Release Day Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Title: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne
I Do, I Don’t Series Book One
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 175 pages

Summary:

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: firefighter Luke Elliott, a known player who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan, but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Google Play * iTunes * Kobo

Series Pre-Order Links
RUNAWAY GROOM (Book 2)
https://laurenlayne.com/runaway-groom

JUST RUN WITH IT (Book 3)
https://laurenlayne.com/just-run-with-it


Excerpt

Luke started to load up the gear and, realizing he was doing it alone, glanced over his shoulder to see where the hell his partner was.

Unsurprisingly, his friend was chatting up City Girl. Neither Charlie nor Ryan seemed to mind in the least that these two fancy pants had swooped into their town to capitalize on Luke’s past.

What was more surprising was that Jordan Carpenter was chatting right back, her smile seemingly genuine, her laugh real.

Luke ground his teeth.

He couldn’t say he’d put much thought into the woman behind the name as he’d been unceremoniously deleting her emails and voice messages, but if forced to assume, he’d have guessed aggressive shrew.

He suspected he was wrong there. Because while there was no mistaking the ambition in the woman, it wasn’t the cutthroat, ball-busting kind.

Her lean body might be all angles and long lines, but there was a softness to her as well. The way her hair did its own thing. The easiness of her smile, the quick laugh. The small but pert breasts.

Damn. He was staring.

He slammed the door shut. “Bander,” he shouted at Charlie across the lawn. “Let’s clear out.”

Charlie leaned into Jordan, whispering something in her ear that made her laugh, before walking away with a last wink.

Luke rolled his eyes. Really? This was happening?

“Hey, Elliott,” Ryan called. “You want to come over for a barbecue tonight?”

Luke crossed his arms and studied his friend suspiciously, waiting for the catch. “Who’s on the guest list?”

He saw Jordan and her purple-shirt friend exchange a look. Well, that answered that question.

Damn. Ryan never had been able to resist the urge to stir up trouble.

“It’s no problem if you don’t want to join us,” Jordan called out, lifting her hand to shield the afternoon sun from her eyes. “I’m sure your friends here can fill me in on everything there is to know about Luke Elliott.”

All about Luke Elliott’s romantic history was more like it. City Girl wasn’t even pretending to be coy about the reason she was here.

All former positive thoughts about her evaporated. Only the worst sort of human would use another’s failed relationships to advance her own career—for entertainment.

Luke turned away without another word, hauling himself into the driver’s seat of the truck as he waited impatiently for Charlie to get done shouting goodbye to every single person within earshot.

He drummed his thumbs against the steering wheel, refusing to even think about going to the BBQ tonight. If his friends wanted to stir up trouble, they could do so without his cooperation.

As for the two New Yorkers, they’d flame out all on their own. Weren’t East Coasters known for being impatient and fast moving?

Surely they’d be off to find some other glory-seeking asshole if he ignored them. One of the other guys could play the role for all he cared.

As Charlie hauled his ass up, Luke started the truck, his eye catching on Jordan Carpenter, who was watching him with a stubborn, determined look on her pretty face.

Damn it. She’d stir up all sorts of trouble unless he ran interference.

Luke pulled out his phone to text Ryan.

I’ll be there. Have beer.

Charlie leaned over, unabashedly reading Luke’s iPhone screen. “Ha. Knew it.”

“What?” Luke glared at his friend.

Charlie grinned wider, gesturing over his shoulder. “You’ve got a boner for the hot blonde.”

“Are you kidding me with this? She wants me to be the next bachelor.”

How were Ryan and Charlie not getting the absurdity of this?

Charlie shrugged. “So? Maybe it’d be good for you.”

Luke stared at his friend for a moment longer before putting the truck in drive. “The only thing that would be good for me is to push you out of this truck.”

Charlie was waving goodbye to Jordan and Simon. “See you tonight!”

Luke ground his teeth harder. He was already dreading the BBQ, but not going would only make matters worse. Clearly he needed to have a very blunt conversation with Jordan Carpenter.


