Team Player, A Christmas Anthology – Blog Tour

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Eleven authors. Eleven Novellas. This is one thick . . . book.

Christmas just became a whole lot merrier…


TEAM PLAYER, A Christmas Anthology featuring titles by LJ Shen, Kennedy Ryan, Adriana Locke, Mandi Beck, Emma Scott, Charleigh Rose, Ella Fox, Sara Ney, Meghan Quinn, Kate Stewart and Rochelle Paige is available NOW!

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Publication Date: December 14th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary/Sports Romance

Hot jocks. We love them all.

Sexy baseball players. Intense footballers. Sweaty MMA fighters, and sizzling hockey hotties. Score!

The good news? Eleven bestselling authors have gathered to give you a set of stories focused on the men we love most—sports heroes. We bet you’ll love this thick…book.

The bad news? The men in these novellas don’t actually exist.

*This anthology does not contain calories, just eleven original, never-before-seen stories by the following authors: Adriana Locke, Mandi Beck, Charleigh Rose, Kennedy Ryan, LJ Shen, Meghan Quinn, Rochelle Paige, Ella Fox, Kate Stewart, Emma Scott, and Sara Ney. We aren’t responsible for melted devices.

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 I have to start by saying that I absolutely, completely loved this collection! So very good. I was a fan of some of the authors featured in here which is why I decided to participate in the blog tour, but after reading the whole anthology, I’m going to have to check out the works of a lot of other authors. All of them were just so good, but some of them were absolutely amazing, and I loved their stories a whole lot. 
First up was, obviously, Meghan Quinn because I absolutely adore whatever I’ve read of her. She didn’t disappoint. Hers was one of the best stories in the collection. It was definitely the funniest. I was laughing almost throughout the entire story and I loved that! It was the best pick me up and I’m definitely revisiting this story cause I loved it so much! 
The best angst was Kate Stewart. Gosh. That story was hella angsty and I was just here for all the feels the two main characters were bestowing on me. So much hurt between the two of them and so many mistakes. Gah. They hated each other almost as much as they loved each other. And the UST. My, my! I absolutely loved the pair here! And the story! *heart eyes*
Then, there was this amazing story by Sara Ney that just melted my heart because it was so adorable. That was also the one that had the least spotlight on the “sports” part of the romance, but it was just so amazing. I loved it! 
The Ella Fox novella was just absolutely, completely heart warming. I adored the lengths the hero in that one went to, just to profess his love for his girl. It was so good to see. Of course, there was a lot of heartache involved, but, seeing those two together just made me so happy! 

Those four were the ones that stood out most to me, but all the stories in here are so, so good. And such quick reads. You can breeze through one novella in 30-45 minutes and that’s absolutely awesome. Such amazing stories, all of them. They made me laugh and they made me cry. But, all of them were brilliant and I loved every minute of reading this collection. It was the only thing I did yesterday because I was just not able to put the book down. 

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(FREE in Kindle Unlimited)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2j7MCK1

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/TeamPlayerAnthology

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2iVSpFW

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LJ Shen

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets people’s birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

Connect with LJ Shen

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lj_shen

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorljshen/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorljshen/

Stay up to date with LJ Shen by signing up for her mailing list:

http://bit.ly/2umcYPg

http://www.authorljshen.com/

Kennedy Ryan:

Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.

Connect with Kennedy

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kennedyrwrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kennedyryan1/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KennedyRyanAuthor

YouTube: http://bit.ly/2gsAGkp

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2x0qCtC

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kennedy-ryan

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/681604768593989/

http://kennedyryanwrites.com

Adriana Locke:

A contemporary romance author running on coffee and sticky kisses from my rowdy four little boys.

From Indiana, I’m a true Mid-Westerner. Life, for me, is about family, faith, and food. When I’m not running my kiddos around or having a lunch date of fajitas with my husband (and high school sweetheart), you can find me outside. I love a good sunny day almost as much as I love candy, random quotes, and steamy bad boys in fantastic books.

I’m on nearly every social media platform. Please find me on the ones you frequent – I love chatting with readers.

Connect with Adriana

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoralocke

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authoradrianalocke/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/adriana-locke

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8379774.Adriana_Locke

Amazon Alerts: http://adrianalocke.com/release-day-notifications/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoradrianalo/

http://adrianalocke.com

Mandi Beck:

Mandi Beck has been an avid reader all of her life. A deep love for books always had her jotting down little stories on napkins, notebooks, and her hand. As an adult she was further submerged into the book world through book clubs and the epicness of social media. It was then that she graduated to writing her stories on her phone and then finally on a proper computer.

