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Monday, April 12, 2021

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway of Max and the Spice Thieves by John Peragine

Max and the Spice Thieves
John Peragine
(Secrets of the Twilight Djinn #1)
Publication date: April 20th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

When his mother goes missing, Max Daybreaker’s world is turned upside down. Luckily, a crew of Spice Pirates, led by the mysterious Captain Cinn, help Max on his dangerous mission across the three seas.

Along the way, an unlikely alliance aids in his search—a teenage warrior queen, a three-eyed seer, and an assassin spy.

Their journey takes them through treacherous lands while facing shapeshifting bears, an ancient witch, harpies, and the nightmarish Djinn, who will stop at nothing to enslave the world.

With every new challenge, Max unlocks the secrets of his unsettling past. Powers awaken within, forcing him to question everything he knows.

Is Max who he thinks he is? Only time and destiny will tell…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Enjoy this excerpt:

“Ye must be Master Max. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Cornelius Cinn—captain of the Saucy Pig—at your service.” Cinn took off his hat briefly and bowed.

I stood paralyzed.

“Yer Max . . . Max Daybreaker, right?” asked Cinn as he straightened and took a step closer.

“Uh, yes, sir. But my mom . . . she told me not to talk to strangers.”

“Yes, yes. Sage advice. Yer mom is a very sharp woman, Master Max,” he said, looking around. “Might ye know where she be?”

Before I could answer, I heard Tully nicker. The tallest and most powerful-looking man I had ever seen approached with Tully in tow. He wore a thick leather tunic, and his britches looked to be made from waxed sailcloth. He had a bald head, and his skin was the color of moonless midnight. He stood a good foot taller than Captain Cinn and was covered in thick muscles that looked like taut rope. I backed up in the wagon a bit and searched for anything I could use to protect myself.

“Oh, good show, Piers, good show. Any problems?”

“No, Captain,” Piers replied in a deep, rich voice.

“Well, Max, yer safe, and we have yer horse. Now, where be ye mother?” Cinn asked.

“You know my mom?” I squinted at Cinn. How could such a strange man know my ordinary mother?

“Aye. She was supposed to meet me at the Grog Blossom hours ago. A dreadful place that be. Their food is bland, makin’ me wonder if they cut old potatoes to look like fish. Awful, don’t ye think?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never eaten there,” I replied.

“Of course ye haven’t. That’s no place for a young boy. It’s full of all kinds of rogues, even . . . pirates.” Cinn grinned, showing his pearly-white teeth with a top front tooth capped in gold.

“Pirates, yes . . . Mom mentioned pirates. She said we were going to sail on a pirate ship.”

“She’d be correct. The Saucy Pig is the terror of the high seas, lad.”

I stepped off the wagon for a closer look at Cinn. “So, you’re a Spice Pirate?” I asked, looking him over.

“Aye, but don’t say that so loud,” whispered Captain Cinn. “I’ve a reputation to keep in these parts. I can’t be seen helping boys and their ponies. Why I’d be a laughingstock.”

I bristled, puffing up to show I wasn’t some little kid. I was almost thirteen, and though I didn’t have a beard yet, I was practically a man.

“I don’t know how much help I can be. Mom told me to wait for her, then she left. I knew I should have gone with her. She was meeting with a . . . Well, I guess she was meeting you. But that was hours ago when the sun was still down.”

Tears clouded my vision, and so I squeezed my eyes shut. The strange sensation I had felt earlier returned—a pressure under my ribs, except this time heat rose through the center of my body. It was as if I’d stepped out of the shade into direct sunlight—waves of energy pulsed through my arms and legs. My fear of losing my mother became desperate anger.

I opened my eyes to see Captain Cinn gripping his throat. His eyes were red and bulging, and his skin started turning a muddy purple.

 

Author Bio:

John Peragine is an author of over fourteen books. The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn series was written as a bedtime story for his son Max to cope with medical issues he was facing as a little boy. John is a full-time ghostwriter who lives with his son, wife, and a menagerie of animals on his vineyard overlooking the Mississippi River.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Before Summer Ends by Susan Mallery

We are super excited to be a part of the excerpt tour for the latest from Susan Mallery,   This is stop #1.  Make sure to check out the other blogs over the week to read a continuation of this sneak peek.

Author: Susan Mallery 
Publication Date: April 27, 2021

A long, hot summer with her secret crush…
What could possibly go wrong?
Nissa Lang knows Desmond Stilling is out of her league. He’s a CEO, she’s a teacher. He’s gorgeous, she’s…not. So when her house-sitting gig falls through and Desmond offers her a place to stay for the summer, she vows not to reveal how she’s felt about him since their first—and only—kiss.
Desmond should’ve known better than to bring temptation into his house. He decided long ago that his best friend’s sister was too sweet, too good, for him. She deserves a guy who can give his heart. For her sake, he’s stayed away. But as her laughter breathes life into his lonely mansion, he’s not sure how long he’ll be able to resist.
From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.


