Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: Flirt by Adriana Locke

FLIRT by Adriana Locke

Release Date: April 8th

Genre/Tropes: Contemporary Romance/Office Romance/Fake Dating/Friend to Lovers

From USA Today and Amazon Charts Bestselling author comes a “fun and flirty!” fake dating situation between two co-workers that quickly straddles the line between friends and lovers.

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EXCERPT:

Our laughter fills the lanai, mixing with the sound of the water trickling from the hot tub into the pool. It feels like I’ve had a shot of tequila and am settled in for the night.

It’s nice.

“What about you?” I ask her, lifting my legs and laying them on the ottoman next to her. “What would you be doing if you weren’t here with me right now?”

“Probably deciding on the paint color for Parasol Place. Maybe having drinks with Jovie. Sometimes Smokey’s has live music on the weekends, and I go sit on the beach and listen.” She shrugs. “I do all sorts of stuff.”

As much as I’ve thought about Brooke, I’ve never pictured her having a life—doing things like a normal person. She’s always been Work Brooke, coming at me with designs and prices, or Fantasy Brooke. In that case, she’s usually naked or in my T-shirt and bent over an apparatus of some sort.

Her doing normal people stuff is an interesting concept.

“What are you thinking?” she asks me.

Your peach-shaped ass up in the air while you watch me pound into you over your shoulder.

I roll my tongue around my mouth. “You don’t want to know.”

“I asked, didn’t I?”

Your lips wrapped around my cock while I thread my fingers through your hair and come down your throat.

“Trust me,” I say. “You don’t want to know.”

But I think she does know. I think she has an idea, anyway.

She turns toward me in a way that makes me place one of my legs on the other side of her, effectively boxing her in.

I make every effort to stay calm. Control my breathing. Keep my hands locked on the armrests. Don’t move a muscle. Because seeing her like this—in my house, between my thighs—is a little more than I was expecting to have to deal with tonight.

It feels a bit more than a game of pretend.

Her hands rest just above my knees. She smirks.

Damn this woman.

“Fine,” she says, squeezing her fingertips into my jeans just hard enough for me to feel it. “Don’t tell me. That’s fair because I’m not telling you what I’m thinking about either.”

Blurb:

WANTED: A SITUATION-SHIP

I’m a single female that’s tired of relationships ruining my life. However, there are times when a date would be helpful. If you’re a single man, preferably mid-twenties to late-thirties, and are in a similar situation, we might be a match.

Candidate must be handsome, charming, and willing to pretend to have feelings for me (on a sliding scale, as the event requires). Ability to discuss a wide variety of topics is a plus. Must have your own transportation and a (legal) job.

This will be a symbiotic agreement. In exchange for your time, I will give you mine. Need someone to flirt with you at a football party? Go, team! Want a woman to make you look good in front of your boss? Let me find my heels. Would you love for someone to be obsessed with you in front of your ex? I’m applying my red lipstick now.

If interested, please email me. Time is of the essence.

About the Author:

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

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

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Excerpt Blitz: Say It’s Forever by A.L. Jackson

Say It’s Forever

A Close Proximity, Single Parent Romance from A.L. Jackson

Coming March 28th

“You matter, Salem. You matter. Look at you, darlin’.”

There was the charm all mixed up with the disorder that was at the heart of this man. 

My chest squeezed and the blood thundered through my veins. 

“Beauty. The meaning of it.” The words fell on a harsh exhale from his lips, and the air that was barely skating up my throat died right there when he slowly toed off the dress shoes he wore. 

Obsidian eyes flashed like a rush of the darkest night, rough as they devoured me from across the space.

Without looking away, he leaned down and peeled the socks from his feet.

I gulped, then I was nearly passing out when he ticked through the buttons on his shirt and peeled that off, too. 

The man was nothing but wide, wide shoulders. Muscle everywhere, bulky on his arms and chest, his abdomen packed, tapering down and narrow at the waist. 

Most all of his skin was covered in ink that seemed to scream the same as the walls, though it remained indistinct in the minimal light cast down from the rafters. 

But I could make out enough to get the intonation.

The pure intimidation. 

Menace and peril and life. 

The mountain of a man stood there for a moment, then he took a step forward. 

Energy rushed across the floor.

He approached like a phantom. Like a painting that had come to life. 

It covered me whole and caressed me in shadows. 

I was right. This man was definitely, definitely dangerous.

There was no question about it then.

And still, I remained there, held in his gaze, feeling the safest I’d ever felt. 

I thought he was coming for me, only he slipped by on his bare feet. 

Desire rippled through on his wake. 

God, that was sexy, too. 

Jud Lawson was an anomaly.

Conflict and peace.

Harmony and dissention. 

A blinding light in the longest night. 

Stealer of heart and sanity and good sense.

Because remaining there on the ground like an offering? 

Posing for him? 

There was no question I’d lost my mind.

His aura rippled through the room as he moved over to the wall that I faced. He pulled an easel closer, and the canvas he set on it looked like it’d been painted over a thousand times. He knelt to open a few jars of paint. 

He picked up a brush and studied me.

I trembled beneath his watch.

“Beauty,” he rumbled. “Second I saw you out in the rain. Thought I had to be imagining things. Hallucinating.” 

“I was terrified,” I admitted, our voices dancing through the condensed air. 

Louder than they should be. 

The thrumming of our hearts was palpable.

Frantic beats that echoed against the other. 

