Author: sez916

If You’re Reading This… By Alex Tveit

If You’re Reading This… By Alex Tveit

If You’re Reading This…
Alex Tveit
Publication date: December 8th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

The last thing that sixteen-year-old Petter expects while sitting on an airplane is an email from his father. Especially since his dad died of cancer five weeks earlier.

As if that emotional rollercoaster wasn’t enough, Petter’s mother thinks it’s a good idea to move them across the world from Norway to her childhood home outside of Boston.

Using emails sent from beyond the grave, Petter’s father tries to remain a source of guidance and life lessons for his son. Hidden among these teachings are also clues leading Petter out on an adventure. The last one that he would ever have with his father.

Then Petter meets Max. She joins him on his quest and becomes a bright spark of color in a world that moments before seemed very grey.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“This old thing is yours?”

“Yeah. Ol’ Bets and I have been together for a good couple of years now. Why, something wrong with her?”

“No, of course not. Just didn’t think it was your type, that’s all.”

“Ahh, so I have a type already, huh?” she looked him up and down as they got into the truck.

“Well, no, I…” he stuttered.

“Relax Norseman, I’m just messing with you. But really, what type of car did you picture me with?”

“I don’t really know. Not a beat-up old truck. Maybe a Prius or something?”

“Did you hear that, Bets? Old and beat up! Don’t you worry, I have your back.” She affectionately stroked the dashboard. “I guess a Prius isn’t the worst image I could be matched with. But I love my ol’ Bets to bits.” She smiled looking over at Petter as he got into the passenger seat.

“Hmm, now what would you be?” she asked.

“I can’t drive, so no real option yet.”

“Can’t drive? What do you mean?”

“The age limit is eighteen in Norway, so I haven’t really driven yet. I only had a small Vespa.”

She burst out in laughter.

Petter wilted a bit a bit at the laughter. Though as he was looking at her, he realized her laughter wasn’t her being mean.

“What’s so funny?” he asked, still curious.

“Well, I just had this image of you, long legs and all, cramming yourself onto this tiny little bug of a moped. Funny, that’s all,” she kept on laughing as the truck grudgingly picked up speed on the ramp leading onto the highway.

Petter had always felt like he was horrible at giving great first impressions. He had always admired the people who were virtual comedians, offering a plethora of jokes. He would have loved to have been known as the funny guy. But his jokes always came to him hours later when he was preparing for bed, and even then, they were never the rolling on the floor kind of funny.

“Maybe a Corolla,” he said after a few quiet moments.

“What?” she asked.

“My car type. A Corolla, or maybe a Volvo, safety and all. I don’t think I’m cool enough for a muscle car, nor flashy enough for a sports car. Always feel like those cars are more suited to a Biff than a Petter.”

“McFly?! Hello? Hello? Anybody home? McFly?!” Max suddenly exclaimed in a theatrical voice.

“What the hell was that?” Petter burst out, unable to stifle his laughter.

“Don’t tell me you don’t know the movie Back to the Future? Because it’s one thing to mock ol’ Bets, which is understandable since she has to be given time to grow on you. But if you don’t know the magic that is Marty McFly, you and me are gonna have a problem.”

Petter couldn’t stop laughing, especially since the trilogy was one of his dad’s favorites, and one that they had seen together a billion times.

He tried to put on his deepest machine sounding voice. “My name is Lord Vader. I am an Extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan,” his laughter broke through at the end, making it a squeaking finish.

She laughed. “Ahh, there is still hope for this young Padawan.”

So maybe he wasn’t a comedian, but at least he had managed to survive the dreaded first impression. Max was definitely someone he wanted to get to know more, and he had to remember to thank his mom for finding her as a tutor.

“So, you’re headed into your last year of high school?” he asked, looking over at her, just as the sleeve of her navy denim spring jacket fell down a couple of inches, revealing a scarred wrist. He tried to look away fast enough. But as she glanced down at the exposed wrist, he knew she had caught him staring, though she didn’t try to cover it.

“Yeah. One year until I’m free,” she responded. The laughter in her voice had disappeared in a split second.

He wanted to ask about the scar but felt like a mountain was in front of the subject. What if it was self inflicted? What if she didn’t want to talk about it, and then she would cancel the tutoring. He didn’t want to mess up, which led him to not saying anything at all. The next few minutes that passed seemed like hours to Petter. The entire time he was trying to come up with something to say. His mind raced between the scar and topics for small.

“Petter?” She said his name, but jumbled and awkwardly. He knew that his name was difficult to say for English speakers, given the lack of rolling r’s in the language. She tried again, speeding it up, slowing it down. He noticed that he liked that she was playing around with the pronunciation, so he didn’t interrupt until she went quiet.

“I don’t mind if you call me Peter. Five people have already given up and called me that, so maybe I should just change it while I’m here, to make it easier.”

“That’s rubbish. You don’t change your name or who you are just because other people have a difficult time with it. Now, say it again, and again, and again, until I have it right.”

It wasn’t a very stimulating conversation, but the rest of the ride was spent throwing his name back and forth and having her grrrrr like a tiger to learn to roll the r in his name. She actually got it pretty damn close to being right, just as the GPS on her phone called out, “You have arrived at your destination.”

Author Bio:

Alex Tveit grew up just outside of Oslo, Norway. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada and has authored several children’s books, as well as other works of fiction and non-fiction.

Amazon / Goodreads

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Submitting to the Cattleman By B.J. Wane

Submitting to the Cattleman By B.J. Wane

Submitting to the Cattleman
B.J. Wane
(Cowboy Doms, #6)
Published by: Blushing Books Publications
Publication date: December 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance

Why does doing the right thing have to be so hard?

Leslie Collins has been asking herself that question ever since her eye-witness testimony in a murder case landed her in the Witness Protection Program far away from everything and everyone she’s ever known. Now, four years later, she struggles with growing despondency over the circumstances that prevent her from forming a relationship. When she allows her loneliness to get the better of her and indulges in a one-night stand, she never dreams her stranger will show up again at the private club she’s stayed away from for a few weeks.

Kurt Wilcox returns home to Montana to help his father recover from a stroke and hopefully mend the rift between them. He doesn’t plan on rescuing a woman from a mugging and ending up succumbing to the loneliness reflected on her face and indulging in a one-night stand. When he meets up with Leslie at his club, he refuses to let her hide her identity or her reasons for inviting a stranger into her home and bed.

Leslie finally caves to his persistence and agrees to an affair that seems promising until she learns her identity has been comprised and an attempt on her life forces out the truth about her past. Will putting her trust in her Dom jeopardize him and his employees when she agrees to his protection, or will Kurt rid her of the threat against her, as he promises, leaving her free to embrace her own HEA?

