Wednesday, May 31, 2017

COVER REVEAL: The Weight of Life by Whitney Barbetti


“Don’t let go.” Those were my first words to him, as I hung over the side of a London bridge. The words I would soon say again, in a moment that didn’t involve bridges, but something much more fragile: my heart.

He held onto me for three weeks, in a time when I needed to be held. Needed to connect to someone who understood how loss tunneled unrepentantly through the fabric of your soul.

Although he said he'd stay, we both knew he wouldn't. I had already survived one loss—I didn't know if I'd survive another. 


She spun into my life like a tornado of smiles and chatter and everything else I'd long avoided, with a persistence that I admired, albeit begrudgingly. She broke down each neat wall I’d constructed without even trying. Her presence alone caused me to remember what it felt like to smile, to look forward to what the day would bring.

But it was only supposed to last three weeks.

“Don’t let go,” she’d pleaded.

I’d promised her I wouldn’t—but I would. I didn't have a choice.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

REVIEW: When It's Real by Erin Watt


Shel: When It's Real checks off all the boxes for us and is adding to what we now know we should expect from an Erin Watt book. It has fantastically snarky dialogue, lots of great tension, and two interesting teenage characters--Oakley and Vaughn. Let's start with those two, shall we? The writing duo Erin Watt has a way of making me strongly dislike their male protagonists only to turn the tables on me and have me totally loving them. When I first "met" Oakley he was so easy to dislike--so arrogant and spoiled and frustrating--but as the novel progressed, so did Oakley. He gradually became less douchey and more vulnerable and open, even as he held on to this sort of swaggering confidence; it was this combination of alpha vulnerability that turned things around for me and a large part of that had to do with Vaughn. Vaughn was more like able than Oakley but she was not without her own flaws (as we all are); namely her weaselly boyfriend W (ugh, that guy was a loser with a capital L) and using her snark as her armor when with Oakley. As she shed her armor and allowed herself to be open and more vulnerable with Oakley, she seemed to trigger him to want to do the same. I especially liked that the writers created her to be less than confident on her next steps --I think it's great to see a main characters not have all the answers and yet are allowed the room and space to explore rather than make a hasty career/school decision. Oakley and Vaughn were a fun pairing to read.

Court: Shel did such a wonderful job of telling all of the things to like about the characters, so I'll take a moment to gush about the authors. There was absolutely so many things to like about this book, and I am still in a gigantor book hangover. Erin Watt has absolutely made all of my book dreams come true. 1) We love stories about famous people...sue us, it is an addiction. 2) We also love stories about famous people associating with normal people (desperate fantasy? and 3) we love stories when the author (or in this case author(s) are so seamless in their storytelling that we cannot get enough of this book. Oakley and Vaughn's story is a very dysfunctional way to get to know each other, and I could not wait to find out what happens next. They are fun to read, and thank goodness we had dual POV. Erin Watt writes so well together, that you literally think it is the same person and I really love this dynamic. I loved them when Paper Princess came out, and now I obsessively obsess about every single thing they make a peep about in their writing world...because honestly, you should know who they are or you are missing out. I 

Shel: Part of the fun was never knowing what one would say to antagonize the other; I liked how the tensions started with their first meeting and continued to simmer in the background as their feelings morphed into what we see at the end--that tension kept it interesting . The dialogue  and texts and tweets weren't just what moved the plot along they enhanced the entire reading experience--there was a lot of laughing and swooning going on. Court: As I said their way of getting to know each other had me a bundle of nerves and experiencing angst and dying to know what would happen next, but at the same time hoping it would never end. I laughed out loud, I might have teared up once, and I absolutely devoured this book!

Shel: Not only were the main characters interesting, the secondary characters were too. The various conversations and situations with body guards, friends, and family members, and others helped round out Oakley and Vaughn and have me hoping that we may revisit them all in the future. I enjoyed them all so much that I'm already hoping they'll be a holiday short or a newsletter special or a cross over into the Royals so that I can see them all again--I miss them already. Court: ME TOO! Would it be productive to re-read this book until the next Erin Watt book comes out? I cannot get enough. I was wishing for more pages, and was wishing that I could slow down but the characters had me so engrossed that I could. not. stop! 

Shel: Erin Watt fans--this isn't the high drama of the Royals (thank god, I barely made it out alive) and we think you're going to love When It's Real because it's not that high drama but something that is equally good and stands on its own. Court: I agree. This was a perfectly finessed book in every way. I loved every scene, and really was so glad of so much growth in each character and the plot was so well developed and the setting was one that I love so much. And I'll stop now that I am just writing in incoherent run-on sentences, but you get the gist. You will not regret giving this book a try! 



