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Gravel Road by Stephie Walls Cover & Excerpt Reveal with Giveaway (One of Five ARC’s for Gravel Road)

6 Sep

Release Date: September 27, 2018

Cover Design: Wicked by Design

Model: Steve Kalfman




I fell in love with Austin before I even knew what the word meant.

Miranda was the only girl who ever had a chance at owning my heart.

Defined by the land we grew up on—ranches, pastures, lakes—Mason Belle, Texas, wrote our story. And then it tore out the pages.

Six years later, Miranda had managed to slip away again. But this time, I refused to let her run.






Miranda lifted her hand to tuck her hair behind her ear. Like a movie, a flashback of the past, a vision of eighteen-year-old Randi, blinked before me. I’d always found that habit seductive, primarily because she wasn’t conscious of the fact that she did it when she was nervous. I loved the innocence in her expression and the way her eyes almost cowered behind her lashes. It was pure and as close to angelic as Randi ever got.

It took effort to soften my tone. I ignored the bell that rang over the door. She was on the defensive. If I wanted to have a discussion, I’d have to make her believe she was safe. “Can we talk?”

Her pupils narrowed, though her expression remained flat. “About?”

I’d thought about this conversation more times than I could count, yet when the chance to have it arose, my mind went blank. I shrugged. “What have you been up to?”

She shook her head in disbelief. “Really? You have me alone in a corner, and that’s the question you want an answer to?”

No. It wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg. “It’s a good place to start.”

Miranda shifted in the seat, uncrossing her legs and crossing them again. She was thinner than she had been in high school. I hadn’t noticed it so much on the ranch, yet sitting across from her, it was quite obvious. “Okay… I moved to New York. I met Eason the day I got off the bus. He helped me get into school for paralegal work and hired me in his law firm. We’ve lived together since, and I still work at the practice.”

She’d summed up six years in a handful of meaningless sentences that told me nothing other than stats I could have found on Facebook if she used social media.

“Are you happy?” It came out before I realized what I’d said.

The question appeared to surprise her as much as it had me. “Sure. New York’s a great place to live.” There was no smile in her voice, nothing that indicated she loved life.

That wasn’t a ringing endorsement. Warning bells, sirens, whistles, they all went off in my head. For a girl who’d been with a man as long as Miranda had Eason, I expected more. He obviously defined her life if she lived with him and worked for him.

“Is Eason good to you?”

Her features scrunched, and that look was all Randi. The Randi I’d loved. The one who died the day that car crashed. “Of course.” She appeared offended, yet she didn’t defend him.

Miranda watched me intently, although she remained quiet. I hadn’t realized until that moment how desperate I was to hear the sound of her voice, to engage in a normal conversation. I wanted to forget the last six years and pretend like there’d never been an accident. I’d kill to see her tilt her head back in laughter or witness one genuine smile.

“I’m not going to bite you, Miranda. You can talk. We can catch up. That’s what friends do.” Friends. I hated that word. She’d never be a friend. We may never be anything more again, but I’d never place her in that category in my life.

“I don’t know what to say, Austin. You’ve made it pretty clear how you feel about me since I arrived at the ranch.”

I needed something to do with my hands. They shook beneath the table, and if I didn’t get my nerves under control, I’d start babbling. “I’m sorry.” I paused, and her facial muscles relaxed. “I wasn’t expecting to see you.” It was an excuse. “Not that anyone had to warn me.” And that sounded awful. “I didn’t recognize you.” That was the painful truth.

She wrapped her hands around her mug, yet she didn’t lift it. Her thumb traced circles on the ceramic. “I don’t look all that different.” It wasn’t just her appearance. “So, what was it then?”

“You cut your hair.” There were days I marveled at my conversational brilliance.

She grazed her fingertips over the ends self-consciously. “You don’t like it?”

I wasn’t sure why it mattered if I did or didn’t. “You always loved your hair. I’m just surprised.”

