Tag: Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Posted May 10, 2021 by Holly 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. 🙂

We had a system glitch and this didn’t post as scheduled yesterday. Let’s hear it for Sunday Spotlight on Monday!

Sunday Spotlight: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlaneJust Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
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Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.

But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.

In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction...

They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?

Excerpt

Excerpted from the book JUST LAST NIGHT by Mhairi McFarlane. Copyright © 2021 by Mhairi McFarlane. From William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

 

Before

“We’re going to win tonight,” Ed says. “I can feel it. I can smell it. I could slice it like a frittata. The air is thick with the odor of our imminent victory. Breathe it in, my bitches.”

He pretends to scent the air.

“Are you sure that’s not Leonard?” Justin says. “He had chili con carne for tea. Got up on the counter and had his face in the saucepan before I could stop him, the fool. He’s been farting in spicy beef flavor ever since.”

“Maybe victory smells exactly like mince and kidney beans working its way through a very small dog’s digestive system,” I say, as Susie says: “BLURGH.”

“How would we know how it smells, after all? None of us have ever been successful,” I say, directing this at Ed.

“Speak for yourself. My GP said my hemorrhoids were the most prominent he’d seen in thirty years practicing medicine.”

I guffaw. (This is a standard joke format with Ed; I assume his bum is fine.)

I reflexively reach out to pet Leonard, who has his own chair, sitting atop Justin’s coat, protecting the upholstery.

Leonard is a “Chorkie”—a Chihuahua crossed with a Yorkshire Terrier. He has beady eyes peering out from under a comical fringe of gray-white hair, spiky in the middle like he’s had Paul Weller’s Mod cut, bat ears, and a lopsided little grin, full of toothpick teeth.

He looks, as Ed says: “Like an enterprising cartoon rat doing some kind of stealthy cosplay as a canine. We’ve been infiltrated by a rodent master criminal.”

Leonard, an omnivorous eater and troublesomely impromptu urinator, is one of the loves of my life. (The rest of them are around, and also sometimes under, this table.)

“You say we’re going to win this quiz every week, Ed,” Susie says, worrying at a coaster, shredding it into a pile of soft cardboard shards. “And we are always fucked by the same five determined men in Lands’ End packable anoraks.”

“Describing my best holiday in Wales, there,” Justin says. Justin is a self-proclaimed “tiresome show-off and performative middle child” and one of the funniest men you’ll ever meet, but you absolutely do not go to him for good taste.

The quizmaster’s voice booms out, cutting through conversation, like the Voice of God:

“Question TEN. Who is Michael Owuo? Who is, Michael Owuo?

The usual seconds of post-question hush fall.

“Is he . . . the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull East?” Ed whispers, faux-earnestly.

“Seriously?” Susie says.

“No,” I say, rolling my eyes, and Ed taps the pen on his lips and winks at me.

“You three do know who he is, right?” Justin says, doing a double take. “UGH. So we are the millennial cast of Last of the Summer Wine.”

“Did he play the villain in the last Bond?” I ask, and Ed says: “YES! ‘Doctor Pardon.’ What was his gimmick again?”

“He had bejeweled ear gauges,” I say. “And a walker, with tinsel wound ’round it.”

Ed laughs. I love the way he laughs: it starts in his shoulders.

“OK, who is joking, and who isn’t?” Susie says. “I mean obviously, they are,” she grimaces at myself and Ed. “Do you genuinely know who he is, Justin?”

“He’s Stormzy,” Justin hisses. “God, you can tell you lot are thirty-four.”

“You’re thirty-four, Justin,” Susie says.

“There’s thirty-four and then there’s, like, ‘Who are the Stormzys?’ thirty-four,” Justin says, pulling an “old geezer” rubbery face.

“A ‘stormzy,’ you say,” Ed says, in a creaky High Court judge voice. “Whatever a Stormzy is,” and writes “Mr. Storm Zee” on the paper.

Ed has really nice hands; I’m a sucker for nice hands. He cycles a lot and can mend things, and I am now mature enough to appreciate practical skills like that.

Susie takes the pen from Ed, scribbles his words out, and writes Stormzy correctly.

“Don’t your pupils keep you up to date with this stuff?” I ask Ed. “Hip to the jive, daddio?”

“It’s my job to teach them Dickens, not theirs to teach me grime.”

Ed is head of English at a nice county school. You know how they say some people look like police? Ed looks like a teacher—a film or television, glossy young teacher—with his unthreatening, handsome solidity, strawberry-blond, close-cropped hair. In a crisis in a situation full of strangers, Ed’s would be the kind, reliable face you’d hope to see. He’d be the guy offering his necktie as a makeshift tourniquet.

