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Guarding Erin by Nicole Flockton

 

I just finished reading this book and loved it!  I think it might have moved to my top Nicole Flockton book.  I love military men and this has plenty.  Not just the dashing Carlos, the hero, but his whole SEAL team. This had a little more suspense and action than Flockton typically puts in her books but that’s kind of my jam, so I devoured it. Throw in the mob and some spicy chemistry and you’ve got yourself a winner.

NF_Cover_GuardingErin_Stoker

Buy Link:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AfPCuq

Blurb:

When Carlos “Italy” Porcelli helped a former SEAL brother, he never expected to come face to face with his high school sweetheart, Erin Furlan. The second he finds out her life is in danger from her former mob boyfriend, he will do everything in his power to protect her and keep her safe. Guarding his heart from remembering the past and wishing for a future will take all his steely SEAL resolve.

Erin Furlan believed her life was back on track after her mob boyfriend got arrested when the family he worked for got taken down. How wrong she was. Now he’s back and wanting retribution. What she never expected was Navy SEAL and former sweetheart, Carlos Porcelli, to swoop in and save her. As she tries to break away from her ex’s hold, she’s drawn closer to Carlos. Erin’s not sure her heart can take another beating, as she’s certain Carlos is going to walk away from her again.

Being in close confines, their past filters into their present and when Erin is kidnapped, Carlos will do anything to save the woman he’s falling for. He only hopes he reaches her in time.

 

GuardingErin_Teaser1

 

Excerpt:

Exhaustion bit at her heels. It had been a shit of a day. A computer software problem had all their reservations jumbled up tighter than a pair of stockings in a washing machine. The last thing she wanted to do was go to dinner, but she really needed a girl’s night.

She turned the light off and closed her office door. At the end of each day a sense of pride filled her with all she’d accomplished in the past four years. Hard work and determination had gotten her to the position of General Manager quicker than she ever imagined possible.

Before she left, she stopped at the registration desk. “If any issues crop up overnight, call me. No matter what the time.”

The clerk smiled. “Certainly, Erin. Hopefully, I won’t have to. Have a good night.”

“Thanks.” Secretly, Erin prayed her phone wouldn’t ring. After dinner she planned to go home and fall into bed. Between the stress of Bryan turning up in her life again, and today’s work drama, a solid eight hours of sleep sounded like an unreachable dream.

She skipped down the stairs, glad to be outside and absorbed everything that made New York, New York. The sounds of taxi drivers sitting on their horns, the aroma coming from the hotdog stand on the corner, the flow of people streaming out of the subway stations.

“Hello, Erin.”

Shocked at hearing Carlos’s voice, her foot slipped and she missed the bottom step. Instead of finding herself kissing the sidewalk, warm, strong arms closed around her. Without thinking, she laid her head on Carlos’s chest. She breathed deeply and the aroma of hotdogs was replaced with a tangy citrus smell that was intoxicating. She inhaled again.

He chuckled. “Did you just smell me?”

Erin came to her senses and pulled away from him. Surprise made way for embarrassment. “What are you doing here?”

If she thought her terseness would put him off, she was living in a fantasy world. Instead of putting distance between them, he grabbed her hand again.

“I got your text message and I was worried.”

“What text message?” Confusion colored her thoughts. She knew she’d sent him a text last night, but she hadn’t asked him to travel up to New York to see her. She expected him to call.

His hand went to his pocket and pulled out the phone, all the while he maintained his hold on her. Her skin sizzled from the connection, drawing her back to the first time they’d kissed when they’d been sixteen. At the time, she’d thought her reaction to his touches and kisses had been because he was her first boyfriend. A crush that had turned into juvenile love. Now she had to wonder.

After the first couple of dates with Bryan, her body had never flared to life like hers was doing right now. They were only holding hands for goodness sake.

“This message.” A phone was shoved under her nose.