This is book six in the Cowboy Doms series but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary, western romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, danger, power exchange, BDSM, and sensual scenes. If any of these bother you, please do not purchase.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Leslie should have known by now wallowing in self-pity never helped. She took a moment to eye the man at the bar again, this time catching a glimpse of his rugged profile beneath the black Stetson, a straight nose and the sardonic curl of one side of his mouth as a young woman approached him. His reply to whatever come-on she whispered in his ear sent her trouncing off in a huff. Leslie wondered how low her spirits would have to sink before she approached a stranger with a needy proposition. Maybe, if one look stirred her juices the same as eying that man, she wouldn’t mind the rash, desperate act so much. If nothing else, a night indulging in sex with a stranger would alleviate the loneliness for a short time, give her something else to think about.

By the time she downed two more drinks, stood to leave and the room spun around her, she realized she should have paid more attention to her alcohol intake. I can do this as long as I go slow. Since she wasn’t about to call one of her co-workers to drive her the few blocks back home, she forced herself to walk a straight path toward the door. She made it with only one stumble and as she breathed in the warm summer air, her woozy senses calmed a bit.

At least, Leslie thought her head had cleared enough to drive until she teetered through the well-lit parking lot in search of her car and rammed her hip into the bumper of a massive pickup truck. Swearing under her breath, she pushed away and wobbled toward the sidewalk she could follow straight to her apartment door. With her inebriated head bemoaning the return to her lonely apartment she never heard or saw the punk purse snatcher sneak up behind her until he tried pulling her bag from her grasp.

“Hey!” she cried out with a desperate tug to keep hold of her purse. “Leave me alone!” Tears welled as frustration over everything shook her.

The kid, who looked all of sixteen, took umbrage of Leslie daring to fight back and stunned her further with a back-handed swing that landed her on the concrete with a jarring thud and red-hot pain blossoming across her cheek. Reeling from both the dizzying fall and the blow, she had to blink several times and shake her head to make sense of the angry shout and large man now grappling with her assailant. Big men wearing cowboy hats, denim and boots were a dime a dozen in Montana, but no one had ever come to her rescue before. Her aching heart rolled over in appreciation even before he turned concerned eyes on her as the wily teenager broke from his hold, giving up her purse before taking off.

“Fucking kid,” he swore, squatting down in front of her. His rough voice sent tingles of awareness dancing down her spine, the intent look in his dark eyes reminding her of the observant gazes of the Doms at the club. He thumbed his hat back far enough for her to make out his rugged features and the dark shadow of his five o’clock beard in the meager amber glow of the streetlight and realize he was the same man she had ogled in the bar. “You okay, sweetheart?”

“I, yes, I think so.” He helped Leslie up and the street whipped around her in staggering circles. “Whoa,” she gasped, grabbing onto his thick forearm, the muscles rippling under her hands as he wrapped his other arm around her waist.

“This is where too much alcohol will land you. Come on, I’ll drive you home.”

His firm, no-nonsense tone calmed Leslie’s racing heartbeat even if she didn’t care for his lecture any more than she wanted to spend another long night alone. God, it felt good to lean on someone for a change, not to mention the warm rush spreading through her body from his firm hold and take-charge manner. She must be either really drunk or really desperate for relief if a stranger’s kindness was tugging on her neglected needs as a sexual submissive.

“My car’s in the parking lot behind us and I live just a few blocks away.” Whether because of the scare she’d just experienced or from her self-pitying melancholy mood of late, she didn’t want him to walk away yet. If that made her a pathetic mess, she didn’t care and relief swept through her shaken body when he tightened his arm around her waist.

“I can’t let you drive in your condition.” He ran calloused fingertips over her puffy cheek, a light caress she felt clear to her toes. “You need something on this, and learning to duck wouldn’t hurt. I’ll give you two choices. Call a friend to come get you or let me take you home. We can return to the bar and let the bartender know where you’re going and with whom, to ease your mind. I’d say you need to report this, but the odds of finding that kid aren’t likely.”

Leslie didn’t hear much after he offered to see her home. Was it stupid to let a stranger know where she lived? Oh, yeah, but not as dumb as wishing he would stay and exert some of that commanding attitude in a different way. She craved a distraction from her isolated life and the bleak future looming ahead of her, and spending more time with this panty-dampening stranger worked for her.

“I think,” she whispered, swaying closer to that rock-hard body, “I can trust someone who was nice enough to come to my rescue.”

Author Bio:

I live in the Midwest with my husband and our dog, a lovable Great Pyrenees/Standard Poodle. I love dogs, enjoy spending time with my daughter, babysitting dogs and kids, reading and working puzzles. We have traveled extensively throughout the states, Canada and just once overseas, but I now prefer being a homebody. I worked for a while writing articles for a local magazine but soon found my interest in writing for myself peaking. My first book was strictly spanking erotica, but I slowly evolved to writing erotic spanking romance with a touch of suspense. My favorite genre to read is suspense.

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Secret Admirer’s Christmas Wish #2 By Dariel Raye

Secret Admirer’s Christmas Wish #2 By Dariel Raye

Secret Admirer’s Christmas Wish #2
Dariel Raye
Publication date: November 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When a former ugly duckling and the former class heart-throb come together as adults, they find out they have more in common than they realized.

Glenda Shaw knows firsthand what it’s like to be an ugly duckling, and now, she is roped into helping to organize her tenth-year class reunion. The speaker this year is none other than Hunter Teegs, the object of her dreams since their sophomore year in high school. She’s a dedicated social worker with a heart the size of Texas, but her hectic schedule doesn’t allow much time for dating or entertainment.

Hunter Teegs is a self-made financial powerhouse with a boatload of charisma and a winning sense of humor. He’s also a notorious womanizer and heartbreaker. He has no interest in settling down any time soon, if ever. To make matters worse, he has recently noticed details from his childhood that cause him to question everyone and everything he’s come to believe.

When Glenda and Hunter are brought together again, fireworks nearly knock both of them off their feet, and not necessarily in a good way. Glenda knows more than one secret about Hunter, and sharing the most crucial one could mean the end of their relationship before it even gets started.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Glenda froze. Hunter Teegs? She’d seen the number and deleted the accompanying voice mail messages before even listening to them, assuming the calls were from telemarketers or scammers. She never thought she would ever hear from this man again after high school, and she couldn’t figure out why she’d answered this time, but a jolt of excitement made her light-headed when she heard his name. Her voice was lost. Her face flushed. She swallowed and tried to get a word out, “Umm. Yes?”

