Excerpt of Man Card and Q&A with Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

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Ekk! I had the pleasure to ask Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby some questions to celebrate the release of their newest novel, Man Card. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did! Also, make sure to scroll down to read an excerpt of Man Card!

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about writing with Sarina/Tanya? 

Tanya: I love that Sarina is so blasted smart that she forces me to think deeper. It makes for better characters and a more interesting story line. I kind of feel like my writing style is like a balloon drifting. She grabs hold of me and keeps me from floating away. She’s also got a great sense of humor and puts up with me, so that’s nice. 

Sarina: Tanya’s job is to run off with the balloon, and take me outside of my own head. She has such a wild sense of humor and it’s so refreshing! My job is to tame it and shape it into a romance plot line.

Q: How did you split up the writing process?

Sarina: We trade back and forth every 2,000 words or so. That way we both get to write both characters.

Q: Braht is quite a character. I don’t think I’ve experienced another hero quite like him. If you had to cast someone to bring him to life in a movie, who would you pick?

Tanya: I just watched Call Me By Your Name and Armie Hammer would make a terrific Braht! 

Q: I laughed out loud a handful of times while reading this book. Did any of the hilarious moments (crunchy kielbasa for example) come from real life experiences or just a great imagination? 

Tanya: That kielbasa scene is real! Only, you know, enhanced for reader enjoyment. The kielbasa my mother-in-law served us was really tasty. And there’s a salon scene where the pedicurist is quite terrifying. That was inspired by real life events. I’m lucky I survived it with all ten toes.

Q: If you had to pick between Tom or Braht to play your fake boyfriend, which one would you pick?

Tanya: I’d pick Tom. I’m really uncoordinated and I feel like he would be good to hold onto while walking across ice. It’s icy in Michigan.

Sarina: Okay, twist my arm. I’ll take Braht. We can get pedicures together.

Q: If you had to give each other a nickname, via Braht style, what would it be?

Tanya: I’m terrible at nicknames. Everyone in my family has a nickname and I’ve always just been Tanya. Huh. How about Pooh Bear for Sarina? Or Sassy Pants? Maybe just Miss Sarina. 

Sarina: I’m not sure we all need Braht-style nicknames. But I will say that Tanya posts the best cocktail photos on Instagram. So I’m dubbing her Ms. Margarita.

Q: In Man Card we learn that Ash’s family has a cabin that is very near and dear to her heart. If you could pick any location for a vacation home for you and your family/friends, where would it be?

Tanya: A cottage on the lake is my absolute dream. There are a lot of people in Michigan who are lucky enough to have one. I’m still not that lucky, but a girl can dream. 

Sarina: We’re skiers so I want a ridiculously posh home in Aspen. As long as I don’t have to pay for it. This is a fantasy, right?

Q: Can you spill any news on if Sadie will get a book!? (fingers crossed)

We sure hope so! We’re working on something soon!

 

 

blurbb

Nothing ventured, nothing banged…

Ash
I still don’t know how it happened. One minute I was arguing with my arrogant competitor–our usual trash-talk over who deserves the larger commission. But somehow I went from throwing down to kneeling down…
It can never happen again. I don’t even like Braht. He’s too slick. He’s a manipulating mansplaining party boy in preppy clothes.
So why can’t I get him out of my head?

Braht
There are two things I know without question. One: Ash and I are destined for each other. Two: never trust a man with a unibrow.
Ash is my missing my piece. She’s the sweet cream to my gourmet espresso. And nothing gets me going faster than her contempt for me. They don’t call her the Ashkicker for nothing.
Eventually I’ll win her over…if my past doesn’t ruin everything first.

 

 

excerpt

Name your other favorite movies,” I challenge Braht.

All of them?” He chugs his margarita.

Hmm. Top ten? Top five?”

That’s totally easy,” he says. Somehow I’ve gotten closer to him on the floor. When he sits back, I actually snuggle in beside him. He’s wearing a ridiculously soft shirt that feels good against my skin. And I watch with fascination as he ticks off the names of films on his fingers. When Harry Met Sally. The Devil Wears Prada. Roman Holiday. Clueless. And Working Girl.”

I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. Those are all chick flicks. You should just hand over your man card right now.”

Not a chance.” Braht’s expression grows intense. In the first place, I gave you a very thorough demonstration of my man card last week. I don’t remember hearing any complaints.”

