Read, Write, Love at Seaside, Addison Cole – Blog Tour

Start reading FREE with Read, Write, Love at Seaside

 

READ, WRITE, LOVE AT SEASIDE
Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers #1
Addison Cole
Releasing June 14th, 2017

 

Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers features a group of fun, flirty, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re sassy, flawed, and so easy to relate to, you’ll be begging to enter their circle of friends! Start reading FREE with Read, Write, Love at Seaside
 
In READ, WRITE, LOVE at SEASIDE…
Bestselling author Kurt Remington lives to write. He spends twelve hours a day in front of his computer, rarely leaving the seclusion of his beach-front property, where he’s come to finish his latest thriller — that is, until free-spirited Leanna Bray nearly drowns in the ocean trying to save her dog. Kurt’s best-laid plans are shot to hell when he comes to their rescue. Kurt’s as irritated as he is intrigued by the sexy, hot mess of a woman who lives life on a whim, forgets everything, and doesn’t even know the definition of the word organized.
Leanna’s come to the Cape hoping to find a fulfilling career in the jam-making business, and until she figures out her own life, a man is not on the menu. But Leanna can’t get the six-two, deliciously muscled and tragically neat Kurt out of her mind. She tells herself she’s just stopping by to say thank you, but the heart-warming afternoon sparks an emotional and unexpectedly sweet ride as Kurt and Leanna test the powers of Chemistry 101: Opposites Attract.
 
*Read, Write, Love at Seaside by Addison Cole is the sweet edition of New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster’s steamy romance novel Read, Write, Love. The stories and characters remain the same, and convey all of the passion you expect between two people in love, without any explicit scenes or harsh language.
 
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Read, Write, Love at Seaside is a sweet, toned down romance of the story Read, Write, Love by Melissa Foster. It features Kurt Remington, a mystery writer and Leanne Bray, an up and coming entrepreneur who makes her living by selling jams and jellies.

Kurt is visiting Cape Cod for the summer to his writing retreat so that he can finish his latest manuscript. There, he meets Leanne and the two quickly fall for each other. But, when the summer ends, Kurt has to go back to his life in New York and an amazing business opportunity is keeping Leanne on the island. So, will they able to work it through?

I loved this story. So much. I actually breezed through it in about 2.5 hours just before I sat down to review it. I absolutely adore Melissa Foster’s writing, so it was an amazing afternoon with me and my book and this amazing story! ❤

I really adore Kurt. He’s so sweet with Leanne and her friends. He’s all smiles and charm and is always helping them out with stuff and just hanging out with them so that Leanne doesn’t have chose between him and her friends, who are also visiting the island for the summer. I like that. He is also very thoughtful with Leanne’s dog, Pepper. It’s so cute to watch them. Leanne, Kurt & Pepper became this cute little family that I adored b the end of the story. They’re so freaking perfect together. I love how Kurt is always there for Leanne and how he’s proud of all her accomplishments with the business. He always supports her in all her endeavours and is helpful without being condescending. So, yes, I adore him.

And, then, there’s Leanne. She’s an outgoing free spirited girl who’s a walking chaos unlike Kurt who likes to keep his life organized to the tee. She’s smart and charming and driven. She’s a little unsure when it comes to her newfound business, but only because everything is new, but she isn’t hesitant to take the reigns and just give it her everything. I love how she makes time for her friends even though she’s in a new relationship. I mean, in all these novels we see how the main leads don’t spend anytime with their friends once they start dating and it was nice to see that that was not the case here.

All in all, this book was a fun read that I absolutely adored. The romance was so well written, the characters were amazing and the plot was believable. You should definitely pick it up if you’re a romance fan! 😀

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Leanna Bray was wet, cold, and floundering. Literally. She’d been floundering for twenty-eight years, so this was nothing new, but being pummeled by rain, wind, and waves, chasing a dog that never listened? That was new.

“Pepp—” A wave knocked her off her feet and she went under the water, taking a mouthful of saltwater along with her. She tumbled head down beneath the surface.

Now Pepper and I will both drown. Freaking perfect.

Something grabbed her arm, and she reflexively fought against it, sucking in another mouthful of salty water as she broke through the surface, arms flailing, choking, and pushing against the powerful hand that yanked her to her feet.

“You okay?” A deep, annoyed voice carried over the din of the crashing waves.

Cough. Cough. “Yeah. I—” Cough. Cough. “My dog.” She blinked and blinked, trying to clear the saltwater and rain from her eyes. The man’s mop of wet, dark hair came into focus. He held tightly to her arm while scanning the water in the direction of where she’d last seen Pepper. His clothes stuck to his body like a second skin, riding the ripples of his impressive chest and arms as he held her above the surface with one arm around her ribs.

“Come on.” She coughed as he plowed through the pounding surf with her clutched against his side. She slid down his body, and he lifted her easily into his arms, carrying her like he might carry a child, pressing her to his chest as he fought against the waves.

She pushed against his chest, feeling ridiculous and helpless…and maybe a little thankful, but she was ignoring that emotion in order to save Pepper.

“My dog! I need to get my dog!” she hollered.

Mr. Big, Tall, and Stoic didn’t say a word. He set her on the wet sand and tossed her a rain-soaked towel. “It was dry.” He pointed behind her to a wooden staircase. “Go up to the deck.”

She dropped the towel and plowed past him toward the water. “I gotta get my dog.”

He snagged her by the arm and glared at her with the brightest blue eyes she’d ever seen—and a stare so dark she swallowed her voice.

“Go.” He pointed to the stairs again. “I’ll get your dog.” He took a step toward the water, and she pushed past him again.

“You don’t have t—”

He scooped her into his arms again and carried her to the stairs.

 

Addison Cole is the sweet alter ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. She writes humorous and emotional sweet contemporary romance. Her books do not include explicit sex scenes or harsh language. Addison spends her summers on Cape Cod, where she dreams up wonderful love stories in her house overlooking Cape Cod Bay.    
 

