Category: Books In The Wind ‘N Air, Sneak Peaks and More


Opposites Attract: When Cole Claims Sarah 

In Claiming Sarah, Cole Johnson is co-owner of one of his town’s most popular gyms. He’s extremely busy since his partner, Felicity, is out of town. He makes an appointment to meet with Sarah Butler, to arrange for some self defense training for her, but he almost loses his chance when she overhears him telling his secretary he’s too busy and to give her an excuse as to why he can’t meet her. The couple (obviously) works out that awkward first meeting and Sarah begins learning how to defend herself from a creepy man who keeps giving her inappropriate presents. Of course the more time Cole spends with Sarah, the more he likes her and they end up dating. When she disappears it’s up to Cole, and Ace Security, to put together the clues to find her before it’s too late.

Cole Johnson is a man who’s used to plowing through his day and when he needs or wants something, he simply gets it. Sarah Butler is more reserved. As a kid who didn’t feel wanted until she was finally adopted she was used to being in the background. Cole and Sarah compliment each other perfectly. Cole is able to ferret out what Sarah wants and needs and he delivers. And in return Sarah keeps Cole grounded. She smooths out his jagged edges.

I think that’s how good relationships work, at least in my books. The Hero is there to protect and shield his woman from anyone or anything that might want to hurt her, and she’s there to keep him grounded and to support him. It seems to just work.

About the Book

ClaimingSarahGraphic

Title: Claiming Sarah

Author: Susan Stoker

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Sarah Butler isn’t flattered. She’s angry and unnerved. She’s been getting intimate gifts from a man she barely knows. Nothing threatening yet, but there’s just a weird vibe she can’t ignore. Her recourse is Ace Security. Their solution: self-defense lessons at Rock Hard Gym with a personal, hands-on instructor. One look at the bearded, tattooed, green-eyed alpha is enough to take Sarah’s breath away.

Cole Johnson is definitely the man for the job. He’s eager to train her. Eager to get closer. And when it comes to Sarah’s instincts, Cole knows she’s not imagining things. He’s also not imagining the intense attraction between them—and his desire to protect her is growing. But so are Sarah’s fears, the worst of which come true when she disappears.

Enlisting the help of Ace Security, Cole will stop at nothing to find the love of his life . . . before she vanishes forever.

Author Biography

Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Claiming Felicity, Claiming Bailey, Claiming Grace, and Claiming Alexis in the Ace Security series. A lover of alpha heroes, Susan is also the author of the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes series. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. She is a true believer in happily ever after and enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her at www.stokeraces.com.

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Social Media Links

Website: http://www.stokeraces.com/

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8247140.Susan_Stoker

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***

Excerpt: 

“Do you ask out every woman you train at your gym? It just seems . . . fast.”

Cole stared at her for a long moment, and when he frowned, Sarah felt as if she’d somehow disappointed him.

“No, I don’t ask out every woman I train. Not even close. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked anyone out. And believe me, Sarah, I’m looking at you—and I like what I see. A lot. You’ve got an air of innocence about you that I find fascinating. You’ve had a tough life, but haven’t let it harden you. I respect you, and I . . . I’d like to get to know you better.”

She bit her lip and took a deep breath, but didn’t immediately protest, so he went on. “I have a feeling simply being around you will make me a better person.”

Sarah shook her head. “Don’t do that. Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m not some paragon walking around sprinkling glitter throughout the world.”

Cole laughed. Threw his head back and laughed as if she’d said the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

Sarah tugged on her hand again, somewhat offended, but he still refused to let go.

When he got himself under control, he said, “I know you’re not perfect. You’re too trusting. You see the good in everyone, even when there isn’t any there. You probably neglect your own health in order to do something good for someone else.”

“You make me sound like an idiot,” Sarah grumbled, despite being secretly kind of flattered.

“You’re not an idiot. You’re refreshing. And I’m not. I’ve got more than my share of flaws that I’m sure you’ll discover sooner rather than later. But as I said, if you let me get to know you, go out on a few dates with me, I’m hoping you’ll find that you like me back . . . just a little.”

Sarah frowned. “I already like you, Cole, but I don’t understand you. You don’t know anything about me. I could totally be lying to you right now, and you just bought my lies hook, line, and sinker.”