A nursing student, mother to two rambunctious and somewhat rotten boys, and stepmom to two great girls away at college, she shares her time with her husband in Chicago where she was born and raised. Mandi is a diehard hockey fan and blames the Blackhawks when her deadlines are not met.

Connect with Mandi

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authormandibeck

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authormandi/

Newsletter: https://www.authormandibeck.com/newsletter

https://www.authormandibeck.com

Emma Scott:

I write romances with flawed characters, characters with artistic hearts: builders, poets, and writers of various makes and models. I love to write book lovers; those who have found refuge, companionship, and escape in books, much as we do in real life. I like realism, honesty, authenticity in storytelling. I love to write about enduring love, soul-deep love, in as real a setting as I can make, but with big smooshy HEAs. I believe in diversity, open-mindedness, and inclusion. I like sweetness mixed with steam, love conquering all, and above all, hope. Love always wins.

Connect with Emma

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

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10405165.Emma_Scott

Blog: http://emmascottblog.blogspot.com

Charleigh Rose:

We are a duo of an international best-selling author and a blogger who teamed up to write the taboo, thought-provoking stories we want our audience to have–without filters.

Both Charleigh and Rose are committed to giving you witty, sexy, intelligent novels that will leave you wanting more.

Connect with Charleigh

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

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15569269.Charleigh_Rose?from_search=true

Ella Fox:

When she’s not writing, Ella indulges the gypsy in her blood and travels the country. Ella loves reading, movies, music, buying make-up, reading Tmz, Twitter and pedicures… not necessarily in that order. She has a wild sense of humor and loves to laugh. Her favorite thing in the world is hanging out with her family and watching comedy movies.

Connect with Ella

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorellafox

http://www.authorellafox.com

Sara Ney:

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

Connect with Sara

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

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Ay8lT2

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saraneyauthor/

GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2g32hJO

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/saraneyauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaraNey

http://authorsaraney.com

Meghan Quinn:

A BLONDE AT HEART

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

Connect with Meghan

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormeghanquinn/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2_j4HJ91yQLxZ0EC4p2PEA

YouTube: https://twitter.com/AuthorMegQuinn

Website: http://authormeghanquinn.com

Kate Stewart:

Kate Stewart lives in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. A native of Dallas, Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring it her creative muse. Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it’s what she loves as a reader. A lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and rap, she dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity only and does a horrible job of playing the ukulele. Aside from running a mile without collapsing, traveling is the only other must on her bucket list. On occasion, she does very well at vodka.

Connect with Kate

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorklstewart

http://www.katestewartwrites.com

Rochelle Paige:

Rochelle Paige is the Amazon bestselling author of nineteen books. She absolutely adores reading and her friends growing up used to tease her when she trailed after them, trying to read and walk at the same time. She loves stories with alpha males, sassy heroines, hot sex and happily ever afters. She is a bit of a genre hopper in both her reading and her writing. So far she’s written books in several romance sub-genres including new adult, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense.

She is the mother of two wonderful sons who inspired her to chase her dream of being an author. She wants them to learn from her that you can live your dream as long as you are willing to work for it.

Connect with Rochelle

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

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1436132763270558/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2n6RkMX

http://www.rochellepaige.com/home

 

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Happily Ever After, A Fairytale Anthology – Book Review

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 From princesses and princes, to witches, ice queens, imaginary friends, and dorks, Happily Ever After: The Write More Publications Fractured Fairy Tale Anthology has it all! Seven unforgettable stories by seven talented authors! Some stories are fractured takes on classics, while others are originals that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page!

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*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

This book gives you warm fuzzies. Seriously, if you’re looking for fuzzzies and warmth and cuddling and feeling good, this is what you should read. Set in a fairy tale – esque background with humor, fantasy and romance, this anthology is perfect for an afternoon read snuggled in your bed as you dream about your Prince Charming.

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The stories are short and crisp, not taking too much of your time. So, yeah. That’s an added advantage. But, the stories are all sweet and cute and lovely and beautiful and made me swoon in parts and laugh in others and then cry in some.

Yes, this book is like the perfect package!

