Cover Reveal and Preorder Info: Stardust (The Starlight Trilogy Book #3) by Alexandra Richland

Stardust by Alexandra RichlandTitle: STARDUST (The Starlight Trilogy Book #3)
Author: Alexandra Richland
Release Date: Tuesday May 26, 2015
Goodreads Link
Available for Preorder from Amazon for a Special Price:

Amazon (U.S.)  |  Amazon (Canada)  |  Amazon (UK)  |  Amazon (Australia)

Amazon (Brazil)  |  Amazon (France)  |  Amazon (Germany)  |  Amazon (India)

Amazon (Japan)  |Amazon (Mexico)  |   Amazon (Spain):

About STARDUST:

Following their Academy Award wins, the film careers of Elizabeth Sutton and Aidan Evans reach stratospheric heights. Now bona fide superstars, the Hollywood press and throngs of starstruck fans await them at every turn, and the pressure to maintain their luminary status for the benefit of Starlight Studios escalates.

Away from the spotlight, Beth and Aidan’s forbidden romance intensifies. Passionate nights spent together in secret stoke their mutual desires, each experience more extraordinary than the last.

Beth is thrilled with the breakthroughs in both her professional and personal lives, but perpetual feelings of guilt and self-doubt cripple Aidan’s happiness. Slowly, the burdens brought on by the fame he neither courted nor craved unleash his inner torment, releasing the demons Beth’s love and support helped him cage.

Aidan must embark on a final journey to move on from his traumatic past once and for all, but the outcome is anything but certain. It leads him down an unexpectedly dark path, from an explosive showdown with studio head Luther Mertz, to a jarring revelation about his mother’s death that could hold the key to his salvation or exile him from everyone he loves forever.

Stardust is the powerful conclusion to The Starlight Trilogy, a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Stardust (The Starlight Trilogy book #3) Excerpt:

Beth’s forefinger traveled his bare chest in a languid, circular pattern. “Would you mind if I took a shower?”

“Not at all.” Aidan pulled back the covers. “I’ll set up everything for you. Wait here.”

“Actually, I would like you to join me. If you want to, that is.” Beth slipped out of bed and stepped over their Academy Awards. In the doorway, she stopped and held out her hand.

Aidan gaped at her, as if he was taking in her naked body for the first time. Her skin was flushed, well kissed. Her dark hair fell to just above her shoulders, sand-speckled from their visit to the beach yesterday. The swell of her breasts, the curve of her hips . . . everything about her was perfect.

If he wanted to?

Damn it. He wanted nothing more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alexandra Richland spends rotating twelve-hour shifts working as a registered nurse at a Toronto hospital, indulging in her love of science and medicine, and caring for patients with their own unique tales to tell.

When she is not on duty, Alexandra escapes into her own imagination. Therein lies a fantasy world of thrilling adventure, gorgeous men, classic Hollywood glamour, exotic getaways, and a seductive dose of romance. Alexandra captures these stories in her popular novels, The Starlight Trilogy and Frontline, her novella Slip Away, and her short story, Gilded Cage.

CONNECT WITH ALEXANDRA’S SOCIAL MEDIA:

FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Read Book #1, STARLIGHT, on sale for a limited time:

Starlight $1.99 Sale

Dare to Hold by Carly Phillips Preorder Contest

  


A message from Carly Phillips:


Hi!

 

You may have saw a few posts from me on social media last week about a huge contest I’m holding – with lots of goodies!

Well I’m happy to announce that with your help, I’ve met my first preorder milestone for Dare to Hold.  

BE SURE TO READ TO END FOR HOW TO ENTER – ESPECIALLY IF YOU’VE ALREADY PREORDERED!
 
My second Milestone is 6k copies! 
Once I hit that number I’ll be giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon and I’ll send 5 lucky winners Advanced Reading Copies of Dare to Hold.
But that’s not all – I’ve set “milestones” to happen along the way with some terrific prizes that include:

  • $100 Amazon Gift Card
  • $250 Amazon Gift Card
  • Signed copies of ALL the Dare books
  • Tea/Drink/Lunch with me for one lucky winner at RWA in New York or NINC in St. Pete’s Florida (don’t worry if you can’t attend either event, you’ll have your choice of a gift card to an online retailer that allows e-gift cards for $200)

And if we surpass my preorder goal, I have a super exciting grand prize that I’ll announce later.

Once I reach each goal, I’ll announce the new goal and pull a winner from the list and share with everyone!

Preorder links:

Fill out this Google Doc to enter to win! Pre-Order must be purchased before 4/14/15 to be eligible.

 (Clicking on Giveaway Kitty will take you to entry form too!)

  


Release Day Blitz: Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliot

Scandalously-Yours-Release-Week-Blitz

Two passionate intellectuals find more than an ideological match when seeking political reform. Unexpected love and desire mark Olivia and John’s heated partnership in this delightful and engaging novel by Cara Elliott.

Title: SCANDALOUSLY YOURS
Author: Cara Elliott
Availability: March 31, 2015 (Forever Mass Market); e-book also available
Series Info: Hellions of High Street (#1)

Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only things they are encouraged to pursue are eligible bachelors. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

Scandalously Yours by Cara ElliottThe eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London’s leading newspaper. But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor’s edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble . . .

However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia’s secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl’s young son, they must make some dangerous decisions . . . and trust that love will conquer all.

Where to Buy Scandalously Yours:

Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  GooglePlay  |  BAM  |  Kobo

GIVEAWAY INFO:Giveaway Kitty!

