Excerpt and Sweepstakes: The Sea Devil by Eliza Knight

 

 

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ElizaKnight_TheSeaDevil_2500Thornley “Thor” MacLeod, captain of The Sea Devil and prominent member of the Devils of the Deep is out for one thing and one thing only—revenge against Santiago Fernandez, leader of Los Demonios de Mar. Tormented by the demons of his past, he knows the only relief to his pain will be spilling the blood of his enemy. When he learns that Santiago seeks to find a child he abandoned nearly two decades before, Thor is determined to find the precious treasure first. Which means, Thor may have to sacrifice his honor in order to exact the perfect vengeance.

Orphaned at a young age, Alesia Baird has grown up along the harsh coasts of Scotland, bearing witness to many a nightmare. With the hangman’s noose dangling ever closer to her neck, she has to find a way to escape the only life she’s ever known. When she overhears a pirate mention he seeks the child of Santiago Fernandez, Alesia takes the leap, knowing this could be her only way out.

Alesia must keep up the ruse long enough to escape with her life, and perhaps a sack full of jewels. But when it comes time to jump ship, she finds her destiny may have led her in a different path. Will the hardened Highlander allow a lass into his heart—or is she destined to be alone forever?

Excerpt from The Sea Devil:

“I’m a pirate, lass. What am I supposed to think when I come into my room and a lass has made herself at home, going so far as to take off her boots?”

She pushed against him more, and he did let go slightly, enough that she thought she might be able to draw a better breath, but it didn’t appear that his hold was what kept her from breathing. Struggling to speak without choking, she said, “I came here because I heard ye were looking for the bastard of Santiago Fernandez.”

“And ye claim to be that unfortunate offspring?”

She nodded solemnly. “I do.”

“Prove it,” he growled.

“How?” She wriggled against him. “Put me down first.”

“Say something to me in Spanish.”

He settled her in front of him, but not far enough away that she couldn’t still feel the heat of his body sinking into hers. Thinking quickly on her feet, Alesia frowned up at him. “My mother was Scots, and my father, the legendary Spanish pirate, abandoned me the moment he planted his seed, ye buffoon. Where would I have learned his language?”

“Point taken.” He studied her face, eyes narrowed. “Ye do have the look of him. In a feminine sort of way. Save for that hair. Tempestuous hair.”

Her mouth fell open at the insult. She moved to stomp on his foot but quickly found herself lifted off her feet, arms pinned to her sides by the steely strength of his own.

Fine, he wanted to play dirty. She’d already showed him once she knew how to take down a man. Alesia moved to kick him where she’d had the pleasure of socking him before, but Captain Thor clamped her legs between his thighs of steel.

“Uh-uh, princess,” he mocked.

Though she hated to head-butt anyone for the headache it always gave her, that was her next move. Alesia was fairly certain at this point she wasn’t going to be walking away with the silver, which meant she could at least walk away with her life—and figure out another way to escape the wharf.

Before she had the chance to make good on her decision to crack her head against his, she found herself flattened to the wood-planked floor, and his massive body on top of hers. Every hard plane pressed to the soft curves of her own. She sucked in a ragged breath, prepared to shout at him to leave off, but she found her throat too tight to speak.

“I’d have expected more from Santiago’s daughter, wee sprite.” His finger trailed over her cheek and along her jawline.

Alesia bared her teeth, trying to wriggle free but only managing to feel his body pressed harder to hers. “And I would have expected more from a pirate Captain.”

“Touché.” His grin was inviting. Unnerving. Disarming.

“Get off me,” she growled, trying keep her mind in the right place—the angry place. That was survival. To succumb to his disarmament was to lose.

His gaze shifted to her lips. “Not without a kiss.”

Alesia snorted and shoved at his unmoving shoulders. “I’d not kiss ye if ye were the last man on earth.”

“What if I were the second to last?” he teased.

She let out an exasperated groan. “Not then, either, ye ogre.”

