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

Advertisements

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

 

EXCERPT & COUNTDOWN TEASER ~ BEST OF ME by LK Farlow

Today we are delighted to be sharing an excerpt and a countdown teaser for LK Farlow’s all-new contemporary romance, BEST OF ME, coming 5th September!

Cover: Juliana Cabrera of Jersey Girl Design
Photography: Lindee Robinson

Add to Goodreads

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the dark to my sister’s light—the awkward loner to her social butterfly. Growing up, she had it all: our parent’s unyielding approval, perfect grades, a permanent spot at the popular table, and the attention of the hottest guy ever—Duke Kincaid.

After eighteen years of living in her shadow, I couldn’t wait to escape—to finally be my own person. Yet here I am, I’m back in my hometown, once again in Valorie’s shadow. Only now, it’s eternal.

I had life all planned out: join the force, marry Valorie Parsons, and start a family of our own. I have the job, but the girl and all my dreams died before my very eyes.

Finally ready to move on, I agree to a blind date. Imagine my shock when I arrive and find, Valorie’s twin sister, waiting across the table from me. Mallory should be a reminder of all that I’ve lost, but instead she feels like my redemption . . . like maybe life’s giving me a second chance.

But, how can I be enough for her when I’ve already given her sister the best of me?

EXCERPT

© 2019 LK Farlow
All rights reserved.

 
I fly through the rest of my routine, wanting to finish before Duke wakes. Except, when I step out of the bathroom wrapped in only my towel, there’s six-feet-plus of man muscle leaned back against the sliding glass door, coffee in hand, looking at me like he wants nothing more than to show me just how much more enjoyable showers for two are.“Hi.” I greet him shyly, acutely aware of the fact that I’m completely naked beneath this rectangle of terrycloth.

His eyes eat me up. “Damn, Cricket. You’re so beautiful.”

I avert my gaze; I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but beautiful has never been one of them.

Duke places his still-steaming coffee down on the little hammered bronze side table I have and steps toward me, a predatory look in his mossy green eyes. He advances, completely uncaring that I’m still slightly damp from my shower, until we stand flush. He spears his fingers into my tangled, wet hair, forcing me to look up at him. “I need you to listen to me, okay?”

“Okay.”

“You are so damn beautiful. Inside and out. You’re stunning, Mallory. You’re one of those few people whose insides are just as pretty as their outsides. You’re so fucking smart. You have this drive and passion that radiates out of you. You have so much heart that your kindness overflows. Your laugh is so infectious that everyone in hearing distance can’t help but smile. Your body—mmm—don’t even get me started. Your eyes are like smelted gold, precious and shining. And your lips, Cricket, they’re the most inviting, kissable lips I’ve ever seen. I daydream about claiming them far more often than I’d like to admit.”

My heart beats so furiously in my chest I swear it knocks against my ribcage. The way he’s looking at me, his face sincere and honest, tells me he meant every word. I push up on to my tiptoes and wrap my arms around his neck. “Then do it,” I whisper just before he seals his lips to mine.

Duke kisses me completely and totally senseless until his phone chirps in his pocket. He breaks away with great reluctance. “That’s my alarm.” He speaks the words against my lips before claiming them once more. His kiss is bruising, full of want and need and longing. His phone goes off again and he groans, stepping back from me. “Let me see you again tonight?”
 

 
 

Meet  LK Farlow

LK Farlow (A.K.A Kate) is a small-town girl with a love for words. She’s been writing stories for as long she can remember. A Southern girl through and through, Kate resides in beautiful, sunny LA–that’s Lower Alabama, y’all–with her amazing husband and three rambunctious children. When she’s not writing, you can find her snuggled up on the couch watching car shows while she crochets or with her nose in a book.

Connect with LK Farlow

Facebook Page | LK’s Darlings (Facebook Group) | Instagram | Twitter Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads 

Subscribe to LK Farlow’s Newsletter

 

BLOG TOUR ~ HANDLE WITH CARE by Helena Hunting

Today we are delighted to be on tour with Handle With Care, an all-new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting. Read Chapter One, Q&A and KFF’s review and enter KFF’s awesome #Giveaway of a signed copy!

 

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL.

Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman

SHE’S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.

Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY TODAY!

Kindle: UniversalU.S | U.K | AUS

Ebook format: AppleBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Paperback: BAM | INDIEBOUND | B&N

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

Start listening to the audiobook TODAY!

Narrated by Andi Arndt & Jacob Morgan 

Audible: U.K | U.S | CAN | AUS

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

Hunting has really spoilt her readers this summer with two stand-alone novels in the Shacking Up series but sadly, Handle With Care is the last one. What a send-off! As per usual, I read the book in one sitting; however, this one felt totally different. Laugh-out-loud scenes intermingled with intrigue had me hooked. Something just didn’t seem to add up and I wanted to find out what it was.

The mysterious Lincoln Moorhead is not a happy man. Back in New York City to attend the funeral of his father, never did he expect or even want to be tied to the family-run business. A good chunk of his life had been spent shirking them, and now he has little choice other than to accept his grandmother’s proposal. Moorhead Media’s future meant the only person to be trusted at the helm was him. Well, how could he not say no to her! Sharp and oh-so-witty, I’d love to have a grandmother like Lincoln’s in my life.

“I don’t even know who I am. I don’t want these people to be my family. How is this the legacy I’m supposed to uphold?” 

Understandably, Lincoln’s short-tempered. Especially knowing full well he’d have to deal with his infamous brother’s compulsive and bizarre nature inside and out of the office. You really must meet Armstrong if you haven’t already. You probably won’t like him, but his outrageous shenanigans added a whole lot of spice to the story. No wonder he rubbed Lincoln up the wrong way!

“Are you ready to deal with Armstrong now?”
“Is anyone ever?”
 

Nonetheless, the surprise was the jaw-droppingly beautiful gal who’d already been contracted to put out the flames, making everything look like false publicity. Now it’s the new CEO’s turn but for different reasons. Organising Lincoln’s agenda and giving him much-needed makeover is on the cards.

“You can’t tell me I can’t shave me head or force me to get a haircut.” 

