Tag: Excerpts

Release Day Spotlight: Stray Magic by Kelly Meding

Posted June 19, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Kelly Meding has a new urban fantasy series launching today and we’re stoked to be featuring Stray Magic here on Book Binge. Stray Magic is the first book in Kelly Meding’s Strays series from Harper Voyager and we’re pretty excited for you readers to know all about it.

Check it out!

Release Day Spotlight: Stray Magic by Kelly MedingStray Magic (Strays #1) by Kelly Meding
Series: Strays #1
Published by Harper Voyager
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
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Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.

Unless she can stop it.

Excerpt

“A bunch of vampires are holding a trailer park hostage.”

I nearly dropped my phone. While it wasn’t the strangest phone call I’ve ever gotten in the middle of the night, it certainly ranked in the top five. And if the voice on the other end of the line wasn’t from Novak, our team’s third-in-command, I’d have accused the caller of playing a sick 2:00 a.m. joke. But as a disgraced incubus, Novak’s rare displays of humor leaned toward the bawdy side. Hostage-taking vampires just wasn’t his style.

“Which trailer park?” I asked as though the taking of small communities was an everyday occurrence. I padded across the room and yanked open a dresser drawer, knowing without saying that my time off—my time with Vincent—was officially revoked.

“Little place called Myrtle’s Acres.”

“Am I supposed to have heard of it?”

Novak snorted in my ear. “I’m surprised the vamps heard of it. Forty-six trailers, rough population of a hundred and twenty people, in the middle of Nowhere, Delaware, surrounded by forest and two cornfields of all blessed things.”

“And they’ve got the whole trailer park?”

“Surrounded and locked down. It’s blessing unreal.”

Years of practice made the act of putting on panties and jeans one-handed relatively easy. The bra was going to be harder. So far, Vincent hadn’t commented. He accepted my job as a US Marshal in the Paranormal Investigations Unit and the odd hours I kept, and I appreciated him for not asking questions I couldn’t answer. Questions about the creatures I encountered on a daily basis, the methods we used to trap the nasties, the lengths we’d go to save the nice ones, and most importantly, why I was part of it.

In the nine months Vincent and I had been together, the whole “my father was an earth djinn and I inherited some of his powers” conversation hadn’t been broached. Even though we’d been intimate in both the hold-my-hair-while-I-barf way, and in the much more exciting lick-me-until-I-scream way, I wanted to keep my parentage under wraps as long as possible. It had a nasty habit of being used against me when people found out I could grant wishes.

“Shiloh?”

I snapped back to the phone. Had Novak been talking? “What?”

“I said how long before you can be at the crux?”

“I’m almost dressed, so fifteen minutes. I’ll call you when I’m there.”

“’Kay.”

I hung up, tucked the phone into my jeans pocket, and finished dressing. Green lace camisole under a fitted black jacket. Over the jeans, it seemed a little dressy, but our unit boss Julius Almeida never stood on formality. He cared more about how we did our jobs than what we wore while we did it. Plus the jacket hid my shoulder holster and gun, its clip filled with standard issue silver-jacket bullets.

“Real estate problems?” Vincent asked.

“That’s an understatement.”

From STRAY MAGIC. Used with permission of Harper Voyager. Copyright © 2018 by Kelly Meding.

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Strays

About the Author

Kelly Medging

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Born and raised in Southern Delaware, Kelly Meding survived five years in the hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia, only to retreat back to the peace and sanity of the Eastern Shore. An avid reader and film buff, she discovered Freddy Krueger at a very young age, and has since had a lifelong obsession with horror, science fiction, and fantasy, on which she blames her interest in vampires, psychic powers, superheroes, and all things paranormal. She is also a mama to two amazing fur-babies named Jinx and Puck.

Three Days to Dead, the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series, follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Books five and six, Requiem for the Dead and The Night Before Dead, are published in digital and paperback by Smedge Press.

Beginning with Trance, Kelly’s MetaWars series tells the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.

Writing as Kelly Meade, her paranormal romance trilogy with Berkley Intermix features three shifter brothers and the women they come to love, starting with Black Rook, and continuing with Gray Bishop and White Knight.


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Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted June 17, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

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

Sunday Spotlight

Sarah MacLean is an auto-buy author for me. I really love her stuff and am super excited for the release of this book. The last book of hers that I read got 5 stars so I’m really looking forward to digging into this new series. I have every faith that I’m going to love it just as much as her other series.

Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLeanWicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

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Excerpt

His scar went white and a muscle pounded in his cheek. “He touched you. Your hair.” His gaze was locked on it where it fell around her shoulders, unpinned.

She shook her head. “Yes, but not much. It’s only down because I gave the women my hairpins.”

“Not much?” he said, drawing closer to her. “I saw him with a lock of it in his filthy paw. I heard him describe it. Like silk. And I heard you cry out when he pulled it.” He paused, his throat working to keep words back. Words that came anyway. “He touched it. And I haven’t.”

An echo came from earlier, from inside his bedchamber, the words he used to describe her hair. Hair that I imagine falls in rich, mahogany waves when it is pulled from its severe moorings.

Her eyes went wide. “I didn’t know you wished to—”

He lifted his hand, then, and for a moment, she thought he would do it. Touch her. For a moment, she imagined what it would be like for him to slide his strong fingers into her hair and run them along her scalp, now free from the tight binds of hairpins and coifs. She imagined leaning into that touch. Leaning up to him.

Him leaning down to her.

“I should take it,” he whispered. “My payment. I should touch it.”

She blinked up at him. “Yes.”

The decision warred in him. She could see it. And she saw him make it, too, saw him give in to the desire and reach for her. Thank God.

His touch was barely there, and the most powerful thing she’d ever experienced. Her breath caught in her throat as he sifted her hair through his fingers. Would his hand be warm? Would he let himself touch her? Would he kiss her?

“I should have killed him for touching it,” he said, softly. “It wasn’t . . .” She hesitated, then whispered, “It wasn’t like this.”

His gaze found hers in the darkness. “What does that mean?”

“I won’t remember him,” she said. “Not when you are here now.”

He shook his head. “Felicity Faircloth, you are very dan- gerous.” Devil’s fingers—work-rough and warm—moved to her cheek, traced down the curve of it, to her jaw. Lin- gered there.

She shivered. “Being here . . . with you . . . it makes me feel like I could be dangerous.”

He tilted her face up to his glittering eyes, to the Covent Garden mist. “And if you were? What would you do?”

I would stay, she thought, madly. I would explore this terrifying, magnificent world. She didn’t say those things, however. Instead, she focused on the third answer—the shocking one. The one that came on a flood of want. “I would kiss you.”

For a moment he did not move, and then he took a deep breath and raised his other hand, cradling her face in his warm grasp before repeating, “You are very dangerous.”

She did not know where the words came from when she said, softly, “Would you let me?”

He shook his head once, his gaze on hers. “I wouldn’t be able to resist.”

Later, she would blame the darkness for her actions. The rain on the cobblestone streets. The fear and the wonder. She would blame his warm hands and his beautiful lips and that scar on the side of his face that made him somehow impossibly handsome. She had to blame something for it, you see, as Felicity Faircloth, aging spinster wallflower, did not kiss men.

What’s more, she absolutely did not kiss men who lived in Covent Garden and carried cane swords and were named Devil.

Except in that moment, when she rose up on her toes and did just that, pressing her lips to his full, soft ones. He was so warm, the heat of him coming through his linen shirt and waistcoat—the waistcoat she grabbed instantly and without thought, as though he might be able to keep her steady in the wild moment.

As though he weren’t the reason it felt so wild, with the way he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight against him, the movement making her gasp her surprise. He growled—a deep, delicious sound, and his teeth nipped at her lower lip before he whispered, like darkness, “Take it then. Like you mean it.”

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: June 2018

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

About the Author

Sarah MacLean

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

“Romance novelist Sarah MacLean has reignited the genre with a bolder edge.” – The New Yorker

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

A columnist for The Washington Post, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.


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Sunday Spotlight: Hooked on You by Kate Meader

Posted May 27, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 4 Comments

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

Sunday Spotlight

Kate Meader won me over when I really dug into the Chicago Rebels series and I really haven’t looked back. I just read all of the books in this series a couple of months ago so waiting for this book hasn’t been that long for me but it’s felt like it because I’ve been curious about Bren and Violet ever since they came onto the scene. I have every faith that their book is going to be awesome and I’m super thrilled to share an excerpt with you lovelies today.

Sunday Spotlight: Hooked on You by Kate MeaderHooked On You (Chicago Rebels, #3) by Kate Meader
Series: Chicago Rebels #3
Also in this series: So Over You (Chicago Rebels, #2), In Skates Trouble (Chicago Rebels, #.5), Undone By You (Chicago Rebels, #3), Hooked On You (Chicago Rebels, #3)
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander...but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

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Excerpt

She smiled at him, a dazzler that knocked him over. “I’d best be off. Harper’s freaking out, which means my night playing nurse is only beginning. But first, I have a question for you, Franks.”

