Review: A Magical Highland Solstice by Mary Morgan

Happy Monday!  I hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday and weekend.  Today I bring to you a great Christmas novella from the world of The Dragon Knights.  I am so happy to share Cormac’s HEA.  For my full review, keep reading after the book blurb.  Have a wonderful week ahead.

32487375Book Blurb:

Laird Cormac Murray has witnessed how love destroyed his own father after the death of his mother, and he vows to never take a wife. Yet, when he comes upon a bewildered lass traveling alone, he finds his heart will no longer listen to his mind. In the end, Cormac risks everything to claim the love of a woman not of his time.

Eve Brannigan loves helping others and baking. After winning a contest, she is stunned to learn that the Clan Murray has requested her assistance to cater to their guests during the holiday season. When a lost path in Scotland leads her to a handsome but gruff Highlander, Eve fights the temptation to allow love to enter her heart for the first time.

Can the Fae and the magic of the Yule season bring together two souls who have forsaken love? Or will tragedies from the past separate the lovers forever?

Review:

Cormac has written off finding a love like his friends, the Dragon Knights, have found.  He is more focused that his household is falling apart just in time for the Yuletide Celebrations.  Eve has her own set of problems.  She was hoping to win her baking competition and pay some of her and her neighbor’s bills.  But, after finding out another contestant was sabotaged she gives her winnings her as an early wedding present.  Soon she finds out her winnings weren’t just monetary.  She is required to go to Scotland to bake for a celebration over there.  What Eve and Cormac don’t expect is that they will soon find each other and what neither is looking for they will find.

I love this series and I was definitely excited to see that Cormac was getting his own story.  He has been one of my favorites since the beginning of the series.  Cormac meets his equal in Eve.  She is hardworking and loyal.  Everything Cormac is too.  With the setting during Christmas it truly added a bit more magic to the already magic filled story full of Fae magic and manipulation.  The idea that Eve has traveled the veil of time is a lot less shocking to almost everyone except Eve.  Overall, this is a quick read with a lot of romance, Christmas magic and a sexy highland Laird.  What more could a gal ask for for Christmas?

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Review: Cloaked in Christmas by T.F Walsh

Happy Friday!  Today I get to share with you a Christmas novella in T.F Walsh’s Wulkin series.  Wulfkins and Christmas don’t normal mix but with this sexy love story with Christmas and a bit of danger mixed it will be a Christmas novella no one will want to miss.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.  Have a wonderful weekend!

32712763Book Blurb:

After fleeing her abusive ex, wulfkin Cacey Varg and her daughter settle happily with a new pack in Finland. As Christmas approaches, Cacey learns her ex has found them and is on his way to take their daughter back. But a massive snowstorm prevents her from packing up and leaving town—and instead delivers a sexy stranger to her doorstep. Can she trust that he isn’t one of her ex’s henchmen?

Second-in-command to Europe’s most powerful wulfkin, hunter Vincent Lyall’s spur-of-the-moment decision to check on his ailing mother soon finds him marooned at a cabin in the woods by the blizzard of the century. Trapped with this spirited vixen, resisting temptation is easier said than done… But she refuses to believe he is who he says he is.

Is love powerful enough to win when two sexy wolf shifters, an unwelcome past, and animalistic urges wreak havoc on the holiday season?

Review:

Cacey has finally found a place that is safe for her and her daughter.  But, when she gets a letter from her ex and then runs into a mysterious stranger she knows they are no longer safe.  The stranger is not for her though.  Vincent, the second in command to the Varlac, has come to visit his family.  He soon finds he and Cacey are undeniably attracted to one another.  Can the two of them come together to fight her past and maybe have a future?

I love this Wulkin series.  It is rare that you find a paranormal story that can fit into a Christmas tale.  T.F Walsh does a phenomenal job.  Staying true to the suspense and romance that is a signature of this series but also incorporates the magic of Christmas.  Cacey and Vincent are great characters.  Vincent was a minor character in Marcin’s book  but I love that he has his own happily ever after.  This was a great story that has so many layers for a novella.  I can’t wait for the next Wulkin book to come out.  You will enjoy this paranormal/romance/holiday/suspenseful book the moment you pick it up.

