Blog Tour: Shopping for a Billionaire Vol 1 by Julia Kent

Shopping for a Billionaire (Book 1, Shopping for a Billionaire series)

Author: Julia Kent
Release Date:  June 2, 2014
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

Ever meet a hot billionaire while your hand’s in a toilet in the men’s room of one of his stores?

No? So it really is just me. Hm.

When you’re a mystery shopper, you get paid to humiliate yourself, all in the name of improving customer service. Romance isn’t in my job description.

But the day I met Declan McCormick it was love at first flush.

Until I nearly castrated him with my EpiPen.

How Hot Guy and Toilet Girl became an item involves my crazy mom, a trip to the ER, my homicidal cat, my fake wife, and true love.

Don’t look at me like that. I’m just doing my job.

I’m shopping for a billionaire.

The Shopping for a Billionaire collection from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent is a 600+ page, hilarious romantic comedy with heart, heat, and laughs.

This boxed set contains the previously published:
Shopping for a Billionaire 1
Shopping for a Billionaire 2
Shopping for a Billionaire 3
Shopping for a Billionaire 4
Christmas Shopping for a Billionaire

Buy it now!

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Audible | iTunes | Bookbub
Amazon US | UK | CA | AU | Print

Add it to your TRB on Goodreads

 

Excerpt

I realize we’re still shaking hands, and his eyes are taking me in. “Uh, Shannon. Shannon Jacoby. Nice to meet you.” I find my voice.

He looks around the room and bursts out laughing, a flash of straight white teeth and a jaw I want to nuzzle making me inhale sharply. That laugh is the sound of extraordinary want entering my body, taking up residence low in my belly, and now waiting for a chance to pick china patterns and paint colors to really consider itself at home.

Go away, want. I’ve banished you.

Want ignores me and settles in, cleaning out the cobwebs that have taken up residence where I used to allow desire and hope and arousal to live.

Squatter.

“Shannon, this has to be the strangest way I’ve ever met a woman.” One corner of his mouth curls up in a sexy little smile, like we’re on a beach drinking alcohol out of coconuts carved by Cupid and not in a ratty old bathroom with a fluorescent tube light that starts buzzing like a nest of mosquitoes at an outdoor blood bank.

“You don’t get around much, then,” I say. My toes start to curl as my body fights to contain the wellspring of attraction that is unfurling inside me. No. Just…no. I can’t let myself feel this. You spend enough time trying not to feel something and all that work gets thrown away with one single flush.

He does that polite laugh thing, eyes narrowing. I decide to just stare openly and catalog him right back. Brown hair, clipped close, in a style that can only come at the hands of the owner of a very expensive salon. The bluish-gray suit, textured and smooth at the same time, shimmering and flat as well under the twitchy light. Skin kissed by the sun but also a bit too light, as if he used to spend a lot of time outdoors but hasn’t recently.

A body like a tall tennis player’s, or a golfer’s, and not my dad with his pot-bellied buddies getting in a round of nine holes at 4 p.m. just so they can have an excuse to drink their dinner. Declan is tall and sleek, confident and self-possessed. He moves like a lion, knowing the territory and owning it.

Always aware of any movement that interests him.

I’m 5’ 9” and he’s taller than me by at least half a foot. Tall girls always do a mental check: could I wear high heels with him? Steve hated when I wore high heels, because it put me eye-to-eye with him.

“What are you doing in the men’s room?” he asks, smirking at me.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down

Connect with Julia
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

** GIVEAWAY ALERT **

In celebration of the release of Shopping for a Billionaire collection, a giveaway is being run! Up for grabs is a $25 winner’s choice gift card!

This Blitz-wide giveaway is open internationally. The giveaway ends January 7, 2021 .

Join now with the link below!
Head-on to Rafflecopter here

Good luck!

Blood and Bone by Paula Dombrowiak

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Published on: 30 October 2020
Type: standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Paula L Dombrowiak
Read: 29 December 2020
Shelved: 31 December 2020
Rating: 5 / 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get it here:
Amazon | Kobo | Google Books| Barnes & Noble | Bookbub | Goodreads

Synopsis

Love is complicated, messy, and sometimes painful but oh so worth it. A heartbreaking journey through love, friendship, family, and fame.
Music brought them together, addiction tore them apart, loyalty saved them. It was always Jack and Mia, everyone else was just collateral damage.

Jack O’Donnell’s life was teetering on the edge. Forced, as a teenager, to make a decision that would change his life forever, he left his hometown to pursue a music career with collaborator Mia Stone. Living in a van by the beach was not the glamorous Los Angeles lifestyle they had envisioned but sparked the most creative time of their lives. Making it big was all they ever wanted but when it happened, friendships were tested, hearts were broken, and lives were changed forever.

Erin Langford is a seasoned journalist tasked with writing a feature on Jack O’Donnell. Being at the right place at the right moment puts Erin in a unique position to get the story, but at what cost? Having preconceived notions about Jack’s rock star image, she learns there is more to a story than just the headlines. The two embark on a journey through Jack’s past where he recounts the rise and fall of his band Mogo and the irreplaceable bond between himself and collaborator Mia Stone. The feature she thought she was going to write, turns into so much more.

Blood and Bone is an evocative story told in alternating time periods, from the early ‘90s to the present day about deep bonds between flawed people whose only outlet of self-expression is through their music.


Review

Reader Disclosure: Expect everything and anything that fame and fortune bring to complicate life – destruction, and abuse of all kinds: alcohol, drugs, addiction, suicide, and physical violence. 

Jack O’Donnell is a music artist who has come a long way with many untold stories that everyone wanted to get a hold of. Deemed as a “has been,” Jack, a divorcee by then, is at a loss on what to do with his life as he finds himself alone and dissociated with people who used to care about him – family, friends, fame, fans, etc. His daughter hates him. He keeps going back to his ex-wife even when they are “toxic” to each other. He sees an old picture that rattled his present and made him realize how he needs to finally take charge of his life and explain himself to the world on his own terms through Erin.

Erin Langford is a New York journalist sent to Los Angeles to get the story of a lifetime – Jack’s. When she went to see Jack for the interview, she got a door slammed to her face. It was not a pretty sight and was desperate. Who knew that a few moments later, she would be the one giving Jack a ride and the start of a wild adventure of getting to know this washed-up rockstar.

