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Romance

AVAILABLE NOW! When the Saint Falls (Westbrook Three #1) by A.D. McCammon, Genre: NA High School Bully Romance.

Title: When the Saint Falls
Series: Westbrook Three #1
Author: A.D. McCammon
Genre: NA High School Bully Romance
Release Date: January 16, 2020


 

Thatcher Michaelson is a bully. 

 

Arrogant. Cruel. Ruthless. 
And the most attractive guy I’ve ever laid eyes on. He’s the rebel of Westbrook high, and I’m merely the annoying goody two-shoes he dubbed the saint. 
 
There must be something wrong with me. After nearly two years of dirty looks and constant humiliation, I’m still crushing on the guy who hated me on sight. 

Then he kissed me and instead of the ice-cold gaze I was accustomed to, I saw passion burning behind his dark molten eyes. 
 
Violet St. James doesn’t belong in my world.
Good. Kind. Pure. 
She’s everything I’m not.
She doesn’t just look like an angel, she is one. And I’ve fought every impulse to make her mine.
 
But all my efforts went up in flames the second I tasted her sweet lips. My inability to stay away has changed everything. 
 
She’s determined to break down all my walls, but my little saint doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions. 

She tells me she’s not afraid of the fall.
But she should be.

 

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AVAILABLE NOW! Protecting What’s Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score, Genre: Contemporary Romance

Title: Protecting What’s Mine: A Small Town Love Story
Author: Lucy Score
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 16, 2020

If you can’t stand the heat, don’t fall for a firefighter…

Fire Chief Lincoln Reed is known for his heroics in the fire department and in the bedroom. Life is a never-ending good time. Until she lands in the middle of the accident scene he’s working…and then his backyard. Too bad she’s immune to flirty first responders.
Flight trauma surgeon Mackenzie O’Neil is on a crash course with burnout. She’s got a scar on her face and a shake in her hands. A temporary job as a small-town family physician is just the prescription. She’ll learn to meditate. Sleep more. Take up gardening.

She definitely won’t take her shirtless, firefighting neighbor’s hot body for a test drive.

But Linc and his tattoos are very persuasive. What’s a harmless little adrenaline-fueled fling between neighbors? It’s all naked fun and games until the shadows from Mack’s past find their way into her present. Can Linc be her hero when she needs him the most or will their scars ruin everything?

One thing is certain: Someone is going to get burned.

Author’s Warning: This small-town happily ever after is smokin’ hot, sweetly hilarious, deliciously suspenseful, and a one-two punch to the feels. One-click for a disaster dog, precocious kids, a good ol’ fistfight, nosy neighbors, high-adrenaline first responder heroics, firefighter bromance, and kitchen sexytimes.

Lucy Score is a Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author. Small town contemporary rom-coms are her lady jam and she enjoys delivering the feels with a huge side of happily ever after.
 
Her books have been translated into several languages, making readers around the world snort laugh, swoon, and sob. Lucy lives in Pennsylvania with the devastatingly handsome Mr. Lucy and their horrible cat.
 
In her spare time she enjoys sleeping, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and reading all the romance novels in the universe.
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Valentine’s with the Single Dad (Single Dad’s of Seattle Book 7) by Whitley Cox, Genre: Steamy, Contemporary Romance; Rom-Com; Single Dad; Holiday

Title: Valentine’s with the Single Dad
Series: Single Dad’s of Seattle Book 7
Author: Whitley Cox
Genre: Steamy, Contemporary Romance; Rom-Com; Single Dad; Holiday
Release Date: February 18, 2020
When a business arrangement takes a personal turn …
 
Welcome to Seattle, the Emerald City and home to The Single Dads of Seattle. Ten sexy single fathers who play poker every Saturday night, have each other’s backs, love their children without quarter, and hope to one day find love again.
This is Mason’s story …
 
Single Dad of Seattle Mason Whitfield made some big changes in his life five years ago, starting with quitting his Fortune 500 job and moving away. Now he’s back in Seattle, he bought a bar and is finally a father—life is good. But when a beautiful mystery woman keeps coming to his bar interviewing men night after night, Mason’s curiosity is piqued and he just has to know more.
Five years ago, cancer nearly killed Lowenna Chambers. Then her husband left her—for her sister. Now in remission, she just opened up her own chocolate shop and is determined to live the best life possible. Until she’s asked to do the impossible: design an enormous chocolate center piece and give a speech for her sister and ex-husband’s wedding, on Valentine’s day of all days. A perfect opportunity to show them she’s moved on. But first, she needs a date. A drool-worthy hunk who will steal the show. Cue, Mason who is tall, dark, dangerous and with two sleeves of tattoos to boot.
But as the wedding approaches it’s no longer a simple business arrangement between Mason and Lowenna. She likes him and he wants her, but love is never that simple and a future together begins to look unattainable.
Can Lowenna get over her pain and heartache and spend Valentine’s with the single dad, or will she let yesterday haunt her today, ruining any chance of a beautiful tomorrow?
**Note: This book can be read as a standalone. It includes lots of steamy scenes, cursing, and of course as with all my books, this has an HEA and no cliffhanger or cheating. If you like single dads who take charge, this book is for you.

