Releasing Now: Wide Open Spaces by Aurora Rose Reynolds

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“Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder looking more beautiful than ever standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.”

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Synopsis2

That moment your life changes.

That moment that changes your life.

That moment you love someone more than you love yourself.

That was the moment we gave our son up for adoption and the moment I was left bare. A wide-open space that would forever be empty.

There are moments that define you as a person, moments that prove just how strong you are, moments you push yourself to keep going forward when all you really want to do is give up. It was in one of those moments when I reached out and found him waiting for me.

When Shelby Calder left home fifteen years ago, she never planned on returning to the Alaskan town she left behind. But after the death of her grandfather and a bitter divorce, she hopes going home will be a fresh start for her and her ten-year-old son.

Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder, looking more beautiful than ever, standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.

Some things never change and love is one of them.

author

aurora rose reynolds (2)

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

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Chapter Reveal: Wide Open Spaces by Aurora Rose Reynolds

WIDE OPEN SPACES EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Shelby

Shutting off my car, I stare at the two-story house I used to call home. It looks the same as it did when I left. The deep blue is still vibrant, even more so now against the backdrop of the gray sky behind it. The white porch is still welcoming, with flowers hanging from the banister.

My grandmother and I would spend hours planting flowers in those boxes during the summer. When she passed away during my sophomore year of high school, I made sure to keep up the tradition in her memory. It looks like, in my absence over these last fifteen years, someone else had taken over the job.

Looking at the bright blooms growing wild, hanging over the sides of the boxes, I wonder if Granddad hired someone to plant them for him when he left to live in Florida. He never mentioned that he cared about the flowers we planted. Honesty, I don’t remember him mentioning them. Growing up, I didn’t even think he noticed, but now, looking at the blooming buds that are artfully arranged, I know they meant something to him after all.

“Mom?” Turning my head, I look at my son Hunter and force a smile as aching pain and regret slice through my chest.

“Sorry, honey. I spaced out. Do you want to unpack tonight, or do you want to wait until tomorrow, kiddo?”

Looking over his shoulder, he eyes the boxes and suitcases piled in the back then looks at me. I hate the sadness I see in his eyes. I hate I’m the cause of his pain. I know he misses his father already, and I know that at ten years old, he doesn’t understand why we’re no longer together even if it’s been over two years since we separated and divorced.

“Tomorrow,” he grumbles, and I feel that ache in my chest expand. He hates me for moving him across the country. Away from his friends, away from everything he knew. And I hate myself a little bit, too, for failing miserably at keeping my family together. I just hope this move will be a new start for us.

“Tomorrow,” I agree softly, unhooking my belt and opening the door.

Rounding the hood of the van, Hunter has already made it to the porch and is waiting at the top of the stairs, with his eyes pointed over my shoulder. Stopping, I look behind me as rain soaks through my clothes. I can’t believe how much the town has changed and grown. When I’d left home, you could see the sound from the front porch of my grandparents’ home. Now, the view is blocked by houses that have been built up side-by-side across the road. The street looks more like a New York City block, rather than a street in small-town Alaska.

“Is it always raining?” Hunter’s voice breaks into my thoughts, and I turn back toward him and take the steps slowly, noticing they are rotting out in a few spots. Something I will have to fix soon.

“Not always, but this is a rainforest, so I guess the answer in some ways is yes,” I tell him, when I make it up to the covered porch.

His brows draw together over his blue eyes, making him look like his father, as he asks, “This is a rainforest?”

“It is.” I want so badly to reach out and run my finger down his cheek, but I keep my hand locked at my side. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but some time ago, he stopped wanting my affection. Stopped being my little boy.

“Really?” he asks curiously, with wide eyes. “It doesn’t look like a rainforest,” he states, and he’s right; it doesn’t look like what you might imagine a rainforest would look like.

“It doesn’t look like one, but it is all the same.” I smile, and his eyes move over my face then to the view, and his face loses the curiosity it held a moment ago.

He turns, muttering, “Whatever.”

Biting my lip, I take the key the lawyer mailed me out of the front pocket of my jeans, put it in the lock, and turn. The door opens with a loud creak and dust rises up from the floors. A loud alarm sounds, making us both jump. Running into the house, I look frantically for some kind of alarm system, finally finding the small white box off the door in the kitchen. Flipping the panel open, I stare at the numbers.

“What’s the code?” Hunter yells over the siren, covering his ears.

“I don’t know,” I yell back, pressing in every single number combination I can think of, but none of them work.

“Is it in the papers in the car?”