This book talks about the past, missed chances, unseverable connections, and complicated emotions. I had my apprehensions in starting this book from merely reading the synopsis. I knew I would be crying ugly in this book. The POV is on both Erin and Jack’s sides.

Both characters are as broken as they come, even with different backgrounds, with Jack’s story at the forefront of the book. One big observation is the way the author juxtaposes the “inflicter” versus the “receiver.” Jack has the fortunate opportunity to “rehearse” how he wants to change his life through Erin. Erin is his redemption to get back his family and his life together again – after so many years.

Jack is a ruined, broken man when Erin found herself at his doorstep. He is still relevant as an artist (and a tabloid content provider), but he preferred to stay away from the world. He has experienced much pain, disappointments, and yet, persevered and be resilient to a fault. His success from the sacrifices he had to make was also the reason for his downfall – too entitled to everything by the time he realized he was in “too deep.”

You are an easy person to love and very hard person to hate.

— Mia, Blood and Bone


Jack’s flashbacks were woven intricately into the story that everything flowed organically. Jack’s stories rode me out like a freefall that I couldn’t and wouldn’t stop. It was easy to relate and get emotionally involved. Jack vividly described the scenes like it all just happened yesterday when he started trusting Erin. The breaks between the flashbacks are a welcome reprieve, enabling readers to absorb what happened. All the flashbacks account for Jack’s outlook on everything turned from fun and loving to cynical and demanding.

Jack had already known this was his path and Erin was his tool, he just didn’t know he would like her so much.

— Jack, Blood and Bone


Erin has her share of loss, family issues, and pain that she can relate to Jack’s situation. Since meeting Jack and listening to his stories, Erin faces her unresolved feelings about her traumatic past. Her family’s music background helps Jack see the common factor they have, which could be the reason for Jack’s tolerance and patience with her. Somewhere along the way, she and Jack connected to share stories to understand each other better and trust each other.

This place is full of stories waiting to be told.

— Erin, Blood and Bone


The friends Jack keeps before Erin came along are as thick as thieves. They are loyal to a fault even when you think it is the reason for the disbanding – it’s not all that you think. They supported Jack in all his “moments” – good or bad. I do not know anyone who might do that after being hurt, but these people stick with him – Case, Wade, Mia, and Amber. Without them, Jack would have probably not existed as long as he had in the story and later made him realize how much they love him in their unique ways.

Is there a HEA with so many tragic things going on? I asked this also to the author before I even got the book. She couldn’t tell me straight out but said that it’s “a book about hope.” That is genuinely an excellent description of the book. I do not see the book ending in any other way, but what the author had written. I would describe it as such but also a more “positively wrapped ending.” The quote below best describes how I felt coming to the end.

She felt the weight of his trust like a building upon her shoulders. Her love of music had brought her to this place in life and her genuine interest in wanting to tell Jack’s story. Trust was a burden only a few could carry. She would have to see this through, even if she did not like the ending.

— Erin, Blood and Bone


Overall, the writing grabs and enticing readers. The POVs were clear and helped readers focus on Jack’s trials and tribulations with his kind of grit and resilience as a starving artist. Readers will empathize with Jack’s plight, even if he was an a**hole so many times over, as he claws through the music scene (and his personal life) with nothing on his back but himself, his Fender guitar, and Mia beside him. It was exhausting, gut-wrenching as readers will see him spiral into nothingness. 

He always wanted Mia even if it burned down everything in his f*cking way, he would never stop wanting her.

— Jack, Blood and Bone


I warn you that you will not be able to put the book down once you start. It will grab and hook you until the end. It is a genuine story about relationships and their evolution – perfect, imperfect, and unique to many people, not only in the music industry.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that, and Mia was his light.

— Jack, Blood and Bone

About the Paula

I grew up in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, right on beautiful Lake Michigan. I used to think it was an ocean because you can’t see the other side until I got older and became aware of geography. The Chicago lakeshore is my favorite place in the whole world.

I moved to Arizona in 1997 because the Chicago winters wore me down and I needed a little sunshine in my life. I came to appreciate the diversity of Arizona, the desert, the mountains, and the lakes. Yes, there are lakes in Arizona and it even snows up in the high country.

I really am a music junkie to the core and love discovering new bands, just as much as I love writing. So why not combine the two? That was how Blood and Bone was born. My favorite music is Classic Rock, Grunge, and Alternative. I also love to read and mostly enjoy YA, Fantasy, Romance, and Non-Fiction.

My wardrobe really does consist of band T-shirts and leggings that are perpetually covered in pet hair. Animals are my homies and I don’t eat my homies.

Music is what inspires my storytelling.

Connect with
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon | BookBub

Release Blitz: From Evil by Pam Godwin

From Evil, an all-new box set featuring three dangerous and sexy standalones From The Deliver Series by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Pam Godwin is available now!

Time to meet your next book boyfriend.

Tiago Badell might be the scariest villain you’ve ever encountered, but he’s also the sexiest. The notorious crime lord worships his new captive as deeply as he hurts her. She can run, but there’s no escape from a bond carved in scars.

Each standalone is a different couple with its own dark love story, all interconnected in a dangerous underworld of murderers, kidnappers, and cartels. You’ll be glad there are over 1000 pages of addictive romance and vigilante bad boys.

Are you ready to binge the continuation of the Deliver series?

More than 200,000 copies sold and thousands of 5-star reviews. No cliffhangers. Available in digital, print, and audiobook.

Download your copy today!

Amazon | Amazon Worldwide | Apple Books | Google Play | Nook | Kobo

About Pam Godwin

Pam Godwin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author

Pam Godwin lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.

Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.

Connect with Pam

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Website

Blog Tour: Dead Man Walking by Giana Darling

Dead Man Walking, an all-new “hauntingly beautiful” and dark MC romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Giana Darling, is available now!

A killer. A criminal.

A psychopath.

The Irish enforcer for The Fallen Men MC is everything good girls are taught to stay away from.

Only, I found myself inexorably drawn into his dark gravitational pull. I wanted to know what it would be like to walk beside the human personification of Death and hold his hand, feel his kiss, and maybe even earn his undying love.

But Priest McKenna is older, cold as ice, and notoriously unfeeling.

So what are the odds that a dead man walking would come to life for little, insignificant me?

