COVER REVEAL – JOCK ROAD (Jock Hard, #3) by Sara Ney

Book 3 in the Jock Hard Series Releases September 5th! 

 
 
 
EAT. SLEEP. FOOTBALL.

 

 

 

Those are Jackson Jennings, Jr’s three mantras . His entire life, he’s been a trained athlete with only one end-game: the Pro’s. No girls. No parties. No alcohol.

 

 

 

EAT. SLEEP. FOOTBALL.

 

 

 

Repeat.

 

 

 

Every Friday night, Triple J cruises the strip on campus, bored, lonely and conditioned not to party. But the night he meets Charlotte Edmonds on the side of the road, he wonders if his three mantras will ever be enough.

 

 

 

BIG. DUMB. JOCK.

 

 

 

Charlie has no time for Jackson’s antics. Not when he’s stealing her food or teases her to no end, making her tingle in all the right places. But if she’s ever going to have a boyfriend, she’d choose one who isn’t a Neanderthal. One with manners and actual time to spend with her. Not a hulking man-child who cruises the strip at night, in his Big. Dumb. Truck.

 

 

PRE-ORDER HERE:

Will be FREE in KU





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 in the Midwest, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British. 
 

 

For a list of cities/venues Sara will be signing at, or to purchase signed books, please visit her website at http://www.authorsaraney.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hosted By:

EXCERPT REVEAL – HE DAY HE CAME BACK by Penelope Ward

 

THE DAY HE CAME BACK

(A standalone)

Release date: 8/19/2019

 

A Contemporary Romance Novel

 

New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

Penelope Ward

 

 

Excerpt Reveal:

Copyright © 2019

By Penelope Ward

 

I looked down at her fitted white pants, covered in dirt marks. Even though she looked sexy as hell, I had to ask. “Why the hell does my mother insist on the staff wearing all white?”

“You’ll have to ask her, although I like to think of it as practice for my future nursing career.”

“I guess that’s one way to look at it. It kind of freaks me out. It’s like you’re all part of some cult.” I chuckled.

“I wonder what she’d do if I showed up in black. She’d shun me.” She snapped her fingers jokingly. “Oh wait…”

Except I wasn’t laughing now. I felt horrible that she knew exactly how my mother felt about her.

“I’m sorry she’s such a bitch, Raven.”

“It’s not your fault.” She looked out at the ocean, then promptly changed the subject. “You must be excited to go to Connecticut in the fall.”

“At this very moment, thanks to you, I’m in absolutely no rush to leave this spot, let alone Palm Beach.”

She blushed. “You’re funny.”

“You’re f*cking beautiful.” That just came out. “I’m sorry if that was too forward. But it’s true,” I said.

“No.” Her cheeks turned pink. “Thank you.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

She pushed some hair behind her ear. “No.”

“I want to take you out.”

She looked down at her empty cup. “I don’t think so.”

Ouch. “Can I ask why?”

“It’s not that I’m not interested, but…you’re leaving in the fall, so I’m not sure it makes sense to start anything up. Then there’s the bigger issue of your mother. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“I get it.” I nodded. “I understand.”

Holy sh*t. I wasn’t used to rejection. I couldn’t remember the last time a girl had said no to me. I swear to God, my dick just stiffened. What was it about the chase that was so damn arousing? I had to find another way…

“Can we hang out as friends, then?”

She grinned skeptically. “Friends?”

“There’s this improv club near where you live. I wanted to go check it out this weekend. Would you want to go with me?”

“Venturing to the other side of the bridge, eh?” she teased. “What would Mother think?”

“Will you come with me, wiseass?”

“Seriously, what if your mom finds out?”

“She won’t. She doesn’t really question where I go. I’ll just tell her I’m going to meet a friend. And thanks to your rejection, that won’t be a lie, right?”

Raven blinked for a while before she finally answered, “Okay. Yeah.”

My heart sped up. “Yeah?”

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**No Amazon e-book preorder. Will go live on/around release day.

Synopsis:

 

From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

 

It was the summer of my life.

I’d met the guy of my dreams.

Unfortunately, he was the son of my uppity employer—and very much off-limits.

But Gavin was a rebel. He knew his mother would disown him if she found out about us; in his eyes, we just had to be careful.

He never treated me as his mother did—like hired help.

Instead, Gavin put me on a pedestal and loved me harder than I’d ever been loved in my life.

 

What a summer it was.

Until it all ended—badly.

 

I was never supposed to see Gavin again.

That didn’t stop me from thinking about him every day for ten years.

I knew little about his life now, just that he was an entrepreneur living an ocean away.

 

When a twist of fate had me working again in the very place our love affair started a decade earlier, I knew it was only a matter of time before I might see him again.

But I wasn’t prepared.

What if he hated me?

What if he loved someone else now?

I wasn’t prepared for all the unknowns.

 

And most of all, I wasn’t prepared for today to be the day he came back.

u u u u u

BIO:

 

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.

 

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

 

With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/penelopewardauthor

 

Facebook Private Fan Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenelopesPeeps/

 

Instagram

@penelopewardauthor

http://instagram.com/PenelopeWardAuthor/

 

Twitter

https://twitter.com/PenelopeAuthor

BOOKS BY PENELOPE WARD:

When August Ends:

Amazon: https://fave.co/2WOsEWr
Amazon Print:
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Love Online:

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Gentleman Nine:

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Mack Daddy:

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Stepbrother Dearest:

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Neighbor Dearest:

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Jaded and Tyed (A novelette):

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Sins of Sevin:

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Jake Undone (Jake #1):

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Jake Understood (Jake #2):

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My Skylar:

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Gemini:

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BOOKS BY PENELOPE WARD AND VI KEELAND:

Hate Notes:

Amazon: https://fave.co/2WO8WtG
Amazon UK: 
https://fave.co/2RocfGN
Audio
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THE RUSH DUET:

Rebel Heir (Rush, Book 1):

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Rebel Heart (Rush, Book 2):

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Playboy Pilot:

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NEW NETFLIX SHOW “SEXLIFE” BASED ON THE “44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN SERIES” by B.B. Easton

44 Chapters - Netflix banner.jpg

WE HAVE HUGE NEWS!

BB Easton’s bestselling 44 Chapters About 4 Men Series has been adapted into a new 8 episode TV series, SexLife, and is coming soon to Netflix!

44 Chapters - Netflix IG.jpg

READ BEFORE YOU WATCH!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YLMmYr

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/44chapters4men

Audio: https://adbl.co/2KPYXQS

44 Chapters-ebook version.jpg

44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN SYNOPSIS:

School psychologists aren’t supposed to write books about sex. Doing so would be considered “unethical” and “a fireable offense.” Lucky for you, ethics was never my strong suit.

