Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

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

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

Sunday Spotlight

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

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

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

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

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

For the Promise of Passion...

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

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Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Him leaning down to her.

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

She blinked up at him. “Yes.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: June 2018

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

About the Author

Sarah MacLean

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

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

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

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


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Sunday Spotlight: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Posted June 10, 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

It’s summer, y’all! You know what that means? Another Nalini Singh release. Woot. We’re excited for another Psy/Changeling Trinity novel. Bowen Knight’s book!

Sunday Spotlight: Ocean Light by Nalini SinghOcean Light (Psy/Changeling Trinity, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #2
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
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New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love...

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

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Excerpt

Excerpt from OCEAN LIGHT
By Nalini Singh

“Good luck.”

Bowen bumped fists with the other man and carried on ahead, hoping the luck would stick. It wasn’t like he knew what he was doing. According to the last woman he’d dated, he was about “as romantic as a block of wood.” She’d suggested he read some romance how-to books before “foisting” himself on another “unfortunate” woman.

“I should’ve made time to read them,” Bo muttered to Hex.

The mouse twitched his nose in response.

Bo’s next step was to locate Seraphina or Tansy, the two women Dr. Kahananui had told him were Kaia’s closest friends after Hugo. He was wondering whom to approach for their whereabouts without his questions getting back to Kaia when he spotted Oleanna.

She waggled her eyebrows at his request. “No tentacles,” she whispered. “Either of them.”

His lips twitched; she was so joyously open about her sensuality that he could do nothing but like her. “I’m already very happily taken.” It felt damn good to say that—though he wasn’t certain what Kaia’s response would be to his declaration.

“Talk about no tentacles!” Oleanna scowled and put her hands on her hips. “But I love Kaia, so I suppose I’ll allow her to have you.” She dipped her head toward him, eyes narrowed. “Why are you looking for other women if you’re with Kaia?”

Realizing he’d have to confess if he wanted her help, he gave in. She clasped her hands in front of her chest afterward, bouncing on her feet. “Oh, oh, please let me help. I’m really good at sneaking things.”

“As long as you can keep it secret.”

“Puh-leeese.” She snorted. “If you only knew the people I’ve had in my bed.” Patting his cheek, she said, “What do you need, handsome?”
Not long afterward, he tracked Seraphina down to the assistant station commander’s office. He didn’t get a warm welcome.

“Hurt Kaia and I’ll kneecap you.” Hands on her hips, jaw set, and her purple lipstick a perfect match to her purple nails.

“I’ll stand still for it if that ever becomes necessary.” Bo knew he’d drive Kaia crazy in the future he was determined they’d share, but he’d never purposefully cause her pain.

“Hmm.” Seraphina tapped one skyscraper-high heel on the carpet of her office. “What do you want?”

A faint softening in her face when he told her. “Well, I guess it’s better than dead clams,” she said, putting him firmly in his place. But she gave him what he needed—and added an unexpected extra. “I can close out the location for you. It’ll say Closed for Maintenance on the panel. Input this code and you’ll be able to get in.”

“How about a no-swim zone above the transparent area?”

Seraphina gave him a you’re pushing it look but said, “Doable. I’ll turn the external lighting from white to blue in that spot—that’s a sign to our people that we’re working there and they should steer clear.”

Tansy was softer and sweeter, and had giant garden shears in her hand when he found her in an internal garden that was apparently also a lab where she worked on plants genetically engineered to thrive under the simulated sunlight. She snapped those shears menacingly after telling him to “Take care of Kaia.”

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2018.

Psy/Changeling Trinity

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: June 2018

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

About the Author

Nalini Singh

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.


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Sunday Spotlight: Order of Protection by Lexi Blake

Posted June 3, 2018 by Casee 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

It is no secret around here that I like love adore Lexi Blake and every single thing that she writes. I should thank Rowena for introducing me to Lexi. It was reading her review of Ruthless that hooked me. After reading her review, I picked up Ruthless and haven’t looked back. Reading the Lawless series then turned me onto her Masters and Mercenaries series. I’m not generally a fan of BDSM, but this series is written so tastefully that it’s impossible not to love it. Her characters are so real.

Given how much I adore Lexi, imagine my excitement when I read about Order of Protection and her new Courting Justice series. We’re talking about bouncing in my seat, jumping for joy excitement. When I read the synopsis, I was even more excited. If I wasn’t so lame when it comes to reading, I would have already read and reviewed this book for you guys. As is stands, I haven’t read it yet. If any of you have read it, please share! Did you like it? Did you not like it?

Sunday Spotlight: Order of Protection by Lexi BlakeOrder of Protection by Lexi Blake
Series: Courting Justice #1
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart.

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves...

