Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Lie for a Lie (All In #1) by Helena Hunting: Spotlight w/ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a month long sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.


Click to Buy the All In Series on Amazon:

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Guest Post:

Lainey vs. Puck Bunnies in A Lie for a Lie 

A Lie for a Lie is a heartwarming, sexy, emotional romantic comedy. It’s a second chance romance, filled with secrets and there are definitely some exciting, fun twists. It’s also a story of empowerment, self-discovery, and independence.

Rook Bowman, aka RJ or Rookie as he has been known as previously, has recently taken on the role as captain of Chicago’s NHL team, and with that role comes big responsibility and more fame than he sometimes knows how to handle. As with any professional sport, the NHL lifestyle can often be full of excess and decadence; money, fame and an endless stream of women who will do just about anything to get into bed with them, and it’s not always easy to avoid that kind of temptation.

When we meet Rook in A Lie for a Lie we learn that he has a less than shiny past when it comes to the excess and the puck bunnies (hockey groupies). NHL players are often drafted quite young—just watch a game and you’ll notice that the rookies can often barely grown peach fuzz, let alone a full beard. They’re still teenagers when they start their careers, and Rook was no different. Having grown up on an alpaca farm in rural New York, his focus was mainly hockey and the family farm, but once he hit the pros he found himself surrounded by women who literally threw themselves at him. And being young, attractive and full of testosterone, he fell headfirst down that rabbit hole. At least until the drama found him in the form of a fake pregnancy and a social media firestorm. Because of that, and the impact it had on his relationship with his family, Rook swears off the bunnies and refocuses on his career, rather than extracurricular activities.

He meets Lainey on the way to Alaska, where he’s gone every summer since he was a teenager with his dad and his brother. He lost his father a few years earlier, but kept the tradition with his brother because he craves the escape from the demands of his life as an NHL superstar. Lainey encapsulates everything he misses about being a “normal guy.” She doesn’t recognize him or seem to even know anything about hockey, and that makes her even more alluring. For once, he can just be himself. He doesn’t have to worry about ulterior motives or being used. Lainey is refreshingly innocent, incredibly smart, genuine and overwhelmingly sweet and Rook finds himself enamored with her sense of adventure. As they get to know each other, Rook learns about her traumatic past and realizes that despite the challenges she’s faced, Lainey possesses a quiet strength and resilience. Add some insane chemistry and you’ve got a recipe for love. Unfortunately for Rook, he built their entire fragile relationship on lie he can’t take back.



About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.




Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

When Lainey excuses herself to the bathroom, I rush upstairs and throw on a T-shirt. I know she said whatever makes me comfortable, but sitting around shirtless is such a douche move.

I make it back to the kitchen and pour her a fresh drink before she returns from the bathroom.

“How can I help with dinner?” Lainey drapes her sweater over the back of a chair.

And my mouth goes dry. Like I ate an entire sleeve of saltines and chased it with a tablespoon of salt. So far I’ve only seen Lainey in a giant parka or an oversize sweater. Under all that bulky fabric is one hell of a body. She’s wearing a simple white waffle shirt that conforms to her curves. A pair of dark-wash skinny jeans encase her toned legs.

I’m used to bunnies throwing themselves at me, often in questionable states of undress. I stopped getting excited about miniskirts and revealing tops a long time ago. There’s something infinitely sexier about a woman who can show off her body without actually showing it off at all.

Lainey tips her head to the side. Her teeth press into her full bottom lip. I want to do that. Suck that pouty, full lip between my teeth and bite it. I want to do a lot of other, far more explicit things than that, but a kiss seems like a good place to start.

“RJ? Is everything okay?” Her eyes dip down to my chest. I’m wearing a shirt from one of my endorsement campaigns. It afforded me the extensive renovations on this cabin a few years ago.

“Huh?” I give my head a shake. “Oh. Yeah. Everything’s good. Sorry, zoned out there for a second.”

She smiles and pushes up on her toes, her eyes twinkling—like, they legit light up, and her excitement makes her entire body vibrate. It also makes her boobs jiggle. I try to keep my eyes glued to her face. It’s not easy, though.

