Wednesday, January 17, 2018

We All Love a Bad Boy… Just Admit It

With: Naima Simone

Giveaway of $5 gift card!

I’m just going to confess… I loves me a bad boy. It might be an addiction. Or a sickness. One I refuse to take medicine for. Unless that medicine includes a book with a broody, alpha, does-your-mother-know-you-kiss-her-with-that-mouth bad boy. I’ve really pondered this subject. Okay, all that musing might’ve included wine, but that’s neither here nor there. The alcohol just helped clear my neuropathic synaptic waves and veins of thought. Ahem. *puts down glass of wine*

First, let’s define a bad boy. According to urbandictionary.com, he is, “A young man who has many characteristics of a naughty boy: he's independent and willful; he does what he wants when he wants; he doesn't follow trends, they follow him; he often looks scruffy, but hip; he's not looking for trouble, but there's a sense of danger about him. For these reasons and more, he's irresistible to women. He's a heartbreaker with five o'clock shadow.” I like this definition. And my favorite part is the heartbreaker with a five o’clock shadow. Hah! ‘Cause that dusting of hair on the jaw is yes-and-amen! There’s a part I don’t particularly agree with—"he often looks scruffy, but hip”—because the cleanest cut millionaire can be a bad boy. But for the most part, I do. Most bad boys simply don’t give a fu—er, rip. I’m not referring to family or friends, or most especially the women he loves. Because he’s fiercely protective over them, and will tear somebody’s head off if they endanger them. He doesn’t care about most people’s opinions about him, what he does, what he says, how he lives his life or doesn’t live it. Honestly, isn’t this attractive? Mainly because a lot of us would love to have this attitude. And for a man to have this kind of swagger is, frankly, hot.

A bad boy isn’t a follower; he’s a leader. Even if he’s a loner, he’s a leader. Which brings me to the next quality of a bad boy. He’s an alpha. And by that, I mean, he’s dominant, loyal, protective and strong (in force of personality, not body size). There’s a sense of danger about him, even if the façade he shows the world is a laid-back joker. For a woman, that threat isn’t to her life, because she instinctively knows he would never harm her. Nope, the threat is to her panties and inhibitions. And let’s admit it. He’s probably destroyed a lot of panties.

Still, why do we love them? Because they sound stubborn, it’s-my-way-or-the-highway-ish, and a bit a-holish. Well, we love the baddest of the bad, the naughtiest of the naughty and the wildest of the wild because we want to see them reformed and tamed. Not changed, because we fell in love with them because of who they are. But we wait with abated breath to see their hearts tamed by that one special woman who is it for him. The one who has this man willingly reforming and abandoning his manwhore ways because she is more than enough for him. She also softens him, reveals his vulnerable side, heals the wounded places. That’s why we love the bad boys and devour books with them in it. To see him become whole for her and only her.

So tell me, who is your favorite bad boy in fiction, film or even that celebrity? Comment below and then enter the Rafflecopter to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

SCORING WITH THE WRONG TWIN


Shy, awkward Sophia Cruz has a hard time telling her vivacious identical twin “no.” But when her sister begs her to swap places for a modeling shoot, she caves … again. Then Zephirin Black walks onto the set. The brooding, aloof, and gorgeous tight end for the Washington Warriors. But she can keep it professional… She has to. Because the adorkable Cruz twin has no luck with guys once they compare her to her sister.
After a bad break-up, Zeph hasn’t been big on second chances—and even less with trust. But he finds himself giving please-call-me-by-my-middle-name-Sophia both. The woman he’d dismissed as a spoiled cover model is different from the first time he met her. Quirkier. Funnier. Definitely sexier. What started as one night turns into another…and another…and another…

Still, Sophia can’t go on keeping her secret from him. But telling Zeph the truth will mean losing him for good.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bargaining With The Boss


Bargaining with the Boss (Accidentally Yours #1)

Kinsley just wanted to have some fun for a change. Then she wakes up in a stranger's bed, with her bridesmaid dress on backward and a hazy memory of what happened at her friend's wedding. With a quick escape, she can get back to her predictable life. But then she meets her new boss--the same guy she'd woken up next to--and seeing him with a clear head doesn't make him any less attractive.

Mixing business with pleasure has never been Damon's style, and easily avoided, but the hotel he just bought comes with an unexpected perk--its manager. "Sensible" Kinsley today is as alluring as "impulsive" Kinsley was the night before, and she talks him into a deal. If she can turn around the hotel by the end of summer, he won't tear it down to put up a more profitable condos.

