Excerpt

Review Tour: Is It Over Yet? by LA Witt

Happy Monday! Today we are excited to be a part of the Review Tour for Is It Over Yet? by LA Witt! I really enjoyed this emotionalmread and I hope you’ll check out my review! Plus we’ve got a great excerpt and giveaway!

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 60,000 words 
 
Cover Design: Lori Witt
 
Blurb
 

Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.



But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.



And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.



Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?


Jenn Review

 

4 – 4.5 Stars

 

Well, this book was a punch in the feels! I was hooked on Rhys and Derek right from the start and I was rooting for them the whole time! This wasn’t always the easiest read but it was definitely worth it!

 

Traveling together to their daughter’s wedding, Rhys and Derek are trying to figure out how to keep up appearances and pretend that they aren’t getting a divorce. There are still so many things unsaid between the two men and so many emotions that are battling in them. Rhys made one bad decision and it broke their relationship and him, and Derek too. But as these two travel across the country eventually all the feelings come out, the anger, the hurt and also the love that still exists between them.

 

I really enjoyed this book and the journey these two are on together. A lot of this story is internal, from both characters but it carries a lot of emotion and I felt like I really got to know these guys. I felt for both of them and the struggles and the pain they both felt and I adored the love that was between them. As much as they struggle, their journey back together made my heart so freaking happy! Definitely an emotional read and one I’d recommend!


Excerpt
 

Chapter 1



Rhys



The suburban Chicago house I’d lived in for the past six years came into view, and my stomach knotted tighter. It was the same feeling I’d had on my way to a job I’d hated a lifetime ago, when pulling up to the building made me groan out loud at the prospect of another shift in that godforsaken place. Didn’t seem right to feel that way coming home, but there it was, same as it had been for the past two months.



By the time I pulled into the garage beside the familiar red Corolla, my jaw ached from clenching my teeth. Probably because that’s what I’d been doing every night this week at the same time. Ugh. If I didn’t move out of this place soon, my dental bills were going to be astronomical. That was a good enough reason to step things up, wasn’t it? So I didn’t grind my teeth to dust?



As if I didn’t already have a laundry list of reasons why I needed to get out of here.



With an ache in my jaw and a sour feeling in my throat, I collected my coffee cup, lunch bag, and briefcase, and got out of the car. On the way inside, I couldn’t help limping a little, which added to my festering annoyance. It wasn’t unusual for my leg to be sore by the end of the day, especially after I’d been coaching basketball, but it wasn’t doing much for my shitty mood. I couldn’t think of much that would, though. Nothing short of substances that would get me fired. Or maybe finding a note on the counter that said I moved out. There wasn’t a plant on this earth that would get me higher than reading those three sweet little words.



But unless my soon-to-be ex-husband had won the lottery since this morning, he was just as stuck here as I was.



At the door, I paused for a deep breath to steel myself, then went inside. The kitchen and living room were empty. Derek’s car was here, so it was a safe bet he was home, but he was somewhere else in the house. Good enough for me. If I was lucky, he’d stay that way long enough for me to wind down.



I went through my usual motions—cleaning out my lunch bag, rinsing the Tupperware dishes, checking the cats’ food and water, perusing the mail. For years this routine had soothed me. Helped me shift from work to home so I could relax. Not so much these days.



Our long-haired calico, Lucy, hopped upon the counter and chirped at me, and I managed to crack a smile as I scratched her back the way she loved. She arched under my hand and purred. I chuckled, and I didn’t even mind that she was kicking the mail everywhere as she strutted back and forth on the counter.



“Hey, sweetheart. You miss me?”



More purring.



I kept scratching and petting her for a moment, trying not to think about the future. Or the fact that Derek and I still hadn’t come to a custody agreement about the cats. They were littermates, and though they could fight almost as loudly as we could, they were inseparable. There was no “you take Lucy and I’ll take Chico.” When this was all over and we finally went our separate ways, someone was taking both cats, and someone would be living without them.



I scooped Lucy into my arms, and I hugged her tight, which just made her purr louder and my conscience burn hotter. Guilt had been a constant friend for the past couple of months, and every time I thought about either losing my cats or taking them away from Derek, I wanted to cry. As if I hadn’t done enough of that recently.



I’m so sorry, guys. I buried my face in Lucy’s plush fur. I fucked everything up.



The click of a door at the opposite end of the house made my spine stiffen. Lucy tensed too. By the time Derek was halfway up the hall, she’d stopped purring. As he cleared the corner into the living room, she wriggled in my arms, and I sighed as I set her back down on the counter. She jumped to the floor and trotted out of the room, probably to the office where Chico was likely watching birds.



I watched her go, fresh guilt gnawing at me. Things had really gone to shit when even the cats didn’t want to be in the same room with the two of us.



Without the cat to hold my attention anymore, I turned to see where Derek was headed so I could make my own escape. I still needed to change clothes anyway, not to mention take off my prosthetic and sit for a while to give my joints a rest. If he was going to hang out in the living room, then I could go into my bedroom or join the cats in the office.



But Derek wasn’t heading into the living room. He was coming into the kitchen. And from the way his gaze was fixed on me, he wanted to talk about something.



I swallowed. “Hey.”



“Hey.” He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Do you have a few minutes?”



I struggled to hold his gaze. He didn’t seem like he was looking for a fight. There was some tension in his features, but it didn’t read as hostility or anger.



I shifted my weight, wincing at the vicious ache in my hip. “Yeah. Do you mind if we sit, though?”



“Sure. Yeah. Living room?”



“Okay.” I followed him out of the kitchen, and we sat on opposite ends of the sofa. As soon as I was seated, I leaned down, rolled up my pant leg, and disconnected my prosthetic. Derek didn’t speak while I removed it; for all our inability to coexist lately, he was still in the habit of giving me a minute to get situated, particularly when I needed to kick off the prosthetic after a long day on my feet.



I leaned the prosthetic against the end table and sat back, releasing a relieved sigh. Everything ached, especially my hips, knees, and right ankle, and taking some weight off them felt so good. I might’ve even relaxed if not for Derek waiting a cushion away to have a conversation. Ugh. God. What now?



Schooling my expression, I twisted toward him. I stole a second just to look at him. There would come a time in the very near future when all I had left of him was pictures, and even with the constant tension hanging between us, it hurt to imagine not seeing him anymore. Seeing him like this hurt too. The dark eyes that had tongue-tied me on day one were cold now. Beside his eyes and mouth were lines that deepened whenever he smiled or laughed, and they were barely visible now. The near-black hair I’d run my fingers through millions of times, the soft lips I’d tasted more times than I could count, that spot on his neck where a single kiss could make him shudder all over—it was all out of my reach now.



Maybe it was time to take my sister up on the offer to come stay with her. I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could handle.



Forcing back my emotions, I tried to sound casual. “All right. What’s up?”



He mirrored me, pulling his knee up onto the cushion and drumming his fingers on his inseam. “Um.” He stared down at his hand. “So, I talked to Vanessa this morning.”



My gut clenched. Instantly my mind was filled with a million worst case scenarios. I’d expected him to have something on his mind about us, not about our daughter, and panic shot through me. Had something happened? Was she hurt? Sick? “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”



“Yeah. Yeah. Everything’s fine.” He made a calm down gesture. “Nothing’s wrong.”



“Okay. Good.” I exhaled, my heartbeat coming back down. It wasn’t unusual for her to call him, but the whole “we need to talk” thing had me on edge. “So…” I raised my eyebrows. Oh God, had he told her? Did he finally tell her we were divorcing? He’d been dancing around that for two months.



Derek cleared his throat, and to my surprise, he smiled, though he still seemed guarded. “She’s, um… She’s getting married.”



I blinked. “She is?”



He nodded. “Corbin proposed last night.”



“Oh. Wow.” I actually laughed because I was so relieved that instead of something horrible, he was breaking the news that Vanessa was engaged. “That’s great!”



“Yeah. It is.” He met my gaze, but then he broke eye contact, and his smile faltered.



How could a conversation be this much of a roller coaster after thirty seconds? Oh, right, because it was us and we were a disaster. A disaster our daughter still didn’t know about.



Derek took a deep breath and sat up a little. “Here’s the thing—they want to get married sooner than later. Corbin is going to be transferring within the next year, and he’ll probably deploy at some point. So they want to get all their ducks in a row quickly.”



I nodded. “Makes sense. How soon is soon?”



“They’re thinking February.”



I whistled. “Really not letting the grass grow, are they?”



He laughed quietly. “No. But it’s still three months away. It isn’t like they’re eloping next week.”



“True.” And why was this line of conversation making me apprehensive? Like it was going somewhere I really didn’t want it to go? I was thrilled for our daughter and her husband-to-be, but something about this discussion with Derek…didn’t feel right. After nine years together, I knew him, I knew his tells, and I knew there was more to this than just telling me Vanessa was getting married.



Chewing his lip, Derek dropped his gaze and watched his fingers drumming on his knee again. There was definitely something on his mind. Something he needed to say, but either couldn’t figure out how to or couldn’t quite work up the nerve.



“Derek?” I nudged. “What am I missing here? You’re happy about this, right?”



“Yeah. Of course. I’m… There’s just…” He closed his eyes. Finally, he met mine again. “Vanessa still doesn’t know about, um, us.”



