Blog Tour

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Campfire Chaos by K Webster

We are so excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Campfire Chaos by K Webster! If you have not read this series yet – DO IT! It’s wonderfully dramatic and intense and I LOVE IT! I’m sharing my 5 Star review, plus there’s an awesome giveaway!

Happy Reading!

~Jenn

Campfire Chaos

Hood River Hoodlums, Book 3
by K Webster
Publication Date: June 25, 2020
Genres: Forbidden Enemies to Lovers Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple Books | Eden Books

From USA Today bestselling author K Webster comes a forbidden, enemies to lovers romance called Campfire Chaos!

I had it all.
Popularity. Good grades. Cheerleading. Doting family and great friends.

Until the wrong boy swept into my perfect world and destroyed every part of it.
Abuse. Drugs. Humiliation.
He trampled all over my reputation and I was powerless to do anything about it.
I couldn’t break free from his controlling hold.
But the night of the accident changed everything.

Now I’m freed at last.
It comes at a cost, though. I hurt a Hoodlum.
I can’t fix him, but I can fix me.
Without the monster in my life, I grow stronger, fiercer, braver.

I’m on the right track to cleaning up the mess that is my life.
Repairing friendships.
Restoring trust with my family.
Healing from my recent, terrible past.

Everything was going to be okay.
Or so I thought.

Because I have a new problem.
Cal Hutton.
Town’s lawless, gorgeous bad boy. A Hood River Hoodlum. My new nemesis.
He wants me to pay for what I did to his best friend.

Cal thinks I’m weak and an unworthy adversary, someone he can toy with.
But I’ll never allow another man to have that power over me.

I have claws now.
I fight back.

This is a full-length high school enemies-to-lovers, forbidden, and new adult romance with high angst, suspense, and gutting emotion. It’s book three in the Hood River Hoodlum series that will have interlinking storylines. Campfire Chaos shouldn’t be read as a standalone and is the continuation of a four-book planned series that gives each Hoodlum a book. The first book in the series is the only MM story. The others, including this one, are MF.

Jenn Review

5 Stars

Oh the DRAMA! I freaking love this series and the whole Hoodlum cast, I get absolutely sucked into their chaotic world and it’s become a new favorite of mine! This book features Cal and Charlotte and it is intense! Charlotte has made some massive mistakes and after hurting Cal’s best friend Terrance, Cal is on the hunt for Charlotte English.

There really is so much to this story, there’s pain and recovery, hate and anger, rage and lust and the list goes on. Cal wants to make Charlotte pay for what she has done, but the anger he carries turns into something else, lust and passion. And when Charlotte is a willing recipient something more grows between these two. Add in the whole forbidden angle and damn it’s smoking hot! I loved these two!

Again, one of my favorite things about this series is the drama. I don’t usually go for the major drama, angst reads, but this one consumes me. I love these characters and their give-no-effs attitudes, they just go after it. I really loved the continuing stories for the rest of the Hoodlums and holy moly am I already pining for the next book. I want MORE! This is a fantastic, fun and intense series that I highly recommend!

 

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Also in the Series

About K. Webster

K Webster is a USA Today Bestselling author. Her titles have claimed many bestseller tags in numerous categories, are translated in multiple languages, and have been adapted into audiobooks. She lives in “Tornado Alley” with her husband, two children, and her baby dog named Blue. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and researching aliens.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour, 5 Star Review & Giveaaway: LONER by Harloe Rae

We’ve got some great reads today! We are excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Loner by Harloe Rae! Guys, I so loved this book, you definitely need to meet Ford! This is an absolute must read! Make sure to check out the awesome release Giveaway too!

Happy Reading!

~Jenn

 

 

LONER by Harloe Rae
Release date: June 11th

Add to Goodreads:
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Enter Harloe’s Release Giveaway:
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AVAILABLE NOW!!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
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Blurb:
“Everyone deserves a chance to be rescued.”

That’s the mantra I’m repeating when a well-equipped biker pulls over to save me. One glance at the scowl Crawford Doxe is wearing proves he isn’t impressed with the task. My efforts to change his mind deflate faster than the shredded tire at our feet. But disgruntled or not, my so-called hero still agrees to fix my flat.

I don’t expect to see Crawford again, but he’s suddenly very visible in our small town. Avoiding him would be my preference. That’s not how this story goes. For whatever reason, my daughter finds an ally in the broody mechanic. Denying her is something I do my best to avoid. I can only hope Crawford’s shine wears off before he tarnishes what little trust still exists.

As if the odds are ever on my side.

Commitments are a foreign concept to him. He doesn’t make any promises to try. That should’ve been enough for me to steer clear. It most certainly isn’t.

What follows can only be described as a disastrous clash of epic proportions.

But one indisputable fact remains. That lone soul has no plans of opening his heart.

Jenn Review

5 Stars

Broody, grumpy and a heart of freaking gold – holy moly I loved Crawford! I loved this whole book and couldn’t put it down! This was such a fantastic read, Keegan and Crawford and little Millie gave me ALL THE FEELS!

 

Keegan has made a new start for herself and her daughter in Silo Springs, no more bad decisions for her and Millie. Crawford lives a quiet life, working in his motorcycle shop along side his dog, that’s all he thinks he needs. He’s avoided relationships as much as possible, preferring to be alone. These two have quite the meeting when Ford comes to the rescue after Keegan ends up with a flat tire and is on the side of the road. There’s a connection right from the start, oh yes there is, but they really don’t get off on the best foot. Ford again comes to the rescue when he comes across Millie, lost in the woods. She’s an incredibly quiet little girl, not wanting to talk to anyone, but there’s something special about Ford and she willingly chats with him. The bond that develops between Ford and Millie is so sweet and special and gives Keegan a chance to see a different side to the big, grumpy man. These two definitely have a physical connection, trying to build the emotional one is a bit more of a challenge for them both.

 

I absolutely freaking loved the passion in this book! And it’s not just the physical sexy times, there is so much passion in these characters, the way they feel about each other, the love they have for Millie and even the anger they carry at times. I just felt all the emotions of this story. These two definitely have their share of baggage and it takes some really rough moments to sort through it all and see their relationship for what is really is and can be and damn, it’s so worth it! This really was a remarkable journey and I’m gonna say it – Ford is definitely my new favorite!

 

 

About the Author
Harloe Rae is a USA Today & Amazon Top 10 bestselling author. Her passion for writing and reading has taken on a whole new meaning. Each day is an unforgettable adventure.

Harloe is a Minnesota gal with a serious addiction to romance. She’s always chasing an epic happily ever after. When she’s not buried in the writing cave, Harloe can be found hanging with her hubby and son. If the weather permits, she loves being lakeside or out in the country with her horses.

