New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt: The Heartless Boyfriend by Erika Kelly

 

From award-winning author Erika Kelly comes the second standalone title in her brand new, smoking hot series about four elite athlete brothers raised in the Tetons by their eccentric, billionaire dad and uncle,The Bad Boyfriend Series! Don’t miss your chance to meet the dedicated and swoony Will Bowie in THE HEARTLESS BOYFRIEND! Grab your copy today!

 

There’s not an athlete alive who can match Will’s drive and self-discipline…until an adorable two year old and a fiery chef land on his doorstep and turn his life upside down. If he wants to keep his girls, he’s going to have to learn to lead with his heart and not his mind.

Will Bowie is supposed to be training for the Olympics, but the toddler unexpectedly dropped into his life isn’t interested in his schedules. Still, he’s pretty sure he’s got things under control…

…until a sexy chef lands on his doorstep and offers a temptation he can’t resist.

Hours after losing her restaurant, chef Delilah Lua enters a cooking competition thousands of miles away from home. Winning would resurrect the dream that’s been stolen from her. If–no, when–she wins, she’ll go back with the capital to open her own place and enough fame to do it with flair. Her roommate, though, is a delicious surprise she hadn’t anticipated…

…but she’s not sure how to have her cake and eat it, too.

Despite the undeniable sparks in the kitchen, Will’s not about to give his heart to a woman who’s leaving, and Delilah must decide if the delectable future she could cook up with Will is worth more than a childhood dream.

 

Grab THE HEARTLESS BOYFRIEND in eBook or paperback today!

Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Book Depository

 

Add to your Goodreads

 

 

EXCERPT:

Glancing up from the faucet, she expected to see an apology in his eyes for being so cold to her. Instead, she saw impatience.

“Can I wash my hands?”

“When I finish.” She didn’t know why she’d held her ground. It wasn’t like she hadn’t cleaned the pear enough. But she was pissed at him—no, herself. God, she didn’t know. Nothing made sense. They’d been so close last night—she’d felt so comfortable with him, so free. And then he’d ruined everything with that kiss-off. I have to stay on track.

Okay, Will. Sorry for cutting in on your eight hours.

He stepped closer, reaching around her for the soap. His big, sweaty arms boxed her in, his thighs touching the backs of hers. He lathered his hands. “Let’s not make things uncomfortable for Ruby, okay?”

He was right. “I won’t.” Of course, he was.

“I’m sorry if I hurt you, and we can talk about it later, but Ruby picks up on everything, and I don’t want a strained, weird vibe in her home.”

“I know.” She didn’t need to be bitchy. It wasn’t like they’d made each other promises. They’d gotten carried away, and it had been great. “It was just sex.” She’d meant to lighten the mood, but the way he flinched—his arm grazing her bare skin—made her sizzle down to the soles of her feet. “Lackluster at that.”

“Right.” He held her gaze—hard, intense—but his words came out nonchalant. “Basic.”

“Yep. I’m all about the extra.”

“Never settle, Delilah Lua.” He clamped down on what might’ve been an awesome grin. “Never settle.”

She set the pear down and turned in his arms. “So, we’re good?”

He gave her that burning, hungry look that made desire churn and a flash fire race across her skin. “We’re good.” And then he put a hand on Ruby’s head. “I’m gonna hit the shower. You okay to stay down here with Wally?”

“Go wif you.”

He lifted his sister and headed across the living room. When his foot hit the bottom stair, he turned to her. “For what it’s worth?”

She waited.

“It was spectacular.”

 

 

 

And don’t miss the first book in The Bad Boyfriends Series, THE WORLD’S WORST BOYFRIEND! Grab your copy today!

 

Six years ago Fin Bowie made a decision that cost him the love of his life. Now his ex is coming back to town for her brother’s wedding, and he can finally make things right. Except, right before the event, a text he sent goes viral. Overnight, he becomes an international meme. And it’s hard to win your woman back when the whole world’s calling you The World’s Worst Boyfriend.

The last thing on Calliope Bell’s mind is getting back with Fin. Not when her life’s just gone sideways, forcing her to spend the summer in Calamity, Wyoming. She can’t be away from the New York art world this long, so she comes up with the idea to turn the hottest pop culture event of the moment into a museum exhibition.

