Tuesday, January 29, 2019

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne: ARC Review

Blurb:

Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

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About Sally Thorne:

Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it's not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book--and it isn't always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel.



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Yvette's Review:

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is easily one of my all-time favorite books. To say I’ve been eager to read 99 Percent Mine is an understatement. My undying love for The Hating Game ensures that I was looking forward to 99 Percent Mine more than any other release slated for 2019. And I must say that, once again, Sally Thorne does not disappoint, delivering an emotionally stirring, captivating love story filled with heat and heart. As an unapologetic rom-com junkie, 99 Percent Mine is my favorite kind of book to read, with plenty of humor and just enough angst to give an occasional tug on your heartstrings.

With her own take on the brother’s best friend romance trope, Sally Thorne tells the story of Darcy Barrett and Tom Valeska, two longtime friends with a complicated history between them. Thanks to a perpetual case of wanderlust and an inability to communicate her feelings, Darcy has loved Tom from afar since she was eight years ago. It’s only when her grandmother’s house undergoes much-needed renovations that her longtime crush on her twin brother’s (off-limits) best friend is no longer a (not-so-secret) secret. The spitfire with a pixie haircut and an attitude that rivals those of the rough-and-tumble bikers that populate the bar where she works is a stark contrast to the clean-cut, tall, dark, and silent man she’s given her heart to, yet their connection is evident with everything they say and do. It’s their effortless banter, their ever-present sexual tension, and their electric chemistry that make them such a riveting pair.

While Darcy doesn’t know the meaning of subtlety when it comes to her attraction to Tom, she isn’t exactly declaring her undying love for him. She flirts shamelessly and teases relentlessly, blurting out her innermost thoughts and feelings, which are dismissed as jokes when her intentions towards Tom are uncertain. Though she’s a tough character to crack, with her flaws and idiosyncrasies laid bare within the pages of the book, I found Darcy’s unflinching honesty and stark self-awareness to be incredibly refreshing. It was her imperfections, her fearlessness, and her tendency to propel herself wholeheartedly into life and love that combine to create an impactful, unforgettable story.

With a deliciously, agonizingly, slow-burning romance that steadily builds to a burning, passionate, unfettered release of pent-up emotions, dialogue that’s witty, comical, and biting, and a storyline that’s deceptively simplistic, introspective, and heartfelt, 99 Percent Mine is another must-read novel from Sally Thorne.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Release Blitz Review


Blurb:

It takes a fearless woman to love the most scandalous man alive in New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s breathtaking novel

Even a ghost hunter like Rosie Herpin couldn’t have foreseen the fateful meeting between two mourners that has brought her so intimately close to the notorious and seductive Devlin de Vincent. Everyone in New Orleans knows he’s heir to a dark family curse that both frightens and enthralls. To the locals, Devlin is the devil. To Rosie, he’s a man who’s stoking her wildest fantasies. When a brutal attack on her friend is linked to the de Vincents, he becomes a mystery she may be risking her life to solve.

Devlin knows what he wants from this sexy and adventurous woman. But what does Rosie want from him? It’s a question that becomes more pressing—and more dangerous—when he suspects her of prying into the shadows of his past.

Now, the legends surrounding the de Vincents may not be myths at all. But if she’s to discover the truth, she must follow them straight into the arms of the man she can’t resist—the handsome devil himself.

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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:

There’s something about two characters clashing upon their first meeting that has me instantly intrigued to learn more. From the moment Rosie and Devlin exchanged tension-filled, slightly-hostile banter in Moonlight Seduction by Jennifer L. Armentrout, I knew there would be more to their story. I was therefore thrilled that the standoffish eldest de Vincent brother and the free-spirited amateur ghost-hunter would meet again in Moonlight Scandals. After the suspense-filled, drama-ridden events from the first two books of the de Vincent Series, I had high expectations for Moonlight Scandals, and once again, Jennifer L. Armentrout doesn’t disappoint, unraveling more mysteries, spilling more secrets, and unfolding more drama than ever before.

Baker by day and paranormal investigator by night, Rosie Herpin is a quirky, vivacious, spitfire. When she comes face to face with the Devil a.k.a. Devlin de Vincent, she immediately butts heads with his haughty, no-nonsense demeanor. With a determination to live life to the fullest and an optimistic outlook on life, Rosie’s the complete opposite of Devlin, who’s as guarded as he is mysterious. The two run hot and cold, with easily-ignited tempers and a rapport that’s both passionate and combative. Their snarky, sharp-tongued banter is both riveting and entertaining, evoking a love/hate vibe that had me glued to their every interaction.

What I love most about an opposites-attract romance is the energy that the two contrasting personalities of the main characters bring to the story. Together, Rosie and Devlin create fireworks, baiting and challenging each other every moment of their twisted, complicated relationship. There’s raw, unrestrained need between them. There’s uncertainty. There are roiling emotions. And then there are the skeletons in the de Vincent closet, which are just now seeing the light of day. In Moonlight Scandals, everything comes to a head, closing out a three-book-long quest to uncover the de Vincent family’s deepest, darkest mysteries.

With a number of jaw-dropping revelations, and several oh-$h!t moments that’ll have you gasping aloud and reeling from shock, Moonlight Scandals is the most evocative, the most scandalous, and the most intense book in the de Vincent Series. Moonlight Scandals will tug on your heartstrings, set your pulse racing, and leave you stunned, but ultimately, in awe. This is another must-read from Jennifer L. Armentrout!