“I do that all the time! Sometimes my brain is busy with so many thoughts I miss entire conversations. Does that happen to you too?”

I grin. I love that she seems to say whatever is on her mind. “All the time.”

“It’s actually a helpful skill when you’re being lectured, because I can sort through stuff in my head, but it’s not so great when your supervising professor is telling you what’s wrong with your thesis.” She pulls her hair over her shoulder and finger combs it.

“I take it that’s happened to you.”

“It did. Thankfully he also emailed all his criticisms, so missing out on it the first time wasn’t that big of a deal.” She divides her hair into three sections and deftly braids it without looking at what she’s doing even once. It’s pretty damn impressive. I almost want to pull it apart so I can watch her do it all over again. “Anyway, enough about that. Let’s get started on dinner!” She nudges me out of the way so she can wash her hands. She dries them on her jeans and moves over to the fridge, opening it to check out the contents.

I kind of like that she makes herself at home. I’m used to women who expect to be catered to. It’s refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t want me to pander to her.

I start pulling things out of the fridge as she starts naming items she’ll need and set them on the counter. I manage to locate most of what she asks for.

“What about garlic? Do you have any of that?” She leans over, peering into the fridge beside me. Her braid slips over her shoulder, skimming my arm.

“Uh, maybe we could forgo the garlic?”

“Are you allergic? My oldest brother gets bloated when he eats it. It took us forever to figure out what was causing it. Sometimes I’ll still put some in when he’s coming for dinner, because it’s funny to see him look like he’s expecting.” She tips her head to the side. “Or you just don’t like garlic?”

“I like it sometimes, but it depends.”

Her brows pinch together. “On what?”

“Who I’m eating with. I mean, if I’m going out with buddies, you bet I’m gonna order the honey garlic wings, or the cheesy garlic bread, or the pasta Alfredo. But if I’m eating dinner with a pretty girl, I’m gonna pass on the garlic.”

“Oh.” She twists the end of her braid around her finger.

I hope I’m not reading things wrong and making her uncomfortable.

“Does that mean you think I’m pretty?”

That she sounds genuinely curious as to my answer is unexpected. “You see yourself in the mirror every day—what do you think?”

She averts her gaze, still playing with the end of her braid. “My eyes are too big, so I always look like I’m surprised. My nose is small, and my lips are too full, so my mouth doesn’t really fit the rest of my face.”

“Wow. I think you need a new mirror, because all I see is a whole lot of gorgeous.”

She snorts a laugh and waves me off. “Once, I took a portrait class, and we learned all about proportion and symmetry of the face. Those are just my flaws based on what I was taught.”

“Well, I’m a big fan of all your flaws, and I think they make you more beautiful, not less.”

“Thanks. I think you’re beautiful too.” She cringes. “I mean handsome. You’re very nice to look at, with or without a shirt on. When I fell in your lap on the airplane, I remember thinking, At least I fell on someone nice looking.”

“Is that so?”

“Mm-hmm.” She opens a drawer, maybe to avoid looking at me. “And as much as I was mortified when you sat beside me on the Cessna, I couldn’t complain about the view, inside or outside of the plane. That you turned out to be really nice, and just so helpful, was a great bonus.” She hands me a roll of foil. “Why don’t you wrap the potatoes? They take the longest, so we should get started on those first.”

I put the potatoes on the barbecue and let Lainey order me around. She definitely knows her way around a kitchen. When I was growing up, my mom did most of the cooking, but my dad could make a mean Saturday-morning brunch. He also made great bread, which I miss a lot.

An hour later we’re seated at the table, plates full of steak, twice-baked potatoes, and crispy brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat. I open a bottle of red wine and offer Lainey a glass.

“Just a little bit? I’m not sure I like red wine.”

“Maybe you just haven’t had the right red wine.” I pour a little into her glass.

She picks it up and gives it a swirl, then sniffs it. “I’ve seen people do this in the movies, but I don’t really know what the point is,” she admits, then tips the glass back and takes a tentative sip. Her expression turns thoughtful; then she takes another, slightly more robust sip. “This is actually really nice. I like it. Maybe the red wine I had before was bad.”

