of the facts straight.  There should be a family tree and hierarchy table in the front of each novel. Each character, family member, and associates brings something to unique each novel.

Poor Sergio can’t catch a break.  He was forced to marry his enemy.  He fell in love and had to watch her die of cancer.  Their short time together was the best and the worst times of Sergio’s life.  He was left a broken man.  And once again his family is forcing him to marry for the good of the family.  What can he do, blood is everything. Without blood there is nothing.

Sergio may be forced to marry but this time he will not give his heart.  He will not betray Andi’s memory.  He will never love again.

Imagine being a young innocent Italian woman who works in a floral shop with her three elderly uncles.  Val is that shy girl that lives for her family and her books.  When her uncles arrange a marriage for her she is livid.  She’s only nineteen.  Hardly an old maid.  Not only do they arrange the marriage but another man changes the groom.  She then finds out that she is a mafia princess, the daughter of one the most powerful men in the families.  Now her unknown father is dead and she needs protection.  Rather than getting a prince she gets a broken enforcer that refuses to look her in the eye.

Sergio and Val have a hard road to travel.  Val doesn’t want to fill Andi’s shoes, she just wants to share a bit of the path.  Can Sergio open up?  Read the book.

The only thing I can say is Rachel did a magnificent job with this book.  I was afraid I couldn’t embrace Val because I loved Andi so much.  I fell in love with this strong hearted girl right along with Sergio.

 Sergio finally has his happily ever after!

 

______________________________________________

 

rachelborder

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / GOODREADS / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE / NEWSLETTER

Release Day Blitz + Excerpt : Empire by Rachel Van Dyken -The Eagle Elite Series – Book 7

Empire 0 days

 

empire smash cover art

I have lost everything.

My purpose

My love

My soul

Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle — the promise I made her brings me back.

So I breathe.

I live.

I hate.

And I allow the anger to oil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don’t want to be fixed.

But the Empire is crumbling and it’s my job to fix it.

My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.

A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of our mafia family.

The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do something I swore I’d never do again.

An arranged marriage.

Only this time.

I won’t fall.

Or so help me God, I will kill her myself.

My name is Sergio Abandonoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate?

You have no idea.

I am the mafia.

I am the darkness.

Blood in. No out.

AMAZON US / AMAZON UK / AMAZON AU / AMAZON CA / B&N / iBOOKS / KOBO

 

 

The loving couple in the rain

 

EXCERPT

Sergio looked ready to strangle me. “No. I don’t believe I asked for an annoying little sister, but if that’s what you’re offering, please don’t let me stop you. Just know, I won’t hesitate to put you over my knee if you get out of hand.”

The minute the words left his mouth. I froze.

He froze.

The taxi driver stared little laser like holes into the rearview mirror.

And Sergio leaned toward me.

I swallowed as tension swirled around us.

He gripped me by the chin and turned my head to the side, his lips brushing my ear. “It’s like you have a death wish.”

“You wouldn’t do it.”

He pulled back as both of his eyebrows shot up, and then he looked down, like he had spotted something.

I followed the direction of his gaze and let out a little gasp as a gun dug into my stomach.

“It’s been directed at you for the last four minutes,” Sergio said through a practiced smile. “I meant what I said. Listen well. I keep my word. Kiss me, and blood will be spilled.”

“Y-you’re a crazy person!” I hissed, shoving at his chest. “And I wasn’t going to kiss you!”

“Sure you weren’t.” He put the gun away. “Good talk though, right? Oh look, the movie theater.”

To say that I scrambled out of the car like a kid running away from her kidnapper would be a gross understatement, but the minute my feet hit the pavement, I paused.

My body told me to run.

The guy had pulled a gun.

On me.

I didn’t even watch violent movies.

 

 

Get the beginning of Sergio’s story in Elude

elude

Twenty-Four hours before were were to be married–I offered to shoot her.

Ten hours before our wedding–I made a mockery of her dying wish.

Five hours before we were going to say our vows–I promised I’d never love her.

One hour before I said I do–I vowed I’d never shed a tear over her death.

But the minute we were pronounced man and wife–I knew.

I’d only use my gun to protect her.

I’d give my life for hers.

I’d cry.

And I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl–a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.

I always believed the mafia would be my end game–where I’d lose my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.

Or the beginning of something beautiful.

The beginning of her.

The end of us.

AMAZON / iBOOKS / NOOK

 

rachelborder

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / GOODREADS / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE / NEWSLETTER

Happy Release + Excerpt + 5 Star Review: All I Want by Jill Shalvis – Animal Magnetism Series – Book 7

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All I Want

Animal Magnetism Series – Book 7

By Jill Shalvis

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Synopsis

From the “awesomely, incredibly talented”* New York Times bestselling author of Still the One, comes a sexy new Animal Magnetism novel set in Sunshine, Idaho, where the sky is the limit when it comes to love.

Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler.

Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…

*New York Times bestselling author, Jaci Burton

Buy: Amazon / B & N / ITunes / Kobo

AiW4

All I Want

Chapter 1

Zoe Stone had tried on everything in her closet and not only did her room now look like an explosion in a mattress factory, not one single item of clothing had worked for her.
She was still standing there eyeing the carnage when her sister, Darcy, appeared in the doorway, arms loaded with clothing. “Got your 911 freak-out text. Here’s all the stuff I’ve ever borrowed from you.”

“You mean stolen?”

“Tomayto, tomahto.” Darcy dumped the entire pile of loot in the only space available—on top of the slightly tubby Bernese mountain dog snoring in the center of Zoe’s bed.

“The pretty little black dress of yours is in there,” Darcy said. “You should absolutely be wearing that for your date instead of the granny dress you’ve got on. Seriously, how old are you, eighty-five?”

She’d just had the first anniversary of turning thirty, thank you very much, but Zoe looked down at herself. Her floral print dress was soft and clingy, fell to just past her knees, and hid a multitude of sins—such as the fact that she’d been stress-eating her feels all week. “It’s not that bad.”

“Zoe, you could walk into any Denny’s before five o’clock and get a discount.”

“I like this dress,” Zoe said, “and so does Oreo.”

Oreo, the aforementioned Bernese mountain dog, cracked open an eye and looked up at Zoe with love and adoration. “See?” she said, ruffling the dog’s big head. “And not that I have time to change anyway, but I don’t see what’s wrong with this outfit.”

“Absolutely nothing,” Darcy said, “assuming that you don’t care if you ever get laid again. And for God’s sake, stop taking fashion advice from a dog who rolls in bear poo and thinks he smells good.”

Panting happily, Oreo smiled up at the both of them.