A smirk ticked at the corner of his sexy mouth, then it slipped when he glanced at me then to the canvas. He began to paint. Quick, sweeping strokes, as if the images fell from him without thought. “I felt your fear, Salem. I felt your desperation. Wonder if I felt it then, that we were bound to be more than strangers. Wonder if I knew you were supposed to be on the back of my bike that night. Wonder if I knew you were going to become something that mattered in my life.” 

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“If you want a book that will wreck you in the best way possible than grab this UNPUTDOWNABLE, HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL story that will leave you with ALL THE FEELS!” 

— Melissa, Book Addict Fanatic

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The Alternate Cover is Here!

Not only do we have the AMAZING release boxes up, but the alternate cover is now available to pre-order as well. I am IN LOVE with both covers and can’t choose a favorite!

If you can’t choose either – I also have hardbacks that feature both!

 

Want a Say It’s Forever Release Box? It includes a signed paperback, premium merchandise, and goodies! This box is even better than the last and I CAN’T WAIT for you all to see what’s inside!!!

Quantities are limited and boxes sell out fast, so reserve yours now!

SAY IT’S FOREVER PAPERBACK & RELEASE BOX PRE-ORDER


GIVEAWAY

Signed Give Me a Reason & Absolution Gift Set

ENTER HERE

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

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, FALLING STARS, and REDEMPTION HILLS novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, SAY IT’S FOREVER, releasing March 28th!

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

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

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Excerpt Reveal + 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.”

★★★ 


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RELEASING
JANUARY 10th!
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AUTHOR BIO
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
AUTHOR LINKS

Excerpt Reveal: 1228 Wanderlust Lane by Mandi Beck

1228 WANDERLUST LANE by Mandi Beck

1228 Wanderlust Lane is a novella and part of a 52 multi-author book series.

Welcome to Cherry Falls!

Release Date: December 28th

Genre/Tropes: Second Chance/Small Town Romance/Contemporary Romance

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55154257-1228-wanderlust-lane

EXCERPT

I take her hand in mine, lacing our fingers as if holding hands is

something we do every day. “If you had someone to go with you, where is

the first place you would go?” My voice is soft, my thumb making circles on

the back of her hand. I’m glad she’s allowing the touch.

“Hmm…that’s a tough one.” Lynnie catches her bottom lip between her

teeth as she gives the question serious thought. “I think I would start

simple. I love the mountains because they’re home, but I’ve only ever seen

them from a distance. I mean, yes, they’re in my backyard, but they’re just

a backdrop to my life. I want to really see them. Wander around the

mountainside. I would love to go walking through the wildflowers, dip my

toes into the babbling brooks, and camp under the stars,” she says

wistfully.

I try to process the simplicity of her request, feeling like I’ve just been

given a gift. These are things I do daily and something I can give her since

this is literally my specialty.

“We can do that.” My voice is pitched low, and I’m not sure she hears

me until her gaze collides with mine.

“W-We can?” Her eyes are wide, and snowflakes cling to her lashes.

“You couldn’t have asked me for anything easier?” I tell her on a soft

rumbling laugh. “We’ll have to wait until after winter. I mean, I can take you

snowshoeing now, but there aren’t any wildflowers or babbling brooks until

spring.” I shrug. “You won’t find a better partner to adventure with. The

mountains are a part of me, not just because that’s where I live and work

but also because they are my…peace. I’d love for you to see them the way

I do.” Gently, I move the hair stuck on her mouth, letting my thumb graze

over her plump bottom lip. With the need to kiss her growing with every

breath, I drag my gaze reluctantly from her pretty red lips because I don’t

want to spook her. “What do you say, Lynnie? Wanna go on an adventure

with me?” The question is laden with innuendo and double entendre.

She blinks as if she’s trying to translate what I’ve said or maybe to find a

way to turn me down…again. My stomach clenches in anticipation of

rejection, but I’m not willing to make it easy on her, so I wait her out. What

seems like an eternity later, but in actuality was only a few seconds, she

nods her head and whispers, “Yes. Yes, I would love that.”

Blurb:

She’s looking for an adventure. Lucky for her—that’s his specialty!

Jett Wild has had a thing for Evelyn “Lynnie” Branch since high school. He gave up on her the day she shot him down for prom…until now. He’s ready to settle down, and the only woman he can see himself doing that with his Lynnie. Even if she doesn’t take him seriously because of a decade-old misunderstanding.

Lynnie wants a life of travel and adventures—of all the things she reads about with the ladies…and man…in her Romance Readers of Cherry Falls book club. She never entertained the thought of having someone to do it all with, especially not a man like Jett Wild. But now it’s all she can think about, and it’s all his fault. Lately, everywhere she turns, there he is. He joined the book club. HER book club. He hangs out at Books by the Bay, engaging her in conversations about baking, and hot cocoa, and Christmas carols. Jett is ridiculously handsome and charming. Almost enough so to make her forget why she turned him down all those years ago.

It’s up to Jett to show Lynnie that she can have roots and wings—and she should have both with him. He’ll need a Christmas miracle and maybe some mistletoe to get her to take a chance on him. ’Tis the season and there’s magic in the air … he hopes.

The youngest brother of The Wild Brother’s Outdoor Adventures is about to teach the pretty bookstore owner all he knows about romance, the kind they’ve only read about.

Cherry Falls is filled with returning characters and iconic destinations that will begin to feel like family. When you leave the city and drive into Cherry Falls, it’s like you’ve finally come home.

