Series: Love Lock Duet #1
Series: Love Lock Duet #1
“Willow” by Grace Parks
Can a socialite and a technophobe fall in love?
A bubbly personality and a great job in social media didn’t mean that Willow Lawson had it all. Her love life was distant memory and her social life only work related. The maddening demands of life seemed to get in the way of finding time for herself or her friends.
She starts the Pepper Lane Club as a chance to step away from her busy schedule once a month to reconnect with her friends.
Thomas Greer, the proprietor of the Pepper Lane Café, annoys her. He’s her complete opposite; unsociable, serious, old-fashioned and dead set against social media.
Always game for a challenge, Willow decides to take him on as a client. She’s going to prove to Thomas that he needs her help. She knew she would be successful, she just didn’t know she would lose her heart along the way.
Can Willow fall in love with a man that doesn’t respect her profession? Will Thomas let go of his preconceptions long enough to get to know the real Willow? Enjoy this sweet romance as Willow finds love and friendship in the first book in the Pepper Lane Series.
Six women. Six stories. Six chances of love. One café.
The Pepper Lane Series follows the lives of six women as they share life, love and heartache once a month at the Pepper Lane Club. They might be an unlikely group of friends, but it takes all types to form a tribe.
Six women. Six stories. Six chances of love. One café.
“Ah, let me guess. You placed an order for me without asking what I want,” I said.
“I also paid for it.”
“Good. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
He shook his head. “Yeah? Are you one of those women?”
“Do you have any idea how to live in the real world?” I said. I wasn’t angry at
Thomas laughed. “Are you always this easy to tease?”
“Are you always this annoying?”
**About the author: From Grace, with Love…
Grace Parks is a sweet
by Meghana Sarathy Publication Date: July 28, 2019 Genres: Adult, Second Chance, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone
Brandon: Sabrina was my childhood friend. My first crush. My first mistake was leaving her behind. I had crushed her heart, unaware of the feelings she harbored for me. And twenty years is a long time to hold onto that grief. Now I’m back in Seattle and like fate has it, we meet again.
She might not have been my first kiss or love but I want her to be my soul-mate. My life partner.I might never be able to get over my first love, but I want Sabrina to complete me and be my new beginning.
I wish to be her knight in shining armor, saving her from the shackles of a broken marriage. A real father for her daughter, Clara.
But I have fucked up too many times in the past. She won’t trust me with her heart again. I can come close to being her friend but nothing more….
When have I ever given up, though? I try not to play unfair this time, but with Linden guiding me with his twisted antics (He stole my first love – My Gem from me or maybe it was me who first tried to snatch her from him – either way Gem is his now and he’s just returning the favor), I might actually make Sabrina fall for me.
As Brandon, I can just be her best friend, but as ‘Scott’ (Her anonymous on-line friend), I will gain her trust and woo her. No matter whom she chooses, she will end up with me and I will be everything she wants and asks for.
Twisted Connections is a Spin-Off of Love Connection Series. Every book in Twisted Connections can be read as a standalone. (It’s NOT necessary to read Love Connection Series before reading this book)
Standing right in front of me, he grins and throws his arms around me, taking me in for a hug. I expect to flinch by his touch, but I don’t. I’m as still as a statue. His closeness comforts me in ways I can’t even express, but I don’t want it to. After ditching me all those years ago, he doesn’t get to come back and expect things to fall right back into place. I won’t ever let that happen. He doesn’t deserve that chance and I don’t deserve another heartbreak. “I missed you, Rina. I really did,” He tells against my hair. For one whole second, I let my emotions slip, and smile against his chest. But the very next second when I’m about to push him back, he beats me to it. “Your hair color sucks.” I gasp and shove him hard. He retreats, still grinning from ear to ear. “You can’t be serious,” I exclaim. “I am,” he tells very seriously, a frown lining his face. “Strawberry blonde, really? You were a brunette, Rina. No wonder I couldn’t recognize you.” “Stop making excuses.” He throws me a challenging stare, waiting for my answer. “My husband wanted me to try this color and he loved it.” I absentmindedly run my hands along my hair. Though it’s a very nice color, I always liked my natural color. But after getting used to this, I didn’t feel like changing at all. He doesn’t flinch at the mention of my husband, but he continues to regard me with a scowl. “I’m not sorry to say this but your husband is definitely blind.” “Beauty lies in beholders’ eye, Brandon. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t make him blind,” I rebuke. He pinches the bridge of his nose, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “It’s not about beauty. He’s blind to not see that this is not what you want. He was blind to not have seen how much you liked your natural hair.” How can he be so ignorant and yet so right? He saw right through me in a single minute whereas even after many years of living together with James, he couldn’t understand such a simple thing. “Ex-husband,” I admit in a small voice. His lips upturn and a bright smile adorns his face. “So, is your current husband blind too?” he asks with a frown. “I don’t have one,” I snap, and his face actually glows now. “Then it’s high time you fix an appointment with the parlor,” he orders. I bite back a witty response and just walk past him. Talking to him more will either infuriate me or make me like him more and I don’t want to feel either of the two emotions.
Meghana Sarathy is from Bangalore, India. She is an avid reader and also a writer. She writes Adult and New Adult romance, as well as dark and psychological thrillers. She especially loves reading and writing love triangles, taboo romance, and angst filled stories that are quite complex and unconventional. Her books tend to involve protagonists who are flawed, far from perfect, and as real as they can get. Her all-time favorite characters are her very own characters- Jennifer, Brandon and Linden. She tends to fall hard for boys who are either cocky, bossy or good flirts and total charmers.
