EXCERPT REVEAL                                              EGOMANIAC by VI KEELAND

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Title: Egomaniac: A Tight Spaces Novel

Author: Vi Keeland

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 16th January, 2016

Cover designer: Sommer Stein, Perfect Pear

Model: Clément Becq

Photographer: Fred Goudon

 

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A new standalone novel from #1 New York Times

bestselling author, Vi Keeland coming in one week!

 

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 Synopsis:

The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.

I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.

He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.

Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office.  He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.

Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.

I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.

I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients.  But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.

I never expected my body to react every time we argued.  Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships.  And my job was to help people save their marriages.

The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.

And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.  

 

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Excerpt: 

Sometimes what you’re looking for

                         comes when you’re not looking at all.

                                                                      -Unknown

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DREW

I hate New Year’s Eve.

Two hours in traffic to make it not even the nine miles home from LaGuardia. It was after ten o’clock at night. Why weren’t all these people at a party by now? Whatever tension two weeks in Hawaii had relieved was already back to coiling tighter and tighter inside me as the town car inched its way uptown.

I tried not to think about all the work I was coming back to—the endless string of other people’s problems to compound my own:

She cheated.

He cheated.

Get me full custody of the kids.

She can’t have the house in Vail.

All she wants is my money.

She hasn’t given me a blowjob in three years. Listen, asshole, you’re fifty, bald, pompous, and shaped like an egg. She’s twenty-three, hot, and has tits so young they almost reach up to her chin. You want to fix this marriage? Come home with ten Gs in fresh, crisp bills, and tell her to get on her knees. You’ll get your blowjob. She’ll get her spending money. Let’s not pretend it was ever more than it really was. That doesn’t work for you? Unlike your soon-to-be ex-wife, I’ll take a check. Make that out to Drew M. Jagger, Attorney at Law.

I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling slightly claustrophobic in the back of the Uber, and looked out the window. An old lady with a walker passed us.

“I’ll get out here,” I barked at the driver.

“But you have luggage?”

I was already exiting the back of the car. “Pop the trunk. It’s not like we’re moving anyway.”

Traffic was at a dead stop, and it was only two blocks to my building. Tossing a hundred-dollar tip at the driver, I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk and took in a deep breath of Manhattan.

I loved this city as much as I hated it.

575 Park Avenue was a restored pre-war on the southeast corner of Sixty-Third Street—it was an address that gave people preconceived notions about you. Someone with my last name had occupied the building since before the place was converted into overpriced co-ops. Which is why my office was allowed to remain on the ground floor when other commercial tenants were tossed out years ago. I also lived on the top floor.

“Welcome back, Mr. Jagger.” The uniformed doorman greeted me as he swung open the lobby door.

“Thanks, Ed. I miss anything while I was gone?”

“Nah. Same old, same old. Peeked in on your construction the other day, though. Looking good.”

“They use the service entrance down Sixty-Third like they were supposed to?”

Ed nodded. “Sure did. Barely heard them the last few days.”

I dropped my luggage inside my apartment, then headed back downstairs in the elevator to check things out. For the last two weeks, while I was screwing off in Honolulu, my office space had been getting a total renovation. Cracks in the high, plastered ceilings were to be patched and painted, and new floors installed to replace the old, worn parquet.

Thick plastic remained taped over all of the interior doorways when I walked in. The little furniture I hadn’t put in storage was also still covered with tarps. Shit. They aren’t done yet. The contractor had assured me there would only be finish work left by the time I returned. I was right to be skeptical.

Flicking on the lights, I was happy to find the lobby completely done, though. Finally, a New Year’s Eve with no horrible surprises for a change.

I took a quick look around, pleased with what I found, and was just about to leave when I noticed a light streaming from under the door of a small file room at the end of the hallway.

Thinking nothing of it, I headed to turn it off.

Now, I’m six foot two and a half, two hundred and five pounds, and maybe it was just my frame of mind, my not expecting to see anyone, but when I opened the door to the file room, finding her there scared the living crap out of me.

She screamed.

I took a step back through the door.

She got up, stood on the chair, and began yelling at me, waving her cell phone in the air.

“I’ll call the police!” Her fingers shook as she dialed nine, then one, and hovered over the last one. “Get out now, and I won’t call!”

I could have lunged for her, and the phone would have been out of her hand before she realized she hadn’t dialed the final digit. But she looked terrified, so I retreated another step and put my hands up in surrender.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” I used my best soothing, calm voice. “You don’t need to call the police. This is my office.”

“Do I look stupid to you? You just broke into my office.”

Your office? I think you took a wrong turn at the corner of Crazy and Nutjob.”

She wobbled atop the chair, holding both arms out to regain her balance, and then…her skirt fell to her feet.

“Get out!” She crouched down and grabbed her skirt, tugging it up to her waist as she turned her back to me.

“Do you take medication, ma’am?”

Medication? Ma’am? Are you joking?”

“You know what?” I motioned to the phone she was still holding. “Why don’t you push that last one and get the police over here. They can drive you back to whatever loony bin you escaped from.”

Her eyes widened.

For a crazy person—now that I was really looking—she was pretty damn cute. Fiery red hair piled on top of her head seemed to match her firecracker personality. Although from the looks of her blazing blue eyes, I was glad I’d held off on telling her that.

She pushed one and proceeded to report the crime of entering one’s own office. “I’d like to report a robbery.”

“Robbery?” I arched an eyebrow and looked around. A lone folding chair and crappy metal folding table were the only furniture in the entire space. “What exactly am I stealing? Your winning personality?”

She amended her complaint to the police. “A breaking and entering. I’d like to report a breaking and entering at 575 Park Avenue.” She paused and listened. “No, I don’t think he’s armed. But he’s big. Really big. At least six feet. Maybe bigger.”

I smirked. “And strong. Don’t forget to tell them I’m strong, too. Want me to flex for you? And maybe you should tell them I have green eyes. Wouldn’t want the police to confuse me with all the other really big thieves hanging out in my office.”

After she hung up, she stayed standing on the chair, still glaring at me.

“Was there also a mouse?” I asked.

“A mouse?”

“Considering you jumped up on that chair.” I chuckled.

“You find this funny?”

“Oddly, I do. And I have no fucking idea why. It should annoy the crap out of me that I come home from a two-week vacation and find a squatter in my office.”

“Squatter? I’m no squatter. This is my office. I moved in a week ago.”

She bobbled again while standing on her chair.

“Why don’t you get down? You’re going to fall off that thing and get hurt.”

“How do I know you’re not going to hurt me when I get down?”

I shook my head and contained my laugh. “Sweetheart, look at the size of me. Look at the size of you. Standing on that chair isn’t doing jack shit to keep you safe. If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be out cold on the floor already.”

“I take Krav Maga classes twice a week.”

“Twice a week? Really? Thanks for the warning.”

