Friday, June 30, 2017

Promo: FUEL FOR FIRE by JULIE ANN WALKER


New York Times and USA Today bestseller Julie Ann Walker delivers red-hot romantic suspense in Fuel for Fire!

Dagan Zoelner has always had his eye on spunky CIA agent Chelsea Duvall. When a mission throws them together, this could be his only chance to win her heart for good.

Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes
The first two left blood on his hands.
The third left him wondering…what if?
What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?

Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan. It’s just as well that he’s never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives...



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Excerpt:

Tell us!” Surry demanded again, giving her head a hard shake. Her brain banged around inside her skull, making her see stars. Since she was tied with a length of electrical cord to one of the chairs in front of Morrison’s desk, her hands duct-taped behind her back, there was little she could do to defend herself.
Then again, she still had her smart mouth. “Screw you, buddy,” she snarled. Those three words were all she allowed herself before she clenched her teeth and sealed her lips shut.
The violence that clouded Surry’s face and glinted in his hell-black eyes made her want to curl into a protective ball. He leaned down so that his nose was an inch from hers. His hot breath smelled of coffee and buttered croissants, and the thought of him actually eating struck her as weird. She had assumed he sustained himself by devouring the souls of Morrison’s enemies.
“You will bloody well tell us what we want to know, Miss Duvall.” When he spoke all low and menacing in that thick English accent, she got the unsettling feeling that something dark moved in the shadows just out of sight. “Or I will jab this letter opener into your carotid.” He pulled back to wield the weapon he had taken from Morrison’s desktop. The sterling-silver letter opener glinted in the golden glow cast by the overhead chandelier.
Releasing her face, Surry cocked his head. “So, what shall it be? The truth? Or the knife? The choice is yours.” There was an emptiness in his voice when he asked the questions. Like he didn’t really care what the answers would be. Like he was tired or bored or maybe…resigned?
Oh, that doesn’t bode well.
Of course, the truth was out of the question. She would never rat on the Black Knights. No telling what Morrison, a.k.a Spider, with all his power and connections, could do with that information. So that left…the knife.
But there’s still so much I want to do!
She had never learned to make her mother’s she-crab soup. She had never tried her hand at writing fiction like that of Tolkien or Rowling or Martin. She had never married the love of her life and given him two bouncing, chubby-cheeked babies.
A cold finger of terror dragged up her spine, and for a second she considered spilling her guts and saving her hide. But then, from somewhere deep inside, a well of strength erupted, filling her with determination and the will to do what must be done.
Her mind briefly touched on her mother, and a great sadness weighed down her heart. Grace Duvall would be devastated by the death of her only child. But Chelsea took comfort—cold comfort, but comfort all the same—in knowing that her life insurance policy would be enough to pay her mother’s debts. That was something. Something to hold on to.
“Well?” Surry demanded. “What will it be?”
Chelsea licked her lips. Fear was a living thing inside her, crawling through her chest like a centipede on prickly legs. She squashed it and sealed her own fate. “Do your worst, you sorry, low-life sonofagun!”
Surry’s beard-stubbled chin jerked back as if he couldn’t believe the choice she’d made. Then his eyes narrowed, and grim determination transformed his face.
Closing her eyes, Chelsea waited on the inevitable. That centipede was going crazy inside her, making her chest ache and raising the hair on her head. She braced herself for the deathblow as a million regrets, a million joys, a million memories flittered through her brain.
Funny how many of those regrets and joys and memories feature Dagan.
She held her breath, savoring it, knowing it was her last and—
“Drop. The. Knife.”
With a cry, she blinked open her eyes and craned her head around to see three figures dressed from head to toe in black. Each of them wielded a weapon as if it were an extension of himself.
The Black Knights…
Even had Dagan not spoken the three most beautiful words she’d ever heard in that smooth moonshine voice, she would have known the trio anywhere. There was no mistaking those broad shoulders or those defiant, cocksure stances.
Her eyes homed in on Dagan. He was in the middle and slightly forward of the other two. It wasn’t his height or carriage that gave him away. It was his stillness. Ace and Christian seemed to vibrate with barely leashed power. But Dagan was a statue. Not a muscle quivered. Not a tendon or ligament cracked. Chelsea was reminded of a pair of tectonic plates under intense pressure. She knew what came next. The earth would rip open, and hell would spew forth.
Surry must have felt the doom behind Dagan’s stillness, because his voice sounded wheezy when he demanded, “And who the fuck are you?”
“Worry less about who we are,” Dagan snarled, “and more about what we’ll do if you don’t drop the knife.”
Proving he had more balls than brains, Surry spun Chelsea’s chair around and palmed her forehead to wrench her head back. The sharp tip of the letter opener nicked at the skin pulsing over the large vein in her neck. She hadn’t had time to scream, and now she didn’t dare breathe.
“Ring up the police, sir,” Surry said. From the corner of her eye, Chelsea saw Morrison/Spider make a move toward the desk.
