Chapter Reveal: The Invitation by Vi Keeland

Title: The Invitation
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2021
Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, The Invitation? Check out this SNEAK PEEK of CHAPTER 1!
CHAPTER 1 

Stella 
“I can’t do this…” I stopped halfway up the marble staircase. 
Fisher paused a few steps ahead of me. He walked back down to where I stood. “Sure you can. Remember the time we were in sixth grade and you had to make that presentation about your favorite president? You were a nervous wreck. You thought you were going to forget everything you’d memorized and be standing there with everyone staring at you.” 
“Yes, what about it?” 
“Well, this is no different. You got through that, didn’t you?” 
Fisher had lost his mind. “My fears all came true that day. I got up in front of the blackboard and started to sweat. I couldn’t remember a single word I’d written. Everyone in the class stared, and then you heckled me.” 
Fisher nodded. “Exactly. Your worst fear came true, and yet you lived to see another day. In fact, that day turned out to be the best day of your life.” 
I shook my head, bewildered. “How so?” 
“That was the first time we’d ever been in the same class. I thought you were just another annoying girl like the rest of them. But after school that day, you ripped into me for teasing you while you were trying to do your presentation. That made me realize you weren’t like the other girls. And that very day I decided we were going to be best friends.” 
I shook my head. “I didn’t speak to you for the rest of the school year.” 
Fisher shrugged. “Yeah, but I won you over the next year, didn’t I? And right now you feel a little calmer than you did two minutes ago, don’t you?” 
I sighed. “I guess I do.” 
He held out his tuxedo-clad elbow. “Shall we go in?” 
I swallowed. As terrified as I was of what we were about to do, I also couldn’t wait to see what the inside of the library looked like all done up for a wedding. I’d spent countless hours sitting on these steps, wondering about the people walking by. 
Fisher waited patiently with his elbow out while I debated another minute. Finally, with another loud sigh, I took his arm. “If we wind up in jail, you’re going to have to come up with the bail money for both of us. I’m way too broke.” 
He flashed his movie-star smile. “Deal.” 
As we climbed the remaining steps to the doors of the New York Public Library, I went over all of the details we’d discussed in the Uber on the way here. Our names for the evening were Evelyn Whitley and Maximilian Reynard. Max was in real estate—his family owned Reynard Properties—and I’d gotten my MBA at Wharton and recently moved back to the City. We both lived on the Upper East Side—at least that part was true. 
Two uniformed waiters wearing white gloves stood at the towering entrance doors. One held a tray of champagne flutes, and the other a clipboard. Though my legs somehow kept going, my heart felt like it was trying to escape from my chest and take off in the opposite direction. 
“Good evening.” The waiter with the clipboard nodded. “May I have your names, please?” 
Fisher didn’t flinch as he doled out the first of what would be a night full of lies. 
The man, who I noticed had an earpiece in, scanned his list and nodded. He held a hand out for us to enter, and his partner handed us each bubbly. “Welcome. The ceremony will take place in the rotunda. Seating for the bride is on your left.” 
“Thank you,” Fisher said. As soon as we were out of earshot, he leaned close. “See? Easy peasy.” He sipped his champagne. “Oooh, this is good.” 
I had no idea how he was so calm. Then again, I also had no idea how he’d managed to talk me into this insanity. Two months ago, I’d come home from work to find Fisher, who was also my neighbor, raiding my refrigerator for leftovers—a common occurrence. As he ate two-day-old chicken Milanese, I’d sat at the kitchen table sorting through my mail and having a glass of wine. While we talked, I’d sliced open the back of an oversized envelope without checking the address on the front. The most stunning wedding invitation had been inside—black and white with raised gold leaf. It was like a gilded work of art. And the wedding was at the New York Public Library, of all places—right near my old office and where I’d often sat and had my lunch on the iconic stairs. I hadn’t visited in at least a year, so I was seriously pumped to get to go to a wedding there. 
Though I’d had no idea whose wedding it was—a distant relative I’d forgotten, maybe? The names weren’t even vaguely familiar. When I turned the envelope over, I quickly realized why. I’d opened my ex-roommate’s mail. Ugh. That figured. It wasn’t me who was invited to a fairytale wedding at one of my favorite places in the world. 
But after a couple of glasses of wine, Fisher had convinced me it should be me going, and not Evelyn. It was the least my deadbeat ex-roommate could do for me, he’d said. After all, she’d snuck out in the middle of the night, taken some of my favorite shoes with her, and the check she’d left behind for the two months of back rent she owed had bounced. At a minimum, I ought to get to attend a ritzy, thousand-dollars-a-plate wedding, rather than her. Lord knew none of my friends were ever getting married at a venue like that. By the time we’d polished off the second bottle of merlot, Fisher had decided we would go in Evelyn’s place—crash the wedding for a fun night out, compliments of my no-good former roomie. Fisher had even filled out the response card, writing that two guests would attend, and slipped it into his back pocket to mail the next day. 
I’d honestly forgotten all about our drunken plans until two weeks ago when Fisher came home with a tuxedo he’d borrowed from a friend for the upcoming nuptials. I’d balked and told him I wasn’t going to crash some expensive wedding for people I didn’t know, and he’d done what he always did: gotten me to think his bad idea wasn’t really that bad. 
Until now. I stood in the middle of the sprawling lobby of what was probably a two-hundred-thousand-dollar wedding and felt like I might literally pee my pants. 
“Drink your champagne,” Fisher said. “It’ll help you relax a bit and put some color back in your cheeks. You look like you’re about to attempt to tell the class why you like John Quincy Adams so much.” 
I squinted at Fisher, though he smiled back, undeterred. I was certain nothing was going to help me loosen up. But nevertheless, I gulped back the contents of my glass. 
Fisher tucked one hand casually into his trouser pocket and looked around with his head held high, like he didn’t have a fear in the world. “I haven’t seen my old friend party animal Stella in a long time,” he said. “Might she come out to play tonight?” 
I handed him my empty champagne flute. “Shut up and go find me another glass before I bolt.” 
He chuckled. “No problem, Evelyn. You just sit tight and try not to blow our cover before we even get to see the beautiful bride.” 
“Beautiful? You don’t even know what she looks like.” 
“All brides look beautiful. That’s why they wear a veil—so you can’t see the ugly ones, and everything is magical on their special day.” 
“That’s so romantic.” 
Fisher winked. “Not everyone can be as pretty as me.” 
Three glasses of champagne helped calm me enough to sit through the wedding ceremony. And the bride definitely didn’t need a veil. Olivia Rothschild—or Olivia Royce, as she would be now—was gorgeous. I got a little teary eyed watching the groom say his vows. It was a shame the happy couple weren’t really my friends, because one of their groomsmen was insanely attractive. I might’ve daydreamed that Livi—that’s what I called her in my head—would fix me up with her new hubby’s buddy. But alas, tonight was a ruse, and I was no Cinderella story. 
The cocktail hour took place in a beautiful room I’d never been in. I studied the artwork on the ceiling as I waited at the bar for my drink. Fisher had told me he needed to use the restroom, but I had a feeling he’d really snuck off to talk to the handsome waiter who had been eyeing him since we’d walked in. 
“Here you go, miss.” The bartender slid a drink over to me. 
“Thank you.” I took a quick look around to see if anyone was paying attention before dipping my nose inside the glass and taking a deep sniff. Definitely not what I ordered. 
“Ummm, excuse me. Is it possible you made this with Beefeater gin and not Hendricks?” 
The bartender frowned. “I don’t think so.” 
I sniffed a second time, now certain he’d made it wrong. 
A man’s voice to my left caught me off guard. “You didn’t even taste it, yet you think he poured the wrong gin?” 
I smiled politely. “Beefeater is made with juniper, orange peels, bitter almond, and blended teas, which produces a licorice taste. Hendricks is made of juniper, rose, and cucumber. There’s a different smell to each.” 
“Are you drinking it straight or on the rocks?” 
“Neither. It’s a gin martini, so it has vermouth.” 
“But you think you can smell that he used the wrong gin, without even tasting it?” The guy’s voice made it clear he didn’t think I could. 
“I have a very good sense of smell.” 
The man looked over my shoulder. “Hey, Hudson, I got a hundred bucks that says she can’t tell the difference between the two gins if we line them up.” 
A second man’s voice came from my right, this one behind my shoulder a bit. The sound was deep, yet velvety and smooth—sort of like the gin the bartender should’ve used to make my drink. 
“Make it two hundred, and you’re on.” 
Turning to get a look at the man willing to wager on my abilities, I felt my eyes widen. 
Oh. Wow. The gorgeous guy from the bridal party. I’d stared at him during most of the wedding. He was handsome from afar, but up close he was breathtaking in a way that made my belly flutter—dark hair, tanned skin, a chiseled jawline, and luscious, full lips. The way his hair was styled—slicked back and parted to the side—reminded me of an old-time movie star. What I hadn’t been able to see from the back row during the ceremony was the intensity of his ocean blue eyes. Those were currently scanning my face like I was a book. 
