BOOK TOUR – UNTIL SAGE (Until Him, #2) by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Meet Sage & Kimberly in Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds

 

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Blurb

Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar.

Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on.

Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his.

But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken.

WRAPPED UP IN READING’s REVIEW OF UNTIL SAGE

EXCERPT

“He apologized. Don’t you think you should do the polite thing and at least hear him out?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know, or you’re just too scared to find out what will happen if you do?”
“Do we have to do this right now?” I sigh, and he tosses his arm around my shoulders and pulls me into his side.
“We’ve been doing this for months now. I’ve seen the way you look at him when you think no one will notice, and I see the way he looks at you, not giving a fuck if everyone sees. Even when he thought you and I were a thing, he still made it perfectly clear to those who were watching that if by some chance he got a shot, you would be his.”
“I really think you are reading way too much into this.”
“Am I?”

About the Author

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

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REVIEW – UNTIL SAGE (Until Him #2) by Aurora Rose Reynolds

SYNOPSIS

Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar.

Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on.

Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his.

But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken.

*****Mel’s Review*****

4 Stars!

Kimberly Cullen is a hair stylist living in Tennessee who was raised by wonderful parents. After some health issues, she learns she’s adopted & has a twin sister. She has fabulous friends, & had recently started seeing a gorgeous guy named Sage Mayson. Almost as soon as they’ve started, they end when a misunderstanding causes Sage to push her away. He quickly learns he made a huge mistake, but it’s too late. Kim is angry & hurt, and not willing to forgive him.

Sage Mayson is a sexy guy from a big family who works in private security. He lives on a lake & spends a lot of his time working to fix up his home. He met a great girl named Kim who he fell for hard & fast. After screwing things up, he’s determined to convince her to give him a second chance so she will see what’s between them is real.

Months later Sage is still persistent in his efforts to win Kim back. He just can’t walk away. He experienced something beautiful with her he’s never felt before, & her memory haunts him. He won’t stop till she’s his.

Kim is struggling with resisting Sage. She can’t get over him. She’s sad without him, & misses him. When her sister is murdered Sage is there for her. He’s the one person she can count on, & they grow closer again. She realizes life’s too short to live with regrets, but will a secret she’s keeping threaten to destroy them?

-Never fucking ever have I had this with any other woman, a connection that defies logic and time, a connection that makes me question every fucking thing in my life.

-My heart had at some point claimed her as its own.

-She is mine.

-“I knew the moment I met you, that you were made for me.”

REVIEW – CHEATER (Curious Liaisons #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

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SYNOPSIS

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…

*****Patty’s Review*****
*****4.5 STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

”One day you were my friend, and then you became something completely different. Because I wanted you. Because even when it was wrong—and you were only seventeen years old—I wanted you.”

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It’s been a while since I read a book where the subject of cheating was the main theme of the story. There’s only been one cheater that I rooted for to get the girl in the end but that man definitely deserved a swift kick in the nuts for his infidelities. Lucas Thorne, however, is a “cheater” that will slowly but surely win your heart as you progress through the pages of this thoroughly engaging story. At first, I was thinking this guy is a real douche and there’s no way I’m going to end up liking this book, but as his story is revealed, I started to root for the two main characters to ride off into the sunset together.

Lucas is a very attractive and successful businessman, who has a strong aversion to commitment. He has an ongoing relationship with seven different women, who each see him on separate days of the week, except for Sundays, which is the day of the week he devotes to his older sister. Life is great as far as he’s concerned. He’s got the best sex life with women who know about his arrangements and that there can never be any kind of serious relationship between them. For some reason every woman is fine with this setup and even when they end up choosing to break things off, it always ends amicably. But was Lucas always this cavalier with his interactions with women? It turns out only five years ago, he was engaged to his high school sweetheart, but on the night before the wedding, he was caught in bed with his fiance’s sister. From that moment on, he was deemed a ”cheater”, and it’s why he has never attempted to be in a serious relationship since. He’s about to get a serious wake-up call!

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Avery Black has just lost her dream job and she is desperate to find employment because there is no way she wants to be forced to move back into her parent’s house while her evil and conniving sister is still living there. She ends up finding a paid internship. She will be the executive assistant of one of the VPs of the company. Turns out she happens to know her new boss better than most people. Lucas is her boss, but he’s also the douchebag who cheated on her sister, Kayla, the night before their wedding, with her other sister, Brooke. The two have this strong chemistry between them and even though it seems their relationship has turned volatile, you just know this is going to be a hotter than hell enemies-to-lovers romance.

