Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin

Posted February 18, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 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

Today we’re bringing you an excerpt from Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin. Y’all, the series is called Whiskey and Weddings. How can I resist?

Sunday Spotlight: Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlinMaybe This Time (Whiskey and Weddings, #2) by Nicole McLaughlin
Series: Whiskey and Weddings #2
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life―and her occasional careless choices―have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take―and having it all, together?

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Excerpt

One

Twelve years earlier

Apparently, blondes did have more fun. Or at least got more attention, Jen Mackenzie thought as she made her way down the main hall of her high school. Three guys had already made lewd comments, she’d received one request for her number, and several girls had given her dirty looks.

And the day was only half over.

The first tardy bell sounded as she took a left toward the history and social sciences wing of Green Hills High School.

“Looking good, Jen,” the best friend of the most popular guy in school said. Did that make him the second-most popular guy? Jen didn’t hang around with—or give two shits about—popularity. It wasn’t for her, so she just gave him the finger and kept on walking.

He laughed in response. “Anytime you want.”

She rolled her eyes, but smirked. She could appreciate a guy that could take it as well as he gave it. Jen was no stranger to male attention. However, she wasn’t used to it being so blatant. Not at school anyway, where she was normally an outcast. Or the kind of girl guys propositioned in secret. But the previous week she’d performed the role of Sandy in her high school’s musical rendition of Grease. Apparently dyeing your normally dark hair blonde, proving you could act and sing, and donning tight-as-hell pants, could turn an obscure emo girl into an overnight sensation. Now the catcalls were loud and proud. Who’d have thought?

Although she was smart enough to know none of it was genuine, not even a jaded and bitter soul such as herself could deny the instinctive pleasure this new attention brought her. It wasn’t that she’d wanted to be a nobody … necessarily. It was just so much easier to not care. Case in point: She was already feeling the pressure from this newfound attention. The blonde hair had to be part of the appeal, and yet, there was no way her mother would give her the money to maintain it. The director’s sister did hair, and so she’d let Jen come to her shop and get a head full of platinum highlights for free. But a few weeks from now she’d be the girl with the nasty dark roots—a clear reminder to her peers that she was not one of them. With a sigh, she picked up her pace as her stomach gave a tiny moan of protest. Don’t you dare humiliate me, stomach.

She’d purposely not eaten lunch for two reasons. One, she didn’t want to risk spilling anything on her top, and two, to ensure she didn’t have bad breath for this hour. And okay, probably a little bit because her lunch account was negative nine dollars. At ten, they held the right to refuse you, depending on the mood of the cashier, and Jen wasn’t willing to risk suffering that humiliation. Not again. Asking her mom for lunch money was only successful when she was in a good mood. Otherwise she’d get the “if you want to eat lunch every day, then get a job” speech. But a job would not allow her to attend rehearsals. A dilemma, but they didn’t call them starving artists for nothing. Someday her talent would pay off.

As Jen approached the door to her fifth-hour Government class, she slowed, trying not to appear overeager. Normally, that would have come naturally. She hated this class. Mr. Timmons was a bore, and she hated the texture of his hair, which looked like a toupee but supposedly wasn’t. All she could do was stare at it all hour to try to see if it moved in conjunction with his head. Incredibly distracting, and several times she considered just raising her hand and asking if he’d just give it a good tug so everyone could finally focus on the three branches of government.

Today, however, she was nervous and excited. Popping a piece of gum in her mouth, she entered the class as the second bell rang, the reason for her anxiety staring back at her from the far row.

TJ Laughlin.

Just the sight of him made her nauseous and tingly. And did he just shift in his seat and look away in disgust? Was he annoyed? The seating arrangement had just changed at the end of class yesterday. Maybe he wasn’t happy, considering he used to sit next to a group of his friends.

“Hey, Jen,” a second-tier popular girl named Renee said from her seat. “Cool hair.”

Jen glanced at her, trying to analyze if it was a sincere compliment. Unable to tell, she replied, “Thanks.” No smile. Better to play it safe and not look foolish.

