Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan BOOK TOUR

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anti stepbrother now available

Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous,

and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Anti-Stepbrother is NOW AVAILABLE!

Get Your Copy TODAY:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bH3TEZ

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

iBooks: http://apple.co/1Yg47GW

Nook: http://bit.ly/22Vj7dD

Kobo: http://bit.ly/24CzWcI

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1WGmyFl

(September 12th delivery)

Add Anti-Stepbrother to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1UCNF0f

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Blurb

He told me to ‘settle, girl.’
He asked if ‘something was wrong with me?’
He said I was an ‘easy target.’
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.

I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what would happen if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?

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Excerpt

He wasn’t looking at me any more. I wasn’t even sure he was really in the room.

I needed to leave this alone. He had given me the clues—looking away, his jaw clenching, pain like I’d never heard from him sounding loud and clear. My instincts were telling me to shut up, but I couldn’t. I had this burning need to know more about Caden. I needed to get in there, past his walls, and I wanted to understand him.

I wanted to help him.

Caden was hurting, and I wanted to take that away.

“What happened?”

Caden turned his gaze to me now, and I felt branded by the pain I saw. His eyes were stricken. “Does it matter?”

“No.” My breath caught and held in my chest. I wanted to go to him, but I also wanted to slink away. I was stirring up his pain, but I had to know. “What happened, Caden?”

“Why do you have to know?”

“Because it’s hurting you.”

I made a decision, though I had no idea what the ramifications were going to be. I stood, my legs going numb and my stomach clenching, and I moved to his side. He leaned back, his head falling to the couch, and he watched me.

The need to ease some of his hurt outweighed the fear of what would happen next. Swallowing tightly, I stepped over to straddle him and sat down.

“What are you doing?”

He asked that softly, still holding his beer. I took it from his hands and put it on the stand next to the couch. Then I just sat there. He had to do the rest. I’d already made the first move.

I glanced down at his hands, feeling like an idiot. “What happened?”

“Why are you pushing this?”

I looked back up to find confusion warring with need in his eyes. He wasn’t pushing me away, so I sank further into his lap.

“You haven’t told anyone else about this.” It wasn’t really a question, but I saw the confirmation in his eyes. My chest tightened, thinking about whatever secret he held. “Please tell me.”

“No.” He shifted forward, and I braced myself, expecting him to push me away. He didn’t. His hands grasped the backs of my legs and lifted me so I was more fully on his lap.

I could feel him between my legs, and my breasts almost pressed against his chest. I waited. I wanted to see what else he’d say

“But not because I don’t want you to know,” he added. “Because it’s not my secret to tell.”

I nodded, my stomach doing somersaults now. “That makes sense. I can respect that.”

And there we were. His hands cupped my ass, and the pain in his gaze became something darker, something I felt too, something that began to turn off all rational thought.

“What are we doing here?” he questioned, his voice like a caress in itself.

I leaned forward, my gaze lingering on his lips. “I didn’t really think it through.”

“And now?”

“Still not thinking it through.”

“You’re okay with that?”

In that moment, the truth exploded in me. I wanted him. I wanted this—but it was more. I needed this.

I didn’t answer.

I closed the distance between us.

 

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Author Information

tijan bio

I didn’t begin writing until after undergraduate college. There’d been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can’t blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I’m hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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Cover Reveal – Touching Down By Nicole Williams

 

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Coming October 9th

 

Pre-order exclusively on

iBooks   

 

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The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.

Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.

But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.
They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.

Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.

When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.

No man can take Grant Turner down.

But one woman certainly can.

One woman will.

 

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

Website   Facebook  Twitter  Blog  Instagram

 

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RELEASE BLITZ & BOOK REVIEW: When Stars Collide by Micalea Smeltzer

 

 

Title: When Stars Collide
Series: Light in the Dark #2 
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Genre: New Adult
 Release Date: August 30, 2016

 

Blurb
We were like two stars orbiting each other—dancing around the possibility that one day we might collide. When we finally did, we opened up a black hole, obliterating everything around us. No one would be the same.

Least of all, us.

Waking up in Vegas married to the guy of your dreams sounds like a good thing, right? Not when you’re Thea Montgomery and said guy is your brother’s best friend.

Thea and Xander have always avoided the connection between them because her brother would never approve. Now, they’re married— the strongest bond you can have as a couple—and they’re not even a real couple…unless they want to be.

Thea wants an annulment immediately, but Xander’s waited too long to see her become his and he won’t let her go easily.

If she wants a divorce, fine, but he wants the summer to convince her that he’s the one. If at the end of the summer she still wants to end their marriage he’ll sign the papers, but until then…

All is not fair in love and war.

 

Melanie’s 3-star Review:

The opening pages of When Stars Collide totally hooked me. I love how the whole scene played out and the emotions that were bouncing off of Thea and Xander. I thought, “wow, what a great start” which then made me that much more excited about the rest of their story. When Stars Collided seemed to have it all. A friends to lovers romance mixed alongside a forbidden love story. A plot line jackpot in my opinion and at the first few glances, I really thought that this book would hit it out of the park for me. While I liked this book a lot, there were also quite a handful of elements that just didn’t quite click for me.

Take for instance, Thea… I get it, I understood why she was so apprehensive about her relationship with Xander. I got that she was afraid of what her older brother Cade would think about his little sister suddenly married to his best friend, Xander. The betrayal and the dishonesty that she thought would ruin her relationship with Cade. I felt bad for her but at the same time I kept wishing that she would have come to senses far earlier than she did. It may have been that the author wanted to build the angst factor to the maximum but it also made it drag on and on for me. So while it seemed like Thea had an on and off switch to her emotions, Xander knew exactly who and what he wanted. And this guy wanted to stay married to Thea. No matter what it took, he would win her over. OMGoodness, did I love him! He made me swoon countless of times. Totally book boyfriend material, I couldn’t help but root for him the entire way through. I loved how caring and selfless and so self-assured he was. Loved how he looked and thought of Thea and most especially, his persistence to win her over.

This is the second book in this standalone series and while I didn’t read the first book, I appreciated the fact that the two stories blended together seamlessly. So you definitely don’t have to read the first book in order to enjoy When Stars Collide. This is my first Micalea Smeltzer book and while Thea’s character didn’t draw me in, I thought that the author did a sensational job with Xander. I felt like they both balanced each other out for an overall, enjoyable read.

 

Read the first 3 chapters on Wattpad now

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Purchase When Stars Collide
and receive an exclusive short story

Trailer
Excerpt

Unedited and subject to change.

Holy mother of all hangovers.

I’d succumbed to the lure of Vegas and gotten completely wasted. Granted, that’s what everyone did in Las Vegas but I like to think I usually have more sense than the social norm.

I rub my eyes and blink them open. The hotel room comes into formation around me. The walls are a warm golden color and the flat screen on the wall plays some home improvement show. I can see the bathroom from the bed, the tiled walls and large soaking tub.

I roll over onto my side, hoping I can sleep off the hangover, and reel back.

“Oh my God,” I cry, flailing in bed.

My legs kick the sleeping guy beside me.

Not just any sleeping guy.

Oh no.

Xander Kincaid, my brother’s best friend, lays in the bed beside me.

His dark hair tumbles over his forehead and his cheeks are covered with several days worth of scruff. His chest is bare and…holy shit. He’s naked.

I look down.

Oh God, I’m naked too.