I swallow hard, because this is certainly true.

And secondly, you’re looking at this all backward.”

I…am?” And why can’t I look away? He has the most beautiful, intelligent eyes.

Yeah, you are,” he whispers. It’s the guy who has a firm grip on his man card that can hold your purse. He’s not afraid to be seen with that Tory Burch you like to carry—nice color, by the way. He’ll free up your hands because he likes your hands, and he remembers all the terrific things you can use them for.”

Oh,” I say slowly. Now my fingers itch to reach out for him. I have to make fists with both hands so I won’t do it.

Furthermore, he’s not afraid to quote Working Girl. Because Joan Cusack is a genius. And who wouldn’t want to say Melanie Griffith’s best line out loud?”

I can’t help saying it with him, and together we sound like the world’s horniest Greek chorus: I have a head for business and a body for sin.”

Sin sounds pretty good right now, actually. But Braht’s not done with his speech. Any man who tells you that chick flicks are for pussies can’t be any good in bed. Because that man does not speak the language of women. He doesn’t know that a little luxury can erase a shitty day of worrying about your ex…”

Braht takes my hand in his and begins to massage it. He has a great technique, applying gentle pressure between each joint. I relax just a little bit more against him.

“…That man doesn’t speak the language because he’s afraid of sounding like a girl. But fuck that noise, honey bear. If a man doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe a satin teddy with peekaboo lace and mother-of-pearl snaps at the crotch, he can’t buy it for you and then strategically ask you to wear it. He can’t plan ahead to blow your mind sometime by lifting your skirt somewhere semi-public and dangerous. And he can’t get down on his knees and kiss that lace and then pop open those snaps while you bite your own hand to keep from screaming when you climax.” Braht takes a deep breath and lets it out in one hot gust. Fuck. What was the point of this speech?”

“Um…” My voice is hoarse, and my face is suddenly very hot. Let’s not even mention my nipples. Man cards, I think.” But I’m not sure, because everything tingles.

Right,” he says with a sigh. Still got mine. Shall we watch Working Girl next?”

Okay,” I breathe, sinking a little further into his comforting embrace.

 

 

Find Man Card at

Goodreads | Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 

 

rah

 

 

 

ARC Review: TEAM PLAYER: A CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY

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Title: Team Player

Authors: LJ Shen, Kennedy Ryan, Adriana Locke, Mandi Beck, Emma Scott, Charleigh Rose, Ella Fox, Sara Ney, Meghan Quinn, Kate Stewart and Rochelle Paige

Genre: Sports Romance

Release Date: December 14th, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Add on Goodreads!

Find on Amazon!

 

blurb

Hot jocks. We love them all.
Sexy baseball players. Intense footballers. Sweaty MMA fighters, and sizzling hockey hotties. Score!
The good news? Eleven bestselling authors have gathered to give you a set of stories focused on the men we love most—sports heroes. We bet you’ll love this thick … book.
The bad news? The men in these novellas don’t actually exist.
Enjoy this naughty Christmas treat!*
*This anthology does not contain calories, just eleven original, never-before-seen stories by the following authors: Adriana Locke, Mandi Beck, Charleigh Rose, Kennedy Ryan, LJ Shen, Meghan Quinn, Rochelle Paige, Ella Fox, Kate Stewart, Emma Scott, and Sara Ney. We aren’t responsible for melted devices.

 

review

When it comes to sweet, sexy and swoony sports romance stories, Team Player knocked it out of the park. Homerun, touchdown, etc. 😉 These 11 novellas are filled with different plots, yet go together in one Anthology so well. With all the different books to pick from, it’s so easy to lose a few hours getting sucked inside the pages. Cocky heroes, witty heroines, funny meet cutes, friends to lovers, second chance loves, mistaken identity and oops babies- it has everything you could want!

The best thing about all these great authors being in one place, is you are bound to fall in love with what you are reading. Some of the novella’s I loved, others were good, and some weren’t for me.

I have decided that I’m only going to go into details over the novella’s that I loved.

 

The End Zone by L.J. Shen:

Eeek, this best friends to lovers tale was oh so sexy, oh so good!

Jolie and Sage have been best friends for years, and even though Jolie has had a crush on Sage since pretty much the moment they met, they have never crossed that line. Partly because she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship, and mostly because Sage is a huge player/manwhore. She knows that if she gets into his bed, he will leave with more of her heart, and she will leave empty handed.

