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Sunday Spotlight: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Posted September 11, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 18 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I love Tessa Dare’s books and I adore her Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series. I absolutely adore Charlotte Highwood so when I found out that this new book was Charlotte’s book and that it blends both the Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series, I was over the moon! I’m so in for this one.


Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #5, Castles Ever After #4
Releases on September 27, 2016 by Avon

Pre-Order the Book:


On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.

•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

During a ball, Charlotte Highwood has discreetly followed Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville into a room while everyone else dances the quadrille…and then shenanigans.


“Don’t be alarmed,” she said, closing the door behind her. “I’ve come to save you.”

“Save me.” His low, rich voice glided over her like fine-grain leather. “From . . . ?”

“Oh, all kinds of things. Inconvenience and mortification, chiefly. But broken bones aren’t outside the realm of possibility.”

He pushed a desk drawer closed. “Have we been introduced?”

“No, my lord.” She belatedly remembered to curtsy. “That is, I know who you are. Everyone knows who you are. You’re Piers Brandon, the Marquess of Granville.”

“When last I checked, yes.”

“And I’m Charlotte Highwood, of the Highwoods you’ve no reason to know. Unless you read the Prattler, which you probably don’t.”

Lord, I hope you don’t.

“One of my sisters is the Viscountess Payne,” she went on. “You might have heard of her; she’s fond of rocks. My mother is impossible.”

After a pause, he inclined his head. “Charmed.”

She almost laughed. No reply could have sounded less sincere. “Charmed,” indeed. No doubt “appalled” would have been the more truthful answer, but he was too well-bred to say it.

In another example of refined manners, he gestured toward the settee, inviting her to sit.

“Thank you, no. I must return to the ball before my absence is noted, and I don’t dare wrinkle.” She smoothed her palms over the skirts of her blush-pink gown. “I don’t wish to impose. There’s only one thing I came to say.” She swallowed hard. “I’m not the least bit interested in marrying you.”

His cool, unhurried gaze swept her from head to toe. “You seem to be expecting me to convey a sense of relief.”

“Well . . . yes. As would any gentleman in your place. You see, my mother is infamous for her attempts to throw me into the paths of titled gentlemen. It’s rather a topic of public ridicule. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase ‘The Desperate Debutante’?”

Oh, how she hated even pronouncing those words. They’d followed her all season like a bitter, choking cloud.

During their first week in London last spring, she and Mama had been strolling through Hyde Park, enjoying the fine afternoon. Then her mother had spied the Earl of Astin riding down Rotten Row. Eager to make certain the eligible gentleman noticed her daughter, Mrs. Highwood had thrust her into his path—sending an unsuspecting Charlotte sprawling into the dirt, making the earl’s gelding rear, and causing no fewer than three carriages to collide.

The next issue of the Prattler had featured a cartoon depicting a young woman with a remarkable resemblance to Charlotte, spilling her bosoms and baring her legs as she dove into traffic. It was labeled “London’s Springtime Plague: The Desperate Debutante.”

And that was that. She’d been declared a scandal.

Worse than a scandal: a public health hazard. For the rest of the season, no gentlemen dared come near her.

“Ah,” he said, seeming to piece it together. “So you’re the reason Astin’s been walking with a limp.”

“It was an accident.” She cringed. “But much as it pains me to admit it, there’s every likelihood my mother will push me at you. I wanted to tell you, don’t worry. No one’s expecting her machinations to work. Least of all me. I mean, it would be absurd. You’re a marquess. A wealthy, important, handsome one.”

Handsome, Charlotte? Really?

Why, why, why had she said that aloud?

“And I’m not setting my sights any higher than a black-sheep third son,” she rushed on. “Not to mention, there’s the age difference. I don’t suppose you’re seeking a May-December match.”
Lord Granville’s eyes narrowed.

