Category Archives: Excerpt

Tour Stop & Excerpt: A Rumored Affair by Viki Lyn

Title: A Rumored Affair by Viki Lyn
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic, Romance
Length: 155 pages (approx)

Summary:

Vacationing at a gay resort is risky business for Winter Media’s CEO, Graham Winters. In negotiations for the purchase of an anti-LGBTQ publication, if found out he preferred men, the deal would collapse, along with Winter Media’s bottom line. But take a risk, Graham does. He can’t pass up two weeks where he can be himself.

But when Graham arrives at Secretus, there is no record of his reservation. Never one to take no for an answer, he coerces the owner of Secretus, Chris Katsaros, to let him stay in Chris’s home.

Winter Media owns one of the worst gossip rags in the country, so Chris has no choice but to agree to Graham’s terms. Chris keeps a low profile when it comes to Secretus, securing a safe environment where high profile gays can relax without media hounding their every move. An introvert by nature, Chris has a difficult time letting anyone into his life. As a foster kid, he had never experienced love until adopted by Pete and Bob.

Forced to entertain Graham, Chris finds they have more in common than he ever thought. The attraction between them is real, and Chris’s guarded heart begins to thaw.

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Purchase Links: Loose Id * Amazon


Excerpt (Mature 18 & Over)

A Rumored Affair, Excerpt, Copyright © Viki Lyn

Chris Katsaros set down his cell phone after the call from Josh and quickly did an Internet search on Graham Winter’s name. Holy shit. The guy’s company owned Gossipy!—the worst of the worst rumor-mill rags in the country.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

Maybe he should call Josh to sit in on the meeting. Tact was not one of Chris’s strong points, and he’d need backup in dealing with Winter.

All thirty cabins were rented until five days from now. Thankfully Josh had had the foresight to call the Coastal Pines and reserve a room. In all the years he’d been running Secretus, he’d never had this problem. Now he had to contend with an angry guest who was huffing and puffing toward his office. This major clusterfuck should never have happened. He’d have to call Honda Bergen as soon as he finished with Graham Winter. Good thing Chris’s best friend gave him 24-7 on-call tech service.

Before the bull came storming in, Chris clicked on the images, his brows knitting as pictures of Winter came into view. Good-looking in a GQ sort of way, Graham Winter wore his brown hair slightly longer than the usual short-cropped business style. A few of the photos showed him at society events with his mother?

Other pictures had him coupled with beautiful women. One caption read “America’s most eligible bachelor.” So this eligible bachelor was a closeted fuck?

Chris detested successful gay men who didn’t have the balls to be themselves in public. His dads fought for gay rights and instilled in Chris the need to speak out against injustices. Not hide behind fake girlfriends and one’s mother.

Chris’s head snapped toward the door when Graham Winter strode in, the screen door slamming behind him. Heat spiked in Chris’s chest. Fucking Jesus. Good-looking was not enough of an adjective to describe the man. The chiseled jawline and intense green eyes made Chris’s mouth dry. Not a hair out of place, an expensive-looking watch on his right wrist… The man’s image screamed wealthy, arrogant SOB.

Those shapely lips thinned when he glared at Chris.

Sweet lips. And fuck, stop. This man would eat Chris for breakfast if he weren’t careful.

At least Mr. Winter kept his gaze steady even when he took in Chris’s scarred face down to his scarred hands.

Got to give the guy a gold star for not flinching.

Running his hand along his stubble, Chris felt like one of the homeless who hitched rides along the coast highway. He slipped into his worn sandals. When he brushed back his hair, his fingernail caught in one of his curls, and he winced. Grim amusement glittered in the man’s eyes.

Why did those judgmental eyes have to be such an awesome green?

Chris cleared his throat and motioned toward the only chair in his office not covered by files. “Mr. Winter, please have a seat.”

Mr. Winter took in the room in one glance. When he met Chris’s gaze, his expression soured further. “You’re the owner?”

The disbelief in his grave voice made Chris’s hair rise on his nape. His heartbeat pumped a tad too fast from the anger roiling in his stomach. So what if he dressed in shorts and a T-shirt? His private office was not some corporate boardroom. He forced a smile. Josh had taught him a few tricks in dealing with irritable guests, but Chris never mastered the fake smile.

Mr. Winter sat in a chair, his back mimicking the straight backrest. “Call me Graham. My father was Mr. Winter. Now, do you have room for me or not?”