I cleared my throat. “You’re going to bet two-hundred dollars that I can identify gin?” 
The gorgeous man stepped forward, and my olfactory sense perked up. Now that smells better than any gin. I wasn’t sure if it was his cologne or some sort of a body wash, but whatever it was, it took everything in my power to not lean toward him and take a deep whiff. The sinfully sexy man smelled as good as he looked. That pairing was my kryptonite. 
There was a hint of amusement in his voice. “Are you telling me it’s a bad bet?” 
I shook my head and turned back to speak to his friend. “I’ll play along with your little bet, but I’m in for two hundred, too.” 
When my eyes returned to the handsome man on my right, the corner of his lip twitched just slightly. “Nice.” He lifted his chin to his friend. “Tell the bartender to pour a shot of Beefeater and a shot of Hendricks. Line ’em up in front of her, and don’t let us know which is which.” 
A minute later, I lifted the first shot glass and sniffed. It honestly wasn’t even necessary for me to smell the other, though I did it anyway, just to be safe. Damn… I should’ve bet more. This was too easy, like taking candy from a baby. I slid one shot glass forward and spoke to the waiting bartender. “This one is the Hendricks.” 
The bartender looked impressed. “She’s right.” 
“Damn it,” the guy who had started this game huffed. He dug into his front pocket, pulled out an impressive billfold, and peeled off four hundred-dollar bills. Tossing them in our direction on top of the bar, he shook his head. “I’ll win it back by Monday.” 
Gorgeous Guy smiled at me as he collected his cash. Once I took mine, he lowered his head to whisper in my ear. 
“Nice job.” 
Oh myHis hot breath sent a shiver down my spine. It had been way too long since I’d had contact with a man. Sadly, my knees felt a little weak. But I forced myself to ignore it. “Thank you.” 
He reached around me to the bar and lifted one of the shots. Bringing it to his nose, he sniffed before setting it back down and smelling the other. 
“I don’t smell anything different.” 
“That just means you have a normal sense of smell.” 
“Ah, I see. And yours is…extraordinary?” 
I smiled. “Why yes, it is.” 
He looked amused as he passed me one of the shots and held the other up in toast. “To being extraordinary,” he said. 
I wasn’t generally a shot drinker, but what the hell? I clinked my glass with his before knocking it back. Maybe the alcohol would help settle the nerves this man seemed to have jolted awake. 
I set my empty shot glass on the bar next to his. “I take it this is something the two of you do on a regular basis, since your friend plans to win it back by Monday?” 
“Jack’s family and mine have been friends since we were kids. But the betting started when we went to the same college. I’m a Notre Dame fan, and he’s a USC fan. We were broke back then, so we used to bet a Taser zap on games.” 
“A Taser zap?” 
“His father was a cop. He gave him a Taser to keep under his car seat just in case. But I don’t think he envisioned his son taking hits of fifty-thousand volts when a last-minute interception made his team lose.” 
I shook my head. “That’s a little crazy.” 
“Definitely not our wisest decision. At least I won a lot more than he did. A little brain damage might help explain some of his choices in college.” 
I laughed. “So today was just a continuation of that pattern, then?” 
“Pretty much.” He smiled and extended his hand. “I’m Hudson, by the way.” 
“Nice to meet you. I’m St—” I caught myself in the nick of time. “I’m Evelyn.” 
“So are you a gin aficionado, Evelyn? Is that why I didn’t smell anything different between the two?” 
I smiled. “I wouldn’t consider myself an aficionado of gin, no. To be honest, I mostly drink wine. But did I mention my occupation? I’m a fragrance chemist—a perfumist.” 
“You make perfume?” 
I nodded. “Among other things. I developed scents for a cosmetics and fragrance company for six years. Sometimes it was a new perfume, other times it was the scent for a wipe that removes makeup, or maybe a cosmetic that needs a more pleasant smell.” 
“Pretty sure I never met a perfumist before.” 
I smiled. “Is it as exciting as you’d hoped?” 
He chuckled. “What exactly is the training for a job like that?” 
“Well, I have a chemistry degree. But you can have all the education you want, and you still won’t be able to do the job unless you also have hyperosmia.” 
“And that is…” 
“An enhanced ability to smell odors, an increased olfactory acuity.” 
“So you’re good at smelling shit?” 
I laughed. “Exactly.” 
A lot of people think they have a good sense of smell, but they don’t really understand how heightened the sense is for someone with hyperosmia. Demonstrating always worked best. Plus, I really wanted to know what cologne he was wearing. So, I leaned in and took a deep inhale of Hudson. 
Exhaling, I said, “Dove soap.” 
He didn’t look completely sold. “Yes, but that’s a pretty common soap choice.” 
I smiled. “You didn’t let me finish. Dove Cool Moisture. It’s got cucumber and green tea in it—also a common ingredient in gins, by the way. And you use L’Oreal Elvive shampoo, same as me. I can smell gardenia tahitensis flower extract, rosa canina flower extract, and a slight hint of coconut oil. Oh, and you use Irish Spring deodorant. I don’t think you’re wearing any cologne, actually.” 
Hudson’s brows rose. “Now that’s impressive. The wedding party stayed in a hotel last night, and I forgot to pack my cologne.” 
“Which one do you normally wear?” 
“Ah… I can’t tell you that. What will we do on our second date for entertainment if we don’t play the sniff test?” 
“Our second date? I didn’t realize we were going to have a first.” 
Hudson smiled and held out his hand. “The night’s young, Evelyn. Dance with me?” 
A knot in the pit of my stomach warned me it was a bad idea. Fisher and I were supposed to stick together and limit contact with other people to minimize our chances of getting caught. But glancing around, my date was nowhere in sight. Plus, this man was seriously magnetic. Somehow, before my brain even finished debating the pros and cons, I found myself putting my hand in his. He led me to the dance floor and wrapped one arm around my waist, leading with the other. Not surprisingly, he knew how to dance. 
“So, Evelyn with the extraordinary sense of smell, I’ve never seen you before. Are you a guest or a plus one?” He looked around the room. “Is some guy giving me the evil eye behind my back right now? Am I going to need to get Jack’s Taser from the car to ward off a jealous boyfriend?” 
I laughed. “I am here with someone, but he’s just a friend.” 
“The poor guy…” 
I smiled. Hudson’s flirting was over the top, yet I gobbled it up. “Fisher is more interested in the guy who was passing out champagne than me.” 
Hudson held me a little closer. “I like your date much better than I did thirty seconds ago.” 
Goose bumps prickled my arms as he lowered his head, and his nose briefly brushed against my neck. 
“You smell incredible. Are you wearing one of the perfumes you make?” 
“I am. But it’s not one that can be ordered. I like the idea of having a true signature scent that someone can remember me by.” 
“I don’t think you need the perfume to be remembered.” 
He led me around the dance floor with such grace, I wondered if he had taken professional lessons. Most men his age thought slow dancing meant rocking back and forth and grinding an erection against you. 
“You’re a good dancer,” I said. 
Hudson responded by twirling us around. “My mother was a professional ballroom dancer. Learning wasn’t an option; it was a requirement if I wanted to be fed.” 
I laughed. “That’s really cool. Did you ever consider following in her footsteps?” 
“Absolutely not. I grew up watching her suffer with hip bursitis, stress fractures, torn ligaments—it’s definitely not the glamorous profession they make it out to be on all those dance-contest TV shows. You gotta love what you do for a job like that.” 
“I think you have to love what you do for any job.” 
“That’s a very good point.” 
The song came to an end, and the emcee told everyone to take their seats. 
“Where are you sitting?” Hudson asked. 
I pointed to the side of the room where Fisher and I had been seated. “Somewhere over there. Table Sixteen.” 
He nodded. “I’ll walk you.” 
We approached the table at the same moment as Fisher, who was coming from the other direction. He looked between Hudson and me, and his face asked the question he didn’t say aloud. 
“Umm…this is my friend Fisher. Fisher, this is Hudson.” 
Hudson extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.” 
After shaking with a silent Fisher, who seemed to have forgotten how to speak, he turned to me and took my hand once again. “I should get back to my table with the rest of the wedding party.” 
“Okay.” 
“Save a dance for me later?” 
I smiled. “I’d love to.” 
Hudson turned to walk away and then turned back. As he walked backwards, he called, “In case you pull a Cinderella on me and disappear, what’s your last name, Evelyn?” 
Thankfully, him using my fake name reminded me not to give him my real one as I’d almost done the first time. “It’s Whitley.” 
“Whitley?” 
Oh GodDid he know Evelyn? 
His eyes swept over my face. “Beautiful name. I’ll see you later.” 
“Uhh…okay, sure.” 
When Hudson was barely out of earshot, Fisher leaned close to me. “My name’s supposed to be Maximilian, sweetheart.” 
“Oh my God, Fisher. We have to leave.” 
“Nah.” He shrugged. “It’s no big deal. We made up Maximilian anyway. I’m your plus one. No one knows the name of the person Evelyn brought. Though I still want to play a real estate tycoon.” 
“No, it’s not that.” 
“Then what is it?” 
“We have to leave because he knows…” 
★★★ 