“You don’t have to ridicule me. Maybe I could hurt you. For an intruder, you’re really kind of rude, you know.”

“Get down.”

After a full minute stare-off, she climbed off the chair.

“See? You’re as safe on the ground as you were up there.”

“What do you want from here?”

“You didn’t call the police, did you? You almost had me there for a second.”

“I didn’t. But I can.”

“Now why would you go and do that? So they can arrest you for breaking and entering?”

She pointed down at her makeshift desk. For the first time, I noticed papers all over the place. “I told you. This is my office. I’m working late tonight because the construction crew was so loud today that I couldn’t get done what I needed to. Why would anyone break and enter to work at ten-thirty at night on New Year’s Eve?”

Construction crew? My construction crew? Something was going on here. “You were here with the construction crew today?”

“Yes.”

I scratched my chin, half believing her. “What’s the foreman’s name?”

“Tommy.”

Shit. She was telling the truth. Well, at least some of it had to be the truth. “You said you moved in a week ago?”

“That’s right.”

“And you rented the space from whom, exactly?”

“John Cougar.”

Both my brows shot up this time. “John Cougar? Did he drop the Mellencamp, by chance?”

“How should I know?”

This wasn’t sounding good. “And you paid this John Cougar?”

“Of course. That’s how renting an office suite works. Two months’ security, first and last month’s rent.”

I shut my eyes and shook my head. “Shit.”

“What?”

“You got conned. How much did all of that cost you? Two months’ security, first and last month? Four months in total?”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

“Please tell me you didn’t pay cash.”

Something finally clicked, and the color drained from her pretty face. “He said his bank was closed in the evening, and he couldn’t give me the keys until my check cleared. If I gave him cash, I could move in right away.”

“You paid John Cougar forty thousand dollars in cash?”

“No!”

“Thank God.”

“I paid him ten thousand in cash.”

“I thought you said you paid four months.”

“I did. It was twenty-five hundred a month.”

That did it. Of all the crazy shit I’d heard so far, thinking she could get space on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month took the cake. I broke out in a fit of laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You’re not from New York, are you?”

“No. I just moved here from Oklahoma. What does that have to do with anything?”

I took a step closer. “I hate to break the news to you, Oklahoma, but you got ripped off. This is my office. I’ve been here for three years. My father the thirty before that. I was on vacation the last two weeks and had the office remodeled while I was gone. Someone named after a singer scammed you into giving him cash to rent an office he had no right to rent. Doorman’s name is Ed. Walk through the main building entrance, and he’ll verify everything I just said.”

“That can’t be.”

“What do you do that you need office space?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

I held out my hand. “I’m an attorney. Let me see your contract.”

Her face fell. “He hasn’t brought it by yet. He said the landlord was in Brazil on vacation, and I could move in, and he would come back on the first to collect the rent and bring me the contract to sign.”

“You’ve been scammed.”

“But I paid him ten thousand dollars!”

“Which is another thing that should have tipped you off. You couldn’t rent a closet on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month. Didn’t you find it strange that you were getting a place like this for next to nothing?”

“I thought I was getting a deal.”

I shook my head. “You got a deal alright. A raw deal.”

She covered her mouth. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

 

★★★★

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

vi-keeland

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is an attorney and a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author. Over the last three years, eleven of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and four on the New York Times Bestseller lists.

In 2013, she released her first romance novel and never looked back. To date, she has thirteen novels released, with PLAYBOY PILOT also releasing in 2016.  Her novels have appeared on #1 on Amazon and are currently being translated into German, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, Hebrew, French and Italian.

 

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Other books from Vi

Bossman

Amazon: US | UK 

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KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

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The Baller

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iBooks | B&N | Kobo 

KFF’s 5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

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Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat

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KFF’s 5 ★ Review HERE

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Throb

Amazon: US | UK

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KFF’S  5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

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MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)

Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter Series, Book One)

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Worth The Chance (MMA Fighter Series, Book Two)

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Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter Series, Book Three)

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The Cole Series (2 book serial)

Belong to You (Cole Series, Book One)

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Made for You (Cole Series, Book Two)

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Standalone novels

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)

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KFF’S  5 ★ Review ➜ HERE

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First Thing I See

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Books by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Playboy Pilot

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Cocky Bastard

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                           CHAPTER SPOTLIGHT                         TOUCHING DOWN by NICOLE WILLIAMS

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The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.


Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.

But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.
They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.

Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.

When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.

No man can take Grant Turner down.

But one woman certainly can.

One woman will.

 

 

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ONE MOMENT YOU’RE soaring. The next one, you’re touching down, scraping rock bottom.

I never planned on coming back here. The day I fled The Clink was both freeing and debilitating for a multitude of reasons I had no interest in revisiting. It had been the only home I’d ever known. It had housed the only people I’d ever loved. Still, I knew when I left seven years ago, I’d never be able to come back. That was the way it would have to be.

So why was I coming back now?

For another multitude of reasons I had no choice but to respect. That was what I kept reminding myself of as I turned onto the block that had been the one beacon of hope in this urban heart of darkness. Juniper Avenue was the official name, but all of us kids had only known it as Aunt May’s.

All of us kids who’d grown up in one of the prison-like subsidized housing complexes stretched across the one-square-mile stretch of land known as The Clink. It was one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country—violence the way of the land, drugs the currency of the kingdom. Murder, domestic violence, drug use, unemployment, ex-cons—The Clink was known for every last one of them.

It was basically a cesspool of humanity. My childhood home.

If it hadn’t been for Aunt May, I never would have escaped The Clink. If it weren’t for her, none of us would have. That was why I’d come back. For her. To say good-bye.

But I’d also come back to see him. To say what had been seven years coming.

Aunt May’s funeral was my chance to make my peace with the dead. And the living.

Just thinking about confronting him made my hands tremble, which made trying to squeeze my old Toyota into the parking spot tricky. As expected, the streets around Aunt May’s house were packed. Everyone from the corner drunk to the mayor knew who Aunt May was and would want to pay their respects to the person she’d been.

The lives she’d saved from these streets couldn’t be counted on a hundred sets of hands. I was just one of those lives. He was one of the others.

Even though he lived thousands of miles away now, I knew he’d be here tonight. I needed him to be here tonight because I’d run out of options, and one day, I’d run out of time too.

Typically these streets were not a place a woman wanted to roam on her own at night, but tonight, I wasn’t worried. Tonight, in honor of this woman, the streets would be at peace. Tonight, the gangs would set aside their turf wars, and the criminals would play nice. It was The Clink’s version of an armistice.

After locking my car, I forced myself to take each step that brought me closer to Aunt May’s house. Each one became harder to take, until the one that would lead me up her front walk felt impossible.

The sight of her house hit me harder than I’d expected. It looked exactly the same, from the lace curtains hanging in the windows, to the beds where her rose bushes had been put to rest for the season. Flowers didn’t grow in The Clink—mainly because people didn’t have any disposable income to spend on them or any patience to tend to them—but they grew here. They had always grown here, and something about realizing that now that Aunt May was gone, that might change, made my eyes burn.