He handed her the water bottle, and she took a sip, pulling her dress down over her knees and tucking her breasts back into the top of her dress at the same time. Even though he told her she wasn’t allowed to be shy, she was having a hard time looking at him. 
She located her G-string, but it was too far away on the floor, and for some reason she didn’t think he’d be too pleased with her if she stood up and retrieved it. So instead, she simply sat there, staring at her knitted hands, her stomach churning, her pulse thundering in her ears and her thighs slick. 
“Lowenna.” His deep, calm voice drew her to look at him. How could she not? His gaze was kind but avid, almost concerned. Heat still flickered behind the intense blue, but there was also a wariness there now too. “You okay?”
She nodded for what she felt like was the millionth time. “Yeah.” She exhaled. “I’m more than okay.”
That earned her a big smile. 
“Good. Me too.” He reached over and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, his hand lingering and then cupping her cheek, his pinky finger resting along her neck, undoubtedly feeling her rapid pulse. “I’ve wanted this for so long, Lowenna. Wanted you. Since the moment you came into my bar and sat there with your little notebook and pen, interviewing man after man … ” He shook his head and huffed a laugh, glancing down at his lap. “Even if you weren’t interviewing gigolos or, I dunno … if you were a madam of some kind, I wanted you. Wanted to get to know you, everything about you.” 
She blew out a breath and leaned into his hand, closing her eyes. “Mason … I … ” She blinked rapidly a few times as she took a moment to process everything he’d just said. When she lifted her head to his meet his gaze once again, the look that greeted her was no longer worrisome or wary. It was intense and heated, and it made her entire body tremble instantly. 
He ran his free hand through his hair, exhaling another shaky laugh. “Hell, I didn’t even know you yet, had the opportunity to kiss half a dozen women on New Year’s Eve, and I didn’t, because all I could think about was you. I’m falling for you.” His lips twisted. “Or maybe I’ve already fallen, I don’t know. But I don’t want this to be a business arrangement anymore. I want us to be real. I want us to be together. I don’t want to just give you the boyfriend experience, I want to be your boyfriend.”
Holy shit. 

 

Desire … and something else rolled through her in big, lazy waves, touching every inch of her until her entire body burned like the surface of the sun for the man whose soulful blue eyes were at that moment looking at her like no man had ever looked at her before.
  
  
A Canadian West Coast baby born and raised, Whitley is married to her high school sweetheart, and together they have two beautiful daughters and a fluffy dog. She spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn’t end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes, and it’s not quite wine o’clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.
 
A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With single dads, firefighters, Navy SEALs, mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role-playing, these books have everything we need to satisfy the curious kink in all of us.

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Release Blitz: Baiting Him (How to Catch an Alpha #2) by Aurora Rose Reynolds, Genre: Contemporary Romance is Available Now!

 

 

Title: Baiting Him

Series: How to Catch an Alpha #2

Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 14, 2020

 

Blurb
Chrissie doesn’t
have time for guys, hot or otherwise; most days, she barely has time to sleep.
With a thriving bakery that demands her attention and plenty of proof that
relationships aren’t worth the trouble, she’s content to go it alone. Too bad
she’s unwittingly baited Mr. Tall, Dark, and Way Too Gorgeous—and he’s just
waiting for a chance to bite.
Gaston is used to
getting what he wants, but he also knows nothing good ever comes easy. From the
moment he meets Chrissie, he realizes that this woman who makes him laugh,
smells like cupcakes, and looks like a tasty snack is going to be his greatest
challenge. And if he’s lucky, she’ll be his biggest reward.
But someone else
wants to catch Gaston at all costs—even if it means endangering the lives of
the people he loves. Somehow Gaston must thwart danger and convince Chrissie
that he’s the perfect catch.

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
ALSO AVAILABLE

 

Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
ALSO AVAILABLE
Coming Soon

 

Releasing June 16

 

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

Author Bio
Aurora Rose
Reynolds is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling
author whose wildly popular series include Until, Until Him, Until Her,
Underground Kings and Shooting Stars.
Her writing
career started in an attempt to get the outrageously alpha men who resided in
her head to leave her alone and has blossomed into an opportunity to share her
stories with readers all over the world.
Author Links

 

New Release: Wanting Her Stepdad by Sadie Baron, Steamy Contemporary Romance is Available Now!

Title: Wanting Her Stepdad
Author: Sadie Baron
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 14, 2020

When Mom told me she was getting married again, I hated the idea of moving in with a strange man. Then I met muscular biker Gage, and I decided I liked him after all.

 

Way too much, actually.
 
With his big, clever hands, stormy eyes and strong, protective body, he keeps me safe from the vicious fights Mom picks with me. 
 
Now Mom’s left us and it’s just me and Gage. He has me purring like an engine whenever he’s close. The way his eyes caress me, I know he wants me, too.
 
We shouldn’t give in to our desires.
 
We really shouldn’t.
 
But I can’t help myself.
 
I’m burning up with need for Gage, and I’m going to show him just how much I’ve been wanting my stepdad.
 
Author’s note: With Mom out of the picture, this Daddy only wants his stepdaughter, and he’s going to protect her with everything he has. A short, steamy, over-the-top insta-love romance that will have you squirming beneath your plaid skirt!
 
His fingers tighten on my flesh. “We can’t, Hallow. You know that.”

He’s looking down at my breasts, and my nipples are standing out hard through my T-shirt. I still can’t read his expression but he’s breathing deeply and his body is getting hotter and hotter.

“I can’t be good for you?” I whimper.

Gage groans and his large hands grip my ass, his fingers pressing against the seams of my shorts. He pushes me against the garage wall and holds me there. He pins me with his hips, and I can feel his huge cock through his jeans against my clit. My eyes open wide as he thrusts up against me, rubbing back and forth, all the while his eyes on mine.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he growls.

The desire builds between us, our breaths synching, and I forget about everything else. The fact that he’s my stepdad, that this is wrong, that my mother could come home at any moment, it all disappears. I lick my pink glossy lips as I pant with desire, gazing into his eyes.

Gage leans in and bites my lip. I cry out loudly, and rub my pelvis hard against his. His cock is right over my sex and it’s making me crazy. I’m panting hard and rubbing faster and faster. It’s just like it is late at night in my bed except now it’s much better because it really is Gage I’m rubbing against, fast and intense through our clothes.

“Yes, babygirl. Come on my dick. Show me how good you are for me.”

