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                                  RELEASE BLITZ                                                       COCKLOFT by K.C. LYNN

 

Title: COCKLOFT

Author: KC Lynn

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Art: Cover to Cover Designs

Release Date: August 18, 2017

TBR Link: Goodreads

 

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Synopsis

Cockloft: A firefighter term used as a structural space above ceiling and below rafters, often connecting adjacent occupancies and permitting fire to spread laterally, often unseen.

Gabriel Martinez is the most arrogant and infuriating man I’ve ever met. He has a knee-weakening smirk that makes me want to kiss—no—slap it off his rude, sexy face. Judging by his ego, you’d think the hose in his pants is as big as the one on his fire truck. Not that I know anything about that nor do I want to. Nope, not at all. He’s already been forgotten like last season’s Michael Kors.

CeCe Kensington is as pretentious and spoiled as they come. The ridiculous purses she shoulders around are as big as her attitude. And don’t get me started on her mile-long legs or full, glossy lips that are meant to be wrapped around a guy’s… If she only knew the dirty things I think about doing to that sassy mouth of hers, she’d be hightailing it back to her side of town.

 

✿¸.•´¸✿*´¨) ¸.•*¨✿

 

When the beautiful boutique owner and sexy firefighter meet in the most unlikely situation, their two worlds collide, creating an explosion of misperceptions and combustible heat, trapping them in a fire they never saw coming. 


 

4.5 Stars Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

I have to start by mentioning the cover to this wonderful little hot tease of a book. There is nothing better than a fireman whose only half dressed, who could ever complain about that!

Anyway, CeCe Kensington is an interesting character.  She’s smart, business savvy and very determined to ensure her father is proud of his princess. Having said that, how does she meet the man of the story? Head down butt up, in her closet looking for her prized procession she can’t leave without.  Why would she have to leave, I hear you ask?  The fire alarm is going off and there’s a fire on one of the other floors.  Poor Gabe Martinez, the hot firemen is sent in to retrieve the missing tenant.  Boy, does he get more than he bargained for.

The witty banter between CeCe and Gabe is for me, what makes this book.  From the very beginning all they do is argue…well, until the arguing turns into something far more heated.

“A palace for a princess.”

“You don’t know me.”

“True, but I know your type. All you rich, pretentious chicks are the same.”

Cockloft (and I can’t tell you how much I love this title) is an easy read.  I practically read it in one sitting, which for me and my busy schedule is next to impossible to achieve.  It has the right amount of heat, comedy and angst to move the story on so well you reach the 90% mark and can’t believe you got that far already.

So why doesn’t Cockloft deserve the full 5 stars? Sadly when I started reading, CeCe was portrayed as the spoiled, rich brat who always got what she wanted.  Designer handbags and shoes and even a Chihuahua, this reminded me of a 90s film I had seen and for a few pages I just couldn’t shake that feeling.  That being said, I took great pleasure in watching CeCe take Gabe down a peg or two when even he initially believed she was nothing more than a pretty Barbie Doll lookalike.

The romance between her and Gabe is slow to burn at the beginning but when it gets going it blew me away. Both of them wear their hearts on their sleeves.  This is so evident in certain parts of the book that I couldn’t help but feel what they felt.

“Me, you — this.  Can’t you see? It will never work. We’re too different.”

“But we fit, remember? You and me. We fit.”

“Not anymore…”

 

 

About the Author

K.C. Lynn is a small town girl living in Western Canada. She married her high school sweetheart and they have four amazing children: two lovely girls and a set of handsome twin boys. It was her love for romance books that gave K.C. the courage to sit down and write her own novel. When she is not in her writing cave, pounding out new characters and stories, she can be found living between the pages of a book, meeting new tattooed, hot alpha males with very big…Hearts. 

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          RELEASE BLITZ ~ BAIT by JADE WEST

 

Title: Bait

Author: Jade West 

Genre: Romance, Suspense 

Photographer: Wander Aguiar

Model: Jonny James

Cover Designer: RBA Designs 

 
 
 
 
 
  

A stranger online. Dark hair and even darker eyes that knew my dirty desires before I did.A fantasy that should never be spoken. But he pulled the confession from me. Rough. Dirty. Dangerous.It’s supposed to be one night to get me off and make me forget. He’ll make me his and I’ll pretend I don’t want him to.I’ll run and he’ll chase. I begged him for this. Tonight, in the darkness, he’s the hunter.And I’m the bait.

 
 

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Jade has increasingly less to say about herself as time goes on, other than the fact she is an author, but she’s happy with this fact. 

