Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Darkness and the Deep: A DI Fleming Thriller (DI Marjory Fleming #2) by Aline Templeton Blog Tour

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Title:  The Darkness and the Deep:  A DI Fleming Thriller (DI Marjory Fleming #2) (4.5 STARS)

Author:  Aline Templeton

Genre:  Fiction/Crime Publication

Date:  January 7, 2014

Publisher:  Witness Impulse, and imprint of HarperCollins

Event Organized By:  Literati Author Services, Inc.

Book CoverSynopsis  

A chilling and suspenseful tale, perfect for fans of Susan Hill and Elizabeth George. A lifeboat crashes on the shore of a small fishing village, leaving all three of its passengers dead. A tragic accident—perhaps—but Detective Marjory Fleming is not so sure … The steep decline of the fishing industry has brought a new and bustling drug trade to town. Were the victims in over their heads? Or was this the work of a person so determined to kill one of the crew that he took two innocent lives? The depressed, impoverished community is clamoring for justice, and Fleming is determined to unravel the mystery before the body count rises.

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Purchase Links:  Amazon |Barnes & Noble | HarperCollins

Review:

 I love to spend a cold day reading a great mystery.  I was definitely not disappointed when I read The Darkness and the Deep.  The story is a DI Marjory Fleming mystery, and I love reading more about Marjory.

Probably the best aspects of the story are the fact that Aline lays out the characters’ background and personality traits before the actual action occurs.  You get to know the characters intimately, and gain an appreciation to each own plot in life.  The second aspect that I enjoyed was how well Aline portrayed the accident where you could visually imagine what the scene was like.  For example, in The Darkness and the Deep, Aline describes the scene in the water with harsh currents, and thick fog encompassing all around the inlet.  Your imagination can sour as you hear the last words that each victim recited either audibly or in their own mind.

Aline Templeton has quite the knack to engage the readers attention from beginning to end.  I read the entire book all in four hours, with just a few breaks.  Aline also makes sure each character is shown to be human instead of making the reader feel that what is happening in the story is not plausible.

So, if you love a great mystery that I would 100% suggest that you purchase a copy of The Darkness and the Deep, by Aline Templeton.

Author PictureAbout the Author

Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.

Connect with the Author:  Blog | Goodreads

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Prince Charming by S. Celi Blog Tour

Prince Charming Blog Tour

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Title: Prince Charming (4.5 STARS)

Author: S. Celi

Publish Date: January 26, 2014

Synopsis:

School. Tests. Scholarships. Goals.

Senior class overachiever Geoff Miller thought he had it all figured out. All he needed to do was make it through the next six months, graduate, and get on with his life.

College at the University of Virginia beckoned him– and he just wanted to put the last horrible four years at Heritage High School in the “done” folder.

Geoff just didn’t count on two things: Laine Phillips, and sex.

At first, his passing crush on the school princess seemed to Geoff like a distraction from a boring life in a snobby Greater Cincinnati suburb. Then one day, it turned into something more…

Six months. Not that long, right?

Review:

Prince Charming was such a great story, that I read it two times.  Well, let me add that I read it both times on the same day.  I must also admit that I was forced from reading it a third time from my family, because I actually growled several times during the story.  It also didn’t help my case to read it a third time in front of my family, because while my family was watching the football championship, I was yelling in support in one of the characters in the book, Geoff.  I can tell you with 100% surety that S. Celi knows how to involve her reader in her story.

My favorite character in the whole story was Geoff.  He was the underdog, and I really was rooting that he would finally get his chance with having a happier life.  I really did not like his step-brothers.  How they treated Geoff was deplorable.  But what I did enjoy was reading about the camaraderie between Geoff and his pals.  Part of their interactions had me laughing so hard.

Laine Phillips.  She was another story.  I loved her personality, but at times I felt that she changed based upon what others believed in her.  The only one I ever could see her real with was Geoff, and at times she didn’t treat him very well.  Once the story progressed, I could understand better her behavior.  And too be honest, Geoff was a true prince charming.

I had a hard time with Geoff’s mom and step-dad.  I felt that the step-brothers were not punished hard enough for really horrible things that they did.  When the boys caused problems, I felt that they were just given a little slap on the hand and let go to create more chaos.

Prince Charming is just a great read.  What a wonderful was it was for me to spend a day out of the cold, enjoying a story with a HEA.

s. celiMeet the Author:

 

New Orleans born Sara Celi has lived all over the United States. She calls the Greater Cincinnati area and the Queen City home.

 

She has spent more than a decade working in journalism and broadcasting, with jobs both on-air and off-air at TV stations in Louisiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications, magazines and newspapers, and she is a contributing author to Chicken Soup For The Soul: The Power of Positive.

 

Sara graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University in 2004.

 

In her spare time, she likes to read, shop, write, travel, run long distances, volunteer with the Junior League, and fund raise for Cooperative for Education, a non-profit providing educational opportunities for Guatemalan kids.

Social Links:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sara-Celi/252615174437

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaraGCeli

Goodreads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6578895.Sara_Celi_S_Celi_

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/S.-Celi/e/B00B6JFD0G/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1387919764&sr=8-2

Goodreads book link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18131040-prince-charming

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Book Information:

Prince Charming-eBook

1 Prince Charming

 

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Charming-S-Celi-ebook/dp/B00I2Y1O74/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390864501&sr=1-2

 

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prince-charming-sara-celi/1118319307?ean=2940148320746

 

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Charming-S-Celi/dp/1494954443/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390864501&sr=1-1

 

Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/prince-charming-9

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Southbound Surrender by Raen Smith Blog Tour

Southbound Surrender_BannerTitle: Southbound Surrender (4.5 STARS)

Author: Raen Smith

Publish Date:January 21, 2014

Southbound SurrenderSynopsis:

Five days. Fifty square feet. One last shot at love.

