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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!

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

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

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

Excerpt

“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.

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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

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

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.

Suicide.

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

Walk the Edge - preorder graphic

About the Author

Katie McGarry - author pic

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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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Books to Binge On: March 2016

Posted March 2, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 9 Comments

Books to Binge On

Fire Touched
1. Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs.

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

Holly: The next Mercy Thompson book! I’ve been pretty angry with Adam since Night Broken, but I was totally over before I hit the quarter mark of this book. Briggs is such a master.

Rowena: I haven’t read this series yet but I’m planning on it and when I finally get around to reading it, I know that I’m going to want this book so it’s on my list.

Fight to the Finish
2. Fight to the Finish (First to Fight #3) by Jeanette Murray.

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch…

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels…

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring…

Holly: I’m kind of a sucker for single mom stories.

Rowena: Same. This book looks like a good one. I’m in.

Hawke
3. Hawke (Cold Fury #5) by Sawyer Bennett.

The Carolina Cold Fury hockey team proves that love is a power play. As Sawyer Bennett’s New York Times bestselling series continues, the league’s most notorious party animal gets blindsided by the one that got away.

Off the ice, elite defenseman Hawke Therrien enjoys his fair share of booze and good times. And why shouldn’t he? He’s worked his way up from the minor leagues and made himself a star. The only thing Hawke misses from that life is the pierced, tattooed free spirit who broke his heart without so much as an explanation. She’s almost unrecognizable when she walks back into his life seven years later—except for the look in her eyes that feels like a punch to the gut.

Vale Campbell isn’t the same girl she was at twenty. As crazy as she was about Hawke, her reckless behavior and out-of-control drinking were starting to scare her. She had to clean up her act, and that would never happen with Hawke around. Cutting him loose was the hardest thing Vale ever had to do—until now. Because she’s still crazy about Hawke. And if he could ever learn to forgive her, they just might have a future together.

Holly: I have all the others in my TBR pile, so I may as well buy this one, too.

Rowena: I have been hearing great things about this series so I’m thirsty to give it a go. On my list this one goes.

Because of Miss Bridgerton
4. Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1) by Julia Quinn.

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…

Holly: It’s been too long since we saw a new release from JQ. I can’t wait to read this one.

Rowena: It’s Julia Quinn. Duh.

All Chained Up
5. All Chained Up (Devil’s Rock #1) by Sophie Jordan.

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 . . .

Rowena: I’m a fan of Avon books and I’m pretty sure that I’m going to enjoy this one. I can’t wait to read it. It’s kind of giving me flashbacks of Michael Scofield and the nurse from Prison Break. I’m so in for this book.

US
6. Us (HIM #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Holly: Confession: I still have Him in my TBR pile. I know, I know. Someday…

Rowena: I’m going to read this soon. I just know it.

Phoenix Reborn
7. Phoneix Reporn (Alpha Pack #7.5) by J.D. Tyler.

Wolf shifter and Firewalker Phoenix “Nix” Monroe has finally met his ultimate Bondmate—Alpha Pack nurse Noah Brooks. Unable to accept his own sexual identity, Nix rejects Noah despite the intense attraction he feels towards him.

By the time Nix realizes he has cast aside the love of his life, it may be too late to save Noah from a terrifying enemy…

Holly: I really like this series, but I haven’t been reading the novellas. I’m going to have to go back and see what I missed.

Wild Things
8. Wild Thinks (Shifters Unbound #7.75) by Jennifer Ashley.

Wolf Shifter Mason McNaughton is tired of the crazy feral living in his house, endangering him, his brothers, and his sweet auntie Cora. Ferals are Shifters who’ve reverted to the wild stage, forgetting all about the joys of pizza and satellite TV. Not to mention, Mason is sick of waking up to the feral’s rampages in the bedroom next to his. The feral has been given sanctuary, so Mason can’t throw him out—the only thing to do is to find a way to cure him.

