Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cover Reveal - THE DARKEST PROMISE by Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is proud to share the cover for the 13th novel in her bestselling Lords of the Underworld series, THE DARKEST PROMISE! Look for THE DARKEST PROMISE to be released on June 13, 2017. #LOTU

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Order THE DARKEST PROMISE here!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * BAM * Powell’s * IndieBound

THE DARKEST PROMISE Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Lords of the Underworld story about an iron-willed sovereign and the somber beauty who melts him with a glance…
Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.
Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him—until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile…and seduce her into his bed.
As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever…

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

   
gena-showalter-headshotAbout Gena Showalter: Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld series, two young-adult series—Everlife and The White Rabbit Chronicles—and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs and all her upcoming books at GenaShowalter.com or Facebook.com/GenaShowalterFans.      

Website | Twitter @genashowalter | Facebook | Goodreads

    
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Release Day Launch - Fire in You by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Some are born with fire in them.

✮✮✮SECOND CHANCES, HOPE, & RED-HOT CHEMISTRY…FIRE IN YOU, the final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Wait For You World is here! Don’t Miss Brock and Jillian’s passionate and richly moving story in this standalone contemporary romance!✮✮✮

Let the FIRE IN YOU burn and grab your copy today!

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About FIRE IN YOU:

From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…

Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

   
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Order a digital or paperback copy of FIRE IN YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout, writing as J.Lynn, AND fill out THIS FORM by December 3rd, and get an exclusive bonus scene-an Epilogue featuring POVs from all the major couples throughout the Wait For You World!

FIRE IN YOU will be available in paperback and eBook November 28th, 2016!

Just enter your name, age, email address, and the order number from your digitalor paperback pre-order receipt at https://a.pgtb.me/M7KhMC to receive your exclusive FIRE IN YOU bonus scene! All entrants will receive the bonus scene on December 5th, 2016 through email using the email given when the entrant filled out THIS FORM.

EXCERPT: 

Making my way through the narrow pathways between the tables, I headed back toward the bathroom. Only once I pushed open the double doors and stopped in front of the water-spotted mirror did I realize I’d left my purse at the table, so there’d be no reapplying my lipstick. 

 I pumped soap onto my hands and waved them under the facet. Water flowed, washing away the suds as I slowly lifted my gaze to my reflection. Normally when I looked at myself, I didn’t really pay attention longer than was necessary to put makeup on without ending up looking like a tutorial gone wrong. 

Standing here now, I really looked at myself, though. 

I used to wear my hair up all the time, but I’d stopped doing that every day. My hair now hung in waves and the ends curled over the tips of my breasts. I also used to have heavy bangs, but thank God they were long gone. I’d finally learned how to put on eyeliner. That was another miracle. The slight flush of my face darkened my naturally tan skin. My lips were fuller and my nose straight. 

My hair was parted to sweep to the left so it shielded my cheek…and my cheek didn’t look that bad, especially considering how it looked the first time I’d seen it after…after days in the hospital. 

Hell, my entire face had been one hot mess. 

There was a deep indentation in my left cheek, almost like an icepick had been shoved in there, and as I stared at my right jaw line, I was still amazed by what reconstructive plastic surgeons could accomplish. Half my face had literally been pieced back together with an iliac crest graft with a reconstruction plate and a crap ton of dentistry to give me back a full set of functional teeth. 

Plastic surgeons didn’t have magic wands, but they were magicians. If you weren’t looking at me straight on, you’d have no idea that my right jaw was thinner than my left. 

You’d have no idea what had happened to me that night. 

Now I stared back at myself just like I had done that night, six years ago, standing in a bathroom, mere minutes before my entire life came crashing down. 

It wasn’t that I hated the way I looked now. The fact that I was alive meant I was one of those rare, walking and breathing statistics. 

But even knowing how lucky I was didn’t change the fact that I felt…deformed. That was a harsh word to use. I didn’t like to whip it out often. Doing so on what was so far a pretty good date was probably not a good idea. 

Taking a deep breath, I shook my head. I didn’t need my thoughts going in that direction tonight. So far, the dinner had been amazing. Grady was nice and he was cute. I could maybe see myself going out with him again, to an art exhibit, and maybe coffee. 

And that was what had freaked me out. 

I was not going to let living freak me out. 

Nope. 

I could give him a chance and not worry about whether or not I was settling. 

Turning from the sink, I dried my hands and then readjusted my hair so it fell forward, over my left shoulder and cheek. I walked out of the bathroom and into the narrow hall, gaze trained on the floor as I took about two steps before I realized someone was standing right outside the door, leaning against the wall. Before I nearly plowed into him. 