She spends most of her free time reading, writing or watching anime. Depending on her mood, she tends to write two to three books at a time. She is a crazy fan of Dragonball Z and can be seen watching the episodes in repeat. Vegeta is her all-time favorite anime character.
Excerpt: Griffin Nathaniel Finnegan Crawford stood in one corner of the crowded ballroom, conversing with his brother, Caleb, and Caleb’s friend, Viscount Aldridge. “I cannot wait for this Season to be over so Mary and I can return to Montvale,” Caleb said. The couple had decided to build a cottage for themselves on the Montvale grounds so they could enjoy a simple life while away in the country. The manor itself would be turned into an orphanage so Mary could continue caring for children in need. “It has only just begun,” Griffin remarked. Contrary to his brother, he missed the busy city life whenever he was away from it. He missed Vienna, with its culture and music and picturesque streets. By comparison, London felt like a grimy slum. “And it will only get busier once parliament is in full swing,” Aldridge said. “Don’t remind me.” Caleb crossed his arms. He glanced at Griffin. “At least Devlin had the foresight to escape while he could.” Devlin was the third brother, born only five minutes after Griffin. All three were identical in appearance save for a few slight differences between them. But Caleb was the oldest, so he’d been the one burdened with the dukedom when their father and older brother had died. It was a responsibility Griffin didn’t envy, though he admired Caleb’s effort to find a balance between his duty and a less demanding existence. Mary’s love and support had undoubtedly helped. “I plan to do so as well,” Griffin said. “I’ve already been away from my place of business longer than I ever intended.” Years ago, when he’d first left England after arguing with their father about not wanting to join the army, he’d gone to Germany where a chance encounter with a man in a tavern had put him in touch with a clockmaker named Herr Fritz. Intrigued by Herr Fritz’s craftsmanship, Griffin had inquired about a position and had quickly become the man’s apprentice. Seven years later, when Herr Fritz had retired, Griffin had travelled to Vienna where he’d opened his own shop, selling not only clocks but mechanical toys to the marvel of all his customers. “Who’s managing it right now while you’re here?” Aldridge asked. “My assistant, Edvard Dreyden.” He was a serious and hard-working young man whom Griffin trusted to run things until he returned. But Griffin had to acknowledge that his extended stay in England was pushing the limit of how long he could afford to be absent. In Edvard’s most recent letter, he’d informed Griffin that the archduchess Marie Anne wished to place a special order, though only if Griffin himself was available to carry it out. “If only you could relocate here,” Caleb said. “I’ve enjoyed your company immensely and will be sorry to see you go.” “Yes, but you have a home to build now, a wife to take care of, and a child on the way.” Griffin snatched a glass of champagne from a passing tray and took a quick sip. “You’ll hardly notice I’m gone.” “And you can come back to visit,” Aldridge pointed out. “Or you could all come to Vienna,” Griffin suggested while glancing across the room. A flash of blue caught his eye, and he followed the movement until a familiar face appeared from behind a cluster of guests. It was Miss Emily Howard, a close friend of Mary’s. Griffin had met her a few times already, most notably at Clearview when he’d gone in search of his brother back in November. She’d stolen his breath once she’d opened the door to admit him, for he had not been expecting to find the most beautiful woman in the world when Aldridge had told him where Caleb had gone. He narrowed his gaze as she exited onto the terrace, escorted by Mr. Bale, who grinned in response to something she said. An uncomfortable squeezing sensation beneath his ribs had him straightening his posture. He didn’t like the way Mr. Bale’s eyes gleamed with the prospect of something illicit. “If you’ll excuse me one moment,” Griffin told his brother and Aldridge. “There’s someone with whom I must speak.” Mr. Bale had always struck him as an amicable fellow. Harmless, by all accounts. But appearances could be deceiving. He’d learned that by falling victim himself to the cruelest form of trickery. Setting his glass on a table as he went, Griffin wove his way through the crowd. By the time he reached the door to the terrace and stepped outside, neither Miss Howard nor Mr. Bale was anywhere to be found. Griffin’s stomach tightened. Surely she would have more sense than to wander off with a bachelor? He glanced around, uncertain of where to look for her first. Voices emerged from the left, so he followed, heading straight for the corner where a cherry tree offered a canopy to the bench that stood beneath it. The voices grew louder, though they could only be described as whispers. And although Griffin could not discern what was being said, he knew everything he needed to know the moment he saw Miss Howard in Mr. Bale’s arms, his face moving closer to hers until… “What do you think you’re doing?” Griffin asked in his most authoritative voice. Mr. Bale leapt away from Miss Howard and spun toward Griffin. His eyes were as wide as his mouth. “I, um…I…that is…” he sputtered. Miss Howard’s hands fisted and Griffin saw she was glaring at him with extreme displeasure. “I think it’s perfectly obvious,” she told him. Mr. Bale cleared his throat. “Miss Howard and I—” “Are not affianced, as far as I know,” Griffin murmured. He could not explain why the possibility they might be grated as much as it did, but there was something about Miss Howard…something that tempted him beyond reason. He cleared his throat. “If that situation has recently changed, then I sincerely apologize for the intrusion.” Mr. Bale stared at him. He then glanced at Miss Howard, who sighed as if she had no doubt of how he would answer. “It has not.” There was a pause, and then, “I was just—” “Leaving,” Griffin bit out. Mr. Bale stared back at him for a brief moment as if considering whether or not it was wise to argue. Don’t. As if hearing him, Mr. Bale turned and gave Miss Howard a curt bow. “Forgive me.” He strode off with an apologetic glance at Griffin. “I’ve a good mind to hit you right now,” Miss Howard announced as soon as they were alone. “You were horribly rude to Mr. Bale, who was merely trying to be helpful’.” “Helpful?” Ha! “He was certainly trying to help himself to something, I’ll grant you that. And you were not protesting.” He considered the sharp look in her eyes and the way her jaw tightened in response to his words. For some inexplicable reason he needed to know what her intention had been, so he took a step closer and gazed down into her upturned face. “Were you?” “Of course not.” She averted her gaze, and he imagined that if it hadn’t been dark, he would have seen her blush. Still, her blasé response shocked him. “Of course not,” he repeated in a low murmur. She sighed. “Mr. Bale and I are friends. Nothing more.” The relief he experienced in response to that statement caught him completely off guard. He had no romantic interest in Miss Howard