All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood Review

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things 
by Bryn Greenwood

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Stars: 5+++

Reviewed by:
Michelle

Synopsis:
As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.

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I don’t even know where to start with this review. My mind is still spinning. It was just incredibly sad & shocking! It was a crazy dysfunctional love story. It definitely pushes the boundaries of what’s right and what’s wrong.
At times… I definitely felt uncomfortable reading certain parts of this book. But at the same time… Given the situation in Wavy’s life. It almost seemed normal. I found myself immersed in her surroundings and looking past all the inappropriateness of it all.
(Don’t get me wrong!… I would be upset too with all the things that Kellen and Wavy did and how they acted with each other. But for the sake of his book… I understood.)

This story has so many characters and they all intertwine with each other. It’s hard to write this review without giving anything away. It’s told with so many different people’s POV. That I felt made the story. I know that turns some people off… But in this story it worked.
This book was just so full and all the twist and turns just kept me reading. I did not want to put the book down.
There was never a dull moment in this book.

My heart went out to Wavy right from the very first page. I definitely had tears in my eyes. My jaw dropped so many times reading what she went through and what she had to go through with her parents… But especially her mother.
Her mother was unbelievable. Her mother was an addict and had a mental illness. She should have never had kids let alone taken care of any.
She took all her craziness and just dumped it all on Wavy. Giving her years and years of issues of her own.

Wavy never talked, ate, or socialized with people her own age. She was constantly doing these weird off the wall things that just made everyone around her very uncomfortable.
She had to grow up fast at a very young age. So she had a very old soul personality feel to her. Her eyes had a very heavy blank look to them. Like she’s been through a lot and seen way to much.
You don’t expect to see that in a little girl Wavy’s age.
When Kellen came crashing into her life. Wavy finally let someone in. It was kind of a weird friendship in the beginning. Kellen helped Wavy out a lot around the house and with her little brother Donal.
Things slowly progressed from there. Kellen seemed to get her right away. And slowly we start to see something grow between them. First a deep friendship then into a deep love for each other.

Kellen was made out to be the bad guy in so many people’s eyes. But I definitely didn’t see him as the bad guy. My heart broke for him.
Nobody got him but Wavy. He was an over weight man with a criminal record that worked for Wavy’s dad. He was slow and didn’t have a lot going for him.
But he had a soft spot that only a few people saw.
He went above and beyond for Wavy and her brother. He knew they weren’t being taken care of. And he took it upon himself to help her.
He too had a really hard life. His family was bad. And he didn’t want Wavy in a way to go through what he had went through.

In the beginning… Yes… It was weird. A man and a little girl hanging around each other. As Wavy got older things started to change with them. Little things here and there. But slowly things started to progress.
Nobody looked and treated Kellen the way Wavy did. And Kellen accepted Wavy and all her corks. When everyone wanted to change Wavy… Kellen just accepted her.

Wavy’s dad was no good. He pretty much wrote Wavy off pretty early on. He really didn’t care what she did. So he never cared how much time Kellen spent with her. Just as long as he didn’t have to do it. She could do whatever she wanted.
Her mom… At first didn’t like it. But she was dealing with her own demons. So she just let it be. Never said anything.

It wasn’t Wavy’s parents who protested about Wavy and Kellen’s relationship. It was actually Wavy’s aunt. Oh man… I really could not stand the aunt. She could not accept her sisters life style (Wavy’s mom) and she could not stand how Wavy was.
The role she played in Wavy’s life as the years go on by was hard to read. She just could wrap her head around why her niece would be so into a guy like Kellen. And she made it her personal mission to keep them apart.
It was so hard to read.

I felt as I read on that Kellen was there in the beginning when Wavy needed it and towards the end of the book Wavy fought for Kellen and showed him just how much she loved him.

I wish we could have gotten an epilogue. I would have loved to read what had happened to the whole crew Sandy, Dee, Ricki, Butch after the incident. How had the years after treated them.

This book may not be for everybody…. But if you give it a chance and look past the age difference and just read the whole story. You will be rewarded with an incredible unintentional love story that will leave you wanting more.

Wavy and Kellen’s story will stay with me for a long time.

*ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley*

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BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned a MA in Creative Writing from Kansas State University and continues to work in academia as an administrator. Her short fiction has appeared in Chiron ReviewKaramuThe Battered Suitcase, and Menda City Review. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful ThingsLast Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas

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Absolution Road by Rachel Blaufeld SALE BLITZ

Have you met Jake Wrigley yet?

Absolution Road in on SALE for the FIRST time!

‪#‎99cents for a very limited time.

Ex-Baseball Player ✔

Broken Down Alpha ✔

TWIN ✔

Spends X-mas Eve in Jail ✔

Smitten with the Good Girl, Fiery Public Defender ✔

Get your $0.99 copy here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2arzQU1

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Wro3nF

iBooks: http://apple.co/1OCvy9V

Nook: http://bit.ly/1Vfdw1Z

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1NT6HNu

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Blurb

For Jake Wrigley, the future is bleak. Some people are survivors, but he’s getting by on his bad-boy looks and charming smile. He owns a gym, gets into bar fights, and wrestles his demons with rough workouts—both in and out of the bedroom.

For Alyson Road, the future is bright. Life can only improve from where she grew up. She graduated at the top of her law class, cares for her ailing mom, and in her job, she defends those who can’t afford anyone else. Her work is thankless but honest.

Jake’s twin brother has been covering his ass for as long as they’ve been alive, but that all changes when Jake finds himself in front of the fiery public defender, his future in her hands. For the first time ever, he doesn’t want to involve his brother, finally realizing he needs to stand alone, be his own man.

Even if Jake’s never absolved of his past wrongdoings or his heart is never scrubbed of the blackness that resides there, he can do one good deed—protect the beautiful lawyer who touched his soul—until helping her nearly becomes his own undoing.

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Meet Rachel

rachel blaufeld

Rachel Blaufeld is a social worker/entrepreneur/blogger turned author. Fearless about sharing her opinion, Rachel captured the ear of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog,BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and inventing a product, often at the same time. She has also blogged for The Huffington Post, Modern Mom, and StartupNation.

Turning her focus on her sometimes wild-and-crazy creative side, it only took Rachel two decades to do exactly what she wanted to do—write a fiction novel. Now she spends way too many hours in local coffee shops plotting her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end lusciously.

Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two dogs. Her obsessions include running, coffee, icing-filled doughnuts, anti-heroes, and mighty fine epilogues.

Stalk Rachel at: Website / Twitter / Facebook

Sign up for her newsletter for the latest news on releases, sales, giveaways and other updates.

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Not a Game (Friends #1) by Cardeno C. Review

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Not a Game (Friends #1)
by Cardeno C.

Stars: 3.5-4

Reviewed by:
Michelle

Synopsis:
An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.

Word count: 55,872

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I’m a big fan of Cardeno’s books. I’ve read most of them. So I jumped at the chance to read this one too! This was a different read for me. It still grabbed me from the beginning. But this book had a very slow pace to it. Almost a little too slow. That’s what was hard for me to get past. I just felt like something was missing.

All of Oliver insecurities and self-esteem issues were sad to read. I mean… Being overweight does a lot to a person. It knocks you down on so many levels. I felt bad for him.

Jamie was a sand up guy and really worked to bring down all of Oliver’s walls. He challenged Oliver to step out of his confront zone and just be in the moment with him. I liked that about him. He was already of age to know what he liked and what he wanted in a life partner.
I thought they were a solid couple. Jamie really showed Oliver just how much he wanted him. And I just loved that. Because Oliver was the kind of guy that need a lot of reassurance.

The whole misunderstanding between Jamie and Oliver I felt lasted way too long. As Oliver kept paying… I was wondering what Jamie was doing with the money. I felt it was build up to a point I thought it would have been more. It just kind of fell a little flat for me.

Overall… This was a ok read. And I’m glad that I read it. I can’t wait for Cardeno’s next book.

*ARC provided for an honest review*

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Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Heartwarming Stories. Strong Relationships. Forever Love.