He clucked his tongue. “Shame.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because, lass, if sparring with ye is this fun, kissing would be even better.”

Copyright © Eliza Knight 2018

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About the author and where to find her:

ElizaKnightAuthorPhotoEliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty sizzling historical, time-travel and contemporary romance novels. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your- heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies.

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Review: Wheels Up (Book #4: Out of Uniform Series) by Annabeth Albert

Wheels UpLieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

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Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

Some things in life simply aren’t fair.  For example, Lieutenant Dustin Strauss has finally accepted his bisexuality and begun a conversation (and a little fun) with an online companion only to find said companion transferred to his unit and under his command.  The military takes fraternization seriously which is why the relationship, such as it is, must come to an immediate end. 

Wes Lowe wants nothing more than to be off the west coast and back to the east coast with his family, where he can look after his ailing sister, relieve his parents from some of their burden, and be with his own, familiar SEAL team.  As an explosives expert, Wes’s skill set is in high demand which is how he has found himself in the one place he absolutely doesn’t want to be, on the west coast.  While the presence of Dustin Strauss should be a comfort, Dustin is now Wes’s superior officer and therefore, completely off limits. 

Life and love are funny creatures that are often unpredictable and surprising.  What started out as some casual guy on guy online flirtation and fun has slowly turned into a real friendship with real feelings and emotions. Because of their work situation, it isn’t even possible for Wes and Dustin to be anything other than co-workers to one another.  But, real feelings don’t just go away and as life throws more and more crap at both men, they find it harder and harder to stay away from one another.  Neither intends for a physical relationship to develop, but real feelings are tricky and often lead to physical expressions.  Comfort and emotional support take many forms, and Dustin and Wes quickly find themselves in a “this has to be the last time” situation neither counted on nor wants.

The Bottom Line:  Wheels Up may be the best book in the Out of Uniform series to date!  This one has such a tricky plot with the issue of fraternization coming into play.  The military really does take the issue quite seriously and Dustin and Wes are two fictional representations of what must be a very real-world situation.  Albert has navigated this tricky issue brilliantly with great care and concern taken for all parties involved, including the military.  Likely the best aspect of this entire read is how it all plays out in the end, and without giving anything away, I was so pleased with the caution, the very real sense of perception, and self-preservation.  Albert doesn’t pander to the crowd who want nothing but a neatly tied up HEA, but provides the reader with a real-world ending that fits the characters and the situation perfectly.  Make no mistake, it’s still an HEA, just not quite the one you may be expecting.

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Review: An Unsuitable Heir by K.J. Charles

HeirOn the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.

Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.

But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.

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Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 3/5 stars

Well, here it is, the conclusion of the Sins of the City trilogy and I have long waited for this moment.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t all I had hoped it would be once the end came. 

For all intents and purposes, I liked every aspect of this book except the male lead, Pen.  From the moment the story opens, Pen is a whiny brat who very often thinks of no one other than himself.  He doesn’t want to give up being a trapeze artist, he doesn’t want to give up his lifestyle, he doesn’t want to be “out” as it were, and he absolutely doesn’t want a title, land, and the money that comes with it.  Please bear in mind, I have no idea what a “real Pen” would be dealing with emotionally and socially in this time and place so my previous assessment is based totally on this one fictional character. . . . .

Moving on . . . . .

Pen isn’t your ordinary man, and very often, he feels ill at ease in his own skin, but has found ways to help with the feelings.  Pen is absolutely aware his particular proclivities won’t be accepted in “polite” society which makes his hesitancy to accept his title and position even more pronounced.  To be forced into a role so watched, so judged would destroy Pen a bit more each day, and with all his being, he wants nothing to do with his family or their damnable title. 

As fate would have it, Pen’s family (other than his twin!) doesn’t want him to have the title either, but there doesn’t seem to be any legal way around the issue.  In fact, the family lawyer is intent on (dis)proving the claim, setting the whole thing to rights, and continuing his service to the family.  Trouble is, there’s a load of proof in Pen’s favor, there’s a killer on the loose intent on killing off the heir, and Pen has recently made the acquaintance of man he could easily fall for.  Yeah, there’s really nothing good about the whole hot mess.

