Nursing a broken heart while everybody around him seems to be drowning in happiness has Grant Cutter wondering whether staying with Engine 59—or even Boston Fire—is in his future. It’s tempting as hell to pack up what fits in his Jeep and hit the road. But then a 911 call brings the woman who shattered his heart back into his life, and he knows he won’t ever be able to fully leave her in his rearview mirror.
For a few months, Wren Everett had thought the nightmare of her past was behind her and she might live happily ever after with Grant. Until she got the phone call letting her know the time her ex had spent in jail for assault hadn’t cooled his temper or determination that she belonged with him. Cutting ties with Grant was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but it was also the only way to keep him safe.
Now that Grant is back, he’s not letting Wren push him away again. And even with the trust issues between them, Wren dares to hope she and Grant might have a future together after all…if they’re willing to fight for it.
The apartment was small—one room and probably barely legal—so it only took a few seconds to follow the coughing to the person on the floor near the window. While Aidan did a quick check of the bathroom and under the bed to make sure there was nobody else, Grant crouched down next to the person he was pretty sure was a woman, despite having a throw blanket over her head.
“Fire department,” he said. “Let’s get you out of here.”
Her cough was so weak and ineffectual, he didn’t bother asking if she could get up and walk. Instead he rolled her, intending to lift her and carry her out.
Then the throw blanket slipped away from a sleep-tangled mess of blonde curls, revealing dark blue eyes he saw in his dreams, and Grant’s world stopped.
He hadn’t seen her in five months, since she’d told him on the phone she didn’t want to see him anymore and then ghosted. No explanation. No compromise. Nothing but five months of a broken heart that hadn’t even begun to heal yet.
What the hell was she doing in this place?
Grant. Her mouth formed his name, though no sound got through her constricted throat. The grayish cast of her skin and lips terrified him, and he started to hoist her up.
Aidan was at his side. “I’ll carry her out.”
“I’ve got her.” Despite the shock and pain from seeing her again, Grant wanted to hold her. He wanted to cradle her in his arms and feel that sense of contentment holding her had always brought him in the past.
There was no time for that. After draping her over his shoulder, he stood and headed for the door. It wouldn’t be a comfortable ride for her, but the only thing that mattered right now was getting her out of the building and to an ambulance, where they could give her oxygen. Her body had gone totally limp by the time he reached the stairs, but he refused to consider the possibility she’d need medical care beyond that.
They’d gotten there in time, and that’s all there was to it.
He heard voices in his radio and was aware Aidan stayed right behind him, but Grant didn’t stop moving until he hit the clear, frigid air.
He paused to get his bearings and then headed for the ambulances on standby. Some of those voices in his radio must have warned them he was coming, because Cait opened the back of her truck and waved at him.
Cait Tasker was not only an EMT, but she was engaged to Gavin Boudreau, who was Grant’s best friend and with the Ladder 37 crew. E-59 and L-37 were parked side-by-side in the firehouse and always rolled out together, so Gavin was on scene, too. And Cait knew Wren. The four of them had spent a lot of time together before Wren walked away from him and didn’t look back.
By the time he reached the ambulance doors, he could feel her stirring. Not a lot, but she had to be breathing in order to regain consciousness and that was enough for now.
Because it was so damn cold and she was small, they didn’t bother with the stretcher. He handed Wren up to Cait’s partner, Tony, who turned away with her.
“Oh my God, Grant.” Cait looked at him, her expression mirroring his thoughts. “What the hell was Wren doing living here?”
“I don’t know. She’ll be okay, right?”
“We’ll take care of her. Are you okay?”
He didn’t answer. As he watched Tony fit a mask over Wren’s face, her eyes met his and, no, he wasn’t okay.
Questions tumbled through his mind. Why was Wren living in this place? Why had she disappeared from his life so abruptly? How could she still be in the city and not miss him enough to at least send a text message?
Had she known he’d been days away from buying her a ring and asking her to spend the rest of her life with him?
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and off-roading with her friends and family. You can contact Shannon through her website, www.shannonstacey.com, as well as sign up for her newsletter.
