Sep 222021
 

Just A Kiss (Lyrics and Love Book 4) by Samantha Lind

It all started with just a kiss.The first was ten years ago in high school.Our second was in a bar on the dance floor. We agreed to keep things casual.But we were like a fire burning behind closed doors. Those sparks had me wanting more. When I took a shot in the dark and asked for more, it brought us to the ultimate crossroads.Do we do things right, with just a kiss goodbye?Or do we do things right, with a kiss goodnight?

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 22 September 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Sep 162021
 

Tagging Up (Callahan Family Book 5) by Carrie Aarons

All Anna Callahan wants is her independence.

Being the youngest member of her immediate family, and massive network of cousins, she’s always been sheltered. That ends now. After graduating with her masters in nursing, she’s ready to move out of her parents’ house, whether they support that decision or not. While wallowing in the guilt of that choice at the local bar, she bumps into the one guy she shouldn’t go near.

A player for her family’s team and her cousin’s best friend, Clark should come with a warning label. Not only because he’s the league’s number one playboy, but because he’s significantly older than her.

Unfortunately, they can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other. That initial night together leads to scorching glances across public parties, secret hookups in hidden places, and way more than either of their hearts bargained for.

But being with Clark means lying to those closest to them. When their secret is finally discovered, it sends the already skittish bad boy running for the hills. And although she claimed to want freedom with no strings, Anna can’t help but feel the sharp pull to be with him forever.

Clark Nyle swore a long time ago he’d never be committed to anyone.

After watching his mother ruin his father through adultery and abandonment, he knows that love is for masochists and he certainly isn’t one. Baseball and living life like every day’s a party are his only two passions.

Then his father dies, and he’s forced to question everything. It leads to a barstool, too many drinks, and into the backseat of his car with the one woman he should never have touched.

Now that he’s gotten a taste of Anna, he can’t stay away. Even if their secret affair comes with way too many consequences. Her family owns the team he plays for, not to mention his best friend would cut off his balls if he knew what they were up to. Plus, he doesn’t want anything long-term, and eventually he’s going to break her heart.

But the more time he spends with her, the more he seems to want a different future than the one he always planned on. Until they’re found out, and he’s forced to choose between his demons and the disapproval of his closest friends … or her.

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Sep 112021
 

A Partridge and a Pregnancy (Holiday Brothers #2) by Willa Nash

There are a lot of places I’d rather spend Christmas Eve morning than on a cold, snowy sidewalk outside someone else’s home. I’d kill to be sitting beside a fireplace, drinking cocoa, wearing flannel pajamas and reading a book.

Instead, I’m here, standing in front of my one-night stand’s house, working up the courage to ring the doorbell and tell him I’m pregnant.

I hate that term—one-night stand. It sounds so cheap and sleezy. Tobias Holiday is neither of those things. He’s handsome and caring. Witty and charismatic. And once, a long time ago, he was mine.

Our one-night reunion was only supposed to be a hookup. A fling with an old lover. A parting farewell before I moved to London and put my feelings for him an ocean away. How exactly am I supposed to explain that to Tobias that I’m having a baby? His baby? Maybe I could sing it. He always loved the silly songs I made up in the shower.

Three French hens, two turtle doves.

And a partridge and a pregnancy.

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Sep 032021
 

Learning at 40 (Lakeside Cottage Book 2) by L.B. Dunbar

She didn’t want a one-night stand. He couldn’t promise more than a ten-day fling. Sometimes compromise is all you need.

Zack Weller is timely, orderly, and meticulous. Too bad his seven-year-old, twin sons are hellions. With his divorce final, a two-week vacation beckons him to his best friend’s cottage. Unfortunately, he can’t help the magnetic pull of memories from the house next door—the one that was once his childhood home—or fight the force of nature in the naked woman sunbathing in that backyard.

River Nagle is a free spirit. She understands the trials and tribulations some people face and offers the compassion to deal with them head on. When she inherits a lakeside home, she takes the blessing for what it’s worth: a gift and a new beginning. Until one day two little boys make themselves at home in the tree fort in her backyard and she meets their hot, growly dad who steals her wine, her time, and her heart. Newly divorced, single father grump meets a ray of sunshine, next-door neighbor in this small town, second chance romance where learning to love over 40 works with the right teacher.

+ + +
Welcome back to Lakeside Cottage.

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Aug 062021
 

Hamptons Heartbreak (A New York City Romance Book 4) by Tara Leigh

One beach house.
Two months.
Countless lies.
What could go wrong?

It was supposed to be the perfect summer job.
Housesitting in the Hamptons.
And then he showed up.
Lance Welles.
Moody. Broody. Wealthy. Sexy.
And cocky. So damn cocky.
He’ll let me stay for the summer.
But only if I pretend to be his girlfriend.
I agree. Why wouldn’t I?
It’s not like I’ll fall in love.

The first time I saw Vivienne Radcliffe,
she was in a fire-engine-red bikini.
Setting fire to my house.
Well, not exactly my house.
The garden of my Hamptons estate.
She says the house is hers for the summer.
But it isn’t long before I realize . . .
I want Vivienne to be mine forever.

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Jul 262021
 

Reckless Recluse (Cocky Hero Club) by Lia Fairchild

Mia

An island fling was the last thing I expected when I agreed to spend a month on a tropical island with Graham and Soraya as nanny to their sweet little boy. I was planning to relax with the family, enjoy the sun, and get a break from law school…

Then a shirtless, tanned Adonis runs onto our beach and into my life.

