Thursday, February 22, 2018

Release Day Blitz: BROTHER'S KEEPER II: LIAM by Stephanie St. Klaire

Today we are celebrating the release of BROTHER'S KEEPER II: LIAM by Stephanie St. Klaire! This is a romantic suspense title that you won't want to miss. Check out links for it and the previous book in the series below, and sign up for Stephanie's newsletter for exclusive news and details about the series.

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BROTHER'S KEEPER II: LIAM by Stephanie St. Klaire



Running blind, and hiding in plain sight may be your only option, when your villain isn’t just behind you but all around you. When a past Felicity Nichols thought was dead and buried threatens everyone she loves, that’s exactly what she encounters. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide because her villain can follow her anywhere.
Liam O’Reilly is as loyal and protective as they come. When Felicity falls victim to a cyber stalker who wants something she has, he will stop at nothing to protect her and his family from the danger threatening them at every turn. Technology may make life easier for some, but it’s the smoking gun that can end it all for others.
Power, and money will never be enough – it will only get you so far. The power struggle threatens to turn deadly when Liam meets his match, behind the computer screen, in a race of wills against time.
Can Liam overcome his own past, or will it cost him another broken heart and shattered soul. Can Felicity be the light in his darkness and reveal that love is the most dangerous weapon of all?
Will Liam and Brother’s Keeper Security be able to bring a faceless predator to justice? Or, will Liam lose more than just a second chance at love? One thing is certain… sometimes you have to break the rules to protect what you love.

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“We are not going in there. I’m not taking off my clothes, and you certainly aren’t parading around in front of all these men in…in…well, you know.”
A certain awareness fell over her at his last statement, and she was prepared to exploit it. “Well, well, well…are you jealous, O’Reilly?”
“Jealous? Of course not!” He was offended and still whispering…loudly. “I mean, we just don’t know…these people. I don’t want you…taken advantage of…because that would be…”
If Liam’s head could explode, Felicity was certain it would, given how wound up he was. “Would be what…Liam?” Her voice dropped to a sultry hum. “Why can’t I take every bit of clothing off and stand right here, completely bare. It’s not like you haven’t seen it before.” Felicity slowly started to unbutton her shirt.
“I…uh…” Liam looked around for prying eyes before landing his back on hers. It took everything to keep his view locked and not drift downward to appreciate the ample cleavage and perfectly sun kissed tone stomach she was revealing.
She paused when she reached the final button and let her shirt fly open. “Your turn, O’Reilly…start with your shirt.”
When he didn’t immediately comply, she took a step closer, narrowing the gap between them. With a tilt to her head, she dragged the back of her finger down her own cheek to her collar bone and let it rest just above her breast. Liam remembered where he was and took a big step backward while aggressively clearing his throat in a semi-cough as if it would also clear the dirty thoughts she was provoking.
“This isn’t right,” he preached. “We can’t go in there naked. That’s like a private thing.”
“Really? When did you become such a prude? I’m guessing your brothers would run right in and show off the goods.” She laughed.
“Well I’m not my brothers,” he defended. “Wait. Have you been here with them?” Liam rested his hands on his halfcocked hips while a troubled expression led to a disappointed shake of his head. “It really wouldn’t surprise me if Dace has a membership. He’s always trying to flash his damn pecker.”
“Oh my God.” Felicity laughed, buttoning up her shirt. “You really need to loosen up, Liam. You don’t have to take your clothes off.”
She pointed to the sign right behind him that touring visitors didn’t have to remove clothing.
“Were you just trying to get me naked?” Liam was shocked by her behavior, or so he wanted her to believe. He was really more embarrassed than anything. “There is something wrong with you. And it was one time, Felicity. We should have never let that happen.”
“So you remind me…every single day.” His words stung. It was clear by the hurt in her tone.
“That’s not what I meant, Felicity, and you know it.”
“Oh, I know what you meant.” She turned and slowly started up the path.
Liam didn’t get to finish whatever he was about to say, nor did Felicity get very far because at that very moment, Dick the dog reminded them of his presence by chasing a taunting squirrel. Up the path he went, across the family picnic on the grassy lawn, through the putting green and he just kept going, his playful bark, albeit loud, indicating this was his new favorite game.
Liam and Felicity chased after him, Liam screaming Dick while Felicity laughed her ass off. It was that moment in the park all over again, only this time, Liam was running like a maniac, screaming Dick through crowds of naked strangers.
“Why does this keep happening to me?” he shouted over his shoulder. “Dick, come…”
“Karma…and because it’s funny.” Felicity laughed herself breathless.
“Will you call him? He listens to women better.”
“No. It’s better when you do it. A little louder Liam. Maybe he can’t hear you,” she said.
Dick,” he yelled louder like she suggested. “Bad boy, come!”
Families skirted their children out of Liam’s path, covering their children’s ears while shocking sharp gasps fell all around them. They continued to run through the field, past the community pool, around the ninth hole on the golf course, to the top of the grassy knoll.
Liam looked to Felicity, realizing what he had fallen for. “You’re a pain in the ass…kind of a jerk. I hope that dog pisses in your car on the way back.”
Felicity tossed her head back in laughter, her run stalling to a jog, then a brisk walk while she caught her breath. Dick had been caught just up ahead, and the chase was over. A large man was knelt on one knee, on the other side of Dick, petting him while he talked to him.
“He’s not even holding his collar,” Liam whispered to Felicity. “Dog whisperer or what?”
“Oh my God!” Felicity squealed. “Johnson?”
“Felicity Nichols, I’ll be damned,” the man said. “What brings you out here? Say, this your Dick?”