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, January 28, 2019

If I Only Knew by Corinne Michaels: Release Blitz


Blurb:

I have two rules in life:
1. No relationships, falling in love or attachments.
2. No sleeping with clients of my interior design firm.

Since the last guy turned out to be married, they’ve been easy to follow.

Until him.

Callum Huxley is a ridiculously sexy Brit, and the connection we have the moment our eyes lock scares the ever-loving hell out of me. Thank God I came to my senses before going back to his hotel where I would’ve ended up naked, panting, and unable to forget him.

Thinking I walked away from that night unscathed was stupid. Sure enough, at the biggest meeting of my career waits the CEO of Dovetail Enterprises—him. It might be the most embarrassing moment of my professional life. And breaking my no-client rule might just be the hottest moment of my personal life.

Learning to trust has never felt so good, but falling has never hurt so bad.

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About Corinne Michaels:

Corinne Michaels is an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two    beautiful children. She’s happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha Navy SEALs are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7) by Jill Shalvis: Blog Tour Review & Excerpt

Blurb:

If you’re planning on falling in love…

When it comes to the confident, charismatic Caleb Parker, Sadie Lane feels the spark—the kind that comes from rubbing each other the wrong way. She’s a tattoo artist, he’s a straight-laced mogul. But after they accidentally co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm, Sadie sees a vulnerable side to the seemingly invincible hottie.

you’d better be sure…


Caleb doesn’t do emotions. Growing up the underdog, he’s learned the hard way to build up an impenetrable wall. Perfect for business. Disastrous for relationships. He’s never worried about it before—not until he finally gets behind Sadie’s armor and begins to fall.

… someone is there to catch you.
Both guarded and vulnerable, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Or are they? Shocked at their undeniable connection, can they ever admit to wanting more? That all depends on what they’re each willing to risk.

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Yvette's Review:

Every time I read a series of interconnected standalone novels, I can’t help but hope that each minor character that’s introduced will get his or her own story. And in my favorite series…they usually do, like with the Heartbreaker Bay Series by Jill Shalvis. Between the full-length novels and the novellas prior to the newest release, Playing for Keeps, I had read 8 installments in the series, where readers were introduced to several new faces outside of the core group of friends, who invited the possibility of new romantic pairings. From the moment Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker came into the picture, their fiery chemistry and antagonistic, yet flirty vibe made it obvious that we’d be seeing more of this particular pairing.

A straight-laced, wealthy businessman and a brazen, free-spirited tattoo artist are the perfect example of opposites attracting. A reluctant (on Sadie’s part), nonplussed (on Caleb’s part) mutual attraction leads to verbal sparring, which leads to a constant wariness between them. For the year they’ve known each other, they’ve been on guard, keeping each other at arm’s length. It’s not until they adopt a three-legged stray dog together that each begins to looks past the other’s surface and discover that they have more in common than they initially believed. As much as Caleb claims to be emotionally unavailable, Sadie and their canine friend work their way under his defenses and, as much as Sadie’s shield comes across as impenetrable, Caleb easily sees through her carefully-constructed façade of indifference. Neither claim to be perfect but it’s their imperfections that make their story so enthralling. 

With a romance that’s the perfect combination of sweet and steamy, characters that are compelling because of their flaws and complexities, and a storyline that’s gripping and heartfelt, Playing for Keeps is an unforgettable addition to Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series. The narrative is lighthearted, interspersed with moments of profound introspection and deep emotional connection, tackling a more serious subject matter than previous books, while maintaining the author’s signature small-town-feel type of charm. The *only* thing that would’ve made this book better is having a visual to go along with it…mainly one of Caleb snuggling with Lollipop. *Googles pictures of hot guys holding dogs* Overall, Playing for Keeps is a must-read!

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

 
About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters   in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.



Social Media Links:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

Excerpt:

“Sadie.”

She shook her head.

“Look at me. Please?”

It was the damn please that had her opening her eyes. He’d closed the gap so that if she so much as took a breath, they’d be touching.

So she did just that. She took a deep breath, and then their bodies were up against each other, his warm and hard. Everywhere. “What’s happening?” she whispered.

“I believe you’re deciding between kicking me in the nuts and kissing me.” One side of his mouth curved very slightly as he lifted their still joined hands above her head, against the wall.

“But that last part might just be in my dreams.”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“Yes, it’s just in my dreams?”

She meant to say yes again, she really did.

She even opened her mouth to say it, because this was insane, this incredible . . . craving she had for him. It made no sense. Less than no sense, and yet . . .

She went up on tiptoe and touched her mouth to his.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Free (Chaos #6) by Kristen Ashley: Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.

And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.

A battle they have to win.

But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.

Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.

That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.

Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…

Free.

Releases: January 29, 2019


Click to Buy The Chaos Series on Amazon:

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Excerpt:

“My name is Rush Allen,” the leader of the pack said.

“Well, you already know my name, so consider us introduced,” I returned.

He nodded once. “We need to talk about what you’re doing with Benito Valenzuela.”

“This is where we disagree, Mr. Allen.”

He leaned forward, his leather creaking, putting his elbows to his knees, and he tipped his dark head back.

This was a bad position. His legs were spread, his faded jeans tight on his knees, I could see their formation, and like everything about him, it was sexy. Especially them leading into thick thighs. More on the especially with his long-fingered, rough, veined hands. And adding to all that, with the arch of his neck, the column of his muscled throat was exposed above the collar of his cream thermal, and if his hair demanded your fingers buried in it, his throat demanded your lips trailing down it.

