Best Books of 2016!

2016 has been one crazy year, and I can barely believe it’s already over. I don’t know if it’s just me, but time is seriously flying by so fast. It’s already been a year since the last time I made the “Best Books of 2015” post – which means it’s been another year filled with incredible books! And I apparently read over 300 of them 😂 So here are my top 16 reads of 2016 (in no particular order, except for the first), books I highly recommend everyone read if they haven’t already. These are the unforgettable books, the ones that have stuck in my head and stayed in my heart. What have been your favorite reads of the year?


1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads

THE HATING GAME!!! It was a tough decision, but my absolute top favorite read of 2016 is The Hating Game. I was SO impressed with this debut novel – it was everything I wanted in a romance and more. It’s funny, romantic, adorable, sexy, and did I mention funny? This is probably the book that has made me laugh the most I’ve ever laughed while reading. It’s an enemies-to-lovers office romance that is H I L A R I O U S. It was a pure joy to read this novel, and I’m dying to see what else Sally Thorne has in store for us. P.S. JOSH TEMPLEMAN IS EVERYTHING!!!

“I hope it’s not too forward of me to say, but your eyes are incredible, Lucy. I die when you blink.”


2. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me & Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata 

TWoWaM: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Wait for It: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

OBVIOUSLY I had to include Mariana Zapata, my new favorite author ever. Winnie is a close second to The Hating Game (though neither have been able to surpass the ultimate fav, Kulti). This is sports romance at its finest, so if you love anything in that genre, especially football romances, Winnie is your thing. And, if you’re a fan of the fake marriage trope, READ THIS! Aiden is the perfect grumpy hero and Vanessa is such a relatable, genuine heroine. Mariana Zapata never ceases to amaze me with her stories, and Winnie was a total winner in my book.

Like football and art, like anything that anyone in the world has ever wanted, love was a dream. And just like a dream, there were no assurances behind it. It didn’t grow on its own. It didn’t blossom without food to feed it.
It was the greatest in its subtleties.
It was the strongest in its selflessness.
And it could be forever with someone who wasn’t afraid to never give up on the possibilities it presents.

And then there’s Wait for It – which only cemented Mariana Zapata as a favorite author of mine and the queen of slow burn. It was beautiful, heart-wrenching, and everything in between. I loved all of the characters, especially the kids. I honestly don’t know what to say about Wait for It besides the fact that it was an unforgettable read I loved so damn much and that everyone needs to read it.

There was a lot of things about love that you could only learn after you’d faced the real kind. The best kind wasn’t this soft, sweet thing of hearts and picnics. It wasn’t flowery and divine. Real love was gritty. The real kind of love never quit. Someone who loved you would do what’s best for you; they’d stand up for you and sacrifice. Someone who loved you would face any inconvenience willingly. You didn’t know what love was until someone was willing to give up what they loved the most for you. But it was also never letting them make that choice, either.


3. Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads

Unbreak My Heart is probably my most reread book of 2016. This book is the literal definition of angst, and it was one of the few books this year to make me cry. I don’t even have the words to describe the tumultuous emotions the author wrung out of me while reading this. It was an experience, to say the least, and one everyone has to try. You’ll probably hate the hero (like me, lol) but even so, it was totally worth the read.

It had always been Kate. My hands shook as the truth seeped into my pores. It had been her since I was just a stupid kid.


4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

EbookHardcoverPaperback • Audible • Goodreads

Rhysand aka THE LOVE OF MY LIFE! This book destroyed me in the best way possible. I honestly don’t know why I ever held back on reading the ACOTAR series, but I’m so glad I finally succumbed because it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This series alone is the reason why I’ve gotten back in YA fantasy, and even into NA fantasy. The writing, world-building, and characters is beyond fantastic. But now I’m DYING for the third book!

“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.”
Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”


5. The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz

The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The Angel by Tiffany Reisz The Prince by Tiffany Reisz The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz

The Siren: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
The Angel: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
The Prince: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
The Mistress: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

If there’s one series that has messed with my mind completely and I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s the Original Sinners series. Tiffany Reisz changed my entire outlook on BDSM and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Y’all, these books are unforgettable masterpieces, so beautifully yet simply written I bow down to TR. If you’re not afraid to step out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend reading this series (and yeah, I know I’m totally late to the game with these books, but I’m just glad I finally read this). Nora is my all-time favorite heroine – I kinda wanna be her when I grow up.

“I know people think erotica is just a romance novel with rougher sex. It’s not. If it’s a subgenre of anything, it’s horror.”
“Horror? Really?”
“Romance is sex plus love. Erotica is sex plus fear.”


6. The Player by Kresley Cole

The Player by Kresley Cole

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

The Master was one of the best books I’d read in 2015, so to say my expectations were high for The Player would have been an understatement. But thankfully, Kresley Cole didn’t disappoint and I got another alpha, heroine-obsessed Russian billionaire hero to fall head over heels for. The con artist heroine couldn’t have been more different than the hero, but together they were explosive. This was such an addicting read – if you were a fan of The Master, trust me, you’ll love The Player.

“Imagine a pitch-black room with a single candle lit in the center,” he said, his voice gone low. “The room is the world. You are the candle.”
A shaky breath escaped my lips. “How can you be so sure about me?”
He leveled his spellbinding gaze on my face. “When you’ve been in the dark as long as I have, moy ángel, there is no mistaking the light.”