Available Now




  Stephanie St. Klaire debuted in 2016, launching her writing career with Rescued, the first book in the widely popular, five book series known as McKenzie Ridge. Stephanie is a Pacific Northwest native currently living in Oregon with her husband, five children, and two ferocious lap dogs. As a writer, Stephanie brings realistic circumstances to the pages, and fills them with real emotion, reactions, and outcomes. Her characters are passionate, have bold personalities, and full of life. She writes happily ever after’s, with plenty of twists, turns, drama, and of course, steamy romance. Stephanie has always been a story teller, with the gift of “gab”, and a life-long goal to be a writer. Unfortunate circumstances with her health, finally afforded her the time to do so. Irony at its best, she began writing her first novel at an adverse time, to escape her circumstance and explore the stories in her imagination for relief. She is happy to share those stories with her readers, and bring a little fun, entertainment, and of course smexy characters to the pages. Follow Stephanie St. Klaire on Social media to learn more about her, and to keep up with her work.

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Cover Reveal ONLY YOU by Melanie Harlow


Only You, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is coming March 12th!

Title: Only You
Author: Melanie Harlow
Publishing Date: March 12th
Designer: Letitia Hasser, RBA Designs
Photographer: Lauren Watson Perry


Nate Pearson is ridiculously handsome and wears the hell out of a suit and tie, but I’ve seen the parade of beautiful women leaving his apartment across the hall—a different one every time—and I want no part of it. When it comes to romance, I’m looking for something real, something that will last: the happily ever after.
As a divorce attorney, he loves to tell me there’s no such thing.
As a wedding planner, I choose to disagree.
We disagree on almost everything, in fact. Everything except James Bond. The only time we really get along is when we’re watching 007 flicks together, and I’ll admit—he has rescued me from a disaster or five. So when one of the baton twirlers from his parade leaves a baby girl at his door with a note that says “I’ll come back for her” and he begs me for help, I can’t turn him down.
But it’s a mistake.
Because watching him with his daughter, I start to see another side of Nate, a side that has my breath coming faster, my body craving his, my heart longing for him to change his mind about love and tell me there’s a chance for us.
I don’t want to be just another girl leaving his apartment in the morning.
I want to be the one he asks to stay.

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About Melanie:

  Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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Cover Reveal: CONFESSIONS: ROBBIE by Ella Frank


Confessions: Robbie, an all new tantalizing contemporary MMM Romance by Ella Frank is coming March 8th!

Robbie-Confessions-PRINT-FOR-WEB copy
Confessions: Robbie
Author: Ella Frank
Release Date: March 8th


Relationships are complex.
Love ever-changing.
And when it comes to rules of the heart,
they were made to be broken…
That’s what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway.
Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what—or who—he’d done.
No excuse, except for his lonely heart, a pitcher of margaritas, four Bitter Bitches, and the apparent need to confess all his weaknesses to the two men he knew would bring him nothing but trouble.
But trouble was nothing new.
Just ask his crazy sisters or any of his friends, and they’d be the first to tell you:
If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it.
And thus begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick.

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About Ella:

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!” Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.

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Release Blitz for PLAYING TO WIN BOX SET by Alix Nichols

Today we have a release blitz for PLAYING TO WIN BOX SET by Alix Nichols! Check it out and you’re your copy today!


Author: Alix Nichols

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Playing To Win Box Set:

PLAYING TO WIN (The Complete Series Box Set)   3 hunky French athletes. 3 passionate women who fall under their spell. 3 hot and tender love stories.   BOOK 1: PLAYING WITH FIRE Embroiderer Uma is all kinds of wrong for single dad Zach. She’s his son’s nanny, still chaste at 23... and falling for him, hard and fast. In short, she’s completely off-limits. And just as completely irresistible.   BOOK 2: PLAYING FOR KEEPS Ex-player Isabelle takes a job as a publicist for a Paris water-polo team. That means she must face amnesiac coach Lucas, the jerk who broke her heart six years ago. But Lucas is a brand-new man after his head trauma. He has no idea why Isabelle is avoiding him — or why he is so drawn to her.   BOOK 3: PLAYING DIRTY In his pimply teens, Julien was led on, played and publicly humiliated by Noemi. Now a heartthrob and a sports star, he craves revenge. Even as he still craves Noemi.   If you like single dad romances, revenge plots filled with angst and passion, and heartwarming second chance novels, you’ll love the PLAYING TO WIN series!