The two have every intention of avoiding each other–until the county judge sentences Fin to community service…helping her exploit the meme he’s trying to make go away.

Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 

 

Erika Kelly’s THE HEARTLESS BOYFRIEND – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

October 15th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Maggie’s Escape Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Ree Cee’s Books – Review & Excerpt

October 16th

Book Lovers Reviews and Recommendations – Review & Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

Fire and Ice Book Reviews – Review

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Reviews from the Heart – Review & Excerpt

October 17th

Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt

Books and Things Blog – Review & Excerpt

Mes Livres – Review & Excerpt

THE BOOK I LOVE – Review

October 18th

Book Magic – Under a spell with every page – Review & Excerpt

It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Excerpt

SBB Reviews – Review

October 19th

Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Catty Jane Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt

Family, Books and Food – Excerpt

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

October 20th

Ashley Book Blog – Excerpt

Book Addict – Review

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt

Reds Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt

October 21st

From the TBR Pile – Review & Excerpt

Kari’s Book Reviews and Revelations – Review & Excerpt

Movies, Shows, & Books – Excerpt

Reads & Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

October 22nd

Becky on Books – Excerpt

IrishdaisylovesRomance – Review & Excerpt

Once upon a romance blog – Review

Reading in Pajamas – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

October 23rd

Book Lovers 4Ever – Excerpt

Live Read and Breathe – Review & Excerpt

Shannon’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt

October 24th

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

Boundless Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

For The Love of Romance Books Blog – Excerpt

Nerdy Dirty & Flirty – Review & Excerpt

The Book Addict’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

October 25th

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

KDRBCK – Excerpt

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

Tfaulcbookreviews – Excerpt

We Do What We Want Book Reviews & More – Review & Excerpt

October 26th

Cofffeeandbooks – Review

Miranda’s Library – Review

Pages Abound – Review & Excerpt

Spellbound Stories – Review & Excerpt

True Story Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

 
About Erika Kelly:

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Signup ** Erika Kelly Goodreads

New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt: Dream by Carly Phillips

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“Carly Phillips is a go-to author for steamy, emotional contemporary romance!” –Jennifer Probst, New York Times Bestselling Author

Dream an all-new emotional and romantic standalone from New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips is available now!

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She was his best friend, his first love. And she broke his heart. Now she’s back. Will they find a second chance?

As a little girl, Andrea Harmon wanted to marry a prince, and Kyle Davenport hoped it would be him. But he never told her how he felt, and lost her as a result. Because sometimes the bad guy gets the girl. And Kyle left town to get over her.

Andi made the wrong choice years ago, choosing the bad boy over the best friend she trusted and she paid for it every day since.

Coming face to face with his former best friend was bound to happen once he moved back to Rosewood Bay, but for Kyle, becoming her son’s new teacher is a painful reminder of what they never had. But this time around, Kyle is determined to change their ending. Prince Charming is determined to break down her walls.

Except that no happily-ever-after is won without a fight—and her ex-husband doesn’t like to lose.

DREAM_AVAILABLE NOW

Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2COqQHj

AppleBooks: https://apple.co/2NvzVKc

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/DreamCP

Nook: http://bit.ly/2CwSVng

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2NjelIL

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2Crx9kJ

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2CmBmo8

Audio: https://amzn.to/2wS4Xl0

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2oPQCC4

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Excerpt:

“I didn’t mean to drag you away from Kimberly. You two seemed to be hitting it off.”

He didn’t pull his hand away from her face, struck by the tinge of something in her voice. Jealousy? And if so, why did it please him that she cared?

“Kimberly was like a leech who wouldn’t let go. She even used her sick brother’s story to hang on to me. I wasn’t doing anything more than offering sympathy,” he said, opting for the truth.

Andi blinked, unmistakable relief in her pretty brown eyes. “Really?”

“Did it bother you when you thought I was into her?” he heard himself asking, knowing he hadn’t planned to go down this road, but the attraction between them was a real, tangible thing.

His fingers itched to run through her thick, wavy hair, and he couldn’t tear his gaze from her glossed lips as she ran her tongue nervously over them. Not to mention the energy it took not to look down at her full breasts beneath the jersey.