Enter the Giveaway hosted on Rafflecopter!

  • Ten (10) winners will receive a copy of Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

About author Cara Elliott:

Cara ElliottCara Elliott started writing Western novels at the age of five. However, she traded in her cowboy boots for Regency high-top Hessians after reading Pride and Prejudice in junior high school and hasn’t looked back. She graduated from Yale University, and she now lives and works in New York City.

Connect with Cara’s Social Media:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Read an excerpt from Scandalously Yours:

“How dare you spy on me, sir!” demanded Olivia, once she had mastered her emotions enough to speak.

He fixed her with a commanding stare, the one that had set many a seasoned soldiers to quaking in their boots. “I would not have had to resort to such tactics if you had shown me the courtesy of answering my letters.”

Olivia refused to be intimidated. Lifting her chin, she scowled back at him. “I did answer them.”

“With a single word—no.”

“And what,” she asked with excruciating politeness, “did you not understand about such a simple syllable?”

John couldn’t help but admire her grit. It took courage and resourcefulness to play in a man’s world. And she played well, he conceded.

Expelling a harried sigh, he felt his anger dissipate just as quickly as it had come. She had no choice but to guard her secret very carefully. “Look, at least hear me out, Miss Sloane. Tracking down The Beacon has led me on a merry dance throughout Town.”

Olivia paled at the mention of the nom de plume. Turning abruptly, she plunged off the path and darted around a tangle of holly.

“Wait!” John ducked under the prickly branches, losing his hat in the process.

“Go away!” Her voice was muffled by the overhanging leaves.

“Not until we talk!”

“I’ve nothing to say to you.”

The Devil take it. All but a last little flutter of her skirts disappeared behind a shaggy yew hedge. Swearing under his breath, John cut through a patch of lavender. He hadn’t come this far to be rebuffed. She would damn well listen. Or else…

Several long strides brought him within arm’s reach of her. “Confound it, Miss Sloane, stop and listen,” he called, lunging for her sleeve.

As his fingers seized the fabric, his boot snagged on a twist of morning glory. Pitched off-balance, he stumbled and fell, taking her with him. Tangled together, they hit the ground hard, their momentum rolling them into a patch of pachysandra.

“Ooof!” Olivia’s flailing kick caught him square in the shin.

Flat on his back, John got a momentary glimpse of Olivia’s irrepressible curls dancing in the breeze before another half turn landed him on his stomach. Burning with embarrassment, he tried to right himself, only to find that she was sprawled across his…posterior.

Bloody hell, he had never felt like a bigger arse in all his life.

They both started wriggling at the same time. He managed to twist face-up just as she slipped on the glossy leaves and fell back down atop him.

“Miss Sloane,” he gasped.

“Lord Wrexham,” wheezed Olivia, an odd little burr roughening her already throaty voice.

For an instant, he feared she was going to burst into tears.

Instead, she began to laugh.

And laugh.

Scottie was right. It was a delightful sound, its top notes shaded with a rich, sensual echo that seemed to stroke over his skin like a moon-dappled midnight breeze.

A twitch tugged at his lips. His dignity—as well as his coat—was in tatters, his pride was bruised, and though he should not find it at all funny, John felt a rumble vibrate deep in his throat.

Olivia tried to get up again, but her limbs were too weak with mirth. “Good Lord, what a ridiculous picture we must make!” she wheezed in between burbles of laughter.

“Here, let me help you.” Levering to his feet, John lifted her up and as she seemed a bit shaky, he kept his hands on her waist.

“Well, it’s not every day I take a tumble in the hay with an earl,” she quipped.

“Please don’t think that I make a habit of ruining a young lady’s reputation,” he answered.

Her cheeks, already pink from the breeze, turned a lusher shade of red as she looked up and wet her lips.

John felt his body clench. His legendary sang froid began to bubble…His steely self-control went up in smoke…

Olivia flinched as his mouth possessed hers. She was like summer rain against his tongue. So soft, so sweet.

Her hands came up around his neck.

Hell, it would serve him right if she throttled him on the spot.

But then, all of a sudden, she was kissing him back.

In a daze, John twisted around and braced her back against the ivy-covered wall, the glossy leaves crackling under the crush of silk. He was dimly aware of a roaring like cannonfire in his ears, and as his hands slid down to cup her breasts he realized it was the pounding of his own heart.

Knocking all reason to flinders.

A gust of air ruffled his hair, stirring wild, wicked thoughts of her waltzing naked through the trees. In response, his own privy parts began dancing to their own drummer. Thump. Thump. Thump. His pulse was pounding a military tattoo, commanding all soldiers to stand erect.

And Dear God, his Major Organ was responding with unabashed enthusiasm.

Olivia didn’t seem disgusted by his display of primitive lust. With a tiny moan, she tightened her hold and hitched her hips into him.

Lud, it felt good. No, better than good.

Exquisite.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next two books in the Hellions of High Street series: SINFULLY YOURS (April 28) and PASSIONATELY YOURS (May 26), as Olivia Sloane’s younger sisters pursue their intellectual passions – and find love along the way!