Review: Kissing Mr. Mistletoe by Kate Kisset

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you celebrating today!  I am bringing to you a wonderful holiday romance.  Its a second chance romance just in time for Christmas.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.  Have a happy holiday and wonderful beginning to the holiday season.


It’s our day for the blog tour for Kissing Mr. Mistletoe! Check it out and grab your copy today!!

Kissing Mr. Mistletoe, Kate Kisset, wine country romance, holiday in the vineyard, Christmas romance

Kissing Mr. Mistletoe, Kate Kisset, wine country romance, holiday in the vineyard, Christmas romance

About Kissing Mr. Mistletoe:

You are cordially invited to spend your HOLIDAYS IN THE VINEYARD

Ever since his last remaining relative died, Country music star Trace Montgomery has avoided California, specifically his home town, Napa Valley. Trace can’t stand the memories.

Seven days before the holiday, he’s forced to return to wine country to sell the St. Helena Christmas tree farm he inherited from his uncle.

With his sidekick guitar Lola nearby, a past love, the one that got away, falls into his arms while trying to turn a vineyard bunny sculpture into a reindeer. Now, Trace can’t stop thinking about her. He’s making up naughty lyrics to Christmas songs…

Single mom, Monique Jacobson doesn’t have time for a bath, never mind a romance. She’s working hard to secure a promotion and pay raise from Santino Winery that will allow her and her daughter to move out of Nana’s little B&B.

St. Helena and Napa Valley hotels are booked for the holiday, and Monique finds Trace hold up with her and her daughter at her gran’s Napa B&B for a Christmas in wine country. Will they rediscover the love they lost and rekindle Christmas magic under the mistletoe?

*Kissing Mr. Mistletoe is a standalone read. Although you may recognize some of the names, this Christmas gem features its own cast of lovable and sexy characters.

Review:

Monique knows that this is her chance to get a promotion by throwing a wonderful Christmas party.  What she doesn’t expect is her former lover to show up delivering the Christmas tree she ordered.  Trace knew the moment he set eyes on Monique again that he still loved her.  But, after what happened to her and between them can they find away back together or will the weight of his career and her obligations as a single parent hold them back?

I loved this novella.  This was the first book I have read by Kate Kisset.  I am ready to pick up another by her.  I definitely want to see more about the Santino brothers.  The setting and premise of the second chance love with the magic of Christmas really brought a sweet setting to this novella.  Monique and Trace’s connection both sexual and emotional is truly projected for the reader to feel.  This is quite a quick Christmas read but it is truly entertaining and will give you a romantic feeling with a side of holiday fun and magic.  Kate Kisset’s writing was entertaining and romantic.  Perfect for this time of the year.

 

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About Kate Kisset:

Kate Kisset, Contemporary romance author

Kate Kisset, Contemporary romance author

Former San Francisco radio disc jockey Kate Kisset is passionate about telling great stories.

After playing thousands of Pop, Country, Rock and Oldies tunes, for her primarily female fan base, she changed her tune and became an author.

Just a Kiss is the first book in her Napa Vineyard romance series, The Single Girls Wine Club.

She lives in Northern California and Santa Barbara with her family and rescue pup “editor” Luciana Parmigiana, where she hikes, reads, listens to music, and drinks wine.

Connect with Kate!

www.KateKisset.com

Sign up for Kate’s Newsletter/Kissing Mr. Mistletoe Prize Pack: http://www.katekisset.com/newsletter-sign-up

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Kate on Twitter: https://twitter.com/katekisset

Kate on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateKisset

Kate on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13469395.Kate_Kisset

Kate on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Kisset/e/B00ZJEYOLS

 

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Review: First KISS (K.I.S.S series #1)by V.A Dold

Today I get to bring to you a very sexy and wonderful story by V.A Dold.  I adore her paranormal romance novels and this spinoff series is just as good.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Eve!

32928008Book Blurb:

What do you do when your past comes creeping back? Carol Duffy is facing the next chapter in her life. She alternates between excitement and fear as she drives toward her fresh start with a new job in a new state. She’s washed her cheating ex-fiance out of her hair, and the last thing Carol wants is another man in her life. Now if she could just get her dog back. Moving from the only home she’s known is terrifying enough. It’s a good thing she didn’t know how deadly it could be or she would never have gotten into her car. Widower Joe Christian has spent the last ten years raising his children as best he could and managing the Rocking Double L Ranch for Lucas Le Beau. Relationships and romance are off his menu. He had his chance at true love and lost it. The quiet life at the Rocking Double L is about to become much more exciting. It’s just another day on the Le Beau ranch with a heady combination of a romance that refuses to be denied, Texas weather that can turn dangerous, and a lethal stalker.”

