Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Book Spotlight on Disarm by Karina Halle (GIVEAWAY)

A woman from humble beginnings is adopted into a family of wealth which sets her on an exhilarating journey through life.  Add in long-hidden feelings of romance from a cousin seen as the black sheep of the family and her journey becomes even more compelling.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Disarm by Karina Halle, then learn even more about this author and this book which will have you wanting to add this contemporary tale to your bookshelf.  In honor of this second installment in The Dumonts series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Amazon GC along with a digital copy of this book too!

Q&A WITH AUTHOR KARINA HALLE
1. To start off, can you tell us a little about your main characters from Disarm. Seraphine and Blaise have quite a history (not to mention they share the same last name!)
KH: Seraphine and Blaise Dumont are (gasp) cousins. But not to worry, they aren't blood-related. Seraphine is actually from India and was adopted by Ludovic Dumont when she was a young girl. Even though she was brought into the "nice" side of the family, she has always had trouble fitting in. Her looks, her accent, the fact that she was born poor and discarded like trash, gives her a very different perspective to life than her affluent family. This POV has colored her into the very outspoken, vibrant and feisty woman she is today - she is definitely one of my favorite female characters I've written.
Blaise, of course, belongs to the bad side of the family, though there were hints in the first book, Discretion, that he's not as bad as you would think. In fact, he's a lot like Seraphine, a bit of an outcast and the black sheep of his family. As we read Disarm, we also discover the history that Blaise and Seraphine have together which sets up for the angst, tension and hate for each other that they have in the present day, especially as Seraphine thinks Blaise has something to do with her father's death.
2. They live in a world of privilege that most of us cannot fathom. What are the biggest pluses and some minuses of living with fabulous wealth?
KH: The biggest plus is the material things: houses, cars, clothes, jets, vacations. You name it, they have it. You would also think a great deal of freedom comes with money too and it does but with that sort of wealth, it makes you go to great lengths to keep it. So that freedom still ties you to the wealth, in maintaining it and getting more of it. Of course, it breeds some pretty out of touch and unscrupulous characters, too, and you can never know who to trust when your world (and family) revolves around money instead of love.
3. What about Blaise makes him totally unique and different from all other book boyfriends?
KH: The torch he has carried for Seraphine for so many years. This man is the epitome of yearning and pining for someone you can't have, more so than most book boyfriends you've come across (and I won't spoil exactly how but you'll find out in the book just how secretly devoted to his cousin he is). He's also an anti-hero, a man who has done some crooked stuff but still tries to do the right thing, even if it comes at the expense of his own family.
4. Seraphine has faced many difficulties during her life, but one of her toughest challenges is thinking Blaise abandoned her. How does she deal with this heartbreak?
KH: She deals with it the way that Seraphine deals with any hardship—she tucks it away deep down inside and rises above it. She'll force herself to be strong - her pride is very powerful - and she'll trick herself into thinking she never cared about him to begin with. It's much easier to paint Blaise with a villainous brush, that way it doesn't hurt so much.
5. Extreme events are said to bring out a person's true character. What harrowing situations do Seraphine and Blaise get entangled in and what does this say about them?
KH: There isn't anything more extreme than fighting for your life, and the two of them have had to do that in this book. Literally. But they willingly walked into those situations as a way to put an end to the tangled web they've been caught in. It says they would rather face it and fight than flee. This is especially true for Blaise, who, at the end of the book, choses to confront his loved ones face to face, even if it potentially means making some difficult choices.
6. What scene from the book do you think readers will enjoy the most and why?
KH: Personally, I love the scene at the end, a nail-biting showdown between Blaise and his brother Pascal (and his father, too). That was a blast to write and read, I basically just watched it all unfold in my head and it had my heart pumping as if I was watching a movie. It's DELICIOUS. Romance-wise, I think the flashbacks are pretty special, particularly their first kiss in Italy. There was something about that scene that felt so real.
7. It is often said that writing is re-writing. What were some things that didn’t make it into the book that you were hoping to add?
KH: Nothing. It's all in there, baby! If anything, scenes were added during edits.
8. What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
KH: I learned a lot about Muay Thai fighting moves haha.
9. What do you want readers to take away from reading this book?
KH: That family isn't just through blood, and that sometimes in order to do the right thing and be your own person, you musn't be afraid to stand up to your family, even if it means tension or separation down the line.
10. Who is the next Dumont on your list to receive their own story?
KH: The infamous Pascal. And believe me when I say, this villain's story will both wow and win people over. His book is even more thrilling and dramatic than Disarm and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

Seraphine Dumont seems to have it all: she’s gorgeous, brilliant, and part of one of France’s most illustrious dynasties. But underneath the facade, Seraphine struggles to hold it all together. Besides grieving her adoptive father’s suspicious and sudden death, she also shares a tenuous role in the family business with Blaise, her in-name-only cousin. As tumultuous as their history is, he may be the only member of the deceptive Dumont family she can trust.
Seraphine is a temptation Blaise can’t resist. The torch he’s carried for years still burns. It’s his secret—a quiet obsession just out of reach. Until his brother demands that he spy on the increasingly cagey Seraphine, whom their father considers a dispensable Dumont outlier. But the more Blaise watches her and the closer he gets, the more he sees Seraphine may have every right to be suspicious. And she could be the next one in danger—from his own family.
As blood runs hot and hearts give in, Seraphine and Blaise have only each other. But can their love survive the secrets they’re about to uncover?