Harloe is the author of the Reclusive series, Watch Me Follow, and #BitterSweetHeat series, Ask Me Why, Breaker, Keeper, and Loner. These titles are available on Amazon.

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Blog Tour: Stranger Ranger by Daisy Prescott

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Happy Monday all! Today I’m sharing my review and recommendation of Stranger Ranger from Daisy Prescott. This is Daisy’s second release in the SmartyPants Romance imprint, and trust me when I say that you don’t want to miss it. If you love a weirdness, a little mystery and a whole lotta bearded goodness then you wanna know Odin and Daphne. Guaranteed to make you swoon, laugh and all around feel good.

Happy reading. ~ Amber

Stranger Ranger, an all-new standalone contemporary romance from USA Today bestselling author Daisy Prescott, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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New park ranger Daphne Baum is a reformed good girl. Breaking free from her overbearing family as soon as she turned eighteen, she’s been on her own ever since. The life of a park ranger, moving from park to park, suits her just fine. Though still a rule follower, she’s okay with a little sin in her life.

Every generation of Hill men has its black sheep. The general consensus among the family is that Odin Hill is the lucky bastard this go around. At seventeen, he blew out of town like an angry tornado only to return fifteen years later withdrawn and secretive. Living like a recluse in the hollows in the Smoky Mountains, he’s happy to keep to himself and is content to let locals believe he’s the town weirdo. Odin prefers the company of his pet pig to the nosy citizens of Green Valley.

When Daphne discovers Odin might be committing nefarious deeds on park land, she vows to find out the truth behind the handsome, yet chaotic, loner. Will the stranger help the ranger discover the difference between being good and doing the right thing? Or will they find themselves on opposite sides of love?

‘Stranger Ranger’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Park Ranger series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy of Stranger Ranger TODAY!

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amber-review   5 Stars

I absolutely adored this story!! Daphne and Odin are full of quirks, full of secrets and full of attraction for the other. Once again Daisy Prescott takes us on a journey into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ranger Daphne is a bit of a loner, having been a bit of a nomad as she tries to find a permanent ranger gig. Odin is the strange farmer guy with a pet pig he takes for walks. But these two just seem to keep crossing paths, and when they finally connect? Yeah it was kinda everything I wanted. I loved this couple. Loved Patsy Swine and Roman the bougie dog. Loved all the other characters we get more glimpses of, and can’t wait to go back.

Check out Happy Trail, book 1 in the Park Ranger series of standalones, FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Excerpt

By early afternoon, the crowd at the farmers’ market fades, leaving only stragglers, bargainers, and tourists sampling the charms of small town life.

I’ve had enough people for the week I’m looking forward to the quiet of my own company. All the talking and friendly chatter exhaust me. You’d think vegetables would sell themselves given they’re pretty self-explanatory. Yet folks wanna hear a story about a carrot being grown from the guy who pulled it out of the dirt himself. So I play my part of the happy farmer at the stand. It’s my bad luck I’ve always been charming. Part of my DNA.

My family has lived in the mountains surrounding Green Valley longer than anyone around here can remember. Before there was a National Park or even a Cades Cove, the Hills had established a homestead in the Smokies straddling Tennessee and North Carolina.

Because our last name is Hill, some people like to joke we put the hill in hillbilly. Jethro Winston for example. He’s hysterical. Some people think they have a sense of humor when they’re just being mean-spirited. As my Nannie Ida always says, glass houses provide good views, but then again, so do mirrors.

This is why I prefer the company of Patsy over most folks. She’s smart, a good listener, tidy, and doesn’t give a damn about my family and reputation. She has more class than a lot of the gossips and Sunday church-goers around here.

After I consolidate the remaining produce into crates and load up the van, I fold the tables and collapse my tent. While I work, the face of the brunette ranger floats through my mind.

She looked familiar but I didn’t recognize her name. It isn’t likely our paths have crossed. I don’t get out much and I’m not hanging around the bars or the visitor center in Cades Cove. Normally, one of my cousins covers the stand at the weekly farmers’ market and I can avoid the crowds. This is what happens when I let my guard down and am forced to engage with the public. I get iceberg and Bible quotes. I’ve never been a fan of either.

Bothered I’m still thinking about her, I close and lock up the van.

“Come on Patsy, let’s go for a walk.”

She gives a happy snort and steps closer to where her leash hangs on the top rail of her pen.

When the two of us stroll through town, folks stare. It’s worse when they insist on sharing a comment, tell the same old joke, and, in general, make a fuss. Honestly, I assume at this point people seeing the two of us together would be old news around here.

Guess some folks don’t have enough going on in their lives that they need to make commentary about people minding their own damn business.

I don’t understand what the big deal is about a man walking his pig.

Patsy’s excellent on a leash. Doesn’t pull. Has never instigated fights with dogs. Hasn’t bit anyone. Doesn’t do her business in the middle of the sidewalk. In my mind, she’s much better mannered than any old hound dog.

She’s pretty darn perfect in every conceivable way.

Except the one time she trampled Mrs. MacClure’s flower bed. Even that was my fault for not paying closer attention to where we were walking.

If I had to find fault with her, Patsy thinks she’s in charge. And she’s a little more than spoiled. I only have myself to blame.

“Clarice, please tell me you see that man walking his pig.” A woman shouts to her friend and points from about three feet away.

“I’m not invisible,” I tell her with a flat smile.

“Oh dear.” Her companion rolls her eyes. “You’re a tall drink of cool water, aren’t you?”

The question is rhetorical. Being compared to a refreshing beverage doesn’t require a response, so I remain quiet. Patsy tugs on her leash and releases a frustrated snort that we’ve stopped walking.

“You two have a nice day, m‘kay.” I step off the sidewalk to pass them.

I’d like to say their behavior is atypical. If I hear “You’re like the Jolly Green Giant. Only less green” one more time …

For the record, I am not jolly.

There must be something in the well water around here. We grow ‘em tall in Green Valley.

Does a pig need to be walked on leash for health and exercise? No.

I’m the only weirdo in all of Green Valley who likes to take my daily constitutional accompanied by a sow. Not even Cletus Winston is as much of an oddball as I am. And that’s saying something.

He’s only interested in pigs and boar in terms of sausage. In my opinion, he’s missing out. If we were friends, or even friendly acquaintances, I might suggest we partner up. Truffle salami can be incredible. Or so I remember. I don’t eat pork anymore. Not since I’ve had Patsy. I’d be offended if she ate human body parts around me.

Hogs will eat pretty much anything you give them. A few years ago a pig farmer went missing. Wife said he ran off with his mistress. Everyone believed her until his gold tooth turned up in the muck and mud of their hog pens. Macabre, but true.

I don’t eat pork and Patsy doesn’t eat me. It’s an unspoken pact between us.

