Blitz | The Extra Myles by Melanie Munton

The Extra Myles
Melanie Munton
(A Southern Hearts Club Novella)
Publication date: December 21st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

NOW HIRING… Fake boyfriend for 27-year-old desperate female. Must be able to deal with pretentious, New York City socialites. Attendance at family Christmas events required. Seasonal work only. Applicants not named Myles Colson need not apply.

The position has been filled. Granted, Myles is the only man in Blair McCauley’s life capable of looking her dragon mother in the eyes and not bursting into tears. Blair will need that steel whenever her mother helpfully reminds her over a glass of eggnog that a career is pointless when she could just marry rich. Thankfully, the barbecuing, beer swilling, football watching guy’s guy doesn’t even sort of fit in with her flashy New York lifestyle.

Which is exactly the point.

Although Myles is a lot more than a former jock with a pension for frosted mugs and Sweatpants Sundays. He also happens to be a gifted artist, and Blair is helping him carve out his space in the art world. Lucky for her, she’s the only one who gets to see the man behind the pottery wheel. Sans shirt.

But when Blair and Myles both come to the realization that they’ve just been pretending at pretending, they never see what’s coming for them next.

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EXCERPT:

Blair McCauley.

Every time she’s around, I get all antsy and excited for some reason. Like when my Clemson Tigers complete a sixty-three-yard pass and run it in for the touchdown to win the game.

I snicker.

Little Miss Blair here has probably never even watched a football game in her life.

The woman breezes into the back room with all the air of a European queen. And from what I’ve read, she practically is that up in NYC. Or at least, a princess. Either way, Blair McCauley is American royalty.

And I might as well be the guy who cleans horse shit out of her family’s stables.

“Are you ever going to fix that door?” she asks in the exasperated tone I recognize.

She sounds that exact same level of annoyed every time she stumbles through my studio door that, even I’ll admit is a bitch to open.

Damn, but she’s beautiful.

Like, the breathtaking kind of beautiful. The kind of woman who deserves to have a sultry theme song play every time she enters a room. My favorite is when she gets all huffy like this. Blowing her Marilyn Monroe-styled blond hair off her forehead, planting her dainty hands and manicured nails on her slim hips, and cocking said hip out. The whole move pushes out her full, rounded breasts beneath her silk top, her tight skirt stretching across those svelte legs.

Stunning she may be, but the woman is also the prissiest, most high-maintenance, spoiled city girl I’ve ever met.

Expensive.

And I don’t do that type. Sure, I’ve fantasized about having this woman beneath me—a shameful number of times—but I prefer my women to be a little more kickback. Someone who’s content to sit around with you on a Sunday afternoon in nothing but ratty sweatpants, watching football without complaint. A woman who’s okay with going out in public without makeup. Someone who doesn’t turn her nose up when I don’t wipe my mouth between each chicken wing and just wait until I’m done eating them altogether.

If Blair has never watched football, then she’s damn sure never eaten a chicken wing.

I don’t know jack shit about hair, makeup, or clothes, but I know that all of hers are top-of-the-line. The material of her blouse is high-quality. Every pair of shoes I’ve ever seen her in are high heels that you just know cost a small fortune. Her purses are all designer names I’ve at least heard of—Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana. I even caught a glimpse of one of her lace bras one day when she bent over, a move that about gave me a fucking aneurysm, and I definitely know that item was high-priced.

No. Blair McCauley definitely isn’t my type.

I could never afford her. The best I could do is a hot night between the sheets because a man’s bank account doesn’t matter then. When she saw my place in the daylight, that’s when she would surely saunter all the way back up to New York in her five-inch stiletto heels.

I lift an eyebrow. “Why do you presume I know how to fix it?”

She tilts her head to the side. “Don’t you work in a factory?”

I would be pissed off by the question if I knew she didn’t mean it condescendingly. For all of Blair’s quirks, she’s not a mean person. Perhaps a little naïve at times, but not rude.

I lean back on my stool, crossing my arms over my chest. Her eyes briefly flick down to my biceps before quickly averting to stare at the wall.

Now that’s something.

In all the months I’ve known this woman, in all the phone calls made and trips from New York to Charleston she’s taken, I haven’t seen much in the way of…awareness…from her. At least, not in the sexual sense. God knows I think she’s hot as hell, in the not-so-much-as-a-hair-out-of-place kind of way. But if she felt any attraction toward me whatsoever, you’d never know it.

“We don’t produce doors at a steel manufacturing plant.”

Her apple-shaped cheeks tinge pink. “I realize that. I just pegged you as a jack-of-all-trades type.”

“Because of the uniform? The dirt under the nails?”

She frowns and somehow looks cuter like that. “No. Because you don’t seem like the useless type.”

My ears perk up at something in her voice. Something almost…self-deprecating. Has someone actually told her that she’s useless?

Why does that piss me the fuck off?

She bites her lip in uncertainty, as if afraid she said something wrong. “Or maybe, you know, you can just buy a new door or something? They have those at Home Depot stores, right? I’ve personally never been inside one, but I hear they’ve got them around here.”

I chuckle because I think she’s being funny on purpose, but I can’t always tell with her. It’s almost as if she doesn’t recognize her own sense of humor and doesn’t understand why people might laugh at one of her jokes. Or sardonic quips. Either way, I aim to wipe that look of uncertainty off her face.

“No, you’re right. I can fix the door. I just haven’t had the time lately.”

Truthfully, I haven’t messed with the door because I like how it announces her entrance. And how it makes her angrily curse under her breath. And how she’s slightly out of sorts by the time she reaches me in the back room. I like seeing her hair falling across her forehead before she shoves it back into place. Like seeing the flush on her cheeks, rather than the porcelain doll look they usually have. In those brief seconds, I think I’m seeing the real Blair, rather than the polished, prim illusion she projects.

