Requesting the presence of your pleasure…

What do you get when you mix a masquerade ball, a smoldering secret rendezvous, and a sexy, billionaire hero who will sweep you off your feet? An opposite-sides-of-the-tracks standalone romance that you’re guaranteed to love!

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes the gorgeous and sexy-as-sin forbidden romance filled with wit, humor, and so much heart, COME AS YOU ARE! Secret trysts and stolen kisses abound in this brand new, swoontastic novel. Get your copy of COME AS YOU ARE delivered now!



✮ ✮ ✮ COME AS YOU ARE is here! Grab your copy today! ✮ ✮ ✮

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.

For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I’ve ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.

There’s no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account.

Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lot complicated.)


He’s charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.

I’ve had one goal I’ve been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one.

But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine.

And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.



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✦ The audiobook is narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! ✦



I part my lips to speak, to tell her I’m not a VC. But I flash back to the racquetball game, to the face-lift suggestion from my sister. If this angel thinks I’m a VC, that means my face-lift is working. My costume is doing what I want it to do—it’s making it possible for me to be me. To have a conversation as Flynn Parker the guy, not as Flynn Parker the multimillionaire.

She doesn’t know who I am. And I don’t correct her. “It can be.”

She nods thoughtfully then roams her gaze over my black attire. She taps her bottom lip. “Hmm. Let’s see what we have here tonight because I don’t think you’re a ninja.”

I punch the air. “Keep going.”

She studies me more closely. “You’re something mysterious. You’re trying to fly under the radar. Am I getting warmer?”

More like hot. “Yes.”

Her brow knits. “You want to go unnoticed, at least for the moment.”

I tense, hoping she’s not putting two and two together as to my identity. Absently, I raise my hand to my glasses, wondering if they give me away. But then I remember. I’m wearing my contacts tonight, something I rarely do.

She snaps her fingers. “I know! You’re a stealth start-up,” she says, using the term for a new company that’s keeping quiet.

I raise my arms in victory, a thrill racing through me. “Everyone else has guessed code ninja or SEO ninja, but you’re the first person all night to get it right. I am, indeed, a stealth start-up.”

Admittedly, donning black pants, a black shirt, and a black eye-mask might have made it challenging to guess. But then again, the angel figured it out, and all without the missing start-up button.

“Your lips gave you away.”

She recognized me from my lips? I furrow my brow behind my mask. “What do you mean?”

“Your mouth,” she says, raising her fingers dangerously near to my lips. “I could tell you weren’t a ninja because your lips aren’t covered. Ninjas cover you’re their mouths.” I relax again since she was referring to my clothes. “Only their eyes show. But you’ve covered most of your eyes, and you’re showing only your mouth and your chin. That’s how I knew you had to be something other than a ninja.”

“I could kiss you for that,” I blurt out. I take a step back and hold up a hand. “I’m sorry. That was probably terribly inappropriate.”

A smile slowly spreads across her lips. “No, it wasn’t inappropriate. It wasn’t inappropriate at all,” she says. Something in the way she takes her time with each word tells me she wouldn’t mind being kissed. That gives me one mission and one mission only: keep talking to this angel.




“With an oh-so-delectable hero, a heroine who’s a vivacious force of
nature, and a romance that’s both adorkable and scorching hot, Come As
You Are had me hooked from page one.” -Yvette, Nose Stuck in a Book



“Come as You Are blends the phenom that is Lauren Blakely with the
fantasy of a fairytale wish and a dash of cold hard reality. Passion
with a bit of entertainment, a handful of humor and fistful of
.” -Isha, I Love Romance


“Blakely has whipped up an irresistible romance as sexy and witty as
the nerd protagonists she details in Come as You Are. Their chemistry
snaps, crackles, and pops off the pages. ” – TJ Loves To Read



✮✮✮ COME AS YOU ARE and enter to win the ultimate gift! ✮✮✮

Let’s celebrate the release of Flynn and Sabrina’s New York romance
with a must-have stylish NY Kate Spade Tote with matching journal
($225 value), perfect for the writer inside all of us!
Enter HERE


About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 90 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In April she’ll release COME AS YOU ARE, a sexy new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!


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One Wild Night

A flirty, sexy contemporary romance from bestselling authors, A.L. Jackson and Rebecca Shea . . .