Back in the day, Lucas and Avery were very close. They were best friends. Lucas was always like a big brother to Avery. He was there to wipe her tears whenever someone hurt her feelings. He would offer her advice when she turned to him for help. It wasn’t until she turned seventeen, that he started to see her as more than a little sister. Lucas was battling some intense feelings for Avery, and she was just as into him, if not more. Avery always lived in the shadows of her older sisters. She never thought she measured up to them. She had a huge crush on Lucas and dreamed that he would fall in love with her instead of her older sister. Little did she know that she might have been the only woman that ever truly owned his heart and that the truth about what happened that night before the wedding, had never been what her sister had claimed.

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I loved both Lucas and Avery. Lucas was a seriously swoon-worthy and charming Hero. Even with his skewed outlook on his no strings relationships, he was never portrayed as a heartless, cheating whore. The women he spent time with were very different in many ways and he appreciated them for their individuality. What happened in the past severely messed with his head and it becomes clear that it affected him deeply. Avery was a total spitfire and I loved the heated banter between her and Lucas. Even while she claims to hate him, she doesn’t hesitate to come to his defense, which lands them both in an uncomfortable situation with their families. But the heat between these two only intensifies and I was unable to put this book down until I could get to the very last page.

I know there are some of you who don’t read books about cheating, but I hope that you’ll give this one a chance. I promise you, there is so much more to this story! It was angsty, hilarious, and downright steamy!!

CHEATER is currently available!

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BLOG TOUR – CHEATER by Rachel Van Dyken

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Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken is NOW LIVE!

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WRAPPED UP IN READING’s REVIEW OF CHEATER

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Blurb

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…

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Excerpt 

The office building loomed ahead of me. I squinted up at it, covering my face with part of my hand as the sun cast its glare against the glass.

“What are we looking at?” Lucas whispered in my ear.

I let out a little yelp and jumped away from him, and I would have run into a passing biker if Lucas hadn’t pulled me out of the way with his coffee-free hand.

“Must you be such a pain in the ass?”

“Must you try to kill me?” I fired back.

He rolled his eyes. “Let’s go.” He started walking, hauling me with him.

We weren’t walking in the direction of the office.

“Um, Thorn—”

“I will seriously shove this Starbucks up that skinny ass if you don’t stop talking and just listen for once in your life.”

I shut up and followed, but only because he’d said “Starbucks” and was very purposefully moving in the nearest outpost’s general direction. If I looked pathetic enough, would he buy me coffee?

That was what my life was coming to.

Pity coffee.

My shoulders slumped at the thought when we walked into the building. The smell of fresh baked goods hit me with full force, and my stomach growled loudly, saying to everyone, I’m a hungry bear and may eat my young. Out of the way, please!

I followed Lucas to the line, still tempted to speak, but I figured if he wanted noise from me, he’d say something like, “You may grace me with your voice now, Avery.”

Even though I wasn’t talking, every time I heard someone order pumpkin bread I sighed, loudly, so loudly that the barista eyed me cautiously. Chill, Starbucks, I’m not going to steal a piece of pumpkin bread.

My mouth watered.

I mean, I wasn’t that desperate.

But if I took two, maybe three, steps toward her, yelled “Fire!” and then screamed nonsense about a bee attacking me, the pumpkin bread she had in hand would probably fall to the ground, and it would be wasteful if I didn’t rescue it from the ants.

All creatures deserve food—but pumpkin bread was too good for ants, too rich, and they’d explode all over the floor from the richness and it would be my fault—for saving the barista’s life, right? From the bee?

I think I just confused myself.

“Why are you breathing so heavy?” Lucas asked from my right.

I snapped out of my pumpkin-bread daydream and shrugged. “Sorry, low on sleep.”

He gave a noncommittal nod and then it was his turn, greedy little bastard already had one coffee now he was getting two! “A venti macchiato and a large coffee with room for cream, two slices—”

I elbowed him hard in the ribs.

“Sorry, um, three slices of pumpkin bread, thanks.”

He handed the barista his card, while my greedy eyes locked on the pumpkin bread as the barista placed it into a bag and gave it to him.

With an exasperated sigh, he shoved the bag into my hands. “Just leave me one bite.”

“No promises.” I was already digging into the bag, my mouth watering as I followed him around the counter with a little pep in my step.

Lucas grabbed our drinks and motioned toward one of the tables. I sat, stuffed more pumpkin goodness into my mouth, and managed to chug some coffee almost all at once.

Lucas shook his head. “I always forget how seriously you take your pumpkin bread.”

I moaned and took another huge bite. “My theory is this.”

He leaned forward, a smile curving around his gorgeous mouth. “Alright, out with it.”