“Maybe,” I yell, then run for the door and down the stairs to the van. Swinging open the back door, I shove three boxes out of the way before finding the one I’m looking for. Ripping off the tape, I shuffle through the contents and scan the papers the lawyer sent, searching for the code, but stop and look over the hood of the van when the alarm goes quiet. “What was the code?” I ask Hunter, when he steps out onto the porch.

“I don’t know.” He shrugs, looking over his shoulder into the house, like he’s waiting for someone to come out, which makes me frown.

“Did it just stop?” I question, slamming the van door. His eyes come back to me and he shakes his head then starts to open his mouth to say something else, but is cut off by a deep voice.

“I turned it off.”

It takes one breath to realize who just stepped out of my grandparents’ house. One breath for every moment I spent with the man standing before me to flash through my head. Two seconds for me to feel my world come to a stop.

The boy I once knew is gone. There’s nothing boyish about Zach Watters anymore. His jaw is now sharp, the stubble on it giving him a rugged look while accentuating his full lips. His dark hair has silvered around the edges, drawing attention to his expressive hazel eyes that look like they hold a thousand stories. His red and black plaid shirt is stretched tight across broad shoulders, giving a glimpse of the muscles it’s covering. He’s still every bit as beautiful as he once was, only more so now that time has aged him, taking him from a handsome boy to a gorgeous man.

Swallowing, I look at my son then back again. “Thanks,” I whisper, and Zach’s eyebrows pull together as he sweeps his gaze over me. I have no doubt that I too have changed, but unlike him, time hasn’t been good to me. I’ve gained a few too many pound from eating my feelings over the last year. My skin has lost its youthful glow, and my hair has grown out at the roots without my bi-monthly maintenance appointments.

“Shelby?” he asks, but all I can do is confirm with a nod, since my mouth has dried up and I can’t find my voice. “Jesus.” His eyes widen as he looks down at Hunter then back toward me. “What are you doing here?”

“My… my son Hunter and I are moving in,” I stutter, caught off guard by his presence. I wasn’t stupid enough to believe I wouldn’t see him when I moved home, but I had convinced myself that seeing him would be on my terms, or sporadic at best.

“What?” he whispers, leaning back on his boots, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ignoring his question, I start to move back toward the stairs, asking, “Do you mind giving me the code for the alarm? I’m sure it’s somewhere in the papers the lawyer sent, but…” I stop and look to the left when Zach’s name is called. Standing on the porch of the house next door is a woman I know he got with a few months after I left. A woman he married soon after she gave birth to their twins. A woman I used to call my friend.

A woman I now hate.

I absently hear him say something to her, but the nausea turning my stomach and the sadness prickling my skin have me moving quickly up the steps, focusing on not falling over as I move past him. “Never mind about the code. I’m sure I’ll find it. Thanks for shutting off the alarm,” I mumble, as I walk through the door.

“Mom.”

“Come on, honey. Let’s have a look around, and then we need to get to the store.”

“Mom,” Hunter repeats, sounding confused. I plaster a fake smile on my face.

“The pizza place we drove past has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. We could do that for dinner.”

“Mom.”

“Right here, honey.” I laugh, even though that laugh feels like glass edging down my windpipe.

Studying me for a long moment, he finally mutters, “Pizza sounds good. I’m gonna call Dad before we go, and tell him we’re here.”

“Sure,” I agree, watching him pull out his cell phone and walk toward the kitchen. I didn’t agree that he needed a cell phone at his age, but like all things with his dad, there was never any kind of conversation. He didn’t ask what I thought about it; he just did what he wanted to do.

I hear a familiar throat clear. “You’re back?” Zach asks from behind me, making my shoulders slump forward and my eyes slide closed briefly.

“Yeah.” I turn to face him and wrap my arms around my waist, feeling my stomach twist into knots. When I left town, we didn’t fight, didn’t yell at each other, didn’t say things we would end up regretting one day. I just knew there was too much pain between us to make what we had left work, and Zach, knowing the same, didn’t put up a fight when I told him my plans.

“You’re staying here?” he asks, and I nod. Running a hand over his head as his eyes move to the right, where Tina had been moments ago, before bringing his gaze back to mine. “The code for the alarm is one, two, three, four. I told Pat to change it, but you know Pat,” he mutters, and I nod, knowing exactly how stubborn Gramps was. Shoving his hands into the front pocket of his jeans, his voice drops. “I’m really sorry about Pat.”

“Thanks.” I hold myself a little tighter. His eyes drop to my arms around my waist and soften before moving up to meet mine once more.

“If you need anything, I’m next door.” He lifts his chin in that direction, and my world stops again.

“Pardon?” I breathe.

