Who doesn’t love a tease?!? International Player by Louise Bay

 

INTERNATIONAL PLAYER by Louise Bay
Release Date: April 30th

Add to Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43132944-international-player

 

PRE-ORDER TODAY!!
Apple Books exclusive pre order: https://apple.co/2QdJdwn
Paperback: https://amzn.to/2PmIK5M

 

 

Blurb:
Being labelled a player never stopped me from being successful with women. Until I met Truly Harbury.

Truly was the first girl who ever turned me down.

The first female friend I ever had.

And she might just be the first woman I ever fall in love with.

When an emergency means she needs my help running her family’s charity, I’m happy to introduce her to the glitz and glamour of the London business world—taking her to dinners, coaching her through speeches, zipping up the sexy evening gown I helped her pick out.

The more time we spend together, the more I want to convince her I’m not a man to avoid, that we’re not as unsuited as she believes.

She sees herself as the book-reading, science-loving introvert while I’m the dangerous, outgoing, charmer.

She thinks I love parties and people whereas she prefers pajamas and a takeaway.

What she doesn’t realize is that I like everything about her–the way her smile lights up a room, how her curves light up my imagination, and especially the way her lips taste when coated with tequila.

She’s the first woman I ever fell in love with. I just need to know if she could ever love me too.

 

About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels – the kind she likes to read. Her books include the novels Faithful (not currently on sale as undergoing maintenance!), Hopeful, The Empire State Series, The Royals Series, The Nights Series (both series of standalone books each following different characters) and the standalone Gentleman series.

Ruined by romantic mini-series of the eighties, Louise loves all things romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, The West Wing, London, days when she doesn’t have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Connect w/Louise:
Website: https://louisebay.com/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/authorlouisebay
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/louisesbay
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/louiseSbay
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VSsbDb
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056592.Louise_Bay
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/louise-bay

 

Excerpt Reveal!! Junk Mail by Kendall Ryan

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JUNK MAIL

By Kendall Ryan

Release Day: April 23

About the Book

 

It all started with a sexy selfie.

Texted to the wrong number.

Oops.

Not my finest moment—but I have nothing to be ashamed of.

She thought I was no better, and I quote, than the knuckle-dragging douche-bags she was never dating again.

It was a stupid dare from a girl I’d met online, but since she’d given me a fake number, I didn’t feel bad that my interests were suddenly focused elsewhere—on the fiery and sharp-tongued, Peyton that I found myself sparring with over text for the rest of the evening.

The following day, my case of mistaken identity came back to bite me in the banana.

When I strolled into the office, I was introduced to Peyton as the new client I needed to win over. The Peyton , in case you’re not tracking.

And let’s just say she had my full attention.

Brains? Check.

Beauty? Oh yeah.

And the best part? She hated me on sight.

Dear God, do I love a challenge.

Let the games begin.

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MNuWSf

Apple: https://apple.co/2I1rqVI

Nook: http://bit.ly/2G8qXiJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2t4LsEn

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Db4ddX

Excerpt

“Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of this, shall we?”

Nuts?

Seriously, Hanson? Of all the words in the English language, you choose nuts?

But hey, on the plus side, she hasn’t seen the boys, just their leader.

Even so, I need to keep this meeting above the belt, including my own damn thoughts. I offer Peyton another apologetic smile. Time to get this deal back on track.

“Want to tell me more about your company?”

“I do. I really do.”

Her tone shifts instantly when she mentions her business, making me even more keen to hear her pitch.

I smile. A perfect, professional smile, as I cross my legs and fold my hands in my lap. I’m a motherfucking gentleman, not a junk-shot-sending caveman. “I want to hear all about it, Peyton.”

The only way to get past this mixup is to focus on business.

Not on her pretty face.

Not on those gorgeous eyes.

And definitely not on that dark hair I want to wrap around my fist and yank on it hard.