New Release: The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula Quinn

Scandalous-Secret-Release-Week-Blitz

**I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Title: THE SCANDALOUS SECRET OF ABIGAIL MACGREGOR Author: Paula Quinn Series Info: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #3 Availability: March 31 (Forever Romance, Mass Market and e-Book) Where to Buy THE SCANDALOUS SECRET OF ABIGAIL MACGREGOR: Amazon  |  BAM  |   B&N  |  IndieBound  |  GooglePlay  |  iTunes |  Kobo About THE SCANDALOUS SECRET OF ABIGAIL MACGREGOR:

The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula QuinnA LADY’S MISSION . . .
Known for her beauty and boldness, Abigail MacGregor must preserve her clan’s dangerous secret: that her mother is the true heir to the English Crown. If the wrong people find out, it will mean war for her beloved Scotland. To keep peace, she embarks for London, unprepared for the treachery that awaits-especially from her wickedly handsome escort. He is the enemy, but his slow, sensuous kisses entice her beyond reason . . .
A WARRIOR’S TEMPTATION
General Daniel Marlow, loyal knight and the kingdom’s most desirable hero, would rather be on the battlefield than transporting a spoiled Highland lass. But Abby MacGregor is unlike any woman he’s ever met, in a ballroom or in his bedroom. Captivated by her daring spirit and seduced by her lovely innocence, Daniel must choose between betraying his queen or giving up the woman who would steal his country-and his traitorous heart.
My Rating:
nail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish fullhalf-a-bottle-nail-polish-spill
4.5/5 bottles of polish for another stellar creation by the remarkable Paula Quinn, pairing fast-paced adventure with courtly schemes to create a heartwarming love story.
My Thoughts:
Historical intrigue, action, and undeniable passion – what’s not to love? (Other than the perfectly crafted villainess Charlotte, Duchess of Blackburn – what a b***h!)
Abigail MacGregor and Daniel Marlow are the Jacobite era equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.  Daniel is sworn to serve and protect Queen Anne of Great Britain, while Abigail is the daughter of Anne’s secret older sister Davina– the rightful Queen.  Abigail’s royal lineage, coupled with her outlaw Highland roots, should make her the last woman confirmed bachelor and loyal general Daniel Marlow would give his heart to.  Daniel has spent his entire life close to Queen Anne and has build his career on protecting her throne from Jacobite rebels, such as the MacGregors.
The wonderful thing about Abigail and Daniel’s tale is, despite their differences, they are able to see past labels and prejudices and learn to love –and more importantly like– each other as individuals. Unable to deny their attraction and affection, they each retain a realistic outlook as to the futility of their connection, all the while falling further in as while their future grows farther out of reach. Luckily, honesty, mutual respect and communication save the day – with a little help from Abigail’s family.
On its own, the love of Abigail and Daniel would be a compelling read, however the historical elements are tightly woven into the story and enhance it rather than act as mere background. Author Paula Quinn continues to skillfully mine the era of Jacobite conflict to create historically accurate and intriguing plots, peppered with exciting action sequences. This is the third generation of MacGregors that Ms. Quinn has treated readers to (check out awesome MacGregor family tree and bonus details). The reappearance in The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor of characters from earlier novels is welcome, as they retain their unique personalities and add real value to the story instead of appearing one-dimensional.  I have to point out, Abby’s father Rob MacGregor (hero of Ravished by a Highlander) still cuts a fine figure. It’s easy to imagine choosing a life with him over the precarious position as Queen– smart move, Davina.
The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor is a lovely tale of passion and compassion overcoming seemingly insurmountable differences, with the added bonus of a chivalrous knight (and some steamy nights).
Giveaway Info:
Giveaway Kitty!
Enter the Giveaway hosted on Raffecopter for a chance to win:
  • (5) Lucky winners will receive the set of THE MACGREGORS: HIGHLAND HEIRS series

Click on Giveaway Kitty or the link above to enter!

About author Paula Quinn:
Paula QuinnNew York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.
Connect with Paula’s Social Media:
Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Website  |  Twitter: @Paula_Quinn
Read an excerpt from THE SCANDALOUS SECRET OF ABIGAIL MACGREGOR:

“Aye, ye did say that,” she murmured. “Well, since we’re both awake, we might as well spend the night together again.” The innocence in her voice struck him in the guts. She wanted nothing more from him than someone to be with outside in the night. He, on the other hand, was not innocent at all. Her choice of words sent a little spark of heat to his groin. The way she turned on the pads of her feet and ended up pressed against his side and tucked neatly under his shoulder tilted him on his axis a little. “I’m cold,” she whispered, her teeth chattering. He put up no fight when she lifted his arm around her shoulder, then covered them both with her plaid. The desire to protect her overwhelmed him and sent tremors through his muscles. He knew little of her. Was she an innocent daughter of a Jacobite chief, or part of some secret scheme Anne was devising. Hell. Anne didn’t devise schemes. “I wasn’t certain if you were ever going to speak to me again,” he said, when what he should have said was, You should go sleep somewhere, lady, and not on me. “I was verra’ angry with ye. But I’ve forgiven ye.” He heard the smile in her voice and made a mental note of how well it pleased him that she was no longer angry. He would decide what to do about his unwanted concerns for her tomorrow. Right now, he only wanted to sit with her just like this, with her beneath his arm and pressed snuggly into his side. Warmth swept over him like fine wine until he felt drunk on it. How was it that she fit so neatly into him, now and earlier when she slept in his lap, like she belonged there, close to him? Close to his heart. Hell, it scared him, and after fighting for over a decade, not much scared him anymore. “D’ye have a wife, General Marlow?” Came her sweet voice against his chest. “No, lady.” “Are ye betrothed?” “I am not.” “Is there a lass somewhere who has yer heart?” “No.” “Well,” she laughed softly, “are all the ladies in England fools?” “They’re the opposite,” he told her. “They’re wise to set their interests in another direction.” She shook her head then tilted her face up to his. In the filtered light of the moon, he could make her out enough to fall victim to the alluring curves of her mouth, her soft, sweet breath against his chin. “Nae, they are fools not to try to win yer affections.” He knew every reason there was to stop what he was thinking, what he was feeling, and what he was about to do. But reason was a puny opponent compared to desire. Slipping one hand behind her nape and the other to her throat, he tilted her chin another half-inch then covered her mouth with his. The instant after he did it, he regretted it, but then she coiled her arms around his neck and drew him closer, and he couldn’t stop. He never wanted to. She didn’t resist him, in fact, she melted in his arms. She groaned softly when he drew his tongue across the seam of her mouth. She bit his lip and ignited his blood to liquid fire. He swept his tongue in and out of her, holding her close to him while they kissed, wanting nothing more from her than what she gave him now. Making love to her could be dangerous if Charlotte found out. He’d have to make sure she didn’t find out, at least until he had proof of other crimes and could arrest her. If she hurt Abigail before that he’d hang her himself. He wondered, as he held her in his arms and kissed her long into the night, how he could be so content with one he was supposed to hate.