“I live next door.”

Okay, maybe I should have guessed that, since Tina was over there, but I didn’t, and this is not good… as in really not good. There is not one damn thing I can do about it, though, unless I want to load Hunter back into the van and live out of it for the next year or so, which I don’t think will win me any brownie points with my son.

“Cool,” I whisper pathetically, with nothing else to say. Something familiar-looking and soft slides through his features, making my stomachache twist again, but this time in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

“Well…” I pause, needing this encounter to be over. “Thanks again for turning off the alarm. I wish we had time to catch up,” I lie. “But I need to get to the store before it closes, and then I need to get Hunter some food. Growing boys don’t do well without food,” I ramble, as I put my hand to the door, wanting so badly to shove it closed.

“Sure.” He nods then looks over my shoulder, into the house. “Nice meeting you, Hunter.”

“You too—” Hunter looks between Zach and me.

“Mr. Watters, honey,” I mutter, answering his unspoken question, as he comes to stand at my side with his cell phone in his hand.

“You too, Mr. Watters.”

Zach’s eyes come to me and his face softens once more. “See you around, Shelby.”

“Yeah, see you around,” I lie again, since I plan to pretend he doesn’t exist from this moment forward. I wait, even though I don’t want to, until he is walking away to close the door then stand there for a moment, trying to process what just happened.

“How do you know him, Mom?” Hunter asks.

“When I was younger,” I say, turning to face him, “we were friends.” I shrug, looking toward the stairs. “My room used to be in the attic—it’s the best room in the house—and if you make it there before me, I’ll let you have it.” I raise my brows before taking off in a sprint up the stairs, listening to my son, who I haven’t heard laugh in weeks, giggle as he runs up the stairs behind me.

“Wow, this is awesome.”

Looking over my shoulder at Hunter I smile as he walks into the room with wide eyes. “I told you it’s the coolest room in the house.” I used to love hanging out up here when I was a teenager. The vastness of the space, with its angled ceilings and four large skylights, was a cool place to spend time. Looking at my son now, I can see the excitement in his eyes as he wanders around the room.

“Do you think I could get a telescope?” he asks, looking up at the cloud-covered sky through one of the skylights.

“Definitely.” I bump my shoulder with his as I walk past him toward the couch in the corner that’s covered with a sheet and pull it off. “We may also want to find a cover for this thing while we’re at it,” I say, looking from the floral-covered couch to his scrunched up face.

“Yeah.” He nods, moving to the bed, where he rips off the sheet that is covering the mattress. “I can’t wait to tell Dad about this. He’s going to think it’s so cool,” he mutters, and I bite my tongue to keep from saying, No, your dad will definitely not think it’s cool.

Max, Hunter’s father, grew up wealthy. He never owned anything that had been used. Even when we got married, he insisted I sell the Victorian house I bought when I graduated college, wanting instead for us to buy a newly built house in a cliché subdivision, where all of his friends lived. Shortly thereafter, he insisted I sell all of my old furniture, things I had bought secondhand and refurbished over the years. At the time, I was blinded by hope and love, so I didn’t think anything about it. But over time, I slowly realized I was no longer the person I used to be. I had turned into a trophy wife who lived in a show home and neither of us had any real character.

“Mom,” Hunter calls, bringing me out of my thoughts, and I turn to look at him and notice he has a stack of photos in his hand. “Who’s this?”

“That’s my mom,” I say softly, while walking over to where he’s sitting on the bed, holding out a picture of my mom and me. In the photo, we’re sitting outside on the porch, with our arms wrapped around each other, smiling at the camera.

“You look like her,” he says thoughtfully. “You have her eyes and hair.”

“You think so?” I ask, looking at my mom, who had to have been about my age when the photo was taken. She was beautiful, with long dark blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a smile that lit up the world.

“Yeah.” He nods then looks at me, and asks quietly, “Do you miss her?”

“Every day.” I nod, taking the photo from his hands. “She gave the best hugs,” I say, fighting back the tears I feel creeping up my throat. My mom and dad both died in a plane crash when I was fifteen. My father was the owner and pilot of a local adventure company, and he had taken my mom with him to drop off supplies to some men who were bear hunting out at one of the islands. On their way back into town, the weather shifted, and their plane went down on one of the mountains. Neither of them survived. That’s when I moved to Cordova to live with my dad’s parents.

“Do you have any pictures of your dad?”

I pause, trying to recall if I’ve ever really spoken to Hunter about my parents, if Max ever asked about them, but I can’t think of a single time. “There are a few downstairs on the wall. I’ll point them out to you.” I lean into him a little then stop when his arm wraps around my shoulders, surprising me. “I love you, kid,” I whisper, not surprised when he doesn’t say it back, but happy that his arm tightens ever so slightly.