Purchase Links


Excerpt #1

“Darling, we’re pregnant!”

“We are?” Nissa Lang asked, somewhat confused by the “we,” as well as the news of the pregnancy.

Mimi was in her midforties and as far as Nissa knew, Mimi and her husband hadn’t even been try­ing. Not that Nissa could be sure about that. Her re­lationship with Mimi was casual at best. Nissa was going to house-sit Mimi’s grand mansion while the happy couple spent the summer in a different man­sion in Norway. Not only would Nissa get paid a princely sum for things like flushing the many toilets and making sure the gardeners (yes, plural) did their thing, the money was going directly into her I’m-turning-thirty-and-to-prove-my-life-isn’t-a-disaster, I’m-taking-myself-to-Italy-for-three-weeks-next-summer fund.

Knowing she had a place to live for July and Au­gust, Nissa had rented out her own small condo, to add even more money to her fund. Only the sink­ing feeling in her stomach told her that maybe she was about to get some bad news in that department.

Mimi laughed. “I know it’s a shock. We’re stunned. We didn’t think we were ever going to be able to have children, but I’m pregnant and it’s wonderful. I’m calling because the baby means a change in plans. Between my age and the previous miscarriages, I’m a high-risk pregnancy, and travel is out of the ques­tion. So we’ll be staying home this summer. I hope you understand.”

Yup, there it was. Disappointment on a stick, stab­bing her right in her travel dreams.

“Of course,” Nissa said politely, because that was how she’d been raised, but on the inside, she was pouting and stomping her feet. “Congratulations. You must be thrilled.”

“Thank you. We’re beyond happy. Take care. Bye.”

With that, Mimi hung up and Nissa sank onto the sofa. She looked at the open boxes scattered around her small condo, the ones she was filling up with personal items so the charming young couple who had rented her place for two months would have room for their own things. She glanced at the calendar she’d tacked on the wall, with the date she was supposed to be out circled in red.

About Susan Mallery


No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Connect with Susan
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Excerpt Tour:
Sunday, April 11th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, April 12th: Books and Spoons
Monday, April 12th: Seaside Book Nook
Tuesday, April 13th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, April 14th: Palmers Page Turners
Thursday, April 15th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm
Friday, April 16th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Saturday, April 17th: The Lit Bitch
Sunday, April 18th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, April 19th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, April 20th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, April 21st: The OC Book Girl
Thursday, April 22nd: Romantic Reads and Such
Friday, April 23rd: Books and Bindings
Friday, April 23rd: View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, April 24th: What is That Book About
Sunday, April 25th: Books Cooks Looks
Monday, April 26th: Nurse Bookie
 
Instagram features:
Monday, April 26th: @megsbookclub
Monday, April 26th: @savbeebooks
Tuesday, April 27th: @nsiabblog
Tuesday, April 27th: @tamsterdam_reads
Wednesday, April 28th: @acericolalife
Wednesday, April 28th: @workreadsleeprepeat
Thursday, April 29th: @suethebookie
Thursday, April 29th: @readerofthewrittenword
Friday, April 30th: @everlasting.charm
Friday, April 30th: @stumblingintobooks
Saturday, May 1st: @a_bookish_dream
Saturday, May 1st: @what.ems.reading
Sunday, May 2nd: @readswithrosie
Tuesday, May 4th: @lovelyplacebooks
 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis

 


Author: Wendy Francis
ISBN: 9781525895982
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: Graydon House Books

Sip cocktails in the lounge, bask in the summer sun by the pool, and experience the drama of the rich and famous firsthand in Wendy Francis’s newest novel, SUMMERTIME GUESTS (Graydon House; April 6, 2021; $16.99 USD). With its rich history and famous guests, The Seafarer is no stranger to drama. But the bustle at the social hotspot reaches new heights one weekend in mid-June when a woman falls tragically to her death from the tenth floor, unwittingly intertwining her life with the lives of the hotels’ guests and staff.

Claire O’Dell, reeling from the loss of her husband and possibly her job, has gone to The Seafarer for a little vacation…and to reconnect with a long-lost-love.  Jean-Paul, the hotel’s manager, is struggling to keep his marriage and new family afloat. Bride-to-be Riley is at the hotel to plan her wedding with her fiancé ... or, she’s at the hotel with her fiancé while her mother-in-law tells them how to plan their wedding. Jason, whose romantic getaway with his girlfriend has not exactly gone the way he'd hoped and instead has him facing questions about his past that he can't bring himself to answer.

As their truths and secrets come to light, the lives of these four will collide in tragic, beautiful ways none of them could have expected that will teach them about the love they deserve and the strength they possess to change their lives for the better.
My thoughts:

I think I am going to be a dissenting voice on Summertime Guests.  When I was done reading, all I could think was it was fine.  The book follows four different characters who are at the Seafarer Hotel in Boston on the day that a woman plunges to her death from one of the balconies.  We also get flashbacks of before that day to give more context to each of the characters reason for being at the hotel. 