He smiled again. “You’re not lying.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m an expert at reading body language. I’ve been around some bad people in my life, angel. You are who you say you are. What you see is what you get.”

Sarah licked her lips nervously, and his gaze immediately followed the movement.

Cole persisted. “Say you’ll go out with me, Sarah.”

“I thought I was here to figure out how to defend myself.”

“You are. And we’ll get to that. Agreeing to go out with me in no way affects whether or not I’ll teach you some basic moves that will allow you to get away from someone and get to safety.”

“But if I say no, things could get weird.”

“Then say yes,” Cole cajoled. “I swear you’ve got nothing to fear from me. I’ll even get references if that will make you feel safer.”

“It’s not that. I think I feel safer with you than anyone I’ve ever been around . . .” She

hesitated.

“But?”

“I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’ll decide I’m annoying. Too much work or something. I work odd hours, weird shifts. And I looked you up online. I know about your friend and what happened to her. And about the Andersons. The last thing I want is my stalker getting upset when he sees us together—because he will—and taking out any anger on you and your friends.”

“Breathe, angel. Take a breath. Nothing is going to happen to them.”

“You can’t control people, Cole,” Sarah pressed. “They’re unpredictable.”

“Fine. Then we’ll meet with Logan, Blake, Nathan, and Ryder, and make sure they know everything about this Owen guy. We’ll let them investigate and figure out what will make him back off. In the meantime, we’ll hang out at my place. Or here. Or your house. We won’t shove our relationship down Owen’s throat. We’ll be discreet. How’s that sound?”

Sarah could only gape at him. “How’d we go from me wanting some tips on protecting myself to having Ace Security investigating Owen and you and me hanging out at each other’s houses?”

He smiled at her again, but didn’t answer her question.

She took a deep breath and gave him the only answer she could. “Okay.”

He beamed. “Okay,” he said quietly. Then he finally let go of her hand and stood, before immediately reaching the same hand down to her again. “Time for your first lesson.”

Automatically, she reached up and let him help her off the floor. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. A kiss to seal the deal. A hug. A discussion about when and where their first date would be. But so far, Cole hadn’t done anything the way she expected him to.

“First lesson for today will be how to get a guy to let go of your hand if he’s been holding on too long and you’re uncomfortable.”

Sarah knew he was referring to her feeble attempts to pull her hand out of his, and blushed. But he was right, this was something she should know. It would come in handy at the hospital too, just in case one of the patients or family members got a little too familiar, as they’d done in the past.

Concentrating on his instruction, she did her best to put her nerves about dating Cole behind her.

***

HandleWithCare_CoverHandle with Care 

by Marie Harte

Publication date: August 27, 2019

Summary:

Evan Griffith has had a hell of a day…

And that was before he met the stunning, sexy woman having a meltdown.

Evan Griffith has had many careers in his life. But who knew working for his family’s moving company would hold just as much action as his stint in the Marine Corps? On an unforgettable job, Evan finds himself taken by a teenage conman and confronted by a woman wielding a knife—and promptly falls head over heels for her.

Kenzie Sykes is doing her best to raise her little brother and keep him out of jail—all while dealing with her own broken heart that just hasn’t healed. She doesn’t have time for romance. He’s not asking… Until he is, and she finds herself saying yes.

Veteran Movers series:

The Whole Package (Book 1)

Smooth Moves (Book 2)

Handle with Care (Book 3)

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Praise for Marie Harte:

“With a protective alpha hero that stole my heart instantly, The Whole Package was sexy, sweet, and thoroughly satisfying.”—LAUREN LAYNE, New York Times bestselling author, for The Whole Package

“Marie Harte at her best! The Whole Package delivered everything I love—hot alpha, a strong woman, and amazing writing!”—DONNA GRANT, New York Times bestselling author, for The Whole Package

“Terrific. I absolutely loved this story.”—Night Owl Reviews, TOP PICK for The Only Thing

“Another exceptionally red-hot romance by Marie Harte with a strong yet sweet hero!”—Fresh Fiction for Just the Thing

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marie Harte is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether biking around town, hiking, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit marieharte.com and fall in love. She resides in Oregon.