“I’m starving.” He chuckles releasing me when his stomach growls loudly, breaking the moment.

“We can’t have that.” I laugh, standing from the bed. “Let’s go to Joe’s. Hopefully, the pizza is still awesome. If not, you’re gonna have to suffer and eat it anyway, ‘cause the store is probably closed by now.

“Is there such a thing as bad pizza?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” I murmur, and then head out of the room and down the stairs, grabbing my purse as we leave.

When we make it to Joe’s, I find nothing has changed in the years I’ve been gone. The owner Joe, an older Korean gentleman, is still in the back making the pizzas, and his wife Kim is still working the counter, gossiping about everything and everyone. While we wait for our pizza, Kim talks my ear off, telling me about the people in town, including Zach, who she informs me is not only a cop, but also the sheriff. She also tells me that Zach is single. He and Tina supposedly got divorced nine years ago, and Zach has had full custody of both his kids since then. I tell myself I don’t care that Zach is no longer with Tina, but I still feel some relief knowing I won’t have to witness seeing them together.

“Can I sleep in my room tonight?” Hunter asks, as I finish off my third slice of pizza and wipe my mouth with a paper towel.

“I don’t mind, but everything in the house needs to be washed. So if you want to sleep up there, we have to get your stuff from the van.”

“I’ll get it, and then we can bring in everything else too.”

“You want to clean out the van?” I ask, not at all excited about lugging stuff up three flights of stairs.

“Yeah.” He nods again, taking his half of the pizza box lid that he used as a plate to the trash bin.

“If that’s what you want,” I agree, regretting those words an hour later as I head out for the last box. My arms and legs are tired from carting everything inside and up the stairs. I haven’t worked out in the last year, and I can feel it now as every muscle in my body protest.

Stopping when I hear a door close, I hold the box in my hands closer to my chest and look toward the house next door. I spot a handsome blond boy, who looks a lot like Zach, hopping down the steps, with Tina following close behind. Ducking down, I hide and watch them as they get into an old pickup truck, only coming out of hiding when they drive off.

Having over fifteen years to deal with the adoption of Samuel should make it easier to see Zach’s other children, but it doesn’t. I still feel bitter about the situation. I know it’s the fact that Zach’s children were born a little over a year after Samuel, meaning Tina got pregnant not long after I left town. So not only did Zach have a relationship with Tina, but he built a family with her and kept the kids they had together.

Heading back into the house with the final box, I wonder how I’m going to do what I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years. It was easy to block out thoughts of Zach when I was gone, but now that I’m back and living next door to him, I wonder if it will be as easy to ignore the feeling in my chest that coincides with thoughts of him.

~*~*~

Grabbing my quilt from the end the my bed, I carefully balance my Kindle and glass of wine in one hand as I open the sliding glass door in my room and step out onto the balcony. Tonight is one of the first nights it hasn’t rained since we moved in, and I have been looking forward to sitting outside under the stars with a good book all day long. Grabbing my glass, I take a sip then look to the left when the sound of rock music starts up and light flutters across the back deck next door, making me wonder if Zach’s room is off the balcony like mine.

Pushing that thought away, I turn on my Kindle then proceed to get lost in someone else’s happily ever after.

“Shelby.” Jumping, some of the contents from the glass in my hand sloshes out over the side and runs down my fingers as I swing my head to the left, where Zach is leaning on the banister, his eyes on me. A short glass full of dark liquid is in his hands, and the light casts a glow behind him.

“You scared the crap out of me,” I gripe, holding my free hand over my rapidly beating heart.

“I’ve been standing here awhile,” he mutters, then takes a swig of his drink. “I thought you would have noticed.” He rolls the glass between his hands while looking at me intently, making me fight the urge to squirm in my chair.

“When I’m lost in a good book, the world could crash down around me and I wouldn’t notice.” I shrug, taking a sip of wine, using the moment of reprieve as an excuse to look away from him, but realizing for the first time that I don’t know the man standing across from me. Yes, he looks a little like the guy I dated years ago, but he also seems more intense, like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s definitely not the easygoing kid I dated in high school.

“How are you guys settling in?”

Pulling my legs out from under me, I rest my Kindle on the edge of my lap and turn to face him fully while adjusting the blanket.