Cash Rowland first laid eyes on the tenacious and irresistible Piper Sullivan when they were both seventeen. He falls for her hard and just when he thinks she’s doing the same, Piper is torn from his life without warning. She leaves no contact information but only a vague promise of fate.

Five years later, their paths unexpectedly cross. When he shows up with his eighteen-wheeler unannounced, Cash persuades Piper to head out on the open road to give him one last shot at love. But what should be a routine delivery across six states suddenly becomes an unforgettable journey when they save a woman with a broken past and discover that second chances are only for the lucky ones.

Review:

Southbound Surrender, by Raen Smith, is my first book that I have read of hers.  It was totally worth it.  I loved how I could laugh one moment than soon after choke up with emotion.  Raen writes in a way to catch the reader’s attention and heart.

The story starts out where Cash is peeping on Piper.  His curiosity gets the better of him when he notices she scored higher on her SAT Exam than him.  After watching her sunbath, Cash declares she is his true love.

Life changing events happen, and Piper is torn away from Cash with a declaration that fate will bring them around again if it is meant to be.

5 Years later, with a diesel truck in tow, Cash shows up to give Piper a ride of her life.  Will she accept?  Is it too late for her?

What I loved about Cash and Piper was their dialect with each other.  Piper knew how to keep Cash on his toes.  She made life exciting for him, and Cash really wanted Piper to see how fate played a role in their connecting again.  There are lessons that Cash has for Piper that may just change her life.  In return, Piper just may have lessons for Cash.

This is such a great read, that I am now hooked on Raen Smith’s works.  Add Southbound Surrender to your TBR list.

Southbound Surrender on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18720842-southbound-surrender

Author Links:

Website: http://www.raensmith.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaenSmith

Excerpt: 

We’re leaping through the air feet first, the rain falling on us as we’re suspended above the water. It’s only five feet down, but somehow I see the pink toenail polish on her feet and the sheen of her legs. Then I see her feet hit the water before I do. I’m holding my breath now, anticipating the cold rush of water around my whole body.

And it feels surreal, the rain pummeling my body as I jump off this cliff with the girl I fell in love with when I was seventeen. To say that I’m falling all over again is cliché and mushy and hopelessly romantic, but it’s true. And even though it’s just mere seconds that we’re suspended in the air, it feels like forever that we’re dangling there together. I’ve never seen my life and future with such clarity as I do now, inching toward the water. Whatever happens in the next seventy-odd years that I plan on living, the only thing that matters is that Piper Sullivan is with me. I won’t ever let go of this hand.

The water crashes over me then, consuming me with a coldness that sends shockwaves through my body. My head ducks under momentarily before I pop back up to see Piper’s head emerging next to me. Her eyes are wide and wet with surprise as she exhales, sputtering water in front of her.

She lets out a shriek, “Oh my God, it’s so cold!”

“Hell yeah it is,” I reply as I kick my legs to stay afloat. Our heads bob in water that can’t be any more than sixty degrees, and I realize that we’re not holding hands anymore because we’re both treading water. I swim toward her until our faces are just an inch apart. The rain splashes against the water between us, plopping small splatters of water onto her chin. We’re both breathing hard as I reach underneath the water and wrap my arm around her waist. I feel the lace flush against her skin and pull her closer until our bodies are rubbing against each other.

“Warm me up,” she whispers.

“I thought you’d never ask,” I say as I press my lips onto hers. They’re warm and soft, and a jolt rushes through my body as I connect with her. Our lips move against each other, slow for only a moment until we’re frantic against each other. She gently bites my lower lip again and damn, does it feel good.

Let’s be honest, it sends me overboard. I explore every inch of her lips and mouth as we still bob in the icy water. She reaches for me, putting her arm around my waist and guides her legs toward me. She circles her legs around my waist, and I’m holding her then as she sits on me. She rocks closer to me as I kick to keep us both above water. And I realize that the only thing between us are two thin, so unbelievable thin, layers of fabric. I can feel the goose bumps running along her legs. I hold her there as our lips find each other in the rain. The water crashes down behind us from the waterfalls, the dull thud of splatters echoing in my ears.

A glint of brightness lights up the sky for a brief moment, and I see her face like I’ve never seen it before. It’s full of desire and longing and bliss, and I swear, I catch a glimpse of love. I think for a second that maybe, just maybe Piper Sullivan loves me.

Playlist:

Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait

Ben Harper – Steal My Kisses

Sugar Ray – Spinning Away

Johnny Cash – Burning Ring of Fire

Johnny Cash – Walk the Line

Florida Georgia Line ft. Nelly – Cruise

Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel

Luke Bryan – Country Girl

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama

Ray Charles – Georgia on my Mind

Raen Smith_Author PicAuthor Bio:

Raen Smith is the author of the Unraveled Series and Southbound Surrender. She loves writing about complex characters with a sprinkling of happily ever after.

When she isn’t writing novels, she spends her time wrangling two small sons and teaching at a technical college. She lives in a small corner of Wisconsin with her husband and two sons. 

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Deviant (Blood & Roses, #1) by Callie Hart Cover Reveal

DEVIANT COVERTitle: Deviant (Blood & Roses, #1)

Author: Callie Hart

Genre: Erotic Romance

Expected Release Date: February 20, 2014

Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets Promotions

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20564453-deviant

Synopsis

Sloane

I’m not proud of the things I’ve done.
The things I’ve had to do.
The things I’ve given away.
but I’d give it all over again to find her.

Even if I die trying, 
I have to find Alexis.

Zeth

She wants me to help her,
But I won’t.
She wants me to save her sister, 
But I can’t. 
She wants me to be her hero, 
But I’m not a good man.

