Thursday, July 27, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: Suddenly Engaged by Julia London @TastyBookTours @JuliaFLondon #Giveaway

Can Kyra and Dax let go so easily—or has love become a preexisting condition?

SUDDENLY ENGAGED
Lake Haven #3
Julia London
Releasing July 25, 2017
Montlake

Single mother Kyra Kokinos spends her days waiting tables, her nights working on her real estate license, and every spare moment with her precocious six-year-old daughter, Ruby—especially when Ruby won’t stop pestering their grumpy next-door neighbor. At first glance, Dax Bishop seems like the kind of gruff, solitary guy who’d be unlikely to offer a cup of sugar, let alone a marriage proposal. But that’s exactly what happens when Ruby needs life-saving surgery.

Dax showed up in East Beach a year ago, fresh from a painful divorce and looking for a place where he could make furniture and avoid people. Suddenly his life is invaded by an inquisitive munchkin in sparkly cowboy boots—and her frazzled, too-tempting mother. So he presents a practical plan: his insurance will help Ruby, and then they can divorce—zero strings attached.

But soon Kyra and Dax find their engagement of convenience is simple in name only. As their attraction deepens, a figure from the past reappears, offering a way out. Can Kyra and Dax let go so easily—or has love become a preexisting condition?


Chapter One
Seven years later
July
Leave it to a female to think the rules did not apply to her.
The little heathen from next door was crawling under the split-rail fence that separated the cottages again. Dax, who already had been feeling pretty damn grumpy going on a year now, wondered why she didn’t just go over the fence. She was big enough. It was almost as if she wanted the mud on her dress and her knees, to drag the ends of her dark red ponytails through the muck.
She crawled under, stood up, and knocked the caked mud off her knees. She stomped her pink, sparkly cowboy boots—never had he seen a more impractical shoe—to make them light up, as she liked to do, hopping around her porch several times a day.
Then she started for cottage Number Two, arms swinging, stride long.
Dax watched her from inside his kitchen, annoyed. It had started a week ago, when she’d climbed on the bottom railing of the fence, leaned over it, and shouted, “I like your dog!”
He’d ignored her.
Two days ago he’d asked her, fairly politely, not to give any more cheese to his dog, Otto. That little stunt of hers had resulted in a very long and malodorous night between man and beast.
Yesterday he’d commanded her to stay on her side of the fence.
But here the little monster came, apparently neither impressed with him nor intimidated by his warnings.
Well, Dax had had enough with that family, or whatever the situation was next door. And the enormous pickup truck that showed up at seven a.m. and idled in the drive just outside his bedroom window. Those people were exactly what was wrong with America—people doing whatever they wanted without regard for anyone else, letting their kids run wild, coming and going at all hours of the day.
He walked to the back screen door and opened it. He’d installed a dog door, but Otto refused to use it. No, Otto was a precious buttercup of a dog that liked to have his doors opened for him, and he assumed that anytime his master neared the door, Dax was opening it for him. He assumed so now, stepping in front of Dax—pausing to stretch after his snoring nap—before sauntering out and down the back porch steps to sniff something at the bottom.
Dax walked out onto the porch and stood with his hands on his hips as the girl brazenly advanced.
“Hi!” she said.
She was about to learn that she couldn’t make a little girl’s social call whenever she wanted. There were rules in this world, and Dax had no compunction about teaching them to her. Clearly someone needed to. He responded to her greeting with a glower.
“Hi!” she said again, shouting this time, as if he hadn’t heard her from the tremendous distance of about six feet.
“What’d I tell you yesterday?” he asked.
“To stay on the other side of the fence.”
“Then why are you over here?”
“I forgot.” She rocked back on her heels and balanced on them, toes up. “Do you live there?”
“No, I just stand on the porch and guard the fence. Yes, I live here. And I work here. And I don’t want visitors. Now go home.”
“My name is Ruby Kokinos. What’s yours?”
What was wrong with this kid? “Where is your mother?”
“At work.”
“Then is your dad home?”
“My daddy is in Africa. He teaches cats to do tricks,” she said, pausing to twirl around on one heel. “Big cats, not little cats. They have really big cats in Africa.”
“Whatever,” he said impatiently. “Who is home with you right now?”
“Mrs. Miller. She’s watching TV. She said I could go outside.”
Great. A babysitter. “Go home,” he said, pointing to Number Three as Otto wandered over to examine Ruby Coconuts, or whatever her name was. “Go home and tell Mrs. Miller that you’re not allowed to come over or under that fence. Do you understand me?”
“What’s your dog’s name?” she asked, petting that lazy, useless mutt.
“Did you hear me?” Dax asked.
“Yes.” She giggled as Otto began to lick her hand, and went down on her knees to hug him. “I always always wanted a dog, but Mommy says I can’t have one now. Maybe when I’m big.” She stroked Otto’s nose, and the dog sat, settling in for some attention.
“Don’t pet the dog,” Dax said. “I just told you to go home. What else did I tell you to do?”
“To, um, to tell Mrs. Miller to stay over there,” she said, as she continued to pet the dog. “What’s her name?”
“It’s a he, and his name is Otto. And I told you to tell Mrs. Miller that you are supposed to stay over there. Now go on.”
She stopped petting the dog, and Otto, not ready for the gravy train of attention to end, began to lick her face. Ruby giggled with delight. Otto licked harder, like she’d been handling red meat. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise Dax if she had—the kid seemed like the type to be into everything. She was laughing uncontrollably now and fell onto her back. Otto straddled her, his tail wagging as hard as her feet were kicking, trying to lick her while she tried to hold him off.
Nope, this was not going to happen. Those two useless beings were not making friends. Dax marched down off the porch and grabbed Otto’s collar, shoving him out of the way. “Go,” he said to the dog, pointing to his cottage. Otto obediently lumbered away.
Dax turned his attention to the girl with the fantastically dark red hair in two uneven pigtails and, now that he was close to her, he could see her clear blue eyes through the round lenses of her blue plastic eyeglasses, which were strapped to her face with a headband. She looked like a very young little old lady. “Listen to me, kid. I don’t want you over here. I work here. Serious work. I can’t be entertaining little girls.”
She hopped to her feet. “What’s your name?”
Dax sighed. “If I tell you my name, will you go home?”
She nodded, her, long pigtails bouncing around her.
“Dax.”
She stared at him.
“That’s my name,” he said with a shrug.
Ruby giggled and began to sway side to side. “That’s not a real name!”
“It’s as real as Ruby Coconuts.”
“Not Coconuts!” She squealed with delight. “It’s Ruby Kokinos.”
“Yeah, okay, but I’m pretty sure you said Coconuts. Now go home.”
“How old are you?”
“I’m a lot older than you,” he said and put his hands on her shoulders, turning her around.
“I’m going to be seven on my birthday. I want a Barbie for my birthday. I already have four. I want the one that has the car. The pink car with flowers on it. There’s a blue car, but I don’t want that one, I want the pink one, because it has flowers on it. Oh, and guess what, I don’t want a Jasmine anymore. That’s my favorite princess, but I don’t want her anymore, I want a Barbie like Taleesha has.”
“Great. Good luck with that,” he said as he moved her toward the fence.