Four fucking months . . . that’s what’s wrong with my libido. It’s not operating in its normal overdrive. No, today, it’s at fucking warp speed. This is what happens when your own hand becomes your closest companion.

 

About Kendall Ryan

 

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 2.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world.
Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than 70 times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras.

Subscriber to the newsletter: http://www.kendallryanbooks.com/newsletter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kendallryanbooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kendallryan1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KendallRyan1

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kendallryan1/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473923.Kendall_Ryan

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kendall-Ryan/e/B009FNTHMK/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kendall-ryan

 

Coming Soon!! All the Books Author Signing Event

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Are you ready for All the Books Author Event 2019?

Hi there! If you’re reading this, that means you’re
interested in a brand new book signing event. Which is FANTASTIC!
This event was created with the intention of including
EVERYONE. All the GENRES. All the AUTHORS. All the BOOKS.
If you’re ready to sign up, follow the links below!

Get your #FREE to $30 tickets on Eventbrite. Available Now.
Yes the General Admission is #Free.
Though the general admission is #FREE you still need a
ticket for the event.

Also Available are Paid Tickets these Special Tickets come
with a tote bag and other things.

Early Bird – General Admission $10 Admission Fee (Early Bird
Ticket Holders will get a special tote bag containing author and sponsor swag.
VIP Ticket Holder $30 Admission Fee (VIP ticket includes a
tote bag with event swag from attending authors and sponsors and ONE (1) signed
book by an attending author, randomly selected by event coordinators.

 Event Links
Stay tuned for more updates!
#ATB2019 #AuthorSigning #HoustonBookNerds #AllBookworms #IndieAuthors
#AllBooks #AllGenres #AuthorsAndBooks #FreeAdmission #HoustonEvent

 

 

Happy Release Day!! The Mister by E.L. James

 

The Mister will sweep you off your feet…

THE MISTER, the highly anticipated new love story from #1 New York Times bestseller E L James is available now!

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London, 2019. Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. With his good looks, aristocratic connections, and money, he’s never had to work and he’s rarely slept alone. But all that changes when tragedy strikes and Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth, and estates, and all the responsibility that entails. It’s a role he’s not prepared for and one that he struggles to face.

But his biggest challenge is fighting his desire for an unexpected, enigmatic young woman who’s recently arrived in England, possessing little more than a dangerous and troublesome past. Reticent, beautiful, and musically gifted, she’s an alluring mystery, and Maxim’s longing for her deepens into a passion that he’s never experienced and dares not name. Just who is Alessia Demachi? And can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? And what will she do when she learns that he’s been hiding secrets of his own?

From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.

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Download your copy today:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2T0zMwJ

AppleBooks: https://apple.co/2HjnVsb

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheMister

Nook: http://bit.ly/2T3CzWb

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2O0pYC6

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HixZSr

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2TzCEWE

Audible: https://amzn.to/2u3HU5x

ABOUT E L JAMES

E L James is an incurable romantic and a self-confessed fangirl. After twenty-five years of working in television, she decided to pursue a childhood dream and write stories that readers could take to their hearts. The result was the controversial and sensuous romance Fifty Shades of Grey and its two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. In 2015, she published the #1 bestseller Grey, the story of Fifty Shades of Grey from the perspective of Christian Grey, and in 2017, the chart-topping Darker, the second part of the Fifty Shades story from Christian’s point of view. Her books have been published in fifty languages and have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.

E L James has been recognized as one of Time magazine’s “Most Influential People in the World” and Publishers Weekly’s “Person of the Year.” Fifty Shades of Grey stayed on The New York Times Best Seller List for 133 consecutive weeks. Fifty Shades Freed won the Goodreads Choice Award (2012), and Fifty Shades of Grey was selected as one of the 100 Great Reads, as voted by readers, in PBS’s The Great American Read (2018). Darker has been long-listed for the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award.

She coproduced for Universal Studios the Fifty Shades movies, which made more than a billion dollars at the box office. The third installment, Fifty Shades Freed, won the People’s Choice Award for Drama in 2018.