Title: One Wild Night

Authors: A.L. Jackson & Rebecca Shea

Series: Hollywood Chronicles

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 16th April 2018

Cover Design: RBA Designs


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 A flirty, sexy contemporary romance from bestselling authors, A.L. Jackson and Rebecca Shea . . .

 Kaylee Rose Burton, kindergarten teacher, has never been a believer in fantasies.

 Living in L.A. her entire life, she knows the glitz and glam of Hollywood is just an illusion.

 That is until she stumbles head first into the arms of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor.

 It was just another day for Paxton Myles on the red carpet until the blue-eyed beauty literally stumbles at his feet.

 A single glimpse in her innocent eyes and he knows he has to have her.

 After one night of unbridled passion, Kaylee slips away to live her quite life, but the paparazzi has other ideas.

 When Kaylee’s world comes crashing down, can Paxton convince her that their one wild night could turn into forever?



It’s here! ONE WILD NIGHT is live!

It’s fun.

It’s flirty.

It’s sexy.

And yep, it’ll still give you the feels!

I had an absolute blast writing this collaboration with one of my very best friends, Rebecca Shea, and we’re so proud to bring it to you. It’s a departure from what we typically write, but there is something about it that just hit the spot 😉 

I hope you love Paxton and Kaylee’s super fun, sexy story ❤

xoxo – Amy 

Amazon Universal

Signed Paperback


5 Stars ~ Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

Kaylee Rose, one very interesting woman, striving to live a quiet normal life. Someone should have warned her to choose another best friend if that was her true wish. Being the supportive friend she is, Kaylee does something to help and support her best friend Elle. One small decision causes ripples throughout her life, some good and some catastrophic.

“Don’t do that,” I hissed.
“Don’t do what?”
“That thing you do. where you act like nothing is a big deal when you know as well as I do it’s a really big deal.”

One small fall leads her directly into Paxton Myles. A man with more charms than a Pandora bracelet, he oozes sex appeal better than any male underwear model.

‘Warily, I peeked up at my saviour,
Breath gone.
Eyes wide.
Stomach, a mixed-up pool of desire and embarrassment on the floor.
An earth-shattering smile full of bright white teeth had my heart rate shifting into high gear, but it was the playful brown eyes full of mischief and sex that had my knees knocking.’

One Wild Night is a novella, which of course means that the relationship builds quicker than a flat pack box. From instalust this book weaves around and around, some patches smooth and some coarse like sand. Meddling, wicked characters fight tooth and nail to throw up roadblocks and even once manages to activate a volcano.

‘Life was little more than a gathering of memories.
These were memories I was never going to let go of.’

The romance between Kaylee and Paxton develops well, especially for a novella. Nothing feels forced and each small nuance is impactful and full of feelings and sentiment.

“I’d gladly tear you apart, Kaylee Rose. But I promise you, it will be in the very best way. So good, in fact, you’ll be begging me to do it again and again.”
Shivers skated along my flesh.
There was no question in my mind he’d make good on his promise.’

I found myself early on wanting to step through the pages and shake a certain person, and even once considering the realistic potential of throttling someone else. Emotional investment in this read was higher than I knew what to do with. When I had to put it down for even a little while and go do real life stuff, I was either grumpy or had so much anticipation about the story to come, I didn’t know how to cope.

“I never wanted to make things complicated for you.”
He grinned that smile that I’d always known would wreck me. “Don’t ever stop making things complicated for me, baby. That’s just the way I like it. Let the rest of the world think what they like. As long as I’ve got you and you’ve got me, that’s all we need.”

When the cover was revealed for this book I was completely gaga about getting my hands on this one. I have seen so many books that appear high quality, and I will say sexy covers fall flat because the story inside just didn’t cut the mustard. Hand on heart, this wasn’t the case here. One Wild Night was a tilt a whirl of ups and downs and enough high stakes at times to give someone a coronary. Realistic scenarios and enough heat and smex to fog up your windows, I cannot recommend this one enough. Bravo ladies for hitting the ball out of the park on this one, I’ll be one clicking the next one as soon as it hits the web!



Don’t miss this amazing giveaway going on to celebrate the
$50.00 Amazon Gift Card!




 A.L. Jackson and Rebecca Shea are bestselling authors residing in  Arizona. After being writing partners for five years, it only made sense that they’d put their  minds together to bring their readers something fun, flirty, and sexy.
 Connect with A.L.