I winced. In the two months since we’d decided to split up, we’d debated more than once when and how we should tell her. The holidays were almost upon us, so that hadn’t seemed like the right time, and we’d agreed to keep a lid on it until after the New Year. She couldn’t make it out for Thanksgiving, and she was spending Christmas with her mom, so it wasn’t as if we’d have to play happy husbands right in front of her. Just keep up the illusion on social media and on the phone. Easy. Except for the part where it meant we’d had to keep it quiet from almost everyone else so no one accidentally let it slip on Facebook. And we were still stuck living together anyway because neither of us could afford to move out yet, so the whole fucking world thought everything was quiet on the home front. The closest we’d come to letting it slip was when a friend noticed our wedding portrait wasn’t on the mantle anymore. Derek had quickly said the frame had broken, and the subject had dropped. For now.



“Right,” I said. “So what does that have to do with her getting—” I tensed, then inclined my head. “Derek, please tell me you’re not going where I think you’re going.”



He looked at me plaintively. “It’s her wedding, Rhys. The next couple of months are going to be stressful as hell for her, and I’d rather all that stress be about planning her wedding. Not worrying about her dads splitting up.”



Closing my eyes, I pushed out a long breath through my nose. We’d been married for seven years, and even though our happier days seemed like a lifetime ago, I remembered the stressful months leading up to the wedding like it was yesterday. The thought of my parents dropping a bomb like that in the middle of all that chaos? Of trying to enjoy my damn wedding while I worried myself sick about making them be in the same room? Okay, yeah, I got what he was driving at. But…fuck.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…



Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com

E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com

Twitter: @GallagherWitt

Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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Release Blitz: Awakenings & French Songs by Nell Iris

Hope it’s been a great weekend! We are excited to share the Release Blitz for Awakenings & French Songs by Nell Iris! We’ve got a great excerpt and giveaway to check out along with this sweet, fun read!

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS 
 
Length: 11,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books 
 
Blurb
 

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime — drinking, dancing, and willing guys — he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?



Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late night cup of tea, it seems circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?



Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?



Excerpt



“Iggy?” A slow smile blooms on his face and his eyes brighten. “What are you doing up this early? What happened to no knocking on my door before ten on weekends, young Miss Emery?” he asks, imitating my words perfectly.



“I grew old, that’s what happened.”



“Awww. Poor Iggy.”



“Hey! Be nice or I won’t share my breakfast.” I hold up the bags to show him what he’d be missing.



His eyebrows shoot to the heavens. “You brought breakfast?”



“Um, yeah. You gonna let me in, or …?”



“Of course. You just about shocked me to death, that’s all.” He pretends to clutch his pearls.



“That seems to be my theme this week,” I mutter and follow him to the kitchen.



“I was just about to start breakfast –” he points at a carton of eggs, “– but I guess I don’t have to?”



“Nope. Coffee would be good though. I didn’t buy any.”



“Sure.” He leans over to the machine and pushes the button. “All done.” He grins at me and takes a seat at the table. “Show me what you got.”



He watches as I unload my purchases. Baguettes. Croissants. Pain au chocolat. A box of pastel colored macarons I bought only because they’re so pretty and I thought Emery would appreciate the pinks and purples and yellows. Three tiny, fancy-looking jars of French jam; black cherry, fig and walnut, and raspberry. And finally, a box of huge, dark red strawberries the bakery sold for some unknown reason.



Ronan’s mouth falls open as he takes in everything. “What brought this on?”



I take my usual spot at the table. “I’ve had that song on my mind ever since the other night. I have no idea what it’s called or what the guy was singing about, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. So when I walked past Knead It and they had a French flag hanging in the window, I couldn’t help myself.”



“Which song?”



I hum a few bars, hoping I don’t butcher it too much so he won’t recognize it, but he nods.



“‘Ne me quitte pas’ by Jacques Brel.”



I repeat the title in a terrible French accent. “What does it mean?”



“It means ‘Don’t leave me.’”



His words make my heart stutter in my chest. “It’s great. So emotional,” I rasp out.



“I didn’t know you were a fan of old French songs.”



“I’m not. But it’s really beautiful.” The explanation feels inadequate, but I don’t know how to express myself better.



He doesn’t talk for several seconds, and then he says, “Huh.” His gaze is full of questions he’s not asking, and he doesn’t let up the intense scrutiny for even a moment. Inside, I’m squirming like a maggot on a fish hook, but I hope I manage to present a calm exterior.



For the first time ever, things are weird between us. The conversation is stilted, and the silences awkward. I know why, of course. By showing up like this, I changed the dynamics of our relationship. I’ve never been one for socializing in the mornings. And while I’ve brought the occasional pizza or six-pack, I’ve never brought anything like this before. Something meaningful. Something that shows I’ve been thinking about him and the time we spent together. Something serious.



I can’t blame him for wondering what’s going on. He listens to that French stuff all the time and I’m sure he’s played that song a million times before, but it’s like I heard it for the very first time on Wednesday.



I can’t stand his close examination any longer, so I get up and start setting the table with plates and cups and cutlery. “What’s the deal with you and all the French stuff anyway?” I ask with my head buried in the refrigerator, looking for butter and something for Emery to drink since she’s not allowed coffee.



“My grandmother was from France. She always used to sing the old songs to me and teach me the lyrics.”



I place a cutting board and a bread knife on the table. “Oh. What was her name?”



“Celeste.”



“That’s a beautiful name.”



“Yes.”



I look around for something else to do. “Do you speak French?”



“Iggy?”



I gulp, knowing what’s coming. “Yes?” Reluctantly, I retake my seat at the table.



“Why are you really here?” His voice is soft and caring and I’ve heard him use the same tone when he speaks to Emery about important matters.



I line up the jam jars in a perfect row, needing something to do with my hands. “I … uh … want to spend more time with you and Emery.”

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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Release Blitz: Is It Over Yet? by LA Witt

Hope the week is off to a great start! Today we are excited to share the Release Blitz for Is It Over Yet? by LA Witt! We’ve got a great excerpt and giveaway and next week I’ll be sharing my review!
Happy Reading!
~Jenn

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 60,000 words 
 
Cover Design: Lori Witt
 
Blurb
 

Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.



But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.



And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.



Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?

 
Excerpt
 

Chapter 1



Rhys



The suburban Chicago house I’d lived in for the past six years came into view, and my stomach knotted tighter. It was the same feeling I’d had on my way to a job I’d hated a lifetime ago, when pulling up to the building made me groan out loud at the prospect of another shift in that godforsaken place. Didn’t seem right to feel that way coming home, but there it was, same as it had been for the past two months.



By the time I pulled into the garage beside the familiar red Corolla, my jaw ached from clenching my teeth. Probably because that’s what I’d been doing every night this week at the same time. Ugh. If I didn’t move out of this place soon, my dental bills were going to be astronomical. That was a good enough reason to step things up, wasn’t it? So I didn’t grind my teeth to dust?



As if I didn’t already have a laundry list of reasons why I needed to get out of here.



With an ache in my jaw and a sour feeling in my throat, I collected my coffee cup, lunch bag, and briefcase, and got out of the car. On the way inside, I couldn’t help limping a little, which added to my festering annoyance. It wasn’t unusual for my leg to be sore by the end of the day, especially after I’d been coaching basketball, but it wasn’t doing much for my shitty mood. I couldn’t think of much that would, though. Nothing short of substances that would get me fired. Or maybe finding a note on the counter that said I moved out. There wasn’t a plant on this earth that would get me higher than reading those three sweet little words.



But unless my soon-to-be ex-husband had won the lottery since this morning, he was just as stuck here as I was.



At the door, I paused for a deep breath to steel myself, then went inside. The kitchen and living room were empty. Derek’s car was here, so it was a safe bet he was home, but he was somewhere else in the house. Good enough for me. If I was lucky, he’d stay that way long enough for me to wind down.



I went through my usual motions—cleaning out my lunch bag, rinsing the Tupperware dishes, checking the cats’ food and water, perusing the mail. For years this routine had soothed me. Helped me shift from work to home so I could relax. Not so much these days.



Our long-haired calico, Lucy, hopped upon the counter and chirped at me, and I managed to crack a smile as I scratched her back the way she loved. She arched under my hand and purred. I chuckled, and I didn’t even mind that she was kicking the mail everywhere as she strutted back and forth on the counter.



“Hey, sweetheart. You miss me?”



More purring.



I kept scratching and petting her for a moment, trying not to think about the future. Or the fact that Derek and I still hadn’t come to a custody agreement about the cats. They were littermates, and though they could fight almost as loudly as we could, they were inseparable. There was no “you take Lucy and I’ll take Chico.” When this was all over and we finally went our separate ways, someone was taking both cats, and someone would be living without them.



I scooped Lucy into my arms, and I hugged her tight, which just made her purr louder and my conscience burn hotter. Guilt had been a constant friend for the past couple of months, and every time I thought about either losing my cats or taking them away from Derek, I wanted to cry. As if I hadn’t done enough of that recently.



I’m so sorry, guys. I buried my face in Lucy’s plush fur. I fucked everything up.



The click of a door at the opposite end of the house made my spine stiffen. Lucy tensed too. By the time Derek was halfway up the hall, she’d stopped purring. As he cleared the corner into the living room, she wriggled in my arms, and I sighed as I set her back down on the counter. She jumped to the floor and trotted out of the room, probably to the office where Chico was likely watching birds.



I watched her go, fresh guilt gnawing at me. Things had really gone to shit when even the cats didn’t want to be in the same room with the two of us.



Without the cat to hold my attention anymore, I turned to see where Derek was headed so I could make my own escape. I still needed to change clothes anyway, not to mention take off my prosthetic and sit for a while to give my joints a rest. If he was going to hang out in the living room, then I could go into my bedroom or join the cats in the office.



But Derek wasn’t heading into the living room. He was coming into the kitchen. And from the way his gaze was fixed on me, he wanted to talk about something.



I swallowed. “Hey.”



“Hey.” He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Do you have a few minutes?”



