Release Day Review + Excerpt: Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #11 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 30th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust center stage into an eons-old prophecy…

Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind—and now they are failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.

Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering across the world. In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava swallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind whispers a haunting voice that isn’t her own.

This time, survival may not be possible…not even for the consort of an archangel.

“I will undo the universe for you.” Tear it to pieces, leave it as broken as his heart would be if he didn’t have Elena.

OMG. What an ending!!! I don’t remember the last time Nalini Singh left us readers in such suspense in the Guild Hunter series since maaaybe book one, but boy do I need the next book asap!

In Archangel’s Prophecy, we’re back to my favorite couple of the series, Elena and Raphael. Change has been building up over the course of previous books, and no one knows the outcome of the next Cascade, which is nearing every day. Elena, a mortal turned angel, has started losing the feathers of her wings bit by bit. What does the world have in store for this once-mortal and her beloved archangel and friends?

The Guild Hunter series is one of my favorite urban fantasy worlds to get lost in. Nalini Singh breathes life into every one of her books, and this latest installment is no different. I loved being back with Elena and the gang, despite so many disasters striking. Elena is as badass with a heart of gold as ever. She fights with strength and love against the struggles she faces as her wings fail her in this book. I fall in love with Raphael over and over again with every GH novel – there’s something about an all-powerful being who is cold as ice but only tender and romantic to the woman he loves that gets to me. And he’s never been so vulnerable as when the love of his immortal life seems to be losing her immortality. The plot had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading, and right now, I’m absolutely dying for the next book in the series. I honestly have no idea what’s in store for the Guild Hunter world, but I have no doubt Nalini Singh will make it epic.


lacey


Now here’s an excerpt from Archangel’s Prophecy! ❤

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Illium turned in a direction that would take them to the Catskills if they kept on going.

Sweeping closer to him, she said, “You just want to fly?”

Hair rippling in the quiet but cutting wind, he twisted down in a complicated fall before flying back up to her side. She laughed at his showing off. That was Illium. An angel of violent power who had a heart that might almost be mortal. And, these days, she could appreciate his tricks again. Not a single angel in the city had been ready to witness his acrobatics in the immediate aftermath of the day he’d crashed out of the sky.

Elena would never forget her screaming fear.

To his credit, Illium had flown with absolute discretion for months, letting the memory dull and fade.

When he returned to her side today, his face was flushed, the gold of his eyes rich. “Sky’s too beautiful to shut ourselves away in a club.”

“Just don’t forget I’m not as fast as you. Also, I’m currently lame.”

Illium lifted one cupped hand close to his shoulder, the other moving back and forth . . . and she realized he was playing a tiny violin in response to her morose tone.

“Crossbow, Bluebell.” Narrowed eyes. “Remember the crossbow.”

He dived, his wicked laughter floating up on the night air. Lips twitching, Elena continued to glide, letting the air currents sweep her along with cold but gentle hands. Illium, meanwhile, flew circles around her—but he never went far, always close enough to halt her descent should she tumble.

She landed a number of times to rest her wings, once in an isolated park whispering and dark. A luminescent insect appeared then disappeared from sight before she could truly see it, an earthbound star. The ghostly owl sitting on a tree branch watched her with eyes even more luminous.

A sigh deep in her mind, an old, old presence restless in Sleep.

The hairs rose on her arms.

Then Illium shot them both up into the sky again, and together, they flew far beyond the diamond-bright skyline of the city and over the sleeping homes of ordinary people who lived in a world of vampires and angels, blood and immortality.

Another rest stop for Elena.

Another throb of pain from the cut on her forearm.

Another watchful owl, this one landing on Illium’s shoulder without his knowledge. Ashwini had told her not to be afraid of the owls, so Elena ignored the goose bumps and said, Hello, with her mind. A good night to fly.

A vein began to throb at her temple.

The answer came a long time later, after they were in the air again, the glow of the sinkhole visible from the distance.

It has been an eon since I flew.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2018.


