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NEW RELEASE ~ Kingsmen MC Collection by Tara Oakes

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The first four Kingsmen MC Books are now all together in a collection!

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*** Warning *** This collection is intended for those 18 years or older due to mature and sexual content.

Journey through Jay and Lil’s epic love story and explore the growing romance between Clink and Charlie, book after book at an incredible value.

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BOOK #1- A LIL’ LESS BROKEN

Lil’s and Jay lived their very own fairytale biker romance. He was her first love, her only love. She was what he needed, what he wanted.

Insecurities, fear and misconceptions lead Lil’s to make a heartbreaking decision to abandon that life and love behind, before it consumes and destroys her as it did her mother years earlier.

But.. moving on isn’t so easy when you are deeply connected to your past.

When Lil’s finds herself in a whirlwind of danger her knight in shining armor, er…, her badass biker on a Harley bails her out. But at what cost?

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BOOK 2- A LIL’ LESS LOST

Do fairytale’s always have a happily ever after? Jay and Lil’s had just found the love they once shared and foolishly lost. But, a horrific turn events threatens to end it forever. Jay must race against time to save his ol’ lady Lil’s and their baby before tragedy strikes. In this sequel we learn more about Jay, the deep love he has for his soulmate, and just how far he is willing to go to protect her.

This novella is approx. 50,500 words and does not contain a cliffhanger ending like it’s prequel. However, an epic love story like Lil’s and Jay cannot possibly be wrapped up in two tidy little novella’s… now can it?

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BOOK 3- A LIL’ LESS HOPELESS

Jay and Lils’ epic tale of true love has unfolded, first in ‘A Lil’ Less Broken’, followed by ‘A Lil’ Less Lost’, and now concludes in the third installment of Tara Oakes’ thrilling Kingsmen MC saga.

Jay has proven his loyalty over and over… that he is willing to do whatever necessary for his one true love, his Lil’ one, Julia. She just so happens to have an uncanny ability to find herself in need of that loyalty time and again.

What happens when the tables turn and it is Lil’s who must risk it all to save her ol’ man? To prove once and for all, to him, and to the MC they call family that she is no longer the little girl they’ve known. But instead, is a fierce ol’ lady determined not to stand idly by as everything she has worked so hard to regain is threatened.

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BOOK 4- BITTER SWEET DECEPTION

The Kingsmen M.C’s saga continues in this newest installment of Tara Oakes’ tantalizing new series. In the first three novella’s you’ve come to know and love the characters within the club. Jay and Lil’s have had their epic love story play out over the pages of “A Lil’ Less Broken”, followed by “A Lil’ Less Lost” and finally, “A Lil’ Less Hopeless”. While their fairytale is far from over, the next arc in the series concentrates on some of the other intriguing characters that have been woven throughout Jay and Lil’s storyline.

The question on everyone’s mind is…. WHO IS CHARLIE? And what is she hiding?

Planting herself deep within the club’s inner circle, Charlie came to Chisolm with one goal in mind… to destroy the Kingsmen, M.C., no matter the personal cost. An unknown hatred fuels her mission to take them down. Pairing herself up with one of the club’s bad boy’s, the M.C.’s enforcer, Clink, seemed like just the ticket to get her in the door.

Once inside the club she had been eyeing from afar, she comes to realizes things are very different from what she had imagined them to be. Villainizing the group as a whole for an injustice that was done to her many years earlier no longer seemed to fit with growing attachments and relationships she was forming.

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Author Bio

Tara is a thirty something newbie author from Long Island, New York. She’s a voracious reader, a passionate writer and obsessive junk T.V. aficionado. When she’s not doing one of those three things she is attempting to garden, hanging with her hubby or partaking in some retail therapy. She enjoys connecting with her readers and is having a blast entering into this new world of publishing.

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT and REVIEW ~ The Summer Remains by Seth King (Penny Lisa)

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Title: The Summer Remains

Author: Seth King

Release Date: Feb 14, 2015

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Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may very well end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.

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Review

5 Pennies

Some stories follow patterns and some stories blaze their own trails. The Summer Remains charts its own course in a beautifully heartbreaking way.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

On a sunny Tuesday morning towards the end of March, a white-haired man walked into a cold room and told me I might die soon.

I fidgeted on the hospital bed as Dr. Steinberg entered, the late-spring sunlight mocking me as smiled onto the industrial tile floors. I’d known Steinberg since I was four. He’d handled almost all of my throat problems, and I trusted him. He was like a second father to me, and I knew he would always tell me the truth.

That’s why the look on his face scared the living shit out of me.

I listened for the next ten minutes as he gave me the gist of the story. It was all so surreal that my mind could only catch certain phrases before the sentence would run away from me again:

Your esophagus has ruptured again, for good this time…

Your stomach is leaking more and more…

Toxicity levels are through the roof…

Your body just isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from your feeding tube any longer…

And finally, terminal.

“Terminal?” I heard myself squeak, my throat filling up with that weird, shivery feeling you get when you know your life has just changed. Steinberg suddenly became very interested in a fraying string on the sleeve of his jacket.

“T-terminal,” he stuttered. “Summer, the thing is…I’m afraid this is a…well, nobody has ever…”

He finally cleared his throat and met my gaze, tears pooling in the corners of his cerulean eyes. “Sweetheart, I am so sorry to tell you this, but this mountain may be unclimbable for you.”

