Publisher: Hqn

Guest Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

Posted July 9, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah MorganReviewer: Tracy
How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surpriseLauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

In this story we have two sisters, Lauren and Jenna, who are incredibly close.  Lauren is married and has a 16-year-old daughter by the name of Mack.  They are wealthy and live in London.  Jenna is a school teacher, is married, and lives in Martha’s Vineyard where she and her sister grew up.  She longs to be a mother but even as much as her and her husband have tried, they’ve not gotten pregnant.  Neither girl was ever close with their mother, Nancy, but always had a great time with their now deceased father.

Tragedy strikes Lauren and her husband Ed dies.  Due to unforeseen and shocking circumstances Lauren and Mack end up moving back to Martha’s Vineyard to live with Nancy.  Lauren is devastated by everything going on in her life – especially the fact that Mack has discovered that the man she thought was her dad…wasn’t.  The man who actually is her father is still living in Martha’s Vineyard and wants to be part of Mack’s life.  Lauren’s not sure how to handle this as Scott, the dad, was never one for sticking to one place very long.  Lauren doesn’t want Mack to get attached to Scott and then have him leave.

Lauren, despite her grief, finds that she’s still incredibly attracted to Scott. She was so in love with him back when she was 18 years old.  When she got pregnant she understood the reasons he couldn’t step up and that’s why she married Ed.  Ed had his own emotional roller coaster to deal with and that’s what brought them together.  They weren’t actually in love but they definitely loved each other.

With Lauren back on the island and living with her mother there are a lot of information that get brought out in the open.  Secrets every character kept get outed and the characters in the book have to learn how to live with the new normal.

While this book was definitely stronger in the Women’s Fiction arena, it did have a small romance in it as well.  Even if it hadn’t would have liked this book.  Morgan brought to life some interesting characters that I couldn’t get enough of.  I felt their pain, loneliness, grief, happiness – you name it, I felt it.  I got so into the lives of these women and what they were individually going through.  I loved that they were there for each other and worked through their many issues.

I can’t tell you too much about what goes on the book because that’s part of the beauty of it, watching it all unfold page by page. What I can tell you is that I definitely recommend this book as I thought it was pretty darned great.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Darkest Warrior by Gena Showalter

Posted July 2, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Darkest Warrior by Gena ShowalterReviewer: Casee
The Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld, #14) by Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #14
Also in this series: The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1), The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld #2), The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld #3), The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld #4), The Darkest Passion (Lords of the Underworld #5), The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld #6), The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld, #12), The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld, #13)
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A searing Lords of the Underworld tale by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter, featuring a beastly prince and the wife he will wage war to keep.

He is ice...

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm, and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire...

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her...and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.

As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily ever after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?

I adored this book. Adored it. Call me clueless (which I usually am), but I had no idea about the furor due to the fact that Gillian and William of the Dark didn’t end up together. Seriously? I’m going to address that, but I have to say one thing first. Get the fuck over it. I’ve read your stuff on GoodReads and you are so childish in your tantrums. It was never made clear that Gillian and William were going to end up together. He calls her Gilly Gumdrop for the love of God. Would you want your lover/mate/husband you call you such a childish name? Not to mention that she never, ever had romantic feels for the guy. Ever. Read back and look. Not once. He was her hero and her savior. That’s it. I wouldn’t have read this book if it was Gillian and William’s book. There is no way. I was seriously looking forward to it because it wasn’t Gillian and William. When I read the excerpt in the back of The Darkest Promise, I was thrilled. So for all you haters out there, pull up your big girl panties and pick up this book from where you threw it across the room. Dust it off and read it. You’ll love it. That’s a fact.

The biggest hurtle in this book, to me, was Gillian’s age. She is just turning eighteen. A traumatized eighteen at that. The girl has been seriously abused at the hands of her stepfather and stepbrothers. When she worked up the courage to tell her mom, she was told that she must have “misunderstood” the situation. Can you imagine? shudder Honestly, how the hell is an eighteen year old girl going to mate a centuries old immortal, be able to have sex and be this goddess that the blurb explains? I was like “say what?”. Must be some magic going on here. Well yes, magic was involved and it was amazing.

I’m going to try to make my summary short and sweet which may not be possible because this book had a lot going on. Since their royal births, Puck and his brother Sin have been working against a prophecy which said that one of them would find their ladylove then kill the other. Since they were children, both vowed that they would never fall in love and they would only be loyal to each other. That changed when Sin betrayed Puck and let him be infected by the demon of Indifference. It’s only after hundreds of years when Puck has a rare moment of clarity that he goes to the Oracles on Amaranthia where he learns how he can defeat Sin. Sin, who murdered their father, became king, then went psycho on the Connacht people. It was the Oracles that told him about Gillian. Mate her, they said. Get William the Dark to Amaranthia, they said. He will dethrone Sin, they said. All he has to do at the end is use these special magical scissors to break his bond with Gillian. That’s fine with him because he doesn’t know this Gillian. Then he meets her and instantly falls for her.