“I didn’t send …” She re-read the message and then it hit her. This was the message she’d started to send to him while on the subway and then she’d had second thoughts. “I, um, I didn’t mean to send it to you.”

“Right. Who were you sending it to.”

She could fabricate that she was sending it to a friend. Somehow she didn’t think he would buy it. “You.”

“But?”

“Well you didn’t respond to my message last night and then I didn’t know what to say.”

Everything she’d told him was the truth. The only problem was she still didn’t know what to say to him. For a brief second on the train she’d wanted to ask him for his help with Bryan. She’d helped him, he could help her. But could she ask that of him though?

“I was out last night, and didn’t see your message until I checked my phone this morning.”

“Uh huh. Well,” she looked at their connected hands and then at the crowd bustling around them. “I’ve got plans, so I’d better get going. Good seeing you, Carlos.”

She went to pull her hand out of his grip, but he tightened his hold on her.

“What’s going on, E? And don’t tell me nothing. I know you. I can see the tension in you.”

Anger rippled through her and she yanked her hand out of his grip. “You don’t know me at all now. You were the one who walked away from me. From us. And yes, I’m tense. After the shit day I had, you’d be tense as well. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got places to be. Real friends to catch up with. Goodbye, Carlos.”

 

Buy Link:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AfPCuq

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36548736-special-forces

Author Bio:

Nicole Author photo 2017

Bestselling author Nicole Flockton writes sexy contemporary romances, seducing you one kiss at a time as you turn the pages. Nicole likes nothing better than taking characters and creating unique situations where they fight to find their true love.

On her first school report her teacher noted “Nicole likes to tell her own stories”. It wasn’t until after the birth of her first child and after having fun on a romance community forum that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book.

Apart from writing Nicole is busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and two fabulous kids. She also enjoys watching sports and, of course, reading.

 

Social Media:

Website: www.nicoleflockton.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicoleFlockton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleFlockton?ref=hl.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6479388.Nicole_Flockton

Newsletter: http://nicoleflockton.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=027e33e71494440b9403da0d1&id=215ef7fa1b

More from the Author:

Amazon: https://goo.gl/Xuv9tW

Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/aNEU9H

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/RpD83L

Amazon AU: https://goo.gl/4A2MKn

B&N: http://goo.gl/jvqH4A

iBooks: https://goo.gl/yL885R

Kobo: https://goo.gl/GkGMaL

 

Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card (International)

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/40fc5f29112/

 More Than Words Promotions

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The Astonishing Thing by Sandi Ward

 

Welcome to my blog.

Thanks, Kari! The Kensington Books community—and romance writers in particular—have been amazing about helping me get the word out about my new novel. I appreciate it!

 What is your book about?

 The Astonishing Thing is the story of a troubled family and broken marriage, seen through the eyes of a cat named Boo. One day, the human mother of the family goes out and doesn’t return, and Boo is crushed. She’s determined to figure out what happened to her mother. She is very surprised to find out the truth.

astonishing thing

Is there romance in your novel?

 Absolutely! I love writing romantic scenes. Boo gets to see humans being romantic first-hand, because most people don’t kick their pets out of the room when they’re having a private conversation. Pets witness everything—the good and the bad. Boo knows when two people are truly devoted and in love, by their actions as well as their words.

What is your favorite love story novel?

 That’s an impossible question to answer—there are so many great books out there! One that’s stuck with me is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It was a wonderful love story—sad, of course, but when I finished the book I felt uplifted at the same time.

ABOUT THE ASTONISHING THING

In her inventive, sometimes bittersweet, ultimately uplifting debut, Sandi Ward draws readers into one extraordinary cat’s quest to make sense of her world, illuminating the limits and mysterious depths of love.

Wonderfully tender and insightful, THE ASTONISHING THING explores the intricacies of marriage and family through an unforgettable perspective at the center of it all.

“A unique and poignant tale of a family’s struggle as witnessed by someone who sees everything…a triumphant debut for Sandi Ward.”

