Monday, August 18, 2014

Giveaway and Excerpts for Love Like The Movies by Victoria Van Tiem -- Pocket Star-E Nights

Today, Pocket Star-E Nights if featuring:


About the Book:

In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.

What girl wouldn’t want to experience the Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder…should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies?


With a fresh cup of coffee, I’m back at my desk just as Clive’s door opens. Bradley and Shane both emerge. With my back ramrod straight, I open a new document and tap away at the keys like I’m deep in a major idea storm and can’t keep up with the flow.

They’re walking over here. Without looking up, I type the same sentence again, and then ad lib. Idea storm and can’t keep up with the flow. Tons of ideas. Lots of ideas

Shane’s standing right in front of my desk. “Good morning, Kensington.” His floppy dark hair is pushed back off his face and a hint of growth now covers his jaw. His lips are curved slightly and my gaze falls to them.

“Hi, hon,” Bradley says, striding up beside him before I can respond. He looks polished and handsome in the light-blue shirt I bought for his last birthday.

I peer over my laptop screen and smile brightly at him, ignoring Shane. “Morning, what’s on the agenda today?” I keep typing random sentences, because I’m much too busy to stop. I type, much too busy to stop.

“I thought we could brainstorm during an outing. Maybe hash out the list,” Shane says to the side of my head because I’m still smiling at Bradley. My fiancé. Who’s still upset with me.

I pause and do my best to look apologetic. “Oh, it’s Wednesday. Bradley and I have a standing lunch date.” There. I looked at him.

Bradley rocks back on his heels. “Oh, yeah, sorry, can’t. Tonya and I are meeting with the Indianapolis Symphony about a new print initiative.” His eyes narrow. “Is that a new dress?”

I can feel my face warm. “What? No, you’ve seen this before.” He actually has. I furrow my brows in a you-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about look.

“Sorry ’bout lunch, but I may be able to score symphony tickets from today’s meeting.”

“Great,” I say and smile even brighter at Bradley. It’s megawatt and directed only at him. I love the symphony. It’s an excuse to get dressed up and the theater’s absolutely beautiful. It also doesn’t hurt that he said that in front of Shane. See? We’re happy. In fact, I’m beaming.

Bradley taps my desk and smiles. “I do like that dress. You look gorgeous.” He nods to Shane. No smile. “Bennett.” He turns and walks toward his office.

Yay, Bradley. I’m so wearing something silky for him this weekend. I look back at my computer screen and keep ignoring Shane in case Bradley—yup, he just looked back. I smile. Having Shane here is bothering him. I just need to not aggravate the situation and stay focused on what’s at stake: job, bonus, wedding, and family . . . in other words, everything.

Shane’s still standing here.

“So, what time are you free?” He moves to my side of the desk and peers down at the screen.

What is he doing? I try to bring up the Microsoft Office calendar again, but I already closed out. I can’t just close the laptop. It’ll appear like I’m hiding something.

My chat window pops up. It’s Ellie. Can Shane see the screen? I can’t tell. The back of my neck warms as I glance at the message.

ELLIE-BELL: Has your ex Mr. Britain seen you in that dress yet? Did his jaw drop?

I turn quickly, to distract him. “How ’bout noon? I’m sure that’ll work.” My voice is shaky, trying to play it off.

“Actually, I have a late lunch over at the mall. Can you meet me there around four? Front entrance?”

“Sure. Oh, um, would you mind if we met in front of Fossie’s? I have to grab a baby gift off the registry for my sister-in-law, so I could meet you after . . . ?”

“It’s Fossie’s at four then.” Shane turns to leave but then looks back, his gaze skimming the length of my dress. “For the record, I, ah, prefer your overalls. But I can see why Bradley likes that dress.” A sly smile twists on his lips.

Without another word he turns on his heels, leaving me to slowly bleed out from embarrassment. I drop my head in my hands. Ugh . . . this dress. So much for confident, together, and ready for business.

Approaching the registry kiosk, I type in Ren’s name and wait for the printout. I haven’t even thought of registering yet. With my luck, when it’s time for a wedding shower, Mom will want to have Ren’s big baby shower. My stomach wrenches and sours.

I’m watching the machine slowly spit out Ren’s list: mahogany crib and dresser set, glider chair for the nursery, all-terrain jogging stroller . . . there’s nothing under four hundred dollars. What is she thinking?