After spending years trying to spice up my sex life, I gave up and took to my journal. Perhaps my gorgeous, cold, number-crunching husband simply wasn’t capable of the kind of passion I’d come to expect. After all, my ex-boyfriends–a tattoo artist turned U.S. Marine turned motorcycle club outlaw, a baby-faced punk rocker out on parole, and a heavy metal bass player–were every bit as tattooed and testosterone-fueled as the leading men in my favorite romance novels. If I couldn’t have that kind of passion again in real life, I could at least write about it. Right? Nobody had to know. It would be my little secret.

Well, guess what? My husband read that sh*t.

And guess what else? He upped his f*cking game.

Drunk with power and under the dubious advisement of my best friend and colleague, I began testing the limits–crafting journal entries specifically designed to manipulate Ken’s behavior. For the most part, he responded beautifully…except when he didn’t.

ABOUT THE 44 CHAPTERS SPIN-OFF SERIES:

Because BB Easton had so much fun writing her best-selling, award-winning memoir, 44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN, she decided to give each of her four men his own steamy stand-alone novel. In SKIN, SPEED, STAR, and SUIT, BB takes you back in time to the late ‘90s and early 2000s to tell the outrageously wild, shockingly sexy, deeply emotional, and as always, wickedly funny backstories for Knight, Harley, Hans, and everyone’s favorite husbot, Ken.

ABOUT BB EASTON:

BB Easton lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, with her long-suffering husband, Ken, and two adorable children. She recently quit her job as a school psychologist to write books about her punk rock past and deviant sexual history full-time. Ken is suuuper excited about that.

For more information on BB Easton visit: https://www.artbyeaston.com

Follow BB on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2U7mjc0

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2FM0MwF

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BLOG TOUR – SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME by K.A. Tucker

SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME

BY K.A. TUCKER

 

“Tucker skillfully builds both romantic tension and suspense, and delivers an immensely satisfying conclusion in this stellar page-turner.”
– Publishers Weekly

ABOUT SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME:

The bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Keep Her Safe and “master of steamy romance” (Kirkus Reviews) delivers a sizzling novel about an ambitious and high-powered executive who reconnects with her first love: the boy who broke her heart. 

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My RuinUntil It FadesKeep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME

BY K.A. TUCKER

Atria Books Paperback ǀ On Sale: August 6, 2019 ǀ 320 pages ǀ ISBN: 9781501133442; $17.00

eBook ISBN: 9781501133466; $7.99

 

 

Grab your copy of SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

iBooks

Blio

Kobo

 

WRAPPED UP IN READING’s REVIEW OF SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME

 

Now for the fun….the #SayYouStillLoveMe Contest!

Enter the Rafflecopter to win a finished copy of SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME! (3 prizes in total). Contest is open until 8/27.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c519361335/?widget_template=559d3081f4a14bf7741ef545

LIVE – QUIET MAN (Dream Man, #4.5) by Kristen Ashley

We are beyond excited to be sharing this release from Kristen Ashley with you today! QUIET MAN is part of her Dream Man series and it is releasing as part of 1001 Dark Nights. It just went live today! Check out an excerpt and book trailer from the title below. Click here to grab your copy now.

 

Purchase your copy of QUIET MAN today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

About QUIET MAN:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley comes a new story in her Dream Man series…

Charlotte “Lottie” McAlister is in the zone. She’s ready to take on the next chapter of her life, and since she doesn’t have a man, she’ll do what she’s done all along. She’ll take care of business on her own. Even if that business means starting a family.

The problem is, Lottie has a stalker. The really bad kind. The kind that means she needs a bodyguard.

Enter Mo Morrison.

Enormous. Scary.

Quiet.

Mo doesn’t say much, and Lottie’s used to getting attention. And she wants Mo’s attention. Badly.

But Mo has a strict rule. If he’s guarding your body, that’s all he’s doing with it.

However, the longer Mo has to keep Lottie safe, the faster he falls for the beautiful blonde who has it so together, she might even be able to tackle the demons he’s got in his head that just won’t die.

But in the end, Lottie and Mo don’t only have to find some way to keep hands off until the threat is over, they have to negotiate the overprotective Hot Bunch, Lottie’s crazy stepdad, Tex, Mo’s crew of frat-boy commandos, not to mention his nutty sisters.

All before Lottie finally gets her Dream Man.

And Mo can lay claim to his Dream Girl.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

 

Add QUIET MAN to your Goodreads TBR here!

Purchase your copy of QUIET MAN today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

WRAPPED UP IN READING’s REVIEW OF QUIET MAN

Excerpt:

He picked up the paper, turned it over and read it again.

It stated, plainly, he was fucked.

More alarmingly, it stated, chillingly, Mac was in danger.

This was a problem more than it was already a colossal motherfucking problem.

Any other one of his girls, he’d pick up the phone to Lee Nightingale, the man behind Nightingale Investigations, the commander of the baddest badass motherfuckers in Denver. He’d hand over this letter and he’d get this problem solved.

But Mac was Charlotte McAlister, Jet McAlister Chavez’s little sister. Jet was married to Eddie Chavez. Eddie was Lee’s best friend. And Jet worked for Indy, Lee’s wife, the Queen of the Rock Chicks, and thus Jet Chavez was a bona fide Rock Chick.

Mac might not be a card-carrying member of the Rock Chicks, mostly because she had a job where she worked nights, the time those crazy bitches instigated the most fucked-up of their varying antics. Though they weren’t averse to mornings and afternoons. It was just that the stun-gunnings, kidnappings and the like mostly took place at night, and Mac was busy then.

She was still a Rock Chick, or at least she was by association.

Considering the Rock Chick link and the blood ties to Jet, if Lee knew Mac was in danger, he’d tear the town apart to put a stop to it.

And Eddie…

Now Eddie, Smithie didn’t even want to think about it. The man was a cop. The shit Lee and his boys did with flair and a flagrant disregard to just about anything, Eddie could not do.

But Eddie wouldn’t blink at doing whatever he had to do to make his sister-in-law safe.

And the man had mouths to feed.

So yeah.

This was a problem even more than it already was a colossal motherfucking problem because Smithie couldn’t call Lee.

Which meant Smithie had to find a different set of badasses to deal with it.

His first call would normally be the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Mac wasn’t one of theirs, neither was Smithie, but they had ties to Lee, they could keep a secret, and they didn’t dick around when it came to women and their safety.

