Author: sez916

One Year Home By Marie Force – Review

One Year Home By Marie Force – Review

One Year Home Book Cover One Year Home
Marie Force

I guess I started on the back foot, as I didn't read the first story, but that did in no way lessen the enjoyment I got from reading 'One Year Home'.

John was a hero, who returned home to nothing. Jules was employed to help him negotiate the PR aspect of his new found fame. But she did much more than that....

 

 

Today we are celebrating the release of ONE YEAR HOME by Marie Force with a blog tour post. This is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling novel Five Years Gone. Check out some teasers and buy links for the book below.

ONE YEAR HOME by Marie Force

Available Now

ABOUT THE BOOK:

He came home a hero and lost the only woman he’s ever loved…

John
I have no idea how to survive without my beloved Ava. She had no choice but to move on with her life during my six-year deployment and has now married Eric. I hate him for taking her from me. I’d prefer to wallow in my depression and heartbreak, but the whole damned world wants a piece of the SEAL Team leader who helped capture the world’s most-wanted terrorist. I need help handling the relentless requests, and when Ava sends her new sister-in-law to manage the media circus for me, I’m prepared to hate her on principle. Her brother took my Ava. What else do I need to know about her?

Julianne
It takes five seconds to realize Ava’s ex is going to be the most complicated and difficult client I’ve ever had, but the opportunity to represent the most celebrated man in the world could make my career. I’m determined to do the job, even if I dislike John from the moment I meet him. And I like everyone. So much so that my brothers worry about me being exploited by those who would take advantage of my unwavering love for others. But John… He’s in a class by himself, and his bitterness is a festering wound that I begin to wish I could somehow fix for him. The more time we spend together, the more our mutual disdain morphs into something that feels an awful lot like desire. There’s no way I can want this man, or so I tell myself, and when Eric finds out I’ve developed feelings for the man causing trouble in his new marriage, well…

That’s going to be a hot mess.

The hotly anticipated follow up to Five Years Gone releases on Aug. 6!

PURCHASE IT NOW

Kindle | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google

PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | Booktopia

PURCHASE IT NOW

Kindle | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google

PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | Booktopia

PURCHASE FIVE YEARS GONE

Kindle US | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google

Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

IndieBound | Booktopia AU | Books-a-Million

PURCHASE IN AUDIO: Amazon | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. Duchess By Deception is the first in her new historical romance Gilded Series, that will continue with Deceived By Desire in September 2019.

Her books have sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list 30 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a three-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

Join Marie’s Reader Groups

A Baby for the Mountain Men By Chloe Kent

A Baby for the Mountain Men By Chloe Kent

A Baby for the Mountain Men
Chloe Kent
Published by: Blushing Books Publications
Publication date: July 25th 2019
Genres: Adult, Reverse Harem, Romance

She was promised to the mysterious mountain men in order to have their baby. Now they’re ready to collect their reward.

Twenty-one-year-old Soraya has lived almost her whole life under the shadow of being promised to the mysterious men in the mountain – a deal struck in return for saving her father’s life. Now the time to present herself at their door has arrived.

For Soraya, this means going from the sheltered, friendless, cruel and unloving care of her grandmother to an equally daunting and strange situation in the eerie mansion hidden deep in the dark mountain. There are rumored to be hideous monsters gracing the dilapidated castle-like house, but nothing prepares Soraya for when she meets the three men determined to extract their repayment in full.

For the sake of her father, she’ll pay the debt, then she’ll start living the life she was meant to live…

…until their bold, immodest examinations and hot intimate discipline leave her quivering and questioning everything.

Shrouded in the darkness is a devastating secret that will leave her entirely undone.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy, contemporary reverse harem romance contains elements of mystery, ménage, and power exchange.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Okay, seriously, they were being big babies about it. They stopped itching the instant it was rinsed off their bodies, couldn’t they just say nice one and leave her alone? But no, of course that was not how it worked. She had to be obedient. Still. Silent. Invisible. Because she wasn’t their first preference. She wasn’t their preference at all.

They weren’t wasting any time. Logan took his place behind her now. “Lean down, hands on the desk at all times. Move them and you’ll be sorrier,” he told her then flipped her skirt up to her waist and because she was standing so far from the desk, the bundled-up fabric rested in the curve of her lower back. He then pulled her panties down to expose her backside and her cheeks flamed in embarrassment.

She thought about something snarky to say but every thought fled the instant Logan brought that riding crop down across her buttocks. He didn’t even give her a breather before he delivered the second which burned right through to her soul.

“You will receive twelve strikes,” he issued and struck her again. Oh God. The third was too much. She sprang up and put her hands behind her to protect her flaming ass. “Hands back down and don’t do anything that stupid again,” Logan said softly but the threat was so clear in his voice she did two things. She obeyed and felt her pussy pulse between her legs. “For that you will have the uncomfortable task of wearing a butt plug for a whole week,” Logan said further.

What? A butt plug? How deranged were they? Wait, there were plugs for one’s butt?