7. My American Duchess by Eloisa James

My Review • Ebook • Hardcover • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads

This is one of my all-time FAVORITE historical romances ever! It was my first Eloisa James book but judging by how much I loved it, it for sure won’t be my last. The duke hero is beyond perfection – the way he adores his American duchess made me swoon madly. And the heroine herself is so quirky and adorable (I totally fell for her myself). If you love historical romance (and even if you don’t – I’ve made a lot of non-HR readers read this book), you absolutely must read My American Duchess!

“You are my American duchess,” Trent said gruffly, his finger tracing the shape of her cheek. “You pour milk into tea at the wrong time, but you do everything else the right way. I love the way you speak. And I love what you say. I’ve never met another woman who is as fascinating.”


8. Beast in Shining Armor by Cassandra Gannon

Ebook • Goodreads

A friend on Twitter rec’d this book to me, and I’m beyond glad she did. The A Kinda Fairy Tale series a humorous twist on fairy tales, and Beast in Shining Armor focuses specifically on Beauty and the Beast. This book is stinkin’ hilarious – it’s up there as one of the top books that have made me laugh the hardest. The hero is just so sardonic and sarcastic, and the stuff that happens is the laugh-out-loud kind of ridiculous that I love. Also, the hero is a “Bad” prince who’s been in love with the heroine since kindergarten, but they’ve also been enemies since kindergarten (long story) and she’s currently usurped his throne yet he’s trying to win her heart. Swoon, right!?

“I have longed for you my whole life. There is nothing in this world or any other that I want more than to be with you, Belle.”


9. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads

This is one of those books that made me so HAPPY while I was reading. It was charming, hilarious, sexy, and utterly heartwarming – and it’s about farmers! Apple farmers!! Ugh, I loved this book so much, especially Griffin. He is so adorable and all big, sexy, protective, and caring. He and Audrey made such a cute couple. And hello, do you see that cover!? You need this book for that alone (but I promise, the inside is just as good as the outside 😉 )

Whether it was convenient or not, Audrey and I just fit. We’d always been good together. It’s just that I’d never allowed myself to imagine a future where we shared everything. A bed. A home.
A name.
Hell. That got me panting. I wanted everything. There was nobody else who got under my skin like she had. To think of her as mine seemed like an impossible luxury.
It’s the only luxury I’ve ever been greedy for.


10. Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton

My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads

This is the PERFECT second chance romance/military romance! I’m usually picky about both tropes, but Into the Blue hit all the right buttons for me. There’s some good angst, good grovel, and the hero is desperate to win back the only woman he’s ever loved. I love this series SO much – if you’re ever in the mood for some good military romances, the Wild Aces series is a must read!

You couldn’t fake what we had. Couldn’t duplicate it. We were so fucking lucky to have found each other once, and even as I’d always suspected it, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that letting her go was the biggest mistake of my life.
Now I needed to fix it.


11. Fast Connection by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads

Fast Connection surprised me in the best way, because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about one of the heroes. He was a total dick in the first book, but he was completely redeemed in this one. The romance gave me all the squishy feels – I felt so much for Dominic and Luke. The authors write seamlessly well together and the characters blew me away. The silver fox and his adorable (former) player made me laugh and swoon. I totally need more Megtino books!

“He’s completely complicated. And lost. And frustrating. But we do something for each other.” I intertwined my fingers. “We fit. We need each other.”


12. Next to Never by Penelope Douglas

Ebook • Goodreads

I know this book doesn’t come out until 2017 but I read it this month so I’m counting it! And it’s only a few weeks away from release 😉 Reading this novella made me realize how much I’ve missed the Fall Away characters. Next to Never was the perfect way to introduce the second generation of characters while still rewarding fans of the Fall Away series with cameos of the original characters. Honestly, there’s so much to love about this novella – Quinn, Lucas, Jared (aka my love) but now I’m dying for more!


13. Managed by Kristen Callihan

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

This book was so much better than I expected, especially after the okay first VIP book, but Kristen Callihan upped the ante in Managed. I loved the endearing characters, the sweet romance, the delicious chemistry, everything! Sophie is a sweetheart of a heroine, and uptight, closed-off Gabriel has definitely met his match in her. This was the perfect opposites-attract read, and there’s the added bonus of sexy rock stars to make things more fun 😉

“I’ve lived my whole life denying myself what I truly want. And yet I cannot turn from you. Haven’t you realized it yet? I am yours. I will always be yours, whether I touch you or not.”


14. The Fallen World series by Laura Thalassa

  

#1: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

I got SUPER into NA fantasy this year, which I’m so happy about. I need more books in this genre! Laura Thalassa had been on my tbr for a while and I finally got to her Fallen World series, which I pretty much read back-to-back, non-stop. I was utterly addicted to the post-apocalyptic world the author created, with the hero as a villain and the heroine who hates him, sent to marry him for peace. The story is unlike any other that I’ve read – it’s dark and violent, but such a gripping read! I also highly recommend Laura’s newest book Rhapsodic, which is another fantastic NA fantasy romance!

Once upon a time we were innocent, and then we were not.


15. Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads

Has there been a Penny Reid book that I haven’t enjoyed? She always writes such smart, adorable romances. Grin and Beard It charmed the pants off me – it’s a sweet, slow-burn romance between a Latina celebrity actress and park ranger Jethro Winston. Jethro has no idea who she is and some mad flirting and banter ensues. This was such a fun, light-hearted read with adorable MCs.

Pleasing her—my woman—cherishing her, loving her had no comparison. Satisfaction, desire, fulfillment were woefully inadequate words. So responsive. So incredible. So . . . mine.


16. Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads

Elizabeth Hoyt is becoming one of my favorite historical romance authors! I’ve only read a few of her Maiden Lane books, but I love the series so much already. Duke of Sin is the best I’ve read so far – it has the perfect anti-hero duke who falls for his tough, proper housekeeper. The story is wicked, funny, sexy, complex… the MCs are able to match each other intellectually, which made for some fun reading.

“This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”


I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year’s and an even better 2017!

lacey


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Early Review: Out of Frame by Megan Erickson

Out of Frame by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 15th 2016
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author of Focus on Me and Trust the Focus

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he’s bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams…

I adore Megan Erickson, but Out of Frame is actually the first book in the In Focus series I’ve read. From how much I enjoyed this one, I’ll definitely need to go back and read the previous books in the series! Quinn and J.R.’s story is a quick read, but it’s full of all the FEELS, and even though it was a bit too short for me taste, I absolutely adored it. Megan Erickson characterizes what it means to be a new adult SO well in her books. I love the way she’s able to balance the humor and heart with the painful and raw emotions – if you’re looking for a well-rounded, well-written new adult novel, Out of Frame is for you!

Quinn Mathers and his best friend Jess are spending the spring break of their last year of college on a Caribbean cruise. Sounds like the perfect college spring break right? It’s the chance for Quinn to finally let loose and have some fun in his life when all he’s known is order and staying within the lines. Maybe he’ll even meet a guy and have a little fling with him… except the moment Quinn meets reality show star J.R. Butler, his spring break gets a whole lot more complicated.

He treated me like . . . a normal guy. In the last couple years, people did one of two things when they met me—picked a fight to get on TV, or kissed my ass to get on TV. It was never about me. As a person. With Quinn, I felt almost human.

All J.R. Butler wants is to be an actor and be able to support his sick brother, so when he was first cast in the reality show Trip League, he thought it was the right decision. Now? Not so much. He’s had to hide his bisexuality and become the clichéd angry black man for the show – he’s never truly able to share who he is to anyone. But with Quinn, he’s different, because he can share who he is and he can just be. Of course, there’s a hot hot HOT chemistry going on between them that had me fanning myself. J.R. and Quinn want each other bad, and the fact that they could get caught by the cameras is scary and a little titillating.

“I want you. Like I haven’t wanted anyone in a long time.”

Quinn and J.R. only have a week together on the cruise before they go their separate ways, but with emotions running high, is it possible to have… more? I loved the way Megan Erickson played out their romance, the way these two were so freaking sweet and adorable at the same time they were sexy as hell together. And even better, the individual journeys of these two men were just as meaningful. Quinn and J.R. both help each other discover and grow into the men they’re meant to be, and I found this the most beautiful aspect of Out of Frame.

“It’s not even just about wanting to be with Quinn, or another guy. This is about me. It’s about being black and queer and compromising because that’s all I’ve ever done in my fucking life, you know?”

Megan Erickson captures the beginnings of a newfound relationship so perfectly – everything about J.R. and Quinn and their romance felt genuine and real. Thankfully, Out of Frame can be read completely as a standalone, since I haven’t read the previous books, but the other couples from the series do make their appearances. I would’ve loved if this book were longer, if we had more time with Quinn and J.R., but otherwise, this book was pretty freaking wonderful. I’m so excited to read the rest of the series!

4 hearts
lacey

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


Reading Order: In Focus series

  

#1 ~ Trust the Focus: EbookAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Focus on Me: Ebook • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Out of Frame: EbookGoodreads (March 15, 2016)
#4 ~ Overexposed: EbookGoodreads (Sept. 20, 2016)


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Blog Tour + Author Interview, Review & Giveaway: Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson! I have an interview with Megan on the blog today, as well as my review and a fantastic tour giveaway!

Author Interview: Megan Erickson

What was your favorite part about writing Dirty Deeds?

I loved writing the scenes where I got to have the whole crew together. I loved writing the girls’ night out and backyard barbecue scenes.

What made you decide on writing a hot British businessman as the hero for Alex?

You know, I wanted someone not like her in any way. I didn’t want her to fall for another mechanic. I wanted to get her out of her comfort zone so she could see what she had to offer.

What makes Alex and Spencer different from your previous main characters?

They are both really honest. I think I liked that the most. They were upfront with each other every step of the way.

Which book was your favorite to write in the Mechanics of Love series?

DIRTY TALK. Brent was a really easy character for me to write. I loved being in his head.

Will we be getting a story about Davis? Or Delilah? I love their characters!

I’m not ruling it out! And thank you, I love them too!

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m finishing up the fourth book in my Gamers series with Entangled Brazen. And I have a bunch of side projects I’m sorting out. I’m excited for 2016.

Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson
Series: Mechanics of Love #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 8th 2015
Add to Goodreads

Alex Dawn is saying no to men. No to bad relationships, disappointments, and smooth-talkers. Focusing on her family and her job at Payton and Sons Automotive keeps her mind occupied and her heart content. She doesn’t really miss a man’s touch, until one night, one shows up with the body of a god and a voice from her dirtiest dreams.

L.M. Spencer is only in Tory, Maryland, to scope out the town as a possible site for one of his company’s hotels. The British businessman didn’t expect his car to break down or to find the hottest little American he’s ever seen holding a tire iron, piercing him with bright blue eyes.

They agree to one hot night, one dirty deed to burn out the chemistry between them. But from their first kiss, Alex can’t stop saying yes to this man. And when Spencer’s company threatens everything she cares about, they must make the choice to stand together or apart.