But they’d just come out of a war, and like any war, that had been some serious fucked-up shit.

They needed a breather.

Lee, and Chaos, also had ties to…

“Well, hell,” Smithie muttered, the words on the letter blurring, the sick feeling in the back of his throat easing.

He dropped the letter and picked up his cell.

If you couldn’t call a badass…

Then it was far from second best to call a commando.

BOOK TRAILER

“OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! I FREAKING LOVED IT!!!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVED IT!!! This was pure Old School Vintage KA GOLD!!!”
~Aestas Book Blog

“[Kristen] Ashley captivates.”
~Publisher’s Weekly

“There is something about them [Ashley’s books] that I find crackalicious.”
~DearAuthor.com, Kati Brown

 

 


About KRISTEN ASHLEY:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

 

Connect With Her:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter | Bookbub

LIVE – BLOOD TRUTH (Black Dagger Legacy, #4) by J.R. Ward

BLOOD TRUTH
The Black Dagger Legacy series

by J. R. Ward

On Sale: August 13, 2019

 

Purchase Link:

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Blood-Truth/J-R-Ward/Black-Dagger-Legacy/9781501195037

Catch up on unique terms in the Black Dagger Brotherhood universe…and their IRL inspirations!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Savior brings you the next sizzling and passionate paranormal romance in the Black Dagger Legacy series.

 

As a trainee in the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s program, Boone has triumphed as a soldier and now fights side by side with the Brothers. Following his sire’s unexpected death, he is taken off rotation against his protests—and he finds himself working with Butch O’Neal, former homicide cop, to catch a serial killer: Someone is targeting females of the species at a live action role play club. When the Brotherhood is called in to help, Boone insists on being a part of the effort—and the last thing he expects is to meet an enticing, mysterious female…who changes his life forever.

Ever since her sister was murdered at the club, Helaine has been committed to finding the killer, no matter the danger she faces. When she crosses paths with Boone, she doesn’t know whether to trust him or not—and then she has no choice. As she herself becomes a target, and someone close to the Brotherhood is identified as the prime suspect, the two must work to together to solve the mystery…before it’s too late. Will a madman come between the lovers or will true love and goodness triumph over a very mortal evil?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Don’t forget to sign-up for exclusive Black Dagger Brotherhood original content:

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Sneak Peek at BLOOD TRUTH:

 

29th and Market Streets

Caldwell, New York

Boone’s shitkickers shredded the frozen tire tracks down the middle of the alley, his powerful body churning through the dirty city snow, air sucking into his lungs cold and punching out hot as steam from a locomotive’s stack. In his right hand, he had a twelve-inch serrated hunting knife. In his left, a length of chain.

Up ahead, by about thirty feet, a lesser was running as if its undead life depended on all the Usain Bolt the thing was pulling. The telltale sickly sweet stench of the enemy was thick in its wake, a tracker that Boone’s sensitive nose had picked up on seven blocks ago. The slayer was sloppy of foot, flappy of hand, and given how saturated its smell was, Boone wondered whether it was already injured.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood’s commanding officer, Tohrment, son of Hharm, set the nightly territories for the Brothers and fighters, carving up sections of downtown into quadrants that would be stalked for the enemy. Trainees such as Boone were paired with more experienced people, either Brothers or members of the Band of Bastards, in the interest of safety—especially as there was a new threat out on the streets.

Shadow entities. That were killing innocent vampire civilians.

                Boone glanced over his shoulder. Tonight, he was working with Zypher. The Bastard was a great partner, a big, brutal male who nonetheless had a teacher’s patience and an eye for constant improvement.

It was supposed to have been Syn. And a relief when it wasn’t.

Syn was . . . different.

Boone’s favorite to work with, bar none, was Rhage. But the Brotherhood was otherwise occupied tonight. Every last one of them.

And Boone was the one who had set them on a mission that he hoped and prayed didn’t result in death.

His father’s, specifically.

                In the intervening twelve months since their blowup over the broken arrangement, he and Altamere had settled into an uneasy détente. Which was what happened when you finally called a bully on their push-and-shove. The two of them kept up appearances, something that was not hard given how starchy and superficial their relationship had always been, but Boone had drawn a line and instead of the threatened repercussions, in return he’d gotten a retreat of hostility.

                He probably should have moved out, but as petty as it was, he had enjoyed getting the upper hand and keeping it. Especially after he joined the Brotherhood’s training program, something he was well aware his father disapproved of. Altamere’s “son” a soldier? Fighting in the war? How brutish. The move had made Boone’s bookish decades seem like a fine hand of cards.

                But he loved the challenge and he was damn good at the work—and a new kind of life and rhythm had started, where he and his sire rarely saw each other.

                Except then came the invitation: The pleasure of his father and stepmahmen’s company requested at an aristocrat’s home this very evening. Going by the card stock alone, it was clear that other members of the glymera were included on the guest list.

                Social gathering? Maybe. Treasonous violation of Wrath’s ban on the Council coming together? More likely.

                It had been the first time in a year that Boone had spoken to his sire about anything of note. Yet how could he not urge the male to stay home? That viper pit of aristocrats had already tried to take down Wrath’s throne, and if they were planning another attempt?

                The training center had taught him in detail all of the things the Brothers were capable of doing to someone who crossed them. And he might not like his father . . . but that was the point. With his alarm bells going off about treason, if he didn’t at least try to keep the male away from that party, he would feel like he had killed Altamere himself.

                And that was too close to what he had at times wanted to do, and who needed to live with that guilt?

                Predictably, his father had refused the wise counsel. So Boone had gone to the Brothers directly, and that was why he was paired with a member of the Band of Bastards this fine, crystal-cold winter’s evening.

                Refocusing on his hunt, he threw some more speed into his legs, his thighs beginning to burn, his calves tightening, his bum ankle issuing the first of what was going to be a lot of complaints. All of that was background chatter easily ignored, utterly forgettable.

                Just breathe, he told himself. The more oxygen he could get into his lungs, the more he got into his blood, fuel for his muscles, speed for his body.

Power.

                And what do you know, he was closing the distance. The problem? He was getting farther and farther away from Zypher, who was dancing with a slayer of his own three blocks—now four blocks—back.

                Time to do this.

                Per protocol, he hit the locator beacon on his shoulder to notify the other squads that he was about to engage. And then he closed his eyes.

                Dematerializing was something that vampires ordinarily had to concentrate and calm themselves in order to accomplish. Boone, however, had trained himself to find that place of inner equilibrium even when he was running full tilt boogie in pursuit of the enemy. And courtesy of all his practice, his physical form disintegrated into a scatter of molecules and he shot forward, passing the lesser.