I wouldn’t allow myself to let my eyes roam to his package. If it was as good as the rest, shit might go south for me…fast.

Man, I was in trouble.

“I know about Diane,” he said softly.

My gaze shot from his throat to those crystal eyes, and my breath lodged in my chest because of his tone.

It was beautiful, full of warmth and sadness and understanding.

So much of all that, if he’d been there when Diane had died, and he’d cooed to me in that voice (perhaps while he held me in his arms and I smelled leather and tang), maybe things would have been different. Maybe I wouldn’t have let that fire ignite in my belly. Maybe I wouldn’t have fanned those flames until it was an inferno that had built out of even my control.

I straightened my spine.

“You need to pull back so you don’t become Diane, Rebel,” he advised.

“Benito Valenzuela didn’t kill my friend,” I informed him.

“You don’t know who did that,” he informed me.

“I do know. And it was not Benito Valenzuela.”

“You think it was Arthur Lannigan.”

I leaned toward him. “No. I know it was Arthur Lannigan.”

“Let Hank and Eddie prove that,” he urged.

Oh yeah.

He knew Hank and Eddie.

Shit.

“They have.” (Uh, mostly.) “They just can’t find him.”

“And you think you can.”

“I know I can.”

“By playing Valenzuela and Harrietta Turnbull to get to him?”

“By doing whatever I have to do.”

“So you get dead, your neck snapped like Diane’s, what’s Diesel gonna do?”

I abruptly leaned back in my chair.

Damn Eddie Chavez.

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:

As a huge fan of Kristen Ashley and her MC romance series, Chaos, I was both excited and nervous to read Free. The excitement came from getting to finally read Rush’s story, who just so happens to be Tack’s son...as in the president of Chaos, who we got to know and love not just in Motorcycle Man but throughout the entire Chaos Series. The nerves came from Free being the final book in the series. After the events leading up to this point, any reader would pick up on the fact that $h!t is about to hit the fan, and, while I had faith that Kristen Ashley would give Rush and the crew a well-deserved Happily Ever After, I had a sneaking suspicion the journey would be obstacle-ridden and more than a little dangerous (which it was). With such an action-packed, suspense-filled storyline, Free is a fast-paced thrill ride, but it’s also a romantic, steamy love story that’ll have you swooning from start to finish.

With the final book in the Chaos Series comes the culmination of a series-long entanglement with two deadly foes: Chew, a former Chaos brother, and a Valenzuela, a local crime kingpin. When Cole “Rush” Allen meets Rebel Stapleton, she’s placed herself right in the middle of the drama, working undercover to bring down the very men that have caused so much trouble for Chaos. Sparks flew between them from the moment they laid eyes on each other, igniting a combustible chemistry and fiery passion that leads to a whirlwind romance. The cool, confident, and tough, but gentle biker is drawn to Rebel’s fierce, fearless nature, and doesn’t hesitate to use his considerable charms to win her over. Not that she needs much convincing… Once you get to know Rush, you’ll see why. Not only is Rush a younger version of Tack (meaning dreamy AF), but he’s also heart-meltingly sweet, deliciously sexy, and impossibly swoon-worthy.

With a multifaceted narrative that painstakingly interweaves several subplots, a cast of beloved characters that demand your attention and inspire your devotion, and a romance that’ll give you butterflies and set your cheeks ablaze, every single page of Free is filled to bursting with action, drama, romance, and suspense. The storyline is a mind-blowing collision of the Rock Chick, Dream Man, Anti-Heroes, Honey, and Chaos Series that’s sure to make the heart of any KA fan skip a beat. For the finale of the Chaos Series, Free is nothing short of epic.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

My Kind of Forever (Trillium Bay #2) by Tracy Brogan: Spotlight w/ Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway


Blurb:

As the youngest mayor Trillium Bay has ever elected, Brooke Callaghan wants to prove she’s up to the challenge. She’s stepping out of her practical teacher flats and into her sister’s treacherously high heels…with disastrous results. But if she’s going to (literally) stumble her first day on the job, why not fall into the arms of a handsome stranger?

Leo Walker is a rarity on Wenniway Island. Not only handsome, he’s also single, funny, and—most importantly—interested in Brooke. Unfortunately, his reasons for being on the island are temporary, so in spite of the undeniable chemistry between them, he’s not a forever kind of guy.

When a private investigator arrives with news of a jewel thief hiding on the island, Brooke finds herself dealing with one kerfuffle after another, and Leo proves to be a delicious distraction. What does she really know about him, though? And the biggest question of all? Does this short-term romance hold the possibility of long-term love?

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Guest Post: 

The Risks (and Rewards) of Dating in A Small Town by Tracy Brogan

MY KIND OF FOREVER is the second book in the Trillium Bay series set on a small island in Northern Michigan, and tells the story of thirty-five year old Brooke Callaghan who has just been elected as the youngest, and first female, mayor the town has ever had. As the oldest of three sisters, Brooke is accustomed to taking charge and bossing others around, but the stodgy, long-time members of the decisively not-modern city council are determined to keep the status quo. In fact, the only one who seems to take Brooke seriously is Leo Walker, the new bartender whose reasons for being on the island are both short-term and known to him alone. 

Despite a budding attraction to Leo, Brooke knows she needs to focus on mastering her new job, especially when rumors of a jewel thief hiding out on the island begin to circulate and the well-established rumor mills goes into overdrive. And speaking of rumors, Brooke is more than a little concerned with what the townspeople might say if they discover she and Leo are spending time alone. Coming from such a small community, in this case a village with a winter population of just six hundred people, people’s private lives rarely stay private, and modest, pragmatic Brooke doesn’t like the extra attention. Especially since a bad relationship from her past has left her overly cautious.