“Unfortunately our system double booked your cabin. It won’t be available for a few days. My manager called the Coastal Pines, and they can set you up in their penthouse suite. It’s a five-star hotel, and of course, we’ll pay for all the room charges and your meals while you stay there.”

That should satisfy the asshole.

“I’m not going to be shuffled back and forth like a piece of luggage. I like it here. If I wanted to spend time in a pretentious hotel, I’d have stayed in New York.” Graham drummed his fingernails on his thigh. He eyed the doorway leading to the hall. “Do you live here alone?”

Chris’s jaw twitched. “I don’t see how that relates to the situation.”

“This must place must be what, three, four bedrooms?”

“Three, but I—”

“You married? Boyfriend living with you?”

Chris clutched the papers on his desk, crumpling the edges. “That’s none of your business.”

“Just as I thought. You live alone. Then I’ll stay here until a room opens. Perfect solution.”

Chris’s mouth opened, but he was too stunned to speak. Already his head was buzzing. The last thing he wanted was a stranger lodging in his home. Not that he’d ever be interested in this guest. The man had the power of the media to bully people. Most likely Graham abused this kind of power to get what he desired.

Chris cleared his throat. “No resort in Big Sur is stuffy. You’ll be comfortable at Coastal Pines.”

Graham smiled.

Chris’s ire rose at the shark-like expression. Graham reminded him of the boys who used to bully him in school. Taunts of faggot, pretty boy, echoed in his memories. Buffering against the predator smile, Chris repeated, “As I’ve said, we’ll pick up the tab for your stay. It will only be for a few days. We’ll make sure the transition is seamless. You will not be inconvenienced.”

“I already am.”

“If you don’t like the arrangements I’ve made, then I’m sorry, but this is my home. I don’t open it up to guests. We’ll arrange for your airfare back home or a hotel if you decide to stay in the area. That’s my final offer.”

Graham sat forward, his hands casually in his lap. “I won’t be inconvenienced if you let me stay here until a room opens up. You said it’d only be a few days. Keep in mind that bad press is not always better than no press.”

Shit. Just as he’d thought, the guy used his power of media over him. Chris ran his hand through his hair. He licked his lips, tasting the big NO. If Gossipy! got a hold of this fiasco, they’d have a field day at the expense of Secretus’s reputation, not to mention blowing the anonymity that he coveted. The social-media sharks would pick up the story and twist the facts with fake news.

Better to take it on the chin.

“Well, what’s your decision, Mr. Katsaros? Do I stay or go?”

Chris could hide out in his office. They wouldn’t have to see much of each other. His most experienced concierge could serve as Graham’s private valet. Henri was one of the more mature staff and would be able to handle this asshole. Yeah. It’d be cool. Chris could do this without disturbing his routine.

Counting under this breath to ten, he squashed his pride. “You can stay through the weekend, and then you’ll need to either move to another room or a hotel if a cabin doesn’t become available.”

“Okay. That’s fair.”

“I’ll have your luggage delivered to your room.” Chris stood. “Come with me.”

Chris ignored Graham’s triumphant smile as he led him down the hallway. As Graham passed, Chris caught a whiff of cologne. The scent smelled a warm vanilla with a hint of sandalwood. Chris once had a crush on a guy who wore the same brand.

Avoiding eye contact, Chris stared ahead. He’d put Graham in the second bedroom overlooking the ocean. It was next to his room, but the third bedroom back of the hall would not be a wise decision. Freshly painted, the room stood empty. Not only that, but it was one of the darkest rooms in the house, positioned on the side of the forest. A sly grin rose as he pictured stuffing Graham into that postage-stamp bedroom and locking him inside. Oh, yeah, that would be sweet justice.

Chris opened the door to the bedroom and stepped inside. The room was furnished with a nightstand and dresser, the king-size bed made up and ready for guests. Not that many visitors stayed overnight. He never brought home a guy, preferring a bed where he could be the one to leave before morning.

Graham walked the perimeter and took in the high ceiling, ran his hand over the curved redwood wall, and then beelined to the glass sliding doors and stepped onto the balcony. He whistled through his teeth while taking in the panoramic ocean view.