“Would it upset you if I said it did? That watching you with her stirred up feelings that took me by surprise?”

“I shouldn’t want you, Andi. You hurt me. Took a fucking knife to my heart. But that was in the past. And what’s going on now between us is the present.”

Her eyes shimmered with unshed tears, the past alive despite them both wanting to put it behind them. But everything inside him was pulled toward her now, drawn to her fragile strength and beauty.

He dipped his head and pressed his mouth to hers. Warm and giving, her soft lips moved beneath his. His hand slid around her jaw, tilting her head, giving him better access as his tongue delved into her mouth and tangled with hers. Finally, finally, finally, finally. His heart beat out the word in rapid rhythm, a long-held desire coming true as her kiss turned him inside out.

He explored the deep recesses of her mouth, tasting her essence, aware of his body’s reaction, the swell of his cock behind his jeans, the spike in adrenaline, the racing of his pulse.

Despite the pain, the anger, the hurt, this was the girl of his dreams and she was in his arms, eagerly accepting his kiss. He slid his hand into her hair, grasping the thick strands between his fingers and tugging as the kiss turned hotter and he backed her against the vanity, his waist flush against hers, his hard erection cradled between her thighs. His cock throbbed with unappeased need, desire flowing between them.

Until a hard knock sounded on the door, startling them into breaking apart. She looked at him, wide-eyed, the surprise etched in her face as strong as the shock rippling through him.

“Be right out,” he called to the person on the other side of the door.

He glanced at Andi, her face now flushed a bright red. “There’s no way to avoid walking out together, is there?” she asked.

“Whether you go first or last, whoever it is heard my voice.” Her blush deepened.

“Well, then here’s to giving them something more to talk about.”

Start the series of Standalones FREE with Fearless today!

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2BwebqP

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2yGdloy

Meet Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

Connect with Carly

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carly-phillips

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Website: www.carlyphillips.com

Blog: http://www.carlyphillips.com/blog

New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt: Player by Staci Haert

cover-nowavailable

I should have known it was only a game.

I should have known he was too good to be true.

He’s nothing but a player…

Player, an all-new sexy, standalone romantic comedy from Staci Hart, is available NOW!

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He’s a player.

He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he’ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso.

Who better to teach me to play than the master himself?

I’m his model student, front row, pencil sharp. Pick up lines? I’ve got them. Free drinks? By the dozen. Kissing? Let me grab my chapstick.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that there’s so much I don’t know. Like why his touch sets off a chain reaction straight to my nethers. Or how I’m certain each kiss is the best I’ll ever have, until the moment his lips take mine again.

There’s so much I don’t know.

Like the fact that I’m only a bet.

But we are what we are. He’s a player, through and through.

And I’m the fool who fell in love with him.

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ChoAr6

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/PlayerSH

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2PwVrfH

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Excerpt:

The night flew by, time speeding up and sliding past with nothing to mark the hours but his laughter and my smiles and our bodies bouncing around the parquet like we had nothing in the world to do but dance. I had no idea how late it was until “New York, New York” came on with the house lights.

Sam hooked me under his arm and guided me out into the chilly fall evening. Like an idiot, I’d come without a jacket, and I tried to play it off like I wasn’t cold. A shiver wracked down my spine, betraying me.

He shrugged off his leather jacket. “Here, wear this.”

“B-but then y-you’ll be cold,” I said, shifting away from him in an effort to stop him. “Look, it’s n-not even cold. It’s f-fake cold. It’s only what—like, sixty out? M-my body is j-just being drunk and d-dumb.”

“Val.” The word was a gentle warning. He held out his jacket like a matador. “Put it on.”

“N-no,” I said with a laugh.

He shook it once like he was taunting me. “Toro.”

I giggled, stumbling a little as I brought my hands to the top of my head, pointer fingers to the stars. “Olé!” I cheered as I charged. But instead of running through his jacket, I found myself in his arms.

I didn’t know how it happened. The jacket was there, and then it was gone. But instead of being laid out on the sidewalk like I should have been, Sam’s arms were hooked around my waist, our bodies winding together and twisting from the force of his catch. And then I looked up, and time stretched out in a long, still moment. His eyes on my mouth. Mine on his. His nose millimeters from mine and his mouth so close, if I turned my head just right, our lips would brush. The warmth of him was everywhere.

