Wednesday, June 29, 2016

***Excerpt Reveal!*** THE MATCHMAKER'S REPLACEMENT (A Wingmen Inc. Novel) by Rachel Van Dyken

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Wingman rule number two: never reveal how much you want them. Lex hates Gabi. Gabi hates Lex. But, hey, at least the hate is mutual, right? All Lex has to do is survive the next few weeks training Gabi in all the ways of Wingmen Inc. and then he can be done with her. But now that they have to work together, the sexual tension and fighting is off the charts. He isn’t sure if he wants to strangle her or throw her against the nearest sturdy table and have his way with her. But Gabi has a secret, something she’s keeping from not just her best friend but her nemesis too. Lines are blurred as Lex becomes less the villain she’s always painted him to be…and starts turning into something more. Gabi has always hated the way she’s been just a little bit attracted to him—no computer-science major should have that nice of a body or look that good in glasses—but “Lex Luthor” is an evil womanizer. He’s dangerous. Gabi should stay far, far away. Then again, she’s always wanted a little danger.

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EXCERPT    

 I hated him. HATED him. Hate, hate, hate. I chanted the words to myself that very next morning as I stomped toward his ridiculously expensive house, next to the ridiculously nice lake, with his ridiculously loud red Mercedes parked out front. Jackass. I’d be doing society a favor if I set it on fire. Seriously. The thing was probably filled with so much bodily fluid and disease that if he got in a car accident he’d infect the entire freeway and start a citywide epidemic. I shuddered. I compartmentalized Lex into two boxes. The first box was Childhood Lex, the friend who used to hang out with Ian and me before he moved across town, never to be seen again. He used to ride with me to school, and when I was sick he gave me my own box of Kleenex—never mind that he stole it from his teacher’s desk. The point is, Childhood Lex was a keeper. Box number two? Asshole Lex, also known as the version I was walking toward. The Lex I met when I was eighteen, who momentarily stunned me speechless with his godlike beauty, had been a figment of my overactive, sad, hormone-riddled imagination. On the outside? The perfect man. With a brooding and sultry smile. Biceps the size of my head. Who gave me the distinct feeling that if I ran my hands over his buzzed hair I’d orgasm before he even touched me. Whatever. I was over it. So over it. A lot of people had stupid crushes when they were eighteen, right? Now all I saw when I looked into his stormy blue eyes was syph or the clap, and that was being generous. The dude was a walking STD and seriously tried every nerve I had. He was an ass. Plain and simple, no sugar coating. He was the type of guy who’d tell a chick that she looked fat in a dress or who refused to share the communal breadbasket. See! He couldn’t even adhere to typical manners during mealtime! Just thinking about him had me tied up in knots. Last year, when I went shopping and stupidly invited Ian along—which of course meant Lex had to come—I was told in no uncertain terms that if I would just stop drinking chocolate milk in the morning I’d be able to fit into a smaller size. He’d smiled. His dimples had deepened. He’d even crossed his arms as if to say, Look, I did you a favor, pat me on the back. Instead I had kicked him in the balls and tried to give him a black eye, clocking Ian in the face. My point? Lex. Was. The. Devil. I made a point of only hanging out with Lex when absolutely necessary, and even then I almost always had Ian as a buffer. But now that he was playing love nest with my ex-roomie, Blake? Well, I was on my own. Lex opened the door after my third aggressive knock. Black sweatpants hung low on his hips, a vintage Mariners shirt fell open around his neck, and he was wearing black-framed glasses that made his eyes more appealing than should be legal. “Sunshine,” he said, his smirk deepening as he crossed his burly arms over his chest. “Dickhead.” I smiled sweetly. “New glasses? They look thicker than last time.” “Better to see you with.” He leaned forward, his eyes narrowing into tiny slits. “There they are.” He reached for one of my boobs. I slapped his hand away so hard my palm stung. “Probably not the best way to treat your new male clients.” He shook his hand and turned towards the living room leaving the door wide open. Manners were completely lost on him. Gritting my teeth, I slammed the door behind me and took off my shoes because I knew if I didn’t he’d give me hell. He was