NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

Game On Book Four; Interconnected Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

 

The Game On Series

 

♦5+ STAR REVIEW♦

A friends to lovers story, The Hot Shot is exactly the kind of book that will sneak up on you when you’re not looking and then proceed to kick you in the heart. With some of the most delicious sexual tension I’ve ever read, Callihan charms from the very first page. Quite honestly, I have little to no words to describe the effect of this novel.

With ease, Callihan created an easy-going dynamic between Chess and Finn that started with an odd friendship, a somewhat unwilling one on her side, that slowly but surely built into this massively swoony, romantic love. Their connection was written so organically and effortlessly that it was impossible not to fall under their spell, to feel every word and unspoken thought. The unusual paradox of a quarterback with a sensitive side made falling for Finn that much easier, especially pairing him with a walled-off heroine that oddly complemented him.

I feel I must mention that delicious sexual tension I previously brought up, and tell you that you won’t want to miss it. Not only is this book swoon-worthy, but it has incredible angst that slowly builds, wrapping around you, until it hits this huge climactic crescendo that just tears right into you. I have no words for it, honestly, and am quite keen on reading and re-reading that passage over and over again for all of time. But it was only poignant because of how Callihan built up to it and how she continued to carry it on through to the very end.

Every once in awhile you come across a book that invigorates and beguiles, and this is that book. I have not one word of complaint other than wishing it never ended. Beautiful in every way, The Hot Shot was a fantastic novel with fun, vivid characters brought to life so wonderfully. Take it from a woman who can’t properly express her love for a book other than with nonsensical rantings that this book is an absolute must-read.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

KCauthor

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW w/ GIVEAWAY: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Love Unexpectedly Book Four; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Lauren Layne has the genius of a Rom-Com down pat. Walk of Shame was so, so fun and enjoyable that I couldn’t put it down. The lightness of its airiness mixed with building sexual tension between Andrew and Georgianna made this an unputdownable novel. It’s a novel with the perfect amount of animosity and romanticism between its main characters that it crackled with awareness.

There was such a great juxtaposition with Georgie. She’s a New York socialite, an unemployed but a self-proclaimed party girl, and yet, underneath all of that, she’s holding onto the brightest, biggest heart and personality around. You wanted to dislike her for her easy life, but you just couldn’t help falling under her charm. I loved her. The hopeless romantic with so much love to give. Add in Andrew, the stodgy, icy lawyer, and one couldn’t help but think they complemented each other so well. The two of them had amazing chemistry, both in hate and lust (and even beyond), that it carried the story forward with such ease.

LL is a favorite author for a reason: she mixes wit and charm so beautifully in her love stories. The characters were so concrete and vibrant, the pull between them built in the perfect way, and it was hot to boot. Honestly, it’s the perfect light read that has every wonderful element you want in a book. Walk of Shame is a must-read romance from an author whose writing is so effortlessly easy to fall into.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

And who is he, you ask?

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire.

I know this because we moved into the building on the exact same day, and right before we got into a horrendous fight over whose movers should have access to the building loading dock first, he handed me his business card.

The thick white card stock declared that he had a fancy law degree to go along with the fancy suit he was wearing on a Saturday.

Andrew handed it over with such superiority, I actually wished for a half second that I had a business card of my own that would somehow be better than his. Like, lined with gold or something. No, platinum. With a diamond in the corner. It would be too heavy for him to hold, and he’d drop it, thus having to kneel at my feet to pick it up.

But then I realized it was just as well that I didn’t have a business card.

Because it would say . . . what? Georgie Watkins, professional party girl?

Anyway, I digress. Despite the high temps of that swampy July morning, the encounter had been the start of an epic cold war.

Me, the socialite in apartment 86A against the uptight esquire in apartment 79B.

I’m not entirely sure I’m winning the war, but I’ll never tell him that.

I let my gaze drift over Andrew, even though his appearance rarely holds any surprises. The man’s a lesson in sameness, like some sort of anal-retentive version of Groundhog Day.