I am her damnation.

iTunes Pre-order Link

https://itunes.apple.com/book/deviant-pt-1-blood-roses-series/id808485206?mt=11

Book Trailer

http://tinyurl.com/k9d9wj6

deviantauthorpicConnect with the Author

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7771953.Callie_Hart

Deviant Teaser #1Deviant Teaser #2Deviant Teaser #3

Love, Chocolate, and Beer (Cactus Creek #1) Release Blitz

LCB ReleaseTitle: Love, Chocolate, and Beer (Cactus Creek #1)

Author: Violet Duke

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 30, 2014

Series: Cactus Creek

Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets Promotions

LoveChocolateandBeer_FINAL_EBOOK_flipped

Book Blurb:

 

Romance has met its most unlikely match-up…

Luke Bradford is a chocolatier on a mission.  After moving his chocolate shop, and newly single life, to the quirky town of Cactus Creek, Luke wants nothing more than to devote all his energy into making his business a success—by taking the romance market by storm.  But his grand plans get thrown for a loop when he locks horns with the feisty beer-brewing beauty next door who calls his ‘romantic idealism’ a load of fairytale bull.  Soon, driving the woman sparking nuts becomes another wickedly fun priority he simply can’t get enough of.

In his defense, she’s addictively easy to incite…and plain impossible to resist.

Beloved local brewmaster Dani Dobson is beyond riled up.  It’s bad enough the new shop owner in town comes locked and loaded with both a distractingly rugged charm and sexy flashing dimples, but the whole only-in-the-movies variety of romance he’s selling—the kind her world has been crushed by before—is really doing a number on her allergy to unrealistic clichés.  What’s worse, he’s created an annoyingly clever ad campaign that dubs ‘beer joints’ like hers as the “cave where romance goes to hibernate.”  The nerve of that man.

Combustible chemistry or not, damn it, this means war.  The stakes…very likely, her heart.

Excerpts:

 

Luke grimaced as he adjusted his jeans and leaned down to slide her hair back from her face.  Pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead, he suggested softly, “Honey, why don’t you go on and shower so you can get to bed.  You’re not used to waking up as early as I am; I should’ve thought about that before planning this dinner.  You brewed all day today and you’ve got the dayshift tomorrow; you need to rest.  So get going.  I’ll clean up out here.”

With a groan, Dani dragged herself up off the couch.  “But that’s not fair,” she managed around a stifled yawn.  “You cooked, I should do the dishes.”

“Next time.  Go on.  I’ll let myself out when I’m done.”

“Nooo,” she protested even as she was slowly shuffling toward the hallway.  “Don’t leave without saying goodbye.  Promise?  Even if I’m out cold?”

His own reply was muted out by the blood rushing in his ears—a reaction he was helpless to at the sound of her words getting muffled behind clothing.

Clothing she was taking off.

Without him.

No amount of adjusting could stop the zipper tattoo that was forming behind his jeans.  Quickly turning on the faucet to mute out any more stripping noises, he started scrubbing the cast iron pan in the sink like it owed him money, damn near making it shine until finally, finally, he heard the bathroom door close and the shower turn on.

But then his imagination got the best of him.  The hot water, the dish soap bubbles, hell even the damn rubber dish gloves next to the sink all made him think of sex.  And wet, naked woman.

His wet, naked woman.

Not twenty-five feet away.

What was it about a woman in a shower that could make the male brain turn to mush?

His hands gripped the edge of the sink unsteadily as he counted backward from a hundred, willing his mind to focus on something else.  He was in the single digits when he decided to start back from a hundred when he heard the shower shut-off and quiet, feminine footsteps padding across the hallway.  The sound of a door opening, but not closing shut all the way made him almost drop to his knees in surrender right there.

It wasn’t until complete silence echoed back at him that he leaned way the hell over and finished the rest of the dishes, surprised he hadn’t managed to drill a hole in the cabinet paneling in the process.  When he felt at least partially sane, but still not at all under control, he headed down the hall to Dani’s bedroom to say goodnight.

No dallying, no thinking.  Definitely no touching.  Just get in and out—

Freak-in-A.

Definitely none of that.

Knocking gently before he pushed the partially ajar door open, he came to a full standstill and just stared.  He’d expected Dani to be asleep.

He hadn’t expected to find her asleep in her towel.

Hair still damp from the shower, tiny goosebumps across her skin from the cold, and her expression wholly relaxed in sleep, she was the sexiest thing he’d ever laid eyes on.  A beautiful sleeping angel.

Wrapped in a towel that was two, maybe three breaths away from falling open.

His legs were moving him closer before her lungs filled again.

He grabbed the right side of her comforter and draped it over her so she was encased from neck to toe.  Statues of his sainthood would be built in honor of him in this moment years from now, he was sure.

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LittleCombustibleChemistry_FINALCOVER_EBOOK_1-26edit2There is also a FREE Prequel Novella Title: A Little Combustible Chemistry. 

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LoveChocAuthorpicAuthor Bio:

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. When she’s not arguing with her story characters or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools while trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first and cooking ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. Violet lives in Hawai’i with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.

Social Media URLs:

http://www.facebook.com/VioletDukeBooks

http://www.twitter.com/VioletDukeBooks

http://www.goodreads.com/VioletDukeBooks

Website:

http://www.violetduke.com

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Never Let Go by Michele G. Miller Release Day Event

Release blitz

Title: Never Let You Go, Prophecy of Tyalbrook series, book two

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Author: Michele G Miller

Publisher: Enchanted Ink Press (Self Published)

Release Date: Janury 30, 2014

Available on: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

iBooks and Kobo to follow

FINAL CHOICE NEVER LET YOU GO

Synopsis: 

Two souls desperate to discover the truth about the past and determined to save their future…

SKYE

The usual warmth I felt deep in my soul when Xander was near me was beginning to dull. Yet I still remembered the warning: “Be careful, my Princess…you will lose all you love before you can win what you want.”

