Release Week Blitz + ARC Review, Top 5 Quotes & Giveaway: Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox

Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox releases tomorrow! To celebrate, we have Zara Cox’s top 5 favorite quotes from this new release – also be sure to check out my review and a fantastic giveaway below!

Top 5 Quotes in ARROGANT BASTARD

  1. It’s a universally held belief that you can’t help who you fall in love with. There are a fuck-load of books expounding on that theory. I call bullshit.
  2. I could’ve stopped myself from soiling her goodness. From falling ass over feet in love. But I carried on walking. And with each step I took, I knew we were doomed. Because with each step, I glimpsed her potential, absorbed her genius and her beauty and her flaws.
  3. “But this bastard, your bastard, is going out of his mind with the need to taste you again. If fucking you is off the table, I’ll take the next best thing.”
  4. “I belong to her. It’s easier for both of us if we put it that way.”
  5. He discards the glass and steps onto the wide bed. With his gaze still pinned on me, he slowly slides down the headboard into the pile of pillows. “I’m not going to survive this, am I?” he mutters under his breath.

Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox
Series: Dark Desires #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
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I’m known as the Black Widow because the desires I hide inside are pure poison.
I was a different person once. Faith, a young wife, hoping to become a mother. My life was pleasant. Stable. It was hell. Until Killian Knight opened my eyes to a world of espionage and intrigue. He saw something in me, something I was too afraid to acknowledge. I didn’t want to be excited by the danger. Didn’t want to crave the wicked passion only he could provide. But I did want, so now I run. And I pay.

I never meant to corrupt her, but I’m not sorry.
After all, I’m already damned.

After four years of searching and longing, I’ve finally found her. Faith, the one person in the world I breathe for. She lives beneath my skin as surely as I wear proof of our transgressions inked on my body. And like the forbidden fruit that doomed us from the beginning, our end is inevitable. We lived with no regret. We loved without inhibition. We betrayed those closest to us. We killed for that love. Now…we will burn in hell together.

Buy Links:
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After being surprised in the best way possible by the last book in the Dark Desires series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book. Black Sheep had set up the Black Widow’s story so well, I was dying for Arrogant Bastard to release, especially since I knew it would be a second chance romance. I am a huge sucker for that trope, and luckily Zara Cox delivered on the angst and intensity I was expecting to come with Black Widow/Faith and Killian’s second chance romance. There were still some parts that I wasn’t too keen on, but overall, this was a fantastically dark and delicious second chance romance I’d recommend!

I feel like I’ve desired her and lost her through several lifetimes. She wishes she’d never met me in even one of them, I know. But that matters very little now.
It happened. We happened. And this time… I don’t plan to loser her again.

Four years ago, Faith and Killian met, and against all odds fell for each other. Killian introduced her to the world of espionage and, caught up in the rush of love, lust, and adrenaline, they never looked back. That is, until one assignment breaks them, and Faith disappears completely from Killian’s life. Years later, after his unwavering search for the love of his life (it certainly helped that he had the money and brains to find her), Killian has found Faith, who now goes by Black Widow. And now that he’s found her, he’s never letting her go again.

She was everything I’d been waiting for without even knowing it.

I loved Black Widow in Black Sheep, and she’s just as badass as I knew she was in Arrogant Bastard. After learning her history with espionage with Killian, I grew to admire her all the more. Despite leaving Killian, Faith never forgot about the man who, once upon a time, was her everything. But now that’s he’s found her, her newly constructed life in New York slowly crumbles, and she’s not sure she’s tough enough to keep Killian out of her life – again.

“When are you going to get it through your head that I exist just for you?”

I loved the second chance romance. I adored the determined hero who never stopped searching for and loving the one woman he knew was meant for him. Seriously, you will swoon over how much Killian loved and cherishes Faith (even if he is arrogant and a bastard at times). I do wish we got to see more of their history though, just to get a sense of how they fell in love from the beginning.

But the main reason I didn’t love this book as much as Black Sheep was that I felt the suspenseful part of the story nearly overtook the romance. I love a good romantic suspense, but I just wasn’t expecting the book to focus so heavily on the action. Although if you love action and suspense, and are in the mood for it, then Arrogant Bastard is definitely for you. The addicting second chance romance will just be the icing on top!