The Bottom Line:  I enjoyed every aspect of this book except Pen.  Talk about a whiny human ☹  The story picks up just where the second left off, with nearly everyone in danger and a mad man on the loose willing to do anything to discredit Pen and his claim to the title.  Aside from Pen, every character in this book is so entertaining and interesting.  From Pen’s stern, strong twin to Mark with his mouth and rough manner to the completely wretched “proper” family members, everyone is full-bodied and engaging and keeps the story moving along at a fine pace.  There is plenty of danger and intrigue to match the characters, and if Pen hadn’t been so selfish and whiny, this would have been the perfect end to a fine trilogy.

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Review: A Secret Garden by Katie Fforde

A Secret Garden

When Philly starts a new job, working with Lorna in the gorgeous grounds of a beautiful manor house, it marks a turning point in both of their lives.

Philly has never been in love before and is constantly disappointing her mother with her unwillingness to settle down. But all that changes when she meets Lucien, a free spirit with an intriguing past …

Lorna is learning to embrace life on her own, until dashing Jack sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind romance. But is this what Lorna really wants?

When the two women discover a secret garden in the manor house grounds, they are encouraged to restore its forgotten beauty in time for an unforgettable end of summer party. As they work together, secrets are revealed and relationships tested. Will they both find the happy endings they are looking for?

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Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

Lorna has spent years of her adult life loving her best friend, a man who is essentially clueless and devoted to dating/noticing everyone but Lorna.  In light of her friend’s behavior, Lorna has resigned herself to be nothing more than friends and staying in his orbit as master gardener of his lush, if crumbling estate. 

Outside of her best-friend, Lorna loves the estate gardens and has worked endlessly to restore them to their former glory.  If she could only convince her extremely wealthy friend to loosen his purse strings a bit more, Lorna could hire more help and really kick her efforts into high gear.  As fate would have it, through an online dating site and a brilliant first date, Lorna’s friend meets the “love of his life,” a woman who wants to see the estate and the gardens set to rights so that they may be used to highlight the area and save the local parish church.  What ensues is a whirlwind of activity that brings friends closer, new partnerships to light, and the revelation of long forgotten part of the estate. 

As plans for the estate gardens move forward, Lorna brings her dear friend, Philly, herself a master of plants and botanicals, to help with the planning, planting, clearing, and maintenance.  Philly’s love of the work is rivaled only by her infatuation with the new, handsome chef who has blown into town.  With nowhere but his van to sleep, Philly’s grandfather invites the young man to lodge with them which allows the friendship and eventual love between he and Philly to blossom. 

And so the circle grows . . . .

With the expansion of the gardens, Lorna and Philly spend ever more time together which strengthens their friendship, Philly and her chef spend ever more time together as he contracts with she and her grandfather to renovate one of their outbuildings for cooking and baking, and Lorna becomes smitten with a younger stonemason charged with revitalizing the local parish church.  In addition to this group are the Lady Anthea (a delightful surprise!) and Philly’s grandfather who strike up a friendship of their own as they support and guide the younger members of the group. 

As the days and weeks pass and the estate gardens come to a beautiful fruition, the group rallies around one another in friendship and burgeoning love to celebrate what they have accomplished.  While this may seem like the culmination of their success, all is not right with their world.  Thanks to meddling outsiders, miscommunications, and hurt feelings, many of the friendships and partnerships forged during the garden project are torn apart and are seemingly beyond repair.  In her despair, Lorna asks the Lady Anthea to poke around the property and see what she knows of a lost garden, a space so beautiful it should have never been forgotten.  With broken hearts and a desire to take their minds off their respective situations, Lorna and Philly dive into the restoration of yet another estate garden.  What neither knows is that the Lady Anthea’s plans are meant to just distract the two, but right the wrongs that have so recently occurred.