Not that she’s some sort of demon pig crazed with bloodlust. Not at all. She’s the best pig in eastern Tennessee. Don’t need a blue ribbon from the state fair to make it true.

This leisurely stroll around town is all part of my ruse.

If someone sees us ambling someplace we don’t belong, they’ll leave us alone, which is the entire point.

There’s freedom in being a weirdo. Folks keep their distance. Sure, there are the asinine comments, but for the most part they assume I’m dim-witted or crazy. Fine by me. With or without my porcine sidekick, I’ve always been different. I learned early on that people like to form and hold onto their own opinions. Pointless to try to change someone’s mind. What they think of me is their problem, not mine.

About Daisy Prescott

Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog, Mulder, and an imaginary house goat. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.

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Find Daisy Prescott online

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Blog Tour: Love in Deed (Green Valley Library #6) by L.B. Dunbar

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Well I’m just slightly late for the blog tour of this book I totally adored, because well life imploded a bit last week. But ya know this is sorta a book about life imploding, changing our directions but being open to finding new things to appreciate. Beverly and Jedd both experienced things that changed their lives, but when they find each other they come alive. Check out my review and an excerpt from the story below. And make sure you not only check out other SmartyPants Romance releases, but also L.B. Dunbar’s other books!

Happy reading!! ~ Amber

Love in Deed, an all-new standalone contemporary romance from L.B. Dunbar, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Sometimes it takes an outsider to force us to see who we are. The real struggle is accepting what we learn. For Beverly Townsen, nothing could be closer to the truth. Virtually a shut-in, Beverly has pulled back from Green Valley’s community, preferring the isolation of her farmhouse and her daily routine of viewing home improvement television shows. When the opportunity arises for her own home improvement and a personal re-assessment, she’s not so excited about the reality of real life versus DIY programs.

Jedd Flemming understands physical pain and personal loss, but it’s never stopped him from bucking forward in life. A former military man and rodeo star, his life as a nomad comes to an end with false accusations and a family matter back in the Valley. It’s been a long journey to find his way home and once there, there’s nothing he wants more than to reclaim what he’s lost…and maybe the elusive female reclusive who holds a sliver of his past.

With an unprecedented proposition, Beverly finds a stranger living in her barn, raising horses on borrowed pastures, and plowing his way into her vacant heart. Old hurts linger, but sometimes love in deed is louder than words.

‘Love in Deed’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #6 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy TODAY! Read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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amber-review  5 Stars

I absolutely loved this story! L.B. Dunbar wrote the heart back into Beverly, a character previously glimpsed in a few of both Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers books and Love in Due Time as being bitter, cold and a recluse. All those things were true to a degree, but learning the why and seeing her blossom was everything! Gah! When Jedd Fleming shows up on Beverly’s porch things get really interesting because it’s then we see Bev start to try and come back to life. Jedd and Beverly have flaws, have secrets, have wished and dreams. Watching them both dance around the other before giving in to desire was a delight. Throw in all the added layers to this story and I didn’t want it to end!! And now I want more of Jedd’s friends and to know Scotia’s (Beverly & Naomi oldest sister) story and to see what’s next from Dunbar in Green Valley!

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Excerpt

“Momma,” she whispers, and I turn at the soft question in her voice. Her eyes scan my face. Does she fear she’ll look like me one day? Those bright eyes will dim, and lines will form in the corners. Will they be rivers formed from tears, or will she eventually find laughter? Does she wonder if her lips will match mine, permanently curled downward? Can my girl still smile? Will her hair go gray too young as mine did? Will the stress of her life turn her into someone lonely and lost?

I blink back the tears fighting for release. I won’t cry. Nothing left to cry over. It’s all gone.

“Do you fancy him?” my daughter asks, and I choke on the question.

“What…? I…of course not. Don’t be silly. I’m sure he’d be more interested in the likes of you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Hannah asks, brows rising in surprise.

“I’m sure I don’t need to explain the birds and the bees to you. Men like him only want young things and only want one thing from those young things. I don’t think he should stay here,” I sneer, recognizing the pulse at my neck and the thump of my heart. My daughter is a pretty girl, and this older man could be attracted to her for all the wrong reasons. Young girls go for older men to solve their daddy issues.

“He’s sleeping in the barn,” Hannah counters, her voice deepening in displeasure. Ticking off points on her fingers, she continues, “We don’t need to feed him. He’ll rebuild at his expense or hire what he can’t do himself. The back field will be plowed and prepped for spring planting.”

I snort in response, but my eyes return to Jedd’s movement. Into the barn. Out in the yard. My observation traces down his perspiring spine to the waist of his pants where his shirt has untucked. My fingers curl on the armrest of the rocker as my eyes outline the fine globes accentuated by those smooth pants. My mouth goes dry.

What is it about this man? Why am I suddenly lusting after him?

I can’t. That’s the bottom line. I can’t anything him. Under fifteen percent and tight pants and a perfect backside is still a man with empty words.

My eyes fall blindly on the reality television program. The only man a girl can count on is the fictional kind. I force my attention away from the barn, but my eyes seem to have a will of their own.

“We can’t have a stranger living in our barn,” I huff. Jedd stops, turning in his tracks with a pile of lumber on his shoulder as if he heard me, which is impossible on two counts: the panes of glass and his lack of hearing. Still, he stills, and his eyes narrow on the house as if he knows I’m watching him, I’m talking about him, and I don’t agree with this arrangement.

“Too late. He’s moving in.” Hannah definitively nods, dismissing my opinion as Jedd swings back around. She leans down to kiss my cheek and then exits my room, but I remain transfixed.

Suddenly, reality is more fascinating than television.

My eyes continue the cat and mouse game of watching Jedd disappear and then reappear. I don’t know how much time transpires, but eventually, the bed of his truck is empty. Still, I hold my breath as if the barn is a giant octopus, swallowing him whole. I fear he might disappear forever like Howard did, which is the silliest thought I’ve had in a decade. I don’t need Jedd. We don’t need Jedd. There will be no attachment to him.

But then, Jedd appears at the open barn door and gives a single wave toward the house, and I smile in spite of myself.

About L.B. Dunbar

L.B. Dunbar has an overactive imagination. To her benefit, such creativity has led to over thirty romance novels, including those offering a second chance at love over 40. Her signature works include the #sexysilverfoxes collection of mature males and feisty vixens ready for romance in their prime years. She’s also written stories of small-town romance (Heart Collection), rockstar mayhem (The Legendary Rock Stars Series), and a twist on intrigue and redemption (Redemption Island Duet). She’s had several alter egos including elda lore, a writer of romantic magical realism through mythological retellings (Modern Descendants). In another life, she wanted to be an anthropologist and journalist. Instead, she was a middle school language arts teacher. The greatest story in her life is with the one and only, and their four grown children. Learn more about L.B. Dunbar by joining her reader group on Facebook (Loving L.B.) or subscribing to her newsletter (Love Notes).