I wasn’t cold anymore. I was on fire.

So I said the first thing that entered my empty mind.

“Are you going to kiss me, or am I gonna have to lie to my diary?”

The moment broke with our laughter, filled the air around us, stopped my chugging heart. He pressed his lips to my forehead.

I sighed. “I guess that’ll do.”

He hooked his jacket over my shoulders, taking a moment to look over my face, watching his fingers as he tucked a loose curl behind my ear. “Come on. Let’s get you home. You did good tonight, Val.”

“Thanks to your expert advice.”

But he smiled. “Pretty soon, you’ll figure out you didn’t need me at all.”

And I smiled back and pretended like it was possible that statement held an iota of truth.

About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

StaciHart

Connect with Staci

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New Release + Blog Tour: Close by Laurelin Paige

 

 

 

CLOSE (Ryder Brothers #1) by Laurelin Paige

Release Date: October 10th

Cover Design: Laurelin Paige

Photographer: Wander Aguiar Photography

Cover Model: Kaz Vanderwaard

 

 

 

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW!!

FREE in Kindle Unlimited!!

Amazon US:https://amzn.to/2INaxul

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com.uk/dp/B07J6R58BW

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07J6R58BW

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.au/dp/B07J6R58BW

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2pMRYhr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42036631-close

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLURB

Everyone wants to get close to a rock star.

The bright lights.

The music.

Those talented fingers strumming… a guitar.

Everyone wants to bang a rock star.

So why do I keep running from the one who wants me?

I’m America’s Sweetheart.

I have a reputation.

He’s a boy-band icon turned rock god.

I’m vanilla.

He’s every flavor of bad.

And he’s much, much too young for me.

If I end up in Nick Ryder’s bed, my career and I will both be screwed.

…but that’s only if I’m caught.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCERPT

“Hi,” he says, doing a double-take when he realizes it’s me. He looks fabulous, of course, because why wouldn’t he when I look so scrubby? He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt and a hoodie, and his face doesn’t look like he’s tired, or like he stayed up late to drink too much and tear up the dance floor.

Or like he spent last night making out with somebody more than a decade older than him.

“It’s crazy seeing you here,” I say. I giggle again at the sheer ridiculousness of this. “Do you come here often?” What am I doing? What am I saying? It’s like I just learned how to talk to people of the opposite sex. How have I ever gotten a date?

Not that I’m trying to date Nick.

“Occasionally. You?” He sticks his hands in his pockets and he’s so relaxed, so sexy, and I just can’t stand all that swagger on such a handsome guy that I am not allowed to touch. It’s unfair for anyone to look so effortlessly edible before nine a.m.

“It’s my favorite shop. Come here all the time.” I take a couple steps backwards, trying to shift toward my car. “I probably should—”

“Don’t you think it’s probably more than a coincidence?” He takes a step towards me, and I take one back, willing myself not to respond to the rumble of his deep voice and the magnetism of his body. “That we’d see each other again so soon. Kind of like fate, almost.”

Oh my god, Oh my god, he’s flirting with me. What do I do? He’s so hot, I can’t even look at him. But then I do, and I have total church-giggles over this, and I have to escape before I make an even bigger fool out of myself. Someone is bound to notice that I am losing my cool, and they’ll draw conclusions that aren’t even true.

It was just kissing!

“It’s really weird, I have to admit.” I dance back some more, then glance behind me to make sure I’m not going to back into the street and get run over and make this even worse. “And really awkward.” I brush some hair back that’s come loose from the messy bun at the base of my neck.

He shrugs, seeming to disagree. And it’s true that I’m the only one who seems to be awkward right now. “I don’t know about that. Doesn’t have to be awkward. Could just be convenient. Since I never got your phone number.”

If I didn’t think he was flirting before, I know he definitely is now. I don’t want to say no to him, but I have to say no to him. He cannot have my number. Can’t have anything more than a memory of a scorching-hot make-out in the back of a club. What we did was not for a sunlit day. It was for a dark corner. And yet, I still can’t seem to actually say the word no. So instead I say, “Why do you need my phone number?”