A sense of pride swelled in Chris. This home was all his, built to his specifications. The sea shimmered in the sunlight. The air carried the scent of pines and saltwater. The coastal view and fresh air were Chris’s meditation. He couldn’t imagine living anyplace else, and that was why he never moved far from home.

“Now this is a million-dollar view.”

Graham’s genuine smile caused Chris’s heart to take a flying leap off the balcony. He had no idea that such an arrogant guy could look so boyish.

Not sure if he should stay or go, Chris stuttered, “Ah…lunch. You missed it.”

“I caught a bite on the road.”

“Dial star-twelve for room service if you get hungry. Dinner is served from five thirty to ten thirty. Do you have a car?”

“Yeah.”

“You can park at the back of the house. Josh will let you know about our services, and he’ll have your luggage sent to your room.”

Graham flopped on the bed and bounced a few times. “Ah, great mattress. This day is looking up.”

Chris momentarily lost his train of thought as he stared at Graham sprawled on the bed. His skin flushed as he pictured Graham naked. Muscles bulged under the man’s dress shirt. Chris steeled his mind to stay focused on the situation.

Graham lifted up on his elbows. “Please make dinner reservations for seven thirty. I’ll expect you to join me for dinner.”

Did Graham just ask him out? The agreement had been for Chris to give Graham a room, but that didn’t include being a dinner companion.

“I rarely dine out,” he mumbled while struggling to get his head around being asked out. As a rule, he only dated gay men who were out. Being the president of Equality Acceptance Now, he had a reputation to maintain. Another black check against Graham was that he was a guest.

Graham’s gaze swept over Chris, and he licked his lips.

Was that interest in those green eyes? Graham’s gaze seemed softer, more human and less like a man-eating shark’s. Having this conversation in the bedroom with those sexy eyes peering at Chris didn’t help his treacherous thoughts.

Nah. Don’t even think it. This is a fucking closet case.

“Graham.” Chris tried the name out and found it easily rolled off his tongue. “Like I said, I don’t go out for dinner.”

“Then it’ll be a treat for both of us.” Graham’s tone brooked no argument. “Since you’re the only man I know here, you’ll do.”

Chris’s stomach tightened at the backhanded compliment. “Now look here—”

“Hey, you agreed to my terms. And I read in your brochure that each guest has a personal valet. To see to your guest’s needs? I don’t like to dine alone.”

“I’ll assign you a valet.”

“You’ll do.”

Chris gritted his teeth. Who the fuck would want to date this guy?

“I don’t run an escort service. If you want companionship, you should go back to San Francisco, where there’s plenty of action.”

“I’m not asking to fuck you. Just dinner.”

Chris’s cock jumped at the mere suggestion, invoking an image of Graham fucking him in the ass. Chris’s visualization of this scenario made the situation even more treacherous.

Resigned to babysitting this guy, he sighed. “I’ll make the arrangements.”

Graham bounced from the bed and strode up to Chris with a big grin. “Great.”

Chris stepped back. The sheer magnetism oozing off Graham bothered him. Their gazes locked. Chris was tall, but he had to look up at Graham. He should have looked away, but the warmth in Graham’s eyes zapped his resolve to remain indifferent.

Beautiful color. Warm.

Graham swept his bangs off his forehead, and then his hair fell back into its proper place. “I’ll see you around quarter after seven, then. Meet in the living room?”

“Yeah. Sure.” Chris looked away first. “I need to get back to work.”

As he steadied his gait, going for nonchalance, he headed out, hearing Graham call out thanks. The guy could say thank-you. What a surprise.

Once inside his office, Chris locked the door and leaned against it, catching his breath. Winter was arrogant and pushy. Chris wiped his brow. His shorts were uncomfortably tight. The moment he’d laid eyes on Graham, his knees went weak and his groin got that achy, pleasant sensation.

The back door to the garden was still open, and he locked that too. No matter that he hid in his bolt hole, he sensed Graham in the bedroom doing fuck knew what, and well, shit, Chris tried to stay focused on his tasks.


Author Bio

Multi-published and award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of gay paranormal and contemporary romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she wrote her first male/male romance. And that was ‘it’ for her. She never looked back. Viki travels the world in search of inspiration. She considers herself blessed to have traveled to many of the mystical sites she had dreamed about as a child. Her travel experiences have been influential in creating her paranormal worlds. When she needs to relax, she calls a friend to meet at their favorite coffee house. When the chattering in her head goes off the charts, she plays one of her favorite RPGs on her PS4 and immerses herself in the world of dragons and magic.