His daughter sat up straighter. “Okay.”

“What did the baby corn say to the mama corn?”

“I don’t know.”

“Where’s popcorn?”

Pretty lame, but Bren would suffer through a million terrible jokes just to witness the smile Violet put on his daughter’s face.

Franky grabbed her hand. “I could show you those other slugs tomorrow. They’re not as fascinating as the Rathouisiidae, but they’re still interesting. I have them in a terrarium at home.”

Kendra had never been encouraging of Franky’s interest in wildlife and science, preferring to direct her energies to dolls and clothes, pursuits that Franky didn’t care for. Though his daughters never said it, he suspected Kendra’s ambivalence to motherhood shone through, and this is why they’d wanted to live with him. His kids needed accepting adults in their lives, and he waited with bated breath for Violet’s response.

Violet squeezed Franky’s hand back. “Wow, you sure know how to sell it, kiddo. Let me see. I’ve got improv class in the afternoon, but maybe we can figure something out.” She was clearly trying to take the middle ground here—not hurt his kid’s feelings and still keep with Bren’s ill-conceived wishes that she not spend time with them.

He was such a jerk. He’d made this big to-do out of Violet and his kids because he wasn’t strong enough to be around this beautiful steak of temptation.

“See ya, Franky,” Violet said, pulling her hand away gently. “And remember: always ask before you chow.” She nodded at Bren as she headed out.

Bren leaned in and kissed Franky on the cheek. “I’ll be back in a sec, sprite.”

He caught up with Violet a few feet away outside the room. “Vi.” Vi?

She turned, obviously surprised. “Oh. Hi.”

“Thanks for doing that. For having the presence of mind.”

“No problem. I mean, it was pretty fucking scary, but I knew Harper had one with her and luckily she’d left her Kate Spade in the box when she stepped out.”

“Kate Spade?”

“Purse, heathen.”

He rubbed his beard to hide his budding smile.

“Don’t be too hard on Caitriona,” she said softly.

“Why do you say that?”

“I know she’s older, so I’m guessing you expect her to look out for Franky. But she’s just a kid herself, and she’s kind of self-absorbed right now for self-preservation reasons. I remember what that was like when—well, I remember. These last couple of weeks have been trying on you all.”

Worst father ever right here. He couldn’t think of a single thing to say. For years, he’d not needed to because he was: (a) married and (b) reliant on alcohol to make him more palatable to those closest to him.

Violet didn’t seem to care. She could have stepped into the silence, but she just stood there, waiting for him to get his personality together.

“Franky really likes you,” he said.

“Well, she has excellent taste.” Wink and grin. “She’s pretty special herself. She’s going to either rule the world or destroy it. Maybe both.”

“Yeah, sometimes I think she’s hovering on the edge of the dark side.” Talking about his kids was easy. For the last eleven years, his marriage had survived on conversations about the girls, which was perfect for the man who lived inside his head and made rare visits to the world of normal adults. He’d made a terrible husband, and not just because he was a drunk. Now, if he ever got around to dating, what the hell would he talk about?

Violet was surprisingly easy to talk to when he wasn’t trying to ram his tongue down her throat. He wished he’d tried this sooner instead of scowling at her for the last eight and a half months.

“When’s the hot Swede starting?”

“I haven’t called her yet.”

“Oh?”

He shook his head, unable to verbalize it. Ms. Ikea would have done a fine job saving Franky tonight—of that Bren had no doubt. But she wasn’t the one on the spot. This woman was.

“Could you come over tomorrow like Franky asked, for the slug show? After your improv class, if that’s a real thing?”

“Oh, it’s a real thing. I’m also learning flamenco. Building my résumé.”

He had no idea whether to believe her. But he wanted to believe in something.

“Her mom wasn’t the most encouraging of her interests.” He refused to feel bad about guilting Violet into a visit, not if it pleased his daughter. “If you have time, Franky would appreciate you stopping by.”

“Only Franky?”

“Not sure Caitriona appreciates anything right now.”

She smirked, a smartass look of I’ve got your number. She’d meant: Would one Bren St. James appreciate a visit from one Violet Vasquez?

“I’ll see what I can do, Nessie.”