“I’ll get one tomorrow,” Noah offered. She didn’t need to look behind her to know Logan nodded his approval. “And if you continue to be rowdy during your punishment, my brothers and I will have no problem of immediately finding anything in this house that may suffice as a butt plug. Understood?”

She couldn’t. She just couldn’t anymore. But she nodded as he continued to whip red stripes into her flesh. The entire scope of her feelings running through her, left her disorientated. She was scared, and utterly angry, in searing deafening pain and wholly aroused.

Author Bio:

Chloe Kent has been hooked on romance since her teens and couldn’t wait to grow up and write her own romance novels. Her spirited heroines usually require at least two… sometimes more incredibly hot heroes to keep her happy and that’s exactly how Chloe writes them.

Her favorite pastimes include her husband, her dog, and books. Her biggest fear is running out of coffee or her imagination.

Amazon / Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

No Good Doctor By Nicole Snow

No Good Doctor By Nicole Snow

No Good Doctor
Nicole Snow
Publication date: July 30th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Dashing. Jacked. Bad tempered. My new boss, everybody.
Now what’s the cure for smitten?

Pinch me. I can’t believe I’m working under him.
Dr. Gray Caldwell. Hottest, swooniest, stormiest bachelor ever.
Insanely tall. Unfair perfection. Intimidating abs and X-ray glares.
Doc puts the animal back in veterinarian.

My dream job should be all puppies and kittens.
Turns out, my new boss hates three things:
1. Small town drama. Baby, we’ve got tons.
2. Pets in distress – and he’s their hero every time.
3. Anybody poking around his past. Like me. Oh, crud.

But how could I resist the best mystery in Heart’s Edge?
I wish I had. Unraveling Gray is a dangerous game.
One wrong move could end our little town.
Plus this gorgeous, complicated grump plays for keeps.

I barely recognize the man he becomes vowing to protect me.
A beastly shield who sets every rule on fire.
Then one stolen, five alarm kiss sends my whole world spinning.
Hello, trouble. Farewell, sanity.
What if it’s not the good doctor who claims me – but the badone?

From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – two hearts on the line and a whole town’s fate. A badass vet slays his demons, saves pets, and makes the firefly he swore he’d never chase his. Full length romance novel with a Happily Ever After worth the purrs and wagging tails.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Whatever’s in that box is going to hurt itself if we don’t move. It’s flapping around frantically. So much the box is about to bounce right off the chair.

I glance at Doc worriedly. He’s standing there rigid, breathing hard, but finally he nods and joins me, striding toward the chair. I clasp the box and hold it still, and he gingerly lifts the lid off, both of us leaning back slightly just in case something comes blasting out.

Something tries.

The poor hummingbird inside flops on it’s one good wing, desperately trying to fly. It takes all of three seconds to see the reason why. Its the other wing, hanging at an odd angle, immobile. The bone looks clearly broken close to the main joint.

Poor thing! I nearly whimper with hurt sympathy, reaching in instantly to clasp its body in my hand, spreading my fingers around the broken wing while gently pinning the other wing to its jewel-toned, glittering side so it can’t thrash around and hurt itself more. It stops fighting immediately but opens its long, narrow beak in the saddest little squeaky sound ever as I cradle it in my hands.

“Gray!” I murmur pleadingly, not even thinking about the intimate use of his name.

He lets out a rough sigh, raking a hand back through his dark hair, then nods tightly, rising to his feet.

I want to know what’s happening, want to know why that woman is making veiled threats toward both of us, and how she knows Peters or what Peters might’ve told Doc about her. But this poor little feathered jewel’s life comes first.

He tosses his head toward the back and, cradling the crying hummingbird gingerly, I follow him as quick as I can. This bird’s life is in his capable hands now.

And honestly? So is my heart.

Because every time I look at him over the table as we gently bind and splint the bird’s wing, when our eyes meet, it happens. My pulse races. My breath catches.

My whole freaking world pops a screw loose and comes undone.

I remember him saying that he’ll protect me. Just as much as he’ll protect every small, precious thing that winds up in his care.

I’m not sure what’s racing faster – my mind or my heart.

Author Bio:

Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.

Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.

Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Bookbub

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Sultry Nights Series, #1-5 By Melanie Munton

Sultry Nights Series, #1-5 By Melanie Munton

Sultry Nights Series, #1-5
Melanie Munton
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

It all starts with a steamy salsa between two strangers.
They were too swept up in their passion to ask questions.
Maybe they should have.

She’s his sensual seductress.
He’s her mysterious stranger.

She works for a murderous drug dealer.
He’s undercover.

She wants nothing to do with him.
He’s obsessed after one sultry night.

She carries dark secrets.
He’s been lying to her from the beginning.

She’s in danger.
He’ll do anything to protect her.