More pumpkin bread found its way into my mouth as I talked—I didn’t even care if I looked like a starved animal. “Pumpkin bread has the same addictive properties as cocaine.”

“That’s your theory? That it’s a drug?”

“Right.” I sighed and leaned back. “Except it doesn’t make you skinny, unfortunately.”

His smile widened, and he grabbed a small hunk of bread. “Want to know my theory?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking—I hope Lucas tells me his theory so I can eat his portion of bread.”

Lucas scooted the bag toward me and whispered, “Merry Christmas.”

“Oh, pumpkin gods.” I moaned again.

His eyes darted to my mouth.

“What?” I wiped my lips. “Is something on my face?”

“No.” He looked away. “So my theory is this . . . pumpkin flavoring is a conspiracy by the government to see how many ways we can market a flavor and make money off it.”

“Boo.” I gave him a thumbs-down. “Thanks, grinch. Oh, and stop ruining holidays.”

He smirked. “You’ve known forever that Santa isn’t real. Still doesn’t stop you from leaving him cookies every Christmas Eve, then sneaking downstairs and eating them all by yourself.”

“One”—I held up a finger—“it’s genius because nobody will touch them for fear that I’ll get mad. Two”—I held up a second finger—“when everyone else is sad about the Christmas cookies being gone, I know I’ll have them all to myself. It’s like . . .” I sighed, “. . . a Christmas present. To myself.”

“Except for that one time.” He smirked.

“Cruel man.” I glared at him. “How dare you eat my cookies?”

He shrugged. “They were sweet.”

Was it hot? In this little Starbucks? By the window where the sun was searing me alive like I was under a magnifying glass?

I tugged at my sleeveless blouse.

“About Saturday . . .”

Uncomfortable conversation, here we come! I strapped in and waited for the inevitable. And then realized, to my dismay, that he’d just bought me coffee and food without letting me go to the office.

My eyes filling with tears, I shook my head a few times. “Lucas, I may give you crap, but I really need this job.”

He frowned, like he was confused.

“Don’t say another word.” I held out my hands. “I’ll do anything, Lucas—and I mean anything—to keep this job. I wasn’t kidding when I said my parents were chomping at the bit to get me to move home, and I don’t want to. It’s not just about me being defiant; they want me to take over the family business.”

Lucas burst out laughing and then sobered. “Oh, you’re serious.”

“I can’t sell chicken, Thorn.”

“I mean, to be fair, Avery, your parents own a very lucrative organic meats company. I’m sure they could offer you at least five figures.” His smile was way too smug, but I still had to be nice to him rather than throw him off a cliff, because he could fire me.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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LIVE – CHEATER by Rachel Van Dyken

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Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken is NOW LIVE!

What are you waiting for?  Grab your copy TODAY!

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/2kXKMz6

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Blurb

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…

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Excerpt

One night.

It was all I needed anyway, right? It’s not as if he was going to really commit to me, marry me, offer to impregnate me and father all our children.

“Are you sure about this, Avery?” He cupped my face with his rough hands. “You still have a choice. You can turn that cute ass around and march out that door—hell, you can even slam it on the way out. I’ll even let you keep the steak.”

“Are you offering me an out?”

He nodded.

“Do you offer that to every girl?”

Another nod.

“Do they ever take it?”

“Sometimes.”

“What do you want me to do?”

He paused. “You know, nobody has ever asked me that before.”

Probably because nobody cared about what else he had to offer besides what was dangling between his legs.

“I’m asking. Right now.” I wrapped my arms around his neck. “What does Thorn want?”

“You didn’t full-name me.”

“It seems to make you even more arrogant, God forbid.”

His grin made me weak, so weak that I had to hold on to him for strength. Funny how things come full circle. How he’d always been my rock.

Dependable.

Loving.

And now?

He held all the power. Lucas Thorn . . . could destroy me.

“Stay.” He brushed a soft kiss across my lower lip. “I want you to stay.”

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About the Author:

RachelAuthorheadshot

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

COVER REVEAL – UNTIL SAGE by Aurora Rose Reynolds

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Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Release Date: May 9th

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/2kFKniP

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Blurb

Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar.

Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on.

Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his.

But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken.

About the Author

aurora-rose-reynolds

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

REVIEW – SINGE (Guardian Protection #1) by Aly Martinez

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SYNOPSIS

She was my nightmare. Every time I closed my eyes, I watched her fall into that inferno. Over and over, I failed to save her.

I hadn’t been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.

Heroes aren’t always saints. Sometimes, we’re nothing more than jaded sinners driven by sleepless nights and hearts full of darkness.

