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text 2017-07-10 09:05
Release Blast - Digital Velocity
 
 
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
 
 
DIGITAL VELOCITY
McAllister Justice #1
Reily Garrett
Releasing July 10, 2017
 
 
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
 
Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a pervert threatens her friend, she sends an anonymous message to police, leading to a firefight that leaves a cop wounded.
 
Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity and arrest. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle  indicating the identity of the next murder victim.
 
The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs, a psychopath bearing equal talent.
 
Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.
 
Digital Velocity is a fast-paced romantic suspense thriller that sophisticatedly weaves drama, excitement, grit, raw emotions and mystery. Garrett takes her readers on a journey where suspense and romance are taken up several notches as she unfolds and reveals the identity of a murderer that is on the loose. With her vivid prose, Garrett entices readers to see the bond that is brewing between Detective Ethan McAllister and his unlikely informant.” - RT Book Reviews
 
 
 
 
 

 

I move frequently—but gain no distance.

I am warm, moist, and dark but give no comfort.

I can stretch and shrink, giving or taking at will, bringing both pain and pleasure with each.

 

If God wanted you to tie the knot, he’d give you a near-death experience to better appreciate life, along with a craving for procreation. Then he’d smother your soul with the essence of venison, squirrel, frog legs, taters, or beer, to attract a likely counterpart from the sticks. No, wait. The latter has already happened, hasn’t it? Sorry.” Ethan narrowly kept his balance on the green-slicked, handmade bricks leading up the two-story, mauve-colored Victorian. If his 210-pound mass ended up sprawled on the steps, no doubt the picture would be splashed all over the precinct by noon with various unsavory captions.

 

Maybe you should try it. The stick up your ass has to cause at least minor discomfort.” Larrick’s early-morning snark was a common greeting.

 

Hey, I’m a normal guy.” Ethan glared over his shoulder.

 

Larrick snorted.

 

Still wet from our early-morning storm. Watch your step, it’s slippery.” Scanning the myriad amorphous shadows lurking in the wood line, realization struck that he and his partner were sitting ducks if a sniper perched among the loblolly pine and oak trees lining the front and side yards.

 

Larrick’s reply came in equal measure of soft tones. “Either that or a large flock of birds dropped in recently to help her redecorate. Great detective work.”

 

Bird droppings are—”

 

Sought after for facials. Especially the Japanese Nightingale shit.” Larrick grinned.

 

Only you would know that.” Ethan adjusted his tie, an acknowledgment of the apprehension filling his mind.

 

Are we whispering because your paranoid gut can’t assimilate food well enough to distinguish indigestion from an outside threat? This woman lives alone, gonna think we’re a couple of perverts and liable to shoot us.”

 

Word has it she’s a pacifist.”

 

Fine. You’re one to talk about signs—dragging my ass to a stranger’s house at this ungodly morning hour. I love knocking on a stranger’s door and asking, ‘Lady, are you all right? We’re police detectives who received an anonymous tip that you might have a hangnail. Perhaps we could lend you a pair of nail clippers…’ then ask if she needs the gutters cleaned.” Derision and humor warred for dominance in Larrick’s tone, yet his sharp gaze continually scanned the perimeter in consideration of his partner’s unarticulated hunch. Yin and yang, they fit together, a clean-cut detective and his partner whose hair length had passed regulation specs weeks ago.

 

You know this isn’t the first tip we’ve gotten, not to mention the fact that the other leads were solid and led to arrests. And while we’re at it, why don’t you step to the side? Standard police procedure when approaching an unknown situation.” Ethan turned sideways, standing by the door with his hand poised to knock on the solid oak. He hesitated. Moisture coated his palms, a rare occurrence. Scrutinizing the interior through the narrow sidelights yielded nothing more than expected. Elegantly upholstered furniture, gleaming hardwood floors, and delicate bric-a-brac adorning the thick mantle and each side table completed the sophisticated picture. “Don’t see any problem. Maybe she’s fallen and can’t get to a phone.”

 

You expected an old lady brandishing her curling iron? As for leads, I get mine from three-dimensional people while you get yours from a bunch of ones and zeroes. Why can’t our IT department trace your anonymous texts further than the loony bin? Though that’s probably appropriate since your secret admirer’s last present consisted of a flower basket bigger than my TV along with fur-lined cuffs. I’ve never laughed so hard I pissed myself. I thought that was hogwash, a myth made up by old ladies.” Larrick leaned over the iron railing to peer through the window. “Can’t see squat, bottom sill’s too high.”