 

E L James is blessed with two wonderful sons and lives with her husband, the novelist and screenwriter Niall Leonard, and their West Highland terriers in the leafy suburbs of West London.
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For more information about E L James, visit:

Website: https://www.eljamesauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ELJamesAuthor/

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2XTO0TM

And Instagram: http://bit.ly/2TO6vdd

 

Happy Release Day & Review!! Until Her Smile by Samantha Lind

 

One beautiful songwriter.
One chance meeting.
One last first kiss.
One smile.
Her smile.

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I was content with being a bachelor, never planned on settling down. Why would I, when every woman in my life, starting with my own mother, always walked out and never looked back.

I liked my strict Army life—all I needed after my deployment was a vacation and time with my dad.

Then it all changed…

One beautiful songwriter.

One chance meeting.

One last first kiss.

One smile.

Her smile.

That was all it took to captivate me and send my world spinning on its axis. After that, I knew I’d never be the same.

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Samantha Lind is a contemporary romance author. Having spent the first 27 years of her life in Alaska, she now calls Iowa home where she lives with her husband and two sons. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, watching hockey (Go Knights Go!), and listening to country music. You can connect with Samantha on her website, http://www.samanthalind.com.

Website | Newsletter | BookBub | Book+Main | Readers Group | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Dog tags on wood, close up. Top view, flat lay. Wooden desk surface background.

 

With every book that Ms. Lind puts out, you can see her writing style get better and better!

Until Her Smile is a fast paced, swoony, sweet and smexy story!

Peyton and Stacey are a fantastic couple.  Their chemistry is on fire.

Peyton has some scars from his past that have molded him to the person he is.  He is slow to trust and it takes an amazing gal like Stacey to make him see hope for the future.

I loved the military element.  I am a veteran and married to a retired veteran so I could relate to the theme in the story.  I also enjoyed seeing past characters in this story, it was like a mini reunion! It was fun to see what everyone was up to.

You cannot go wrong with a Samantha Lind story and Until Her Smile is another jewel in her writing career crown!

Happy Release Day & Review!! Gluttony by K. Webster

See My Review Below!!!

Money is my legacy, but I want something money can’t buy.
I am Baxter Samuel Goddard V.
I am Gluttony.

 

 

GLUTTONY BY K. WEBSTER

AN ELITE SEVEN IS LIVE!

Keep reading to grab your copy & to enter to win a $20 gift card!!!

 

My life has been served to me on a gold platter to be devoured by my silver spoon.

Money, money, and more money. It’s the backbone of the Goddard name. I’m the only son, so it’s all mine for the taking.

But sometimes money isn’t enough. I always want more, yet nothing seems to satisfy me.

My father has made sure I become a part of The Elite Seven. Where most candidates are chosen, I was given my place. Everything comes at a price, though. Luckily, I can afford any price—no one has more money than God.

The Elite Seven have their initiations. My assignment is personal and beneath me: steal a car and send a warning. It’ll hurt my best friend in the process, but we both made a pact going into this. There’s no line we won’t cross.

My task makes an ugly turn and I nearly take a life. Such a small, unimportant person—someone no one would even notice was gone. She’s a problem my money and power can easily sweep under the rug.

It’s what my father wants. It’s what my brothers want. But when she finally opens those big, innocent brown eyes, I realize I’ve found what I’ve been searching for my entire life. I don’t want my little problem to disappear…I want to keep her.

Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak—they’re for The Elite.

Money is my legacy, but I want something money can’t buy.
I am Baxter Samuel Goddard V.
I am Gluttony.

 

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

 

 

The Elite Seven

7 AUTHORS.
7 STORIES.
7 DEADLY SINS.

 

Since 1942, The Elite Seven Society have created and guided influential leaders, molding the country into something better. This society was birthed by Malcolm Benedict, II who wanted more for Americans. More wealth. More influence. More power. Some leaders have the skills, but not the influence, and that simply wasn’t fair according to Mr. Benedict. He invested his own money and time to construct a society that bred the best of the best, year after year.