The problem is, Shifter healers—elusive, Goddess-touched Shifters who have the healing gift—are few and far between. Mason volunteers to go in search of one, and is sent to a psychic in New Orleans who might have an idea of where to start looking.

Mason doesn’t believe in psychics, but Jasmine, the psychic in question, seems to at least put on a good show. Jasmine believes in Shifters all right, but she vowed after her Shifter boyfriend dumped her to never have anything to do with them again.

The easiest way to get rid of the growly Lupine, Mason, is to help him, but Jasmine never dreams what that help will drag her into.

A short novel of the Shifters Unbound series.

Holly: I love novellas for those times when I’m pressed but want to read. I’m not sure where this falls in the timeline, but I’ll probably read it before I read White Tiger.

Risking It All
9. Risking It All (Naked Men #1) by Christi Barth.

Who doesn’t love Naked Men? In Christi Barth’s irresistible series, a group of close-knit friends talk out their problems with naked honesty on a popular blog. Bonded by a high-school tragedy, they’re moving on from the past—and fighting for the future with strong and sassy women.

Griffin Montgomery helps people. As a teenager, he kept his best friends alive after their soccer team’s bus crashed in the Alps. Now, as a Coast Guard search and rescue pilot, he saves lives with reckless abandon—until he goes too far and earns a lengthy suspension. Working on the Naked Men projects keeps his mind busy, but Griff’s itching to get back in the action. That’s when he finds his latest rescue mission: a pretty wallflower who’s stuck in her comfort zone.

Chloe Widmore doesn’t take risks. As a professional letter writer, she gets enough excitement out of expressing other people’s emotions. So when the hottest man she’s ever seen invades her coffee shop, Chloe surprises herself with how much she wants to be with him. Routines make her feel safe. Griff makes her deliciously unsafe, in so many ways. But falling for him is one risk she might just have to take . . . whether she’s ready or not.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Holly: I enjoy Barth’s novels regardless, but the premise here is really intriguing. Plus, how can I resist the NAKED MEN series? (a: I can’t)

Rowena: Hmm, I’m intrigued by that blurb. Bloggers, a Search and Rescue hottie? Yeah. I’m in.

The Study of Seduction
10. The Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors #2) by Sabrina Jeffries.

A marriage of convenience ignites into a passionate love affair in the hotly anticipated second novel in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s addictive Sinful Suitors series!

When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the witty, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife…if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Yet he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.

Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?

Holly: Jeffries is one of my favorite historical authors. I still haven’t read book 1, but I’m buying this one anyway.

Fully Ignited
11. Fully Ignited (Boston Fire #3) by Shannon Stacey.

When Jamie Rutherford takes a temporary assignment as lieutenant of Boston Fire’s Engine 59, she doesn’t anticipate any problems. She’s been in the fire service for a long time and, even though she’s fairly new to Boston, she knows how to make any firehouse her home. What she’s not prepared for is her reaction to firefighter Scott Kincaid.

Scott is looking for a wife. It’s been a fun ride as a single guy, but he’s tired of being the third wheel, and nearly losing his brother-in-law finally made him realize just how much he wants a family of his own. When the new guy at the firehouse turns out to be a capable, confident and very attractive woman, his plan is completely derailed.

Hooking up with a fellow firefighter has never been part of Jamie’s plan, but she’s tempted by Scott—even though getting involved with him could tarnish the reputation she’s worked so hard for. And Scott can’t stop thinking about Jamie, despite the fact that she’s his superior and not sticking around. Chemistry can crush the best-laid plans, though, and while Jamie and Scott might not be each other’s future…there’s no resisting the right now.

Holly: This actually released at the end of Feb, but it’s listed as a March release, so I’m including it.

Rowena: This is the last book in the Boston Fire series and it’s Scotty’s book. I’m so here for his story. I’m mighty intrigued to meet his heroine.

Kindred Spirits
12. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell.