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Breathe Again, Sydney Logan – Book Review

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30630473Carrie Malone has seen enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.

Her family’s demons gave Carrie the courage to move away from home and leave her past behind. Now a college senior, she stays busy with her classes and her job at the diner. It may sound boring to some, but to Carrie, the very best thing about her new life is that every day is calm and blissfully uneventful.

That all changes the night Josh Bennett walks into her diner.

With his dirty designer suit and mud-caked shoes, Carrie’s not sure what to think about the broken man sitting at her counter. She’s even more confused when he doesn’t touch his coffee . . . and leaves his Rolex watch as a tip.

Josh Bennett has nothing to live for.

Starved for affection and deep in despair, he’s looking for a tender touch. A kind word. A giving heart.

A shattered and broken Josh finds himself standing on a city bridge, looking down into the freezing river that will undoubtedly bring an end to his pain.

He’s prepared to jump.

He’s prepared to die.

He’s not prepared for the pretty waitress who finds him there by the water’s edge.

When two lost souls find each other in the dark of the night, can they give each other a reason to breathe again?

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*ARC received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

This story. Just this story. *sighs*

I have cried like a baby in this. God, so much sadness and heartache. Both Carrie and Josh have lost so much in their lives and they’re just trying to put it all behind in the past, but God! Their loss is terrible and I don’t even know how they got past it. I mean, how can someone get over such momentous grief? It becomes a part of them, following them everywhere. Just like it’s shown in the story.

But, I love how brave Carrie is in the face of adversity. She’s actually, genuinely, honest to God trying to move forward with her life and leave her past behind. I commend her for that. And despite everything, she is such a kind, thoughtful person. So, I like her for that even more. I mean, she has so many reasons to be bitter and cruel, but she doesn’t let those reasons win. She fights them and tries to be the best person she can be. I admire her strength and her courage. I admire how she’s so understanding and such a pillar of support to Josh, helping him get his life back after he breaks. It’s beautiful to read.

And, then, Josh. His story made me cry. So bad. What he’s lost, what he’s gone through, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It just makes my heart ache so bad, seeing how he is now, how he’s going through motions after the one incident tore his life apart. I wanted to go inside the story and give him a huge tight hug. I wanted to hug him and never let him go. It was a treat to see how he got his life back in order after Carrie came into it and how she was there for him every step of the way. I loved seeing Josh transform from a broken man with no will to live into this amazing, caring person who was full of love and gratitude.

This book is so well written and so beautiful. I adore it. I have a lot of feels for it. It’s amazing, beautiful and just the best thing ever. I adore this book a whole lot and all fans of romance out there must go and read this pronto!

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Goodreads | Amazon

 

Dating – ish, Penny Reid – Blog Tour

DATING ISH BLOG TOUR BANNER

Dating-ish, an all new standalone from the USA Today bestselling Knitting in the City romantic comedy series by Penny Reid is available now!

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‘Dating-ish’ can be read as a standalone, is a full length 100k word novel, and is book #6 in the Knitting in the City Series.

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?

But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different–and crazier–solution to her dilemma . . .

As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

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*ARC received as part of a blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

So, as you all know, I am a Penny Reid fanatic. I absolutely love all of her work. She has a way with words that always  leaves me smiling and wanting more. I have yet to be disappointed by any of her books and I am so glad that the trend continued with Dating – ish.

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Dating – ish is the cute love story between Marie and Matt, two people who meet through an online dating site (not for reasons you are imagining, let me assure you.) and form a reluctant friendship. As time passes, they start spending more time together and then eventually fall for each other. I love the way the story is told. The slow burn romance is just so frustrating at times but then when you reap the rewards… AAHHH! Let me tell you, it is so worth the torture you went through.

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Both Matt & Marie have reasons to not want to be in a committed relationship and they decide early on that they’ll be friends. But, that doesn’t stop Marie from developing feelings for Matt and as time passes and their relationship progresses, she starts to hope that Matt feels the same. They hit a few snags along the way but eventually get their heads out of their behinds. Thank God for that!

What I like about Marie is how determined and strong willed she is. She is focused on her career, but her friends are equally important to her. She is incredibly smart. She likes to knit. She’s a great cook. She’s thoughtful and kind. It was easy to identify with Marie because we share so many personality traits. It warmed me to her even more. I like how her character grows through the story. It is real and believable and not something that just happens overnight.

Matt. What should I say about this man? *sighs* When the story began, I honest to God hated him. He came off as a douche and narrow minded and just so selfish. But, as the story progressed, he just became so damn likable and thoughtful and cute! He was just this dorky, cute guy and I started to like him and then eventually love him too.

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And, of course. The romance. It was such a slow burn. God, I was absolutely dying of anticipation and frustration. Throughout the book I was like “GET TOGETHER ALREADY!” This GIF below is so me throughout the book before they got together.

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And then I absolutely rejoiced when they did get together. It was so fulfilling and all I could think was finally. It was awesome!

Apart from the shipping, I loved the friendships throughout the story. What I love about Penny’s books is that friendship is so important. And the ladies of the Knitting in the City series are absolutely amazing friends. They’re always there for each other no matter what and they’re just such good friends and sounding boards and pillars of support. I love it. I also love how these ladies carry on intelligent conversation that doesn’t center all around men. They talk about so many different things. It is such a delight to read all that.

I love this story. I do. I love it so much. And you should most definitely read it too! Go, grab your copy ASAP!

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He was quiet for bit, we both were, and I felt myself relax more and more. His palm took a detour every so often, dutifully skipping my hip and sliding along my side, and then back to my leg. Soon, I was so relaxed I felt drowsy.

I felt fingers in my hair, moving the mass away from my neck with treasuring strokes just before Matt nuzzled the back of my neck, causing goosebumps to scatter over my skin.

“Mmm.” I smiled. “Hey. Jared said no tickling.” My voice sounded sleepy.

“Does this tickle?” Matt asked softly, nuzzling me again. I felt the brush of his lips—not a kiss, a brush—paired with hot breath against the bare skin of my neck and a zing shot straight down my spine, making my toes curl and a sudden hot ache twist in my lower belly.