As he thrusts, holding me there, one of his large hands slides up under my skirt and palms my breast. He groans as he feels my bare skin on his palm. His kisses grow deeper and his thrusts harder from the touch, sending my body into an ecstasy I have no power over.
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Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord, Genre: Young Adult Fiction with a bit of Romance is Available January 21st 2020. Author Q&A included. My Review is included below the post 👇

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner

Tweet Cute_Cover

 

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

 

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

 

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

 

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Emma Lord

Author bio:

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

 

Early Praise:
Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” – Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

“Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest

 

Buy Link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/tweet-cute/

Social Links:  @dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)

 

EXCERPT:

JACK

 

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”

 

TWEET CUTE Blog Tour Q&As

Booklover_lex

What was your inspiration to become a YA writer?

I don’t think I ever set out to be any genre in particular, but what draws me to YA again and again is probably that a lot of the fandoms I was in growing up featured strong teen leads — I spent most of my time writing about teens when I was a teen, and then I guess I never really stopped!

What is your favorite show tune?

Oooh, love this question! This is a tough decision for me but I think I have to say “Astonishing” from Little Women — I think anyone who’s ever had a dream that has felt bigger than them can relate.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My parents, for sure. They’re both pretty prolific writers and storytellers, and they raised me and my siblings to let our imaginations run wild. No other parents were as delighted as mine to hear about all bajillion pages of fan fiction their kid was uploading every other day growing up.

 

Bookishly Nerdy

How did you come up with this idea?

I actually tweeted the whole idea for a plot as a joke in 2017, saying there should be a story about two social media managers from competing accounts falling in love. It wasn’t until the tweet got picked up by a few bookish friends and people started saying that someone should write it that I was like, “Oh! I guess that person could be me!”

What books influence your writing?

In terms of books, I’d say anything from Anne Brashares or Rainbow Rowell — but to be honest, a lot of influence came from my favorite fan fiction writers, who were the champions of banter-y dialogue and breaking conventional YA rules long before they were getting recognized for it.

Do you use twitter a lot?

Oh, boy howdy. I’m on Twitter WAY too much. But I think it’s okay for me, because even though I do get some of my news on it, I mostly use it for friendship and memes. At the moment my timeline is basically just Baby Yoda, Spider-Man, and Hufflepuff jokes.

 

Book Chelle

When the idea for Tweet Cute came into fruition, did you imagine the characters or the plot first?

This was a rare moment that the plot came first! I tweeted the idea as a joke a few years ago, and then was tasked with making characters that would fit the bill. It was a little harder for me because it’s not my usual process, but I was happy with how they turned out in the end.

Do you listen to music, soundtracks, or any ambient sounds when writing? If so, what do you listen to?

I do listen to music while I’m writing, but it’s surprisingly mopey! Lots of singer/songwriter acoustic songs, the kind I can appreciate the prettiness of when I do happen to pay attention. I’m pretty sure my Spotify Discover thinks I walk around dressed in all black with a rain cloud hovering over my head. (In real life I am much more cheerful than my writing playlists would suggest!)

What is your favorite romance trope?

Yikes on BIKES am I a sucker for enemies-to-lovers. It is my baguette and butter. I am also a big fan of the secret identity trope, courtesy of being obsessed with all things superheroes, so I’m very pleased I got to work that into Tweet Cute!

 

Kitty’s Book Spot!

Do you write to music?

I do! It tends to be slower, more acoustic music while I’m doing the actual writing, and more bops when I’m plotting. These days it’s a lot easier to find good music to write to, with other writers sharing playlists on Tumblr all the time.

Do you make music playlists for your works?

I’ve recently gotten into making character playlists for works, at the suggestion of other writer friends. I tend to listen to those when I’m walking around and daydreaming about the plots, though, since I find that the music I think my characters would listen to isn’t often the kind of music that helps me focus on actual writing. I’m have a WIP right now that has six different character playlists and is probably about to get more, my poor Spotify account is just a big mess of character names!

What would you tell us about yourself that no one knows?

I saw the Star Trek 2009 reboot in theaters seven times. (My friends thought it was six. I lied.)

 

The Book Marauder

What’s the most exciting part about being a writer?

Oh, for sure whenever someone mentions my characters’ names out loud to me. It’s wild to think that other people are living in the same little world you created, even if it’s just for a few hours. It’s like you opened up your brain and other people hopped in.

What is the first book that made you laugh?

Junie B. Jones!! I remember my kindergarten class howling with laughter when our teacher would read it out loud in class. I can’t remember a single one of the plots in adulthood, but I do remember everyone just losing their marbles at them.

Who is your favorite ”Tweet Cute” character and why?

Oooh. I don’t think I have a favorite, but I will say that the one I relate to most is probably Taffy, the overworked Hello Kitty-loving millennial trying to run Big League Burger’s social media. She gets mentioned very briefly, but it was a way of sneaking myself into the book for sure.

 

Swoony Boys Podcast

What was your favorite part of TWEET CUTE to write?

I think my favorite parts by far were whenever Pepper and Jack bantered with each other in person — there’s a scene early on when they do that in a cafe, and one mid-book where they’re bantering in the pool, and those were my favorite to write. The latter scene I especially loved because it was the first time I’d gotten to use all those years of high school swim team for any kind of purpose in the “real world” — teenage me may have hated it, but adult me is glad to have had some experience to draw from!

Tell us about Pepper and Jack.  We want to know all the things!

Oh BOY. Okay, Jack is a Cancer, and Pepper is a Capricorn. Both are Hufflepuffs (Pepper with a Slytherin bent, Jack with a Gryffindor one). Jack is a firm believer in never walking and texting. Pepper has way too many socks, but they always, always match. Jack does coffee, Pepper does tea (hallmark of a “bad New Yorker,” as I’ve been told by my coffee-guzzling friends). Pepper’s favorite color is rainbows (hence, the color coding of everything in her life, from her closet to Excel spreadsheets to planners). Jack is the only person in his family who hates cilantro and as deli owners and foodies it brings them all deep shame.

If you could introduce one of your characters to another character from any other book, who would it be and why?

I feel like Jack and a young James Potter would have plenty to talk about re: scheming.

 

Awkwordly Emma

With TWEET CUTE based around a Twitter battle, how do you think social media has changed modern teen romances?