When a serial killer begins to target the women of Entrance, BC, and The Fallen suffers another terrible blow, Priest resolves to hunt down the killer himself.

And when the murderer sets his eyes on me?

My very own psychopath steps between me and certain death, thrusting us into an intimacy I prayed we would never recover from.

Download your copy or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited today!

Amazon | Amazon Worldwide
Add Dead Man Walking to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2TZQE9P

Excerpt

It wasn’t exactly the first time I’d been occupied with thoughts of the girl with the pink ribbon in her hair. In fact, I calculated—because I was bored and, admittedly, obsessive—the first time had been two years, three months, and twenty-seven days ago.

It happened one day when she was eating a peach. It was such an innocent, innocuous thing and she, such an innocent, relatively innocuous girl. Nothing about the situation called for my attention. We were celebrating some birthday. The women brought the cake, and we brought the booze. Everyone was happy, talking and laughing as classic rock pumped through the speakers of Z’s oceanside home. I was even enjoying myself, talking to Smoke and Bat about the new advances in gun technology.

But then, something about the way she endeavoured to eat that piece of fruit drew my gaze from across the crowded kitchen of the Garro’s house. There was a knife in one hand, a sharp-edged paring knife with an ivory handle, and the swollen fruit in the other. Lower lip between her small, square teeth, Bea methodically cut into the fragile flesh and segmented it into clean sections that fell from the stone center into her palm. It was a shade too ripe, the seam of the skin splitting easily, juice splashing across her fingers to run down the slim, pale underside of her forearm. I watched raptly as she finished decimating the peach, then brought the blade to her full mouth, a small pink tongue flashing out dangerously close to the edge to gather the sweet liquid into her mouth. Greedy for the taste of it, she held her sticky hand bearing the fruit aloft and carefully dragged the knife up her arm, collecting the juice so she could once more lick it, kittenish, from the steel.

I wanted to be the knife.

It was, without a doubt, the single sexiest act I had ever witnessed. I felt like a voyeur standing in the kitchen of a family home lusting after the seventeen-year-old girl with a cloud of white gold hair as bright as a halo around her face as she sweetly ate a piece of fruit.

Then she did something very few people have ever successfully done.

She surprised me.

I watched with my head slightly cocked, alert like a bird braced for flight, as she sauntered across the tile on light, dancing feet with toes tipped in pink. She didn’t make eye contact with me, and it was carefully done. The way someone avoided the eyes of a potentially dangerous animal even as they were drawn closer.

She used that knife, now licked clean, to pierce a piece of fruit and casually, just a lazy rotation of elbow and wrist, extend it my way.

I stared at the peach, the glisten of it mimicked on Bea’s pale mouth. If there had ever before been a moment that felt more like a crossroads, one of those intensely crucial decisions in life when sound and time slow to a molasses crawl, I couldn’t remember it.

The peach had become some forbidden fruit, like Eve’s lusted after apple.

I did not believe in signs, omens, or myths, religious or otherwise. I believed in the power of action and base desire.

And even though I knew it was an idiotic idea, I wanted to taste the same fruit that glossed Beatrice Lafayette’s bowed lips.

So I folded my large, cold hand over her wrist, prompting her to flinch slightly with fright or anticipation. Her eyes flashed to mine, fleeting and silvered like a fish caught in a net, struggling to escape. I let her look into my own gaze, let her see the echoing dark there, and then I leaned forward to pry the peach off the blade with my teeth.

She sucked in a barely perceptible breath and watched as I tipped my head back to release the morsel into my mouth.

Without chewing, I gently took the knife from her and punctured the soft belly of another piece before relinquishing the blade back to her control. To feed her would have been too much, but at that moment, to watch as she ate the same thing at the same time as I did felt excruciatingly intimate.

The feeling scoured through me, fraying my nerves until I felt exposed.

I was not a man who chose to emote.

This was not me.

But I stood there for another moment as I chewed and swallowed in tandem with Bea, and when I turned abruptly on my heel and left the house without another word, I did it with an elevated heart rate.

So, that was it.

The moment I finally saw Beatrice Lafayette and the obsession officially began.

About Giana

Giana Darling is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Top 40 Amazon bestselling Canadian romance author who specializes in the taboo and angsty side of love and romance. She currently lives in beautiful British Columbia where she spends time riding on the back of her man’s bike, baking pies, and reading snuggled up with her cat Persephone.

Connect with Giana

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookbub
Join with Giana’s Reader Group here.
Subscribe to her newsletter for the latest updates and releases here

Blog Tour: Dead Man Walking by Giana Darling

Dead Man Walking, an all-new “hauntingly beautiful” and dark MC romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Giana Darling, is available now!

A killer. A criminal.

A psychopath.

The Irish enforcer for The Fallen Men MC is everything good girls are taught to stay away from.

Only, I found myself inexorably drawn into his dark gravitational pull. I wanted to know what it would be like to walk beside the human personification of Death and hold his hand, feel his kiss, and maybe even earn his undying love.

But Priest McKenna is older, cold as ice, and notoriously unfeeling.

So what are the odds that a dead man walking would come to life for little, insignificant me?

When a serial killer begins to target the women of Entrance, BC, and The Fallen suffers another terrible blow, Priest resolves to hunt down the killer himself.

And when the murderer sets his eyes on me?

My very own psychopath steps between me and certain death, thrusting us into an intimacy I prayed we would never recover from.

Download your copy or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited today!

Amazon | Amazon Worldwide
Add Dead Man Walking to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2TZQE9P

Excerpt

It wasn’t exactly the first time I’d been occupied with thoughts of the girl with the pink ribbon in her hair. In fact, I calculated—because I was bored and, admittedly, obsessive—the first time had been two years, three months, and twenty-seven days ago.

It happened one day when she was eating a peach. It was such an innocent, innocuous thing and she, such an innocent, relatively innocuous girl. Nothing about the situation called for my attention. We were celebrating some birthday. The women brought the cake, and we brought the booze. Everyone was happy, talking and laughing as classic rock pumped through the speakers of Z’s oceanside home. I was even enjoying myself, talking to Smoke and Bat about the new advances in gun technology.

