Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted March 27, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 10 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Kylie Scott is another author that I’ve heard tons of great things about and haven’t tried yet. I really want to read her stuff, I just haven’t gotten around to it but that stops with this book because I’m seriously stoked to dig into this one.

Dirty
Dirty (Dive Bar #1) by Kylie Scott
Releases on April 19, 2016 by St. Martin Griffin

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?

Ha! This one is a short but hilarious excerpt. I can already guess how awesome this book is going to be.

Excerpt

Heavy footsteps roused me from my stupor. I don’t know how long exactly I’d been sitting in the bathtub, staring off at nothing, pondering the catastrophe my life had become. Couldn’t have been too long since sunlight still lit the room.

The footsteps came closer and closer. And then they entered the room. Oh, shit. I froze, not even daring to breathe. There was a loud yawn, followed by the cracking of joints. Then a large hand reached in beside the closed shower curtain and turned on the tap. A torrent of ice cold water poured down. It was like a billion itty-bitty knives stabbing at my skin. All of the scratches and raw patches from earlier stung like shit. I gritted my teeth, shoulders hiked up to around my ears as if that would provide any protection.

Yep, I sat there, all huddled up, listening to the man take a leak.

Awesome. Just plain awesome.

Wasn’t like I could jump out and interrupt the man midflow. And say what? I knew this was not a good situation to get caught in.

1. I’d basically broken into this guy’s house.

2. And had then gone on making myself right at home, having a messy emotional breakdown in his bathtub.

Normal, rational people didn’t do this sort of thing. I didn’t even have a criminal record, had never particularly done anything outlandish or interesting until now. This was all Chris’s fault, the bastard. I’d just have to make the best of it and hope this guy had a sense of humor.

Haha, she broke into his house and sat in his bathtub and then he turns the shower on and she just sits there some more? Oh man, I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Laughing

Dive Bar Series

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 March’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 excited for this year!

About the Author

Kylie Scott

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into six different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Sunday Spotlight: Hawke by Sawyer Bennett

Posted March 20, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I haven’t read anything by Sawyer Bennett but she’s one of the authors that I’ve been meaning to read, an author that I know that I’m going to enjoy but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hear nothing but good things about her books and I am frothing at the mouth to read them.

This book is one of the reasons that I want to read this series. I’m always up for a blast from the past story and this is one of those. Yay!

Hawke
Hawke (Cold Fury Hockey #5) by Sawyer Bennett
Releases on March 15, 2016 by Loveswept

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

The Carolina Cold Fury hockey team proves that love is a power play. As Sawyer Bennett’s New York Times bestselling series continues, the league’s most notorious party animal gets blindsided by the one that got away.

Off the ice, elite defenseman Hawke Therrien enjoys his fair share of booze and good times. And why shouldn’t he? He’s worked his way up from the minor leagues and made himself a star. The only thing Hawke misses from that life is the pierced, tattooed free spirit who broke his heart without so much as an explanation. She’s almost unrecognizable when she walks back into his life seven years later—except for the look in her eyes that feels like a punch to the gut.

Vale Campbell isn’t the same girl she was at twenty. As crazy as she was about Hawke, her reckless behavior and out-of-control drinking were starting to scare her. She had to clean up her act, and that would never happen with Hawke around. Cutting him loose was the hardest thing Vale ever had to do—until now. Because she’s still crazy about Hawke. And if he could ever learn to forgive her, they just might have a future together.

Oh man, I can already tell this book is going to be filled up with angst. Yasssss!

Excerpt

A knock on the door doesn’t quite disturb me from my reading, but the voice that says, “Hey, man . . . I need my knee taped,” does, and my head swings up.

Hawke stands in the open doorway in full gear minus his helmet, his forehead sweat slicked and his long hair sticking to his temples. He stares straight at Goose and I use the moment to try to still my beating heart, which started running away from me the minute I saw him.

But damn . . . why does the man have to look so freaking good?

I just saw him but a few hours ago in my early morning dream, and yet even that memory of what we had was dull and faded next to him up close and personal. Dark brown hair that he still wears long. It curls just above his shoulders with a heavy wave and his blue eyes set deep above darkly slashed eyebrows. The one thing that’s different in this man just seven years later is that he now sports a beard. While we are well out of playoff season, Hawke apparently liked the look and decided to keep it. Its full but well trimmed; dark with some subtle lighter strands woven in.

I have to say, it does him justice, only serving to highlight his high cheekbones and strong jawline.