New Release: Random & Rare by Cat Porter (Lock & Key #2)

** I received an e_ARC in exchange for an honest review **

TitleRandom & Rare
Author: Cat Porter
Series Info: Lock & Key Series, #2; Lock & Key (Lock & Key Series #1)
You can read my review of Lock & Key here (4/5 bottles of polish).
Release Info: eBook available NOW
Where to Buy:
Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords
Cover Blurb:

I am that gash in her soul.
Once I loved Grace, really loved her.
And she loved me, and it was so fucking beautiful.
Once.
That pendulum swings to and fro.
We’re here,
and then we’re—
No.
How can that rare beautiful be rendered irrelevant, intangible when I still feel so damn much?
Does all that energy, that glory, that significance simply dissolve?
Turn to smoke?
To nothing?
It can’t. It just can’t.
Are the moments that shape us absolutely random?
Is time not fluid?
I made promises to them, to her.
Especially to her.
Promises I still burn to keep.

Giveaway Info:

  • Enter the Giveaway hosted on Rafflecopter for a chance to win the necklace featured on the cover of Lock & Key:

necklace Cat Porter giveaway
My Rating:

nail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish full

My Thoughts:

The cover blurb for Random & Rare doesn’t really give away much about the plot of this touching and slightly melancholy novel.  Random & Rare serves as both a prequel and sequel to Cat Porter’s early novel Lock & Key, which depicted the love story of the widow Grace Quillen and the emotionally reserved Miller. We learned Grace’s side of her life with her first love, Dig, and the consequences of his untimely –and violent– death.  Random & Rare begins with story of Dig and Grace from his point of view, as well as detailing his tragic past and heartbreaking end.

Part 2 tells the story of Grace and Miller’s present-day struggle to start a family. When tragedy strikes, Grace blames herself and nearly drowns in guilt over the child she has been unable to share with either of the men she has loved. An unexpected encounter with a figure from Dig’s past gives Grace a better understanding of her late husband and hope for the future for her and Miller. (Sorry if that’s too vague, but spoilers must be avoided! ;) )

I enjoyed learning more about Dig, especially his past, but the telling of his tale in this new novel prevents me from recommending Random & Rare as a standalone read. Part 1 takes more than half the book (65% according to my Kindle) and introduces many characters that were featured in Lock & Key. I think I would have preferred reading Part 1 before Lock & Key, then reading Part 2 as an emotionally satisfying epilogue. Events from Lock & Key were referenced in Part 2 that I had forgotten the details of and certainly would make no sense to a reader new to the series.  Also, the best part of Lock & Key for me was Miller and his role in this novel is relegated to almost a secondary character (although I loved seeing him interact with Dig in Part 1 – and he remains undeniably sexy!). I know Grace and Dig shared a unique and powerful love, but I would have liked to read more about how Miller and Grace’s love was different and special in its own right.

The story of Dig, Grace, Miller and the One-Eyed Jacks Motorcycle Club, as told in both Lock & Key and Random & Rare, is unique and touching, with moments of extreme passion and characters you can’t help but care about. I look forward to more tales of the One-Eyed Jacks!

About Author Cat Porter:

Cat Porter was born and raised in New York City, but also spent a few years in Europe and Texas along the way. As an introverted, only child, she had very big, but very secret dreams for herself. She graduated from Vassar College, was a struggling actress, an art gallery girl, special events planner, freelance writer, restaurant hostess and had all sorts of other crazy jobs all hours of the day and night to help make her dreams come true. She has two children’s books traditionally published under her maiden name. She now lives in Athens, Greece with her husband and three children, and freaks out regularly and still daydreams way too much. She is addicted to the History Channel, her iPad, her husband’s homemade red wine, really dark chocolate, and her Nespresso coffee machine. Writing keeps her somewhat sane, extremely happy, and a productive member of society.

Connect with Cat’s Social Media:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter: @catporter103  |  Goodreads

Excerpt from RANDOM & RARE by Cat Porter ©2015:

Warning: contains graphic language and reference to NSFW scenarios

“Hey you.” Lissa’s voice piped up behind me stopping me in my tracks.

Ah, fuck.

“Hey.”

“Haven’t seen you around in a while.”