The house was packed with so many bodies, people were starting to trickle out onto the front porch. There was music playing in the background, friends were catching up, lovers were embracing, and it looked more like a summer party than a fall funeral. But that was the way Aunt May would have wanted it. She wouldn’t have wanted people to mourn her death—she would have wanted them to celebrate their own lives.

From the looks of it, she’d gotten her way.

Despite the dread clawing up my throat, a smile started to journey into place as I watched the scene before me. That first step onto hallowed ground became possible, and before I knew it, I was crossing the threshold of the front door.

A few people nodded at me in passing, but it was too dark outside for recognition to settle into the brief exchange. I knew that would change when I stepped into the light of the house.

How right I was.

I could practically feel the whoosh of air crash over me as it felt like every head in the room twisted my way when I stepped inside Aunt May’s house for the first time in seven years. Some of the faces I recognized, some I didn’t, but it felt like every person recognized me. I was met with everything from eyes filled with accusation to brows raised in judgment, but I knew I deserved it.

I hadn’t just been another one of the many children Aunt May set a warm meal in front of or provided a safe haven when there was no other safe place. I’d been one of her favorites.

If you asked her, she’d say she loved all of us the same, but certain ones of us had been labeled her favorites. The truth of it was, it wasn’t because Aunt May held any more affection for us than the others; us “favorites” were the ones whose home lives were the most fucked up. The ones who spent more time with Aunt May than the rest because going back to our shithole apartment in one of The Clink’s Tower Apartment Complexes felt like playing a game of Russian Roulette each day.

So yeah, I’d been deemed one of Aunt May’s favorites because my childhood had come right out of the Fucked Up Guidebook. He’d been one of her supposed favorites too, for the exact same reason. That was a big part of the reason we’d bonded as kids. Our connection had been forged in the fires of a proverbial hell on earth. Our bond built by our shared struggle to survive.

We’d all paid a price for reaching adulthood. For some of us, the cost had been our innocence. For others, it was our soul.

My price for being here today was both. And more.

As my inspection moved from one person to the next, I felt my heart crawl higher into my throat, knowing he was close. Feeling he was close.

That was when I saw him. He was in the middle of the living room, surrounded by a crowd of people and towering even more above the mob than I remembered. It had been seven years since I’d last seen Grant Turner. An entire lifetime had passed in that time. But instead of feeling the anesthetization seven years should have tempered the pain with, the sting felt seven seconds fresh.

Time hadn’t dulled the pain; it had clearly only sharpened it.

I’d barely had a moment to brace myself for the onslaught of feelings that came at me from seeing him again, before his head finally followed the direction most of the others in the room had taken. Right toward me.

His jaw set the moment he saw me, his posture going rigid the moment after that. Clearly, time had not eased any of his pain from my betrayal either.

Then, as quickly as his attention had fallen on me, it fell away. He angled himself so his back was to me, putting up what I hoped wasn’t an impenetrable wall between us. I knew leaving the way I did must have hurt him. I knew it had to have confused and angered and betrayed him . . . but it had been seven years. Grant Turner wasn’t the same boy struggling on the streets of The Clink. His name was known by millions, his life a true Cinderella story. The troubled boy from The Clink became the man whose name was synonymous with professional football.

His life had gone from microscopic to all-encompassing. I’d assumed he’d buried what had happened between us in some unmarked grave and forgotten about it and me years ago. I’d come prepared to remind him of who I was and then bridge the reason why I was back, but I had not come prepared to take on a scorned lover. I’d come equipped to explain myself, not to defend myself, but from the look on his face just now, I’d have to do both.

Following his lead, most of the people in the room got back to doing what they had been before I showed up, seeming as content to ignore me as he was.

My arm curled around my stomach like it was trying to keep me from breaking in half. Too much. Too fast.

What had I been thinking, coming back after all this time? After the way I’d left? After the way I’d hurt Aunt May and Grant with my abrupt disappearance? What I had to tell him would be difficult to tell a closest confidant—how was I supposed to explain it to someone who clearly couldn’t stand me being in the same room as him? How could I expect him to listen to what I had to say once I worked up the courage to voice it?

I looked over my shoulder, eyeing the door I’d just come through with a bit too much longing. I couldn’t leave. I’d come to make peace, and I was going to do just that. No matter how much it cost me.

That was when I felt an arm slide through one of mine, as someone started to lead me into the kitchen. “Welcome to The Pariah Club. Your membership card’s in the mail. Here’s a new member tip—if it feels like everyone in the room is silently judging you, it’s because they are.”

The voice was familiar, and when I matched it with the equally familiar face, I nudged my fellow pariah in the side. “How much are the annual dues?”

Cruz tapped his chin a few times as he steered us through the herd of people that had overflowed into the kitchen. “Just your dignity, self-respect, and faith in humanity.”

I felt a smile surfacing. Cruz’s gift of making people smile had transferred into adulthood. “What a bargain.”

After Cruz had steered us into a somewhat private spot in the kitchen, he crossed his arms and waited with an expectant look on his face. I wasn’t sure what he was waiting for, but that might have been because I was still reeling from being plunged so suddenly into my past.

“So?” he prompted, rolling his hand a few times at me. “Are you going to explain what happened seven years ago, or are you just hoping I’ll be content to pick up right where we left off?”

My forehead creased. “Kinda hoping we can just pick up where we left off.”

Cruz looked like he was considering that for a minute, which gave me the opportunity to catch my breath. Confronting The Clink, Aunt May’s house, and Grant all within the same five-minute span made me feel like the room was spinning. Not to mention the eyes I kept feeling zeroing in on me—everyone’s thoughts were almost as loud as their words.

At least with Cruz, I knew I was safe from the judgment. Safe because he’d been a lightning rod for it, growing up as one of the few openly gay kids in The Clink. Being one of the only out-of-the-closet gay boys living in a neighborhood where testosterone and overt male bravado ruled the streets hadn’t been easy for him. He’d survived it though, his humor and ability to laugh at himself his saving grace.

“Lucky for you, I’m one of those people who’s okay with forgiving and forgetting. Even when a good friend bails without so much as a good-bye or an occasional call to let her worried-sick friends know she’s okay.” Cruz’s brow carved higher into his forehead. “But I know someone who isn’t so into the forgive-and-forget philosophy.”

My gaze followed Cruz’s into the living room, where it was impossible to miss Grant’s imposing frame. His back was still to me, almost like he was acutely aware of where I was and determined to keep his back pointed my way.

My shoulders fell. Once upon a time, we’d been each other’s everything, and now, I felt as though we had nothing left of what had been so grand and beautiful. “He was really angry with me, wasn’t he?”

“Oh, cupcake, angry is for guys who wear polo shirts and walk miniature doggies. Angry is not for the likes of Grant Turner.”