But to be the best, you must be ruthless.

Good leaders make sacrifices. Sometimes the sacrifices are hard, but the rewards are plentiful. Mr. Benedict made sure to indulge these leaders with their utmost desires. A devout Catholic himself, he designed a society that rewarded his leaders with the sins that were frowned upon. If they were giving up love and happiness and joy for the betterment of the country, they deserved something in its stead.

Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust.

Choosing leaders for this society means that it takes intense focus. Only seven are to be selected, and the investments and time are showered upon the new seven chosen every four years. The predecessors of each group of seven choose people who fit the sin that will mold them into who they are needed to be in the future—what America needs them to be. This is after a detailed study of many potential candidates. The university’s acting dean behaves as a liaison for the society bringing the college applicants to the predecessors so that the selection may begin. The society members who are going out will bring forth a candidate that the society votes on and approves.

After they are chosen, the initiates are given a token and an invitation to initiation. The initiation will be a test to their character and ability to do what’s right for the betterment of the society. Once the initiates pass their test, they are discreetly branded with the mark of the society and are groomed through challenges during the course of their elite education to breed them into the influential people they were meant to be.

Once in The Elite Seven, there is no getting out. The money and power are their rewards. Should they choose to stray or break the rules, the society strips them of everything. Anything they once had will be removed. Opportunities will never arise. They will no longer have the support of the society. To this day, there have been no known occurrences of anyone from the society having to be banished. This elite group of people is what every young man and woman aspire to be a part of. While the group is a secret society, they are whispered about amongst the privileged folks in the country. Anyone who is anyone knows of the group and secretly hopes it’s their son or daughter who is selected, for good fortune is showered on the family for decades to come.

Lust: NOW LIVE

I was born with wealth, athletic ability, and looks that could melt the panties off a nun.
I had a clear path to success.
Until fate dealt me a cruel blow, leaving me empty and in need of purpose.
My only focus now is to become part of The Elite—a secret society in one of the most prestigious colleges in the world.
But everything comes at a price, and with The Elite, you have to earn your place.
Lucky for me, being sinful is in my DNA.
The only obstacle to full initiation is my task: seduce the un-seducible, the forbidden, and lure her with the sins of the flesh.
Easy for a man like me…in theory.
She started as my task, but what happens when the lines between lust and love blur, and the need for power rages war with the need for her?
Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak—they’re for The Elite.
This is my life, my chance, my legacy.
I am Rhett Masters.
I am Lust.

Purchase LUST by Ker Dukey NOW
Amazon US | Amazon UK
Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

 

Pride: NOW LIVE!

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

But who said the devil was a he?

In my world, she was out to cause havoc on all our lives.

She’ll use the one thing I care most about to control me—force me into her Elite world, filled with sin, deceit, and power. And under her spell, I’ll lead a sinister brotherhood of seven at one of the most prestigious universities in New Orleans.

Seven tasks set forth by the devil herself, promising nothing less than the forbidden fruit of power. What they don’t understand is it will all end in bloodshed and regret.

They call me the alpha. The one in charge. The one with pride bigger than any task I could be given. And my pride won’t let me be anywhere but at the top of the food chain until she gives me what I truly want.

My task is Meghan Thorne.

She’s too pure for me to touch, too good for me to ruin—and the only thing standing in my way to freedom.

Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak…they’re for The Elite.

As they say, pride comes before the fall.

I am Mason Blackwell.

I am Pride.

Purchase PRIDE By J.D Hollyfield NOW
Amazon US | Amazon UK
Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

Wrath: NOW LIVE

I’m a motherless son to a father who hates me. Fury has lived and breathed in my black heart for so long, it’s a part of my soul now. The only thing that’s ever mattered to me is protecting my twin sister, Sabella, from my father’s temper.