himself. To suppose such a thing would suggest he was open to marriage. Which he wasn’t. Not anymore. Not after Clara had broken his heart. The keen humiliation he felt whenever he thought back on how she had fooled him still smarted. He fought the urge to tug on his cravat as the air in his lungs grew hot, and forced his attention back to Miss Howard. A dalliance with his sister-in-law’s friend could only lead to the altar, and that was a destination he meant to avoid at all cost. He tried to keep his voice steady so he wouldn’t sound too accusatory. “And yet I caught you embracing him as if you meant to—” “My earring is caught.” Griffin stared back at her, confused. “What?” She turned the left side of her head toward him and raised her hand to point at the strands of hair tangled in a dangling collection of diamonds. “Mr. Bale noticed and offered to put me to rights.” “But…” Griffin’s thought process stumbled as he considered her words. He’d seen her standing inappropriately close to Mr. Bale, so he’d made an assumption. But it was also dark. So dark, in fact, he could not discern her features very clearly. Which meant it was possible he’d imagined something that had not been there. He inhaled deeply and accepted that he had been wrong. “I’m sorry.” His gaze slid to the asymmetrical mess at the side of her head. “If you will permit, I would be happy to offer my assistance. ’Tis the least I can do at this point.” She shook her head. “Thank you, but it would probably be best if I returned inside before someone else mistakes your assistance for something it isn’t.” She stepped around him, moving so close he managed to catch a hint of the sweetest perfume. Honeysuckle perhaps? Or peonies? He wasn’t quite sure, but there was no mistaking the heady effect it had on him or how it beckoned for him to pull her close and press his nose to her skin. He quashed that foolish idea as immediately as it had formed. “I shall ask Mama or Laura for help,” she said as she started strolling away. He followed behind while wondering how he could make her stay. Which was silly since there was no point in furthering their acquaintance when he would depart for Vienna soon. Nothing good could come of it. If anything, the longer they stayed out here together alone, the greater the risk of others imagining they’d had an assignation. But he found he regretted their rendezvous ending so quickly. And with him having ruined what would probably have been an enjoyable walk for her and Mr. Bale. “Can you forgive me for thinking the worst?” he asked. She drew to a halt and turned to him, her face more visible now that they were nearer the light from the terrace. A polite smile captured her lips. “Of course. It was an understandable mistake.” “You’re not upset?” “No.” He registered the mistruth because of how bluntly it was delivered. “Are you sure?” She’d always seemed honest and forthright, so it bothered him that he’d somehow caused her to put up a barrier between them now. “I am not so sensitive that I can’t handle a set down.” Or at the very least an honest response. Her chin rose and she crossed her arms, affecting the pose of a woman who was rapidly reaching the end of her patience. Griffin braced himself in anticipation of what she would say. Her words, however, where most unexpected. “You ought to know me well enough by now to realize that I am not the sort of woman who would ever invite a man to ravish her at a social event where anyone might happen to see.” Her eyes were almost black, shimmering fiercely in the moonlight. “The fact that you did so is a testament to your opinion of me, which is frighteningly low.” “I did not think you’d let Mr. Bale go quite so far as to ravish you, Miss Howard.” And now that she’d put that picture in his head, he was having a damned hard time dislodging it again. Which added a terse element to his voice that she did not deserve. She marched forward, closing the distance between them “Nor would I throw away a kiss so easily, without a thought or a care in the world.” Griffin did his best to come to terms with her statement. There was something in what she had said. Something meaningful just beyond his grasp. “I take it the men you have kissed in the past were important to you, then?” A sudden dislike for these men swept through him, and his desire to learn their names and discover who he would have to avoid in the future was particularly unsettling. She stared back at him for a long, hard second and eventually snorted. “No such man exists, Lord Griffin, which is rather the point, don’t you think?” Spinning about, she started toward the terrace once more. Griffin blinked, the relief easing the tension within so soothing, it took him a second to respond. He hastened after her without even thinking and grabbed her wrist before she reached the stairs. She turned, eyes wide with surprise and wonder. “Kisses are overrated,” he murmured, his voice almost breathless. What was it about her that made him so desperate to keep her out here with him and away from the ballroom? He did not know and wasn’t even sure it mattered. But the fact that she’d never been kissed…that was important. And yet, the only thing he could think to say, most likely in an effort to make her feel better, was, “You have not missed much.” A soft little scoff conveyed her derision. “What a comforting sentiment from someone who’s likely enjoyed the experience a dozen times by now.” Griffin raised an eyebrow and watched her surprise sink deeper. “Two dozen times?” His lips quirked. “Three dozen?” “I believe the number’s so high it would take you a while to reach it at this rate,” he muttered. She rolled her eyes. “Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Her gaze found his and he was surprised to find humor there. “I suppose you’re just as roguish as all the ladies claim then?” He knit his brow. “I was not aware such a rumor existed.” “I’m sure it arose because of your scar,” she said as if this was so evident that his not knowing it surprised her. “My scar,” Griffin echoed flatly. He’d allowed himself to forget about that while they’d been talking, to forget the way it slashed his left cheek in an ugly red line. It was thick and uneven, puckering his skin in a way that was most unappealing. “There are those who find such things attractive.” What about you? he wanted to ask. He dropped his gaze to her lips and wondered if she would retreat if he made an advance. “We should probably go back inside.” Anything else would be a mistake. He meant to return to Vienna, to live a peaceful life there without the complications of marriage. The last thing he needed was to kiss Miss Emily Howard out in the open where anyone might see. And yet, Griffin desperately wanted to chase away all the anger and pain her comment had stirred by distracting himself in the simplest way possible. She wants her first kiss to matter. You cannot take that from her. But when she licked her lips and whispered, “Yes,” his restraint took off like an army fleeing a battle. Because the truth was he’d wanted to kiss her since the first time he’d seen her at Clearview. So he did the only reasonable thing he could do when she was standing right there, stunning and utterly tempting. He leaned in closer and pressed his mouth to hers.
