For one night of my life, I dared to do something reckless.
My birthday. A bar. Karaoke. And a man so hot he could melt the sun.
Sparks flew. Lust took over. For one night of my life, I felt alive.
Then I was back to my “boring” life. Career-driven. Goal-oriented. Always planning ahead.
But nothing could have prepared me for the positive pregnancy test. We weren’t that reckless.
There goes my “boring” life. And what happens when I tell the father?
When a firm hand clamped my shoulder, I realized Nate had plopped down on the stool beside me. “What the hell are you doing here? Why aren’t you home in your fortress, avoiding people who like having fun?”
“Shut it. I needed a drink.”
“In here?” he asked, an amused smirk on his face. “You despise this place when there’s a game on.”
“Yeah, well, temporary insanity.”
“So, what’s going on with you?”
“Isn’t that a loaded question?” I quipped without thinking.
“You okay?” he quickly asked.
At that moment, Brad came back, slinging a dishtowel over his shoulder. Typically, the females in the vicinity began giggling and whispering at seeing identical triplets in one location. Ignoring it, Brad said, “Did you tell him?”
“Tell me what?”
I held Nate’s gaze, but the words caught in my throat.
Brad took my silence as an opportunity to blurt out, “We’re going to be uncles.” Nate’s expression mirrored Brad’s from when I told him, and it had nothing to do with our likenesses. “Jade is pregnant.”
“Say what?” Nate said. When Nate then said, “Who the fuck is Jade?” Brad lost his shit.
“Someone I met.”
“How did you meet?”
The grin on Brad’s face caused a scowl on mine. “Jade is the beauty I rigged him to meet at my bar on Kismet Karaoke Night. He needed to get laid, dude.”
“So, this is actually your fault?” Nate accused with an eye roll and sigh before turning back to me. “And you slept with her that night?”
“Yeah,” I said like a child being scolded. Predictably, my brother, always the counselor, listened intently as I explained the chain of events that led to where Jade and I were now. Once done, his silence continued to stretch. “Say something,” I prodded.
“How well do you know this woman?” The question should have irritated me, but I couldn’t blame him for playing devil’s advocate.
“Well enough,” I said, knowing it was a weak explanation.
“Great answer,” he grumbled, shaking his head. “Shit, I leave you two for a few weeks and all hell breaks loose. I’d expect this from him,” he accused, thrusting a thumb at Brad. “Not from you.”
“Fuck off.” Brad flipped him the bird. “Hey, I have a stupid question,” he said. “Did you use condoms?”
“Of course, I did.”
“Yeah. What’s your point?”
“Dude, there was a massive recall on them. It was all over the news.”
My gaze flicked to Nate. “Is he shitting me?”
“Afraid not. You didn’t know?”
“What the fuck? Cars get recalled, not fucking condoms. Don’t they realize they’re playing with people’s lives?”
“Yeah. Thus, the recall,” Brad offered with a chuckle. “Obviously, you don’t have sex enough to keep on top of these things.”
“Fuck.” I didn’t know which was more unbelievable—a recall on condoms or the fact that Brad was right.
A.M. Madden’s romance debut is The Back-Up series, consisting of Back-Up, Front & Center, and Encore.
A.M. Madden is a wife, a mother, an avid reader of romance novels and now an author. In Back-up she aspired to create a fun, sexy, realistic romantic story. She wanted to create characters that the reader could relate to and feel as if they knew personally.
A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good book. She uses every free moment of her time writing, while raising teenage boys.
One lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card, International. This giveaway runs until March 30, 2020. Click here to enter.
Check out the Princessa soundtrack on Spotify, created by Joslyn Westbrook herself.