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AUTHOR BIO
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
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Sneak Peek: The Rivals by Vi Keeland

 

 

Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release,
The Rivals? Check out this SNEAK PEEK

 

 

Title: The Rivals
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 13, 2020

 

Blurb

 

The feud
between Weston Lockwood and me started at the altar.
Only
neither of us attended the wedding, and the nuptials happened decades before
either of us was born.
Our
grandfathers had been best friends and business partners, at least up until my
grandfather’s wedding day—when his bride-to-be blurted out she couldn’t marry
him because she was also in love with Weston‘s grandfather.
The two men
spent years fighting over Grace Copeland, who also happened to be their third
business partner.  But in the end, neither man could steal half of her
heart away from the other.
Eventually,
they all went their separate ways.  Our
grandfathers married other women, and the two men became one of the biggest
business rivals in history.
Our fathers
continued the family tradition of feuding.
And then Weston and I did, too.
For the
most part, we kept as much distance as possible.
Until the
day the woman who started the feud died—and unexpectedly left one of the most
valuable hotels in the world to our grandfathers to share.
Now I’m
stuck in a hotel with the man I was born to hate, trying to unravel the mess
our families inherited.
As usual,
it didn’t take long for us to be at each other’s throats.
Weston
Lockwood was everything I hated: tall, smart, cocky, and too gorgeous for his
own good.  We were fire and ice. 
But that
shouldn’t be an issue. Our families were used to being at war. There was just
one minor problem, though.   Every time
Weston and I fought, we somehow wound up in bed.