JT is mysterious, rugged, and his gruff exterior should have sent me running in the opposite direction. But something about the man excites me, challenges me to push past my insecurities. And though I don’t see myself as a “fling” kind of girl, maybe it’s just what I need to move on from my painful past. The trouble is JT has quickly imprinted himself on my soul, and saying goodbye to him is going to break me.

JT

Going back to the island, the only place I felt like myself, was a no-brainer. Not just somewhere to seek refuge from business, family, and especially women. It’s a place of serenity…to clear my head and get rid of the anger of betrayal and figure out what I want to do with my life.

Then Mia happens, forcing her way into my heart. Like a violent storm that rushes in, wreaking havoc but ultimately ushering in a new dawn. She sees things in me I never knew existed. But our worlds are spinning in different directions, and no matter how badly I want to hang on, the force pulling us apart might just be too strong for both of us.

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Jul 132021
 

The Bet (Winslow Brothers Collection #1) by Max Monroe

When it comes to life’s fun and games, always know:
The rules.
What’s at stake.
When to quit.

Wise words from…well…my fortune cookie. But wise words, nonetheless.

I just wish the Fortune Cookie People had considered how hard the whole “knowing when to quit” would be to carry out when a woman like me is gambling with her feelings.

Heart-palpitating, vageen-tingling, butterflies-in-my-belly feelings for a noncommittal, hot-as-sin player by the name of Jude Winslow.

After a crazy night where we were both pretending to be someone else, I’ve found myself immersed in the fun of the fling.
The thrill.
The irresistible charm.
The pleasure of being with a man like him.

Problem is, I’m positive he’s the exact opposite of husband material, and that is a serious issue for someone who is fixated on finding her happily ever after.

I know the rules and I know the stakes, oh wise Fortune Cookie.

Now I’d just like to know how close to self-destruction I have to get before I find the will to quit Jude Winslow.

Goodness knows, when your heart is on the line, you can’t ante up your bet with an IOU.

Author Note: The Bet is a full-length standalone romantic comedy and the first standalone book in the Winslow Brothers Collection. This book is chock-full of hilarious rom-com moments, but also, it’s spicy. We’re talking alllllll the sexy.

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Jul 132021
 

Down to Fall (A Love Happens Novel #5) by Jodi Watters

A lust story. Only meant to be temporary.
A love story. Always meant to be permanent.
A hate story. Never meant to be.
This… is all three.

Nicole
It started in an elevator in California. Our lust story.
You know, the kind you know going in is a bad idea, but… the nagging desire and all. A few drinks in the hotel bar across from our workplace. A few nights in a luxury suite twenty floors above. What could it hurt?
Innocent fun would be had by all, and I’d walk away a well-satisfied woman. Ready to continue my life of brokenhearted loneliness.

Grady
It started on a ridge in Afghanistan. Our love story. You know, the kind you felt in your soul at first sight, but… the tragic circumstances and all. Intentionally casual conversation over Irish whiskey. Intentionally casual sex over the course of two weeks. How could I refuse?
Guilt-ridden bonds would be built, and I’d confess my darkest sin. Beg for forgiveness five years overdue and clean my conscience along with it.

It started with the cold hard truth. Our hate story.
You know, the kind that could end a surprisingly beautiful beginning.

All books in the LOVE HAPPENS SERIES are standalones. They can be read on their own, or as a companion to the other books in the series:
Next to Me (Sam)
Wrong then Right (Beckett)
True to You (Asher)
Have a Heart (Jason)
Down to Fall (Grady)

Excerpt Down to Fall by Jodi Watters

Ten minutes after he agreed, Nicole found herself standing inside a deluxe suite at the Hyatt, their tryst beginning in the lap of luxury.
It would end here too, but only after she’d had her fill of him and/or thirteen days had passed, whichever came first. Based on the way that gray t-shirt stretched across his broad shoulders, and if there were tattoos and tan lines under it, she’d run out of time before she ran out of desire.
Backing her up against the hotel room door, Grady leaned in but didn’t touch her, only locking the deadbolt and flipping the security bar, the sound loud in the hushed darkness of the room.
“You sure about this?” His masculinity surrounded her, warm and wicked. His height dwarfed her, tall and tantalizing.
“Yes,” she whispered. “Are you?”
“No,” he choked out, his voice gravelly. “No, I’m not sure. But there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
They’d never been this close before, but if she’d known his strength was so powerful, his scent so heady, his size so commanding, she’d have cornered him weeks ago. Probably humped his camo-panted leg like a dog in heat.
Well, he’d better be ready. She was about to be unleashed. Which was to say, he’d be on the receiving end of her largely limited—and significantly rusty—sexual repertoire.
Comparing herself to the animalistic dynamo that was a female canine in heat was her ego talking. Oh, she could get the job done, no doubt about it, but Grady might not be so impressed he’d hire her again, if you caught her drift.
Thirteen days might turn into a one-and-done situation.
But luckily, she’d made that quick drugstore run during her lunch break yesterday, so she was fully prepared. Condoms, a Lady Bic razor and shaving gel, and a king-sized Kit Kat bar completed her purchase. The condoms were a necessity—safety first, ’cause that’s how ole Nicole rolled. The razor because, between the two of them, he should be the only one with stubble. The chocolate was simply because she hadn’t had sex in a longer timespan than your average bad-credit car loan, and that fact would make any girl self-medicate.
Thankfully she’d had the foresight to buy a half dozen candy bars and wasn’t ashamed to admit she’d powered one down just prior to stalking him via the elevator tonight.
Chocolate might give her cellulite, but it also gave her courage. Courage she desperately needed, because right about now, she was feeling like a born-again virgin.
Unsure. Unsteady. And unprepared for the sight he was about to bestow upon her.
Bare, muscled skin.
Their suite was several stories high, the only glow in the room from the small lamp on the nightstand and that of a thousand twinkling lights from the surrounding downtown buildings. The panoramic floor to ceiling windows offered an amazing view, day or night, and though the drapes were drawn open to the outside world, they were cocooned inside by the soft radiance of a single bulb.
The only people on earth.
Moving deeper into the room, his eyes barely left hers as he tugged his t-shirt off, lazily dropping it to the floor.
My god.
There were tattoos. Plural. And in nearly the exact location of her fantasies.
The letter F was inked over his left pec muscle, a single initial monogrammed in an Old English decorative script. F for Foster. Underneath that same glorious pec muscle was a short verse, in a cleaner, simpler font, that wrapped horizontally around his torso toward his back.
It was too dark in the room for her to read the words, but that task was now on the tippy top of her To-Do list.
What she could read was the larger quote tattooed along the right side of his collar bone. De oppresso liber. To liberate the oppressed. The motto of the United States Army Special Forces.
Don’t ask her how she knew that. It wasn’t a fun tale to tell.
“What’s going through that pretty head of yours?”
Swallowing, she regained the use of language. “That I wanna lick your tattoos.”
A smartass grin graced his beautifully sculpted mouth. “Damn. Should’ve tattooed my dick.”
The button on his pants popped, the slide of his zipper letting loose a hoard of butterflies in her stomach when he opened the placket. Dark shadows hid his best asset, his intention only to relieve the pressure, not release the beast.
He needn’t worry. She wanted to lick that too.

