Saturday Spotlight

Saturday SpotlightMy Last Innocent Year by Daisy Alpert Florin
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on February 14, 2023
Pages: 304
Goodreads

An incisive, deeply resonant debut novel about a nonconsensual sexual encounter that propels one woman’s final semester at an elite New England college into controversy and chaos—and into an ill-advised affair with a married professor

It’s the winter of 1998 and Isabel Rosen has one semester left at Wilder College, a prestigious school in New Hampshire with a wealthy, elite student body and the sort of picturesque buildings college brochures were invented to capture. The only daughter of a Lower East Side appetizing store owner, Isabel has always felt out of place at Wilder, and the death of her mother shortly before she arrived on campus left her feeling unmoored in a way that’s proven hard to shake. Now, right as she’s coming to believe she’s finally found her place, the fallout from a nonconsensual sexual encounter with one of the only other Jewish students on campus leaves Isabel reeling.

Enter R.H. Connelly: a once-famous poet and Isabel’s married writing professor, a man with secrets of his own. Connelly makes Isabel feel seen, beautiful, talented; the woman she longs to become. His belief in her ignites a belief in herself. The two begin an affair that shakes the foundation of who Isabel thinks she is, for better and worse.

Set against the backdrop of the Clinton and Lewinsky scandal, My Last Innocent Year is a coming-of-age story about a young woman on the brink of sexual and artistic awakening, navigating her way toward independence while recognizing the power, beauty and grit of where she came from. Timely and wise, it reckons with the complexities of consent, what it means to be an adult, and whether or not we can ever outrun our bad decisions.

 

 

Book Blitz: Brooklyn Kings Box Set by L.K. Shaw

Brooklyn Kings Box Set (Books 1-3)
L.K. Shaw
Publication date: June 24th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Arranged Marriage
Enemies to Lovers
Forbidden Friends to Lovers

Get the first three books in the bestselling Brooklyn Kings series and watch these sexy and dangerous men fall to their knees before their queens.

The Devil I Don’t Know – he’ll marry her, but only for the alliance with her Irish family. Or so he thinks
The Enemy in My Bed – he’s captured his enemy, but soon discovers she’s anything but
The Beast I Can’t Tame – he’s loved her from afar, but a family secret comes to light that may destroy any chance he has at her

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EXCERPT:

Certificate of Marriage.

“Sign.” He holds the pen up in front of me.

I stand frozen, unable to move. With my signature, everything is final. There’s no undoing any of this.

I can’t do it.

There’s a flash of movement and then blinding pain. Tears spring from the impact of Grand-da’s hand across my face again. On its heels is a roar of rage. I turn my head in time to see my grandfather pinned against the wall, clawing at my husband’s hand wrapped around his throat.

“I don’t give a fuck how powerful you think you are. If you ever touch my wife again, I’ll slit your throat and bury your body where no one will ever find it. Do you understand?” he growls.

Grand-da’s face is turning deep purple. He manages a short nod…and my husband releases him. He coughs and chokes and desperately tries to suck in air. Utterly disregarding the man gasping for breath, my husband turns, and in a blink, he’s standing before me. He towers over me, and I have to crane my neck to look up at him. A shadow of brutality lingers in his eyes. He reaches out, and despite myself, I flinch…again. He merely picks up the pen my grandfather dropped and holds it out to me.

“Our marriage is a business arrangement, so I understand your being opposed to it. Neither of us wants this, but one thing I can promise is that I will never lay hands on you in anger.”

I shiver at his gruff tone. Wait. If he doesn’t want to be married to me either, then why did he do it? My eyes travel over his shoulder to latch onto my grandfather, who’s still rubbing his neck and glaring at me. Next they move to the massive man who remains lurking in the corner. He’s staring at Grand-da. His continued silence and steely glare unnerve me. There’s an alert readiness in his body, as though he’s waiting to dive into action and defend his boss. At last, I turn my gaze back to my husband who’s still holding the pen in his hand.

I take him in again. His dark hair is swept back off his forehead, his eyebrows a sharp slash over eyes that bore into me. A chill dashes across me at their intensity, and I could almost lose myself staring into them. They’re the color of my father’s favorite cognac. Despite the ferocity he displayed only moments ago, they seem almost gentle now.

In a move that surprises me, I reach out and take the pen. Our hands brush. Before I change my mind, I scribble my signature on the line above my printed name. I can feel my husband’s eyes on me. He takes the pen from my fingers, his skin gliding along mine. Goosebumps travel up my arm. Confused over my reaction, I hastily take a step back while my husband—Emilio—signs his name next to mine.