There’s always the black mug with some healthy gunk inside held in his right hand, Tom Ford briefcase and Armani garment bag in his left, containing what I know to be a perfectly tailored three-piece suit.

Andrew’s coppery hair is perfectly styled, although I’d swear that there’s some natural curl in there threatening to disrupt his perfect order. I imagine that annoys him, so it therefore makes me happy.

Let’s see, what else about my nemesis?

He’s got a hard, unfriendly jawline that’s perfectly shaven.

Dark brown eyes, cold and flat. Black gym bag over one shoulder.

I suppose you could say he changes up his attire, because he does alternate between black and gray gym shirts. But considering that they seem to be the exact same fit, both colors molding perfectly to his impressively sculpted upper body, we’re not giving him any points for variety there.

Same goes for the lower half. The black shorts worn in summer have given way to sleek black sweatpants now that October’s upon us, but they’re both black and Nike, so we’ll give him no credit for changing it up there either.

The shoes, though . . .

I do a double take.

Well, well, well . . .

Instead of the usual black gym shoes, the man’s shoes are red. I don’t know how I missed it before.

I drag my eyes back up his body with a grin, and he gives just the slightest roll of his eyes to indicate that he’s noticed my slow perusal and isn’t fazed in the least.

“You went shopping, Dorothy!” I say happily.

He stares at me. “I don’t shop.”

Of course not. Far too frivolous.

“No, that makes sense,” I say, pointing at his feet. “Glinda would have given these to you.”

Andrew looks down at his Rolex watch. “I’ve got to go. Have a good day, Mr. Ramirez.”

“You too, Mr. Mulroney,” Ramon says with a deferential nod. “Enjoy your workout.”

“Yes, do,” I say, turning and watching as Andrew moves toward the front door of our building. “What’s on the schedule today? Treadmill, or just skipping down the Yellow Brick Road?”

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, doesn’t respond. He doesn’t even turn before pushing through the revolving doors and stepping out into the still-dark autumn morning.

Now come on. Tell me that wasn’t at least a little bit fun, despite the ungodly hour.

 

♦SERIES♦

The Blurred Lines

Love Unexpectedly Book One; Standalone

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17 - Good Girl

Love Unexpectedly Book Two; Standalone

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My Review

 

14-love-story

Love Unexpectedly Book Three; Standalone

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My Review

 

♦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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♦GIVEAWAY♦

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW: Paper Fools by Staci Hart

Hearts and Arrows #1

Formerly pubbed as Deer in Headlights & has been re-written and re-edited

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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♦BLURB♦

Aphrodite knows love — just don’t ask her to figure out her own mess.

Rather than deal with her sticky love life, she toys with the hearts of unwitting humans. It’s a little game she plays, and the stakes are high. Lucky for her, she’s just found the perfect match.

Lex is everything Dean needs, but he can’t have her.

It doesn’t matter that her eyes speak to a long forgotten part of him, or that her art and poetry touch his shredded heart. She’s off limits — crossing that line would implode his band and everything he’s ever cared about. There’s only one option: stay away from her, no matter the cost. Even if the price is his heart.

Dean is everything Lex wants, but she can’t take the risk.

The second she meets him, she knows her heart is in danger. She’s convinced it’s only attraction that has her hung up on the dark, quiet lead singer, but with every day that passes, she knows it’s more. It’s just that she can’t put her heart on the line. She won’t — love has never been worth the sacrifice.

If only they knew they were just pawns in a much bigger game. And in the game of love, Aphrodite never loses.

*Formerly titled Deer in Headlights, Paper Fools has been rewritten and reedited just for you.*

 

♦3.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Paper Fools was unlike any book I have read with its double stories and mixture of Greek Mythology. It’s a fascinating concept that the gods would find pleasure in a game of love with the humans under them, and how their lives compare and contrast to those on their game boards. Mix it with a good romance and skilled writing, and it makes for a fun book.