“Not that you’re old,” she hastened to add. “And not that I’m unthinkably young. It wouldn’t be a May-December match. More like . . . June-October. No, not even October. June-late September at the very outside. Not a day past Michaelmas.” She briefly buried her face in her hands. “I’m making a hash of this, aren’t I?”


Charlotte walked to the settee and sank onto it. She supposed she would be seated after all.
He came out from behind the desk and sat on the corner, keeping one boot planted firmly on the floor.
Have out with it, she told herself.

“I’m a close friend of Delia Parkhurst. You’re an acquaintance of Sir Vernon’s. We’re both here in this house as guests for the next fortnight. My mother will do everything she can to encourage a connection. That means you and I must plan to avoid each other.” She smiled, attempting levity. “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a titled man in possession of a fortune should steer far clear of me.”

He didn’t laugh. Or even smile.

“That last bit . . . It was a joke, my lord. There’s a line from a novel—”

“Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I’ve read it.”

Of course. Of course he had. He’d served for years in diplomatic appointments overseas. After Napoleon’s surrender, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Vienna. He was worldly and educated and probably spoke a dozen languages.

Charlotte didn’t have many accomplishments, as society counted them—but she did have her good qualities. She was a good-natured, forthright person, and she could laugh at herself. In conversation, she generally put other people at ease.

Those talents, modest as they were, all failed her now. Between his poise and that piercing blue stare, talking to the Marquess of Granville was rather like conversing with an ice sculpture. She couldn’t seem to warm him up.

There must be a flesh-and-blood man in there somewhere.

She stole a sidelong look at him, trying to imagine him in a moment of repose. Lounging in that tufted leather chair with his boots propped atop the desk. His coat and waistcoat discarded; sleeves uncuffed and rolled to his elbows. Reading a newspaper, perhaps, while he took the occasional sip from a tumbler of brandy. A light growth of whiskers on that chiseled jaw, and his thick, dark hair ruffled from—
“Miss Highwood.”

She startled. “Yes?”

He leaned toward her, lowering his voice. “In my experience, quadrilles—while they may feel interminable—do, eventually, come to an end. You had better return to the ballroom. For that matter, so had I.”

“Yes, you’re right. I’ll go first. If you will, wait ten minutes or so before you follow. That will give me time to make some excuse for leaving the ball entirely. A headache, perhaps. Oh, but then we have a whole fortnight ahead. Breakfasts are easy. The gentlemen always eat early, and I never rise before ten. During the day, you’ll have your sport with Sir Vernon, and we ladies will no doubt have letters to write or gardens to pace. That will see us through the days well enough. Tomorrow’s dinner, however . . . I’m afraid that will have to be your turn.”

“My turn?”

“To feign indisposition. Or make other plans. I can’t be claiming a headache every evening of my stay, can I?”

He extended his hand and she took it. As he drew her to her feet, he kept her close.

“Are you quite sure you’ve no marital designs on me? Because you seem to be arranging my schedule already. Rather like a wife.”

She laughed nervously. “Nothing of the sort, believe me. No matter what my mother implies, I don’t share her hopes. We’d be a terrible match. I’m far too young for you.”

“So you’ve made clear.”

“You’re the model of propriety.”

“And you’re . . . here. Alone.”

“Exactly. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and yours is clearly—”

“Kept in the usual place.”

Charlotte was going to guess, buried somewhere in the Arctic Circle. “The point is, my lord, we have nothing in common. We’d be little more than two strangers inhabiting one house.”

“I’m a marquess. I have five houses.”

“But you know what I mean,” she said. “It would be disaster, through and through.”

“An existence marked by tedium and punctuated by misery.”


“We’d be forced to base our entire relationship on sexual congress.”

“Er . . . what?”

“I’m speaking of bedsport, Miss Highwood. That much, at least, would be tolerable.”

Heat bloomed from her chest to her hairline. “I . . . You . . .”

As she desperately tried to unknot her tongue, the subtle hint of a smile played about his lips.
Could it be? A crack in the ice?