Connect with Rebecca

NEW RELEASE ~ HAVOC by Debra Anastasia


Title: Havoc

Author: Debra Anastasia

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: 4th April, 2018


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I named myself. I took the word Animal out of their mouths, wore it like a badge of honor then shoved it down their throats. I’ve fought for what I have. I see you coming, before you even know you want a piece of me. In a city riddled with warring families, I’ll rise up between them. My people, the broken souls I gather will have power by the time I’m done with them.

I protect mine.

Him. My brother, Nix.

Her. The girl that is the only home I’ve ever had. She knows me.

I’m coming at you, Sweetness. Stay ready.



One-click at the special release price of ONLY #99pennies!


Paperback | Audible

Free on KU




★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Anna Green on behalf of KFF

I haven’t read Mercy, the first book that also features the main characters in this story so I would consider Havoc as a standalone because this is Animal and Talon’s story.

Animal is Fenix’s brother and partner in business. Animal had a rough childhood and the only person who keeps him grounded is Merck, the police officer who he looks up to and protects him. Animal has built himself a fearsome reputation and he is loyal to only a few people. He’s not into relationships and is known to bring three women at the same time in his bedroom, one is not enough apparently.

Animal’s tough childhood is parallel to that of Talon’s one. Her mother can’t cope raising a child so T had to distance herself from a mother with mental issues and watch her mother from afar. She’s learned how to be tough and only allowed certain people in her heart. “I was braver than the pain. Tougher than the hurt. I inhaled. I could be near the people I loved. That was enough for a girl like me. I could make it enough. I’d spent years making the wishes in my heart so small I could barely hear them.”

Talon and Animal’s story is filled with adrenaline pumping scenes caused by business deals with dangerous individuals and Animal’s revolving bedroom door filled with random women he picks up. One of the things I like in this book are the action packed scenes and the family dynamics between Fenix with Becca, Fenix’s sister Ember and Merck, the father figure in Animal’s life.

I can’t say this is a romantic novel because there’s little romance between these two. They do love each other but it’s not an equal partnership of the heart. Talon loves Animal more than he loves her. You know that saying, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” should be tattooed on Animal’s forehead. For someone who’s as bad ass as T, her acceptance of Animal putting her on the friend zone and the way he treated her doesn’t sit well with my unicorns and rainbows state of mind. I wanted Talon to fight for him and kick him up the arse and see her for what she’s worth. Oh well, I guess you just have to read this book and find out if there’s a happy ending.


Enter #giveaway to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card  HERE


Meet Debra

Debra Anastasia likes to write from her heart, her soul or her butt. The genres she dabbles in are examples of that. There are two paranormal romances in the Seraphim Series and now four contemporary romances in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series and a stand alone in the same genre, Mercy. Fire Down Below and Fire in the Hole, Booty Camp Dating Service and Beast complete her comedy repertoire. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance, is finally in the light, and the last, a novella called Late Night with Andres, is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research.

Debra lives in Maryland with her two kids, husband of twenty years and two dogs. The king of the house is clearly the tuxedo cat that is the size of a small donkey. Find about her latest adventures on

Love to hug! Stalk Debra and you might just be in for a surprise and get one!

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Title: Lead Me Home

Series: A Fight for Me Stand-Alone Novel

Release Date: 7th May, 2018

Cover Design: RBA Designs

Photo: Wander Aguiar

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Be notified of LIVE RELEASE on Amazon

Signed Paperback PRE-ORDER 



I am SOOOO excited to reveal the cover of LEAD ME HOME!! I have MAD LOVE for this cover. OMG, look at those eyes. Anyone else mesmerized?

Meet Oliver Preston, better known as Ollie, the bartender/owner of Olive’s in the Fight for Me series, and he’s itching to tell his story. Are you ready for him? This sexiness is coming to you in LEAD ME HOME, releasing May 7th!

I cannot wait to get this story to you. It’s intense and suspenseful, crazy sexy, and packed with the feels!!


Fourteen years ago, my life changed forever.

My sister disappeared. That day I was selfish. That day I chose myself over her. And that day, I lost everything.

Including Nikki Walters.

She’s the girl I’ve loved my whole life. She’s gorgeous. Caring. Every single thing I’ve ever wanted but denied myself. She was my sister’s best friend, and I destroyed any chance of keeping her.

When her safety is threatened, I have a second chance to do the right thing. But as soon as she moves in, I want her in all the wrong ways.

All it takes is a brush of her hand, and I’m losing all control.

