New Release + Review Tour + Excerpt + 4 Star Review: Protected by Lexi Blake

 

Their first chance at love ended in heartbreak

Wade Rycroft fell in love with Geneva Harris when she was the smartest girl in his class. The rodeo star and the shy academic made for an odd pair, but their chemistry was undeniable. They made plans to get married after high school. Those plans changed when Genny broke his heart. Joining the Army gave him a chance to leave that life behind. News that Genny married the town’s golden boy let Wade know that he could never go home again.

A chance encounter rekindles an old flame

Fifteen years later, he’s found his place in the world and tried to forget the woman who left him standing in the rain. After leaving the Army he forged a new life as a bodyguard at McKay-Taggart, but he still feels incomplete. When his brother’s wedding brings him home to Broken Bend, Texas, he walks into a storm of scandal. Genny’s marriage has dissolved, the town has turned against her, and someone is making threats. Seeing her again reawakens feelings he thought were long gone, and he worries that staying close enough to help her could be too much to bear.

Their reunion just might kill them both

After an attempt is made on Genny’s life, Wade can’t refuse to help her. Watching over her day and night, it’s clear that having her back in his life could be the thing to finally make him whole. When the danger follows them back to Dallas, their second chance at love could be over before it even begins.

AMAZON | AMAZON PRINT

Coming to other retailers October 29, 2018

 

 

“Don’t. Don’t tell me how to feel. I know you’ve worked through this, but I don’t know how to.”

“It helps to admit that we were all children back then.”

“My mother wasn’t.” He needed to talk about this with her.

“No, but she wasn’t the same after your dad died. She was lost and I’ve forgiven her,” she replied quietly. “You can’t spend your life being angry.”

“You’re angry with me.”

For a moment he thought she would ignore him. Then she turned to him, her eyes shining in the moonlight. “Maybe. It’s hard to figure out how I feel about you. For a long time, I dreamed about you at night. You were the only man I ever loved. Brock killed that. I think he might have killed the part of me that can love someone other than my son. I didn’t feel a lot when my father passed. But then he was the one who told me to suck it up. I went to him after Brock hit me the first time. He told me to not make my husband mad.”

“Genny, he should have killed him. I would have. God, I should have.” That sorrow that had been building inside him threatened to spill over. Anger was there, but it was overshadowed by the terrible pain he felt at the thought of her being alone and afraid.

“It’s funny,” she said, studying him in the silvery light. “I went over pretty much every possible scenario I could, and this wasn’t the way I thought you would handle it. It’s why it took forever for me to talk to you. I thought you would either not care at all or that you would be so angry you went after everyone. I hesitated because I thought I might unleash a beast.”

He could give her this. Since the moment he’d learned the truth, he’d genuinely forced himself to think about how he reacted. It would be selfish to act out in anger when she needed him to be calm, to think about what was best for her. The drive from Broken Bend to Dallas with Ash had made that clear to him. They needed someone who would thoughtfully protect them, not a raging animal who fed his own needs. “You’ve had enough anger in your life. It’s there. God, it’s there, but I swear I won’t act on it because I won’t do anything that could hurt you. I’ll try to handle him in every legal way I can and if I have to take him out, I’ll do it in a way that can never come back on any of us. You don’t need my rage. You do need me though.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Because you think I’ll let you down again.” It wasn’t a question.

“Because I don’t want to love anyone again,” she admitted.

 

4 Star

 

Tracey’s Review

Maybe you can go home again, but with friends and family like his, why would Wade Rycroft want to? He’s definitely of the mind that real family comes by choice, not blood, and his brothers at McKay-Taggart have his back, no question. Back home for his brother’s wedding, Wade didn’t count on seeing the woman that broke his heart way back when, and he certainly wasn’t prepared for the way that he would feel when he met her again. Second chances? Those are for chumps. But still…

Romantic suspense is kind of my jam, and Lexi Blake’s books nicely fill the bill. While I haven’t had the chance to read all of the books in her Masters & Mercenaries series, the ones I have read are never disappointing. Plenty of action and suspense, with a nice side of steam, these books are pure entertainment.

Lexi does an excellent job of writing stories about people that have experienced brokenness in their lives. Both Wade and Genny have ghosts, and, rather than deliver a pat HEA, Lexi has written a thoughtful story where real problems require real action. Don’t get me wrong, PROTECTED has plenty of sass, sizzle, and humor, but work has to be done to get to the happy place.

