Category Archives: Spotlight

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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Friday Feature: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

AVAILABLE January 9, 2018!

Read the first four chapters (free): Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Google Play


Title: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages

Summary:

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

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Pre-Order Links (Available January 9, 2018): Amazon * B&N * Google Play * iTunes * Kobo

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New Release Spotlight: Defenseless by Elizabeth Dyer

Title: Defenseless by Elizabeth Dyer
Somerton Security Series Book One
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Length: 288 pages

Summary:

How far will she go to protect the sexiest guy in tech?

When ex-marine Georgia Bennett left the military for high-end private security, it was supposed to soften her snarky attitude. Instead, her short fuse just earned her a punishment of an assignment: protect smart-ass tech genius and Department of Defense contractor Parker Livingston. It should have been easy—only no one warned Georgia that Parker was one seriously drop-dead-gorgeous geek.

The last thing Parker needs is a bodyguard, especially not one with killer curves and a sassy mouth who tempts him to do something incredibly stupid. He’s too busy investigating whoever is turning his technology against him and threatening his team of covert operatives. But when an assassin sends Georgia and Parker running for their lives, it might just be the explosive sexual chemistry and the trust that’s building between them that saves their necks. Because the only thing more dangerous than the combination of Parker’s intellect and Georgia’s aim is their steadfast desire to protect each other, no matter the cost.

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Purchase Links (Available December 1): Amazon * B&N (Paperback)

Author Links: Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * Amazon Author Page

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis

Title: Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis
Heartbreaker Bay Series Book 5.5
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 133 page/Novella

Summary:

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

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


Excerpt

At the empathetic tone in Sean’s voice, Lotti’s heart and stomach and head all clenched in unison. “What do you mean you can’t give me what I want?” she asked. “All you have to do is walk away.”

“Tried that already,” he said. “And it was the biggest mistake of my life.” He brought her hand up to his mouth and met her gaze over their entwined hands.

He was looking at her like . . . well, she wasn’t sure what was going on in his head, but her thoughts were racing along with her pulse.

“You’re incredible, Lotti. I hope you know that.” Very slowly, clearly giving her time to object, he pulled her into him.

Her breath caught at the connection and his eyes heated in response as he slid a hand up her spine and then back down again, pressing her in tight to him from chest to thighs and everywhere in between. His nose was cold at the crook of her neck, but his breath was warm against her skin. She felt his lips press against the sensitive spot just behind her ear and she shivered. “You’re trembling,” he said, his voice low. “Are you cold?”

“No,” she whispered. Try the opposite of cold . . .

“Nervous?”

“No.” Not even close. The way his mouth moved across her skin was making her warm all over. Not that she could articulate that with his body pressed to hers and his fingers dancing over her skin. She was literally quivering as the memories of what it felt like to be touched by him washed over her, as if no time at all had gone by.

Yes, she’d let him think that their time together had sucked for her. But it hadn’t. Not even close. That long-ago night he’d evoked feelings and a hunger in her that she’d never forgotten. “I’ve just had a long day,” she said.

“I know. I’m going to make it better.” He pressed a kiss at the juncture of her jaw and ear before he made his way to her lips for a slow, hot kiss, his mouth both familiar and yet somehow brand-new. She was so far gone that when he pulled back she protested with a moan, but he held her tight, staring down at her with heated eyes. “Just checking,” he murmured.

“Checking what?”

“That you want this as badly as I do.”


Author Bio

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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

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Release Day Spotlight & Giveaway: The Governess Who Captured His Heart by Sophie Barnes

Title: The Governess Who Captured His Heart by Sophie Barnes
The Honorable Scoundrels Series Book One
Publisher: Sophie Barnes
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 87 pages

Summary:

Temptations or Priorities…?

Determined to help her oldest sister make ends meet, Louise Potter accepts a governess position in the northern part of England. If this means accompanying an older gentleman on his travels, then she will.
There’s only one problem: Louise is about to discover that her travelling companion is not the elderly man she expected, but rather seduction itself…

Alistair Langley has no desire to share his carriage with his niece’s newly hired employee. But the matron he expected to find at his door is instead a beautiful young woman, one he knows he can’t travel alone with. After all, he’s going to visit his brother who is pressuring him to marry and produce a Langley heir–or be cut off from inheritance. When he confides in Louise, together they form a plan. But the closer they become, the more temptation beckons…

Until finally a choice must be made: Love or money? Or is it possible to have both?

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Excerpt

Lowering the letter she’d been reading, Louise Potter held the expensive sheet of paper between her fingers and glanced at both of her sisters in turn. “I have been accepted for the position. Lady Channing would like me to start immediately.”

“That is what you wish to do, is it not?” Josephine asked. At six and twenty, she was two years older than Louise and six years older than their youngest sister, Eve.

“It certainly is a welcome opportunity.” With the townhouse serving as their only inheritance, and Josephine working hard to make ends meet for all of them, Louise wanted to find a way to help her older sister. As a result, she now had the chance of becoming a governess to three young children. “My only regret is I shall miss Christmas with the two of you.”

“Perhaps the countess will allow you to see us on that particular day?” Eve suggested.

Louise bit her lip. Her employment would require a major move, which was something she hadn’t yet mentioned to either of her sisters. “I’m afraid not. If I’m lucky, I shall be able to come to Town during the spring and part of the summer while the Season is underway. Otherwise, most of my time will be spent near Whitehaven.”

Her sisters stared at her. “I forget where that is,” Eve finally said.

