Tag: Excerpts

Sunday Spotlight: All the Way by Kristen Proby

Posted August 19, 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

Kristen Proby is one of those authors that I have wanted to read for ages but for some reason or another, I keep not reading her stuff. The cover for All the Way caught my eye and then the blurb captured my attention so I’m really looking forward to reading this book and I’m super thrilled to be featuring this book on today’s Sunday Spotlight.

Sunday Spotlight: All the Way by Kristen ProbyAll the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1) by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

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Excerpt

If I didn’t know better, I’d say I had a crush on the sexy Finn Cavanaugh.

Strike that. I do have a crush on Finn. What’s not to like? He’s kind, funny, loves his family, and looks like that.

So I’m going to spend as much time as I can with him, since he’s been the best thing to come into my life since the fire, since the day in his office with my brother, since trying to heal from it all.

He brings a smile to my face and makes me want to climb him like a damn tree, and that’s a good feeling.

I take a deep breath and, with a smile, walk into the house to get breakfast started. I had planned to just have a bagel and some egg whites, but now that’s changed up a bit. I love to cook, especially for others, so I pull my hair up in a messy bun and stand in the middle of my white kitchen, getting my wits about me.

I could make omelets, or pancakes, or biscuits and gravy.

I buy way too many groceries.

I smirk at myself and decide on biscuits and gravy with home fries and scrambled eggs. It’s a heavy breakfast, but it’s also delicious, and I want to feed him something especially delicious.

“Like me,” I mutter, and then laugh. Oh, the dreams I’ve been having about Finn the past few nights have been one hundred percent pornographic. I wake up hot and bothered, and not just a little sexually frustrated.

Damn him.

I jump at the soft knock on the back glass door, and turn to find Finn standing there in another pair of cargo shorts and a T-shirt, his hair wet from a shower, grinning at me through the glass.

Hot damn.

I motion for him to come in, and stir the biscuit batter.

“I hope you worked up an appetite on that run,” I begin as he walks toward me. “I’m making a feast.”

“I’m hungry,” he says in a gruff voice, making me glance up at him. He’s staring at me with hot eyes. Not just hot. Scorching. Like he wants to do me on the kitchen counter.

I’m not against that in the least.

“Hungry for biscuits and gravy?” I swallow hard.

“We can start there,” he says. “You’re making it from scratch?”

“Of course.” I set the batter aside and gather more supplies. “Isn’t that how everyone does it?”

“No, I buy those biscuits in the roll that always scares the shit out of me when I bust it open.”

I chuckle as I roll the dough out and cut it into circles. “Well, no scaring the shit out of you today. These don’t take long.”

“Do you need any help?”

“Nope.” I pop the pan in the oven and get started on cutting potatoes. “Actually, yes. How are you at cutting potatoes?”

“I’m a champion potato chopper,” he informs me, and takes the knife from me. “I’ve got this.”

“Do you like to cook?” I try to keep my eyes off of his strong hands and muscly forearms as he chops up the potatoes. Why is it that everything he does is sexy?

It’s not exactly fair.

“I do,” he replies. “I just don’t always have time for it.”

“I don’t either, but it seems I have nothing but time lately.” I shrug and throw the potatoes in a pan so they can start frying while I get the gravy going. “I’ve been cooking way more than I can eat.”

“How are you feeling?” he asks casually.

“Better,” I reply, happy to be able to finally say that truthfully. “I still have moments when it hurts, but I think the walking is better, and my range of motion is coming back. My physical therapist is happy with the progress, but I think it’s too slow.”

“You’re too hard on yourself,” he says, and I just shake my head.

“That’s what he says too. Being physical is what I’ve always done. Dance, theater, is physically demanding, and I’ve always been in excellent shape. So having lost so much of my endurance is disappointing.”

“You’ll get it back,” he says with confidence, and I look up to find him smiling at me, his brown eyes happy. “You’re too stubborn to do otherwise.”

“Boy, that’s the truth.” I pull the biscuits out of the oven. “I know that I probably won’t be able to work the way I used to. They’ve already recast my old part, which, let me tell you, will tear your heart right out of your chest.”

“I can’t even imagine.”

“And I’m not young, Finn.” I’m just talking now, talking about my career, my fears, and it feels like the easiest thing to do with him. I haven’t confided like this with anyone. Not even Sasha.