How it ends will depend on if they can survive lies, betrayals, and an evil drug lord.
They were too lost in their desire to see what was coming.
Maybe that was their downfall.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase books 1 & 2:
SALSA:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

TANGO:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

Author Bio:

Traveler. Reader. Beach-goer. St. Louis Cardinals fan. Pasta-obsessed. North Carolina resident. Sarcastic. Bit of a nerd.
Author of the Cruz Brothers, Possession and Politics, and Timid Souls series, Melanie loves all things romance, comedies and suspense in particular because it’s boring to only stick to one sub-genre! From light-hearted comedies to sexy thrillers, she likes to mix it up, but loves her some strong alpha males and sassy heroines.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

XBTBanner1

Dangerous Paradise By Barbara Nolan

Dangerous Paradise By Barbara Nolan

Dangerous Paradise
Barbara Nolan
(Paradise Series, #2)
Publication date: August 21st 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Eddie Morgan is desperate to put his past behind him until saving Paige Drake, a woman way out of his league, threatens to throw him back to the life that nearly destroyed him.

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order

Sequel to:

Author Bio:

Barbara Nolan enjoyed writing most of her life and recently acquired her Certificate in Creative Writing from NYU. She also benefited from the help and influence of many talented professors and editors along the way. She is a member of RWA and the New Jersey chapter of Romance Writers. Her passion for reading and words make this a journey of love.

She writes gritty, realistic stories filled with strong men and the women who tame them.

She considers reading a luxury and writing a necessity.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

XBTBanner1

The Cave By Amanda McKinney

The Cave By Amanda McKinney

The Cave
Amanda McKinney
(A Berry Springs Novel)
Publication date: August 1st 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

After getting trapped in a remote cave, two strangers must work together to survive while being hunted by a ruthless killer…

Life is full of surprises, rescue swimmer Owen Grayson knows that better than anyone, especially when he’s forced to take an indefinite military leave and return home to pick up the pieces of his dad’s latest mistake. As Owen struggles to settle back into his roots, he is called to a remote cave where he discovers the mysterious death of his uncle wasn’t an accident at all. As the clues begin to unravel, it becomes apparent that the cave is hiding secrets worth killing for… and everyone on site has a target on their back.

Coming off a bad break up and an even worse few days, Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Sadie Hart is brought in to excavate human remains found deep in the treacherous mountains of Berry Springs, in a cave rumored to be haunted, nonetheless. When her team stumbles upon a dead body before they even reach the cave, Sadie quickly realizes this is going to be no ordinary job—especially when she meets a particularly bull-headed Adonis who claims to be related to the victim.

A storm hits, trapping Sadie and Owen inside the cave with nothing but a flashlight and a small backpack with provisions… and someone who wants them dead. As the odds stack up against them, Sadie begins to fear she and Owen will become the next pile of bones found deep in the catacombs of Crypts Cavern…

THE CAVE is a standalone romantic suspense novel.

Goodreads / Amazon

Only 99¢ for a limited time!

EXCERPT:

SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL. Alluring, magical. A commanding force who had a way of reminding you how little and vulnerable human life really was. How she could chew you up and spit you out without so much as a happy ending. She was powerful, relentless, unforgiving, and tonight, she was in one hell of a mood.

Owen knew her well. He loved her, respected her, and had found a home with her even though she’d take everything from him in a moment’s notice, then build him back up, only to destroy him again. She was addictive, an adrenaline rush second only to jumping out of a MH-60 Jayhawk at a hundred feet, then getting pelted with a 120-knot rotor blast. He’d seen the bodies she’d devoured in her wake, watched the friends and families cry. But the truth was, he’d be nothing without her. She’d made him into the man he was today. For better or worse.

She was a bitch of a mistress, and Owen’s gut told him they were in for a helluva fight tonight.

Owen buckled the waist belt, giving it a quick tug before moving onto the chest straps. The helicopter dipped, dropped, then slowly lifted again causing him to glance up at the pilot, Lieutenant Potts, who was laser focused on the controls glowing through the dark night. A flash of lightning streaked the sky in the distance, sparkling off the rain-streaked windshield. Up ahead, the lights of a capsized sailboat—the only light in the black, swirling water—swaying back and forth on its side, at the mercy of her angry waves.

Yeah, she was in one hell of a mood tonight.

Author Bio:

Amanda McKinney is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Good Guy By Kate Meader

Good Guy By Kate Meader

Good Guy
Kate Meader
(Rookie Rebels #1)
Publication date: July 30th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports

He’s a Special Forces veteran making his pro hockey debut. She’s a dogged sports reporter determined to get a scoop. She’s also his best friend’s widow . . .

Fans can’t get enough of Levi Hunt, the Special Forces veteran who put his NHL career on hold to serve his country and fight the bad guys. So when his new Chicago Rebels bosses tell him to cooperate with the press on a profile, he’s ready to do his duty. Until he finds out who he has to work with: flame-haired, freckle-splashed, impossibly perky Jordan Cooke.

Also known as the woman he should not have kissed the night she buried her husband, Levi’s best friend in the service.