He rolls up the certificate and tucks it into the inner pocket of his suit. It’s final. I’ve signed my life over to a stranger. A man who, only moments ago, showed me how brutal he is. Despite his promise, I don’t know if I can trust him.

Dear God, what have I done?


Author Bio:

LK Shaw is the bestselling author of sexy, sinful suspense. She resides in South Carolina with her high maintenance beagle mix dog, Miss P. An avid reader since childhood, she became hooked on historical romance novels in high school. She now reads, and loves, all romance sub-genres, with dark romance and romantic suspense being her favorite. LK enjoys traveling and chocolate. Her books feature hot alpha heroes and the strong women they love.

Want a FREE short story? Be sure to sign up for her newsletter and download your copy of A Birthday Spanking, a short story set in the Doms of Club Eden world! http://bit.ly/LKShawNewsletter

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Book Blitz: Cole Twins Box Set by Diana A. Hicks

Cole Twins Box Set
Diana A. Hicks
Publication date: February 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
The Cole Twins Box Set – a steamy romantic suspense box set that includes two full-length, standalone novels.

Here’s what you get:
UNLEASH YOU
Wesley Cole
Former Marine
Brilliant Investor and CEO
My first love

Dreamy Wesley Cole never once looked my way when we were kids. As my brother’s best friend, he only thought of me as the pesky neighbor.

I’m not a child anymore. I don’t need Wesley telling me what to do. And I’m sure as hell, I don’t need him telling me how to spend my money. I want him to see that I’m all grown up now.

One way or another, the broody marine will have to understand we belong together.

DEFY YOU
Zack Cole
Steamy Doctor
Perfect Jerk
My Fake Fiancé

It all started when I kissed the wrong twin brother. And now I can’t stop thinking about the kiss. I can’t stop thinking about Zack’s soft lips and kind eyes. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that now his life is danger because of me.

I’m desperate to stay in the States. Going home would sure end badly for me.

But is the steamy doctor’s proposal to be his fake girlfriend my only way out?

If you like angsty, all-the-feels romance with hot alpha heroes, then you’ll love this suspenseful series.

Contains explicit love scenes and mild violence. No cheating. No cliffhangers.

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EXCERPT:

When the doors slid open, I was greeted by a huge sign that read Cole Investment Research Advisors, Inc. To my left, at the end of the hallway, a receptionist desk stood empty. I strolled to it anyway, casually peering into the other offices. Every person was either on the phone or had their gazes glued to their computer screens.

A man’s deep and sort of angry voice caught my attention. I ambled toward the suite in the corner, the only room with a shut door. Could this be Wesley? Of all the Cole brothers, he was always the most intense and intimidating. Was that why I’d had such a big crush on him? Because he seemed impossible to get, so beautiful and unattainable. I pressed a hand on the frosted-glass door for support. In a split second, the panel swung open, and I fell flat on my face. Technically speaking, I tumbled over a pair of large Italian-leather shoes.

“Let me call you back.” The angry voice now had an annoyed edge to it.

“The door just opened.” I glanced up as a pair of hands picked me off the floor. My heart drummed in my ears. In part because I was embarrassed, but also because, holy shit, this was Wesley Cole. Somehow, he’d gotten hotter in the last eight years. The boy I remembered was gone, replaced by an incredibly gorgeous man.

“Yeah, I opened it.” His warm fingers loosened a bit around my bare shoulders, and he smiled at me with a little twinkle in his eye. “Are you okay?”

Was that recognition in his gaze? “I am. Thank you.” I shuffled back and smoothed out my skirt.

“Can I help you?” He shot a glance toward the empty receptionist’s desk.

“I think so. I came to see you. I’m Ana?” I pursed my lips. I hated that name when I was little. I especially hated it
when people added sweet in front of it. Sweet Ana. “I’m Anabelle Copenhaver. We were neighbors. Sort of.”

Wesley’s grandmother owned the estate next to ours. Wesley and his family spent so much time at that house, I considered them neighbors. In his letter, Charlie had mentioned that Wesley’s oldest brother, Derek, had acquired the estate, done a full renovation, and planned to move in soon.

“I know who you are.” A crease shot across his forehead. He released me so fast I stumbled back. “I didn’t think I’d be seeing you today.”