My mother let out a small, sharp sob in the corner and then clapped her hands over her mouth.

“Okay, unclimbable,” I swallowed, staring down at the floor as I tried to grasp just what that word now meant to me and my family and this weird little life I had created for myself.  “Okay. Unclimbable. Okay.”

But Steinberg wasn’t done yet.

“Hold on. I said it may be unclimbable, not that it definitely will be. I want to prepare you, and I don’t want to give you any false hope, but there may be something we can do, Summer. It’s a small chance, but still, it’s a chance. A Hail Mary, if you will.”

I reached up to rub my temples. “Okay, well, survival sounds good. Better than death, I suppose. What is this Hail Mary?”

Steinberg crossed his arms, studied me for a moment, and then took out a chart and launched into a spiel about something called the Porter-Collins Procedure, an extremely major surgery that would perhaps be saving my life in three months’ time.

“Nobody has ever survived this particular operation,” he concluded a few minutes later, skipping all the medical jargon to keep from boring you to death, pardon my pun. “Nobody. It’s been attempted three times, but none of those were ultimately successful. One person survived for three months in intensive care, but she was fifty-one, and in frail health in general. We think you’re a much more viable candidate, but then again, there is no way to be sure. We can do it in two, maybe three months, after I assemble the specialists and create a game plan – considering your health doesn’t take another nosedive before then, that is. If we’re going to try this, we need you in tip-top shape – or as close to that as we can get you, anyway.”

“Okay,” I said again, sitting a little taller. “And what are the chances that this Hail Mary will even work, and that I won’t just die a few days later, anyway?”

He peered down at me from over his glasses. “I’m afraid to say that it would be stretching things to even tell you eighty/twenty.”

I steeled myself and took a breath. “Okay, well, that’s better than a hundred to zero. Let’s go out with a bang, then, Steinberg. Let’s do this.”

He threw up a fist, triumphant, but I could see the fear in his eyes. “It’s settled, then. Hail Mary it is.”

My mom rushed over to sit beside me and kind of hang onto my shoulder as some counselor woman came in who helped families handle these types of situations – “transitions,” she called them, and just hearing that word threatened to pull me under. Dr. Steinberg watched, an apology on his face, as she said things like “preparations” and “options” and “arrangements.” I tried to be polite and pay attention, but truthfully I didn’t give a damn about what she was saying. It was go time, and things were looking grim. I already knew that. The wet, metallic panic erupting in my stomach was due to an entirely different subject.

“And finally,” the counselor, Angie, said in a hushed, clipped, polite voice that spoke of years of having impossible conversations with worried families huddled in chilly waiting rooms, “I work very closely with Last Great Hope, a wonderful organization that specializes in situations like this, and if there is anything you want before the surgery, Summer – a trip to Tahiti, a cabin in the mountains, whatever – we can do it. Or if-”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said, making her stop short.

“Wh – excuse me?”

“Save the Disney trips for the twelve-year-olds,” I told her. “Spend all that money on a cancer kid or something; I know the truth about those fairy tales now. Make someone else happy – I’ve got everything I need. Or almost everything.” I paused as everyone leaned in. “I do have one request, actually. First of all, all of you are forgetting something vital.”

“Oh no, did we forget your milk?” my mom asked as she reached for her purse. “I thought I put some-”

“No, Shelly, we did not forget the baby milk I pump into my stomach tube every day to keep myself alive because my throat doesn’t work, but that does have something to do with it.”

As she pouted in my general direction I realized what a complete bitch I was being, and then I realized just as quickly that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop myself anyway.

“What is it, then?” my mom asked, stung, and I took a breath and then pushed it back out.

“Frankly, I need all of you to chill the fuck out.”

My mom dropped her purse onto her lap. Dr. Steinberg looked at me like I’d just tried to jump out of the third story window. Angie held her pen in midair and stared at me, the sun turning her brownish eyes ocher.

“Excuse me, young lady?” my mother asked. “We need to what?”

“Chill the eff out,” I said, editing my language the second time around. “Sorry, but all this emotion and drama and doom and gloom crap is already making me freak out. You’re all forgetting I’ve had a broken throat and a tube in my abdomen since I was in diapers, and that I can handle this. I’ve dealt with health scares before, and I will do it again, no matter how much scarier this Scare is than all the other Scares. Like, I know you’re trying to help and stuff, and I love you, but having meltdowns in front of me is not going to help me deal with all this, so please, I beg you, everyone take a deep breath, close your eyes, and get your panties out of a bunch.”