But then, something about the way she endeavoured to eat that piece of fruit drew my gaze from across the crowded kitchen of the Garro’s house. There was a knife in one hand, a sharp-edged paring knife with an ivory handle, and the swollen fruit in the other. Lower lip between her small, square teeth, Bea methodically cut into the fragile flesh and segmented it into clean sections that fell from the stone center into her palm. It was a shade too ripe, the seam of the skin splitting easily, juice splashing across her fingers to run down the slim, pale underside of her forearm. I watched raptly as she finished decimating the peach, then brought the blade to her full mouth, a small pink tongue flashing out dangerously close to the edge to gather the sweet liquid into her mouth. Greedy for the taste of it, she held her sticky hand bearing the fruit aloft and carefully dragged the knife up her arm, collecting the juice so she could once more lick it, kittenish, from the steel.

I wanted to be the knife.

It was, without a doubt, the single sexiest act I had ever witnessed. I felt like a voyeur standing in the kitchen of a family home lusting after the seventeen-year-old girl with a cloud of white gold hair as bright as a halo around her face as she sweetly ate a piece of fruit.

Then she did something very few people have ever successfully done.

She surprised me.

I watched with my head slightly cocked, alert like a bird braced for flight, as she sauntered across the tile on light, dancing feet with toes tipped in pink. She didn’t make eye contact with me, and it was carefully done. The way someone avoided the eyes of a potentially dangerous animal even as they were drawn closer.

She used that knife, now licked clean, to pierce a piece of fruit and casually, just a lazy rotation of elbow and wrist, extend it my way.

I stared at the peach, the glisten of it mimicked on Bea’s pale mouth. If there had ever before been a moment that felt more like a crossroads, one of those intensely crucial decisions in life when sound and time slow to a molasses crawl, I couldn’t remember it.

The peach had become some forbidden fruit, like Eve’s lusted after apple.

I did not believe in signs, omens, or myths, religious or otherwise. I believed in the power of action and base desire.

And even though I knew it was an idiotic idea, I wanted to taste the same fruit that glossed Beatrice Lafayette’s bowed lips.

So I folded my large, cold hand over her wrist, prompting her to flinch slightly with fright or anticipation. Her eyes flashed to mine, fleeting and silvered like a fish caught in a net, struggling to escape. I let her look into my own gaze, let her see the echoing dark there, and then I leaned forward to pry the peach off the blade with my teeth.

She sucked in a barely perceptible breath and watched as I tipped my head back to release the morsel into my mouth.

Without chewing, I gently took the knife from her and punctured the soft belly of another piece before relinquishing the blade back to her control. To feed her would have been too much, but at that moment, to watch as she ate the same thing at the same time as I did felt excruciatingly intimate.

The feeling scoured through me, fraying my nerves until I felt exposed.

I was not a man who chose to emote.

This was not me.

But I stood there for another moment as I chewed and swallowed in tandem with Bea, and when I turned abruptly on my heel and left the house without another word, I did it with an elevated heart rate.

So, that was it.

The moment I finally saw Beatrice Lafayette and the obsession officially began.

About Giana

Giana Darling is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Top 40 Amazon bestselling Canadian romance author who specializes in the taboo and angsty side of love and romance. She currently lives in beautiful British Columbia where she spends time riding on the back of her man’s bike, baking pies, and reading snuggled up with her cat Persephone.

Connect with Giana
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookbub
Join her Reader Group or subscribe to Giana’s Newsletter for the latest updates and releases.

Knitted and Knifed (Knitty Kitty Mystery #1) by Tracey Drew

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Published on: 05 February 2021
Published by: Icon Publishing Limited
Type: series, standalone
Age: Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Author: Tracey Drew
Read: 22 December 2020
Shelved: 24 December 2020
Rating: 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get it here:

Amazon | Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books | Bookbub | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Goodreads

Synopsis

Wanted: Cat mum to manage a yarn store, corral two curious cats, all the while being tangled up in murderous mayhem and mystery.

A smart woman would dump her cheating ex, move from the city, and give herself a chance for a well-deserved do-over. A smarter woman—smarter than me, anyway—wouldn’t jump out of that same frying pan and return to Cape Discovery, a seaside village where her family is the nuttiest of all the nut-ball residents.

I’m a former high school counsellor, middle-child peacemaker, and current curator of lots of squishy/fuzzy goodness at my granddad’s little yarn store. Temporary assistant. Until I decide what to do with the rest my life. There’s only one knotty problem to untangle first. The knife sticking out of the most unpopular man in town, and the police detective trying to pin the murder on the donkey—otherwise known as my younger brother. With a pair mischievous cats determined to be underfoot and a craft group of Serial Knitters and Happy Hookers wanting the inside scoop, a girl could lose her mind. And if the killer has their way, maybe even my life…

Tessa Wakefield has her hands full juggling a cozy craft store, her crazy family, and two men who’d rather poke out their eyes than describe themselves as cute. Which they totally are. Cute, charismatic, and occasionally on her mind when she’s not stumbling over dead bodies and using her newfound sleuthing skills to track down murderers. Lucky she’s an excellent multi-tasker because digging beneath Cape Discovery’s surface can unearth secrets that kill.


Review

Tessa Wakefield is a woman who is going through a lot of changes. She is a thirty-five-year-old successful counselor to a recent divorcee with no home and had to move back to her hometown, Cape Discovery, and be a temporary assistant to her granddad’s little yarn store. With her in her adventure, Tessa has her Nana Dee-Dee’s two high maintenance and busybody cats – Pearl and Kit, while they all stumbling through dead bodies and solving murders!

This book is the first book to the Knitty Kitty Series. Unlike the prologue book, Balls & Bones, this story is told from Tessa’s POV only. It is all about the mystery, which I appreciate. Sometimes, readers need a good mystery with no frills and just detective work going on.

The fun part of the book – everyone in town is suspect! I love how weeding out the murder turns into a sport for Tessa as she runs around all over town – questioning suspects, finding out alibis while making sure Sean, her brother as the top suspect for the crime – is still on walking outside of a 4×4 cell.

It is an intriguing storyline that is not so simple when Tessa started digging around. I am liking the complexities of finding a clue or even linking clues with a suspect’s reactions. Tessa is a curious and funny woman. Her counseling background undoubtedly helped her “read” into people and have them “confess” things to her. It is a great trait to pinpoint the murder and later discover more than a simple motive. Things are NOT what they seem on the surface, and the many secrets that Tessa unraveled in this novel were far beyond tame as what this supposedly sleepy town.