                He re-formed in front of the enemy, his boots planted, his knife up and his chain down, ready to party.

                The slayer did what it could to slow its roll, arms pinwheeling, shoes slapping at the snow and skidding as it tried to stop on ice. Momentum was not its friend. Unlike some of the scrawny new recruits, this one had a football player’s thick neck and barrel chest, and all that body weight was a boulder bouncing down the side of a mountain, all keep-going instead of back-that-ass-up.

                As he had been trained to do, Boone’s peripheral vision imprinted the alley’s contours and possible cover opportunities. His brain also did a lightning-quick assessment of threat potential, cataloguing fire escapes, rooflines, doorways, and windows, all of his instincts feeding information into the calculation of his own safety. On the physical side, his body braced for contact.

                And the length of chain began to swing.

Boone wasn’t aware of giving his hand and arm that particular command, but things had started happening like that in the field over the past month. According to the Black Dagger Brother Vishous, there were four levels of skill development: unconsciously unskilled, which meant you didn’t know how much you didn’t know and couldn’t do; consciously unskilled, which was when you began to be aware of how much you needed to develop; consciously skilled, which was the level at which you started to use what you’ve trained yourself to do; and, finally, unconsciously skilled.

                Which was what happened when your body moved without your brain having to micromanage every molecule of the attack. When your training formed a basis of action so intrinsic to who you were and what you did in a given situation that you were unaware of any cognition occurring. When you entered “the Zone,” as the Brother Rhage called it.

                Boone was in that sweet spot now.

The whirring sound of the chain links circling beside him was soft yet menacing, like the easy breathing of a great beast—and Boone knew the second the slayer was going to move because one of its shoulders lifted and its hips angled ever so slightly.

                The knife the lesser had tucked in its hand came flying out at Boone end over end—proof that Boone’s subconscious hadn’t considered quite everything. But his reflexes were on it, jerking his torso to one side, the surge of aggressive energy flowing through him so acute, so pleasurable, it was almost sexual.

                His counterattack started with the chain. Licking the links out, he sent them around the slayer’s neck, a snake of metal with a tail that swung wide and doubled up on itself. With a tight loop locked in, he yanked with his full body.

                The slayer pitched forward into the snow face-first.

And that was when Boone lifted his own hunting blade over his shoulder.

CHAPTER REVEAL- ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE ( Hopeless Romantics #1) by Nina Bocci

For fans of Christina Lauren and Lauren Layne comes a delightfully sassy and sexy romance about a campaign manager who reluctantly works with the local Lothario to help revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections, only to discover that he’s hiding something that can turn both their lives upside down.

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

A perfect blend of humor and heart, On the Corner of Love and Hate is the first in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Thud. Whoosh. Slap. 

Thud. Whoosh. Slap. The trio of irksome sounds repeated another half-dozen times. My eyes darted upward, a silent prayer falling from my lips. 

Dear God, please give me the strength not to shove that tennis ball somewhere that would require surgery. Amen. 

My coworker casually leaned back in his chair, his long legs out- stretched and crossed at the ankles on the shiny surface of the con- ference room table. Beneath his brown leather loafers sat a report. 

His unfinished-yet-due-tomorrow report. I marveled at his ability to multitask. It would have been more appropriate if he had been, say, working. Instead, he was tossing a ball against the conference room wall with one hand while texting with the other. Even though he didn’t take his eyes off his phone screen, he caught the ball every single time. If I hadn’t been so annoyed, I would have actually been impressed. 

The clock ticked against the pale yellow wall above his head. With each passing tick, the ball struck with a thwack to its right. “Cooper, could you please stop?” I finally said, rubbing my temples to ease the headache that was forming. 

Thud. Whoosh. Slap. 

NINA BOCCI 2 

“Cooper,” I repeated, glancing up from my laptop. “Hello?” Thud, whoosh, slap was the only response I got. Sliding back my chair, I stood up and walked around the long maple conference table. It was only when I got close enough to see the scantily clad woman in his text window that I noticed the wireless earbuds that were blasting music into his ears. As the ball left his hand, I touched his shoulder. 

Startled, he lost his grip on the ball, sending it sailing behind him. “What’s up?” he sputtered, quickly pulling his earbuds out. I didn’t miss his hand sliding his phone into his pocket. He looked every bit like a teenager caught red-handed by the principal. 

“Are you kidding me?” I exclaimed. “You’ve had music on this entire time? I read nearly two pages of the brewery expansion proposal out loud to you twenty minutes ago!” 

At least he had the decency to look remorseful. “I thought you were talking to yourself, so I”—he motioned to the black Beats— “figured I’d give you your privacy while I caught up on work.” 

My eyebrows must have reached my hairline, because with a mildly guilty expression he pulled his legs down from the table. 

I snorted. “Yes, I start all sentences with, ‘Cooper, what do you think about’ when I’m talking to myself. Were you just smiling and nodding for my health?” Shifting in his seat, he straightened. I huffed. 

The small laugh lines around his mouth became more pro- nounced, an indication that he was fighting back a smile. “Em- manuelle,” he purred smoothly. 

“Don’t Emmanuelle me,” I clapped back. “That tone may work on your fan club, but not me.” 

He held his arms up in a defensive position. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry. What did I miss?” He grabbed for the papers in my hand. 

Holding them back against my chest, I scowled. “Hope Lake Brewing Company. Expansion. Asking for input before it goes to the town council for approval.” 

He whistled and rocked back in his chair. “Council is going 

ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE 3 

to reject anything that comes across their desk from them. They hate the ‘vibe’ the brew house brings, and the addition would make the council’s heads explode.” 

I nodded. “Yep, which is why the guys asked us for help. To try and edit the proposal to appeal to them. It’s also why I booked us the conference room for this meeting that you just Tindered your way through.” 

“That’s not a word, and I wasn’t—” he began, patting his pocket absently. Probably making sure the evidence was tucked away safely. 

I held up my hand. “Save it. I don’t care what or who you’re doing. Just that you’re not paying attention. Again.” 

When the owners of HLBC, Drew and Luke Griffin, first came to our department, Cooper and I had championed their proposal to build a brewing company, tasting room, and outdoor entertainment space just along the lakefront. It was one of the first projects Cooper and I had worked on together, and it was just what we’d needed in town back then—a fun, innovative business that catered to every age. Now, six years later, HLBC was one of Hope Lake’s most popular spots, and the brothers were looking to expand their space to include rooms for private events and a small restaurant. Cooper and I were supposed to be discussing how to approach the town council about it. 

