Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Posted June 14, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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

Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Game by Sara DesaiThe Marriage Game by Sara Desai
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Exclusive Excerpt

Sam walked quickly up the stairs to his new office suite, a box of office supplies under one arm. The scents of curry, coriander, and mild incense permeated the air, making his stomach rumble. An accident on the I 280 meant the one-hour journey had taken an extra forty-five minutes, and he would have to hustle if he wanted to get in a workout before the gym closed.

He reached the second floor and walked down the hallway, his footsteps muffled by the mint green carpet that matched the patterned wallpaper on the walls. The frosted glass door to the office was slightly ajar.

Puzzled, Sam pushed it open and walked into the small reception area. Twilight streamed through the large windows on the far side of the modern, open-plan office, spreading lazy orange fingers over the polished wood floor. A stack of boxes tottered inelegantly on the maple reception desk, and a ghastly purple couch had been placed against the wall beside a glass table with a sequined ceramic elephant base. Sam had little interest in interior decor, but the combination offended even his unschooled aesthetic sensibilities.

Crossing the floor past the reception desk, he entered the office proper. Recently renovated and boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, polished wood floors, and exposed brick walls, the spacious office also had a private boardroom and small kitchenette. Nasir had furnished the office with a large cherry boardroom table and two desks, one multicolored and made of metal rods and glass by an obscure interior designer named Eagerson, and the other a traditional two-pillar desk made of rosewood and nickel-plated brass. Sam had mentally claimed the traditional desk; the Eagerson was more Royce’s style.

And then he saw her, shuffling through a massive pile of papers on his rosewood desk.

She was in her mid to late twenties, her long dark hair streaked electric blue and tied up in a ponytail that brushed the graceful curve of her slender neck. Long, thick lashes brushed over soft bronze cheeks, and her plump lips glistened.

He coughed.

She screamed.

He retreated a few steps, but not quickly enough to evade the barrage of office supplies flung in his direction. Small erasers bounced off his chest, and a sharpened pencil almost took out his eye. When she lifted a stapler, he held up his free hand, palm forward in a gesture of surrender. “Do you really want to compound your crimes by adding assault, or even murder, to the break-and-enter charge?” he asked, unable to hold back his irritation.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” She grabbed her cell phone off the desk, brandishing it like a weapon. “Answer, or I’m calling the police.”

“Please do. Then you can explain to them what you’re doing in my office.”

“This is my office.” She thumped the stapler on the desk. “My father leases this space as well as the restaurant downstairs.”

“And you are . . . ?” Beautiful. Stacked. Frightened. Furious. A number of adjectives came to mind, not the least of which described her generous breasts and lush curves. Too bad she had such terrible taste in music. Had she picked up that unfortunate Nickelback T shirt at a thrift store? Or was she really a fan?

“Layla Patel. Nasir Patel is my father.”

“I’ll need to see some ID.” He held out his hand, gesturing impatiently.

“Seriously?” Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared. “Is this the new way of breaking and entering? You ask for ID so you can make sure you’re robbing the right place? How about you give me your ID so I can tell the police who to arrest?”

Sam added a few more adjectives to his list: snarky, sarcastic, sassy. He almost couldn’t believe this was the daughter of the famous Indian restaurateur who had turned his ethnicity into a brand.

“Well . . . ?”

He tried to think of something intelligent to say. Anything. He was used to being in control of every situation and handling dilemmas quickly and decisively, but the longer he looked at her, the less able he was to command his power of speech. Everything about her was so vivid, so vibrant, from the shine of her knee-high boots to the fire blazing in her eyes.

“Sam.” For a second, he forgot his last name. “Sam . . .”

Her lips quirked at the corners. “Samsam? That’s your name?”

“Sam Mehta.”

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 2020

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 Sara Desai

Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos.


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Sunday Spotlight: Dirty Charmer by Emma Chase

Posted May 24, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

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

I love me some Emma Chase. She is pure goodness. I get all the feels when reading her books. I’m really looking forward to diving into this one.

Sunday Spotlight: Dirty Charmer by Emma ChaseDirty Charmer by Emma Chase
Series: Royally #5
Also in this series: Royally Matched (Royally, #2), Royally Endowed (Royally, #3), Royally Yours
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 264
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Abigail Haddock is stunning, sensible, and some would say . . . stuffy. But it’s not really her fault. She was raised in one of Wessco’s oldest, most affluent, aristocratic families—“stuffy” is their middle name. So is successful. Abby’s working overtime to distinguish herself as a top-notch physician, just as her family legacy demands.