Lexi has delivered another read that I thoroughly enjoyed, and that I am happy to recommend. If you like alpha dudes, bad*ss ladies, and plenty of suspense, PROTECTED will be just what you’re looking for. Enjoy!

 

 

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

 

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

New Release + Release Blitz + 4-Star Review: Love Machine by Kendall Ryan

A best-friends-to-lovers standalone romance from New York Times bestselling author Kendall Ryan.

She says she needs some help … in the bedroom.

Come again? No, really come again.

Sweet, nerdy, lovable Keaton.

She’s my best friend and has been for years. Sure she likes numbers and math, and thinks doing other people’s taxes is fun. And I like … none of that stuff. She’s obsessed with her cat and reads novels I’ll never understand, and yet we just click. There’s no one I’d rather share breakfast burritos with or binge watch hours Netflix. She’s my person. And so when she takes off her glasses and asks me to help her improve her skills in the bedroom, I barely have to think about it.

Of course I’ll help her. There’s no one better for the job.

I’ve been there for her through everything, why should this be any different?

But what happens when she’s ready to take her new-found confidence and move on?

GRAB A COPY TODAY!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google

 

4 Star

 

Tracey’s Review

So, say you’re a smart by not very, erm, experienced girl. And say that your bestie is not only super-hot with plenty of experience, but he also always has time for you. It only stands to reason, then, that you’d turn to him in your quest to get your groove back. And the rest, as they say, is history…

Kendall Ryan’s contemporary romances are guaranteed feel-good reads. I mean, it’s impossible not to enjoy the heck out of yourself when you crack open one of her books. She’s got a handle on all of the tropes, and they never cease to appeal. In LOVE MACHINE, Kendall tries her hand at the ‘friends to lovers’ story, with a touch of the ‘secret romance,’ and, well, she’s got another winner on her hands.

Keaton and Slate are both extremely likable, her for her nerdy earnestness, and him for his desire to be truly available to Keaton, and not just on a physical level. I love that their relationship has stood the test of time, and that they are actually invested in each other. Them making their way to each other seems more like a ‘when’ than ‘if’ scenario, and they are perfect for each other.

The secondary characters are fun and supportive, especially Penny, the cat, who steals the show, and help make LOVE MACHINE the easy 4 stars (and probably one of my top KR reads) that it is. Kendall’s fans, or any romance lover looking for some pure enjoyment, will want to make sure to grab this one right away and put it at the top of their summer TBR pile.

 

 

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras.

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Review: Want You by Jen Frederick

Want You

By Jen Frederick

Exclusive To Kindle Unlimited

Release Date: July 1, 2018

***

Synopsis:

Bitsy

 

I might be only nineteen, but I know what I want. It’s Leka Moore. I don’t care that he took me in when he was barely more than a kid himself. I don’t care that he raised me. I don’t care everyone thinks being with him is wrong. I know we belong together, and the only person I need to convince is him.

 

Leka

 

I found her in the corner of a dark alley. If I hadn’t taken her with me, she would’ve died that night—or maybe worse. Before I knew it, she became the light in my dark life, the haven from the madness. I watched her grow up. I tried to teach her right from wrong. Now that she’s an adult, I’m feeling things that no good man should ever feel. But then…I’ve never been a good man. I have a chance at redemption by saving her from the greatest danger of all—me.

***

_____________________________

Michel’s Review

I have been reading Jen Frederick’s book since she first published the Woodlands series in 2013. I have enjoyed experiencing her growth as a writer throughout the years with her expansion from new adult to dark romantic suspense and enthralling young adult novels. Whether her theme is sports romance, spoiled teenagers, college co-eds, russian mafia, or sexy millionaires, she has undeniably held me captive with each story. Her latest release Want You brings her writing full circle and has a bit of every genre in it.

Leka and Bitsy are not your typical characters that meet in unusual circumstances that bring their lives together. They are both children living in the streets and struggling to survive their world. Leka became immersed in the street criminal world as a soldier before he turned twelve. When he finds a small five year old girl hiding in the shadows, he’s determined to protect her and keep her alive at all costs. Thus begins their story which goes from survival tactics to family ties. They only have each other. Their commitment to one another is the only thing that keeps them alive in a very ugly world. Leka is determined to keep that world away from their front door. Bitsy is determined to stay by Leka’s side even if it means confronting the monsters at the door.