Only… things are quite the way Jolie thinks they are. And when Sage asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend, things go from pretend to oh so real super fast.

This was my first L.J. Shen book and she has a new fan! Funny, steamy and filled with swoons!

 

 

Full Court Press by Kennedy Ryan

This is one of the stories that tugs a little more on the heartstrings. When reporter Avery first meets NBA star Decker, he is standing there in a towel. After hitting on her and asking her out, to which she turns him down, (despite her attraction to him) they both go on their way.

Years later, Avery finds herself working with Decker as he co-stars on her show for a while. The attraction is still there, though life has changed for the both of them.

If you love a slow burn with sexual tension, you will LOVE this one!

 

 

Back in The Game by Meghan Quinn

Do you like adorable single dads, who dress up to make their daughter smile? Strong, quirky heroines? If so, you will love Back in The Game!

Calder is a single NHL star raising his little girl on his own, after his ex leaves both of them. While he is out, dressed up like a fairy, he meets meets Rachel. He is instantly attracted to her and drawn to her personality.

Some of this story is told through text messages and oh my gosh, do they bring the laughs, heat and swoons. I loved watching the natural growth between Calder and Rachel.

 

 

Yard Sale by Charleigh Rose

This was my first time reading Charleigh and man oh man, do I have to look up her other titles.

Cam is a snowboarder who loves to have fun, be out on the snow, and hook up with the ladies. One night at the bar he meets the gorgeous Mollie, who to his dismay, wants nothing to do with him.

Well, at first. 😉

The two end up enjoying a super sexy night together and Cam is actually disappointed when Mollie disappears in the morning.

Mollie knew Cam isn’t the type to form connections, especially since she’s from out of town. However, Mollie doesn’t leave empty handed. She soon realizes she is pregnant. Eeek!!

Awhile later she goes back and runs into Cam again. The fire between them is still there, but is it the real deal? And how will Cam handle the bun in the oven?

Ah, I just adored this one!

 

Switch Hitter by Sara Ney

Oh my gosh! This might be my favorite of the entire book. It has the Sara Ney wit and charm for sure.

When Amelia’s twin sister Lucy asks her to pretend to be her for a date, Amelia isn’t sure. Especially when it’s with some jock named Dash. Despite her best efforts, Amelia ends up agreeing to the date. How bad can it be right?

Well… it turns out it isn’t bad at all, but oh so good. Too good, in fact, especially since Dash thinks he is with Lucy.

Only, Dash isn’t sure the girl he with is the same one as before. There is a new found sizzle between them that isn’t there.

Eeek! There is so much chemistry between Amelia and Dash. And Dash, sigh, Dash will steal your heart. This one was so sweet, so funny, so perfect!

 

 

rah

 

 

 

 

Release Blitz: THE BACHELOR CONTRACT by Rachel Van Dyken

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Title: The Bachelor Contract

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Rating: 4 Stars

Release Date: November 28th, 2017

Series: The Bachelors of Arizona #3 (Can be read a standalone)

Add on Goodreads!

 

blurb

She’s everywhere.

Ex-wife.

Love of his life.

The last person in the world he wanted to see…ever.

And now that he’s working beside her every day, he can’t escape her. Her scent, glimpses of her smile, even the tension in the air that makes his body hum with the kind of need he’d only experienced with one person-all of it is driving him over the edge.

Brant Wellington was certain of three things:

Alcohol wasn’t going to solve this.

He really was losing his F-ing mind.

And his gorgeous ex-wife was going to be the death of him.

 

excerpt

It was Brant.

Always Brant.

Maybe that was because they’d never had any real closure. Just fighting, yelling, and then silence.

God, she’d hated the silence so much more than the yelling.

The silence crackled with tension—it was always filled with more meaning than when words were actually spoken.

It wasn’t the yelling that had killed their relationship.

It was the silence that had followed. When he had every opportunity to fix it—and didn’t.

Why was it so hard to move on? Probably because she hadn’t tried.

Instead, she’d worked. Tried to stay positive. And hoped.

Damn hope. Stupid hope.