“I’m calling about the high school reunion.”

She bit at her lip. She had received a text message about this, too, but she didn’t know it had been from him. “Reunion?”

“Yes, and considering you were Class Treasurer, it is expected that you will attend.”

“It is?” She couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of her tone.

“Yes. I also would like you to help with arrangements and setting up the ballroom.” He was either completely oblivious to her tone, or he simply chose to ignore it.

Glenda pressed her hand to her chest. “I have a job, and I can’t imagine why attending a class reunion would be a requirement or an expectation for that matter.”

Silence.

“Well, this will be over the weekends. Do you work Monday through Friday?”

“Why?” Where was this coming from? It wasn’t like her to be rude or snarky. She didn’t think she was angry with him for being oblivious to her crush on him all those years ago, but maybe she was in denial. She couldn’t seem to stop herself.

He sighed. “Well, mainly because we only have a few months before the reunion, and if you don’t work weekends, we could—”

Glenda’s eyes narrowed and she interrupted him before she caught herself – another rude behavior she never practiced. “So, at last minute’s notice, you want me to give up all of my weekends for this?”

Silence.

“I tried several times to get a hold of you. Two weeks back in fact. I called, left messages, and even texted you a couple of times.”

“I don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers, and I’m not sure.” Yes, she had gotten the message at least 2 weeks ago, and she had seen the same number a few more times, but she never would have imagined it was Hunter.

“What are you not sure about?” he replied with sarcasm in his tone, nearly matching hers.

“About having time for this.”

“So, you aren’t up to it?”

Glenda’s eyes rounded. “I never said that.” She knew it was childish, her inability to ignore a dare, but she’d hated being dared to do anything, and his loaded question was clearly a challenge. She’d made her own way in life so far and no one could stop her and damn if someone was going to accuse her of…

“So, maybe you can meet me somewhere and we can see if we can work something out.”

Meet him? In person? Glenda halted. Her memory came alive with his image standing in the school hallway by his locker.

Tall, with broad shoulders even at 17 years old. Medium brown hair and dove gray eyes. A smile that made her toes curl in her shoes. What would he look like now? For years, she had fantasized about running into him, having coffee, chatting, getting to know him better, and now it hardly seemed real.

“So, are you available? I promise not to take up any more of your time than we need to get this reunion planned.”

Author Bio:

Dariel Raye is an animal lover, animal rights activist, a musician, therapist, and an award-winning, USA Today, and International bestselling author of powerful paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning.

She is a classically trained mezzo-soprano and pianist who started singing with perfect pitch before she could walk, then fell in love with books and started reciting stories at the age of 3. Dariel plays over 11 musical instruments, including piano, organ, brass, and percussion.

Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). Dariel is currently writing two series: “Dark Sentinels” (wolf shifters), and “Orlosian Warriors” (Vampire-like Nephilim).

For more about Dariel, follow her ‘Musings’ blog or visit her website. She also publishes a VIP Readers’ Club newsletter. If you enjoyed one or more of her books, please post a review on review sites, and of course, click the follow button on Amazon to receive notifications about new releases. Join her VIP book club for updates, insider information, and access to early review copies of her books: https://darielraye.com/VIPbookclub/

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Off the Record By Skye McDonald

Off the Record By Skye McDonald

Off the Record
Skye McDonald
(Anti-Belle, #2)
Publication date: December 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Not even Nashville’s summer heat can match the sizzle of first love.

Nick Field’s motto is “live free.” The huge promotion at work is great, but producing a pop star’s debut album isn’t going to change his life or anything. There’s always room for unwinding and having fun.

Mel Thomas works 24/7 as the media manager to America’s newest heartthrob. Building his image and writing her career make-or-break article are the stories of the summer. There’s no room to go off script.

Ten years ago, Nick and Mel were high school sweethearts. Reunited by chance, what should’ve been ancient history reignites into a passionate present. Too bad there’s no future in it.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

[Nick]

Jesse looked around. “Where’s Melody?”

Melody. The name tickled the hair on my neck and made me forget every single name I’d just committed to memory.

Peter said, “I think she was talking to the receptionist.” He jogged to the hallway calling, “Hey, Miss Twitter! You’re wanted in the lounge.”

I scratched my neck to make the tingling stop. “Did you say Melody?” Shut up. There’s no way it’s her. Focus.

“Yeah. She’s a hell of a writer and the best damn girl- friend a guy like me could ask for.” Jesse shrugged like we shared a joke.

The tingling started to close my throat. “Writer?”

But Peter reappeared, and the woman who followed him in confirmed every ounce of adrenaline coursing through my system. My pulse beat in my ears and muted the scene as her ocean-blue eyes landed on me.

Suddenly I was eighteen again, rocked by nostalgia and memories that had been locked away for a decade.

I saw the shock in her gaze, but she rearranged her expression to a placid mask fast. Her cool stare under those black—Black??—bangs made me hold my tongue and remember where we were.

His girlfriend. Jesus, I didn’t see this coming.

“Hi.”Her soft greeting turned my mouth to dust. I wondered if it was her hand or mine that was so cold when I reached to clasp her outstretched palm. I’m not sure if I spoke, but after a beat she withdrew.

Easy, man. Calm down. Jesse’s debut album is why you’re here. Don’t make a scene. I turned to Jesse. “Should we get started?”

He grinned. “Let’s do it.”

While he met the band and started rehearsing, I dropped into my chair behind the sound board and rolled my shoulders. The album is all that matters. All. That. Matters.

Author Bio:

Skye spent a lot of her adolescence dreaming about living in a hip, urban town full of adventures that occurred outside of the local mall. (Hers was Rivergate, in case you know Nashville well!) Now that she’s been living away from Nashville for years, the once sleepy Southern city has become just that place, and she returns to visit whenever she can. Her seven-novel-and-growing Anti-Belle series is centered in her hometown, partly as a homage and partly because these days Nashville is too hip to ignore.

In the real world, Skye is an English teacher in Brooklyn, New York, and has lived there long enough to consider herself a true New Yorker—even though she proudly cheers for the Tennessee Vols (her alma mater) and loves being a GRITS (Girl Raised in the South).

Skye’s philosophy is to live with your heart and mind open. She believes in the beauty of this world and seeks adventure and joy as a daily practice. If “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” as John Lennon said, then she’d rather leave the schedule open and let life happen.

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Instacrush By Kate Meader

Instacrush By Kate Meader

Instacrush
Kate Meader
(Rookie Rebels #2)
Publication date: December 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports

Theo Kershaw is the luckiest guy alive.