Looked like I’d just been talking to myself instead. “I’m going back to my office, where I can work in peace,” I said. Exasperated, I started gathering up my stuff. 

After a few seconds of awkward silence, he cleared his throat. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Let’s go over it. Again.” 

I stacked my files, feeling my blood starting to boil. Having to repeat myself irked me, but I needed his input whether I liked it or not. 

Glancing up, I noticed Cooper readying to say something else when our shared assistant, Nancy, hurried in with the main office calendar and a fistful of Sharpies clutched in her hand. 

NINA BOCCI 4 

“I’ve been searching for you two everywhere,” she said, looking wide-eyed at each of us in turn. The conference table, at least on my side, was covered in charts, graphs, and photos of the lake- front. On Cooper’s side—well, there was a lot of polished maple visible. 

“Did you discuss the project?” she asked hopefully, her face falling when I shook my head. “Okay, well, I guess you’ll handle that, uh, later. I’m sure.” She gave me a look. “I hope,” she mouthed, then cleared her throat and pulled out the head chair of the confer- ence table and sat down with the main office calendar in front of her. “It’s time for the afternoon rundown—are you ready?” 

Cooper groaned. Not at Nancy but at the calendar she had opened. It had been on my desk this morning when I’d filled it with upcoming appointments and meetings. By the looks of it, Nancy had managed to fill almost every empty space that remained. 

We kept it old school at our office. Instead of using Google calendar or iCal, we used a large paper desk calendar with a color-coded legend, labels, and tabs to keep our government of- fice running like clockwork. It’s not as though we hadn’t tried to modernize, but some of the, ahem, older department staff were frosty toward change. 

Nancy, Cooper, and I worked at the Hope Lake Community Development Office on the top floor of Borough Building. In a small town like Hope Lake, my department was sort of the home base for everything. From simple things such as parade permits to more detailed ventures—for example, helping to secure funding for business owners like HLBC—the CDO, as we tended to call it, had its hand in pretty much everything. It wasn’t big, but what we lacked in size and staff we made up for in energy and results. “The upcoming week is brutal,” Nancy apologized, looking at Cooper, who, not surprisingly, was on his phone again. “Emma, I’m afraid you’re a bit overscheduled.” She tapped a Sharpie on the table. 

I waved a dismissive hand. “It can’t be any worse than that 

 

ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE 5 

week the staff came down with the flu.” I had practically run the office that week even though I was heavily medicated myself. 

“It’s close.” She held up two fingers barely an inch apart. “You’re back-to-back Monday. There is a pocket of time during the event this weekend with the future Mr. Mayor here and his opponent.” 

Cooper perked up then. He knocked twice on the wooden table. “Don’t jinx me.” 

Oh, sure, you’re paying attention now. “You’re a shoo-in. People love you, Cooper. And with the mayor already behind you, how can you not be?” Nancy assured him. 

Nancy wasn’t blowing smoke. Cooper had decided to run for office this year, and his magnetic personality made him the per- fect political candidate. He was brilliant, liked by the majority of the town, and had confidence to spare because he knew he was the best choice for the job. Even I could admit that, and we were often at odds. 

“Emma, I know you wanted to have a sit-down with Drew and Luke from the brewing company about the proposed expansion before they go to the council, but I don’t see how it’s going to happen.” 

Nancy jotted a note onto the calendar. Over the years, we’d gotten our system down to a science: orange for me, blue for Cooper, hot pink for our department administrative assistant, green for Nancy, and red for the mayor, because red was my dad’s favorite color. Blue, not surprisingly, was the color least vis- ible on the entire calendar. It was sporadically used, even from my vantage point, which meant that Cooper had a light schedule this week. 

Shocking. I chewed the pen cap, irritated. Nancy continued reading off meeting after meeting throughout the week. 

“These two on Thursday—I can probably sit in on them to give you a break, Emma,” she offered. 

NINA BOCCI 6 

Looking over Nancy’s shoulder, I marveled at the Technicolor scheduling system. It might have been old-fashioned, but at least it looked good. 

Shaking my head, I pointed at the partially torn yellow Post-it stuck on the edge of the frame. That was how my father added mayoral meetings to the calendar. Stickies. He was nothing if not professional. “No can do, my friend. You’re going to be at a ribbon cutting with Mayor Dad.” 

She looked up, her lips a thin, flat line. “I am? He didn’t tell me.” Sighing, she jotted the information down. “I wish he’d told me I was supposed to go, too!” 

She took her calendar duties very seriously. I for one appreci- ated it, and I knew my father did, too, even if he did use his own odd system to add to it. It kept all of us in line. 

Together, Nancy and I figured out the rest of the week, Coo- per staying silent and, surprise surprise, on his phone. We looked over the days, pointing and crossing out, trying in vain to find somewhere to squeeze in a last sit-down. “It’s not going to work,” I lamented, sinking into the chair beside her. 

“Well, someone from the department needs to at least show their face at the city events meeting,” she urged, looking point- edly at Cooper. A notebook was now on his lap, his hand moving swiftly over the page. He didn’t look up when she said his name or when she repeated it a few seconds later. He was too deeply invested in whatever he was doing. 

At least he’s off the phone. Tearing the Post-it off the calendar and balling it up in her fist, Nancy lobbed it at him. “Cooper!” she shouted, snapping her fingers as if she were telling a dog to sit. 

Fitting. He smiled at her. “I’m listening.” “Uh-huh, we need you to take a meeting or two on Thursday so Emma can head down to the lake to meet Drew and Luke. Unless you’d rather take the HLBC meeting.” 

ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE 7 

“Thursday?” he repeated, sliding his phone out from behind the notebook. 

When did he take that out? He was stealthy like a teen texting in class. 

With a shrug, he shook his head. “Sorry, I’m booked all day and I’ve got a campaign publicity debrief at noon. That’s taking up most of the afternoon.” 

“Doesn’t that just mean you and Henry are meeting at the diner to play on Facebook and Twitter together?” I scoffed, feeling the blood rushing to my face. 

Henry was one of my and Cooper’s oldest friends. As a teacher, he had limited time to meet up with Cooper, so I understood Cooper’s reticence to reschedule, but— 

Then it hit me. “Wait . . . why are you having mayoral meet- ings during work and school? How’s Henry getting out of class to meet you?” 