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Jul 122021
 

Rounding the Bases (Out of the Park Book 3) by Jaqueline Snowe

FROM EXCITING ROMANCE AUTHOR JAQUELINE SNOWE

Book three in the Out of the Park series

What happens when a summer fling doesn’t end with the season?

Sarah Blue has one dream—to open her own pet boarding business. When she receives an offer to spend three months in a penthouse looking after two dogs, she intends to do the best dog-sitting job possible, and focus on her business plan. What she didn’t expect was to run into a stranger so handsome that she could barely put two words together at the sight of him.

And she certainly didn’t expect him to live across the hall and befriend her.

Brigham Monaghan’s reputation is on the line. After an arrest that went very public, his future as an outfielder with Los Soles isn’t guaranteed. With his life a total mess, he welcomes the distraction from the blue-haired girl across the hall who not only doesn’t know his name, but hates sports. It’s the perfect situation.

But things get complicated when what was supposed to be summer fun and flirting turns into something more. Sarah’s business takes off, where Brigham’s future is barely hanging on by a thread. With the odds stacking up against Brigham, Sarah can’t help questioning his motives. Did he fall hard for her, like she did him, or is it just a PR ploy?

Either way, he’s going to break her heart…

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 12 July 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 052021
 

Relentless (The Mason Family Series #4) by Adriana Locke

“I had to sneeze.”

I should’ve taken her insurance information and driven off like any reasonable CEO with places to be would.

She crashed into my car, for heaven’s sake. Because she had to sneeze.

What did I do? I didn’t get in my car and drive away, if that’s what you’re thinking.

Nope. I stuck around. I could suggest I stayed because she needed help, but the truth? She was really, really hot.

We became fast friends. Then friends with benefits. Before I knew it, we were involved in an illicit office romance that had me fumbling through a drawerful of panties to get a Post-It.

It was supposed to be easy—a fling, if you will. A dashing millionaire hero (*adjusts tie*) and a beautiful (stubborn, frustratingly independent, hell-on-wheels) damsel in distress. (Don’t tell her I said that.)

It wasn’t supposed to be forever, but we did want a happy ending. (Pun intended.) We could’ve made it work, too.

But one of us overcomplicated things with the L-word. And the other? They omitted a truth that changed everything.

Author’s Note: Relentless is a standalone novel filled with heart and heat.

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Jul 032021
 

Mister Know-It-All by Amélie S. Duncan

What’s a girl to do when she discovers that her boss/boyfriend (I don’t need a lecture, thank you very much!) is a cheating windbag?
Dump him and quit her job, of course.
After that, it was supposed to be the Summer of Me—a totally self-indulgent few months.
Except that I met a drop-dead gorgeous Viking with a bossy attitude.
We clashed on his arrogance and crassness, but geek bonded over Star Wars and Star Trek.
He offered himself as a no-strings-attached candidate for my get-my-groove-back sex plan, and I left because he already had a girlfriend, even if they were on a break.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
I really, really needed to find someone less complicated, but he infiltrated my thoughts.
He was hot, after all (And his towel might have slipped on purpose.) Seriously hot.
No matter how many times I decided not to pursue anything with him, he kept showing a softer side of himself.
But we couldn’t keep going like that, neither here nor there.
Some decisions had to be made.
One that could change everything.
If someone had told me how my Summer of Me would end? I’d never have believed them.
But I regret nothing.

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Jul 032021
 

Fated Hearts (Southern Bride Book 8) by Kelly Elliott

It was only meant to be a short trip—up to Chicago for two days and then back to Texas. At least, that was the plan until a massive snowstorm leaves me trapped in Chicago at a local hotel with no definite timeframe of when I can go back home. If that wasn’t a crazy-enough turn of events—I wake up to a beautiful princess standing in my hotel room.

