Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Release Blitz Postings for 3/21 of Waiting to Breathe, Rogue Love, Outlaw: Part 3, Burning Secrets, Losing Hope, Blame It On the Shame, The Brave Line and Thank You for Holding

RELEASE BLITZ
Title: Waiting to Breathe
Series: Waiting Duet #1
Author: Alyson Reynolds
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2017

BLURB

She's broken.

He's lost.

Olivia Crawford had been through the ringer. All she wants is to start over without any complications or anyone figuring out her secrets. When her twin brother Finn convinces her to move back home and finish her degree at his school, it's just the push she needs to start over.

Nathaniel Ford is the golden boy of SCU. He seems like he has it all, perfect family, awesome friends and fraternity brothers, and a few buildings on campus with his last name on them. But things aren't always what they seem.

From the first time Nate and Olivia bump into each other, literally, he wants more of her feisty attitude, but Olivia throws more walls up with each step he takes closer, and he isn't sure he can break them down fast enough.




PURCHASE LINKS



AUTHOR BIO

Romance writer. Wife. Mother of two. Avid reader. Queen of multitasking.

Originally from the south, Alyson likes to incorporate what she knows into her books. She's lived not only on the east coast, but the west coast and a few places in between. Alyson loves sharing stories about her crazy family to anyone who will listen. Her guilty pleasures consist of coffee, country music, brunch, breaking the rules, and pedicures. And she will always be a daddy's girl.

When Alyson isn't chasing around her two kiddos, she's normally writing. Or reading. Her Kindle library is out of control. Alyson writes mainly contemporary novels and novellas with a bit of new adult mixed in.


AUTHOR LINKS




RELEASE BLITZ
Title: Rogue Love
Series: Kings of Corruption #1
Author: Michelle St. James
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 21, 2017

BLURB

FBI agent Braden Kane has been going it alone ever since a family scandal sent him running straight from the Ivy League into Special Forces. That’s where he learned the hardest lesson of all — we’re all alone in the end. And nobody can save us.

When a raid goes terribly wrong, walking out is almost instinctual. Following the rules is for suckers. There’s only one way to get things done, and that’s to do it off the books. By the time he walks out, he knows there’s only one thing he’ll miss.

Her.

Nora Murphy never really had a choice. Law enforcement was in her blood.

Raised by an old-school Irishman in a houseful of brothers, she learned early on there was only one way to survive.

Be stronger. Be smarter. Be better.

A devastating personal loss only made it easier to focus on the things that made sense. There was no room for romance. And certainly no room for love. Which made tabling her attraction to friend and fellow agent Braden Kane a no-brainer. But Braden’s defection from the FBI opens the door to their relationship in a new and surprising way. Nora’s still getting her head around the possibilities when she’s assigned an important case involving a string of high-profile crimes. She can’t wait to bring down the ring of brash vigilantes — until a shocking connection to Braden reveals itself in in the middle of their burgeoning affair.

Now they’re on opposite sides of law and order. But can either of those things compete with love?




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Praise for the Mob Boss series:

"Romantic and intriguing. A gripping read!" - NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely

"Dark, seductive, compelling, and hot as HELL." - USA Today Bestselling Author Lili Valente

“Hot sensuality and gripping suspense. Brace yourself for a perfect romantic journey!" - NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Angel Payne

"From page one you're sucked into this corrupt, thrilling world. A masterful romance of deep dark suspense, complicated emotions, and exciting action." - New York Times bestseller, M.J. Rose