 

As my partner, you’re supposed to have my back, not stab me in the back. You didn’t have to broadcast it through the whole department by hanging the cuffs from the sprinkler system with a bunch of roses twined in them. Now my brothers won’t let up, and I’ve been subscribed to every kinky magazine known to the publishing world. You think I should know why some whacko chose me for their personal marionette?” Ethan suppressed a shudder before his partner gained more verbal ammunition. If his suspicions were correct, his informant was in fact a beautiful enigma with waist-length, chestnut hair and an emerald gaze capable of melting steel.

 

Maybe because you were the youngest to make detective? Rising star, golden boy, and all that shit.”

 

No. Probably afraid your redneck ways would rub off on them, or maybe because I’m the biggest sap.” Ethan’s gut rumbled, more of a warning sign from a well-heeled intuition than hunger. “Larrick, this doesn’t feel right.” Behind him, the slide of metal on leather let him know his partner just palmed his Glock. Three years of working together circumvented the formality of dissecting gut reactions.

 

A creak of leather sole betrayed Larrick’s backtracking to scrutinize the surroundings. “Side windows are lower. I’ll take a look.”

 

Hood of her BMW is cold. Didn’t go anywhere recently.” Larrick’s harsh whisper halted a nearby squirrel scampering up a tree, its head cocked to one side while studying the strange human interlopers.

 

Sunshine warmed the first spring buds on the low shrubbery bordering the walkway to complete the idyllic setting. Nothing but peace and serenity, yet Ethan’s heart hammered against his ribcage like an aggressive punk drummer. With his partner disappearing around the corner, he again scanned the perimeter while the morning’s corrupted equanimity formed a sour wad in his chest. A lazy March breeze combed its cool fingers through his short hair while the deep foreboding received with the initial text message blossomed into multiple horrific scenarios, leaving one of them a corpse, their life’s essence forming macabre shapes on gleaming hardwood floors.

 

I see bare feet beyond the kitchen island. Toes up. Probably female.” Larrick’s disembodied whisper just provided probable cause. “Backup?”

 

 
 
 
 
 
Reily is a West Coast girl transplanted to the opposite shore. When she’s not working with her dogs, you can find her curled up with a book or writing her next story. Past employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
 
Over time, and several careers, many incidents have flavored the plots of her stories. Man’s cruelty and ingenuity for torment and torture is boundless, not contained by an infinite imagination. Witnessing the after-effects of a teenager mugged at knifepoint for a pair of tennis shoes, or an elderly woman stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver for no apparent reason, left an indelible impression that will forever haunt her subconscious. In counterpoint, she has observed a woman stop her vehicle in severe, snowy weather to offer her own winter coat to a stranger, a teenager wearing a threadbare hoodie. Life’s diversities are endless.
 
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.

In reading, take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four-legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.
 

 

 


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text 2017-07-03 08:05
Virtual Tour - Primrose Lane
 
 
 
Love is the best medicine.
 
 
 
 
PRIMROSE LANE
Harmony Harbor #3
Debbie Mason
Releasing June 27, 2017
Forever
 
 
Love is the best medicine.

Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She’s left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor’s most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she’s now guardian of her ex’s young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn’t have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she’s got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He’d really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn’t want his help. Since he’s returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he’s interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.

<!--[endif]-->
 
 
 
 
 
 

What are you two still doing in the pond? You can see that we’ve rescued Miller and George, can’t you?” his baby brother Liam asked.

 

Finn was about to make a smartass comeback when his other brother shouted, “Finn, on your six!”

 

The wedding guests and waitstaff yelled, “Run!”

 

Finn glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, two swans were doing their running-on-water thing and coming toward him with their wings spread wide. “Liv, get out of here!” he yelled, turning to splash the big white birds in order to distract them so she could get to shore. It didn’t feel very manly or heroic, but he couldn’t exactly scoop Liv up and run from the pond with her in his arms. His leg wouldn’t make it. But it’s the thought that counted. Or so he was telling himself when he heard the sound of a warrior’s cry. If his brothers raced into the pond to rescue him, he was going to kill them.

 

Somebody brushed past him, knocking him off balance. It was Liv. Brandishing her shoes like weapons, she made a beeline for the birds. The swan on the right dipped forward and grabbed the shoe. . . and Liv’s hand. Finn launched himself at Liv, wrapping an arm around her waist and dragging her away from the posturing birds.

 

A piece of bread hit Finn in the side of the head. The swan dropped Liv’s shoe and joined his three pals to glide gracefully to where the guests were now throwing bread into the pond. Too bad someone hadn’t thought of that earlier.