And then I met her. She was a dreamer who managed to soothe my scars and heal my wounds.

But, as the flames closed in around us, I feared I wasn’t the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman I’d burn the world down to protect.

*****Patty’s Review*****

*****FOUR STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

I lived in his nightmares. He lived in my dreams.

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SINGE is the first in a series of standalone novels surrounding each of the hotter than hell alpha males who work for the Guardian Protection Agency. There are a few series out there that have a similar flavor but Aly Martinez manages to give it her own flair–I wouldn’t expect anything less from Ms. Martinez! I do have to mention that I found some of the drama to be a bit tiring and if some of it were cut out of the storyline then I feel it wouldn’t have dragged on for me at times. More often than not, I love the Hero and the Heroine usually tends to grate on my nerves, but in SINGE it is the Hero that I wanted to slap around. No amount of hotness on his part helped me to overlook his childish behavior. But we get a bevy of sexy alpha males and an endearing Heroine who loves and writes romance novels, so overall the story won me over!

Rhion and Jude are bound to each other through a tragic event that will haunt them in different ways, years after it occurred. Rhion was stuck out on the ledge of the second floor of her burning house and Jude ends up being the only police office within the vicinity who gets called while off duty and asked to investigate the situation. He had been off for a couple hours and had a few drinks at a local bar. He probably shouldn’t have gone to the scene but no other officers were in the area and the dispatch operator convinces him to go and investigate the situation. When he sees Rhion surrounded by flames in an impossible situation he is crippled by his inability to save her. He does stay at the scene and tries to get her to climb to the roof, which is normally the one thing you should never do, but soon there is no choice but for Rhion to jump and then we are left wondering what happened to the both of them.

The story fast-forwards to about five years into the future. Rhion is living in a beautiful loft apartment which is one floor above the Guardian Protection Agency. She is one of their top clients and the guys have become more like family to her than employees. The agency is about to get a new employee—Jude Levitt, the cop who tried to save her from the flames that ended up scarring the both of them physically and mentally. As soon as they come face to face there is an instant spark of attraction between them. Jude has been living in Rhion’s fantasies since that fateful night, but it hasn’t been the same for Jude. He’s been haunted by the beautiful butterfly who ended up getting burned by the flames. His guilt over being intoxicated and not doing more to help her has been eating away at him for all this time.

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He ends up being given the assignment of becoming her protector as it becomes apparent that he is like a soothing balm to Rhion and also helps her to ease out of her agoraphobic tendencies. Their romance is definitely what you might consider “insta-love” but I didn’t mind it too much since the schmexy was out of this world HOT!! What bothered me was Jude’s reaction to some of Rhion’s secrets. When they are revealed his reaction seemed childish and even idiotic. I was starting to lose interest but luckily there’s a reveal towards the last twenty-five percent of the story and added dose of suspense that had me on pins and needles, wondering how it was all going to end.

SINGE is currently available! Aly Martinez fans will not be disappointed!

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BOOK TOUR – SINGE (Guardian Protection #1) by Aly Martinez

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SINGE is the first book in an ALL NEW smokin-hot standalone series by Aly Martinez NOW AVAILABLE!

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WRAPPED UP IN READING’s REVIEW OF SINGE

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Blurb

She was my nightmare. Every time I closed my eyes, I watched her fall into that inferno. Over and over, I failed to save her.

I hadn’t been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.

Heroes aren’t always saints. Sometimes, we’re nothing more than jaded sinners driven by sleepless nights and hearts full of darkness.

And then I met her. She was a dreamer who managed to soothe my scars and heal my wounds.

 

But, as the flames closed in around us, I feared I wasn’t the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman I’d burn the world down to protect.

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Chapter One

Jude

“Tomorrow, it’s on me,” I said, standing up off the barstool.

Behind the bar, Carmen waggled her eyebrows, seductively calling out, “Funny, I could be on you tonight if you stayed awhile longer.”

I laughed at her innuendo and tossed her a wink. “I gotta get home, babe. Seven a.m. comes way too early.”

“Well, offer’s on the table,” she purred.

It always was with her. And, if I wasn’t careful, I’d eventually take her up on it.

Not that sleeping with Carmen wouldn’t have been good. But, when you find a cheap bar only five minutes from your house, you don’t fuck that up by dipping your cock into the bartender.

“Later, Carmen,” I called, pushing the door open and heading to my car.

I wasn’t out of the parking lot before I heard, “Officer Levitt? We’ve got an alarm going off in Park Hill. You mind taking a look on your way home?”

Banging my head back against the headrest, I groaned to myself. Park Hill was about as “on my way home” as swinging past California on the way to Maine.

