A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

HELLO STRANGER by Lisa Kleypas

The Ravenels series #4

THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by Emma Scott

Companion to the Full Tilt series

MEMPHIS by Ginger Scott

A standalone sports romance

UNWRITTEN by Jen Frederick

Woodlands series #5

Cross My Heart by L.H. Cosway

Hearts series #5.75

MOONSHADOW by Thea Harrison

Moonshadow series #1

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven



“Fierce and captivating, PHOENIX UNBOUND is the story of a gladiator and a fire witch fighting for their freedom against an empire that wants them enslaved. With impossible odds, breathtaking battles, terrifying magic, and an unlikely love, this book is a must read. Grace Draven is a master of romantic heroic fantasy.”  -New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews



Ace Trade Paperback | September 25, 2018


A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

Purchase your copy now!
Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and a USA Today Bestselling author. Find out more about Grace Draven online at gracedraven.com.

Follow her: Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook




REVIEW


Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire, #1)Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven


Title: Phoenix Unbound
Series: Fallen Empire #1
Author: Grace Draven
Release date: September 25, 2018
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 5 stars 



    She and this slave fighter shared a common truth. He dealt death with sword and ax, and she with fire. Neither commanded their fates.

This is exactly the kind of fantasy I love to read, but is so difficult to find. The storyline instantly engaged me, first of all. Which is not very common in the genre, as a general rule. The first in a fantasy series tends to take more time to get into because of the world building detail. In this case, Grace Draven has done a flawless job setting the scene in bite sized increments that allow you to sink your teeth into the real flesh of the story. I didn't waste a moment of this book. I painstakingly consumed it, savoring the atmospheric world one word at a time. You will take a trip out of the dank cells at the coliseum with captive blood soaked gladiators, through haunted towns, barrows with demonic guardians, past the imposing fire veil to the beautiful Sky Below. Where revenge will be satisfied, and two reluctant hearts will twine together that are destined to be torn apart.

Azarion and Gilene's personal plights are front and center from page one in gritty, raw, detail. Enslaved to the foul Empire, they no longer have the privilege of living a normal life. Their whole existence is narrowed down to one simple goal: survival. Honor, perseverance, and courage are traits they both share, and they were both equally heroic characters in their own right. Be prepared for them to cast their spell upon you and leave you utterly enchanted.

    When the struggle only pleased the torturer and made the torture worse, you stopped fighting and learned to endure. To endure was to survive.

Gilene has the unfortunate duty of being the sacrificial lamb for Beroe year after year. Every generation, one person is born with her gift of fire manipulation. They're expected to become a "Flower of Spring" to be burned on the pyre as an offering to the gods. She faces her responsibility with grim obedience, because the alternative would weigh too heavily on her conscience. How could she refuse, when other lives would be lost unnecessarily? Possibly even those in her own family? While I admired her for her incredible strength, those she protected were selfish and weak in comparison.

I loathed them all for hiding behind her, and forcing her into a lifetime of hell. Physically and emotionally, she's a force to be reckoned with. Spiritually she is broken. The bitterness she feels towards the gods is something that holds her back from grasping who she truly is. She is a woman of immense power, even holding the ability of illusion, which is unheard of for other fire witches. Her latest illusion is about to fail her in the most spectacular of ways, and it will change her life forever.

Azarion is the Gladius Prime at the Coliseum. After ten years of enslavement to the Empire, he has become the fiercest fighter to play in their deadly games. He lives with one goal in mind, and that is to return to the Stara Dragana and reclaim what was stolen from him so long ago. All of the torture he's suffered only fueled the fire inside him to find justice. Gilene is his key to achieving that, and he doesn't hesitate to coerce, threaten, and kidnap in order to set his plan in motion.

There wasn't a moment of boredom with these two as they made their way to his clan on their long journey. Their path certainly wasn't for the faint of heart, but luckily they were both well used to tests of character and strength. Together, they were a force to be reckoned with. Grudgingly, on her part. While he grew closer to everything he ever wanted with each step they took, hers took her away from where she was honor bound to be. The tension between them was well done, ratcheting up my excitement to see them come together and help find some measure of healing.