Joslyn Westbrook’s Princessa is a much-needed light-read rom-com in these anxious times. Prince Grayson of Andorra hides like a fugitive on the run. He has recently turned thirty-five and is still without a girl to marry. As per the Andorra Royal Decree, he is now left with only two choices — marry his betrothed or someone approved by the king and queen. But Grayson’s not the type of royalty to marry for power or money; that’s why he has left. Arabella Princessa Royale, the ‘Princess of Savannah’ and heiress to the Royale Resort hotels, gets dumped by her long-time boyfriend. Seeing her agony, her father sends her to Royale Resort France to get her mind off the devastating break-up and asks her to oversee the hotel’s events. In one embarrassing moment, the two meet and it’s love (or lust?) at first sight. But Grayson knows he can never hide for long. How can he escape his destiny while Arabella is making him fall head over heels?
The cover is alluring and the chapter headings are cute. Told in multiple POVs, this book is hard to put down as it takes you on a royal adventure. While the premise is not so original, the narrative develops into something cheesy and squeal-worthy. Although the ending feels forced, in general, it is still a great slow-burn romance. It is also feminist and is highly recommended to all the bad-ass women (and men) out there. Trigger warnings include profanity, sex, homosexuality, and panic attacks.
This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. Check my sidebar; follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish content and honest reviews!
Mandy Reynolds needs a reset on life in so many ways. Her acting career isn’t exactly where she’d hoped it to be. She can’t even get a job as a germ for a commercial. When she inherits half a house she sees it as a sign and heads home to Heavenly Falls, Illinois. She’ll sell the house, and use the money to take her career to the next level in Los Angeles. That is if she can convince her hard-headed––and stupidly gorgeous–– ex-stepbrother, Alex Noonan, to sell fast.
The last time Alex saw Mandy, she was a gangly teen, who followed him around like a sad puppy. But she’s grown into a smart and funny woman, who is as frustrating as she is beautiful. The fact that they have to live in the house––together––while they fix it up, is one temptation he doesn’t need. And while he’s having fun spending time with her, she’s moving on soon, and he needs time to heal.
Plus, she has no idea he’s got a secret that could put a monkey wrench in all of her plans…
“I’m sorry. We need someone more…viral.” The casting director’s voice boomed through the cramped audition space. “Next!”
Mandy Reynolds mumbled her thanks to the panel and yanked the glitter-encrusted antennae off her head, along with several long strands of blond hair. Her first real audition back in her hometown and she couldn’t book a stupid hand sanitizer commercial—even dressed as a jumbo-size germ. She’d worn the costume, thinking it might help make her more memorable to the directors, in a good way. Guess she’d been wrong.
Disappointment burned alongside the grief in her chest as she made her way toward the exit, but she did her best to stay positive. She came by her optimism naturally, courtesy of her mother.
Think positive. Better things are just around the corner.
Today, though, the words brought a fresh sting of tears to Mandy’s eyes instead of hope to her heart. Her mom had passed a month prior, after a vicious battle with cancer, and things were still getting settled with the estate. That was the whole reason she was back in Heavenly Falls, to make sure her mother’s final wishes were carried out. After her mom’s valiant fight against a deadly disease, the least Mandy could do was keep her chin up after messing up an audition. If she didn’t get this job it was because it wasn’t meant for her. Yes, she needed the money, but there would be another way.
Please let there be another way.
Problem was, she’d been staying with her half sister, Gina, for the past four weeks and worried about wearing out her welcome. Gina hadn’t said anything, but Mandy didn’t like to stay in one place too long. Too confining. Too risky.
Her phone buzzed in the pocket of her duffel bag, and she pulled it out to find a reminder of her next appointment—a tour of the house on the rental property she’d inherited from her mother. Well, half of it, anyway. The other half her mom had bequeathed to a man Mandy hadn’t seen in thirteen years. A guy who’d once made her quake with lust in her Chuck Taylors. A real-life Prince Charming who’d whisk her away to happily ever after.
She’d been wrong about that, too.
Fingers trembling, she clicked off the phone. Was this the break she needed? Mom must’ve intended for her to sell it for the cash, right? That’s the only thing she could figure, since Mandy’s gypsy lifestyle wasn’t exactly conducive to home ownership. The thing she couldn’t understand, though, was why her mother had gotten Alex involved. As far as Mandy knew, her mom hadn’t had any contact with him since divorcing his father over a decade prior. It made no sense, but then neither did her mother’s serial marriages. Each man had seemed like a good fit for her mother and been kind and generous, but it had never been enough, apparently.