Making her way to the table she was now sharing with TJ, she pulled out her chair and sat down. He said nothing, but his left leg was bouncing nervously beneath the desk. Her first instincts must have been right.

“Feel free to request to move to another seat,” she said under her breath.

His leg froze as he looked at her. “Why would I do that?”

He almost looked pissed off. She glanced down at his leg. “Either you have to take a piss, or I make you uncomfortable.”

He let out a huff of a laugh and shook his head. “You have no idea.”

That was a vague answer. Before she could demand he clarify, Mr. Timmons was beginning his droll lecture. TJ, having always been a perfect student, wouldn’t appreciate her talking to him during class. Nerd. Except he was a hot, rich nerd. The kind of guy who would never want anything from Jen but what she could give him in fifteen minutes in his car. She was no prude, but she wouldn’t give any guy the satisfaction of looking down on her any more than he already did.

Mr. Timmons went on about Congress, and it wasn’t long before Jen was leaning back in her chair and doodling in her notebook. Anything to take her mind off how good TJ smelled, or how his forearm muscles constricted as he furiously took notes. He was left-handed, and she liked watching the way his wrist curled in as he used his pen. Almost like he was writing upside down.

“The way you write looks messed up,” she whispered.

His hand stilled as he turned to look at her. “I’m left-handed.”

She gave him a long look. “No shit.” She sat up, scooted her chair forward, and leaned on the table, looking at him. She whispered. “Does that mean you jerk off with your left hand?”

“What the…” He turned away, as if to be sure no one overhead her. Redness bloomed on his cheeks and down his neck.

Jen smiled, biting her bottom lip as he faced her once more.

“Why would you ask me that?”

She shrugged. “Just curious. There’s no shame in jacking off, TJ.”

He gave her a side-eye. “I didn’t say there was.”

They stared at each other for a long moment until his eyes finally roamed over the blonde waves framing her face. “You gonna dye it back?” he asked, surprising her.

“I don’t know. Should I?”

He lifted an eyebrow. “Doesn’t really matter. But the blonde isn’t you.”

She wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but she assumed it was because her normal dark brown hair was drab. Just like her. Jen wasn’t meant to be a sweet, beautiful, upbeat, Sandy kind of woman. In fact she’d auditioned for Rizzo, thinking she was a shoo-in. She felt like she was made for the role. But the minute she’d got done singing, the director had stood up, clapped, and said, “I did not expect that voice to come out of you. But I think we have our Sandy.” Nobody had been more shocked than Jen, and probably most of the student body. And she still hadn’t decided if his initial reaction was a compliment or not. She was leaning toward him being a stereotyping jerk, but she did appreciate the part.

Jen looked away, trying to convince herself that TJ’s comment about her hair didn’t sting. From anyone else, it probably wouldn’t. There was no explaining her thing for him, but she knew it went beyond the fact that he was beautiful to look at. They had four classes together this semester, and she often found his eyes glancing away from her, which made her look at him more, always hoping to catch him staring back. It made her feel a little insane and obsessed.

Maybe she was tired of his judgment and subconsciously wanted to convince him that she could make him want her. Stupid her should realize that boys didn’t want girlfriends who talked about pissing and jacking off. They wanted a lady. If only they could see those “ladies” in the locker room. They were all crude, even the popular ones. In fact they might be the worst.

Mr. Timmons stopped in front of their table and handed them each a worksheet titled FROM BILL TO LAW. “Feel free to work together,” he said. He probably thought Jen couldn’t handle the work on her own. Jerk.

“Don’t feel obligated,” she muttered, pulling a pen out of her purse.

TJ scooted his seat to face her a little more. “I don’t, but it would be stupid not to work together and get this finished faster. It’s front and back.”

Jen sighed, covering up her relief. “Fine.”

It didn’t even take them fifteen minutes to get through the entire thing, and she had to admit, he was a good partner. Didn’t try and answer all the questions first. That surprised her.

“You really know this stuff,” TJ said, stuffing his pen into the backpack on the floor at his side.

“I’m not stupid.”

He gave her a long look. “Will you cut it out with the attitude? I never said you were stupid. But considering you drew pictures of fairies all through the lecture, it surprised me how much you knew.”