When Puck first lays eyes on Gillian, she’s dying. See, Keely the Red Queen gives Gillian a gift on her eighteen birthday. A potion which gives the gift of immortality. Unfortunately it’s killing her and only mating an immortal can save her. It’s a good thing Puck is there to save the day. And save the day he does. Gillian is instantly drawn to Puck and she doesn’t know why. She’s usually afraid of men and Puck doesn’t even look like he’s entirely a man. When he offers to mate with her for his own reasons, she instantly realizes that she’s not ready to die. She wants to be a champion. She wants to help victims like herself. She wants to help people come out strong but to do that she has to live. So she does.

There are so many great things about this book. This one of of my favorite gems from Puck when he realizes he doesn’t have to “woo” Gillian anymore:

Our relationship isn’t a democracy, but a Puckocracy. I saved your life, lass. From now on, I speak and you listen. I command, and you obey. Understand?

Of course that didn’t go over well with Gillian, but you get the picture.

One of the best parts of this book was the change in Gillian. Her growth was amazing. I loved it and you will too. If you’re still too bent out of shape to give this book a try, you’re not worthy of Gena. She wrote a great book with two amazing characters. As I was reading this book, I started liking William less and less. Then he slowly started pulling his head out of his ass and I started liking him more. I can’t wait until he gets his. It’s going to be awesome. Gillian was never his equal. Think on that.

Puck + Gillian = Forever.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Lords of the Underworld

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Warrior by Gena Showalter

Posted July 1, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 9 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I love the Lords of the Underworld. I’ve been reading through old reviews and that was not always the case. There were even books in the series that I didn’t particularly like. Gasp. It’s always been the series as a whole that drew me in. The camaraderie between the characters is captivating. The world that Gena Showalter has built here is fascinating to me. A little convoluted, yes, but fascinating nonetheless. I read this book in two days, which is a record for me. If you’re thinking of giving this series a try, do. Just don’t give up if you don’t love the first book. It’s worth it to keep going.

Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Warrior by Gena ShowalterThe Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld, #14) by Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #14
Also in this series: The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1), The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld #2), The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld #3), The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld #4), The Darkest Passion (Lords of the Underworld #5), The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld #6), The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld, #12), The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld, #13), The Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld, #14)
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A searing Lords of the Underworld tale by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter, featuring a beastly prince and the wife he will wage war to keep.

He is ice...

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm, and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire...

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her...and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.

As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily ever after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Once upon a time in the desert realm of Amaranthia, two immortal princes were born. Púkinn “Puck” Neale Brion Connacht IV and Taliesin “Sin” Anwell Kunsgnos Connacht. Brothers by blood. Friends by choice. Shapeshifters of legend, able to become anyone at any time.

Puck, the elder, grew into a warrior unlike any other, brute force his specialty. No matter the strength or expertise of his opponent, he remained undefeated, his skill on the battlefield rivaled only by his prowess in the bedroom.

Sin, the younger, preferred books to battle and romance to war, though his military triumphs were no less renowned. He could scheme and strategize better than anyone.

The princes loved each other above all else, and vowed to put each other first in all things. But long ago, the Oracles of Amaranthia prophesied one brother would wed and, with his loving queen at his side, slay the other brother and unite the warring clans at long last.

The Oracles were never wrong.

In the end, no matter the princes’ hopes and plans, the prophesy would be fulfilled…

Some fairy tales do not have a happily-ever-after.

CHAPTER ONE

Kill a man, acquire his magic. A tale as old as time.

With a roar, Puck the Undefeated swung a pair of short swords at his latest opponent, the king of Clan Walsh. One blood-soaked blade hacked through the man’s metal breastplate, sending him to his knees; the other sliced into his throat from front to back.

No match for a Connacht prince. Who is?

The king gasped with shock and pain, then gurgled as a crimson tide poured from both sides of his mouth. “Wh-why?”

With only a thought, Puck shapeshifted back to his normal appearance, letting the dying king see the true countenance of the one who’d bested him.

“My brother sends his regards.” Puck twisted the blades and said, “May you rest in pieces.”

The king gaped, wheezing a final breath before going silent, his head lulling forward. Puck yanked the swords free, and the body collapsed on the ground, flinging sand.

