MASS MARKET RELEASE & REVIEW w/ GIVEAWAY: The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken

Bachelors of Arizona Book Two; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

In a twist on the typical shut-in story, The Playboy Bachelor takes two former best friends, one who now refuses to enter the outside world and one who is both a playboy and the one who abandoned her, and pushes them together against their wills. Forced to be in each other’s company for an extended period of time, secrets surface and long buried sexual tension reaches a high point.

RVD always writes contemporary romance well, playing with humor and sweetness, but she isn’t afraid of delving into more deep-seated issues that add conflict and tension in her characters and her stories. Having a female character barricaded in due to a horrific accident allowed there to be a nice change in the dynamic of how it affects a woman differently and how that plays into a male character pushing past it. Add to it the history between the two, the past feelings and connection, and it pushes all of that into a sharper point of contention. Margot and Bentley were two very different characters and I enjoyed the contrast and how it affected them both individually and as a potential couple through friendship to not friends and finally to when the playing fields change.

The Playboy Bachelor played with secrets and twists and humor and hotness. The Wellington family is as meddlesome as ever and it was enjoyable to see them again. It’s a perfectly sexy and light read that settles nicely on enemies-to-lovers and a constant building of sexual tension, and I’m looking forward to the next brother we get to see find love.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“I’m writing a kissing scene!” she blurted, mentally kicking herself for screaming it in his face. “And the guy’s a complete jackass. Since my only experience with jackasses is you…” Her voice was shaky, just like her body. Could he tell how much she wanted him? How much she hated that her response was this—raw. “I-I figured you were the only one who could show me what it’s like.” Good one, Margot. Do you really have to sound so…desperate?

“What what’s like?”

“A kiss. From a jackass.”

“Got the jackass part.” He treaded water and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her deeper into the pool until they were on the opposite end, his body pressed against hers. At least his eyes were still locked on her face. “And you’ve never been kissed?”

She rolled her eyes. “Not by someone like—”

“If you keep insulting me, this kiss won’t ever happen, Red.”

“Don’t call me that,” Margot whispered. Was she so weak that she’d forgive his abandonment for one kiss? “Please?”

“This kiss.” His calculated gaze didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. “How long does it need to be? How deep? Where do you want my hands?”

Margot’s mouth dropped open. “That’s not how kisses work! You can’t just map out the kiss. That takes all the romance out of it!”

“Oh, so you want romance?”

“Yes! No! I mean. I didn’t say that!” Her face flamed, and she sagged in defeat. Admitting she wanted romance kind of felt like she was on the losing end of the little battles they’d been having, like she was giving him an in. And if he got in, he’d only hurt her again.

“I was joking,” he said, just before his lips brushed hers. His tongue slid across her bottom lip and then sucked it for a few seconds before he slid it into her mouth and deepened the kiss.

Her lips softened beneath his gentle coaxing, and his hard thighs pressed against hers as a deep hunger awakened within her.

Oh, this was bad.

So bad.

And very, very good at the same time.

 

♦SERIES♦

4-the-bachelor-auction

Bachelors of Arizona #1; Standalone

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My Review

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

rachelborder

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

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♦GIVEAWAY♦

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NEW RELEASE w/ EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley

The third and final book in the Magdalene series is now live! And 5% of the proceeds from the first week of sales of THE TIME IN BETWEEN release will be given to HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, a no-kill shelter. HALO stands for “helping animals live on” and is a shelter started by a mother/daughter team of committed animal advocates who have done a huge duty for animals in this area, and continue to do so with unwavering love, support and energy.For more information on HALO or to donate to the work they do, go to www.halorescue.org.

Magdalene Series Book Three; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?

 

♦EXCERPT♦

Present day…

I took in the mess of the large, circular room we were in and at first saw nothing but the mess—decaying furniture, a soot-covered stone fireplace, a kitchen that might have been put in in the forties but had not only not been touched the last nine years, it perhaps had not been touched the last nineteen (or more).

Then I saw more.

