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BAR BITES by J. Kenner and fun in the kitchen with recipes from Suzanne M. Johnson!

Join Man of the Month creator, New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, and USA Today bestselling Southern food expert Suzanne Johnson as they guide you through their favorite bar bite and drink recipes served at The Fix on Sixth. And don’t forget to spend some time learning a little bit more about the private lives of your favorite characters in all new snippets and short stories!
Brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights, BAR BITES is now available!

Grab your copy today!

About BAR BITES:

Before Austin’s hotspot, The Fix on Sixth, became known for its sexy and fun Man of the Month calendar contest, the fictional downtown bar had already developed a reputation for fabulous drinks and mouthwatering bar bites—exactly the kind of venue to take a date and strike up a romance. Now it’s your chance to see exactly what’s on the menu … and to get a peek at the private lives of the men and women who not only work at The Fix, but who’ve made it the place to be in Austin, Texas.

Join Man of the Month creator, New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, and USA Today bestselling Southern food expert Suzanne Johnson as they guide you through their favorite bar bite and drink recipes served at The Fix on Sixth. Learn how to make the delicious bar bites that Tyree’s bar has become famous for. Whip up your favorite cocktail with the same flare as Cameron or Eric. And don’t forget to spend some time learning a little bit more about the private lives of your favorite characters in all new snippets and short stories!

Most of all, come share a drink, a bite, and a laugh with us! We’re so glad you’re here.

So pull up a chair, raise a glass, and dig in with your favorite Man of the Month characters, and meet a few new ones, too!

Cheers!

Grab your copy of BAR BITES today!

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EXCERPT

Nolan Wood checked his watch as he glanced around the house. Shelby’s house. Or it had started out that way anyway. Now it was his, too. Just as much as she was his.
With a shake of his head, he realized he was smiling. Not that he wasn’t usually—on the whole, he was a pretty laid-back, happy kinda guy. But since he met Shel, it took a rock solid effort to wipe the smile off his face. His Shelby. His paradox. The buttoned-up woman who’d let a loose cannon like him into her life—and in the process had changed him completely.
They’d been together for months now, but he’d known right away that she was special. And that feeling just kept getting stronger, until sometimes when he was around her he thought he might burst if he couldn’t release the pressure.
Then again, that’s one reason why he loved his radio show; that was one hell of a pressure release, after all.
Although it wasn’t quite as good as sex…
The thought seemed to shove him around, and he turned to face the suitcase he’d left by the door. For a second, he frowned. Afraid that maybe he was doing this all wrong.
But it was too late now. He’d already made his decision, his plans, and he was diving in.
He pulled the old-fashioned tape recorder out of his backpack. He’d thought it had a fun vintage flair when he’d found it in the station’s dusty storeroom along with a pack of unused cassettes. He’d snagged the device and the tapes, then recorded the message. Now, he put the cued-up cassette into the recorder, checked that the batteries were good, and added a Post-it note to the top. He left the whole thing on her coffee table. All things considered, much better than a printed note.
Then he drew in a nervous breath, grabbed his suitcase, and gave the inside of the house one last, long look.
This was it, he thought as he headed for the door. For better or for worse, everything was about to change.

Veggiedillas with Avocado Dipping Sauce made by Sharon Thérèse at Kindle Friends Forever

When KP suggested preparing a dish for this tour, I jumped at the chance. However, I never expected to have problems finding some of the American ingredients for the delish recipes offered. Veggiedillas accompanied with an avocado dip I could do though. Saying that, we’re very spoilt for choice in Mallorca. Mercado Olivar in Palma city is an array of colours, smells, extremely fresh produce and tempting nibbles. I bought the vegetables there, the tortillas, seasoning and grated cheese in a local supermarket. Of course, we all know the Mediterranean diet is a healthy one and to my mind of thinking, this one fitted the bill perfectly! Also, it’s quick and easy to prepare, mouthwatering and a welcome change from what we usually eat!

VEGGIEDILLAS FILLING

4 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup of sliced onion

8 burrito size flour tortillas

1 cup of sliced baby bella mushrooms

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup of sliced bell pepper (red, yellow or green)

2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend

1 packet of taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet over low heat, melt butter and sauté onions, mushrooms, and bell pepper for 8-10 minutes. Add taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 5 more minutes and remove from heat. In a medium skillet over low heat, coat with cooking spray and lay a tortilla flat in the skillet. Cover half of the tortilla with sautéed veggies and cheese. Then fold the empty side on top of the mixture and allow to cook for 2 minutes, pressing down with a spatula. Next, flip the quesadilla and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and repeat this process with remaining ingredients. Cut quesadillas into thirds and serve with Avocado Dipping Sauce.

The first step.

As you can see, I’ve cut the peppers and onion into thin strips, and sliced the baby bella mushrooms.

    

Oops, vocabulary issues in the kitchen!

I thought my knowledge of AmE vocabulary was quite good; however, ‘skillet’ had escaped me. So even before starting, I had to search for it in Google images. You see, us Brits use a ‘frying pan’ in our kitchens! Four tablespoons of olive oil were used instead of butter as it is rarely used for cooking in Spain, olive oil being the general preference. I really liked that the veggies were only cooked for 8 to 10 minutes, just under al dente. Any more cooking time and they would have caramelized. The spices were then added and simmered with the minimum amount of water for a couple of minutes, giving the mix a nice bite, too!