Jen Frederick once again held me captive with her words. Leka and Bitsy’s story came alive. Their happily ever after wasn’t easy but it was worth every ugly moment they had to endure. It made their love for one another unbreakable.

_______________________________________________

 

Author Bio:

 

jen frederick bioJen Frederick lives with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She’s been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at jensfrederick@gmail.com

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

 

 

New Release + Review Tour + 4-Star Review: Mister Tonight by Kendall Ryan

 

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Kendall Ryan comes a standalone romance about a swoony single dad and the new neighbor he falls for.

Last night was the most embarrassing night of my life.

I was THAT girl.

You know, the highly intoxicated chick celebrating her thirtieth with her two best friends—the ones who are happily married. And the more I drank, the more I wanted to do something reckless to celebrate.

By reckless, I meant the sexy and alluring man dressed in a business suit standing near the bar. You know his type—tall, dark, and handsome. I was sure he was out of my league, but I’d had just enough alcohol that things like that no longer seemed to matter. I’m not fat, mind you, but you can tell I like French fries, so there’s that.

He took me home and I enjoyed the hottest birthday sex of my life, well until it came to a screeching, and rather unwelcome halt.

There’s nothing quite like being interrupted mid-ride with a little voice asking:

“What are you doing to my daddy?”

Just kill me now…… or so I thought.

Come to find out the man I rode like a bull at the rodeo is my new landlord.

 

AVAILABLE NOW

Kindle US | ✦Kindle UK | ✦iBooks | ✦Nook | ✦ Google | ✦Kobo | ✦Audio

 

 

 

 

4 Star

 

Tracey’s Review

Sometimes a girl isn’t necessarily looking for her happily ever after. Sometimes all she wants is some no-strings fun. Kate just wants to bring in her 30th birthday with the proverbial bang, and she’s found just the right guy in Hunter. Tall, dark, and oh, so sexy, Hunter is just the guy to make turning 30 one heck of a great thing. Except…

I know that I am in for feel-good read that’s not too heavy, and that is guaranteed to satisfy when I pick up a book by Kendall Ryan. Likable characters, plots that are easy to get lost in, and a guaranteed HEA are the things that make her books some of my go-tos, and MR. TONIGHT is right up there as another win. Following Hunter and Kate as they navigate their relationship makes for a lighthearted and enjoyable time, and Hunter’s daughter Maddie is just the twist needed to kick things up a notch and keep things extra hilarious and heartwarming.

MISTER TONIGHT is an easy 4 stars for me, and ranks right up there as one of my favorites of Kendall’s contemporary romances. A must-read for fans of Kendall, this one is sure to touch your heart and leave you smiling.

 

 

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

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New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt + 4-Star Review: Healing Touch by Brenda Rothert

Today we are celebrating the release of Healing Touch by Brenda Rothert. This is a contemporary romance, standalone novel. Check out the links, and an excerpt from the book below.

PURCHASE NOW OR READ FOR FREE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Healing Touch by Brenda Rothert


Book Blurb:

She spends her nights treating patients, but Dr. Jocelyn Drake’s own wounds are unfixable. Her ex-husband and his younger, bouncier girlfriend work just a few floors away at Tulane Medical Center, and they serve as a constant reminder of what Joss lost. But a fierce determination to continue her research project and a shred of remaining pride keep Joss from transferring out of the Big Easy.
Carson Stephens recently returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East, and though willing women present themselves at every turn, his closest companion is loneliness. His night-shift work supervising the electrical and mechanical systems at the hospital is a perfect fit – it’s solitary work putting broken things back together.
When the electrical system on Joss’ floor goes haywire, she’s frazzled by the sexy electrician who sparks her dormant sex drive. He’s brooding and cocky – so not her type. But if Carson has his way, his hands will work their magic on more than just the wiring, and he’ll show Joss a night of passion that restores her shattered confidence.
But what happens after that night? As their relationship grows into something more, Joss and Carson face ups and downs, and they both realize that the healing has only just begun.

Add the book to Goodreads

PURCHASE NOW OR READ FOR FREE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

 

 

EXCERPT:

I was smiling before I even opened my eyes. The smell of Carson on my sheets had that effect. We’d both worked third shift last night and then come to my place to sleep. Well, we slept after epic sex, followed by omelets from a nearby diner.