In war, there was only one rule: win, whatever the cost.

Walsh soldiers retreated in a frenzied rush.

A dark glittering mist rose from the king’s corpse and drifted to Puck. Potent magic adhered to the runes branded in his hands—curling gold symbols that stretched from fingertips to wrist. Pure power. Intoxicating. Nothing better.

His head buzzed, the blood in his veins heating and fizzing. Because of the magic, aye, but also because he felt triumphant. In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, the newest war in a long string of wars had ended, and the Connachts had won.

Puck maintained his position in the center of the blood- soaked battlefield. Sand dunes stretched as far as the eye could see, broken up by the occasional oasis with towering trees and crystal clear ponds. The realm’s twin suns had long since vanished from the skyline. Night ruled, the heavens the same color as mulberries, creating an endless sea of dark purple-red. No stars glittered tonight.

His eyes closed as he savored the victory. The odds had been stacked against him, with an enemy army more than twice the size of his own. So, last night, his brother, Sin, suggested Puck sneak into the enemy camp, kill a Walsh commander, ash the body—and take his place. Not easily done, but done all the same.

In his new guise, Puck had instructed the soldiers to “ambush” the Connachts, and ultimately led the entire army into a trap. From there, reaching the king had been child’s play.

Sin could look at any situation—any man—and somehow discern every hidden weakness.

Puck sometimes wondered what weaknesses his brother perceived in him. Not that it mattered. Sin only ever sought to protect him, doing anything, everything to ensure he won every battle.

Together, they would defy the prophecy spoken over them as children. One brother kill the other? Never! Puck and Sin would rule the five clans together, and nothing would come between them.

A bond as strong as theirs could never be broken.

Lords of the Underworld

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

Gena Showalter

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

Posted March 18, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

To celebrate the mass market paperback release of The Darkest Promise, we have a short excerpt for you.

Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Promise by Gena ShowalterThe Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #13
Also in this series: The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1), The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld #2), The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld #3), The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld #4), The Darkest Passion (Lords of the Underworld #5), The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld #6), The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld, #12), The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld, #13), The Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld, #14)
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads


New York Times
bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Lords of the Underworld story about an iron-willed sovereign and the somber beauty who melts him with a glance

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him - until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever

Order the Book:

Amazon || Barnes and Noble || Kobo || Google Play Books || iBooks

Excerpt

“Don’t try to stay ten moves ahead of your opponent. Stay behind him with a knife.”
—Excerpted from Becoming the King You Are Meant to Be, a work in progress by Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual

LIKE ALICE ON HER WAY TO WONDERLAND, CAMEO, host to the demon of Misery, tumbled end over end down a long, dark cavern. When the bottom finally appeared, she braced for impact…only to slip through a glistening portal. The cavern walls vanished, and she spilled from a midnight sky—straight into a new realm.

Never should have touched the Paring Rod. One brush of her fingertips against the pretty glass bulb that tipped its handle, and the ancient artifact had opened a door between the physical and spirit world. Voilà! In a blink, her descent had begun.
As she plunged toward a flat clearing, she braced for impact…

Cameo smacked into the ground. A scream split her lips, her brain banging against her skull, her lungs emptying and multiple bones shattering all at once.

Agony seared her, black dots weaving through her vision. Warmth drained from her hands and feet, collecting in her torso. Her body was in shock.

Hours passed before she gained the strength to roll to her side, her wrecked heart tap-dancing a wild rhythm against broken ribs. Her head swam but thankfully her pain ebbed. Able to breathe again, she noted the sweet scent of ambrosia—the drug of choice for immortals—hung heavy in the air. She almost laughed. For once, lady luck had been on her side. If you had to crash-land, what better place than an ambrosia field?

She drifted in and out of consciousness, the passage of time evidenced by the healing of her injuries and the shift from dark to light. When a beam of sun stroked her, blistering her pale skin, she finally woke for good.

Her nose crinkled as she inhaled. The scent of ambrosia had been replaced by burnt foliage. Where had she landed? Hell? The sun blazed so hot it had scorched sections of land.

Cameo crawled into a shadowed haven, exhaling with relief when her skin cooled. She scanned the lavender sky with its pale green clouds then looked over an unfamiliar forest filled with towering pink trees and plots of azure grass.

Oookay. This is new. A forest fit for a storybook princess. Too bad Cameo was the villain of the tale. Browniebitch and the Twelve Immortals. For her and her family of demon-possessed warriors, nothing had ever been just right.

