Category Archives: Friday Feature

Friday Feature: Holden by Delores Fossen

Title: Holden by Delores Fossen
The Lawmen of Silver Creek Series Book Ten
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Length: 272 pages

Summary:

When a baby goes mising, a Texas marshal and a woman from his past discover there’s a whole lot more behind this kidnapping…

Holden Ryland certainly didn’t become a marshal just to end up busting his ex, Nicky Hart, for taking files from Conceptions Fertility Clinic. But only Nicky knows just what was really stolen: a newborn being held for ransom. A newborn who is kin to both her and Holden. The missing boy is only the start of a mystery that snakes through Texas, winding its way through their families. Bad blood may linger between them, but Holden can protect his nephew back at the Silver Creek Ranch. If they can lay their past to rest to rescue this child, is it possible for them to have a future together?

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * BAM! * Harlequin


Excerpt

It was the name of the fertility clinic that Holden knew well, and just hearing it brought back some painful memories. Of his brother Emmett and his brother’s wife, Annie. Annie had been Nicky’s sister, and now both Emmett and Annie were dead. Annie had died in a car accident, but that hadn’t been the cause of Emmett’s death.

No. He’d been murdered only months after Annie’s death. His killer was dead, but that didn’t soften the blow for Holden. Emmett wasn’t coming back from the grave just because the Rylands had managed to get justice for him.

Before their deaths, Emmett and Annie made mul­tiple trips to Conceptions Fertility Clinic in San An­tonio with the hopes of finally getting the baby they so desperately wanted. But that hadn’t happened. Because they’d both died before the process could be completed.

So, why would Nicky steal files from the place now?

“You’re either going to give those files to me now, or I’ll start putting bullets in you,” the man warned her. “I won’t kill you, yet, but I’ll make you wish you were dead.”

Every word of that threat put Holden on higher and higher alert, and he had to move fast.

Still trying to keep quiet, Holden hurried to the end of the hall and peered into the living room. Nicky was still by the front door, and there was a man be­tween Holden and her. And yeah, the guy had a gun pointed right at her.

Nicky didn’t say a word, but her eyes widened just a fraction when she saw Holden, and the man must have noticed even her slight reaction. He pivoted, taking aim at Holden.

The thug fired.

Not a loud blast. He was using a silencer on his gun.

Holden jumped out of the way just in time, and the bullet tore through a chunk of the wall.

“Get down,” Holden shouted to Nicky, but she was already doing just that.

She scrambled behind the sofa. It wouldn’t give her much cover, but Holden was counting on this moron shooting at him instead of her.

And that’s just what he did.

The gunman ducked down beside a chair and fired another shot at Holden. Then, another. The shots wouldn’t be loud enough to get the attention of the neighbors, which was a good thing. Holden didn’t want bystanders hurrying over to Nicky’s house to check on this.

Whatever this was.

“You want him to die?” the man barked. “Because that’s what’ll happen if you don’t tell him to get the hell out of here.”

Holden wasn’t going anywhere. He dropped lower to the ground, leaned out and fired a shot at the guy. However, before Holden could even tell if he’d hit him, all hell broke loose.


Author Bio

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Follow the rest of the tour HERE.

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Friday Feature, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway: There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford

So I, Rhys Ford, wrote a contemporary romance.

And it’s out on March 17, 2017.

It was a challenge and one I enjoyed doing because it stretched out what I could do in a story and at the same time, forced me to reach into POV lines I’d never done before.

So when it came time to do a blog tour for There’s This Guy, I wanted to convey what the book was about—basically, a broken and heartsick man finding not only the love of his life but also his own salvation. There’s This Guy is pretty much the story of a man named Jake whose world is so bleak and unforgiving, it is dull and colourless. It is only after he’s met Dallas, does he learn to find the joy around him as well as the happiness he can have within him.

I knew going into it, I wanted to write a serious book about personal tragedy but also how there is light in the darkness someone might be drowning in. Jake does find his rainbows but only by accepting he is worth the love offered to him and by working through the pain he carried inside of his heart.

