Friday, September 30, 2016

Excerpt: The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel by Jennifer McQuiston


New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston continues her enchanting Seduction Diaries series as a bookish spinster and an unrepentant rogue unite to unmask a traitor.

Every girl dreams of a hero….

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore’s is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.



From the Diary of Miss Mary Channing
May 24, 1858

            Eleanor wrote today. I should have been glad to hear from her, given that she is my twin sister and I love her dearly, but it would be untruthful to say the contents of her letter pleased me. Her new husband, Lord Ashington, has been called away on business and she’s asked me to come to London to keep her company during the last two months of her confinement.
            Can you imagine? Me, in London?
            My family says I must get my nose out of my books and begin to live in the world around me. It is true I’ve never been further afield than a day trip from home, and that I have never slept a night outside my own bed. But why would I ever want to leave, when I have my books to keep me company? And a trip to London is not without its perils. I could very well end up like one of the characters in my beloved stories, snubbed by the popular crowd. Whispered about behind lace fans. Or worse . . . led astray by a handsome villain and then abandoned to my fate.
            Yet, how could I not go? Eleanor is my sister, and she needs me. So I shall put on a brave face. Pack a trunk. Smile, if I must. But I can’t help but wonder . . . which worries me more?
            The many things that could happen in London?
            Or the thought of seeing Eleanor, with her handsome new husband, and her shining, lovely life, and everything I am afraid of wanting?