    

The cooking spray.

“What the blinkin’ heck is that?” I asked myself. I didn’t feel so bad about coating the ‘frying pan’ with the minimum amount of olive oil with kitchen towel once I’d found out what it was.

I got a tad nervous!

I can flip an Spanish omelette with twelve eggs, but who on earth can flip a quesadilla with all those ingredients oozing out? “Easy-peasy Sharon; follow the instructions to the letter and you’ll flipping well flip it!” Yep, I do tend to talk to myself while preparing new dishes! So, this is where all the scrumptiousness is melded together by pressing down each side with the spatula and cooked for a couple of minutes with the grated cheese, of course. And et voilà, I did it!

The dip!

Hmm, I’ve been holding back the healthiest must-eat-everyday-fruit. Guys, eat AVOCADOS! This dip is also great for a crudités platter, for kids dipping crisps or nachos, for accompanying salads, and I won’t even begin to tell you how good it is for our hair, skin and eyes. I never ever thought about mixing avocado with Greek yogurt, lime juice (I used lemon juice as I have a lemon tree in the garden), crushed garlic and a pinch of salt! The result is an explosion of taste buds! Put all the ingredients in a blender or even mash them together with a fork.

AVOCADO DIPPING SAUCE

2 avocados

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lime

   

   

I’d like to show my gratitude to KP at InkSlinger PR for inviting me to take part in J. Kenner and Suzanne M. Johnson‘s tour.
Did I have fun in the kitchen! Take a look at the pics to see the result!
Don’t forget to follow 1001 Dark Nights Facebook page HERE

 

BAR BITES Books and Cooking Tour

May 16

Ficwishes
Novelgrounds
Devilishly Dirty Book Blog

May 17

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions
Mi Bookshelf
Once Upon A Page

May 18

A Literary Perusal
Escaping Into Books
A Book Nerd, a Bookseller and a Bibliophile

May 19

Literary Misfit
Ramblings of a Bookworm
Smut Book Junkie

May 20

KT Book Reviews
Reads All The Books

May 21

Kindle Friends Forever
Book Lovers Hangout
Romance Readers Retreat

May 22

White Hot Reads
Booked All Night
Once Upon An Alpha

May 23

K&M Sultry Reads
Booked Every Night
The Romantic Angel Blog

May 24

Feeding My Addiction
Pages Abound

May 25

Red Hatter Book Blog
Shh Mom’s Reading
Linz Reads

May 26

The Bookery Review
Renee Entress

May 27

The Book I Love
Dirty Bad Bloggers

May 28

Two Book Pushers
Living in our Own Story
Naughty Girls & Their Books

 

About J. Kenner:

Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

About Suzanne M. Johnson:

USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Johnson is family trained, a south Georgia native who’s been cooking all of her life, creating not only some really unique food, but precious memories that re-occur every time she smells something simmering in the oven. In all of her books, Suzanne shows that making a delicious meal doesn’t have to be complicated–it just has to be made with love. So go ahead, don’t be bashful, dive right in. Who knows? You might just make a few memories of your own.

Website | Facebook

 

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EDGE OF RETRIBUTION by JACOB CHANCE IS AVAILABLE NOW!

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Title: The Edge of Retribution

Author: Jacob Chance

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Cover Design: Sybil Wilson, PopKitty Design

Release Date: 10th May, 2018

 

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SYNOPSIS

Landing my dream job has me eagerly looking toward the future. But when I see Nash Garrison after six long years, my world is thrown completely off its axis.

He was my only friend and confidant during the worst days of my life, and I fell hopelessly in love with him. No eighteen year old girl could resist his protective nature and charming grin. I was no exception.

Now, together, we’re about to bring down the man responsible for my parents’ deaths. Revenge has been the driving force fueling every decision I’ve ever made – except for Nash.

What is it about him that sends the most rational parts of my brain into a tailspin? And how do I balance on the edge of retribution without tumbling into heartbreak once more?

 

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PURCHASE LINKS

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Donna Elsegood on behalf of KFF

Zoe Thomas is not the average eighteen-year-old girl one would expect as she’s been through more than most. The daughter of two FBI agents who are brutally murdered finds herself under the protection of the FBI. One of the agents who has been assigned to her is Nash Garrison and is older in years than her. A bond being around each other twenty-four seven is formed. Their attraction grows, but Nash can’t cross the line; after all, it’s his job to protect Zoe and not take advantage of her youth and vulnerability.

“There can’t be anything between us, Zoe. It’s never going to happen, and you need to let this schoolgirl – older man fantasy go. Do you hear me?”

Fast forward six years and Zoe has now begun her dream job in the FBI. When she bumps into Nash, all her old feelings come flowing back, and she realises that she is still hopelessly in love with him. Nonetheless, Zoe doesn’t want any distractions as her primary focus is bringing down the man that was behind the brutal murder of her parents and finally get retribution.

“Hi, I’m  with the Girl Scouts would you like to buy some cookies?”

“Zoe? Wait.. that was you?”