“I’m sorry. I should’ve made an appointment.” My cheeks burned hot. Wesley wasn’t a boy anymore, but the stern look in those hazel eyes told me he still thought of me as Charlie’s little sister. “I should go.” I turned to leave.

“Anabelle, please wait.” He put out his hand but then retrieved it. “We do need to talk. Sit down.”

Author Bio:

Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy romantic suspense and science-fiction romance.

When Diana is not writing, she enjoys hot yoga, 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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Book Blitz: Aspen Cove Series by Kelly Collins

One Hundred Reasons
Kelly Collins
(Aspen Cove, #1)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A woman who wants to leave.
A man who has to stay.
And a love that won’t be denied…

Nurse Sage Nichols’ life isn’t going as planned. When a favorite patient passes away, Sage abandons her post for a few minutes longer than planned — and just like that, she’s without a job and a paycheck.

But Sage’s patient left her a parting gift: a creaky bed-and-breakfast in the heart of the Rockies. So, determined to sell the rundown property and return to Denver for a fresh start, Sage heads north to the mountains.

When Cannon Bishop’s mother died, he gave up his dreams of leaving Aspen Cove for good and returned to run the family business. As owner of the only bar and son to the town drunk, he’s got no room in his life for a woman. But when Sage Nichols breezes into town, she changes everything.

And if there’s one thing Cannon hates, it’s change.

Recruited by the local doctor, Sage finds herself more involved in small town life than she intended. But the warm welcome she receives from the locals does not extend to the man next door.

Then trust sprouts unexpectedly between them and when Sage’s plan to return to Denver falls through, she is left wondering if her future might lie in Aspen Cove after all.

Sometimes love gets in the way of the best laid plans…

Welcome to Aspen Cove, the tiny Colorado town where fresh starts, hope, and true love live…

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EXCERPT:

“This feels kind of perfect.”

He adjusted the blanket and pulled her closer. The arm of her chair dug into her side, but she didn’t complain. For the first time since she arrived in Aspen Cove, she wasn’t alone or lonely. It was an odd sensation to be so comfortable with a man who made her temper flare, and her insides turn soft. The most interesting thing was he made her feel something other than empty. She would take rage and passion over apathy any day.

They sat in companionable silence for minutes. Cannon turned toward her and tilted his head. A kiss was coming, and all her questions about his lips would be answered. She leaned in, relaxed her lips and inhaled. Just as the lids of her eyes fluttered closed, she felt him shift.

“I think they’re done.” He rolled to his feet, taking the blanket with him. “Let’s get you inside and warmed up.” He offered her a hand and pulled her to her feet. “I’ll clean this up.” With his arm at her back, he led her to the door.

Sage wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but it was the smart choice. There was no point in starting something that wouldn’t go anywhere. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Thank you. This was probably the best night I’ve had in a while.”

He held her close, and his lips touched the top of her head in a gentle kiss. “You need to get out more.”

“I do. I really do.”

“Tomorrow night, you should come to the bar.” He stepped back. “It’s karaoke night. Bring Otis.”

“Okay.” She nodded. It would be the first Saturday night where she wasn’t pulling a shift or spending it curled on the couch, watching reruns.

“It’s a date.” He stepped away and started down the stairs.

“Is it?” Did he mean a real date, or was he using it as a figure of speech?

“Just come to the bar.” He disappeared into the night. She watched his outline as he picked up the glasses and bottles by the water and moved toward his cabin.

She giggled as she walked into the house. Suddenly, nothing bothered her. Not her nose. Not the newlyweds going at it like rabbits. Not the thought of being stuck here until the house sold.

A voice from deep down told her she could be happy here if she’d let herself. Flopping onto her bed, she grinned up at the ceiling, thinking of the magical effect that a long hug and light kiss from the right man could have. She wasn’t sure if it was the wine talking or her hormones, but something was telling her to trust Cannon.


Author Bio:

Like FREEBIES? Join the VIP readers at http://bit.ly/KellyCollinsFreeBook for members-only exclusives!

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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.

You can learn more about Kelly at www.authorkellycollins.com.

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Book Blitz: Sleigh Bell Serenade by Shanna Hatfield

Sleigh Bell Serenade
Shanna Hatfield
(Winter Wishes, #2)
Publication date: January 19th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
He keeps his heart heavily guarded.
She meets everyone with a friendly smile.
Will the attraction sizzling between them pull them into the space between their two worlds?

