Thursday, September 21, 2017

Julie Ann Walker's HOT PURSUIT Giveaway and Pre-Order Special


He puts the hot...
Christian Watson, a former SAS officer and current BKI operator, never thought he would return to England after a terrible turn of events forced him to abandon his homeland. But now he's back on British soil where old enemies are determmeland. But now he's back on British soil where old enemies are determined to do him in. Fighting for his life is pretty much SOP for Christian. Doing it with the beautiful, bossy Emily Scott in tow is another matter entirely.

In hot pursuit.
Emily lost her coveted job at the CIA because of a colleague turned rogue, and now she has just one rule when it comes to men: they're for recreational purposes only. But when she and Christian are thrust into very close quarters while evading two mysterious men who want Christian dead, she can't help but question all her ideas about love and life lived on the edge. Battling the bad guys is hard enough, battling her feelings for Christian just might prove impossible.
Available October 3rd

Wanna win a print copy? Comment below, and don't forget to leave your email, so I can contact you if you win. Sorry, US only.

So many questions buzzed through Emily’s brain that she felt like she’d shoved her head in a beehive. She had to grit her teeth to keep from asking them.
And why the hell wouldn’t he stop rubbing her hip? Warmth had spread from the skin beneath his hand, and now her whole body was suffused with it.
“Is she the reason you stayed in England after Boss invited you to join him at Black Knights Inc.?” she asked.
The look he shot her had her lifting a brow. “What?”
“That’s the second time today I’ve thought you were either a mind reader or else practicing witchcraft.”
“Really?” The thought delighted her. “When was the first time?” Then reality sank in. Shit, that was question number three. “Never mind!” She slapped a hand over his mouth. “Don’t answer that.”
His eyes sparkled mischievously. He’d tried using her own technique against her, piquing her interest so she’d use up her truths.
“I’m not the only one who fights dirty,” she accused.
“And don’t you forget it,” he parroted her words back to her. Then he placed a hot kiss in the center of her palm.
She snatched her hand away, dropping it into her lap. If he noticed that she curled her fingers, trying to hold on to the heat of his kiss, he gave no indication.
“So out with it,” she demanded. “Is your mother the reason you stayed in England after Boss invited you to join him at BKI?”
“Yes.” His nod was perfunctory. “After I was let go from the SAS, when I was trying to make my way as a civilian, I moved back in with Mum. After Dad died, she didn’t only get soused on the weekends. She did it all day every day. Held on to the bottle like a lifeline. She was self-medicating, of course. When she was pissed, she could forget she’d been the one behind the wheel that night. But miracle of miracles, with me back home looking after her, suddenly it seemed like she was trying to pull her shite together. She stopped spending all her government support checks at the pub and instead started buying decent food for the flat. She even went ’round to the local Jobcentre offices and applied to be placed in a position.”
From the tender age of six, he’d lived with a drunk mother and a dead father.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
That wasn’t Rice Krispies. That was the foundations of Emily’s walls. Because she got it.
Her parents might not be drunks, but she knew all about addiction. Her mother and father were both addicted to love, addicted to the high it brought them. They’d sought it with single-minded determination, and their searches had, more often than not, left Emily all alone.
“Then one night, about three months after I got back, I found her in an alley,” Christian continued. “She was half frozen, half dressed, and totally piss drunk. And that’s when I knew.”
He stopped there. Didn’t say another word for a full minute, simply stared into space.
Even though she’d used up her three truths, Emily posed a question anyway. “What did you know?”
Christian turned to look at her. There was so much sadness in his eyes that her heart lurched toward him, and her arms were around his neck before she could stop them.
“That I couldn’t change her,” he said, his voice deep and husky. “That I couldn’t help her, couldn’t save her. And she was too far gone to have any hope of saving herself. So, I trundled her off to the best rehab facility in the country the next morning. It cost all my savings to get her in a six-month program. Then I bought a one-way ticket to America. Got on that plane with nothing but a change of clothes in my rucksack and a paltry roll of pounds secured by an elastic band.”