I wished he was still in bed next to me, but I’d heard him get up and leave a couple of hours ago. He just didn’t need as much sleep as me. Five hours seemed to be his max.

I was pretty sure I didn’t have a max, but my minimum was seven hours. I always had to be prepared for my next shift at the hospital to run over.

After a quick shower, I dried my hair and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. When I walked into my kitchen to brew coffee, I smiled when I saw that Carson had already put in a filter and grounds for me. I pushed the brew button and went to unload the clean dishes from my dishwasher.

He’d already done that, too. The man was so incredibly nice to have around. He was sexy as hell and amazing in bed, but he was also considerate in ways I’d never known in a man. Even after just a couple of weeks, I was attached.

I wondered where he was. He’d been restless this morning when we’d gone to sleep. Lots of tossing and turning was his usual, though. I suspected he was plagued by bad dreams, but I didn’t want to bring it up. He’d tell me if he wanted me to know.

Hopefully, he was at the gym, which always seemed to clear his head. I’d gone with him a couple of times, but my workout game was . . . not strong. He’d patiently taught me how to lift light weights and skipped his own workout to oversee mine. And even the light weights were damn heavy and left me sore for days.

I preferred to get my exercise from walking. I picked up my cell phone and texted Hattie to see if she could meet me at a café a couple of miles from my place. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I was in the mood to walk somewhere.

She wrote right back and said sure, so I put on my walking shoes and sunglasses and set off.

4 Star

Tracey’s Review

Sometimes healing is found in the most unexpected places. For Dr. Joss Drake, dealing with some very public personal scandal, the knowledge that she is still a desirable woman is just what she needs. Carson Stephens needs some healing himself. This wounded warrior has been burned before, but the love and honesty of one good woman will be what he needs to quiet his demons.

I was lucky enough to read HEALING TOUCH in its first incarnation as part of the Night Shift anthology, and was thrilled when I heard that author Brenda Rothert was expanding the story to give readers more of Joss and Carson. These characters are perfect together, bringing badly needed confidence and trust to each other, and it is the knowledge that they can both be the safe place that allows them to push past the things holding them back.

HEALING TOUCH isn’t a long book, by any means, but it is just the right amount of story to round out the development of Joss’s and Carson’s journey. I really liked both Joss and Carson, and the way that Brenda tied things together, moving past the idea of a one-off experience into more of an actual relationship. This is a sweet and sexy read, and an easy 4 stars for me., and a good choice for fans of the HEA.

———-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | | Wattpad | Amazon

InkSlinger Blogger Final

New Release + Blog Tour + Review + Trailer: Surrender by Elisabeth Naughton

 

 

From New York Times Bestselling author Elisabeth Naughton, comes SURRENDER, a new novella in her House of Sin Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!

 

 

About SURRENDER:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Elisabeth Naughton comes a new story in her House of Sin series…

The leaders of my House want her dead.

The men I’ve secretly aligned myself with want her punished for screwing up their coup.

I’ve been sent by both to deal with her, but one look at the feisty redhead and I’ve got plans of my own.

Before I carry out anyone else’s orders, she’s going to give me what I want. And only when I’m satisfied will I decide if she lives or dies.

Depending, of course, on just how easily she surrenders…

 

 

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Amazon AU

 

Download the Free Kindle App

 

 

 

 

4 Star

 

Tracey’s Review

 

SURRENDER, a House of Sin prequel novella by author Elisabeth Naughton, is packed full of action, passion, and intrigue galore. Part of the 1,oo1 Dark Nights series, SURRENDER is a tasty treat, short but sweet, and guaranteed to keep you flipping pages.

SURRENDER is my first foray into House of Sin world, and I am actually really glad. I didn’t know that it was a prequel when I picked it up, but this book is the perfect introduction to these characters and the circles that they travel in.

Marco and Felicity have chemistry in spades, and that she is also smart and successful in her own right made me like her even more. The two of them just really click from the get-go, and I am interested to delve deeper into the series to see how their relationship evolves.

SURRENDER is a quick but very well-written read, and I enjoyed it very much. As a fan of romantic suspense, I would recommend it without hesitation, and look forward to reading more in this series.