I guess for me, this was more of a "slice of life" book than anything else.  I mean that day does help each character somewhat resolve their issues, but I was also let down by this. For example, one of the characters ends up getting her own way regarding her future plans.  It made me wonder if she would have been ultimately better off sticking up for what she wanted rather than the convenience of this woman's death.  It isn't revealed who died until the end, but it isn't hard to figure out.  The "twists" were a bit predictable.  Then, the book just ends.  I would have liked to see the further after effects of what happened that day.  

Would I recommend it?  Sure.  I mean it was well written and a fairly easy read.  I just wanted more from the book.



Here is a sneak peek:

Friday June 11th, 2021


ONE



It wasn’t as if Riley could have anticipated what would happen later that day. None of them could. Because when you’re at a tasting for your wedding reception at one of Boston’s ritziest hotels, trying to decide between crab cakes or lobster quiches, no one thinks of anything bad happening. Or at least, this is what Riley tells herself later. Why she—and no one else there—could possibly be to blame.

At the moment, though, Riley is sitting at a table by the window, half-listening to her future mother-in-law while she sips gazpacho the color of marigolds. Something about wanting to know if the outdoor terrace can be transformed into a dance floor, assuming the weather cooperates. If Riley were asked to gauge her interest in planning her own wedding, she would characterize it as mild at best. Her only requirement being that she and Tom marry in July—and that the flowers are pale pink peonies from Smart Stems, the shop where she has worked for the past three years.

It was Tom who’d suggested the Seaport District for their reception, Boston’s new up-and-coming neighborhood, and Riley had happily agreed. It’s an easy spot for guests to travel to, and the setting is over-the-top gorgeous with views of both the city and the water. Not to mention the promise of fresh seafood—an almost impossible request if they were to wed in Riley’s hometown of Lansing, Michigan, where everything remains hopelessly landlocked.

But she hadn’t counted on Tom’s mother wanting to be so, well, involved. Maybe it’s the fact that Riley’s own mother passed away a few short years ago, and so Marilyn feels compelled to step up and fill her mother’s shoes. A retired schoolteacher, her mother-in-law-to-be still tackles each new day with the necessary energy for a classroom of boisterous second-graders, a gusto which she now seems to be funneling into her son’s nuptials. At first, Riley was grateful, but while she sits listening to the hotel’s wedding coordinator drone on about the Seafarer’s rich history, she’s beginning to feel as though she has stepped into one of those horrible, never-ending lines at Disney for a ride she doesn’t particularly want to go on.

Riley is well aware that the Seafarer is one of the most coveted venues for weddings, especially in light of its recent renovations. It’s no secret that New England’s most glamorous, its most fashionable clamor to stay here and that the Seafarer’s well-appointed rooms are typically booked months in advance. She should be grateful that they’re even considering it as an option. Rumor has it that everyone from Winston Churchill to Taylor Swift has been a guest (as the saying goes, if you want to appear in the society pages of the Boston Globe, then spend a few hours at the Seafarer’s exclusive summer cocktail hour from four to six). As for out-of-towners hoping to take in the full scene that Boston can be—with its attendant snobbishness and goodwill and weird accents wrapped into one—the Seafarer, Riley understands, puts you in the heart of it.

Not that she has anything against tradition, but if it were up to her alone, she would probably choose a smaller, more modest setting, a wedding with no more than fifty guests. There’d be a justice of the peace and rows of white chairs lining the harbor, the wind whipping her veil in front of her face. Naturally, she’d want a reception afterward, but Riley counts herself as the type of girl who’d be equally content with trays of fish tacos and margaritas under a tent as with oysters on the half shell served in a tony hotel restaurant.

“I can’t reveal everyone,” the coordinator is saying in hushed tones, “but it’s no secret that some of Boston’s greatest legends have celebrated their nuptials with us.” Riley shoots Tom a sideways glance, as if to say Is she for real? but her fiancé’s chin rests firmly in his hand, his attention rapt. He’s eating up every word.

“Well, Gillian, it’s all very impressive,” Tom’s mother says, slipping her reading glasses back into her pocketbook after a review of the menu. Her hair is pulled back in a severe ponytail, her lips coated in her trademark color, fuchsia. “It’s no wonder Boston’s finest flock here for their special occasions. The view alone is to die for.” She gestures toward the expanse of crystalline water out the window, the romantic outline of the city’s financial district in the distance. “Kids, wouldn’t it be something to come back here every year to toast your anniversary?”

Marilyn shoots Riley a wink, as if the two of them are in cahoots to convince Tom that this is the spot, meant to be. There’s no need to point out that she and Tom could never afford such a venue. They already discussed it over dinner the other night when Marilyn revealed that she’d gone ahead and booked an appointment for a tasting at the Seafarer on Friday and how she hoped Riley wouldn’t mind. “I don’t want you to worry about money, dear,” she instructed. “Tom’s dad and I would be honored to host. Tom is our only child after all.”

