Happy Release Day & Review!! In The Garden of Discontent by Lily White

See My Review Below!!!

Title: In the Garden of Discontent
Author: Lily White
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 19, 2020
This is a love story.
It’s brutal.
Heartwrenching.
Terrifying, honest, and raw.
But a love story nonetheless…because it is so beautiful.
Ensley:
Noah Carter was the type of guy that every girl wanted.
Gorgeous. Talented. Smart and kind.
He was the world that revolved around me even though I didn’t deserve him.
But then something went wrong.
He snapped maybe, just lost his mind.
I found him the night my family died, their blood staining his hands.
I put him in prison. I got my revenge.
But then years later he broke free and stole me away from my life.
Noah:
You couldn’t know Ensley without wanting to strangle her.
She was beautiful. She was wild. She was the girl next door.
I grew up with her by my side.
I watched her destroy herself while I held on.
I protected her when she had been blind to the danger that surrounded her.
I let her go once, only to find her again.
She would see me this time no matter what.
“I hate you,” she hissed, hair wild around her face like it always had been.
“I know.”
Her body shook, and her shoulders wilted, arms curled around her body, fingernails digging into her skin. “I need-“
“I know,” I said, stepping forward to grab onto her so she wouldn’t have to say it.
Our eyes met in the shadow of that room. “You don’t need to say it. I know.”
I’ve always known…but I couldn’t do anything about it.
Ens melted in my grasp, like water through my hands, trying to slip away and escape so she could damage herself in some way I couldn’t stop, but I wouldn’t let her.
Not this time.
Not again.
Gripping my hand over the back of her head, I pulled her to me, my mouth locking over hers, tongue risking the clench of her teeth because she would fight me tooth and nail while this happened, but that’s what she needed.
To fight me.
To injure me.
Because she had never been able to fight them.
Fingernails cut into my biceps, her body thrashing to break free, but I held on and kissed her like I was giving her the air she needed to breathe.
Shoving Ensley down on the bed, I grabbed the back of my shirt to strip it off, every muscle in my body tense because I knew I was a bastard for wanting this.
For wanting her.

For taking advantage, even though it had never been my intent.

 

Lily White is a romance writer who likes to dabble on the taboo side of eroticism. She is most known for her Masters Series, Target This, Wishing Well, and Asylum. In addition to dark romance Lily writes contemporary romance, taboo romance, and psychological thrillers. Lily enjoys stretching her writing muscles by continuing to challenge herself with each book she publishes.

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My Review…

“Run to me…”

I absolutely love the twists and turns that Ms. White creates in her stories…much more than romance. A dark and twisty tale of love.

I am always amazed at Ms. White’s stories, she writes such dark tales yet her words draw you into her world with grace and deviousness that you don’t see coming. She is cunning and poetic in her tales of love in even the darkest of places.

This story of Noah and Ensley is beautiful in its brutality.  The twists and turns are going to leave you guessing until the very end.  And when secrets are revealed it’s going to make you gasp and shake with anger yourself.

The horrors that both Ensley and Noah face in their lives and the strength that they show is admirable. The dedication of Noah and the perseverance of Ensley is so moving.  The obsessions that Ensley creates to move through her world are understandable and so sad at the same time.  Noah’s neverending obsession of his own is both admirable and praiseworthy.

Ms. White has a magic to her words.  You are going to experience so many different feelings in this book!  Sadness, anger and above all else hope and love. The world in which she creates in this story is nothing short of epic and is definitely in the running for one of my best reads of 2020.

Happy Release Day & Review!! Savage Burn by Lisa Renee Jones

See My Review Below!!!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
I’m so excited to continue my Savage Trilogy! I can’t wait to hear what you think of SAVAGE BURN and don’t miss book one, SAVAGE HUNGER, available now for 99 cents for a limited time!
ABOUT SAVAGE BURN

Title: Savage Burn
Series: The Savage Trilogy #2

Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Release Date: February 18, 2020

