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`*.¸.*´ Whispers From The East

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨) Eleanor Lloyd Jones & Katie Fox

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COMING OCTOBER 25TH 2016

 

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Blurb

 

Loneliness is a desolate feeling that claws its way into the very

fabric of your life, dragging you to despair. It is an isolation of your

heart and soul and a rejection of everything you are, and everything

you try to be, by the very people who should be showering you with

love and acceptance…

A life of solitude becomes the norm for Charlotte Whittaker. An emptiness fills

her with a void so big that she finds herself running to escape it—running to be alone…

It takes a new country and a new outlook on friendship for her to begin to build up her

trust in others again.

Easton James wraps his heart in tissue paper, locking it away and hiding the key, as he

tries to put distance between it and the life he thought was already paved for him.

He walks a lonely man—a band of patient friends by his side—searching

for answers that will reunite him with the man he knows hides

deep inside of himself.

Travelling roads of uncertainty that push and pull them like magnets,

the pair discover a middle ground on uncharted territory that gives them

hope for a chance at a new kind of love.

 

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This Isn’t Over, Baby ~ K Webster

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This Isn’t Over, Baby

by K. Webster

War & Peace

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark Romance

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Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

They’d won the battle and I held up the white flag of defeat…

But the war wasn’t OVER.

I suffered the aching loss of what they had stolen from me.

OVER and OVER again, my heart broke.

The white Queen and the black King had taken OVER the game

and ruled for what seemed like eternity.

Until one day, eternity was finally OVER.

I was the dark knight who would rise again and conquer.

I was the man who would win OVER the most important piece on the board.

A slayer. A protector. A father.

A new king with the blackest of hearts.

And head OVER heels in love with…

The little princess who owned my twisted soul.

Sometimes the villains don’t just want their happy ending…

They demand it.

This isn’t OVER, baby.

This will never be OVER.

Warning:

This Isn’t Over, Baby is a dark romance. Strong sexual themes and violence which could trigger emotional distress are found in this story. This story is NOT for everyone.

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About K. Webster

K Webster2

K Webster is the author of dozens romance books in many different genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her husband of twelve years and two adorable children, she’s active on social media connecting with her readers.

Her other passions besides writing include reading and graphic design. K can always be found in front of her computer chasing her next idea and taking action. She looks forward to the day when she will see one of her titles on the big screen.

You can easily find K Webster on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads!

Website: http://www.authorkwebster.com

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This Isn’t Over, Baby ~ K Webster

The Debt by Karina Halle ~ Release

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Her life changed in an instant.

And he’s the only one who could have prevented it.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men.

Jessica Charles shouldn’t have even been in London when the unthinkable happened.

She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always.

But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica’s world changed forever.

Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes.

That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again.

Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you’ve got pretty much the perfect Scotsman.

Except Keir is anything but perfect. He’s got a past he’s running away from and a guilty conscience he can’t seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her.

And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart.

He may have been a stranger to her.

But she’s never been a stranger to him.

 

 

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“You’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”

 

“It’s getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.

 

“You need something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.

 

“The scotch will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really, I should go.”

 

“Why?” he asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”

 

I have to think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you don’t need to make any excuses.”

 

I take the glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.

 

“I just…” I begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”

 

“Good at what?”

 

“At…this. Being with a man.”

 

When he doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”

 

I clear my throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”

 

“Yes, how you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”

 

“I never said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.

 

His eyes never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”

 

I have the sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me? There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I feel.”

 

I stare at him in shock. I do? “How?”

 

He looks off with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”

 

“But then you said just as friends.”

 

“And I meant it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind we are.”

 

I put my drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.

 

“You’re on fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you. Hot and bothered.”

 

“Back with the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.

 

“No, no innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want from me? What do you think I can give you?”

 

Jesus. This is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of myself.

 

If I lie, he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.

 

“I want…” I take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”

 

“Company?” He sounds surprised.

 

I nod. “That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”

 

There. That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like flour to stock.

 

He sits down next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”

 

I burst out laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up a notch.