Roaring back from a life-threatening injury, he has the world at his skates as defenseman for his new team, the Chicago Rebels. Everyone adores his big personality, his on-ice talent, and his killer smile. Everyone but his prickly neighbor – or so he thinks. One chilly Christmas Eve, Theo will learn that maybe the girl next door isn’t such a hater after all …

Elle Butler is the most embarrassing person on the planet.

How else can the ex-military-now-bartender explain her crush on the hot jock who lives across the hall? True, he has gorgeous green eyes and perfect cheekbones, but the filter between his brain and too-sexy mouth is permanently malfunctioning. Yet she can’t stop checking out his Instagram antics or sneaking looks at him when he’s in her bar. So. Mortifying. Running from a past filled with damning secrets, Elle’s determined that this guilty pleasure remains buried in her deepest fantasies.

Because she couldn’t possibly indulge with the Theo Kershaw or make a mistake that draws attention to her under-the-radar life. And she especially couldn’t be a mom to a pro-athlete’s baby … could she?

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

EXCERPT:

“Yes, I’ve seen those billboards for your underwear.”

“Fender bender when you did, right?”

“Oh, I have epic self-control. But seeing them made me realize that you’re a bit too pretty. I kind of like ’em rougher.” She placed a finger under his chin and tilted it for inspection. “You ever get into a fight? And I don’t mean those phony ballets you perform on the ice for your fan base.”

“I’m more a lover than a fighter.”

She scoffed, reluctantly withdrawing her touch. “Thought as much. Wouldn’t want to risk getting that perfect nose broken.”

He didn’t take offense. She wondered what in the world would ever bother The Theo Kershaw.

“So we’ve established I’m not manly enough for you. Any other comments?”

“Oh, I’d never be one to criticize.”

He waved a hand. “Help me out, Elle-oh-Elle. Give me some pointers on how to win a real woman such as yourself.”

She thought about it for a moment, her blood fizzing with the fun of sparring with him. “You’d need to be a completely different person. But don’t fret, your current vapid personality is probably cleaning up so don’t change a thing, ’kay?”

He didn’t look put out, probably because her jab carried no heat. They both knew she wouldn’t be talking to him like this if she really believed he was dumb and vain.

“Yeah, good thing I’m doing okay. It’s just you’re here and I’m here …” The implication being that only proximity would force him to lower his standards.

She patted his chest and suppressed a groan at how hard it felt under her fingertips. “I know you can’t help yourself. You’ve got a penis that seeks out the nearest vagina like a diving rod. It’s really not your fault.”

“True. I can’t be held accountable for my incorrigible flirting.”

He grinned and she grinned back, and that fizz in her veins bubbled bright. He’d figured out her game, matched her quip for quip. They understood each other and now they were … friends?

How odd.

And surprisingly sweet.

Theo Kershaw was smarter than he looked. Confusion must have registered on her face because he seemed to be closer, more present. A rush of awareness overtook her, not just of him, but of them and the sparking connection being formed in this sizzling moment, more powerful than mere sexual attraction.

Author Bio:

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

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Hawk By Heidi McLaughlin

Hawk By Heidi McLaughlin

Hawk
Heidi McLaughlin
(The Boys of Summer #2)
Publication date: December 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports

It’s another season of Renegade baseball and, as they say, the boys are back in town. All except for all-star pitcher, Hawk Sinclair, who has returned to his hometown and back to the ranch he grew up on to rehab after shoulder surgery.

Real estate agent, Bellamy Patrick, feels like she’s failing at being a single mom. Her son is having a hard time fitting in and she’s hoping that playing baseball will be the answer. When he doesn’t make the team, she’s willing to do anything to help him… except that! And that’s exactly what the little league coach expects.

When Hawk’s asked to coach a team of misfit kids, he balks…until he sees how the program is run and how boys are left out. That’s when he knows he has no choice but to do the right thing and turn these boys into the players he knows they can be.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

I finally give up on the overgrown weeds and head into my house to clean up and make dinner. The options are limited and the longer I stand in my kitchen with the refrigerator door open, the more I realize that I need to spend some serious time walking the aisles of the grocery store to restock everything.

“Dinner out it is,” I say to myself. I think tonight calls for pizza. Downtown has a great place called The Depot. It’s family friendly and Chase loves their pizza because it’s not heavy on the sauce. I prefer their white pizza with pesto, chicken and broccoli, which I know Chase won’t touch. The Depot always has an arcade, all you can eat soft serve, and a great salad bar. It’s the perfect way to end the night.

When I hear Chase in the garage, I open the door and greet him. He’s still smiling and it’s the best sight ever. “Good day?”

“Great day,” he replies as he comes into the kitchen. He sets his glove down on the table and sighs happily. “I made friends today.”

“You certainly did, bud. Why don’t you go wash up and we’ll go out for pizza?” He nods in agreement and takes off down the hall. I will never understand why life has to be so hard. The boys he was with earlier are in his class, in our neighborhood. They see each other every day in school and on the playground. But, it’s people like Brett Larsen who put this divide between the kids and the adults, who makes it seem like if you don’t follow his path, you don’t belong.

I want to belong.

I want my son to belong.

I’m ready to go when Chase comes out of the bedroom with clean clothes on. The dirt smudges on his face were cute, but I’m happy he washed them off. All the way into town, he prattles on about Hawk and how cool he is and how he can’t wait to see him again tomorrow. Technically, I could see him to tomorrow too, or at least talk to him if I find out the asking price on the land. Surprisingly, the thought of speaking to him elates me, and I know it’s because I want to thank him for spending time with my son.

Once we’re parked, Chase is leading the way into the restaurant. He tells the hostess that we need a table for two and follows behind her to our seats. The confidence he’s showing is new, and I like it a lot.

“Hey, Mr. Sinclair!” Chase yells out as we’re making our way to our table. My steps falter as Hawk’s eyes meet mine. He smiles and my lady bits jump for freaking joy. I try to smile back, but by the look on his face, I guess I must be more grimacing than smiling because he looks embarrassed.

“Hi, Chase. It’s good to see you again.”

“This is my mom,” my son says, pointing toward me.

“Chase, I met Mr. Sinclair this morning. He was riding a horse.” He was riding a horse . . . What the hell is wrong with me? Did I suddenly turn into Baby from Dirty Dancing with her whole, “I carried a watermelon” line?

Author Bio:

Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.

Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband, two daughters, and their three dogs.

In 2012, Heidi turned her passion for reading into a full-fledged literary career, writing over twenty novels, including the acclaimed Forever My Girl.

When writing isn’t occupying her time, you can find her sitting courtside at either of her daughters’ basketball games.

Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and opened in theaters on January 19, 2018, and is now available on DVD & Digital.

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King of Hearts By R.H. Tucker

King of Hearts By R.H. Tucker

King of Hearts
R.H. Tucker
(Kings of Karmichael, #1)
Publication date: December 5th 2019
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Derrik Tyler has it all. He’s a world-famous rock star with a legion of adoring fans and has obtained teen idol status. He even has a Hollywood starlet who wants nothing more than to be the only girl in his life. It’s a publicity stunt only his band knows about, but that’s not detracting her from trying to turn their fake relationship into a real one. Yep, he has it all. Except the girl who stole his heart before his life turned into a rock n’ roll rollercoaster.

Zoey Jacobs has been friends with Derrik and the Kings of Karmichael, since before they became the hottest band in the world. She even dated Derrik before he was known as the King of Hearts—the biggest teen heartthrob in the last decade. But that’s all in the past. She’s just a few short months away from graduating high school and moving on to college.

When spring break rolls around, Derrik invites Zoey along for the last leg of the band’s tour. What should be an amazing road trip turns into Derrik’s personal mission to win back his first love. But can two people from different worlds reignite a past relationship, or is a teen icon and a future college freshman too big of a gap to cross?

King of Hearts is the first book in the Kings of Karmichael series. The series is interconnected, but each book can be read as a standalone.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

~~ ZOEY ~~

The crowd is insane. I knew it would be.

Johnny’s house band plays out the rest of the show, and the lights start to dim as the cameras turn off. Becca and I get up from our seats, with Landon standing up next to us.

“Can you believe this reaction?” Becca asks, laughing.

“Of course I can,” I reply with a giggle of my own. “Becca, you saw them last year just before the tour kicked off. They had that signing at MaxMart where the line circled around the store and down the street.”

“Right.” She nods. “I can’t believe they stayed there four hours past the time they were scheduled.”

“That’s why the King’s Court loves them.” I shrug, laughing again.

“I don’t get it,” Landon remarks. “It’s just Derrik and EJ. I went to school with them since sixth grade.”

I pat his shoulder, staring at him like he’s a lost puppy. “Oh, Landon. It’s okay. You don’t have to be intimidated by the mass of hysterical girls screaming.”

He rolls his eyes with a smirk and is just about to reply when, on cue, the girls start shrieking again. I look and find Maddox and EJ making their way over to sign autographs. Jade and Derrik wait near the curtain that blocks off the backstage area, and Derrik motions over to me.

“Come on.” I tap Becca’s arm, and we head down the stairs. Landon stays at the edge of the aisle before turning around to head up the stairs. “You’re not coming?”

“Naw.” He shakes his head. “I’ll meet you guys in the gift shop. I told my mom I’d get her something.”

“Okay.” I offer him a smile and then head down to the barrier between the stage area and the audience.

“Sorry, you can’t go this way,” a large security guard says, stopping us. He’s at least a foot taller than us, stout, and his brow nearly forms a unibrow, which seems to be stuck in place in a scowl.

“Oh, I know him.” I point to Derrik, who’s now looking at something behind the curtain.

The guard glances back and then stares at me like I’m crazy. “Yeah, sure you do.”

“Derrik,” I call out.

Turning around, he sees the scene and smirks. As he starts jogging over to us, more of the girls off to the side begin shrieking louder than before, and bum-rush Becca and me.

“Hey, it’s cool,” he tells the security guard. “They’re with me.” The guard does a double take, then nods and lets us in. “Head backstage, behind the curtain,” Derrik tells us. “I’ll be right there.” We both nod and head off in the direction he points. I glance back and see all of the fans jumping up and down, and Derrik begins laying on his charm. “Hey, girls. Enjoy the show?”

I can’t comprehend one answer they give as they all scream on top of the other, and Becca starts laughing. Walking back behind the curtain, we find Jade talking on her phone. When she sees us, she waves with a smile.

“No, I seriously don’t want to talk about that again,” she says sternly into her phone. “Yes, I know, but the Kings are where my priority is. Yeah. Thanks.” She hangs up her phone, letting out a sigh and shaking her head. “Sorry.”

I lean over to her and give her a hug. She’s dressed in some of her usual skinny jeans that are ripped, and a purple tank top. “You look amazing, Jade. Everything okay?”

“Thanks,” she replies, giving Becca a hug next. “Yeah, it’s good. It’s just Bret.” She rolls her eyes when she says her boyfriend’s name. “He’s always asking about meeting with new management and stuff.”

Becca rolls her eyes. “Is he still trying to get you to hook his band up with a deal? Tell him to suck on one.”

The insult breaks the tension that Jade seems to be carrying, and we all start laughing. “Maybe I will,” she answers. “How are you guys? I can’t believe I haven’t seen you since before Christmas last year. Now it’s spring break.” She shakes her head in disbelief. “Pretty soon, no more high school.”

“Yeah.” I smile. “You don’t miss it?”

“A little.” She shrugs. “But I wouldn’t give this up for anything. It’s amazing.”

“Hey, sorry,” Derrik says, rushing over and giving me a hug. “Gotta work the crowd, you know?”

“I’m sure Maddox is working it enough for all of us,” Jade jokes. “Peter wants us in the limo in twenty, so I’m gonna head over there.”

“Okay, cool.” Derrik nods. Becca and I give her a hug again, and she heads toward the exit. “So, how’d you guys like the show?”

“It was okay.” I shrug with a smile. “You were a little pitchy.”

Becca laughs. “Yeah. Landon isn’t a fan either.”

“Landon!” Derrik exclaims, raising a finger. “I wasn’t sure who that was, and now that you say the name, I remember. I think I had algebra with him freshman year. You gave him the extra ticket?” he asks me, and I nod. “I would’ve thought your mom would’ve brought you guys.”

“We were talking at lunch, and when I told him, he offered,” I explain. “He got a brand-new Mercedes from his parents as an early graduation-slash-birthday gift.”

“Oh.” A line from overs his brow. “Where is he?”

“Like I said, not a fan.” Becca giggles, and I do my best to hold back one of my own, watching the slight jealous scowl flash over Derrik’s face.

We’ve known each other since middle school. Sophomore year we started dating. Then, when he and the others began home studies before they all decided to take a GED and just focus on the band, we were still going out junior year. When they had to leave last year to start on this world tour they’ve embarked on, I knew it couldn’t keep going. Long-distance relationships never work, especially when someone is a world-famous rock star. Still, we’ve stayed in contact through online and texting. And I do still care about him.

Becca’s face drops. Following her line of vision, as she stares over Derrik’s shoulder, I see Danica Parker walking toward us.

