BLOG TOUR ~ BETWEEN NOW AND FOREVER by Dylan Allen

Today we are delighted to be on tour with the first book in Dylan Allen’s
all-new The Forever Trilogy, BETWEEN NOW AND FOREVER,
an epic second-chance romance

Forever felt impossible. Heartbreak was inevitable. Always would cost us everything.

FOREVER

”Real love stories, the ones worth telling,  never end.”

He was searching for the truth.

I was living a lie.

Our paths should never have crossed.

Yet, when we kissed it felt like destiny.

Falling in love was messy

We broke rules we should have followed.

We made promises we couldn’t keep.

Forever felt impossible.

Heartbreak was inevitable.

Always would cost us everything.

Download your copy or read in Kindle Unlimited TODAY!

Amazon eBook: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Amazon Paperback: U.S | U.K | CAN

Add to GoodReads

Reviewed by Anna on behalf of KFF

I was looking forward to reading this author’s work as I have never read any of her books before. The first of a trilogy, this is a story of two interesting but imperfect characters from eminent families.

Elizabeth is the only daughter of a wealthy and prominent businessman with political ambitions to the highest office. With her pedigree, you’d think she is the typical princess but is exactly the opposite. In her father’s eyes, she is lacking in qualities that make her the perfect daughter. She has daddy issues and is always striving to get his approval.

Carter is a musical prodigy and comes from a loving family background but he has serious issues and has fallen out of grace from the public. He needs to redeem himself and is struggling to win back their trust.

The first chapter begins as a flashback to Carter and Beth’s first meeting when the author introduces us to their families. Beth’s father rules the small Texan town of Winsome. She craves for her father’s love but he only sees her as a commodity and a pawn for his quest to achieve political fame. Carter is considered the “odd” one in his famous reality TV family, he is a much-loved member but spirals downhill when he finds out about a secret.

Whilst I found the storyline riveting, there is something about Beth that kept me from connecting with her character. She is a naive twenty-one-year-old girl and her bad decisions annoyed the heck out of me. She is definitely not the perfect heroine, but I do hope that in book two she develops that much-needed backbone. The Machiavellian antagonist in this tale is intriguing in such a way that I wonder how the author can make this character possibly even eviler in the follow-up book. Let’s wait and see!

The attraction between Carter and Beth is undeniable right from the start but the turn of events that happen after their first meeting keeps them apart for most of the book’s timeline. Of course, we are all rooting for these two lovers to reunite and although the plot twist in the last chapter is somewhat predictable, I can’t wait to read the next installment. The characters in this saga are flawed but that doesn’t make their story less fascinating. Thank goodness I don’t have to wait too long for the next one as I am dying to find out how Beth and Carter’s story pans out.


EXCERPT

© 2019 Dylan Allen
All rights reserved.

“Keep it. A little something to remember me.”
“So…are we, like, going to be like…boyfriend and girlfriend?”
Her eyes are expectant and suddenly, breathing feels a little harder. Those words make me think of things like explanations and disappointment. I’m not sure that I can be intimate with anyone. And what happens when she finds out about everything? She’ll be horrified. Or when I start back on the show and that whole world crowds in on us… she’ll get tired of it and walk away. Or I’ll be weak and break even more of my own rules and end up hurting her.
“Let’s not put any labels on it.”
Her eyes lose some of their sparkle, but she smiles gamely. “Well, no matter what we call it, the last few days have been awesome. I know a side of myself that I didn’t before.”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean, now I know, that given the chance, I can sit down with people I don’t know and have a great conversation. I’ve never been anywhere, but here. And now I’m going to get to travel with you—even though I’ll be seeing it through your phone’s camera. Meeting you was really good luck.”Oh yeah…The cheesecake.
I’m ruined. I brush my lips very lightly across hers and smile when she whimpers. God, I’m going to miss her.
“I promise, I’ll call.” It doesn’t make my heart race to say it.
“Don’t promise, Carter. Those are bound to be broken. Just do it.”Her eyes turn solemn and I see that she and disappointment are intimate friends. I want to break them up.

 



Between Now and Heartbreak, Book 2

Releasing November 3rd, pre-order your copy

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Add to GoodReads


 

Between Now and Always, Book 3

Releasing November 17th

Add to GoodReads

 


 

Meet Dylan Allen

Dylan Allen is a Texas girl with a serious case of wanderlust.

A self-proclaimed happily ever junkie, she loves creating stories where her characters chase their own happy endings.

When she isn’t writing or reading, eating or cooking, she and her family are planning their next adventure.

Dylan Allen

Connect with Dylan

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

 Goodreads | BookBub | Book+Main | Amazon

Stay up to date with Dylan and sign up for her newsletter

Advertisements

BLOG TOUR ~ GETTING PLAYED by Emma Chase

A magnificent read from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase, and today we’re thrilled to be on tour with her  all-new contemporary romance stand-alone in the Getting Some duet, GETTING PLAYED


Dean Walker is all about keeping life simple. He’s effortlessly talented and intelligent-spending his summers playing drums in the local band and the rest of the year teaching high school in the same Jersey town where he grew up. He likes his love life simple too, enjoying the commitment-free hook-ups his good looks and sexy charm have always made oh-so-easy.

Then he meets Lainey Burrows. And his simple, easy life gets turned upside down.

One wild one-night stand was all it was ever supposed to be, so Lainey is shocked when she discovers that her sizzling summer fling is also her son’s new math teacher. What ensues is an addictive, insatiable, sweet romance that won’t be simple, but it will be more than worth the fight.


Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Add to Goodreads

Narrated by Andi Arndt & Zachary Webber

Audible: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS


Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

Ten per cent into the book and the pages were already heating up. It certainly felt like Chase had done a reversal by not holding back on the steaminess when actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll know what I mean when you dive into Getting Played, but one thing’s for sure, she managed to get this reader hot and bothered pretty darn quick. Something that’d slipped my mind is that Chase’s bedroom scenes are magnificent. Not sure if I should use this adjective but they simply are. And I could have kicked myself for not having caught up with her books, especially Getting Schooled. Although it’s the first book in the Getting Some duet, I never felt I’d missed out.

‘Dean’s body is a wonderland, and I explore every bit of it. And he plays me like an instrument.’

Now then, apart from seriously contemplating grabbing a fan, my next impression was that there’s so much more to this contemporary romance than meets the eye. I wasn’t wrong. Chase writes with an immense amount of flair, capturing my attention from beginning to end. Bit of advice here; I started the book at daft o’clock which wasn’t such a good idea. Apart from the sleep deficit, trying not to disturb my better half while reading in bed wasn’t easy, either.

“I have this theory, it’s stupid. Life is full of surprises — good and bad. And this one. . . ”

Oops, Dean Walker forgot to ask for her phone number while on a summer tour with his band! Back in Lakeside, his other love is teaching and boy, would I have liked to have a maths teacher like him! He’s really good at what he does and gives his students confidence, even lets them ask personal questions if they earn the privilege. Cheeky monkeys! They don’t hold back once they get going.

“You can ask anything — that’s the whole point. Hit me.”

Yet observing him deliberate over that one night he’d spent with the woman who left without much ado had me grinning from ear to ear. It’s always been the other way round and he can’t quite get around that fact or stop thinking about her. Hmm…just maybe she’s the one who got away, but there’s nothing he can do about it. So, is he a tad big-headed? Well, yes and I was pretty pleased his ego was brought down a notch or two.

‘It happens. When you’re good looking, naturally charming teacher, student crushes come with the territory.’

Lifestyle blogger extraordinaire, Lainey Burrows has an opportunity of a lifetime, doing up a run-down house in Lakeside. Her followers will be in for a treat ‘cause she’s about to show them how to save a penny or two, recycle and watch her refurbishing it. Single mum to a lad who’s older than his years and super intelligent, the poor chap never really fitted in but he does here. His school mates are cool and guess what, his teacher even cooler! Lainey is adorable. Her future pretensions regarding relationships made me kinda sad though. So when the unthinkable happens, her ‘let’s get on with it attitude’ and make the most of a situation she’d never envisaged being in, literally bowled me over.

“You know you’re, like, the best kid ever right?”
“I do okay.”