Buy Links:
Amazon • HarperCollins • B&N • iTunes • Google Play

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Megan Erickson knows how to write contemporary romance! The Mechanics of Love series is the first I’ve read by her, and it won’t be the last. I’ve enjoyed each one of the books in the series immensely – Dirty Talk is still my favorite, but Dirty Deeds, the third and latest book, is one that definitely lived up to my expectations. It’s a book full of heart and humor, with touching characters that can’t help but endear themselves to your heart.

I’d been so excited about Alex’s story since Dirty Talk – as a female mechanic who’s sworn off men, she’s a memorable character. Her last relationship almost ruined her family, so when she and her sister and niece got away from her abusive ex, she was determined not to let any man in. She gives off this tough, sassy, badass persona, but deep down, she’s also a woman who gives her whole heart to those she loves. She may have given her heart to someone who abused it in the past, but ever since she’s met the Paytons, she’s opened up once again. But the one who really breaks down her walls is a one-night-stand she never expects to see again.

Spencer’s eyes were wild as he took her in. “I’m the luckiest man in the world to be here right now.”
Her heart ached, because they would be only this, a screw in a bed, a fuck against a wall. Quick, dirty deeds that would never have a future. Oh well, she’d make the most of it.

Though the past two books in the series have been about some HOT mechanics, I have to say that this one British businessman was definitely able to keep up with the previous heroes. Spencer was only supposed to be Tory for a little while for his job, so his one night – the hottest night of his life – with Alex was only supposed to be just that. But when his job forces him to go back to Tory and see Alex again and again, Spencer can’t help wanting her more and more… except that his stay in Tory is once again only temporary.

“…you love to love, Alex. And you love to be loved. And you deserve it. You deserve it all.”

I adored Alex and Spencer together. The two of them are the kind of characters who have walls around their hearts, and I loved seeing the two of them break down their walls and let in love. They make such a great couple, and the chemistry between this is seriously hot. If you’re a fan of the series, you definitely don’t want to miss Dirty Deeds.

I’m desperately hoping there will be more in this series, especially a book about Davis or Delilah (or the both of them together). I seriously can’t get enough of all of these characters! And the Paytons, I just love them all so much, especially Brent. All of their interactions with each other leave me with a smile on my face. If you love your romances with the perfect balance of humor and sweet, touching moments, then you definitely need to get your hands on this series!

4 hearts
lacey

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

Reading Order: Mechanics of Love series

Dirty Thoughts by Megan Erickson Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

#1 ~ Dirty Thoughts: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Talk: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Deeds: EbookPaperback • Goodreads

about the author button

Megan EricksonMegan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

Praise for MEGAN ERICKSON:

“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!”
— Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author

“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.”
— Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!”
— Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author

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$25 gift card to e-book retailer of winner’s choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Blog Tour + Release Day Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson

Dirty Talk Tour Banner

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson! Check out my review for the book below, as well as the first chapter and a giveaway!

Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson

Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson
Series: Mechanics of Love #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 15th 2015
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When the one you shouldn’t want is the one you can’t resist…

Brent Payton works hard, plays hard, and has earned his ladies’ man reputation. But he’s more than just a good time, even though no one seems to see it. Until a gorgeous brunette with knockout curves and big, thoughtful eyes walks into his family’s garage and makes Brent want more.

Ivy Dawn and her sister are done with men, all of them. They’ve uprooted their lives too many times on account of the opposite sex, but that’s over now. The plan seems easy until a sexy, dirty-talking mechanic bursts in Ivy’s life and shakes everything up.

Brent can’t resist the one person who sees past his devil-may-care façade, and Ivy finds it harder and harder to deny how happy he makes her. But she has secrets of her own and when the truth comes out, she must decide if she’ll run again or if she’ll take a chance on forever.

Buy Links:
Amazon • HarperCollins • B&N • iTunes • Google Play

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Megan Erickson’s Dirty Talk is perfect. Absolutely perfect. I loved everything about this book, and have no complaints, honestly. It’s a wonderful romance between a single mother and one sexy, endearing mechanic. I had high hopes for Dirty Talk after highly enjoying Dirty Thoughts, and Megan Erickson went above and beyond what I expected for Brent’s book. If you love contemporary romances, then you absolutely MUST read this book!

Brent Payton is the middle brother, the easy-going, funny one, the one no one takes seriously. He’s a playboy who has always had no trouble with the ladies… until Ivy Dawn enters his garage and his life. Brent is stunned by this incredible, headstrong single mother, and the more he sees her, the more he can’t get her out of his mind or his heart.

He would have been perfectly happy if women in the past had said he wasn’t a guy to take seriously. Because sometimes, he liked being the joke. He liked no strings and complications.
But with Ivy, he wanted the strings and the complications, and he didn’t know why. He just fucking did.

Ivy made a pact with her sister to swear off all men, after the rough life their little family had been through thanks to the opposite sex. They’re making a fresh start in Tory, and Ivy is determined to finally make a home and a life for her family. But Ivy’s vow isn’t quite holding up after meeting Brent. She sees right through his light-hearted exterior to the vulnerable, kind-hearted, dependable man no one ever notices, so how can help but fall for this wonderful man?

I loved how perfect Ivy and Brent are for each other – they see right into each other’s hearts, and they respect and appreciate the other so much. Ivy is at first wary of Brent’s intentions, but when Brent is determined to win the heart of the woman who’s stolen his own? I. Died. Protective, funny, charming, and with a wicked dirty mouth, Brent seriously became my new favorite hero. I fell so freaking hard for this man when he sets out to prove just how serious he is about Ivy and her daughter!

He wanted . . . Fuck, he wanted everything. To be inside of her, to be against her, to consume her.

And did I mention how HOT this book is!? As sweet as Brent is, he can also be dirty when he wants to, and holy hell, he was burning up the pages with his wicked mouth! *Grins* I loved it!