“He’s not coming back for me,” she whispered, knowing that if she finally admitted he wasn’t coming, she would have to take her part of the blame in why. Because it wasn’t just on him to come running back. A small part of her knew that it was her job to meet him halfway. Instead, she’d ignored the need in his eyes, the desperate plea in his voice, and allowed grief to swallow her whole. Because at the time she’d needed someone to blame, and it was easier blaming him than herself.

 

 

review

When I first read the blurb and discovered this would be a second chance romance book, I expected it to be packed with punches of emotion. I didn’t expect it to be so real, raw, and heart breaking. It truly brings out every emotion, and is such a lovely tale that shows that true love never fades away.

Brant has been on the road of self destruction, in the form of endless booze and women, sine his divorce. He is broken, filled with guilt and anger over what happened between him and his ex wife, Nikki. He made me both want to slap and hug him.

Nikki is also dealing with a lot of pain. She really breaks your heart at times. Since the divorce, Nikki has been filling her days with work- working as a masseuse at a resort. She finds her own little “family” there, and their love and friendship helps numb the pain a little.

Suddenly Brant finds himself working with Nikki. The two are obviously still attracted to each other, and still love each other, underneath the pain. They have a chemistry that can’t be denied.

The book also shows glimpse of the past, showing Brant and Nikki so deeply in love and happy, and gradually losing that along the way due to circumstances. (I don’t want to spoil it by saying too much).

During the emotional roller coaster that Brant and Nikki take you on, there are also moments of joy, humor, flirty banter and oh so sexy scenes. This is one of those books that is equally heart warming and heart breaking.

As I mentioned, it is number 3 in the series, and while you absoultly do not have to read the previous two (The Bachelor Auction and The Playboy Bachelor), I would recommend it! Those books feature Brant’s brothers, and you do meet Brant in them.

If you love angsty, emotional and steamy books, with a happy ending, you have to check out The Bachelor Contract!

 

Find The Bachelor Contract (NOTE: ebooks have a different cover)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

 

rah

 

 

Saturday Spotlight: An Ex For Christmas by Lauren Layne

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Title: An Ex for Christmas

Author: Lauren Layne

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Rating: 4 Stars

Add on Goodreads!

blurb

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

 

rah

Cover Reveal: SEX, NOT LOVE by Vi Keeland

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Title: Sex, Not Love

Author: Vi Keeland

Release Date: January 15th, 2018

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blurb

My relationship with Hunter Delucia started backwards.
We met at a wedding—him sitting on the groom’s side, me sitting on the bride’s.
Stealing glances at each other throughout the night, there was no denying an
intense, mutual attraction.
I caught the bouquet; he caught the garter. Hunter held me tightly while we
danced and suggested we explore the chemistry sparking between us. His blunt,
dirty mouth should’ve turned me off. But for some crazy reason, it had the
opposite effect on me.
We ended up back in my hotel room. The next morning, I headed home to New
York leaving him behind in California with the wrong number.
I thought about him often, but after my last relationship, I’d sworn off of charming,
cocky, gorgeous-as- sin men. A year later, Hunter and I met again at the birth of
our friends’ baby. Our attraction hadn't dulled one bit. After a whirlwind trip, he
demanded a real phone number this time. So I left him with my mother’s—she
could scare away any man with her talks of babies and marriage—and flew back
home.
I’d thought it was funny, until the following week when he rang the bell at Mom’s
house for Sunday night dinner. The crazy, gorgeous man had won over my
mother and taken an eight-week assignment in my city. He proposed we spend
that time screwing each other out of our systems.
Eight weeks of mind-blowing sex with no strings attached? What did I have to
lose?
Nothing, I thought.
It’s just sex, not love.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

 

 

rah

Release Blitz: He Loves Me…KNOT by RC Boldt

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Title: He Loves Me… KNOT

Author: RC Boldt

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

Add on Goodreads!

blurb

Sometimes love needs a second chance…

I never looked back after skipping out on my own wedding, even if it did leave me estranged from most of my family. Eight years later, I have the life I’ve always wanted. As an advertising account executive, my world is damn near perfect.

Until I come face-to-face with my past. With the man I once loved. The man who holds my future in his hands. The man who’s hell-bent on getting even with me for leaving him at the altar.

Even with all the unfinished business between us, I still love Knox Montgomery. The only problem?

He loves me…KNOT.