Part of the pleasure of this weekly pub appointment to lose the pub quiz, I think, is it brings out and defines all the roles in our foursome. Ed and I clowning around together, Justin refereeing, with his caustic wit, Susie playing exasperated mother.

Sometimes I stop participating in the conversation and just hum happily inside myself, enjoying our togetherness, reveling in the way we all broadcast on the same frequency. I watch us from the outside.

. . . didn’t she marry the singer from the Mumfords? I’d rather be a Sister Wife. (Susie)

. . . this cherry Stolichnaya that Hester brought back from duty-free, it’s amazing, tastes like baby medicine. Or so babies tell me. (Ed)

. . . he was a right grumpy carrot top. I said to him, do you know why gingerism is the last acceptable prejudice? Because it’s acceptable. (Justin, of course)

“Shhhhh,” I say, as I can see the quizmaster adjusting his readers, as he squints at a piece of paper.

“Question ELEVEN. The word ‘CHRONOPHAGE’ is an Ancient Greek word for what is now an idiomatic expression in English. But what does it mean? Clue: your mobile phone may do this. That does not mean you can check your phones, hahaha!”

The quizmaster blows air out of his nostrils in a windy gust, directly into the bulb, and you can hear his spit.

The looks on the faces of our hiking anorak nemeses suggest they’re considerably more confident about this than they were about Mr. Stormzy.

“Chrono means time . . . ,” Ed whispers. “Chronograph watches.”

“Chronological.” Susie nods. “In order of timing.”

“Phage,” I say. “Hmmm. Coprophagic is eating poo. Fairly sure the copro’s poo, so the phagic must be eating.”

“Eve!” Susie barks, with a potato chip halfway into her mouth. “How do you even know that?”

“I’ve lived a full life.”

“I’ve been around for most of it so I know that isn’t true. A quarter full, at best.”

“. . . Eating time?” Justin hisses. “It must mean eating time. Your phone does that. Boom. Write it down.”

Ed obliges.

We come to The Gladstone every Thursday. I would say without fail, but we are thirty-somethings with lives and jobs and other friends and—some of us—partners, so there are some fails. But we’re here more often than not.

“Question TWELVE, before we take a short break. What do Marcus Garvey, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, and Alice Cooper have in common? I’ll give you a clue. It involves a mistake.”

We stare blankly at each other. Packable Anoraks are frantic-whispering instead of writing or looking sneaky-smug, which means they’re not sure either.

“Is it choice of first wife? As in they’ve all had more than one?” Ed says.

“We don’t call people we divorce mistakes now,” Susie says.

“My mum does,” I say.

“Remember when our religion teacher said, ‘People are too quick to divorce nowadays,’ and you said, ‘I think they’re too slow,’ and you got a detention for it?” Susie says and I guffaw.

“Ah, there she is,” Ed says, as the door slaps open and his girlfriend, Hester, appears, her nose wrinkling in distaste at the slight stench of “armpit.”

My heart sinks a notch, but I ignore that it has done this and paste on a strong, welcoming smile.

To be fair, The Gladdy does have a bit of an aroma sometimes, what with the sticky floor, but that’s part of its charm. It’s a dartboard-and-devoted-regulars pub.

I love it, year-round, with its scrappy concrete beer garden with flower planters on the fire escape. I think they are supposed to simulate “verdant urban oasis” in a yard full of lager and smokers. But it’s at its best in autumn and winter. Frosted-leaf mulch and dark skies with bright stars on the other side of the steamed-up panes. Serious hygge to be had, on this side of the window.

Well, mostly.

Hester moved to Nottingham for Ed, a fact she likes to relitigate about once a month.

She looks like a colorized picture has walked into a black and white, kitchen sink realism film: skin the color of ripe peaches and shimmering champagne-blond hair. She’s like a human Bellini.

Her balled fists are thrust in her coat pockets, a Barbour with a fawn cord collar, as if she’s smashed into a saloon in a Western and going to draw two guns.

It’s not that I don’t like Hester . . .

“Are you all drunk by now, then?” she says, bullishly. She glances at me. “Eve looks drunk.”

Oh, why do I bother. It’s absolutely that I don’t like Hester.

 

“And once again for the cheap seats! What do Marcus Garvey, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, and Alice Cooper have in common? It involves a mistake. A mistake. An error. OK, back soon.”

“Hemingway was in a plane crash, were any of the others?” I whisper.

