RELEASE DAY!! HARD JUSTICE ☆APRIL HUNT w/ #Giveaway, + #Excetpt, + #Teasers, + #Review

HARD JUSTICE Release Day Blitz 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: HARD JUSTICE
Author: April Hunt
Series: Alpha Security, #3
On Sale: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
Audio: $21.98 USD

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As the first female operative at Alpha Security, Charlotte “Charlie” Sparks has her work cut out for her. Sure, she can wrestle a man to the ground and hit a target at 200 yards with the best of them. But sometimes, being surrounded by all that testosterone can drive a woman to distraction—especially when that distraction is six-and-a-half feet of cocky, confident, Alpha-trained muscle.

Ex-SEAL commander Vince Franklin has been on some of the most dangerous missions in the world. But pretending to be Charlie’s fiancé on their latest assignment in Miami is his toughest challenge yet. Vince and Charlie are like oil and water; they just don’t mix. And when their fake romance generates some all-too-real heat, Vince learns that Charlie is more than just arm candy. She’s the real deal—and she’s ready for some serious action.

 

Vince slipped out of the truck just as she swung open her door. A group of college-aged boys turned the corner, one of whom immediately latched his lurid gaze onto Charlie’s toned legs.

“Hot da*n, baby.” The kid whistled. His gaze flickered to Vince. “Why don’t you ditch the geriatric and come party with us?”

“Unless you want this geriatric to rip those lips off your face, keep walking,” Vince growled.

The kid and his friends laughed but kept going. At some point during the exchange, the pimply faced valet attendant extended his hand to Charlie.

“I got her. You get these.” Vince’s bark made the teen jump.

“Yes, sir.” The valet caught the keys Vince tossed his way and hustled over to the driver’s side.

Every inch of Charlie’s body brushed along Vince’s as he plucked her off her seat and set her back on her feet. The hair on his arms lifted as if he’d touched pure electricity, and in a way, he had. Charlie. A live wire. Jolting. Heat-inducing.

Her teeth trapped her bottom lip in a sexy nibble. Vince couldn’t help but glance down to her mouth, seeing that he wasn’t the only one overtaken by a sudden burst of awareness.

“If I’d been the one to offer my hand to you, you would’ve taken a hunk of flesh out of it with your teeth,” Vince half-joked.

She smoothed the front of his shirt, a coy smile dancing on her lips. “Not a hunk. Maybe just a little nibble.”

Sucking in a groan, Vince wrapped an arm around her waist and guided her away from the truck as another large group of college-aged kids stumbled past.

Charlie let out a strangled noise.

“What?” Vince looked at her, confused.

She bit the corner of her mouth, obviously trying to withhold laughter. “You and the look of excruciating pain plastered all over your face. You can’t tell me you’ve never prowled the bars looking for a good time.”

Vince steered them toward the entrance of the club’s outdoor patio. “Yeah, a million f**ing years ago. And I didn’t have to prowl for anything. Good times always came to me.”

This time Charlie snorted with her chuckle, and the sound of it made his lips twitch. It was g*****ned cute, though he would never admit it aloud and risk a punch to his kidneys.

“It’s a wonder headquarters hasn’t blown up from testosterone toxicity,” Charlie murmured as they stepped to the end of the club’s red-roped line.

The bouncer manning the entrance took a lazy-eyed stroll over Charlie’s body. “You two together?”

Vince cocked a glance to his arm, still wrapped snugly around her waist. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s too d**n bad. But you both can go on in. And if your lady’s interested, there’s a bar-dancing competition sometime within the hour.” He eyed Charlie’s legs. “You’re a shoe-in for first f***ing prize, sweetheart.”

Vince would’ve loved nothing more than to swipe the smirk off the bastard’s face, but Charlie intervened, threading her fingers through his, and thanked the man for the invite. The people in line grumbled their protests as the bouncer opened the gate and let them onto the club’s patio.

Miami Heat lured in a who’s who of the rich, famous, and privileged. Whereas the indoor section of the club catered to the couples dancing to the loud, theatrical pound of the music, the outdoor patio was a pool party on ’roids.

White Christmas lights wrapped every palm tree and, and as if Miami wasn’t hot enough, bamboo torches lit up the patio’s perimeter. Humidity didn’t seem to be keeping people away, because the line wrapped around the circular bar was three people deep, and growing.