“Is that it?”

I couldn’t figure out how to get away from this. “I don’t know. You don’t sound like you, anymore. And you showed up in a limo for Christ’s sake. You looked like you stepped off the runway, not an airplane.” I didn’t mean to be harsh. “It caught me off guard.”

A tear trickled down her cheek. “If anyone had told me you worked at the ranch, I wouldn’t have come.”

My chest constricted painfully. All these years, I’d believed she hid from Jack. Now I had to wonder if it was me.

She swallowed hard and closed her eyes. When she opened them, any emotion that had surfaced had cleared. They were empty again, soulless. “I didn’t mean it the way you took it.”

“How’d you mean it?”

Charity came around with the coffee at the perfect moment for Miranda and the wrong one for me. It didn’t escape my attention, or Miranda’s for that matter, that Charity refused to look at her and only spoke to me. People in Mason Belle hurt for a long time over Miranda’s disappearance. And if they continued to treat her the way Charity and I had, they wouldn’t have to worry about her ever returning.

She waited for Charity to leave before she responded. “I owe you an explanation. You more than anyone.” There was a pause, and I was afraid if I filled the silence then she’d quit talking. “I never meant to hurt you.”

I ached, seeing her this way. Nothing about her had healed in New York. She’d withered into something unrecognizable. “What did he do?” I whispered.

“It doesn’t matter.”

But it did. Without regard for my actions, I reached out and placed my hand on top of hers. “You can always come home.” I didn’t have a clue where that had come from. Mason Belle would not open its arms to the princess who’d shunned them, not without a lot of explanation.

She snickered, and her shoulders dropped. She did not, however, remove her hand from underneath mine, and I took the chance to give her fingers a gentle squeeze.

“It’s not that easy, Austin.”

I kept my voice low. “Why not?”

“Sometimes you can’t come home.”

That was bullshit. It might be uncomfortable. People might expect apologies. Even still, she absolutely could make that choice, just like she’d made one to leave.

“Why? Because of some guy? Some job? A fancy town? You can leave every bit of that behind.”

She stared at me with wonder instead of gall.

“If you want to come back, you can. But it would take the gumption of the girl I knew, not the one who showed up in a Hummer with a man in a suit.”

As if I’d slapped her, the mention of Eason had her withdrawing her hand. “And just walk away from my life?”

“You’ve done it before.”

She flattened her lips and nodded defensively…slowly. “And there it is.”

“Damn, Randi. Come on. What do you expect?”

“Nothing. That’s why I’ve tried to keep my distance. You came looking for me, remember?”

“Your sister sent me.”

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. “Of course, she did. I should have known you’d never come on your own. God knows you never made any attempt to find me before, but Sarah waves her hand, and you’re on a mission.” She tossed a few dollars on the table and slid across the bench.

Shit. I pulled my wallet out and tossed a couple of bucks down. Miranda had made it to the front door and grasped the handle when Charity decided now was the time to chime in.

“You’re wastin’ your time, Austin. Let her go. She’s not worth it.” Disgust lifted her lip in a snarl, and I’d never hated the sound of a Southern twang until that moment.

“Ah, shut up, Charity.” I’d have to apologize for that later. Hopefully before Brock found me to turn my face into a punching bag for speaking to his wife that way.

Miranda had heard her and pushed open the door with all the strength she could muster. The bell rang wildly, and I took off after her.


The last thing either of us needed was another scene, especially in the middle of town. “What?” She spun and then screamed, “What do you want, Austin? To humiliate me? Are you out for blood? Tell me what you need so I can make it happen. I’ll do anything you ask. I just need this to end.” Tears ran down her cheeks, her shoulders shook, but she held her ground.

I didn’t have an answer, because I didn’t know.

“That’s what I thought,” she murmured in defeat.