“You’re only thirty-two.”

“That’s old for theater. Especially in musicals. There are girls more than ten years younger than me fighting for the same parts, and they’re in better shape, and it’s easier for them to keep up with the rigorous schedule.”

“Have you seen Hugh Jackman in the musical movies he makes?” Finn asks. “That guy’s almost fifty.”

“He’s a man,” I reply simply. “Men are given better roles, longer into their lives. It sucks, but it’s true. But I’ve changed my attitude a bit. I was convinced before that I wouldn’t be able to get back to work, but now I’m determined to do exactly that.”

“Would you consider doing film? I don’t know anything about show business, but I would think that might be less rigorous.”

“I hadn’t before.” I stop and lean my hip against the countertop, irritated that my leg is starting to ache from being on it too long. “But I could talk to my agent and see what she thinks. She’s come to me before with scripts, but I have always had a steady job in New York.”

“Might be something to consider,” he says casually. “You’re hurting right now.”

“Not too badly.”

“Look at me.” He grips my shoulders and makes me look him in the eyes. “You’re hurting.”

“Yeah, it’s aching.”

“Sit.” He leads me to the stool on the other side of the island. “I’ve got this handled.”

Romancing Manhattan

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Sunday Spotlight: August 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

Kristen Proby

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Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted August 12, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 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

Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. HamiltonSerpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #26
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 496
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Vampire hunter Anita Blake has managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there's a monster that even she doesn't know how to fight...

A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita's fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it's the first trip she gets to take with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it's not all fun and games and bachelor parties...

In this tropical paradise Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse--her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There's a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that's rendering those around her helpless in its thrall. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret--if she survives at all, that is...

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Excerpt

Donna’s hand hesitated above my arm, as if she was going to touch the claw marks just below the burn. The scars from the shapeshifted witch made the cross a little crooked. Edward hadn’t been there for that wound. I’d been working with the police on my own that time, before I had a badge and was officially on the job myself, back when I’d just been a vampire executioner, consulting with the police. Edward had just been Edward, cold-blooded assassin who specialized in killing monsters, both human and otherwise. I hadn’t even known he had a legal identity as Ted Forrester, bounty hunter. Now we were both U.S. Marshals with the Preternatural Branch. We did the same job legally and for Edward, for far less money.

She pointed vaguely at the small slick scar on the side of my arm, and then the thin, almost dainty scar on my right arm that was barely noticeable. “I know that’s a bullet graze and that’s a knife wound, because Ted has similar ones.” She looked at me, her brown eyes going large in her tanned face. She looked suddenly younger, or more innocent, as if I got a glimpse of what she might have looked like at fifteen. “I stopped asking about where the other scars come from, because Ted told me the truth and they were almost all stories like the werewolf attack that killed my first husband, except that Ted goes out hunting the monsters. The monster that killed Frank broke into our house. It was a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy, but Ted and you go out looking for it.”

“We hunt rogue vampires and lycanthropes that have murdered people. We keep people safe by killing the things that kill them.”

She nodded, biting her lower lip, the frown lines deep between her eyes. There was real fear in them. Maybe she was remembering the death of her first husband, and that was probably in the mix of terror, but I thought it was more anticipating future tragedy than dwelling on the past. I looked into Donna’s eyes and saw the fear that every time the man she loved left for work, he might not come back. I could tell her that he was more likely to die in a car crash, or from a dozen innocent household accidents, than be eaten by monsters, but it wouldn’t help the emotions I saw in her eyes.

“I know you and Ted save lives. I know you keep other families safe from the monsters. I know that.”

I reached out and touched her arm. “You know that Ted is the best, the absolute best at this job.”

She nodded again, a little too fast and a little too often. “He says the same about you.” She grabbed my hand where it touched her arm and held on. “I always feel better when you’re with him, because he says you’re the best, next to him.”

“He helped train me, so he’s still complimenting himself.” I smiled when I said it and got a weak smile in return.

“I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to him,” she said. She started tearing up. I hugged her because I didn’t know what else to do, but apparently it was the wrong thing, because she started crying harder, clinging to me like she was really going to start sobbing. Fuck, what did I do now? How did I make her feel better about one of the truths of our job?