Living in imaginary realities and having a legitimate excuse for it is really all she’s ever wanted. 

Jade is as dirty as you’d expect from her novels, and talking smut makes her smile. 

She lives in the Herefordshire countryside with a couple of hounds and a guy who’s able to cope with her inherent weirdness. 

She has a red living room, decorated with far more zebra print than most people could bear and fights a constant battle with her addiction to Coca-Cola.

 

 
 

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                                 RELEASE BLITZ                                       WAR by LP LOVELL & STEVIE J. COLE

Title: War

Series: Wrong #4

Authors: LP Lovell & Stevie J. Cole

Genre: Romantic Suspense 

Release Date: August 16, 2017

 

 

 

BLURB

The kind of life I’ve lived, it haunts you. Stains you. Destroys you. It took everything from me. My love. My family… my transgressions were paid with Tor and Cayla’s blood and I want revenge. Blood. Death. His head in my hands. I’ve lost everything, and all that’s left to do is end the men who took them from me. Betrayal. Secrets. Vengeance. This is war.

 

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WAR IS LIVE! 

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Klaire Sutherland on behalf of KFF

 The title of this book perfectly sums up this last instalment of Jude and Tor. The authors bring it up a notch and takes the reader on a journey of blood, death and destruction from the get go. There’s no other way for Jude and Tor to take back what is rightfully theirs other than raze the cartel to the ground. If you are squeamish, then War is not for you. If you are planning to read this while eating, I would suggest you don’t. Find yourself a nice quiet corner and get stuck in because once you start in with book 4, it’s a little difficult to put the book down. You are dragged from page to bloody page as you navigate the impossible with both Jude and Tor.

Tor comes into her own again in War. She stands up and becomes the fierce mother we all know she is, this time with a little more fire in her belly. It’s all for her daughter. Everything she does, she does it for her. I think she even surprises herself at the depths she goes to. There’s only one thing she stumbles over, which ultimately becomes the beginning of the end and sets in motion a chain of events even she can’t walk away from. Jude is right by her side despite the grievances they share. This couple has that kind of love that is unbreakable and War reinforces their relationship. Make or break, live or die – they both sacrifice for their daughter.

But Jude is a clever, clever man. He may only be a bookie but he’s never to be underestimated. This man has blood on his hands and has no qualms in collecting more. His focus becomes his grit, he is trying to save his women. A difficult task when one of them is hell bent on throwing spanners at every opportunity. Gabe is a worthy secondary character who plays a big part in the unfolding story, I loved his ways and his quips. For a grumpy man, he was certainly endearing.

There are so many emotions wrapped up in this story, and I think for me the last book, Wire, perhaps lacked this. But in War it’s there in spades. There are so many emotional scenes that it sometimes takes your breath away, a welcome reprieve from the bloodshed, still cutting all the same. Jude’s anger morphs into something more potent in this book, we feel betrayal, love, friendship – a myriad of heartfelt emotions knock the reader for six. Throw in the fact that the main theme of this book is revenge and you can imagine the tangle the reader ends up in. I found myself a time or two with a lump in my throat as I read of two parents and their child. It compels the reader to root for both Jude and Tor despite the way they go about it. A parent’s love knows no bounds.

Again, the author’s writing is engaging and their scene setting is on point. I couldn’t tell one author from the other, which I think is crucial when co-authoring, makes for a seamless read. Stevie J Cole and LP Lovell have built a vivid world of cartel gangs and undying relationships, stamped their authority all over this genre and give readers what they are looking for with this kind of storyline. I saw one repetitive phrase which stood out for me, maybe others won’t notice but it was there nonetheless and the only thing I would grumble over, otherwise…fantastic.

Perfect ending to the story of the bookie and his love. It needs to be left there, no more Jude and Tor for their story has been told, and told well. If you’re looking for something exciting, something raw and gritty, a beautiful love story then look no further than this series of books. All four are enjoyable and riveting and will take you on the ultimate dark ride. Recommended reading if you like your stuff on the dark and bloody side. Buckle up, you need seatbelts for this one.


AUTHORS’ BIOS:

 

LP LOVELL

Lauren Lovell is an indie author from England.

She suffers from a total lack of brain to mouth filter and is the friend you have to explain before you introduce her to anyone, and apologise for afterwards.

Lauren is a self-confessed shameless pervert, who may be suffering from slight peen envy.

LP loves to hear from readers so please get in touch.