Laugh until I cried, Wren Sterling’s modus operandi regarding Lincoln is really a case of snip, tuck and straighten. Although he wasn’t at all keen on the idea, I never heard him complain when she ran her fingers through his hair, tucked in his shirt or fiddled with his tie before attending meetings. The forces of attraction cannot be denied, but the job comes first. She’s very, very good at it and although Lincoln doesn’t feel comfortable being back after such a long time, he’s adapting slowly and doing a damn good job, too.

‘That lipstick drives me up the wall. It’s always on. Always perfect. Always a distraction.’ 

Told from a dual perspective in present and overflowing with playful banter and steaminess, Lincoln’s narrative of his past evoked all the feels. Wren’s put between a rock and a hard place, faces it head-on and had me happy dancing. Here’s one spunky woman who’s not going to take any nonsense from anyone!

“I don’t know how every man who crosses your path doesn’t fall in love with you. Everything about you is incredible.” 

Guessing the twist before the ending didn’t spoil my reading enjoyment in the slightest. My only wish was the person behind some awfully cruel manoeuvres would get what they deserved. Hunting’s wrapped up this series perfectly and I couldn’t recommend it more. Bravo!

CHAPTER ONE

From Handle With Care. Copyright © 2019 by Helena Hunting and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

All rights reserved.

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?

WREN

I slip onto the empty bar stool beside the lumberjack mountain man who looks like he tried to squeeze himself into a suit two sizes too small. He’s intimidatingly broad and thick, with long dark hair that’s been pulled up into a haphazard man bun thing. His beard is a hipster’s wet dream. His scowl, however, makes him about as approachable as a rabid porcupine. And yet, here I am, sidling up next to him.

He glances at me, eyes bleary and not really tracking. He quickly focuses on his half-empty glass again. Based on the slump of his shoulders and the uncoordinated way he picks up his glass and tips it toward his mouth, I’m guessing he’s pretty hammered. I order a sparkling water with a dash of cranberry juice and a lime.

What I could really use is a cup of lavender-mint tea and my bed, but instead, I’m sitting next to a drunk man in his thirties. My life is extra glamorous, obviously. And no, I’m not an escort, but at the moment I feel like my morals are on the same kind of slippery slope.

“Rough day?” I ask, nodding to the bottle that’s missing more than half its contents. It was full when he sat down at the bar an hour ago. Yes, I’ve been watching him the entire time, waiting for an opportunity to make my move. While he’s been sitting here, he’s turned down two women, one in a dress that could’ve doubled as a disco ball and the other in a top so low-cut, I could almost see her navel.

“You could say that,” he slurs. He props his cheek on his fist, eyes almost slits. I can still make out the vibrant blue hue despite them almost being closed. They move over me, assessing. I’m wearing a conservative black dress with a high neckline and a hem that falls below my knees. Definitely not nearly as provocative as Disco Ball or Navel Lady.

“That solving your problems?” I give him a wry grin and tip my chin in the direction of his bottle of Johnnie.

His gaze swings slowly to the bottle. It gives me a chance to really look at him. Or what I can see of his face under his beard, anyway.

“Nah, but it helps quiet down all the noise up here.” He taps his temple and blurts, “My dad died.”

I put a hand on his forearm. It feels awkward, and creepy on my part since its half-genuine, half-contrived comfort. “I’m so sorry.”

He glances at my hand, which I quickly remove, and refocuses on his drink. “I should be sorry too, but I think he was mostly an asshole, so the world might be better off without him.” He attempts to fill his glass again, but his aim is off, and he pours it on the bar instead. I rush to lift my purse and grab a handful of napkins to mop up the mess.

“I’m drunk,” he mumbles.

“Well, I’m thinking that might’ve been the plan, considering the way you’re sucking that bottle back. I’m actually surprised you didn’t ask for a straw in the first place. Might be a good idea to throw a spacer in there if you want tomorrow morning to suck less.” I push my drink toward him, hoping he doesn’t send me packing like he did the other women who approached him earlier.

He narrows his eyes at my glass, suspicious, maybe. “What is that?”

“Cranberry and soda.”

“No booze?”

“No booze. Go ahead. You’ll thank me in the morning.”

He picks up the glass and pauses when it’s an inch from his mouth. His eyes crinkle, telling me he’s smiling under that beard. “Does that mean Imma wake up with you beside me?”

I cock a brow. “Are you propositioning me?”

“Shit, sorry.” He chugs the contents of my glass. “I was joking. Besides, I’m so wasted, I can barely remember my name. Pretty sure I’d be useless in bed tonight. I should stop talkin’.” He scrubs a hand over his face and then motions to me. “I wouldn’t proposition you.”

I’m not sure how to respond. I go with semi-affronted since it seems like somewhat of an insult. “Good to know.”

“Dammit. I mean, I think you might be hot. You look hot. I mean attractive. I think you’re pretty.” He tips his head to the side and blinks a few times. “You have nice eyes, all four of them are lovely.”

This time I laugh—for real—and point to the bottle. “I think you might want to tell your date you’re done for the night.”

He blows out a breath and nods. “You might be right.”

He makes an attempt to stand, but as soon as his feet hit the floor, he stumbles into me and grabs my shoulders to steady himself. “Whoa. Sorry. Yup, I’m definitely drunk.” His face is inches from mine, breath smelling strongly of alcohol. Beyond that, I get a whiff of fresh soap and a hint of aftershave. He lets go of my shoulders and takes an unsteady step back. “I don’t usually do this.” He motions sloppily to the bottle. “Mostly I’m a three drink max guy.”

“I think losing your father makes this condonable.” I slide off my stool. Despite being tall for a woman, and wearing heels, he still manages to be close to a head taller than me.

“Yeah, maybe, but I still think I might regret it tomorrow.” He’s incredibly unsteady, swaying while standing in place. I take the opportunity for what it is and thread my arm through his, leading him away from the bar. “Come on, let’s get you to the elevator before you pass out right here.”

He nods, then wobbles a bit, like moving his head has set him off balance. “That’s probably a good idea.”

He leans into me as we weave through the bar and stumbles on the two stairs leading to the foyer. There’s no way I’ll be able to stop him if he goes down, but I drape one of his huge arms over my shoulder anyway, and slip my own around his waist, guiding him in a mostly straight line to the elevators.

