Thursday, June 20, 2019

Parental Guidance (Ice Knights #1) by Avery Flynn: Blog Tour Excerpt & Review


Blurb:

All I want is to play hockey on the Ice Knights, instead, I'm in a viral video for all the wrong reasons and my mom--yes, my mom--has taken over my dating apps. Then, when I think it can't get any worse, the fates deliver Zara Ambrose, a five-feet-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches and who'd rather be anywhere other than on a date with me.

Now a bet with her friends and my PR nightmare have us both stuck in this go-on-five-dates-with-the-same-person hell situation. But if we band together, we can get the whole thing over with and go on with our lives. It's perfect! No feelings. No future. No fuc-- *ahem* fun. No naked fun.

What could go wrong? Nothing--as long as I remember the rules. Don't notice the way she looks in a dress. Don't react when she does that little shivery sigh thing whenever we touch. Don't think about the fact that she's never had a toe-curling orgasm that wasn't self-delivered and just how badly I want to change that.

Five dates--that's it--and then we go our separate ways. At least, that was the plan.


Click to Buy the Ice Knights Series on Amazon:

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Yvette's Review:

After being introduced to members of the Ice Knights hockey team in Tomboy, I was ecstatic to learn that Avery Flynn would be writing a spin-off series following different members of the team. First up is Caleb and Zara’s story with Parental Guidance. From the moment I read the blurb, I was intrigued by the concept of two strangers getting paired by a dating app, especially because it’s their parents who are choosing their prospective dates for them! If that’s not the perfect setup for a rom-com, I don’t know what is.

After a viral video put him in hot water with the Ice Knights hockey team, Caleb Stuckey is desperately in need of some positive PR. That’s when his publicist presents him with a plan to have his mother set him up on a blind date via a dating app. He has a five-date obligation to fulfill with his match, and hopefully return him to the public’s good graces in the meantime. What he doesn’t count on is meeting Zara Ambrose, a pint-sized redhead with a snarky attitude, who’s willing to go along with the publicity stunt for her own reasons. With a set deadline for their quasi-relationship and emotional barriers in place, all that’s left for Zara and Caleb to do is make it to the fifth date without breaking any of the rules they’ve put in place. But what starts as an obligation turns into an unexpected attraction, making it more difficult to keep their hearts out of the equation.

Like all of Avery Flynn’s rom-coms, Parental Guidance is humorous and lighthearted, but it’s also heartfelt and compelling, with characters that are complex and engaging, with thoroughly-developed backstories. The easygoing, quick-witted banter combined with the ever-present sexual tension between Caleb and Zara give the narrative a fun, flirty feel. If you’re in the mood for a sweet, sexy, feel-good romance, Parental Guidance is exactly what you’re looking for.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

About the Author:

Award-winning romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staffs knew her by name.

Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

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Excerpt:

“So why are you on Bramble?”

She took another small bite from her roll before answering. “My best friend is blackmailing me, and my dad wants a SAG card.”

That was definitely not the answer he’d been expecting. “And I thought my reasoning was twisted.”

“I’m sure it all makes sense in Gemma’s head,” Zara said. “She thinks I work too much and need to loosen up. She’ll let me be her plus-one to go meet a collector if I do the Bramble five dates thing. And my dad? Well, let’s just say he’s never met an unlikely plan he didn’t think he could pull off.”

All the possibilities this created sped around inside his head until one broke free like a perfect fast break late in the third period when the game was on the line. All he had to do was put the biscuit in the net.

“So neither of us really wants to be here,” he said. “We’re each other’s solution to getting back to our regular lives as soon as possible.”

It was fucking perfect. Petrov’s job with the team would be safe for another season—well, as safe as he could be, considering he didn’t have a no-trade deal in his contract.

Zara, though, didn’t seem to be seeing the genius of it, going by the suspicious look she gave him as she took another bite of her roll. Instead of giving him a straight-up no, though, she started eating. The words—okay, begging pleas—were bubbling up inside him but for once, he kept it in lockdown. He wasn’t about to rush this play, no matter how it had every nerve in his body jinglejangling.

Finally, she used her napkin to wipe the corners of her mouth, straightened her spine, and looked him dead in the eye. “We’d have to have ground rules.”

“Sure. Whatever you want.” Ice Knights season tickets? He’d make that happen. A photo op with her dad’s favorite player? Done. Whatever it took, he’d do it.

“This isn’t a real or fake relationship, it’s a temporary alliance,” she said without an ounce of humor in her tone. “I’m not pretending to be your girlfriend or the random chick you’re banging this week.”

“Agreed.” All of that sounded like it would cause more problems than it would solve anyway. “I’ve got a condition. Dressing up is not required. I’m not putting on a suit.”

The best thing about the off-season was not having to strangle himself with a tie multiple times a week just for a bus ride to the rink or a plane trip to another city. Coach Peppers was old-fashioned about doing things the original way.