When I look up, I spot Shane in the main aisle walking in my direction. Wait, he’s early. I dodge a woman who’s pushing a stroller with one hand and holding on to a toddler with the other. The little girl has adorable blond curls and rounded cheeks. She waves at me with a chubby hand and I can’t help smiling.

My expression drops as I near Shane. “Hi, you’re early. You said four, right?” I point back toward the direction I came. “I, um, haven’t even started yet.”

Shane looks at his watch. “Oh, so I am. Not a problem.” He motions toward the department and begins walking. “When’s your sister-in-law due?”

“Oh, um, not until spring.” I match his stride. So he’s coming with me? “I guess my engagement dinner is now an engagement slash early baby shower with the family, so we’re giving our gifts now.” My words spill out with an unintentionally wounded tone.

Shane looks puzzled. “Wait, I thought you said your mom had everything planned? Why would they change it all of a sudden?”

My cheeks warm. I forgot I told him. “Um, I must’ve gotten it wrong. The phone disconnected, and I guess, well . . .” I look away and say under my breath, “Ya know, I assumed.”

“Some things never change.” Shane huffs and shakes his head, then looks around. “I’ll, ah, be right back.”

There’s a warm glow in my chest from his words. Shane’s spent time with my family and gets how it is for me. He always took my side.

At this point, I think my family should just forget about the engagement dinner. We can make the get-together about Ren. The whole thing feels like an obligation, anyway. Like I’m an inconvenience imposing on Ren’s special day. Not quite good enough to merit my own.

My attention falls on a display table with little baby booties. They’re knitted to imitate miniature fashion boots. As I run my fingers over the texture, a goofy grin fixes on my face. They’re so stinkin’ cute. When I glance up, I find Shane watching me from across the display.

“They’re just so tiny.” My nose wrinkles. “Can you imagine the little feet, and the itty-bitty toes that would fit in these?”

“I can imagine a lot of things.”

My whole body stiffens. An unexpected tsunami of displaced emotion detonates without warning, washing over me in an instant. I look away. Anywhere. The booties. My hands. His.

Wait. “Why do you have scanner guns?”

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

~ Giveaway ~

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Early Review of How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke's Men, #3) by Sabrina Jeffries

  • Title: How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke's Men)
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Series: The Duke's Men
    Format: Paperback; 416 pages
    Publisher: Pocket Books (August 19, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 1451693494
    ISBN-13: 978-1451693492
    Author's website:
    Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher.

Lady Zoe Keane is not your average Lady of the ton. She stands to inherit a sizable fortune, title and all the land that goes with it, plus a seat in the House of  Lords. Regardless of who she does or doesn't marry, as her father's only direct heir she will become a Countess. That is, unless the seeds of doubt her aunt planted about her parentage turn out to be true. In a desperate attempt to get to the truth of the matter, she hires Manton Investigations, nicknamed  the Duke's Men, to find out if the deep, dark secret her family has supposedly been keeping from her since birth has any grain of truth to it. Her one hope in hiring the prestigious agency is that Tristan Bonnaud, one of the agency's investigators, is not the person who will end up working with her. He has a habit of rubbing her the wrong way.

Tristan Bonnaud is a man with a mission--to dig up some dirt on his half brother, George, the Viscount Rathmoor, and drag his name through the mud. The feud between the two has been going on for years and came to a head thirteen years ago when George deprived his siblings, both legitimate and illegitimate, of their rightful inheritance when he burnt the codicil their father had written on his deathbed. The only thing that might stand in Tristan's way of getting his revenge is Lady Zoe Keane and her silly quest to find a gypsy woman named Drina who may hold the key to the family's skeleton in the closet. A man used to having women fall for him, the fact that Zoe show's no sign of doing so unsettles him.Working for her is not something he is looking forward to. While his view of London society, with their better than everyone else attitude, is not a high one, he soon realizes her case may be the perfect guise to hide his own inquiries from his family.


Sabrina Jeffries has created another wonderful romance that left me smiling and wanting more. Thank goodness the next book is scheduled to come out in January. While you could probably get by with diving directly into this, the third book of the series, I highly recommend you don't and read the books in their proper order. The growth in Tristan's character is more apparent if you start with the first. Additionally, you'll miss out on Lady Zoe's and Tristan's first meeting if you don't read the second book in the series.