“Which floor are you on?” I ask.

“Penthouse.” He drops his arm from my shoulder and flings it out, pointing to the black doors at the end of the hall. “Jesus, I feel like I’m on a boat.”

“It’s probably all the alcohol sloshing around in your brain.” I take his elbow again, helping him stagger the last twenty feet to the dedicated penthouse elevator.

He stares at the keypad for a few seconds, brow pulling into a furrow. “I can’t remember the code. It’s thumbprint activated though too.” He stumbles forward and presses his forehead against the wall, then tries to line up his thumb with the sensor, but his aim is horrendous and he keeps missing.

I settle a hand on his very firm forearm. This man is built like a tank. Or a superhero. For a moment, I reconsider what I’m about to do, but he seems pretty harmless and ridiculously hammered, so he shouldn’t pose a threat. I’m also trained in self-defence, which would fall under the by any means necessary umbrella. “Can I help?”

He rolls his head, eyes slits as they bounce around my face. “Please.”

I take his hand between mine. The first thing I notice is how clammy it is. But beyond that, his knuckles are rough, littered with tiny scars and a few scabs, and his nails are jagged.

“Your hands are small,” he observes as I line his thumb up with the sensor pad and press down.

“Maybe yours are abnormally big,” I reply. They are rather large. Like basketball player hands.

“You know what they say about big hands.”

I fight not to roll my eyes, but for a brief moment, I wonder if what’s in his pants actually matches the rest of him. And if he’s unkempt everywhere, not just on his face. I cut that visual quickly because it makes me want to gag. “And what do they say?”

His eyes crinkle again, and he slaps his own chest. “Something about big hands, big heart.”

I bite back my own smile. “Pretty sure you’re mixing that up with cold hands, warm heart.”

His brow furrows. “There’s a good chance.”

The elevator doors slide open. He pushes off the wall with some effort and practically tumbles inside. He catches himself on the rail and sags against the wall as I follow him in. I honestly can’t believe I’m doing this right now.

He doesn’t have to press a button since the elevator only goes to the penthouse floor. As soon as we start moving, he groans and his shoulders curl in. “I don’t feel so good.”

Please don’t let him be sick in here. If there’s one thing I can’t deal with, it’s vomit. “You should sit.”

He slides down the wall, massive shoulders rolling forward as he rests his forehead on his knees. “Tomorrow is going to suck.”

I stay on the other side of the elevator, in case he tosses his cookies. “Probably.”

It’s the longest elevator ride in the history of the world. Or at least it feels that way, mostly because I’m terrified he’s going to yak. Thankfully, we make it to the penthouse floor incident-free. On the down side, now that he’s in a sitting position, getting him to stand again is a challenge. I have to press the open door button three times before I can finally coax him to his feet.

In the time between leaving the bar and making it to the penthouse floor, the effects of the alcohol seems to have compounded. He’s beyond sloppy, using the wall and me for support as we make our way to his door. There are two penthouse apartments up here. One on either side of the foyer.

He leans against the doorjamb, once again fighting to find the coordination to get his thumb to the sensor pad. I don’t ask if he needs my assistance this time since it’s quite clear he does. Once again I take his clammy hand in mine.

“Your hands are really soft,” he mumbles.

“Thanks.”

The pad ashes green, and I turn the handle. “Okay, here we go. Home sweet home.”

“This isn’t my home,” he slurs. “My cousin’s family owns this building. I’m crashing here until I can get the fuck out of New York.”

I scan the penthouse. It an eclectic combination of odd art and modern furniture, like two different tastes crashed together and this is the result. Aside from that, it’s clean to the point of looking almost like a show home.

The only sign that someone is staying here is the lone coffee cup on the table in the living room and the blanket lolling like a tongue over the edge of the couch. I’m still standing in the doorway while he sways unsteadily.

He tries to shove his hand in his pants pocket, but all he succeeds in doing is setting himself off-balance. He nearly stumbles into the wall.

“Thanks for your help,” he says.

He’s back in his penthouse, which means my job is technically done. However, I’m worried he’s going to hurt himself, or worse, asphyxiate on his own vomit in the middle of the night, and I’ll be the one catching heat if that happens. I’ll also feel bad if something happens to him. I blow out a breath, annoyed that this is how my night is ending.

I heave his arm over my shoulder and slip mine around his waist again, leading him through the living room toward what seems to be the kitchen. There’s a sheet of paper on the island, but otherwise it’s spotless.

“What’re you doing?” he asks.

We pause when we reach the threshold. “Which way is your bedroom?”

He looks slowly from right to left. “Not that way.” He points to the kitchen. It’s very state of the art.

I guide him in the opposite direction down the hall, until he stumbles through a doorway, into a large but simply furnished bedroom. Once we reach the edge of the bed, he drops his arm, spins around—it’s drunkenly graceful—and falls back on the bed, arms spread wide as if he’s planning on making snow angels. “The room is spinning.”

“Would you like me to get you a glass of water and possibly a painkiller for the headache you’ll likely have in the morning?” I’m already heading for the bathroom.

“Might be a good idea,” he mumbles.

I find a glass on the edge of bathroom vanity—which is clean, apart from a brand new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. I run the tap, wishing I had a plastic tumbler, because I’m not sure he’s in any state to deal with breakable objects. I check the medicine cabinet, find the pills I need, shake out two tablets, and return to the bedroom.

He’s right where I left him; sprawled out faceup on a massive king-size bed, legs hanging off the end, one shoe on the floor beside him. I cross over and set the water and the pills on the nightstand.

I make a quick trip back to the bathroom and grab the empty wastebasket from beside the toilet in case his night is a lot rougher than he expects.

I tap his knee, crossing my fingers he’ll be easy to rouse. “Hey, I have painkillers for you.”

He makes a noise, but doesn’t move otherwise.

I tap his knee again. “Lincoln, you need to wake up long enough to take these.” I cringe. I called him by name, and he didn’t offer it to me while we were down at the bar. Here’s hoping he’s too drunk to notice or remember. His name is Lincoln Moorehead, heir to the Moorehead Media fortune and all the crap that comes with it. And there’s a lot of it.

One eye becomes a slit. “Every time I open my eyes, the room starts spinning again.”