Author Links: Email * Website * Facebook * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon

Title: Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon
Belfast McGrath Series Book Three
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 315 pages

Summary:

Maggie McConnon rings in Christmas in Bel, Boiok, and Scandal, the third adventure for everybody’s favorite Irish-American culinary artist turned amateur sleuth.

Bel McGrath tries her best to keep herself on the straight and narrow but she just has a taste for trouble. This time danger arrives in the form of a newspaper left behind by visitors to Shamrock Manor—and a photograph that jolts Bel out of the present and back into a dark chapter from her past. The person in the photo is Bel’s best friend Amy Mitchell, long gone from Foster’s Landing, at a commune in upstate New York shortly after her disappearance. The picture, and Bel’s burning desire to find out what happened to Amy—and whether she may still be alive—is the catalyst for a story in which old secrets are revealed, little by little…and certain characters are shown to not be as genuine as Bel once thought.

Read my review HERE.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Powells * iTunes * IndieBound


Excerpt

CHAPTER One

I was wet, cold, and tired, but despite the fact that she was ready to kill me with her bare hands for staying out all night, my mother addressed all three of my immediate needs before saying anything else.

A towel to dry my hair.

Clean clothes in the form of a pair of jeans, a T- shirt, and a pair of socks. An Irish sweater, the most uncomfortable item of clothing ever made—a hair shirt, really— but welcomed, and probably deserved, at that moment.

A bologna sandwich. It would be the last time I would eat bologna, for many reasons, the most significant being that the smell would forever after remind me of Amy. And how she had disappeared the night before and would always be gone.

Mom was worrying a rosary in one hand, the other securely placed in one of my father’s meaty ones. She turned and looked at me, asking me a question she had already asked and would continue to ask, along with everyone  else even vaguely connected to Foster’s Landing. “Where is she?”

I didn’t know. I didn’t think I would never know.

My brother Cargan, the closest to me in age and the one who had found me beside the Foster’s Landing River, was across the room, looking out the window, his violin strapped to his back; he had a lesson later that morning and wouldn’t miss it for anything, even if Amy Mitchell was missing and never to be seen again. No, he was gearing up for a big competition in Ireland and nothing stopped him from his lessons or his practicing. Although the mood was somber in the police station, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had whipped the instrument out right then and there and started playing a tune, a sad one, the type I had grown up listening to.

My other brothers were out and about in town now. They, too, had come running when Cargan first discovered me but were less concerned about me now but had joined the hunt for Amy. It was another night for Bel, one said. She was going to be in a lot of trouble, said another. They were both right: It had been another typical night and now I was in a lot of trouble, the last to have seen Amy alive with nothing to tell that might lead to her whereabouts. They were a self-protective bunch, caring little as to why I would be hauled into the police station, happy that, for once, they were not the ones in trouble. Feeney, especially. He was always in trouble. Derry and Arney, not as much, but both had a way of finding their way into situations that were beyond their control. Feeney was a much more calculated and deliberate hooligan.

Next to Mom, Dad let out a barely audible sob, the kind that told me that he was, first and foremost, a father and one who felt the pain of a missing child. He looked over at me, almost as if he wanted to confirm that I was still there, and reached out the hand that didn’t hold Mom’s, patting me awkwardly on the thigh.

“Ah, Belfast,” he said. “Ah, girl.”

“It’s okay, Dad,” I said. “They’ll find her.  They’ll bring her back.” I thought about those words a lot over the years, wondering where that confidence came from. Youth, I eventually decided. When you’re young and nothing bad has ever happened, you think everything will always be better, every wrong will be righted. It’s only with age that I realized that that wouldn’t always be the case and that disappointments would stack up, like the layers of my famous mille-feuille cake, the one with seemingly a thousand layers of goodness that cracked upon the first dip of the fork. But even then, in my heart, I had a feeling it wasn’t going to turn out the way we all wanted, something I couldn’t give voice to at that moment.

Lieutenant D’Amato came out of the conference room at the Foster’s Landing police station and looked at me, frowning. Behind me the door opened, and his expression suddenly lightened, the sight of his only child, his daughter, coming through the doors with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bag of something delicious in the other, the greasy stain at the bottom indicating that it was probably a Danish from the local bagel store. It smelled better than my bologna sandwich, which I wrapped up in the wax paper that Mom had put it in and stuffed under my thigh.

