Excerpt: Ruthless Sentinel (Book #2: Vicious Vipers Series) by Lynn Burke

Working security for my MC brother, I’m tasked with protecting a crooked judge who targets his willful daughter with emotional abuse.
She’s beautiful. She’s confident and has a backbone of steel, but I recognize the pain in her eyes.
She distracts me from my job, and echoes of Pop’s taunts of my being a failure fester in my head.
But I will prove him wrong.
I will withstand our connection, the relentless pull between us.
I will protect her family—her—from the unknown enemy, even if it costs me my soul.
*This is the second book in the Vicious Vipers MC series and may be unsuitable for someone under 18 years of age. HEA guaranteed, however, secondary characters make appearances in other’s stories. Reading in order is recommended.

Except from Ruthless Sentinel (Book #2: Vicious Vipers Series):

A blast of cold air hit my face, but my breath caught for an entirely different reason as subtle lilac and vanilla scents swirled around me.
Giada Burtonelli stood on the granite stoop, coat gaping open to reveal a jade-colored dress that wrapped around her body, cradling the type of tits I wanted to fuck. Tiny, tucked waist, perfect for the span of my hands. The skirt’s center split to display the top of her thighs, inches from the apex of where I bet heaven lay in wait—much too fucking short. Toned legs, tanned and smooth, led to spiked heels porn stars wore while getting their asses fucked.
My dick jolted, and I clenched my jaw against the combustion of lust that roared to life in my balls. Lifting my focus off her hot as fuck body to her face didn’t help matters. Eyes, green as spring grass, sharp as a damn Samurai sword, pierced through me with the type of instantaneous connection that robbed a man of his identity. Her full lips parted on a quick intake of air as her focus moved upward over my body to meet my gaze.
I’d seen pictures. Knew she’d be beautiful, but I didn’t expect my breath to be ripped from my lungs or the hairs on my body to stand at attention because of the energy crackling between us.
“You’re late!” Burtonelli barked from behind me.
Giada’s eyes hardened as she lifted her pointed chin, her ruby red lips thinning into a line.
I moved back, fucking tongue-tied.
“Hello to you, too, Father.” Low and husky, her voice thickened my dick even more.
“Could you make an effort to be on time just once, Giada?” Burtonelli moved toward her, his scowl raking down over her. “What the hell are you wearing?”
“Oscar,” she snipped her reply, her eyes flashing.
“You look like a whore. Fitting, I suppose, since you can’t seem to keep your legs closed to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who shows interest in you.”
I blinked, but her façade didn’t crack. Not the first time she’d heard such a thing, I expected as my fists clenched, but not my monkey…
Her father stalked past her. “I specifically said to be on time,” he continued. “You know how important this night is.” Stomping down the granite stairs toward the waiting limo in the circular drive, he muttered about people contributing to his campaign and what they might think of his daughter’s inappropriate attire—and the fact it was too late for her to change.
“You look lovely, dear,” Giada’s mother said, stepping forward, hands outstretched.
Kiss, kiss—fake as hell, before Mrs. Burtonelli hurried after her husband as though he tugged her along with a leash.
Marisa came next to greet her sister, her face pained as though empathetic toward Giada being her father’s verbal punching bag, but it was Cristian’s infectious grin and grabby hands to hug her that brought a smile to Giada’s face.
And Christ, what a smile. Dimple, flashing white teeth, eyes alight with enough joy to slam an uppercut into my gut, stealing my breath again.
I stared as they hugged, jealousy slithering in like a damn snake to wrap coils around my stomach and squeeze. Possessiveness wasn’t something I’d felt before, but fuck if I didn’t recognize its gut-twisting presence—even if it was her brother putting his hands on her.
Stretching my neck side to side, I tore my attention off the two siblings whispering to one another and glanced at Greed who watched me with a smirk on his face.
I scowled and spun to follow Marisa outside. I should have been the first into the night even though Burtonelli’s personal guards already awaited us in the circular drive out front, but everything about Giada distracted me.
My scowl deepened. Focus.
The plan had been for Greed to ride in the limo with the family while I took shotgun in the lead car, but I decided on a change while scanning their gated property in the darkening sky.
Three Burtonelli guards, including their driver and head of security who’d been placed beneath my command for the duration of the contract, stayed positioned where I’d commanded along the drive. All of us were connected by top of the line ear pieces provided by Tellier Security.
The driver stood by the car’s back door as Mrs. Burtonelli slid inside, the other two packing with heads swiveling where they waited by the cars boxing the limo in.
Hairs on my neck stirred, but without any sense of impending danger.
Giada.
I could feel her focus on my back like a soft caress, a whisper of fingertips along my spine, but I didn’t turn, even after the mansion’s front door slammed shut.
Fighting off shivers and my body’s distraction from my job, I strode toward the limo, waving the driver away. Cristian moved into my periphery as I pulled up by the opened door, and he slid in behind his oldest sister.
I feigned disinterest as Giada neared in a cloud of sweet, subtle lilac laced with vanilla.
My hand moved on its own, offering her assistance even though I continued to scan the property, senses beyond alert, my body strung fucking tight as hell.
Her smooth fingers danced across mine, and I gripped tight in sudden need to yank her close. Soothe the hurt her father had inflicted that she’d tried to hide behind a mask of who-gives-a-shit stubbornness.
I turned my focus on her face—she stared up at me, her eyes wide and lips parted. Currents raced through our clasped fingers, straight to my dick.
“Giada!” Her father’s annoyed call from inside the limo jerked her attention off me, and I grit my teeth while she bent down to get into the limo and join her family.
I released my hold on her hand and fought the need to watch her ass as she climbed into the limo. Greed approached, his inquisitive stare on my face.
“I’m riding with them,” I told him, my tone not welcoming argument or question.
© Lynn Burke 2020

Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
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Spotlight: On the Fly Series (Book #1: Love in the Air Series) by Kate Asher and Maizie Kaye

Her unlikely love affair might just be scarier than her fear of flying… 
Emma Chadwick will never fly again…no matter who’s getting married or what work meeting she has to attend. That’s the plan. Right after she gets through one last anxiety-inducing flight. When she clutches her armrest on take-off, her nails don’t dig into leather. Nope. It’s a sexy muscular arm… attached to a complete jerk. Just her luck. 
Ander Jorgenson is nobody’s hero. He’s made a career of dismantling companies, and he’s prepared to take apart the failing airline that his father built. If only the shackles of family obligation would let him. The last thing he needs interrupting his brooding is the tempting woman freaking out in the seat next to him. It’s just a plane, for heaven sake. 
Finding true love on an airplane happens more often than people think, but that’s not the case with Ander and Emma. It’s what happens after they land that leads to sparks… 
On the Fly features a confident CEO determined to avoid the shadow of his father’s legacy, a smart-as-a-whip heroine unwilling to put up with her boss’s antics, and enough chemistry to make you rush to book your next flight on this family-owned airline today!
Full-length stand-alone stand-in date romance novel.


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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: The Relationshit Show by S. Cole

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who thought she found the love of her life at only fourteen years old . . . but after five years of puppy love combined with ‘we think we’re grown’ love, her fairy tale came to an end.
That girl was me. 
I’m Cole and this is my story, my journey, and as it turned out, my hot mess of a dating life.
There are the guys who ghosted me and also the one who returned like a zombie again and again. There are drunken adventures and one night stands. There’s even that time I became a bride for the span of a night.
While struggling with writer’s block and depression, I jotted it all down, kept the records, and now I’m ready to share it with you. 
Yeah, you! 
I’ve condensed it all into seventeen episodes of love, life, lust and the chaos of millennial dating. So get comfortable, grab your popcorn, some tissues, and of course that bottle of wine. It’s time to binge on your favorite reality star… me.
Excerpt

When he arrived, I ordered the Uber, and in no time, one showed up. We got dropped off at the restaurant. Driver earned extra points when he asked me if I wanted to order a large cheese dip. However, he lost points when he stuck his chip in the dip, sucked the cheese off of the chip, and then stuck said chip back into the queso. I was baffled and confused and hurt that he would treat the cheese dip that way.

“Why’d you do that?” I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask.

He shrugged his shoulders. “I like the cheese. I don’t like the chip.”

Blasphemy.

I decided to shrug it off. I mean, at least the man liked cheese. You may be shocked to know, I’ve dated some guys who don’t.

Extreme blasphemy.

After the crazy queso fiasco, things were all fine and dandy . . .

S. Cole, otherwise known as Shay, is kind of a hot mess. A fun hot mess, but a mess nonetheless. She gets shit done, but . . . ya get the point. Shay is a daughter, sister, friend, and great worker! She’s really awesome at all of those things, but she probably writes best. She has written stories for as long as she can remember. Like, at least since she was seven years old. That’s when she wrote her first book. Shay loved conjuring up stories so much, she continued writing them into her twenties. But now, she can drink while she’s doing it, so it’s even better! Maybe that’s why the characters that reside in her little black heart finally bothered her enough that she had to actually share them with readers. #winemademedoit

Shay grew up in a home where she was taught to embrace her inner nerd and creativity . . . and her short stature. At 5’1, Shay is that short girl who writes about the deranged and devious. For some reason, she strayed from her usual love of crime fiction to write something funny. She once told her friend ‘I write dark shit, but when I’m in a dark place, I’ve got to write light’.
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Cover Reveal: Malady (Book #2: Deviant Games Series) by Natalie Bennett

Let’s play a game…
Words can be powerful things, and those four just granted me a golden ticket straight to hell.
Two beautifully deranged boys have decided I’m their next acquisition.
To make things fair they give me a chance to save myself. All I have to do is beat them at a few games of their choice.
Truth or dare.
Hide and seek.
Simon says.
Seems simple until you account for the bloodied twist they each have.
They say in all chaos there’s calculation. For my sake I hope that’s true because if we’re going to play, I’m playing to win.
Malady is a complete novel. There’s no cliffhanger, but it must be read after Crucible.