Author Website: marieharte.com 

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EXCERPT:

Funny, he’d said. Evan had been set up. Again. Daniel Sykes needed some discipline, something the Corps, or a foot up his butt, might just provide. Then again, should Evan be upset at another opportunity to see Kenzie up close?

Damn, but even angry she turned him on. Yeah, that was it. He wanted her. Physical desire. That he understood. And if he ignored the quickening of his heart and the need to sigh just looking at her, he’d believe his own bullshit. Because falling for a woman he didn’t even know made no sense. And Evan was nothing if not rational.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, biting out each word.

“I’m supposed to meet your brother to discuss financial matters. He had a legitimate question about tax penalties, and since I was already in the area, I told him I’d meet him.”

Kenzie clenched her jaw.

“So he was lying?”

“No. I am having some issues with my books, but I’m not sure why Rachel’s moving guy is qualified to help us.”

Evan smiled. “I’m an accountant. I was, I mean. Well, I still am. I’m just working for myself now.”

“Why?”

“So much suspicion.” He grinned, not telling her how adorable she looked in her pique. Women didn’t like hearing that they were cute when trying to appear serious. “I wasn’t fired for any wrongdoing. I left the firm because I couldn’t handle the hours. But I’m still consulting for them, and I have a few clients staying with me who left Peterman & Campbell Accounting when I did.”

She blinked. “I know that firm. One of my clients uses them. They’re big money.”

“Yep.” Evan wanted to stroke her cheek, to see if she felt as soft as she looked. So he tucked his hands in his pockets.

“What was with lying to Rob about your clients using me? Or me being overbooked?”

He shrugged. “I know Rob. He’s competitive. The thought of him not getting to use your services because you don’t have time for him would annoy the crap out of him. Plus it never hurts to make people think you’re more than you are. Perception is everything, and before you know it, you will be overbooked.”

“Oh.” She gave him a tentative smile. “Thanks.”

“Mind if I grab a coffee and wait with you for your brother? It’s getting crowded in here.”

She nodded, her gaze thoughtful.

Evan picked up a coffee and a few pastries and returned to Kenzie. “How about some sweets as a peace offering? I had no idea I was interrupting a meeting.”

She accepted an apricot Danish. “Thanks. It’s not your fault I couldn’t snare Rob Talon on my own.”

He didn’t know about that. Rob had seemed pretty smitten when Evan had seen the pair sitting together.

“How do you know him anyway?” Kenzie asked.

“I knew his sister from a long time ago. She and I dated briefly in college. Rob is a good guy, and he and I became friends after Kayla and I broke up.”

“Really? Kayla is amazing.”

“She is. But I was the problem.” I was too boring for Kayla. And I really hate that word. “She wanted to see the world, and I had responsibilities.” He sipped his coffee, remembering the past and wondering where the time had gone. “Well, actually she wanted to go to India for some technology conference, and I wanted to go to Miami for a wild spring break. We parted ways after I joined the Marine Corps and she moved to Bangalore.”

“You were a Marine?”

“Am a Marine.” He smiled with pride. “You’re never an ex. You become a ‘prior’ or ‘former’ Marine. It’s always with you.” Even though he hadn’t enjoyed many of the aspects of the military, he missed the camaraderie, which explained why he loved working with the gang at Vets on the Go! It felt like a mini-Corps of likeminded individuals.

“So if you don’t mind me asking, why are you moving furniture for a living? Because you burned out doing accounting?” She sounded disbelieving.

He couldn’t blame her. “Actually, I’m a partner in our moving business. My cousins and I own Vets on the Go!, and one of our guys is out due to a broken arm. So I’m helping out until he’s back. But to be honest, it’s been enjoyable using my muscles more than my brains for a while. I got tired working eighty-hour weeks for Peterman & Campbell.”

Her eyes softened. “That makes sense. I love my job, but I get tired too. I worked all weekend in between cleaning my house and running errands.” She sighed. “And today was a bust.”

“Sorry to hear that. I’ll make sure Rob calls you back since I interrupted you.”

“No, please don’t. I can handle my business myself.”

He sensed a little bit of tension there, but he understood the need for independence. “No problem. At least finish the Danish.”

She shoved half the pastry in her mouth and grinned at him. “Happy now?” she asked, her mouth full, and he laughed.