Through the open window came the sound of a vehicle pulling up. Darcy moved to the second-story window and peered out. “Looks like your blind date’s here. What’s his name again?”

“Newman Taylor.”

“Well, Newman’s in a black Jeep with the top off. Not his top, the Jeep’s top, but still very nice—Whoa.”

“What?”

Darcy’s nose was glued to the window now. “Holy crap on a stick—he’s hot for a guy named Newman. Way too hot for that dress you’re wearing. Quick,” she said, waving a hand at Zoe. “Exchange it for the LBD.”

“I’m fine in this,” Zoe said. Maybe because she couldn’t wear the LBD; she hadn’t shaved her thighs—her own little insurance policy against making any rash decisions tonight such as getting naked. No way would she be tempted knowing she had hairy thighs. “And get away from there and stop spying on him.” But then she moved to the window next to her sister and sucked in a breath because Darcy was right, Norman was hot. Dark hair, a little wavy, a lot wind tousled. Black shirt that fit him well enough to define broad shoulders. Dark jeans. An easy gait that said confident male.

Butterflies took flight low in her belly and she pressed a hand to it. “Oh boy.”

“And I bet he’s got a six-pack, too,” Darcy whispered. “Maybe even an eight-pack. I’m going to need you to remember every detail for me.”

For Darcy, abs were a requirement in a man.

But Zoe had learned a lot for a woman who’d just had her thirtieth birthday—again. She had a completely different list of requirements. Honesty and kindness. That was it. Easy to remember and simple. But she’d also learned that nothing about men was simple.

“I wonder what color his eyes are—” Darcy broke off as the guy stopped on the path to the house and unerringly looked up at the window where the two of them stood staring at him.

With a commingled squeak, they dropped to the floor.

Afraid he was missing some fun new game, Oreo barked happily and leapt off the bed and right on top of them.

“Oomph.” Darcy pulled the silly dog in for a hug. “You big lug. You need a diet.”

Zoe pushed Oreo’s tail out of her face. “Think he saw us?” she asked, panicked.

“Nah,” Darcy said.

Zoe let out a relieved breath. “Really?”

“No.” Darcy grinned and sat up. “He totally saw us.”

Oh for God’s sake. The guy’s a dentist, she reminded herself. By definition, that meant he most likely was a people person, right? Right, she decided. And him being a people person was a good thing since one of them needed to know what they were doing.

She and Darcy—and Oreo—crawled away from the window and stood.

“Feels a little like old times, doesn’t it?” Darcy asked, dusting herself off. “Remember when we sneaked out of the house to do that midnight full moon climb up White Eagle with the Connelly brothers? We climbed out the window and got caught by Grandpa and were grounded for the rest of the summer.”

“That was you and Wyatt,” Zoe said. Their brother had always been able to find trouble. “I never got grounded.”

“That’s right. Wyatt was way more fun than you.”

Zoe slipped into a pair of flats and Darcy rolled her eyes.

“What’s wrong with the flats?” Zoe asked. “You wear flats all the time.”

“Yes, because I have a spinal injury that makes me want to drop to the floor and curl up in a ball whenever I wear heels,” Darcy pointed out. “You don’t have such an excuse. Plus you have legs a mile long that look amazing in heels, which makes me hate you just a little bit.”

“Flats,” Zoe insisted.

“Fine. So what do we know about this guy?”

“He’s a dentist from Hennessey Flats,” Zoe said. “Karen set me up with him, he’s her neighbor.”

“The Karen who does your hair, the Karen who’s been married and divorced three times?” Darcy asked.

“Yeah, so?”

“Sooooooo,” Darcy said, “don’t you think if her neighbor was hot, she’d date him herself, if not make him husband number four?”

Well, crap. She hadn’t thought of that.

“Plus . . . a dentist?” Darcy asked doubtfully.

“What’s wrong with him being a dentist? At least he’s gainfully employed.”

“Nothing’s wrong with it at all,” Darcy said reasonably. “If you want to sleep with a guy whose hands have been inside other people’s mouths all day long. Do you know how many germs that is? A million. A million trillion.”

Zoe shuddered. “Great. Thanks for that. Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

“Yep,” Darcy said, but moved back to the window. “You got a reprieve; he stopped to take a call.”

Zoe grabbed her purse and turned to Oreo. “Hold down the fort for Mommy, okay?”

Darcy snorted. “If a bad guy showed up, he’d hide in your closet.”

This was probably true but the big, goofy dog was the only home security system she had right now. In the past few months both Wyatt and Darcy had moved out, Wyatt to live with his fiancée, Emily, and Darcy to live with her boyfriend, AJ.

Zoe had told herself she was good with that. Sure, she missed bossing them around as she’d been doing since the dawn of time because one, their foreign diplomat parents had never seemed to notice that they’d had children, and two, well, Zoe kind of just loved to boss people around. But she wasn’t going to complain. Not when she’d seen just about every corner of the world and knew exactly how good she really had it right here in Sunshine, Idaho, alone or not.

Besides, with her newfound freedom she had a lot planned for herself. She wanted to fix up the house, although she admittedly had very little talent in that area. She wanted to learn to bake, even though she had even less talent in that realm. She wanted to date—where she had absolutely zero talent.

It might seem silly, but to a woman who’d been uniquely unlucky in her love life, Zoe had never gotten the hang of dipping her toes into the wading pool, especially with the audience of her siblings.

But now, with the house empty, it seemed like a perfect time.

Hence blind date number one. And she was ready. She wanted this. She totally almost did.

“He’s off the phone,” Darcy reported, back at the window.

Oh God. “I changed my mind,” Zoe whispered.

Darcy turned to her. “No.”

“Yes!”

“Then why did you tell everyone to set you up with blind dates so that you could get laid?”

“I never said that! I really wish you’d stop saying it.”

“What?” Zoe asked. “That you want to get laid?”

Zoe shot Darcy a look that went completely ignored. “And that’s not why I wanted to go out, I just wanted . . .” She trailed off, because what she wanted was much more complicated than her short list of man requirements.

She had a job she loved: being both a pilot-for-hire and giving flying lessons out of the small regional Sunshine Airport. Sunshine was a sleepy ranching town at the base of the heart-stopping Bitterroot Mountains and didn’t see a lot of action, but she managed to keep busy enough to eek out a living.

She had Wyatt and Darcy, whom she loved fiercely even though on any given day she felt like strangling and/or smothering them, but she was working on that.

And then there was the ancient—and some might argue dilapidated—150-year-old Victorian house that her grandparents had left the three of them, which she loved with the same fierceness with which she loved her annoying siblings.

Not to mention Oreo, whom she’d rescued not all that long ago and who’d quickly become her favorite family member.