Relief overwhelmed her. “I think you are teasing me, my lord.”

He shrugged in admission. “You started it.”

“I did not.”

“You called me old and uninteresting.”

She bit back a smile. “You know I didn’t mean it that way.”

Oh, dear. This wouldn’t do. If she knew he could tease, and be teased in return, she would find him much too appealing.

“Miss Highwood, I am not a man to be forced into anything, least of all matrimony. In my years as a diplomat, I’ve dealt with kings and generals, despots and madmen. What part of that history makes you believe I could be felled by one matchmaking mama?”

She sighed. “The part where you haven’t met mine.”

How could she make him see the gravity of the situation?

Little could Lord Granville know it—he probably wouldn’t care if he did—but there was more at stake for Charlotte than gossip and scandal sheets. She and Delia Parkhurst hoped to miss the next London season entirely, in favor of traveling the Continent. They had it all planned out: six countries, four months, two best friends, one exceedingly permissive chaperone—and absolutely no stifling parents.

However, before they could start packing their valises, they needed to secure permission. This autumn house party was meant to be Charlotte’s chance to prove to Sir Vernon and Lady Parkhurst that the rumors about her weren’t true. That she wasn’t a brazen fortune hunter, but a well-behaved gentlewoman and a loyal friend who could be trusted to accompany their daughter on the Grand Tour.

Charlotte could not muck this up. Delia was counting on her. And she couldn’t bear to watch all her dreams dashed again.

“Please, my lord. If you would only agree to—”


In an instant, his demeanor transformed. He went from cool and aristocratic to sharply alert, turning his head toward the door.

She heard it, too. Footsteps in the corridor. Approaching.

Whispered voices, just outside.

“Oh, no,” she said, panicked. “We can’t be found here together.”

No sooner had she uttered the words than the library became a whirlwind.

Charlotte wasn’t even certain how it happened.

Had she bolted in panic? Had he swept her into his arms somehow?

One moment, she was staring in mute horror at the scraping, turning door latch. The next, she was ensconced in the library’s window seat, concealed by heavy velvet drapes.

Pressed chest to chest with the Marquess of Granville, The man she had meant to avoid at all costs.

Oh, Lord.

Spindle Cove

Giveaway: 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.

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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



Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

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Guest Review: An Exquisite Marriage: Regency Makeover Part III by Darcie Wilde

Posted May 18, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Exquisite Marriage: Regency Makeover Part III by Darcie WildeReviewer: Tracy
An Exquisite Marriage by Darcie Wilde
Series: Regency Makeover series #3
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: Mary 17th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

An Exquisite Marriage

Everyone knows Helene Fitzgerald will never marry. She and her wallflower friends may be on the rise socially, but Helene is still nothing but a sharp-tongued bluestocking who very publically renounced her only marriage offer. Worse, her family is in serious financial trouble. So, how is Helene suddenly attracting the eye of Marcus Endicott, the Duke of Windford and one of England's most eligible aristocrats?

Trapped by his father's long legacy of mistakes, Marcus never thought he'd find a woman he'd want enough to risk his heart. But what began as a contentious friendship has transformed into a passion beyond anything he dreamed possible. Now, Marcus’s old secrets are threatening to destroy everything Helene and her friends have worked for. Can any passion be strong enough to carry Helene and Marcus away from their pasts?

Helene was once engaged but after finding out some horrifying details about her fiancé she ended the engagement loudly and very publically.  After that she constantly spoke her mind whether it was proper or not and was then labeled a bluestocking.  She doesn’t regret her decision to end the engagement but the money that her fiancé would have brought to her titled but destitute family would have been a godsend.

When she makes a plan with her two friends to increase their social standings she still doesn’t plan on marrying but her friend Adele’s brother, Marcus the Duke of Winford, ends up catching her eye and her heart.  When he proposes to Helene and she hears his profession of love she can’t help but accept.  Marcus, however, is hiding a big secret and when it comes out it may ruin their budding relationship forever.