He’s the bastard of the empire, a savant, a genius, and a self-made success. He left it all behind, but he came back for her. Their passion is a flame that ignites more than their bond. It ignites secrets, lies, and a puzzle that once solved, will shake them to the core. You know one deep, dark secret, but you do not yet know anywhere near everything.
I forget everything but him. How can I not? He owns me. That was my fear, but I don’t feel fear now. No fear at all. But there are other emotions, a swell of unnamed emotions overwhelming me. We’re in his territory, his home, the danger and darkness of this night, driving confessions and intimacy to a whole new level. “I’m not just going to fuck you, Harper,” Eric promises. “I’m going to make love to you.”
I spoke that word to him, so hearing it on his lips shouldn’t send shockwaves through me, but somehow it does. It shouldn’t make my chest expand with fear that I didn’t feel moments before, but it does. I both want him to love me and fear the moment he does. With love comes real pain when he tells me to walk away and gives me a shove when he doesn’t really follow, because he decides the bastard and the princess can’t survive.
My walls erect. I need to protect myself. “What happened to fucking the princess and leaving her behind?”
“We just had this conversation. I’m not leaving you again.”
“And yet you told me to leave.”
“I did,” he says. “But I’m a bastard, remember? And not just any bastard. I’m the one who wants you too damn much now to do what’s right. You run. I’ll run faster. I’ll come for you.”
Heat rushes up my neck. “Fucking me is safe,” I whisper. “Fucking me is—”
“Fucking you is perfect,” he says. “And I will fuck you, Harper. Every way I can think of and every day, but right now, I’m going to show you more than the bastard. I’m going to make love to you.” His lips part mine, his tongue stroking deep, stroking long, exploring, and the demand I’d felt in him when he’d snapped is nowhere to be found. There is just this sultry, sexy, caress of his tongue that seduces me and tears down my walls.
I am his to do with as he pleases. I am his to please or otherwise. I think he really will break my heart. I think he knows it, too, but it’s too late to turn back. We’re on a path together that must be traveled, no matter where it leads.
THE BASTARD (book one) – Available Now
THE PRINCESS (book two) – Available Now
THE EMPIRE (book three) – March 12, 2019
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.
In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling WHITE LIES and LILAH LOVE series.
Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
No one tells you what happens when you fall in love with your best friend.
They don’t tell you it’s like waiting for the answer to a question no one can hear you ask.
Meet Brynn Darling. Successful event coordinator. Celebrity friends. At the top of her game. But after many failed attempts at finding love, and a realization that her best friend is clueless, she’s ready to move on.
Easton Cole has been in the friend zone since . . . well, forever. He fills the void with unimportant people and never gets attached. That is until Brynn begins seeing a guy who threatens everything he’s ever wanted.
All bets are off.
Maybe it’ll never happen.
Maybe she’ll fall in love.
Maybe they’ll get their ever after . . . after all.
Real moments were scarce.
Wait, let me rephrase. Important moments were scarce. You know the ones. The ones that defined your life and shaped you into who you were always meant to be. Or who you always wanted to be.
That was the beauty of rarity. It forces you to look at your life from new angles – makes you appreciate the struggle you’ve endured before.
As I caught my breath, the delicious heaviness of Easton on me, I knew I was having one of those rare moments that would forever influence my life.
Easton pushed my hair back, his touch featherlight. I couldn’t understand how he could be so forceful – so strong – one minute, taking everything he could, and then so soft the next. Easton Cole was an enigma and I desperately wanted to know more.
“My sweet Brynn,” he whispered in my ear, again and it sent shivers through my body.
I was his.
When he looked at me like that . . . I couldn’t breathe.
He settled between my legs and I hummed with contentment, happy to have him close, comfortable enough to never let him leave.
The alarm on his phone began to ring and our reality smacked me in the face. “What happens next?” I asked in a small voice, feeling even smaller. I didn’t want to leave this room. I didn’t want to pop our bubble. I liked it.
Easton reached for his phone and silenced it. “We go home.”
I blinked, unable to say anything. He didn’t answer my question. Not really. His response was far too literal for my taste, but what was I to do?