 

If I never see a swan again, it’ll be too soon,” he muttered, half-dragging Liv out of the pond after him. It wasn’t until they’d climbed out that he realized she hadn’t said a word. He slowly turned. She was pale and shaking. “Liv, what is it?”

 

She looked at him, stared at him really, as if she expected him to understand what was going on. And there was definitely something going on, and it had nothing to do with a lost shoe. It hit him then. It had to do with a loss of another kind, a gut-wrenching, soul-crushing, heart-breaking loss that no one should ever have to bear.

 

He put his hands on her shoulders and ducked to look in her glassy eyes. “She’s fine, Liv. She was never in any real danger. We were here.”

 

What if we hadn’t been?” she whispered, looking to where his brothers were drying George and Miller with towels. “She wanders off all the time and won’t come when I call. She hides from me, climbs rocks and trees, runs into the woods and the ocean at high tide.” A tear rolled down her cheek. She wiped her face and looked away. “If something happened to her . . .” She slowly shook her head. “I can’t do this, Finn.”

 

 
 
 
Debbie Mason is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and the Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children and son-in-law, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.
 
 
 
 
 

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review 2017-06-29 08:05
Virtual Tour w/Review - Playing For Keeps
 
  
 
Will the couple find the strength and courage to put it all on the line 
when love means playing for keeps?
 
  
 
 PLAYING FOR KEEPS
York Bombers #3
Lisa B. Kamps
Releasing June 28th, 2017
 
 
Tyler Bowie is the serious and focused goalie for the York Bombers. He has his mind on the game and his eye on the future. And he always plays by the rules--until he meets Jennifer Emory, his teammate's sister. What is it about the troubled woman that tempts him to break the biggest rule of all?
 
Jennifer Emory is looking to start a new life and finds the distraction she needs in Tyler Bowie, her brother's intensely sexy teammate. But the distraction quickly turns to something else. She knows all about the bro code, but there's just something about Tyler that makes her want to take a chance and risk so much more than her brother's ire.
 
Will the couple find the strength and courage to put it all on the line when love means playing for keeps?
<!--[endif]-->
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

But God, she hated it. Hated running away. Hated having to rely on her brother. Hated feeling like a burden.

 

Hated knowing that no matter where she went, one tiny little mistake could follow her forever.

 

She sighed and drew her knees up to her chest. It didn't matter how gorgeous Tyler Bowie was, or how much she was attracted to him, or even if she had a tiny little crush on him. She couldn't allow anything to happen. Not that he was interested but still…no, nothing would happen. He was a hockey player. He was her brother's teammate.

 

No—no matter how hot Tyler was, it was strictly a case of look but don't touch. She didn't think he was like her ex but she couldn't be sure because she didn't know him that well. And she couldn't trust her own judgement, not anymore. Not after what her ex had done.

 

Except it had been ten long months and Tyler was so gorgeous. Would it really hurt, just to sample a small taste?

 

And oh God, what was she thinking? No, absolutely not. She could not think like that, couldn't even afford to pretend to think like that. No matter how much—

 

She heard the muffled sound of footsteps against the thick carpeting and turned on the sofa, her eyes widening at the sight of Tyler shuffling up the short hall toward her. His thick hair was tousled, his lids half-lowered over dark, sleepy eyes. He paused and ran a hand over his broad chest, which caused the hem of the thin t-shirt to lift. Her mouth dried as she caught a glimpse of smooth skin pulled tight over the hard muscle of defined abs.

 

Smooth skin broken only by a thin line of dark hair that disappeared into the waistband of the loose gym shorts riding low on his lean hips.

 

Jenny blinked, her face heating as her gaze travelled down his sturdy legs, taking in the long muscles of strong thighs, lightly dusted with dark hair. Even his bare feet were sexy. Since when did she ever notice a man's feet? Since never, that's when.

 

She tore her gaze away, forcing herself to look anywhere else. At the generic prints scattered on the wall behind him. At the small dinette table with its two chairs and pile of mail sitting on top of a dark green placemat. At the television, its screen now dark because she had turned it off.

 

Anywhere except at Tyler.

 

Oh God, she was in so much trouble.

 

Look but don't touch? No, she couldn't even do that, not when the simple act of just looking made her want to do so much more.

 
 
 
Playing For Keeps (York Bombers, #3)Playing For Keeps by Lisa B. Kamps
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 3rd book in the York Bombers series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Jennifer had to start over. She just needed a new place and new scenery to get over the past. Her brother lets her stay with him. Then she meets his teammate....

Tyler has already got the hots for his friends sister. The code among the team is you don't poach family. He just cannot stop how he feels. She seems to feel something too.