Cold fingers of dread crept down her spine as a butterfly the size of her fist fluttered past her. Over the centuries, the wretched insects had become an omen. Death and destruction await…

The heavy weight of depression settled on her shoulders, and she wallowed about the travesty of her life.

Lost so much already. All because she’d made one teeny tiny mistake when she’d lived in Mount Olympus.

That mistake? Helping her friends steal and open Pandora’s box. An appropriate punishment would have been a hand amputation or two. Maybe a few hundred years in the slammer. Instead, she was forced to play host to the demon of Misery for eternity, free will a thing of the past.

To commemorate the occasion, a butterfly tattoo had appeared on her lower back.
The beginning of the end.

Lords of the Underworld

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

Gena Showalter

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.


Tagged: , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Posted January 21, 2018 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I haven’t read a book by Kristan Higgins in ages, but the “coming home” premise is one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to this.

Sunday Spotlight: Now That You Mention It by Kristan HigginsNow That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || iBooks || KOBO || INDIE BOUND

Excerpt

Jake helped me off the ferry. It was a three-hour ride, and I felt a little seasick. Or a little nauseous from my throbbing knee.

Or maybe it was just being back home.

Without a word, he got my bags and led Boomer off the boat, leaving me to crutch it alone, hobbling awkwardly up the gangplank, then onto the old dock.

Though it was mid-April, spring had not yet come to the island. My mom wasn’t here yet, and the downtown was quiet. A raw wind blew the smell of fish and salt and donuts from Lala’s Bakery, and with it, childhood memories. On cold winter Sundays, my father used to wake Lily and me at 5:00 a.m. to get the first donuts Lala made, almost too hot to hold, the sugar crusting our faces, the heat steaming in the wintry air.

I would see her soon, my sister. I would set things right again. That was the chance Beantown Bug Killers had given me, and I would make good on it.

And I would find out what happened with my parents.

Where my father was. If he was still alive, I was going to find him, damn it.

When I was in my first year of residency, I’d stitched up a former Boston cop who did private investigation. I hired him to find my father, but he’d come up empty. With such a common name—William Stuart—and nothing else to go on since the day he left, the cop didn’t turn up anything. It was time to try again, and this time, start from square one.

But for now, I had to get down the dock. One thing at a time.

With the sling, the brace and the crutch, I had to think about every step, and the rough, splintered wood of the dock didn’t help. Step, shuffle, crutch. Step, shuffle, crutch. It was slow going.

Jake was already tying Boomer’s leash to the bike rack; I was only halfway there. He walked back to his boat. “Thank you so much, Mr. Ferriman,” I said as he passed. He grunted but didn’t look at me, the charmer.

Slightly out of breath, I got the end of the dock and patted my dog’s head. A seagull landed on a wooden post, and Boomer woofed softly. Otherwise, the island was quiet, and ominously so, like one of Stephen King’s towns. I missed the cheerful duck boats of Boston Common, the elegant shops of Newbury Street. Here, nothing was open.

Scupper Island Clam Shack, where I had worked for two summers, sat at the end of Main Street, right on the water. It wouldn’t open until Memorial Day, if it was the same as it used to be.

I’d worked there with Sullivan Fletcher, one of the two Fletcher boys in my class. Sully had been in a car accident our senior year shortly before I left Scupper, and I wondered how he was. I’d wondered often over the years. Word had been that he’d recover, but I’d never asked for details (nor was my mother the detail type).

I looked to my right, and there was my mother’s elderly Subaru turning onto Main Street. I waved, not that she could miss me; I was the only one here. She pulled over, turned off the engine and got out, looking the same as ever, and unexpected tears clogged my throat. “Hi, Mom,” I said, starting to move forward for a hug.

She nodded instead, then hefted my two suitcases into the back of the car. “I didn’t know you were bringing your dog,” she said. Boomer wagged his fluffy tail, oblivious. “He better leave Tweety alone.”

Tweety was Mom’s parakeet (and favorite creature in the world.) “Tweety’s still alive, then?”

“Of course he is. Where’s that dog gonna sleep?”

“It’s good to see you, too, Mom,” I said. “I’m fine, thanks. In a lot of pain, actually, but doing okay. After being run down in the street. By a van. Sustaining many injuries, in case you forgot.”

“I didn’t forget, Nora,” she said. “Get in the cah.”

Boomer jumped in at the magical words, filling the entire backseat.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Kristan Higgins

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Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 18 novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. Her books have received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Kirkus, The New York Journal of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. She is a five-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for Best Work of Fiction, and her books regularly appear on the lists for best novels of the year of many prestigious journals and review sites.

Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two children with advanced vocabularies and long eyelashes, two frisky rescue dogs and an occasionally friendly cat.


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