Get Your Copy Today!

Exclusive Excerpt:

Uma snatches the chocolate from the box and darts out the door into the garden. I drop the box and run after her. She shoves the chocolate in her mouth. “Cheater!” I narrow my eyes in what I hope is an intimidating glare. “You’re going to pay for this.” She bolts, trying to get back into the house. I block her way, towering over her. Uma retreats, turns around, and runs to the other end of the garden. I follow, hot on her heels. She doesn’t shriek, no doubt, so she won’t wake up Sam, whose window is open above us. For two or three minutes, I chase Uma around the garden in silence. I’m faster, but she’s nimbler. Besides, I’ve no clue how I’m going to make her “pay” for her theft, so I’m not really putting my heart and soul into the pursuit. On our third round, Uma ducks under my arm and hightails it into the house, across the kitchen, and toward the stairs. She’s hoping to make it to her bedroom and lock herself in. Not happening. Accelerating, I close the distance between us. She scrambles up the steps. I grab her shoulders from behind, putting an end to her delusion that she can outrun me. Giggling, she tries to break free. I wrap my arms around her to hold her. She stops thrashing. I pull her into me, tightening my hold. She stops laughing. For a few moments, neither of us moves or makes a sound, pressed against each other, panting. Her chest heaves underneath my forearms. I press them lightly against her little breasts, her nipples… My heart throbs in my ears. A caveman’s impulse to sling her over my shoulder and carry her somewhere private where I can have my way with her surges up somewhere in my gut, both shocking and tantalizing me. To resist it, I plant my feet firmly into the step and refuse to move a single muscle in my body. With Uma one step higher on the staircase, her nape is perniciously close to my face, making my struggle harder than it already is. Her silky black hair is gathered into her usual bun that’s gotten messy from all the running. I stare at her delicate neck. Want to kiss it. Dying to kiss it. Can’t. Because… reasons… good reasons… if I could just recall them. There! She’s Sam’s nanny. That’s good, but not good enough… She’s my friend’s almost fiancĂ©e. Sort of. Anyway, she’s inexperienced and clearly not thinking straight right now. Very good. I relax my embrace enough for her to duck and slip away. Only she doesn’t do it. Instead, she leans back into me.  

About Alix Nichols:

Alix Nichols is an unapologetic caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation. She is a USA Today bestselling (April and June 2017) and Kindle Scout winning (December 2015) author of sexy romance novels that readers describe as yummylicious. According to Romantic Times, her books "will keep you hanging off the edge of your seat”. Kirkus Reviews claims they “deliver pure pleasure”. At the age of six, Alix released her first romance. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper. Decades later, she still writes. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have topped the Amazon charts around the world. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog.

Connect with Alix:

Amazon Page | Website | Facebook | Pinterest | BookBub Author Follow | Goodreads | Twitter | Newsletter Signup (and a free bundle!)

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Playing to Win by Alix Nichols
Playing to Win by Alix Nichols
Giveaway ends March 03, 2018. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Review Blitz: GENTLEMAN NINE by Penelope Ward


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From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.   Growing up, the three of us were friends. He was the nerd. I was the playboy. She was the beauty.   Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits. He lied.   I went off to college, and he got the girl. Amber never knew how I felt. They were together for years—before he broke her heart.   Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch. When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room.   Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men. One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings. Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity. Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message. She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend— me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.) Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel. When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she got the surprise of her life to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse.      

This book was unputdownable! Such wonderful characters, with their friendships and a fantastic storyline that may have you tear up!! My emotions were all over the place with this story
Amber I just loved her and thought of her as a friend! I just wanted to give her a hug and have some wine with her. 

I cant put into words how this book made me feel to be quite honest! I was team Channing always, his whole demeanor just made me fall in love with him and I wanted him for myself, if only he was real!! Am I Right???

This has to be Penelope’s best book to date! 
A definite must read and perhaps it will make you think too!! Life is too short to not have what you want in life!

I have waited a few days to write my review for Gentleman Nine because I really want to do this amazing book justice, I also don’t want to write a review that is full of spoilers, I just want to tell you how this book made me feel because for me this is Penelope Wards best book so far.....
This book has wonderful characters, a storyline  that will leave you with your heart in your mouth for a lot of the time and if you are anything like me you will shed a few tears, lifetime friends who want to just make sure their best friend is happy ( don’t we all wish we had friends like that in our corner) well that’s Amber and Channing and they don’t care if their own feelings get crushed along the way.
This book had my emotions all over the place but in a good way and I was Team Channing throughout this book, you will need to read the book to find out what that means, I don’t want to go to much into the story because I believe this is a MUST READ and I think you will enjoy this book so much more going in with no expectations. Once again Penelope Ward went way above any expectations I had of this book so please do yourself a favour by one clicking this brilliant read.


 Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She’s a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller. Her novels are published in over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world. Having grown up in Boston with five older brothers, she spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 13-year-old girl with autism and a 12-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island. Connect with Penelope Ward Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram     Other standalones from Penelope Ward: Drunk Dial: Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Mack Daddy: Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Stepbrother Dearest: Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Neighbor Dearest: Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: RoomHate: Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Dear Bridget, I Want You: (co-written with Vi Keeland) Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Mister Moneybags: (co-written with Vi Keeland) Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Playboy Pilot: (co-written with Vi Keeland) Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Stuck-Up Suit: (co-written with Vi Keeland) Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Cocky Bastard: (co-written with Vi Keeland) Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Sins of Sevin: Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Jake Undone (Jake #1): Amazon: Nook: iBooks: Kobo: Jake Understood (Jake #2): Amazon: Nook: iBooks: Kobo: My Skylar Amazon: iBooks: Nook: Kobo: Gemini: Amazon: Nook: iBooks: Kobo:

Blog Tour & Review by Jackie & Sara: Dropping In by Carrie Quest


Today, we have the blog tour for Carrie Quest’s DROPPING IN! Check it—and the free prequel—out today and grab your copy!

Title: Dropping In

Series: A Snow-Crossed Lovers Novel

Release Date: February 8th

About Dropping In:

Natalie Berensen has one short summer to ace her writing class and convince her parents she’s not a hopeless screw-up. No more changing her major once a month, taking time off to travel, or random friends-with-benefits. She doesn’t have time for distractions or hook-ups, not even if her longtime crush is in town for the summer and living in her basement. Who cares if he’s a snowboarding god with six pack abs and a hashtag devoted to his apparently magical penis? She’s not interested. Until she is. Ben Easton’s focus and self-discipline is legendary. He’s built a career as a professional snowboarder by training harder than anyone else on the mountain and steering clear of anything that doesn’t take him one step closer to his goal: Olympic gold. Then his best friend crashes in the half-pipe and Ben drops everything to take care of him. No more training. No more competitions. No more snowboarding. It’s over. He’s back in Boulder to help with Adam’s rehab, not fool around with his little sister’s best friend, no matter how much he loves her laugh or the way her ass looks when she walks up the stairs. There’s no way in hell he’s going anywhere near Natalie. Until he does. Contains: a grumpy guard cat with a taste for blood, discussions of Ents as phallic symbols, and plenty of sexy times.

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This is the first book in the new Snow-Crossed Lovers Series and what a great start it is, I was so looking forward to this book after reading Bailing Out and I was not disappointed.
Natalie has never taken life seriously, she has never found anything to make her settle but her parents are now giving her ultimatums , she must finish her writing degree or she will take a degree in business studies. Ben is her best friends brother and he is home to help his best friend Adam recuperate after a terrible snow boarding accident the last thing either of them need is a relationship but sometimes our hearts rule rather than our minds.......
This book has a lot going for it, great characters, sizzling chemistry, romance and some laugh out loud moments and it’s left me looking forward to book 2 in this series. Great job Carrie Quest

After reading Bailing Out, I couldn’t wait to read Dropping In.

Carrie Quest delivers another laugh out loud, sports romance. After reading this book and hearing a bit about the next one, I think Chuckles needs his own book! (You’ll see what I mean when you read it) 

I love the characters, Ben and Natalie. Natalie totally cracks me up and the way her character developed throughout this book was fantastic! 

Ben’s internal struggle throughout this book captured my heart. You really feel for him. 

I can’t wait to read Adam and Pipers story!

Out Now:

Title: Bailing Out

Series: A Snow-Crossed Lovers Novella

About Bailing Out:

Gabriel Power came to Sochi with two goals: win a medal and track down his ex-girlfriend so he can finally explain the truth about the scandal that came between them. Once that’s done, he’s going to disappear. Snowboarding’s bad boy is tired of the phony photo ops set up by his media mogul father. Getting hounded by reporters and pretending to date supermodels while running errands for Power News cost him the only girl he’s ever loved, and now it’s time to walk away. Quitting his father will be easy. Bailing on snowboarding will be slightly harder. Getting Belle to forgive him may be impossible, but he has to try. Isabelle Garland’s Olympic dream died the night a drunk driver plowed into her car and crushed her leg. Sochi was supposed to be her moment of glory, but instead she’s limping around the Village trying to dodge the snowboarder who broke her heart and avoid the interviews her pushy sister-slash-manager insists are vital for building her brand. Belle doesn’t want a brand, she wants a life. Preferably one far away from the rude reporters who keep trying to get America’s Skating Sweetheart to cry on camera by asking how it feels when your entire life is snatched away in an instant. (Spoiler: it feels like s***. Also, she’s more snark than sweet these days.) When she runs into Gabe in the basement of her hotel, Belle’s first instinct is to flee. Too bad they’re trapped in a freezing storage room together with no way out and only their chemistry to keep them warm…


