Book Blitz: Tasting Her Christmas Cookies by Alina Jacobs

Tasting Her Christmas Cookies 
by Alina Jacobs 
Publication date: November 19th 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Goodreads


Winter is coming—and unfortunately it’s bringing Christmas with it.

I loathe the holiday. I hate holiday parties, fragrant decorations, and hokey movies. If I had my way it would be winter all year round and never Christmas.

Nothing burns like the cold—except a hot oven.

That’s right; against my better judgment I agreed to let The Great Christmas Bake-Off film in my tower.

And St. Nick help me but I even agreed to be a judge.

Holly

Christmas is like the perfect sugar cookie—it slowly melts in your mouth, sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever.

I love Christmas. I love the cheerful music, the fun sweaters, and the holiday lights. Most of all I love Christmas Cookies.

A begrudging bake-off judge, I refuse to let grouchy billionaire Owen Frost hate Christmas. The man is overworked, his employees are uninspired, and his life is seriously lacking in Yuletide cheer. I want to stuff his stocking with sugary goodness to put him in a very festive mood.

So I dressed up as a sexy elf and gave Owen a taste of something extra special. You should have seen his eyes roll back in his head when he bit into the perfect sugar cookie!

I can’t let Owen Frost be a distraction. Things are insane enough without a sexy billionaire.

My baking subscription service is in the death throes.

My Christmas-ruining step sister is trying to sabotage me in the bake-off.

I’m being stalked by elves on the shelf come to life.

Ok that last one is a little weird, but welcome to my disaster of a life.

I need to win The Great Christmas Bake-Off to pay of my debts and launch my baking career. Sleeping with one of the judges is going to ruin my chance for a merry Christmas. Owen with his washboard abs and big Christmas package is a bad idea. It’s best to keep that all wrapped under the tree.

But when he said in that deep, sexy voice, “Can I have another taste of your Christmas cookies?” Well, let’s just say I’m unwrapping one particular Christmas present early!

Tasting Her Christmas Cookies is a standalone holiday romantic comedy. If you love Christmas desserts, like to laugh out loud at holiday innuendoes, and want Santa to put a tall, good-looking guy under your tree, then pick up this full-length, steamy romance novel! There are no cliffhangers but there is a very happy (Christmas!) ever after!


Excerpt:

“We are having a Christmas bath scene in the near future,” I said to the camera, “with holiday bath bombs and themed cocktails. But unfortunately, it won’t be tonight. The bake-off starts tomorrow, baking fans!”

I looked longingly at the bathtub. Then, making sure the phone was definitely not recording, because I did not need to be that kind of Instagrammer, I took a quick shower. I seriously could not get over how huge the bathroom was. I could live in it. With a toaster and a mini fridge, I would totally be good.

After wrapping myself in the robe, I tied a T-shirt around my hair. I had frizzy hair on a good day; keeping my curls manageable was a perpetual struggle. I applied a gingerbread-cookie-scented moisturizer while my videos uploaded. Because I was busy scrolling through my phone and answering comments as I came out of the bathroom, I didn’t notice the half-naked man until he swore.

I looked up and screamed.

“Help! Help! Stalker!” I shrieked and ineffectively pointed at the stranger. Between the rippling muscles, the washboard abs, and an ass I could bounce a quarter on, I hoped he wasn’t actually here to hurt me, because he could do some damage. Pointing and shrieking wasn’t going to stop him. Fortunately, he looked more shocked and horrified than angry and violent.

“Stop screaming!” he bellowed. A freezing breeze blew into the room. It was as if the man had brought the rage of winter into the master suite with him. He looked like it, too, with his ice-blue eyes and silver-white hair. “This is my penthouse. You are not authorized to be here. That makes you the stalker!”

I stopped screaming. It clearly wasn’t helping anything. I also couldn’t help but notice that the bathroom wasn’t the only thing that was huge in the room. With him wearing nothing but boxer briefs, I could tell Santa had brought the handsome man a very large Christmas package indeed. The breeze blew in from the balcony, swirling the strange man’s clean and masculine scent around the room. I forced myself to ignore it.

“Get out of my house,” Big Christmas Package said flatly.

“You get out!” I shrieked. “I’m a bake-off contestant. This isn’t your room!”

“What the—” he grabbed his clothes, tugging on his pants. “The Great Christmas Bake-Off? I cannot have Christmas invading every element of my life. This is ridiculous. Christmas is ridiculous. It’s such a stupid, childish holiday.” He punctuated his words by snatching up articles of clothing.

“Hey now!” I said, hands on my hips, fear subsiding. “Christmas is never ridiculous. It’s the best holiday ever. And if you can’t see that, well then, you’re just a grinch, aren’t you?”

He advanced on me. I was suddenly very aware of how large he was. Christmas package notwithstanding, this dude was tall, broad shouldered, with rippling muscles. He could probably split me in two.

Yes, please.

“You’re some stupid little baker who never outgrew the childish fantasy of Christmas,” he sneered. 

My nose was inches away from his chest. He glowered down at me. I was too angry to be aware of his half-naked body. Okay, maybe I was like fifteen percent aware. But the majority of my energy was focused on being offended on behalf of Christmas.

“Don’t insult baking,” I said, giving him my best “I want to speak to the manager vibe,” though it was ruined by the fact that I had to crane my neck up to see him and that I was completely naked under the robe. “And never insult Christmas!”

His nostrils flared slightly.

“Men like you constantly belittle the work that women do to keep cultural traditions like Christmas alive,” I continued, poking him in the chest.

“We decorate homes to make them cozy.”

Poke.

“We cook holiday dinners and bake festive desserts.”

Poke.

“We host parties that bring families and friends together.”

Before I could poke him again, he grabbed my hand in his much-larger one. Then, realizing what he’d done, he quickly released it.

“I will not stand for your bad attitude!” I declared.

He glared down at me, strong jaw clenched, eyes cold as a frozen lake. “I can’t even believe this,” he finally snarled. He grabbed his briefcase and stormed out, still shirtless.

“Oh my God!” Fiona exclaimed, wide-eyed, as she ran into the room. She hugged me then pushed me to sit on the bed. “Are you okay? Who was that? Why was he in here? Someone call the police!”

“I knew it! You’re trying to steal my boyfriend,” Amber yelled at me, rushing into the room. “That’s Owen Frost, and he’s mine!”


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends December 5th.

The grand prize is:

  • 3x $10 Amazon gift card

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Purchase Links:

Amazon


If you like steamy romantic comedies with a creative streak, then I’m your girl!

Architect by day, writer by night, I love matcha green tea, chocolate, and books! So many books…

Sign up for my mailing list to get the free novella, AFTER HIS PEONIES, along with special bonus content, giveaways, and more!
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WWW Wednesday: November 20th, 2019 + Weekly Personal Update

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal Update:

I know that I haven’t been posting as much as I used to. I was getting burned out by writing reviews. I was having issues putting together reviews (which explains some of the reviews I have written lately). I was seriously debating just ending the blog because it was becoming a chore to me. Thankfully a 2 week forced hiatus was what I needed and I am back at it.

My forced hiatus started when I took a trip to Texas. See, BK got a new job, which required him to move. We needed to go to Texas to find a place to live. On the way to the airport, he got a phone call from his boss. And guess what….we didn’t have to move. The supervisor for the Southeast had quit and BK was to take over. Talk about last minute!! That was the first week of my hiatus. I spent it unpacking (I had packed up my kitchen and the closets).

The second week was unexpected. Miss R got sick with a strain of strep that was resistant to the antibiotics she was initially given. Her fever didn’t go under 102 for 4 days. It spiked at 104 during those days too. I took her back to the Dr and was prescribed another antibiotic. Because the first medication didn’t work, they ended up having to do a whole bunch of bloodwork on her. Just to make sure there was nothing else going on. She was a trooper and thankfully, is 100% better.

The kids are doing fine. Mr Z and Miss B are in 6th and 8th grade. Mr. Z has had a bit of an issue adjusting to 6th grade (his grades took a nosedive) but he is working to get back on A Honor roll. Miss B is looking at high schools (yikes!!). She wants to be a CSI/police officer. One of the high schools in the area offers a forensics course (4 years with college credit if she completes it) and she wants in.

Miss R started Kindergarten. She has adjusted well to the new schedule. She is advanced too. She knows her sight words, her letters by sight and sound, can count to 110 (believe me, she does it everytime BK and I go out), and is reading words in books. Her teacher will be starting her on bagged books shortly. Plus, her printing is wonderful. Now if she can keep healthy for the rest of the year, I’ll be good.

So, that’s what has been going on with me. Until next week!!


What I am currently reading:

Finding Kyler (The Kennedy Boys, #1)

Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny.

You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…

Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian.

Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise.

Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin.

He’s off limits.

And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit.

Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand.

Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.

But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

Will I enjoy this book?

Full of scandal, dysfunctional families, teen soap-opera-style angst and drama, secrets and lies, mean girls and catfights, lust and love, book one in the unputdownable Kennedy Boys series will have you flipping the pages’ way beyond bedtime! Only suitable for readers aged seventeen and older due to mature content and language. Please note this book contains a forbidden love theme featuring first cousins and a cliffhanger. It is not a standalone read.

Books in this Series
Finding Kyler
Losing Kyler
Keeping Kyler
The Irish Getaway – optional short novel

KENNEDY BOYS STANDALONE NOVELS
Loving Kalvin- friends-to-lovers second chance romance
Saving Brad – enemies-to-lovers romance
Seducing Kaden – second chance/forbidden romance
Forgiving Keven – second chance romance

The three Kyler books must be read together. Thereafter, every book in the series will focus on a single Kennedy boy and his love interest, and they will be standalone titles with an HEA and no cliff hanger.


I recently finished reading:

Westering Women

From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west

“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”

It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.


What books I think I’ll read next:

The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

The Vanished Birds

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

Big Lies in a Small Town

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solis is as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

 

The Look-Alike

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Girl and Justice for Sara comes a thrilling psychological drama about a woman who believes she escaped a brutal murder years ago—but does anyone else believe her?

Sienna Scott grew up in the dark shadow of her mother’s paranoid delusions. Now, she’s returned home to confront her past and the unsolved murder that altered the course of her life.

In her mother’s shuttered house, an old fear that has haunted Sienna for years rears its ugly head —that it was she who had been the killer’s target that night. And now, with it, a new fear—that the killer not only intended to remedy his past mistake—he’s already begun. But are these fears any different from the ones that torment her mother?

As the walls close in, the line between truth and lie, reality and delusion disintegrate. Has Sienna’s worst nightmare come true? Or will she unmask a killer and finally prove she may be her mother’s look-alike, but she’s not her clone?

Foul Is Fair

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

Returning to the dark and glamorous world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job. 

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas (River Ranch, #3)

Billionaires, cowboys, and romance collide during the holidays in this next book in the River Ranch series!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Ford family ranch. Will one cowboy’s homecoming be the greatest gift of all?

He left town and never looked back.
Cody Ford is a Wall Street honcho with humble Texas roots. This holiday season, he’d be content to just stay in New York and not face his family―and dodge their questions about when and with whom he plans to settle down. . .and if he will do so back at home. But his father isn’t getting any younger, and Cody doesn’t want to miss any last chances to see him and the rest of the folks back on the ranch. The last person Cody was expecting to see? His one-time girlfriend, Lexi Murphy, who’s been working as his dad’s new live-in nurse.

She never forgot him. Can she ever forgive him?
Lexi still holds a grudge against Cody. Back then, the college-bound heartthrob believed he was too good for a small-town girl like Lexi. But now Cody can’t help but see her in a whole new light. Could it be that this beautiful single mother with an unbeatable can-do spirit is the one he’s been waiting for all along? That depends on whether Cody can prove to Lexi that, this time, he means business―and if a sudden snowstorm can lend just the right amount of Christmas magic to help move things along. . .

Book Blitz: Freeing Eden by G.S. Kenney

Freeing Eden 
by G.S. Kenney 
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: May 29th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

Goodreads


A unique take on the eternal quandary of “good” versus “evil.”
— Joan D. Vinge, Hugo Award-winning author of The Snow Queen

All trader Zara wanted was to help Kell, a clone, retrieve his maker’s memories and discover who he really is. The conflict-torn planet Eden was supposed to be just a stop en route, but Kell begins recalling fragments of memories from Swifthammer, Eden’s now-deceased resistance leader. Despite Zara’s misgivings, Kell assumes Swifthammer’s role, opposing the planet’s foreign warlord Reuel.

But Reuel’s schemes take a dangerous turn when it becomes clear he has tampered with Kell’s programming. Could the memories Kell now begins to experience be . . . Reuel’s?

Kell struggles to bring peace to Eden by uniting his maker’s heritage with that of the planet’s oppressor, but Zara fears she may be losing her heart to the man who is poised to become Eden’s next and most terrible warlord. Can she help Kell find an identity all his own–and a future they can share together?


Excerpt:

No door was locked on Eden, but Avram knocked at the door of a house that seemed a bit larger than most. A small girl perhaps eight years old opened the door, her blond hair in long braids that hung down her back. Like so many of the children Kell had seen, she was painfully thin. Her clothes were old and faded and patched, but they were clean and neat. Her eyes widened when she saw the strangers at the door, but she spoke politely. “Please wait here a moment. I’ll get my father.”

The father was tall and strongly built, with a long, thick black beard and dark brown eyes. He examined the three strangers and must have deemed them acceptable, for he opened the door wide and said simply, “Come in. There is plenty here for a few more. My name is Seth. You are welcome.”

Avram spoke for the group. “My name is Avram, and these are Kell and Zara. Zara is a trader bringing seed. We need only a place to sleep in your barn, if you are willing.”

Seth smiled warmly. “That, and dinner, I expect. Well, you are welcome to both, and there are rooms in the house, too. We will need seed in this village next spring.”

The family had already sat down for dinner, but the children crowded more closely together and places were set for the three newcomers. An older woman with white hair rolled neatly into a bun at the nape of her neck glanced vaguely at the visitors as they took seats. She looked away, seemingly uninterested, and then she looked back at Kell, watching him as a cat might a mouse. Her eyes glittered in the flickering lamplight as she stared at him. She was tiny and bent. Her face was a map of wrinkles, more pronounced when she squinted to keep him in focus.

Kell couldn’t face the recognition in her eyes. His heart beat faster. He looked at the family around the table: his host, black-bearded and large-boned Seth, the three young children, and the weary housewife Annie, who placed a serving bowl on the table and sat down. He studied the age-worn wood of the table, the empty plates still waiting to be served, the yellowed and peeling paper on the walls.

He’d seen that look of recognition several times since he and Zara landed on Eden, and each time it was harder to face than the last. When he first became conscious back on Zara’s ship, he’d briefly wanted to remember his maker. But now, after a month of being no one but himself, he didn’t want to know more about the man. He was afraid of his maker’s memories.

He glanced at Avram. The old man’s white hair and beard were unkempt as always. When they’d first met, Avram too had stared at him with that I-didn’t-expect-to-meet-you-out-here look, but Avram didn’t meet his eyes now.

“Will you be leading us again, Swifthammer? Like before?” The grandmother asked the question as casually as she might have asked whether he thought it would rain. Silence fell around the table. Though the smell of a hot root-vegetable stew still in its serving bowl beckoned enticingly, no one moved.

Kell’s breath caught. He glanced at Zara, who sat perfectly still on the other side of Avram, her lips rounded in what could have been a silent “No.”

He wrapped his arms around himself and with difficulty returned the grandmother’s gaze. He shook his head slightly, apologetically. “My name is Kell.” His voice sounded hollow in his own ears. His heart was pounding. “Not—” He couldn’t make himself speak the syllables of the strange name. “Just Kell. I’m sorry.”

“It’s we who apologize, Kell.” Seth spoke quietly, but his basso voice reverberated off the walls. He frowned reprovingly at his mother. “But you do look a bit like him. My mother is old. Sometimes she gets confused.”

Around the table, people began serving the stew and eating. “Many of us resemble one another,” Avram said. He patted Kell’s arm and smiled encouragingly. “Too many shared bloodlines. Everyone is someone’s third cousin.”

Kell let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and returned Avram’s smile. He took the serving bowl as it came around and ladled some stew onto his plate. It smelled delicious. Garden thyme, Kell thought. Hardy oregano. Sage. The recognition was sudden and certain. He had no idea where it came from.

This brought him back to the problem the old woman had raised. He had to face it. With his stomach in a knot and his dinner forgotten, he braced himself. He held the spoon tightly in white-knuckled hands that might have bent a more delicate implement. “I’d like to hear about this Sw—” His throat constricted, as if the name had to be kept down. “It’s a strange name.”

Seth laughed. The sound filled the room much like his large-framed body filled his chair, and his amusement overflowed into his words. “It’s a nickname, actually, because he was so good at striking quick, hard blows against our oppressors. Proof, if you need it, that we are a people more comfortable with tools than with weapons. His real name was Yakob. I don’t know his surname. But everyone called him Swifthammer.”

“Kell.” Zara leaned forward to talk past Avram, who sat between them. “You don’t have to do this.” She spoke in Trade, though whether because she didn’t want the others to understand her comment or because of her difficulty with Edenian, Kell didn’t know.

“I can’t keep avoiding it,” he replied in the same language. To Seth, he said, “Yakob.” Yakob . . . —what? “You’ve met him?” The blood pounding in his temples made his voice echo inside his head. He felt dizzy.

“Oh, yes,” the old woman said, a ripple of laughter punctuating the two words into seven or eight happy syllables. “You came by this way when Seth and Annie here were just married and none of their children born. I may forget some things, but I wouldn’t forget you.”

“Come, now, Mother, can’t you see he’s not Swifthammer but a stranger?” Seth chided her as he would a small child. To Kell, he said, “I am truly sorry. She’s mistaken you for him.”

“Mistake?” The old woman laughed again, and her eyes glittered with excitement. “Look at you! Look at him, Seth. Is it not young Swifthammer returned to us?”

“Yes, he looks a lot like him,” Seth said, “but that was years ago.” He frowned impatiently. “Swifthammer wouldn’t be young any more. His beard would be gray now, like mine.”

Kell spoke to the old woman. “Please tell me. What was he like?”

“But surely you remember!”

“No. No, I don’t.” Kell looked away, shuffling through his meager store of memories, but as usual he found nothing. “Can you tell me the story?”

The old woman put down her spoon and sat back in her chair, her eyes unfocused as she remembered. “When you came here last, my children were about the age you are now, and you . . . you looked exactly like you do today. Not one whit different. You rode into the village on a white stallion with that blue cape you favored—”

Kell shivered. A memory surfaced . . . or a dream. “Emblazoned with something . . . silver lightning bolts?”

“Yes. Lightning bolts.”

“It was . . . a vanity. A gift, maybe, from . . .” He almost had it, a memory of a face, but it eluded him. “. . . someone . . .” A group of people, faces vague, wearing worn homespun, working together on a hillside somewhere, prying loose boulders to block the way below. Laughing. “I was trying to get people to resist, wasn’t I?” Kell’s hands felt cold and he was lightheaded, as if his heart had stopped beating in order to pay closer attention to this memory fragment, his and yet not his.

“Yes.” The old woman spoke with the assurance of a schoolteacher whose lesson has been well taught. “You see, you do remember. Before, we faced a terrible choice. Some of us defied the warlords and risked terrible punishment, but most of us did as the warlords wished and planted the drug, though it was evil. But you taught us to plant what should be planted and to hide our crops and harvests. To take to the hills when the armies came through and to hinder the armies when we could.”

“Hinder them?” Kell asked. “How? Surely not by fighting.”

“No,” Seth said. “We wouldn’t do violence, not even to violent people. But sometimes we can alter or hide the ways.”

“And then there was that time we managed to divert the army’s supply wagons,” Annie added, smiling at the memory.

“And do you remember that one year,” the old woman added, “when the apple harvest was so good, and we all baked apple pies for the soldiers, and that poor commander paced back and forth, and finally ordered them onward without bothering us further?” She laughed. “That really confused them. And it was fun. We have never forgotten those lessons, Swifthammer.”

Kell remembered none of these incidents, but he did recall the burnt farmhouse they’d seen riding into this village. It wasn’t the first evidence of the Black Lord’s retribution they’d seen on Eden. He swallowed past a lump in his throat. “They’ve gained you so little in all these years.”

“No! Not little!” Seth slammed his empty palm down on the table, rattling both the dishes and his wife, whose spoon dropped from her hand to clang on the wooden floor. He glared around the table as if to defy anyone to contradict him. No one did. “They have helped us gain self-respect and integrity before God and the community of men! And for that, we would sacrifice the same all over again!”

“As you have too, Swifthammer,” his mother said sadly, “to die as they say you did and to come back to us as you promised.”

Kell shivered as if a ghost’s wings had lightly brushed his cheek in passing. His maker’s ghost. For an instant, he doubted his own substantiality. “How did I . . . did he die?”

“We heard only rumors,” Seth said.

The fragile world Kell had constructed in the last month seemed about to break apart like thin ice under his weight. He looked at Zara, hoping for help. Zara had made no move to eat, nor to brush aside a dark curl that fell across her face. She sat intensely watching her plate as if to make sure that it wouldn’t come to life and walk away. She was breathing shallowly.

Seth’s wife Annie took pity on Kell. “We have been told that the Black Lord killed Swifthammer. But of course, the rumor might be false. For all we know, it might have been the Black Lord’s soldiers that spread this tale.”

“Or it might have happened,” Seth said with a scowl as grim as his voice.

No one spoke. A burning log collapsed in the fireplace. Silently, Seth stood, took a poker, and rearranged the burning wood. The fire blazed brighter.

After a while, Kell asked, “The resistance . . . continues?”

“In its way,” Seth said. “But not like in Swifthammer’s day.”

“Now, Seth,” said his wife. “They try, the ones up in Keephold.”

“Perhaps.” Seth’s jaw tightened, and a scar across his cheek gleamed almost white in the firelight as he frowned. “But if they are doing anything useful, we don’t hear of it out this way.” He jabbed viciously at a log, which fell from where he had just neatly arranged it. He jabbed at it again, then turned to glare at anyone who might be about to say anything further. As if anyone would dare.


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends November 28th.

The grand prize is:

  • 3x t-shirts (3 winners)

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Purchase Links:

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Author G. S. Kenney started reading early, and never stopped. In kindergarten, drawn in by an interesting book with a picture of three witches at a cauldron, she learned to read by starting with Macbeth. Now she writes speculative fiction. Her science-fiction romance novel Freeing Eden, published by Soul Mate Publishing, was a 2018 finalist in the Golden Heart® contest of the Romance Writers of America. The Last Lord of Eden, the second novel in the Ascent of Eden series, will be published by Soul Mate soon. 

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Book Blitz: Pinky Promises by Deana Birch

Pinky Promises 
by Deana Birch 
Publication date: November 18th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads


When her long-distance teaching buddy goes on maternity leave, New York City native Leyla Harraq, temporarily transplants to a sleepy beach town on the West Coast to manage her friend’s Hot Yoga studio. But the yogini’s brash spunk leads to an immediate social gaffe when she insults her new landlord, carpenter Adam Fields, and must backpedal to save face.

Watching her hottie landlord wallow in solitary confinement after a brutal break-up will never do. Motivated by her own need for physical contact, Leyla happily offers herself as the perfect rebound. She’ll be gone in a couple of months, no one has to know, and she can wipe his ex right out of his mind… and body. After all, if anyone knows how to turn up the heat, it’s her.

But when the studio owner realizes she can’t return to teaching full-time and asks Leyla to stay, the fish-out-of-water must make a choice. Can she abandon her commitment-free lifestyle for small town drama and a chance at love with a hunky hammer wielding man?


Excerpt:

She bent over. Again. And I stared. Again. And possibly drooled. What the hell was wrong with me? I’d been dating my girlfriend for ten years and never once thought of another girl in a totally inappropriate and downright lusty way. 

Plus, I was her damn landlord. There had to be some kind of weird power thing making my dirty mind even worse. When the hell had I turned into Creepy McGoogly-Eyes? I shook my head like a confused dog and headed through my glass door into the open kitchen.

“Chicken okay for you?” I asked over my shoulder. That was the other thing. Why had I asked her to dinner? Maybe it was because I couldn’t figure her out. New York sass one minute and stupefaction the next. Yeah, that was it. Not her bendy little butt, coal-black hair or insanely charming accent. 

“Chicken is perfect. Thank you so much for your hospitality; I really didn’t expect it.” Leyla’s soft smile revealed a small dimple in her chin. She tapped the counter a couple of times and surveyed the room before meeting me at the fridge. “What can I do to help?”

Damn, she was short. She didn’t even have to hunch down to look in at the shelves. And I didn’t fail to notice her offer. Whenever Holly came over, which was most nights when she wasn’t traveling for work, she would find excuse after excuse not to chip in. Either she’d just gotten her nails done or was too tired or would just blink and say, “I do love it when you spoil me, babe. You don’t mind if I chill, work was a bitch.” It had just seemed like something I’d accepted in our relationship. I’d often wondered how much she would do if we ever had kids. And if I was honest, it was one of the things holding me back from buying a ring. 

“Give me something to chop.” Leyla held open her hands. “Or I can just rummage around and make a salad out of whatever I find.”

I pulled out the marinated chicken breast from the bottom drawer and met her olive eyes on the way back to standing. “Go for it. There’s a head of lettuce and vegetables in the second drawer. You want a beer?”

“You trying to get me drunk?” A small, sarcastic snarl wrinkled her face. 

I yanked my head back, and she cringed. 

“Fuck. I’m sorry. Oh, Christ, now I said fuck. And Christ. I’m so sorry.” Rapid blinks were followed by one long one and a sharp exhale from her nose. “I think I have a little bit of fish-out-of-water syndrome. I’m sorry if I offended you with my language or implied…”

She really was quite the little pickle. I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Is that a yes or a no?”

“Maybe it will help me stop committing social faux pas. A beer would be great, thanks.” Leyla pulled out two red peppers and an onion and set them on the counter. I stepped out of the doorway, opened the cooler, grabbed a longneck, and wiped the ice water it dripped onto a nearby dish towel.

A quick hiss escaped the bottle as I twisted the cap and brought it back to the kitchen. I slid the beer across the counter, where Leyla was already busy chopping vegetables. 

“Just for the record, I don’t consider the swearing a problem. The gawker comment, yes,” I deadpanned. 

Her face fell as she reached for the beer. The bottle hovered below her lips and her eyes went wide. “I—”

“Relax. I’m fucking with you.” And dear God, it was more fun than I’d had in a long time. She was easier to wind up than a toy from the dollar store. 

She set the beer down and crossed her arms. Her eyes narrowed, but a glimmer of something, maybe mischief, betrayed what she probably wanted to read as anger. 

“You were kinda staring at my ass.”

Her ass was kinda staring back as far as I was concerned, sending all kinds of voodoo messages that had somehow convinced me to check it out every chance I got. But no way was I confessing to that. 

“Sorry. But no. I told you. I was just trying to figure out how you’d made yourself into a human pretzel.” Human pretzel in ridiculously revealing shorts.

Her slightly pouty lips plumped out and Leyla rolled her eyes. “Whatever, Mr. My Girlfriend is in Vegas.” She turned back to the vegetables, took a swig of the beer, and went back to work.


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends November 28th.

The grand prize is:

  • Paperback copy of Pinky Promises

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251233407/


Purchase Links:

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Born and raised in the Midwest, Contemporary Romance and Erotica writer, Deana Birch, now lives with her family in Europe. She can be found teaching yoga, ruining her children’s French homework, cleaning up dog vomit, writing her next book, or reading someone else’s.

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Book Blitz: Alee by Nicole Loufas

Alee 
by Nicole Loufas 
Publication date: November 19th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult

Goodreads


With just weeks left before her high school graduation, Alee dumps with her sunshine stealing boyfriend in epic fashion – by sleeping with his best friend.

Since bad things happen in three, becoming the school slut is just the beginning.

A mass shooting steals the life of Alee’s Olympic-bound best friend and a homeless drug addict turns out to be the father who abandoned Alee as a child.

With a backpack full of daddy-issues and a bucket list of broken dreams, Alee searches for light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Will the man who broke her, be the one who saves her life?


Excerpt:

Funeral food is like every other party food. Pinwheel sandwiches, mini-meatballs in a brown sauce, wilted salad, and an assortment of cheese and crackers. Laine plucks a cucumber from the tray. He dips it in ranch then shoves it in his mouth with an inappropriately timed sexy smile.

“Bryn hates baby carrots. She said there was something unnatural about them.”

“Toss them.” Laine points to the trash receptacle. “She’s right, they look like fat little baby fingers.” He inspects a dried out digit shaped carrot.

I pick up the tray and carry it to the trash. “This is for Bryn.” The carrots make a raucous as they spill into the bin. A few people glance my way, not for long. Too much eye contact and they’ll have to acknowledge me, speak me, console me.

Laine tosses his carrot in from a few feet away. “Bryn for the win.” He holds pose a few seconds the way Steph Curry does when he hits a three.

We return to the buffet where Frances is speaking to Bryn’s English teacher. She was an honor student so we never had classes together.

“Bryn was smart,” I tell Laine because he’s the only one here who will listen. “She had a 4.0 for, like, ever.”

I remember watching her study, wondering where all that information went. She was like a sponge, absorbing everything around her. Bryn immersed herself in life. She was always moving, always busy with practice of some kind, volunteering, studying, me. I was a project too. She tried like hell to get me involved, get me out of my shell. My spirit animal is a crab; shells are my thing.

Laine and I move to the stage on the other side of the room. A bunch of unattended kids run back and forth squealing like baby pigs. Laine knows a couple of them. They jump on him as soon as he sits down and beg for piggyback rides. He obliges. Laine is a nice guy. I like Laine. That’s probably why I fucked him.

“Are any of these yours?” It’s a joke, but you never know. “That one kind of has your eyes.” I point to the little girl clinging to his back. He gently lets her down and she runs off.

“I volunteer at an after-school program at the rec. At first, it was just something to add to my college applications, but I liked it so I stayed.”

“You really are a good guy, aren’t you?”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“I owe you an apology, for that day. For sucking you into my shit show. You didn’t deserve that.”

His shoulder leans into mine. “No apology necessary. Honestly, I could tell you and Benny weren’t gonna make it.” Laine is Benny’s best friend, he knows all about Benny’s side chicks. Maybe that’s why he did it. I wonder if Bryn knew it too.


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends November 28th.

The grand prize is:

  • $25 Amazon gift card

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251233405/


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Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.

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Book Blitz: Unravel You (Cole Brothers: Book 1) by Diana A. Hicks

Unravel You 
by Diana A. Hicks 
(Cole Brothers, #1) 
Publication date: November 18th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads


UNRAVEL YOU is the enthralling sequel to LOVE OVER LATTES and can be read as a standalone. It is also book one in the Cole Brothers series, a new family saga, binge reading experience: 5 brothers, 5 full-length novels in 5 months.
 
College graduate Valentina never expected to fall for the hot as hell and intimidating Derek Cole when she accepted his offer to rent his property.
 

From cottage to mansion, Valentina is certain she doesn’t deserve the fairytale unfolding. But Derek gets what he wants… and he wants her. 

He’s “the one” for her, but before she says I do, she has to survive a month long trip to his family’s estate in Atlanta. Gaining approval from four brothers and an over-protective mother might just be her hardest test yet. 
 

For billionaire Derek Cole, this homecoming is a chance to mend the damage he caused when he walked away from the family business.

Just when they think they have a handle on their happily ever after… their past and future collide.

Note: This is a steamy romance with explicit sensual scenes, happily ever after, no cheating, and no cliffhanger. Can be read as a standalone.

Praise for LOVE OVER LATTES:
“Hicks’ first installment of her Desert Monsoon series is confident and assured with strong storytelling, nuanced characters, and a dynamic blend of romance and suspense…A sexy and irresistible tale for fans of contemporary romance.” – Kirkus Reviews

Don’t miss out on this suspenseful and seductive series.

Unravel You, Book 1 (Derek and Valentina) – 11/18/2019
Provoke You, Book 2 (Matt and Ela) – 12/16/2019
Escape You, Book 3 (Tyler and Mia) – 1/13/2020
Unleash You, Book 4 (Wesley and Anabelle) – 2/10/2020
Defy You, Book 5 (Zack and Rebecca) – 3/9/2020


Excerpt:

“You had a plan when you walked into my office five minutes ago. What was it?” He gripped the edge of the armrest with both hands, crossing his legs at his ankles. The tiny flame in my chest grew bigger and spread down to my core. 