XANDER

I could feel it; she hadn’t been here. Two days of hell, riding as fast as we could and only taking small breaks, and yet she had outrun us. How?

A PRINCESS set on regaining her Kingdom and protecting those she loves…

A GUARDIAN who will stop at nothing to find the woman who stole his heart…

An EVIL FORCE who will destroy everything they know in order to have power over all…

The journey continues in Never Let You Go, book two in The Prophecy of Tyalbrook Series.

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this is us

Swordfight

Excerpt:

Nickoli’s arms were laden with weapons when he came back into view. He stepped in, uninvited, and opened his arms; allowing each deadly piece to drop to the ground with an ear-splitting clang. I jumped back as the items ricocheted across the floor, and a club rolled to a stop by my feet.

Nickoli bent over and picked up a sword. He approached me, a menacing look on his face, and a flash of terror tore through me. The temptation to scream was strong, however I knew it wouldn’t do me any good. If his intention was to kill me, the deed would be long done before my cries for help would be answered. If they were ever answered. I kept my focus on the sharp tip of the sword as he advanced on me.

“If you choose not to trust me, you will have to protect yourself.”

He raised the sword, gripped the hilt in his fist, and hurled it into the floor at my feet. The tip embedded into the wood with a thud. I yelped in surprise and jumped back. With an angry glare, he turned to storm out of the room; leaving the pile of weapons scattered about the floor.

“I don’t know how to fight with a sword,” I called out, my voice void of the angry bluster it carried earlier.

He didn’t stop, but instead replied over his shoulder as his long strides carried him out the door. “Then Princess, you best learn how.”

The slam of his door signaled the end to our conversation.

Author Bio:

michelemiller

Michele is the author of the Coming of Age Fantasy Series The Prophecy of Tyalbrook – Never Let You Fall, book one (May 2013) and Never Let You Go, book two (Jan 2014) as well as the New Adult Romantic Suspense, Last Call (Oct 2013). She is currently working on the third book in The Prophecy of Tyalbrook Series, a Last Call novel and a YA Realistic Fiction that has her super excited!

Having grown up in both the cold, quiet town of Topsham, Maine and the steamy, southern

hospitality of Mobile, Alabama, Michele is something of a enigma.  She is an avid Yankees fan, loves New England, being outdoors and misses snow.  However she thinks southern boys are hotter, Alabama football is the only REAL football out there and sweet tea is the best thing this side of heaven and her children’s laughter!

Her family, an amazing husband and three awesome kids, have planted their roots in the middle of Michele’s two childhood homes in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Email: authormichelegmiller@gmail.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chelemybelles

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/chelemybelles/

Website: http://michelegmiller.blogspot.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Michele-G-Miller/e/B00CLRE0B0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/michele-g-miller

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6975382.Michele_G_Miller

Beautiful Failure by Mariah Cole Cover Reveal + Teasers and Prologue

Beautiful Failure CoverTitle: Beautiful Failure

Author: Mariah Cole

Release: December 16, 2013

Goodreads Link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18625288-beautiful-failure?from_search=true

 Synopsis:

If you’re looking for a heartwarming story about a girl who falls deeply in love with a troubled boy who changes her life–a sob story with pretty metaphors and a million ways that’ll tell you how “broken” she is, STOP. Don’t read another word of this.
I’m not that type of girl. 

My name is Emerald Anderson and I’m not going to bullshit you: I flunked out of college after my sophomore year, I’ve been fired from every job I’ve ever taken, and I’ve never had a fully functioning relationship in my life.

I wish I could say that I had a cheerleader in my corner, someone who says, “No, Emerald–You’re great and you are good at something!” but I don’t. My grandparents are completely oblivious to my life, and my mother’s dying words to me were “You’re going to end up just like me one day. A beautiful nothing.”

She was right.

As I decide to start my life over and take two jobs that will forever change me–one from the inside, and one from the outside, I keep my mother’s words close to my heart so I can keep the sexy and mysterious Carter Black away.

He’s the first man who’s ever pursued me, the first man who seems bent on finding out why I am the way I am, but he’s wasting his time.

I’m not broken. I don’t need to be fixed. I’m perfectly fine being a beautiful failure…

Author Bio:

Mariah Cole is a Starbucks addict (hazelnut shots, please!), New Adult author, and an incessant daydreamer. Known for pushing the envelope, she’s an avid reader of indie books and is always looking to chat with readers and authors alike

Social Media Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7319309.Mariah_Cole

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mariah-Cole/522717034482807

Buy Links:

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/l9yehzs

Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/kvu76yd

Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/ltmbf73

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/mjb7ona

 Teasers 

Teaser 1

Teaser 2

Teaser 3

Excerpt

Prologue

My mother was a whore.

Her name was Leah Isabelle Anderson—“Leah Belle” for short, and she was one of New Jersey’s most sought after escorts.

With deep green eyes that could take any man’s breath away, and skin so porcelain and smooth that it looked too perfect to touch, she was breathtakingly beautiful. Often compared to a supermodel, her raven black hair fell past her shoulders, and her naturally long eyelashes were always coifed to perfection.

Growing up, I had no idea what she did with the men who picked her up in their shiny and expensive cars—the men who wore thousand dollar suits and patted me on the head while saying, “Your mom is really something special.”

In a way, these strangers became the closest thing I had to a family since I never knew my father: Her regulars, Christian and William, sent me gifts every Christmas. Arnie bought me my first bike, Steve taught me how to change a tire, and her most ruthless suitor—Vincent, took me shopping for designer clothes once a month.

Leah Belle—she never ever let me call her “mom,” wasn’t exactly a mother to me; she was more like an older friend. An older ‘I’ll-be-there-when-it’s-convenient’ friend.