“I believe it is in the north,” Josephine told her.

Louise nodded. “It is indeed.”

Eve’s mouth dropped open. “But then we shall never see you again!”

“As I mentioned, I might return to Town once Parliament opens and the Radcliffe family chooses to relocate to their London home.” She paused to consider their unhappy faces. “Unless I decline the offer and remain here. I can do so if you are loath to see me go.”

“No.” Josephine quickly smiled, though the effort did appear slightly strenuous. “You have been given the chance to accept respectable employment with a highly regarded aristocratic family. Neither of us will stand in your way.”

“Are you certain?” Louise was beginning to doubt her own resolve.

Travelling north had seemed like a grand adventure until she’d told her sisters about it. They’d never been apart before, and since their father’s death, they’d been especially dependent upon each other, not only to get through the grief, but also to find a way forward in the following whirlwind of chaos.

Louise’s grandfather had been the third son of an earl. As such, he’d gone into law and had eventually, upon his death, left his thriving practice to his son. But he had not been as skilled a barrister as his father, nor did he have a head for the business. After he lost a  string of cases, clients had chosen to seek counsel elsewhere. As time had progressed and the funds had dwindled, the larger houses had been sold and the meeker residence where Louise and her sisters now lived had been purchased instead. But even this house would be lost to Louise and her sisters unless a decent income could be secured. Especially since their uncle, the current Earl of Priorsbridge, had neglected to take on his responsibility as their guardian.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for you,” Josephine said. Meeting Louise’s gaze, she did not need to say the money her work would produce could ease their concerns. Instead, she asked a practical question. “When do you intend to leave?”

“Tomorrow.” Knowing how surprising this comment was, Louise hastened to say, “The countess has offered conveyance if I do. It seems her uncle, Lord Alistair, will be travelling up then as well, so it has been suggested we go together for practical reasons.”

“I suppose doing so would provide you with a better carriage for such a long journey,” Josephine said. “But is it wise for you to travel alone with a man whom you’ve never met before?”

Louise made a face. “At my age?” She shook her head. “You know as well as I that I am almost as firmly on the shelf as you are. And since I am not a young lady with marriageable prospects but rather a soon to-be-governess, I dare say no one will think much about it. Not to mention this uncle must be at least fifty years old considering the countess’s age.”

“How can you possibly know her age?” Eve asked. “It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing she would share in her letter to you.”

“Quite right,” Louise told her, “but her eldest son is eleven, so I can make an intelligent guess.”

“I suppose that is true,” Josephine murmured. “Which means you’re probably right about Lord Alistair. Besides, I doubt the countess would suggest his escort unless she was sure you’d be safe in his presence.”

Louise agreed. “It is settled then?”

“I believe so.” Josephine said.

Her remark propelled Louise to hug both her sisters. She then hurried on through to her room and pulled her valise out from under the bed. It was time for her to start packing.

#

Enjoying a last minute brandy in his study, Alistair Clay Hedgewick, considered his niece’s request to bring her new governess with him to Whitehaven. He groaned at the prospect of it–of having to spend a week with a middle-aged spinster instead of alone in his own company as he’d been expecting. Dreading it, he took another sip of his drink. It was a bit early in the day to be imbibing, but under the circumstances he felt he needed the fortification before setting out in another half hour.

He glanced toward the clock on the fireplace mantle. An hour had passed since he’d sent his carriage to collect her, so she should be arriving at any moment. A knock sounded at the door, and Alistair called for his butler to enter.

“My lord,” Mr. Fox said while maids and footmen scurried around behind him, gathering last minute items in need of packing. “Miss Potter has arrived. Would you like me to show her in?”

Alistair considered the question. He could hardly say no, could he? It was tempting since doing so would allow him that extra half hour of peace before embarking on a journey that would force him to stay on his best behavior. Taking his shoes off and relaxing his feet would not be possible. Nor would sleeping, since he had no desire to snore in her presence. In fact, he was giving up a great deal of comfort for a woman he’d never met and did not care about.

“Very well,” he sighed, before downing the rest of his drink and rising. He might as well meet his travelling companion, he reasoned, since it was the polite thing to do. Like it or not, he always strove to do what was right and play the part of the well-mannered gentleman, no matter how impractical or aggravating it could be. His behavior, however, reflected not only on him but on his entire family, and being called to task by his brother was something he always tried to avoid.

Mr. Fox returned. “Miss Potter,” he said, before stepping aside so a slim woman, wearing a grey gown and a matching pelisse, could enter. On her head, she wore a straw bonnet beneath which he was able to spy a golden display of neatly combed hair. But what shocked him the most was her face, because it did not belong to the middle-aged, rotund matron he’d envisioned, but rather to the angelic youthfulness of a woman in her prime. More than that, she was the perfect picture of beauty, her delicate features lending an elegance even the highest ranking ladies of society lacked. Her eyes, he noted, were a bright glow of hazel while her lips, parting now with undeniable surprise, were the sort men dreamed of in their wickedest fantasies.

Aware he was staring, he gathered his wits, schooled his features, and stepped toward her. “Miss Potter, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

She gaped at him. “Are you Lord Alistair?”

“The one and only.”

She shook her head. “You can’t be.” Glancing around as if seeking another gentleman, she gradually returned her gaze to him when none was to be found. “You…you…” Waving her hands as if hoping to fashion the necessary words, she finally blurted, “You are twenty years younger than you ought to be!”


Author Bio

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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


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