Oh no.

I knew that ache. I hadn’t felt it because of another person’s touch in quite a long time. Nevertheless, no one ever forgets that ache.

My back arched instinctively, my bottom pressing back against his crotch, and I stiffened. I felt my nipples harden, strain beneath the cotton of my bra. I was now fully awake. No longer drowsy.

Nope.

Not even a little.

Matt stiffened, too. His movements abruptly ceasing.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” he asked, alarm coating his words, and in the next moment his hand was suspended in the air above me. “Did I touch something I shouldn’t?”

I exhaled a short, nervous laugh, gripped by the urge to sit up.

“No. No. You didn’t.” I moved to the edge of the bed, righting myself, away from Matt, needing distance. “I’m good.” I gathered a silent breath and released it slowly because my pulse was racing.

Crap, Marie. Get a grip. It’s Matt Simmons. Professor Matt. The big kid. Why are you reacting this way?

“Did I . . .” These initial words were hesitant, and a moment of silence stretched before he continued, his tone comically teasing as he finished his thought. “Did I arouse you?”

I snorted, shaking my head, laughing at his silly tone. Turning at the waist to peer at him over my shoulder, Matt was grinning at me, twisting a make-believe mustache between his thumb and forefinger.

But then he stopped.

“I did, didn’t I?” he pushed, his hand dropping. He looked pleased, if not a little amazed.

I sighed, feeling a smidge embarrassed, and nodded. “Actually, yes. That’s a sensitive spot for most women.”

“The back of your neck?” He lifted himself to one elbow, his eyes darting to my neck with keen interest.

“My neck in general, actually.”

“Huh.” Matt frowned thoughtfully. “Where else?”

I pressed my lips together and gave him an incredulous look. “I’m not telling you that.”

“Why not?”

“Matt.”

“What if I needed it for research reasons?”

“Matt.”

“What if I told you it was part of our questionnaire?” He tossed his legs over the side of the bed and stood, walking around to my side and offering me his hand. “You should give me a schematic of your body with the erogenous zones circled and rated.”

“Let me guess, you want them rated on a ten-point scale,” I deadpanned as I accepted his hand, stood, and stepped away to gain some distance and straighten my shirt.

He shrugged, crossing his arms, stalking after me. “Or exponential. I was going to say a Likert scale, but a logarithmic scale works, too.”

Chuckling, appreciative of his attempt to diffuse my embarrassment and awkwardness with the joke, I realized Matt Simmons wasn’t a bad guy. He might even be a good guy, just a little . . . peculiar.

And wants to replace romantic relationships with robots. Best not forget that detail.

Yeah, he’d make an interesting friend.

“Thanks.” I gave him a small smile.

“For what?” His eyes moved between mine.

“For the cuddle. Thanks for the cuddle, Matt.”

“Anytime, Marie.” He grinned down at me, his eyes dancing as he leaned forward and whispered, “Anytime.”

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Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2mowgNq

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/1pnSeh

iBooks: https://goo.gl/F3o9Qw

Nook: https://goo.gl/imzdIJ

Kobo: https://goo.gl/DPwGEb

Google Play: https://goo.gl/cWe2Uk

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2mG5GAc

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/707692

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/VW1TxJ

 

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Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

PennyReid

Connect with Penny:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyReidWriter/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lakzsD

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Newsletter: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/

www.pennyreid.ninja

Top Ten Tuesday (#4) – Most Anticipated Releases!

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Hey guys! Welcome to another #TopTenTuesday, courtesy of The Broke and The Bookish! I am very excited for this because – A) Anticipated Releases and B) I haven’t done a TTT for so long! So, let’s get on with my anticipated releases for the latter half of 2017!

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29939048In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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32051572Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

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31563982Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

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30025336Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

The book takes place in the 1960s in Bicho Raro, Colorado and follows the lives of three members of the Soria family—each of whom is searching for their own miracle. There’s Beatriz, who appears to lack feelings but wants to study her mind; Daniel, the “Saint” of Bicho Raro, a miracle worker for everyone but himself; and Joaquin (a.k.a. Diablo Diablo), who runs a pirate radio station at night.

 

 

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Sometimes love is written in the margins …

Henry and Rachel were best friends once. Rachel had a huge crush on Henry, but that was before she moved away, before her brother Cal drowned.

Now, Henry works in his father’s bookstore, Howling Books, with the famous “letter library”, a section of the shop where customers are encouraged to circle words and leave love letters inside their favourite books.

When Rachel returns from by the sea, the place that took her brother, she starts working beside Henry. At the book shop, she must gain strength from the bond she shares with Henry … and from the written word.

Bit by bit, Rachel realises that to build a future, she must look to the words people have left behind.

This is a love story for everyone who loves books.

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32802697Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica-the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both-and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

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33958230Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

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30237061Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

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This does not have a description yet, but it is the next in the Knitting in the City Series & that is all I need to know! Gah! Penny is a Goddess!

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22892448Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, THE COLOR PROJECT is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.

What are your upcoming anticipated releases? Tell me in the comments and let’s all gush about all the amazing books to come! 😀

 

Chance At Redemption, Samantha Harris – Blog Tour

Chance at Redemption
Samatha Harris
(Madison Square #3)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Gwen Stevens had a privileged life until her father spoke three little words that turned her world upside down. “You’re cut off.”

Broke and desperate, Gwen is forced to accept a waitressing job, but this glimmer of hope has a price. As if being a cocktail waitress isn’t bad enough, she has to do it in a dive bar called The Den, and her bad luck doesn’t stop there. She also needs to deal with the new owner, a blue-eyed, self-righteous ass determined to make her life miserable.

Liam Sinclair walked away from the entitlement and obligation his family planned for him, vowing to make his own way in the world…

Adjusting to life as a new business owner, Liam has experienced more than his fair share of setbacks. When his only waitress breaks her leg, his sister takes it upon herself to hire a replacement—a spoiled, self-indulgent hothead with too much makeup and more than enough attitude. Gwen represents the world he’s trying to escape, a world of excess and greed that he was never cut out for.