Setting his phone down, he stood and straightened his tie. “I’ll have you know, I’m meeting him at the high school. I wish I could help, but alas—” 

“You can’t,” I finished, sliding out of my chair to stand myself. With Cooper running for mayor of Hope Lake, the brunt of his work at the CDO was taking a backseat. I noticed, the staff noticed, and the mayor noticed. If it had been anyone else, they probably would have been fired, but Cooper was Hope Lake’s golden boy. Once he was elected, we could hire someone new to replace him. But until that happened, it fell to us to pick up his slack. 

Cooper walked toward the door, leaving his phone—aka his most prized possession—on the conference table. Surely he would be back in for it the second he realized it wasn’t attached to his hand. 

“Wait, you can’t leave!” Nancy called after him. “I need the theater proposal paperwork. You guys have that meeting with the council on Monday and the mayor wants the weekend to review 

NINA BOCCI 8the specs. Cooper, it has to be before end of day since you have the debate tomorrow! Everything is done, right? Please tell me it’s done.” “It’s handled,” Cooper said smoothly over his shoulder, tap- ping his temple. “And it’s not a debate. It’s a photo op, remember? Pose, smile, shake hands. You know, the usual.” 

“Thank God. I don’t have time today to do it if you didn’t,” she said, pretend wiping her brow. 

Smiling broadly, he clapped his hands together. “Oh, come on, Nance. Have I ever left you hanging?” 

Her silence spoke volumes. If she’d had the time, and the inclination, she could have created a depressing list of how often that had happened. 

Looking uncomfortable at Nancy’s lack of response, Cooper disappeared through the door, only to reappear two seconds later. “That would have been bad!” he said with a tight smile, jogging in to grab the iPhone. 

“Cooper, are you sure you can’t reschedule your Thursday plans with Henry until after work so Emma isn’t pulled in nine- teen directions?” Nancy said quickly. “It’s just about the local sports participation in the Thanksgiving parade. They’re looking for guidance with the floats and theming—it won’t exactly take up all your brain space. The other is an initial meeting to see if the CDO can finally purchase the old bank.” Nancy already had a blue Sharpie at the ready, clutched between her fingers. “Or if you wanted to switch with Emma, you could meet with Drew and Luke and Emma could handle the parade instead. You’d probably get some free beer out of it.” 

For a moment, he looked like he was going to agree. His jawline ticked anxiously, a habit he’d had since we were kids. It appeared whenever he struggled with a decision. Reluctantly, I admitted to myself that it was happening more often than not. 

“I’m really sorry, I can’t,” he finally said. “You know how im- portant these meetings are for the core of my campaign. I’ve got to run. I’m late.” 

 

ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE 9 

I glanced at the clock. “It’s barely four.” “I have a thing.” “You came in at ten because of a ‘thing.’ ” I air-quoted it be- cause although he said those things were for the mayoral cam- paign, I didn’t believe him. Call it years of experience or just a gut feeling. “Cooper, I need you to focus. You’re all over the place, and things are going to start falling through the cracks here. We can’t afford any missteps. Not when we’re under a microscope. The council is looking for any reason to put the screws in this department.” 

Cooper’s opponent, Kirby Rogers, had been on the town coun- cil for the past few years. He had made it his mission to strip the CDO—funding, staff, all of it gone. 

With nothing but a grimace, Cooper left, leaving no opening for discussion. I shook my head at his retreating form. 

“Forget him, I’ll figure it out,” I said, glancing between the cal- endar with the work appointments and my nearly empty personal calendar. “I can pop over to the brewery and see Drew and Luke on my way home Tuesday or Friday night. They owe me dinner, anyway,” I said with a weak laugh, an attempt at loosening the anxiety-ridden ball in my stomach. How am I going to accom- plish all of this? “Just see when they’re free.” I tapped away on my phone. Making a note, I double-checked my iPhone’s calendar as Nancy read off the rest of the upcoming schedule. 

“Emma,” she said with a heavy sigh, “I don’t want you to over- work yourself.” 

“I’m fine. It’s an adjustment we’re going to have to get used to since we’re going to be picking up all the Cooper slack,” I insisted, knowing that she was always worried about me in a big-sisterly sort of way. “Promise,” I said after seeing her frown. 

Months ago, before he had decided to run for mayor and before he had become so distracted by the election, Cooper had been an asset. I longed for those days. He had a gift, an ability to coax the very best of ideas out of you, and he transformed them into solid 

NINA BOCCI 10plans that we then presented to Mayor Dad and the town council. His undivided input would have been valuable here. 

That part of Cooper I respected and enjoyed working with. Pre-candidate Cooper. Except lately, so much had changed. I missed the focused Cooper. The guy who would pull together a presentation in just a few hours. The guy I could count on to bring the best ideas out of me when I thought I had hit a wall. Or even the guy who got his work done on time. I hated myself a little bit because I was missing that coworking partnership. We did make a good team when we weren’t arguing. 

“Not for anything, but you’d think he’d want to head over to Hope Lake Brewing Company to see the guys.” 

“His head was so buried in his phone, he probably didn’t hear you mention them.” 

Nancy nodded. “What do you think? Is this going to get better or worse as the campaign progresses?” She packed up her Sharp- ies and hoisted the large calendar off the table, mindful not to drop any of the Post-its and papers tacked to it. 

I slung my arm over her shoulder. “Worse. So much worse.”

 

 

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COVER REVEAL – FASHION JUNGLE by Rachel Van Dyken and Kathy Ireland

 

From Iconic Supermodel, now Global Business Mogul, Kathy Ireland and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken, comes a cautionary tale of the dark side of the fashion industry where secrets are your currency–and nobody is irreplaceable.

 

Fashion Jungle, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by Rachel Van Dyken and Kathy Ireland is coming January 28, 2020!

Fashion Jungle by Kathy Ireland and Rachel Van Dyken

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publishing date: January 28, 2020

Cover Designer: Jena Brignola

 

 

Four women… Four very different paths. One incredibly cutthroat world.

Welcome to the Jungle.

As America’s sweetheart, Brittany is perceived as the “good girl.” The sort to bring her Bible to a photoshoot… only to garner the attention of a most unlikely suitor. Until one mistake irrevocably changes both of their lives forever. Fortunately, both now and then, Brittany has wonderful support systems, including her tribe.

 

The leader of the tribe and a model who’s fought every battle and obstacle in the industry, Zoe, knows her worth. Until a sex tape scandal rocks her world. She sees no choice but to put her trust in the one man she shouldn’t, to make it all go away and help her succeed. Unfortunately, not only is he mired in New York’s underbelly, he wants repayment… with interest. Namely, her hand in marriage.