Tristan Bonnaud is from the wrong side of the tracks. A bastard by birth accused of horse thievery with a reputation of being a scoundrel with the ladies. In a nutshell, he's a father's worst nightmare. However, not everything is as it appears and that is certainly the case with Tristan. He's truly a complicated and misunderstood individual with family issues that need to be resolved. Years ago he did what he needed to to survive and keep his family (mother and sister) from being homeless and left to starve. As his father had meant for him to have the thoroughbred named Blue Blazes (the horse had been left to him in the codicil his brother burnt), he sold the horse and used the money to get his mother, sister, and himself to France where his mother's family resided. While we've heard of the events which transpired that fateful night when their father Ambrose Manton, the former Viscount Rathmoor, died, we finally get to see exactly what happened and I rather enjoyed this.

Zoe is an interesting character. She's grown up knowing her place in society was secure. Because of this, she's colorful, outspoken, and surprisingly well respected among her peers. All that could change if what her aunt told her turns out to be true. Instead of marrying whom she wants, to keep her standing in society she may need to marry her cousin who is next in line after her to inherit the family title and whom she's never met. Not one to wait in the wings, she expects Tristan to take her with when he does his investigating. What ensues is a delightfully fun situation where Tristan attempts to seduce Zoe only to show his true colors and have the tables turned on him. I simply adored this.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was fun and smartly written with a dramatic ending. I loved the sexual tension between Zoe and Tristan. Each was attracted to each other, but knew giving  into that desire could have major consequences. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating leaning toward a SHOWER--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of the series:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cover Reveal of Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss #1) by Nalini Singh

Coming September 9th: 

A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only 
her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

About the Author:
Nalini Singh
Check out her website:
Follow her on Twitter: (@NaliniSingh)
'Like' her on Facebook:

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.
On Me

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill. (Obtained from Ms. Singh's Website)

The first excerpt available August 26th, but for now, here are a few teasers to tempt you with:

Ibooks Pre-order link The book will be available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo and all other e-retailers on September 9th. To make sure you get a notice the moment the book is available to buy, swing by and join Nalini Singh's newsletter (signup box is on the top right of the page). The Welcome newsletter has several free Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter short story links, plus she'll be sharing extra material from ROCK ADDICTION once it's out!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Giveaway & Excerpt of Hollow by Ava Conway -- Pocket Star-E Nights

Pocket Star-E Nights is featuring Hollow by Ava Conway this week. 

HOLLOW by Ava Conway


 Girl, Interrupted meet Beautiful Disaster in this thrilling and sexy debut novel, in which a college student learns her perfect life is a lie and finds new love where she least expects it—a mental institution.

Freaks, misfits, and psychopaths. Those are the kinds of people found at Newton Heights Psychiatric Hospital, and high-society girl Lucy White’s new home.

Freaks, misfits, and Jayden McCray. Jayden has his own set of rules for life at Newton Heights, and in this enigma, Lucy finds a way to live with the events that left her cheating boyfriend and best friend dead—and Lucy in the middle of the investigation into their demise.

The problem? Jayden makes her want things she’s not supposed to have, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality and making Lucy feel more at home in Newton Heights than she ever did at home. But this isn’t how her life is supposed to be…


AFTER I PRESSED the accelerator, things get a little fuzzy,” I said.

“Hmm . . .” The lawyer twirled his monogrammed pen between his fingers and scribbled something into his notebook. “The same thing’s written in the police report.”

I tried to move my hands, but remembered they were strapped to the bed. After I ripped all the lifesaving tubes out of my arms last night, the hospital staff wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything so stupid again.

“Does it look as bad as the papers are suggesting?” My father pushed his fingers through his hair, which had turned more salt than pepper since I had gone to college.

The lawyer slapped his notebook shut and slid it into his leather briefcase. “You know the media will exaggerate anything to get a story. Although I have to admit, an attempted suicide one week after the accident won’t help her defense.” He clicked the briefcase shut with a loud, purposeful snap and smoothed his designer suit. “The jury will think she has a guilty conscience.”

“Come on, honey. Think.” My mother drew her neatly trimmed brows together, bringing attention to her large, round eyes. Normally my mother’s baby blues were her best feature, but the clumpy mascara and bronze eye shadow she’d chosen that morning made her look tired and worn out.

“There must be something else you remember. Some little bit of information that could help the police drop the charges.” She took my hand with her long, manicured fingers. People said that we looked alike, but besides the raven-colored hair and blue eyes, I didn’t see very much in common. It was almost as if we came from two different worlds. Hers was stoic and orderly. Mine was a neurotic mess.