The Bottom LineA Secret Garden was my first Katie Fforde book and I have to say, I think I’ll be coming back for more!  Essentially, this book is split into two parts, the work and completion on the first known garden, and the work and completion on the second, previously forgotten about garden.  Though garden restoration is certainly a theme which ties the two parts of the book together, there are other deeper themes as well including, love, friendship, trust, loyalty, and the value of hard work and dedication to a project.  With the exception of one couple, Lorna’s best-friend and his “girlfriend,” each couple is interesting, full-bodied, and so easy to follow and root for.  With that in mind, I was thrilled to find such a variety of personalities from the bold and brash (Lady Anthea) to those with a softer, more subtle kind of strength (Philly).  The connections between all the characters is one of the highlights of the read followed closely by the descriptions of the gardens and the work done there.  In all, A Secret Garden is a fine stand-alone, clean read that will certainly appeal to a wide variety of readers.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Lions and Tigers and Boys by Tawny Stokes

 

LionsThe last thing a girl as awkward as Dani Gale should be doing is trying to learn the high wire. Yet that’s exactly where Dani ends up—at OZ, the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts. Trying to overcome her shyness is near impossible when her new partner—the hottest guy she’s ever laid eyes on, and whose touch seems to give her poise she thought impossible—also seems to be sabotaging her progress.

The last thing Cai Coppersmith needs is a distraction, especially in the form of the new, cute shy girl. He needs to focus on trying not to shape-shift into a tiger on school grounds, and completing his mission to keep Dani from winning the school’s high-wire competition. In fact, the entire safety of OZ is relying on Dani not succeeding. But there’s something about the girl that draws him in. She has magic, he can feel it. So he’ll do what he can to protect her, even if it means pushing her away.

Excerpt from Lions and Tigers and Boys:

I spread my legs into a straddle and flattened my torso onto the floor. This was one of my favorite stretches, as it really worked on the lower back. I was rewarded with a whole bunch of snapping and popping sounds when my spine repositioned. As I turned my head slightly to the left, I saw Cai walk into the studio. My belly instantly flip-flopped.

He wore a form-fitting dark blue tank top and baggy knee length shorts. He wasn’t football player big, but he was strong-looking with wide shoulders and trim arms that were cut sharp with muscles. He looked lean but powerful, and I imagined he could do a one armed push-up with little difficulty. He looked a bit like Eddie Redmayne, but with fewer freckles and redder, wilder hair.

His gaze flicked to me briefly, then he strode across the floor and found a spot to toss his bag on the opposite side from where I was. I tried not to make a big deal out of it. He was just sitting with the other sophomores. It wasn’t like he was avoiding me altogether.

I sat up and tried to catch his gaze, but he was talking with the boy stretching next to him. It was probably a good thing, because I needed to focus. I didn’t come to this school to chase a boy. I came to be the best high-wire act the world had ever seen. I came to make my mother proud.

Suddenly the lights flickered overhead. We all looked up to the ceiling to see our instructor Miss Gisele balancing on one of the high wires. She smiled and waved. “Bonjour mes beautés.”

She walked easily across the wire, and it hardly even moved. She then stopped, bent backward, and did a walkover. When she was upright again, she went onto her toes and did a pirouette. I gaped in awe. After another wave, she let herself drop from the wire and landed in the net beneath it.

She was weightless. Like a fairy dancing on a flower petal. That’s what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be.

“Welcome to OZ,” she said, her voice thickly accented. We all got to our feet. “In my class, you will learn to find balance. Not only here,” she held out her arms to her sides, “but in here.” She tapped her head, then her heart, then her stomach.

About the author and where to find her:

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: The Vanishing Spark of Dusk by Sara Baysinger

 

DuskStand up.

When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she’s determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she’s brave enough, her voice.

Be heard.

Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father’s business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth—escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.

Fight back.

Excerpt from A Vanishing Spark of Dusk:

“What have we here. A runaway?”