Chapter 1

London, May 29, 1858

The smell should have been worse.
            She’d expected something foul, air made surly by the summer heat. Just last week she’d read about the Thames, that great, roiling river that carried with it the filth of the entire city and choked its inhabitants to tears. Her rampant imagination, spurred on by countless books and newspaper articles, had conjured a city of fetid smells, each more terrible than the last. But as Miss Mary Channing opened her bedroom window and breathed in her first London morning, her nose filled with nothing more offensive than the fragrance of . . .
            Flowers.
            Disconcerted, she peeked out over the sill. Dawn was just breaking over the back of Grosvenor Square. The gaslights were still burning and the windows of the other houses were dark. By eight o’clock, she imagined industrious housemaids would be down on their knees, whiting their masters’ stoops. The central garden would fill with nurses and their charges, heading west toward Hyde Park.
            But for now the city—and its smells—belonged solely to her.
            She breathed in againWas she dreaming? Imagining things, as she was often wont to do? She was well over two hundred miles from home, but it smelled very much like her family’s ornamental garden in Yorkshire. She didn’t remember seeing a garden last night, but then, she had arrived quite late, the gaslight shadows obscuring all but the front steps. She’d been too weary to think, so sickened by the ceaseless motion of the train that she’d not even been able to read a book, much less ponder the underpinnings of the air she breathed.
            She supposed she might have missed a garden. Good heavens, she probably would have missed a funeral parade, complete with an eight-horse coach and a brass band.
            After the long, tiresome journey, she’d only wanted to find a bed.
            And yet now . . . at five o’clock in the morning . . . she couldn’t sleep.
            Not on a mattress that felt so strange, and not in a bedroom that wasn’t her own.
            Pulling her head back inside, she eyed the four-poster bed, with its rumpled covers and profusion of pretty pillows. It was a perfectly nice bed. Her sister, Eleanor, had clearly put some thought into the choice of fabrics and furniture. Most women would love such a room. And most women would love such an opportunity—two whole months in London, with shops and shows and distractions of every flavor at their fingertips.
            But Mary wasn’t most women. She preferred her distractions in the form of a good book, not shopping on Regent Street. And these two looming months felt like prison, not paradise.
            The scent of roses lingered in the air, and as she breathed in, her mind settled on a new hope. If there was a flower garden she might escape to—a place where she might read her books and write in her journal—perhaps it would not be so terrible?
            Picking up the novel she had not been able to read on the train, Mary slipped out of the strange bedroom, her bare feet silent on the stairs. She had always been an early riser, waking before even the most industrious servants back home in Yorkshire. At home, the cook knew to leave her out a bit of breakfast—bread and cheese wrapped in a napkin—but no one here would know to do that for her yet.
            Ever since she’d been a young girl, morning had been her own time, quiet hours spent curled up on a garden bench with a book in her lap, nibbling on her pocket repast, the day lightening around her. The notion that she might still keep to such a routine in a place like London gave her hope for the coming two months.
            She drifted down the hallway until she found a doorway that looked promising, solid oak, with a key still in the lock. With a deep breath, she turned the key and pulled it open. She braced herself for knife-wielding brigands. Herds of ragged street urchins, hands rifling through her pockets. The sort of London dangers she’d always read about.
            Instead, the scent of flowers washed over her like a lovely, welcome tide.
            Oh, thank goodness.
            She hadn’t been imagining things after all.
            Something hopeful nudged her over the threshold of the door, then bade her to take one step, then another. In the thin light of dawn, she saw flowers in every color and fashion: bloodred rose blooms, a cascade of yellow flowers dripping down the wrought iron fence. Her fingers loosened over the cover of her book. Oh, but it would be lovely to read here. She could even hear the light patter of a fountain, beckoning her deeper.
            But then she heard something else above those pleasant, tinkling notes.
            An almost inhuman groan of pleasure.
            With a startled gasp, she spun around. Her eyes swam through the early morning light to settle on a gentleman on the street, some ten feet or so away on the other side of the wrought iron fence. But the fact of their separation did little to relieve her anxiety, because the street light illuminated him in unfortunate, horrific clarity.
            He was urinating.
            Through the fence.
            Onto one of her sister’s rosebushes.
            The book fell from Mary’s hand. In all her imaginings of what dreadful things she might encounter on the streets of London, she’d never envisioned anything like this. She ought to bolt. She ought to scream. She ought to . . . well . . . she ought to at least look away.
            But as if he was made of words on a page, her eyes insisted on staying for a proper read. His eyes were closed, his mouth open in a grimace of relief. Objectively, he was a handsome mess, lean and long-limbed, a shock of disheveled blond hair peeking out from his top hat. But handsome was always matter of opinion, and this one had “villain” stamped on his skin.
            As if he could hear her flailing thoughts, one eye cracked open, then the other. “Oh, ho, would you look at that, Grant? I’ve an audience, it seems.”
            Somewhere down the street, another voice rang out. “Piss off!” A snigger followed. “Oh, wait, you already are.”
            “Cork it, you sodding fool!” the blond villain shouted back. “Can’t you see we’re in the presence of a lady?” He grinned. “Apologies for such language, luv. Though . . . given the way you are staring, perhaps you don’t mind?” He rocked back on his heels, striking a jaunty pose even as the urine rained down. “If you come a little closer, I’d be happy to give you a better peek.”
            Mary’s heart scrambled against her ribs. She might be a naive thing, fresh from the country, and she might now be regretting her presumption that it was permissible to read a book in a London garden in her bare feet, but she wasn’t so unworldly that she didn’t know this one pertinent fact: she was not—under any circumstances—coming a little closer.
            Or getting a better peek.
            Mortified, she wrapped her arms about her middle. “I . . .that is . . . couldn’t you manage to hold it?” she somehow choked out. There. She’d managed a phrase, and it was a properly scathing one, too. As good as any of her books’ heroines might have done.
            A grin spread across his face. Much like the puddle at the base of the rosebush. “Well, luv, the thing is, I’m thinking I’d rather let you hold it.” The stream trickled to a stop, though he added a few more drips for good measure. He shook himself off and began to button his trousers. “But alas, it seems you’ve waited too long for the pleasure.” He tipped a finger to the brim of his top hat in a sort of salute. “My friend awaits. Perhaps another time?”
            Mary gasped. Or rather, she squeaked.
            She could manage little else.
            He chuckled. “It seems I’ve got a shy little mouse on my hands. Well, squeak squeak, run along then.” He set off down the street, swaying a bit. “But I’ll leave you with a word of advice, Miss Mouse,” he tossed back over one shoulder. “You’re a right tempting sight, standing there in your unutterables. But you might want to wear shoes the next time you ogle a gentleman’s prick. Never know when you’ll need to run.”
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal.