Their plan is simple...until falling for each other becomes more than they bargained for.


Excerpt:
Chapter One for Bargaining with the Boss
Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Shirk 
All rights reserved - an Entangled Publishing, Ltd. publication

Kinsley was on her second piece of wedding cake, still mulling over her friend's idea of walking up and introducing herself to a total stranger.

A situation like that really couldn't be entered into lightly. After all, the stranger was a man. A hot man. Kind of out of her element, but that was the point. She needed a plan first.

The way she looked at it, three things were holding her back: 1) the pink organza bridesmaid dress she currently wore was not her best look, 2) she didn't have much practice in approaching strange men, especially at weddings, and 3) truth be told…it was pretty darn good cake. She shoveled in another forkful.

Her friend Arden came over to her with a fist planted on her hip. "Is this your idea of moving on? Stuffing your face with fat and over-processed carbs?"

Kinsley rolled her eyes. Some people really knew how to suck the joy out of dessert binging. "Just because I didn't bring a date to Lori's wedding doesn't mean I haven't moved on."

"Well, I'd be more convinced if you just went over and said hi to that guy at table five you've been staring at all night."

She winced. "Have I really been that obvious?"

"Only to me. Wedding planners have extra keen perception. It's our way of ensuring future clientele."

Kinsley stabbed another piece of cake with her fork. "Ah, so you're like the wedding version of an ambulance chaser?" She popped the last bite into her mouth and grinned.

"Pretty much." Arden chuckled then turned her attention back to her event checklist. "I see the band is playing for another hour and a half. If you don't make a move on Mr. Tall-dark-but-doesn't-know-you're-alive, you're going to miss your chance."

Miss my chance. Realization flooded her. Yes, it was time to officially move on. She hadn't gone on a date since Paul had broken up with her well over eight months ago.

Paul. She held in a sigh at the sudden thought of him and why he had called off their engagement. Apparently, she was too "sensible" for him. Right. How can anyone be too sensible? It didn't make, well, sense.

She briskly brushed the crumbs from her hands and stood. Yes, better make a move on that man now if she really was determined to forget Paul. She couldn't believe her luck when she saw the hot guy hadn't brought a date to the wedding, either.

Kinsley ran her tongue over her teeth, checking for frosting and, when all seemed clear, adjusted her strapless gown over her nonexistent chest one last time. "Okay, I'm ready," she announced to Arden. "How do I look?"

Arden smiled. "Great. Like a puffy pink vamp."

"Wish me luck."

"You don't need any." Arden gave her a thumbs-up. "Go for it, girl."

"I will."

Yep. She was going for it. Totally going. Practically gone. Yet for some reason her feet still hadn't budged.

Arden frowned. "In case you didn't hear me, I said go for it."

"Right. I know." She nibbled her bottom lip as she glanced around. The dance floor seemed a football field away now. What in the world was she thinking? She couldn't just approach a wedding guest like that. What would she say? Hi. Come here often? And…

Now that she thought about it, were those chest pains she was having? She placed a hand over her heart and massaged. It was quite possible she really was having a heart attack. Too much cake. Maybe she should pull out her phone and check WebMd to be sure. Her forehead felt a little damp, too.

Arden folded her arms and, as if reading her mind, muttered, "You're not having a heart attack, Kinsley. It's nerves. Just go and talk to the guy. Offer to buy him a drink. Compliment his tie, for goodness sake. Anything!"

"I-I can't." She swallowed and felt on the verge of tears. "Who am I kidding, Arden? This isn't me. I'm no vamp. I'm not confident like that. Plus, he's going to think I'm stalking him."

"Well, you kind of have been."

"Arden!"

Her friend chuckled. "Okay, jeez. If you don't calm down, you really will give yourself a heart attack. Seriously, Kinsley, you need to do this for yourself, have a little fun. It's time to put Paul behind you. He's done a real number on your self-esteem. Plus...this has been a tough year. I know you've been feeling extra down because of what Wade did, too."

Kinsley looked away. She didn't want to think about her brother right now-or the fact that he'd sold her birthright out from under her. It was bad enough to have her boyfriend of five years break up with her because he had a sudden realization that she wasn't "interesting enough," but to then have her brother announce that he'd sold the beachfront hotel that had been in their family for three generations...well, that had completely crushed her. The hotel needed work, true, but she'd only come back home a few weeks ago. Wade never even gave her a chance to try to turn things around.