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Coming Soon:

Title: Wiping Out

Series: A Snow-Crossed Lovers Novel

Release Date: March 8th

About Wiping Out:

Piper Easton is a fixer. As a teenager she took over running the house when her mom got sick, and when her snowboarder brother was injured, she found the top knee guru in town and finagled a same-day appointment. She’s got an exclusive internship lined up in Europe and she’ll be leaving as soon as she watches her brother Ben win a gold medal. She just has to clean up one last mess: the way her stupid heart jumps whenever her ex-boyfriend appears. She and Adam are friends now, that’s it. That’s all they can ever be. But maybe a few benefits aren’t out of the question. Just until their trip to the Olympics finishes and they both go their separate ways. Surely the problem will be fixed by then. Adam Westlake had two true loves: snowboarding and Piper Easton. He lost them both and now he’s broken. The scars from where they cut his skull open are no longer visible, but the traumatic brain injury means it isn’t safe for him to ride again and he hasn’t spoken to Piper in eighteen months. Not since he got out of the hospital and fled Colorado, terrified he wouldn’t be able to resist strapping on his board when the snow started falling. He’s been chasing summer around the world ever since, until a lucrative offer to report on the Olympics brings him home to face all the temptations he left behind. He might be able to summon the willpower to stay off the mountain, but Piper? She’s irresistible. Contains: sex as an Olympic sport, dirty dancing while wearing eye goggles, ninety-nine penis balloons, and a blowjob rudely interrupted by a devil in feline form.

Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Nook

About the Author:

Carrie grew up in Vermont, spent her college years in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, and now lives in New Zealand with her husband, two smallish children, and a gaggle of very badly behaved animals. She writes love stories that will make you laugh and reads enough romance to swoon on the regular.

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Enter Carrie’s Giveaway:

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Check out this excerpt for BAD BOY M.D. by Virna DePaul! Preorder and add it to your TBR today!

Title: Bad Boy M.D.
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description:
It was only meant to be a dating app hookup. Turns out HeartBreaker531 isn’t an anonymous medical student after all—he’s my new chief resident…

As one of the top cardiac surgeons in the United States, Dr. Lauren Decker is fearless in the operating room, but her personal life is a different story. After her surgeon ex-husband cheated on her with a nurse half his age, Lauren has sworn off men—doctors, specifically. Never again.

But one day, the sexy and infuriatingly cocky Ryan Castle arrives. Looking to be the newest resident on staff, he challenges Lauren’s resolve to protect her heart. He’s gorgeous, ten years younger, a smartass at the top of his game, and soon, Lauren finds herself fighting fantasies of late-night trysts in the cardiology wing.

Like Lauren, Ryan’s been burned by love, but what starts out as an irresistible challenge to get Lauren into bed soon turns into more. She’s fighting what she feels by giving him the cold shoulder, and there’s only one thing to do.

Turn up the heat in the ER.

Chapter One


It should have been easy: take a well-deserved vacation from my high-pressure job as a cardiac surgeon, check into my hotel in paradise, drink my weight in mai tais, and hook up with someone who would not only give me multiple orgasms but make me forget my cheating ex, the very reason I hadn’t had any orgasms—at least not the partner-induced kind—for over a year. Instead, I spent my vacation sleeping, swimming, and half-heartedly flirting with men at the pool, but in the end I hadn’t been able to sleep with any of them.

I tried.

I’d gotten close.

I told myself that it was all I needed to get rid of the odd restlessness that had been popping up more and more lately, the one that made me worry whether I was somehow losing my edge.

But one minute I’d be kissing a guy, enjoying him touching me, and the next thing I knew I’d remember Samuel’s betrayal, my mind and body would shut down, and I’d have to get away from him as fast as possible.

Vacation failure.

Now here I am back home, scheduled to return to work in two days, feeling like a pathetic horny loser. A loser who couldn’t even engage in a revenge fuck a year after Samuel cheated on me. Of course, it wasn’t as if I couldn’t try again tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but the thought of going to a bar, club, or hell, even the gym, to try again anytime soon made me want to hurl.

Which is why I was currently staring at the app my friend Bonnie installed on my phone after she picked me up at the airport, and I confessed I hadn’t done the horizontal mambo with anyone while in the Dominican Republic. I’d never done online dating. I met Samuel when we were both in medical school, and by the time we graduated, we were engaged. Too bad almost ten years of marriage hadn’t stopped him from cheating on me.

I was a damn doctor. A damn doctor who was almost forty years old. I’d planned to delete the app, but now…

I stared at the app’s pink heart logo.

So what if I hadn’t been able to pull the trigger while on vacation? I’m a modern, strong, independent woman. I have an amazing career that most people only dream about, and sure I’ve been in a funk, haven’t quite been myself, but what if Bonnie is right? What if all I need is one night—one night of hot, mind-blowing, fuck-my-brains-out sex with a random stranger—to get my groove back?