From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend. 

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Find Erin Watt here.

NEW: Dating-ish by Penny Reid


Dating-ish, an all new standalone from the USA Today bestselling Knitting in the City romantic comedy series by Penny Reid is available now!

20170306 Dating ish 01 (2)
'Dating-ish' can be read as a standalone, is a full length 100k word novel, and is book #6 in the Knitting in the City Series.
There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She's fed up with online dating, 2) She's so fed up, she's willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he's not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different--and crazier--solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?


He was quiet for bit, we both were, and I felt myself relax more and more. His palm took a detour every so often, dutifully skipping my hip and sliding along my side, and then back to my leg. Soon, I was so relaxed I felt drowsy. I felt fingers in my hair, moving the mass away from my neck with treasuring strokes just before Matt nuzzled the back of my neck, causing goosebumps to scatter over my skin. “Mmm.” I smiled. “Hey. Jared said no tickling.” My voice sounded sleepy. “Does this tickle?” Matt asked softly, nuzzling me again. I felt the brush of his lips—not a kiss, a brush—paired with hot breath against the bare skin of my neck and a zing shot straight down my spine, making my toes curl and a sudden hot ache twist in my lower belly. Oh no. I knew that ache. I hadn’t felt it because of another person’s touch in quite a long time. Nevertheless, no one ever forgets that ache. My back arched instinctively, my bottom pressing back against his crotch, and I stiffened. I felt my nipples harden, strain beneath the cotton of my bra. I was now fully awake. No longer drowsy. Nope. Not even a little. Matt stiffened, too. His movements abruptly ceasing. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” he asked, alarm coating his words, and in the next moment his hand was suspended in the air above me. “Did I touch something I shouldn’t?” I exhaled a short, nervous laugh, gripped by the urge to sit up. “No. No. You didn’t.” I moved to the edge of the bed, righting myself, away from Matt, needing distance. “I’m good.” I gathered a silent breath and released it slowly because my pulse was racing. Crap, Marie. Get a grip. It’s Matt Simmons. Professor Matt. The big kid. Why are you reacting this way? “Did I . . .” These initial words were hesitant, and a moment of silence stretched before he continued, his tone comically teasing as he finished his thought. “Did I arouse you?” I snorted, shaking my head, laughing at his silly tone. Turning at the waist to peer at him over my shoulder, Matt was grinning at me, twisting a make-believe mustache between his thumb and forefinger. But then he stopped. “I did, didn’t I?” he pushed, his hand dropping. He looked pleased, if not a little amazed. I sighed, feeling a smidge embarrassed, and nodded. “Actually, yes. That’s a sensitive spot for most women.” “The back of your neck?” He lifted himself to one elbow, his eyes darting to my neck with keen interest. “My neck in general, actually.” “Huh.” Matt frowned thoughtfully. “Where else?” I pressed my lips together and gave him an incredulous look. “I’m not telling you that.” “Why not?” “Matt.” “What if I needed it for research reasons?” “Matt.” “What if I told you it was part of our questionnaire?” He tossed his legs over the side of the bed and stood, walking around to my side and offering me his hand. “You should give me a schematic of your body with the erogenous zones circled and rated.” “Let me guess, you want them rated on a ten-point scale,” I deadpanned as I accepted his hand, stood, and stepped away to gain some distance and straighten my shirt. He shrugged, crossing his arms, stalking after me. “Or exponential. I was going to say a Likert scale, but a logarithmic scale works, too.” Chuckling, appreciative of his attempt to diffuse my embarrassment and awkwardness with the joke, I realized Matt Simmons wasn’t a bad guy. He might even be a good guy, just a little . . . peculiar. And wants to replace romantic relationships with robots. Best not forget that detail. Yeah, he’d make an interesting friend. “Thanks.” I gave him a small smile. “For what?” His eyes moved between mine. “For the cuddle. Thanks for the cuddle, Matt.” “Anytime, Marie.” He grinned down at me, his eyes dancing as he leaned forward and whispered, “Anytime.” 18788947_1728815273814502_828187562_o

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny:

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Monday, May 29, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Bad Penny by Staci Hart


Bad Penny, an all-new romantic comedy standalone from Staci Hart is coming June 15th!