Review:

Carol is excited to start this new move.  She walked away from her cheating ex and is hoping this will be an exciting new job in a new state.  When she meets a sexy widower, Joe, she knows that life will definitely become better.  But, when it appears her past is coming back she becomes fearful.  Can Carol and Joe find a way for their love to flourish or will someone come back and snatch their happiness away?

I love V.A Dold books.  Her stories are always suspenseful, romantic and entertaining.  Carol and Joe are very dynamic.  Their pasts both influence the story but in different ways.  Those who have read V.A Dold books before will see familiar faces and will be happy that they are still just as entertaining.  I loved the setting in Texas and it will make you want to go to a ranch, see your own sexy men and go riding horses.  If you haven’t read V.A Dold,  you can start now.  I guarantee once you pick up one of her books you won’t be able to stop.

Happy Release Day for Out of Bounds by Lauren Blakely

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From NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a sexy new standalone sports romance…

OUT OF BOUNDS!

 

Ready to be swept off your feet? Meet the witty, sexy, dirty-talking quarterback Drew in OUT OF BOUNDS! Grab your copy today!

 

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“Out of Bounds smolders with heat, desire, and wicked swoon-worthy excitement!”

~Beneath the Covers Book Blog

 

“So much passion and intensity that you wouldn’t expect in a sports romance, but once again, Lauren Blakely BRINGS IT”

~Shayna Renee Spicy Reads

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The first rule of football–don’t screw with a streak.

My career is finally looking up, and I’m leading a new pro team down the field every Sunday. No way will I mess with that. But when I meet the most stunning and captivating woman I’ve ever seen, I tell myself one night will have to be enough.

But it’s not. And now I can’t get her out of my mind. Even when I’m playing. Even when I need to focus. Even when I’m on the hottest streak of my life.

And it turns out, she’s not just some random woman I met. She works for the team. My team.

 ***

I only have one goal this season–do my part as the team’s lawyer to keep them out of trouble. Help rebuild their reputation on and off the field. There’s no room for error and certainly no room for a secret tryst with a player . . . even if he’s the quarterback.

Right?

 

Excerpt:

“Be on your best behavior, Drew,” he says, a teasing tone in his voice.

“I always am,” I reply, and the fact is, that’s true. Clean-cut is my nickname.

“And text if you’re done early.”

“If I’m done early, I’m having a date with my mattress.”

He groans. “You are the definition of no fun.”

I grin. “That’s me. That’s why Qwench wants me now. Because I know how to get a good night’s sleep and stay out of the line of fire.”

When I hang up, I step out of the car, hand the keys to the valet, and thank him. Then I head inside, where Stuart greets me in the room reserved for the event, claps me on the back, and introduces me to several people. A photographer snaps shots the whole time, and I play the role that’s hardly a role—the outgoing, non-trouble-making, peace-loving quarterback who doesn’t throw punches or raise fists, like others before me have.

Don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, don’t have unprotected sex, and I also don’t speed. Squeaky clean indeed. Not even a traffic ticket on the record, and certainly no knocked-up teenyboppers with mini Drews baking in their bellies.

Stuart introduces me to the red-haired, freckle-faced guy who heads up this charity. “And this is Drew Erickson. He’s our new starter. We’re thrilled to have him on the team, especially since he’s already active with many wonderful charitable endeavors,” Stuart says to the ginger-haired guy.

We exchange small talk for a few minutes, then Stuart drops a hand on my shoulder and tells me there’s someone else he wants me to meet. “I’d love to introduce you to a sharp-as-a-tack woman who makes sure I don’t fumble,” he says, then winks in case I didn’t realize he was making a joke.

I smile to let him know I got it—fumbling humor and all—then my smile turns into a ruler-straight line when I turn on my heels and see my surfer angel.