Hockey-stick-up-his-butt-serious Levi Hunt might despise Jordan for reasons she can’t fathom—okay, it’s to do with kissing—but her future in the cutthroat world of sports reporting hangs on delivering the goods on the league’s hottest, grumpiest rookie. So what if he’s not interested in having his life plated up for public consumption. Too bad. Jordan will have to play dirty to get her scoop and even dirtier to get her man. Only in winning the story, she might just lose her heart . . .

In this standalone romance set in the Chicago Rebels world, a new generation of players take to the ice and learn that all’s fair in love and hockey.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / Google Play

EXCERPT:

“Was this night worth your time? Don’t you have a boyfriend who’d like to see you once in a while? Or a life that doesn’t revolve around work?” They stepped into the elevator and he slapped at the lobby level button. Stab. Slap. He was angry and he didn’t know why. He hated not knowing something.

“This is my life, Hunt.” She giggled, the sound going straight to his dick where it proceeded to tease, caress, and kiss the traitor wide awake. “God, playing video games with you guys is gold. And then when your pal showed up proving you’re not such a cold-hearted, friendless Terminator type after all and that you might have a personality underneath that hard-ass demeanor? Icing on the cupcake.”

He opened the door to his building, ushered her out, and tried not to enjoy her bobbing pony-tail.

“So is it true?” she threw out over her shoulder.

“Is what true?”

“The Disney ice cream cake thing?”

“Where are you parked?”

“Around the corner. You don’t have to—”

But he was already eating the ground with every stride like it had offended his honor.

“Levi, what is your problem?”

“Nothing. Just making sure you get in your car and leave.” He was pissed and horny and only now realizing that he had no idea what Jordan’s car looked like.

“Here I am.” She stood by a Honda Civic, two cars back.

Retracing his steps, he tried to get his emotions under control which should not have been a problem. Emotion-wrangling was his bag. Controlling the narrative was his forte. At least, he’d thought so until he met Jordan again.

“I don’t have a boyfriend.” She pushed her key into the lock.

“Say again?”

“You seem to be under the impression that I had someone I could be spending time with tonight instead of enjoying Erik’s weird winking and odes to herring, or Theo’s conspiracy theories as to why Chicagoland has so many mattress stores, or your curmudgeonly ways with hints of Tin Man.” She hummed If I only Had a Heart from The Wizard of Oz.

He passed over the Tin Man reference, probably because he was inexplicably relieved at the implication of her other statement. “Don’t have an opinion on your dating practices. Just something Kershaw mentioned.”

“And you believed him?”

“I didn’t not believe him. Strange thing to make up.” Especially with the graphic detail of naked photos. If she wasn’t seeing someone, then what was all that about?

She opened the door a couple of inches but still stood there. Pertly perking. “You know, the sooner you cooperate the sooner I’ll be out of your hair.”

“I’m doing everything management has ordered.”

“Under sufferance.”

“What you see is all you’re getting.” He was done here. Done with her teasing scent and dick-springing laugh. Done with trying to negotiate a truce between his hands and his cock. Just. Done. “Safe home now.” He turned to walk back, but didn’t get far.

“Coward.”

He pivoted. “What?”

“You’ve never liked me for some stupid, God-knows-what reason and now you can’t be man enough to sit still for a few questions.”

He ignored the last part which was half—okay, all—true, and focused on the first part. “I’ve liked you fine.”

She took a step toward him, then another until she was right in his space. She looked up at him, her expression filled with fury and spirit. Typical, maddening, heart-stoppingly gorgeous Jordan. “Admit it. You can’t stand me. When I kissed you five years ago—”

“We’re not talking about that.”

When I kissed you five years ago,” she insisted, her voice rising with each word, “it was as if I ripped out a piece of your mind! You didn’t like me. You certainly didn’t think I was right for Josh and then when we had that moment, when we were at our lowest, we were drawn to each other. You hate that of all people, it was me who made you go to this fragile, needful place. It happened and you need to get over it so we can do this interview and you never have to see me again!”

Author Bio:

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

Originally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / Bookbub / Amazon

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Anything Between Us By Sarah Fine

Anything Between Us By Sarah Fine

Anything Between Us
Sarah Fine
(Starving Artists, #3; Standalone Story)
Publication date: July 31st 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Bestselling author Sarah Fine presents a powerful standalone romance sure to thrill new adult readers everywhere.

What if falling in love is the biggest risk of all?

Sasha decided a long time ago that she would only allow herself a single night each year to go out and be wild. The rest of her time is spent at her pottery wheel or taking care of her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s. She has plenty of reasons to avoid anything more than this: one guy, one night, and no names exchanged. But this year, the long and lean stranger she chooses turns out to be more than she bargained for. He makes her feel alive—when it doesn’t seem safe to feel that way at all.

Discharged from the army after a traumatic deployment, Nate returns to his hometown riddled with guilt and unable to envision a future. Everything starts to change during a night out with friends, when a beautiful stranger offers him a no-strings-attached encounter against the wall in the back room of the bar. He knows the deal, but when they run into each other again at the local artists’ co-op where his older brother works, he can’t help but crave more. She makes him feel alive—but he’s still trying to decide if he wants to live at all.