Arden laid a hand on her shoulder. "Look, I'm sorry to bring that up. But I just think you need to have a few drinks and let your hair down tonight. Forget it all. This is a happy occasion, remember? And no offense, but you've been so mopey these last few weeks. I've had my work cut out for me trying to convince the bride that you would in fact smile for the pictures."

Kinsley sighed. Too sensible. Uninteresting. And now mopey. She was beginning to understand her lack of male companionship a little too well.

"I guess I have been bringing the bridal party down," she said. "Maybe I do need to let loose."

"You're not getting any younger, either."

Kinsley narrowed her eyes. "Hey, no need to kick an already down woman."

Arden raised spread hands. "Sorry. But seriously, you're a great person and deserve to find happiness."

"Yeah, I know," she said quietly. She did know. In her head. It was just kind of hard to believe it in her heart when she was the last of all her friends to find that someone special. Except Arden, that is. Arden was determined to stay single now after an almost-wedding of her own and was completely satisfied in that choice.

"Listen," Arden said, taking her by the shoulders and turning her back toward the ballroom, "you go out there and be the confident woman I know you are deep down inside. You look beautiful, so if he doesn't fawn all over you, I'm sure there'll be half a dozen other men in line right after him. Just smile for heaven's sake."

Kinsley nodded. "Thanks."

"No thanks needed. Just have fun." Arden gave her a none-too-gentle shove in the general direction of the bar.

Feeling as if her bones were made of marshmallows, Kinsley awkwardly made her way across the room. The band was playing some Chicago song, the horn instruments blaring in her ears. The bride and her groom had their arms wrapped around each other, swaying off beat.

Aww... Kinsley smiled wistfully. Maybe someday, that would be her. If she could ever find her target. Wherever he'd disappeared to...

Once at the bar, she asked for a screwdriver, hoping the vodka would loosen her up. She never approached men or drank hard alcohol, but maybe it was time to start changing things. Obviously, what she had been doing before wasn't working for her.

With a wink, the bartender slipped the drink in front of her. She took a sip and almost choked on the fumes. Gah! The bartender had a heavy hand. But at least she was drinking something new instead of her old standby, Chardonnay. Baby steps.

Then out of the corner of her eye, she saw him. Halleluiah. He was in the back of the room, by the pasta table. Oh no. With sinking despair, she realized he was sucking face with the maid of honor, and she almost whimpered out loud. That should have been her face he was sucking. Then, as if she wasn't already feeling lower than low, she saw those hands of his, those gorgeous ringless hands begin to travel down the back of the woman's dress and cup her backside.

Kinsley turned away, feeling the vodka travel back up her throat. "Figures," she muttered, taking another long sip.

Like she had a shot with a guy like that anyway. Because naturally all gorgeous men flocked to the sensible uninteresting cake-horking bridesmaids first, right? Ha! No, men like that wanted a hot fling with an exciting woman. And though she hadn't met the maid of honor until the rehearsal dinner, Kinsley had learned she'd graduated with honors from Cornell, had some kind of finance job in Manhattan, and was a former Miss Rhode Island. Kind of hard to compete with all that.

"Are you okay?" a deep, male voice asked beside her.

"What do you think?" she murmured, rubbing her forehead. Then realizing her rudeness, she turned to offer an apology.

And lost the ability to speak.

She was hit with dark blue eyes first. He was tall and lean with combed-back dirty-blond hair. A beard shadowed his face, but not so much that she couldn't notice the dimple in his left cheek. Best of all, the man filled a suit like it was a second skin. Her heart gave a short flutter.

Wow, what were the odds of seeing so many gorgeous men in one room? He looked a little like Chris Hemsworth. Then she had a thought. Since Lori's husband was related to Tina Fey, and a few celebrities were here, maybe he was Chris Hemsworth.

The man cocked his head, his blue eyes dancing. "I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not Chris Hemsworth."

So much for thinking and not saying.

"Oops," she said with a weak smile. "Sorry. I guess I would have known for sure if you'd taken off your shirt."

The man lifted his brows. "You want me to remove my shirt?"

Her gaze inadvertently dipped to his brawny chest. Hell to the yes.