Praise for Jennifer McQuiston and THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL:

“McQuiston’s third Seduction Diaries novel is to be commended for its complex and unusual plot and for featuring characters the reader comes to care for. A surprising, readable story about healing, forgiveness, and trust.”   — Kirkus

“The story is equal parts mystery and romance, and just when readers begin to feel cheated, the twists and turns navigate to a stunning ending.”— Publishers Weekly

“Pure Escapism. Ms. Mcquiston created a romance as epic as the characters who lived it. [...] With easily identifiable main characters and a thrilling story, it was a no brainer for me to gift this book with 5 stars and a Top Pick.” — Night Owl Reviews

”McQuiston’s Seduction Diaries series captivates readers with clever plots and engaging characters. Incorporating plenty of sexual tension, bantering dialogue and a mystery into this installment delivers everything fans expect from McQuiston. This is truly a delightful addition to a reader’s library.”— RT Book Reviews

“THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL is full of interesting characters and their interactions, especially those between West and Mary. There is also plenty of suspense concerning the assassination. The era is also a change from the Regency that so Dominates British historical romances.”— Romance Reviews Today

“Regency romance fans will adore this addition to McQuiston’s Seduction Diaries series”— Booklist
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Excerpt Reveal: Four Letter Word by J. Daniels


Sydney Paige was never so mortified to hear the words "wrong number" in her life. She meant to tell off the guy who broke her best friend's heart, but unleashed her anger on a perfect stranger instead. And now her world is turned upside down by the captivating man who wants to keep her on the line.


Oh, God, he was calling.
Brian Savage is living a life he's quickly come to hate-until Sydney's wild rant has him hooked and hungry for more. Soon the sexy woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed. But Brian has secrets, and the closer he lets Syd get, the harder it is to shield her from the devastating mistakes of his past . . .
I showered and shaved, slathered on my favorite sweet-smelling body lotion, slid into the dress after deciding on a thong and no bra, thanks to the mesh, and curled and teased my hair, giving it body and height that looked kick-ass paired with my outfit.

I also went to town on my makeup job, keeping everything heavy but the kind of heavy that screamed fierce concertgoer and not back alley hooker.

Dark, smoky eyes, false lashes that flared at the ends, and warm cerise lipstick.

I felt pretty. Really pretty.

The kind of pretty a girl had to commemorate with a selfie, and there was only one person in the entire world I wanted to send that selfie to.

I bit my lip while swiping my phone off the bed and pulling up the camera mode.

I was nervous.

Understandably so. This would be the first time Brian was going to see me.

Like ever.

Heavy stuff right there.

I’d thought about sending him pictures before, but got sidetracked with conversation and his sweet as warmed honey voice I wanted to taste, and all thoughts of pictures would slip my mind. Considering he never asked to see a photo of me didn’t help either.

Since he wasn’t bringing it up, I was hardly thinking about it.

But right now, standing in my bedroom with my makeup done up and my hair looking prettier than it had on prom night, sending Brian a picture of me was suddenly all I could think about.

And before I could think or whisper talk myself out of it, I reversed the camera so I could see myself on the screen, held the device out in front of me and off to the right a bit, pursed my stained lips into a kiss, other hand poised at my chin to blow it, and snapped the picture.

Then I attached it to a text and hit Send.
Feeling WILD.
I wanted to put my phone down. Really I did, especially since I had to snap on my studded cuff bracelet and that required use of both hands, furthermore because Tori had given me a fifteen-minute warning close to fifteen minutes ago, but I couldn’t let the damn thing go.

I couldn’t stop looking at it either.

My stomach was clenched. I was biting my fist and pacing the length of the bed, head down and eyes anxiously focused.

But when the little bubbles floated in teasing intervals on my screen and I knew Brian had seen my photo, that’s when the real panic set in.

Would he like how I looked? Would it be how he had imagined and confessed to imagining countless times late at night to me, or better, would my photo exceed the limits of his imagination and paint a more pleasing image in his mind?

Or would he hate it and me for sending it to him, shattering his dreamed-up spank-bank material and ruining every orgasm I ever gave him?

Shit.

Shit!

Which was it and why the hell was he taking so long to type? Didn’t he know this was killing me?

“Hurry up!” I whispered against the screen.

It started ringing in response to my plea, startling me and nearly slipping out of my hand.


J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the upcoming Dirty Deeds series.