Appearances can be deceiving, and first impressions aren’t always right…

Despite their apparent differences, the tension between them turns to a fiery passion that neither of them can resist. Together they find balance and learn to appreciate the simpler things in life. But Gwen soon discovers that old habits die hard, and one mistake is all it takes to ruin everything.

Forgiveness must be earned, but even a villain deserves a chance at redemption…

Goodreads / Amazon

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“What’s this?”
“Uniform,” he said. “If your gonna work here your gonna have to look the part.
I held the shirt out in front of me as my face twisted in disgust. It was at least two sizes too big with The Den written in an old timey script that was meant to look like a bottle of Jack Daniels.
“I can’t wear this,” I scoffed.
Liam turned back to his paperwork. “You can and you will.”
I considered showing him my middle finger but thought better of it and turned on my heel heading to the bathroom to change.
As I passed by Sam, I spotted a pair of scissors tucked into a jar of pens by the door. I stopped and held the shirt out in front of me, a wicked smile spread across my face as an idea came to mind.
When I came out of the bathroom, Liam was counting cash at the register when I sauntered up behind him.
“What do you think?” I said showing off my creation by turning in a slow circle so he could get the full effect.
Liam turned his head toward me, his eyes going wide as he took me in. “What the fuck did you do?”
“What? You don’t like it?” I asked, playing coy.
“You destroyed it.” His mouth said ruined but the look in his eyes showed his approval even though he’d never admit it. Every inch of my exposed skin tingled under his gaze sending a current of static across my skin and straight between my thighs. I liked that he was looking, I liked it a lot.
“I improved it.” I cut off both sleeves and the collar so the shirt hung low on my shoulders and gathered the extra fabric in a knot on my hip, for a little bit of mid drift action.
“You can’t wear that,” he snapped.
I smiled and reached for a rag to start wiping down the tables. “I can and I will.”

 

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Author Bio:

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid.

Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.

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Lessons Learned, Syndey Logan – Book Review

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32066715A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.

English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past.

She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance.

Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.

Continue reading

The Two – Night One – Night Stand, Ryan Ringbloom – Book Review

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31673279A girl. A guy. And a talking peen.

Holly Martin isn’t the type to have a one-night stand. But a crushing break up, a sexy blind date, and a few shots of Fireball is about to change all that.

Matthew Daniels is an introverted PA who claims he’s too busy to date. But that doesn’t stop his older brothers from encouraging him to let loose and get out there, because as they put it – the right girl won’t just walk up to you.

But what if she does?

Is it possible for a one-night stand that happens twice, to actually become more? Could two nights of reckless debauchery actually lead to true love? Or is this just another case of a whisky induced disaster?

This Romantic Comedy is sure to have you laughing, cringing, rolling your eyes, shouting at the pages and looking for a shot glass of your own.

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*ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and views are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

This book is a quick, fun read as far as romantic comedies go. The characters, especially the male lead are funny as hell and the situations they get themselves into, well let’s not get started on that.

The story begins with a case of mistaken identity when Holly, the heroine, mistakes Matthew, the hero, for her blind date which was set up by a friend of hers. Matthew who finds Holly attractive goes along with it and doesn’t come clean until after they’ve slept together. Of course, this causes their not so relationship relationship to end before it even begins.

They keep bumping into each other again and again and then stumble into a happily ever after.

So, yes, cute read. It’s short so it won’t take much of your time. I did think that the drama was a tad overdone here. Like, a lot of unnecessary stuff happening. At one point it seemed like the author was putting in all these situations only because there was nothing else to do. The couple could have united much earlier, in my opinion. Like 4-5 chapters earlier.

Overall, it’s an okay read if you’re looking for something to pass the time.

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Goodreads | Amazon 

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7246436Hi, I’m Ryan Ringbloom, a Jersey girl who doesn’t write Alphas. I couldn’t if I tried. Social Media stresses me the frick out, yet I can’t seem to walk away from it. I love to binge watch TV. I think cats are awesome. I’m obsessed with coffee and Fireball. But never together. My road rage is ridiculous. And if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I won’t even try to run. I will let the first one I see eat my brain and get it over with.

*I am aware that these bios should be written in third person. Whatever. I wrote it in first.

LINKS – 

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Seaside Whispers, Melissa Foster – Review Tour

 

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Seaside Whispers
Melissa Foster
(Seaside Summers)
Publication date: November 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance

Having a mad crush on her boss’s son, Matt Lacroux–an intriguing mix of proper gentleman and flirtatious bad boy–is probably not the smartest idea for single mother Mira Savage. Especially when the company, and her job, is already on shaky ground. But as a Princeton professor, Matt’s life is hours away from Mira’s home on Cape Cod, keeping him safely in the fantasy-only zone. And as a single mother to six-year-old Hagen, with a floundering company to save, fantasies are all she has time for.

With hopes of becoming dean off the table, and too many months of longing for a woman who lived too far away to pursue, Matt’s publishing contract couldn’t have come at a better time. He heads home to Cape Cod on a brief sabbatical, intent on starting his book, and finally getting his arms around sweet, seductive Mira.

A surprise encounter leads to white-hot passions and midnight confessions. The more time Matt and Mira spend together, the deeper their relationship grows, and the love and attention Matt showers on Hagen is more than she has ever dreamed of. But Matt’s sabbatical is only temporary, and Mira’s not saving his father’s company so she can leave it behind. Will their whispers of love be enough for one of them to change their life forever?

Seaside Summers is a series of stand-alone romances that may also be enjoyed as part of the larger Love in Bloom series.

 

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Oh this story! It is so sweet! Kind of like the ‘oh let my heart skip a beat at the romance’ things that happen (very rarely in reality, I know).

The characters are really well written. They’re three dimensional and have a lot to themselves than just being a couple in love. They’re great individuals and very capable of functioning by themselves. So, it’s not that kind of love where the lead couple is constantly saying ‘they can’t live without the other’ because they can, they just choose not to. And that’s beautiful.