Oh my god, this is mortifying. It really is like I’m in high school again and I’ve forgotten not only how to talk to boys but how to stand in their presence.

He takes another step toward me, laughing. “Well, for one thing, I thought it might be nice if we had dinner sometime.”

He has the most ridiculous smile, I realize. It lights up his entire face. You can see it in his eyes, and there’s no pretension. It’s all genuine. Pure sunshine. I’m rendered speechless by it for half a second and I have to ask, “What was that?”

“Dinner,” he says, that huge-ass grin in full force, taking another step toward me, and now there’s only three feet between us, and I can feel the body heat from him, can remember what it felt like the last time he walked me backwards into a wall and then his body was pressing into me, and his mouth was on me. When his chest was against me, when his cock was pressing into me and my hips—

I suddenly jump backwards. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” I look around suddenly to see if anyone’s noticed this exchange yet.

It’s fine, it’s still fine.

We’re just two people who work in the same industry who bumped into each other on a Saturday morning and are chatting like people do on Saturday mornings when they bump into each other. While giggling. Totally fine.

“What are you worried about, Natalia?” He doesn’t chase after me, just stands there looking confident and laid-back. Like a man trying to tempt a scared animal out from hiding. “I mean—I do bite, but most women like it.”

I smile at that, because I can’t help it, but I duck so he doesn’t see.

He’s probably so much more experienced than me.

He’s probably so dirty in the bedroom.

God, I shouldn’t be thinking about that. “I shouldn’t even be talking to you,” I say, shaking my head. I turn toward my car.

“No, you shouldn’t be,” he calls from behind me, and I have to actually close my eyes to collect myself because it’s obvious he’s thinking about doing not-talking things. Things like last night. Things like biting.

Things good girls have no business being so turned on by.

I tell myself he probably says stuff like that to all the girls who walk away from him.

But who am I kidding? Who has ever walked away from Nick Ryder? Besides me, I mean. Twice now. I deserve an Oscar for my willpower. That should be a new category.

“Bye, Nick,” I call as I flee with my coffee.

Then I step into my car, put my keys in the ignition and drive away before I lose my senses and change my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Laurelin

With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH LAURELIN PAIGE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurelinPaige/

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New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt + 5 Star Review: Five Years Gone by Marie Force

Today we are celebrating the release of FIVE YEARS GONE, a romantic standalone title by New York Times Bestselling author Marie Force. Check out some teasers and an excerpt for the book below.

 

FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

Available Now

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

PURCHASE IT NOW!

Kindle US | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

IndieBound | Booktopia AU | Books-a-Million

PURCHASE IN AUDIO: Amazon | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU

 

Read this excerpt from Five Years Gone.

 

Prologue

Ava

We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me.

Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues.

I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.”

And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew.

“I’m John.”

I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.”

Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?”

“Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.”

“What do you think so far?”

“I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.”

As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?”

I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.”

“The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.”

“I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool.

“Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along.

“Do people always do what you say?”

“If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?”

Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan.

“Go big or go home,” he said with admiration.

“That’s my motto.” I was so full of shit. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier.

When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.”

I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.”

“So, where’re you from, Ava?”

“New York.”

“I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.”

I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?”

Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.”

“I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?”

“I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.”

“Where’s home?”

“Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?”

I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?”

“Somewhere we can talk.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”

 

That’s how we started. We were intense from the first second we met until the last time I saw him five years ago today. I can’t believe it’s been five years since I looked into those incredible blue eyes or woke to him on the pillow next to me or heard his voice in my ear, whispering words that’re permanently carved into my heart as he made love to me.

The worst part is I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, being held captive or if he’s living his life somewhere else with someone else. I don’t know, and the not knowing is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

I love him as much today as I ever did. No amount of time could ever change that simple fact of my life. We had two beautiful, magnificent years together, caught up in our own little bubble. He never met my family. I never met his. We didn’t make couple friends. We didn’t talk about the future. We didn’t need to. Our future was decided that first night, and it would take care of itself in due time. I honestly and naïvely believed that.

Now, with hindsight, I realize the bubble was strategic on his part. He gave me everything he had to give, including no promise of tomorrow.