This was a sweet novella.  I liked all three parts of the Regency Makeover as all the men and women involved in the stories were deserving of the other.  Adele, Madelene and Helene were lovely women who had been overlooked by society and I loved that they were doing something about being wallflowers.  Not accepting your lot in life and striving to be better is one of my favorite things to read about – especially if it’s a story about women who people have dismissed as “not good enough.”

My only issue with this story, and really with the other two books as well, is that I wanted more from the romance.  This was very sweet but it all happened rather quickly.  Granted Helene and Marcus interacted well together and once engaged moved their encounters to the bedroom which went well, but I just wanted more.  More of that build-up and tension between the two MC’s.

The rest of the story was a good one and one I enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Embrace Release Week Blast

Posted May 11, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

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Welcome to the endless possibilities of New Adult fiction. Let us Embrace you with swoon-worthy heroes, butt-kicking heroines, contemporary issues, intrigue, fantasy, edge-of-your-seat thrillers, paranormal adventures, and everything in between. All entangled with a heavy dose of romance, be it sexy or sweet. Let Embrace usher you from the halls of high school graduation and into the wide open world beyond… To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their <a href=”>Facebook page, and check them out on Instagram.

Today we’re happy to be featuring Embrace’s May releases:


The Rule Book by Jennifer Blackwood


Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide

  1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.

  2. Don’t stare at hot boss's, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)

  3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant's bad side.

  4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.

  5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.

  6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.

  7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed

  8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.

  9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.

  10. Never forget the rules.

About the Author


Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and contemporary romance author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.


Rush by Shae Ross


College Quarterback Preston Rush is living the dream. He’s leading his team to the National Championship and days

away from earning a ‘first round draft pick’ label. When he meets Little Bo Peep at a Halloween party, he thinks he’s

scored big. Instead, he wakes up in a jail cell with the corseted beauty. Because of him, she’s in trouble and when he

discovers her true identity, he realizes, his nightmare is just beginning.

The always shooting-for- perfection Priscilla Winslow can’t believe her good deed has cost her a soccer career. Even

though she knows it isn’t Preston’s fault, she can’t forgive him for the disaster that is her life. She just wishes her damn

body would get the message. Every time she sees him, it’s all she can do not to kiss him.

When everything crashes down around him, Preston will have to decide if doing the right thing is worth losing it all.

About the Author



Shae Ross was born and raised in Ferndale, Michigan. After graduating high school, Ms. Ross attended Michigan State University and continued her education at Detroit College of Law. Prior to 2014, she spent the majority of her career practicing corporate law, running a successful business and engaged in entrepreneurial ventures.

After having one too many stressful days at the office, Ms. Ross began to consider pursuing her lifelong dream of writing.

Armed with an English degree, an interest in historical settings and a huge collection of romance novels, Ms. Ross put pen to paper and began converting the characters in her head to ink. She soon found herself happily immersed in a new working world that included heroes and heroines, agents and editors, and a multitude of secondary characters.

Ms. Ross’ debut novel, PRETTY SMART GIRLS – LACE UP released in January of 2015. Her second book in the series, FEARLESS released in May of 2015, and recently RUSH (May 2016) hit the bookstands. She currently writes in the new adult and contemporary romance genres and lives with her husband and three children in Holt, Michigan.

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Sunday Spotlight: All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan

Posted March 13, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I was a huge fan of Prison Break back in the day and I adored the relationship that blossomed between inmate Michael Scofield and the prison nurse Sara Tancredi. I loved seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing episode and I shipped them so hard so coming across a romance with the same set up made me sit up and take notice.

Yes, this is a romance that I want to read and Sophie Jordan has written it.

I’m so in for this book!