She sashayed off down the corridor back to the waiting room, leaving him bewildered and questioning everything he thought he knew about women.

Does this not sound like an awesome book? I’m pretty anxious for it and you should be too because it’s part of a fabulous series. You should definitely be on the look out for this one.

Chicago Rebels

Giveaway Alert

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

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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

Kate Meader

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

I’m Kate Meader, USA Today bestselling author of steamy, funny romances with alpha heroes and the strong women – and men – who match them quip for quip. My books will make you laugh, swoon, fan yourself, and maybe even tear up a little. What more could you want? (Perhaps, one of my heroes at your beck and call? Sorry, they’re too busy being heroic!) Here you’ll find information on my books, including excerpts, free reads, and what’s next. To stay in the loop, sign up for my newsletter, and to get up close and personal, join Kate’s Kittens, my closed Facebook group for fans.


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Sunday Spotlight: I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

Posted May 20, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

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

Sunday Spotlight

I Flipping Love You is the third book in the Shacking Up series by Helena Hunting and it’s a book that looks like it is right up my alley. I’ve read one book in this series and have the other books on my radar but this house flipping romance has me hooked since I love house flipping tv shows. Sign me up!

Sunday Spotlight: I Flipping Love You by Helena HuntingI Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3) by Helena Hunting
Series: Shacking Up #3
Also in this series: I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3)
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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A new kind of love story about flipping houses, taking risks, and landing that special someone who’s move-in ready…

SHE’S GOT CURB APPEAL

Rian Sutter grew up with the finer things in life. Spending summers in The Hamptons was a normal occurrence for her until her parents lost everything years ago. Now Rian and her sister are getting their life, and finances, back on track through real estate. Not only do they buy and sell houses to the rich and famous, but they finally have the capital to flip their very own beachfront property. But when she inadvertently catches the attention of a sexy stranger who snaps up every house from under her, all bets are off…

HE’S A FIXER UPPER

Pierce Whitfield doesn’t normally demo kitchens, install dry wall, or tear apart a beautiful woman’s dreams. He’s just a down-on-his-luck lawyer who needed a break from the city and agreed to help his brother work on a few homes in the Hamptons. When he first meets Rian, the attraction is undeniable. But when they start competing for the same pieces of prime real estate, the early sparks turn into full-blown fireworks. Can these passionate rivals turn up the heat on their budding romance — without burning down the house?

I FLIPPING LOVE YOU, set in the Shacking Up world, follows two people, both working in real estate, who find themselves vying for the same properties in the Hamptons, leading to a sometimes-not-so-friendly competition.

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Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
ANGRY HOT GUY

RIAN

I flip through my stack of flyers, checking for a sale on the jumbo box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal so I can price match it. I’m a conscientious price matcher. I mark the sale with a big circle before tucking the red Sharpie into the front of my shirt. If I’m going to wheel and deal at the cash register, I want to make it as easy as possible for the cashier and the people in line behind me. Nothing is worse than getting stuck behind an unorganized price matcher.

I shimmy a little to the song playing over the store intercom as I toss boxes of my most favorite, unhealthy cereal in my cart. A prickly feeling climbs the back of my neck, and I shiver, glancing over my shoulder. A mom rushes past me down the aisle, her toddler leaning precariously out of the cart in an attempt to grab a box of Fruit Roll-Ups. I can’t blame him. They are artificially delicious.

But the mom-toddler combo isn’t the reason for the prickly feeling. Halfway down the aisle is a suit. A big suit. Well over six feet of man wrapped in expensive charcoal-gray fabric. He doesn’t have a cart or a basket. And he’s staring at me. Weird. I can’t look at him long enough to decide if he’s familiar or not without making it obvious that I’m staring back.

I have the urge to check my appearance, worried I have his attention because my hair is a mess, or there’s a sweat stain down the center of my back. I’m not particularly appealing at the moment. I’ve just come from a boot camp class at this new gym my twin sister forced me to try out.

Marley bought an online two-for-one coupon for forty bucks, so now I have to attend six of these stupid classes with her. I managed to get out of last week’s class, but she wouldn’t let me escape two weeks in a row. My tank is still dewy, post-exertion, I have terrible under-boob sweat, and my thong is all wonky. If I were alone in this aisle, I’d for sure fix the last issue, but suit guy is here so I must leave the thong where it is for now, wedged uncomfortably between my vagina lips.