Right from the very first page to the end I was treated to a full of thrills and spills story. It’s entails angst, suspense and romance with a touch of humour. Very cleverly written, it makes you think you know where it’s going only to be thrown right off the scent. Told from a dual point of view was a welcome attribute to get inside their minds and read their thoughts, too. Zoe is a sassy, strong-willed heroine and in her time of adversity, she never lets it get her down, making her a truly likable character. Nash is a protective alpha male but also has this way about him that makes him swoon-worthy. He has a constant need to keep Zoe safe.

This romantic suspense novel was so action-packed it made my head spin. I was desperate to know the who, what and why. It never left my thoughts and was relieved to have had an extended weekend to devour and discover where I was being led to. Apart from the good guys, we have a share of baddies. All characters lead and secondary were a real joy to read. The author has once again shown his versatility in his works, and I loved everything about Edge of Retribution. Seeing as the plot and characters are on point and the intense steamy scenes fitted perfectly into the two protagonists’ tale, I couldn’t recommend readers one-clicking this rollercoaster of a ride more. Its five stars are well-deserved and if I could given this book more, I would have.

 

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$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

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AUTHOR BIO

Jacob Chance grew up in New England. He’s a martial artist, a football fan, a practical joker and junk food lover.

An author of erotic thrillers and sports romance, he plans to write many more sexy, suspenseful stories.

 

FOLLOW JACOB

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Jacob’s other Books on Amazon

 

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BANE by L.J. Shen is on blog tour with KFF!

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BANE, the highly-anticipated standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series
by L.J. Shen is LIVE!

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Bane

Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.

Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.

Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.

Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.

Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.

Jesse Carter

Hot as hell, cold as ice.

I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.

She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.

She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.

More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.

Little does she know, I have the f****** teeth for it.

 

EXCERPT

 

Bane

Then.

A liar.

A con.

A godless thief.

My reputation was a big wave that I rode, one that swallowed everyone around me, drowning every attempt to fuck with what’s mine.

I’d been known as a stoner, but power was my real drug of choice. Money meant nothing. It was tangible, and therefore easy to lose. See, to me, people were a game. One I’d always known how to win.

Move the rooks around.

Change the queen when necessary.

Guard the king at all fucking times.

I was never distracted, never deterred, and never jealous.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself being all three at once.

It was a siren with coal black hair who robbed me of riding the biggest wave I’d seen that summer. Of my precious attention. Of my goddamn breath.

She glided from the ocean to the beach like nightfall.

I crouched down, straddling my surfboard, gawking.

Edie and Beck stopped beside me, floating on their boards in my periphery.

“This one’s taken by Emery Wallace,” Edie had warned. Thief.

“This one’s the hottest masterpiece in town.” Beck had chuckled. Con.

“More importantly, she only dates rich bastards.” Liar.

I had all the ingredients to pull her in.

Her body was a patch of fresh snow. White, fair, like the sun shone through her, never quite soaking in. Her skin defied nature, her ass defied my sanity, but it was the words on her back that made my logic rebel.

It wasn’t her curves or the way she swayed her hips like a dangling, poisonous apple that warranted my reaction to her.

It was that tattoo I had noticed when she swam close to me earlier, the words trickling down the nape of her neck and back in a straight arrow.

My Whole Life Has Been Pledged to This Meeting with You

Pushkin.

I only knew one person who went gaga over the Russian poet, and, like the famous Alexander, he was currently six feet under.

My friends began to paddle back to shore. I couldn’t move. It felt like my balls were ten tons heavy. I didn’t believe in love at first sight. Lust, maybe, but even that wasn’t the word I was looking for. No. This girl fucking intrigued me.

“What’s her name?” I snatched Beck’s ankle, yanking him back to me. Edie stopped pedaling and looked back, her gaze ping-ponging between us.

“Doesn’t matter, bro.”

“What’s. Her. Name?” I repeated through a locked jaw.

“Dude, she’s, like, way young.”

“I will not repeat myself a third time.”

Beck’s throat bobbed with a swallow. He knew damn well that I didn’t mess around. If she was legal—it was on.

“Jesse Carter.”

Jesse Carter was going to be mine before she even knew me.

Before I even knew her.

Before her life turned upside down and her fate rewrote itself with her blood.

So here was the truth that even my lying ass wouldn’t admit later on in our story—I wanted her before.

Before she became business.

Before the truth caged her in.

Before the secrets gushed out.

I never did get to surf that day.

My surfboard broke.

Should have known it was an omen.

My heart was going to be next in line.

And for a small chick, she did one hell of a fucking job obliterating it.

 

BANE_AVAILABLE NOW

Download today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse

Right, why I had such difficulty reviewing Shen’s standalone in the Sinners of Saint series is quite simple. A plot that’s faster than the speed of lightning and complex to boot not only brought out all the feelings, but once again left me in awe of her writing. However, not letting on for the future reader was my main concern because doing so would certainly be a crime. Therefore, I’m going to try to be brief which, if you’ve read any of my reviews, isn’t like me at all! No holds barred; the author has delved into trigger issues. Upsetting scenes for the most seasoned of bibliophiles are reduced with a dry wit second to none, soothing those who could be affected. That being said, after getting to know the ins and outs of the protagonists’ problems convinced me never to judge anyone’s behaviour until all the facts are presented. 