With a bracing breath, I rearranged the bed pillows, grabbed my glass of pinot grigio, took a big gulp, then clicked open the app.

A few minutes later, my profile and match preferences were up and running. My name of choice? Lana, because it started with an L like Lauren, and let’s be real, sounded ten times sexier. I used a photo Bonnie had taken of me in short shorts and a tank top, wearing a ball cap, only the lower half of my face visible. The photo gave me a flirty, mysterious air. I input what I was looking for: male, age 25-45, distance fifteen miles.

No sense in beating around the bush, and while I’d never considered hooking up with a guy who was younger than me, in this case, the more energetic the better. If I was going to break loose for a night, I might as well get the most out of it that I could.

Photos of eligible candidates began filtering onto my phone screen. Some guys seemed decent enough, while others were beefcakes who’d uploaded bathroom shots of their abs. Pass. Other guys’ profiles screamed bitter—“I want a woman who’s honest and isn’t into drama.”

I swiped right on a few of the decent ones, my initial nervousness quickly changing into exasperation. Then boredom. Then the sad realization that my choices were limited. Where were all the hot men when a girl wanted to hook up?

A message popped into my inbox, startling me so much I almost dropped my phone. Clicking it open, I read: hey. Nothing else. I rolled my eyes, deleted the message, and kept swiping, refilling my wine glass (I’d brought the bottle to bed with me) from time to time.

A few more messages:

Hi there your hot
Ugh, I know it’s just sex, but he has to know the difference between your and you’re.

Wanna get a drink?
You like peanut butter? I’d love to eat peanut butter with you. ☺
Okay, enough of this.

Just as I was about to hit the button to lock out my phone, however, his face popped up.

Like something out of a steamy romance novel meets Greek god myth, his picture alone was enough to send my pulse racing. He was shirtless, but all you could see were the tops of his pecs—wet, dripping pecs—as he rose from crystal blue waters similar to those in the tropical paradise of sun, sand and waves I’d just left. This was no beefcake taking photos of himself in his tiny bathroom in depressing, muted light. This guy was model material. In fact, he seemed too perfect, and I wondered if he’d used a fake pic. His image got even better as I worked my way up, with that gorgeous, muscular chest sprinkled with a hint of hair connected to an exquisite neck.

But when I got to his face, the deal was nearly sealed.

I sighed in appreciation. His chin was classic and square, the perfect shape and size to compliment his chiseled cheekbones. His skin was just dark enough to make you wonder whether it was tan or naturally olive, and he had tousled brown hair that looked silky soft. The real focal point, though, were his piercing ocean-green eyes, probably a trick of light and water. The way he stared right into the camera made me suddenly wish for a career as a photographer, lifeguard, or hell, even a hermit crab, for that matter. I’d scuttle across the sand just to pinch his big toe. Anything that got me in the path of that intense gaze for a night.

I had to laugh out loud. Talk about desperate! One photo of a hot twenty-something and I was salivating like a dog after a bone. I really did need to get laid, otherwise I might attack the next available guy I encountered, even if it was peanut butter man from the previous message.

Username: HeartBreaker531

About me: I’m more interested in fixing hearts than breaking them, which is why I’m in medical school (you can call me doctor). I like surfing, Thai food, and dogs. I basically go to school and sleep, but if you’re looking for something fast and casual, hit me up.

Both vague and quite specific, setting the parameters of what he was looking for without coming off as a total ass. I appreciated his honesty regarding why he was using the app, and the fact he was in medical school and had an interest in “fixing hearts,” (or at least had the creativity and balls to fake that he was) also earned him points in my book.

I swiped right instantly and waited. And waited. I got up to pee, came back, and waited to see if he swiped right too. To my disappointment, he didn’t, and that didn’t change over the next half hour. Gah, I’m pathetic, I thought. I was about to turn in for the night when I got the notification: HeartBreaker531 likes you!

Pathetic or not, my pulse sped up again. I opened the message screen.

Nerves in my throat, I decided to go with flirty, but short. I was just at the ocean. Too bad I didn’t see you there. Would’ve been a game changer.

I waited in anticipation, staring at my screen for nearly a minute before laughing at myself. Like he was going to message back that quickly! I rolled my eyes and tossed my phone away. I needed to go to sleep. Tomorrow was another day, and a clearer head was probably needed before jumping into the one night-stand territory anyway.

Just as I closed my eyes my phone dinged with a notification. I brought the phone closer and unlocked the screen only to find a message waiting for me from HeartBreaker531 himself.

Hey there gorgeous. Wish I’d seen you at the beach too. Game changer?
I hesitated. Told myself it was too late, too flirty, too much. This was a bad idea. I had no idea who he was. He could be some creep living in his mom’s basement, fingers stained with Cheetos dust.

Only somehow I couldn’t stop myself, because what if he was real? What if this gorgeous man was truly interested in me and could serve my purpose? My simple, shallow, selfish purpose, but a purpose nonetheless?