The irony wasn’t lost on Mandy. She loved her mom and missed her terribly, but she wasn’t like her. Not that way, at least. She moved around because of her work. She didn’t like to get involved too deeply with anyone, because long-distance relationships were difficult. It had nothing to do with her nomadic childhood.
Dull numbness spread outward from her core as she ran outside into the gray autumn rain and made a beeline for an Uber idling near the curb. Clambering into the back seat, her bulky costume made the fit precarious. “Eight-two-five West Concord Lane, please.”
Minutes later, Mandy climbed out onto the rain-slicked pavement on the outskirts of town. Mr. Pickett, her mother’s attorney, stood there sharing an umbrella with a taller man.
Alex. Still gorgeous as ever, darn him.
Mandy forced her attention to the Victorian-style house behind them. Not a total disaster, but not exactly Architectural Digest material, either. The exterior paint on the gingerbread trim was peeling, and the wraparound porch sagged in one corner. Overall, in need of TLC, but habitable.
“Nice outfit,” Alex said, looking her up and down like she was an alien from Planet Nimrod. “What are you? A mutant ninja cockroach?”
“I had an audition and didn’t have time to change before coming here.” She looked down at her homemade costume then back up at the two men, battling her urge to scurry away like a crab avoiding the stewpot. She ignored Alex and held out her hand to Mr. Pickett. “Thanks for showing us around today.”
“My pleasure.” The attorney shook her hand while Alex turned away, dismissing her the same way he had all those years ago. She’d spent the year their parents had been married thinking the sun rose and fell because of him, and he’d seen her as nothing more than a nuisance. At least that’s how it had felt back then. Now, she was a grown woman and refused to let him shove her aside. Too much depended on her being able to get her mother’s affairs in order, and fast—her future, her career, her need to put this place behind her and move on.
“Let’s get started then, shall we?” Mr. Pickett led them to the porch.
Alex followed first and Mandy trailed behind them, studying her ex-stepbrother more closely. He was still quarterback handsome, with his dark hair and chiseled features, his dark blue T-shirt and faded jeans clinging to his muscled bod. As they moved toward the house, though, she noticed a limp.
Huh. That was new.
Alex eyed Mandy from across the kitchen table, trying to decide if she was bluffing. He hadn’t played poker since college, and his skills were a bit rusty. Not to mention his ability to read people these days was wonky. Ever since the shooting, he hadn’t been able to trust his instincts. They’d failed him that day, what’s to say it wouldn’t happen again.
She tapped a finger against her full bottom lip. “I’ll see your bet and raise you a nickel.”
A knock at the front door kept Alex from making a bad gamble.
“Food’s here.” He laid his cards facedown on the table then stood and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. “Be right back.”
“Make sure they gave us extra soy sauce,” she said from behind him. He glanced back at her, his gaze dropping to the sun on the front of her shirt, smiling at him from atop her breasts. He quickly looked away again, warmth flooding his system.
“Already asked for it when I ordered,” Alex called back as he reached the foyer, his words stumbling slightly. He cleared his throat then faced the delivery guy, paying him fast then grabbing the paper bags from his hands before shutting the door.
By the time he got back to the kitchen, Mandy had cleared away their card game.
He started pulling out their food and setting it in the middle of the table, including two bottles of soda. “They gave us plastic silverware and chopsticks, too.”
“Great.” Mandy tried to move past him at the same moment he turned to toss the empty bag on the counter, and they collided. Without thinking, he grabbed her shoulder to steady her, and a tingling rush of awareness zipped through his bloodstream, hot and bright and dangerous. Alex pulled away as if burned. “Sorry.”
“No, no.” Mandy backed up several steps, looking anywhere but at him. “My fault.”
Alex slumped into his chair and busied himself by mixing his rice into his kung pao chicken, his fingertips still abuzz from their brief, unexpected contact.
