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Cover Reveal: Tough, Book 5, A Hidden Hearts Novel by Mary Crawford

Coming Valentine’s Day!!

Blurb for Tough (A Hidden Hearts Novel #5)

Savannah Lyons has her secrets —she buried them in the past long ago and she’d like to leave them there. She never talks about her past with anyone — especially wickedly handsome restaurant owners like the guy next door.
Casey Moore has met women with moves and instincts like hers before but not since he was a teenage runaway. He lost his best friend to the streets and for once, he hopes his razor-sharp intuition is dead wrong because there’s just something about Savannah that turns him from a tough guy to a tender heart.

Preorder: http://books2read.com/HH-Five

 

 

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ: NO LIFE BUT THIS BY BRENDA MARGRIET

​Abigail Garsson feels trapped in her safe, boring, conventional life. Desperate to escape, she signs up for an adventure vacation on the Portuguese island of São Miguel.

Santos Carregado enjoys introducing tourists to his tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic. At first he barely notices the unassuming Abigail. He soon finds her meek exterior hides a vibrant woman who teases his senses and ignites his passion.

Abigail is stunned to discover the handsome, confident Santos is attracted to her, but his fiery kisses and searing caresses convince her to accept a sensuous invitation.

Will the realities of life shatter Abigail’s holiday daydream? Or can the shifting sands of a short-term fling become the rock on which a life-long relationship is built?

Amazon US: http://a.co/iQ2np2C

Amazon CA: http://a.co/907Etjw

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/blAQh9C

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/no-life-but-this-2

Nook: http://bit.ly/2fGjENo

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1175920486

 

Excerpt 1

Her fingers bumped gently across the globe. The surface was irregular, as if it truly was a miniature world―Everest shrunk to the height of a fingernail, the waves of the oceans smoothed to an infinitesimal roughness. Its high gloss finish glared where the light from the floor lamp struck it.

“Abigail?” Martin’s shoes clicked briskly across the hardwood floor. “Your guests are wondering where you are.”

She kept her gaze on the globe. Guests? It was her mother’s funeral, for God’s sake, not a party. She wondered vaguely who had thought to put a globe in the serenity room of a funeral parlour.

“We’re already behind schedule.” His voice was firm, no-nonsense. Usually his confident control made her feel safe. Today, it grated down her spine like claws on a granite cliff. “It’s time you took your seat.”

She gripped the globe with the tips of her fingers and gave it a whirl. She couldn’t blame her dizziness on the blurring world before her. The last few days she’d been lightheaded, disconnected, out of touch. Not that anyone would have noticed. She’d been careful to act her normal sedate, organized, earnest self.

But inside she was screaming. Screaming so hard she couldn’t hear herself think.

“Abigail.” Impatience coloured Martin’s voice.

She turned her head. He stood at her shoulder, his well-cut, dark grey suit masking a desk-job belly, appropriately sober tie, his thinning blond hair brushed straight back from a high forehead.

“In a minute. I need another minute.” What a lie. She needed more than a minute. She needed…she wasn’t sure. But she knew she had to figure it out. And soon.

“I’ve always wanted to travel. Just once, somewhere exotic, unusual.” She swallowed a sob, guilt and grief rolling together. “But I couldn’t leave Mom. She hated being alone.” It had been more than a simple preference. It had been an illness, one her mother had struggled with for years.

Abigail closed her eyes and stopped the globe with a finger. Squinting through her lashes, she was disappointed to see her finger well below the tip of Greenland, lost in the nothingness of the Atlantic. She spun the globe again.

“Tobias is out there alone. He needs you.”

She hunched her shoulders, the stiff taffeta collar of her black dress scratching her neck. Martin knew her weakness. She’d do anything for her younger brother.

“Tell him I’m coming.” The coloured sphere revolved on its tilted axis, too fast for her eyes to follow. “In one minute.”

“Fine.” Martin’s disapproving huff fanned her cheek. “One minute, Abigail, and that’s all.” His footsteps faded away.

The globe circled, slower and slower. She closed her eyes once more, held out her finger. Taking a deep breath, she pushed forward, and stopped it. When she opened her eyes, her shoulders slumped in despair. Again she’d stopped the spin in the middle of the Atlantic. She’d been looking for a sign, and she had it. She was going nowhere.