And Riley had breathed a tiny sigh of relief while swallowing her pride. Not because she wants an extravagant wedding but because it means that she and Tom can now channel the nest egg they’ve been building toward a mortgage on a new home instead of toward an elaborate one-day celebration. It’s a much more sensible use of their money, and Riley, having grown up poor verging on destitute, is nothing if not sensible.

Can she really imagine herself celebrating her marriage here, though? Tom keeps missing her not-so-thinly veiled comments about the food on the menu, which leans toward the bite-size variety that he hates (precisely because it never fills him up), but he has said nothing. Maybe he’s just being polite. Riley quickly scans the room for other future newlyweds, but most of today’s diners appear to be here for business lunches—buttoned-up men in suits and women in sharp blazers with silk shifts underneath. A few couples, perhaps away for a romantic long weekend, and a group of older women sharing a bottle of wine, sit wedged into the corners. It’s a lovely space, but is it too lovely?

She shifts in her seat and tries to picture her dad here, wearing his familiar old sports coat that’s nearly worn through at the elbows, his khaki pants and penny loafers, pretending to feel comfortable when he wouldn’t know which fork to reach for, which glass to use.

When Marilyn turns toward to her and says, “Don’t you agree, Riley?” Riley feels her cheeks flushing because she hasn’t been paying attention. She has no idea what her future mother-in-law is referring to.

“I’m sorry. What was the question again?” She’s slightly annoyed that Tom can’t—or won’t—decide on a few things himself or at the very least rein his mother in. Especially because they talked about this very thing—not letting Marilyn take over the tasting—last night! They’re discussing the appetizers, apparently, and all Riley knows is that she doesn’t want crudités. If there’s one rule she’s abiding by, it’s that her wedding menu will include only those foods that she can pronounce.

It seems there should be a box on a list that they can check for the Standard Reception—something not overtly cheap but not insanely expensive, either. Tom squeezes her knee beneath the table, though it’s unclear if it’s meant as encouragement or as a reprimand for her not giving this conversation one hundred percent. What Riley really wants to know is this: How can she avoid attending any more tastings with Marilyn? Should she just agree to the Seafarer right now and be done with it?

“Mom was wondering,” Tom says in complete seriousness, “if you thought it would be better to have cold and hot hors d’oeuvres or just cold since the wedding will be in July?”

“Oh, right.” Riley pretends to consider her options. “Good point. It’s bound to be hot, so I wonder—”

But somewhere between the words so and wonder, a loud whistle of air followed by a deafening blast socks through the room like a fist, sending Riley to grab the table and Tom to reach for her hand. Marilyn’s fork drops from her elongated fingers, clattering onto her plate, and the room seems to shake for a brief moment. There are shouts followed by an eerie hush while the dining room settles back into itself. Riley watches the other diners who begin to mumble to each other across their tables, asking if they’re okay and spinning in their seats to better determine the source of the blast. The woman at the adjacent table hovers on the edge of her chair, as if considering diving underneath the table.

When Riley glances over at Gillian, she looks equally alarmed and as surprised as the rest of them, which means this isn’t some kind of bizarre emergency testing by the hotel. Whatever they heard was real. Significant. Riley’s eyes slide toward Tom, then Marilyn, whose face has turned a shade as pale as milk, then back to Tom.

“What on earth was that?” Marilyn gasps, her voice an octave too high, her fingers fluttering to her necklace. It’s a silver chain studded with azure stones, the kind of jewelry that Riley has come to associate with women of a certain age.

“I’m not sure.” Gillian’s voice cracks. “It almost sounded like some kind of explosion, didn’t it?” And then, as if remembering her wedding-coordinator cap, she rushes to reassure them. “But I’m sure it’s nothing like that. Maybe a blown transformer?

But both Riley and Tom exchange glances because no matter how ill-versed they are in loud noises, that definitely was not a transformer. It wasn’t so much a popping sound as a crash, she thinks. Did the massive chandelier in the lobby fall? Did it come from the kitchen? Construction work outside maybe? It’s hard to tell.

“Not to be overly dramatic, but it almost felt like an earthquake,” Riley says. “The table actually shook, I think.” And although she understands that the curiosity sparked inside her is somehow inappropriate, she wants an explanation. “Whatever it was,” she says, lowering her voice, “it sounded awfully close.”

“Yes, very close,” Marilyn agrees, still fiddling with her necklace.

And that’s when the screams begin. Not from the kitchen at the back of the restaurant, not from the lobby, but from outside, just beyond the elegant bay windows peering out onto the terrace that fronts the water, the ocean seemingly close enough to dip a hand into. Riley’s glance swivels toward the small crowd that’s beginning to form outside near the firepit and hot tub.

“If you’ll excuse me?” Gillian says, as if emerging from a fog, and rises awkwardly to her feet before heading toward the row of windows.