EXCERPT:

“We can never be together, Blaise,” Seraphine says, like frustration is rolling through her. “I know you understand that.”
“But it doesn’t mean we can’t try.”
“No,” she says and suddenly gets up to her feet, walking out of the room. “No. I can’t do this. I can’t handle this,” I hear her cry out as she heads down the hall.
I get up and run after her, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her right up against me, and she opens her mouth to protest and then my mouth is on hers, swallowing her words.
I kiss her with everything I have, every bit of anger and frustration and the years of lust and pining and wanting. I should be more gentle after the night she’s had, but I can’t help myself; in fact, I think I’m seconds from turning into an animal as I hold the back of her head and press my hand at the small of her waist, keeping her pressed as close to me as possible.
Her tongue slides across mine, hot and fevered and —
She pulls back, gasping for breath, and slaps me across the face.
Whack.
That hurt.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” she says. “What are you doing? What am I doing?”
Her face is red with anger, perhaps even shame. I mean, my cheek is stinging from her powerful wallop, but even so, I expected it. She’s always been the type of woman to put you in your place. But I didn’t expect her to slide so easily back into hating me.
“Don’t pretend you haven’t been dreaming about that,” I tell her, trying to control myself. “Don’t pretend that you haven’t wanted that, wanted me, all these years.”
“The only thing I’ve been dreaming about, Blaise, is getting justice for my father. That’s it. That’s all that matters. And as far as I’m concerned, you’re no better than the rest of them.”
Anger pokes at me, building up inside. “Hey,” I say, my inflection razor sharp. “I risked my neck tonight for you. I saved you from a bad situation. And more than that, I let you know the truth. I chose you over my family.”
“And I’m choosing not to trust you,” she says. “You’ve given me no sign over the years that I mean anything to you at all. Why should I believe you now? Why do that when it might derail everything I’m working on?” Something comes over her, a flash in her eyes, as she’s realizing something. “This is all a setup, isn’t it? This is just something that Pascal is having you do, just like you followed me. You’re supposed to tell me all this nonsense about wanting me and staying celibate like some joke and waiting for me, and it’s all a lie to get my guard down. If you’re telling me I’m in danger, it’s because you’re putting me there.”
I knew she’d go this route at some point, but even so, it stings. “That’s not it at all. Seraphine, please, I’m serious.”
“You just want me to back off because I’m close to the truth,” she says, shaking her head wildly as the idea takes over. “For all I know, every single thing this evening that’s come out of your mouth has been a complete lie, all to throw me off.”
I run my hands down my face, trying to squash my frustration. I knew this was coming, and yet that tiny coal of hope was always burning inside. “That’s not true,” I mutter into my hands, but I know when she gets like this that there’s no changing her mind.
“Get out,” she says.
I look up to see her opening the door and gesturing for me to hurry up.
“You’re making a big mistake by not trusting me,” I tell her.
“And I don’t take threats very well. Get out, and if I see you around me again...”
I almost laugh. “You will see me again. At work tomorrow.”
“Right. I almost forgot that you’re taking over my job.” She runs her fingers under her eyes and sighs so defeatedly that leaving her feels like a crime.
“It’s not like that,” I tell her.
“Just go,” she says quietly, holding open the door and looking away, like she can’t be bothered to face me.
“You know where to reach me, if anything happens,” I tell her as I walk past and out into the hall.
“If anything happens, you’ll be the first one I’ll blame,” she says to me.
Before I can say anything in response, she closes the door in my face.


BUY AT AMAZON here.

AUTHOR INFO:

Karina Halle, a former travel writer and music journalist, is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact, A Nordic King, and Sins & Needles, as well as fifty other wild and romantic reads. She, her husband, and their adopted pit bull live in a rain forest on an island off British Columbia, where they operate a B&B that’s perfect for writers’ retreats. In the winter, you can often find them in California or on their beloved island of Kauai, soaking up as much sun (and getting as much inspiration) as possible.


**********GIVEAWAY**********

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 18, 2019

Book Blitz for The Rule by Maggie Cole (GIVEAWAY)


A strong-willed woman who follows the rules finds herself in a combustible relationship with a billionaire who’s accustomed to getting everything he wants in this series starter.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of The Rule by Maggie Cole, then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this first installment in the All In series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $5 Amazon GC too!