The cherry on top? Each book delivers a swoon-worthy romance!

So welcome to Cherry Falls. We hope you stay awhile!

About Mandi Beck:

Mandi Beck has been an avid reader all of her life. A deep love for books always had her jotting down little stories on napkins, notebooks, and her hand. As an adult she was further submerged into the book world through book clubs and the epicness of social media. It was then that she graduated to writing her stories on her phone and then finally on a proper computer.

A wife, mother to two rambunctious and somewhat rotten boys, and stepmom to two great girls away at college, she shares her time with her husband in Chicago where she was born and raised. Mandi is a diehard hockey fan and blames the Blackhawks when her deadlines are not met even though her favorite hockey player calls her…mom.

Connect w/Mandi:

Website: https://www.authormandibeck.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authormandibeck

Instagram: http://instagram.com/authormandibeck

Newsletter Signup: https://www.authormandibeck.com/newsletter

Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: The 14 Days of Christmas

THE 14 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Louise Bay

Release Date: November 16th

Genre/Tropes: Holiday Romance/Small town Romance

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59407735-the-14-days-of-christmas

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/308tVzm

All Retailers: https://geni.us/48MrHrl

EXCERPT

​​The frigid air drew ribbons of white breath around the four workmen and I shivered, getting colder just by looking at them. Coffees distributed, it was time to get to work.

I unzipped my long, padded coat from the bottom and pulled out a hammer from my tool belt.

“Is that a… Christmas-themed tool belt under your coat?”

I looked up to find Sebastian in front of me. What was it with men who could roll out of bed and look like . . . well, Sebastian? It just wasn’t fair. Suddenly a little self-conscious of the red and white candy canes sticking out of my hat, I straightened its headband.

“Well, it doesn’t fit over my coat.”

“Not my point. I’m interested in the fact that you have a specific toolbelt for Christmas. Or maybe Christmas is a year-long obsession for you?”

“Good morning to you, Sebastian,” I replied, painting on the biggest smile I could muster. I was developing a theory that Sebastian was pretending not to like Christmas. The way he’d taken control of the room yesterday when we were all spiraling with panic about the website was impressive and more than a little sexy. My dad always said you saw the heart of a person in times of crisis, and if that were true of yesterday, Sebastian was more complicated than he first appeared. He was grumpy, yes, but obviously cared enough about Christmas in Snowsly to help. “It’s so nice of you to be up so early.”

“Wouldn’t want to miss this,” he said, his sarcastic tone suggesting that here was the last place he wanted to be.

“You want a coffee? I have a flask and cups all set up on the trestle table. And I baked breakfast flapjack with added cinnamon, which, if you squint, is almost healthy.”

Blurb:

I hate Christmas.

As CEO of my company, I’ve banned decorations from the office, festive music from the lobby and any kind of secret Santa gifts between employees are strictly forbidden.

I’m heading to the airport, away from the Christmas lights and the mulled wine, heading for sunshine and margaritas when I get a call from Granny. She’s sprained her ankle and needs my help filling in for her as head of the village Christmas Committee. Snowsly is the Christmas Capital of England and the last place I want to be in the lead up to Christmas.

But there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Granny.

When I arrive in Snowsly, I’m introduced to Celia Sommers who is Christmas’ biggest fan and therefore my own personal nightmare before Christmas. Worse than that, I have to work with her to make Snowsly’s Christmas market a success.

Celia is determined to get me in the festive spirit. It’s not going to work.

It doesn’t matter if she’s smart and funny and easy to flirt with—if she doesn’t stop looking at me with her sparkling eyes and pouting her completely kissable lips, Celia is going straight to the top of my naughty list.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels – the kind she likes to read.

Ruined by bonk-busters and sexy mini-series of the eighties Louise loves all things sexy and romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when she doesn’t have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Connect w/Louise:

Website: https://louisebay.com/

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

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/louisesbay

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

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056592.Louise_Bay

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/louise-bay

Excerpt Reveal: Dating Season Bundles 2 & 3 by Laurelin Paige and Kayti McGee

DATING SEASON: BUNDLE 2 & BUNDLE 3 by Laurelin Paige and Kayti McGee

Genre/Tropes: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy

Bundle 2 includes Fall Hard & Winter Bloom and Bundle 3 includes Spring Fever & Summer Lovin in the Dating Season series.

START THE SERIES WITH BUNDLE #1!

https://amzn.to/3q2tVeH

Excerpt:

He pushes the button. “You ok?”

“Yeah.”

“Second thoughts?”

“Just the normal thoughts,” I admit. I’m always prone to spiraling. “But no, I’m good.”

The doors slide close, and as soon as we’re alone inside, Logan tugs me closer. “Let me see how wet I can make you in two minutes.”

It only takes a few seconds once his lips meet mine. I’m sure there are cameras getting a splendid view of me clinging to him as his tongue dips inside my mouth, but I don’t care. His kiss is intoxicating and makes me forget all about my previous Fun Affairs.

The elevator stops, and his hand slips inside my panties. “Soaked.”

He sucks his finger as the doors slide open, and then I become bolder by taking his hand and sliding the same finger into my mouth.

“Damn,” he murmurs.

DATING SEASON: BUNDLE 2 by Laurelin Paige and Kayti McGee

Release Date: November 9th

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59463565-dating-season-bundle-2

Blurb:

They say autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go… but I’m keeping Ryan’s beard.