"Yeah," she sighed, mimicking her thoughts again. Then she gasped. "I mean, NO! Not at all! Not that you don't have a great body-er, chest." Oh, lordy, what am I saying? "I just meant I've seen Thor several times-you know the movie-and well, Chris Hemsworth's, um, chest was different..." She shut her mouth and swallowed.

Classic example of why she should always have a solid plan in place first before approaching strange men.

His lips twitched. "How about we start off with a drink, then maybe afterward we can discuss me removing my shirt."

"Oh, no," she said with a nervous laugh. "Thank you. I'm fine." She raised her glass as proof and was dismayed to find it empty, with the exception of a few ice cubes. Huh. No wonder her lips were so loose.

He gave her a wry look. "Doesn't look so fine. Are you sure you don't want one little drink with me?"

She smiled sheepishly. "Well, okay. Maybe I could use another drink." Heck, why not? He was handsome and he hadn't bolted from her, despite her runaway mouth and obvious obsession with Chris Hemsworth. Maybe she'd even let him buy her two drinks. And now that she looked at him, really looked at him, she could see that he was way better-looking than the guy who hooked up with the maid of honor, and even much better-looking than Chris Hemsworth. She shouldn't have said no to him removing his shirt.

"What are you drinking?" he asked.

"Orange juice and vodka, but I don't really like it. You can order me whatever else you want. Just not a Chardonnay."

"Got it. You don't like Chardonnay."

"No, I love Chardonnay." She heaved a depressed sigh. "That's the point."

"What's the point? Self-denial?"

"No. The point is I always drink Chardonnay. I'm trying to expand my horizons. Be different." She gestured to the glass he was holding. "How about I just have what you're having?"

"Scotch?"

She made a face.

He shook his head. "Of all the gin joints, in all the world…" he muttered.

"Oh, I don't want gin, either."

About the Author:
Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Montlake Romance and Entangled Publishing. Her novel, FIANCE BY FATE, a 2015 Readers' Crown Finalist, became an Amazon #1 bestseller for Series Romance. And recently, WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH, WON the Sweet Traditional category of the 2017 Golden Quill Contest and became a #1 Amazon bestseller for Holiday Romance and USA Today bestseller.

She serves on many volunteer boards in her community, but is most proud of her work on the Ocean City Free Public Library Board of Trustees, where she has served as President for over 3 years. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she's not involved in all the above, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, and dog (Sox).

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Love Between Enemies


Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.



Gordon tasted like mint and warmth, and the way he kissed me back made the butterflies in my stomach do figure eights. Sparks shot across my skin as he clutched my hip and drew me flush against him without breaking our kiss.
            This was bad. Really bad.
            The text from Julie. He’d seen his name. I’d done the first thing I’d thought of…kissed him.
But now that my lips had touched his, all I wanted was for him to keep kissing me.
            Though I was one hundred percent certain before the lights went out that he’d been about to kiss me…and I’d been about to let him.
            I needed to get out of here, call Julie. Tell her to get everyone out. I couldn’t go through with this…not after everything—
            Gordon gently nipped at my bottom lip. I gasped from the heat of him, the wonderful way he held me tight and gentle at the same time. His scent swarmed my air, filling my head with all things Gordon. It was like he’d kissed me hundreds of times. As many as he’d needed to master it, because this was absolute perfection.
            I fingered the strands of hair at the base of his neck, popping up on my tiptoes to get a better angle. He let me take the lead but didn’t hesitate to follow me any which way I pointed us. I swiped my tongue over his, relishing in the way my blood sizzled and my insides melted.
            Where one strong hand held me to him, the other explored the length of my spine, a trail of warm shivers following his fingers. There, in the complete darkness in one of dozens of Lennon’s guest bathrooms, I totally forgot who I was. Forgot what I was doing there. Why I’d come to the party in the first place.

About Molly E. Lee:
Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, the Grad Night series and the Love on the Edge series. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

Author Links:
Author Website: mollyelee.com
Author Street Team/Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/434107490133398/
Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mollyelee/
Author Snapchat:  mollyeleeauthor
Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/2pKqfMa