Emily desperately wanted to know what had become of his mother, if she had ever sobered up, how she’d died. But she’d already pushed her luck and gotten one more truth than he’d agreed to give her. So she bit back the questions poised on the tip of her tongue and said simply, “I’m so sorry, Christian.”
Although sorry didn’t come close to describing what she was feeling for him in that moment. She wasn’t sure there were words in the English language that could do her emotions justice.
Then, because he had given her one more truth than he’d agreed to, and because her emotions were running high and she felt she should do something, she decided to answer the last question he had posed. After all, turnabout was fair play. She prided herself on being an equitable woman.
“I can’t imagine what it was like to lose a father so early in life,” she said, playing with the ends of his hair where it brushed the back of his warm neck. “Or to know what it was to grow up with an alcoholic mother. But like you, I’m sort of the collateral damage of my childhood.”
His dark eyebrows slashed into a vee. “What do you mean?”
“You asked me to explain to you what I couldn’t explain to Richard. Why I couldn’t fall in love with him.” Part of her mind was on the ugly truth she was about to reveal; the other part was distracted by the feel of his hair between her fingertips. It was so soft. Strange for a man who in all other respects was the epitome of hardness. Hard body. Hard head. Hard…ahem. “I’m willing to give it a try.”
The look he sent her was guarded.
“But I want to make another deal with you,” she said.
“I’m listening.”
“I want you to let me go back over to the sofa.” His pretty green eyes narrowed. “What I’m about to tell you is important, and I need to be able to concentrate to get it right. To explain it right. I can’t concentrate when we’re like”—she motioned between them—“this.”
One corner of his mouth twitched. “Why not?”
Her pursed lips told him you know why without having to say the words.
Indulge me, his twinkling eyes answered.
She blew out a windy breath. “You’re distracting, okay? You’re all…” She waved a hand to indicate his entire form. “And it’s distracting.”
Not to mention destructive. As in, sitting on his lap, his arms around her, her arms around him—when had that last thing happened exactly?—was destroying her emotional fortifications, ripping them apart brick by brick until it was hard to remember why she was so determined to keep him at arm’s length.
“You do want me.” A satisfied grin kicked up the corners of his mouth. That mouth that she now knew from experience was magic. If she was a witch, then he was definitely a warlock. A sexy, tattooed English warlock.
She clucked her tongue. “Ah, ah, ah. Your arrogance is showing again.”
“Admit it,” he demanded.
“Okay, I admit it. You, sir, are arrogant.” Devilment had her fighting a grin.
“Admit that you want me, woman. I’m not letting you go until you do.”
“Fine.” Her frustration had her raising her hands and letting them fall back into her lap. “I want you. What red-blooded heterosexual woman wouldn’t? You’ve got that whole unholy trifecta thing going for you.”
“Unholy trifecta?” He looked genuinely confused.
“Tall, dark, and handsome,” she explained, touching his chin dimple. She couldn’t get enough of it. “Plus, there’s the accent.”
“I’m not the one with an accent, darling. You’re the one with an accent.”
“Whatever. The point is that it doesn’t matter that I want you; I can’t have you. And I’ll try to explain why if you’ll let me go back over to the damned sofa!”
She clamped her mouth shut, heat flooding her cheeks when she realized he’d gotten under her skin and made her lose her shit. Again. He had an unnatural knack for it.
“Fine.” He opened his arms, letting them come to rest on the arms of the chair. “You win. Your freedom for an explanation. Although, in truth, I’m hardly sure this is a better deal than the last one.”
That Emily should feel so bereft without his strong arms around her, without that thumb drawing maddening circles on her hip, was completely absurd. Which was why she scrambled off his lap and flounced over to the sofa. She didn’t want him to see the truth of her feelings on her face.
Only after she had settled into the corner, drawing her feet up onto the cushion and hugging her knees to her chest, did she dare look at him. “Like I said earlier,” she grumbled. “You wouldn’t know a good deal if it—”
“I’m warning you, Emily.” His expression was so fierce, so focused that she found herself fighting for breath. “If you mention the words bite and pecker in the same sentence again, I can’t be held responsible for what I’ll do. Likely bite you and then try to use my p—”
“Okay!” She screwed her eyes shut and covered her ears. It felt as if someone had tossed a bucket of scalding water over her head. “I get it!”
When she blinked open her eyes, it was to find him reclined back in the chair, a smug half-smile plastered over his irritatingly attractive face.

