Blog Tour + Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Beyond What is Given by Rebecca Yarros

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I only very recently read the Flight & Glory series, but I fell so, SOOOO hard for it!!! This series is a definite must-read. And huge congrats to author Rebecca Yarros – her latest book, Beyond What is Given, has just released! It can be read as a standalone, though I highly recommend reading the other books in the series too.

Now onto the blog tour! I’m thrilled to welcome Rebecca Yarros to the blog today! She’ll be sharing with us about why she chooses to write military romances.

Guest Post: Rebecca Yarros

Hi Lacey!!!

Thank you so very much for having me!

When you asked why I choose to write about the military, the army in particular,  my thoughts immediately go to family.

My grandfathers were both in the army, one a POW of Nazi Germany during WWII, and the other retiring as a General. Both my mother and father served twenty years as army officers, and then—even when I swore I never would—I fell in love and married a soldier, who later became an Apache pilot.

Simply stated: I write the Army because it’s in my blood.

Something that few people know, is that Full Measures was kind of an experiment on my part. I never actually intended to write contemporary romance. Which is funny, because I love it so much! I started writing urban fantasy, and while that novel was on submission, my husband prepared to deploy for a fourth time. And this thought came into my head: if my father had died when I was in college, would I ever have had the courage to love someone who could potentially break me?  Josh and Ember came to life from my fears of losing my husband, my memories of his notification when he was wounded in Iraq, and the recollection of too many funerals for our friends.

The series spun from that, became this living, breathing thing that I used to show military life, both the realistic and the idealistic. Because I’m married to a uniformed hottie, I know how tough military life can be. I also know the absolute joy of throwing my arms around him when he gets home from a deployment, and the utter thankfulness I feel when I see the scars that remind me of how close we came to losing him.

I write military heroes because I feel that they deserve it. Are they flawed? Of course. Hot? Naturally, this is romance! But they’re also loyal, strong, protective, and fight their demons as strongly as they fight for the women they love.

Thank you so much for having me!

~ Rebecca

Beyond What is Given by Rebecca Yarros

Beyond What is Given by Rebecca Yarros
Series: Flight & Glory #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 28th 2015
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Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries.

Having just been expelled from college, Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth: another woman laid claim to Grayson’s heart long ago.

Falling in love is something neither Grayson nor Sam can afford, and when that line is crossed and secrets are exposed, they’ll learn that sometimes it’s the answered prayers that will put you through hell.

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Reading Order: Flight & Glory series

Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros Eyes Turned Skyward by Rebecca Yarros Beyond What is Given by Rebecca Yarros

#1 ~ Full Measures: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Eyes Turned Skyward: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Beyond What is Given: My Review • Ebook • Goodreads

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Rebecca YarrosRebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

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Blog Tour + Guest Post (Character Profiles), Excerpt & Giveaway: Broken Play by Samantha Kane

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Broken Play by Samantha Kane! We have a special guest post from the author, as well as an excerpt and huge giveaway below!

Guest Post: Love Triangles/Threesomes

How many times have you read a great romance with a heartbreaking love triangle and wished that the heroine didn’t have to choose just one hero at the end of the book? Yeah, me, too. That’s what led to my first ménage romance. There’s a forbidden aspect to ménage that makes it wildly popular. The idea of two men loving and sharing the same lucky woman appeals to a lot of romance readers. Readers who have seen one too many great guys cut loose in classic love triangles. There is an art to writing a good, satisfying mmf ménage romance. Readers may not have thought much about it, but we writers do. You’re getting four romances for the price of one. Think about it. There’s the heroine and hero one, the heroine and hero two, hero one and hero two, and the three of them together. And a good ménage romance writer can make you fall in love with each pairing and root for a HEA that will satisfy everyone, including the reader.

Now get to know the characters of Broken Play!

Marion Treadwell

Marion was born in the South and raised by her father after her mother died. Her father is a legendary college football coach, revered by the football world with the highest win percentage of any coach in Division I football history. Marion hides her parentage when she arrives in Birmingham because she doesn’t want people to make assumptions about her based on who her father is. She also hates her father, for very good reasons. She’s hired by Rebels head coach Shannon Ludwig after coaching at a small Division III college in the Northeast. He knows who her father is. As a matter of fact, though she hated to do it, Marion asked her father to help her get the job. Now that she’s got it, she’s going to keep it because of her coaching skills, not her father. She doesn’t trust football players, but she’s always been attracted to them. She has no plans to get involved with any of the Rebels. But she’s always secretly desired a ménage relationship, and when Cass and Beau set out to seduce her, she’s toast. But some awful things in her past are stopping her from committing fully to a relationship with them.

