RELEASE DAY SPOTLIGHT: Winter’s Kiss by J.P. Uvalle

How Far Would You Go For Happily Ever After?

Winter Belafonte, Princess of Stoneshire, is a girl with her heart set on finding a handsome prince to live out her happily ever after. However, when the expectations of running her father’s kingdom conflict with the love she so desires, she realizes the pursuit of happiness comes with a hefty price, leaving her with one question to answer, how far will I go for love?

Estevan St. Claire, Prince of Farrington, is the prince of every woman’s fantasy. He attends the Annual Winter’s ball to meet Gwendolyn Balavarr, Princess of Adonis, the woman he is arranged to marry, with the promise of strengthening the alliance of their kingdoms. But when he locks eyes with an undeniable beauty—another princess with cherry red lips and skin so temptingly sweet—Gwendolyn nor any other woman in the room no longer exists.

Until he learns their kingdoms have a long-standing vendetta.

Still, the sexual tension between Winter and Estevan is too intense for them to ignore, placing the fate of their kingdoms in jeopardy. This predicament leaves the prince with one question to answer, can I risk it all for love?

Will Winter and Estevan’s all-consuming love conquer all, or are they just a devastating tragedy waiting to happen?

About the Book

Winter’s Kiss
by J.P. Uvalle

Series
n/a

Genre
Adult
Erotic Romance
Fantasy

Publisher
Beautifully Twisted Publishing

Publication Date
January 8, 2018

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About the Author

J. P. Uvalle is a beautifully twisted soul who has a passion for writing paranormal romance and has the divine ability to make the unbelievable, believable. She was born and raised in Colorado Springs, went to Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology and graduated with an Associate’s degree in Applied Science and Technology. JP works part-time as an ICU technician in Highlands Ranch, Colorado at an emergency/specialty hospital.

Aside from being a technician and a writer, she runs two businesses in her spare time— Beautifully Twisted Publishing, and Mary Kay. On top of that, she also contributes her time to the Beneath the Ashes Blog as a Promotions Manager.

When she’s not saving lives, coming up with her next plot twist or making women feel pretty and pampered, she’s spending time with family and friends.

 

 

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NEW RELEASE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Beautiful Lawman (Devil’s Rock Series) by Sophie Jordan

From the wrong side of the tracks and with most of her family in jail or dead, Piper Walsh is used to everyone in town thinking the worst about her. It doesn’t seem to matter that she’s worked hard to build a good life for herself. So she isn’t surprised that when she comes into contact with Sweet Hill’s wildly irresistible, arrogant sheriff, Hale Walters, they’re instant adversaries. Piper has nothing in common with the town golden-boy-turned-lawman—and she refuses to be a notch on his bedpost.

Despite rumors, Hale avoids fooling around with the women of Sweet Hill, many of whom are hoping to get him to the altar. But staying out of Piper’s path is proving near impossible. The infuriating troublemaker clearly has no respect for his badge. As she continues to push his buttons, it becomes clear to Hale that he must either arrest Piper—or claim her as his own.

 

About the Book

Beautiful Lawman
by Sophie Jordan

Series
Devil’s Rock Series

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
December 26, 2017

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Excerpt

“Found her,” the desk clerk trilled as though Malia had been lost somewhere in the back—clearly oblivious to the tense undercurrent between them.

Piper grasped Malia by the elbow and tugged her close beside her. She pasted a smile on her face for the benefit of the older woman. “Thank you so much. Is there somewhere I have to sign her out? Or do you need to check my identification or—”

“Ah, yes.” She clapped her hands lightly and scurried behind the broad desk again. “It’s right here. The other parents already signed out their children . . .” She looked up and eyed Piper. “You hardly look old enough to be her parent.”

“No, I’m her sister, but her legal guardian.”

“Ahh. That explains it. You two are mirror images of each other. Cute as two kittens.”

Malia giggled as the woman resumed searching through the clutter of her desk.

Piper reached deep for patience even though a part of her marveled at how this woman fared in emergencies where speed was required. She did work in a sheriff’s department, after all. They had to have the occasional need for urgency.