“Take one step in the direction of that phone, and you’ll be eating a bullet for breakfast.” There was no mistaking Dagan’s words or his tone. He meant what he said.
Morrison must have come to the same realization. The old man stopped in his tracks.
“Good man,” Dagan acknowledged. “Now, there’s one thing you both need to understand. We’re leaving here with Chelsea. That can be over your dead bodies or your live ones.” Even though his words were calm and his body as motionless as a mountain, rage burned inside him. It was there in his eyes, glowing red like the fires of Mordor. “So what will it be? The choice is yours.”
It was the same option Surry had given her, spoken in the same words. How long had the three of them been outside listening?
“You have no bloody idea who you’re fucking with,” Morrison snarled, his chest heaving with every furious breath. “I have—”
That’s all he managed. In a flash, the statue, a.k.a. Dagan Zoelner, came to life. He moved faster than the human eye could follow, certainly faster than Chelsea could track with her head angled back in Surry’s grip. One second he was staring at her and Surry, and the next he aimed at Morrison and pulled his trigger.
The gunshot was oddly muffled and Morrison stumbled back, hitting his hip on the edge of the desk. Surry bellowed his outrage and released her head. Free from his brutal grip, she turned to Morrison and understood the strangeness of the weapon’s sound.
It wasn’t a bullet that had exploded from the end of Dagan’s gun. It was a dart. She had just enough time to catch a glimpse of the fuzzy yellow end protruding from the center of Morrison’s chest before Dagan fired again. This time the dart whizzed over her head. Surry made an awful gurgling noise. When she pulled her chin back, she saw the projectile sticking from his neck.
He reached for the dart, stumbling into her chair. His hand hit the back of her head, looking for leverage and forcing her chin into her chest as every vertebra in her neck threatened to crack under the pressure. She couldn’t see what happened next. But she heard it. Heard the boots that pounded against the tiles as the Black Knights raced into the room.
Surry released her head when Christian tackled him. From the corner of her eye, she watched Ace catch Morrison right before the old man toppled face-first onto the floor. And Dagan? Well, Dagan knelt in front of her.
She gasped when his big, warm hands cupped her cheeks, gently lifting her head. Her neck ached, but it wasn’t broken. All her fingers and toes still worked when she gave them an experimental wiggle.
“Chels… Christ. Are you okay?” His stormy eyes searched her face.
She nodded her head. That’s all she could manage because a giant lump was centered in her throat. She had put on a brave face throughout the entire ordeal, but now that it looked like she was saved, all her shock and terror rose to the surface, crumbling her mask of courage.
“Thank God.” He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close.
It was the first time he had hugged her. The first time she had been in his arms. Oh, how she wanted to hold him tight in return. But with her hands still trapped behind her back, the only thing she could do was turn her face into his warm neck and breathe him in.
She had always loved the way he smelled. A mixture of worn leather, dryer sheets, and shampoo. All clean and healthy and…male.
“I was afraid m-maybe I didn’t press the button long enough to send out the Mayday,” she said in a rush, her lips moving against the rough fabric of his ski mask. “And th-then they found the thumb drive. But they were so quick to stop questioning me and…and…” She had to stop. “Thank you. Thank you for coming for me.”
His wide palm cupped the back of her head, holding her close. Was it trembling? “Always, Chels. Never doubt it.”
Oh great. Now the lump in her throat had grown to the size of a Carolina pine.
She wanted the moment to last forever, to stay just like this, safe in his arms. But all too soon, he pulled back. “What were you thinking, telling them to do their worst? You were baiting them, egging them on. You stupid, stubborn, self-sacrificing fool.”
And just like that, happiness and relief morphed into incredulity that slid quick as a whistle into anger. Seriously? He was going to stand there—er, squat there—and call her names?
He may be hotter than the door handles of hell, but when he gets all Me Tarzan, You Jane, I want to dump his limp body in the River Thames and feed him to the fishes. After she’d killed him with mind-blowing sex and multiple orgasms, natch. And she could probably cop to his last two accusations. She was stubborn, and in that instant she had been willing to sacrifice herself. But the first one?
S-stupid?” she sputtered. And good news! The lump in her throat vanished. “Screw you, Dagan! In case you’ve forgotten, I pulled off this op w-with…”
She stumbled to a stop because he’d ripped off his mask. And there it was. The Beard.
Looking at him dressed all in black, shoulders as broad as the Lowcountry, she couldn’t help but think he resembled a god. One of the mythical beings she read about in her fantasy novels. Formidable. Powerful. Gorgeous.
And here I am, a mere mortal.
The look he pinned on her was one she recognized. She liked to call it his Clint Eastwood gunfighter squint. He tended to whip it out right before he laid into her for something. She braced herself, mentally running through her standard list of comebacks. But he didn’t give her a tongue-lashing. At least not a verbal one. Instead, he took her face in his hands and sealed his lips to hers.
She was so surprised that her mouth formed a startled O. Dagan took advantage, his tongue surging between her teeth. His lips were firm yet amazingly soft, and his beard abraded the tender flesh of her cheeks.
Holy mother! Dagan Zoelner was…kissing her!
Oh. My!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Promo: CALL TO ENGAGE by TAWNY WEBER