a freak like that. For as much ass as he got, it was shocking how much Lysol he used around the house. His clothes were never wrinkled; everything was pristine. Even his breath. Damn him. He drank coffee like a Starbucks employee but never had coffee breath. It was almost painful, staring him in the face, knowing that everything on the outside appeared perfect—but didn’t match the inside at all, not even close! Beauty like Lex’s was dangerous and wickedly tempting, like something out of a paranormal romance novel. Sometimes, at night, when I dreamed of Lex getting hit by a car, I imagined him as a vampire roaming the streets in his favorite black sweats, shirtless, shimmering under the streetlights, just waiting for whores to line up so he could take a few bites. A pencil flew by my head. “Yo.” Lex’s eyebrows shot up. “We have a lot of work to do if we’re going to get you ready for the next two clients. Daydream about chicks on your own time.” “I’m not a lesbian.” He bit on his bottom lip, sinking back in his chair as his eyes slowly roamed from my mismatched socks all the way up to my head. “Okay, whatever you say, Gabs.” I will not commit homicide. I will not commit homicide. “You know,” I said as I tossed my purse onto the table, “it’s offensive that you assume all lesbians dress like crap.” So what? I was wearing a ratty white T-shirt and ripped jeans, and I was pretty sure I still had mascara on from the night before. It was my Lex repellant. He hated sloppiness. “Offensive.” He nodded. “Also true . . .” He used the spare pencil from behind his ear to slide my purse over to the farthest side of the table. “It wouldn’t kill you to wear something other than jeans and T-shirts, Gabs.” He sighed. “Say it with me: dresssss—” I grabbed the pencil from his hand, broke it into two pieces, and handed them back to him. “I wear dresses, just not for you. Dresses are your kryptonite, especially short black ones. I refuse to be a part of your ‘shower time.’” He snorted. “You wish.” “Yes. Every night when I go to sleep I pray for Lex to dream of me while he jerks off because yet another girl refused to follow his instructions in bed : ‘Damn it, use the manual!’” I said, using my best imitation of Lex’s voice. I’d only heard him shout instructions to a girl once, and it had scarred me for life. What the hell are you doing? Do I look like I’m satisfied? There’s a diagram! Ugh. Lex rolled his eyes. “Very funny, and the manual is there for a reason. Do you even know how many chicks get confused when I call out sexual positions? It’s like, get there faster, you know?” My feelings were torn between fascination and disgust. “So,” I changed the subject. “Let’s train, because I have about ten years worth of Organic Chem homework.” Lex sighed and held out his hand. “No.” I crossed my arms. “I don’t need help.” Okay, I needed help, desperately needed help, and Lex wasn’t just passably smart but a certified genius, at least when he applied himself. I refused to ask him to go over my homework just because Organic Chem was, to me, like reading a foreign language. He cleared his throat. I didn’t move. Finally, he stood, slowly walked over to the end of the table, and fished the chem book from my oversized purse. “What chapter?” “Lex—” “If I’m teaching you Organic Chem, at least say Professor Lex.” “Listen very closely, Lex.” I went over and jerked my book out of his hands. “I didn’t need your help last year when I almost failed biology, and I sure as hell don’t need your help now. Let’s just get this training done so I can go home and suffer in silence, alright?” “Fine.” He dropped my book against the table and then, without warning, grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me against the counter that bordered the kitchen. My butt hit the cupboard . “Up until now we’ve been helping people find their perfect match. Basically acting like a wingman so that the idiots of this world see the girl who’s been standing in front of them all along .” Why was he standing so close? Did we have to be touching? I told my body not to respond to his proximity, but Lex was magnetic, even if every part of him was evil. My brain was having trouble functioning while his large palms were pressed into the tops of my shoulders. “Okay.” I swallowed. “And now that you’re allowing guys to become clients of Wingmen Inc., I basically do the same thing. Give them confidence, help them capture the one girl who’s always seen them as the friend—or worse, who they’ve been invisible to.” “What’s that like, I wonder?” Lex still didn’t release me. “Being invisible . . . Maybe next time a dude ignores you, take notes.” And another insult. “Lex.” I