“I had no plan.” I admitted because the extent of my thoughts when he texted was to come in here and have sex. All I could think of was touching him and feeling his weight on me again. But now I was a little pissed. He could’ve been more explicit. Like, hey, I’m just here to work, bring me the report. No sex. Get your mind out of the gutter. He could also wipe that knowing smile off his face. “What makes you think I had a plan?” I crossed my arms over my chest to cover my hardened nipples. 

He rubbed the side of his face. “The thigh-high stockings. You know how they drive me wild. Even if I can’t see them, I know that’s the only kind you own.” 

If that was true, why was he still five feet away from me? Why had he not ripped my clothes off already and had his way with me on the couch? 

“I have a meeting to go to.” I bolted to the door. Before I could open it, his large hand pressed against it, effectively blocking me from leaving. 

“I don’t think so.” His voice was deep and so full of meaning. He walked me back to the living area until my butt hit the back of the sofa. “You had a plan. Show me.” He gripped my waist and shifted so he was the one caged in. 

I could go, or I could stay and get what I came here for. I slipped my hands inside his suit jacket and pushed it off his shoulders. His dark gaze stayed on me as I removed his dress shirt. A low moan like a hiss escaped his lips when I ran my hands down his muscled chest. His pecs were harder than I remembered. It seemed Derek’s hard body was directly proportional to the amount of stress he had at work. The more they pinned on him, the more time he spent in his boxing ring. These past three weeks must have been hell for him. 

 “Now you.” His voice sounded strained. 

Self-control was Derek’s superpower. I gave up all pretenses and removed my blazer and silky top quickly. My skin felt hot from needing him so much. His lips parted when I finally let my skirt pool at my feet. 

He cradled my face and kissed me hard. “Fuck. Valentina. You came to work wearing that underneath?” His mouth was warm, and he tasted of cinnamon gum. I melted into him, fumbling with his belt. 

“The door.” I panted in between kisses. 

“I locked it.” He gripped my ass and wrapped my legs around his waist as he strode around the sofa and sat with me straddling him. “Valentina. How do you do it? How do you make me forget about everything?” He freed me from my bra and sucked on my aching nipples, switching back and forth until I couldn’t wait anymore. 

“I need you now,” I whispered in his ear. 

I didn’t care that my voice was laced with desperate desire. He cupped my butt cheeks and lifted me enough to give him room to lie flat on the cushions with his head on the decorative pillow. My thighs rubbed his sides as I rested on top of him, topless and without a clue what to do next. 

My confusion must have registered on my face because he placed both hands behind his head and grinned at me. His biceps bulged on either side of him. 

“Your show.” 

“What?” 

He bucked under me to get comfortable, as if he were getting ready to watch a movie or something. The grin that twitched his lip was both infuriating and such a turn-on. 

“You want me inside you. Do it.”


Giveaways:

Giveaway ends November 28th.

The grand prizes are:

  • 2x ebook copies of Love Over Lattes (prequel to Unravel You)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251233404/


Purchase Links:

99¢ on release week only!

Amazon


Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy contemporary romance with a touch of suspense. Book two in her Desert Monsoon series, LOVE OVER LOGIC, won the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Romance – Suspense genre

When Diana is not writing, she enjoys kickboxing, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta and loves spending time with her two children and husband. Connect with Diana on social media to stay up to date on her latest releases.

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Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Twenty-one Truths About Love: A Novel by [Dicks, Matthew]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: November 19th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find Twenty-one Truths About Love: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything. 
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby. 
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent. 
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed. 
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances—he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special. 
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.


First Line:

Ways to keep Jill from getting pregnant

Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

My Review:

When I started reading Twenty-one Truths about Love, I wasn’t a massive fan of it. I mean, a book that is told through lists. I was expecting to DNF it after the first chapter. Then a funny thing happened. I started to get involved with the book. I began to care about Dan. I wanted to know if he was going to carry out his crazy plan. I wanted to see if he would ever contact his father.

I liked Dan. He had his quirks (don’t we all) and was trying to do his best. He also had an excellent sense of humor. But, he was also insecure. He was jealous of his wife’s first husband, who seemed to be a saint. He felt that he couldn’t live up to his brother’s success. He was also the most affected by his mother’s affair, the divorce, and his father not contacting them again.

I laughed my butt off at his plan to get more money. It wasn’t what he was going to do. But it was how he went about doing it. I liked that he turned that episode into something he learned from.

The end of Twenty-one Truths About Love was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I had a huge smile when the book ended. The book that I was sure I wouldn’t like ended up being a fantastic book!!


I would give Twenty-one Truths About Love an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Twenty-one Truths About Love.  I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**