 

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Excerpt

 

Sophia
“What the hell?” I pressed the button on the elevator panel a second
time. It illuminated, yet the car continued to sit there. So I jabbed my finger
at it a third time. Finally, the doors started to glide closed.
Just as they were about to shut completely, a shoe blocked them from
closing. 
A wingtip shoe. 
Weston’s smiling face was there to greet me when the doors bounced
open. 
My blood was near boiling. “So help me, Lockwood, if you try to get in
this car, I can’t be responsible for what happens to you. I’m not in the mood
anymore.” 
He entered the elevator anyway. “Come on, Fifi. What’s wrong? I’m just playing
around. You’re taking things way too seriously.” 
I counted to ten in my head, but it didn’t help. Fuck it. He
wanted to get a rise out of me? He was going to get one. The doors slid
shut again, and I turned and backed him into a corner. Seeing my face, he at
least had the decency to look a little nervous. 
“You wanna know what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong! My father
thinks I’m inept because I don’t have an appendage dangling between my legs.
The man I spent the last eighteen months with was cheating on me with one of my
cousins. Again. I hate New York City. I despise the Lockwood
family. And you think you can get away with anything you want just because you
have a big dick.” I jabbed my finger into his chest and punctuated each
staccato word with another stab.  
“I’m  
Tired.  
Of.  
Men.  
My father.  
Liam.  
You. 
Every single fucking one of you. So leave me the hell alone!” 
Frazzled, I turned back around and waited for the door to open, only to
realize we hadn’t started to move yet. Great.
Just fucking great. I jabbed the button a few more times, closed my eyes, and
took deep, cleansing breaths as we started to move. Halfway through breath
three, I felt the heat of Weston’s body behind me. He had to have moved closer.
I continued to try to ignore him.  
But the fucker still smelled good.  
How the hell could that be? Whose cologne lasted
for—what had it been now?—twelve hours? After the gauntlet run he’d
sent me on across town this morning, I probably smelled like BO. It pissed me
off that the asshole smelled…fucking delicious.  
He moved closer, and I felt his breath tickle my neck.  
“So,” he whispered in a gravelly voice. “You think my dick’s big.” 
I turned and scowled at him. While this morning he’d been clean-shaven,
he now had a five o’clock shadow all along his chiseled jaw. It gave
him a sinister look. The suit that hugged his broad shoulders probably cost
more than Liam’s entire sweater wardrobe. Weston Lockwood was everything I
hated in a man—wealthy, good looking, cocky, arrogant, and fearless. Liam would
hate him. My father already hated him. And at the moment, those were actually
Weston’s strong points.  
While I struggled with my body reacting to his scent and how much I liked
the stubble on his face, Weston slowly reached out and put a hand on my hip. At
first, I assumed he thought he needed to steady me, as he had when I’d wobbled
in the bar. Had I wobbled again? I didn’t think I had. But I
must’ve. 
Though when his hand glided from my hip around to my ass, there was
no misunderstanding his intention. He was not trying to
help me stay on my feet. In my head, my immediate reaction was to scream at
him, but somehow my throat felt too clogged to speak.  
I made the mistake of looking up from his jaw into his blue eyes. Heat
flickered, turning them almost gray, and his eyes dropped to my
lips.  
No.  
Just no. 
This was not happening.  
Not again. 
My heart thundered in my chest, and the blood in my ears roared so loudly
I almost didn’t hear the ding of the elevator announcing that we’d arrived at
my floor. Thankfully it snapped me out of whatever moment of insanity I’d
slipped into.  
“I…I need to go.” 
It took all of my focus to put one foot in front of the other, but I
managed to walk down the hall and make it to my room.  
Though… 
I wasn’t alone.

 

Author Bio

Vi Keeland
is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author.
With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred
Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She
resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is
living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
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Sneak Peek: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

“Combining sweet nostalgia with the important issues Kennedy never shies away from, Queen Move is nothing less than wonderful. I couldn’t put it down and never wanted it to end!”

— Alexa Martin, Author of Intercepted

Queen Move, an all-new powerful second chance standalone from Wall Street Journal bestselling and RITA® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is coming May 26th and we have your FIRST LOOK!

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Make sure to enter on Kennedy’s site to win a QUEEN BOX, stuffed with a signed paperback and all the things you’ll need to treat yourself like a queen!

Prologue

Kimba

Two Years Before Present

 

Is there anything sadder than a daddy’s girl at her father’s funeral?

My mother’s quiet sniffs a few seats down give me the answer.

A grieving widow.

“He was a good man,” someone in the long line of mourners offering condolences whispers to her.

Mama’s head bobs with a tearful nod. In this day and age, she still wears a pillbox hat and veil. It’s black and chic like Mama, channeling tragic Jackie Kennedy or Coretta Scott King. My father was not just a good man. He was a great man, and everyone should know he leaves behind a widow, grieving deeply, but ever-fly. I squeeze the funeral program between my fingers, glaring at the printed words.

Joseph Allen leaves behind a wife, Janetta, three children, Kayla, Keith and Kimba, and six grandchildren.

He leaves behind.

Daddy’s gone, and I don’t know how to live in a world my father does not inhabit. The casket is draped with sweet-smelling flowers in the center of the funeral tent. When we leave the cemetery, it…he will be lowered into the ground with unfathomable finality, separated from us by white satin lining, six feet of dirt and eternity.

Kayla, my older sister, sobs softly at the end of our family’s row. Her four children watch her carefully, probably unused to seeing their unshakeable mother shaken and reduced to tears. Even I’d forgotten how she looks when she cries—like she’s mad at the wetness streaking her cheeks, resentful of any sign of weakness.

It’s not weak to cry, Daddy used to say. It’s human.

“But doesn’t the Bible say even the rocks will cry out?” I’d challenged him when I was young, loving that something from Sunday school took. “So maybe tears aren’t just for humans.”

“You’re getting too smart for your britches, little girl,” he’d said, but the deep affection in his eyes when he kissed me told me he was pleased. He liked that I asked questions and taught me to never accept bullshit at face value.

I miss you, Daddy.

Not even a week since his heart attack, and I already miss him so much.

Humanity blurs my vision, wet and hot and stinging my eyes. I want this to be over. The flowers, the well-dressed mourners, the news cameras stationed at a distance they probably deem respectful. I just want to go to the house where my parents raised us, retreat to Daddy’s study and find the stash of cigars that only he and I knew about.

Don’t tell your mother, he used to whisper conspiratorially. This will be our little secret.

Mama hated the smell of cigars in the house.

“Tru.”