“Fine.” Zara held up three fingers. “The third stipulation is that I’m not putting on a good attitude. If it’s been a crappy day, I don’t have to pretend to be a manic pixie dream girl.”

He snorted. “No one who’s met you would believe that. You’re a little salty.” That was putting it mildly based on her attitude when she showed up for their date.

“I have my reasons.” She added another finger, so she was holding up four. “Oh, and no making love. Sex?” She paused and looked him over quickly. “Maybe. Emotional, heartfelt, staring-each-other-in-the-eyes making love? Not gonna happen. No offense, but you’re not my type.”

What the hell? Not her type? He was a professional athlete making millions. He’d been led to believe he was everyone’s type.

“Not a problem, since I don’t think we could see eye to eye while having sex unless you magically grew a foot,” he said.

“You’re not into being creative?” Zara rolled her eyes. “I guess that’s expected for someone who has probably had women throwing themselves at him for years. You haven’t ever had to work for it.”

Caleb had no idea what to say to that. He’d been punched square in the face by the most feared goons in hockey and it hadn’t knocked him as senseless as this little five-foot-nothing of a snarky woman had done with a few choice words.

“I have one more rule,” she said, reaching for another roll. “Five dates and we’re done. Period. Do we have a deal?”

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Letters to Molly (Maysen Jar #2) by Devney Perry: Review Blast


Blurb:

Molly Alcott didn’t expect to open her mailbox one summer morning and find an old letter stuffed between bills and a supermarket flyer. Penned in familiar handwriting, dated over fifteen years ago, the letter was written to Molly after her first date with the man she’ll never forget.

Week after week, new letters appear. Each marks an event in the history of their epic love affair. Each heals a wound. Each holds the confession of the man who still owns Molly’s heart.

The letters are full of promise, hope and love, but truth be told, Molly wishes she could unread them all.

Because the man who wrote these letters is not the one sending them.

Add to Goodreads


Click to Buy the Maysen Jar Series on Amazon:

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About the Author:

Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.

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Yvette's Review:

After reading The Birthday List and meeting Molly and Finn Alcott amidst them going through a divorce, I sincerely hoped that Devney Perry would give them their own book. They seemed to have unfinished business and I felt that there was more to their story. Plus, second chance romances are my favorite type of book to read. As much as I was eager to dive in to Letters to Molly, I was also anxious. Who was this mysterious person sending Finn’s letters to Molly? Was there an ulterior motive? What did this mean for Molly and Finn’s potential reconnection? That’s what I get for reading too much into one line of the book’s blurb. Devney Perry has never steered me wrong before and, after reading just a few pages, I knew all my worries were unfounded.

Six years after divorcing her husband, Finn, Molly Alcott is at a good place in her life. She has two kids and a job she loves and is comfortable with her routine. She’s never fully gotten over Finn, but she masks her heartache with a carefully-cultivated fa├žade of happiness. But an old letter written by her ex-husband that mysteriously appears in her mailbox threatens to derail her efforts to move on from the past. And then more letters start to arrive. Letters from both good times and bad. Letters that could elicit both joy and pain. Letters that could potentially heal their strained relationship.

Told in alternating perspectives, Letters to Molly is a gut-wrenchingly emotional, heartbreakingly raw and unflinchingly real love story. As someone who has read their fair share of second chance romances, I can honestly say this book is unlike anything I’ve read before, with its focus on a divorced couple whose story isn’t quite done yet. The bitterness and longing and regret between Molly and Finn are so palpable, it’s enough to take your breath away. It’s impossible not to become emotionally invested in these characters and root for them to learn from their mistakes and grow as individuals.

With characters that are imperfect, yet captivating, an obstacle-filled, emotional roller coaster of a narrative, and a love story that’s sweet, sexy, and hopelessly romantic, Letters to Molly is another must-read, tearjerker of a romance from Devney Perry.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, June 17, 2019

Parental Guidance (Ice Knights #1) by Avery Flynn: Release Blitz


Blurb:

All I want is to play hockey on the Ice Knights, instead, I'm in a viral video for all the wrong reasons and my mom--yes, my mom--has taken over my dating apps. Then, when I think it can't get any worse, the fates deliver Zara Ambrose, a five-feet-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches and who'd rather be anywhere other than on a date with me.

Now a bet with her friends and my PR nightmare have us both stuck in this go-on-five-dates-with-the-same-person hell situation. But if we band together, we can get the whole thing over with and go on with our lives. It's perfect! No feelings. No future. No fuc-- *ahem* fun. No naked fun.

What could go wrong? Nothing--as long as I remember the rules. Don't notice the way she looks in a dress. Don't react when she does that little shivery sigh thing whenever we touch. Don't think about the fact that she's never had a toe-curling orgasm that wasn't self-delivered and just how badly I want to change that.

Five dates--that's it--and then we go our separate ways. At least, that was the plan.


Click to Buy on Amazon:

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About the Author:

Award-winning romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staffs knew her by name.

Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

More Than Anything (Broken Pieces #1) by Natasha Anders: Spotlight w/ Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

Tina Jenson belongs to the same social stratum as Harris Chapman, but he’s out of her league—at least that’s what she thinks before they jump in bed together. It’s the perfect night, but when she overhears crude, hurtful comments the next morning, she can’t get away fast enough.

Ten years later, Tina’s life is a mess. That night with Harris didn’t just hurt her feelings; it started a cascade of disappointment and heartbreak. Every time she bumps into Harris, her heart twists inside out. She still wants him, but she’s harboring a painful secret from their night together that she’s not ready to reveal.

Crossed signals, high-society whispers, and shame have kept Tina and Harris apart for years, but deep down, they’re hungry for each other and eager to write their own rules. Can they let go of the past and find their way back to each other, or are the barriers between them too high and too strong?

Add to Goodreads

Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Author Message: Then and Now with Natasha Anders

Hi there, my name is Natasha Anders and I’m here to talk about my newest release – More Than Anything. This book features Tina Jenson and Harris Chapman as the lead characters.

Tina and Harris have known each other forever. They belong to the same social circle and attended high school together. When Tina was eighteen and Harris twenty, an ugly incident drove them apart and for the next ten years they barely spoke to each other.

The years have not been kind to Tina, she struggles to maintain familial relationships and friendships and finds it hard to even consider forming bonds with new people. As a teenager she was incapable of handling the overwhelming loss and sadness of what had happened to her and as she grew into a woman, a large part of her remained lost in the past and incapable of moving forward.

Tina’s emotional growth throughout the story is painful but necessary. She has frozen the pain, humiliation and absolute devastation resulting from the incident with Harris, into a solid block of ice. She has never properly dealt with any of that anguish and now the ice is thawing and all of those overwhelmingly painful emotions are surfacing. Tina is far from perfect and she makes a lot of mistakes throughout the story. But these mistakes are necessary in order for her eventual metamorphosis into a strong, capable, and emotionally mature woman to be believable.

Harris’s journey is very different. He tries his best to fix what has happened between them. Unaware of how damaging their encounter was to Tina, he often attempts to reach out to her and apologize for causing her pain. After constant rejection from her, he tries to move on with his life and for a few years he almost succeeds. But whenever he sees Tina, he finds himself drawn to her. He’s a steady, dependable guy. But it’s hard for Tina to see him as such. To her, he will always be the boy who hurt her. The boy responsible for the worst night of her life and for every difficult thing that has happened as a result.

When he finally finds himself in the position to be her rock, Harris truly shines. He’s by no means a perfect man and sometimes he’s stubbornly determined to do the “right thing” even if it tends to be self-defeating. But he eventually recognizes that the best thing he can do for Tina and himself is to allow her to make her own decisions and trust her to know her own heart and mind.

Despite their many trials and frustrations, Tina and Harris will always be better together. This is the story of how they discover that absolute truth for themselves.



About the Author:

Natasha Anders was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent the last nine years working as an assistant English teacher in Niigata, Japan, where she became a legendary karaoke diva. Natasha is currently living in Cape Town with her temperamental and opinionated budgie, Sir Oliver Spencer, who has kindly deigned to share his apartment with her. Please feel free to contact her (or Oliver) on Twitter @satyne1.


Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

“How you’d like your steak cooked?” Harris asked.

“Medium rare.” Tina retreated to one of the mismatched tall stools at the breakfast bar and clambered up onto it. She watched him competently move around the kitchen, cleaning and washing the spuds before readying them to go into the oven. He hummed softly beneath his breath as he worked … the tune was very familiar, but because his humming was so off-key, she couldn’t quite place it. The title hovered on the edge of her brain.

“Ugh, what is the name of that song? It’s driving me crazy!”

He looked up, startled. “What song?”

“The one you’re humming.”

“I’m not sure. Wait…” He hummed again and then breathed a few lyrics in a falsetto voice that reduced Tina to stitches. He repeated the same two words over and over again. And the words, combined with the seriously off-key tune, were definitely familiar to her.

He shook his head before saying, “I’m not sure what that song’s called … hey, stop laughing. I know for a fact your singing voice isn’t much better.” His offended observation just made her laugh harder. “Do you know the song title?”

“It’s…” She gasped for breath, then broke down into gales of laughter again when she glanced up into his expectant face. She folded her arms on the countertop and dropped her head for a moment as she tried to bring her giggles under control. Once the laughter abated, she lifted her gaze to his smiling eyes—he didn’t really look offended at all, just gently amused. “I’m sorry. It’s not your singing … okay, it kind of is. But I think I found it funnier that you were asking for the song’s title when you k-kept…” She inhaled deeply when it felt like the laughter was threatening again. “Kept singing it in that godawful voice.”

“What do you mean?”

“The song’s called ‘No One,’ Harris. By Alicia Keys.”