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels. Kindred Spirits is an engaging short story by Rainbow Rowell, author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On, and is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day.

Rowena: I’ve really liked the books that I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell in the past so it’s no surprise that I want this one. I just know that it’s going to be a cute contemporary YA romance. I’m all in.

Walk the Edge
13. Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry.

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.

Rowena: I’m a fan of McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series and I was pretty excited to start this new series. I read and enjoyed the first book and was pretty stoked to start this one too. I heart Razor!

Nobody but You
14. Nobody but You (Cedar Ridge #3) by Jill Shalvis.

SOMETIMES YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN…

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.

Rowena: We’re getting the long lost brother’s book. Of course I want to read it.

If We Were a Movie
15. If We Were a Movie (Power of the Matchmaker #1) by Kelly Oram.

Music meets Movies in this sweet college romance from the bestselling author of Cinder & Ella.

NYU freshman Nate Anderson is a triplet who is desperate to escape his wild and crazy brothers. After they screw things up for him one too many times, Nate flees his housing situation and takes the first available room for rent as far from his brothers as he can get.

Enter his new roommate Jordan–a quirky LA girl who believes that everything in life has already been done in the movies. In this heartfelt tale of love, friendship and family, Nate learns how to deal with his new adult life using Hollywood films as a guide.

Rowena: I really like Oram’s writing style and this one sounds like a cute contemporary so since I’m all about the cute contemporary, I’m in.

Cuff ME
16. Cuff Me (New York’s Finest #3) by Lauren Layne.

Meet New York’s Finest-three hot brothers sworn to protect and serve the city they love . . . and the women who’ve stolen their hearts.

ARRESTED BY LOVE

Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy.

Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl’s heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he’ll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life. . .

Rowena: In the last couple of weeks, I have become a pretty big fan of Lauren Layne’s work. I have steadily working my way through her back list and I’m pretty interested in reading this series of hers too. It’s going on my list.

Confessions in the Dark
17. Confessions in the Dark by Jeanette Grey.

Anger. Guilt. Sorrow. They’ve strangled Cole for years-and now they’ve literally damaged him. With his knee out of commission, Cole knows the road to recovery will be nothing but long and irritating . . . until his beautiful and determined neighbor offers to help him in return for a favor. But soon Cole finds himself offering her so much more. Their unexpected passion lays Cole bare, body and soul. And leaves him wondering how he’ll walk away before he ruins her life, too.

Gruff, secretive, and coiled with tension that begs for release, Cole is too intriguing for Serena to resist. The English accent and brooding brown eyes don’t hurt, either. Their nights are beyond compare-yet the truths Cole confesses in his darkest moments reveal a heart bruised almost beyond repair. But Serena’s seen the kindness and support he shows when she needs it most. Armed with a bottomless well of patience and devotion, she’ll show Cole just how good it can be to let someone in . . .

Rowena: I read one book by Grey last year and I enjoyed it, so much that I’m definitely interested in reading this book. She does good angst and this seems more of the same so I’m way interested in reading.

Flawed
18. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern.

The stunning YA debut from internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Rowena: Cecelia Ahern wrote a YA? How did I not know this? I’m so in for this.

There you have it, the books that we are looking forward to releasing in the month of March. What books did we miss? What books are you excited about?

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Sunday Spotlight: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Posted January 10, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 11 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

Rowena: I am completely obsessed with this series. It’s one of my favorite series that I started last year and I seriously cannot get enough. You guys, this book comes out tomorrow!!

We’re getting Dean’s book and I’ve got to be honest, when I found out that Kennedy was writing Dean’s book next, I was a little bummed since I wanted Tucker’s book but I’ve been reading a lot of excerpts and teasers around and I’m super stoked to read this book now.