Taking a chance, my fingers moved as I settled back into my overstuffed pillows.

Hi back
OH GOD, what had I done?!

Hi back? Was that really the best I could come up with?

What was I, sixteen years old again? I was a grown woman for goodness sake. Not some awkward teenager talking to her first real crush.

“Smooth, Lauren, smooth,” I grumbled to myself. I rushed to add another line of reply before mystery man ran for the hills.

Yes, game changer, I typed. Seeing you would’ve changed everything about my trip. I certainly wouldn’t have slept alone.

Holy crap, did I really say that? I was full-on flirting with HeartBreaker531. My fingers tingled with anticipation. How would he respond?

Actually, you wouldn’t have slept at all. 
My heart raced. I smiled. It’s not like I’d never flirted before, but it’d been a long time. I’d forgotten how fun it could be. I had to keep going.

I would apologize for keeping you UP this time of night, but the mental image I have of you in that condition is too good. I’m unrepentant.
I was getting better at this. Sexy word play was a good move, and I even managed to work in a multi-syllabic phrase this time.

The phone politely buzzed, alerting me to his reply.

If I’m UP, then what are you? ;)

Ready. ;)

For a moment, I heard nothing back. Crap, had I scared him away with my blunt directness? Was I overdoing the confident woman thing? But then, his reply arrived:

I like that. What are you wearing, Lana?
For a moment, I wondered who the fuck Lana was. Then, I remembered it was my chat name! And apparently, things had quickly escalated and we were moments away from chat sex.

It was now or never. Did I want a meaningless tryst or not?

Gulping down another swish of wine, I looked down at my heather grey sleep pants and worn-in, navy blue t-shirt that was one of my favorites to sleep in. Not exactly va-va-voom.

I knew suddenly that no matter how handsome and sexy he was, no matter how daring I was currently acting, I would never meet him somewhere. Chat sex was as far as it would go.

It would be perfect actually. Harmless. No strings attached, no foul. It’s all good, Lauren, you nervous little minx.

Putting the phone down on the covers, I quickly slid off my pajama pants and then just as quickly dispersed with my top, leaving me sitting nearly naked, exchanging messages with a strange man over a dating app. I almost laughed at the absurdity of it.

Picking up my phone I tapped out my message and hit send with anticipation.

Why should I tell you? I teased.

His reply was quicker this time.

I promise I’ll make it worth your while.
I raised my eyebrows. Cocky, for sure, which only made him sexier.

I’m wearing black panties…and nothing else.
Nice. What kind of material?
Silk with lace around the edges and on the butt.
Touch yourself, Lana.
I hesitated. He’d used my chat name again, and it suddenly made me second guess what I was doing. Was I really going to do this? HeartBreaker531 could be some weird creeper. Or a stalker, or married, or or or…

“Stop it, Lauren. Grow up and let loose a little,” I told myself.

It wasn’t like I was ever going to meet this guy in person. He was probably using a fake picture, and so what? It was all for fun fantasy anyway. Wasn’t the end of the world. He probably thought my photo was fake, too. Come to think of it, I probably should have picked an image from some super model bikini shoot of someone with less hips and longer legs.

Screw it.

What did I have to lose? I’d had a hell of a year, and soon I’d be back to my professional, hard-working, life-saving self. That settled that then—I was all in.

I held the phone with one hand, while dragging the other slowly down my torso, over my stomach and onto the minimal waistband of my low-rise bikinis. Good thing I had lots of experience typing with one hand while juggling medical charts with another.

Are you touching yourself now? he asked.

Tell me how it feels.
I imagined he had a bit of a rasp to his voice, probably a baritone, yes, most definitely a baritone, and the question would have rolled over his tongue like whiskey, smooth on the ear initially, but with a follow-up shudder once the impact hit you.

Soft, smooth, warm…wet.
Whoa, bolder. I gave myself an internal pat on the back for that one.

Touch yourself like I would touch you.
Dear God. That sent a spike through me. Inhibitions melted away in the relative safety of my perceived anonymity, and I lowered my hand further, applying just the smallest amount of tantalizing pressure. The material was slick, the skin underneath getting slicker by the moment.

Can you feel how hot you are for me already through your panties? he messaged.

My touch felt electric and I slowly, leisurely moved my hand up and down over the slick material, leaving tingling tightness in its wake. This felt way better than masturbating by myself.

I closed my eyes as I continued sliding my hand leisurely, side to side, up and down. Was he turned on by this as much as I was? Was he stroking himself through his jeans? He was definitely wearing jeans and nothing else, I had decided. Open buttoned jeans pulled down to reveal his hard thickness.

Emboldened, I used my free hand to tap out another question. Are you touching yourself?

I imagined him biting his lip. In my mind he definitely bit his lip.

I wasn’t planning on it, but I am now.
My mystery Adonis had a sense of humor. My insides clenched a little tighter.