Reading Order: Guild Hunter series

Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh
   Angels' Flight by Nalini Singh

#1 ~ Angels’ Blood: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Archangel’s Kiss: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Archangel’s Consort: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Archangel’s Blade: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Archangel’s Storm: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Archangel’s Legion: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Archangel’s Shadows: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Archangel’s Enigma: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#9 ~ Archangel’s Heart: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#10 ~ Archangel’s Viper: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#11 ~ Archangel’s Prophecy: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#0.4, #0.5, #0.6, #3.5 ~ Angels’ Flight: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Blog Tour + ARC Review & Excerpt: Fall by Kristen Callihan

The next book in Kristen Callihan’s incredible rock star romance series is here!
Check out my review for Fall and an excerpt below!

Fall by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 23rd 2018
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The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

All we have to do is trust enough to fall.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes

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“Be with me. Let’s fall together, Button.”

We’ve all had fantasies of falling in love with a rock star who loves you back, right? At least I have, and let me tell you, those fantasies come to life in Kristen Callihan’s latest rock star romance, Fall. This is the third book in the VIP series, and though it can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the previous two books to get a better sense of the band (Kill John) and its dynamics to have a better experience while reading Fall!

Managed was one of my top favorite books of 2016, so to say I was excited for Fall would be an understatement. John “Jax” Blackwood intrigued me since he first appeared in the VIP series, and his story gutted me and wrecked me, just like I knew it would. Even though it might seem like he’s a man on top of the world as one of the most famous rock stars ever, he has his demons and his downfalls. He battles depression, anxiety, and suicide just like any other person, and Kristen Callihan handles his struggles in a way that is honest, raw, and respectful.

Stella Grey is your average girl who is just trying to get through life after her father abandoned her at eighteen, leaving her to barely make ends meet and continue paying for their apartment. She works as a professional friend, constantly caring for and giving to others, but not receiving much back. All that changes when she meets John, though she has no idea who he is at first and steals the last mint chocolate ice cream out from under him. She becomes his new neighbor when she pet-sits for one of the members of Kill John. Through moments of friendship, laughter, and deep conversation, the two start to fall in love in the most heartfelt, adorable way possible.

“It’s nothing special,” I whisper. I’m just me, a girl like any other.
Under lowered lids, he looks at me, his expression solemn. “You’re extraordinary.”

I highly recommend giving Fall a try if you’re looking for something a little deeper and more raw in your romances. I loved John and Stella together – they felt like real people with real struggles, and I couldn’t get enough of their story. Kristen Callihan continues to amaze me with her writing, and I can only hope we’ll get more books about the rest of the Kill John band!


lacey

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

Now here’s an excerpt from Fall! ❤

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The air between us shifts. I’m filled with a strange giddiness, wanting to laugh for the fun of it, but I’m also too warm, my limbs oddly heavy as if simple movements might be too much for me.

His tone turns soft and cajoling, teasing the truth out of me. “Are you going to tell me what you do?” When I say nothing, the corners of his eyes crinkle. “I see. You’re going to torture me a bit.”

The warm, fuzzy feeling grows as I shrug. “Torture feels apropos in this scenario.”

He hums again, taking another step toward me. “What makes you think I won’t like being tortured by you?”

The heat of his body and the scent of his skin makes my head light and my pulse pound. How did it get to this point where the highlight of my day is flirting with Jax Blackwood? Despite the thrill, I know I’m in over my head. I haven’t gone out on a date in months because I form attachments, I get emotional, and then I hurt when they inevitably leave. And this man will leave. He is as bright and fleeting as a camera flash. I’ll be left with the image of him seared into my memory and nothing more.

I tell myself all of this, the voice in my head as stern as possible. But it doesn’t make me back away. It doesn’t stop my body from somehow straining toward his without even moving. Because it might be stupid of me, but I want to feel something that isn’t planned. Something, for however briefly, that’s real.

He’s too attuned to me not to notice. John’s lids lower as his attention slides down my body before easing back up to my face. Slowly, he rests his forearm on the wall beside my head. “Tell me, Stella,” he murmurs.

“No,” I whisper back, flirting, even though I shouldn’t.

His biceps bunch as he leans in, a smile dancing on his lips. “Tell.”

My breasts graze his chest, and I feel it in my toes.

“You’re crowding me.” I hate how breathy I sound.

“Can’t help it.” His voice is a rumble, the heat of his breath playing over my skin. He ducks his head, drawing close until our lips nearly brush, and when he speaks again, his tone is almost conversational, except for the husky quality that touches deep within my core. “You smell like strawberries. Fucking delicious.”

My lids flutter, and I swallow hard. “Ordinarily, I’d call you out on that cliché but since I’ve been eating strawberries, you aren’t exactly wrong.”

His chuckle is slow and easy, as he eases back and his gaze slowly travels over my face. “Were they sweet, Stella Button?”

He’s looking at my mouth like he might try to find out. My lips tremble in response, and John tracks the movement, his breathing getting deeper, faster. “You have two freckles on your lips. One on the top lip and one on the bottom corner.”

Those damn freckles. They were the bane of my adolescence. I hid them with lipstick and silently cursed whenever someone mentioned them.

Freckles don’t have any feelings, but I swear it’s as if he’s touching them.

“You’re just noticing this?” I try to make it sound like a joke, but it comes out weak and thready.

His own lips quirk. “Oh, I noticed. It’s distracting as hell. They’re like two little dots of butter toffee. Makes me want to lick them, get a taste.”

Oh, God. Lick them, please. I can almost feel it. I want to feel it.

No. Bad Stella. Behave.

John’s lips part a fraction like he just might take that taste.

“Back off,” I whisper. And yet somehow my traitorous hands find their way to his sides, running over the waistband of his jeans, holding him there.

John makes a sound deep in his throat and tilts his hips, pressing them against mine. A distinctly thick bulge nudges my belly. Both of us lose a breath, and then he’s closer, his cheek touching my temple. “You’ll have to let me go first.”

My thumbs slide under the edge of his shirt and find smooth, taut skin. A tremor goes through his body. I try to think, search for what the hell we’ve been talking about.

His lips brush the crest of my cheek as he murmurs against my skin. “Tell me what you do, Stella. You know you want to.”

My smile feels illicit. Somehow the action is directly tied to all my happy parts, making them draw hot and tight. “I don’t think I do.”

Another hum. “Liar. You’re dying to.”

Reading Order: VIP series

  

#1 ~ Idol: My ReviewEbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Managed: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Fall: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

about the author button

Kristen CallihanKristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Amazon Page


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Top 5 Memories + Excerpt & Giveaway: A Brand New Ending by Jennifer Probst

I am incredibly excited to feature Jennifer Probst today on the blog about her upcoming release, A Brand New Ending, which is out tomorrow!

Kyle’s Top 5 Memories With Ophelia from A Brand New Ending by Jennifer Probst

In A Brand New Ending, Kyle Kimpton and Ophelia Bishop are only eighteen years old when they decide to run away together to pursue their dreams. Leaving the family farm behind, they escape to Hollywood to get married and chase their careers. Kyle plans on being a famous writer, and Ophelia longs to be a singer as great as Adele. Unfortunately, their paths diverge and rip apart their relationship. As Kyle thrives in Hollwyood as the new hotshot screenwriter in town, Ophelia falters when she realizes in order to be famous in the music industry, she needs to change who she is. Choices are made that rip them apart, and Ophelia returns to the family farm with her heart shattered and dreams destroyed.

Kyle realizes he’s made a big mistake letting go of the only woman he’s ever loved. His memories haunt him. Here are the top five he thinks about constantly:

He remembers the first time they kissed when they were sixteen years old. Riding on horseback through the meadow, Ophelia falls off her horse, and when he frantically checks on her, they gaze into each other’s eyes and he realizes at that moment, he is in love with his best friend. They share their first kiss, and when they walk away hand in hand out of the meadow, everything has changed.

When Kyle’s abusive father blames him for his mother’s death, he runs to the only place he’s ever felt safe: the Bishop family farm. Ophelia opens the door and instantly senses his pain. She holds him tight and for the very first time, Kyle cries in her arms.

When they were young, they hung out with Ophelia’s brother, Ethan, and were called the Three Musketeers. They’d run around the small town of Gardiner, raising hell, and ending up at Bea’s Diner for her famous burgers and pies, detailing the glory of their future.

Ophelia would sneak out at night to meet him at the barns. They kept their relationship secret from Ethan and Harper (Opehlia’s siblings) and spend nights lying on a blanket, under the stars, holding hands and talking about their dreams and future.

Kyle vowed to wait until they were married to claim Ophelia as his. They get married in Vegas in a tiny chapel, by Elvis, and when they return home to their tiny apartment, they make love for the very first time.