I shook my head and turned to the lawyer. “There’s nothing more.” My voice sounded hoarse and strained.

Probably because of all the tubes they had to jam down my throat while trying to keep me alive.

My father swore and started pacing the hospital room. Even tired he looked magnificent, like some great stallion in an Armani suit. His angular features, tanned skin and outgoing personality drew people to him and made him an outstanding lobbyist. It was a damn shame that it was for show. Only my mom and I knew that the charismatic lobbyist waged an inner war with himself every night, armed with his trusty bottle of bourbon and a Cuban cigar.

“Your friend was right. You shouldn’t have been driving that night.” The lawyer leaned against the bottom of the bed and arched his brow. “None of you should have.” The highhanded tone grated on my nerves. All my life I had been trying to live up to my parents’ impossibly high standards.

The last thing I needed was this greasy-looking rent-a-lawyer talking to me in such a condescending tone. I opened my mouth to tell him this, but was cut off by my father.

“They can’t prove she was driving,” he said. “The car flipped over and no one was wearing a seat belt.”

“He’s right.” My mother dropped my hand and stood. “The other two were thrown from the car.”

“I know, and that’s why there’s still a chance of overturning the manslaughter charges.” The lawyer studied me for a long moment with his beady, green eyes. From day one, I didn’t like this guy. It wasn’t just that he was conceited or condescending, it was how he always seemed to be calculating his next step, as if life was this massive board game and he was playing to win. While I had no doubt that his decisions were the best for him and his law practice, I wondered if they were the best for me.

My mother certainly seemed to think so. She hung on his every word.

“What if we send her away to live with extended family for a while?” she asked. “It will keep her out of the press until things calm down.”

“No,” my father said. “We can’t send her out of state while she’s facing charges.”

“You have no relatives close by?” the lawyer asked.

“We moved away from them to be closer to work,” my mother explained.

I didn’t like how these people were discussing my future as if I wasn’t in the room. “I don’t need to hide from the press.”

“Don’t be silly, Lucy,” my mother said. “You know we can’t afford the negative publicity right now. If you stay with us, then reporters will set up tents on our lawn, waiting for

some crumb of information that they could use to tear us down.”

“She’s right, unfortunately,” my father said. “We have to find a way to keep her in state, but out of the public eye until this all blows over.”

“I’m twenty-two. I can handle myself.”

“Of course you can, dear,” my mother soothed. “Now hush, we’re thinking.”

The lawyer studied my face. Uneasiness crawled over my skin as his beady eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. “I’ve got it.”

“What?” my parents both asked at the same time.

The lawyer’s gaze never left mine as he addressed my parents. “Is there any history of mental illness in the family?”

“Of what?” My mother stiffened and exchanged glances with my father.

“Of mental illness,” the lawyer repeated, turning toward her. “If there is, I could talk to her doctor about arranging an evaluation while we wait for a court date.” He straightened away from the bed railing and began to pace. “If we can prove she’s mentally unstable, it would help with the defense.” He drummed his fingers together as he walked, as if closing a steel trap.

“You want to put my daughter in a loony bin?” My mother swayed and grabbed the bed railing.

“Not a loony bin—a mental hospital. And only if she needs it.” The lawyer cracked his knuckles. The loud noise reminded me of how both of Bethany’s legs had been broken in the crash. “Yes, putting her in an upscale institution like Newton Heights until the investigation is over will help gain sympathy for our cause.”

“Newton Heights. That’s where that celebrity went last year when she announced she was being treated for depression, isn’t it?” my father asked.

“Yes, but . . .” My mother waved her hand in the air, as if struggling to find the right words.

“It’s expensive, but for those who can afford the high costs, it offers a sanctuary from the outside world.” The lawyer waved his hands to the sides and flashed his slick smile. “There’s also a teaching hospital on site, so if she should need physical treatment . . .” The implication was clear. If I was ever to try to kill myself again, emergency personnel would be on site to save my life.

Fear sliced through me at the thought of going to Newton Heights. I didn’t want to be locked away with all of the crazy people, like some reject in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I wasn’t sure what they did to patients at Newton Heights, but if it was anything like that movie, I wanted no part of it.

“I’m not going.” My voice sounded small and weak to my ears.

“You might not have a choice in the matter, kid,” the lawyer said. “Not if you want to beat these charges.”

My father bowed his head and ran his hand over his face. “I can’t believe this is happening to us again . . .”


My father lowered his arm and nodded to me. “She’s turning out just like him.”