“Busy. Got married. Life.”

Glasses thunked on the bar top, and stools shuffled behind me.

Lissa’s thin eyebrows shot up for a second. “Oh. Right.”

“Yep.”

She punched out a hip and smirked. “And how’s that going?”

“Who wants to know?” Grace suddenly stood next to me, her eyes piercing Lissa.

“Uh…”

Grace inclined her head. “Who are you?” she slowly uttered the words.

Oh, she wasn’t asking for Lissa’s name. She was asking a deeper metaphysical question.

“I’m Li—”

“And I don’t care,” Grace practically snarled. “This is my old man. He’s not yours. Not yours to touch, kiss, lick, suck, strip for, dance for, tease, nor does he light your fucking cigarettes or buy you a drink. Ever.”

Lissa gulped, her eyes wide, her body motionless.

Grace turned to her BFFs standing on my other side. “Did I miss anything?”

“No, honey,” Dee replied. “You got it.”

Grace turned back to Lissa. “Did that register, or should I go over that one more time for you to make sure?”

Speechless.

I was transfixed.

“No, I-I got it,” Lissa mumbled.

“Let me know if you need a review of these basics because you cross those lines again, any of them, in any fucking way, large or small—ever—there will be serious repercussions for you.” Grace leaned into Lissa. Her stance wide, my old lady looked larger than life. My cock stiffened against my jeans.

“Did you hear that, bitch?” Alicia said, her face twisting in a nasty sneer.

“Got it. Yeah, sorry.” Lissa glanced at me.

Mistake.

Grace leaned in closer, her hand gripping Lissa’s chin. “Honey, I get that bikers do it for you. But this particular biker is mine. All fucking mine, head to toe, inside and out. So fuck off. Got that?”

Grace released Lissa’s chin, and Lissa stiffly and slowly nodded her head, like a toy robot on its last charge of battery power.

“Yeah, that’s right.” Dee let out a throaty dark laugh.

“I know you’ve been trying your damnedest for the longest time. I’ve been watching. But he is not going to be tapping that ass of yours. Not ever. Get the fuck out of my bar, and do not come back.” Grace was still, focused like a stealthy cobra calmly waiting in between strikes.

“Okay,” Lissa mumbled as she teetered away.

“Tommy!” Grace shouted to one of her bouncers at the door.

Tommy’s bodybuilding bulk towered before Lissa. His eyes flicked over her. “What’s up, Mrs. Q?”

“This girl needs to be escorted out of our bar, and she’s not allowed back in. Got that?”

“Got it.” He glared at Lissa. “Let’s go.”

Lissa plodded after Tommy toward the front door.

“Lissa?” Two girls screeched and bustled at the other end of the bar. “Lissa? What’s going on? Where are you going? Wait up!”

Grace scowled at me, her hands digging into her waist. “Sprite!” she snapped.

I nodded as I rounded the bar top. She grabbed my arm as I brushed past her.

Her big greenish eyes flashed at me. “My office when you’re done, and be prepared to get on your knees.”

My breath stalled.

I fixed that soda gun within four minutes, strode into the office, and made sure the door behind me was locked.


All press materials provided by

RockStar Lit

Review: Before I Fall by Jessica Scott, a new release

Before I Fall by Jessica Scott Banner

**I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Jessica Scott
Series InfoFalling Series, #1 (After I Fall, #2 coming soon)

An emotional new series about a small group of veterans adjusting to life away from the military. They’ve got a lot to learn about life away from war – and college may or may not be the place for them to learn it.  — jessicascott.net

Release Info: e-Book available March 3, 2015
Where to Buy:
iTunes/iBooks  | Kindle  |  B&N nook  |  GooglePlay  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads

Cover Blurb:

Before I Fall by Jessica Scott CoverStay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah – a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

My Rating:

nail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish fullhalf-a-bottle-nail-polish-spill

My Thoughts:

Author Jessica Scott uses her intimate knowledge of the military and veteran affairs to craft a beautiful and inspiring story of two young people touched by the darkness of war but saved by the light they find in each other. Noah needs to learn how to lean on someone and Beth needs to learn how to trust someone to be there. Through rough turns and sensual moments they both find the love, support and trust they need and deserve.

The story of Noah and Beth offers readers incredible insight to the struggles, both physical and emotional, of those returning from war.  Beth is trapped in the quagmire of red tape that is the Veteran’s Administration as she fights to ensure the proper care for her father, an injured army war veteran. The pressure of working, school, caring for her father and battling the VA have left Beth tired and emotionally closed off. In Noah, Beth finds someone to lean on and help lighten her burden. The lovely thing about this story is, she does the same for him.

Noah doesn’t sweep in and solve all of Beth’s problems, just like entering into a relationship with Beth does not magically cure Noah’s ailments. Noah is used to being needed, and it is natural for him to offer Beth support. However, Noah is not comfortable being the one who needs support. Relying on pills to deal with his pain and nightmares, Noah has not allowed his mind and body to heal to their full potential following his war experiences. With Beth’s love and support, Noah is able to learn how to take care of himself without guilt.

The romance and physical relationship develops quickly, but at least both characters acknowledge the fact it they fell for each other unusually hard and fast.  Beth and Noah were each trapped in such darkness that they both are eager to kindle the sparks between them. These sparks quickly grow into an intense yet surprisingly tender love.

About Author Jessica Scott:

Author Jessica ScottUSA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She’s also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She’s pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.