Who would call me by that name? Now, when the only people who use it, my family, are all preoccupied with their own pain? A tall man stands in front of me, his thick, dark brows bunched with sympathy. I don’t know him. I would remember a man like this, who stands strong like an oak tree. A well-tailored suit molds his powerful shoulders. Dark brown, not quite black, hair is cut ruthlessly short, but hints at waves if given the chance to grow. His prominent nose makes itself known above the full, finely sculpted lips below. His eyes are shockingly vivid—so deep a blue they’re almost the color of African violets against skin like bronze bathed in sunlight. No, a man like him you’d never forget. Something niggles at my memory, tugs at my senses. I’d never forget a man who looked like this, a man with eyes like that…but what about a boy?

“Ezra?” I croak, disbelief and uncertainty mingling in the name I haven’t uttered in years.

It can’t be.

But it is.

QUEEN MOVE FIRST LOOK

Keep Going!

Read the REST of the prologue and enter the QUEEN BOX giveaway on Kennedy’s website:→ https://bit.ly/35U65FL

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Synopsis

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.

Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.

Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other.

The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.

Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.

Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood,

the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.

Finer. Fiercer. Smarter.

Taken.

Tell me it’s wrong.

Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have.

When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.

But we didn’t come this far to give up now.

And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

KR W Bckg VertiAbout Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® Award Winner, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and many others. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but has a special passion for raising Autism awareness.The co-founder of LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable book auction, she has appeared on Headline News, The Montel Williams Show, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for ASD families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

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Sneak Peek: My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

MY FAVORITE SOUVENIR

Release date: 4/27/2020

A Contemporary Romance Novel

New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

 

EXCERPT REVEAL:

“Good afternoon. You’ve reached the Four Seasons Resort, Vail, Colorado. How

may I direct your call?”

I took a deep breath. “Hi. I checked out early this morning. My reservation was

for ten days, but I only wound up staying two nights. Is there any chance you might still

have my room available? Or any room, for that matter? My flight was canceled because

of the storm.”

“Let me take a look. What’s your last name?”

“Appleton.” I shook my head. “Actually, the reservation was under Ellis. My

fiancé’s last name.” Or ex-fiancé. But I’d let her call me Mrs. Ellis at this point if it

meant I could have a place to sleep tonight.

“Give me one moment and I’ll check.”

“Thank you.”

I sat down in the lobby of the Best Western, the third hotel I’d been to in the last

two hours. It was dumb of me to check out this morning. Though, at least I was

consistent. After making the bad decision to go on my previously planned honeymoon

alone, I’d brilliantly decided to check out only two days into the trip…without looking at

the weather report for Vail. When I arrived at the airport, I had no idea that a blizzard was

on the way. But the airline had assured me my flight was still scheduled as planned. And

they’d kept their word right up until five minutes before we were supposed to board,

when they announced a two-hour delay. Two hours turned into three, and three turned

into five, and when we hit six hours of sitting on uncomfortable plastic seats outside the

gate, they finally admitted it wasn’t going to happen. Every other flight had been

canceled by then. And now, every hotel seemed to be full.

“Hi, Mrs. Ellis?”

I cringed at being called that, but answered anyway. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry. After you checked out, your room was rebooked. We’re actually sold

out for the night because of the storm.”

I sighed. Of course you are. “Okay. Thank you.”

This was just my luck lately. I called four more hotels, until one said they might

have a few rooms available. Apparently they had guests that hadn’t checked in yet and

were in the process of making calls to confirm whether they would still be arriving today.

Rooms would be freed up on a first-come, first-served basis. So I decided to take a

chance and head on over. It was already seven o’clock at night, and there was no point in

sitting here anymore. Surprisingly, Uber was still running, even though the airport had

called it quits hours ago.

Out front, the snow was coming down hard. A giant SUV with snow chains on the

tires pulled up in front of the door. I couldn’t check the license plate or get a look at the

make and model of the vehicle since it was covered in snow, so I walked over to the car

and motioned for the driver to roll down the window.

“Are you Hazel?” the older woman behind the wheel asked.

I smiled. “Yes.”

“Heading over to the Snow Eagle Lodge?”

“Yes, please.”

Even though the next hotel was only two miles away, it took fifteen minutes to get

there. By the time we pulled up, the conditions were almost white-out. It couldn’t be safe

driving in this anymore.

“God, it’s really terrible out here,” I said as I pulled up the hood of my jacket. “Be

careful driving tonight.”

“Oh, I will, honey. The next place I’m driving is home. I only picked you up

because you were on my way. Good thing you’re at your hotel now. No one is going to

be on the roads tonight anymore.”

Great. This place really better have a room for me.

As I climbed out of the SUV, a gust of snow smacked me in the face, despite the

fact that we were parked under the building’s overhang. The wind made it look like

someone had shaken a snow globe, hard. Inside the hotel, I wiped flakes from my

eyelashes and glanced around the lobby.

Oh no.

This didn’t look good. A line of at least thirty or forty people snaked five rows

deep, waiting to get to the reception desk. I sighed and wheeled my luggage to behind the

last person. More than half an hour later, I finally reached the front.

“Hi. I called earlier, and the person I spoke to said some rooms might become

available, that you were going to contact guests who hadn’t showed and see if they were

still coming?”

The woman nodded with a frown. “Yeah. I can put you on our waitlist. But we’re

still making calls, and to be honest, it’s not looking too good.”

My shoulders slumped. “Okay. Well, I guess please add me to your wait list.”

The woman lifted a clipboard and set it down on the counter. She thumbed

through a few pages and turned it to face me, pointing at the next available line, which

was two from the bottom of the page. “Just add your name and cell phone number.”

I scribbled both and let the pages above the one I’d been writing on fan back into

place. Noticing the sheet at the top looked just like the one I’d signed, five or six pages

down, I glanced through all the papers. There had to be at least a hundred names and

telephone numbers.

“Are these all on your waiting list?”

The hotel clerk nodded.

“How many people haven’t checked in?”

“I think about a dozen.”

Oh God. This really wasn’t good. But maybe people had just added their names

and left, like in a packed restaurant. Maybe the bulk of people ahead of me on the list had

found other hotels.

Turning around, whatever hope I’d talked myself into immediately deflated.

Every seat in the lobby area behind me was taken. Some were even sitting on the floor,

leaning against their luggage. With very few options, I wandered over and found an

empty space on a carpeted area of the floor, not too far from the concierge desk. Though I

knew it was futile, I took out my iPad and continued to search for a hotel with

availability. Even if I found one, getting there would be a miracle on its own at this point.

The nearby concierge desk had been empty while I scrolled and made calls, but

now two women walked over. One I recognized as the manager, since I’d spent a half

hour staring at the people behind the front desk while I’d waited in line. The other had on

a nametag and held a clipboard. I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation from

where I sat.