Past Chloe has a lot to answer for. She’s made a number of questionable decisions, but drunkenly turning Ryan down on a dating app? Currently top of my list.

I love fall most of all, but oh my gourd, Ryan’s beard is fast becoming a close second.

Luckily, he’s ready to give me a second chance. We have everything in common, from art to weird history facts to the correct opinions about Titanic. And boy, does he know how to pumpkin spice it up in the bedroom.

We could easily be the cutest new couple in Boulder… if we ever leave his place.

They say winter is coming… and thanks to Logan, I am too.

If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that I am an idiot. Between The Incident, the upcoming nuptials, and finding a new place to live, I’m about ready to find a cave to hibernate in. Nearly murdering the lead singer of my favorite local band really should have been on everyone’s bingo card.

Their drummer going from medic to love interest was a plot twist I didn’t expect.

Logan has all the things I’ve been looking for–the newness of spring, heat of summer, comfort of fall, and the distraction I’d like. It may not be the traditional third date, but I’m bringing him to my best friend’s wedding anyway.

Charlotte’s not the only one who can lock a good time down.

The second two books in the laugh-out-loud Dating Season series together in one bundle. Includes Fall Hard and Winter Bloom.

DATING SEASON: BUNDLE 3 by Laurelin Paige and Kayti McGee

Release Date: November 16th

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59463574-dating-season-bundle-3

Blurb:

It’s time for spring cleaning, but I’m not ready to toss Logan yet

Out with the old, in with the new… a new me, that is. Now that Charlotte’s married, I, too, have decided to be mature. So Logan isn’t Austin–that’s okay. Better than okay. That’s what I’d wanted all along, someone just as kind and loving and–okay, smoking hot–as my roommate. But a kind, loving, smoking hot someone who likes me back.

Logan has basically been all my dreams come true.

If I could stop stressing about work for five whole minutes to appreciate it, I’m sure I would be really happy. Thank God I have Austin to keep me grounded. Literally, because he makes me garden with him now. And maybe it’s just the stress talking, but it kind of seems like he wants to put down roots too. How come no one told me maturity would be this complicated?

My dating season has come to a close, and I’m ready for a Hot Boyfriend Summer…

Almost every single thing in my life has changed over the past year.

New job.

New me.

New knowledge.

Ah, to be young again, with the wisdom I have gained over a year’s worth of dating-as-a-competitive-sport.

If only I’d had just about an inch more before I made my commitment…

The final two books in the laugh-out-loud Dating Season series together in one bundle. Includes Spring Fever and Summer Lovin.

About Laurelin Paige:

With millions of books sold worldwide, Laurelin Paige is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author. She is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however.

When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Killing Eve or Letterkenny, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.

She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

Connect w/Laurelin:

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

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/laurelin-paige

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

Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HudsonPierce/

Website: http://www.laurelinpaige.com

TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMR96wbuf/

Never miss an update! Subscribe to Laurelin’s mailing list:

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/LaurelinNews

About Kayti McGee:

Livin’ deliciously in beautiful Kansas City Missouri, where everyone else loves the Royals as much as I do. I like wine and murder shows and mountains and art.

I’m represented by Rebecca Friedman at Friedman Literary because I am a lucky, lucky girl. Call her if you want me to do Iron Chef, otherwise just hit me up on FB at http://www.facebook.com/kaytimcgeeauthor, on Insta @KaytiMcGeeWrites, and stay sexy.

Connect w/ Kayti:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kayti.McGee.Author

Join Kayti’s Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kaytimcgeesredlightdistrict

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kayti-mcgee

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369993.Kayti_McGee

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

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.

Excerpt Reveal: 1026 Wild Way by Mandi Beck

1026 WILD WAY by Mandi Beck

1026 Wild Way is a novella and part of a 52 multi-author book series.

Welcome to Cherry Falls!

Release Date: October 26th

Genre/Tropes: Opposites Attract/Small Town Romance/Contemporary Romance

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55153979-1026-wild-way

Excerpt:

Without breaking eye contact, I move closer to her, dragging my thumb over her bottom lip and loving the way her breath catches. “You think my beard is sexy?” Before she can answer, I roll us so she’s lying under me, my tone turning serious. “I think that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. I’m not sure anyone has taken the time to see that side of me,” I admit as my fingers glide through her hair, my arms framing her face. “Or maybe I haven’t shown them.”

My eyes move over her face—her slightly upturned nose, high cheekbones with a dusting of pink either from the warmth of the fire or the fact that I’m pressed against her, sooty lashes that look like paintbrushes they’re so thick, and her eyes. So blue…so damn expressive. I spend a moment translating all that they’re saying. Do you want me? I want you. Kiss me. Kiss me. Kiss. Me. It’s a plea she doesn’t have to say because I can see it. Hear it. Feel it. And I can’t deny her a second longer. Or myself.

“Can I kiss you?” My gravelly voice is just above a whisper, my breathing steady, my heartbeat erratic in my chest. I’ve not felt this way about kissing a woman in…ever.

Blake pulls her lips in and presses them together as if she’s hiding them from me or maybe keeping them to herself. Did I read her wrong? Sliding my gaze back to her eyes, I know I most definitely did not. They’re still soft and screaming for me to kiss her. My fingers are still tangled in her hair, and I lower my head until my lips brush her ear. “I know you want me to kiss you as badly as I want to. But I won’t until you ask me for it.” It takes everything I have to pull back. Even though I don’t go far, it’s just enough that I can see her clearly again. I’m determined to wait her out—all night if that’s what it takes. It doesn’t. She releases her lips and tips her face up to mine but keeps silent. I shake my head. “Ask me.”