Cassidy Zielinski

Cass Zielinski is the Rebels center and offensive captain. He’s Texas born and bred, with the cowboy hat and boots to show it, but he’s spent most of his career playing on the West Coast. He turned down a nice contract with the Raiders when he became a free agent in order to sign with Birmingham because the Rebels offered him front office when he retired, which isn’t too far down the road. They brought him in to help lead the brand new franchise and he takes his position seriously. The Rebels won his loyalty by not batting an eye at his demand they sign his best friend Beau Perez as well. Beau is the closest thing to family he’s got. Cass was there to help pull Beau out of his addiction and depression after he almost overdosed, and he takes his responsibility to Beau seriously as well. Cass replaced the drugs in Beau’s life with sex, introducing him to threesomes. Caught on tape by an enterprising one-night stand, the two of them became You Tube sex tape stars. Now they’re trying to outrun their wild reputation in Birmingham. But the minute Cass sees Marian he wants her. Not just for him, but for Beau, too, because he’s ready for more than one night stands with strangers.

Beau Perez

Beau is trying to live down his past drug addiction and near overdose. Like so many young athletes suddenly thrust into the spotlight, he lived life on the edge at the beginning of his career. But the recreational drugs became an addiction. When he hit bottom Cass was there to help him back to his feet. He’s never questioned why, but he’s learned to lean on his best friend over the past few years. Now he’s ready to stand on his own again. He’s tired of answering questions about the drugs and about the sex tape. One stupid mistake with the wrong woman and they’re still paying for it. He’s been in love with Cass for years, but he’ll never tell him because he won’t risk losing him. If the only way he can have him is to share him, then that’s what he’ll do. At first he’s not sure about Marian, but there’s something about her that makes Beau a better man, the man he used to be before the drugs derailed his life and career. He stands taller, talks tougher and plays better with her support and encouragement. But he’s not sure he’s ready for the public backlash a relationship with Cass and Marian could mean. Been there done that, hated it. He has to decide if his feelings are strong enough to withstand the pressure.

Broken Play by Samantha Kane

Broken Play by Samantha Kane
Series: Birmingham Rebels #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
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Perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake, the deeply sensual new Birmingham Rebels series introduces an unforgettable team of chiseled football gods—and the daring, provocative games they play behind closed doors.

Birmingham Rebels offensive linemen Beau Perez and Cass Zielinski are inseparable, on and off the field. Cass, the captain with the cowboy swagger, is a loose cannon. Beau, the veteran tight end, is cool under pressure. And ever since they were caught on tape in a steamy threesome, their exploits have fueled more than a few tabloid headlines—and naughty fantasies.

Marian Treadwell knows all about the video. And now that she’s the Rebels’ new assistant offensive coach, she can’t look at Beau and Cass without picturing their hard, naked bodies—with her pressed in between. Marian would like nothing more than to indulge those impulses, but she knows better than to get too close to her players, a bunch of adrenaline-fueled alpha males who don’t always follow the rules.

Just the thought of sharing the gorgeous yet guarded Marian drives Cass wild. At first, Beau isn’t sure she’s right for them . . . and lately, all he desires is a little alone time with Cass to explore their new intimacy. But it’s only a matter of time before Cass breaks through both of their defenses. Because when seduction is the game plan, he always plays to win.

Broken Play is intended for mature audiences.

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Now here’s an excerpt from Broken Play! ❤

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Marian’s brown eyes grew big and she stared at Cass as if she’d never heard a man apologize before. Next to her, Mike turned his body abruptly in his chair to face her and she jumped.

“Whoa,” Mike said, his hands up in surrender. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.”

She laughed that tight laugh again. “No, I’m sorry. I get lost in my head sometimes. Don’t bother about me.” She cleared her throat. “Don’t forget we also snagged Kitt Doyle. When he went free agent I thought he’d get more offers despite his age and injury record.”

She successfully changed the subject as Mike and Beau began to discuss how Doyle, a good veteran left tackle, would affect the offense. She glanced up and when she caught Cass’s gaze, she tensed. After a second or two, when her mouth grew tight and she looked like she might say something, he looked away. There was definitely more to Marian Treadwell than what met the eye.

He was wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, for heaven’s sake, Marian thought as she looked away from Cass Zielinski’s penetrating stare. Did he think he was a Cowboy? Wrong team. The way the Rebels played last year, nearly the wrong league. She was exasperated, but it was with herself, not him. She was letting his sun-kissed good looks get to her. All six feet four inches and 280 pounds of him. That was a lot of good-looking. He had auburn hair and a beard to match, both bleached a little redder by the sun. And the cowboy thing? Yeah, a total button pusher. But she could resist it, because damn it, that wasn’t why she was here. She didn’t want to screw football players. She wanted to coach them. She had something to offer this team. The head office saw it and so did Mike. Clearly the players were going to be a harder sell. If she could get Cass Zielinski on her side, that would go a long way to getting the others to accept her. According to everything she’d read, and from what Mike had told her, the whole team idolized Zielinski. He’d been playing, and playing well, in the NFL for over ten years. Everyone knew he’d accepted the Rebels deal because they’d promised him front office when he retired, which wasn’t too far in the future. He was thirty-one, old for an offensive lineman. And of course, the deal had included Beau Perez.