Riley’s gaze follows her, and suddenly, she, too, feels compelled to get up, as if an invisible string tugs her toward the window. She hurries forward and angles around Gillian for a better view. But when she does, she immediately regrets her decision. Because it’s not a collapsed scaffolding or an awning or even construction work that has caused the sudden shaking, the loud blast.

But a woman, lying facedown on the terrace, several yards beyond the window.

The body lies completely still, the woman’s legs scissored like a rag doll’s, her left leg angled upward awkwardly. A curtain of muddy blond hair shields her face from view. Riley watches while a few bystanders move hesitantly toward the woman, as if afraid of startling her, until someone kneels down and grasps her wrist, presumably to check for a pulse. A man in blue running shorts and a Red Sox T-shirt yells for someone to call 9-1-1.

To Riley, it looks as if the woman was perhaps reaching for a glass that slipped from her hand, her arms still outstretched above her head. Her body is long, lean, even elegant. Riley holds her breath, waiting, and feels Gillian stiffen beside her when a youngish man, nicely tanned and formally dressed, parts the crowd and gently encourages everyone to take a few steps back. He assures them that an ambulance is on the way and speaks with an authority that suggests his importance.

“That’s Jean-Paul, our manager,” Gillian says quietly as they watch him crouch down next to the woman and brush her hair away from her face.

Just then, a young man in the crowd throws his hand to his mouth and rushes off, and Riley stands on her tiptoes for a better view. And that’s when she sees it, too—the wild splash of bright red she hadn’t noticed earlier that lies at the far edge of the woman’s hair. And in that awful moment, Riley—and everyone else watching—understands. An image of a woman in her yellow summer dress, cartwheeling through the air from somewhere up high, perhaps her hotel balcony, spirals through her mind.

“Oh, my God.” It hits her all at once, a hollow pit forming in her stomach.

“Jesus,” says Tom, who has come up beside her to rest a hand on her shoulder. “She’s not moving.”

“No.”

It’s obvious to them both, but somehow still needs to be said, as if by acknowledging it aloud, the woman might hear their words through the open window, might somehow will herself to move an inch, if only to give them a sign—a flutter of a hand, the shifting of a foot—that she’s going to be all right.

But her body remains completely, horribly still.






Excerpted from Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis, Copyright © 2021 by Wendy Francis

Published by Graydon House Books




Author Bio:
 

Wendy Francis is a former book editor and the author of the novels The Summer Sail, The Summer of Good IntentionsThree Good Things, and Best Behavior. Her essays have appeared in Good HousekeepingThe Washington Post, Yahoo Parenting, The Huffington Post, and WBUR's Cognoscenti. A proud stepmom of two grown-up children, she lives outside Boston with her husband and eleven-year-old son.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of Twin City Music Games by Jules Bennett

 


Author: Jules Bennett
Publisher; Harlequi Desire
Price: Ebook $3.99 USD / MMP $4.20 
On sale date: Ebook April 1, 2021 / MMP April 13, 2021 
ISBN: 9781488070549

It’s a twin swap, Nashville-style, in the launch of the Dynasties: Beaumont Bay series from USA TODAY bestselling author Jules Bennett!
Country singer Hannah Banks wants what she shouldn’t have.
The owner of her new label—the man in charge of her career—is way too hot. So hot he’s all she can think about… So to put distance between them, she poses as her quieter twin sister. That should keep temptation away…
Except Will Sutherland doesn’t play games. He wants the real Hannah—in his studio and in his bed—as long as what’s between them stays their secret. But when an old rival uncovers the truth, Will must choose between playing the press or playing for keeps…
From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire—welcome to the lives of the American elite.
Love triumphs in this uplifting romance, part of the new Dynasties: Beaumont Bay series.
Book 1: Twin Games in Music City by Jules Bennett
Book 2: Second Chance Love Song by Jessica Lemmon
 
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit TryHarlequin.com to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.

 
 
Buy Links:


TWIN GAMES IN MUSIC CITY by Jules Bennett
Blog tour excerpt
 
Will Sutherland settled into the corner leather booth and watched as Hallie Banks wound her way through the tables at Rise and Grind. 
This little meeting shouldn’t already have him irritated, but it did. Will didn’t want to meet with Hallie—he wanted to meet with her twin sister, Han- nah. 
But obviously, Hannah Banks, country superstar and America’s sweetheart, couldn’t be bothered with such mundane things as setting up her recording schedule for the next album or going over the tour dates and venues. 
He’d only met her a handful of times in passing at various events within the industry. Will had al- ways found her attractive; he’d have to be dead not to. Hannah Banks could make any man do a double take and he was no different. 
As far as knowing her personally, he couldn’t re- ally say much, but this first official meeting wasn’t going as planned. 
Her selfish way of thinking might have worked for her old record label, but now that she’d signed with Elite, she was going to have to accept the very real fact that she wasn’t in charge. He was. 
Hallie offered a soft smile and reached to shake his hand. “Good morning. Have you been waiting long?” 
Will came to his feet and gripped her hand, sur- prised by how soft and delicate she seemed. He didn’t recall noticing Hallie’s hands before...and he shouldn’t be noticing them now. 
He’d already found himself fantasizing about Hallie’s sister, Hannah. The last thing he needed was an attraction to twins. That wouldn’t be good for business, and being attracted to either of them didn’t fit his professional style. 
Hallie was more conservative in her wardrobe than her usual blinged-out sister. Perhaps that’s because Hallie was the manager and worked behind the scenes in a quieter, calmer setting. Whereas Hannah was in-your-face, sparkly, over-the-top...and not at all the type of woman he should have been drawn to. Yet, he found himself noticing his new star more and more. 
He needed to get his thoughts under control. 
“I just got here myself.” He gestured to the seat across from him. “Please, sit.” 
She put her bag in the vacant seat and settled into the chair with curved arms. A barista came right over to take their orders before leaving them alone again. 
“So where did you say Hannah was and why couldn’t she make it today?” he asked, hoping to get a direct answer this time. 
Hallie blinked up at him. “Oh, I didn’t say. She just asked me to meet you. After we talk, I will go over the schedule with her. She did request that she record in her home studio, so that was the main thing I’m supposed to tell you.” 
Of course. Will shouldn’t have been surprised, though. Since that horrific storm had swept through Beaumont Bay only a few weeks ago, the town was still trying to recover. It was all hands on deck in this Nashville bedroom community to rebuild the multimillion-dollar homes that had taken a hit and the few businesses that had been affected. 
The Bay wouldn’t stay down long. This lakeside community was where Nashville came to play, where all the deals were done, where the country music elite hid their juiciest secrets. And it was a town that legendary music producer Mags Dumond pretty much owned...or thought she did. 
He’d give Mags her due. She’d built up Beaumont Bay with her late husband and former mayor. It had been her foresight—and her insistence on hosting all her parties here over the decades—that had made a home, or second home, in the Bay a necessity for anyone who was anyone in Nashville. 
Will’s family had been born here, and not to a country music bloodline. Travis and Dana Sutherland were in the real estate industry and owned nearly everything...unless Mags had claim on it. 
But the Sutherland brothers had made a name for themselves in the music industry by pulling themselves up by the bootstraps...and staying out of Mags’s way for the most part. The woman had been a thorn in his family’s side for decades, but he refused to think about that now. The next step in building his family’s music empire was his new star, Hannah Banks, and finishing the renovations to the studio that had been damaged. 
The reconstruction was taking much too long, although even a one-day delay was too long in this industry. He had music to make and singers relying on him, not to mention the trickle-down effect of the tours that were already being promoted to celebrate albums that were releasing soon. 
The whole damn situation was a nightmare and Hannah Banks—the superstar he’d stolen from Mags, whom he needed to make this whole plan a reality—couldn’t find the time for a courtesy, in- person meeting. Sending her sister/manager/twin wasn’t the same. 
“I would have to check out Hannah’s recording studio before I could commit to that agreement,” Will informed Hallie. “We are going to have to start the production process next week to keep up with the deadlines. Tell Hannah I’ll be at her house first thing in the morning to check out this recording room of hers.” 
Hallie pursed her pale pink lips and shook her head. “Tomorrow morning won’t work.” She pulled out her phone and scrolled, then tapped her finger on the screen. “How about Tuesday at ten?” 
Considering this was Friday, there was no way in hell he was waiting until Tuesday. Will pulled in a deep breath and sighed. Was Hallie going to be just as difficult as the country diva? The pout of her lips said yes, and something hard and dark moved inside him. 
And that’s when he knew something was off here. 
“I’m not sure how things went when she worked for Mags at Cheating Hearts, but now that she’s with Elite, I run the schedule and say when things are going to get done.” 
Hallie’s eyes narrowed. “Is that right? Well, maybe I should’ve just stayed with Cheating Hearts.” Will inched forward, resting his hands on the table. “Hannah? Are you kidding me?”
She cursed beneath her breath and Will gritted his teeth. He’d known something felt off, but he’d never thought for a second his newest artist would play such a childish game as to pretend to be her twin. No way in hell would he fall for this swapped-twin trap. Hannah Banks was about to learn who was in charge real quick. 
***
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit TryHarlequin.com to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.


Author Bio
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Jules Bennett has penned more than 50 novels during her short career. She's married to her high school sweetheart, has two active girls, and is a former salon owner. Jules can be found on Twitter, Facebook (Fan Page), and her website julesbennett.com. She holds contests via these three outlets with each release and loves to hear from readers!
 
Author Links
Website: https://julesbennett.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1089938.Jules_Bennett?from_search=true&from_srp=true
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjulesbennett/
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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of The Design of Dukes by Kathleen Ayers

 


 
Author: Kathleen Ayers
Publication Date: April 2021
 
Read Now!
Amazon mybook.to/designofdukes
 
Add to Goodreads!