She’s not willing. He’s not ready. But with an unrelenting attraction that weakens their resolve with every passing minute, Sasha and Nate embark on a friendship. One that makes them both stronger. One that makes them wonder if the future might be brighter than either of them ever imagined—until a devastating turn forces them to decide: Is risking everything for love is worth the pain of losing it long before they’re ready?

**WARNING: This is a new adult novel and contains material which is sexual in nature. Content may not be suitable for readers under the age of 18.**

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER ONE

Nate

I know alcohol is inadvisable after getting new ink, but tonight I’m not in a rule-following mood. As I walk into the bar and look around for my buddies, I feel Sam’s initials on my arm; the sharp, hot reminder they’re meant to be. SLP. Never forget.

He should be here. And I probably shouldn’t.

I’m fifteen minutes late, but Brent and Aidan aren’t here yet. It kind of pisses me off—I drove all the way out here to Grand Rapids to meet up with them, nearly an hour from the lakeshore town where we all grew up. They both moved here while I was gone.

It’s approaching midnight and the place is already starting to empty out, so I snag a seat at the bar—facing the door—and raise a finger to get the bartender’s attention. He smirks as he saunters over. “Got some ID on you?”

He doesn’t look that much older than I am, maybe late twenties, but his cheeks are pocked with acne scars and he’s already balding on top. I slide my ID from my wallet and hand it over. His expression smooths out like I knew it would. “Thank you for your service,” he says as he hands it back to me. “First one’s on me.”

I thank him and order a beer, wondering if coming out tonight was a mistake. I don’t exactly feel public-facing. But I haven’t seen Brent or Aidan since before this last deployment, the last one I’ll ever have, as it turns out, and I figured reconnecting with them would be another way to slide into civilian life. That’s what the adjustment counselor at the VA said, anyway. He issued the advice like a prescription, right after he asked me if I had access to firearms. He seemed relieved when I said no, which was the truth.

I didn’t mention that I got my ten-day handgun purchase permit eight days ago.

The bartender hands over a pint, and I down half of it in one long swallow. “Looks like you needed that pretty badly,” he comments.

“You have no idea,” I mutter, glancing at the door and wishing my friends would arrive. My body jitters with a restless energy that I need to drown before it ignites. I’d check my phone, but Jen’s message from earlier is right there, waiting like a buried IED. And I can’t answer her yet. I just can’t.

I down the rest of the pint and raise my head. That’s when I see her. Black hair, dark eyes, and a green dress over some very dangerous curves. She’s at the other end of the bar, nursing brown liquor in a rocks glass, rolling that thing between her palms as if the heat from her skin could change its shape.

When she sees me watching her, she arches one eyebrow and raises her glass.

My heart picks up a hungry, urgent rhythm as I silently toast with my empty glass. She looks like she’s alone there, just her and that drink, but she’s made up like she wasn’t planning to be. And there’s something deep and sad in those eyes, despite the playful smile she’s aiming at me. Did her date bail on her? Maybe she’d like some company?

I’m considering offering her mine when a heavy hand claps me so hard on the back that I nearly face-plant on the bar. My muscles go rigid with the unexpected blow, but the familiar voice booming in my ear keeps me from reflexively throwing a punch. “Back on the home front,” says Brent, grinning as I turn to him. “Great to see you, man.”

Aidan stands next to him, and they make a funny pair. Brent is built like a bear and is a few inches taller than me—he has to be about six-five—with shaggy hair and a beard to match. Aidan is lean like me, only about five inches shorter than I am.

“How long have you been back?” Aidan asks.

I glance over at the woman in the green dress, but she’s lost interest in me and is deep in conversation with the bartender. “Back from deployment for about six weeks, but I’ve only been home since last Wednesday.”

“And already sporting a new tat?” Brent gestures at my arm as he settles on the stool next to mine.

I move my hand to my lap, tilting my arm so that the bandage is concealed. “Just a small one.”

“Want to show it off?” Aidan asks as he takes the seat on my other side. “I remember when you got that one.” He tilts his head toward the tribal pattern that encircles my right biceps, a souvenir from one wild night with my older brother right before I deployed for the first time. “You kept flexing like a total idiot, trying to show it off.”

I suck a breath through my teeth. “This one’s still raw.” In so many ways. “I’ll show you once it heals.” Which it never will. “I need another drink,” I add, glaring at the bartender’s back.

“Hey! Buddy!” Brent’s voice fills up the whole place, despite the loud music. The sound turns a few heads, including the bartender’s. “Can we have a round here?” Brent’s meaty hand swirls around us, drawing invisible boundaries.

The bartender holds up a finger, signaling for us to wait as he finishes his conversation with the woman in green. Brent rolls his eyes. “He’s too busy trying to get laid, apparently,” he says, eyeing her. “Not that I blame him. I kinda wish I’d spotted her first.”