Dirty Talk is the perfect combination of sweet, sexy, and funny. I couldn’t help but be charmed by the romance and the characters, including all the supporting ones. This was such an endearing read, with wonderful characters I fell madly in love with. This is Megan Erickson’s best book yet, and I highly recommend it for fans of sweet, light-hearted romances!

5 hearts
lacey

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

Now here’s chapter one from Dirty Talk! ❤

excerpt button

Brent Payton wanted some decent music while he was working.

Not this pop-rock crap the radio had been playing but real rock ’n’ roll. Hell, he’d take George Thurgood right about now. Some “Bad to the Bone”? Hells to the yeah. That was better than a cup of coffee, which he could really use this Monday morning.

He’d volunteered to spring for an iPod and a docking station so he could play his own music, but his technology-inept father had acted like Brent wanted to buy a spaceship.

So that was out.

“Brent,” Cal’s voice called from the other bay of their garage at Payton Automotive.

“Yeah?”

“What’s this shit on the radio?” his older brother asked. “Turn it down before my ears bleed.”

Brent snorted. Cal was grumpy on a normal basis. But now that he’d quit smoking and wore a nicotine patch, he was even more insufferable. So Brent didn’t argue and turned down the music.

A truck rumbled into the parking lot, and Brent turned around, squinting to see who it was.

Alex Dawn, the new employee they’d hired a week ago, strolled into the garage, a bandana wrapped around her head, wearing baggy jeans and a tight T-shirt. She held a banana in one hand.

Brent grinned and walked over to where she stood outside the door to the office, looking over the schedule for the day. She peeled her banana and took a bite. He leaned in and inhaled deeply. “I love the smell of estrogen in the morning.”

Her lips twitched only slightly before she turned around and socked him in the bicep, hard. The woman could hit.

He howled dramatically and clutched his arm, swinging it limply from the elbow. “I’m injured! I can’t work!”

While Alex gazed at him, one eyebrow raised in amusement, he forgot about his injury, grabbed her banana, and bit off half of it.

“You asshole! That’s my breakfast!” Alex smacked him in the stomach, and he started laughing, nearly choking on the banana. “I’m so stealing the Snickers you keep hidden in the office.”

He straightened in shock. “You wouldn’t.”

She was smug, the witch. “I would.”

“That’s war, woman.”

She took the rest of the banana out of the peel and then tossed it so it landed on his shoulder. “Then don’t mess with my banana.”

“That’s some grade-D dirty talk,” he said, picking the peel off of his shoulder and throwing it in the trash can.

“Will you two quit it and get to work?” his dad, Jack, hollered, sticking his head out of the office door. “It’s like you’re related.”

Brent shrugged and walked over to the minivan to continue rotating its tires. Alex smirked at him from her bay. Brent winked back.

Working with Alex had been rocky at first. She had a chip on her shoulder—which she refused talk about—and Brent really enjoyed trying to knock it off, which only led to their sniping at each other. But when some asshole customer gave her a hard time because she was a woman, and she told him to shove it—Payton and Sons Automotive didn’t really have that customer-is-always-right policy—Brent developed a newfound respect for her. When Brent backed her up in front of said asshole, she began giving him some respect in return. And so they’d fallen into this brother-sister type relationship that was actually kinda fun. Brent didn’t really have friendships with women and especially not women he’d never fucked.

And the thing about Alex was . . . he didn’t want to fuck her. It wasn’t because she wasn’t hot, because she was. But the chemistry between them was . . . lacking. Which surprised Brent. Because he was like hydrogen; he reacted with everyone.

Brent worked quietly for the rest of the morning, singing to himself when decent music came on, taking care of the minivan before moving on to the next job.

He was draining oil from an old Toyota when he heard voices from the front of the garage. He spotted Dick Carmichael talking to Alex. She pointed toward the back room, where Cal had disappeared. The Carmichaels had been coming to the shop since before Brent had started working there. Dick was a retired accountant, and his wife still cut hair in an add-on at their house.

“Can I help you, Dick?” Brent asked as he walked closer.

The man turned to him. “Hey, Brent. Uh, no, that’s fine. I’ll just wait for Cal.”

“Oh, well if you need—”

Dick waved him on. “It’s fine. You can get back to work. I’m sure you want to break for lunch soon.” He patted him on the shoulder, like he was a kid, and chuckled. “Your dad always says that’s your favorite part of the day.”

Brent tamped down the irritation. First, whatever Cal could help him with, Brent could too. Second, yeah, Brent liked eating a hell of a lot, but that didn’t mean he didn’t do his job.

So he nodded and walked back to the Toyota. He didn’t look up when he heard Cal return, when Dick spoke with Cal about some work he wanted to do to his car—work that Brent would probably be assigned to, but he wasn’t Cal, the responsible one.

Nor was he Max, their younger brother, the first of them all to become a college graduate.

Brent was the middle brother, the joker, the comic relief. The irresponsible one.

Never mind that he’d been working at this shop since he was sixteen. Never mind that he could do every job, inside and out, and fast as fuck.

Never mind that he could be counted on, even though no one treated him like that.

A pain registered in his wrist, and he glanced down at the veins and tendons straining against the skin in his arm, where he had a death grip on a wrench.

He loosened his fist and dropped the tool on the bench.

This wallowing shit had to stop.

This was his life. He was happy (mostly) and free (no ball and chain, no way), and so what if everyone thought he was a joke? He was good at that role, so the typecasting fit.

“Why so glum, sugar plum?” Alex said from beside him as she peered up into his face.