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All Chained Up (Devils Rock #1) by Sophie Jordan
Releases on March 29, 2016 by Avon

Pre-Order the Book:


There are bad boys and then there are the men of Devil’s Rock . . .

Some men come with a built-in warning label. Knox Callaghan is one of them. Danger radiates from every lean, muscled inch of him, and his deep blue eyes seem to see right through to Briar Davis’s most secret fantasies. But there’s one major problem: Briar is a nurse volunteering at the local prison, and Knox is an inmate who should be off-limits in every way.

Knox feels it too—a shocking animal magnetism that drives him to risk his own life to protect Briar’s. Paroled at last, he tries to resist her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and she has no idea what Knox is capable of. But a single touch can lead to a kiss—and a taste . . . until the only crime is denying what feels so right . . .

“When the prison doors are open, the real dragon will fly out.”—Ho Chi Minh


“They’re letting me out today. After here.”

Silence fell as Briar worked, tugging at a particular stubborn piece of thread that had decided to stick to his flesh. He didn’t show the faintest reaction.

Feeling the need to speak into the space of silence, she supplied, “That will be nice.”

His blue eyes flicked to her face then, like he couldn’t help himself from looking at her when she uttered such a perfectly stupid thing.

That will be nice.

As though he would be attending a picnic or a baseball game. She heard his voice all over again telling her she didn’t know fuck all about this place. Her face burned at the memory.

For a split second the corner of his mouth twitched. Her hand started to shake a little and she had to pause to regain her composure and adjust her grip on the scissors. With him this close to her, she felt certain he was examining the pimple on her chin. She was twenty-six but still had the occasional breakout. Stress didn’t help and there was no denying that working here stressed her out.

Pulling the last bit of thread from his skin, she released a shuddery breath. “There, now.” Taking a step back, she deposited the trash and tools onto the tray. Moistening a little antiseptic on some gauze, she lightly patted the wound where fresh blood trickled out.

“I don’t think it will be too deep a scar. Maybe I can give you some Mederma to help minimize—”

“That’s okay,” he cut her off, and she flushed. Of course, he wouldn’t care about a new scar. That was for people in her world who cared about things like their income tax and whether they would get that upcoming promotion.

“Okay.” She rubbed her hands on her thighs, mostly for something to do with them. “I’ll call for a guard to escort you.” She gripped the edge of the rolling tray, wanting to flee but knowing she wasn’t done. She had a job to do and she wasn’t doing it right if she only did half of it. Deep breath. “Why don’t I check your ribs again?”

He hadn’t mentioned they were causing him any problems, but she told herself she was just being thorough before releasing him back into the general population.

He stared at her blankly for a moment, his face as hard and implacable as stone. Almost like he didn’t understand her.

“Are you still wearing the bandage?” She reached for the hem of his white uniform shirt, ready to assist him. The fabric hung past his waist, so her fingers inadvertently brushed his thigh.

His hand shot out and locked around her wrist. She stalled, freezing at his grip on her. Her heart lurched into her throat at his viselike fingers.

“It’s fine,” Knox said, his voice thick and gravelly. Their eyes held.

“I already removed the bandage,” he added.

Briar moistened her lips and shivered as his gaze dropped to her mouth. “And you’re not in any pain?”

He shook his head once. “I’m fine.” His fingers unfurled from around her wrist, slipping away.

“Let me check,” she insisted.

Something flared in his eyes and her skin shivered, breaking out in goose bumps. It occurred to her that he was probably not the kind of man accustomed to being ordered around by a woman, unless, of course, it was a female corrections officer.

He seemed like the kind of man that took charge. Her gaze skimmed the immense breadth of his shoulders, the broadness of his chest, the way his biceps bulged. She had a sudden image of him with a woman. In a bedroom. Well, on a bed. She snapped her gaze off his body with a mental curse. So. Wrong.

Oh snap, that excerpt has my spidey senses tingling and I’m super stoked for this book.