Please, please don’t read the blurb. I went in blind and it really paid off. The surprise is a game-changer for Dean, no pun intended, and if I’d been swooning over him before, he’s now left me in a right blubberin’ mess! Chase has made her characters come alive in a love story where the dialogue flows with no boundaries, perfect banter in realistic surroundings and romance….this is it! I loved the secondary characters, the family feel-good take on the story is blinkin’ marvellous, and the emotions…WOW! My recommendation. Read it. Bravo Chase and thanks for the Star Wars mention. That tickled me pink!

“Boba Fett didn’t say that.”
“No?”
“The actual quote is ‘He’s no good to me dead.’ ‘Cause he was, you know, talking about Han Solo.”


EXCERPT

© 2019 Emma Chase
All rights reserved.

 
I find Lainey in the living room—standing on a ladder, with those long, toned legs peeking out from itty bitty cotton black shorts and a power drill in her hand, while Bruce Springsteen sings “I’m Goin’ Down” from a speaker in the corner.
And, dear God—the things I could do to her on that ladder.
Wonderful, filthy things that instantly make my heart pound and my cock throb. She’s the perfect height for me to just walk over there and put my mouth between her legs. I picture it, see it in my mind—the way she’d grip my hair and pant my name, arch her back and writhe against my face . . .
But then I catch sight of the small bump of her stomach, and reality smacks me in the head. I think about the baby—and how making Lainey lose her mind three feet off the ground wouldn’t be the safest option. My protective instinct overrides the desire to get freaky on the ladder.
“Hey, Dean.” She sets the drill on the ledge and picks up a beeping light green rectangle, running it along the wall.
“What are you doing up there?” I ask.
I don’t have a decorative bone in my body, but the room looks good—with light gray walls and navy corduroy covered couches, reclaimed wood tables and a dozen different-sized candles filling the white-washed brick fireplace. It’s clean and simple but warm, the kind of place you’d look forward to coming back to every day.
“I’m going to hang up those boards.” Lainey gestures to three square planks, with ornamental arrows burned black into the wood. “I just want to make sure this stud-finder works.”
“If you’re looking for a stud,” I wink, “I’m standing right in front of you.”
“Ha-ha. I’ll keep that in mind.”
She turns back to the wall, reaching up over her head and stretching onto her tippy toes on the narrow step. I move under the ladder to catch her if she goes ass over end, and a stab of terror slices through me at the thought that Lainey would still be doing this if I wasn’t here. Alone. Without Jason even in the room in case something went terribly wrong.
What the hell is up with that?
“I read that you’re not supposed to reach above your head when you’re pregnant.”
“That’s just an old wives’ tale.”
I wrap my hands around her hips, holding her steady.
“Maybe the old wives knew what they were talking about. Come on, come down.”
Slowly, Lainey lowers her arms and turns in my hands. I lift her off the ladder by her hips, tilting my head back and holding her above me for a moment, before sliding her slowly down. And the feel of her softness rubbing against me, the friction—it’s fantastic.
When her feet are on the ground, I dip my head and our faces are just millimeters apart. Close enough to count the sprinkle of cute, light freckles that dust the bridge of her nose.
“That’s better,” I say softly, taking the stud-finder out of her hands. “I’ll do it.”
“Okay.” Lainey’s tongue peeks out, wetting her bottom lip. “Thanks.”
Like I said . . . fucking killing me.
 

Meet Emma

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

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

Connect with Emma

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon

 

EXCERPT REVEAL ~ PARK AVENUE PLAYER by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Today we are thrilled to be bringing you an excerpt of New York Times bestselling authors Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland’s all-new contemporary romance, PARK AVENUE PLAYER,
releasing 23rd September!


It started out like any normal day.

Then the fender bender happened.

The guy I collided with drove an expensive car and was drop-dead gorgeous. Too bad he was also a total jerk. We argued over whose fault it was and any other thing that came out of his condescending mouth.

Eventually, the police came and we went our separate ways. The insurance companies would have to figure things out. I had a job interview to get to anyway—one I was excited about.

Though that excitement changed to disappointment the moment the person interviewing me walked in. The guy from the accident.

Whoops!

Yeah, so I didn’t get the position.

The problem was, I really wanted it. No, I needed it. Anything to get me out of my current career and back into working with kids.

So, even though Hollis LaCroix was as intimidating as he was devastatingly handsome, I went back to see him and begged for a chance.

To my surprise, he gave me a shot taking care of his troubled niece.

At least my attraction to him wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my job or the strong bond Hailey and I formed.

But resisting the magnetic pull between us wasn’t that simple. (Then there was our little underwear game—don’t ask.)

We continued to flirt without crossing the line—until it finally happened.

This is the part of the story where we fall in love and live happily ever after, right?

Well, life has a way of throwing some major curveballs.

Ours was one I didn’t see coming.

Add to Goodreads

Pre-order your Paperback and Audible copy today!

Amazon Print: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Audible: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Narrated by Sebastian York & Andi Arndt

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when their books go live!

EXCERPT

© 2019 Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
All rights reserved.

 
“Would you like something to drink, Hollis?”
“No, thank you.”
He looked completely uncomfortable standing in my kitchen, so of course, I needed to make it worse. I tilted my head. “Did you touch any?”
“What?”
“My panties. Did you touch any while you were in the bathroom?”
He tugged at the collar of his polo and looked down the hall. “Where did she go? We need to get back on the road.”
Oh my God!
I’d been kidding around. But…holy shit…he had! I covered my mouth and cracked up. “You did, didn’t you! You perv!”
Hollis walked down the hall. “Hailey…let’s get going.”
I couldn’t get the smile off my face. Something about the thought of Hollis touching my underwear amused the hell out of me. I wished Hailey wasn’t around so I could ask him if he’d smelled them, too. That thought actually made me snort.
Hollis came back to the kitchen. His face was stern. “We’ll see you on Monday.”
I walked them to the door. Hailey surprised me with a hug. “Your art stuff is awesome.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
I grinned at Hollis, who was impatiently holding the door open for his niece. “Your uncle thinks my stuff is awesome, too.”
 


Meet Penelope

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over two million books sold, she is a twenty-one time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.

Sign up for Penelope’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when her new releases go live ➜ HERE

Follow Penelope

Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website

Twitter @penelopewardauthor | Instagram

 Goodreads | BookBub | Gmail

91FFBs19XQL._UX250_MEET VI

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in two dozen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Sign up for Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when her new releases go live ➜ HERE

Do you like texts better than email? Receive text notices of Vi’s new releases by texting the word BOOKS to 77948 You will ONLY receive a text when a new book goes live – no other messages at all!

Follow Vi

Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook

Twitter  @vikeeland | Instagram  @Vi_Keeland

Goodreads | BookBub

other books by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Hate Notes

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

THE RUSH SERIES (2 BOOK SERIES)

Rebel Heir

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Rebel Heart

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Dear Bridget, I Want You

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Cocky Bastard

Amazon | iTunes  | Kobo | B&N

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Stuck-Up Suit

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

Also available on Audible and Paperback

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Playboy Pilot

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Paperback

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Mister Moneybags

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo 

Other books by Penelope

The Day He Came Back

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Apple Books | Nook | Kobo 

Amazon Paperback: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

When August Ends

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS 

Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google Play 

Amazon Print  | Audio

KFF’S  4.5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Love Online

Amazon eBook: U.K | U.S | CANADA | AUSTRALIA 

Amazon Paperback 

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Amazon Audio | Audible

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Gentleman Nine

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Drunk Dial

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

KFF’S  4 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Mack Daddy

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

KFF’S  4 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Room Hate

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo 

KFF’S  4 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Stepbrother Dearest

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Neighbor Dearest

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | NookKobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Sins of Sevin

Amazon: US | UK

iBooks | B&N | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Jake Undone (Jake #1)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Jake Understood (Jake #2)

Amazon | B&N | iBooksKobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Gemini

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

My Sylar

Amazon | B&N |  iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

OTHER BOOKS BY VI:

All Grown Up

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Amazon print | Audio

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

We shouldn’t!