— Helen Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Cleo

FIND THE ASTONISHING THING AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER, OR:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

ABOUT SANDI

Sandi Ward grew up in Manchester-By-The-Sea, Massachusetts. She attended Tufts University, and received her MA in Creative Writing at New York University, where she studied with E.L. Doctorow. She now lives on the Jersey Shore with her husband, teenagers, dog and a big black cat named Winnie. Sandi is a medical writer at an ad agency in New Jersey, specializing in psychiatry and pain management.

Her first novel for Kensington Books is titled THE ASTONISHING THING, and it is available October 31, 2017. Her second novel is titled SOMETHING WORTH SAVING, available November 2018.

STAY IN TOUCH

Learn more at: www.sandiwardbooks.com

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A SHOT AT LOVE -Peggy Jaeger

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .

Look for exclusive recipes in each book! 

 

AShotAtLove_hires (5)

 

 Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love…..

Excerpt:

            Dressed in similar sweats to what he’d worn the morning before, his body bathed in gleaming sweat, Ky pummeled one of the suspended bags. His hands were wrapped with white gauze, his arms toned and taunt as he executed each strike with perfect precision and technique.

Gemma stopped on the final riser and watched him batter the bag, fists moving with swift, defined actions, the jabs fast and hard, the recoils even faster.

Shoulders raised, elbows tight, hands balled and up blocking his cheeks and jaw line, he threw a right jab, left, then two rights, all aimed high, and a final forward thrust left, lower on the bag, his knees bending to give him balance.

Gemma wanted to race back to her room, grab her camera and capture the scene before her.

Kyros Pappandreos was the epitome, the very definition of a natural born fighter. Distinctly male, uniquely the warrior, his body moved with the grace of a panther, the stealth of a tiger stalking its prey, and the accuracy of a cobra striking. There was something so sensual, so primal, so animalistic about him, she knew she had to photograph him just this way.

She’d capture him in slow motion first, his tight fist connecting with his target, the sweat of exertion flying from his forehead. Then, she’d move to rapid fire, the image blurring with the speed of his hits. A pugilist, enigmatic, tough, and hard bodied, the bulging muscles and corded sinew in his arms distended with his action, outlined and bathed in the shiny moisture pouring from him.

Ky repeated the moves in the same series of strikes three more times before dropping his hands to his thighs.

He swiped at his forehead with the back of his hand, his breathing hard, but not labored, and turned.

~~

About Peggy Jaeger     peggyheadshot

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmj122687/

 

 

 

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The Sweet Life

The Sweet Life by Sharon Struth

 

The sweet life

In Italy, the best attractions are always off the beaten path . . .
 
Mamie Weber doesn’t know why she survived that terrible car accident five years ago. Physically, she has only a slight reminder—but emotionally, the pain is still fresh. Deep down she knows her husband would have wanted her to embrace life again. Now she has an opportunity to do just that, spending two weeks in Tuscany reviewing a tour company for her employer’s popular travel guide series. The warmth of the sun, the centuries-old art, a villa on the Umbrian border—it could be just the adventure she needs.

But with adventure comes the unexpected . . . like discovering that her entire tour group is made up of aging ex-hippies reminiscing about their Woodstock days. Or finding herself drawn to the guide, Julian, who is secretly haunted by a tragedy of his own, and seems to disapprove any time she tries something remotely risky—like an impromptu scooter ride with a local man.

As they explore the hilltop towns of Tuscany, Mamie knows that when this blissful excursion is over, she’ll have to return to reality. But when you let yourself wander, life can take some interesting detours . . .