“If you drink this and take these, it might help.” I hold up the glass of water and the pills.

“’Kay.” It takes three tries for him to sit up. He tries to pick the pills up out of my palm, but keeps missing my hand.

“Just open your mouth.”

He lifts his head. “How do I know you’re not trying to roofie me?”

I hold up the tablet in front of his face. “They don’t say roofie, so you’re safe.”

He tries to focus on the pill and then my face. I have my doubts he’s successful at either.

His tongue peeks out to drag across his bottom lip. “The cameras in the hall will catch you if you steal my wallet.”

I laugh at that. “I’m not going to steal your wallet, I’m going to put you to bed.”

“Hmm.” He nods slowly and opens his mouth.

I drop the pills on his tongue and hand him the glass, which he drains in three long swallows. “Would you like me to refill that?”

“That’d be nice.” He holds out the glass, but when I try to pull away, he covers my hands with his. His shockingly blue eyes meet mine, and for a moment they’re clear and compelling. Despite how out of it he is, and how much he resembles a mountain man, or maybe because of it, I have a hard time looking away. “I really wish I wasn’t this messed up. You smell nice. I bet your hair is pretty when it’s not pulled up like that.” He flops a hand toward my bun. “Not that it’s not pretty like that, but I bet if you took it down, it would be wavy and soft. The kind of hair you want to bury your face in and run your fingers through.” He exhales a long breath. “I haven’t had sex in a really long time, but I feel like I would have zero finesse if I tried right now.”

I smile and turn away. In the time it takes for me to refill his glass, he’s managed to get one arm out of his suit jacket. He’s made it most of the way onto the bed, feet still hanging off the end, but he’s on his back, which is not ideal.

I set the glass on his nightstand, along with a second set of painkillers, which I’m assuming he’ll need in the morning, and give him another nudge. “Hey.”

This time I get nothing in the way of a response. I poke him twice more, but still nothing. He can’t sleep on his back with how drunk he is. He needs to be on his side or his stomach with a wastebasket close by.

I can’t in good conscience leave him like this. My options are limited. I shake my head as I kick off my shoes and climb up onto the bed with him. This is not at all what I expected to be doing when I brought him back up here.

I stare down at his sleeping form. His lips are parted, they’re nice lips, full and plump, even though they’re mostly obscured by his overgrown beard. His hair has started to unravel from its man bun, wisps hanging in his face. He has long lashes, really long actually, and they’re thick and dark, the kind women pay a lot of money for. His nose is straight and his cheekbones— what I can see of them—are high. With a haircut, a beard trim or complete shave, and a new suit that actually fits, I can imagine how refined he’ll look. More like a Moorehead than a mountain man lumberjack. I shake my head. “I need you to roll onto your side, please,” I say loudly.

Nothing. Not even a grunt.

I pull on his shoulder, but he’s dead weight. Leaning over him, I make a fist and give him a light jab approximately where his kidney is. “Lincoln, roll over.”

And roll he does, knocking me down and turning over so he’s right on top of me. We’re face-to-face. Good God, he’s heavy. His bones must be made of lead. He shifts, one leg coming over both of mine. I push at his knee, but his arm swings out and he wraps himself around me on a low groan, pinning my arm to my side. He’s like a giant human blanket.

“How did this become my life?” I say to the ceiling, because the man lying on top of me is apparently out cold.

I try to wriggle free, I even yell his name a bunch of time before I give up and wait for him to roll off me. And while I wait for that to happen, I replay the conversation with his mother, Gwendolyn Moorehead, that took place forty-eight hours ago and put me in this awkward position underneath her drunk son.

I’d been standing in Fredrick’s office, still digesting the fact that he was dead. It was shocking that a massive heart attack had taken him, since he was always so healthy and full of life.

Gwendolyn, his wife—now a widow—stood stoic behind his desk, papers stacked neatly in the center.

“I’m so very for your loss, Gwendolyn. If there’s anything I can do. Whatever you need.” The words poured out, typical condolences, but sincerely meant because I couldn’t imagine how my mother and I would feel if we lost my father.

Gwendolyn’s fingers danced at her throat as she cleared it. “Thank you,” she whispered brokenly and dabbed at her eyes. “I appreciate your kindness, Wren.”

“Let me know what you want me to handle, and I’ll take care of it.”

She took a deep breath, composing herself before she lifted her gaze to mine. “I need your help.”

“Of course, what can I do?”

“My oldest son, Lincoln, will be returning to New York for the funeral, and he’ll be staying to help run the company.”

A hot feeling crept up my spine. I’d heard very little about Lincoln. Everything from Armstrong’s mouth was scathing, Fredrick’s passing references had been with fondness, and my interactions with Gwendolyn had been minimal as it was Fredrick himself who hired me, so this was first I’ve heard of Lincoln through her. “I see. And how can I help with that?” I could only imagine how difficult Armstrong would be if he had to share the attention with someone else, particularly his brother.

“Transitioning Lincoln.” Gwendolyn rounded her desk. “You’ve managed to turn around Armstrong’s reputation in the media during the time you’ve been here. I know it hasn’t been easy, and Armstrong can be difficult to manage.”

Difficult to manage is the understatement of the entire century where Armstrong is concerned. He’s a cocksucker of epic proportions. He’s also a misogynistic, narcissistic bastard that I’ve had to deal with for the past eight months on a nearly daily basis—sometimes even on weekends.

My job as his “handler” has been to reshape his horrendous reputation after his involvement in several scandalous events became very public. It wasn’t a job I necessarily wanted, and I was prepared to politely reject the offer, but my mother asked me to take the position as a favor to her since she’s a friend of Gwendolyn.

Beyond that, my relationship with my mother has been strained for the past decade. When I was a teenager, I discovered information that changed our relationship forever. Taking the job at Moorehead was in part, my way of trying to help repair our fractured bond. The financial compensation, which was ridiculously high, also didn’t hurt. Besides, Gwendolyn is on nearly every single charitable foundation committee in the city, and since that’s where my interests lie, it seemed like a smart career move.

“Since you’re already working with Armstrong and things seem to be settled there for the most part, I felt it would make sense to keep you on here at Moorehead to work with Lincoln. He’s been away from civilized society for several years. He’s nothing like his brother, very altruistic and focused on his job, rather than recreational pursuits, so he should be easier to manage.”