To celebrate this release, I wanted to do something different—something new as it were. In TTG, Jake is an artist who works in metal and fire but also has a deep interest in architecture and of course, ironworks, so it made sense for me to post something you, the reader, could bring to life with colour…in your own style…with your own vision.


Title: There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 200 pages/Word Count: 71,030

Summary:

How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued art deco building on WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the sweet, artistic man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

Read my review HERE.

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Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press * Amazon


EXCLUSIVE Excerpt

The shapes called to him, begged to be molded into a waterfall of beaten silver and russet. His mind crawled with the need to create the spaces between the forms. It was different at home. Work was… work. He had to follow form there, rigid lines of design dictated by other people’s imaginations. Sure, there were times when Evancho told him to go wild with a project or, like that morning, nodded to a bunch of scrap and told Jake to make something out of it. But those things were… not his. Never would be his. There was nothing in those pieces but a craftsmanship he was proud of, but still, not enough of Jacques Moore poured into them.

At home he was the only thing the sculpture knew. His hands, his mind, his soul set fire and hammer to the metal and turned it, forging something beautiful from the discarded chunks left to rot in forgotten places. The stupid thing was he understood his father’s drive to shape something, to mold something and dominate it. That obsession burned in Jake, a need he couldn’t slake any other way than forcing his vision onto scraps of metal.

His father. No, that had to be shoved away. Buried for the rest of the day at least. And if Jake was lucky, the old man wouldn’t come riding in on his nightmares….

Jake almost got up from the couch, abandoning both the food and the beer on the coffee table, drawn along the threads connecting him to the unfinished piece. Almost. Halfway through leaning forward, his phone burbled and sang, vibrating on the arm in a happy dance to catch his attention. The number was local, at least in the same area code, but unfamiliar. His heart flickered and pulsed with worry. Hardly anyone called him. Evancho a few times and mainly the nursing home and doctors. Unfamiliar meant something bad on the horizon, something he hadn’t prepared for.

“Or it’s someone trying to sell you something. Get your shit together.” Tucking the phone against his ear, he growled, “Hello?”

“Hey, Jake.” Lightning poured across the phone and into Jake’s ear, curving down through his spine and straight into his belly. “It’s—”

“Dallas,” Jake choked out. He was going to lose the job; Jake was sure of it. He should have kept his mouth shut… hell, probably shouldn’t have even taken the damned water from Celeste and just walked away because he couldn’t talk to people. Sadly, his brain couldn’t stop his tongue and mouth from blurting out, “Hey… um. Hi.”

“Sorry, I know it’s late. I just dropped Celeste off and—”

“Yeah, about Celeste,” he cut in. “I was a shit to her today. I should have—”

“Hey, don’t worry about it. We found a dead guy under a pile of stuff. We’re going to be a little bit off,” Dallas reassured him. “She gets it. I just wanted to see how you were doing. Okay, I was pretty much calling to see if you were coming back and working on the place tomorrow, because well… dead man under a pile of stuff.”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Um… just got in and having some leftover Thai food.” Relief at not having to tell Evancho he’d screwed up eased the twisted pangs in Jake’s chest, and he tamped down the tickling beginning in the back of his brain when the thought of spending three weeks around Dallas began to sink in. He caught a quick whiff of the open box, a sour, malignant odor wafting up from the now room temperature noodles. “Or not. I think it went bad.”

“Yeah? You said you were in K-town, right?” Dallas rolled on, not giving Jake a chance to reply. “I’m right on Oakwood and Western. Wanna grab something to eat? I split some fries with Celeste—which means I got like two fries—so I’m starving. My treat.”

“Sure. Okay. And I can get dinner—”

“You kidding? Did you miss the dead guy under a pile of stuff thing? I owe you, man.” His laugh was a soft, rolling pour of gold through the phone. “Tofu House sound good, or something else? I can come grab you or we can meet.”