She was definitely a sight to behold, but she’s not the least bit thrilled to see me—think Momma Bear finding Goldilocks lying in her bed type of annoyance.

You see, my princess turned out to be a tired and angry traveler who had been double-booked…in my hotel room. With no rooms left anywhere in the city, we are forced to bunk together to ride out the storm. Now all that’s left to determine is will we survive each other.

After a rocky start and some much-needed rest, Analise and I soon forge a friendship that turns into a no-strings-attached fling.

When the fairytale we got lost in melts away, we have an even bigger storm to weather that we never saw coming. The one where I’m faced with the uncertainty of having to walk away from the one woman who has opened a part of my heart I had thought was as frozen over as the city we found each other in.

Fated Hearts is a stand-alone novel and the last book in the Southern Bride series.

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Jun 262021
 

My Greatest Mistake (Crazy In Love Book 1) by T Gephart

Love isn’t fated.
And anything revealed by a sideshow fortune teller about soulmates is also bogus.
But when the same unique name is called over the loudspeaker at a hospital years later, even a skeptic like Zara can’t fight the curiosity.
And when he turns out to be a witty, good-looking, intelligent and successful lawyer, a girl might rethink her stance.
But is he everything he claims to be? Or is he too good to be true?
Crazy attraction and an undeniable connection make for a lethal combination.
And he is either her ultimate true love or her greatest mistake.

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Jun 222021
 

Wild Mistake (Wilde Horse Ranch Book 3) by Kim Loraine

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

A two-week Hawaiian vacation with a beautiful woman. What could go wrong? Well, when that woman is my best friend’s little sister, the answer is—everything.

Mackenzie Langston has been in my life since we were kids, and until now I didn’t see past her family and our friendship. So when she tells me she’s sworn off men for the next year after a bad breakup, I jump at the chance to have some company on the vacation I’d booked for me and my cheating ex. But Mack’s all grown up and we’re both on the rebound.

In a romantic suite with just one bed, the weather isn’t the only thing that gets hot.

Turns out, what I thought was a good idea might end up one big mistake.
Especially when my heart’s on the line.

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Jun 182021
 

Say Yes by Kandi Steiner

Two strangers.
Two words.
One unforgettable summer…

When you’re an artist, everything has to be perfect.

Or so I thought, until my professor told me my perfection was boring and unoriginal. Studying abroad in Florence has taught me one thing: I know nothing when it comes to what makes art truly beautiful.

So, with my professor’s words in my ear, I step outside one evening and decide to say yes to any and everything I’m faced with until the sun rises.

Of course, I didn’t expect him to show up.

Liam Benson, the broody, sexy, tortured artist from my class who I can’t stand. He’s got a sour outlook on the world and an ego so big no one could properly stroke it to his satisfaction.

When he finds out what I’m doing, he hijacks my “yes” night.
And after just twelve hours with him, I’m desperate for more.

But Liam is running from more than I could ever understand, and with his heart guarded and mind made up about life, I don’t stand a chance.

I convince myself that we can keep it casual.
But walking away from him at the end of the summer is as impossible as painting outside the lines.

I used to think when you’re an artist, everything has to be perfect.

Turns out everything has to be painful, and messy, and fleeting.

If only I’d known that before I fell under Liam Benson’s spell.

Excerpt Say Yes by Kandi Steiner

So many emotions swirled inside me staring at that painting. Each new breath came shallower and shallower. My heart raced in my chest. My lips parted. My eyelids became heavy.
Before I could think to stop myself, I reached for the painting with the thumb of my right hand. I couldn’t explain it, but I was desperate to touch the oil, to feel the painting as if it were alive and breathing right alongside me.
“Like what you see?”
I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of a deep voice barreling from the classroom door, stumbling backward and barely catching myself before I toppled over the mess of barstools.
When I looked at the intruder, I found a smirking Liam Benson.
“Careful,” he said, shoving his hands in his pockets and leaning against the doorframe. “Paint’s not quite dry yet.”
I zipped my lips together, standing straight and smoothing my left hand over my overalls while the other slid quietly into my pocket. “I wasn’t going to touch it.”
Liam arched a brow. “Weren’t you? Because it sure looked like—”
“I wasn’t,” I insisted, tucking my hair behind my ear. “I was just… there was a fly, and I was waving it away.”
“Ah,” he answered.
An uncomfortable silence fell between us, and I felt the weight of his eyes on me like they were strong hands pinning me to the very spot where I stood.
I cleared my throat, making my way across the room to grab my purse. “I was just leaving, so you can have the place to yourself.”
“I liked your piece.”
I stopped mid-step at that, frowning when I met his gaze.
“I’ve never seen someone capture light with oil like that — not in this century, anyway. And the detail of the buildings, the people in the streets… even the tiny lemons and oranges at the fruit stand had exquisite detail.”
My heart thumped hard in my chest, so loud and furious I heard it reverberate in my ears. “Are you making fun of me?”
“What?” he asked incredulously, pushing off where he was leaning against the doorframe. “Of course not.”
Liam watched me like I had three heads, his brows bent in concentration. I didn’t know him, and yet my annoyance for him was palpable. It shouldn’t have mattered to me that he showed up last minute and created something I never would have even thought of, but jealousy flickered like a candle in my gut, anyway.
“I mean, look, do I understand why Professor B wasn’t impressed?” he continued after a second, tilting his head this way and that. “Yeah. He sees your talent, though. He knows you’ve got something. He’s just challenging you to do more with it.”
“What, like paint pornography the way you did?”
He smirked. “Pornography, huh? Is that what you see when you look at it?”
“It’s what you painted.”
“Are you offended by female bodies?”
“No,” I scoffed. “I just… I don’t see how it relates to the assignment. He said to paint our first week in Florence. He said—”
All the blood drained from my face when it dawned on me that all those supple breasts and lush bottoms and thick thighs were exactly what filled his first week in Italy.
When my eyes flicked to his, he wore an amused smile, but didn’t offer any assistance in helping me put the pieces together.
“We just approached the assignment differently, that’s all,” he said after a moment with a shrug. “But no, I’m not making fun of you. What you painted is beautiful.”
I shook my head, adjusting my purse on my shoulder before I started for the door. “It’s nothing compared to yours,” I mumbled under my breath.
But before I could snake past him and retreat out the door, that stupid boy hooked his hand gently in the crook of my elbow, pulling me to a stop.
My breath caught, chest squeezing, and I could feel the warmth of his hand on my arm, could smell the peppermint on the wave of his breath where it swept over me.
If I turned my head just a quarter inch, I could see the scruff on his jaw up close, I could note the true color of his eyes, I could commit every shape of his face to memory and paint it later.
But I didn’t dare.
“I didn’t realize we were in competition,” he said, his voice low and melty like a stick of butter in a hot skillet.
I swallowed, but still didn’t lift my gaze to his. Instead, I shrugged him off and shoved through the door, back out into the warm summer evening.
This time, I went home.
But sleep never found me.