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

STEVIE J. COLE

Stevie J. Cole lives deep in the woods of Alabama with her husband and two precious daughters. She studied Epidemiology concentrating on cancer research but has always had a passion for writing. Some of her stories will strip you bare, some will give you nightmares, but the one thing she can promise is that she will always give you stories that make you feel.

Raw. Gritty. Love. Because sometimes characters need to be flawed.

P.S. Stevie’s greatest fear is the impending zombie apocalypse. Think about it: swarming armies of decaying, oozing corpses stumbling around with clicking teeth, trying to eat your face. Nothing about that is good. NOTHING!


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                                 RELEASE BLITZ                                                 CRAVE: Part One by E.K. BLAIR

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Title: Crave: Part One

Series: Crave Duet #1

Author: E.K. Blair

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 14th August, 2017

Cover Design: E.K. Blair

 

BLURB:

Kason and Adaline.

From the moment they met, they started to fall. Neither of them predicted just how far the drop would be, though.

Loving Adaline was all Kason had ever wanted to do. But layer by layer, he started to unravel, forcing Adaline to face an addiction she never could’ve imagined.

This is what happens when one person loves beyond the craving and the other craves beyond the loving.

TEASERS:

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AVAILABLE NOW:

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Coming soon:

CRAVE: Part Two coming 16th October

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Author’s Bio:

E.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her dynamic and intense writing style. Noted for her ability to create fleshed-out characters that will evoke a realm of reactions, you can be assured that her stories will linger with you far beyond the last word.

A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.

Author’s Links:

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   RELEASE BLITZ ~ SAVIOR by S.L. SCOTT


From New York Times Bestselling Author, S.L. SCOTT, comes the conclusion to the captivating series, The Kingwood Duet. With memorable characters and an unforgettable story, it is one you do not want to miss! 

 

Title: Savior

Series: The Kingwood Duet, book 2

Genre: Mystery, Romantic Suspense

Release Date: August 13, 2017

Cover Designer: Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations

 

Add SAVIOR to your Goodreads TBR

Purchase Links:

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~ Free Kindle Unlimited ~

 

SYNOPSIS

New York Times Bestselling Author’s new ROMANTIC SUSPENSE duet has readers consumed by the BREATHTAKING love and mysteries that lie between the pages.

Everything is not as it seems.

Alexander IV has succeeded to the throne of the billion-dollar Kingwood Empire, but the people he thought he could trust aren’t allies.

They’re enemies.

Everyone he cares about is at risk.

Decisions–SACRIFICES–must be made.

What will he do to protect the people he loves? Will Sara Jane live or die?

Find out NOW in this EPIC conclusion to the bestselling The Kingwood Duet.


 

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Tracey Lou on behalf of KFF

Finally the conclusion to the nail biting love story of Alexander Kingwood and Sara Jane Grayson. I say nail biting because you will constantly be on the edge of your seat the entire time throughout this book.

The story picks up where book one ends, so reading Savage is definitely a must! Ramifications of what has happened is life changing for them both since the death of someone close to the couple and the injuries Sara Jane sustained only seemed to bring this couple closer. Still there are secrets and questions that need to be answered and they will be, have no fear of that. Although don’t be surprised that the answers you seek will come with a few twists and turns. Love never seems to be that straightforward.

The POV from Alexander was well written and sometimes downright intriguing. Imagine yourself inside the mind of a man who seeks vengeance and retribution for the crimes committed against his nearest and dearest! This will take you on a mind-bending journey that you think will never end. They say revenge is sweet. But is it? He is hard, he is soft, he is dark, he is light. Alexander is what you would call a complex man who will only answer to the one woman who holds his heart and soul.

The POV from Sara Jane is soft and light which brings you the perfect balance to this story. The not so straight forward love story between these two characters is one of the many things that keeps you interested. Will they get there happy ever after, or won’t they? Where there is pleasure, there is pain and no matter what, this couple was just meant to be.

Yet again S.L. Scott has written a masterpiece that I, for one, will not be forgetting in a hurry. The in-depth exploration of these two characters will hook you up and reel you in with no chance of escape. And you won’t want to! I love her style of writing and the care and attention to detail she takes. Apart from an outstanding story, she has portrayed the characters so well from mind, to pen, to paper. I absolutely loved it!

Bravo! Congratulations! Totally deserving of the five stars I have awarded and looking forward to reading more of this author’s work.

 

COMPLETEDUET

ADDITIONAL TITLE IN THE KINGWOOD DUET

Tracey Lou’s 5 review HERE

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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

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Living in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.