Mandy took the chair across from him and picked up a packet of chopsticks with one hand and her carton of shrimp lo mien with the other. “Guess I’m still in your way. Just like when we were kids. Hopefully it won’t be a problem, though, once we both get moved in. I plan to take a room on the second floor, to give us each some space and, you know…”
“You’re not in my way,” Alex said, hiding his wince at the lie. No, that wasn’t true. Until they settled the estate and he bought her out, she was most definitely in his way. And unfortunately, he did know. Things were difficult enough with people treating him differently since the shooting, thinking he was weak because he walked with a limp. The last thing he needed was more pity, especially from Mandy. “And stay where you want. I don’t care.”
She looked up at him, a flash of hurt in her blue eyes, and damn if he didn’t feel like he’d just kicked a puppy or something. Okay. Fine. Maybe that had come out harsher than he’d intended, but he just wished the awkwardness between them would go away already. It was going to be weird enough living under the same roof again after all these years. They didn’t need to be walking on eggshells around each other, too.
They ate in silence for a while, until Mandy asked, “So, what’s fun to do around Heavenly Falls these days?”
“I wouldn’t know.” Alex kept his head down as he chewed. “I don’t get out much.”
The weight of her stare burned a hole through him, and he finally hazarded a glance up. “What?”
“Jack mentioned earlier that you’re on permanent disability—”
“Jack says too much.” Alex scowled down at his plate again. “It’s not my leg. I get anxiety attacks.”
Traci: Since Alex and Mandy, my hero and heroine in Worth the Wait, love all things John Hughes, it’s no wonder their playlist is full of 80s goodness (+Flo Rida)! Here are 6 selections mentioned in the story and inspired by Alex and Mandy’s playlists:
I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author whose stories feature sizzling heroes with humor, quick wits and troubled pasts and heroines who are smart, tenacious, and always give as good as they get. I hold an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and I love cute animals, chocolate, coffee, hot UK actors, and sarcasm—not necessarily in that order.
My books are published with Harlequin/Mills & Boon, Entangled Publishing, and Tule Publishing.
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JB Michaels’ The Valentine Dine or Die is the second Mac and Millie Mysteries book. Mac is a former cop who is supposed to be moving on and writing a memoir, but the cop life looks like it isn’t done with him just yet. Millie is a regular banker, or at least that’s what she wants others to believe. She and her family practice witchcraft, and while this is not a secret to Mac, she reserves her witchy side on more important things such as some of Mac’s cases. This romantic mystery book is all about their first Valentine’s as a couple. But the theatrical show where they go to turns into a suicide case. Or is it murder? With Mac’s background and Millie’s supernatural powers, they once again sleuth together to find the culprit.
The Valentine Dine or Die is a short read that can be finished in one sitting. The story and writing style may be simple, but the book is fast-paced and exciting. It can be read as a standalone, although the first book is a must-read for a few details which Michaels does not choose to elaborate on this one. Mac and Millie make a great team; they are one adorable couple who treats each other as equals. The book cover is just as cute as the story. Just imagine what science and witchcraft can bring when these two are around. There are some spelling and grammatical errors, but they are not disruptive in general. Trigger warnings include leg injury, bombing, murder, adultery, Seasonal Affective Disorder (i.e., winter depression), and a homosexual relationship.
This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. Check my sidebar, follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish stuff and honest reviews!
Master illusionist Nicholas Pine has learned the hard way that nothing—and nobody—is what they seem. So when he runs into sexy antique shop owner, Zelda Quincy, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye. Still, what he sees is very, very intriguing…and he can’t get her out of his head.
Zelda has spent her whole adult life running away from her family’s reputation. She’s changed her name and tried to move on. The last thing she wants is to return to the world she left behind, even with someone as hot as Nicholas by her side.
But after one hot night––she’s addicted––and so is he.
Too bad the skeletons in Zelda’s closet won’t stay hidden for long…
Even if she was willing to believe he would, the sigil tattoo on his wrist was glaring proof that illusion was in his blood. He was in the Guild of Ancient Magic—a brotherhood that had a lifetime membership. She found it hard to look at the tattoo without remembering seeing it on her father’s wrist and the one she’d covered up with the black rose.