Finally, the words fall from her lips. Softly, surely. “Kiss me, dammit.”

Blurb:

She’s out of her element, and he’s out of his mind…over her.

One trip upriver, s’mores over a campfire complete with a hungry bear, and some seriously great sex in a Yurt. That’s all it took for Weston Wild to become smitten. It doesn’t matter that his life is all things outdoors in the small town of Cherry Falls while hers consists of world travel and the glitzy glamour of fast-paced LA. It really doesn’t matter that she drives him out of his mind when she says things like “a woman like me.” It all just makes him more determined to show her that a man like him is what she’s been missing and who she needs.

The eldest brother of Wild Brother’s Outdoor Adventures has met his match.

Cherry Falls is filled with returning characters and iconic destinations that will begin to feel like family. When you leave the city and drive into Cherry Falls, it’s like you’ve finally come home.

The cherry on top? Each book delivers a swoon-worthy romance!

So welcome to Cherry Falls. We hope you stay a while!

About Mandi Beck:

Mandi Beck has been an avid reader all of her life. A deep love for books always had her jotting down little stories on napkins, notebooks, and her hand. As an adult she was further submerged into the book world through book clubs and the epicness of social media. It was then that she graduated to writing her stories on her phone and then finally on a proper computer.

A wife, mother to two rambunctious and somewhat rotten boys, and stepmom to two great girls away at college, she shares her time with her husband in Chicago where she was born and raised. Mandi is a diehard hockey fan and blames the Blackhawks when her deadlines are not met even though her favorite hockey player calls her…mom.

Connect w/Mandi:

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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order + Giveaway: Give Me A Reason by A.L. Jackson

Give Me a Reason

A Single-Dad, Enemies-to-Lovers Romance from A.L. Jackson

Coming August 30th

“Speaking of hot guys…” She angled her head in the direction of a white Porsche Panamera that pulled into the parent pick-up line on the other side of the wrought-iron fence. “There he is.”

And I wondered if I was seeing things.

Hallucinating.

If this was some kind of cruel, sick joke or if I’d just done something really terrible in another life and this was my punishment.

Because there was no mistaking the smoldering eyes staring me down through the windshield where he came to a stop at the curb.

The way shock blanched his unbearably gorgeous face before his jaw clenched in what appeared hatred.

Or maybe glee.

With the man, I was sure they were one and the same.

My hand tightened on the child’s.

Instinctual.

A gut reaction to protect him.

Shivers raced. This unsettled feeling that something was coming. Something I didn’t understand, but something I should fear.

The man climbed from the driver’s seat of the flashy car that I wouldn’t have thought would fit him at all but somehow right then looked like the perfect accent piece.

He straightened to his full, menacing height.

“There he is! There he is!” The child started jumping up and down and waving his hand in the air. “Hi, Dad, hi! Over here!”

That seething intensity flashed through the air. My head spun and my knees knocked, my mouth going dry.

Trent Lawson strode toward the gate, all dark swagger and don’t-give-a-shit attitude, even though there were at least fifteen signs asking parents to stay in their cars and their children would be escorted out.

I got the sense the man wasn’t exactly one to follow the rules.

Because there he was, dressed a lot like he’d been last night, black jeans and a black v-neck tee and black boots that were unlaced. All that exposed, inked flesh somehow appeared obscene.

I had the urge to wrap the child up and take him into hiding. Run to the rest of the children and usher them to safety.

Emergency evacuation. 

But I just stood there.

Dumbfounded.

Finally, I mumbled, “That’s your dad?”

Gage Lawson.

Of course.

This really was some cruel, sick joke, and I was the very brunt of it.

“Yep! That’s him.” Gage was jumping and pointing. “Tell him I got an A, Miss Murphy! He’s gonna be so proud!”

Trent Lawson strode toward the gate with the clear intention of barging in.

Finally, I found my voice, calling out before he made it through the barrier. “Sir, you need to wait in your car. School isn’t over for a couple minutes, and we will bring your child to you. Parents aren’t allowed in this area without signing in at the office first.”

With his hand on the gate latch, he paused, an arrogant smirk ticking up like a threat at the corner of that plush mouth. “That so?”

I lifted my chin, still clutching his son’s hand. “Yes.”

He eyed me as if I were the enemy. “So, let me get this straight. I pay an ungodly amount of money for my son to come here, and you get to tell me when I can and cannot pick him up?”

“You’re paying for your child’s education, Sir, not for me to order you around.”

“Huh…would have been mistaken.”

My chin lifted higher. “It seems you are very, very mistaken.”

A war waged in the exchange. That same tension that had existed last night clear and present, his outright animosity unchanged. But there was something else lining it, too.

As if I’d gained some sort of power as we stared each other down.

“You’ve got to wait, Dad! I told you I got to get all the As, and you’re gonna ruin it by not followin’ the rules. Sheesh.”

Tessa giggled beside me.

One second later, the bell rang. It jarred me out of the trance the man held me under, my entire being jolted with the sound, as if time had been set to pause and it’d begun to speed to catch back up.

Children screeched their excitement and ran to grab their bags that were lined up against the wall.

“Please remain in your car tomorrow,” I called out, the words roughened shards as I reluctantly released Gage’s hand.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he returned, just as smug and cocky and infuriating as he’d been last night.