The second book in the Savage Trilogy…
My name is Rick Savage but they call me Savage for a reason. But savage that I am, there is only one woman who can tame the beast in me, one woman who sees the real man. I loved Candace. I lost Candace. Now my enemies have targeted her. For this, they will not survive. I’m back home to save her and win her back, no matter what the cost.
BUY SAVAGE BURN
EXCERPT
“I stayed away for a reason. I knew if I ever touched you again, I’d want all of you. I’d want to own you and I wouldn’t give a shit about the price. So, yes, I’m going to spank you.”
“You think me submitting during sex means you own me?” she challenges.
“One night at a time, baby.”
“One night at a time, until you ruin me?”
“And then some,” I assure her. “There’s no saving you now.” Just to be sure she’s clear on that fact, I scoop her up and start walking.
She doesn’t object. She holds onto me. I want to believe she’ll hold on forever, but I’m not sure we’re there yet. Who am I kidding? I know we’re not fucking there yet, which is why we’re not doing this in the kitchen. This isn’t about sex. It’s about us, it’s about our relationship, our connection, the intimacy we have shared, the past come back to life. That means our bedroom.
The place we started and ended days together. The place we talked for hours. The place where we did naughty, kinky things to each other. Okay, I did naughty, kinky things to her more than she did to me. But it was here where the most intense moments were shared.
Once there, I find a small lamp by her bedside alight, casting the room in a dim yellow hue, shadows dancing on the walls with our movements. Shadows that taunt me with everything I’ve hidden from Candace and can no longer hide if I want to make this work. And I do.
I set her down on the floor in front of the mattress, her back to my front. My hand is on her belly, my erection at her hip. My lips at her ear. “Do you think you’re ready to trust me again?”
Her hand goes to my hand as if she’s trying to control where it goes, to hold it there, and yet, she leans into me. “We’ll find out now, won’t we?”

THE SAVAGE TRILOGY
Savage Hunger (book one) – 99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME
Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/SavageHunger1
Savage Burn (book two) – Available Now 
Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/SavageBurn2
Savage Love (book three) – April 21, 2020
Amazon Universal → http://mybook.to/SavageLove3
ABOUT LISA
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.
In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling WHITE LIES and LILAH LOVE series.
Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
CONNECT WITH LISA

 

My Review…

The Savage Trilogy…

This trilogy is just getting better and better!

I absolutely love Rick Savage! He is a true alpha with a fabulous sense of humor! I am so enjoying this character.  I love the humor that Ms. Jones is bringing to the table with this!

This is the continuing story of Candace and Savage.  The heart and the heat between the two continues to burn brightly.  The intrigue and action is front and center in this heart-racing story!  You get some answers to questions, and then more questions are asked!!

The secondary characters bring more laughs and depth to the story!

The cliffhanger, oh Ms. Jones…you are killin us (in all the good ways) with that cliffhanger!  I know your readers are going to be hanging on tenterhooks waiting for the finale to this fantastic trilogy!

Happy Release Day & Review!! My Bestie’s Ex by Piper Rayne

See My Review Below!!!

 

I can’t borrow him.
He’s not a sweater or a skirt.

 

He’s not even her favorite dress—the lucky one she wears on first dates. The one she probably wore on her first date with him.

 

In my defense, I didn’t know who he was. To me, he was a cool, calm, confident stranger. He was perfection for the entire hour and a half train ride while the concrete jungle turned into a rolling green landscape.

 

To an outsider, we probably appeared more friends than hopeful lovers. But my blush came quickly, and his dimples indented with every smile. We definitely shared a spark of what could be. 

 

Too bad I didn’t know who he was before I fell for him, because he can’t be mine.

 


 

 

Get Your Copy Here:

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU  

Amazon DE | Apple | Nook | Kobo | Google Play 

Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two USA Today Bestselling authors for the price of one. Our goal is to bring you romance stories that have “Heartwarming Humor With a Side of Sizzle” (okay…you caught us, that’s our tagline). 

 

A little about us…. We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We’re both marries to husbands who drive us to drink. We’re both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too.

 

 

 

Stalk Piper Rayne Here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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My Review…

The Rooftop Crew

I am always excited to see a new series by this phenomenal writing duo and this first book in a new series is amazing!

This is the introduction to the crew and also a fresh story about chance meetings, finding your soul mate and the code between girlfriends.