Johnny wasn’t lying during the show that she’s the hottest star on the planet right now. She transformed a silly YouTube sketch comedy show she started in middle school into a nationally televised and streaming series. The first season of her show just ended, and the season finale scored the highest ratings of any primetime show in the last five years. People love her. And it doesn’t hurt that even at seventeen, she comes across as a mature and savvy Hollywood powerhouse. She knows the game and plays it to a T, able to get almost anything she wants. Which includes Derrik.

“Wow, I didn’t know she was keeping you on a leash,” I tease him, whispering over to him.

“Very funny,” he retorts.

“Derrik.” She wraps her arm around his, not even acknowledging Becca and me. “Come on, finish signing autographs, and let’s go. My publicist wants us to make an appearance across town at a super-hot restaurant.”

“Danica, these aren’t fans,” Derrik reprimands her, pulling his arm free from hers.

I glance over at Becca, who scowls at Danica. She looks insulted and jealous, both of which she’s told me—on multiple occasions—I should be feeling with all the rumors and pictures floating around about them.

It’s not like I’ve never been jealous over Danica. Not of her fame, but of this relationship that she wants with Derrik, and she seems so driven to acquire.

I try to push any and all thoughts of jealousy away, though. Derrik and I went out, but he’s not mine anymore. I called it off for a good reason. And now, the Kings are the hottest rock band on the planet. I’m a high school senior, and I’ll be starting college in the fall. We live in completely different worlds. But it’s nice to see him from time to time and see that he hasn’t changed.

“Oh.” Danica gives us both a blank stare. “Awesome, I’d literally kill for a Diet Coke right now.”

“Really?” Becca retorts, smirking. “Literally? You’d literally kill for a Diet Coke?”

“What?” Danica stares at Becca with an unknowing gaze, and I’m doing my best to hold back a laugh. Glancing at Derrik, I discover he’s doing the same.

“They don’t work here either,” Derrik says. “They’re my friends. I invited them.”

Taking us in again, she stares back at Derrik with a look that tells me she isn’t sure if he’s joking or not. Not in a ha-ha kind of way, but with an expression that says that both of them are above the small people now.

“Whatever. Let’s go already.”

“I’m supposed to head back to the hotel.”

“No, I had Debbie talk to Peter. Your band will go back, but we’re going to the restaurant. Hurry up, pumpkin.”

She smiles widely, tapping her finger to Derrik’s nose. Without another glance at Becca or me, she flicks her platinum blonde hair over her shoulder. Spinning on her pink and silver Prada heels—which I hate to admit, are really cute—she walks back down the hallway.

“Sorry about that.”

“Seriously, Derrik?” Becca glares at him. “That girl is a total bitch. Why are you putting on this show?”

I’ve told Becca all about the setup Derrik has with Little Miss Thing. It’s supposed to not only be great for her show but gain even more exposure for the Kings. Like they need any more; they’ve been on multiple magazine covers, daytime talk shows, nighttime talk shows, and YouTube channels with millions of subscribers. The Kings are everywhere. So, I jab a finger in his ribs, giggling.

“Because she’s hot and you’re hot, and two insanely hot teen idols are unstoppable. Right?”

“Stop.” He pushes my hand away, laughing. “I’m not a teen idol.”

“Oh, sorry. Teen icon. That is the name of your album, isn’t it?”

Becca starts laughing, and Derrik continues to blush. “That was all Peter’s idea, you know that. I was happy with calling it Album Number Two. So next week is spring break, right?”

“Yasss!” Becca waves her hands high. “We are going to my aunt’s in Huntington Beach. It’s going to be ah-may-zing!”

Derrik laughs. “I bet. I had a proposition for you, though, Z.”

“Not even twenty-one, and you’re propositioning girls already? Tsk-tsk.” Becca starts giggling, earning one from myself.

“Huntington Beach is amazing, but how about coming out on tour with us for these last few shows?” he asks.

His words stop both of us in our tracks. “Are you serious?”

He nods. “I talked with the rest of the band, and they’re totally cool with it. We all know you, and Jade is hoping you’ll say yes so she’s not the only girl around most of the time.”

He laughs, but I’m still stunned. “I mean … that would be fantastic, but I don’t know if my mom would—”

“I already asked. She said yes.”

“What? Seriously?”

“Yeah. Come on, you know your mom loves me.” He casually throws his arm around my shoulders.

I fight off the feelings I always have to battle with when I’m next to him. Glancing back at Becca, my wide eyes find hers, as she jumps up and down in excitement. “Would you hate me if I ditched the beach next week?”

“Girl!” She pushes my shoulder. “I’d hate you if you don’t go on tour with them. You better send me tons of pics.”

“So?” He leans a little closer.

I see those ocean blue eyes that make every girl in the crowd melt. They’ve always had the same effect on me. And no doubt being around the band would be amazing. Traveling to their last tour stops, hanging out with Jade, and getting to be around Derrik. But I called us off for a reason. Being around him might bring up all those old feelings I still remember. Plus, there are other things in play that he doesn’t know about. Things I probably should’ve told him a long time ago.

“Are you going to make me beg, Z?” He removes his arm from my shoulders, only to stand in front of me. Lowering a few inches, he comes down to my height, so we’re at even eye level. “I haven’t had to beg you since we went to homecoming sophomore year.”

He grins, and it makes me giggle, breaking up my debating thoughts. Finally, finding some semblance of coherency, I return his grin. “On one condition.”

“Anything.”

“You only get me Diet Cokes. Pumpkin.”

“Very funny.”

Author Bio:

RH Tucker writes cute & edgy YA romance. He also lives in Southern California, consumes too much caffeine, eats too much pizza, and firmly believes Rocky Road is the best flavor of ice cream.

You can sign up for my newsletter for previews, excerpts, and short stories at:
https://www.subscribepage.com/rhtuckernewsletter

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Beautifully Broken By Bailey B

Beautifully Broken By Bailey B

Beautifully Broken
Bailey B
Published by: December 20th 2019
Publication date: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Piper

Most people don’t think about the day they’ll die. They coast through life, blissfully unaware of how their time is ticking away. I wasn’t like most people. I welcomed death, wanted her to take me away from the prison I called life, but she refused. I tried twice only to survive. And then, when I thought I had nothing left it came.

A reason to live.

Rex was a small, unexpected ray of light my world of darkness that blossomed into a beam of sunshine. I thought, maybe this was why Death didn’t take me. Maybe she knew that if I held on a little longer things would turn around. But the third time Death came to my door wasn’t by choice. Someone else brought her, and I fear this time she might take me.