“Don’t people have anything better to do than spend their money on overpriced booze?” Vince asked, inspecting the sea of drunk people.

Charlie lifted her brow. “In Miami? No. It’s all about twenty-dollar drinks and lots and lots of skin. You’re such a people person, Navy. It’s a wonder you don’t have an entire entourage surrounding you all hours of the day.”

“And you’re such the sparkling social gem, huh?” Vince said dryly. A pair of overly bronzed women skirted past, outrageously wearing less than Charlie. “I wasn’t the one who nearly made the pizza delivery boy cry because he mistakenly left behind my order of fried mushrooms.”

“No, but now I’m sure that Christopher will never forget them again. That’s the difference between us. I don’t see any point in hiding my displeasure, where you take the whole brooding in silence thing and turn it into an art form.”

“Some things can’t be changed by making a scene.”

Charlie turned toward him, the side of her breast brushing against his chest. “No, but sometimes it can make you feel a lot bloody better. Unleash the beast, Navy. Or at the very least, loosen the reins. You may be surprised at what happens.”

When he’d been with the SEAL teams, Vince wouldn’t have hesitated to let off a little steam—and without prompting. But both time and experience had taught him the error of his ways. He’d learned it at the end of his Navy career, had it drilled into his head working for bail enforcement, and now with Alpha, it had become almost second nature—except when Charlie was in close proximity. Then all those lessons flew out of his f***ing head.

“You want to make ourselves visible?” Vince slipped his hand over her hip and veered her toward the dance floor. “Hope you can dance in those stilts.”

 

 

 

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THE ALPHA SECURITY SERIES

HEATED PURSUIT, #1

HOLDING FIRE, #2

HARD JUSTICE, #3

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

April blames her incurable chocolate addiction on growing up in rural Pennsylvania, way too close to America’s chocolate capital, Hershey. She now lives in Virginia with her college sweetheart husband, two young children, and a cat who thinks she’s a human-dog hybrid. On those rare occasions she’s not donning the cape of her children’s personal chauffer, April’s either planning, plotting, or writing about her next alpha hero and the woman he never knew he needed, but now can’t live without.

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My thoughts:

Hard Justice by April Hunt a  fast paced, action packed Romance.  #3 in “Alha Alpha Security” series, but it can be read as a stand alone.   I was not lost, having never read this series  before. This was also my first time reading anything by this author,  I was well pleased, to find another amazing author.

This is the story of  the first female operative at Alpha Security, Charlotte “Charlie” Sparks, a kick butt operative,  who is as wise cracking as tough and Ex-SEAL commander Vince Franklin, cocky and seeps with confidence . Oh, Yes all that testosterone in one place could be dangerously distracting.

Well written with an intriguing and engaging cast of characters.  The plot was an action packed, roller coaster ride of emotions,  the chemistry between Vince and Charlie, particularly flowed off the pages and the twists and turns were abound, which kept me turning  pages. The hot, witty banter between Charlie and Vince, definitely helped carry “Hard Justice” to an amazing finale. Can’t wait to go back and read the other two books in this intriguing series. A must read for fans of action packed romance, with interesting characters.

I received a complimentary copy, however,  all opinions  my own.

Rating: 4

Heat rating: Steamy

Reviewed by: AprilR

 

 

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☆☆HAPPY RELEASE DAY, ANNA HARRINGTON ☆☆WHEN THE SCOUNDRED SINS w/#Giveaway + #Excerpt + #Teasers + #Review

RELEASE DAY!!!
WHEN THE SCOUNDREL SINS by Anna Harrington

Anna Harrington’s Top 5 favorite foods? 

1) Chocolate

2) Chocolate

3) Chocolate

4) Coffee

5) Chocolate  J

 

Seriously, though…

1)      Pure Kona coffee from a French press with a splash of cream and sprinkle of sugar…ambrosia!