The best part about this was that there was no unnecessary miscommunication. In romance novels, more than half the time, problems arise because people don’t talk to each other, don’t try to understand the other person’s point of view. In this story, Matt and Mira were always upfront about their feelings, they communicated and talked everything out. They were always truthful with each other, even if the truth hurt. No secrets, no lies, no hiding things because they felt they were protecting themselves or someone else. I like that. I really, really like that.

As a couple, they were a house on fire. So sexy and hot, yet so sweet and adorable. Gah, it made my heart melt. It was so good to read about their relationship developing. It was kind of insta love because they were together by chapter three, but they’d been friends for almost a year before they got together and they’d always been attracted to each other, so it wasn’t as insta as we’re talking about.

As individuals, Mira was the epitome of a loving mom. She always kept her baby boy on the forefront if every decision she made. But, she’s smart, sexy and so savvy. She wasn’t some damsel in distress and totally capable of holding her own. Which is so amazing, because so many times single moms are portrayed as these weaklings who just need a man to hold them up and that’s not right. They’re women. They’re effing shiz self sufficient. They can definitely raise a child all on their own.

Matt is hot as fuck, okay. Thats it. He’s super hot. But he’s also so sweet and caring. He’s always lavishing all his attention on Mira and her son. He’s protective of them and he can go to any lengths to keep them both safe and happy. Despite being hot and sexy, he’s an adorkable nerd. With the glasses. Yes. Hotter than ever. I really adore him.

And then there’s the cutie, Hagen. He’s so adorable. He’s super smart and very perceptive. He loves to read and he wants to be nerdy because a girl in his class said that nerdy boys are the best.

So, yes, a great story and great characters which leave you with the fuzzies. I love this story! Definitely read it, romance fans!

 

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Seaside Whispers – Tour Schedule

 

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Author Bio:

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

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The Desert Pleasures Series, Zoe Blackwood – Blog Tour

THE DESERT PLEASURES SERIES by Zoe Blackwood
Genre: EROTIC ROMANCE
–  BOOKS – 
(All standalone novels)
HOLLYWOOD GIANT 
LOSING GRIP
LOSING HER
BROKEN MOON 
– SERIES BLURB –
Alicia Porter owns an exclusive and discreet male escort service for women called, Desert Pleasures.
The clientele is unique, hand selected by Alicia herself, so her escorts are also not the standard for the industry, but rather something deliciously sinful.
The first four books in the series are introductions to the escorts, as well as the clientele (Losing Grip). Since these books feature different characters, they can be read in any order. Several books have character crossovers.
**They can be enjoyed in any order and are intended for a mature audience.**
HOLLYWOOD GIANT
– SYNOPSIS –
HOLLYWOOD LOOMS GIANT IN THE STRUGGLE FOR WHAT MATTERS MOST.
For Alex Butovsky, a Dominant, the relationship with his submissive, Nadia Petra, is the focus on his life. He came alive when he took care of her. For Nadia, Alex was her savior and beautiful, loving and devoted Master. Having always existed outside of conventional monogamy, Alex being an escort has never distressed Nadia. She empathized with women desperate to explore their submissive qualities. Nadia had never worried about losing Alex to another.
Until her.
Cara Valencia is different. She is the biggest movie star in the world and one of the most beautiful women alive. And she wanted Alex for herself. Nadia’s struggle to maintain her devotion and honesty under fierce jealousy is matched with her Master’s own struggle to manage his desire for another. Their very existence is at the mercy of fame, lust and deceit.
– PURCHASE –
LOSING GRIP
– SYNOPSIS –
Kristine Platt lost her lover. Then, she lost herself…
Fiercely independent and successful civil litigation attorney Kristine is used to taking charge and remaining under control. Life for her went according to plan, then it all fell apart.
Her break up with fellow attorney, Layne, leaves her shaken. She’d never imagined herself that capable of feeling that out of control.
A meeting with the owner of a discreet male escort service leads to a rather unusual relationship with male escort Nic Adair. The simplicity of their relationship appeals to her fear of intimacy. As the foundation of her confidence wanes, can Nic help Kristine restore balance in her life? Or is he just a distraction?
Learning to love and trust again may be too big a risk for Kristine. When a strange pattern of anonymous threats against her emerge, she will have to learn to trust the people in her life. Will her faith in herself and those that love her be restored? Or will everything cause her life to spin out of control?
– PURCHASE –
LOSING HER
– SYNOPSIS –
HE HAS EVERYTHING HE WANTS AND NEEDS, EXCEPT FOR HER
James Day has everything he wants: a satisfying career as a physical therapist and a skill most men would envy–he’s good in bed. Women move in and out of his life seamlessly.
When a casual affair with Alicia Porter leads to an unusual opportunity, James begins a journey with uncertain consequences. Alicia’s male escort service, Desert Pleasures, offers women the opportunity to have their desires realized. James finds a place where his skills are rewarded.
What could possibly go wrong?
When James develops interest in Kate, a physical therapist and co-worker, he realizes how he is perceived by some women. To a girl like, Kate, who is not into casual sex, a guy like James is dangerous.
James sets out to prove to Kate, and his sister Jenna, that there is more to him than his sexual talents. The truth of who he is, would have unforeseen consequences of their own. Has this self-proclaimed playboy finally met his match?
– PURCHASE –

 