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Blog Tour: Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards

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Hello fabulous readers! So if you haven’t figured it out yet over the past year I have fallen into the Penny Reid Universe and I don’t wanna leave! So her SmartyPants Romance has been the most amazing thing for lovers of her world. And anyone that has read any of Penny’s Green Valley stories or heck any of the other Green Valley set stories from previous SmartyPants releases, knows Daisy’s Nut House (hello donuts). So the announcement of Upsy Daisy was an origin story that every fan should be excited about, or at least I know I am! Check out the excerpt below and if you are a KU subscriber, check it out today! I know I will be diving in to it really soon.

Happy reading! ~ Amber

College, cookies, capers, Oh my!

Upsy Daisy, an all-new first love college romance from debut author Chelsie Edwards, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Daisy Payton has everything.

Exceptional grades.

Impeccable clothes.

Model family.

But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.

Trevor Boone has nothing.

Abandoned as a child.

Raised by distant relatives.

Constantly reminded he’s a burden.

Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.

When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?

‘Upsy Daisy’ is a full-length romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Higher Learning series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy TODAY!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2G2FwlO

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2syOT9y

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Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2RyfwUJ

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Excerpt

My room was small with pale yellow walls, one window on the far wall, two closets, two raised beds, and a single dresser. I’d beaten my roommate there and claimed the bed closest to the window. We’d made quick work of the cleaning and had gotten a good way through the decorating and hanging my clothes before Dolly flopped on the bed and called me to sit next to her.

I knew what was coming next. It was one of my favorite Dolly speeches. It was the “Today You Become a Woman” speech. My conservative guess was I’d become a woman twenty-three times in the last few years. It’d happened when I’d gotten my driver’s license, when I’d gotten asked to the junior prom, when I’d gone to the senior prom, graduation day … you get the drift. Dolly was good with marking milestones with big speeches.

She’d begin gently but I knew it wouldn’t stay gentle for very long, she would poke and pry and try to get me to cry and suddenly I was tired and ready for her to go.

“Do you like your room?” she asked innocuously.

I nodded, because I knew she hated when I nodded. Instead of reacting she simply stared and stared until I said, “Yes, it’s nice, a bit small for two people but I’m sure my roommate will be nice and we will make do,” I said it more hoping than knowing.

Dolly smiled, and then after a moment said, “Don’t be angry with your father …”

I stared at her confused, waiting for her to go on. She seemed to be struggling for words and so I patted her leg reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ll write him a letter. Or better yet, I think I saw a pay phone at the end of the hall, I’ll call him and tell him I’m not angry he couldn’t make the trip.”

She sighed. “No, Daisy, I know you’re not angry over that.”

There was another pause and she took a deep breath. “Daddy wanted to surprise you. He thought you might be more comfortable in your own room here since you have your own room at home.”

I continued to stare at her. “He called in a favor with one of his friends at the Alumni Association and they made special accommodations for you … someone will be by to collect the extra bed—”

“No,” I said more forcefully than I intended. I wasn’t angry with Dolly.

Although she had kept this from me until now, so maybe I should’ve been. In fact I definitely should’ve been.

“Dolly, why didn’t you tell me?”

“I knew it would make you upset. There is no use trying to change what’s done.”

“No use? Would make me upset? I am way past upset. I don’t want special accommodations. I don’t want my own room. I don’t want to be treated differently,” I hollered.

“Daisy, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world.”

How could I explain that it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a continuation of the same world.

And that was the problem.

I wanted to be Daisy Payton here, not Daisy Payton.

Because Daisy Payton played a mean game of spades, and knew how to cornrow in every direction. She had a natural head for figures, and could even do three digit multiplication in her head. She loved the Temptations and could cut a rug on the dance floor with the best of them. She could bake better than your eighty-five-year-old granny. She studied geography for fun. She got a four-point-oh during the worst year of her life. She was good with potted plants but terrible in the garden; weeds were foes she could not defeat. She’d been kissed twice. Once was awful and once was amazing, so amazing that she did it again, and then again—so really four times, but three of the kisses happened in one session. And she wanted opportunities to roll that fifty-fifty dice again to find out how the next kiss would be.

But Daisy Payton?

Daisy Payton had a powerful father. (That poor man.)

Daisy Payton was a rich girl. (She’s not but it doesn’t matter if people think you are.)

She had a dead brother, who got murdered in Vietnam. (What a useless war.)

Daisy Payton had a mother who was there and then *poof* was gone from breast cancer. (Poor Daisy.)

Daisy Payton went from rich girl to poor girl. Poor little rich girl that everyone looked at with pity.

And she hated it.

She hated that everyone, everyone thought they knew her.

She hated the assumption that if they hurt with her, or worse, for her, then it made the pain better, as if that made it the entire community’s pain; when it absolutely didn’t.

She hated that she still read and reread the letters from her brother. Some of the pages had wrinkles from being crumpled in fits of anger because oh, she was so angry when he left. And then she felt guilty and stupid and horrified that she’d almost destroyed his letters when they were all that was left. Some were starting to show signs of age, yellow in some spots and the ink fading in others, and she hated that too because how could so much time have passed without him?

And she hated that her mother had been helping her shop for homecoming dresses and was buried before Thanksgiving. It had spread so fast.

No junior prom dress shopping. No junior prom.

She barely remembered her senior year.

She hated that her friends and family and perfect strangers spoke to her in hushed tones and assumed she was broken.

She hated that they were right.

Because the ache inside her was relentless. It constantly missed her brother. It constantly missed her mother. It would not abate. It could not be moved. She was thoroughly, horribly, broken and all that brokenness was put up for examination by an entire town. That just couldn’t happen here.

For the whole of her life, the whole of Green Valley had treated her differently, and she absolutely hated it.

But she wasn’t in Green Valley now. And Daisy Payton had a plan.

About Chelsie Edwards

Chelsie Edwards’ mother declared her a smarty-pants at 4 years old; now she gets to be one professionally. She manages project timelines by day and book timelines by night. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and has no dogs, fish, or birds, but her neighbors cat “Buddy” keeps her company by sunbathing on her porch. Her debut novella is scheduled to be released Spring 2020 on Smartypants Romance and will chronicle Daisy and Trevor’s journey.

TF

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Blog Tour & Excerpt: A Secret for a Secret by Helena Hunting

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“Helena Hunting delivers a smart, funny, emotional story that grabs you from page one.”

— Ilsa Madden-Mills, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

A Secret for a Secret, an all-new must read forbidden standalone romance that is sure to have you swooning from the start by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, is available now!

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From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting comes a new romance about trading secrets, breaking the rules, and playing for keeps.

My name is Ryan Kingston, and I’m a rule follower. I’ve never been in a fistfight. I always obey the speed limit. I don’t get drunk, and I definitely don’t pick up random women at bars.