Gage went running that way, that giant backpack bouncing all over. He glanced at me, running backward for two steps, nothing but grins and belief. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back to see you tomorrow, Miss Murphy!”

When the child made it to him, Trent stretched out a hand for Gage to take.

For a flash, his entire demeanor shifted when he looked down at the child and the child smiled up at him.

Soft. Kind. Protective.

I had to be seeing things.

Then he turned to leave on those ridiculous boots, but not before he tossed out from over his shoulder, “See ya soon, Kitten.”

Anger rushed, my cheeks hot and my pulse wild and that irrational rage taking hold.

All mixed up with that feeling.

That impossibility.

They walked back to the Porsche, and I remained rooted to the spot as he helped Gage into the backseat and into a booster before he rounded the front of the car and slipped into the driver’s seat.

The man glared at me before he tossed his car back into drive and pulled from the curb.

Fingernails curled into my upper arm. “Holy shit, Eden Jasmine Murphy,” Tessa hissed. “What was that? And you better fess it up now, because I can already feel your denial coming on, and there is no denying whatever the heck that was.”

She waved a turbulent hand through the air as if she could capture that feeling.

Something unattainable but real.

“That?” I let my eyes follow the car that whipped out of the drive far too fast. “That was my new boss.”

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“Pure, unadulterated fire. Trent and Eden have a connection that is so rough and beautiful you can feel it bleeding off the pages! You’re not going to want to miss this one!”

— NYT Bestselling Author, Molly McAdams


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

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, and FALLING STARS novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, GIVE ME A REASON, releasing August 30th!

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

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Excerpt Reveal: The Spark by Vi Keeland

Title: The Spark
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 12, 2021
Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, The Spark? Check out this SNEAK PEEK of CHAPTER 1!
CHAPTER 1

Autumn

I’m definitely getting too old for this.

I tossed a pile of mail on the couch and plopped down beside it. It was barely six o’clock, and I wouldn’t have minded climbing into bed and calling it a day. I needed a vacation from my four-day mini vacation. Thank goodness I’d scheduled myself a weekend to recover. My girls’ trip/early bachelorette party in Vegas for my friend Anna—the one where we were all going to relax by the pool and get spa treatments—had turned into all-night clubbing and almost missing my flight home earlier today because I’d overslept. It had definitely been a while since I drank more than two glasses of wine in the span of a week, and I was feeling my ripe old age of twenty-eight before the sun had even set this Friday night. Thank God I didn’t have to work tomorrow.
I briefly considered going the hair-of-the-dog route and sucking back a vodka cran while zoning out on Netflix, but then my phone rang, crashing me back to reality.
Ugh…
Dad flashed on the screen. I should’ve just gotten it over with and spoken to him, but I didn’t have the energy. Nonetheless, allowing myself to avoid the stress speaking to my father would inevitably cause reminded me of the other thing I needed to do that I’d been avoiding all afternoon. Laundry. One of my least-favorite tasks—mostly because it required me to sit downstairs in my building’s dingy basement laundry room. Up until a few months ago, I would start my laundry and come back forty-five minutes later to make the switch to the dryer. But that practice had come to a halt after one of my loads went missing—an entire load of wet bras and underwear. Who the hell stole wet clothes? At least nab dry ones. Nevertheless, it was an expensive lesson, and now I didn’t leave the basement until my clothes were washed and dried.
Sighing, I begrudgingly went to the bedroom, where my suitcase still sat on the bed, and unzipped it. I’d packed a linen skirt on top that I hadn’t wound up wearing, and I figured I’d hang it in the bathroom and hope the wrinkles worked themselves out over the course of a couple of steamy showers. I hated ironing almost as much as I hated doing laundry downstairs.
But when I flipped open the top of the suitcase, my linen skirt wasn’t on top. At first I thought my bag must’ve been selected for search, and things hadn’t been put back in order… Though the wingtip shoe I lifted was most definitely not mine.

Shit.

I rummaged through the suitcase in a panic.
Slacks, running clothes, a men’s dress shirt… A sickening feeling washed over me, and I scrambled to look at the luggage tag. I’d never filled out the identification card inside, but the leather had my initials embossed on the outside.
And this one…had no initials.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