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 18 June 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jun 062021
 

The Spark by Vi Keeland
Model: Alessandro Dellisola
Release Date: July 12, 2021

BLURB

Before I even met Donovan Decker, I knew his shoe size.
You see, I’d gone away for a few days, and in my haste to get out of the airport, I’d grabbed the wrong suitcase.
After checking out the expensive footwear and tailored clothes, I dialed the number on the luggage tag hoping maybe Mister Big Spender might have my bag.
A deep, velvety voice answered, and as luck would have it, he had my suitcase, too.
Donovan and I met at a coffee shop to do the exchange.
Turned out, it wasn’t just his voice that was sexy. The man holding my luggage was absolutely gorgeous, and we had an immediate spark.
He got me to admit that I’d snooped in his bag and then convinced me to make it up to him by letting him buy me coffee.
Coffee led to dinner, dinner led to dessert, and dessert led to spending an entire weekend together. Donovan wasn’t just handsome with a panty-dropping voice. He was also funny, smart, and surprisingly down to earth for a man who wore seven-hundred-dollar shoes.
Did I mention he also did my laundry while I slept?
Definitely too good to be true.
So what did I do to repay him for his kindness?
I waited until he was in the shower, then ghosted him.
My life was too complicated for such a great guy.
In the months that passed, I thought about Donovan often. But New York City had eight-million people, so what were the chances I’d run into him?
Then again, what were the chances I’d run into him a year later…when I’d just started dating his boss?