Cruz and I exchanged a look. The realm of average human emotion had never been quite appropriate for Grant Turner. From the time he’d moved to The Clink with his dad all of those years ago, I’d known that. There’d been an intensity about him, a spirit that wound deeper into his core than most.

“So you’re saying he was really angry after I left?”

Cruz smiled tightly, patting my arm a few times. “He was the human equivalent of Chernobyl. How about we leave it at that because that’s as fitting of a metaphor as I’m capable of right now?”

My heart ached as I imagined the pain I’d caused him—for the one-millionth goddamn time. “That was forever ago. He’s moved past it, I’m sure.”

“Sure, sure,” Cruz agreed, waving in Grant’s direction. “Just look how at moved on past it he is.”

My  eyes stung from watching how Grant seemed to prefer the company of everyone besides me. It felt like yesterday when the opposite had been true. I wouldn’t cry though, no matter how badly my eyes burned. I’d dried myself out years ago.

“I never meant to hurt him,” I whispered. “I never meant to hurt any of you.”

Cruz wound his arm through mine again. “I know that. Aunt May knew that. Hell, even Grant knew that.” Cruz paused, his face turning toward mine. “But that doesn’t mean you didn’t hurt us.”

My body leaned into his, almost like I needed his support because I was unable to stay upright on my own. It was odd the way our roles had shifted. Back then, it had been Grant and me who Cruz leaned on for support, and now, I was leaning on him.

“I’m sorry.” My words came out louder than I’d intended, drawing the attention of a few people close by.

If Cruz noticed my louder-than-needed apology, he didn’t show it. “Apology accepted.” His arm wound around my back when my head dropped to his shoulder.

“Do you think apologizing to Grant will be that easy?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“Has anything been easy where Grant Turner and you are concerned?” I didn’t have to give that a moment’s consideration.

“No. Nothing ever has been.”

It never would be either.

 

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Kindle Friends Forever 

5  Review by Sharon Thérèse

 

And this is what it is! A truly touching read. My heartstrings were pulled on to the limit, I cried, laughed and fell head over heels with two absolutely gorgeous characters that had me enthralled from chapter one to the very last page. Ms Williams has told their story with such sensitivity and feeling making this standalone novel a very difficult one to put down. In fact, interruptions were frowned upon and while drying my tears or chuckling to myself, funny looks were thrown my way!

I couldn’t find fault with this read. The storyline flows constantly, it has just the right amount of witty banter and believe me, touching scenes made me want to jump into my Kindle and give them both a hug. My first one would have been for Ryan Hale. My heart went out to her. After seven years away from her hometown, she goes back to say goodbye to someone very dear to her and explain to her childhood sweetheart why she’d disappeared into thin air. She can’t find the right words though. The boy she was in love with, her hero, is now a strapping young man and has no wish to listen to the girl who broke him.

“Where did that troubled, hot-headed boy I grew up with go?”

Actually, I got a tad annoyed with Grant Turner to start off with and gave him a proverbial telling off. When the opportunity arises she plucks up the courage and ooh my, what he hears provokes such an emotional response that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both of them.

“That was another lifetime, Ryan. Another fucking life. We’ve moved on, and that’s behind us now. Let’s leave it there, okay?”

Depending on what angle I looked at Ryan’s reasoning, I think her decision not to tell Grant before must have been a difficult one. On the one hand, she was selflessly concerned about how it would have affected his future. On the other, he had had a right to know. Between a rock and a hard place, now she’s got no choice but to divulge what she’s been hiding from him. So Grant’s reaction to the news didn’t surprise me in the least. Knocked sideways, I felt his frustration, his hurt and his resentment. Regardless of so many years apart, he can still read her like an open book. And he wants to know what else she’s keeping back from him.

“You were the one person in the world I never wanted to hurt, and I was the one who hurt you more than any one person ever deserves. I’m so sorry.”

If there’s anything more crystal clear in this read, it has to be their undying love. It had never wavered. Not. For. One. Second! Now they’ve found each other again, he welcomes destiny with open arms. Grant realises forgiving her isn’t an issue, literally grabs the bull by the horns and accepts what happened, happened. He knows the consequences will change his very existence but wait for it, something much bigger than he could ever have imagined sends this professional footballer built like a tank and invincible into a tailspin. Yep, she drops another bombshell!

“What are you trying to tell me?” “Just give it to me. I can take it. You don’t need to ease me into this.”

Grant is the best team member, the best player and the fastest. I loved Grant’s inner-strength. Never once did he shy away from problems or responsibilities and tackled them like the brilliant sportsman he is. Confronted with the hardest game of their lives, these two lovers fight it together to win. Losing is not an option. Grant knows he’s going to have to be stronger than ever because there’s too much at stake.

“Despite whatever’s come between us, you have always been and will always remain the closest thing to family I’ve ever had.”

I had the immense pleasure of meeting one of the most unforgettable characters ever in this read. If I say any more about them, I would undoubtedly spoil this book for you which I have no wish in doing. Just one-click and you’ll find out for yourselves who I’m talking about. My sista-in-arms, Rachel, asked me whether she should buy it or not. My answer was simple. God yes, it’s a masterpiece! I was so invested in Ryan and Grant’s story that stopping to highlight quotes or jot down notes was totally overlooked. After finishing, I went back in and virtually reread it. Ms Williams, you have written a gem of a book. I. Loved. It! The epilogue . . . WOW! I’ll most definitely be reading Touching Down again. Another thing I’d like to mention is the author is donating ten percent of the net proceeds to charity. How cool is that! What can I say that I haven’t already except BRAVO!

“I like your book, Grant Turner.”
“That’s good. Since you’re on every page in that book.”

 

 

 

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 

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                                EXCERPT REVEAL                           TOUCHING DOWN by NICOLE WILLIAMS

  

 

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Coming October 9th

 

Pre-order exclusively on iBooks   

 

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The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.


Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.

But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.
They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.

Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.

When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.

No man can take Grant Turner down.

But one woman certainly can.

One woman will.