“It’s going to take a little bit to get everything cleaned up. I didn’t know Gramps was such a hoarder until now. I think I’ve thrown out about ten thousand issues of National Geographic, along with a hundred empty boxes and every single item you can possibly buy from an infomercial,” I reply, then smile when he laughs a deep rumbling laugh and leans a little farther over the railing between us, causing another plaid shirt—this one blues and yellows—to tighten across his wide chest.

“You didn’t keep them? You never know when you might need an automatic potato peeler.”

“I thought about it, but if I did, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put my shoes, since all of it was stacked up on the floor in his closet, everything unopened.” I smile, watching him grin for a moment before the smile slides away and his eyes move beyond me to the forest that sits behind the house.

“I’m gonna miss him. I know he’s been gone from town for years, but I’ll miss our talks,” he mutters, then looks up at the sky for a moment before meeting my gaze once more. “Why’d you come back? Last time I talked to Pat, he told me you were planning on following him down to Florida.”

His words catch me off guard, since Gramps never told me he kept in contact with Zach. But then again, I never asked. I shouldn’t be surprised they kept in touch, since they we’re close when I was home, and were obviously neighbors before Gramps moved to Florida. Plus, Zach is the sheriff in town. Yet, it still feels strange that he knows about me, while I know nothing about him.

“I was.” I let out a breath, adjusting the blanket around my shoulders. “But I had to wait until…” I trail off, not wanting to talk about my divorce to anyone, especially not him. “Then when Gramps passed away, there was nothing for me in Florida, so I decided to come back here instead.”

“You didn’t want to stay in Seattle?”

“No, I needed something different, so when I found out Gramps left me his house, I just knew I needed to come back here,” I whisper the truth. Ever since I read the will and found out this house was mine to do with as I please, I had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t get rid of. Something telling me that I needed to come back here.

“This is a good town,” he murmurs, but the look in his eyes is saying something I can’t quite figure out.

“This is the last place I remember being really happy. I hope that I can make it that way for Hunter,” I say quietly, and his face softens.

“He looks like you.” His words and tone catch me by surprise and I sit up a little taller. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be sitting on my granddad’s deck in the middle of the night talking to Zach about anything. Definitely not about my son.

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw his dad,” I return honestly. “When he was a baby, he looked like me, but not any more.”

“He has your eyes and your smile.” He pauses, taking a drink from his glass. “He seems like a good kid.”

“He’s the best kid.” I take a sip of wine, trying to keep whatever it is I’m feeling right now in check.

“I… I think I saw your son. Um, the other day. He looks like you,” I tell him, wanting to take the words back after I say them, because I don’t want him to think I was spying on him.

“He looks like his mom, but has my personality, which I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. My daughter, Aubrey, on the other hand, looks like me, but is sweet down to her core. Where she gets that sweetness, I have no fucking clue.”

“Oh.” I bite my lip, trying to figure out what to say to that. The Zach I knew was a good guy, sweet even. Tina, however, was mostly bitch, and I honestly don’t even know why we were friends. Then again, growing up here, there weren’t a hundred girls to choose from. My graduating class had five girls in it, and none of them liked Tina, which meant none of them really liked me either.

“I better go in,” he says abruptly, cutting into my thoughts, standing to his full height. “I need to be to the station early tomorrow.”

“Sure… uh… have a good night.” The urge to say something that will make him stay hits me hard, and it takes everything I have in me to keep my mouth shut.

“You too, Shelby. And be careful when you’re out here reading. Louie’s out and about around this time of night, searching for food.”

“Louie?” I question, scrunching up my nose. Cordova never had homeless people before, and I can’t imagine it would now.

“Louie’s a black bear. Normally, he sticks to the woods, but he’s been known to nap on the decks now and then.

“Oh, man.” I jump up, looking around for any sign of Louie, not sure how I could forget there are bears out here, since we are in Alaska. “What’s funny?” I frown, turning to face him when I hear his deep laughter.

“You’re in Alaska, babe. You lived here for years. You know there are bears out in those woods.” He nods to the trees.

Babe. Why, oh, why did that word make butterflies erupt in my stomach?

“I know that, but I forgot.” I shake my head and watch his face soften once again.

“Still sweet as pie,” I think I hear him say, but can’t be sure, because his voice dropped to a low rumble that I felt skid across my skin.

“Well, I’m gonna go in too,” I blurt, picking up my Kindle and wine glass. “Have a good night.” And with that, I duck my head and go back into my room. Closing the door I lock it behind me then hurry and get into bed where I try to forget once more about Zach Watters.

~~**~~

“Hello?” I answer the phone, still half asleep, then look at the clock and notice that even though it’s light out, it’s barely 6:00 a.m.

“Shelby, I’ve called three times,” Max, my ex-husband, says into my ear, and I pull my pillow over my head with thoughts of suffocating myself with it.