Click here to get in on this great deal!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jane Ashford's LAST GENTLEMAN STANDING & HEIR TO THE DUKE Giveaway!!

     
    Elisabeth had recrossed a stile and was traversing an open field when she heard hoofbeats behind her. Turning, she was just in time to see the rider urge his magnificent chestnut up and over the fence she had just climbed. The form of both was flawless, and she forgot herself in her admiration of the jump, watching unself-consciously, as the horseman approached her.
    The chestnut had white feet and was one of the most beautiful and spirited animals she’d ever seen. He moved with the ease and power of a true thoroughbred and might have made almost any rider appear insignificant, but the man on his back matched his quality. He looked to be tall, and his figure was well-molded and athletic. His buckskin breeches fitted him to perfection, and his coat fairly cried out its fashionable origin in the workrooms of a Weston or a Stultz. Elisabeth had seen a few gentlemen of the haut ton in Bath, and she knew enough to recognize that the deceptive simplicity of the folds of his cravat and the carefully casual arrangement of his hair were the signs of a veritable tulip, a top-of-the-trees corinthian. At that moment, she met his slightly mocking gaze and looked down in confusion, recalling herself with annoyance. She had been gaping like a schoolgirl, she thought.
     The rider pulled up before her. “I almost feel I’ve been in a competition,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant. “I hope you gave me full points for that jump.”
     Elisabeth looked up. His eyes were pale blue, she noted, in spite of his black hair and rather dark complexion. “I was staring quite rudely, I know,” she replied. “I beg your pardon. But I was transfixed by the way your horse took that fence.”
     The man patted the chestnut’s neck, “He’s wonderful, is Tristram.”
     “Tristram?” repeated Elisabeth, smiling. “That’s an uncommon name for a horse. Do you take it from Tristram Shandy?”
     The rider looked at her with much more interest than he’d first shown. “Yes, I’m fond of Sterne.”
    “Oh, it is my favorite of all books. I thought hardly anyone read it now.”
     He smiled back at her somewhat quizzically. “And I should hardly have thought it fit reading for young ladies.” He surveyed her. He was the despair of his mother and several aunts, who had all at one time or another introduced to him dazzling debutantes calculated to urge him into marriage. But though he’d treated them politely, he’d been extremely bored in their company and really had very little notion of what to say to conventional young women. Seeing that Elisabeth was a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, he continued, “But then I rarely find young ladies wandering about my land unattended. So I can’t quite make you out. Are you someone’s governess, perhaps? Do you teach your pupils from Sterne?” His amused smile faded as he went on before she could answer. “No, that doesn’t seem right.”
     Looking down at her drab garments, Elisabeth laughed. “I’m sure I don’t know why you say so. I do look very like a governess. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I was a teacher at a seminary for young ladies. Now that my uncle has obligingly left me his fortune, I shall have to change my style of dress.”
     “Uncle?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “You can’t mean old Anthony Elham? I heard of his death.”
     “Yes. I am Elisabeth Elham. Though it is not at all the thing to go about introducing oneself to strange men,” she told herself reflectively.
     The rider laughed. “I hope I’m not strange. But I beg pardon. I should have made myself known to you immediately. I am your neighbor, Derek Wincannon. Do you mean to say that old Elham has left you Willowmere?”
     Elisabeth shrugged. “It is part of the estate. And a very ramshackle part, I must say. I have never seen so neglected a house.”
     “It’s the scandal of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wincannon. “Your uncle was a shocking landlord and a worse neighbor.”
    “From what I heard of him,” answered Elisabeth, “he was uniformly shocking. I’m rather sorry I never met him.” The man laughed again. “But in any case, you may inform the neighborhood that I shall be putting the place to rights as soon as I may.”
      "That’s good news. Will you be settling there?”
      “No. At least, not immediately. I shall live in London for a time, at Elham House.”
     “For the season, I assume.”
     “Yes, I’ll be bringing out my cousin.”
     “You are bringing out someone? I’d have thought it would be the other way about.”
     “Oh, no,” Elisabeth smiled. “I’m beyond that sort of thing. Quite on the shelf, in fact,” she added lightly.
     “I see it now,” he responded dryly, “a veritable antique. How can I have mistaken you for girl in her twenties?”
     She laughed. “Well, I daresay I shall attend a few parties also, if I’m asked.”
     He smiled. “There can be little doubt of that, I should think. You’ll wish to sample the gaities of the season and attend the assemblies at Almack’s.”
     “Almack’s? Oh, no, I shouldn’t think so.”
     He raised his eyebrows.
     “My father used to tell me stories about London, and he was most severe on Almack’s. He called it the Marriage Mart and painted such a vivid picture of the trials young girls undergo as they are catalogued and labeled according to their faces and fortunes that he gave me quite a horror of the place. I don’t at all wish to go there now.”
     Mr. Wincannon’s interest was definitely caught. “Now?”
     “Well, of course I might have done so some years ago had I been offered the opportunity,” Elisabeth explained obligingly. “When one is thrown penniless upon the world at the age of nineteen, one is willing to try any shift to come about again. I was very willing then to marry to make my fortune. But I wasn’t given the chance, and how fortunate that was, really. For now, you see, there is no need.”
     Derek Wincannon laughed. “You are a most unusual girl,” he said.
     “Because I prefer to order my own life now that I have the means to do so?” asked Elisabeth. “I’m persuaded you can’t really think so. Would you give up your independence without need? No indeed. When I was desperate and might have married, no one dared offer for me. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to do so now that I have an income.”
     “Much good that will do you, I should say.”
                                                                 