The Poseidon team are hard-bodied, fiercely competitive Navy SEALs. But when a sensitive mission goes disastrously wrong, three of the team's finest will have to trust their hearts and instincts to uncover the truth…CALL TO ENGAGE will delight fans of UNDER PRESSURE by Lori Foster and A SEAL’S PLEDGE by Cora Seton! 


One (1) lucky winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
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About Call to Engage:

Title: Call To Engage
Author: Tawny Weber
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Series: Team Poseidon
Genres: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense/Military Romance
ISBN: (Digital) 9781460397886
ISBN: (Print) 9780373801961

Lieutenant Elijah Prescott should be spending his precious leave somewhere with sun, surf and scantily clad women. Instead, he's heading home with two goals in mind. Figure out exactly how his last assignment went to hell and almost killed him—and reconnect with the woman who might offer salvation.
Ava Monroe has streamlined her life, eliminating every source of pain—including a marriage touched by tragedy. One glimpse of her ex and those good intentions turn to bad-girl desires. Her strategy: get over Elijah by getting under him again, sating herself until she can finally let go. But as betrayal within the rank of the SEALs turns deadly, there's no denying that her heart and her life are on the line. Elijah is the only man who can protect both…


Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads



Excerpt:


An excerpt from CALL TO ENGAGE
Copyright © Tawny Weber 2017

Incredible.

That was the only word in his head as the aftershocks trembled through their bodies.

Incredible.

And then he came down.

Not in a nice, slow, gentle descent, either.

Nope, he crashed like a plane plummeting from the sky to ram into a mountainside.

He’d just had sex.

With Ava.

His ex-wife. The only woman he’d ever loved. The only one he’d ever wanted to love. The one who’d broken his heart into tiny little pieces and tossed them aside.

Shit.

His body still slick with sweat, the scent of Ava wrapped around him like a second skin, Elijah wondered if she realized that while extracting her promise of no regrets, he hadn’t offered the same.
After all, Elijah knew just how pointless promises could be. Especially the ones between him and Ava.

His body spent, his mind worn, he couldn’t find anything left to offer up on the altar of past regrets, though. He wrapped his arm tighter around her shoulders. Ava responded by snuggling closer, her thigh nestled between his as she shifted her chin into the indention where his shoulder met his chest. Her breath fluttered over his throat, soft and easy in sleep.

Regret?

Oh yeah, he knew he’d regret this in the morning. Hell—he glanced out the window, gauging the time from the angle of the moon—it was nearing dawn and the regret was already winding through him. Shoving aside pleasure, easing out satisfaction.