Connect with Jessica’s Social Media:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter: @jessicascott09  |  Goodreads

Excerpts from Before I Fall:

Chapter One

Beth

My dad has good days and bad. The good days are awesome. When he’s awake and he’s pretending to cook and I’m pretending to eat it. It’s a joke between us that he burns water. But that’s okay.

On the good days, I humor him. Because for those brief interludes, I have my dad back.

The not so good days, like today, are more common. Days when he can’t get out of bed without my help.

I bring him his medication. I know exactly how much he takes and how often.

And I know exactly when he runs out.

I’ve gotten better at keeping up with his appointments so he doesn’t, but the faceless bastards at the VA cancel more than they keep. But what can we do? He can’t get private insurance with his health, and because someone decided that his back injury wasn’t entirely service-related, he doesn’t have a high enough disability rating to qualify for automatic care. So we wait for them to fit him in and when we can’t, we go to the emergency room and the bills pile up. Because despite him not being able to move on the bad days, his back pain treatments are elective.

So I juggle phone calls to the docs and try to keep us above water.

Bastards.

I leave his phone by his bed and make sure it’s plugged in to charge before I head to school. He’s got water and the pills he’ll need when he finally comes out of the fog. Our tiny house is only a mile from campus. Not in the best part of town but not the worst either. I’ve got an hour before class, which means I need to hustle. Thankfully, it’s not terribly hot today so I won’t arrive on campus a sweating, soggy mess. That always makes a good impression, especially at a wealthy southern school like this one.

I make it to campus with twenty minutes to spare and check my e-mail on the campus WiFi. I can’t check it at the house – Internet is a luxury we can’t afford. If I’m lucky, my neighbor’s signal sometimes bleeds over into our house. Most of the time, though, I’m not that lucky. Which is fine. Except for days like this where there’s a note from my professor asking me to come by her office before class.

Professor Blake is terrifying to those who don’t know her. She’s so damn smart it’s scary, and she doesn’t let any of us get away with not speaking up in class. Sit up straight. Speak loudly. She’s harder on the girls, too. Some of the underclassmen complain that she’s being unfair. I don’t complain, though. I know she’s doing it for a reason.

“You got my note just in time,” she says. Her tortoise-shell glasses reflect the fluorescent light, and I can’t see her eyes.

“Yes, ma’am.” She’s told me not to call her ma’am, but it slips out anyway. I can’t help it. Thankfully, she doesn’t push the issue.

“I have a job for you.”

“Sure.” A job means extra money on the side. Money that I can use to get my dad his medications. Or, you know, buy food. Little things. It’s hard as hell to do stats when your stomach is rumbling. “What does it entail?”

“Tutoring. Business statistics.”

“I hear a but in there.”

“He’s a former soldier.”

Once, when my mom first left us, I couldn’t wake my dad up. My blood pounded so loud in my ears that I could hardly hear. That’s how I feel now. My mouth is open, but no sound crosses my lips. Professor Blake knows how I feel about the war, about soldiers. I can’t deal with all the hoah chest-beating bullshit. Not with my dad and everything the war has done to him.

* * *

Noah

I hate being on campus. I feel old. Which isn’t entirely logical because I’m only a few years older than most of the kids plugged in and tuned out around me. Part of me envies them. The casual nonchalance as they stroll from class to class, listening to music without a care in the world.

It feels surreal. Like a dream that I’m going to wake up from any minute now and find that I’m still in Iraq with LT and the guys. A few months ago, I was patrolling a shithole town in the middle of Iraq where we had no official boots on the ground and now I’m here. I feel like I’ve been ripped out of my normal.

Hell, I don’t even know what to wear to class. This is not a problem I’ve had for the last few years.

I erred on the side of caution – khakis and a button-down polo. I hope I don’t look like a fucking douchebag. LT would be proud of me. I think. But he’s not here to tell me what to do, and I’m so far out of my fucking league it’s not even funny.

I almost grin at the thought. LT is still looking after me. His parents are both academics, and it is because of him that I am even here. I told him there was no fucking way I was going to make it into the business school because math was basically a foreign language to me. He said tough shit and had helped me apply.

My phone vibrates in my pocket, distracting me from the fact that my happy ass is lost on campus. Kind of hard to navigate when the terrain is buildings and mopeds as opposed to burned-out city streets and destroyed mosques.

Stats tutor contact info: Beth Lamont. E-mail her, don’t text.

Apparently, LT was serious about making sure I didn’t fail. Class hasn’t even started yet, and here I am with my very own tutor. I’m paying for it out of pocket. There were limits to how much pride I could swallow.

Half the students around me looked like they’d turn sixteen shades of purple if I said the wrong thing. Like, look out, here’s the crazy-ass veteran, one bad day away from shooting the place up. The other half probably expect the former soldier to speak in broken English and be barely literate because we’re too poor and dumb to go to college. Douchebags. It’s bad enough that I wanted to put on my ruck and get the hell out of this place.

I stop myself. I need to get working on that whole cussing thing, too. Can’t be swearing like I’m back with the guys or calling my classmates names. Not if I wanted to fit in and not be the angry veteran stereotype.

I’m not sure about this. Not any of it. I never figured I was the college type – at least not this kind of college.

I tap out an e-mail to the tutor and ask when she’s available to meet. The response comes back quickly. A surprise, really. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I sent trying to get my schedule fixed and nothing. Silence. Hell, the idea of actually responding to someone seems foreign. I had to physically go to the registrar’s office to get a simple question answered about a form. No one would answer a damn e-mail, and you could forget about a phone call. Sometimes, I think they’d be more comfortable with carrier pigeons. Or not having to interact at all. I can’t imagine what my old platoon would do to this place.


