Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fling Club (Serendipity #1) by Tara Brown: Spotlight w/ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

It’s revenge—sweet and hot—in the first book of this sexy and wickedly funny series by international bestselling author Tara Brown.

For the young, rich, and beautiful, summertime in the Hamptons means one thing: Fling Club. Only this time, Cherry Kennedy won’t be selecting a boy for a fleeting romance. Nope, this season, Cherry is out for revenge. Her target? The Fling Club founder and society darling who slept with Cherry’s now-very-ex-boyfriend. And all Cherry needs is the perfect guy for her plan…

Ashley Jardine can’t afford to refuse. He scored almost a full ride to MIT. But that almost still costs a lot. And this is so much money for a little game of revenge and a chance—albeit short—to live the high life. Here, rich girls rule the shore, and everyone has a role to play. Only nothing in the job description warned Ashley that the redhead who’s running the scheme would be so crazy. And cute. Or that he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about her.

Now, everything is going according to plan—until an unexpected attraction raises the stakes. It’s enough to turn the perfect payback into absolute heartbreak. 
 


Click to Buy the Serendipity Series on Amazon:

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Fling Club Inspirations by Tara Brown:

My book releasing is Fling Club, sort of like Fight Club but with romance.

The fabulous main characters are Cherry and Ashley, an unlikely match. It’s opposites attract to the extreme. Cherry is a spoiled rich girl with a serious problem, how to get revenge on the mean girl ruining her life. And Ashley is a sexy, geeky MIT scholarship student who doesn’t fit in her world. He doesn’t even want to. He can't stand the rich elite and makes no bones about sharing that opinion.

Cherry’s from a rich family and went to school at a private, well known academy where the expectations from parents are demanding. She is demure and reliable, a doormat like most of her friends. Letting parents and guys take the lead in their lives.

After summers of the boys running the shore and parents ruling their lives, the girls decided to take back the power. One girl in particular. She created Fling Club, a fun way to control the dating and socializing the young women were expected to participate in. The head mean girl who runs it, Cait, is every young woman’s nightmare. Controlling, conniving, and completely self-centered. If you have a social life and friends, it’s because Cait allowed it. She has all the parents and every guy on the shore fooled, while all the young women are terrified of crossing her.

When Cherry catches Cait in bed with her boyfriend, the fake friendship is off just as the summer is beginning, meaning Cherry has to come up with a plan for revenge against her frenemy.

With the help of her sarcastic and judgmental brother, Andy, and her pessimistic and evil genius sister, Ella, Cherry is about to wreak havoc on Fling Club, and Cait.

This is where Ashley comes into the plan. He is the bait. Sexy, funny, sarcastic, and just arrogant enough that they don't have to worry about him falling for Cait while she is falling for him. But after a couple weeks together, the plan is threatened when Ashley and Cherry start falling for each other.

He desperately wants Cherry to see that she is so much more than she pretends to be, and that fitting into her world isn't worth the price she is paying. And once she starts seeing herself the way he does, she realizes how much she hates the person she has always pretended to be.

Fling Club, which used to be called The Exception to the Summer Fling, is an old story I wrote a decade ago but never published. It came to me when I was driving. I was crossing North America, moving from the West Coast to the East for my husband’s work in 2008. My girls were watching movies in the backseat, kid's movies. So I got to listen to that the entire six day drive.

I don't even remember the movie they were watching, I think it was a Barbie movie, maybe Princess and the Pauper, but it got me envisioning the moment Cait marched back and forth in front of the new recruits, cruelly telling them the rules of the summer fling club. (Being a HUGE fan of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl, of course I already had a stable of possible plots for mean rich girls.)

The story really formed when I got Cait down in my head, thanks to the long drive and the kids movies.

Cait needed to be that sweet and powerful girl the parents would respect and want their daughters to emulate. But she also needed to be terrifying and controlling so the girls went along with whatever she demanded of them. Even if it was disturbing. Of course, Cait is similar to Kathryn from Cruel Intentions, she is calculating and cold. Almost sociopathic in her nature. But I decided to spin the story a little and make our poor little victim, her equal in social rank.