The suit quickly shifts his attention to the shelves and picks up the jar directly in front of him, which happens to contain prunes. He inspects it, then maybe realizes what it is, because he rushes to return it, exchanging it for another item. I bite back a smile, pleased that even in my disgusting state I’m being checked out.

As suit man gives the shelf in front of him his full attention, I return the checkout favor. His attire and his posture scream money and a twinge of something like longing combined with jealousy makes my throat momentarily tight. At one time, price matching was a practice I would’ve laughed at—like an entitled jerk—now it’s a necessity.

Suit man must be warm, considering it’s late April and we’re experiencing temperatures far above average for this time of year. Based on the tapered fit of his suit, I’m guessing it’s a high-end brand. He’s complemented it with black patent leather shoes. Very impractical for this weather and location. Does he realize he’s in the Hamptons?

He’s wearing a watch, and from his profile, he can’t be much beyond his early thirties. I have to assume the only reason for the watch is because it’s expensive and he wants to show it off. In my head, I’ve already profiled him as a pretentious, rich prick who probably commutes to NYC a few times a week where he bones his secretary and has a penthouse with the barest of furniture. The rest of the time he works from home.

I return to shopping and continue down the aisle, in the opposite direction of the suit—it’s my way of finding out if he’s actually creeping on me or not. I keep tabs on him in my peripheral vision as I scope out more sales and more delicious, unhealthy food items. My job is to balance out all the fruit and vegetables my sister, Marley, is currently picking out in the produce section.

I grab a jar of the no-name peanut butter since we’re out and the good stuff isn’t on sale, dropping it in the cart. My phone keeps buzzing in my purse. It’s distracting, so I give up ignoring it and check my messages.

It’s my sister.

We’re in the same store. It’s not particularly huge, so I don’t know what could be so pressing that she needs to text four thousand times instead of finding me.

ABORT SHOPPING

LEAVE NOW

Meet me in parking lot

RIAN??????

Jeez. What the heck is going on? Maybe the grocery store is being robbed. Holy Hot Pockets. What if there is a grocery store heist going down? I’m about to abandon my cart in a bid to find Marley and escape the mayhem I’ve created in my head. It’s all very dramatic. As I turn, I come face-to-face with the suit.

I suck in a breath and slap my hand over my chest. The tank is still damp, and my skin’s a little gritty with salt-sweat, so I drop it quickly, because ew.

“Hi.” His expression is hard to read. He seems … smug.

“Hi, hey. Uh…” I wave a hand around in the air, a little flustered, and conflicted, because it’s not often I get approached by a guy this hot—and in a grocery store of all places. Maybe he’ll be here again next week. “I’m sorry, I’d like to stare at your pretty face, I mean…” Crap, why are words so hard? “I have to go.”

I try to step around him, but he mirrors the movement, taking a linebacker stance, as if he’s considering tackling me. Which is an odd way to stage an introduction.

“Recognize me?” he asks, one perfect eyebrow arched.

As I take him in, I wrack my brain for a time or place I might’ve run into him before. I don’t think so, though. His light brown hair is neatly styled, and the cut of his suit highlights all of his assets. Well, the visible PG ones, anyway.

He widens his stance and crosses his arms over his chest. His very broad chest. The sleeves of his suit jacket pull tight, biceps bulging and flexing. He’s a bit intimidating based on his size alone, but we’re in a public grocery store, so I feel relatively safe. And he’s just so gorgeous. Which is a silly reason not to be concerned, some of the most notorious serial killers are attractive men. Also, I need to find my sister, in case the grocery store is really under attack—although maybe this suit could save us.

I adopt his crossed arm pose, but I don’t think I look intimidating. All I succeed in doing is awkwardly squeezing my boobs together inside my damp sports bra and jabbing the right one with the Sharpie. “Should I?”

He looks me over, a slight smirk tipping his mouth. His gaze gets stuck on the Sharpie for a few seconds before they come back up to my eyes.

It’s possible I met him in a bar, but I swear I’d remember his face if I did. The bar scene is also more my sister’s speed than it is mine. Oh God. It’s also possible he’s mistaking me for her. It’s happened before.

While we look nearly identical at first to most people, we’re actually fraternal twins. After a few interactions, most people can tell us apart. I have a distinctive Marilyn Monroe mole on the right side above my lip, and my eyes are amber, where Marley’s are closer to green. My mouth is too big for my face, my lips a little too full and my nose too small. At least that’s my perception. Marley’s also the more outgoing of the two of us and an inch taller. And about ten pounds lighter.