 

 

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Find it at:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

 

rah

Excerpt Reveal: He Loves Me…KNOT by RC Boldt

REVEAL-COVER-HeLovesMeNot

Title: He Loves Me… KNOT

Author: R.C. Boldt

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

Add on Goodreads!

 

blurb

Sometimes love needs a second chance…

I never looked back after skipping out on my own wedding, even if it did leave me estranged from most of my family. Eight years later, I have the life I’ve always wanted. As an advertising account executive, my world is damn near perfect.

Until I come face-to-face with my past. With the man I once loved. The man who holds my future in his hands. The man who’s hell-bent on getting even with me for leaving him at the altar.

Even with all the unfinished business between us, I still love Knox Montgomery. The only problem?

He loves me…KNOT.

 

excerpt

PROLOGUE

EMMA JANE

“BLESS HER HEART.”

This—the quintessential Southern phrase “bless her heart”—is the ultimate kiss of death.

The irony isn’t lost on me since I just avoided my own kiss of death, figuratively speaking. Instead of walking down the aisle, I’m trudging along the Pensacola Beach boardwalk in my wedding dress.

Alone.

With tear-stained cheeks.

Two elderly women peer at me, blatant curiosity etched across their features, and one turns to the other to hiss, “I wonder if the groom left her.”

“Would you blame him?” the other woman responds, disdain dripping from her tone. “She’s got a”—she utters the next words much like they’re absolutely scandalous—“nose piercing.”

The dark glare I direct at them is concealed by my sunglasses, so with a dismissive huff, I continue plodding along, swiping a hand across my tear-streaked cheeks. Judging by the black smudges on my fingers, my waterproof mascara clearly lied.

Damn jackass mascara.

Damn jackass groom. I’m starting to see a trend here…

The longer I walk, the more stares I get. One little girl in a tutu bathing suit points to the top of my head and squeals with joy, “Look! A princess!”

Damn jackass tiara and veil my mother insisted I wear.

I march over to a large trash bin and—without any finesse whatsoever—begin tugging the pins holding this awful tiara-veil combo in place. As I’m attempting to remove it, agitation takes over due to my sad lack of progress. I bunch the veil in my fists and give it a firm tug from my elaborate up-do. Bobby pins shoot and ping in various directions, and I distractedly pray no one gets too close and loses an eye. Shoving the obscene length of fabric in the trash, I feel a bit lighter.

The June sun beats down on me as I stand on the stamped cement of the boardwalk, the heat radiating through the soles of my favorite flip-flops. My eyes flutter closed as I inhale a deep breath of the salty Gulf of Mexico air.

God, I love this beach. It’s always been one of my favorites, especially since it takes just under an hour to drive here from Mobile. The water is a gorgeous shade of blue-green, and the sand is perfectly white and free of pesky shells. Any other time, I’d be kicking off my flip-flops and running toward the surf. Now, though, I have different priorities: a stiff drink. Or ten.

Or twenty.

The challenge is finding a place where I might not draw attention—er, as much attention. I slowly survey the nearby choices of bars and restaurants lined up along the boardwalk; I scan and dismiss them one by one.

“No…no…no…n—”

Wait a minute.

One particular sign snags my eye. It has an outline of two men standing back to back, their forms filled with a swirl of rainbows and the name Be-Bob’s written in script-like font beneath it.

A gay bar.

Perfect.

With my key ring clipped to my small wristlet, I stalk over to the bar, doing my best to ignore the startled looks and gawking from other beachgoers. Tugging open the heavy door, I step over the threshold and into the brisk air conditioning.

Into a place where I might find slightly more acceptance.

I slide my sunglasses to rest atop my head and take a moment to allow my eyes to adjust to the dimmer light. There are only about eight people scattered about, chatting over drinks. When I don’t earn more than a brief glance before they return to their own conversations, I breathe my first sigh of relief. Most of the patrons are likely indulging in the great weather and enjoying a Saturday at the beach, not looking for refuge and hiding out like I am.

I scan the framed photos that adorn the walls featuring local drag queens and scantily clad male models before striding over to the bar. I hoist myself up onto a worn leather bar stool, and catch the eye of the only bartender behind the counter. He appears to be taking inventory of the liquor, if his clipboard is anything to go by.

When he turns around and gets the full visual of me, his expression is priceless, his eyebrows nearly hitting his hairline. I’d laugh if I had it in me, but I’m emotionally spent.