“I see.” She smooths her hands down her skirt, pushing her shoulders back. “So, how are the final pieces coming along?”

I take another swig of my beer to avoid staring at her legs in those tights that I know have that fucking seam up the back. “Firing up now. Should have them done by tomorrow afternoon.”

She excitedly starts tapping around on her phone. “Excellent. I can have them shipped up to New York before my flight back, and everything will still be on schedule for the exhibition on the twenty-ninth.”

“You don’t even want to look them over for approval before you ship them off?” I question. “You’re so sure these final pieces will be good?”

She peeks up at me through long, lowered lashes. “Not necessary. There’s no way I won’t like them.”

Scout’s honor, my dick turns to a full-blown erection at her compliment.

She actually likes my work.

Her eyes widen as her words finally sink in. “I-I mean, the others are all so fantastic, I doubt these will pale in comparison.”

If she’s trying to backtrack her apparent admiration for my work, she’s doing a piss-poor job, at least from my perspective.

And now my dick is hard as a fucking icicle.

Granted, if you stuck an icicle in my pants right now, it would melt in about two and half seconds. Even in December, it’s a scorcher down here in the South.

“Thank you,” I rasp, fighting to get all my bodily functions under control. “I hope they meet your expectations, then.”

Her eyes stay on me for silent moments, baffling me. She never holds eye contact with me for this long. It’s like she makes a point not to.

“Trust me.” Her voice is barely above a whisper. “They’ll exceed them.”


Author Bio:

Melanie grew up in the Midwest, but she loves living in the Southeast (where the beaches are!) now with her husband and daughter.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!

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Blitz | A Christmas Love Song by Andee Reilly

A Christmas Love Song
Andee Reilly
Publication date: November 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He gave her a song. She gave him Christmas.

Once a huge pop star, Jake Wilder hasn’t written a hit song in over ten years. Stuck playing small-time venues where only his most dedicated fans remember him, a comeback seems improbable. But even those gigs are quickly drying up, and if Jake doesn’t do something soon, he’ll slide into permanent has-been oblivion. In a twist of fate, a record executive with a soft spot for retro artists, holds a competition in search of pop musicians to write a new Christmas classic.

Longing to become a serious and respected journalist, Mackenzie Stone scoffs at her latest assignment to write a profile about a washed-up pop singer. She would prefer to cover hard news rather than light stories assigned by her editor who seems unwilling to give her a chance. Determined to write a noteworthy story and at the same time prove herself, it’s up to Mackenzie to help inspire Jake to compose a Christmas classic.

As Jake struggles to overcome his anxieties and write a great song, Mackenzie digs for a story of substance. Together they find love while also discovering the true meaning of Christmas.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Mackenzie Stone stormed into her editor’s office at The Sunrise Press. “Mr. Hughes, you do realize I have a degree in journalism and political science.”

He let out a harsh breath. On several occasions, he’d asked her not to raise her voice, especially in front of the rest of the staff. Not that he’d ever fire her. She was hands down his best reporter.

There were exactly two things she hated: being told what to do and getting assigned fluff pieces.

“I’ve said it a million times.” He looked up from the plant he was watering. She admired his green thumb since she could barely keep her Chia pet alive.

“The political news comes straight from The Associated Press. Our focus is on community events and human-interest stories,” he said.

“And you think what’s going on in the rest of the world isn’t of human interest?” She slapped her hand on the desk for effect. He jumped. Too gentle to be in the cutthroat business of big league journalism in her opinion. Though The Sunrise Press was hardly big league. How he lasted over forty years at the paper was a miracle.

She took in a deep breath. Her father always said her temper would lead to trouble. There was also the whole red-headed stereotype. More than once she’d been called hot-headed and told it had something to do with her flaming red hair. This narrow-minded assumption usually irritated her even more.

“All I’m asking for is a serious story. I need something with grit.”
Mr. Hughes set down the watering can and scratched his head, pushing his gray hair so it stood up in all directions. She stopped herself from smoothing the wayward strands and, while she was at it, straightening the sagging shoulders of his cardigan sweater. He was like the unkempt, sweet old grandfather she wished for as a kid.

He finally said, “Take it easy, Lois Lane. You’ll get your chance at the Pulitzer someday.”

She brushed off the Lois Lane comment. Profiling Superman would be a lot more interesting than the story he had assigned her. “The whole world’s going to pot, and you want me to profile some washed-up pop star named Jake Wilder?”

“Everybody loved him. You know that song,” he said. “‘We looked out at the city lights that night’,” he sang. “‘The connection we both felt, it seemed so right’.”

Not bad. She was getting too distracted and needed to drive the point home that nobody would care about this story. “Yeah, well I had to Google him, and so will the mere handful of people who may want to read about him.”

“Believe it or not, young lady, pop music didn’t begin with Lady Gaga, or whoever it is you’re listening to these days.”

“But there are plenty of washed-up stars to profile. Why him?” “I think the term you’re looking for is retro.”
She imagined that’s how Mr. Hughes referred to himself as well. “If you Googled him, then you should know the answer,” he said. “He’s a local boy. Born and raised in Pasadena. Probably grew up right down the street from you.”

Her family knew everybody in their private, very exclusive neighborhood. She would’ve heard if they had a celebrity, even a former one, in their midst.

“He hasn’t even cinched the deal.” She’d been informed earlier about the details of the contest. Jake Wilder was only one of several artists competing for the shot. “His Christmas song could be a disaster and the story a huge waste of our time.”

“Let me worry about that,” Mr. Hughes said.

“This is so lame.” She slumped into the chair across from him. For five years she’d been compiling a portfolio of important stories that might land her a job at one of the major newspapers. This Jake Wilder nonsense wouldn’t make the cut.