Author Bio

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

Author Links: Website * Twitter * Goodreads * Instagram * Facebook


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Review: The Other Girl by Erica Spindler

Title: The Other Girl by Erica Spindler
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 247 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Justice for Sara and The First Wife Erica Spindler comes The Other Girl, a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.

A horrific crime. One witness—a fifteen year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one known for lying and her own brushes with the law.
Is it any surprise no one believed her?

Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.

When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.

Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop—the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda.

Review:

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler is a twist-filled police procedural set in a small southern town in Louisiana.

Detective Miranda Rader is a cop with a past that she refuses to let define her.  In the aftermath of a terrifying ordeal when she was a teenager, she completely turned her life around and she is now a well-respected police officer.  Called to the scene of the brutal and gruesome murder of Professor Richard Stark, who by all accounts is well-liked and popular, Miranda makes a discovery that brings the events of that long ago night to the forefront of her mind.  Immediately informing her boss, friend and mentor Police Chief Buddy Cadwell of her suspicions, she is dismayed by how easily he dismisses her concerns.  Will she have better luck convincing her partner Jake Billings that she is on the right track?

Miranda is an excellent detective but her objectivity during the investigation of Richard Stark’s murder is compromised right away. She becomes impulsive and makes some incredibly questionable decisions that not only jeopardize the case, but her career.  Chief Cadwell also harbors a few doubts about her but thankfully she can count on Jake to watch her back. Miranda cannot help but wonder if Cadwell is reluctant to pursue all avenues of inquiry due to the fact the victim’s father is very influential in their small town. However, she is convinced she is on the right track but will Miranda find anyone to corroborate her suspicions?

Weaving back in forth in time between what happened to Miranda in the past and Richard Stark’s murder in the present, The Other Girl is a compelling mystery.  Miranda is a complex character  who is sometimes her own worst enemy as she brashly refuses to allow Chief Cadwell deter her from attempting to prove her theory about Stark is correct. Although it is very easy to surmise who killed the Professor and why, the perpetrator’s actual identity is not readily apparent. Erica Spindler keeps readers off balance with diabolical plot twists and an action-packed, jaw-dropping conclusion. A clever police procedural that fans of the genre will definitely want to add to their to be read list.

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Filed under Contemporary, Erica Spindler, Mystery, Rated B, Review, St Martin's Press, Suspense, The Other Girl

Review: Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Title: Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 272 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

In this “compelling, clever, and dark” (Heat magazine) thriller, a man’s shocking act of savagery stuns a local community—and the revelations that follow will keep you gripped until the very last page. This work of psychological suspense, a #1 bestseller in Ireland, is perfect for fans of Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Ware.

“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

So begins Liz Nugent’s astonishing debut novel—a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of the nature of evil.

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.

With its alternating points of view and deft prose, Unraveling Oliver is “a page-turning, one-sitting read from a brand new master of psychological suspense” (Sunday Independent) that details how an ordinary man can transform into a sociopath.

Review:

In Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent, Oliver Ryan’s inexplicable act of violence against his wife of more than twenty years is explored through the eyes of their acquaintances and Oliver.

Oliver Ryan is a well-liked author of children’s books that his wife Alice illustrates. She is devoted to her husband, quiet and unassuming whereas he revels in the attention he receives due to his successful career. Oliver is a bit of a  mystery even to his closest friends and acquaintances but with each subsequent chapter, a chilling portrait begins to emerge.

Initially, Oliver comes across as a very sympathetic character due to his heartrending past.  His relationship with his father is quite complex and continues to haunt him well into adulthood. Oliver suffers a few tragic losses that leave him with emotional scars that he never quite recovers from.  On the surface, his life is picture perfect.  His children’s books have become a franchise that extends well beyond the publishing world. Alice is devoted to him and although her illustrations are a huge part of his success, she would never dream of encroaching on his limelight. However, underneath Oliver’s charming, charismatic facade, He is devious, sly and extremely self-centered as he ruthlessly manipulates people and events to suit him.