Switching my radio to my other hand, I complained, “I’m off the clock, Jocelyn.” I had been for several hours, even if I hadn’t made it home yet.

 She laughed. “I’m sorry, but you’re the only one remotely close. I had to send two cars out to the Laslows’ to break up another argument between Cam and his old man.”

“They at it again?” I asked.

“Apparently, Cam told Lindsey he didn’t want the baby. Lindsey told his dad. Old Man Laslow lost his mind.”

I chuckled, putting my blinker on and then doing a U-turn in the middle of the empty road. “Christ. I bet he did. I know the man’s seventy-five, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to go toe-to-toe with him.”

“I’m with you on that. So…you gonna head out to Park Hill?” she asked in a sugary-sweet tone.

I grumbled deep in my chest. “You’re gonna owe me some of that banana bread for this. I missed it the other day when you brought it up to the station.”

“I don’t owe you anything.” She giggled. “However, as a personal thank-you from the state of Illinois, Park County, and the owners of Park Hill, I’ll bring you in a loaf on Friday. Deal?”

“Deal. I’m en route now.”

“Stay safe, and radio in with your report.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, knowing exactly how much thirty-year-old Jocelyn loved being called ma’am by a twenty-five-year-old man.

“Don’t you—”

“Gotta go.” I turned the volume down to mute her, grinning to myself as I flipped my lights and siren on.

I’d been a cop for two years. And, in that time, I’d been out to the privately owned Park Hill estate at least a dozen times. It wasn’t unusual for the alarm on the mansion to get triggered. It never amounted to anything. The expansive estate was on the very edge of the county, and trouble didn’t usually travel that far out. More often than not, a bird at a window or a bumbling new member of the grounds crew would accidentally trip the alarm. Truth was, no one actually lived in Park Hill. The owners visited sporadically. But, for the majority of the time, it remained empty.

Some minutes later, I cut my siren as I pulled up to the entrance. The cold air assaulted me as I stepped out of my patrol car with my flashlight in hand and aimed at the keypad on the massive security gate that blocked the driveway off. That damn thing alone had to have cost more than I’d make in a lifetime. Forget about the house inside.

The smell of wood burning in a fireplace wafted through the night air. I guessed someone was home for a visit.

I typed in the emergency code on the gate panel and then climbed back in my car and made my way down the tree-lined driveway. I’d spent the day on patrol, and, with the exception of some minor vandalism across town, it had been a slow one.

Though, in the blink of an eye, that would change.

Along with my entire life.

“Oh fuck,” I breathed as the main house came into view on the top of the hill.

After throwing my car in park, I jumped on the radio at my shoulder. I could barely get the words out as I slung my door open and took off at a dead sprint.

“This is Officer Levitt! I need fire support at Park Hill immediately!”

And then I froze as a wave of adrenaline crashed into me like a tsunami.

An inferno roared in the night sky, but it was the small silhouette of a woman perched outside a third-floor window, smoke pouring out all around her, that knocked the breath out of me. My heart stopped, but my feet continued to pound against the pavement.

Jocelyn’s voice caught me. “What’s going on?”

“I need medical too!” I barked as I got closer. “The whole damn place is in flames and there’s a woman trapped!”

The woman’s long, black hair blew out behind her like a battered flag whipping in a storm. I couldn’t make out her face or her skin color or even guess at her age for the black soot covering her, but her fear was unmistakable.

And unforgettable.

“Hang on!” I yelled up to her.

“Oh my God!” she screamed before it turned into a fit of coughing. “Help me!”

“Hang on! Don’t let go!”

Frantically, I searched the perimeter for a way in, but it wasn’t only her house that was on fire. Flames were encompassing her. The yard and all the surrounding flowerbeds. Top to bottom. The first and second floors were completely engulfed, and if the sound of shattering windows was any indication, it was quickly making its way up to the third floor—to her.

“No! Don’t leave me!” she screamed, panic thick in her garbled voice, as I started around the side of the house.

A wall of heat stopped me in my tracks. Throwing an arm up, I did my best to block my face while scanning the building for any possible entry—or, in her case, exit.

But there wasn’t a surface of that house that wasn’t ablaze.

Except the roof.

Son of a bitch.

I spoke into the radio. “I need an ETA on fire.”

Jocelyn replied, “They’re on their way. Five minutes out.”

I didn’t have one minute, much less five.

Fuck.

My pulse quickened, sending blood thundering in my ears. I was a cop. I’d trained for chaos. I should have been able to come up with a solution for a situation like this, but they didn’t teach you how to conquer the impossible at the Academy.