I struggled to hold his gaze. He didn’t seem like he was looking for a fight. There was some tension in his features, but it didn’t read as hostility or anger.



I shifted my weight, wincing at the vicious ache in my hip. “Yeah. Do you mind if we sit, though?”



“Sure. Yeah. Living room?”



“Okay.” I followed him out of the kitchen, and we sat on opposite ends of the sofa. As soon as I was seated, I leaned down, rolled up my pant leg, and disconnected my prosthetic. Derek didn’t speak while I removed it; for all our inability to coexist lately, he was still in the habit of giving me a minute to get situated, particularly when I needed to kick off the prosthetic after a long day on my feet.



I leaned the prosthetic against the end table and sat back, releasing a relieved sigh. Everything ached, especially my hips, knees, and right ankle, and taking some weight off them felt so good. I might’ve even relaxed if not for Derek waiting a cushion away to have a conversation. Ugh. God. What now?



Schooling my expression, I twisted toward him. I stole a second just to look at him. There would come a time in the very near future when all I had left of him was pictures, and even with the constant tension hanging between us, it hurt to imagine not seeing him anymore. Seeing him like this hurt too. The dark eyes that had tongue-tied me on day one were cold now. Beside his eyes and mouth were lines that deepened whenever he smiled or laughed, and they were barely visible now. The near-black hair I’d run my fingers through millions of times, the soft lips I’d tasted more times than I could count, that spot on his neck where a single kiss could make him shudder all over—it was all out of my reach now.



Maybe it was time to take my sister up on the offer to come stay with her. I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could handle.



Forcing back my emotions, I tried to sound casual. “All right. What’s up?”



He mirrored me, pulling his knee up onto the cushion and drumming his fingers on his inseam. “Um.” He stared down at his hand. “So, I talked to Vanessa this morning.”



My gut clenched. Instantly my mind was filled with a million worst case scenarios. I’d expected him to have something on his mind about us, not about our daughter, and panic shot through me. Had something happened? Was she hurt? Sick? “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”



“Yeah. Yeah. Everything’s fine.” He made a calm down gesture. “Nothing’s wrong.”



“Okay. Good.” I exhaled, my heartbeat coming back down. It wasn’t unusual for her to call him, but the whole “we need to talk” thing had me on edge. “So…” I raised my eyebrows. Oh God, had he told her? Did he finally tell her we were divorcing? He’d been dancing around that for two months.



Derek cleared his throat, and to my surprise, he smiled, though he still seemed guarded. “She’s, um… She’s getting married.”



I blinked. “She is?”



He nodded. “Corbin proposed last night.”



“Oh. Wow.” I actually laughed because I was so relieved that instead of something horrible, he was breaking the news that Vanessa was engaged. “That’s great!”



“Yeah. It is.” He met my gaze, but then he broke eye contact, and his smile faltered.



How could a conversation be this much of a roller coaster after thirty seconds? Oh, right, because it was us and we were a disaster. A disaster our daughter still didn’t know about.



Derek took a deep breath and sat up a little. “Here’s the thing—they want to get married sooner than later. Corbin is going to be transferring within the next year, and he’ll probably deploy at some point. So they want to get all their ducks in a row quickly.”



I nodded. “Makes sense. How soon is soon?”



“They’re thinking February.”



I whistled. “Really not letting the grass grow, are they?”



He laughed quietly. “No. But it’s still three months away. It isn’t like they’re eloping next week.”



“True.” And why was this line of conversation making me apprehensive? Like it was going somewhere I really didn’t want it to go? I was thrilled for our daughter and her husband-to-be, but something about this discussion with Derek…didn’t feel right. After nine years together, I knew him, I knew his tells, and I knew there was more to this than just telling me Vanessa was getting married.



Chewing his lip, Derek dropped his gaze and watched his fingers drumming on his knee again. There was definitely something on his mind. Something he needed to say, but either couldn’t figure out how to or couldn’t quite work up the nerve.



“Derek?” I nudged. “What am I missing here? You’re happy about this, right?”



“Yeah. Of course. I’m… There’s just…” He closed his eyes. Finally, he met mine again. “Vanessa still doesn’t know about, um, us.”



I winced. In the two months since we’d decided to split up, we’d debated more than once when and how we should tell her. The holidays were almost upon us, so that hadn’t seemed like the right time, and we’d agreed to keep a lid on it until after the New Year. She couldn’t make it out for Thanksgiving, and she was spending Christmas with her mom, so it wasn’t as if we’d have to play happy husbands right in front of her. Just keep up the illusion on social media and on the phone. Easy. Except for the part where it meant we’d had to keep it quiet from almost everyone else so no one accidentally let it slip on Facebook. And we were still stuck living together anyway because neither of us could afford to move out yet, so the whole fucking world thought everything was quiet on the home front. The closest we’d come to letting it slip was when a friend noticed our wedding portrait wasn’t on the mantle anymore. Derek had quickly said the frame had broken, and the subject had dropped. For now.



“Right,” I said. “So what does that have to do with her getting—” I tensed, then inclined my head. “Derek, please tell me you’re not going where I think you’re going.”



He looked at me plaintively. “It’s her wedding, Rhys. The next couple of months are going to be stressful as hell for her, and I’d rather all that stress be about planning her wedding. Not worrying about her dads splitting up.”



Closing my eyes, I pushed out a long breath through my nose. We’d been married for seven years, and even though our happier days seemed like a lifetime ago, I remembered the stressful months leading up to the wedding like it was yesterday. The thought of my parents dropping a bomb like that in the middle of all that chaos? Of trying to enjoy my damn wedding while I worried myself sick about making them be in the same room? Okay, yeah, I got what he was driving at. But…fuck.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…



Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com

E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com

Twitter: @GallagherWitt

Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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New Release & Review: Peyton & Noah (A Beaumont Wedding) by Heidi McLaughlin

 

The day is FINALLY here!! Peyton and Noah are getting married! There’s about to be a new Mrs. Westbury, and trust me when I say you will LOVE this story!! Heidi did so GOOD with their journey to the altar. So many feels. So, so swoony. I am sharing my review today, and just let me say it was even better than I had hoped.  Don’t forget to scroll and check out the excerpt too!

So grab a drink. Grab your tissues (cause you’re gonna need ’em), and enjoy this trip to Beaumont and your favorite characters.

Happy Reading.

Happy Release Day Heidi!!

~ Amber

 

Title: Peyton & Noah( A Beaumont Wedding)
Author: Heidi Mclaughlin
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports Romance

Release Date: December 18, 2018
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Everyone dreams of meeting their soulmate.
The person who completes them.
For Peyton and Noah, they grew up together, falling in love along the way.
Wedding bells are ringing.
And the couple who almost wasn’t,
Is going to be.
Peyton and Noah invite you into their life.
To spend some time with their family.
As they prepare to walk down the aisle.

amber review 5 Star Review

As a lover of all things Beaumont and all things that Heidi McLaughlin writes, I was eager to experience Peyton and Noah walk down the aisle. And can I just say I was NOT DISAPPOINTED AT ALL!!! Heidi did so good with this pair. From start to finish, Peyton and Noah work to get to their finish line. They definitely had some bumps along the way, but as always their family rallied around them. Sometimes they both needed some good old fashioned kicks in the rear, but they knew what they wanted in their hearts.

So many emotions in this story. I laughed, sighed (Noah is swoony goodness) and there were tears; but only the good kind of tears!! There is something so wonderful about returning to a familiar place, familiar characters. Every Beaumont story does this for me, and this one was no exception. So grab your tissues, a glass of wine and get ready to toast the newest Mr. & Mrs. Westbury!! ♥️♥️♥️

 

By the time we stop at the third bridal store, or maybe it’s the fourth, could be fifth because I’ve lost count, I realize why couples elope. The stress of having everything right, everything perfect, is almost too much to handle. The words I’ve heard today are it’s too frilly, not enough lace, the back looks odd, you look frumpy, is enough to make me want to throw my hands up and say forget it. Maybe it’s the champagne talking and being unreasonable in my head. With each store, comes a plate of hors d’oeuvres from restaurants looking to land a contract from me, and champagne from the best vineyards, wanting to supply our reception with their bottles. Because of my dad and who I’m marrying, the A-list treatment is real and all I want to do is pick a wedding dress with my mom and sister and decide on bridesmaids’ gowns that don’t look like they belong in an 80’s prom magazine. Most of all, I just want to marry Noah, in front of our family and friends, in a simple ceremony.

I’m surrounded by mirrors, and my reflection tells me that I’m tired and have had way too much champagne. I want to eat, gorge myself on carbs and ice cream until my stomach revolts. I want everything unhealthy and not listed on the approved list that my uncle Xander gave me. He means well and is only giving me what I wanted when I asked him to help get me into shape for my wedding.

My body jerks to the left or right, depending on which way the saleswoman is pulling the gown I’m trying on. It’s not my favorite, but my mom fawned over it as soon as she saw it on the hanger. In fact, she’s loved just about every dress she’s picked out, as well as some of Elle’s choices. Each one I show her, brings her to tears. I guess this is a mom thing to do, to cry at the sight of their daughters dressed in wedding gowns. I texted Noah and warned him I plan to be the same way when we have a daughter going through this. He replied, telling me how much he loves the idea that we’re going to have children.

I have yet to find the one. Not man, because I found him many years ago, but dress. In my mind, it exists. It’s out there, sitting on some rack, being passed by, waiting for me to try it on. I know I could have had a bespoke gown, designed, and made to my own specifications, if I were to delay my wedding for a few more months. I’m not sure a dress is worth it. My parents are going to spend hundreds, if not thousands, on a dress that I’ll wear for a few hours, send off to dry-cleaning and have stored in a box. It seems frivolous and a waste of someone’s time.