She stole a glance at Perez. He was a scary-looking son of a bitch. Taller than the average player, he was more thug than Latin lover, brooding and intense. The tattoo on his neck didn’t help. She’d heard he was a real sweetheart in person, but she hadn’t seen it so far. He obviously had Zielinski wrapped around his massive pinky finger, the way he’d jumped to remove his hat when Perez frowned at him. Somehow he’d ridden Zielinski’s coattails back into the NFL after a suspension for drugs. His drug use and overdose were a red flag for any coach. He’d spent months in rehab, and Zielinski had been a constant visitor. That was the beginning of the rumors.

She hated to admit she’d read every tabloid rumor about them. Most of her information came from the Enquirer and People magazine. They’d been caught on tape having sex with the same woman. At the same time. The sex tape had gone viral. You couldn’t Google them without it turning up, despite all their efforts to get it taken down. There was no sound, and there were some malfunctions with the recorder, but you didn’t need to hear it to know they were giving her a hard, rough fuck. Jesus, Marian had watched that video about a hundred times and fantasized about them both. She wished she’d known at the time that she’d be working with them. She would have passed it by. She could hardly look at them without picturing them naked and straining, as they slammed into the willing woman in perfect synch. They had clearly done it many times before in order to have that sort of synchronization. With Perez’s dark hair and exotic looks, and Zielinski’s reddish hair and paler skin, they had complemented one another perfectly. She began to sweat and squirm in her seat as she tried to force her attention back to what Mike was saying.

Before long her gaze slid over to Perez again. He was a loose cannon, in her opinion. For the last two years he’d walked the straight and narrow, it was true. He played hard, stayed out of the limelight, and he was clean. Regular drug tests made sure of it. But his hold on Zielinski worried her. Cass clearly led the team, but Beau just as clearly led Cass. They needed the center to make this team work. He was the center in more ways than the position he played. The team revolved around him. He made it work, made this group of losers and misfits rise above their pasts and their reputations and play some pretty decent ball. Could they be better? Yeah, they could. And Marian was going to help make that happen. She’d hitched her wagon to the Rebels’ star, and she wasn’t going down without a fight.

She had something to prove. To herself and to her father. No one here but Mike and head coach Shannon Ludwig knew her dad was Rufus Sedgeway, one of the most successful coaches in Division I college-football history. And that was how Marian wanted it. She didn’t want to talk about her father to anyone; she didn’t even want to remember he existed on most days. He’d silenced her. He’d chosen some sleazy football players and his precious winning record over her. She’d had to go crawling back to him to ask him to help her get this job, but that was it. She knew he’d gotten her a job with the Rebels because he wanted her to fail again. He wanted to control her again. But she’d show him and everyone else. They hadn’t broken her, not by a long shot.

Reading Order: Birmingham Rebels series

Broken Play by Samantha Kane Calling the Play by Samantha Kane

#1 ~ Broken Play: EbookGoodreads (Sept. 1, 2015)
#2 ~ Calling the Play: EbookGoodreads (Dec. 1, 2015)

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Samantha KaneSamantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.

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Blog Tour + Character Profiles, Excerpt & Giveaway: Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry! We have Sophia Henry on the blog today with character profiles for Auden and Aleksandr!

Hey Booklovers for Life friends! I’m Sophia Henry and I have a new series featuring the Detroit Pilots. The first book, Delayed Penalty, is the story of Auden Berezin, a Russian interpreter who unintentionally falls for her client, Aleksandr Varenkov, a hot minor-league hockey star.

Here are my Character Profiles for Auden & Aleksandr:

Auden Berezin
Birth Place: Detroit, MI
Age: 19
Eyes: Blue
Height: 5’4
Hair: Dirty Blond; length: mid-back; beach-wavy (without the beach)
Celebrity Look-a-like: Blake Lively
Occupation: College Junior/Russian Translator
Style: Dresses for the Occasion. From Soccer gear to Club wear. Nothing flashy.
Personality: Smart. Witty. Kind. Vigilant. Jaded. Walls up.
Mannerisms: Twirling Hair

Aleksandr Varenkov
Birth Place: Serpukov, Russia
Age: 21
Eyes: Blue
Height: 6’2
Hair: Dark Chocolate
Celebrity Look-a-like: Young Sergei Fedorov w/Matty Healy hair (lead singer of The 1975)
Occupation: Minor League hockey player – Detroit Pilots Left Wing.
Style: European Metro. Stylish. Trendy.
Personality: Cocky, not arrogant. Teasing, not snarky. Genuine. Passionate. Kind.
Mannerisms: Smokes clove cigarettes. Bottom lip dips slightly with a genuine smile.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I hope you love Delayed Penalty and the entire cast of characters in the Pilots Hockey series as much as I do!

Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry

Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry
Series: Pilots Hockey #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
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She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.

Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.

Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.

After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.

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Now here’s an excerpt from Delayed Penalty! ❤

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I’m pretty sure there were only two ways Crazy Hair could have looked better than he had at O’Callaghan’s. The first was as he did right now: sitting on a bench in the locker room wearing nothing but the lower half of his uniform, including his skates, sweat rolling over his sinewy pecs and creating a happy trail all the way into his hockey pants.

The second way—I can only assume—would be if he were completely naked.

“Aleksandr, this is Auden Berezin. She will be your translator.”

“I don’t need a translator.”

I almost laughed, because he’d said he didn’t need a translator in Russian.

“You must talk with the media at some point, Sasha. They’re riding my ass to get better answers from you than ‘was good game.’ ”

Aleksandr Varenkov, hot Russian hockey god, laughed, showing the perfect set of white teeth I’d noticed at the bar.

“You have your teeth in, but you haven’t even showered yet?” Orlenko asked.

Was Orlenko a mind reader? I sure hope not, because I would be fired for thinking about my client naked.

“I wanted to look good for pictures.” Aleksandr winked at me. Then he stood, and drops of sweat raced down the hard planes of his chest.

I’d never been so envious of perspiration in my life.

“Sometimes I talk in the shower. Will she translate for me in there?”

My cheeks began to burn, so I averted my eyes, lowering them to the black Cyrillic script tattooed down his sides, then thought better of that line of sight and studied the soiled beige carpet below my feet.

“Aleks—” Orlenko sighed, rubbing his forehead.

“Zhenya,” Aleksandr began. “You know I’m kidding, yes?” He shoved a towel onto the shelf above his nameplate and walked away without waiting for an answer.

“Yes,” Orlenko hissed. He’d said it under his breath, but I heard him and wondered what my grandpa had gotten me into. “Well, that was Aleksandr Varenkov, your client. He’s a talented player and a good man. But he can be a little—”

“Douchey?” I offered in English. I shouldn’t have said it, considering Grandpa’s professional reputation was in my hands. Then again, Evgeny Orlenko was Grandpa’s friend first, so maybe he wouldn’t be too hard on me. Besides, Grandpa knew what kind of mouth I had, and he’d sent me for the job anyway.

Orlenko laughed, and continued in Russian. “Wild was the word I was looking for, but your adjective may not be that far off.”

“I’ve got it, Mr. Orlenko.”

“Are you sure?” He inspected me through thick black-rimmed glasses that were too small for his puffy face.

“As a college student with an active social life, I’ve learned how to handle arrogant douche bags.” This time I was being paid to handle one.

“I shouldn’t be having this conversation about one of my clients,” Mr. Orlenko said, his lips quirking up, then back into a tight line. At least he was trying to keep a straight face. “You’re like a breath of fresh air, Audushka. I hope you stay that way even with his off-ice antics.”

Off-ice antics? What the hell did that mean and why would I have to deal with them? “Will I have to hang out with him outside of the arena? I thought I was here to translate for media interviews after games and some practices.”

“Aleksandr speaks very little English. He’ll need your assistance in all aspects of his career; interviews, community service. At least, until he gets acclimated. Vitya said you were here for the month, is that correct?”

“Yep. All of winter break.”

“You’ll be putting in a lot of hours.”

“I’m a hard worker. And I need the cash. Got cut from the soccer team, and I have to replace the scholarship money I lost.” I was running my mouth again. Maybe I did need to tone it down.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. The being-cut part.” He cleared his throat. “Here’s my card. I wrote my cell number on the back. If you have any trouble or if Aleksandr makes you uncomfortable in any way, please give me a call.”

“Thanks.” I scanned the card wondering if I should try to memorize his number now, since I wasn’t sure how stable this client sounded.

After Orlenko left the locker room, I realized I hadn’t asked him what I should do next, and he hadn’t given me instructions as to where I should wait while Aleksandr showered. Since I wasn’t part of the media, I was extremely aware of being the intruder standing in a room of half-naked men. A shower shouldn’t take very long, so I dug my e-reader out of my messenger bag and sat down on the stool that Aleksandr had just vacated.

“Ewww.” I jumped up and skimmed my palm against my damp backside. Hadn’t even thought about any runaway sweat that might’ve dripped from Aleksandr’s lean, hard body onto the stool.

Stop. Just stop thinking about the shiny, wet flesh covering his impeccably carved frame.