 

“Sorry,” I tell him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”

 

He sucks in his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”

 

And there I have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit http://www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

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The Debt by Karina Halle ~ Release

Deadly hunt by K.L. Humphreys

 

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RELEASE BLITZ

DEADLY HUNT

by

K.L. HUMPHREYS

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BLURB

Sophia Dallas has recently been discharged from the Army after suffering at the hands of the enemy. On her journey to healing, she has finally started to live her life, but the past never really stays in the past.

Nathan Slade, a former FBI agent, now owns his own P.I business, has taken on a case that could make or break him. In all the chaos, he meets the love of his life.

What happens when the man Nathan’s hunting also happens to be a man on the hunt himself – only his target happens to be the love of Nathan’s life?

Lives will be lost, leaving pain and suffering in the wake of destruction while Nathan and Sophia learn the hard way that the future is never promised – especially theirs

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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KL Humphreys was born in London, England but now lives in Ireland with the love of her life. In a way, the world has him to thank for her Debut Novel. After years of thinking about writing the story that had been dying to get out of her head, she finally confided in her other half. He gave her an enthusiastic “Go for It!” and she started writing it the very next day.

Miss Humphreys loves music, especially pop, R’n’B and rap and if she’s writing you will find it playing somewhere nearby. She also loves all romance novels but of course, Romantic Suspense is her go to genre. When she isn’t writing it…it’s a good bet she is curled up somewhere reading one. If she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you might want to check to make sure she isn’t sick. When not reading or writing, she loves to spend time with her loved ones especially while watching a football game (that’s soccer for you Americans)… COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!

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Deadly hunt by K.L. Humphreys

Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

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Synopsis:
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels.

Too fast, too furious-and way too hot to handle . . .

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense–and strictly forbidden–attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

furiousrush
Author Bio:
S. C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. She has been writing nonstop ever since the release of her debut novel, which received a great deal of praise from the literary world. In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with music to reduce writer s block, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
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Chapter 5