“Who?” I asked.

The air became thick with tension. I switched my focus from my father to my mother, but neither was willing to expand on my father’s mutterings. Instead they stood there, staring at each other, and I couldn’t help but think that some silent war was being waged in front of me.

“Mom, what’s Dad talking about? I’m turning out like who?” Hair fell into my eyes. I shook my head, trying to remove the offending strands from my field of vision.

“Whom,” my mother corrected, her gaze still fixed on my father.

“I was so convinced Lucy would turn out differently . . .”

The vein in my father’s temple pulsed, but otherwise his face remained an expressionless mask.

My mother let go of the bed railing and put her hand on my father’s arm. “Clark, she is different—”

“Would someone tell me what’s going on?” I raised my voice, desperate for some answers.

“We can’t keep up appearances under so much scrutiny.”

My father unfolded his arms and placed his hand over hers. “No.”

I tried to sit up, but the restraints forced me back on the pillows. “Mom, what’s he talking about?”

My mother moved to my side. “Not now, Lucy.” She swiped the hair from my face and smiled reassuringly. “To answer your question, Mr. Jameson, yes, there’s a history of mental illness in the family, but I will die before that information is leaked to the press.” Her voice was a sharp contrast to the gentleness of her touch.

“There’s no need to tell the press,” the lawyer reassured her. “Just the doctor. All we need is an evaluation.” He glanced at me. “Since she’s technically not a minor, we’ll also need her signature.”

“Leave that to me,” my father said.

A disoriented feeling settled into my core as I mentally flipped through all of my extended family members. “Who was mentally unstable?” I whispered to my mother. “Was it

Aunt Heather? Cousin Paul?”

“Not now, Lucy.” My mother turned to the lawyer. Her face became a cool, expressionless mask. “Will that be all, Mr. Jameson?”

The lawyer shifted his gaze between the three of us, as if weighing his options. “For now, yes. The police are still going through evidence at the crime scene. They’ll probably want to question her again at some point.”

“What happens if Lucy’s found guilty?” my father asked.

“Vehicular manslaughter is a serious crime. It would most likely involve prison time.”

My mouth went dry. Prison?

To read more, the excerpt is continued at XOXOAfterDark:

~ Giveaway (US ONLY) ~

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Make every night a good night with Pocket Star-E Nights.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Giveaway and Excerpts of Jumped by Colette Auclair and Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche (Pocket Star-E Nights)

Two great books from Pocket Star that will keep you up late reading--if you let them.

JUMPED by Colette Auclair


 A young woman in the equestrian fashion business finds herself head over heels for none other than her ex-husband in Colette Auclair’s steamy sequel to her 2012 Golden Heart finalist and “page-turning debut” (Library Journal), Thrown.

 Thoroughly enjoying herself at a friend Amanda’s wedding, Beth finds herself in an unexpected state of shock when she realizes she’s been seated next to her ex-husband, Finn, at the reception. Determined to not let this fluster her, Beth strikes up a conversation only to learn Finn isn’t the same man she walked away from.

 Relieved the reception is over, Beth is looking forward to a relaxing weekend against the beautiful backdrop of sunny Aspen at her best friend Amanda's estate. Little does she know Finn will be partaking in the weekend activities too. But just as Beth decides to keep as much distance between her and Finn as possible, Finn has a terrible accident and Beth is stuck being his bedside nurse.

 Over the course of the weekend, Beth and Finn discover that the wounds of their failed marriage are not all that’s left. There are sparks…and hope. But just as they decide to give their relationship another try, Finn confesses a huge secret that could destroy everything he’s fought to get back—Beth, their relationship, and another chance at love.

 Will Beth turn away, or will she take a leap of faith and say “I do” once (again) and for all?


Around midnight, Bethany came into the cabin with Mingo padding after her and closed the door as gently as she could.

“Mmm,” Finn said from his bed. Mingo went straight for him, a brown cylindrical rocket.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“That’s fine.” He slept with his broken leg propped on a few pillows. He pet Mingo, who was beside himself with happiness, wagging his stubby breakfast-sausage tail as though the earth’s rotation relied on it.

“Do you need anything?” she asked as she turned on a lamp next to the sofa and came to his bedside. He was rumpled. Finn could pull off rumpled like Kardashians pulled off wedding rings. Beth’s mouth went a tad dry.

He shook his head. “No thanks.”

“Have you seen my phone?” She went into the bathroom.

“Uh . . . let me look,” he said.

