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

PreOrder: Kindle | More

I Do, I Don’t Book Three

Release Date: March 20, 2018

PreOrder: Kindle | More

♦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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COVER REVEAL w/ EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Show Me the Way by A.L. Jackson

Fight For Me Book One; Standalone

Release Date: October 2, 2017

PreOrder: Notification for Live Release on Amazon | Signed Paperback

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♦BLURB♦

The first sexy, captivating, stand-alone novel in the brand-new FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson . . .
Rex Gunner. As bitter as he is beautiful.
The owner of the largest construction company in Gingham Lakes has been burned one too many times. His wife leaving him to raise their daughter was the last blow this single dad could take. The only woman he’ll let into his heart is his little girl.
Rynna Dayne. As vulnerable as she is tempting.
She ran from Gingham Lakes when she was seventeen. She swore to herself she would never return. Then her grandmother passed away and left her the deed to the diner that she once loved.
When Rex meets his new neighbor, he knows he’s in trouble.
She’s gorgeous and sweet and everything he can’t trust.
Until she becomes the one thing he can’t resist.
One kiss sends them tumbling toward ecstasy.
But in a town this size, pasts are bound to collide. Caught in a web of lies, betrayal, and disloyalty, Rex must make a choice.
Will he hide behind his walls or will he take the chance . . .

♦EXCERPT♦

Dropping my head, I started for the door, unsure if I was cowering or if I was just staggered by what I’d unwittingly forced my way into. I felt like a fool. Naïve and reckless. Because I’d come seeking something I hadn’t understood.

And I’d just stumbled into the awareness that their lives were pieced together precariously.

Fragilely.

A tender, loving, imperfect balance.

It would only take one misstep to send everything toppling over.

I reached for the latch when I felt the flurry of intensity rise up behind me, the tension suffocating, the movement stealing the air from the room.

I spun around, my back plastered to the door as he approached.

Coming closer and closer.

He wasn’t touching me.

But he might as well have been.

He rested a hand on the door above my head, his face dipping toward mine, his words a breathy grunt at my ear. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing to me, Rynna?”

Lust and confusion trembled through my bones, this man pushing me away and then drawing me closer.

I thought maybe neither of us could ignore it.

The overpowering attraction.

Because the fever in my veins ignited a fire in my belly.

Torrid.

Blistering.

No words would form on my tongue.

“Tell me, Rynna. What do you want with us?” he murmured, low and rough. “Because I don’t have anything to offer you, and I won’t let you take anything else from us.”

I attempted to process what he said, what he meant.

But I couldn’t focus. Couldn’t see. Could feel nothing but the heat radiating between us.

Wave after blinding wave.

I gasped a breath, and he inched closer, a single knee wedging between my legs. He set both hands on the door above my head.

Caging me in.

A desperate sound rumbled through the strength of his chest.

A hand was suddenly on my jaw, thumb under my chin, tipping my face up to meet the ferocity in his gaze.

Rage and restraint and desire. I couldn’t decipher what was happening. The push and the pull. The hatred and the need.

I could barely speak. “I . . . I thought maybe you could use a friend.”

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, as well as the newest BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for the next installment STAND, coming Spring 2017.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 24587 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas

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♦BLURB♦

A new story of dangerous temptations from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the This Man trilogy. 

Annie has never experienced the ‘spark’ with a guy – the kind of instant chemistry that steals your breath and blindsides you completely. Until a night out with friends brings her face to face with the wickedly sexy and mysterious Jack. It’s not just a spark that ignites between them. It’s an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.

Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who’s had such a powerful impact on her and who could bend her to his will so easily, must be dangerous. But she’s already in too deep. And Jack isn’t only dangerous. He is forbidden.

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

The Forbidden was unlike anything Jodi Ellen Malpas has written before. Many readers will steer clear of this topic, but I love topics that push boundaries, that cause angst, and that pull my heart in two different directions. This tale evoked a wonderful lust mixed with guilt and love and pain, an all-consuming foray into what couldn’t be.