Friday, January 12, 2018

Her Rodeo Masters


Excerpt
“You cried?” Kevin asked aghast, a hand against his chest and his eyes wide with horror at her perceived faux pas.
“Nope. My date did. Going on and on about his ex. Clearly the guy wasn’t ready to get back out into the meat market. After listening for two hours about how much he loved Kelli with an ‘i,’ I was done,” she replied, getting up from her desk with her iPad in her hand to take notes during the meeting. Since she was the ‘horoscope girl’—as in, that was the only column she wrote—her boss, Don Moss, tended to have her perform secretarial duties as well. Like taking the meeting minutes during the weekly bull pen meeting on Monday mornings.
“Oh god, well, you’re better off, sweetie. I know this guy—”
“The men you know are gay. Not that I don’t love you and every gay man on the planet—because how would I know what to wear otherwise?—but I can’t date a gay man.”
Kevin cast her a patronizing glance. “Why not, honey? We make the best boyfriends.”
“Yeah, but there’s that whole ‘I’d like to have sex this decade with something not battery-operated’ thing. Aren’t you guys anti-vaginas anyhow? I kind of have the wrong equipment for a gay man,” she said with a laugh.
Kevin gave her a wicked grin. “Oh, honey, just because we don’t actively pursue women doesn’t mean we don’t know how to please one in bed. And after a few good orgasms, we’d make you the best damn quiche with a buttery crust that would melt in your mouth, and mimosas with freshly squeezed orange juice. And then we’d go get some mani-pedis together.”
Ivy sighed. That sounded like heaven. Having someone else take care of things, of her, for a change. The fact she was actually considering his offer was a rather disconcerting discourse about the state of her life. “If the men I date don’t improve soon, I promise to let you fix me up.”
“You won’t regret it,” Kevin assured her with a saucy grin and wink as they walked through the office.

HER RODEO MASTERS
Ivy Phillips is on a mission. She’s an investigative reporter for the Pasadena Tribune, and is hoping to write the story of the century by infiltrating Pleasure Island claiming to be a submissive. Except, when she gets there, she inadvertently finds herself auctioned off for charity and now has two hunky cowboys who want to own her body and soul.
Dax Johnson and Nate Banks have been a rodeo team – and lovers – for years. But they’ve yearned to add a sweet submissive to their union. When they meet Ivy, Dax knows she is the one for them, and the duo set out on a seductive campaign to win Ivy’s affection.
But when the truth is revealed, will their newfound relationship survive? Or will the two cowboys ride off into the sunset without her?
Publisher’s Note: This is the ninth – and final – instalment of Anya Summers’ bestselling Pleasure Island series. While we recommend all the books, it can be enjoyed on its own.
Available at: Amazon https://goo.gl/HDZw6v

Anya Summers

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.
Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.
Visit her website here:
Visit her on social media here:
Twitter: @AnyaBSummers
                        Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anyasummersauthor/

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers and Blushing Books!


Cuffs & Spurs Series
His Scandalous Love releasing March 8, 2018
His Wicked Love releasing May 8, 2018
His Untamed Love releasing July 9, 2018
His Tempting Love releasing September 6, 2018
His Seductive Love releasing November 8, 2018
His Secret Love releasing January 8, 2019
His Cherished Love releasing March 8, 2019

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Collision Course


Giveaway Alert!


He's always had a way with the ladies
She won't give him the time of day
Sparks fly when two hearts in motion collide.

Florist Joey Reeves is working overtime to stay away from Lou Cortez, the ace mechanic with a reputation for irresistible charm. She's a single mom with enough on her plate—the last thing she needs is entanglement with the hottest guy in town…

"Well, hello there."

Joey glanced up and froze. The man who'd been haunting her sleep looked even better in the hard light of day.
"H-hello." She coughed. The guys who worked at Webster's Garage all looked larger than life, covered in tattoos, muscles, and that indefinable sense of danger they wore like a second skin. But this guy, the tall, Latin lover with dark-brown eyes and lips made for kissing, had ensnared her.