With two parallel stories, mortals and immortals, woven together, it made for such a fun story. Mythology blended with New Adult romance, I mean how unusual but quirky is that? With Aphrodite fighting Apollo for a win, we’re instantly given Lex and Dean as their human players. The tension and angst between those two, being a multitude of reasons keeping them apart, carried this story. They had such a strong zing between them, an awareness that jolted through the pages whenever they were near one another, and, oh, but I lived for those moments.

At times, though, I found myself having problems switching between the two storylines as I felt it messed with the flow of the story it was currently in, and it disrupted my full connection. For the most part I really wanted to get back to Lex and Dean, but I still enjoyed what the other side offered to the story; I’m just an impatient reader like that. All of that aside, I loved imagining that this sort of thing could be real.

As someone who knows little to nothing of anything Greek-related, it didn’t in anyway hinder my enjoyment of this novel. I applaud Stacy for writing such a unique concept and building both realms as one in an abstract way. With its world building, I can see how very vast this series can go and I can’t wait to explore them all.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

She reached into her bag, digging around in the black hole for her book, but looked up, sensing someone in front of her.

When her eyes locked on his, she froze.

They were the greenest eyes she’d ever seen, shocking and bright, rimmed by thick, dark lashes. His long face was graced with an elegant nose and wide lips bent in a crooked smile. And he was tall, really tall, with ebony hair that fell forward as he looked down at her. He pushed it back without seeming to think about it, but it still looked perfectly tossed, like he’d just rolled out of bed.

She realized she still hadn’t taken a breath and flushed as she fumbled and almost dropped her book.

“Uh, hi. I’m Lex.” She tossed her hand in a wave, hoping she looked casual.

He paused for a second, watching her with an expression she couldn’t quite place. The moment seemed to stretch on forever, and as she studied him, it dawned on her that he was amused. This unnerved her, even more so when it dawned upon her that it was exactly what he wanted.

“Hey,” he said, the timbre of his voice deep and full. “I’m Dean.”

Lex realized her mouth was open. And that he was smirking. And that he was dead sexy while he was doing it.

She closed her mouth and cocked an eyebrow, putting on her snark to hide the fact that he’d gotten to her.

“Dean, huh? I heard they call you Professor Panty Dropper.”

His smile stretched wider. “Oh, is that what they say?”

“They do.”

A tall blond, who she guessed was Roe, stood at the microphone, glaring at them. “Mic check, Dean.”

They stared at each other like idiots for a split second longer before Dean turned to pick up his guitar, and he took his place with the rest of the band. She watched him walk away and blinked a few times before turning to her bag again, not looking for anything in particular — she only wanted to keep her hands busy and her eyes off of Dean while she scraped her dignity off the floor.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

StaciHartAuthorPic

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW: Tortured by Nicole Williams

Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.

When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.

Years go by.

She builds a new life.

She leaves the old one behind.

Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can’t be freed from.  

The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.
Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

An emotional and powerful second-chance romance, Tortured shines a bright light on the strength of love and its power on a persons inner strength. Torn apart by horrible circumstance, Camryn and Brecken fall prey to distance and the effect of moving on, but Williams never once fails to bring that connection to the front and center. There is so much pain, tension, and love flowing at all times that the reader can’t help but be pulled in by it.

Delicately and with grace, Williams manages to delve into the mind of our survivor heroine, a woman who may be battered and bruised on the outside, but harvests the will and strength of any warrior on the inside. Along with our battle worn hero, the two share more than just a once-in-a-lifetime love, but the effects of a strong hand that have only gotten heavier in the last six years they’ve been apart. With everything they suffered through, I loved that I could still feel the power of their connection and that soul-deep love that transcends any and all hurdles. And that Brecken still felt like the man he was before: sweet, kind, and self-sacrificing. The love he felt for Camryn made my own heart hurt; it was powerful and it leapt from the pages.