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Amazon Paperback | Audio

AppleBooks  | Nook | Google Play

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

The Naked Truth

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Amazon print | Audio

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Sex, Not Love

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

KFF’s  5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Beautiful Mistake

Amazon: U.K | U.S | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google Play

KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

EGOmaniac

Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google Play

Audio

KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Bossman

Amazon: US UK 

iBooks | B&N | Kobo 

KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

The Baller

Amazon: US | UK 

iBooks | B&N | Kobo 

KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat

Amazon: US | UK

iBooks | Kobo | B&N

KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Throb

Amazon: US | UK

B&N | iBooks | Kobo

KFF’S  5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)

Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter Series, Book One)

Amazon | B&N | Kobo Smashwords | iBooks

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Worth The Chance (MMA Fighter Series, Book Two)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter Series, Book Three)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

The Cole Series (2 book serial)

Belong to You (Cole Series, Book One)

Amazon: US  | UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Made for You (Cole Series, Book Two)

Amazon: US | UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel) by Vi Keeland & Dylan Scott

Amazon: US | UK

KFF’S  5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

 

ALL THE FORBIDDEN THINGS by Lesley Jones is LIVE!

Today we are thrilled to be sharing Lesley Jones’ all-new forbidden romance, ALL THE FORBIDDEN THINGS

 

When all that you want, is all that’s forbidden…

I’ve known him my entire life.
Before marriage.
Before fatherhood.
Before betrayal.
Now, he’s one of rock’s bad-boys trying to be good.
Trying to be the best father he can for his daughter.
He’s my brother’s best friend.
He’s my boss.
He has a wife.
Max isn’t mine to have, but I want him all the same.
And I haven’t survived all that I have to not go after what I want.

Her story is a tragedy, mine’s a publicity disaster.

Just when I needed her most, she walked back into my life, and the timing couldn’t be worse.
With a newborn baby, a divorce, an album to record, and a world tour to plan, I don’t need the distraction.
She’s off limits.
She’s my best friend’s little sister.
She’s my nanny.
Billie’s a golden drop of sexy sun on a grey autumn day, tempting me into the light and a life full of possibilities.
A life not meant for us.

LIVE on Apple, Nook, and Kobo, All The Forbidden Things will be exclusive to Amazon on September 12th! Purchase today!

 Universal link for Apple Books, Nook & Kobo

Amazon Universal | BookBub

Add to Goodreads

Reviewed by Donna on behalf of KFF

Max Young, the hot rock star seems to have it all. Married to a model, newborn baby and at the height of his career, he’s hugely in the public eye and the paparazzi love to know everything going on in his life. Max is your typical rockstar until he settles down to be a husband and father; however, what he thought was his life turns out to be nothing but lies. Just when his life couldn’t get any more complicated, Billie Wild walks back in. She’s his bandmate and best friend’s little sister. Totally off limits but such temptation.

“I thought you were going to kiss me back?”
“I did, with my heart. Didn’t you feel it touching yours?”

Billie Wild is a nanny by trade and happens to be in need of work. That poor girl has been through some heartache but when a situation has her running home to her family, she finds herself in the company of Max Young for the first time in years. He isn’t hers to have but it doesn’t stop her wanting him. She thought the years would have made her childhood crush fade but as soon as she sees him, the feelings come flooding back.

“Something needs to be done! I don’t know what, but I will never, ever, have that girl put in that position because of that bitch again.”

I was sucked into the story from the very first page right to the end. The storytelling flowed fluently and the word-manship had me spellbound. It’s as if I was there viewing it in person rather than reading about it. The characters intrigued me and of course in true Lesley style, there is a villain within this and I just wanted to throttle the baddie. It was shocking the lengths they would go to hurt Max, even Billie or anyone else that got in their way.

I loved the way the tracks from the playlist were intricately placed within the story and listening and reading at the same time gave me a sense of what the setting was. There’s so much chemistry and the perfect amount of steaminess is by no means overdone. I was so happy to see a couple of well-known characters from previous books make cameo appearances; one of them, in particular, had me smiling with his humour.

Ms Jones hasn’t published a book for two years and this made me even more excited to see what we were going to get in her new standalone. I was blown away with the story and long after turning the last page, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A forbidden age-gap romance, in some of the chapters the protagonists gave me a feeling of hopelessness. I’m not letting on how it pans out because you simply have to read this story for yourselves. But I do suggest going in blind as your enjoyment will be enhanced if that were ever possible. To sum up; every emotion from being smitten, angry and laughing was provoked in this epic rollercoaster which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The forbidden is definitely one of my favourite tropes, possibly because it always contains a lot of angst. I can’t stop listening to the amazing playlist and now have one almighty book hangover. Certainly worthy of re-reading, thank you for such an epic story!

EXCERPT

© 2019 Lesley Jones
All rights reserved.

It’s at that point I notice Billie climbing from the car. Although, if Mel hadn’t told me, I’d never have recognised the girl standing on my drive as Billie Wild.

She closes the car door and turns towards me.

Silence.

She stares down at her feet as she moves slowly along my driveway. When she reaches the front of the car, she looks up. The bluest of blue eyes meet mine, and she stops moving.

Deafening silence.

No birds singing.

No traffic sounds.

The silence is so loud it hurts my ears.

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

She takes a step towards me, and my hearing returns. The gravel crunches beneath her green biker boots, a pigeon coos, brakes screech, engines rev . . . a bomb could fucking drop, but nothing, not a single thing can divert my attention from Billie Wild as she moves towards me.

 

MEET LESLEY

Lesley was born and raised in a small working-class town in Essex, just outside of East London. She’s married with three sons and in 2006 they all moved to the other side of the world, settling on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, about fifty kilometres outside of Melbourne, Australia.

Lesley is currently ‘a stay at home mum’, but in the past, she has worked at ‘good old Mark & Spencer’ for thirteen years and as a teacher’s assistant.As well as writing, Lesley loves to read and has been known to get through four or five books a week, when she’s not writing that is.

Her other interests are watching her boys play football… the round ball version. She’s happy to admit to being an addict of social media and owes a lot to her Facebook and Twitter family in promoting her book. Lesley is also rather partial to a glass or bottle of wine, a nicely chilled Marlborough Sav Blanc being her favourite.

Being a born and raised Essex girl, she will happily admit being a big fan of spray tans, manis, pedis, and is regularly, waxed, tinted and sculpted, although she doesn’t own a pair of white stilettos.

Website | Facebook | Facebook Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter

 

 

 

EXCERPT REVEAL ~ ENTICE by Ava Harrison

Today we are thrilled to be sharing an excerpt for Ava Harrison’s all-new romance, ENTICE, coming 16th September!

Add to Goodreads


Eight years ago, I gave Grayson Price a piece of my heart.

To him, I was the strange girl whose mom had just abandoned her.

To me, he was a savior, an anchor, someone who stood beside me on that beach.

The next time I saw him, I was twenty, and he was thirty-six.

He didn’t remember me.

And when he flirted…

I didn’t tell him.

By the time he found out, it was too late.

We tried to deny our desire, but our attraction was too enticing.

Eight years ago, I gave Grayson Price a piece of my heart.

Too bad he’s my dad’s best friend.

EXCERPT

© 2019 Ava Harriso
All rights reserved.


The bartender comes over a few seconds later and places a tumbler down in front of me. I lift the glass to my mouth, and as I’m about to swallow, I sense a presence beside me. I turn, take the swig, and look at who’s there.

A woman.

She’s beautiful.

Exquisite, really.

Young.

With long, sun-kissed locks that fall below her breasts, I lift my gaze to study her features. She’s too young for me, that’s for certain. She appears to be in her mid to early twenties with big blue eyes and freckled skin as though she’s just left the beach. Her hair flows in waves that look tousled by the wind.

If I thought she was lovely before, she smiles, and my pulse begins to race. How long has it been since I’ve gotten laid? Too long, if I have to ask.

I watch as she nibbles on her lower lip as if she’s waiting for me to say something. When I don’t, she pulls her shoulders back and then flashes me a smirk.

“Mind if I join you?” But she doesn’t wait for me to answer before she takes the seat beside me. In this position, I can see she’s wearing a dress, and from where she’s perched, it’s short.

“Not at all,” I say. “What would you like?”

“A glass of champagne, please,” she responds. Her voice is soft like an angel.

Fuck.

What is wrong with me?

I turn to the bartender again. “A glass of champagne for the lady.”

A second later, the flute is placed in front of her, and she tips it back, her full lips touching the glass, her tongue sweeping out to lick a drop that missed her mouth.

I wonder what her lips would feel like on mine.

“So what brings you to Malaga?” I ask, needing to know more about this woman. “Business or pleasure?”

A seductive smirk spreads across her face as if she’s up to no good, and the idea of bringing her back to my room later and sinking inside her becomes more and more promising.