She’s got one rule: no dating clients. Too bad he doesn’t follow the rules.
When Liv White meets billionaire Tom Marko, she’s about to take over his companies—but he wants her over him…and under him. (And everything in between.) It doesn’t hurt that Tom’s handsome, a basketball star with a body to match, and just the right kind of fierce.
What’s a whip-smart businesswoman to do
Tom gives Liv an ultimatum: the deal’s off unless they use his Colorado mountain home for their next meeting. Despite her rule, Liv agrees. The truth is, she doesn’t know if she can resist Tom’s presence—or the feel of his hands on her.
Just as the hunger between them becomes impossible to ignore, Tom’s past comes crashing back. The two are thrust into danger, and Tom and Liv must fight to keep their lives—and each other.

EXCERPT:

He laughed with me. Then he swallowed hard and just stared at me, with his eyes begging me to want him.
I’m not sure how long he stared, and I fought with my rule, but finally, I gave in. There was something so irresistible about him, and I couldn’t help myself.
I slowly leaned closer. It was all he needed. This time I didn’t duck out of it. I knew what he was going to do, and I let him because I had to have it too.
Our mouths met, and our tongues explored the others. A jolt hummed through my body.
Tom Marko had to be the world’s sexiest kisser. I was sure of it. Every inch of my body lit up with electricity, as his lips parted mine and his tongue sent shivers down my spine.
He effortlessly rolled me on top of him and pulled me close to his body. I dug my knees into the cold ground on both sides of him, as I tried to get even closer, kissing him harder, as his body started to respond to mine through our clothes.
Strong arms wrapped tighter around me, while hands caressed my back, sending tingles down my spine. As I ground my sex into his, I rubbed my hands through his hair and pushed his black hat off his head, and listened to his sexy groan.
The energy of his body heat vibrated against me, but I suddenly got a chill, and my body shook from the cold.
Tom pulled me away and sat up. “Time to get you out of those wet clothes.”
A surge of excitement ran through me.
Tom pointed to a free-standing stone building that I hadn’t noticed before.
“There is a wet sauna and shower in there. Dry sauna, too, if you want. Robes, towels, whatever you need. It’s all in there. I’ll stay out here, in case you need anything.”
Crap. He wasn’t going to undress me. Damn it!
Apparently, my rule flew out the door.
“Aren’t you cold?” I asked him guiltily. He had to be freezing. I started to cool down from the run and now felt my bones turning into ice. “I’ll be all right. I’ll go by the fire and wait. You go get warm. I don’t want you to get sick.” Tom put his hand around my waist and guided me past the fire I hadn't noticed.
He opened the door, and I stepped into the sauna. It was warm, and steam shot out of the ceiling and floor. There were several seats, all different heights.
I turned back to him. I felt guilty and wanted to invite him in, but I wasn’t sure what to do.
“Get warm, Liv.” He shut the door.
I removed my shoes and socks, shirt, and pants, and walked to the adjacent shower. It was warm, but I was freezing from the ground, and my clothes were all covered in mud. As the water got hotter, I stood in my bra and underwear, and let the mud wash off.
The hot water was a welcome relief, and I thought of Tom, standing out in the freezing-cold.
Guilt once again rushed through me. But even stronger was the deep desire I couldn’t shake. Thoughts raced through my head.
Tom's perfect body that screamed sex god.
The business empire he built based on his brain that made him even sexier.
The kiss we shared that was the hottest kiss I had ever experienced.
The hardness of his manhood against my body...a body that hadn't been touched in I didn't know how long.
The house he designed from the ground up and how he paid attention to every little detail...
He had to be an attentive lover.
Who was I kidding? I bet he was an incredible lover.
I realized how much I wanted this man. I craved him. Since the moment I met him, I had been off-guard, nervous, excited, and curious. He was so much more than I thought, and I knew I had only scratched the surface of who he was.
Meg’s words rushed to my head. “Your client rule is super old school, and you need to let it go.”
I couldn’t help myself. I had to have him.
I opened Pandora’s box.

FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY AT AMAZON here.

AUTHOR INFO:

Maggie Cole is the pen name of a multi-faceted woman. She's an entrepreneur at heart and loves writing contemporary steamy romance novels. Her books will make you feel lots of different emotions. Sometimes you'll laugh, sometimes you'll cry, sometimes you'll have little flutters racing through your veins...and that's Maggie's biggest wish for you when you read her novels.
She's a wife, mother, and lives in the sunshine, where she can often be found staring off into space while creating new scenes in her mind.