Julia London is the New York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than forty romance novels. Her historical titles include the popular Desperate Debutantes series, the Cabot Sisters series, and the Highland Grooms series. Her contemporary works include the Lake Haven series, the Pine River series, and the Cedar Springs series. She has won the RT Book Club Award for Best Historical Romance and has been a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell @TastyBookTours @BellRomance

He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING SCANDALOUS
Tale of Two Sisters #1
Kimberly Bell
Releasing July 25, 2017
Entangled Select

A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…

None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancĂ©.

The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…

But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.




Excerpt
Nicholas tried to stay close to Amelia when they insinuated themselves into the crowd around Lady Chisholm, but Amelia kept insisting they should stand apart. He strongly suspected she was trying to insulate him from the scandal she was about to cause. He had no one but himself to blame for her thinking that way. Their whole lives, he’d let his family name hold too much sway. Somehow, he would have to convince her things were different now.
“I rather like the new styles from the continent,” some young miss made the mistake of saying.
“Nonsense,” Lady Chisholm barked. “They stray much too far from tradition.”
From the other side of the group, Amelia spoke up. “I don’t think they stray nearly far enough.”
“Excuse me?” Lady Chisholm gasped.
“I said I don’t think they stray nearly far enough.”
“I heard you, Lady Amelia. I only hoped I was mistaken.”
Amelia frowned. Nicholas thought she might give up, but then her shoulders straightened and she lifted her chin. “Are you mistaken often?”
“Rarely.” Montrose’s aunt peered at Amelia. “And what do you imagine might be appropriate attire for a young lady?”
“Trousers,” Amelia announced.