huffed out a breath. “Just get on with it.” “Right.” His eyes momentarily locked on mine before he rubbed the bridge of his nose where his glasses were perched. It was not sexy. It wasn’t. Really. That. Sexy. “So whenever we take on a new client, we give them a list of questions, meet them in a public place, and then use the power of human emotions like jealousy and curiosity to get the other person interested. That’s where you come in. If another girl sees our client as desirable, he becomes desirable.” “That easy?” “Sort of.” Lex leaned forward. “But you can’t suck.” “Suck?” “At anything.” His lips hovered near my mouth. He was starting to freak me out. I wanted to run away, but I was pinned. “Lex, if you kiss me I will bite your tongue off. I swear.” “If I was actually kissing you”—Lex released one of my shoulders and placed a finger against my mouth—“you’d know it. This, my frumpy friend, is training.” His lips descended. They pressed against mine, then pulled back. “Yeah.” He shook his head. “Gabs, you’re going to need to open your mouth a bit more. Guys are stupid. They always assume that more tongue means better kissing, when the opposite is true, but you still need to have your lips parted, not locked down like Fort Knox.” “What’s happening?” I tried to push away from him. Lex rolled his eyes. “Gabs, believe me, this is all business. You can even keep your hand on my junk the whole time.” “What!” I roared. “So you know without a doubt that nothing about you turns me on.” He grinned menacingly. “Seriously, I don’t mind.” “I do!” “Hey!” He chuckled. “I was just trying to help.” “Grabbing your penis is not the answer, Lex!” “Weird, because it so often is.” “I hate today.” “Is it the rain?” He frowned. “It’s not—” “It is.” “Stop that!” I shoved him. “Hurry up and grade my kissing skills so I can go home and study.” “Kissing, hand holding, hugging, cuddling, laughing, winking—just a few things you need to master.” He was firing off so many horrible, body-numbing words. “Just hurry up,” I grumbled in a defeated voice as I tried to block out the fact that he was a good-looking ass who offended me with every single breath he took. “Ah . . .” Lex held up his hand. “One never hurries a kiss.” “What about a passionate kiss?” “A passionate kiss isn’t hurried, it’s frenzied. Damn, don’t you know anything?” Heat swamped my cheeks. “How many guys have you kissed, Gabs?” “Plenty!” Five. I’d kissed five. “You blush down your neck when you lie.” Lex cupped my chin and then brought his lips down against mine again. “Part.” Sighing against his mouth, I relaxed my lips while his slid across. He pulled back, wearing a frown of irritation. “A bit more, Gabs. Guys want access.” I kept my eyes open. So did he. I didn’t want him assuming I was into it, which was probably his exact line of thinking. Only keeping my eyes open was an entirely raw experience, watching him watch me while I felt him. I shivered. “Cold?” That stupid smirk was back. “Frigid.” I glared, putting myself down before he had a chance to. “You read my mind.” He nodded seriously. “Now stop being a bitch, and let me teach you how to kiss.” “I know how to kiss!” I don’t know what came over me—maybe it was the need to prove myself, or possibly it was just stress over the entire situation. Needing to stay in school and hating that he was the answer, I wrapped my arms around his neck and jumped, my hips colliding with his as I mauled his mouth with as much passion as I could conjure up, this time closing my eyes and putting everything I had into it. With a growl, Lex pushed me back against the countertop. As my butt collided with the edge, his tongue plunged into my mouth and his hands dug into my hair, pulling it free from its ponytail while he changed positions his lips demanding a punishing kiss from a different angle as his he gave my hair a harder tug back. I grasped at his T-shirt, pulling him closer and nearly falling backward into the sink. And then, just when I was in danger of losing myself to the kiss that would probably be the best kiss of my life, I bit down on his bottom lip. That move didn’t work out the way I’d planned, not at all. In my head it was smart. I’d piss him off, get him to pull back and leave me alone. It did nothing of the sort. Nothing of the sort at] all. With a hiss he pulled back, fire blazing in his eyes. For a split second that seemed to go on for an eternity, he hovered and I waited, both of us on the edge of something. He wet his lips, I mimicked the movement, and then, like a snake, he struck. His mouth fused to mine in a punishing kiss, one that bruised my mouth while imprinting its essence on my soul.         