Lady Andromeda Barrington is the most unsuitable young lady in London.
 
At least in the Duke of Granby’s opinion.
Granby doesn’t care for bastard relatives or tainted pedigrees and Andromeda possesses both. Nor does he like opinionated young ladies who enjoy hurling insults in his direction.
Andromeda is, in short, the most annoying creature he’s ever met.
When she arrives, uninvited, to a house party given at his estate, Granby can’t decide whether to kiss Andromeda senseless or send her packing.
Andromeda is the victim of infatuation and bad luck.
The infatuation is that of her sister for the Earl of Blythe, but the misfortune belongs solely to Andromeda after she is forced to attend a house party hosted by the Duke of Granby. She and the duke are previously, unpleasantly, acquainted. The entire party is bound to be awkward, and their mutual dislike difficult to hide. Her only recourse is to avoid the giant block of ice masquerading as a duke. Thankfully, Granby’s estate is enormous.
But instead of mutual hostility upon arriving, Romy is greeted with unexpected attraction. Insults turn into flirtation. Heated discussions become lingering kisses.
Her heart is ruined. Granby may not even have one.
And the duke has already chosen another young lady to be his duchess.
The Design of Dukes
is a steamy historical romance with a guaranteed happily ever after and next in the series The Beautiful Barringtons.
 

My thoughts:

The Design of Dukes is the second book in the Beautiful Barringtons series.  This one is Andremeda (Romy) and David's story.  I'll be honest, it wasn't my favorite so far.  While I liked Romy's character immensely, I never really warmed up to David.  I really disliked how he treated Romy through most of the book.  Especially when it came to her design work and to her half brother's illegitimacy.  He does grow by the end of the book, but it took way too long.  The couple did have nice chemistry and great haters to lovers banter.  That was fun.    Romy is such an interesting person that I would read a book just  about her.  I can't imagine growing up in a time when talent and passion for someting wsa deemed beneath anyone of noble birth.  What a sad life it must have been.  Still I would recommend it for her alone.


 
Excerpt
Copyright 2021 @author
 
 “Very well. I already know what you will ask for.”
“You do?” That surprised him. He was so close to her that if Andromeda took a deep breath, the tips of her breasts would brush his chest.
A pained look came over her lovely features. “And I completely understand, Your Grace.”
“You do?” he murmured.
“You wish me and Theo to leave the house party. It is unfortunate you and I have formed such a dislike for each other.”
“Is that what you are calling it?”
“I’ll make an excuse that I’m ill or I’m concerned for my mother so that we may return to London with all haste.” She turned away from him and bent at the waist, giving him another lovely view of her backside, glaringly apparent through the folds of petticoats she was encased in. Her hands flew over the papers spread out across the grass to
gather them up.
Andromeda assumed, incorrectly, he wanted her to leave The Barrow. The very thought gave him a hollow sensation in the middle of his stomach.
“No. I would never suggest such a thing.” His voice sounded chilly even to his own ears.
“You don’t need to, Your Grace. I take your meaning.”
Andromeda hadn’t the slightest idea how badly David wanted her. He looked over her shoulder as her hands began to stack the papers neatly together. Not drawings of the stream and woods as he’d thought. What most young ladies with a mediocre talent for sketching would draw. But gowns. Dresses. One with a motif of butterflies across the skirt. There was even a sketch of a riding habit.
I have an acquaintance who owns a dress shop.
Andromeda, already fascinating, became more so.
“I don’t wish you to leave the house party,” he said to the trim line of her back.
“My presence clearly annoys you, Your Grace.”
Indeed, it did, in so many ways David had stopped counting. “A correct assessment.”
 “Then Theo and I will leave in the morning.”
“No,” his said roughly. “You will not.”
Andromeda’s hands stilled on her drawings, stiffening with anger at his commanding tone.
David stared at the line of buttons running down her spine. Could he bite them off with his teeth? The dress would fall away from her shoulders, exposing all her glorious skin.
She turned back to face him, angrily tying a piece of leather around the portfolio to keep it closed. “What else could you possibly want, Your Grace? An apology for the insult about your coat? How petty, it was well over a year ago.”
His head fell forward, nose gliding up the slope of her neck, inhaling the soft lavender scent lingering on her skin.
A soft gasp of surprise left her, but she didn’t move away. The portfolio fell from her hands.
“I want this,” he whispered. David nuzzled the bit of skin just beneath her ear before catching her lips with his.
 
 
About Kathleen Ayers
 
Kathleen Ayers has been a hopeful romantic since the tender age of fourteen when she first
purchased a copy of Sweet Savage Love at a garage sale while her mother was looking at
antique animal planters. Since then she’s read hundreds of historical romances and fallen in
love dozens of times. In particular, she adores handsome, slightly damaged men with a wicked
sense of humor. On paper, of course.
Kathleen lives in Houston and is married with one college-aged son and two very spoiled dogs.
 
