Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Posted August 13, 2017 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

Sunday Spotlight: Illegal Contact by Santino HassellIllegal Contact (The Barons, #1) by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Published by Penguin, Intermix
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M
Pages: 251
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The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

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Excerpt


Gavin

Somewhere in the past couple of weeks, right around the time I’d watched Noah’s face light up as he threw himself into philanthropic planning schemes and he’d warned me about Joe being a nosy scumbag, I’d lost my mind. Evidence? Me wanting to smack my closest friend for putting the moves on him.

At first I’d thought I was being overprotective. Not even a week ago, I’d had this whole talk with Noah about him feeling safe, and I’d taken it seriously. As a foster kid, I’d never felt safe. Especially in the homes of people who’d temporarily taken me in. I’d been constantly reminded of my precarious position in their houses, and how they could put in a thirty-day notice with my social worker at any point. And they’d used that leverage against me.

I wasn’t about to step into the shoes of bastards who’d worked hard to ensure I would end up distrusting and despising people for the rest of my life.

He was my employee. I was his boss. He obviously didn’t trust me but had agreed to shack up in my house for two reasons only—money to help his father and to catch up on his debt. He didn’t really want to be here, but he had to be. The least I could do was respect his wishes. The same for my friends, but Simeon was laying it on thick.

As he’d run his hands all over Noah, I’d justified each jolt of discomfort by saying Simeon was shitting all over my promise. But Noah agreeing to fan day and whatever else? That had turned discomfort into outright jealousy. Especially since he hadn’t even known my damn name after meeting me at the interview, but he knew all sorts of random facts about Simeon. Simeon, who was in full-throttle, charming superstar QB mode. I was over it.

Regardless, my jealousy was a complete anomaly. Had never happened before. But it was happening right the fuck now, and I was furious with myself. Who cared if Noah was cute and a smartass who wasn’t afraid to tell me to go fuck myself? And so what if that turned me on? Who cared if he was proving to be helpful and loyal enough to warn me about Joe? He was still my employee. I wasn’t supposed to care that he was more interested in my best friend.

Fuck. Whose idea had it been for me to be someone’s boss? I had zero clue what I was doing. Why had I ever listened to Joe?

I returned to the game room and paced the mostly empty space. I’d just seen that anger-management person a few days ago, and every tip and suggestion had flown out of my mind. All I could think about was how pissed I was at myself, and how I needed to go down to the gym and beat the shit out of a punching bag to work it out of my system. The last time I’d been this mad at myself had been when I’d trusted a journalist who’d invented a fake backstory for himself to get me to respond to his prying questions. Then he’d blasted my childhood across the front page of the newspaper.

Gavin Brawley Blames His Out of Control Temper on Hardscrabble Past.

Every word out of context. Bits and pieces of my identity twisted to fit the story he’d wanted. After that, I’d vowed to never talk to a reporter again. I hadn’t expected my emotional thermometer to blast through to enraged over Simeon coming on to Noah. And now I had nothing to use as an outlet. I could work out from morning to night, but after a while it was monotonous. Energy being expended but not going anywhere, and I felt like it circled the air and absorbed right back into my shoulders every goddamn night.

“You’re being real extra right now.”

Marcus’ calm voice did nothing to settle me down. “Shut up.”

“Nah.” Marcus yawned and plopped onto one of the sofas. “Fuck, dude, I’m ready for nap time. Your cagey, jealous shit is ruining the vibe.”

“Who says I’m jealous?”

“Your white ass gets so flushed when you’re mad that it would be impossible to miss. I thought you were going to jump Simeon when he made that comment about giving ole boy a ride.”

“Yeah, well, what can I say?” I stopped pacing. “I didn’t invite you assholes over here to give my employee a hard time.”

“Your employee.” Marcus threw his muscular legs up onto the couch and stretched out. “Don’t even front like you don’t want to smash him.”

“I don’t.”

“Bullshit. You were staring them down the whole time we were downstairs. I mean, hey, no judgment. He just looks like a typical white-boy hipster to me, but whatever floats your boat, man. You may want to lay it down for Simeon if you’re serious, though. He most definitely wants to tap that ass.”

I ground my teeth together and tried to remember the last time I’d felt possessive over anyone, but I came up short. Then again, I didn’t normally hang out with the people I had sex with for more than ten minutes after we both came.

“I don’t want Simeon fucking him, and it has nothing to do with me being jealous.” “Oh yeah? What’s it got to do with?”

“Him not pissing off the only person I can stand to have in my house for six months,” I snarled. “Simeon can stick his dick in someone else until Noah is finished here.”