                                                            a Rafflecopter giveaway 
After enjoying this classic romance, dive into Jane Ashford’s current series, The Dukes Sons! Enter to win a copy of Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford

 
 Author: Jane Ashford
Pub Date: September 5, 2017

A fortune hunter’s dream…
Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She’s proud, outspoken and independent—a definite challenge for London’s fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn’t so fascinated by the one man in London who’s not trying to woo her…

Rediscover this classic Regency romance!  Originally titled Bluestocking, this classic story has been unavailable for over 25 years and is now returning from the vault!


Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the US. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Beverly Hills, CA.

Find Jane Online:
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jessica Scott's CATCH MY FALL Spotlight



I let her go. I probably should stop fucking with her but with Kelsey, everything is complicated. And in the six months that she's been back in my life, it's only gotten more so.
"She's fine, you know," Nalini says softly. Her eyes are always bright and calm. I love Nalini like a sister and I love that she’s looking out for Kelsey because I no longer can. 
I've known Nalini a while now, ever since I started grad school. She's a magnet to other vets on campus, kind of like Eli is over at The Pint. Between the two of them, they're the sun and the moon. The rest of us are caught in their orbit.
"I know."
She smiles warmly and pats my cheek. "But you're not sure. If you were, you wouldn't watch her like that every time she walks away."
I grin and lean against the broad table behind me. I love that The Grind has broad, wide tables as well as smaller ones and comfy overstuffed chairs. "How much trouble are you causing on campus today?"
"As much as I need to," she says. She folds her arms over her chest. "When are you going to stop pining after her and do something about this awkward standoff you two have going on? I feel like I’m caught in no man's land between the French and the Germans in World War I."
"That is a terrible analogy."
"Yeah, well, you should try being caught between you two once in a while. Take pity on the rest of us who have to deal with your sexual frustration. You can practically touch it."
She follows for a few steps while I laugh and move to the line for coffee. "I don't even know what to say to that." I place my order. “Large latte, extra shot of espresso.”
"Well, that'll put hair on your chest," she says dryly.
I shake my head. "What are you poking at, Nalini?" Because she always pokes until she gets around to what she needs to say.
"Nothing much. Just wondering how things are out at The Pint?"
"They're good. I mean, I know you don't drink but you really should come out some time. There's a whole bunch of us out there, even a couple of new guys who came by last week who used to be in First Cav. You could come by and just hang out, swap war stories about Stetsons or whatever you Cav people do."
She grins and glances down at her watch. "I'm good, thanks. Though it's awful tempting. You 82d Airborne guys think you're all that with your raspberry berets."
"Bite your tongue." Damn, sometimes it feels good to walk back over familiar ground, harassing each other because of the units we've both served in. "I chewed the same dirt as you did in First Cav."
"Well, use that common ground to make some damn progress with her, why don't you?"