Website: www.cardenoc.com

Blog: (Shared Blog) http://caferisque.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @CardenoC

FB Profile: http://www.facebook.com/CardenoC

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carde…

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX6M…

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cardenoC/

Ignite (Legacy 0.75) by Rebecca Yarros Review

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Ignite (Legacy 0.75)
by Rebecca Yarros

Stars: 4.5

Reviewed by:
Michelle

Synopsis:
In Legacy, Colorado, I buried my father alongside his elite Hotshot team.
Ten years later, I’ve followed in his footsteps—fighting fires in the mountains of Alaska with my brother.
Amid the flames, nothing ignites me like Avery Claire.
She’s stubborn, strong, sexy as hell, and my best friend.
She also has no idea that I’m in love with her.
But Colorado is calling me home, needing every Legacy-born firefighter to successfully rebuild our fathers’ team.
One night will change everything between us,
But she’s tied to Alaska and my future is in Colorado.
Now I’m torn between what my honor demands,
And what my heart can’t live without.

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The title of this book is so fitting! OMG… I wanted to ignite after reading River and Avery’s love for each other!
But also too… This book was kind of frustrating!
This novella had my emotions going all over the place! The constant up and down was almost driving me drink!…lol

River and Avery have been best friends for years. Never crossing the imaginary line. They just didn’t want to loose what they had with each other as best friends.

River… River… River!

I loved him! He is what I would call the ultimate book boyfriend! He knew he wanted Avery in every possible way. And he was willing to take the risk! He accepted her and her family. And that says a lot because her father was not very likable.

Avery had to grow up pretty quick. Not only did she have to take care of her younger sister at a young age but she had to also take care of her father. Her father was a angry man with many issues. He made Avery’s life very hard for her. No matter what she did… Nothing was ever good enough for him.
Avery’s sense of duty to her “family” was killing me! I wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. All she really needed to take care of was her sister. That’s all she should have been worrying about. She was being manipulated by her father. And it was killing me to read it.

Her only relief was River. He really was there for her. She knew she could rely on him. Reading their parts in this novella was super hot! You could feel all the sexual tension between them! And I loved how they took it slow.
I loved how River bared his heart to Avery. He wanted her to have a life with him. So he took the leap.

The ending of this book was so cute! And I can’t wait to read more about them… Along with the other characters. I’m so glad I read this little novella! The writing was spot on… The book flowed perfectly. I’m really excited about the other books that will come in this series!

*ARC Provided for an honest review*

About the Author

rebecca yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years. They finally can call Colorado home along with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog.

Stalk Rebecca here:

Website: http://www.rebeccaelizabethyarros.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaElizabethYarros

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/327562767450842/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaYarros

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebeccayarros/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7539785.Rebecca_Yarros

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Yarros/e/B00HYKBU1W/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1449029619&sr=8-2-ent

 

 

Lessons in Temptation By Chloe Maxx Cover Reveal

 
Title: Lessons in Temptation
Series: Lessons #2
Author: Chloe Maxx
Cover Design & Photography: Pink Ink Designs
Release Date: Oct 17, 2016
Add on Goodreads
 
 
 
My name is Rebecca Wilson and I’m an awful person.
 
My life was good.
Or, at least, it was to the outside world.
 
But…
 
He was so alluring.
 
It was only supposed to be one night of fun, then I’d go back home to my boyfriend and new job, never to see him again.
 
Of course, life had other plans—plans to throw him, along with his little sister, back into my path and tempt me to change my soul forever.
 
 
 
Chloe Maxx was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. She now resides in a small town not far from where she grew up with her husband and two boys. She loves being outdoors, the salty smell of the ocean, relaxing ocean waves, caffeine, and reading any book that has a little romance.
 

BLOG TOUR & BOOK REVIEW: BOSSMAN by Vi Keeland

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Blurb

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business—his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business—and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room.  Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us—telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?

Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

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“I quit.”

Those two words would definitely come out of my mouth if I knew that the next job I’d land would be under Chase Parker– both in the figurative, but mostly in the literal sense. Bossman by Vi Keeland had me feeling all of the best things in all the right places. She’d ticked off all the best elements which I look for in a book. A story-line that had so much more than what you could see from the surface. The synopsis makes you want to pick up this book but once you’re deeply embroiled in Chase and Reese’s story, you begin to truly appreciate the depth in which Vi Keeland takes this book into. There’s a behind the scenes story that plays out which is meticulously and perfectly executed, in turn further intrigues and piques your interest.