EXCERPTS

#1

He shut the door, watched her walk into the open living room. She made her way to the big window that offered up a prime water view during the day. The lights from the walk street outside lit up her face; the high cheekbones, full mouth, heart-shaped face.
                She turned to look at him. “What are you doing?”
                “Watching you.”
                She shrugged a little. “Why?”
                There was so much honesty in the question. Like she really didn’t know why he would want to look at her.
                Like she really didn’t know how beautiful she was.
                He pushed off the door, walked slowly toward her, stopping when only an inch separated their bodies. He reached down, lay his palm against her cheek, rubbed his thumb against her skin.
                “Because for years I’ve had to sneak glimpses of you. And now I want to really see you.”
                She was breathing heavy as he looked down at her, a flush spreading from her cheeks to the barely-visible cleavage under her black T-shirt. “I want to see you too.”
                “You’re going to see me, Nora.” He lowered his head, stopping when his lips were almost touching hers. “And you’re going to feel me, too.”
                He pressed his mouth to hers, slipped his tongue inside as he angled his head, already needing to take the kiss deep. Needing to taste every inch of her mouth, to prove to himself that she was real.
                That this was real.
                Her hands slid around his waist, traveled up his back as she pressed herself against him. The feel of her stomach against his rigid cock sent a shockwave of desire through him. It blocked out everything else, and for a long moment he was lost to the sensation of her mouth, the warmth of her body, separated from his only by the thin layer of clothes. He already knew what it would feel like to sink into her, to feel her smoothness under him as he took her.
                Her hands came back around to his chest, traveling over his pecs, down to his stomach as she kissed him feverishly, matching the urgency of his tongue stroke for stroke. He growled when she flattened her hand against the bulge in his pants, her small palm cupping the erection that had been torturing him for the last two hours.
                Hell, for the last five years.
                He took hold of her wrist, not trusting himself under her touch. “I’ve waited years for this moment, Nora. And if you touch me I won’t be able to wait a second longer.”
                She looked up into his eyes. “I don’t care.”
                “I care.” He swept her into his arms, surprised by how light she was. She was so formidable at work. A warrior. But he’d always suspected she was all softness and warmth underneath it all.
                Now he was ready to find out.
                He made his way through the dark apartment, down the hall, and into the bedroom. He set her on the bed, then turned to open the windows, letting in a gust of salty air on the night breeze. He turned to look at her, sitting on the edge of the bed.
                Waiting for him.
                “Take off your clothes, Nora.”
                She lifted her chin, leaned back on the bed, propping herself up on her forearms. “Take them off yourself.”
                He stalked slowly toward her, wishing her defiance wasn’t such a fucking turn-on. It would only make taking his time more difficult. If she’d been anyone else, he would have laid down the law; the bedroom was his domain.
                He was in control here. He made the rules.
                But she wasn’t anyone else. She was the woman of his dreams. He would still be in control when push came to shove, but he would take it slow.
                He stopped at the bed, looked down at her. “We’re playing by my rules now, Nora. Now please take off your clothes.”
                A small smile crept onto her face as she stared him down through the moonlight making its way into the room. He thought she might argue, rebel. Instead she sat up, pulled off her T-shirt. His eyes were still glued to the magnificent swell of her breasts, barely hidden by a lacy pink bra, when she unbuttoned her jeans, lowered the zipper, lifted her hips off the bed as she shimmied them down her hips.
                He almost couldn’t breathe as she tossed them aside, her porcelain skin glowing in the darkness. She was naked except for the bra and a matching scrap of fabric that covered the mound between her legs, just enough hidden to push his imagination into overdrive.
                When she spoke, her voice was husky. “That’s as far as I go without you. You’re going to have to meet me halfway, Kane.”
                He stripped off his shirt, then unbuttoned his pants, dropped them to the floor. His cock sprang free, both a relief and further torture with the refuge of Nora’s body so close.
                He stood at the edge of the bed, ran his palms up her delicate feet to the shapely calves. Then he hooked his hands behind her knees and pulled her to the edge of the bed.
                He knelt between her legs, inhaling the scent of her. “I think you’ll find I’m willing to meet you more than halfway.”