He twisted his lips into a smirk and propped a hip on the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. “I knew you had a crush on me, sweet cheeks.”

She narrowed her eyes, lips pursed to hide a smile. “Not even in your dreams.”

He sighed dramatically. “You’re just like all the ladies. Wanna piece of Brent. There’s enough to go around, Alex; no need to butter me up with sweet nicknames—”

A throat cleared. And Brent looked over to see a woman standing beside them, one hand on her hip, the other dangling at her side, holding a paper bag. Her dark eyebrows were raised, full red lips pursed.

And Brent blinked, hoping this wasn’t a mirage.

Tory, Maryland, wasn’t big, and he’d made it his mission to know every available female in the town limits and about a ten-mile radius outside of that.

This woman? He’d never seen her. He’d surely remember if he had.

Gorgeous. Long hair so dark brown it was almost black. Perfect face. It was September and still warm, so she wore a tight striped sundress that ended mid-thigh. She was tiny, probably over a foot smaller than he was. Fuck, the things that little body made him dream about. He wondered if she did yoga. Tiny and limber was his kryptonite.

Narrow waist, round hips, big tits.

No ring.

Bingo.

He smiled. Sure, she was probably a customer, but this wouldn’t be the first time he’d managed to use the garage to his advantage. Usually, he just had to toss around a tire or two, rev an engine, whatever, and they were more than eager to hand over a phone number and address. No one thought he was a consummate professional anyway, so why bother trying to be one?

He leaned his ass against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. “Can I help you?”

She blinked, long lashes fluttering over her big blue eyes. “Can you help me?”

“Yeah, we’re full service here.” He resisted winking. That was kinda sleazy.

Her eyes widened for a fraction of a second before they shifted to Alex at his side and then back to him. Her eyes darkened for a minute, her tongue peeked out between those red lips, and then she straightened. “No, you can’t help me.”

He leaned forward. “Really? You sure?”

“Positive.”

“Like, how positive?

“I’m one hundred percent positive that I do not need help from you, Brent Payton.”

That made him pause. She knew his name. He knew he’d never met her, so that could only mean she’d heard about him somehow, and by the look on her face, it was nothing good.

Well, shit.

He opened his mouth, not sure what to say but hoping it would come to him, when Alex began cracking up next to him, slapping her thighs and snorting.

Brent glared at her. “And what’s your problem?”

Alex stepped forward, threw her arm around the shoulder of the woman in front of them, and smiled ear to ear. “Brent, meet my sister, Ivy. Ivy, thanks for making me proud.”

They were both smiling now, that same full-lipped, white-teethed smile. He surveyed Alex’s face and then Ivy’s, and holy fuck—how did he not notice this right away? They almost looked like twins.

And the sisters were looking at him now, wearing matching smug grins—and wasn’t that a total cock-block? He pointed at Alex. “What did you tell her about me?”

“That the day I interviewed, you asked me to re-create a Whitesnake music video on the hood of a car.”

He threw up his hands. “Can you let that go? You weren’t even my first choice. I wanted Cal’s girlfriend to do it.”

“Because that’s more appropriate,” Alex said drily.

“Excuse me for trying to liven it up around here.”

Ivy turned to her sister, so he got a better glimpse of those thighs he might sell his soul to touch. She held up the paper bag. “I brought lunch; hope that’s okay.”

“Of course it is,” Alex said. “Thanks a lot, since someone stole my breakfast.” She narrowed her eyes at Brent. Ivy turned to him slowly in disbelief, like she couldn’t believe he was that evil.

Brent had made a lot of bad first impressions in his life. A dad of one of his high school girlfriend’s had seen Brent’s bare ass, while Brent was lying on top of his daughter, before the dad ever saw Brent’s face. That had not gone over well. And yet this impression might be even worse.

Because he didn’t care about what that girl’s dad thought of him. Not really.

And he didn’t want to care about what Ivy thought of him, but, dammit, he did. It bothered the hell out of him that she’d written him off before even meeting him. Did Alex tell her any of his good qualities? Like . . . Brent wracked his brain for good qualities.

By the time he thought of one, the girls had already disappeared to the back room for lunch.

***

“Do you think we hurt his feelings?” Ivy picked at a stray piece of lettuce hanging out of her sandwich.

She didn’t meet her sister’s eyes, not even when Alex started making choking sounds across from her at the small table in the back of Payton and Sons Automotive.

“E-excuse me?” Alex stuttered.

Ivy bit her lip and lifted her gaze to her sister’s. Alex had talked a lot about Brent, and while there was an underlying platonic affection to her words, most of her talk was complaining about how much of a pain in her ass he was. Maybe Alex hadn’t been looking at Brent close enough during their conversation out in the garage, but Ivy had been. She’d noticed the flash of frustration over his face when they’d shut him down.

What made her pause was that it seemed like frustration directed at himself, not at her.

Crap. Ivy dipped her gaze back to her sandwich. This would not do. She and Alex had basically stamped a big red X over all dicks—literal and figurative—for a good long time. They’d already moved twice to get away from men who had ruined their lives. Tory was supposed to be where they settled in, got their lives straight, and raised Violet.

Ivy’s defense mechanism was to immediately be cold to Brent. She could have gotten bees with honey, but she didn’t want bees. Or honey. Or whatever. So she was all stinger.

She and Alex didn’t need men. The two of them and Violet would be just fine.

And yet at this moment, Ivy couldn’t stop thinking about Brent. Alex hadn’t warned her that he looked . . . like that. Like six-feet, two-inches of hotness straight out of a Mechanics of Your Dreams calendar. Jesus. That dark hair, those full lips that smirked, those slate eyes that did nothing to hide the fact that this man was trouble with a capital T.