So when the chance to join a secret society presents itself, there’s no question I’ll do whatever it takes to become a member and earn my place in the ranks of only the most Elite.

With a taste for the deviant, I’m drawn to the darkest of desires, and no one ever leaves my bed unscathed.
My task: seduce Patience Noelle, St. Augustine’s sweetheart and the mayor’s beloved daughter—then break her heart.

Sinning is what I live for, and deviance is my passion. Failing has never been an option.

But what happens when my sin becomes my curse—when destroying the only woman I’ve ever wanted is my key to protecting my sister?
Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak…they’re for The Elite.

This isn’t just my chance, it’s my legacy and reckoning.
I am Samuel Gunner.
I am WRATH

Purchase WRATH by Claire C. Riley
Amazon US | Amazon UK
Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

Envy: NOW LIVE

It was temptation that broke the sinner.

People say I have everything.
They’re wrong.
I may have looks, money, and privilege, but I don’t have the one thing that really matters, the one thing I crave: a woman with eyes only for me.
I’m searching for my woman—one who will fall to her knees because I’m her king. She’ll wear the crown of my tarnished name, and long for me when I’m not near. And when I am close, she’ll be naked across my lap, feeling the sting of my palm across her milky skin.
You could say I’m a sinner because I’d do anything to have the perfect woman—compliant to my every need and whim—and I’m envious of every couple who walks around naive to the luxury they have.

That’s why I joined The Elite, the most prestigious brotherhood in the south.
It’s the one place that will give me what I cannot have.
Only…the task assigned to me is too much for my jealous eyes.
Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak…they’re for The Elite.
Those who envy have no peace.
My name is Sabastian Westbrook.
I am Envy.

Purchase ENVY by M.N Forgy
Amazon US | Amazon UK
Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

 

Gluttony: NOW LIVE!

My life has been served to me on a gold platter to be devoured by my silver spoon.

Money, money, and more money. It’s the backbone of the Goddard name. I’m the only son, so it’s all mine for the taking.

But sometimes money isn’t enough. I always want more, yet nothing seems to satisfy me.

My father has made sure I become a part of The Elite Seven. Where most candidates are chosen, I was given my place. Everything comes at a price, though. Luckily, I can afford any price—no one has more money than God.

The Elite Seven have their initiations. My assignment is personal and beneath me: steal a car and send a warning. It’ll hurt my best friend in the process, but we both made a pact going into this. There’s no line we won’t cross.

My task makes an ugly turn and I nearly take a life. Such a small, unimportant person—someone no one would even notice was gone. She’s a problem my money and power can easily sweep under the rug.

It’s what my father wants. It’s what my brothers want. But when she finally opens those big, innocent brown eyes, I realize I’ve found what I’ve been searching for my entire life. I don’t want my little problem to disappear…I want to keep her.

Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak—they’re for The Elite.

Money is my legacy, but I want something money can’t buy.
I am Baxter Samuel Goddard V.
I am Gluttony.

Purchase GLUTTONY by K. Webster
Amazon US | Amazon UK
Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 

Sloth: Releasing May 13th

I don’t give a fuck.
Not about money or fame, beauty or power. I’ve had all those things since birth, and trust me, they’re a fucking snooze.
I don’t give a fuck about anyone, not even myself.
Until my father proves evil can exist in the most holy of places. For the first time ever, something like interest stirs in my soul.
He wants me to enroll at St. Augustine.
Join The Elite.
Court the virginal daughter of Archbishop Savoie.
Prove to him I’m worth the family name.
I’ll do it all.
And I’ll do it so well, no one will know what’s coming. People are so quick to underestimate the wicked and lazy.
They forget idle hands are the best tools for the devil’s work.
I am Rush Dempsey.
I am Sloth.

SLOTH By Giana Darling

 

GREED: Releasing May 20th

I’m hungry.
My greed is insatiable.
I’m a slave to the need. The drive for more. For everything.
Once I decide I want something, the greed for it consumes me.
I want answers.
I want justice.
I want vengeance.
I want HER.