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

This was a dream. A nightmare. She would wake up and be back in the little bungalow on the island. She would turn over and Henry would kiss her and make love to her and she would be all right. This time she would do what she should have. She would tell him she didn’t want to leave him. She would ask him to rethink his plans to stay in touch. They could spend weekends together. She would explain her situation and that she could afford to fly into New York whenever she wanted to.

If only she would wake up.

“Ms. Winston-Hughes, I asked you a question. If you don’t want to talk right now, I can take you to a cell. I think you’ll find a lot of lovely people to talk to in there. We can take this up again in the morning after you’ve had some time to think about cooperating.”

She hadn’t been in a cell yet. Somehow she didn’t think it would be a pleasant experience.

“I want to talk to my lawyer. I need a lawyer,” she forced the words out. She was making a mistake by talking to the police by herself. They didn’t believe her. They wanted her to confess to something she hadn’t done.

She had to try to come out of this fog and start thinking.

His chair slid back, but before he could get a hand on her, the door came open.

“Detective, step back. My client asked for a lawyer. Unless you want to give me a reason to go to a judge tonight, I suggest you step away and allow my client to speak with her attorneys.”
She gasped because she’d met this man before. David. Henry’s partner. Why was he here? He was a big presence as he pressed through the door. Even though it was long after midnight, he was wearing a tuxedo, though he’d pulled the tie loose.

He looked like he’d come from a party. Had he been there?

Nothing made sense. Her head hurt so much.

The detective sighed and shook his head, looking back to her. “He can’t save you. Admit what happened. This is going to go better for you if you leave the lawyers out. Tell us what you did and maybe, just maybe, we can make a deal. You let a few days go by and there won’t be a deal to be had.”

A familiar voice caught her attention. “Detective, you’ve made your point clear. Now allow me to make mine. My client has invoked her right to counsel. Leave the room and turn off any cameras or devices you have recording. Understand if I find out you’ve violated attorney/client privilege, that I will have your job and your pension. Do I make myself clear?”
Henry. Oh, god, Henry was here and her whole soul seemed to come back to life. Henry was here. He’d come to help her. He was dressed in a perfectly tailored suit and looked like power and authority and safety.

He was here.

The detective sneered Henry’s way. “Yeah, I get it. You need to understand that he can’t save you. Once this evidence is processed, you’ll be going to jail, little girl. You’re going there tonight because no judge in the world is going to save you. Your privilege is over.”

“Could we get the handcuffs off her?” David asked. “She’s not running and she’s not violent.”

“The dead body in her bedroom tells me something different, Counselor,” the detective replied.

“I would like to be alone with my client, detective,” Henry said, his teeth clenched.

She couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was so big and strong. When he’d held her, she’d been safe and now he was here. She felt terrible, but it was okay because Henry was here and everything was going to be all right.

The detective turned and walked to the door. “You don’t have all night. She’s not going anywhere. There won’t be a bail hearing for a while, so prepare your client for a nice long weekend. She’s going to do well in the holding pen. Or hell, maybe we’ll move her for a few days. Let her see how the other half lives.”
The door closed behind him and she was left alone with him.

“Henry?”

He turned to her, his eyes cold as ice. His suit was designer, custom fit to his strong body. The shoes he was wearing had to cost a thousand dollars a pair. This wasn’t the laid back, beach boy she remembered. This man was a professional. “Please call me Mr. Garrison. I’ll call you Miss Winston-Hughes, unless you prefer Taylor. No? Excellent. Miss Winston-Hughes, your uncle has hired my firm to represent you in this case. Do you understand the charges against you?”

Courting Justice

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: June 2018

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

About the Author

Lexi Blake

Lexi Blake

WEBSITE || FACEBOOK || TWITTER || PINTEREST

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Her first novel, Their Virgin Captive: Masters of Ménage, Book 1, was a collaboration with New York Times bestselling author Shayla Black. There are five more books available in the series: Their Virgin’s Secret, Their Virgin Concubine, Their Virgin Princess, Their Virgin Hostage, and Their Virgin Secretary. The next book in the series, Their Virgin Mistress, is releasing this April.

In addition to the Masters of Ménage series, she is the author of the Masters and Mercenaries series. There are eight full-length novels and four novellas available now, with more coming in 2015.

In 2013, Lexi also began releasing her urban fantasy series, Thieves. The first five are available now, with Ripper, a spin-off to the series, coming in 2015.


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Sunday Spotlight: I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

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

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

Sunday Spotlight

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

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

SHE’S GOT CURB APPEAL

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

HE’S A FIXER UPPER

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

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

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
ANGRY HOT GUY

RIAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s my sister.

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

ABORT SHOPPING

LEAVE NOW

Meet me in parking lot

RIAN??????

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How the heck—”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whoa! Wait a damn second!”

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

“What the heck, Mar?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Nope. No way. You explain now.”