All materials provided by the awesome folks at

 RockStar Lit

New Release: The Tempting of Thomas Carrick by Stephanie Laurens

TTOTC_RDbanner

**I was provided an Advanced Reader Copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest review**

Title: The Tempting of Thomas Carrick
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Series Info: A Cynster Novel (Cynster Next Generation, #1)
Release Info: Available in Print and e-Book on February 23, 2015 (Harlequin MIRA)
Where to Buy:
Goodreads  |  Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble Nook  |  iTunes/iBooks  |  GooglePlay  |  Kobo

Cover Blurb:

The Tempting Of Thomas Carrick coverThomas Carrick is determined to make his own life in the bustling port city of Glasgow, far from the demands of the Carrick clan, eventually with an appropriate wife on his arm. But disturbing events on his family’s estate force Thomas to return to the Scottish countryside—where he is forced to ask for help from the last woman he wants to face. Thomas has never forgotten Lucilla Cynster and the connection that seethes between them, but to marry Lucilla would mean embracing a life he’s adamant is not for him.

Strong-willed and passionate, Lucilla knows Thomas is hers—her fated lover, husband, protector, mate. He is the only man for her, just as she is his one true love. How can he ignore a bond stronger than reason and choose a different path? She’s determined to fight for their future, and while she cannot command him, she has enticements of her own to wield when it comes to tempting Thomas Carrick.

My Rating:

nail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish fullnail-polish full

My Thoughts:

Within the first 100 pages of The Tempting of Thomas Carrick we encounter two unexplained deaths, a family felled by a mysterious illness, shady goings-on with Carrick clan farms, and a Fated couple with opposing relationship goals.

Lucilla Cynster is the heir to her mother’s position as Lady of the Vale, healer and figurehead for the worshippers of a local ancient Celtic deity, known as the Lady.  Lucilla’s serene confidence and faith in the Lady’s prophecy that Thomas Carrick is her Fated mate is tested by Thomas’ stubborn refusal to embrace love and his Fate at Lucilla’s side as her consort, her protector and future manager of her family’s ancestral estate, the Vale. Thomas clings to his plan to embrace the quiet, comfortable life as a Glaswegian businessman, which includes finding a wife he will be in no danger of falling in love with – basically, any woman who isn’t Lucilla Cynster. Unfortunately for Thomas’ master plan, but fortunately for readers, his connection to and passion for Lucilla cannot be tamed, especially once she sets her mind to fanning the flames of their desire.

Thomas and Lucilla work well together trying to sort out the problems facing his clan, including the ailing health of his uncle, laird of clan Carrick.  Despite his efforts to push Lucilla away, Thomas comes to rely on her intelligence and partnership in dealing with his family’s mysteries. The chemistry between the protagonists is palpable and their communication is open and mature. Thomas is honest with Lucilla regarding his future plans and she pursues a relationship with him knowing he has no intention of making their bond permanent.  The problem is, Thomas isn’t being honest with himself.  Lucilla must learn to let Thomas embrace his free will and he must learn to accept his true self. The journey to making these revelations is satisfying – and beyond steamy.

The novel faltered for me once it dropped the threads of the mysterious deaths and nefarious ‘accidents’ that occurred at Carrick Manor.  Once Thomas and Lucilla escape to her home, the Vale, they leave their investigations into the Carrick clan secrets behind. Hopefully the unresolved questions will be addressed in the second Cynster Next Generation novel, A Match for Marcus Cynster, featuring Lucilla’s twin brother Marcus and Thomas’ cousin Niniver Carrick.

The mystical undertones of the Lady added an interesting layer to this charming tale of Fated love and acceptance.


Q&A with Author Stephanie Laurens:

The Cynster series has been going strong for years!  What do you think is key to the success and longevity of the series?

From an author’s point of view, it’s simple enough—figure out what story elements drew readers to the stories in the first place and then work to keep delivering what readers clearly want. This doesn’t mean “tell the same story only differently.” It does mean delivering the same experience around the same core values, which for the Cynster series were a) a certain style of romance with a certain type of hero and heroine, and b) family. Consistently delivering to readers what readers want and expect of a particular series is the key to continued success and longevity.

This book is the first of the Cynster Next Generation Novels, and will be followed by Lucilla’s twin brother, Marcus’s story in June. Are there more Cynster Next Generation Novels to come?

Yes, indeed! As By Winter’s Light was in essence a pivotal volume, shifting focus from the original Bar Cynster generation to the lives of their near-adult children, and within the tale of By Winter’s Light were the seeds of Lucilla’s romance, then her book had to come first, in The Tempting of Thomas Carrick. And within Lucilla’s story lie the seeds of Marcus’s story, and as he is her twin, his book, A Match for Marcus Cynster, had to come next. It will be released on May 26, 2015.

But at the end of The Tempting of Thomas Carrick, and even more definitely at the end of A Match for Marcus Cynster, we catch up with the other Cynsters now facing up to the challenge of marriage and finding a suitable spouse. We see and appreciate that all is not going to be smooth sailing for such very robust individuals, neither the males nor the females. There are at least 6 more Cynster Next Generation novels to come—the romances of Devil’s three children, Sebastian, Michael, and Louisa, and those of the remaining “older group”—Prudence, Christopher, and Antonia Rawlings. After that…well, I’m sure that by the time I finish Louisa’s tale, we’ll know a lot more about Annabelle, Juliet, and Therese. And I already know what Calvin and Carter get up to, which should prove a lot of fun. Lots more to enjoy!