“You know, I can see where your brother gets that attitude.”

She managed to swallow the ball of dough and groaned. “Now I should be apologizing to you. I can’t believe he tricked you into coming here.”

“So you’re not having a problem with your taxes?”

“Yes, but—” The buzz of her phone interrupted her. She read a text and blinked. “Daniel just told me he’s on his way here to meet with you and not to be freaked out if I see you because you’re not stalking me, you’re doing him a favor.”

“Wow. He texted all that?”

“Mostly in abbreviations and emojis, but I understand teen-speak.”

Evan laughed. “Better you than me. I couldn’t even figure out how to change my name back.”

“What did he change your name to?”

“Well, my ringtone became ‘Dancing Queen.’ And my name became Sexy Moving Man with a Fine Ass.”

She couldn’t stifle her mirth, and he saw it.

***

Excerpted from Handle With Care by Marie Harte. © 2019 by Marie Harte. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

ButterflyInFrost

About the Book

Title: Butterfly in Frost

Author: Sylvia Day

Release Date: August 27, 2019

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary:

Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.

He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.

And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.

Author Biography

Sylvia_Day_AuthorPhoto_credit_Meghan_Poort

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Visit the author at www.sylviaday.com.

Buy Link

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Social Media Links

Website: https://www.sylviaday.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSylviaDay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SylDay

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sylvia_day

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/list/19823.Sylvia_Day

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EXCERPT

Roxy bounces on her feet with excitement. “Les and Marge sold their house.”

I blink. “I didn’t know they were selling.” 

She laughs and heads toward the front door. “That’s the thing. They weren’t.”

“Wait, what?” I hurry after her as she steps outside.

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I look to the right at my home, a lovingly restored butterfly-roofed midcentury, then on to the traditional house just beyond it that belongs—belonged—to Les and Marge. Including Roxy’s, all three of our homes have unique lots set between the homes that line the street and the Sound, affording us unhindered views of the water as well as exceptional privacy—all within a twenty-minute drive of the airport. 

Roxy shortens the length of her stride to allow me to catch up, then glances over at me. “The day after you flew to New York, a Range Rover pulled into their driveway, and the guy inside offered them cash to close—and move out—in fourteen days.”

My step falters, and Minnie gets momentarily tangled in her leash. The dog shoots me what I would describe as an irritated look, then keeps trotting forward. “That’s crazy.”

“Isn’t it? Les wouldn’t say how much the offer was, but I’m thinking it was huge.”

We march up the inclined driveway, my head tilted back to take in the houses scaling the hillside. Designed with big windows to maximize the view, the homes have a look of wide-eyed wonder. Our little stretch of the Sound used to be a secret, but with the housing boom taking over Seattle and Tacoma, we’ve been discovered. Many residences are undergoing major renovation to suit the tastes of new owners.

 

Reaching the road, we turn left. To the right is a dead end.

“Well, if they’re happy,” I say, “I’m happy for them.”

“They’re overwhelmed. It was a lot to happen all at once, but I think they’re happy with their decision.” Roxanne stops when Bella does, and we wait as the two dogs mark one of their usual spots on the gravel edging the asphalt. There are no curbs on the streets in our neighborhood and no sidewalks. Just beautiful lawns and a profusion of flowering shrubs.

“We all tried prying information out of them,” she goes on, “but they weren’t sharing anything about the sale.” She gives me a sidelong glance. “But they did share a bit about the buyer.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

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“Because Mike and I both think the buyer is someone famous. A film director maybe. Or an artist. Can you imagine? First Emily, a bestselling author. Then you, a reality-TV surgeon. Now this guy! Maybe we’re sitting on the new Malibu—beachside living without wildfires or state income tax!”

The mention of Roxy’s husband, Mike, coaxes an inner smile. A New York transplant like me, he adds a welcome touch of the life I left behind to the reality I’ve since created for myself—a reality that’s just been rocked by the loss of neighbors I like.

“What are the clues you’re working with?” I ask, deciding to play along. If I’ve learned anything the past year, it’s to accept the things I cannot change. A tough task for a control freak like me.

“Les pointed out to this guy that he hadn’t even seen the inside of the house. The guy said he didn’t need to. He knew already that ‘the light is perfect.’ I mean, who would say that? Gotta be someone who’s in visual arts, right?”