    Painful memories battered him. He allowed them their abuse, then pushed them away. He might one day be able to face them and not flinch, scatter them into nothing because they no longer meant anything to him, but today was not that day.

This book. This incredible book. I loved every single minute in between the pages, and my mind refused to leave long after I closed it. It holds nothing back and goes right for the jugular. It was brutal fights, lovers finding tender solace, awe-inspiring backdrops, and some kick ass, powerful magic. Most importantly, as you can expect from Grace Draven, she has created characters you have no choice but to become invented in, and root for good to conquer evil.

It's invigorating to find a fantasy that isn't something you've read a million times before. It was different even from what I was expecting based on what she delivered in Radiance. It had a noticeably darker tone, but she didn't skimp on the emotional development of the romance in between the suspense. It was a slow burn in the background that was magnificent when it finally sparked. The ending was breathtaking!! My heart was in my throat the entire time, and I was white-knuckling my kindle through the action. And the good news? There is NO cliffy at the end, it leaves you with more story to tell, but not in a place of suspense. So really, what are you waiting for? Go one-click this stunning introduction to the Fallen Empire series, where a thrilling adventure awaits you.


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Monday, September 17, 2018

Blog Tour with Giveaway: Vampires Like It Hot by Lynsay Sands



New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands brings the heat in this new Argeneau novel, as one woman is rescued by an irresistible immortal …

“Vampires…”
When Raffaele Notte pulls a barely dressed, disoriented woman from the ocean, the last thing he expects is for her to utter that word. The immortal has come to the island resort to help his cousin, but now, it seems, there are rogue vampires dining on unsuspecting tourists. And he soon realizes that not only is Jess a target, she’s also the life mate he’s been waiting for…
Vampires are real. Jess would’ve never believed it until she saw them with her own eyes. She knows she has to get off the island, and her gallant rescuer has offered to help. There’s something about Raffaele that’s unlike any man she has ever met, and his touch sends pleasure through her that is beyond all imagining. But when Jess discovers who he really is, will she risk life as she knows it for a chance of forever by his side?

About the Book

Vampires Like It Hotby Lynsay Sands
SeriesArgeneau Series
GenreAdult
Paranormal Romance
PublisherAvon Books
Publication DateSeptember 18, 2018
Purchase Your Copy Today!

Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks






EXCERPT


“It’s a woman.”

“Who is she?”

“She’s wearing a life jacket.”

“What happened?”

“How did she end up in the water?”

Raffaele shook his head at the rapid-fire questions shot at him by Zanipolo and Santo as he carried the woman out of the water. Rather than answer, he merely said, “Bring my clothes, please,” and walked past them, heading for the resort buildings.

The men had already gathered his clothes for him on the way down, so merely fell into step on either side of him as he walked.

“Is she alive?” Zanipolo asked with a frown, leaning slightly in front of Raffaele to look at the woman in his arms as they walked,.

“Yes,” Raffaele said quietly. “I think she has just fainted from her exhaustion.”

“Are you taking her to the resort clinic?” Santo asked as they reached the rows of lounge chairs at the head of the beach.

“No. I want to look her over myself first,” Raffaele said solemnly.

“Why?” Santo asked at once.

“Two reasons,” Raffaele responded as they made their way out of the rows of chairs and reached the concrete paths leading to the various resort buildings. Much to his relief the paths were pretty much deserted at this hour with most people already in bed, or situated in the bar enjoying the entertainment. There were only one or two guests making their way to their rooms and they paid them no attention.

“What is the first reason?” Santo asked as they approached the paths around the pools.

“I want to look her over for bites,” Raffaele admitted.

“Bites?” Zanipolo asked with interest. “What makes you think she might have been bitten?”

“Because when I asked her if she’d fallen off a boat or cruise ship, she said no, she jumped, and when I asked why, she said—” he glanced around to be sure no one was near enough to hear, and then lowered his voice anyway as he finished with “‘—vampires.’”

“Bingo,” Zanipolo said with grim satisfaction as they got past the pools and approached their building. “She’ll be able to tell us where the vampire nest is and how they operate. It’s got to be some kind of dinner cruise or something. Or it could be a day cruise. She could have had to swim a long way.” He frowned over that briefly as they reached their building and walked along the open hall to the stairs, and then asked, “What is the second reason you want to examine her before we take her to the resort clinic?”