“Oh.” He twisted his face into a sheepish grimace before chuckling, the sound deep and masculine. “That makes sense. I like that song.”

She did too. In fact…

“We danced to that song. On my twentieth birthday,” he said, his voice quietly reminiscent. She nodded, surprised that he remembered the song, considering the state he had been in that night.

“I know.” Danced. And then kissed. Her very first kiss. The song had come to mean so much more to her, but she determinedly tamped down those particular memories.

Amusement fled, and they exchanged an uncomfortable look before both averted their eyes. Silence descended, their troubled history once again asserting itself between them. Tina nervously drummed her fingers on the Formica countertop.

“Tina.” His voice sounded anguished. “If I could do it all over again…”

She stopped tapping and lifted her hand to prevent him from saying anything further.

“Let’s not go into this again, Harris.” She watched him screw his eyes shut as he battled with what looked like some pretty powerful emotions.

“Damn.” The word was soft and fierce and sounded like a prayer.

“Why don’t we…” She paused as she considered the words she was about to utter. No matter which way she phrased them, they would seem like an olive branch. And she wasn’t sure if she wanted to extend one yet. Or ever. Still, she was in his—temporary—home, about to break bread with him, so to speak, and maybe—for her emotional health—it would be best. “Why don’t we set this aside? For today at least.”

She watched his throat move as he swallowed and then shifted her gaze to his navy-blue eyes, which were alight with gratitude.

“I’d like that,” he said gruffly, offering her the tiniest of smiles.

Tina heaved a relieved sigh, feeling lighter than she had in months. Possibly years.

“Good. Now, how about you get those steaks on? I’m starving.”

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey: ARC Review

Blurb:

A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days...can he?

Add to Goodreads

Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Yvette's Review:

I don’t think it’s normal for a person to have watched Forrest Gump as many times as I’ve had. I can’t even count the times I’ve seen both Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. And That Thing You Do! is one of my favorite movies of all time. In fact, I regularly incorporate quotes from all of the aforementioned movies into my everyday life. To say I’m obsessed with Tom Hanks (and rom-coms) would be an understatement. That’s why the title alone had me excited to read Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey.

Having had a love of romantic comedies instilled in her since childhood, Annie Cassidy is a single woman waiting for her dream man to come along…specifically Tom Hanks, or at least the type of characters he played onscreen opposite Meg Ryan. (Side note: her name is Annie. As in the heroine from Sleepless in Seattle! In my head, I just heard Jonah ask, “Are you Annie?” I mean, come on! How perfect is that?) Her head is constantly in the clouds, daydreaming of meet cutes, grand gestures, and true love, while, in reality, she’s a twenty-seven-year-old aspiring screenwriter living in Ohio with her uncle as a roommate. Annie has placed her romantic future in the hands of fate, and fate steps in when a romantic comedy is set to film in her hometown.

For all of her talk about wanting to star in her own rom-com and find her very own version of Tom Hanks, Annie is oblivious to fate giving her a nudge in the form of a potential love interest. With a reputation for being a prankster and a dismissive attitude toward rom-coms in general, Hollywood actor, Drew Danforth, puts Annie on the defensive. She views their quick-witted banter and his flirtatiousness as mockery. This is the point in a rom-com where you want to grab the heroine by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. Luckily, she has a hilariously blunt realist for a best friend to help open her eyes to what’s tangible rather than what’s possible. 

With a sweet, swoon-worthy romance, a humorous, self-aware narrative, and flawed, but lovable characters, Waiting for Tom Hanks is an ode to rom-com lovers and hopeless romantics. With a PG-13 rating, references to a number of rom-com movies, and an extended cast of quirky, unforgettable characters, this book is entertaining from start to finish. Not only is Annie my spirit animal but I’m fairly certain Waiting for Tom Hanks was written specifically for me. Kerry Winfrey has gained a new fan and I’m eagerly awaiting her next release!

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

About the Author:

Kerry Winfrey grew up in Bellville, Ohio, where she spent most of her time reading inappropriate books at the library. Not much has changed. Kerry writes for HelloGiggles and blogs at welcometoladyville.com. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, their son, and their dog, Merlin. You can find her on Twitter @KerryAnn.


Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.

In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.

“Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.

“She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”

“She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”

“I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.

“I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.

Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”

“Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.

“I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”

I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”

“No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”

“Meet what?”

Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.

“A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”

Everyone stares at her blankly.

“Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.

“Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.

Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”

“Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.

I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”

“Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.

Nick rolls his eyes.

“Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”

“That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”

“Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.

“Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.

“Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”

“Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”

I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”

Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”

As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout: ARC Review

Blurb:

Enter a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret.

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

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About Jennifer Armentrout:

# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

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Yvette's Review:

One of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of love triangles (especially when both guys are equally swoon-worthy) is that there’s ultimately someone left broken-hearted. And it’s not often that an author will go back and write a story for the character left behind. But that’s exactly what Jennifer L. Armentrout has done with Storm and Fury. The first book in The Harbinger Series finds new and familiar faces coming together to face an unknown threat. With a menagerie of powerful supernatural creatures, an unpredictable, action-packed narrative, and Jennifer L. Armentrout’s signature dry humor, Storm and Fury is an epic start to a brand-new series.