“Maybe,” I agree tentatively, disquieted by the unexpected conversation. The road rises sharply before us, the incline steep enough to put a little burn in my thighs. “Doesn’t mean he’s famous, though.”

“That’s the thing.” Her words carry a note of breathlessness. “Les wouldn’t give numbers, but he did say it was crazy the guy didn’t just buy that huge compound at the end of the street. That house is listed for three and a half million!”

My mind staggers at the thought. Les and Marge have—had—a beautiful home, but it’s not worth anywhere near that much. 

“I think I saw the buyer once through that big arched window in the living room,” Roxy goes on. “The blonde with him was a looker. Supermodel skinny with legs for days.” 

I’m panting when we reach the top; Roxy, who hits a gym most days of the week, is not.

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A quarter mile farther, there’s a street to the right leading to Dash Point. Beyond that and straight ahead, the road slopes back down and around until it’s at water level. Redondo Beach is there, as is Salty’s, a restaurant on stilts in the water with expansive views of Poverty Bay and beyond. I’m about to wax poetic about Salty’s seafood chowder when a runner dashes around the corner at a full sprint. His sudden appearance rattles me. A closer look makes me freeze midstride. My breath locks in my lungs.

There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature.

And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome. 

Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.”

From: Butterfly In Frost By Sylvia Day

 

 

 

CallHerMineGraphic1About The Book

Title: Call Her Mine

Author: Melissa Foster

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Series: Harmony Pointe, #1

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Ben Dalton has always been honest, except where his heart is concerned. He’s been in love with his best friend—saucy, smart-mouthed Aurelia Stark—forever. But Ben’s a planner, and timing has never been on his side. When he finally decides to make his move, Aurelia beats him to the punch with a move of her own—to a different town.

Aurelia loves her new life in the charming town of Harmony Pointe. She has a great apartment and her very own bookstore, and best of all, the sinfully hot, commitment-phobic friend she’s crushed on for years is no longer just around the corner. Maybe she’ll finally be able to leave her unrequited love behind and move on.

But when a baby is left on Ben’s front porch—a baby that is presumably his—Aurelia is there for him. Neither one knows the first thing about babies, but how hard can it be? Ben and Aurelia are catapulted into a world of love, laughter, and tracking down the baby mama, and it might even add up to a very happily ever after… just not one either of them expects.

Author Biography

MelissaFoster

Melissa Foster is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than eighty books, including The Real Thing and Only for You (from her Sugar Lake series). Melissa and her books have been featured in USA Today, Hagerstown magazine, The Patriot, and more. Her novel River of Love has been optioned for film by Passionflix. Melissa also writes sweet romance under the name Addison Cole. When Melissa isn’t writing up a storm, she’s living her own happily ever after with her husband and a gaggle of grown children. For more news, information about her books, and to chat with her, visit Melissa at www.MelissaFoster.com.

Buy Link

https://www.amazon.com/Call-Mine-Harmony-Pointe-Book-ebook/dp/B07N8754YT

Social Media Links

Website: https://melissafoster.com/

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Melissa Foster Author Interview

1) ”If a woman can’t find love in the quaint town of Harmony Pointe, it’s sure to find them…” —this is the tagline for your newest series Harmony Pointe. Tell us a bit about the town and these women who are finding love.

I love writing about close-knit small towns, where gossip is ripe, and embarrassing tales of youthful rascals abound. Harmony Pointe is nestled between Sweetwater and Port Hudson, New York, not far from the city. It offers grand views of mountains as far as the eye could see. Cobblestone streets, brick-front eclectic shops, and old-fashioned street lights add to the small town’s charm. Readers who are familiar with my Sugar Lake series will recognize Harmony Pointe as Derek Grant’s hometown.

2) What was the idea that sparked the beginning of the series? 

I have been itching to write Ben Dalton and Aurelia Stark’s story since I first read about them in WILD BOYS AFTER DARK: LOGAN and BAD BOYS AFTER DARK: MICK (Billionaires After Dark series) and THE REAL THING (Sugar Lake series). Harmony Pointe is a Sugar Lake spin-off, and in the Sugar Lake series several of Ben’s siblings find love. It was finally Ben’s turn.