#2

They passed through the light and into the darkness near the water, then turned toward Manhattan Beach. She squealed a little when the water rushed up over her feet.
                The sound of her laughter was somehow both childish and sexy. “Cold?”
                She looked up at him with a smile and her expression was transformed. Maybe it was just the water, the visceral shock of the cold, but her face looked naked, the mask she wore at work folded up and set aside.
                “Aren’t you going to take off your shoes?” she asked.
                He lifted his hand, holding her heels. “Then I won’t be able to hold your hand.”
                She laughed. “I can carry my own shoes!”
                “I’m good,” he said.
                “Don’t you want to put your feet in?” she asked.
                He looked down at her, his smile spreading all the way from his heart up to his lips. “Truthfully?”
                She nodded.
                “I’d rather hold your hand.” He hesitated, holding her gaze as years of unspoken feelings fought to make themselves known. “I think I’ve been waiting years to hold your hand.”
                “I’ve been waiting, too.”
                He dropped her shoes in the sand and lifted his hands to her face. There was a distant voice urging him to be careful. To take it slow. To wait and see what came of his meeting in La Jolla tomorrow.
                But that voice was no match for the one telling him he was finally home.
                “Nora…” He slipped his hands into the hair at the back of her head, savored the feel of the silken strands against his fingers. “Do you know what it’s like to be so close to something so beautiful and have to pretend its nothing?”
                She swallowed, licked her lips. “Yes,” she said. “I do.”
                There was a split second when time seemed to stand still. The waves were silent, the wind still. There was only her. Only her face in his hands, her eyes a pool of blue fire, her lips full and parted. Waiting.
                For him.
                Then his mouth was on hers, his lips sinking into the pillowy softness of her. He held still at first, wanting to remember the arch of her neck in his hands, the exhale of her breath breathing life into his long-dead soul. A moment later she opened to him and there was no room for coherent thought. There was only the exploration of her satiny mouth as her tongue parried with his, every moment a burst of new sensation.
                Not because he hadn’t been with many women. On the contrary; he’d kissed more women than he could count.
                But not like this. Never like this.
                His body flooded with desire so powerful it swarmed his mind like a shot of pure adrenaline. He was on fire for her, barely able to drag the breath in and out of his lungs.
                It wasn’t just lust. It was a feeling of completion, the click of a final puzzle piece being put into place. It was one he hadn’t known he’d been missing, but now that she was here in his arms, he knew the picture of his life would never have been complete without her.
                He angled her head and took their kiss deeper, sweeping her mouth slowly, relishing every inch of sweet warmth. She tasted like wine and strawberries, like the sea and the wind.
                Her arms came around him and he pulled her closer, pressing her against his body, her exquisite softness molding to the hard planes of his body, filling all the empty places he hadn't known existed.
                He meant to take it easy. To take it slow. Both admirable notions that were thrown to the wind when she sighed into his mouth, pressed closer against him, her breasts crushed against his chest.
                There was no more caution then. Only his hands on her body, mapping the fullness of her breasts, the taper of her waist, the swell of her hips, painfully close under the thin fabric of her dress. He was aching to strip her bare. To learn her body in the moonlight and make her his.
                “Braden…” she gasped, pulling away, then coming back in to kiss him again. “Can we…”
                He pulled back, looked into her eyes.
                “Can we take it slow?” she asked.
                He held her face between his hands. “We can do anything you want, Nora.”
                Her smile was so pure and so true it almost brought him to his knees. “It’s not that I don’t want to…” She laughed. “I want to.”
                He looked into her eyes. “Looking at you is all I need.”
                “You’ve been looking at me a long time, Kane. You’re not sick of me yet?”
                “I’m just getting started.” It came out more intense than he’d intended, all his pent-up feelings spilling over into his words.
                “Sounds intriguing,” she said.
                “I’m nothing if not intriguing.” He tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, bent his head, kissed her softly. “Now let’s get you home before my ungentlemanly instincts take over again.”
                He took her hand and felt like he was holding the moon.


AUTHOR BIO

Michelle St. James aka Michelle Zink is the author of nineteen published books and seven novellas. Her first series, Prophecy of the Sisters (YA), was one of Booklist's Top Ten Debut novels. Her work has also been an Indie Next selection and has appeared on prestigious lists such as the Lonestar List, New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age, and Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and translated into over twenty languages. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.


AUTHOR LINKS



GIVEAWAY

There is a giveaway for a 12 book Michelle St. James e-Library, $10 Target gift card, lace clutch, shell charm necklace, perfume and foot mask

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RELEASE BLITZ


Title: Outlaw: Part 3
Series: Harrison Street Crew #2
Author: Katana Collins
Genre: Gritty Erotic Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2017

BLURB

Worse than bad. Hotter than hot. These are the bad boys of the Harrison Street Crew, and they answer to no one. They take what they want. And what they want is you.

Volume Three of a three-part volume by Katana Collins.