**********GIVEAWAY**********

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Book Tour for Restless Rancher by Jennifer Ryan (GIVEAWAY)


A man who once had everything going for him picks himself up out of the gutter in an attempt to start over.  What he gets instead though is a complicated romance with a sassy and strong-willed woman hoping for a HEA of her own as long as they can deal with the secrets of his past coming back to haunt them.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Restless Rancher by Jennifer Ryan, then add this contemporary western romance to your bookshelf!  In honor of this second installment in the Wild Rose Ranch series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a print copy of the previous book in this series too!

If you like bad-boy heroes, western settings, and a sexy, sassy heroine you will love Jennifer Ryan's newest Wild Rose Ranch book! Perfect for fans of Diana Palmer, Linda Lael Miller, and Jodi Thomas.
One minute down-on-his-luck rancher Austin Hubbard slept soundly, the next, a sassy spitfire dumped a pitcher of water on his head and woke him up—in more ways than one. Hired to help him rebuild his ranch, Sonya Tucker ends up helping him put the tattered pieces of his life back together. The capable, all-business accountant is on a mission to get the ranch up and running, but can he convince the temptingly beautiful woman to take a chance on him?
Sonya was dismayed that Austin had lost it all: money, family, respectability. Things she—who’d been raised by her mother at Nevada’s notorious brothel Wild Rose Ranch—only dreamed about. But working with the long, lean cowboy shows her that Austin is honorable to his core. Together they slowly grow to see what the love between them might bring.
But then Austin’s powder keg of a family feud explodes, exposing long-buried secrets, and threatening their new-found love…

EXCERPT:

Austin stood in front of the small mirror he’d hung on the stable wall and drew the razor down his jaw, scraping away shaving cream and two days’ worth of whiskers. He rinsed the blade in a bowl of lukewarm water, ran it down the last section, then wiped his face clean with a damp towel. His hair could use a trim. A comb would do it a hell of a lot of good. Eyedrops would erase the red from his eyes. But not even the four ibuprofen he’d taken an hour ago could eradicate the headache raging through his skull.
Until two weeks ago, his sleepless nights occurred courtesy of a bottle of whiskey. But he’d put the bottle down and was on the cusp of piecing his shattered life back together.
One of those broken pieces from his past walked in through the barn door that hung off-kilter on one hinge like a drunk propped against a bar.
He’d been that guy. But not anymore.
“Lookin’ good, Austin honey.” Kelly’s voice evoked a lot of memories. Not all of them good.
Her gaze swept over his chest, down his abs, and landed on the button on his jeans. “You are a sight to behold.” Her tongue swept over her red painted lips. For a split second he remembered how those lips used to wrap around his cock.
But not anymore.
Lust turned to resentment and set his back teeth to grinding.
Wearing a pair of worn jeans barely hanging on his skinny hips and nothing else, he felt naked under her lascivious gaze. He’d lost some weight these last many months drinking and living hand to mouth, hoping he came up with enough money to pay for groceries.
Yes, he’d been humbled, going from living large with money overflowing his bank account to scraping by. He’d taken any odd job he could find without his father finding out and retaliating against the person who’d graciously hired him. Most everyone in these parts wouldn’t dare cross Walter Hubbard. Not when most of them did business with Hubbard Ranch or worked for Blue Mining. Those few brave souls who hired him did so because they wanted to take Austin down a peg or two.
After his grandfather died and left Austin this ranch, his father fired him from the family business and kicked him out of his home. His father wanted the ranch with a passion and vengeance Austin never saw coming.
But he held on. The ranch was the one thing that was still his, though the money ran out and so did Kelly. This dump wasn’t the home Kelly imagined they’d live in after getting married. She expected the same kind of life he’d lived at his father’s place, Hubbard Ranch, where the good life and their future seemed so easy to imagine.
Here at his grandfather’s dilapidated place, you needed a fantastical imagination to see its potential.
He also needed an investor willing to take a chance on someone who’d hit rock bottom but dreamed big.
He still had a few people who believed in him, like his best friend Noah’s girlfriend, Roxy, who thought he could make this place great again. She was an amazing woman with a huge heart and an even bigger bank account. He didn’t know what he’d done to deserve it, but Roxy wanted to partner with him and turn this pile of dirt and rotten wood back into a modern working ranch.
Kelly had walked away because she didn’t believe in the dream or him.
She never gave him a chance to turn this place into what she wanted. What he’d promised her.
Abandoned by his girlfriend and disowned by his father in a matter of weeks, beaten down by his father sabotaging his chances for work, yeah, he’d given up and slowly drowned in a bottle and his going-nowhere life.
“What are you doing here? Last time we spoke, you said you’d never step foot on this shit pile again.”
Kelly pasted on a pretty pout, not an ounce of regret in her eyes about what she’d said to him. “I wanted to see how you’re doing. Can’t I come by to check on a friend?”
“You think we’re friends?” When he lost everything, he found out just how many friends he truly had, and she wasn’t one of the few who stuck by him.
“Don’t be like that. How can you still be angry at me? I wanted you. I wanted a ranch and family of our own. You refused to see that this place wasn’t going to be our place. All I wanted you to do was sell it and give your father what he wanted. Put a stop to your feud. We could have bought a new home, got married, and had the life we wanted. It was stupid to hold on to this place out of spite and nostalgia. It’s just a piece of land.”
That last part struck him like a gut punch. “To you. Not to me.” They’d had this same argument dozens upon dozens of times. “My father took away everything from me because he wanted to take the one thing that actually belongs to me. This land belonged to my mother’s father, and his father before him. I won’t sell it.”
“Everyone knows you don’t have the money to save it.” The pity look pissed him off.
“He’s made sure of that.” Bitterness filled his words and every fiber of his being.
“So you lose it to him anyway. It’s useless and stubborn to keep holding on to something when it’s already lost.”
He didn’t want her or his father to know about his new partnership with Roxy. Let them find out when the work finally began and he had his operation up and running. He’d show Kelly, his father, everyone that he could rise from the ashes and rebuild this place. He had the skill, the drive, and the money if Roxy came through the way she’d promised.
“Did you get dressed up and come all the way out here just to call me names and tell me how stupid I am again?”
He appreciated her sexy legs sticking out the bottom of that flouncy white skirt and the way her breasts rose above the low-cut dark blue top. He’d bought her the brown boots with the embossed roses on the sides when he’d had money to burn. Her blond hair was curled into thick rings and was tousled to look like she’d just been tumbled good in bed.
He’d messed up her perfectly styled hair and wrinkled her clothes in all sorts of ways when they were together. He wondered if she’d come here to rekindle the old fire. Before his brain had time to process what a bad idea that was, she stepped up close, wrapped her arms around his neck, pressed her soft breasts against his bare chest, and kissed him with a slow sexy sweep of her tongue along his bottom lip.
She knew how to tempt him. He’d been living in a sexual drought for a good long while now. So he didn’t move and enjoyed the brief moment of feeling desirable and wanted.
She’d burned him in the past, so had many others, and a subtle alert went off in his mind.
She kept her body plastered to his and leaned back to look at him. “What’s wrong, honey? You never used to hesitate to take what you wanted.” She nudged her belly against his neglected, but eagerly growing dick.
He was always ready to bed a beautiful woman, but something didn’t feel right.
Kelly had never been this...calculated.
Why come back now?
Nothing had changed in his life or with his circumstances.
Unless she’d found out about Roxy partnering with him. But he hadn’t told anyone, and Roxy wanted to keep things quiet. She didn’t need everyone else in town gossiping about how she used the money she earned from the notorious Wild Rose Ranch brothel she owned outside of Vegas.
“Why are you here now? I’m still broke and you still don’t want to live here.”
She leaned in and kissed him again. He tried not to get sucked in by her familiar scent and lush curves pressed against him.
“This hasn’t changed. I want you. You want me.”
His body wanted the release and relief, but the passion and need he once felt for her didn’t rise up and drive him to fill his hands with her soft breasts and thrust his aching cock into her welcoming heat.
Her hand slid over his hard stomach, dipped into his jeans, and ran down the length of him. She gripped him in her hand and stroked up and down, her mouth planting hot, wet, openmouthed kisses down his neck and over his chest. “You know you want more.”
She hooked her leg around his hip and used her free hand to take his and slide it up her thigh and under her skirt to her bare bottom. All that silky skin at his fingertips made him grab a handful of ass and press her closer.
She undid his jeans and freed him. “That’s it. Give it to me.”
His body wanted to give her a good hard fucking right here, standing up in the dusty barn. But his mind started adding things up. One and one still equaled two, but her and him doing this right here, right now didn’t add up to anything good happening after the deed was done.
She never showed up to any of their dates with no panties and I-can-paint-your-dick-red lips. She flirted but never took an aggressive lead with him for sex. He’d had to talk her into making love on a picnic blanket under a tree on a secluded spot on the ranch. She’d been afraid someone would see them.
All this shot through his mind and his hands went to her hips as one final thought blared in his brain. She always, always insisted on a condom because she didn’t want to have children until they were good and married. So a split second before she encased him in her slick core, he set her away and zipped his jeans.