I did enjoy Arrogant Bastard overall and hope that Zara Cox writes more dark romance. Her heroes are alpha, powerful, and irresistible, while her heroines are tough and independent. She writes some sizzling chemistry – the sexual tension is all-consuming and erotic. I’m very much looking forward to what the author has in store for us next!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Dark Desires series

   

#1 ~ Beautiful Liar: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Black Sheep: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2.5 ~ Wicked S.O.B.: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Arrogant Bastard: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Sept. 12, 2017)

about the author button

Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Instagram • Pinterest • Goodreads

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Fifteen (15) FREE eBook downloads of ARROGANT BASTARD

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Blog Tour + Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Drumline by Stacy Kestwick

Drumline by Stacy Kestwick
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 5th 2017
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Traditions are important. Especially in the South.
College football. Rivalries. Tailgating. Halftime shows.
Some things just don’t change.
Until Reese Holland shows up with her long legs and no-bullsh*t attitude to audition for the prestigious all-male Rodner University snare line.
It doesn’t matter how much hazing she has to endure from Laird Bronson, with his narrowed green eyes and arrogant smirk. She wants that damn spot, and she’s more than good enough to earn it.
She expects there to be tension. Even friction.
But not sparks hot enough to burn the entire campus down.

Buy Links:
Amazon Ebook • Amazon Paperback

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Drumline was my first Stacy Kestwick book – I usually don’t read new authors without heavy recommendations from people I trust, but I just couldn’t resist a new adult college romance. It feels like it’s been forever since the last time I read a college romance, so Drumline came at the perfect time. I enjoyed it – it took me by surprise in a good way. If you love anything related to new adult, I highly recommend you give this book a try! It’s sweet, sexy, and just an overall fun read.

Laird Bronson is captain of the snare line, and as its his last year at school, he needs the band to go out with a bang. What he doesn’t expect is for a spitfire of a woman to audition for the previously all-male Rodner University snare line. He’s utterly enthralled by Reese Holland and can’t seem to resist her. She’s tough, gorgeous, ambitious, determined, and gives as good she gets. I fell a little in love with her myself right alongside Laird.

I wanted to know her everything.
I wanted to fucking be her everything.

In spite of the wild attraction she feels for Laird, Reese isn’t about to let her feelings for the band’s captain get in the way of her earning her spot in the snare line. But Laird isn’t like any college boy she knows – he’s as sweet as he is alpha, and incredibly supportive of her ambitions. She tries to keep her distance but can’t help herself to the sexy wonder that is Laird.

I LOVE that this was about the marching band rather than the athletes, etc. because how many books are there about football players? And how many books are there about the drummers of a marching band? Because Drumline is the first I’ve read of them. We need more band geek romances!

I have to say that while I was a big fan of the romance, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the drama in Drumline, especially when it had to do with the antagonist. I could’ve done with less of it, but that’s just me. I’m sure many won’t have the same problem, but this was just the reason why I couldn’t fully love the story like I wanted to.

Drumline is full of sexual tension, sweet romance, and did I mention a snare line!? It was such a unique take on a college romance so I have to give props to the author. I may have to check out her other books now, but I do hope she writes more college romances in the future!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from Drumline! ❤

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He devoured me.

Being eaten alive had never felt so good.

His lips. His hands. His heat. My entire being was overwhelmed by him finally, finally touching me.

The kiss started hard, desperate, the inevitable conclusion to the tension that had been building between us for two weeks. With my eyes closed and my breasts flattened against the wall of his chest, I gave into it, surrendered to the moment. My mouth clung to his as he tilted my head to the side, changing the angle to deepen the contact.

His hands moved over me restlessly, hungrily, skimming down my back on the way to my ass, then back up my sides to frame my face, his fingers leaving a trail of heat behind on every inch of skin he claimed for himself. I pulled at his shirt while he pushed me against the solidness of the door. My heart tripped over itself in its race to keep up. Muffled sounds came from both of us, vibrating in our throats but not escaping our lips because we hadn’t even parted for a breath yet.

Who needed fucking air when Laird Bronson was kissing them? Not me.

His lips were somehow firm and soft at the same time as he slanted them over me again and again. It was like being called up to the major league from the minors. Nothing in my past compared. I shivered from the intensity of it, from the innate authority of his mouth as he consumed me. Like I was made to bend to him, as inevitable as the moon ceding to the sun.