This story isn’t just about Blanca and Ethan, it’s about so much more!  There are twists and turns that are going to leave you crying and hoping and rooting for understanding and love!

Now this new series can be read as a stand-alone. But I have been stalking this writing duo since the beginning and I was so excited to see Blanca getting her own story! She is fierce and unapologetic.  She is honest to a fault and loyal to those she loves. Being the youngest sister of the Mancini crew has made her the woman she is today.

Ethan, oh you wily devil.  He tries so hard to keep his world in separate boxes.  It was fun and moving to read how Blanca came into his world and blurred the lines and made him want more.

I loved the friendships and comradery of this whole crew of characters.  I loved the nod to the previous series in the Piper Rayne world.

I cannot wait for the rest of this series! I hope for redemption for a couple of characters and see how the dynamics change for this crew of friends!

Happy Release Day & Review!! Auctioned by the A-Lister by Taylor Holloway

See My Review Below!!!

 

 

AUCTIONED TO THE A-LISTER by Taylor Holloway
Release Date: February 13th

Add to Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50199347-auctioned-to-the-a-lister

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW!!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2OIAijZ
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2ttrNSb
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3bc5nWQ
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2GXbpwA

 

 

Blurb:
I snuck into a charity ball and accidentally got myself auctioned off to Hollywood’s sexiest, most eligible bachelor.

This is going to be VERY hard to explain to my evil stepmother.

I escaped my monotonous life for one enchanted evening.

I even danced with a prince. Tommy Prince, America’s most lusted-after movie star.

He must have liked me because he decided to cut a one-hundred thousand dollar check to the Humpback Whale Consevation Fund to take me out on a date.

But it’s only a matter of time before this fantasy shatters.

I’m not the typical Hollywood arm-candy.

I’m an awkward, nerdy virgin working a dead-end job, while he’s the hottest actor in the world.

His rugged good looks, alpha attitude, and dogged pursuit of me is making him impossible to resist.

But my fame-hungry stepmother has her own plans for Tommy, namely my shallow, beauty queen stepsisters.

When I’m safe in his strong arms I can imagine a happily ever after for us, but my life has been no fairy tale so far.

I might have to give Tommy up to keep my crazy step-family from destroying us both…

‘Auctioned to the A-Lister’ is a sweet and sexy romcom featuring a brilliant, alpha Hollywood hero and a nerdy, plucky girl next door on a crazy road to happily ever after. It stands alone with no cheating, cliffhangers, or nonsense.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:
Taylor Holloway is a Contemporary Romance author living in Austin, Texas with her husband and spoiled Maine Coon cat. She works in a cubicle when she isn’t crafting amazing, romantic escapes for herself and her readers, and she dreams about having the freedom to travel the world.

She loves everything about her hometown except the scorching summer heat, and enjoys running, biking, cooking, shopping, and going to music festivals. Right now, Taylor’s either on a patio somewhere gossiping with friends and drinking margaritas, or in a bathtub with a good book and a nice glass of wine.

 

Connect w/Taylor:
Website: http://www.taylorholloway.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taylorhwrites
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1631525090479835
Instagram: http://instagram.com/taylorhwrites
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5751010.Taylor_Holloway
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2upEoWN
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/taylor-holloway
NL Signup: http://www.taylorholloway.com/email.html

 

My Review…

Princes of Hollywood

I am so getting a kick out of this series by Ms. Holloway…her own fresh twist on classic fairytales.

This is her clever take on “Cinderella” with Cindy and Tommy being the main characters in this story.

Holy crow! Cindy’s family is like the Jerry Springer version of the Kardashians! The evils of her step-family knows no bounds and I was cheering hard when Cindy finally stood up to them!  She thinks that she is destined for mediocracy and a chance meeting with Tommy Prince brings a light into her world.

Tommy Prince…the golden boy of Hollywood.  Is that what he really wants?  Or is there something more, something deeper that he really needs?  The mechanics and the Hollywood machine has been his fate since he started acting and it takes meeting Cindy to realize what is really important in the world!

I loved the little hints and set up for the next story in this series!  I have a feeling Derek is in for a wild ride!