I fought a scoff at the last bit, since “recreational pursuits” was a reference to the fact that Armstrong couldn’t seem to keep his pants zipped when it came to women.

Gwendolyn pushed a set of papers toward me. “It would only be for another six months. And of course, your salary would reflect the double work load, since you’ll still have to maintain Armstrong in some capacity while you assist Lincoln in transitioning into his role here.”

“I’m sorry, what—”

Gwendolyn pulled me into an awkward hug, holding onto my shoulders when she stepped back. Her eyes were glassy and red-rimmed. “You have no idea how much I appreciate your willingness to take this on. As soon as your contract is fulfilled, you have my word that I’ll give you a glowing recommendation to whichever organization you’d like. Your mother told me you’re interested in starting your own foundation. I’ll certainly help you in any way I’m able if you’ll stay on a little longer for me.” She dabbed at her corner of her eyes and sniffed, then tapped the papers on the desk. “I already have an agreement ready and an NDA, of course. Everything is tabbed for signing.”

I’m pulled back into the present when Lincoln shifts and one of his huge hands slides up my side and lands on my breast. At the same time, he pushes his nose against my neck, beard tickling my collarbone. He mutters something unintelligible against my skin.

I’m momentarily frozen in shock. Under any other circumstances, I would knee him in the balls. However, he’s not conscious or even semi-aware that he’s fondling me. Thankfully, now that he’s moved, I have some wiggle room.

I elbow him in the ribs, which probably hurts me more than it does him. At least it gets him to move away enough that I can slip out from under him. I roll off the bed and pop back up, smoothing out my now-wrinkled dress. My stupid nipples are perky, thanks to the attention the right one just got. Probably because it’s the most action I’ve seen since I started working for the Mooreheads eight months ago.

I hit the lights on the way out of the bedroom, pause in the kitchen to grab a glass of water and check out the sheet of paper on the counter. It’s a list of important details regarding the penthouse, including the entry code. I nab my purse, snap a pic, and head for the elevators.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long six months.

 

Handle With Care Blogger Q&A – Helena Hunting

Can you tell us a little about your new release, Handle with Care?

Handle with Care follows the story of the reclusive Lincoln Moorehead, who has done everything he can to separate himself from his family and their massive media corporation. Upon the death of his father, he’s forced to come home for the funeral, and then asked to stay on to help transition the company with the assistance of Wren Sterling who has been commissioned to overhaul Lincoln’s image in the public eye.  

Lincoln Morehead and Wren Sterling are the lead characters in Handle with Care. Which one of them did you find the easiest to develop? What is each character’s best and worst traits?

I always find developing the male lead the easiest. I’m not sure why exactly that is, but Lincoln’s character was so easy to round out and develop. Lincoln’s worst trait is that he jumps to conclusions without first getting all the facts, but his best trait is his altruism. He’s very much about giving back, and despite the fact that he can be a grumpy jerk, he’s also an incredibly good human being. Wren’s worst trait is that she can be a martyr for things that are outside of her control but her best trait is her strength of character and her belief in redemption.

What was your greatest challenge while Handle with Care? What was your greatest pleasure and/or reward?

Wren is a badass heroine, so I think finding the balance between her strength of character and those hints of vulnerability could be tricky at times. I really wanted to humanize her and make her relatable and I hope readers connect with her. I LOVED writing the banter between Linc and Wren. They are both such strong personalities, and that made putting them head to head so much fun. 

Which do you find easiest to write-the humour or the heart?

Humor always seems to find a natural place inside the story, but for me, it’s about the balance between the two. I love taking a heavy moment and inserting some kind of comic relief before I go for the feels again. 

Q  Do you work from an outline while writing your novels? How closely do the finished novels fit your original vision of the characters and storyline before you begin writing?

I outline extensively. Most of the time I have about ten thousand words of outline and character development before I even start writing. It’s just how I work most effectively. I need to know who my characters are going in and where I want them to be by the end of the book. I generally stick to my outlines very closely since they are so detailed.

Q  What did you edit OUT of this book?

A lot of f-bombs. 

Q  Do you listen to music while writing? Does it influence the flow of the scene you are writing? 

I do. I create playlists for every single book I write, and I often (always) listen to the same playlist while I write the book. This means that I burn out albums and songs for my family on a very, very regular basis. My husband’s list of artists he will no longer listen to grows exponentially with every release. Halsey always finds a place on my playlist and the song Joaquim by Oscar and the Wolf was a particular favourite.

Q  When sitting down to write a new book you have a specific outline to follow or does it just flow naturally?

The first step in my process is always to write an outline. I need the bones of the story down, where the character arcs will fall and what the conflicts will look like before I start writing the book.

Q What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I like hanging out with my daughter and craft. Recently we went camping, which was a fun experience, although I grew up with a family cottage so we would spend a lot of the summer there. 

Q  Name three things on your desk right now.

Broken Knight by LJ Shen, Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey, Resist by K. Bromberg, Undeniable by Melanie Harlow, The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros (still gives me the chills when I think about it), Verity by Colleen Hoover.

Q  What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The banter between Wren and Linc and writing a grumpy, jerk hero who really isn’t a jerk but sure acts like one! 

Q  To get to know you a little bit better… do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?

I have two cats, Digit is a 14-year-old pure white polydactyl cat who sheds like nobodies business and Pumpkin (named by our daughter) is a 6-year-old black cat who often thinks he’s a dog, eat edamame beans and begs for bacon at the table.  

Q  You’ve written many books & bestsellers, in many genres.  What has been your favourite to write thus far?

That’s a hard question to answer. I love them all for very different reasons, but I will say that I had a lot of fun writing Wren and Linc because of the banter and how much I love writing a strong heroine. 

Q  What was your favourite book or series in your youth?

I used to love reading VC Andrews books, and Clive Barker, which I realize are very, very different! 

What would you like us (the readers) to take away from your story?

That families aren’t perfect and people can make mistakes, yet still grow from them.

Q  What is your favourite platform to connect with your reader to date?