“These seven we still haven’t reached,” the manager said. “All of the other rooms

have been checked in, or we’ve reallocated them to people from the waiting list.”

The employee flipped through the pages and looked around the full hotel lobby.

“Jeez. And this storm is supposed to stick around for days.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a guy standing on the other side of the

concierge desk. His back was to the ladies talking, but he craned his neck, and I thought

he, too, might be eavesdropping. Figuring he was probably just as bored as me, I went

back to my iPad search—until a few minutes later when I noticed him scribbling

something with a pen on the inside of his hand.

What the hell is he doing?

He wrote for a few seconds and then seemed to go back to eavesdropping. The

manager had walked away, leaving the employee to make her phone calls. She hung up

from one call and dialed again.

“Hi. This is Catherine from the Snow Eagle Lodge. I’m trying to reach Milo or

Madeline Hooker.”

The minute she said the names, the eavesdropper scribbled on his hand again.

Catherine continued leaving her message. “I just wanted to confirm whether

you’d still be arriving this evening. Your reservation is guaranteed, so we’ll hold it as

long as you need. However, if the storm has perhaps caused a change in your travel plans,

we do have a long wait list of guests who could use the two rooms you have booked. My

number here is 970-555-4000, if you could please return my call at your earliest

convenience. Thank you.”

The same thing went on with the next two calls. Catherine left a message and the

eavesdropper scribbled. Curious about what he was up to, I kept my eye on him. After the

hotel clerk finished making her calls, she went back to the front desk. Eavesdropper

picked up his backpack and casually strolled down a nearby hallway. I leaned to watch

where he was going, and he eventually pulled up his hood and exited out a side door I

hadn’t even noticed was there.

I thought it was odd, but I figured the show was over.

But a few minutes later, a guy with the same ski jacket walked through the front

lobby door. He pulled his hood down, and I got a look at his face for the very first time.

Damn, he was handsome. Medium brown hair that was kind of shaggy and

needed a cut, full lips, hazel eyes, and tanned skin. His warm skin tone really stood out

against the pasty color of most people in Colorado this time of the year, including me. It

was a shame I loathed men right now, because he was seriously gorgeous. He dusted

some of the snow from the shoulders of his jacket and went to wait in line. It was much

shorter now, with only two men in front of him, mostly because people weren’t braving

the storm anymore. I had no idea what possessed me to do it, but I decided to get up and

wait behind the guy. Maybe I was imagining things to keep myself entertained, but I had

the distinct feeling he was up to something.

When it was his turn at the front desk, I moved as close as I could to listen

without seeming like a stalker.

“Hi. I’m checking in,” the man said.

“Great. What’s your last name, sir?”

He cleared his throat. “Hooker. Milo Hooker.”

I squinted. The guy was totally full of shit. I knew it!

The unsuspecting hotel clerk punched a bunch of keys on her keyboard and

smiled. “I have your reservation right here. Two rooms for two nights, breakfast

included. Is that right?”

“Uhhh…” The guy nodded. “Yeah. I booked two rooms. But it turns out I’m only

going to need the one.” He looked over his shoulder. “Looks like you won’t have a

problem filling the other one, though.”

She smiled. “No, we definitely won’t. I’ll just need a credit card and a picture ID

please, Mr. Hooker.”

I waited. This was the moment of truth. If he wasn’t actually Milo Hooker, he was

going to have to make up some excuse.

The guy reached into his front pocket like he was going to pull out his wallet. For

a second, I thought I might’ve been wrong, but then he pulled out a wad of cash.

“I lost my wallet on the slopes today. Luckily, I had some cash sent over through

Western Union before the storm got too bad. Can I just pay cash?”

The young woman hesitated. “You don’t have any ID at all? I’m not supposed to

check people in without photo identification.”

Fake Milo poured on the charm. He leaned forward and showed off a set of

cavernous dimples. “We could take a selfie together?”

The woman giggled. She actually giggled. “Let me just check with my manager.”

She disappeared into the back and returned with the manager a few minutes later.

A crazy idea popped into my head. She said there were two rooms… I made a

spur-of-the-moment decision and approached the counter.

“There you are, Milo.” I rested my hand on the guy’s shoulder. “My flight was

canceled. I hope they still have our rooms.”

Fake Milo turned and looked at me with his brows furrowed.

He was going to blow it if I didn’t do something, so I turned my attention to the

two hotel employees. “My brother and I booked rooms here for two nights, but I was

trying to get out before the storm. Obviously I had no luck. I spent the entire day in the

airport. Please tell me you still have my room? I’m dying for a hot bath.”

Milo looked at me, then the hotel employees, then back at me. I smiled and arched

a brow. For a second, I almost felt bad for the guy. He looked so bewildered. Since he

still seemed to be at a loss for words, I figured I should continue talking. “We went

skiing early this morning and had our backpacks stolen. Between that and the storm

coming, I figured it was a sign that I should get back home early. Apparently Mother

Nature had other plans. We should have two rooms—Milo and Madeline Hooker.

Someone actually just left me a message on my cell asking us to confirm. Her name was

Catherine, I believe.”

The desk clerk nodded. “That was me. The storm has a lot of people stranded here

unexpectedly without rooms, so we were checking in with guests that hadn’t arrived yet.”

The manager looked back and forth between Fake Milo and me. “We’ll have to

take a hundred-dollar deposit for incidentals on each room since you don’t have a credit

card.”

I smiled. “Of course.”

She nodded to her employee. “Check them in. It’s fine.”

The man next to me still had his mouth hanging open. So I dug into my purse,

being careful not to show my wallet, which was supposed to have been stolen, and

scooped out all of the cash.

“How much are the rooms?” I asked the clerk.

“Let’s see. With tax, they come to three-hundred-and-forty-two dollars each, for

the two nights, and then we have to collect the hundred-dollar deposit.”

<i?Shit. I didn’t think I had that much cash. I counted the money in my hand and slid

it over in front of Fake Milo. “Can you spot me forty dollars? You know I’m good for it,

bro.”

“Uh, yeah. Sure.”

After we paid and got the room keys, we walked side by side to the elevator bank

in silence. It wasn’t until we were alone and the elevator doors slid shut that Milo turned

to me. “What the hell just happened?”

I laughed. “We just got rooms, that’s what happened.”

He shook his head. “But who are you?”

“I noticed you standing near the concierge desk and eavesdropping while she

called the guests who hadn’t arrived yet.” I reached forward and took the man’s hand,

opening it to display blue ink. “You wrote down the names of the guests. I thought it was

odd, so I followed you to the front desk to see what you were up to. When you made up

that bogus story about losing your wallet so you could justify not having any ID, I knew

you were full of shit.” I shrugged. “When the woman said there were two rooms on the

reservation, I saw an opening and took it.”