“When I got to her she was beyond exhausted,” Raffaele said as they started up the stairs. “Her words were slurred and she could hardly keep her eyes open. I thought it would be easier all around if I read her mind to see what had happened, and took control of her to drag her in.”

“And?” Santo prodded as they exited the stairs at their floor and started along the hall to their room.

Raffaele was silent for a minute, having trouble accepting what he was about to say himself, but when they reached the door to their suite and Santo pulled out his key card to unlock the door, Raffaele swallowed and said in almost a whisper, “I couldn’t read her.”

Santo had got the door unlocked and started to open it before Raffaele spoke, but now he stiffened and turned sharply to peer at him with amazement. “What?”

Raffaele merely nodded.

“Score!” Zanipolo shouted gleefully. “Didn’t I tell you? I told you! Didn’t I? Hot resorts are the way to go to find our mates! I so toldyou that!”

“Yes, you did,” Raffaele admitted with amusement as Santo pushed the door open for him to carry his life mate into the room.

“And he’ll remind you of that every day for the rest of his life,” Santo said dryly as he let the door close, locked it, and then hit the light switch, turning on the overhead light.

“Sì, I will,” Zanipolo agreed gleefully, moving to Raffaele’s side to peer down at the woman he held. Eyeing her almost reverently now, he whispered, “Cugino, your life mate is very pretty.”

“Yes, she is,” Raffaele agreed solemnly, his gaze sliding over her as well. Her lips were full and looked soft, her nose straight, and while they were closed now, he knew her eyes were large and lovely, and an eggshell blue. Her hair, of course, was wet, but appeared to be a dark brown.

“What is her name?” Santo asked, moving closer to look her over as well.

Raffaele stiffened at the question. “I don’t know her name,” he admitted.

“You didn’t ask her?” Santo asked with surprise.

Raffaele shook his head.

“Are you kidding me?” Zanipolo asked with disbelief. “You finally meet your mate and you did not even ask her name?”

Raffaele opened his mouth to respond, but was forestalled when the woman in his arms suddenly began to shriek and thrash wildly about.



Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of VAMPIRES LIKE IT HOT by Lynsay Sands, we’re giving away a paperback copy of Twice Bitten!


GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 9/28/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


About Lynsay Sands


LYNSAY SANDS is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there’s occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at http://www.lynsaysands.net.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon


Friday, September 14, 2018

Cover Reveal: Desolate by Autumn Grey




Title: Desolate
Series: Grace Trilogy #1
Author: Autumn Grey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Okay Creations
Release Date: September 24, 2018



Blurb

There are angels and demons at war inside my head.

I had it all figured out: finish high school, attend seminary and finally answer my calling of becoming a priest. What I hadn’t counted in the equation was her.

Grace Miller.

The girl who was always out of my reach. The girl who still makes me lose my breath with just a look.

Little did I know she would become my temptation and vice, and quite possibly, my ruin.

Now I’m standing at a crossroads, and my head is a battlefield. How do I choose sides when it means losing a part of who I am?







Playlist








Author Bio

Autumn Grey writes sexy, angsty contemporary romance that always ends with a happy ever after.  She loves reading stories with flawed and quirky characters, broody alphas and sassy heroines. 


Author Links





Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blog Tour with Giveaway: A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe






Joanna Shupe returns to New York City’s Gilded Age, where fortunes and reputations are gained and lost with ease—and love can blossom from the most unlikely charade.
With the fate of her disgraced family resting on her shoulders, Lady Christina Barclay has arrived in New York City from London to quickly secure a wealthy husband. But when her parents settle on an intolerable suitor, Christina turns to her reclusive neighbor, a darkly handsome and utterly compelling inventor, for help.
Oliver Hawkes reluctantly agrees to a platonic marriage . . . with his own condition: The marriage must end after one year. Not only does Oliver face challenges that are certain to make life as his wife difficult, but more importantly, he refuses to be distracted from his life’s work—the development of a revolutionary device that could transform thousands of lives, including his own.
Much to his surprise, his bride is more beguiling than he imagined. When temptation burns hot between them, they realize they must overcome their own secrets and doubts, and every effort to undermine their marriage, because one year can never be enough.