 

 

excerpt

 

How had I gotten here?
That was the question still cycling through my head when I heard the shower turn off. In the minute that followed, I did everything I could not to think about what was behind that closed bathroom door. What being a wet and naked Grant Turner.
What being the only man I’d ever loved and the only man I ever would. My life felt like it was ending, but his was only really getting started. There’d be more for him, despite whatever he said or thought. There’d be love, heartache, and more love. For Grant, I would be one of the many. For me, he was the one of them all.
When the bathroom door opened, a fog of steam burst into the bedroom. It wasn’t a plume; it was a thick fog.
“Do you have any skin left after that scalding shower?” I asked, turning toward the dresser so my back was to the bathroom. Grant fresh from a shower had always been a weakness for me, and I guessed nothing about that had changed.
“I don’t know. What do you think?”
I saw him from the corner of my eyes, standing beside me. When my gaze shifted to confirm whether he had or had not scalded off his skin, my breath caught.
“Why are you naked?” I blinked a few times to keep my eyes facing north. It was a chore though. I felt as though two metal weights dangled from my eyeballs and were trying to draw them downward.
Grant chuckled, pulling open the bottom drawer. “I’m not naked.”
“Why are you mostly naked?” When the fight against gravity became too much and my eyes dropped below his navel, I literally felt flames licking up my throat. Fuck me. That man had always had an amazing body, but now . . . I knew women who’d auction off their souls for a chance to be entertained by a body like that for a night.
“Because I figured you wouldn’t prefer the alternative of me being fully naked.” Grant pinched at the white towel tied around his waist as he pulled a pair of light grey sweats from the drawer. “But since I can tell from your shock I was wrong, what the hell.” In one flick of a finger, the towel fell to the floor.
“Grant!” It came out as more of a shriek than I’d intended, but he was standing two feet in front of me, fully naked.
“What?” His voice was innocent, but his smirk was the opposite. “Nothing you haven’t seen before.” His muscles rippled when he shrugged, tugging on his sweats. “Just seven years older is all.”
When he turned to pick up his abandoned towel, I got the full view of his back which, like this, looked as wide as the span of my arms.
“And seven years bigger,” I muttered, still unable to believe he’d just bared it all like that. Actually, the more I thought about it, I shouldn’t have been so shocked. Grant wasn’t exactly modest.
Glancing back at me, he winked. “Why thank you. Glad you noticed.”
When I caught what he was getting at, heat settled beneath my cheeks. “That’s not what I was talking about.”
“Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t what you were thinking about.” He slid the waistband of his sweats around until he found a comfortable spot. Which happened to be a good half foot below his navel.
“In your hurry to make me uncomfortable, you forgot to put on underwear.” I flattened my expression to give the impression that I was not half as shook up as he thought I was.
The truth was, I was probably twice as shook up as he thought.
“I don’t believe in them,” he said simply.
“You don’t believe in what? Underwear?” I felt my forehead crease.
“I’m anti-underwear.”
“Anti-underwear?”
“You know how some people are anti-gun or anti-abortion? Well, I’m anti-underwear,” he explained with a shrug. “But are you?”
My arms folded and I looked across the room. “Am I what?”
“Uncomfortable?” He moved a step closer, when he’d already been five steps too close.
Now, it wasn’t just the image of him clouding my mind. It was the way he smelled. The sound of his breath. The feel of the warmth cascading off of his body.
Sealing my eyes closed, I focused. I imagined the most Zen, peaceful place on the planet. “No,” I said as firmly as I was capable.
“Liar.” I heard the twisted smile in his voice. After a moment, I felt him move closer. “Why do I make you uncomfortable? I never used to.”
My eyes opened right into his. As dark as Grant’s eyes were, a person would never notice the flecks of light in them if they didn’t get close enough to see them. Up close, his eyes were more light than dark.
“You don’t make me uncomfortable.” I could hear the lie in my voice like it was a shout.
One by one, Grant’s hands formed around the outsides of my elbows, his fingers circling around my arms. His body pressed closer until his chest touched mine each time he inhaled. “Then why are you trembling?” His head dropped, his mouth moving just outside of my ear. “Why do I make you uncomfortable, Ryan?”
His voice, his body. His words, his touch. He was wrecking my resolve, one moment at a time, until I could feel the last of it about to crumble.
“It’s been a long day, Grant.”
“It has.” His head nodded beside mine. “Let’s keep up this trend and make it a long night too.”
My heart started to echo in my eardrums as a growing ache pulsed inside me.
“We should get to bed.” My voice was trembling now too.
“We should.” His head dropped lower to my neck. He took in a long breath, like he was trying to take me inside him. “Yours or mine?”
Despite my resolve, I smiled. “They’re all yours technically.”
“They’re whatever you want them to be just as long a you say which one you want me to carry you into. Or feel free to point in the general area too. I can figure it out.”



author

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

Website   Facebook  Twitter  Blog  Instagram

 

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                                EXCERPT REVEAL                                                              PLAYBOY PILOT                                         by PENELOPE WARD & VI KEELAND

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Title: Playboy Pilot

Authors: Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 19th September, 2016

Cover design: Letitia Hasser, r.b.a designs

Model: Sahib Faber

Photographer: Greg Vaughan 

 

GRs label

 

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This is an exclusive sneak peek of Playboy Pilot.

(A standalone novel)

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

 

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EXCERPT

The driver began to shout something in Portuguese. The way his finger was wagging, I assumed he was telling the person that the cab was full. But the passenger didn’t listen. Next thing I knew, I was sitting next to someone in the back seat.

Someone wearing a uniform.

Captain Carter Clynes in the flesh.

He turned to face me with a wicked grin on his face. “My layover just got more interesting.”

Damn. He seemed to have grown that stubble overnight.

“How was your flight, Perky? Did you enjoy the ride I gave you?”

“My shirt’s dry. I think you can drop the Perky.”

His eyes lowered to my breasts. Of course, my nipples were standing at full attention since the sheen of sweat on my skin had met the cool air-conditioning inside the cab.

Carter scrubbed his hands over his face. “Damn. You weren’t kidding about those things. I haven’t slept in eighteen hours, and they just woke me up. I think they’re contagious, and I’m fucking perky now.”

“That’s not really an appropriate thing to say to a woman you just met, you know.”

“We didn’t just meet. This is our third date.”

“Third date?”

“I bought you dinner in an elegant restaurant for our first one and took you up for a plane ride for our second one. Those were damn good dates. Some women would kill for that kind of lavishness. Seems fitting date three we should be heading to a hotel.” He winked.

I wasn’t sure if it was the time change, my being tired from restless sleep on the plane, or if it was possible this man could say anything and I wouldn’t be offended. Why am I not I offended?

When I didn’t respond, he continued. “I’m glad I saw you. Didn’t think I would ever see you again.”

“That might be because you didn’t look for me.”

“I never thought you’d actually take my suggestion and fly to Brazil.”

I mumbled. “Neither did I.”

The cab driver interrupted, looking between us to ask, “You share cab, yes?”

Surprising me, Carter answered. In Portuguese. The language that sounded choppy and frustrating just two minutes ago, suddenly sounded sexy and romantic.

He turned back to me in English. “What hotel are you staying at?”

“I was just trying to figure that out with a little help from Google. Do you have one to recommend?”

“You trust me to pick out where you’ll stay tonight?”

I considered his question for a minute. It was illogical, that much I knew, but I did trust him to pick my hotel. Lord knows why. “I think I do.”

That response earned me another sexy grin that had me more excited than I’d been in the last year.

Almost a half-hour later, we were finally off the highway and traveling into what looked like a residential neighborhood. “Barra da Tijuca.” I read the street sign aloud.