I think it’s given teens an entirely new language to communicate — like, literally, teens are crafting their own slang, creating infinite new types of memes, crafting their own unique forms of syntax and grammatical rules. I think it only broadens the opportunities you have to get to know and relate to people, having this shared language that is tight knit and highly relatable, and takes a lot of the pressure off interactions that might otherwise cause anxiety. Social media has its pitfalls, sure, but at its best it gives teens a low stakes, high reward way to connect with each other, whether it’s for friendship or romance or just to share some laughs.

Did any rom-coms influence you while writing TWEET CUTE?

Oh, for sure You’ve Got Mail — or at least, what I knew of it. (As soon as people started likening the idea to the movie, I wouldn’t let myself watch it so I didn’t rely too much on its plot!)

Pie or cake, and what kind?

What an excellent question that I have a highly specific answer for!! Cake, and the best kind I’ve ever had was a yellow cake that was filled with three types of frosting between each of its three layers: a peanut butter cream cheese frosting, raspberry jam, and chocolate ganache. I never would have thought of it on my own, but I used to work in a cake bakery, and when they were chopping off the ends of this particular cake to shape it into a football they let me eat the leftovers. I still DREAM about it. But truly, I’m here for any cake except chocolate cake (I’m ashamed to say it — I’m more of a chocolate frosting lady, unless the chocolate cake is like, absurdly rich, in which case it has my attention).

 

The Nature of Pages

Did the plot or the characters come to you first when writing this novel?

This one was an odd one for me because the plot came LONG before the characters, in the form of a tweet I made in 2017 joking that there should be a rom-com about social media managers from warring fast food chains falling in love. Usually I’ll think of a character first and build plot around them, but I had to go through about five iterations of characters before landing on Pepper and Jack.

What was your favorite part about the process of writing Tweet Cute?

For sure writing with my friends! We try to meet up once a week and are constantly bopping around in the group chat. I wrote Tweet Cute in a month and a half while holding down a full-time job, so my brain was basically just leaking memes by the end of it, but those sessions we spent writing in coffee shops after work were my best memories of the process.

As a debut author, what was a surprise when it came to writing your book?

Uh, people READING it. That was profoundly surprising to me. Like, logistically you understand that people are going to read it if it’s getting published, but usually I’ll write something, stick it on a fan fiction platform anonymously, and that’ll be the end of it. I’m still not over the surprise any time someone reads the book and tags me in something about it!

 

Nailthatbook

What inspired you to write Tweet Cute? How did you come up with the idea?

The idea actually started out as a tweet — I’d been laughing at some of the Twitter wars between brands, and thought it would be a funny concept if two of the social media managers from competing accounts fell for each other without realizing it. Once people started saying they wished it was a book, it all kind of took off from there!

How would you describe your writing process? What part do you focus on the most or take you the longest to work through?

I would describe it as organized chaos. I try to sit down and plot, but more often than not the plot comes when I’m walking to work or in the shower or somewhere deeply inconvenient. Usually I’ll just start writing the first two chapters to see what comes out of me, then stop and figure out where it’s going until about the 40,000 word mark, then stop and adjust the plot outline and start again.

What Hogwarts Houses are some of the characters?

Oh, everyone’s a Hufflepuff. I’m busting into the YA world with an unrepentant Hufflepuff agenda. Pepper’s a Hufflepuff with a Slytherin moon; Jack is a Hufflepuff but a Gryffindor rising; Pooja is a Hufflepuff with aggressive Ravenclaw tendencies; Paul is about as Hufflepuff as it gets. But they are all unquestionably Hufflepuffs, and I think that’s going to be the case with most of my YA going forward.

 

BookCrushin

What parts of online culture were important for you to showcase in Tweet Cute?

I really, really wanted to inject the fun of social media in Tweet Cute — the bantery, laugh-out-loud relatability of it, and how it can be full of surprises. I think we’re often so fixated on the bad qualities of social media that we forget the ways it brings us together.

Which came first – the ship name or Pepper & Jack’s name? How did their ship name fully form for you?

MWAHAHAHA. So this was a happy accident, really. I had the name Jack, and I could not for the life of me figure out a name for the girl lead. I tried four or five of them but when I was typing them they all seemed wrong. I think I’d fully finished two chapters and just hit a dead end with it when my brain cells finally crashed into each other and were like “PEPPER!! PEPPER AND JACK!!!!!!!” And that was that.

What do you hope readers take away from the story?

I want the book to feel like eating a really good, deeply satisfying, thick slice of cake. But also, I want readers to consider the kind of pressure they’re under to be a certain way, or pursue certain things, and separate that pressure from what they think is actually best for them — the characters deal with that a lot, as do most of us, and I think that’s something we can all check in with ourselves on every now and then.

 

The Elven Warrior

For both Jack and Pepper (I adore those names!) what would you consider their core character trait? The thing that makes them solely THEM?

Hmmm — for Pepper I’d say it’s her drive, and for Jack I’d say it’s his empathy. I think they both have a lot of both of those elements, but those seem to be the factors that spur their decision-making in the book and lead them into all their mutual shenanigans.

Sending your first book out into the world and being a debut in general can be nerve wracking. But it can be an amazing! What has been the best thing about this experience?

Is it cheating if I say the whole thing? Everything is new to me — getting to work with a team on edits and marketing and how things look, getting a cover, meeting other authors, having people legitimately read something that I wrote and know that I wrote it (unlike the bajillion years I’ve spent writing fan fic). It feels like every day something happens to me that’s never happened before.

If you had to choose between working in a bakery, a sandwich shop, or as an author, which would you choose and why?

Fun fact: I’ve done ALL THREE of these. I spent my post-grad years working in a sandwich shop, and then a bakery, and then a whole bunch of other things (lol, job market) before becoming a digital media editor and eventual author. I’d say I’d rank them as author (you get to play god to a bunch of characters you made up!), bakery (FREE STALE CUPCAKES EVERY DAY!), and sandwich shop (great coworkers, but not as delicious, and I always came home reeking of basil).