I lifted on my tiptoes to get closer, one of my hands snaking up to tangle in his dark hair. The strands were barely long enough at the top to grip, and when I gave them a tug, he rolled his hips against me, showing me just how much he liked it. I moaned and felt an answering wetness gather at the juncture of my thighs.

Dear sweet rosy-cheeked baby Jesus and all the saints in heaven.

His mouth needed to come with a warning label. Danger. Highly flammable.

But it was too late. I’d had a taste and I liked the burn.

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USA TODAY Bestseller Stacy Kestwick is a Southern girl who firmly believes mornings should be outlawed. Her perfect day would include puppies, carbohydrates, and lounging on a hammock with a good book. No adulting, cleaning, or bacon allowed.

Where to Find Stacy:

Website • FacebookTwitter • Instagram

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Drumline Prize Pack: Signed copy of Drumline, “I Have Some Nonfictional Feelings About Some Fictional Characters” tote bag, Stacy Kestwick water bottle, and lots of swag!

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Blog Tour + Review & Excerpt: Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America Collection

Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America Collection
Series: Anthology
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
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Do you believe in second chances?

Romance Writers of America® brings together seventeen of today’s hottest authors in an anthology of never-before-published tales that reveal true love always deserves a happy ending.

Follow New York Times best-selling authors J. Kenner and Christina Lauren back to reader-favorite worlds.

New York Times bestseller Alyssa Day sprinkles djinn magic in her humorous paranormal romance, while Rachel Hauck brings the enchantment of the holidays in her New Year’s Eve contemporary love story.

And Liliana Hart delivers thrills and adventure in her hero and heroine’s search for the impossible.

With characters who find love through tough situations, in elegant 1800s ballrooms, with an old friend who shows up when least expected, at a tender age when cliques and homework get in the way of relationships, or after a random encounter in an unlikely setting, Second Chances delivers romance to strike every reader’s fancy.

Plus tales from:
Marilyn Brant
Kerri Carpenter
CiCi Coughlin
Cassandra Dean
Tina Ferraro
Renee Luke
Ariella Moon
Brandi Willis Schreiber
Lizzie Shane
Sharon Sobel
Damon Suede
Tara Wyatt

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes

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I love love love second chance romances, so this anthology chock-full of second chance romance stories was perfect for me. It was interesting to see so many different takes on this trope. And despite being short story length, they were all highly developed and well-written. If you love second chance romances too, I highly recommend picking this up!

It’s hard for me to review this with seventeen different stories, but I do want to mention few that stood out to me. Christina Lauren’s The Fisher Men: Levi’s Story was the one that I was most anticipating, and this beloved author duo didn’t disappoint. Levi is the youngest of the Roberts men (he’s Finn’s younger brother!), who are all part of a fishing company reality show. When the only girl he ever loved shows up on his boat to be his nurse after he gets injured, he gets a second chance at admitting his feelings and winning her heart. I adored this sweet, simple story. I wish we could have gotten more of it, not only because I loved Levi and Emmy, but also because I loved seeing Finn and their other brother.

Scandalous by Cassandra Dean is a historical romance and a second chance romance ten years in the making. The scandalous Earl of Edgington may have abandoned Sofie when she needed him the most, but now that she’s back from her travels around the world, he’s not about to make the same mistake and let her go again. Angsty yet sweet, I loved this story and its determined hero.

One Night was my first J. Kenner story, but it won’t be my last. It’s a fast-paced, sexy romance about putting your heart on the line and taking a second chance at love. I love when one night stands turn into something more, and Penny and Blake’s story just worked for me. I definitely need to go and read the rest of the Stark World books!

With seventeen stories in Second Chances, you’re sure to find one that you love. There’s every kind of second chance romance in this anthology, from being jilted at the altar to falling in love with a magical Djinn. They are all quick, easy, romantic reads that are sure to satisfy the second chance romance lover.


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from Fortune’s Treasure”​by Liliana Hart! ❤

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​[Lucas Fortune finds himself captured by rival treasure hunter Damian Hunter. He soon finds himself joined in captivity by an unexpected blast from the past..]

He’d learned over the years that an opportunity for wealth and fame could come at any moment, but only to those who were prepared. Most treasure hunters lived by the same basic rules he did. Those who didn’t … well … they didn’t last long. It was a brutal and addictive lifestyle, and only the strongest survived. Damian Hunter wasn’t the strongest or smartest or most talented treasure hunter, but he was the most cunning. And he was definitely the most ruthless.