Title: Bad Penny

Author: Staci Hart

Cover Designer: Quirkybird Designs

Photographer: Lauren Watson Perry


Nothing good comes after the third date.
See, date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he gets weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.
Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.
So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked and can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.
Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.
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About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

REVIEW: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting


Shel: Honestly, we're really late to the Helena Hunting party. Like really late. I don't exactly know why-- though the answer probably comes in the form of an algebra problem that involves things like timing + work + fear of the unknown..or something like that. So when we had an opportunity to try her latest, Shacking Up, we decided to go for it; I'm glad we did. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure at first--it was a lot of humor, some physical--kinda slapstick-ish--and I didn't know if it was a ploy and something that would be more of the story than the actual story, if that makes sense? Don't get me wrong, I like a good comedy but I wanted there to be more depth and once I got past the initial introduction, there was. The humor was balanced out with character development and conflict and before I knew it I was over half way through the novel and really enjoying the dynamic between Bane and Ruby and by the time it was over, I was sad to see them go (is it too much to hope that we see them again soon?!).  It was neat to see both Ruby and Bane's perspective about the lives of the elite and the pressures and privileges that come with that lifestyle. It was interesting to see how they worked through their individual conflicts and I liked that Hunting added an extra layer of conflict by having Ruby be an out of work theater actress. Now that I've broken the ice with this first Helena Hunting read, I know I'll start exploring her earlier works, all the while hoping that we see more of the characters we met in this one.

Court: I'd like to think we're only fashionably late, right? Right? *crickets* Okay, so Shacking Up was quite a surprise. I liked the cover, had always heard wonderful things about the author and the characters we met were zany and crazy and I liked that. I liked our opening scene, and knew that I wouldn't be able to figure out exactly how every part of this story would go down and I realllllly liked that. Ruby and Bane are in a strangers to friends to hopefully more dynamic, and add in Amie and Armstrong (there's more going on there, right?) and Francesca and Tiny...and the depth of the plot, the strength in the dialogue and it was a really enjoyable story that had a little (or a lot) of our heroine learning a lot about herself and this incredibly put together man helping her do it. Like I said though...things don't go at all as I expected, and it just ended up being a wonderful story with comedy and some feels and hits your heart in all the right places and I'm rambling! Try this book, asap, you won't regret it and I'm going to start going to look and see if this world continues because I reallllly hope it does. 


Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.
Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.


Find Helena Hunting:

Saturday, May 27, 2017

REVIEW: Buns by Alice Clayton


Shel: This series, The Hudson Valley Series, always seems to get me in the Norman Rockwell state of mind. The way Alice Clayton describes Bailey Falls has me longing to live in a small town in some snowy hamlet just a train ride from New York City; knowing that she's going to paint a beautiful picture of the town in her descriptions is one of the reasons I've gravitated to this series. There's also the humorous dialogue and situations she puts her characters in but it's the obstacles she throws in the paths of her characters that are what I think many readers connect with.

Court: She does! She really makes the story come alive in our mind. The descriptions of the setting, the characters background and how we get to know them through their thoughts, dialogue but also how their group of friends see them is pretty special and really helps make the story that much more enjoyable. I really liked the idea of this girl and her job though, as that would be a really fun thing to do! 

Shel: In the case of Clara and Archie, Clara is the biggest obstacle of all. Her upbringing makes her reticent (aka stubborn) to have anything but a cursory relationship with any person or place she comes into contact with. The more I knew about her, the more I could rationalize why she did what she did and that's where I think Clara becomes more and more relatable to readers. Even if we haven't all been through what she's been through some of us may feel like an outsider looking in, or the one that's been left behind, and can easily relate to how painful that feeling can be. Clara's need to put up the emotional walls is easy to understand but it doesn't mean that I didn't want to knock them down, especially when Archie started warming up to her. Alice Clayton writes some really great male characters--they're wonderfully sweet, clever, funny, but most importantly, they're the exact right person for her heroines--as evidenced by Archie.

Court: They are. But also, Archie had some baggage of his own that he didn't like being poked around so that really gave them that much more depth in getting to know each other. Add in the fact that this is basically his family home, this place is his legacy, and he is not going to go down without a fight when an outsider comes in wanting to change things. I loved the characters and friends on his side of things because I really did get a feel of what it would be like to go somewhere a la Dirty Dancing and spend a summer somewhere that is truly an unforgettable place. This one is in a companion series so you're not missing out on anything in the other books in this series other than gaining a strong desire to know those characters as get ta reading! 

Shel: Buns has a great balance of humor and romance that packs an emotional punch.


Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

Find Alice Clayton:

Friday, May 26, 2017

NEW + GIVEAWAY: A Girl Like Me by Ginger Scott

We're celebrating the release of A GIRL LIKE ME by Ginger Scott! Readers have fallen in love with these characters!

A Girl Like Me by Ginger Scott
Book 2 in the Like Us Duet
A mature YA romance, and a little something more…
Release day: May 26
Purchase links:

I’m not supposed to be here.