This is such a fast paced story. I like the characters and the heat. Love that it has hockey. This series is just a really great read. I am hoping for another installment.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tasty Q&A with Lisa B. Kamps

 

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Honestly, it depends on my mood. But there are two that always seem to be at the top of my list:

Fight Song by Rachel Platten and…

 

Wait for it…

 

Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen!

 

Name three things on your desk right now.

  • A large bag of almond M&Ms (I won't tell you how many are left in the bag)

  • Large mug of coffee (strong with cream and sugar if you're really curious)

  • My planner and notepad, pens and post-its (yes, that only counts as one item in my world!!)

 

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

Okay, I'm really not that great at Twitter but I'll give it a shot:

#secretpast #steamyread #bestfriendssister #forbiddenlove #nevergiveup #loveconquersall #hockeyromance #alwayshopeful

Did I go over??

 

What do you do when you are not writing?

Plan for the next book? Seriously, my mind is always going: thinking, dreaming, wondering, planning. Doesn't matter what I'm doing, there's always something involving writing going on in my head.

Except when I go into total slug-mode, which does happen every once in a while. If that's the case, I'm either literally doing absolutely nothing (I mean I literally turn completely OFF), or I'm either reading or playing SIMS. Hey, don't judge me !

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

The best piece of advice I can give (and have given) any aspiring writer is one that's been around for ages: Just do it. Don’t think about doing it, don’t talk about doing it, don't dream about doing it. Just sit your butt down and get those words on the page. Talking is easy, but if you're serious, stop talking and just write. You can fix it later, worry about it later, angst over it later. But you need to get those words on paper first. In this case, actions really do speak louder than words.

 

Don't get so caught up in the rules that you end up hampering your creative flow. Yes, learn the rules, be aware of them, but don't let them rule your writing (or your creative process). There are so many rules out there that "they" say can't be broken. But guess what? They get broken all the time, and it works. Do what works for you, your story, your characters. Don't let the rules silence your unique voice. (Note: I'm not talking about grammar and punctuation--those are important. It's those other pesky rules, like don't write in first person, don't write about a sports hero, etc.)

 

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

To my current readers and fans: THANK YOU so much for taking a chance and joining me on this wonderful journey! It really wouldn't be possible without all of you! To those readers who haven't yet read my books: don't be afraid to take a chance! You might surprise yourself and find a new favorite author (if not favorite, then hopefully one you really like!).

 

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My next scheduled release is PLAYING IT UP, The York Bombers Book 4.

Many of you have already met Zach and Haley in the other York Bomber titles. These two love to hate each other and are always butting heads. And when they finally get together...?

There's a fine line between love and hate, a line the mismatched pair crosses with as much passion in bed as out of it. No strings, no expectations. When Haley's past comes back to haunt her, putting her life in peril, Zach realizes that some things are worth fighting for—no matter the cost—and Haley learns she must let go of the past if she wants to hang on to the future.

This one is a steamy twist on your enemies-to-lovers story, with a few more surprises thrown in! PLAYING IT UP releases on August 30 and is available for pre-order now. You can find the link here: https://books2read.com/PlayingItUp

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lisa B. Kamps is the author of the best-selling series The Baltimore Banners, featuring "hard-hitting, heart-melting hockey players" [USA Today], on and off the ice. Her Firehouse Fourteen series features hot and heroic firefighters who put more than their lives on the line. She's introduced a whole new team of hot hockey players who play hard and love even harder in her newest series, The York Bombers.
 
In a previous life, she worked as a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department then did a very brief (and not very successful) stint at bartending in east Baltimore, and finally served as the Director of Retail Operations for a busy Civil War non-profit.
 
Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons (who are mostly sorta-kinda out of the house), one very spoiled Border Collie, two cats with major attitude, several head of cattle, and entirely too many chickens to count. When she's not busy writing or chasing animals, she's cheering loudly for her favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals--or going through withdrawal and waiting for October to roll back around!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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review 2017-06-27 08:05
Release Blast w/Review - Rock Star
 
 
 
A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty 
and a whole lot more complicated!
 
 
 
 
ROCK STAR
A Bad Boy Homecoming Novel
Stacey Kennedy
Releasing June 27, 2017
 

 

A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new erotic romance from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy.

Veterinarian, Rae Evans expects to attend a dreadful ten-year high school reunion. Instead, she’s confronted by a past she’s never gotten over. The love of her life, Travis Walker, has returned to Catfish Creek, and the now-famous rock star wants only three things: Her. Naked. And screaming his name.
 