So, instead, I kept quiet, watching the sun pour into our room, Easton’s skin turning a beautiful bronze color.
After a while, we broke apart, each of us getting dressed in silence. He stole sweet glances as I piled my hair onto my head and I snuck a few peaks as he brushed and styled his hair in front of the mirror.
Euphoric and sad, I teetered on the brink of begging him to stay here forever. I had no idea what kind of future we faced on the other side of the hotel door.
But my mother’s words rang in my ears, reminding me to take it slow.
Live in the moment, darlin’ girl. Don’t forget to exist in the present while you’re waiting for the future.
Once our things were packed and ready to go, I took a moment to look around the room – our safe haven where so many truths were shared.
I’d forever remember this hotel and the way the room smelled. The way the sheets felt against my skin and the sounds Easton made in my ear as we made love.
I’d remember all of it.
But what I’ll remember most is the way Easton looked at me and the way he made me feel without using any words at all.
A Moscato aficionado, and chocolate mistress, Cassie Graham is a born and raised Arizona girl. Her sass knows no bounds and almost always has something kind to say, no matter the situation. She runs a platform of love and strives to bring those attributes out in every book she writes.
She started writing early in her high school career after an English teacher forced her to write in a journal. Four years and thirty-something notebooks full of words later, she found her passion. If Cassie isn’t shoulder-deep in writing a version of a fairytale, you can find her front porch sitting with her husband and daughter, eating all the bread, gossiping with her best friends, visiting Disneyland, supporting strong women, listening to cheesy music and reading great books by amazing people. She loves binge-watching Supernatural, drooling over Dean, Sam and Cas, and going to conventions. She also enjoys spreading love any chance she can. So, if you run into her, give her a hug or a high-five. She guarantees they’re magic.
Author of Unable to Resist, Anyone But Him, The Truth of a Liar, Enchanting Wilder, Surviving Wilder, Who Needs Air and The Girl Behind the Red Door.
Blake “Burg” Reasenburg has it all. A woman he loves, a new baby, and the greatest job he could want. But that all changes in just the blink of an eye. Less than a 10% chance to survive is what the doctors tell them. There’s nothing he can do to save her. There’s nothing he wouldn’t give to trade places with her.
This book was inspired by true events. Find the trailer here
“Blake, I want to keep it a secret.”
I was pacing back and forth in the doctor’s office. Emma didn’t want to know, but I needed to know. “You don’t understand. I need to know.”
“Because, everyone so far has had girls. Girls! I need to know if we’re going to have to buy more guns.”
“Really? You don’t think we have enough in the house already?”
I gripped her by the shoulders and shook her slightly. “Do you know what boys are like? Teenage boys are horny and they’ll do or say anything to get in a girl’s pants. I know. I was one of them.”
“So, you’re telling me that you lied to girls in high school so you could have sex?”
“Yes!” It was like she was just coming to the conclusion that all boys were scoundrels. “Do you understand now?”
“Well, if all boys are like that, then I’d rather have a girl.”
“What? What sense does that make?”
“Well, we only have to worry about her getting pregnant once. Imagine all the girls we would have to worry about if we had a boy. He could be out there sowing his wild oats all over town. We could potentially have hundreds of grandchildren in one year. And then it’s not just the girls you have to worry about, but those dads. Imagine if one of those dads was one of your coworkers. What do you think Mark would say if our son knocked up his little girl?”
“Sinner would probably be giving her notes,” I said in irritation.
“Okay, then imagine it was Knight’s daughter. Kate’s due in just two months and they already know they’re having a girl. Do you really think that Knight wants our future son deflowering his daughter?”
I took a step back and shuddered at the thought of what Knight would do to me if we had a boy and he knocked up his little girl. I imagined car bombs, torture sessions, lengthy interrogations, and deadly scars from the knives he would use on me. “We should definitely have a girl.”