A murmur went up through the crowd. It was everything Nicholas could do to hold in a laugh. All the more so because he knew Amelia was being honest. In this regard, he was on Lady Chisholm’s side. He’d seen Amelia in trousers a number of times and he knew how distracting it was. Were it to become a popular trend in women’s fashion, the entire country would devolve into anarchy inside a week.







Kimberly Bell writes historical romance from her cabin in South Lake Tahoe or the beaches of Southern California (it’s a super tough life).

She's a pretty hardcore introvert that loves dogs, cheeseburgers, and occasional day drinking. She also spends way too much time on twitter because she thinks she's super hilarious and she’s trying to get that rumor to catch on.

SPOTLIGHT: Bliss by Lynsay Sands @TastyBookTours @LynsaySands @AvonBooks #Giveaway

captivating story of feuding nobles forced to marry…
and destined to fall in love.

BLISS
Lynsay Sands
Releasing July 25, 2017
Avon Books

No one blends humor and sensuality like New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands in this captivating story of feuding nobles forced to marry…and destined to fall in love.

Love thy neighbor, ’tis said. A fine idea, except when the neighbor in question is Lord Holden. Lady Helen Tiernay has complained frequently about his treatment of his people. Too frequently perhaps, for the king intends to curb their constant bickering by ordering them to wed. Helen can’t refuse a royal decree, but she’ll do everything possible to drive away her devilishly attractive husband-to-be.

Holden has faced all manner of horrors on the battlefield. But marriage to “the tyrant of Tiernay” is still a worrying prospect—until he glimpses Helen in the flesh. What flesh it is…soft, lush, made for his touch. If she weren’t so intent on thinking up devious ways to prevent consummating their bond, Helen would see how perfect they are together, and that a marriage begun as enemies can turn to absolute pleasure.



Excerpt
“Lady Tiernay,” Templetun greeted, jogging up the last few steps to come abreast of Hethe as he passed before their two hostesses. “May I introduce Lord Hethe of Holden. Lord Holden, this is Lady Helen of Tiernay and her aunt Lady Nell Shambleau.”
Hethe moved up another step so that his face and Helen’s were on a level, and managed a smile as he gazed into his fiance’s sky blue eyes that matched her gown. Actually, his mouth was responding to his nether regions, and it fashioned itself into a beaming grin of pleasure for the woman—until she smile back and said, “How do you do?”
His smile died an abrupt death, becoming a dismayed grimace. It wasn’t the woman’s words that affected him so but her foul breath that blew at him as she spoke. The shock of it made Hethe take a hasty step backward. He would have tumbled down the stairs had William not steadied him with a fist at his back.
“God’s teeth!” he gasped in horror, bringing a perplexed and even slightly offended look to their hostess’s face. It also brought him a rather sharp and confused look from Templetun, reminding him of his manners. Forcing a false smile of apology to his lips, Hethe turned his face slightly to avoid the noxious fumes and excused himself by muttering, “Nearly lost my footing.”
“Oh, well, you must be careful, my lord,” his betrothed breathed at him sweetly. Leaning closer, she snatched his arm through her own, presumably to save him from losing his balance again. She then smiled brightly and sighed gustily into his face. “Such a handsome man. We would not wish you to tumble down the stairs and break your neck! At least, not before the wedding, hmmm?” she teased, her eyes sparkling.
Hethe nearly whimpered. His head was swimming under the onslaught of her poisonous exhalations. Sweet Saint Simon! He had never smelled anything quite so raw or putrid. He hadn’t thought it possible for such a scent to come out of a human’s mouth. And the fact that it was coming from the sweet bow-shaped lips of the lovely woman before him just seemed to make the horror of it that much worse.
“Shall we go inside?” the woman’s aunt suggested cheerfully.
“Aye,” Lady Tiernay agreed. “I am sure you gentlemen are ready for a nice mug of ale after your journey.” She spoke the words to Hethe, her breath wafting over his face like an ill wind carrying the stench of death. Feeling his stomach roil, Hethe nodded faintly, more than eager for any excuse to move and avoid the situation he was in.

Lord love me, I have to marry this wench, he thought as he hurried rudely up the last step and into the keep, dragging her a step behind. She would be breathing this putrescence at him for the next fifty years or so, he thought faintly, too dismayed to even realize how rude he was being by pulling Lady Tiernay about and leaving her aunt and the others to follow.





Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She's been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there's occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that's just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon @TastyBookTours @lemmony #Giveaway #Contemporary

Don’t trust lust at first sight. 