A few hours later, after a mandatory dinner with my father and the crew, I was finally back at the hotel. Collapsing onto the bed, I wondered if I had ever been this exhausted in all my life. Trailing my fingers along the pattern sewn into the quilt beneath me, I debated shutting off the light and trying to make a genuine attempt to sleep; if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen . . . right? The light switch was so far away, though, and there was no way I’d be able to stop replaying the video of my slide out that was running on constant repeat in my head. Whether it was light or dark in the room didn’t matter if my brain was wide awake. It didn’t even matter that my limbs were heavy with fatigue and all of my muscles were tired and aching. My brain wouldn’t stay silent, so there would be no real rest for me.
Letting out an annoyed groan, I managed to find the remote on the nightstand. Flicking on the TV, I prayed I might be able to find something that would partially entertain me, or at least distract me. Nothing did, though. All I could think about was the race. I wanted to be home, in my bed, surrounded by my things. Maybe if I were back to my regular routine, I could stop the never-ending replay of my body smacking the concrete, my bike hitting the wall.
We were leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to head back to Oceanside. I was ready to go home, yet reluctant too. I felt like my failure would be the talk of the track for a long time to come—both sides of the track—and I really didn’t want people talking about me, especially about my screwup. But I did want to get back to work; I wanted to begin preparations for the next race, in Wisconsin. God, I hoped that race was better than this one.
After flipping through every available channel at least six times, I turned the TV off. I needed something more engaging to keep my mind from drifting into dark, anxiety-ridden places. Forcing myself to get up, I grabbed my bag from where I’d flung it and dug around for my cell phone. Pulling up Nikki’s number, I texted: Can’t sleep. Are you up?
Her response was immediate. Yep! Just heading to the hot tub. Meet me in 20!
Frowning, I texted back: I didn’t pack a suit. She responded exactly how I thought she would. So? Go commando.
Laughing, I shook my head as I texted her that I’d see her soon. Her parting words were Bring wine!
Rolling my eyes, I looked over at the items available for purchase on top of the minibar. There was a bottle of wine among the chocolate, nuts, condoms, and toiletries. This hotel thought of everything. Shrugging, I grabbed the bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and a couple of glasses. I didn’t usually drink, but I might have a half glass tonight. Maybe a few sips would make me tired enough to go to sleep. Setting the wine on the bed, I debated what I could wear into the hot tub. Skinny-dipping wasn’t exactly my idea of relaxing. Grabbing a robe from the bathroom, I decided my bra and panties would suffice. They covered more than a lot of bikinis anyway.
We were staying at a hotel near the ocean. It was a pretty nice place, with beachside fire pits and saltwater pools, but my favorite thing about it was the ultra-private pool and hot tub on the roof. With the crashing waves of the surf nearby and the twinkling lights of Daytona in the distance, it was a spectacular display. Just what I needed to unwind. Hopefully the hot water didn’t aggravate my scrapes too badly. It would be worth it, though.
Clenching the wine bottle in one hand and the glasses and corkscrew in the other, I made my way up to the roof. When I got there, I looked around for Nikki, but she was nowhere to be seen. Not too surprising.
Figuring she’d get here when she got here, I headed for the hot tub. I could almost feel the stress releasing from my overtaxed muscles as I spotted the softly lit tub nestled in the corner of the rooftop oasis. As I approached the steaming water, I noticed a dark head just barely above the surface. Wow, guess Nikki had beaten me here after all.
“Hey, girlie,” I said, setting down the wine and shucking off my robe. “I brought some wine for you, as requested. And just so you know, if Dad chews my ass out for the room service bill, I’m totally throwing you under the bus.”
The wet head swiveled around to look up at me and my heart sank. It wasn’t Nikki. A slow smile spread across Hayden’s face as he sat up higher in the water, eyeing the lacy bra and underwear I was using as swimwear. Thankfully, they were black, and not a pale color that would show him way more than I ever wanted to. I quickly scanned the rooftop, but we were alone. Horribly and completely alone.
“Well, look who it is,” he mused. “Lucky number twenty-two. Are you here for that scratch, sweetheart? I’m a little worn out after today, but don’t you worry, I’m sure I can still give you what you so politely requested.” He added that damn aggravating wink on the end that made me want to dunk him under the water and hold him there a few minutes. Just until he passed out. I swear.
Flustered and caught off guard, all I could think to say was, “You’re not Nikki.” I felt my cheeks flame as his gaze lingered over my curves, but I stubbornly refused to cover myself up. I worked hard for my sport and it showed in my body. There was nothing on me that I had to be embarrassed about . . . plus, I’d shaved earlier today, so it was all good.
Hayden seemed amused by my response. “No, I’m not.” Bringing his arms up to the edge of the tub, he turned to face me. As he propped his chin on his arms, water droplets beaded and ran down his skin like little racetracks. There was something about steaming water and an attractive man that was exceedingly erotic, but Hayden was not what I wanted to be looking at right now. This was supposed to be relaxing girl time.
“So…” he said with a smile. “Do you and Nikki often meet up for lingerie hot-tubbing after a race? If so, I’m going to have to stay at your hotel more often.”
Familiar irritation pricked my skin, but I somehow managed to keep my expression even. “I didn’t realize you were staying at this hotel. I figured you’d be at some sleazy motel that charged by the hour, along with the rest of the Bennetis. Seems more your speed than anice place like this.”
His jade eyes darkened, and I knew I’d struck a nerve. Good. I shouldn’t be the only one annoyed, and if he was going to make me sound like a spoiled princess, then I would make him sound like he was fresh from the gutter. And considering where I’d first met him, I probably wasn’t too far off the mark anyway.
Hayden opened his mouth to speak, but I didn’t wait for him to get even so much as a sound out. Making sure we were still alone and no one was here to witness me sharing a could-be-intimate moment with a Benneti, I gingerly placed a foot into the water opposite him. He wasn’t going to chase me away from here with vile words, no matter who he raced for—I needed this too badly after today.