How does it feel?
Hard, very hard. And hot. It feels good, but not as good as if you were stroking me.
Oh, man. I was way, way in. I imagined him sitting alone in a hotel room, godlike body roped with smooth muscles, stroking his rock hard cock while thinking of me in my black silk panties. The mental image alone was almost enough to make me get off.

Put your hand inside your panties, Lana. Rub yourself for me.
Bossy. I could get on board with that.

Shifting positions for a better angle, I slipped my hand under the waistband, working my fingers slowly over my mound, pausing briefly on the cliff edge near my clit and then working further down. I hovered over my opening.

Another message from him: Do it.

It was like he was in the room, watching me. The thought of this sexy beast of a man watching me touch myself at his command had an audible groan escaping my lips. I dipped a finger just barely inside myself, confirming how wet this little verbal back and forth made me. I was willing to bet everything I owned that his groan was as sexy as I was imagining. Eyes closed, low and guttural.

Tell me how much you wish I was there with you right now.
I do. I wish you were here to feel this, I typed.

I could tease you, in and out all night long, Lana. My thumb rubbing over the head of my cock wouldn’t feel as good as rubbing it against your clit.
He was going to be the death of me, and with only a few dirty words. Pushing my fingers in a little further, I began working myself in earnest, feeling how slick this unlikely encounter was making me. I used my other hand to tease out another message for him.

I can feel your hard cock inside me.

That’s right. Imagine me inside you, filling you up.

Filling me up. YES. It was impossible, insane even, but I was getting close. That tingling, clenching sensation deep in my core was turning into a raging inferno. Was he stroking himself in time to mine? Did he want his fingers inside my pussy, closing his eyes to imagine it?

That’s it gorgeous, work those fingers in and out, faster now, a little harder. Those tiny fingers couldn’t possibly fill you up like I would. You know it’s just a taste.
My fingers flew in and out faster now, slicker than ever before. The heat was coiling tight, I was so ready. I needed a release. Needed to feel him deep inside me, rubbing his hard chest against my soft breasts, thrusting deep up into me with every move of his gorgeous hips.

Oh my God.

Yes, do it, Lana.

I could see his beautiful body now, with those striking eyes, that unruly hair tumbling ever so slightly onto his face. It was too much and not enough, all at once.

My insides clenched as my fingers worked over my most sensitive parts, stroking myself to an explosive, breath-stealing orgasm. My back arched as every muscle in my body tensed up at once, letting the warm, electric sensations roll through me. I collapsed back onto the covers in a state of incoherent bliss, resting my mind and body while I caught my breath. Remnants of my orgasm were still pulsing through my body as I heard the phone ding from my side where I had dropped it in the midst of ecstasy. I picked it up, eyes already half drooping in my newly relaxed state.

I want to see you.
Instantly, my fuzzy, post-orgasmic bliss brain got back into high gear. A little sexting with a random stranger was one thing, but a hook-up after this? Meeting with someone in person, after what he…I… had done? What had I been thinking? No, no way. Just no.

I had a career, a reputation. What if someone found out? What if he was really some creep in his mom’s basement? What if he looked exactly as gorgeous as his avatar and he had an ego to match?

My phone dinged again.

How about tomorrow night?
I paused, fingers hovering yet again. This wasn’t my game. I was older, more sensible, a big girl with big girl responsibilities, not some twenty-something who could play hook-up with random men for a bit of weekend fun. I had worked too damn hard to get where I was, crawled from the bottom up out of that hellhole, secured my place among the best of the best.

With a decisive stroke I went to settings, and the damn thing asked me if I was really, really sure I wanted to delete all of my information, contacts, pictures and conversations, etc. Yeah, I was sure! I deleted it immediately, and the app icon quickly disappeared, along with HeartBreaker531.

I had a moment of regret, but only a moment. Easy come, easy go.

Plugging my phone into the charger, I settled into bed for the second time that night. As my head hit the pillow and the remnant intoxication of both alcohol and sexual release forced my eyelids closed, I summoned up a mental image of Sexy HeartBreaker Adonis’s picture in my head one more time. As I succumbed to sleep my last thoughts were muddled reassurance—he wasn’t really the first man in over a year to make me come…I did it myself with just a little help. He was no one I needed. No one I wanted. We had fun but now it was business as usual.

Goodbye, Lana, woman-who-obviously-needed-some-so-was-willing-to-hook-up-with-a-hottie-even-if-it-was-only-through-a-dating-app.

Hello, Dr. Lauren Decker, woman-who-got-that-out-of-her-system-and-is-now-ready-to-focus-on-her-career-and-never-let-a-man-screw-her-over-again.

About the author:

Virna DePaul is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, and a former criminal prosecutor who writes thrilling, sexy stories about ordinary people overcoming extraordinary obstacles to find love. She has been traditionally published with Penguin, Harlequin, and Random House, and is also a bestselling Indie author.