Footsteps sounded, thudding deeply across the floor. Her nape prickled in awareness. She looked up just as a tall figure emerged from the hall, a big dark shape etched against the pale beige backdrop of the building’s interior.

Her throat closed up at the sight of the deep blue uniform with its shiny brass bits. At first it was all she noticed. The only thing. It was familiar enough. As was her physical reaction to the sight of it. She supposed it was an unhealthy reaction. And abnormal. The sight of a policeman’s uniform should provide comfort. But for her it never signified anything good to come.

Her gaze crawled over the uniform—and There was a considerable amount of it. Not just in breadth, but in height, too. The body that filled out the uniform was muscled and tightly built. Not an inch of fat anywhere on his bulk.

She dragged a breath in and forced her attention to his face as dread pooled in her stomach.

She knew what she would see. Who she would see. He was tank of a man. There weren’t many men built like him sporting a police uniform.

He would have to be on duty the one time she came here. She had feared coming face-to-face with him the moment she parked outside. Her brother’s friend, North, had warned her that he was a powerful man, the implication being that she should give him due respect. Only she hadn’t done that. Hopefully she wouldn’t pay for it now.

She squared her shoulders, bracing herself for the moment he looked up and saw her. Maybe he wouldn’t recognize her. He’d seen her just once, after all. In a darkened club, no less.

She stifled a snort. Wishful thinking. She doubted he had forgotten the first time they met. If that encounter in Joe’s could even be called a meeting. The pitcher of ice water in his lap would have made a lasting impression.

Braced or not, when he looked up she was caught off guard.

Nothing could have steeled herself for the weight of those gray eyes. Somehow she had missed their magnitude in the dimness of Joe’s, but she felt the intensity of them now. In one sweeping glance, he took in their trio before advancing in a long-legged stride.

“Ms. Walsh.” He remembered her, all right.

“Isn’t it?”

Damn his voice was deep. Full of gravel. It sounded like sex.

The completely inappropriate thought hit her out of nowhere. For starters, she could hardly count herself as an expert on sex. And secondly . . .

this was Hale Walters. A rude, arrogant cop quick to judge. He was everything she despised.

She’d heard him speak in Joe’s but the music had been loud and she’d found him so offensive with his remarks that she hadn’t absorbed the gritty drawl like she did now in the stark quiet of the sheriff’s department.

“Sheriff,” she greeted, the word escaping as a treacherous tremor.

As he drew closer she was only more painfully aware of his size. He’d been sitting that time in Joe’s. She had no idea he was this big. This tall. He had to be pushing six-five.

She tugged her cardigan closer around her, feeling suddenly fragile in comparison.

His gaze drifted to Malia. “Your sister, I presume?”

She nodded.

“Appears she got into a bit of trouble tonight.”

Her jaw clenched. The desk clerk had said as much, but she resisted nodding assent to him. Everything about him rubbed her the wrong way.

“Found it!” The older woman brandished a

clipboard and abandoned her desk to offer it to

Piper. “Just sign here.”

The sheriff plucked it from her hands just as Piper was about to take it. “Thank you, Doris.”

Doris beamed and turned for her desk again.

Piper stared at the sheriff expectantly, waiting for him to hand over the clipboard so she could be on her way.

Instead, he held it in his hands and looked in no hurry to pass it to her.

He and Piper stared at one another for an awkward stretch of silence. As the seconds ticked, her resentment grew. He couldn’t just be linebacker big. No. He had to be hot as sin, too.

Malia looked back and forth between the two of them mildly, taking a slurping sip from her can of orange soda.

Piper lifted her chin a notch. “Are you gonna let me sign that? Or just keep me standing here? It’s late.”

Malia’s eyes widened. Piper knew she was setting a bad example. She’d told her sister time and time again to always be respectful to authority figures. Even when it was hard. And here she was throwing sass at the county sheriff. She couldn’t stop herself though.

The corner of his mouth kicked up. It was almost a smile. Only his eyes didn’t smile. They stared coldly. “You know I thought my memory of you might have been wrong, Ms. Walsh.”

She fought the urge to demand he explain himself, but that made it look like she cared what he thought of her . . . or that he thought of her at all.