And, as I took inventory of the flames dancing beneath her, I knew that was exactly what I was up against.

My gut wrenched as I helplessly sped back around the house. She appeared almost childlike, hovering barefoot on that narrow brick ledge, but her long-sleeve top and her loose-fitting pants clung to the body of a woman.

Jesus Christ! Where was that fucking fire truck?

“Is anyone else in the house?” I yelled up to her.

Not that I could have helped them, either. Short of running into a burning building, on what would surely be a suicide mission, there was not one thing I could do. And didn’t that little reality feel like a wrecking ball to the chest.

“No!” she cried, a loud sob lodging in her throat. It turned into more coughing, her body shaking violently with every heave.

I fisted my hands at my sides as my anxiety spiraled higher.

“Please. Do something!” she begged.

I ground my teeth together and once again glanced around as if a water hose and a ladder were going to suddenly appear out of nowhere. “Hang tight, okay? Fire trucks are on their way.”

“I can’t hold on much longer!” she cried.

“Yes, you can,” I demanded.

“I…I think I need to jump,” she coughed out.

I assessed the massive fire below her. I’d never be able to reach her before it swallowed her. But there was no way I’d be able to stand by and watch her burn.

No. If she jumped off that ledge, she was going to get us both killed.

“Don’t you dare,” I barked. “Don’t even think about it. Two minutes. They’ll be here.”

“I…I can’t.”

“Two minutes,” I repeated. “Hold—”

Suddenly, a window to her left exploded, shooting glass and flames in all directions.

I covered my face as she screamed in a paralyzing mixture of fear and agony. It cut me so deep that I knew I’d bear the scars for the rest of my life, and that had nothing to do with the glass and everything to do with the heavy weight of my failure already lingering in the smoke-filled air.

When I opened my eyes again, I caught a glimpse of orange flickering in the window behind her. Panic built in my chest.

“You need to move!” I yelled.

She shook her head and continued to cough and cry.

But it wasn’t an option. I couldn’t help her. Though I damn sure refused to watch her die.

“Please. Just listen to me.” I swallowed hard. “You can’t stay there.” I looked to the roof.

Sending her higher seemed wrong and went against everything I’d learned in my limited fire training. But fuck, my options were having her jump into a conflagration or scale up the side of a building in hopes of buying us the precious minutes needed for the fire department to arrive.

Drawing in a smoke-filled breath, I made a decision that would haunt me for the rest of my life. “You need to climb up to the roof.”

“I can’t!” she shrieked.

My stomach twisted, but I gentled my voice. “Look, I know you’re scared. But I’m right here. I’ll help guide you up, but, sweetheart, it’s bearing down on you. You gotta move, and I mean now.”

She choked on a mouthful of smoke as she attempted to look over her shoulder.

“You’re going to be fine. I swear to you,” I lied. “But you have to move.”

“I’m not going to make it!” She had to have yelled it in order for me to hear her, but I felt her defeat slither over my skin like a whispered goodbye.

I took a long step forward, too focused on her to feel the heat singeing my skin. “Yes, you are!” I declared. “Move your ass up to the roof and we’ll both be out of here in time for breakfast.”

Her gaze landed on mine, tears forging paths down her soot-covered cheeks, her disbelief obvious even from yards away. “Are you sure?”

It was a ridiculous question. It wasn’t like I could make any guarantees. It was fire, for God’s sake. But that didn’t stop me from covering my heart with my palm and vowing, “I swear on my life you’re going to make it through this.”

Her hesitation was evident, but with one last sob, she inched her small body farther out onto the narrow ledge, reaching the tips of her shaking fingers out for the windowsill above her.

“Good girl,” I praised, a fraction of relief washing over me.

And then I sucked in a sharp breath as one of her shaking legs slipped out from under her.

“No!” I yelled.

On instinct, I rushed toward the flames, my arms stretched out in the air as though I could catch her.

A scalding heat blistered my face and forced me to stop, but the real pain was in my chest. I watched in horror for what felt like a lifetime as she fought to right herself, her dainty arms flailing like a wounded butterfly frantically trying to catch the wind.

But there was none to be found.

My heart lurched into my throat, and my breath seized in my lungs.

And then a deep, guttural sound tore through me, shredding me from the inside out, as I watched her fall.

I woke up in a cold sweat. It wasn’t exactly something new. I’d been dreaming of Butterfly for over four years. She always flew directly into the flames, screaming as I stood helpless to save her.

Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I cradled my head in my hands and tried to pretend I was okay. That wasn’t exactly something new, either. I could still feel the heat on the back of my neck. My lungs were still thick with smoke. The pressure in my chest never left me.