Acclaim for The Sweet Life

Struth’s novel is a great debut for a potential series…The story overall is intriguing, and of course, a setting in Italy is always something that makes for a great book. It comes with a strong recommendation and is worth picking up for a nice treat.” RT Reviews

The sights, the sounds, the smells and the food. Oh, the food! I had to make spaghetti and meatballs the day I started the book. Sharon Struth puts you right in Tuscany in a way that not only transports you to the crowded streets and vineyards, but surrounds you with them. Masterfully done.” Goodreads 5-star Review

You will like this if you’d like a nice tour of Tuscany (food, wine, just delightful), a little romance, and a happy ending. Perfect relaxation...” Goodreads 5-Star Review

* * * *

Buy Links:

Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Life-Sharon-Struth-ebook/dp/B01NGZAQ9J/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sweet-life-sharon-struth/1125397307;jsessionid=BF35F516503FC5BE50DC563144CAA03F.prodny_store01-atgap02?ean=9781516103553

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-sweet-life/id1196636119?mt=11

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sharon_Struth_The_Sweet_Life?id=YU3KDQAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-sweet-life-16

Find Sharon on Social Media at:

Website: www.sharonstruth.com

Twitter: @sharonstruth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Struth-Author-Page-139641182749036/

Author Bio:

Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, is a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best first Book, and her Blue Moon Lake Novels include the bestseller, Share the Moon.

When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More at www.sharonstruth.wordpress.com.

Excerpt:

In the driver’s seat sat a square-faced man with a full Romanesque nose and short, dark hair. He greeted her with a wide smile. “Ciao, bella.”

She climbed the steps and smiled back. “Hello. I mean, Ciao. Sorry I’m late.”

Before the nice man in the driver’s seat could respond, a man standing about halfway down the aisle said, “I’m sorry, miss. You’ve got the wrong bus.”

Whoever he was, his cargo shorts and faded Led Zeppelin T-shirt didn’t carry any authority. But he held a clipboard, and his tone suggested he meant business. His Gaelic-looking face carried a slight boyish quality, hardened into a manly appearance due to his trimly cut mustache and beard. Wavy hair the color of cognac peeked out from beneath a gold cap with orange and blue lettering reading Wanderlust Excursions.

“I’m sure the hotel front desk can help you find the right tour.” He gave her a now-hurry-along smile and turned back to the man he’d been talking to.

“Did I just talk to you on the phone?”

He lifted his chin and raised a brow. “We’re waiting for Felix.” His gaze traveled her from top to bottom then he looked her in the eyes. “I’m pretty sure you’re not Felix?”

“No, but…” Mamie became aware of the silence and scanned the passengers.

Everyone in the full bus stared back. Quiet. Curious. She squirmed and her gaze drifted back to the man who seemed to be in charge.

“No. I’m not Felix, but if this is Wanderlust Excursions, it’s where I’m supposed to be.”

He squinted. “Wait. Are you the woman who answered Felix’s phone?”

“Yes. I’m taking his place on the tour.”

He snorted. A short, patronizing laugh. “I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re clearly not Felix.”

“But he transferred his vouchers to me.”

“Nobody told me. Our company rules state that purchased seats are not transferrable without prior home office approval.” He frowned and studied her again. “Besides, this is a specialized tour and you’re not a member of this group. Felix is.”

“How do you know I’m not?”

His lip curled into a little smirk. “Did you attend Woodstock?”

“The concert?”

“Is there another one?”

“Well, no, but…” Mamie scanned the other passengers more carefully. Other than the guide—everyone else was probably over fifty-five. Maybe even over sixty. “What group are they part of?”

“They are”—the guide, whose company sponsored tag read Julian, glanced at his clipboard—“the Woodstock Wanderers.”

“Felix may not have been part of it either.” Mamie never heard him mention them before.

“Are you kidding? Felix was one of our founder members.” A man with thinning white hair, dark-rimmed glasses, and a full white beard sitting in the front seat winked at Mamie. “Bernie” in capital letters sat square in the center of a nametag with a tie-dyed background. Beneath his name it said, “Favorite Woodstock Song: ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned,’ Joe Cocker.”

Mamie would’ve never put Bernie together with that song, but… The bus’s silence and everyone watching her jarred her back to the problem at hand. “Felix never mentioned your group to me.”