She missed every elementary school play, every middle school writing competition, and never gave a damn about my grades. At first, the involuntary loneliness bothered me, but after I created an army of invisible friends and easily accessible fantasies, I came to terms with her neglect and happily accepted any attention she was willing to give me.

When I became a teenager, she started to hang around me more often—promising that she would do better, promising that she would make sure that “from here on out, [we’d] be best friends.” Since she’d run away from her parents after having me at sixteen, she made a point to never lecture or discipline me. She did however, teach me three very important lessons:

1.) “Always put tons of effort into the way you look. You need to be beautiful on the outside, no matter how fucked up you are on the inside. If you ever feel sad or depressed, suck that shit up and add more mascara.”

2.) “Don’t make friends. Make sponsors. If you can’t get anything out of someone or use them for a specific purpose, kick that person out of your life ASAP.”

3.) “Beauty wins over brains every time. Your body will always be your most important asset. Remember that.”

For my fourteenth birthday, she poured me my first shot and offered me a short line of coke, saying, “Welcome to life, Em!”

I shook my head at the coke—I’d read about the effects, but I happily took the red shot glass from her hand.

“To the best fuckin’ daughter in the world!” She lifted her glass in the air, waiting for me to do the same, and then she ordered me to toss it back.

The initial burning sensation was painful—disgusting, but in the years to come, that bitterness tasted better and better, and I looked forward to the two of us drinking together. It was the only time that she gave me her undivided attention.

In those moments, I would tell her about another writing competition I’d won or how I’d received more early college scholarships. When it was her turn, she would tell me about “turning tricks” like other parents told their kids about a day at the office.

“I can’t tell you how weak Ben’s dick was today,” she’d say. “I mean, I feel like I should be charging him double for the weak ass fucks he puts me through.”

“You don’t enjoy it with him? Ever?” I’d ask.

“No. Never with him. But he’s a sponsor, I’m getting his money, and that’s all that matters. I just lie there, scratch his back, and say ‘HarderHarder’ to make him think I’m into it until—”

“Until he cums?”

“Yep.” She’d pass me a cigarette before sighing. “With him and a few others, I usually have to take a few shots beforehand to numb my mind. With the really good ones, all I have to do is relax. Sex can be fucking incredible when it’s done right…”

One particular Friday, after she let one of her regulars take me shopping for a Chanel bag, I unlocked the door to our home and saw droplets of blood all over the floor.

“Leah?” I set my shopping bag down. “Did you get another nose bleed?”

No answer.

I headed into the kitchen, looking for her usual remedies—hot tea and Q tips, but she wasn’t there.

“You here?” I walked around our living room and checked all the rooms upstairs. Confused, I pulled out my cell phone and called her.

No answer again.

I shrugged and opened a bottle of vodka, tossing back a few shots. I figured she’d left with one of her sponsors for a quickie and would be back by the time our favorite show started.

I decided to take a shower before it came on and headed into the downstairs bathroom.

The second I hit the lights, my heart fell out of my chest.

I wanted to believe that what I was seeing was simply a sick joke by my imagination—a twisted fantasy I’d snap out of in seconds.

Pale and blue, Leah’s body lay lifeless in our tub. Her left arm was dangling over the edge, and the small velvet bag where she kept her cocaine was dangling from her fingertips.

Scattered across the floor were hundreds of prescription pills and empty orange bottles that bore the names of strangers. On the vanity, there was an empty syringe and a folded note that read “For my Em…”

Trembling, I rushed to her side and pressed my finger against her neck, hoping for a pulse.

Nothing.

I tilted her head back and tried to breathe life into her—pressing her chest with my hands every few seconds, but it was no use.

She was gone.

I sank down to the floor in tears—cursing her, hating her, for doing this to me. To us.

I had no friends to call, no family either, so in my numb and dazed state I somehow managed to call 9-1-1. While the operator attempted to calm me down by asking me to take deep breaths, I walked over to the vanity and unfolded Leah’s last note:

 

Em,

I know you’re confused right now, but I want you to know that I love you. I love you so fucking much… You were the only thing that made my life worth living, and I wish I was strong enough to keep that in mind…

I’m not.

I’m tired of living a lie and I haven’t been happy in a very long time… I just can’t take it anymore…

I’ve fucked up a lot of things in my life, but the biggest regret I have is the way I raised you…I’m so sorry… This is going to be hard for you to believe—especially since I’m gone, but I need you to forget all that shit I taught you. Right now.

Fuck using your looks to get what you want. Go to college and do some good shit with your life, like write or something. You’re a good writer, you’re very smart, and you need to use your brain to get ahead. Can you promise to do that for me, Em?

Then again…It’s probably too late and I’m willing to bet that you’ll end up just like me: A beautiful nothing…

It won’t be your fault though. It’ll be—

 

I stopped reading and flushed that note down the toilet. Her last words were clearly written out of sadness and they were only compounding my pain.

As far as I was concerned, Leah had raised me the best she could and she was far from a “beautiful nothing” in my eyes. In fact, I cherished every single thing she’d taught me.

Even though I was beyond hurt that she’d selfishly left me all alone, I was determined to remember her at her best and for everything she was to me:

My mother.

My best friend.

My role model.

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Goodbye Girl by Scarlett Metal Review Blitz

Goodbye Girl Review BlitzBook Title: Goodbye Girl

Author: Scarlett Metal

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 24, 2013

Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

NEW COVER for Goodbye GirlSynopsis:

Rachel met Clint in a diner one night while she was on the road trying to escape her past. From the moment they lay their eyes on each other, sparks fly. He offers her a job on his ranch and even though she’s a city girl, she accepts.

It’s not long before they give into their attraction and settle into life together on the ranch. They find happiness in each other’s arms and Clint quickly wonders if Rachel is the girl that can give him his happily ever after.