If Hayden had been about to say something, he clearly changed his mind; he was silent as stone as he watched me sink into the water. The searing heat was heaven on my chilled muscles, and even though the raw places stung, a soft groan escaped me. Closing my eyes, I laid my head back on the tile surrounding the tub. Hayden cleared his throat, and I heard soft splashes in the water as he adjusted his position. Cracking an eye open, I saw that he was intensely studying me, and in the silence of our staredown, that crackling energy began to resurface. In a heartbeat, the water suddenly became an extension of him, and the gentle waves were like his fingers caressing me all over, all at once. It was heady and intoxicating, and it made my breath quicken and my body tingle in delicious anticipation. Damn.
I was a millisecond away from getting out of the water… but . . . the near-boiling temperature was so incredible, I didn’t want to give up the luxury yet, not for my cold, lonely hotel room, where the ghosts of my failure were ceaselessly haunting me. I needed this break. For the first time since the race had ended, I actually felt at peace. Almost. Hayden’s absorbing gaze was too intent for full relaxation; shivers that had nothing to do with my body’s adjustment to the blazing heat of the water were flashing across my skin.
“What?” I snapped, hoping to sever the connection, to diminish the pinpoints of excitement that were starting to work their way through me. Inch by inch. Ripple by ripple.
Hayden’s gaze shifted to the bubbling water before lifting to mine again. “Can I ask you a serious question?”
I was shocked. Our conversations had never gone much deeper than trading insults, and even though I was curious, instinct made me answer him with, “No.”
With a frown, he ignored my answer and asked me anyway. “Did you . . . did you feel it today . . . while we were racing?”
My heart started pounding in my chest. I knew exactly what he meant. That fire, that drive, that feeling that we were alone, even when we were surrounded by thousands of people. It had been the most intense race of my career because of that sensation, but I wasn’t about to admit that to him. I couldn’t. It would be like admitting weakness, and I couldn’t ever appear weak in front of this man; he’d pounce in an instant, ripping me to shreds. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I said you couldn’t ask me a question.”
He pursed his lips, annoyed, but then he leaned forward in the water. His sudden movement caused tiny waves to come my way, and I instinctually pulled back from them. The sensation that we were connected, even though we weren’t, was bad enough without him coming closer. “You didn’t feel that . . . I don’t know . . . that connection? Like it was just the two of us out there? You must have, since you made that crack about me ignoring everyone else and focusing only on you.”
He tilted his head and a water droplet rolled down his cheek and curved around his neck. Watching it made my toes curl. The intimate lighting out here was playing tricks on my senses, making him too appealing. But the mood-setting couldn’t alter his personality, so I focused all of my energy on remembering the fact that he was an asshole who could never seem to get my name right. Plus he raced for a despicable man who would do just about anything to see my father brought down.
“Like I said, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I indicated the swirling water between us. “I think you’ve been in here too long. Your brain cells are beginning to boil.” I was beginning to boil. I should leave . . .
Hayden smirked, then began sliding through the water toward me. As he cut into the frantic bubbles between us, my heart began shifting into overdrive. I should definitely leave. But Hayden’s gaze was locked on mine, holding me in place. I couldn’t look away. A familiar surge of adrenaline was building inside me, telling me that something incredible was about to happen.
On your mark…
“I don’t believe you.” His voice was low, and his eyes were boring holes all the way through my soul. I unintentionally sucked my lip into my mouth, and his penetrating gaze dropped to study the movement. God, what would his smoldering skin feel like against mine?
His eyes slowly shifted back to mine. “You know exactly what I’m talking about, and you can’t deny that competing against each other, one on one like that, pushed us both.” He stopped right beside me, and our legs touched under the water. His were warm, hard, unyielding, and I had the sudden horrible image of having them wrapped around me. Owning me, claiming me.
Get set…
“I’ve never raced that well before, and I don’t think you have either. I’ve watched you practicing on the home track a few times, and I’ve noticed something. You worry when you ride, worry about all the people you might be letting down. I get that. But focusing on your fear will only hold you back.” Shock ran through me, temporarily icing the heat. How did he know I constantly stressed about the weight placed on me? And who did he worry about letting down?
Voice soft, he added, “But during the race, I could tell that you let all those expectations go. Because all you were focusing on was me. You raced better when I was out there with you, and I raced better when you were out there with me.” He shifted his position under the water, coming closer until his chest brushed against my arm, and it was like a bolt of electricity struck me. I was tingling all over, ready . . . wanting. How did he know these things? How could he see inside me so accurately?
Hayden’s gaze flicked over my face, alternating between my eyes and my mouth. He looked torn, like he didn’t know what he wanted to do, but then he gently placed his hand on my leg. While his eyes searched for approval or rejection, his fingers began sliding up my inner thigh, igniting me with passion, burning me with desire. My breath was suddenly coming fast and furious. Yes, touch me.
Hayden’s lips parted as he studied my every reaction, and I could see his chest rising and falling as his own breaths quickened. His palm was barely inching across my skin—I was going to explode soon if he didn’t move faster. The glorious anticipation of where his fingers might go was killing me. But then, with a pained look on his face, he stopped moving. Damn it, just do it. Feel me, touch me, take me . . . free me.
With obvious restraint, he slowly leaned forward and pressed his hot lips to my ear, making me shudder. “We’re magic together, Twenty-Two,” he breathed. “Just admit you need me . . . and we can take this up a notch.”
Need him? Take this up a notch? His audacity enraged me. “Get your hand off of me,” I seethed.
Hayden pulled back to study my face for a moment, then he lifted his hand from my thigh and retreated. Raising both hands from the water like he was surrendering, he told me, “Fine. Whatever you say, princess.” He swallowed a few times after he said it, as if he was trying to calm himself down.
Furious at him for going there, furious at myself for not stopping him sooner, I shot up out of the water. The steam lifting from my skin matched my mood, but that was nothing compared to the heat of Hayden’s eyes as he hungrily took in every inch of my dripping-wet body. Enjoy what you see, asshole, because this is the last time you’ll ever see it. Stepping from the tub, I grabbed my robe, tied it tight around my waist, and stormed off.
Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