Happy Release Day & Review!! When The Handyman Comes by Lana Brazen

See My Review Below!!!

 

Title: When the Handyman Comes
Author: Lana Brazen
Genre: Erotica Romance Novella

Release Date: February 13, 2020

Blurb
When Andrew Harden is on a routine repair job, things go a bit off course. The Handyman special is asked for and received, and thus begins another tale of pure pleasure.
Annette Flick needs her faucet fixed.
Referred by a friend to this handyman, she’s heard he restores more than busted plumbing.
I’m just curious, she says, questioning his experience in matters other than home renovation.
How is he at rebuilding the feminine spirit?
Andrew Harden has experience with broken things.
When he gets this particular call, he quickly learns it’s more than a routine repair.
To his surprise, she’s intrigued with his past endeavors in the world of pleasure.
But how is she at restoring his faith in matters of the heart?
In a relationship that quickly turns from curiosity to compassion, emotions wreak havoc on this handyman. How could he know, he’s the one who might need fixing?
‘When the Handyman Comes’ is a quick and steamy tale of pure pleasure.
This story follows ‘The Doctor Will See You’ but can be read as a standalone.
Purchase Links
99c for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
“Harden Handy,” I announce, holding out a hand to introduce myself. The woman who answers the door is built like a pinup girl—hourglass shape, pert breasts, and eyeglasses—but the tightness of her smile gives away her age as do the stripes of gray in her hair. I’d place her just above forty like myself.
“Nice place you have,” I say, noting the open-concept layout as I follow her. Clean lines, water-tone colors, a real beach house minus the beach. It’s Florida but not every home is on the coast. This is an older neighborhood, meaning the majority of the residents are old. I’m talking retirees and geriatrics, but not her.
“The issue’s in the bathroom,” she states, leading me down a hallway. I’m not a plumber by trade. I was formerly in construction, but the market in southern Florida is either feast or famine. To make ends meet, I began working odd jobs, handyman style.
I’m here as a favor, and I can see I’ve walked in on a mess—sink cabinet open and faucet handle missing.
“I was able to shut the water off myself yesterday,” she says.
“Looks good,” I lie. It looks like she broke the faucet. As I begin assessing the damage, she leans against the doorjamb.
“You know, I was surprised when Lana told me about you. You really are a legit handyman.”
I try not to flinch. I’d like to say I don’t know what she means, but I do. I helped a friend of mine a time or two and met Lana Blasen, her friend. Is she accusing me of something?
“I’m the real deal,” I tease, lowering for the base cabinet.
My knees crack with the effort.
“So you’re a gigolo?”
I pause, the term startling, but I’ve been called worse.
“The sixties called. They want their word back,” I tease. She’s silent a second, and when I look up, I feel bad, as if I insulted her instead of her insulting me.
“I was just curious,” she says quietly, and now I feel extra bad. Slowly, I stand to my full height. I’m taller than her by half a foot at least. She’s barefoot but still dressed in a tight skirt and fancy blouse.
“It isn’t called that, or maybe it still is, if I were a male hooker or a player, or whatever, but I’m not like that.” I don’t know why I’m defending myself to this woman I don’t know, even if she is a friend of Lana’s. Maybe it’s been the most recent events. I’d been with the same couple a few times. They called me. James warned me to take on only the most stable of married couples or recommendations from others, and this couple was on shaky ground at best.
I’m a swinger. The third party at the table set for a threesome. But recently, I’ve been in a funk. The last scene broke me a bit, especially after the guy broke my nose. I don’t blame him. No husband wants his wife to say the other guy in the bedroom is better than him.
“I didn’t mean to offend you.” She pauses, reflecting on something near her feet, and then her expression changes as though she’s changed her mind about what she would say next. “I’ll be down the hall, if you need anything. My son is at his father’s tonight, so there’s no rush here. Take your time.”
I watch her walk away in that hip-hugging skirt and loose blouse, open an extra button close to her cleavage. Curious, she said.
I’m curious about her, but she didn’t call for the handyman special, only this plumbing disaster.
An hour later, I have things temporarily fixed, but she needs a new faucet. “If I could show you what I did,” I suggest, interrupting her once I find her sitting at her dining room table. She nods, removing her glasses and I gaze down at them.
“Getting older sucks,” she teases. “They say the eyesight is the first thing to go.”
“You aren’t old.”
“I wasn’t fishing for a compliment,” she states, good natured but still self-deprecating.
“So if I tell you you’re beautiful, you’ll take it?”
She tilts her head as she stands to follow me to the bathroom. “If you aren’t a player, you are charming.”
Once back inside the bathroom, I explain, “You’ll need to turn the handle only this far or it will snap again. If you pick out a new faucet, I can come back and install it another day.”
She reaches for the handle to test it, and without thinking, I reach for her hand as well, covering it as we collectively twist the knob.