After a decade, Kyle returns to his hometown and back to Ophelia. He intends to create many new memories with the woman he loves. He dreams of running the Inn with her side by side as he writes his new books on his terms. He wants to raise a family with her in their childhood town, and be surrounded by the people and animals he’s always loved. He wants to watch her sing again, making people happy, finally owning her special gift without fear. And this is where A Brand New Ending begins…

A Brand New Ending by Jennifer Probst
Series: Stay #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 23rd 2018
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Ophelia Bishop was a lovestruck teenage girl when she and Kyle Kimpton chased their dreams to Hollywood. Kyle’s dreams came true. Ophelia’s did not. When Kyle chose his career over their relationship, Ophelia returned home to rural New York to run the family’s B & B—wiser, and more guarded against foolish fantasies. Now Kyle has come crashing back into her life, and all her defenses are down.

Kyle can’t think of a better place to write his latest screenplay than his hometown. After all, that was where he met the heart of his inspiration—his first love. He knows the damage he’s caused Ophelia, and he wants a chance to mend their relationship. If anyone can prove to Ophelia that happy ever afters aren’t only for the movies, it should be him.

As much as Ophelia’s changed, she still has feelings for Kyle. But her heart has been broken before, and she knows that Kyle could run back to Hollywood at any time. She gave up her dreams once, but maybe she can dare to change her own love story…one last time.

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon PaperbackAudible

Now here’s an excerpt from A Brand New Ending! ❤

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He parked the car and cut the engine.

Ten years.

Ten years since he’d come home to the small upstate New York town of Gardiner and gazed upon the staggering Shawangunk Mountains. Ten years since he’d touched snow. Ten years since he’d been surrounded by the eerie beauty of nature’s silence.

And too many years since he’d seen the only woman he’d ever loved.

They’d been the three musketeers—Ethan, Ophelia, and him—caught in a world of their own making. Memories assaulted him. Of running through the woods when they were young and racing horses barefoot as the green meadow flashed below. Of moonlight walks and late nights at Bea’s Diner, squeezed into the cracked red-vinyl booths as they spun dreams of the future and feasted on greasy burgers. Of his first kiss with Ophelia. The taste of innocence and passion mixed with Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

He closed his eyes, staggering under the raw emotions the images brought. Some of those dreams had come true for him, but the price had been brutal.

It was time to make things right.

It was time to reclaim what he’d lost.

Kyle glanced at the passenger seat, his fingers already reaching to stroke the leather laptop case. He’d left a fancy mansion behind, along with rooms filled with expensive trinkets meant to amuse, entertain, and distract the masses. He’d walked away from a gourmet chef, housekeeper, and personal trainer. His garage still held the laser-blue Lamborghini and the sleek black Hummer. He’d left the tuxedoes and designer clothes in his closet; the cedar wine cellar still filled with rare, expensive wine; and the four-poster mahogany bed that had seen too many lonely nights.

Now all he had to his name was one battered suitcase, his laptop, and a Ford Fusion rental car.

And for the first time in way too long, he felt the beginning of a creative spark—the sexy wink of his muse beckoning him closer to his childhood home, where he’d sworn he’d never return.

He grabbed his phone and tapped out a text to Ethan.

I’m here. How bad is she going to take it?

He waited a bit, until the familiar gray bubble with ellipsis popped up.

Don’t know—depends on how pathetic you look. Still have no clue why she’s mad at you.

Kyle winced as guilt punched through him. Falling in love with your best friend’s younger sister was a no-no. Running away with her was even worse. But eloping and not telling his friend about it?

There was no making amends for that one.

He cursed, then tapped his fingers again.

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Don’t be stupid—it’s a great idea! The inn isn’t booked up and she’s just being stubborn. Go inside, make nice, and I’ll be there in an hour.

He groaned and resisted the urge to bang his head against the steering wheel. When he’d asked about staying at the inn for three months to work on a new project, he’d worried Ophelia would refuse. When Ethan told him to book his ticket, he’d been relieved.

Until he found out on the plane ride that Ophelia had actually said no. Ethan had conveniently left that part out, citing in true guy code it would all be fine.

Her refusal to see him hurt more than he’d imagined it would, but now he had no choice. Everything was set in motion, and he wasn’t about to return to LA. Not only had he committed to writing this screenplay surrounded by his memories, he’d sworn to fight for a second chance with Ophelia. It was time they both faced the past, put some ghosts behind them, and figure things out. After all, it had been eight years.