Despite her seemingly perfect life, Everlee has problems of her own. Not only has her world-renowned photographer husband been cheating, but it’s actually much worse than that. The things surrounding what he’s done are so dark and dangerous, Everlee’s life may actually be in jeopardy.

And then there’s Danica, cold, dead in the ground Danica. Some secrets stay hidden while others are just waiting to be discovered- hers has the power to alter the industry forever.

In the world of the Fashion Jungle, it’s easily eat or be eaten… but, if you make it out alive, you just might have a story to tell – though it will likely be one of secrets, lies, deceit, and loss.

Strap on your stilettos, it’s about to get wild.

Based on true stories.

 

Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/32JxCYp

Amazon Worldwide: https://geni.us/FashionJungleRVDKI

Apple Books:  https://apple.co/2YiWmrg

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2JTawWO

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2JKMHkY

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2YQ6J6d

About Kathy:

Kathy Ireland, Chair of kathy ireland® Worldwide (kiWW®), is a fashion and home industry icon, whose unprecedented, American entrepreneurial success, inspired the term, model-preneur. kiWW® is owned solely by Kathy’s family trusts. Kathy’s first novel, Fashion Jungle, is co-authored with #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Rachel Van Dyken. Kathy entered the “jungle” as a teenager, sheltered by loving parents, John and Barbara, of Santa Barbara, California. Covers of Vogue, Teen, and Cosmopolitan, led to a record 13 issues and all-time bestselling cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. Kathy is the supermodel turned supermogul, hailed by Harper’s Bazaar as the most successful “model in the world.” kiWW® launched a single pair of socks, during Kathy’s first pregnancy. While selling over one hundred million pairs, retail expanded. kiWW® develops for home, office, fashion, luxury jewels, vacation destinations, weddings, lighting, flooring, furniture, personal care, media and more. After billions of dollars in sales, kiWW®, a private company, was reported on by Forbes. Kathy’s story continues in global media, including three Forbes covers (two USA, one Asia), Inc., Wall Street Journal, Cheddar, Success Magazine, television, and online. Kathy’s speaking events occur in America, the Middle East, Asia and beyond. Kathy Ireland and Greg Olsen, are parents to Lily, Chloe, Erik and his wife Bethany, their daughter-in-love. Kathy’s philanthropy includes: women and children’s health, HIV/AIDS, Education, human freedom, life, wars against religious persecution and violence. Kathy is a Board Member of the NFLPA, WNBPA, and an Ambassador and donor for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Kathy’s survival in the jungle is because of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, His inerrant Word, and The Gospel, which is the Good News of Christ, crucified for all sins. Kathy believes everyone is loved by Jesus Christ, without any exceptions. Please experience Kathy’s journey of Faith, at kathyireland.com/fashionjungle/faith.

Connect with Kathy:

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

Website: http://kathyireland.com/

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About Rachel:

Rachel Van Dyken is the #1 New York Times Bestselling, Wall  Street Journal, And USA Today bestselling  author of  over 80 books ranging from contemporary romance to paranormal. With over four million copies sold, she’s been featured in Forbes, US Weekly, and USA Today.  Her books have been translated in more than 15 countries. She was one of the first romance authors to have a Kindle in Motion book through Amazon publishing and continues to strive to be on the cutting edge of the reader experience. She keeps her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, adorable son, naked cat, and two dogs. For more information about her books and upcoming events, visit www.RachelVanDykenauthor.com.

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EXCERPT BLAST – THE GUY ON THE RIGHT by Kate Stewart



We’re celebrating the release of The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart! Fall in love with Theo and Laney today!

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Dramedy
Stand Alone
Designer: Q Design
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2LyFdTR
Links coming soon!
Paperback: https://amzn.to/2SFt3dc

Blurb:
Strike One-My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk.

Not cool, Mom.

I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work.

Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself.
There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot.

Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well.
And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.

That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams.

Everything is perfect.

That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.

I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.

I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.

Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.

 

 

 

 

EXCERPT

THEO

Pacing the aisles of the grocery store, I check the list Troy gave me and double back for a tomato with his crumpled twenty in my pocket. As usual, his demands exceed the chump change he gave me. I knew when he moved in, he was penniless. He has yet to pay his rent in full and his IOU’s are stacking up. I don’t mind doing the grocery shopping, because he does the yard work. I’m also the cook and adhere to his dietary restrictions. This doesn’t bother me either because I need to stay in shape myself for my own time on  he field. Granted, I don’t deadlift the weight of my teammates.

I’m halfway back to produce when I hear a familiar voice utter some magic words.

“He’s a dick. I got tired of him. Total dick. Yeah, I know. Well, I had to figure it out for myself. Shut it right the hell on up with the, ‘I told you so’. Devin, you’re starting to sound like Momma.”

Stopping in my tracks, I redirect all my attention toward the woman pacing an aisle over.

It can’t be. Catching sight of her, my eyes trail down to the cowboy boots, just as she turns the corner and awareness prickles.

It’s her.

Frozen behind my shopping cart, I look down at my clothing choice. I’m wearing my PBS shirt, dark jeans, and Converse. I can’t remember if I gelled my hair before I left the house, which could be disastrous. Without a second thought, I follow as she spouts off on her phone.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll meet you there.”

I’m smiling at her back while she pushes her squeaky cart. She’s small but curvy, her dress flaring out a little at her hips. Toned calves peek out through a knee-length slit as she saunters down the aisle with purpose. Dark-brown hair flows past her shoulders swaying with her movement. Intrigued, I follow her into the next aisle as she gazes at the various pickle jars like they have some secret she’s straining to hear. She chooses kosher dill, my favorite, as I try to get a better look at her profile. Pink glossed lips protrude as she bites one of them and scans the rest of the shelves. It’s when I push forward for more inspection that she turns to look directly at me. All words fall away when I get my first real look at her.

“Need some pickles?”

“Sure,” I say with a grin, stepping forward and taking the jar out of her hand.

Her mouth parts as she watches me put them in my cart.

“Is your back broken, buddy? Or are you just desperate for pickles?”

“Uh huh.”

“Wow, okay, enjoy.” She gives me wide eyes that scream ‘weirdo’ before she grabs a replacement jar and wheels away.

Shaking off my shock, I turn the corner to announce myself and slam into her waiting cart as she blocks the next aisle.

“Why are you following me? And choose your words carefully, or I will make a scene like you would never believe. You’re creeping me out right now, and I’m pretty sure I can take you.”

I chuckle and shake my head.

“Sorry, that was a dick move taking your pickles.”