I sip my coffee and instantly, my blood cells are more awake than they were a moment before. "Does she say anything?" I want to add in about me. But I don't.
Because I'm a coward when it comes to Kelsey.
"You wish. And even if she did, I wouldn't break her confidence."
"I hate playing games. You know that, right?" 
"No games, Deacon." Nalini turns suddenly serious. "I worry about her. About the things she doesn't talk about."
I glance toward the door that Kelsey disappeared through. "Yeah, me too."
I know the things she doesn't talk about, at least some of them.
I know what things keep her up at night.
I know how good things used to be between us, once upon a war.
And I know exactly the moment things got screwed up.
I can't fix any of those things now, no matter how much I might want to. Kelsey has to want to unpack that stuff herself. In the few months she's been back in my life, she's given me no indication that she wants to go anywhere near our shared memories of sand and dust and war.
Not that I blame her. 
I leave Nalini at The Grind and head to the old Wilson building for my graduate seminar. I’ve got a relatively light load this semester. At some point, I have to stop avoiding my thesis and actually start typing.
I've become a master of procrastination, among other things. Funny how leaving the war and the Army behind makes you find other things to keep you occupied.
My old first sergeant would kick my ass if he knew how much I was avoiding this work. I grin, thinking of him. I should shoot him a note one of these days.
But I won't.
Lately it's been like I'm running some kind of test with myself or something. How long can I stay away from the lure of the familiar? The good memories.
And yeah, even the bad ones are good when you're talking to someone who speaks the same language. There's something comfortable about just talking to someone who's been there. Bullshitting about the stupid shit we or one of our soldiers did.
I'm pretty sure America would have kittens if she knew the kind of shenanigans her soldiers pulled on guard duty in the middle of the desert.
But I won’t make the call. I can’t. It’s like I’m trying to prove to myself that I can cut the cord between me and the Army, that I can truly function out here as a civilian and not constantly be reaching back to the guys I left behind when I left Fort Hood.
Besides, it’s not like I don’t have enough Army around me with Eli and the rest of the gang at The Pint.
I smile down at my phone, double-checking the room number for the class Professor Blake asked me to assist with. She was pretty vague about who I was going to be teaching with this semester.
I probably should have asked for more details but she's pretty much been my fairy godmother since I decided to go to grad school and get my master’s in public administration, so I figure I owe her whatever she needs.
The classroom is just inside of the old Wilson building. You can practically smell the history in this place, along with the chill from the stone walls and ancient windows. There’s too much history here for a working class kid like me. I suppose people who are used to this kind of place aren’t really awestruck by it like I still am.
I still have no idea how I got accepted here. Or how I haven't managed to be politely asked to leave.
Ah well.
I push open the door to the classroom, tucking my phone into my back pocket, and then stop short. The classroom isn’t empty.
"You've got to be shitting me." What's that they say about fiction? It's supposed to be believable, right? You can't make this shit up because no shit, there is Kelsey Ryder sitting in a corner, her back to the wall.
And she looks ready for war.