I’m a stay at home mom that loves to read. Some of my favorite titles are Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Horatio Hornblower. I started writing when I was trying to come up with suggestions on ways I could help bring in some extra money. I came up with the idea that I could donate plasma because you could earn an extra $500/month. My husband responded with, “No. Find something else. Write a blog. Write a book.” I didn’t think I had anything to share on blog that a thousand other mothers hadn’t already thought of. I decided to take his challenge seriously and sat down to write my first book, Jack. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing. From there, the stories continued to flow and I haven’t been able to stop. I hope my readers enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Between reading, writing, and taking care of three small kids, my days are quite full.
Brought to you by: Enticing Journey Book Promotions
When you open up your home and your heart …
Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.
But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.
To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?
Magnolia House is everything Rowan Forrester and her husband could have ever wished for in a home! With rooms perfect for living and for working, Magnolia House was meant to be the start of a wonderful future, the newest chapter in an already happy marriage. Unfortunately, the universe doesn’t always dance to the same tune as our wishes and within weeks of moving in, Rowan finds herself very much alone and unsure of her future.
Not willing to turn her life upside down yet again, Rowan decides to renovate Magnolia House making it suitable for both herself and renters. Bringing strangers into her home is a scary prospect, but for once, the universe seems to be on Rowan’s side. While visiting her parents in France, she inadvertently runs into (literally!) Ace, a wonderfully happy, energetic, and enthusiastic man who happens to be looking for a new place to call home back in jolly old England. One suite down, one to go . . .
Nora and her adorable daughter, Primrose have been down on their luck for a time, but things are starting to look up and the first bit of hope they have had comes in the form of a suite in Magnolia House. Nora is a model and wonderful mother and the new company brings a bit of joy back to Rowan’s life and certainly to Magnolia House.
As everyone settles into their new lives, new homes, and new arrangements, Rowan does her best to navigate it all and move past the heartache of her loss. She becomes fast friends with Ace, finds some small success with her jewelry making small business, adores looking after Primrose and chatting with Nora, and disturbingly attracted to Ace’s roommate. Yes, things are definitely changing in Rowan’s life; sadly, not all the changes are good.
Though Rowan’s jewelry is selling well, she needs to do more, make more, market more if she is going to have a successful and proper business. Her attraction to James is exciting yet also feels like a betrayal of her late husband, her best friend (and sister-in-law) is clearly struggling with something beyond the loss of her brother, and there are the nasty messages that keep appearing, messages that hint at a dark past Rowan knows nothing about. As if the grieving process weren’t enough, Rowan also must deal with all these issues as well as the day-to-day bits that life always seems to throw at her. Little does Rowan know, all the problems and all the issues are going to come to light and be dealt with in one crushing moment and Magnolia House will never be the same again.
The Bottom Line: I have had a truly excellent start to my book reading year and Magnolia House is just one more example of the excellence! The synopsis really doesn’t do this book justice with regards to how much actually occurs, how many lives and moments intersect, and how the past comes crashing, in a most spectacular way into the present. This isn’t just a story about love, friendship, and loyalty, but also one of learning to trust again, healing, and accepting the past for what it was and moving beyond it into a bright and hopeful future. Magnolia House is also very much about the strength of one woman who discovers rock bottom does indeed have a basement and there is nowhere to go from the basement, but up. I found this strange mixing of people and events to be most enjoyable with all the emotions and feels and plot twists to be entirely engrossing. Once Magnolia House really got moving, I found it hard to put down and very much plowed my way through to the much deserved HEA.
Veterinarian Wade Roberts is done with love. But try convincing the elderly folk of Cape Harmony who are determined to play matchmaker. Now the young single women in town are bombarding him with baked goods and love notes, and being “taken” is the only way to stop the meddling grannies—which is why he needs a fake fiancée. Fast.
Arden Pearson loves planning weddings. Other people’s weddings, that is. After her own engagement ended in disaster, she prefers to live vicariously through her work. But when she needs to persuade a big client that she’s capable of planning the celebrity wedding of the year, she’s willing to go as far as pretending to be engaged herself to her best friend’s older brother.
Soon their ruse has everyone in town believing they make the perfect couple—including Arden. She’s always been nothing more than a kid sister to Wade, and it might take a village to convince him otherwise…
He threw Arden a tight smile, hoping she’d get the hint and play along. “Yes, because I’m dating Arden here. We’ve been waiting to finally make it official in town.” He gave Arden’s shoulder an extra squeeze when her mouth dropped open. “Didn’t want to tell people too soon. You know, in case it didn’t work out. But I think we can finally come clean, don’t you agree, honey?”