Final Score: Part 1 by Kyra Lennon

New Release

Final Score: Part 1

Book 5 in the Game On Series

by Krya Kennon

 

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Leah Walker and Radleigh McCoy have overcome a lot of personal demons to be together, but what happens when everything they’ve worked to build is threatened?

With wedding plans in full swing and Leah settled into her role as a stay at home mum, life is just about perfect. However, an unexpected job offer sparks tension between the couple, and when someone from Radleigh’s past shows up in Westberg with a life-altering revelation, Leah and Radleigh’s relationship is shaken to the core.

Just when Leah and Radleigh seemed to have it all together, their happy home is ripped in two, leaving them both with some tough choices to make. Will they be able to overcome their problems and make it down the aisle, or will outside temptations make them say goodbye forever?

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About The Author

Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. Fiction writing has always been her passion, but she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites.

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Final Score: Part 1 by Kyra Lennon

The Debt by Karina Halle

 

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The Debt AMAZON

Her life changed in an instant.

And he’s the only one who could have prevented it.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men.

Jessica Charles shouldn’t have even been in London when the unthinkable happened.

She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always.

But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica’s world changed forever.

Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes.

That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again.

Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you’ve got pretty much the perfect Scotsman.

Except Keir is anything but perfect. He’s got a past he’s running away from and a guilty conscience he can’t seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her.

And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart.

He may have been a stranger to her.

But she’s never been a stranger to him.

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“You’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”

 

“It’s getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.

 

“You need something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.

 

“The scotch will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really, I should go.”

 

“Why?” he asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”

 

I have to think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you don’t need to make any excuses.”

 

I take the glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.

 

“I just…” I begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”

 

“Good at what?”

 

“At…this. Being with a man.”

 

When he doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”

 

I clear my throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”

 

“Yes, how you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”

 

“I never said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.

 

His eyes never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”

 

I have the sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me? There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I feel.”

 

I stare at him in shock. I do? “How?”

 

He looks off with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”

 

“But then you said just as friends.”

 

“And I meant it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind we are.”

 

I put my drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.

 

“You’re on fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you. Hot and bothered.”

 

“Back with the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.

 

“No, no innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want from me? What do you think I can give you?”

 

Jesus. This is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of myself.

 

If I lie, he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.

 

“I want…” I take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”

 

“Company?” He sounds surprised.

 

I nod. “That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”

 

There. That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like flour to stock.

 

He sits down next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”

 

I burst out laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up a notch.

 

“Sorry,” I tell him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”

 

He sucks in his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”

 

And there I have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.

 

 

 

 

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Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit http://www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

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The Debt by Karina Halle