Rachel’s past eventually comes back to haunt her, and threatens her happiness with Clint. Can they work through their demons of the past and find their happily ever after? Or will Rachel leave Clint just like she fled her life before?

Meet the Author:

Scarlett lives in the Midwest with her family. When she’s not busy writing steamy stories, she can be found with her nose in a book, camping, or geocaching with her family. She loves Diet Coke, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and 80’s hair bands.

Excerpt:

Goodbye Girl

By

Scarlett Metal

Chapter 1 – Rachel

Just a few more miles…Just a few more miles between him and I and it’ll be ok.

My hand was shaking as I took the last sip of my Red Bull.  I hadn’t slept in three days and I’d been living on Red Bulls and candy.  If I didn’t stop soon for a rest, my body was going to shut down.

I’d just made it through South Dakota.  I thought about stopping to see Mount Rushmore, but I couldn’t.  The more distance I could put between Buffalo and me, the better off I would be.

I crossed the state line into Wyoming, watching the sun set into the mountains.  It was around nine at night and the highway was fairly empty.  I saw a sign for Sheridan, Wyoming and decided to find a small hotel there for a night or two.  I would probably be safe there; he’d never think to look for me way up here.  We’d always talked about moving south to Florida, so hopefully he’d check down there first.

I exited the highway and turned into the parking lot of a small hotel with a diner attached.  A shower and a home cooked meal sounded perfect right now.  I grabbed my purse and headed inside to the front desk where an elderly woman greeted me. She looked more like a librarian than someone who would work behind the desk of hotel.

“Hey hun, what can I do for you?” She smiled at me so wide I couldn’t help but smile back.  Her eyes darted to the bruise on my cheek and I self-consciously touched my face.  Never again!  Never again would I be embarrassed to be out in public because of something a man did to me.

“Do you have a room for a night or two?” I asked softly, my hands suddenly trembling.  I shoved them in the pockets of my jean shorts so she wouldn’t notice.

“Just a second,” she said and looked at the screen next to her.  After a few quick keystrokes, she turned back to me.  “Yep, we have a room with a king-sized bed available on the second floor for two nights.  Would you like it?”

I nodded, setting my purse on the counter and reaching inside for my wallet.  I pulled out a few hundreds, hoping she didn’t notice the wad of cash I had in my purse.  I didn’t want to draw any more attention to myself.

I paid for the room and she gave me my key.  “The diner is attached and it’s open twenty-four hours a day.  They have the best food there, breakfast especially.”

I took my key and thanked her before heading back out to my car.  I grabbed a few bags, looking around to make sure I was alone before heading back inside to my room.  Fuck him for making me so paranoid.  I found it easily and threw my stuff on the bed.  I looked at the bed longingly. I really wanted to lay down and pass out cold, but I needed a shower and food first.

I opened one of my suitcases and found a change of clothes and my bathroom stuff.  I turned the water on almost as hot as it would go, before stripping off my shorts and t-shirt.  I glanced at myself in the mirror, wincing at the bruises he left on my arm.  I pressed my fingers gently on my face and bit my lip, fighting back the tears.  He didn’t matter anymore; I was never going to see him again.

I climbed into the shower, the hot water feeling almost like needles on my skin.  I closed my eyes and leaned back, letting the water wash the grime of his touch and the road off of me.  As I stood there, all the emotions I’d kept at bay the past few days came crashing over me.  I started to sob, my tears mixing with the water running down my face.  I reached out and leaned against the shower wall, my body shaking.

When I finally had no more tears left in me, I squared my shoulders, determined not to let him break me again.  I quickly finished in the shower and got dressed, my stomach rumbling.  I took my room key and some cash and headed out of my room.  It was already eleven o’clock, but the lady at the front desk said they were open twenty-four hours, so I figured I’d check it out.  I’d thought about just ordering a pizza and having it delivered, but after being locked in my car essentially for the past three days, I needed to get out.

I walked out of the front door of the hotel and turned the corner to the diner.  As I opened the door, I was surprised to find the place busier than I’d expected at this time a night in small town Wyoming.  My stomach made a noise I was sure the whole place heard and I quickly made my way to a booth in the corner.

I sat down and grabbed a menu.  I was so hungry that everything on the menu sounded good.  I finally decided on an omelet and toast before the waitress even made her way over to me.

“All set to order?” she smiled at me, her black hair back in a high ponytail.

“Yes, I’ll take a ham and cheese omelet, wheat toast, and some milk please.”  My mouth was watering at the thought of eating real food.  Living off of fast food gets really old really quick.

She finished writing down my order and tucked her pencil back behind her ear.  “Sounds good.  I’ll get that in right away and bring you some water, hun.”

She turned and I smiled.  I’d been called ‘hun’ twice in one night.  Where was I?  People back home weren’t this friendly.  Maybe I could get used to this.

I glanced around the restaurant, checking out the other patrons.  There was a group of older men sitting at the counter, their clothes dirty, looking like they’d just come from work.  A few booths away from me sat a young couple sitting on the same side.  I rolled my eyes when they kissed, but a part of me felt a twinge of jealousy.

There were a few others scattered about but my breath caught in my throat when I noticed him.  He was at a table nearby and I have no idea how I didn’t notice him earlier.  He was busy reading the paper and drinking his coffee, but I could see his chocolate brown eyes, lashes so long most women would kill for them.  He was wearing cowboy boots and a baseball hat, so I couldn’t see what color his hair was or how long it was.  He was wearing jeans and I briefly wondered if they were Wrangler jeans and if they fit him like they did the guys in the commercials. A tight white t-shirt showed off his muscular arms and clung to his chest in all the right places.

He glanced up and nodded at me with a wink and a smile and I turned away quickly, feeling my face on fire at being caught staring.  The waitress came over with my food just then, having seen the whole thing.