“I can walk to the one across the church on Wilshire. If that’s good.” It would take him about two minutes to put on actual clothes and find clean socks, then another few minutes to sprint down a block. Eating with Dallas was insane. The thought of sharing a table with the man, being up close, was probably the dumbest thing Jake would ever agree to, but the insane part of his brain appeared to be in full-steam-ahead mode. Swallowing his last objection, he offered, “Five? Ten minutes?”

“Ten’s great. I’ll see you there.” A siren cut through the line, drowning out Dallas’s voice.

“Sorry, what?” Jake rubbed at his ear, soothing his ruffled eardrum. “I couldn’t hear you.”

“I said it’ll be great to see you, Jake.” Dallas’s voice dropped, growing husky. “Ten minutes, man. Or I’m coming to hunt you down.”


Author Bio

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.

She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Rhys Ford’s books can found at Dreamspinner Press (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com), DSP Publications (https://www.dsppublications.com/) and all major online book stores.


Giveaway

Rhys Ford is giving away a $15 Gift Certificate to ONE lucky winner! To enter the giveaway, fill out the contest form below by midnight eastern time Wednesday March 22nd:

CONTEST OVER

Winner will be selected Thursday March 23rd.

Follow the There’s This Guy Blog Tour:

March
14         MM Good Book Reviews (https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/)

15         It’s About the Book (http://itsaboutthebook.com/)

16         Joyfully Jay (http://joyfullyjay.com/)

17         The Novel Approach (http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/)

19         Boy Meets Boy Reviews (https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com/)

21         Sinfully Gay Romance (http://sinfullymmbookreviews.blogspot.com/)

22         Prism (http://www.prismbookalliance.com)

And on March 17, a BONUS exclusive excerpt to be posted at Book Reviews & More by Kathy   (http://bookreviewsandmorebykathy.com/)

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Friday Feature, Interview & Giveaway: Darkness by Kate Sherwood

Getting to know…. Kate Sherwood!

Kathy: Do you have a favorite book or author you like to recommend? Do you have a comfort read?

I honestly don’t. I tend to find an author, become obsessed, read everything I can get my hands on, get sick of it, and never want to read that author again.

It’s not the most mature approach, I admit.

Kathy: What is your guilty pleasure (or not guilty pleasure)?

Hmmm… I’m not much prone to guilt. I definitely drink more Diet Coke than I should, but I don’t feel too guilty about it! I drink more wine than I should… but no guilt!

Kathy: Favorite meal?

Pizza. I’m a big fan of salty fat. And I like the good old fashioned toppings, too. Not, like, chicken and artichoke. I want pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage… the good stuff!

Kathy: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I only write part-time, so I don’t think it would be that much of a change if I weren’t a writer. I guess I’d probably try to find another way to be creative, but I honestly don’t know what it would be – I’m practically tone-deaf, so music would be out, I’m not too coordinated so dance wouldn’t likely work for me, I’m painfully non-visual so most visual arts would be a flop… maybe pottery? It’s pleasingly tactile.

Kathy: If you could time travel, what time period would you visit?

All of them! I’d wear that time machine out!

What, I only get one pick?

Probably back to the days when my area was first being settled by Europeans. There’s something really satisfying about the image of a little log cabin and a homestead carved out of the wilderness. I like the idea of self-sufficiency and I’d love to see how people managed to survive with hardly any support from the larger world.


Title: Darkness by Kate Sherwood
Common Law Series Book Three
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 184 pages/Word Count: 49,400

Summary:

A murdered prostitute. An obvious suspect. Clear evidence. For once, Jericho Crewe has a straightforward crime to investigate, and Wade Granger isn’t involved.

It all seems so simple, but Jericho’s instincts won’t let him rest. As he investigates, he finds troubling suggestions that the murder is a part of something larger and more sinister. But working within the boundaries of the law may keep him from finding the truth. If Jericho doesn’t break the rules, an innocent man may rot in jail while a killer remains free to strike again.