“We don’t remember every single day of our lives.” “And that’s a good thing, Jesse.” 

Happenings in the life of Roman Protsenko, aka Bane and an incident in Jesse Carter’s story are narrated at a provoking pace, resulting in me doing an all-nighter. Did I like it? Hmm…I paid for my sleep deficit the next morning with an awful book hangover. I felt that they were too young to be exposed to such a harsh start. One thing I really liked regardless of all the sadness was the humour both protagonists had. 

“Men in Black ain’t a verb.”
“Who are you, the grammar police? If so, you’d probably get jail time for saying ain’t.”
 

Bane managed to put himself at the top of my anti-hero-to-date list! Smug, no doubt about it! A reputation for getting away with blue murder, he has no wish to live said beliefs down and much less make excuses for himself. Dripping sarcasm, he’s a well-known manwhore. Yet I still fell head over heels for him. Why? Because regardless of what he thinks he is, underneath those layers of intrigue and lies, he’s a real softy with a huge heart. Question is, will his deceiving ways catch up on him?

‘Guilty. I felt guilty. And I never felt guilty in my life.’ 

My heart went out for Jesse. I felt her pain, understood how she felt, and would’ve gladly jumped into her story and given the people who made this merciful lass suffer a good-Kindle-hiding! Folk too close to home that couldn’t care less for her wellbeing made me so damn angry; others didn’t even deserve the time of day because if it weren’t their cruel actions, they wouldn’t have destroyed such an beautiful soul. Nonetheless, Jess is a fighter. How she comes back from a deep dark hole of depression makes for some really emotional reading…all I can say is thank goodness she had Bane to show her she was capable of facing her demons.

“You don’t need a prince, princess. You need a sword.” 

Ooh. My. Word! The story reaches a crescendo of such intensity and didn’t just leave me on tenterhooks, nooo…it blinkin’ well gnawed at my very being! I couldn’t sit still, was nervous as hell and couldn’t turn the pages quick enough. The prize; however, is an epilogue bringing the reader much more than they could ever have wished for. All this, and the excellent secondary character development, and a compassionate tale told from two perspectives in past tense are not only details worthy of mentioning, but made Bane an epic read. Bravo Shen!

 

Bane Teaser

 

Start the Series of Standalones Today!

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About LJ Shen

LJShenL.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

Connect with LJ Shen

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AWKWARD LOVE SERIES by Missy Johnson

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Awkward Love Series

Author: Missy Johnson

Genre: Romance

Awkward Love is a series of short, sexy, fun novels that can be read in ANY order. Each book is COMPLETELY separate from the next, so you can read one, or you can read them all!

 

Image may contain: one or more people, text and close-up #1 It’s Complicated – Release Date: December 13, 2017

They call him the Anaconda, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t because he likes snakes.

Nick Jenson is my neighbor. My hot, oh-so-sexy, very-well-equipped neighbor that I’d spend hours watching from the safety of my bedroom window.

I saw lots of things I probably shouldn’t have. Sometimes I’d touch myself, imagining it were his hands roaming over my body instead of my own. I had just one mission—to find out if the rumors were true.

Then one day, he caught me watching him.

I was mortified. I was prepared to quit college, move to another country, and live the rest of my life saying, “Nick who?” But, apparently, life had other ideas.

Because Nick? Well, he isn’t just my neighbor … He’s also my father’s best friend. If I thought things were difficult before, they were about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Oh, and those rumors? Holy fuck, are they true …

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Image may contain: one or more people and text#2 I Can Explain – Release Date: February 15, 2018

Standing on the balcony, outside my boss’s apartment, wearing only my underwear?

Not how I expected to start my Saturday morning.

I guess I should’ve thought harder about going home with my sexy new gym instructor, especially since I had no idea the guy was married. When he pushed me out onto the balcony, five seconds before his wife walked through the door, I jumped one apartment over because I thought it would be less embarrassing for a stranger to find me than his wife.

That was a smart move.

So here I am, wearing next to nothing and freezing my ass off, standing outside the living room window of my young, sexy, and very intimidating boss, Chase Winston.

I have two choices: I sit here and try to think of another way out of this and risk dying of hypothermia. Or I can suck it up and knock on that window. After a long, internal argument with myself, I choose
option two.

Here goes nothing…

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Image may contain: one or more people, text and close-up #3 Too Much Information – Release Date: April 16, 2018

We’ve all been there.

One minute, you’re sprawled out on your bed, minding our own business and the next you’re lying in the back seat of your best friend’s car as she races you to the ER.

And not the closest one either.

No. You’re headed to the one fifty miles farther out, because the one five minutes away is where you start your residency next week.

So there you are, lying in cubical nine, hoping like hell that the doctor about to examine you isn’t young, sexy or male.

Of course he’s all three.

Telling him about the clitmaster7000 I have lodged inside me is by far the single most embarrassing moment of my life.

Discovering he’s my brother’s new roommate is even worse.

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Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and text#4 Comfort Zone – Releasing June 15, 2018

There’s nothing quite like watching your professor as he motorboats a stripper.