Fresh off his last world tour, Travis has returned to town to get a dose of reality. With fame casting a superficial cloud over Travis’s life, he’s scrambling to stay afloat. He needs an anchor, and Rae is that for him. But as he finds himself, he’s determined to remind Rae of the heat that once burned between them.
 
Before they know it, their one hot night is three, and soon, just like ten years ago, Travis holds the strings to Rae’s heart. But Rae’s not that young girl who watched her high school sweetheart race off to become famous. She’s a woman who knows what she wants and realizes when a man needs her. She just has to decide if she should put the past on repeat, or walk away from it forever.
 

 
 
 
 
 

Travis Walker made women’s panties disappear.

 

On most nights, anyway.

 

Tonight, sitting on a wooden stool set upon the stage at Catfish Creek High School’s conference center, only one woman was on his mind. His fingers strummed over the strings of the guitar, mouth rested near the microphone, and after he sang the final two lines of the chorus—I wanna kiss you under the moonlight. And love you ‘til the sun comes up—the applause from the crowd reopened his eyes.

 

Sparkling string lights and masquerade masks hung from the ceiling above him, reminding him that he wasn’t surrounded by thousands of his typical screaming and wild fans. In his Texas hometown, he stared out at teachers, old friends, and classmates, all dressed in formal wear and masquerade masks.

 

From his seat in the spotlight, he recalled playing for smaller crowds on this very stage back in high school. Those had been some of the happiest days of his life. Now, fresh off his last world tour, he realized he loved that scene, too. The energy of a smaller crowd, who knew him personally, and a larger crowd, who thought they were in love with him, was so different he couldn’t compare the two, but admittedly, he missed the intimacy that came from a smaller venue.

Done with his song, and with the crowd quieting, he slid the guitar strap over his head and handed the instrument back to a member of the band that’d been hired to play at Catfish Creek High School’s ten-year reunion. When he jumped off the stage, he sighed in relief, finding that all the cell phones pointed in his direction were now put away, and the flashing lights were gone.

 

That’s when he set his focus on what mattered tonight: finding her. Rae Evans—the muse behind the song he sang tonight, Moonlight.

 

He scanned the crowd overtop the decorated tables with their gold chairs, but the beauty had escaped him somehow. He recognized Annie Flowers, the librarian, who gave him a little wave, and Christopher Christianson, the principal, who was grabbing a drink from the bar. Travis could have sworn he spotted Rae entering the masquerade ball when he began his song. Desperation now clawed at his chest.

 

Determined to find her, he moved farther into the crowd, just as his cell vibrated in his pocket. Knowing exactly who it’d be, and that he couldn’t ignore the call, he reached for his phone and then frowned at the text from his manager, Scott Price.

 

Awesome job. The video is already up on YouTube. Fans are loving it. The mask was a nice touch. Don’t miss your flight in the a.m.

 

Travis shifted the black masquerade mask around his eyes, and the muscles along his shoulders tightened with the reminder of the weight they carried; of the need for him to always be on point, and the fact that nothing, not even his high school reunion, was sacred anymore.

 

Life had changed dramatically since the last time Travis stepped foot in the conference center. But he didn’t want to think about the shit weighing on him, so he fired off a response—I’ll be on it—then tucked his cell phone back into his pocket.

 

He had tonight to fix everything that was wrong with his life, and he wouldn’t waste it.

In the eyes of his manager, Travis had come to the reunion to put on a show and to look real to his fans. But Travis hadn’t come for the publicity; he had come for one very good reason: to find his anchor—the woman who stopped his world from spinning wildly out of control.

 

Lately, in a sea of chaos, he’d finally stopped drowning and saw a way back to the happiness he once had. That happiness had started with Rae, and surely, she was his way to find himself again.

 

One touch. One taste. He wanted to remember what that happiness felt like.

 

Again, he searched the crowd, ignoring the way some men glowered at him, and some women batted their lashes. Rae. That’s whom he’d come here to see tonight. Only her.

The band behind him started playing another ballad, and that’s when he found her, staring right at him from across the room. She wore a sleek, black, strapless gown around her slender figure with matching long, black gloves.

 

His muscles surged with adrenaline, and he went to move toward her when a hard voice came from behind him.

 

Karly wants you to play another song.”

 

Travis slowly glanced over his shoulder to find the biggest asshole in Catfish Creek High School history, Jason, a blond-haired, slender, one-time big shot. Rae was best friends with Kate, and Kate had loved—and later married and divorced—the dipshit behind him.

 

Times had changed.