She emerged and was surprised to find him in the kitchen, scanning the counter.

“You didn’t have to get up!” she said. “I wondered if you happened to see it. I’m not sure where I left it and thought it might be here.” She crossed to the coffee table in front of the couch and looked under an architecture magazine Grady had gotten for Finn.

Finn hobbled over. His expression was . . . unwelcoming. “You have a fruitful discussion with Jack?”

To anyone else, Finn’s question would have seemed benign. But Beth heard the edge. She lifted a cushion on the sofa and peered under it as she spoke.

“For the love of God, Finn. Yes. He was great. Thanks for asking.” She made sure to sound happy. Wow, but he could be annoying.

“Business? That’s all you two talked about?”

She rolled her eyes. “My business? Yes, for the most part. I also talked to Harris, Amanda, and Grady. What are you getting at?” She looked under another cushion, then at Finn.

He gave her a look. You know what I mean. “He must be a cheerful guy.”


“You two sure laughed a lot.”

“Do you know your leg will heal faster if you stop being an ass? Go back to bed.”

“Do you trust him? You think he knows what he’s talking about?”

“Jack? Yes.” She picked up each of the five magazines on the coffee table. No phone. “Grady wouldn’t have put me in touch with him if he wasn’t good at what he does. Did you question Grady about the orthopedist he sent you to?”

She needed to stand her ground, so she made a point to stand tall, facing him. Her pulse wasn’t exactly racing, but it wasn’t slow, either. She was letting Finn get to her. She had to Teflon up.

Finn asked, “He’s a good-looking guy, don’t you think?”

Oh, he wouldn’t dare. “Yeah,” she said. “Very good looking.”

She crossed to an armchair, speaking as she looked under its cushion. “Smokin’ hot. Broad shoulders.” She looked under the other chair’s cushion. “Beautiful eyes. Great ass. You bet he was good-looking. A complete and total hottie.” Take that.

“Did he hit on you?”

She faced him. “I think a better use of your time and energy would be to help me find my phone.”

His eyes were dark-denim blue. “Did he hit on you?”

“Oh my God, would you stop! What if he did? What business is it of yours? We’re not married anymore, remember?” Beth wiggled her left ring finger at him. Then she got on all fours and looked under the chair next to him.

Finn’s mouth was a hard seam that turned down at the ends. He looked like a rank stallion. He filled the space above her with his wide shoulders and anger.

She huffed out a breath. “No. It was business.” Before she spoke her next words, she rose and stood directly in front of him. “But if he had, I would’ve said yes and I would’ve liked it.”

If Finn wanted to be this way, fine. She would give it right back to him. She glared. Come on, Finn. You wanna dance? Let’s dance.

She was trying to guess what his next caveman accusation would be. Would he go overtly sexual? A classic character assassination? The dumb jock route, because Jack didn’t work for his business, but got lucky in sports?

Finn wedged the crutches beneath his arms and grabbed Beth’s biceps. She gasped. She hadn’t expected this. A brigade of tingles zoomed up her body from somewhere near her ovaries. Her pulse sprinted. Finn’s stare was unnerving, full of hunger and fury as he searched her face. She wasn’t sure what the hell he was going to say.

He was shaking. After a second he pulled her to him, slanted his lips to hers, and kissed her. More liked possessed her. He cupped the back of her neck with one hand and pressed her mouth to his. In a half heartbeat, she remembered exactly what his lips felt and tasted like. It was surreal, vivid, and hot. They were soft, but his kiss wasn’t gentle. His jealousy was so intense, it was almost a thing, like a flavor on his tongue.

Link continuing reading the excerpt at XOXOAfterDark:

Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche


In this saucy romance, an English lady turns the damsel-in-distress tale on its head as she escapes her malicious fiancé and fights for both her life and that of the lustful rebel that has become her protector.

 Lady Lenora Trevelyan, a naïve yet stubborn young lady born to the highest noble houses of England and Germany, finds herself betrothed to the brutal Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt. But after she is cruelly bruised and flogged by her fiancé, she decides to take the reins of her fate. In the midst of a German revolution, Lenora escapes Kurt’s iron fist and embarks home to England. She quickly finds herself in the hands of a rebel group and their robust, gentle, and handsome leader, Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, the English Earl of Ravensworth.