Storm and Fury reunites readers with Zayne, the Warden/gargoyle shape-shifter we first met in The Dark Elements Series, and introduces us to Trinity, an eighteen-year-old girl with unique abilities that’s been kept sheltered from the outside world. With a degenerative eye disease, a secret only a few chosen people are privy to, and a pervy ghost named Peanut for a roommate, Trinity Marrow doesn’t have the problems of a typical teenager. Like an average teen, she has boy problems and dreams about going off to college, but she also communicates with the dead and has an ever-present shadow to keep her out of trouble. Complicating her life further is the arrival of a neighboring clan, including a certain handsome young Warden, and the dire news they’ve delivered.

From the moment they meet, Zayne and Trinity have a temperamental relationship, rife with snarky banter and sexual tension. Feisty, inquisitive, and strong-willed, Trinity challenges Zayne at every turn. They’re either arguing or flirting – that is, when they aren’t busy defending themselves against their enemies. The two are key players in the battle between good and evil, although, as they discover, things aren’t quite so black and white. Love isn’t a priority when their mission is a matter of life or death, but Zayne and Trinity are inexplicably drawn together. The two grow closer the more they get to know each other, yet secrets and revelations threaten to unravel their budding romance.

With plenty of action to set your pulse racing, ample danger to keep you on the proverbial edge of your seat, and enough suspense to leave the narrative shrouded in uncertainty, Storm and Fury is a fast-paced, addictive page-turner. It sets the tone for the series and will leave readers anxious to find out what happens next.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

She's the one who got away, and now she's back in my life, working in my office, where all I have to do is resist her every single second of the day.

Then, she starts it. She issues me a challenge I can't back down from. Make her purr like no man has done before.

Fine, she's my business partner's daughter. And, yes, she happens to be my ex-fling. But that was seven years ago, and it was barely a week-long thing.

Except, Sloane is still the one I can't stop thinking of -- brilliant, sexy, captivating Sloane. Maybe a week of taking her to new heights will get her out of my head.

So what if we spend a few nights on the town too? So what if I romance her across Manhattan? It's all in the name of scientific pursuit of more magnificent Os.

Until the rules change..

A brand new, standalone, hero-POV romantic comedy! If you enjoyed Big Rock, Mister O, or Full Package, you’ll love Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Note: Satisfaction Guaranteed is the first book in the all-new series of standalone romances in the Always Satisfied series. Other titles include Instant Gratification and Overnight Service.

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Yvette's Review:

There aren’t enough all-male-POV rom-coms in the world. I could probably list the ones I’ve read off the top of my head and most of them would be by Lauren Blakely, who is particularly adept at writing through the perspective of the opposite sex. Her all-male-POV books like Big Rock, Well Hung, and now, Satisfaction Guaranteed, are immeasurably fun, quick-witted, deliciously naughty reads – all with a sexy, swoon-worthy hero delivering the story. With Satisfaction Guaranteed, the title pretty much says it all: this book is a lighthearted, steamy rom-com that’s guaranteed to leave you satisfied.

Part workplace romance and part second chance romance, Satisfaction Guaranteed reunites old flames, Dr. Malone Goodman and Sloan Elizabeth, when Malone's business partner houses his daughter's new pet rescue business at their veterinarian clinic. Did I mention Sloan is his partner's daughter? When Malone discovered this fact shortly after he started seeing Elizabeth seven years prior, the two went their separate ways, although they were never far from each other's thoughts. When they see each other again, all the lingering feelings and unresolved issues between them reignite. While at work, they attempt to be professional (albeit not very successfully), but after hours, the temptation is impossible to resist and their restraint isn't quite so strong.

With his lounge-singing, Frank Sinatra-loving, old-fashioned gentleman persona, Malone is an effortlessly charismatic hero and a captivating narrator. Delving inside of Malone's head is sure to make you smile, swoon, and fan your blushing cheeks. While the majority of the narrative is through Malone’s perspective, Lauren Blakely cleverly and craftily finds a way to give us insight into Sloane’s mind. This gives a better feel of the intensity of the longing and desire between them as well as the depth of both their emotional connection and physical attraction.

With whip-smart dialogue and flirtatious banter, a dreamy hero that would’ve been right at home amongst the Rat Pack, and a love story that’s romantic and wistful, but also wildly passionate and uninhibited, Satisfaction Guaranteed is another must-read romance from Lauren Blakely. I loved everything about this book, including the multiple epilogues and the brief, but exciting setup for what’s to come. I’m already dying to get my hands on the next book! September can’t come soon enough…

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

About Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat,

heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He's Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, and Far Too Tempting. On November 21, she'll release the edgy new adult novel THE THRILL OF IT.  She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

I meet Sloane’s gaze then go for it. Because this night has only one destination. “We should go to Tahiti.” 