An alpha male with a tragic past, the author allows you to see firsthand through flashbacks; all of which were weaved into the present so wonderfully, really making us understand how Chase Parker became the man he is today. A self-made businessman, he exudes confidence amidst his hesitation to move past his tragic past. It isn’t until Reese appears that he begins to realize just how much more he wants in life. The cat and mouse game played between these two had me lapsing into fits of giggles like a 14 year old girl being asked out on her first date. I was dying from what I could only explain as untainted excitement. I felt reinvigorated because this book brought out the girly teenager in me.

I loved how intense they longed for one another. It was almost like they both needed each other in order to heal what both thought could never be done. I absolutely loved how honest they were of their feelings, a no nonsense, put-it-out-there attitude without the cheesy, “inst-love” that irks me. Everything had its place and they were all laid out and worked out in their own time. Perfectly synced, I thought Vi Keeland did a tremendous job (as she always does) with this book. I just love the way she writes!

Bossman is as flirty as it is addictive. I would find myself huffing with annoyance when I had to put down my Kindle— yep, when I HAD to. If it were up to me, I would have sat through the whole book in one sitting. It’s that wildly good! I would recommend this bookshelf worthy book to you all. You deserve to have some fun as I did with Chase Parker (a new book boyfriend FO’ SHO) and of course, Reese. These two will have you blushing and smiling for days on end.

We Like It Big Tunes:

Love On The Brain- Rihanna

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Are you ready to meet Chase Parker in BOSSMAN?

A standalone Contemporary Romance novel by

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Vi Keeland

NOW LIVE

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/29F3jum

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2a8EaIY

iBooks: http://apple.co/1TYvovK

Bossman Paperback: http://amzn.to/29rhZrX

Nook:  http://bit.ly/29sL4H2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/29lW19I

Google Play: http://bit.ly/29NZ8bn

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EXCERPT

“Sorry, I wasn’t looking where—”

I froze.

The sight of Chase standing there was almost enough to knock me over. I’d secretly hoped to see him, yet never thought I actually would. What are the chances? I did a double take, sure I was seeing things. But it was him all right, in the flesh. And what flesh it is. Standing there shirtless and wet—wearing nothing but a pair of low-slung swim trunks—he had me stuttering. Literally.

“Ch…Ch…Ch—” I couldn’t get the word out.

Of course, Chase didn’t miss a beat. He smirked and leaned in. “You do a cute train impression, Buttercup.”

He remembers me.

I shook my head, attempting to snap myself out of it. But it was no use. He was so tall, and I was so short, I had no choice but to stare at his body. Water trickled down his abs. I was mesmerized watching it speed up and slow down as it crossed the rippled lines of his six-pack. Damn.

I cleared my throat and finally spoke. “Chase.”

I was pretty freaking proud of myself for getting that much out. He had a towel slung around his neck and lifted it to dry off his dripping hair, revealing even more flesh. His pectoral muscles were carved and perfect. And—oh, my God…is that… Holy shit. It is. His nipples were cold and erect, and one of them was….was…pierced.

About the Author:

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Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is an attorney and a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author.  Over the last three years, eleven of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and four on the New York Times Bestseller lists.

Links

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKeelandFanGroup/

https://www.facebook.com/vi.keeland

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Vi-Keeland/435952616513958

Website

http://www.vikeeland.com

Twitter

@vikeeland

https://twitter.com/ViKeeland

Instagram

@Vi_Keeland

http://instagram.com/Vi_Keeland/

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6887119.Vi_Keeland

 

Additional Books by Vi Keeland

 

Standalone novels

The Baller

Amazon ➜ amzn.to/1PBF2hG

iBooks  ➜  http://bit.ly/iBooksBaller

B&N ➜  http:// bit.ly/BarnesBaller

Kobo ➜  http:// bit.ly/KoboBaller

Google Play ➜ http:// bit.ly/GoogleBaller

Stuck-Up Suit (co-written with Penelope Ward)

Amazon:  http:// http://amzn.to/1VK66ll

iBooks: http://apple.co/1Qbwy57

B&N: http:// bit.ly/1UC8wDC

Kobo: http:// bit.ly/1RJdUif

Cocky Bastard (co-written with Penelope Ward)

Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/1LfN3fc

iTunes ➜ http://apple.co/1PffE2J

Kobo ➜ http://bit.ly/1UxCSUO

B&N ➜ http://bit.ly/1EjxNpY

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Left-Behind-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00OJM92LI/