Blurb: When a single mom ends up playing an unwilling fake girlfriend to a charming playboy baseball player, love suddenly turns everything upside down in this fun, heartwarming multicultural romance.
Angel Gomez has never lived by the book. A Bronx-based unwed mother by the time she was sixteen, Angel’s personal mission has always been to show the world that a Puerto Rican girl is not to be messed with—especially by a man. The only thing that matters to Angel, now, is providing for her son and earning enough tips at the club to complete her nursing degree along the way. Love is nowhere on her agenda.
Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is a star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts whose romantic escapades make delicious fodder for gossip columns. But lately he’s been trying to keep a lower profile—so much so that when he meets Angel, first while she’s in her nurse uniform and the next time behind the bar, she has no idea who Duke is, fails to fall for his obvious charm, and ends up throwing a drink in his face! She is the perfect woman for Duke…to fool the tabloids into thinking he’s finally settling down. But what begins as a charade soon has Duke and Angel hurtling into a full-blown romance that rocks each of their worlds and begs the question: Is this the real deal—or are some love stories just too good to be true?
Angel Gomez hissed under her breath.
Claro. Of course. If she was going to get a paper cut, it would be from the page illustrating the male reproductive system. The twenty-three-year-old sucked at the thin line of blood on the web of her hand, squinting hard at the flayed cojones in her anatomy textbook.
As a nursing student, Angel knew the male anatomy— from the bulb to the external urinary meatus—but her ability to reel off the Latin names of penis parts seemed to scare the living, breathing version away.
Not that I want a man, she reminded herself, her inner voice stern. Focus, girl.
Dark spirals of hair popped free from her ponytail as she bent closer to her textbook. Concentration was elusive. She closed the window next to her with a shriek of metal on metal, shutting out the gray February breeze and the number 4 train running on the elevated tracks down Jerome Avenue. She tilted her head, listened.
What is that? Breathing. It was gaspy, heavy breathing, coming from the depths of the worn corduroy couch behind her. Angel twisted in her chair.
“Jose,” she said, too loudly, knocking pages of lecture notes off her makeshift desk on the radiator.
“Mama, I’m fine,” the seven-year-old boy muttered. He turned up the live radio stream coming from the decrepit laptop and avoided her eyes.
“Go get your inhaler. Now.”
“Just a minute. The Duke is about to pitch.”
Faintly, she could hear Suzyn Waldman, longtime announcer for the Bronx Bolts, adding color to a local charity game. “He’s winding up and . . . another beauty, right over the plate . . . Ohh no, the batter’s hit a hard foul right into the dugout.” The announcer clucked, but then, “What’s this? The Duke seems to want off the mound.”
“No!” Jose yelled at the computer, as if it could hear his complaint.
“His ankle may still be giving him problems.”
“Jose! What’d I tell you?”
Jose’s face shone with perspiration as he stomped past her, wheezing down the hall to his room. That beautiful pouty face, she thought. His bronze complexion, a shade darker than hers, was the perfect blend of her and his father. Jose’s dad was long gone, however—the high school quarterback had disappeared when he found out his fifteen-year-old girlfriend was pregnant, but not before slapping her around, yelling, “That ain’t my kid.” Angel had shoved him into the hallway, slammed the door in his face. She didn’t want him. She didn’t need him.
Two years after Jose was born, her mother died. Angel was seventeen. She almost buckled from the pressure of the responsibility to care for another, tiny human. She had no safety net. His dark eyes, staring up at her with such adoration . . . She’d shoved steel into her spine, stood up straight, and vowed her boy would be safe, happy, and healthy on her watch.
And she was doing it.
In a few more weeks, she’d be done with nursing school and would take her final boards. She survived by putting her head down and pushing through, focused on getting them out of this decrepit apartment building filled with dust and screeching train brakes. She kept the rest of the world’s bullshit at arm’s length.
From The Perfect Date. Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Lozada and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.