“Tonight?”

“Too long a flight?” 

She lets go of my hand and holds up her thumb and forefinger. “Maybe a little. Not that I’m turning down a trip to Tahiti. Wait? Are you saying you want to take me to Tahiti? Because I can pack like that.” 

Smiling, I slide my hand to her ass, squeezing. I whisper roughly in her ear, “I’m saying I’d like to escape with you. Like we’re getting away for the night. Let’s fuck away all this hot, wild desire.” 

She exhales then goes quiet, perhaps lost in thought. “But I thought we were going to resist kissing.”

I brush the backs of my fingers along her jaw. “We already failed that test.” 

She pouts. “I was supposed to be an un-vixen.”

“Didn’t work. You’re the opposite, and I want you so fucking much.” I press against her. “You have me so wound up. I’m pretty sure you’re wound up too.” 

She pushes back. “You know I am. You know I want you too. That was never the issue.” 

I have to get closer to her. I need to have her. “Let’s give in. Just once.” I slide my fingers into her hair, she leans her head against my palm, and I continue making my case. “I can take you places. I can make you feel extraordinary, like I’ve always wanted to.”

She hums. “You’re making it hard to say no.”

“True. I’m very hard to resist.” 

A smile spreads across her face. “You are, Malone. You’re terribly, impossibly hard to resist.” She nibbles on her bottom lip. “One night. Our secret. What happens in Tahiti stays in Tahiti.”

“Absolutely,” I say as my dick high-fives me.

“And where is this alternate universe?”

I curl my fingers around her hip bone. “My place isn’t far. There’s also a hotel down the block. Either way, I intend to strip you naked, get my lips all over you, and make you feel as fucking good as you looked when you were watching me sing.” 

She shudders. “I looked good when I was watching you? How so?” 

I run my thumb over her hip, rubbing in slow, sensual circles. “You’re so seductive. You looked so incredibly alluring. You looked exactly as you are—the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.” My fingers stray to her belly, gliding down the fabric of her dress toward my final destination. “And you and I have unfinished business.” 

She leans her head back, and the most delicious moan ever recorded escapes her lips. When she raises her face, she tap-dances her fingers down my chest then runs them over the silk of my tie. “Are you saying we’re going to finish the business tonight?”

“Yes, and then tomorrow . . . we can be friends again.” The thought pains me, but I know this is the only way to deal with our reality.

“Exactly,” she says, nodding her agreement. “We take a trip tonight. We get away to a remote island. And tomorrow we go back to the real world?” She’s seriously considering this. Hell, I’ve already considered it six ways to Sunday in the span of ten seconds, and I say it’s a brilliant plan.

“Let me take care of you tonight. Let me spend the night worshipping your body and driving you wild with pleasure.” 

“You say these things . . .” 

I grin. “And?” 

“And you make it impossible to walk away.” She grabs my tie and tugs my face inches from hers. “But what do you think my voice says?” 

I want her to say it. The permission must come from her, and I’m dying for it. “You tell me.” 

She brings her mouth to my ear and whispers, hot and sexy, “It says take me to Tahiti. Fuck me hard. Fuck me good. Fuck me senseless.” 

That’s the only voice I’m listening to tonight.

Giveaway:

A Night on the Town Giveaway, including an adorable Coach Handbag ($300 value), $50 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, and a $50 gift card to the beauty retailer of your choice to go shopping for that perfect make-up or hair care so you can look extra fabulous!

https://laurenblakely.com/a-night-on-the-town-giveaway/

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey: ARC Review

Blurb:

Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite.

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her...

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About the Author:

Thank you for your interest in my books! I'm Tessa and I live in the crazy, loud, overcrowded borough of Brooklyn, New York. I love it here. This city is a constant source of inspiration, which is why I've decided to set my most recent books in the Line of Duty Series here.

I moved to New York when I was eighteen, the day after I graduated high school. Threw my suitcase in the back of a Chevrolet Cavalier and drove across the country to find my adventure. I'm still finding it, little by little.

Thank you for being a part of it.


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Yvette's Review:

A best friend’s sister/fake relationship romance from Tessa Bailey? Don’t mind if I do! Tessa Bailey one of my favorite authors, so I always look forward to each book she releases but, as a rom-com junkie, I was particularly excited for Fix Her Up. The author’s typical scorching hot romance combined with humor? What could be better than that? Don’t let the cover fool you. Beneath the colorful illustration depicting Fix Her Up’s protagonists is an off-the-charts steamy romance with an expert-level dirty-talking hero.

As the youngest of the Castle siblings and someone who makes a living performing as a clown at children’s parties, Georgie has trouble being taken seriously. Her decision to make herself over to jumpstart both her career and her nonexistent love life might have a *little* something to do with the return of her older brother’s best friend, Travis Ford, aka her longtime crush who’s always seen her as a pesky nuisance. After being sidelined due to an injury, the former professional baseball player is busy wallowing in self-pity, until Georgie steps in to give him a new purpose. When one thing leads to another and Georgie and Travis find themselves in a mutually beneficial fake relationship, their unexpected chemistry is too palpable to ignore.