So yeah, her life was good and she was happy, blah blah blah.

But something had been missing for a while now.

Fun.

She’d never given that particular emotion much thought before. She’d always been too busy keeping things together. But now that she had an empty nest, so to speak, she’d decided she was due. Past due—

At the knock on the front door downstairs, she nearly leapt out of her skin.

Startled, Oreo gave a loud bark and farted at the same time, and then as he did every single time this happened, he whipped his big head around to stare at his own hind end in surprise.

Darcy grinned. “Killer protective instincts, this one.” She rumpled Oreo’s fur. “I’m going to sneak out the back door, okay?” At the door, she blew Zoe a quick kiss and then smacked her own forehead. “Oh, almost forgot! Wyatt told me to remind you that his friend Parker could be showing up any time over the next few days. And change your dress and shoes!”

“I’m not going to change!”

Darcy sighed the put-upon sigh of a sister who thought she knew everything. “Fine. But do me a favor?”

“Anything if you’ll leave.”

“For once,” Darcy said, “just once, act spontaneously, okay?”

“Spontaneously?”

“Yeah, like if when you open the door and he’s even hotter up close, step outside your comfort zone and kiss him. Right up front, you know? Set the mood.”

Zoe just stared at her. “Are you completely nuts?”

“Well, obviously,” Darcy said. “But what does that have to do with anything?” She laughed, but then her smile faded. “Listen, most people spend a first date filled with anxiety, obsessing over the good-night kiss. Will there be one, won’t there be one . . .”

“I don’t obsess,” Zoe said.

“Are you kidding? You’re the queen of obsessing. So just get it out of the way, okay? Act spontaneously. And then relax and go with the flow.”

“I always go with the flow,” Zoe said.

Darcy laughed. “You go with the flow never. Try it my way? Just this once? Trust me, if there are sparks, you’ll thank me.”

“And if there aren’t?” Zoe asked.

“Then you don’t need to worry that that dress makes you look like a grandma.”

And then the whirlwind that was Darcy was gone.

Zoe took one last look at herself in the mirror. Okay, so maybe the dress didn’t scream sex, but that was okay. She wanted a guy to want her for her, right?

Right.

The knock came again. Solid. Firm. And the butterflies in her belly once again took flight.

Oreo’s, too, given that he gave another ear-piercing bark and scrambled to hide under her bed. All he could fit under there was his big, fat head, which left the rest of him sticking out.
She thought about joining him, but she’d never been much for hiding her head under the bed. So she made her way down the creaky stairs, her dress catching on her legs. Dammit. Darcy was making her doubt the choice, but it was too late now. Still, if the dress wasn’t going to make a statement, then she’d have to make do with her personality.

No pressure or anything . . .

Oreo followed her, hiding behind her legs as she opened the front door and got her first look at her blind date and . . . stopped breathing.

Damn. He was even better looking up close. Tall, and that leanly muscled build of his spoke of a man who worked with his body, not a guy who sat on a stool with his hands inside his patients’ mouths all day. He had sharp, light green eyes that crinkled in the corners, like maybe he spent a lot of time in the sun or, better yet, smiled a lot. A scar bisected his left eyebrow, giving him a dark and mysterious air. His square jaw had a slight shadow of growth, shown off when his mouth curved at her scrutiny, and this time her heart kicked hard because he also had a killer smile.

“Hey,” he said in a deep, warm masculine voice.

“Hey,” she mirrored back as Darcy’s words flashed in her head. Act spontaneously. Step outside your comfort zone.

Kiss him.

Heart pounding, Zoe let out a breath and moved forward, having to go up on her tiptoes to brush her mouth across his.

His lips were warm, firm, and yet somehow giving at the same time. She could have easily lost herself in him, but sanity returned and stepped back.

His smile got a whole lot warmer, but he didn’t speak.

“Thought I’d get that out of the way,” she managed. “It’s nice to meet you. I’ve never met a dentist without having to be in a dentist’s chair.” Great, and now she was rambling. She bit her tongue to keep it from running off with the last of her good sense.

“Nice to meet you, too,” he said. “Who’s the dentist?”

Zoe’s smile congealed and her heart stopped, just completely stopped. “Uh . . . you,” she said, “You’re the dentist.”

Still smiling, he shook his head. “Not me.”

Oh God. “You’re not Newman Tyler,” she whispered in horror.

“No,” he said. “But if your next guess is Parker James, you’d be right.”

Oh God. Wyatt’s friend, to whom she’d agreed to rent a room for the few weeks he was in town. She’d had mixed feelings about it, but Wyatt had vouched for the guy, and Zoe could really use the money for some desperately needed renovations. “You’re my brother’s old friend.”

“Not all that old, really,” he said, and looked at her mouth.

The mouth she’d kissed him with. Good God, I kissed him.

He grinned.

And . . . she’d said that out loud. Perfect. She covered her face. “I’m sorry, I—”

“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “That kiss was the best thing to happen to me all week.”

Behind her fingers she moaned a little, and he laughed at her. “Wyatt didn’t mention the welcoming committee,” he said. “He did say you might be grumpy. I like this better.”

She was going to have to kill her brother, but since he was out of town for the weekend at a vet conference, that pleasure would have to wait.

Maybe she could just move to Iceland. Iceland might be far enough to escape the humiliation, but probably not. Dammit. She’d kissed a perfect stranger, just accosted him on her doorstep. And . . . now her chest hurt. Maybe an impending heart attack would explain her behavior. Still holding her chest, she used her other hand to point at him to stay. “I just need a minute,” she said.

And then slammed the door in his face.

Behind her, in the living room, a brick fell from the ancient old fireplace. It did that every time she slammed the door. She’d tried to get someone out here to fix it but the contractor had wanted her to promise her firstborn, so she’d just decided not to slam the door anymore.

But she kept forgetting. Note to self: Stop kissing strangers, and stop slamming the door. She ran to the kitchen, where she’d left her cell phone, and pounded out her brother’s number.

“Yo,” Wyatt said in greeting. “Hear you’re going out with some dentist guy tonight. Watch where he puts his hands. You don’t know where they’ve been.”

Oh, for God’s sake. Her siblings gossiped like a pair of old ladies. “You’re a veterinarian,” she pointed out. “God knows how many worse places your hands are all day long. Maybe I should tell

Emily to watch where you put your hands.”

Wyatt just laughed. Since Emily—the love of his life—was also a vet, it had been an idle threat and they both knew it.

Zoe sucked in a deep breath. “Listen, about your friend, the one who’s coming to stay—”

“Yeah, Darcy told you he’s coming early?”

“Uh-huh,” she said with what she thought was a perfectly even voice.