Cherry might be the weaker link at the start of this story, but she comes from a good family with a lot of money. And as the story progressed she evolved from the damsel in distress who can't cope with anything into a strong young woman. I wanted her to be victim of the story but then I also wanted her to be the savior. Her own savior. I like that love helped her find herself, but she needed to do the work.

I think we nailed that, and the way the characters are meant to make you hate them. I wanted the readers' feelings to grow and change as the characters did. Cait is unbearably horrible and yet somehow relatable once we have all the facts. Cherry is weak and pathetic to start but grows into someone we liked in the end. And we made the bad guy someone you didn't expect.

I love the idea that there is an underbelly in the wealthy world, a place we don't see because they hide it from us. And I adore the meet cute we have created for the entire series of standalone novels, the Post-it Note Wall.

Welcome to the Serendipity Series, starting with Fling Club.

About the Author:

The international bestselling author of Roommates and the Puck Buddies series, Tara Brown writes in a variety of genres. In addition to her comedic Single Lady Spy series, she has also published popular contemporary and paranormal romances, science fiction, thrillers, and romantic comedies. She especially enjoys writing dark and moody tales, often focusing on strong female characters who are more inclined to vanquish evil than perpetrate it. She shares her home with her husband, two daughters, two cats, an Irish wolfhound, and a Maremma Sheepdog. Find out more about Tara by visiting www.TaraBrownAuthor.com.
 
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Excerpt:

I called my brother. “Hey, Cherry. Look, I can’t talk—”

“Cait’s sleeping with Griffin,” I blurted out, cutting off whatever excuse he was about to make.

“What? Who?” It took him half a second to connect the dots. “Seriously? How do you know?”

“I just caught them.” My words had turned to a whisper. I was ashamed of my former friends for betraying me, and of myself for having been so naive. I knew Andy would call me stupid and tell me I deserved what I got for dating a Griffin, and that I was a sheeple like Mom and Cait, and—

“Oh, Cherry. I’m so sorry. Neither of those asshats deserves you.”

That reaction, I didn’t expect. Andy’s kindness broke me. Angry tears flooded my eyes, and before I could help it, I was blubbering and ranting in front of a platform full of strangers. I’d called Andy because I needed his sarcasm to toughen me up and put me on the defensive. I needed to be strong, like him. But instead he gave me tenderness, something I couldn’t handle at the moment.

“You’re lovely and sweet and kind. And you would never do something like that to anyone. Not even an enemy. I’ll come get you; tell me where you are.”

“I—I’m going home. I’m at the train. I feel sick.” My words were coming out in gasps.

“Screw them both. Let them have each other. I never liked that idiot. He’s like Mom and Cait. He thinks his blue blood earns him the right to everything—clearly. They’re selfish people, Cherry. Selfish and stupid and blind. I’m glad he showed his true colors before you got too invested in him.”

Not wanting Andy to know I was as invested as I could be, I stayed silent while he shouted and ranted all the things big brothers said to sad little sisters. “I should beat the piss outta him! Want me to kick his ass? I’ll go find a couple of friends and we can make sure he doesn’t show up for—”

“No.” I sniffled. “I just—” What did I want?

“Listen. Go home and take a hot bath, drink a bottle of wine, and try to get some sleep. I’ll come get you in a week. We’ll go to New York and get trashed, and you—”

“Sleep!” I snapped, finally losing the hold I had on my ferocity. “You think I could sleep right now? I’m not Mom, Andy. I can’t just take something and coast through shit like this.”

“Okay, don’t sleep. Try eating a whole sheet cake and plotting their deaths. They aren’t worth the energy you’re putting into being pissed off. I’ve never understood how you were friends with her. Or part of her club. Which, by the way, she only started because Wendell cheated on her with that chick from Derby. It’s ironic, because then she turns around and does this to you.”

“Andy, I don’t care why she started it,” I groaned, wiping my eyes. “I don’t care that someone cheated on her in high school. I care that she’s currently sleeping with my boyfriend—”

“Cherry, take a breath. If you’re crying, you’re losing it.”