Lucas perked up at the sound of muffled voices and footsteps coming in his direction, and he got up quickly, looking for something—anything—he could use as a weapon. To no avail—even the rusted iron bedframe was solid and too heavy to tear apart.

The voices quieted as they got closer and he settled himself on the bed, trying to look non-threatening and still weakened from the blow they gave him earlier. Not an easy accomplishment for a man who was six foot two in his bare feet and built like a brawler. His fists had gotten him out of more than one sticky situation. Learning to defend himself had been a priority once he’d realized hunting treasure left him with a target. The six-inch scar on his back from a knife was as much of a reminder of his first find as the gold doubloon now missing from his pocket.

He was a hell of a poker player, and that ability was the only thing that kept him seated and looking bored as two of Damian’s men charged in, dragging another prisoner behind them. And dragging her was exactly what they had to do. She wasn’t going to make it easy on them. He almost smiled at that. Miranda George had never made things easy. She was a hundred and twenty pounds of pure fire and prickly temper. And she’d once been all his.


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Excerpt Reveal: Exes with Benefits by Nicole Williams

Exes with Benefits by Nicole Williams
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 18th 2017
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***He wants a second chance. I want a divorce. To get what I want, I’ll have to give him what he does.***

From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Williams:

The only benefit I want from my ex is a divorce.

We got married for all the wrong reasons. The one thing we got right was our separation. I should have known better than to think I could bet on forever with a guy like Canaan Ford. Everything about him screamed impermanent, from his wild eyes to his restless soul.

When I left him and the small town I’d spent my whole life in, I swore I’d never go back. Never only turned out to be five years. Canaan claims he’s changed, but he hasn’t—same knowing smile, same rough demeanor, same body crafted from sin and sinew. And yet, something is different. He thinks this is his chance for redemption. My disagreement comes in the form of divorce papers dropped in his lap. He refuses to sign them. Unless . . .

He wants a month to prove himself to me—that’s his offer. One month to make me fall in love with him again and if I don’t, he’ll sign the papers. As much as I want to say no, I agree. I can suffer my ex for a short amount of time if that’s what it takes to be free of him once and for all. I fell for him once; I won’t make that same mistake twice.

He says we’re not over. I say we were over before we got started. Only one of us can be right, and I can’t let it be him.

Buy Links:
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Now here’s an excerpt from Exes with Benefits! ❤

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PROLOGUE

Goodbye.

It was the one relationship guarantee we could all expect. Whether it was death or circumstance, tragedy or choice, it was the only promise we were assured. Goodbye. It had been coming since the day we met, and now it was here. Sooner than I’d hoped. Even sooner than the sensible segment of me had predicted.

Still, it was later than maybe I should have expected out of a relationship with Canaan Ford.

I’d been waiting all night for his truck to rumble up the driveway when it finally did just past two a.m.. Before his footsteps echoed up the stairs, I shouldered the couple of bags I’d packed and waited in the shadows of the hallway. My paintbrushes were sticking out of one of my oversized totes, tickling the underside of my arm. I’d packed everything that seemed important at the time, but now, I wasn’t sure that what I’d stuffed in my bags mattered at all.

It was late, dark, and Canaan would be coming home exhausted, hurting, and some degree of drunk. He wouldn’t see me, and I could just slip away without him knowing.

Maybe I should have left before he made it back, but whenever I tried, my feet froze to the floor before I could make it to the door. I needed to wait for him to get home first—to make sure he was okay before I left him. That might have been a messed up model of morality, but most of Canaan’s and my relationship was messed up, from the beginning to now, the ending.

He struggled with the key in the lock before shoving the door open and clomping straight toward the couch. He’d stopped crawling into bed beside me after a night of fighting and drinking months ago, like he thought it would spare me the pain of seeing him bloodied and plastered. It never had. The black eyes, the swollen lips, the bruised ribs; they were that much worse in the light of morning.

Canaan had barely crashed onto the sofa before his breathing evened out. Still, I waited another minute in the hallway before moving into the living room.

Don’t look, Maggie. Don’t let yourself look at him.

I looked. Of course I looked. I never listened to what was best for me—if I had, my life would have wound up so much differently.