He’s perfection, and I while I want to tear my eyes away, I just can’t. Besides, he hasn’t spared me a glance, and while we were over years ago, I can’t say it’s a chore staring at him like this. What woman in her right mind wouldn’t stare at that?

“Be just a few minutes,” Goose says with good nature as he pulls another piece of tape from Kip’s lower back, who in turn groans dramatically. “Then I need to get him in an ice bath.”

“Why can’t she do it?” Hawke asks, and his eyes slide lazily over to me.

My body stiffens and I stand upright from the way I was leaning on the table as I read from the laptop. My heart skitters out of control as I realize Hawke was very much aware of me.

He stares at me now with those mesmerizing eyes that don’t speak a single word to me. There was a time in our lives when he could communicate to me just with those irises. I could read want and need. Anger and love. Pain and happiness. Hell, I could tell if he was hungry for a steak or a chicken by the way he stared at me.

Now I get nothing. Not even a hint of welcome or even curiosity about me.

I have to wonder what he’s feeling, because we did not part on good terms. In fact, we parted on very bad terms. I shut him down and out, and refused to even let him know my thinking.

Of course, I was operating on pain, loss, guilt, and anger myself, so I felt I was justified back then.

Now?

I’m not so sure I did things right, but I can’t change the past. I was ruled by emotion, and I acted in the only way I knew my conscience would let me at that exact moment in time.

“Vale’s still reading the procedural manual,” Goose says. “I can get you in a few.”

“Or she can tape me now,” Hawke suggests with what borders on an imperious tone. “I need to get back on the ice.”

“Suit yourself,” Goose says with a shrug of his shoulders. “She fucks it up, not on my shoulders.”

My body jerks and my gaze swings over to Goose. Now why would the asshole say that?

“She fucks it up, it’s on her shoulders,” Hawke clarifies, and my head snaps back to him. He’s got a challenging glint in his eyes and I realize in this moment, that I much preferred the blank, uninterested look he gave me earlier. This look right here says there’s still some bitter feelings toward me, and that’s just an unnecessary complication I don’t need in my life right now.

With a sigh, I tip my head toward the table next to the one that holds the laptop. “Skates, socks, shin pads and pants off.”

Hawke lumbers toward me, his skate guards clacking dully on the industrial tile floor. “Jock strap too?” he asks without a trace of humor.

“No,” I tell him coolly as I grab a towel and toss it at him before turning to the supply cabinet. “You can put that over your lap though.”

He’s only half a foot away when he catches the towel and murmurs so low I barely hear him, “Why? Seen one dick, you seen ’em all.”

I freeze with my hand on the cabinet handle and a sudden wave of longing and sadness crashes through me. Anguish over what we had, which was still so fresh in my mind from my dream of him and me and that stupid stone wall along the Sydney River. Wondering through the years, and more so now with him standing just a few feet away, what would have happened had things just been a little different.

“Vale?” Hawke says softly, and I jerk into action. I pull the cabinet open and gather adhesive, gauze, and tape, knocking it closed with my shoulder.

I turn to face him, squaring my shoulders and sliding a neutral expression on my face. I tip my head toward the table. “Let’s go, Therrien. Thought you wanted back on the ice?”

His eyes flick back and forth between mine, his jaw muscle ticking. He studies me, appears to want to say something else, but then silently bends down to start unlacing his skates.

I take a deep breath but blow it out silently.

This should be fun.

…and I was right! Bring on the angst…

Yasss

Cold Fury Hockey Series

Click on the cover to purchase books.

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 March’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 excited for this year!

SB

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series, the Last Call Series and the Wicked Horse Series. She also writes the Cold Fury Series for Random House.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Sunday Spotlight: All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan

Posted March 13, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I was a huge fan of Prison Break back in the day and I adored the relationship that blossomed between inmate Michael Scofield and the prison nurse Sara Tancredi. I loved seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing episode and I shipped them so hard so coming across a romance with the same set up made me sit up and take notice.

Yes, this is a romance that I want to read and Sophie Jordan has written it.

I’m so in for this book!

AllChainedUp mm c
All Chained Up (Devils Rock #1) by Sophie Jordan
Releases on March 29, 2016 by Avon

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

There are bad boys and then there are the men of Devil’s Rock . . .

