Monday, October 16, 2017

REVIEW: Crave: Part 2 by E.K. Blair





Title: Crave: Part Two
Series: Crave Duet #2
Author: E.K. Blair
Genre: New Adult Romance/Coming of Age
Release Date: October 16, 2017


OUR REVIEW:


Shel: Just as this book picks up with where the first one left off, I will plunge right in--no set up, no synopsis, other than to say--read book 1 before you start with this one. Court: But, can we say hat duets are kind of our new favorite thing? There isn't a huge series to get caught up on, but we get a meaty longer story. Like I said...favorite. But also what she said. Don't read part 2 without part 1! 

Shel: The ending of the first book in this duet had me so heartbroken and angry and wildly curious about how Ady and Kason would move forward. Crave, Part 2 immediately began with answers and it was as heartbreaking as you'd suspect. The first half of this book was angst and drama and melodrama and an unrelenting look at how people can be destroyed from the inside out. It was understandably hard to read and it made me want to offer solutions and help and to reach in the novel and offer comfort to these characters. Court: These kind are sometimes hard to read, but hard to quit. E.K. Blair has this amazing ability to really, really, really make your soul hurt...but at the same time tell a beautiful story that you cannot help but keep reading to find out just how hard she is going to pull on your heart strings. I don't know how we keep doing it, but it seems we are addicted and think you will be too! 

Shel: The second half of this novel was tumultuous in a different way. Relationships and friendships were created or changed--I had a lot of conflicting thoughts about what I wanted for all involved and even in the resolution felt bittersweet but truthfully, I don't know how I'd want it to end. Any choice I contemplated was going to make my heart hurt a little. Can I insert a tiny plea, here, E.K. Blair? Is there any possible way that the person my heart hurts for currently might could have a book? I feel like this person has a story to tell. Court: Amen. These kind are the most true to life, when the characters do things and make us feel things that we can think about in our own lives and experiences. I will keep on saying it until the end of time, that E.K Blair takes our heart out and puts in her hand. Sometimes she squeezes it a bit with her words, but finds a way to really keep the heart that we're looking for in her stories, and her words really touch our hearts as well. 

Shel: If you're looking for a read that's going raise questions, have real and messy and frustrating depictions, and after running you through a gamut of emotions (some not always good), read this duet.Court: Hahahaha. Shel feeling all the hangry feels, but she's not wrong. We really think you should check out Crave part 1 and part 2!!! 
Blurb

Weeks became months, and months became years. Each day nudged Kason deeper into his addiction. Each memory of the girl destroyed fed the craving for what he could never have again. 

Leaving a life-altering first love behind, Adaline tried moving forward to find love and trust and happiness. Pain eventually faded, wounds slowly healed, yet scars were forever left behind.

But some scars feel like kisses.

When the shattered pieces of their hearts are forced to meet again, the two of them must decide how much pain their love is worth enduring.

This is what happens when one person loves beyond the craving and the other craves beyond the loving.







Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Also Available


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio


E.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her dynamic and intense writing style. Noted for her ability to create fleshed-out characters that will evoke a realm of reactions, you can be assured that her stories will linger with you far beyond the last word.

A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.



Author Links

Thursday, October 12, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Prince Charming by C.D. Reiss

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Prince Charming an all-new sexy standalone from New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss coming February 20th.

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Prince Charming by CD Reiss

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Once upon a time there was a handsome and charming British hacker who fell in love with an ambitious and sensible FBI agent…. Keaton Bridge is exactly the kind of guy a straight-arrow like Cassie doesn’t need. He’s dangerous. He’s criminal. He may or may not have worked covertly for MI6. He’s four pounds of trouble in a two pound bag. Keaton’s got his own trouble. He’s going legit and the last thing a guy needs in the transition from black hat to white hat is an FBI agent sniffing around. This shouldn’t be hard for either one of them. Just stay away. But that’s easier said than done. After a night of passion, the heat between them burns hotter than ever. It’s not long before Keaton will do anything to make Cassie happy. So he does what any prince would do to win his lady. He hacks into the FBI database to get her a promotion. After that, their journey to Happily Ever After turns risky, dangerous, and very sexy. PREORDERNOW

Preorder Today!

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2i2MIFJ

About the Author

CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets. Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels. She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood. If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine. _21A6258_pp-fb

Connect with CD Reiss:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh



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New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…



Meet Sailor & Isa on November 14th!

Pre-order your copy today!



☆☆☆☆☆☆



FULL BLURB

CHERISH HARD
A Hard Play Novel by Nalini Singh


New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…


Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.


Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.


And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.


As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.



☆☆☆☆☆☆



EXCERPT

Fuming, Ísa made sure to set the alarm system and lock up. Everyone else was already well into their summer vacation—the sole reason Ísa was here was because she hadn’t been able to work on her lesson plans at home.
Her upstairs neighbor was having repairs done to her bathroom that required banging and hammering.
Not all of it involved nails and wood.
Hopefully the repairs would be finished by now. There was only so much ecstatic orgasmic screaming that a single woman in online-dating purgatory could stand without being driven to violence.
She spotted the tan-colored gardening truck the instant she came down the front steps of the school’s imposing redbrick main building and turned left to head toward her car. The hot gardener had parked it right next to her zippy blue compact. The front of the truck had four doors with tinted windows while the large bed was piled with shovels and other manly tools as well as a huge sack of clippings.
His light brown T-shirt was hanging over the top of the tailgate.
Which meant he was still walking around topless somewhere around here.
“Get in your car, Ísa,” she muttered to herself, well aware what would happen if she came face-to-face with that delicious hunk of manhood. Because while she might’ve conquered her shyness, she knew her limits.
Confronted by a bare-chested man who made her ovaries explode, she’d turn bright pink, lose her ability to form speech, and end of story. “Oh—”
She would’ve bounced off that sculpted chest if he hadn’t grabbed her by the hips.
“Hey, sorry,” he said with a startled smile that lit up the dazzling blue of his eyes. “I didn’t see you.”
“No, um, my fault.” It looked as if he’d crouched down to check one of his tires or something else but had risen to his feet right when she swung around to get into her car. And God, his skin was so hot and smooth and he was so tall and his shoulders were so broad and her mouth was drying up. The stuttering would begin at any moment.
The same stuttering Suzanne had mocked relentlessly when they were fourteen. Until Ísa had gone silent around everyone except the few friends she trusted. And now that horrible, ugly-hearted girl was getting married, having a baby, getting a happily-ever-after. Added to which, Ísa’s mother was jerking her on a string like she was a marionette, and her last “date” had asked her to call him Woofy and reward him with doggy biscuits.
The blue of the gardener’s eyes flickered with a hot flame.
And she thought… I know him. But before she could follow that faint thread, all the fury and hurt and frustration and sheer aggravation in Ísa ignited into an incandescent inferno.
She went mad.
Grabbing the hot gardener’s beautiful face in her hands, she said, “I want to kiss you.”
A wicked grin. “Go on ahead.”
And Ísa pressed her lips to his.

Copyright © 2017 by Nalini Singh



Meet the Author
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Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.


STALK HER:  Website | Facebook |  Instagram  |  Twitter | Goodreads

TEASER and TRAILER: The Outpost by Devney Perry

Today we have the teaser reveal for The Outpost by Devney Perry! Be sure to pre-order your copy now!

Title: The Outpost

Author: Devney Perry

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: November 7th

About The Outpost:

Trapped in his tiny mountain cabin, she didn't expect to fall for his big heart.   Exposing a prominent criminal family with an investigative news report didn’t exactly work out the way Sabrina had hoped. Instead of basking in the glory of her article’s success, she’s on the run from a powerful man who wants her dead. To stay safe, she’s forced to trade one bad situation for another. Stuck in the Montana wilderness, she’s secluded from anything resembling civilization or the modern-day world. The only good thing about her situation is the gorgeous mountain man assigned to protect her. Too bad he isn’t the slightest bit interested in a city girl like her.   Beau likes his life quiet and simple. Give him a peaceful day hiking in the woods with his dog, and he’s a happy man. He has no use for large crowds, noisy cities or dramatic women. So when a hotshot reporter rolls into town, dragging her big-time problems with her, he should have run for the hills. Instead, he volunteered to keep her safe. Bringing her into his world won’t be easy, but if he can convince her that Montana isn’t as terrifying as she believes, they might just be the perfect match.

Pre-order Today!

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 

Check out the trailer:


About the Author:

Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.  

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

     

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NOW AVAILABLE: From This Moment by Melanie Harlow

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is LIVE!

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From This Moment by Melanie Harlow

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017

It was like seeing a ghost.
When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.
But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.
He says he doesn't care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me it cruelest lesson--love doesn't always win.
If only my heart would believe it.

SBPR-MH-FtM-ANv1_preview.png Read Today!

Add to GoodReads https://goo.gl/J3ogH4
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READ THE FIRST CHAPTER TODAY!

About the Author:

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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Connect with Melanie:

Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2
Sign up for Melanie’s Newsletter: http://www.melanieharlow.com/subscribe/

Monday, October 9, 2017

REVIEW: Sightlines by Santino Hassell


Title: Sightlines
Series: The Community, third book in a trilogy
Publisher: Riptide
 Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 9th
 Length (Print & Ebook): 257 pages/68K words
 Subgenre: paranormal, romantic suspense
Book contains: Violence, attempted sexual assault

 Buy it: Amazon

OUR REVIEW:

Sightlines continues to give us the action and intrigue that this series has been know to deliver in the previous books. We get to know more about the relationship between a very surly Chase and his
sweet and strong Elijah. We also get more of the inner workings of The Community and some answers and insight into all that it was supposed to represent and how slid into corruption. 

This final book in the trilogy was a very satisfactory way to end  a fun and gritty paranormal romance. And, if I've said it once, I've said if a bazillion times, Santino Hassell can write the hell out of any and everything—he could write dinoporn and I know I'd buy it, read it, and wonder at how he used his word sorcery to make me enjoy it ...because I know I would. He's that good, y’all. Buy his work, you won't regret it.

Book Blurb:

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He's the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He's the son of the Community's founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he's nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he's ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn't the haven he'd believed in and Chase was the only person who'd ever truly tried to protect him. Now they're surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant's second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase's mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.



What Santino has to say about Sightlines: Anyone can be a hero. Rising up. Fighting back and revolutions. Coming together as a team despite differences.

Quotes from Santino about the book:

“Chase is one of the most vulnerable bad asses I’ve ever written.”

“I haven’t written a hero with a mouth as smart as Chase’s since In the Company of Shadows.”

“Chase is one of those heroes who thinks no one reasonable would ever be in love with him, and anyone who claims to be is probably lying.”

Praise for INSIGHT:

"A fast-paced cavalcade of psychics, intrigue, and a young man's powerful discovery of his own nature." -- Jordan Castillo Price, author of Psycop

"Hooked me on page one! Another winner from one of the most appealing voices in romance." -- Suzanne Brockmann, New York Times bestselling author

Excerpt:

They looked at each other for a long moment before, with no warning whatsoever, Elijah stood on his tiptoes for a kiss. And because Chase gave exactly zero fucks, he kissed back with a low growl.
Elijah drew away with a mischievous grin, turned on his heel, and sauntered toward the bathroom. Chase knew that he was probably about to get stomped by some bikers, but he still couldn’t stop himself from watching Elijah’s ass as he walked away. How was it possible for Chase to be horny, cold, hungry, and getting ready to fight all at the same time? He was a bomb multitasker.
“Hey, you.”
Ah shit. Here it went.
Chase swiveled around on his stool to find the whole biker crew staring him down. One in particular, a big dude with pale-blue eyes and a beard long enough to make him look like red-haired Gandalf, had waltzed over to Chase. He was a total cliché in a leather vest, a grimy grease-stained ribbed shirt beneath, and leather pants tucked into monstrous shitkicker boots. He could probably kill Chase with barely any effort. Which meant he could also hurt Elijah.
Chase’s lip lifted in a snarl, and his hands closed into fists. That was as far as he got before the glass one of bikers was holding shattered in his meaty palm. Everyone exclaimed, drawing attention off Chase, but Gandalf the Red didn’t shift his gaze. He just nodded his head once, quirking his mouth up briefly, and said, “We should talk.”
“’Bout what?”
Gandalf jerked his head back toward his boys and lowered his voice to a gruff rumble. “’Bout that mess you just made.”



Author Bio:

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr

Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any backlist book by Santino Hassell:
Direct giveaway link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0330/?


Sunday, October 8, 2017

SEPTEMBER 2017 FAVORITES



Hello friends, once again I find that I'm posting this way later than October 1st (which is my imaginary deadline) but I have a good-ish excuse. I went to my first writing conference aaaaand had to prep for the possibility of a hurricane hitting our area. Luckily, the hurricane turned out to be a non-issue and the writing conference was amazing.

As school continues to pass week by week, and the amount of grading I'm doing continues to increase, my ability to keep up with my reading declines. That being said, there were several books in September that I'd recommend again and again. Take a look and if anything looks great, click on the image and grab it off on Amazon.


  

Tate by Ella Frank: "Logan and Tate, in Tate, felt more real than romance.  We got to see a little more of their daily grind, their worries and challenges, and their love. " More from our review here.

The Outskirts by T.M. Frazier: "The Outskirts is also interesting because of all the moving pieces and parts that I found myself putting together as I read. The closer to the end I got, the more was revealed until I got to the last page and .... I WAS NOT PREPARED. " More from our review here.

Speed by BB Easton: "I can't help but admire how fearless B.B. Easton is to put a variation of her life and truth out into the world in such a funny and raw way." More from our review here.

Fingers crossed that my grading load gets lighter and my reading speed gets faster! In the meantime, happy reading, y'all.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

COVERS REVEALED: Defiant Queen and Sinful Empire by Meghan March

 

We are excited to bring you the final two covers in the MOUNT TRILOGY today! DEFIANT QUEEN releasing on November 14 and SINFUL EMPIRE releasing on December 19th!

     
The Mount Trilogy continues with Defiant Queen... I’m his entertainment. His toy. Payment on a debt. I tell myself I hate him, but every time he walks into the room, my body betrays me. How can I want him and fear him in the same moment? They told me he’d mess with my head. Make it go to war with my body. But I didn’t realize it would be complete anarchy. I should’ve known better. When Mount’s involved, there are no rules. I will not surrender. I will not show weakness. I’ll stand my ground and make it out of this bargain with my heart and soul intact. But he has other plans . . . Defiant Queen is the second book of the Mount Trilogy. Mount and Keira's story concludes in Sinful Empire. ADD TO GOODREADS

PRE- ORDER TODAY

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | iBooks | BN | Kobo

       
The Mount Trilogy concludes with Sinful Empire!   What’s mine, I keep, and that includes Keira Kilgore. It’s no longer enough to have her in my debt. No longer enough to own her body. I want something more. She can try to resist, but I’ll never give her up. Nothing will keep us apart. Not her. Not my enemies. No one. Her debt will only be paid one way—with her heart. Sinful Empire is the third and final book in the Mount Trilogy. ADD TO GOODREADS

PRE- ORDER TODAY

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | iBooks | BN | Kobo

        Get ready for the darker and dirtier side of New Orleans with a brand new alpha romance from USA Today bestselling author Meghan March.
New Orleans belongs to me. You don’t know my name, but I control everything you see—and all the things you don’t. My reach knows no bounds, and my demands are always met. I didn’t need to loan money to a failing family distillery, but it amuses me to have them in my debt. To have her in my debt. She doesn’t know she caught my attention. She should’ve been more careful. I’m going to own her. Consume her. Maybe even keep her. It’s time to collect what I’m owed. Keira Kilgore, you’re now the property of Lachlan Mount. *Ruthless King is book one of the Mount Trilogy*   ADD TO GOODREADS  

PRE -ORDER NOW

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | BN | Kobo

       
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Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

COMING SOON: From this Moment by Melanie Harlow

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is coming October 10th!

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From This Moment by Melanie Harlow

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017

It was like seeing a ghost.
When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.
But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and loneliness like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.
We make excuses. We blame our sorrow. We promise each other it will never happen again.
But it does.
And when our secret threatens to destroy his family and my reputation, we’ll have to decide what’s more important—loyalty or love?

Excerpt:

“Want to go out in the canoe?” he asked. “Okay.” I ditched my flip-flops on the small, beach-level deck, and we set our wine glasses and the bottle on the deck’s little round table. Wes was already barefoot. Together we dragged the forest green canoe from the tall beach grasses on the side of the deck down to the water’s edge and tipped it over. “Let me rinse it out a little,” Wes said, frowning at the dirt and spider webs inside. “Want to grab the paddles? They should be in the shed.” “On it.” I went to the small shed on the embankment, opened it up and grabbed the oars, which stood in one corner. On the shelves were life jackets and sand toys and deflated rafts that probably had holes in them, and scratched into the wooden door among other graffiti was WP + CB. Huh. I’d never noticed that before. Who was CB? I glanced over my shoulder at Wes, who’d taken off his T-shirt and tossed it onto the sand. My stomach full-out flipped. Quickly, I shut the door to the shed and brought the oars down to the canoe. Wes stood up straight and stuck his hands on his hips. He wore different sunglasses than Drew had worn, more of an aviator than a wayfarer. The body was similar, though Wes’s arms seemed more muscular, especially through the shoulder. Other things were the same and caused a rippling low in my body—the soft maroon color of his nipples, the trim waist, the trail of hair leading from his belly button to beneath the low-sling waistband of his red swim trunks. In my head I heard Tess’s voice. Arms. Chest. Shoulders. Skin. Stubble. Muscle. The smell of a man. The solidity of him. “What’s the law on drinking and canoeing?” he asked. What’s the law on staring at your brother-in-law’s nipples? I wondered, swallowing hard. What was wrong with me? “I think we’re okay,” I said, handing the oars to him. Our hands touched in the exchange. “Let me grab our glasses.” “Perfect. If you hold them, I’ll take us out.” I retrieved the wine glasses from the table and walked carefully across the sand to the lake’s edge, taking deep, slow breaths. A sweat had broken out across my back. I was wearing a swimsuit beneath my cover up, a modest tankini, but I didn’t want to remove it. Wading ankle deep, I attempted to step into the canoe, but it wobbled beneath my foot. “Whoa.” Wes took me by the elbow and didn’t let go until I was seated at one end, facing the other. “Okay?” I nodded. Despite the heat, my arms had broken out in goose flesh. “All right, here we go.” As he rowed us away from shore, the breeze picked up, cooling my face and chest and back. “Drew and I used to have canoe-tipping contests.” I snapped my chin down and skewered Wes with a look over the top of my sunglasses. “Don’t even think about it.” He just grinned, the muscles in his arms and chest and stomach flexing with every stroke of the oars through the