3) For longtime fans, can you tell us what this series has in common with your previous books? How is the series different from what you have written before?

Avid readers of my Love in Bloom series will have met Ben and Aurelia in several previous books and series. Their story is filled with humor and sexy times, and this one wallops the reader with an ugly-cry worthy punch. This family is very female centric, which is different than most of my other series. The exception is the Montgomerys, cousins to the Daltons, in which the males are also outnumbered. #GirlPower (Bradens & Mongtomerys series).

4) Why was it important that Ben and Aurelia launched this series in Call Her Mine?

Ben and Aurelia were too loud for me to ignore! They were finally ready to share.

5) There are friends-to-lovers romances and then there is Ben and Aurelia who are closer-than-close. Seriously, these two just about live in each other’s heads. What takes them so long to realize that they belong together?

Have you ever had a friend who you love so much that you can’t imagine life without them? I have. It instills a certain level of fear—what if you risk that friendship, lay your feelings on the line, and the other person doesn’t feel the same? True friends, the ones who “get” you, who accept you at your worst, bitchiest states, and at your best, are hard to come by. Risking the friendship is terrifying. I think this was the case for Ben and Aurelia—Plus there’s Ben and his damn planning…

That man made me crazy.

I love him so hard!

6) When romance finally (finally!) is in the cards for these two, they have one very tiny situation that turns up—Ben’s previously unknown infant daughter. What was it like to create an insta-family for this pair? 

It was so frigging fun I wish I could do it again! I loved every second of writing this book. I was able to strip Ben and Aurelia down to their most raw selves and emotions, and then watch as they found their new footings together. It was glorious.

7) While it is unfair to ask if you have a favorite hero, we’d love to know what makes Ben so special to you. 

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes—arrogant, funny, introverted, brilliant, average, overly serious, etc. Ben is like the guy you see sitting at the end of a bar in a fine suit and think he’s probably taken, or at the least too refined to be fun. And then he opens his mouth and melts you, or makes you laugh, at every turn. He’s protective, but not in a bullying way. Don’t even get me started with that man holding a tiny baby, falling in love with her page after page. I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. 

Excerpt

“I’ve got to go.” She tried to pull away, but he dug his fingers into her knotted muscles, releasing tension and drawing a moan from her traitorous lungs.

“Don’t run off,” he coaxed. “I wasn’t kidding. You are my best friend. I trust you with my secrets, and I love who you are.”

Hope bubbled up inside her, and she closed her eyes, glad he couldn’t see her face. Had their time finally come? “Really?”

“Of course,” he said, and she heard the smile in his voice.

That made her feel all sorts of good, and the truth came easily. “I love who you are, too.”

He leaned his chin on her shoulder, his hard chest pressing against her back as he said, “I especially love who you are when you’re making me breakfast.” 

“Ugh!” She pushed to her feet, but he snagged her wrist, giving her the puppy-dog eyes she’d never been able to resist. The ones that said, Please don’t leave me. “Ben,” she warned. 

“Relsy,” he pleaded.

“I am not making you breakfast. I have to go.” She yanked her hand away and said, “And I’m busy for the next few weeks. Actually, for a lifetime, so . . .” She shoved her feet into her red Converse sneakers and grabbed her purse. 

“I seriously have to make my own breakfast?” Ben pushed to his feet and stretched, six-plus feet of hotness towering over her five-two frame. “But you make waffles better than I do.” 

“I do a lot of things better than you. Don’t forget to call Aiden back.” Aiden was his business partner. He’d called Ben last night while they were watching a movie and Ben had made her laugh, causing tequila to come out of her nose, which had sent him into hysterics and rendered him unable to answer the call.

“That’s right.” He grabbed his phone from the table. “He was supposed to set up a meeting with our legal team.”

“For the hotel chain you’re buying?” 

“Yeah. Hey, take my sweatshirt. It’s early. You’ll be cold.”

He pulled his sweatshirt over his head and tossed it to her, revealing a dusting of chest hair over muscular pecs and a treasure trail that disappeared beneath the waist of his low-slung jeans. His sweatshirt hit her in the chest and landed at her feet, reminding her she was staring.

Ben laughed. “Nice catch, Rels. Remind me not to pick you for my baseball team.”