“Bit of a stretch to call a plane crash ‘a mistake’ though?” Ed whispers back and I shrug, nodding in concession.

“And Rudyard Kipling’s a bit too yesteryear for planes, isn’t he?” Justin says. “Not exactly doing his Instagram Story with a Prosecco claw holding a flute aloft in the airport bar.”

He mimes trying to photograph his pint glass, and Susie snorts.

“They were wrongly given awards that had to be taken back,” Hester says, dragging her coat off her shoulders. “Where’s the pen?”

Justin makes a skeptical face and Ed tries to look persuadably neutral as he hands it over. His sense of humor doesn’t evaporate, exactly, around Hester, but he goes more no absolutely of course I didn’t mean that formal.

Hester’s late joining tonight as she’s been out with friends at a tapas restaurant, and understandably, given the number of babies that the rest of the circle have between them, they wind things up by nine p.m. Hester only joins us at The Gladdy quiz intermittently, anyway. “Sometimes it gets wearying, with all your in-jokes,” she says. Even though she’s known us all for so long as Ed’s girlfriend, I am not sure how there’s an “in” she’s outside of.

“Are you sure?” Susie says.

“Yes, I’m sure,” Hester says. Qualifying: “. . . Well, have you got anything better?”

“Sure, sure—or four-Proseccos-deep-and-we-haven’t-got-anything-better-yet, sure?” Susie persists, smiling in a “Wicked Queen with a red apple” sort of way.

She dares with Hester in ways I absolutely do not dare. Susie dares with most people. Most people don’t dare back.

Susie has long, thick blond-brown hair she wears in a horse-mane-length ponytail, or loose and bunched up into a scarf like she’s Streisand in a seventies film. She has a full mouth with an emphatic pout to her top lip, which looks as if it’s being pulled upward by her tilted nose, which I think is a thing called “retroussé.”

“What award did Marcus Garvey get?” Justin says.

“Rear of the Year?” I say, and Ed hoots. Hester’s fuming, I know.

“OK, ignore me then!” Hester says. “Pardon me for trying to participate, guys.”

“No, no! It’s good! I think you’re right,” Ed says, hastily. “None of us have anything better. Write it down.”

I always respect Ed for leaping chivalrously to Hester’s defense, while wishing it was for someone who better deserved it. Hester scribbles while Justin, Susie, and I try not to meet each other’s eyes.

“More drinks I think, what’s everyone having?” Justin says and gets up to go to the bar.

I go to the loo and, after I flush, I see I have a text from Susie. (Not a WhatsApp, because it would risk appearing in full on a lock screen. Canny.)

When I open it, I see it’s been sent to myself and Justin. I know how they’re triangulating the signal, next door—Justin nonchalantly studying his handset while waiting to be served, Susie slightly angled away from the couple, feigning picking up her messages.

 

Susie: WHY IS SHE SUCH A BOSSY ARSEHOLE THOUGH

Justin: She can get away with anything due to the fabulous breasts, darling

Susie: I have great tits and you don’t see it affecting my personality. That answer is SO OBVIOUSLY WRONG. And why is Ed such a wimp about it. Oh yes write that bollocks down, my precious little poison dumpling. ARGH

Justin: Again, boobs

Eve: The poisoned dumplings

Susie: I swear she knows it’s the wrong answer and is doing it to fuck with us

 

I lean against the pleasantly chilly wall in the loo and type, grinning.

Having been in stone-cold love with Hester’s other half for the best part of two decades means I never know how much of my dislike is plain old envy. Susie and Justin continually—and inadvertently, because they absolutely don’t know—reassure me I’d have disliked her anyway. I often play Nice Cop in regards to Hester, to further throw everyone off the scent.

 

Eve: You wait, she’ll be right and that’ll show us

Susie: She’s not right, she doesn’t even know who Marcus Garvey was, you could see that when Justin challenged her

Justin: She probably thinks he won Best Video 2007 at the Grammys

Susie: Lol. And I’d just point out that Eve’s suggestion got shot down and she didn’t get the hump

Eve: Does this say anything bad about my breasts

Susie: Only that they’re not a carbon offsetting scheme for being a horror

Justin: Sigh. Let us get drunk.

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 2021

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 Mhairi McFarlane

Author headshot

Mhairi was born in Falkirk, Scotland in 1976. She went to school in Nottingham, studied English Literature at Manchester University and then returned to Nottingham to delight its citizens with her journalism. After roles as trainee reporter, reporter, feature writer and columnist, she realised she’d climbed to the very top of the mountain at the Nottingham Post and at age 31 decided to write a novel. Some very skint years followed, during which she thought she might’ve made a huge mistake.