He was already passed out, sprawled across the couch we’d bought at a yard sale the summer before . . .

Before all of this.

One arm and one leg were hanging off the end, his face tipped far enough toward me I could gauge the type of fight he’d been in tonight. A good one by Canaan’s definition—the best kind. The type where his opponent got in as many hits as he did. The type of fight that made him almost question if it would be the first one he’d lose. Canaan loved the challenge, the fight. He thrived off of chaos, seeming to wilt when life was simple. I used to admire that about him, and maybe I still did. It just wasn’t the life for me. I couldn’t live life like it was a battle—not anymore.

He was passed out hard, but I still crept slowly toward the front door, my heart thundering as the boards creaked below me. Even though I was moving toward the door, my eyes stayed on him.

Look away.

I couldn’t. Canaan was the best part of my life. And the worst. The best memories. And the worst. He was the high and the low and I was so damn tired of the sick cycle I thought would kill me one day.

As my hand cupped around the cool doorknob, my eyes burned. This was it. As resolved as I’d felt in the weeks leading up to this, I felt like I was being torn in half by walking away. I knew if I stayed, this relationship would be the end of me. But at the moment, leaving felt like the same.

Lying on that couch, he looked so vulnerable. Almost like he needed someone to protect him. From the world. From his demons. From himself. I’d tried. God, I’d been trying for what felt like forever, but the only thing I had to show for my efforts was scars and pain.

One of his eyes was swollen shut, his bottom lip three times its normal size, and he’d split the same eyebrow open again. It was going to need stitches. Six, I guessed. I’d gotten really good as estimating the number of stiches needed to seal a wound.

A sob rose from my chest, but I managed to swallow it back down. He was the only boy I’d ever loved—the only one I’d ever come close to loving. In some ways, he was perfect for me. But in more ways, especially lately, he was entirely wrong for me.

That was why I needed to leave. We might have been good together, but we weren’t good for each other. I knew that now.

I opened the door slowly, so it wouldn’t make a sound, then I let myself take one last look at the life I was leaving behind before I forced myself to walk away.

Now that I wasn’t looking at him, moving was easier. Each step down from our little apartment above the garage came quicker, so by the time I reached the ground, I was jogging.

Canaan’s truck was parked right beside my old car. Ancient was maybe a better description of how “mature” my car was. It was almost like he’d known I was going to leave tonight, because he’d parked his truck so close I could barely crack my door open half a foot. Getting my bags tossed into the backseat and managing to wiggle in through the door was a tight fit, but I made it work.

The moment I was inside, I jammed the key in the ignition and turned it over. I didn’t pause. I didn’t flinch. The hardest part was behind me, and now I needed to keep moving.

Easing my car around the truck, I noticed the one light burning inside the big house in my rearview mirror. Grandma knew what was happening tonight and was keeping her light on for me as her unique way of expressing that no matter what, she was here for me. She’d keep the light on—even when it felt like there was nothing but darkness around me.

My throat constricted as I kept backing down the long driveway. I’d tried saving him, but it had cost me almost everything. I was taking what I had left and saving myself.

As I rolled past Grandma’s front porch, my gaze shifted from the rearview mirror to that little garage apartment I’d lived the last eleven months in. The door was open, light was streaming from inside, and a dark, towering shadow loomed in the doorway.

My foot instinctively moved toward the brake. Canaan was too far away for me to determine the look on his face, but I could imagine it. It came easy since I’d known him as long as I had. Knowing his face was like second nature.

He stayed unmoving in that doorway for a moment, my car doing the same. It wasn’t until he started moving down the stairs that my foot flew back to the gas. If he got to me before I made it out of this driveway, I wouldn’t leave. I knew it. Walking away from someone I loved was hard enough, but Canaan wasn’t just someone I loved—he was someone I’d shared everything with. He’d walked with me through the hardest part of my life, and I’d walked with him through his. We’d been each other’s beacon, shelter, and compass through all of life’s shit . . .

So how had we gotten here? To this hopeless, dead end of a place?

He was charging down the stairs now, taking them two at a time. How was he able to move that nimbly when he’d just been comatose on the couch?

“Maggie!”

The windows were rolled up, but his shout broke through the glass, sounding so close it was almost like he was pressed against me, whispering it into my ear.

He sprinted the moment his feet touched the ground, his long arms pumping hard at his sides.