I’d grabbed the wrong bag off the luggage carousel. I started to sweat. All of my makeup was in that bag! Not to mention a week’s worth of my best outfits and shoes. I needed to get it back. Rushing to the kitchen, I grabbed my cell from the charger on the counter and Googled the number for the airline. After wading through a half-dozen prompts, I reached a recording.
“Thank you for calling American Airlines. Due to unprecedented call volume, your estimated wait time is approximately forty-one minutes.”
Forty-one minutes! I blew out a rush of air. Great. Just great.
In the meantime, while I waited on hold on speakerphone, listening to staticky music, it hit me that whoever’s luggage I had might very well have mine. I hadn’t even checked the luggage tag to see if, unlike mine, the identification information was filled in.
I zipped back down the hall to my bedroom.
Bingo!
Donovan Deckerkind of a cool name. And he lived here in the city! Thankfully, Donovan even had his phone number listed. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? I doubted it, but considering I still had forty minutes before I could speak to someone at the airline, I wasn’t losing much for trying. So I swiped to end my call. I started to punch in the numbers on the tag, and then decided to hit *67 first to make my number private. With my luck, the guy wouldn’t have my luggage, but he’d be a total creeper.
I was caught off guard when a man’s deep voice answered on the first ring. I hadn’t yet figured out what I was going to say.
“Uhhh. Hi. My name is Autumn, and I think I might have your luggage.”
“That was quick. I just hung up with you guys two minutes ago.”
He must’ve thought I was calling from the airline. “Oh, no. I don’t work for American. I traveled home this morning and must’ve grabbed the wrong bag at JFK.”
“What are your initials?”
“My initials?”
“Yeah, you know, the first letter of your first name and the first letter of your last name.”
I rolled my eyes. “I know what initials are. I just don’t understand why you would ask—Oh! Does that mean you have my luggage? I have my initials embossed on the luggage tag.”
“That depends on what your initials are, Autumn. The first letter matches.”
“My initials are AW.”
“Well, then it seems you are indeed the thief who clipped my luggage.”
Sure, I hadn’t checked my luggage tag, but it offended me that he was calling me a thief. “Wouldn’t we both be thieves? Since you’re in possession of my luggage?”
“I only took yours because it was the last one left rotating around the carousel. You see, unlike you, I checked the luggage tag the first time it passed, and when I saw it wasn’t mine, I left it for the rightful owner to claim. But the line at baggage customer service was twenty deep, and I had a meeting I was already late for. So I took the one I have hostage until the airline could sort it out.”
My shoulders slumped. “Oh. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. Are you here in the City?”
“I am. Could we possibly meet to swap bags?”
“Sure. When and where? I’m out now, but I’ll be back in an hour or two.”
The tag had an address on the Upper East Side, but I lived on the West Side, farther downtown. “Could we meet at the Starbucks on 80th and Lex?” That was closer to him, but at least I’d only have to drag the suitcase onto one subway.
“I can’t think of any excuse not to. What time?”
That was sort of a weird way to phrase a yes, and the way he emphasized the word excuse seemed odd. But hey, I was getting my bag back. So what if he turned out to be a little strange? At least I’d hidden my phone number, and we were meeting in a public place.
“How about eight?”
“I’ll see you then.”
It sounded like he was about to hang up. “Wait…” I said. “How will I know it’s you?”
“I’ll be the one holding your luggage, Autumn W.”
I chuckled. “Oh, yeah. Sorry…long week in Vegas.”
I bent and lifted the shoe from the top of the bag. Ferragamo. Expensive. And big, too. A quick peek revealed it was a size thirteen. The inner teenager in me couldn’t help but think big feet, big…. Plus, the guy had a deep, sexy voice. I would definitely be exploring more of the dude’s luggage after we hung up.
“I’ll meet you at eight,” he said.
“See you then.” I was just about to swipe my phone off when something hit me. Oh God! “Hello? Wait…are you still there?”
It took a heartbeat or two, but the sexy voice came back on the line. “What’s up?”
“Ummm… Did you…open my bag?”
“I unzipped it at the airport to make sure it wasn’t mine when I noticed the luggage tag initials.”
“Did you…see anything?”
“There was a pink thong on top, so that pretty much sealed the deal that it didn’t belong to me. But I didn’t rummage through, if that’s what you’re asking.”
I forgot I’d shoved that thong in at the last minute. It had been at the back of a drawer when I’d checked the hotel room one last time on my way out. But I’d take him seeing my underwear over the other stuff inside my bag. I blew out a sigh of relief. “Okay, that’s great. Thank you. I’ll see you at eight at Starbucks.”
“Whoa. Hang on a second—not so fast. You sounded pretty nervous that I might’ve gone through your bag. Are you hiding something sinister in there? I’m not going to be walking around with a suitcase full of drugs or something, am I?”
I cracked a smile. “No, definitely not. I just…I’d prefer if you didn’t go through it.”
“Did you rummage through mine?”
I glanced at the shoe in my hand. Taking out one measly piece of footwear wouldn’t be considered rummaging, right? Nah. “No, I didn’t.”
“Are you planning on it?” he asked.
I had no idea what the man looked like, yet I could tell by his voice that he was smiling now.
“Nope,” I lied.
“Alright. Then we have a deal. I won’t go through your bag, and you won’t go through mine.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“Do I have your word on that, Autumn W? I might have some things I’d prefer you didn’t see in there.”
“Like what?”
He chuckled. “See you at eight.”
After we hung up, I tossed the shoe back into the suitcase and bent to close it. But as I reached for the zipper, my curiosity got the best of me. Was he just screwing with me, or did he really have something in here he didn’t want me to see? Of course, I knew what I had in mine, which made me extra curious.
I shook my head and started to pull the zipper closed. About halfway, I laughed out loud. Who was I kidding? Now that I didn’t have laundry to do, I had almost a full two hours to kill before I met Mr. Bigfoot. This suitcase would taunt me all that time. I’d most certainly give in eventually, so why not put myself out of that misery and just take a little look-see inside now? Then I’d be able to relax. He’d never know I hadn’t lived up to my end of the bargain. Not to mention, for all I knew, he was elbow deep in my suitcase right now. In that case, it would only be fair that I got to go through his, right?
I nibbled my lip for a few seconds as a wave of guilt washed over me. But I quickly forced that out of my mind. Of course I’m right.
Feeling justified now, I unzipped the suitcase and took a minute to mentally note how everything was packed: a white dress shirt was folded on top, and two shoes were set on either side, heels facing up. I carefully unpacked those and placed them on the bed next to the suitcase in the same order. The next layer had more folded clothes: two expensive dress shirts, a pair of sweats, boxer briefs, and a few T-shirts, one of which had something emblazoned on the front—familiar lettering that began HA—so I unfolded it to see what it said. Harvard Law.
Ugh. One of those. No wonder he could afford Ferragamo shoes.
Underneath the pile of clothes was a white laundry bag—the kind a hotel gives you to put your dry cleaning in, but most people used it to separate their dirty clothes. With no desire to sort through smelly socks, I started to fold the clothes back into the suitcase, feeling a twinge of disappointment. But when I smoothed out the layers of the pile, I felt something lumpy and hard underneath in the plastic laundry bag. So I took the clothes back out and looked inside, hoping to find…I’m not sure what. Though what I found was definitely not what I expected.
The bag was filled with at least twenty or thirty of those little shampoo bottles hotels give out. Actually, a closer inspection revealed some were conditioner and a few were moisturizer. Buried on the very bottom were also three little sewing kits and half-a-dozen toothbrushes wrapped in plastic—the kind you could get at the front desk of a hotel when you forgot yours.
What the heck had Mr. Bigfoot done? Rob a housekeeping cart? This kind of stuff, though a lesser quantity, is what you’d usually find in my suitcase since I was broke all the time. But it wasn’t the type of thing you’d expect in the suitcase of a man who had gone to Harvard and wore seven-hundred-dollar dress shoes.
Now I was even more curious to meet Donovan Decker.
***
I arrived at Starbucks almost twenty minutes early, so I went online to treat myself to a flat white with honey almond milk. Even ordering it had me salivating, thinking about the sweet, creamy drink. Expensive coffee was my indulgence, but it didn’t happen too often with the five-dollar price tag and my skimpy budget.
I stood at the end of the counter, waiting for my drink and mindlessly scrolling on my phone, when a man walking through the front door caught my attention.