Although determined to prove to her neighbors and family she’s got what it takes to be a great mayor, with Leo’s encouragement, Brooke comes to realize she’s also entitled to address a few of the more personal aspects of her life, such as finding romance. But when things with Leo get rocky, she falls back into old patterns, believing that love is too elusive and not for women like her. Fortunately, the local community knows otherwise. They see the real Brooke, the one she thinks is hidden. They know her dedication and intelligence and worth, and they know she deserves to have it all. They know she deserves to have a forever kind of love. And so does Leo.

About the Author:

Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Tracy Brogan is a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist for her Bell Harbor series. She writes fun, funny stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and she lives in Michigan with her two brilliant daughters and their two intellectually challenged dogs. She loves to hear from readers, so check out her website at www.tracybrogan.com. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tracybroganwriter.



Social Media Links:


Excerpt:

“I didn’t mean to eavesdrop,” Leo said after everyone else had left and I remained seated in the small meeting room holding my aching head in my hands. “But it sounds like you have your work cut out for you.”

Wow. Did I ever. I’d just spent the past two hours listening to so-called adults bickering about a litany of arbitrary topics. Should Polly’s Popcorn Shop be allowed to sell day-old products? Could the street sweepers add five minutes to their afternoon break? Who was going to play Santa during the Christmas Parade if Harry didn’t come back in time? And the biggest topic of the day? Did everyone see the awnings Tasty Pastries had put up, and who on earth had approved that?

“It’s like they couldn’t even hear me talking,” I said, looking up at him for a response, just to reassure myself that I was, in fact, speaking out loud.

He picked up an empty glass with one hand while wiping a ring of condensation off the table with a damp rag. “I’m not sure they could hear each other talking. Seemed like a lot of monologuing without any listening.”

“But I had an agenda.” I shook my paper at him, now covered in notes that I’d scribbled in the margins about all the other things I wanted to discuss. Things I would have discussed if I could have gotten a word in edgewise. The only one who didn’t interrupt me was my own father, but that’s because he didn’t say anything the entire time. Not unusual for him, but I had hoped to demonstrate a little more power over that cluster of clucking hens. “They were worse than teenagers. I have so many great ideas, but all they care about is the awnings.”

Leo wiped another spot off the table. “What ideas?” He gazed down at me, and I noted how dark blue his eyes were. Depths-of-the-ocean kind of blue. The kind of eyes that made every glance feel significant, even if it meant nothing at all. A flutter of something long-forgotten tickled inside my veins. Attraction. Followed by an immediate need to ignore it.

“Oh, all kinds of ideas.” I smiled tiredly and pushed myself up, because it was nearly five thirty and the Palomino Pub would start filling up with the evening crew pretty soon. “I’ll get out of the way now so you can have the room for dinner guests.”

“Speaking of dinner,” he said, “I’m new around here, so I was wondering, what restaurants do you like?”

“Oh, we have lots of great places to eat. All price ranges. The Windemere Grill is right down on the corner. There’s the Imperial Hotel dining room if you want something elegant. The Feast Well Bistro, Carmen’s Café, and Tate’s Tavern on the Bluff are good, too. At the tavern, you can watch the sun set behind Petoskey Bridge. It’s a great view. And for breakfast, I recommend Link & Patty’s Breakfast Buffet. The pink piggy décor is a little much, but the pancakes are the best.”

“Are you suggesting we have dinner and breakfast?” His dark eyebrow arched just as the corner of his mouth quirked in a ridiculously endearing fashion.

I pushed in my chair with an abrupt scrape. “Excuse me?”

“I was inviting you to dinner. You were inviting me to breakfast.”

That flutter of attraction multiplied even as my mouth fell open for a second. I’m sure it was a great look on me. “I wasn’t. And you weren’t. Were you?”

He laughed, and even though it might have been at my expense, the sound of it sent a flush over my skin and a tingle to places that hadn’t tingled for a very long time.

“I was inviting you to dinner, but not very well, apparently. I’ve been on the island a few days, but I don’t know anyone here, so would you like to have dinner with me?”

I was starving. And he was handsome. And new in town. And looked to be roughly my age. There was no history, no baggage, no reason to say no. But it had been so long since anyone had asked me out, it nearly felt improper. Everyone knew me around here. Everyone would know that we’d had dinner, and certainly everyone would have an opinion about it. And it’s not as if we could go someplace private because there was no place private on the entire island. And there was that issue of the flutter. I didn’t want to be fluttering. Fluttering led to heartbreak.

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Take Me Again (The Knight Brothers #1) by Carly Phillips: Release Blitz


Blurb:

He’s alpha, he’s sexy, and he’s sure he’s got life in his hands … Until Ashley Easton returns, wanting nothing to do with the playboy who broke her heart.

Sebastian Knight is a closer. Be it a business deal or the woman of his choice, everything he wants is his for the taking. Sexy and irresistible, a wink, a smile, or a handshake always seals the deal. Until Ashley returns at the worst possible time, and everything unravels around him.

The Ashley who returns is sassy and sexy--everything Sebastian craves and he wants a second chance. Despite her reluctance, his sex appeal makes it harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

Sebastian might have a talent for sealing the deal, but Ashley is no longer easily charmed. This time he’s going to have to work to win.