EYE CANDY
Real Love #1
Jessica Lemmon
Releasing July 25th, 2017
Loveswept

Don’t trust lust at first sight. One woman chooses reality over fantasy in this friends-to-lovers romance. 

Jacqueline:
 
As an adult woman—and the vice president of a marketing firm—I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend–slash–colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.
 
Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.







Excerpt #2
VINCE
Admittedly, giving Jackie advice on how to get a guy to sleep with her is not my best plan.
“Okay, Butler,” I say, fully focused on Jackie now. “Let’s hear it.”
She stops scribbling on the napkin in front of her, and I bite back a smile. Since I’ve given her a few tips, she has been frantically taking notes. She’s a planner. I’ve always been more go-with-the-flow.
She reads over her notes, squinting in concentration, her lips moving as she reads. Then those golden brown eyes hit mine and she gives me a resolute nod. “I’m ready.”
Her tongue swipes pink lips, making them glisten and making me regret again the route I’ve chosen to take with her. Part of me concedes I could call it off and tell her what I really want, but I know her. She’s barely convinced she can ask a dude out, so her best guy friend throwing a date on the table would be an automatic no.
“Let’s see it,” I say, kind of excited to see what she’s come up with.
She takes the empty seat next to me and leans heavily on an elbow, fist under her chin. “Hi. I’m Jackie.”
I blink several times in quick succession at the transformation from my scatterbrained best friend to a gorgeous woman giving me bedroom eyes. She’s pretending. I’d do well to remember that.
“Vince,” I introduce.
She straightens in her chair and frowns. “Shouldn’t you pretend to be J.T.?”
“I’m not that good of an actor, Butler.” And I’m not pretending to be that jerk.
“Fine.” She rolls her eyes, then slides into seduction mode so swiftly I find myself impressed. She’s better at this than she’s let on. “Do you have a last name, Vince?”
“You know my last name, Butler.”
“Call me Jackie.” She gives me a slow bat of her lashes.
My smile is real, and when I lean closer, I don’t even do it on purpose. “Well, Jackie. Last names are irrelevant, don’t you think?”
Her chest lifts as she takes a breath, and I’m not shy about checking out her cleavage, exposed down the V of her shirt. Normally I wouldn’t look so obviously, but this is a game. Our game.
“That’s very assuming of you, Mr. No Last Name.” She quirks her lips in that way she has, and my smile broadens. “But let’s say”—she moves her half-full wineglass onto the cocktail napkin she wrote on—“for argument’s sake, you’re right, that last names are irrelevant.” She runs the tip of her finger along the rim of her glass like she’s doing it absentmindedly.
She’s doing it on purpose. I can tell.
Damn. She’s good.
“We should have a real date before making plans, don’t you think?” she asks, her eyes on mine.
“Yes.” Hell, yes. “Dinner, at the very least.”
“And then if dinner works out . . .” She lets that statement hang and my heart beats triple time as I wait for what comes next. “We can talk about dessert.”
“We can talk about dessert now.” I’m transfixed on her and the idea of exploring our new dynamic.
Ohmygod.” Her eyes go wide. “Would he say that?”
I give myself a mental shake when I realize I was caught up in the conversation. It was one I wanted to be real, and she was thinking about Running Man.
“Probably,” I say, the spell broken. “Guys are assholes. Like I said.”
I lean back in my chair, find a TV, and stare blankly.
“But if that’s the case, I’ll have to have sex with him sooner than I planned.”
“No, you don’t, Jackie.” I hear the anger in my own voice. Because . . . “You don’t have to have sex with anyone. You could go to drinks, dinner, and dessert with this guy—you could end the night with tonsil hockey on your front porch or his, and you can still say no.”
She purses her lips. I hate the idea of her kissing that jackass. No matter what kind of person he is—even if he’s a volunteer firefighter who raises orphaned squirrels so they can perform at the local senior center—I hate him.
“Tell me you know that,” I say.
“I know I don’t have to. That’s not what I meant. I don’t want to chicken out. I want to get the first one over with. Like you did.”
I tip my head back and groan aloud. I can’t help it. I’m the example for her return to the dating world? Much as I don’t want to admit it, fair is fair. I salved my wounds with girls like Polly, so why can’t Jackie do it with J.T.? Jackie’s my friend and I care about her. I can’t make a double standard now.
“Besides, he’s really hot,” she says, her face going glowy.

“Spare me.”





A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers. You can learn more at her website.