Except the night I found out that my whole existence has been a lie.

I got drunk. And picked up a stranger.

Her name was Queenie, and she was everything I’m not: reckless, impulsive, and chaotic. We did shots and traded secrets. And ended up naked at my place.

She left me a thank-you note in the morning and her panties as a parting gift. But no way to contact her.

Six weeks later I’m sitting in the first official team meeting of the season, and there she is. I neglected to mention that I’m the goalie for Seattle’s NHL team.

And Queenie? Turns out she’s the general manager’s daughter.

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Download your copy today or read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Excerpt:

“You think our GM got himself an assistant?”

I follow his gaze to the front of the room. Standing at the desk with her back to us, arranging papers, is a woman with wavy chestnut hair that nearly reaches her waist. “Maybe an intern?”

She’s wearing a navy dress that conforms to her very feminine form. I trace the dip of her waist and the curve of her hip, skimming down to where the hem of her dress hits the bend in her knee. Her calves are bare, athletic, and toned, and her heels boast a little bow on the back. Classy, yet sexy. “Possibly.”

“I hope the eye candy is gonna be permanent,” someone at the table behind us says, loud enough for everyone close by to hear.

“I wouldn’t mind if she helped me with my jockstrap,” one of the other guys chimes in, eliciting a loud chuckle from the rest of the table.

I glance over my shoulder and pin them with an unimpressed glare. I recognize Foley from Tampa, and Dickerson is an LA trade. They’re notorious womanizers. “Watch your mouth and have some respect. That’s someone’s daughter.”

“Take it easy, King. It’s not like we’d actually say that to her face,” Foley says.

I don’t have an opportunity to reprimand him further because the GM, Jake Masterson, and our head coach, Alex Waters, enter the room through the side door. The GM crosses over to the woman, whose back is still turned to us, and he gives her a smile that seems . . . overly warm. He leans in and squeezes her shoulder as he says something with his mouth close to her ear.

“Maybe she’s not his assistant. Maybe she’s his new girlfriend, ’cause that looks pretty damn friendly to me.” Bishop jams a sausage link into his mouth.

“Maybe,” I agree.

She turns slightly, giving me a glimpse of her profile. Her cheeks are flushed pink. I blink a couple of times, because she seems incredibly familiar.

“I think I know her,” I mumble, more to myself than to Bishop.

“Not as well as our GM does, by the look of things.”

It hits me like a puck in the chest without pads on. I do know her. Queenie. My one-night stand who bailed the next morning and left a Post-it and panties hanging from my doorknob. Destroyed panties. “Oh God.”

Did I sleep with the GM’s girlfriend? Memories come barreling into my brain, and I want to sink into the floor. My behavior that night was highly atypical. Everything about that night was. I chalked it up to the alcohol, the family drama, and the fact that she seemed to be a very eager and willing participant in our adventures. Do not think about the things you did to her.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about Queenie and our night together. I’ve even considered driving by the bar where we met, but I don’t know if she’s likely to show up there. And it’s not as if I can ask the bartender about her without looking like a creep. Besides, if she wanted me to have her number, she would’ve left it.

“Are you okay? You look like you’re about to hurl,” Bishop asks.

I cover my mouth with my palm, not because I’m going to be ill but to hide the fact that it’s hanging open and I can’t seem to close it. Although my stomach is starting to do those awful somersaults that will soon turn into full-on nausea. The kind I used to get when I’d first hit the ice for a game.

This is bad. Really bad. I’ve never had a one-night stand before. I’ve always been in committed relationships, and I prefer to get to know my bed partners before they actually get into bed with me. Teen pregnancy was pretty common where I grew up in Tennessee, because there wasn’t much else to do apart from playing sports or getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol—my brother, Gerald, went the latter route. I obviously fit into the sports category. By the time I became a teenager, my parents had finally learned their lesson. It was drilled into me to never become that kind of statistic, or to turn my girlfriend into a mom before she was ready to take on more than senior-level algebra.

Ironic how my actual mother would’ve been one of those girls had my grandparents not made the choices they had.

“King?” Bishop nudges me. “You’re staring, man.”

Jake whistles with his fingers, causing the woman beside him to cringe but then quickly school her expression into an uncertain smile. “Who’s ready for a new season?”

He’s rewarded with a chorus of cheers from the players. Waters stands off to the side, clapping enthusiastically. He generally runs all team meetings, but Jake is a hands-on GM, so he always manages first meeting intros before he hands it over to our coach.

Jake waits for everyone to settle down and take their seats before he continues. “Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my personal assistant, Queenie.” He throws his arm over her shoulder and pulls her into his side.

A hot spike of anger rushes down my spine—it’s a foreign feeling. I’m usually very level headed. But not right now. It’s obvious by the way Jake and Queenie interact that there’s a relationship there. Is she a cheater? Did she make me one? There’s a definite age gap. He’s young for a GM, but he’s in his forties, and I’m pretty sure she’s in her mid twenties.

“She also happens to be my daughter, so don’t get any ideas, boys.” He somehow manages to wink and glare at the same time.

And it just went from bad to worse.

My one-night stand isn’t my GM’s girlfriend; she’s his daughter.



HelenaHunting

About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Hard Road Back by Andrew Grey Blog

Happy Saturday! We are excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Hard Road Back by Andrew Grey today! I absolutely loved this cowboy romance! I’m sharing my 5 Star review and we’ve also got a great excerpt and giveaway too!
Happy Reading!
~Jenn

Title: Hard Road Back

Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Currently a Standalone Title
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Release Date: May 5 2020
Edition/Format: 1st Edition/Format ~ eBook &
Print
Blurb/Synopsis:
Rancher Martin Jamuson has a deep understanding of horses.
He just wishes his instincts extended to his best friend, Scarborough
Croughton, and the changes in their feelings toward each other. Martin may be
the only friend Scarborough has in their small town, but Scarborough is a man
of secrets, an outsider who’s made his own way and believes he can only rely on
himself when the chips are down. Still, when he needs help with a horse, he
naturally comes to Martin.
As they work together, Martin becomes more determined than
ever to show Scarborough he’s someone he can trust… maybe someone he can love.
Even if it risks their friendship, both men know the possibility for more
between them deserves to be explored. But when Scarborough’s past reemerges, it
threatens his home, horses, career, and even their lives. If they hope to
survive the road before them, they’ll have to walk it together… and maybe make
the leap from cautious friends to lovers along the way.
Book Links
Jenn Review
5 Stars
I think this may one of my very favorite Andrew Grey books! I absolutely loved the setting of this story and Martin and Scarborough are such great characters. I absolutely adored both of them, especially Scarborough, oh he pretty much broke my heart with his loneliness but Martin is the perfect match for him. I found this to be a very endearing and wonderful read that I didn’t want to put down.
Martin and Scarborough have neighboring ranches and while they help each other out here and there, there really isn’t much of a deep friendship between them. When Scarborough brings home a new, beautiful but skittish horse he asks for Martin’s help in training him. The two start spending some time together and their friendship develops, it’s when Martin travels with Scarborough to his high school reunion he gets to see a new side of the stoic and quiet man.
I really did love this story, it wasn’t overly dramatic or intense but it felt like a deeply personal read. I felt like I really got to know these guys and understand their journey. They certainly face some challenges as their relationship builds, trying to figure out who may be messing around on Scarborough’s ranch and the issues he faces with his father, but these two learn how to open up to each other and handle things together. This book really was a feel good, heartfelt romance and again, my new favorite from Andrew Grey! I highly recommend this sweet, sexy cowboy romance!
Excerpt 1