Click to Buy The Knight Brothers Series on Amazon:

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About Carly Phillips:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels that today's readers identify with and enjoy. After a successful 15 year career with various New York publishing    houses, Carly is making the leap to Indie author, with the goal of giving her readers more books at a faster pace at a better price. Her Serendipity books will still finish up in January/February 2014 via Berkley as planned. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

We Shouldn't by Vi Keeland: Release Blitz


Blurb:

Bennett Fox walked into my life on one hell of a crappy Monday morning.

I was late for the first day at my new job—a job I’d now have to compete for even though I’d already worked eight years to earn it, because of an unexpected merger.

While I lugged my belongings up to my new office, a meter maid wrote me a parking summons.

She’d ticketed a long line of cars—except for the Audi parked in front of me, which happened to be the same make and model as mine.

Annoyed, I decided to regift my ticket to the car that had evaded a fine. Chances were, the owner would pay it and be none the wiser.

Except, I accidentally broke the windshield wiper while slipping the ticket onto the car’s window.

Seriously, my day couldn’t get any worse.

Things started to perk up when I ran into a gorgeous man in the elevator. We had one of those brief moments that only happened in movies.

You know the deal…your body lights up, fireworks go off, and the air around you crackles with electricity.

His heated stare left me flush when I stepped off the elevator.

Maybe things here wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Or so I thought.

Until I walked into my new boss’s office and met my competition.

The gorgeous man from the elevator was now my nemesis. His heated stare wasn’t because of any mutual attraction. It was because he’d saw me vandalize his car. And now he couldn’t wait to annihilate his rival.

There’s a fine line between love and hate—and we shouldn’t cross it.

We shouldn’t—but straddling that line could be so much fun.

Click to Buy on Amazon:

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About Vi Keeland:

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting USA Today Best Selling smut author by night!


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~*~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

She’s the ultimate off-limits woman...

There are only three rules in life you should truly follow to the letter.

One: Always make time to help a buddy.

Two: Definitely turn down that last tequila shot.

And three: Absolutely, no matter how beautiful, smart, clever and witty she is, do not--under any circumstances--fall in love with your best friend’s woman.

Oops.

Seems I missed following that last one. And the trouble is, she just walked back into my life in a big way….

Pass the tequila.

***

There are three things I've never been able to resist -- my friends, my family, and chocolate. Leo Hennessy? He was nowhere on that list. He's been a friend and only that. A friend who walked through hell and back with me.

Now, I'm stepping into my new future, and I didn't expect it to include a riddle-filled, race-against-the-clock scavenger hunt across New York City.

With Leo.

Suddenly, I'm looking at this man with new eyes...

But I can't risk a temptation as I start over and Leo is most definitely a temptation of the sexiest, sweetest, and most dangerous variety.

More delicious than chocolate...

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Excerpt:

~LEO~

Let’s get one thing out of the way real fast. Regret is a waste of time. I don’t believe in it—never have, never will. I try to live my life without that useless emotion.

You know those articles where the journalist asks old people what they would have done differently, and they list all sorts of stuff—be a better friend, call your mom, tell the woman you love her? You don’t want to be that person.

There’s a simple way to avoid it.

Do the good shit now.

Say yes to that crazy job offer, ask out the girl who’s out of your league, climb the mountain and kiss the sky.

You’ll thank yourself later.

But the flip side of that kind of life is this: you need some rules. A few basic guidelines to follow to navigate the potholes.

Over the years I’ve assembled my top picks. Some from experience, some from listening to others.

Allow me to share my hard-won wisdom.

1. If you have to sniff the food in your fridge to decide if you can eat it, just toss it. You’ll be glad you did tomorrow.

2. You can tell everything you need to know about a person by how he or she treats the waiter.

3. Turn down that last tequila shot. Trust me on this one.

4. If your woman sends you to the store to pick up something, get that something, not another version you think is better. Her version isalways the right one.

5. You can’t put your foot in your mouth if it’s closed.

6. No dude ever gets in trouble while cleaning the kitchen.

7. Don’t live to work; work to live.

8. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

9. Don’t get a tattoo that’s longer than your dick.

10. Men should never wear black jeans.

That’s my list and I’m sticking to it. Those mantras have served me well. They’ve made me the man I am today—successful, wise, and satisfied.

There’s one more though. An addendum, if you will. The postscript you need to achieve a life well-lived. This ought to be so damn easy that no one makes this mistake.

Gather close.

Write it down.

Follow this one to the motherfucking letter.

No matter what, don’t fall in love with your best friend’s girl.

Too bad that ship sailed long ago for me.

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.

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Yvette's Review:

Did someone say forbidden romance? *rubs hands together* I had two thoughts when I learned that Lauren Blakely was writing a romance about a guy who fell for his best friend’s ex. The first was “Oh yeah” and the second was “Uh oh.” The blurb for Birthday Suit sounded ah-mazing and potentially drama-filled, which both intrigued me and had me braced for awkwardness. Of course, I should’ve known there’d be more to the story. With a complex, emotionally-stirring storyline, characters that’ll tickle your funny bone and tug on your heartstrings, and a love story that’s slow-burning, wistful, and hopelessly romantic, Birthday Suit is a drop-everything-and-read (or listen) romance from Lauren Blakely.