 

Reading, Writing, and Me

Social media is obviously a huge part of this story. Were you ever hesitant or concerned about trying to capture internet culture in a book? Did you do any kind of research to prepare?

Oh boy, I did almost zero research. I was working as an editor who wrote and assigned daily content based on things going viral both in the social media and food space, so I was already aggressively online. I think my primary concern was mostly trying to keep the book from feeling too hyper specific to the time I was writing it, but also keeping it fresh — I was careful to try and choose the more “lasting” memes than the memes of the week.

One of the major threads of the story has to do with Jack’s app Weazl. How did you get the idea for Weazl? Was it important to you to show the really positive side of social media with this app because I really enjoyed that focus.

I knew I wanted some element where they were getting to know each other without any pressure, so that’s kind of where Weazl came in. I also did want to emphasize that although there are always cases of social media being used for bad, there’s so, so much good that comes out of it too! I really loved the idea of these kids who were forced to be so hyper competitive all their lives coming together in a place where they could help each other out and band together, because ultimately that’s what a lot of these social media platforms and tools help teens do.

Jack and Pepper are both quite complex, well drawn characters that complement each other perfectly. Do you have any advice for writers looking to further develop their own characters, and do you have any advice for people writing multiple points of view?

I think what really helps for me is just figuring out who the characters are by mentally putting them in all kinds of situations that may or may not ever actually land in the book. I think of life experiences I’ve had, or my friends have had, and I ask myself, “How would this character have reacted to that? Would it have been similar or different to the way I did, and why?” That also helped with figuring out the fundamental differences between the two characters when I was switching POVs; I was definitely worried in the beginning about making them sound too alike, so figuring out what set them apart was definitely a priority when I was first shaping them up!

 

Books Real When Shared

In your opinion, which is one of the best Twitter wars in history?

Hands down, without a doubt when Moon Pie smashed Hostess during the eclipse. Hostess tweeted saying that Golden CupCakes were the official snack of the eclipse, and Moon Pie simply quote retweeted “Lol ok …” and I have been DYING ABOUT IT EVER SINCE. Sometimes I’ll just be walking down the street and think about it and start laughing to myself. We stan the Moon Pie Twitter social media manager from now until the end of time.

https://twitter.com/moonpie/status/899624556377276416

Are you a fan of baking like Pepper? And if so, which is your go-to dessert?

Yes!! I’ve been baking my whole life. I can’t say I’m all that good at it, but I sure do love it (one of my little sisters is the true genius who has the actual patience for complicated things). My go-to is anything involving cookie dough; I’d say my favorite dessert on the planet is the “Sex Positive Brownies” in the book, which are the already popular combo of brownies, Oreos, and cookie that are all slightly underbaked. (I also like to add a pinch of salt to mine!)

 

F A N NA

The twitter war in Tweet Cute is primarily between a fast-food chain and a deli regarding an iconic grilled cheese sandwich. While Pepper is working behind the scenes to defend Big League Burger, Jack is stern on stating the fact that this sandwich recipe belongs to his grandmother who worked hard behind the deli. How did this idea of back-and-forth debating in 280 characters emerge?

The idea actually started at as a tweet! Back in 2017, I made a joke about how there should be a rom-com where two social media managers from competing accounts fell for each other without realizing they were Twitter battling. I knew I wanted it to be over something I already was familiar with, and I was pretty much raised on a steady diet of grilled cheese and Eggo waffles, so grilled cheese became the central focus. It helps that everyone who loves grilled cheese has strong opinions about how it should be made (I have yet to find a single grilled cheese opinion that’s wrong, though — it truly is the most delicious canvas of all).

Tweet Cute also entails some emotionally important themes like the rat race to good grades or college admissions, living up to the academic expectations set up by parents, figuring out everything by the end of senior year in high school, and being unresponsive to the pressure of familial responsibilities. What would you like the targeted young readers to take away from such aspects of the story?

I think the main takeaway I want is for young readers to know that everything is never set in stone. The things you study in high school, the colleges that accept you right out of the gates — it can all just be a blip if you let it. It’s easy to transfer schools, to change your course of study, to start all over again if you want to (trust me, I did all three of those things, sometimes more than once). Pepper and Jack deal with a lot of the pressure of thinking their futures are decided for them because they’re already committed to a certain path, but the truth is that path only gets more forked with options the older you get and the better you understand yourself.

Lastly, which of the two main characters Pepper or Jack do you see more of yourself in? The over-achiever girl with social-media managing ability and baking talents, or the goofball boy with the coding aptitude and a sweet-tooth?

Oh, boy. I think I’m a Jack-esque goofball when I’m out with my friends, but I’m so, SO much like Pepper in the privacy of my own brain. I think that’s why I was especially worried about how people would react to her — that was very much me, both in high school and now, even if it’s not necessarily the personality I project when I’m not working. That said, I could not code my way out of a paper bag. (Jack inspired me to take some free coding lessons for fun, though, so we’ll see!)

 

Casual Fangirl

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love when you think you have the whole thing plotted out and then midway through the draft a character surprises you and is like, “Nah, I’m not gonna do that. Here’s what I’m gonna do instead.” Never a dull moment!

What is your go-to writing snack?

I’m actually terrible at snacking and writing, but I am definitely a tea gal. I’m part of the 5am writer’s club, and tea is the one way to bribe my lazy butt out of bed. That said, my entire life and times is basically sponsored by Taco Bell. When I hit word count for the day you can almost always find me in line for a spicy tostada and chips and guac.

What is your favorite Rom-com (book/tv/film)?

I love love love the movie About Time, and the book Something Borrowed. Those are my main comfort watch and comfort read for sure. I think there is something innately Hufflepuff about the main characters in both of those works, and being inside their brains is a cozy place to be because of it.

 

 

 

A Glass Of Wine

What gif do you feel best describes Tweet Cute?