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Monday, September 18, 2017

A Chat with Kaira Rouda and THE BEST DAY EVER

If you haven't discovered Kaira yet, give THE BEST DAY EVER a go. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Kaira.
Thank you so much for having me here!

I read that you’d wanted to write since third grade, yet you went into marketing and did that for over 20 years before writing the non-fiction Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. Why did you choose marketing first?

To be honest, I didn’t have the confidence to follow my true dream. All through college, I wanted to write for the college newspaper. But I was too shy. When I got my first job as a researcher for a business newspaper, I was thrilled. I’ll never forget the moment the editor assigned me my first story and I held the paper with trembling hands when it came out. I’ll never forget that moment. Along the way, I kept my fingers in the journalism field, freelance writing for national and regional publications in addition to my marketing jobs. But I also needed to support myself, so marketing paid the bills while journalism fed my spirit. Fun fact: I was the society columnist in Columbus for ten years while helping build our real estate company. Creativity can be expressed in many different forms.

How does writing compare to building Real Living? Are they more similar than not?

Great question. Building a brand is the best. Creating its essence, its look, its feel, its keywords, the story. Much of what is the best part to me of brand building is creativity, words bring a brand to life. Real You Incorporated encompasses the approach I took to building Real Living, and it’s all about words.

Authors have spoken about characters coming to them with their stories, while others say the germ of the plot is first with the details and characters following. How do your stories begin?

That’s interesting. I would say it has happened to me both ways, plot or a strong character. BEST DAY EVER began and ended with Paul. He popped into my head fully formed and wouldn’t rest until I told his story.

Do you have a preferred genre to write so far?

Psychological suspense is where I started and I love this genre. I read widely and of course also love women’s fiction and romance. But if you forced me to pick just one area, I’d pick this one.

What’s the most difficult aspect of writing for you?

Editing.

What’s your favorite aspect of writing?

When you begin, with a blank page and the spark of inspiration. There’s nothing better.

You’ve written non-fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and a suburban thriller/suspense. Now, with BEST DAY EVER, you go darker still. Why?

I know, right? To answer your question, I’m not sure. Maybe confidence to see that understanding the darkness actually is the best way to the light. Or maybe I’m just older and grumpier. ;-)

Please tell us about BEST DAY EVER

A suburban husband and father promises his wife that today, the start of their long weekend together, will be her best day ever. He may have something more sinister in mind. What I’ve discovered about discussing this novel in particular is that if I explain too much, it will give too much away.

Have you read anything lately you’d highly recommend?

I have been on a thriller/suspense reading binge. It’s been wonderful. I had the chance to visit London this summer and met so many amazing women suspense writers: Erin Kelly, Alice Feeney, Paula Hawkins, BA Paris, Mel McGrath – and then I was in New York and met JT Ellison and AF Brady and well, I just have to say, it’s a fabulous community of authors to strive to be a small part of and I’d recommend any of their novels. Should I go on and gush about all of my author friends on social media who I cannot wait to meet? I mean read Heather Gudenkauf, Mary Kubica, Kate Moretti, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke…I should stop here. Right now, I’m reading A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena and scaring myself. It’s the best.

I've enjoyed BA Paris and Heather Gudenkauf.

You’ve been successful across several fields, is there anything you haven’t done/accomplished that you intend to go for next?

That’s so kind of you to say. I am blessed to have a wonderful life. At the moment, my husband is running for congress so I’m committed to doing all I can to support his race for the 48th district in California. I also have four kids who are following their dreams, and I love cheering them on. As for me, I’m living my dream so I can’t think of anything better than the chance to write my next novel. Oh, and travel. Because I love that, too.
Good luck to your husband in his congressional bid, and thank you again for visiting. 