Reading Order: Pilots Hockey series

Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry Power Play by Sophia Henry

#1 ~ Delayed Penalty: EbookGoodreads (Sept. 1, 2015)
#2 ~ Power Play: EbookGoodreads (Feb. 16, 2016)
#3 ~ Interference: EbookGoodreads (May 3, 2016)

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Sophia HenrySophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

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Blog Tour + Five Fast Questions with Archer Kane, Excerpt & Giveaway: Right Wrong Guy by Lia Riley

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Right Wrong Guy by Lia Riley! We have a quick Q&A with the hero, Archer Kane, as well as an excerpt and giveaway below!

Five Fast Questions with Archer Kane

Boxers or briefs?
Commando

What are three words that describe you?
Sexy, charming and modest

Who is your celebrity crush and why?
Hmmm. Emma Stone with red hair because she kind of reminds me of my girl.

What do you look for in a woman?
Freckles, a huge heart, determination and the ability to overlook my reputation and see the real guy inside.

What is your biggest turn on?
Getting hot in the kitchen with Edie.

Right Wrong Guy by Lia Riley

Right Wrong Guy by Lia Riley
Series: Brightwater #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 4th 2015
Avon Romance
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The fun and flirty second installment in Lia Riley’s fantastic Brightwater series.

Sometimes two wrongs can make a right…

Bad boy wrangler, Archer Kane, lives fast and loose. Words like responsibility and commitment send him running in the opposite direction. Until a wild Vegas weekend puts him on a collision course with Eden Bankcroft-Kew, a New York heiress running away from her blackmailing fiancé…the morning of her wedding.

Eden has never understood the big attraction to cowboys. Give her a guy in a tailored suit any day of the week. But now all she can think about is Mr. Rugged Handsome, six-feet of sinfully sexy country charm with a pair of green eyes that keeps her tossing and turning all night long.

Archer might be the wrong guy for a woman like her, but she’s not right in thinking he’ll walk away without fighting for her heart. And maybe, just maybe, two wrongs can make a right.

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Now here’s an excerpt from Right Wrong Guy! ❤

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In fairness, Brightwater, California, didn’t host a large population. For a healthy man who liked the ladies, it didn’t take long to make the rounds at The Dirty Shame, the local watering hole. Vegas getaways meant variety, a chance to spice things up, although a threesome with Crystal and Donna—Deborah? Deena? Dazzle?—was akin to swallowing a whole habanero.

He reached into the shower and flicked on the tap as a warm furry body hopped across his foot. “Shit!” He vaulted back, nearly going ass over teakettle, before bracing himself on the counter. A bewildered white rabbit peered up, nose twitching.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” He squinted into the steam with increased suspicion. Hopefully, Crystal’s act didn’t also involve a baby crocodile or, worse, a boa constrictor. He hated snakes.

The coast was clear so he stepped inside, the hot water sending him halfway to human. There was a tiny bottle of hotel shampoo perched in the soap dish and he gave it a dubious sniff. It smelled like flowers but would do the job of rinsing away stale perfume and sex. He worked a dollop through his thick hair, shoulder muscles relaxing.

He’d always prided himself on being the kind of good-time guy who held no regrets, but lately it seemed like there was a difference between dwelling on past mistakes and reflecting in order to avoid future ones. Did he really want to live out these shallow morning-after scenarios forever like some warped version of Groundhog Day?

The hair on the back of his neck tingled with the unmistakable sensation of being watched. He swiped suds from his eyes and turned, nearly nose-to-nose with the blank stare of the old-man ventriloquist’s dummy.

“Fuck,” he barked, any better word lost in shock.

“Great Uncle Sam don’t like it when menfolk cuss,” the dummy responded in a deep, Southern drawl. Other than the puppet on her hand, Dixie-Dorothy-Darby wore nothing but a suggestive smile.

“Uh … morning, beautiful.” Thank God for matching dimples, they’d charmed him out of enough bad situations.

“No one’s ever made me come so hard.” The puppet’s mustache bobbed as he spoke and more of last night’s drunken jigsaw puzzle snapped into place. Desdemona-Diana-Doris had gone on (and on) about her dream of becoming a professional ventriloquist. She’d brought out the puppet and made Great Uncle Sam talk dirty, which had been hilarious after Tequila Slammers, Snake Bites, Buttery Nipples, and 5 Deadly Venoms, plus a few bottles of champagne.

It was a whole lot less funny now.

“Hey, D, would you mind giving me a sec here? I’m going to finish rinsing off.” When in doubt, he always referred to a woman by her first initial, it made him sound affectionate instead of like an asshole.

“D?” rumbled Great Uncle Sam.

Damn. Apparently an initial wasn’t going to cut it.

Okay think … Dinah? No. Two rocks glinted from her lobes—a possible namesake. “Diamond?”

Great Uncle Sam slowly shook his head. Maybe it was Archer’s imagination, but the painted eyes narrowed fractionally. “Stormy.”

And so was her expression.

Not even close.