She doesn’t have time for nonsense.

Tommy Sullivan’s all about nonsense.

Sure, he’s an elite bodyguard with lethal skills and co-owner of the renowned, S&S Securities Firm—protector of the wealthy and titled. But he’s also rowdy, fun and thoroughly irresistible.

Tommy knows how to have a good time, and he’s never seen someone more in need of a good time than Abby. The lass needs long, wet, filthy kisses—STAT—and he’s just the man for the job.

It doesn’t take long for a wildly sexy, sinfully satisfying, no-strings attached arrangement to turn into something more. Something sweet and addictive and real. But Tommy and Abby are too royally stubborn to admit it.

Opposites attract, everyone knows that. But can they last—can they love…for forever?

Excerpt

Abby

“I want to kiss you, Abby. More than I can remember wanting anything, in a long time. I want this. You. And I think, deep down you want it too.”

I can almost taste him. It. The kiss. I know how good it will be.

Perfect.

And a very bad decision. The kind that opens up all the boxes—Pandora’s and all those other Greek gods, whose names I can’t remember right now.

By most measures, parachuting out of a plane is also a very bad decision. But people do it all the time. Because they love the fall. The flight. The feeling of soaring air and whipping winds.

I’ve never been the jumping sort. But with him—a reaching, yearning, desperate part of me wants to give it try.

“Open your eyes, Abby.”

When I do, I’m met with warm honey-brown eyes—like they’re lit from within.

“Three . . . two . . . one . . .”

I’m going to say yes.

The word is there on my lips, the tingling, thrilling taste of it on the very tip of my tongue. Because I want this—the brush of his lips, the feel of his hot skin and firm muscle beneath my palm. The feel of him everywhere.

It’s been so long since I wanted anything just for me.

But before I can speak the words, his head turns away, snaps around in the direction of the front room. His shoulders are tense and the tendons of his neck are pulled taut.

“Are you expecting someone?” he asks very quietly.

Instinctively, the volume of my voice matches his.

“No.”

That’s when I hear it. The jostle of the front doorknob. The sharp whine of the hinge as it opens. And then . . . footsteps, slow but distinct.

Someone is here. Someone is inside my flat.

Oh my.

Oh my, oh my, oh my, oh my . . .

Without a sound, Tommy Sullivan pulls a gun from the inside of his suit jacket. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a handgun up close—it’s black and weighted and looks right at home in his grip.

“You didn’t tell me you were armed!” I whisper-yell.

“Shhh.”

“Do you have a permit for that? Do you know the statistics on—”

His large hand covers my entire mouth.

“Shush.” He looks down at me with an expression I’ve never seen on his face before—hard, harsh and deadly serious. The kind of look that says he could kill a man with his bare hands, and walk away whistling a merry tune afterwards.

“Stay.”

And without a sound, he slips out the kitchen door.

But I don’t stay. Because I’m not a dog.

But mostly because . . . what if something happens? What if there’s more than one of them? What if they manage to get the upper hand?

What if he needs me?

I pull the drawer open, careful not to make any noise, and grab the thick, hefty wooden rolling pin that I’ve never actually used to roll anything. It’s just one of those things you get when you move into your own place.

I give it one practice swing, then tiptoe out the kitchen door . . .

Royally

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: May 2020

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 Emma Chase

New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase writes contemporary romance novels known for their clever banter, emotion, and sexy, swoon-worthy moments. Her books have been translated in over twenty languages around the world.

Emma lives in New Jersey with her amazing husband, two spirited children, and two adorable but badly behaved dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.


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Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream #1
Also in this series: Quiet Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st and 3rd person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series comes a brand new story about love, friendship, and the bonds of sisterhood.

Evie is a bonafide nerd and a hyper-intelligent chick who has worked her whole life to get what she wants. Growing up, she had no support from her family and has only ever been able to rely on herself. So when Evie decides she wants to earn her engineering degree, she realizes she needs to take an alternative path to get there. She takes a job dancing at Smithie's club thinking this would be a quick side gig, where she can make the money she needs. But with her lack of dancing skills and an alpha bad boy who becomes overly protective, Evie realizes this might not be as easy as she thought.