I recommend this book for mystery buffs who loves a bit of comedy to balance things out. I enjoyed Tessa’s crazy antics as she solved the mystery. Its simple-at-first-sight-storyline-but-turned-complex storyline woven in with “interesting” characters will surely keep having readers guessing.


About the Tracey Drew

Tracey Drew lives Down Under with her husband–who’s given up complaining about her yarn addiction–and two madcap tabby cats called Kevin and Alfie. She loves writing about feline craziness in her cozy mysteries.
Tracey Drew is the pen name of Tracey Alvarez.

Connect with Tracey
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub
Subscribe to Tracey’s newsletter for the latest updates and new releases here.

**Prequel Alert!**

Signup for the latest updates and new releases with Tracey’s newsletter here.
Secret: you get the prequel, Balls and Bones , so subscribe now!

**Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from my subscription to the author’s mailing list. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Balls and Bones (Knitty Kitty Mystery #0.5) by Tracey Drew
Published : 01 October 2020
Author: Tracey Drew (This is a pen name for Tracey Alvarez .)
Available at: Goodreads
Read / Shelved: December 13-14, 2020
Rating: 5 / 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Blurb:
2 wannabe sleuths. 1 (or more) sloppily buried human bones. A whole lot of murderous mayhem.

Review:

Balls and Bones is an excellent introduction to the dynamic duo of Pearl and Kit – Cape Discovery’s new crime-solving brother-sister cats. They rescued kittens that later found their way into the loving care of one – Dee-Dee Wakefield, who becomes their owner.

The book is from both cat’s perspective. It is hilarious and, at the same time, fascinating to learn about Pearl and Kit’s world through their eyes. The story is short, but I enjoyed how Pearl and Kit found a way to communicate and direct their humans to the clues and the scene of the crime. The writing is friendly and approachable. The voices between the two cats are different yet cohesive with the storyline. The mystery was wrapped up nice and tidy in the end. Balls and Bones gives readers a good starting point for the next book in the series. 

This tour is hosted by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Her Crimson Reign by Tristina Brockway

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Published on: 22 December 2020
Type: standalone
Genre: Thriller, Organized Crime, Romance
Author: Tristina Brockway
Read: 21 December 2020
Shelved:
Rating: 5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get it here:
Amazon | Bookbub | Goodreads

Synopsis

SIX

I’m a murderer. A killer. An assassin.
I don’t have remorse for my sins.
I slay the monsters so you don’t have to and revel in the blood of each and every life I take.
We all have our demons. Some have more than others, but one of mine is hunting me. 
They may like to play games but little do they know, I play them better. 
The queen is the most powerful piece on the board. It would do them good to remember that. 
After all, there is a reason they call me the Crimson Queen.

GIOVANNI

I’m a murderer. A killer. An Assassin. 
I have plenty of demons. She has them, too.
If only she would let her demons dance with mine.
But someone is hunting her.
I’ll burn this entire world to the ground before they get what they want.
They may call me a Mafia Prince, but soon I’ll be a king.
If things go my way, she’ll be the queen by my side, and I’ll be her Crimson King.


Review

Anastasia “Six” is an assassin with a truckload of a past. She is a cunning, smart, and skilled killer who takes independent work from wherever for a price and the “right cause.” She is a unique woman because of her family connections, a dark past that shaped her, and the experience she had to endure to get to where she is now. She has risen from the ashes of everything to come out as The Crimson Queen.

Giovanni “Gio” Morelli is the next-in-line to the most prominent Italian mafia group in town. He is trained well in killing and helping his father, Victor, in the family business. He saw a lot of deaths and learn from them, but there is one that still brings him down to his knees up to this day. He has to learn to overcome this “weakness” else he would indeed be “taken out” faster than he can swing his deadly knife because there are others who are “gunning” for his position as heir. Ironically, Gio has the same philosophy as Six on killing – it is a tool to keep their sanity.

The story is non-stop action, suspense, and mystery as Six learns more about her troubled and traumatic past. She tries to find out who wants her “out.” The story will have you keep guesting since Six has racked up many enemies and not only individuals but “big gun groups” that will make anyone’s head spin. I had my suspicions, and although it was correct, how the author weaved in the pawns and manipulations to get to the ending was just right for the book.

Six and Gio are the coolest and most bada** anti-protagonists I have ever encountered. They both have a job that takes a strong person to go through, but their “uniqueness” are traits of assassins. They kill with purpose but also for lust. Their demons balance them between sanity and madness. I believe this “common factor” is what keeps them together. They understand each other.

Six’s past is an unfortunate one. The worst part is all of this “abuse” was inflicted by the people who are supposed to protect her! It was awful because just as she thought she got rid of a problem, another springs up. I kept shaking my head in disgust but understand that there was no solution at that time for Six.

I am surprised that Six turned out so well with a great head and support system later on around her. It was like a never-ending battle until she grew up and fought back.
Gio has his own “demons” to tame but is the more emphatic one between the two main characters. He had to discover many “new secrets” and accept them for what it is. Some were pretty sad, but there was a reason for it happening. He then had to focus on what is important to him – the here and now with Six. He does a great job of understanding her and being the support system when she starts giving in to her “demons.”

“My girl’s going to be out for blood and I’ll set the world on fire to help her avenge her father…”

— Gio, Her Crimson Reign

The supporting characters of Chance and Kat were stellar also. They provided great relief for both main characters and comic relief moments to break the tension as the story dives into suspense and mystery. Chance and Kat are childhood friends of Gio and Six, respectively. They are as close to each other as siblings from a different mother. I was at the edge of my seat when comments like this come out of Kat’s mouth, “Does this mean we’re having a sleepover?” –> Just to let you know that this comment after a siege happened wherein Six mentioned a playroom called Kat’s reaction to this. Hilarious! I choked on my drink when I read it. I love Kat and her “innocent” enough ways.

In summary, I was floored with this book! OMG OMG OMG! The secrets that came out between Gio and Six were epic! I thought Six’s background was one “bad sh*t,” but to see the connection later between them implode in the style that left me speechless. WOW…just wow! From the first sentence of Chapter 1 until the final word in the book, I was thirsty for more! This book kept me up all day/night and in-between errands to read on and finish the book as soon as possible.

I’m wearing my black leather pants and leather cropped top with combat boots. And because I’m a little extra, and dramatic as f*ck, I throw on my black crown.