Guess she knew Felix but didn’t know him. The truth about how she and Felix knew each other, though, wasn’t something she could share.

So she did the only thing she could do. Staring Julian square in the eye, she said, “Uncle Felix wanted me to take this trip. I’m his niece. He insisted I go in his place.”

“His niece, huh?” The tour director rubbed the back of his neck and considered her again. He shook his head. “I’m sorry he’s decided not to come, but on the transfer, I can’t budge. Rules are rules.”

A thin gentleman sitting a couple rows behind Bernie, with salt-and-pepper patches of hair above his ears, piped in. “Julian. Dude. Can’t you just go with the flow? She looks harmless. Let her come.”

Mamie squinted. His tag read Bob, but before she could read more, the others joined in with choruses of “yeahs,” and she looked away.

“You know what they say, Julian.” A woman with curly brown hair, peace sign earnings, and a pretty smile said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Mamie noted her nametag read Martha and her favorite Woodstock song was “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Still, and Nash.

Julian pursed his lips. “All due respect Martha, me losing my job isn’t exactly small stuff.”

Martha grinned slyly and winked. “We promise to keep it a secret from the boss.” She glanced around. “Right everybody?”

Another chorus of loud “yeahs” filled the bus.

One slim man with thinning hair who sat in the last row fist bumped the air. “We aren’t afraid of the man.”

The passengers murmured and nodded, complete agreement on that one. Mamie loved this solidarity. Though she’d never considered herself a hippie—more like a loner—she had an incredible urge to be part of this group.

Julian watched them, frowning. He refocused his attention on Mamie. “Sorry. I’m going to have to ask you to step out so we can start. We’re already running late.”

Normally, Mamie respected timeliness, schedules, and rules. But she had a job to do. A mission to accomplish.

“Please. My uncle, he really wanted me to go and—”

Julian took several swift steps to the front of the bus and stopped close to her. He dropped his voice. “Listen, this isn’t personal. The last thing I need is to lose this job. Do me a solid and go see if you can get any of your money back.”

She quietly replied, “You don’t understand. I need to go on this tour.”

He narrowed his hard green eyes, but before he could say a thing, a chant filled the air.

“Let her stay. Let her stay. Let her stay.”

A blond-haired woman with a cherub face who sat at Bernie’s side spoke up over the chant. “Doesn’t she remind you of Tracy, Bern?” Her nametag read Sandra and her favorite Woodstock song was “Amazing Grace” by Arlo Guthrie. She patted Julian’s arm in a very maternal way. “Tracy’s our daughter. We’d love having some young energy around. Tracy’s just too busy working to spend any time with us.”

Julian’s lower lip dropped. He drew in a deep breath, looked at Mamie, and motioned to the door. “Let’s talk outside.”

She turned and headed off the bus. Little did he know, she wasn’t about to back down. Nothing would stop her from getting on this bus or making the most of this adventure. Two very good reasons existed for fighting the good fight.

The memory of her husband and daughter.

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Sweet Reality – Laura Heffernan

 

Release Date: September 5, 2017

 

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ
 
Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

 

Goodreads

http://bit.ly/2fpXG6L

Excerpt

Sarah kissed both our cheeks before pulling away and handed me a small, clear plastic container. “You’re the best, both of you. I gotta go before they tow my car. Love you all, I’ll see you next Sunday. Bring me alcohol, and try not to get into any trouble. Especially you, Ed.”

He winked at her, and Justin pulled her aside, supposedly to talk about their mother for a minute before dropping our suitcases with the porter. I suspected he had another reason for this conversation, which made me grin far more than I should at the prospect of having my luggage checked.

This excitement would not be contained. Nearly two years ago, I’d been so sure my ex-boyfriend planned to propose right before I found out he was married. I’d been excited then, but the thought of spending my life with him never sounded as perfect as marrying Justin. He was my other half, the absolute best partner for me.