The fire between us is only burning hotter.

But neither of us saw what was coming.

And it just might be Nikki Walters who destroys me in the end.

The highly anticipated sexy, suspenseful stand-alone second-chance romance from NYT Bestselling Author, A.L. Jackson.



Don’t miss our amazing giveaway going on to celebrate the LEAD ME HOME Cover Reveal!! Grand prize includes signed SHOW ME THE WAY and FOLLOW ME BACK Paperbacks, plus a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card!! Enter HERE


 A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, and BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for A.L. Jackson’s upcoming novel, SHOW ME THE WAY, the first stand-alone novel in her brand-new FIGHT FOR ME SERIES.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson. Sign up to receive her newsletter or text “aljackson” to 24587 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

Connect with A.L.

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cover reveal pink brush

Cover Reveal, Dare Me Once by Author Shelly Alexander

Are you ready to see the cover of Angel Fire Falls Book One?


dare me once cover.jpg


Who thought one harmless, little dare could cause so much trouble?


cover reveal pink brush PRE ORDER

Pre-order your copy TODAY!

Release date July 17th

Available on KindleUnlimited



Coming July 17, 2018-2 (1)


cover reveal pink brush story blurb


Love is a risk worth taking in this sizzling romance about secrets and second chances…

Scarlett Devereaux’s life on the Gulf Coast went from riches to rags so scandalously fast that she barely had time to kiss her Jimmy Choos goodbye. Now, with a new alias (Lily Barns), a new budget (tighter than a pair of Spanx), and a new job on the vacation island of Angel Fire Falls, she’s daring to reinvent herself.

Single dad Trace Remington is devoted first and foremost to raising his young son, who has Asperger’s. With flying his floatplane and salvaging his family’s island resort too, he has time for little else. His brothers think he needs a break from his all-work-no-play lifestyle, so they goad him into action. In response to their dare, Trace asks a sexy tourist for her number, only to discover afterward that she’s the resort’s brilliant new hospitality manager.

The sparks of flirtation soon ignite into a flame too hot to ignore. But Lily and Trace both have pasts that threaten to tear them apart. Now, they’ll need to admit their secrets to each other…or risk ending their relationship before it really begins.


cover reveal pink brush giveaway


Grand Prize: $250 American Airlines gift card!

1st Runner Up: An entire audio set of my Red River Series plus an author swag pack!

2nd Runner Up: Readers choice — A signed print copy of one book from my backlist plus an author swag pack!




cover reveal pink brush arc's available


Author Shelly Alexander is offering Book Bloggers a chance to read her

upcoming release, Dare Me ONCE.




cover reveal pink brush author bio


shelly-alexander-picShelly Alexander’s first published novel was a 2014 Golden Heart® finalist. She is an Amazon #1 bestselling author in numerous categories, including contemporary romance, contemporary women’s fiction, and romantic comedy. Shelly grew up traveling the world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in business for twenty-five years. With four older brothers and three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance novels…and has been hooked ever since. Now, Shelly spends her days writing novels that are sometimes sweet, sometimes sizzling, and always sassy. She lives in the beautiful Southwest with her husband and toy poodle named Mozart. Visit her at website


cover reveal pink brush author links


Website | Amazon Author Page |  Amazon UK Author Page |  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads |  BookBub |  AllAuthor  Email


shelly alexander trademark


One Wild Night

A flirty, sexy contemporary romance from bestselling authors, A.L. Jackson and Rebecca Shea . . .

Coming April 16th



Title: One Wild Night

Authors: A.L. Jackson & Rebecca Shea

Series: Hollywood Chronicles

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 16th April 2018

Cover Design: RBA Designs

Add to Goodreads


What’s it about, you ask…

 A flirty, sexy contemporary romance from bestselling authors, A.L. Jackson and Rebecca Shea . . .

 Kaylee Rose Burton, kindergarten teacher, has never been a believer in fantasies.

 Living in L.A. her entire life, she knows the glitz and glam of Hollywood is just an illusion.

 That is until she stumbles head first into the arms of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor.

 It was just another day for Paxton Myles on the red carpet until the blue-eyed beauty literally stumbles at his feet.

 A single glimpse in her innocent eyes and he knows he has to have her.

 After one night of unbridled passion, Kaylee slips away to live her quite life, but the paparazzi has other ideas.

 When Kaylee’s world comes crashing down, can Paxton convince her that their one wild night could turn into forever?