Mary Ann handed her father the food and then turned to me, tears in her eyes. “Oh, Bel,” she said, and ran toward me, enveloping me in a hug. She smelled good, not like river water and stale beer like I did, but more like the soft grass that I felt beneath my feet when I ran from my house down the steep hill toward the river.  Beside me, my mother’s silent reproach hung over me like a fetid cloud.

Why can’t you be more like Mary Ann D’Amato?

I had heard it more than once in my seventeen years and hoped eventually it would die a natural death as I got older and more accomplished, setting off to take the culinary world by storm, another thing that left a distinct distaste in my mother’s mouth. I was supposed to be a nurse. A teacher. A wife, mother. Not a chef.

It was your idea to open a catering hall, I wanted to say. Your idea to have me in the kitchen every moment I wasn’t studying or swimming on the varsity team. Your idea to ask me how the potatoes tasted, if the carrots needed another minute. Your idea to let my brothers learn the traditional Irish tunes and put me in an invisible, yet highly important, role— that of sous chef to you and a myriad of other cooks who had come through the doors of Shamrock Manor, only to discover that yes, our family was crazy, and no, they didn’t really care all that much about haute cuisine.

Mary Ann was going to nursing school; of course she was. She was the daughter that my parents never had and she would make everyone in this town proud.

Years later, in what could only be from the “you can’t make this stuff up” files, Mary Ann would marry Kevin Hanson—my Kevin Hanson— and I would cook the food for their wedding. We would all be friends and we would laugh together and eat together and have a generally good time in one another’s company. Before, I felt the lesser, but in the future, the now, I would be equal, the one who had gone away and come back, realizing that my heart was in this little village, at least for a time. But back then, Amy was still missing and everyone thought I had the key.

“Where is she?” Mary Ann whispered into my curly hair.

“I don’t know,” I said. And I didn’t. Amy Mitchell was my best friend, my confidante, my sister from another mother, and she hadn’t said a word about where she would go after a night on Eden Island. My last words to her, an angry sentence (You’ll be sorry. . . .  ), burned in my gray matter. I don’t know where she is, I wanted to scream. It had been just fun and games until I had seen her kissing my boyfriend, Kevin Hanson. We had been celebrating our waning days at FLHS, and it was the best night we had ever had up until that point.

I don’t know why she wouldn’t tell me where she was going, but maybe I did.

Maybe of everyone here in the police station, she wanted me to be the last to know.

I broke the embrace with Mary Ann and sat down again; I would never smell a certain floral-scented shampoo again without thinking of that morning. I would never feel the grass beneath my feet without thinking of the smell and where it brought me in my mind. Mary Ann’s face, tear streaked and pale, made me feel bad about my own: dry as a bone, not a tear in sight, stunned, resigned. Amy was gone, and deep down I knew that she was never coming back. How I knew it so well in the early morning hours I had no idea. Why I had told Dad things would be fine was a mystery. But I knew it as well as I knew my own name that it was over and wondered how everyone else was still clueless to that fact. “Belfast McGrath?”

I looked up at a cop who clearly didn’t know who I was but whose face told me he knew why I was there.

“That’s me,” I said, and walked into the room where I would tell them everything and nothing.


Author Bio

MAGGIE MCCONNON grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish stepdancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels, beginning with Wedding Bel Blues.

Author Links: Facebook * Goodreads

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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: A Cruel Kind of Beautiful by Michelle Hazen

Title: A Cruel Kind of Beautiful by Michelle Hazen
Sex, Love, and Rock & Roll Series Book One
Publisher: Michelle Hazen
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Length: 435 pages

Summary:

If you can’t get to the Big O, can you get to the happily ever after?

Jera McKnight loves music, swoons for hot guys, but sucks at sex. Jacob Tate is her perfect storm: a pun-loving nude model with a heart as big as his record collection.

When a newspaper-delivery accident lands him in her living room, he’s almost tempting enough to make her forget she’s never been able to please a man—in bed or out of it. Sure, he laughs at her obscure jokes, and he’ll even accept a PG-rating if it means he gets time with her, but he’s also hiding something. And it has everything to do with the off-limits room in his apartment.

Jera pours all her confusion and longing into her drum kit, which pays off when her band lands the record deal of their dreams. Except just like Jacob, it might be too good to come without a catch.