I heaved, realizing I was blind with rage and tears.

“If you can’t get past this with a simple cake, then I don’t know what to say. If I ever make the mistake of falling in love again, it’ll be with some girl in a different financial bracket. This is why we don’t date our kind.”

“Yeah, great advice now!” I spit my words, feeling the fury building.

“Don’t lose control! You’re in public, and you’re a Kennedy for God’s sake. We don’t lose it in front of strangers. Plus, you’ll be upset you didn’t cry in the shower like a winner.”

“Shut up!” I hated him sometimes.

“Cherry, getting upset and ruining your summer is pointless; you’re the only one who suffers. They’ll win. They’ll ruin your last summer before college is over and the real world hits. Don’t let them do that to you.”

“What should I do then?” I burst again, sobbing.

“I don’t know. Maybe take her down. Get revenge. Just whatever you do, don’t go back to that moron, Chatsworth.”

“I won’t.” I sighed. “I can’t talk about this anymore. I’ll text you later.”

“Trust me, eat the cake. It will make you feel better. Do that before you do anything else. My friend Angela swears by it.” He laughed bitterly and hung up.

But I didn't focus on the cake or the bath or the wine. My mind was stuck on the one thing Andy had said that was useful, on repeat.

Get revenge.

And I would.

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The Prince (A Wicked Trilogy #3.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Release Blitz & Excerpt


Blurb:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a new story in her Wicked series…

She’s everything he wants….

Cold. Heartless. Deadly. Whispers of his name alone bring fear to fae and mortals alike. The Prince. There is nothing in the mortal world more dangerous than him. Haunted by a past he couldn’t control, all Caden desires is revenge against those who’d wronged him, trapping him in never-ending nightmare. And there is one person he knows can help him.

She’s everything he can’t have…

Raised within the Order, Brighton Jussier knows just how dangerous the Prince is, reformed or not. She’d seen firsthand what atrocities he could be capable of. The last thing she wants to do is help him, but he leaves her little choice. Forced to work alongside him, she begins to see the man under the bitter ice. Yearning for him feels like the definition of insanity, but there’s no denying the heat in his touch and the wicked promise is his stare.

She’s everything he’ll take….

But there’s someone out there who wants to return the Prince to his former self. A walking, breathing nightmare that is hell bent on destroying the world and everyone close to him. The last thing either of them needs is a distraction, but with the attraction growing between them each now, the one thing he wants more than anything may be the one thing that will be his undoing.

She’s everything he’d die for….


Click to Buy the Wicked Series on Amazon:

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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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Excerpt:

Did it make you a bad friend if you were completely, a hundred percent envious of that friend? Yes? No? Kind of?

I figured it was somewhere in between.

That’s what I was mulling over as I watched Ivy Morgan brush thick, red curls over her shoulder, laughing at something her boyfriend Ren Owens had said to her.

At least I wasn’t envious of that—their love. Okay, well, that wasn’t entirely true. Pretty sure anyone who was as single as me would be envious of all that warm and fuzzy that was passed back and forth with each long look or casual brush of skin. The two could barely tear their gazes away from one another to eat the dinner we’d grabbed at the cute little diner inside the shopping center on Prytania Street.

I honest to God couldn’t be happier for them. They’d been through so much—way more than two people should ever have to go through to be together, and here they were, stronger and more in love than ever, and they deserved that happiness.

But their epic love story wasn’t the source of a current case of the green-eye monster that was sitting on my shoulder.

Ivy was just such a… badass.

Even right now, relaxed in the chair, surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights with her hand in Ren’s and her belly full of a cheeseburger deluxe and crinkle fries and half of my tater tots, she could kick ass and take names along with addresses, telephone numbers, and social security numbers.

If the proverbial poo hit the fan, you called Ivy or Ren.

If you needed to know what streets Royal intersected with, you called… me. Or if you needed coffee or fresh beignets but were currently busy, you know, saving the world, you’d call me.