“We’re sorry,” my mom said after an impossibly long and awkward moment. “It’s just that we need to prepare you for…for what will happen, and-”

“Prepare me to die?” I asked. “Guess what, Shelly, I’m going to die one day, be it in three months or sixty years, and wasting all my time crying over it isn’t going to help. Here’s what I want, my one last wish – or my maybe-not-last wish, or whatever the hell this is.” A tear appeared in my mom’s eye, and I softened my voice as I reached up to wipe her cheek. “Okay. Before the surgery, I want to have a normal summer by the beach,” I began as I cleared her eye and shook the water from my finger. “I want to go to the sea and go to work and read my books and go about my business like usual without everyone breathing down my neck and treating me like A Broken Person, because if I am treated like A Broken Person for one more month of my life I will break some faces, no offense. Shelly, if you so much as make one special meal – I mean, not that I can eat or anything, because I can’t – anyway, I’m burning down the house. There will literally be a pile of smoldering ashes where your kitchen used to be, I promise.” Shelly pouted again, but I trudged through. “I’m serious, no special treatment. No Christmases in July, no excessive hugging, not even a midnight run to Target for some trinkets from the dollar section. And most of all…”

I looked around and, seeing sympathy in everyone’s eyes and knowing this request would be completely futile, said – “No sympathy. Please. The sympathy is what breaks me and makes me feel broken. If this is gonna be my last chance to live and have fun and be normal, then I’m going to need to feel as normal as possible, and that means absolutely no pity, because that separates me from everyone else and makes me Different with a capital D. And if I don’t stay in a good headspace I’m gonna spend the next three months in a fetal position in my closet having an endless anxiety attack about the surgery, so please work with me here and keep the pity locked up.”

A sigh and a smile. Shelly put her hand on mine. “I would never pity you, Summer. You’re the strongest person I know, and you always have been. You know that. We all know that. That’s not what this is about.”

I tried to smile back. “Thanks, Shelly.”

“Anytime. And can you please call me Mom, like a normal twenty-four-year-old?”

“Not a chance, Shelly.”

“Okay, fine. So, then…a Jax Beach summer? Is that really all you want?”

I paused as her words hung in the overly sanitized air. It wasn’t all, and I knew it. As I sat there I thought of the one thing I didn’t have, the one thing I’d never had, the one thing that screamed at me from the silence and jumped out at me from the shadows – and now that this upcoming summer had perhaps just become Summer’s Last Stand, my desire was suddenly more urgent than ever. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop the longing from rising to my face, and as I felt the blood burn my cheeks I caught Steinberg’s eyes again, which just embarrassed me even more.

“Well, I mean, since you’re asking, there is one thing…”

“Anything!” Shelly and Dr. Steinberg said at exactly the same time, and I stared out of the window as my eyes got all weird and watery.

“Okay, well, I know something so sentimental is going to sound crazy coming from someone so…well, you know how I am…”

“Honest?” Steinberg offered, trying to be polite.

“Opinionated?” Shelly said.

“Brash?” Angie asked, even though she’d just met me ten minutes ago and it was literally beyond embarrassing that she already held that opinion of me.

“Headstrong and stubborn and annoying,” I finally said, shoving it out of the way, and they all nodded. “Anyway, here goes. Since you’re asking, the thing is…well, I’d like to fall in love.”

I looked down at the ground again as everyone in the room broke my most important rule already: I could feel their pity descending on me, smothering me just like it had my entire life, snuffing out any chance I had at being treated like a normal, living, breathing human, who deserved to love and be loved just like anyone else, as they say in the Hallmark cards.

“Oh, honey…” Steinberg sighed.

“It just wouldn’t be fair to someone…” my mother chimed in, just as Angie the counselor lady threw in her two cents, too.

“Sweetie, you have to understand, your situation is very serious. People get irrational during times like these, and if you get involved with someone and the worst happened, well-”

I crossed my fingers behind my back and shook my head. I’d known they’d react like this – why had I even tried in the first place? Some things, I knew, were just better left unshared.

“Yeah,” I said. “Okay, yeah, you guys are right. I’ll try to…put that off, I guess. For now. God knows I have tons of time to think about it – it’s not like I’m dying or anything.”

Everyone forced quick, fake laughs and then got back to business. Unbeknownst to them, however, my mind was quickly leaving the room, flying past the barren oak branches outside the window and soaring above the clouds to someplace only I knew. My desires could not be contained by the circumstances in this room, or by sickness, or even by reality in general, really. I wanted love more than anything – this was true, as much as it humiliated me to admit it. I’d wanted love ever since I was a cookie-cutter little girl being brainwashed by cookie-cutter Disney movies about cookie-cutter princes and princesses falling into cookie-cutter love and then prancing off to their cookie-cutter castles to live out their cookie-cutter lives. And strangely enough, this desire had only deepened after the fairy tale fantasies faded away and melted into a more grown up, real-world entity known as relationship FOMO, when my condition had rendered me an observer from the social media sidelines as everyone my age paired up and got engaged and married and pregnant and then shouted about it from the Facebook treetops as loud as their keyboards would let them while I sat there single as a nun with the flu. But I didn’t want that cookie cutter love from the Disney movies and my social media feeds. I didn’t want some run of the mill summer romance that would fizzle out as soon as the sunrays slanted in the fall and the Facebook Official status went to shit.

Because I, Summer Johnson, Purveyor of Pragmatism, Lover of Logic, Ultimate Believer in the Rational, and Person Who Was Maybe Going To Die Soon, wanted to drown in someone.

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Author Bio

 

Author

Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old author and artist.

Author Links

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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CHARACTER BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY ~ SPOTLIGHT on ADAM ~ MILF – Wrong Kind of Love by Erin Noelle (Penny Lisa)

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Title: MILF: Wrong Kind of Love
Author: Erin Noelle
Genre: Erotic Romance

Photographer: FuriousFotog
Model: Michael Federico
Cover Design: Hang Le

Synopsis 3

A story of forbidden love with a side of revenge…

When my husband of nearly twenty years abruptly left me for another woman, I thought my life was over,

But I was wrong.