But Wyatt had been seeing right through her for years. He was the only one who could. “Zoe,” he said in his most annoying brother voice. “You’re going to be nice. You promised. At least until I get back to Sunshine.”

“Yeah,” she said, and grimaced. “About that . . .” She closed her eyes. “I might be a little short on nice as it turns out.” Try hoochie-mama on for size . . .

“Shit, Zoe. He’s there already? What did you do?”

“Hey, I didn’t do anything.” Well, except kiss him.

And then slam the door on his nose . . .

Crap. “So . . . just how good a friend is this guy again?”

“Very,” Wyatt said. “We met in college when we were bartenders at the same place. On my first night, we got jumped at closing by five drunk assholes. Parker saved my ass. Haven’t gotten to see him in years, though, so don’t chase him away before I get home.”

She grimaced again. “Gotta go.”

“Zoe—”

She disconnected. “Ooops,” she said. “My bad.” She glanced at herself in the microwave glass door. “Go make nice,” she told her reflection. She turned to do just that, stopping to grab one of the cooling chocolate chip cookies she’d baked earlier. She was a great cook but she’d never been much of a baker. Determined to change that, she’d used one of her grandma’s recipes—Zoe’s first-ever batch that wasn’t from the grocery store’s frozen aisle. She took a bite . . . and nearly gagged. They tasted like baking soda.

She spit the disgusting thing out in the sink and rinsed it down. Okay, so her baking needed a lot more work.

And maybe your attitude.

Brushing the crumbs from her hands, she went back to the living room. She let out a heavy breath and once again opened the front door.

Parker was crouched low, chuckling over Oreo, who’d stayed outside with her new roommate and was sniffing at the guy’s proffered hand.

“He’s not much for new people,” Zoe warned. “And especially not much for men. He’s a rescue and—”

And nothing because Oreo jumped up onto his two hind legs and licked Parker’s chin.

Traitor.

Parker winced, but the pained expression vanished so fast Zoe wasn’t sure if she’d imagined it. “Are you hurt?”

“Cracked a few ribs a couple of weeks ago,” he said lightly. “Still a little sore, that’s all.”

“How did you do that?”

“Wrangling some big-game poachers.”

She stared at him. “Is that code for none of your business?”

“I don’t talk in code.” Mr. Mysterious rose to his feet, Oreo in his arms like he weighed nothing instead of one hundred pounds of tubby Bernese mountain dog.

“Careful,” she said. “You’ll hurt those ribs.”

“I’m fine.”

The statement was so alpha male to the core that she laughed. “Of course, you’re fine. You’re a man. Good to know you’re all equally pigheaded.”

Not insulted in the least, he grinned. “You have us all figured out, then?”

“Not that much to figure out,” she said.

Those sharp green eyes held hers. “Maybe I’ll surprise you.”

The words brought a quiver to her long-neglected lady parts, but she was pretty confident he couldn’t surprise her. But then he let Oreo lick his face again.

“A real watchdog you’ve got here,” he said fondly, and set Oreo down with one last body rub.

Well, damn, she thought reluctantly. She had to give him at least a few brownie points for loving up on her big old silly dog. “Yeah,” she said. “He’s a real killer.” She slid the killer a long look.

Oreo pretended not to see it, which only served to prove her point about men. . . .

“So,” Parker said straightening. “Can I come in yet or do you want to slam the door on my nose again?”

She felt her cheeks flush but met his gaze.

He held it prisoner with his warm, patient one and waited her out.

Great, he was also a man who knew the value of silence. She’d never met anyone like him, that was for sure. “Okay,” she said, deciding to pretend that the past few moments had never happened, hoping that he’d already forgotten it.

Denial wasn’t just a river in Egypt. . . .

AiW2

5Star

Tracey’s Review

Zoe Stone has always been the one to keep things running smoothly. A lifetime of her parents being off doing their thing has made her the solid one, the one that made sure that her younger siblings had what they needed, that life looked somewhat normal. But now that her brother and sister are out on their own, Zoe’s ready for a life reboot. Parker James has always wanted to be the opposite of his parents, to live a life different from the one mapped out for him. An agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he’s happy to go wherever the job takes him. There’s no room in his life for settling down…

Any time that Jill Shalvis releases something new, it’s an automatic top of the TBR for me. I will shuffle things around just so that I can read her books, because I love them so much. Having met and loved Zoe in previous books in Jill’s Animal Magnetism series, I was excited to see what was in store for her. As the eldest of three kids that have spent their lives in far-flung corners of the world due to their foreign service parents, Zoe has found that she loves being back home in Sunshine, Idaho. She’s finally found a rhythm to her life, a steadiness that makes her happy. When Parker shows up, that equilibrium is more than upset, and it isn’t long before her life is turned upside down.

Oh God. “You’re not Newman Taylor,” she whispered in horror.
“No,” he said. “But if your next guess is Parker James, you’d be right.”
Oh God. Wyatt’s friend, to whom she’d agreed to rent a room for the few weeks he was in town…
“You’re my brother’s old friend.”
“Not all that old, really,” he said, and looked at her mouth.
The mouth she’d kissed him with. Good God, I kissed him.
He grinned.
And…she’d said that out loud. Perfect. She covered her face. “I’m sorry, I-”
“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “That kiss was the best thing to happen to me all week.”

I love these two. Determined not to get involved, it isn’t long, of course, before good intentions are rethought, and all kinds of sizzle ensues. And, when I say sizzle, I mean hot as all heck. The chemistry between Zoe and Parker is the swoon-inducing, fan yourself type, and there is plenty of it.

One of my favorite things about reading one of Jill’s books is the sense of community, the family ties, the knowledge that the places she writes about are home, in the realest sense of the word. ALL I WANT has all of this, along with the suspense of the back story surrounding Parker and the requisite wonderful cast of supporting characters, making for an absorbing, can’t put it down read. 5+ stars, and a recommendation to grab this one, settle in, and enjoy.

AiW3

jill shalvisNew York Times Bestselling author Jill Shalvis wrote RESCUE MY HEART and FOREVER AND A DAY, along with many other romance novels including her acclaimed Lucky Harbor series. The Rita winner and 3-time National Readers Choice winner makes her home near Lake Tahoe. Visit her website at http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog, and http://www.facebook.com/jillshalvis for other news.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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Release Blitz: Sweet by Skye Warren – Chicago Underground Series

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Sweet

Chicago Underground Series – Book 7 – Novella

By Skye Warren

Synopsis

My brother is both powerful and cruel, which means I have a lot of enemies I’ve never met. He swears he’ll keep me safe, but what I want most is to break free. I especially want to break free with Drew, my brother’s lawyer.