“What?”

“Pleasure,” she finally draws out, and I know if I want her, I can have her. I take a swig of my drink and then sear her with my gaze.

“I’m supposed to be meeting a buddy for dinner, but it appears he’s not showing. Are you free tonight?”

Since Tyler isn’t here, I might as well make the best of my trip.

Her eyes widen, and she opens to her mouth to speak, hopefully, to say yes, but then I hear it.

“Grayson,” the voice calls out from behind me, and I turn to find Tyler approaching. I want to curse him for coming now. I know, at first, I hated that he was late, but now that he’s here, I want him to leave.

He turns to the lady on my right and smiles. “I see you found him,” he says to her, and I narrow my brows . . .

Found him?

He knows her.

“Yes, he was kind enough to buy me a drink.” She lifts the glass at him and winks.

“You’re not old enough to drink,” Tyler adds, and I swear it’s like I’m watching a ping-pong game, and I can’t figure out what’s going on.

“I am in Spain,” she chides.

And that makes me look from him to her.

What am I missing?

Tyler . . . Is he cheating on Kim?

“So, Grayson, does she look the same?”

“Does who look the same?”

“River, of course.” He points at the stunning beauty beside me.

She looks familiar. Why do her eyes look familiar, and why is Tyler looking down adoringly at this woman? And then it hits me in the gut.

This is no woman. She’s a girl. A very beautiful one but a girl, nonetheless.

Young.

Very. Fucking. Young.

How did I not see it before? A girl so young, she could be my daughter. She’s his daughter.

 

 



Meet Ava

Ava Harrison is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author.

When she’s not journaling her life, you can find her window shopping, cooking dinner for her family, or curled up on her couch reading a book.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Stay up to date with Ava by signing up for her newsletter


 

BLOG TOUR ~ YOU CAN HAVE MANHATTAN by P. Danglico

Today we are thrilled to be on tour with P. Dangelico’s all-new contemporary romance, YOU CAN HAVE MANHATTAN

YouCanHaveManhattan_Ebooks_Amazon copy.jpg


YouCanHaveManhattan_Ebooks_Amazon copy.jpgSydney Evans is no stranger to hard work. It’s the one constant in her life. And with no family or friends to speak of it’s been easy to pour everything she has into her career as general counsel for Blackstone Holdings.

She wants for nothing. Until her boss offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All she has to do in return is marry his good-for-nothing son.

Scott Blackstone used be a party whore. Pardon, party animal. He hasn’t been that guy in a long time though. Not since he moved to Wyoming, bought a failing cattle ranch, and turned it into a profitable business.

All is good. Until a phone call from his father threatens the quiet, simple life Scott’s built. Marry or lose everything. And to a woman who can’t stand him, no less. Well, Scott is not going down without a fight. He’s never going back to Manhattan. Not if he can help it.

Download your copy today!

Amazon Universal | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

The title for P. Dangelico’s brand new enemies-to-lovers romance didn’t quite make sense until the fourth chapter in this stand-alone. When it was mentioned the first time, it fit snuggly into place. You can have Manhattan was later spoken by the person I least expected and not with hearty enthusiasm. We all know the proverbial saying, ‘leopards never change their spots’…well, in this case, the author has got home to her readers that you can turn your life around and become a better person.

I found the story a tad slow to start off with but then it dawned on me why the author had set the pace she had. A solid foundation was necessary to understand the ins and outs of her protagonists’ unhappy pasts so when it did pick up, I found the book difficult to put down. In fact, I couldn’t turn the pages of the last few chapters fast enough. Danglelico gives her readers a rough ride and I loved it!

I really liked Scott Blackstone; nonetheless, he hadn’t left a good impression on Sidney Evans years back and now she’s in his terrain under the most peculiar of circumstances. To say she’s confused by his persona would be putting it mildly. And not does he feel she’s invading his space but surprise, the woman he thought he knew had long gone!

Sydney is my kinda a women, hard-working and ambitious, she’s got the chance to become CEO of the law firm where she’d dedicated her working life. But there’s competition and strings attached, and saying no doesn’t come into the equation for reasons to be divulged.

The question in Scott and Sidney’s story is if a truth held back becomes a lie. Just when they seemed to be on the same wavelength, everything comes crashing down, and it was no fault of their own. Scott can’t see further than his nose and is dreadfully cruel to Sidney. She; however, showed me her elegance in a situation I never thought she’d be put in.

Dangelico’s offering is original, relatable, even understandable. When I finished the book, I had a strong feeling her protagonists were manipulated, which makes their story so much more interesting. I loved the ribbing between them, the banter flows freely and I have to admit that some touching moments had me in tears. Not forgetting the abounding steaminess that’ll most likely fog up your glasses or your Kindle screen!

The secondary character development is spot on and keeping my fingers crossed that one of them will get their story. Lots of smiles and sighs of relief when everything panned out just how I wanted it to and my recommendation. If I were you, I’d jump in headfirst without reading the blurb as you’ll be in for more than one surprise. Bravo Dangelico!

EXCERPT

© 2019 P. Dangelico
All rights reserved.

“Just stand still for five more minutes…” Romeo scooted away and started running in circles around me, his entire massive Wolfhound body covered in shampoo. It was high time these two got a bath and the weather was finally cooperating. I’d found a spray nozzle out back and went to work. “Romeo! Get over here! Stop it.” The more I chased, the faster he ran, tongue hanging to out, tearing up the lawn because this was the best game ever! Then Juliet got in the mix, barking loudly, and it all went to hell. Romeo suddenly hit the brakes and shook, sending suds flying everywhere––and me screaming when some hit me in the face.“What’s going on here?” an amused man inquired. Behind me, Scott was grinning. Taking off his ball cap, he adjusted his hair and slammed it back on.

“They smell like cow shit is what’s going on,” was the obvious reply. 

I wiped my brow with the back of my wrist and watched Scott’s gaze track up and down my body, taking his time to thoroughly evaluate my wet t-shirt covered in dying suds, my hair falling into my face, and my bare legs shoved into my Hunter boots. He was so distracted that he missed Romeo coming at him like a heat-seeking missile. Before he knew what hit him, Scott was on his back, lying spread eagle on the ground.

Oh sweet, sweet vengeance. I still missed my orange ASICS.

I doubled over in laughter while he blinked, trying to ascertain what the heck had just happened to him. Stepping over him with my legs straddling his body, I bent to get a better look and tipped his ball cap off his head. “You okay there, Sweet Nuts?”

Next thing I know, I’m lying on top of him. Eyes hooded and aimed at my mouth, he murmured, “Better now, Sunshine.”

We kissed and touched and got covered in mud. He stood, and with pure muscular power, took me with him. We peeled clothed off even though it was only March and still a little nippy out. Grabbing the spray nozzle, he hit me in the chest with the cold water. The look of pure shock on my face…

“Oh, you’re gonna get it now.” 

He chuckled darkly. “And I’ll happily take it. This is better than a Girls Gone Wild video.”

I snatched the hose out of his hands and aimed for the jewels, but he turned in time to save “future generations of Blackstones.” His exact words. I was also labeled a “genocidal maniac,” for my actions. Which was a bit extreme, if you ask me.

After we’d rinsed the mud off, he wrapped his warmth around me, chased away the chill, and kissed me as he backed me up to the side of the house. His restless hands moving over me possessively, with the authority and conviction of a man who knew all my secrets and still wanted me.

 

Meet P. Dangelico

Dangelico loves romance in all forms, cuddly creatures (four-legged and two), really bloody sexy pulp, the NY Jets (although she’s reconsidering after this season), and to while away the day at the barn (apparently she does her best thinking shoveling horse crap). What she’s not enamored with is referring to herself in the third person and social media so don’t expect her to get on Twitter anytime soon. Oh, and although she was born in Italy, she’s been Jersey Strong since she turned six.

Connect with P. Dangelico

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Stay up to date with all things P. Dangelico

 

YouCanHaveManhattan_Paperback.v15 copy.jpg

GYM OR CHOCOLATE? by Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick is LIVE!

Gym or Chocolate? A feel-good romantic comedy from the authors of Undefeated and Model Boyfriend, Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick,
is available now!

Check out not one, but two 5-reviews of #gymorchocolate?