One of Five ARC’s for Gravel Road


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About the Author


Bestselling author, Stephie Walls is a lover of words–the more poetic the better. She lives on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina in her own veritable zoo with two dogs, three cats, and Magoo (in no preferential order). She would thrive on coffee, books, and Charlie Hunnam if it were possible, but since it’s not, add in some Chinese food or sushi and she’s one happy girl.


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On a Tuesday by Whitney G Audio Tour with Review & Giveaway ($25 Amazon Gift Card)

28 Aug

On a Tuesday

by Whitney G.
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

We met on a Tuesday.
Became best friends, then lovers, on a Tuesday.
And everything fell apart on a Tuesday…

Charlotte Taylor has three automatic strikes in my book: 1) She hates me. She also claims that I’m a “domineering jerk with a huge, overbearing ego.” (I do have something huge. It’s not my ego, though.) 2) She takes our mandatory tutoring sessions way too seriously. 3) She’s sexy as hell…And a virgin.

At least, those were her strikes before our study sessions started lasting longer than they were supposed to. Until one innocent kiss became a hundred dirty ones, and until she became the first woman I ever fell hard for.

Our future together after graduation was supposed to be set:
Professional football for me. Law school for her.

But she left me at the end of the semester with no explanation, and then she completely disappeared from my life.

Until tonight.

We met on a Tuesday.
Became everything, then nothing, on a Tuesday.
And now it’s seven years later, on a Tuesday…

*This is a full length second chance romance, inspired by Adele’s “When We Were Young”


Christie’s Review


I absolutely LOVE second chance romances, and I fell in love with this one instantly…actually, when I read the synopsis. Charlotte and Grayson spoke to me then!!!

Charlotte and Grayson should never have crossed paths. Grayson represents everything Charlotte hates in a man…an over inflated ego and one who has a revolving group of women he has sex with. Grayson doesn’t date, so Charlotte definitely isn’t a girl Grayson would normally go for. However, destiny has other plans for these two, and Charlotte is Grayson’s new tutor who meets with him every Tuesday. Grayson is intrigued by her, and Charlotte can’t stand him. First, she tolerates him, Then, she allows him to be her friend. Finally, she falls in love with him, just like he falls in love with her. Unfortunately, something tears them apart. Really this is where the story begins….

The book is told after the breakup with flashbacks showing readers how they fell in love and how it went so wrong, which is a bit of a mystery!

I really enjoyed how the story unfolds. It isn’t insta-love, at least on Charlotte’s part. Grayson has a way of getting under her skin, and his charm is what I loved most about him. He really is a good guy. He had his fun, but he learned the hard way who he could trust and who he couldn’t. Charlotte is intelligent and beautiful, and is the perfect girl for Grayson. She definitely doesn’t let him get away with things just because of his popularity on campus.

Part of what makes audio books so great is when narrators bring the story alive. However, I’m pretty picky when it comes to narrators. I have to say both Erin Mallon and Joseph Discher did a phenomenal job of telling this couple’s story.  They each had me engrossed in Charlotte and Grayson’s story from the beginning.

The combination of a great book, great characters, and great narrators made this a 5 Star listen for me.

About Whitney G.

Whitney G. is a twenty-eight-year-old optimist who is obsessed with travel, tea, and great coffee. She’s also a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of several contemporary novels, and the cofounder of The Indie Tea–an inspirational blog for indie romance authors.

When she’s not chatting with readers on her Facebook Page, you can find her on her website at or on instagram: (If she’s not in either of those places, she’s probably locked away working on another crazy story.)

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Infinite (A Carolina Beach Novel, #3) by Cecy Robson Blog Tour with Review & Giveaway

26 Aug


by Cecy Robson
A Carolina Beach Novel, #3
Publication Date: August 15, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone



Hale Wilder, aka the Anaconda of Wall Street, spent his childhood fighting to be the best to win his father’s love. He was the best student and the best athlete, who grew into a successful businessman and took the finance world by storm. Want to retire before you’re forty-five? He’s got you. Need your millions to be billions? He’s your man.