“I got a call from Jake’s manager today. He said we’d have exclusive access to the whole process—from Jake accepting the challenge, to writing the song, to waiting for the call,” he said, punctuating every stage with an animated hand gesture. He was excited about the story, and she knew she’d lost the battle.

“I don’t even like Christmas.” She hoped he wouldn’t remember her desk was covered in Christmas decorations.

He leaned his head back and laughed. “Everybody around here knows the truth. You’re crazy about Christmas.”

Mackenzie had to admit. There was a story. She only had to dig it up.

Author Bio:

Andee Reilly was born and raised in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert. After many years of teaching writing and literature at California State University, Channel Islands, Andee moved to Maui to pursue her dream of teaching at the University of Hawaii, writing full-time, and surfing the beautiful waves of Hawaii. To learn more, visit http://www.andeereilly.com

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Blitz | There’s A Dead Girl In My Yard by Angela Page and Mia Altieri

There’s A Dead Girl In My Yard
Angela Page & Mia Altieri
Publication date: December 1st 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Crime

Inspired by true events!

The life of Poppy, a struggling actress, is turned upside down when she witnesses the burial of an urn in her yard. Poppy gets entangled with the “dead girl,” Dalia, a Latina health guru, whose mourners show up in the yard, and whose criminal antics, ranging from Miami to New York to L.A., sent her into a witness protection program.

Why does Poppy agree to mourner manage Dalia’s burial site?

Dead Dalia’s fan club overwhelm Poppy with their visits, as do the dangerous signs of Dalia’s former life as healer and thief. Still, Poppy finds that wearing Dalia’s clothes bring her good luck in auditions and that Dalia’s luscious, Latin lovers are irresistible. Is Dalia really dead? Once Poppy is accused of complicity with Dalia’s crimes, she wants everything Dalia out of her life.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Just after I moved into the guesthouse, they buried a dead girl in my yard. That’s when my life turned upside down and inside out for the second time. The first time was when the doctors rearranged my colon.

I was thrilled to move into the Topanga Canyon guesthouse, a boho-chic area north of Los Angeles. I knew about Topanga from growing up in the nearby San Fernando Valley. Now, as a struggling, mostly unemployed actress, I was living in a shitty, Hollywood neighborhood. Although it was a cute, little bungalow, the environment was killing me—dirty, filthy, hot, too much traffic, zero fresh air, noisy and people living on the edge. Hollywood was no longer glamorous. And parking was a son of a bitch. Also, at age forty-six, I was done stepping over homeless people. Sorry-not-sorry, and I deserved different and better. Even though many times, I had been close to homeless myself.

The universe spoke when I met Lily Jin at a Hollywood acting workshop. She was an exotic-looking and a mixed something. A twenty-two-year-old gal, and a lite-Buddhist, like me. I usually do just enough chanting to keep the demons and gremlins away for the day.

Lily was wearing torn jeans over her long, model-like legs and a midriff exposing a flat, firm tummy. There was not an ounce of fat anywhere.

Oh, to be twenty again and be able to eat, drink, smoke and snort anything. That was several decades behind me. My five-six, lanky frame was getting flabby. Yes, even skinny people can get flabby. I was now in yucky perimenopause, with the last of my overcooked eggs dropping into withering fallopian tubes and heading down through my dried-up hoo-ha. Luckily, at first glance, you can’t tell this is happening unless you’re airport security staff.

My dirty blonde shoulder length hair only needed a bit of henna to hide the grey and my brown eyes were still bright and youthful. This helped my agent place me in the thirty-five-to-forty-five roles, despite being in my mid-forties.

To date, no surgery, minimal fillers and injectables. However, as I headed towards the half-century mark, I would revisit. In the meantime, I strove to sharpen my acting skills, and let gravity have its way with me.

While in the workshop, Lily and I tried following the acting exercise. As we were pretending to be wounded sheep during an alien invasion, Lily whispered to me, asking if I knew of anyone who wanted to rent her guesthouse. After the workshop, we went to the El Compadre on Sunset to discuss the details. We were served frozen skinny margs, then toasted each other and became besties in an instant. When Lily told me that the guesthouse was in Topanga Canyon, I shouted over the mariachi band, “I’ll take it, I’ll take it, I’ll take it!” Even sight unseen and not knowing the price, she had me at “Topanga Canyon.”

I had heard about Topanga. It was crawling with the famous and the has-beens who never were. The town was known for its eclectic artists and colorful history, including one of the Manson family murders. During the Hollywood golden age, it was the weekend getaway hotspot for the now-dead stars you can see on the Turner Classic Movie channel. It had changed, but still had some leftover glamour and pricey homes. I was already fantasizing about living among the stars, wearing designer sunglasses and sipping champagne.

Before Lily would show me the property, we had to chant together while we were still drinking at El Compadre. The place was crowded, and the mariachi band was still in high gear. I knew I looked skeptical about chanting.

“Come on, we can do it. Tune the Mexicans out,” Lily said as she closed her eyes and chanted.

The waiter came by and made a comment. But I only caught, “Locas.” I kept one eye open and one closed while I chanted with Lily. It felt like a minute, and then she paused. We both instinctually did a pinkie swear. As we exhaled, we vowed to make this living situation work. I was cleared to visit the digs. But the rent Lily was going to charge was under market. So, was there a catch: leaking roof, Peeping Toms, bad plumbing, crawling with critters?


Author Bio:

Angela Page is a writer, film producer, and graduate of The London School of Economics and New York University.

“THERE’S A DEAD GIRL IN MY YARD” is her latest co-authored released inspired by real events!

“SUDDENLY SINGLE SYLVIA,” a novella and dating guide and the basis for the award-winning short film “SYLVIA.”

“MATCHED IN HEAVEN,” a comic fantasy romance, was the winner of the 2015 New Apple humor category and 2015/16 Readers’ Views award winner in romance.