Like a toaster dropped in a full tub, electricity ripples up my arm, the
connection stronger than anything I’ve ever felt. We look at one another at the
same time, and I’m certain she felt it as well, but she draws back, resting her
body on the doorjamb again.
Her eyes search mine, and I know that look. The hungry curiosity of the forbidden. “Tell me how it works.” She doesn’t mean the faucet.
“This isn’t why I’m here,” I remind her.
“I know.” The sadness in her eyes squeezes at my chest.
“And Lana told you?” I question. I’m not upset Lana shared with others what I did for her and James, but it also isn’t friendly conversation.
“She only mentioned the basics. No details.”
“And you aren’t married? Boyfriend who can kick my ass?” Her eyes widen, taking in my size. I’m six feet one, solid and stocky, or so I’m told. I’d hold my own in a fight. The broken nose caught me off guard. “Are you upgrading to the handyman special?” I ask.
“Does it cost more?”
“Not a thing.” I laugh. “And that’s the first difference,” I joke.
She slowly smiles. The melancholy still in her eyes and her expression anxious.
“I start with an assessment of your needs. As this is a plumbing job, we can use this as the scenario.” My voice lowers, but I wink to relax her. “I’m going to ask you some questions, and you answer with your comfort level, guiding how far we go.”
She nods.
“I need you to verbally agree.” I typically have consent forms for legalese and understanding on both sides, but I’m making an exception here. She isn’t a regular at this.
“Yes, Mr. Harden.”
I smile at the formality. “You can just call me Andrew.”
Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Coming Soon
Releasing April 9
99c for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Author Bio

 

Lana Brazen is the alter ego of a bestselling contemporary romance author who believes romance doesn’t need to end just because you crossed over forty. In a fantasy life, she was an anthropologist, a journalist and a world-famous novelist on the level of F. Scott Fitzgerald. None of that has happened. Instead, she’s written over twenty romances, mothered four children and remains with the one and only. Sometimes, she likes things a little hotter, spicier, raunchier than contemporary trysts, and so begins this chapter.
Author Links

 

My Review…

Oh my me!! This story is on fire! I was clutching my proverbial pearls when I was reading this story, in all the good ways!

This story of Annette and Andrew is what a good steamy story should be.  It’s going to knock you out of your comfort zone and make your imagination run wild!

Annette wants to feel wanted, she wants to feel desired and beautiful. With the suggestion from her friend, she calls for the “Handyman” to help her with the problems she needs to be fixed.

Andrew is the perfect fit for Annette.  He is the Handyman! He has rules and limits and when he meets Annette, lines get blurred and his feelings get involved.

I absolutely love that these characters are not young, they are older, more experienced and have wisdom and life experience. It means a lot that Ms. Brazen shows the world that just because you are older than 40 you can still have a vibrant, fulfilling love life!

If you are looking for a smexy, steamy romance for the more vintage age set. Get your hands on this!

Happy Release Day & Review!! No Strings Attached by Jiffy Kate

See My Review Below!!!

Release Date: February 13

 

My name is Jude Harris and I’m an adrenaline junkie. 
 
If it makes my heart pound and my blood rush, I’m all in. 
 
That’s how I ended up at the sex club. 

It was supposed to be one night of fun. 



No names.

No professions.

No small talk.Perfect anonymity.



One hundred percent no strings attached.

 

 
I thought I could handle the rules, but that was before I saw her.
 