 Lenora struggles to deny the passion she feels towards the frustratingly chivalrous Earl but her desire for him continues to bloom. Wolfram hungers nothing other than to fight for democracy and civil rights in uniting Germany and to protect what he assumes is his damsel in distress. Through nights of immeasurable pleasure, Lenora and Wolfram learn that their passion is no match for the revolutionary chaos that ensues. And when Lenora discovers that her protector’s life is threatened, she must risk everything to save her Knight of Love.


The German Confederation
February 1848
     The first lash robbed her of breath.
     The second granted her freedom.
     If he’d go so far as to have her publicly flogged, she owed him no further loyalty. Any obligation remaining from their betrothal contact ended here, in this moment, with this lash.
     Morally, she was free.
     Now all she had to do was escape the bastard and make him pay.
     As the second stroke landed, fire replaced the shock, and a hot slick of pain bloomed across her back. The coarse linen shift that a spying maid had forced her into provided no protection. It offered little modesty, either, from the uneasy crowd Kurt had gathered inside the castle gates to witness her punishment. She gritted her teeth and refused to cry out. A rough rope bound her wrists above her head to the flogging post. As her knees buckled, the  binding made her perversely glad; she doubted she could stand upright on her own.
      Before arriving at this godforsaken pile of German stone, she—Lady Lenora Trevelyan, eldest child to the Duke and Duchess of Sherbrooke, third cousin to Queen Victoria’s German consort, His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—had never been struck in her life. Now, in her three months at Schloss  Rotenburg, she’d lost count of her bruises.
     At first, before her parents had returned home to England, Kurt hadn’t hit her—or “corrected her,” as it pleased that smug worm to call his slaps and blows. He claimed it was for her own good, of course, to teach and prepare her for her life as his Prinzessin and mistress of Rotenburg.
     She must carry out her duties perfectly, he’d hiss, tightening a grip on her arm until she knew she’d wear a band of purple bruises for a week. Or he’d strike out in sudden fury at some perceived failure of hers—she’d forgotten the name of one of his sainted ancestors in the castle’s gloomy portrait gallery, or made a minor grammatical mistake in her German, or not shown proper courtesy to a visiting Bürgermeister.
     Tied now to the flogging post, she lost count after the third blow. She’d seen the long leather strap when the stable master, shamefaced, had bound her with muttered apologies and handed the lash to a muscled groom more accustomed to cracking it around stubborn horses than using it to beat highborn ladies. Now she could barely feel the individual strokes as they landed, only the waves of hot agony clenching her back and shoulders in a vise grip of pain.
     Through the red haze blurring her vision, she saw Kurt standing nearby. Next to him, his sanctimonious toady minister prattled the Bible proverb of the virtuous wife whose price was far above rubies. The gleeful, twisted pleasure Kurt took in her pain radiated off his stork-like form like a sickening stench. She bit down on her lip and gathered her hatred of her fiancé like a babe to her breast.
     It was all she had left to get her out of this hell.
     When Kurt finally held up a hand to signal the groom to cease, her labored breath echoed in the silent crowd. She knew the townspeople didn’t approve of the public beating their prince had commanded for his foreign betrothed. No more than they believed his story that she’d agreed to a religious flagellation in humble preparation for becoming his pious and obedient wife. But Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt ruled the castle and town with an iron fist. None would risk their lord’s wrath to stand up for her.
     Kurt stepped to the front of the dais. “Lady Lenora bears her trial most nobly,” he announced to the crowd. “Her embrace of her suffering does honor to a bloodline that unites the highest noble houses of England and Germany.”
     That bloodline, she knew well, was why he’d chosen her. The prig made no secret of his disdain for any born below the upper aristocracy. The Holy Roman emperor himself, Kurt often delighted to inform her, had conferred the title of  Prinz upon the House of Rotenburg-Gruselstadt in the previous century. Her own background had led the matchmakers to judge them a perfect pair: her father’s ancient ducal title intermingled, like that of so many English peers these days, with noble blood from her Prussian princess mother.
     No one had thought to mention that her fiancé had the temperament of a petulant demon on a bad day in hell.
     As Kurt stalked toward her, she forced her knees to straighten. She was done being afraid of this man. He pulled back the torn linen shift to inspect her back. Despite her resolve not to cry out, she gasped as the frayed edges stuck to her skin.
     “Beautiful work,” he murmured into her ear. “This is what a woman should look like. Chastised to a man’s authority, marked to her proper place.”