Gasping, I took a step back. All I could see were finely cut black trousers paired with…with old black and white Chucks? What an odd combination, but those shoes reminded me of… 

I gave a little shake of my head and stepped to the side. “Sorry. Excuse—” 

“Jillian.” 

I stopped. 

Time stopped. 

Everything stopped except my heart, because it was suddenly pounding in my chest too hard, too fast. That deep, rough voice. I recognized it all the way to my very core. Slowly, I lifted my gaze, already knowing what I was going to see but refusing to believe it. 

Brock Mitchell stood in front of me.


   


author-photo-jla_j-lynnAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout: # 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. 

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. 

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.  

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nothing But the Radio - My Review of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne



Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 8/9/2016
Source: My Shelves


Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.





Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book—and it isn't always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel.




Crisp dialogue.
Exceptional writing.
Two clever opponents.

This was a fresh anecdote in the friends-to-lovers trope. The characters are stunning and the storytelling is extraordinary. 


Lucinda and Joshua are bitter adversaries at a publishing house. The rivalry heats up when they find they are competing for the same promotion. 

Joshua is the hulking jerk everyone in the company that keeps everyone on the cusp of terrified. Lucy is the sweet go-getter that will bend over backwards to help literally anyone but Josh. 

As interviews grow closer, trickery and spying kick into high gear. When the competitors begin to soften towards each other you are left guessing if any of it is real or simply more manipulations to gain an edge in the game of one-upmanship.

5 out of 5 Stars


Maia Sharp - Nothing But The Radio


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Release Day Launch - The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter

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Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST TORMENT is now available in paperback! The Queen of Paranormal Romance, USA TODAY bestselling author Gena Showalter, returns with THE DARKEST TORMENT, the eagerly anticipated twelfth novel in her Lords of the Underworld series! Grab your copy today!

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Order THE DARKEST TORMENT here!

Amazon * Barnes * Book Depository * GooglePlay * iBooks * BAM * Kobo * IndieBound


THE DARKEST TORMENT Synopsis:


Can Beauty tame her Beast?


Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he’s back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he’s unable to withstand the touch of another…and he’s quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own.


Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she’s taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she’s plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them…and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.


But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she’ll have to teach him to love…or lose him forever.


Includes Q&A featuring J. R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh and more!

 

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

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Baden reached the keeper of Defeat’s door and knocked hard enough to crack the wood. 

Note to self: Buy a new door. 

“Coming, coming.” A patter of footsteps rang out and the door swung open, revealing Strider’s mate, Kaia. She greeted him with a dagger in hand, her mass of red hair anchored in pigtails, her eyes bright with fury. 

She’s armed…a true threat. Kill her! Baden did his best to ignore the beast, staring over Kaia’s shoulder. He scanned the room, checking for hidden threats out of habit. Well. Her decorating style could probably be classified as a hoarder died here. “Did you reach your sister?” 

“Yep. She’ll meet you at Downfall in an hour.” 

“Thank you.” 

“Save your thanks and do me a favor.” She gave the hilt of her dagger a kiss. “Next time you’re with Hades, demand to know each of William’s hideouts.” 

The urge to protect suddenly overwhelmed him. Protect William? Or Hades?

Both. Destruction snarled inside his head. They are mine, and I will annihilate anyone who even thinks to harm them. 

His mouth watered. Her blood, I’ll taste it. His hands itched. Her bones, I’ll break them

As a predator, Kaia sensed his intentions and reacted accordingly, crouching, readying for attack. 

Rational thought intruded: No, no. Not her

But Destruction had already pulled back his fist to strike. At the last second, Baden regained a semblance of control, raining the fury upon the wall with punches and kicks. 

The beast roared as more and more of Baden’s friends sprinted from their rooms, grabbing hold of him to try to stop him. 

They dare try to restrain me? 

Again, the beast was able to overtake him, flinging one warrior after another across the hall. 

He laughed. 

“How do we corral him?” someone shouted. 

“Keeley.” Torin’s voice poured over the intercom. “You’re needed in Strider’s room. ASAP.” 

“No time. We need Katarina,” a female called. “She calms him, I think.” 

A handful of warriors rushed him at once, tackling him to the floor, but again, flinging them away wasn’t difficult. Power expanded his limbs, reinforced his bones. He was able to work his way to his feet. 

I might fall, but I’ll never stay down

A grinning blond stepped into his path. The male named Strider. Killing him would be a pleasure. 