I’ve spent my life under glass.

We shouldn’t be together, but everything about him draws me. His intensity, his kindness.

And the way he looks in those custom tailored suits.

One night when he’s outside my bedroom, I give him a sexy show. And in doing so, unlock pandora’s box. Drew shows me everything I’ve been missing. He touches my body and my heart, but when the truth comes to light, we’re both in danger.

The cost of my freedom may be the man I’ve come to love.

Buy Amazon / Amazon UK

Excerpt

Drew stepped into the spotlight, casting a long shadow over the silver-white side of his car. He opened his door and tossed his briefcase on the passenger seat. But instead of getting in and driving away, he paused. He turned back, looking directly at my window—at me. I froze, my throat going dry.

He must have known it was my room, though he’d never been upstairs. I didn’t think he could see me. At least not clearly. We were twenty feet away, separated by double-paned glass, and the glare from the floodlights would overwhelm the thin light from my lamp. Impulsively, I pressed my palm to the cool glass. Could he make that out, the shape of my hand, the color of my flesh?

I leaned forward, painting my own reflection in the window. Wide, dark eyes set in the pale moon of my face, all framed with thick curtains of black hair. I looked like a ghost, something ephemeral and weightless.

That was how I felt sometimes too—not really there. I wanted to feel something, to see what it was like to participate, even if it was only a glimpse. He was waiting for me, leaning against his car.

Maybe he’d always been waiting for me.

Since that first meeting and the sudden heat that had sparked between us, he had been waiting for me to initiate something so he could be sure I was ready. Waiting and wanting, because he had some idea of my background, if not the specifics. The consideration in that gesture, the sheer expanse of it, took my breath away.

He remained still until the floodlights flicked off, blanketing him in night. My eyes adjusted, and he came back into focus again, somehow clearer in the dark. His arms were crossed as he leaned back against the car. The driver’s side door hung open, an ignored invitation in favor of this.

I could see the glint of his eyes, his intensity unmasked. My imagination could fill in the rest—the short, stubby growth on his jaw after a long day of work, the shadows beneath his eyes.

How could I show him; what did he want? Silly questions. Of course I knew. It was primal, the urge to bare myself, to offer myself, and only my fears kept me in check. It wasn’t the glass of the window or the bricks stacked beneath it. Only my fears kept us apart.

I toyed with the hem of my soft tank top, teasing him with a strip of flesh, blowing cool air across my belly. It wouldn’t be like this with him. His breath was hot, his body a furnace. That much I knew from the study earlier when he’d murmured in my ear. The window pane was emanating cold, holding out the chilly night air but failing just a little.

He must be freezing, but he didn’t look it, not even as a breeze ruffled a lock of hair over his forehead. He looked like he could wait forever, but why should he have to? I wouldn’t be a coward, not tonight.

I had dressed for sleep after my shower, so there was nothing underneath the thin fabric of my tank top. I tugged the shirt off and let it slip from my fingers. My skin pebbled with goose bumps at the chill. My nipples tightened almost painfully. He might have been a statue, he was so still. I felt the opposite, tingling and aware. It was too much—too embarrassing, too revealing—but exactly what I had been waiting for.

What next? If there was a script to forbidden exhibitionism, I had never read it. I moved with pent-up desire, acted on ideas unformed. I trailed my palms up my stomach and lifted my small breasts like an offering.

I wanted his hands on me, wanted him to touch and caress and pinch me, so I did it myself, grasping my nipples between my thumb and forefinger. I squeezed slightly, and as if he were connected to me, as if he had done it, his body jerked infinitesimally.

Was he excited? I knew enough to look for a bulge at his crotch, but it was too dark to see. I wished he could tell me what he wanted me to do, but maybe that would ruin the illusion of safety. From fifteen feet away, I watched him lick his lips and heard the tacit message.

I put a finger to my lips and licked, slightly exaggerated so that he could see. He leaned forward slightly—yes, more. I sucked the finger into my mouth and could have sworn his hips moved slightly where they rested against the car. Trailing my wetted finger over my chest, I circled my nipple and pinched again, savoring the bite of cold air and hard pressure.

I let down my hair from my tower in the form of secret glimpses, and like Rapunzel, I needed exposure like I needed air. He joined me with his arousal, in the commands conveyed with his body. We communed in a language of our own. Climb to me. I don’t want to be alone.

An ache built in my sex under the weight of his stare and my own touch. My hips moved in answer to his, finding an instinctive rhythm.

I reached for the band of my sweatpants, then paused. Panties too? Too much. I pushed down the pants but left the matching pink bikini panties on.

There was no way I could have heard, but I could have sworn he groaned. I imagined tiny molecules of air vibrating at the sound, traveling all this way and whispering against my lips.

I tucked my fingertips beneath the soft, stretchy hem of my panties, but then he wouldn’t be able to see. Instead I slid my palm over my covered sex and slipped beneath the strip of fabric between my legs. Wet heat met my questing fingers, more slippery than I had ever felt it when alone in my bed. I teased myself along the slick outer lips before sliding upward in search of a particular place—there.

My knees threatened to buckle from the pleasure that coursed through me, from the hard training of the day. I braced myself against the window, one hand on the glass and the other on my clit. It did more than sustain me, it connected me to him, an arc from the outside in, and the result was electric.

He leaned forward, gripping the top of the open door. I watched his other hand ball into a fist before letting my eyes fall shut, imagining that hand on me, holding me just as tightly, bruising me so I would never forget.

Finish it.

I didn’t know whether the words came from him or me, but I let the currents pull me along, let the arousal swirl faster and deeper until I couldn’t find the surface, couldn’t breathe—could only buck and moan and spill all over my furiously rubbing fingers. My stuttered moan was loud in my ears, filling my room before it dropped off into a sigh.

I let my hand fall away and opened my eyes.

He stood exactly as I’d left him, bristling with an almost palpable tension. After a moment, he detached from the car, moving slowly, like a man in pain, as if he’d been injured.

He turned away and rested his palms on the top of the car. With an unreadable glance back at me, he gingerly got inside and drove away.

I watched him go, sated but far from satisfied. Always wanting, always needing something above my reach. Dreaming of ballerinas when I came from the slums. Lusting after the smart, successful man in a well-tailored suit. One of these days, I’d reach too far. I’d fly too close to the sun, but even knowing so, I couldn’t stop myself from spreading my wings.

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About Skye Warren

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender. For those new to her work, consider the bestseller Wanderlust, Prisoner or the Dark Nights series starting with Trust in Me.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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Happy Release + Review + Giveaway: Overtime by Toni Aleo – Assassins Series – Book 7

Happy Release Day!!