As he regards what’s visible to him from the top of the bar on up to my hair, his light brown eyes soften and the corners of his mouth tip up slightly. Without batting an eye, he reaches below the counter and produces a wet wipe. I gratefully accept it and he rests his forearms upon the lacquered surface, regarding me with interest as I rid my cheeks of the dark mascara streaks.

The bartender waits until I’m finished and then accepts the wipe from me before tossing it into the trash.

“Well, I can’t say I’ve ever served a runaway bride before.” My makeup-fail savior appears to gauge me, as if expecting me to burst into a river of tears.

Funny enough, the drive here has expended me of those and I’m firmly entrenched in the anger stage of my fiancé’s betrayal.

I prop an elbow on the bar, rest my chin on my palm, and offer what I know is the weakest excuse for a smile. “There’s a first time for everything, right?”

He doesn’t immediately answer, eyeing me curiously until his lips stretch into an easy smile. His eyes do that little crinkly thing at the corners and he has what I call “kind eyes.”

Then again, I remind myself, what the hell do I know?

I’m clearly not the best judge of people. That much has become all too evident.

The bartender reaches out a hand. “Casey.”

I grasp his hand, noting his impressive manicure. This guy’s cuticles are better than mine and I love the shade of metallic gray polish on his nails. “Nice to meet you, Casey. I’m Emma Jane.”

He reaches beneath the bar and I hear a clinking as he scoops ice, before he brings a cup into view. Then he works his magic, and pours in a bit of this and that from one bottle to the next. Finally, with flourish—and a maraschino cherry tossed in—he slides the plastic cup across the smooth surface.

“It’s my special, secret mix. I call it”—he leans in toward me and lowers his voice, his eyes dancing with mischief—“the Panty Dropper.”

One of my brows arches as I stare back at him with dismayed skepticism. “I hardly think I’m a prime panty-dropping candidate right now.”

Casey lifts a shoulder in a half shrug, his eyes flickering over my shoulder before returning to me. His smile grows wider. “You never can tell.”

With a tiny laugh, I shake my head and wrap my lips around the straw to take a sip of the concoction he’s made me. Just as I swallow the sweet drink, I both feel and smell a person sidle up next to me at the bar.

Hell. The reason I came here was because I thought for sure my chances of getting hit on would be slim to none. But, as I glance at him from the corner of my eye, I observe strong, muscled forearms, tanned and sprinkled with dark hair. The scent of him is appealing and masculine, a cologne that doesn’t overpower. Just the sight of those arms alone, however, makes me incredibly wary to see the rest of him.

Casey doesn’t address the newcomer, his focus still on me. “I’m all ears, Emma Jane. Been told I’m a great listener.”

Good Lord. Where do I even start?

Before I can answer, the man speaks up, his deep voice booming. “Are you cheating on me, Case?” He makes what sounds like a gasp of exaggerated indignation. “I can’t believe you’d betray me like this.”

I glance up to see Casey’s expression full of mirth, and he rolls his eyes. “You know better. I’m still waiting on you to switch over.”

A husky laugh greets my ears and it sounds far too male—far too appealing—which is why I refuse to turn and look at the man beside me.

“I might switch if you’d agree to root for my team.”

“Not gonna happen,” Casey scoffs before his gaze meets mine. “Isn’t that drink exactly what the doctor ordered?”

I muster up a smile because he seems like a sweet guy. “It is.” With a start, I realize I haven’t given him my card to pay or at least start a tab. I reach for my wristlet. “What do I owe you?”

He waves me off. “Honey, that one’s on me as long as you promise to dish before we get slammed in a few hours.”

A loud exhale spills past my lips. “It’s a pathetic story, really.”

“Let me guess.” Mr. Forearms’s husky voice is a deep timbre, amusement threaded in his tone. “You caught him with your maid of honor.”

I let out a harsh laugh and fiddle with my straw, using it to move around the ice cubes in my drink. “Nope.” If only it were that simple, I muse internally.

“Caught him with his best man?”

This time, his suggestion drags a lighter sounding laugh from me. “Not even.”

“Well, you know I can’t leave here without hearing the story. I’m intrigued.”

This guy is something else, that’s for sure. His voice is the epitome of sexy, and yet, even with all that’s transpired, I have zero interest.