Elle enters the dressing area and crinkles her nose. She gets it. At least, she pretends to. “Do you like it?”

I stare at her through the mirrors, not answering. I don’t need to. It’s a twin thing, she knows how I’m feeling.

“Mom means well. She’s excited.”

“I can’t wait for it to be your turn,” I tell her. “When will Ben propose?”

Elle shrugs, playing my question off. Her relationship with Ben is similar to the one I share with Noah. Lifelong loves with the difference being Elle didn’t realize she was in love with Ben until it was almost too late. Her stubbornness almost blew her chance at happiness but thankfully Ben was determined to win her love.

“What? Don’t you talk about marriage?”

“Not really,” she says. “We’re both so busy. Ben has a really good job, plus he’s helping me launch my career. We’re both sort of focusing on work right now.”

“You want him to ask you. I can tell.”

Elle waves me off. “The commitment would be nice.”

“So ask him. I would’ve had Noah not. I wasn’t going to let him go.”

The saleswoman makes one final tug before she dismisses me to go see my mom. Elle helps me off the large platform and holds the curtains open for me. Mom stands, covers her mouth, and proudly proclaims this is the best one yet.

“Mom, you say that each time,” Elle points out. “How are we supposed to help Peyton choose?”

Mom wipes at the tears falling. “I can’t help it, I just…” she looks from me to Elle, and then down at the floor. “I’m emotional is all.”

She doesn’t have to finish her sentence. I already know she was going to say something like “never thought she’d see this day.” She’s not the only one to think that. Sometimes, I have nightmares about the wedding, about Noah and I. Me sitting in church, watching him marry someone else. I’m there out of obligation because our families have been friends for forever. In this dream, his bride finds me crying in the bathroom, telling me that everything will be okay. She has no idea who I am or that I’m madly in love with her new husband. She just sees a weeping woman in the restroom who needs comfort. When my dreams do show my wedding to Noah, it’s perfect because it’s him and I standing there, professing our love for one another.

“Peyton, do you like the dress?” My mother asks.

I look down and trace the intricate beadwork. A seamstress or tailor spent a long time putting this together and it will be the right dress for a bride that isn’t me. “It’s pretty, but I think it’s too busy for what I had in mind.”

Mom smiles. “We have a handful of other stores to try.”

“Actually, there’s a vintage shop not far from here. I’d like to look in there.”

Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.
Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.
When she’s isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting court-side during either daughter’s basketball games.
Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Roth, in theaters January 19, 2018.
To stay connected with Heidi visit www.facebook.com/authorheidimclaughlin or heidimclaughlin.com

 

Review Tour & Giveaway: Home For Christmas by RJ Scott

Happy Monday! Today we are excited to be a part of the Review Tour for Home For Christmas by RJ Scott! I love this series and this is a great addition with holiday feeling added in! I hope you’ll check out my review, the excerpt and the giveaway we have today!

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 45,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 

Texas Series



Book #1 – The Heart of Texas – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – Texas Winter – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Texas Heat – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Texas Family – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #5 – Texas Christmas – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #6 – Texas Fall – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #7 – Texas Wedding – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #8 – Texas Gift – Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb
 

Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?



When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.



River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.



From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.

 

Jenn Review

 

4.5 Stars

 

This is a touching holiday story plus a chance to check in on some of my favorite characters, I loved it! This is the story of Connor and River, two college friends who shared one night of passion but haven’t spoken about it since that night. When River has a bit of meltdown right before Christmas Connor makes the decision to bring River home to his family and the D. But family is two very different things for these guys and it’s an experience that changes both Connor and River and their new chemistry.

 

I loved these characters (as I expected to) so much! Connor is a fixer and a romantic and he just wants to take away the pain River experiences and make him happy. River is a bit more complicated and his issues run deep. He struggles with so many things and is afraid to open his heart.

 

I really enjoyed the way this story developed, the highs and the lows these guys go through. I especially loved seeing River open up, he owned my heart in this book.  This book is a wonderful addition to this series and to any holiday reading list!

 
Excerpt
 
Chapter 1



Connor skidded to a stop.



The cold December wind whipped around his face, ice and snow knifing into his skin, and at first, he couldn’t make sense of what he was seeing.



Maybe he should have stopped, called 911, shouted for help, but it could’ve been too late, so he’d acted on instinct alone. He’d taken the four flights of stairs at a run, reaching the roof and throwing the door open. His lungs burned from the freezing air and his voice had gone. What now?



Why was River on the roof in nothing but jeans and a T-shirt, clearly drunk? Why was he standing on the ledge, his feet spread, his arms wide, and a bottle of vodka in his hand?



When the girl from his floor told him she’d seen River go up to the roof, he thought she’d meant something else. He often went up there to read or watch life go by. But not in a snow storm.



He didn’t expect to see River standing on the ledge in the snow.



Don’t scare him. He’ll stumble and fall. He might jump.



A gust of air slapped Connor. River swayed to the left but righted himself with the casual grace of a gymnast. River wouldn’t fall by accident. Hell, Connor had seen him balance on one hand on a diving board, perfectly still, before falling gracefully and accurately with spins and pikes into the water below. He’d never seen River falter.



“River?” Connor asked, only an inch from grabbing River’s shirt and holding him tight. He saw River tense, but he didn’t wobble in surprise or slip and fall to the ground.



“I canbalance. Look at me.” River sounded so damn proud of himself.



Connor took a small step forward, finally being able to hold River’s shirt, hoping to hell that would be enough to stop River from falling.



“Come down, buddy.”



River lifted the bottle over his head, sloshing alcohol over his hair, his tongue flicking out to catch any that ran over his face.



“Fuck,” he shouted.



Connor tugged at him, not knowing what else to do. “Come back,” he said, loud enough that River actually looked at him.



“Leave me alone,” he said.



“I’m not leaving you on the roof,” Connor snapped and got a better hold of River, hooking a finger into his belt. River wasn’t a big guy, a diver’s body, no more than five ten and a buck sixty soaking wet, but if he fell, would Connor be able to hold him long enough to save him?



River pulled against Connor’s grip, and for a second the world stopped turning as Connor had to use his entire body weight to keep him upright. Something about the action must have scared River. He cursed and rocked backward, but he still wouldn’t come down.



“Come down,” Connor pleaded. “You’re scaring me.”



“You think you gotta save me? Huh?” River threw his arms wide again, more alcohol sloshing over the top of the bottle. “I don’t need saving.”



“I want you to come down.” Connor tried for calm. What was he doing? He should have called the cops immediately when he spotted River. Or firefighters, negotiators? Or whoever the hell should’ve been here. He’d seen things like this on the television, the mediator knowing all the right things to say and do, standing by River and connecting him to his family or childhood or his faith. All Connor knew was that he needed to pull River down, use the only thing he had going for him; the fact that he was bigger and stronger.



“I like it up here!” River explained with another wide gesture. He wobbled a little but righted himself immediately.



“Come down, Riv.”



“Saint Connor tries to save everyone,” River shouted, ending with a hysterical laugh. He was clearly losing control of himself, and even if Connor did have the words to talk him down, he thought maybe he’d just yank River back onto the concrete roof of the building and worry about injuries later.



But River wasn’t finished. “Even if they don’t need saving!”



“River!”



“Who the hell cares if I can balance, huh?”



“I care,” Connor shouted back. This was so out of character.



“Yeah, right, telling me what Christmas and family is like for you, making me see it in my head, and then leaving me here alone.”



“River, please.” Connor tugged him, but River wouldn’t move back.



“Leaving me here, alone, because that’s all anyone ever does. They fuck off, leave me, and what happens when college is over, huh? What happens when I lose that?” He lifted one clenched fist to the sky. “Fuck you!”



Connor had never heard River curse like this, and he was done with holding on to him. So evaluating where they would end up if they fell backward and not caring how much it hurt, he yanked, hard. River tumbled with him, arms flailing and the vodka bottle slipping from his grasp and falling into the tub of snow-covered plants on the roof patio. The two of them fell onto the roof, Connor using his body to cushion River’s descent, getting his arms full of an icy cold man, the breath forced from his lungs when they hit the ground.



Connor enveloped him in his arms and locked his hands in place, fighting a frozen, wet, drunk River. He wouldn’t get free. Connor had his pappa’s height, a rancher’s build, and he was a solid anchor in the wind and snow. There was no point in River fighting, and somehow he must have realized he couldn’t get free and went still in Connor’s arms.



All Connor could think was that he’d wanted River back in his arms for a long time now, but he’d expected soft lighting and mood music, not driving winds and snow.



“What the hell are you doing?” Connor demanded.



“Let me the fuck go.”



“Jesus, are you trying to kill yourself?”



River attempted to wriggle free. Connor’s grip didn’t falter in his hold. With his arms securely around River, he shuffled them back so they were protected by the low wall. He wanted to get them back inside, but he wasn’t ready to let River go yet, and the door was at least ten feet away. What if River wriggled free and ran for the ledge? The idea of River on the ground, twisted in death, blood… Connor didn’t want to think about it. He opened his coat, one-handed, and then pulled River closer, trying to get as much of the material to go over him, attempting to keep them both warm. River’s skin was like ice. How long had he been standing up there?



“What were you doing?” he demanded, but River didn’t reply, only burrowed deeper into Connor’s hold. This was stupid. He needed to get them off the roof, or he needed help. His phone was in the car. The campus was emptying for Christmas. It was ten a.m., snowing. What the hell was he going to do now?



“I have no one,” River muttered, then laughed and buried his face deeper.



“What do you mean? Talk to me, River.”



“No.”



“We need to get inside.”