Link to continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

~ The Giveaways ~

Win a copy of Jumped 
by Colette Auclair
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Win a copy of Knight of Love 
by Catherine LaRoche

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Most Anticipated New Releases of August 2014

The following list is comprised of books and novellas my friends, family, and I are most looking forward to reading in August. It also consists of books by popular authors and others I've heard a lot of hype about. I am not flawless and sometimes I'll accidentally leave one or more books off the list that I shouldn't. Let me know if one of your favorites is missing. Sometimes my search techniques just don't work as well as I wish they did.

The list is divided into weekly releases. If you'd like to read a book's description, just click on the cover photo and you'll be magically transferred to Goodreads. Remember a book a day keeps the boredom at bay! Happy reading.

August 5th - Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires) by Chloe Neill
August 5th -Book Fair and Foul (Ashton Corners Book Club) by Erika Chase
August 5th - Billionaire Blend (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle
August 5th - The Cat, the Vagabond and the Victim: A Cats in Trouble Mystery by Leann Sweeney
August 5th - The Cowboy and the Angel by T. J. Kline
August 5th - Crave the Night: A Midnight Breed Novel by Lara Adrian
August 5th - Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole
August 5th - Downfall: A Cal Leandros Novel by Rob Thurman
August 5th - Etta Mae's Worst Bad-Luck Day by Ann B. Ross
August 5th - If Catfish Had Nine Lives (Country Cooking School Mystery) by Paige Shelton
August 5th - The Magician's Land: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) by Lev Grossman
August 5th - The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: A Pink Carnation Novel by Lauren Willig
August 5th - Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) by Ann Aguirre
August 5th - Murder in the Mystery Suite (A Book Retreat Mystery) by Ellery Adams
August 5th - Opposition (A Lux Novel Book 5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
August 5th - Paw and Order: A Chet and Bernie Mystery (The Chet and Bernie Mystery Series) by Spencer Quinn
August 5th - Queen of Hearts (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen
August 5th - Severed Souls (Sword of Truth Book 14) by Terry Goodkind
August 5th - Shear Trouble: A Southern Quilting Mystery by Elizabeth Craig
August 5th - Taken In (Southern Sewing Circle Mystery) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
August 5th - Top Secret (A Clandestine Operations Novel) by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
August 5th - The Traitor (Captive Hearts) by Grace Burrowes
August 5th - Ugly Love: A Novel by Colleen Hoover
August 5th - W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone) by Sue Grafton

August 11th - Engraved: Book Five of The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper
August 12th - The 6th Extinction: A Sigma Force Novel (Sigma Force Novels Book 10) by James Rollins
August 12th - Cursed Moon (Prospero's War #2) by Jaye Wells
August 12th - Fool's Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy by Robin Hobb
August 12th - Hellhole Inferno (The Hellhole Trilogy) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
August 12th - Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber
August 12th - An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 6) by Charles Todd
August 14th - Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

August 19th - Adultery: A novel by Paulo Coelho, Margaret Jull Costa and Zoë Perry
August 19th - How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke's Men) by Sabrina Jeffries
August 19th - One Kick: A Novel (Kick Lannigan) by Chelsea Cain
August 19th - Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
August 19th - Visions: A Cainsville Novel by Kelley Armstrong
August 19th - Windigo Island: A Novel (Cork O'Connor Mystery Series #14) by William Kent Krueger

August 26th - The Arrow: A Highland Guard Novel by Monica McCarty
August 26th - The Beautiful Ashes: Broken Destiny, Book 1 by Jeaniene Frost
August 26th - The Broken Eye (Lightbringer Series #3) by Brent Weeks
August 26th - Close to Home by Lisa Jackson
August 26th - The Earl's Mistress by Liz Carlyle
August 26th - Ghost House (The Ghost House Saga) by Alexandra AdornettoAugust 26th - Her Last Whisper: A Novel (Dr. Charlotte Stone) by Karen Robards
August 26th - Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
August 26th - The Highlander Next Door (A Spellbound Falls Romance) by Janet Chapman
August 26th - The Hot Zone (A Rainshadow Novel Book 3) by Jayne Castle
August 26th - It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor Series #10) by Jill Shalvis
August 26th - The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny
August 26th - Once More, My Darling Rogue by Lorraine Heath
August 26th - Reluctantly Royal (Suddenly Book 3) by Nichole Chase
August 26th - What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin) by Anna Campbell
August 26th - What a Lady Most Desires by Lecia Cornwall
August 26th - What I Love About You (Truly, Idaho) by Rachel Gibson
August 28th - The Secret Place by Tana French
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