She hated magic.
She should never have opened the Pandora’s box that was the Houdini water chest. She’d known the moment she’d bid on it at the online auction house. But she also hadn’t been able to resist.
“I think you should go, Mr. Pine, before I do something that we both might regret in the morning.”
“Why do you keep calling me Mr. Pine?” he asked.
“It’s your name, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” he said sardonically. “But I sense there is more to your attitude than that.”
“I’m trying to avoid throwing myself at you. I thought keeping it formal might help.”
He shook his head and laughed. “Is it working?”
Not really. But some latent self-preservation warned her not to say that out loud. “Why?”
“I just wondered if I should start calling you Ms. Quincy.”
She knew that there wasn’t anything sweet in what he said, but it touched her the same way that him watching Stetson do a magic trick had. She liked him.
It didn’t matter that he was part of a group of people she’d sworn to never let into her life again. It didn’t matter that he was a magician and was probably more flash than substance. It did matter that he had a smile that made her feel warm and that he smelled like rain and that he’d always followed her lead in conversations, even when she said something over-the-top.
“No, I don’t think so,” she admitted.
“So, what should we do about this inconvenient attraction?”
“Well, I have a ‘no magicians in my bed’ rule.”
“That is a statement begging for questions that I know you don’t want to answer,” he said. “What about ‘magicians in the kitchen’? Seems like you might be okay with that.”
She groaned. No, she wasn’t okay with it, but she also had known from the moment she’d opened her front door and let him into her house that she wasn’t going to shove him out before morning unless he’d wanted to go.
Clearly, he didn’t.
“I never made a rule about that,” she admitted.
“Good. Because I have an ‘always with women who run magic collectibles shops in the kitchen’ rule.”
She started laughing and couldn’t stop. It had been years since she’d felt this kind of joy with anyone.
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera writes emotionally sexy contemporary romances. An Amazon, BN & iBooks bestseller, she is also a two-time Maggie winner and has more than 7 million copies of her books sold worldwide.
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Title: NATURAL PASSION Author: Anna Durand Pub. Date: January 9, 2020 Publisher: Jacobsville Books Formats: Paperback, eBook Pages: 208 Get it on:Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
Natural Passion is the first book in a brand-new trilogy of romantic comedies from Anna Durand, the bestselling author of the Hot Scots series.
I entertain naked people for a living. No, not THAT kind of entertainment. I own a nudist resort. I’m not a nudist, but Val Silva is. And he’s a human supernova sleeping in the room next door.
The man is tall, gorgeous, tattooed, and a shameless exhibitionist. As the Brazilian bad boy of the international football world, he’s as famous for his sex tape as for his talent on the field. Oh, did I mention he walks around naked ALL the time? A girl only has so much willpower. Maybe we can have a little fun… as long as his tabloid past doesn’t mess with my quiet life.
Eve Holt is the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen, in those short-shorts and tank tops that make me wonder what she’s hiding underneath. Most women love my wild side, but Eve thinks I’m trouble with a capital T. Okay, she might have a point there. But I always get what I want, and I want her. I didn’t lead my team to Olympic gold by giving up. That’s one fact about me Eve is about to learn.
Panting, I rushed up to meet my guest. “Hi, welcome to Au Naturel Naturist Resort. I’m—”
My voice ceased working the instant the man jumped out of the car and turned toward me.
A god had stepped out of the luxury pickup. My gaze insisted on taking in the full picture of my newest guest, wandering over his entire body. Tall and muscular in an athletic way, he boasted skin lightly bronzed by the sun. His dark hair curled around his ears to kiss the lower edge of the lobes. His cocoa slacks clung to his thighs, accentuating the powerful muscles underneath. The top two buttons of his white dress shirt hung open.
My attention stalled on his chest and the elaborate tattoos that covered the swath of skin I could see.