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

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

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

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

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

“What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shacking Up

Giveaway Alert

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

About the Author

Helena Hunting

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

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


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Sunday Spotlight: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Posted May 6, 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’ve been hearing a lot about Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope lately. It sounds amazing. I’m excited to share an excerpt with you today.

Sunday Spotlight: Song of Blood and Stone by L. PenelopeSong of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1) by L. Penelope
Series: Earthsinger Chronicles #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

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Excerpt

 

CHAPTER TWO

Jackal and Monkey stood at the edge of a wide canyon. Monkey asked, If I leap and make it to the other side, was that my destiny or merely my good luck?

Jackal replied, Our destiny can be taken in hand, molded, and shaped, while chance makes foolishness out of whatever attempts to control it. Does this make destiny the master of luck?

—collected folktales

Jack had found himself in a great many hopeless situations in his life, but this one was the grand champion—a twenty­two­year rec­ ord for dire occurrences. He only hoped this wouldn’t be the last occurrence and sent up yet another prayer that he might live to see his twenty­third year.

The temperature had dropped precipitously. His spine was as­ saulted by the rocky ground on which he lay, but really that was the least of his discomforts.

His vision had begun to swim about an hour ago, and so at first he thought the girl looming above him was a mirage. She peered down at his hiding spot behind a cluster of coarse shrubbery, her head cocked at an angle. Jack went to stand, years of breeding kick­ ing in, his muscle memory ofended at the idea of not standing in the presence of a lady, but apparently his muscles had forgotten the bullet currently lodged within them. And the girl was Lagrimari— not strictly a lady, but a woman nonetheless—and a beautiful one, he noticed as he squinted into the dying light. Wild, midnight curls floated carelessly around her head, and piercing dark eyes regarded him. Her dress was drab and tattered, but her smooth skin was a confectioner’s delight. His stomach growled. When was the last time he’d eaten?

Her presence meant he was still on the Lagrimari side of the mountain range bordering the two lands and had yet to cross the other, more powerful barrier keeping him from his home of Elsira: the Mantle.

The girl frowned down at him, taking in his bedraggled appear­ ance. From his position lying on the ground, he tried his best to smooth his ripped uniform, the green fatigues of the Lagrimari army. Her confusion was apparent. Jack was obviously Elsiran; aside from his skin tone, the ginger hair and golden honey­colored eyes were a dead giveaway. And yet he wore the uniform of his enemy.

“Please don’t be scared,” he said in Lagrimari. Her brows rose toward her hairline as she scanned his supine and bloodied body. Well, that was rather a ridiculous thing to say. “I only meant that I mean you no harm. I . . .” He struggled with how to explain him­ self.

There were two possibilities. She could be a nationalist who would turn him in to the squad of soldiers currently combing the mountain for him, perhaps to gain favor with the government, or

she could be like so many Lagrimari citizens, beaten down by the war with no real loyalty to their dictator or his thugs. If she was the former, he was already dead, so he took a chance with the truth.

“You see, I was undercover, spying from within the Lagrimari army. But now there are men looking for me, they’re not far, but . . .” He paused to take a breath; the efort of speaking was draining. He suspected he had several cracked or broken ribs in addition to the gunshot wound. His vision swirled again, and the girl turned into two. Two beautiful girls. If these were his last moments before traveling to the World After, then at least he had something pleas­ ant to look at.

He blinked rapidly and took another strained breath. His mis­ sion was not complete; he could not die yet. “Can you help me? Please. I’ve got to get back to Elsira.”

She stole an anxious glance skyward before kneeling next to him. Her cool hand moved to his forehead. The simple touch was soothing, and a wave of tension rolled of him.

“You must be delirious.” Her voice was rich, deeper than he’d expected. It eased the harsh consonants of the Lagrimari language, for the first time making it sound like something he could imagine being pleasant to listen to. She worked at the remaining buttons of his shirt, pulling the fabric apart to reveal his ruined chest. Her expression was appraising as she viewed the damage, then sat back on her haunches, pensive.

“It probably looks worse than it is,” he said. “I doubt that.”

Jack’s chuckle sounded deranged to his own ears, so it was no surprise that the girl looked at him askance. He winced—laughing was a bad idea at this point—and struggled for breath again. “The soldiers . . . they’re after me. I have to get back through the Mantle.”

“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.”

She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless.

He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.”

Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to find shelter.”

She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.

“What is that?”

“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.”

He laid his head back on the ground, closing his eyes to savor the ability to breathe deeply again. “A quick rest and I’ll be back on my way. Need to keep moving, though. Need to get back.”

“Back through the Mantle?” Her tone vibrated with skepticism. “And away from the Lagrimari soldiers chasing you?”

“Yes.” Her palm met his forehead again. She thought he was delusional. He wished he was. Wished the last few weeks had been nothing but the imaginings of an impaired mind.

EarthSinger Chronicles

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

L. Penelope

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK |

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.


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