Finally, I drag my attention from my drink and my eyes travel up those muscled forearms, over the bulging biceps stretching the short sleeves of a dark-blue polo shirt and up to the face that—

My breath catches in my throat as recognition floods me, my eyes widening as I take in the man beside me.

Becket Jones, the quarterback for the NFL team in Jacksonville, Florida. He’s a two-time Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida and had been the second overall draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Adding to that impressive resumé, he’s been recently voted MVP and is also a Lombardi Trophy recipient. His face is in commercials and on billboards everywhere. Living in Mobile, Alabama, and in a state without a pro football team, most of us either gravitate toward the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints, or the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I don’t follow NFL as closely as college football, but I’d have to live under a rock to not recognize Becket and his pretty-boy face. Even beneath the brim of the ball cap, which curls under at the edges and draws shadows over his eyes, I’d recognize that wide charming smile of his anywhere. He’s slouching against the bar but I know he pushes well over six feet.

His features cloud as he observes my response, his large hand reaching up to tug his cap lower. “Please don’t tell me you’re going to sell some seedy story about seeing me in a gay bar to a stupid gossip rag.”

“Of course not. I’m just…” I falter for a moment, “surprised.”

His chin lifts, gesturing to a couple of guys standing nearby a jukebox, laughing and talking. One of them is wearing a shirt with bright pink flamingos printed on it, along with a yellow feather boa draped around his neck.

“I’m with my brother, Brantley—the one who insisted on that crazy getup—and his roommate, Vonn, whose birthday we’re celebrating.” His eyes flicker to them briefly, obvious affection in his gaze, before returning to me. “I drove in from Jacksonville late last night to join them.”

I nod politely, not sure what to say. “Well, I hope you guys have a great night.” I turn back to my drink and studiously take another sip of the dangerous concoction while acknowledging Casey and Becket’s attention is fixed on me with unfettered curiosity. This drink is deliciously sweet and I know it’s masking the copious amount of liquor Casey put in it. And I can’t get hammered. I should—and I really want to—but I can’t. I have bigger fish to fry.

Like figuring out my freaking life.

With a long sigh, I unzip my wristlet and withdraw my cell phone—whose ring had been silenced—to face the “music” I know is about to blare at me.

Let this be noted as mistake number one. Because I’m certain my phone is going to overheat from the number of text messages and missed calls I’ve received already. Mainly, the ones from my father.

Dad: You’d better get back here now, young lady.

I continue scrolling past all of his other messages until I get to the last one, time stamped from about five minutes ago.

Dad: Consider yourself disowned. Don’t even think of coming back to this house after the way you’ve embarrassed everyone.

Huh. Well, thank heavens I’d already thought of that and had made a quick stop at the house before driving here. I’d scooped up the items I’d need most, knowing my father’s reaction would be extreme. Maybe I was delusional, but I’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

Just as I’m about to place my phone back in my wristlet and avoid the remainder of the painful messages sure to come, another one comes in.

Dad: Forget your job at the magazine. It’s done. You’re done. You did this, Emma Jane.

My chest tightens and my stomach churns sickly. I knew it was coming but it doesn’t make it any less devastating. I’d worked my ass off for Southern Charm Lifestyle magazine at their new location in Mobile. I know I have the potential to rise up in the ranks.

But now it’s gone. Poof. All because of my father. The one and only Davis Haywood, city councilman, owner of the local newspaper and the city’s largest magazine, and commercial developer galore. He has the money and power to make things happen in Mobile.

I just never thought he’d use that money and power against his own daughter one day.

“So.” Becket startles me, so caught up in my own drama-filled thoughts. “You might not know this about me, but I was brought up to be a gentleman.”

I regard him warily, unsure where he’s going with this. “O-kay,” I drag out the word slowly.

“This means I can’t leave you sitting at this bar, staring down at your phone, looking like your puppy just died.”

I shoot him a hard glare that would normally cause people to rear back…but then I recall that this man faces the risk of being tackled by two-hundred-plus-pound men on any given game day.

So, as much as my dangerously narrowed eyes might flare with the “Don’t even go there” vibe, my glare does nothing.

He looks around first before slipping his ball cap around on his head, the brim now at the back. And honestly, on any other grown man, it would look juvenile. On Becket Jones, however, it actually looks cute.

Casey slides a bottle of water to him, which Becket uncaps before downing half of it. Resting his arms on the bar, he playfully nudges me with his shoulder.