Oh, wow.

Now that was one good-looking man. Describing him as merely tall, dark, and handsome didn’t cut it, not by a mile. Jet-black hair framed a magnificent face with a chiseled, masculine bone structure, full lips, and a Romanesque nose. I wasn’t the only one to notice, either. I watched as the Adonis took a step back outside to hold the door open for a woman exiting the store, and the poor lady caught one glimpse of him and literally tripped over her own feet.
Seemingly oblivious that he’d caused the incident, he extended a hand to help her up, flashed a killer smile, and strolled inside. His bright blue eyes scanned the room, stopping right on my ogling ones. Embarrassed at being caught, I quickly diverted my attention back to my phone. A few seconds later, I was still pretending to be enraptured by my screen when footsteps came to a halt in front of me. I glanced up and blinked a few times. The guy from the door flashed a crooked smile.
“Were you able to control yourself?”
My forehead wrinkled. “Excuse me?”
His eyes danced with mirth, and his voice lowered. “I bet you couldn’t.”
I stared at him for an awkward moment before finally shaking my head. “What on Earth are you talking about?”
The man’s brows furrowed. “We made a deal, remember? I wouldn’t go through yours, if you didn’t touch mine?”
I’d watched the man walk in, stood right in front of him staring for at least a solid minute, and it took until now for me to notice he had something in his hand.
“Oh my God. You have my suitcase!”
He laughed but still looked perplexed. “What did you think I was talking about?”
“I…I don’t know. I was thoroughly confused.”
“I thought you saw me walk in.”
I did. But I hadn’t made it past your face. “No, I hadn’t noticed. Sorry. I guess I was just zoning out.”
The barista behind the counter yelled my name. I was glad for an excuse to put some distance between this guy and me. I needed a moment to gather my wits. Though when I returned, I still felt a little off-kilter.
“Thank you for meeting me to swap suitcases,” I said. “I’m really sorry I took the wrong one.”
“No problem.”
I rolled his case forward and released the handle. But the Adonis didn’t do the same. In fact, he pulled my bag closer to his side.
“Before we switch…” He tilted his head and studied my face. “I’m curious to know if you kept your word.”
I mimicked his pose and tilted my head. “What if I say I didn’t?”
“Well, then you’d have to pay a penalty for violating the terms of our deal.”
I raised a brow, intrigued. “A penalty?”
He nodded. “That’s right. There’s a penalty.”
I laughed as I lifted my coffee for a sip. “I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Vegas. Pretty sure this overpriced drink just used up the last five dollars in my bank account.”
“I wasn’t referring to a monetary penalty.”
“What kind of a penalty, then?”
He stroked the stubble on his chin for a moment. “You’d have to have coffee with me.”
Did this guy really think that would be a hardship? I debated how to answer. If I told the truth, it would be embarrassing. I mean, I went through the man’s personal belongings. But the flipside was I’d get to check him out some more over coffee. Then again, I’d be agreeing to spend time with a complete stranger. Though…whenever I met a guy online, I usually met him at a coffeehouse, and I probably knew more about this guy after going through his suitcase than I would from an online chat. Not to mention, none of my online dates had looked like Donovan Decker lately. In fact, none had made it further than coffee in a while.
Adonis had been watching my face as I debated my answer. His smirk made me think he already knew I’d checked out his bag. So, what the hell?
I stood tall and met his stare. “Was the lady from housekeeping harmed in the robbery?”
His eyes narrowed for a heartbeat, but then a giant smile spread across his face. He held his hand out toward the seating area. “After you, Autumn W.”

★★★ 


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