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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers! Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866! You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com .

DEFENDING HAYDEN by L.P. Dover: Review by Lys

Defending Hayden (Second Chances, #7)Defending Hayden by L.P. Dover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a feel good read! My heart broke for Derek in Catching Summer, so it was nice to read how every thing worked out for him in the end. I have fallen in love with the characters in the Second Chances Series; Hayden is a nice addition to the group. She is just what Derek needed to mend his shattered heart. She was smart, independent, and loved him for who he is. Of course, there is more than just a love story written between these pages. There is jealousy, deceit, and sabotage! Between the suspense and the sexy, steamy scenes... this story kept me intrigued until the very end. I would definitely recommend this book, this series. I can't wait for Lara's story next!

♥ Review by Lys

*The Second Chances Series is a series of stand-alones with interconnected couples.




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***Release Tour!*** DEFENDING HAYDEN by L.P. Dover


Title: Defending Hayden 
Series: A Second Chances Novel
Author: LP Dover
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 28, 2016 Publisher: Random House  Cover Design by: Mae I Design and Photography Photo Taken by: Regina Wamba
No one’s tougher than Carolina Cougars linebacker Derek McLaughlin. But when a fatal car accident claims the life of his girlfriend, Derek finds himself caught in a destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. But not even a string of one-night stands can ease the hurt. Football is all he has left. Then fate leads him back to the scene of the crash, and into the arms of a kind, gorgeous woman who sees past his fa├žade to the man he once was . . . and can be again.
When a chance roadside encounter brings Derek into her life, veterinarian Hayden Hunter isn’t fooled by his bad attitude: All bark and no bite, he’s hiding a wounded heart beneath that gruff demeanor. And Hayden wants to be the one to kiss it all better. Soon they both find that a dose of passion is potent medicine. But when a hidden enemy lashes out at Hayden, Derek steps up to do what he does best: put his body on the line in the name of love.
“Sexy and emotional with characters you will root for, Defending Hayden is a great addition to the Second Chances series!”—Elisabeth Barrett, author of the Return to Briarwood series
“Defending Hayden is a smart and heartwarming story that is impossible to put down. Throw in a sexy football player and some lovable animals and you’re all set.”—Stina Lindenblatt, author of This One Moment
 
This was such a feel good read! My heart broke for Derek in Catching Summer, so it was nice to read how every thing worked out for him in the end. I have fallen in love with the characters in the Second Chances Series; Hayden is a nice addition to the group. She is just what Derek needed to mend his shattered heart. She was smart, independent, and loved him for who he is. Of course, there is more than just a love story written between these pages. There is jealousy, deceit, and sabotage! Between the suspense and the sexy, steamy scenes... this story kept me intrigued until the very end. I would definitely recommend this book, this series. I can't wait for Lara's story next!

 ♥ Review by Lys

Guilt plagued me and I felt sick. Getting out of bed, I paced the room, running my hands angrily through my hair. I didn’t want to hurt Hayden. Keeping her away would protect her from my life. She was bound to leave me anyway. I’d fuck up somehow and it would ruin her. What the hell was I talking about? I’d already fucked her up.
“Derek?” Her voice was like honey, silky and sweet. I’d imagined what it would be like to hear that voice screaming my name as I fucked her over and over. Last night had been the best night of my life, but it had scared the shit out of me. I couldn’t shake it. “Derek, are you okay?” she asked. Stopping midstep, I turned to face her, and her eyes widenened when she got a glimpse of my face. I could only imagine what she saw. So many emotions battled inside me. She held the blanket to her chest, and her lips trembled. “Please tell me this wasn’t just a game to you,” she whispered.
Swallowing hard, I sat down on the edge of the bed and reached for her. She recoiled from my touch. “None of this was a game, Hayden. Last night was fucking amazing.”
Her eyes glistened, but her jaw was firm. “Then why are you looking at me like that? Like you regret what we did.”
I wanted to touch her, but last night had been my only chance. She’d never let me close to her again. “I don’t regret it, but eventually you will. You’re not the only one who’s lost someone they cared about. I can’t go through it again. It’s best to stop this before it goes any further.”
“Any further?” she scoffed. She waved her arm around the room, her anger so thick I could cut it with a knife. “If you didn’t want it to go any further, then why did you bring me here? Why would you do that to me?”
“Because I care about you,” I said, knowing it made no sense to her.
“Then why are you pushing me away?” she cried.
Standing, I got up and walked over to the window. “You wouldn’t understand.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.
She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.
Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, the Society X series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.
L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency and Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management for dramatic rights.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Forever Lost by Laura Morgan ~ Review by Juls

Forever LostForever Lost by Laura Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


4 Stars!


So... I don't think I really knew what I was signing up for when I started reading Forever Lost. When they say "Don't judge a book by its cover" I would have to agree! I was expecting something totally different, but I was not disappointed! I will say if your looking for a light hearted story, this isn't for you. If you don't like scenes with girl on girl, this isn't for you. But, if your able to look past that and your looking for a story about a girl that will do anything she can to survive, then this one is for you! Because even though Cassie found herself in a situation that she never would have imagined, Cassie does everything she can to make her life as livable as possible. I'm not sure if I would have been able to adapt to the twist and turns that took place as fast as she did. This story will keep you on your toes the entire time! It may have some hard limits for some, but it was a good story, and I'm looking forward to starting Forever Loved to see how Cassie's story ends!



-Juls

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Forever Loved by Laura Morgan ~ Review by Juls

Forever Loved (Forever Lost Book 2)Forever Loved by Laura Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 Stars!