“It wasn’t though,” he finished.

And she was quite certain that was an insult.

“You two know each other?” Malia asked.

“No,” she snapped. “We don’t know each other at all.” She lifted her chin, making sure he understood that she didn’t want to know him.

This time both corners of his mouth lifted in a full-blown smile. It was devastating. Unfairly, it made him even more attractive. She bet the women in this town threw themselves at him.

And that only annoyed her more.

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of BEAUTIFUL LAWMAN, we’re giving away one paperback set of the DEVIL’S ROCK by Sophie Jordan.

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the Devil’s Rock series by Sophie Jordan.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 1/5/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About Sophie Jordan

Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of more than twenty novels. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with anything that has a happily ever after. You can visit her online at www.sophiejordan.net.

 

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NEW RELEASE GIVEAWAY & EXCERPT: If Ever I Should Love You (Spinster Heiresses Series) by Cathy Maxwell

Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the Marriage Mart a bit too long. They were known as the “Spinster Heiresses” . . . 

He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name.

His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.

However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .

About the Book

If Ever I Should Love You
by Cathy Maxwell

Series
Spinster Heiresses Series

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
December 26, 2017

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Excerpt

Chapter 1
London
March 10, 1813

“Marry?” Roman Gilchrist, newly named tenth Earl of Rochdale, stared at his solicitor and godfather, Thaddeus Chalmers, as if the man had just suggested he cut off his own right arm.

They were in Thaddeus’s office. Thaddeus, a mild-mannered man of Roman’s stepfather’s age, sat behind a huge mahogany desk. Roman had not yet taken the chair offered him. Instead, he threw down the pieces of paper with the ninth earl’s hastily scribbled signature upon them upon the desk.

Roman continued. “I come to you with a stack of gambling chits that I do not believe I should have to pay and your only suggestion is that perhaps it is time for me to marry?”

“What other solution can there be?” Thaddeus asked. He was well respected amongst the loftiest circles of the ton. Roman usually valued his opinion. Now, he feared his godfather had gone senile.

“You can tell me that I don’t have to honor them,” Roman answered. “My uncle owed everyone. But he is dead. If they wanted their money, they should have petitioned him before he croaked—not lay in wait on my first day taking my seat in the House of Lords and then delivering these to me. It was a scene. Everyone was there. They all couldn’t help but overhear what Erzy and Malcolm were saying to me, and then they handed me these. I wanted to wipe the smirks off their faces.”

Thaddeus pushed aside the ledger he had been writing in before his godson had stormed into the room. “How much do you owe?” He spread the chits out to read them over the spectacles on his nose.

“Just under ten thousand pounds.”

“Their presenting the debts to you publically is bad form.”

“Damn right it is.”

“You will have to pay it.”

Roman slammed his hand down on the desk, hard. “No. It is not my debt. A man’s debt should die with him.”

“They do if they are to his tobacconist or bootmaker and if there is no money in the estate—”

There is no money in Rochdale’s estate. You of all people know that.”

“I do, young Roman. I do . . . but those notes there represent something more than a jacket or a pair of boots, or even the bread that graces a table. No, these are debts of honor. As the Earl of Rochdale, you are ‘honor bound’ to pay them.”

“They are not mine—”

“They are Rochdale’s and you are now Rochdale. See? The name Rochdale on each slip.”

“But that isn’t me.”

“Yes, you are correct and most men would not have given the debts to you to pay. Unfortunately, Erzy and Malcolm are hardened gamesters who have no thought for anyone but themselves.”

“If they are not honorable men, then I see no ‘honor’ in paying gambling debts that aren’t mine.” It all made perfect reason to Roman. “Especially since I don’t even have the money to repair the leak in Bonhomie’s roof let alone buy a pair of boots for myself.” Bonhomie was his recently inherited estate in Somerset and the first home he and his family had ever had.

“Exactly,” Thaddeus said in triumph, stacking the gambling chits. “Which is why I suggested marriage. I mean, you could sell off a portion of the land. The last earl had not seen to the entail—”

“Absolutely not,” Roman interrupted. “The land will not be sold.” He’d been overjoyed to discover that Bonhomie boasted six hundred acres of forests and fields waiting for him to turn them into something meaningful.