How the hell do I get River inside?



He imagined struggling with River’s weight, trying to get him down four flights of stairs and across to his room. Maybe if he could just get him to the car, with its heated seats and the warm air blower and the coffee in a flask that Connor had made for the start of his journey back to Dallas. Then he could call someone, the cops or a doctor? That seemed like a plan, a focus. He scrambled to his feet, bringing River with him, and stumbled inside. As soon as the door shut, warmth hit them, prickling at his exposed skin, and he moved toward the radiator, still gripping River’s belt. He let go of him long enough to remove his jacket and place it around the shivering man’s shoulders.



River buried himself in the coat, and Connor went into disaster assessment mode. He’d seen hypothermia back home at the D, and it wasn’t pretty. He remembered his pappa saying there were signs to look for, and when Jack spoke, Connor always listened. He pulled up the facts he could remember. Did River have hypothermia? His teeth weren’t chattering, and he wasn’t talking at all, so it wasn’t obvious if he was slurring. Then, even if he did talk and his speech was slurry, how could Connor tell how much vodka he’d drunk? Connor tried to remember the symptoms. The college hospital wasn’t far away. He could drive there, and they would help.



Why the hell did I leave my phone in the damned car?



“It’s okay. I’m okay.”



“No, you’re not.”



“You can go,” River said dully. He wriggled closer to the radiator.



“I’m not going anywhere.”



“But you are,” River murmured. “You kissed me, you got me off, and now you’re leaving today.” Then he hid his face in his hands. “Shit, shit, shit.”



Wait. Was this about what happened at the thanksgiving party?



Is this my fault?



Connor didn’t usually drink that much, but he’d had one beer too many at the party, to the point where he had all the courage he needed to wait for River to come out of the bathroom.



“Can I kiss you?” he’d asked, and River had stared at him, stone-cold sober and narrow-eyed.



But then, holy shit, River had pushed him back into the nearest bedroom, shut the door, and the kiss had turned into something more, hands tangled in hair, the two of them kissing and rutting against each other until they were coming in their jeans. Really unromantic. Nothing more than getting off, and River had left before Connor could even get his breath back. Not the best of outcomes. Then River had ignored him. Not returning texts, no more study sessions in the library, and he’d even missed the last lecture of the semester.



All of that told Connor on thing: River wasn’t interested in anything more with him. But that didn’t mean they weren’t still friends. They sat in silence for a few minutes, River’s face still buried in his hands, and he was clearly crying.



What the hell should I do now?

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.



RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.



The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.



She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

 

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Review Tour & Giveaway: Romancing The Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

 

 
Length: 65,072 words 
 
 
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
 
Blurb



Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?



Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.



Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.



While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?


Jenn Review

3.5 – 4 Stars

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and I was definitely excited about this addition. I really liked Tate and Alex (and Tate’s family) but I felt like this book was a little slower moving, especially the first half. I liked the storyline and the characters, I think I just wanted a different pace. Overall though, I liked these guys!

Tate and Alex come from very different worlds, but despite their differences there is an immediate connection between these two! Alex is struggling to figure out who he is after his father releases him from his duties within the family business. He does certainly indulge in the rich kid lifestyle. He learns that there is some potential insider sabotage and decided to play ‘undecover boss.’ Tate works hard, at his job, for his family and for his causes. After the death of his parents, he is left to raise his three younger siblings. He doesn’t expect the new ‘intern’ at work to completely turn his world upside down!

 

I liked these two together from the start, but it was definitely the last bit of this story that really did it for me. Truths are revealed and these two have to be honest with each other. I loved those moments! Overall, a story I enjoyed with very solid and entertaining characters!



Dec 4 – BFD Book Blog, Urban Smoothie Read, My Fiction Nook, Dec 6 – Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, Dec 8 – The Geekery Book Review, Two Chicks Obsessed, Dec 12 – Bayou Book Junkie, Dec 14 – Valerie Ullmer, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, The Way She Reads, Lillian Francis, Megan’s Media Melange, MM Good Book Reviews

 
Excerpt
 
“ALEXANDRE, GOOD morning.” Charles Bonfils, the patriarch of Bonfils Bibendum, the highly prestigious London wine merchants, a cousin of an English baronet, and a personal multimillionaire—if he ever had the poor manners to share actual financials with anyone other than his personal advisors—inclined his distinguished, salt-and-pepper-haired head at the young man sitting on the other side of his desk. “Good of you to turn up on time.”



Alex Bonfils inwardly winced. His father was one of the few people who could, without fail, make him feel four years old again. He resisted rubbing his palms dry on his designer slacks, but only just, and nodded in reply. “Papa, when you call, I come. Of course.”



Charles lifted one eyebrow; that was all.



It was enough.



“Father.” Alex took a deep breath and ran his hand through his blond hair, inevitably destroying the artful work of his personal stylist. “Okay, so I know I haven’t been your most reliable son—”



“I only have two,” Charles murmured. “And all I ask is that they are both full participants in the family business. Or any legitimate business, for that matter.” He sounded calm, but his fingers tightened dangerously around his antique ink pen.



“Yeah.” Alex assumed this summons was something to do with him missing the latest Bonfils management meeting. Or maybe it was because of those embarrassing paparazzi pictures taken in the nightclub last weekend with the twin male models. Or when he gate-crashed the Queen’s garden party last summer, or the fact that Alex had never bothered to finish his university business management course, preferring to go backpacking in Ibiza, or… or… oh, many more examples of how he continued to disappoint his august Papa.



“I think the time has come to face facts,” Charles said.



“Yes? I mean, it has? What about?”



Charles grimaced, obviously struggling to keep his temper. “You have shown little enthusiasm in the business to date, whereas Henri….”



Alex bit back a snort. Henri. His revered, very sober and sensible elder brother, with a gorgeous aristocratic wife and two precocious children to carry on the Bonfils family line. Henri was their father’s chosen heir to the business dynasty. Henri was brighter, smarter, more reliable, more respectable, more predictable—



“Alexandre? Are you listening to me?”



Alex jolted back to attention. “Sure. Go on. You were talking about Henri. How does that affect me?” He hadn’t meant to sound snappy, but constant comparison to a preferred sibling would do that to a guy.



“He’s Bonfils’s CEO for a reason, Alex. He’s committed to the company, a fierce supporter of the industry. He listens, and he learns. Then he works hard.”



The implication was there—Henri was and did all the things Alex wasn’t and didn’t.



“I can work hard.” Alex wished he sounded less defensive. He could work hard. He was just so rarely inspired to. Or rather, he was distracted by things more exciting, more dramatic, more intriguing than profit and loss accounts, stock turnover ratios, and five-year operational budgets.



He hid his shudder at the mere thought.



Surprisingly, his father didn’t scorn his protest. Instead, his gaze almost softened. “Believe me, I know you can. And you do, for the things you love. You have many excellent qualities, and the good intention of using them. But I can’t rely on mere intention for the continuing, successful management of this company. It needs to be your life’s work.”



Alex blinked hard. What was Charles saying? “Jesus, Papa. Are you firing me?”



Charles blew out a tight breath. “I cannot fire you, as you so quaintly put it, when you have a unique position as my son. However, I see no reason to burden you with an operational role any longer.” His tone hardened. “Alexandre, I think you should find yourself a new, personally satisfying project. You will no longer be needed at the monthly management meetings. Your personal allowance will continue—it was your mother’s last wish that all members of the family are supported, regardless of their role in the business—but I think it best for both our expectations if you distance yourself for a while from Bonfils’s Bibendum.” He placed his pen down on the desk blotter with exaggerated care.



Alex was speechless. It was an unfamiliar status.



For a long moment, Charles was still. Then he stood and half lifted his hand from his side, as if he was about to shake Alex’s hand or maybe—just maybe—pat him on the shoulder. Instead, he sighed deeply and gestured gently toward the door for Alex to leave. “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment elsewhere.”

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.



She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.



Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.



Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com

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Review Tour & Giveaway: Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & VL Locey

 
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Harrisburg Railers Series
 
Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.



Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.



Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.


Jenn Review

 

4.5 Stars

I have been waiting for this story and it’s exactly what I was hoping for! I have really enjoyed this series and this story is a perfect addition! It’s part holiday sweetness and part update on Ten after his injury! There was a perfect blend of struggle and sweet and I loved every word. I also loved having Stan and his awesome Russian attitude back! If you’re a fan of this series this is an absolute must read!

 


Excerpt



Ten



Karma. It’s a real bitch. Just ask anyone.



I’d left my man and my team behind in Harrisburg and flown to—get this—fucking Tucson, Arizona, to begin treatment for my traumatic head injury.



The same city the Raptors played in.



I could open the blinds in my room here in the Draper Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance Center and see the glistening mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena. Funny shit right there. Four blocks over, the Raptors were on the ice for morning skate, and I was here, trying to get my brain healed enough so I could maybe play my game again someday.



Shit, right now I’d be happy to be able to speak or read normally.



“Ho, ho, ho,” I growled, closing the drapes, then pulling my sunglasses off and tossing them to the bed. Living behind sunglasses and blinds sucked. Headaches sucked. Slurred speech sucked. Seeing the pity in the eyes of my boyfriend and family and teammates sucked. Christmas with sand and cactus sucked. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be back home with Mads, decorating our tree and shaking my presents. I wanted to be shopping for gifts for my boyfriend, my mother and father, for my brothers, and for Stan and Adler and all the Railers. I wanted things to be the way they had been before that night. Tears threatened, but I held them in. Crying only made my head hurt worse.