Rex

Being the son of a country star sucks. My parents are never around, I move every year or so, and I have no real friends. Everyone around me has an agenda. Everyone except Piper Lovelace. I can’t get that girl to notice me. Trust me I’ve tried.
Thankfully, fate stepped in and gave me the break I needed. I’ve got her attention, now I need her to give me a chance.

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Author Bio:

Bailey B is an up and coming New Adult author. She lives in Lehigh Acres Florida with her husband, twin girls, and two fur babies. She enjoys (but doesn’t get to take part in because of her crazy daughters) the simple things like Disney+ binge watching, Netflix romcoms, reading and sleeping. She reads two to three books a week and thinks if narwhal’s are real animals then unicorns might be too.

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The Last Virgin in Texas By Jennifer Woodhull

The Last Virgin in Texas By Jennifer Woodhull

The Last Virgin in Texas
Jennifer Woodhull
Publication date: December 9th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Her first time. Their second chance.
When Hollywood heartthrob Tucker returns to their hometown, can Gretchen resist her first love?

GRETCHEN

I did the right thing. I waited. I wanted it to be special.

He was my first love. Our first time was going to be everything I had dreamed it would be.

And it was…until we were interrupted.

When our magical night turned into an awkward nightmare, little did I know it would be the last time I saw him. He bailed. Walked away. Leaving me alone with the shattered pieces of my broken heart.

But that was then. This is now.

He’s back. A megasuperstar. A Hollywood heartthrob with a desperate fan base of sexy women that won’t leave him alone.

But he wants me. Still. After all these years.

I can’t possibly cave to my feelings, desires, and my hopeful heart.

He broke it once. He’ll do it again.

TUCKER

We waited. It felt like forever, but I didn’t care. I would’ve done anything for her.

But I screwed up. When it all went south, I fled, leaving her, alone. Broken hearted.

And she wasn’t the only one.

But that was then. This is now.

I may be an actor, but none of this is for show. I want her, and only her.

I’ll do whatever it takes.

She may be the last virgin in Texas, but to me, she’s so much more.

I want her in my arms, and in my heart. Forever.

This time, I’m not giving up.

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EXCERPT:

Chapter 1
Gretchen

“Aunt Sophia would stroke out if she saw you in that getup.”

My cousin and best friend, Maisie, circles me. She crosses her arms over her chest, and strokes her chin with her thumb and forefinger, her nose turned up as she appraises me. “Damn you look hot, cuz.”

“Thanks,” I eke out. “You’re sure it’s not too much?”

“Too much? Too little, maybes” she scoffs. “Seriously, Gretch, you look good enough to eat.”

I blush wildly. “I’m changing.” I try bolting for the bathroom, but she grabs my arm.

“You’re not changing. Jesus Christ, it’s just a dress.” She rolls her eyes. “I mean, it doesn’t look like that on me, but God gave me all the height and you all the tits in this family, unfortunately.” She blows out a wistful sigh as she stares at my boobs.

I can’t help but laugh. She’s right. The five-foot-two on my driver’s license is a lie by an inch at least. Maybe two. Maisie is two years older than me, but it wouldn’t matter if she weren’t. She’s five-nine and slim, with high cheekbones and honey-colored waves. Her eyes are big and blue. She’s gorgeous.

I haven’t gotten any taller since I was sixteen. Still, in the years since my height topped out, my boobs have continued to grow. I’d love perky little B-cups like hers. Instead, I have to wear granny bras or underwires that dig into my ribs all day. But, it’s like Mama says, I suppose. “We all have our burdens to bear.

“I’m nervous.” I chew on my bottom lip, giving myself one last look in the mirror.

“Of course, you’re nervous!” She shakes her head. “Who in their right mind isn’t nervous when they know they’re about to pop their cherry?”

“You make it all sound so romantic.” I roll my eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah! I’m sure it will all be rose petals and soft music and stars in Tucker’s eyes. You’ll prob’ly be the first woman in history that doesn’t hurt like a motherfucker or bleed like a stuck pig, too.”

She laughs.

I don’t.

“Maybe I shouldn’t go through with it.” I flop down on the end of her bed, letting my hands fall to my sides as I hang my head.

“You’re going through with it. Damn, Gretchen, you can’t stay a virgin forever. It’s fuckin’ weird. You’re gonna end up one of those girls nobody wants to bang cause you’re too old to still be a virgin and guys think there’s something wrong with you.” She grabs my wrist and pulls me to my feet. “So get your ass up, go meet Tucker and do the dirty, girlie!”

“You are so comforting, have I ever told you that? I mean seriously, you should be a therapist or some shit.” I look up at her.

“I know. I should totally counsel people on how to fix their fucked-up lives. I’d rock at that.” She smirks and puts her palm on my shoulder, rubbing slightly. “Seriously, though…it’s gonna hurt. For like a minute, you’re gonna think it was the biggest mistake of your life, but then after that? Like, right after that?” She looks skyward and grins. “Holy shit that’s when things get good.”

She folds her long arms around me and draws me against her chest. “Besides, Tucker is one of the hottest guys I ever knew in my life. There’s no way he won’t make it fun.”

She kisses the top of my head with a smack, then swats me on the ass. “So, go! Get! I’ll see you on the other side when you’re finally a woman.” She winks as I grab my purse.

“Thanks.” I give her a nervous smile as I leave. “I’ll report back after. Love ya, cuz.”

I walk the half mile from the house my cousin shares with my Aunt Helen and Uncle Frank, to Jared Berringer’s house. He and Tucker have been best friends their whole lives. Since he lives reasonably close to Maisie, I meet Tucker there. Besides, I didn’t want Tucker to pick me up at my place because Mama would still be home now. That would cause all kinds of problems.

First off, if she saw me in this sundress, she’d have a fit, so I’d have had to wear a long-sleeved blouse and ankle-length skirt. Second of all, if she saw that it was Tucker Kane I’ve been going out with, she’d have an even bigger fit. Mama doesn’t like boys for a start and certainly doesn’t like any that don’t go to First Holiness Baptist Church. Tucker’s family only goes to church on Christmas and Easter, and even then, they’re Presbyterians. They may as well worship Satan as far as Mama is concerned.

“Hey there, Gretch-en.” Jared leans against the open doorframe with one muscular forearm. “Don’t you look prettier than a perfume ad?”

“Hey, Jared,” I reply, crossing my arms over my chest as he scans my body up and down, making me feel exposed and nervous. “Tucker here?”

“Yeah, come on in,” he sweeps his hand beside him and closes the door behind me when I walk in. I can feel his eyes boring into my ass, something I suspect he’s thought about doing with his dick, as I walk past a small, round table in the middle of the foyer whose only purpose seems to be to hold a vase full of flowers.