She went very still in my arms, and the crying slowed. She pushed away with her face still wet with tears and asked, “What’s on your back?”

“Nothing,” I said.

“I felt it.”

I half turned and she touched the edge of the place where a vampire servant had tried to drive one of my own wooden stakes into my back. It was low on my back, and they’d just tried to shove the stake in without using a mallet. It doesn’t work that way in real life, not if you’re only human-strong, anyway. Lucky for me it had just been a human in league with the vampire I’d been hunting, and not a vampire.

“That’s one of your own stakes driven into you, isn’t it?” she asked. She wasn’t crying anymore, so it was better, right?

“Yeah,” I said.

“Ted has one like it; that’s why I know what it is. You know it’s right there.” She touched the side of my hip where bathing suits and underwear covered.

“I’ve never seen that one.”

“Oh,” she said, and looked confused.

“I’ve never seen Ted nude, so I missed that one.”

There was a derisive snort, half laugh and half just rude noise, from the other side of the dress rack. Dixie, one of Donna’s oldest friends and a bridesmaid, came into view.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

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Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

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About the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American multi-genre writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry.

Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her New York Times-bestselling Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.

Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.

Laurell was born in rural Arkansas but grew up in northern Indiana with her grandmother. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion College (now called Indiana Wesleyan University).


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Sunday Spotlight: Dark Alpha’s Hunger by Donna Grant

Posted August 5, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 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

Sunday Spotlight: Dark Alpha’s Hunger by Donna GrantDark Alpha's Hunger (Reapers) by Donna Grant
Series: Reaper #6
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Dark Alpha's Hunger is the sixth paranormal romance novel in New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant's Reapers series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins who wage war on the Fae at Death's behest--and the women who change their hearts.

There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

Where Death leads, I follow. Nothing will stop me from my duty – not even the darkness that claims me. It’s the music that leads me from the dark, returning me to my brethren and a new foe that has risen. Learning who hunts Thea could be the key to unraveling what we need to know to defeat our enemy. The Half-Fae’s music stirs a passion within me that I’ve never known. For her, I will break my vow of silence. For her…I will risk everything.

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Excerpt

Chapter Two

The bombardment to his senses slowly pulled Eoghan back to consciousness. He dug his fingers into the cool grass and dirt. The soft rush of a breeze over his face cooled his flesh and caused a strand of hair to tickle his cheek.

He remained on his back and took it all in. The beast that had chased him was gone, left behind on that horrendous realm of darkness. It was the music that had lured Eoghan to freedom.

His eyes snapped open as he recalled the woman. He stared at the stars above him in the night sky as he remembered how she had pulled him through the portal. It was by sheer luck alone that he managed to close the portal before the beast got out.

He sat up and looked around. His gaze clashed with the broken dolmen. There were few portal stones left intact – and for very good reason. They were exactly as they were named. Thanks to a few Half-Fae who used what magic they had, mortals had begun crossing into other realms for centuries.

Most were never seen or heard from again.

Eoghan’s thoughts returned to the woman. His head swiveled as he searched for her. Spotting something shining in the grass, he pushed to his knees and leaned forward to grasp the item. He lifted it, staring in confusion at the black cat face earring.

He stilled as he felt something behind him, a stir in the air that sent a warning through his body. He rose to his feet and spun around, his magic ready to launch at his enemy.

But the petite woman standing before him in a black dress with full skirts halted his movements.

“Eoghan,” she said, a slow smiling pulling at her lips.

He dropped to his knees and bowed his head in deference.

A slim finger lifted his chin so he was staring into her lavender eyes. Her long black hair was pulled over her left shoulder into a fishtail braid. “We’ve been searching everywhere for you. I felt powerful magic and came to investigate. I’m delighted to find you. But how did you return?”

He glanced back at the dolman before returning his gaze to Death. There was something different about her. Almost as if she were…diminished.

Her smile was sad as she dropped her hand, her gaze holding his. “I’m dying. Bran is stealing not just my magic, but my life force as well.”

Fury ripped through Eoghan as he got to his feet. How could he have forgotten about Bran? He had to find the other Reapers so they could finish him once and for all.

Erith’s hand on his arm stopped not just his body, but his thoughts as well. He frowned as he looked at her, waiting to hear what she had to say.