 

Travis didn’t owe Jason anything now, and he certainly didn’t owe the reunion’s event planner, Karly, shit. “You can tell Karly that I told her I’d play one song, and that’s exactly what I did. Bother me again, and we’ll have a problem.”

 

Jason didn’t make a move or say a word in rebuttal. Once a coward, always a coward.

Refocused on the only person who mattered tonight, and pulled by the energy only Rae conjured, Travis stretched out his fingers, shedding his frustrations as he moved with purpose through the crowd. Her pretty, hazel eyes surrounded by dark makeup followed his every move, and she yanked him forward with a simple look.

 

She’d always been a pretty girl, but she’d grown into a blindingly beautiful and stunning woman. Her gown fit her like a glove. A gold filigree mask somehow made the creaminess of her skin appear richer. She wore her shoulder-length, brown hair in big waves framing her round face.

Tonight, she didn’t look so fresh-faced and innocent. She looked sexy as hell, and just the sight of her again caused Travis’s cock to swell eagerly.

 

While he’d talked to her through email, text, and the occasional late-night, drunk phone call every birthday and Christmas over the last ten years, he hadn’t seen her. Not since that day on his parents’ porch. Sure, he’d kept an eye on her through the Catfish Creek Chronicle when they featured her for her charity work, and also on the website for the vet clinic she owned. But after he’d walked the path that led away from her, he’d never found his way back. Life got busy. New friends were found. Fame overtook him.

 

Now, he was…home.

 

When he finally reached her, the air between them felt charged. “Rae,” he said.

Her eyes warmed. Dark, red-painted lips curved. “Travis.”

 

Christ, he remembered how those lips tasted. How she tasted—every goddamn inch of her.

Beneath her mask, those pretty eyes now turned a little suspicious. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to the reunion?”

 

Perhaps he should have called, but… “I wanted to surprise you.” Because there were important reasons he returned to his hometown, ones that he didn’t want her to know about. Yet.

It all began with an article in the Catfish Creek Chronicle.

 

Dr. Rae Evans feels she’s done what was needed to help the animals in Catfish Creek, and she’s ready to begin a new journey. She’s looking to open another clinic in one of the neighboring towns.

 

At twenty-eight years old, she’d achieved what she hoped to do by thirty, and that article reminded him of the guy he used to be when she’d first made those plans. He wasn’t the same man who left Catfish Creek all those years ago, and he didn’t know when exactly he lost himself. While Rae had likely found all the happiness she wanted in her success, he simply wanted to find his way back to the carefree guy he once was.

 

To do that, he had to come back to the place where he was the happiest. He had to come back to her. “But to tell you why I wanted to surprise you, I need to tell you a story.” He offered his hand. “How about we dance, and I’ll share it.”

 

For a second, he thought she might refuse him. She simply stared at his hand.

When her eyes met his again, and she slowly slid her palm into his, the tightening in his chest eased. He closed his fingers around hers and sensed her soften, making him smile.

Reliving that infectious energy she carried, he led her into the middle of the dance floor, then he spun her around and pulled her to him, nice and close, sliding his hand across her lower back.

She laughed softly, eyes twinkling behind her mask. “You’ve still got the moves, I see.”

 

My moves will never fail me.” He grinned.

 

The band played the perfect song. Something a little sexy and slow, keeping her hips swaying perfectly with his. He did nothing to shield his erection, but one look into her eyes told him that was all right. With her breasts pressed against his chest, her cheeks a little pink now, he noticed the heat in the depths of her gaze. He’d recognize it anywhere. That fire felt like it belonged to him—always had, always would. Yet in the past, she’d shy away from that desire. Now, he noted how she firmly held his gaze, telling him she wasn’t the young lover he once had.

 

How long are you staying in town?” she asked, in an obvious attempt to divert their attention away from his cock.

 

Just tonight.” He stroked his thumb over the back of her hand, keeping her as close as he could, inhaling her flowery scent that had faded from his memory. “I fly out bright and early in the morning.”

 

Only tonight?” She shot him a questioning glance. “You came all the way here from New York just for the reunion?”

You seem surprised.”

 

She shrugged, seemingly unaffected when another couple bumped into her, her interest obviously centered on him. “Seems like a long way to come for only a few hours.”

 

A very good point, indeed. “Well, you see, that brings us to my story.” He sent her out, twirling her around before bringing her in close again and returning the smile she gave him. “But I think we need to go back even further for you to truly understand.”

 

Go on,” she said, watching him closely.

 

He paused, collecting his thoughts, then he began. “You’ll never hear me complain about my life. I have far more than I probably deserve.”