“He’s hot, isn’t he?” she teased as she set my food in front of me.  I laughed and nodded.  “His name is Clint.  He comes in here all the time.  He owns a big ranch nearby where he lives with his mom, sister, and brother.  He’s one of the youngest ranch owners in Wyoming.”

I turned and stole another glance back at him.  He’d folded up his paper and was getting ready to get up.  As he stood up, my eyes moved down his body.  Yep, he wore the jeans just like in the commercial.  I swallowed hard and felt a stirring deep in my womb when he looked over at me again.  It was like his eyes were looking into my soul.  Sexy as he was, it was a little bit unnerving.

The waitress leaned down and whispered, “He’s single too.”

“I’m not – I didn’t,” I stammered, totally embarrassed again.  Was I that obvious?

“Just thought you’d want to know the way you two are checking each other out,” she winked and turned around to head back to the kitchen.  Wait – he was checking me out too?  I didn’t see that.

I shook my head.  I just left an asshole, I didn’t need another man right away.  It didn’t matter that he was sex on a stick; I wasn’t interested.

I couldn’t help but watch him as I ate.  He seemed to know almost everyone in the diner and stopped to talk to everyone on his way out.  He shook hands with the guys sitting at the counter, laughing and talking with them before turning my way.  Shit, he was going to come right past my table.  I wanted to slide under the table so bad right now.  I cursed myself that I didn’t bring a book or something to read so I could look totally busy when he walked by.

“Hey there,” he greeted me, his voice deep and smooth, like whiskey going down your throat.  He tipped his hat at me and I thought I was going to swoon.  I’d never met a real cowboy before.  Growing up in Buffalo, NY, there was nothing but punk ass men who thought they were all that.

“Hi,” I said, setting down my fork and taking a drink of my milk.

“New around here?” he asked.  I swore his eyes darkened when he noticed the bruise on my cheek and I suddenly wished I’d taken the time to hide it better with make up; I’d just swiped on some foundation, not even bothering with concealer.

“Just passing through,” I replied.  Should I offer him a seat?  But I didn’t know him.  My heart was pounding so hard I was sure he could hear it.

He nodded.  “Where ya headed?”

I shrugged.  “Not sure.  My plan was to just drive until I found a good place to stay.”  Why was I being so open with this stranger?  I rarely shared with people I knew and here I was telling a total stranger my travel plans.

“Hmm…Well, this is a good place to stay and if you need work, I can always use help on my ranch,” he grinned at me and my stomach did a flip-flop.

He put his hand out to shake mine.  “I’m Clint.  I own Hidden Lane Ranch just up the way.”

“Rachel,” I responded, taking his hand in mine.  It was different than his hand; rough, like he knew how to actually do real work.  He griped my hand tight and shook it.  For a second I thought about what his hands would feel like on my soft skin and desire pooled between my thighs.  Sweet baby Jesus, what was I thinking?

“Nice to meet you.”  He released my hand.  “I gotta get back to the ranch, but if you’re interested, talk to the ladies here.  They’ll point you in the right direction.”  He tipped his hat to me again.  “Have a good night, Rachel.”

“Goodnight,” I managed to mutter.  God the way he said my name made me tremble.  What would it sound like if he whispered it in my ear while in the throes of passion?

I watched him leave the diner shamelessly checking out his ass in those jeans.  I kept my eyes on him until I couldn’t see him in the dark night before turning back to my omelet that was now cold.  I was finished with it anyway and paid before heading back to my room.  I didn’t think I could keep my eyes open much longer.

I stripped off my clothes and climbed into bed naked.  As I’m about to drift off to sleep, I thought about Clint’s job offer.  Maybe he was right; maybe this was a good place to stay.  Then I could be around his sexiness all day.  I sighed and rolled over to my side, clutching a pillow against me.  I just left a man, would it really be smart to have another in my life so soon?

The last thing I saw before I drifted off was Clint’s smile.  I might have to check out his ranch in the morning.

Extra:

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Social Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scarlett-Metal/327980890652675

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScarlettMetal

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6983412.Scarlett_Metal

Goodreads book:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755715-goodbye-girl

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Book Information:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQRGWVG/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HQRGWVG&linkCode=as2&tag=womandwor-20

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/goodbye-girl-scarlett-metal/1117491913?ean=9781494880194

Compromising Positions (5 STAR) by Mary Whitney Blog Tour

Compromising Positions Blog Tour BannerTitle: Compromising Positions

Author:  Mary Whitney

Compromising Positions Final Ebook  CoverSynopsis:

We weren’t supposed to be friends. We weren’t even supposed to like each other.

I’m Michael Grath. I’ll admit I was elected to Congress on my Republican family history. I was out to make a name for myself, until I met Jessie Clark, a spitfire Democrat.

She’d be my nemesis, if I could just stop flirting with her. We’ve got nothing and everything in common, and one big issue that divides us. All of this is going to land us in more than one compromising position.

So like I said, we weren’t supposed to be friends, we weren’t even supposed to like each other, and we certainly weren’t supposed to fall in love.

Review:

I have loved Mary Whitney’s books, and Compromising Positions is just as great as the rest of her works.  It contains humor, great romance, and a sexy Congressmen.

How do you take two people with totally radically different point-of-views and throw them together with a mix of romance?  Let me tell you, you get a epic explosion.  That explosion includes heat both in and out of the bedroom.

What I love about Mary Whitney, is that she can take a serious subject, add some sensuality, mix in some humor, and make the story a hit.  The story isn’t over the edge in also giving the reader some pertinent information to think about.  Her experience with law is evident in her work by explaining issues to readers in easy to understand words.

I really wondered during the book if two people on different sides of the congress pool could make a go at love?  In a relationship can you really agree to disagree?  That is something that you will have to find out in Compromising Positions.