AUTHOR LINKS 

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                                RELEASE BLITZ                         WISH YOU WERE HERE by RENÉE CARLINO

 

You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.

Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.

Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.

WISH YOU WERE HERE IS LIVE AND ONLY $2.99 TODAY!

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Rachel

“… everything is reduced to feelings and emotions and actions that don’t need explanation or justification…..”

I’ve been a fan of Renee Carlino since I fell in love with her book covers however when I picked up a copy of Before We Were Strangers in my local store and took a chance it was then I fell in love with her words. I read the blurb and was sold; it sounded like my kind of read. The style of her writing just sucked me in and kept me captive until the very last page. It was then that I bought all her other books and never looked back. Renee fast became of my all-time favourite authors. So when I was offered to a chance to read her latest book, Wish You Were Here, it was a no-brainer! I didn’t even read the synopsis as I just know she will never let me down. However, what I didn’t anticipate was what an emotional roller coaster she would take me on. Never before have her stories hit me like this one. The storyline in this read took me on a very personal journey and at times I did have to put my Kindle down and gather my thoughts and take a few deep breaths, oh and also go grab a pile of tissues! My tears just wouldn’t stop and even now writing this review I’m tearing up.

“I realised that right now is all that matters for everyone….”

The beginning of the story starts at a gentle enough pace when you are introduced to Charlotte and her bestie, Helen. They are living and working together at local restaurant and enjoying their freedom after college. Charlotte has no idea what to do with her life and has had a series of disastrous relationships with the opposite sex. You could say she’s in a rut and needs to take a chance on life but she plays things safe. But, one night she takes a leap of faith with a guy she’s just met. They both experience an all-consuming instant attraction and what transpires is nothing short of life changing.

“Everything I did in the past was safe.”

Adam is spontaneous and a total whirlwind and this makes Charlotte feel brave, which inspires her to move out of comfort zone. He’s recently moved into the neighbourhood after leaving his high powered law career. Their night together is surreal and the stuff of fantasies but there is something she cannot figure out about him but pushes this to the back of her mind because she totally mesmerised. I think at this point in the story something felt off but like Charlotte I couldn’t pin it down. After their night together ends quite abruptly Charlotte puts it down to a one night stand and moves on but as that night has such a profound effect on her thoughts of Adam are never far from her mind.

“Do you believe in soul mates, Charlotte?”

“I think so.”

“Do you know what I think?”

“What?”

“I think we have soul mates but I think we can have more than one ….”

I’ve written quite a reviews in my time but never found them hard until this one. I’m a lover of sharing quotes as I think they add something special to your thoughts and feelings of a book but this time I’ve been very careful as so many I love give the plot away and I believe you must go in blind!

The secondary characters in this read fitted in very well and were very extremely well developed. Yes, this story is an emotional one and thought provoking albeit, humour was evident and at times brought much needed levity at just the right moments. I especially loved the way her relationship with her brother, Charles (Chucky), developed and changed for the better. At first I didn’t like, Charles, nevertheless in the end I loved him.

“ Love is an inside secret joke. Only the two of you have to understand it.”

This book is written entirely from Charlotte’s point of view and at times this did niggle me as I was itching to get into the minds of the other characters but when I finished I realised it would have been a mistake. The reason for this was this was Charlotte’s story. Never before has the saying, it’s not about the destination but all about the journey and this book is shining example of that. This author has delivered a heart breaking, emotional but bittersweet read and one that will stay with me for some time. If you are already a fan of Ms. Carlino’s work then you’ll adore it however, if you have yet to read her work then get ready as she will spoil you rotten!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse

Goodness me, never did I expect this standalone to put me through such a soul-crushing wringer! Firstly, I’d chosen to ignore the blurb so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for and secondly, this is the first book I’ve read by Ms Carlino and oh boy, to say I’m impressed with her writing would be putting it mildly! It is everything and so much more than I could have ever possibly wished for. And how could I not mention the cover or the title! Simply stunning; and these four words written in such an outstanding font are perfectly apt for this book. Nonetheless, a quarter of the way in and my feeling were all over the place. I wasn’t sure where the author was leading me and even felt a tad let down as one of the male protagonists who’d left his stamp engraved in my head, did something difficult to fathom. Soon I’d discover it was early days! The beauty of the plot is it overflows with surprises; some of them were unforeseen, a few lifted my heart and others left me plain devastated. But as I read on, I got so involved in all the characters that I had no option but to do an all-nighter. I knew if I’d put the book down, I wouldn’t have slept a wink seeing as the angst was gnawing at me. Result–I closed the book or better said, my Kindle, at six in the morning puffy-eyed, exhausted, elated–my emotions running riot.