“And then you’d be cool with it?” “Yeah, then I’d be cool with it.”

Marcus snickered. He knew I was full of shit. “Let me ask you a question, Gav.”

“Is that a question or a warning about the fact that I can’t stop you from asking even if I wanted to?” “Probably the last one.” Marcus propped his feet up on the arm of the couch, making himself nice and comfy. “If you’re having jealous temper tantrums over this kid after a month, how the fuck are you gonna act in another two or three? He’s gonna be here all the time, dude. Showering in your bathroom, sleeping in your guest room, jacking it in bed a few thousand square feet away . . .”

“For fuck’s sake, Marcus.”

“Am I right or am I right, though?” He was right. But I refused to admit it.

“I already told you I’m not jealous. Do we get along? Yeah. We do. And you know that’s a miracle when it comes to me. Half the Barons can’t stand my ass because I won’t laugh at their stupid jokes, but at least they respect me. Most people think I’m a piece of shit.”

“And your boy?” Marcus pressed, looking truly intrigued. “What’s he like?”

“He’s . . .” How was he? What was it about him that had even clicked with me enough to make me want to guarantee he not walk out of the oversized front door and not come back? To become desperate and throw in that huge bonus so he wouldn’t have to keep commuting? “He’s a smartass, but he’s a good person. And he gets me.”

Marcus raised an eyebrow. “How’s he get you? He doesn’t even like football.”

The disgusted tone drew a smile out of me. I plopped down in one of the armchairs and tilted my head back. “He didn’t grow up like me, but . . . he gets it. And he’s not phony. He’s straight up with his opinions and isn’t afraid to tell me them.”

“So he’s not scared to say . . . ‘Gavin, you’re being a dickhead.’”

“Basically. He talks almost as much trash as I do, which is probably why we managed to get along. Also, he keeps trying to make me look good to Mel. Gave me credit for all this shit that he came up with. I don’t get it, since I was a total douchebag to him, but I appreciate it. He’s a good dude.”

“Huh.” Marcus slowly nodded, analyzing me with his big dark eyes. “Aiight, I’ll talk to Simeon.” “About what?”

“Him keeping his greedy hands off your boy.” Marcus winked. “But if you’re keeping on with this whole I’m-trying-to-hold-on-to-my-employee bullshit, I’d recommend getting laid. From where I’m sitting, you just look like a jealous, horny bastard.”

“Done.”

Marcus rolled off the sofa and sprang to his feet. He arched his back with a jaw-cracking yawn. “You mind if I catch some sleep, dude? I’ve been having nightmares every night for the past few days.”

“What kind of nightmares?”

“Eh. Stress shit. Getting injured before the season even starts. Moe getting hurt messed me up, man.” “You spoke to him?”

“Yeah.” Marcus sobered. “His agent isn’t feeling too good about his contract since this is his last year, and he’s had four fucking surgeries during the life of it. Remember what I said earlier? About them saying he was injury-prone? I wasn’t making it up. His career may be over, man. Or maybe they’ll trade him to some douchebag team like the Predators.”

The Predators were infamous dickholes. It seemed to be a requirement for signing with them. Even their cheerleaders were mean as fuck. The Slytherin of the NFL. The only time I could play a game without everyone mentioning my shitty reputation was if we were playing the Predators. They, as a whole, had a shittier reputation than me.

“You won’t get hurt.”

Marcus arched a brow. “You a prophet now?”

“Yeah. And I prophesize your ass winning the Super Bowl this year.”

“Without you and Moe? Nope.”

I scoffed. “Yeah, right.”

“For real, man. I love Phil, but he’s no Brawley. He’s small and lean enough to run circles around D- men after a reception, but he has none of your force or bulk. They’re changing everything to account for you and Moe not being there. Fucking sucks.”

It did suck. Even more so because I was now facing the reality that my team was short not one but two starters. If I’d controlled myself better, I’d be there to support them. All of this stress and anxiety about how the season would roll out wouldn’t be on their shoulders, although in my opinion Moe was more of an asset to the team. He was one of the best wide receivers in the league. Even so, I wanted to be there to step up. But I was stuck. Because of my need to escalate shit five times past where it could have ended.

“All right, bud. I’m gonna go talk to Simeon, and you figure out how to get laid.”

I nodded, watching him go, and actually listened to the tip. Between Simeon and Noah, the shit about Moe, and now the news that my replacement wasn’t rising to the occasion of starting for the Barons? I needed an outlet. It was either time to get in a monstrous fistfight or take out the brimming frustration on someone’s ass.

I went for the latter.