“Maybe. Some of the cheap stuff tastes pretty awful.” I pour more into her glass before filling mine. I hold up my glass and wait for her to raise hers.

“To chance meetings.”

“To new adventures and great company to share them with.” We toast and take a sip, each smiling behind the rim.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Enamored (The Accidental Billionaires #3) by J.S. Scott: Spotlight w/ Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

Like his brothers and sisters, Seth Sinclair went from blue-collar to billionaire overnight, and he’s decided to invest in what he knows best: construction. There’s only one thing in his way—the endangered birds nesting on a piece of prime beachfront real estate. And fighting for the birds is Riley Montgomery, a stubborn, pain-in-the-ass, drop-dead-gorgeous environmental lawyer. The worst part? Seth will do anything to keep her around—even if it means hiring her to be his fake girlfriend.

With a cause to fight for, Riley agrees to Seth’s scheme. If she keeps the superficial women away from Seth, then he’ll leave the wildlife sanctuary alone. But pretending to be his girlfriend comes with ground rules: No ass grabbing. And absolutely no sex. Ever. The problem? The sexual tension sizzles when they’re together.

Seth isn’t so keen on Riley’s rules, but he’ll keep his word, at least until she decides otherwise. But bringing Riley into his circle has brought her past back to haunt her in ways that neither of them expected. Now it’s less about broken rules and more about broken hearts, and Seth will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves.


 Click to Buy The Accidental Billionaires Series on Amazon:

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About J.S Scott

J.S. “Jan” Scott is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous contemporary and paranormal romances, including The Sinclairs series. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature, but romance has always been her genre of choice—so she writes what she loves to read: stories that are almost always steamy, generally feature an alpha male, and have a happily ever after, because she just can’t seem to write them any other way! Jan loves to connect with readers. Visit her website at www.authorjsscott.com.

Social Media Links:

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Excerpt:

“You said you’d trade for my services,” I prompted. “But I don’t have much to offer to a man like you.”

He studied me for a moment, which made me uncomfortable.

I didn’t want anyone to know me better.

A man like Seth would never understand me.

“You have a hell of a lot to offer any guy,” he considered.

“Not exactly true,” I disagreed. “I was engaged once, but I was never enough for Nolan Easton,” I muttered, instantly wishing the name hadn’t left my mouth.

For some odd reason, Seth was easy to talk to, but I needed to guard my words better.

He whistled softly. “Nolan Easton? Head of Easton Investment Firms? The very wealthy Nolan Easton?”

“Yes,” I said tightly.

“Even so, I can’t believe he dumped you,” Seth answered.

“He didn’t,” I admitted. “I finally broke it off. He didn’t know how to keep it in his pants, and I didn’t want to spend my entire life being who he wanted me to be.” I coughed nervously. “Now can we get back to the business at hand?”

“Not yet,” he insisted. “I’m still trying to get why any guy would want to change a single thing about you. Not that I exactly love your line of work right now, but you’re passionate about it. You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You seem to know exactly what you want. Considering our circumstances, I can’t say I’ve seen your sense of humor, but I’m assuming you have one of those, too. What the hell else did he want?”

I ignored his question. “I have three older brothers,” I shared. “I have to have a sense of humor or they’d drive me crazy.”

He rested his arms on the table and leaned forward. “You didn’t answer my question, Riley. What else did he want?” His voice was low and persuasive.

“It’s not important. My engagement has been over for a while, and I’m happy. I finally found my own home here in Citrus Beach, and I’m pretty content with being alone. It’s a lot nicer here than San Diego. Quieter.”

It was a hell of a lot better than being with a man who made me feel like I was less than nothing.

“When exactly did you move here? And where are you living now?”

“Almost two years ago,” I ground out, growing impatient to get back to business. It wasn’t wise to dump a lot about my personal life to a defendant—no matter how good a listener he might be. “I had a condo, but I recently purchased your sister’s cottage. I’ve settled there now. She and Eli have the bigger home next door, so I already knew I’d have good neighbors.”