Available in KindleUnlimited

Career girl and radio host hotshot Cady Callahan has never met a chocolate she didn’t love. She has curves and doesn’t care.

She’s shocked when a raffle ticket bought to support a veterans charity means she’s won a year’s membership to Body Tech, an exclusive Manhattan gym, where all the top athletes train and all the A-list actors go to get in shape for their action roles. She’s also won a personal trainer in the shape of far too tantalizing Rick Roberts.

Rick is less impressed when Cady’s arrival leads to a media circus. The retired British rugby ace runs a serious training facility, and he definitely doesn’t have time for anyone who doesn’t want to work hard.

When curvy Cady challenges him to train her to run a marathon by the end of the year, it seems a solution to both their problems. If … when she drops out of training, his gym will go back to normal.

But Cady isn’t planning on losing the bet—she just wasn’t counting on any complications. And surly Rick is very complicated. And as tempting as the tastiest treat.

Download your copy of Gym or Chocolate? or read in in KindleUnlimited

Amazon: Universal | U.S | U.K

Add to Goodreads

Reviewed by Anna on behalf of KFF

 
We are in for another treat from this fabulous duo Jane and Stuart. This book is not their usual genre sports romance but is a little bit more of a rom-com.Cady Callahan, a famous radio host in New York City is not your average woman. She is a powerhouse in every aspect, a plus-size not only in the wardrobe department but also in personality. She grew up with issues regarding her weight, but she has learned to appreciate her worth and owns it. What I like about her is her bubbly personality, self-deprecating humour and can give as good as she gets, no holds barred for this lady. I would love for her to be my best friend if only she were real. When faced with a challenge it didn’t take her long to consider it and she grabbed it with both hands. What a character!

Rick Roberts is a Brit in US soil, personal fitness trainer to the stars and a former sportsman with a short-lived career who was bamboozled into taking on Cady as a client. He wasn’t prepared to deal with a larger than life persona like her.

This might look like a light-hearted tale at first but there is a powerful message within the story. The character that stands out the most in this book is Cady who is such an inspiration. She dealt with bullying and fat-shaming, she soared high above the antagonists and let them eat her doughnut dust. This is a slow-burn romance with only one smorgasbord of a sex scene that will make you hot and bothered but dang, it is all worth it, less is more they say. Rick’s character grows on you after the first quarter of the book and he becomes more than just a sex god, you also get to know his integrity and his dedication.

The secondary characters: Vin, Rick’s best friend who is a top male model and Cady’s best friend Grace, a solicitor make an interesting pair and I bet these two would make a hilarious partnership. I hope they get to have their story, too. Cady and Rick’s romance will make you laugh and cry happy tears; they will make you feel like you can take on the world and sign on to a gym membership. I highly recommend this book.
 


Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

 
Writing duo, Reardon and Harvey-Berrick have pulled out the stops and delivered a gem of a rom-com which had me in stitches and got me hooked from the first chapter. So, Gym or Chocolate? It’s the perfect title but in reality, not an easy choice to make if you’re lacking in willpower like me. I have to confess that as I read on, Cady Callahan with her extra pounds and sassy comebacks quickly became my kinda woman. And Rick Roberts, gym entrepreneur, trainer and owner of an elite fitness club certainly gave me food for thought. No pun intended, but who hasn’t had a sugar craving at one time or another and not felt guilty? There’s so much more to this delicious story than just getting hot and bothered and sweaty in the gym though.

“Baby steps, Rick. Baby steps— that’s what you told me and I’m sticking to it.”

Rick encourages us to take a look at our daily habits and what we’re doing wrong. He explains why we should look after ourselves and regardless of whatever handicap we may have, staying fit enhances our lifestyle and eating healthy food matters. Well, he got the latter part right ‘cause that’s something I make sure I do. However, this grouchy guy wiggled his way into my heart at the same pace as the book. Fast! I felt sorry for him on different levels. Firstly, he’s trying his utmost to keep his top-notch clientele satisfied, not doing what he really loves as an injury put a stop to his sports career and then Cady struts into personal space as big as life. She’s not what he bargained for, but seeing as she’d won the prize of a year’s membership to get her body in shape at Body Tech, he has little alternative but to get on with the job. The other reasons Rick saddened me I’d rather not mention but I’ll just say that his sensitivity melted my heart.

“And what is it with you and donuts? That is not the right thing to eat before a run. It’s probably the worst breakfast you could have!”

“Oh don’t worry, I ate a bar of chocolate earlier. I’m good.”

Cady frustrates the pants off Rick, and even though he won’t admit it, she’s a pleasant surprise and manages to make him smile. How could she not? She’s hilarious, adorable, generous of heart and spirit, and the fact that she showed me how headstrong she is when her downfall is lemon sugar-coated doughnuts, made me realise that anyone can make the best of a bad situation if they want to. I really liked how she took the bull by the horns and not just with her own hang-ups. Not one to hold her tongue, she prods Rick into confronting his issues head-on. Ooh, and he blushes, ladies! Rick is a tad naïve as far as the opposite sex is concerned and Cady being Cady either pulls his leg about it or tries to guide him in the right direction. I tell you, she’s the total package!

“… Sometimes he swaps his glare for a scowl. And then he frowns. I’m not sure if that means he’s moody or whether I irritate him,”

Rick and Cady are like chalk and cheese. She’s outgoing and boisterous, he’s out of his element when not training. Understandably, his words don’t flow nearly as easily as hers, so what do they have in common? Both of them are honest, hard-working and kind-hearted folk who gradually gain each other’s respect and build a special friendship. Innuendos intermingled with off the charts banter, chemistry that simmers until it reaches boiling point and a feel-good storyline result is the perfect end of summertime read. I adored how Rick was there for Cady when the going gets tough; yep, he’s a true Yorkshire gentleman I literally swooned over!

“Are you going to get yourself a sports bra now?”She glanced sideways and grinned at me. “No way! I’m having far too much fun watching your face—it takes my mind off what we’re actually doing.”

Of course, every good story needs a baddie or two and in that respect, the authors gave me a couple I’d have gladly strangled with my bare hands. The majority of the secondary characters are totally likeable. Rick’s best mate, Vin, had me in fits, swears like a trooper and dishes out dodgy advice like hotcakes and Grace, Cady’s bestie is lovely.

‘Was that an ab under the flab? I fingered my stomach tentatively. Could a person have just one ab? Didn’t they usually come in pairs, like a salt and pepper set?’

Written from a dual perspective in past is my fave narrative technique. You get to hear both sides of the story and listening to both Rick and Cady’s inner thoughts was a privilege. Gym or Chocolate is a must-one-click I can’t recommend enough. Bravo Reardon and Harvey-Berrick!
 


READ CHAPTER ONE

© 2019 Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved.

Cady

“Always a pleasure, New York! Live long and prosper! This is Cady Callahan, the Face of Radio, saying ciao for now from Morning Munchies at XKL Radio.”

Pow!

I flicked the switch and the little red light stopped blinking at me, which meant I was officially off the air, another successful live radio broadcast under my belt.

“Great show, Cady,” said Oliver, my producer, giving me two thumbs up.

Leaning back in my roller chair, I gave him a tired wave, then lifted off my headhones, yawning. I rubbed my eyes while I fumbled for my coffee cup, my fourth latte of the morning. Ugh. Cold. Oh well, caffeine was caffeine, so I slurped it down. At least my last remaining donut was still fresh. I inhaled the rest of it, licking my fingers clean of the crumbs and lemon-glazed sugar—the best part, in my humble opinion.

I was lying.

I was never humble.

I was a kickass woman, holding her own in the male-dominated world of morning radio and my listener figures were constantly climbing. Yah-boo to all the asswads who said I’d never make it.

I rubbed my eyes again, yawning so widely I was in danger of dislocating my jaw. There was a price to be paid for being on air from 6am to 9am, five days a week, especially since it meant getting up at 4am every stinking day Monday thru Friday. I was a professional: I didn’t just roll into the studio and talk drivel for three hours. I read all the daily papers and news sites, looking for topical stories, guests with something interesting to say; and every week, I had a themed show which required a ton of research, most of which I did myself, since the station’s researchers were overworked, underpaid, and mostly harried.

“Your fat ass stuck in that chair or what?” sneered Jerry Winters, the resident misogynist who followed my show—a man so vile, he brought out the homicidal maniac in most people, especially me. He hated the fact that I’d gotten the fast lane of morning radio, and he’d been sidelined into the slow lane of pre-lunchtime chat.