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I adore all the stories. They’re so cute and funny and adorkable! For real. There’s princesses and princes and warriors and knights and unicorns and evil queens and magic and ghosts and it is all so amazing! For real! 😀

It is the best thing ever! This compilation is something you should definitely read if you’re into fairy tales because this is made just for you. 😀

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Goodreads | Amazon

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Edge, YA/Paranormal Anthology – Book Blitz

EDGE: A Young Adult/New Adult Paranormal Collection
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Young Adult

Limited Edition Paranormal Boxed Set

20 New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors.

20 of today’s most magical, sought-after titles.

Yours for only $0.99.

Twenty Edgy Young Adult & New Adult Paranormal Tales

Twenty of today’s favorite young adult and new adult authors have come together to bring you a collection packed with full-length, spellbinding reads sure to keep you keep you on the edge of your seat and up way past your bedtime!

But reader beware: These novels take everything to the edge–and not just the edge of your seat. With authors who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries, you get stories that take everything to limit, creating whimsical reads that teens can actually relate to and that adults can enjoy, too.

Save over $50! This set is only available at this price for a limited time, so scroll up and grab your copy before it’s gone!

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PRE-ORDER today for only 99¢!

Sneak a peek at a couple of books in this collection:

Pretty Little Wherewolf

“Whatever, Di. Help if you must, but don’t baby me.”

If Di heard her, she didn’t respond. Not that Giselle needed verbal confirmation; she turned back around and slammed her locker shut without looking, and then stumbled straight into something… someone… hard.

“Oh, sorry,” Giselle mumbled, trying to steady herself. She hadn’t caught the scent until after she looked up and saw who she’d almost knocked down – or, well, collided with. She couldn’t have knocked him down if she’d tried.

Hello, Boy!

He was magnificent. Was every guy in this school a male model? Towering over her at well above six foot, with muscles that went on for days, he was built like a statue with a hard jaw and stone-cold eyes to match. Though his looks were definitely worth paying attention to, it was his smell that had her standing dumbfounded. In all the years since she’d first experienced the change, she had never run into anyone like her. Now, standing here right in front of her was yet another wolf. She’d thought the lingering scent of wet earth might have been left in Di’s wake, but the longer he stood here, looking down at her, the stronger the smell got.

“Do you have a problem?” he asked with a voice that complemented that spectacular body of his. Smooth and deep. Seriously… what a package. Her wolf was definitely at attention and begging for a second to come to the surface for a closer inspection. It was all she could do not to wolf out right there in the hallway, with all the students around to see. Yeah. That would make for a great first impression.

Hiya, everyone… I’m the new girl, and… oh, yeah, and I’m a wolf, too. She might as well tape an old “Kick me” sign on her back; it would be less conspicuous.

While she was practically drooling where she stood, the strange boy, wolf, man –whatever he was – looked positively murderous. “Are you going to stand here all day, or can I get to my locker?”

So much for making a good first impression on him. “Sorry.” Giselle cleared her throat, wanting to say something smart, but for once, she didn’t have the words. She sidestepped sheepishly, and enjoyed the back view of him as he brushed past her to his own locker.

Damn. Nice butt.

Her wolf agreed, too. Wonder what his wolf looks like. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours! She couldn’t help but stare. How often did she run into other wolves? Male wolves.

Other Side of Forever

“Allie, why do you hate me so much?” he asked softly as he stared into the sky.

His question took me by surprise. Did he really think that?

“I…I don’t hate you, Ethan.” I stumbled over my words. “I barely know you.”

“Then why do you try so hard to avoid me?”

“I don’t,” I lied, knowing that I did, but not in a mean type of way. I closed my eyes and sighed, wishing he didn’t have to ask so many questions. Couldn’t he just go back to saying nothing at all?

“You do,” he argued. I could hear the change in his voice. He was smiling.

“No. I don’t,” I answered sarcastically. His persistence was pinching my nerves.

“Then look at me,” he challenged.

Without thinking, I turned my head and looked at him. His warm, sweet breath blew against my face as he exhaled. The scent of peppermint. His dark eyes snatched me up and whisked me away. I was lost and unprepared as he drew me deeper and deeper inside him. The walls he created around me were getting higher and harder to climb. Like I had slipped into a trench and I was sinking into the earth.

Ethan pressed forward, attempting to close the gap between us. His lips were so close to mine I could feel the heat emanating from them. And just as our lips were about to brush, the voice in my head begged and pleaded and screamed for me to stop.

Then I turned away.