Excerpt The Spark by Vi Keeland
CHAPTER 1
Autumn

I’m definitely getting too old for this.
I tossed a pile of mail on the couch and plopped down beside it. It was barely six o’clock, and I wouldn’t have minded climbing into bed and calling it a day. I needed a vacation from my four-day mini vacation. Thank goodness I’d scheduled myself a weekend to recover. My girls’ trip/early bachelorette party in Vegas for my friend Anna—the one where we were all going to relax by the pool and get spa treatments—had turned into all-night clubbing and almost missing my flight home earlier today because I’d overslept. It had definitely been a while since I drank more than two glasses of wine in the span of a week, and I was feeling my ripe old age of twenty-eight before the sun had even set this Friday night. Thank God I didn’t have to work tomorrow.
I briefly considered going the hair-of-the-dog route and sucking back a vodka cran while zoning out on Netflix, but then my phone rang, crashing me back to reality.
Ugh…
Dad flashed on the screen. I should’ve just gotten it over with and spoken to him, but I didn’t have the energy. Nonetheless, allowing myself to avoid the stress speaking to my father would inevitably cause reminded me of the other thing I needed to do that I’d been avoiding all afternoon. Laundry. One of my least-favorite tasks—mostly because it required me to sit downstairs in my building’s dingy basement laundry room. Up until a few months ago, I would start my laundry and come back forty-five minutes later to make the switch to the dryer. But that practice had come to a halt after one of my loads went missing—an entire load of wet bras and underwear. Who the hell stole wet clothes? At least nab dry ones. Nevertheless, it was an expensive lesson, and now I didn’t leave the basement until my clothes were washed and dried.
Sighing, I begrudgingly went to the bedroom, where my suitcase still sat on the bed, and unzipped it. I’d packed a linen skirt on top that I hadn’t wound up wearing, and I figured I’d hang it in the bathroom and hope the wrinkles worked themselves out over the course of a couple of steamy showers. I hated ironing almost as much as I hated doing laundry downstairs.
But when I flipped open the top of the suitcase, my linen skirt wasn’t on top. At first I thought my bag must’ve been selected for search, and things hadn’t been put back in order… Though the wingtip shoe I lifted was most definitely not mine.
Shit.
I rummaged through the suitcase in a panic.
Slacks, running clothes, a men’s dress shirt… A sickening feeling washed over me, and I scrambled to look at the luggage tag. I’d never filled out the identification card inside, but the leather had my initials embossed on the outside.
And this one…had no initials.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
I’d grabbed the wrong bag off the luggage carousel. I started to sweat. All of my makeup was in that bag! Not to mention a week’s worth of my best outfits and shoes. I needed to get it back. Rushing to the kitchen, I grabbed my cell from the charger on the counter and Googled the number for the airline. After wading through a half-dozen prompts, I reached a recording.
“Thank you for calling American Airlines. Due to unprecedented call volume, your estimated wait time is approximately forty-one minutes.”
Forty-one minutes! I blew out a rush of air. Great. Just great.
In the meantime, while I waited on hold on speakerphone, listening to staticky music, it hit me that whoever’s luggage I had might very well have mine. I hadn’t even checked the luggage tag to see if, unlike mine, the identification information was filled in.
I zipped back down the hall to my bedroom.
Bingo!
Donovan Decker—kind of a cool name. And he lived here in the city! Thankfully, Donovan even had his phone number listed. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? I doubted it, but considering I still had forty minutes before I could speak to someone at the airline, I wasn’t losing much for trying. So I swiped to end my call. I started to punch in the numbers on the tag, and then decided to hit *67 first to make my number private. With my luck, the guy wouldn’t have my luggage, but he’d be a total creeper.
I was caught off guard when a man’s deep voice answered on the first ring. I hadn’t yet figured out what I was going to say.
“Uhhh. Hi. My name is Autumn, and I think I might have your luggage.”
“That was quick. I just hung up with you guys two minutes ago.”
He must’ve thought I was calling from the airline. “Oh, no. I don’t work for American. I traveled home this morning and must’ve grabbed the wrong bag at JFK.”
“What are your initials?”
“My initials?”
“Yeah, you know, the first letter of your first name and the first letter of your last name.”
I rolled my eyes. “I know what initials are. I just don’t understand why you would ask—Oh! Does that mean you have my luggage? I have my initials embossed on the luggage tag.”
“That depends on what your initials are, Autumn. The first letter matches.”
“My initials are AW.”
“Well, then it seems you are indeed the thief who clipped my luggage.”
Sure, I hadn’t checked my luggage tag, but it offended me that he was calling me a thief. “Wouldn’t we both be thieves? Since you’re in possession of my luggage?”
“I only took yours because it was the last one left rotating around the carousel. You see, unlike you, I checked the luggage tag the first time it passed, and when I saw it wasn’t mine, I left it for the rightful owner to claim. But the line at baggage customer service was twenty deep, and I had a meeting I was already late for. So I took the one I have hostage until the airline could sort it out.”
My shoulders slumped. “Oh. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. Are you here in the City?”
“I am. Could we possibly meet to swap bags?”
“Sure. When and where? I’m out now, but I’ll be back in an hour or two.”
The tag had an address on the Upper East Side, but I lived on the West Side, farther downtown. “Could we meet at the Starbucks on 80th and Lex?” That was closer to him, but at least I’d only have to drag the suitcase onto one subway.
“I can’t think of any excuse not to. What time?”
That was sort of a weird way to phrase a yes, and the way he emphasized the word excuse seemed odd. But hey, I was getting my bag back. So what if he turned out to be a little strange? At least I’d hidden my phone number, and we were meeting in a public place.
“How about eight?”
“I’ll see you then.”
It sounded like he was about to hang up. “Wait…” I said. “How will I know it’s you?”
“I’ll be the one holding your luggage, Autumn W.”
I chuckled. “Oh, yeah. Sorry…long week in Vegas.”
I bent and lifted the shoe from the top of the bag. Ferragamo. Expensive. And big, too. A quick peek revealed it was a size thirteen. The inner teenager in me couldn’t help but think big feet, big…. Plus, the guy had a deep, sexy voice. I would definitely be exploring more of the dude’s luggage after we hung up.
“I’ll meet you at eight,” he said.
“See you then.” I was just about to swipe my phone off when something hit me. Oh God! “Hello? Wait…are you still there?”
It took a heartbeat or two, but the sexy voice came back on the line. “What’s up?”
“Ummm… Did you…open my bag?”
“I unzipped it at the airport to make sure it wasn’t mine when I noticed the luggage tag initials.”
“Did you…see anything?”
“There was a pink thong on top, so that pretty much sealed the deal that it didn’t belong to me. But I didn’t rummage through, if that’s what you’re asking.”
I forgot I’d shoved that thong in at the last minute. It had been at the back of a drawer when I’d checked the hotel room one last time on my way out. But I’d take him seeing my underwear over the other stuff inside my bag. I blew out a sigh of relief. “Okay, that’s great. Thank you. I’ll see you at eight at Starbucks.”
“Whoa. Hang on a second—not so fast. You sounded pretty nervous that I might’ve gone through your bag. Are you hiding something sinister in there? I’m not going to be walking around with a suitcase full of drugs or something, am I?”
I cracked a smile. “No, definitely not. I just…I’d prefer if you didn’t go through it.”
“Did you rummage through mine?”
I glanced at the shoe in my hand. Taking out one measly piece of footwear wouldn’t be considered rummaging, right? Nah. “No, I didn’t.”
“Are you planning on it?” he asked.
I had no idea what the man looked like, yet I could tell by his voice that he was smiling now.
“Nope,” I lied.
“Alright. Then we have a deal. I won’t go through your bag, and you won’t go through mine.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“Do I have your word on that, Autumn W? I might have some things I’d prefer you didn’t see in there.”
“Like what?”
He chuckled. “See you at eight.”
After we hung up, I tossed the shoe back into the suitcase and bent to close it. But as I reached for the zipper, my curiosity got the best of me. Was he just screwing with me, or did he really have something in here he didn’t want me to see? Of course, I knew what I had in mine, which made me extra curious.
I shook my head and started to pull the zipper closed. About halfway, I laughed out loud. Who was I kidding? Now that I didn’t have laundry to do, I had almost a full two hours to kill before I met Mr. Bigfoot. This suitcase would taunt me all that time. I’d most certainly give in eventually, so why not put myself out of that misery and just take a little look-see inside now? Then I’d be able to relax. He’d never know I hadn’t lived up to my end of the bargain. Not to mention, for all I knew, he was elbow deep in my suitcase right now. In that case, it would only be fair that I got to go through his, right?
I nibbled my lip for a few seconds as a wave of guilt washed over me. But I quickly forced that out of my mind. Of course I’m right.
Feeling justified now, I unzipped the suitcase and took a minute to mentally note how everything was packed: a white dress shirt was folded on top, and two shoes were set on either side, heels facing up. I carefully unpacked those and placed them on the bed next to the suitcase in the same order. The next layer had more folded clothes: two expensive dress shirts, a pair of sweats, boxer briefs, and a few T-shirts, one of which had something emblazoned on the front—familiar lettering that began HA—so I unfolded it to see what it said. Harvard Law.
Ugh. One of those. No wonder he could afford Ferragamo shoes.
Underneath the pile of clothes was a white laundry bag—the kind a hotel gives you to put your dry cleaning in, but most people used it to separate their dirty clothes. With no desire to sort through smelly socks, I started to fold the clothes back into the suitcase, feeling a twinge of disappointment. But when I smoothed out the layers of the pile, I felt something lumpy and hard underneath in the plastic laundry bag. So I took the clothes back out and looked inside, hoping to find…I’m not sure what. Though what I found was definitely not what I expected.
The bag was filled with at least twenty or thirty of those little shampoo bottles hotels give out. Actually, a closer inspection revealed some were conditioner and a few were moisturizer. Buried on the very bottom were also three little sewing kits and half-a-dozen toothbrushes wrapped in plastic—the kind you could get at the front desk of a hotel when you forgot yours.
What the heck had Mr. Bigfoot done? Rob a housekeeping cart? This kind of stuff, though a lesser quantity, is what you’d usually find in my suitcase since I was broke all the time. But it wasn’t the type of thing you’d expect in the suitcase of a man who had gone to Harvard and wore seven-hundred-dollar dress shoes.
Now I was even more curious to meet Donovan Decker.