“What’s wrong?” He asks, reaching his left hand out to pull me closer to him. That’s when I see it.

“Is that a wedding band?” I scream shrilly.

His eyes narrow. “You don’t fucking remember?”

I shake my head and look at my own hand. A thin silver band rests on my finger. “What did we do?”

He sits up in bed and I try to ignore how adorably rumpled he looks with his hair sticking up.

Everything begins flooding back to me in quick bursts.

Drinks. Kissing.

Laughter.

Confessions of love and desire.

A wedding chapel.

Vows.

Rings.

A contract.

 “We’re married,” I whisper. “Holy shit.” It’s all I’ve ever wanted—to be with Xander, but not like this. Never like this. “My brother is going to kill us.”

Also Available

Book One in the series. Cade and Rae’s story.

Can be read as a standalone.Currently FREE everywhere.

 What
I remember the most about that day was that it was completely ordinary.
Then with one stupid decision everything fell apart and nothing was
ever the same.

Rae Wilder wants nothing but a do over—but
life doesn’t work that way. She’s stuck living out the consequences of
her actions. At times the burden feels unbearable.
College is supposed to be her second chance.
New place.
New people.
New life.
No one to know what she did.
Despite that, she has still vowed to avoid everyone and everything at all costs.
Unfortunately for her, an accidental run-in with the campus heartthrob, Cade Montgomery, derails that plan.

He’s determined to thaw the ice around her heart and expose the girl
she used to be. He wants to show her that life is worth living for and
that she really is a Rae of Sunshine.

Free

AMAZON US / UK

B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS

Author Bio

Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling twenty-something author. She started scribbling stories before she even knew her alphabet. She currently resides in Virginia with her doggie side-kick Ollie.

Author Links

El Diablo by M. Robinson Release Blitz

RELEASE BLITZ
EL DIABLO
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR M. ROBINSON
COVER DESIGN: THE FINAL WRAP
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 30TH, 2016
I was ruthless.
I was feared.
I had sacrificed. Myself. Her. Everything…
Living in a world where I was worth more dead than alive was
a choice. I was a bad man, never claimed to be anything else. I’ve done things
I’m not proud of. Seen things that can’t be unseen. I’ve caused pain that I
can’t undo.
It was all my choice.
Every decision.
Every order.
Right and wrong never mattered.
Until her.
She was under my protection, until she became my obsession.
But who was going to save her…
From. Me. The devil himself.
Fate brought us together. Destiny destroyed us.


“Go stretch again, cariño,” I ordered in a dominant tone. Nodding to the barre.
“I’m fine,” she stubbornly replied. Shaking her legs and arms out. Getting back into position, looking at me through the mirror.
I cocked my head to the side, arching an eyebrow. She narrowed her eyes at me, but begrudgingly listened. I pressed play, allowing the melody to once again take over. She placed her leg on the lowest barre, making her ass stick out in my direction.
Tempting me.
She closed her eyes, needing to get lost in the music, wanting to push away all the negative thoughts, already feeling discouraged. I stood, taking off my suit jacket. Rolling up the sleeves of my collared shirt as I stepped onto the hardwood floor. I slowly came up behind her, catching her off guard.
She froze, turning around, opening her eyes. Peering up at me through her lashes. “What are you doing?”
I leaned forward against her ear, grinning. “I’m helping you stretch.” Getting down on my knees in front of her.
Her eyes dilated. The feeling of disappointment replaced with nothing but lust. She placed her arms out to the side, resting up against the barre, supporting her weight. I grabbed her ankle, lifting it up in the air, rubbing along her leg as it was fully stretched, before setting it on the lowest barre. Running my other hand up her side, easing her over toward the extended leg. She understood what I was doing, reaching for her ankle, stretching. Standing back up, bringing her arms above her head, I caressed along her leg again, casually turning her torso so her leg was still placed on the barre behind her.
Her breathing hitched as I touched her all over her lower body. My lips softly kissing the inside of her thigh to where she wanted my mouth the most.




THE GOOD OL’ BOYS STANDALONE SERIES
FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED


COMPLICATE ME
AMAZON US
FORBID ME
AMAZON US

UNDO ME
AMAZON US


CRAVE ME

AMAZON US

USA Today Bestselling Author of The Good Ol’ Boys Standalone
Series, The VIP Trilogy, Tempting Bad, and Two Sides.

M. Robinson loves to read. She favors anything that has
angst, romance, triangles, cheating, love, and of course sex! She has been
reading since the Babysitters Club and R.L. Stein. 
She was born in New Jersey but was raised in Tampa Fl. She
is currently pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, with two years left. 
She is married to an amazing man who she loves to pieces.
They have two German Shepherd mixes and a Tabby cat. 

AMAZON / GOODREADS


SIGNED EL DIABLO PAPERBACK

Wide Open Spaces by Aurora Rose Reynolds RELEASE BLITZ

WIDE OPEN BLITZZ

WIDE OPEN NOW AVAILABLE

“Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder looking more beautiful than ever standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.”

Wide Open Spaces by Aurora Rose Reynolds is LIVE!

NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bB0Ejm

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bB0Ejm

**Additional Retailers to follow**

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Full Blurb

That moment your life changes.

That moment that changes your life.

That moment you love someone more than you love yourself.

That was the moment we gave our son up for adoption and the moment I was left bare. A wide-open space that would forever be empty.

There are moments that define you as a person, moments that prove just how strong you are, moments you push yourself to keep going forward when all you really want to do is give up. It was in one of those moments when I reached out and found him waiting for me.

When Shelby Calder left home fifteen years ago, she never planned on returning to the Alaskan town she left behind. But after the death of her grandfather and a bitter divorce, she hopes going home will be a fresh start for her and her ten-year-old son.

Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder, looking more beautiful than ever, standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.

Some things never change and love is one of them.

About the Author:

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Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Spiked Lemonade by Shari J. Ryan – Release Day

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Cover Design: MadHat Books

Release Date: August 29, 2016

 

Synopsis

I traded in my Navy uniform and short hair for tats and a scruffy beard to become a man on the run. Moving from town to town, taking comfort in hot cars and fast women was the only way I could outrun the nightmares.

Then I met her…

Looking like a Southern Belle in a small Texas town, all layered in pretty dresses and perfume, I call her beautiful.

She calls me a perv.

This beauty won’t admit I have something she wants (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), or that I’m the one she’s looking for, but I love that she has something I never knew I needed.

I may be labeled as a jerk, but she’s going to fall in love with me, and I’m going to make her cuss and drink whisky instead of lemonade. Why? Because sometimes beauty comes with a dirty mouth and sometimes your lemonade needs to be spiked.

 

 

Goodreads

 

 

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Giveaway

Signed paperback of Spiked Lemonade

 

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250301/?

 

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About the Author

Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author. She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates.

When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.

 

Connect with Shari

Newsletter Signup: http://sharijryan.com/sign-up/

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/1VSrO8t

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/1NzXSLp

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/1TwFt16

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharijryan

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

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/21fi4Vg

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BLOG TOUR & BOOK REVIEW: Wait by A.L. Jackson

 

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ALJackson-WaitBookCover5x8_BW_HIGHFrom NYT & USA Today bestselling author comes a new Bleeding Stars stand-alone novel…

She is his strength and he is her weakness. And this time he won’t let her go.

 

Edie Evans is gorgeous.

Sexy.

Kind.