Her short stories have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She wrote and produced the multi award-winning comedy short, “Unplugging Aunt Vera” which is featured on the SHORTS TV channel. Her other short works can be seen on IndiPix Unlimited and FunnyorDie

Website / Goodreads / Instagram


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Blitz | Christmas in the Highlands by Suzy Henderson

Christmas in the Highlands
Suzy Henderson
Publication date: December 12th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When Niamh Macdonald’s world crumbles, her roots call her home.

A feel-good holiday romance set in the Scottish Highlands at Christmas.

When artist Niamh Macdonald uncovers her boyfriend’s affair, she leaves her job and city life behind and flees home to the sleepy hamlet of Arden in the Scottish Highlands. Having inherited her late grandmother’s cottage, she vows to make a fresh start and pursue her dream of a career as an artist.

Love is the furthest thing on her mind until she bumps into her old friend, Alex Mackenzie, heir to Arden Castle. Sparks fly between the pair but swiftly wane when Alex inadvertently scuppers Niamh’s business plans. Niamh retreats to consider her options.

Can she make her home in Arden and can she ever forgive Alex?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Arden

Niamh MacDonald was almost home. As she drove by fields and hedgerows, smoke rose in straggly lines from croft chimneys at the foot of the mountains. With her foot, she squeezed the brake pedal as she approached Loch Melfort, the ocean waters of which lay flat and still; lead-grey, reflecting the mountains and the blue cloudless sky. Cold, uninviting, yet the scene warmed her heart and a smile emerged on her lips for the first time since leaving Leeds.

The late autumn sunlight glared through the windscreen as she turned into the drive of her late grandmother’s cottage, Arden House. As she swung into the drive, she drove slowly over the rutted, stony tree-lined track now mostly covered with a fine carpet of grass. Above the towering pines, a buzzard glided through the infinite cloudless sky. She squinted into the light as she parked, casting a furtive glance at her gran’s old silver Range Rover that sat in the open fronted barn at the side of the house. Goodness, that wouldn’t start now. Was it even road worthy? Niamh huffed out a breath.

She clambered out of her black Honda CRV, her thighs tight, lower back aching from the long drive. She tugged her blue pinstriped shirt down and wiggled her hips as she hitched up her skinny black jeans. Thirty minutes away from Oban and she was in a remote haven surrounded by mountains, lochs, wildlife, and a castle. The local village housed one public inn, a village store and post office.

The wind puffed, shaking the boughs free of autumn’s leaves, sending them scuttling around her feet like confetti in hues of scarlet, gold, and amber. Suddenly, she felt the ache of loss and failure and sucked in a deep breath. All the dreams she’d had and clung to. She’d studied art at university, dreamt of holding extravagant exhibitions, travelling the world, painting her way, selling originals like hot cakes.

Reality was a harsh taskmaster. Working in pubs, supermarkets while painting in every spare minute and holding scrappy two-bit exhibitions in downtown art galleries which yielded minimal sales. Still, she’d tried her best and often told herself she needed to keep going. She remembered a rather crude expression of her grandmother’s, who often said, “In Churchill’s own words, keep buggering on.”

Niamh smiled, a pang nipping her heart. When she was fourteen, her parents died in a car accident, so she’d gone to live with Gran. The landscape of the Highlands inspired her over the years. The mountains and hills rose all around, their energy simmering in the air. Her heart bloomed. In Arden, she grieved, and later, fell in love for the first time.

On a grey drizzly day, descending from Glencoe, she’d slipped on loose scree and sprained her ankle. Her friend, Anna, didn’t know what to do. Niamh had insisted on getting to her feet and leaned on Anna for support. As she hobbled along, a young man emerged from the mist. Dark hair, coffee-bean eyes, with long lashes. Such a handsome face. ‘Do you need help?’ he said. Of course, Anna jumped at the offer, squealed like a little girl in delight whereas Niamh longed for the ground to swallow her whole, her cheeks burning as he gazed into her eyes. ‘I’m Alex,’ he said. ‘Here, put your arm round my shoulders.’ Then he slipped his arm around her waist before helping her down the mountain. Their friendship bloomed and matured like the fine rambling roses in Gran’s Garden. Niamh hid her growing attraction as they hung out together during school holidays and at weekends. Later, university beckoned for them both. Alex left for St Andrews and she to Leeds. They both promised they’d write, but that soon petered out.

The past eleven months had been bleak. Catching her partner, Tom, in a clinch with a younger woman at his office party a few months back was the icing on the cake. Afterwards, she discovered it wasn’t his first indiscretion. How could she have been so blind? Her bruised heart ached, but it would heal in Arden.

Author Bio:

Suzy Henderson is the author of The Beauty Shop, Madame Fiocca, and SPITFIRE, novels which are set during the turbulent times of World War Two.

Her debut novel, The Beauty Shop, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. It is based on the true story of pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe, and the Guinea Pig Club – an exclusive club for RAF pilots and airmen who required plastic surgery as a result of their war injuries and were under the care of this enigmatic New Zealander.

Madame Fiocca is also based on a true story. This gripping adventure follows the tempestuous life of SOE heroine, Nancy Wake before and during the Second World War.

Suzy lives with her family on the edge of the Lake District, where she can be found rambling around lakes, country lanes or roaming the fells. Armed with a pen, a love of reading and a growing obsession with military and aviation history, she is often lost in the 1940s, writing historical fiction.

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Blitz | Only Sometimes by Felicia Blaedel

Only Sometimes
Felicia Blaedel
(The Without Filter Series, #3)
Publication date: December 9th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Disagreeing from the first time they meet, Noah and Niko know exactly how to push each other’s buttons while they fight the intense pull between them. But when they’re forced to work together, they might realise that their connection runs deeper than frustration and lust.