Wrong for thinking I was weak,

Wrong for assuming I couldn’t go on,

Wrong for believing I’d never love again.

No matter what anyone else thinks,
Wrong never felt so right.

***Only intended for readers 18+ due to explicit sexual situations and foul language***

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MILF - Meet Adam

Adam Sullivan

Mia’s son

Grayson’s best friend

Blue eyes & sandy-colored, long, curly hair that he wears in an unruly fro of sorts

Studying to be an architect

Excerpt

Grayson’s POV

An hour and a half later, Adam is shirtless and straddling a chair, presenting his bare back to Jimbo, a huge, tatted-and-pierced bald man I wouldn’t ever want to stumble across in a dark alley…or a well-lit one, for that matter. Apparently, Adam had done more than ‘think about’ getting some ink for a while, as he brought along an intricate drawing of an asymmetric geometric tattoo that I have to admit is pretty bad ass, and seeing how he’s studying to be an architect, it fits him perfectly.

As Jimbo traces the design onto some paper and then applies the stencil of it onto the skin between Adam’s shoulder blades, I scan the room, simply taking in the overall atmosphere of the place. I’m surprised to see how many people are here, people of all different ages, ethnicities, and walks of life getting either tattoos or piercings, everyone seemingly happy about the physical pain they’re about to endure.

Even though body art has become such a part of pop culture, I’ve never really considered getting any work done. Not because I’m afraid of the pain, though having a needle inserted into my body over and over again isn’t a big selling point, but because the thought of forever kind of scares me. Nothing is meant to last forever.

“All right, man, I need you to stay relaxed,” the Mr. Clean lookalike instructs. “There are a lot of straight lines in this, so if you move, the line won’t be straight. You got me?”

“I got you,” Adam replies with a curt nod before looking forward again. “Let’s do this.”

The tattoo machine fires up, and the dull buzzing that’s almost been like white noise around the shop is now much louder…meaner-sounding, like a giant, pissed-off bee about to sting you continuously. Then, as he brings the gun to his back and begins to trace the pattern, Adam’s skin immediately begins to turn bright red, partly due to agitation, and the other part from the blood droplets bubbling along the wake of the needle. Yeah, I’m never getting a tattoo.

Much to his credit, Adam takes it like a champ. All three damn hours of it. I had to get up a few times and walk around, because my back was starting to hurt and it wasn’t even me in the chair. Once he’s finished, Jimbo goes over the aftercare instructions with him as he puts his shirt back on over the saran-wrapped area, but when Adam tries to pay, he’s laughed at.

“Stella would hang me by my balls if I charged you for work in her studio, boy,” he remarks with a hearty laugh. “I’m just happy you like it.”

Adam tries to argue, but when Jimbo stands to his full height, which is probably around six-foot-eight, my friend wisely closes his mouth. He does, however, drop the four one-hundred-dollar bills he pulled out of his wallet in the artist’s tip jar.

“I took up a lot of time in your chair on a busy Friday night. If you won’t charge me, please let me tip you.”

Jimbo grumbles something I can’t make out, but he doesn’t retrieve the money and throw it at Adam, so I assume that means he accepts it. Instead, he turns to me and points his colorful finger in my direction. “Next time is your turn, pretty boy.”

“I appreciate the art, man, but I don’t think it’s for me,” I say respectfully. “There’s nothing I want permanently marked on my body.”

He crosses his arms across his chest and nods his shiny head like he’s got me all figured out. “When you find your nothing, you’ll know, and you’ll be back.”

We say one last goodbye to some of the other employees Adam has met through Aunt Stella, and then escape into the muggy summer night. Thankfully, there’s a dive bar located right next door, so we stroll across the parking lot for a cold beer before heading home. I momentarily forget about Adam not having turned twenty-one yet, but like most underage UGA students, he shows the bartender a fake ID when we’re asked.

As expected, Adam can’t stop talking about how it felt getting the tat and how he already wants to start designing another one. I can tell the adrenaline is still pumping vivaciously through his veins as he chatters ninety miles an hour and his face is glowing with enthusiasm. I sit and listen, like any good friend should, nursing my beer and discretely watching a group of girls from across the bar who’ve been eyeing us up since the moment we walked in.

When he finally stops for a breath and a drink, I nudge his shoulder. “There’s a group of hotties at your four o’clock that’ve been checking you out. Since you’re feeling so courageous tonight, I definitely think you should get at least one of their numbers.”

Truthfully, even though a couple of them look like prime one-night-stand material, I’ve got too much shit going on in my head to deal with a chick right now, and for some reason, I feel wrong taking a girl back to Mia’s place, especially just to fuck her and dismiss her. But, I definitely think Adam needs to get laid, and if it’s not tonight, he can at least start working toward that. Somehow throughout this whole divorce, he thinks he has to take on the role of a grownup, I guess to fill the void his dad left, and as someone who cares about him, it’s my job to remind him what being a college student should be about. It’s just not what I want to be about anymore.