The distance while I was living in LA had helped. But, in the week since I’d been back in Illinois, I’d woken up every morning at that blazing house. I didn’t even have to be asleep for the memories to assault me.

I should have gone back to sleep. It was my first day at my new job, and the last thing I needed was to show up haggard and sleep-deprived. But, as I’d learned over the years, another fiery butterfly awaited me on the other side of REM. No way I was volunteering for that.

I pushed myself off the bed and tugged a T-shirt on, preparing to head down to the hotel gym with hopes that I could outrun the mental fog that had been hovering over me since I’d returned. There was a reason I’d thrown all of my shit in my car and driven as far as I could all those years ago.

Yet, somehow, I’d come full circle.

But I’d come back a different man.

At least that’s what I’d told myself as the deafening roar of doubt had overwhelmed me the moment I’d driven across the state line.

Regardless, it had been time to go home.

I’d been gone too long.

Or, as I’d decided as I’d passed the exit to Park County, not nearly long enough.

About the Author

aly-martinez-bio

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five- including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

 STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

REVIEW – FAKE FIANCEE by Ilsa Madden-Mills

fake-fiance

SYNOPSIS

A new standalone romance from Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Ilsa Madden-Mills…

They say nothing compares to your first kiss,
But our first kiss was orchestrated for an audience.
Our second kiss…that one was REAL.
He cradled my face like he was terrified he’d f*ck it up.
He stared into my eyes until the air buzzed.
Soft and slow, full of sighs and little laughs,
He inhaled me like I was the finest Belgian chocolate,
And he’d never get another piece.
A nip of his teeth, his hand at my waist…
And I was lost.
I forgot he was paying me to be his fake fiancée.
I forgot we weren’t REAL.
Our kiss was pure magic, and before you laugh and say those kinds of kisses don’t exist…
Then you’ve never touched lips with Max Kent, the hottest quarterback in college history.

Get ready for breathtaking kisses, dreamy football players, a heroine who yearns for the guy she can’t have, and a hero who will do anything for the girl he loves…

RELEASE DATE: February 6

*****Mel’s Review*****

5 Stars!

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Sunny Blaine is a southern girl from North Carolina whose life falls apart after the loss of her mother. She moves to Georgia when she’s seventeen to be with her Mimi. Three years later & she’s now pursuing her art degree at Leland University & working at the local library. She’s thrilled to have found a fabulous house to rent until she finds out her new neighbors are jocks. After her ex, Sunny tries to avoid all athletes like the plague. Unfortunately, a situation arises with her neighbors where they have to meet. Sunny is stunned to find out her new neighbor is the hottest quarterback in college football, Max Kent. Max is practically loved by the entire state of Georgia. He’s a senior, the captain of the football team, and absolutely gorgeous!

Max Kent is under a lot of pressure to perform & be the best. His future in the NFL is everything to him. He needs to live & breathe football for the next few months & avoid drama & scandal. Groupies are constantly hounding him & wanting a piece of him. He just wants the Heisman. To focus on football & grades, and accomplish his dreams without any distractions.

Max soon realizes a way to get everything he wants when he & Sunny spontaneously decide to pretend to be dating for show one day to benefit them both. The charade works so well at keeping away unwanted attention, they decide to run with it & let it continue. Max offers to pay Sunny to be his pretend girlfriend & Sunny agrees since she’s working hard to pay her own way through college.

Things are going great & the agreement is working well until things turn real. Max wasn’t supposed to get attached to her. He wasn’t looking for a relationship, but suddenly he is blindsided by his strong feelings for Sunny. Soon fake girlfriend turns into fake fiancée & things are spiraling out of control. It gets complicated when pretending starts to feel like real life. They both feel a connection they’ve never experienced & can’t imagine a life without the other in it. It’s like fate brought them together. As they decide to privately explore what’s between them things really heat up.

-I was drawn to him.

-My body craved him.

-God, I wanted him so desperately. I had for so long.

-“Do you feel this thing between us? Like a connection?”

-Sunny. I needed her. I couldn’t exist without her in my world.

This was my first book by Ilsa Madden-Mills, & I couldn’t have loved it more. It was everything I love in a book. It was fun, flirty, full of humor, romance & love. Throw in a delicious football player & it’s golden. I highly recommend this book! It was fabulous & I can’t wait to read more by this author!

BOOK TOUR – FAKE FIANCEE by Ilsa Madden-Mills

fake_fiancee_book_tour-1

fake_fiancee_live

Pretending never felt so good….

Fake Fiancée by Ilsa Madden-Mills is NOW LIVE!