Baden screamed at Destruction. He’s my friend. They all are! 

“Hey! Over here.” One of the women said, “I’m going to rip you a new asshole—in your face.” 

Not my friends, Destruction told Baden as he grabbed her by the neck and lifted her off her feet. Anya. Destruction had made of point of learning the identities of the residents. Know your enemy… 

“No!” Lucien shouted, tackling him from behind. 

The goddess of Anarchy twined her legs around Destruction’s neck and, as he stumbled, squeezed with surprising strength. 

From the corner of his eye, he spotted Katarina and the one named Ashlyn rounding the far corner. Both females stopped to gap at him. He paused, he wasn’t sure why, giving Baden the opportunity to regain a bit of control. Not enough to claim ownership of the body, but enough to slow him down as their wills clashed. He bellowed to the rafters. 

“Run, Ash and take the girl with you,” Maddox demanded. “She’s only making him worse.” 

Katarina…leave? 

Baden and Destruction worked together to pull Anya off their shoulders and drop her. They sidestepped Lucien and stalked to the woman who’d haunted them. The woman who belonged to them. If only for a little while. 

“Go!” multiple voices screamed at once. The warriors were giving chase, trying to beat him to the object of his fascination. 

Ashlyn attempted to tug Katarina away, but Katarina shook off her hold and stepped forward. Toward him. 

The moment she reached him, she framed his face with her delicate hands. He had to crouch to allow the action, which wasn’t exactly a prime position to mount a proper defense—butworth it

“What’s wrong with you?” she asked. 

He drew in a breath, his usually useless lungs suddenly infused by the sweetness of her scent…as if he were coming back to life. “They are threats.” 

“Wrong. There are no threats here.” 

“They are threats,” he insisted. 

She brushed her thumbs over the rise of his cheeks, gentle, so gentle, and yet still the action stung. But he didn’t pull away. The air between them thickened and crackled with awareness. He liked it. 

The others stopped their pursuit and maintained a proper distance, whispering with incredulity. 

“Is this really happening or am I hallucinating?” someone asked. 

“Does the human have a magic hoo-ha?” 

“You have a job to do,” Katarina reminded him, ignoring the others. “Why don’t you go do it, and I’ll take care of the threats here?” 

He snorted. “You’re not strong enough.” 

That earned a raised brow. “So you’ve told me.” 

“Dude. Isn’t she married?” Kaia asked. 

He snarled at the Harpy, though his gaze remained on Katarina. She’d lost weight and looked more fragile than ever, and yet her beauty took his breath away. 

Breath he now needed to survive? 

“Baden,” she said. 

“Destruction,” he corrected. 

“Since he’s affected by you, I’m willing to bet you’re affected by him. Why don’t I call you Baduction?” She smiled at him, inviting him to play with her. “And a hat tip to you. If your newest job is to stare at me, you’ve got it nailed.” 

He didn’t know how to play, but he liked seeing her like this. Happy rather than despondent. 

He shouldn’t care what she felt. Caring left him vulnerable. 

He scowled at her. “Stay out of trouble today.” 

I will, but not because you ordered it. Because I’m a girl and girls are made of—” 

“Sugar and spice,” he interjected, remembering the rhyme. Boys were made of snakes and snails. 

“Wrong. Girls are made of vodka and ice. The two combined increase our tolerance for masculine nonsense.”   
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And don’t miss the previous titles in the Lords of the Underworld Series!

THE DARKEST NIGHT

THE DARKEST KISS

THE DARKEST PLEASURE

THE DARKEST WHISPER

THE DARKEST PASSION

THE DARKEST LIE

THE DARKEST SECRET

THE DARKEST SURRENDER

THE DARKEST SEDUCTION

THE DARKEST CRAVING

THE DARKEST TOUCH

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Author pic- Gena ShowalterAbout Gena Showalter: Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at genashowalter.com.          

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Starving - My Review of MANAGED by Kristen Callihan

**All purchase links are provided as a courtesy to the blog followers.  I receive a small compensation for purchases made through these links.  These links may not lead to the best price and you can always shop around for a better one.**

Title: Managed (VIP #2)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Plain Jane Books
Publication Date: 11/14/2016
Source: My Shelves

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It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big...ego. 

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London. 

That is until HE sat down next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me. 

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming. 

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.   