Holy shit. She’s hot as sin in a red skirt, white blouse, and black heels. She holds a drink. Her blond hair is twisted on her head. Damn. The smoking-hot look is almost enough to make me forget she blew me off. My dick, the traitorous bastard, has already come down with amnesia. The fucker wants her.

“This is Dani Paige. She’s an attorney for the team,” he says, and I attempt to school my expression as I come face-to-face with the woman who ditched me.

And all I want to do is toss her on my shoulder, stalk to the bathroom, slam the door, and ask her why the fuck she didn’t call. Then when she tells me it was because she was too busy getting off to thoughts of me, I’d kiss the hell out of her until she melted in my arms and begged me to take her. I’d happily oblige. Hoist her up, hook her legs around my hips, and fuck her against the wall until she comes harder than she ever has before.

Instead, I shake her free hand. “Pleasure to meet you.” Then I whisper, just for her. “Jaws.”

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The perfect mix of sexiness, laughter, and sweetness.”

~Two Book Pushers

 

 

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Add it to Goodreads here!

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author-pic-lauren-blakelyAbout Lauren Blakely:

Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US over three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1.5 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With twelve New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers. In January she’ll release FULL PACKAGE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter.

 

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Review: Then She Danced by Janice Godin

Happy Monday!  Today I bring to you a fantastic book about finding love after suffering something horrible.  This beautifully written book was both entertaining and emotional.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.

32854858Book Blurb:

Everyone in Kathleen’s life thinks she’s crazy when she decides to spend her well-earned summer working in a tiny, dusty attic sorting through old church papers, but the peace and quiet of working alone is exactly what she wants.

She’s back home again and happy, or as happy as anyone who’s left behind a troubled past can be. She has amazing coworkers, a wonderful best friend, a supportive family, and not one single person in her life who knows what she’s been through. So, when Kathleen stumbles across an old French diary written by a battered wife, she connects with the story and Emilie.

Kathleen’s life changes when she meets Grant, a gorgeous local man with a past of his own. Their connection is undeniable, even for her, and proves that second chances are possible if she can just leave her past behind.

Review:

Though everyone in Kathleen’s life thinks she’s crazy, Kathleen is finding her way through the summer by working in a dusty attic.  The peace she finds becomes what she’s always needed.  Now that she has found her way home she sees the wonderful friends and family she has but none of them know what truly happened to her.  Soon her life unexpectedly changes and love falls in her lap.  But will she let her past let her push her new future away or will she work through her pain and open herself.

I really love the transformation of this story.  Kathleen’s character truly grows.  The reader will feel the pain that she goes through as the tough decisions she makes alter her future.  I also loved the diary aspect of this story.  It was the real catalyst that made the change happen.  The story itself was multi-dimensional and intense.  It drew me in and really brought out emotions that only a wonderfully written story can.

 

Happy Release Day for My Rogue, My Ruin by Amelie Howard and Angie Morgan

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MY ROGUE, MY RUIN is available now! Sexy and fun with a bit of Robin Hood and a badass heroine, you do not want to miss the first book from writing duo Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan. Find out more about it below and enter to win some seriously awesome prizes!


mrmr_1600About MY ROGUE, MY RUIN

“Smart and fast-paced with plenty of steam! This writing duo is a powerhouse of talent!” – New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan

He stole their riches, she stole his heart  

The Marquess of Hawksfield’s lineage is impeccable and his title coveted, but Archer Croft is as far from his indulgent peers as he can get. His loathing for the beau monde has driven him to don a secret identity and risk everything in order to steal their riches and distribute them to the less fortunate.

Lady Briannon Findlay embraces her encounter with the Masked Marauder, a gentleman thief waylaying carriages from London to Essex. The marauder has stirred Brynn’s craving for adventure, and she discovers an attraction deeper than the charming thief’s mask.

Brynn is a revelation, matching Archer in intelligence, wit, and passion. Stubborn and sensuous in equal measure, she astonishes him at every turn, but when someone sinister impersonates Archer’s secret personality, and a murder is committed, Archer begins to think he doesn’t stand a fighting chance without her.

Add MY ROGUE, MY RUIN to your Goodreads list here!

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“Why are you out here at this ungodly hour?” he asked.

“I could ask you the same thing,” she replied. “As well as why you are trespassing on private property.”