After a chance encounter at a chocolate convention (*drools*) brings Leo Hennessy and Lulu Diamond back into each other’s lives, the longtime friends ignite an unexpected spark of attraction between them. Well…unexpected on Lulu’s part. As the ex of Leo’s best friend, Lulu’s newfound appreciation for Leo’s classic good looks and cool confidence persona is cause for hesitation, but also new and exciting. Leo, on the other hand, is a pro at concealing his feelings for the girl of his dreams, masking his unrequited longing with lighthearted jokes and good-natured charm. It’s no time at all before his crush returns more potent than before, especially once they partner together on a business venture and their once-easygoing friendship is suddenly simmering with sexual tension and electric chemistry. Only this time, his crush is not-so-unrequited…

A fast-paced, character-driven narrative that’s decadently sweet and deliciously sexy combined with Lauren Blakely’s signature whip-smart humor and flirty banter, make Birthday Suit a riveting, heartfelt romance. It’s the extended cast of characters and their interactions with each other that makes Birthday Suit stand out. Written with the audiobook in mind, each character is fleshed out and given their time in the spotlight. The dynamic of the characters as a whole is fun, vibrant, and endlessly entertaining. If you think the book is amazing, just wait until you listen to the audiobook. A cast of TWELVE narrators work together to deliver an unforgettable performance that elevates the reading and listening experience to a level that completely and thoroughly engages your imagination.

Whether you listen to the audiobook or read the e-book or paperback, Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely should be pushed to the top of your TBR list. Pick a format and settle in for a binge-read because this is one you won’t want to miss!

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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Let’s celebrate the release of BIRTHDAY SUIT
with the cupcake of the month club from Wicked Good Cupcakes and a Subscription to Audible all wrapped up in a Michael Kors Handbag ($500 value)!


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Lying Beneath the Oaks by Kristin Wright: Spotlight & Excerpt

Blurb:

Molly Todd wakes up in a Vegas parking lot with a headache, a virtual stranger, and a wedding ring. Jobless and broke, she’s left with no other option but to go home with new husband Cooper Middleton to the Lowcountry of South Carolina to straighten out the mess they’ve made. It’s in Molly’s best interest to get an annulment sooner rather than later—before her hosts find out that she’s not the kind of guest anyone wants at their Thanksgiving dinner.

The more Molly gets to know Cooper and his family, the more she wonders if she and Cooper might have a real chance together. She longs to tell him her secret even though she knows the truth might get her kicked straight out into the nearby swamp. While she wavers, Molly’s unusual life experiences allow her to spot the skeletons in the Middleton family closet: ones Cooper’s never suspected, ones that are hidden in plain sight. What Molly discovers will shake Cooper’s foundations—and could threaten both their lives.

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About the Author:

Kristin is a native Midwesterner and a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School. She works as a local government lawyer in rural Virginia. She lives a mile from any pavement in the country with her husband, two sons, two beagles, and a handful of cows. A Pitch Wars mentor since 2015, this is her first novel.


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Excerpt:

With alacrity, Cooper stood and extended a hand. He probably was as anxious for the interview to be over as I was. “Thanks, Dad. It was a red-eye flight. We’re pretty tired.”

I skirted the potential crash zone below the chandelier and followed Cooper up the creaking stairs. The upper hallway looked like a hardened wedding cake—moldings thicker than my waist adorned the tops of the walls and every window frame. Two long hallways branched off from the main chandelier hall, each with doorways farther than I could see. Three doors down the left hallway, Cooper set our luggage down in a large room with a queen-sized bed in the middle. The enormous four-poster faced a pair of tall windows with open drapes and a view of the marsh and the water.

“Wow. Is this your room? It’s beautiful. Look at the view!” I said.

“Yep,” said Cooper, waiting on my reaction.

The room had ordinary blue paint on the wall, and a couple of modern framed posters advertising shrimp festivals and an art show in Charleston. Here, no cushioned hush silenced everything. The light streamed in, dispelling the gloom from downstairs, leaving behind only my nervousness at how to handle the bed situation.

“Yep. Look. I know this is weird. In retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t have done it, but now we’ve told them we’re married for real. They won’t believe it if we don’t sleep here together. Dad is . . .” He trailed off. “Don’t worry, though. I’ll sleep on the floor.” He stowed the luggage next to the dresser and unzipped a bag, his back to me.

“Wait,” I said, touching his arm to stop him. “I’ll sleep on the floor.” The thick patterned rug was nicer than most of the beds I’d slept in. “This is your house and your bed and you’ve been so nice to bring me here and everything. You could have walked away in Las Vegas. Most guys would have.”

“Ha. Doesn’t speak too well to the guys you’ve known.” He pulled out a phone charger and plugged it in. “The way I see it, it took two people to get married. I couldn’t just leave you there. I feel responsible. Maybe it sounds stupid, but I married you. For now, at least, you’re my wife. It’ll be easier to see the lawyer together and get it all straightened out here rather than send papers to sign back and forth all the way between Nevada and South Carolina. Or Michigan, I suppose. You’d have been going back there.”

“No,” I said, feeling that concerning need for honesty again. Too much of that would ruin everything. “I wasn’t. I went to Las Vegas looking for work. I needed a change of scene. I had a job there but it didn’t work out. Money’s tight.” I couldn’t meet his eyes, sure I’d see calculations of the cost of the meals he’d bought and the hotel room where we’d done . . . whatever we’d done.

After a beat, he said, “Aw, girl, I didn’t know that.”

I glanced up. Doubt was written on his face, and I hated it.