About the Book

A Notorious Vowby Joanna Shupe
SeriesThe Four Hundred Series
GenreAdult
Historical Romance
PublisherAvon Books
Publication DateSeptember 25, 2018
Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks



EXCERPT


He was done fighting.

If she did not desire him, then so be it. He would not pressure or try to convince her. However, if there was a chance for them to occasionally enjoy each other physically during the next few months, he was dashed well going to take it.

Then she could find a normal man, one without Oliver’s quirks and stubbornness.

Until then, she was his.

Mouth gone dry, he licked his lips. “May I ask you a question?” She nodded so he went back to the ledger and wrote. The night in the gallery, were you disappointed I did not kiss you?

Her brows rose slightly as she read, clearly taken aback by his question, but she did not look at him. Instead, she took the pencil from his hand and turned over a new page in the book. A bit.

Heart pounding in his chest, he wrote, And if I asked to kiss you now, what would be your answer?

Her fingers gripped the pencil so tightly while writing that her fingertips went white. She bit her lip as she turned the ledger toward him.

I would say yes.

She’d actually written it.

Christina could scarcely believe she’d done it. Yet somehow it was easier to be truthful on paper than speaking aloud.

And it had been the truth. She wanted to kiss him. Badly.



Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A NOTORIOUS VOW by Joanna Shupe, we’re giving away one paperback set of the entire Four Hundred series!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the Four Hundred series by Joanna Shupe. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 9/25/2018 @ 1159pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copy out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


About Joanna Shupe

JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. In 2013, she won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband. To connect with Joanna, visit JoannaShupe.com.

Author Links

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon



Monday, September 10, 2018

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Drave



I recently read Grace Draven's Radiance, and fell in love with her magical storytelling. So of course, I jumped at the chance to read her beautiful upcoming novel, Phoenix Unbound! Read on for more info about this exciting title, and enter Penguin's epic Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit!

“Fierce and captivating, PHOENIX UNBOUND is the story of a gladiator and a fire witch fighting for their freedom against an empire that wants them enslaved. With impossible odds, breathtaking battles, terrifying magic, and an unlikely love, this book is a must read. Grace Draven is a master of romantic heroic fantasy.”  -New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews



Ace Trade Paperback | September 25, 2018


A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

Pre-order your copy now!
Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and a USA Today Bestselling author. Find out more about Grace Draven online at gracedraven.com.

Follow her: Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook




These six first-in-series books are essential to building your fantasy romance collection! 
20 runners-up will receive an advance reading copy of Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven!



SLAVE TO SENSATION by Nalini Singh


MAGIC BITES by Ilona Andrews


WRITTEN IN RED by Anne Bishop


CRY WOLF by Patricia Briggs

PHOENIX UNBOUND by Grace Draven


WILD HUNGER by Chloe Neill






Friday, September 7, 2018

Cover Reveal: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

ON DUBLIN STREET by Samantha Young has a brand new cover! Take a look at this beauty!




EXCERPT


On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Chapter 1 – from Braden’s POV

     
Sighing, Braden shrugged his shoulders back and looked up at the sky, squinting against the sunlight. Decked out in a three-piece suit on a hot day like this didn’t ease his growing frustration with his plan to sell La Cour. No one knew he was thinking of selling La Cour except Thomas Prendergast, a fellow restaurateur. A successful one. If any of his business associates knew Braden was selling La Cour they’d think he was nuts. The restaurant had a world-class chef and a stellar reputation. And it made money.

In truth, Braden was just stretched too thin and not interested in La Cour. All his concentration and focus was going into making his nightclub Fire a success, developing properties that turned profits, and of course he still had his father’s estate agency to keep up with, as well as a successful Scottish seasonal restaurant he co-owned with the chef, Frazier Allie, down on the Shore.

La Cour as it stood was a nuisance, a nuisance Braden felt obligated to attend to since his father worked so hard to make it the success it was. But his father had always told him that when business became a nuisance rather than a challenge, and was no longer satisfying, it was time to move on to greener pastures.

Thomas was dragging his feet with an answer.

He glanced back at the restaurant. Come on, Thomas, make up your mind, man.