BROKEN MOON
– SYNOPSIS –
HE YEARNS FOR LOVE. SHE IS AFRAID OF IT.
Mannie isn’t sure he still has a girlfriend. He isn’t sure what kind of man he wants to be. He isn’t sure if his sister will ever forgive him. The only thing he is sure of is that he wants everything in his life to change, except for his art. Drawing and tattooing is the only real thing he has.
An encounter with Alicia Porter, owner of the elite male escort service for women called, Desert Pleasures, leads to an unusual opportunity for Mannie. As he discovers his confidence and worth with women, he finds he only yearns for more.
When he meets Rain, it isn’t love at first sight. But the possibility of what he can feel and wants to feel, leads him on a journey of self-discovery. He doesn’t understand love, but wants it. Rain has had it, believes in its power, but mysteriously builds walls against it. Rain is only sure of one thing: they have to stay friends.
Rain won’t talk about her past. Mannie is desperate to find his future.
If love can hurt and the devastation can be long-lasting, Mannie can only hope that which can be broken, can be made whole again.
– PURCHASE –
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Zoe Blackwood is a pseudonym for author, Kim Streible. She resides in Kentucky, surrounded by various wildlife and dogs, because as long as she can remember, there’s always been a dog in the house. She hates getting lost on back country roads and sushi. She loves Batman, music and 80’s romantic comedies.
═══════ GIVEAWAY ═══════
THREE WINNERS! 
*US MAILING ADDRESSES ONLY*
1 Signed Paperback of Broken Moon
2 Signed Paperbacks of Losing Grip

La Vie En Rose, Lydia Michaels – Book Blitz

La Vie en Rose {Life in Pink}
Lydia Michaels
Publication date: April 12th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance

Emma Sanders has always dreamt of being a bride, wearing fancy gowns, pretty pearls, and—of course—falling madly in love. Then life happened. Finding herself one fiancé short of her happily ever after, she leaves the fairytales behind. Some days are simply too perilous for pink gowns and pearls.

Riley Lockhart is the sort of man who can make a woman lower her gaze with only a smile. That he doesn’t realize his charm makes him all the more enchanting. Determined to save Emma the pain of her breakup, he steps in as a friend, but soon finds himself wanting more.

She was just a girl, but she somehow winds up being the strongest woman he’s ever known. Losing her is not an option and when life can’t be tied neatly in a pretty little bow, he holds tight to all that he loves—his Emma. His hero.

Sometimes the greatest scars are worn on the inside.

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EXCERPT

It was amusing how the girls on the subway watched Riley. Emma supposed he was above-average handsome, but since he was Rarity’s older brother she never looked too hard.

Now, seeing him in his element, riding the subway in a Pet Shop Boys T-shirt, jeans, and battered chucks, she recognized what the other women on the train were seeing. Riley was hot.

His brown eyes were so clear they shined as though they were blue. Sloppy chestnut waves curled in perfect careless disarray, complimenting his naturally tanned olive skin. He even had the five o’clock shadow down to an art.

Scanning the surrounding female passengers, she counted six of them gawking at him, begging with their eyes for him to glance their way. Amazing. The pheromones could choke a prostitute.

Skimming the male passengers, she frowned. Not a single one was looking at her.

What if she was Riley’s girlfriend? They were standing close enough, but the other girls didn’t seem to notice her at all.

She rolled her eyes. Invisible. Meanwhile, Riley scratched his nose with his thumbnail—it was practically a casual pick—and three of the six leering women sighed as if he read a verse of poetry. So unfair.

“Wait until you taste some of the food there,” he whispered in her ear.

Her chest filled with warmth as his voice sent a thrill of excitement tearing through her belly. It wasn’t sexual. It was what being feminine was all about. Who cared what he said? He was talking to her; the guy every other girl was drooling over was talking to her. And in that moment, the other women finally registered her presence. Every stink eye she got was so totally worth the thrill of attention.

Ha! Not only does he talk to me, he lives with me. I’ve seen him in his skivvies. Take that, ladies.

As the ride continued, her pride mended with each spiteful glance tallied in her favor. Not used to this catty need for attention, she chalked it up to recently being dumped. It was against her nature to behave like a clingy girlfriend, but with Riley it was all make believe, a temporary tonic for her battered ego.

Sometimes it was nice to be seen, though a great deal of her life had been conducted as a wallflower. Perhaps her affability gave her fiancé the impression that she wouldn’t mind him delving into another woman’s panties. Or maybe he’d already lost interest…maybe she wasn’t good at sex. Oh dear God, was she vanilla? A wallflower in bed?

Again, the emphasis she placed on other people’s perception concerned her. Riley didn’t care what anyone thought and people loved him. Even when they were in school, he was always a popular guy. Teachers loved him, jocks loved him, and, of course, women adored him.

Rarity was popular by default, because she was Riley’s sister. Publicly kissing girls promoted her to a novel level of cool only genuine lesbians could achieve in high school, but she’d always been cool by proximity first.

Emma was drawn to their energy like planets to the sun. No one was immune. They were simply attractive people. And as the permanent sidekick that existed in the cool guy’s sister’s shadow, it felt nice to have a bit of Riley’s innate popularity rub off on her as they stood together on the subway.

You’re pathetic. Those girls only know you exist because you’re pretending to be something you’re not. Oh, well! Self-esteem is in the gutter and pretending is helping.

She arched a brow at one of the gawkers.

“What are you grinning about?” he whispered.

Her attention jerked to his smiling russet eyes. He was almost a foot taller than her. Should she tell him? Would he laugh at her? Deciding she didn’t care, she whispered, “You’re inadvertently inflating my ego.”

Confusion tightened his brow so she tipped her head at the other passengers. Shockingly, it seemed the first time he noticed the other women.

“They all assume I’m with you. They hate me.”

He glanced at the other woman, each glare transforming to a seductive pout the moment his attention fell upon them. With his hand gripping the rail above her head, he leaned close. “And them hating you is a good thing?”

Didn’t he get it? “They’re jealous of me. Not many people are.”

The train rattled and slowed. People got off as new passengers climbed on and settled into seats as it whistled back up to speed.

His scrutiny heated her cheeks as he unabashedly studied her. “I can play that game,” he whispered.

“What game?”

Rather than answer, his mouth hooked in a half smile and he winked. She flinched as he dragged his curved knuckle down her bare arm, making the fine hairs rise in its wake. His fingers laced with hers and she watched, amazed, as every female followed the motion.