Daniel "Mag" Magnusson knows a thing or two about pain, but the mask he wears is excellent. No one can tell that this good-looking, quick-witted, and roguish guy has deep-seated issues. Mag puts on a funny-guy routine so he can hide his broken heart and PTSD. But when Evie dances her way into Mag's life, he realizes that he needs to come face-to-face with the demons of his past if he wants a future with her.

Evan is a 27-year-old genius who just wants to finish school and make something of herself.  Unfortunately, her family is constantly holding her back.  She works as a computer repair person part time and strips the rest of the time.  When she finally makes enough money to work on her degree further, her family calls and someone always needs some money for something.  She’s under-appreciated by them, to say the least.

When her brother, Mick, gets arrested once again she heads to see him assuming he’ll ask for bail money – but that’s not the case.  This time he asks her to meet someone and do what he says – all very sketchy, scary and shady but she’ll do what he asks because that’s what family does, right?  That same night she has a blind date with someone her friend Lottie set her up with.  She’s not excited about it at all. When she opens the door to Daniel “Mag” Magnusson she’s loving the eye candy, but still isn’t into him.  Things go awry with their date almost immediately and Mag ends up discovering the “meet” she’s supposed to go to for her brother.  He protects her that night and even calls in his friends to help protect her when the shit hits the fan later in the book.

Through a series of events Evie ends up staying at Mag’s condo, but she plans on moving out quickly.  Evie doesn’t count on liking Mag more and more each day, but she does.  Fortunately for her, Mag seems to like everything about her as well.

While I never read the Rock Chicks series that didn’t impeded my enjoyment of this story.  I was introduced to characters I’d read about in other series, and also the RC’s in all their glory.

Evan was such a good person.  I liked her so much and just wanted her to get everything she wanted in life.  In this story we watch her blossom into the person she should have been year earlier if her family hadn’t been holding her back and down her whole life.  Watching her come into her own was awesome.

Danny aka Mag was a good guy who had some issues.  He was obviously an Alpha male (of course he was, this is a KA novel!) but also had some problems with anger.  He only really let loose of that anger a couple of times, but I appreciated KA showing us instead of just telling us. Despite the anger he was a kind and giving man.  I thought he was perfect for Evan.

Overall this was a good story.  I stayed up late to finish this one and I’m glad I did.  This one is definitely worth reading – even if you didn’t read the Rock Chick series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Sure Shot by Sarina Bowen

Posted May 17, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

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

Another Brooklyn Bruiser book? Yes, please! I really like that Bowen has connected her True North and Brooklyn Bruisers series. In this book, we’re getting Dave Berringer from Bountiful’s sister’s book and she falls in love with a Brooklyn Bruiser so yippy skippy, I can’t wait to read this one! I’m super stoked to be featuring an excerpt from this book for this weeks Sunday Spotlight. Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: Sure Shot by Sarina BowenSure Shot by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #9
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter , Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Brooklynaire, Rookie Move, Overnight Sensation, Superfan , Superfan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 307
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A new stand-alone hockey romance from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, sports agent Bess Beringer is ready to make some changes. Armed with a five-year plan—indexed and color coded—she’ll tackle her personal life with the same zeal that she brings to her successful agency.

A big, tall, ripped hunk of hockey player who’s just been traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers is not a part of that plan. Mark “Tank” Tankiewicz has a lot of baggage. He’s a ride-or-die loner with a bad reputation. He’s on the rebound. He’s also the sexiest thing on two legs, and for some crazy reason it’s Bess that he wants.

She knows better. But then she falls stupid in love with him anyway. And for a while it seems like maybe he’ll do the same.

Until she asks him for the one thing he can never give her…

Excerpt

“Hey, Rebecca!” another player says, grabbing the owner’s attention. He’s not just any player. Eric Bayer is one of the veterans I was meant to replace. Bayer is only a year or two older than I am, but he retired last season after one too many knee surgeries. “Did you happen to see… Oh, there it is!” Eric Bayer reaches under the caterer’s table and emerges with a tote bag. It’s covered in bright pink bunny rabbits. He pulls a baby’s bottle out of the sack and begins to shake it. “Just in time,” he says.