Follow: Facebook | Instagram | Reader Group | Goodreads | BookBub | Website | Newsletter | https://amzn.to/3dittRs
 
  
This promotional event is brought to you by Indie Pen PR
 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of The Marriage He Demands by Brenda Jackson



Author: Brenda Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Price: Ebook $3.99 USD / MMP $5.25
On sale date: April 13, 2021 
ISBN: 9781488070518
 
In the wilds of Wyoming ranch country, he needs something only she can give him. What price is too high to pay? Find out in this sizzling contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson!
This ranching heir wants it all, including the woman who stands in his way!

Businessman Cash Outlaw has inherited almost all of his late mother’s Wyoming ranch…but still needs the fifty acres left to her former caretaker. As negotiations with beautiful, determined Brianna Banks become much more intimate, she reveals she’ll only sell him the property…if he gives her a baby! Cash’s counteroffer? That the mother of his child must become his wife!

From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire—welcome to the lives of the American elite.
Love triumphs in these uplifting romances, part of the Westmoreland Legacy: The Outlaws series.

Book 1: The Wife He Needs
Book 2: The Marriage He Demands
Book 3: What He Wants for Christmas
 
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit TryHarlequin.com to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.

 
Buy Links:
 

Blog tour excerpt
 
Two days later, Cash flew his Cessna to the Laramie Regional Airport. He’d ordered a rental car to be there when he arrived, and it was. Shifting his cell phone to the other ear, he tossed his overnight bag in the back seat as he continued his conversation with his sister, Charm. She was calling from Australia with her condolences. 
Charm had tagged along with Garth’s best friend, Walker Rafferty, and his wife, Bailey, on a trip to visit Bailey’s sister, Gemma, who lived in Australia. 
“Thanks, Charm, but you know the real deal with this. It’s not like me and Ellen had a close relationship. Like I told Garth, I’m surprised she remembered I existed long enough to put me in a will.” 
Cash glanced at his watch before starting the car and switching the phone call to the vehicle’s speaker system. He would get a good night’s sleep, and be at the meeting with the attorney in the morning at eleven. Then he would leave, head back to the airport and fly home to Fairbanks. 
“I need to end the call, Charm, so I can concentrate on following the directions to Black Crow. I’ll talk to you later, kid.” 
As Cash headed for the interstate, he thought about the conversation he’d had with his father be- fore leaving. Bart was typical Bart. Even with six adult offspring, their old man still assumed it was his God- given right to stick his nose into their business when it didn’t concern him. 
Cash had put Bart in his place just that morning when he’d tried telling Cash to make sure he got everything his mother owned because it was rightly due him. Cash had made it clear to Bart that he didn’t want a single thing. He’d even seriously thought about not showing up for the reading of the will. As far as he was concerned, it was too late for Ellen to make up for the years she had been absent from his life. The only reason he had decided to come was for closure. 
The drive from Laramie to Black Crow took less than an hour. He couldn’t help wondering when his mother had moved to Wyoming. According to Bart, when she left Fairbanks thirty-four years ago, she had moved to New York. 
Cash saw the marker denoting the entrance into Black Crow’s city limits, and recalled all he’d learned from doing an internet search last night before going to bed. It had first been inhabited by the Black Crow Indian tribe, from which the town derived its name. The present population was less than two thousand people, and most fought to retain an old-town feel, which was evident by the architecture of the buildings. He’d read that if any of the inhabitants thought Black Crow wasn’t progressive enough for them, they were quickly invited to leave. But few people left and most had lived in the area for years. It was a close-knit place. 
He came to a traffic light and watched numerous people walking around, going into the various shops. As he sat there, tapping his hand on the steering wheel, his gaze homed in on a woman who was walking out of an ice-cream shop. She was strikingly beautiful. He couldn’t help noticing how she worked her mouth on her ice-cream cone, and he could just imagine her working her mouth on him the same way.
Cash drew in a deep breath as he shifted in the seat. She looked pretty damn good in her pullover sweater and a pair of jeans. If she was a sampling of what Black Crow had to offer, then maybe he needed to hang around for another day or two and not be so quick to leave town tomorrow.

He chuckled, thinking it would take more than a beautiful face and a gorgeous body to keep him in this town. Besides, he doubted that even if he stayed he’d be able to find her. He had more to do with his time than chase down a woman. Chances were, she was wearing some guy’s ring. There was no way a woman who looked like her was not spoken for. 
The driver behind him beeped his horn to let Cash know the traffic light had changed and it was time to move on. Not able to resist temptation, he glanced back for one final look at the woman and saw she was gone. 
Just as well. 
***
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit TryHarlequin.com to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.

 
Author Bio
Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling. Email Brenda at authorbrendajackson@gmail.com or visit her on her website at brendajackson.net.
 
Author Links
Website: https://www.brendajackson.net
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/23809.Brenda_Jackson
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBJackson