Thursday, January 28, 2016

Penelope Ward - Roomhate cover reveal

RoomHate  
(A standalone)

A Contemporary Romance novel

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author 
Penelope Ward 

Cover designer: Letitia Hasser, r.b.a designs

Add RoomHate to your TBR list on Goodreads! 

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Pre-order your copy on iBooks HERE: 
http://apple.co/1PgsvE7 

Sign up for Penelope’s mailing list now dnbe the first one notified of releases: http://eepurl.com/MnXoH 

RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2016
Blurb
From New York Times Bestselling Author, Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right? 

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection. 

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.

Author's note – RoomHate is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.


Meet Penelope Ward
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island. 


 Other books from Penelope Ward

Sins of Sevin

Cocky Bastard

Stepbrother Dearest


Gemini

Jake Undone (Jake #1)

My Skylar

Jake Understood (Jake #2)


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Laurelin Paige - Chandler cover reveal

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Title: Chandler (A Fixed Trilogy Spinoff)
Author: Laurelin Paige
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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I dominate the boardroom. Im a Pierceits what we do. But I never had a reason to bring that persona into the bedroom. Until Genevive Fasbender. Shes brash and bold and stubborn as hell, and she doesnt believe its possible to satisfy her. But Ive discovered her secret, one she hasnt even figured out herselfshe wants what I want. And not only does she want itI'll make her need it. No matter what.

Add to Goodreads

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/1S7uflK

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2009woh

iBooks: http://apple.co/23pxXdZ

"Laurelin Paige has done it again with her sexy, protective, alpha males. ★★★★★" - Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads

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Free Me is on sale NOW for 99¢

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1POwB2B 

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1SHB9xW

 
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With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn't seem to complain, however. When she isn't reading or writing sexy stories, she's probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. You can connect with Laurelin on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LaurelinPaige or on twitter @laurelinpaige. You can also visit her website, www.laurelinpaige.com, to sign up for emails about new releases.

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Kayti McGee - Under Covers review and excerpt

Undercovers Blog tour Banner   Under Covers Final Cover    

Blurb

Halfway through her first year on the job, Melissa Montclair decides the best part of teaching is winter break.
And the best part of break is the Perfect Ten she meets in a bar on New Year’s Eve. Why not celebrate a semester under her belt with a Perfect Ten in her pants? The one night affair is all she hoped for, until she walks into school a week later and sees Mr. Ten is Student Twenty-nine on her roll call.
She should be mortified—and she is—but that doesn’t stop her from banging him again. And again.
And again.
So much for job security.
Posing as an exchange student at Hamilton High is finally the assignment Officer Spence Vega has been hoping for. Now he has a shot at getting to the bottom of the town’s recent molly epidemic. There’s only a couple of problems: first, history is taught by the curvy bombshell he banged on New Year’s. Second, his growing suspicion is that she’s the dealer he’s looking for.
The job was supposed to be an easy in-and-out, not the teacher.
If only they could stop getting under the covers, staying undercover would be so much easier.

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  under covers offer you everything

  Excerpt  
I run my hands across the small of her back softly, swaying against her as she arches into me. We are dancing without music, a sexy tango of clothes and lips. (See what I did there? Tango. Oh wait, that’s Argentina. Never mind.) And soon she is standing in nothing but lace. I run my hands over the swells of her breasts and relish in her gasps and moans. She's wound tight, and I plan to play her like a violin. (That one works much better.) Her bra drops to the floor, and she stands flushed and unashamed before me.
My teacher. Goddamn. I am going to go home and sponsor two more orphans.
"Take off your panties," I order.
She hooks her thumbs into the elastic and spins in a slow circle, leading with her ass. Slowly, she slides them down, her shapely ass still in the air, and lifts one leg at a time, my own private strip show. All we’re missing are the glasses and the chaste updo. Although, truly, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. She's totally bare, always a treat, and already I can remember her sweet taste on my tongue. I pick her up, and she wraps her legs around my waist, giggling as I spin her around. I set her on the island and kiss her cheeks, her neck, across her collarbone, and down to those tits I’ve been longing for.
Each nipple pebbles under the warmth of my tongue, like they were waiting for this very moment.
Like they were waiting for me. The two new orphans I promised to care for. She drops her head backwards and moans, encircling her arms around my neck. I secure her to me with my right arm and use my left hand to cup each breast as I adore it with my tongue. I can't stop thinking of what sheer perfection her body is. She smells like a honeycomb, tastes the same, and her skin is as soft as silk. Our bodies move together like they were made for one another, calibrated to the other exactly.
It's the most intimate moment I’ve ever shared with someone, and we haven’t even gotten to the sexing yet. I said I was riding a unicorn before, but this girl is a unicorn.
My cock begins to ache in anticipation, rising again to the challenge. I lay her down gently across the island, my own personal feast, and bend over her. I can’t stop my hips from moving as I kiss her again, and work my way back down her body. Past the delicious swells of her breasts, down the tight curves of her stomach, past her cunt smelling incredibly of her sex. I love on her legs and her calves, paying special attention to the tender skin behind her knees and on her upper thighs.
She growls playfully, wriggling her body each time my lips cross over the spot she wants me most, but I don't give in. Instead I give her a single long, slow lick down her blissfully pink pussy and return to her stomach, then back up to her breasts. Her nipples are tight nubs and I gently bite down on each.
"Tease," she breathes.
I only grin wickedly at her. After all, she’s the one who suggested that this last all evening.
"Lick me." She’s (impossibly) even sexier when she commands me.
"Only when you beg me." She might be my teacher, but I can show her a thing or two myself.
She shudders a little. "I never beg."
"Tonight you will."

MY REVIEW:

Even though I've heard of her before now, this was my first Kayti McGee book. It won't be my last though! And whew boy! It was funny, feisty, sexy and an all around great book. I really enjoyed the way Kayti writes. The characters were easy to love and could easily be people you know. I loved their thoughts as they were talking and oftentimes I found myself laughing out loud at what was going on.

The storyline was cute and quick to get lost in. The passion between Melissa and Spence was  H-O-T-T and they couldn't get enough of each other. There was one scene that had me laughing, cringing, and hot and bothered all at the same time.  Spence couldn't let on as to who he was but poor Melissa was thinking the worst. Yet she couldn't stop the pull toward Spence. 

This was a super cute, fun read! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I look forward to more books from Kayti McGee!


  About Kayti McGee  
 Kayti McGee is a former Kansas Citian who now follows the Royals from Colorado. Besides writing, her hobbies include travel, cooking, and all thing Whovian. She also writes as the latter half of Laurelin McGee. Like her co-author Laurelin Paige, she joined Mensa for no other reason than to make her bio more interesting.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lauren Layne - I Wish You Were Mine

Boy, oh boy, is this book delicious! The sexual tension is THROUGH THE ROOF! Palpable through the pages. Lol. The best kind, right? This is my first Lauren Layne book and I'm kicking myself for not having found her sooner! I was sucked into this story from the very start. It was funny, sweet, sexy and VERY enjoyable.

Oooh and the ex-wife... BISH!! I wanted to punch her in the face!! She's mean and nasty and only looks out for #1. I feel sorry for her sister. And you can see Mollie's frustration with her. She's quick to defend her sister but she has 2 eyes and can see how she is. I get loving someone because they're family but poor Mollie.  Madison is definitely the bad guy in this book and I kept waiting for her to explode!

And let's get back to Jackson and Mollie. I love their relationship! Even during his marriage to Madison, Jackson had a good, solid friendship with Mollie. They get each other and even though he was married, I think he realized he married the wrong sister. He never cheated on Madison but he was drawn to Mollie. 

And cue the FEELS! Wowwwwww! This book! Of course, this is a HEA we're talking about here but it was so perfect for them!!!!! Again, Madison deserved to be punched INTHEFACE! But Jackson and Mollie are epic. I need more Lauren Layne in my life! More of her books will be read! This book was completely captivating, flowed quickly and I didn't want to put it down. 

*ARC provided by NetGalley for my honest review*



In this charming Oxford Novel, hailed by Keri Ford as “a sizzling-loud friends-to-lovers story,” Lauren Layne poses a provocative question: What do you do when you fall in love with your sister’s ex?

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Advance praise for I Wish You Were Mine

“A smart, sexy, and absolutely irresistible read!”—USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly

“I Wish You Were Mine is a sizzling-loud friends-to-lovers story with a unique twist of my-sister’s-ex-husband. A hot and sexy read with a strong bond of friendship make this a book you don’t want to miss.”—Keri Ford, author of the Turtle Pine series

Praise for the novels of Lauren Layne

“Fun, sexy, and sharp as a spike heel.”—New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox

“Packed with loads of sizzle and Snickerlicious fun, Lauren Layne’s After the Kiss is a knock-your-stilettos-off, total page-turning treat that had me fan-girling up within the first chapter.”—USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly

“Spunky, flirty, and full of sass, Love the One You’re With is everything a romance should be! Lauren Layne has a winner.”—New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig

“Sexy, sassy, and surprisingly sweet, Lauren Layne’s Just One Night is a total page-turner!”—New York Times bestselling author Donna Alward

“The Trouble with Love is a heartwarming read I devoured in one sitting and haven’t been able to stop smiling over since.”—New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke

“Irresistibly Yours has it all: fun banter, hot chemistry, and a couple that you just can’t help but want to be together!”—New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.



Monday, January 25, 2016

Blake Austin - 9 Letters cover reveal



Meet Luke Crawley in Blake Austin's debut novel of loss, redemption, and ever-enduring love releases on February 24th! 

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1ONI0Qf


Blurb
Luke Cawley is a broken man. After his wife's tragic death, he lost everything that mattered in the world. Now, his life is filled with hard days, harder nights, and a steady stream of alcohol and the wrong kind of women. Nothing helps.

Until the letters arrive on Luke's doorstep.

Nine envelopes. Nine messages. Nine chances to find his way back.

Rae Goode is looking for the real thing. After fighting her way out of a string of bad relationships, she's ready for something different--something true.
She meets Luke while piecing her life together, and right away she can tell that he's different. Drawn together by fate and the desire to heal, Rae and Luke discover new ways to mend their broken hearts--one letter at a time. 

Discover Blake Austin's debut novel of loss, redemption, and ever-enduring love.



Follow Blake Austin on Facebook here:  


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Gina Gordon - Naked

This was the first book I've read from Gina Gordon and I'm glad I took the chance on it. It was hot, sexy, sweet and endearing. ALL the feels!

Violet is a strong, independent woman who is having a very low moment in her life. She's been through a tragedy and she's trying to cope. Not to mention her career is a man's world and so she has extra pressure on herself to show the men that she belongs. 

She had noticed her next door neighbor and the way they actually met, cracked me up! Their relationship was fun to watch and slowly but surely they began to infiltrate each other's lives. Even though Violet had other intentions, she couldn't help BUT to fall for Noah. 

Noah accepts Violet's offer at first (what guy wouldn't?!). And even though he knew her rules, he kept hanging out with her. He introduced her to his friends and family and little by little, he didn't want to let her go. Even when he was deterred, she had gotten under his skin and he couldn't let go. Noah is a genuinely nice guy and he had been burned by live in the past so he had a little bit of a hard time coming to terms with the fact that Violet could actually like him for who he was without worrying about what he did for a living. 

I loved the friendships in this story. Both those new to Violet and her BFF, not to mention Noah's friends and family. This story was very enjoyable and I look forward to reading more from Gina Gordon.  And I'm curious to know Harper's story though! Be sure to add this book to your TBR!


** ARC provided from NetGalley for my honest review **




The deeply sensual Body & Soul series kicks off with “a fun, sexy emotional read” (Lisa Renee Jones), as one woman discovers the courage to face life’s greatest challenges—and explore her connection with a handsome neighbor.

Violet Walker has been hiding. Withdrawn after a terrible car accident, she is worried about going back to her high-pressure job, where she’s expected to project confidence and sleek refinement. Allowing herself a distraction, she’s been watching her sexy neighbor work on his house. But when the shirtless, grinning hunk catches her in the act, Violet is struck by the unmistakable jolt of physical chemistry, a sensation that’s both thrilling and terrifying.

Noah Young is used to moving from one construction job to another, never laying a firm foundation. The same goes for the women in his life—until Violet changes all that. His beautiful voyeur embraces his rough edges and shows him a hint of real love. But even Noah can tell that she’s holding back, hiding her body and her heart from what they both truly want. If only he could get a little help convincing Violet to see herself as he sees her: perfect in every way.

Praise for Naked

“Naked is not to be missed. All I can say is, more Noah please!”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones

“A fun, sexy story that will make your heart race, Naked is a great swoony romance!”—New York Times bestselling author A. Meredith Walters

“This book hit me straight in the feels. So powerful and sensual. I was hooked from page one. Gina Gordon is now on my one-click list.”—USA Today bestselling author Jamie K. Schmidt

“I’m addicted to Gina Gordon, and it only took one page.”—Cassie Mae, author of the All About Love series 

“Naked is an emotional journey—sprinkled with lots of hot sex! The way Violet confronts her insecurities will move and inspire you.”—Christi Barth, author of Risking It All

“Scorching hot! With a wickedly sexy hero and a powerful yet vulnerable heroine, you’ll absolutely devour Gina Gordon’s Naked.”—Jessica Lemmon, author of Forgotten Promises

“A wonderfully moving and sensual story of a woman overcoming life’s obstacles—and how better than with a shiver-inducing hero?”—Shana Gray, author of After the Hurt

“Naked is irresistible, steamy, and satisfying! It’s easy to identify with Gordon’s high-powered CEO heroine, who hides her deepest longing—to be valued simply for herself—under protective layers. But you know who’s good at stripping layers? A crazy-hot neighbor who works with his hands. Commence the sizzling demolition! You won’t want to miss this bold and sexy wake-up call to love!”—Amanda Usen, author of Impulse Control

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Friday, January 22, 2016

K.A. Tucker - He Will Be My Ruin Chapter 1 reveal

HeWillBeMyRuin - Chapter Reveal banner  

We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring you the Prologue and Chapter 1 Reveal for K.A. Tucker’s HE WILL BE MY RUIN! HE WILL BE MY RUIN is a Romantic Suspense novel, published by Atria books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, and is set to be released February 2, 2016!

  He Will Be My Ruin - cover

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

IndieBound | Book Depository | Audible

  K.A. Tucker’s HE WILL BE MY RUIN – Prologue and Chapter One:

Prologue

Maggie

December 23, 2015

My wrists burn. Hours of trying to break free of the rope that binds my hands behind my back have left them raw, the rough cord scrubbing away my skin and cutting into my flesh. I’m sure I’ll have unsightly scars. Not that it will matter when I’m dead. I resigned myself to that reality around the time that I finally let go of my bladder. Now I simply lie here, in a pool of urine and vomit, my teeth numb from knocking with each bump in the road, my body frozen by the cold. Trying to ignore the darkness as I fight against the panic that consumes me. I could suffocate from the anxiety alone. He knows that. Now he’s exploiting it. That must be what he does—he uncovers your secrets, your fears, your flaws—and he uses them against you. He did it to Celine. And now he’s doing it to me. That’s why I’m in a cramped trunk, my lungs working overtime against a limited supply of oxygen while my imagination runs wild with what may be waiting for me at the end of this ride. My racing heart ready to explode. The car hits an especially deep pothole, rattling my bones. I’ve been trapped in here for so long. Hours. Days. I have no idea. Long enough to run through every mistake that I made. How I trusted him, how I fell for his charm, how I believed his lies. How I made it so easy for him to do this to me. How Celine made it so easy for him, by letting him get close. Before he killed her. Just like he’s going to kill me.  

Chapter 1

Maggie

November 30, 2015

The afternoon sun beams through the narrow window, casting a warm glow over Celine’s floral comforter. It would be inviting, only her body was found in this very bed just thirteen days ago. “Maggie?” “Yeah,” I respond without actually turning around, my gaze taking in the cramped bedroom before me. I’ve never been a fan of New York City and all its overpriced boroughs. Too big, too busy, too pretentious. Take this Lower East Side apartment, for example, on the third floor of a drafty building built in the 1800s, with a ladder of shaky fire escapes facing the side alley and a kitschy gelato caf√© downstairs. It costs more per month than the average American hands the bank in mortgage payments. And Celine adored it. “I’m in 410 if you just . . . want to come and find me.” I finally turn and acknowledge the building super—a chestnut-haired English guy around thirty by my guess, with a layer of scruff over his jawline and faded blue jeans—edging toward the door. Given the apartment is 475 square feet, it doesn’t take him long to reach it. I think he gave me his name but I wasn’t listening. I’ve barely said two words since I met him in front of Celine’s apartment, armed with a stack of cardboard flats and trash bags. An orchestra of clocks that softly tick away claim that that was nearly half an hour ago. I’ve simply stood here since then, feeling the brick-exposed walls—lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and filled with the impressive collection of treasures that Celine had amassed over her twenty-eight years—closing in on me. But now I feel the need to speak. “You were the one who let the police in?” Celine never missed work, never arrived late. That’s why, after not showing up for two days and not answering her phone or her door, her coworker finally called the cops. The super nods. “You saw her?” His eyes flicker to the thin wall that divides the bedroom from the rest of the apartment—its only purpose is to allow the building’s owner to charge rent for a “one-bedroom” instead of a studio. There’s not even enough room for a door. Yes, he saw her body. “She seemed really nice,” he offers, his throat turning scratchy, shifting on his feet. He’d rather be unplugging a shit-filled toilet than be here right now. I don’t blame him. “Uh . . . So you can just slide the key through the mail slot in my door when you’re finished, if you want? I’ll be home later tonight to grab it.” Under different circumstances, I’d find his accent charming. “I’ll be staying here for a while.” He frowns. “You can’t—” “Yeah, I can,” I snap, cutting his objection off. “We’re on the hook with the lease until the end of January, right? So don’t even think of telling me that I can’t.” I’m in no rush to empty this place out so some jackass landlord can rent it next month and pocket my money. Plus . . . My gaze drifts over the living room again. I just need to be in Celine’s presence for a while, even if she’s not here anymore. “Of course. I’m just . . .” He bites his bottom lip as if to stall a snippy response. When he speaks again, his tone is back to soft. “The mattress, the bedding, it’ll all need to be replaced. I would have already pitched it for you, but I figured that it wasn’t my call to make. I pulled the blanket up to cover the mess and tried to air the place out, but . . .” I sigh shakily, the tension making my body as taut as a wire. I’m the only jackass around here. “Right. I’m sorry.” I inhale deeply. The linen air freshener can’t completely mask the smell. Her body lay in that bed for two days. Dead. Decomposing. “I’ll be fine with the couch until I can get a new mattress delivered.” It’ll be more than fine, seeing as I’ve been sleeping on a thin bedroll on a dirt floor in Ethiopia for the past three months. At least there’s running water here, and I’m not sharing the room with two other people. Or rats, hopefully. “I can probably get a bloke in here to help me carry it out if you want,” he offers, sliding hands into his pockets as he slowly shifts backward. “Thank you.” I couple my contrite voice with a smile and watch the young super exit, pulling the door shut behind him. My gaze drifts back to the countless shelves. I haven’t been to visit Celine in New York in over two years; we always met in California, the state where we grew up. “My, you’ve been busy,” I whisper. Celine always did have a love for the old and discarded, and she had a real eye for it. She’d probably seen every last episode of Antiques Roadshow three times over. She was supposed to start school this past September to get her MA in art business, with plans to become an appraiser. She delayed enrollment, for some reason. But she never told me that. I found out through her mother just last week. Her apartment looks more like a bursting vintage shop than a place someone would live. It’s well organized at least—all her trinkets grouped effectively. Entire shelves are dedicated to elaborate teacups, others