Five years ago today, we watched the horror unfold on live television. A US-based cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. Four thousand lives extinguished in a heartbeat. Our world permanently changed once again, our country declaring yet another war on terrorists. After 9/11 we thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong.

“I have to go,” he said, grabbing the duffel that stood ready in the front hall closet. He called it his “go bag.” I’d thought nothing of it.

“Where’re you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know that either.” He held my face in his hands and gazed at me, seemingly trying to memorize my every feature. “I love you. I’ll always love you.” Then he kissed me as passionately as he ever had and was gone, out the door in a flash of camouflage.

I never saw him again.

I’m not his wife or even his fiancée, so no one notified me of his whereabouts. And three months after he left, when I found a way onto the base in a desperate quest for information, no one there could tell me anything either. I tried to locate his parents and other people he mentioned, but it was like they didn’t exist. I could find no record of a retired general named West in the Marine Corps, Army or Air Force.

Furthermore, an exhaustive search for information on the John West I had known led nowhere. No high school, no college, no military service, no nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed the two years we spent together, doing mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, watching TV and sleeping together after long days at work. But then I’d remember the blissful passion, the scorching pleasure, the desire that ruled us from the beginning, and I’d know I didn’t dream him. I didn’t dream us. We were real, and he was everything to me.

Sitting on the floor in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, I take a few minutes before the movers arrive to memorize every detail of the place where we lived together. I’ve packed his things along with mine, and I’m moving home to New York. Today was my deadline. I gave it five years, and I simply can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit in our home among our things, waiting for something that’s never going to happen.

It’s over. It’s time for me to move on. It’s probably long past time, if I’m being honest with myself. And though I know it’s the right move at the right time, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t shattering all over again as I dismantle the place where we were us.

My sister is getting married next month. I promised her I’d be home in time to hold her hand through the festivities. Other than occasional trips home for holidays and other occasions, I’ve been gone more than ten years. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to the girl who left home at eighteen seeking independence from her overbearing family at a faraway college out West.

I accomplished all my goals, finishing college, landing a decent job and falling in love with the man of my dreams. I found out what happens when dreams come true and how painful it is when they blow up in your face.

It’s time now to set new goals, to start over, to begin a life that doesn’t have John at the center of it the way it did here. It’ll be nice to be back with people who love me and care about me, even if they tend toward smothering at times. That’s looking rather good to me after years of loneliness and grief.

The intercom sounds to let me know the movers are here. I pick myself up off the floor and steel my heart for the day ahead. I can do this. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll survive this the same way I’ve survived everything else. Despite my resolve, my eyes fill with tears as I press the button that opens the door downstairs to the movers.

It doesn’t take them long to pack my belongings into their truck. I keep with me the things that can’t be replaced—precious photos, gifts he gave me, the clothing he left behind. After taking a final look around the apartment, I pack those boxes into my car, turn my apartment keys into the leasing office and head east, feeling as if I’m leaving behind everything that ever mattered to me.

It’s like I’m losing him all over again. I cry all the way through the desert of Southern California and well into Arizona. I relive every minute I can remember, every conversation, every special moment. I think about what it was like to make love with him and wonder how I’ll ever to do that with anyone but him. Maybe I won’t. Maybe that part of my life ended with him, and even though I’m only twenty-eight now, I’m okay with that possibility. Once you’ve experienced perfection, it’s hard to imagine settling for anything less.

The tears finally dry up somewhere in northern Arizona, but the ache inside… I take that with me all the way to New York, where I will try my very best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and put them back together into some new version of myself.

After all, what choice do I have?

 

5 star

Tracey’s Review

 

I’m going to be honest, even though I love and adore Marie Force, after reading the synopsis for FIVE YEARS GONE, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it, that I could read it. I mean, I knew going in that it was going to evoke all kinds of memories and feelings, you know, the ones that we all have after any kind of attack on our own sense of national security. Helpless and violated, and completely bereft. But, then, I thought, it’s Marie, so how could I not read it, so in I went.

This book. Oh, my gosh, this book. As an avid reader and a blogger, I have the opportunity to read a lot of books. A lot of them are really good, a few less than memorable, but there are those that you pick up, and you stay up reading late into the night because you just can’t put them down, and that stay with you long after the last page. FIVE YEARS GONE falls firmly into the last category, and I could not have loved it more.