I should’ve walked and forgotten the whole thing. 
 

Coulda, shoulda, woulda… didn’t. 



She told me not to get attached, but I did it anyway. 



If I thought our first sexual encounter changed my life, the second one rearranged my future.

 

 
Get Your Copy Here:
 
 

 

 


Meet the Jiffy Kate

 

 
Jiffy Kate is the joint pen name for Jiff Simpson and Jenny Kate Altman. They’re co-writing besties who share a brain. They also share a love of cute boys, stiff drinks, and fun times. 

 

Together, they’ve written over twenty stories. Their first published book, Finding Focus, was released in November 2015. Since then, they’ve continued to write what they know–southern settings full of swoony heroes and strong heroines. 

 




Connect with Jiffy KateYou can find them on most social media outlets at @jiffykate, @jiffykatewrites, or @jiffsimpson and @jennykate77

Sign up for their newsletter –> http://eepurl.com/c_JFaX

Join their reader group –> http://bit.ly/2nKCGsI

 
 

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My Review…

This is the second book by this fantastic writing duo and I am just falling more in love with their words!

This story starts off with a “bang” of epic proportions! Talk about straight outta the gate!

I like how this was told with just one POV for most of the story, but when needed the POV switched. I liked how it kept me guessing what was going on in the other characters mind!

This is the story of Jude and Quinn.  Wowza what chemistry do these two have!

I could empathize with Quinn’s need to keep her different parts of her world separate and distinct. I think for her it worked to keep her sanity in place until Jude came into her world and blew up the walls she had surrounding her.

Jude, you are a firecracker!  It was fun to read how he handled love coming into his world and how he handled it….like a man!

The secondary characters were absolutely fantastic!! They brought additional humor and lightheartedness to the story!

Jiffy Kate, I was honored to have met you last year at Book Bonanza and I am excited to see what comes out next!

Excerpt Reveal!! The Guy in the Middle by Kate Stewart

Want a peek inside The Guy in the Middle by Kate Stewart? Check out this jaw-dropping excerpt! Don’t forget to add it to your TBR!
Contemporary Romance
Blurb:

I was born to play and bred to win.

My priorities were instilled in me early on—family and football. Those ideals led me to TGU and a coach whose ironclad principles mirrored my own.

With one last college season to play, my goal was singular—get drafted. By realizing my NFL dream, I could save my family, our ranch, and the only home I’d ever known.

Two birds, one ball.

Playing hard was my only option, but there’s always a wild card.

For all of my planning and hard work, I never anticipated falling for the coach’s daughter. Harper was a fair catch, but who knew loving her could be the one play to throw my career before it started or that the weight of our secret would change the game.

*The Guy in the Middle is a stand alone novel in the Underdog Series. This is Lance’s story.

EXCERPT:

Harper

“I’ve missed you, you know? More than you can imagine.”

“Can’t imagine it at all,” he says, picking through a book he’s not reading.

“Can I help you two?” One of the store sales associates asks, and I shake my head and smile. When she takes her leave, I look over to Lance who stands fuming on the other side of a table filled with loose items. We’re in a mismatch shop full of mostly cheap junk, and I can’t imagine him finding anything for his mother here.

“Lance, I have missed you. Horribly.”

“Could have fooled me.”

I can only take so much. Irritated, I lift a designer coffee mug from the table.

“You like this for your mom?”

“No.”

“How about this?”

“Nope.” He’s not even looking at what’s in my hands.

“You sure? It’s a hide purse. Cute for a rancher’s wife, don’t you think?” This gets his attention, and stormy eyes lift to mine.

“Would you buy that for you?”

I look it over and shake my head. “Not really my style.”

“Bet it’s not.”

I can feel my ears reddening. Fuming, I eye a box on the shelf, snatch it and shove it into his chest. “How about this giant fucking purple dildo and matching anal plug!? Think mom will like that?”

He looks up completely unaffected, “Nope.”

“I don’t think we’re in the right place,” Tossing the box down, I stalk out of the cluttered shop and into the department store next to it. He’s hot on my heels.

“Got that fucking right.”