Be notified of LIVE RELEASE on Amazon

Signed Paperback Pre-order

Don’t miss our amazing giveaway going on to celebrate the ONE WILD NIGHT Cover Reveal!! Grand prize includes a signed FAULT LINES paperback, a signed Show Me the Way paperback, plus a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card!! Heck yes!


A.L. Jackson and Rebecca Shea are bestselling authors residing in Arizona. After being writing partners for five years, it only made sense that they’d put their minds together to bring their readers something fun, flirty, and sexy.

Connect with A.L.

Connect with Rebecca



Author: Emma Scott

Title: In Harmony

Genre: New Adult Romance

Cover Design: Melissa Panio-Petersen

Release Date: 13th February, 2018

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The root of all madness is an unbearable truth…

At seventeen, Willow Holloway’s life was torn apart. The happy, driven girl is gone, and she is left wracked by post-traumatic stress her body remembers even if she does not. When her father suddenly uproots the family from their posh penthouse in New York City to the tiny town of Harmony, Indiana, Willow becomes more untethered and lost under the weight of her secret. On a whim, she auditions for a part in the community theater’s production of Hamlet and unexpectedly wins the role of Ophelia—the girl who is undone by madness, and her love of Hamlet…

Isaac Pierce is from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ The town bad boy. Girls pine for his attention and guys are in awe of him. That he’s an acting prodigy only adds to his charisma. Isaac utterly disappears into his characters; the stage is the only place he feels safe from his own traumatic home life. He wants nothing more than to escape to Broadway or Hollywood, and leave Harmony behind for good.

No one can play Hamlet but Isaac, and when the director pairs him with Willow in acting class, they clash again and again—neither willing to open their hearts to anyone. But clashing leads to breaking, breaking leads to the spilling of terrible secrets, and soon Isaac and Willow find Shakespeare’s words mirroring their lives. When they are cruelly torn apart, neither know how this play will end—with madness and heartache? Or healing, love, and the discovery of who they are truly meant to be.

In Harmony is a standalone NEW ADULT love story, and is intended for readers 18 and up. PLEASE NOTE, this book contains sensitive material such as physical abuse, and the aftermath of sexual assault (off the page). Reader discretion is advised.



Amazon US | Amazon Universal


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse

Scott is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and although her writing is just as expressive in this new adult novel as in previous publications, the tone set here is completely different. Not for one moment did the descriptive scenes distract me, every detail having its importance. Just enough was held back, the right amount of backstory intricacies unravelled at a perfect pace…and I loved it! Now then; for all you Shakespearean lovers, you’re going to be in for a real treat. The characters’ interpretation and director’s perspective in a play well-known to many of us, threw a new light on how the younger generation feel about such works. Scenarios reflecting truths too close to home for the protagonists’ liking was cause for concern, harsh real life issues aired with sensitivity pulled on my heartstrings, and the build-up of ominous tragedy gnawed at my nerves.

“The play is really intense, you know? I think it’s clouding my feelings. It’s getting hard to tell reality from fiction.” 

I couldn’t help but fall for Willow Harlow. Of late, she hasn’t been herself. Holding back a dark secret is difficult but she has more than one reason for doing so. And then she meets Isaac Pearce. There is nothing picayunish about their relationship. On the same wavelength, no words were needed for them to know the other’s sufferance. What I really liked about their story is it’s not your typical bad boy on the wrong side of the track meets good girl from the right side of town. There is so much more depth and anguish involved. I’m having trouble putting into words my feelings for Isaac, and perhaps it’s just as well since I’d be spoiling it for you if I did. All I can say is the cards that were stacked against him had me wondering whether his aspirations and fortitude to create a better life under such unbearably tough circumstances would make or break him.

“I see you, Isaac Pearce,” “Time to share your wisdom with the newbie.” 

And then Willow. Ooh my, I cried for this young soul so torn between love, its boundaries, its sacrifices and the pain she wore from day to day but tried so hard to hide. Don’t doubt for a second that the moral aspect of this story won’t affect you because it will. I wished for a lot of things to happen in this book. I got really upset with people close to her. People who should have been protecting her, whose decisions were erroneous, brought out the worst in me and I can honestly say doing some serious Kindle bashing even crossed my mind. Her bestie, Angie. Wow! Loved her crazy T-shirts, her humour, honesty and her support. We all need the likes of her in our lives! Marty is adorable and without him, the play would have died a death as did nearly all of its characters! I have to mention Isaac’s mate. Here, the author brought home the irrelevance of age, the importance of respect. No matter how old you are, when you hit it off with someone, make sure you nurture their friendship.