“Canaan, don’t,” I whispered inside the car, my lower lip trembling as I focused on the driveway behind me. “Please don’t.”

I didn’t miss the shadow that had appeared in that lit window. Grandma was watching me leave, witnessing Canaan trying to convince me to stay. Before, his attempts had been successful, but not this time. I couldn’t stay for him one more time—I had to leave for me.

“Maggie! Please!”

Canaan’s shouts were so loud, they were going to wake up the neighbors a few acres over. Each word emanated like a blast inside the car.

“Let me go,” I whispered as I swung the car onto the street.

Right before I could punch it into drive and hit the gas, Canaan swooped in front of the car. His chest was moving hard from the exertion, his snug white tee stained with fresh and dried blood. His face was so messed up it was practically unrecognizable, but I couldn’t help seeing the young boy with a clip-on tie walk up to me when I was frozen on a porch step, appraising me with those wild gold eyes before holding out a tiny box. How had that boy, who’d saved me back then, become the ruin of me now?

When I revved the engine, he didn’t move. Instead, he slid closer so his legs were pushing against the bumper. He raised his arms like he was surrendering, his unswollen eye landing on me. “I’m not letting you leave. Not without a fight.”

A breath rolled past my lips—a fight. Everything was a fight with him. He couldn’t land enough hits or take enough. His guilt wouldn’t let him.

Cranking down the window, I made myself glare at him. It was harder to achieve than it should have been. “I’m not something you win or lose in a fight.”

His jaw moved as he pressed his hands into the hood of the car. “You fight for what’s important. That’s the way life is. And you are worth every fight I have in me.”

“You’re too busy fighting everyone else—including yourself—to fight for me.” My sight blurred as I stared at him. So little of the person I’d fallen in love with remained. So little of who he’d fallen in love with remained in me as well. “I can’t wait around, watching you kill yourself one fight and drink at a time.”

He wiped at his split-open brow, leaving a streak of blood on his forearm. “I can change.”

My fingers tightened around the steering wheel. How many times had I heard those words come from his lips? Those same lips that claimed ownership of my first kiss?

“Yeah, you can.” I steeled myself against him a little more. “That’s not your problem. Your problem is that you won’t change.”

“This time I will.” His head whipped side to side. “It’s taken this, you trying to leave me, to slap some sense into me.”

I’d tried leaving so many times. This was just the furthest I’d ever made it. “I’m not trying to leave you. I am leaving you.” I made myself look at him. I made myself appear strong when I felt so very opposite. “This is it.”

He slowly came around the side of the car toward me. I rolled up the window halfway, aiming my eyes at the road in front of me.

“One more chance.” Even from a few feet back, I could smell the alcohol on his breath. I could smell the sweat and blood on him mixed with it, the trace of perfume that didn’t belong to me.

“You’ve had a thousand one more chances.” I studied him from the corners of my eyes, knowing better than to let them lock on his when he was this close. “This was your last one.”

“Maggie . . .” His hands formed around the lip of the window. His knuckles were split open and swollen, dried blood covering them. Still, I wasn’t sure I’d ever craved having them reach for me more. I wasn’t sure I’d ever needed him to pull me to his broken body and soul more than I did right then.

In that moment, I might have needed him more than I needed air, but I couldn’t give in. Kicking the habit was the only way to cure myself.

“Let me go, Canaan.” My legs were trembling as my foot moved back to the gas.

His head lowered so it was in line with mine. “You’re my wife.”

My left hand curled farther around the steering wheel, until I couldn’t see the gold band circling my finger. “No. I was your wife.”

His head dropped for half a second, his eyes flashing with defeat right before. “I love you.”

​My chest ached. The man was the boy again, and I wanted to save him the way he’d saved me. But I couldn’t. The only person who could save Canaan Ford was Canaan Ford.

“I promised to love you forever, and I will.” My foot touched the accelerator. “But I can’t spend forever with you.”

His hands braced around the window harder when I rolled forward. “I made a promise. To you, and to myself. A promise to love you forever. To look after you as long.”

When I found my mind drifting to that overcast afternoon eleven months ago, my heart wringing when I remembered the way he’d stared at me as we repeated those phrases in the courthouse, I shook my head. Good memories weren’t enough. Hope wasn’t enough. Empty promises weren’t even close to enough.