“Who might want to get even with you or cause trouble?” I knew Scarborough didn’t have disgruntled employees, because it was just him here on the ranch. He did whatever he needed himself because help would require him to pay them.

He stood still, and I took a few seconds just to watch him and wait for some sort of response. Scarborough had spent his entire life outside, working hard, and it showed in every muscle in his body. I had been to the city and seen guys whose bodies came from gyms, with their perfect bubble butts and chests that seemed to sprout plates. But Scarborough wasn’t like that. His was a body of a life of hard work, with corded muscle and a compact strength from lifting bales of hay and splitting enough wood to heat the house for the winter.

His jeans were old and maybe a little threadbare in places, hugging his legs and backside like a second skin. I knew it was a bad idea to be looking at my neighbor that way, but what the hell? He seemed lost in his own thoughts for a few minutes, and I sure as hell could let my own mind wander. It didn’t hurt anything, and I didn’t have any illusions that Scarborough was going to suddenly wake up and realize that I was his dream guy. He wasn’t going to open his arms and change his ways at the drop of a hat—or because of a single longing look across a paddock. That sort of thing was not Scarborough Croughton in the least.

“I don’t know,” he finally answered, then turned away, going about cleaning up the rubber snakes and checking the last of the paddock.

Not that it was likely that he was going to be able to put Black Beauty in this paddock. He was going to remember, and it would only make him nervous again. At least he seemed to be eating now and drinking some, which meant that the panic in him was over. But this afternoon’s incident had made my job a little harder, and I was going to need all the patience I could muster to try to help that horse—and Scarborough, for that matter.

“Keep an eye on him, and I’ll get the paperwork sent over right away. I should have some time in a few days.”

He nodded. “I’ll do my best to try to keep him calm and see if maybe he’ll forget some of this incident.”

That was our only hope to get him past whatever trauma had left the horse so full of fear that he’d spook like that. I also wondered what could have happened to Scarborough to make him withdraw from everyone the way he had too. I wondered which of the two would be easier to understand in the end.

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Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved
to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and
leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when
writing)He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Author Links
Facebook Group
All the Way with Andrew Grey
Twitter@andrewgreybooks
For Other Works by
Andrew Grey
(Please Be Sure To
Stop by His
Website to See All of His
Works)

Blog Tour: Carpentry and Cocktails (Green Valley Public Library book #5) by Nora Everly

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Carpentry and Cocktails, an all-new heartwarming small-town romance from Nora Everly, is now available in Kindle Unlimited! Follow another Monroe brother into happy ever after territory in this follow up to Crime and Periodicals. I can’t wait to read this one because I loved Sabrina and Wyatt’s story. Check out the excerpt to this one below and make sure you 1-click or download into your KU library.

Happy reading. ~ Amber

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Everett Monroe can’t keep his eyes off his gorgeous tenant.

He’d like to put his hands on her too, but she’s prickly, closed-off, and gives new meaning to the word disgruntled. In other words, she’s his perfect match and he’ll do anything to make her see it too.

Willa Hill has finally left her teen runaway past behind and wants a fresh start—alone. Men are nothing but trouble and she’s had enough man-trouble to last a lifetime.

Too bad her irresistibly sexy, nerdy-hot landlord doesn’t agree.

When their mutual yearning becomes a white-hot fling and passion crosses carefully drawn, albeit one-sided boundaries, Everett finds himself in love and Willa finds herself in a pickle.

Because, unfortunately, when she returned to Green Valley, her problems came too.

When the past she escaped crashes into the future she finds herself wanting more than anything, will Willa stay in Green Valley?

Or will she run away again?

‘Carpentry and Cocktails’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy TODAY!

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Excerpt

We had danced together before, the night I’d first met her. Months ago, I’d been at Genie’s with Wyatt to have a few beers and shake off the day. Instead, I’d danced all evening with the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Every time I remembered holding her close, I had to fight against getting hard. Since that night, I had been half in love with her. The physical half was all in—I was attracted to her something fierce. The mental half didn’t know enough to start the fall, even though everything I learned about her drew me in and each day made me fall a little further. She was skittish with a fiercely sharp wit; she had been hurt. I could tell she was protecting a soft spot and it made me want to discover it so I could be the one to keep her safe.

But she had kept her distance from me—well, as much as she possibly could while living in the apartment in my basement—and we hadn’t touched again, not once. Having her crash into my arms just now was heady stuff. Her scent, the feel of her body, the warm press of her against me—she made me feel intoxicated, and I had yet to order a single drink. My heart was in danger, but I couldn’t make myself stay away.

“My sister…I’m sorry—” she stammered as she started to step back.

I tugged her closer instead of letting her get away. “Don’t apologize. Dance with me?” My hands drifted around her waist as I started moving us backward toward the dance floor.

“Oh, I don’t know if we should.” Hesitation flashed briefly in her eyes, but she acquiesced and followed me across the floor as I turned to hold her hand, giving it a gentle tug of encouragement.

Leaning to the side, I whispered in her ear as we walked. “It’s just a dance, Willard.” I pulled back and grinned down at her with a wink. Her gorgeous eyes—big and light blue like the summer sky—widened as she opened her mouth to say something, but I twirled her under my arm instead of letting her speak. Country music blasted through the bar, fast and wild. It left no room for hesitation. I yanked her into my arms. “Okay?” I shouted over the music.

My mother loved to dance; she taught all us boys how. A gentleman always takes his lady dancing. And maintains a respectful distance. I took a small step back, placing my hand on Willa’s upper back as our fingers linked together. With a step forward, she closed that distance to press against me once more. My lips curled up in a grin as her hand tightened in mine and her arm slid around my neck, hand drifting through the back of my tied-back hair. She wasn’t as immune to me as she pretended to be and I wouldn’t dare test that by stepping away from her again, even if it wasn’t gentlemanly. If she wanted me close, then that’s where I’d be.