Death blew out a soft breath and released him. “I know it was what happened in your past that made you take a vow of silence. You’ve been an invaluable warrior for me and the other Reapers. I don’t know how much time I have left. I no longer have the energy to keep everything going. I have need of you, Eoghan.”

He frowned, not liking her words or her tone. But he waited for her to continue. He owed Erith much, and serving her for eternity was just a small part of it. After his betrayal and death, she gave him life and a reason to continue.

He nodded, letting her know that he was listening.

“I never pushed you to do more than you were willing,” she said. “You were a general in the Light Fae army. You – just like Cael – were born to lead. And that’s what I need you to do now.”

Eoghan shook his head. There was no way he would push Cael out of being leader of the Reapers. Besides, Eoghan had no desire to lead.

“You misunderstand. Cael’s position isn’t in question.” She briefly closed her eyes. “I allowed you and your team to believe you were my only Reapers. Over the years, I’ve been accumulating more betrayed warriors. They work in the shadows as my spies and to back the seven of you, if needed.”

Eoghan was so shocked that he took a step back.

“These Reapers need a leader. They are very good at what they do, but they lack a cohesiveness to work as a group. What they need is you,” she stated.

It was the first time in years that Eoghan wanted to talk. The words jumbled in his head in a mass as he tried to sort out a way to get them out without speaking.

“Bran is about to win,” Death continued in a harsh tone. “I can’t stop him from taking my magic. He’s going to eventually assume my position. And he’s going to wipe out all the Reapers. For now, he has no idea of the other group. I’ve kept them hidden because of this. He believes you’re gone. With you leading the others, you have an advantage over Bran that could stop him.”

How could Eoghan refuse? But not to return to his brethren was going to kill him. Cael and the others were his brothers, his family.

As if reading his mind, she said, “Find Cael. Tell him what you’re doing.”

Eoghan gawked at her. Him? Why wasn’t Death going to fill Cael in?

Her face fell, a flash of regret passing over her features quickly. “You saved Cael from Bran’s magic, but the battle didn’t end. Bran turned Neve’s brother who betrayed and killed her.”

Eoghan nodded in understanding. Talin had fallen hard for the Light Fae, and with Neve’s betrayal and death, she had taken Eoghan’s spot with the Reapers.

“Your brethren have never stopped looking for you. They need to know you’ve returned.” Death gave him a smile. “I knew you would find your way back.”

In the next instant, Erith was gone. Eoghan stared at the spot she had been in for several minutes thinking over all Death had shared – and wondering what she left out.

He fisted his hand that held the cat earring, the back poking into his palm. There was a deep, profound longing to hear the music that had called him back to Earth. Was it the woman who pulled him through the portal that played the music?

He’d only gotten a quick look at her before passing out. Shoulder length blue hair, sienna brown eyes, and a tiny diamond stud in her nose. But even with that brief glimpse, he’d recognized her as a Halfling.

A frown formed when he recalled that he’d spoken to her. He told her to run. And it appeared as if she had done just that. It was for the best. She was much better off far away from him and the war.

Eoghan began walking. It didn’t take him long to realize he was in Ireland. He briefly thought of going to Inchmickery, the small isle off the coast of
Scotland near Edinburgh that the Reapers used as a base, but he wasn’t ready to be among them just yet.

Instead, he veiled himself and teleported to outside of the Light Castle in a copse of trees. And he watched the castle. At one time it had been a beacon for him, a place that he believed would outshine the Dark Fae in all ways. It didn’t matter if it was the castle on Earth or the one on the Fae Realm that was destroyed.

Just because a Fae was Light didn’t mean they couldn’t turn Dark. His wife was a prime example. How had he ever been so blind as to not see that she wanted power? His position had given her just that, but it wasn’t enough for her.

The pain of her betrayal no longer cut as deep after so many thousands of years. It was a dull ache now. But it would never leave him.

Perhaps it was time to put aside his silence. He couldn’t lead the Reapers if he didn’t talk. Damn. This was going to be harder than he thought.

He was about to teleport away when he spotted Rhi off to his left hiding in the trees not far from him. The infamous Light Fae who fell in love with a Dragon King was of interest to Death. So much so that Erith had Daire follow Rhi.