The three of us were all members of the Order, a widespread organization that was literally the only thing that stood between mankind and complete, utter enslavement and destruction by the fae. And not the super cute fae found in Disney movies or some crap like that. Humans thought they were on top of the food chain. They were wrong. The fae were. The only thing pop culture got right about the fae was their slightly pointy ears. That was it. The fae were more than just beings from another world—the Otherworld—they were capable of glamouring their appearance to blend in with humans. But all Order members, even me, were warded at birth against the glamour. We saw through the human fa├žade to the creature that lurked beneath.

Richer Than Sin (Sin #1) by Meghan March: Release Blitz


Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes a brand new saga of forbidden love and second chances.

A Riscoff and a Gable can never live happily ever after. Our family feud is the stuff of legends.
Ten years ago, Whitney Gable caught me off guard with her long legs and grab-you-by-the-balls blue eyes.
I didn’t know or care what her name was.
Like any Riscoff worth the family name, I went after what I wanted. We burned like a flash fire until she married another man.
She hates me, and she should.
I objected on her wedding day.
Now she’s home, with those same long legs and man-eater stare, but there’s no ring on her finger.
They say a Riscoff and a Gable can never live happily ever after . . . but I’m not done with Whitney Gable.
I’ll never be done with her.


Click to Buy the Sin Trilogy on Amazon:

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About the Author:

Meghan March is the author of contemporary and erotic romance novels.

Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz w/ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

From #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely comes a new standalone romance as you’ve never seen her before. Filled with raw emotion, heartbreak, hope, and humor too, UNBREAK MY HEART explores how to heal, how to live, and how to love. 

I didn't break her heart, and she didn't break mine -- we broke each other's.

I never stopped loving her, but time and distance played its cruel role in ripping us apart three years ago when she moved halfway around the world. Now after all those endless miles away, she's returned . . . but I'm not the guy I was before.

Beautiful, kind, and loving, she's the same -- my hope. The only one who can make a day better, who can make me feel again with one kiss, one touch, one night.

There's so much I have to put back in place now that I’m alone and on my own. Things I never wanted at the age of twenty-five. When I receive an unexpected letter that might hold the clues to everything I desperately need to understand about my family, I'm sure I have to follow it. But that means leaving her once more.

She says she'll come with me, and having her by my side will unbreak my heart . . . or destroy it.

That's the chance I have to take.






Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Excerpt:

~Andrew~

She inches her hand across the counter just a little bit closer, and that hand, I want to grab it and hold on. I glance at our fingers, so close all it would take is one of us giving an inch.

Give. Take. Come. Stay.

I can feel the warmth from her hand. One stretch for us to reconnect, so I wait. Wait for her to put her hands on my face and press her lips against mine and kiss me like it’s been killing her not to.

But I can’t wait.

I break first, saying her name in a lonely, desperate rasp. “Holland.”

“Andrew.” Her voice is a whisper.

“Go with me,” I blurt out.

She blinks. “What?”

I shake my head.

Leaving the kitchen, I stalk to the living room, pacing like I can sort out what to do if I get just a few feet away from her.

She’s right behind me, her hand on my arm. “Say it again.”

I swivel around, and with her blue eyes on mine, her body close, I break to pieces. With her, my heart beats too fast, my blood pumps too quickly. I have no will to tell her to stop being so near to me but not near enough to make everything better.

“Say what again?” I ask, as if I’ve forgotten.

“Ask me,” she presses.

And she wins. She fucking wins. “Go with me. Come with me.”

She squeezes my arm. “Is that what you want?’

I cup her cheeks. She gasps. I’ve shocked her. Let’s shock her some more.

Her lips part, and she whispers my name. “Andrew.” It’s like the stars are glowing. Like the sky is blazing at night. “You know what I want.”

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:

Picture this: I just got home from watching Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again at the theater. My eyes were still watery from having spent the last half hour of the movie crying nonstop and I was already in a fragile state of emotions. And then...I decided to start Unbreak My Heart. Immediately, I wondered, “What the heck was I thinking?” I mean, Lauren Blakely did warn me this wasn’t a rom-com (I’m notoriously anti-angst), but my goodness. Talk about getting hit right in the feels! The author doesn’t pull any punches, diving right into a gut-wrenchingly emotional story that’s sure to tug on your heartstrings from the very first sentence.