Archer smiled at her tone and leaned against a nearby tree, easing the weight of his injured ankle for the moment. There it was—the brief glimpse of the woman he’d met in Dinsmore’s carriage, not the quiet mouse he’d waltzed with. “Ah, but I believe this tree, right here,”—he slapped the trunk with a rakish grin—“marks the dividing line between my estate and yours. So technically, I’m on my property and you are on yours.”

Her eyes narrowed at his teasing before plucking up the tweed cap from where it lay on the ground and tugging it back into place upon her head. She then picked up the spent pistol and tucked it into the narrow, single holster gun belt looped around her waist. “No matter. It’s hardly any of your concern why I am out on my own land. Go on your way, and I’ll be on mine.”

His jaw dropped as she wound her fist into the horse’s bridle, loosely slung around its neck, and pulled herself deftly up onto the horse’s back. She sat astride in a way that made his pulse shorten. “Where is your saddle?” he managed.

She eyed him imperiously. “I don’t like them, not that it’s any of your business.”

“It isn’t safe,” he ground out, surprised by his sudden irritation.

“I’ve been riding without a saddle since I was a child,” she shot back. “I’m safer without one than I am with one.”

“As you were before you got thrown into the river?” Archer couldn’t resist taunting.

Her jaw jutted forward, a mutinous look in her eyes. She pressed her lips together, likely to stop herself from uttering something completely inappropriate. Perhaps one of the colorful words she’d been using while attempting to climb out of the gulch.

“And what if you were attacked by the masked bandit—again?” he continued. “Or haven’t you had enough danger for the time being?”

“I can protect myself,” she said.

“What with?” he asked before he thought of the clean hole in the boar’s forehead.

Briannon sighed dramatically. “Why, with my knitting needles, of course.”

Struck again by her lightning-quick wit, the short bark of laughter left his lips before he could contain it. “Pray, where was your pistol the other night when you were robbed?”

“In my knitting reticule, of course, where all ladies’ pistols are kept,” came her tart response. “I assure you, if I had my pistol, the outcome of that robbery would have been quite different.”

Want to Win?

Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan have a couple of awesome items to giveaway! Check out the details on the rafflecopter below.

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About Amalie Howard

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.

She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national silver IPPY medalist. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

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About Angie Morgan

Angie is the author of several critically acclaimed young adult and middle grade books written under two other names (Page Morgan and Angie Frazier), and is now thrilled to be taking a much-anticipated leap into the world of adult romance. My Rogue, My Ruin is the first of three books in her new Lords of Essex series, co-written with good friend and fellow author, Amalie Howard. Angie lives in New Hampshire with her husband, their three daughters, and a menagerie of pets.

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Review: Heat Wave by Karina Halle

 

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heat-wave-3d-bookThey say when life closes one door, another one opens.

This door happens to lead to paradise.

And a man I can never, ever have.

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:

Logan Shephard.

It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.

What does matter is that he’s a grump.

Kind of an asshole, too.

And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

 Review:

Ronnie met Logan first.  All that is thrown out when he meets her sister.  Seven years later, Logan is a widow and Ronnie is jobless.  Logan hires Ronnie to be a chef at his restaurant in Hawaii.  Soon they discover that they have both been lying.  Lying about themselves and their family.  As the truths come out so does the hidden passion that has always been there.  Can their forbidden love survive or will they be ripped apart yet again?

Holy Swoonies, Batman!  I was totally addicted to this book.  I loved this story and the love, intrigue, secrets and lies.  Not to mention the setting will make anyone want to jump a plane and go to Hawaii.  Ronnie and Logan were both strong characters with such emotional depth that the reader feels it throughout the book.  You will run the gambit of feelings.  You will hate Logan, feel sad for Ronnie, love them both and then feel hurt when they are betrayed.  This book truly has it all and has become one of my favorite books of the year.  I can see myself reading this again when I have time.  If you are looking for that one book you have yet to find this year that will leave its mark on you, I guarantee you will want to pick this phenomenal Karina Halle book.  You won’t be able to put it down until its done and then you will want to pick it right up again to experience their love all over.

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PROLOGUE

I saw him first.

It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now.

But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed.

Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse.

That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch.

But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is…

You just know.

There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life.

That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there.

I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile.

Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time.

But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me.

I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky.

It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him.

I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady.

With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon.

“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes.

I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible.

His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are.