***

I arrived at Starbucks almost twenty minutes early, so I went online to treat myself to a flat white with honey almond milk. Even ordering it had me salivating, thinking about the sweet, creamy drink. Expensive coffee was my indulgence, but it didn’t happen too often with the five-dollar price tag and my skimpy budget.
I stood at the end of the counter, waiting for my drink and mindlessly scrolling on my phone, when a man walking through the front door caught my attention.
Oh, wow.
Now that was one good-looking man. Describing him as merely tall, dark, and handsome didn’t cut it, not by a mile. Jet-black hair framed a magnificent face with a chiseled, masculine bone structure, full lips, and a Romanesque nose. I wasn’t the only one to notice, either. I watched as the Adonis took a step back outside to hold the door open for a woman exiting the store, and the poor lady caught one glimpse of him and literally tripped over her own feet.
Seemingly oblivious that he’d caused the incident, he extended a hand to help her up, flashed a killer smile, and strolled inside. His bright blue eyes scanned the room, stopping right on my ogling ones. Embarrassed at being caught, I quickly diverted my attention back to my phone. A few seconds later, I was still pretending to be enraptured by my screen when footsteps came to a halt in front of me. I glanced up and blinked a few times. The guy from the door flashed a crooked smile.
“Were you able to control yourself?”
My forehead wrinkled. “Excuse me?”
His eyes danced with mirth, and his voice lowered. “I bet you couldn’t.”
I stared at him for an awkward moment before finally shaking my head. “What on Earth are you talking about?”
The man’s brows furrowed. “We made a deal, remember? I wouldn’t go through yours, if you didn’t touch mine?”
I’d watched the man walk in, stood right in front of him staring for at least a solid minute, and it took until now for me to notice he had something in his hand.
“Oh my God. You have my suitcase!”
He laughed but still looked perplexed. “What did you think I was talking about?”
“I…I don’t know. I was thoroughly confused.”
“I thought you saw me walk in.”
I did. But I hadn’t made it past your face. “No, I hadn’t noticed. Sorry. I guess I was just zoning out.”
The barista behind the counter yelled my name. I was glad for an excuse to put some distance between this guy and me. I needed a moment to gather my wits. Though when I returned, I still felt a little off-kilter.
“Thank you for meeting me to swap suitcases,” I said. “I’m really sorry I took the wrong one.”
“No problem.”
I rolled his case forward and released the handle. But the Adonis didn’t do the same. In fact, he pulled my bag closer to his side.
“Before we switch…” He tilted his head and studied my face. “I’m curious to know if you kept your word.”
I mimicked his pose and tilted my head. “What if I say I didn’t?”
“Well, then you’d have to pay a penalty for violating the terms of our deal.”
I raised a brow, intrigued. “A penalty?”
He nodded. “That’s right. There’s a penalty.”
I laughed as I lifted my coffee for a sip. “I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Vegas. Pretty sure this overpriced drink just used up the last five dollars in my bank account.”
“I wasn’t referring to a monetary penalty.”
“What kind of a penalty, then?”
He stroked the stubble on his chin for a moment. “You’d have to have coffee with me.”
Did this guy really think that would be a hardship? I debated how to answer. If I told the truth, it would be embarrassing. I mean, I went through the man’s personal belongings. But the flipside was I’d get to check him out some more over coffee. Then again, I’d be agreeing to spend time with a complete stranger. Though…whenever I met a guy online, I usually met him at a coffeehouse, and I probably knew more about this guy after going through his suitcase than I would from an online chat. Not to mention, none of my online dates had looked like Donovan Decker lately. In fact, none had made it further than coffee in a while.
Adonis had been watching my face as I debated my answer. His smirk made me think he already knew I’d checked out his bag. So, what the hell?
I stood tall and met his stare. “Was the lady from housekeeping harmed in the robbery?”
His eyes narrowed for a heartbeat, but then a giant smile spread across his face. He held his hand out toward the seating area. “After you, Autumn W.”