2)      Gelato – In Italy, it’s one Euro per scoop, and you don’t have to speak Italian…all you have to do is point and smile

3)      Lobster bisque, if it’s really thick and creamy with lots of lobster chunks

4)      Chocolate pots de creme

5)      Kraft Mac and Cheese – there is no better comfort food in the world

 

 

 

BOOK INFORMATION

Title: When the Scoundrel Sins
Author: Anna Harrington
On Sale: August 29, 2017
Series: Capturing the Carlisles: Book 2
Publisher: Forever
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99 USD

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Six years ago, a childish prank perpetrated by the reckless Quinton Carlisle ruined Annabelle Greene’s reputation and any chance she had at securing a successful marriage. Incensed, she moved to her beloved estate on the Scottish border and has reveled in the solitude…until now when the contents of a family will are revealed. Suddenly, Belle’s single status may cost her the only home she’s ever known. Now, with her only marital prospect a horribly greedy and completely undesirable man, Belle knows just the person to rescue her-the one person who owes her for his bad behavior…

There’s nothing Quinn Carlisle wants more than to get out from his older brother’s shadow and make a name for himself abroad. So when a mysterious letter arrives, promising adventure, he rushes to the Scottish border…only to find that Belle laid a trap for him. The awkward, shy bluestocking whom he so enjoyed tormenting is gone, replaced by a graceful, elegant woman who ignites a desire in him he can’t resist. Can Quinn help her save her home-and win her heart in the process?

 

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“You look much more like your father now,” she commented, nervously licking her suddenly dry lips but only serving to draw his attention to her mouth. Which made her even more nervous, so nervous that she couldn’t stop the trembling of her fingertips as they wrapped into the skirt of her night rail. “But you’re still a troublemaker.”

A faint smile played at his mouth. “And you’re still a bluestocking,” he countered. Unintentionally simmering a slow heat low in her belly, he reached up to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. “Still retreating to the sanctuary of your library.”

“Because books are usually more pleasant than most people,” she answered, swallowing hard when he trailed his fingers down the side of her neck. She forced out, not at all as firmly as she’d hoped beneath the soft touch of his fingers,

“And more trustworthy.”

Ignoring that jab, he slid his hand lower to let his fingers play at the edge of her shawl. “Yet there are things that people can do that books can’t.” His fingers tugged gently at the shawl and pulled it down her shoulder to reveal the scooped neck of the nightdress beneath. His gaze flicked to the small patch of revealed skin at the base of her throat, then back to her eyes. “All kinds of interesting things.”

She should stop him, swat his hand away, shove him back—but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Just as she couldn’t hold back the hot shiver that swept through her or the gooseflesh that formed on her skin. His touch was proving to be as equally intoxicating now as that night six years ago.

“Then I have no interest in learning them,” she countered, although from the way her blood hummed, her body was very interested.

Madness—that after what he’d done to her, she could ever want to be in his arms again. Yet she desired just that, although that could never happen. Kissing him once had ruined her reputation. Kissing him again might destroy her entire future.

She thrust her chin into the air. “I know of your reputation.”

“Thank you,” he half purred.

His finger hooked beneath the wide shoulder strap of her sleeveless nightgown and slid it slowly down her arm. But this time, with a stretch of bare shoulder revealed to his eyes, he didn’t bother feigning propriety by looking away and instead flamed a prickling heat beneath her skin everywhere he gazed.

She pulled in a deep breath to steady herself. Oh, why did she always go light-headed when she was alone with him?

“That was not meant as a compliment.”

“Wasn’t it?”

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Harrington fell in love with historical romances–and all those dashing Regency heroes–while living in London, where she studied literature and theatre. She loves to travel, fly airplanes, and hike, and when she isn’t busy writing her next novel, she loves fussing over her roses in her garden.

 

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My Thoughts:

When the Scoundrel Sins by Anna Harri gton is a delightful Regency Romance. Book 2 in her exhilarating “Capturing the Carlisles” series, but it can be read as a stsnd alone.

First off, I was glued to the pages of this steady paced, well written tale of love, romance, family, and finding a HEA.

This is the adventure of  Quinn Carlisle and Annabelle Greene, (Belle). In order to save Belle’s beloved Scottish home, on the border of Scotland,  she must find an ally…..who comes to mind….her old childhood friend,  Quinn.

I so enjoy Anna Harrington’s writing style, it flows seamlessly and effortlessly, with grace, and emotions.