Braden’s phone beeped in his pocket. He pulled it out and glanced at the digital reminder informing him he had a meeting in twenty minutes with one of his managers at Douglas Carmichael & Co, the estate agency his grandfather built up from the ground up to become one of the primary agencies in the Lothians.

Shit.

He’d spent longer with Thomas Prendergast than he’d meant to. Scowling, Braden walked toward Bruntsfield Church, his pale blue eyes trained on the road ahead, willing a cab to make an appearance. Only seconds later one turned around the corner and he stepped out onto the curb with his arm raised. To his relief the taxi pulled up to him. He’d make his meeting.

Reaching for the handle on the passenger side, a clean, fruity smell drifted towards him seconds before a warm, small and very feminine hand collided with his.

Braden dipped his head and looked down into the face of a woman, her skin bright from the sunlight, her eyes narrowed to slits as she squinted against the sun behind his head. There was a surprised disgruntlement in her expression. Clearly she assumed this was her black cab. Braden prepared to disabuse her of the notion but stopped. His father taught him that reading people, and by that he meant all the things they didn’t say with their mouths but did with their bodies and eyes, was the key to success in business. Braden read stubbornness in her features he could make out and in the obstinate tension she held in her shoulders. He was in no mood for stubbornness or fighting over a bloody cab after his meeting with Thomas had come to no satisfactory conclusion.

For the sake of expedience Braden asked, “Which way are you headed?”

He heard the words ‘Dublin Street’ and did what he always did: maneuvered things to his liking. “Good.” He pulled the cab door open. “I’m heading in that direction, and since I’m already running late, might I suggest we share the taxi instead of wasting ten minutes deciding who needs it more.” He placed a hand on the small of her back and nudged her into the cab.

Relieved she didn’t stall them, Braden got in after her and immediately gave the cab driver their first destination. His sister, Ellie, lived on Dublin Street in a flat he’d renovated and then gifted to her. Ellie was his half-sister—they shared the same father. She’d never had it particularly easy from their dad. That was putting it politely. Douglas Carmichael was a negligent bastard and despite the fact that he and Braden had finally become friends of a sort before he died, Braden had never forgiven him for his treatment of Ellie. The guilt Douglas should have felt transferred to Braden, and he’d done everything he could to make sure her life was easier, and that she knew he cared. Giving her the flat meant she could concentrate on that PhD she was studying for. Braden might think the PhD impractical, but it made her happy, and in the end that was all that mattered. He also liked having her close to the estate agency which was on Dundas Street. Anytime he was in the area, which was more often than not, he could drop by to see Els. Braden was lucky to call Ellie not only his sister, but one of his closest friends, and it was nice to escape the stress of his business life at least for ten minutes when he stopped by for a coffee with her.

Braden decided he’d get the cab driver to stop at the top of Dublin Street, burl around and come back toward Dundas Street. It would be easier to drop him off first but it was ingrained in him to never let a woman pay for anything, so he’d drop off the unexpected passenger so he could pay the fare.

“Thanks I guess,” the woman answered from his left, the words sardonic. It wasn’t the tone that drew his attention. It was the husky, sexy voice and the American accent.

Glancing in interest at her, Braden almost did a double take. She was attractive. Very. So busy checking her out he asked somewhat stupidly, “You’re an American?”

She turned to him and as soon as their eyes met Braden felt his blood heat with the impact. Jesus fucking Christ. Intelligent, exotic, feline gray eyes appraised him as she tucked a loose strand of dark-blonde hair behind her ear. Her hair was long and pulled back in a pony-tail, giving him an unhindered view of a graceful neck and an arresting face. For some reason he couldn’t look away.

Watching her eyes drop to his body, drinking him in, Braden was intrigued. He was used to women looking at him. He was a big guy and he worked out and he’d had no complaints from women. He wasn’t, however, used to a woman appearing so consternated by the fact that she was checking him out. He raised an eyebrow, curious about her.

“Yeah, I’m American.”

That voice. He shifted in his seat. She really did have the sexiest voice he’d ever heard. He wanted to hear it again. “Just visiting?” Braden murmured.

“Nope.”

“Then you’re a student?”