She’s also the definition of off-limits.

But that didn’t stop me from sneaking into her room to comfort her at night.

But guys like me? We destroy everything, so it should have been no surprise when I destroyed us, too.

The night I sent her running, I thought I’d never see her again.

Until I saw her standing like a vision in the crowd.

 

Austin Stone is dangerous.

Alluring.

Tempting.

He broke my heart and I refused to give him the chance to do it again.

It’s been years since I’ve seen him, and now I can’t do anything but stare at the gorgeous, tattooed man playing onstage. I should run. I know I should. But like a fool, I run straight back to him.

Our desire is overpowering.
Our need unrelenting.

She is my hope.
He is my weakness.

We should have known a passion this intense would burn us right into the ground.

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It really isn’t fair. Just when I thought I’d FINALLY narrowed it down to Where Lightning Strikes as my ultimate favorite A.L. Jackson book, she goes ahead and releases Wait. How could this author just so completely undo me with her every word? How does she just keep getting better and better with each book she releases? How, how, how… It’s a wondrous mystery that I hope to never solve. I’ve surrendered, totally given myself over to any and every story she has graced us with and to those that have yet to be written. In my eyes, this author can do no wrong as she has proven time and time and time again that her stories are derived from something so much deeper than just another book release. The stories and the characters that live in each one of them come to mean something. Everything. Wait was exactly that. Austin and Edie’s story touched me in ways that I still can’t quite comprehend. This… This was EVERYTHING and so, so much more. Second chance romances are my kryptonite and Wait proved to be the one to finally wholly debilitate me. Edie and Austin’s story is so precious to me, one that I will continue to go back to time and again.

This book defined the saying, “all the best things come to those who wait.” This was the major theme that just made all of the anguish, the heart ache, and the constant barrage of tears so worth it. There were many moments in this book that just broke me in half. Finding one half of me lost amongst the guilt and the despair that both Edie and Austin drowned in while the other half of me fought to crawl out of that abyss led by this unrelenting hope and strength that both Austin and Edie gave to one another; the very same that freed me from the heavy chains that seemed to imprison me during much of this book. I felt strangely attuned to every push and pull of emotion that spun around them. I gravitated towards every piece of their story. I succumbed so truly and deeply it almost seemed like I played an active part to their story because I found this commonality to my own experiences that bound me, that threaded this connection to that of Austin and Edie’s. All of this bravado that I started out with completely shattered, finding myself instead gulping for breath through the tears. Wait triggered both the most painful and joyous memories and those tears? God, they were so liberating! I just loved every part of this book. This to me is proof that words hold such immense power. But Ms. Jackson’s words? They command, they grip you, they transcend you.

I’ll be honest, I was wracked with nerves when I found out that the next book to this series would be Austin Stone’s. I didn’t know how the author would link his story to those that came before. I kept picturing this lanky, jittery boy in a hoodie who didn’t quite belong with the band. An outsider that I felt sorry for, yet I never found myself drawn to him. He had quite the big brother to measure up to after all.  I was weary, probably the most I’ve ever been when compared to her other books. But my God was I ever wrong. The way in which A.L. Jackson weaved Austin’s story amongst the books that came before was exquisite. I loved that it took on the same theme and had the same intense emotional feel to it without losing its own uniqueness. I am in awe how in sync all of the books are in this series yet each of them somehow elicit a different set of emotions. Each distinctively their own. Again, I ask you, A.L. Jackson… How do you do it? Austin reminds me so much of Jared from A.L.’s Closer To You series—he too was this beautifully broken boy that made me fall so hard for him. His transformation so profound. I was ga-ga over this guy. I swooned and I swooned over and over again. Ugh, he is just so freakin’ amazing.

This epic love story between Edie and Austin was just so effin’ sweet my heart couldn’t take it. A love that was meant to be. The kind written in the stars. The sort that could never truly be lost because it was always going to be found. No matter where, no matter how long. When ones soul and heart know exactly who they belong to even after being apart for years. It’s the most beautiful love to be had. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph… These two… They were EVERYTHING! Every single freakin’ thing! Their fears from past hurts and their desperation for one another combined for a perfect coupling, it sent shockwaves of both turmoil and awe. They burned bright and hot… My goodness did A.L. Jackson kick up the heat factor in this book. Oh, hello thigh clenching! I swear, Edie and Austin… My undoing.

Wait was more than a second chance romance, it was sweet redemption at its finest. This isn’t another 5-star read, this one takes the entire constellation. So yeah, here I am once again proclaiming a TOP 2016 read, an ALL time favorite read. An obvious book self-worthy book that I never wanted to end. I could go for seconds to tell you the truth. This stole my breath, stole bits and pieces of my sanity at one point or another, and it stole a whole lot of my heart. A.L. Jackson is unlike any out there, her stories pierce you, they inhabit you, and they never quite leave you even long after the last page had been turned.

We Like It Big Tunes:

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Buy Links:

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

 

 

 

“Shit,” I hissed, bracing myself against the spray of the icy shards pelting from the shower head.

I sucked in a breath, released it between clenched teeth, and forced myself fully under it.

Head dropped and chest heaving as rivers of ice-cold water slicked down my shoulders and back.

But it did nothing to lessen the need. Gave me no sanity or pacification.

Because all I could think about was the girl on the other side of the door.

My girl.

In my bed.

Wearing just her panties and my shirt.

An angel I wanted to dirty.

I always had.

Love was messy like that.

All of my restraint scattered. I gripped my cock. Squeezed the base. My mouth dropped open at the pressure of my hand against my rigid length.

A fool thinking it might be enough.

Shit.

God, I was a bastard, but there was nothing I could do before I was giving in, leaning forward and bracketing my forearm above my head to hold my weight.

Water pounded down on my head and back while I pounded my fist against my dick.

Trying to keep silent when all I wanted was to moan, teeth digging into my bottom lip as I pictured the girl spread out for me.

My breaths were coming short.

Panted and hard.

I gave into imagining the sounds she would make when I finally got to bury myself in her body.

A soft, soft gasp.

I slowed, trying to convince myself that throaty sound was all in my mind.

Just another part of this fantasy.

Until I heard the small thump against the wall.

Shit.

I mashed my eyes closed, like it might hide me.

Conceal the depravity of my actions after I’d just been comforting her hours before.

Heart thrashing, I turned and moved far enough to peek out the small section where the fabric shower curtain hadn’t been drawn fully closed.

It was just a little sliver that left me exposed.

But it was enough. When I peered out, I was looking right at my girl pressed up against the wall.

She stared right back at me.

And I wanted to be horrified, my mind scrambling to conjure every weak apology I could summon. Ready to fucking grovel to keep her from turning and running once again.

Because that’s exactly what I expected her to do.

But her expression…her expression clutched me in the center of the chest and sent what little brain function I had left stampeding south.

Red, lush lips were parted, her hand pressed to her hollow of her throat, pupils dilated so big that her hooded, cerulean eyes appeared black. Needy breaths were coming at me from that sweet mouth like a goddamned freight train.

Desire swelled in the confines of the too-tight room.

Alive.

She pressed deeper into the wall as if it might support her weakened knees. Head rocked back. Thighs squeezing together.

Motherfuck.

My hand shot to the shower wall to steady myself. “Warning you, Edie, you need to get out of here. Right now.”