She stared at him, wondering how he’d managed to see what she’d been drawing. Wondering why he’d been interested. Shrugging, she put her supplies away. “I find government fascinating and also infuriating enough to hold my attention. I read the chapter last night.”

When he didn’t respond, she glanced up at him. God, he was so handsome, his green eyes sparkling, light-brown hair sweeping over his forehead just right. Even his eyebrows were perfectly placed and groomed. Was that natural or did he maintain them? She wanted to ask, but didn’t, because his lopsided smirk was suddenly throwing her off.

“What?” she asked.

He opened his mouth to speak, but they were interrupted by Evan Peterson, Green Hill South football star and ladies’ man. “Hey, you two.”

Jen looked up to find him leaning on their table. It was only a few minutes until the bell rang and Mr. Timmons was busy with something at his desk, so several students had left their seats to socialize.

“What’s up, Peterson?” TJ said dryly. Jen knew the two guys were friends, so TJ’s irritated greeting surprised her. Evan was kind of cute in the rugged jock kind of way, but sooo not her type. Or in her league. He’d recently broke up with Adeline, a varsity cheerleader and total rich bitch. Could anything be more cliché?

Evan smiled at Jen. “Great job last week. I think you had every guy dreaming of you in those tight pants this weekend. You should wear them to school.”

“Jesus, dude. Shut up,” TJ said.

Evan looked at him, confused. “What for? That’s a compliment.” He turned to Jen. “Right? Shit, I never even go to the musicals, but after I heard about how amazing you were, I had to. Didn’t disappoint.”

Jen wouldn’t mind slapping the dickhead in the face, but for some reason she just gave him a tight-lipped smile.

He took her silence as agreement and leaned in closer. “I was kind of wondering. How would you like to go to the dance together next Saturday?”

Jen’s shock was further intensified by the way TJ froze beside her. His bouncing leg once again halted. And had she seriously just been asked out by one of the most popular guys in school? Why did it make her feel a little excited? Maybe because she’d been watching these handsome yet self-absorbed asshats walk these halls for almost four years, looking straight through her the entire time? Probably also because in those four years she’d never been invited to a dance. Which reminded her.

“Isn’t this a Sadie Hawkins dance?”

“Yes. It is.” TJ’s voice was low and stern beside her. She glanced at him, but his eyes were glued to Evan. “Which is why this is stupid.”

Jen looked at her potential date. He just shrugged. “Didn’t want to take the chance. After last week, you’re a hot commodity. Feel free to ask me instead. Laughlin can keep a secret.”

Jen glanced back at TJ, who finally met her eyes. Why did he look mad? Maybe they were all going as a group and he didn’t want her around? The thought pissed her off. No, she was not popular or rich, but she had every right to hang out with whomever the hell she pleased.

She turned back to Evan. “Maybe I will ask you. Better stay on your toes.”

He gave an awkward and obviously stunned laugh. “Alright then, I will. Can’t wait,” he said before walking back to his seat.

Jen and TJ were both quiet in his absence, so she finally picked up her backpack. The bell would ring any second, and she’d be off to Acting 2. Her favorite class. Drama Club and the performances were the only reason she didn’t just drop out of school already.

“You really gonna ask him?”

She glanced over to find TJ staring at her, his own backpack over his shoulder.

“Do you have a problem with that?” Maybe he’d be honest. Her theory was that she was hyperaware of his constant judgement because she herself was so focused on him. He must sense that she had a ridiculous crush on him, and he was trying to subconsciously send her “no fucking way” signals. She knew other students looked down their nose on the weird poor girl, too, but TJ was the one she felt it from. It must be annoying for his friends to be asking her to join their social events.

“Yeah. It does bother me,” he said, his eyes narrowed, brow furrowed. He breathed in hard and blew it out through his nose before glancing up at the clock.

Jen stood there fuming. Screw this guy. There was no point in being attracted to such an asshole any longer. She would be asking Evan to the dance. Maybe it would finally send hot rich boy the message that she was not beneath him.