Niko is driven and ambitious, even when it’s misconceived as cold and measured. Her latest project is her great-grandmother’s nature organisation. Niko is determined to see it thrive again and hopefully understand herself and her broken family better in the process. Getting a handle on her inconvenient feelings is a must too.

Noah has made a promise to set things right and honour his eccentric grandfather’s hard work. Even when that means taking on an active role in a small nature organisation, while hiding his true identity. He is busy enough as it is with university, work, and late nights of writing. Still, he can’t help but care about the organisation. Or the fierce woman who always seems to make his life harder.

Only Sometimes is a new adult frenemies to lovers romance set in Copenhagen, Denmark (with a getaway to a gorgeous Swedish forest). It’s book three in the Without Filter Series, but it can be read as a complete standalone. Only Sometimes is a steamy slow-burn romance, and it contains spicier content than the previous two books in the series.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Noah’s POV

When I hear Niko’s laugh, I stop so abruptly that an older man almost stumbles into me. It’s sweet and songful and a stark contrast to her usual sharp tone—but then again, I think she reserves that one just for me. My eyes zero in on her in no time, always so damned attuned to her every move. She’s standing next to the bar chatting, but I only notice her. My mouth is dry, and a drink would probably help, but I can’t seem to move.

She’s wearing a simple pale green summer dress that shows off her trained shoulders and arms. It’s almost floor-length, and her hair is up and pinned with a fresh pink flower. It makes me think of midsummer nights and dancing under the stars. Her deep red lips form a crooked smile, and then suddenly, her eyes cut to mine. For a moment, we’re simply looking at each other, her smile still lingering. I don’t realise that I’m walking before I’m standing right in front of her.

I’m pretty much invading Niko’s personal space without planning to. Our closeness screams of an intimacy that we don’t share and never will. She’s abandoned whatever conversation she was having, waiting for me to speak. I was the one to run over here like a man on a mission, but my throat is so dry and my mind is scattered.

She’s breathing lightly, like she’s afraid to make a sound, but her eyes are all challenge and fire. A touch of pink colours her cheeks, and I notice a faint dusting of freckles on her light skin. Heat rushes over me—embarrassment that I’m standing there staring like an idiot with an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch her.

Niko is fucking magnetic. Her beauty is a contrast I can’t get enough of, no matter how much it pisses me off. Her body is toned and firm, likely capable of kicking my arse, but she’s still delicate and feminine, almost like something out of a fairy tale.

My hand lifts on its own accord, but I hide the motion by clenching my fists, frustrated with myself. I’m burning, but I doubt it has anything to do with the evening sunshine.

Niko straightens ever so slightly, her eyes narrowing. The challenge in them grows stronger until it overpowers every bit of softness left. It’s my fault. I probably look like a mad man. Aggressive. She must think I’m about to pick a fight with her. I briefly close my eyes and take my first full breath since I raced over here.

“Hi,” I say hoarsely as I refocus on her.

“Hi, Noah. You clean up nicely,” Niko answers, an amused smile playing on her lips.

The compliment shocks me, but maybe it was supposed to because she looks entertained. Perhaps she’s sarcastic. I want to smack my head into something hard for overthinking. I also want to compliment her, but I have no idea what to say that won’t give too much away and make working with her even harder.

I’m too slow, as Niko rolls her eyes. “Don’t look so scared. Just because I appreciate seeing you in something other than those awful, convertible hiking shorts does not mean we’re friends. You don’t have to look so torn up.” Her voice is sugary and unaffected, but her eyes look hurt as she scans the rest of the party.

It’s as if someone turned off the mute button on the whole event as the sound of chit chat, laughter and clinking glasses overwhelms me.


Author Bio:

Felicia writes quirky, heartfelt, and steamy romance with real, flawed characters.

Felicia’s books have themes about being true to yourself, and she is passionate about mental health and authenticity. As an adult, Felicia received professional confirmation that she is actually autistic.

Felicia hangs out (too much) on Instagram where she posts about her author journey, mum-life, flowers, dinosaurs, musings about autism and anxiety, book recommendations, and much more. She would love it if you came by and said hello. @feliciablaedel

Make sure to follow Felicia on Goodreads and Amazon so you don’t miss a new release.

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Blitz | It’s a Wonderful Lie by Wren Michaels

It’s a Wonderful Lie
Wren Michaels
(Heaven on Earth, #1)
Publication date: December 9th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

He was sent to save her life, but ended up losing his heart, memories, and clothes.

Eden Credere should be in Barbados with her new husband. Instead, it was like she married Murphy and his law was ruining her life. She’d lost her dad, her job, her best friend, and her fiancé. After drowning her sorrows with rum and eggnog on Christmas Eve, she takes a tumble in a tree lot with a Douglas Fir, sending Eden over the edge.

Theliel has watched over Eden her entire life, from her first steps to her latest, where she dove in a tree lot. He’s always been there to save her, and this time should have been no different—until it was. As her guardian angel, he’s not supposed to be seen, but one corporeal slip-up later, and he’s got a lot of explaining to do.

As Theliel works to convince Eden why the world is a much better place with her in it, he finds himself the one falling, and it’s Eden who catches his heart. In a twist of fate, Theliel must not earn his wings, but his humanity by convincing Eden they’re meant to be together.

The only problem is neither of them remember who he is when he wakes up on Christmas morning in a snowbank with no memories and no clothes. With the magic of Christmas in the air, love in their hearts, a vision of yoga pants, and maybe a little help from their “friends”, all they have to do is believe.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Swiping my tearstained face, I made my way over to the myriad of trees and tried to make a quick decision. I had to get out of there fast. I couldn’t “people” anymore today. I would either end up a blubbering mess under the blow-up lawn ornaments or in jail from high-fiving the heartless cashier right in the face who couldn’t fork over thirty cents to help a kid buy a Christmas wreath.