“Very well, then.” Thaddeus reached for a decanter from a tray of them on a table behind his desk. He uncorked what Roman knew was a very fine whisky and poured generous portions in two glasses. “Sit,” he told Roman. “Be reasonable and hear me out.”

“I have no desire to take on a wife.”

“Posh, of course you do,” his godfather said. “You will need an heir or what will become of your plans for your estate, eh? Do you want all your fine work to go to a nephew that you didn’t know? Just like what happened to the ninth earl with you? Besides, a man needs something to poke at night. If he doesn’t have it on a regular basis, his balls shrivel.”

“I don’t believe that is true.”

Thaddeus pointed a finger at him. “How do you know? Have you been going without? Are you saying you don’t have anything to poke with anymore, Roman?”

“I have balls a’plenty.” He was no monk, but he was no lothario either.

Thaddeus cackled at his own jest. “I knew you did. All your years in the military should have made you a man of the world.”

Roman sat and picked up the whisky. “It did. But I have very high standards.”

“Then marry a wife who meets them. Because, lad, the way matters are going . . .” He tapped the small stack of gambling debts. “You could lose everything you inherited with the title. Erzy and Malcolm could force you to sell, and then the old earl’s tobacconist and bootmaker would be right behind them. It is never wise to stir a pot.”

He was right. Except . . .

“What heiress who isn’t lame or hideous to look upon would settle for penniless me? Or are you going to tell me, Thaddeus, that it doesn’t matter? That I should leg-shackle myself to a woman and then live apart?”

“Well, that is one solution.”

“So much for heirs,” Roman muttered.

Thaddeus gave a sharp bark of laughter. “And here I thought you were a realist.”

“I am,” Roman assured him. “And I know that any heiress worth her weight in gold can attract a man with more to offer than empty pockets and a ramshackle estate.”

“Ah, but then there are the Spinster Heiresses. They are three young women, all marriageable, very attractive, and wealthy beyond your dreams.”

“Then why are they called spinsters? Why hasn’t someone snatched them up?”

“Because their fathers are very particular, just like yourself. They wouldn’t let a Captain Gilchrist near them, or even a Baron Gilchrist, or a Sir Roman, and very few earls—but Rochdale is one of the oldest titles in England. Before the last three holders of that title, blast their gambling souls, they were respected statesmen, the sort historians praised and the world never forgot. I want you to be that sort of earl, Roman. I want you to do me proud.”

“I will try . . . if I’m not in debtor’s prison.”

“Which is the reason I believe you should shine yourself up and call on one of the Spinsters. Their fathers will not look down their noses at one of their daughters becoming the Countess Rochdale, I can promise you that.”

“And how can you make such a promise?”

“Because this is their third year on the Marriage Mart.” He referred to the round of social events, balls, and routs where marriageable young women hunted for suitable husbands. “They are becoming a bit long of tooth. Their fathers will have to lower their standards if the daughters don’t make a match soon. One almost claimed a duke but he ran off with an actress instead. Bad bit of business. Delicious gossip though.”

Thaddeus poured himself anther drink. He offered the bottle to Roman, who with a shake of his head refused it. He needed to keep his wits about him right now and he wasn’t one to see a virtue in overimbibing.

However, he was intrigued with Thaddeus’s plan. “What is wrong with them?” he asked, settling back in his chair. There must be a hidden cost.

“They are all decent young ladies,” Thaddeus assured him, putting the cork back in the decanter.

“Decent?”

His godfather eyed him. “You’re not in a position you can be choosy.”

“Granted. However, does one of them limp or the others have pox marks? I’d rather be forewarned.”

“First, three Seasons does not a hag make. And they aren’t hags,” Thaddeus hurried to add. “They are each actually lovely.”

“Lovely and rich and unmarried?” Roman made a dismissive sound. “Spill it all, Thaddeus. Spare nothing.”

“Well, if there is a drawback they are each just on the border of being unacceptable. Not one could gain vouchers to Almack’s. However, most of the concerns are about their families. For example, Cassandra Holwell’s grandfather made his money in the mines. He started off as a miner and ended up by dint of hard work owning the mine. Her father is currently in the Commons.”