**Click HERE to grab your copy of “The Perfect Date” now!
About the authors:
EVELYN LOZADA, is a high-profile American-Latina reality television personality, entrepreneur, author
Holly Lörincz is a successful collaborative writer and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She is an award-winning novelist (Smart Mouth, The Everything Girl) and co-author (best-selling Crown Heights, and How to Survive a Day in Prison) living in Oregon.
How to Lose a Fiancé by Stefanie London
Release Date: June 17, 2019
How to Lose a Fiancé, Book #2 in the Greek Billionaires contemporary romance series by USA Today Bestselling author Stefanie London.
Sophia Andreou has always been the “good daughter” who tried to keep her domineering father happy. She followed the rules and did everything that was asked of her. But this time, her father is asking too much. The family company is crumbling, and her father has arranged a marriage to a Greek billionaire who can save their property business. What?! Umm no thank you. If Cinderella can dress up to win a prince, surely Sophia can do the opposite and ditch hers…
Dion Kourakis has come a long way from being an orphan with only a single friend to his name. Now he runs a billion-dollar investment company and has the respect of everyone in Europe. His charming personality covers a lot of emotional scars, including his desire to make his mentor proud. Dion doesn’t exactly want a bride to go along with his next business deal, and he plans on letting the lass down gently when they meet…
Only, his future bride has turned out to be nothing like what he thought she’d be. She’s quirky and has a habit of turning up to social events in strange outfits. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what she’s up to, but the harder she tries to convince him she’d be an awful wife, the more he wants to convince her they’d be perfect together.
Yes! Each book in this series features a different couple, so they can be read in any order.
Download your copy today!
Amazon Worldwide: https://geni.us/4Budaf
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2JlgukG
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2V9PBlM
Excerpt:He expected some hesitation from her over the marriage thing. Hell, he’d hesitated himself. It had taken him a full two weeks to process her father’s offer—or rather, ultimatum—and come to grips with the idea of marrying a stranger. Seeing his mentor, Elias, hooked up to half a dozen different machines after having a fall in his home, with tubes coming out of every orifice, had finally pushed him over the edge. Closure was now within Dion’s grasp, he could shut the final page of his father’s book. He wanted that feeling so bad he could taste it…so bad he would marry a stranger. “We have plenty of time to get to know one another.” Dion motioned for her to follow him outside. “Your father told me that you’ve been working in the family business.” “That’s right. I’ve been doing some general admin,” she replied. “And I have my own virtual assistant business, too.” The sun had set some time ago, but the lights dotted around the garden brightened the front of the house. He unlocked the car and held the door for her. “Ah, so you’re a businesswoman. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about, then.” “Sure, although it’s not real passion in life, to be honest.” She looked at him expectantly, as though wanting an invitation to elaborate. “What would you rather be doing?” he asked. The car’s engine rumbled as he pulled out of the circular path in front of the four-car garage. A warm breeze carried the salty tang of the ocean into the car. “You know, I’m really passionate about taxidermy.” Sophia nodded as though this was the most normal thing to say. “There’s just something about animals that fascinates me.” “Taxidermy?” He frowned. “Like, stuffing dead animals?” “Stuffing or mounting,” she said. “It includes both.” Was she for real? Her expression didn’t reveal even a sliver of amusement. “I see it as a way to prolong an animal’s life,” she explained. “I know it might seem a little strange, but trust me. When I bring my collection over, you’ll see how wonderful it is.” He gulped. “Your collection?” “Yes, I have a huge collection. Squirrels and racoons and a couple of cats that I found. Strays, you know. Lots of people think they have time for a pet and then they just dump them. I even have a fox. She’s a real beauty. I was thinking we could put her in the living room. Or maybe the foyer, so she can greet guests.” She clapped her hands together. “Baroness Sasha Foxington III would absolutely love that.” Baroness. Sasha. Foxington the fucking third. Was he in a nightmare right now?
About Stefanie: USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart. Also llamas.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia Stefanie now lives in Toronto, Canada with her wonderful husband. She loves to read, collect lipsticks, watch zombie movies, and drink coffee.
Her bestselling book, Pretend It’s Love, is a 2016 Romantic Book of the Year finalist with the Romance Writers of Australia.
Connect with Stefanie:
Sign up for Stefanie’s newsletter and get a copy of A Kiss in Kite Harbour: http://stefanie-london.com/
Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/2DYVVHb
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/StefanieLondonAuthor/
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2DYXBjX
Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/StefanieLondon
Fake it ‘til you make it has been the motto I live by since my mother died.
I’m also doing a really bad job at the making it part.
The night we met, I was at my lowest.
But you gave me a reason to feel happy again.
For the first time in over a year, I feel optimistic.
You and I? We’re the same.
Don’t form attachments. Follow the rules. Don’t dream of a future.
Too bad our hearts wouldn’t listen.
And this storm we’re going through?
The one that threatens to rip us apart?
It doesn’t care that I’m falling for you.
Falling For You is a different kind of brother’s best friend romance and is as emotional
as it is sizzling.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/FallingYou
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2IDkYmf
Pre-order Staying For You, the next standalone in the All For You Series today!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/StayingforYou
About JenniferFrom the Ground Up was Jennifer’s first published novel and now that she was bitten by the writing bug, has no intention of ever stopping. Jennifer makes her home in small town Iowa with her high school sweetheart, three beautiful, hilarious and amazing kids, one crazy Jack Russell terrier. This is where her love for all things reading, baking, and cooking happen. Jennifer’s family enjoys camping, boating, and spending time outside as much as possible. You’ll be her best friend if you can make her laugh and follow up with asking her what to read next. When she’s not writing, you can find her cheering the loudest at her kids’ sporting events (read as: embarrassing them), sipping coffee or iced tea out of a mason jar with her Kindle in her lap or binging on Netflix.