Diminutive in size but not personality and always ready with a humorous quip, Georgie Castle is adorable, hilarious, and the epitome of the girl next door. She has her moments of insecurity, yet she has a positive, hopeful outlook on life. As a heroine, she’s charming and relatable, giving the narrative a welcome breath of fresh air. Her character is a distinct contrast to Travis’s brooding, jaded persona. He’s as emotionally guarded as she is open, and as worldly as she is innocent, yet their connection is undeniable from the start. The attraction between them that starts as a sizzle slowly builds to a roaring inferno. Their passion is overwhelming and all-consuming, and their need for each other is raw and unadulterated. Each sexual encounter is more sensual, more frenzied, and more primal, than the last. Just when I thought Tessa’s writing couldn’t get any dirtier…it does.

With characters that are flawed but lovable, a narrative that had me sighing, blushing, and swooning, even while delivering an overdose of the feels, and a romance that’s the perfect combination of sweet and filthy, Fix Her Up is my new favorite book by Tessa Bailey. Do I say this every time she releases a new book? Yes. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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Defending Harlow (Mountain Mercenaries #4) by Susan Stoker: Spotlight w/ Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway


Blurb:

Lowell “Black” Lockard, former Navy SEAL, has watched his fellow Mountain Mercenaries settle down with the women of their dreams, but he’s convinced he doesn’t need love. Then he gets a call from Harlow Reese—a chef at a local women’s shelter—and begins to reconsider his decision.

After being continually harassed by a local band of punks, Harlow asks Lowell to give the women of the shelter lessons in self-defense. She doesn’t expect him to take such a special interest in her safety, but he insists on escorting her to and from work, never taking no for an answer. Not that Harlow minds the personal touch…especially when it’s coming from her former teenage crush.

Despite her long history of bad dating luck, seeing Black again makes Harlow rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Easy on the eyes and hard to forget, the man has morphed into an alpha stud. And Harlow may be exactly the type of woman Black is looking for. Making her feel safe isn’t only a duty; it’s a pleasure. But the threats are escalating. The motives are a mystery. And as the danger burns almost as hot as their passion, there’s much more at risk than their hearts.

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Click to Buy the Mountain Mercenaries Series on Amazon:

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Guest Post:

A Mountain Mercenary’s Sneak Attack with Author Susan Stoker

Defending Harlow is book 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series. Each book features one of the men who were recruited by the mysteries “Rex” to work on his team to help rescue kidnapped women and children. In this book we meet Lowell “Black” Lockard who was a Navy SEAL before he became a Mountain Mercenary. He joined the group because after his stint in the Navy, he realized that he was happiest when he was being useful, helping others. He’d been close to his fellow SEALs when he’d been on active duty, but somehow he was even closer with his fellow Mountain Mercenaries.

They worked together, they played together, and they simply enjoyed spending time with each other both during missions and when they were living their lives in Colorado Springs.

Black loves that his friends have found women that completed them. Gray met Allye when he rescued her from a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and they had to swim for hours to safety. Ro met Chloe when her brother was holding her hostage in his house and was about to pimp her out from his strip club. And Arrow met Morgan when they’d been down in the Dominican Republic to rescue a child who’d been kidnapped by her non custodial father. Turns out, Morgan was one of the most famous missing people the United States had ever had, and she’d been held for over a year before she’d accidentally been found by the Mountain Mercenaries.

He loves that his friends are happy, but realizes that he is…bored. He wants someone to laugh with. To talk to at the end of the day. To break the routine of his life. He envies his friends for having that.

Meeting Harlow is a turning part in Black’s life. She makes him laugh and he’s intrigued more than he’s ever been by a woman before. And realizing they went to the same high school once upon a time makes him even more curious. But there’s a problem…Harlow has had bad date after bad date and she’s sworn off dating forever.

But Black won’t give up. He decides to “trick” her by refusing to call what they’re doing as ‘dates.’ They’re just “hanging out.” And the more he spends time with her, the more he likes her…and vice versa. Harlow will have to decide whether or not to take a chance on Black, and he’ll have to figure out how to neutralize the threat looming over Harlow and the women’s shelter she works at or else the semantics of what they’re doing will be a moot point, because someone might end up dead.

About the Author:

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes. Married to a retired army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado—and currently lives under the big skies of Texas. A true believer in the happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, www.stokeraces.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorsusanstoker.

Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

Neither said anything for a while as they drove toward downtown.

Finally, Harlow asked, “Where are we going?”

“The Pit.”

“Where?”

Lowell smiled. “Since this isn’t a date, and we’re talking about the shelter, I decided I should take you to the place where me and my team conduct business. The Pit.”