 

Overtime by Toni Aleo

Series: Assassins Series #7

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away.

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on.

>In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives.

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie.

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Excerpt
Jordie Thomas knew he was screwed.
There were two things that he didn’t want, ever, in his life.
Herpes, and to be called into Elli Adler’s office.
Everyone knew that it wasn’t good to be called into the office of the owner of the professional hockey team he played for, the Nashville Assassins. If it was something good, usually she just called to chitchat, as she called it, and dote on her players. But when she called them into her office, ten out of ten times, they were screwed.
And today, Jordie must be screwed.
As his good leg bounced from the nerves, Jordie waited for the door to open to Elli’s office. His shoulders were taut, his other knee ached, and his heart was pounding. Ever since he got the call that she wanted him to fly from Colorado to Nashville for a meeting, he had been replaying every single scenario in his head. He hadn’t been making the greatest decisions lately, and he was pretty damn sure this had to do with his spur-of-the-moment vacation to Louisiana.
He should have just stayed home.
That whole trip was a clusterfuck. That’s the only way he could describe it. He hadn’t acted like himself, he kept trying to forget a certain someone, and he really should have just stayed home and healed. Not only had it pushed him back a week in PT but now he was worried that something he did there may be back to haunt him. As he replayed the weekend, which consisted of a lot of alcohol, a lot of women, and a good long visit in the ER that resulted in even more great sex, he couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary that could have brought him here. Then again, Elli didn’t like when her players’ whore-like tendencies hung out, but still, she usually called and warned them to clean it up.
Hell, he had gotten that call plenty of times. Maybe that’s why he was here? She was done with his ways? Damn it. Hopefully, that wasn’t it though. He was on the road to recovery after a really nasty hit into the boards last year, and nothing was going to keep him off the ice.
Well, except Elli Adler, that is.
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4StarSun
Michel’s Review
I am a huge fan of the Assassin Series by Toni Aleo. This series features a professional hockey team with charismatic players that touch your heart. Overtime is the seventh book in this series and it is another record breaking goal.
I have to say that Overtime was a hard book for me. It deals with alcoholism. Having come from a home affected by this disease I could easily relate to the recovery process and the ongoing battles.Jordie Thomas has been out of the season due to an injury. Hockey is his entire life or so he thinks. Jordie uses his sport as a way of coping with his messed up life. He came from a pretty horrific abusive background. He was grossly neglected. He has a lot of demons that haunt him. Another way Jordie has learned to cope is with liquor, partying, and sex. But this time around his drinking and partying has gotten out of control. His position on the team is at risk unless he gets help. He is forced to go to rehab. He is forced to face his demons. He is forced to face himself. He is forced to admit that he is an alcoholic. He has to make amends and admit he is in deeply love with a woman that he carelessly hurt.

Jordie has realized what he lost when he carelessly let Kacey King go. He convinced himself that he should not be messing around with his best friend’s little sister. He has convinced himself that he isn’t good enough for Kacey. Deep down he loves her with his entire heart and soul.

Once Jordie goes through rehab and faced his demons he realizes that he needs to get Kacey back in his life. He wants to be a better man for her. He wants to love her with his entire being. He wants her to be his future. He will have to prove he is worthy of this woman.

The meat of this story is Jordie’s journey. Admitting to being an alcoholic is the hardest step. Learning to forgive himself and accept his mistakes is hard. As we all know there are 12 Steps to becoming sober. It was heartbreaking and uplifting witnessing Jordie go through this journey. He had a very solid support system along the way. His sincerity was commendable.

Kacey on the other hand was a hard pill to swallow. She came across as a needy, immature, and self centered woman. She was so wrapped up in how Jordie hurt her that she forgot what made her fall in love with him. Once she found out Jordie was on the road to recovery she was not as supportive as she should of been. She was very insecure and insanely jealous. That is the last thing a recovering alcoholic needs. I felt like she needed therapy herself. She definitely needed to be in the Al-anon program in order to support Jordie the way he needed to.

I wish we could of seen more of their previous relationship to understand their deep love for one another. I had a hard time grasping their love. This book was very focused on the issues and I felt the couple lost some of their magical chemistry we look for in romance. The deal breaker that kept me from giving this a five star review was Kacey. She was just too much.

Toni Aleo tackled a very difficult subject and made it real in this book. I have to commend her with delivery of this story.

 
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About the Author

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.
When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.
She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Happy Release + Review + Giveaway: Overtime by Toni Aleo – Assassins Series – Book 7

 

Overtime by Toni Aleo

Series: Assassins Series #7

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away.

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on.

>In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives.

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie.

___________________________________________________________
About the Author

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.
When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.
She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 

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4StarSun

Michel’s Review

I am a huge fan of the Assassin Series by Toni Aleo.  This series features a professional hockey team with charismatic players that touch your heart.  Overtime is the seventh book in this series and it is another record breaking goal.

I have to say that Overtime was a hard book for me.  It deals with alcoholism.  Having come from a home affected by this disease I could easily relate to the recovery process and the ongoing battles.

Jordie Thomas has been out of the season due to an injury.  Hockey is his entire life or so he thinks.  Jordie uses his sport as a way of coping with his messed up life.  He came from a pretty horrific abusive background.  He was grossly neglected.  He has a lot of demons that haunt him.  Another way Jordie has learned to cope is with liquor, partying, and sex.  But this time around his drinking and partying has gotten out of control.  His position on the team is at risk unless he gets help.  He is forced to go to rehab.  He is forced to face his demons.  He is forced to face himself.  He is forced to admit that he is an alcoholic. He has to make amends and admit he is in deeply love with a woman that he carelessly hurt.

Jordie has realized what he lost when he carelessly let Kacey King go.  He convinced himself that he should not be messing around with his best friend’s little sister.  He has convinced himself that he isn’t good enough for Kacey.  Deep down he loves her with his entire heart and soul.

Once Jordie goes through rehab and faced his demons he realizes that he needs to get Kacey back in his life.  He wants to be a better man for her.  He wants to love her with his entire being.  He wants her to be his future.  He will have to prove he is worthy of this woman.

The meat of this story is Jordie’s journey.  Admitting to being an alcoholic is the hardest step.  Learning to forgive himself and accept his mistakes is hard.  As we all know there are 12 Steps to becoming sober.  It was heartbreaking and uplifting witnessing Jordie go through this journey.  He had a very solid support system along the way.   His sincerity was commendable.