He ran a hand through his artfully mussed locks, and his full lips curved into a relaxed smile.
All my guests arrived wearing clothes since airports frowned on nude travel, but this guy’s clothes struck me as designer quality. Most people showed up wearing shorts and T-shirts.
The god offered me his hand. “Valentim Silva. But you can call me Val.”
He spoke with a light accent I couldn’t quite place. In fact, it was so light I wouldn’t have picked up on it if not for the lilting way he said his full name.
I settled my palm in his, my gaze drawn to his warm brown eyes. “Eve Holt. I own the resort.”
“Yes, I know.” He held on to my hand for a second or two longer than necessary for politeness. “I have seen your website. Your photographs are wonderful, very artistic.”
None of my previous guests had ever looked like him. I’d hosted attractive men before, but they were dim stars in the far reaches of the hotness galaxy. This guy was a supernova standing two feet away from me.
He peered over his shoulder at the guest house. “Is my room ready? I’m a little early.”
I fanned myself with one hand, suddenly hot despite the temperate weather.
“Ms. Holt?” he said. “Are you all right?”
What was wrong with me? I cleared my throat and stuffed my hands in the pockets of my shorts. “I’m fine.”
He raised his brows. “My room?”
My mouth opened, a response on my tongue, but I froze before uttering a syllable. His room. The one that had been flooded. This man, this human supernova in designer slacks, was going to be sleeping in my spare room. Oh no, this wasn’t a disaster at all.
Anna Durand loves romance, men in kilts, and cheesecake. Not always in that order. She slaves away every day writing about sexy people doing sexy things together, with heart and humor and sometimes with suspense. With paranormal stories, she explores the darker side of romance. With contemporary romance, she delves into the emotional side of love and sensuality.
Readers and reviewers have blessed Anna’s books with wonderful reviews, giving her a nice glowy feeling that she’s doing something right. Her books have become bestsellers on every major retail site, hitting #1 multiple times. The Hot Scots series remains Anna’s personal favorite and a favorite among her fans. Who can resist a hunky Scotsman?
Anna also has a Master’s Degree in Library Science, so naturally, she made Calli in Wicked in a Kilt a librarian too. For twelve years and counting, Anna has run a cataloging services company that creates cataloging-in-publication data for other authors and publishers. And when she’s not doing that or writing, you’ll find her binging on audiobooks, playing with puppies, or crafting handmade jewelry.
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Five winners will receive audiobook copies of Fired Up, an erotic romance that has a lot of humor in it, Audible gift copies (US only) or Authors Direct copies (US, Canada, Australia). Click here to enter!
QOTD: Are you the type who revels in the spotlight or would you rather be a helping hand in the background?
Ryan McDonnell’s acting career is falling apart. He’s not a bad actor, just a victim of badly-written films. Juliet Manchester is dubbed as America’s sweetheart, the hottest actress in Hollywood today. But she’s having a rough time after divorcing her husband who is also blackmailing her. Ryan and Juliet’s agents find a solution and they agree to be in a win-win fake relationship. With this game of pretend, Ryan can have another shot at fame with Juliet by his side, and the press won’t bombard Juliet with too many questions regarding her divorce. They cause a hot scene at LAX before flying to Maryland, Juliet’s hometown, to celebrate her grandma’s 90th birthday. Ryan is true to his promise not only to save his career but also to be able to send his dad in a suitable nursing home. But when Ryan lays his eyes on Juliet’s sister, Tess, he swears it was love at first sight.
Delancey Stewart’s Happily Ever His is cheesy, hot, angsty, and funny. This book is a good choice if you’re looking for a quick rom-com read. The story unfolds with Ryan and Tess’ alternating points of view. It’s pretty amazing that the readers get to know both sides of every scene. I like Gran’s audacity, Juliet’s passion, Ryan’s sincerity, and Tess’ relatability. Tess is the perfect fangirl but I’m just sad that she’s always talking herself down. The romance is adorable; it happened pretty fast but it did not feel forced. The ending is appropriate and wonderful. Trigger warnings include profanity and sex.