 

 

 

 

TRAILER:
https://video214.com/play/KcoWIxKc1n5TzVw0GJ7kaw/s/dark

 

 

Elisabeth Naughton’s SURRENDER – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

June 13th

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews – Review

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

June 14th

A British Bookworm’s Blog – Review

Cup of Tea Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Literary misfit – Review & Excerpt

SBB Reviews – Review

June 15th

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Dirty & Flirty – Review & Excerpt

Thoughts of a Blonde – Review

June 16th

Ash P Reads – Review & Excerpt

Canadian Book Addict – Review & Excerpt

Kari’s Book Reviews and Revelations – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

June 17th

All Things Dark & Dirty –Excerpt

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review

June 18th

My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt

Read Review Repeat – Review & Excerpt

Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt

The Heathers’ Blog – Excerpt

June 19th

Louise’s Book Buzz – Review

Nadine’s Obsessed with Books – Review & Excerpt

June 20th

Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt

Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt

Ruby’s Books –Review & Excerpt

June 21st

Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt

Scandalous Book Blog – Excerpt

June 22nd

Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Romance Schmomance – Review & Excerpt

Up All Night with Books – Review

 

 

ABOUT ELISABETH NAUGHTON:

Elisabeth Naughton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. From Elisabeth: “I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.

“Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.

“My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.

“I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.”

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Author Goodreads

 

 

New Release + Excerpt + Review: I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills brings you a brand-new heartfelt, sexy contemporary romance with I DARE YOU is LIVE!

I-Dare-You-Final-Goodreads

Bad Ass Athlete: I dare you to…
Delaney Shaw: Who is this?

The late night text is random, but “Bad Ass Athlete” sure seems to know who she is…

Delaney Shaw.
Good girl.
Lover of fluffy kitties and Star Wars.
Curious.

His dare? Spend one night in his bed—a night he promises will be unforgettable—and she can solve the mystery of who he is.

She knows she shouldn’t, but what else is she going to do with her boring Valentine’s Day?

One sexy hook-up later, her mind is blown and the secret’s out.

Maverick Monroe.
Bad boy.
The most talented football player in the country.
Just ask him.

Too bad for him Delaney’s sworn off dating athletes forever after her last heartbreak.

But Maverick wants more than one night and refuses to give up on winning Delaney’s heart. She isn’t one to be fazed by a set of broad shoulders.

After the semester ends, will the bad boy land the nerd girl or will the secrets they keep from each other separate them forever?

Download Today or Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US I Amazon Universal

Add to Goodreads

 

Excerpt

 

Prologue

Freshman year

Delaney

Welcome to Magnolia, Mississippi, where locusts are as big as your hand and iced tea comes with a double helping of sugar.

It’s also home to the best damn annual bonfire party at prestigious Waylon University, which is currently happening right now in the middle of a cotton field.

But…

I shouldn’t even be at this party.

It’s mostly for Greeks and jocks and popular people, yet here I am, a mere freshman, hanging out with my bubbly redheaded roommate, Skye.

“See?” she says as we take in the bonfire. “Isn’t this better than watching cat videos on a Saturday night? What do you want to do first?”

I sigh, feeling nervous. Ever since I moved here from North Carolina, I’ve been pushing myself to try new things. Might as well put a crazy college party on that list. “Let’s get a drink.”

She claps and excitedly replies, “Done. Alcohol at two o’clock.” We weave through the crowd, headed in that direction, and eventually we reach the bar, which is really just a long collapsible table someone set up. On top are various bottles of alcohol, and I grab the Fireball to pour shots. I’ve just tossed mine back and set down my cup when a prickling sensation washes over me, giving me goose bumps.

My gaze moves across the crowd, stopping on a tall guy with dark blond hair, broad shoulders, and a cocky smile. Aha. He’s been staring at me, and now that he’s caught, he raises his glass as a half-grin crosses his face.

I blush wildly as I adjust my black cat-eye glasses. I’m not used to such blatant male attention.

Skye—who’s followed the trajectory of my gaze—spits out part of her drink. “Oh my God, do you know who that is?”

“Obviously I should,” I say dryly.

Her mouth flops open. “You really need to get out more.”

My eyes drift back to him but keep moving as if I’m not staring. “So who is Mr. Hottie McParty Pants?”