 

 

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’80s Mix Tape – Book Blitz

’80s Mix Tape
A.J. Pine, Autumn Jones Lake, Bobbi Ruggiero, Gwen Hayes, Jenny Holiday, Karen Booth, Rachel Cowell
(Romance Rewind #2)
Publication date: February 9th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Save a Prayer by Karen Booth

Angie Dawson never wants to see Graham Whiting again, a complete impossibility living in Stourbridge,England, the town outside London where she and Graham grew up. His band, Banks Forest, is so hot in the UK they might as well be on fire. She can’t turn on the blooming radio or watch telly or look at a magazine without being confronted by the ’80s Fab Four, fronted by the sexy bloke she’d once called her boyfriend. Every girl in England wants him. Bloody bastard.

Desperate to escape the 24-7 Banks Forest overload, Angie takes a twoweek job working as a photographer at the Music Revolution festival in the US. Finally, she can set her mind on something other than Graham and what it was like before he started being such a wanker. Maybe she can sort out what to do with her life. If she’s lucky, she’ll meet a cracking guy who doesn’t think he’s God’s gift to women. The instant she steps off the plane, she learns how daft her plan was. Banks Forest mania practically followed her across the Atlantic. Her new job puts her in Graham’s sights and he’s dead-set on winning her back. He knows the perfect things to say, the right way to kiss her and make everything brilliant again. She wants him, she wants him to be the guy he says he can be, but he’s about to go on the road for a year. How does a reunion with her ex end up being anything more than a one-night stand?

Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes

Jacob Stone is on the run for a crime he didn’t commit, but when he’s stranded with the only woman he’s ever loved by chance, the girl he abandoned to protect two years ago, he can’t deny the need to possess her one last time. Mind, body, and soul.

Typical good girl Becky McDonald has loved bad boy Jacob since they were kids, but even as she gives in to the passion only he can ignite in her, she hides the truth. The one secret that would bring him back is the lie she can never reveal.

One night of passion. One night of need. That’s all they can have, but it will never be enough.

Kickstart My Heart by Autumn Jones Lake

Russell“Chaser” Adams knows he’s destined to take over his father’s outlaw motorcycle club one day. With Chaser’s heavy metal band close to making it big, his father encourages him to pursue his music for now. Chaser straddles his Harley and heads across the country to the Sunset Strip.

Raised in a strict family with old-world traditions and their own secrets, Mallory Delov longs for glitter and glamor instead of blood and deceit. With her father serving time, it’s the perfect time to escape his domineering grasp and pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an actress.

After nailing her first audition, Mallory is offered the part of a playful vixen who torments the lead singer of the up and coming metal band, Kickstart. Her job description calls for lots of hair tossing and ass wiggling. Not quite the career she had in mind.

She didn’t plan to fall in love either. Unlike any man she’s ever known, she can’t help being drawn to the guitar player, Chaser. He’s sweet, yet dangerous. An irresistible mixture to Mallory.

On the surface they seem like complete opposites.

Little do either of them know how much they have in common.

867-5309 by Jenny Holiday

Jenny Fields is a crusader. The editor of her college newspaper, she never met a cause she couldn’t get behind. So when the administration announces it’s tearing down the historic art building, she’s on the case. All she needs to do is get Matthew Townsend, the art department’s most talented student, on board. If she could just get the moody genius to answer his phone…

Drummer Girl by A.J. Pine

Sam Walsh is done—done with college, done with guys, done with the whole scene. After graduation tomorrow, she’ll head home, ready to start her job as an elementary school music teacher in the fall. But her roommate coaxes her out for what she promises will be an epic last night, a night that ends up changing everything.

London Calling is the up-and-coming band playing at the local bar, and Sam can’t take her eyes off the sexy drummer. When he dedicates the drummer’s choice song to her, she knows the evening might be more epic than she’d imagined. Then one kiss turns her world upside down, making her question everything she thought she wanted out of her last night at school.

Ben McCarthy is the guy behind the drums, the would-have-been 306 valedictorian who dropped out three years ago to follow his dream. Tomorrow he and the band leave for London, but for one unforgettable night, it’s just Sam, the music, and him. Can a girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground fall for the boy who reaches for the stars when the only result is a broken heart?

Young Teacher by Bobbi Ruggiero

Control freak Julia Powers hates surprises. With the skills of a ninja, she keeps her ad business and personal life in perfect order. That leaves zero time for fun, let alone men. But there’s nothing wrong with having a little crush on the guy she sees at lunchtime, is there? Sure, he’s a lot younger, but it’s only a crush. It’s not like she’s going to date him or anything.