I can’t think. In my panic I can hardly breathe—

“Easy there.” His voice is lucid and smooth, not rough and unkind like I imagined it would be. He releases me. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The first scattered thought that crosses my mind when I look at him is, he’s not really too different from Humans. I mean, apart from being exceptionally tall, he really could pass for a Human. His tanned face is clean-shaven, and when he smiles, dimples appear. Dark feathery hair the color of molasses curls around two pointed ears. Amusement flickers in his eyes—and for the first time I notice the strange color of them. They’re not crazy at all, the way Johnson described. They have a purple hue, soft and deep like lilacs. Never look them in the eye. One of Johnson’s many lessons. I avert my gaze.

“What are you doing outside the plantation?” His voice is not accusing but slightly curious. “You shouldn’t be out here unless you have a death wish. Correct?”

My stomach drops. Yes. He thinks I’m a slave. This could be good.

Or really bad.

I glance at the sky, think of something to say, but every Tavdorian word I’ve ever learned has decided to take a vacation.

“The sunset,” I finally say in his language. “You can get the best view from here.” It’s the weakest excuse ever, but it’ll buy me some time.

“The sunset?” He crosses his arms, and I notice how strong he is, his forearms corded in muscle.“You risked your life leaving the plantation…for a sunset?”

One swallow. Two blinks. “It’s worth it, don’t you think?” I gesture toward the sky, now turning a deep shade of crimson.

He swivels his eyes toward the sunset, then back at me. A confused smile forms on his two perfect lips, and I briefly wonder if all Tavdorians are this good-looking or if I’ve officially lost my mind.

“Alno must be lenient. Not many slaves get the privilege of enjoying a sunset.”

My heartbeat spikes. Look away. Johnson told me Tavdorians never speak civilly to Humans. It’s all orders and reprimands. So why is this one speaking to me? Why isn’t he reacting in anger at my “privilege”?

“But you don’t have to worry about a lashing from me.” The Tavdorian steps closer, and my shoulders stiffen. He’s so tall my head barely reaches his chest. If he thought I was a runaway, he could easily swing me over his shoulder and carry me to the plantation himself.

“What do you want with me?” The question comes out in a breathless whisper. I allow myself to peek up at him. He stares back, his eyes sparking with curiosity.

“Simple conversation would be enough.”

A conversation. With a Tavdorian. There’s nothing simple about that.

“You don’t need to tremble so much. I’m not going to harm you.” He waves his hand in the air. “Or tell on you for running away.”

“Thank you,” I manage to whisper, realizing after I speak the words that I just confirmed his suspicion.

“I would suggest you run with more resources, though. Food. Water.” His eyes drift over my threadbare tunic, and he frowns. “Layers of clothing, perhaps.”

“I’m fine, really.”

“Do you know how to hunt?”

I’m starting to wonder if this is an interrogation.

He narrows his eyes and lowers his voice a notch. “Or are you meeting with other runaways? I heard there were two who ran from the plantation. Alno must have a terrible time keeping his fence intact.”

I can’t speak. My mouth has been bolted shut, my fear threatening to choke me.

He sighs and drags his hand through his hair. “This conversation is seriously getting boring. You can either speak to me like a civil…being. Or you can walk away and leave me hanging, wondering who the mysterious copper-haired runaway was that I met on the riverbank.”

My brain screams at me to walk away, but this Tavdorian isn’t the only curious one here.

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About the author and where to find her:

My name is Sara Baysinger and I write books. I was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where I spent my early life exploring uncharted lands on horseback and raising chickens. I now make my home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with my husband and two children…and I still raise chickens. My dystopian novel BLACK TIGER was self-published in 2016, with books 2 & 3 published in 2017. When not getting lost in a book, I can be found gardening, devouring chocolate, and running off the sugar-high from said chocolate.

I’m currently working on an upcoming science fiction romance novel that will release with Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing.