Marley is a little less cautious than I am with men, so there have been a few uncomfortable occasions where her previous hookups have approached me, asking why I haven’t returned their calls. It’s too bad if this is the case, because this guy is inordinately attractive and it would be nice if he wasn’t one of my sister’s castoffs.

His face is a masterpiece of masculine perfection; straight nose, high cheekbones, an angular jawline that could cut glass, full lips. Especially the bottom one. The kind of full that makes me think of kissing, with tongue, of course. He’s all-American handsome with a shot of alpha hotness. It’s a lethal combination for the state of my already damp panties.

“I recognize you.” He has a low, rough voice, like the delicious scrape of fine grit sandpaper.

He breaks me out of my ogle daze. He must think I’m Marley. I’m actually rather disappointed. “I think maybe you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

“Oh no, sweetheart.” His gaze rakes over me again. I feel very naked all of a sudden. And hot. It’s really hot in here. “You drive a powder-blue Buick.”

“How the heck—”

“I knew it!” he shouts, eyes alight with some kind of weird, victorious satisfaction as he points a long finger with a blue-black nail at me. Maybe he slammed it in a door or something. Or based on the way he’s rudely pointing, maybe someone slammed it for him. “I fucking knew it! You hit my car.”

I definitely would’ve remembered hitting someone’s car, especially if a guy this good looking was driving it. He should probably come with a warning, like: Panties may combust if you get too close, or something. I take a step back since he’s all up in my grill and clearly he’s not looking to flirt like I originally thought. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t play dumb with me! You think you can flip your ponytail”—he reaches out and flicks the end, which is rather startling—“flash a smile and some cleavage, and it’s going to get you out of this. Well, think again, sweetheart. I guarantee my paint is still all over your bumper.” He’s leaning over me, face way too close to mine. So close I can see tiny gold flecks in his deep green eyes. They’re an unusual shade. Dark like pine tree needles.

And he’s chewing gum. Juicy Fruit. I can smell it when he breathes in my face. I would’ve expected a man like him to chew something more along the lines of Polar Ice, or Arctic Ice—strong mint.

I put a hand on his chest and take one deliberate step backward as he opens his mouth to resume his tangent. It’s a solid chest. Extremely hard. His gaze darts down, brows furrowed. I use his distracted state to my advantage. “First of all…” I point my finger in his face, like he did to me. “Don’t ‘sweetheart’ me. That’s condescending. Secondly, I’m sure I would’ve noticed if I’d hit another car. Thirdly, there are literally hundreds of powder-blue Buicks in this stupid city. It’s not an uncommon car. And I’d like to point out, that the cleavage comment was completely unnecessary and unwarranted and actually, pretty damn sexist.”

He blinks a couple of times, possibly taken aback. That expression doesn’t last long. His lip curls in a sneer and that pretty all-American handsomeness morphs into downright malevolent hotness. “Nice try, sweetheart. But there’s no way I’d forget you.” His gaze sweeps over me—it’s not in an unappreciative way either.

I poke his hard chest. “Stop leering at me, you pervert. I don’t know what kind of drugs you’ve been snorting, but I assure you, you’ve got the wrong person.”

“Oh shit!” my sister’s voice comes from behind me.

I turn to find Marley doing an about-face, and then she breaks into a little grapevine step as she moves back toward me. Her eyes are wide, mouth contorted into some kind of grimace as she grabs my wrist.

“What the fuck? There are two of you?” hot-crazy guy asks, eyes bouncing between us.

“We gotta go.” Marley latches onto my hand and drags me down the aisle, away from crazy-hot suit.

“Whoa! Wait a damn second!”

Hot suit makes a grab for me, but Marley yanks me out of the way and shoves my shopping cart at him—hard. He’s not quite quick enough to get out of the way, and the corner of the cart slams right into his crotch. He doubles over with a groan and aggressively pushes the cart aside. It ricochets into a display of canned peaches, which spill into the aisle with a deafening crash.

“What the heck, Mar?”

“Come the fuck on!” She sprints down the aisle, dragging me behind her. I’d protest, but I don’t think I have much choice in the matter, considering the death grip she has on my hand, or the fact that she’s assaulted the sexy-crazy suit with my shopping cart.

Marley fast-walks to the exit, glancing over her shoulder. “Act natural.”

“Will you tell me what’s going on? Who is that guy?”

She flips her hair over her shoulder and smiles as we pass the cashiers and the automatic doors open. Marley fast-walks down the sidewalk toward our car. “I may have tapped that guy’s car last Saturday when I was shopping.”