water. Momentarily mesmerized, I allowed myself the pleasure of watching him. It was okay if we were both thinking about Drew, wasn’t it? In fact, it was only natural that I was intrigued by the sight of Wes’s body. He was my husband’s identical twin, for heaven’s sake, and I missed his physical presence in my life. I missed looking at him naked. I missed feeling the weight of him above me. I missed the feeling of being aroused by him, of my body’s responses to his touch, his kiss, his cock. Deep in my body, the rusty mechanism of arousal creaked to life. My nipples peaked, my stomach hollowed, and something fluttered between my legs. Oh, Jesus. I sat up straighter, pressed my knees together, and closed my mouth, which I realized had fallen open. Hopefully I hadn’t moaned or anything. After another sip of wine, I turned my head and studied a freighter off in the distance. My heart was beating way too fast. It’s only natural. It’s only natural. Wes stopped paddling and set the oars in the bottom of the canoe, their handles resting against the seat in the middle. “We’ll have to bring Abby out here.” “Definitely.” Did my voice sound normal? “She’ll love it. Here, want this?” I held his wine glass toward him and he reached out to take it. His fingers brushed mine, and I pulled my hand back as if the touch had burned me. “Thanks.” He tipped the glass up then looked along the shore. “I’d like to find a place on the lake. Maybe not along this stretch of beach, though.” I caught his meaning and smiled. “A little too close to home?” “Yeah. But I don’t want to be too far away. I’d like to get a boat too.” “What kind of boat? Drew always talked about it, but we never quite settled on one.” “Not sure. Maybe just a little fishing boat, something to ski behind.” “That sounds fun. Drew loved to ski.” “We’ll have to teach Abby.” I laughed. “You, not we. I managed to get up and stay up a few times, but I am not the expert.” “You can teach her to cook, I’ll teach her to water ski.” “Deal.” Separate activities seemed like a good idea. “Breakfast was incredible.” “Thanks.” I tucked a strand of hair that had escaped my ponytail behind my ear, but the wind blew it right back into my face. “I really like working there. I’m so glad Georgia suggested it to me.” “How long have you been there?” “Since spring, when they got busy. I’m not sure what I’ll do this winter when it slows down. I’m dreading it, actually. Abby will be in school full time, and it will just be me at home alone.” This was something else I hadn’t talked about with anyone, how worried I was that the gray skies and cold weather and silent hours would set me spiraling into depression. “I always thought I’d have another baby to take care of, but life saw things differently.” “You’re still young, Hannah.” I shook my head. “I’m really not. And I feel even older than I am.” Please don’t go Grief Police on me and tell me I’m being ridiculous, I begged him silently. This isn’t the life I chose. It was handed to me and I’m doing the best I can. But he didn’t say anything more, just sipped his wine and looked out at the horizon. I was grateful. “What about you?” I asked. “Think maybe you’ll get married now that you’re back? Have a family? Abby won’t have any siblings so she needs some cousins.” “That seems to be a popular topic of discussion around here,” Wes said, shaking his head, “but I really have no idea.” “Small town. We like to know everyone’s business.” I smiled. “Hey, what about CB? I saw your initials carved with hers on the door of the shed. Maybe she’s still around.” He groaned. “Is that still there? Jesus. That had to be twenty years ago.” Hugging my knees, I leaned forward. “First love?” “Not even.” He hesitated, as if he were trying to decide whether to confess something. “Come on,” I cajoled, carefully reaching out of the canoe, and splashing water toward him. “Tell me. I’ve been spilling my guts for an hour.” “First kiss.” I squealed. “And?” He cringed. “It’s too embarrassing.” “Wes, I had a completely humiliating breakdown in front of you last night. I got snot on my arm.” “This is worse.” “Get it out. You’ll feel better.” “Let’s just say it was a very awkward, very fast experience.” I gasped. “You lost your virginity to her?” “No. Just my dignity.” Laughing, I tilted my head back and felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and something like joy in my heart. It had been a long time.

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About the Author:

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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