Matthew Gordon wants nothing more than for his band Joyride to go national. While he waits for his big break, he spends his days working in a sandwich shop—a job he loathes—and teaching guitar on the side—a job he loves. His days get a bit more interesting when a mysterious woman comes in for lunch and hands him a list of her favorite songs. So imagine his surprise when she shows up at his door for guitar lessons.

Unfortunately, Julia can’t play guitar to save her life, and her frustration threatens to ruin any chance of her finding happiness—with herself, or in love. Will he ever be able to teach her that she’s perfect just as she is?

Just Like Heaven by Rachel Cowell

As a premed student, college junior Sarah Lattimore’s life is a carefullycalibrated system of studying, studying, MCAT prep courses, and more studying. She didn’t have time for a social life in high school, and she definitely doesn’t have time for one now. But when she walks into the first day of anatomy lab and sees her gorgeous TA, Sarah’s brilliant mind is suddenly racing in new directions.

Grad student Josh Chapman’s mom died of ovarian cancer when he was a teenager, and his grief and rage at the experience turned his future aspirations toward cancer research. But the unbelievably cute, nerdy, and possibly insane Sarah Lattimore is in his section, and she’s… distracting. But when admiring from afar turns to up close and personal, both their academic lives begin to fall apart. Sarah cares too much about her grades to stay with Josh and she breaks things off.

But when she makes a mistake in class that results in Josh facing expulsion, will this mean the end of his dreams? Or will Sarah realize in time that being with Josh was the smartest choice she’d ever made?

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Sneak a Peek at a couple of books from this anthology:

Excerpt from Save a Prayer by Karen Booth

I sucked in a deep breath through my nose and willed a smile onto my face. I was over Graham. I’d worked my way through it. And enduring thirty seconds of screeching girls at the newsstand was enough of a test for now.

I wound my way down to baggage claim, fetching my suitcase then out to the curb to wait for my ride to the city from an unknown volunteer for the Music Revolution Festival. Most parents would probably not be pleased by my new job, but mine were. Well, my mum was. I wasn’t sure about my dad. An award-winning photo-journalist, he hadn’t taken a picture in six months, nor had he spoken a word. Not since the stroke that left him paralyzed on one side of his body and unable to speak. Standing there, I couldn’t escape the self-doubt—first time in America, on my own, wanting to show Graham that I was not only over him, I was okay with what had happened, hoping like hell I could live up to even a fraction of my dad’s brilliance. Photographing Graham’s band left me at a serious disadvantage.

Just then a dodgy looking sky blue car wobbled past me at the curb, sputtering black fumes when it came to a stop. Dozens of band stickers blanketed the bumper—Joy Division, The Smiths, Blondie, and Tears for Fears were only the start. Out popped a girl with curly blonde hair, more blue eyeliner than I’d ever seen, and an arm loaded down with black rubber bracelets. “You must be Angie Dawson. I was told to look for a British redhead.”

My vision narrowed on her. “That’s me.”

She held out her hand to shake mine. “Welcome to Philly. I’m Darla. But people call me Gigi. I’m supposed to drive you to the hotel and make sure you have everything you need while you’re here.”

“Brilliant. Thanks.” I picked up my suitcase and followed her to the car. “The redhead I get, but what exactly makes me look British?”

Gigi shrugged, opening the car boot with her key. “I have no idea. People say stupid things, don’t they? Luckily you were the only ginger out here.”

“Ginger, huh? I take it you’ve been to England?”

“Yep. That’s what you call redheads, right?”

I nodded as she closed the trunk. “Absolutely.”

We climbed inside the car and after several attempts she got the engine running again. “First time in the States?”

“It is. I’ve been trying to get a magazine job as a photographer for over a year, and luckily, the guy at Music Maker got sacked after he was arrested for a fight in a pub. I just got hired.”

Gigi pulled onto a motorway and put in a cassette that started out with The Cutter by Echo and the Bunnymen, one of my favorite songs. With the windows rolled down, the early afternoon heat swirled our hair every which way while the car rattled as if it was held together with chewing gum and a few odd screws. “I’m just a runner,” she shouted over the music and road noise. “But I’m learning how to run sound and lights. I really want to go on the road with a band at some point. I’m such a huge music fan. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.”