 

 

 

 

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aljacksonphotoA.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, as well as the newest BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for the next installments, WAIT and STAY, coming in 2016.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://bit.ly/NewsFromALJackson or text “jackson” to 96000 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

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Balance by Lucia Franco RELEASE BLITZ/Review

 

 

 

Title: Balance
Series: Off Balance #1
Author: Lucia Franco
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: August 29, 2016
Blurb

Adrianna Rossi is no stranger to the rigorous demands required of her body. Years of pain and determination make her one of the best. Olympic glory is the ultimate goal, and she’ll do anything to achieve it. Even if that means leaving home to attend World Cup Academy of Gymnastics, a training center that serves one purpose—producing champions.Perfection, precision, and dedication are required of his athletes. When two time Olympian Konstantin Kournakova is persuaded into training the young hopeful, he immediately regrets it. She doesn’t come close to his high standards. As the relentless pursuit of her dream keeps her striving, a passion is ignited within him.

Kova’s power and domination, coupled with Adrianna’s fierce tenacity, reveal there is more for her body to learn. Every interaction can be misconstrued, but there’s no mistaking the darkening of his gaze, the lingering of his touch, or the illicit image of his bare skin pressed against hers. Integrity is on the line. One toe off the beam and their forbidden desires could ruin everything they’ve worked for, throwing it all off balance.

WARNING: This novel contains explicit content.

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 I’m definitely in the minority here…

I absolutely love teacher students books (in this case… Coach/ student). It’s one of my weakness.
I love the sneaking around… the longing, and the forbiddeness of the whole situation. And I love how hard they have to fight to be together.

I really don’t know where to start with this book. I’m just sitting here just thinking about how everything played out.
I’m really shocked and surprised to be honest.
This book is not your typical love story. That’s for sure.
And I’m ok with that.
I did love this book until Kova’s true personality started to show.

The definition for forbidden is – Not allowed
The definition for want is – have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.
and the definition for lust – have a very strong sexual desire for someone.
This book hit all those marks!

Everything about this book was all about building up to the anticipation of what’s to come! And when it finally did come… It left me feeling a little mixed up about everything they were doing.
I mean… Don’t get me wrong. I loved what they did with each other…. To a certain extent. My main problem was how Adrianna was treated.

The books starts off so damn good but about 50% in… I had a hard time with mainly Kova’s character. I feel like he was a hot mess. He was all over the place and he really didn’t know how to control his emotions.

The push and pull was their form of foreplay. And I’ll admit… It worked in the beginning of the book. But as time went on and nothing changed between them. It got old pretty quick. Because the holding back wasn’t coming from Adrianna. It was coming from Kova.
He stung along Adrianna throughout the whole book and really put her through the wringer physically and emotionally. Blaming her for his lustful feelings towards her.

Towards the end of the book I was having a hard time with Kova. I truly saw Kova in a different light.
He seemed manipulative… Only thought about himself.
It was hard to wrap my head around some of the things Kova would say to Adrianna. I felt so bad for Adrianna at times because I felt that’s when her age showed the most. Because if a man said some of the things Kova said to Adrianna to me.
I would slap him and tell him where to go.

Adrianna didn’t know how to handle Kova. She already had self esteem issues. And I felt Kova used that to his advantage to hit below the belt with her during their arguments.
She was just so young to be with a guy like him. And I know she was not there yet emotionally due to her age and inexperience with life and love.
It was hard to read at times.

At the end of this book. I truly felt like he really didn’t care about Adrianna. He was just a man that couldn’t control his lust for an under age girl. And he blames her for it.
I was looking past all the inappropriateness of the affair. But towards the end… And everything that came out of his mouth.
Was just so wrong on so many levels. And I hated how Adrianna just took it all. Because she honestly didn’t know any better.

Overall….
This was a well written book. I could see this book being played out like a movie in my head. This book kept my attention. I could not put it down. I had to know what the next chapter would bring.
I have to know how their story ends.

I don’t think I could forgive Kova for the things he said to Adrianna or how he treated her. But I’m willing to hear him out. Actions speaks louder than words. And I want to see it coming from him. I’m really looking forward to the other 2 books coming out in this series.

*ARC provided for an honest review*

Purchase Links
99c on release day only!!!
AMAZON US / UK
Excerpt
 

Kova turned around to face me, his broad shoulders pulled back, one hand propped on his hip and the other clenched around his water bottle. “Do you think you are the first gymnast to show wear and tear on their hands from bars? You are not in Palm Beach anymore, malysh—”Kova visibly tensed, stopping short from his last word. Since I didn’t speak a lick of Russian, I didn’t have a clue as to what he said. But judging by the alarmed look on his face and the thick air between us, whatever he said couldn’t have been good.

Snapping his head to the side, he cracked his neck. “I am not going to go light on you. Get used to it. Nobody said it was going to be easy, it only gets harder from here on out. You need to learn to toughen up and take it. Remember what I said earlier? Prove it to me. Every time you step foot into that gym—make it count. I do not care if your hands hurt or your back is sore or you are running on two hours of sleep. Prove it. Champions are not made by complaining. They are made by the endless pursuit of their dream despite the obstacles they are faced with. Push through it and do it.”

I took a minute to let the weight of his words sink in. While an outsider would think they were laced with malice, I knew they weren’t. That was the furthest thing from the truth. I knew he was pushing me to be better. Not only to prove it to him, but myself as well. Without a doubt, Konstantin Kournakova was one hundred percent right.

Slowly nodding, I looked into his eyes and said, “You’re completely right, but I never expected you to go light on me. That’s not what I wanted. That’s not why I came here. I want the challenge. I want to be better. It’s why I pour every ounce of blood and sweat into a sport that gives me so little in return. The truth is, I’ve never been challenged by a coach the way I have by you, so I’m learning to adjust to it.” I held up my hands and showed him the bloody blisters threatening to pop under my palms. “You won’t hear a complaint come from me again.”

Kova’s shoulders loosened and he blew out a ragged breath. His gaze openly traveled the length of my body, taking in every inch. The way his eyes pierced mine, like he was pleased with my response, made my heart rush against my chest with satisfaction.

 

Author Bio

 

A competitive athlete for over ten years, Lucia Franco currently resides in sunny South Florida with her husband and two boys. Paranormal romance was her first love, but she has a soft spot in her heart for small-town and reunion romance stories.


When Lucia is not hard at work on her next novel, you can find her relaxing with her toes in the sand at a nearby beach.

Find out more about Lucia at authorluciafranco.com. Make sure to join her newsletter to receive exclusive updates and more!

Author Links

Wide Open Spaces by Aurora Rose Reynolds CHAPTER REVEAL

WIDE OPEN SPACES EXCERPT

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Shelby

Shutting off my car, I stare at the two-story house I used to call home. It looks the same as it did when I left. The deep blue is still vibrant, even more so now against the backdrop of the gray sky behind it. The white porch is still welcoming, with flowers hanging from the banister.

My grandmother and I would spend hours planting flowers in those boxes during the summer. When she passed away during my sophomore year of high school, I made sure to keep up the tradition in her memory. It looks like, in my absence over these last fifteen years, someone else had taken over the job.

Looking at the bright blooms growing wild, hanging over the sides of the boxes, I wonder if Granddad hired someone to plant them for him when he left to live in Florida. He never mentioned that he cared about the flowers we planted. Honesty, I don’t remember him mentioning them. Growing up, I didn’t even think he noticed, but now, looking at the blooming buds that are artfully arranged, I know they meant something to him after all.