“You’re going to save the world Angie.” 

“True fact,” 

Apart from being awestruck by the character development which is nothing less than magnificent, the author’s woven a plot around another exceptionally complicated one and it’s worked to perfection! Narrated from a dual point of view in past tense is most definitely my fave storytelling technique so quite honestly, what more could I have asked for? Quotes! Oh my, far too many so I’ve stuck to a few which made me sit back and think. The likelihood In Harmony will make you shed a tear or three is strong. Beautifully written, the author’s narrative is a heartbreaking tale of forgiveness, of strength, of unconditional love. I hope you enjoy Willow and Isaac’s story as much as I did. Bravo Ms Scott!



“I’m so…not into being with someone right now,” Willow said with a nervous lilt to her words. “Not for a while, anyway.”

I heard a whisper on the breeze, or ever again. A heaviness in her eyes hinted she had lost something and had almost given up trying to find it.

She hasn’t given up, I thought, a fierce admiration welling in me. That’s why she’s doing the play. To find it again.

In that moment, I vowed to try to cut out all the egotistical bullshit and jealousy over Justin. The dance was out of range now anyway. I couldn’t ask her to go even if I wanted to. Which I didn’t. My job was to help her find what she was looking for in Hamlet, however I could. Even as it dented my eagerness to get the hell out of Harmony.

Willow shielded her eyes from the sun and squinted at me. “So what about you?”

“What about me?”

“Do you like anyone?” she asked, her voice a half tone higher than usual. She laughed. “That’s such a high school thing to ask.”

“No,” I said. “If all goes to plan, I’m leaving Harmony, remember? Stupid to start something now.”

“Sure. Makes sense.”

A silence fell.

“Yeah, so I probably won’t go to the dance,” Willow said. “I’m not good in that kind of situation anymore.”

“What kind of situation?”

She shook her head. “Never mind. I should get back.”

Willow started to scoot down off the block. I held my hand out to her to help. She hesitated for a fraction of a second and then took it. I held my other hand out and she took that too. I steadied her as she hopped down and then we were standing face to face. Close enough I could see her pale blue eyes had lighter shards of blue in them, like a topaz. Close enough to smell the sweetness of her breath—coffee tinged with sugar. Close enough to dance if we wanted.

“Thanks,” Willow said, gazing up at me.

“Sure,” I said.

I still held her hands. She didn’t let go.

“So,” she breathed, still not moving.


I glanced down at our hands. I hadn’t touched something this soft and good in ages. The sleeve of her coat bunched up and I spied a black mark on the inside of her forearm, close to her wrist. Willow drew in a breath as I turned her hand over. An X, about the size of a quarter, was stark on her pale skin.

She tugged her hands away. “I really need to get back.”

Every instinct cried out to take her hand again, to ask her what the X meant. To lick my thumb and erase it off her skin. I didn’t know what it meant but the sight of it made my stomach feel heavy.


“I doodle when I’m bored. I told you that.” Her voice was sharp but her smile wobbled. “Let’s go.”

We walked the short distance back to town wordlessly. Back in front of the theater, Willow shouldered her bag and glanced around. “Thanks for today. I think Martin would be happy with our progress.”

“I do too.”

God, would he, I thought.

“So, I guess I’ll see you Monday?” she said.

“You have a ride home?”

“Oh, uh…” She still wouldn’t meet my eyes. “I was thinking of walking.”

“To Emerson Hills?” I said. “That’s a mile and a half and it’s getting dark soon.”

She raised her brows. “I’m not allowed to walk in the dark?”

“You’re allowed,” I said, “but I don’t want you to.”

Meet Emma

Emma Scott is a writer, marathon runner, and caffeine addict, who lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has two smart, feisty little girls, a super-supportive husband, and is a demonstrated fan of the Oxford comma. She is also an unabashed Star Wars geek and comic book enthusiast who fell into romance novels when a writing contest prompt turned a 1000-word romantic story into a full-blown novel. She also writes epic fantasy that suffers an epic word count.

She hopes you enjoy her work, encourages readers to leave feedback, and thinks it’s amusing to write about herself in the third person. And if she has a driving force that fuels her work, it’s that love always wins.

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