I was completely enthralled with this story of a second chance at love. This is not the second time around trope that I’m used to reading, but, rather a story about people that have been devastated by loss opening their hearts to love again, even when everything in them says otherwise.

I cannot even imagine having gone through the waiting, the wondering, the despair, that Ava has. That she is able to let herself fall again is a testament to the fact that Eric is such a solid guy. I absolutely loved him, and, let me tell you, he’s a total keeper. He stuck around when other men would have run, and his love for Ava is just palpable. I could not have been happier with the way that Marie brought this story full circle, and, while I was crying along with Ava, it just felt absolutely right.

There’s a wonderful cast of supporting characters, and they really make the story that much more enjoyable. There is no question that the second book in this series (yes, there’s more!) is already one of my top anticipated books of 2019, because I think it’s going to be just as fabulous as FIVE YEARS GONE, and I cannot wait. If I could recommend one recent read, FIVE YEARS GONE is it, because it was just that good. If it’s not on your TBR, it should be, because you will love it.

 

ADD FIVE YEARS GONE TO GOODREADS

 

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

Join Marie’s Reader Groups

InkSlinger Blogger Final

New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt: The Moon by Sierra Simone

Cards of Love: The Moon by Sierra Simone
Release Date: October 5th
Genre: Erotic Romance
Cover Designer: Lori Jackson at Lori Jackson Design

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41819392-cards-of-love

AVAILABLE NOW!!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Odfcfn
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Blurb:

She’s angry that I left. I’m angry that I died.

It’s the trouble with our two lives: we don’t only have one past to work through, but two. Double the pain, twice the betrayal.

A million times the tragedy.

***The Moon is the story of Merlin and Nimue from the New Camelot trilogy. It’s recommended that you read the trilogy first, as there are American King spoilers in The Moon.***

(Cards of Love is a massive multi-author project, a series of love letters to the mysterious and inspirational world of tarot cards. These can be read in any order, as the only thing the Cards of Love books share is their common inspiration from the world of tarot.)

Excerpt

A hiss in the darkness, then a flame, bright and dancing and unwelcome.

A match, I think, and then I think, why?

And then: where am I?

“You’re awake,” says a voice like water. A voice I love. It still doesn’t help me figure out where I am.

“Am I?” I ask. “Awake?”

Like I said earlier, I don’t dream as such, but when I close my eyes, the memories and visions are there, dogging my sleep. And I think maybe—yes, there is also a memory like this. A memory of a dark-haired girl and a cave sparkling with light, the night air heavy with the ecstatic cries we fed it.

“You are awake, Merlin.” The flame moves, calves another flame, and then is blown out. A candle now glows softly against the face of a woman standing at the end of the bed I’m on.

Dark brows arch high over clear blue eyes and a long nose curves gracefully down the woman’s oval face, framed by a high forehead and cheekbones, and a beautiful, if narrow, jaw. Her lips are on the thin side, but perfectly sculpted, giving her an expressive, fascinating mouth. Coffee-dark hair hangs in glossy sheets around her face and down her back.

She’s haunting. Haunting even as a girl, but now even more so as a woman.

“Nimue,” I say, and for the first time I notice how thirsty I am. I make to sit up—and realize my hands are tied to the bed.

Nimue sets the candle down on an end table, and it illuminates the space enough to show me that

I’m indeed in a room and not in the damp mouth of a cave.It means it’s now and not then, which I suppose I should be grateful for.

After all, I died then.

A silver key glints from just below the smile of her clavicle, the bottom tip of it pointing to the sweet valley between her breasts I used to know so well. They are small and pert—her body still the lithe dancer’s body she had as a girl—and my flesh responds to the sight of those little handfuls, the memory of them. The fantasy of her dusky nipples dragging along the underside of my aching cock is enough to have my body warming, and that’s when I really become aware that I’m not only tied to the bed, but I’m also dressed in a pair of black boxer briefs and nothing else.

Well, nothing else except for the padded cuff around my ankle.

Nimue leans forward to untie my wrist, which leaves the front of her swishy dress gaping forward enough that I can see those nipples now, dark rose and erect.