Her belly tightened with the thrill of exhibitionism. Her feet pointed toward the aisle. His pointed to her, his hip angled at their audience. Shifting a step closer, still holding on to the bar above, he spoke loud enough for the others to hear. “I caught you.”

Her eyes traveled past his lips, no longer shaped in a smile, and landed on those dark eyes. Her brow knit in confusion, unsure what he was doing.

“Looking at me,” he clarified. “You know how that makes me crazy.”

Oh, my God. She should have never told—

“It’s like this morning, when we were spooning in bed, my body pressed tight against yours, flesh to flesh, belly to back, nook to cranny. Everything was fine until I pressed that one kiss on the back of your neck right here.”

Her body tensed with awareness as his finger touched an extremely sensitive spot behind her ear. She couldn’t remember anyone ever touching her there.

“The second I kiss that spot you turn to liquid in my arms, soft and wet, and I can’t help but drink you up, taste every square inch of you on my tongue. My lips. Everywhere. When I catch you looking at me like that, it’s my kryptonite, my secret neck kiss.”

She swallowed and glanced at the women watching them. They were literally gaping, some even appeared to be quietly panting. Holy crap he was slick. “Um…”

Thank God he didn’t let her say anything. She didn’t have his skill. “Next time you look at me like that…” He tucked a curl behind her ear as chills raced over her shoulders. “I can’t be held responsible for what happens.” His fingers squeezed hers tightly and the train hissed and whined to a stop. He winked. “Let’s go. I’m suddenly ravenous.”

He tugged her off the train and into the loud subway. Musicians played for coin and people bustled through the underground world, racing to get where they needed to go. She saw it a thousand times before, but now it was brand new, her senses overstimulated and raw.

As they climbed the stairs to the street her heart pounded wildly. Wafts of traffic, people, and city food greeted them under the August heat. Voices and motion mingled into a cacophony of commotion until she was standing above sea level, fighting to catch her breath. What the hell had he done to her?

Laughing, he released her hand and turned—a totally unaffected grin on his charming face. “That was fun.”

“Y—yeah.” It wasn’t fun, it was thrilling and telling, and in some secret way, quite embarrassing. He’d been toying with those women, putting on a show, yet in those few seconds of phony attention, his artificial reverie trumped every real experience she had. She needed to get a grip.

Demanding her emotions go back into the shadows, she focused on their purpose. “So where’s this Smorgasburg?”

“Can’t you smell it?” He breathed deeply and grinned as his chest expanded, raising his broad shoulders. Weird. She didn’t want to keep cataloguing his every masculine trait, yet she couldn’t stop. “Ah, it’s just past the bridge. Let’s move.”

The snap of her flip-flops put a melody to their strides. As the impressive Brooklyn Bridge stretched before her, she had one of those out of body moments that reminded her she lived in one of the coolest cities on earth. “I don’t appreciate New York the way I should.”

Walking beside her, a pleasant set to his mouth, he sent her a sidelong glance—not bothering to disagree.

“Becket and I never walked around like this. Once he took me to Tiffany’s, but we were in and out. I’m not even sure what he was picking up.” Probably something for his mistress. “He never stopped for street meats or pretzels. We only dined at restaurants that held reservations.”

“You can’t plan New York through a concierge. It’s meant to be experienced. It’s alive, pulsing, like an animal. We can only observe it and let ourselves be led by its verve. The minute we try to control it we miss something spectacular, like with nature. It really is the world’s largest organism. There are so many people setting its rhythm, better to experience it organically.”

“I never thought of it that way.” The scent of ethnic faire grew thick in the air; tempting her appetite out of hiding and drawing her steps toward the mouth-watering aroma of succulent meats grilled over open flames.

Voices traveled, rising in volume as they stepped into a mass of people patronizing what appeared to be a market of New York’s cleverest food venders. How had she not known about this event?

Riley rotated, a phenomenal grin on his face as though he’d entered man heaven. “Where should we begin?”

“You’re my captain. I trust your instincts.”

Canopies and makeshift booths formed long aisles for people to wander. Steam clouded the various sites, eliciting attention with each peculiarly pleasant aroma.

Chefs acted as street performers, enchanting patrons, drawing them near with careful explanations for pairing fermented spices and specialized condiments with seared meats. It was a sort of live gallery, showcasing the artistry of New York cuisine.

Servings were sometimes dainty, offering a sampling of what could be the world’s most eclectic menu. The selection was endless, filet mignon sliders, fresh pecan bread sold by the slice, doughnuts the size of grapefruits, and even specialty booths for vegans and other diets she’d never heard of before.

“Oh, we have to start here,” he veered to the right and she followed. When the walkways became clogged with people, he reached through the crowd and pulled her to his side. “Watch this, Em. This is how meat should be treated.”

It was indeed a performance. The vendor tossed a steaming brisket onto the wood surface and unwrapped the charred foil covering. Juicy morsels of fat were trimmed away to unveil perfectly cooked, tender, pink beef. As the peddler made a show of slicing the meat in precise portions, it fell apart and her mouth watered.

Riley’s voice turned gravely. “Oh my God, we are so eating that.”

She grinned at him, loving the glazed lust in his eyes. Only men got that way with meat. She supposed beef and pork were to a guy what shoes and purses were to most women.

As the chef prepared their sandwich, Riley asked questions about the smoking process. The vendor was very friendly and informative. “You want everything on it?”

“What’s everything?” Riley asked.

“Cheese, pickles, hot peppers, sweet sauce.”

He glanced at her. “You afraid of hot?”

“No.” She wanted to taste the sandwich the way the creator intended it.

Riley grinned. “Give us the works.”

The man dressed the small sandwich until it was bursting with meat and dripping with sauce. Riley paid and she followed him to the side of the booth where coolers held the vendors’ supplies.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked, eyes set with excitement.

“You taste it first.” She wasn’t sure what would be more enjoyable, watching his exhilaration or actually tasting it for herself.

“You sure?”