Thank you, karma.

I smiled sweetly.

“Aw, Jerry! Did someone wake up with a pineapple stuck in his rectum or is it just the way you walk?” I leaned in closer, careful not to breathe in anywhere near his halitosis. “Yes, my ass is fat but I should warn you … I ate the last person who commented on it.”

Then I snapped my teeth at him, making him jump.

I laughed as I sauntered away, amused by his huffy comment, “so unprofessional”.

I had a thousand comebacks for guys like him, guys who thought they could upset me by commenting on my weight. Screw him, or rather not. I had a great job, fabulous friends, as much sex as I wanted (thank you, Tinder), an apartment that cost me an arm and two legs but had an awesome view almost to Central Park, and I was comfortable in my own skin. That’s what guys like him could never understand—I didn’t give a rat’s ass what he thought of me.

Sure, as a kid, I’d endured all the size-ist comments, starting with my own family.

Grandma Callahan’s favorite phrase was, “You’ve got such a pretty face.” Which, as every curvy girl knows, was code for, it’s a shame the rest of you is so fat.

Davy, my brother had several nicknames for me, including The Incredible Bulk or Gut Bucket, depending on how sweet he was feeling. I still felt bad about the scar through his eyebrow that I gave him as a reply. Nah, not really: I felt awesome every time I remembered the black-purple-and-green bruise that had gone with it, plus four stitches from the local ER.

At Thanksgiving dinner when I was a Junior in high school, Nana Dubicki announced, “Boys won’t date a fat girl because those girls have no self-control.”

I didn’t like to point out that most teenage guys prefer a girl who has no self-control, especially my boyfriend at the time, Carl Jenson, but Nana had high blood pressure and a Pacemaker, so I simply smiled and helped myself to another piece of pumpkin pie.

Mom winked at me and pushed the jug of whipped cream closer. She was a survivor of her mother’s beauty pageant ambitions back in the day, and was now vehemently opposed to forcing that regime on young girls. She also had a selection of her favorite quotes from Fat is a Feminist Issue for every occasion.

But Dad’s brother, my Uncle Gerald, made a comment that became my all-time favorite: “Never mind, honey, you have a great face for radio.”

Yeah, thanks, Uncle G.

But I had the last laugh on that because I used it as my sign-off on the show every day. Dad told me that Uncle G still cringes when he hears me say it.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Just sayin’.

Oliver grinned at me as I passed his booth. He didn’t have much time for Jerry the Jerk either.

As I collected my coat and bag from my desk, Monica, one of the runners, dropped an envelope in front of me.

“Your tickets for the fundraiser tonight. You’re so lucky!”

I groaned and massaged my temples. I’d completely forgotten that I’d been volunteered to represent XKL at a charity event tonight. Personally, I’d rather write a check and donate that, instead of spending my evening eating canapes the size of quarters and trying to make small talk. I was getting gas at the thought of it.

But the charity was for veterans, and since Davy was now—against all the odds—a grown up, and had become an Army Ranger, it was something close to my heart.

I brightened at the thought that there might be some sexy soldiers at the event. There’s nothing like a man saluting you first thing in the morning while he’s wearing nothing but his dog tags and a big smile. Oorah!

Unfortunately, the fundraiser was eight till midnight, which meant that by the time I’d get home and fall into bed, I’d have maybe three hours before I had to get up again to go to work.

I loved doing the morning show, but it wreaked havoc with my social life.

Monica was still watching me wistfully.

“You know that Jamie Dornan is going to be there, right?” she sighed.

“Yeah?” I said, suddenly feeling full of perk. “Who else is on the guest list?”

“Does anyone else matter?”

“Probably not,” I grinned, “but humor me.”

“I thought you’d ask,” she said, handing me a piece of paper. “So I made a list of the good, the bad and the ugly: two senators, the Mayor, that woman who’s running for Queens DA, several B-list actors, that guy who runs the gym where all the celebs train, a couple of reality stars including that British beotch who does the Fuglies Instagram page, and did I mention that Jamie Dornan will be there?”

I smiled at her enthusiasm as I read through the guest list. There were definitely some potential interviewees for Morning Munchies. Maybe the evening wouldn’t be a bust after all.

“Good work, Monica. Since I’ll be going stag, you want my spare ticket?”

Her mouth fell open.

“Shut the door! You want me to be your Plus One?”

“Well, you’re not really my type, since you don’t have a penis, but sure! It would be a shame to waste the ticket.”

“Oh my God! You are my favorite human being ever!” she cried out, throwing her arms around my neck.

“I thought that was Jamie Dornan?” I called after her as she hurried away, muttering about manicures and lady-waxing.

“He’s a god!” she yelled. “So you’re still my favorite human!”

Happy she was happy, I took the elevator to the lobby, then put two fingers in my mouth to let out a piercing whistle. A yellow cab skidded to the curb and drove me the seven blocks to my insanely beautiful and insanely expensive apartment.

I needed to nap for a few hours if I was going out tonight.

The Plaza Hotel, situated proudly on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, seemed to glitter and sparkle as hundreds of camera flashes illuminated the guests arriving for the fundraiser.

My limo joined the line of congealing traffic that oozed towards the red carpet spilling across the sidewalk. I sat back, enjoying the rare luxury, grateful that the radio station had chosen to transport me in style.

I smoothed the shimmering red dress over my thighs and tried to avoid touching my carefully coiffed hair. After my nap, I’d spent the afternoon primping, even though yoga pants and a messy bun were more my style. But once in a while, I enjoyed the whole rigmarole of dressing up. I’d learned enough tricks from Mom to be able to curl and style my hair, as well as wearing clothes that played to my assets. I had two: my boobs and my eyes. Or maybe that’s four, since I have two boobs and two eyes. Or maybe that’s three assets, since I only had one cleavage, unless you count my butt cleavage … moving on…

I knew how to dress and accessorize, I just chose not to do it very often. But when I did—go big or go home. And because I had dark hair and blue eyes that were almost violet, I rocked the hell out of a scarlet dress. And yes, I did say so myself, because if you wait for a man to give you a compliment, you can be waiting for a frosty day in Hell, and frankly, life is too short.

Stepping onto the red carpet, I smiled and waved, propping a hand on my hip, one foot slightly forward, as Mom had taught me. Nothing sells sexy like confidence. I was a big woman, curvy, lots of wobbly bits, all tits, ass and attitude. Most men didn’t know how to handle me.

I grinned widely when Jamie Dornan walked up behind me on the red carpet, looking edible in a tux. Monica was going to pitch a fit—or be mute. Never could tell which way it would go with her.

“Jamie, hi! Cady Callahan from XKL Radio. Congratulations on your new addition to the family!”

“Thank you, uh, Cady.”

“I’d love to interview your wife, Amelia, next time she’s in New York. Perhaps you could give her my card? My listeners would love to hear about how she manages to look so fabulous while bringing up three children.”

He looked puzzled, bless him.

I leaned in closer, lowering my voice to a confidential whisper.

“No offence, but you must do a gazillion interviews every day. I’d like to talk to the power behind the throne.”

He smiled, showing perfect teeth, and his eyes crinkled with amusement.

“I think Amelia would agree with that. But she doesn’t do interviews unless it’s about her music…”

“If she’d like to make an exception, I’d love to talk to her about being the child of actors, working in the industry and then leaving it behind for music. And being a mom.”

I handed him my card and he placed it in his pocket with a bemused look on his face.

“Selfie?” I asked hopefully.

Being the pro that he was, he only nodded and smiled. And being the pro that was, I didn’t intrude on him any longer, ‘cause there’s nothing more annoying than someone who doesn’t know when to leave.

I hadn’t been blowing smoke either—I built my listener tribe by giving them human interest stories, not just celebrities. Although if Jamie accompanied his wife to the interview, who was I to stop him?

Half my job was about networking, and I never knew when my efforts would be rewarded.

Like all people who worked in the media field, I was well aware that fundraisers were as much about publicity and networking opportunities as supporting a charity: either way, it meant work. It didn’t matter whether it looked like a hell of a party or if there was free champagne, there was still flesh to press, people to impress, or maybe even remind of your existence.

I was the queen of networking and worked the room industriously, managing to extract promises of interviews from a number of fascinating people.