“Mom?” Turning my head, I look at my son Hunter and force a smile as aching pain and regret slice through my chest.

“Sorry, honey. I spaced out. Do you want to unpack tonight, or do you want to wait until tomorrow, kiddo?”

Looking over his shoulder, he eyes the boxes and suitcases piled in the back then looks at me. I hate the sadness I see in his eyes. I hate I’m the cause of his pain. I know he misses his father already, and I know that at ten years old, he doesn’t understand why we’re no longer together even if it’s been over two years since we separated and divorced.

“Tomorrow,” he grumbles, and I feel that ache in my chest expand. He hates me for moving him across the country. Away from his friends, away from everything he knew. And I hate myself a little bit, too, for failing miserably at keeping my family together. I just hope this move will be a new start for us.

“Tomorrow,” I agree softly, unhooking my belt and opening the door.

Rounding the hood of the van, Hunter has already made it to the porch and is waiting at the top of the stairs, with his eyes pointed over my shoulder. Stopping, I look behind me as rain soaks through my clothes. I can’t believe how much the town has changed and grown. When I’d left home, you could see the sound from the front porch of my grandparents’ home. Now, the view is blocked by houses that have been built up side-by-side across the road. The street looks more like a New York City block, rather than a street in small-town Alaska.

“Is it always raining?” Hunter’s voice breaks into my thoughts, and I turn back toward him and take the steps slowly, noticing they are rotting out in a few spots. Something I will have to fix soon.

“Not always, but this is a rainforest, so I guess the answer in some ways is yes,” I tell him, when I make it up to the covered porch.

His brows draw together over his blue eyes, making him look like his father, as he asks, “This is a rainforest?”

“It is.” I want so badly to reach out and run my finger down his cheek, but I keep my hand locked at my side. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but some time ago, he stopped wanting my affection. Stopped being my little boy.

“Really?” he asks curiously, with wide eyes. “It doesn’t look like a rainforest,” he states, and he’s right; it doesn’t look like what you might imagine a rainforest would look like.

“It doesn’t look like one, but it is all the same.” I smile, and his eyes move over my face then to the view, and his face loses the curiosity it held a moment ago.

He turns, muttering, “Whatever.”

Biting my lip, I take the key the lawyer mailed me out of the front pocket of my jeans, put it in the lock, and turn. The door opens with a loud creak and dust rises up from the floors. A loud alarm sounds, making us both jump. Running into the house, I look frantically for some kind of alarm system, finally finding the small white box off the door in the kitchen. Flipping the panel open, I stare at the numbers.

“What’s the code?” Hunter yells over the siren, covering his ears.

“I don’t know,” I yell back, pressing in every single number combination I can think of, but none of them work.

“Is it in the papers in the car?”

“Maybe,” I yell, then run for the door and down the stairs to the van. Swinging open the back door, I shove three boxes out of the way before finding the one I’m looking for. Ripping off the tape, I shuffle through the contents and scan the papers the lawyer sent, searching for the code, but stop and look over the hood of the van when the alarm goes quiet. “What was the code?” I ask Hunter, when he steps out onto the porch.

“I don’t know.” He shrugs, looking over his shoulder into the house, like he’s waiting for someone to come out, which makes me frown.

“Did it just stop?” I question, slamming the van door. His eyes come back to me and he shakes his head then starts to open his mouth to say something else, but is cut off by a deep voice.

“I turned it off.”

It takes one breath to realize who just stepped out of my grandparents’ house. One breath for every moment I spent with the man standing before me to flash through my head. Two seconds for me to feel my world come to a stop.

The boy I once knew is gone. There’s nothing boyish about Zach Watters anymore. His jaw is now sharp, the stubble on it giving him a rugged look while accentuating his full lips. His dark hair has silvered around the edges, drawing attention to his expressive hazel eyes that look like they hold a thousand stories. His red and black plaid shirt is stretched tight across broad shoulders, giving a glimpse of the muscles it’s covering. He’s still every bit as beautiful as he once was, only more so now that time has aged him, taking him from a handsome boy to a gorgeous man.

Swallowing, I look at my son then back again. “Thanks,” I whisper, and Zach’s eyebrows pull together as he sweeps his gaze over me. I have no doubt that I too have changed, but unlike him, time hasn’t been good to me. I’ve gained a few too many pound from eating my feelings over the last year. My skin has lost its youthful glow, and my hair has grown out at the roots without my bi-monthly maintenance appointments.

“Shelby?” he asks, but all I can do is confirm with a nod, since my mouth has dried up and I can’t find my voice. “Jesus.” His eyes widen as he looks down at Hunter then back toward me. “What are you doing here?”

“My… my son Hunter and I are moving in,” I stutter, caught off guard by his presence. I wasn’t stupid enough to believe I wouldn’t see him when I moved home, but I had convinced myself that seeing him would be on my terms, or sporadic at best.

“What?” he whispers, leaning back on his boots, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ignoring his question, I start to move back toward the stairs, asking, “Do you mind giving me the code for the alarm? I’m sure it’s somewhere in the papers the lawyer sent, but…” I stop and look to the left when Zach’s name is called. Standing on the porch of the house next door is a woman I know he got with a few months after I left. A woman he married soon after she gave birth to their twins. A woman I used to call my friend.

A woman I now hate.

I absently hear him say something to her, but the nausea turning my stomach and the sadness prickling my skin have me moving quickly up the steps, focusing on not falling over as I move past him. “Never mind about the code. I’m sure I’ll find it. Thanks for shutting off the alarm,” I mumble, as I walk through the door.

“Mom.”

“Come on, honey. Let’s have a look around, and then we need to get to the store.”

“Mom,” Hunter repeats, sounding confused. I plaster a fake smile on my face.

“The pizza place we drove past has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. We could do that for dinner.”

“Mom.”

“Right here, honey.” I laugh, even though that laugh feels like glass edging down my windpipe.

Studying me for a long moment, he finally mutters, “Pizza sounds good. I’m gonna call Dad before we go, and tell him we’re here.”

“Sure,” I agree, watching him pull out his cell phone and walk toward the kitchen. I didn’t agree that he needed a cell phone at his age, but like all things with his dad, there was never any kind of conversation. He didn’t ask what I thought about it; he just did what he wanted to do.

I hear a familiar throat clear. “You’re back?” Zach asks from behind me, making my shoulders slump forward and my eyes slide closed briefly.

“Yeah.” I turn to face him and wrap my arms around my waist, feeling my stomach twist into knots. When I left town, we didn’t fight, didn’t yell at each other, didn’t say things we would end up regretting one day. I just knew there was too much pain between us to make what we had left work, and Zach, knowing the same, didn’t put up a fight when I told him my plans.

“You’re staying here?” he asks, and I nod. Running a hand over his head as his eyes move to the right, where Tina had been moments ago, before bringing his gaze back to mine. “The code for the alarm is one, two, three, four. I told Pat to change it, but you know Pat,” he mutters, and I nod, knowing exactly how stubborn Gramps was. Shoving his hands into the front pocket of his jeans, his voice drops. “I’m really sorry about Pat.”

“Thanks.” I hold myself a little tighter. His eyes drop to my arms around my waist and soften before moving up to meet mine once more.

“If you need anything, I’m next door.” He lifts his chin in that direction, and my world stops again.

“Pardon?” I breathe.

“I live next door.”