“It’s only six, Max. I haven’t gotten out of bed,” I grumble, tossing the covers back and sitting up. “What’s going on?”

“I want to fly out there this weekend,” he states, and I fight the urge to toss my phone across the room or scream at the top of my lungs.

“This weekend?” I verify, rubbing my face. “We haven’t even been here a week.”

“I have a few days off and would like to see Hunter.”

I sigh, considering him and his request. “Our stuff is going to be delivered in two days. Then I start my new job next week, and Hunter has swi—”

“You’re not keeping my boy from me,” he cuts me off, and I can tell by his tone that he’s mad and likely pulling at his ever-present tie in annoyance. Something I make him do often.

“I’m not saying you can’t see him, Max,” I clarify, wishing I had at least one cup of coffee before this conversation. “I’m just explaining to you that we’re trying to get settled in here. Can you wait a few weeks before you come out?”

“Such fucking bullshit. I can’t believe you moved to Alaska, of all goddamn places. A boy should have his dad in his life.” My heart stutters and I feel my pulse skyrocket. We didn’t have a custody battle, but I wouldn’t put it past Max to take me to court to gain custody of Hunter if I step out of line in his eyes.

“Max,” I soften my voice as I walk to the kitchen, “you know we talked about this. You can come see him anytime, and in a couple years, he can fly out to see you whenever he has a break,” I say, then drop my voice even lower. “We agreed on him living with me at least until he’s sixteen. After that, he can choose who he wants to live with.”

“I miss you both.” He sighs, making me roll my eyes. I know he doesn’t miss me. I know this, because he’s been dating woman after woman since I asked for a separation. For all I know, he was dating before that. Hell, the last year I spent under the same roof as him, he hardly spared me a glance. Hunter later suffered from his lack of attention, when we lived in the same town after our separation. With Max, it’s always about him getting his way.

“Max, please just wait a few more weeks, and then you can come and stay as long as you like,” I offer, the words leaving a horrid taste in my mouth. I will do whatever I have to in order to keep my son, though, including putting up with his dad in my childhood home for more than a few days.

“Fine, when?”

Closing my eyes, I whisper, “Next month. Whenever you like. Just let me know, so I can make sure I don’t make plans for Hunter. I know there are a few camps here he’s interested in.”

“Fine. Where is he now? I called his cell phone, but he didn’t pick up.”

“Sleeping. Like I said, it’s only six here, and he was up late talking to his friends back in Seattle on Skype.”

“You really shouldn’t let him stay up so late, Shelby,” he scolds, sounding disapproving, and again, that’s not a surprise.

“It’s summer, Max, and his ‘late’ is ten, not three in the morning,” I mutter, wondering how the hell I put up with him for so many years. “I’ll have him call you when he gets up.”

“Don’t tell him I’m coming out. I want to tell him that myself.”

“Will do,” I grumble, looking at the coffee pot and begging it to hurry up.

“Talk to you later.”

“Talk to you later,” I agree, setting the phone down on the counter. I make myself a cup of coffee and take it out to the back deck, drinking it while the morning sun beats down on me.

wide open spaces cover

New from Aurora Rose Reynolds!

Wide Open Spaces releases August 2016!

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1PDVZsf

Blurb

That moment your life changes.

That moment that changes your life.

That moment you love someone more than you love yourself.

That was the moment we gave our son up for adoption and the moment I was left bare. A wide-open space that would forever be empty.

There are moments that define you as a person, moments that prove just how strong you are, moments you push yourself to keep going forward when all you really want to do is give up. It was in one of those moments when I reached out and found him waiting for me.

When Shelby Calder left home fifteen years ago, she never planned on returning to the Alaskan town she left behind. But after the death of her grandfather and a bitter divorce, she hopes going home will be a fresh start for her and her ten-year-old son.

Zach Watters has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But when he sees Shelby Calder, looking more beautiful than ever, standing outside her childhood home, he promises himself that letting her go won’t be a mistake he ever makes again.

Some things never change and love is one of them.

author

aurora rose reynolds (1)

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Review Post: Undisputed by A.S. Teague

Undisputed_finalebookUNDISPUTED by A.S. Teague

Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance

Release Date: August 1, 2016

— SYNOPSIS —

I live a life most could only dream of. Parties, women, fame—what more could I want?

As the undisputed MMA light heavyweight champ, I’ve faced the world’s toughest men. But, with a single glance, I knew that the five-foot-five redhead with a smart mouth and innocent eyes would be my hardest opponent yet.