Tiny printing on the shiny surface caught her eye and she leaned forward. There, right next to her neatly rounded fingernail with its modest clear coat of polish, was the word “Azores” surrounded by small black blobs.

She paused, considering the nine tiny specs in the vast blueness, then straightened her shoulders and headed for the door.

There’d be time to think in the weeks ahead. Too much time. Right now, she had to go to her mother’s funeral.

 

Excerpt #2

They set off single file, and Santos found his eyes drawn to Abigail’s trim hips, snug in her black shorts. She was the exact opposite of the bold, curvaceous, confident women he normally flirted with, but the way she attacked the hill with grit and determination struck a chord in him. And he was fascinated with her voice, the rasp of it, the way it seeped into his blood.

She raised herself on the pedals for more leverage. Santos swallowed a groan at the tight, wiggly little ass directly in his line of vision. A bike was not the most comfortable place to have an erection. He swung to the outside and pulled up next to her, away from the distraction.

“Are you sure you don’t want to walk for a bit?”

“I can do this.” She leaned over the handlebars, wobbling slightly with each determined push on the pedals, but kept her balance. “I’m going to do this.”

He dropped back again, keeping his eyes scrupulously on the road.

A few moments later she careened to the left, well into the lane of traffic, over corrected, and teetered back to the right. Before he could react, her handlebars caught on the high earthen berm through which the road ran and she stumbled to a stop, almost tumbling to the ground. He braked behind her.

She panted with effort, head bent, chest heaving, and he watched with rising frustration. Stubborn woman. “That’s enough.” He swung his leg over his seat. “We’re walking.”

She dismounted slowly and he could see the tremors in the muscles of her thighs. “Damn it,” she rasped as she pushed the bike up the hill. “Damn it, I wanted to ride it, ride it all the way.”

She was silent except for the hiss of her breath, and defeat dragged at her shoulders, but her eyes were dry. “Get back on,” he said abruptly. She looked at him in surprise and he softened his tone. “Get back on, and I’ll help you.”

She settled back in the saddle and he placed his hand in the small of her back. Moist heat seeped through the thin material of her shirt into his palm. “One, two, three, go.” They pushed off together and he could feel her muscles flexing with effort. “That’s it, keep going.” Her foot bobbled off the pedal but she quickly recovered. He concentrated grimly on pushing her up the hill. The sooner they reached the top, the sooner he could stop touching her, and the sooner he could forget his odd, irritating reaction to this wisp of a woman.

 

Excerpt #3

“Meu Deus,” Santos groaned against Abigail’s breast.

She squirmed, and he could feel her sultry dampness through the cloth of his trousers. He dropped a hand to each of her thighs and held her. “Calma.” He struggled to find his English as she wiggled under his restraining hands. “Be still. Be still, meu amor.”

His pulse drummed furiously and he panted for air. Good Lord but he wanted to take her, right here, on the counter, on the floor, wherever he could. But it wouldn’t be right. “We must stop. This isn’t the time, or the place.”

“It is. It is.” Her hands moved restlessly over his body, leaving a lava-like trail of need.

“No, minha querida.” He caught her hands, clamped them at her sides, and waited. The hectic pace of his blood cooled agonizingly slowly. Abigail’s breathing steadied, and her tense muscles gradually relaxed. He loosened his grip. He couldn’t see much in the dim light sneaking in the narrow window, but he thought he might have bruised her alabaster skin.

“I hurt you.” He skimmed a fingertip delicately along her inner thigh. “I’m sorry.”

“I won’t break.” An oddly triumphant note in her voice drew his eyes to her face. She slouched languorously against the wall of the hut, her dress about her waist, her torso and breasts bared to his gaze. “I don’t want you to treat me gently. You make me feel fierce, wild, uncontrolled.” She licked her lips, swollen from his kisses. “I like it.”

AUTHOR INFO AND LINKS:

Brenda Margriet write contemporary romances with heroes you’d meet at the grocery store. And by that she means real-life men – sexy, smart and looking for the love of their life. Her heroines are bold, savvy and determined to accept nothing less than the man they deserve.

A voracious reader since she was old enough to hold a book, Brenda’s idea of the perfect holiday involves a comfortable chair near the water (ocean, lake or pool will do), a glass of wine, and a full-loaded e-reader.

She lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband (as well as various finny and furry pets) and has three adult children.

www.brendamargriet.com

www.facebook.com/brendamargriet

@brendamargriet

https://www.goodreads.com/bmargriet

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/brendamargriet

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RELEASE BLITZ: DARK LEGENDS ANTHOLOGY

Murmurs around campfires, gossip in smoky taverns, discussions in towns and villages…
Everyone whispers of DARK LEGENDS, of supernatural creatures that walk the night…vampires and shifters, faeries and angels, dragons and sorcerers.
They whisper of danger. They whisper of adventure. They whisper of long-lasting love.
Preorder your copy of DARK LEGENDS today for 99c.
limited-time-only211
This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors!

AVAILABLE NOW!

Amazon.com

Other buy links can be found here www.darklegends.info

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!

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T.F. Walsh with Demon’s Mark
Monica Corwin with Soulless
J.L. Weil with White Raven
Laxmi Hariharan with Redemption
JA Culican with The Keeper of Dragons, The Prince Returns
Muffy Wilson and The Para-Portage of Emily
GK DeRosa with Wilder: The Guardian Series
Marilyn Peake with Shade
Kevin McLaughlin with By Darkness Revealed
Carissa Ann Lynch with Midnight Moss
Vivienne Savage with Making Waves
Anna Hub with Beyond the Shadows
HJ Lawson with Hereafter – The Immortal Soul
Emma Nichols with Blood Moon
Shelley Munro with Claimed & Seduced
J.A.Armitage with Two of Clubs
Leilani Love with Violca’s Dragon
Demelza Carlton with Ocean’s Gift
Xyla Turner with Broken Treaty

D.S. Murphy with Scarlet Thread

J.T. Williams with Winemaker of the North

Join the Facebook Release Party to meet the authors and win epic prizes!

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ: CHARLIE’S WHISKEY BY HARLOW BROWN

Charlie’s Whiskey by Harlow Brown
Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iNfYM4


Blurb:
Charlie Winstead pushes aside the pain and anguish she suffers daily and puts all her energy into her women’s softball team, the Regulators. If only temporarily, the abuse bestowed upon her by her boyfriend halts for the time that she is behind the plate. Hensley has been her boyfriend for three years and the relationship progressed into a domestic nightmare. Realizing this, Charlie does what she needs to do to protect herself.
Whiskey Williams is a patched member of the Chosen Legion motorcycle club. He finds himself running from a dark and dirty past, looking for a new start. He relies on his brothers from the mother charter to help him. Once he arrives in Rudy, he sees Charlie and knows something must be done to help her. However, seeing as she is fresh out of her abusive relationship, she wants nothing to do with men.
Will the attraction between the two be enough to make Charlie give the troubled biker a chance? Or will he strike out?
The game of love is not as easy as three up, three down.

Blitz: An Education in Business: A Somerset Novel by Heather C. Myers

 

Go to bed with Alpha Lone Wolf, Lucas Cruz…



Avery Montgomery is in the running to take over her father’s multi-million-dollar company once he retires. Despite his faith in her, Avery feels a necessity to prove herself as a business-savvy woman in a male-dominated world. Besides summer internships at her father’s company and graduating Somerset University with a honors and a Master’s degree in Business, she has zero field experience. When the opportunity arises to invest in a Supernatural Registry application, Avery jumps at the chance. Her only competitor is Alpha shifter and self-made billionaire, Lucas Cruz. The man is arrogant, condescending, and drop-dead gorgeous.

Suddenly, Avery is being doubted by fellow businessman and her fiance, Rick Ashton, her mother, and her father’s company. They all say the same thing: Experience is everything.

The problem is, Avery is a virgin in both the boardroom and the bedroom. Even Rick assumes she has some sexual experience under her belt despite her insistence on waiting to have sex until she’s ready, and even tells her that he wouldn’t want to waste his time teaching a rookie how to succeed in both business and pleasure.

But Lucas is different. Lucas offers to educate her in all areas of her life that need experience. Now, Avery must decide if she takes a chance on Lucas and his educational offer, despite the fact that it’s still technically cheating. The only rule: feelings can’t get in the way.

No big deal, right?
Buy Links:
        Author Bio:
Full disclosure: I am an acquired taste. I’m a typical blonde Orange County suburbanite who says ‘like’ more than necessary, laughs loud and probably obnoxiously, and loves to dance in the rain. I’m a 26 year old college graduate with more than a few tricks up my sleeve, and I also happen to be a pretty big Ducks fan. Oh, and I’m a writer. Like, for real. 