“Very good. I should probably warn you. It’s probably not the type of hotel you’re used to.”

“What does that mean?”

“You look like you’re more of the luxury chain with a spa type of woman, that’s all.”

Even though that was exactly what I’d typed into Google, when he said it that way, it sounded like a bad thing. It made me defensive. “And what’s wrong with a luxury hotel? Sometimes a girl needs a massage and a soak in a nice bathtub while traveling.”

“Well, you certainly won’t be getting either of those where we’re heading.” Carter caught my eye. “Unless I’m the one doing the massaging, that is.”

I blushed, which caused Carter to chuckle. “You really are fucking adorable. I’m not sure what’s sexier, the fact that you’re up for letting me take you on this little adventure, or that you secretly like the thought of me giving you a massage.”

“I do not!” My quick, defensive response only confirmed he was right.

He leaned to me. “Do, too.”

“You’re off base.”

“That’s a shame. I’ve been told I’m really good with my hands.” He held out his hands in front of him, examining them. Big hands. Hands that looked like he used them to do some actual work when he wasn’t flying a plane.

Damn.

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

 

We hope you enjoyed this extended preview!

Available for Pre-order on iBooks, Nook and Kobo now!

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Paperback: pre-order

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified of releases HERE!

 

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SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling authors of Stuck-Up Suit and Cocky Bastard, comes a sexy new standalone novel.

Money or love? Which would you choose? 

You probably just answered the question in your head thinking it’s an easy decision.

For me, it’s not. Did I mention it’s a lot of money? A hell of a lot.

I needed to go far away to think it through.

As I embarked on an impulsive trip, I hit a detour when I met sexy Carter in the airport lounge. We struck up a heated conversation.

Then, he left.

I thought I’d never see him again.

But fate had other plans.

Surprise! He was the pilot of my flight.

The bigger surprise was the adventure that followed after the plane landed.

Carter was dangerous and always on the move.

Even though our connection was magnetic, I knew it was only temporary.

He would give me tickets, and I would follow him around the world to exotic places.

A bevvy of flight attendant exes and rumors about Carter’s reputation were never far behind.

I didn’t know what to believe.

But I was addicted. Nothing else mattered anymore. And I was going to get hurt. Because a part of me wanted to be the one to finally ground the playboy pilot.

At the very least, he was taking me on a thrilling ride.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

 

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Other books from Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Stuck-Up Suit

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

Cocky Bastard

Amazon | iTunes  | Kobo | B&N

 

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Meet Vi Keeland

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Vi Keeland is a New York Times bestselling author. Native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work.  She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!  New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author.  Over the last three years, ten of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and three on the New York Times Bestseller lists.

Stalk Vi 

Website | Facebook | Facebook Group Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Other books from Vi Keeland

Bossman

Amazon: US | UK 

iBooks | B&N | Kobo 

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The Baller

Amazon: US | UK 

iBooks | B&N | Kobo 

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Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat

Amazon: US | UK

iBooks | Kobo | B&N

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Throb

Amazon: US | UK

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MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)

Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter Series, Book One)

Amazon | B&N | Kobo Smashwords | iBooks

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Worth The Chance (MMA Fighter Series, Book Two)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

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Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter Series, Book Three)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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The Cole Series (2 book serial)

Belong to You (Cole Series, Book One)

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

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Made for You (Cole Series, Book Two)

Amazon: US | UK | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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Standalone novels

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)

Amazon: US | UK

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First Thing I See

Amazon: US | UK | B&N 

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Meet Penelope Ward

Penelope WardPenelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

     

Stalk Penelope

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Private Fan Group

Other books from Penelope Ward

RoomHate

Amazon: US | UK | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

iBooks | Kobo | Nook

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Sins of Sevin

Amazon: US | UK 

iBooks | B&N | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Stepbrother Dearest

Amazon  | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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Gemini

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

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Jake Undone (Jake #1)

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

My Skylar

Amazon | B&N |  iBooks | Kobo

* ~* ~* ~* ~*

Jake Understood (Jake #2)

Amazon | B&N | iBooksKobo

 

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                              EXCERPT REVEAL                                  KING OF WALL STREET by LOUISE BAY

 

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King of Wall Street by Louise Bay
Release Date: August 24th

 

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Synopsis:

AN AMBITIOUS BOMBSHELL IS ABOUT TO BRING THE KING OF WALL STREET TO HIS KNEES.

I keep my two worlds separate.

At work, I’m King of Wall Street. The heaviest hitters in Manhattan come to me to make money. They do whatever I say because I’m always right. I’m shrewd. Exacting. Some say ruthless.

At home, I’m a single dad trying to keep his fourteen year old daughter a kid for as long as possible. If my daughter does what I say, somewhere there’s a snowball surviving in hell. And nothing I say is ever right.

When Harper Jayne starts as a junior researcher at my firm, the barriers between my worlds begin to dissolve. She’s the most infuriating woman I’ve ever worked with.

I don’t like the way she bends over the photocopier—it makes my mouth water.

I hate the way she’s so eager to do a good job—it makes my dick twitch.

And I can’t stand the way she wears her hair up exposing her long neck. It makes me want to strip her naked, bend her over my desk and trail my tongue all over her body.

If my two worlds are going to collide, Harper Jayne will have to learn that I don’t just rule the boardroom. I’m in charge of the bedroom, too.

 KING OF WALL STREET TEASER 1

Excerpt:

I’d been desperate to work for Max King since before I enrolled at business school. He was the power behind the throne of many of the Wall Street success stories in the last few years. King & Associates provided investment banks with critical research that helped their investment decisions. I liked the idea that there were a ton of flashy suits from investment banks shouting about how rich they were and the man who had made it happen was happy to go quietly about his business, just being amazing at what he did. Understated, determined, supremely successful—he was everything I wanted to be. When I got the offer during my final semester to be a junior researcher at King & Associates, I was thrilled, but I also felt an odd sense that the universe was simply unravelling how it should, as though it was simply the next step in my destiny.

Destiny could kiss my ass. My first six weeks in my new position had been nothing I’d expected. I’d assumed I’d be surrounded by ambitious, intelligent, well-dressed twenty and thirty somethings and I’d been right about that. And the clients we worked for—almost every investment bank in Manhattan—were phenomenal and lived up to every expectation I’d had. Max King, however, had turned out to be a huge letdown. The fact was, despite being crazy smart, respected by everyone on Wall Street, and looking as if he should have been on a poster on teenage me’s bedroom wall, he was . . .

Cold.

Blunt.

Uncompromising.

A total asshole.

He was as handsome in real life as he was in his picture on the cover of Forbes or any of the other publicity shots I’d clicked through as I stalked him during my MBA at Berkeley. One morning, I’d arrived super early, seen him in his running gear—sweaty, panting, Lycra clad. Thighs so strong they looked as if they might be made of marble. Broad shoulders; a strong Roman nose; dark-brown, glossy hair—the kind wasted on a man—and a year-round tan that screamed, I vacation four times a year. In the office he wore custom suits. Handmade suits fell a particular way on the shoulders that I recognized from the few meetings I’d had with my father. His face and body lived up to every expectation I’d had. Working with him, not so much.