“Stormy?” he repeated blankly. “Yeah, Stormy, of course. Gorgeous name. Makes me think of rain and … and … rainbows … and …”

“You called it out enough last night, the least you could do is be a gentleman and remember it the next morning!” Great Uncle Sam head-butted him.

Add splitting headache to his current list of troubles.

Archer scrambled from the shower before he got his bare ass taken down by a puppet. You don’t fight back against a woman, even if she is trying to bash your brain in with Pinocchio’s demented elderly uncle.

Reading Order: Brightwater series

Last First Kiss by Lia Riley Right Wrong Guy by Lia Riley

#1 ~ First Last Kiss: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Right Wrong Guy: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Best Worst Mistake: EbookGoodreads (Oct. 20, 2015)

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Lia RileyLia Riley writes offbeat New Adult and Contemporary Adult romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about future books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.

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Spotlight Tour + Author Guest Post, Bonus Scene & Giveaway: Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker

I’m pleased to be featuring Julie Ann Walker and her upcoming release Hell or High Water on the blog today! Hell or High Water releases on July 7th – check out below for a special message from the author, as well as a bonus scene and a giveaway!

Message From The Author

Hi everyone! My name is Julie Ann Walker and I’m tickled pink to be here today talking about my BRAND SPANKING NEW romantic suspense series, Deep Six! It revolves around six newly retired Navy SEALs who just can’t seem to shake their past and the Navy SEAL motto that “the only easy day was yesterday.” Set in the Florida Keys, the series is filled with sun, sand, danger, intrigue, adventure, and plenty of half-dressed alpha hotties. LOL! Sound like a good time? I guarantee it is! And I guarantee you’re going to fall in love with these six men.

Take Leo “The Lion” Anderson. With his sun-streaked, sandy blond hair and perpetual tan — not to mention those hazel eyes and beard stubble — he’s sure to win your heart. And that’s before you get to his no-bullshit, take-command-of-any-situation attitude and the fact that he’s trying to fulfill his father’s dying wish.

Then there’s Brando “Bran” Pallidino. A native New Jerseyan, Bran grew up on the mean streets of Newark. He’s rough. He’s tough. And his Italian-American heritage means he comes complete with soulful brown eyes, a face that belongs on billboards, and a love for good food and good wine. (That last part means his beer-loving teammates give him a lot of grief. *wink*)

You won’t be able to resist Mason “Monet” McCarthy. As a boy from Beantown, Mason learned to use the F-bomb in really colorful ways. He’s big. He’s burly. He’s not the kind of guy you’d like to meet in a dark alley. Yet his thick black hair and crystal blue eyes soften what would otherwise be an entirely intimidating appearance.

Who doesn’t love a country boy? Dalton “Doc” Simmons was born and raised in Montana. He’s a lean, mean, fighting machine, with a face that’s all angles as if it’s been carved down to its barest essentials by a hot, stinging prairie wind. Doc has a tragic past. And he’s fighting to come to terms with it.

Next up is Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse. Wolf’s Cherokee heritage makes him strikingly handsome, with a blade of a nose, high cheekbones, flashing black eyes, and a lush, beautifully-shaped mouth. Born into poverty on a reservation in Oklahoma, Wolf has more than himself to worry about. He has his whole family depending on him. But if anyone can shoulder that burden, it’s Wolf.

And last but certainly not least, we have Spiro “Romeo” Delgado. Romeo likes to play up that whole Latin-lover thing. And with his swarthy skin, precisely trimmed goatee, and honed physique, he does a pretty good job of it. But that’s just what’s on the surface. Underneath it all, Romeo is desperately trying to make up for the mistakes of his past.

See? What did I tell you? You love them already, don’t you? Read on for a bonus scene from HELL OR HIGH WATER where you get to meet all of the Deep Six heroes!

Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker

Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker
Series: Deep Six #1
Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
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A brand new romantic suspense series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Black Knights, Inc. series, THE DEEP SIX features six former SEALS on super-secret black ops, and feisty heroines who know how to handle both lethal weapons and alpha men.

Only two things could make former Navy SEAL Leo Anderson return to the world of weapons and warfare. First, a capsule of chemical weapons lost on the ocean floor, and second, a plea for assistance from the one woman he can’t seem to forget-CIA Agent Olivia Mortier.

Now, working together to race against the clock and a deadly terrorist faction, Leo and Olivia must find the missing capsule, all the while battling the intense desire burning between them. If they can survive, can their growing attraction become more than just a momentary flare?

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon Paperback • B&N • iBooks • IndieBound

Now here’s a bonus scene from Hell or High Water! ❤

Bonus Scene

Family isn’t only determined by blood, but by those who stand by you, fightin’ for you. By those you stand beside and fight for…

That was the thought that drifted through Leo “The Lion” Anderson’s head when he looked around the warped wooden table at his men. Correction—the minute those five wild-ass SEALs snapped their final salute to the Navy and followed him to the Florida Keys to join him on his quest for high seas adventure and the hunt for untold riches, they stopped being his men. But they would never stop being his family. If they all lived for a hundred years, the bonds of the blood, sweat, and tears they’d shed together would never come unbound. They were too strong, forged in the fiery crucible of too many wars and missions to count.