— Six, Her Crimson Reign


If you want to read all about crazy assassins, intricate storylines, hidden bloodlines, and more secrets that can be contained in Fort Knox – read this book! I like how the author included a playlist to get readers into the frame of mind of Six, and it worked a lot of magic in the scenes, especially at the end. The ending was spectacular, and it can only be a Six’s signature indeed!

I am excited to see what other books will be out by this author and soon! Please tell us the story of Chance and Kat!!!

**Word of warning: contains scenes that may cause readers to skip or cover their eyes through some violent scenes. There is a lot of blood, gore, abuse, violence that may triggers because, let’s face it – there is a lot of things going on between Gio and Six that it was impossible not to have this much violence without a past.


About the Author

Tristina Brockway is a new author who is obsessed with dark romance, taboo, and all things paranormal. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading. Her newfound love of books helped her through a difficult time in her life and led her to a passion for writing.

Likes: Her family (most of the time), Bella (her rescue dog), wine, caramel macchiato’s, music.
Dislikes: People.

Connect with Tristina

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Blog Tour: Bailed Out by Rebecca Zanetti

“Once you fall into Anna’s world, you won’t want to come back to reality!”

— Lexi Blake, New York Times bestselling author

Bailed Out, the highly anticipated second novel in The Anna Alberti Files from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti, is available now!

The Past Never Stays Buried

Anna Albertini is settling into a routine while ignoring the fact that the blue-eyed Irishman she’d allowed into her bed has up and disappeared on her. Two weeks without a phone call is no big deal, but still. With her hottie Italian boss goofing up the prosecuting attorney’s office, she at least has something to fix. Until she appears in court, across from her sister Tessa’s dirtbag ex. Then she has a mission.

Unfortunately, Anna isn’t the only person who wants the ex put behind bars…or in the ground. Which is not a problem until she and a local cop find the ex-boyfriend deader than dead…with both her sister and Aiden standing over the body.

As a prosecuting attorney, it’s Anna’s job to build a case against Tessa and Aiden. As a sister, it’s SO her job to get Tess out of this mess. As Aiden’s…what? Lover—girlfriend—friend from the past—it’s Anna’s job to figure out who the heck he really is. She has to dig out the truth, regardless of her ambitious boss or the cranky cop trying to thwart her every move. Sometimes a woman has to take matters into her own hands, regardless of the consequences.

Download your copy today!

Amazon | Amazon Worldwide | Nook | Apple Books | Kobo

Excerpt

“How long has Aiden Devlin been dating your sister?” Detective Pierce expertly switched topics.

If he was looking to trip me up, he’d failed. “Aiden and Tess aren’t dating. I have no idea where he has been for the last two weeks.” It wouldn’t do to lie to Pierce right now, and I didn’t see a reason not to tell him the truth. “Before you ask, I don’t know why Aiden was at Tess’s apartment or if he had any prior relationship with Danny Pucci.” But I was sure going to find out.

“So you don’t know why Devlin’s knuckles were as beat to shit as the dead body’s?” Pierce asked.

Yeah, I’d noticed that as well. “Nope.”

Pierce twirled a pen on his desk. “This isn’t looking good for your sister.”

Considering I hadn’t talked to her yet, I didn’t know how bad it looked. “Did you test her hand for GSR?” I asked the question like I knew what I was talking about and hadn’t binge-watched Law & Order all day Sunday, where is actually how I’d learned about gunshot residue. A homicide case was way above my pay grade.

“She tested positive,” Pierce said, seeming relaxed but definitely not missing anything.

I rolled my eyes. “If she picked up the gun that had been used to kill Danny, then the residue would be on her hand. You know that.” I thought that was the truth.

“I also know that only a moron would pick up a gun in that situation,” Pierce retorted. “Unless she was frightened by Devlin. But I’d have to ask what he was doing there.”

I swallowed. “Did you test Aiden’s hand?”

“Yep. Positive as well,” Pierce said, watching me like a bird of prey. “According to him, he was target practicing yesterday, but that’s all he’d own up to—so far. I’m off to interview him next.”

“What about Tessa?”

Pierce shook his head. “She lawyered up right away with Clark Bunne. Wouldn’t say a word.”

Relief cooled the hot ball of anxiety in my stomach. Okay. Good. “Well, then. I guess I’ll go talk to her and figure this out. Let’s hope you’re as good of a detective as you think you are.” With that zinger, I stood.

“Albertini? You’ll have to talk to her tomorrow,” Pierce drawled.

I stopped cold, still facing him. “Why?”

“Because I just arrested her for suspicion of murder. She’s being processed now.”

Meet Rebecca

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over fifty romantic suspense and dark paranormal romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. The New York Times reviews has found that in her books, “humor surfaces in even the tensest moments, giving the high-stakes drama humanity and warmth.”  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

Connect with Rebecca
Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub

His Lost Love (Manhattan Billionaires #1) by Ava Ryan

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Published on: 17 December 2020
Published by:
Type: standalone, HEA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ava Ryan
Read: 04 December 2020
Shelved: 05 December 2020
Rating: 5 / 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get it here: Amazon | Bookbub | Goodreads

Synopsis

I can buy and sell half the country… but I can’t afford to lose her a second time.

I made my name fixing hearts.
Most people know me as a world-class cardiac surgeon.
Even more know the device I invented that made billions while saving lives.
I’ve achieved success beyond my wildest dreams—and I’ve always dreamed big.
Funny how the one heart I can’t put back together is my own.

That’s why I’ve returned to New York.
More accurately—she’s why.
In the fashion world, Mia has arrived. But to me, she’ll always be the one who got away.

Back in college, she claimed she loved me.
Then she ripped my heart to shreds.
Now I can have anything I want. Any toy. Any woman.
And what I want is her—out of my system. This time, I plan to be the one leaving.
They say revenge is best served cold, but once Mia is back in my bed?

It may be too hot to walk away from…


Review

Liam Wilder is a young entrepreneur and cardiac surgeon that is making a killing in the medical field. He was based in Europe for more than a decade after being left behind until he came home recently to a family member. After all the family obligations, his next mission was to take back what is “rightfully” his – Mia “Starlight” Jamison.