Aunt Helen’s place is nice. It’s big—four bedrooms—so my cousin has her own room, plus Aunt Helen and Uncle Frank’s room, a guest room, and Uncle Frank’s office. On the half-mile walk from Aunt Helen’s to the Berringer house, the houses get nicer, and bigger, on every block.

Jared’s family has a front hall, five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a den and a pool. I’ve heard talk they’re millionaires, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. Tucker’s parents have a small farm just outside of town, so he spends a lot of time hanging out at Jared’s place since it’s close to everything in town.

“Hey Tuck,” Jared calls as we walk down the stairs into the den. “Your girl’s here. She looks hot as shit, too.” I turn to flip him off and he smirks as he replies. “You couldn’t handle it, sweetheart.”

When I get down to the den, Tucker’s sitting on the sofa and his head whips around toward me. “Hey,” he says, standing.

He smiles as he looks me up and down. “You look great, Gretchen.” He steps forward and takes my hand, pulling me to him. “Really great,” he leans down to sweep a kiss across my lips.

I feel my cheeks grow hot, and feel something else in my belly, too. We’ve been dating for about six months, but we’ve known each other most all our lives, in a way. Tucker was a year ahead of me in school. When I graduated, he was there to see some guys from the football team walk, and we ran into each other. We started talking, and it surprised me when he asked me out.

Now, just because I haven’t had sex, full sex, I mean, doesn’t mean I’m exactly innocent, either. I had boyfriends in high school, even though I had to sneak out to see them behind Mama’s back. There were plenty of make-out sessions in hay barns, and finger bangs in the back of cars. I give a pretty damn spectacular blowjob, if Tucker is to be believed. He’s even gone down on me a few times. I was nervous as hell about it at first, but once he got started, I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Tonight’s different, though. Tonight, we’re going out to a nice dinner up in Victoria, then, once Mama leaves for bingo, we’re going back to my house for sex. Real, full, grown-up, dick-in-vagina sex! I’m excited, and terrified, and not entirely sure I won’t screw it up. Or be terrible at it. Or hate it. Or all of the above, maybe. It’s time, though. Not because I’m still a virgin at almost nineteen years old, and not because Maisie says I need my v-card punched, but because Tucker and I are serious. I mean, we’ve never said the words, but I know what’s between us is real.

“You ready to go?” He asks, one arm still tucked around my back.

“Uh-huh. You?”

“Yeah, let’s get outta here.” His lips curl up at one side and the sweet, sexy smirk makes my stomach do flips

Hell, yeah. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Author Bio:

Jennifer Woodhull is based in the Southern United States, spending time in her second home of England, and traveling as often as she can. Her love of travel permeates her work, and her characters often find themselves exploring new and foreign surroundings.

A keen observer of human behavior, Jennifer often draws inspiration from something as simple as a fleeting connection, or the glimpse of a unique trait or characteristic. Her favorite place to write is on airplanes.

“The drone of the engine, the scores of people, all traveling to something or from something, and being disconnected from digital distractions are a combination that provide the perfect place to write,” she says. “If you see a woman in seat 9F who is balancing her Macbook on her lap because it’s time to close your tray table, please have patience. I’m just trying to finish one more sentence.”

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Lessons in Love By Melanie Brodie

Lessons in Love By Melanie Brodie

Lessons in Love
Melanie Brodie
Publication date: October 21st 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Anne Spencer is a small town elementary school teacher. Romance isn’t on the radar. When she discovers the school she dearly loves is being shut down, Anne and the town must come together to save it. To complicate things, Anne is wooed by a handsome local politician who is running for mayor. Anne looks to her best friend Roman and their neighbors for support. Anne is faced with the distraction of new romance, but must ultimately figure out what she really wants. Will love solve all her problems, or must she choose?

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EXCERPT:

“All right, all right. Settle down,” I said to my class.

“A BEE!” Jennifer Beasley screamed as a big housefly buzzed aimlessly in the corner. The children acted like it was a deadly wasp — one of those gigantic ones from Jumanji. I wanted to laugh, but it was bedlam. Samuel Jackson (no relation) was crying in the coat closet and Megan Smith peed her pants, which she did at pretty much any opportunity. Several kids were under my desk and Joshua Peatree was clinging to my skirt with tiny white knuckles of pure terror. That’s when Roman burst into the room, a brown paper bag over his head with holes for eyes, a tennis racket, winter gloves, and a black trash bag for a smock.

“Never fear!” he proclaimed. “Apple Creek Exterminators is here to save the day!”

“Yes!” Noah Winton exclaimed as if Roman were Spider Man.

Most of the kids stopped crying and I felt Joshua Peatree let go of my skirt. They were stunned and impressed that a super-hero (shabby as he was) had popped into our classroom. Roman made a big fuss, swinging the tennis racket, ducking an invisible foe, fighting for his very life. (The housefly was long gone.) After a Buster Keatonesque pratfall — which made the children laugh — he pretended to annihilate the invisible bee.

“That’ll be two billion dollars,” Roman said and extended his hand to Megan Smith.

“I don’t have any money!” she said at the audacity of Roman’s request.

“Alright, this one’s on me. But next time, you gotta pay.”

“Mr. Davis, my mom said the bees are ‘stinct and we need them to feed the flowers. You killed a ‘stinct animal and now we’re going to have global warning!”

This statement of fact made the children very sad. Megan Smith started crying again. “I don’t like global warning,” she wailed. “I don’t want to burn up!”

“Settle down,” I said to the class. “It wasn’t a real bee.”

“Where’s the real bee!” Amanda Jessop cried, looking around nervously.

“Oh jeez,” I said. “Thanks a lot, Roman. Amanda honey, there was no bee.”

“But Jennifer saw it!” Her face was beet red now, like a tick about to pop.

“And bees aren’t extinct yet, but you’re right, we need all the bees we can get. Everyone gather in a circle and we’ll talk about how bees pollinate the apple orchards in Apple Creek. OK? Don’t be scared.”

“Mr. Davis, my dad once killed a cricket in my house,” Benjamin Wallis said.

Roman removed the paper bag from his head. “Tell your dad he’s always got a job with Apple Creek Exterminators!” he said.

“He’s a mail man.”

“OK, well. If he ever needs a job.”

Roman looked to me and smiled. I rolled my eyes at him.

Author Bio:

Melanie Brodie was born in the fictional town of Apple Creek, Ohio. This is her first self-published novella; the journey of which has been documented on her blog at www.melaniebrodie.com. She enjoys Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, making up love stories, and pressing flowers in books.

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