First Thing I See

http://www.amazon.com/First-Thing-See-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00AWXY3HG

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-thing-i-see-ms-vi-keeland/1114703332

 

Other books from Vi Keeland

Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat

http://www.amazon.com/Beat-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00ZOMUV12/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beat-vi-keeland/1121715501

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beat/id983959123

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/beat-5

Throb

http://www.amazon.com/Throb-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00SS2RYBU

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/throb-vi-keeland/1121112695

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/throb-4

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/throb/id948747986

MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)

Worth the Fight

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Fight-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00FLG5B9S

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-fight-vi-keeland/1117014180

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-the-fight

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-fight/id805540252

Worth the Chance

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Chance-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00I2UKQOK

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-chance-vi-keeland/1118634058

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-chance/id813714461

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-the-chance

Worth Forgiving

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Forgiving-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00MWL78EG

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-forgiving-vi-keeland/1120173153

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-forgiving

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-forgiving/id906130022?ls=1&mt=11

The Cole Series (2 book serial)

Belong to You

http://www.amazon.com/Belong-You-A-Cole-Novel-ebook/dp/B00BUTCXLE/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belong-to-you-vi-keeland/1114962845

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/belong-to-you/id639401754

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/belong-to-you

Made for You

http://www.amazon.com/Made-You-A-Cole-Novel-ebook/dp/B00DPWVKS6

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/made-for-you-vi-keeland/1115883225

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/made-for-you/id84550637

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/belong-to-you

 

GIVEAWAY

Signed Copy of Bossman & $50 Amazon Gift Card

Share link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDk5NjRmMDM5ZDM4YTBjYWM0YzAyYzM0NGI2ODRhOjg3Mw==/?

Reaper’s Fire by Joanna Wylde EXCERPT REVEAL

reaper's fire excerpt reveal

Excerpt

Tinker

It was almost seven that evening when I felt the AC kick back on. I’d been lying on my back on the (relatively) cool tile floor behind the counter, staring up at the pressed-tin ceiling and trying to remember why I hadn’t already moved back to Seattle.

In Seattle it rained.

Cool breezes blew off the bay and the lush greenery covered everything with its shaded canopy. People didn’t really need air-conditioning, but if they happened to have it and it broke, there were lots of repair men available.

Of course, Seattle also had Brandon. Not only that, my dad didn’t want to move, and I’d come to realize I couldn’t leave him here alone. It wasn’t safe for him, not since Mom died.

Ugh.

At least the AC was working again, blowing down from the ceiling vent across my sweaty body, reminding me that while the world might not be crawling with perfect men, at least there were still a few useful ones running around. Cooper Romero was a keeper, and it had nothing to do with how sexy he was . . . although the fact that he was sex on a stick—make that sex with a stick—didn’t exactly diminish his appeal.

When I’d dragged him up to the black tar roof to show him the ancient AC, I’d expected him to make a run for it. Any sensible man would. Instead, he’d spent the whole afternoon busting his ass to save my chocolates—Oh God, I wish that were code for something more exciting—officially qualifying him as a superhero in my book.

As for me, there wasn’t much I could do once I got all the sweets safely downstairs into the basement. There weren’t any customers walking in off the street, and seeing as I couldn’t make or ship candy in a 102-degree shop, I’d alternated between attempting to read a book, looking over orders I couldn’t fulfill on my laptop, and bringing Cooper glasses of iced tea. I’d been nervous around him at first, but you can only stay nervous for so long when you’re sweating like a pig—there’s a certain freedom in knowing you look like hell and there’s no saving your hair. I’d thrown my arm across my eyes in a pathetic attempt to block out reality toward the end.

When cold air started flowing into the room, I could’ve cried with relief. He’d never had a chance to fill out the application form, and I’d long since decided it didn’t matter. Unless he was an ax murderer, I’d give him the apartment and the job.

Might give it to him even if he was, to be honest.

“It’s working again,” Cooper announced, and I jerked, startled. Shit, had I fallen asleep? Opening my eyes, I looked up to find him standing over me. Dear God in heaven—that was one hell of a bare chest.

Holy. Shit.

I’d taken note of his build when he first walked in the shop, but everything under his shirt had been theoretical. Now there was six-foot-plus of raw sex appeal right there, all sweaty and sculpted and . . . well, let’s just say I’d be stopping off on the way home to pick up some fresh batteries.