Her gorgeous eyes twinkled in the lights as she smiled up at me and her body relaxed in my arms. “Okay, Everett. I’ll dance with you,” she breathed. Her voice was much too quiet to hear over the blaring music, but my focus on her gorgeous mouth allowed me to understand her words.

Quick, quick, slow—our easy Texas two-step was the same as everyone else’s on the floor but with her in my arms, this felt like so much more than a simple dance. I led her across the floor, spinning her out and pulling her back. I wanted to make her laugh again, like I did during our last dance so many months ago. I wanted her to want me as much as I wanted her. We had almost shared a kiss that night but were interrupted before anything could happen. She had the prettiest lips; full and soft and always pink. If I never kissed Willa before I died, it would be one of my greatest regrets. I had faith the right moment would present itself. As the song came to an end, I took both of her hands to spin her under my arms before dipping her low over my knee. Her ponytail brushed the floor as her neck arched back. She laughed, lifted her head and my heart skipped a beat as her eyes shone into mine with unbridled delight. Her sexy laugh tickled over my skin like I wished her hands would do and I felt the fall I was so afraid of coming even closer.

“God, you’re such a good dancer. Where’d you learn to dance like this, Everett?” she asked, slightly breathless and totally adorable as she beamed up at me. It seemed that dancing with Willa was one of the keys to get her to respond to me. I filed that fact away for future contemplation as I pulled her up and into my hold once again.

My smile turned sideways as I was about to admit my nerdy momma’s-boy truth to her. “From my mother,” I shouted over the music. “She loves to dance. My father tries, but he isn’t very good at it, so she taught all us boys how. We used to take turns two-stepping with her all over the living room.”

“That’s the sweetest thing ever,” she said. Score one for the nerds!

“One more?” I didn’t want to let her go yet.

“Sure, I have time for one more before I have to get back to work.”

With its slower beat and romantic lyrics, Lady Antebellum’s “I Run to You” changed the energy between us. The rise and fall of her chest as she sighed against me filled me with need as her forehead briefly rested on my shoulder and our fingers linked. I loved it that she was so tall. At six-foot-six I towered over most women, but Willa fit me just right. My need grew urgent as I wrapped my arm around her waist and my hand met the soft swipe of her skin, bared by the tied hem of her Genie’s tank top. Smooth and warm, it tempted me into thoughts inappropriate for our location. I inhaled a sharp breath to regain control. Dipping my head low, I took in her sweet scent as my cheek rested against hers—so soft. Her curly hair tickled my chin as my senses filled with nothing but her. Having her next to me felt right and I didn’t understand why. My heart raced out of control and I wondered just what it was about her that made me react so intensely.

She reminded me of a Palomino horse; all long legs, flowing light blond hair, and pale skin kissed with adorable freckles. Willa was some kind of wild, and totally free. I shut my eyes and pictured her running across her momma’s land up in the hills above town with her gorgeous hair flying behind her like a gold cloud, her laughter trailing through the air. God, she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I grit my teeth as my control started slipping away again. I was in danger of making a fool of myself. I was in danger of a lot of things, and a broken heart was at the top of that list.

“I love this song…” she whispered in my ear as she pulled away. Her head lifted from my shoulder as her hand trailed down my arm. She linked our fingers and I resumed leading her around the floor, rather than the slow sway we’d fallen into when the song started.

“Mm hmm,” I muttered as I gazed into her eyes and smiled faintly, at a loss for words.

She studied my face. “Everett, why do I always feel like when you’re looking at me, you really see me?” she murmured.

“I do see you. Sometimes you’re all I see,” I confessed, hoping it wasn’t too much, too soon.

Lowering her head, she tucked her blushing cheek into the side of my neck and sighed against my skin, leaving goosebumps in the wake of her breath. I continued leading her across the dance floor with my heart beating like crashing thunder bolts in my chest. I should be careful; I didn’t want her to end up being just another girl I fell for who didn’t want me back. Story of my life.

About Nora Everly

Nora Everly is a lifelong bookworm. She started reading the good stuff once she grew tall enough to sneak the romance novels off the top of her mother’s bookshelf and it has been non-stop ever since.

Once upon a time she was a substitute teacher and an educational assistant. Now she’s a writer and stay at home mom to two small humans and one fat cat.

Nora lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and her overactive imagination.

NENENENENE

Find Nora Everly online

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Website: https://www.noraeverly.com/

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Blog Tour: Batter of Wits (Donner Bakery #5) by Karla Sorensen

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“Heartfelt, hilarious, with a dash of angst…Karla Sorensen shines with the perfect feel-good read!” –Author Catherine Cowles

Batter of Wits, an all-new funny and heartwarming romance from Karla Sorensen, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Welcome to our Blog Tour stop for Batter of Wits. Another fun adventure to Green Valley and the PennyVerse. I so enjoyed this enemies to lovers story about Grace and Tucker. Read my review and the excerpt below, then go grab the book in Kindle Unlimited or 1-click today. Happy reading.
~ Amber

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Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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4.5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

What happens when a girl from LA moves to small town Tennessee to start over? For Grace Buchanan it seems nothing easy when her car breaks down on the edge of town and she’s rescued by the most annoyingly polite man ever. Seriously she can’t even figure out why she dislikes him so much, or why she has vivid fantasies about him within the first 5 minutes of meeting! Haha, trust me it was entertaining to read. And such was the remainder of this newest Green Valley adventure!! Grace and Tucker Haywood seem to keep getting thrown together. For Grace she’d rather not engage, but for Tucker every interaction with Grace leaves him wanting more.

Relationship complications, undeniable chemistry, meddling towns people and overbearing expectations combine to create drama. Too bad the chemistry between the pair is too much to ignore. While not centered within the bakery, the treats from the bakery sure saw plenty of action and now I want cake. Lol. But seriously I totally enjoyed this one from Karla Sorensen, so make sure you check out Baking Me Crazy from this series as well to learn Levi Buchanan’s story.

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Excerpt

When I looked down, her hands were fisted on the countertop, shaking from the effort of keeping them still.

“I’d take a picture of that,” I told her, voice low and charged.

She tilted her chin up toward me. “Of what?”

In the low light of the apartment, her eyes glowed like melted gold.

“Your hands.” I licked my suddenly dry lips. “I feel like they’re telling me something that I can’t figure out.”

Grace peered down at the fists she was making, and her fingers relaxed, the skin no longer white around her knuckles.

“What are they telling me, Grace?” I begged.

She ducked under my arm and I exhaled heavily. Without the heat from her body against mine, I took a second to get myself under control. When I turned, she was handing me her camera.

“Go ahead,” she said.

I tilted my head. “You want me to take your picture?”

Grace studied the camera, carefully removing the lens cap and pulling it up to her eyes. She aimed it at my face, and I wondered what she saw. If I looked like I was one thread away from snapping, because that’s how I felt.