The expression on his face when he looked up and saw me standing there would’ve been funny if I wasn’t so mortified. I wanted to turn around and run, but I couldn’t do that to Jake. It was his bachelor party, after all.

So, instead, we stumbled our way through the world’s most awkward conversation, because what do you say after witnessing that?

At least things couldn’t get much worse, right?

Wrong.

The real fun began when the guys figured out how we knew each other.

Have you ever heard of the term frottage? Yeah, neither had I. Just like I’d completely underestimated how awkward it would be getting a lap dance from another woman while my professor watches, or how turned on I’d be.

My first mistake was going there in the first place.
My second mistake was not leaving the moment I saw him.
My third mistake, and the one I regret most?

Applying for that TA position with him last week…

** Comfort Zone is a M/F student/professor romance **

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MEET MISSY

Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she’s a cat, a cat who thinks he’s a dog…you get the picture).

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

 

FOLLOW MISSY on  Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter

 

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BLOG TOUR ~ THE END ZONE by L.J.SHEN

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The End Zone, a sexy friends to lovers romance from L.J. Shen is available NOW!

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Jolie Louis is a smart girl.

She knows that her best friend, Sage Poirier, is a bad idea.

He’s a walking, talking cliché. The Adonis quarterback with the bulging biceps and harem of fangirls trailing behind him on campus like a stench you can’t get rid of.

Sadly, it is also the very reason she can’t seem to stay away from him.

No, wait. That’s not fair. They’re also roommates, at least until May, when they graduate from college.

Jolie is already straddling the line between friendship and more when Sage comes to her with an offer she cannot refuse: be his fake girlfriend and live for free for the rest of the semester.

She tells herself that she can handle it.

He’s just the boy she saved ten years ago, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

He is a man now, and she is his captive

Heart, body, and soul…

** THE END ZONE is now available with an extended epilogue and surprise bonus content that will blow fans of L. J. Shen away! **

TEZ-AN

Don’t miss out!

Download now or read today FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

What we’ve all been waiting for is LIVE!

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Anna’s four star review on behalf of KFF

This novella was part of the Team Player Anthology that was released in late 2017. When I wrote a short review for this novella last year I mentioned that I wished the author gave us more of this pair. Well, here it is and what a treat for us readers!

Jolie and Sage grew up together, he was a broken boy and she became his best friend. Sage turned out to be the star quarterback in their school with a bright future in the football league. Jolie was always there for Sage as a friend but somewhere along the way, they begin to notice each other in a different way. Sharing a flat didn’t help the boundaries and eventually the line on the “friendship” sand shifted and things got hotter between these two.

This childhood friends to lovers story is one of my favourite genres and this vamped up version gives us more of Sage and Jolie. This is a well written tale with just the right combination of angst, a lot of cute light-hearted verbal sparring and some drama thrown in on this beautiful love story.

But wait, there’s more to this than meets the eye literally because the “epic” epilogue is the bonus that makes this story worth your time. There are a lot of surprises in store for the reader on this one. It’s a must read book if you’re a fan of this author and you surely don’t want to miss out!

 

Excerpt from the Vicious extended epilogue:

Emilia

“Kneel.”

There’s menace in this voice, and I grew to love the man who carries it like a loaded weapon. Every word is a sharp edge of a knife, sinking into my skin.

Kneel.

Sit.

Open your mouth.

Touch yourself.

Repeat after me: Vicious, I’m yours.

Most married couples fall into a blissful, albeit drowsy domestic routine of laundry, family dinners, and Netflix.

Most married couples are not Vicious and me.

We were different from the beginning. A yin and a yang, fighting over which color took more space, black or pink. We started out as enemies, and I think that, although we are still crazy in love, we will always be rivals on some level. We will always be passionate, and angry, and desperate.

We will always be us.

“I’m sorry, I don’t take orders from people who aren’t my boss,” I say coolly, dropping my funky, colorful bag at the door and erasing the distance between us in wide, confident steps. He is standing in front of me, his Armani suit impeccable, his raven hair slicked back, his icicle blue eyes devouring me in ways that make being eaten alive worth it. He scans the length of me, a slight sneer on his face. I’m still me, even so many years later. The tips of my light brown hair are still cherry-blossom pink. The soles of my shoes are yellow, for Christ’s sake.

“That could be arranged, if you continue your sass.”

“How is that going to work, Vicious? Are you going to re-employ me against my will?” For the past eighteen years, I’ve been managing my own gallery in L.A. A gallery he bought for me shortly before our engagement. I have a career, an income of my own. Truth is, he gave me a push, but the entire journey to where I am today was made by me, and only me, and he knows it.

He cups my cheek, yanks me by the hem of my funky powder blue blouse with little suns into his body and leans down for a kiss. Our lips brush briefly, promising scattered clothes and ragged breaths, just as the door swings open and our son walks in. He slams the door behind him, his eyes still intently glued to his phone.

Vaughn is a spitting image of his dad. So much so, that sometimes it scares me.

At sixteen, he has the walk, talk, and air of Vicious when the latter was a senior in high school. Rangy, strong body, thick-fringed blue eyes, skin so fair he looks like he defies the sun, and cheekbones you could use as a sharp weapon. More than anything, he has that uniquely-pissed facial expression that tells you that he just doesn’t care.