She had no idea he was about to walk through her door with the intention of staying for the next three months—in the dead of winter.

That’d be bad enough, but when she heard his other piece of news?

Things were gonna get a hell of a lot worse.

He stayed in the car a few more minutes, trying to psych himself up. Maybe she’d surprise him and be open to talking things through. Maybe she wouldn’t be horrified when he told her about what he’d discovered a few months ago. Maybe it would all work out fine, just like Ethan said.

Even better?

Maybe he’d find himself again.

Grasping at all those positive possibilities, he gritted his teeth, grabbed his bag, and got out of the car.

Reading Order: Stay series

 

#1 ~ The Start of Something Good: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ A Brand New Ending: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads (Oct. 23, 2018)

about the author button

Jennifer Probst is the New York Times bestselling author of the Billionaire Builders series, the Searching For series, The Marriage series, the Steele Brothers series, and The Start of Something Good, which is the first book in the Stay series. Like some of her characters, Probst, along with her husband and two sons, calls New York’s Hudson Valley home. When she isn’t traveling to meet readers, she enjoys reading, watching “shameful reality television,” and visiting a local Hudson Valley animal shelter.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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Digital Copy of Jennifer Probst’s A BRAND NEW ENDING and a $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Blog Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: Intercepted by Alexa Martin

We are sooo close to the release of Intercepted by Alexa Martin, the first in an all new sports romance series! I’ve got a sneak peek and giveaway below to prepare you for tomorrow’s release!

Intercepted by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 11th 2018
Add to Goodreads

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon PaperbackBarnes & NobleiTunes

Now here’s an excerpt from Intercepted! ❤

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The idea of Gavin showing up to my family home sets the butterflies in my stomach free. I have to remind myself he doesn’t remember me, he’s just being friendly to a teammate’s girlfriend. End of story.

“Don’t you wish. Chris isn’t even promised a seat. Quarterback or not, my family doesn’t share well when it comes to pasta.”

“Well, I’m awesome, and Chris is questionable. Your family would love me.”

“Maybe they could find a seat for you, but I’m not sure the room is big enough for your ego to tag along.” I ignore the jab at Chris, handing Gavin the final plate.

“Damn. You got jokes?” He acts insulted, but there’s a smile on his face when he says it. I shrug it off and give him a hand towel. I tend to forget not everybody knows my sense of humor. Something I should try harder to remember when it concerns my boyfriend’s coworkers.

He hands me the last plate to dry, and his fingers graze mine. The contact is so minimal, I shouldn’t have noticed it. But when it comes to Gavin, I notice everything. “Thanks for helping, but I really do have work to finish.”

I hang the towel from the stove and try to play it cool. I’m not a relationship expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure I’ve watched enough reality shows to know crushing on your boyfriend’s coworker is generally a no-no.

“TK told me you did his website. I checked it out and it looks fantastic. Are you taking on new clients?”

When I turn away from the stove and face him, he’s in the same spot, watching me with what I think is either curiosity, mistrust, or kindness.

Yes, I’m aware those are all different, but I’ve never been very good at reading people.

“Always. It’s rare for me to ever turn down a client.” I look for something else in the kitchen to keep me busy.

“Good, because my website needs an overhaul since I switched teams.”

Oh no. Not gonna happen. Seeing him on occasion is one thing, but working for him is on a whole other level of asking for trouble.

“Your website? Didn’t you already have somebody design your website?” I scramble for any excuse to say no. “I doubt you need a new one, just a few tweaks, and I don’t like messing with other people’s work.”

“You just said you didn’t turn down a client. I want a new website. I’ll have Madison email you some pictures of me in Mustangs gear and shots of my charity events.”

Oh lovely, Gavin and Madison. This keeps getting better and better.

“Your girlfriend is your secretary? How very old-school.”

“Madison isn’t my girlfriend. She’s an old friend who happens to work in PR.” He shakes his head, acting like the idea of him with the leggy beauty is outrageous. “Think about it for me. I’d really appreciate it, and I promise to recommend you to everyone I know.”

Dammit. Doing this would be huge for me. I got my degree in graphic design from the Art Institute five years ago and started doing some freelance work to keep me busy. Business has been growing slowly over the past five years . . . which is fine. Chris gets all offended when I offer to pay for anything so I shovel all my money into savings and paying off my student loans.