Sarah winked at me over his shoulder, her way of telling me she’d slipped him the ring. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, wishing I could share my excitement with someone, but got distracted by the massive ocean liner casting shadows over the dock. More specifically, by the lifeboats.

Eyeing the orange rubber vessels lining the sides, I turned to Ed. “Do you think they brought enough lifeboats?”

“Yes. Also, this isn’t the Titanic. We’re not gonna sink. We have communications devices to call for help. And you, Jen, have your very own hunky stud in Justin to save you if anything goes wrong. Relax. Take your Dramamine.”

I rooted around in my carry-on for a moment before giving up. “My Dramamine must be in my big suitcase . . . which I probably shouldn’t have given to him to check. At least not without putting this Tupperware in first. The carry-on is about to burst.”

Ed gestured at the container Sarah handed me before leaving. “What’s that for?”

“So I can bring her one of Tammy Rae’s cupcakes. They’re doing a tasting after the bake-off tomorrow, remember?”

One of the onboard events pitted reality stars against each other in a baking competition, which Ed apparently forgot to sign up for. Hopefully, he wasn’t going to wing it. My friend created excellent meals for everyone while we were in the Fishbowl, but his laissez-faire attitude to cooking wouldn’t produce the same delicious results in baked goods.

Instead of competing against Ed, I signed up to judge with Justin. Partially as a way of getting on Tammy Rae’s good side, and partially because rumors said everyone involved got to sample her winning cupcakes after the event. I needed to be in the right place to snag one. Well, two. One for me, one for Sarah. Then I could verify whether these things tasted as good as the inter-webs claimed and butter Tammy Rae up by raving about what a baking genius she was before begging for a favor.

Where was Tammy Rae? Hopefully she hadn’t changed her mind and canceled at the last minute. According to E-Entertainment News Online, she’d mysteriously pulled out of Celebrity Poker Match a few years back, despite being a favorite to win. I scanned the docks, looking for her.

With luck, the recipe would be in my hand and I’d be lounging by the pool before the ship arrived in our first port. But one thing at a time. First, Justin and I needed to thoroughly explore and “enjoy” our cabin. Our glorious private cabin where we wouldn’t have to worry about my boyfriend’s sister or his somewhat creepy roommate hearing us through the paper-thin walls of our respective apartments. Or well, at least we wouldn’t know the people on the other side of our walls, so it wouldn’t matter what they heard.

Ed’s voice called me away from those thoughts, back to our conversation.

“What?” I asked.

“I said, calm down. Justin will be back soon, Tammy Rae will arrive before the ship leaves, and your suitcase, with Dramamine, will be delivered to your cabin sooner rather than later.”

“Why didn’t I take seasick pills before leaving home?” I moaned. “Why am I doing this?”

“You mean, freaking out over nothing? I couldn’t tell you.” Ed hugged me. “Really, Jen, you’ll be fine. I’ve cruised before. You won’t feel a thing.”

Finally, Justin walked toward us, sans luggage. I found myself relaxing as he put an arm around my waist and squeezed. I kissed him.

“Ugh. Lovebirds!” Ed moaned. “Get a room!”

“Hey, Ed, isn’t your boyfriend around here?” Justin asked good-naturedly. “Why don’t you go find him?”

Ed met his boyfriend Connor, formerly known to me only as Curly Beard, while filming The Fishbowl. Although the Network strictly prohibited staff from socializing with the contestants, they still found a way to make a connection. More importantly, they’d managed to keep it going ever since. The Network promoted Connor from production assistant to camera operator, and Ed recently moved from Boston to Los Angeles to be with him while pursuing a stand-up comedy career. I couldn’t have been happier for them.

“He’s doing some pre-boarding filming. I’m not allowed,” he said to Justin. “Besides, someone had to keep your belle here from having a panic attack. Did you know she gets seasick?”

Justin tilted his head at me the way he did when he didn’t want to say he thought I wasn’t being one hundred percent truthful. “You never mentioned that. You do?”