“How did you know I’d go along with it?”

I smiled. “I didn’t. But that’s what made it so much fun!” I covered my chest with

my hand. “My heart feels like it’s trying to ricochet out of my ribcage at this moment. It’s

been a long time since I did anything risky like that.”

His eyes roamed my face. I got the feeling he still wasn’t sure what to make of

me, even though I’d just explained what I’d done. He looked down at my lips, which

were still curved in an excited smile.

“Why is that?”

My forehead wrinkled. “Why is what?”

“Why’s it been a long time since you’ve done anything risky? It looks to me like

you enjoyed it.”

I blinked a few times, not having expected a question that would tug at my

heartstrings, and my smile fell. “I don’t know. I guess I kind of turned into a different

person over the last few years.”

Fake Milo’s eyes locked with mine. We’d gone from pulling off a crazy stunt and

laughing, to an odd seriousness. His eyes flickered to my lips and back once again.

“That’s a shame. You have a great smile.”

Warmth spread through me, and I couldn’t seem to unlock my eyes from the

stranger’s—at least until the elevator dinged and the doors opened on the third floor.

“This is us,” he said. “Rooms 320 and 321.”

“Oh. Right. Okay.” I stepped out and followed the signs to our rooms. Since we

were, of course, family, they’d put us right next to each other. We stood a few feet apart

as we opened our respective doors. As my lock unlatched and I turned the handle to go

inside, something dawned on me.

“I almost forgot! I owe you forty dollars for the room.”

He smiled. “Don’t worry about it.”

“No, don’t be silly. I just didn’t have enough cash and didn’t want to hand the

woman a credit card when we weren’t supposed to have ID. I’ll just throw my bag in the

room and go downstairs to find an ATM. They must have one somewhere.”

“I thought you couldn’t wait to take a hot bath, or was that part of the act?”

I laughed. “No, it actually wasn’t. I wasn’t lying when I said I spent the entire day

at the airport. A hot bath sounds pretty amazing right about now. But I can grab your cash

first. It won’t take me long.”

Fake Milo scratched at the stubble on his chin. “I’ll tell you what. I’m going to

take a quick shower and then go downstairs to the bar for a drink. Take your bath. You

can find me there afterward to give me the money.”

“Okay.”

We looked at each other for a moment.

“Alright, well, enjoy your soak, sis.”

I smiled. “Thanks, Milo. I’ll see you later.”

 

the day he came back

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BLURB

My planned trip for two unexpectedly turned into a trip for one. Rather than let

my breakup get me down, I packed my bags and decided a week at a luxury

resort was just what I needed.

But one calamity after the next, and suddenly I was stuck without a hotel room,

along with a few hundred other people.

It looked like my fancy vacation was about to turn into me sleeping on the hotel

lobby floor.

Until I overheard a gorgeous man pretending to be someone he wasn’t in order

to steal a reservation from a guest who hadn’t shown up yet.

When I realized there were two rooms, instead of calling him out, I pretended to

be his sister. That’s how the story of “Milo and Maddie Hooker” began.

We were the Hookers.

My depressing trip quickly made a U-turn into an adventure.

My fake brother spent the next few days showing me around his hometown.

When it was time to leave, neither of us really wanted to go yet.

So, instead of flying back to our respective homes, we ventured on a road trip.

At every stop, we’d pick up souvenirs.

But as hot as our chemistry was, we never crossed the line.

Milo knew I’d just come out of a tough relationship and didn’t want to mess with

a vulnerable woman.

So instead, at the end of our trip, we made a pact to meet again in three

months.

It was always my intention to meet him.

But when I got back home, reality hit in a big way.

And I worried I may have lost my handsome stranger forever.

Was there a place for him in my future?

Or had the memory of him just become my favorite souvenir?

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

 

the day he came back

PENELOPE WARD::

 

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal

bestselling author of contemporary romance.

 

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as

a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son,

and beautiful daughter with autism.

 

With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and

the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a

dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

 

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@penelopewardauthor

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the day he came back

VI KEELAND::

 

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA

Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in

over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five

languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children

where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

 

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Website

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Twitter

@vikeeland

https://twitter.com/ViKeeland

Goodreads

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OTHER BOOKS BY PENELOPE WARD AND VI KEELAND::

 

Park Avenue Player:

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Dirty Letters:

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OTHER BOOKS BY PENELOPE WARD::

the day he came back

The Day He Came Back:

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When August Ends:

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OTHER BOOKS BY VI KEELAND::

inappropriate

Inappropriate:

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All Grown Up:

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Sneak Peek: IOU by Kristy Marie

Take a peek inside IOU by Kristy Marie! Don’t miss this sexy, new adult stand alone! Add it to your TBR today!

 

 

Contemporary Romance

Stand Alone

Designed by Letitia Hasser of RBA Designs

 

Take a card.

Owe him a favor.

I promise, you’ll regret it.

IOU, a sexy, new adult standalone from Kristy Marie is coming soon!

 

Blurb:

It’s official.

I, Ainsley James, am crazy.

Desperate and crazy.

It’s the only explanation as to why I’m nauseous, standing outside Maverick Lexington’s door.

I mean, it’s possible the stories about his deck of playing cards—with the words IOU scrawled across the back—are just rumors of the ruthless quid pro quo deals he barters.

But the flutters in my stomach know better.

Maverick is as cold as they come.

But, I need one of those cards.

I NEED to owe Maverick Lexington a favor…

Whatever the terms, I’m willing to pay.

Because, at this point, I have nothing left to lose.

 

EXCERPT:

I step back just as the door swings open with force, and a rock hard body fills up the empty space. My gaze starts at the top, noting the firm grip he has on the molding. The muscles strain against his taut skin, flexing as he leans forward, cocking his head to the side. His face—

Oh shit.

This is bad—really, really bad.

“Oh no.”

His scowl curves up into a lazy grin.

“Waitress,” he purrs. His voice has this melody of a luring song— one meant to pull you in and destroy your heart in a matter of seconds.

It doesn’t affect me, though.

“Dick at table forty-three, the princess who needed his steak warmed.”

Slap me with a stupid sticker because I have lost my damn mind. Why in the hell did I just say that? Yes, he was the rude-ass who insisted I warm up his food, and yes, he’s the one I dumped said food on, but that was yesterday, and I have moved on. Hopefully, so has he.

“Dick, huh?” He drops one of his massive arms and rubs a spot just above—ah damn, his nipple is pierced. Not to mention the whole right side of his ribs are covered in a massive tribal tattoo. Even on his left, a smaller tattoo wraps from his back and ends on his stomach, teasing me to gaze longingly at the ridiculous set of six-pack abs between them.