She nodded as he carefully held the messy sandwich and took a bite, bits of cheese and meat falling from his fingers. “Oh my God,” he moaned over a mouthful. “You have to try this.” She reached out, but he shook his head, still chewing. “Just open. It’s too messy.”

Opening wide like a ridiculous baby bird, she let him shove the corner of the sandwich in her mouth and bit down. “Oh my God!” she echoed.

“I know, right?”

An exquisite blend of flavors burst over her tongue. “It’s amazing,” she mumbled, holding her fingers over her lips so food didn’t fall out.

“I could eat twenty of these.” He took another bite.

“We so should.” She opened as he held the rapidly shrinking sandwich out for her again.

They didn’t waste time talking for the next few minutes as they devoured the most delicious sandwich she’d ever tasted. When they finished, Riley snagged some napkins and passed her several to wipe her mouth.

As they journeyed onward they sampled maple bacon cupcakes, Bangladeshi street cuisine, and even shared a pumpkin spiced S’more cooked under the flame of a blowtorch. It was an incredible festival of food.

“Do you like oysters?” he asked as they approached a merchant standing before a bowl of crushed ice.

“I don’t know.” She’d never tried an oyster before.

“Wanna try one?”

“Sure.”

As the chef sliced open the rocklike case and revealed an opalescent inner shell, she tried not to be revolted by the goopy booger looking mollusk inside. He shucked the blob loose, leaving it resting on half a shell, and placed it in a bed of crushed ice.

“What do they taste like?” she asked.

The chef continued to shuck. “Briny, like the ocean. If you’re virgins I can dress them in a mignonette sauce to soften the taste. I have a nice ginger cucumber one.”

“What do you suggest?” Riley asked.

“I’m a purist, sir. I like them with a bit of pepper and lemon and that’s it.”

Riley glanced at her.

“I think I should try it with the sauce.” The more she stared at the little glob the more unappealing it became. These were considered delicacies? If she was remembering correctly, they were also aphrodisiacs. She didn’t see anything sexy about them.

“Ready?” Riley asked, holding his lemon oyster while offering her the one dressed in the ginger sauce.

Timidly, she reached for the shell.

Their eyes met and he counted off. “One… two…three.” His head tipped back and her mouth filled with—

Oh my God. What the fuck is in my mouth?

“Not bad.” Riley grinned then started laughing. “Are you okay?”

She shook her head, booger mollusk sliding around her tongue, and desperately searched the table for a napkin. You gag and it’s all over.

“Swallow it!” he shouted, laughing at her.

The vender passed her a napkin.

“No, don’t spit. Swallow!”

Oh my God, she was going to kick him if he didn’t shut up. People stared as they walked by and she spit the disgusting thing into the napkin and balled it up.

Riley shook his head. “Oh, Emma, I’m disappointed. Good girls swallow.”

“Shut up,” she snapped, her face burning.

He laughed and nudged her, tossing a few dollars on the table and directing her into the crowd.

“That was disgusting. Now I can’t get the taste out of my mouth.”

He stopped and ordered a cup of cranberry Brooklyn soda. “Here, you big tissue.”

“I’m not a tissue. I tried it.”

“Let’s sit for a while.” He led her to a stout cement barricade along the jetties and they sat facing the East River.

They’d walked miles in a matter of hours so she was grateful for the respite. The short wall was warm from the afternoon sun. “Today was really fun, Riley. Thanks for bringing me here.”

“I had fun too. It’s nice to waste a day taking advantage of everything the city has to offer. We can get immune from living here.”

She smiled, her cheeks tingling under the moist wind off the river. “There’s so much I’ve never experienced. I’ve never even been to the Empire State Building.”

“What?”

She laughed at his shock. “I know. I’m the worst New Yorker in the world.”

“You gotta get out more, Em.”

“I want to.” Letting out a deep breath, she relaxed. “I’m so sick of being me. It’s so tedious, always doing what everyone else thinks I should do.”

He frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I think you were right. I don’t think I loved Becket.”

“Conceivable.”

“Was it that obvious? Because if I’m being honest, I’m still getting over the shock.”

“Don’t hate me, but Becket was a prick. He didn’t bring anything to the table. You guys were always running off to meet his friends or attend functions at his father’s law firm.”

“Well, I do work there.”

“Exactly. You work for his family. When was it about Emma Sanders?”

There wasn’t an excuse at the ready. “I guess it never was.”

“Yeah, that’s not love. So when you say you don’t think you were in love with him, I can believe it.”

“You’re a pretty deep guy, Riley. Not a lot of men are like that.”

He shrugged. “I’m comfortable with you. I can just say what I feel.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, her mind drifting back to Riley as a tousled child in grass stained corduroys and wild curls. Although they knew each other since braces and bike rides, this was the first time they actually hung out alone. It was strange they never talked about personal things before, because she really was extremely comfortable around him.

“What do you say we head back and go get that mani-pedi?” he asked.

Her feet were killing her and the idea of a pedicure sounded divine. “Okay.”

He glanced down at her flip-flops and tsked. “I’m not sure they can help those stank walkers.”

She gaped at him. “There is nothing wrong with my feet!”

“Whatever. Where’s your baby toe?”

“It’s right here!” She lifted up her foot.

He leaned forward and squinted. “You can’t call that Darwin freak show a toe.”

“If it’s not then what the hell is it?” Her toes were perfectly normal!

“That’s a nubbin.”

“Whatever.” She stood.

He rose as well. “You think you can manage on you’re deformed hobbit hooves? We got a hike back to the subway.”

She stomped away. “Jerk.” And just when she was starting to think he was nice!

“Wait up,” he called. “Don’t be like that. We don’t have to wee-wee-wee all the way home. It was a good day at the market, piggy.”

She held up her middle finger and prodded on—laughing under her breath.

 

 

Author Bio:

Lydia Michaels is the award winning author of 23 romance novels. Her novels from the darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy were iBooks Bestsellers and her work has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Happenings Magazine two years running [2015 & 2016]. She is a four time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award. Her books are intellectual, emotional, haunting, always centered around love. Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaelsBooks.com

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