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

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

About the Author

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

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Posted August 6, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 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

Tessa Dare is one of my favorite historical romance authors and whenever she releases a book, I’m excited. Her books just do it for me and to say that I was excited about this book is an understatement. Scarred hero strikes up a deal with a damsel in distress? Count me in!

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Avon

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:

– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:

– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

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The Duchess Deal was a great read and it has one of the more memorable meet cutes that I’ve read in a long time. Check out how the hero and heroine of this book meet for the first time below…

Excerpt

Emma Gladstone had learned a few hard lessons by the age of two-and-twenty.

Charming princes weren’t always what they seemed. Shining armor went out of fashion with the Crusades. And if fairy godmothers existed, hers was running several years late.

Most of the time, a girl needed to rescue herself.

This afternoon was one of those times.

Ashbury House loomed before her, taking up one full side of the fashionable Mayfair Square. Elegant. Enormous.

Terrifying.

She swallowed hard. She could do this. Once, she’d walked to London alone in the bitter heart of winter. She’d refused to succumb to despair or starvation. She’d found work and made a new life for herself in Town. Now, six years later, she’d swallow every needle in Madame Bissette’s dressmaking shop before she’d go crawling back to her father.

Compared to all that, what was knocking on the door of a duke?

Why, nothing. Nothing at all. All she had to do was square her shoulders, charge through the wrought-iron gates, march up those granite steps—really, there were only a hundred or so—and ring the bell on that immense, richly carved door.

Good afternoon, I’m Miss Emma Gladstone. I’m here to see the mysterious, , reclusive Duke of Ashbury. No, we aren’t acquainted. No, I don’t have a calling card. I don’t have anything, really. I may not even have a home tomorrow if you don’t let me in.

Oh, good heavens. This would never work.

With a whimper, she turned away from the gate and circled the square for the tenth time, shaking out her bare arms under her cloak.

She had to try.

Emma stopped her pacing, faced the gate, and drew a deep breath. She closed her ears to the frantic pounding of her heart.

The hour was growing late. No one was coming to her aid. The could be no further hesitation, no turning back.

Ready. Steady. Go.

From his library desk, Ashbury heard an unfamiliar ringing sound. Could it be a doorbell?

There it came again.

It was a doorbell.

Worse, it was his doorbell.

Damned gossips. He hadn’t even been in Town but a few weeks. He’d forgotten how London rumors traveled faster than bullets. He didn’t have the time or patience for busybodies. Whoever it was, Khan would send them away.

He dipped his quill and continued the letter to his feckless solicitors.

I don’t know what the devil you’ve been doing for the past year, but the state of my affairs is deplorable. Sack the Yorkshire land steward directly. Tell the architect I wish to see the plans for the new mill, and I wish to see them yesterday. And there’s one other thing that requires immediate attention.

Ash hesitated, quill poised in midair. He couldn’t believe he was actually going to commit the words to paper. But much as he dreaded it, must be done. He wrote:

I need a wife.

He supposed he ought to state his requirements: a woman of childbearing age and respectable lineage, in urgent need of money, willing to share a bed with a scarred horror of a man.

In short, someone desperate.

God, how depressing. Better to leave it at that one line.

I need a wife.

Khan appeared in the doorway. “Your Grace, I regret the interruption, but there’s a young woman to see you. She’s wearing a wedding gown.”

Ash looked at the butler. He looked down at the words he’d just written. Then he looked at the butler again.

“Well, that’s uncanny.” Perhaps his solicitors weren’t as useless as he thought. He dropped his pen and propped one boot on the desk, reclining into the shadows. “By all means, show her in.”

A young woman in white strode into the room.

His boot slipped from the desk. He reeled backward and collided with the wall, nearly falling off his chair. A folio of papers tumbled from a nearby shelf, drifting to the floor like snowflakes.

He was blinded.

Not by her beauty—though he supposed she might be beautiful. It wasn’t possible to judge. Her gown was an eye-stabbing monstrosity of pearls, lace, brilliants, and beads.

Good Lord. He wasn’t accustomed to being in the same room with something even more repulsive than his own appearance.

He propped his right elbow on the arm of his chair and raised his fingertips to his brow, concealing the scars on his face. For once, he wasn’t protecting a servant’s sensibilities or even his own pride. He was shielding himself from…from that.

“I’m sorry to impose on you this way, Your Grace,” the young woman said, keeping her gaze fixed on some chevron of the Persian carpet.

“I should hope you are.”

“But you see, I am quite desperate.”

“So I gather.”

“I need to be paid for my labor, and I need to be paid at once.”

Ash paused. “Your…your labor.”

“I’m a seamstress. I stitched this”—she swept her hands down the silk eyesore—“for Miss Worthing.”