Okay, maybe I should have guessed that, since Tina was over there, but I didn’t, and this is not good… as in really not good. There is not one damn thing I can do about it, though, unless I want to load Hunter back into the van and live out of it for the next year or so, which I don’t think will win me any brownie points with my son.

“Cool,” I whisper pathetically, with nothing else to say. Something familiar-looking and soft slides through his features, making my stomachache twist again, but this time in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

“Well…” I pause, needing this encounter to be over. “Thanks again for turning off the alarm. I wish we had time to catch up,” I lie. “But I need to get to the store before it closes, and then I need to get Hunter some food. Growing boys don’t do well without food,” I ramble, as I put my hand to the door, wanting so badly to shove it closed.

“Sure.” He nods then looks over my shoulder, into the house. “Nice meeting you, Hunter.”

“You too—” Hunter looks between Zach and me.

“Mr. Watters, honey,” I mutter, answering his unspoken question, as he comes to stand at my side with his cell phone in his hand.

“You too, Mr. Watters.”

Zach’s eyes come to me and his face softens once more. “See you around, Shelby.”

“Yeah, see you around,” I lie again, since I plan to pretend he doesn’t exist from this moment forward. I wait, even though I don’t want to, until he is walking away to close the door then stand there for a moment, trying to process what just happened.

“How do you know him, Mom?” Hunter asks.

“When I was younger,” I say, turning to face him, “we were friends.” I shrug, looking toward the stairs. “My room used to be in the attic—it’s the best room in the house—and if you make it there before me, I’ll let you have it.” I raise my brows before taking off in a sprint up the stairs, listening to my son, who I haven’t heard laugh in weeks, giggle as he runs up the stairs behind me.

“Wow, this is awesome.”

Looking over my shoulder at Hunter I smile as he walks into the room with wide eyes. “I told you it’s the coolest room in the house.” I used to love hanging out up here when I was a teenager. The vastness of the space, with its angled ceilings and four large skylights, was a cool place to spend time. Looking at my son now, I can see the excitement in his eyes as he wanders around the room.

“Do you think I could get a telescope?” he asks, looking up at the cloud-covered sky through one of the skylights.

“Definitely.” I bump my shoulder with his as I walk past him toward the couch in the corner that’s covered with a sheet and pull it off. “We may also want to find a cover for this thing while we’re at it,” I say, looking from the floral-covered couch to his scrunched up face.

“Yeah.” He nods, moving to the bed, where he rips off the sheet that is covering the mattress. “I can’t wait to tell Dad about this. He’s going to think it’s so cool,” he mutters, and I bite my tongue to keep from saying, No, your dad will definitely not think it’s cool.

Max, Hunter’s father, grew up wealthy. He never owned anything that had been used. Even when we got married, he insisted I sell the Victorian house I bought when I graduated college, wanting instead for us to buy a newly built house in a cliché subdivision, where all of his friends lived. Shortly thereafter, he insisted I sell all of my old furniture, things I had bought secondhand and refurbished over the years. At the time, I was blinded by hope and love, so I didn’t think anything about it. But over time, I slowly realized I was no longer the person I used to be. I had turned into a trophy wife who lived in a show home and neither of us had any real character.

“Mom,” Hunter calls, bringing me out of my thoughts, and I turn to look at him and notice he has a stack of photos in his hand. “Who’s this?”

“That’s my mom,” I say softly, while walking over to where he’s sitting on the bed, holding out a picture of my mom and me. In the photo, we’re sitting outside on the porch, with our arms wrapped around each other, smiling at the camera.

“You look like her,” he says thoughtfully. “You have her eyes and hair.”

“You think so?” I ask, looking at my mom, who had to have been about my age when the photo was taken. She was beautiful, with long dark blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a smile that lit up the world.

“Yeah.” He nods then looks at me, and asks quietly, “Do you miss her?”

“Every day.” I nod, taking the photo from his hands. “She gave the best hugs,” I say, fighting back the tears I feel creeping up my throat. My mom and dad both died in a plane crash when I was fifteen. My father was the owner and pilot of a local adventure company, and he had taken my mom with him to drop off supplies to some men who were bear hunting out at one of the islands. On their way back into town, the weather shifted, and their plane went down on one of the mountains. Neither of them survived. That’s when I moved to Cordova to live with my dad’s parents.

“Do you have any pictures of your dad?”

I pause, trying to recall if I’ve ever really spoken to Hunter about my parents, if Max ever asked about them, but I can’t think of a single time. “There are a few downstairs on the wall. I’ll point them out to you.” I lean into him a little then stop when his arm wraps around my shoulders, surprising me. “I love you, kid,” I whisper, not surprised when he doesn’t say it back, but happy that his arm tightens ever so slightly.

“I’m starving.” He chuckles releasing me when his stomach growls loudly, breaking the moment.

“We can’t have that.” I laugh, standing from the bed. “Let’s go to Joe’s. Hopefully, the pizza is still awesome. If not, you’re gonna have to suffer and eat it anyway, ‘cause the store is probably closed by now.

“Is there such a thing as bad pizza?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” I murmur, and then head out of the room and down the stairs, grabbing my purse as we leave.

When we make it to Joe’s, I find nothing has changed in the years I’ve been gone. The owner Joe, an older Korean gentleman, is still in the back making the pizzas, and his wife Kim is still working the counter, gossiping about everything and everyone. While we wait for our pizza, Kim talks my ear off, telling me about the people in town, including Zach, who she informs me is not only a cop, but also the sheriff. She also tells me that Zach is single. He and Tina supposedly got divorced nine years ago, and Zach has had full custody of both his kids since then. I tell myself I don’t care that Zach is no longer with Tina, but I still feel some relief knowing I won’t have to witness seeing them together.

“Can I sleep in my room tonight?” Hunter asks, as I finish off my third slice of pizza and wipe my mouth with a paper towel.

“I don’t mind, but everything in the house needs to be washed. So if you want to sleep up there, we have to get your stuff from the van.”

“I’ll get it, and then we can bring in everything else too.”

“You want to clean out the van?” I ask, not at all excited about lugging stuff up three flights of stairs.

“Yeah.” He nods again, taking his half of the pizza box lid that he used as a plate to the trash bin.

“If that’s what you want,” I agree, regretting those words an hour later as I head out for the last box. My arms and legs are tired from carting everything inside and up the stairs. I haven’t worked out in the last year, and I can feel it now as every muscle in my body protest.

Stopping when I hear a door close, I hold the box in my hands closer to my chest and look toward the house next door. I spot a handsome blond boy, who looks a lot like Zach, hopping down the steps, with Tina following close behind. Ducking down, I hide and watch them as they get into an old pickup truck, only coming out of hiding when they drive off.

Having over fifteen years to deal with the adoption of Samuel should make it easier to see Zach’s other children, but it doesn’t. I still feel bitter about the situation. I know it’s the fact that Zach’s children were born a little over a year after Samuel, meaning Tina got pregnant not long after I left town. So not only did Zach have a relationship with Tina, but he built a family with her and kept the kids they had together.

Heading back into the house with the final box, I wonder how I’m going to do what I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years. It was easy to block out thoughts of Zach when I was gone, but now that I’m back and living next door to him, I wonder if it will be as easy to ignore the feeling in my chest that coincides with thoughts of him.