Arden slowly blinked her ocean-blue eyes up at him as if coming out of a yearlong coma. “Uh, right…babycakes.”
Babycakes? Seriously? That’s the first nickname she could think of?
Wade’s smile was frozen in place as he turned back to Judy. “See?”
Judy pushed her dark-framed glasses up her nose, then laid a hand on her heart. “Oh my. This is such wonderful news! Better than I’d hoped. I knew something was going on between you two.”
“You did?” they both asked. He and Arden regarded each other. She seemed as confused as he felt.
Judy nodded. “Yep. I’m an expert on true love. Been married sixty years next month,” she said proudly.
“That must be why you’re so good at matchmaking,” he lied. “Sorry to take your work out from under you like this.”
She blushed and waved his comment away. “You’re too sweet. But the girls and I just wanted to see you happy for a change now that Kinsley was settled.”
Happy for a change? Was he really that miserable looking?
Arden cleared her throat, nudging him in the side with her knuckle. Ow. The woman had steel for bones.
“Babycakes,” Arden said between her teeth, slyly poking him again, “I really need to buy my coffee and get going. I have an appointment this afternoon to prepare for.”
“Oh right. I forgot. Well, you know your money’s no good when you’re with me, honey,” he said, winking at Judy. “Order what you like. I’ve got it.”
Arden smiled up at him sweetly before ordering. “Two regular macchiatos—no, make that grande macchiatos, a bag of regular ground coffee, and four gingerbread muffins. Oh, and you might as well throw in a couple of those ham paninis. It’s almost lunch time after all.”
Wade narrowed his eyes. “Two coffees, a bag of coffee, four muffins, and a couple of paninis, honey?”
“Yes, babycakes,” she said with an innocent smile. “I’ve been so very hungry lately. Gee, I hope I’m not eating for two.” When she gingerly pressed a hand on her belly, he choked.
“Uh, she’s kidding,” he told Judy, handing her the money. “That’s what I love about her.” He gave Arden a sidelong glare. “She’s so much fun to be around.”
Fun as a rabid rottweiler.
Judy winked as she gave him back his change. “Trying to one-up Kinsley with a baby, huh?”
He shook his head. “No. There’s no baby.”
“Yet,” Arden chimed in.
Wade gritted his teeth. At that very moment he wasn’t sure who he was more annoyed with: his nosy personal matchmaker or his sassy, fake, almost-pregnant girlfriend.
One of Judy’s staff came over to the counter and handed Arden her bag of food and take-out tray of coffees. “Thanks so much,” Arden said. She gave Wade a wide grin. “And thank you, baby lips.”
It’s babycakes. Couldn’t she even keep the nickname straight? She was a terrible fake girlfriend.
Judy chuckled. “You two are so cute together.”
Wade harrumphed as he watched Arden sashay to a side table for napkins. “See you later, Judy.” He pointed a finger at her before turning away. “Remember, no more matchmaking. Arden is very jealous.”
“Oh, of course.” The older woman folded her hands and seemed insulted. “I wouldn’t think of it now.”
Halleluiah. He was almost sure he heard angels singing, and hoped what Judy said was true. No more matchmaking. No more women. No more gifts. And if it were true, he needed to ensure pronto that his newfound-fake girlfriend didn’t blow his cover. He glanced around, and when he saw Arden had left, rushed out the door to catch up with her.
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Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Montlake Romance and Entangled Publishing. Her novel, FIANCE BY FATE—a 2015 Readers’ Crown Finalist—became an Amazon #1 best seller for Series Romance. And recently, Wrong Brother, Right Match, WON the Sweet Traditional category of the 2017 Golden Quill Contest and became a #1 Amazon bestseller for Holiday Romance.
She resides in a beach resort in NJ, so when she’s not writing or working on her tan, she’s taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter and puppy (Sox).
Check out her website for News and Links: www.jennifershirk.com
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