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Author Bio

erin noelle

Erin Noelle is a Texas native, where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. While earning her degree in History at the University of Houston, she rediscovered her love for reading that was first instilled by her grandmother when she was a young child. A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current, Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels. In 2013, she published the Book Boyfriend Series, which included books Metamorphosis, Ambrosia, Euphoria, and Timeless, and recently published When the Sun Goes Down, a contemporary romance novel. Her books have been a part of the USA Today Bestselling list and the Amazon and Barnes & Noble overall Top 100

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT and VALENTINES SUPER SALE ~ One to Love by Tia Louise

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Title : One To Love

Author : Tia Louise

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Tattoos, bad boys, love…

Boxing, fame, fortune…
Loss.

It’s the one thing Kenny and Slayde have in common. Until the night Fate throws them together and everything changes.

Their chemistry is undeniable, their love blazing hot, but is history destined to repeat itself?

It’s a story about fighting. It’s about falling in love. It’s about losing everything only to find it again in the least likely place. And it’s about the one hit you never see coming.

A STAND-ALONE, ONE TO HOLD NOVEL. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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Tia Louise is the Amazon and International Bestselling author of the ONE TO HOLD series.

Her debut adult romance ONE TO HOLD was #1 in Military Romance on Amazon, a 2014 “Lady Boner” award-winner, and a Top 20 Contemporary Romance novel for several months. Subsequent books in the series have performed equally well.

From being a “Readers’ Choice” nominee two years running, to picking up USA Today “Happily Ever After” nods, nothing makes her happier than communicating with fans and weaving new tales into the Alexander-Knight world of stories.

A former journalist, Louise lives in the center of the U.S.A. with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations…

It’s possible she has a slight truffle addiction.

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Enter to WIN one of FIVE Signed Copies of ONE TO LOVE here:

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ONE TO HOLD (One to Hold, #1)

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ONE TO KEEP (One to Hold, #2)

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ONE TO PROTECT (One to Hold, #3)

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ONE TO LOVE (One to Hold. #4)

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ONE TO LEAVE (One to Hold. #5)

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.99 cent SALE BLITZ ~ A Need So Insatiable by Cecilia Roberts (Penny Lisa)

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“You’ve owned me from the moment I walked into that music room. You’ve wrapped yourself in my heart and mind. I can’t get you out. I don’t want to.” ~ Rafael Van Rees

Sophie Fisher’s life is on fire. If she’s not ducking around corners or slipping out of windows to escape the debt collectors her father’s death has left knocking on her door, she’s dealing with her rebellious, fifteen-year-old sister, Lilli. And, as if that’s not enough, Rafael Van Rees crashes into her life—literally—bringing with him a past the public has no idea of. Can she unravel his mysteries before he unravels her, or will his presence finally force her to face the demons she’s trying to outrun?

Rafael Van Rees prides himself on being in control of his destiny, music and women. As far as he is concerned, his past is a black cloud in the distance–until he meets Sophie, that is, and his world spins out of control in more ways than one. He knows the darkest sins and secrets eventually reveal themselves, but when it comes to Sophie, he’ll stop at nothing to protect her from his past. Even if it kills him.

**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content

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Excerpt

“Just this . . .” I frame her face with my palms and brush my lips on hers. She sucks in a breath, her eyes fluttering shut. She grabs the front of my shirt as she sags forward, like her legs can’t hold her up anymore. Slipping one arm around her waist, I pull her curvy, soft body flush against my hard one, my lips still on hers.

Fuck yes! The buzz is still there. We were both young when we shared our first kiss, but this. This is different. Time hasn’t erased the connection between us. My heart recognizes her, beating to a rhythm that’s only hers. Pulling back, I stare at the face that has lived in my head for years. Haunting me. Comforting me. Her eyes slowly open, and she blinks, looking dazed. She presses her fingers on her lips.

“You kissed me,” she whispers, as if it’s the most unusual thing. Does she not get kissed often?

Her lips were made for kissing, and I can’t get my greedy eyes off them.

I tip my head to the side. “I did,” I say, pressing my thumb on her bottom lip, inching up to the labret. Her mouth parts slightly. I could kiss her again, slip my tongue past those delectable lips. Taste her. Really taste her.

“Goodbye, Sophie.” I drop my hand and turn to leave, then stop. “Nice tattoo, by the way. A butterfly.” I emphasize the last word to get a reaction. Nothing.

“Mr. Van R–Rafael. Do we know each other?”

Christ, the way she says my name has every part of my body straining, wanting to hear her say “Do we?” I lift a brow.

Her frown deepens, and her bewitching eyes, smoky after the shared semi-kiss, narrow at me.

I’m not about to tell her. I need to find out why she can’t remember me first. “Drive safely, Sophie.” I turn, and stride back to Simone’s music room. I feel her eyes on my back, my shoulders, my ass. I let her have her fill. I’m not going to deny her–and me–this chance. I’m selfish, but hey, she needs the image to go along with the kiss. Right before I turn the corner, she takes a loud, deep breath.

Damn right, Butterfly. I stalk toward the car, my fists twitching at my sides. Another thud comes from the house. The image of her wrapped in someone’s arms is replaced by one that entirely chills my blood. I change directions and dash across the lawn to the front door. It’s locked. I lift my foot to kick it in, but pause when I hear sounds coming from the backyard. I round the corner, scanning the area. Two large backpacks lay on the lawn. A smaller one tumbles to the ground beside them. I jerk my gaze up, trailing it along the rope dangling from the roof.