The continuation of Leo and Cassie's story is just as suspenseful, sexy, and all consuming as the first one. Their story was addicting and fun to read. Forever Love picks up right where Forever Lost ended. We get to see how Cassie has moved on after dealing with her past. I liked seeing that things for her came to a happy ending, and I loved getting more of Mr. Solomon! Leo is one hot alpha that I'm sure everyone will enjoy meeting! This book is a great addition to the series!



-Juls

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Blog Tour - TAINTED BY CRAZY by Abby McCarthy






What do you do when your boyfriend of five years is sleeping with your best friend and you’re in a dead-end job, breaking your back for mere pennies? I’ll tell you what I did. I did the one thing I’ve been dreading for the last thirteen years, I finally went home. I needed to get back on my feet and I needed my Grams. As much as I wanted to pretend life was working for me, it wasn’t.

The problem with home though is that everywhere I turn, her ghosts were haunting me. 
Crazy, crazy, crazy, just like her, just like my momma. 
I wanted to pretend that crazy didn't exist, but it was all around me, trying to do its best to pull me under. 

There’s one problem with that, Keenan Rhys. He’s determined not to let it. And I’m determined to keep him away.




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Excerpt

One major thing stood out for me in his speech. Besides the fact that Alex was still a dog, Rys said, ‘when I claim you.’ Was he talking in the general sense, or was he saying he was going to claim me? I was silenced by his words. I didn't have a rebuttal. The ride to my place was quiet. Rys opened his mouth again as he turned on to Grams’ street. “What’s the story with him that you needed to apologize as soon as you saw him?”
I had a feeling this was coming. I mean, how could he not ask?
“Senior year, Alex was my on again/off again boyfriend. I was wild. I had lots of boyfriends and partied like no tomorrow. One night, Alex and I went to a party. We both got drunk and smoked a bunch of pot. And then, when it came time to go home, we flipped a coin to decide who would drive. I lost the coin toss, then lost control of the car. I broke my leg and shattered his wrist.”
“And then, you healed and got out of here?” he asked finishing my story from what he must have surmised from my conversation with Alex.
“Pretty much,” I agreed nodding my head, “I was young and stupid. I can't believe how easy Alex let that go. I thought he’d hate me. I’ve held on to the guilt for so long, and it didn't seem like he was really bothered by it.”
“Is that one of the things that have kept you away from home?” he asked pulling into the driveway.
“One of many,” I sighed and put my hand on the door handle about to open the door when I heard Rys say in a stern voice, “Maple.”
I waited in the cab for him to come around and help me down. I was not testing him anymore tonight. “You,” I pointed at Rys, “wait here one second.” I hurriedly ran into the house and grabbed a jar of apple butter. I felt like I needed to do something for him. I ran back out and found Rys leaning against his truck with a smirk on his face. “Here, as a thank you for dinner,” I said handing him the jar. I was slightly embarrassed and my cheeks tinged pink.
He looked at the jar curiously and I said, “Keep it refrigerated. It’s fantastic on toast, muffins, pastry, pretty much everything. It will keep for about a week.”
He smiled at me. Those two dimples made me want to melt. He leaned forward and hugged me, “Thanks, friend,” he said, then turned and opened his truck door. Before getting in, he added, “If this is half as good as your pie, I think I can die a happy man.”
He liked my pie. Why did that thought make me smile?

 

 
3.5 Stars

This is a good story about not letting your past define you. Maples past was rough, to put it lightly. She always let it get in the way of truly being happy. When she is forced to move back to her home town, she finds out more about her past which in turn, helps mend her broken pieces. While being home, Maple comes across the sexy Keenan Rys who is also there to show her what happiness is all about. Their relationship started as friends, but with the amount of chemistry they had, everyone knew it was much more than that!

I also liked Grams. She was exactly what Maple needed. She pushed Maple in all the right directions once she returned home. I felt that Grams was a big part in Maples life and helped her move past her demons. If it wasn't for the constant love from Grams, I'm not sure that she would be the person she became. I'm happy to see that it doesn't matter where you start in life, it matters where you end.
 

~Review by Juls




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Abby McCarthy is reader and a lover of words. She is a blogger turned author and released her first novel in May 2014. She is a mother of three, a wife and a dog person. She has always written, sometimes poetry, sometimes just to vent about failed relationships, however in parenthood she has found her voice to help keep her sanity. Words have flowed from her, to review and with the support of amazing friends in the Indie community she has decided to pursue her dream of writing! She loves to write and read romance, because isn't that something we all yearn for? Whether it be flowers and hand holding or just the right tug on your hair. Isn't that what life is about? The human connection?


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