“It sounds scary. Please tell me there aren’t snakes on the floor and Indiana Jones isn’t going to pop up and run pell-mell through the place being chased by members of an ancient civilization because they want their artifact back.”

Harlow stared at Lowell when he threw his head back and laughed loud and long. She couldn’t help but chuckle herself. The man sitting next to her was so different from any man she’d dated in the past—no, wait … this wasn’t a date. Nope. Not even close.

“I can’t wait to tell the others that. No, Harl, The Pit is a combination bar and pool hall. It’s pretty much a hole-in-the-wall kind of place.”

“Why do you do business in a bar?” Harlow asked.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. The Pit is where we were interviewed when we were first asked to join the Mountain Mercenaries … I’m assuming you know about the team?”

She nodded. “A bit. Loretta told me. I’m sorry if she spoke out of turn, but she was trying to reassure me that you knew what you were doing and could help us.”

“I can help you,” Lowell confirmed. “And in a nutshell, me and my teammates are all former Special Forces soldiers, and we work for Rex, getting women and children out of untenable situations.”

“Why mercenaries? I mean, it doesn’t sound like that’s what you guys really are.”

Lowell shook his head, and a small smile formed on his face. “Why do women always concentrate on that word?” he asked, more to himself than her.

Harlow answered him even though he hadn’t really asked. “Because. It’s weird that you call yourselves something that you technically aren’t. I wouldn’t start a catering business and call it Harlow Photography.”

“Point taken. I don’t know why Rex chose that name. Probably because it was catchy and sounded better than Colorado Badasses, or Your Worst Nightmare.”

Harlow couldn’t stop the bark of laughter that escaped. “True.”

“The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what we’re called. We’re six men who go where we’re needed and do what we have to do to rescue those who need a helping hand. I know women are empowered, and there are many who are just as talented at what they do as we are. But the fact remains, there are a lot of men out there who feel the need to subjugate and beat down the women and children in their lives. They take advantage of teenagers who are too young to know better or those who have had horrible lives. They hurt them and force them to do things against their will. It’s not right, or fair, and me and my friends are playing a small part in trying to right those wrongs.”

Harlow wasn’t sure how their light and playful conversation had turned so intense, but she turned slightly in her seat to better look at Lowell. His teeth were clenched, and the hand on the steering wheel was holding on so tightly, she could see his knuckles turning white. He obviously felt deeply about the topic and his job, and Harlow couldn’t be more proud of him.

“I’m proud to know you, Lowell Lockard.”

He looked at her in surprise. “What?”

“The world needs more men like you and your friends. I don’t know why men like the ones harassing the shelter are the way they are. Why they feel the need to exert their power over those they deem weaker than them. But I’m glad you’re there to help tip the scales. Other than the high-speed-chase guy, generally I haven’t been afraid of my bad dates, I’ve just been disgusted by or disappointed in them. But I know there are a lot of women out there who’re in bad marriages and relationships, and it helps knowing there are people who care. People who will put their own lives on the line to help get others out of those situations, if asked.”

Lowell pulled into a parking lot of a dark and seedy-looking building, and Harlow wasn’t surprised to see the neon sign above the door that said The Pit. This was exactly the kind of place where she imagined Lowell and his fellow badasses would meet.

He stopped the engine, brought the hand he was still holding up to his mouth, and kissed the back of it. “Stay put. I’ll come around.”

He went to let go of her, but Harlow held on to his hand. “This isn’t a date,” she said, not sure if she was reminding him or herself. “It’s a work meeting. I let you pick me up, but I should’ve driven myself. And I can open my own door and pay my own way.”

Lowell leaned into her, and Harlow forced herself not to pull back.

“I know this isn’t a date. You don’t date. I heard that loud and clear, Harl. But in my world—and make no mistake; when you’re with me, you’re in my world—a man opens a door for a lady. He walks on the outside of the sidewalk, he picks her up whenever possible, and he pays for drinks and meals. If it makes you feel better, you can think of this as a business expense I can write off on my taxes.”

Harlow stared at him for a beat, then nodded. What else could she do? She didn’t want to like Lowell’s world, but she had to admit it felt good being there. She’d had doors shut in her face when men had entered ahead of her and hadn’t held them open. She’d had to pay for her own meals on dates. And she’d even had an experience when she’d literally almost been run over by a bus in Seattle because she’d been forced to walk on the outside of the sidewalk near the curb.

“Okay,” she said.

“Okay,” Lowell said with a small smile. Then he squeezed her hand once more and climbed out.

“Not a date, not a date,” Harlow chanted to herself quietly as Lowell walked around his car to come to her side. He opened her door and held out a hand. Taking a deep breath, Harlow put her hand back in his and allowed him to help her up and out of the low seat.

He didn’t let go of her hand once she was standing next to him, though. He simply shut the car door with his free hand and led her toward the door of the bar.

Not a date, she told herself once more as Lowell smiled at her and pulled open the heavy wooden door.


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