Closing his eyes against it, he drifted into sleep with her hand entwined with his, the twisted band of her ring rubbing gently between his fingers.

And he knew it for the talisman it was, the hope that lifted him from his nightmares.

If only for tonight.

Because nobody knew better than Elijah that tonight was all they had.


About Tawny Weber:

New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of more than forty books, Tawny Weber loves writing about sexy heroes, most notably her popular Navy SEALs series.  Her sassy, emotional romances are filled with men dedicated to being the best—and women determined to have the best.  Tawny credits her ex-military alpha husband for inspiration in her writing, and in her life.   The recipient of numerous writing accolades, including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice and in addition to the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists, Tawny has also hit the number one spot on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

A homeschooling mom, Tawny enjoys scrapbooking, gardening and spending time with her family and dogs in her Northern California home.



Promo: STORMING THE CASTLE by ARIANNA HART

Meet the Author:

Arianna Hart enjoys spending time with her family, reading anything she can get her hands on, and of course writing! She’d love to spend her days on a beach with a drink in one hand and a book in the other, but until she wins the lottery she’ll just have to settle for chasing her girls around the pool.
Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:

Sam Castleton has fame, houses all over the world, and one really big problem—he’s got an album due and he can’t write. All he wants is a quiet place to get his head straight. Dale, Georgia, seems like the perfect quiet spot to try to hear the music again and get some lyrics down on paper.
With her daughter’s paternal grandparents making a sudden appearance and the difficulties of running her own lodge and being a single mom, Faith Adams doesn’t have the time to worry about the mysterious stranger staying in one of her cottages, no matter how sexy he is.
Her newest guest may be surly, but his money is good, so she’s willing to overlook his surly nature. If only she could ignore the way he awakens a searing hunger in her...
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Giveaway:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card
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Excerpt #1
“Knock-knock. Sam?” Faith called in through the door as she opened it. It was the first time she’d been in the blue cottage since the night she’d shown it to him. The flowers she’d left for him were dead, and he had two full bags of garbage tied up and set near the door, but other than that, the place didn’t look half bad. Clean dishes rested on a drying board next to the sink, some pencils and paper were on the coffee table, and a half-full bottle of Gatorade was on the kitchen counter. Considering she hadn’t been in to tidy up, it was a pleasant surprise.

“I’ll be down in a second,” he answered from the loft.

She could smell soap and steam and figured he must have just taken a shower. Don’t think about him walking around up there naked.

“I can leave the laundry basket and come back if you’d like.”

“No, it’s—shit—fine.”

“Is something wrong?”

“Not wrong, just irritating. I waited too long to do laundry and now I only have one pair of clean jeans left.”

“I can take care of that in no time.”

“I mean, that’s all I have left. One pair of jeans. All my shirts and stuff are nasty.”

“Oh.” Faith’s face got hot as she realized what he wasn’t saying. His bare feet appeared on the steps and she tried not to look at the front of his jeans and imagine him going commando underneath.

Thank God, the pile of laundry he carried blocked his view of her, because she was sure she was staring. A thin line of dark hair trailed from his belly button down to the waistband of his low slung jeans and a few drops of water sparkled in the light.

For the last two weeks, every time she’d seen Sam, he’d been in running shorts and a T-shirt. Seeing him shirtless sent her blood pressure through the roof. Her mouth watered and she imagined capturing those droplets with her tongue as she followed the path to what waited behind the fly.

“I think this is all of it,” he said, dropping the pile of laundry on the couch.

“Did you remember your towels? I brought you some new ones.” Her voice was thick and raspy, and she tried to discreetly clear her throat while looking anywhere but at his naked chest.

“Yeah, they’re in the pile.”

“Good. Great. I’ll just strip the…ah, the bed and put on the new sheets.” She scooped the clean linen out of the laundry basket and bolted for the stairs. “Just put your laundry in the basket, and I’ll bring it with me when I go back to the house.”


If her face got any hotter, she’d burst into flame.

Cover Reveal: ADDICTED TO RHAPSODY by SELENA LAURENCE

Guilt is the hardest habit to kick.