So, I padded out of my room and made my way to breakfast and the first of several rounds of rehab I’d be facing today. I’d been here one day and had come to realize that my brain was now as well-known with the neurologists here as my face was back in Harrisburg. This was the place for athletes to come when they were battling CTE-related brain issues. Most of the men here were older, retired players, lots of football players. I mean lots of them. I’d met three other hockey players so far, all retired, all fighting to keep a step ahead of the disease taking over their brains. Sometimes, late at night, when I was lying in bed, I’d get scared for myself and all the other guys on my team. I worried about Mads. God knows how many concussions he’d had when he was playing. Add that to his heart shit and… well, I worried about stuff now. Lots more stuff than I had before the night my head met the ice, sans helmet.



The facility held a hundred and fifty people, and not all of us were athletes. Lots of patients had come here after car accidents or other catastrophic injuries. There were head injuries and spinal cord injuries being healed. The staff seemed nice, confident in their ability to nurse me back to my old self or as close as we could get. The halls were bright and airy, the food excellent, and the medical staff top-notch. And yes, it was expensive and elite and the cream of the crop. Which was why Mads had stubbornly pushed me into coming here after my initial rehab had been completed. Two weeks at the facility, a couple of weeks back home for the holidays, then back for another four weeks. Then maybe we’d talk about hockey.



“Hey, you’re Tennant Rowe, right?”



I skidded to a halt outside one of a dozen sun-rooms. As though people in Arizona didn’t get enough sun just stepping outside? They needed to make rooms for sun? A tall, burly black man about my age ran at me, hand out. I smiled up at him, trying to pull some information about him from my cloudy memory banks.



“I’m Declan Fidler, cornerback for the Temple Owls.”



“Ah, cool, hey man.” We shook hands. God, he was cute. Short hair and a flashy smile, big wide shoulders and inkwork all over his arms. “Sorry to see you here though, dude.”



“Yeah, I know that.” He ran a hand over his hair. “First game of the season too.”



“That sucks,” I said, then released his hand. “I was on my way to the dining hall.”



“I could eat if you want some company.”



“Totally. Be nice to have someone to talk to who’s under forty.”



“I feel that.”



He joined me on the walk to the dining hall, which looked nothing like the hospital cafeteria I’d been expecting when I first saw it yesterday. This place was upmarket. Round tables with cloth covers, thick royal-blue carpeting, windows that ran floor to ceiling, flowering plants in the corners, and a wait staff.



“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this place,” I murmured as I followed Declan to a table by the windows.



“I feel the same way,” he said as we took our seats. “I mean, I grew up wealthy, my father’s the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and I was still blown away.”



“That’s impressive. Did he…?” My brain went totally blank, and I scrambled to find the proper word. “Push. Yeah, did he push to get you in here?” I winced at the slip.



Fuck this shit. Really. Push? How fucking hard it is to recall a word like push?



An older woman in a tidy uniform filled our water glasses, then asked if she could have our room numbers. All the meals here were prepared by nutritionists with an eye to the patients’—athletes in my case—unique needs.



“Big-time. He was adamant about me coming here after the initial rehab. Said that this place would do things to counter the damage that no regular rehab could do. You here for CRT?”



“I uhm…” and that skip again. Fuck. “Dude, sorry, I’m like…” I tapped my temple.



He reached over the table to take my hand. “Ten, man, do not sweat it. You should have seen me when I got here. Barely able to string four words together. Sometimes I still trip up, just like that. But it’s all good. We’re tough motherfuckers. We’ll train our brains.”



“Yeah, train the brains. Cool.”



He gave my hand a squeeze and then released it. “So CRT?”



Our food was served, my platter loaded with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, and chocolate milk. My meds also sat on my tray. Declan’s food was similar, as were the meds in tiny cups lined up for him.



“Cognitive rehab therapy,” he said before shaking out his napkin and laying it over his lap. I did the same and tossed down the pills. I had no idea what they were pumping into me, and I truly didn’t care. As long as they got me back on the ice, they could be dumping Soylent green into my body via the milk. Man, that old movie rocked. What I wouldn’t give to be curled up on the couch with Mads watching it again. “Speech, occupation, and physical therapy. You don’t have any big physical issues, do you?”



“Some weakness on the left side, my arm, but it’s getting better. I hardly drop anything now.”



“That’s good. Once the swelling goes down, things tend to get better.” He took a bite from a slice of whole wheat toast. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here eating with you. Cup winner, LGBT crusader. Thanks for doing that, coming out, being proud and gay. I know how hard that is. My family and team have been amazing about my being queer.”



“Excellent. Glad they’re… fuck, I just. Give me a sec. Yeah, uhm, glad it’s good for you. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can go, like, whole days and barely fuck up, and then I’ll hit this patch where my brain glitches out and… shit. Fuck. Okay, I’m going to shut up for a minute and let my neurons… fire or something.”



“It’s fine. I understand.” And he did. I could see it in his eyes. He totally got it because he was living it too.



I wished everyone else in my life could get it as Declan did. We ate in amiable silence, not that heavy, cloaking pity blanket of quietude that my family draped over me every time I fumbled.



Therapy followed that pleasant breakfast, hours of it. Doctors and nurses, therapists, reading and tests and poking and prodding. Weights and treadmills and medicine balls. Shoving tiny pegs into tinier holes, pet therapy which was actually cool because who didn’t love a dog kiss? Speech therapy was last, and I tanked at it. Totally blew it to shit with my inability to recall one simple phrase. It made me so mad I flipped the table, sending papers and pencils flying. Then, because I had no clue where that outburst had come from, I felt even shittier.



“Tennant, it’s okay,” the woman, who was some fancy kind of advanced speech therapist, said as we picked up the mess I’d made. “Temper flare-ups are common. It’s frustrating not to be able to express yourself. We see that frequently in stroke victims.”



“That was uncool. Just so uncool. I didn’t… it wasn’t… shit.” I dropped to my ass, hands full of work sheets that looked as if a four-year-old had scribbled them down, buried my face in the papers, and wept.



Julie. Yes! That was her name. Julie sat down beside me, rubbed my back, and told me all kinds of reassuring things.



“I’m kind of done for the day,” I told her, and she let me go. I walked the halls, feeling discouraged and sickened with myself. Once I got back to my room, I called home, needing to hear Jared’s voice. As soon as he picked up, I kind of began babbling. A lot of it wasn’t sensible, and it was garbled because I’d have to stop, think, and then restart. But through all of that, Jared listened and never interrupted. When I was done, I fell back onto the bed, exhausted, battling a headache, and sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.



“Sounds like a rough first day,” Jared said. I rolled to my side, tucking my knees up, my gaze on that shiny arena where the Raptors were playing hockey right now. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come out? I can get a hotel room.”



“No, you need to work. The team needs you.”



“You need me as well, Tennant.”



“No, I got this. You can’t do this for me, Mads. Neither can Ryker or Brady or Jamie or my mother. It’s just…” I exhaled through pursed lips. “It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would be hard but fuck sake, I couldn’t recall simple words. How will I ever be able to play if I can’t…” I stopped and calmed myself down. “I hate that this happened. I hate Aarni so much for doing this to me, Jared. I never thought I could ever hate anyone.”



“I know, babe. I wish you’d reconsider and let me come out there.”



He sounded as sick at heart as I was. And truthfully, in that moment, I was close to telling him to fly out. I so needed his arms around me.



“Tell me you love me.”



“I love you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “Do you want me to come out? Just say the word.”



I sat up slowly to avoid a head-rush and the pain that went along with those. “No, I’m good.” I pushed to my feet and went to the window. The sun was setting now, the mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena glowing scarlet and pink. “I’m a tough camper. My Mom said that to me the first time I went to hockey camp.”



“Yeah? How old were you? Five months old or so?”



That made me chuckle. “Nah man, I was like six. And this camp was in Buffalo. I wanted to go so bad. I mean, I can be kind of stubborn when I want something.”



“I’m well aware of that fact,” he replied. Was he sitting down or pacing? Probably pacing because he was tension-riddled over me. “You were persistent about us.”



“Damn right I was. I knew we’d be good.” I touched the pane of glass as a smile of remembrance played on my lips. “I went to that camp, and as soon as my folks dropped me off, I wanted to come home. But Mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to be a tough camper and that once the homesickness wore off, I’d be glad I stayed.”



“Were you?”



“Yeah, I loved it. Scored my first goal against Tommy Wayfarer. He got mad and cried.” The lights of Tucson began to flicker to life. Someone walked by my door humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town. “I’ll be okay. I just have to score my first goal here.”



“You will.”



“Yeah, I will. So, tell me about morning skate. How did the lines look?”



We talked about the Railers and about Ryker and Declan, my new therapy buddy. We talked about old movies and new songs. We talked for hours. Darkness had blanketed the city when I dozed off on him. I woke up a second later, phone still to my ear, my boyfriend chuckling.



“Wow, you snored yourself awake,” Mads said, then groaned, rising to his feet I assumed.



“Shit, yeah, I fell asleep.” A yawn rolled out of me. I flopped to my side on the bed, my sight on the desert sky over Tucson.



“I need to turn in too,” he said around a yawn.



“Yeah, you’re a couple of hours ahead of us. I’ll call you tomorrow at the same time. I love you, Mads.”



“I love you too, Ten. And your mother was right; you are a tough camper. You’ll begin to see improvement, I know you. You won’t stop until you do.”



“Thanks, Coach.”



“Wiseass.”



“I miss our goodnight kisses.” My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open.



“You’ll get plenty when you get home.”



“Mm, loving sounds good.”



“Yes, it does. Get some rest. Heal. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”



“Night,” I mumbled, ended the call, and then fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep. The bed was too hard, too narrow, and far too lacking in Jared Madsen’s big, broad body.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 


 

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Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & VL Locey

We are excited to share the release blitz for Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & VL Locey! I love this series and have been so looking forward to this book! Make sure to check out the great excerpt  and  giveaway we have today!
 