Book 2 is even better than Book 1, to me, and I loved Book 1. There was something about Belle and Quinn that draws you into the story and keeps you turning pages. An absolute delight to read with a few laugh out loud moments, a few surprises and of  course, the added bonus of passion and chemistry, that creates a delightful tale.

If you enjoy Regency Romance, you will wish to pick up WHEN A SCOUNDREL SINS, for your next adventure. Another fantastic read by Anna Harrington! Can’t wait for the next adventure.

I received a complimentary copy, however,  all opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4.5

Heat rating: Mild

Reviewed by: AprilR

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RELEASE BLITZ☆CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU☆LYNNETTE AUSTIN with excerpt, + Giveaway

CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU Release Day Blitz

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU

Author: Lynnette Austin

Series: Maverick Junction, #3

On Sale: July 25, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $4.99 USD

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Maggie Sullivan can’t wait to get out of Texas. Luckily, she just got the break she needed to make her big-city dreams a reality. But then Brawley Odell swaggers back into Maverick Junction, looking hotter than ever in his dusty cowboy boots and well-worn jeans. He’s the guy she still dreams of at night. The guy who broke her heart when he left her behind.

Fed up with city life, Brawley jumps at the chance to return home and take over the local vet’s practice—and get back to the smart, sassy woman he’s never been able forget. He couldn’t be prouder of Maggie’s new wedding-dress business… until he realizes it may mean losing her all over again. Determined to win her back, Brawley must find a way to convince Maggie that their one true home is with each other.

 

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Excerpt:

 

“You’re staying,” Maggie whispered.

“I am.”

“You’ll be happy here, Brawley.”

“I’ll miss you.”

“You’ve lived without me for a long time.”

“But I always knew you’d be here. That I could get my Maggie fix whenever I needed it with a couple hours’ drive.”

“Brawley—”

“I know.” He held up a hand. “Not fair. I won’t ask you to stay. I know better than that. This is something you have to do.”

“It is.”

“Once you’re in New York, though, if you don’t like it, I’ll be here.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“Red, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never say never.”

“Fine.” Her heart hammered in her chest. She moved to the leather love seat, her hand stroking it. “This is yummy.”

“So are you.” The thought tumbled out before he could stop it.

She turned, so close he could feel her breath on his face.

He hadn’t meant for it to happen. He hadn’t brought her here to make a move. But damn if he could keep his hands, his mouth, off her.

He’d watched her all day, that gorgeous red hair done up in a tumbled mass, curls escaping and trailing down her neck. He’d itched to pull out whatever pins held it and spill the fiery strands around her. Wanted to run his hands through it, feel the silky softness.

More, he wanted to unzip that swath of silk and let it slide to the floor. Wanted to touch the creamy white skin beneath. Needed to taste her. Her lips, the back of her knees, her stomach.

Needed to know if she still wore the little silver ring through her belly button.

Needed almost more than his next breath to hear her quiet little sighs, her cries of delight as they made love.

His gaze drifted to her red, red lips when her tongue peeked out between them.

“Maggie—”

“Brawley?”

“Yeah?” He raised his eyes back to hers. They always reminded him of a Texas meadow right after a spring rainstorm. What man could resist? Sure as hell not him. He caved. Pulled her to him. Felt her heat.

The first kiss was tentative. After that initial foray, though, he lost sight of his good intentions, of right and wrong.

Soft. So very soft.

His hand moved to the back of her neck, drawing her closer still. Inching into that silken mass of hair, he removed the pins one at a time, sighed when the strands spilled loose over his fingers, his hand, his arm.

His mouth left hers, traced a path along her chin, over her cheek. He buried his face in her hair and breathed deeply. God, she smelled good.

Maggie gave him those little sighs, those moans he’d been craving.

His lips trailed back to hers. When they parted, he slid his tongue inside to dance with hers. He backed her up till she was against the sofa.

Sliding a hand beneath her knees, he scooped her up and laid her on the soft leather, then followed her down. His hands ran the length of her, his fingers trailing beneath the hem of her dress.

He felt her cool hands on his heated flesh. Somehow she had his shirt out of his pants and half unbuttoned. Her head lowered, and she trailed a line of kisses across his bare chest. She stopped at the small scar just above his navel, flicked her tongue over it.