Yep. Blondes totally had more fun.

Copyright © 2018 by Nicole McLaughlin in Maybe This Time and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Whiskey and Weddings

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

Nicole McLaughlin

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Nicole wrote her first full length book (6 pages) about the birth of her baby sister, when she was eight years old. She only finished it because her mother bribed her with a Rick Astley cassette tape. Sad, but true. Now her characters are what keep her writing and her subject matter has gotten a little bit deeper and a lot more romantic. She resides in a small town outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, she’s a wedding and portrait photographer, loves to cook, and watch historical dramas or documentaries.


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Sunday Spotlight: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Posted February 11, 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

Lorraine Heath is a favorite historical romance author of mine so every time that she’s got a release coming out, I’m excited. So many of her books have made me cry or rejoice. They’ve made me feel something and this latest release is no different. Beyond Scandal and Desire tells the story of Mick Trewlove and Lady Aslyn Hastings and it’s a story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

Sunday Spotlight: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine HeathBeyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #1
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

Holly and I are reviewing this book together so you’ll be reading that on the blog soon but you should know that we both…loved it.

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Excerpt

“Sometimes I yearn to rebel against proper behavior . . .”

“Why don’t you?” Mick asked.

“Scandal would serve me no good. Lord Kipwick would be disappointed in me.”

“Why is he not here?”

“The park bores him.”

“I would suffer through any dull activity to be at the side of a woman who interests me.”

That blush again, accompanied by a fluttering of her eyelashes that he suspected had nothing at all to do with flirtation.

“Is there not some part of you, some deep dark part of you, that longs for scandal?” Mick asked, watching in fascination as she swallowed.

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

Lorraine Heath

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Lorraine Heath has always had a soft spot for emotional love stories. No doubt because growing up, watching movies with her mom, she was taught that the best movies “won’t half make you cry.”

She is the daughter of a British beauty (her mom won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero–Joker on the original Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her “dual” nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan, and she enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.

When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.” Her novels have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today, Waldenbooks, and most recently, the New York Times.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Posted February 4, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 6 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’ve been hearing wonderful things about this book. I’m really excited for it.

Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding Date by Jasmine GuilloryThe Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory
Book Binge – exclusive excerpt

By the time she knocked at the door of room 1624 she was a bundle of nerves. Maybe he thought better of this? Maybe he already checked out of the hotel and forgot to tell me? Maybe he . . . She didn’t have a chance for another possible worst-case scenario before he opened the door. And then she was speechless for a moment.

She’d thought Drew was hot in his worn gray T-shirt in the elevator, and she’d thought he was hot at the rehearsal dinner, clean-shaven in his pale blue button-down shirt. Now, in a tuxedo, he was so hot she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye all night.

He wasn’t even fully in the tux—that was the worst part. He had the shirt on and the bow tie untied around his neck, with his hair still damp. He looked like every romantic comedy hero at the end of the night, just before the heroine pulled his shirt out of his pants and started unbuttoning . . .

“Hey!” He interrupted her increasingly lurid train of thought. “You’re just in time. I was about to break into the snacks.”

“Snacks?” she asked. She followed him into the room, momentarily distracted from her fantasies.

“I got us cheese and crackers . . . and beer. If this is anything like most weddings, we’re not going to eat for a while. I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink before this night gets under way.”

“You read my mind,” she said. She dropped her tote bag on his bed and hung her dress up in the closet. “I almost brought a bottle of wine, but I didn’t want to start dancing on tables before the wedding even began.”

He disappeared into the bathroom and came out a few seconds later with two bottles of beer in his hands.

“Beer’s in the bathroom sink. The champagne bucket was too small for a six-pack. Plus, there are two sinks; filling one up with ice was the biggest stroke of genius I’ve had in a while, if I do say so myself.” He cracked open both bottles, handed her one, and then raised his to her. “To my wedding date, and thanks again.”

She took a long drink of her beer and looked around the room, trying to find something to distract herself from how much she wanted to lick that drop of condensation off his lower lip. Huge king bed, neatly made up, so housekeeping must have already come and gone. A full-length mirror by the closet— great, she would need that while getting dressed. Floor-to-ceiling windows beyond the bed. She wandered over to the window, beer in hand, and glanced outside.