A desperate urge to make him understand made the words spurt out of my mouth. “But I really am not a gold-digger. You have to believe that.” Despite my hatred of tears, the lack of sleep had destroyed my ability to squelch them. They burned the corners of my eyes. “I never meant to . . . to trap you into marriage. Only an idiot would think you’d let yourself stay in that trap. I let you get dinner, but I never wanted . . . or thought—”

“Shhh.” Cooper sat down on the edge of the bed. “I know. I wish I’d known at the time that you needed help. I would have given it.” He patted the bedspread beside him. “Come on. You need sleep.”

Exhausted, I melted more than sat next to him. Who was this man? I believed him. He would have helped me in whatever way I needed. He rubbed my neck and shoulders briefly, shooting warmth and relief and something else into all the parts of me. I closed my eyes.

Without warning, Cooper pushed my shoulders down into a prone position. Adrenaline shot to my arms and legs and I struggled. Bad things could happen in prone positions. Too vulnerable. Panic rose and I pushed his hands away, before I met his eyes and saw only surprise and the total lack of malignant intention there. He only meant for me to sleep.

His lips twitched, misunderstanding me. I let him and forced my breathing to calm.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I wouldn’t even think it. Sleep.” He stood to make room to pull my legs up onto the bed, and removed my shoes. A blanket folded at the bottom of the bed I hadn’t noticed drifted over me. He took one pillow from the headboard and lay down blanket-less on the rug beside the bed.

“Um. If you want, you can sleep up here. We could put a pillow between us,” I offered, hating the idea of him sleeping on the floor in his own room.

“No, ma’am,” he said, a smile in his voice. “Too much temptation.”

“Oh.”

The odd noises that go with a strange house kept me awake for a few minutes. The low rumble of his voice penetrated the last shreds of my consciousness.

“You should know I wouldn’t say no another time.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown: Spotlight w/ Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway


Blurb:

Inheriting the Magnolia Inn, a Victorian home nestled in the East Texas pines, is a fantasy come true for Jolene Broussard. After living with the guilt of failing to rescue her self-destructive mother, Jolene knows her aunt and uncle’s B&B is the perfect jump start for a new life and a comforting place to call home. There’s just one hitch: stubborn and moody carpenter Tucker Malone. He’s got a half interest in the Magnolia Inn, and he’s planting his dusty cowboy boots squarely in the middle of her dream.

Ever since his wife’s death, Tucker’s own guilt and demons have left him as guarded as Jolene. The last thing he expects is for his new partner to stir something inside him he thought was gone forever. And as wary as Jolene is, she may have found a kindred spirit—someone she can help, and someone she can hold on to.

Restoring the Magnolia Inn is the first step toward restoring their hearts. Will they be able to let go of the past and trust each other to do it together?

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Guest Post:

Dotty Welcomes Readers to The Magnolia Inn

Good morning to all y’all. Thank you for inviting me to your site today to tell you a little about The Magnolia Inn. I’m so excited about this book. The characters became like family to me as I was writing it. Today, I have Dotty with me. She’s one of the four ladies—Sugar, Dotty, Lucy and Flossie—who’ve been fast friends since their youth. I’m going to turn this microphone over to Dotty now, and leave the rest of the post to her.

Hello, folks, I’m Dotty Beauchamp—half Texan, half Louisianan and all sass. I own the Tipsy Gater bar that sets right on the Big Cypress Bayou near Jefferson, Texas. When my good friend, Sugar, told me that she was going to give half of The Magnolia Inn, the bed and breakfast that her family had owned for generations, to her niece, Jolene, I thought she was bat crap crazy. When she said that her husband, Jasper, was giving the other half to his wimpy nephew, Reuben—well, I figured Reuben would sell his half the minute the ink dried on the papers.

I was right! The little weasel sold out his part of the inn to Tucker Malone. We—that would be Lucy and Flossie and me since Sugar was already off in that big ass RV touring the United States—had heard that he was a tortured soul. And dear hearts, we damn sure believed the rumor. He was the best of the best when it came to carpentry work, and from what we heard he only hit the bottle on weekends, but still we didn’t want our precious Jolene in living in that inn with him.

I really didn’t want to hire Jolene when she came to the bar looking for work, but I needed help and she sure enough needed a job. I figured I’d take some flack for it from Sugar, Lucy and Flossie, and I did—believe me I did. But Jolene and I both lived through it.

When we met Tucker for the first time, we were sure that the rumors had been right. His wife had died in an automobile accident a few years back. She’d gone to our church so we all knew her very well, and we’d met Tucker a few times when he showed up at church with her. When she died, he turned to the bottle and lost his important job on the police force over in Dallas. It was rumored that he came to our part of the world to be near her grave site. Poor man, he wore the guilt like a heavy shroud and just couldn’t seem to get past it.

But I’m digressing. When we met him we found out that he was also a Prince Charming. He didn’t have a white horse or a white cowboy hat, or a crown, but he was so sweet and kind, and he had such a sweet nature, that pretty soon, we fell in love with him as much as—well, she didn’t know it then, being as how she had plenty of baggage of her own—but as much as Jolene could it they’d could get past all the obstacles life kept throwing at them.

I see that my time is up. So let me thank you again for inviting me sit a spell and visit with all y’all. And if you’re ever in Jefferson, Texas, come on down to the Tipsy Gater and I’ll give you a free drink if you tell me that you’ve read The Magnolia Inn.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RITA® Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than sixty books.

Brown presently writes both women's fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single  title and contemporary series. She lives in southern Oklahoma with her husband, a former English teacher, who is not allowed to read her books until they are published. They have three children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

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Excerpt:

“Why is Tucker a tortured soul?”