Dean is another roommate of both Garrett and Logan. He plays hockey with them and he’s a huge playboy. He’s a fan of sex with multiple partners in the living room of the off campus apartment that he shares with Garrett, Logan and Tuck…and he’s rich. I’m wondering how all of that is going to play out, what kind of person Dean really is behind that quick smile and even quicker wit.

When I found out that his heroine is Allie, Hannah’s (from The Deal) bestie and roommate, I was super excited. I really liked her in The Deal. I thought she was a great friend to Hannah and I’m mighty curious to see what happened to her relationship with frat boy Sean. What brings these two together?

I can’t wait to find out!

The Score
The Score (Off Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy
Releases on January 11, 2016 by Elle Kennedy

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

He knows how to score, on and off the ice

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she’s going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

Awww, Dean shows up at Allie’s apartment to cheer her up?

I’m sure that’s not the only thing he was hoping to do once he got there. Let’s dig into this excerpt, shall we?

Excerpt

“Hey there, baby doll.” He flashes a grin and barrels his way inside. “Wellsy said you were sulking, so I stopped by to turn your frown upside down.”

“I’m not sulking,” I grumble.

“Even better. Saves me from having to do any work.” He unzips his jacket and tosses it on the arm of the couch. Then he strips off his sweater, leaving him in nothing but faded blue jeans.

I stare at him in disbelief. “Did you really just take off your shirt?”

“Yeah. I don’t like shirts.”

He doesn’t like shirts.

This guy…goddamn it, I don’t even know what I think of him.

He turns toward the sofa, and the way his tight butt moves beneath the snug denim reminds me of how firm it felt when I squeezed it. Then he lowers his long body on the sofa cushions, which causes the denim to stretch over his package, and now I’m reminded of the way my mouth had watered when Dean’s cock was filling it.

“Oh yeah, suck it, baby. Suck it like you own it.”

The raspy command echoes in my mind. My lips start to tingle, because damn it, I had sucked it. I’d sucked it like it was a lollipop and an ice cream cone and every other delicious treat imaginable, all rolled up in one hard cock.

Crap, I think I might be blushing, which is confirmed when Dean winks at me. Does he know I’m thinking about blowing him?

What am I even saying? Of course he does. A guy like Dean probably assumes that everyone, at all times, is thinking about blowing him.

He stretches one arm along the back of the couch and beckons me with the other. “You sitting or what?”

“I’ll stand, thanks.”

“Aw, come on. I don’t bite.”

“Yes, you do.”

Those green eyes twinkle. “You’re right. I do.”

He looks way too comfortable sitting there on my couch. A blond Adonis with his golden chest and sculpted muscles and perfectly chiseled face. If the hockey thing doesn’t work out for him, he ought to consider going into modeling. Dean Di Laurentis oozes sexuality. He could slap his face on a laxative label and every woman in the world would be praying for constipation just to have an excuse to buy it.

“Seriously, Allie-Cat, sit down. You’re starting to make me feel unwelcome.”

“You aren’t welcome,” I sputter. “I was having a perfectly nice evening until you showed up.”

He looks hurt, but I don’t know if it’s genuine or if he’s putting it on. I suspect it’s the latter. “You really don’t like me, huh?”

This is me right now…

I didn’t think I could be any more excited for tomorrow. I know what I’ll be doing once I download this book to my iPad. grin

Off-Campus 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 January’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!

Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Reader Tori of Smexy Books

Posted November 29, 2015 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today we have Tori from Smexy Books here to share her list of five books. Her list includes a couple I wish I’d included in my own list.


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

I first read this when I was bored and stuck at a symposium with my mom. She handed it to me and told me to stop annoying her. This dystopian speculative fiction tells the story of a young woman’s life (from her POV) in a Christian totalitarian society after they overthrew the U.S. government. Everyone should read this book; especially those who don’t see the attempted subjugation of women by certain government parties as an issue we are facing right now. Atwood writes a poignant yet curiously disconnected story that shows the use of religion to justify the systematic repression of rights and individualism (using language and patriotic fervor) to force people into tidy little boxes labeled duties and to cull the herd to make persecution of undesirables easier. It shows the subtle rebellions that will almost always occur when a group of people are left with little to nothing. It’s as if Atwood looked into the future and wrote us a prophetic warning.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
2. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale.