I have a reader group called The Beaver Den and I love it in there. The readers are always sharing book experiences and it’s a great community! If you want to join my group you can do it here: Facebook Reader Group 

Q  What project(s) are you currently working on?

I just finished the third book in the All In Series, which the first book will be releasing this fall. Next, I’m starting a standalone, but I also have a new series I’ll be starting soon, and I have a book idea or two for secondary characters in the last two books of The Shacking Up series, as well. It’s safe to say that my writing schedule is planned for the next two years!

Q  Do you believe in love at first sight?

I don’t know about love at first sight but when I saw my husband from across the room for the first time I thought, “man, he’s pretty” and then when we had our first conversation the connection was instant. I think people can “click” and be drawn to each other for inexplicable reasons.

FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY! U.S ONLY

To win a signed copy of Handle with Care, click on these links:

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Facebook and Instagram are not responsible for this giveaway

  

MEET HELENA

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Follow Helena

Author Website  | Facebook  | Facebook Fan Group
Twitter @HelenaHunting

Instagram – @HelenaHunting
Never miss an update! Subscribe to Helena’s mailing list

 

 

BLOG TOUR ~ HANDLE WITH CARE by Helena Hunting

“Lincoln and Wren had me flipping through the pages frantically, begging for more. Their chemistry was explosive, their love story both hilarious and tender.”- L.J. Shen, USA Today bestselling author

Today we’re delighted to be on tour with New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting’s all-new romantic comedy, HANDLE WITH CARE

12_13_Handle With Care (1) 6.00.05 PM

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL.

Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman

SHE’S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.

Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

HWC - AN

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY TODAY!

Kindle: UniversalU.S | U.K | AUS

Ebook format: AppleBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Paperback: BAM | INDIEBOUND | B&N

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

Add to Goodreads

Start listening to the audiobook TODAY!

Narrated by Andi Arndt & Jacob Morgan 

Audible: U.K | U.S | CAN | AUS

HWC - Teaser 1 AN

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

Hunting has really spoilt her readers this summer with two stand-alone novels in the Shacking Up series but sadly, Handle With Care is the last one. What a send-off! As per usual, I read the book in one sitting; however, this one felt totally different. Laugh-out-loud scenes intermingled with intrigue had me hooked. Something just didn’t seem to add up and I wanted to find out what it was.

The mysterious Lincoln Moorhead is not a happy man. Back in New York City to attend the funeral of his father, never did he expect or even want to be tied to the family-run business. A good chunk of his life had been spent shirking them, and now he has little choice other than to accept his grandmother’s proposal. Moorhead Media’s future meant the only person to be trusted at the helm was him. Well, how could he not say no to her! Sharp and oh-so-witty, I’d love to have a grandmother like Lincoln’s in my life.

“I don’t even know who I am. I don’t want these people to be my family. How is this the legacy I’m supposed to uphold?” 

Understandably, Lincoln’s short-tempered. Especially knowing full well he’d have to deal with his infamous brother’s compulsive and bizarre nature inside and out of the office. You really must meet Armstrong if you haven’t already. You probably won’t like him, but his outrageous shenanigans added a whole lot of spice to the story. No wonder he rubbed Lincoln up the wrong way!

“Are you ready to deal with Armstrong now?”
“Is anyone ever?”
 

Nonetheless, the surprise was the jaw-droppingly beautiful gal who’d already been contracted to put out the flames, making everything look like false publicity. Now it’s the new CEO’s turn but for different reasons. Organising Lincoln’s agenda and giving him much-needed makeover is on the cards.

“You can’t tell me I can’t shave me head or force me to get a haircut.” 

Laugh until I cried, Wren Sterling’s modus operandi regarding Lincoln is really a case of snip, tuck and straighten. Although he wasn’t at all keen on the idea, I never heard him complain when she ran her fingers through his hair, tucked in his shirt or fiddled with his tie before attending meetings. The forces of attraction cannot be denied, but the job comes first. She’s very, very good at it and although Lincoln doesn’t feel comfortable being back after such a long time, he’s adapting slowly and doing a damn good job, too.

‘That lipstick drives me up the wall. It’s always on. Always perfect. Always a distraction.’ 

Told from a dual perspective in present and overflowing with playful banter and steaminess, Lincoln’s narrative of his past evoked all the feels. Wren’s put between a rock and a hard place, faces it head-on and had me happy dancing. Here’s one sassy woman who’s not going to take any nonsense from anyone!

“I don’t know how every man who crosses your path doesn’t fall in love with you. Everything about you is incredible.” 

Guessing the twist before the ending didn’t spoil my reading enjoyment in the slightest. My only wish was the person behind some awfully cruel manoeuvres would get what they deserved. Will they? That’s for you to find out! Hunting’s wrapped up this series perfectly and I couldn’t recommend it more. Bravo!

EXCERPT

© 2019 Helena Hunting
All rights reserved.

 
“You have a suit fitting tomorrow morning.”
“Tomorrow morning? I have lots of suits; I’ll make one of those work.”
“Are they like the ones you wore to the funeral?” I ask.
“Yeah, why?”
“Well, they may have fit you five years ago, but they certainly don’t fit you now. I’ll text you the details and add them to your personal calendar.”
“You can’t do that without my cell number.” His smugness would be grating if I wasn’t two steps ahead of him.
I flash a fake smile. “I already have all of your personal details, Lincoln. Right down to your shoe size. And you can’t be late like you were this morning, so it might be a good idea to avoid the scotch tonight so you’re less bear and more human. You’ll need to use these things called manners. I can email you a refresher on what those are, should you need it.”
“Sarcasm is a weapon of the weak.”
My ears are on fire as he heads for the door. Jerk. I was being witty, not sarcastic. “Thanks so much for offering to help clean up the mess you made.” I turn to address the crinkled papers scattered on the floor.
It’s common courtesy to offer assistance if you’re the one who made the damn mess. Even Armstrong, who is the most epic of douches, has some manners. Usually he’ll try to look up a skirt or down a shirt while he’s being polite, but it’s better than this.
I turn to retrieve the papers when two things happen, a power surge ramps up the box fans—it happens at least twice a day, and at the same time Lincoln pulls the door open again. The simultaneous actions create a vortex of air inside my office, and my skirt flutters into the air. Like I’m Marilyn Monroe and I’ve stepped onto one of those subway grates. The fabric rises quickly, and a breeze hits me right between the legs, which is the exact moment I remember that I’m not wearing panties. Because they were covered in the coffee Armstrong spilled in my lap.
I drop the papers and battle the fabric back down. It’s fruitless, though, the wind tunnel whirls through the room like Dorothy’s freaking tornado, and the back of my dress goes up. I meet Lincoln’s gaze from across the small room. All it takes is a second of eye contact before those ridiculously blue eyes pull me in, and weird, inappropriate things start happening to my body. It’s irritating as hell. I don’t even like this guy, but my body seems as if it hasn’t gotten the same memo as the rest of me. Even more aggravating is the realization that based on his expression, he totally caught an eyeful of cooch.
Lincoln stands frozen at the door, eyes wide and fixed on my crotch, mouth hanging open.
“Close the damn door!” My voice is siren high. And loud.
“Right. Yes. I’m going. Now.” He steps out of my office, pulling the door closed behind him.
My dress settles around my knees. “Dammit.” I drop into my chair, which is probably what I should’ve done as soon as the wind tunnel started, but clearly I’d been too panicked to think straight.
On the upside, I went to see my waxer last week, so he’s seen my girl bits when they’re looking their finest.
On the downside, my project for the next six months has seen my naked girl bits.
 

 
 

MEET HELENA

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Follow Helena

Author Website  | Facebook  | Facebook Fan Group
Twitter @HelenaHunting

Instagram – @HelenaHunting
Never miss an update! Subscribe to Helena’s mailing list

 

BLOG TOUR ~ THE TRUTH ABOUT COWBOYS by Lisa Renee Jones

Today we’re thrilled to be on tour with New York Times bestselling author
Lisa Renee Jones’ all-new steamy, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny contemporary romance, THE TRUTH ABOUT COWBOYS

TTAC_eBook_1600

 

TTAC_eBook_1600While I was off pitching in the big leagues, my family was back in the small town of Sweetwater, Texas, running the family ranch. Then tragedy hit and I discovered there were secrets that my family kept, problems they hid. I went home, left behind the money, women, and fame. I took over the ranch and took care of my grandmother. I took over hiding the secrets. Then she came to town. A smart-mouthed, clumsy, too-smart-and-too-pretty-for-my-own-good city girl hiding out to write a book. She’s right here, on my property, in the cottage my grandmother rented her without my permission, and she sees too much. She knows too much.

Now suddenly my world is spinning, and she’s shoving a baseball back in my hand while baking cookies with my grandmother. She’s the devil and an angel all in one fiery little package. I decide I’ll wait her out. She’ll go back to the city. Only suddenly I don’t want her to leave, and everything I’ve settled for in my life isn’t enough. I want to play ball and I want her, but there’s that secret that won’t let go, but neither will she.

TTAC- AN

Download your copy today!

Amazon Universal | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Amazon Paperback

Add to GoodReads

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

Infuriation and mistrust never before have been so much fun to watch. Jessica and Jason rocked the pages of this book in so many fantastic ways.

Tearing away from the big city looking for somewhere to hide and lick her wounds, Jessica ends up in Sweetwater, Texas. All things considered, not really the best place to go to considering how things between her and Jason started off.

Jason has the entire world on his shoulders. Living life for everyone but himself, hearing his story left a lump in my throat the size of a plum. To see and feel what he overcame, well, the story takes on a life of its own.

Whilst reading this book I realised what it is I enjoy about small-town romances. The familial connections, the heart, this series like no other I have adored this year and a grandmother to remember, one who ram-raided right through the pages.

So different and yet so very similar; Jessica and Jason are two halves of the same coin. Toing and froing like a well-matched tennis tournament. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I could not put it down. There were so many emotions I felt whilst immersed between the pages, I can’t regret any of it.

Thank you, Ms. Jones, for a wonderful adventure in good ol’ Texas.

EXCERPT

© 2019 Lisa Renee Jones
All rights reserved.

 
Jessica…
I dart toward the door in the far right corner and enter the bathroom, where I find a giant old-fashioned, barrel-style tub. I open one of the white cabinet doors and also find a towel, but I’m just too wet for it to help. Like that woman was for Craig. Oh God. There I go again. No. No. No. I will not think those thoughts. No more. I’m done. With him. With her. I strip down naked, wrap the towel around me, and hunt for my suitcase, which I hope like heck has the other bag of chocolate I packed.
Naked might get a girl in trouble, but I’m alone and it’s not like anyone is going to see me naked anytime soon. I can go right ahead and happily pack a few pounds of chocolate weight on a petite frame that can’t handle a few extra anything. There will be no more men for me. Therefore, there will be no trouble to be found. It’s a great plan and on this one, really truly, I dare to say, what could go wrong? I exit the bathroom into the bedroom and scream at the sight of a man standing there.
The cowboy who saved me on the side of the road is not only here, minus his trench coat and wearing a snug black T-shirt, he’s bigger and broader than I remember. The bedroom shrinks. My heart races.
“I was right,” I accuse, clutching at my towel, the only thing between me and him besides footsteps. “You are a serial killer.” I search for a weapon and I don’t know why there’s a giant flashlight on the nightstand, but it’s long and strong, and I grab it, my new prize. I also manage to drop my towel. Oh my God, I’ve dropped my towel. Goose bumps lift on my naked body and, Lord help me, my nipples pucker.
I try to grab my towel and almost drop the flashlight, which is a better weapon than terry cloth. I commit to the flashlight and my state of undress. “I will hit you if you come near me,” I warn. “I mean, kill you.” That sounds unrealistic and therefore lacks the bite I intend. “I will hurt you.”
He arches a brow and, to my shock and his credit, he doesn’t so much as blink at anything below my neck. I don’t know if I should be appreciative or offended. Am I not distracting? Am I not worthy of a look? Obviously, my ex didn’t think so and—
The cowboy starts walking toward me.
“What are you doing? Stay back.” I hold up the flashlight, but I’m the one backing up, hitting the wall with a hard thud. He snatches up my towel and hands it to me, his hand brushing my nipple in the process. I suck in a breath, even as the flashlight is removed from my hand and tossed on the bed. “The game is over. Getting naked won’t stop me from calling the police.”
“I’ll knee you. I’ll scream. I’ll—”
“You’re standing in my property, sweetheart.”
“This is not—”
“And yet it is. You picked the wrong house to squat in and the wrong town. I saw where you turned off. I knew where you were headed. Wrong choice, sweetheart.”
“Stop calling me sweetheart. And what the hell are you talking about? Squatter? What is a—” A bad feeling hits me. “You think I’m freeloading by sneaking in here and now I’m trying to buy a bed with my naked body? Really?”
“If the shoe fits, sweetheart.”
I scowl. “Stop calling me sweetheart. Since when do women seducing men try to hit them with a flashlight? Then again, we are talking about you here. I’m pretty sure you could make anyone want to hit you. Maybe that’s the only foreplay you know. A flashlight and a—”
“Stop,” he orders, his hands pressing to the wall on either side of me, and now his big body framing my naked body.

 

About Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women-owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com

LRJ

Connect with Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa loves to hear from her readers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads Amazon | Wattpad

Stay up to date with Lisa by joining her mailing list today 

BLOG TOUR ~ KISS ME NOT by Emma Hart

KMN-BANNER-LIVE

What do you do when you’re the reigning kissing booth champion but the only person you want to kiss is your best friend’s brother?

Today we are thrilled to be on tour with KISS ME NOT, an all-new hilarious brother’s best friend romance from New York Times bestselling author Emma Hart!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00027]

Let me make this clear right here, right now: I, Halley Dawson, do not care that Preston Wright is kissing other women.

Not a lick. Not at all. Nuh-uh-freakin’-uh.

I do care that he’s doing it six feet away from me behind a gaudy velvet curtain—making him my competition in this year’s kissing contest.

Why do I care, you ask? Because I’ve had an unfortunate crush on the insufferable idiot since I was sixteen years old, but I also know it’s never going to happen.

He’s the Creek Falls bachelor to die for, and I’m the Creek Falls racoon lady who puts peanut butter sandwiches out for them every night.

I’m not going to let him break my four-year-long reign—no matter how many times he breaks the rules and slides the curtain across to do the one thing he’s not allowed to:

Kiss me.

green yellow pop art background

Download your copy today!

Amazon: Universal | U.K | U.S

Apple Books | Nook | Kobo 

Add to GoodReads

Reviewed by Anna on behalf of KFF

Another delightful romantic comedy from the queen of romcoms, the first book in Kiss Me series will tickle your funny bone and make you swoon at Preston.

Preston Wright’s family owns the successful floral shop in the small town of Creek Falls. He is also the older brother of Reagan, Halley’s best friend. Preston, the most eligible bachelor in town and Halley, the mayor’s daughter don’t seem to get along. And then they find themselves as competitors in the annual town fair’s Kissing Booth fundraiser. Will they finally kiss and make up or make out?

Halley Dawson is the sexy librarian and is also known as the crazy raccoon lady of Creek Falls. She has been the Kissing Booth champ for the last four years and she doesn’t plan to relinquish that title to Preston. But spending time together might just thaw out her coldness towards him.

Narrated in dual points of view, this romantic comedy is a pleasure to read. Preston and Halley’s chemistry are undeniable. Preston is the swoony hero whose smouldering looks will set your knickers on fire. He is rich and doesn’t sleep around, he is just perfect! There are so many funny moments and hilarious dialogue amongst the characters that will make you giggle.

This book is full of memorable characters: Halley’s best friends Ava and Reagan, the two eccentric grandmas and Halley’s regular night time guests, a family of raccoons whose needs are catered to by the kind-hearted heroine. This is a slow burn romance and the only sexy scenes are at the last chapter but it is worth the wait, sometimes less is more and I am glad that the author made it that way considering the timeline of the story. This trio of sassy, smart and independent ladies are such unforgettable characters and I cannot wait to read Ava and Reagan’s stories.

EXCERPT

© 2019
All rights reserved.

 
“I never answered your question.”
“What question?” I darted my eyes to the side.
“Just now. You asked me if I wanted to kiss you.”
I did, didn’t I? Right. “Oh,” was all I said.
Slowly, he moved his hand to my chin and gently lifted it. Still, I didn’t look at him, keeping my eyes firmly trained on the front of the tent, even though I was facing him.
“Halley.”
“Yeah?”
“I want to kiss you.”
My eyes darted to his.
“I thought that’d do it.” His lips twitched, and he lowered his head until I had to fight the urge to close my eyes in anticipation of the kiss that was coming.
I swallowed, my lips parting.
Preston moved closer.
And he kissed my cheek.
I jerked out of whatever trance I’d just been in. “What the hell?”
He jumped off the stage, grinning. “I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to break the stalemate, won’t we?”
“Oh, hell no!” I jumped off, stalking him to his side of the stage. “You just stood there in front of me and told me you want to kiss me, then kiss my cheek? The hell was that?”
His eyebrows shot up, amusement flashing in his eyes. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you wanted to kiss me, too.”
“Irrelevant,” I shot back. “But you’re a special kind of asshole to tell a girl you wanna kiss her and then not do it.” I turned around, then stopped. “You know what? When I beat you tomorrow, you can kiss my ass.”
“You’re way too mad about this.”
“I’m not mad!” My voice raised a few octaves. “I couldn’t care if you want to kiss me or not. I most certainly don’t want to kiss you.”
“Why are you shouting at me?”
“I’m not—” I was shouting at him. “Whatever,” I said in a normal voice. “Make sure you take that money to the bank. Tell Tish I sent you.”
I left him on his side of the curtain and went to get my purse. He could get fucked. After all that where I think I was so damn nervous I broke a sweat, he didn’t even kiss me.
I wasn’t lying with what I said.
He could kiss my ass.
I’d even wear my good panties and bend over for him.
 

 
 
EmmaHart.jpgMEET EMMA

Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels and has been translated into several different languages.

She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs.

Emma prides herself on her realistic, snarky smut, with comebacks that would make a PMS-ing teenage girl proud.

Yes, really. She’s that sarcastic.

CONNECT WITH EMMA

Stay up to date with Emma by joining her mailing list TODAY!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram  Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Website