“I don’t want to be on your team. You run the bases too slow,” she mumbled as she picked up his sweatshirt and tugged it over her head, inhaling his masculine scent. “I’m out of here.”

“How about cereal?” he asked with a wink. “I’ll make it.”

“Since when did you become so needy?”

A coy grin slid across his face. “I know that once you’re in my kitchen, there’s no holding back. You won’t let me eat crap when you can make something delicious.”

“Yeah, you should see me in the bedroom.” She felt her eyes bug out. She slammed her mouth closed, unable to believe what she’d said. She stormed through the hallway and out the door, followed by Ben’s laughter—and almost tripped over a basket. She leaned back, holding the door open, and hollered, “I think Willow left you muffins. There’s a basket on your porch.”

“Way to go, Willow,” he said as he strode down the hall. “Let’s see the goods.”

She realized she was staring at his bare chest again and snapped, “I’m taking the biggest muffin,” as if it was his fault he had great pecs and abs she wanted to lick, and bite, and –

Down, girl.

He cocked a grin and said, “Take as many as you’d like, but you’ll pay for them later.”

In my dreams.

 

SYNOPSIS:

A new standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.

Making Up Cover

Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list.

Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him.

As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world.

Author Bio:

Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Buy-Book Link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250253378

EXCERPT:

We’re a couple of minutes away from my apartment, which also means we’re almost at the end of our date. End-of-date protocol often means a goodnight kiss.

And I’ve eaten onions. Lots of them. What the hell was I thinking? I feel around in my shorts pocket, hoping I have a random stick of gum. I find a tiny square packet and pull it out, along with an old tissue. I shove that back in my pocket and sigh with relief as I carefully open the Listerine Pocketpak. There’s one strip left. I pop it in my mouth, wishing I had water since my mouth is dry and I’m suddenly super nervous.

Griffin pulls up in front of my apartment building. I swallow a bunch of times, trying to get the strip to dissolve on my tongue and glance out the tinted window, seeing it from his perspective. I don’t live in a bad part of town, but I sure as hell wouldn’t leave this car sitting out here for any length of time unless I wanted it keyed or stripped down.

Griffin shifts into park and turns to me, one hand resting on the back of my seat near the headrest. “I had a great time, Cosy.”

“Me too, thanks for dinner.” I tried to fork over my share, but he was quick on the credit card draw.

“It was my pleasure.” He leans in the tiniest bit, a nonverbal cue that he’s going in for a kiss.

I mirror the movement, giving him the go ahead. My stomach flutters in anticipation. I exhale slowly through my nose. Even though the Listerine strip should be doing its job to mask the onions, I don’t want to ruin the moment by breathing that in his face.

His fingertips skim my jaw, and I close my eyes. And then his lips brush my cheek. I wait for them to move a couple of inches to the right, but after what feels like a lot of seconds—and is probably only a few—I crack a lid.

Griffin is still close, a wry smile on his lips and a smolder in his eyes.

“Seriously, that’s it? A kiss on the cheek?”

His smile widens, making his eyes crinkle at the corners. He’s nothing like the guys I usually end up on dates with. College boys don’t take things slow. If I were out with one of the guys from school, I’d be sitting in a beat-up Civic with some stupid music playing, and he’d be all over me with his tongue halfway down my throat, copping a feel.

“I thought all the onions you ate were the equivalent to garlic for vampires.” Griffin fingers my hair near my shoulder. I’d really like him to finger something else. Wait. I mean I’d like to feel his hands on me. Not in my pants. Okay, maybe I’d like them in my pants, but not after date number one.

“I wasn’t thinking, and I really like onions. A lot. In hindsight, it’s not a great date food. I feel kinda dumb. And I guess at first I wasn’t so sure about you. How was I supposed to know you’d actually be kind of normalish?”

“Normalish?”

“Well, you drink club soda on purpose, so you can’t be all there.” I tap his temple.

Griffin circles my wrist with his fingers and drops his head, lips brushing over my knuckle. “We can’t all be perfect, now, can we?”

“I suppose not, and perfect is boring.”

“That it is.” He hums against my skin, and I feel it through my entire body. “I would like to try that kiss again, if you’re still interested.”

From MAKING UP. Copyright © 2019 by Helena Hunting and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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