JEM’s known for the men she writes; the broody, dominant, ‘trampling’ kind that make themselves very much known and a force to be reckoned with. The beauty of Jack is that she wrote all of those qualities in him, but in a subdued way. His romanticism, passion, and sensitivity mixed beautifully with the typical JEM hero and gave us the enigma that was Jack. This story wouldn’t have worked with anyone other than Jack–because only with him did we feel the conflict, see the connection, and want so desperately. Only with him could we relate to the inner warrings of Annie and the impossible situation she was in.

The web of a forbidden romance is sticky and messy, not without judgment or failure. JEM perfectly captured every facet of this sort of relationship, how cheating is a damaging game of love and deceit. Her sensitivity to both sides of the subject matter relayed wonderfully on paper, and made The Forbidden a story that I couldn’t put down. One that fascinated, charmed, and beguiled me from start to end. It may not be your cuppa, but if you’re willing to take the chance, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“Thank you for your help,” I say quietly, studying him, definitely detecting that he’s deep in thought. Don’t ask, don’t ask, don’t ask. I need to get back into my apartment without engaging with him, which could prove tricky when he’s blocking the doorway and looking like he has no intention of shifting to let me in.

“Annie,” he breathes. “I’m struggling so badly.”

“I’m not doing this.” I swallow, pushing my way past him. He grabs me by the top of my arm and holds me in place. “Let me go, Jack.”

“I’ve already told you I can’t do that. Annie, I’m drowning here. I’m going out of my mind, and the more time I spend with you the fucking worse it’s getting. Listening to you, talking to you, sharing a passion with you that goes way beyond the amazing time we had in bed together.”

“You have to forget!” I yell, knowing anger is the only way forward. Be angry with him. Let it dominate me and rule me, because the alternative scares me to fucking death.

He pushes me into the hall and slams the door behind us, forcing me to back up. “No,” he says, straight and even. “No,” he repeats, moving one more step forward, except this time I don’t retreat. Because I can’t. Because he has me locked in place with those grey eyes, and now they’re back to their full glory. Sparkling, even if it’s with anger. He reaches for his shirt and starts unbuttoning it before shrugging it off and throwing it to the floor, revealing the chest that’s haunting me.

I quickly look down at the pile of material, my mind reeling. His chest. His perfect damn chest. “What are you doing?”

“I have no fucking idea.” He reaches for me and slides a hand around my neck, pulling me to him. Our chests meet, and my determination to repel him vanishes under our connection. Wrongs turn into rights. Conflict turns into craving.

“I can’t get you out of my head, Annie.” His forehead meets mine, his palm massaging away the tightness in my neck muscles, softening me up until I relax in his hold. “I want you all over again, and I can’t even find the will to worry about how much more that’ll make me want you.” He breathes down on me. “I’ve played that night on repeat. I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms again. I’ve craved the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch, the softness of your lips on mine. I know I shouldn’t want you. But I do. Nothing has ever made me feel this insane with need. Nothing has taken up so much space in my head. I can’t fucking help it, Annie.” His grey gaze sinks into me, my heart steadying to an even thrum. His head starts to shake mildly, his splayed hand moving up to the back of my head and fisting my hair. “I don’t want to help it,” he growls. “I want you. I don’t care how wrong it is.” His clenched fist tightens, gripping my hair harshly. “I know I’ve been on your mind since I fucked you every which way in that hotel room. Stop denying it. Don’t insult me and tell me you don’t crave that amazing feeling all over again. I can see it in your eyes every damn time I look into them. You. Want. Me.”

It’s me who moves in first. All me. I lunge forward and smash my lips to his, the magnetic force winning. His words winning. Jack winning. My heart winning. I coax his mouth open with hard, hungry kisses. I’ve lost my mind to a craving too powerful to fight off. And, like Jack, I don’t care how wrong it is.

Lost.

Yet as he walks me backward until my back slams into the wall, I feel found again.