The beauty lies within the love these two characters share, and while the story is sad, it’s also empowering and sexy and bright. I loved the duality to these characters; how they had weakness, but so, so much strength in spite of it. I loved their journey and the sweetness that is simply them. Tortured has a great, inspiring love story that’ll break your heart and then mend it right back together.

**Those with triggers for domestic violence may have some issue with the content

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“It’s been six years. Everything’s changed. I have. You have.” My eyes lifted. “Why? Why are you trying to win me back?”
He exhaled, his lips parting. “I’m going to win you back.”
When his hand slid around the bend of my waist, winding behind my back, I jerked. His touch was different tonight, hungry, determined. My head clouded, blocking out reason or letting it surface to the top, one or the other.
“I married him,” I whispered even as my hand found his chest.
“But you belong to me.”
My eyes closed as he bowed me against him. I wasn’t sure how two bodies that had been as broken as ours could be so strong when joined. “How do you know?”
“I can see it in your eyes. Every time you look at me.” His other hand lifted to my chin, tipping it until our eyes connected. His brow rose slowly, like I was proving his point right that very moment.
“That’s a confident statement.” My voice shook, but my body felt steady. Unwavering.
“It’s the truth.”
My chest was moving so hard, it brushed his with every breath. What was I doing? Where had I found myself? The man holding me had died only to be resurrected six years later. It was too late, but it wasn’t over.
No matter what, Brecken Connolly and I would never be over.
“Twenty-six days,” I said slowly. “That’s all I have to give you. That’s all I have to give. Four weeks. Once he’s back, you know the way it has to be.”
His face broke, but his hold didn’t budge. “It’s not enough.”
My fingers curled into his shirt, looking for some way to hold on to him. “I know.”
His other arm suddenly looped around me and he lifted me off the ground, his grip going around my backside when my legs tied around him. “But a fucking eternity wouldn’t be enough either, so it’ll just have to do.”
He carried me through the sand and up the stairs of the cabin, then he propped me against the wall so he could open the screen door. Something slipped out of my mouth when he flexed his hips into mine.
“Told you it wasn’t a morning issue,” he whispered in my ear, but I could hear the smile in his voice. “Just a Camryn one.”
He made the same motion with his hips, applying a little more friction this time, causing a louder sound to echo from my lungs.
Opening the screen door as silently as he could, he carried me inside.
“You can set me down, you know?” I whispered.
“I know,” he said, his arms tying tighter. Once all of the lights were off, the cabin closed up for the night, he padded down the hall.
“You know where you’re going?”
His head nodded beside mine. “I’ve always known.”
My hands went behind his neck. His skin was warm and familiar. “And where’s that?”
He exhaled against my skin as he closed the bedroom door. “Toward you.”
He set me down once he’d untied my legs from around his waist, and he took a few steps back. He stared at me for a moment then reached for the lamp on the dresser.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Turning on the lights.”
I watched him flip on another. “Why?”
“Because I want to see you. Because I want to watch your face as I move inside you. Because I want to see your skin flush when I make you come.” He flipped on one more light, then all of his attention turned to me. “Because I want to see everything.”
My heart took off as I imagined being intimate with him with every light in the room on. My body wasn’t the same one he’d left. It had carried a burden; it bore the scars of a shattered soul and a broken body. “I don’t want you to see me. Not like that. In the dark, you can imagine the way I was before.”
When I reached for the closest lamp to switch it off, he stopped me. “I don’t want to imagine.” His hand curled around mine, guiding it away from the lamp. “I want the real thing. I want the real you.”
“You’ve seen my body. You know what I look like beneath all of this.” I motioned at the fresh clothes hanging off of me, covering me from my wrists to my ankles to my neck.
“When I look at you, I see beauty and strength, and the one person in the world who gives me a reason to live and a reason to die.” He drew me to him, his face creased in lines of concentration. “That’s what I see when I look at you.”

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

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