Patrick Flanagan won’t go to jail. Not when he’s got a woman as gorgeous as Michelle aching for his every touch and pushing his lust for her past the boiling point. Even though she’s a lawyer tasked with putting him in prison, he can’t stay away from her. Michelle is falling fast and hard for Patrick, but is he guilty? Or is he innocent? She wants to trust her bad boy from the streets, but is he telling the truth?




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VIDEOS

Katana Collins’ husband doing a reading of EXCON


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Katana Collins’ Google Autocomplete Interview


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ALSO AVAILABLE

Outlaw: Part 1


Outlaw: Part 2



ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE HARRISON STREET CREW SERIES

#1 Ex-Con

Ex-Con: Part 1

Ex-Con: Part 2
iBooks: http://apple.co/2m6NHnG

Ex-Con: Part 3



AUTHOR BIO

Katana Collins is lucky enough to love her day job almost as much as she loves writing. She splits her time evenly between photographing boudoir and newborn portraits and writing steamy romances in a variety of genres -- paranormal, contemporary, new adult and suspense.

She bounces between living in New York and Portland, Maine, with an ever-growing brood of rescue animals: a kind of mean cat, a very mellow chihuahua, and a very not mellow lab puppy... oh yeah, there's a husband somewhere in that mix, too. She can usually be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes. 


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GIVEAWAY

There is a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card

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#NewRelease #PNR Burning Secrets by 👉 Jules Tyler 📚 1 in The Snake River Prison Camp Series!  #OneClick #KindleUnlimited

➡Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2nAMcA7
➡Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2mhECtZ
➡Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nAzzp0
➡Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2noNC0t

JOIN JULES FACEBOOK GROUP TODAY
https://www.facebook.com/groups/julestylerauthor/

🔥BLURB🔥
 McKinzy Regan is a woman in hiding. Unsure who to trust in a world where the government decides which shifters are a danger to the public, she keeps to herself and keeping the monster inside of her locked away from the world. Things start to change quickly for McKinzy when she takes a job at the Snake River Prison Camp. As Warden in a strange place that seems to have more secrets than she does, she begins to unravel a secret that she isn’t sure if she is ready to know.

Sergeant Adrian Brenton is a beast of a man with one thing in mind when an enticing woman shows up to fill the open Warden position; don’t get too close to her. Everyone has skeletons in the closet, but Adrian has shut his heart off to the prospect of love. He doesn’t like to be challenged, but this woman might be the most delicious challenge he’s found in a very long time.

Together they will face something far more dangerous than they ever expected to unravel. Can they learn to trust each other with their secrets? Or will their secrets get them hurt?

🔥MEET JULES🔥
Jules Tyler is a woman with many passions: shifters, romance, and chaos. She feels that when you throw these things together, it is the perfect recipe for a delicious story. Strong men with even stronger women are her calling. She lives in a small town outside of Boise, Idaho, where she devotes her time to her bear of a husband, her daughter, and husky. She loves the great outdoors and looking for adventures around every corner.
Buckle up readers, it’s going to be an exciting ride!

RELEASE BLITZ
Title: Losing Hope
Author: Heidi Lis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2017

BLURB

For the last year and a half, you could sum up my life in one word… disastrous.
One simple phone call was all it took
to change my life forever.
If I could go back and do it again, what would I change?
Everything.

What should have been one of the best days of my life turned into the absolute worst.
Cast in a shadow that turns my days dark, and my nights even darker.
Before I can put the pain of the past behind me, I need to fix what’s broken.

The first step is believing it can be done, the second is forgiveness.
But forgiveness doesn’t come easy, least of all for who is to blame.

For every choice, there are consequences.
Some good.
Some bad.
Some simply unforgivable.

One poor choice made me the target of a sociopath.
And once again, I’m reminded just how cruel life can be.
But….
I’ve come to learn after every storm, the sun shines again
And, someone taught me life is only worth living if you smile.
It took almost losing him for me to understand.
What would I change?
Everything, but him!

Losing Hope is a standalone New Adult Contemporary Romance dealing with love, loss, grief and betrayal, but also ends with a HEA. If you love an emotional read that tugs at your heartstrings, with a few OMG moments, this book is for you!

Always believe in hope and be willing to trust in things you may not understand. Have trust in your heart and never let a few bad memories rob you from having the life you deserve. Don't fear love, be willing to love.




PURCHASE LINKS


Free in Kindle Unlimited


AUTHOR BIO

Heidi grew up in the Midwest, but currently resides with her husband and four children in the Pacific Northwest. Heidi most enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. Between raising her children and obsessing over her favorite reads, she has let the storyteller within herself come to life. With the love and support of her family, she is following her dream while teaching her children how important it is to follow theirs. She prides herself in believing that anything is possible, the first step is believing in yourself. Heidi’s passionate and loving style in which she lives her life comes through in her writing. Her heart has led her down the genre path of a contemporary and suspense romance writer, but she has plans to extend her vision into other genres as well.


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GIVEAWAY

There is a giveaway for a signed paperback of Losing Hope and a $5 Amazon gift card

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 #NewRelease #OnSale Blame It On the Shame Boxset by ➡ Ashley Jade $1.99 #LimitedTime #OneClick #Giveaway and more

Available on #KU
👉Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2mer5n3
👉Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2meEPyi
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👉Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2mUfrec

GOODREADS ➤ http://bit.ly/2mLKNmp
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NEWSLETTER ➤ http://bit.ly/2nkJuyt

📚SYNOPSIS📚
Shame. It wounds us. It damages us.
Or, for the few poor souls out there like me...it defines us.
I'm the son of the devil himself—the most feared mob boss who ever lived.
I was cursed from the moment I took my first breath.
I hate him...and I never wanted to become him.
And I sure as hell never, ever, wanted anything of his.
Until her.
My name is Ricardo DeLuca. There are two things you need to know about me. The first—is that I'm in love with the girl who belongs to my father. The second—is that it turns out I am my father's son after all.
My name is Lou-Lou, and you probably think I'm a bitch.
You would be right—because I am.
You think you know all there is to know about me because of the man I belong to.
What you don't know—is my past, because I'll never tell you.
What you don't know is my shame.
Because if you did—you'd be worse off than dead.
You'd be broken.
There are two sides to every story...this is ours.

Warning: Due to strong language, some violence, explicit sexual content, and some dark elements, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Trigger Warning: This series contains elements of emotional, sexual, and physical cruelty. Any readers with sensitivity to the above topics should proceed with caution, and at their own risk.
The series is a spin-off of the full-length, standalone novel Blame It on the Pain.

💥STAY CONNECTED💥
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ashley-Jade-Author-788137781302982/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Jade/e/B011JBZ24CNL
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJadeAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14175946.Ashley_Jade
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashleyjadeauthor/

EXCERPTS + TEASERS + MORE
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Title: The Brave Line
Author: Kate Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 17
Add to your TBR: http://bit.ly/2ngtk8N

Synopsis
She is a five foot seven long list of things he can’t have.

He is a determined cop, desperate to keep his heart sealed behind his badge.

Michelle is a survivor. With a fresh perspective on life, she trades her tragic past in California for the coastal waters of Charleston. Fueled by a new career as a dispatcher, she’s determined not to let her scars weigh her down. She apologizes for nothing, especially her insatiable need for a certain police officer.

Rowdy is a newly minted sergeant dedicated to his job, but the life of a Charleston police officer has never been more dangerous. With his need to take order of a city spiraling out of control, the last thing he wants is an entanglement with a mouthy dispatcher. But, there’s just one problem. He can’t get enough of her.

As the heat rises between the unlikely pair, so does the tension.

Three months of summer was all it took to shake their foundations, rattle their walls, and bring them crashing down.

It was lust.

It was love.

It was real.

And it would have been perfect . . . if it wasn't already over.

Note to reader:
This book has several elements and explores topics that some may consider triggers. For mature audiences only. Explicit sex, violence and language.

Buy Links

About the Author
A native of Dallas, Kate Stewart now resides in beautiful Charleston, S.C. She lives with her husband of 10 years, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie.
Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring the city her creative muse. Since the move in 2010, Kate has written and published several novels including Room 212, Never Me, Loving the White Liar, The Reluctant Romantics Series (The Fall, The Heart, The Mind) and The Balls in Play series (Anything but Minor and Major Love.)
Kate writes messy, sexy, angst filled romance books with ‘hard to get’ happy endings because it’s what she loves as a reader. She has a scary addiction to chocolate milk and a deep love for rap music specifically the genius known as Marshall Mathers.
In addition to her addiction to romance, Kate also lets her alter ego take over on occasion and writes erotic suspense under the pen Angelica Chase.
Check out Kate’s works as Angelica



RELEASE BLITZ
Title: Thank You for Holding
Series: On Hold #2
Author: Julia Kent & Elisa Reed
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 21, 2017

BLURB

Having it all is a fantasy, right?

Carrie Shelton thought her boyfriend was too good to be true. Her best friend's brother? A guy who loved antiquing? Who cuddled on the couch while watching foodie YouTube clips and talking about artisanal spices? Who helped her accessorize her outfits?

Right.

Fantasy.

So when he ran off with Kevin, the owner of an antique shop, right before his sister’s wedding, Carrie’s life went from fantasy to nightmare.

As maid of honor, she can’t back out of the wedding. And her ex is the best man - but now he has his own best man.

She needs a date. Stat.

Enter Ryan. Sure, he’s a hot male stripper at the O Spa where she works as junior designer, but he’s a few years younger and just, you know -- a friend.

Perfect. She needs a friend more than she needs a boyfriend.

A weekend of playing her boyfriend so she can save face is a lot to ask, but for some reason Carrie doesn't understand, Ryan's all in. Enthusiastic, even.

Especially when it comes to physical displays of affection.

Public kisses turn to private confessions, and pretty soon, Carrie can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Because if Ryan's just pretending he's in love with her, then why does the chemistry between them -- and between the sheets -- feel so real?

Carrie can't settle for almost, though. She's already done that. She's not putting her life on hold anymore.

Turns out Ryan won't, either.

He's holding out for more.

Thank You For Holding is a STANDALONE in the On Hold series. You do not need to have read book 1 in the series, but after reading about Carrie and Ryan’s friends-to-lovers adventure, you’ll want to. ;)




PURCHASE LINKS

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ltR0pa


EXCERPTS

#1

CARRIE

I'm going to be the maid of honor in my friend Jenny's wedding. You probably saw that coming. I met Jenny at work here at the O Spa, the women’s private club chain where I am the Assistant Director for Design. O Spas are the “fourth space” for women. Home, work, and other public venues are the first three.

We are meant to be the ultimate space. From highly-trained, well-oiled, hot massage therapists who wear g-strings that are outlawed in 111 countries, to a sex toy boutique with weekly workshops, to a new coffee shop with lattes that are better than sex, the O Spa caters to what women want.

A break, a chance, and a friend.

Jenny loved working for O, but she moved on a year ago, a promotion she could only get by changing companies. We were never just work friends. We're true best friends, and besides that, we could be sisters-in-law someday. I'm dating her brother, Jamey.
Who is standing in front of my desk right now, telling me about the tickets he just scored to Straight No Chaser at the Wang Center in November. We love a cappella.

"Fifth row, Carrie! And it'll be near the holidays, so maybe they'll do songs from their Christmas album!" His dark, wavy hair falls over his forehead in a boyish little curl. His eyebrows are perfectly arched. He gets them threaded more often than I do. His narrow chinos are rolled at the cuff, exposing his bare ankles in brown loafers. And is that my cotton scarf knotted around his neck?
I smile at him. Jamey is a great boyfriend because he always wants to do fun and unusual things. Has ever since we began dating two years ago. Our friends rely on Jamey to keep them current. When Steve Martin curated the Lawren Harris show at the MFA, we were the first people in the door. When Juliet opened in Union Square, we were tasting the tasting menu before anyone else had tasted it.

You can see why a lavender flowered cotton dress -- with puffed sleeves -- is of no use to me.

“We can go back to my place after the concert and I’ll make cocoa. Bet you’d enjoy something sweet and hot,” I say with a flirtatious grin. I give him what I hope is a smoldering look. He’s holding my hand and his eyes widen in mock excitement, then he looks away.
I love Jamey.1

#2

RYAN

“How’s Jamey doing?” I ask. I don’t give a rat’s ass about him. Talking about anything that will deflate my ever-growing boner is my goal. Think about Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. Ken Bone. Betty White.