Yet, as Eoghan sought a glimpse of his friend, there was no sign of Daire. A Reaper could see any Fae – veiled or not. Without a second’s thought, Eoghan dropped his veil. Immediately, Rhi’s head jerked to him.

“Eoghan,” she said as she released her veil and walked to him. She looked him over, a grin forming, as she tossed back her long black hair. “We didn’t know what happened to you.” Her smile froze when she looked into his eyes.

He frowned, wondering what caused such a reaction.

“Look, hunky, I’m not a mind reader. I know the human adage of ‘silence is golden’, but not in this instance. I need you to talk to me.”

Eoghan hesitated. He swallowed twice before he asked, “What’s…wrong…with…me?”

“You’re eyes. They’re silver but…different.”

He formed a mirror in his hand and looked into it. Rhi was right. His eyes were silver, but no longer did he have a pupil showing. All that he saw was metallic silver staring back at him.

Rhi wrinkled her nose. “You might want to think of using glamour or wearing sunglasses when around humans.”

He made the mirror vanish and gave her a nod.

“Are you going to tell me how you got back? Where were you?”

“Tonight. Not sure.”

Rhi sighed dramatically. “Well, I guess I should be happy that I’m getting answers. Have you seen the others?”

Eoghan shook his head. “Where’s Daire?”

She shrugged indifferently, but she couldn’t quite hide her pain. “I don’t know. One day he was following me, and then he wasn’t.” Rhi suddenly put her hand on his arm. “I’m glad you’re back. Cael and the others have been beside themselves with worry.”

He didn’t get a chance to reply because she teleported away. Eoghan blew out a breath. It was time he spoke with Cael. He teleported to a cliff on the east side of Ireland and said his old friend’s name.

Within moments, Cael was standing before him. Their gazes met. The relief on Cael’s face made emotion well up in Eoghan’s throat. He’d never had a brother, despite wishing for one. The Reapers were his family, but Cael was like a true brother in every sense of the word.

They embraced before Cael grabbed his shoulders and stepped away to look at him. There was a slight frown when Cael saw his eyes. “Where have you been? How did you get back? When did you get back?”

“One at a time.”

Cael’s smile vanished as he dropped his arms and stared in shock. “You’re speaking?”

“Death said I must.”

All emotion was wiped from Cael’s face. “She spoke with you?”

Copyright © 2018 by Donna Grant in Dark Alpha’s Hunger and reprinted by permission of Swerve.

Reaper

Giveaway Alert

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Sunday Spotlight: August 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

Donna Grant Author Photo

Donna Grant

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

Donna is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty-five novels. Her most popular series is the breathtaking Dark King (aka Dragon King) series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

In addition to her novels, Donna has written over forty short stories, novellas, and novelettes for digital-first and print release. She has been dubbed as giving the “paranormal genre a burst of fresh air” by the San Francisco Book Review. Her work has been hailed as having “deft plotting and expert characterization” by Publisher’s Weekly and “sizzling” by RT Book Reviews.

She has been recognized with awards from both bookseller and reader contests including the National Reader’s Choice Award, Booksellers Best Award, as well as the coveted K.I.S.S. Award from RT Book Reviews.

Donna travels often for various speaking engagements, conferences, and book signings. She is also a frequent workshop presenter at national conferences such as RT Book Lovers Convention and Thrillerfest, as well as local chapters.

Born and raised in Texas, she also has ties across the border in Louisiana. Growing up with two such vibrant cultures, her Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding. She is never far from her faithful 80 pound dog, Sisko, or her three cats. She can often be found at the movies or bookstore with her children. Or buying makeup. And shoes.


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Sunday Spotlight: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted July 22, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 7 Comments

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

Sunday Spotlight

I’m going to be completely honest with you. I had never read anything by Alyssa Cole before and what drew me to this book was the heroine’s dress. I want that dress. It’s a gorgeous dress and so is the heroine so that colorful cover with the gorgeous people and the pretty dress is what brought this book onto my radar. Then I read the blurb and yeah, it sounds like all kinds of fun and the early reviews have been pretty good so count me all the way in.

Sunday Spotlight: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeA Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Also in this series: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

What was he doing? With his apprentice? In the courtyard?

She was right to pull away from him. “I’m sorry,” he said, yanking his hand
back.