Young, rich, and powerful, Hale was unstoppable, until a company scandal destroys his reputation and threatens to bring down everything he’s bled for.

Becca Shields is the kickass public relations goddess spinning scandals to gold and launching has-beens into superstardom. She never expected to see Hale again—not following the humiliating night when her family caught them on the beach, barely clothed.

When Becca discovers Hale is in trouble, she can’t turn her back on the boy who was once her world and the man she never forgot.

Hale never thought he’d have another shot at greatness or with Becca. Now that he has both, he won’t let either go without a fight.

*NOTE* Although a part of a series, INFINITE can be read as a complete STANDALONE and features a new couple!


Christie’s Review


Somehow Cecy Robson weaved together a second chance/friends to lovers romance to give her readers a beautiful book full of emotion!!!

From the very beginning, I knew this one would capture my heart, and it did. My heart broke for Becca and Hale within the first few pages of this book. The two had been friends almost their entire lives. Hale knew what Becca had to endure at home, and he tried his best to be her friend and protector. On the eve of them starting their lives as adults, Becca finally got her nerve up to show Hale that she loved him much more than a friend, but tragically that was yanked away from them. Becca had to choose which path her life would take, and unfortunately, it would be a life without Hale.

Fast forward years later, and both of them have successful lives…he is dubbed the “Anaconda of Wall Street,” and she is a PR queen who can turn anyone’s reputation around. The two have seen each other since that painful night, but misunderstandings and misconceptions have continued to keep them apart. Now, with Hale in big legal trouble, Becca will do whatever she has to do to help him. This could be the chance they have been waiting for.

Hale and Becca grabbed ahold of my heartstrings from the beginning of this book. Both are such good people who definitely deserve one another. I was devastated when they were torn apart. But, fate had other plans for them then. That night so long ago, Becca didn’t choose her family or Hale, she chose herself. That takes AMAZING courage! Every success she has ever obtained was from her own hard work. She epitomizes independence and tenacity!

Honestly, Hale is a lot like Becca. He worked hard for his success as well. He will have to depend on that strength to get him through this hard time, along with Becca and their friends.

As in all of Robson’s books, she creates a great cast of secondary characters who play an important role in the story. She gives her readers just enough about them to pique our interest, and thankfully includes some of them in future books of the series.

I have long been a fan of Cecy Robson. Her romances are always so much more than just romances. They are full of emotion…she can break my heart and make me cry tears of sadness, and then she miraculously pieces my heart back together, making me cry tears of joy! I always know that no matter what she writes she will have my heart and soul, and this book was no exception! As always, I’m eagerly anticipating what book will be next!




INSEVERABLE (A Carolina Beach Novel, #1)

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ETERNAL (A Carolina Beach Novel, #2)



Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

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Hold You Close by Melanie Harlow & Corinne Michaels Release Day Blitz

20 Aug


“Corinne Michaels and Melanie Harlow are a match made in heaven. Five-Sweet-Stars for this unforgettable collaboration!” –A.L. Jackson, New York Times bestselling author

Hold You Close, an all-new second chance standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Corinne Michaels and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow, is available now!



From NYT Bestseller Corinne Michaels & USA Today Bestseller Melanie Harlow, comes a second chance standalone romance.

Ian Chase broke my heart at seventeen, and I’ve spent the last eighteen years hating him for it.

He makes it easy, with his smart mouth and playboy lifestyle—which I unfortunately have to observe since he lives behind me. Every time I see him climbing out of his pool, practically naked and unreasonably sexy, my blood boils.

I’ve always loved to loathe him.

I never planned to need him.


London Parish is my little sister’s best friend, not that it stopped me from falling for her.

Our history is complicated. The only thing we have in common is being godparents to my sister’s three adorable kids—until our lives are changed in one tragic moment.

Now we’re trying to raise the children we love, mourn an unthinkable loss, and fight an undeniable attraction.