Her debut novel, the romantic comedy You Had Me At Hello, was an instant hit upon being published in December 2012. It’s since become HarperCollins’ best selling ebook to date, has been translated into 16 languages and is being developed as a major feature film, with Mhairi writing the screenplay. The follow up, Here’s Looking At You, was published in December 2013 and made the Sunday Times Bestseller list.

Mhairi’s first hardback title for HarperFiction, It’s Not Me, It’s You, is published on November 6th 2014.

She’s currently working on her fourth novel, adapting You Had Me At Hello for screen and developing a comedy-drama script for television.


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Sunday Spotlight: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

Posted April 25, 2021 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. 🙂

I absolutely adore Anna and Charles. I’m so excited to have another book featuring them. Wild Sign was really good, and that ending! Ahhh. I can’t wait for you guys to read it.

Sunday Spotlight: Wild Sign by Patricia BriggsWild Sign by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega
Also in this series: Burn Bright, Burn Bright, Alpha & Omega, Cry Wolf, Burn Bright, Dead Heat, Hunting Ground, Fair Game
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it's too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It's as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they've consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

Excerpt

WILD SIGN by Patricia Briggs

Chapter 1

Autumn: Aspen Creek, Montana

Anna let her hands press the ivory keys of the old upright piano in a few preparatory chords, enjoying the rich sound. Music, for her, was not just an auditory experience-she loved the feel of the vibrations running through her fingers. The bass notes resonated in her core, leaving her energized and ready to play.

In all senses of the word.

She glanced over her shoulder and up at her husband’s face. She wasn’t sure anyone else had ever played with him. No one in their pack, for certain, including Bran. Oh, they played music with him, but they didn’t play games.

The piano wasn’t her instrument, but like most people who had ever attended college with the aim of majoring in music, she was reasonably competent. For this game, the piano was more flexible than her preferred cello, which was limited to two notes at a time, a few more with harmonics.

“Ready?” she asked him, then launched into the song without waiting for his response.

She hummed where the melody came in-it was his job to figure out the words. It didn’t take him long this time. Charles, his warmth against her back, though he didn’t touch her, began singing the lyrics to “Walk on the Ocean” with her two beats after she’d started humming.

The game had originated when Anna found out Charles hadn’t heard of P. D. Q. Bach, who had been a favorite of one of her music teachers. A lack she had remedied with the help of the Internet. In return, Charles had shared a few singers he liked. Some of them left her cold. Some of them had been unexpectedly awesome. Of course, she had heard Johnny Cash before she’d met Charles. But Charles had turned her into an unabashed Johnny Cash fan-though she liked Cash’s songs even better if Charles sang them. They suited his voice.

She would have loved Charles if he hadn’t been able to carry a tune in a bucket, but Charles’s facility for and love of music had been one of many unexpected gifts her mate had brought to their union. She had been so lucky to find him.

Gradually they had begun challenging each other, finding singers, groups, or songs that the other didn’t know. It was the best kind of game: one with no losers. Either they figured out the song the other pulled out of their store of obscure or favorite songs (or obscure and favorite songs) or they didn’t.

Sometimes they kept score-the loser to do dishes or cook or something more fun. But mostly they just enjoyed making music together-the game giving the activity more variety than it might otherwise have had.

Toad the Wet Sprocket, evidently, had not been a challenge at all.

Anna laughed in surrender, then sang the rest of “Walk on the Ocean” with Charles, letting him anchor the melody while she worked out a descant an octave above him-pushing her alto into a register mostly reserved for sopranos. Sometimes crafting harmonies on the fly could go terribly wrong, but this time it sounded good. Their voices complemented each other, which, even with good singers, wasn’t always true.

“That’s one of Samuel’s favorites,” Charles told her when they were finished.

Anna hadn’t spent much time with Charles’s brother; he’d left his father’s pack by the time she’d joined, but she knew he was a musician, too. Listening to Charles, Samuel, and their father perform the old Shaker song “Simple Gifts” at a funeral had been the first indication Anna’d had that she’d married into a very musical family.

She’d thought her music lost the night she’d been attacked and turned into a werewolf. Charles had given it back. In return, she hoped, she had given him playfulness.

He bent down, put his mouth against her ear, and said, in a mock-villain growl, “You’ll have to do better than that to defeat me.”