“Iv-eeeeee.” Alex drew out her name in that way only big sisters could do when they planned to interrogate.

Ivy poked the wheat bread of her sandwich. “What?”

“Why are you concerned about Brent’s feelings?”

She didn’t know. Honestly and truly, she didn’t know, but she couldn’t forget that momentary flash of emotion that passed over his face before he covered it with a smirk. “I don’t know; he’s your coworker and—”

“I know he’s basically sex on legs, Ivy, but he knows it. And I’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t taken a ride in this town.”

Ivy pressed her lips together, chastising herself for letting her soft heart show. She needed to focus on finding a job and raising her daughter. Those were her priorities. Not going toe-to-toe with some cocky hot guy. “You’re right; forget I said anything.” Ivy held up her index fingers and crossed them in an X. “No men.”

“Ick,” Alex spat.

“Gross,” Ivy said.

Alex grinned at her, and Ivy returned it, sipping from her iced tea. “So, work going okay?”

“Yeah, I like it here. Cal’s fair. Brent’s fun to work with. Jack’s still a hard-ass but I think he’s warming to me.”

Alex had told Ivy that Brent and Cal’s dad was a brick wall of gruff and stubborn. “Good.”

“Violet off to school okay?” Alex asked.

Ivy’s daughter was in first grade at White Pine Elementary School in the Tory school district. They’d moved in time for her start at the beginning of the school year. “Her teacher called me again, saying Vi cried on and off this morning.” Ivy knew moving was hard on her, but they hadn’t had much of a choice. “I hate this.”

Alex squeezed Ivy’s hand where it rested on the table. “It’s school. You’re not torturing her. She’ll get used to it.”

Ivy’s stomach rolled, thinking about it. “I hope.”

“She’s a good kid. She just needs time.”

Ivy sighed. “I guess.”

“Alex,” a deep voice said from the doorway. Ivy craned her head to see a man who looked a lot like Brent but . . . wasn’t Brent.

“Yeah?” Alex answered.

The man nodded at Ivy. “I’m Cal.” He turned to Alex. “Sorry. I know you’re eating lunch, but got that customer of yours out front from last week. I tried talking to her, but she likes you better.”

Alex laughed. “Greta Sherman?”

“That’s the one.”

She balled up her empty sandwich wrapper. “I’ll be back in a couple of minutes,” she said to Ivy.

Ivy looked down at her half-eaten lunch. “I can leave—”

“Nah, I’ll be right back. You finish eating.”

Alex tossed her trash into the can on the way out.

Ivy took a sip of her tea and picked at her sandwich. She’d spent all morning on the computer, applying for jobs in and around Tory. It wasn’t necessarily a mecca of job opportunities, but Alex had found a place she fit in, and the pay wasn’t bad. Ivy had some savings, but it wasn’t going to last forever, and she wanted to pull her weight in the little family they’d created.

Her résumé was a bit slim. She had a high school diploma but no college degree, having spent her early twenties raising Violet. Her job options in Tory were working as a secretary for a lawyer, selling furniture at a department store, or being a nanny.

None was appealing.

But at least they all paid.

The chair across from her squeaked, and she lifted her gaze, opening her mouth to tell Alex about her job options.

Except Alex wasn’t sitting across from her.

Brent was.

He leaned back in his chair, feet up on the table and crossed at the ankle. He held a packet of peanuts and tipped it so a couple fell into his mouth. He chewed, steel eyes on her.

She clenched her jaw shut.

He swallowed. “You looked like you were going to say something.”

“Sure I was. To Alex. But you’re not Alex.”

“No, I’m not. But I’m a great listener.”

“I’m sure,” she said drily.

His lips quirked. “Want to hear about what other things I’m good at?”

“Not particularly.”

“Because I can do this thing with my tongue—”

Good God. “I don’t do this.”

“Don’t do what?”

She waved a hand between them. “This. Flirting.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Babe, I haven’t even begun to flirt.”

She took a deep breath to calm her rising blood pressure. “Don’t do that either.”

“Jesus! Now what?” His exasperation might have been cute if she still had a heart.

“Nicknames.”

“Babe?”

“My name is Ivy. I-V-Y. Three letters. Two syllables.” Even she wanted to cringe at how much of a bitch she was being.

He was studying her now, his face a little less amused and more . . . thoughtful. She didn’t like thoughtful Brent. Amused, flirting Brent? Harmless. Thoughtful Brent, who tried to look deeper? Dangerous as hell.

He ran two fingers over his lips and then dropped his hand to the table, cocking his head. “You’re just thorns everywhere I touch, aren’t you?”

She froze at his words, like a deer in headlights because yes—yes, she was a whole lot of thorns because she’d learned long ago they were necessary to protect all her soft parts.

Brent wasn’t done, though; his voice was softer when he spoke again. “You born that way, or something make you that way, Ivy?”

She swallowed. Yep, Brent Payton was dangerous in a sexy-as-hell package. His words were seeping past those thorns, hitting all the spots where she was weak. So she gathered herself and clenched her fists at her sides. “You’re just acting like this because I’m the first woman who hasn’t fallen at your feet.”

He laughed at that. “Fallen at my feet? Nah, there are plenty of women who’ve told me to go to hell. My percentage is good, though. Maybe eighty-twenty.” He grinned that shit-eating grin. “But you got me curious now. I wanna keeping prodding until I find a place that isn’t a thorn. How long do you think that’ll take me?”

Shit, no; that’s exactly what she didn’t want. With those eyes that were smart and trouble at the same time.