“That is not such a shabby thing.”

“Aye, but his manners are atrocious. He eats like a bull who has been starved for days. Throws food all around him.”

“And his daughter? Is she covered in food as well?”

“I’ve never seen her eat but I’ve not heard a complaint. She has yellow hair, rosy cheeks, and, from what I’ve heard, is very educated. She is a book lover as yourself.”

“A bluestocking?” Roman liked to read, but he did not like to debate.

“She is known for being outspoken, which isn’t a terrible thing if one is in your circumstances and needs the Holwell fortune. However, if a man has his choice of ladies to choose from, and perhaps a mother who is a stickler for family bloodlines, Miss Holwell and her mining ancestors will not stand a chance. She is also rather tall. Of course, that is not a problem for you. You’re over six feet.”

Is she six feet tall?”

“I don’t believe she quite is.”

“An Amazon bluestocking.”

“You are putting a bad slant on this. Last I saw her, all I could think about were her breasts, which were just about to my eye level.”

Thaddeus was short for a man, short and clever. Roman also knew he liked breasts since that is usually what he commented upon about women.

“So, the powers of Society don’t like Miss Holwell because she is a tall, miner’s daughter who likes to read.”

“That is the gist of the matter. The families with sons her father would approve of her marrying believe they can do better than Miss Holwell. Or their sons are my height. So, she languishes on the Marriage Mart.”

Roman set his empty glass on the desk. “What of the others?”

“There is Miss Reverly. I believe she is the loveliest of the lot and the wealthiest. However, she is very petite, a mite of a woman.”

Roman shrugged. “I like petite women.”

“Don’t we all. But she is truly tiny. Perfectly formed but just barely five feet, perhaps an inch more, and fine boned. There are whispers among the mothers of eligible sons that she might not bear a child, and since for those families an heir is all important—as it is to you, my lord—well, Miss Reverly is not a first choice. Mind you, both of those young ladies would be snatched up by would-be husbands if their fathers would accept an offer from lesser titles or just decent gentlemen. Those like me who are called to the bar do not stand a chance. Reverly has made it clear he will not settle for anything less than a duke or a marquis for his daughter.”

“That leaves me out.”

“I thought I should at least mention her.”

“And you did. What of the third?”

“Ah, now she is the one I believe would interest you. Her father is with the East India Company. He is an officer in the Company, but from what I hear, not as clever and successful as his grandfather and father. His money comes from the family. He wishes his daughter to be married to an old and distinguished title because after generations of service to the Crown, the best his family could earn is a knighthood, and not one that could be passed down. Earl of Rochdale will meet his needs nicely.”

Roman shifted his weight. “I am not fond of nabobs.”

“You will be extremely fond of the daughter. There is something striking and different about Miss Charnock, whether the rumors are true about her heritage—”

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU, we’re giving away one paperback copy of A DATE AT THE ALTAR by Cathy Maxwell!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of A Date at the Altar by Cathy Maxwell.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 1/1/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

About Cathy Maxwell

Bestselling novelist Cathy Maxwell embraces her writing romance as a way to express her belief that “loving well is the greatest adventure of all,” and to explore her fascination with the Regency period.

The author of over thirty historical romance novels and novellas. Cathy’s latest is the upcoming IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU, the first book of the “Spinster Heiresses” trilogy from Avon Books. The series, set in the Regency period England, will be quintessential Cathy Maxwell–traditional historicals with a contemporary sensibility and a touch of humor. Other books include, A Date at the Altar, A Seduction at Christmas, The Marriage Ring, The Earl Claims His Wife, and His Christmas Pleasure. Her books have appeared for multiple weeks on The New York Times and the USA Today Best Seller lists.

Cathy received recognition from the start with her first novel, All Things Beautiful. Published in 1994, it was nominated for Best First Book by the Romance Writers of America and for Best First Historical by Romantic Times magazine. It also received first place recognition as Best Read of 1994 from the Reader’s Voice. She has been honored by Romance Writers of America with three RITA Award nominations. Romantic Times has honored her talent with three awards for writing books brimming with “Love and Laughter.”