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Harrisburg Railers Series
 
Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.



Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.



Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.

 
Excerpt



Ten



Karma. It’s a real bitch. Just ask anyone.



I’d left my man and my team behind in Harrisburg and flown to—get this—fucking Tucson, Arizona, to begin treatment for my traumatic head injury.



The same city the Raptors played in.



I could open the blinds in my room here in the Draper Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance Center and see the glistening mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena. Funny shit right there. Four blocks over, the Raptors were on the ice for morning skate, and I was here, trying to get my brain healed enough so I could maybe play my game again someday.



Shit, right now I’d be happy to be able to speak or read normally.



“Ho, ho, ho,” I growled, closing the drapes, then pulling my sunglasses off and tossing them to the bed. Living behind sunglasses and blinds sucked. Headaches sucked. Slurred speech sucked. Seeing the pity in the eyes of my boyfriend and family and teammates sucked. Christmas with sand and cactus sucked. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be back home with Mads, decorating our tree and shaking my presents. I wanted to be shopping for gifts for my boyfriend, my mother and father, for my brothers, and for Stan and Adler and all the Railers. I wanted things to be the way they had been before that night. Tears threatened, but I held them in. Crying only made my head hurt worse.



So, I padded out of my room and made my way to breakfast and the first of several rounds of rehab I’d be facing today. I’d been here one day and had come to realize that my brain was now as well-known with the neurologists here as my face was back in Harrisburg. This was the place for athletes to come when they were battling CTE-related brain issues. Most of the men here were older, retired players, lots of football players. I mean lots of them. I’d met three other hockey players so far, all retired, all fighting to keep a step ahead of the disease taking over their brains. Sometimes, late at night, when I was lying in bed, I’d get scared for myself and all the other guys on my team. I worried about Mads. God knows how many concussions he’d had when he was playing. Add that to his heart shit and… well, I worried about stuff now. Lots more stuff than I had before the night my head met the ice, sans helmet.



The facility held a hundred and fifty people, and not all of us were athletes. Lots of patients had come here after car accidents or other catastrophic injuries. There were head injuries and spinal cord injuries being healed. The staff seemed nice, confident in their ability to nurse me back to my old self or as close as we could get. The halls were bright and airy, the food excellent, and the medical staff top-notch. And yes, it was expensive and elite and the cream of the crop. Which was why Mads had stubbornly pushed me into coming here after my initial rehab had been completed. Two weeks at the facility, a couple of weeks back home for the holidays, then back for another four weeks. Then maybe we’d talk about hockey.



“Hey, you’re Tennant Rowe, right?”



I skidded to a halt outside one of a dozen sun-rooms. As though people in Arizona didn’t get enough sun just stepping outside? They needed to make rooms for sun? A tall, burly black man about my age ran at me, hand out. I smiled up at him, trying to pull some information about him from my cloudy memory banks.



“I’m Declan Fidler, cornerback for the Temple Owls.”



“Ah, cool, hey man.” We shook hands. God, he was cute. Short hair and a flashy smile, big wide shoulders and inkwork all over his arms. “Sorry to see you here though, dude.”



“Yeah, I know that.” He ran a hand over his hair. “First game of the season too.”



“That sucks,” I said, then released his hand. “I was on my way to the dining hall.”



“I could eat if you want some company.”



“Totally. Be nice to have someone to talk to who’s under forty.”



“I feel that.”



He joined me on the walk to the dining hall, which looked nothing like the hospital cafeteria I’d been expecting when I first saw it yesterday. This place was upmarket. Round tables with cloth covers, thick royal-blue carpeting, windows that ran floor to ceiling, flowering plants in the corners, and a wait staff.



“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this place,” I murmured as I followed Declan to a table by the windows.



“I feel the same way,” he said as we took our seats. “I mean, I grew up wealthy, my father’s the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and I was still blown away.”



“That’s impressive. Did he…?” My brain went totally blank, and I scrambled to find the proper word. “Push. Yeah, did he push to get you in here?” I winced at the slip.



Fuck this shit. Really. Push? How fucking hard it is to recall a word like push?



An older woman in a tidy uniform filled our water glasses, then asked if she could have our room numbers. All the meals here were prepared by nutritionists with an eye to the patients’—athletes in my case—unique needs.



“Big-time. He was adamant about me coming here after the initial rehab. Said that this place would do things to counter the damage that no regular rehab could do. You here for CRT?”



“I uhm…” and that skip again. Fuck. “Dude, sorry, I’m like…” I tapped my temple.



He reached over the table to take my hand. “Ten, man, do not sweat it. You should have seen me when I got here. Barely able to string four words together. Sometimes I still trip up, just like that. But it’s all good. We’re tough motherfuckers. We’ll train our brains.”



“Yeah, train the brains. Cool.”



He gave my hand a squeeze and then released it. “So CRT?”



Our food was served, my platter loaded with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, and chocolate milk. My meds also sat on my tray. Declan’s food was similar, as were the meds in tiny cups lined up for him.



“Cognitive rehab therapy,” he said before shaking out his napkin and laying it over his lap. I did the same and tossed down the pills. I had no idea what they were pumping into me, and I truly didn’t care. As long as they got me back on the ice, they could be dumping Soylent green into my body via the milk. Man, that old movie rocked. What I wouldn’t give to be curled up on the couch with Mads watching it again. “Speech, occupation, and physical therapy. You don’t have any big physical issues, do you?”



“Some weakness on the left side, my arm, but it’s getting better. I hardly drop anything now.”



“That’s good. Once the swelling goes down, things tend to get better.” He took a bite from a slice of whole wheat toast. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here eating with you. Cup winner, LGBT crusader. Thanks for doing that, coming out, being proud and gay. I know how hard that is. My family and team have been amazing about my being queer.”



“Excellent. Glad they’re… fuck, I just. Give me a sec. Yeah, uhm, glad it’s good for you. I’m sorry. Sometimes I can go, like, whole days and barely fuck up, and then I’ll hit this patch where my brain glitches out and… shit. Fuck. Okay, I’m going to shut up for a minute and let my neurons… fire or something.”



“It’s fine. I understand.” And he did. I could see it in his eyes. He totally got it because he was living it too.



I wished everyone else in my life could get it as Declan did. We ate in amiable silence, not that heavy, cloaking pity blanket of quietude that my family draped over me every time I fumbled.



Therapy followed that pleasant breakfast, hours of it. Doctors and nurses, therapists, reading and tests and poking and prodding. Weights and treadmills and medicine balls. Shoving tiny pegs into tinier holes, pet therapy which was actually cool because who didn’t love a dog kiss? Speech therapy was last, and I tanked at it. Totally blew it to shit with my inability to recall one simple phrase. It made me so mad I flipped the table, sending papers and pencils flying. Then, because I had no clue where that outburst had come from, I felt even shittier.



“Tennant, it’s okay,” the woman, who was some fancy kind of advanced speech therapist, said as we picked up the mess I’d made. “Temper flare-ups are common. It’s frustrating not to be able to express yourself. We see that frequently in stroke victims.”



“That was uncool. Just so uncool. I didn’t… it wasn’t… shit.” I dropped to my ass, hands full of work sheets that looked as if a four-year-old had scribbled them down, buried my face in the papers, and wept.



Julie. Yes! That was her name. Julie sat down beside me, rubbed my back, and told me all kinds of reassuring things.



“I’m kind of done for the day,” I told her, and she let me go. I walked the halls, feeling discouraged and sickened with myself. Once I got back to my room, I called home, needing to hear Jared’s voice. As soon as he picked up, I kind of began babbling. A lot of it wasn’t sensible, and it was garbled because I’d have to stop, think, and then restart. But through all of that, Jared listened and never interrupted. When I was done, I fell back onto the bed, exhausted, battling a headache, and sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.



“Sounds like a rough first day,” Jared said. I rolled to my side, tucking my knees up, my gaze on that shiny arena where the Raptors were playing hockey right now. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come out? I can get a hotel room.”



“No, you need to work. The team needs you.”



“You need me as well, Tennant.”



“No, I got this. You can’t do this for me, Mads. Neither can Ryker or Brady or Jamie or my mother. It’s just…” I exhaled through pursed lips. “It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would be hard but fuck sake, I couldn’t recall simple words. How will I ever be able to play if I can’t…” I stopped and calmed myself down. “I hate that this happened. I hate Aarni so much for doing this to me, Jared. I never thought I could ever hate anyone.”



“I know, babe. I wish you’d reconsider and let me come out there.”



He sounded as sick at heart as I was. And truthfully, in that moment, I was close to telling him to fly out. I so needed his arms around me.



“Tell me you love me.”



“I love you.” He drew in a shaky breath. “Do you want me to come out? Just say the word.”



I sat up slowly to avoid a head-rush and the pain that went along with those. “No, I’m good.” I pushed to my feet and went to the window. The sun was setting now, the mirrored sides of the Santa Catalina Arena glowing scarlet and pink. “I’m a tough camper. My Mom said that to me the first time I went to hockey camp.”



“Yeah? How old were you? Five months old or so?”



That made me chuckle. “Nah man, I was like six. And this camp was in Buffalo. I wanted to go so bad. I mean, I can be kind of stubborn when I want something.”



“I’m well aware of that fact,” he replied. Was he sitting down or pacing? Probably pacing because he was tension-riddled over me. “You were persistent about us.”



“Damn right I was. I knew we’d be good.” I touched the pane of glass as a smile of remembrance played on my lips. “I went to that camp, and as soon as my folks dropped me off, I wanted to come home. But Mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to be a tough camper and that once the homesickness wore off, I’d be glad I stayed.”