For some stupid reason, I don’t want Brent looking at her. “How’s Anna?” I ask.

The smile drops from his face. “She told me she’s thinking of buying another wedding dress.”

Aidan snorts. “And she has two already.”

With a groan, Brent says, “She’s turned into one of those bridezillas. I never thought she’d be like that. She always seemed so normal.”

I laugh. “Serves you right for settling down.”

Aidan clears his throat. “I guess I’m in for it, too, then.”

I whip around. “Seriously?”

“He popped the question a few weeks ago, and Lizzy actually said yes,” Brent tells me, sounding incredulous. “No accounting for taste.”

“You guys are killing me. I’m gone for a few years, and suddenly you’re old men?”

“She graduated from Calvin in May and was deciding whether to take a job here or in Lansing.” Aidan shrugs. “I figured this would seal the deal. Seemed as good a time as any.”

“You’re twenty-three,” I say in a flat voice.

“Twenty-four,” he replies. “I’m six months older than you are.”

“You’re both insane,” I say. I’ve known them since elementary school, but now they seem like strangers to me. From another planet. Except maybe I’m the alien.

Brent bumps me with his shoulder. “If we’re crazy, it looks like your brother might need to be committed soon, too. Have you met his girlfriend yet?”

I shake my head. “Daniel’s a player. He never lets anyone hang on for too long.” Even as I say it, I’m thinking this time might be different. My parents are both nuts over this girl, and Daniel … I’ve only hung out with him once since I got back, but he could barely wipe the woozy, shit-eating grin off his face when he talked about her. “Maybe he’ll come to his senses.”

“Still bitter about Carrie, huh?” Aidan says this cautiously, like he knows he’s on dangerous ground.

“Please.” It’s been nearly two years since she got bored of having a boyfriend in the military—the letters slowed, and Facetiming was hit or miss. Fourteen months since Aidan broke the news—he’d seen her and Cameron Bakker making out in the balcony of the movie theater on Main, like they didn’t give a shit who saw them. And almost exactly a year since I confronted her about it and broke up with her—while I was home on leave and about to deploy, for fuck’s sake. “She did me a favor.”

I believe that, but I haven’t been with anyone since we split. My eyes slide over to the woman in green again, and my stomach tightens. She’s staring at me again.

The bartender comes over and asks what Brent and Aidan want. Brent laughs when Aidan gets carded. I order another pint, and the bartender smiles. “This one’s on the lady,” he says as he serves it up.

I go still, blocking the impulse to look at her again. “Which lady would that be?” I sound like I’ve been punched in the gut, all breathless and stupid.

The bartender gives me a look. One that says I’m fooling no one. “Maybe you should go thank her.” His gaze cuts in the direction of the woman in green, but he’s blocking my view of her. He leans forward, getting in my space a little. “But if you do, I expect you to mind your manners, okay?” There’s a warning in his gaze, like she’s no stranger to him.

Brent slaps my back again. “Nate was raised right. Not an impolite bone in his body. Or maybe just the one, but only if she asks really nicely. Right?”

I jam my elbow into his flank, which is softer than it used to be. His grunt provides a brief moment of satisfaction.

Aidan pokes me from the other side. “Are you going to talk to her?” His lips are barely moving, but his wiry frame is tense with excitement. “She keeps looking over here!”

“Dude,” I snap. “Try not to wet yourself.” I take a few gulps of my beer. I need to feel that loose warmth unfurling in my bloodstream before I do anything. I don’t trust myself right now.

Jen’s last message is burning a hole right through my phone screen. I can almost feel the searing heat of guilt against my thigh. You owe this to him. Five words that gutted me.

“Fuck,” I whisper, and then I tilt my head back for another few swallows. I need something. I need this. Anything to push away the thoughts clamoring against the walls of my skull.

“That stuff’s a little weak for liquid courage,” Brent comments, signaling the bartender again. “And you look like you could use some.”

A shot appears in front of me, and I throw it back without asking what it is. Tequila, it turns out. When a second one appears, courtesy of Aidan this time, I down it just as quickly. Now the heat is in my veins, tingling and buzzing. I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and get to my feet while Brent and Aidan snicker. I ignore their jokes at my expense because I’m too busy plotting my course over to the woman in green, who is still rolling her palms over that glass, slow and deliberate.

I make it to her side, wedging myself in behind a tangle of sorority girls probably just back in town for the fall semester. I push down thoughts of how stupid I feel by reminding myself—she bought me the beer. Women don’t do that unless they’re interested, right?

“Hi,” I say. “Thanks for the drink.”

She looks up at me, so I get to see her face up close for the first time. Her eyes are so dark that they’re almost black, like her hair, and so big I almost get lost. “You look even younger up close,” she says, amusement lacing a voice that pings a chord somewhere south of my navel.

“Past the age of consent, at least,” I say, wishing I were wittier, but I guess Daniel got all of that particular genetic gift and pretty much left me with nothing.