Not about your problems.

Not about your feelings.

And certainly not about what you think about him.

About L.J. Shen:

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets people’s birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

LJShen

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BLOG TOUR ~ JACOB’S LADDER: Eli by KATIE ASHLEY

 

JACOB’S LADDER: Eli by Katie Ashley is LIVE!

 

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JACOB’S LADDER: ELI by Katie Ashley

One wouldn’t expect a sexy-as-sin rocker like Eli Renard to spend time with a woman just as a friend, but that’s exactly what Emersyn Wallace is to him. Just a friend. Even though she’s matured into a beauty, Eli still doesn’t remotely see his childhood pal as a sex-object. When tragedy brings her back into his world, Eli moves mountains to help Emersyn get back onto her feet by finding her a job as a backup singer for Jacob’s Ladder. At first, Eli is thrilled that Emerysn is along on tour, and he sets out to do his best to help her forget her sorrow through a range of crazy friend dates. But after spending so much time with her in such close quarters, Eli finds his feelings beginning to shift. He no longer sees Emersyn as the once awkward young girl he played some of his first songs with. Soon it’s not only his body that reacts to her, but it’s also his heart. He’s about to learn what a dangerous game it is to dry a widow’s tears.

After losing her husband and singing partner in a tragic accident, Emersyn Wallace spent the last eight months drowning in a sea of grief. With the bills piling up and her family and friends concerned about her emotional welfare, she reluctantly agrees to join the Jacob’s Ladder’s tour. While recapturing her lost love of singing and performing, she finds both comfort and healing in Eli’s gregarious personality and outrageous sense of humor. But as the anniversary of her husband’s death approaches, she finds herself in turmoil over her new amorous feelings for Eli.

Can Eli and Emersyn find the perfect melody to transition from friends to lovers, or will their relationship end out of tune?

 

 

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

I have to start by saying that I truly love this series. I read Gabe’s story and didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I did Gabe and Rae; man, was I wrong. Emersyn and Eli stole my heart and I adored them both so much. I sat down to read this book mid evening and before I knew it I had reached 60% and just couldn’t put it down.

I’m a huge fan of the covers. Each one speaks so much about the main characters starring in the book. The white backgrounds and the concert photos at the bottom of the cover create a bright and invigorating feeling. The book starts off in the past giving the reader a wonderful insight into how Emersyn (or Sonny as Eli calls her) and Eli met and became friends. Eli is the kind of friend anybody would give anything to have. When Emersyn experiences a heart rending experience, Eli is there for her night and day.

Eli is such a giving human being, he would much rather treat his family and friends then spend his money on himself. The relationship between Eli and Emersyn shifts so slowly that neither is aware of it until they’re at the point of no return.

‘I’m pretty sure you don’t kiss your best friend like that, like was it as good for you as it was for me?’

The battle they both war with themselves is life altering. Do they risk their friendship to move their relationship to a new level or do they stay just as they are?

‘Of course, it made sense. Life wasn’t a continuous cookie-cutter moment. It was a mixture of both beauty and pain. Sometimes you had to go through the darkest times to appreciate the blessing of light in your life.’

This review could go on forever but I won’t give away a single moment of one of the best friends to lover romances I have read in quite some time. This book can be read as a standalone, but I beg you, please read Gabe’s book first, you will not regret it for one second.

 

 

 

 

 About the Author

 

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of both Indie and Traditionally published books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her spoiled mutt, Duke. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, as well as a few adjunct college English classes. As of January 2013, she hung up her red pen and expo markers to become a full-time writer. Each and every day she counts her blessings to be able to do her dream job.

Although her roots are firmly planted in the red Georgia clay, she loves traveling the country and world to meet readers and hang out with fellow authors. When she’s not writing or chasing down her toddler, you might find her watching reruns of The Golden Girls, reading historical biographies, along with romance novels, or spending way too much time on Facebook.

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REVIEW & EXCERPT TOUR ~ THE SECRET THIEF by NINA LANE

We’re thrilled to share with you our 5 ★ review and excerpt of
The Secret Thief by Nina Lane

 

Behind his beautiful eyes
Lay a thousand secrets and lies.
But my own secrets are all laid bare
The twisted reality of a disgraceful affair.

I once deciphered the mysteries hidden in art
Then mistakes and desire tore me apart.

Now I’m shipwrecked at the end of the earth
Desperate again to prove my worth.

The lighthouse keeper is a stranger to me
Yet one night with him sets me free.

We find ourselves united by the stars above
Both of us needing the salvation of love.

Until our secrets and shame continue to build
And what was flourishing will soon be killed.

 

 

The Secret Thief is available NOW!

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse

It’s difficult to put into words how much this full-length standalone affected me! So, how on earth does one begin to review a book with such quintessential creativity because to my mind, it is nothing less than a work of art! First, I’d like to mention the prologue which I found unusual in its structure. The author’s split it in two, used the present tense narrative in first-person singular, effectively hooking the reader into a wall of secrecy, and pretty darn quick I might add. In the short but oh so sweet second part, a character change becomes an alluring enigma. Then I have to tell you how I feel about the cover which I’m still not sure about…once you’ve finished the book, maybe you’ll understand why I’m in such a quandary. The title couldn’t be more perfect and can be interpreted in various ways. Secrets owned, stolen or untold could be a wish in a nursery rhyme, but also belong to the secret thief. Ironically, there’s a ring of truth in said title that’s tragically enchanting.