I graduated with my masters in marketing last spring and have spent all summer (unsuccessfully) trying to find an adult job complete with medical. Unfortunately for me, the closest I got to medical was the marijuana dispensary next door to an interview I went to. So while I wait to find the apparent unicorn job I’ve spent my entire life preparing for, I might just have to build a website for my ex-fling turned current boyfriend’s coworker.

I’m about to agree when the intercom buzzes and Chris’s voice booms through the kitchen. “Marlee, can you go find Pope for us?” he asks. He hangs up before I have the chance to answer.

“I guess that’s my cue.” Gavin starts walking out of the kitchen but stops before he makes it all the way out. “By the way, I think you dropped this.” He pulls something small out of his pocket, tosses it to me, and is gone before I even realize what I’m holding.

My grandma’s necklace. The one my mom gave me after she passed.

The one I lost four years ago in a Chicago apartment.

Holy shit.

He kept it?

Holy shit.

He remembers me!

Reading Order: Playbook series

 

#1 ~ Intercepted: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Fumbled: EbookPaperback • Goodreads (June 4, 2019)

about the author button

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay at home mom. She lives in Colorado with her husband, a former NFL player who now coaches at the high school where they met, their four children, and a German Shepherd. When she’s not telling her kids to put their shoes on…again, you can find her catching up with her latest book boyfriend or on Pinterest pinning meals she’ll probably never make. Her first book, Intercepted, was inspired by the eight years she spent as an NFL wife.

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(1) Paperback of Intercepted by Alexa Martin (US only)

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Blog Tour + Excerpt: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Who else is just as excited as I am for Krista & Becca Ritchie’s very first YA, traditionally published, sci-fi romance!? I’ve got a fantastic excerpt for you below, so check it out!

The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Series: The Raging Ones #1
Publication Date: August 14th 2018
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From New York Times bestselling authors Krista and Becca Ritchie, comes The Raging Ones, an edge of your seat sci-fi romance with twists and turns that you will never see coming!

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

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Now here’s an excerpt from The Raging Ones! ❤

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On the cobblestone walk of a city sheathed in ice and snow, I slam my frostbitten fist against a Plexiglas cashier win­ dow. “Excuse me!” I call out for assistance that never arrives. Five minutes till closing, and the bank has already snapped the blinds shut.

“Excuse me!” I shout again. “I’m dying tomorrow!” I bang harder, my frustrated breath smoking the chilled air. My wool coat, missing four buttons and brandishing more than a few torn holes, warms me less than my irritation. Which grows with the incoming silence.

I’m truly dying tomorrow, but death is normative. I die. You die. We all die. The only difference between the bankers and me—I will die at seventeen.

I die young. They die old. And so it goes.

I spot a bulky camera positioned on the brick of the Bank Hall’s outdoor window. You see me, don’t you? They just refuse to an­ swer. “I’m allowed my Final Deliverance check! Do you hear me?!” I yell up at the lens while simmering in place.

Behind me, men in sleek tailored suits and fur­-lined wool coats amble along the alabaster­-white sidewalk. Their hot, disparaging gazes heat my neck. They can act all miffed by me, but Fowler Street, Avenue Thirty­Four contains every shop for every type of person: hair salons, dentists, pubs, quaint overnight inns, and most importantly for me—the only bank.

And all the grand streets—all the ones with cigar parlors and high­end fabric shops that smell of rose petals and fig—hug the grimy ones. The streets with cheap apartments, crumbling brick, and foul, pungent odors with each step past. So in the end, the rich­ clothed men have always seen as much of me as I’ve seen of them.

We just might not end up in the same place.

I watch some strut ahead, careful on slick cobblestone, scarves bundled up to their lips. They disappear past the warmth of a stone pub, nestled on the corner of Fowler. The opulent Catherina Hotel is only one block away, and by the men’s attire alone, I imagine that’s their true destination.

Really, they’re not a priority to me. Not today. Most definitely not tomorrow.

With numb fingertips, I dig in my pocket for my identifica­ tion. I raise the card toward the camera lens. “I’m Franny Blue­ castle,” I declare, possibly speaking to no one. “Can you see my deathday?” I point at the print beneath my name. “I’m dying tomorrow.”