Perfect. Deflation sequence activated.

“Jamey is so sweet!” Carrie gets that weird look again. Her eyes fill with a mild form of panic, which fades quickly, leaving her chewing on a pen cap. “He got us tickets for a holiday concert and just stopped by with my favorite coffee.”

“Nice. But every guy should do that for the person they’re dating.”

“Really?” She looks so surprised. I hate that she looks so surprised.

“It’s pretty basic Dating 101 stuff, Carrie.”

“Like you know anything about dating,” she lobs back at me. “You haven’t had a girlfriend since I met you.” She walks into her cubicle and nods for me to follow.

My heart just got decimated by a SCUD missile. I can’t look at her. I follow, then pick up one of the metal balls on her Newton’s Cradle and let it clack against the others. The force shoves the ball on the other end to strike out in an arc.

“Well, you know…”

She snorts. “Yeah, I know. Why settle for one woman when you can have a taste of so many?”

I’m not sure when she got the idea that I’m some kind of playboy Casanova manwhore. That’s Zeke. But no matter what I tell her, she doesn’t believe me.

“Right.” Our eyes meet and I can’t breathe. You spend years pretending and hiding your feelings and when those little slivers, fractions of time that don’t show up on a clock, protrude through your facade, you take them as they are.

Real, raw, and so hard.

#3

The day drags on. The evening drags on.

Until finally, around ten p.m., I glance at my phone and there's a message. I've been reading in bed, or trying to, but now I sit up so fast, my copy of Me Before You drops to the floor.

We need to talk

The four most dreaded words ever texted. My stomach drops through the floor, and my hands and feet go numb.

This makes no sense. What could we need to talk about? Nothing's wrong! Jamey and I get along perfectly! We're so happy! He probably means we need to talk about Jenny's wedding present, or which new restaurant to try Saturday night.

The phone I am holding rings, and I jump a mile. It's Jamey. I have to swipe three times before it connects.

"Hello?"

"Hey." His voice is quiet and flat.

"Jamey, what's going on? What's wrong? Are you sick? I've been so worried! Did you get a tattoo?"

"I'm sorry, Carrie. I -- I can't do this anymore."

"What are you talking about? I can barely hear you! Can't do what? I don't understand!"

There's a pause. "I've met someone else. It's not you, you're wonderful. It's me."

"Someone else? You've met someone else? Who? Who is she?"

"It's Kevin."

"Devin? Who is Devin? What's all that noise? Where are you?"

"It's Kevin, Carrie." He speaks very clearly and a little bit louder. "From the map store."

"That's ridiculous, Kevin's a guy. This isn't funny, Jamey."

I think I hear a man's voice in the background.

"Carrie, listen. I'm gay. I'm gay! Kevin has taught me that I can't hide it anymore. It's been an incredible two days. For the first time in my life, I feel free. But I can't stand to hurt you. I'm sorry."

"You can't be gay! You're my boyfriend!" I think I might be shouting. It's hard for me to tell, because there is a loud buzzing in my head. It's the sound of my entire world imploding. "You're my boyfriend, and we love each other, and we might get married, and everything is perfect! You don't become gay in two days!"

"I do love you, Carrie, just… not that way. It didn't happen in two days. I've always been gay." I hear a man's voice again. "I have to go now," Jamey says. "They're calling our flight. I'll call you when we get back. Try to be happy for me. I am so sorry."

"Flight? Your flight? What? Where are you going? Back from where?" I yell, but the call is ended. He's gone. I sit on the edge of the bed, staring at my silent phone.

Gay. He’s gay. Jamey can’t be gay! If he were gay, we wouldn’t have sex.

If he were gay, we -- oh, God.

I don't know what to do. The world is spinning fast and mercilessly frozen at the same time.


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AUTHOR BIOS

Julia Kent

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.


Elisa Reed

Elisa Reed is a journalist-turned-fiction-writer whose snappy, irreverent prose combines with an irrepressible zest for the simpler, and often intimate, pleasures of life to produce fun(ny) contemporary romance with a focus on second chances. New England born and bred, Elisa Reed now lives, writes, and plays in New Orleans and along the sugar sands of the Gulf Coast.




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