 

That’s a good thing,” she said firmly, even as a playful grin teased her lips. “You have a pretty amazing life, and you’d better not complain to me about all the fabulous trips you get to take around the world, or you might lose a tooth.”

 

He chuckled but leaned in, calling her out. “And how do you know so much about my life? Reading up on me?”

 

A little,” she admitted.

 

 

That’s what he liked most about Rae. She was honest, through and through. The fact that she followed his life could bite him in the ass later, but at this point, there was no going back, so he pushed the conversation along. “So, then you know that I have a very good life. I travel. I stay in fancy hotels. I eat at amazing restaurants. I never have to lift a finger. I have everything that anyone should want.”

 

Her eyes searched his. “But it’s not the life you want?”

 

Of course, she caught on. He didn’t expect otherwise. That’s why he’d come to the reunion—to be with someone who truly knew him. “It’s not that I don’t want the life I live,” he explained gently. “It’s that something is missing. Something very important.”

 

Which is?”

 

The guy I used to be.”

 

She began nibbling her lip like she used to do in high school when she became confused. “What do you mean?”

 

I can have anything I want, Rae. There is nothing that’s not available to me.” He slid his hand along her spine, pulling her in closer, leaving no room between them. “But the guy I was when we were together…I don’t know him anymore.”

 

Her eyes softened, and her voice grew quiet. “That’s really kinda sad, Travis.”

 

It is what it is.” He shrugged, not wanting to get stuck on the things he couldn’t change. “My manager told me that I’d been invited to the reunion and saw it as a business opportunity. But I saw it as a personal one.”

 

The song shifted to something faster, and the crowd began to fill the dance floor, bumping into his back. He refused to let her go, holding her tightly against him. “Do you want to know the real reason I came to the reunion tonight?”

 

Yes,” she said, a little breathlessly.

 

I came to relive the past, Rae.” He released her hand, wrapping his other arm around her and bringing his mouth close to hers. “That’s the only reason I’m here. I want to remember what it’s like to be with a woman who knows the real me.” He was encouraged by her shiver. An involuntary movement that spoke of her willingness to give him all that he wanted and more.

Hot and hard, he dropped his head into her neck, inhaled the subtle hints of her flowery perfume, and said into her ear, “We have a chance that many people don’t get. To go back and feel what we felt before.” He dragged his nose across her neck in the way he knew she liked, feeling her quiver under his hands. “Tomorrow, our lives will return to normal. Nothing will have changed. You’ll live here, entirely focused on your clinic and your life, and I’ll live mine in New York. Tonight’s our one free pass to dip into the past, and I want to take it. Because tonight, Rae”—he brushed his lips across her neck, and a soft moan escaped her mouth as he murmured—“I want one more taste of you.”

 

She gasped and stepped back, blinking rapidly. “I…sorry, excuse me. I need to get some air.” Then those pretty pink cheeks and wide, excited eyes were gone, her dress trailing behind her as she ran for the door.

 

 

Travis shoved his hands into the pockets of his suit and grinned. He didn’t mind hunting her, it sweetened his reward.

 
 
 
Rock Star (Bad Boy Homecoming, #5)Rock Star by Stacey Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #5, in the Bad Boy Homecoming series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Travis chose 10 years ago to live his dream. His girlfriend at the time chose the same. After spending so much time apart he has decided to go home. He has also figured a few key things out.

Rae gave up her man to follow her dreams. She knew he needed to follow his as well. Now he is a famous musician in demand, and they never see one another. With him home for their high school reunion - can they get a real second chance at the love they share?

This story was full of emotions. I loved how the characters desired to put one another first. There was a lot that impressed me in this book. I thought it was a great addition to the series. I cannot wait to see more from this author.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
STACEY KENNEDY is the USA Today bestselling author of the Dirty Little Secrets and Club Sin series. She writes deeply emotional romances about powerful men and the wild women who tame them. When she’s not writing sensual stories, she spends her time in southwestern Ontario with her real life hero, her husband, their two young children, and her other babies: a mini labradoodle named Jax and a chocolate labrador named Murphy. Stacey is a proud chocolate, television show, Urban Barn, and wine addict. She likes her heroes in her books like she likes her coffee . . . strong and hot!
 
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review 2017-06-16 08:05
Review Tour - I Knew You Were Trouble
  
 
 
A feisty beauty must choose between winning back Mr. Right 
or giving in to Mr. Wrong.
 
 
 
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
Oxford Series #4
Lauren Layne
Releasing June 13, 2017
Loveswept
 


New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.



AVAILABLE NOW!
 
 
 
 

Bradley froze when he saw her, and she was pretty sure she saw the urge to turn and run flicker across his face.