“Go ahead. Spill.”

Exhaling loudly, I peer up at him skeptically. “You really want—”

“To hear all the sordid details?” He grins at me, nearly blinding me with his pearly white teeth. “Absolutely.”

Shaking my head at him, I take another sip of my drink and toy with my straw, making the ice cubes clink together within my cup. “Fine. But don’t you dare give me a bless your heart that’s chock-full of pity.”

“Deal.”

Letting a long sigh loose, I answer, my voice muted and laced with pain. And I hate the way it sounds.

“I’m running from a man who doesn’t really love me.”

 

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Cover Reveal: MAN HANDS by Sarina Bowen & Tonya Eby!

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Title: Man Hands

Authors: Sarina Bowen & Tonya Eby

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Release Date: December 11th, 2017

Add to Goodreads!

 

blurb

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.

 

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ARC Review: Saving It by Monica Murphy

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Title: Saving It

Author: Monica Murphy

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 3.75 Stars

Release Date: November 6th, 2017

Add on Goodreads!

 

blurb

Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is what happens when American Pie meets Friends with Benefits. It contains two best friends, plenty of angst, and lots and lots of sex talk. Reading this might have you looking at your best friend in a different light!

 

review

Okay, I’m a huge sucker for best-friends to lovers tropes, so I was super excited when I read about this plot. Especially with Monica Murphy being the author. Saving It was sweet, funny, charming and low on the angst.  The type of book that makes you smile and gives an insta case of nostalgia.

One of my favorite things about this book was that it was sex positive, which isn’t always the case with books aimed for the YA crowd. I think the way Murphy handled the topic was perfection!

Both Josh and Eden were well-written. The friendship between the two felt authentic and when things start to blossom between the two it was extremely natural. I enjoyed how she portrayed the confusion, nerves and emotions that start to take over them as they discover their feelings for each other. I just wish there was a little more umph to it.

I particularly enjoyed Josh’s POV, as he had a really strong voice and personality to his character. I really feel that Murphy is a genius when it comes to writing from the male point of view.

I also like Eden’s character- she was both beautiful and intelligent, and had more on her mind other than boys- but I felt like something was lacking with her character. I just didn’t connect to her on the same level I did with Josh.

Being a YA book, there were some parts that were a little corny or OTT, but nothing too terribly that it too away from the book. I personally felt the characters were on the more mature side- they really felt like authentic teenagers. Not only in the way they spoke, but the inner dialogue as well.

It was close to a 4 star read, except for at times it felt a little slow and didn’t hold my complete attention. That might not be the case with a younger reader though. 😉 It was pretty predictable, but I didn’t mind as well, as their journey was original.

All in all this was an adorable story of two best-friends who discover they might be a whole lot more than that.

 

6 every time

Find Saving It:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

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Cover Reveal: HOT & HEAVY by Elle Kennedy (reissue)

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Title: HOT AND HEAVY

Author: Elle Kennedy

Re-release Date: November 6th, 2017

 

When a SEAL goes after your heart, don’t put up a fight. They don’t like to lose.

Heat It Up

One minute broody SEAL Becker is responding hell no to a pesky reporter’s interview request. The next, he’s trapped in an elevator and calming Jane’s confined-space panic attack—with a kiss. Once he caves in to the fierce, unexpected need, there’s no turning back. Beck’s not looking for long-term, but a fling with a redhead with a brutally honest mouth and a body made for sin? Abso-effing-lutely…

Heat of the Night

When her long-time fiancé breaks off their engagement, Annabelle sets out to prove she’s not a prude. Only problem is, her list of sexual fantasies winds up in the wrong hands, and now she’s got a sinfully sexy SEAL offering to help check off every last wild and wicked item. Resisting Ryan is futile, but protecting her heart? It’s necessary…

The Heat is On

Matt thinks he’s a bad boy…until he finds himself face down on the floor during a bank robbery, arguing with a sexy blonde who wields her sharp tongue with surgical precision. Savannah eagerly follows the adrenaline rush she feels with Matt to the nearest bed, but when tangled sheets begin to feel like tangled heartstrings, commitment shy Savannah’s first instinct is to cut him loose. Problem is, Matt’s not going anywhere…

Warning: Contains feisty heroines, threesomes, and dangerously hot navy SEALs that give the phrase “going commando” a whole new meaning.

 

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