Why is life not fair?

I drag in a deep breath and try to let any animosity of yesterday go. “Can we start over?”

That lazy grin of his falls in an instant. “No.”

No. Okay. Well, that’s not good.

Sighing, I watch as his body goes rigid, and his arm goes back to the top of the door frame, blocking any view behind him. His icy blue eyes stare back at me unyielding and hard, not the same guy that grinned when he first saw me. “I’m sorry about last night.” Hopefully, my sincerity will soften him.

“What can I do for you?”

Okay, so we’re going with a hard no on being softened.

With no hint of emotion, other than the apparent tone of boredom, one can surmise that Maverick will not be bought with sweetness and apologies. I’m going with plan B, which I’m making up as I go.

“Are you Maverick?” I could have said that a little stronger and without the slight tremor.

He drops his hands and reaches into his back pocket, producing a handful of playing cards. Oh no. I’m not prepared for it to get real this fast. What if those two idiots in class were right? What if I’m never the same after this?

“How much is it worth to you?” He drawls, producing a marker.

 

Join Kristy’s Commanders!

 

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Teasers: April 7, 14, 21, 28

Release Day Blast: May 1

Review Tour: May 1-8

About the Author:

 

A self-proclaimed reader enthusiast, Kristy started her writing journey back in 2009, reading and writing when her daughter was napping. Establishing her place in Corporate America (because something had to pay the bills), writing became her dirty, late-night secret.

 

After eight long years, she released her debut novel, Commander in Briefs. It was a long road, but she can honestly say, the road less traveled had the most beautiful sights.

 

The only thing Kristy Marie loves as much as reading and writing is sports! Especially those that require muscles and a nice ass. Her favorite is, and always will be, baseball. She’s such a fan, that she even married her small town’s high school’s centerfielder where they still live with their three badass kids.

 

Sneak Peek: Filthy Little Pretties by Trilina Pucci

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“Trilina Pucci gave me everything I wanted! It’s angsty goodness and I ate it up.”— Cassandra Robbins, USA Today bestselling author

Filthy Little Pretties, an all-new addictive and provocative standalone from Trilina Pucci is coming March 26th, and we have the first peek!

 

Sneak Peek:

Liam steals the cup from me and takes a large gulp, then pulls it away from his lips to look at it before throwing the rest on the grass.

“That won’t do.”

“Liam,” I laugh. “That was my drink.”

He brings his face close to mine and growls, making me giggle and back up, as he stalks toward me.

I hold my hands out, “You better stop it. You’re drunk and can’t be trusted. Grey—a little help?”

But Grey doesn’t move a muscle as he swigs his own drink. Bastard. He’s enjoying this. Liam puts his arms behind his back and chuckles.

“He can’t help you. And you’re right. On both accounts—I am drunk and shouldn’t be trusted.”

Liam lunges for me, wrapping an arm around my stomach and swinging me around. I scream, laughing until he pulls me to his chest and stares down at me. The specks of yellow in his eyes almost glow in the light.

“So terrible you are.”

He blows a breath full of whiskey at my bangs, clearing them from my face.

“Come on, Yoda, you need to catch up. Everybody’s getting crazy tonight.”

The moment he says it, Ethan runs by, stark nude. “Skinny-dip!”

I bury my face in Liam’s chest and squeal with laughter as he howls at the sky a few times before sweeping me off the ground.

“Nooo!”

“Hell yeah. We’re dipping, Van.”

Want More? Read the rest here:
http://bit.ly/3aZX6nE

Synopsis:

Donovan Kennedy is the girl dreams are made of.

Five years ago, she was our best friend.
Our moral compass.
The girl that held our hands everywhere we went.

The three of us were young. Innocent.
Nothing could touch us — not even heartache.

That was then.

Now she’s back. All grown up.
With red lips and long legs — a challenge waiting to be accepted. A prize that’ll turn our world upside down.

Brothers turned to enemies.
Friendships decimated.
Lies told.
Hearts torn apart.

We never expected to fall for the girl.
In the end, she’ll only choose one —Me.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2RF8pKa

Filthy Little PrettiesFINAL-ebooklg

About Trilina
Trilina is an author, wife, and mama to three rowdy kiddos. When she isn’t making grilled cheese sandwiches, she can be found writing saucy novels that titillate and excite her readers.
Pucci’s journey started impulsively. She wanted to check off a box on her bucket list. But what began as fulfillment has become incredibly fulfilling. And now she can’t see her life without her characters, her readers and this community.
She currently resides in Northern California with her Italian stallion and her feral children, where the days are slow and easy and wine pours are heavy. (just kidding…maybe)

Connect with Trilina
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MwI3L4
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2EU3vU4
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2RkI4lI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/trilina_pucci
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2NUjWnA
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2HYQaeS
Website: https://www.trilinapucci.com/
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Sneak Peek: Kiss the Stars by A.L. Jackson

Kiss the Stars
A Falling Stars stand-alone romance from A.L. Jackson
Coming March 5th

 

“You don’t even know what you’re asking for, princess.”
She let go of a soft, cynical laugh. “I’m no princess, Leif.”
No rational thought remaining, I edged up behind her like I had some kind of right.
Pretending in that singular second that I wasn’t committing a thousand wrongs.
Tension bound the room. Leaving me in shackles I couldn’t bear.
Consequences be damned, I leaned in and murmured at her ear, “You’re right. You’re an angel. So sweet you’re unreal.”
My fingertips grazed her hip.
A shock raced up my arm.
Need and lust and gluttony.
I gulped, breathing her in.
Cocoa and cream.
She peeked back at me, everything in her demeanor shifting in a flash.
Sadness flooding in.
“Then why am I the one being condemned?”

 

Want a Signed Paperback or Kiss the Stars Release Box?

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Want a Signed Paperback or Kiss the Stars Release Box?  

  PRE-ORDER  

 

 

 

Pre-Order a Kiss the Stars Release Box – includes a signed paperback and tons of Kiss the Stars Merchandise and goodies! This one is EPIC!

 

A FREE READ WHILE YOU WAIT
Get to know the men of Sunder while you wait for Leif!
A Stone in the Sea is FREE from February 10th through February 14th!


 

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

 

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, and CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, KISS THE STARS, releasing March 5th.

 

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

 

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

 

Connect with A.L.

Newsletter: http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson

Facebook: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonPage

Reader Group: http://smarturl.it/AmysAngelsRock
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Twitter: @aljacksonauthor
Instagram: @aljacksonauthor