Mia Nova Jamison works as an assistant designer to a famous designer. She has traveled far to get to where she is now, and it is during one of those travels (aside from her brother’s friendship with Liam) that she got to know Liam and ended up breaking his (and her) heart.

After twelve years, Mia and Liam’s reunion brought so much “spark” that they did not realize still lingered. I would not be surprised if actual fireworks burst out from behind them! The energy each one tries to hide behind is no match to what their bodies demand. Two words: scorchingly magnetic! At the same time, it was also impossible to hide my chuckles as Mia and Liam banter between each other. Liam is the “cool and calm” one while Mia was hissing her frustrations. 

You expect me to believe that you don’t have an asterisk in your life just like I’ve got one in mine?

— Liam, His Lost Love


His Lost Love is the first of the Manhattan Millionaire’s series and is a crossover from her Fairy Tale Billionaire series. Basing entirely on the title – yes, this is a second-chance romance. 
I was fortunate to review one of them, Billionaire’s Cinderella, and got to meet Ryker and Ella there, which links Liam and Mia to this new series. No, readers do not have to read the Fairy Tale Billionaires series to start on this, but it is nice to piece people together.  

As I started Chapter 1, I was very hesitant to continue. Why? It was a different sort of second chance than I expected. I was scared of going down the “rabbit hole of lost emotions” offered by the author in Mia and Liam’s story. This book is my second review for the same author, and if I know Ava’s writing style a bit more – I know she would take me on a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and emotionally charged trip. Okay – I am a masochist, but I was ecstatic at the same time!

This book is told from both Liam and Mia’s POVs and will surely give you all the “feels” you think you can handle. The things that they have gone through to be where they are – successful yet still empty – breaks my heart. It is the first of the new Manhattan Billionaire series of Ava Ryan. Expect a lot of “baggage” offloaded between Mia and Liam as the past mistakes and misunderstandings come crashing unto them. 

A weekend wedding of a mutual friend/relative gives them no other excuse but to face the past as Liam wants to see how he either can “get over” or “win-over” Mia by the end of the weekend. They needed to talk, and Damon summed it correctly – “there is no room for Pride in a relationship.” There is no other way to get over and move on from each other until they are truthful and start “laying down” what happened many years ago. Liam and Mia’s flashbacks were inserted naturally into the scenes that brought back all their old feelings – the joy and the pain. When I find out what “went wrong” (both are to blame!), I smacked my forehead – it was pure immaturity and fear! Because of hurtful words and actions, everything got snowballed to the present. Now, the questions in my head started looming, and I am worried.
(a)Can Mia and Liam forgive each other for the past? 
(b) Have they learned from their past not to ruin their future if they give it another go? 
(c) Lastly,  

I felt that even if both would say that they are in the story – there were many “foolish moments” (*sighing*). It was the elephant in the room that keeps popping up in the worst times, kicking Mia and Liam where it hurts most – their hearts. They have their insecurities and self-worthiness to be happy. It was heartbreaking that even with different family upbringing, it did not make either Mia or Liam confident about themselves. Their “past” had a lot of unfortunate timings and precarious situations. Expect heavy topics on fidelity and “more.” Make sure to have a box of tissues beside you because tears WILL FALL as the avalanche of confessions on bad decisions and dire consequences spew out. I remember not breathing until the end of all that THEN I wanted to shake Mia and Liam vigorously to snap them back to their “assumed” maturity as what they claim! I wanted to tell them that they just needed to find their “connection” again before it is too late.

As for our time we spent apart, it was painful but a needed interruption in our relationship, to give us time we needed to grow and get our shit together… Now we’re there. Back on track and stronger than ever.

— Liam, His Lost Love

In summary, His Lost Love has all the emotional rollercoasters as I expected from the author. It talks about redemption, salvation, and eternal, unwavering love through time. Readers will empathize yet love the persistent/denial dynamics between Mia and Liam. It will make readers shed a tear or two, and like Mia, the tiny pilot light of hope will steadfastly flicker as it awaits for the much-deserved HEA ending. The author will bring readers back to what counts – Mia and Liam are worthy of happiness together.


Meet Ava Ryan

Ava Ryan is an author of sexy contemporary romance. Her favorite things, in no special order, are animals, her family, cookies, people with great senses of humor and love stories. Currently in her writer’s cave (ostensibly working hard on her next book while also checking Netflix every few hours to make sure she hasn’t missed a new true-crime documentary show), she loves hearing from readers via her website or social media. If you love billionaire alpha males, the feisty women who snag their hearts and books that end with a happily ever after, you’ve come to the right place. Please make sure to subscribe to Ava’s newsletter to stay in the loop about her latest releases and upcoming books!

Connect with Ava
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bookbub | Goodreads

Blog Tour: Feisty Red (Three Chicks Brewery Book 2) by Stacey Kennedy

“Stacey Kennedy turns up the heat and keeps us wanting more.”

#1 New York Times bestselling author Meredith Wild

Feisty Red, an all-new secret baby, second chance romance from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy, is available now!

Synopsis

Clara Carter is the brains behind Three Chicks Brewery. The oldest and most responsible of the Carter sisters, she doesn’t have time for anything but taking care of her son and making sure her family’s top beer, Foxy Diva, gets into bars across North America. Which means getting the brew in front of Colorado’s biggest beer distributor. Unfortunately, that becomes tricky when the man in charge of distribution is none other than Sullivan Kenne, the cowboy who ran out on her seven years ago.

Sullivan’s life has been filled with one wrong move after another. First, he tried to prove himself to his bastard father by joining a professional baseball team, a choice Sullivan still regrets. Then he bailed on Clara, the only woman he’s ever loved. Seeing her again makes Sullivan determined to right his wrongs. Unfortunately, he wasn’t counting on one of those wrongs being a six-year-old son he never knew about…

Reuniting with Clara and meeting his son is a shocking—and amazing—experience. But as much as Sullivan tries to return to his roots and be the stand-up cowboy of Clara’s dreams, the reality is that she’s having trouble trusting him. Luckily, Sullivan knows the way to Clara’s heart, and he’ll prove to her that a second chance with a cowboy is worth the risk.

Download your copy today!

Amazon | Amazon Worldwide | Nook | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Start The Three Chicks Brewery Series today!

Download your copy today!
Amazon | Apple Books | Amazon Worldwide | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Excerpt

“How long has it been since you’ve done something like this?” she asked.