“What the hell is going on here?” His mind identified the clues, but he didn’t see the whole picture.
“Why did you stop?” Her cheeks flushed pink. She took a step toward him, her hand reaching for his neck.
He sidestepped before she backed him into the wall and faced her, standing just out of her reach.
Her gaze dropped to his thick erection, then back up to his face. “You still want me.”
“My dick’s not broke the way I am. I don’t have a dime to my name. Seems to me, you cared more about that than fucking me anymore, so why don’t you tell me why you’re all of a sudden all hot and bothered over me to the point you haven’t insisted I wear a condom.”
“I’m on the pill.”
“Bullshit. We had this talk a long time ago. You can’t use the pill because it messes up your system so bad. Try again.”
She huffed out a breath and flipped her long blond hair over her shoulder with a careless flick of her hand. “I can’t believe you remember that.”
“Important talks like that kind of stick with you, especially when you made it clear no kids before marriage.”
She pressed her lips together and eyed him before the stiffness left her shoulders and they slumped. “I want to get pregnant.” Her lips tilted into a lopsided frown. “We want a baby.”
We.” For the first time, he saw the diamond ring on her finger. How he’d missed the dime-sized rock, he didn’t know. He’d been too stunned to see her and distracted by her attempted seduction to take in the details that had helped set off that alarm in his mind.
“I’ve been seeing someone. He’s good to me. He loves me and wants to give me everything I ever wanted.” Her eyes pleaded with him to understand. Like it wasn’t personal she loved someone else now.
Despite what happened between them, he wanted her to be happy. “If that’s the case, why the hell are you here cheating on your fiancé?” His stomach soured with the thought of touching someone else’s woman. He didn’t do those kinds of things. He believed in being faithful and telling the truth, even when it hurt and meant the end if you wanted out.
“He wants another child but he had a vasectomy years ago. He had it reversed but the doctors told him his low sperm count would make it difficult to conceive a baby. We talked about alternative ways to get pregnant and he encouraged me to see you.”
IVF. Surrogacy. Sperm donor. Adoption. Take your pick of available options. But send your fiancée to another man?
No man who truly loved his woman would share her with another man.
That alert he got earlier turned into a full-on alarm in his head. His chest tightened with a weight he didn’t want to carry because he suspected where this was going and he didn’t want to believe it. It couldn’t be true.
“Why me?”
We have a history. I always thought we’d make beautiful babies. We’re not together, and things for you haven’t exactly worked out the way you wanted. I’m ovulating. I thought we’d have one last good time.”
“And what? You’d never tell me about the baby?” Every breath made him ache more.
“With the way your life is now, you can’t take on that responsibility or financial burden.”
He didn’t know this callous, calculating woman.
“My fiancé and I would love and care for the baby. He’d want for nothing.” She moved closer and put her hand on his chest. “Please, Austin. You know how much I want this.”
He slapped her hand away. His heart thrashed in his chest and his mind screamed, No. This could not be happening. It couldn’t be as bad as it appeared. But he had to know the full truth and what she’d planned to keep from him as long as she could before it all came out. Because secrets like this always came out.
“Who put that ring on your finger?” His mind screamed, You don’t want to know.
Her gaze dropped to his boots. “We’ve kept our relationship quiet.”
He pointed to her hand. “Astronauts can see that ring from space. You really think you’re being discreet?”
“Austin, who I’m with doesn’t change the fact this is what I want. You don’t have to take responsibility for the child. Ten minutes and your work is done.” A plea filled her eyes. “I know that sounds insensitive, but men get women pregnant all the time and don’t have anything to do with the child.”
She sounded like a lunatic.
“And you think I’m that kind of man.” It hurt that someone would believe that about him.
“I want a baby, Austin. This is the most expedient way to get one. You and I care about each other, which makes this easier. You’re a good guy. You want me to be happy. So please, help me have a baby.”
Despite what she thought of him and the hurtful words, though she really had no idea how much they stung, he did want her to have everything. Maybe some guys would see the upside of having sex with a beautiful woman and walking away. But he would never turn his back on a child the way his father had turned his back on him. That she didn’t see that hurt more.
“No.”
Surprise filled her eyes, but his rejection didn’t squash her determination. “I’ll pay you.”
The desperate words slammed into him with the force of a knife plunging into his chest. “Not only no, but fuck you. I’m not some stud for hire.” The thought sickened him.
For the first time, he understood how Roxy felt when people accused her of being a prostitute.
“Ten thousand dollars.” She clasped her hands in front of her like she prayed he’d accept. But her desperation spoke of more than her desire to have a child.
She needed him to say yes.
He wouldn’t play Kelly’s whore for any amount of money. And he wondered, like the ring, where she got that kind of cash. “Who is your fiancé?”
She shook her head and backed up a step, too afraid to tell him.
And that’s when the rage exploded inside him as fast as the truth lit up his mind.
He shot forward, tilted her chin up with the tip of his finger, and made her look at him. “Who is it? Say it,” he dared her.
Tears filled her eyes. Her gaze strayed over his shoulder and she whispered, “Your father.” Those two words blasted through his mind and constricted his chest. He couldn’t breathe for trying to contain the fury burning inside him.
Before he lost his head, he released Kelly and turned his back on her.
His own father had taken up with his ex-girlfriend and wanted Austin to sire a child that he’d raise. The thought turned his stomach and sent bile to the back of his throat.
Over my dead body.
“He wants my child.” He spit out the vile words.
“You two are so stubborn. You won’t sell. He refuses to leave his estate or the companies to anyone but family.”
“So long as that family isn’t me.”
“Do you blame him?”
Austin spun around to face her. “Yes! Why do I have to bend and give up what’s mine? Why do I have to do what he says because he demands it? Why can’t I have what’s mine and make something of it? I busted my ass working for him. I did everything he wanted from the time I was a child to running the operations. But this one thing he can’t let go of. Why?”
Kelly held her hands out and let them drop to the sides of her thighs. “I don’t know. I tried to change his mind, but he won’t let it go.”
“Instead, he doubles down on humiliating me by seducing my ex-girlfriend, then sends her here to fuck me for my baby. He hasn’t taken enough, he wants my child, too!” Anger stung his throat as those ridiculous words burst out his mouth.
“The child would be his grandson. He’d get everything.”
“And that’s all that matters. You get what you want. He gets what he wants. What about what I fucking want?” He yelled so loudly he was sure the rickety rafters overhead vibrated with his rage the way his whole body shook with it. “I would never—EVER!—give up my child. Anyone who thinks that of me doesn’t know the real me. And that includes you.” He took a menacing step toward her, his body rigid and begging for a fight it wouldn’t get. “How could you come here with his ring on your finger and think I’d ever want to touch you, let alone have a baby with you? I don’t even want to look at you. Get out.”
She reached for him again, but he stepped back. The thought of her ever touching him again sent a shiver of revulsion through him.
“Get out!”
This time he was sure his fury would bring down the roof.
She spun on the heels of the boots he’d bought her, her skirt flaring out, showing off a lot of thigh. She’d come here hoping he’d knock her up without a second thought and she’d walk out with his child and raise it with his father.
He didn’t think Kelly or his father could hurt him more than they had when they abandoned him, but this twisted deception they’d tried to pull over on him hit hard and cut deep.
He waited for the sound of her car to fade before he walked out of the barn and headed for his pathetic bed on the porch of the hoarder house he couldn’t stand to go in and the bottle he’d left under the cot and hadn’t touched in two weeks.
He needed a drink.
Or ten.
There might not be enough whiskey in Montana to make him forget what just happened.
His life couldn’t get any worse than this. Right?


BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  AVON ROMANCE  |  BN  |  KOBO  |  iBOOKS

AUTHOR INFO:

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Ryan writes suspenseful contemporary romances about everyday people who do extraordinary things. Her deeply emotional love stories are filled with high stakes and higher drama, love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper. For information about her upcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter HERE.


**********GIVEAWAY**********

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Book Spotlight on The Family Journal by Carolyn Brown (GIVEAWAY)

With the release of this book readers will find themselves part of an important milestone, one that will warm their hearts and put a smile on their face.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of The Family Journal by Carolyn Brown, an empowering tale of starting over and making your own HEA.  In honor of Ms. Brown’s hundredth book make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Amazon GC along with a digital copy of this book too!


Carolyn Brown Answers Questions About Writing a Hundred Books...
1. Tell us about the first time you remember ever putting pen to paper. Was it a slow evolution to becoming an author, or did you have an epiphany that this is what you were supposed to be doing?
CB: I really can’t remember when I didn’t write stories, but I got serious about writing a book when my third child was born. She had her days and nights turned around. Since I had to be up until the wee hours of the morning, I got out a notebook, sharpened some pencils and started my first novel. I was twenty-four that year. For the next twenty-five years I collected rejection slips. I do believe I have enough to wallpaper the White House. I don’t mean that little two holer down at the end of the path in Grammie’s back yard, but the one in Washington, D.C. When I was forty-nine, I got “the call”. That was twenty-two years and one hundred books ago, and I know in my heart and soul that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
2. Is there anyone in your family that writes? Did you have a mentor that helped you push forward to become a full-time author?
CB: My husband, Charles C. Brown, has written nine mysteries and is working on his tenth. He's been my biggest supporter through my whole career. He’s a retired high school English teacher and he does the first edit on my books. Commas are not my friend, but they are his buddies—thank goodness?
3. How have you evolved as an author? What are some things that have changed since when you started writing up until now?
CB: In the physical part of the business, lots has changed. I wrote most of my very first book by hand. When Mr. B bought a used typewrite at a garage sale and brought it in to me, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. In those sent in proposals with SASE (that’s self-addressed stamped envelopes) and if the editor wanted to see more, we sent in the full manuscript by mail. Now everything is sent over cyberspace. I will be donating the typewriter Mr. B bought me to the Johnston County Chickasaw Bank Museum on November 16th. My display shares a room there with Te Ata, Gene Autry and Blake Shelton. I’m signing copies of The Family Journal there on that day from 2 to 4 p.m. In the evolution as a write, I hope that each book is better than the last and that all my books resonate with readers, touch their emotions and make them anxious to get the next one.
4. Do you have a set schedule for writing? Do you have any writing rituals or things that get you in the mood to write?
CB: I’m very disciplined. I write somewhere between three and five thousand words a day. Sometimes it’s pure trash, but you can fix trash. You can’t fix nothing. From the time I start a book, my characters are in my head. They eat with me, sleep with me, talk to me….shhhh…don’t tell anyone I hear voices!
5. Tell us about some turning points as a writer - some big things that happened that really changed your career.
CB: One of the biggest things that changed my career was when Amazon bought the literary company, Avalon, and turned more than forty of my titles into paperbacks and digital. That made them financially available for more people, and my readership grew by leaps and bounds. Another was when I finally made the New York Times and the USA Today bestseller lists. But I have to say that hitting the number one spot on Amazon was a really the icing on the cupcake.
6. What does your writing future look like?
CB: My future will simply be to keep on doing what I’m doing, and hope my readers continue to love my stories. There are five books on the docket for 2020, and four or five novellas. And we’ve already got a few scheduled for 2021.
7. What made you want your book, The Family Journal, your hundredth book? What makes this story and these characters special to you?
CB: Family! Plain and simple. What better way to celebrate reaching one of my goals—to publish one hundred books—than to write about family? This story is about several generations of strong women in the past, a mother who’s at her wit’s end in the present, and a young daughter who represents the future. It’s family from the emotional first scene to the last.