Sophie leans out a window on the second story, grabs the rope, murmuring under her breath, and wraps her booted legs around it, sliding down expertly. I groan, readjusting the front of my jeans as I watch her curvy ass descend. I move to stand below the window and wait, my hands ready and twitching. Who said stalking doesn’t have its benefits?

“What are we rehearsing for? Grand Theft House, or this is just a nightly thing?”

She squeals, flailing, and plunges into my arms, cursing words that have my ears burning. I let her squirming body slide against mine until her feet touch the wet grass.

I duck my head, leveling my lips to the shell of her ear. “Ladies don’t curse.”

She shivers, and whirls around to face me, her eyes on fire and her cheeks flushed. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m nowhere close to a lady. What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Saving you from breaking that pretty little neck.”

She stomps to the backpacks and picks them off the ground. “I don’t need saving.” One bag goes over her shoulder, the other around her chest.

“What’s with the Sedan outside?”

Her hands stop adjusting the smaller bag, and she sways as she tries to balance the extra weight. “They’ve been watching my house since my dad passed away.” She starts to walk toward the bushy fence on her right.

“Where are you going?”

“In the bushes?” She ignores me, and walks off. I grab her arm and spin her around. I’m not in the mood to argue. If Josef called Kravic to tell him I was hanging around, we might be sitting ducks right now. “We need to talk. Now.”

She frowns. “I’m staying at Jace’s, and need to get back before everyone gets nervous.” Her gaze darts around. She licks her lips before looking up at me.

“They’ll be fine. Trust me. I have someone watching their flat. Look, I know about the people following you and Lilli around.”

She stumbles back, her eyes wide. “Wha–how did you know? Did Jace tell you? Oh my God, she did, didn’t she? I’m going to kick her ass from here to Russia.”

I step forward, grabbing her shoulders. “Stop freaking out, Sophie. Jace didn’t tell me anything.”

She tries to shake herself from my grip, but I don’t let her go. “There’s so much I want to tell you, but we need to leave, okay? Trust me.”

“Damn it, Sophie, listen to me! I know these men. They’re not here because they want to play

“Of c–wait a second. You know them?”

Shit! This is not how I wanted to explain things. I nod once. I’m already balls deep into my confession. No point in trying to deny it now.

She studies me, and, for just a moment, I see fear reflected in her eyes. “And you want me to trust you, Rafael? How the fuck am I supposed to do that?”

She abruptly wiggles out of my hands, and darts toward the front of the house, dropping the “Damn it all to hell!” I tear after her, scooping her up before she rounds the corner. She shrieks, flailing her legs and arms, trying to dislodge my hold. One foot hits my balls. “Fucking hell! Stop that right now.” I growl in her ear.

Of course, she doesn’t. Clenching my jaw, I drop to the ground, making sure my body takes the impact, then flip around so she’s on her back. I pin her arms to the ground.

“Are you trying to castrate me? Seriously, Sophie, stop this struggling shit right now.”

“Let go of me you, you–”

She stops, glaring up at me. Tears swim in her eyes, reflecting the moonlight. She blinks hard, as if to push back the tears. Our ragged breathing fills the quiet night. “Are you ready to listen to me?”

She swallows, and nods. I wait until I feel her body relax beneath mine, then ease my hands off her arms, and unpin her legs from my thighs. Her knee jerks up, toward my groin, and I tilt my “Bloody hell!” I grab her biceps, let my body drop onto hers, and capture her mouth with mine, Christ, she tastes like fire and tears and fear. Her mouth is the most fantastic thing I’ve ever tasted. Her bunched muscles relax beneath my fingers as a whimper rushes through her mouth. Pulling back, I nip her jaw, tracing a path to her ear and running my tongue over its outline.

“You taste so damn good, Sophie. Want to kick me again?”

She doesn’t answer. I pull back, quirking a brow at her. Fuck, she’s so beautiful with her flushed cheeks and plump, sweet lips. She shakes her head.

“Good.” I brush that little dimple on her chin with my fingertips. “Trust. Me.”

She bites the corner of her bottom lip and nods. “This talk had better be good, or I might stab you while you sleep.”

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Author Bio

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I write YA, NA and Adult. My motto: Passion rules. I enjoy writing stories about people finding love in the most

unexpected places, coupled with adventurous journeys, whether it’s urban, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary or

paranormal romance. There’s always a happy ever after, no matter how long it takes to get there.

Author Links

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NEW RELEASE ~ The Summer Remains by Seth King (Penny Lisa)

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Title: The Summer Remains

Author: Seth King

Release Date: Feb 14, 2015

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Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may very well end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

On a sunny Tuesday morning towards the end of March, a white-haired man walked into a cold room and told me I might die soon.

I fidgeted on the hospital bed as Dr. Steinberg entered, the late-spring sunlight mocking me as smiled onto the industrial tile floors. I’d known Steinberg since I was four. He’d handled almost all of my throat problems, and I trusted him. He was like a second father to me, and I knew he would always tell me the truth.

That’s why the look on his face scared the living shit out of me.

I listened for the next ten minutes as he gave me the gist of the story. It was all so surreal that my mind could only catch certain phrases before the sentence would run away from me again:

Your esophagus has ruptured again, for good this time…

Your stomach is leaking more and more…

Toxicity levels are through the roof…

Your body just isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from your feeding tube any longer…

And finally, terminal.