I’d never felt like I was one quick step away from freedom, but here, I was. One nudge over the edge of the cliff, and she’d have me free falling without a parachute. I’d never, ever wanted it so badly.

When I heard the click of the shutter, I rubbed the back of my neck. “Can I see?”

She ignored me, pulling the camera away so she could look at the digital image on the back. Her lips curved in a secret little smile.

“What do you see?” I asked.

Her chest expanded on an inhale. “Frustration.” Her eyes met mine. “Want.”

Words lodged in my chest, and I couldn’t tear them loose.

I held my hand out and she passed the camera to me. With a rough swallow, I squinted at the tiny viewfinder once it was at eye-level. Grace came into my eye line, holding my gaze with such directness that I fought the urge not to throw the camera across the room simply because it was between us.

It was her turn to ask. “What do you see?”

My finger pushed the slick button on top of the camera, and her mouth curled in surprise that I took a shot.

I pushed the button again as she took a step closer.

“You’re not answering me,” she said lightly.

“Because I can hardly think straight when you’re looking at me like that.” My admission was rough and hard, out before I could stop it.

She took another step, within reach now, and one of her hands slid up my forearm.

One more picture, the sound of the shutter snapping between us like a shot.

Somehow, I set it down on the counter without smashing it.

“You can’t lie to a camera,” Grace said quietly, watching her hand on my arm before the other landed on my heaving chest. “It captures things as are they are, good or bad or ugly or beautiful.”

I slid an arm around her waist and tightened my grip until she was flush against me. My other hand pushed up the back of her neck and into her hair.

“This is insane,” she breathed, dropping her forehead onto my chest.

“No, it’s not.”

Grace lifted her head and pinned me in place. “Tucker, seventy-two hours ago, I hated you. You can’t tell me this doesn’t feel a little nuts.”

I couldn’t stop my smile. “You didn’t hate me. Not really.”

One eyebrow lifted. “Wanna bet?”

About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

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Blog Tour: Cutie and the Beast (Cipher Office #3) by M.E. Carter

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Welcome back to Weight Expectations, where the unexpected is likely to happen.

Cutie and the Beast, an all-new roommates-to-lovers romantic comedy from M.E. Carter, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Welcome to the Cutie and the Beast Blog Tour stop. What an absolutely delightful story from the lovely M.E. Carter! I so enjoyed reading about Abel, Elliott and their girls finding a happy ending together. Make sure you read my review below and check out not only the other goodies in this post, but go check out other SmartyPants Romance releases available now! Happy reading. ~ Amber

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Living with her mother seemed like a good idea at the time. But Elliott Donovan’s living arrangements are not working for her anymore. Desperate to get back on her financial feet after a divorce and out from under her mother’s thumb, Elliott takes a job in the child care center at Weight Expectations, a local gym.

It has everything she needs – family friendly hours, more pay than she expected, and a super cute trainer who just happens to have part of his house for rent.

Abel DiSoto was living the good life until his wife walked out taking half of the family income with her. The blow to his ego was bad enough, but after a fire at the gym scattered Abel’s clients, and consequently his commissions, he’s stuck figuring out how to make ends meet, too. Renting out the master suite of his house to his new co-worker seems like an easy solution. They’re both mature adults, they both have eight-year-old daughters, and their work schedules coordinate so they can lend each other a helping hand to ease the burden of single parenthood.

The only downside? Living like a blended family when you’re not actually a family can present some challenges.

Welcome back to Weight Expectations, where the unexpected is likely to happen.

‘Cutie and the Beast’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #3 in the Cipher Office series, Knitting in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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amber-review 4.75 Stars

A truly lovely story from start to finish! Cutie and the Beast had heart, humor and just the right balance of realism to help you connect with the characters. Abel and Elliott go from strangers to roommates to friends and then lovers, all while balancing single parenthood. The pacing of this story was so spot on and not rushed. While there might have been an insta comfort between the pair, I liked that their connection was more organic. Both are dealing with daughters that are high energy, but thankfully Ainsley and Mabel are quickly bffs in every way. The conflicts the couple encounter were believable, and the way Abel and Elliott worked through things to find their HEA was as well. M.E. Carter knows how to craft a total feel good read!

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Excerpt

In my haste to not be late, I barrel right into a woman coming through the front door.

Grabbing her arms to steady her from falling, I apologize profusely. “I’m sorry! I didn’t see you. Are you all right?”

Smiling tightly, the blonde isn’t thrilled a random stranger practically ran her over. But she’s polite anyway. “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? You aren’t hurt?” I don’t think she is, but sometimes I don’t know my own strength.

This time her smile is a little more genuine. “I’m sure. You sure are in a rush.”

Letting go of her arms, I feel like she needs an explanation other than me racing around like an idiot. “I’m the one parent who has a tendency to be late for school pickup. The lady at the front desk gives me a nasty evil glare if she has to call me.”

This woman, whose name I still haven’t bothered to ask, laughs and I’m struck by how cute she is. She’s definitely a few years older than I am, but not by much. There’s nothing about her that necessarily stands out in a crowd, but her smile is genuine. This is a woman who likes to laugh and have fun. I always gravitate toward those people, which gives me a fleeting thought: I should have noticed my ex-wife hardly ever smiled for real. Laughing was even rarer unless it was at someone else’s expense. Those should have been easy indicators she wasn’t the one for me.

“Parker Elementary?” the blonde asks.

“Yeah.” I give her a quizzical look. “How did you know?”

“Do not mess with Ms. Alexander’s routine. She will cut a bitch.”

My laugh comes easily, and I find myself hoping this woman is a new member. She’s funny. I love it when clients have a sense of humor. Offering her my hand, I introduce myself. “I’m Abel. Trainer here at Weight Expectations and father of Mabel in second grade.”

She places her cold hand in mine. “Elliott. Interviewee for the childcare position and mother of Ainsley, also in second grade.”

“Ah! Well it’s nice to meet you. Fingers crossed I’ll see you here later as a fellow employee. And if not here, at Parker Elementary as a fellow parent. Hopefully not in Ms. Alexander’s line of sight.”

Elliott holds up her gloved hands and crosses her fingers around each other. “Wish me luck. Now run fast.”

About M.E. Carter

My name is M.E. Carter and I have no idea how I ended up writing books. I’m more of a story teller (the more exaggerated the better) and I happen to know people who helped me get those stories on paper. I love reading (read almost 200 books last year), hate working out (but I do it anyway because my trainer makes me), love food (but hate what it does to my butt) and love traveling to non-touristy places most people never see. I live in Houston with my four kids, Mary, Elizabeth, Carter and Bug, who was just a twinkle in my eye when I came up with my pen name. Yeah, I’ll probably have to pay for his therapy someday for being left out.

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