“If you don’t know him, you don’t deserve to know. But, he’s H-O-T—like Chris Hemsworth hot. I dare you to flirt with him.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me, knowing full well that for some reason, I can’t resist a dare. Normally rather reserved, a dare gives me permission to be someone I’m not.

So does Fireball. I sling back another shot.

“I’ll bring you a donut every day for a week if you flirt with him,” she adds, watching me.

My ears perk up. “The ones with edible glitter?”

She nods, and I toss a quick glance back to him. Our eyes collide again, and a zing of connection fires between us. He has a strong, handsome face and a stance that has masculine written all over it. A smile tips up his full sensuous lips, and—

Two brunettes—twins, no less—approach him, one on either side, and wrap their arms around his waist. He smiles down at them. Oh. Well then.

I turn back to Skye and frown. “Player. Not interested.”

She waves her hands in my face. “He likes you—I saw it on his face.”

I snort. “Probably gas pains. Your dare is not accepted.”

We hear our names being called from the other side of the party and turn to take in the helmet-haired Martha approaching us, which is taking some time due to the fact that she’s wearing stilettos and a slinky halter dress. She carefully picks her way through the crowd, nudging people out of her way—sometimes rudely—as she focuses on us. Great.

“Incoming mean girl,” I mutter under my breath.

Like us, Martha Burrows is a freshman and lives on our floor. Rather full of herself, she announced within a week of meeting us that she’d no longer answer to anything but Muffin, a nickname she’d given herself.

She eyes us both, a look of superiority on her pretty face. “I didn’t know you two were invited to this little shindig. Obviously, I know all the right people, so I’m always invited.” Her gaze zeroes in on my outfit and she rears back. “What on earth are you wearing, Nerd Girl?”

“Clothes.” I stiffen at her name for me as I tug on my fitted Star Wars shirt and the pleated red miniskirt I made from a man’s shirt. My long pale blonde hair is up in curled pigtails, and I went a bit heavy-handed with the shimmery eye shadow and red lipstick. It’s not your typical look for WU—which is anything monogrammed—but I’m learning to ignore the raised eyebrows.

Skye, the peacemaker among us three, clears her throat and nods her head at the guy who’s been staring. “Delaney has an admirer, but she doesn’t know who he is.”

Martha-Muffin follows Skye’s gaze, eyeballing the mystery man over my shoulder. She gives me an exasperated look. “That’s Maverick Monroe, you idiot. He’s the biggest football star in Mississippi and the freshman recruit of the year. Word is, though, girls like you aren’t his type—not at all.” Her hand flicks a stiff honey-colored curl over her shoulder.

My teeth grind together. “Martha, if you think I care what you think about me and whether or not a quasi-famous football player is interested in me, then you are confused.”

Her lips tighten. “It’s Muffin now, and why do you have to use such big words? What does quasi even mean?” is her cutting reply.

Skye’s eyes get as big as saucers, and I assume it’s because Martha-Muffin and I are about to finally have it out. I can’t stand her, and she can’t stand me. We just…clash.

But that isn’t what has Skye in such a titter.

She points over my shoulder, and I get it.

It’s the person standing behind me, the one I can’t see. I feel a nervous sneeze coming on and—thank God—I somehow push it down.

A husky voice reaches my ears. “Quasi means seemingly or supposedly. What she means is I’m probably not a famous football player but rather one that’s been highly touted but is without merit.”

Oh, shit. The voice is rich and smooth with just enough southern drawl to make a girl swoon. He also sounds halfway intelligent.

I turn around slowly. Mr. Tall, Blond, and Football is right in front of me wearing a cocky smile.

How in the hell did he get over here so fast?

You know that moment when everything stops and the next breath you take is the first one of the rest of your life? That’s what it feels like as Maverick Monroe stares at me with his piercing blue eyes.

I glance down and take in the sculpted chest and hard biceps.

I look back up and see a chiseled jawline that’s defined and lined with a slight scruff. I see the thin pink scar that slices through his left eyebrow, and it does nothing to detract from his appeal.

He’s perfection.

He’s air.

Which I desperately need right now, because I can’t breathe.

He smirks, as if reading my mind, and I scramble to pull myself together. Someone calls his name—it’s a girl’s voice, probably one of those twins—but he doesn’t budge.

His eyes rove over my skirt, glasses, and lips. “The question is…do you even know what makes a good football player?”

“Nice hands?”