A shadow passes behind the window, someone stirring. Blinds rattle and I press my nose against the chilled glass, scraping my fingers down. “Please! I’m on time!” Backbiting insults and curses nip my tongue, and I swallow them, going down bitter like blood.

The blinds suddenly spring upward, and I’m met with russet curls, thin lips of boredom, and stern, auburn eyes.

I speak before the fortysomething woman can. “I need to collect my FD check. In bills.” I keep a watchful eye on the old me­ chanical drawer beside the window. She has to dispense my cash, and once the drawer opens, it’ll finally be in my hand.

Most plan out their deathday to the finest detail. At six years of age, I watched my mom die.

I traced her steps around her bed, a single­room apartment above a butcher shop. The scent of slaughtered pig clung more to our well­worn clothes than to the musty air.

She lit candle after candle and hummed to the gods, casting smiles back at me. Youth sparkled in her gaze.

And I’d known, like any stranger could see, that we did not match. It wasn’t only my cool, beige skin and silky black hair— but the differences of our eyes, the heart shape of my face to her squared, and as I grew, I didn’t develop curves or a chest like hers. Even knowing she’d die by twenty­four, my mother found the will and courage to provide me a home when she was just eighteen. She adopted me as an infant, and I always knew that I’d say goodbye to my mother in only a handful of years. She prepared me for the day, so I’d be at peace with her.

And I was.

Moments after her smile, she blew out the tender flames and crawled onto the squeaky bed.

“Be careful of how you die, my little Franny,” she told me. “You can set your terms but not the day.”

Without question, I nodded in reply.

When we’re born, we all know the day we’ll die. It’s been this way for over a thousand years.

Maybe someone solved a mathematical equation.

Maybe a scientist drummed up this revolutionary discovery.

I can’t recall our history front to back like an Influential. I never attended school or read their books, and I didn’t really care to listen.

I only have so much time to live, so why waste it on a history that won’t be mine for long?

My mom snuffed the candles, avoiding Death By Fire as her ending. In my country of Altia, people about to experience their deathday must follow Injury Prevention Laws. Like me tomorrow.

Stay indoors.

Stay away from large groups of people. Relax. Stay calm.

Be at peace.

Defying the first two could lead to mass accidents.

A boy of fourteen dumbly and selfishly took a joyride around Bartholo’s packed and icy city streets on his deathday. The car spun out and collided with Mr. Rosencastle who was innocently locking up the butcher shop.

Since Mr. Rosencastle won’t die until he’s seventy­seven, all he lost was an arm. Not his life.

And ever since I witnessed my mom’s death—the serenity in her upturned lips, the warm flush in her cheeks before her heart slowed to a stop—I’ve dreamed of my own deathday.

I might have planned it poorly, but I dreamed well.

I imagined using the last of my money for a one­night stay at the Catherina Hotel. Where harpists welcome guests through re­ volving doors, men in tuxes offer gold­foiled chocolates and sweet liqueur, where feathered pillows and satin sheets blanket beds made for five bodies.

At the orphanage, I sleep on a narrow bunk, coiled springs bruising my back. Only with my Final Deliverance check can I afford this single­night luxury. I’ve only heard stories, never seen it with my own eyes, but I still dream.

I want to lie against those sheets and gaze up at the hand­painted ceiling mural and smile as I drift off, as my heart slows or as my brain shuts down, as the gods take me.

The banker presses a button, and her monotone voice crackles through the speakers. “We’ve closed out today. No more trans­ fers, deposits, or withdrawals until tomorrow at six o’morning.” She reaches for the cord to the blinds.

“No wait!” This is not how I end. “You can’t botch this for me! Listen to me. You have to listen to me.” My desperation curdles my stomach, and I claw at the window, my hot breath fogging the glass. “I need this money now. I could die at midnight.”

The banker scrutinizes my long hair: black roots growing in among vibrant blue and green knotted strands that contrast her natural hue. She homes in on my silver piercings: stuck along my black brow, a ring beneath my nose and another hooped around my lip.

It’s possible that she ignored me because of the bright dye and piercings.

about the author button

Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times Bestselling Authors and identical twins, one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek. With their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Graduates from the University of Georgia in Biology and English & Journalism, the twin writing duo now lives in Atlanta. The Raging Ones is their first young adult novel.

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