Thank you for the best questions ever! I thoroughly enjoyed this interview!! Thank you!!
So sweet of you to say that, thank you. Glad you enjoyed it!

Y'all be sure and stop by later for my review of BEST DAY EVER.



The perfect couple is the perfect illusion.

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he's the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That's why he's planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? How much do they trust each other? Is Paul the person he seems to be? And what are his secret plans for their weekend at the cottage?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Evercrackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion.

In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

"As I opened the door and stepped into the humid night, her scream followed me out. But I knew there was still love for me in her heart…

I'm unforgettable."


Where to buy BEST DAY EVER: At your local bookstore or online at

Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction, including Here, Home, Hope, and The Goodbye Year. Kaira is also the author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs and the creator of Real Living, one of the nation’s most successful real estate brands and the first national women-focused brand in real estate. She now lives in Southern California with her family, where she’s lucky enough to write full time, and enjoys the beach whenever possible. Kaira’s latest novel, Best Day Ever, is one of the major launch titles for Harlequin’s new imprint Graydon House, and will be available on September 19, 2017.


To connect with Kaira, visit her website, KairaRouda.com. Connect with her on Facebook.com/KairaRoudaBooks; and on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter - @KairaRouda.

Jessica Scott's CATCH MY FALL Release Blast!

THE FALLING SERIES

     

Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped. 
Trapped in the friend zone. Longing for the woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq. 
Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars she hopes that no one ever sees. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind. 
But some scars refuse to stay hidden. 
One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same. 
All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.

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THE HOMEFRONT SERIES

(contemporary military romance set at Ft Hood)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Win an AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF CHASING RED by Isabelle Ronin

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THEY SAID SHE WAS GOING TO BE MY RUIN...
THEN LET HER RUIN ME.

He had everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until one chance encounter changed everything.
The moment Caleb Lockhart spotted the mysterious woman in her siren red dress, he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
For the first time in his life, he wanted something. Something he knew he could never have.
The unforgettable stranger he dubs RED.