January 24th

After you’ve had it, there isn’t even life without drugs….

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life.

Read her diary.

Enter her world.

You will never forget her.

For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl’s harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful — and as timely — today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction

I read this as a teenager and it impacted my life. This presumed diary chronicles a young girl’s descent into drugs, addiction, and eventual death. Raw, poignant, and heartbreaking, her voice cuts deep into you as she opens the doorway to the realities of drug addiction and the serious consequences that occur because of it. She touches on the difficulties of adolescence and the extreme pressures one must deal both socially and personally. You feel her confusion, sorrow, and happiness, and eventual acceptance. Even with it’s dated references, it maintains a classic presence.

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon
3. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

Don’t miss the thrilling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling award-winning author Robert McCammon, in a book that Publishers Weekly calls “both a mystery that will satisfy the most finicky aficionado and a boisterous travelogue.”

Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson—a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake—and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible vision of death that will haunt him forever.

As Cory struggles to understand his father’s pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that are manifested in Zephyr. From an ancient, mystical woman who can hear the dead and bewitch the living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his hometown—for his father’s sanity and his own life hang in the balance.

Southern fiction that appeals to the imaginative child in all of us. An entertaining coming of age story wrapped in an engaging veneer of mysticism, mystery, and love. The narrative is that of a young boy named Cory. We watch him as he struggles to understand the undercurrents of racism, jealousy, and murder that has infiltrated his life and his beloved small town. I love the blending of realism and fantasy that McCammon uses to help Cory. From a voodoo queen with a secret recipe for courage to a monster who lives in the local canal and demands tribute, McCammon shows us the joy and sorrow of life through the eyes of a child.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
4. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This is Book 1 of the Time Quintet Series

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.

This coming of age story revolves around a young girl trying to cope with being the oddball in a family of extremely talented geniuses. I do believe this may have been my first time reading science fiction. The story is unique not just for the fantastical subject matter, outstanding world building, and realistic characters but because it had a female protagonist (Meg Murry) in a science fiction novel which was almost unheard of at that time. I loved the many sides of Meg Murray. Her fearlessness. Her need to question the world around her. Her unwillingness to change in order to fit in. Her unfailing love for her family. Meg never gave up, no matter how many times someone tried to convince her she was a failure. To this day it remains one of my most treasured childhood reads.

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop
5. Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Enough time has passed for the young girl Jaenelle, heir to the magical Darkness, for her physical wounds to heal, while amnesia keeps her frightening memories at bay. But with Saetan–a Black-Jewelled Warlord Prince and Jaenelle’s foster-father–to protect her, she will continue to grow. Her magic will mature. Her memories will return. And Jaenelle will face her destiny when she remembers Daemon, Saetan’s son, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her love….

Dark fantasy at its finest; I reread (the series) at least once a year. The second book in Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy is the most exciting and outstanding of the three in my opinion. Though I do recommend reading the entire trilogy for a story that will elicit the strongest of emotions from you-love, laughter, fear, hope, hatred, and soul-crushing heartbreak. It’s strong modern base blends well with the fantasy, giving us a world that mirrors ours in some ways yet differs in others. For me it embodies everything a book should have. Adventure, romance, laughter, sorrow, action, suspense, ordinary events, unforgettable characters, and an arc that leaves you enthralled. I honestly don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to express just how much I love this series.

About Tori:

I am a biblio-bimbo, booze hound, and blasphemer who reviews for SmexyBooks, Heroes & Heartbreakers, and RT Book Reviews. I support mediocrity because we can’t all be 5 stars.

Visit her on the web: SmexyBooks | Twitter | Goodreads

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