Excerpt:
Lou wasn’t a one-nighter kind of guy. He liked to wine and dine women, to linger over the seduction and part ways as friends. He always left them wanting more while happy to distance himself.
But with Joey, it was different. He couldn’t understand why, and he’d thought about it a lot. Perhaps her initial rejection had put the spark of challenge in his belly. Or maybe her shyness had intrigued him to see if she’d be that compliant in bed; he had every hope of eventually finding out the answer to that question. Then he’d remember her warm brown eyes, her smile, and he’d get a pang in his chest that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with feeling.
Christ. If he was already feeling this for a woman he hadn’t yet fucked, he was pretty much screwed. And not in a good way. He had no intention of ever getting married, and Joey seemed like the hearts and—no pun intended—flowers type. Having a steady girlfriend didn’t bother him, but he didn’t feel ready for that either. So why all the lovey bullshit?
Had to come from watching all his friends couple up. They’d turned him soft…so to speak.
He glanced down at himself, aware this constant hard-on when thinking of Joey had to stop.
Heller walked out of his office and glanced around. “I don’t like it this quiet.” To Lou he said, “We go to Ray’s soon, I buy you a beer. You need it. Now quit mooning over whatever woman crawled up your ass and get to work.” Lou caught a few unflattering comments in German he’d heard before just as Heller disappeared back into his office and shut the door. The phone rang, and Lou returned to work. Seconds later, Heller erupted in some harsh German. And man, the big dude had a booming voice that carried, even through a closed door.
The guys who’d been hand sanding a Camry stopped and stared at the office. Mateo and Smith shared a glance then shook their heads.
“I’m not asking him now.”
“Me neither.”
As one, they turned to Kelly.
Kelly, Heller’s newest hire and a damn fine paint guy, sighed. “Why is it always me? You know predators always go for the weakest prey—and I’m like a hundred pounds less than the boss. At least make Lou ask to give the rest of us a fighting chance.”
Lou chuckled. “Yeah, right. No way in hell am I going in there after hearing that.” He paused. They heard more shouting, then something slammed into the wall with a crack. Dead silence. “You think he’s talking to his old man?” Lou had met the bastard once and had no urge to repeat the experience.
Kelly swallowed. “Um, that’d be my guess. I’ve only been here four months, but no one else gets him that pissy that fast. You know he’s slow to boil.”
“But when he does he’s friggin’ insane,” Mateo added. “No way in hell I’m asking.”
“For fuck’s sake.” Lou sighed. “What do you guys want?”
They all looked at each other before Kelly, the group’s sacrificial lamb, said, “We want a vending machine. For drinks. It gets dry in here, you know?”
Lou blinked. “A soda machine?”
“Hey, the customers could use it too.”
“What customers?” Lou snorted. “People come in here to drop off their cars. They don’t wait around for you guys to sand and paint. That takes days. Weeks.”
“No shit.” Mateo scowled. “We’re not stupid, Lou. I’ve been asking for one for two years. We’re just saying we want stuff to drink. And a coffee pot would be nice. We’re not lucky enough to walk a few doors down for coffee and donuts like you Webster pussies.”
Lou chuckled, remembering the bear claw. “NCB does serve donuts sometimes. The homemade, old-fashioned kind. But the other day, man, I had the best coffee. And I remember Foley eating some sweet cheese tarts. An apple fritter too, come to think of it.”
Smith groaned. “You’re a mean bastard.”
The door banging against the wall interrupted the conversation, and they froze.
“Why is no one working?” Heller growled.
Man, the guy was almost worse than Del on a tear. Lou decided to take one for the team and stood. “The guys want a soda machine.”
Heller scowled. “What? Why?”
“They’ve earned it, dealing with your moods.” Probably not the smartest thing he could have said. He swore he could see ice forming in Heller’s eyes—ice that burned. “Think about it. It’s something your old man would never go for. He’d throw a fit before getting his people anything to boost morale.”
Heller opened then closed his mouth, his stare downright frightening as he gazed at Lou before shifting to look at the others. “Ja. Okay. I’ll get one.”
“And a coffee pot or machine. Come on, man. Have a heart. Even I like the idea of a coffee machine. And it would be nice for clients too. Besides, the guys are weak. You know they’re more effective when they’re less whiny and slowly dying off a caffeine high.”
“Well, that’s not so nice,” Mateo muttered.
“Okay. Fine. But you.” Heller pointed at Kelly, who flinched. “You’ll figure out the cheapest and best product. Then we’ll see. Come use my computer.”
“Sure, sure. Bury the new guy where no one will find the body, why don’t you,” Kelly said under his breath as he passed Lou and slunk by Heller into the office.
Laughing at the kid’s melodrama, Lou finished doing his estimates before suiting up. Time to disassemble the Corvette so they could start sanding. He glanced at the clock. He’d give it two and a half more hours then bail. And if Heller didn’t like it, too bad. Not that Lou would put it to the guy exactly that way.
Three hours later, Lou swore. He’d gotten so wrapped up in his work that he’d lost track of time. That’s all he needed, to be late again with Joey. He had a feeling if he blew it tonight, he wouldn’t get another chance.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

When Childhood Friendship Turns To Love

With: Sonali Dev

Giveaway Alert!