Born in Olathe, Kansas, Cathy once called Virginia home, noting she is “a Virginian by choice, but a Kansan by nature.” She is now learning how to be a Texan and feels like Austin is the perfect place for her to hone her cowboy skills. She worked in television news and spent six years in the Navy, including a stint in the Pentagon. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, and Virginia Romance Writers and she is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, libraries and special events. You can always reach Cathy at http://www.cathymaxwell.com

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NEW RELEASE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Pretender (Games People Play #3) by HelenKay Dimon

They say it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Harrison Tate is proof.

Once a professional burglar, he now makes a lawful living tracking down stolen art. No one needs to know about his secret sideline, “liberating” artifacts acquired through underhanded methods. At least until one of those jobs sees him walking in on a murder.

Gabrielle Wright has long been estranged from her wealthy family, but she didn’t kill her sister. Trouble is, the only person who can prove it is the sexy, elusive criminal who shouldn’t have been at the island estate on that terrible night. She’s not expecting honor among thieves—or for their mutual attraction to spark into an intense inferno of desire.

Under the guise of evaluating her family’s art, Harris comes back to the estate hoping to clear Gabby’s name. But returning to the scene of the crime has never been riskier, with their hearts and lives on the line.

 

 

About the Book

The Pretender
by HelenKay Dimon

Series
Games People Play Series

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
December 26, 2017

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Excerpt

“I’ve gotten used to looking over my shoulder.” She popped the cracker in her mouth but she really couldn’t taste it.

“Is this the part where I’m not allowed to pretend ignorance?”

She was impressed he’d actually listened this afternoon. That was more than most people did. But it didn’t mean that she wanted to revisit any part of that topic.

With a hard swallow, she got the cracker down then dumped the rest on the bench between them. “How exactly does one become an art appraiser?”

That sexy smile of his came roaring back. “We’re changing the subject?”

She nodded. “Without even an ounce of subtlety.”

The rich sound of his laugh floated through the dark night. “Then the answer is easy—misspent youth.”

“What are you talking about? Art appraising sounds like something wealthy people would be into. Like, I’m looking at you and thinking private-school boy.” She studied his face and hummed as she tried to pin him down, figure out his untold story. “Maybe even a boarding school.”

He snorted. “Your people-reading skills are way off tonight.”

That answer . . . it had her wanting to know more. She beat back the urge to pepper him with questions. If she took a turn, he would want one. No way.

She pointed at the gooey s’more oozing between his fingers. “Blame the marshmallow.”

“They’re growing on you.”

“Not really.” She’d never been a fan. “The sticky thing . . . it’s annoying.”

He held up a hand and wore a look of fake outrage. “Honestly, you keep talking like that and I’ll have to leave the island.”

“I wish I had that option.” She hadn’t meant to say that, but the words were out there now.

His head snapped back as he looked at her. “Do you really have to be here?”

“I owe it to Tabitha.” And it was a debt Gabby took seriously. Her sweet, loving sister deserved so much more than the end she got. The idea of her dying alone and afraid twisted Gabby’s insides into knots. She had faint memories of a man and footsteps that horrible afternoon, but Tabitha was gone by the time Gabby reached her. “Someone needs to care about what really happened to her.”

“No theories?”

“Too many, actually.” Someone looking for cash. Some jerk hoping to find a woman alone. Every option centered on the hazy figure she saw leaving the house. The one she’d almost convinced herself she’d dreamed up.

“Are you really not going to sleep inside tonight?” he asked.

“I might sleep on the porch.” That was the plan. There or the boathouse, where there’d be some protection from the wind.

She’d thought about knocking on Kramer’s door but his son was on the island, trying to catch up on maintenance that had been limited when the police shut down the island to everyone to conduct an investigation. Poor Kramer got displaced for a few months. Once he came back the police limited the work he could do. So did the wrangling over the estate be- cause Tabitha’s trust fund had been frozen. But now that Kramer was back, he was behind on all but the most routine work. She knew because he’d grumbled about that while they shared breakfast at his house this morning.