I don’t know if this is a meme or a GIF, really, but the Elmo fire one comes to mind. I think it’s sort of come to represent a weird intersection of joy/pain/chaos/hilarity, and I think Tweet Cute’s got all of that in the mix.

If a signature ice cream were to be made for Tweet Cute what might be included?

OOOOH. I think the base would be a classic vanilla, but it would be stuffed to the gills with Rolos, Reese’s, Oreos, and rainbow sprinkles like Monster Cake from the book, and have ribbons of caramel and a healthy pinch of salt and oh my god I am so hungry now, BYE.

Tweet Cute is inspired by You’ve Got Mail. What are some of your other favourite rom-coms?

I love About Time above all, I think, but I’m also a fan of Crazy Rich Asians, The Proposal,  27 Dresses, Bride Wars, Love, Rosie, and the woefully underrated period rom-com, Mrs. Pettigrew Lives For A Day. I’m sure I am missing about a gazillion that I also love.

Tweet Cute_Cover

 

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My Review:  4 Stars…

Just as the title implies, this book is so adorable. I don’t often read about high school romance but the blurb for this book had me intrigued. I enjoyed Tweet Cutevery much. I want to say that while there is just a touch of romance, this book’s main focus is on teenaged drama and and family loyalty. The blurb does a very good job of helping you to infer what you’ll be reading about. So, I did have an idea about what was going to happen. That said, I was pleasantly surprised that this book was so much more complex than I assumed. There are definitely lighthearted and humorous moments. And definitely moments of second hand embarrassment for me. Personally, I did not enjoy most of my high school years so I was easily able to connect to Pepper and Jack. If you are thinking about staying away from this book because you dislike bullying, I suggest you don’t. There is some bullying but nothing heavy. In fact, I personally believe Jack’s father and Pepper’s mother were the strongest antagonists on the pages.

Ok, so now let’s talk about the end of the book. The ending is a happy-for-now for Jack and Pepper, obviously because we’re reading about 17 year olds and so much can change once they go off to college. But I felt had a strong connection so I believe they’ll make it. Although, I would have liked an epilogue that brought us several years ahead to confirm this. Also, I was a bit disappointed in the way Jack’s father got away with what he had done to Pepper’s mom. I would have liked to at least see an apology on the pages. Because there wasn’t, I have some bitter feelings toward him. But this is only my personal feelings and doesn’t reflect on the author’s story telling. This was my first book by this author and I know I would enjoy reading more from her in the future.

This is my honest and unbiased review. Thank you for taking the time red it. 🙂

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Release Blitz: The Rebel and the Rogue (Interstellar Brides #19) by Grace Goodwin, Genre: Sci-Fi Romance is Available Now!

 

 

Title: The Rebel and the Rogue
Series: Interstellar Brides #19
Author: Grace Goodwin
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: January 14, 2020

 

Blurb
Zenos, from the Astra Legion of Rogue 5, is on a mission to
find an antidote to the deadly venom flowing through his
body.  Without the antidote, one bite during mating will kill a
Forsian’s chosen female. Zenos must acquire the serum at any cost,
for like his Atlan cousins, his mating instinct will eventually consume him.
The last thing he needs is a distraction, but one look at the defiant female
bounty hunter and he can’t deny his body what she’s offering—a few wild hours
of pleasure.
Ivy Birkeland’s entire ReCon unit was annihilated as a result of Quell, a
mind-altering drug the pirates of Rogue 5 are known to distribute. A rebel to
her core, her heart still broke when she was forced to walk away from her life
as a Coalition fighter. Now she hunts a bounty that will allow her to
catch the criminals selling Quell and avenge her dead friends. Free of the
Coalition Fleet’s strict regulations, she makes a deal with an unknown Rogue 5
operative to gain access to his home planet and travels to Transport Station Zenith
to meet him.

When Ivy’s smoking hot, one-night-stand turns out to be her Rogue 5 contact,
every carefully-laid plan she’s made goes to hell. Because when a rebel and a
rogue are forced to work together, sparks will fly. They don’t need the
criminals to kill them, they just might finish each other…if they don’t fall
in love first.

 

Purchase Links

 

Author Bio
Grace Goodwin is a USA Today and international
bestselling author of Sci-Fi and Paranormal romance with nearly one million
books sold. Grace’s titles are available worldwide in multiple languages in
ebook, print and audio formats. Two best friends, one left-brained, the other
right-brained, make up the award-winning writing duo that is Grace Goodwin.
They are both mothers, escape room enthusiasts, avid readers and intrepid
defenders of their preferred beverages. (There may or may not be an ongoing tea
vs. coffee war occurring during their daily communications.) Grace loves to
hear from readers.

 

Author Links

 

New Release: Boots (Phoenix Skulls MC) by Jessie Cooke, MC Romance is Available Now!

Title: Boots
Series: Phoenix Skulls MC
Author: Jessie Cooke
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: January 13, 2020

 

 
Loyalty is everything.
Neglected at home, bullied in school, Matteo “Boots” Romano had to learn too young how to take care of himself.
 
Raised in a 1% MC by a father who thought of her as little more than a commodity, Celeste Hall spent her young life plotting her escape.
 
Whether it was fate that brought them together that night, or Matteo’s resolve to see the mysterious, beautiful Celeste one more time before he left New York, neither of them might ever know. But when the two teenagers literally collide in the night, they set in motion a series of events that will take them across the United States and even into Mexico as Celeste runs from her past, her present, and an uncertain future…and Boots searches for a place where he might finally feel like he truly belongs.
 
Just as Boots starts to fall in love with the feisty young woman with eyes the color of the sea, he is forced to learn a hard truth, that loyalty might just be no more than a word in the dictionary.
 
Celeste will spend the better part of the next decade on the run, moving from one dangerous situation to the next, while Boots forges a path toward success. When he ultimately takes a fork in the road that leads him to the Westside Skulls clubhouse, he’ll finally discover the place he’s been searching for, the place where he belongs. From Westside in Fresno to the newest chapter of the Skulls in Phoenix, Boots will once again begin to carve out his own future…one that will suddenly be threatened by a web of lies, a brutal murder and the kidnapping of a young boy.
When it looks like Boots might have committed these heinous acts, will the Skulls turn their backs on one of their own? Or will they pull together and prove to Boots and the rest of the world that the U.S. Marine’s aren’t the only brotherhood who refuse to leave a man behind?