Inevitably, it all comes back to Wade. Because who else knows as much about breaking rules? And who else knows Jericho the way Wade does—not wisely, but far, far too well?

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Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing


Author Bio

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Author Links: Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of all four books in the Common Law series, we’re giving away one four-tour-wide GRAND PRIZE of $100 in Riptide credit! Enter at each stop on each tour (once they go live) to maximize your chances to win! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the Darkness tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason

Title: Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason
Harmony Harbor Series Book two
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 368 pages

Summary:

A second chance for romance…

Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one-especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher-can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it’s more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him…

Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what’s never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won’t give her up again without a fight. He knows there’s the real possibility of a future together… if the truth doesn’t burn the bridge between them forever.

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

Add series to Goodreads.

THE HARMONY HARBOR SERIES

MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1
CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5
STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2
PRIMROSE LANE, #3


Excerpt

She sensed Griffin rising to his feet and heard him placing his mug on the desk. And then he was there, crouched in front of her. He took her mug, setting it on the floor before he gently smoothed the rough pads of his fingers over her cheek. “You know it kills me to see you cry.”

“Still?” she murmured without looking at him.

“Yeah, looks like,” he said, sounding as though the admission cost him.

A tiny flicker of hope ignited inside her. She smothered it, unwilling to put herself in the position of being disappointed. She didn’t think her heart could withstand another blow today.

“I know you did more than smooth the way for my father, Griffin. I don’t believe Gino’s monthly pension checks and insurance will come close to covering the cost. I need to know what I owe you. I doubt I can pay it all at once though, so maybe we could come up with a monthly payment plan?”

At her suggestion, a muscle pulsed in his clenched jaw, and his eyes narrowed. She was familiar with that look. It didn’t bode well for her repayment plan. And maybe because of that small hope that refused to be denied, she raised her hand to trace his stubbled jaw with her finger. “You know that look always annoyed me,” she said, thinking back to how long it had been since she’d touched him this way.

“Yeah, and you always knew how to get rid of it. Never could hold out against you for long.” His eyes darkened as though remembering their standoffs always ended in bed.

“What are we doing?” she whispered, the heat in his eyes weakening her resolve. She had to know if it was just her imagination. She’d deal with the consequences later.

“I—”

The study door swung open, and her cousin rushed in. “Ava, are—Oh, I…” Sophie’s gaze moved from Griffin to Ava. “Am I interrupting?”

Griffin rose to his feet, and Ava didn’t know if it was relief or regret she saw on his face.

He glanced at his watch. “I better get going. I have to meet up with Sully.”

Ah, so it had been relief after all, she thought, fighting to keep the disappointment from showing on her face.

Sophie smiled, stepping in front of Griffin as he walked to the door. “Welcome home,” she said, giving him a hug. “We’re so glad you took the job.”

“Job?” Ava asked, and there it was again, hope. Only this time it came out in her voice.

Griffin turned with his hand on the doorknob. “Sully offered me a job with the Coast Guard. Thought it was about time I came home.” He held her gaze. “We’ll talk later. If you need me, call.”

Sophie stared at her, openmouthed. “He…You.” Sophie found her voice and looked from the door to Ava. “What did I just interrupt?”

“I’m not sure,” she murmured, glad she was sitting, otherwise her legs might have given out.


Author Bio

Debbie Mason is USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, an adorable grandbaby, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

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


Giveaway

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: So Right by Darcy Burke

Title: So Right by Darcy Burke
Ribbon Ridge: Love on the Vine Series Book Two
Publisher: Darcy Burke
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 223 pages

Summary:

Kelsey McDade realizes that her love life is one and done. Her last—and only—relationship left her broken and afraid and more than ready to be alone for the long haul. But sexy-charming vineyard manager Luke Westcott pushes all of her buttons in the right way and makes her wonder if she ought to try again.

In nearly twenty-eight years, Luke’s most successful romance has been with the outdoors. Currently single, he’s happy to pour all of his energy into his new winery until Kelsey provokes feelings he didn’t know he was capable of. He can envision their future together—if she’ll let down her guard.