“It’s freezing out here.” Harris rubbed his hands together in front of the fire as if to prove his point.

“I’ll be fine.” When he started to say something, she talked over him. “I’m serious, Harris. I can’t be in the house. Not yet. Tomorrow, maybe. In the light.”

“Have you been in there since . . .”

He didn’t need to finish the sentence because she knew where he was going. “Since I found her body? No.”

He let out a long, loud breath as he wrapped up the chocolate bar again. “Take the guesthouse.”

The idea sounded so much better than any other option. She’d stayed there on and off with Tabitha since their parents died. Her sister loved the solitude of island but Gabby always worried the lack of companionship would prove to be too much. She stopped in. She swung through. She came up with excuses to be there for days at a time with her sister before jumping off again.

“Where would you sleep?” A not entirely unwelcome idea formed in her brain. “Or was that a really sloppy pass?”

“Sloppy?” He shook his head. “Woman, come on. It takes skill to look debonair while having your fingers stuck together with marshmallow.”

He held up his fingers to show her.

“You’re right,” she said, ignoring the fact he pulled off the look just fine.

He picked up the chocolate bar then dropped it again. “Melting chocolate. I mean, I’m balancing a lot over here.”

He really was adorable. Sexy and hot in a want-to- climb-him way, but kind of sweet, too.

Too bad she thought it was all a very calculated act. “You’re very impressive,” she said in the most con-

descending voice she could muster.

“Thanks for noticing.” He wiped his hands on a paper towel and put the rest of the s’mores ingredients away. “But the offer still stands. The guesthouse has a couch and a floor. I can sleep on one of those.”

So tempting.

“No.” The offer should have been easy to resist but she had to force the denial out. She stood up, thinking leaving might be the only way she could win this round. “I’ll be fine.”

He glanced up at her. “I get the impression you’re always fine, Gabby.”

“Then you’re not looking very closely.”

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of THE PRETENDER we’re giving away one paperback set of the the first three books in the GAMES PEOPLE PLAY series by HelenKay Dimon.

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the the first three books in the Games People Play series by HelenKay Dimon.  This giveaway is administered by and the responsibility of Pure Textuality PR.  Giveaway ends 1/5/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Helenkay Dimon

HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a…divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin, Samhain and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College.

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NEW RELEASE EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Art of Running in Heels by Rachel Gibson

Running in five-inch stilettos is an art form.

Leaving your fiancé at the altar on live television is a disaster. Lexie Kowalsky thought she was ready to get married in front of millions of people, but at the last minute she fled the set of television’s hottest reality show, Gettin’ Hitched. Wearing a poofy white dress and a pair of 5 inch sparkly shoes, Lexie hopped a float plane for Sand Spit, Canada. She figured no one would find her there. But she was wrong.

Sharing her flight was the Seattle Chinooks biggest star, Sean Knox. Lexie wasn’t just a reality-show runaway, she was his pain in the butt coach’s daughter. She was chaos and temptation and definitely off limits, but getting her luscious body out of that wedding gown, he couldn’t resist getting her in his bed for one amazing night.

Then a photo of Sean and Lexi breaks the internet—and suddenly they’re both swept up in a crazy plan to spin the whole story. But you can’t run from love…

About the Book

The Art of Running in Heels
by Rachel Gibson

Series
Chinooks Romance Series

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
December 26, 2017

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Excerpt

“It’s been ten minutes.” He drained the glass and turned toward Jimmy. “Maybe your passenger isn’t going to show up.”

“It’s been less than five.” The pilot pulled a cell phone from the pocket of his bomber jacket and glanced at it for several seconds. “It’s an emergency.” He turned his attention toward shore as if he waited for some sort of signal.

Emergency or not, Sean hoped like hell the person they were waiting on wasn’t trying to drive from anywhere within a twenty-mile radius of downtown Seattle. If that was the case, the

other passenger was probably stuck in chaotic traffic due to that shitty show, Gettin’ Hitched, and the mob surrounding the Fairmont Hotel, fighting for a glimpse of the latest reality show couple and cheering like the Seahawks had won the Super Bowl again. NBC had even set up jumbotrons downtown so fans could capture the happy couple exchanging their vows on live television with the rest of the country.