Getting to know Charlotte was a delightfully humbling experience. Her approaching life head on convinced me that destiny really does exist, that fate is in our own hands and we can control it as did she. Not only was my faith in humanity revived by her actions, but her story is a torrent of empathy and love which took me on a captivating journey. A fleeting encounter, a shared intimacy in this young woman’s life whose heart is bigger than anyone close to her realises–mind you, before long I discovered her charity has no limits, inspires her to make a life-altering decision. The author nailed Charlotte’s character in such a way that I felt like I knew her and would be honoured to have her as my friend! I couldn’t help but suffer with this unpretentious gal on a level which was beyond realistic. In my mind’s eye, I saw her struggling with her feelings and when she tries to be logical, that very logic plays her an unfair hand she never questions. Yes, parts of the book are so heart-stirring, I found myself sobbing into my pillow, so it might not be a bad idea to have a man-sized hanky or three at hand!

I truly loved watching Charlotte come into her own; become a person with strong convictions, step out of her comfort zone and stick to her guns. Olé to the author for making me feel like a fly on the wall! However, before this happened there were times when I feared for her sanity because even though she knew how she felt about certain characters, little niggling signs confuse her, yet are impossible to forget. One thing is for sure, her bestie was always rooting for her. Hmm, Helen and Charlotte are like chalk and cheese which to my way of thinking, is the reason they get on very well together. Seeing as this read is extremely intense, I lapped up their laugh-out-loud moments, and Charlotte’s brother and parents got a chuckle and a half out of me, too!

A hundred and eighty degree turn in the story and I was elated. Oops, false hopes! The horizon held a twist, no… a storm of emotions which I was little prepared for and quite simply, my heart broke. Note that I haven’t mentioned who the male protagonists are. What I can say without letting on is they are both adorable and one of them has an admirable sense of humour. This isn’t a triangle and for those of you who are concerned about cheating, you can breathe deeply. It’s pure, it’s thick with passion, love and sensitivity and will incite an eruption of feelings in even the most hardened readers. For lovers of this genre; be adventurous and go in blind because I know you won’t regret it–I certainly didn’t! Now I’ve found Ms Carlino, I’m anxious to read more of her works. BRAVO!

EXCERPT:

“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.

“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”

“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we

“We were practically naked every second of the day.”

“I like that.”

“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”

“What are they like? Our children.”

“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”

Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?

His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.

“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be.”

I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”

 

 

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com

 

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                                 RELEASE BLITZ                                            ABSINTHE by WINTER RENSHAW

 
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The name on the screen was “Absinthe.”

I knew her as the sultry voice blowing up my phone for late night chats about Proust and Hemingway interspersed between the best phone sex I never knew I could have.

We’d never met.

Until the day she walked into my office, her cherry lips wrapped around a candy apple sucker and an all too familiar voice that said, “They said you wanted to see me, Principal Hawthorne?”

 

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4.5 Stars: Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

 

Absinthe, an intoxicating foray into the head of two very messed up people. What starts off as a simple case of blowing off steam and boredom on an online dating app, soon becomes one of the most heartrending love stories I have encountered.

Halston and Ford aren’t just a forbidden romance, they’re survivors; the author takes these characters to places I didn’t think my heart could survive. Halston had a hard time of it growing up.  She learned to rely on herself and not to trust anyone.

“My entire life, nothing’s ever come easy.  The kind of simple luxuries afforded to someone else seems to have skipped over me.”

“Some people are born with silver spoons.  I was born with a rusted paring knife.”

Ford was a tougher nut to crack.  A rough background with a tinge of Cinderella added into the mix. This may be a taboo Teacher/Student book in its basest form, but what Absinthe does that I have hardly ever seen is restraint. I won’t say much more, purely because I don’t want to ruin what is a beautiful book about mending broken souls and finding love in the most unexpected of places and people.

“I loved you since the very beginning.  And I’ll love you until the very end.”