When the ghost of Kelsey’s past causes her to slam on the brakes, Luke is ready to fight for her, even if it means sacrificing himself in the process. Convinced she’s only made wrong choices in the past, Kelsey must decide if Luke—and their love—is worth the greatest risk of all.

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


Excerpt

“I’m going to come stay with you for a few days. On one condition.”

Luke finished his beer. “Anything.”

“No hanky-panky.”

He laughed so hard, he snorted. “What year is this, 1953? Hanky-panky?”

Kelsey giggled. “What would you call it?”

He leaned back and huffed out a breath while he crossed his arms and adopted a pensive pose. “I don’t know. Monkey business?”

She sputtered out a laugh. “Monkey business?” The laugh grew to a guffaw until near-hysteria set in as he joined her. She fought to take a breath and pushed out the word, “Chicanery?”

He howled even louder, slapping his hand on the table. “How about fooling around?”

Tears spilled from her eyes and her face began to hurt from laughing so hard. It was one of those conversations that probably wouldn’t have been funny to anyone else, but in that moment, they were consumed by uncontainable hilarity. “We are firmly planted in 1953. There are apparently no words—none—to describe sexytimes in twenty-first century speak.”

“Sexytimes works.” He poured himself more beer and took a long drink. “God, I haven’t laughed like that in a long time. Okay, so no sexytimes. Does that include kissing? Because I’m kind of hoping I get to do that with you again soon.”

“Wouldn’t that be dangerous? I could see kissing leading to—let me borrow a word from 1953 again—petting, and petting leading to the afore-mentioned sexytimes. In fact, I would argue that kissing is sexytimes.”

He pouted. “Damn, your argument is sound.”

“So no sexytimes while I’m staying with you.”

“Wait, none at all? Or just none in the house?” He looked at her with such hope in his gaze, and he was so gorgeous with his stubble and that square jaw and those dark, hot-as-coals eyes.

“Let me think about that.”


Author Bio

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

Please Note: US Shipping Only

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: Not in My Wildest Dreams by Jamie Hollins

Title: Not in My Wildest Dreams by Jamie Hollins
McKenna Series Book Two
Publisher: Jamie Hollins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 339 pages

Summary:

It really sucks to be in love with someone who sees you as nothing more than a friend. Darcy Owens knows this from personal experience. From the moment she met Sean McKenna as a shy ten-year-old, he’s owned her heart. So when he asks for her help with an important construction project, she can’t say no.

Building a boutique hotel on Boston’s waterfront is a career-making opportunity, and Sean needs Darcy’s interior design expertise. She’s incredibly talented, and there is no one he trusts more. He knows he can always count on his childhood friend, but doesn’t know why he’s thinking about her tight skirts and blue eyes instead of tight deadlines and blueprints.

When Sean and Darcy’s excitement about their work turns into an entirely different kind of excitement, it’s a sexy surprise. But they soon realize that building a new relationship is more challenging than building a new hotel, especially when life-long habits and old insecurities create cracks in the foundation.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * Other * iTunes * Kobo


Excerpt

She felt the wheels of their plane lift off the ground and watched out the window as the ground got farther and farther away.

“Nervous flyer?”

Her head jerked over and she found Sean watching her with amusement. She ignored him and looked down at her magazine.

“What are you reading?”

He was just like a gnat that wouldn’t leave her alone!

She wasn’t planning on answering him but felt him lean toward her over the armrest to look at the page. When she read the title of the article, she nearly gasped. Of all the articles to be reading next to Sean, she had to open her magazine to this particular one.

“Picking the Right Lingerie for Your Body Type,” Sean read aloud.

Before she could respond, he flipped the page. Both sides of the magazine had four different pictures of women in lingerie. Some were modest and some could be classified as nonexistent. Darcy’s eyes scanned the page, taking in the various and rainbow selection of lacy, satiny outfits.