Some men come with a built-in warning label. Knox Callaghan is one of them. Danger radiates from every lean, muscled inch of him, and his deep blue eyes seem to see right through to Briar Davis’s most secret fantasies. But there’s one major problem: Briar is a nurse volunteering at the local prison, and Knox is an inmate who should be off-limits in every way.

Knox feels it too—a shocking animal magnetism that drives him to risk his own life to protect Briar’s. Paroled at last, he tries to resist her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and she has no idea what Knox is capable of. But a single touch can lead to a kiss—and a taste . . . until the only crime is denying what feels so right . . .

“When the prison doors are open, the real dragon will fly out.”—Ho Chi Minh

Excerpt

“They’re letting me out today. After here.”

Silence fell as Briar worked, tugging at a particular stubborn piece of thread that had decided to stick to his flesh. He didn’t show the faintest reaction.

Feeling the need to speak into the space of silence, she supplied, “That will be nice.”

His blue eyes flicked to her face then, like he couldn’t help himself from looking at her when she uttered such a perfectly stupid thing.

That will be nice.

As though he would be attending a picnic or a baseball game. She heard his voice all over again telling her she didn’t know fuck all about this place. Her face burned at the memory.

For a split second the corner of his mouth twitched. Her hand started to shake a little and she had to pause to regain her composure and adjust her grip on the scissors. With him this close to her, she felt certain he was examining the pimple on her chin. She was twenty-six but still had the occasional breakout. Stress didn’t help and there was no denying that working here stressed her out.

Pulling the last bit of thread from his skin, she released a shuddery breath. “There, now.” Taking a step back, she deposited the trash and tools onto the tray. Moistening a little antiseptic on some gauze, she lightly patted the wound where fresh blood trickled out.

“I don’t think it will be too deep a scar. Maybe I can give you some Mederma to help minimize—”

“That’s okay,” he cut her off, and she flushed. Of course, he wouldn’t care about a new scar. That was for people in her world who cared about things like their income tax and whether they would get that upcoming promotion.

“Okay.” She rubbed her hands on her thighs, mostly for something to do with them. “I’ll call for a guard to escort you.” She gripped the edge of the rolling tray, wanting to flee but knowing she wasn’t done. She had a job to do and she wasn’t doing it right if she only did half of it. Deep breath. “Why don’t I check your ribs again?”

He hadn’t mentioned they were causing him any problems, but she told herself she was just being thorough before releasing him back into the general population.

He stared at her blankly for a moment, his face as hard and implacable as stone. Almost like he didn’t understand her.

“Are you still wearing the bandage?” She reached for the hem of his white uniform shirt, ready to assist him. The fabric hung past his waist, so her fingers inadvertently brushed his thigh.

His hand shot out and locked around her wrist. She stalled, freezing at his grip on her. Her heart lurched into her throat at his viselike fingers.

“It’s fine,” Knox said, his voice thick and gravelly. Their eyes held.

“I already removed the bandage,” he added.

Briar moistened her lips and shivered as his gaze dropped to her mouth. “And you’re not in any pain?”

He shook his head once. “I’m fine.” His fingers unfurled from around her wrist, slipping away.

“Let me check,” she insisted.

Something flared in his eyes and her skin shivered, breaking out in goose bumps. It occurred to her that he was probably not the kind of man accustomed to being ordered around by a woman, unless, of course, it was a female corrections officer.

He seemed like the kind of man that took charge. Her gaze skimmed the immense breadth of his shoulders, the broadness of his chest, the way his biceps bulged. She had a sudden image of him with a woman. In a bedroom. Well, on a bed. She snapped her gaze off his body with a mental curse. So. Wrong.

Oh snap, that excerpt has my spidey senses tingling and I’m super stoked for this book.

3

Devil’s Rock Series

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 March’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 excited for this year!

About the Author

Sophie Jordan

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History.

A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature – teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love Antigone, Sophie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.

In less than three years, her first book, Once Upon A Wedding Night, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, Too Wicked To Tame, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller’s List.

Sunday Spotlight: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 6, 2016 by Holly in Features | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

When I read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder back in 2008, I swept away by the story and characters. The plot was so fresh and the mystery so intriguing, I anguished over waiting for the next books to be released. That first trilogy has stayed with me over the years, and I often go back and think of it fondly.

Now, Snyder has returned to the story of Yelena and Valek with another trilogy, and I’m thrilled.

Night Study jacket
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Releases on January 26 by MIRA INK

Order the Book:

AMAZON UK || AMAZON US || WATERSTONES || KOBO || BARNES AND NOBLE

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new Study novel full of magic, danger and intrigue.