“Wow.” The view stretched out over the sparkling bay. She could see both the gray and white bulk of the Bay Bridge and the gleam of the Golden Gate Bridge, with the bright sun overhead.

“The view is something else, isn’t it?” he asked. He came up behind her so close she could feel his body heat. She wanted more than anything to lean back against his warm chest.

“It really is,” she said, without turning around. “Olivia was on this side of the hotel, too, but we were so busy talking I didn’t even look out the window. Josh and Molly got a perfect day for their wedding.” She turned to him, but he’d already stepped back over to the desk.

“I couldn’t compete with your fancy cheese and crackers,” he said, “but I did what I could.”

She walked over to investigate and set her beer down so that she could dig in.

“I love this stuff,” she said, dipping a Wheat Thin into the tub of herbed cream cheese.

He followed suit.

“You’re not just saying that to be nice? Or because you need to eat something so that you don’t jump up on that table and start dancing? Don’t hesitate to do that on my account, by the way.”

She took another swig of beer and grinned.

“I told you, I love all forms of cheese and crackers, even that gross stuff that I used to get in my lunch as a kid with the little red plastic spreader.”

He flopped down on the bed with his beer and grinned at her. She could just push him all the way down and unbutton that shirt of his. Would he have chest hair? If so, not too much—that glimpse of his stomach she’d had in the elevator was branded in her memory, and there hadn’t been a ton of hair there.

Oh my God, what was wrong with her? A few sips of beer and her fantasies were trying to take over.

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

Jasmine Guillory

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Jasmine Guillory is a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School. She is a Bay Area native who has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake recipe for every occasion, and upwards of 50 lipsticks.

As well as writing books, Jasmine sometimes writes about books, pop-culture, and food, some of her favorite things. Here are some of her recent pieces:

Words With Friends
The 33 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time
If Michelle Obama Were Your Girlfriend
If Nigella Lawson Were Your Girlfriend
What to Do When ICE Raids Your Restaurant
If Lupita Nyong’o Were Your Girlfriend
If Barack Obama Were Your Dad


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Sunday Spotlight: Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Posted January 28, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 2 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’ve not read very many books by Jennifer L. Armentrout but after reading this blurb, I’m interested as hell. It just sounds like all kinds of good so I’m featuring this book today because I want this book..bad. Intrigued, suspense and a dark romance? Count me all the way in.

Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: de Vincent #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: January 30th, 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout delivers the unforgettable story of a woman whose new life has just begun—but may end in murder…

Julia Hughes has always played it safe until she learned a very painful lesson. Now Julia’s starting over with a job in the Louisiana bayou—and a scorching encounter with a stranger, only to discover he’s Lucian de Vincent… her new employer. The de Vincent brothers share a massive fortune and a dark reputation. Julia cares for their troubled sister, but a menacing presence in the mansion—and the ever-present temptation of Lucian—prove dangerously distracting.

Lucian’s grandmother claimed de Vincent men fall in love once—and hard. Apparently, it’s Lucian’s turn. Julia’s compassionate care of his twin makes Lucian want to lay himself bare. But some secrets are better for Julia not to know.

The recent “suicide” of Lucian’s father is the latest in a string of deaths on the estate. Someone is eliminating the de Vincents. And the best way to get to Lucian may be through Julia…

Is that blurb not fantabulous or what? I need to know everything right now!

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

He studied her for a moment and then a wide smile broke out across his face. It was breathtaking. Toothpaste commercials would be envious. “Well, got to be honest, there’s never been any nurses that looked like you whenever I had to see a doctor.” He winked, and damn if he didn’t look good doing it. “Probably a good thing, because I’d be coming up with all kinds of reasons to visit the doctor then.”

A surprised laugh burst out of her as she turned back to him. “Oh whatever.”

“No. I’m serious. I’d start with a stomachache and then probably escalate to stubbing a finger or two, but swearing it was broken.”