Connect with Jennifer
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JennifersJavaGirls/
Book + Main: https://bookandmainbites.com/users/295
Gabriel Starr is the love of my life, even if he breaks my heart time and time again.
Like a fool, I keep going back, so I’ve made a promise to myself—one final night and then I’m done.
One night of passion.
No pressure. Most importantly, no future.
One month later, a positive pregnancy test tells me different.
Our only option is to raise this baby as friends, but how can we make it work when we can’t even keep our hands off each other?
We finally have the chance to be the family we never imagined we could be.
But first we need to focus on Fixing Us.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/FixingUs
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2CvJ1Q5
About MirandaMiranda is a loving wife and barely surviving mother of three occasionally good kids. Her hobbies include lying to herself about the calories in donuts and banana pudding, as well as running out of excuses when procrastinating. She’s been an avid reader since she was a young girl. Whether she’s by the pool, curled up in bed, or hiding in the closet, as long as she has a book in her hands she’s happy.
Connect with Miranda
Stay up to date with Miranda by joining her mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/dtnc1P
Pretending to date your best friend is always a good idea…right? Wrong.
Greta Aske has a lot on her mind, and a string of bad dates has her giving up on men, at least for the time being. Her life contains a little too much drama, meaning she needs a break and to save money and get good grades. The perfect solution presents itself—pretend to date the campus playboy. That’ll keep the guys away for sure.
Aaron Hill is desperate to save his baseball career because, with his dad fighting cancer, he damn well knows he can’t ask for a single penny from his parents. Baseball is his past, present and future, so when a scandal threatens his chance in the MLB, he turns to his best friend for help. A fake relationship will keep him out of trouble. It’s perfect, really. Greta’s taking a break from dating and Aaron needs to focus on training.
Nothing could go wrong…as long as neither falls for the other. But when lines are crossed, what’s real and fake blurs and the two are forced to face their fears. Could Greta be the game changer Aaron needs?
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of underage characters drinking and scenes of violence. There is also a family member with cancer.
General Release Date: 2nd April 2019.
Action movies are full of shit, feeding us fake information our entire lives. For instance, when a fight breaks out in a bar, there’s no Mark Wahlberg look-a-like to rescue the damsel in distress. Second the sound of flesh hitting flesh is repulsive and meaty. There are no wooshes or bangs or ka-pows. Nope. It’s just disgusting.
I cringed at the smack and crashing of a fist meeting the face of my date. That’s right. I always picked the best of the best when it came to dating and tonight was no different. Todd, who had blood dripping down his eye, chin and nose, had made the bold decision to ask me out. I’d accepted, like a fool, and would live to regret this night for all eternity.
“Where is my money, Todd?” The broad-shouldered man with a beard longer than my hair pummeled his meaty fists into my date’s face. “Where the feck you keepin’ it?”
No response. Burly Guy didn’t like that. He grunted, swung his arm back past the table and hit Todd square in the nose. What happened in my past life for me to witness this?
No one got up to help. No one moved. They all watched with half-smiles on their faces and I knew in the pit of my stomach I needed to get the hell out. Like, ten minutes ago. I slowly slid my trembling hand into my purse to find my phone, but Mr. Burly heard me. He whipped his face toward mine, the terrifying glint to his eyes making me gasp. I gulped, the fear suddenly very real.
“You know this fecking asshole?” he barked at me. Countless gazes followed his voice and now stared at me. They wanted a show and I was so not the person for the role. My chin trembled as I shook my head.
“N-n-no. I j-just met him tonight.” I clutched my phone to my chest. I would use it as a weapon if necessary, although I had no fucking clue what damage I could do on this beast of a man.
He ran his fat tongue over his lips and studied me. I stood stock-still, my spine straight as a rod. “I think it’s time for you to go, doll. My boss ain’t gunna like me lettin’ ya leave, but your blonde hair don’t fit in here. Get the feck out and don’t come back.”
I nodded, glancing one more time at Todd. My gut screamed to get out, but I had been raised Catholic. Do I leave my epic failure of a date to get killed? Do I call the cops?
Mr. Burly thought I took too long and put his grimy fingers around my wrist. I squealed, yanking it out of his touch.
“Get gone, girl.” He kicked open the door and threw me outside. I stood on a rundown street with one streetlight working correctly. The others flashed and made a high-pitched buzzing sound that sent chills down my spine. “Fuck. Fucking. Fuck.”
I called my best friend with shaking fingers and snot running down my face. Oh, did I mention I had blood on me that wasn’t my own? I gagged, looking at the splatters. The phone rang and rang again. I loved Callie to death, but if that bitch didn’t answer right then, I would get her for it. Big-time. Because what the fuck? It appeared the downward spiral my life had begun a month ago still had a way to go before hitting pure rock bottom. Nothing topped this story, as long as I got home alive.
“Give me my fecking money!” A booming voice traveled through the closed door. My longtime sixth sense had sent warning after warning all day and I’d chosen to ignore it. This is my own damn fault.
I gripped my phone tighter and took a deep breath. Count to eight. Make a box with your breathing. It did me no good and my fingers still shook. After three failed calls to Callie, I called the other number I knew by heart. Aaron Hill answered after the first ring with his obnoxious and playful voice.