Whatever she heard in his tone it made her tense. Braden envied her casual, light clothing in this heat and thanked God for throwing her in his path on a day so hot in Scotland it had caused the American to wear those tiny shorts.

True, she wasn’t his usual type. Most of his girlfriends, including his current girlfriend Holly, and his ex-wife Analise, were tall, slender platinum blondes. The American was the opposite of every woman he’d ever dated.

And yet… she was beyond appealing.

She had surprisingly large breasts for such a delicately built woman—big boobs, wee waist, and another surprise were those gorgeous legs of hers. They were shapely and long despite her small stature. Hot blood rushed southwards.

Bloody Nora.

When Braden finally dragged his eyes up to her expressive face he noted the raised eyebrow. He’d been caught eating her up and she did not look impressed. Amused, he grinned at her. Usually this would incur a responding grin. Instead the brat rolled her eyes at him.

“I was a student,” she answered, and Braden’s ears warmed to the purr of her dulcet voice. “I live here. Dual citizenship.”

“You’re part Scottish?”

She gave him a barely-there nod and seemed intent to not look at him. He smiled inwardly, feeling anticipation he hadn’t felt in a while, and definitely not over a woman. It was the anticipation of a challenge. Women came quite easily to him and it certainly made life less difficult. Life was stressful enough in business. But he couldn’t argue with what this strange, inexplicable feeling toward the American.

He’d never felt instant attraction like it.

Braden eyed her and grew even more dangerously hot at the idea of turning that willful glint in her stunning eyes soft with need as he explored every inch of her.

He shifted in his seat again, disappointment settling over him when he belatedly remembered he was seeing someone else. Since he wasn’t the kind of man to ask for another woman’s number while he was in a relationship that meant he’d have to ignore whatever was between him and the American.

Bugger.


The timing was fucked.

He couldn’t have her. Eyeing her mouth, despite knowing that conversation—or anything—was pointless, he found himself asking, “What do you do now that you’ve graduated?”

She shot him a look out of the corner of her eyes and it seemed to hold more than a hint of disdain. “What do you do? I mean, when you’re not manhandling women into cabs?”

It occurred to Braden that a man knew he was really bored with life when he got a kick out of a woman’s condescension. “What do you think I do?”

“I’m thinking lawyer. Answering questions with questions, manhandling…”

“I’m not a lawyer. But you could be. I seemed to recall a question answered with a question. And that,” he gestured to her full mouth, wondering how she’d taste, “That’s a definite smirk.” His voice was thick with want and he knew she heard it in the way her eyes flared as their gazes met.

Yeah, she felt the heat too.

The air in the cab was suddenly heavy with sexual tension. An undeniable, incredible electricity that Braden really fucking wanted to explore.

As awful as it was, he was cursing the existence of Holly, his current girlfriend, to hell in that moment. What he had with Holly wasn’t special. It was just fun. But it was exclusive.

Shit.

The American not only looked away but seemed to deliberately lean her whole body away from him as she stared out at the passing traffic. As he watched her attempt to create a distance between them with silence, his eyes caressed the sharp sweep of her jawline and the smoothness of her olive skin. She had great skin. Skin that told of her age, and it suddenly occurred to him that the American was quite young, probably ages with Ellie. He hadn’t realized at first because she had seemed attractively self-possessed.

Now she seemed uncomfortable… perhaps inexperienced?

It should have put him off.

It didn’t.

Whoever she was, however she was, Braden was intrigued.

He wanted to work her out.

“Are you shy?” He asked trying not to sound like a condescending prick.

She turned to him with a bemused smile. “Excuse me?”

Not shy then. He eyed her carefully. She wasn’t as easy to read as he’d first thought. He liked that. “Are you shy?” he repeated to be polite, already knowing the answer to that question was no. She was something, but it wasn’t shy.

“Why would you think that?”

He decided to see just how self-possessed she really was. “Most women would be taking advantage of my imprisonment in the taxi with them—chew my ear off, shove their phone number in my face…as well as other things.” His eyes instantly lowered to her lush breasts, letting her know he thought they were well worthy of the attention.

Anticipating either a blush or a scowl when he drew his eyes back to her face, Braden was taken aback to find her grinning at him. Fuck. Her smile hit him with more of an impact than her sexy body. She had one helluva sweet smile. “Wow, you really think a lot of yourself.”