The extraordinarily carved railing to the sweeping wood staircase that ran the curved side of the house. The red brick walls. The plank wood floors.

“Once upon a time, long ago,” the realtor was suddenly talking wistfully, “someone loved this place. Put that love into building it. Put that love into keeping it. Nine years and more when no one really gave a whit, and still you can see it once had a lot of love.”

Oh yes.

You could see that.

“It’s got a basement, more like a big crawl space,” the agent declared, surprising me with his quick change in tone back to businesslike and informative. “The furnace is down there. You can get down there through a door in the floor. The furnace was put in a while back, and full disclosure, though an inspection will catch it, it probably needs to be replaced.”

Through his words I stared at the fireplace, which scoured would be magnificent, and I noticed it didn’t have a chimney as such, but the smoke probably went out a vent in the wall.

“This floor has a powder room under the stairs,” the realtor kept on. “You can look at it if you want, but if you wanna save yourself that, I’ll just tell you straight, it needs to be gutted.”

I decided to take his word for it and told him that.

He looked relieved when I did before he stated, “Place has a garage, two car. Not in good condition, but think you saw that. Still, it’s close to the house and there’s a covered walkway to that door over there.” He pointed at a door that was across from the door we’d walked in. “Means you might feel a chill but you won’t get wet, unless it’s raining sideways, which happens.”

With a breeze that plastered my jacket to me on a sunny, early spring day, I did not doubt that.

“Garage has a loft space above it, which could be renovated as a studio rental if you’ve a mind to do that sort of thing. As for the property itself, it also has a building where the generators are stowed,” the realtor carried on. “Hook up for a washer and dryer and good space in there. Lots of it for storage. Which is good because there’s not a lot of storage in here for tools and Christmas decorations and whatnot.”

I glanced around seeing he was right. There wasn’t even enough cabinetry to house the things a decent cook would need in her kitchen. Though there was room for them. In fact, if you fought back the gloom, there was quite a bit of room.

“And there’s a place outside, could call it a studio, could call it a mother-in-law house,” he shared. “Whatever, it’s got goodly space, two bedrooms, big kitchen. Could be renovated to be a guest house. Or like I said, a studio if you’re artsy. Or you could rent it out like a B and B. I’ll show you all of that after we have a look at the lighthouse.”

“Thanks,” I replied.

“Now, since I mentioned full disclosure, you have to know it all,” the realtor continued.

Slowly, my eyes went to him.

When they did, he launched in. “Like I said, it’s automated. And like I said, you won’t really have to concern yourself with the functionality of that unless the electricity goes out, but then the generators automatically kick in. There are two. But you’ll need to keep fuel on hand to keep them going in case a blackout lasts awhile. And just to say, this is coastal Maine. We get weather. Blackouts can last awhile.”

When I nodded to share I took that in, he kept going.

“And if you’re, say, away on vacation, you need to make sure someone is playing backup in such a case.”

“Okay,” I replied when he stopped talking, thinking this probably wasn’t a good thing since I knew no one in Maine (or not anyone who wanted to know me) and thus couldn’t call on anyone to do something like that.

I also didn’t hold high hopes I’d make friends and win people. I hadn’t had a lot of success in that in my life.

And last, although Patrick believed it completely, I held no hope that the reason I was out there was going to come to fruition.

That being me having a happy ending.

That being what Patrick thought would be my happy ending.

Which might mean I’d have someone, a certain someone, or actually two (at least), even though I knew I never would.

 

♦SERIES♦

♦TRAILER♦

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♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

kristen-ashley-headshot

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and 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 multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

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

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

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

I Do, I Don’t Book One

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♦BLURB♦

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Kicking off what’s expected to be another hit of a series, Ready to Run showcased a tension-filled romance between two unlikely characters that started off on opposing sides, drawn into battle from the get-go. Set in a small town with a whole host of welcoming characters, what started as a simple task for Jordan turned into anything but when she crossed paths with the closed-off Luke.