An incredibly thin woman wore a red bustier and garter set. A pale blonde posed with thin straps of sheer neutral fabric covering her tiny breasts and the triangle between her legs. A buxom brunette lounged in bed in a silky camisole and nearly painted-on boy shorts. It was a smorgasbord of scantily clad woman, and she couldn’t help but cringe.

“Hmmmm,” he said, scanning the two pages. “I’d pick that one.”

He pointed to a dark-haired woman wearing a black lacy bra-and-panty set. She stood with one knee kneeling against a chair, a satin black robe draping off her shoulders. The top consisted of a lacy demi-bra, which hoisted the model’s cleavage up into plump mounds below her collarbone. The bikini bottoms were the same lacy material as the bra and sat well below her smooth, toned stomach.

The ensemble’s simple color and lines made it sexy, but the flowing satiny fabric of the robe made it romantic. There were other lingerie sets that were much more vixen than this one, and she was surprised at Sean’s choice.

“You’d pick that one if you were a woman, huh?”

“No, I’d pick that one if I were you.”

Jerking her gaze away from the magazine, she stared at him with wide eyes. She couldn’t believe he’d gone there. It was bad enough she had to sit next to him, the source of her torment and embarrassment. But he crossed into territory that she wasn’t ready to talk about. Wouldn’t be ready to talk about for at least another year. Maybe more.

He looked up, must have seen her bewildered expression, and grinned.

“What? It’s true. You have these perfect—” he started, cupping his hands in front of his chest.

“Stop!” That single word left her breathless as she stared at him.

He smiled. “It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I was just about to say that—”

Darcy squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head quickly, trying hard to ignore the warm contentment that settled in her chest over hearing Sean call her breasts perfect. “No! Just stop. We are not having this conversation.”

After a moment, he sighed loudly. “All right. I’m just gonna say this because it needs to be said. We had sex. Big deal.”

Darcy snapped her eyes open in time to see the man sitting in front of them turn his head to where his ear was in the middle of the two seats.

“Jesus Christ. Shut up.”

“We’re two consenting adults, and we had sex,” he said, ignoring her. “It changes nothing.”

“It changes everything,” she hissed. “And if you don’t shut your fucking mouth, I’m going to shut it for you.”

“We’ve been friends forever. I’m not going to let what happened between us change that. That’s why I’m here. I gave you the time you wanted to think through this, but I’m impatient, and I decided it was in our friendship’s best interest to force you to spend time with me. The more time we spend together doing normal things, the easier it’ll get. It’s time we got back to being Darcy and Sean again.”

It was a valiant speech full of sincerity and feelings. For just a second, she forgot about being uncomfortable and just floated in the wonderful sensation of being wanted. And by Sean, nonetheless. But she wasn’t going to be able to flip a switch and go back to the way things used to be before they’d slept together.

Yeah, she could probably get over the embarrassment. Eventually, she could smile at him again and laugh at his jokes. But there would always be that part of her that loved him and wanted more. She wanted his love, to share his dreams, to feel his passion. They’d already given the passion part a try, and although it’d started out promising, the ending had ripped out her heart and torn it into tiny pieces.

And it still lay broken.

Sean’s blue eyes studied her as she thought through the emotional roller coaster she was still riding. He leaned toward her, his shoulder resting against hers.

“Please, Darce. Can’t we just try? I miss you.”

She closed her eyes as his soft, deep plea swam around in her ears. She tried not to think about how good it made her feel. She tried not to notice he wore her favorite cologne and that his shoulder was burning through her cotton shirt. She tried not to think about how much she missed him too.

Damn Sean McKenna, his honeyed tongue, and his goddamn manly cologne.


Author Bio

Jamie Hollins was born and raised in rural Northeast Ohio. After graduate school, she embarked on a perilous career in Human Resources where she met plenty of real life characters. When she’s not writing or chasing after her toddler, she enjoys reading and golfing. Jamie lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and their dog, Winston.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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