“Cool.” I didn’t offer more. Gigi would have to learn on her own how unexciting it could be to go on the road with a band, although touring with Banks Forest was likely a much higher-class affair now than it had been in the early days.

“Oh!” Gigi exclaimed. “I forgot. I have a message for you in my bag from the editor at Music Maker. They called for you at the production office this morning. It’s right in that side pocket. You can go ahead and get it out.”

I leaned down and slipped my hand into the outside compartment of Gigi’s black LeSport Sac. My heart picked up as I unfolded the paper. For the first time since I’d landed, I was thrilled by the prospects ahead, rather than dreading what would happen if things didn’t go right. I was finally a working photographer. I’d gotten a call at a major music festival production office from my employer.

For: Angie Dawson

From: Oliver Harvey, 7/11/85

Banks Forest and their road manager will meet you in hotel bar at 7 pm to discuss the band’s schedule.

And there it was. I was officially on my way. Back into the sights of Graham Whiting.

Excerpt from Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes

Jacob’s eyes never rest. He glances at me briefly before scanning the swarm of disgruntled travelers around us. The logical side of my brain says that he is just being careful. People on the run have to be hypersensitive to their surroundings. The illogical poster-girl-of-a-train-wreck side thinks he just wants to get away from me as soon as possible and is looking for a break in the crowds.

“Where were you going?” he asks. Probably to be polite.

“Florida. You?” Stupid girl. “Never mind. That was dumb. You can’t tell me where you are going or where you’ve been or probably even what you had for breakfast yesterday.”

“It doesn’t really matter where I was going,” he says, glossing over my sarcasm like he always does. “Nobody’s getting out of Detroit alive tonight.” He looks at his watch. “I guess I should try to book a room.”

I follow his wrist back down to his side with my gaze. God, nothing has changed. Even his wrists turn me on. Focus, Becky. “Good luck with that. Hotel rooms are going to be scarce.”

“I suppose you already have one.”

I shrug. “You know me.”

Awkward silence.

“You look good, Becky.”

Though they are kind, the words bite into my tender heart with razor sharp teeth. They are so tame compared to the last time he told me how I looked. When he said he couldn’t get enough of my hot little body. That I made him so hard every time he looked at me. My face was forever etched in his mind.

Now I look “good.”

I smile through the jagged pain because that is what you do when it hurts to breathe. “Thanks. I don’t suppose we could grab a cup of coffee, could we?” I don’t know why I said that. Why did I just say that?

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea. It’s risky.”

Two years. I have missed him every day for two years. “We’re random strangers in a crowded airport today. Is it really so dangerous?”

He rubs his chin, scratching at the light dusting of stubble. “You’re not a random stranger, Becks.”

I shrug. “Nobody here knows that.” What if he says yes? What would it be like to forget, just for one hour, all the things that haunt me? Just take a step out of time. “It’s coffee, not a dark alley. I’ll help you make calls to hotels first.”

I don’t wait for an answer; I just grab his hand and pull. He’ll follow. He’ll roll his eyes, act a little miffed, and go along with me just like he always used to. Because he didn’t say no. He said he didn’t know if it was a good idea. Semantics are everything with a guy like Jacob Stone.

Twenty minutes later, after fruitless phone calls for a room, Jacob takes a long pull from his coffee and sits back in his chair, defeated. “How did you score a room? Wait, don’t tell me. You reserved it days ago, didn’t you?”

“The storm isn’t a surprise. They’ve been tracking it for a while.”

Jacob looks out the windows across the terminal. “It looks like a hurricane out there. It’s getting dark, too.”

The airport is stuffy and hot, with the temperature rising as the untraveling passengers’ moods get hotter. “I know you’ll say no, but you are welcome to crash in my room. It’s better than the floor at the gate.”

“That’s a bad idea.” Jake shuts down, just like he always did. That means no.

Now is make-or-break for what’s left of my pride. The interlude was pleasant, in its own way, but I am a realist now. A step out of time can’t take me a mile. I’ve learned the hard way that real life encroaches too soon. He’s broken my heart for the last time. I won’t beg again. This time, I’ll be the one to walk away.

“Suit yourself.” I push away from the table, slinging my carryon over my shoulder. “I’ll leave a key for you at the desk, Mr. McDonald, in case you should change your mind.” I walk just past the table and stop without turning around. “Take care of yourself.”

I miss you.

And that is that.

 

 

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