“Were you?”



“Yeah, I loved it. Scored my first goal against Tommy Wayfarer. He got mad and cried.” The lights of Tucson began to flicker to life. Someone walked by my door humming Santa Claus is Coming to Town. “I’ll be okay. I just have to score my first goal here.”



“You will.”



“Yeah, I will. So, tell me about morning skate. How did the lines look?”



We talked about the Railers and about Ryker and Declan, my new therapy buddy. We talked about old movies and new songs. We talked for hours. Darkness had blanketed the city when I dozed off on him. I woke up a second later, phone still to my ear, my boyfriend chuckling.



“Wow, you snored yourself awake,” Mads said, then groaned, rising to his feet I assumed.



“Shit, yeah, I fell asleep.” A yawn rolled out of me. I flopped to my side on the bed, my sight on the desert sky over Tucson.



“I need to turn in too,” he said around a yawn.



“Yeah, you’re a couple of hours ahead of us. I’ll call you tomorrow at the same time. I love you, Mads.”



“I love you too, Ten. And your mother was right; you are a tough camper. You’ll begin to see improvement, I know you. You won’t stop until you do.”



“Thanks, Coach.”



“Wiseass.”



“I miss our goodnight kisses.” My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open.



“You’ll get plenty when you get home.”



“Mm, loving sounds good.”



“Yes, it does. Get some rest. Heal. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”



“Night,” I mumbled, ended the call, and then fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep. The bed was too hard, too narrow, and far too lacking in Jared Madsen’s big, broad body.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 

 

 

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Release Blitz: Join the Club by Charlie Cochet

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Today we are sharing the Release Blitz for Join the Club by Charlie Cochet!

Happy Reading!

~Jenn

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JOIN THE CLUB

FOUR KINGS SECURITY #3

CHARLIE COCHET

M/M ROMANTIC SUSPENSE/CONTEMPORARY

RELEASE DATE: 11.19.18

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COVER DESIGN: REESE DANTE

BLURB

When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.

Eduardo “Lucky” Morales is a fighter, from his childhood days in Cuba to his time as a Special Forces Green Beret. Scarred by the wars of his past, Lucky has learned nothing lasts forever. Guarding his heart is second nature, and getting emotionally involved is not an option. As co-owner of Four Kings Security, Lucky works hard alongside his former brothers-in-arms and fellow Kings, but he also plays hard. Flirting with sexy Texas cowboy and detective, Mason Cooper, is too much fun to resist, until Mason turns the tables on him.

Mason Cooper may not be a soldier, but he’s fought his share of battles as an openly gay cop and now a detective for Major Crimes. Mason has no idea when things changed between him and Lucky, but the gorgeous, fiery Cuban has turned his world upside down. When a mistake leads to his suspension from the force, Mason turns to the least likely person for help: Ward Kingston.

Determined to keep Mason at arms’ length, Lucky is surprised to find the man at Four Kings Security. The Florida nights might be getting cooler, but the heat between Lucky and Mason burns hotter with every passing moment. Working private security can be dangerous and unpredictable, but so can falling in love.

Word count: 75,208

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2QRJgdG

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2FtBOUN

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EXCERPT

This was going to be a long night. Lucky felt it in his bones.

Once they were in downtown Jacksonville, Lucky pulled the truck into the parking lot of the bank across the street from the skyscraper they’d be watching. Jack had acquired the perfect spot near the lot entrance in case they had to move quickly, and a small team of security agents were parked in the Central Station parking lot, waiting for word from Lucky. With the engine turned off, Lucky unbuckled his seat belt and climbed out of his seat at the time Mason did. Lucky reeled back in an effort not to bump into him, the back of his knees hitting the seat. He flailed, throwing an arm out, but he needn’t have worried. Mason wrapped an arm around his waist and caught him, bringing him up against his hard body.

“Easy there, darlin’,” Mason murmured quietly, their lips only inches apart. “Don’t want you hurting yourself.”

Lucky swallowed hard. He felt Mason’s warm breath against his skin. “You’re stepping on my shoe.”

Mason frowned. “You’re worried about your shoe?”

“These boots are Guiseppe Zanotti.”

“Am I supposed to know what that means?” Mason asked, releasing Lucky.

“It means they cost almost a thousand dollars.”

Mason stared at him. “Why the hell are you wearin’ thousand-dollar boots to work surveillance? You know there are kids out there starvin’?”

“Yes, I know,” Lucky spat, pushing Mason away from him. “I was one of them. Now excuse me. We have work to do.”

At least Mason had the decency to look mortified.

“Shit, Lucky, I’m sorry. I didn’t—”

“Forget it,” Lucky muttered, taking a seat behind the console to log into the security system. “I don’t need to explain myself to you. Just sit down and pay attention.”

Mason took a seat beside him, his expression solemn. Thankfully, he didn’t speak. Lucky didn’t need his apologies or his permission. In Cuba he’d spent most of his time barefoot because the shoes given to him were either beyond salvation or he grew out of them so quickly they hurt his feet to the point he couldn’t walk. Now he could afford all the shoes he wanted, and if he wanted to spend money on designer shoes, no one had the right to make him feel like shit for it. He wasn’t stupid. His savings account was solid, and his retirement account was one of the first things he’d set up when he got his first job. He spent a lot of money, but he also saved money because he knew what it was like to have nothing. He was never going back to that again. Never.

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Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website: http://www.charliecochet.com

Blog: http://www.charliecochet.com/blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/charliecochet

Facebook Author Page: http://facebook.com/authorcharliecochet

Tumblr: http://charliecochet.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charliecochet/

Twitter: @charliecochet

Instagram: http://instagram.com/charliecochet

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/charliecochet

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Cover Reveal & GIVEAWAY: Havoc by Kindle Alexander

Happy Halloween! And today we’ve got a great treat! We are excited to share the cover for Havoc by Kindle Alexander, and oh what a cover! I’m definitely excited about this book! Make sure to check out the excerpt and GIVEAWAY!
Title: Havoc
Series: Tattoos & Ties #1
Author: Kindle Alexander
Genre: M/M MC Romance
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Cover Art: Reese Dante
Keyes Dixon’s life is challenging enough as a full patch member of the Disciples of Havoc Motorcycle Club but being a gay biker leaves him traveling down one tough road. With an abusive past and his vow to the club cementing his future, he doesn’t believe in love and steers clear of commitment. But a midnight ride leads to a chance meeting with a sexy pretty-boy in a wicked hot sports car that has him going down quicker than a Harley on ice. 
Cocky Assistant District Attorney Alec Pierce lives in the shadow of his politically connected family. A life of privilege doesn’t equal a life of love, a fact made obvious at every family gathering. Driven yet lonely, Alec yields to his family’s demands for his career path, hoping for the acceptance he craves. Until he meets a gorgeous biker who tips the scales in the favor of truth…and he can no longer live a lie.
Can two men from completely different worlds…and sides of the law…find common ground, or will all their desires only wreak Havoc?
The screen illuminated Alec’s face, and even though Keyes wasn’t religious, he swore he heard the angels sing in that moment… The sight stole Keyes’s breath. He came to a stop directly in front of the tempting driver. Resting both hands on his hips, he got lost just looking at this beautiful man. Keyes opened his mouth to speak. He could absolutely take care of this problem, but the words didn’t come. Instead, he stayed mesmerized by the most gorgeous guy he’d ever seen.
“I have roadside assistance. I just have to remember which app to use.”
 Keyes almost lost his bad boy composure when Alec distractedly glanced up from his phone and winked at him. Hold it together, Key. He finally got his head to stop spinning and all the cheesy porn music to quit playing on continuous loop in the background. Alec probably just had a twitch. Why would the guy be flirting with him? On the off chance Alec happened to be gay, Keyes obviously wasn’t his type if the passenger were anything to go by. There was nothing refined or delicate about Key.
Even with the neurons misfiring in Keyes’s brain, he managed to clear his throat and lower his gaze to the grass to help find some fucking perspective. “Where you headed?” Wait. That wasn’t the statement he’d planned to make.
“I live in McKinney. He lives in the Uptown area of Dallas,” Alec answered, reading the screen as he cocked his head toward his putout passenger.
“What’re you doin’ out here?” Keyes asked. McKinney was a long way from the current location and as different as two places could possibly be.
Alec gave a humorless laugh while briefly lifting his gaze from the screen. Curious light eyes pinned Keyes in place. He wasn’t sure he’d ever seen eyes that color. Keyes’s mouth watered, and his cock plumped, homing in on exactly what it wanted. “Google Maps said this was a detour. Hang on.” Alec lifted the phone to his ear. Keyes could hear a faint sound of a voice on the other end. “I’m on some side road in maybe South Dallas, perhaps even North Ellis County. Can you find my location?”
“Listen, I can take care of this. I own a tire shop that’s about fifteen minutes from here.” For the first time since the car had spun off the road, Alec truly looked at him. Their gazes connected for one maybe two heartbeats before Alec’s brow wrinkled and his eyes lowered. Keyes felt the weight of Alec’s stare as his eyes blatantly roamed the length of his body. Not only did his dick stand at attention but the damn thing attempted to parade down Main Street waving a rainbow-colored flag. A range of expressions crossed Alec’s handsome face until the hand holding the phone lowered and those extraordinary eyes were back on his. Had the guy noticed the impromptu party taking place in his pants? Keyes shifted his weight to his other foot.

“I’m Alec Pierce.”

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!
 
I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!
Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.
 
I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.
 
That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.
 
Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.
 
Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.
 
Find out more by visiting http://www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com

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