“I’m right down the beach from there,” Seth said, sounding surprised. “I’ve never seen you.”

“Like I said. It’s recent. I just moved in.”

I was squirming in my chair. I didn’t care for the feeling of being interrogated. I was usually the one asking the questions.

He shot me a playful grin that made my heart trip. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said jokingly.

“Thanks,” I said uncomfortably. “Now tell me what you want from me to leave that piece of property alone.”

He took his time answering, and the silence seemed to stretch out forever.

I gulped down the last of my tea while I waited for him to answer.

Was he playing with me?

Or did he actually have some kind of proposition?

Probably the former—since I really didn’t have much to offer him in the way of services. I could guarantee that Eli Stone had set Seth up with his gaggle of business attorneys. Why in the hell would he need an environmental attorney?

“If you’re playing with me, this encounter ends right now,” I said tersely.

“I’m not,” he said emphatically. “I’m just wondering how to explain what I want.”

“If it’s acceptable, I’ll write up the contract today,” I offered.

“It’s not exactly the contract I’m thinking about,” he said thoughtfully.

God, I was jittery, and I wasn’t used to feeling that way. I was pretty certain that it wasn’t the extra-large chai I’d just consumed, either.

It was him.

Maybe it was the way he studied me.

Or the way his steely gray eyes never left my face.

I couldn’t read him, and that completely pissed me off. As an attorney, I’d gotten very good at judging exactly where a defendant’s mind might be, and what their motives were.

“Just name your terms,” I said irritably. “I’ll work out the details.”

I forced myself to meet his eyes in what I thought would be a battle of wills, and then was sorry that I had even glanced his direction.

My breath hitched as I fell into a stormy gaze that wouldn’t let me go.

I was stunned at the possessive way he eyed me.

I was confused about the emotions I saw there.

And I was mesmerized by the carnal desire that flared up in his steely irises like a bolt of lightning as he held me still with a single look, unable to rip myself away from his fixed stare that was holding me in place.

I knew I was blushing like a damn teenage girl with her first major crush. My brain was begging my body not to react, but my stupid body wasn’t listening.

His voice was hoarse and beguiling when he finally said, “I need a woman, Riley. And that woman has to be you.”

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Fast Lane by Kristen Ashley: Blog Tour Excerpt & Review


Blurb:

“Once he met her, it was and always would be Lyla.”

They were the gentlemen bad boys of rock. Forming in a garage in a small town in Indiana. Taking their licks on the road. Going balls to the wall until they made their big break.

And then Preacher McCade and the Roadmasters redefined rock and roll.

Guided by their tortured lead singer and songwriter, the Roadmasters changed the face of music in the 80s and 90s. And on their journey to becoming one of the most enduring bands in history—dogged by rumors and myth and fueled by drugs and booze—the Roadmasters had one touchstone.

Lyla.

Preacher’s muse, the love of his life, and the band’s moral compass, from the beginning, Lyla is along for the ride.

But with fame and acclaim in their grasp, they’ve entered the fast lane.

And they didn’t know it, but they were headed for a crash.


Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Excerpt:

Preach was an equal opportunity, benevolent almost-rock god.
I remember seeing him with his jeans bunched up to his knees, sitting on the side of the pool, his feet and calves in the water, her friends barely clothed in the water, wet and hanging off his legs and his every word, and he’d glance over at her.
When he was in the mood to spread his love, everyone was invited.
We all were nailing serious tail, but I don’t think anybody but Dave had had a threesome.
But that was not unusual for Preach.
Or more, you know?
That night, I had one girl, he had two, three were in with Tim and Dave, tripping, and Tommy was fucking another one in what we would find out later was one of the girls’ dad’s waterbed.
And looking back, I knew Preacher was more into her than the two he had.
I also got why.
Kind of.