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realize it’s far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Excerpt

Extract from Night Study by Maria V Snyder

My lips still burned from Valek’s kiss. The intensity of it seared into my soul like a red-hot iron branding his name right on my heart. The idea of being locked in a tower with him no longer sounded so terrible. If my magic never returned, what else would I do aside from raising our child? I might be content…for about a week.

Valek mounted Onyx. He met my gaze, and his smile promised a reunion worth waiting for. Then he was gone, leaving behind a cloud of dust. The rest of the world returned, appearing duller.

“Yelena,” Onora said.

I focused on her. “Yes?”

She held out a roll of parchment. “I drew this for you.”

Suppressing my surprise, I took it and unrolled the sheet, revealing a picture of a tree drawn with charcoal. Each oval leaf had been carefully detailed, along with the precise lines and shading of the bark. I half expected it to sway in the breeze.

Why would she— I gasped. “It’s the Harman tree, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Onora’s tone was matter-of-fact.

She’d gone into Owen’s suite and sketched one of the saplings, despite the danger. Impressive and brave. “When?”

“This morning. Right after I talked to you.”

“Did anyone see you?”

“No. And I didn’t touch the trees or go near them, just in case there was a magical alarm.”

“Smart. I want to admonish you for taking such a risk, but…” I waved the picture. “This is perfect. You are a talented artist.”

She shrugged away the compliment. “Will it help your father identify the tree?”

“Yes. He’ll be ecstatic. And then he’ll bug me to invite you to the jungle to go on an expedition with him and draw plants. To him, that’s the ultimate experience, and he doesn’t understand why others aren’t jumping up and down at the prospect.”

Onora laughed. It was a small burst of sound as it escaped her tight self-control. “I might actually like that.”

“When all this mess with Owen is resolved, consider yourself invited.”

“Thank you.”

I tucked the picture into my saddlebags. Ari and Janco finished readying their horses.

The Stable Master gave Ari’s horse a pat on the neck. “His name’s Diamond Whiskey, `cause of that diamond-shaped blaze on his forehead. But we all call him Whiskey for short. Take good care of him and make sure he returns with you. The Commander’s partial to him.”

Ari paused in midmount. “Why did you pick him then? I can take another.”

“He’s the strongest of my lot.”

“That’s a polite way of saying you’re fat, Ari,” Janco said.

Ari and the Stable Master ignored him.

The Master pointed to Kiki and The Madam. “I also picked him `cause he gets along well with the girls.”

“Being able to get along is a good quality to have,” I said, giving Janco a pointed look.
He batted his eyelashes at me—Mr. Innocent. “Hey, I’m the epitome of a team player.”

I suppressed a sigh as I swung into my saddle. Janco in high spirits meant more high jinks. However, no matter how hard I tried, I really couldn’t consider that a bad thing.

“Come on, Epitome,” I said. “Mount up. I’d like to cross the border before dark.”

Night Study by Maria V Snyder is out 25th February in the UK (£7.99, MIRA INK)

ARI AND JANCO! VALEK! ::DIES::

giphy (14)

via giphy

Study Series

Night Study Blog Tour Banner

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 February’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 excited for this year!

Maria1

Maria lives with her family and a black cat name Valek (a.k.a. the bug assassin!) in Pennsylvania where she is at work on another book and/or a short story (yes this is purposely vague – as you can see, Maria is very busy and updating her website takes time that she just doesn’t have. Oh, all right, but if this information is out of date, don’t blame Maria :). Actually, Maria is hard at work…well not at this very second…on NIGHT STUDY, the second book of the NEW set of three Study books with Yelena and Valek! The first of the new set, SHADOW STUDY will be out March 2015!

Sunday Spotlight: I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne

Posted February 28, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I read the first book in this series at Ames recommendation and I really liked it. The main couple had me laughing, happy sighing and the hero was hot enough that I wanted him for myself. We didn’t get much as far as an introduction to Jackson is that book but the heroine is a big fan of his and I’m not mad that we’re getting his story. I was curious about the big scandal that broke up his marriage. I’m actually thrilled to dig right in.

Romance
I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne
Released on February 2, 2016 by Loveswept

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || IBOOKS

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

I’m a big fan of the friends to lovers trope so it’s not a surprise that I want this book, like now. I love that moment when a friendship changes into something else…and this excerpt is one of those moments. I’m happy sighing all over the place right now.