“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time.

I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did.

“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.”

“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?”

“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?”

He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with.

He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?”

“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.”

“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man.

“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.”

I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?”

“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?”

“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.”

“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.”

I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut.

“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?”

I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.”

“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?”

“One of them,” I told him.

He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.”

“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water.

I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?”

“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.”

He frowned. “Why is that crazy?”

I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.”

He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?”

I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time.

Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way?

“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.”

A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed.

A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here.

“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him.

“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.”

Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin supressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl.

And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked.

I’d never find out how wicked they could be.

“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass.

Oh no, I thought. Not now.

Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would.

She had walked into the room.

He saw her.

And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her.

That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around.

I might have saw him first.

But he was all hers after that.

heat-wave-teaser-3

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.

FACEBOOK TWITTER GOODREADS AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

Cover Reveal: Master Her Senses by Laura Kaye

Decadent… Sensual… Forbidden…

12 Masters. 12 Desires. 12 Fantasies Come to Life.
Meet the Masters of Blasphemy…

Releasing February 21, 2017, MASTERING HER SENSES is the second full-length novel in Laura Kaye’s Blasphemy Series. Check out the amazing cover created by Kim Killion from The Killion Group below!

 

A Note from Laura Kaye:

Friends! I’m so excited to share the cover for Mastering Her Senses, the second book in my new erotic Blasphemy series! I’ve been dying to write Master Quinton since he first appeared on the page, and now he is coming your way this February. I’m also excited because the heroine, Cassia Locke, is the sister of one of the Raven Riders (Jagger Locke), so there will be some fun series crossover happening in this book, too! So, so much to love! I hope you’ll check it out and the other books in the series, too!

xo, Laura

12 Masters. Infinite fantasies. Welcome to Blasphemy…

He wants to dominate her senses—and her heart…

Quinton Ross has always been a thrill-seeker—so it’s no surprise that he’s drawn to extremes in the bedroom and at his BDSM club, Blasphemy, where he creates sense-depriving scenarios that blow submissives’ minds. Now if he could just find one who needs the rush as much as him…

When an accident leaves Cassia Locke with a paralyzing fear of the dark, she’ll try anything to get help. Ready to fight, she knows just who to ask for help—the hard-bodied, funny-as-hell Dom she’d always crushed on—and once stood up.

Quinton is shocked and a little leery to see Cassia, but he can’t pass up the chance to dominate the alluring little sub this time. Introducing her to sensory deprivation becomes his new favorite obsession, and watching her fight fear is its own thrill. But when doubt threatens to send her running again, Quinton must find a way to master her senses—and her heart.

Exclusive iBooks Preorder

Look for other preorder links in 2017

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Books in Series:

Hard to Serve #.5

Bound to Submit #1

Mastering Her Senses #2 – 2/21/17

Eyes on You #3 – 7/11/17

 

Laura Kaye - author picAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

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Happy Release Day for Heat Wave by Karina Halle

 

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heat-wave-3d-bookThey say when life closes one door, another one opens.

This door happens to lead to paradise.

And a man I can never, ever have.

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:

Logan Shephard.

It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.

What does matter is that he’s a grump.

Kind of an asshole, too.

And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

 

AMAZON | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | B&N

 

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PROLOGUE

I saw him first.

It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now.

But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed.

Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse.

That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch.

But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is…

You just know.

There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life.

That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there.

I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile.

Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time.

But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me.

I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky.

It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him.

I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady.

With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon.

“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes.

I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible.

His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are.

“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time.

I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did.

“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.”

“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?”

“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?”

He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with.

He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?”

“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.”

“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man.

“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.”

I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?”

“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?”

“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.”

“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.”

I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut.

“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?”

I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.”

“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?”

“One of them,” I told him.

He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.”

“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water.

I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?”

“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.”

He frowned. “Why is that crazy?”

I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.”

He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?”

I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time.

Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way?

“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.”

A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed.

A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here.

“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him.

“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.”

Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin supressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl.

And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked.

I’d never find out how wicked they could be.

“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass.

Oh no, I thought. Not now.

Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would.

She had walked into the room.

He saw her.

And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her.

That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around.

I might have saw him first.

But he was all hers after that.

 

 

 

 

heat-wave-teaser-1

 

 

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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