“I don’t know. When I was in high school, I threw up on the swan boats at the local fair.”

“Wasn’t that right after you bought tacos out of some guy’s van? Because I’m not sure that was the boat’s fault.”

This was the problem with dating someone long enough for them to hear all your stories. “Maybe…”

“You’ll be fine!” Ed said. “Now, let’s go before they take off without us.”

“Depart,” I said. “Or set sail.”

“Whatever.” Ed took off for the ship, luggage in tow.

“What’s really wrong?” Justin asked.

He gazed into my eyes until I realized I’d been freaking out over nothing. “I don’t know. I’ve been on edge all week. Partially it’s the bakery. What if Sarah can’t come up with new recipes? What if Tammy Rae hates me?”

“You are a resourceful, brilliant woman. You can be very persuasive. Plus, Sarah’s a genius in the kitchen. Even if Tammy Rae says no, the two of you will come up with something.”

I sighed. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m being stupid. I don’t know why I’m so jittery.”

Behind me, someone walked by wearing a t-shirt showing a woman with long, dark hair, pouting out from the inside of a clear fishbowl. And suddenly, I realized exactly why I felt so on edge: Ariana. The one person who could always make me act like my brain took a vacation without my body. No one confirmed whether she’d be onboard. I couldn’t relax until we set sail without her.

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About the Author

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

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Italian Millionaire, Runaway Principessa

Italian Millionaire, Runaway Principessa

by Sun Chara

A sexy, hip ’n fun contemporary romance

Italian Millionaire, Runaway Principessa 516MSZ3h2cL

 

Tug-a-war between the sexes                                                                                                         Infamous Italian neurosurgeon, Peter Medeci, has a score to settle with his estranged wife: her reckless bid for independence has nearly destroyed his medical career.

Ellie, desperate to reassert herself as more than his bedroom playmate, flees the ‘fairytale’ for a gig in a Hollywood club until Peter comes looking for her. For her freedom, Ellie must spend the next three weeks being the ‘good doctor’s wife’ in public…and his mistress in private!

 

 

http://amzn.to/2pFGz1X  UK

http://amzn.to/2rbKnIU  US

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Amazon worldwide & all e-retailers

*Available also in paperback

  

Excerpt: Italian Millionaire, Runaway Principessa

 

                                                        Chapter 1

 

Peter saw her.  And he saw men at the bar ogling her every curve.

The waitress scrap-of-nothing she wore accentuated the length and shape of her legs, clad in net stockings.  How she managed to walk on stiletto heels was beyond his male comprehension.  The flimsy froth of fabric barely covered her bottom and had her breasts nearly spilling from the Grand Canyon neckline, to the delight of every male eye in the smoke-filled room.

He brushed rain-damp hair off his brow, warring with his gut instinct to stride over, sling her across his shoulder, and take her home.  Hot blood surged through him and his aorta boxed his chest.  Home where she belonged, with him, and in his bed—

The crash of glass jolted him from plunging deeper into the erotic fantasy.  Since she’d run out on him, his mind was set on replay…a constant rankling to his Italian pride.

A muscle assaulted his jaw.

Her rebellious escapade could bring him down, and her with him. Premeditated or a case of the lamb amidst wolves?  His chest constricted.  It was time to set the record straight, even the score.  Although he had to move fast to snare the coup d’ etat he was after, he’d do it his way.  He inhaled, filling his lungs with needed oxygen and grimaced at the smoke-tainted air in the club.  He exhaled and snared her in his narrow focus.

She was floundering to pick up broken glass from the floor.  Her admirers were moving in, but in two long strides he was beside her.

The spinning strobe light cast a halo around her, making her hair gold and her skin a shimmer of silk.  Memories rushed in, taunting, smothering… and he almost changed his mind.  Passion and anger raged inside him.  Pent-up pressure in his chest sizzled between his teeth and banished the past, but only for the moment.