That’s when the situation hit me—Cooper Romero was the hottest man I’d met in forever, and he’d just found me lying on the floor in my own sweat and filth like a dog. Typical luck. I scrambled to my feet, pretending I wasn’t totally embarrassed (I was) and not in the least bit freaked out by how unspeakably attractive this guy was. Okay, “attractive” wasn’t quite the right word, because it implied a certain level of polish and class that just didn’t fit Cooper at all.

Brandon was attractive.

Cooper?

I’d lick him all over and massage his butt if he asked. He stared down at me, his eyes carefully blank, making it very clear he wasn’t asking. Story of my fucking life. Sitting up, I pushed myself to my feet without bothering to dust off. Lost cause at this point.

“Not sure how much life the AC has left,” he said slowly. “I managed to get it going, but fixing it right would cost more than it’s worth and then some.”

Of course it would.

“I just need to get through the summer,” I told him, wiping a finger under my eye. My perfectly applied, vintage-style makeup had melted, leaving me with a clown face. Fortunately I’d (mostly) given up on caring three hours ago, right around the time I’d discovered the floor tiles were cooler than the rest of the room. “After that, I’ll worry about the furnace and by next summer I might not even be here anymore.”

“Really?” he asked, cocking a brow. “You selling out?”

“Not sure,” I told him. “I’m not thinking that far ahead right now. Things are very iffy with my dad . . . I think he’s got some—”

No. I couldn’t say it. Saying it out loud made it too real, plus the last thing I needed were a bunch of rumors flying around town. So far we’d kept dad’s situation mostly to family and friends.

“Tinker?”

Shaking myself, I smiled at him. “Thank you so much for fixing that. I’m not even sure what I would’ve done—I can’t afford to miss a week’s worth of orders. Not only would it put me behind, it would burn my customers.”

He nodded, studying me thoughtfully. God, he really was beautiful . . . Nothing like Brandon’s polished sophistication. No, Cooper gave off more of a warrior-tossing-you-over-his-fearless-steed kind of vibe. Yeah, like that would end well, because my track record with men was so fucking perfect, right?

Pull your head out of the gutter. He probably has a girlfriend.

At least I could finally lock up this hellhole of a shop and get a shower.

“Thank you so much—you have no idea how much I appreciate it.”

“No, but the whole throwing yourself at my feet thing was a subtle hint,” he said, and I realized he was teasing me. Was he flirting? I couldn’t decide if that kicked ass or scared the shit out of me.

“Anyway, it’s getting late,” I told him, feeling suddenly awkward. “I’m going to grab some dinner down the street, and then I could take you over and show you the apartment.”

A small, knowing smile crossed his face, and I realized he thought I was hitting on him.

“No,” I said quickly, mortified. “I wasn’t asking you out. Omigod, this is weird.”

“What, you aren’t turned on by a man who smells like old socks?” he asked lightly, raising his arm and giving a sniff. He was joking, but the sweat wasn’t a turnoff. Nope. Not even a little bit. “If that’s not enough for you, the roof tar on my ass should be a big attraction.”

Closing my eyes, I bit back a groan. He started laughing. Not in a cruel way, but companionably, which I guess made sense because both of us were disgusting as hell. Of course, now I wanted to check out his ass, but I managed to keep my eyes on target (mostly) when I answered him.

“Well, it’s sexy but I’ll manage to control myself somehow. I do want to grab dinner, though, and we need to figure out the apartment details.”

“I’ll take the place, doesn’t matter what it is,” he replied. “I’m in a hotel and it’s getting old. I’d love to move in on Sunday, but I can’t go look at it right now—gotta get my ass cleaned up. Meeting up with someone later.”

Of course he was, because men who looked like Cooper didn’t spend Friday nights alone.

“Sounds great,” I told him, refusing to show any disappointment. “Just text me when you’re ready, and I’ll get you the key.”

He opened his mouth to say something, but a sudden pounding against the locked shop door caught us both off guard. I spun around to find Talia Jackson glaring at me through the glass. Talia and three of her skankier friends, including Sadie Baxter, a girl I used to babysit when I was in college.

A girl who was now twenty.

Damn.

“Cooper!” Talia shouted. “What the fuck are you doing?”