Let the battle begin…  

AMAZON | iBooks | B&N | KOBO | Paperback



   
KCauthorKristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE


So... Reviews and I are no longer friends. Actually, I think it's words that have un-friended me. Either way, I find myself floundering more and more when I attempt to encourage people to read books that I have loved. I had decided to simply post information about the book, tell you my star rating, and include my song recommendation about the book. This was okay until I remembered that people want to know WHY I loved the book, not just that I loved it, so please forgive my stumbling words below.

Managed was a lot of fun for me. It grabbed me immediately, and reached deeper in me than I was expecting it to.

Sophie and Gabriel Scott, 'Scottie' have their first encounter on a plane where Scottie is anxious about the flight and Sophie is defensive about being moved next to a man who very obviously doesn't want her there. I was quickly hooked by their witty banter. Sophie's sarcastic quips and Scottie's stoicism were expertly delivered and created the perfect storm of an improper relationship. The push and pull is passionate, intelligent, and often just plain swoony. The digs that Sophie and Scottie take at each other gave me life.


Sophie and Scottie work together. Despite their uncomfortable attraction to each other, they both work hard to keep things on the up and up. Because they are both committed to doing their job, the chemistry between them creates a slow burn that had my toes tingling from their very first meeting.

As I mentioned earlier, I was really touched by this story. It was mostly a light-hearted romantic read, but it had moments that spoke to me down deep. It was exciting and while not completely new, it was so well-done that I continued to think of the story in between times I was able to read it.

I recommend it to all romance lovers. 

5 out of 5 Stars

Also, I can recommend Idol (VIP #1). It is not necessary to read it before Managed, but it is a very good musician romance.



Hailee Steinfeld, Grey - Starving ft. Zedd

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cover Reveal - The Tattered Gloves by J. L. Berg

We are so excited to reveal the cover of USA Today Bestselling Author J.L. Berg's first YA title, THE TATTERED GLOVES! See the stunning cover below, find out more about THE TATTERED GLOVES, and preorder your copy today!

 

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Isn't the cover INCREDIBLE?

About THE TATTERED GLOVES

Available January 24th, 2017
Head down. Don’t look up. Never make eye contact. Those were the words I lived by growing up, the words that protected me in an unsafe home. But words are only letters and eventually even they couldn’t keep his hands off me.
Hoping to leave behind the shattered life of my past, I find myself in a boring, small town, with an aunt I’ve never met and at a school I loathe.
But soon I learn, not everything in this world is as black and white as I’ve determined. Sometimes those we are so quick to judge often need a second, third or even fourth time to make a first impression.
And often, there are friendships and even love waiting just around the corner, if we are brave enough to take the first step.
Am I brave? Or will I hide behind these tattered gloves of mine forever?
Add THE TATTERED GLOVES to your to be read shelf on Goodreads!
Find out when THE TATTERED GLOVES goes up for sale on other retailers by subscribing to J.L. Berg's newsletter!

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Want to win?

Enter to win a $10 Amazon giftcard from J.L. Berg by entering the Rafflecopter below!
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About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Excerpt - HEAT WAVE by Karina Halle

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They say when life closes one door, another one opens. 
  
This door happens to lead to paradise. 
  
And a man I can never, ever have. 

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica "Ronnie" Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it. 

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:  Logan Shephard. 

It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl. 

What does matter is that he’s a grump. 

Kind of an asshole, too. 

And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else. 

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating. 

There’s just one major catch. The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from. Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.  

AMAZON | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | B&N

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PROLOGUE

I saw him first. 

It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now. 

But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed. 

Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse. 

That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch. 

But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is… 

You just know. 

There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life. 

That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there. 

I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile. 

Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time. 

But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me. 

I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky. 

It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him. 

I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady. 

With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it. 

I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon. 

“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes. 

I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible. 

His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are. 

“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time. 

I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did. 

“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.” 

“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?” 

“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?” 

He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with. 

He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?” 

“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.” 

“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man. 

“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.” 

I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?” 

“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?” 

“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.” 

“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.” 

I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut. 

“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?” 

I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.” 

“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?” 

“One of them,” I told him. 

He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.” 

“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water. 

I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?” 

“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.” 

He frowned. “Why is that crazy?” 

I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.” 

He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?” 

I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time. 

Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way? 

“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.” 

A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked. 

I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed. 

A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here. 

“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him. 

“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.” 

Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin supressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl. 

And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked. 

I’d never find out how wicked they could be. 

“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass. 

Oh no, I thought. Not now. 

Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would. 

She had walked into the room. 

He saw her. 

And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her. 

That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around. 

I might have saw him first. 

But he was all hers after that.
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Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. 

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. 

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.