“Let me help you.”  He hunkered down, playing knight gallant but feeling more like a Neanderthal.  His words held a double meaning for this woman, who kept a special place in his heart, his life, and who had spurned his every effort.  Why would she have left him otherwise?  Without a word, without a backward glance?

The deep timbre of the man’s voice filtered to Ellie through the music and laughter, but she kept her head bent until the embarrassed blush receded from her features.  “Thank you.”

He dropped a handful of sharp pieces onto her tray, and the gold cufflink on his white shirt cuff gleamed from beneath the dark sleeve of his jacket.  His hand was strong, his fingers long and sensitive with a smattering of black hair across his knuckles.

She swallowed and glanced up, her heart splitting in two.  “Pet-e-r.”

His raised eyebrow spoke volumes.

“What are you doing here?”  She held the tray between them like a defense, gripping it so tight her fingers hurt.  Her stomach lurched; air whooshed from her lips and every fiber of her being buzzed with life on seeing him again.  But with that came a profound sadness.

She turned away from his penetrating blue gaze.  His relentless pursuit of his profession had nearly destroyed her and their marriage. She couldn’t go back to him.  Wouldn’t.

Not unless he was willing to change… give her what she wanted, what she… they… deserved… a real marriage.  Tears stung her eyelids, and she gulped them down with her next breath.

A melody drifted to her, a balm to her frazzled emotions.

She’d been stagnating, except in the bedroom.  And she wanted to be more to him than a bedroom playmate.  In a desperate attempt to reclaim her life, and save her marriage, she had made a rash decision and fled.

She was playing a risky card, especially since he controlled the deck. Could she pull it off?   Would he ever see her as more than a possession?

“Better question is” –he dropped a chipped martini glass on her tray, shattering her thoughts— “what’re you doing here, Ellie?”

~~~

Coming Soon! in the ‘global millionaires’ series:

Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride – November 2017

About the Author

Sun photo-1

Sun Chara, a multi-published, JABBIC winner for Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella, writes sexy, hip ‘n fun contemporary romance, high adventure historical romance, and any genre that knocks at her imagination. Globetrotting for lore while keeping tabs on Hollywood leads, she loves the challenge of creating stories for book and screen. Designer Frappuccinos with whipping cream/sprinkles on top make everyday a celebration! Find out more at: https://facebook.com/suncharaauthorpage or https://www.twitter.com/sunchara3

 

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TO WIN HER SMILE – Mackenzie Crowne

to win her smile
To Win Her Smile, Players #5 is set to release on July 18th. Throughout this series, these larger-than-life athletes and their ladies have made readers laugh, cry, and sigh while producing some heady steam as they searched for their individual HEAs. Like the first four books, To Win Her Smile can be read as a standalone, but Wyatt and Piper’s lighthearted tale is the perfect conclusion to the series. Seriously, when a story begins with a superstitious pro quarterback accidentally breaking the nose of a down-on-her-luck baroness, you know you’re in for an off-beat, wild ride.
To Win Her Smile is available for preorder. Reserve your copy now @ http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/35098

Sometimes love and luck collide . . .
When sultry British Baroness Piper Darrow falls on desperate times, she needs a diversion—and cash. As a talented photographer, she jumps at the chance to travel to the U.S. for a Manhattan Marauders football event. But she gets more than she bargained for when buff quarterback Wyatt Hunter’s errant pass lands…in her face. And when it results in Wyatt’s comeback of a lifetime, the superstitious athlete is convinced Piper is his good luck charm . . .


With his sights on the Super Bowl, Wyatt will do anything necessary to keep Piper close. The fact that she’s a feast for the eyes is a bonus. And as they get closer, he discovers that beneath her proper English surface is a sweet, sexy seductress. Soon the notorious playboy finds himself genuinely smitten, and surprisingly open to love—until his powerful family uncovers something about Piper that threatens to shatter his trust. Now he’ll have to decide whether to team up with his fears, or his heart.
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