Ambitious and headstrong, Jordan held the balance of tenacity and a whole lot of heart with ease. Tasked with reeling in the talent for a reality show, her drive to succeed along with her career-minded, big-city life created this persona of a very successful woman, but it’s her history and her path to it that made her heart underneath all of that her true character. The battles between them, banter-filled and witty, were lobbed back and forth with fervor, the crowd adding a bit of fuel for her side until the ball became too much for him to handle. Layne excels at the female underdog, the kind of woman to come to the top seemingly out of nowhere, and Jordan epitomized every part of it. I adored her grace, heart, drive, and sensitivity. And Luke, for all his gruff, don’t-bother-me persona, had a wealth of personality just ripe for the finding.

Filled with wonderful character growth, the warmth of a small town, and a beautiful romance that built from lust-y anger, Ready to Run was a fantastically fun romance. Layne can pull unexpected laughter from me in one moment and have me swooning in the next, two things that always feel organic and natural, both present in this story in spades. I’m sad to leave this town and the people in it, but I have to say that I’m also equally excited to see what the next in the series will bring. If you’re looking for an equally sexy, but fun novel, you can never go wrong with LL.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

Luke started to load up the gear and, realizing he was doing it alone, glanced over his shoulder to see where the hell his partner was.

Unsurprisingly, his friend was chatting up City Girl. Neither Charlie nor Ryan seemed to mind in the least that these two fancy pants had swooped into their town to capitalize on Luke’s past.

What was more surprising was that Jordan Carpenter was chatting right back, her smile seemingly genuine, her laugh real.

Luke ground his teeth.

He couldn’t say he’d put much thought into the woman behind the name as he’d been unceremoniously deleting her emails and voice messages, but if forced to assume, he’d have guessed aggressive shrew.

He suspected he was wrong there. Because while there was no mistaking the ambition in the woman, it wasn’t the cutthroat, ball-busting kind.

Her lean body might be all angles and long lines, but there was a softness to her as well. The way her hair did its own thing. The easiness of her smile, the quick laugh. The small but pert breasts.

Damn. He was staring.

He slammed the door shut. “Bander,” he shouted at Charlie across the lawn. “Let’s clear out.”

Charlie leaned into Jordan, whispering something in her ear that made her laugh, before walking away with a last wink.

Luke rolled his eyes. Really? This was happening?

“Hey, Elliott,” Ryan called. “You want to come over for a barbecue tonight?”

Luke crossed his arms and studied his friend suspiciously, waiting for the catch. “Who’s on the guest list?”

He saw Jordan and her purple-shirt friend exchange a look. Well, that answered that question.

Damn. Ryan never had been able to resist the urge to stir up trouble.

“It’s no problem if you don’t want to join us,” Jordan called out, lifting her hand to shield the afternoon sun from her eyes. “I’m sure your friends here can fill me in on everything there is to know about Luke Elliott.”

All about Luke Elliott’s romantic history was more like it. City Girl wasn’t even pretending to be coy about the reason she was here.

All former positive thoughts about her evaporated. Only the worst sort of human would use another’s failed relationships to advance her own career—for entertainment.

Luke turned away without another word, hauling himself into the driver’s seat of the truck as he waited impatiently for Charlie to get done shouting goodbye to every single person within earshot.

He drummed his thumbs against the steering wheel, refusing to even think about going to the BBQ tonight. If his friends wanted to stir up trouble, they could do so without his cooperation.

As for the two New Yorkers, they’d flame out all on their own. Weren’t East Coasters known for being impatient and fast moving?

Surely they’d be off to find some other glory-seeking asshole if he ignored them. One of the other guys could play the role for all he cared.

As Charlie hauled his ass up, Luke started the truck, his eye catching on Jordan Carpenter, who was watching him with a stubborn, determined look on her pretty face.

Damn it. She’d stir up all sorts of trouble unless he ran interference.

Luke pulled out his phone to text Ryan.

I’ll be there. Have beer.

Charlie leaned over, unabashedly reading Luke’s iPhone screen. “Ha. Knew it.”

“What?” Luke glared at his friend.