If you’ve read any of Lauren Blakely’s books, you know her heroes are typically charming, laidback, and carefree (bonus points for dirty-talking). In Unbreak My Heart, we have Andrew Peterson, a law student in his mid-twenties who’s twice had his world turned upside down with the deaths of his closest family members. He’s charming when it suits his needs, though his days of being laidback and carefree are long gone. He’s emotionally numb, psychologically damaged, and physically reeling, merely existing from day to day. Grief hangs over his head like a shroud, influencing his every thought and action. His only respite from the pain is Holland St. James, the girl who went from being friend to lover to the one who got away. Andrew is hopelessly lost and trying to find his way back both to himself and to the girl he’s never stopped loving.

It is books like Unbreak My Heart that epitomize why the second chance romance is my favorite trope to read. There’s something inherently romantic about fate giving two individuals a second shot at a happy ending after circumstances tore them apart. There’s history between Andrew and Holland. There’s an abundance of chemistry. There’s desire, longing, passion, and sexual tension, all of which is reignited as they tentatively rebuild their romantic connection and reestablish trust between them. Andrew and Holland’s journey back to each other is riddled with obstacles, both emotional and physical, but they have such a natural camaraderie and an all-consuming mutual attraction that you can’t help but root for them to make things work.

With a narrative that’s raw and intense and characters whose hearts and souls are laid bare within the pages of the book, Unbreak My Heart is an achingly emotional, hopelessly romantic second chance romance. What starts as a darker, angst-filled story about loss and heartache evolves into a journey of hope, healing, and letting go. Unbreak My Heart is evocative and thought-provoking, and will resonate with you long after you close the book.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

✮✮✮UNBREAK MY HEART giveaway! ✮✮✮

The perfect prize pack for any world traveler! A gorgeous Kate Spade Tote and Kindle Paperwhite ($350 value) make any trip much more stylish and fun.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

As Dust Dances (Play On #2) by Samantha Young: Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Blurb:

Once upon a time Skylar Finch was the lead singer of a hugely successful American pop-rock band. But fame made her miserable. When years of living a lie suddenly ended in tragedy, Skylar fell off the map.

Eighteen months later she's sleeping in a tent in a cemetery in Glasgow, making just enough money to eat by busking on the streets. She manages to avoid recognition, but not the attention of one of Glasgow's ambitious A&R executives.

Killian O'Dea works at Skyscraper Records, Scotland's most successful record label. Raised by his uncle and owner of the label, Killian's upbringing would have been devoid of affection entirely if it wasn't for his loving sister. Killian is unflinchingly determined to bring the label more success than ever, and the young homeless woman who busks on Buchanan Street is going to help him do that. Her music speaks to him in a way he refuses to over-analyze. All he knows is that if it can touch his dark soul, it'll set everyone else's alight.

Skylar makes it clear that she doesn't want to sign with him. But when she experiences the dangerous reality of a woman sleeping rough, Skylar has no one else but Killian to turn to. An undeniable connection forms between them. But Skylar doesn't want the career Killian is trying to forge for her, and when her past comes back to haunt her Killian will be faced with a decision that could ruin him. He must either free Skylar from his selfish machinations and destroy everything he's ever worked for, or lose a woman who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible.


Click to Buy the Play On Series on Amazon:

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Yvette's Review:

I don’t read angsty books if I can help it. I tend to stick to lighthearted romances, preferably rom-coms. While some readers enjoy diving in to a soul-crushing read, I typically end up curled into a fetal position and biting off all my nails. It was only my undying love for Samantha Young that led me to pick up her latest release, As Dust Dances, which, I could tell would be a tearjerker just from reading the blurb. And boy was it a tearjerker. A heart-panging, gut-wrenching, emotional whirlwind of a tearjerker. My heart hurt for pretty much the entirety of the narrative, and I definitely sacrificed a nail or two, but As Dust Dances is hands down one of the best books I’ve read this year.