Yeah, sure, I could sit back and wait for PR teams to contact me when their clients had new movies/books/TV shows to promote and/or scandals to brush over, but I found that my most interesting interviews were when there was nothing in particular to promote, because then I’d be more likely to get to the real person, not just regurgitate the current hype.

Across the room I saw Monica chatting with a guy in uniform. Well, flirting. I knew that she’d completely missed my moment with her favorite pin-up, otherwise she’d have zoomed over to get the scoop. Oh well. I’d show her my selfie with Jamie tomorrow.

Besides Monica’s man-of-the-moment, there were at least a couple dozen more military guys, but all of them seemed to be with wives or girlfriends. Still, I made my way over to a guy in a wheelchair when I noticed the tan beret that identified him as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the same as my brother.

I chatted to Corporal Stevens and his wife for a while, also warming them up to the idea of coming on my show. When I mentioned Davy’s name, they recognized it but didn’t know him personally. It definitely helped in getting them to trust me. I had a lot of time for men and women who’d served our country.

After a while, my feet started to hurt. I wasn’t used to wearing heels for any length of time, so I headed to the bathroom for a break. On the way, I stopped to buy a bunch of raffle tickets for the fundraiser and stuffed them in my ruby-red clutch. Usually, I was a coach purse woman, but I was a sucker for a Barneys’ sale—and it was so pretty!

The bathroom was quiet and calm, an oasis of peace away from the crowded ballroom.

But standing at the mirror was a woman I vaguely recognized. I watched her reapply a bright pink lipstick that was a little too Barbie for my taste.

When she caught me watching her, I smiled. She scowled, I think, but since her forehead didn’t move, it was hard to tell.

“What the fuck are you staring at?”

My eyebrows shot upwards as her aggressive tone sank in along with her British accent.

“I was dazzled by your beauty, but then you spoke.”

Her eyes narrowed in confusion.

“What the fuck does that mean?”

She really could use a wider vocabulary.

“Oh, it’s just fascination of the appallingly rude,” I said blandly. “I’m doing a study on linguistic pragmatism and wondered if you were trying to vent negative feelings.”

“What are you talking about, you fat cow?”

I laughed loudly. Rude people hate it when you do that.

“Fat? Oh, honey! Real men like curves. Only dogs like bones.”

She swore again and flounced from the room. Obviously, she hadn’t graduated from charm school.

But I was grateful to her, I really was. She’d given me the next theme for my show—dealing with rude people. I made a quick note on my phone and smiled to myself.

And although she’d seemed familiar before, I was now able to put a name to the botoxed face: Molly McKinney. She was a British reality TV ‘star’ who’d once been engaged to somebody famous. I felt an affinity with the guy who’d been smart enough not to marry her. She courted infamy and controversy, and had started an Instagram account where she poured scorn on anyone who didn’t fit her idea of attractive. It was charmingly named ‘Fuglies’. Depressingly, she had over three million followers.

Still deep in thought, I exited the bathroom, nearly crashing into a guy walking in the other direction. Luckily, he skidded out of the way in time.

“Ooh, sorry! Good reflexes, by the way!”

“You should watch where you’re going,” he said roughly.

Another Brit with a bad attitude? What the heck was going on today? My hackles rose. Couldn’t he take an apology?

“I could look where I’m going,” I smiled at him, “but then I’d have missed out on our brief but fun encounter.”

He blinked in surprise then carried on walking without bothering to reply.

I shook my head, following his tall figure with my eyes, then wondering whether I’d done enough grip and grin for the radio station this evening and could duck out before the raffle draw. It wasn’t like I ever won anything at these events.

Ladies and gentlemen! If I could have your attention for a moment—the raffle draw is about to start in the ballroom.

Damn it!

Pasting a smile on my face, I forced my poor, tortured feed to make a U-turn and headed back inside.

Cabaret-seating had been set up while I was doing my part for world peace, and with a sigh of pleasure, I saw that the buffet table was free of people for the first time all evening. I intended to load up a plate then settle into the nearest available seat to watch the raffle prizes being handed out.

The CEO of the charity tapped the microphone, then made a short speech, talking about the work they did with and for veterans, followed by thanking the long list of sponsors.

I hid a yawn as I placed three shrimp rolls onto my plate and tried not to think about my lovely King-size bed and down pillows waiting for me at home.

“And the winner of an all-expenses vacation to the exclusive White Sands resort in Bermuda, is ticket number 232.”

Nope. Not even close.

Ooh! Mini vol-au-vents!

“And the winner of a case of vintage Moët & Chandon champagne is ticket 743.”

Nope.

Ooh! Tiny chocolate pies with glacé cherries!

“And the winner of a hot stones massage at Vassilly’s Spa Hotel in the Hamptons is…”

Me! Me! Me!

“…ticket 431.”

Bummer. I sighed as an older woman in a Chanel gown accepted the prize, smiling at the waiting photographers.

Who was I kidding? I never won anything.

Ooh! Were those mini pumpkin pies with whipped cream on the top? Be still my beating heart!

I picked one up and placed it in my mouth, moaning as the rich flavors hit my taste buds.

“And the winner of a year’s membership to…”

I zoned out as my eyes rolled backwards with pleasure.

“…plus a year’s training from owner Rick Roberts, goes to … ticket 677.”

There was a smatter of applause followed by a long silence as people turned restlessly in their chairs, trying to see the winner.

I froze mid chew, my eyes widening. Shit! Shit! Shit!

I swallowed, nearly choking, and felt my eyes tear up as I coughed.

The spotlight swung around the room like a searchlight. Weakly, I raised my hand. What was it I’d won? And why the hell was everyone laughing?

“Rick, would you like to come up here and personally present the year’s membership to Body Tech—and meet your newest fitness client?”

Noooooooo! Of all that was holy, unholy and plain damn unfair!

My cheeks flamed as I understood why everyone was laughing. And despite all of my confidence, all of my personal and professional achievements, I was no longer a successful 36 year-old woman. I was instantly transported back to junior high when all the mean girls formed a circle and yelled at me that I was fat: fat and ugly.

A low roar of anger rose up inside me.

No! I was not going to let this crowd of morons make me feel bad.

I plastered on my best beauty-queen smile and sashayed up to the stage, swinging my wide hips and winking at the crowd.

I strutted the length of the ballroom, waving at the people applauding and laughing loudly. Oh yes, very hilarious—the fat woman had won a year’s membership to a gym so exclusive, the waiting list was more than a year-long.

As I approached the stage, smiling so widely my lips were plastered against my teeth, I realized that the grumpy man I’d nearly shoulder-barged outside the women’s bathroom was standing on the stage: Rick Roberts, the owner of Body Tech. Six-foot plus of honed and toned body, sharp cheekbones, soft lips, dark hair ruthlessly pulled back into a man-bun, a short beard, shot through with silver, which personally I found very sexy, hinting at maturity and experience … but wow, those angry, storm-filled eyes. He stared at me with growing horror in his expression which he failed to hide as he wordlessly handed me a gift certificate.

I accepted the envelope, planting a bright red, lip-shaped imprint on his cheek, then posed for photographs.

“Nice aftershave,” I whispered to him, amused to see a dull flush redden his cheeks. “Thank you on behalf of XKL Radio,” I said more loudly, smiling and waving my prize in the air. “We’re so proud to support this amazing charity for veterans, and we thank you all for your service.”

I had every intention of gifting the membership to someone at work, someone who looked forward to the idea of masochism and machismo neatly wrapped up in a single gym visit. Maybe I’d do a giveaway on my show.

Rick and I left the stage together, the grim-faced man holding my elbow as we descended the four steps. It was a gentlemanly gesture, but I wanted his condescending hands the hell off of me.

No matter how good he smelled.

Or how hot he looked in a custom tux.

I noticed that the blonde woman from the bathroom, Molly McKinney, was sitting at a table near the front of the stage.

Her narrowed gaze was pinned to me and her lip curled up.

“Seriously! You’ve won a gym membership?!” and she laughed loudly and obnoxiously, as several people at the same table copied her. Then she fluttered her false eyelashes at Rick. “Long time no see, Ricky babe. Looks like you’ll be scraping the bottom of the Z-lister barrel this time with her,” and she laughed again.

Besides me, Rick frowned and he dropped his grip on my elbow, but stayed silent.

I continued to smile brightly, but was fuming inside.