She doesn’t know if her music is good enough to attract a better contract, or if she’s enough to tempt a man like Jacob to give up his secrets, even if they could fix her problems between the sheets. But if this rocker girl is too afraid to bet on herself, she might just end up playing to an empty house.

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


Mature Excerpt

“If this is about sex, here’s the thing: I like sex. Every kind of sex. And I can make it unbelievably good for you.” He says it without a hint of a blush, and no trace of arrogance. The temperature of my skin rockets up.

I swallow to combat my suddenly dry mouth. I really, really want to roll him on top of me and forget that no matter how hot he makes me, I’ll be left panting and straining and unfulfilled at the end.

I want to pretend I don’t know better.

“This isn’t a romance novel,” I tell Jacob. “It doesn’t work like that. You can’t just put on some Barry Manilow and call it making love, and be so gentle with me that my head explodes into a rain of fireworks. I tried all that, and it sucked.”

I push up to sitting, my eyes darting away from him as I rub one hand down my opposite arm. I hate how ugly it makes me feel to talk about this stuff.

“No matter how excited I get, I can’t finish. My ex tried to help me get over it, and it only made the whole thing worse for both of us.”

“Look, I get that. I listened to that shitty voicemail he left you. But it doesn’t have to go that way, Jera. Did you know that seventy-five percent of women have trouble experiencing orgasm through vaginal sex? Only fifteen percent of women have the same trouble once additional stimulation is provided.” He sits up too. “Have you tried toys? Even just a little booster like a vibrating cock ring? What about fetishes?”

I blink, at a loss.

“Fetishes can be really unique, and they are often biologically based,” he explains. “Not linked to trauma or anything weird. They’re incredibly powerful. You could have an insane gummy bear fetish or something and just have no idea that’s what you need to get excited. Have you read much erotica?”

My cheeks burn and if my mouth isn’t hanging open, it’s only because I’m too shocked to move.

“I might have done some research,” he admits.

“Oh really? I thought I accidentally hit play on my Sexual Dysfunction for Dummies audiobook. How are you not blushing right now?”

“I like talking about sex.” He shrugs. “And it’s important to you. Of course I want to know as much as I can. Besides, I’m an engineering major. Taking things apart and figuring out how they work is kind of what we do.”

That pulls a reluctant smile from me, because that is insanely nerdy but also sweet, and more than a little embarrassing. I don’t even want to see all the ways I’ve besmirched his browser history.


Author Bio

Michelle Hazen is a nomad with a writing problem. Years ago, she and her husband ducked out of the 9 to 5 world and moved into their truck. As a result, she wrote most of her books with solar power in odd places, including a bus in Thailand, a golf cart in a sandstorm, and a beach in Honduras. Currently, she’s addicted to The Walking Dead, hiking, and Tillamook cheese.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page * Pinterest


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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: It’s Complicated by Joyce M. Holmes

Title: It’s Complicated by Joyce M. Holmes
Publisher: Roane Publising
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 182 pages

Summary:

He wants a real relationship, she’s afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

She’s a children’s counselor devoted to helping others; he’s a stubborn client reluctant to accept her assistance. He wants a warm and loving relationship; she prefers to keep things physical. Professional boundaries dictate neither of them can have what they want.

Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she’d had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client’s father, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family, and to protect her own heart.

Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor, and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter, and another for the woman he loves.

It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

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Purchase Links: Roane Publishing * Amazon US * Amazon UK * B&N * Smashwords * iTunes * Kobo


Excerpt

“That’s a big gallery, with lots of people going through it. Just think of the exposure your work would get.”

Tom did take a moment to consider it. The Langquest Art Gallery was highly reputable, and the show Tom had done with them had been a sell-out. But to have Maggie go on his behalf to seek out representation, that was too much.

“What makes you think I want or need to sell my pieces in his gallery?”

“Because, excuse me if I’m wrong, but I had the impression you could use a little financial help at the moment.” The sympathetic look in her eyes made him squirm. No bloody way did he want her wasting any sympathy on him.

“The offer of support is nice, but seriously, my professional life, at least, is doing fine. You don’t have to fix it for me.” Which was the honest, if optimistic, truth. Business was passably good. It could always be better, but it wasn’t on life support yet, and he sure didn’t need Maggie out there drumming up customers for him.