 

 

Prologue



Ford

“You wanted to see me, Principal Hawthorne?”
I know that voice. I’d know it anywhere.
Glancing up from my desk, I find a girl in skintight athletic leggings and a low-cut tank top standing in my office doorway, her full lips wrapped around a shiny sucker and a familiar electric jade gaze trained on me.
It’s her.
The woman I spent most of all summer chatting with under the anonymous veil of a dating app—one in specifically meant for adults seeking connections but not commitment. I purchased a stock photo for seven dollars, chose a pseudonym, Kerouac, and messaged a woman by the name of Absinthe who quoted Hemingway in her bio when everyone else quoted Nickelback and John Legend.
Fuck.
Me.
“You must be Halston.” My skin is on fire. I stand, smooth my tie, and point to the seat across from me. I never knew her name, but I’d know that voice anywhere. I can’t even count how many times I came to the sound of her breathy rasp describing all the wicked things she’d do to me if we ever met, reading me excerpts from Rebecca. “Take a seat.”
She takes her time pulling the sucker from her mouth before strutting to my guest chair, lowering herself, cleavage first, and crossing her long legs. The tiniest hint of a smirk claims her mouth, but if she knows it’s me, she’s sure as hell not acting like it.
“You want to tell me what happened with Mrs. Rossi?” I ask, returning to my seat and folding my hands on my desk.
I may be a lot of things; overconfident prick, allergic to commitment, red-blooded American man …
But I’m a professional first.
“Mrs. Rossi and I had an argument,” Halston says. “We were discussing the theme of The Great Gatsby, and she was trying to say that it was about chasing the elusive American dream. I told her she missed the entire fucking point of one of the greatest pieces of literature in existence.” She takes another suck of her candy before continuing, then points it in my direction. “The real theme has to do with manipulation and dishonesty, Principal Hawthorne. Everyone in that book was a fucking liar, most of all Jay, and in the end, he got what he deserved. They all did.”
My cock strains against the fabric of my pants. It’s her voice. It’s her goddamned sex-on-fire voice that’s doing this to me. That and her on point dissection of classic American literature. Sexy, intelligent, outspoken. Three elusive qualities I’ve yet to find in another human being. Until her. And knowing that now, I couldn’t even have her if I wanted her, isn’t doing me any favors. If I don’t compose myself, I’m going to be hard as a fucking rock.
“Language,” I say. The room is growing hotter now, but I keep a stern, undeterred presence.
She rolls her eyes. “I’m an adult, Principal Hawthorne. I can say words like fuck.”
“Not in my office, you can’t.” I exhale. “And not in class either. That’s why Mrs. Rossi sent you here.”
“The jackass behind me was drawing swastikas on his notebook, but I get sent down here for saying ‘fuck.’” Her head shakes.
“I’ll discuss that with Mrs. Rossi privately.” I scribble a note to myself and shove it aside.
“You’re really young for a principal.” Her charged gaze drags the length of me. “Did you just graduate from college or something?”
Six years of school and two years of teaching place me in the budding stages of a career shaping and educating the minds of tomorrow’s leaders, but I refuse to dignify her question with a response.
“My age is irrelevant,” I say.
“Age is everything.” She twirls a strand of pale hair around her finger, her lips curling up in the corners. The cute-and-coy shtick must work on everyone else, but it’s not going to work on me. Not here anyway. And not anymore.
“I said my age is irrelevant.”
“Am I the first student you’ve ever had to discipline?” She sits up, crossing and uncrossing her legs with the provocative charm of a 1940s pin up. “Wait, are you going to discipline me?”
I take mental notes for her file.
–       Challenges authority
–       Difficulty conducting herself appropriately
–       Possible boundary issues
“I’m not going to punish you, Halston. Consider this a verbal warning.” I release a hard breath through my nose as I study her, refusing to allow my eyes to drift to the soft swell of her breasts casually peeking out of her top. Knowing her so intimately over the phone, and being in her presence knowing she’s completely off limits, makes it difficult to maintain my unshaken demeanor. “From now on, I’d like you to refrain from using curse words while on school grounds. It’s disruptive to the other students who are here to actually glean something from their high school education.”
“I don’t know.” Her lips bunch at the corner, and she fights a devilish grin. “I mean, I can try, but ‘fuck’ is one of my favorite words in the English language. What if I can’t stop saying it? Then what?”
“Then we’ll worry about that when the time comes,” I say.
“You could always bend me over your knee and spank me.” She rises, wrapping her lips around the sucker before plucking it out of her mouth with a wet pop. “Or maybe you could fuck my brains out and break my heart.”
“Excuse me?” My skin heats, but I refuse to let her see that she’s having any kind of effect on me.
“You’re him,” she says, as if it’s some ace she’s been keeping up her sleeve this entire time. “You’re Kerouac.”
I’m at an extraordinary loss for words, trying to wrap my head around all the ways this could go very fucking wrong for me.

 

 

 

Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

 

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