I stop walking, which brings her to a jarring halt. She yanks on my arm. “Seriously, come on. I’ll explain when we’re in the car.”

“Nope. No way. You explain now.”

Her eyes are bouncing all over the place. “It’s not a big deal. I just grazed his bumper.” Marley spin and tries to push me forward from behind. “Now let’s get out of here before he finds us again. We should probably shop somewhere else for a while.”

I stumble forward a step and then spin away from her. “You hit that guy’s car?”

“It was more of a graze. At least I think it was.” She wrings her hands and makes her oh crap face.
Now crazy-hot suit guy seems a lot less crazy and much more justified in his reaction. Except for the cleavage comment. That was still unnecessary. “It sure didn’t seem like nothing with the way he freaked out in there.”

“He’s probably overreacting. Where are your keys?” She’s still wringing her hands.

I pat my hip with the intention of keeping my purse safe and away from my sister. Except all I end up patting is my actual hip. I look down, running my hands over my stomach, searching for the cheap, faux-leather knockoff. “Oh fudge.”

“What?”

“My purse. It’s in the cart. I have to go back and get it.”

Marley grabs the back of my tank. “You can’t! What if he’s still in there?”

“It has my identification in it, Marley. And my bankcards, and my money, and keys to the car and the apartment. I can’t leave it in there!”

Marley flails and paces around in a circle. “What if he’s waiting for us to come back and get it?”

“You can stay here if you want, but I’m going back for it. I’m not leaving my purse behind because you hit some guy’s car in a parking lot. I can’t believe you just drove away!”

“I thought I tapped it, and then I panicked.” Her fingers are at her mouth now. “I didn’t want to drive up our insurance premiums over some guy and his Tesla.”

“You hit a Tesla?” This keeps getting worse.

“Anyone who has the money to buy a Tesla has the money to fix it, right?” Marley says.

“So you drove off! Jeez, Marley. What were you thinking?” I shake my head. I’d like to say I’m surprised by this, but sadly I’m not. Marley doesn’t always use common sense in day-to-day life.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking. That’s the problem, I guess.

I’m about to go back into the store, but stop short at the sight of the suit leaning against the side of my car, one ankle crossed over the other, all calm like. Dangling from a single finger is my knockoff, hot-pink Coach purse. “Forget something?”

Copyright © 2018 by Helena Hunting in I Flipping Love You and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

HA!! This sounds like a riot and I’m so here for it so you should definitely put this on your watch list because it promises to be a great one.

Shacking Up

Giveaway Alert

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

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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

Helena Hunting

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NTY and USA Today Bestselling author of The PUCKED Series, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance to romance comedy, sports romance and angsty new adult romance.


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Sunday Spotlight: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey

Posted April 29, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 1 Comment

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

Sunday Spotlight

The Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey follows a team of firefighters who take that journey to true love. Each story follows a different firefighter and Hot Response follows Gavin Boudreau as he falls in love with Cait Tasker. Their story is super cute and you should definitely check it out. You can read my review here. Today we’re sharing an excerpt from the book provided to us by the lovely, Shannon Stacey herself.

Sunday Spotlight: Hot Response by Shannon StaceyHot Response (Boston Fire, #4) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #4
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response, Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4)
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

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Excerpt

“I wanted to talk to you about something, and I thought…” She paused, and then made herself say it. “Maybe over breakfast.”

He looked confused for a few seconds, not that she could blame him. Nothing in their past interactions indicated she’d ever have an interest in sharing a meal with him, and the incident in the hallway after delivering the baby had probably made him believe she didn’t like him at all.

“Or just a coffee or something,” she said when he didn’t respond right away. “It won’t take long.”

“I could go for breakfast right about now. I was going to go around the corner if you want to join me?”

“Sure.”

They walked in silence to the tiny restaurant only locals would know was even there and took a table in the back. There were a few other diners, but nobody that she recognized as somebody she wouldn’t want eavesdropping. Most of the firefighters probably went straight home to crash in their beds for a while, she thought. Or maybe Gavin hadn’t given them the heads-up on the good food to be had. Cait had grabbed coffee and pastries there a few times, but she’d never sat and had a meal.

“This is a bit of a surprise,” he said once they had their coffees and had ordered the veggie-filled omelets the place was famous for, minus onions for Gavin and both with bacon and wheat toast on the side.

She couldn’t tell if he was pleasantly surprised or unpleasantly surprised. “Yeah. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing.”