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Spotlight, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: Saved by the Blog Series by Kerri Carpenter

BMUB

 

Falling for the Right Brother: This just in, fair readers! Chic and stunning, that gorgeous new woman about town is none other than our very own little Ellie–now Elle–Owens. She’s a far cry from the frumpy, bookish student we used to know, but then, living in Italy will do that to a girl! Still, this blogger can’t forget the infamous video that caused her to leave!

Apparently Miss Elle has been spotted with yummy contractor Cam Dumont…but we thought her heart belonged to his little brother. Are Cam and Elle a new couple? They were seen cooling their passions in the bay…in April! If this is love, let’s hope she’s swimming with the right brother. The Bayside Blogger will keep you posted.

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Bidding on the Bachelor: Big news, fair readers! Bayside High’s favorite It Girl is back. Would you have bet Clarissa Blackwell would ever return? Ten years ago, she crushed Jasper Dumont’s heart under her Jimmy Choos and left town for a bigger, better life. Her return raises one question: What is she running from (or is it to) now?

Perhaps Jasper knows? One look at Carissa and he fell in the bay! (Rich, single and devastatingly handsome, Jasper’s our catch of the day.) That icy plunge should have brought him to his senses, yet “Casper” has been spotted together all over town. Does this mean Bayside’s legendary couple may reunite? The stakes are high, but the Bayside Blogger’s money is riding on love!

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Bayside’s Most Unexpected Bride: Word on the street is that Sawyer Wallace, editor in chief of our favorite—but financially strapped—local paper, has been offered a hot deal to save the Bayside Bugle! All he’s got to do is reveal the identity of the Bayside Blogger. Even if doing so means losing Riley Hudson, his oldest friend. And, maybe, the woman making him rethink his singleton status!

Riley’s just as crazy about her best bud and boss—which is why she’s always kept him at a distance. Plus, only Sawyer knows her real identity. Talk about compromising positions… Would revealing the truth destroy their chance at leaving the friendzone? Or perhaps there will be wedding bells for this couple, who truly are meant for each other!

Excerpt from Bayside’s Most Unexpected Bride:

“Hey, boss. What’s up?”

He steepled his hands on his desk and peered at her with his dreamy hazel eyes.

Damn. Dreamy? She meant irritating. Beady even.

The weather was unseasonably cold already and he was sporting a pair of corduroy pants and a somewhat ugly argyle sweater that she knew had been a Christmas gift from his mother last year. Not the most stylish of outfits and yet somehow he looked like he’d walked out of the pages of an L.L.Bean catalog. Just because he was tall with broad shoulders and had really cute sandy-brown hair that flopped on his head because he needed a haircut. And today he was wearing his glasses. What was it about a large lumberjack-looking man who wore glasses? Why did that make her stomach twist up into knots? And then there was his lopsided smile…

What in the heck was she doing? This was Sawyer Wallace, lifelong friend and, more importantly, boss. She couldn’t size him up like a piece of meat. Especially because they worked together. Especially because of what had happened to her in New York.

“Riley,” he began.

“Sawyer,” she countered, and bit her lip in anticipation.

He reached into his top desk drawer and pulled out a colorful silk scarf. “Before I forget, Tony found this at The Brewside. Said you left it there a couple of weeks ago and he kept forgetting to give it to you.”

She reached for the bright yellow scarf with lime-green polka dots. One of her favorites.

“Thanks,” she mumbled. “Tony must have given this to you while you were on your date.” She used air quotes for the word date and wiggled her eyebrows.

Sawyer exhaled a long breath.

“What?” she asked, feigning innocence.

“‘Bayside’s forever bachelor’?” he quoted. “Really?”

She shrugged.

“I thought I told you to keep me out of the Bayside Blogger’s column.”

Copyright © 2018 Bayside’s Most Unexpected Bride by Kerri Carpenter

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About the author and where to find her:

Kerri-Harry WorkingAward-winning romance author Kerri Carpenter writes contemporary romances that are sweet, sexy, and sparkly. When she’s not writing, Kerri enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) rescued poodle mix, Harry.

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