The rumble of his voice sent chills up her spine. She loved it when he was happy. She was so easy-at least as far as Charles was concerned. She leaned back against him, then tilted her head up. He bent over and kissed her lips.

He started to pull away, hesitated, and came down for a second round. His lips were softer than they looked, sweeping from the corner of her mouth in a gentle caress before pressing her lips open.

His breath became ragged. His muscles, still warming her back, tightened until she might have been leaning against a wall instead of a living being. If there was anything sexier than being desired, she didn’t know what it could be.

Her body became liquid as their lips lingered together, taking the gift of desire and returning it to him. His hand pressed briefly on her breastbone, just above her breast, his touch gentle. Then he slid his hand up until it covered the arch of her throat, fingertips spread to span her jawline, encouraging her to keep her head tilted for his kiss. As if she needed encouragement.

When he finished with her mouth for the moment, his lips brushed her cheekbone and over to her ear, which he nipped. The sharpness after the soft and light touch sent a shock reverberating up her spine.

“Mmm,” she said.

He stepped away from her, breathing hard. His smile was sheepish. “That was a little more than I intended,” he said.

She shrugged, knowing the dismissive gesture would be given the lie by her reddened lips and the arousal he probably would not have to be a werewolf to sense. “I am not taking any of the fault for that, sir.”

He laughed, the sound low and soft. Hot. But he still took another step away-backward, as if he couldn’t quite make himself turn his back on her.

“I have a song for you,” he said. “I’ve been working on this for a while.”

He grabbed one of the cases stacked along the wall of their music room and took out a flute. He gave Anna an assessing look and then pulled her guitar off the wall where it hung with several of his.

She had come to him with nothing, but she had the feeling, given the pleasure he took in giving her things, that her collection of instruments might outpace his in time. She took the guitar when he handed it to her.

“Just what am I supposed to do with this?” she asked archly, but she reversed her position on the piano bench so the piano was at her back and gave the guitar strings an experimental strum, adjusting the high E until the pitch was true. They were new strings, and the E liked to slip.

He didn’t answer her, just pulled up a chair so he would face her when he sat in it. He dragged a low table over beside his chair and set the flute on it. Then he searched the cases and pulled out an instrument she hadn’t seen him use-a viola.

“Oooo,” she said. “Can I see?”

He raised an eyebrow but handed it over. “It’s Da’s,” he told her.

She glanced in the f-hole and found a maker’s ink signature and the date 1872. It didn’t tell her much. She reached out blindly and he gave her the bow. She tested it, tightened a peg an eighth of a turn, and stroked the bow across the strings, smiling at the rich tone.

“Bran has good taste,” she said, handing the viola and bow back to him.

He took more care in tuning it than she had with the guitar-as one does, she thought with amusement. Violas-like their little sister, the violin-were temperamental. When he was satisfied, he sat down, the viola held like a cello, instead of the more usual under-the-chin method.

“Ready?” he asked.

Alpha & Omega

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: April 2021

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 Patricia Briggs

Patricia is the #1 New York Times best selling author of the Mercy Thompson series and has written twenty four novels to date; she is currently writing novel number twenty five. She has short stories in several anthologies, as well as a series of comic books and graphic novels based on her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Patty began her career writing traditional high fantasy novels in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. Moon Called was the first of her signature series about Mercy; the non-stop adventure left readers wanting more and word of this exciting new urban fantasy series about a shape-shifting mechanic spread quickly. The series has continued to grow in popularity with the release of each book. Patty also writes the Alpha and Omega series, which are set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson novels; what began as a novella expanded into a full new series, all of which debuted on the NY Times bestsellers list as well.


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Sunday Spotlight: Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Posted April 11, 2021 by Casee 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. 🙂

We are huge Nalini fangirls at Book Binge. I think we’ve all read most of her books. This book holds a special place in my heart. I just adore Fox and Molly.

Sunday Spotlight: Rock Addiction by Nalini SinghRock Addiction by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine O. Keef
Series: Rock Kiss #1
Also in this series: Rock Addiciton, Rock Courtship, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Hard, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2), Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss, #3), Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4), Rock Addiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 406
Length: 11 hours and 9 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh stuns with a sizzling contemporary romance…
A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…
Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.
A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…
Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

Excerpt

Patience wasn’t Fox’s strong suit, and he’d almost killed himself with it tonight. Then he’d just about killed David for getting close to her while he kept his distance. Now, finally, he was alone with Molly and all he wanted to do was mess up her hair, kiss her until her lips were swollen and wet.

Then he wanted to do it again. And again.