“Are you on leave?” she asks.

“What? How—did he tell you that?” I jerk my head toward the bartender, who is now laughing with Aidan and Brent, hopefully not about how badly I’m flailing.

Without breaking eye contact, she reaches up and slides her palm along the back of my head, sending a hard shiver right down my spine and into my groin. “High and tight. Got it buzzed right before you left post, by the feel of it.”

I don’t breathe again until she lowers her hand, and I barely manage to resist the urge to ask her to touch me again. “Are you from a military family or something?”

“Or something.”

Her voice is doing things to me. It’s like honey, sweet and substantial. “What’s your name?” I ask.

“That’s not an interesting question.”

“Okay.” I draw it out, because what the fuck? “You’re here alone?”

“That one’s both obvious and uninteresting.”

“Did you want me to come over here and talk to you?” I ask, unable to keep the irritation out of my voice.

She doesn’t look put off by it. In fact, her eyes are glittering with a hot kind of mischief. “Now that … That is a more interesting question. And a complicated one.” She looks me over, catching her lush bottom lip between white teeth. All my blood rushes south. “Or maybe not,” she murmurs, so quietly that I almost miss it.

At a loss, I glance at her almost-empty glass. “Can I buy you a—”

“Not necessary,” she says, sliding off her stool and nodding at the bartender. He nods back. I try to translate whatever’s passing between them, but I’ve slammed four drinks in the space of about twenty minutes. Though I’m not a lightweight, I haven’t eaten since lunch, and my head is buzzing. I’d try to straighten myself out, but this disconnect between my brain and body is actually a relief. And when she takes my hand, I don’t even ask where we’re going or why. I let her guide me down a back hallway and into a room marked “Employees Only.” It turns out to be a storage room, cases of beer stacked five feet high.

She swings the door shut, leaving us with the glow of one bare lightbulb hanging overhead. I’m about to make a joke about her bringing me in here to murder me when her hands slide up my abs to my chest, scattering my thoughts like autumn leaves on a windy day. She pushes on me, backing me up. My shoulder blades meet the wall. Her eyes are on mine, and in them I see so many things, none of which I understand. But I feel her hands on me. Her fingertips slide under the neck of my shirt, and suddenly I’m all sensation, addicted and needing more. I grab her hips and pull her body to mine. There’s no finesse in what I’m doing. No technique or gentleness.

She seems to like that just fine. She pulls my face to hers and then her mouth is on mine and I’m completely gone. My hand slides down to her ass as my tongue thrusts, and her moan nearly makes me crazy. Her breasts are mashed against my chest. She’s got her hand up under my shirt, stroking up my back, feeding my frenzy.

How far does she want this to go? She doesn’t even know my name. She doesn’t know anything about me. Except that I want her, which is undeniable after her hand slips over the front of my jeans. I groan and catch her fingers, pressing them where I want, not nearly close enough. This feels insane, like it’s not really happening, but now she’s unbuttoning my jeans and dipping her hand inside. I gasp against her mouth, and I can feel her smile as she squeezes me.

“I-do you-I—” I’m stammering even as my fingers curl under the hem of her short, tight dress, inching it up. I should stop now. I should stop. But her thighs are so fucking smooth and—I pull back from our kiss and look down at her as the realization hits. “You’re not—”

“Wearing panties?” She smiles at me sweetly. In the dim light, she looks triumphant, but her eyes are shining. I want to ask her why she looks like that, but she’s stroking me up and down like she owns me.

Right now, that’s pretty much true.

“You can walk away,” she says, reaching into the low neckline of her dress. As I stare, she pulls out a little square, foil package. She taps it against my chest. “Up to you.”

My gaze flits from it to her face to her breasts, barely contained in that dress. I’ve never done this before, not like this. We’re in a dirty storeroom and I don’t even know her name. It’s not how I was raised to act. Not how I was raised to treat women.

But this woman … She seems to want it. And she came here, to this bar, on this night, to get it. So many questions spill into my thoughts, tumbling over each other, but the only one that actually escapes my mouth is:

“Why me?”

“Does it matter to you?” She stands on her tiptoes and kisses me, slow and deep, kindling the fire inside me. She pulls her hand from my pants and puts it over mine, guiding it between her legs. She whimpers when my fingers meet slick, hot flesh.

I curse and spin us around, so she’s the one with her back to the wall and I’m looming over her, caging her body with my arms. Maybe trying to scare her a little, though I’m not sure why. But she’s right there, unafraid, giving me a knowing smile, those black eyes deep and fathomless.

Does it?” she asks again. She’s still holding that condom against my chest. An invitation. A question. A challenge.

I push her against the wall and give her my answer.