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Available September 5th 
The beach was a good half-hour drive from Caleb’s place. We drove there with our windows open, the wind blowing my long hair. It was dark, the roads free of traffic.
I felt excited, energized, and at the same time Caleb’s hand in mine calmed my anxious mind.
He threw me a glance, his thumb stroking my palm.
“I’m glad you’re here with me, Red.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. No one had said that to me before. I turned my gaze out the window so he wouldn’t see how much his words had affected me.
Tonight I was seeing a side of Caleb I hadn’t encountered before. I didn’t know what to think of it, or maybe I did but refused to think about it.
All I knew was that I liked this boy as I had never liked anyone before.
He parked his car in front of the lakeside shops that had already closed for the night. We took off our shoes, then walked on the beach, the white sand cool as our feet dug into it.
The wind was a little chilly, and I wrapped my arms around my middle to ward off the cold. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Caleb shrug out of his jacket.
“Here,” he said, placing it on my shoulders.
“What about you?”
“Just hold my hand. You warm me up.”
But he was the one who warmed me up inside as his hand reached for mine again, pulling me close to his side as we walked.
“I knew you were avoiding me,” he began after a moment. His voice held no resentment, only understanding. That surprised me. “I knew you didn’t want anything to do with me the past few weeks, but I thought about you. Actually,” he corrected, his voice deepening. “I think I’m a little obsessed.”
He sighed when I didn’t respond as quickly as he may have expected. “I’m sorry if I made you feel like I was forcing you to do something you didn’t like.”
I walked beside him for a moment, listening to the sound of the waves before I answered. “I’m sorry I said that. It’s not that, really… You confuse me, Caleb.”
I knew he was waiting for me to say something more, to explain, but the words were stuck in my throat.
“Sometimes I think you’re a very sad girl, Red.”
He was more observant than I’d given him credit for. Because he was right, I realized. I had been sad for a long, long time. I had been starved for love and affection for so long that I’d forgotten what it felt like. I had refused to let anyone in, afraid to be hurt again. But this boy holding my hand was stripping me of my armor bit by bit.
It scared me.
“All I could think about was how to make you smile again. Not the fake ones you give to people to be polite. I want your real smile, where your eyes light up and your lips stretch up to your ears.”
My ears were ringing. What was he trying to say?
“You confuse me,” I repeated. “I-I don’t know what you want.”
He stopped suddenly, and I had to turn around to face him.
“Don’t you?” he asked solemnly, directly.
His eyes were burning with emotion. I looked away.
Who was this boy? This intense, serious boy who looked at me as if he could see my soul.
“I-I’m not ready, Caleb.”
He nodded. “That’s okay. I’ve been waiting for you to come along for a long time now. I think I can wait some more.”
“Don’t you think this is too fast?”
“The thing is, I’ve made up my mind. And my mind says it’s you. If I’d just met you today, I would still want you today, tomorrow, five days from now…” His voice trailed off, and I was scared he was going to say forever or some ridiculous thing like that.
I didn’t believe in forever. Forever was for people who believed in fairy tales. And I never had.
“You’re scaring me.”
He let out a quiet laugh. “I know. You just have to endure it.” He paused. “After all, how could you give up a handsome boy like me?”
And the usual Caleb was back.
“But you have to promise me something,” I said.
“What is it?”
“Don’t kiss me.”
He did that thing again where he angled his head and studied me. I squirmed.
“You’re afraid of my kisses.” It wasn’t a question. “You’re afraid of how they make you feel.”
I swallowed a chunk of cowardice that was lodged in my throat. Of course, he was right. How could he know what I was feeling before I realized it myself?
“Why promise something when I’d fail miserably?”
“Will you try at least?” I persisted.
“No, Red.”
He looked to the water, sighed, and looked at me.
“I don’t think I could keep from kissing you if I wanted to. It’s not even a choice for me anymore. I need to touch you, to breathe you in. I need to see you look up at me and smile. I need to see you happy…even grumpy or angry, as long as I can see you. I crave everything about you. I crave everything about you a little too much.”
I held my breath as my heart knocked wildly against my chest.
Suddenly he sat on the sand, resting his back on a broken tree trunk and tugging me down with him.
“Lie back on me.”
I had about two seconds before he was pulling me toward him, my back against his chest, my legs encased between his. I was drowning in Caleb.
“Just relax. I won’t kiss you tonight if you really don’t want me to.”
Suddenly, I wanted him to kiss me again.
What was wrong with me? When he was offering it, I didn’t want it, but now faced with the possibility that he wouldn’t kiss me tonight, I suddenly yearned for it.
I rested my cheek on his shoulder, inhaling his scent. He stiffened.
“Don’t do that if you don’t want to be kissed tonight. I only have so much control before I—” He cut himself off before he could finish.
“Before you what?” I could hear the smile in my voice. Even to my ears, I sounded…happy.
Caleb couldn’t resist me. Caleb, the gorgeous and charming boy that everyone wanted, couldn’t resist me. Me, someone used to not being wanted. It seemed unreal.
His eyes narrowed. “Are you deliberately provoking me?”
His expression turned serious as he cupped my face with his hands and forced me to look at him.
“What do you want, Red?” he whispered, his voice husky.
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Hadn’t he figured out that I’d changed my mind and wanted him to kiss me? Was I not throwing him enough signals?
“Say it, or I won’t do it,” he declared, his eyes mesmerizing me into surrender.
“Kiss me, Caleb.”
I didn’t have to say it twice. His mouth claimed my lips. Gone were the butterfly kisses; gone were the teasing and coaxing. This was a branding. One of his hands was on my back, pushing me against him, while the other plunged into my hair, cupping my head so that he could control the kiss.
I own you, his kiss said. We kissed for a long, long time.