Back to the story. Nina not only took me on a magical journey shrouded in mystery in a breathtaking visual setting, but also bowled me over with the storyline per se. Actually, I was drawn to the female protagonist and her story from the word go and it wasn’t as if the male character’s story was without importance because goodness me, it is. I just seemed to step into hers with an unknowing grace. I think why this happened was because the first few chapters delve more into her feelings and fears rather than his. The story’s timespan is fairly short; notwithstanding, Lane kept the intrigue surrounding Flynn flowing with interludes, making you want to discover the whys and wherefores, making this read unputdownable. Another detail which stood out were his vulnerabilities, and not unleashed until nearly the end of the story. Accompanying truths, an awesome and well-thought-out twist I never saw coming is cause for worthy admiration, too.

“You need to stay away, Eve. I’m not good.”
“Don’t say that.”
“It’s the truth.”
“No one who creates such beauty is anything less than extraordinary.”
 

The Secret Thief brought back childhood memories, my love for the Grimm brothers’ stories and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Entwined in all their magnificence without drowning the plot, their works being mentioned have a crucial significance and never spoil or slow down the read, but simply add foundation and reason. In fact, it felt as if I was reading a modern day fairy tale of values, of self-forgiveness, and of healing since unpleasant experiences, very different experiences, left Flynn Alverton and Eve Perrin both hurting. Learning to pick up the pieces, to live again, is their story to tell nonetheless.

“The Hans Christian Andersen quote from The Butterfly. ‘To live, you must have sunshine and freedom, and a little flower to love.’” 

Eve’s strength to overcome an unjust accusation leaps off the pages. I cried for her. She doesn’t make excuses for her conduct, but trying hard to get some kind of normalcy back in her life seems to be a fruitless task. People gossip, people are unduly cruel, especially folk close to home. And it doesn’t seem to matter how good an expert she is in her profession, even doors left slightly ajar are closed on her. Then a shard of light comes from the most unexpected source and she takes it. Observing her work with such enthusiasm while making an effort to leave the past behind was an inspiration in itself. Watching her educate Flynn in art of tea drinking was truly delightful. And much to my consternation, those kisses nearly got the better of me! I don’t think anyone can describe such a passionate kiss as well as Lane. Little am I going to say about the bedroom scenes…just this, my glasses got steamed up!

“…but you like my tea, for heaven’s sake, and sometimes you look at me like you want to rip off my clothes right then and there, and then you kiss me like you’re freaking starving…” 

Flynn. What a gorgeous man he is. Regardless of his grumpiness, his actions speak louder than the words he appears to be at a loss for. All I had to do was be patient with him. When his emotional numbness eventually defrosts, when he realises it’s not all gloom and let’s Eve in, just plain wow! I rooted for these two guys throughout the read. I worried about Eve and Flynn. Touching moments melted my heart and in others, I was sitting on the edge of my seat with my fingers crossed.

“…No one can take your strength, your goodness, your intelligence, your fire. No one can take you.” 

It’s not just Lane’s way with words or the well-structured story that has made this romance a sublime one. Because prose and plot apart; in my opinion, it’s the cadence that’s made this novel flow poetically. Read what Flynn says to Eve out aloud and you’ll know exactly what I mean. I can’t recommend The Secret Thief enough and if you do one-click, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as me. Bravo Lane!

“…It’s you. You’re crimson, gold, scarlet. You’re a sunrise.” 

Footnote: I wonder if it’s ever crossed the author’s mind to convey Flynn’s imaginative thoughts in illustrations. Or even publish an adult colouring book. Now that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

 

 

The minute Flynn opens the workroom door, my whole body zings with excitement and anticipation. Even with his dark frown, the remoteness surrounding him like an aura, the clipped tone of his voice, I react to him as if he were stroking my hair and whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

Jeremy hadn’t come close to eliciting anything even close to this…which is exactly the reason I’ll go out with him again, if he asks me. Jeremy is solid, grounded, honest. Everything about Flynn is a mystery and a fantasy. I’d gotten caught up in a fantasy with David—whose “mystery” had been a lie—and I’d paid the price.

Never again.

“How was your weekend?” I set my satchel and lunch bag on the desk.

“Fine. Yours?”

“Great.” I give him a once-over, looking for evidence of an encounter with a chick, but while he looks edible in his worn jeans and T-shirt, like a warm, rumpled bed I could nestle right into, his demeanor is as impassive as ever.

Does he ever smile? Every now and then I’ve caught a glimpse of amusement, a twitch of his mouth, but I’ve yet to see him fully smile.

“Any special instructions for today?” I turn on the laptop computer and open my notebook.

“Stay away from Jeremy King.”

Shock bolts down my spine. I jerk my head up to stare at him. He’s watching me with a narrowed gaze, his mouth set in a stern line.

“Um…what?” I can’t get another word out.

“Stay away from him,” Flynn repeats. “He’s not good for you.”