My life is already upside-down, and the last thing I need is for old feelings to resurface.

Because I’ll never be able to keep her, no matter how hard I try to hold her close.


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About the authors:

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

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USA Today Bestselling Author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino Review Tour with Excerpt

15 Aug




From the national bestselling author of Before We Were Strangers, Swear on this Life, and Wish You Were Here comes a powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.

Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio—and she was a dancer on the rise. Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably-decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.


Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and the bestselling author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, Before We Were Strangers, Swear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here. She grew up in Southern California and lives in the San Diego area with her husband and two sons. To learn more, visit ReneeCarlino.


Christie’s Review


Blind Kiss is a very different friends to lovers/second chance romance, and I loved every moment of it. It was almost told backwards with flashbacks of very important moments shared between Penny and Gavin that would determine their future. It is one of those rare books that just wrapped me up into it, and I hated telling the characters good-bye!

While the book is full of angst and emotion, at its core, it is one of the most beautiful friends to lovers/second chance romances I’ve had the pleasure to read. To say Penny and Gavin had a complicated relationship over the past 14 years would be an understatement. One chance encounter, literally a blind kiss, brought these two together. It seemed like they were soulmates from the beginning, and love should have been easy. But, it was anything but that. Misunderstandings, hidden feelings would keep them apart romantically for years, but their underlying friendship kept them in each others’ lives, although at times, they hurt each other and those close to them.

I loved the way Carlino told the story, in the present and months and even years in the past. It showed the way in which their relationship/friendship developed and deepened over the years. I really liked both Penny and Gavin. They were far from perfect which made me relate to them even more. I could see how much in love they were with one another, and I wanted to slap them at times when they hurt one another or made the wrong decisions! Carlino was excellent at using secondary characters to show the emotion and feelings Penny and Gavin shared with each other, even showing how much pain their relationship caused their significant others.

As much as I wanted these two together, I also knew they needed to work on themselves before that could happen even though they were with other people during that time. I liked that Carlino told the story in both POVs. It gave me a great deal more insight into who Gavin and Penny were and what each one of them struggled with. It is always amazing to me when characters grow from the beginning of the book until I get to the end. Both of them were very different people by the end.

This is my very first read by Renee Carlino, and I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her writing, and she far exceeded everything I read about her. I can’t believe I waited so long to read one of her books. I have already downloaded her other books, and I can’t wait to read them!!!


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WE SAT AT the bar of the pub as I continued to stare at him, a mixture of curiosity and fear boiling in my gut. He ordered a beer, and I ordered Chardonnay with beer-cheese pretzels.

“That’s different for you.”

I usually stuck to salads, an old habit from my dancing days, but I had lost a lot of weight in the past few weeks. “Don’t think you can distract me so easily. Tell me what’s going on. Did you break up with Briel?”

He took a long pull from his beer and stared straight ahead. “Don’t be mad, okay?”

I stared at him, wordlessly, the fear fully boiling over. And then he dropped the bomb on me.

The next few minutes were hazy as Gavin, the bar, and my glass of Chardonnay swam together before my eyes. I tried to reach for the glass but found it suddenly empty. That’s weird. It was full a minute ago. I motioned to the bartender for another, then poured it down my throat in a steady stream.

I was breathing fast when I slammed the glass on the bar, shattering my fugue state—and bringing Gavin into sharp relief. I was reeling.

“Shit, Penny! Be careful. You almost shattered your glass!” He practically yelled.

“You’re moving to fucking France?!” I yelled back.

The bartender jerked his head toward the door, and within minutes Gavin was forcibly dragging me out of the bar by the arm. I slipped out of his grip and stood in the middle of the parking lot, seething, very much drunk, and fully freaking out. “So, do you love her?”

“Briel? What kind of question is that?”

“Just answer me.”

“Fuck, Penny. That’s not what this is about. I don’t really have a choice here, though, do I?”