Fighting the gut-wrenching need that threatened to turn him inside out, he forced himself to lean back lazily against the elevator wall. “You’re Molly.” It came out a rough purr.

Her eyes widened, fingers curling into her palm. “Yes.”

He wanted those fingers on him—any part of him. “Would you mind giving me a ride?”

A large percentage of the women at the party would’ve taken that as the invitation it was and been all over him in one second flat. Molly, however, took a tiny step back. “Don’t you have a driver?”

Abdomen tight, he continued to keep his tone playful, easy, though he was feeling close to feral. “I gave him the night off.”

“A taxi?”

If she took another step back, Fox wasn’t sure he’d be able to restrain his need to put his hands all over her sweetly feminine flesh, taste her with his mouth. “I don’t know the address I’m going to.”

The elevator dinged at that moment, and he waited as Molly stepped out into the parking garage before following. The skin at her nape looked like cream; he wanted to lick it up, close his hands over her breasts from behind as he did so, press his rigid cock up against her. Yeah, he wasn’t in a patient mood.

“Oh?” It was a husky question. “If you don’t know the address, how do you plan on getting there?”

Unable to resist any longer, he bent to the soft, subtle, maddening scent of her and whispered,

“That’s why I need a ride, Molly,” his lip ring brushing the shell of her ear. “I don’t know where you live.”

She dropped her keys.

Rock Kiss

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: April 2021

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 Nalini Singh

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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Monthly Reads: March 2021

Posted April 6, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

It’s a new month so we’re back with a list of our Monthly Reads to share with each of you. This is where you’ll see what each of us has read and what our favorite books and our least favorite books of the month are. Check it out.

Casee

I didn’t finish a single book until March 18th. I ended up reading eight books. I sure surprised myself.

Come to Me Quietly by A.L. Jackson | 4.25 out of 5
Shadow Storm by Christine Feehan | 4.25 out of 5
Knight by Kristen Ashley (re-read) | 4 out of 5
Come to Me Softly by A.L. Jackson | 4 out of 5
Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson | 4.5 out of 5
Tattered by Devney Perry | 3.75 out of 5
Wild Fire by Kristen Ashley (audiobook) | 4 out of 5
Lethal by Cassandra Robbins | 3.5 out of 5

My absolute favorite of the month was Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson. My heart could barely hold all my feels for this book. I was actually surprised because I didn’t really care for the hero in the first two books of the series. I should never have doubted A.L. Jackson. I didn’t read a bad book in March, but there were a few that I liked less than others.

Holly

March was a better reading month for me, partly because I listened to some old favorites during my commute. I finished 20 books.

Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountains #2) by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 4 out of 5
The Last Warrior (Shifters Unbound #13) by Jennifer Ashley | 3.75 out of 5
Shield-Maiden: Under the Howling Moon (The Road to Valhalla #1) by Melanie Karsak | 4 out of 5
One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3) by Ilona Andrews (audio) (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4) by Ilona Andrews (audio) (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Tiger Magic (Shifters Unbound #5) by Jennifer Ashley (reread) | 4.25 out of 5
Tiger Striped (Shifters Unbound #11.5) by Jennifer Ashley (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
When He’s an Alpha (The Olympus Pride #2) by Suzanne Wright | 3.25 out of 5
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audio) (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
The Wedding (Lairds’ Fiancées} by Julie Garwood (audio) (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (audio) (reread) | 5 out of 5
The Secret (Highlands’ Lairds #1) by Julie Garwood (audio) (reread) | 5 out of 5
Stone-Cold Fox (Mai Hayashi #1) by Hailey Edwards | 3.75 out of 5
The Switch by Beth O’Leary | 3.5 out of 5
The Hook Up (Game On #1) by Kristen Callihan (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Complicated by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 4 out of 5
Night of the Living Deed (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #1) by E.J. Cooperman (audio) | 3.25 out of 5
Dragons Don’t Eat Meat (Valkyrie Bestiary #1) by Kim McDougall | 4 out of 5
Dervishes Don’t Dance (Valkyrie Bestiary #2) by Kim McDougall | 3.25 out of 5
Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5) by Sherry Thomas (audio) | 4.5 out of 5

My favorite read of the month was Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas, with an honorable mention to Dragons Don’t Eat Meat by Kim McDougall. My least favorite was Dervishes Don’t Dance by Kim McDougall. I didn’t dislike it, necessarily, but it didn’t compare to the first book in the series, which was a major disappointment.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: March 2021

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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Sunday Spotlight: Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath

Posted March 28, 2021 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. 🙂

I’ve been dying for this book since I finished Beauty Tempts the Beast, where we were introduced to Althea and her brothers. Their father, the duke, was hanged for treason and their circumstances drastically changed as a result. I can’t wait to read more about them here.