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 6 June 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Apr 132021
 

Feels Like Falling (Feels Like Falling #1) by J. S. Cooper

We were two perfect strangers in the night…

Every Monday night, I would go to the hotel.
I never knew his name. He never knew mine.

His eyes held secrets.
My eyes held lies.

When I was in his arms, nothing else in the world existed. Until the night everything changed.

My past is dictating my future.
His past is dictating his life.

And we’re connected in a way I never saw coming.
I should run from the mysterious man who can only further complicate my life, but it feels like I’m falling, and I can’t stop the inevitable crash.

Feels Like Falling is the first book in a three part novella trilogy from the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Ex Games and The Private Club J. S. Cooper. The books will be released weekly and so there are no long waits to find out the explosive and scandalous secrets that rock the pages of this book.

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 13 April 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 282021
 

Southern Sinner (North Carolina Highlands Series Book 3) by Jessica Peterson

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Until I brought my fake girlfriend home.

When I took a seat next to the gorgeous brunette at the blackjack table, I had no idea it would be the start of the hottest weekend of my life. By day, Stevie and I dominate the casinos of Sin City.

By night, I dominate her in my penthouse suite.

Then my brother Samuel ruins it by asking me to come home for his engagement party.

Because he’s not just getting married. This isn’t a normal celebration for me. His future bride is my ‘one who got away.’ The girl I may or may not still be in love with.

The catch? He wants me to prove I’m over his fiancée before they set a date. So I ask Stevie to double down on our chemistry and pretend to be my girlfriend.

We set our ground rules: lots of sex, plenty of pretend smiles, and no strings.

But we’re not only gambling with the truth. We’re gambling with our hearts.

They say every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. But Stevie’s past may force us to fold on our future before it’s even begun.

SOUTHERN SINNER is a full-length, standalone novel in the North Carolina Highlands Series. Coming April 22!

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Mar 232021
 

The Belle and the Beard (Adventures In Dating #3) by Kate Canterbary

From the desk of Jasper-Anne Cleary
If you find yourself publicly humiliated, out of work, and unemployable at 35—not to mention newly single—here’s how to salvage your life:

Run away. Seriously, there’s no shame in disappearing. Go to that rustic old cottage your aunt left you. Look out for the colony of bats and the leaky roof. Oh, and the barrel-chested neighbor with shoulders like the broad side of a barn. Definitely look out for him.
Stop wallowing and stay busy. It doesn’t matter whether you know how to bake or fix things around the house. Do it anyway. Dust off your southern hospitality and feed that burly, bearded neighbor some pecan pie.
Meet new people. Chat up the grumpy man-bear, pretend to be his girlfriend when his mother puts you two on the spot, agree to go as his date to a big family party. Don’t worry—it’s only temporary.
Cry it out. Screwing up your life entitles you to wine, broody-moody music, and uninterrupted sobbing.
Get over it all by getting under someone. Count on your fake boyfriend to deliver some very real action between the sheets.
Move on. The disappearing act, the cottage, the faux beau—none of it can last forever.

From the desk of Linden Santillian
If a hell-in-heels campaign strategist moves in next door to you, here’s how to survive the invasion:

Do not engage. There is no good reason you should chop her wood, haul her boxes, or pick her apples.
Do not accept gifts, especially not the homemade ones. Disconnect the doorbell, toss your phone over a bridge, hide in the basement if you must, but do not eat her pie.
Do not introduce her to your friends and family. They’ll favor her over you and never let you forget it.
Do not intervene when she’s crying on the back porch. Ignore every desire to fix the entire world for her. By no means should you take her into your arms and memorize her peach-sweet curves.
Do not take her to bed, even if it’s just to get her out of your system.
Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with her.
Warning: This steamy starting over standalone includes a meet-burglary, an immortal cat, a biohazard of a banana bread, a meddling mother, fancy toast, and a temporary fling that starts feeling a little too permanent.

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Mar 162021
 

All I Want (All Of Me Duet Book 1) by A.D. Justice

Right time. Right place. Right woman.

I was blowing off steam when a guys’ trip led to a hot fling.
She was exactly what I needed for our ten days together.

I said I’d never fall in love.
I said I’d never get attached.
We were never supposed to see each other again.
We were never supposed to be anything more.

But when she comes back into my life, I remind myself of one thing:
Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong man.

All I Want is book one in the compelling All of Me duet series.

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 16 March 2021  Posted by  Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
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