For Miss Worthing.

Ah, this began to make sense. The white satin atrocity had been meant for Ash’s formerly intended bride. That, he could believe. Annabelle Worthing had always had dreadful taste—both in gowns and in prospective husbands.

“When your engagement ended, she never sent for the gown. She’d purchased the silk and lace and such, but she never paid for the labor. And that meant I went unpaid. I tried calling at her home, with no success. My letters to you both went unanswered. I thought that if I appeared like this”—she spread the skirts of the white gown—“I would be impossible to ignore.”

“You were correct on that score.” Even the good side of his face twisted. “Good Lord, it’s as though a draper’s shop exploded and you were the first casualty.”

🙂 You interested in reading it for yourself? Enter our giveaway below for a chance to get a copy of the book for free…on us! 🙂

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

About the Author

Tessa Dare

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

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

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


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Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

Posted July 30, 2017 by Casee 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 adore this series. I started it years ago after three books were out. I immediately devoured them and waited impatiently for each book to come out. Gena Showalter writes strong men along with the women who love them. The women are amazing. They are a force in their own right. They will do anything to protect their men, even if they have to protect them from themselves. Sounds cliché, huh? The world building and everything going on in this series is amazing. She really has her stuff together because there really is nothing confusing about it.

Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld
Genres: Paranormal romance
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: HQN

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn’t allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairytale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him—until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile…and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they’ve forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever…

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Excerpt

“WAKE UP, SUNSHINE. EAT.”

Cameo blinked open dry eyes. Her body ached as if she’d just been in a car accident. A common occurrence. The demon had infiltrated her dreams, making her toss and turn and tense up hour after hour.

As she studied her surroundings, she arched her back and stretched her arms over her head. The first thing she noticed—a tent made from an unfamiliar animal skin. The only furnishings? The soft white furs beneath her. A few feet away, a small fire pit crackled, smoke wafting up and out an opening in the roof.

The scent of buttered eggs saturated the air and her mouth watered.

A fully dressed Lazarus pulled her to an upright position. He released her as soon as possible, as if she’d burned him. A scowl marred his rugged features, the gorgeous alpha male clearly riled up about something.

Had Misery sunk his claws inside the warrior?

Lazarus handed her a linen napkin and a plate with scrambled eggs. Scrambled green eggs.

“What, no ham?” she asked.

“We have no pigs here. Give me half an hour and I’ll acquire a nice Griffin flank steak for you.”

Griffin. A ‘γρύφων’ in ancient Greece. Half lion and half eagle. “No, thanks.” She took a tentative bite and moaned with delight. “I guess I shouldn’t have pegged you for a Dr. Seuss fan.”

“Who is Dr. Seuss? A past boyfriend?” He spat the word.

The corners of her mouth twisted. My, my, how suddenly his mood changed. “Perhaps he is. He does have a special way with words.”

Lazarus snapped his teeth at her.

“What kind of egg is this?” she asked.

“Sky serpent.”

Whoa! The nastiest creature in the realm had the sweetest, most succulent eggs? How was that fair?

She swallowed another bite and asked, “Is it going to cause my intestines to explode?”

“Only your loins. It’s an aphrodisiac.”

“Well, here’s to exploding loins.” Cameo dug in as if she hadn’t eaten in years. After licking the plate clean, she wiped her mouth with the napkin.

Lazarus watched with savage intensity, making her shiver.

“Ask me anything.” He sat in front of her. “I’ll answer truthfully, without fail.”

Did he need a distraction from his own loins? What would he do if she crawled into his lap? Resist the urge! One, he’d just offered her a gift. Learn more about him? Yes, please! And two, she needed a toothbrush STAT. No reason to scare him away with her morning breath.

Lords of the Underworld

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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

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.


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Sunday Spotlight: Saving Grace by Julie Garwood

Posted July 23, 2017 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

Saving Grace is one of the first Garwood books I read. I was sucked in from the first page. Johanna’s struggle to find strength in herself, and freedom in a marriage to a wild highlander captivated me.

Sunday Spotlight: Saving Grace by Julie GarwoodSaving Grace by Julie Garwood
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 1, 1994
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 407
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When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry and selected a bridegroom for her—it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side—and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!

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There’s a lot to love in this book. Humor, depth, romance, action and adventure. Saving Grace has it all.

Favorite Quotes

Johanna was in an abusive marriage before her brother convinced her to marry Gabriel McBain. As a widow, the king would have been able to force her to marry whom he wanted and her brother was trying to save her from another terrible marriage. Gabriel was large and gruff, and Johanna started out very frightened of him. Even so, she had a deep well of inner-strength, and right from the beginning, she challenged him.