Excerpt

“Got any plans for tonight?” she asked sweetly, knowing full well that he didn’t. Best as she could tell, the man had made zero effort to develop any kind of life in New York outside of work.

He shook his head. “You?”

Mollie glanced down at her staying-in ensemble. “I was going to do a movie night. Pizza. Popcorn. The works.”

“It’s Friday. You’re not going out?”

She didn’t miss the hopeful note in his voice. He definitely didn’t want her around, and it stung. But she pushed through with the plan anyway.

“Nope,” she said, lifting her wine and taking a sip. “That a problem?”

“Why would it be a problem?” he muttered. “You want to be a twentysomething hermit, that’s your deal.”

Mollie rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to guilt me into going out tonight just because you don’t want to deal with me. And besides, I’m not the one whose social life is in mayday status.”

“Yeah, but I’m thirty-five.”

“I know. What I don’t know is why you think that’s an appropriate age to drape an afghan over your knees while sipping Ovaltine. You’re young and, frankly, hot. You should be grabbing drinks with coworkers right now. Or getting ready for a date. Or doing something other than being a big grumpy lump.”

Jackson choked on his beer. “Grumpy lump? You know, Molls, if you’re trying to make amends for last weekend, you probably should have just stopped at the ‘hot’ part.”

Mollie pounced. “Oh, so we are going to talk about last weekend? You’re not going to just hide in the bedroom again?”

He swore softly and hooked a finger into his tie to loosen it. “How is it that you’re so much younger than me, but you manage to make me sound like a petulant child?”

Mollie set her wineglass on the counter and leaned forward, palms braced on the counter. “Look. I am sorry about last weekend. I’m sorry that I thought the rumors about the other women might be true, but you have to give me a little break here. Remember that I was on the inside track of what was happening with you and Mad. I knew how bad things were. I knew that she wasn’t faithful at the end—”

Jackson opened his mouth, but Mollie held up her hand. “Hear me out. What I’m trying to say is that even when I thought maybe you might have slept around, I never stopped being your friend. I never stopped being there for you, and I never will. That’s what real friends are. Not the ones who have blind faith, but the ones who are still there even when you falter. I’m here, Jackson. I’ll always be here, so for the love of God, will you stop pushing me away?”

His hazel eyes narrowed. “I feel like that was the worst apology ever.”

She gave him a wide smile and held her arms out. “Would it help if we hugged it out?”

He shook his head with a small smile as he lifted his beer. “Go away, Molls.”

She wiggled her fingers and moved toward him. “Come on. One hug.”

He laughed and tried to push her away. “Don’t be weird. I’m still annoyed at you.”

Ignoring this, Mollie wrapped her arms around him and squeezed, although it was a bit like embracing a redwood trunk. The man was thick and solid and hard.

“I’m sorry,” she said against the lapel of his suit jacket. “I’m really, really sorry.”

He stiffened for a moment before some of the tension finally seemed to seep out of him. She heard the clank of his beer bottle against the counter, and slowly his big arms came around her, engulfing her in a warm embrace.

She’d meant the hug to be friendly. Heck, it was friendly, in that it was a hug between friends. But as they stood there, lingering perhaps a bit longer than they should have, the hug started to feel different . . .

His head came down to rest on the top of hers, and she felt the slight pull as his stubble rasped against her hair. Mollie suddenly became aware of her hands—aware of the way his hard back felt against her palms, the way his muscles bunched as he pulled her closer against him.

Even the air felt thicker, or maybe it was just that both of their breathing seemed to have quickened.

Jackson’s hands moved just slightly, first upward toward her shoulders and then sliding down until his fingers rested at the small of her back, as though exploring her shape.

And suddenly Mollie wanted him to explore more. Wanted his hands to drift down farther, over her butt, and then around to the front.

Oh God!

Mollie’s hands found his broad shoulders as she pushed back abruptly.

Jackson blinked in surprise at the sudden movement before his arms dropped slowly to his sides. Their eyes held for a second too long, as though searching to see if the other had answers for what had just happened.

The moment I get my hands on this book I’m going to be like this:

…if someone bothers me while I read it. I guess I should warn my loved ones. I can’t freaking wait to start this book. I already know I’m going to love it.

The authors that have participated in this feature are killing it with these excerpts and this wasn’t an exception. I loved this excerpt. LOVED IT IN ALL CAPS!

Oxford Series

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Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

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