Kacey on the other hand was a hard pill to swallow.  She came across as a needy, immature, and self centered woman.  She was so wrapped up in how Jordie hurt her that she forgot what made her fall in love with him.  Once she found out Jordie was on the road to recovery she was not as supportive as she should of been.  She was very insecure and insanely jealous.  That is the last thing a recovering alcoholic needs.  I felt like she needed therapy herself.  She definitely needed to be in the Al-anon program in order to support Jordie the way he needed to.

I wish we could of seen more of their previous relationship to understand their deep love for one another.  I had a hard time grasping their love.  This book was very focused on the issues and I felt the couple lost some of their magical chemistry we look for in romance. The deal breaker that kept me from giving this a five star review was Kacey.  She was just too much.

Toni Aleo tackled a very difficult subject and made it real in this book.  I have to commend her with delivery of this story.

 

 

 

 

Teaser Tuesday: Overtime by Toni Aleo – Assassins Series – Book 7

Overtime by Toni Aleo
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away.

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on.

In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives.

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie.

———- Teaser ———-

 

        “And I won’t make an excuse—it was me and my issues. But to answer your question, I found who I was in rehab. I know him, I want to be him. And no, I don’t know how to love someone, but then sometimes I think maybe I do. Because when I look at Mena, I love her. So fucking much. I know I love your family, and I also know that I have thought of you every second of every day for the last ten months. I yearn for your touch, I wonder what you are doing, what you are thinking, and if you’ll ever have me again. So while I may not know fully know how to love someone, I don’t want to try with anyone but you.”
———- About the Author ———-
 

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.
When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.
She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 

 

Teaser Tuesday: Overtime by Toni Aleo – Assassins Series – Book 7

Overtime by Toni Aleo
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away.

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on.

In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives.

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie.

———- Teaser ———-

 

         He had consistently been making bad decision after bad decision. Each one was staring back at him from behind his closed lids, and he wished he could make them all go away. But still they flashed in his face, demanding his attention. 
       Going in for the puck when he knew there was a goon of a player behind him and ending with his leg in two. Which resulted in his career being up in the air.
       The drinking. Fuck, the drinking.  
       Getting involved with his best friend’s sister.
       Falling in love with said sister, and then pushing her away, like he always did everyone. 
       And all of Louisiana. 
       It was time to make the right choice for once. 
       He had to, because he had already lost the one person who meant everything to him, and he couldn’t lose hockey too. 
       That couldn’t happen.
———- About the Author ———-
 

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.
When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.
She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 

 

Release Blitz + 5 Star Review: Call On Me by Roni Loren – Loving On The Edge Series – Book 7

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Call On Me

Loving On The Edge Series – Book 7

By Roni Loren

Synopsis

Oakley Easton wants two things: to be a good mom to her daughter and to ditch her less than ideal night job. Hooking up with bad boy drummer Pike Ryland? Not on the agenda. She needs a promotion. Not sex, tattoos and rock ’n’ roll.

 

Pike isn’t about to let Ms. Prim and Proper shut him down so easily, especially when he stumbles upon Oakley’s sexy night job. She’s only playing a role on those late night calls with strangers, but when he gets her on the line, all bets are off. He won’t stop until that sultry voice is calling his name for real.

 

But as they move from anonymous fantasies in the dark to the flesh-on-hot-flesh reality of the bedroom, the risk of falling in love becomes all too high. And the safe, quiet world that Oakley’s worked so hard to create is about to be exposed to the one person who could ruin it all.

Buy: Amazon / B & N / ITunes / Kobo / Google Play

ronilorenexcerpt

Excerpt

She startled and stiffened, instantly yanked out of her less than PG thoughts. “What?”

He leaned back in his chair, vague confusion on his face. “I asked if wanted to keep working in that back room? We could rehearse at the studio once they’re close to being ready to record. But until then, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to cart everyone over there. It’s not that big of a place.”

“Rehearse in the back room?” she repeated, running the words back in her head to make sense of them. “Oh, right, yes, that’s fine. I’m sorry. I thought you said something else.”

She eyed the small bellini she’d ordered with her meal. Maybe that had been a bad idea. She was hearing things now.

Screw in the bathroom? How the hell had she gotten that out of what he’d said? Of course, now all she could think of was him doing just that—taking her by the elbow and leading her to that dark alcove at the back of the restaurant, pushing her up against that wall with the faded Italian flag on it and putting his hands all over her. She licked her top lip, tasting the sweet remnants of her drink. Pull it together, woman.

Apparently, once her libido had been brave enough to peep its head out, it had decided it was Groundhog Day and needed to run around, declaring spring was coming early. She hated to break the news, but nothing and no one was coming anytime soon.

“What did you think I said?” Pike took a long sip from his drink, his snake charmer eyes never leaving hers.

She followed suit, hoping the fruity drink would cool off more than her throat. “Doesn’t matter.”

His lips twitched. “You’re all red.”

“I think it’s the bellini. I don’t drink very often.”

“No way.” His expression turned smug. “You thought I said something dirty, didn’t you?”

“Huh?” She smoothed her napkin in her lap, trying to loosen the tightness in her voice. “No. Why would I think that? You’ve been very professional since we got here—which I appreciate by the way.”

His gaze slid lazily down her body, like butter melting over toast, and goddamn it all to hell, she could feel her nipples go hard and obvious beneath her bra. No wonder he’d figured it out. Her body was waving all kinds of flags in his face. Hey! Over here! Horny girl, booth eight!

“I am capable of being professional, you know,” he said, but his tone was all sex and sin. “I’m also more than happy to turn that off when the occasion calls for it. So why don’t you tell me what you thought you heard and why it’s gotten you all flushed and nervous?”

“I’m not nervous.”

He grinned.

Dammit. She schooled her face into a stoic expression. “The music is too loud in here. I thought you propositioned me to defile the restroom.”

Hie eyebrow ring twitched. “Now you’re just trying to turn me on with those big, stiff words of yours.”

All she heard was big and stiff at first, but she managed to rein in her temporary insanity. “We’re so not going to do this.”

“Well, probably not here, you’re right. I saw those bathrooms. But—“

“No, I mean, any of this. Flirting. Teasing. Whatever this is.”

He leaned onto his forearms, looking all too pleased that he’d gotten a confession out of her. “You got a guy?”

“No,” she said before she could get wise and fib.

“Then why can’t we do this?”

“Because I’m not interested.”

“Liar.”

She huffed. “Are you always this cocky?”

“No, it’s dialed down right now. I can get way worse.”

She stirred her drink. “Not. Possible.”

His lips spread into a menacing smile. “Challenge accepted.”

5StarSun

Tracey’s Review

“This is a no-risk proposition. We don’t even have to talk about it face to face. Work is work. Fine. This–this is just a no-pressure, late-night anonymous phone call. Give yourself a little break, mama. Indulge a little.”