She would rather bake than cook, she listens to music entirely too loud, and loves writing stories her children will never read. Her husband and children are her greatest loves, with cupcakes coming in at a close second.

J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review: Change of Heart By Nicole Jacquelyn

GOODREADS I AMAZON
They've spent their lives pushing each other away, but what will happen when they need each other most?

Anita Martin doesn't expect much from life. Growing up on the street, bouncing from one foster home to another, she learned to rely only on herself. Even after she finally found a loving family to take her in, she was still an outsider-something Abraham, one of the family's older sons, never let her forget. 

Abraham Evans doesn't know how Ani always manages to get under his skin, only that's she's been doing it since they were teens. She is-and always has been-undeniably gorgeous. But he's never met anyone as pissed off at the world as Ani. 

For fifteen years, Ani and Bram have agreed on exactly one thing: they can't stand each other-until one night when their anger gives way to passion. Yet even as Ani and Bram begin to secretly seek comfort in one another's arms, they remain emotionally worlds apart. When Ani's life takes a dramatic turn and she realizes she needs more than Bram can give, their fragile, no-strings relationship unravels. One way or another, Ani is determined to survive. But when Bram finally admits his true feelings, he may discover Ani has moved on without him . . .



This series just keeps getting better and better! Change of Heart is the second book in Fostering Love series written by Nicole Jacquelyn. To me, Nicole Jacquelyn is a new author because, as of today, I've only read two books written by her. However, technically speaking, she's not a new author (she has a couple other series published). I'm mad at myself for not giving her books a shot sooner because her books are life-changing.

I thought it was going to be impossible for her to write a book just as good as Unbreak My Heart. I was so freaking wrong. If you've read my review for Unbreak My Heart, then you know how much I adore that book. Anyways, I can't even compare Change of Heart to any other book because it's like no other book I've read before.

We were introduced to both characters in Unbreak My Heart. Anita and Abraham, aka Ani and Bram, are Kate's [foster] siblings. They don't get along, until the do. One very steamy night makes it impossible for them to stay away from each other. However, some complications arise that test their limits and they just don't know if they're ready to admit if they're really into each other.

What did I love about this book? Everything. I loved how it took Bram FOREVER to admit his feelings to Ani. I loved Ani's independence and temper. Her ability to be sweet one minute, but completely badass another. I loved how everyone could see that Bram loved Ani except Bram himself. I'm seriously not lying when I say I loved everything about this book.

I'm not afraid to admit that I cried while reading this book. I cried A LOT. This author has no sympathy for her readers (at least that's what I tell myself). Nicole, you have ruined me. I'm not sure if I love you or hate you. For right now, please be satisfied with my love/hate emotions.


Nicole Jacquelyn is the mom of two little girls and a full time college student. She hasn’t watched television in well over a year, she still does things that drive her mother crazy, and she loves to read. At eight years old, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she told people she wanted to be a mom. When she was twelve her answer changed- to author. By the time she was eighteen, when people asked her what she wanted to do with her life, she told them she really wanted to be a writer- but the odds of that happening were so slim that she’d get her business degree “just to be safe”. Her dreams stayed constant. First she became a mom, then she went to college, and during her senior year- with one daughter in first grade and the other in preschool, she sat down and wrote a story.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Blog Tour: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold... 

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington. 

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....