As Dust Dances is a hauntingly beautiful, entrancing story about love, loss, and second chances, following the story of famous musician turned homeless street performer, Skylar Finch. After her world unravels with the death of her mother and the pressures of living in the spotlight, Skylar finds herself busking to earn money to survive on the streets of Glasgow. Her downtrodden existence is a far cry from the high-profile, drama-filled rocker lifestyle that had paparazzi hounding her and fans obsessively speculating over her love life. Skylar’s two-year self-imposed isolation from the outside world ends when record label exec, Killian O’Dea, discovers her singing on the streets, signing her to a deal that would ultimately thrust her back into the limelight.

To say that Skylar’s situation is complicated would be an understatement, with her juggling her musical resurgence on top of navigating her budding feelings for Killian. These two parts of Skylar’s life are intertwined, with her and Killian growing closer as they work on her album. What starts as a resentful, antagonistic relationship, becomes first a cautious flirtation, then a primal, raw, unexpected attraction. Like Skylar, I initially found Killian to be cold and aloof, especially in comparison to Skylar, who wears her heart on her sleeve. It’s the glimpses of his wry sense of humor, his passion for music, and his willingness to reveal his vulnerabilities that made his character so multifaceted and riveting. The more I got to know both Skylar and Killian, unveiling their innermost thoughts and desires, the more I rooted for their happiness and success, especially when it seemed like the world was working against them at every turn.

Part journey of self-discovery and part slow-burning romance, As Dust Dances is packed with gasp-inducing drama, gut-churning angst, and unbearable sexual tension. I recommend having some tissues on hand before getting started and preparing yourself to get hit right in the feels because this book will break your heart into a million little pieces before piecing it back together again. Trust me, though, when I say the end is well worth the heartache along the way.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars


About the Author:

Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestselling novel ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha's first adult contemporary romance and has been sold in twenty six countries.



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Excerpt:

“The omelet is good,” I offered reluctantly when the silence felt too heavy.

But it was followed by more silence, the only sounds between us that of cutlery on plates and the soft sipping sounds of us drinking. I could barely finish the omelet, not used to eating something so substantial in the morning. O’Dea’s brows pinched together as he took my plate, but he didn’t say anything.

“I need a shower.”

“There’s an en suite in the bedroom. Fresh towels, soap, shampoo and conditioner in there too.” He reached into the carrier bag on the counter and pulled out a brand-new electric toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. He offered them and feeling a little unbalanced by the gesture, I took them. “There’s a hair dryer in the bathroom as well. Your backpack is in the bedroom.”

I nodded, not quite able to thank him again after the last attempt.

“I’ll be out here when you’re done. We’ll get straight to the audition.”

And suddenly I didn’t care about thanking him. Throwing him a look of disgust, I disappeared into the bedroom and slammed the door behind me.

Unfortunately, a few minutes later, I had to come out of the room again. I found him sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, and scrolling through something on his phone. O’Dea looked up at me with an eyebrow quirk. I hated that eyebrow quirk.

I lifted my wrist with the cast. “I need something to cover this.”

Without saying a word, he got up, put his coffee and phone down on the island, and rummaged through one of the large drawers beside the range. He turned around with cling-film in his hands and gestured me to come to him with an odious curl of his finger. Internally huffing, I strode over to him and held out my wrist.

“This place is pretty well stocked,” I grumbled.

“We like to make sure every need is catered to.”

I harrumphed.

Then O’Dea triple-wrapped my cast with such gentleness, it stunned me silent.

I was still standing holding out my arm while he put the cling-film away. I frowned at his back, puzzled by his complexity. That is until he turned around and gave me that eyebrow again.

Just like that I was back to being annoyed and desperate to get out of his company.

My building resentment toward him only increased the moment I saw my reflection in the bathroom mirror.

How the hell could he look at me like this and demand that I audition?

Bluish bruising covered my puffed-up, swollen eye and upper cheek. My lower lip was swollen on one side where it had split. And underneath the injuries, my cheekbones cut sharply against my pale skin. The shoulders of my T-shirt hung down on my arms because my shoulders were too small for it.

I looked like a battered waif.

Skylar Finch was no more.

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