I cry out, and Jack moans. We’re clumsy and desperate. He’s pushing me up the wall with the force of his kiss, then he’s rolling away, taking me with him until it’s his back slamming into the wall. It’s the elevator all over again. The atmosphere is sizzling. I’m on fire. He scoops me up, pinning me to him, and carries me into my bedroom. I focus on him. Only him and the return of feelings that I’ve fantasized about since that unforgettable night. All the guilt is abandoning me, and I let it, unprepared to let anything stop me from taking the forbidden.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Jodi Ellen Malpas author photos

Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

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EXCERPT REVEAL w/ GIVEAWAY: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

I Do, I Don’t Book One

Release Date: August 22, 2017

PreOrder: KindleB&N | Google | iBooks | Kobo

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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.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

Damn. Charlie hadn’t been lying about the hot blonde.

The woman walking straight toward him was all tight jeans, high heels, and confi-dence. And hot. Very, very hot.

Charlie muttered something admiring under his breath, and Luke’s gaze flicked to the man beside the woman. Tried to place him. Couldn’t.

Not too many guys around here who wore light-purple shirts and white pants with the same easy comfort that Lucky Hollow residents wore jeans and flannel.

No doubt about it—neither was from around here. Not by a long shot.

The man was a half step behind the woman, and Luke assessed that the woman was calling the shots.

His eyes narrowed as he realized that she hadn’t once wavered in her approach.

She knew what she was after:

Him.

She got closer and Luke saw that the face matched the body. Wide blue eyes, full lips, sassy shoulder-length blond hair that was just tousled enough to make a man wonder how it had gotten that way—to want to be the one to muss it.

Her gaze flicked over him, and Charlie whistled and muttered under his breath. “She just checked you out, man.”

She had indeed, but Luke was far from flattered. It hadn’t been the assessment of a woman checking out a man so much as a predator evaluating its prey.

As though she was evaluating him for . . . something.

Blondie stopped in front of him, and the second her blue eyes locked on his, Luke felt a little jolt of awareness and was irrationally annoyed. It had been a long time since he’d been quite so aware of a woman.

Once, he’d enjoyed the feeling—sexual chemistry was almost the perfect combination of pain and pleasure. A subtle punch in the gut that you wanted to experience again and again.

These days, though, he was having a hard time getting past the pain part. The shitty parts had outweighed the good parts just one time too many. Now he mostly settled for casual hookups with a divorcée a few towns over who was even less interested in com-mitment than Luke was.

He had zero use for attraction to a pretty, bold woman in high heels.

Luke noticed that for a sheer moment she had a slightly off-balance look, as though she too had felt the annoying zip of arousal when their eyes met, but she recovered quick-ly.

Pasting a sunny, generic smile on her face, she stuck out her right hand. “Luke Elliott. I’m Jordan Carpenter. This is my colleague, Simon Nash.”

Good manners had him setting down his equipment and extending his own right hand toward hers even as his brain caught on her name. Familiar, and . . .

Shit. Shit!

He managed to stop from jerking his hand back, but just barely. Instead, he gritted his teeth, gave her hand a perfunctory shake, and then fixed her with a glare. “You’re wasting your time, Ms. Carpenter. And mine.”

Blue eyes narrowed. “Aha. So you did get my emails.”

Those. The voicemails. The letters.

“Sure,” he said with a nod, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Just like I suspect you got the message that I didn’t want to be a part of your show.”

Charlie looked from the woman to Luke and back again. “Show?”

Ryan ambled over, his shit-eating grin telling Luke that this damn woman had already spilled the beans on why she was here. “Luke’s gonna be a national heartthrob.”

“International,” said the blond guy in the purple shirt.

Jordan Carpenter didn’t look at her companion, but all three firefighters did.

The other man gave the sort of easy smile that probably had him making friends easily. Luke didn’t want a new friend.

Especially not one who wanted to use his shitty romantic past for the sake of TV ratings.

 

♦SERIES♦

I Do, I Don’t Book Two

Release Date: January 30, 2018

PreOrder: Kindle | More

I Do, I Don’t Book Three

Release Date: March 20, 2018

PreOrder: Kindle | More

♦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).

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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Enter for a chance to win one of two copies of From This Day Forward, Wedding Belles #0.5!

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