She threw a hand up. “Look, maybe I’m interfering and you didn’t ask for help, but,” she hurried on, gaining speed as she went, “I spoke to this man with the best of intentions. You have lawyer fees and counseling fees, and heaven only knows what else with this court case. They can start to add up—”

“Okay, just stop. You’re making my head hurt.” He folded his arms across his chest. He had no intention of discussing the precariousness of his financial situation with Maggie. “This conversation is over.”

Her eyes sparkled with the love of combat. “Not if I keep talking, it isn’t.”

He glared at her, making it clear he didn’t appreciate her interference. She met his accusing gaze without flinching.

“Know what your problem is?” she asked, after an uncomfortably long stare-down.

“I only have one?”

She reached out and clutched at his hand, those long slender, talon-tipped fingers curling themselves around his, distracting him with their touch. Then she started yapping again, effectively killing the moment.

“You put on a good show, and sometimes I think you even believe it yourself, but you’re not invincible. You can use a helping hand once in a while.”

He shook his hand free and swung away from her, pacing off his frustration. “Contrary to what you believe, I’m not a charity case requiring someone to rescue me. I’ve always maintained if you’re looking for a helping hand, check the end of your own wrist first. I don’t need your pity.”

She moved in front of him, forcing him to stop, returning his impatient glare with an impressively irate one of her own. “It’s not pity, damn it. And it’s not charity. It’s a practical solution to your financial situation. Excuse me for caring.” Both arms flew into the air. “Excuse me for trying to help you out. For going out of my way to come up with some creative ideas to increase your income. This is a winning proposition for you, one that can pay dividends for years to come. Why are you so stubbornly against it?”

Her logic was infuriating, and it fueled his temper that he didn’t have a reasonable comeback. “Please, just shut up already.”

“Come on. We both know I can’t do that.”

He threw his head back and laughed, more out of exasperation than amusement. “You really can’t, can you?”

“I was only trying to help.” Her tone contained a pout, but her expression remained fierce.

“I don’t want your help. I didn’t ask for your help. Anyone ever tell you how maddening you can be, Maggie Lapage?”

The force of his words didn’t make her retreat. She stood her ground in front of him and poked a finger into his chest. “And you’re the most pig-headed man I’ve ever met.”

He smiled. “Thank you.”

“That was not a compliment.”

“Sure it was.” Even though he was still pissed off, it wasn’t hard to let the smile stretch into a smirk. She looked so damn exasperated, and for some perverse reason he found it amusing.

“You’re infuriating!” she yelled and wheeled away from him, flailing her arms in the air again. “Why can’t you see my intentions were good?”

He let his smile twist cynically. “Have you heard about the road to hell?”

“I…give…up.” She emphasized the words by drawing them out slowly.

“Wish I could believe that.”


Author Bio

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Tour Stop & Giveaway: Undercover Attraction by Katee Robert

Title: Undercover Attraction by Katee Robert
The O’Malley’s Series Book Five
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 353 pages

Summary:

Scandal. Wealth. Power. Seduction. Welcome to the world of the O’Malleys.

Ex-cop Charlotte Finch used to think there was a clear line between right and wrong. Then her fellow officers betrayed her, and the world is no longer so black and white. Especially when it’s Aiden O’Malley, one of the most dangerous men in Boston, who offers her a chance for justice. The only catch: she’ll have to pretend to be his fiancée for his plan to work.

Aiden can’t afford to let anyone see the man behind the mask. To run the O’Malley empire, he has to be cool and controlled at all times. But the moment he meets Charlie, they’re playing with fire. Her slightest touch is enough to send him over the edge. At first their “engagement” was a way to eliminate his enemies. Now he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe– even if he has to destroy his own family to do it.

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Other Books in The O’Malleys Series

The Marriage Contract
The Wedding Pact
An Indecent Proposal
Forbidden Promises


Excerpt

“Come on.” Aidan stepped back and took her hand. “I have something to show you.”

He led the way up the back stairs and through a door she hadn’t explored yet. Charlie’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of candles flickering on a table laid out with a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a whole spread of Chinese takeout.

She let go of his hand and wandered over to peer into the boxes. “How did you know that crispy pork belly was my favorite?” Just like that, the pieces clicked together. She snapped her fingers. “You had your sister feel me out?” She’d thought Kiera had been asking about her favorite food so they could pick a local place next time they ventured out of the house. “Shady. Very shady.”