“Come right this way,” Georgia heard her coworker and roommate Becca say, the clomp of her Dr. Martens echoing through the grand old passageway. “Nate is excited to meet you.” Becca was the owner’s assistant, and Georgia lingered half a second to wave her down and offer her a donut, too.
But Becca didn’t happen to look in Georgia’s direction as she led a tall man down the corridor. Something about his gait snagged Georgia’s subconscious. So she took a second look.
And that’s when her heart took off like a manic bunny rabbit. Because she knew that man. She knew the chiseled shape of his masculine jaw, and the length of his coal-black eyelashes.
Oh my God.
Omigod, omigod, omigod.
“How was your flight?” Becca asked him, oblivious to the fact that Georgia was spying.
“Not too bad. I got in late last night.”
The sound of his voice fluttered right inside Georgia’s chest. It was the same smoky sweet timbre that used to whisper into her ear while they made love. She hadn’t let herself remember that sound in a long time.
Now it was giving her goosebumps. The good kind.
“Welcome to Brooklyn,” Becca said while Georgia trembled. “Are you familiar with the area?”
“Grew up about thirty miles from here,” he answered while chills broke out across her back.
Holding her breath, Georgia eased her office door further closed, until only a couple of inches remained. She could not be caught like this—freaked-out and speechless, hiding behind a door.
The movement caught Becca’s eye, though. Georgia saw her turn her head in her direction and then pick her out in the crack where the door was still open. Becca raised one eyebrow—the one with the barbell piercing in it.
All Georgia could do was close her eyes and pray that Becca wouldn’t call out a greeting.
There was a pause before Georgia heard Becca say, “Right this way, please.”
Quietly, Georgia stepped into her office and shut the door. After flipping on the light, she let her briefcase and pocketbook slide right to the floor. Only the folder that Nate had given her was still in her shaking hands. She flipped it open, her eyes searching for the new player’s name on the page.
But she didn’t even need the paperwork to confirm what her racing heart had already figured out. The newest player for the Brooklyn Bruisers was none other than Leonardo “Leo” Trevi, a six-foot-two, left-handed forward. Also known as her high school boyfriend, the boy she’d loved with all her heart until the day that she’d dumped him. And now he was here?
“Thanks, universe,” she whispered into the stillness of her office.



Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Blog Tour: Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan


GOODREADS I AMAZON I B&N I iBOOKS I KOBO
He told me to 'settle, girl.'
He asked if 'something was wrong with me?' He said I was an ‘easy target.’ That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks. I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.
He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.
Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.
I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what would happen if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?


He wasn’t looking at me any more. I wasn’t even sure he was really in the room.

I needed to leave this alone. He had given me the clues—looking away, his jaw clenching, pain like I’d never heard from him sounding loud and clear. My instincts were telling me to shut up, but I couldn’t. I had this burning need to know more about Caden. I needed to get in there, past his walls, and I wanted to understand him.

I wanted to help him.

Caden was hurting, and I wanted to take that away.

“What happened?”

Caden turned his gaze to me now, and I felt branded by the pain I saw. His eyes were stricken. “Does it matter?”

“No.” My breath caught and held in my chest. I wanted to go to him, but I also wanted to slink away. I was stirring up his pain, but I had to know. “What happened, Caden?”

“Why do you have to know?”

“Because it’s hurting you.”

I made a decision, though I had no idea what the ramifications were going to be. I stood, my legs going numb and my stomach clenching, and I moved to his side. He leaned back, his head falling to the couch, and he watched me.

The need to ease some of his hurt outweighed the fear of what would happen next. Swallowing tightly, I stepped over to straddle him and sat down.

“What are you doing?”

He asked that softly, still holding his beer. I took it from his hands and put it on the stand next to the couch. Then I just sat there. He had to do the rest. I’d already made the first move.

I glanced down at his hands, feeling like an idiot. “What happened?”

“Why are you pushing this?”

I looked back up to find confusion warring with need in his eyes. He wasn’t pushing me away, so I sank further into his lap.

“You haven’t told anyone else about this.” It wasn’t really a question, but I saw the confirmation in his eyes. My chest tightened, thinking about whatever secret he held. “Please tell me.”

“No.” He shifted forward, and I braced myself, expecting him to push me away. He didn’t. His hands grasped the backs of my legs and lifted me so I was more fully on his lap.

I could feel him between my legs, and my breasts almost pressed against his chest. I waited. I wanted to see what else he’d say

“But not because I don’t want you to know,” he added. “Because it’s not my secret to tell.”

I nodded, my stomach doing somersaults now. “That makes sense. I can respect that.”

And there we were. His hands cupped my ass, and the pain in his gaze became something darker, something I felt too, something that began to turn off all rational thought.

“What are we doing here?” he questioned, his voice like a caress in itself.

I leaned forward, my gaze lingering on his lips. “I didn’t really think it through.”

“And now?”

“Still not thinking it through.”

“You’re okay with that?”

In that moment, the truth exploded in me. I wanted him. I wanted this—but it was more. I needed this.

I didn’t answer.

I closed the distance between us.



I didn't begin writing until after undergraduate college. There'd been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can't blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I'm hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories. a Rafflecopter giveaway