My best friend and his sister—the girl I vowed could trust in me and whom I would always protect—dropped off the map two years ago. My own father pledged assurances that they’d been living a life they deserved.

Lies. Lies. Lies.
Hell hath no fury like a man who has no fucks to give and a mission to fulfill his promise.

I may be a greedy sonofabitch, but I’m also a loyal one. Cross me or my brothers, and I’ll come for your throat. And my teeth are razor sharp.

When I discover the corruption running deep within my own bloodline, I take a stand to right the wrongs. I had no idea their darkness would lead me to the light—to her.

The Lust I have for her will keep me grounded.
The Wrath for those who betrayed us will ignite the fight inside me.
And the Greed for victory will consume our enemies in a tidal wave of Hell’s fury.

They say the three gates of Hell are Lust, Wrath, and Greed.
Well, open up, motherfuckers…Daddy’s home.
I am Micah Dixon.
I am Greed.

GREED By Ker Dukey & K.Webster

▼▼▼Click the image to enter!!▼▼▼

 

My Review…

The Elite Seven Series

Oh my God! I mean truly my God! I have been so waiting for God’s book! (it feels a bit naughty to say that…like I am gonna be struck down or something…oh well!)

Readers have been given glimpses and teases of God in the previous books in the series. He was always in the periphery, and I loved it!  To have Ms. Webster write his story is a dream come true!

From God’s personal demons and physical aliments, to his nature and mind set it makes him amazingly flawed and so easy to love.  He fights hard against his sin and his elite name of Gluttony and with the help of Zemira he is able to start.

The way that God and Zemira are brought together is tragic and devastating.  To see the two of them come through that is beautiful and flawed and so moving.

I could not put this story down, I knew once I got my grabby hands on it, I would devour it down faster than Four with a plate of frog legs. (Read the story and the series and you will understand the analogy.)

And the ending to this story, gahhhhh!! Now I am going to be waiting on tenterhooks for Sloth’s story next!

 

NEW BANNER

Blog Tour!! The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

See My Review for this Must Read Here!!!

 

 

 

 

Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.

Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.

As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.

To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.

Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

 

 