I turn back to see he’s spoiling for a fight and release a stressed breath. Fighting with him is the last thing I want to do. “Look, lets, just…” I search around and pull a sweater from the closest rack. “How about this? Simple, elegant.”

“You think Mom’s simple, huh? I’ll give her your regards.”

“That’s it.” I hook the sweater back on to the rack and close the space between us, forcing his eyes to mine. “God, you’re still a brute, aren’t you? You haven’t changed a bit. Still pig-headed as hell.”

“Pig-headed?” He opens his mouth in mock shock and covers his chest with his hand. “How dare you.”

I’m in between fight or flight, but I’ve been dodging this long enough. My heart can’t take more confrontation. I missed him too much. His eyes flare with satisfaction at my irritation. “Misery loves company, right, Lance?”

“Never said I was miserable.”

“You don’t have to. Did you come to New York just to torture me?”

“Maybe.”

“Rub it in on what I’m missing out on?”

A voice sounds from next to us. “Is there something I can help you find today?”

We both turn to the woman with lasers in our eyes, and she swallows. I clear my throat. “We’re fine. Thank you.”

Lance winks at the woman, his eyes scanning her form. “Maybe you can help me?”

“You son of a bitch,” I hiss, before walking away from the table. His voice rings out next to me as I rip through a rack of scarves.

“Good to know you care, Priss, gotta admit, it’s surprising.”

I reel on him. “Don’t you dare! Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had to make a clean break. I had just lost everyone that mattered to me. I was losing my mind.”

“I got pissed for one day, and you went off the grid.”

“And you let me go because you knew no matter how much we wanted it to work, it couldn’t. You have no idea what I went through!”

“What you went through? Do you know I spent six months ranting to an Uber driver named Dave because everyone on my team hated me when the truth came out?” He stomps after me as I pull sweater after sweater off the rack. “Troy jumped ship after he got drafted. I had no one but Tony and those fights.”

I turn to him with twenty sweaters in my arms. “Jenner? When did y’all get so tight?”

“When shit got tough, and my fucking girlfriend bailed!” He glares down at me, his breaths coming out fast.

“Guys, we’re going to need you to take this outside.” A woman whom I assume is the store manager approaches us cautiously.

I look around the store and see all eyes are on us, especially the women sizing him up. “He’s available ladies,” I snap, laying the sweaters on a nearby table, “I’m willing to bet he comes really cheap.” He’s on my heels as I push through the glass of the department store.

“Oh, was I supposed to wait for you? Must have missed that memo. That’s it, you must want a saint. That’s why you didn’t stay.”

“I was twenty years old and alienated from a place I didn’t want to be anyway.”

“Good to know.”

“That’s not the way I meant it. And you know damn well until you, I was only there to appease my Dad, who I barely speak to now.”

“I’m sorry about that, I am, but that’s on him. And what in the hell are you talking about ‘alienated’?”

“Forget it.” I pull on my gloves as heavy snow starts to come down. “I think we’ve concluded our tour for today.”

He glances around the sidewalk. “Well, no need to show me more, I hate this fucking place!”

“And why is that? Not enough free-range chickens?!”

His eyes flare. “You digging on the ranch now, Priss? I saw a fucking rat the size of a cat on my run this morning!”

“Probably has better manners than you, shit head.”

“Pulling out the big guns now, huh? There’s that backbone. I was wondering where it went.”

“Go home, Lance, you hate it here. And you obviously hate me.”

“Just the opposite. It’s impossible, and believe me, I’m trying!”

“Well, I hope you succeed! Thanks for stopping by, Mary Poppins. Best Christmas ever! Make sure to bulldoze the nativity scene on your way out!”

“Fuck this.” He throws his hands up and eyes me warily before turning and walking away.

“Merry Christmas to you, too!”

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About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author and Texas native, Kate Stewart, lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. She pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance, as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense. Kate’s title, Drive, was named one of the best romances of 2017 by The New York Daily News and Huffington Post. Drive was also a finalist in the Goodreads Choice awards for best contemporary romance of 2017. Her works have been featured in USA TODAY, BuzzFeed, and translated in five languages.

Kate is a lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and rap. She dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.