Charlie grinned wider, gesturing over his shoulder. “You’ve got a boner for the hot blonde.”

“Are you kidding me with this? She wants me to be the next bachelor.”

How were Ryan and Charlie not getting the absurdity of this?

Charlie shrugged. “So? Maybe it’d be good for you.”

Luke stared at his friend for a moment longer before putting the truck in drive. “The only thing that would be good for me is to push you out of this truck.”

Charlie was waving goodbye to Jordan and Simon. “See you tonight!”

Luke ground his teeth harder. He was already dreading the BBQ, but not going would only make matters worse. Clearly he needed to have a very blunt conversation with Jordan Carpenter.

 

♦SERIES♦

I Do, I Don’t Book Two

Release Date: January 30, 2018

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I Do, I Don’t Book Three

Release Date: March 20, 2018

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♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

LaurenLayne-Headshot-Official

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to Manhattan to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

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REVIEW: Wild Card by Karina Halle

North Ridge Book One; Interconnected standalone

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♦BLURB♦

She swore she’d never go back home.
She swore she’d never see the man who broke her all those years ago.
But you don’t always get to choose your path.
And sometimes that path is as wild and rugged as the heart.

Rachel Waters thought she saw the last of the small mountain town of North Ridge, British Columbia, when she left six years ago. But while her advertising career blossomed beneath the skyscrapers of Toronto, her mother’s sudden illness has the 26-year old returning to North Ridge to care for her, putting her career on hold while dealing with family secrets, regrets and unresolved goodbyes.

Shane Nelson has always been a bit of a wild card. The youngest of his brothers, Shane’s spent most of his life being underestimated and misunderstood. With his quiet intensity, classic good looks and thoughtful demeanor, he’s an enigma on horseback, managing his father’s sprawling ranch on the slopes of North Ridge.
But while Shane remains the quintessential brooding cowboy, complete with an arsenal of inner demons, all of that changes when Rachel steps back into his life.

She was the girl he pushed away.
Now she’s the girl who wishes she could leave.

Despite the odds, Shane will do everything to convince Rachel he needs a second chance that he doesn’t deserve but when the two of them head off into the wilderness together in search of lost cattle, more than just their hearts are at stake.

Whether it’s love or lives on the line, one thing is for sure: always bet on the wild card.

 

♦3.5 STAR REVIEW♦

Set in a rugged small-town where the landscape felt like a secondary character, Wild Card‘s second-chance romance, one that ended on bad terms six years ago, pulled in light angst and heartbreak at every turn. Told in dual perspectives and in the past and present timelines, Halle brought the reader into the lives and hearts of both Shane and Rachel with ease, lightly sprinkling in tension and turmoil as it progressed, ultimately building upon a love story that was larger than life.

I adored getting to know the rugged, intensely quiet pull that was Shane, and how his devotion and hardworking demeanor made his character what it was. He was easy to connect with, to find attractive, to fall for. His allure wasn’t in your face, but a slow, steady beat that entranced with each pulse. And while Rachel was very much his opposite, at times difficult to connect to, one couldn’t help but see the pain and love and joy that hung heavy in Shane in his, and their, every scene thus making her character more real and likeable.

What I crave from all second-chance romances is that raw, pulled-apart beauty that forces my heart into my stomach as I’m ripped in two due to their pain and heartbreak. I want to feel that messy breakup or that horrible heartbreaking pain as they are either torn apart or upon re-connecting. That pain is needed in order to believe that their love can overshadow any struggle and to connect the reader with the couple. Because these scenes were absent, much of the angst between the characters felt only surface deep, and I never truly felt any of it in my gut.

But, I still think Wild Card is a beautiful romance that readers who love the lighter side of angst will rave about. It opened a breathtaking world for the series to be in and set a foundation for the rest to stand on. The Nelson family was wonderfully introduced and has me very excited to experience the beauty of what’s to come. Halle is always reinventing herself and I look forward to how she’ll present her inner self in the next story, either in this series or one outside of it.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Halle Headshot

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

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