At the end of her rope, single mom Lily Anderson is determined to move her rebellious children in the right direction. That means taking away their cell phones, tablets, and computers—at least temporarily—and moving to the house where Lily grew up in the rural town of Comfort, Texas. But Lily has a bigger challenge than two sulking kids.
The house comes with Mack Cooper, high school teacher and handsome longtime renter. The arrangement: just housemates. But Mack’s devoted attention to the kids starts to warm Lily’s resistant heart. Then Lily finds an old leather-bound book in which five generations of her female ancestors shared their struggles and dreams. To Lily, it’s a bracing reminder about the importance of family...and love.
Now it’s time for Lily to add an adventurous new chapter to the cherished family journal—by embracing a fresh start and taking a chance on a man who could make her house a home.

EXCERPT:

Lily reached for her tea at the same time Mack was setting his glass back down. Their hands touched again. Her breath caught in her chest, and her pulse jacked up several notches.
“I’m going to ask you a dumb question,” he drawled. “Do you feel chemistry between us?”
Her chest tightened. Of course she felt something between them, but she damn sure didn’t want to talk about it like they were discussing the price of goat feed. And yet...they were adults, not hormonal teenagers who jumped into the fire with both feet when they felt something for another person. How many times had she told her clients in therapy sessions to talk things out?
“Why is that dumb?” she asked.
“It kind of sounded dumb in my head, and even more so when I said it,” he said.
“Yes, I do feel something between us.” She nodded. “I’ve wondered if it’s because I haven’t dated all that much. How about you?”
“No dates in three years. Nothing serious since Natalie,” he admitted.
“Do you think it’s because we hav-haven’t,” she stammered.
“No, I think there’s definitely an attraction between us, and I’ll tell you right now, up front, you deserve better than me,” he said.
Lily frowned so hard that her eyes became mere slits. “Why would you say a stupid thing like that?”
“I’m a high school vo-ag teacher, and I’ll never be rich. Hell, I’m forty-one, and I don’t even own a house. I’ve just got a pickup that’s paid for and a herd of goats,” he said.
“Why, Mack Cooper, are you thinkin’ marriage?” she joked. “You haven’t even kissed me yet.”
“I’m just thinking that we shouldn’t start anything without being completely honest, and, honey, I can remedy that kissing part anytime.” His green eyes twinkled.
Lily felt heat rising to her cheeks when she thought of kissing him. How in the devil would it even work if they did decide to go out, or got into a relationship beyond friendship? They lived in the same house with Holly and Braden underfoot all the time. “I’ve got two kids,” she blurted out.
“I’ve got forty goats.” He grinned.
“Did you say it’s time to go feed the goats?” Braden came across the room and leaned his arms on the back of the sofa.
Point proven, she thought.
“Yep, it is,” Mack answered. “I reckon we both need to get changed so we don’t ruin our good clothes.”
“I’ll be down in five minutes.” Braden ran up the stairs.
Mack crossed the room and bent to brush a sweet kiss across her lips. The tenderness of his mouth barely touching hers and his drawl combined to send a heat flash through her whole body. If that brief contact created such an effect, a relationship might burn down the house.

BUY AT AMAZON here.

AUTHOR INFO:

Carolyn Brown is a RITA finalist and the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of one hundred books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, cowboy and country music romances, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and when...and reads the local newspaper every Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.


**********GIVEAWAY**********

a Rafflecopter giveaway