Death has come for me more than once, and each time it’s been a boy who’s
stood between me and my final breath.

I called him Christopher when he saved me as a child. When he came into my
life again, only months ago, I knew him as Wes. Just as he did the time
before, he disappeared the moment he made sure I was out of harm’s way; as
if I didn’t need any more saving.

This time, though, death left me with a reminder of how powerful it is. I
know it meant to strip me of my spirit again, but it failed.

Even so, I know I need Wes to survive. Our souls are woven together
somehow, our every breath in sync. I feel it, even though everyone says I

The world thinks he’s missing.
His loved ones don’t want to believe he’s dead.
Only I know just how special he is.

I’m going to find him and bring him home, where he belongs. Together,
we’ll face impossible—we’ll rewrite our ending.

And when the bad guys come calling, we will always win.


YA Contemporary Romance
Released on: March 3, 2017


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TheGingerScott

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

REVIEW: Real Sexy by Meghan March


Real Sexy AMAZON


Shel: We've been eager to get our hands on this book because the cliffhanger at the end of Real Dirty could've gone any number of ways and we needed to know what was going to happen to Boone and Ripley. Within pages that problem was resolved but the surprises and conflicts didn't end there--there was plenty of action and conflicts to work through before we got to our HEA.

Court: YES! We've been so excited, and I hope that all of you reading this are equally excited...and if you're should pick up Real Dirty really quick because you don't want to miss out. I love books about musicians, and famous ones at that. I have given up in Meghan March land trying to figure out what all of the foreshadowing means, and try to predict what happens because as it turns out...I can't figure it out! And I think now that I've accepted that...I've had a wonderful rollercoaster ride of a reading experience. This one was fun, sexy and really kept me at the edge of my seat reading because it is so well written and enjoyable. 

Shel: As mentioned in our review of Real Dirty, we loved the pairing of Ripley and Boone in all their southern glory; Real Sexy continued to build on our adoration of these two. Boone was just so charming and sweet with the perfect amount of roughness around the edges and Ripley with her sharp tongue and a heart that she protected with all her might was such a great match for him. I enjoyed their banter and their on page chemistry but I especially enjoyed the way Meghan March made Boone so consistent and Ripley so guarded--and when she finally capitulates to her feelings, it's wonderful.

Court: Amen, sister. Boone is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy, and we love that about him. He is strong and passionate and never over the top. Ripley more or less steals the show in this one. She has some growing to do. Some learning about herself, the past...the future, and it is a wonderful ride to go on with her because that kind of growth really helps us learn something about ourselves too. This book demands to be read, and won't let you stop reading until you're done. That is pretty much how my afternoon yesterday went, tbh!

Shel: If I have any complaint (and this isn't one, really), it's that I enjoyed these characters so much that I wasn't ready to give them up yet--I wanted more pages, more scenes, more everything and not because there was anything lacking in this duet but because I just liked Ripley and Boone that much.

Court: Right? And then add in other characters in this world, and Voodoo Ink world and there is just a plethora of love going on. Love for the win, y'all. 

Shel: Grab this duet and all of the ones in this series; you'll be happy you did. Court: Girl, the more I read about Holly and Grey the more they demand I read their story this instant! The pull is getting stronger, and I can't wait to do just that while we enjoy this ride...and see what Meghan has up her sleeve in the future! 

In Nashville, country stars are a dime a dozen.

I swore I’d never get caught up with one, but Boone Thrasher made a liar out of me.

I said I’d never put my heart on the line, but he didn’t ask before he stole it.

Now we’re facing my worst fears, and we'll see if this country boy is tough enough to see it through.

Girls like me don’t get happily ever afters… but maybe he’ll prove that wrong too.


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        Real Dirty AMAZON
I have everything a guy could want—a new single burning up the charts, more money than a simple country boy could spend, and a woman I’m planning to marry. Until she doesn’t show up for my proposal. The life I thought was so perfect, isn’t. The guy who thought he had everything, doesn’t. I’ve got my heart on lockdown, but life sends me straight into the path of a mouthy bartender who puts me in my place. Now the only place I want to put her is under me. I thought I was done with love, but maybe I’m just getting started.  

Amazon | iBooks | BN | Kobo | Google Play

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

EXCERPT: Salvaged by Jay Crownover


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series with the next thrilling standalone, SALVAGED! Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below and pre-order your copy today!


Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancĂ©e who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.


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      EXCERPT: Poppy I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination. He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible. The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space. I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him. I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?” It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?” The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog. “I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat. “Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky. My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand. “Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”    

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with SALVAGED, available June 20, 2017

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    About Jay Crownover: Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.        

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