“We exchanged vows.” My eyes focused on the road in front of me, letting go of the dead end beside me. “There’s a difference between saying them and meaning them.”

When my foot pushed down on the gas, Canaan moved with the car. “I’m not letting you go. I’m not giving up.” The car moved faster, his feet pounding the asphalt as he struggled to keep up.

“I know. But I’m giving in.” Breaking my own rule, I let my eyes meet his before punching the gas pedal as far down as it would go. “Goodbye.”

That was enough. Hearing that word shocked him just enough to still him. For one second. I didn’t ease up on the gas, not even when I heard his fists pounding the trunk as he struggled to keep up.

“I can change!” His footsteps were thundering after the car. “I will change.”

With him behind me, I let the tears I’d been fighting fall. Everything I’d ever known—my whole life—was getting smaller and smaller behind me. With every tick of the odometer.

“MAGGIE!!!” His voice pierced the air one last time before I was too far away to hear whatever came next.

It was morning by the time I stopped seeing his reflection in the rearview mirror, still chasing me into my new life.

about the author button

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

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Launch Day Blitz + Excerpt & Giveaway: Untold by Shannon Richards

Untold by Shannon Richards
Series: Country Roads #7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 5th 2017
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SOMETIMES LOVE HAS A PLAN OF ITS OWN . . .

Brie Davis came to Mirabelle, Florida, for one thing: the funeral of her birth mother-a woman she never had a chance to know. Now Brie must sort through her mother’s life to get the answers she was denied. She plans to leave as soon as she can . . . except the sexy veterinarian makes Brie’s pulse beat faster than she’s willing to admit.

Finn Shepherd knows Brie’s only in town for a short while, but he can’t stay away. Instead he finds himself looking for more reasons to keep her close. Finn’s already had his fair share of heartbreak, yet Brie makes him want to take that risk again. Now all Finn has to do is convince her to take a chance on him . . . before she disappears from his life forever.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo • Google Play

Now here’s an excerpt from Country Roads! ❤

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“Are you leaving soon?”

“In a bit. I want to see the end of the game.”

“Really now?” He leaned in close to her again. And for what was probably the fiftieth time that night she could smell the clean masculine scent that clung to him. Soap and maybe a little aftershave combined with him. He smelled incredible.

So. Damn. Good.

“Yeah, I’m a Stampede fan now. I’m in it to win it.” She couldn’t stop herself from leaning in a bit closer herself.

“Commitment, I like it.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” His smile grew and his eyes got more intense, the blue getting deeper. “It’s not the only thing I like either.”

“What else do you like?” Her voice dropped low as she spoke. Oh God, the more time she spent with him, the more he affected her. The closer he got to her, the more he affected her. The more he looked at her, the more he affected her.

He just affected her.

“About you? The list keeps growing, and growing. Give me twenty minutes and I’d be happy to tell you about it. In great detail.”

Her stomach flipped and the air in her lungs caught. This time her inability to breath had nothing to do with suffocating pressure. “What happens in twenty minutes?” She somehow managed to ask.

“The game is over.” He turned just a little bit so he could incline his head toward the TV, not taking his eyes off of her while he did it.

“You don’t need to stay here? Until closing?”

“Nope, just came in to help with the rush during the game. I’m free after that.”

“Right,” she nodded slowly, her stomach doing a summersault. “And if I said yes? What happens then?”

He moved back so that he was standing directly in front of her again, leaning in close. The nearness of him combined with the way he was looking at her and the topic of conversation—that she was 99.9% sure was one about them having sex—was making her pulse race. And that wasn’t the only thing he was doing to her. It was taking everything in her not to squirm in her seat. She somehow managed to subtly press her thighs together. It was all she could do to combat the swelling ache.

Reading Order: Country Roads series

   
 

#1 ~ Undone: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Undeniable: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Unstoppable: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#4 ~ Unforgettable: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#4.5 ~ Undressed: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#5 ~ Unsung: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#6 ~ Uncontrollable: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#7 ~ Untold: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

about the author button

Shannon Richard grew up in the Florida Panhandle as the baby sister of two overly protective but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. She graduated from Florida State University with a BA in English Literature and still lives in Tallahassee where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She’s still waiting for her Southern, scruffy, Mr. Darcy, and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she’s a pretty big fan of the whimsy.

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