Prologue – Present Day
Boots signed for his belongings and walked out of the jail, squinting at the hot Phoenix sun as soon as he stepped outside. Once his eyes adjusted, he saw his long-haired, tattooed friend, Finn McGregor, leaning into his Harley and watching him. Finn was called “Snake” by most of the guys, and he also went by VP since he had been patched over as vice president of the Phoenix Skulls. But to Boots, at least one to one, he was just his crazy, Irish friend. They’d been through a lot together in the short year they’d known each other, and Finn’s green eyes were some of the most expressive ones that Boots had ever seen. But for the first time since he met the young, friendly Irishman, he was afraid to look into them. It had been one hell of a few weeks…the worst in Boots’ life, and that was saying a lot.
He finally stepped down toward the parking lot, reaching Snake in a few steps. Snake put his hand out and the two men clasped fists and brought it in for a quick hug. When Boots pulled back Snake said, “How bad was it?”
Boots didn’t want to talk about it, and the bruises on his face and knuckles should tell his friend all he really needed to know. If he wanted more of the story, he’d have to see the binder holding Boots’ ribs together and the spaces way in the back where there used to be teeth, before the side of his face made contact with a massive fist. None of that was the worst part, though. The worst scars Boots would carry inside of him, the way he had with everything else his entire life. “Not too,” he said. “But if anyone knows what it’s like in there, it’s you.”
Snake grinned. “Hey, I haven’t been locked up in over a year.”
Boots smiled. “Some kind of record, huh?” Boots had a rough life, but as an adult he’d avoided jail, until now. “Where’s my bike?”
“Prince is on his way to pick you up in the van. I just didn’t want to leave you waiting out here by yourself.” That made sense considering that he was the pariah of the community these days; even in the parking lot of the busiest jail in Maricopa County it surprised Boots that some of the “community” weren’t waiting for him with pitchforks and torches. What interested him the most about Snake’s “answer” to his question was that the Irishman avoided telling him where his bike had ended up.
“Okay, thanks. But where’s my bike?”
Snake grimaced and said, “What’s left of it is at the shop.”
“Fuck.” The sound of the Phoenix Skulls van pulling into the lot sent a jolt of relief through Boots’ body. He was never one to back down from a fight, but as of late he’d had more than his fair share. Just then all he wanted was to be in his own trailer, in his own shower and his own clothes and his own bed. Three weeks in county jail had been a special kind of hell…
“Dax Marshall’s old lady is here.”
Boots took his eyes off the van as Prince parked it alongside them, and looked back at Snake. “Jace asked her to come?”
Snake nodded. “He said he didn’t trust anyone else to defend you.”
Boots sighed. “You think that means he believes me?”
Snake, always the peacemaker, nodded enthusiastically. “Of course he believes you. Brother, we all know you and we know there’s no fucking way you’d ever…you know, do that.”
Snake couldn’t even bring himself to say it…what Boots was being charged with. Boots didn’t blame him; the words were ugly, the accusation even uglier. “Hey, man, we better get a move on,” Prince said. “There’s a group of about a dozen people out front with signs and bullhorns and shit. I’d lie down in back if I were you as we go by.”
Fuck. Boots wished he would wake up from this nightmare and find out that it was all just that…a horrible dream. He wished so many things, the least of which was that he’d never laid eyes on Celeste Hall…or Sadie Gray…whatever the fuck she was calling herself these days. Maybe then, he wouldn’t be a walking target, persona non grata in the first place in his life that had ever really felt like home.
“There he is!” Before Boots could even react to the loud voices, Snake and Prince had their hands on him, pushing him into the van. His first impulse was to stand his ground, and fight, no matter how tired or outnumbered he was. But there was still a part of his brain working rationally, and he knew they were right and he had to get the fuck out of there before things exploded and he ended up right back inside the cement building that loomed behind him.
He was practically shoved into the van by his brothers, and the door was slammed shut, but not before he heard the ugly accusations being hurled in his direction. He’d heard it all before he was locked up, and again while he was inside for three weeks, awaiting his bail hearing…but it never got easier. Hearing it still made him sick to his stomach and although he knew it wasn’t true, it still made him loathe himself.
Prince jumped into the driver’s seat and Boots sat on the floor of the van with his back up against the side. He covered his ears with his hands and they were a mile away in sixty seconds, but Boots didn’t uncover his ears. Even over the noise of the van’s V-8 engine and the stereo that Prince had cranked out, he could hear it…the ugly, hateful word they’d labeled him with…the word that had not only taken up residence in his head but seeped into his soul. For a few seconds he believed that he just couldn’t take it any longer. He had to make it stop. He pulled his head forward, and then slammed it back into the side of the van, and it worked for one blessed second. But then they started again…slowly, and in a whisper. Before long the single voice turned into a collection of voices, voices he recognized. They were the voices of his community, the voices of his brothers and sisters in the club, his new family. They were the voices of the very people who taught him the true meaning of love and respect and family. They were the ones that spoke up for him when he was first accused, the ones who professed to always have his back. But Boots had seen the change in them all…he’d watched as the doubt had seeped into their eyes. And now their voices were in his head, and collectively they were whispering one horrific word. In the past three weeks he’d even considered taking his own life, before someone else did. The only thing stopping him was his fear that when he was dead and gone, that one word would define him forever…maybe it would even be etched into his gravestone. One word, one lie he feared everyone else believed…

 

“Pedophile.”
    

 

Jessie Cooke writes hot romance novels about tough guys, bad boys, bikers, fighters and lovers and the women of strong character who tame them.

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New Release: Bourbon Love Notes (Barrel House #1) by Shari J. Ryan, Genre: Contemporary Romance is Available Now!