Laughing again, she shook her head. “You must have really good insurance then.”

“Something like that.” And somehow he was even closer, less than a foot separated them.

“I’m about to say what’s on my mind. You ready for that?”

“I guess.” She held on tight to her drink, her heart kicking all over the place. What was he going to say?

He did what he’d done before, lowering his head so that his mouth was near her ear. Tiny bumps rose all over her skin as she now caught the scent of spicy cologne and clean soap, a surprisingly intoxicating mix. “The whole time we’ve been standing here talking, I’ve been wondering about how those beautiful lips of yours would taste.”

Her heart did a cartwheel while her brain tried to process that he really did say that.

“And I’ve also been thinking this whole time that your lips aren’t the only things I want to taste.”

Holy smokes.

All coherent thought belly-flopped out of the window.

He drew back only a few inches, lining up their mouths in a way that their breaths mingled.

“Is that too forward?”

Yes.

No.

Julia shook her head no. She had no control over her head.

“Glad to hear that.” Taylor pulled back, his lips curved up on one side.

She jerked, startled as her phone vibrated against the side of her stomach. “Excuse me,” she murmured, flustered and more than welcoming of a distraction, because every part of her was way focused on the idea of him tasting her lips and so much more.

She fumbled, digging the slim phone out of the pouch. The screen was still lit from the text message. It was from Anna. She had to read it twice, because she didn’t think she had read it correctly.

Didn’t want to bother you two. I’m heading home to the hubs. Get hottie to give you a ride and then another ride. Love you!

“Damn it,” she muttered under her breath. She was going to kill Anna.

“That doesn’t sound good.”

She gave a little shake of her head, torn between laughing and cursing again. “It’s nothing.”

“Doesn’t sound that way.” He bumped his arm against hers. “What’s going on?”

Exhaling roughly, she slipped her phone back into her purse. “My friend—Anna? The one you were playing darts with? She kind of bailed on me.”

“Let me guess? She was your ride home?” he asked, dipping his chin as he leaned in again, pressing his arm against hers and staying there.

“Yep.” Julia didn’t move away.

The lopsided grin returned. “I can take you home. Only had this drink.”

Her gaze flicked to his as the muscles low in her stomach clenched. Him take her home?

Would he plan on . . . tasting her? Okay. She really needed to stop thinking about all of that.

“Thank you, but it’s okay. I can get a cab or—”

“Or you could let me take you home. After all, isn’t that what your clever friend wanted by leaving you here to fend for yourself?” Unfolding one arm, he reached over and tapped his finger off the top of her hand. “At least I hope so, because it’s what I want.”

Her lips parted as she stared at him.

“Actually, I’d love to take you home, Julia.” That finger slid up her over her wrist, up to the sleeve of her dress. “I’d love to spend a little more time with you.”

Julia’s heart was pounding all over the place as she stared into his eyes, getting a little lost all over again. She knew what he was offering wasn’t just a ride home, and that caused the pounding in her chest to move much, much lower. Her body flushed hot at the prospect.

“Say yes,” he said, trailing his finger back down her arm. Taylor traced the bone of her wrist.

Her mouth dried. Saying yes was the last thing she would normally do. Like dead last, but there was a little voice in the back of her head that was screaming yes, that was demanding that she not do what she’d normally do.

That instead, she’d do what Anna had ordered, spread her horny bird wings wide and fly a little. Could she really do it? Then her mouth and tongue were moving before she even realized what she was doing.

Julia said yes.

de Vincent Series

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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About the Author

Jennifer L. Armentrout

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more. She is also the creator and sole financier of the annual Write Your Way To RT Book Convention, a contest that gives aspiring authors a chance to win a fully paid trip to RT Book Reviews.


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Sunday Spotlight: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

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

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

Sunday Spotlight

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

Sunday Spotlight: Now That You Mention It by Kristan HigginsNow That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

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

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

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

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

Order the Book:

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

Excerpt

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

Or maybe it was just being back home.

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

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

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

And I would find out what happened with my parents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giveaway Alert

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

About the Author

Kristan Higgins

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

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

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


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