ONLY $0.99 & Free on Kindle Unlimited.

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

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2lfrSjw

Amazon Paperback:  http://amzn.to/2ldp4TS

fake-fiance

Blurb

A new standalone romance from Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Ilsa Madden-Mills…

They say nothing compares to your first kiss,

But our first kiss was orchestrated for an audience.

Our second kiss…that one was REAL.

He cradled my face like he was terrified he’d f*ck it up.

He stared into my eyes until the air buzzed.

Soft and slow, full of sighs and little laughs,

He inhaled me like I was the finest Belgian chocolate,

And he’d never get another piece.

A nip of his teeth, his hand at my waist…

And I was lost.

I forgot he was paying me to be his fake fiancée.

I forgot we weren’t REAL.

Our kiss was pure magic, and before you laugh and say those kinds of kisses don’t exist…

Then you’ve never touched lips with Max Kent, the hottest quarterback in college history.

Get ready for breathtaking kisses and dreamy football players…

ff-kissing-teaser

EXCERPT

Max stalked over to the barrier that divided the stands from the football field and jumped it. The fans went nuts as he brushed past them, some not even realizing it until he was down the aisle. The Jumbotron followed him.

“Good Lordy, what’s he doing?” Mimi asked, clutching at her chest.

“I don’t know,” I said rather weakly, taking the chance to study him the closer he came. He was beautiful, his shoulders impossibly broad. To add to the distraction, his helmet was in his hand and all that dark brown hair was flowing around his chiseled features as if he had a fan in his face. My Viking.

“He’s coming over here,” Mimi commented.

He was. But why?

I stopped breathing . . .right when he came to a halt in front of me and knelt down on one knee.

Eyes the color of a wild ocean gazed at me.

He took my left hand in his right one.

“Max,” I breathed, my heart fluttering.

He gazed up at me. “Sunny Blaine, will you marry me?”

The stadium went wild. In a daze, I looked up at the Jumbotron and felt like I was watching this happen to someone else. Camera phones flashed all around us.

My first clear thought was I’ll kill him.

Aloud, nothing came out but a faint wheeze. Clearly someone had stuffed a giant wad of cotton in my mouth. Clearly I needed something a lot stiffer to drink than this Diet Coke. Clearly my fake boyfriend was a freaking raving lunatic.

He sat his helmet on the ground next to my feet, reached inside it and pulled out a small black box.

No, no, no!

The box opened, and my stomach churned at the sight of the large round solitaire diamond ring that was nestled on the black silk. I blinked repeatedly to clear my vision.

With deft fingers, Max eased it out of the lining and slipped it on my left hand.

I stared down at it. Then back at him.

I was going to murder the hottest quarterback in the country.

Kiss her, Kiss her, the crowd chanted.

We were the focal point of the entire world.

Max stood and tugged me up with him until we were standing. He slid his hand around my neck and pulled his face to mine. The sky was blotted out as he kissed me.

But I hadn’t said yes!

I wouldn’t say yes.

Not to a fake engagement.

The applause of the stadium was deafening. And his kiss—it was deadly. Despite my rage, my body craved him. His lips were hot, so hot, and my tongue met his with a vengeance. We kissed hard, and I nipped at him, my teeth scraping across his lips. But the only one who’d end up bleeding in this scenario was me.

He eased back to take me in, and with a final look at my face he gave a thumbs-up sign to the entire stadium. They went nuts, chanting his name.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered in my ear, letting his hand trail down my arm as he stepped back from me. He walked away backward, eyes on me the entire time. The announcers for the game told everyone who might have missed it that Max Kent had just asked his girlfriend to marry him, and she’d said yes. More cheers came as they replayed him on his knee in front of me with a giant YES written across the top.

I plopped back down in my seat. Frozen.

“. . . did you see her face? Shocked . . .”

“. . . most romantic thing in football . . .”

“. . . luckiest girl in the world . . .”

My face went hot. Even my ears burned. I wanted to crawl under a seat.

God.

What a lie.

The half ended and our offense came out to the field, snapped the ball, and Max threw it straight to Tate who ran it in for another touchdown. My chest constricted and anger churned in my gut.

I didn’t care who won.

I hated football right now.

Most of all, I hated Max Kent, and I was going to make him pay.

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About the Author

ilsa-madden-bio

Wall Street Journal best selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She’s addicted to all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Ian Somerhalder, astronomy (she’s a Gemini), and tattoos. She has a degree in English and a Master’s in Education. When she’s not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets and fuzzy pajamas.

She loves to hear from readers and fellow authors. Email her at ilsamaddenmills@gmail.com.

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