“I will try to love you, M’lord, and I’ll certainly honor you because you’ll be my husband, but I don’t believe I’ll obey you much. I’ve found that total submissiveness doesn’t agree with me.”

[…]

“Will you try to obey?” He sounded exasperated. She was so astonished by his attitude she smiled. She wasn’t such a weakling, after all, she thought to herself. She had just stood up to the laird and forced him to negotiate. She wasn’t certain she’d won much, but she definitely hadn’t lost anything. “Yes, I will try,” she promised. “Upon occasion,” she hastily added.

Gabriel’s reaction to her isn’t what she expects. From the beginning, he worries for her health and well-being, though she doesn’t realize it at first.

She was trying to be submissive, Gabriel decided. He thought it was probably killing her.

Johanna constantly tries to impart wisdom to her husband’s followers, but they never understand what she means. Every single time it happened, I laughed out loud.

“I was just thinking about your laird,” she answered. “He’s a complicated man.”

“Aye, he is,” Keith agreed.

“I would like to understand how his mind works.”

“Why?”

She lifted her shoulders in a shrug. “Direct questions don’t work,” she remarked. “Still, there’s more than one way into a castle.”

Keith misunderstood. “Aye, there are two entrances, three if you count the pathway through the cellar.”

“I wasn’t referring to this holding,” she explained. “I meant that there is always more than one way to get what you want. Do you see?”

“But there are still just two entrances to the keep, M’lady,” Keith stubbornly insisted.

She let out a sigh. “Never mind, Keith.”

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Have you read this book? Do you love it as much as we do? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author


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It’s no surprise that Julie Garwood became a writer. Growing up in a large family of Irish heritage, she took to storytelling naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation,” she explains. “Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”

Creating stories was always a passion for Julie, but she didn’t focus on making it a career until the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her interests to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published in 1985, and there has been a steady parade of bestsellers ever since. Today more than 40-million copies of her books are in print, and they are translated into dozens of languages around the world. One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production on CBS.

Whether the setting is medieval Scotland, Regency England, frontier Montana, or modern-day Louisiana, her themes are consistent: family, loyalty, and honor. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as the poignancy of her novels that keep them coming back for more. Julie described her goals this way: “I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterward to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”

Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.


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Sunday Spotlight: Friend (with Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown

Posted July 16, 2017 by Rowena 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

Friend (with Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown caught my eye when I read that the hero and heroine met in a Deaf program when they were both in Kindergarten. That’s a new one for me so I’m definitely interested in this one.

Friend (with Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon

I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend.

Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great.

When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night.

I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny.

I guess the only thing we can do is try…

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

And now my box containing the only articles I had left from him, mainly random small items, a few pictures and recipes, was trapped in a place I no longer had access to. Yet another landlord held my belongings hostage.

Anger bubbled up inside, and I had no one to blame but myself. I banged on my wheel, signing profanities into the air. I should have listened to Dev. If I had showed him the letter, we could have packed up all my belongings and brought them back to his place. Then my box would be safe.

The light ahead turned red, and I braked, resisting the urge to put my head on the steering wheel. Once before, I’d set the horn off by doing that, having no clue I’d disturbed an entire apartment complex. Another day in the life of Jasmine Helmsman.

By the time I made it to Dev’s place, rage had taken over. Every time, every damn time I managed to get one foot in front of the other, life pushed me back.

I stomped up the stairs in Dev’s building, wishing he was hearing and I could bang the shit out of his door. I could, if his brother was home or if Dev had his hearing aids on. Neither were a sure bet. I settled for pressing my thumb into the doorbell and holding it down, imagining the strobe flash and flash and flash.

The door flung open. “What the hell?” Dev signed before grabbing my arm and drawing me in. “Are you OK?” He looked me up and down, as if my physical appearance would change simply because my lock did.

“I’m fine,” I signed with more force than necessary.

Without missing a beat, Dev pulled me into a tight hug.

My anger vanished. His arms wrapped around me—my own personal blanket—while his head tilted until it rested on top of mine. Like I belonged there. No one hugged like Devon Walker. I buried my head in his shoulder, not caring that my curls were caught in his whiskers. Only his comfort reminded me of all my troubles, hitting me like a brick. Here I was, held by a guy who had more stability than I ever had. He’d always have a place to call home. I was homeless.

I pulled back before his warmth caused me to shed a tear. I didn’t cry, hadn’t for over ten years. “You need anything?”

I dropped my purse on the floor. “Everything.”


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

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

About the Author

Laura Brown

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Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates.


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