to silver tea sets, genuine hand-cut crystal glassware, ornate clocks and watches, hand-painted tiles, and so on. Little side tables hold stained-glass lamps and more clocks and her seemingly endless collection of art history books. On the few walls not lined with shelves, an eclectic mix of artwork fills the space. Very few things in here aren’t antique or vintage. The bottles of Ketel One, Maker’s Mark, and J√§germeister lined up on a polished brass bar cart. Her computer and a stack of hardcover books, sitting on a worn wooden desk that I’d expect to find in an old elementary schoolhouse. Even the two-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree has well-aged ornaments dangling from its branches. I wander aimlessly, my hands beginning to touch and test. A slight pull of the desk drawer finds it locked, with no key anywhere, from what I can see. I run a finger along the spine of a leather-bound edition of The Taming of the Shrew on a shelf. Not a speck of dust. Celine couldn’t stand disorder. Every single nutcracker faces out, equidistant from the next, shortest in front, tallest in back, as if she measured them with a ruler and placed them just so. Being enclosed in this organized chaos makes me antsy. Or maybe that’s my own ultra-minimalist preferences coming out. I sigh and drop my purse onto the couch. My phone goes next, but not before I send a text to my personal assistant, Taryn, to ask that she arrange for a firm double mattress to be delivered to Celine’s address. Then I power the phone off before she can respond with unnecessary questions. I’ve had it on silent since my plane landed in San Diego five days ago for the funeral. Even with two proficient assistants handling my organization’s affairs while I’m dealing with my best friend’s death, the stupid thing hasn’t stopped vibrating. They can all wait for me, while I figure out where to begin here. I know I have a lot of paperwork to get to the lawyer. All estate proceeds will eventually go to Celine’s mother, Rosa, but she doesn’t want a dime. She’s already demanded that I sell off anything I don’t want to keep for myself and use the money for one of my humanitarian efforts in her daughter’s name. I could tell Rosa was still in shock, because she has always been a collector by nature—that’s where Celine got it from—and it surprised me that she wouldn’t want to keep at least some of her daughter’s treasures for herself. But she was adamant and I was not going to argue. I’ll just quietly pack a few things that I think would mean a lot to her and have them shipped to San Diego. Seeing Celine’s apartment now, though, I realize that selling is going to take forever. I’m half-tempted to dump everything into boxes for charity, guesstimate the value, and write a check. But that would belittle all the evenings and weekends that Celine devoted to hunting antique shops, garage sales, and ignorant sellers for her next perfect treasure. My attention lands on the raw wood plank shelf that floats over a mauve suede couch, banked by silky curtains and covered with an eclectic mix of gilded frames filled with pictures from Celine’s childhood. Most of them are of her and her mom. Some are of just her. Four include me. I smile as I ease one down, of Celine and me at the San Diego Zoo. I was twelve, she was eleven. Even then she was striking, her olive skin tanned from a summer by the pool. Next to her, my pale Welsh skin always looked sickly. I first met Celine when I was five. My mom had hired her mother, Rosa Gonzalez, as a housekeeper and nanny, offering room and board for both her and her four-year-old daughter. We had had a string of nannies come and go, my mother never satisfied with their work ethic. But Rosa came highly recommended. It’s so hard to find good help, I remember overhearing my mother say to her friends once. They applauded her generosity with Rosa, that she was not only taking in a recent immigrant from Mexico, but her child as well. The day Celine stepped into my parents’ palatial house in La Jolla, she did so with wide brown eyes, her long hair the color of cola in braided pigtails and adorned in giant blue bows, her frilly blue-and-white dress and matching socks like something out of The Wizard of Oz. Celine would divulge to me later on that it was the only dress she owned, purchased from a thrift shop, just for this special occasion. Rosa and Celine lived with us for ten years, and my daily routines quickly became Celine’s daily routines. The chauffeur would drop Celine off at the curb in front of the local public school on our way to my private school campus. Though her school was far above average as public schools go, I begged and pleaded for my parents to pay for Celine to attend with me. I didn’t quite understand the concept of money back then, but I knew we had a lot, and we could more than afford it. They told me that’s just not how the world works. Besides, as much as Rosa wanted the best for her child, she was too proud to ever accept that kind of generosity. Even giving Celine my hand-me-down clothes was a constant battle. No matter where we spent the day, though, from the time we came home to the time we fell asleep, Celine and I were inseparable. I would return from piano lessons and teach Celine how to read music notes. She’d use the other side of my art easel to paint pictures with me of the ocean view from my bedroom window. She’d rate my dives and time my laps around our pool, and I’d do the same for her. We’d lounge beneath the palm trees on hot summer days, dreaming up plans for our future. In my eyes, it was a given that Celine would always be part of my life. We were an odd match. From our looks to our social status to our polar-opposite personalities, we couldn’t have been more different. I was captain of the debate squad and Celine played the romantic female lead in her school plays. I spearheaded a holiday charity campaign at the age of thirteen, while Celine sang in choirs for the local senior citizens. I read the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times religiously, while Celine would fall asleep with a Jane Austen novel resting across her chest. And then one Saturday morning in July when I was fifteen, my parents announced that they had filed for divorce. I still remember the day well. They walked side-by-side toward where I lounged beside the pool, my dad dressed for a round of golf, my mom carrying a plate of Rosa’s breakfast enchiladas. They’d technically separated months earlier, and I had no idea because seeing them together had always been rare to begin with. The house in La Jolla was going up for sale. Dad was buying a condo close to the airport, to make traveling for work easier, while Mom would be moving to Chicago, where our family’s company, Sparkes Energy, had their corporate headquarters. I’d stay wherever I wanted, when I wasn’t at the prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts that they decided I should attend for my last three years of high school. The worst of it was that Rosa and Celine would be going their own way. Rosa, who was more a parent to me than either of my real parents had ever been. Celine . . . my best friend, my sister. Both of them, gone from my daily life with two weeks’ notice. They’re just a phone call away, my mom reasoned. That’s all I had, and so I took advantage. For years, I would call Celine and Rosa daily. I had a long-distance plan, but had I not, I still would have happily driven up my mom’s phone bill, bitter with her for abandoning me for the company. I spent Christmases and Thanksgivings with Rosa and Celine instead of choosing to spend them with Melody or William Sparkes. To be honest, it never was much of a choice. Through boyfriends, college, jobs, and fronting a successful nonprofit organization that has had me living all over Africa and Asia for the last six years, Celine and Rosa have remained permanent fixtures in my life. Until thirteen days ago, when Rosa’s sobs filled my ear in a village near Nekemte, Ethiopia, where I’ve been leading a water well project and building homes. After a long, arduous day in the hot sun, my hands covered with cuts from corrugated iron and my muscles sore from carrying burned bricks, it was jarring to hear Rosa’s voice. California felt worlds away. At first I thought that I hadn’t kept myself hydrated enough and I was hallucinating. But by the third time I heard her say, “Celine killed herself,” it finally registered. It just didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t. Hollowness kept me company all the way back—first on buses, then a chartered flight, followed by several commercial airline connections—and into Rosa’s modest home in the suburbs of San Diego. The hollowness held me together through the emotional visitation and funeral, Rosa’s tightly knit Mexican community rocked by the news. It numbed me enough to face Rosa’s eyes, bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles, as she insisted that I come to New York to handle the material remains of her only child. The case is all but officially closed. The police are simply waiting for the final autopsy report to confirm that a lethal dose of Xanax— the pill bottle sitting open on her nightstand was from a prescription she filled only two days prior—combined with an unhealthy amount of vodka was what killed her. They see it as a quick open-and-shut suicide case, aided by a note in her handwriting that read I’m sorry for everything, found lying next to her. The picture frame cracks within my tightening grasp as tears burn my cheeks, and I have the overwhelming urge to smash the entire shelf of happy memories. This just doesn’t seem possible. How could she do this to her mother? I shift my focus to the picture of Rosa—a petite brunette with a fierce heart, who gives hugs to strangers who look like they’re having a bad day and spouts a string of passionate Spanish when anyone tries to leave the dinner table



About K.A. Tucker:


Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Links:

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CD Reiss - ShutterGirl Sale blitz



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Meet Michael & Laine in this Hollywood themed second chance romance by CD Reiss!

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Blurb

THE USA TODAY BESTSELLER
I never forgot her. Not for one minute. Not from the last time I saw her, at seventeen, to today. I measured all women against her and all women came up short. 
But being with her was unfeasible in high school, and it's taboo now. 
I see her sometimes, but I've never spoken to her. She runs, or I run. We're in the same town, on the same block, in the same building, and the gulf between us is just too wide to cross. 
Until tonight. 
---- 
He was my high school crush, back when I lived in a world that didn't want me. He was the perfect boy, and I was the outcast kid from the other side of town. And when he held my hand I thought I could fit in, just a little. I thought I could be his and he could be mine. 
Then he left, and my life fell apart. 
Now we are the king and queen of opposite sides of Hollywood. And we haven't spoken a word to each other. 
Until tonight.



Excerpt
 I stroked his hair, waist deep in peace, all worry gone for the moment, and floating in no more than an ocean of gratitude. I must have been more vulnerable than I realized, or he’d reopened some wound with his kindness, because though my sweet reverie stayed, as the minutes passed, a layer of need fitted itself on top of it.
I needed to tell him, if not the details, the outlines of who I was.
“I want you to know,” I whispered, starting somewhere small, then everything I didn’t want to say spilled out. “I have stuff. I’ve never been to jail, but you know, it’s stuff, and it’s ugly, and it scares me. Because, I mean, you’re so perfect, and I’m… I’m just a mess. I’m not whole. I’m a bunch of pieces of a person I cobbled together.” My eyes got wet when I thought of the comparisons between us and that picture in my silverware drawer. “So if you have to move on when you realize that, I’ll understand. You have an image, and if anyone understands protecting a career, it’s me. I mean, I’ll be mad, don’t get that wrong, but also.” I swallowed and blinked, shifting my head so he wouldn’t feel the tear on his forehead. “I won’t blame you.”
I waited for an answer. Anything. A change in position or a word on any subject. The weather. Sports. Something. But all he did was breathe.
I smiled so wide, tears fell into my mouth. He was sleeping.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CD Reiss
CD Reiss is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did embed TV story structure in her head well enough for her to take a big risk on a TV series structured erotic series called Songs of Submission. It’s about a kinky billionaire hung up on his ex-wife, an ingenue singer with a wisecracking mouth; art, music and sin in the city of Los Angeles.
Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to give the toilets a once-over every couple of weeks or chop a cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.