 

 

Title: Bourbon Love Notes
Series: Barrel House #1
Author: Shari J. Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 13, 2020

 

Blurb
In a split second, life can steal a last breath … and
derail all future plans.
While flying home after a phone call that left me
heartbroken, a row to myself would have been ideal. Instead, I was unknowingly
sitting shoulder to shoulder with a strikingly attractive single dad and
ex-Marine. I could have pretended not to notice the man, but there was
something familiar about him.
It didn’t take long before I pieced together where I knew
him from or why he was back in my life.
With chaos holding me hostage, I wanted to hide but couldn’t
avoid Brett Pearson, our old family friend, and my teenage crush, because he
kindly offered to help out with my family’s business—The Barrel House.
Handling my father’s distillery would be a distraction from
my brutal reality. Except, I never paid close attention to the art of making
bourbon, unlike Brett, who was full of bourbon knowledge. He offered to teach
me a thing or two, but all I could focus on was the way his lips moved when he
spoke to me.
I needed to grieve, and my head was in the wrong place at
the wrong time, but my heart was splitting at the seams.
Bourbon was spilled, drinks were shared, but could passion
ignite from a dying last wish?

 

 
 
Purchase Links
 
$3.99 for a limited time!
 
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt
Copyright 2019 –
Shari J. Ryan
 
How can Dad be
thinking about so much when he doesn’t know if there will be a tomorrow? I
can’t believe he already hired someone to run the business. I can’t pretend
like I ever had intentions of taking over the shop, even knowing Dad wouldn’t
be able to run it forever, but the thought hadn’t crossed my mind because Dad
is supposed to live well past his retirement age. Nothing has gone as I have
planned since I graduated college, and while I have traveled along with the
bumps in the road, everything feels like it’s crashing down on me now. 
Maybe I have no
business being in The Barrel House, pretending like I know everything there is
to know about running a bourbon distillery. 
“Melody!” It’s
Brett
. He’s calling after me. Doesn’t he know when a woman runs out a door,
it’s probably best not to follow her?
I turn back toward
the firehouse, watching him walk toward me. My instinct forces me to take a
step back, which causes me to trip off the curb. I catch myself on a car,
thankfully, but the car’s alarm beeps at me just to add an extra dose of
humiliation to this moment.
My heart is in my
throat, or maybe it’s my stomach. My head is spinning and … why did he have
to come after me?
“I need to get back
home. I should be with my dad,” I tell him, looking both ways to make sure I
don’t get creamed by a car on top of it all. The coast is clear and I cross the
street, finding my way to Mom’s car. 
“Wait up for a
second,” Brett continues, following me across the street. He places his hand on
the door, preventing me from opening it and jumping inside. “Your dad wanted a
bottle,” he says, handing me the bottle of Red Apple that Dad did, in fact,
request. 
“How did you—” 
“He called to warn
me that you were on your way down, flustered, upset, trying to be a hero, and
you’d most likely forget that he requested a bottle of Red Apple.” Brett laughs
sweetly, smiling benevolently. “I’m not trying to take over your family
business, despite what you might be thinking. My dad has been a barrel supplier
for your dad since before either of us were born. I was just asked to come help
you guys out.” 
“I know.” In truth,
I don’t understand much of anything now. I’ve been going a mile a minute since
I got that letter yesterday. I’ve been awake since five this morning, and I’m
exhausted. “Thank you for coming to help,” I offer sincerely, wishing he would
move his hand from my door. 
“I’m sorry for what
you’re going through. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” The look in Brett’s eyes
triggers more pain in my stomach. I’m losing my dad. 
“I don’t know what
else to do right now other than help him, and being in his shop feels like the
only way I can help,” I explain. 
The backs of my eyes
burn. I’m supposed to be the strong one, but I’m falling apart. I stare up to
the sky, waning away the threatening tears. Keep it together, Melody. My
body doesn’t respond to my command. Tears trickle, one by one and I gasp for
air as my lungs feel like they are deflating. I place my hands over my face,
embarrassed to be crying in front of Brett Pearson of all people, but the pain
has been building, and though I let a few tears escape this morning at the
airport, it clearly wasn’t enough. “I’m sorry,” I mutter. 
Arms envelop me and
my head falls against his firm chest. His embrace is tight and though I don’t know
the adult version of Brett well enough to feel comfort from a hug, the squeeze
is alleviating some of the pressure in my chest. 
The rate of my
breaths slow and I’m able to stop the tears from falling. Brett must notice
that I’ve calmed down because his arms release from around me and he takes a
step back. I don’t know what else to say or do aside from searching his
worry-filled eyes as if I’d find the answer there. 
He presses the pad
of his thumb beneath my eye and sweeps away a remaining tear. “Take some time
to process it all,” Brett says, sounding wise beyond his years. “I don’t know
how long you’ve known about your Dad becoming sick again, but I doubt there’s
any length of time that’s long enough to accept or adjust to that kind of news.”
“I’m going to—” I
point to the car.
Brett backs away,
slipping his hands into his back pockets. I close myself into the car, rest my
head back, and close my eyes for a minute before starting the engine. 
A knock on the
window startles my eyes to reopen. Brett is standing outside of the car holding
up the bottle of Red Apple. I roll the window down and retrieve the bottle.
“Thank you,” I tell him. “For everything.” 
Coming Soon
Releasing April 2
$3.99 for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Author Bio
Shari J. Ryan is
an International Bestselling Author of Contemporary Romance and Women’s
Fiction. 
She lives in
Massachusetts with her husband and two young sons.  Shari started her career as a graphic artist
and freelance writer, then found her passion for writing books back in 2011.
She has been slaying words and creating imaginary friends ever since.
With over 125k
books sold, Shari’s books have hit Amazon’s Top 100 bestseller list, Barnes
& Noble’s Top 10, and iBooks at #1.
Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue
Sky, A Heart of Time, and Man Flu from the Man Cave Collection.
Author Links

 

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