Sidney O’Neil isn’t my type. While I spend my nights out drinking at the trendiest clubs in town, she spends hers taking care of her sick nephew. She lives for those she loves, and I only love myself. She is nothing I thought I wanted, yet she’s somehow become the one thing I need.

But what happens when the world is tipped on end and I’m no longer who she needs?

How do I convince her that we’re worth the fight when all she knows is defeat?

I’ve never lost a match, and I refuse to start now.

But, sometimes, the toughest fight of your life is outside the cage.

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— PURCHASE: KINDLE US | KINDLE UK

My Review

****4.5 Emotionally Unforgettable Stars****

As a reader, I love to feel the books I read. I want to feel like I’m in those books, with those characters, living and breathing and experiencing it all with them, while feeling and connecting to all of the emotion behind what I’m experiencing with them. Getting those true and authentic feelings with characters while I read is what I live for as a reader, and when I come across a book that gives me that and more, I shout my love for that book from the proverbial rooftops.

This is my shouting my love for this book from the rooftops.

Undisputed by A.S. Teague was an utterly phenomenal debut novel that I loved every single word of. After reading the blurb of this book, I went into it thinking I was going to get a romance with some serious fight and some serious feels. Well I definitely got that and then some in this completely magnificent book. I got the fight and the drive and the sheer determination of these characters. I also got a helluva lot of feels that pulled at my heart on every single page of this book, along with a love story that exemplified what happens when you meet that one person who changes everything.

This book was well written, had engaging and memorable characters that completely charmed their way into my heart, and it had the level of authentic and all-feeling emotion that I crave when I read. Undisputed had so much to love within its pages, and whether this story was making me laugh with the charm and antics of the personalities within this book, or fall so hopelessly right along with these characters, or bringing tears to my eyes with all that they went through, I loved what it so phenomenally gave me.

Undisputed is the definition of a good, wholly enjoyable, and all around fantastic and fulfilling read, and it is one that I know I won’t soon forget. What I got within the pages of this book was a story of fight, feels, and true, honest to goodness love, and the completely life changing and upending things that can happen when you have all three. Breccan and Sidney’s journey and evolution together in Undisputed is real, completely enrapturing on every level, and honest in the most heart melting way.

What I loved about Undisputed:

  • Holy hell of a debut novel. Let me start this rest of this review by saying had I not known this was A.S. Teague’s debut novel, I would have never guessed that it was. Her emotionally laced writing, her thoughtfully crafted storytelling, and the dynamic characters she created screamed like they were coming from a seasoned pro of a writer who’d published many books. This author has a true talent, and the way she completely put me in this book whole heartedly with these characters and everything they experienced connected me to this story in every way, and made it so enrapturing that I had to know what would happen next. I couldn’t stop reading and feeling every bit of this story, and the way that A.S. Teague brought these characters, their personalities, and their journeys to life felt so completely real, which invested me in them so so much.
  • Not your average fighter romance. I am a huge lover of sports romances in general, and I have read my fair share of fighter romances, so I knew that I would most likely love getting to experience being with Breccan and his passion for MMA. But I think what I loved the most about this book, and especially Breccan, was that the fight in this love story wasn’t just inside of that ring. I not only got to experience what drove Breccan to fight, what it was like for him to fight in that ring, and why he wanted the things he did so badly, I got to experience what it was like for him outside of the ring too. Over the course of this novel you get to see Breccan at his most vulnerable, you get to see how that fight outside the ring starts to take precedence over what’s happening in that ring, and A.S. Teague puts you with him through every emotionally gripping moment of that. I loved getting to experience that with him, and that completely sent my heart to him, while simultaneously showing me the meaning behind everything that man was fighting for in this story.
  • The evolution of Breccan and Sidney. Breccan and Sidney are two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried. He loves to go out, and she is a homebody who is perfectly comfortable on the couch catching up on Netflix. She’s a bit of a control freak in a fun and easy to love way, while he is a go with the flow kind of guy that might be getting a little bit too lax on some of his choices. Neither of them is looking for anything serious, but after a turn of events sets them on a path to one another, they can’t help but be swept up in one another. Over the course of Undisputed you get to go along with both Breccan and Sidney as they start to evolve a bit, and as they start to really feel and determine what it is that they want, what they really need, and what’s truly important to them. I loved getting to be there through every phenomenal step of the way as these two pushed each other to want more, fight more, and try more, and experiencing what it was like for these two to journey together was everything. It was emotional, it was believable, and it felt right for them. Even in the moments when my heart broke for them and everything they experienced on that evolution, I knew that those two were on the right path to exactly where they needed to be, and I connected and felt with them through all of that because of what A.S. Teague gave me with them.
  • A love worth fighting for. The love and connection that Breccan and Sidney share in Undisputed exemplifies what it means to have a love worth fighting for. What those two grow to share, how they overcome the hurdles that come their way in this book, and how they give it their damndest to fight to where they want to be with one another will sear your heart to them. A.S. Teague completely allows you to understand their characters, to understand where their fears and doubts and hesitancies come from, and she allows you to be there with them as they attempt to make it work and fight for that undeniable connection they share. How these two affect one another, how they push each other to be more, and how their passionate and spark filled feelings emanate from the pages of this book will have you loving and rooting for them with all that you have. Trust me on that.
  • Feels and feels and more feels. As I said, I love to feel the books that I read. I love to feel as if I am right there with them through it all, understanding and experiencing every lick of emotion they do, and I got that through every single extraordinary page of Undisputed. I felt what Breccan experienced as he started to realize and feel that Sidney was someone who would change everything. I felt what it was like for Sidney to pour her heart over to something unknown and how life starting that was. I experienced what it was like for each of these characters to feel the emotional toll and journey, along with every ounce of feeling and emotion that came with this story and its events. I was there with them in the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and in some moments that broke and melted my heart more times than I could count. I felt it all. I lived it all. I understood it all. And that is a true testament to what A.S. Teague so wonderfully created in this book.