There’s just something about knowing someone as a child. Childhood friendships that last into adulthood are a special kind of bond. My favorite stories are the ones where I get glimpses into the childhoods of adult characters. For me, it instantly connects me with the character and gives them context and makes them real people, which in turn make them memorable. 

A Distant Heart explores my love for the childhood bond. The book is set in two timelines, where we get to grow up with Kimi and Rahul in the past while also facing their considerable challenges in the present.  Kimi, at the age of eleven is confined to a sterile room in her mansion in Mumbai for twelve years because of a rare illness, and Rahul is a servant in her house because he needs to pay off a debt to her father. He ends up befriending her and becoming her eyes to the outside world for twelve years until a heart transplant sets her free.

To me Rahul and Kimi have a connection that feels essential to who they are, because it’s a connection that has developed during the harshest time in their lives. But the only reason they get a chance to make that connection in the first place, and get exposed to each other as who they are on the inside despite all the socially constructed distance that separates them, is that they were children when they first met. When we’re children the barriers between us as people aren’t solidified. It’s a more vulnerable time, a time when we haven’t yet stopped looking at each other because we can’t look past who we’re supposed to be. It’s a braver time.

It’s because they meet as children that a connection so deep happens between Rahul and Kimi. And its a really good thing that their connection is that deep and strong because it’s  going to be tested hard once they grow up. No matter how much they learn to cover up and protect themselves from hurt and fear of loss, what gets them through the conditions that test them is their connection and vulnerability not the armor they’ve tried to develop as adults.

Another thing about Rahul and Kimi’s story that I love is that they both have to deal with having no control over their circumstances but the way each of them deals with this is entirely different. From a very young age, Rahul has agency in ways that Kimi doesn’t. This is a two sided coin. His having agency comes with weighty responsibilities. The way he deals with the weight he carries is through self-denial, because he believes he can only deal with pain by avoiding it entirely. He believes that he doesn’t have the luxury to indulge in things that will cause pain, so he makes them unavailable to himself. Love is one of those things.


Through all of this Kimi sees the person he is on the inside, she sees past his experiences and past all the adult weight he has to carry as a child and it helps him find his own lost childhood. And it’s all the more powerful because she’s carrying the weight of unusual responsibilities and restrictions as well. They’re aware of the work the other has to do, but they aren’t focused on that like everyone else around them. The first time he sees her he says it was like “unexpectedly spotting your reflection while passing a window.”  I think that sums up their relationship perfectly and it’s what I think every relationship is trying to achieve.

A DISTANT HEART


Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart in A DISTANT HEART.

Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company. . . . Until one person dares venture into her world.

Tasked at fourteen years old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant shows up to wash Kimi’s windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi’s eyes to the outside world–and she becomes his inspiration to better himself by enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and keeps them apart.

As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may yet lose. And when his investigation into an organ black market ring run by a sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home, only Rahul’s deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe–and reveal the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances.

Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart.

Available at:


Praise for A DISTANT HEART

 “Searingly asks its characters what they’re willing to do for the people they love… explores family dynamics, class issues, and many layers of guilt, hope, and determination in ways that are both distinctly Indian and universally luminous. Another beautiful, breathtaking novel from a not-to-be-missed author.”— Kirkus, STARRED Review
“Dev crafts another thrilling story filled with intense drama, deep emotion, and well-developed characters; a can’t-put-down book.”—Library Journal, STARRED Review
“Thrilling action sequences and a complex, weighty romance propel this smart, sensitive story. A natural wordsmith, Dev dives into the psyches of disparate characters with voice-driven prose that includes both chilling insights and quirky humor… This poignant, sensual, and exciting tale captures a range of emotions and conflicts.”Booklist, STARRED Review

“Award-winning Dev returns with another of her emotionally resonating stories that explore, in depth, the intersection of friendship, love, sacrifice and desperation… There is a tremendous richness to this story… A truly captivating tale of friendship and love. Dev always delivers!”RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK!

About Sonali Dev
Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and writing, migrating across the globe, and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites. With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force, and she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up stories that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world traveler.
Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.
Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus’s lists
of Best Books of the year. She won the American Library Association’s award for best romance 2014, and is a RITA® finalist, RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. She was hailed by NPR.org as a ‘stunning debut’.



Connect with Sonali at: Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Amazon


Giveaway:

Sonali will be giving away an ebook copy of A CHANGE OF HEART to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan 10th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 

Sign up for the JCR newsletter!