Just a shout out.  If you get a chance check out more of Mary Whitney’s books.  She is an exceptional writer, and all of her books are phenomenal.

Meet the Author:

authorpic

Mary blames Laura Ingalls Wilder and Margaret Mitchell for her obsession with romance novels. At an early age, Mary fell in love with the Little House series and its dreamy hero, Almanzo Wilder, who only wanted Laura to be Laura. Like many women, Mary later graduated to the ultimate, tall and dark bad boy, Rhett Butler, who loved Scarlett despite her flaws.

Mary has lived in many parts of the U.S., and after a first career in the non-profit world and politics, she’s settled in Northern California with her husband and daughters. She spends her days writing characters she hopes somehow capture the romance of Rhett and Scarlett and Almanzo and Laura. She’s a firm believer in what Rhett says to Scarlett:“You should be kissed and by someone who knows how.”

Social Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WordyMary

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5165049.Mary_Whitney

Website: http://wordymary.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Whitney-Author/196470473800100

Goodreads book:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20426604-compromising-positions

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Compromising-Positions-Mary-Whitney-ebook/dp/B00I1JT5X0/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_d_1

Excerpt:

Dear Brighton

As Larry began ticking off the day’s results, I got to stare at Jessie. She was dressed in an outfit that Stacy wouldn’t be caught dead in outside of the gym, and Jessie looked adorable and appropriate for the occasion. Her hair was up in a loose ponytail, and the dark tendrils were pretty against her light skin. She looked young and cozy in her bulky sweatshirt. It was just the look that made a guy want to snuggle with a girl. I had an urge to pull her to my side and tuck her under my arm. Knowing I couldn’t do that, I simply asked, “Can I see your bracket?”

“Sure,” she said, seeming a little uncertain as to why I would ask. She handed the folded paper to me.

After a quick scan of her picks, I shook my head. “Sad. You’ve fallen into the common trap of someone devoted to the overrated Pac-10.”

“Hey!” she said, reaching back for her bracket. “Who am I supposed to pick? Some tired Big 10 school that only makes the tournament because it was good in 1963?”

“Watch it. Some of my teams resemble that remark.” I chuckled. “I’m just saying you’ve got all these Pac-10 schools marching toward the final four, and statistically, that’s not going to happen.”

“What are you talking about?” She scooted closer on the sofa to look over my shoulder.

I was more than a little proud of myself for getting her over to my side so quickly. I smiled and turned, so I was even closer to her. “Look here. You’ve got Arizona and UCLA in the final four, and three other Pac-10 teams with them in the elite eight. Do you honestly think that’s possible?”

“Oh, come on. I bet your bracket is irrational and loaded with Midwest teams.”

“No.” I twisted my mouth, knowing I was about to make a joke. “I swear mine is fair and balanced.”

“You did not seriously just say that?” She laughed but then her smile disappeared. “Wait. Do you actually watch Fox News?”

“Sure I do, and I bet you watch MSNBC.”

“Sometimes,” she said, with a shrug. “I usually watch CNN, but the hosts on MSNBC are at least rational beings compared to the ones on Fox.”

“Oh, come on. Some of them are just liberal loudmouths.”

“True, but at least they think about things compared to those crazies on Fox and Friends.”

“Now, watch what you say about my friends,” I said, waving my finger at her with a smile.

“Are you really friends with them?” she asked, her eyes aghast.

“Not really. I do watch Fox, but I mostly watch CNN. I only said I was ‘fair and balanced’ to get a rise out of you, and it worked.”

“Maybe.” Her giggle was adorable and she nodded toward her bracket. “Now you show me yours.”

“Whoa,” Larry said, stopping in his tracks as he entered the room. That same mischievous smile crossed his face. “Jessie, I can’t believe you’d ask that. You hardly know him.”

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Battling the Best Man (5 STARS) by Elley Arden Blog Tour

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Title: Battling the Best Man (5 STARS)

Author: Elley Arden
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 1/27/2014

A Harmony Falls Novel Book 2 (The book stands alone.)

coverpicSynopsis:

On the cusp of a brilliant Chicago medical career, Dr. Kory Flemming rarely gets vacation, but she can’t say no to maid of honor duties in her best friend’s wedding. Home town or not, being in Harmony Falls, Pennsylvania isn’t easy, especially when the only man smart enough to trump Kory’s high school academic achievements turns out to be a sexy, accomplished adult up to his old, flirtatious tricks.

Will Mitchell has been destined for success since the day he was born. After spending his formative years racking up academic honors, it was only natural for him to be named the chief operating officer of his family’s thriving company. He has it all-more or less-so when the target of his high school infatuation turns up hot and haughty at his brother’s wedding, Will decides he wants her, too.

Old conflict gives way to new attraction, taking Will and Kory by surprise, until a failed merger and family tragedy threaten both their professional goals. Can they put aside their rocky past and ignore their titillating present in order to work together to secure the future for the people they adore?

Review:

Elley Arden wrote a phenomenal story when she wrote Battling the Best Man.  I have always been a fan of Elley’s, and after reading this story it only strengthened my like for her books.

Probably the best part of Battling the Best Man was that it had just the right amount of sensuality.  The story had great meaning, while not only focusing on the romance part.  Battling the Best Man gave the reader a thought that sometimes what we need and want are right before our very own eyes.  We just have to have the desire to seek it.

Elley’s character definition was a definite highlight of the story.  As a reader, I could really feel the chemistry between Kory and Will.  And I loved Will.  He kept to one girl the entire story.  He was not a player, nor a cheater.

I really hope that there is more in the Harmony Falls Series, because I will be one of the first to get a eBook copy.

Battling the Best Man is a must read for book enthusiasts that want to enjoy a great book on a cold night.

Author Bio:

authorpic

Elley Arden