I glanced at my new handyman, startled. Talia Jackson and her brother, Marsh, were two of the nastiest people I’d ever met. Marsh was president of the local motorcycle gang, a group called the Nighthawk Raiders motorcycle club. The club had been around most of my life, but it was only in recent years that they’d turned really bad. I mean, they were never the kinder, gentler sort of bikers, but I’d never been actively afraid when I’d heard a motorcycle, either.

Now? Let’s just say we’d all gotten a little edgy.

“That’s my girl,” Cooper said, and something deep down inside of me died a little. Of course he’d go for someone like Talia. She might have the heart of a deranged circus clown—you know, the kind that survives by eating the souls of innocent children—but she was hot.

Really hot.

Not only that, she was slutty, and while I wasn’t into the whole slut-shaming thing (like I had room to judge after the bachelorette party debacle . . . ugh), I wasn’t naive enough to think he was attracted to her personality. Cooper Romero might have a sweet smile, and he’d fixed my AC, but now I had proof positive that he’d never be into a girl like me.

Specifically, a grown-up with curves.

All righty, then. Probably for the best anyway.

“Just a sec!” I called to her, determined to take the high road, then I grabbed my keys so I could open the door. She pushed inside with her posse, and I do mean pushed. Little bitch shoved me so hard I nearly knocked over the display of antique Russian teacups my mother had lovingly collected. (So far as I knew, she’d never sold a single one of them, but it’d made her happy.)

“Careful,” I warned, and Talia turned on me.

“What did you just say to me?”

“Babe, let’s talk,” Cooper said, catching her arm and pulling her into his body. She squealed, going from aggressive to flirty in an instant.

“You’re all sweaty. It’s sooo disgusting.”

I noted she wasn’t trying to get away. Cooper smiled down at her, a hint of something feral in his eyes. Yeah, okay—whatever smile he’d been giving me, it hadn’t held any of that kind of intensity.

Yours truly was officially chopped liver.

“I was just about to head out and grab a shower,” he told her. “Wanna come with me?”

She pouted. “I can’t. The girls and I need to get fixed up. I’ll see you at the bar, though, right?”

He looked down at her, offering a sexy, indulgent smile. “Can’t wait.”

“Perfect,” she said, reaching around to grab his ass for a quick squeeze. Then she turned and strutted back out without a word to me, her gaggle of girls following like well-trained geese. Sadie gave a little finger wave on the way. The door closed behind them with a cheerful little jingle, and I wondered why the hell I even bothered with Hallies Falls.

I missed Seattle.

So what if it had Brandon? I could drown him in Lake Washington. Problem solved.

“Sorry about that—Talia is a little high-strung,” Cooper said.

“Oh, I know all about her,” I replied, hoping I didn’t sound as catty as I felt. Cooper didn’t seem to notice.

“I’m new to town, but she’s been showing me around,” Cooper continued, stepping over to stand in front of me, hands shoved deep in his front pockets. “I should get going.”

“Of course—don’t let me keep you. What time do you think you’ll be in touch tomorrow?”

“Afternoon work?”

“No problem. Looking forward to hearing from you.”

He nodded and pushed through the door, walking down the street without a second look back. I locked up behind him, wondering why all the hottest guys were douchebags. Not that Cooper had acted like a douche, but he had to be my age or older—late thirties—and Talia was the same age as Sadie. She was also a raging bitch. There was only one reason a man like him would date a girl like that, and it had nothing to do with personality or character.

Cooper Romero might be beautiful, but obviously he was shallow. Suppose it was too much to hope for a man who could fix an air conditioner and have a soul at the same time.

Pity

reaper's fire coming soon

Are you ready for Gage and Tinker’s story?

Reaper’s Fire releases on August 9th!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1mD6Sma

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Blurb

New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the “wild and raw”* world of the Reapers MC with the story of Gage and Tinker…

The club comes first.

I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.

Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.

I’m coming for you, Tinker.

Soon.

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Have you heard?

Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde has a NEW COVER!

reaper's property new cover

Meet Horse & Marie for ONLY $3.99 (normally $7.99)

Author’s Note: This book was originally released through a small publisher in 2013. This independent edition has been lightly edited, and contains a bonus short, “Sticky Sweet” (originally published on the author’s website) and a Q&A with the author.

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About the Author

joanna wylde

Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.

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