Brawley sucked in his breath. Maggie had been the one to mark him there with a stick when they’d been eight-year old pirates fighting it out with pretend swords. He put a finger beneath her chin and raised her head to taste her lips again.

She had matured, ripened. Was everything the eighteen-year- old Maggie had been and more. Much more.

“Oh, Mags,” he whispered into her ear. “You’re killing me.”

She answered with a long, deep kiss.

He groaned. “I want you so badly it hurts.”

“Shut up and kiss me, cowboy.”

 

 

 

THE MAVERICK JUNCTION SERIES

 

 

 

SOMEBODY LIKE YOU, #1

NEAREST THING TO HEAVEN, #2

CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU, #3

 

Series Page on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2tdlKPu

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Lynnette Austin loves Starbucks, peppermint patties, and long rides with the top down and the music cranked up! One of the great things about writing is that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged. She grew up in Pennsylvania, moved to New York, then to Wyoming, and presently divides her time between Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s mountains. She’s been a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her-to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse.

 

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ~~THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER~AMY JARECKI with #Giveaway and #Review

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER
Author: Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands, #2
On Sale: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $3.99 USD
Audio: $22.98 USD

 

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She cannot resist the man behind the mask…

As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer—whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask—sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.

But will he betray his country for a kiss?

Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity—and learns that her father is accused of treason—will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

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The Series

THE LORDS OF THE HIGHLANDS SERIES

THE HIGHLAND DUKE, #1
THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER, #2
THE HIGHLAND GUARDIAN, #3

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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My thoughts:

The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki is a fantastic Medieval Scottish Romance. #2 in the highly anticipated series,  “Lords of the Highlands”, but it can be read as a stand alone.

Fast paced with a most enjoyable cast of characters.  Lady Magdalen Keith, an illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl and Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray are the stars of this most intriguing story of treason, passion, adventure,  intrigues and romance. Can Magdalen and Aiden save her father from the gallows, as their love blossoms?

Once again, Ms. Jarecki has created a story readers can relate to, and love in fall with, as they transverse the terrain of politics, love and treason. Another absolute heart pounding tale by the fabulous Amy Jarecki!  I can’t wait for the “Highland Guardian”. Ms. Jarecki is a master Medieval Scottish romance! She brings the characters to life on the pages of another great read! Her vitualizations, and her details brings the Highlands to life for readers. An absolute must read for fans of Highland Romance, brawn Highlanders and the feisty lasses who tame their hearts. Another WOW story!!

I received a  complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 5

Heat rating: Mild

Reviewed by: AprilR

 

 

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RELEASE WEEK BLITZ~~ONE WEEK TO THE WEDDING ~~OLIVIA MILES w/ #Giveaway, #Excerpt, #Teasers

 

 

Top 5 favorite wedding songs

  1. Canon in D
  2. Love and Marriage
  3. Wedding Song (There is Love)
  4. At Last
  5. Can’t Help Falling in Love

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: ONE WEEK TO THE WEDDING: An unforgettable story of love, betrayal, and sisterhood

Author: Olivia Miles

Series: Misty Point, #1

On Sale: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $6.99 USD

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Kate Daniels couldn’t be more excited to be planning her best friend’s wedding…in theory.

 

Lately, just thinking about gowns and centerpieces makes her want to hide under the covers with her dog and a good book—one that doesn’t include a romantic plot, thank you very much. Maybe it’s because her fiancé cheated. Or maybe it’s because he cheated with her younger sister, Charlotte. Or maybe it’s because her newfound reputation as jilted wedding planner isn’t exactly doing wonders for her career.

 

Charlotte knows she messed up. Big time. But she also knows something Kate doesn’t-something that might bring them close again, if her sister will ever take her calls. But as time passes and silence grows, Charlotte begins to realize she can’t hide from her problems forever, and that sometimes the only place to run is home.

 

With the wedding only a week away, Kate expects a few surprises. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself believing…in the strength of family, and the possibility of finding love again.

 

In the vein of New York Times bestselling authors Susan Mallery, Robyn Carr, and Kristan Higgins, comes the first in a new women’s fiction novel from Olivia Miles.

 

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THE MISTY POINT SERIES

 

ONE WEEK TO THE WEDDING, #1

THE WINTER WEDDING PLAN, #2

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Olivia Miles writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. A city girl with a fondness for small town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories. She lives just outside Chicago with her husband, young daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.