Burdened by too many responsibilities, Bowen Jensen struggles beneath their overwhelming weight. Between raising his teenage sister, running their family ranch, and managing Sleigh Bell Tours, he barely has time to sleep, let alone do something just for himself. He can’t even recall his last date. Then a chance encounter with a beguiling woman leaves him pondering if there isn’t more to life than trudging through one lonely day after another.

Juniper Haynes appears to have it all with a successful real estate career and a picture-perfect life. In reality, she’s tired of dealing with demanding clients, wary of her so-called friends, and secretly longs for the peace she finds at her sister’s mountain home. After a magical New Year’s Eve kiss with a cowboy she barely knows, she realizes true happiness might only be found outside her comfort zone.

Can Bo and Juniper find the courage to embrace change and explore the possibility of a future together?

Find out in this sweet winter romance full of small-town charm, memorable characters, laughter, hope, and love.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“What a mess,” the woman said, brushing at her coat with the napkin Sassy handed to her. “I’m not usually such a klutz.” She gave up dabbing at the cider soaking into the white cashmere and looked to Bo again. “Thank you for catching me before I fell. I’m Juniper, by the way. Juniper Haynes.”

“Juniper,” Bo mumbled, finally managing to gain a miniscule amount of control over his tongue. However, his heart pounded so fast and loud, it echoed like a bongo drum in his head.

“That’s an awesome name,” Sassy said, with the enthusiasm summoned by a teenager impressed by someone older and more worldly. “I’m Sassy, and this is Bo Jensen.”

Juniper’s smile widened as she looked up at him. Even with her high-heeled boots, she barely came up to his chest. Then again, at six-four, he tended to tower over a lot of people.

“Sassy and Bo. It’s so nice to meet you. Thank you, again, for catching me. Happy Christmas Eve.” Juniper turned away and took a lopsided step, but her foot slid on a patch of hidden ice. She would have fallen if Bo hadn’t caught her a second time, his arms looping beneath hers from the back. She tilted her face upward and offered him a look of gratitude.

Something that felt like an electrical current trailed up his arms, threatening to short circuit what few working brain cells he had left.

Words.

He needed words.

To speak—to say anything—but nothing seemed to be able to work its way from his overloaded brain to his mouth. The sharp elbow Sassy jabbed into his side didn’t help any more than her questioning glare to rattle something loose.

Bo stared at the woman, fascinated.

Juniper.

What an intriguing name for an entirely captivating woman.

 


Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes sweet romances rich with relatable characters, small town settings that feel like home, humor, and hope.

Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

When this farm girl isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. She also experiments with recipes, snaps photos of her adorable nephew, and caters to the whims of a cranky cat named Drooley.

To learn more about Shanna or the books she writes, visit her website http://shannahatfield.com or find out more about her here: linktr.ee/ShannaHatfield

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Saturday Spotlight

Saturday SpotlightThe Villa by Rachel Hawkins
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 3, 2023
Pages: 288
Goodreads

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set at an Italian villa with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: Burning for the Truth by A.B. Medley

Burning for the Truth
A.B. Medley
(Finding the Truth Series, #3)
Publication date: February 28th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Once the fire starts, no one is safe until the smoke clears.

He’s the one who broke her heart first, the one she can’t let go, and still always saves her when it seems all hope is lost.

He’s also her brother’s best friend and way off limits.

***

She’s the one he dreams about, the one he’s always drawn to, but the one he keeps at arm’s length..

She was meant to walk away—he made sure of it—but he can’t stop holding onto her.

Even though she’s the one woman he can never have.

***

Dean and Briella think their feelings are under control—all they’ll ever be is friends—until tragedy strikes, followed by a string of mysterious fires targeting the hearts of Greendale Valley’s police and firefighters. The aftermath pushes them apart completely, only to drive them back together as they risk burning everything down in search of justice.

Will the flame between them continue to burn, or will uncovering the truth leave nothing but ashes?

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Author Bio:

A.B. Medley lives in Tennessee with the love of her life and two sons. Her husband stole her heart when she was sixteen and their relationship is one of those meant to be love stories you find in magazines and novels.

She is a dental hygienist who loves to read and has always dabbled in writing. When she’s not making people’s smiles shine, she enjoys belting out songs with her boys, dancing, raspberries, baseball, and anything vintage. Like any proper Tennessean, Sundrop is her drink of choice.

She loves her family and friends fiercely and believes in always chasing your dreams.

Deception in the Truth is her debut novel—but now she’s hooked, and there’s more to come!

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