 

Add to your TBR on Goodreads

 

KING OF WALL STREET TEASER

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels – the kind she likes to read. Her books include the novels Faithful and Hopeful and the novella series’ The Empire State Series, What the Lightning Sees and Calling Me. The novels and together the series are stand-alone although there are some overlapping characters.

Ruined by romantic mini-series of the eighties, Louise loves all things romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when she doesn’t have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

 

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Website

 

 

Exclusive sneak peek of Boss Man by Vi Keeland

BOSS MAN BANNER

 

Title: Boss Man (A standalone novel)

New York Times & USA Today Bestseller

Vi Keeland

Release date: July 18th, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover designer: Sommer Stein, Perfect Pear

Model: Gilberto Fritsch

 

GRs label

 

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This is an exclusive sneak peek of:

BOSS MAN POSTER

chapter1

Click on REESE below for Chapter One

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BOSS MAN PREORDER

 

Available for Pre-order on iBooks, Nook and Kobo now!

 

Sign up for Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified of releases HERE!

Join Vi’s Violets for early news of books, fun chats and giveaways HERE!

 

Blurb

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business—his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business—and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room.  Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us—telling elaborate, embarrassing stores about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?

Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

 

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vi

 

Vi Keeland is a New York Times bestselling author. Native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work.  She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!  New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author.  Over the last three years, ten of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and three on the New York Times Bestseller lists.

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Other books from Vi Keeland

The Baller

Amazon: US | UK 

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Stuck-Up Suit: Co-written with Penelope Ward

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Cocky Bastard: Co-written with Penelope Ward

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Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat

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Throb

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MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)

Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter Series, Book One)

Amazon | B&N | Kobo Smashwords | iBooks

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Worth The Chance (MMA Fighter Series, Book Two)

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Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter Series, Book Three)

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The Cole Series (2 book serial)

Belong to You (Cole Series, Book One)

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Made for You (Cole Series, Book Two)

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Standalone novels

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)

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First Thing I See

Amazon: US | UK | B&N 

                                EXCERPT REVEAL                                STEALING HOME by NICOLE WILLIAMS

Stealing home excerpt pic

 

Coming July 10th

Pre-order exclusively on iBooks HERE

 

GRs label

 

stealing home cover

 

synopsis

 

Being the only woman working for a professional baseball team isn’t easy. As the San Diego Shock’s newest athletic trainer, Allie knows all about long hours, endless travel, and warding off players’ advances. Given she’s already the subject of a handful of rumors about how “lucky” she was to have earned such a coveted position, she can’t so much as flutter an eyelash a player’s way if she wants to be taken seriously.

But number eleven is doing more than fluttering eyelashes Allie’s way. Far more. Luke Archer is at the top of his game and doesn’t let the fear of striking out keep him from swinging. This is a motto he applies both on and off the field, but Allie appears immune, seeming to view Luke as nothing more than caution tape on legs.

He’s a player, and in Allie’s experience, they’re all the same. She won’t risk her job or her heart to another one, no matter how different this one claims to be. But as Allie gets to know him, she discovers the number eleven the public thinks they know is very different from the real Luke Archer. He seems too good to be true.

And maybe he is.

Allie will have to confront the stories attached to a player of Luke Archer’s stature and decide who she’ll put her faith in—The man she’s falling for? Or the rumors?

 

EXCERPT

 

CHAPTER ONE

 Working for a professional baseball team was going to be the end of my love life. The past two years confirmed that theory, as had the last text I’d received from my latest ex-boyfriend.

               Half of the year on the road added to another half of the year working grueling hours that rivaled a doctor’s first year of residency equaled a whole lot of no free time to fill with a social agenda. Since being hired on by the San Diego Shock this season and the San Francisco Kings the year before that, the longest relationship I’d maintained spanned eight weeks.

               This last one had barely cleared the four-week mark.

My lifestyle was costly, but it was worth it. Baseball was in my blood, and sports medicine was in my heart.

               I’d grown up in a small Midwest town where people still got together for potlucks and everyone from the town hermit to the mayor attended a funeral. Where the only place you were expected to be after church on a Sunday was stretched out on the bleachers around the baseball field. It didn’t matter if it was a T-ball game or the high school championships—the bleachers were always packed.

Baseball was a religion where I grew up—it was stitched into the fibers of my life—so it was no surprise when I ended up with a baseball player. No, the surprise came after I’d followed him to college and found him in bed with someone else.

               It had taken the wind right out of me, along with my tendency to trust first and doubt after. Ben had been sleeping around for a while by the time I found out—friends had known and said nothing—and that was the day I made a promise to myself to never let another guy hurt me as he had, to never be made a fool of like that.

After changing schools mid-year, I started studying sports medicine and never looked back. Or at least not often. I only looked back when I found myself feeling something similar to what I’d felt for Ben. The relationship never lasted long after that.

               As evidenced by my newest failed relationship.

               “Whose ass do I need to kick, Doc?”

               Dropping my phone into my lap, I looked across the aisle to see who was sliding into the row across from me.

Luke Archer.

Known to fans as the best hitter on the Shock, if not in all of pro baseball. Known to women for his good looks and up-to-no-good smile. Known to Cosmo magazine as being voted the Finest Ass in professional baseball. And known by the athletic training staff as a well-rounded pain in our asses.

               Not because he thought he knew better or was yet another prima donna—which the sport had no shortage of—but because he held to the old-school code of taking care of an injury by “walking it off.” If that didn’t work, then we could usually convince him to pop one or two pain relievers after the game, and sometimes, if he was feeling especially accommodating, he’d accept a bag of ice.

               Luke Archer was the real man of steel, and no one to date had managed to convince him he was also made of those injury-prone materials known as flesh and blood.

               “Doc?” Archer’s voice broke through my haze of thoughts. “Just give me his name and I’ll take care of it.”

The rest of the team and staff were shuffling down the aisle between us to find their seats on the team jet, but his stare aimed my way felt unyielding.

               “What makes you think anyone’s ass deserves a kicking?” I asked.

I returned a high-five as Reynolds passed by. He’d twisted his ankle in the game earlier today, and I’d been the first on the field to get him taken care of. I’d been the last one out of the locker room to finish getting him taken care of too. As a noob, I had to work twice as hard. As a woman, I had to work ten times as hard.

               “I have three younger sisters. I have more experience than most with guys deserving ass kickings.”

               The last of the guys wandered by us. Without the break of their bodies coming between us, Archer’s stare became too intense. His eyes seemed capable of pinning me to the back of the seat.

               The head athletic trainer, Dax Shepherd, attended to the “money” players—the ones like Archer, who brought fans to the stadium and were a large part of the Shock’s impressive win-to-loss ratio. Up until this very moment, I didn’t know Luke Archer was aware of my existence on this team or the planet.

               “You really have three younger sisters?” I asked.

Unlike most of the female populace, I didn’t know every last fact about Luke Archer. The news about his parents had made headlines a few years back, and that was all I knew about his personal life.

               “I really do. And I talk to or text all of them every day.”

               “Plus you kick asses for them.”

               Archer’s hazel eyes lightened. “Plus that.” He twisted in his seat so he was almost facing me, his eyes dropping to the phone in my lap. “So? No one messes with my sisters. And no one messes with my team.”

               My forehead creased. “I’m not one of your teammates.”

               “You’re a part of my team. Just because you don’t play the field or swing a bat doesn’t mean you’re not. You keep us healthy and strong out there.” When I cocked an eyebrow, he added, “And when we get injured, you make sure we get fixed up quickly so we can get back to doing what we love. You’re every bit as vital to this team as . . .” He glanced up and down the aisle like he was looking for someone to fill in the blank with.

               “As Luke Archer?” I completed for him.

               His answer to that was a lifting of his eyes. “I’m one man who can swing one bat.”

               “One bat really, really hard. And very, very exactly,” I interjected.

               He continued, “You make sure twenty-five men can keep swinging their own bats.”

               “Well, there’s me, the two other athletic trainers, the physical therapist, the personal trainers, and the actual doctor who help out with that too. I can’t take all of the credit.”

               “Come on. You work twice as hard as any of them, so you should at least take most of the credit.” When his phone started chiming in his slacks’ pocket, he pulled it out, turned it off, and hid it back in his pocket.

               “And since the closest Shepherd and Coach Beckett have let me get to you is handing out a water bottle, how would you know that?”

               He pointed at his eyes. “I’ve got two of these and use them for observation on occasion.”

               “When they’re not searching for your next conquest?” I gave an internal groan the moment after I’d voiced something that should have stayed unsaid.

               My relationships with the players had always been professional and rarely, if ever, delved into the realm of personal information. If it didn’t have to do with preventing or tending to injuries, I didn’t bring it up.

               Until now. When I’d just suggested that Luke Archer had a reputation in every city the Shock had visited, every hotel they’d stayed in. Perfect way for my first real conversation with the star player of the team, and the whole of professional baseball, to go.

               Archer stayed quiet, studying me with that tipped smile he was famous for.

               “You know my opinion on rumors?” he said a minute later.

               I was capable of nothing more than shaking my head.

               “That they’re started by haters. Spread by fools. And accepted by idiots.”

               My head tipped. “Are you calling me an idiot?”

               His eyes flashed. “Are you calling me a manwhore?”

               I studied him lounging in his seat with his legs kicked out in front of him, his wide chest stretching beneath his suit jacket, his long arms resting on the armrests.. His body was enough to weaken the resolve of someone as jaded to player players as I was, but his face didn’t play second-string.

               Brown hair lightened by the sun, smooth skin darkened by it, a strong jaw, and hazel eyes that trended more toward the green end of the spectrum; Luke Archer was quite possibly the most attractive man I’d ever laid eyes on. According to Sports Anonymous’s random poll of five thousand women, he was the best-looking guy in professional sports today. The other few billion women on the planet would have agreed with that title, I assumed.

               “Do you always take so long to answer a question?” Archer motioned at me, waiting.

               “No,” I said, recalling the last question he’d asked me. Snap out of it. “I don’t think that you’re a  . . . manwhore,” I whispered the last part.

I’d had enough experience with the rumor mill to be a sympathetic party to the target of so many. Being one of the first and only female athletic trainers in professional sports had opened me up to a hundred rumors when I’d been hired. All versions of them had to do with me fucking my way into the position.

               “Good.” Archer nodded, seeming satisfied. “Because you certainly don’t seem like an idiot.”

               “Thanks?”

               He nodded again. “Welcome.”

               That was when the pilot’s voice echoed through the team jet, running through his usual spiel. We were leaving Tampa and heading up to Chicago. Now that the season was in full swing, I lost track of the cities we were leaving and the ones we were heading toward. All of my attention was focused on the players and getting them through the season as injury-free as possible.

               “I’m still waiting for that name, Doc.” Archer clicked his seat belt into place when one of the attendants stopped beside him, looking ready to strap it into place for him.

               When she saw mine unfastened, all I got was a lifted brow and a pointed finger before she moved on to the next aisle.

               “Oh, it’s okay. He’s not worth it.” I lifted my phone toward him before dropping it in the duffel bag I kept on hand at all times. Bandages, tape, painkillers, and a small cooler of ice packs were always at the ready whenever I was with the team. “Any guy who breaks up with someone via text message isn’t worth much.”

               “Really? Over text?” Archer’s eyes narrowed. “That’s the reason the ass-kicking was invented. For those types of guys.”

               I shrugged as the plane started to taxi down the runway, the interior lights dimming. “We haven’t even been together a month. Truthfully, it lasted longer than I thought it would. This kind of lifestyle”—I twirled my finger around the airplane—“makes it difficult to sustain a long-term relationship.”

               “That’s why I’m not a fan of them.”

               “Long-term relationships?”

               “Any kind of relationship,” he said.

               I nodded my understanding. The players had it worse than the team staff. At least in terms of having to question if a person was into them for who they were or because of their job, and the fame and money that came with it.

               “I’m either practicing for a game, playing a game, recovering from a game, or fueling up and resting for a game. There’s not time for much else,” he said.

               Leaning into my armrest, I realized how strange it was to be having such an easy conversation with Luke Archer. It felt natural, not forced. Most of the players would take a moment to chat with me about something game-related, but I was still the new kid on the block. I felt like I had to pass some test before they’d accept me as a member of the team.

               Archer didn’t seem to be of the same mind though.

               “Yeah, I know. It’s like you need to find someone who can just travel with you wherever you go, right?” I said, thinking how much easier it would to be in a relationship with someone I got to see on a daily basis without two computer screens.

               “Exactly. Someone who understands the lifestyle. Appreciates the sacrifices you have to make.”

My head fell back into the headrest from the inertia of takeoff, but I could still feel Archer’s eyes on me. “Someone who understands that the job comes first. Someone who doesn’t get insecure or jealous or bent out of shape that they get the few precious minutes in between the job.”

               When my head turned toward him again, I found Luke Archer staring at me with a kind of intensity I hadn’t seen aimed my way in a long time. My breath caught, and even though the strength of his stare threatened to overwhelm me, I held his gaze.

               “Someone who understands the game. The commitment. The time. The sacrifice. Someone who’s as committed to it as you are.” One corner of his mouth twitched, carving a dimple into his cheek. “It’s not like you could ever expect to find a person like that sitting in the row across the aisle from you, right?”

 

stealing home teaser

 

about nicole

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

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