Follow the reveal and enter to #win $25.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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Title: Addicted to Rhapsody
Author: Selena Laurence
Series: Rhapsody #4
Genre: Contemporary Rockstar Romance
Release Date: July 24, 2017
Blurb:
Guilt is the hardest habit to kick.
Garrett Jakes is the sexy and sex-addicted lead singer of Rhapsody. Now in recovery, trying to clean up his act and atone for his mistakes, he's decided to stay in Portland, Oregon where he went to rehab, and more importantly, where his bandmate's sister-in-law lives. The only problem is, he can't stop the guilt he feels whenever he looks at Savvy, and he's not sure if he's helping or hurting when he sticks to her like glue.

Savvy O'Roark is a widow and a mom at twenty-eight. She watched as her husband was murdered in their pub one night while he fought to protect her. Now she's alone with her young son, struggling to keep her husband's business and his memory alive. The only problem is, she can't stop the guilt she feels whenever she looks at her brother-in-law's bandmate, and she's not sure if Garrett's helping or hurting when he stays in Portland, in her bar, and in her life.

As Savvy and Garrett struggle to overcome their demons, they must also face the one thing neither of them can take back, while learning how to honor and forgive, love and let go. Can something that started in the wrong end up so right? Or will guilt be the one habit they simply can't kick?

Find out more at: Website


About Selena Laurence:
Selena Laurence is a USA Today Bestselling author who loves Putting the Heat in Happily Ever After. In 2014 she was awarded the Reader’s Crown Award for Contemporary Romance of the Year. In 2015 her rock star romance A Lush Betrayal was a finalist in three national contests. Selena lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her kids, Mr. L, “Goldendoodle” and “Demon Cat.” When she’s not writing she can be found at soccer games and tennis matches, or one of her favorite coffee shops.
You can connect with her online at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Promo: LUCA by SARAH CASTILLE

1.  Tell us about your release.
Luca is the second book in a full-length standalone mafia romance series set in the glitz and glam of Las Vegas. Betrayed by his wife and father, mafia boss, Luca Rizzoli has dedicated himself to a life of crime when he meets police detective Gabrielle Fawkes who is on a mission to avenge her husband's death. Sparks fly, and their explosive chemistry draws them together even as their worlds try to force them apart.
2.  Without giving away any spoilers, give us a hint about a favorite scene.
One of my favourite scenes is when Luca first meets Gabrielle in the hospital:
Luca’s gaze drifted over his new companion. She had turned to face him in her sleep and the thin blanket dipped into her narrow waist and up over the curve of her hip. Her features were delicate, her cheekbones high, and her nose slightly turned-up at the tip. She was the opposite of everything that attracted him to a woman: blonde instead of brunette, curvy instead of slim, soft instead of hardened by the years of rough living that made it easy for him to limit his encounters with his escort companions to just one night.

Angelo. For the last four years, he had been lost. Now, he was found.

“You’re staring.”

Her warm, rich voice slid through him like a smooth Canadian whiskey that finished the palate with a whisper of heat.

“I was just wondering, bella.” He lifted his gaze to soft blue eyes framed in thick golden lashes. “Who would shoot an angel?”

3.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I wanted to be a writer in Grade 3 when our public library held a story writing contest and my mother encouraged me to enter. I still remember the thrill of writing that story and how exciting it was to put the images in my mind on paper.
4. What is a typical writing day like?
I never have a typical writing day. I've got three kids all under 13 so I have to grab snippets of time where I can. My fantasy holiday would be one week of uninterrupted writing time in a fabulous location.
5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?
I  drink my coffee every day out of an owl-shaped mug, but that's about it. 
6. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author?
I was surprised at how friendly and supportive the romance writing community has been. Coming from a legal background, I had expected a lot of competitiveness but everyone is so willing to share and support each other, it has been a great experience.
7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I joined the Calgary Romance Writer's Association when I first started writing romance and the women in that group were incredible. They were knowledgeable, supportive and helpful and I honestly don't think I would have had the courage to submit my work if not for them. 
8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
I think they enjoy having an author in the family, although my husband has yet to read one of my books!
9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
Camping, hiking, reading (of course), travelling, and I've just started gardening (so far so good!).
10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?
I am re-releasing my Legal Heat romantic suspense series with updated content and some fancy new covers, as well as a series of erotic short stories. After that, will be book 3 of the Ruin & Revenge series, Rocco!
11. How can readers connect with you online?
I love chatting with readers! You can find me here:

Thanks very much to Romance Reviews Today for hosting me! Happy reading everyone!