Author Bio:

SARAH FINE is the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes (McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, the bestselling Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), and The Impostor Queen (McElderry, January 2016).
She is also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scan and its sequel Burn. Her bestselling adult urban fantasy romance series, Servants of Fate, includes Marked, Claimed, and Fated, and was published by 47North in 2015, and her second adult UF series —Reliquary (and its sequels Splinter and Mosaic) was published 2016. When she’s not writing, she’s psychologizing. Sometimes she does both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Bookbub

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

After She Fell By Amber Laura

After She Fell By Amber Laura

After She Fell
Amber Laura
Publication date: July 30th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She’s tried for years to convince herself that she isn’t in love with him. If it hasn’t worked, at least she’s managed to convince him of it, anyway.

A tragic love affair from her past had shattered Christina’s illusions of romance—it’d shattered her entire world, left her utterly broken and blamed. She’s fallen once before. She isn’t about to make the same mistake twice!

Jason Gordman is off-limits. Charming, playful, confident—he’s everything dangerous to her defenses. Worse yet, he’s the boss’s son. Hiding behind antagonism and indifference, Christina manages to keep him at a careful distance. That is, until one fateful night when she finds herself snowbound with him in a blizzard and she slips, allows herself one, forbidden kiss…

Struggling to reconcile her feelings, Christina is entirely unprepared for where that one stolen moment will lead her.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

“Try not to overthink it okay, Jas? It was only an idea. Clearly, a stupid one.” Letting out a weak laugh, Christina walked toward her kitchen.

She didn’t need anything in there, didn’t, in fact, know what she’d do once she made it inside the small space. All she knew was it was the only room in which she wouldn’t have to stare into his knowing eyes. It was little more than a stall tactic, a way to expedite his no doubted hasty exit.

Her stride never wavered, not even when she flapped a dismissive hand back toward the bottle of whiskey still on the floor. “Hell, let’s blame it on the alcoh—ah!”

With a gasp of surprise, Christina felt two hands grip the backs of her arms, and then she was being spun around, and before she had time to get in a proper breath, she felt her body being pushed backward, forced up against the wall separating her living room from the kitchen. Her chest heaved at the abruptness of it all, her frantic eyes clashing with Jason’s stormy glare.

His body was pressed up tight to hers. She could feel his quick breaths. She could feel the muscled proximity of his thighs crowding against hers. That, for some reason, calmed her a little.

“Shut up, Christina,” he said, his voice gruff with the words, erratic. His eyes traveled over her face, his gaze stopping curiously over her parted lips. “Give me a damn minute to catch my bearings.”

In control again, Christina laughed up at him coquettishly. “You need a minute to decide if you want to kiss a woman?”
His eyes narrowed. “You have a way of confusing me.”

She licked her lips, her body tingling at the intensity in his eyes, at the feel of his weight enveloping her. “Then, by all means, tell me what you want.”

“Hell—” With little more than that rough word hanging in the air between them, Jason’s head dipped, his lips crashing into hers. It wasn’t a light kiss. It didn’t linger over her lips, playing teasingly there.

No, it was almost desperate in its heatedness. No sooner had his mouth touched hers than Christina felt his tongue skimming against the seam of her lips. With little more urging than that, she obliged him. Moaning at the insistent pressure, at the feeling of his lips twisting, biting, sucking against hers, his tongue plunging into the recesses of her mouth, Christina sank against the wall behind her.

Author Bio:

Amber Laura’s biography, also known as “Five Fun Facts about the Author”:

  1. As a writer, Amber Laura does her best daydreaming as a window-gazing passenger on long car rides.
  2. If there’s creamer, she’s drinking coffee. When she edits, there’s always creamer.
  3. A blogger, she also writes web fiction—(free stories updated chapter-by-chapter, week-by-week). Check it out at www.litliber.com.
  4. Psst! Her debut novel, Topaz and Lace, a contemporary romance set in a fictitious Texas town, got its start on that same blog.
  5. While she may physically reside in the beautiful country of Northern Minnesota, in her imagination, Amber Laura lives all over the world. She considers it one of the best perks to being a writer: easy, cheap travel. That and the oddball characters she meets along the way….

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Out to Find Freedom By Lila Rose

Out to Find Freedom By Lila Rose

Out to Find Freedom
Lila Rose
Publication date: July 30th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Death and pain.
They surround me. Hold me hostage, refusing to let go.
But I want to survive. Want to fight. I just don’t know if I have it in me.
Maybe dying would be better.
It’s the break in the shadows that gives me hope.
When I look at him, all I can see is light.
So now I’m out to find freedom.

Private investigator Ryan Warden doesn’t know he’s moved next door to people he would put behind bars in an instant. Nor does he realise a sleepless night could lead him on the right track with the case he’s working on.
He certainly doesn’t expect Emerson Spence.
What he does know is he has to stay away from her. She’s been beaten and broken. She deserves to live freely while learning and experiencing things in life like any young woman should.
He’s too old for her. It’s better to stay away.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Author Bio:

Lila was born in Brisbane Australia, her step-dad was in the Army which caused them to move around a lot. They finally settled in country Victoria, Australia. Being the youngest of four children she admits she was spoilt a bit. Even drove her mum crazy when she refused to eat meat at a young age.
Now, Lila lives with her husband and two children.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1