Sunday Spotlight: Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine HeathScoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Lorraine Heath begins an exciting new series with a breathtaking romance about a young woman who must marry a titled gentleman to obtain her inheritance and the usuitable man she begins to fall madly in love with...
She is desperate to wed a duke...
Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled gentleman to claim her inheritance and has finally gained the attention of a duke. Yet she is unable to forget the scandalous second son who aided in her achievement—or his betrayal.
He wants what he can never possess...

Lord Griffith Stanwick is tormented by the bitter truth that as a “spare,” he will never be able to give Kathryn what she yearns to possess. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff detours into the dark and dangerous corners of London, haunted by memories of the woman lost to him forever.

Love not to be denied...

As the duke’s courtship intensifies, Kathryn discovers Griff has become a man to be reckoned with. When old passions flare and new desires ignite, she must decide if sacrificing her legacy is worth a lifetime shared with the scoundrel of her heart.

Excerpt

“Griff? What the devil are you doing sprawled out over the ground back there?”

Squinting—was the morning sun always this bright?—he peered up at Althea. “To be honest, I’m not quite sure, but it does appear I got turned about returning home last night.” For some inexplicable reason he’d not used the front door. Perhaps he’d been unable, with clumsy fingers, to grasp the key nestled in his waistcoat pocket. Although, patting said pocket now, he found it empty. Had he misplaced the bit of brass?

“You were well in your cups again, weren’t you?”

“I do seem to recall some celebrating going on.” For a while the games had favored him . . . until they hadn’t. What was a man supposed to do when fortune slipped away except seek solace in drink?

“Well, stir yourself and come out of there,” she ordered briskly, as though she wasn’t three years his junior but was instead his elder.

With a great deal of effort, he shoved himself to his feet, pressed his back to the brick, and crept out through the narrow space between wall and foliage, trying to avoid getting snagged by the sharp-edged leaves of the hedges. When he reached his sister, she scrunched up her entire face. “You smell like a distillery.”

“How do you know how a distillery smells?” Looking past her to the two ladies sitting at the white linen-covered round table, he forced his most charming grin to form, a smile he didn’t feel like granting, not only because of the increased ache in his head but because of what he’d overheard.

“Ladies, how are you this fine morning?”

“I daresay better than you,” Lady Kathryn retorted, using the tone she seemed to reserve only for him.

“Here,” Althea said, reaching quickly for the teapot. “Have a spot of tea. You look as though you could use it.”

Tea was nowhere on the list of things he could use. A hot bath — he did indeed smell like a distillery, along with a cheroot factory — a shave, and the blackest coffee would serve him better. If the other ladies hadn’t been staring at him with twin expressions of disgust, he might have made his excuses and headed straight to his most urgent need: a soft bed. But knowing he’d take some perverse delight in irritating them by delaying his escape and joining them, he dragged back a chair, dropped into it, and took the offered cup and saucer. “You are indeed kind, dear sister.”

It was so like her, looking out for others. He really didn’t deserve to have a sister so generous of spirit. Peering through the steam rising from the brew, he took a long, slow swallow. She’d laced it with an abundance of sugar, and his body reacted with gratitude, the ache behind his eyes dissipating a fraction so the day seemed at least survivable.

Lady Kathryn looked on disapprovingly, a tightness to her mouth, and he wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d announced, “You’re better than this.”

Only he wasn’t. Precisely because of what she had voiced earlier. No one wanted the spare. Not the ladies of the ton. Not his father. Not his mother. Even the heir, two years older than he was, had little time for him. But scotch, cards, and actresses seldom turned him away.

“Perhaps your brother’s presence here is fortuitous,” Lady Jocelyn said. “You no doubt overheard what we were discussing.”

“I apologize, ladies, as it was not my intention to eavesdrop, but you did manage to garner my undivided attention with your dulcet tones.”

While Lady Kathryn fairly glowered, signaling she’d caught the sarcasm in his tone, Lady Jocelyn smiled as though he’d handed her one of the Crown Jewels. She’d never struck him as being particularly cognizant of subtleties. “Then perhaps you would be good enough to share with us how we might impress upon the duke that we are worth considering for courtship.”

“How would he know what a duke wants?” Lady Kathryn asked.