She swallowed and straightened her spine. “You’ll never get close enough.”

He cocked his head. “No?”

“No.”

He hummed a little and leaned back in his chair again. He threw a peanut in the air and caught it in his mouth. Then he chewed, with those steel eyes daring her to look away. “Guess I gotta plan my attack better next time, huh? You better work on those defenses.”

She heard Alex’s voice as her sister made her way back to the lunchroom. Ivy smiled and lifted her chin. “Who says I’ll be the one who needs defense?”

He laughed sharply, like he was surprised. “Oh, babe, bring it.”

She gritted her teeth. “Ivy.”

“Babe. I call it as I see it, and you’re definitely babe.”

Ivy growled.

He smiled, and then he was up out of his chair and walking out the door as Alex made her way in. Her eyes trailed Brent as he retreated to the garage.

Alex turned to Ivy, eyes concerned. “Was he bothering you?”

Bothering didn’t even touch it. “No, he’s fine. Nothing I can’t handle.”

Alex shrugged. “I can talk to him—”

“Alex, I swear, it was nothing, and even if it was, I could handle it.”

Her sister eyed her and then stole a bite of her sandwich. “Fine; now eat. You’re getting skinny.”

“Quit mothering me.”

Alex pointed to the sandwich with raised eyebrows, and Ivy glared at her as she took a bite.

Reading Order: Mechanics of Love series

Dirty Thoughts by Megan Erickson Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

#1 ~ Dirty Thoughts: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Talk: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Deeds: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

about the author button

Megan EricksonMegan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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Blog Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: Playing for Her Heart by Megan Erickson

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Playing for Her Heart by Megan Erickson!

Playing for Her Heart by Megan Erickson

Playing for Her Heart by Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 11th 2015
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
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Grant Osprey just had the hottest sex of his life. Sure, they were both in costume, and yes, it was anonymous, but he never expected her to bolt in the middle of the night without so much as a good bye, let alone exchanging numbers. Or names. All he’s left with are her panties and some seriously X-rated memories…until he meets his business partner’s little sister.

Only Chloe Talley isn’t the bold, sexy vixen he remembers. And she wants nothing to do with him.

Cosplay is Chloe’s only chance to leave her boring, socially awkward world behind. To forget that she’s failing at life and can’t be with anyone, let alone a single-father like Grant. But the raw hunger between them is undeniable. With him, she can be a misbehaving maid. A sexy call girl for hire. Each scene pushes Chloe beyond her strict boundaries, until Grant demands the one character she can’t play.

Herself.

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Now here’s an excerpt from Playing for Her Heart! ❤

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This could crash and burn in epic failure. Grant was a thirty-two-year-old man and this was probably a horrible idea. But he couldn’t get Chloe’s green eyes out of his head, the way she kissed him, the way she moved under his palms. And, fuck, the way she tasted… So, he took a deep breath and went for it, knowing this could completely end in Ethan ripping out his heart like in that Indiana Jones movie.

Grant tipped up his lips and narrowed his eyes, adopting the air of a domineering businessman. “I thought I told you that I wanted the entire house finished by the time I got back. I’m not paying you to dance around the kitchen.”

Her chest rose and fell with deep breaths, and Grant waited, on fucking pins and needles to see if she’d play along.

The only sound was the refrigerator kicking on, and he was about to laugh, and tell her he was joking, when her voice, small but gaining power, said, “But, sir, you’re home early.”

That sir went right to his cock.

He took a step toward her, smiling when she backed up into the counter behind her. “I’m only a half an hour early, and you have a lot more than half an hour of work to do. What’s your excuse?”

Her lips parted. “I—”

He stepped into her space, plucking her iPod from the waistband of her pants, setting it on the counter along with her earbuds. Her eyes fluttered closed.

“Yes?” he questioned, hands on either side of her, pinning her in.

She opened her eyes, and he stared into the swirling green pool of her irises. She was in the role now; he could feel it. “I’m sorry but I took a nap in your bed.”

Jesus, his cock twitched and he shifted, so the front of his jeans brushed her thigh. “You napped in my bed?”

She bit her lip and nodded. “I know, I w-was bad.”

God, he was going to come in his pants. He ran a hand along the outside of her thigh, teasing the skin under the hem of her shorts. “Is that all you did? Sleep?”

She shook her head.

“No? What did you do in my bed?”

“I-I touched myself.”

Her whisper was a lick across his balls. With a grip on her biceps, he spun her around, so she faced the counter. She gripped it with a cry, but didn’t struggle. Instead, she threw her head back and pushed out her ass.

He took the invitation for what it was. He lowered her shorts along with her panties, hooking the fabric under the cheeks of her ass.

He smoothed a hand over it, and reveled in the small moan she made in the back of her throat. “You know I need to punish you, right?”

She nodded, her hair bobbing.

“I’ll go easy on you if you’re truthful with me.”

“Okay, sir.”

He squeezed one cheek, then let it go, watching as the blood rushed back to the white areas made by his fingers. “What did you think about when you touched yourself?”

The hesitation was for effect, he knew it. What a little actress she was. She looked at him over her shoulder, smiling coyly and blinking under her lashes. “You, sir. I thought about you and your huge cock.”

Reading Order: Gamers series

Changing His Game by Megan Erickson Playing for Her Heart by Megan Erickson

#1 ~ Changing His Game: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Playing for Her Heart: My Review • EbookGoodreads

about the author button

Megan EricksonMegan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she’s probably listening to the characters in her head who won’t stop talking.

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a Signed Print Copy of PLAYING FOR HER HEART (US Only)

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