Oakley, former girl band star and mother of a special needs daughter, and Pike, badass drummer for Darkfall and all-around sex god with a phobia of kids, seem like an unlikely pair, but each are just what the other needs. When the two have to work together on a charity project, she’s sure that it’s a disaster in the making. Pike, though, is all in, because he knows what he wants, and what he wants is Oakley.

Pike was exciting on the phone, sexy and daring. But she could handle him in that venue. There was space, safety. But in person, the man was a full-frontal assault on her senses…The man could knock her on her ass with a few well-chosen words.

I have absolutely fallen in love with Roni Loren and her Loving On the Edge series. I can’t believe that it took me as long as it did to find them, but, now, I wouldn’t miss a book for anything. I knew a little bit about these characters, having met them in previous books in the series (Oakley in Yours All Along, Hunter’s and Devon’s book, and Pike in Not Until You). Then I read an excerpt of Call On Me, and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for them. Once the two begin to let each other in, it’s no holds barred hotness. This is some sexy stuff, the kind that makes you blush, break out the fan, and check to make sure that no one is reading over your shoulder. When these two get together, forget the sparks, we’re talking major fireworks here. (On a side note, not many guys could make calling their lady ‘mama’ sound sexy, but, oh, my goodness, major hotness. Like, swoon city.) And the story is just what I love, an against-the-odds pairing that turns out to be a perfect match after all. Once I started reading, I could not put this book down.

“I know I can’t be the kind of guy you’re looking for. But I can give you this. I want to give you this.”
“What’s in it for you?”
“You are.”

I obviously loved this read, and could not recommend it any more highly, and if you haven’t read the rest of Roni’s Loving On the Edge series, there’s no time like the present. 5+ ‘hot as heck, are my cheeks red, oh, my gosh, I need a Pike!’ stars for this one. Grab it, read it, love it. ♥︎ 5

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 About Roni Loren

roni lorenRoni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.

Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars concerts.

She is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the The Loving on the Edge series and other sexy things.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

ronilorengiveaway

Custom 4-Pack of Brownies from Wicked Cupcakes (US ONLY), a $25 Gift Card will be sent if winner resides outside of US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Happy Release + Excerpt + Giveaway: Call On Me by Roni Loren – Loving On The Edge Series – Book 7

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Call On Me

Loving On The Edge Series – Book 7

By Roni Loren

Synopsis

Oakley Easton wants two things: to be a good mom to her daughter and to ditch her less than ideal night job. Hooking up with bad boy drummer Pike Ryland? Not on the agenda. She needs a promotion. Not sex, tattoos and rock ’n’ roll.

 

Pike isn’t about to let Ms. Prim and Proper shut him down so easily, especially when he stumbles upon Oakley’s sexy night job. She’s only playing a role on those late night calls with strangers, but when he gets her on the line, all bets are off. He won’t stop until that sultry voice is calling his name for real.

 

But as they move from anonymous fantasies in the dark to the flesh-on-hot-flesh reality of the bedroom, the risk of falling in love becomes all too high. And the safe, quiet world that Oakley’s worked so hard to create is about to be exposed to the one person who could ruin it all.

Buy: Amazon / B & N / ITunes / Kobo / Google Play

ronilorenexcerpt

Excerpt

She startled and stiffened, instantly yanked out of her less than PG thoughts. “What?”

He leaned back in his chair, vague confusion on his face. “I asked if wanted to keep working in that back room? We could rehearse at the studio once they’re close to being ready to record. But until then, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to cart everyone over there. It’s not that big of a place.”

“Rehearse in the back room?” she repeated, running the words back in her head to make sense of them. “Oh, right, yes, that’s fine. I’m sorry. I thought you said something else.”

She eyed the small bellini she’d ordered with her meal. Maybe that had been a bad idea. She was hearing things now.

Screw in the bathroom? How the hell had she gotten that out of what he’d said? Of course, now all she could think of was him doing just that—taking her by the elbow and leading her to that dark alcove at the back of the restaurant, pushing her up against that wall with the faded Italian flag on it and putting his hands all over her. She licked her top lip, tasting the sweet remnants of her drink. Pull it together, woman.

Apparently, once her libido had been brave enough to peep its head out, it had decided it was Groundhog Day and needed to run around, declaring spring was coming early. She hated to break the news, but nothing and no one was coming anytime soon.

“What did you think I said?” Pike took a long sip from his drink, his snake charmer eyes never leaving hers.

She followed suit, hoping the fruity drink would cool off more than her throat. “Doesn’t matter.”

His lips twitched. “You’re all red.”

“I think it’s the bellini. I don’t drink very often.”

“No way.” His expression turned smug. “You thought I said something dirty, didn’t you?”

“Huh?” She smoothed her napkin in her lap, trying to loosen the tightness in her voice. “No. Why would I think that? You’ve been very professional since we got here—which I appreciate by the way.”

His gaze slid lazily down her body, like butter melting over toast, and goddamn it all to hell, she could feel her nipples go hard and obvious beneath her bra. No wonder he’d figured it out. Her body was waving all kinds of flags in his face. Hey! Over here! Horny girl, booth eight!

“I am capable of being professional, you know,” he said, but his tone was all sex and sin. “I’m also more than happy to turn that off when the occasion calls for it. So why don’t you tell me what you thought you heard and why it’s gotten you all flushed and nervous?”

“I’m not nervous.”

He grinned.

Dammit. She schooled her face into a stoic expression. “The music is too loud in here. I thought you propositioned me to defile the restroom.”

Hie eyebrow ring twitched. “Now you’re just trying to turn me on with those big, stiff words of yours.”

All she heard was big and stiff at first, but she managed to rein in her temporary insanity. “We’re so not going to do this.”

“Well, probably not here, you’re right. I saw those bathrooms. But—“

“No, I mean, any of this. Flirting. Teasing. Whatever this is.”

He leaned onto his forearms, looking all too pleased that he’d gotten a confession out of her. “You got a guy?”

“No,” she said before she could get wise and fib.

“Then why can’t we do this?”

“Because I’m not interested.”

“Liar.”

She huffed. “Are you always this cocky?”

“No, it’s dialed down right now. I can get way worse.”

She stirred her drink. “Not. Possible.”

His lips spread into a menacing smile. “Challenge accepted.”

_______________________________________

 About Roni Loren

roni lorenRoni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.

Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars concerts.

She is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the The Loving on the Edge series and other sexy things.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

ronilorengiveaway

Custom 4-Pack of Brownies from Wicked Cupcakes (US ONLY), a $25 Gift Card will be sent if winner resides outside of US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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