“You always have a choice.”

He glared at me. “That’s fucking rich, coming from you.”

I shook my head vigorously. “Totally different situation.”

“Like hell it was.”

“When do you leave?”

“In two days.”


He ran up and shook me by the shoulders. “Jesus, if I knew you were gonna take it like this, I wouldn’t have told you in public. Pull yourself together.”

I screamed at the top of my lungs and then made a guttural sound as I hunched over and held my stomach.

“First Milo, now you?”

“Don’t you put that on me. I’m not the reason why you’re about to be alone and unhappy.”

“Fuck you, Gavin!”

“Fuck you, Penny!”

He didn’t turn around—he just stormed off in typical Gavin fashion: petulant, recalcitrant, and a total shithead. People in the parking lot were gawking, appalled, covering their children’s ears. But no one made a move to leave. When Gavin and I got like this, we were like a car wreck by the side of the road, impossible to look away from.

Gavin slid into his ’67 Chevelle and fired up the engine. I hated that car because he loved it so much. It had a black leather interior, a flawless paint job, and tinted windows, like it belonged to some kind of celebrity—which Gavin definitely wasn’t. It was his only possession worth a dime, besides his garage, a few guitars, and a Zippo lighter he swore River Phoenix had given to him at the Viper Room the night of his death.

I ran to the exit and stood in the middle of the lane, daring him to run me over as he ripped out of his parking spot and raced around the corner toward the exit. “We’re not done talking, you coward!”

He slowed but let the car idle while he revved the engine. “I dare you!” I yelled.

He stuck his head out the window, leaned his tattooed arm against the door, and actually grinned at me.

So smug. What a dick.

“You look ridiculous standing there. Get out of the way!”

I walked toward his window and noticed that his demeanor had completely softened. There was even humor in his expression. He wanted me to block him, and he knew I would.

“Can’t you have a proper fight without running away?”

“You were lecturing me, yet again. I have a mother, thank you. You have a child you can order around . . . and a husband you can control. I don’t need your shit, okay? Don’t you realize that I’m freaking out, too? I’m going through the hardest time of my life, and you’re making this all about you.”

“You’ve been going through the hardest time of your life for the whole fourteen years I’ve known you.”

“And as my friend, do you think you’re helping my situation right now?” he spat back, his mood shifting once again. “Don’t even. Don’t you dare act like I haven’t been a good friend to you. You’ve put me in the most awkward situations, you’ve bolted on me, you’ve stopped speaking to me for weeks at a time, but still . . . I make myself available to you. I’ve been here for you, always. And now you’re moving thousands of miles away when I need you most?”

He shook his head slowly. “That’s right, Penny. You have been here. You’ve been right by my side, lecturing me, rolling your eyes at me, pressuring me to get serious about Briel, all so I could go and fuck up my life even more while you sit in your nice house, with your KitchenAid mixer, your Oracle espresso machine, and your fucking yellow Lab.”

“Don’t talk about Buckley that way! He’s a good dog. And you love our espresso machine.”

Gavin’s lips turned up at the corners. “You’re so messed up, Penny. You definitely have a chemical imbalance.”

I pointed to my chest, shocked. “Me? Look who’s talking? Please, pull into a parking space. I don’t want to stand here anymore, making a spectacle of myself. Some parent from Milo’s school is probably watching this whole thing. There’ll be whispers at the next PTA meeting. Is that what

you want for me?”

“Don’t pretend like you go to PTA meetings. And look around; everyone’s gone. It’s just us.”

He was right. The parking lot had cleared out. Gavin was sitting in his idling car while I was standing outside his window like a moron.

“I resent you for saying I pushed Briel on you. And yes, for your information, I do go to PTA meetings.”

You encouraged me to go out with her, then you needled me about it until I finally did.”