He grinned back. “I’m just speaking from experience.”

“Well, I’m not the kind of girl who hands out her number to a guy she just met.”

Even though he couldn’t ask for her number he was immediately disappointed by her answer. He’d begun building an idea of who she was in his head and prudish girl next door was definitely not it. “Ahh,” he looked away. “You’re a no-sex-until-the-third-date, marriage-and-babies kind of woman.” Not exactly his type.

“No, no, and no,” she answered, seeming affronted by the idea. So affronted in fact that he suddenly wondered if the opposite was true. Was he in the presence of that rare creature? A woman afraid of commitment?

“Interesting,” he murmured.

“I’m not giving you my number.”

Unfortunately Braden couldn’t seduce her number out of her. “I didn’t ask for it. And even if I wanted it, I wouldn’t ask for it.” Fucking lie. “I have a girlfriend.” Unfortunately, true. Braden mentally slapped himself across the head for that ungentlemanly thought. Holly was a good girl and deserved better than that.

“Then stop looking at me like that.”

“I have a girlfriend, but I’m not blind. Just because I can’t do anything doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to look.” A crying shame if you asked him. He wanted to look. He wanted to look past the cynical eyes and through the sweet smile and find out which one of them was her. Maybe she was both. Maybe she was neither. He didn’t know. At all. And he wanted to. Jesus.

“Here’s good, thanks.”

What? His fascination with her mystery was suddenly brought to an abrupt halt by her direction to the driver. They weren’t at Dublin Street yet. They still had… Braden looked outside. They were at Queen Street Gardens, only seconds from her destination. And why was he panicking? She was off limits.

The driver pulled up to the curb and she handed him fare and reached for the door.

“Wait,” Braden found himself saying.

She turned to him, her expression impatient. “What?”

Braden sensed he had seconds here. He could either tell her to take her money back and offer to pay for the entire cab fare as he intended. Or he could ask her the one thing that had been itching at him since they met.

“Do you have a name?”

She smiled and Braden automatically found himself smiling with her. “Actually, I have two.”

What?

She jumped out of the cab and despite the loss of her he found myself chuckling at her cool reply.

It was his own fault. He’d asked a smart woman the wrong question.

Just as abruptly as she’d left him, Braden’s amusement fled. He realized he’d probably never see her again. Now that really was a crying shame. His father was right. His intuition was what made him a successful businessman, and his intuition was telling him he’d just let a great opportunity pass him by.

Swallowing his disappointment, Braden directed the cabbie to turnabout and head toward his meeting… in an even worse fucking mood than he’d started out in.

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About the Author


Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Fight or Flight, a new standalone to be published by Berkley Romance, is out October 9th 2018. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha's YA contemporary novels The Impossible Vastness of Us and The Fragile Ordinary are published by Harlequin Teen. Her next adult contemporary romance As Dust Dances releases August 7th 2018. It follows the story of homeless ex-poprock star Skylar Finch and the ambitious Scottish A&R Exec Killian O'Dea who shakes up life as she knows it. Samantha is from a small town in Central Scotland and is known for her romantic stories set in her beloved home country. She is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author. When she's not writing books, she's buying shoes she doesn't really need and searching for nooks and crannies to shelve her ever-expanding book collection. To learn more head on over to her website.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Review: Intercepted by Alexa Martin



Title: Intercepted
Author: Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #1
Genre: Sports Romance
Publication date: September 11, 2018
Publisher: Berkley


Synopsis

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there's a new player on the horizon, and he's in a league of his own...

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There's just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team's wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee's return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin's relationship to survive the season.

PURCHASE 

Google: goo.gl/rHbgsu

Praise for Intercepted:


“Reading Intercepted is like drinking wine and gossping with your best girlfriends.
It’s fast-paced, flirty, and laugh-out-loud funny without the hangover the next day.”— HELEN HOANG, AUTHOR OF THE KISS QUOTIENT


"All the hot sports and romance action you could hope for."—Kylie Scott, New York Times Bestselling author

REVIEW


InterceptedIntercepted by Alexa Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars








    He lights up a part of me that fades away without him. It’s not that I’m not whole without him— I am. It’s just that with him— next to him— everything shines brighter. Gavin doesn’t make my world, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t enhance it.