I search my brain, trying to remember if I ever met his wife. But I come up blank. I thought he was single.

“Do you need to heat that up?” Becca offers.

“Nope. The little miss likes it cool or warm or any temperature at all.” He pops the protective top off. “Here she comes now.”

I glance toward the half flight of stairs to the house, and my heart fails. Because it’s Bess who’s carrying a chubby little baby girl out into the yard. The baby is propped snugly on her hip and clutches a lock of Bess’s striking red hair in her tiny hand.

Bess is too distracted by the baby to look at me, which is a good thing because I know there’s shock written all over my face.

“Wow, Rookie,” she says to Eric. “That’s a very manly diaper bag you have there.”

“You shut up,” he says with a smile. “Thanks for the free babysitting.”

“Who says it was free?” Bess asks, handing the baby over.

That’s when I remember to breathe. Because Bess isn’t Eric’s wife, and that’s not her baby. Not that I should care. It doesn’t have a thing to do with me.

What the heck is wrong with me? Back in the day, Bess and I weren’t even serious. We had a wonderful, physical fling.

Before she broke it off, without telling me why.

Brooklyn Bruisers

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: May 2020

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 Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Sunday Spotlight: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Posted May 10, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

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

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all of you moms (whether biological or otherwise) are relaxing and reading today.

I haven’t read Alexis Daria before, but the cover of You Had Me at Hola caught my eye and I’m totally intrigued by the blurb.

Sunday Spotlight: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis DariaYou Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

RITA
® Award Winning author Alexis Daria brings readers an unforgettable, hilarious rom-com set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas—perfect for fans of

Jane the Virgin

and The Kiss Quotient.

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. 
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 
Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 
Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. 
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

 

Excerpt

“Let’s take it through with the lines,” the intimacy coordinator told Ashton, and he took his spot at the counter.

When Vera gave the signal, Ashton slid closer to Jasmine. With his arms crossed over his chest, he tapped into Victor’s easy charm—something he wished he could employ more in his real life—and grinned. “Do you think I have a chance at winning?”

Jasmine looked up at him from under long lashes. She pursed her lips before she answered, like she was thinking about what he’d said.

“I think so. If you remember every step of the recipe, execute it all perfectly, and finish on time.”

He raised his eyebrows. “No pressure.”

She softened then. Nothing obvious, but still, a noticeable easing of her stance, her tone, her expression. Her words were serious, not sarcastic, as she repeated, “No pressure.”

This was it. Time for him—Victor—to make his move. Uncrossing his arms in a slow movement, Ashton raised his hand.

Suddenly, Vera was there, close to them.

“Stay in the moment,” she said in a hushed voice. She took Ashton’s hand and gently brought it to Jasmine’s cheek.

Ashton positioned his hand on the side of Jasmine’s face the way Vera directed it. His fingers slid over Jasmine’s jaw to curl around the side of her neck, under her ear. Her skin was so warm. He had a flash of pressing his mouth there. How would she feel against his lips?

“Say your line.” Vera’s words were faint, barely interrupting the tension spinning out between the three of them.

Ashton dropped his voice. “You have something here.” With Vera’s hand over his, Ashton’s thumb came to rest on the curve of Jasmine’s cheekbone. Vera gave the digit a little nudge, and Ashton stroked Jasmine’s cheek in a soft, gentle glide. Then Vera shifted, resting her hands on Jasmine’s upper arms. Slowly, Jasmine rose up from her elbows. Her dark eyes stayed locked on Ashton’s, even as Vera moved her like a doll, or a puppet. But Vera wasn’t controlling them—no, she was guiding. They’d given her permission, given each other permission. They’d consented to this, and there was power in that. Vera was part of this.

And damn if it wasn’t incredibly intimate.

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: May 2020

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 Alexis Daria

Alexis Daria is a native New Yorker and award-winning author writing romance and mystery stories about successful Latinx characters and their (occasionally messy) familias. Her debut Take the Lead won the 2018 RITA® Award for “Best First Book” and was one of the “Best Romance Novels of 2017” in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly. Her next release, You Had Me at Hola, will be out July 7, 2020. Alexis has a BFA in Computer Arts, and her super powers include spotting celebrities in NYC, winning Broadway ticket lotteries, and live-tweeting from @alexisdaria.


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