“You should be,” she said. “I have very sensitive skin.” Then she pressed up on her toes and kissed him.

The kiss was not what he’d imagined. Because, of course, he’d imagined kissing her, and in his mind she had been aggressive and take charge, pulling him down and wrapping her legs around him. But this kiss was hesitant, though she’d initiated it, soft and just a whisper of sensitive skin rubbing over sensitive skin as if she was prepared to pull away and run off at any second.

Can’t be having that, can we?

Tav’s arms slipped around her waist and pulled her up flush against him.

From the book, DUKE BY DEFAULT. Copyright ©2018 by Alyssa Cole. Reprinted by permission of Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Well, hello there Tav. Got me over here looking like:

Reluctant Royals

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

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

About the Author

Alyssa Cole

WEBSITE || TWITTER || GOODREADS

Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC and island-paced life in the Caribbean.

In addition to writing, she has hosted a romance book club and taught romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching cat videos on the Internet with her real-life romance hero.


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Sunday Spotlight: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

Posted July 15, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 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

Lauren Layne is one of my favorite authors of all time and she’s got a new book that I’m so excited about. It’s a best friends to lovers story and it’s the last book in the Oxford series so while I’m super excited about it, I’m also really sad about saying bye to these charming characters.

We’re pretty stoked to be featuring I Think I Love You on today’s Sunday Spotlight because Brit and Hunter are awesome and you’ll get to see them in action below.

Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneI Think I Love You (Oxford, #5) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“I want you to teach me.”

The silence stretched on and on, until finally Brit forced herself to look up at Hunter.

“Teach you what?” His voice was kind but completely confused.

“How to seduce a guy.”

His head snapped back, and he inhaled through his nose. “No way.”

“Why not?” she said, giving an impatient little bounce of irritation on the couch. It was what she’d expected, but it was frustrating all the same. “You’re the perfect person.”

“How you figure?”

Ah. Now, this she was ready for. She and the girls had talked out this part of her argument, and Brit was armed and ready with her answer. Setting her glass aside, she began to count out the reasons on her fingers.

“For starters, you apparently have some sort of innate charisma. You said it yourself—women are physically attracted to you, even when you don’t want them to be. It’s the very opposite of my problem, and I want to figure out what the difference between us is.

“Second,” she continued. “You date. A lot. You’ve got a ton of experience, and you’re a guy’s guy. You know what makes them tick, especially in the dating world.”

He frowned. “I could name a half dozen other guys who also fit into those categories. Ask one of them. Hell, I’ll ask them for you.”

“There’s one more reason,” she pressed on, ignoring his objections. “You’re you. We’re us. I trust you in a way I don’t trust anyone else. Plus, you’re single. I can’t ask Lincoln, or Nick, or Cole. They could give me advice, probably, but they’re all married or involved with some of my closest friends. I can’t practice on them.”

Hunter choked on his drink. “What do you mean, practice?”

“We’re talking the art of seduction here,” she said practically. “I’m not an expert, obviously, but I know it means more than just words. It’s about looks, and touch, and … moves.

“Don’t you dare laugh at me,” she said quickly, lifting a finger in warning when his lips twitched.

“Moves?” he said, trying to hide the impending smile and failing. “Is this high school in the nineties?”

She leaned forward and gave him a not-so-gentle punch on the arm. “Will you help me or not?”

“Not.”

Brit scowled. “You said you’d do anything for me.”

“Yeah, but not teach you how to … mate.”

“Mate? Okay, that’s worse than moves. And it’s not so tawdry as that. I just need some pointers on how to get guys to stop viewing me as a pal. That’s all.”

“Oh, is that all?” He said it sarcastically, dragging a hand over his face. “It’s weird, Brit.
You’re my friend. My closest friend.”

“Exactly the problem. Every other guy wants that role too.”

“Do I have competition in the friend department?” He smiled as he said it, but she noticed he was watching her as though he cared about the answer.

“Of course not. You’re still my number one.”

“You’re flattering me now.”

“Is it working?” she asked hopefully.

“Nope.”

Awesome excerpt and because I know what’s coming, this is what I look like right now:

I’m so here for this!

Oxford

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: July 2018

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

About the Author

Lauren Layne

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.


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