“I am a mob boss, after all.” He came around the table and poured them both a glass of wine. “I have it on good authority that this cab pairs well with Chinese takeout.”

“How classy of you.” It was like stepping into another realm of existence as she sat down and accepted the glass of wine while he filled two plates. When Aiden had said that he wanted a dinner date with her, she’d assumed that meant dressing to the nines and going out somewhere fancy. She said as much.

He snorted. “Eating out always serves a purpose. Either you’re making a point, or ensuring you’re seen by someone specific, or conducting a business meeting. We’ve been making points and playing parts since we met. I’d like to try something new—having a relaxing conversation. Just me and you, Aiden and Charlie, not the leader of the O’Malley clan and the former-cop-turned-fake-fiancée.”

“Do you think that’s even possible?” Such a short time together, and it was clear they both had a boatload of issues. It was easy enough to ignore when they were banging each other’s brains out or pretending to be something they weren’t, but holding down a conversation without those masks in place? She wasn’t sure it was a good idea.

Because I already like him.


Author Bio

Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her novel The Marriage Contract was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it “a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.” When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads *Google+ * Instagram * Tumblr * BookBub * YouTube


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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Always You by Denise Grover Swank

Title: Always You by Denise Grover Swank
Bachelor Brotherhood Series Book Three
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 353 pages

Summary:

First love is better the second time around.

Matt Osborn had no idea coaching his five-year-old nephew’s soccer team would get him so much attention from the mothers-attention he doesn’t want now that he’s given up on love and having a family of his own. Yep, Matt’s the last of his bachelor buddies, and plans on staying that way. That is, until he finds himself face-to-face with the woman who broke his heart.

Single mom Anna paused her life in England to help her father recover from an illness. She can’t afford complications, and too-hot-for-his-own-good Matt Osborn-her almost former fiancé-is definitely a complication. He’s a reminder of what might have been-or should have been. That irresistible pull between them isn’t over. Not even close. But if she’s not careful, she’ll break both their hearts . . . again.

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


Excerpt

What would make her happy was standing right in front of her, and she was struggling to remember why this was a bad idea. “I have an appointment at one,” she said. “Another assisted living center tour. With the friend you recommended.”

“We can work around it.”

She should turn him down. She knew she should, so why was she saying, “Okay.”

He smiled, looking more like good-natured Coach Matt and not Alpha Male Matt, the man she’d gotten to know well in her bed twelve years ago.

Damned if she didn’t want Alpha Matt.

He was less than two feet from her, watching her with an intensity that suggested he knew he was making her squirm and loving every minute of it.

“Great,” Matt said, as though he hadn’t made the air temperature rise twenty degrees just from the timbre of his voice. “If you want, Toby can stay with us when you go to your appointment, and then we’ll all go after you’re done.”

“Yeah.” It was a great plan, but standing this close to him made her nervous. She didn’t trust herself to walk out the door without doing something foolish, like kiss him, because right now that seemed like a real possibility. “I should go.” She took a step back and lost her footing.

Matt reached for her, snaking an arm around her back and pulling her upright against him.

Anna sucked in a breath at the contact. Her hands rested on his chest, and she realized it was just as solid as she’d remembered. Shivers ran up her arms and she found herself molding her body to his.

His hand stayed in place on her back, pulling her even closer.

She knew she should back away, but she wanted this, wanted him, and that was dangerous. She was a mother now. Her son had to come first.

“I can’t stay, Matt,” she said again, feeling like a broken record, but she had to make sure he didn’t feel deceived by her again. He deserved full honesty. “I have to think about Toby. I can’t hurt him.”

He looked surprised. “Anna, I would never willingly hurt Toby.”

“But this…us…if we do this…” Did she confess her son’s deepest desire for a father to love him and her worry that this would only confuse him? Was it her secret to tell? “I have to think about Toby. And Ethan.”

“We’re not going to hurt them, Anna.”

“We might. If we get too close.” I might get hurt if we get too close.

Too late for that…

He kept his hand on her back, and lifted the other to the side of her neck. He didn’t answer, at least not with words. He lowered his face, his lips gently brushing hers.

Her breath caught. His touch was like a jolt of electricity to her heart, bringing her back to life.


Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese, which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty (in her own mind) Facebook comments and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe…

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


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