I don’t speak in third person (normally) nor do I wear glasses (except when I’m feeling particularly mischievous). I’m lucky to have found my soul mate at the ripe old age of 22, even though he frustrates me on purpose to get a reaction out of me. We live near Disneyland, have two rambunctious female puppies, and have a beautiful baby girl. He has two amazing boys, and has gotten me hooked on Smallville, watching soccer (okay, okay FOOTBALL – FC Barcelona, baby!), and Cancun Juice.
Twitter: @heathercmyers

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Book Blitz: Unexpected Promises by Kimi Flores

BUY LINK:

Amazon

My plan was simple.

 Retreat to Hope Falls for the summer, seclude myself in one of the many picturesque mountain homes and study for the test that had kept me from advancing my career.

 No distractions. No interruptions.

 I should’ve known fate would have its own agenda.

 All it took was a few sarcastic comments from my temporary roommate and one coy peek over her shoulder to make me feel again.

 And now all my carefully laid out plans had been shot to hell.

 

 Author Bio and social links:

Kimi Flores/K.A. Hunter lives in Southern California with her husband and their two boys.

When she’s not reading, writing, or hanging out with family and friends, Kimi spends her time in the kitchen trying to come up with vegan meals that don’t taste like cardboard.

Currently, she writes contemporary romance stories under her real name Kimi Flores and grittier romantic suspense novels under the pen name K.A. Hunter.

Volunteering is extremely important to her, and she and her family work with several local non-profit organizations. A portion of her sales will always go to charity.

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

NEWSLETTER

www.novel-dreams.com

authorkimiflores@gmail.com

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BOOK BLITZ: PIECES OF GRAY BY KELLY MOORE

BUY LINK:  http://amzn.to/2ilQbwO

Would you risk your life for someone that you love? Would you risk theirs?

Gray Milby was a badass sniper in the Army. She was held captive deep in the jungles of China for two years. She left behind the only man she has ever loved believing that he was dead until now. She risks her life and others to rescue him, returning to the place where her own nightmares come from.

Captain Kell Crew has survived four years of torture, being held captive in a cage. Physically he survived, mentally he will never be the same man that Gray remembers. In order for him to survive again, she has to make the choice of giving him up once more.

A year later they accidently meet again and Kell is drawn to every part of her being. He feels he remembers Pieces of Gray, but how is that possible when he has never met her before? All he knows is that he wants her.

Gray has tried everything to move on with her life and forget about her love for Kell. He forces his way back into her life and she can no longer push him away. Her love for him is too deep. Being with him risks his own life. Their love for each can destroy them both.

Someone else is lurking out there waiting to seek revenge. He just might kill them both.

 

 

 

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Moore was raised in Mt. Dora, Florida, a true southern girl with a sarcastic wit. Gypsy traveling nurse by day and romantic author by night. Loves all things romantic with a little spice and humor. Loves two characters who over comes their pasts to fall in love and have a happy ending. Wife, mother, grandmother and dog lover. Travels the US in a fifth wheel making memories and making friends.
Social media links:

 

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Book Blitz: Moonlight by Ines Johnson

Amazon Purchase Link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2PW6LX

 

You can never go home again…

Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days. The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.

Home is where the heart is…

Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.

Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?

EXCERPT:

“Is this seat taken?”

The husky feminine voice called Pierce’s attention away from the window and up long legs, down dangerously curved hips, around high, pert breasts to end at a heart-shaped face engulfed in a halo of dark curls. The dark curls and lush curves marked her as a wolf.

Pierce cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He motioned with his hands for the she-wolf to take the place across from him. She struggled to lift her luggage into the overhead compartment. Pierce stood to offer assistance.

“I’ve got it,” she insisted and hefted the bulk over her head with a grunt.

Pierce stepped back. He was used to strong, independent women. He’d been surrounded by them his whole life. He took no offense that this woman didn’t want his assistance. That didn’t mean he wasn’t a gentleman. He waited to be sure she’d secured the case. Then he waited some more until she was seated.

When she’d finished with her case and stepped into the booth, she stopped in front of her seat and blinked at him. Confusion and then irritation played across the angles of her beautiful face. Her brows rose to her hairline. She tilted her head towards his seat. When he failed to sit down, she motioned with her hand.