Irritation breaks past my shock. “How would you know who is or isn’t good for me? You’ve barely said twenty words to me the whole week I’ve been working here.”

“I don’t need to say anything to know the facts.” His tone hardens. “I don’t want you around him.”

“Well, you have no right to tell me that,” I retort. “How did you know I went on a date with him anyway?”

His jaw tightens. “You think people around here don’t take notice when their favorite son is out having dinner with the new girl in town?”

Christ. I experience a sudden longing for the cold anonymity of a big city.

“I know people are talking about me,” I snap. “But I refuse to let gossip dictate what I can and can’t do. And for your information, Jeremy knows about what happened to me, and it didn’t seem to bother him.”

“That’s not the point. You can’t work for me and see him.”

My shoulders tense. I focus on the computer, hitting the key to bring up the database software.

“My date with Jeremy has nothing to do with my work here,” I reply stiffly. “I didn’t, and won’t, tell him anything about the job or the fact that you’re my employer. You don’t need to worry about breach of contract.”

“This isn’t about the damned contract.” His voice is suddenly sharp.

He steps closer to me, his soapy, warm scent filling my nose. I hold my ground, not wanting him to see me weaken even though I’m melting inside at his nearness. Impassive though he is on the exterior, I can almost feel the energy coursing through him, his heavy strong heartbeat, the rush of his blood.

“I don’t want you around King,” he repeats.

“Does your animosity have something to do with him wanting to sell the lighthouse?”

“I’m not answering questions.” His gray eyes turn the color of metal. “I’m telling you to stay away from him.”

My pulse races. “You don’t have that right.”

“I’m your boss.”
“That doesn’t mean you can make that demand.” The words snap out of my mouth without thought. “And if you think you can threaten to fire me over this, then step back, mister, because I’ve been through the worst wrongful termination I can imagine. And even though my employer fucking won that battle, I still have plenty of fight left in me. I’ll put on my gloves and go another round with you, if I have to.”

Wow. Go, Eve.

I’m breathing fast, and my knees are quaking with sudden fear that he’ll make me prove my bold statement. I dig my fingernails into my palms. The air between us sparks with electricity. I force myself to hold my ground, to look directly at him and—

Admiration flashes in his eyes, like a silver comet streaking across the sky. His stern expression doesn’t change, but that brief glimpse of warmth eases the tension knotting my shoulders.

“I’m not going to fire you.” His voice is measured and controlled. “But I will not have you seeing King.”

“You don’t like him, so that means I have to stay away from him?” I ask. “Sorry, no. He’s one of the few people in this town who has been nice to me, and I enjoyed our date. I refuse to discount the possibility of Jeremy being my first real friend here.”
Flynn’s jaw clenches. “He wants to be more than your friend.”

“I know.” I put my hands on my hips and look him in the eye. “He even kissed me.”

Anger crashes over his features, and a vein throbs in his forehead. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was jealous.

But I do know better. He’s mad because I’m refusing to do something he wants me to do. Despite, or maybe because of, his isolated lifestyle, Flynn is clearly a man accustomed to getting what he wants.

“He kissed you.” The word grind out of his mouth like broken glass.

“Yes. And I kissed him back. Like our date, it was nice. Nice hasn’t been the norm in my life lately.”
“I could kiss you,” Flynn retorts, his hands fisting. “But it wouldn’t nice.”

“Oh yeah?” My heart kicks into gear, blood rushing through my veins. “What would it be, then?”

He pulls in a breath, his gaze settling on my mouth. “Hot.”

“Prove it.” Borne of my endless nighttime fantasies, the dare flies out of me without thought of the potential repercussions.

Before I can take another breath, he grabs my shoulders and pulls me against him. I freeze, stunned by the reality of a moment I’d imagined more times than I can count—the sensation of his body against mine. And God, he feels exactly the way I’d imagined, a solid wall of heat and muscle pulsing with life. Rock-hard arms that could wrap around me so tightly nothing would get past them.

He stares down at me, his steel-like gaze sparking with intent like iron striking stone. I can’t move, can’t breathe, can’t think.

Then his mouth crashes down on mine, an onslaught, a possession, a claiming. Hunger bursts through me, a desire so sharp and intense it destroys all my defenses in one fell swoop. I moan, everything inside me weakening and aching for more. He slides a hand to my lower back, fitting our bodies together. I yield everywhere, my curves softening against him, any thought of resistance dissolving in a haze of disbelief and craving.

I part my lips tentatively, let him inside. My head spins with the taste of him—something decadent and forbidden. Our tongues touch, breath mingling. Arousal floods me, swift and hard, as if all the fantasies in which I’ve indulged have primed me for this moment. I bring my hands up to his face, his stubble coarse against my palms, slide them down to the sides of his neck where his pulse throbs heavily. He’s like the sea—mysterious, unpredictable, powerful. I could get lost in him, drown, let him sweep me away to a distant land where no one knows who I am and what I’ve done.

He lifts his head, breaking our kiss and stepping away from me at the same time. Heavy breaths saw from his chest, and his eyes are darkened to black. I bring a shaking hand to my mouth, suddenly unsure if the kiss just happened or if I’m like Alice in Wonderland, spinning downward, lost in my intricate imagination.

 

 

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.

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