“Yo, man!” Brando “Bran” Pallidino leaned close to be heard above the twanging voice and guitar licks of the singer on the stage. The six of them had spent the day in Key West, gathering supplies and finishing up some repairs on Wayfarer I—the leaking, rusty salvage boat Leo had inherited from his father. And now they were enjoying beers and dinner at Schooner Wharf bar, the open-air establishment that saw more than its fair share of revelers, crusty sea captains, and miscreants who’d come to the end of the road in a bid to fall off the map completely. “That brunette in the yellow bikini top and flowery skirt over by the taps keeps giving you come-and-get-me-big-boy looks.”

Leo glanced at the woman and sure enough. Slam! Her gaze collided with his and there was a definite suggestion glowing in her big, dark eyes. “I think she wants you to poke her hontas,” Bran concluded.

Leo scowled at his best friend as a subtle breeze drifted in from the water, mixing the smells of fish and marine fuel with the sweeter aromas of boat drinks and barley hops that continuously flowed from behind the bar. “How long have you been keeping that little gem in your pocket?” he asked Bran.

“Came up with it just this minute.” Bran grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. “My mind,” he continued, “is as nimble and as fertile as a…”

Leo held up a hand. “Don’t finish that analogy. I can already guess what your mind is as nimble and as fertile as.”

“Personally,” Doc said from Leo’s opposite side, twirling the ever-present toothpick in his mouth in a wide circle, “I would have gone with, ‘I think she wants you to engage her in a little gland-to-gland combat.’” Dalton “Doc” Simmons had one of those tough Midwestern faces. But right now it was split in a gleeful grin that made him look almost boyish. It was damn good to see Doc smiling. For too many years he hadn’t.

“She wants you to rock her casbah!” Spiro “Romeo” Delgado piped up from across the table, never one to miss an opportunity to toss in his two bits.

“Churn her butter,” Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse added after plunking his Budweiser bottle down on the table. He turned and slow-winked at the bird in the yellow bikini. Leo watched the brunette’s eyes widen, her head cocking like a cat considering a canary. With his Cherokee heritage, Wolf was the embodiment of the original American warrior. His visage equally fierce and—according to the lady at the hardware store this morning—beautiful. She’d breathed the word while staring all googly-eyed at Wolf.

“And you?” Leo turned to the last remaining man at the table. “What ridiculous euphemism have you come up with tonight?”

Mason “Monet” McCarthy was as big as a mountain, and just as silent. Usually. But even he couldn’t resist joining in. “She wants you to rumble in her jungle,” he said. His south Boston accent making it sound more like rahmble inna jahngle.

And that’s the thing about family, Leo thought with a shake of his head as he slid on his aviator sunglasses despite the fact that the sun had slipped beneath the western horizon. One minute they’re standin’ with you against the world. The next minute they’re bustin’ your balls.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Especially since the good-natured ribbing, immature as it might be, was proof positive they were all slowly crawling out from under the thick blanket of mourning that had descended over them, heavy as a death shroud when—

“Yo, man,” Bran interrupted his thoughts. “You better stake your claim. If you don’t, Wolf’s gonna stake his.”

“He’s welcome to it,” Leo said, leaning back in his chair and picking at the label on his Budweiser with the edge of his thumbnail. “’Cause I’m takin’ a pass on this one.”

Bran groaned and took a long slug of his beer.

“What?” Leo demanded, frowning. “What’s that uuuugh for?”

“Just that I coulda guessed as much.” Bran shrugged a shoulder, his holey tank-top accentuating the strength and sinew of his bare arms. According to Bran, if the sun’s out, the guns are out. Bran’s unending supply of tank tops had become a running joke between all of them. Leo’s balls weren’t the only ones that received a regular busting. Every man’s in the group were fair game.

“And why would you have guessed as much?” he raised a brow.

Bran leveled him with a look that called into question the validity of his IQ tests. “You’re kidding me, right?”

“No,” Leo shook his head, feeling his temper flicker to life. What the hell was Bran getting at? Luckily—or unluckily?—he didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“It’s just that this seems to be your new modus operandus,” Bran said.

“What does?”

“Eschewing the soft ministration and willing company of bar bunnies,” Doc interjected.

Leo scowled over at him, then swung his gaze around to each man at the table. They all wore the same expression of agreement.

Okay, and this is one of those times I wish these assholes weren’t my family. Because he could certainly do without them being all up in his goddamn business.

“First off,” he said in his own defense, “after all that runnin’ around today, I’m too tired to sweat, much less do anything else. Secondly, when you start talkin’ bar bunnies, I only have one thought.”