“You were horribly depressed! I thought you were gonna jump off a bridge. I told you to go out with her and to have some fun. She’s a nice girl. I didn’t say turn your life upside down, pack up, and run away with a foreigner! You’re thirty-six-years old, Gavin. I think it’s time you grew up.” I shook my head. “God, I can’t believe you.”

He jerked his head back and squinted. “Great band but not totally PC to call someone a foreigner, Penny.” His voice was low.

“Are you going to become a French citizen now, too? You better brush up on your French.”

“Everyone speaks English there.”

“No, they don’t! People always say that, but you’ll see. They might be able to communicate to a degree, but it’s not conversational English.”

Why am I still standing here, screaming about French people?

I needed to tie this conversation up in a pretty little bow. I needed closure. I couldn’t say good-bye to my best friend without it. He was leaving, going to France to chase a girlfriend

I knew he didn’t love. I was losing him. And it was my fault. We couldn’t leave each other angry.

“I’ll figure it out,” he said. “Try not to make me feel worse about my situation, though I know that’s hard for you.” “Your situation? It’s always your situation. What about my situation?” He just stared at me. He was hurting; I could tell. But I was hurting, too. “Listen—”


“Don’t interrupt me.” I cleared my throat. “Gavin . . . it’s just . . . I’m going to fucking miss you, okay? I’m having a hard time right now, and life is about to get a whole lot harder the second you leave.” I started to cry.

He hated it when I cried, but he didn’t ask me, “Why are you crying?” He never had to ask. He took a deep breath in through his nose, then released it forcefully in a burst of frustration. A second later his car stalled. He put it in gear, got out, and swooped me up in a bear hug. “Penny, Penny, Penny . . . my crazy girl,” he said as he rubbed my back. I was wiping my snot-covered nose on his black T-shirt and he didn’t care one bit.

He held me for a long time. When he started to release me, I said, “It’s not enough.”

He picked me up again and squeezed me harder. Tucking his face into my neck, he said, “It’ll never be enough.”

“Why?” I said, fully bawling against his shoulder. He brushed a strand of my hair, damp with tears, behind my ear. “I have to go, and so do you. You need to be with your family now.”

I felt the lump in my throat growing. “You don’t have to constantly remind me that I have a family. I love my family. But you’re a part of it, too, and that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m fucking crying in the parking lot in front of Bank of America.”

He pulled away and we stood there, two feet apart, staring at each other, as if we were committing each other to memory. Allowing one another to really look at and take the other person in, stripped down to our bones, without scrutiny.

“Is this it?” I asked.

“This is it, P.”

I shook my head, leaned up on my toes, and wrapped my arms around him. We hugged again for a long time before he got into his car. I tried to hold on to the feeling of having him in my arms, or maybe I was trying to hold on to the feeling of being held in his.

He started the engine as I stood there, waiting for him to leave.

“We’ll talk on the phone or email or something, okay?”

“Okay,” I told him.

He swallowed nervously. Looking up at me from the car window, he said, “I wish it were you, Penny.”

That was my bow. He knew I needed it, good or bad—no matter what feelings it shook loose from our long and complicated history together.





Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at



Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely Release Day Launch

13 Aug


A romance that will break your heart and stitch it back together again…

Every now and then a romance comes along that defies expectations. Get lost and found in UNBREAK MY HEART–the brand-new second chance romance from #1 NYT bestseller Lauren Blakely!

UNBREAK MY HEART is only $2.99* for release day only! Grab it at this price while you can because the price will be going up after release day! Get your copy of UNBREAK MY HEART now!


*All prices listed in USD.


✮✮✮UNBREAK MY HEART is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

Experience all the feels in this unforgettable, second chance, standalone romance from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely!

I didn’t break her heart, and she didn’t break mine — we broke each other’s.

I never stopped loving her, but time and distance played its cruel role in ripping us apart three years ago when she moved halfway around the world. Now after all those endless miles away, she’s returned . . . but I’m not the guy I was before.