Now, again, it was the eighties. We’re talkin’ Jane Fonda workout videos and Jamie Lee Curtis in that movie Perfect and one-pieces making a comeback because the legs were cut so far up the hips, a girl had to shave.
And Lyla was not…
[Pause]
That.
I mean, there was a reason anorexia became prevalent during that decade and didn’t let go. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t good, but it was the way it was.
But Lyla was not that way.
Tits and ass.
A lot.
Of both.
And, from what I could tell that night, bad attitude.
But fuck, the longer the night wore on, Preacher couldn’t keep his eyes off her.
She’d do a lap to clean up ashtrays or beer bottles or whatever the fuck, and honest to Christ, he didn’t miss a step.
Not that first step.
She had what they now politically correctly, but also, it’s gotta be said, just plain correctly call curves.
Freddie Mercury called them fat-bottomed girls.
But man, she was pretty.
Lotsa hair.
Perfect skin.
You know, and a way about her.
It was part that attitude.
Part the mystery.
You know, tell a man, “don’t touch, you’ll get burned,” he’ll become obsessed with the fire. It’s just how it is.
She screamed don’t touch.
And Preacher, man…
Preacher could be obsessive.
In a big way.

But it was the eyes.
I gotta believe, and this would prove true, in a way, if it wasn’t Preach, it would be somebody. Another rock star. A photographer. A painter. Someone would fall in the muse of Lyla’s eyes.
But as you know, it was Preacher.

About Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

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

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Yvette's Review:

Considering that music has been such an integral part of Kristen Ashley’s previous books (the Rock Series in particular), it seems only natural that she’d immerse herself in a novel like Fast Lane. Inspired by Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six and the Eagles’ song, Life in the Fast Lane, this oral history of a rock band chronicles the ups and downs of the fictional band, Preacher McCade and the Roadmasters. From the band’s inception, to the comings and goings of band members, to behind-the-scenes drama, Fast Lane is the epitome of the phrase “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”.

Told in a series of interviews with a few key members of the Roadmasters band, Fast Lane spans the several decades during which the famous band reigned over the rock industry. Their successes and failures, and the lives of lead singer, Preacher McCade, and his muse, Lyla, are dissected and conveyed in a way that only those with intimate insider knowledge would be privy to. The interviews with an impartial third party didn’t hesitate to delve into both the good times and the bad. The interview style actually reminded me of reading Kristen Ashley’s interviews with her characters, albeit slightly more emotionally detached. You can’t help but get the sense that these characters are living, breathing entities that originate inside her mind but are very much alive within the book’s pages.

While I can’t deny the narrative is gripping from start to finish, I would’ve loved to have more input about certain events from certain characters. I’m being purposely vague so as not to give anything important away, but, on the other hand, I want to blurt out everything that happened. But I won’t. Because: spoilers. Even after finishing Fast Lane, I’m still processing everything that happened. I even went back to read part of the final chapters to reassure myself that everything unfolded the way it did.

There’s no denying that Fast Lane is a departure from Kristen Ashley’s typical love stories, but I will say that it is still a Kristen Ashley book. And Kristen Ashley never disappoints. I recommend holding onto that knowledge when you’re tearing through the pages of the book, impatient to catch up to the present time and get an update about the lives of these characters.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Faker by Sarah Smith: ARC Review

Blurb:

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she's tough as nails--the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn't have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie's friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can't stop staring at his Thor-like biceps...

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get...heated. Emmie's beginning to see that beneath Tate's chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

Add to Goodreads

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About the Author:

Sarah Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie's stash of romance novels. She's been hooked ever since. When she's not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate, and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and adorable cat Salem. Faker is her debut novel.

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Yvette's Review:

There’s something about the combination of a workplace romance and the enemies-to-lovers trope that go so well together. I was immediately hooked by the blurb of Faker by Sarah Smith, which follows a heroine who works in a male-dominated work environment. With whip-smart humor, engaging writing, and a slow-burning, but scorching hot romance, Faker is a must-read debut novel by Sarah Smith.