Pierce flustered down into his seat, averting his gaze. Had he made a mistake? Perhaps she wasn’t a wolf? Perhaps she was a witch?

It wouldn’t be the first time he’d mistaken a witch for a wolf. His last encounter with a witch -on a train no less- had led to a wedding. It had nearly been his wedding. Until his older brother, Jackson, had stepped in and claimed Lucia as the mate to his soul. The wolf and witch lived happily in a quaint little cottage in the woods.

With Pierce now in his seat, the woman sat. She crossed those mile long legs. Then she cleared her throat.

Pierce blinked. Then he realized; he’d been staring. That’s when he knew she wasn’t a witch. Had she been one he’d have been under a spell by now.

He looked up to offer a sheepish apology. When his eyes met hers, his breath caught in his throat. Beneath the halo of dark, thick hair she had eyes of the lightest blue. Pierce had seen the ocean of the Arctic. That body of water was a dark, murky swamp compared to the crystals set deep in this woman’s face.

He was a lone wolf, prone to roam. He was also a man with needs. Both man and wolf salivated at this woman before him. He was certain his interest was plain. He heard himself panting. His mouth watered. He brushed his thumb at the corner of his lip to capture the drop of evidence.

In response, the she-wolf closed her eyes and sighed. Her foot tapped an irritated song on the floorboards. She turned her head and focused her attention outside at the scenery.

“This is beautiful countryside,” he tried.

They were now far from Sequoia and nearer to the Mexican border.

“Yes,” she said. She turned her head from the window and produced a book from the bag in her lap. She held the book up in front of her face, blocking him from her beauty.

The terse response indicated that she wasn’t interested in him. It should’ve turned Pierce off. It didn’t. The last thing he wanted was an entanglement. Her disinterest in him would serve him well. If he could flip that disinterest, and by extension her, on its back for the morning.

Pierce rarely went for she-wolves. The hot-blooded females could form attachments with males who were not their mates. It was in their natures.

He saw no bite marks on her collarbone. He scented no other wolf on her skin. Though he noted a male scent; probably human. Wolves played with humans, but they didn’t mate for life. Which meant she likely wasn’t looking for any entanglements herself. If he could just capture her attention, he might spark her interest.

“I hope you don’t mind my saying,” he began, a wolfish smile on his face. “But you have the most beautiful-”

“You know, I’m perfectly fine if we dispense with all the niceties and sit here in companionable silence.” She said it with the most polite, most beatific smile.

That smile made Pierce’s blood pump and his cock harden. He’d give her anything to keep her smiling at him like that. “If that’s what you wish.”

“It is.” She aimed the smile pointedly at him.

From his peripheral view, he caught a look at the stupid grin on his face in the glass window. “Then that’s what you’ll have.”

“Thank you.” She pulled the book up, hiding her smile and those eyes, breaking the spell.

With her smile gone, Pierce’s grin turned into a frown. He read the cover of the thick book in her hands; Sheep Health, Husbandry, and Disease. He doubted it was for pleasure reading. Perhaps it was a textbook? Maybe she was a student? Sequoia University was near the train station.

“Are you a student?”

She lowered the book and arrowed those light-colored eyes at him. “I thought we agreed to dispense with the niceties?” She smiled, but the facial expression was tight and full of annoyed patience.

His wolf wanted to poke it with his paw. “I can’t help it. I’m always nice. My mother raised a gentleman.”

Her false facade dropped at the word gentleman. “The only time males are gentlemen,” she practically spat the word, “is when they want to get up a female’s skirt.”

Pierce’s eyes darted to those long legs and the hem of her skirt. By the time he made it back to her face, he knew he was caught. He put on his most winning smile. This smile had gotten him an A in Ms. Peckham’s Chemistry class even after he failed both the midterm and final exams. Fairies fell to their knees at this smile. Hell, even a witch had fallen under the spell of this smile. Pierce launched it at the wolf across from him.

Before he could put forth words, she opened her mouth to speak. Then she swallowed. She rubbed her hand over her flat abdomen. Finally, she lurched forward, vomiting in his lap.

So much for his A game.