In my unstable mindset, I made the poor choice to go for the nine-foot Douglas fir. As I yanked the leaning tree from the fence, little did I know I held a death trap in the palm of my sticky hand. The laws of physics mocked my existence as the tree toppled over, taking my five-foot, six-inch frame with it.

It’s completely true how your life flashed before your eyes in those last seconds of mortality. Mine happened to be stuck on repeat of Grayson stuffing Suzie as I cursed his name in all six languages I spoke. If he hadn’t cheated on me, I’d be in Barbados as Mrs. Jilani, not splattered on the floor of Trees-R-Us as the jilted Eden Credere.

Instead of hitting the cold, snow-covered ground, something strong cradled the back of my head, radiating a warmth that caressed my skin and soothed what should have been my shattered bones. I would have sworn there were no customers around me as I hid my ever-blackening soul in the back forty of the tree lot. No one could have caught me that fast. Then again, one hundred pounds of Douglas fir swallowed my face, so my vantage point skewed a bit.

“Thank you, Lord,” I whispered on the breath that whooshed out of my lungs.

A melodic yet husky chuckle vibrated around me, filling me with the same warmth that held my head in some bubble of safety. Maybe I did hit the ground, and the warmth was a pool of my own blood. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities with as much rum and eggnog as I’d consumed earlier.

“Believe me, I am not the Lord.” A voice surrounded me, and heat tingled straight to my toes, as if his tone resonated just for my ears.

“Oh good, because if you were, I’d be really upset that I’m meeting him in yoga pants and no makeup.” Sometimes the things that came out of my mouth missed the sanity filter in my brain.

Another chuckle vibrated against me before it halted, followed by a sharp intake of air. “You heard that?”

With pine needles burrowing into my closed eyelids, I couldn’t be sure I was actually talking to another person and not just myself. “Heard what?”

“What I said. I didn’t mean for you to hear it.” Worry strained his words as he softened his voice.

“You didn’t exactly whisper it, and seeing as how you caught me like a ninja, you had to be nearby. Which reminds me, I still have a tree on my face. I don’t suppose you’d help get it off me? I’ll buy you a coffee or a beer or something.”

“I’m so sorry. Of course. I…I was caught off guard. Let me help you up,” he stammered.

“Well, I suppose anyone would be caught off guard while having to dive for some stranger being eaten by a tree. Unless you’re like a lumberjack and see that kind of thing all the time.” The spiked eggnog I’d had for breakfast now seemed like a really bad idea as the stupid tumbled out of my mouth in droves.

His harmonious chuckle returned and enveloped me again, like tiny ripples of pleasure bouncing off my body. I loved this man’s laugh, and I hadn’t even seen his face. In the span of thirty seconds, I’d developed some freaky fetish where all I wanted to do was have him laugh near me so I could swaddle in the warmth and happiness of his voice.

Shit, what the hell did I put in that eggnog? Was it expired?

“Hold still,” the mystery man said.

He eased me to the ground. Cold snow soaked the back of my head, my hair sucking it up like a slushy. I cursed the blasted New Jersey winters in three ancient tongues. I’d probably pay for that later, but as an archaeologist, I rarely got to use all the dead languages I studied. Now seemed like a good time.

The tree whisked away from my face, and I blinked my eyes open. The gasp that followed sucked in so much cold air, an erratic series of hiccups erupted. Another sign I was more than likely drunk—Thor hovered over me, or at least he could have passed for his twin brother. Thick blond locks of hair danced across his broad shoulders in the light breeze, framing his marble-smooth, chiseled face. The bluest eyes I’d ever seen sparkled like an ocean, and if I stared into them long enough, I was sure they’d take me to a whole other world. Those eyes looked hauntingly familiar. Where had I seen them before?

“You’ve got quite the naughty mouth, Eden,” he said, warming me with his voice and a smile that probably dropped a lot of panties. He slid his arms under my back and lifted me from the ground as if I weighed nothing. Boy, would he have a backache in the morning.

“How do you know my name? Have we met before?” I blinked again, reassuring myself I hadn’t passed out and that I was indeed alive, awake, and in Thor’s arms.

“Um, your driver’s license was on the ground. Must have fallen out when the tree landed on you.” He glanced away from my inquiring stare.

Hmm, plausible, since I had stuffed my debit card and license in my pocket instead of carrying a purse today. I only planned on getting a tree and going right back home. I dared not go anywhere else on Christmas Eve with all the crazies on the road.

I slipped my hand into my pocket and found both cards there. Did he put it back? Surely I would have felt it. But it had been a while since I’d had a man’s hand in my pants. Grayson and I stopped having sex about six months before the marriage that never happened. He wanted the wedding night to be special. Yeah, so special because he was basting the neighbor.

Wait, he said I had a naughty mouth, meaning this dude knew I cursed in a dead language. Or maybe he assumed it was cursing, since Aramaic and ancient Greek sounded a lot like my angry Italian mother.

Author Bio:

Wren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, heart-fluttering romance, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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Blitz | Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain by Lindy Miller

Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain
Lindy Miller
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: December 7th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

Screenplay by the writer of Rescuing Madison and
A Lesson in Romance (Hallmark), and the forthcoming Aloha with Love.

Christmas isn’t fashion editor Roxanne Hudson’s style, but when she finds herself snowed in with a handsome stranger, she might just discover the magic of the season after all.

Roxanne Hudson does not like the holidays. They come with too many family obligations that take her away from work as a rising fashion editor in New York City. But this Christmas might be Grandma Myrtle’s last, and Roxanne’s parents want her to spend the holiday at the family cabin in the Green Mountains. With her boyfriend out of the country for a photo shoot, Roxanne decides to brave the long commute—and the wilderness—to spend Christmas in Vermont.