Readers first met Thomas Carrick in the Cynster holiday special By Winter’s Light. Did his earlier meeting with Lucilla described in that book affect the pair’s actions in this book?

That earlier meeting in By Winter’s Light sets the stage for Thomas and Lucilla’s romance. Both of them leave that first encounter with the knowledge that the other could be their future spouse. Lucilla is ready to accept that Thomas is her fated future husband, lover, and consort, but Thomas, having experienced a complementary visceral connection to Lucilla, concludes that, as he wishes to avoid love, then she is someone he would be wise to avoid.

So from the instant they part after that first encounter, they are set on opposing tracks—Lucilla expecting and waiting for Thomas to return to her side and claim her hand, and Thomas doing his level best to stay far away.

It’s a standoff, until the actions at the start of The Tempting of Thomas Carrick force—literally force—them together again.

Lucilla’s position as healer to the Vale community, and, indeed, all people under The Lady’s protection, features strongly in this book. How common were such healers?

Despite the rise of more formal medicine and the doctors who practiced it, traditional folk healers—those we might now term homeopathic healers or herbalists—were not uncommon into the late 1800s in England. In country areas, they would almost always be the first consulted, even by those living in the larger, wealthier houses. The history of herbal remedies is very deep and broad throughout the British Isles, and the more isolated the community, the greater the distance from a major town, the more likely that the people would turn first to the local “healer.” Midwifery and the treatment of common ailments remained largely the province of such healers even into the 1900s.

That said, as mentioned in this book and the next, in this period, when it came to interacting with the apparatus of law and order, for instance in formally reporting a death, the “doctor”—meaning a man formally trained in the western medical tradition—would be the one sent for.

About Author Stephanie Laurens:

Stephanie Laurens#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.

Laurens’s novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other Stephanie’s email contactsaccolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.

Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie’s website.

Connect with Stephanie’s Social Media:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Excerpt from The Tempting of Thomas Carrick:

Somewhat to his surprise, she made no demur at his taking control; instead, she walked beside him, courtesy of the narrowness of the corridor rather close, her velvet riding skirt brushing the material of his trousers. Once he was sure she was, indeed, consenting to leave the scene, he eased his grip, then released her altogether.

He would have increased the distance between them, but there was no space.

Lucilla found herself dealing with a rather odd fracturing of her awareness. On one level, she was increasingly exercised over the matter of the Burns sisters’ deaths, and very conscious of the tug of duty on that score, yet simultaneously her sensual awareness was reveling in Thomas’s nearness. In his touch, however brief.

The toe of her riding boot hit something, and she stumbled. “Oh!” She pitched forward—

Thomas caught her and hauled her upright. Hauled her to him.

She ended in his arms. Locked against him, her palms flat against his chest.

The first thing she registered was the heat of him, the warmth that seeped through the layers of fabric and sank into her.

Into her flesh, feeding her senses.

They came alive on a giddy rush of anticipation.

She raised her gaze to his eyes. In the same instant registered the sudden tension that had gripped him, that had turned taut, resilient muscle into granite and steel. The arms that held her so securely felt less malleable than iron.

But it was his eyes that most gave him away; the gold-flecked amber burned.

She didn’t stop to think. To question.

To give him time to snap his shields back into place.

The Lady might help and create the chance, but it was up to her to seize it.

Stretching up on her toes, she barely paused to whisper “Thank you” before she pressed her lips to his.

For one instant, her confidence wavered. What if he didn’t respond?

Then she sensed it—a sharp hitch in his breathing, a leaping, uncontrollable, barely reined impulse to seize.

She’d felt that reaction in herself—she recognized it in him.

All doubt evaporated. All caution fell.

She pressed her kiss on him, sure, certain.

Stepping boldly into him, she slid her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, savoring the heat and the strength beneath her palms, then she reached further, to his nape, and slid her fingers into the thick, heavy locks of his hair.

The feathery touch caught her, steadied her.

All her senses alive, she turned her mind from conquest to persuasion.

Drawing one hand from the silk of his hair, she placed her palm against one lean cheek and gave herself over to the communion of the kiss.

Thomas was lost, his anchor gone, swept away by a tide of ferocious yearning. His, but equally hers. Her longing had poured into him, inciting a response he had no hope of reining back. Of taming. Of restraining.

He wanted her; he always had.

But the part of him that wanted her—still, regardless—was the part of him he normally kept leashed, controlled. Hidden.

It hadn’t been her kiss, the sharp and shocking pressure of her lips against his, that had shattered the chains, that had broken the lock and flung wide the doors of his inner prison.

It hadn’t been the searing heat of her touch as she’d slid her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, an evocative, provocative come-hither act that yet had felt curiously innocent.

Even her fingers tangling in his hair—he was more than experienced enough to set all such temptations aside.

But the feel of her palm, her fingers, lightly riding against his cheek…

It was as if by that touch she’d tamed him. Slayed all resistance and claimed the man he truly was.

He’d always known she was dangerous. That she and she alone could rule him.

He hadn’t wanted that. He still didn’t want that. Yet…

Her lips tasted of a heady blend of rose and nectar. He couldn’t resist the temptation to sip.

Just a little. A bit.