After tossing and turning all night.

“You okay? From yesterday, I mean?”

“I’m good, really. But it’s the kind of situation that gets you thinking about things, and I was thinking about the things I said after delivering that baby the other day.”

He leaned back in his chair and grinned. “You mean the part where you implied I don’t take my job seriously?”

Yeah, that part. And why did he have to have such a great smile? “See, you’re doing it right now.”

“Doing what?”

“That smile that probably makes women’s pants fall off.”

The eyebrow went up before he pushed his chair back a few inches. Then he bent over, as if he was picking up a dropped fork. A second later, he sat up and pulled his chair back in.

“What are you doing?”

“I was just checking to see if your pants fell off.” The lift of his left shoulder matched the curve of his mouth. “I guess I’ll have to try harder.”

Oh god, please don’t. Cait had never been so thankful she wasn’t prone to blushing because if she was, her face would be as red as the ketchup bottle. She’d come here to apologize for being a bitch to him and, before she’d even addressed her hostility toward him—or at least the part she was willing to admit to—he was implying he’d like to get her out of her pants.

It was obviously just a habit, she told herself. Gavin was probably just a natural charmer who never had to try. And if he did have to try harder…well, what man could resist a challenge?

She tried to focus on that assumption about his character so she wouldn’t be able to focus on the fact he could probably make her pants fall off without too much of an effort at all. Of all the people she came across on a daily basis, she would have bet he was the last person who had a shot, but there was something about his carefree confidence that might grate on her nerves when they were at a scene, but was sexy as hell when he was sitting across a table from her. And between the added stress and reduced privacy that moving back home had brought, she was barely managing to have a social life, never mind a sex life.

She needed to get this conversation back on track, though, before he tried to up his game. “I want to apologize to you.”

“There’s no need for an apology. Believe it or not, the pants don’t always fall down. It happens. Not often, but it happens.” The expression on his face was almost as cocky as the words, and she was about to tell him to forget it—he was exactly who she’d originally thought he was—when he dimmed the high-wattage grin to a sheepish smile and shook his head. “I’m joking. And yes, I do that too much.”

“Why?”

“Why not? I like to laugh. This is the only life I know for sure I’m getting, so I’m going to have fun while I’m living it.” He looked at her, his expression more sincerely thoughtful than she’d thought him capable of. “Maybe sometimes I take it too far. I don’t even know how many times in my life my mom’s told me I don’t know when to quit. But that doesn’t mean I’m not doing my job.”

Cait forced herself not to look away from his direct gaze. “That’s what I wanted to apologize for. What I said the other day, when we delivered that baby, was out of line. You obviously take your job seriously and rumor has it you’re good at it. I’m sorry I said that.”

She half-expected him to make some kind of smart-ass remark or gloat in some way, but the smile he gave her was warm and genuine. “Thank you. I accept your apology. And I’m sorry, too. I might have pushed your buttons a little on purpose because you’re so easy to rile up.”

“I am not.”

“You’re getting riled right now.”

He wasn’t wrong, but he hopefully hadn’t guessed on how many levels he got her wound up. She was going to say something about being sensitive to him pushing her buttons, but she couldn’t figure out how to say it without the possibility of the conversation spinning into innuendo.

“So tell me something, Cait. Since we’re on the subject, why don’t you like me?”

“I don’t know you well enough to not like you.”

“Okay.” He fiddled with his coffee mug, turning it in his hands. “I’ll put it another way. I’ve wondered why you react to me in a way that makes other people ask me what I did to piss you off.”

“They do not.” When he just stared at her, one eyebrow raised, she looked away first. “What did you say?”

“You mean what I tell them I did to piss you off? I breathed.”

Ouch. But that was why she’d invited him to breakfast in the first place—to apologize and talk through whatever their problem was. Whatever her problem was. “I don’t know what it is about you that rubs me the wrong way.”

So much for keeping the conversation innuendo-free, she thought, barely stopping herself from slapping her palm over her face.

“Pent-up sexual tension between us?”

She laughed, because she knew he was joking. Or she was fairly sure he was, at least. “You’re cocky.”

“I’m confident.”

“Same thing.”

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She propped her chin on her hands. “Tell me the difference, then.”

Boston Fire

Giveaway Alert

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

About the Author

Shannon Stacey

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her favorite activities are writing romance and really random tweets when she’s not riding her ATV. She loves mud, books, football & watching way too much TV.


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