Marlee is one of the sassiest, and most entertaining heroine I've read in some time. Her snarky narration made the book for me, as she had me laughing out loud on countless occasions. But besides her fantastic sense of humor, there was quite a bit more to love about her. She's sweet, unfailingly loyal to her longtime boyfriend, and she doesn't allow anyone to disrespect her. The wives of her boyfriend's teammates try to cut her with barbs on a regular basis because her man still hasn't attempted to put a ring on it. After ten years. One in particular, Courtney, is the ringleader of the mean girls. She's a secondary character you will immediately dislike, and eventually thoroughly despise. Marlee's take no bullshit attitude makes for some hilarious moments, because even when she's at her lowest point, she gives just as good as she gets. She has a steely confidence that comes across on every page.

Gavin is a one night stand she had when she was on a brief break with her boyfriend years ago. She ended up running out the next morning full of regrets. Discovering that Gavin had lied to her about what he did for a living was enough to convince her she'd made a big mistake. As someone who values honesty, she wasn't very impressed with his deception, and he became her dirty little secret after reconnecting with Chris. Sure, their night was unforgettable, (much to her chagrin) but she didn't plan on ever letting it effect her present. Until she discovers that Gavin has now signed on with the Mustangs, and he makes it clear that he remembers her with crystal clear clarity.

Intercepted is the perfect title for this novel, because that is precisely what Gavin did. When Marlee discovers what her boyfriend has been hiding from her, he swoops in and catches Chris' massive FUMBLE. I had so much respect for Gavin. Clearly, it's obvious from their first interaction that he appreciates her worth and treats her accordingly. She isn't just some random hookup from his past, he genuinely wants to get to know her better, and build something from their connection. You get the feeling that she's his potential dream girl, and the one that slipped through his fingers. And he's willing to be as patient as it takes until she feels ready to place her trust in a new relationship after being burned when she least expected it.

Which brings me to another thing I really loved about their story. Marlee is a woman who gave her whole heart and soul to Chris when they were together. Then her trust was broken pretty brutally, and it would have been easy for her to carry that baggage with her. To treat Gavin unfairly because of her ex's actions, or jump to conclusions because she had trust issues. That didn't happen. She saw him for who he really was from the start, and it was so refreshing. Yes, she did need some time to transition into a relationship with Gavin, but that's more than understandable. It would have been highly unrealistic if she jumped from one man to the other with no qualms after what happened to her.

Gavin was a complete and utter sweetheart. He was so supportive and protective of Marlee. In fact, at times, he unintentionally stepped over the line with his protectiveness and got pushy. (If that's a man's worst failing, I'd say he's doing pretty well.) He did have a pretty big screw up in the end, but I never got upset with him over it because his heart was in the right place. He just needed to learn that Marlee values her independence and she had to make her own way in the world. Accomplish her own dreams.

I did think that the drama leaned toward over the top on a few occasions, especially her getting attacked twice in unrelated incidents. I didn't think anything of the first one with the homeless man, but then when it happened again with the two men on the train it was a bit much. Another issue I had was the hashtags throughout the book. At first I thought they were really funny, but the further I read, they got to be overkill. I started skimming them when there were two or three on one page. This didn't effect my overall enjoyment to a big degree, so I'm not complaining that much.

I can honestly say that I loved both main characters from beginning to end. As a couple they were flawless, and set my romantic heart fluttering at their sexy connection and banter.


    The football field’s the only place you’ll ever beat me. Learn to accept it.” “You’re a sore winner,” Gavin says. I give him a crisp nod. Duh. “The only thing I heard you say was I’m a winner.”


Intercepted was a fast paced, low angst, fun and flirty novel that's sure to be a big winner with many readers. As a debut novel, I was really impressed with Alexa Martin's storytelling. It's so naturally engaging and entertaining. If you're in the mood for a light, sports rom-com, this could be the book you're looking for. It's always exciting finding not only a new author to follow, but a new series. This book provides both, so this book nerd is blissfully happy! The next book in the Playbook series is entitled Fumbled , and it's scheduled for publication March 2019. I'm really looking forward to continuing on with Poppy and TK's story.


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