The mafia men of New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille’s Ruin & Revenge series are hard, hot, and ruthless. They show no weakness and take no prisoners. But the right woman can soften their stone cold hearts and make them come alive with dark desire.
Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in Las Vegas, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart...until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants―and Luca will do whatever he can to possess his mysterious temptress...
Police detective Gabrielle Fawkes lives for revenge. She lost everything at the hands of an unforgiving ruler of the Vegas underworld. Now she wants to see him six feet under. But when a near-fatal attack leads her into Luca’s arms, what was meant to be one night of unbridled passion becomes something forbiddingly more. Luca has his own agenda, but when strong, determined, kick-ass detective Gaby sets her sights on her target, Luca feels compelled to stand by her side and protect her at all costs. However, pursuing danger comes at a high price―and both Gaby and Luca must work together in order to eliminate the dark enterprise that threatens them, in Luca by Sarah Castille.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Promo: ON THE PLUS SIZE by ALISON BLISS


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: ON THE PLUS SIDE
Author: Alison Bliss
Series: A Perfect Fit, #2
On Sale: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
Audio: $22.98

Big girls don't cry. They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin' curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie's luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie's determined to get Logan's attention…even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.

Logan can't remember a time when Valerie didn't secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It's only when he finds Valerie's naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

PREORDER THE BOOK HERE


THE A PERFECT FIT SERIES

SIZE MATTERS, #1
ON THE PLUS SIDE, #2
MORE TO LOVE, #3


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it's no wonder she writes "girl books." She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it's obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, "Romance...with a sense of humor."


FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE


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Excerpt:


Valerie Carmichael needed a drink. A strong one. Because it was the only way she envisioned herself getting through the night.
An elbow nudged into her side, bringing her thoughts back to the crowded bar. “I can’t see anything through all of these people,” Brett said, scanning the room with his eyes. “Come on, let’s go to the other side so I can get a better view.”
Sighing, Valerie trudged behind him without a word.
When Brett had asked her to attend the grand opening of Bottoms Up, a new bar in their hometown of Granite, Texas, she’d hesitated to say yes. Sure, she was curious what the inside of the recently remodeled bar looked like and had no doubt the place would be jam-packed with handsome, available men. But it was still the last place on earth she wanted to be.
She knew better than to hang out in bars with her older and only—thank God—brother. Every time she’d done so in the past, the nights had always ended the same way. Brett would spend the entire evening hovering over her like a rabid pit bull, daring any single guy with a glint in his eye to look her way. Because Valerie turned heads. She always had.
Oh, she wasn’t silly enough to believe she looked like some gorgeous supermodel with a lean, trim figure or anything. She definitely didn’t. But she had a pretty face, banging plus-size curves, and a lively personality. And that was good enough for her. Valerie was just…Valerie. And damn proud of it.
Across the room, Sam and Leah emerged from the dense crowd, with a beer bottle for him and a glass of water for her. Apparently, Leah was still on that damn diet and counting calories so she would fit into her wedding dress. Though why she didn’t just buy the dress in a larger size was beyond Valerie.
Leah blinked at the sight of her. “Val? What are you doing here? You said you weren’t coming.”
Valerie shrugged. “I changed my mind.”
“Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah, sure. Why?”
“When you said you didn’t want to go out, I assumed you were sick. You never turn down a night out.” Leah placed her palm lightly against Valerie’s forehead. “You sure you don’t have the flu or something?”
Valerie laughed and pushed her friend’s hand away. “Oh, stop it. I just didn’t feel like getting dressed up. I’m getting tired of the whole bar scene.”
Then Valerie’s heart stopped, along with her lips. Oh God.

Brett stood there talking to a tall, dark-haired man who had one thumb hooked in the front pocket of his jeans while he leaned comfortably against the wall with his right shoulder. She couldn’t see the other guy’s face, but she didn’t need to. Valerie recognized all six feet, two inches of him. Logan Mathis.