Author Bio

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

 

 

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COVER REVEAL: SMOLDERING ASHES BY ANNIE ANDERSON

Coming January 24, 2017

Kyle Brennan needs a break.
After scouring the earth for his mate, he finally found her in the least convenient place possible. Then she was ripped away from him by forces neither of them could control. But the woman who came back to him isn’t the one who left. Kyle doesn’t know this woman, and he’s not so sure he wants to.

Nicola Miller has a big problem.
She can’t remember a single second of her life before she woke up in a hospital bed in Knoxville, Tennessee. Not just that, but she has a huge, hulking man in her hospital room claiming to be her husband – a man she obviously doesn’t remember – who looks at her as if she’ll strike like a snake at any given moment. She’s not sure how things could get any worse.

But the last shards of Nicola’s life are about to be burned to the ground. Because someone has to pay for the sins of the past, and she’s wearing the face of the woman who committed them.

It looks like the last of their luck has just run out.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/smoldering-ashes

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NCIBQX7

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01NCIBQX7

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01NCIBQX7

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Book Blitz: One Bad Day by Edie Hart

When Tessa agreed to do a favor for her boss, she never thought she’d end up being a mistaken target for a hired killer or falling for the sexy cop who is determined to keep her safe.

*Buy Links –

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MG8GOAW/

B&N – One Bad Day

Apple iBooks – One Bad Day by Edie Hart on iBooks

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

She turned and looked at him with shimmering blue eyes. “Um… thanks for the ride and everything. I, uh, guess I’ll see you later.” Her lower lip quivered.

Aw, hell. Legs—Tessa, as he now knew—had been attacked in a parking garage, came home to a trashed apartment, and she thought he was just going to leave? He knew he could be a jerk at times, but he wasn’t heartless.

He blew out a breath and ran a hand through his hair. Next to him, Burg snickered. The asshole.

“You can go now, Burg.” He walked over and opened the door.

Burg elbowed him on his way out. “See you later, Stanley.”

Gray gave him the finger and closed the door in his face.

“Stanley?” Tessa cocked her head to the side and her mouth quirked up.

“My first name is Stanley,” he mumbled.

“Stanley?” she repeated, a small smile now appearing on her face.

“Stanley Grayson Kingsley.” He stared her down. “You’re one to talk, Misty.”

She had an “oh shit” look on her face. “Are you going to arrest me?” she asked, her eyes wide. She had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. They shimmered. Her lower lip quivered again.

Shit. “Why would I arrest you?” He’d had Burg check her out and knew that she wasn’t guilty of anything illegal. He still couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t tell him her real name.

“Parking tickets,” she whispered.

“Tickets?” He put his hands on his hips and looked at the ceiling. “You mean this whole time you wouldn’t tell me your name because you’ve got unpaid tickets?”

She nodded, looking miserable.

“Jesus, Tessa.” He took a step toward her. “Your place is trashed and you’re worried about parking tickets?” He crouched down to look in her face.

A lone tear slid down her cheek.

He scrubbed his hands over his face and through his hair, then moved closer, gearing himself to comfort her with a pat on the back. Instead, before he knew it, she’d thrown herself into him and he found his arms full of soft, quivering woman. She made a noise that sounded like a muffled sob.

“Aw, hell. Please don’t cry.” His gut twisted. “I swear I’m not going to arrest you. They’re just fucking parking tickets, hon.”

“I’ve had a very, very bad day!” She sobbed into his shirt.

He pulled her to a nearby armchair and sat down, adjusting her in his lap. Now what? He did not do crying women.

At a loss for how to stop her tears, he clumsily rubbed her back. “Tell me about your day. Get it all out.”

“First I had to dress like a giant hooker light bulb, then I lost my clothes!” She lifted her head and sniffled. “And I had to wear this!” She gestured to her skirt. “And then… And then…” She gulped air. “I couldn’t find my car and got chased through a dark parking lot!” Tears streamed down her face. “I lost my shoooe!” She pressed her face into his chest.

“When did you lose your shoe, honey?” Gray continued rubbing her back.

“When I hit the scary guy with it in the stairwell.” She clutched at Gray’s shirt. “I… I… hid… and…” She gasped. “I hit him when he grabbed me.” She burrowed deeper into his shoulder. “And I…was…really scared!”

“I know,” he murmured.

“All I wanted to do was come home and go to bed.” With her face pressed against him, her voice was muffled. “I can’t even do that!” She took a deep breath. “And I look like a freakin’ prostitute!”

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