“Terminal?” I heard myself squeak, my throat filling up with that weird, shivery feeling you get when you know your life has just changed. Steinberg suddenly became very interested in a fraying string on the sleeve of his jacket.

“T-terminal,” he stuttered. “Summer, the thing is…I’m afraid this is a…well, nobody has ever…”

He finally cleared his throat and met my gaze, tears pooling in the corners of his cerulean eyes. “Sweetheart, I am so sorry to tell you this, but this mountain may be unclimbable for you.”

My mother let out a small, sharp sob in the corner and then clapped her hands over her mouth.

“Okay, unclimbable,” I swallowed, staring down at the floor as I tried to grasp just what that word now meant to me and my family and this weird little life I had created for myself.  “Okay. Unclimbable. Okay.”

But Steinberg wasn’t done yet.

“Hold on. I said it may be unclimbable, not that it definitely will be. I want to prepare you, and I don’t want to give you any false hope, but there may be something we can do, Summer. It’s a small chance, but still, it’s a chance. A Hail Mary, if you will.”

I reached up to rub my temples. “Okay, well, survival sounds good. Better than death, I suppose. What is this Hail Mary?”

Steinberg crossed his arms, studied me for a moment, and then took out a chart and launched into a spiel about something called the Porter-Collins Procedure, an extremely major surgery that would perhaps be saving my life in three months’ time.

“Nobody has ever survived this particular operation,” he concluded a few minutes later, skipping all the medical jargon to keep from boring you to death, pardon my pun. “Nobody. It’s been attempted three times, but none of those were ultimately successful. One person survived for three months in intensive care, but she was fifty-one, and in frail health in general. We think you’re a much more viable candidate, but then again, there is no way to be sure. We can do it in two, maybe three months, after I assemble the specialists and create a game plan – considering your health doesn’t take another nosedive before then, that is. If we’re going to try this, we need you in tip-top shape – or as close to that as we can get you, anyway.”

“Okay,” I said again, sitting a little taller. “And what are the chances that this Hail Mary will even work, and that I won’t just die a few days later, anyway?”

He peered down at me from over his glasses. “I’m afraid to say that it would be stretching things to even tell you eighty/twenty.”

I steeled myself and took a breath. “Okay, well, that’s better than a hundred to zero. Let’s go out with a bang, then, Steinberg. Let’s do this.”

He threw up a fist, triumphant, but I could see the fear in his eyes. “It’s settled, then. Hail Mary it is.”

My mom rushed over to sit beside me and kind of hang onto my shoulder as some counselor woman came in who helped families handle these types of situations – “transitions,” she called them, and just hearing that word threatened to pull me under. Dr. Steinberg watched, an apology on his face, as she said things like “preparations” and “options” and “arrangements.” I tried to be polite and pay attention, but truthfully I didn’t give a damn about what she was saying. It was go time, and things were looking grim. I already knew that. The wet, metallic panic erupting in my stomach was due to an entirely different subject.

“And finally,” the counselor, Angie, said in a hushed, clipped, polite voice that spoke of years of having impossible conversations with worried families huddled in chilly waiting rooms, “I work very closely with Last Great Hope, a wonderful organization that specializes in situations like this, and if there is anything you want before the surgery, Summer – a trip to Tahiti, a cabin in the mountains, whatever – we can do it. Or if-”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said, making her stop short.

“Wh – excuse me?”

“Save the Disney trips for the twelve-year-olds,” I told her. “Spend all that money on a cancer kid or something; I know the truth about those fairy tales now. Make someone else happy – I’ve got everything I need. Or almost everything.” I paused as everyone leaned in. “I do have one request, actually. First of all, all of you are forgetting something vital.”

“Oh no, did we forget your milk?” my mom asked as she reached for her purse. “I thought I put some-”

“No, Shelly, we did not forget the baby milk I pump into my stomach tube every day to keep myself alive because my throat doesn’t work, but that does have something to do with it.”

As she pouted in my general direction I realized what a complete bitch I was being, and then I realized just as quickly that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop myself anyway.

“What is it, then?” my mom asked, stung, and I took a breath and then pushed it back out.

“Frankly, I need all of you to chill the fuck out.”

My mom dropped her purse onto her lap. Dr. Steinberg looked at me like I’d just tried to jump out of the third story window. Angie held her pen in midair and stared at me, the sun turning her brownish eyes ocher.

“Excuse me, young lady?” my mother asked. “We need to what?”

“Chill the eff out,” I said, editing my language the second time around. “Sorry, but all this emotion and drama and doom and gloom crap is already making me freak out. You’re all forgetting I’ve had a broken throat and a tube in my abdomen since I was in diapers, and that I can handle this. I’ve dealt with health scares before, and I will do it again, no matter how much scarier this Scare is than all the other Scares. Like, I know you’re trying to help and stuff, and I love you, but having meltdowns in front of me is not going to help me deal with all this, so please, I beg you, everyone take a deep breath, close your eyes, and get your panties out of a bunch.”