“G-spot, what’s crackin’? Finally calling me for a booty call?” His voice had the power to make me smile and roll my eyes simultaneously. This was not that time.
“I need you to come get me.” My voice shook as the shouting picked up. Why had I let Todd convince me this place was cool and a ‘real biker bar’? Standing alone on the dark country road made it feel more like a place where girls went missing than a legit biker hangout. I fell for it. Dumbass.
“Where the hell are you?” His good-natured tone shifted and I imagined his steel eyes going dark. “It’s past midnight. Shit, G, are you alone?”
“Uh, pretty much.” I sent him the address while still on the phone. “I texted you the place. I’m calling in my favor.”
“Jesus, Greta.” He let out a string of cuss words. “Why the fuck are you all the way out there?”
“A date gone bad.” Shame filled my chest, regret chasing it. The feelings had my throat closing. Tears weren’t far behind.
“Goddamn it. I’m on my way. Stay on the phone with me. I swear, I’m going to wring your neck. I hate this shit.” A door slammed—he’d just gotten into his car. After a minute of silence, he sucked in a breath. “Are you at Dirty Matt’s? Please say no. Tell me no, right now, Greta.”
The neon signed mocked me, Dirty Matt’s, blinking over and over. “I’m at Dirty Matt’s.”
“Jesus Christ.” His deep voice got so low, so calm, I made a vow to end all my plans for dating. His anger and disappointment in me were well deserved.
I gulped. Ever since my childhood best friend Callie had found love the year before, I’d wanted to try it. She’d fought it, but seeing how damn happy she had been all year and how she’d grown into herself had motivated me. I was damn happy for her and in no way jealous. I just yearned to have the closeness she had with her boyfriend, Zade.
Okay, so all the longing and searching had led me to a series of bad, awful and miserable dates. Not one had clicked. Not one had ended with the promise for more. And, not one has ended with a guy acting like a gentleman. Apparently, I had a stamp on my head that read, I tend to date losers. And, now, I could add I dated felons. It was the only explanation I could muster why Todd had brought me here, and why they’d beaten the shit out of him.
“I’m twenty minutes out and I’m beyond pissed at you. You know the rep this place has? Do you?” His deep voice held nothing but rage and worry. I closed my eyes and leaned against the wall. I had known about the reputation, but I’d wanted an adventure. Todd rode a motorcycle. He had tattoos and looked as good as sin. I wanted, even an inkling if possible, of the happiness Callie felt. Is that so bad?
Yes. I shivered.
Aaron’s shaking voice pulled me from my self-pitying thoughts. “Greta! Did you know and still go there?”
Shit. He was past mad. “Yeah.”
“Why? Tell me why. I know shit hasn’t been great for you recently, but stop with this self-destruction crap. I can’t watch you do this.”
The squealing tires informed me he was close. His dark SUV sped down the road on a mission, the headlights showcasing how wretched this place looked. He pulled up to the spot right in front of Dirty Matt’s and threw open his door. He stormed out, his anger evident on his handsome face.
“You asshole,” he said, yanking me into his arms. “You worried the hell out of me. I lost ten pounds on the drive here.”
“Aaron,” I managed to squeak out before he pressed my face into his chest. “I’m okay.”
“Just, let me be.”
So, we stood like that for at least three minutes. His ridiculously large frame towered over me, but not in the way Mr. Burly back there had. Aaron was different. His body was sculpted from hours and hours in the gym. My arms barely fit around his middle, but I tried anyway. He squeezed me one last time and broke our hug. His gray eyes still held on to some anger, but relief took over. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, G.” His lips turned white while he glanced at the sign. “Now, get in the car.”
I obeyed, not foolish enough to piss him off even more. He opened the passenger door and glared at me until I buckled myself in. Without a word, he shut it and pinched his nose walking to the driver’s side. His cologne clouded the car, the pleasant aroma of wood and leather comforting my nerves.
My body shook, the adrenaline wearing off. Aaron must’ve seen, because he turned on the heat despite the high July temperatures. I understood him well enough to let him stew. We had been close for over two years, but last year things were different. His dad being diagnosed with cancer had made the Aaron we all knew and loved change and we had grown closer and closer. Callie was my girl for life, but I couldn’t envision a future without knowing Aaron would be there. He understood me, respected me and pushed me to be better. He was allergic to feelings and emotions while I was forever giving up on men. Our friendship worked.
He drove the silent, dark path back to campus, one hand on the wheel and the other repeatedly making a fist. I blamed myself for his anger. He had enough to worry about and now picking me up… Remorse filled my chest and my eyes stung. “I’m fucking sorry. I’m an idiot. I don’t know why I went there. I wanted to have an adventure or something.”
He nibbled on his bottom lip, keeping his expression blank. Shit. Instead of remaining silent and letting him deal with it, I’d decided to ramble. Rambling was a favorite sport of mine and I couldn’t stop.
“He had a motorcycle…”
“I thought he would be a winner…”
“I want what Callie and Zade have…”
“I didn’t realize he was a felon or something and would get the shit beat out of him…”
“I had no fucking clue I would get manhandled…”
“Excuse me. What did you just say?” His jaw tightened.
“I didn’t have a clue—”
“No. You said manhandled. Someone hurt you?” His grip on the wheel tightened and I swallowed, loudly.
“Not hurt, no.” I tucked my arms further into myself. A bruise had already formed and Aaron was in no state to know that. “Forget I said anything.”
“I swear to God, Greta.” He pulled off the road and stopped the car. He shook, his large frame tight with pent-up rage. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Pissed-off Aaron could scare the boogeyman into retirement. “Don’t fucking lie to me. Are you hurt?”
I shook my head, but kept my arms crossed. His gaze flicked to my arms, and without asking, he grabbed them. I closed my eyes and knew he’d seen the bruise when he sucked in a breath. My lip trembled.
“Take off your shirt. I might have another one in the back.” He released my forearms and turned to grab something in the back of the car. He was too calm, too well-behaved. It freaked me the hell out. I expected him to lose his shit and break something. Calm Aaron was new.
“I-it’s okay.” My voice shook again.
“No,” he growled at me. “You have blood on you. Take it off now. I’m getting rid of it.”
He waited, staring daggers at me until I took my blood-soaked shirt off. He wasn’t lying. He whipped it out of my hands and chucked it out of the window. “I can’t find my gym bag. Take mine instead.”
Aaron Hill taking off his shirt should be photographed and made into a calendar. Or, better yet, a promotion for a porn video. He had always been hot as hell, and this was so not the time to ogle my friend. But I was human and his muscles rippled as he tugged off his shirt. “Put this on, Greta. Don’t argue.”
I didn’t. I took the warm black shirt and put it on. It was three sizes too big, but I felt loads better. It wrapped around me like my favorite childhood blanket. I sniffed it unabashedly and closed my eyes. Sleep took over, and it wasn’t until we pulled into Aaron’s driveway in the early hours of the morning when I woke up.
I yawned, not sure why he hadn’t dropped me off at my apartment. He ran his hand down his face, getting out of the car without a word. Okay then. I followed suit and tried not to stare at his back. His beautiful, sculpted back. “Aaron, why didn’t you drop me off?”
“We need to ice your bruise. I have stuff here.” His clipped tone told me he still wasn’t happy with me. I couldn’t blame him, though. “Come on.”
He put his hand on my shoulder, guiding me into his home without making a sound. I walked toward the kitchen, but he shook his head and pointed upstairs. The floor creaked with each step and I made a vow to myself then and there.
No more dating.
No more being a dumbass.
I am going to focus on school and my friends.
I needed to save as much money as I could, ensuring I could return my senior year, because one of the things that had triggered my spiral was my dad losing his job six years before retirement. My parents had had to sell our childhood home, retire three years before they’d planned, and most of their money had been spent helping my brother with his nasty divorce. Shame consumed me again at how selfish and foolish I had been. My eyes stung and I clenched my jaw, hoping to stop the waterworks.
I planned to delete my online dating apps and have someone change my password as soon as I woke up the next day. Tonight had crossed a line. Too fucked-up.
“Go ahead and sit on the bed. I’ll get my kit.” He held the door for me and disappeared down the hall. Aaron’s room fit him well—baseball legends and pinup models plastered on the walls. Clothes scattered across the floor made it appear messy, but I knew the closet was organized by colors. The bed welcomed me, the exhaustion of the night taking me. I lay on it, just closing my eyes for a little. I would leave after I’d iced my bruised arm. Dreams began to take over when I felt the softest touch on my cheek, like a feather.
A deep, hushed voice forced me to open my eyes and Aaron’s gray ones were inches away from me. “Hm?”
“Sit up for a second. You can sleep right after.” He nudged my leg with his arm and sat next to me. He was still shirtless, the handsome devil. He carefully put my forearm in his left hand and used his other to hold the ice against it. “It hurts me seeing this bruise on you.”
I closed my eyes at his honesty. I leaned into his shoulder and sighed. “I’m so embarrassed. And sorry. And I hate myself a little right now.”
“We all make mistakes. Hell, you knew me when I went on a bender. You stood by me when I drank every night, slept with countless women, and chewed my ass out the one time I tried drugs. I haven’t forgotten that.”
I groaned into his shoulder. “I would do it again if I had to.”
“I know you would, G.” He laughed softly, the first time that night. I’d missed that sound.
“There it is. I wondered if your laughing part broke.”
“Okay, no need to be dramatic.” He picked up the ice and hissed at my arm. “Promise me something.”
“No need. I already made a vow to never online date again. No, to never date again. Or at least for five years. Don’t worry. This will never happen again.”
“It better fucking not.” His hand came around my leg, squeezing my knee. “Promise me you’ll call me if you need help. Any time. Any place. You’re one of the most important people in my goddamn life.”
“Okay.” I met his gaze and winced at the intensity in his eyes. “I promise.”
“Good.” He yawned, taking the bag off my arm. “I’m going to sleep. I’m beat.”
“Uh, should I call a cab?” I hesitated.
“Don’t be a dumbass. Sleep here. You’ve crashed on the couch countless times.” He leaned back, fluffing up the pillows and rolling over. Damn those back muscles. I want to bite them.
I pushed myself up to head downstairs when his arm wrapped around me. “Uh, Aaron?”
“Stay here. My bed is huge. Don’t make it weird.”
He pulled me back onto the bed but kept enough distance between us. He must’ve sensed my trepidation because he rolled over and mumbled, “You mean too much to me to try anything. Go to sleep.”
**Click HERE to grab your copy of “The Game Changer” now!
About Jaqueline Snowe: Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the ‘dry heat’ really isn’t that bad. She enjoys making lists with colorful Post-it notes and sipping coffee all day. She has been a custodian, a waitress, a landscaper, a coach