“What’s that?” Wolf asked, only giving him half his attention. The other half was securely focused on Miss Yellow Bikini Top who, having quickly picked up the disinterest Leo was laying down, was now giving Wolf all her come-and-get-me-big-boy looks.

“Hippety hoppety herpes is on its way,” Leo said, his lips twitching when Wolf blanched and swung around to attempt to fry his eyebrows off with a look.

“You really know how to spoil it for those of us not currently hung up on…” Wolf trailed to a stop.

The hair on Leo’s head tried to crawl off his scalp. Wolf didn’t need to finish. Leo knew where he was heading. “I’m not hung up on anyone,” he insisted, disgusted to realize he was trying to convince himself more than the guys. An image of Special Agent Olivia Mortier flashed before his eyes. Black hair. Blue eyes. A slightly crooked front tooth that never failed to make his dick twitch. There was just something about that tooth. That tiny imperfection amidst so much beauty only seemed to enhance her appeal. Maybe because it made her real. A real, live, hot-blooded woman with a mind like a steel trap, a wit that was as sharp as a tack and—

Fuck. Maybe he was hung up on her. The wall he’d built up in his mind, the one that was supposed to keep memories of her at bay, was proving frustratingly weak.

“If that’s what you have to tell yourself, cabron,” Romeo said.

Leo sat there, a muscle twitching in his jaw. He refused to respond for nearly thirty seconds. He knew it was thirty seconds because he calculated that for every two seconds that passed he came up with a new way to assassinate the men at the table. He’d totaled out at fifteen.

“You should see your face,” Doc said, the salty sea breeze causing the ends of his shaggy hair to riot. “You look like someone shoved a cactus up your ass.”

“And yo, man,” Bran slung an arm around his shoulders, “there’s no reason to get all hot under the collar.”

“The only reason my collar is hot is ’cause your sweaty arm is around it,” Leo grumbled, shrugging off Bran’s brotherly embrace and taking a hasty swig of beer. Thoughts of Olivia always made him feel punchy. Talking about her, even obliquely, made him feel…something. It was like if horny and confused got together with uncomfortable and had a threesome his current emotional state would be the unholy offspring of the encounter.

“I was born on a farm where we used lots of fertilizer,” Doc said, seemingly apropos of nothing.

Leo turned to him. “And that’s relevant to this because…?” He made a rolling motion with his hand.

“Because it means I know bullshit when I smell it.”

Bran grabbed his belly, crowing like the idiot he was. “You shoulda known better than to ask, bro.”

Leo was considering the most painful way to wipe the grin from Bran’s face when Mason said, “You fuckers need to back the fuck off and leave him the fuck alone.” The man rarely spoke, but when he did his sentences were littered with F-bombs. Mason once told them that was the Southie way. The word fuck could be used as every part of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs…

“Of course you’re the one to jump to his defense when it comes to rebuffing the babes,” Bran scoffed.

“Now what the fuck’s that supposed to mean?” Mason demanded, the vein running up the center of his forehead beginning to pulse.

“How long has it been since—”

Leo figured he better cut Bran off before he went any further. Number one, because Leo could see the bull’s eye was about to slide off his chest and attach itself to Mason’s. And since Mason had come to his rescue…well, then turn about was fair play. And number two, because Leo knew just how much talk of Mason’s past—and the effect Mason’s past was still having on his present—bothered him. “Gentleman,” he said, “I think it’s best of we table this topic of conversation.”

To his great delight, right at that moment their waitress appeared with a tray laden with chicken wings and conch fritters, two of Key West’s official delicacies. “And speakin’ of tables, wait ’til you see what’s about to be laid on ours.”

With a flourish the waitress unloaded the tray. She’d barely stepped back before the feeding frenzy began. As the flavor of buffalo sauce mixed with hops and barley on Leo’s tongue, he once again looked around at the five men who’d been with him through thick and thin. The five men who’d bugged out of the Navy with him after they all made that soul-shaking promise to a dying brother to start living life.

Ones that weren’t filled with death and destruction. These meatheads might be a constant pain in Leo’s ass, but they also happened to be a constant comfort and an unending source of entertainment.

Like family, his mind circled back to its original topic. And it gave him a sense of peace. A sense of contentment. A sense of…urgency. Because they were all depending on him to come through with the big score. He felt the weight of that responsibility as surely as an anchor chain around his shoulders. They’d all made that promise, and now it was up to him to help them make good on it.

Letting his gaze skim out over the marina, he watched as the boats bobbed gently with the tide. Their metal fittings caught the rays of the full moon and glinted as sweetly as the treasure Leo and the guys were ready to start hunting. The Santa Cristina, that legendary ghost galleon, the holy grail of sunken Spanish shipwrecks…she was out there. Somewhere.

And come hell or high water, we’re goin’ to find her…

about the author button

Julie Ann WalkerJulie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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