His lips twitch. “Hardly.”

“A tight end?” I smirk, feeling sassy…which is weird. I don’t know who I am right now, but it’s like my mouth has a life of its own, saying things I normally wouldn’t.

Martha-Muffin chokes on her drink at my remark and Skye watches me with glee, clearly excited that I have the attention of someone who is apparently very important at Waylon.

I put my hand on my hip. “The question is…why do I need to know?”

“You don’t. All you need to know is I’m the best.”

I suck in a little breath at his arrogance.

A guy walks past us and claps him on the shoulder. “Badass game last week, Mav. Rock on.”

“Thanks, man.” Maverick acknowledges the compliment and lifts his chin, his eyes never straying from mine.

“What position do you play?” I ask. “Quarterback?”

He smirks. “Middle linebacker—defense.”

“Sounds fancy.”

He laughs.

Skye, who’s been eavesdropping unabashedly, sighs with a dreamy expression on her face. “His stats are the best in the country.” She clears her throat. “I-I only know that because my brother is a huge fan, I swear.”

“Hi, Maverick,” Martha-Muffin says as she edges closer to him, nudging me out of the way with her sharp shoulders. “Remember me?”

He focuses on her. “No.”

She glowers. “I was in your dorm room with your roommate last week. You said hello to me.”

He shrugs. “A lot of girls come through. I can’t remember them all.”

Oh. My. God. He is arrogant, but I like how he just shut her down.

Martha-Muffin’s face reddens and she mutters something under her breath, flips around, and flounces off. Good riddance.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Skye is drifting away too, giving me a thumbs-up.

Whatever. I am not going to flirt with this guy…am I?

He’s definitely got something about him, something that makes my body buzz. I tilt my chin up, taking in how tall he is. He has to be at least six-four.

His gaze drifts over my face. “You know there’s a legend here at Waylon about our famous bonfire party?”

“Oh?”

He smiles, a flash of white on his handsome face. “Legend says the first person you kiss at the party is the one you’ll never forget. It might be years later, and still their face is the one you dream about.”

“Sounds like hocus-pocus.”

He lifts that mesmerizing left eyebrow. “I like to believe in legends—after all, I am one.”

I smirk. “Probably a game made up by some frat-boy-slash-jock wanting to kiss all the girls.”

He pauses for a moment as if thinking, and then he steps in closer, so close that I can see the varying shades of blue around his pupils. “May I?”

My heart does somersaults.

“May you what?” I ask, my voice low, but I know what he wants. My body is already leaning toward him, wanting it too.

“This.” He kisses me, an almost imperceptible touch as he brushes his full lips against mine. The contact of our mouths is electric, sparks of fire skating along my skin.

As if from a distance, I hear someone calling his name. It’s a female, and she’s pissed.

It’s one of the twins probably.

And I’m jealous.

But, I don’t look. We pull away, and I stare at him as he stares right back. A stillness settles over the party, although I don’t think anything’s actually changed. The music is still playing. People are still talking. Beers are being passed around.

Yet…

We’re connected.

Two stars in the black velvet sky.

Two ships passing in the night.

Oh, fuck, stop the nonsense, I tell myself.

“What was that?” I ask, my voice breathless.

“That’s your first kiss of the bonfire. Now you’ll never forget me.”

And then, before I can think of a reply, he’s gone.

I watch him go back to the twins, frustration coiling inside of me as I exhale.

It would be two years before I kissed him again.

 

 

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Michel’s Review

I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills was just the kind of book I needed. I love the new adult romance genre and love a good sports romance. I Dare You was the perfect combination of fun loving coed romance but at the same time very emotional journey.

Ilsa Madden- Mills has a gift of creating characters that come to life. The creative dialogue and sassy passages are just as exciting as the sizzling hot sex scenes. What I liked best about this book is that it had meat to it. This book was not only featured a romance but also highlighted some heavy financial issues many college athletes endure. Trying to survive the expenses of life while trying to maintain the athletic scholarship guidelines is almost impossible when real life comes collecting. Trying to find the right solution led to some other questionable circumstances. The solutions were not ideal but they also opened other doors.

Ilsa Madden-Mills always delivers and exceptional reading experience. I double dare you to read I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills and not walk away feeling good!

 

 

 

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About Ilsa


Ilsa LogoWall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She’s best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Dairies, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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