Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Releases from Andi Loveall, Chelsea O'Neal, Julie Johnson, Olivia R. Keane, Terri Osburn, Rebecca Rogers Maher, and Susan Mac Nicol


The Edge Of Something More
Andi Loveall
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
After a nasty breakup, twenty-two-year-old Devin Ashford is on a mission to travel the world one random excursion at a time. He wants to forget his ex, discover new experiences and end up with some awesome stories to tell. If it takes spending all of his savings to do it, he is ready.
His first stop is a communal homestead in the Appalachians of North Carolina, which turns out to be a bohemian paradise. The weed is plentiful, the owners adore him, and the very sight of Cora, their nineteen-year-old goddaughter, makes him want to set up a permanent camp.
Cora warns that she isn’t ready for a serious relationship, but Devin is falling hard. Playful kisses turn into passionate sex, and each day is spent connecting and enjoying the mind-numbing awesomeness—until he makes the mistake of saying “I love you.” Discussing the future kills the good vibes, and Cora pushes him away.
Pissed off and rejected, Devin begins preparing for his next excursion: backpacking India. But just when it’s time to go, the death of one of the homestead’s beloved animals leaves Cora upset and in need of a friend. Devin’s kindness wins him another shot at romance.
With a plane ticket in hand and his pride on the line, Devin and Cora find themselves teetering on the edge of something more.

“Will you teach me one day?”
“How to do graffiti,” he said. “I seriously think it’s really cool. I want an expert like you to show me how to do graffiti in a public spot and not get in trouble for it. And no legal copouts either, I want the full-on experience. I want the danger. I’m talking the busiest bridge, in the busiest part of Los Angeles—”
“Or, we could drive out in the country somewhere. That would be cool too.”
“I don’t know,” she said. “What are you going to do for me?”
“I want to do a lot of things for you. If you’ll let me.”
“Maybe I will.”
“Take me tagging? Or let me do things?”
She giggled. “Both. I do still have all my spray paint in the trunk of my car.”
“When can we go?”
“I don’t know. Some time.”
“What about the other? The doing things?”
“I don’t know,” she repeated. “Some time.”
He took her by the hands, interlocking all of their fingers.
“I want you to know,” he said. “I appreciate how slowly we’re taking this.”
She laughed. “Oh really?”
“Yes. I want to take it nice and slow,” he teased, kissing her fingertips. “Don’t you?”
“Yes, actually,” she said, flushing. “I do.”
“I wouldn’t even kiss you right now if you came at me first. I would shove you off and shout of my decency.”
“I know what you’re trying to do.”
“Is it working?”
“No.” She pulled her hands away. “It’s actually making me want to tease you even more.”
“You know, for someone who didn’t want to talk about sadomasochism, you’d make a great dominatrix.”
“You might be my muse when it comes to beating and destroying people.”
“Yeah, you’re bad. I like it.”
“Do you like bad?”
“I love bad. I love bad like a normal person loves good but even more.”
“I’m not really bad.”
“I know. But if I think about the good in you, it’s a lot harder for me to take it slow.”
The good in her was just there, radiating around her like a bubble of pure sunshine. He wasn’t lying when he said he wanted to take it slow. Being teased with this perfect thing was the most delicious build of his life, and everyone could feel him feeling it.

Author Bio:
Andi Loveall grew up in the blistering heat of California’s Central Valley and has since traveled far and wide in search of adventure and romance. From the steamy streets of Bangkok to the dancing fireflies of the Appalachians, the places, people and things she has seen have convinced her of two things: Life hurts no matter where you go, and the world is a crazy-beautiful place.
A freelance writer by day and storyteller by night, Andi is on a mission to create characters that come alive in worlds she can’t quite reach. When she’s not writing, she’s usually hula hooping, dying her hair bright colors or making delicious home-cooked meals for herself and the people that she loves.

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TITLE – Zoku’s Hope SERIES – Angel Crest Trilogy #2 AUTHOR – Chelsea O’Neal GENRE – Urban Fantasy Romance PUBLICATION DATE – March 21, 2014 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 220 pages PUBLISHER – Mirador Publishing COVER ARTIST – Mallory Rock’s Art


Zoku's Hope - Book Cover
After Jaiden found Daniah in Juniper, they returned to Garnet City. Daniah is destined to become Queen of Zoku, a race of angel half-breeds who protect the humans from a soul-stealing evil. Now, Daniah is learning of her abilities and responsibilities as queen. Just as things seem to be going smoothly, a group of Zoku show up to help, led by an angel, Shelly.
Mallory has been on her own for most of her life, trying to protect and save those around her. She is Toyek, and she's been hiding in plain sight while fighting for her life. She is intent on finding her friends' daughter,
whatever the cost, when an innocent trip to the supermarket takes an interesting turn. Orion has been hired to find a female and, as a Tracker, finding people is his specialty. He finds much more than he was looking for when he runs into the beautiful Mallory. While pursuing both his target and the resistant Mallory, he finds himself fighting to defend Princess Daniah and the Zoku. Can Orion and Mallory work together to help Daniah be the hope the Zoku so desperately need? Or will a few surprises and a tragedy be all it takes to break the united front of the Zoku fighting against the evil Meikal?


Portrait of young elegant couples in the tender passion


“Cord, come dance with me,” I suggest, sliding out of my chair and holding my hand out to her. 
She looks up at me in surprise then blushes and reaches her good hand up to clasp mine and we head to the dance floor. The music has all been slower songs, which is good because with her broken arm Cord wouldn’t be able to get too crazy. 
I slide one arm around her waist and pull her against me while taking her free hand in mine. We sway to the music and I notice the beat changes into another song which is a bit faster, so I dip Cord back then nudge her gently with my arm at her waist while pulling her other arm, making her go in a circle before pulling her body back up against mine. 
She giggles. “This is fun, and you’re quite good,” she says smiling up at me. “Even with my bum arm.” 
I smile back and respond, “thank you.” Then we continue on, me dipping, swaying, pushing away pulling her back against me. I twist her so that her back is against me and we sway in time to the music. I drop my head against her shoulder and lay my cheek against hers. 
“You’re pretty good at this yourself,” I say into her ear and feel her body tremble against mine as she lays her head back against my chest. ““Even with your bum arm.” 
We sway a bit more, before I spin her around again and dip her before bringing her up against my body, lifting her to where her face is close to mine. We are still swaying slightly as the music changes again, and then, looking into her eyes and her flushed face, I lean closer, my eyes falling to her lips. 
I feel her take in a breath and hear it catch in her throat. I release her hand and slide both of my arms around her, one on her waist and the other around her back. Her hand moves to my shoulder and I feel her pull me closer. My eyes flick back up to hers, which are locked onto my mouth. Without another thought, I lean in and press my lips against hers softly. My hand moves to her nape as I cradle her against me. 
I feel a shock at the first touch of our lips and then I feel Cord press herself even closer to me as she pulls at my shoulder. She is everything I have been wanting and more than I had hoped for. Her lips are soft and warm, molding against mine; her body is lean and muscled, though still soft. Her hand moves up to my hair and she lightly scratches my scalp and I moan into her mouth feeling the touch all throughout my body. 
I move my lips against hers, lightly swiping my tongue against her lower lip, coaxing her to open for me. She does, sucking in a shuddering breath, and I thrust my tongue into her mouth. I feel as well as hear her groan in to my mouth as she angles her mouth against mine. 
I pull back from her mouth and move to her neck, lightly leaving open- mouthed kisses along her jaw and neck. I have waited years to finally kiss her, and I have wanted her more the last few days. “Cord,” I whisper and I feel her body stiffen. 
I pull back and look at her in question. She looks up at me with indecision all over her face, though I can see the desire in her eyes.
Zoku's Hope - Teaser 2


Chelsea O’Neal lives in her fantasy world where people can fly, vampires could be real, money is never an issue, and the romantic meeting of your true love is a normal happening. When not relaxing in Chelsea-ville, she enjoys talking with animals that talk back and taking long walks with her Prince Charming…
Actually Chelsea lives in the United States in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, with her black lab Daisey, who hasn’t spoken actual words, but she is pretty sure Daisey understands her. She is yet to meet her Prince Charming, though she is quite sure he is out there. Chelsea enjoys working in a library as well as a cosmetologist. She is an avid reader and writing has always been her passion. Zoku’s Hope is her second novel, and she is working on her next book now.


Zoku's Hope - Teaser 1

Book one info below


TITLE – Juniper’s Princess SERIES – Angel Crest Trilogy #1 AUTHOR – Chelsea O’Neal GENRE – Urban Fantasy Romance PUBLICATION DATE – July 2, 2013 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 254 pages PUBLISHER – Mirador Publishing COVER ARTIST – Mallory Rock’s Art
Juniper's Princess - Book Cover


Daniah is different, she always has been and now her dreams and visions of the future are increasing, she knows her life is changing. She just doesn't know by how much...
Jaiden is different, but he knows why and he knows his responsibilities. He must find the saviour of his race, the angel human half-breeds who are fighting a war for humanity's souls. If he can't convince Daniah she is more than just a little different - she is the princess of their people - they are all going to die.
Unfortunately Daniah doesn't have many reasons to trust Jaiden, especially when he is caught in a web of his own lies. In a world where half-breed angels walk among us, fighting an evil for our souls, Daniah must find the strength to become the princess we all need.
Chelsea O'Neal has a unique voice in storytelling, threading the characters lives together intricately to give us a complex web of good versus evil in a world descending into chaos...


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CROSS THE LINE by Julie Johnson front cover

Book Title: Cross the Line 
Author: Julie Johnson 
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy 
Release Date: November 10, 2015 
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Phoebe West has been head-over-heels in love with her brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember.

Not that he’s bothered to notice.

Despite several mortifying attempts at seduction and a decade’s worth of unrequited pining, nothing Phoebe does seems to make any impact on the man she’s obsessed over since her bra-stuffing days. She knows it’s time to let him go, though just the thought is nearly enough to shatter her…

Nathaniel “Nate” Knox has only ever seen Phoebe as one thing: forbidden.

There’s a darkness in Nate, the kind you can’t avoid after years working in special forces and private security. He’s no good for anyone — especially not someone as sweet as his best friend’s little sister. He knows he can’t have her. Not ever. Even if she makes him feel things he barely recognizes...

Some lines aren’t meant to be crossed.

When an unforeseeable series of events sends Phoebe stumbling headfirst into danger, there’s only one man who can protect her. Though, in his quest to save her life, he may just break her heart...

CROSS THE LINE is a full-length contemporary romance about a woman who can’t seem to walk away… and the man who’ll go to any length to keep her safe. Due to sparks flying, suspenseful moments, steamy scenes, and one sassy heroine, it is recommended to readers ages 17 and up.


My champagne glass is poised at my lips when my eyes cut through the crowd and find the one thing I’ve told myself over and over I haven’t been searching for all night.

There’s a man standing by the wall, practically blended into the shadows, his every muscle on high alert and his stare locked on me. His muscular body fills out a pair of dark slacks dangerously well. His biceps strain against the confines of his black button down; his tanned throat is on display with the top buttons of his shirt left undone.

My mouth feels suddenly dry.

Dark eyes meet mine, trapping me in an instant. I’m a deer in headlights, frozen, staring at him across a crowded sea of people. There must be fifty of them, standing in the space between us, but as seconds slip away with our gazes locked, every one of them simply falls away until we’re the only two in the room.

Nate, Nate, Nate.

Every atom in my body starts to sing, totally entranced by his presence. There’s something terrifying about a man who holds that much sway over you. A man who can just look at you — not even with kindness or love, but with a hard-set mouth and cold-burning eyes — and unravel you like a spool of useless thread.

One glance and I’m a goner.

I hear Cormack saying something at my ear but for the life of me, I can’t make out his words. He’s a candle throwing faint light… and Nate’s the sun — eclipsing everything else, pulling me into his orbit.

I’m not breathing, as I look at him. I can’t. Every ounce of control I have over my body is being used up with the effort of keeping my eyes steady on his face. His goddamned beautiful, haunted face. I wonder, if I ever got the chance to trace its harsh lines with my fingertips, to stroke that ever-clenched jaw with gentle hands… would it soften at all beneath my touch? Or would loving Nate be like touching stone?

You hate him. He’s terrible. Stop looking at him.

Those dark eyes burn into mine and I think they’ll never let go, never release me. That I’ll age and wither and die right here, in this spot, because I can’t look away.

But then Cormack moves, his hand skimming my arm in a useless call for attention, and those consuming dark eyes shift, releasing me. Breath whooshes back into my lungs as Nate stares at the man by my side. His eyes flash with something indecipherable, his jaw clenches, and then he’s gone.

Slipping into the crowd like a ghost, until I’ve lost sight of him.


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· I Found by Amber Run
· Not In That Way by Sam Smith
· Clean Getaway by Maria Taylor
· Beautiful Birds by Passenger
· Landfill by Daughter
· Shadow Preachers by Zella Day
· Like I Can by Sam Smith
· Shame On You by Mariah McManus
· Ace of Hearts by Zella Day
· Take Me to Church by Hozier
· The Last Time by Taylor Swift
· Latch (Acoustic) by Sam Smith
· Compass by Zella Day
· Let the Light Back In by Maggie Eckford
· This Love by Taylor Swift

Meet the Author

JULIE JOHNSON is a twenty-something Boston native suffering from an extreme case of Peter Pan Syndrome and an obsession with fictional characters. When she's not writing, Julie can most often be found daydreaming, drinking too much coffee, striving to conquer her Netflix queue, or stalking Goodreads for new books to add to her ever-growing TBR list.

She published her debut novel LIKE GRAVITY in August 2013, just before her senior year of college, and she's never looked back. Since, she has published three more novels: SAY THE WORD, ERASING FAITH, and NOT YOU IT'S ME. Her books have appeared on Kindle and iTunes Bestseller lists around the world.

You can find Julie on Facebook or contact her on her website Sometimes, when she can figure out how Twitter works, she tweets from @AuthorJulie. For major book news and updates, subscribe to Julie's newsletter:
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Title: Push
Series: Bound #1
Author: Olivia R. Keane
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: Adult/BDSM/Erotica
 Release Date: November 10, 2015


Charlie Flynn never gave much thought to need. She wanted mostly to keep her head down and do her job. It had never crossed her mind that she deserved to be happy, loved and wanted - by a man. A second date with someone interesting was about all she could aspire to.

But her well-intended sister figures Charlie has nothing to lose by going out on a date with Declan Pearse, the man who just happens to be Charlie’s incredibly sexy new boss.

Throwing caution to the wind, Charlie falls headlong into a dangerous and dark romance that leaves her bound by her desires and ripe with need.

Declan Pearse, youngest of the Pearse brothers, wants nothing more than to succeed as head of the Pittsburgh branch of Pearse Publishing. He never mixes business with pleasure, but all of that changes when he is set up on a blind date with research associate Charlotte Flynn.

Suddenly, Declan stops playing by his own rules and claims Charlotte for himself. And when a man like Declan Pearse wants you, the only thing you can do is give in to his every desire.

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Author Bio

When Olivia R. Keane is not busy pursuing her Master’s in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, she writes novels-- sweet or steamy, or a combination of both, about intelligent, feisty women and the real, quirky men who fall for them.

Living in Western New York with her husband and children, she refers to herself as a word nerd, web geek, single malt appreciator, music addict, and hopeless romantic. When she isn’t living in the fantasy world of her characters, Olivia can be found on Not So Vanilla where she blogs about overcoming her irrational fear of escalators, lust for custom Kitchen Aid mixers, and her search for the perfect cup of coffee.

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Our Now and Forever
by Terri Osburn
Series: Ardent Springs, #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: November 10, 2015

When Caleb McGraw sweeps Snow Cameron off her feet, she never expects their whirlwind romance to lead to a Vegas wedding chapel. Before she can catch her breath, Caleb starts talking kids and college funds while his wealthy parents make their disapproval painfully clear. Convinced she was blinded by lust, not love, Snow takes off for Ardent Springs, Tennessee, two months into the marriage.

Heir to a media conglomerate, Caleb never experienced struggle or rejection, until Snow sends him on a wild hunt for his runaway bride. When he finally finds her—managing a curiosity shop beloved by the quirky locals—she agrees to give the marriage another chance, but on one condition: no sex for a month. Can their love stand the test, or will they give in to their attraction?

In this humorous and heartwarming Ardent Springs romance, two lost hearts start over in a town where everyone deserves a second chance and love always wins in the end.

“You’re a hard woman to find,” Caleb McGraw said with the soft drawl of a Louisiana native.

Snow Cameron looked up into the face she’d been avoiding for nearly eighteen months and swallowed hard. The moment of reckoning had come.
Glancing around to gauge their audience, Snow was relieved to see few customers present, and none of those even seemed to notice the handsome stranger in their midst. At least not yet. She evoked every ounce of control she had to remain calm, hoping the panic shooting up her spine didn’t show on her face.

Caleb McGraw, his jawline made for marble, and his eyes the shade of a clear blue sky, was the perfect combination of Greek god and good-ol’-boy. She’d like to say his eyes were the first thing she’d noticed when she’d almost tripped over him at a New Year’s Eve party nearly two years ago, but his shoulders had been the first draw. Perfect for holding onto during . . .
Sex is what got you into this mess, young lady. Do not go there.

“Well,” she said, “my name is over the door. What are you doing here?” she asked, which may have been the most idiotic question ever, but Snow couldn’t think of anything else to say.

Except maybe, How did you find me? Or, Why didn’t you love me?

Though Snow had spent endless hours contemplating exactly what she’d do were this unwelcome reunion to occur, she hadn’t expected both fear and joy to light through her system like lightning slicing through an ancient oak. The fear was no surprise, but the joy was so unexpected she was forced to grip the edges of the cash register on the counter in front of her to keep her balance. Thankful to have the counter between them, she waited for his answer with growing dread.

Crossing his arms, Caleb smirked. “I’d think that was obvious.”

Snow studied his face, struggling to read his thoughts. Neither anger nor pleasure shown in his features. Though he loomed above her—six feet three inches of solid muscle, as she knew all too well—his stance didn’t feel threatening. If she’d spent as much time learning his mind as she’d devoted to studying his body, maybe interpreting his expression wouldn’t be so difficult.

With shaking fingers, Snow swiped a wayward curl off her forehead and was reminded that she was wearing a hat. A very pointy hat, along with a tight black dress, red and white striped knee socks, and platform Mary Janes.

Why did he have to find me on Halloween? she thought.

The downtown vendors of Ardent Springs held a trick-or-treating event for area children every year, which would start in less than an hour. Snow had donned the witch costume to show her town spirit, as there were still several locals who never let her forget that she was a newcomer, regardless of being a resident for more than a year now.

From her left, Snow spotted Lorelei Pratchett hustling toward them from the back of the store, looking intent on learning the identity of the man staring at Snow with unblinking blue eyes.

“I’m really busy right now,” she said, hoping Caleb would agree to continue this conversation at a later time, preferably in private. Not that she wanted to be alone with him, but if anyone learned exactly who he was . . .

“Who do we have here?” Lorelei asked once she reached the end of the counter.

“Nobody,” Snow said, at the same time Caleb introduced himself.

“Caleb McGraw,” he offered, repeating his name for a second time, as Snow had spoken over him the first. “I’m here to see Snow.”

Giving her friend a you-lucky-girl look, Lorelei said, “You two know each other?”

“It’s been a while,” Snow answered, determined to keep the details slight.

“Seventeen months, three weeks, and four days,” Caleb said, shocking Snow into silence.

He’d kept track down to the day. Had he been looking for her all that time? She knew he’d eventually seek her out, as they had business that would someday need to be resolved, but since she’d mattered so little to him, Snow assumed there’d be no rush.

Unless . . .

“If you don’t mind,” she said to Lorelei as she rounded the counter, “Caleb and I need to discuss something. Could you watch the register for a few minutes?”

Lorelei’s brows shot up, but she didn’t ask any more questions. “Happy to.” Making a shooing motion, she added, “You two take all the time you need.”

“Follow me,” Snow said to Caleb, then hurried through the store to the back room. Once inside, she spun and asked, “What do you want?”

“You know the answer to that,” he said, pinning her to the spot with an unrelenting glare.

“No, actually, I don’t.” She had a guess, and the thought made her nauseated. Another unexpected reaction.

Instead of pulling out the divorce papers she assumed he’d want her to sign, he said, “You left.” Two words that felt like a one-two punch.

“Yes,” she said, her voice weak. There was no reason to deny the truth.


Tapping into unknown depths of bravado, Snow answered. “Mistakes were made. I didn’t see any reason to keep making them.”

“After all this time, you think that’s a good enough answer?” He straightened up off the wall with his words.

What did he want from her? Some tearful explanation of how he’d hurt her? A philosophical discussion about the negative effects of making spontaneous, emotional decisions and why there’s a reason the brain should have more sway than the libido?

Snow had some pride left. Even if she was having this conversation looking like she belonged behind a cauldron, minus the green skin. There was only so far she was willing to go for town acceptance, and goopy green makeup went beyond that.

“I have a business to run here, and trick-or-treating kids will be arriving soon.” He didn’t need to know the fun didn’t start for another forty minutes. “If you have more to say, you’ll have to come back at closing time when I’m free.”

“When is that?” he asked.

She’d hoped her lack of cooperation would result in him storming out and never coming back. The idea of having a second round set up a pounding in her temples.

She considered lying, but something told her to stick with the truth. “Seven.”
“I’ll be here at six forty-five.” With a nod, he strolled back into the store as if they’d done little more than chat about the weather. Caleb should have been fighting mad. He should have been making demands and refusing to be tossed into the street after eighteen months of nothing.

If he had ever loved her, he’d be doing all of those things. His lack of feeling wasn’t a revelation, but having the reality confirmed so clearly felt as if the betrayal had happened all over again.

Worried that Lorelei might stop him on his way through the store, Snow hastened to catch up and intercept any further interrogation. Though she’d been back in her small Tennessee hometown for less than six months, Lorelei Pratchett had regained the local tendency to grill strangers who dared step inside the Ardent Springs city limits.

As Caleb approached the exit, Lorelei paused her straightening of a perfectly organized china display to ask, “So how long will you be with us?”

Cutting his blue eyes toward Snow, he said, “That depends on my wife.”

Another subtle nod and Caleb exited the store, leaving bells jingling in his wake and a gaping Lorelei shocked speechless for what Snow guessed to be the first time in her life.

“Did he say—”

Snow held up her palm to cut off the question, and dropped into the yellow brocade chair behind her.

Stepping up beside her, Lorelei leaned down and whispered, “Vegas?”

Snow’s head jerked up. “How do you know about Vegas?”

“You pretty much gave yourself away earlier this month, at the Ruby festival,” said Lorelei. “Spencer and I were talking about setting a wedding date, and you vehemently preached against the evils of getting married in Las Vegas.”

Pulling off her hat and twisting the wire-trimmed brim in her hands, Snow asked, “Was I that obvious?” At Lorelei’s nod of affirmation, she sighed. “Then, yes. That’s Vegas.”

Click HERE to watch the book trailer for Our Now and Forever.


Author of the bestselling Anchor Island Series, Terri Osburn writes small town contemporary romance with heart, hope, and lots of humor. Her new Ardent Springs Series launched in April with HIS FIRST AND LAST, and this month she’s celebrating the release of OUR NOW AND FOREVER, the second book in the series. Terri lives on the coast of Virginia with her teenage daughter, three frisky felines, and two high-maintenance terrier mixes. To learn more about Terri, check out her website at

Title: Rolling in the Deep
Author: Rebecca Rogers Maher
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 10, 2015


In this raw, moving short novel for readers of Jill Shalvis, Molly O’Keefe, and Karina Halle, two kindred spirits share a winning lottery ticket—and discover what it really means to get lucky.

Holly Ward is stretched to the breaking point, raising her young son alone and working long hours for minimum wage at a local superstore. Sure, she’s noticed the new guy with the easy grin and warm brown eyes, but she’s learned the hard way that relationships aren’t worth the pain. Still, when he invites her to split a lottery ticket, she figures a little innocent fun couldn’t hurt. The last thing she expects is to score big, which is exactly what happens . . . in more ways than one.

From the moment he meets Holly, Ray Lopez is drawn to her quiet dignity and openhearted beauty. And when they hit the jackpot together, he’s thrilled that the single mom can give her kid a better life. The only problem is the chaos surrounding them: lawyers and reporters swarming, friends and family angling to get their cut. In all the chaos, Ray discovers an oasis of calm and passion in Holly. But with the stakes higher than ever, winning her trust could cost him everything.

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I don’t usually give much time to the new people, although I try to be friendly. You never know how long someone’s going to stay at Cogmans since turnover is so high. They could easily be leaving as soon as they’ve arrived. But I know how disorienting the first few weeks on a job can be. I help out when I can.

The trouble is, Ray here might be interpreting that the wrong way. Like I’m interested in him. Like I’m putting the feelers out.

I’m not putting out any feelers. My feelers long ago shriveled up and fell over dead. I’d tell him so straight out but I think that would embarrass us both.

Anyway, he’s a nice enough guy. If compelled in a court of law I might even admit he’s good-looking. But I’m far too tired for man-hunting, even if the dead zone of Cogmans were conducive to romance. Which it most certainly is not. Fortunately, that makes conversation with male coworkers and customers fairly easy. I have no energy for worrying about whether they find me attractive. So I can just be myself.

“How’s it going, Ray? You having a good day?”

“Oh yeah. It’s great.” He takes some packs of gum and starts arranging them on the opposite shelf. “No place I’d rather be than stocking candy at Cogmans on a Friday afternoon. Sun shining outside? Who cares? Got me some Phil Collins playing on the intercom, got a cart full of Juicy Fruit. What more could a man want?”

I snort and pick up a stack of candy bars. “A polyester uniform vest? You could have that.”

“Got it.” He does a little sidestep and adds gum to the shelf. “A matching tie?”

“Oh, look.” I point to his chest. “You’ve got that, too.” Then I turn back to my candy shelf, because when Ray smiles, a dimple creases out on his right cheek.

Okay, maybe he’s a little more than good-looking. With his brown eyes and thick hair, his strong hands. At the moment he’s a bit too close and I realize I can smell him. His aftershave, I guess, which is kind of smoky and sweet.

Like barbecue potato chips. That is what I just compared this poor man to. I realize that in all the hubbub this morning I forgot to make myself breakfast.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Ray continues behind me. “Working at Cogmans is great and all that. What with the nonstop buzzing of track lighting over our heads. And the cranky customers. And the total lack of health insurance. But after work I’m thinking I’ll hop down to my private plane and jet on over to the Vineyard for a round of golf.”

“Martha’s Vineyard?” I line up boxes of candy one after another, so that all of their corners match.

“Naturally. Where else does one go on the weekend?” He’s got a bit of a New York City accent usually, and mixed with the faux-British he’s trying hard to tackle, it’s doing something weird to my midsection. His voice is too deep, I think. Even joking around, it vibrates.

“Martha’s Vineyard is definitely where I’m gonna go,” I say. “Soon as I win the lottery. Maybe the Cape while I’m at it.”

“Or the Hamptons.” Ray turns and leans against his cart. “We’d fit right in, you know, you and me. All the golfers wear large buttons like ours that say, ‘How may I help you?’ ”

“Oh, for sure. Alongside their name tags that identify them by first name only.” I crack a smile and face him, and immediately wish I hadn’t. There’s the dimple again, and his eyes, which crinkle at the corners.

“You know there’s a Powerball drawing coming up,” he says. “Nobody’s won in ages. It’s over four hundred million.”

“Yeah,” I say. “Let’s definitely play the lottery. Because that’s not rigged at all. We’ll totally win.”

He edges his cart closer to mine. “Why not? You never know.”

“Seriously? You don’t actually play, do you?”

“Sure I do. Don’t you? Can’t win if you don’t play and all that.”

“Yeah, but it’s like a zillion-to-one chance.” I cross my arms over my chest, and then drop them when Ray’s gaze almost imperceptibly follows the resulting pushing-up of my boobs. He looks back to my face so quickly you’d barely know he’d wavered. Except for the slight color in his cheeks. I press on to rescue both of us. “It’s a waste of money.”

“Maybe. But it’s only two dollars. I spend two dollars on a soda if I’m real thirsty. Don’t mind wasting that much for the sake of a little dreaming.”

I tilt my head at him. “You make it sound reasonable. When in fact it’s completely insane and illogical.”

“See, but that’s how I draw you in.” He smiles. “With my rakish charm and unerring man-logic. Right here in the candy aisle I lay my trap. First it’s a little light gambling. And then before you know it, it’s the drinkin’. And the druggin’.”

“Next thing you know I’m driving the getaway car to Toronto.”

“Exactly.” He holds out his hand. His nails are neatly trimmed, his fingers broad. “Give me a dollar.”

“What? Why?” I’d take a tiny step back, but my cart’s in the way. Its piles of candy bars stare up at me accusingly. Any minute our manager will pop his head around the corner and chastise us for slacking off on the job.

“Powerball ticket’s two bucks. We’ll go in on one. See what happens.” His hand waits, open and extended out to me. I want to place my own hand against it, palm to palm, and feel the warmth there. He’s not kidding about the charm.

“You want me to give you a dollar and we’ll split a Powerball ticket.”

He nods. “Yup.”

“How does it even work?”

“Drawing is tomorrow night. You can watch it on TV at like eight o’clock. I’ll go to the store after work, give them our two bucks, they print out a ticket, and that’s our shot. Wait, how do you want to do it? You want to pick the numbers? It’s five numbers plus a bonus one, the Powerball one. You can pick your own or the computer generates one for you.”

“Let’s do the computer.” It’s out of my mouth before I even realize I’m in. But I’m in, I guess. Like Ray says, why not? It’s no worse a distraction than eating a bag of donuts, and significantly better for my blood sugar. Maybe it will actually take my mind off my worries for five minutes, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. “Might as well use the computer numbers and be totally random about the whole thing.”

“Sure, yeah.” Ray’s teeth are very white. He has a good mouth, a soft mouth.

I shouldn’t be looking at his mouth.

“Random,” he says. “I like that.”

I dig in my pocket for a dollar. When I hand it over, his fingers brush mine. I pretend not to notice the zing that races through me.

But I fail.

I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Author Bio

Rebecca Rogers Maher writes realistic stories that push the boundaries of contemporary romance—uniting the genre’s love scenes and happy endings with the crisp, layered prose of literary fiction. In past lives, she’s been a teenage metalhead, a cleaner of lab rat cages, a community organizer, and an urban schoolteacher. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and children.

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Title: Cross to Bare
Series: Men of London #5
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: November 10, 2015


Tough in business but romantic at heart, fashion designer Lenny James isn’t hiding his masculinity behind his super successful female alter ego, but a vulnerability that only handsome financier Brook Hunter will be man enough to reveal...and worship.


It’s amazing what a little mascara and lipstick, a blonde wig, false boobs, and top-notch female fashion can hide. Not that Lenny James is hiding his masculinity. He uses his normal voice when he’s Laverne, and he’s not particularly camp as a man. His reasons for creating his alter ego are locked deep in his past. He is who he is: tough in business, and a romantic at heart. What he’s hiding is vulnerability. He wants a man to accept both sides of him.

Gorgeous, commanding, and dark as sin, Brook Hunter meets Lenny and knows nothing about Laverne until fate pushes her into his path. Cross-dressing is as far from Brook’s reality as fashion is from his world of diplomacy and high finance. Understanding and truth take time, and trust doesn’t come easy. But Brook is about to show Lenny that there are no sides to true love, just the place where they meet in the middle.

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Brook smiled. “The chemistry is still there, though. No doubt about that.” His brows furrowed. “And if I remember from our last window encounter, you promised to return the favour,” he murmured as he reached out and removed the glass from Lenny’s hands. He put the whisky down on the table by the window then dipped his finger in the cool liquid. Brook’s finger came up, and he slid it across Lenny’s bottom lip, slowly. He thought he was going to shoot in his pants with the eroticism of that gesture. The whisky flavour burned into his lips and he slid his tongue out and sucked the finger caressing his mouth. Brook’s eyes widened in lust, the pupils expanding. His lips parted and Lenny wanted to thrust his tongue and his cock inside the hot, wet heat of that mouth.

“Let’s get this over with, shall we, because obviously neither of us can wait,” Brook whispered, as his tongue slid into Lenny’s ear. His hands slid under the red jacket, tugging the shirt from his trousers, and then caressing the heated skin beneath. “Otherwise we’ll not enjoy my wonderful Chicken Cacciatore that I slaved over all day. Let’s fuck first, talk later.”

Lenny agreed wholeheartedly. With a low moan, he mashed his mouth against Brook’s and took possession of it. Familiar and wanton in return, Brook’s questing tongue slid into Lenny’s mouth. The slippery sensation of that deliciously heated organ, currently on a quest to drive him crazy, took him back to those passion fuelled days when he and Brook had been together. The feel of strong fingers against Lenny’s skin and the heat of that body pressed against his – it was if they’d never been apart. Lenny wasn’t one for insta-love but insta-lust he could definitely understand.

“I’d forgotten how damn good you taste and feel,” Brook gasped as his hands fumbled with buttons, opening Lenny’s trousers. He cried out as Brook’s hand slid inside his silk boxers and slid fingers down his hardened and wet cock. “This - this is what I want, you inside me.”

That phrase made Lenny thrust his cock harder into the tight confines of Brook’s hand.

“You keep saying that and I won’t have anything to fuck you with because you’ll make me come,” he managed to get out. “Turn around, face the glass.” He didn’t wait for Brook to obey, simply spun him round hard and slammed him against the cold, silken wall. “You’d better hope this is one way glass, because otherwise your neighbours are going to see you being royally skewered this time.” Lenny kicked off his trousers and underwear, giving a sigh of relief as his cock sprung free.

Author Bio

Susan Mac Nicol is a self-confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, geek and nerd and in love with her Smartphone. She is never happier than when sitting scribbling down words and making two men fall in love.

In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She lives in the quaint village of Bocking in Essex, set in the countryside and not far from the sea should she get the yen to eat crab or oysters on the Cromer Pier.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me on your blog! ~Chelsea O'Neal