Devil’s Rock Series

Giveaway: 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 March’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 excited for this year!

About the Author

Sophie Jordan


Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History.

A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature – teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love Antigone, Sophie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.

In less than three years, her first book, Once Upon A Wedding Night, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, Too Wicked To Tame, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller’s List.

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Katie McGarry’s Chapter One Reveal for Walk the Edge

Posted March 4, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 1 Comment

Walk the Edge - Chapter Reveal banner

I was really interested in reading this series because it’s an MC romance for YA readers. The main characters are the kids of MC members. Nice little twist on what I’m used to so I was all about reading this.

Walk the Edge is the second book in the Thunder Roads series and today we’ve got a Chapter One reveal that is pretty awesome.

Walk the Edge - cover
Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry
Releases on March 29, 2016 by Harlequin Teen

Pre-Order the Book:


One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

Chapter One

THERE ARE LIES in life we accept. Whether it’s for the sake of ignorance, bliss or, in my case, survival, we all make our choices.

I choose to belong to the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club. I choose to work for the security company associated with them. I also choose to do this while still in high school.

All of this boils down to one choice in particular—whether or not to believe my father’s version of a lie or the town’s. I chose my father’s lie. I chose the brotherhood of the club.

What I haven’t chosen? Being harassed by the man invad­ing my front porch. He’s decked out in a pair of pressed kha­kis and a button-down straight from a mall window. The real question—is he here by choice or did he draw the short stick?

“As I said, son,” he continues, “I’m not here to talk to your dad. I’m here to see you.”

A hot August wind blows in from the thick woods sur­rounding our house, and sweat forms on the guy’s skin. He’s too cocky to be nervous, so that dumps the blame of his shiny forehead on the 110-degree heat index.

“You and I,” he adds, “we need to talk.”

My eyes flash to the detective badge hanging on the guy’s hip and then to his dark blue unmarked Chevy Caprice parked in front of my motorcycle in the gravel drive. Twenty bucks he thinks he blocked me in. Guess he underestimated I’ll ride on the grass to escape.

This guy doesn’t belong to our police force. His plates suggest he’s from Jefferson County. That’s in the northern part of Ken­tucky. I live in a small town where even the street hustlers and police know each other by name. This man—he’s an outsider.

I f lip through my memory for anything that would jus­tify his presence. Yeah, I stumbled into some brawls over the summer. A few punches thrown at guys who didn’t keep their mouths sealed or keep their inflated egos on a leash, but noth­ing that warrants this visit.

A bead of water drips from my wet hair onto the worn gray wood of the deck and his eyes track it. I’m fresh from a shower. Jeans on. Black boots on my feet. No shirt. Hair on my head barely pushed around by a towel.

The guy checks out the tats on my chest and arms. Most of it is club designs, and it’s good for him to know who he’s dealing with. As of last spring, I officially became a mem­ber of the Reign of Terror. If he messes with one of us, he messes with us all.

“Are you going to invite me in?” he asks.

I thought the banging on the door was one of my friends showing to ride along with me to senior orientation, not a damned suit with a badge.

“You’re not in trouble,” he says, and I’m impressed he doesn’t shuff le his feet like most people do when they arrive on my doorstep. “As I said, I want to talk.”

I maintain eye contact longer than most men can manage.

Silence doesn’t bother me. There’s a ton you can learn about a person from how they deal with the absence of sound. Most can’t handle uncomfortable battles for dominance, but this guy stands strong.

Without saying a word, I walk into the house and permit the screen door to slam in his face. I cross the room, grab my cut off the table, then snatch a black Reign of Terror T-shirt off the couch. I shrug into the shirt as I step onto the porch and shut the storm door behind me.

The guy watches me intently as I slip on the black leather cut that contains the three-piece patch of the club I belong to. Because of the way I’m angled, he can get a good look at our emblem on the back: a white half skull with fire raging out of the eyes and drops of fire raining down around it. The words Reign of Terror are mounted across the top. The town’s name, Snowflake, is spelled on the bottom rocker.