~*~*~

Grabbing my quilt from the end the my bed, I carefully balance my Kindle and glass of wine in one hand as I open the sliding glass door in my room and step out onto the balcony. Tonight is one of the first nights it hasn’t rained since we moved in, and I have been looking forward to sitting outside under the stars with a good book all day long. Grabbing my glass, I take a sip then look to the left when the sound of rock music starts up and light flutters across the back deck next door, making me wonder if Zach’s room is off the balcony like mine.

Pushing that thought away, I turn on my Kindle then proceed to get lost in someone else’s happily ever after.

“Shelby.” Jumping, some of the contents from the glass in my hand sloshes out over the side and runs down my fingers as I swing my head to the left, where Zach is leaning on the banister, his eyes on me. A short glass full of dark liquid is in his hands, and the light casts a glow behind him.

“You scared the crap out of me,” I gripe, holding my free hand over my rapidly beating heart.

“I’ve been standing here awhile,” he mutters, then takes a swig of his drink. “I thought you would have noticed.” He rolls the glass between his hands while looking at me intently, making me fight the urge to squirm in my chair.

“When I’m lost in a good book, the world could crash down around me and I wouldn’t notice.” I shrug, taking a sip of wine, using the moment of reprieve as an excuse to look away from him, but realizing for the first time that I don’t know the man standing across from me. Yes, he looks a little like the guy I dated years ago, but he also seems more intense, like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s definitely not the easygoing kid I dated in high school.

“How are you guys settling in?”

Pulling my legs out from under me, I rest my Kindle on the edge of my lap and turn to face him fully while adjusting the blanket.

“It’s going to take a little bit to get everything cleaned up. I didn’t know Gramps was such a hoarder until now. I think I’ve thrown out about ten thousand issues of National Geographic, along with a hundred empty boxes and every single item you can possibly buy from an infomercial,” I reply, then smile when he laughs a deep rumbling laugh and leans a little farther over the railing between us, causing another plaid shirt—this one blues and yellows—to tighten across his wide chest.

“You didn’t keep them? You never know when you might need an automatic potato peeler.”

“I thought about it, but if I did, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put my shoes, since all of it was stacked up on the floor in his closet, everything unopened.” I smile, watching him grin for a moment before the smile slides away and his eyes move beyond me to the forest that sits behind the house.

“I’m gonna miss him. I know he’s been gone from town for years, but I’ll miss our talks,” he mutters, then looks up at the sky for a moment before meeting my gaze once more. “Why’d you come back? Last time I talked to Pat, he told me you were planning on following him down to Florida.”

His words catch me off guard, since Gramps never told me he kept in contact with Zach. But then again, I never asked. I shouldn’t be surprised they kept in touch, since they we’re close when I was home, and were obviously neighbors before Gramps moved to Florida. Plus, Zach is the sheriff in town. Yet, it still feels strange that he knows about me, while I know nothing about him.

“I was.” I let out a breath, adjusting the blanket around my shoulders. “But I had to wait until…” I trail off, not wanting to talk about my divorce to anyone, especially not him. “Then when Gramps passed away, there was nothing for me in Florida, so I decided to come back here instead.”

“You didn’t want to stay in Seattle?”

“No, I needed something different, so when I found out Gramps left me his house, I just knew I needed to come back here,” I whisper the truth. Ever since I read the will and found out this house was mine to do with as I please, I had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t get rid of. Something telling me that I needed to come back here.

“This is a good town,” he murmurs, but the look in his eyes is saying something I can’t quite figure out.

“This is the last place I remember being really happy. I hope that I can make it that way for Hunter,” I say quietly, and his face softens.

“He looks like you.” His words and tone catch me by surprise and I sit up a little taller. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be sitting on my granddad’s deck in the middle of the night talking to Zach about anything. Definitely not about my son.

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw his dad,” I return honestly. “When he was a baby, he looked like me, but not any more.”

“He has your eyes and your smile.” He pauses, taking a drink from his glass. “He seems like a good kid.”

“He’s the best kid.” I take a sip of wine, trying to keep whatever it is I’m feeling right now in check.

“I… I think I saw your son. Um, the other day. He looks like you,” I tell him, wanting to take the words back after I say them, because I don’t want him to think I was spying on him.

“He looks like his mom, but has my personality, which I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. My daughter, Aubrey, on the other hand, looks like me, but is sweet down to her core. Where she gets that sweetness, I have no fucking clue.”

“Oh.” I bite my lip, trying to figure out what to say to that. The Zach I knew was a good guy, sweet even. Tina, however, was mostly bitch, and I honestly don’t even know why we were friends. Then again, growing up here, there weren’t a hundred girls to choose from. My graduating class had five girls in it, and none of them liked Tina, which meant none of them really liked me either.

“I better go in,” he says abruptly, cutting into my thoughts, standing to his full height. “I need to be to the station early tomorrow.”

“Sure… uh… have a good night.” The urge to say something that will make him stay hits me hard, and it takes everything I have in me to keep my mouth shut.

“You too, Shelby. And be careful when you’re out here reading. Louie’s out and about around this time of night, searching for food.”

“Louie?” I question, scrunching up my nose. Cordova never had homeless people before, and I can’t imagine it would now.

“Louie’s a black bear. Normally, he sticks to the woods, but he’s been known to nap on the decks now and then.

“Oh, man.” I jump up, looking around for any sign of Louie, not sure how I could forget there are bears out here, since we are in Alaska. “What’s funny?” I frown, turning to face him when I hear his deep laughter.

“You’re in Alaska, babe. You lived here for years. You know there are bears out in those woods.” He nods to the trees.

Babe. Why, oh, why did that word make butterflies erupt in my stomach?

“I know that, but I forgot.” I shake my head and watch his face soften once again.

“Still sweet as pie,” I think I hear him say, but can’t be sure, because his voice dropped to a low rumble that I felt skid across my skin.

“Well, I’m gonna go in too,” I blurt, picking up my Kindle and wine glass. “Have a good night.” And with that, I duck my head and go back into my room. Closing the door I lock it behind me then hurry and get into bed where I try to forget once more about Zach Watters.

~~**~~

         “Hello?” I answer the phone, still half asleep, then look at the clock and notice that even though it’s light out, it’s barely 6:00 a.m.

“Shelby, I’ve called three times,” Max, my ex-husband, says into my ear, and I pull my pillow over my head with thoughts of suffocating myself with it.

“It’s only six, Max. I haven’t gotten out of bed,” I grumble, tossing the covers back and sitting up. “What’s going on?”

“I want to fly out there this weekend,” he states, and I fight the urge to toss my phone across the room or scream at the top of my lungs.

“This weekend?” I verify, rubbing my face. “We haven’t even been here a week.”

“I have a few days off and would like to see Hunter.”

I sigh, considering him and his request. “Our stuff is going to be delivered in two days. Then I start my new job next week, and Hunter has swi—”

“You’re not keeping my boy from me,” he cuts me off, and I can tell by his tone that he’s mad and likely pulling at his ever-present tie in annoyance. Something I make him do often.

“I’m not saying you can’t see him, Max,” I clarify, wishing I had at least one cup of coffee before this conversation. “I’m just explaining to you that we’re trying to get settled in here. Can you wait a few weeks before you come out?”

“Such fucking bullshit. I can’t believe you moved to Alaska, of all goddamn places. A boy should have his dad in his life.” My heart stutters and I feel my pulse skyrocket. We didn’t have a custody battle, but I wouldn’t put it past Max to take me to court to gain custody of Hunter if I step out of line in his eyes.