She narrows hazel eyes at me. Adorable. “Yes, it was. Doesn’t answer my question. Why are you following me? I assure you whatever is in my cart, they have more of it here.” I

peruse her stash.

“How about some rum?”

“Come again?”

“Rum.”

“Ugh, look, I can see that you’re high…or something. But this is the grocery store.” She jerks her head. “Liquor store is down the street.”

“I’m not high.”

“You sure? ‘Cause that would explain a lot.”

“Banana rum?”

“Fascinatin’. Look, no habla window licker. I’m sure the ‘special’ bus driver will come retrieve you shortly.”

I bark out a laugh. “Laney, it’s me, Houseman.”

She tilts her head before realization dawns, and a smile upturns her lips. “Houseman?”

Nodding, I return her smile as her eyes trail down, taking me in. I can’t decipher what she’s thinking.

“So, this is you?”

“Yep. This is me.”

“Well, you’re lucky I remembered. I was about to end you.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty funny you think you could take me.”

“Oh, I can,” she says confidently. “How did you know it was me?”

“I heard you on the phone.”

“Forever an eavesdropper, huh?”

“Forever having disturbingly private conversations in public, huh?”

She smiles. “Got me there.”

“Your accent is pretty unmistakable. Especially when you say the word dick.”

She lifts a brow. I lift one back.

“So, you all healed up?”

“Mostly.” I palm my chest, “there’s still emotional damage.”

She reaches in her cart and extends a bag of Twizzlers toward me. “Here, you need it more than I do.”

“I’m good. Wouldn’t want you to miss the only fruit in your cart.”

We grin at each other a beat longer before she sighs.

“So, you live around here?”

“No, I was running errands and decided to stop here instead of the store closer to home. Crazy coincidence, right?”

“Yeah.”

We spend a few minutes circling the aisles while I observe everything she tosses into her cart and it’s all junk. Doritos. Doritos. Doritos and one bag of sour cream and onion chips

for variety.

“Having a party?”

“No. Why?”

“No reason,” I say, biting back a smile. “You might want to get another bag.”

“Don’t judge me. I’m post breakup.”

“If memory serves me correctly, you’re the one who did the heartbreaking.”

“It’s still a breakup,” she admonishes.

“I’m just trying to save you from clogged arteries.”

I lift my hands from my cart in surrender as she peruses its contents. “Leave it to you to be so disciplined.”

“Eh, I have food allergies, like, if I eat a peanut or most any nut, and there is no EpiPen around, I die. I rarely eat out. And I live in a house full of athletes with zero percent body

fat.”

“Not cool,” she says with a sigh, “you know I’m trying to cut down on those.”

“Sorry, if it helps, they’re both acting like fuckboys at the moment.”

“It does help, thanks.”

“Anytime.”

We grin at each other.

“I’m glad we ran into each other again,” she says. “You know it’s only been a week, but I’ve made good on my oath.”

“Going to need to do better than a week to impress me.”

“You seem hard to impress.”

“Nah, just giving you shit,” I focus on the delicate curve of her slender neck, the full, dark lashes that dance over her cheeks as she scans more junk. She radiates playful energy that’s hard to ignore.

“Well, I’m giving up fuckboys for food. So, it shouldn’t be that hard to stick to.”

“I guess I should start a bad habit to keep up?”

She turns to me with two boxes of Famous Amos cookies and hands me one. “You’ll thank me later.”

“I could thank you now. That is, if I woke up this morning and thought, ‘today is a good day to die.’”

“Oh shit, these have nuts in them,” she says, scanning the ingredients. “I may just be too dangerous for you to know.”

“Nah, I can handle you.”

“Think so, huh? Challenge accepted. Shop with me.”

It’s the longest grocery store trip of my whole fucking life.

Snails have a faster pace than Laney with a shopping cart.

She literally weighs every decision she makes for ten minutes, and not only that, an aisle after a decision is made, if she finds something she wants more or a better ‘steal’, we have to double back to put it back exactly where we got it because she was taught better. I run my hands through my hair so many times, I feel like I’m balding by the time we make it to frozen foods. But it’s her smile and her laugh that keep me from bolting. It’s the energy I’m feeling that keeps me with her, though I’m fairly sure everything I have is hot and wilted.

When we finally roll out of the store, she turns to me.

“Well, what now?”

I shrug. “Beats me. You’re the one popping up everywhere I am.”

“Bound to happen.” She chews her lip in thought. “Maybe we’re supposed to be friends.”

“Maybe.”

“Give me your number,” she says, unlocking her phone before handing it to me. I type my number in, and she looks at it.

“So, Theo?”

“Yeah.”

“As in Theodore?”

I grimace. “Unfortunately.”

“As in Teddy?”

“Absolutely not,” I say with such authority, I’m rewarded with a giggle that strikes me right in the throat.

“Fine, I’ll stick with Houseman. Where you off to?”

“Waiting on my special,” I hold up air quotes, “bus driver.”

“Sorry about that, my mouth can get away from me sometimes.”

“No, really?”

“Smart ass, believe it or not, I’m shy at times around people I don’t know.”

“Not. I don’t believe it.”

She grins, shaking her phone in my direction, “I’ll hit you up, soon. We can hang out,” she smiles back at me as she rolls away, “and live our realest life.”

“Sounds good.”

We exchange curious back glances as we walk away. I’m so not her type. I can tell, and if I’m completely honest, though beautiful, she doesn’t seem like mine either.

It doesn’t matter in the least. Some part of me wants to know her, and I can tell by the way she looks back at me before she disappears behind a row of cars, she feels the same

About the Author:

A Texas native, Kate Stewart lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. She pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it’s what she loves as a reader. Kate is 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, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.Contact Kate- Email-authorkatestewart@gmail.com

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BLOG TOUR – THE GUY ON THE RIGHT by Kate Stewart



We’re celebrating the release of The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart! Fall in love with Theo and Laney today!

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Dramedy
Stand Alone
Designer: Q Design
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2LyFdTR
Links coming soon!
Paperback: https://amzn.to/2SFt3dc

Blurb:
Strike One-My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk.

Not cool, Mom.

I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work.

Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself.
There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot.

Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well.
And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.

That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams.

Everything is perfect.

That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.

I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.

I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.

Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.

 

WRAPPED UP IN READING’s REVIEW OF THE GUY ON THE RIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

A Texas native, Kate Stewart lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. She pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it’s what she loves as a reader. Kate is 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, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.Contact Kate- Email-authorkatestewart@gmail.com

Website Facebook Group Facebook Author Page Newsletter signup Twitter Instagram