He focuses on the patch that informs him I’m packing a weapon. His hand edges to the gun holstered on his belt. He’s weighing whether I’m carrying now or if I’m gun free.

I cock a hip against the railing and hitch my thumbs in the pockets of my jeans. If he’s going to talk, it would be now. He glances at the closed door, then back at me. “This is where we’re doing this?”

“I’ve got somewhere to be.” And I’m running late. “Didn’t see a warrant on you.” So by law, he can’t enter.

A grim lift of his mouth tells me he understands I won’t make any of this easy. He’s around Dad’s age, mid to late forties. He gave his name when I opened the door, but I’ll admit to not listening.

He scans the property and he has that expression like he’s trying to understand why someone would live in a house so small. The place is a vinyl box. Two bedrooms. One bath.

A living room–kitchen combo. Possibly more windows than square footage.

Dad said this was Mom’s dream. A house just big enough for us to live in. She never desired large, but she craved land. When I was younger, she used to hug me tight and explain it was more important to be free than to be rich. I sure as hell hope Mom feels free now.

An ache ripples through me, and I readjust my footing. I pray every damn day she found some peace.
“I drove a long way to see you,” he says.

Don’t care. “Could have called.”

“I did. No one answered.”

I hike one shoulder in a “you’ve got shit luck.” Dad and I aren’t the type to answer calls from strangers. Especially ones with numbers labeled Police. There are some law enforcement officers who are cool, but most of them are like everyone else— they judge a man with a cut on his back as a psychotic felon.

I don’t have time for stupidity.

“I’m here about your mother.” The asshole knows he has me when my eyes snap to his.

“She’s dead.” Like the other times I say the words, a part of me dies along with her.

This guy has green eyes and they soften like he’s apolo­getic. “I know. I’m sorry. I’ve received some new evidence that may help us discover what caused her death.”

Anger curls within my muscles and my jaw twitches. This overwhelming sense of insanity is what I fight daily. For years, I’ve heard the whispers from the gossips in town, felt the stares of the kids in class, and I’ve sensed the pity of the men in the Reign of Terror I claim as brothers. It’s all accu­mulated to a black, hissing doubt in my soul.


It’s what everyone in town says happened. It’s in every hushed conversation people have the moment I turn my back. It’s not just from the people I couldn’t give two shits about, but the people who I consider family.

I shove away those thoughts and focus on what my father and the club have told me—what I have chosen to believe. “My mother’s death was an accident.”

He’s shaking his head and I’m fresh out of patience. I’m not doing this. Not with him. Not with anyone. “I’m not interested.”

I push off the railing and dig out the keys to my motor­cycle as I bound down the steps. The detective’s behind me. He has a slow, steady stride and it irritates me that he fol­lows across the yard and doesn’t stop coming as I swing my leg over my bike.

“What if I told you I don’t think it was an accident,” he says.

Odds are it wasn’t. Odds are every whispered taunt in my direction is true. That my father and the club drove Mom crazy, and I wasn’t enough of a reason for her to choose life.

To drown him out, I start the engine. This guy must be as suicidal as people say Mom was, because he eases in front of my bike, assuming I won’t run him down.

“Thomas,” he says.

I twist the handle to rev the engine in warning. He raises his chin like he’s finally pissed and his eyes narrow on me. “Razor.”

I let the bike idle. If he’s going to respect me by using my road name, I’ll respect him for a few seconds. “Leave me the fuck alone.”

Damn if the man doesn’t possess balls the size of Montana. He steps closer to me and drops a bomb. “I have reason to believe your mom was murdered.”

If that’s not a great set up for a book, I don’t know what is. If you’re a fan of YA books and MC romances, you’ll want to add this book to your to be bought lists.

Thunder Roads Series

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About the Author

Katie McGarry - author pic


Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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