“Seven years.”

“Seriously? Seven years?”

The light from the fire was impressively bright, revealing the chiseled lines of his cheekbones. “Life is different in Boston,” he explained, gaze on the sky. “Not so quiet. And when we travel for games, we always play in big cities. I don’t get the chance to get out to places where the city lights don’t hide the stars.”

She looked to the sky herself, spotting the milky way. Over the years, many of her old high school friends had moved away with big city dreams. She’d never had those dreams herself, loving small-town life. The old Sullivan she knew would have hated the big city too. She figured she better get to know this Sullivan. “Do you like the big city?” she asked.

“Parts of it,” he said. “Some parts, I don’t.”

She smiled, dropping her head to the side to watch his expression. “Like the bars?” 

The side of his mouth curved before he glanced her way, lifting an eyebrow. “You saw the tabloid article, then?”

She nodded. Everyone saw all the articles about him. Every week, on a new issue in the grocery store line. “What’s going on with all of that? The bar fights and stuff?” And, of course, by “stuff,” she totally meant women.

Obviously picking up on that, Sullivan’s mouth quirked up at the corner again. “Does the stuff wear dresses and high heels?”

She sent her gaze to the fire. “It’s none of my business. You don’t have to talk about it. It’s just…”

“Just what?”

She felt his stare. “You were always a one-woman type of guy. What changed?”

“Nothing,” he said in a quiet voice. She dared to look at him then, and his jaw was clenched, tension creasing the lines around his eyes while he watched the fire burn. “The women, they’re a distraction.”

“From?” she pressed, not even sure why she wanted to know the answer so bad.

The heat from the fire became all-encompassing as he drew in the longest, deepest breath then blew it out through his nose. “From the shit that gets heavy in my head.”

She froze, shocked by his answer. Of all the things she had expected him to say, that certainly wasn’t it. For fun. Because I don’t want anything serious. Something like that, not anything deep.

At the silence, he turned his head to the side, watching her closely. “Distractions help me take a break from that.”

“I suppose they would,” she agreed gently. She had seen the guy she loved fade when his mom passed away, but he was lost forever when his father’s abuse started. But right here, right now, she could almost see the guy he’d been when his mother was alive. The good guy, the guy who wouldn’t simply vanish from someone’s life so cruelly. “What about this bar fight that got you suspended?”

“It never should have happened,” he said, looking back to the sky with a heavy sigh. “I’m careful not to drink too much, to always stay in control, but that night, my control slipped.”

She took a guess. “Because of your dad dying?”

“I suspect my dad’s death had something to do with it, yeah.” The shame on his face was more punishment than anyone should endure, and the orange hue from the fire detailed every bit of it. “We were leaving the bar, me and a bunch of teammates, and we came across an asshole fighting with his girlfriend. He was screaming at her, and then he pushed her, and she fell.” He stopped to take a deep breath before continuing. “I didn’t know them. I had no business interfering. But something in my head snapped, and I acted before I even knew what was happening.”

“Wait,” Clara said, trying to understand. “Why didn’t you say that the guy was hurting his girlfriend? I’d say that’s forgivable. You were protecting her.”

“Because I’m no better, Clara,” Sullivan said, dryly. He turned his head then, revealing many years of pain in his eyes. “I put my hands on someone in violence, in rage. That is unforgivable.”

She tried to see it his way, but failed. “No, you were giving the guy a taste of his own medicine. Seriously, Sullivan, people would have sided with you.” She watched him for a moment, looking for a single flicker of agreement with her on his expression. Trying to understand, she asked, “So, instead of explaining that, you took the suspension?”

“That’s right.”

She processed, scenting the piney aroma from the trees hugging the firepit. Nothing felt…right. Something was missing. She sat up straight, scooting to the end of her chair to face him fully. “Why are you home, Sullivan?” she asked.

His brows drew together. “You already know why. To get my head right.”

She considered all this again, but something seemed off. “I know what you told me. A bar fight led to a suspension, and you came home to deal with your past because of the fight. But to avoid all of that, all you had to do was tell the truth about what happened. So, again, why are you here?”

Their gazes held before he looked back at the fire. It seemed like he wasn’t going to answer her, but then she almost wished he hadn’t. “When I sobered up that next day at the police station, I knew I was on my way to becoming him.”

“Your father?”

“Yes,” he said slowly.

Clara’s heart squeezed painfully, her breath all but gone.

Before she could even think up a reply, he added, “Of course, not completely. I still think the guy I hit deserved it. But I realized I became the very thing I hate. I pushed all the bad shit down deep enough that I felt nothing. Just rage. Until it all exploded.” He turned his head again, torment swirling in the depths of his eyes, and said oh-so softly, “My dad did that until there was nothing left of him, until only rage lived in the spots that were once good. So, that’s why I’m here, Clara. To face the shit that makes me feel uncomfortable so that doesn’t happen to me.”

The world seemed to slow as coldness swept across her. Not knowing what to say, she looked to the fire because, just like that, the years vanished. This was the Sullivan she did know, and she, behind all the hurt and worry for Mason’s well-being, loved this man. But he was drowning in the dark misery and desperately wanted a way out, but unable to find it.

“Clara.”

His soft voice pulled her focus to his warm, gentle eyes.

“I’m sorry for leaving you the way I did.” His voice blistered. “I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to be what you needed.” 

Tears welled in her eyes, and nothing could stop them from rolling down her cheeks. For as long as she could remember, she’d wanted an explanation, an apology. Now she had those things, but only one truth remained: they’d both done their best in a terrible situation that no one deserved. As much as she wanted to blame Sullivan for leaving and breaking her heart, she couldn’t. Her aching heart reached for him. “I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to help you.”

About Stacey Kennedy

Stacey Kennedy is a USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romances full of heat, heart, and happily ever afters. With over 50 titles published, her books have hit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books bestseller lists.

Stacey lives with her husband and two children in southwestern Ontario—in a city that’s just as charming as any of the small towns she creates. Most days, you’ll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family or venturing into the forest with her horse, Priya. Stacey’s just as happy curled up indoors, where she writes surrounded by her lazy dogs. She believes that sexy books about hot cowboys or alpha heroes can fix any bad day. But wine and chocolate help too.

Connect with Stacey
Instagram | Website | Bookbub | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Stay up to date with Stacey by joining her mailing list.