Emmie Echavarre is a copywriter at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed primarily by members of the opposite sex. To be taken seriously, she's had to learn to be tough as nails...or at least pretend to be. She's a self-proclaimed "faker," maintaining a hardened, professional persona, especially when it comes to her relationship with Tate Rasmussen. Emmie has been at odds with her gruff, terse co-worker since he took an instant, inexplicable disliking to her on her first day of work. Now they spend their days either ignoring each other or engaging in an antagonistic war of words. But when they're paired together on a charity project, Emmie and Tate have to play nice...or at least try not to drive each other crazy in the process.

After having my heart stomped on for the first several chapters, I began to wonder how the hostility between Emmie and Tate could possibly lead to a romance. There seemed to be too much baggage between them and too many hurt feelings for any romantic feelings to develop. But with each new chapter, we get to know a softer, more caring, more considerate side of Tate. The tension, aggression, and wariness between him and Emmie give way to attraction as they gradually break down each other's emotional barriers. Their budding romance is slow-burning, yet packed with sexual tension and explosive chemistry

From the first sentence to the final page, Faker had me riveted. It tugged on my heartstrings and had me smiling, blushing, and swooning nonstop. Sarah Smith knocked it out of the park with her debut novel and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen: Blog Tour Excerpt


Blurb:

I'm Levi Buchanan, and until five years ago, I thought the legend of my family's curse was a load of crazy, Southern nonsense.

No curse can make you fall in love at first sight. No curse can force a true, deep, passionate, all-consuming love that will haunt you all the days of your life.

Then I met Jocelyn Abernathy and I realized how completely wrong I was.

The problem is, Jocelyn guards her feelings like well-armed soldier. She's the most beautiful, stubborn, infuriating woman I've ever met. Every time she talks, I want to kiss the living daylights out of her. But I can't.

Because when we met, she didn't need true love. She needed a best friend. And that's what I've been to her... for five years.

But when Jocelyn meets a handsome stranger her first day working at Donner Bakery and she lets him buy her a dill pickle cupcake, I realize with ominous regret that I may have missed my window with my best friend.

If I can't get her to see past our friendship, my new curse may be to watch the love of my life move on with someone else.

'Baking Me Crazy' is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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About the Author:

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

"Besides, this is my best friend perk. Shouldn't I get perks in baked goods?"

She cut me a look. "You've been getting those perks for two years, Buchanan. Don't even pretend you didn't put on a solid ten pounds that first year I started baking." Quite pointedly, she looked at my stomach, which we both knew was covered in muscle.

“That's rude," I mumbled under my breath. I flexed my bicep. Nero licked my elbow since it was right in front of him. "Yeah, ten pounds in my left arm maybe."

The noise she made roughly translated to you are ridiculous. She made that sound at me a lot. Of course, the sad truth of the matter was that I was ridiculous.

Not once in the past five years had my feelings lessened for her. I had just learned to live with them. In my junior year of undergrad, I was taking a class on brain pathology in injuries, and a man came to talk to us about how he learned to live without his right arm after it was amputated.

He told us about how, even years after he lost his arm, his brain still triggered sensations to the limb that was no longer there. The adult brain, in particular, struggled to reorganize after the loss of a limb, and given that four out of five amputees suffer from phantom pain symptoms, some of which were incredibly debilitating, it was a lesson that stuck with me.

I wasn't fool enough to think that me loving Jocelyn was on par with a man who’d lost his arm, but something about the way he talked plucked at a chord inside me. Sometimes my brain struggled to remember that we were just friends.

She'd never dated, never even hinted that she wanted to. She'd never given me a longing glance. Never stared at my mouth like she wondered what it tasted like.

But my hands never, not once, stopped wanting to reach for hers. My fingers always, always itched to dig into her crazy hair and see what the curve of her scalp felt like.

My brain knew what this relationship was, but sometimes, the signals it sent to the rest of my body didn't always match up with the truth of our situation. We worked out together a lot, Joss and I, and when she got frustrated with the limitations of her body, I always wanted to wrap my arms around her.

I wanted to pull her into the curve of my body, absorb her dissatisfaction into my skin, and carry it for her. That was the irony when she made noises like that.

She had absolutely no clue how ridiculous I really was.