After an uncomfortable call from her boyfriend starts the trip off badly, Roxanne is blindsided by a blizzard on the snowy mountain road, where the last thing she hears before losing consciousness is sleigh bells. When she’s rescued by Mark Foster, a handsome park ranger who’s the exact opposite of everything she always thought she wanted, Roxanne seeks her grandmother’s wisdom and discovers an uncanny connection that could be a sign of what her life is really meant to be.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“You’re seriously going to drive all the way to Vermont to spend Christmas with family you haven’t seen in years?”

Spencer’s voice was so thick with sarcasm Roxanne couldn’t decide which part of what he’d said offended him the most.

Her work bestie slumped dramatically against the high wall of her cubicle, fanning at himself. The perfection of his coiffed hair and meticulously starched clothes might have given the impression that Spencer Chen was impervious to the indignities of human emotion, but the expression on his face said plainly he was not. At the present, he was wearing the most severe of his trademark histrionic faces: upper lip drawn back to expose a row of pearly white teeth, nostrils flared, expertly sculpted eyebrows arched. The look said he hated everything that had just come out of his mouth.

All of it.

Don’t encourage him. Roxanne bit her lip and willed herself to stay silent. When Spencer got on a roll, it was best to just let him tire himself out. Working in the fashion industry had earned her a closet full of designer labels and, along with them, the kid gloves necessary to handle the drama queens in her life, including Spencer. Usually, Roxanne enjoyed his dramatic reactions to everyday happenings—so long as they weren’t directed at her.

Like now.

She opened her mouth to speak, but Spencer wasn’t finished.

“In a log cabin,” he added, stabbing his index finger upward to punctuate each word. A shudder passed through his body as he dropped his palm over his heart. He was so spun up he actually looked faint.

“I am.” Roxanne drew her response out and bit her lip. Maybe if she said the words slowly, they wouldn’t spin him back up.

Spencer closed his eyes and sucked his teeth, still fanning.

She sighed. “It’s not as bad as you’re making it sound, though, Spence. Seriously.”

“Oh, honey.” Spencer’s eyes snapped open with an exaggerated pop. “It absolutely is. You’re Divine, remember? Being divine isn’t just a job; it’s a lifestyle. And there’s nothing cute about spending the biggest holiday of the year in the sticks.”


Author Bio:

Lindy Miller is an entrepreneur, award-winning professor, and publishing professional. In 2011, Miller was part of the executive leadership team that founded Radiant Advisors, a data and business intelligence research and advisory firm, where Miller developed and launched the company’s editorial and research divisions, and later its data visualization practice, for clients that included 21st Century Fox Films, Fox Networks, Warner Bros., and Disney. She is the author of numerous papers and two textbooks under the name of Lindy Ryan, The Visual Imperative: Creating a Culture of Visual Discovery (Elsevier) and Visual Data Storytelling with Tableau (Pearson) Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Entrepreneurship and Strategy, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate in Education, Organizational Leadership.

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Blitz | Accidentally In Love by Danica Flynn

Accidentally In Love
Danica Flynn
(MacGregor Brothers Brewing Company, #1)
Publication date: December 7th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

At thirty-five and single, I’m tired of the dating game. Tired of men who look at me and say, “You’d be prettier if you shed a few pounds.”

There’s only one man I want a future with — my grouchy friends with bene fits, Nolan. But he’s adamant about keeping things casual.

All that changes when one night we get careless, and those pink lines show up on the pregnancy test months later.

Nolan wants to do right by me. He wants to give me what I’ve been searching for, but I’m pretty sure he’s only doing it out of obligation. It’s not like the bearded brewmaster loves me like I love him.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Eden Books

EXCERPT:

Are you sure you don’t have the flu or something?” Gemma asked from across the kitchen table, stirring her burrito bowl in thought.

Gemma lived in South Philly, but commuted to the brewery in Drakesville. When we could, we’d have dinner together before her shift. I tried to cancel tonight, but she insisted. My sister could be needy.

I shrugged and pushed my untouched bowl of food out of the way. I had zero appetite tonight.

“PMS?” she asked.

I stared back at her in silence.

“Avs, when did you last get your period?”

“Not since before the Arts Fest,” I admitted in a low whisper.

Her eyes turned to saucers. “That was two months ago!”

I cringed. “Maybe it’s stress?”

Gemma looked horrified.

When Gemma was in college, she had a pregnancy scare, and I drove all the way up to State College to be with her. She didn’t want kids, and an unplanned pregnancy hadn’t been in the cards. She ended up not being pregnant and got her period the next day, but to this day, she always was stressed if it was late. If Gemma had been in my shoes, she wouldn’t have ignored the signs. She would have taken a pregnancy test the day her period was late.

She stood up and put on her coat.

I furrowed my brow at her. “Where are you going?”

She glared at me. “Going to the pharmacy to get a pregnancy test.”

Before I could argue, she ran down the steps and out of my apartment. I cringed at my door slamming shut behind her.

Gemma was gone for maybe fifteen minutes before she clomped back up the steps and waved a bag of pregnancy tests in my face.

“Come on, let’s take these,” she said and led me into my bathroom.

Ten minutes later, we stared down at the third and final pregnancy test and waited for the results. The first two tests were positive, so I didn’t have a good feeling about this one. I knew I was pregnant before those pink lines showed up on the first test, but I didn’t want to accept it. I ignored what my body told me and tried to will the pregnancy away. I had even been avoiding Nolan because if I had seen him, I would have burst into tears and told him everything.

My timer chimed, and I handed the testing stick to my sister. “Please look. I can’t.”

She gave me a sympathetic smile. “Oh, Avs,” she cooed and squeezed my hand in comfort.

“I’m pregnant, aren’t I?” I sobbed.

Author Bio:

Danica Flynn is a marketer by day, and a writer by nights and weekends. AKA she doesn’t sleep! She is a rabid hockey fan of both The Philadelphia Flyers and the Metropolitan Riveters. When not writing, she can be found hanging with her partner, playing video games, and reading a ton of books.

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Blitz | Heart of Gold by Quinn Coleridge

Heart Of Gold
Quinn Coleridge
Publication date: November 19th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Workaholic attorney Simon Phillips negotiates multi-million dollar deals in the tech world, but he’s secretly falling apart. With an ulcer, insomnia, and a growing dependence on alcohol, Simon conceals his dark side from the other partners at his firm, until the day he wakes up on a bathroom floor in his good Tom Ford suit, smelling of Jose Cuervo. Simon barely remembers his intoxicated rant from the night before, but it lands him with a forced leave of absence and two months of community service.

After choosing to perform his service at an obscure nonprofit medical clinic, Simon meets Dr. Kate Spencer. A dedicated physician and widow at twenty-eight, Kate knows how painful love can be, and she doesn’t trust workaholic lawyers. Especially ones with cool blue eyes and a history of breaking hearts.

Yet a rocky friendship develops between these two world-weary souls, and when dangers from Kate’s past emerge, somehow Simon is the one standing at her side.

Can love help them heal? Or will they miss their chance at happiness?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Life was good twenty-four hours ago.

Was being the key word. Past tense.

Simon Phillips knew this in his gut. Just as he knew everything since then had gone to hell somehow.

Where am I? What happened? His muscles felt stiff where they rested on a hard, cold surface of some kind. Blinking rapidly, Simon opened his eyes against the blinding light overhead and inhaled a cinnamon sugar scent, thinking suddenly of the snickerdoodle cookies his grandmother had baked years ago. He detected something else as well.

Is that tequila?

The floor gleamed white beneath him. Simon recognized the Carrara marble and realized with sudden horror that he was in the executive bathroom at his law firm. While his brain urgently told him to move, his motor skills struggled to obey. The room spun when Simon finally pulled himself to his knees. He exhaled slowly and noticed the snickerdoodle-impersonating air freshener attached to the wall. More surprising still, the essence of Jose Cuervo clung to him like cheap cologne.

Leaning his head against a nearby sink, Simon tried to remember. What’s with the booze? And why am I on the floor in my Tom Ford suit?

Then, through the mental fog, the memories came flooding back in gruesome Technicolor. It can’t be true.

Except that it was.

“Shoot me now,” Simon muttered. “I’m as good as dead anyway.”

Leonard Cronin walked through the door at that moment. “Would that I could oblige you but there are laws against that type of thing.”

Author Bio:

Quinn Coleridge grew up in the Pacific Northwest where she learned to love rain storms and reading by a crackling fire. She wrote often in a variety of genres, studied literature as an adult, and created a humor column for a small town paper. Since moving to the desert with her husband and kids, Quinn doesn’t use her fireplace much these days, but she still loves books.

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Blitz | What Happened to Coco by VB Furlong

What Happened to Coco
VB Furlong
Publication date: December 4th 2021
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

When a girl disappears, long-buried secrets resurface…

Coco is missing. Her room’s a mess, and her phone is left behind in her dorm at Lainsbury Hall School

Ella, Coco’s childhood best friend, is desperate for her to return, although she knows that if she ever sees Coco again, there’ll be a lot of explaining to do.

Bea knows that her new group of friends attracts drama, and she thinks she has the last shred of common sense between them all. Only, if that was true, she would leave Genevieve, her toxic ex, well alone.

Conrad is confident that Coco will return safe and well. Only, the way his secrets are unravelling, he’s worried he won’t be when this is all over.

Harrison and Coco are the perfect couple. Everyone knows that. But looks can be misleading. Even the smartest boy in school can make a terrible mistake.

In order to navigate the web of secrets and lies that Coco leaves behind, her circle of friends needs to unravel a few of their own.

But the question remains: What happened to Coco?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

In the misty darkness lit only by a blue streetlamp, Ella knew that she was not alone. She turned and saw the faceless figure far down the drizzly street. It came towards her at speed. It didn’t seem to be moving, but she knew that it was gaining on her. She started to run, but her legs would not move. She was stuck, as though in quicksand.

When she dared check over her shoulder once again, the figure was only about five steps away, and she could see raspy breaths escape the black silhouette in a wispy white cloud. The scene whirred in front of Ella as she pulled on her legs, sobbing, begging them to move. But they would not. All she could hear was the breathing, slow and rattling, as though it was the figure’s very last. Four. Three. Two.

It was the skeletal hand on her shoulder that woke her. In the darkness of her room, she was alone. She turned her alarm off and felt uneasy in the silence. She was soaking wet, her back from sweat, her face from tears.

She washed her face, hardly daring to open her eyes and look into the mirror above the sink. She felt watched, hunted. As she brushed her teeth, she turned on all her lights and opened the dreary brown curtains that Lainsbury Hall School had placed in all the dorms. But even in her bright vanity lamps that took over her dressing table, drowning her in bright white light as she did her make up, her eyes darted around the corners of her mirrors, checking all angles of the room in the reflection for the faceless spectre. She was not herself today. Then again, she hadn’t been herself yesterday, either.

Author Bio:

VB Furlong is a trainee lawyer and writer of young adult novels living in Berkshire, UK. She wrote her first “novel” at aged ten and has not stopped since then. Through her writing she aims to explore many of the issues she faced herself growing up, in the hopes that others facing the same issues feel some solidarity. Her friendships are a huge part of her life and consequently is a major theme in her writing, exploring the way in which we interact with each other, especially in difficult times.

Originally from Mumbles, Swansea, VB Furlong enjoys the sun and the sea, and walking her three dogs across the cliffs. These walks have offered her inspiration for many pieces of writing, including What Happened to Coco which she is excited to introduce as a coming of age boarding school thriller.

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