I’d tasted them frequently once upon a time.

Once upon a time, twice.

In another life, I’d known the feel of her breasts against my lips and tongue better than I’d known almost anything else.

With one of my wrists freed, Nimue straightens and nods at the other. “You can untie yourself. You’ll find that the chain allows you more than enough length to do everything you need. I’m obviously trusting you not to do anything self-destructive, but should the need arise, I can take away this particular freedom.” She says it cheerfully, almost as if the idea of taking away my freedom delights her.

The key on her chest glints as she steps back, and I understand that it’s the key that unlocks my cuff—the same cuff that is connected to a ring in the floor by a length of slender chain.

Anger comes.

And with it shame.

And with that, fear.

I died once this way, and I’d rather not do it again.

I lunge for my other wrist to untie it, needing to be free, needing to reach for Nimue to kiss her or kill her—but by the time I untie myself, she’s out the door with it shut and locked behind her.

 

About the Author:
Sierra Simone is a USA Today Bestselling former librarian (who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk.) She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City

Connect with Sierra Simone:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sierra-Simone-497450453680395/?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheSierraSimone
Amazon : http://amzn.to/1PDR4K4
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Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/thesierrasimone/
Website: http://authorsierrasimone.com/

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New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt: Strong by Kylie Scott

 

 

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kylie Scott comes a new story in her Stage Dive series…

When the girl of your dreams is kind of a nightmare.

As head of security to Stage Dive, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Sam Knowles has plenty of experience dealing with trouble. But spoilt brat Martha Nicholson just might be the worst thing he’s ever encountered. The beautiful troublemaker claims to have reformed, but Sam knows better than to think with what’s in his pants. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to make his heart fall into line.

Martha’s had her sights on the seriously built bodyguard for years. Quiet and conservative, he’s not even remotely her type. So why the hell can’t she get him out of her mind? There’s more to her than the Louboutin wearing party-girl of previous years, however. Maybe it’s time to let him in on that fact and deal with this thing between them.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW

AMAZON US | AMAZON AUS | AMAZON UK

 

 

 

“Ooh, busted,” said Lizzy. “The bodyguard caught you looking.”

“Shut it.” I inched my chin up a bit, trying not to frown because frowning gave you lines. “Sam and I have known each other for years and nothing has ever happened. You’re completely wrong about this.”

“Am I?”

“Yes, there’s nothing between us.”

“So that’s why you were staring at him?”

I chose not to answer that. “And you know he prefers to be called executive protection officer instead of bodyguard.”

At this, Lizzy burst out giggling, a malicious glee in her eyes. No wonder I liked my sister-in-law these days.

Ben shot us both an irritated glance. We both ignored it.

Of course, I’d known Sam would probably be here. Rock stars going out in public could be a delicate thing. People had a tendency to get overexcited. And while one person wanting an autograph wasn’t a problem, twenty or thirty of them suddenly swarming definitely could be. Having once been part of the entourage, I’d seen it happen to Ben and his fellow Stage Dive band members enough times to be wary. And you couldn’t get by with ordinary security. Rock stars needed protection from their over-zealous fans, but on the other hand they didn’t want the fans roughed up or hurt in any way. It required a delicate balance: control, experience, and a whole gamut of scary physical skills. Hence Sam.

Still, Portland seemed generally less crazy than the good old days back in LA. All of the guys seemed calmer and more settled away from the constant craziness of the party scene. Not to mention the effect of all of the wives/partners and various offspring. The biggest rock band in the world had officially been domesticated.

It was kind of cute. Or sad. I don’t know.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to stir you,” she lied. “What do you think of your brother’s new musical bromance?”

On the small stage set up in the corner of the room, a young man wailed his heart out while playing an acoustic guitar. Much angst about a girl who only called him after midnight. Trust a rockster to turn a simple booty call into a heartbreaking ballad. The song was damn good though. He had talent. If only I hadn’t had my fill of the type when I was younger. The kid looked to be in his early to mid-twenties. Lanky with lots of tattoos. Your typical rock ’n roll Prince Charming. Gag. These days my type ran more toward…actually, what I needed or wanted in a male was a total mystery.

And my gaze did not stray back to Sam. That did not happen.

 

 

 

 

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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