Beautiful, kind, and loving, she’s the same — my hope. The only one who can make a day better, who can make me feel again with one kiss, one touch, one night.

There’s so much I have to put back in place now that I’m alone and on my own. Things I never wanted at the age of twenty-five. When I receive an unexpected letter that might hold the clues to everything I desperately need to understand about my family, I’m sure I have to follow it. But that means leaving her once more.

She says she’ll come with me, and having her by my side will unbreak my heart . . . or destroy it.

That’s the chance I have to take.

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✦The audiobook is narrated by Joe Arden and Erin Mallon! ✦
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“A beautiful, deeply affecting and unforgettable romance.” – USA Today’s Happily Ever After



Unbreak My Heart is easily the best book I’ve read this year. I know I can count on Lauren Blakely when it comes to unforgettable reads, but this one punched me in the heart and the soul. And I’ve never loved her writing more.” – Becca at Little Red Reading Hood


“A MUST READ and TOP 2018 ROMANCE! Broken meets beautiful in Unbreak My Heart, Lauren Blakely’s best book yet! This is one STUNNING SECOND-CHANCE ROMANCE.” – Karen at Bookalicious Babes Blog



✮✮✮UNBREAK MY HEART giveaway! ✮✮✮

The perfect prize pack for any world traveler! A gorgeous Kate Spade Tote and Kindle Paperwhite ($350 value) make any trip much more stylish and fun.


About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 95 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!


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Handle with Care by Nina Croft Release Blitz

30 Jul


“Heat, heart and plenty of happy sighs.”

— Avery Flynn, USA Today bestselling author

Handle with Care, an all-new sexy and emotional second chance romance from Nina Croft is LIVE!

2018-0682 Nina Croft b01


What if all you want is the one thing you can’t have?

First grade teacher Emily Towson always does the right thing. The sensible thing. But in her dreams, she does bad, bad things with the town’s baddest boy: Tanner O’Connor. But when he sells her grandmother a Harley, fantasy is about to meet a dose of reality.

And then he goes and calls her “sensible”…

Tanner can’t believe sweet Emily is standing in his shop. Yelling and waving her hands and looking so god damn sexy he’s having trouble focusing. He’d spent two hard years in prison, with only the thought of this “good girl” to keep him sane.

He really should send her away…

Before either one thinks though, they’re naked and making memories on his tool bench with apparently the oldest condom in history. Now Tanner’s managed to knock-up the town’s “good girl” and she’s going to lose her job over some stupid “morality clause” if he doesn’t step up.

But can this bad boy teach his good girl they’re perfect for each other in time?


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About Nina:

Growing up in the cold, wet, north of England, Nina Croft spent a lot of time huddled under the blankets dreaming of faraway sunnier places and ponies. When she discovered both could be found between the covers of a book, her life changed forever.

At the age of eighteen, in an attempt to turn dreams into reality, she headed south in search of the sun. She quickly picked up the perfect husband along the way, and developed a taste for red wine and holidays in warm places.

Soon holidays weren’t enough, and together they volunteered to work in Africa where they both discovered a love of traveling and a dislike of 9-5 work. Afterward they spent a number of years travelling (whenever possible) intermingled with working (whenever the money ran out.) Eventually they stumbled upon a remote area in the mountains of southern Spain where they bought the small almond farm they now call home.

No electricity, no neighbors, no chocolate shops, but on the plus side, stunning scenery, a vineyard to make her own red wine, and far enough away from anywhere to satisfy Nina’s hermit tendencies. She shares the farm with her husband, and an ever increasing number of animals, including Piggles, a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.

Nina now spends her days riding her mare Gencianna under the blue Spanish skies—sunshine and ponies. She reckons this is proof that dreams really can come true if you want them enough.

She still travels, but usually only in her imagination, and can often be found lying under a fig tree, wine in hand, plotting stories of love in faraway places.

Nina believes love can come to anyone, anytime, anywhere and her books reflect this.


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