 

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Excerpt

 

Alec was leaning against the pole of a street light when Kate approached. Dressed in khaki shorts and a crisp white t-shirt that accentuated every curve of his thick biceps, Kate’s resolve since her conversation with Elizabeth had already weakened and she found herself fighting off the urge to run her hands over that rippled chest–

And that was officially crazy talk.

It had just been too long since she’d touched a man, that was all. It was a natural reaction that surely anyone would have to someone of the opposite sex after all this time. Especially one who looked like Alec.

“Hey!” He flashed her a big grin as she closed the distance between them.

She brightened at the sight of his friendly smile, wishing the response wasn’t so automatic. “Hey.”

Alec gestured to the bistro. “It’s full, but the wait should only be a few minutes.”

“I don’t mind,” Kate said, glancing at the customers who had filled the stretch of sidewalk tables. It was a romantic restaurant, one of the best in Misty Point, but she knew better than to assume this was why Alec had chosen it. He was visiting town, it was close to his hotel, and from an outsider’s point of view it probably just looked like a nice place to eat. Besides, he was probably used to picking the finest options. It was surely nothing more than that.’

And she shouldn’t wish it to be.

Just thinking of how betrayed her friend would feel to know that Kate was siding with the enemy was enough to make her come up with an excuse and leave. Going through with this dinner at this cozy little spot would make her the worst kind of friend there was. She knew too many people like this already, and she didn’t want to follow in their example.

She stole a glance at him, taking in the strong width of his back as he casually studied the menu outside the restaurant, his hands thrust in his pockets, his hair wavy and dark and just begging for her to tangle her fingers through…Stop it!

She opened her mouth, knowing she had to say something, but not knowing quite what, when she saw him. Jake. He was coming around the corner, laughing that laugh, smiling that smile, without a care in the world. He was rounding the bend, coming in her direction. She watched in frozen horror, not knowing whether to hide or run. Her mind ran rampant with every worst case scenario. Was he coming to the restaurant? Would he speak to her? What would she say?  

What was he even doing here? He was supposed to be gone, long gone.

And then she remembered. The phone calls. Charlotte. Panicking, she darted her gaze, searching for her sister, not knowing what she would say if she saw her.

“Alec.” Her voice locked in her throat, coming out strained and forced.

He turned to face her, his eyes growing wide at the sight of her. “Are you okay?”

“I need you to do me a favor,” she whispered urgently. Her heart was pounding as her eyes zipped from Alec to Jake and back again.

He hadn’t noticed her. Not yet. But he would. And soon.

Alec rolled his eyes in a joking way. “Do the best man duties ever end?  What do you need me to do now? Arrange flowers? Frost the cake? Oh…I know. Kiss the bride?”

“No. Kiss me.” She blinked, shocked by her own words. It was rash, impulsive, and desperate. She was probably sending him all the wrong messages. But she didn’t even care.

For once, she wasn’t thinking about the ripple effect of her actions. Or what she would say in five minutes. All she could think about was the here and now. And that if she didn’t have time to run and hide from the people who had publicly humiliated her, the most she could do was prove to Jake—and Charlotte–that was over it. That they hadn’t hurt her. That she was just fine.

Alec’s eyes flashed as the smile vanished from his face, replaced with a look of surprise. “What?”

“Kiss me,” she repeated breathlessly, her mind racing. She hadn’t even contemplated the thought that he might turn her down, laugh in her face, storm off. It would make it all worse–seal her humiliation. “I need you to kiss me. Right now.”

Alec’s expression was frozen and for a moment Kate was struck with the horrifying thought that he would drag this out, or turn it into a joke. She didn’t have time for that. But then his brows lifted and his lips curled into a devilish grin. “If you insist,” he murmured, reaching down to scoop his arms around her waist in one smooth effort.

His kiss was anything but shy as he pressed his lips to hers, pulling her so close to his chest she could feel the heat of his body through his shirt.

Her knees went a little weak as she let herself go, and for a moment, she wasn’t even thinking of Jake or Charlotte at all. She wasn’t thinking of the hurt, the pain, or what would happen next, when they broke apart. She wasn’t thinking of anything.

 

 

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