Written from several different points of view,  Unraveling Oliver is a captivating character study that raises some very intriguing questions. Oliver is certainly quite intriguing but there is much more to his character than originally meets the eye.  Liz Nugent carefully conceals the motive for Oliver’s attack on Alice until the novel’s twist-filled, somewhat shocking conclusion. An excellent debut that mystery lovers are going to enjoy.

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Filed under Contemporary, Gallery/Scout Press, Liz Nugent, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Unraveling Oliver

Tour Stop & Giveaway: Finding Passion by Tiffani Lynn

Title: Finding Passion by Tiffani Lynn
Colorado Veterans Series Book Three
Publisher: Tiffani Lynn
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 253 pages

Summary:

Javier Suarez left the Marines four years ago after experiencing the ugliest facets of war. He’s been to hell and back but now he feels that his life is complete. He runs his own private investigative firm, spends time with his family and volunteers for local charities. He doesn’t need anything else.

Valerie Larinsky has spent the last 18 years fighting for the lives of her patients as a naval combat surgeon. But now that she’s returned to civilian life she has a new fight on her hands; her husband has left her, taking their only child with him.

Javier’s life is turned upside down when he takes Valerie on as a client. He’s drawn to her in ways he doesn’t want to be. The two do their best to ignore the fire igniting between them as they forge a working friendship. When Javier’s old issues resurface, it’s Valerie’s turn to figure out how to help him before he loses the battle of life.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo

Colorado Veterans Series Purchase Links: Amazon * Kobo * iTunes * B&N


Author Bio

Tiffani currently resides in Florida with her husband, three daughters and chunky yellow lab. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in social science and spent five years working for Hospice. When she’s not writing or taxiing her children around she enjoys reading and attending concerts. Tiffani is also a crazed fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, and the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

Author Links: Website * BookBub * Twitter * Amazon Author Page * Goodreads


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Review: Everything We Lost by Valerie Geary

Title: Everything We Lost by Valerie Geary
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: 480 pages
Length: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

From the critically acclaimed author of Crooked River comes this fascinating novel about a young woman searching for answers about events that transpired ten years before when her brother disappeared without a trace—an utterly mesmerizing psychological thriller.

Lucy Durant was only fourteen-years-old when she lost her older brother. First to his paranoid delusions as he became increasingly obsessed with UFOs and government conspiracies. Then, permanently, when he walked into the desert outside Bishop, California, and never returned.

Now on the tenth anniversary of Nolan’s mysterious disappearance, Lucy is still struggling with guilt and confusion—her memories from that period are blurry and obscured by time, distance, and alcohol. Now an adult, she’s stuck in a holding pattern, hiding out at her father’s house, avoiding people, and doing whatever she can to keep herself from thinking about Nolan. But when a series of unsettling events leads Lucy back to Bishop, she is forced to reconcile with her estranged mother and come to terms with the tangled memories of her past to discover what really happened to her brother all those years ago.

Told in Lucy and Nolan’s alternating voices, Everything We Lost is a psychological mystery exploring family, beliefs, obsessions, the nature of memory, and fear of the unknown—a haunting, compelling story that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.

Review:

Everything We Lost by Valerie Geary is an intriguing mystery that explores UFOs, extraterrestrial and government conspiracies. This compelling novel centers around the still unresolved disappearance of then sixteen year old Nolan Durrant, whose increasingly erratic and paranoid behavior and intractable belief in all things UFO raises makes him an outcast among his classmates and an embarrassment to his younger sister, Lucy.

The ten year anniversary of her brother’s disappearance is the catalyst for Lucy’s return to the small town of Bishop, CA where she hopes to finally remember what happened the night Nolan vanished. The siblings were thick as thieves until Lucy catches the eye of Nolan’s former friend, Patrick Tyndale, and she begins hanging out with him and his friends. This coincides with Nolan’s new relationship with newcomer, Celeste, whose sudden appearance in town and mysterious past fuels his theory that space aliens walk among us. In the weeks leading up to his disappearance, Nolan’s paranoid, volatile and delusional behavior begins to worsen after a few altercations with Patrick. Lucy’s memories of the night Nolan vanished are lost in a drunken haze of disjointed impressions and overwhelming guilt.  Will Lucy’s return to Bishop finally lead her the truth about what happened to her brother?

Lucy and Nolan’s childhood was anything but normal due to their parents’ divorce and their mother’s slow descent into alcoholism. Lucy was more than happy to tag along with Nolan on his fantasy fueled adventures about other planets,  UFOs and space aliens. However, around the time Lucy becomes involved with Patrick, Nolan’s interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials takes a dark turn and he grows increasingly unstable and convinced the government is after him. Patrick is charismatic and Lucy easily falls prey to his manipulations as she tries to keep his interest.  With his lifelong fascination with outer space, Lucy’s attempt to distance herself from her brother and their mother’s neglect, Nolan’s slow descent into mental illness is easily overlooked.

Written from both Lucy and Nolan’s points of view and alternating between past and present, Everything We Lost is an engaging mystery. Valerie Geary does an excellent job keeping readers off balance as she delves into the possibilities of life on other planets and extraterrestrials in our midst. She also broaches the difficult topic of mental illness with a great deal of sensitivity. Although the novel’s conclusion is somewhat open-ended,  it is relatively easy to surmise Nolan’s fate.  All in all, a perplexing mystery that explores some interesting subject matter.

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Filed under Contemporary, Everything We Lost, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Valerie Geary, William Morrow Paperbacks

Review: You Say It First by Susan Mallery

Title: You Say It First by Susan Mallery
Happily, Inc Series Book One
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances invites you to visit Happily Inc., a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale!

Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks—mainly the venue’s captivating owner, Pallas Saunders.

Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can’t turn the floundering business around, she’ll have no choice but to cave to her domineering mother and work at the family’s bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn’t belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he’s right—where she really belongs is in his arms.

Don’t miss the next book in the Happily Inc. series, Second Chance Girl!

Review:

The first installment in Susan Mallery’s new series, Happily Inc, You Say It First is a sweet yet sassy romance between a couple who are both carrying their fair share of emotional baggage.

Nick Mitchell is temporarily staying with his brothers, Ronan and Mathias, as he waits to hear if he has been selected to create a sculpture that will take him to Dubai for two years. Working as a part-time carpenter for Weddings in a Box owner Pallas Saunders sounds like the perfect way to fill his time while he waits. Growing up with his famous yet extremely temperamental artist father, Nick has decided passion is to be avoided at all costs so he resists romantic entanglements. However, since his time in town comes with an expiration date, will Nick give in to his unexpected attraction to Pallas?

Pallas always planned to work in her  family’s bank but her life took a few surprising detours and she now owns a destination wedding business. Weddings in a Box is on somewhat shaky financial ground but with plenty of weddings booked for the next several months, she is hopeful she can turn things around. When her mother finally presents her with a long anticipated job offer, Pallas’s reaction surprises both herself and her mom.  She feels like she can never live up to her mother’s expectations and she hates that she feels like she has to earn her mother’s love.  Because Pallas always falls short with her mother, she shies away from relationshops since she does not want to feel pressured to earn a man’s love. Since Nick is only going to be in town a short time, will Pallas decide to embark on a steamy no strings fling?

The romance between Pallas and Nick is slow growing and an absolute joy to watch unfold. Nick is honest with her right from the beginning that he is only interested in a short term relationship. Pallas  is relieved there is no pressure on her to earn his approval or love, so there is a decided lack of conflict as they indulge in some steamy interludes.  Outside of the bedroom, they are friends who work well together as they bounce ideas off each other after she is presented with an opportunity to stretch her creative wings for an upcoming wedding. Pallas grows both personally and professionally throughout their relationship but has Nick made any progress on conquering the demons that plague him?

You Say It First is a very heartwarming romance that is quite engaging.  Nick and Pallas are brilliantly developed lead protagonists whose foibles and frailties that make them easy to relate to. The supporting cast of characters is somewhat quirky yet immensely appealing. Old and new fans of Susan Mallery  will be absolutely delighted to immerse themselves in this first installment of the Happily Inc series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Happily Inc Series, Harlequin, HQN Books, Rated B, Review, Romance, Susan Mallery, You Say It First