AVAILABLE NOW

 

With a penchant for (writing) villainous immoral men, and a tendency to deviate away from traditional happily ever afters, Natalie Bennett is an international bestselling author of twisted and unconventional love stories.
When she’s not slaying words she’s somewhere in the sunshine state, happily taking life one curve-ball at a time.

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Cover Reveal: Center of Gravity (An Ice Tigers Hockey Romance) by Isabella Cassazza

It was supposed to be only one night. But one night can change your life forever. And even the most magical nights have consequences.
Emilia Ravelli lives a fairy-tale life… or does she? 
What appears picture perfect on the outside can crumble on the inside. And holding up appearances is the number one rule for anyone carrying the Ravelli name.
But what if one reckless night changes everything?
Sent to Boston to manage the Ice Tigers’ franchise, can she break free from her overbearing grandfather?
Matt Walker has lost it all… or did he?
Betrayed by those he trusted most, all he wants is to win the Cup.
But what if the new team owner turns his world upside down?
Can Emilia convince him there’s more to this world than stickhandling?
Two lost souls. 
A secret that changes their lives forever.
An unexpected love story.

 

 

 

Isabella Cassazza lives in Europe. She has been an avid reader from an early age, and when she’s not writing, she usually has a book in her hands. Other than that, she enjoys a good hockey game, equestrian sport and chocolate—lots of chocolate.
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Mini-Review: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

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Purple Goodreads

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven. 

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Atria Books          Rating: 4/5 stars

The Bottom Line: Upon reflection, I can’t say I loved this book, but I can definitively say I found it fascinating.  Though the names have been altered, the setting is clearly England during the reign of Elizabeth I and there are nefarious deeds being perpetrated in the castle.  Getting to the bottom of the mystery requires the abilities of one young lady, a recently appointed sin eater who is caught up in a mess she never should have been privy to. 

In truth, I could have done without the whole court conspiracy bit and just read about the life of May, the sin eater.  Her punishment is reprehensible, the people she lives among treat her as an outcast, at best, yet they need her on a daily basis to make themselves feel better about their miserable lives.  The dynamic between May and the people she “serves” was the most intriguing aspect of this read, followed closely by the sins and the foods associated with them.  Finally, “watching” as May comes to terms with her life sentence was like watching a train wreck, you know its’s bad and you should be watching, but you also can’t stop yourself.

The writing is top notch the story is fascinating, but this isn’t going to be a story for all readers.  This book sort of defies placement within a specific genre, the abuse May suffers, and the matching up of the fake names with the real historical figures will be bothersome to many.  For the rest of us, it’s just an intense and wonderfully weird read.

Releasing April 7, 2020: Amazon |B&N | Kobo | Audible | Hardcover

Mini-Review: Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

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Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia Abbott–a stage mom whose world revolves around interfering in her children’s lives–come with the territory. Julia resents teachers like Isobel, who effortlessly bond with students, including Julia’s own teenagers, who have started pulling further away from her. 

Isobel has spent her teaching career in Liston Heights side-stepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a “blatant liberal agenda,” she realizes she’s squarely in the fray. Rather than cowering, Isobel doubles down on her social-justice ideals. Meanwhile, Julia, obsessed with the casting of the high school’s winter musical, inadvertently shoves the female student lead after sneaking onto the school campus. The damning video footage goes viral and has far-reaching consequences for Julia and her entire family. 

With nothing to unite them beyond the sting of humiliation from public meltdowns, Isobel and Julia will find common ground where they least expect it, confronting a secret Facebook gossip site that’s stirring up more trouble for this tumultuous, fractured school community.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Berkley          My Rating: 3/5 stars

The Bottom Line: Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes is one of those reads that I finished and after 24 hours of reflection find that I mostly just feel ambivalent towards this story and its characters.  There are a lot of threads and plot lines in this book and while they are all connected to one another, they don’t always connect well.  What’s more, outside of the teenagers (GASP!) there isn’t really a decent character in this book.  The adults are simply pathetic, each looking for ways to better others or tear down those they perceive as having slighted them.  The pettiness is next level with personal and professional attacks alike.  The greatest level of maturity, proper behavior, and actions in the book come from the kids and that simply makes no sense given who their parents are.  At the end of it all, I walked away from this book thankful there wasn’t anything left to read, no more drama and no more catastrophes. 

Amazon| B&N | Kobo| Hardcover| Audible