He allowed a corner of his mouth to ease up provocatively, sensually. “A duke wants what any man wants. A woman who is a saint in society and a wild wanton in the bedchamber.”

Her hazel eyes narrowed until they resembled the finely honed blade of a dagger. She riled so easily, and for some inexplicable reason, he’d always taken great delight in pricking her temper. “That is hardly helpful,” she snapped.

“But ’tis true.”

“We are genteel ladies of good breeding, and as such, we’ve hardly been bedded so can offer no insight into our capabilities beneath the sheets, as it were.” He imagined her beneath the sheets, with him stirring her until she fully comprehended her capacity for pleasure. As his body began to respond to the images, he shoved them back. Whatever was wrong with him to even contemplate an intimacy with her? “Besides, it is for our husband to tell us what he wants regarding that particular aspect of our marriage.”

“Why?” he asked, truly befuddled. “Why should he be the only one to have a say? Surely, Freckles, you’ve given some thought to what you might enjoy.”

“I have not,” she countered testily.

“ ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’ ”

“Don’t be absurd. Ladies do not sully their minds by thinking carnal thoughts.”

“If you’ve never thought them, how do you know they’d sully your mind?”

“You’re being preposterously difficult.”

“No, I’m actually curious as to what you envision happens between a man and a woman that would be so lurid as to tarnish an otherwise pristine brain if pondered or mulled over.”

She looked as though she’d like to toss her tea on him. “You know well enough.”

Her voice had gone lower, more gravelly, causing his belly to tighten. “Caresses along bare skin, the nip of a collarbone, a squeeze here, a rub there? Kisses along curves, hollows, and dips? How is any of that sordid?”

Her lips had slowly parted, and her cheeks had deepened from an enticing rose into a lovely crimson. He wondered if, like him, she was now imagining his bare hand, fingers splayed, on her bare thigh, slipping up toward that heavenly apex where paradise waited, previously untouched and unexplored. Christ. What the devil was wrong with him? She was the very last woman he had any interest in bedding. It didn’t matter that her coppery hair turned the shade of fire when lit by the sun, and that he had, on occasion and much to his chagrin, wondered if it would be as hot to the touch, if it would spark pleasure. It didn’t matter that her fragrance was more spicy than sweet, and he’d always enjoyed foods with a great deal of seasoning. It didn’t matter that her lips were more pink than red, and on the rare occasion he painted, he preferred the subtle allure of pastels.

“Griff, I’m not quite certain this is an appropriate topic of discussion considering the company,” Althea remarked hesitantly.

“But that is my point.” He did hope they’d attribute the croak of his voice to his having recently been pulled from slumber and not the fact that his mouth had suddenly gone as arid as a desert. “It shouldn’t be taboo. Men are allowed to think about it, discuss it, experience it—without benefit of marriage. Why shouldn’t women?”

A series of gasps met that pronouncement. He shook his head. “Even if a woman is not to experience it without marriage” — although he didn’t agree with that belief — “she should at least be able to think about it and discuss it without shame, without fearing she has mired her mind.” He gave his attention back to Lady Kathryn. “You never think about it?”

“I do not.”

“Then, how can you know what you want, what you might enjoy?”

“As I stated earlier, it is for my husband to show me.”

“You have never struck me as a woman without an opinion on any matter.” He leaned forward. “I would wager a month’s allowance that you have thought about it, and quite thoroughly.”

That her nostrils flared and her breaths seemed to slow only served to tighten his belly more. What images did she conjure in that mind of hers?

“Griff, I do believe you have just called our guest a liar,” Althea said, her upset evident in her tone.

Because she was. Not that he was going to call her on it again, but damned if he didn’t want to uncover her fantasies. “My apologies. It seems I am not yet fit for company as my indulgences from last night are still having their way with me.” He shoved back his chair and stood. Then he turned his attention to Lady Jocelyn, who had first posed the question, because studying Lady Kathryn was beginning to make him feel light-headed as blood wanted to rush where it shouldn’t. “Write to the duke of your comely features, mastery of etiquette, interests, and accomplishments.”

“Thank you, my lord.”

He offered her a small smile. “And may the best lady win.”

With that, he left them and strode into the residence, knowing the hot bath he’d craved earlier would have to wait. Lady Kathryn might not allow thoughts to sully her mind, but now his was filled with a sordid display of her body writhing against his that required he plunge into a bitingly cold tub of water first.

From Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath, published by Avon Books. Copyright © 2021 by Jan Nowasky. Reprinted courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers.

Once Upon a Dukedom

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: March 2021

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 Lorraine Heath

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

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

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


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