 

Again she felt a stab of disappointment. In him. And in herself for apparently having misread him. She’d thought he was better than this.

 

Bradley’s eyes moved between her and Nick, and though he didn’t look all that surprised at seeing them bickering, his gaze grew hard as he saw Nick’s hand on Taylor’s face.

 

Nick, naturally, took his sweet time removing it, and she resisted the urge to kick his shin.

 

Morning, Bradley,” Taylor said, pleased that her voice sounded calm and friendly. As well it should. She’d had plenty of practice over the better part of a year pretending that she and Bradley were nothing more than colleagues.

 

Other than a few close friends who knew they were dating, they’d done a mostly decent job of hiding their romantic relationship from coworkers. Better than she and Nick had done hiding their antagonistic one.

 

Hey, Taylor. Nick,” Bradley said.

 

He entered the room and reached for a coffee mug, turning his attention toward the other man. “Didn’t realize you’d taken on another assignment. What for?”

 

Not sure,” Nick said, checking his watch. “Have a meeting with Cassidy in a few to find out.”

 

Here’s hoping it’s an offsite gig that takes you far, far away. Maybe he needs someone to cover Siberian winters,” Taylor said to Nick, even as she watched Bradley out of the corner of her eye.

 

Don’t need to travel to find severe winter. It doesn’t get any chillier than right here,” Nick retorted, waving his hand over her head in a storm cloud gesture.

 

She shoved his hand aside, her attention still on Bradley, who was determinedly avoiding her gaze.

 

Coward.

 

It was going to be darn hard to get him to see reason when he wouldn’t even make eye contact.

 

Nick, ever too perceptive for his own good, noticed the tension and gave a quick look between her and Bradley, his gaze turning speculative.

 

She shot him a warning look that clearly said, Don’t.

 

He shot an answering smile that clearly said, Watch me.

 

Bradley, don’t suppose you’re in the market for a roommate?” Nick asked, his voice deceptively casual.

 

Bradley’s head snapped up, and finally, finally his blue gaze collided with Taylor’s. Dammit. Why did he have to be so beautiful? He was like a mischievous angel, all twinkling blue eyes, dimples, a sexy cleft in his chin, dark blond wavy hair . . .

 

What?” he asked Nick distractedly, still looking at Taylor.

 

Taylor here wants to share her original crown molding with someone.”

 

Bradley winced, and Taylor felt a little surge of gratitude toward Nick. He couldn’t have known it, but it was the perfect jab. She and Bradley were both into prewar architecture—had eaten up the broker’s description of all the building’s original elements.

 

Taylor should be sharing that crown molding with Bradley. And he damn well knew it.

 

His eyes met hers in silent misery—an apology that she wasn’t quite ready to accept. Heck, she wasn’t even ready to acknowledge it, because she had no intention of being dumped. Not by him, not by any man.

 

Taylor ignored the guilt written all over Bradley’s face as she held his gaze. “Yes, it seems I unexpectedly have a free bedroom and more rent than I can afford. If either of you knows anyone looking for a roommate . . .”

 

Bradley’s handsome face twisted regretfully, and he set his coffee aside, taking a step toward her, apparently forgetting—or not caring—that Nick was still in the room.

 

Taylor. Damn it. I told you—”

 

Actually, I do,” Nick said, interrupting.

 

Taylor forced her gaze away from Bradley’s pleading face toward Nick’s smug one. “You know someone who needs a roommate?”

 

Yup.” He crossed his arms and watched her.

 

She made an impatient gesture with her hand. “Who? It can’t be one of your ex-girlfriends—I don’t want to inadvertently hear any gross details about you. And not one of your frat-boy guy friends—my living room isn’t cut out for Call of Duty.”

 

Yeah, because that’s all I do all day.”

 

She rolled her eyes. “Okay, for real, who is it?”

 

His grin was slow, sly, and the very definition of trouble. “Me.”

 
 
 
 I Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford, #4)I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is #4, in the incredible Oxford series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and enjoyment, I recommend reading this series in order.

From the time Taylor & Nick met, they were like oil and water. They occasional had to work together. They had mutual friends. It was all they could do not to kill one another, some days.

Nick has been attracted to Taylor from the very moment they met. Taylor would claim the same, if forced to do so. Their timing never seemed to click. Until one day....

This series is just phenomenal! Gets better and better with each story. I loved these characters. I loved that they did not want to be attracted to - or even like one another. It felt very real. Easy to read with a great HEA.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

View all my reviews
 
 
 

 
 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
 
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 

 
 

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