“We’re sorry,” my mom said after an impossibly long and awkward moment. “It’s just that we need to prepare you for…for what will happen, and-”

“Prepare me to die?” I asked. “Guess what, Shelly, I’m going to die one day, be it in three months or sixty years, and wasting all my time crying over it isn’t going to help. Here’s what I want, my one last wish – or my maybe-not-last wish, or whatever the hell this is.” A tear appeared in my mom’s eye, and I softened my voice as I reached up to wipe her cheek. “Okay. Before the surgery, I want to have a normal summer by the beach,” I began as I cleared her eye and shook the water from my finger. “I want to go to the sea and go to work and read my books and go about my business like usual without everyone breathing down my neck and treating me like A Broken Person, because if I am treated like A Broken Person for one more month of my life I will break some faces, no offense. Shelly, if you so much as make one special meal – I mean, not that I can eat or anything, because I can’t – anyway, I’m burning down the house. There will literally be a pile of smoldering ashes where your kitchen used to be, I promise.” Shelly pouted again, but I trudged through. “I’m serious, no special treatment. No Christmases in July, no excessive hugging, not even a midnight run to Target for some trinkets from the dollar section. And most of all…”

I looked around and, seeing sympathy in everyone’s eyes and knowing this request would be completely futile, said – “No sympathy. Please. The sympathy is what breaks me and makes me feel broken. If this is gonna be my last chance to live and have fun and be normal, then I’m going to need to feel as normal as possible, and that means absolutely no pity, because that separates me from everyone else and makes me Different with a capital D. And if I don’t stay in a good headspace I’m gonna spend the next three months in a fetal position in my closet having an endless anxiety attack about the surgery, so please work with me here and keep the pity locked up.”

A sigh and a smile. Shelly put her hand on mine. “I would never pity you, Summer. You’re the strongest person I know, and you always have been. You know that. We all know that. That’s not what this is about.”

I tried to smile back. “Thanks, Shelly.”

“Anytime. And can you please call me Mom, like a normal twenty-four-year-old?”

“Not a chance, Shelly.”

“Okay, fine. So, then…a Jax Beach summer? Is that really all you want?”

I paused as her words hung in the overly sanitized air. It wasn’t all, and I knew it. As I sat there I thought of the one thing I didn’t have, the one thing I’d never had, the one thing that screamed at me from the silence and jumped out at me from the shadows – and now that this upcoming summer had perhaps just become Summer’s Last Stand, my desire was suddenly more urgent than ever. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop the longing from rising to my face, and as I felt the blood burn my cheeks I caught Steinberg’s eyes again, which just embarrassed me even more.

“Well, I mean, since you’re asking, there is one thing…”

“Anything!” Shelly and Dr. Steinberg said at exactly the same time, and I stared out of the window as my eyes got all weird and watery.

“Okay, well, I know something so sentimental is going to sound crazy coming from someone so…well, you know how I am…”

“Honest?” Steinberg offered, trying to be polite.

“Opinionated?” Shelly said.

“Brash?” Angie asked, even though she’d just met me ten minutes ago and it was literally beyond embarrassing that she already held that opinion of me.

“Headstrong and stubborn and annoying,” I finally said, shoving it out of the way, and they all nodded. “Anyway, here goes. Since you’re asking, the thing is…well, I’d like to fall in love.”

I looked down at the ground again as everyone in the room broke my most important rule already: I could feel their pity descending on me, smothering me just like it had my entire life, snuffing out any chance I had at being treated like a normal, living, breathing human, who deserved to love and be loved just like anyone else, as they say in the Hallmark cards.

“Oh, honey…” Steinberg sighed.

“It just wouldn’t be fair to someone…” my mother chimed in, just as Angie the counselor lady threw in her two cents, too.

“Sweetie, you have to understand, your situation is very serious. People get irrational during times like these, and if you get involved with someone and the worst happened, well-”

I crossed my fingers behind my back and shook my head. I’d known they’d react like this – why had I even tried in the first place? Some things, I knew, were just better left unshared.

“Yeah,” I said. “Okay, yeah, you guys are right. I’ll try to…put that off, I guess. For now. God knows I have tons of time to think about it – it’s not like I’m dying or anything.”

Everyone forced quick, fake laughs and then got back to business. Unbeknownst to them, however, my mind was quickly leaving the room, flying past the barren oak branches outside the window and soaring above the clouds to someplace only I knew. My desires could not be contained by the circumstances in this room, or by sickness, or even by reality in general, really. I wanted love more than anything – this was true, as much as it humiliated me to admit it. I’d wanted love ever since I was a cookie-cutter little girl being brainwashed by cookie-cutter Disney movies about cookie-cutter princes and princesses falling into cookie-cutter love and then prancing off to their cookie-cutter castles to live out their cookie-cutter lives. And strangely enough, this desire had only deepened after the fairy tale fantasies faded away and melted into a more grown up, real-world entity known as relationship FOMO, when my condition had rendered me an observer from the social media sidelines as everyone my age paired up and got engaged and married and pregnant and then shouted about it from the Facebook treetops as loud as their keyboards would let them while I sat there single as a nun with the flu. But I didn’t want that cookie cutter love from the Disney movies and my social media feeds. I didn’t want some run of the mill summer romance that would fizzle out as soon as the sunrays slanted in the fall and the Facebook Official status went to shit.

Because I, Summer Johnson, Purveyor of Pragmatism, Lover of Logic, Ultimate Believer in the Rational, and Person Who Was Maybe Going To Die Soon, wanted to drown in someone.

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Author

Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old author and artist.

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