“You’re not just my muse,” he says. “You’re my everything. None of this would’ve been possible without you.”
A year ago, I’d have believed him—as I always have.
But after finding the photograph of a towheaded little girl with Brant’s sea-green eyes hiding beneath the leather organizer tray of his sock drawer last month, I don’t know that I can.
Brant kisses me once more before dragging the tips of his fingers down my arm and stopping to give my hand a squeeze. “Moffatt just walked in, and his pockets are looking a little heavy. Should probably say hello . . .”
He smiles at me, expecting a knowing chuckle, which I force myself to give him, and my chest tightens.
Extending his bent arm, he nods. “Come with me. I’ll introduce you.”
I’ve spent the majority of my adult life following this man through Moroccan souks and over Grecian cliffs, through ancient Mayan ruins and lush Amazonian paradises. I left Manhattan—the only home I’d ever known—because he asked me to. And then I made us our own little domestic nirvana in his depressing, hole-in-the-wall hometown of Stillwater Hills, New York, ignoring the gnawing homesickness that never quite passed. I cooked his favorite gourmet meals each night and learned to like his beloved jazz standards. I made love to him when I sensed he needed a release, even if I wasn’t exactly in the mood myself. I brought him coffee when he pulled all-nighters, and I massaged his shoulders when he’d spent too many hours hunched over his computer, knee-deep in edits.
But the one and only thing I could never give him was a family.
It kills me that someone else may have.
Slinking my arm into his and burying my unease, I feel like a fraud as he introduces me to real estate mogul Robert Moffatt and his stunning young wife, pedigreed and pregnant socialite Temple Rothschild-Moffatt, who clearly hasn’t let her third trimester keep her from dressing in head-to-toe Versace and six-inch stilettos.
Brant and Robert’s conversation fades to the background, and Temple excuses herself as I scan the gallery once more, my gaze landing on every pretty face in the room.
The cigarette-thin blonde with the faux fur stole.
The bookish brunette with the red-painted lips and clear-frame glasses.
The lavender-haired socialite who steals glances at my husband when she thinks no one’s watching.
It could be any of them.
And it could be none of them at all.
The only thing I know for sure is that needing to know exactly who she is is beginning to consume my every thought.
Brant’s hand slips to the small of my back, and he pulls me closer. The room spins, my breath shortens, and a prickle of sweat collects across my brow.
“Excuse me,” I say, interrupting their conversation and showing myself outside. I’ve never had a panic attack before, but I’m quite certain I’m standing at the water’s edge of my first one.
It’s mid-December, and the sidewalks are dusted with powdery snow. A few nearby shops are closed for the evening, but their holiday lights flicker in the windows, and holly wreaths hang on their glass doors. These things used to send a blanket of warmth cascading through me when I’d see them.
Now I feel nothing.
Gasping for air, I close my eyes and try to focus on the sensation of the chilled air in my lungs, and then I count backward from ten, telling myself that when I get to one, I’m going to be fine . . . at least for now.
Ten . . .
Nine . . .
Eight . . .
Seven . . .
“Nicolette.”
I open my eyes to find my husband standing outside the door to the museum, his hands shoved in the pockets of his Prada suit. The casualness in his pose is an insult.
“Talk to me,” he says before he strides toward me, head cocked ever so slightly. He looks at me like I’m an impossible riddle he can’t quite solve. “You’re not you, and you haven’t been all night.”
My lips part in response, but I don’t know what to tell him.
I’m still trying to figure out where to go from here—when to confront him, how to confront him, not to mention how I’m supposed to feel given the fact that I’ve conjured up some worst-case scenario over a single photograph.
Brant wraps his arms around me, the warmth of his body and heaviness of his hold equally comforting and suffocating.
“If you don’t mind,” I say, my voice muffled against his pristine suit jacket, “I’m going to catch a cab back to the hotel. I think I’m coming down with something.”
He pulls away, and his eyes rest on mine. Again, he doesn’t believe me, but at this point I don’t care. All I can think about is peeling myself out of this dress, yanking the bobby pins from my hair, and washing the makeup from my face before tears have a chance to ruin it.
Everything else I can deal with another time, when I haven’t had three glasses of champagne and unraveled myself all because a beautiful woman was staring at my photo for too long and then my husband greeted her with his signature dimpled smile and sparkling-green gaze.
Brant peers over my shoulder toward a set of oncoming headlights and lifts his arm to hail the taxi.
“Get some rest,” he says, gathering the train of my dress and helping me in. Closing the door, he motions for me to lower the window. “I’ll have my phone on if you need anything.”
I appreciate his concern, but I can’t deny the tiniest voice in the back of my head telling me how strange it is for him to send me off without a second thought.
Taking my hand from his, I give him a small wave, catching the glint of his eyes as they reflect in the full moon above. Once upon a time, those eyes felt like home every time I looked into them.
Now all I see is that little girl.

Minka Kent has been crafting stories since before she could scribble her name. With a love of the literary dark and twisted, Minka cut her teeth on Goosebumps and Fear Street, graduated to Stephen King as a teenager, and now counts Gillian Flynn, Chevy Stevens, and Caroline Kepnes amongst her favorite authors and biggest influences. Minka has always been curious about good people who do bad things and loves to explore what happens when larger-than-life characters are placed in fascinating situations.

In her non-writing life, Minka is a thirty-something wife and mother who equally enjoys sunny and rainy days, loves freshly cut hydrangeas, hides behind oversized sunglasses, travels to warmer climates every chance she gets, and bakes sweet treats when the mood strikes (spoiler alert: it’s often).

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