Sean had never watched the television program, but he couldn’t escape it. Gettin’ Hitched fever had spread across America faster than a virus in flu season, and it seemed everyone but him had become infected. Even the guys in the Chinooks locker room had talked about each episode like they were getting paid for their own personal recap and review. They’d discussed the scheming and backstabbings and had placed bets on which girl would be sent home each week. Of course, their interest had a lot to do with Lexie Kowalsky. Some of the guys knew Lexie, and her ability to back-check and deke the other bachelorettes off the show made them proud. It was probably no coincidence that the daughter of John Kowalsky had the grit and determination to cut each girl off at the knees and had won the privilege of gettin’ hitched on live television.

Sean had never met Lexie. She’d been three weeks into a twelve-episode season when he’d signed with the Chinooks. He’d seen her, though, on commercials and magazine covers and on mobile billboards driving around Seattle, every pixel photo-shopped, bright white teeth, brighter blue eyes, perfection from the top of her blond head to the tips of her pink toenails. She looked bigger than life, sitting on a tractor and towing a man all trussed up in bailing twine. The guy had a stupid smile on his face that made him look like a real pussy. No way on earth Sean would ever agree to something like that. He didn’t care if he was being judgmental. Those two had signed up to be judged. His verdict: The bride was probably dumb as the billboards, the groom was likely a pussy, and both were as fake as their shitty show.

Sean felt the vodka kick up his comfy glow a few more notches. Lexie Kowalsky probably wasn’t as pretty in real life as in pictures, and those boobs that practically fell out of her shirt in every photo were likely bought and paid for with her daddy’s money. If Coach Kowalsky wasn’t such an asshole, Sean might actually feel sorry for the guy.

It had been no secret that Kowalsky hadn’t wanted to trade Kessel and Stamkos for Sean, and the thought of John “The Wall” dressed up in a tuxedo and forced to perform in the Gettin’ Hitched chaos brought a smile to Sean’s lips.

Sean turned his attention from the parking lot to Jimmy. “What kind of dire emergency can there possibly be that someone would have to get to Sandspit in a hurry?” He took off his sunglasses and shoved them in the pocket of his jacket. “A local jam or jelly heist?”

“What?” Jimmy glanced at Sean, then returned his attention to the shore. “Not dire, but I. . . .” Jimmy’s voice faded to a whisper, “Holy shit. We’re a go.”

Sean’s gaze followed Jimmy’s as a silver MINI Cooper screeched to a stop in the parking lot. The door flew open and a white pouf erupted from the car like an old-school pan of Jiffy Pop. The pouf struggled for several seconds, expanding and growing, then it practically fell from the car, getting poufier. The whole scene was so unreal, Sean half expected clowns to start jumping out, one after another, honking party horns, and acting like fools. Yeah, Sean was a little drunk. Maybe more than a little, but he wasn’t stupid drunk. He wasn’t on his lips, hallucinating drunk. Just to make sure, he said, “Tell me you’re seeing what I’m seeing.”

“Yep.” The driver stuck a hand out the window

and waved as if signaling something. Jimmy waved back, and the MINI Cooper sped away, leaving behind all that pouf. The setting sun reflected within the pouf like twinkly lights, and the cold breeze caught the ends of a veil and whipped it about a woman’s head. At least Sean assumed it was a woman as he watched her swat at the veil like she was being attacked by bees. In all that over-the-top froth and twinkles, it could be a drag queen, he supposed. All at once, it spun right then left, bent forward, grabbed an armful of dress, and sprinted toward them.

“Get in. We’re taking off.”

 

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a complete paperback set of all seven Chinooks Romance books!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the entire Chinooks Romance series by Rachel Gibson.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 1/5/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson began her fiction career at age sixteen, when she ran her car into the side of a hill, retrieved the bumper, and drove to a parking lot, where she strategically scattered the car’s broken glass all about. She told her parents she’d been the victim of a hit-and-run and they believed her. She’s been making up stories ever since, although she gets paid better for them nowadays.

Author Links

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This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality PR.
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