“He lost his wife, Melanie, a couple of years ago. She was his whole life,” Lucy whispered. She clucked like an old hen gathering in her baby chickens. “I just can’t believe he bought half interest in this place. It takes a people person to operate a B&B, and from what I hear, Tucker is almost a hermit.”

“I guess we’ve all got our own emotional baggage,” Jolene said.

“Wait until he hauls his damn sorry ass home drunk and you’ve got guests in the place,” Lucy declared.

“She loves Jesus, but she still cusses a little,” Dotty said with a wicked grin.

“He’s a fantastic carpenter. He’s got money to put into the inn. And I’ll cross the drinkin’ bridge when it happens. And . . .” She glanced over at Dotty, who shrugged and winked.

“And just so y’all know.” Jolene took a deep breath. “I’ll be working at the Gator starting Friday night.”

“Lord have mercy,” Lucy groaned. “Have you talked to Sugar about this?”

“Visited with her last night and was going to tell her, but . . .”

Lucy threw a hand over her forehead in a dramatic gesture and then shook a fist at Dotty. “You’re leading our sweet girl down the path of unrighteousness. Jolene, I’ll give you a job in my place of business. Full-time with benefits if you’ll quit the Gator right now.”

“I know bartending, and I can only handle part-time work with the inn, but thank you,” Jolene said and tried to change the subject. “Do I have the recipe for these cookies in Aunt Sugar’s files?”

“I’m sure you do, chère,” Dotty said. “But now let’s talk about the Easter Tour of Homes. Surely Sugar mentioned it?”

“Oh, that.” Jolene was glad Dotty had changed the subject. “She always wanted to be included in it but figured the Magnolia was too far out of town.”

“It might be, but we want to add it this year,” Lucy said.

“It’s, what, like three months from now?” Jolene asked.

“Yes,” Tucker said from the doorway. “We’ll have it ready by then.”

Jolene felt heat rising from her neck to her cheeks. How much had he heard? She motioned to the coffeepot and then to the cookies. “Come on in and meet my friends.”

“Always ready for cookies and coffee. I’m Tucker Malone.” He stuck his hand out toward Lucy.

Her expression said that she’d rather be sticking her hand in a rattlesnake pit, but she put her frail hand in his. “You probably don’t remember us, but we remember you from when you used to come to church with your wife. I’m Lucy Rogers. I own Attic Treasures, an antique store in Jefferson.”

“Jolene told me that a couple of you ladies own antique shops. That’s wonderful.” Tucker brought her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles. “I’m right glad to make your acquaintance, ma’am. I hope to do some business with y’all as we work on this place. We’d like to keep the antique ambience but use modern things like tubs and showers to make things nice for our guests.”

From Lucy’s expression, Jolene could’ve sworn she’d rather have been shaking hands with the devil. “Well, I’ll be sure to give you a real good price on anything that you can use.”

He turned to settle his crystal-clear blue eyes on Flossie.

“I’m Flossie Simmons, and I own Mama’s Place in Jefferson. My antiques are better than Lucy’s.” She winked. “And since Jolene is like a daughter to all of us, I can beat any deal Lucy would give you.”

“And I’m Dotty Beauchamp.” Dotty’s southern accent thickened. “I’m a Louisiana girl from the other side of the Big Cypress Bayou, and I own the Tipsy Gator. I’ve seen you a few times in my bar. You always sit on the last stool in the shadows, right, chère?”

“Yes, ma’am, I sure do,” Tucker said.

Jolene was totally blown away. One minute they were ready to crucify her for letting Tucker live there, and the next they were flirting with him. Good glory! They had to be seventy or older, and he wasn’t a day over thirty-seven.

“We should let you two get back to work,” Dotty said with a broad wink toward Jolene. “And since you’re going to be out of pocket on Friday night, then Sunday afternoon will be our meetin’ time.”

They pushed their chairs back and paraded toward the foyer. Lucy stopped at the hall tree for her coat, and Tucker hurried over to help her into it. “Thank you for the cookies.”

“You’re welcome. Good luck with all this remodeling.” Flossie gave Jolene a quick hug and whispered, “I hope you know what you’re doin’.”

Tucker picked up the last coat from the hall tree and held it out to Dotty. “It’s been a real pleasure to meet you ladies.”

Jolene sank down on the bottom step of the stairs and sighed when Tucker shut the door behind the ladies. Tucker sat down beside her and propped his forearms on his knees. “So you work in a bar?”

“Ever since I was twenty-one. Until then I did waitress work,” she answered. “How much did you hear?”

“I got there when Lucy was offering you a job to quit working in a bar,” he answered.

“Sounds like you heard most of it, then. I’ll be working at a bar on Friday and Saturday nights. I understand that you drink a little on weekends.”

He got to his feet. “I’m going to get a couple more cookies and another cup of coffee to take upstairs with me. And, honey, I drink a lot on Saturday nights.”

“Just so long as we understand each other.” Jolene stood up and headed toward the kitchen. “Right now we could take fifteen minutes off and call it a midmorning snack.”

“Got chocolate syrup?” He followed her into the kitchen. “For the cookies, the coffee, or the milk?”

“Milk, and then I dip my cookies in it,” he answered.

The ladies had called him a tortured soul. Jolene stole glances at him as she got out the chocolate syrup. It was a shame that he’d lost his wife so suddenly. He might never get over it, but she sure wasn’t looking forward to dealing with another weekend drunk—like her mother or that last worthless boyfriend.

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