Don’t be a bitch should be the 11th Commandment.

Why couldn’t people just be nice? I had guests on my show all the time whose opinions I disagreed with, but I was never unkind or derogatory, never demeaning or bitchy. I left that to shock-jock DJs who had a stick up their ass and something to prove.

I ignored them all and walked past the bitchy table, surprised when I realized that the gym owner, Rick Roberts was still following me.

I paused, giving him a chance to catch up while I faked another smile.

“Imagine bumping into you twice in one day! It must be fate.” I leaned toward him confidentially, hoping to get another whiff of his delicious aftershave. “But don’t worry, I won’t be polluting the hallowed halls of your fitness center. I’ll gift the prize to someone else, someone who’d actually enjoy torturing themselves in your emporium of exercise.”

“You talk a lot,” he said with another scowl. “Are you saying that you don’t want the membership?”

“Got it in one!”

“Of course she won’t be going to Body Tech,” said the Molly-bitch, sidling up to us, clearly having overheard every word. “What would a fat arse like her do in a gym?”

Rick glowered down at her.

“A healthy lifestyle is for everyone,” he said curtly.

Was he defending me? For some reason, that was surprising.

Healthy? Yeah, right! Like you’d want to train that?” she laughed loudly, pointing an inch-long talon in my face.

“He’s just dying for the chance to train me,” I said with a smirk. “I can tell that he’s the type of man who loves a challenge.”

“You said you were giving away the membership?”

Rick frowned at me, draining every ounce of sympathy that I’d briefly had for him as Molly sniggered.

“Am I too much woman for you, Rick?” I asked, a spike of steel in my flirty tone.

His narrowed eyes glared at me.

“I only train people who are serious,” he snapped. “People who are committed, who’ll work hard.”

Now he was pissing me off.

“Listen, Dick…”

“It’s Rick!”

“Dick suits your personality.”

His scowl deepened as my anger mounted.

“You think I don’t know hard work? You think I don’t know commitment? I get up at 4am five days a week to do a live three-hour show. I haven’t missed one in four years. Dick.”

Molly sniggered again.

“He didn’t want to see your enormous arse in spandex anyway.”

Rick didn’t disagree, and my patience was worn thin. In fact, it was transparent.

“Well, Dick, if you’re such a damn good trainer, no doubt you’ll have me running a marathon within a year, won’t you? Luckily for both of us, I have better things to do with my time.”

“I can train anyone who’s prepared to put in the hours,” he snapped. “Even you!”

“Well, gee! Just sign me up for the New York Marathon, Tarzan!”

Smirking, Molly raised her phone and snapped a photo of me and Rick, nose to nose, glaring at each other.

“Oh my God!” she shrieked. “You, run a marathon? Are pigs learning to fly, or is it fat cows learning to run?”

And she turned on her heel and slithered away.

“Such a sweet, charming personality,” I said, smiling dangerously. “Maybe her mother loves her.”

“I doubt it,” said Rick, with an edge to his voice.

“Well, don’t worry about it, big guy,” I said, patting his arm. “I wasn’t being serious and I am going to gift the membership, so you don’t need to worry. Nice meeting you. I think.”

Yawning my head off, I texted my driver that I was ready to leave. I wanted my bed. I’d wanted it four hours ago.

TO BE CONTINUED…


You can read Chapters 2-5, exclusive to Newsletter Readers

Sign up here and receive a free novella, too!


QUICK QUOTES

I don’t remember the question, the answer is always chocolate.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

I never met a chocolate I didn’t love.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

I was never humble. I was a kickass woman.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

Did someone wake up with a pineapple stuck in his rectum or is it just the way you walk?

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

I had a great job, fabulous friends, as much sex as I wanted (thank you, Tinder), an apartment that cost me an arm and two legs but had an awesome view almost to Central Park, and I was comfortable in my own skin.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

There’s nothing like a man saluting you first thing in the morning while he’s wearing nothing but his dog tags and a big smile. Oorah!

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

If you wait for a man to give you a compliment, you can be waiting for a frosty day in Hell, and frankly, life is too short.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

Nothing sells sexy like confidence. 

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

I was a big woman, curvy, lots of wobbly bits, all tits, ass and attitude. Most men didn’t know how to handle me.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

Don’t be a bitch should be the 11th Commandment.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

Honest to God, I needed to be in bed with the lights off, phone off and Kindle off by 9pm or I was toast. Today, I was the crumbs at the bottom of the toaster. I was the burnt pieces that you have to scrape off…

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“Spit it out!” said no man, ever.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

I’m a professional … and I still want to kick her scrawny ass!

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“I don’t know any woman who doesn’t see flaws when she looks at herself. We’re all so busy deciding that we’re too tall, too short, too thin, too fat to remember that we’re unique human beings, and we all deserve to be treated with respect. We’re all awesome.”

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“Aw, honey! I’m not fat, I’m just so darn sexy it overflows.”

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“So, Mr. Roberts,” she said formally. “What are you going to do with this body?” and she gave me a flirty smile. “I’m all about the TAA—tits, ass and attitude.”

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

Raising your heart rate and getting sweaty for just 11 minutes three times a week is going to benefit you.”

“Like sex?”

“Only if you’re dating the wrong men,”

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

If this was a Manhattan fairytale, I was the beautiful 220lb princess who’d escaped the ogre’s lair. And in my fairytale, I didn’t need a white knight to save me, just a sharp, pointy weapon that I could use on Dick. 

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“I don’t go on Tinder to look for date material—it’s simply a fun alternative to self-love. I just think it’s important to try having sex before I rush into dating.”

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

The man had a stick up his ass and a serious humor bypass. That must have been an interesting surgery.

I didn’t like pain. Pain was bad. I’d be a terrible submissive—I’d be yelling ‘red’ before he whipped out a blindfold.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

There was a reason women like me didn’t skip—my boobs were like an executive toy—they had kinetic energy all of their own.

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

If you can survive high school, you could probably survive the apocalypse with a protractor, chewing gum and a roll of cellotape. 

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“I maintain my big ass so more people can kiss it, honey.”

*~ *~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *

“A recent study found that women with a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it,” I stated sharply, eyeing him with the enthusiasm of a patient preparing for colonic irrigation. 

Stuart and Jane’s Fitness Journeys

MORE ABOUT STUART

I’ve had four major surgeries as a result of my rugby career—three operations to repair torn Achilles tendons, and a torn rotor cuff in my shoulder that ultimately ended my professional rugby career.

Coming back from injury and surgery is a long, slow process. Keeping a level of fitness during recovery isn’t easy, and rehab after is tough. So for me, exercise and working out at the gym is more than just getting fit, it’s a way of life.

And then there’s the completely different issue of getting lean for a photoshoot like for this cover—especially when your co-author is a bad influence and travels everywhere with chocolate. I really enjoy a good quality dark chocolate, and yep, I had to cut that out to drop a few pounds for the cover shoot. Feel my pain?!

Connect with Stuart

 Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter

Stay up to date with Stuart and sign up for his newsletter

 

MORE ABOUT JHB

For years (decades), I told myself that I didn’t like gyms and even though I joined several with the best intentions, I stayed away. I lived in London and walked four miles a day to and from Tube stations, so that seemed like enough. I often had an aching back and shoulders, and sometimes sciatic pain, too. I put it down to having a desk job, even though I was only in my twenties.

When I moved from London to live by the ocean, I began a love affair with swimming—and there’s nothing like swimming in a cold ocean! I walked my little dog every day and felt better, but with turning to writing full-time, there were still a lot of hours spent at a desk.

Then I got really sick. The death of my father was a stressful time, as you can imagine, but it became worse when it triggered Rheumatoid Arthritis in me. Suddenly, I was using walking sticks to get around, sometimes a wheelchair, and often crippled with pain. All the usual drugs helped, and I began to regain mobility slowly. But the turning point for me was joining a gym, and realising what I’d been missing out on all these years.

Nothing happens overnight, and it was a process of simply keeping going two to three times a week to feel the benefits—and I did. I was happy, my family was happy, even my doctor was happy.

Exercise doesn’t cure RA, but it certainly helps.

Connect with Jane

Website | Facebook | Facebook Readers Group | Instagram | Twitter

Pinterest | YouTube | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon U.K | Amazon U.S 

Stay up to date with Jane and sign up for her newsletter