“Max,” I soften my voice as I walk to the kitchen, “you know we talked about this. You can come see him anytime, and in a couple years, he can fly out to see you whenever he has a break,” I say, then drop my voice even lower. “We agreed on him living with me at least until he’s sixteen. After that, he can choose who he wants to live with.”

“I miss you both.” He sighs, making me roll my eyes. I know he doesn’t miss me. I know this, because he’s been dating woman after woman since I asked for a separation. For all I know, he was dating before that. Hell, the last year I spent under the same roof as him, he hardly spared me a glance. Hunter later suffered from his lack of attention, when we lived in the same town after our separation. With Max, it’s always about him getting his way.

“Max, please just wait a few more weeks, and then you can come and stay as long as you like,” I offer, the words leaving a horrid taste in my mouth. I will do whatever I have to in order to keep my son, though, including putting up with his dad in my childhood home for more than a few days.

“Fine, when?”

Closing my eyes, I whisper, “Next month. Whenever you like. Just let me know, so I can make sure I don’t make plans for Hunter. I know there are a few camps here he’s interested in.”

“Fine. Where is he now? I called his cell phone, but he didn’t pick up.”

“Sleeping. Like I said, it’s only six here, and he was up late talking to his friends back in Seattle on Skype.”

“You really shouldn’t let him stay up so late, Shelby,” he scolds, sounding disapproving, and again, that’s not a surprise.

“It’s summer, Max, and his ‘late’ is ten, not three in the morning,” I mutter, wondering how the hell I put up with him for so many years. “I’ll have him call you when he gets up.”

“Don’t tell him I’m coming out. I want to tell him that myself.”

“Will do,” I grumble, looking at the coffee pot and begging it to hurry up.

“Talk to you later.”

“Talk to you later,” I agree, setting the phone down on the counter. I make myself a cup of coffee and take it out to the back deck, drinking it while the morning sun beats down on me.

WIDE OPEN SPACES COMING SOON

New from Aurora Rose Reynolds!

Wide Open Spaces releases August 2016!

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1PDVZsf

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Blurb

That moment your life changes.

That moment that changes your life.

That moment you love someone more than you love yourself.

That was the moment we gave our son up for adoption and the moment I was left bare. A wide-open space that would forever be empty.

There are moments that define you as a person, moments that prove just how strong you are, moments you push yourself to keep going forward when all you really want to do is give up. It was in one of those moments when I reached out and found him waiting for me.

When Shelby Calder left home fifteen years ago, she never planned on returning to the Alaskan town she left behind. But after the death of her grandfather and a bitter divorce, she hopes going home will be a fresh start for her and her ten-year-old son.

Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder, looking more beautiful than ever, standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.

Some things never change and love is one of them.

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About the Author:

aurora rose reynolds-2

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

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WAIT by AL Jackson – Release Day Blitz

 

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ALJackson-WaitBookCover5x8_BW_HIGHFrom NYT & USA Today bestselling author comes a new Bleeding Stars stand-alone novel…

She is his strength and he is her weakness. And this time he won’t let her go.

 

Edie Evans is gorgeous.

Sexy.

Kind.

She’s also the definition of off-limits.

But that didn’t stop me from sneaking into her room to comfort her at night.

But guys like me? We destroy everything, so it should have been no surprise when I destroyed us, too.

The night I sent her running, I thought I’d never see her again.

Until I saw her standing like a vision in the crowd.

 

Austin Stone is dangerous.

Alluring.

Tempting.

He broke my heart and I refused to give him the chance to do it again.

It’s been years since I’ve seen him, and now I can’t do anything but stare at the gorgeous, tattooed man playing onstage. I should run. I know I should. But like a fool, I run straight back to him.

Our desire is overpowering.
Our need unrelenting.

She is my hope.
He is my weakness.

We should have known a passion this intense would burn us right into the ground.

 

 

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“Meaningful. Mesmerizing. Magnificent…5 but should be 10 beautiful, broken, brilliant, and imperfectly perfect stars .” Karen, Bookalicious Babes Blog

“A beautifully written story about broken hearts and unshakable longing, about second chances and third chances and a whispered hope for a happily ever after. Intensely felt on every level, Edie and Austin’s story will own you.” Vilma, Vilma’s Book Blog

“Beautiful. Sexy. Dripping with tenderness. I felt the emotion in this story all the way to my toes.” Mia Sheridan, NYT Bestselling Author

“6 Stars – ‪Wait is equally devastating and beautiful! A.L. Jackson has a way of pouring words onto a page that makes you crave every piece of a story.” Molly McAdams, NYT Bestselling Author‬

 

 

 

“Shit,” I hissed, bracing myself against the spray of the icy shards pelting from the shower head.

I sucked in a breath, released it between clenched teeth, and forced myself fully under it.

Head dropped and chest heaving as rivers of ice-cold water slicked down my shoulders and back.

But it did nothing to lessen the need. Gave me no sanity or pacification.

Because all I could think about was the girl on the other side of the door.

My girl.

In my bed.

Wearing just her panties and my shirt.

An angel I wanted to dirty.

I always had.

Love was messy like that.

All of my restraint scattered. I gripped my cock. Squeezed the base. My mouth dropped open at the pressure of my hand against my rigid length.

A fool thinking it might be enough.

Shit.

God, I was a bastard, but there was nothing I could do before I was giving in, leaning forward and bracketing my forearm above my head to hold my weight.

Water pounded down on my head and back while I pounded my fist against my dick.

Trying to keep silent when all I wanted was to moan, teeth digging into my bottom lip as I pictured the girl spread out for me.

My breaths were coming short.

Panted and hard.

I gave into imagining the sounds she would make when I finally got to bury myself in her body.

A soft, soft gasp.

I slowed, trying to convince myself that throaty sound was all in my mind.

Just another part of this fantasy.

Until I heard the small thump against the wall.

Shit.

I mashed my eyes closed, like it might hide me.

Conceal the depravity of my actions after I’d just been comforting her hours before.

Heart thrashing, I turned and moved far enough to peek out the small section where the fabric shower curtain hadn’t been drawn fully closed.

It was just a little sliver that left me exposed.

But it was enough. When I peered out, I was looking right at my girl pressed up against the wall.

She stared right back at me.

And I wanted to be horrified, my mind scrambling to conjure every weak apology I could summon. Ready to fucking grovel to keep her from turning and running once again.

Because that’s exactly what I expected her to do.

But her expression…her expression clutched me in the center of the chest and sent what little brain function I had left stampeding south.

Red, lush lips were parted, her hand pressed to her hollow of her throat, pupils dilated so big that her hooded, cerulean eyes appeared black. Needy breaths were coming at me from that sweet mouth like a goddamned freight train.

Desire swelled in the confines of the too-tight room.

Alive.

She pressed deeper into the wall as if it might support her weakened knees. Head rocked back. Thighs squeezing together.

Motherfuck.

My hand shot to the shower wall to steady myself. “Warning you, Edie, you need to get out of here. Right now.”

 

 

 

 

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aljacksonphotoA.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, as well as the newest BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for the next installments, WAIT and STAY, coming in 2016.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://bit.ly/NewsFromALJackson or text “jackson” to 96000 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

Connect with A.L. Jackson online:www.aljacksonauthor.com

Snapchat: aljacksonauthor

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