Undisputed was an outstanding and memorable story about many things. It was a story about fight. The fight in the ring, the fight for what you feel and want and so desperately need, and the fight of the heart that happens when you meet that one person who changes it all. It was a story of powerful emotion. What that emotion can bring you, how it can break you and open you up in ways you never knew possible, yet heal you in the same beat too. It was a story of life and love too. How the two of those things can weave together to create something truly meaningful, heart squeezing, and unforgettable.

This is a story of what happens when two characters are placed on a path they never thought they’d be on, yet can’t seem to get off of no matter how hard they might try. It shows what happens through every emotional up and down and twist and turn along that path, and it puts you on that path right alongside them as they journey through it all. It shows them, and you, that with the right people, a true emotional and heartfelt connection, and with that one person who changes the game, that path can lead you to some of the most extraordinary places of your life.

Through it all, even in the moments when that path attempts to hurt and break these characters just a bit (or a lot), you know that it is so beyond worth it because of everything it so authentically gives them and their hearts. And that is worth all the fight in the world.

Undisputed was a story that encapsulated a love story full of fight, meaningful emotion, and an undeniable connection between two people that couldn’t be denied. Told through phenomenal writing, with fantastic supporting characters, this book gave me a story and two characters I know I won’t soon forget. I loved every single moment of this book, what it gave me along the way, and how it opened my heart to everything Breccan and Sidney shared.

A.S. Teague hit it out of the park with this debut novel, and I have no doubt that I will love whatever she writes next. Fingers crossed that next book happens sometime soon because I truly can’t wait for more from this new author!

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— EXCERPT —

I’m nervous about what I’m going to say. I’m not sure how she’ll react or if she will even believe me. Afraid I’ll chicken out, though, so I start talking.

“I’m sorry.” The words were surprisingly hard to get out. Apologizing is not something I’ve done often, and I’m not even sure I know how to do it properly.

Sidney raises her eyebrows and presses her lips together. I study her face for any indication of what she’s thinking and notice that her eyes are pink and puffy, like she’s been crying.

The guilt I’ve recently begun experiencing returns. I’m sure I’m the reason for her tears, and the thought of her crying because of me kills. I cup her jaw in my hand before lightly rubbing her cheek with my thumb.

Her eyelids flutter shut and she sighs while tilting her face into my palm. Her reaction gives me the fuel I need to keep going. I pull my hand away, but I’m not ready to stop touching her, so I grab her hand.

“I’m an asshole, Sid. I’ve always been a selfish prick. I’ve never had anyone care about me though, so I’ve always had to be the one to care about me the most. I’m used to doing what I want, getting what I want, and taking what I want. I don’t know how to care about others.” I scrub my palm over my thigh.

“That’s not true, Breccan. I’ve seen you—”

I cut her off with a shake of my head. “I’m a virgin, Sidney,” I say solemnly.

A short burst of laughter escapes her mouth, and she shakes her head. “Yeah, right, Breccan. Do I have ‘dumbass’ stamped on my forehead?” She laughs again.

I rush to explain myself. “Well, I mean, not a virgin virgin. I’m a relationship virgin. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here. Hell, I had more finesse the first time I had sex than I do with this whole boyfriend thing.”

Her eyes widen at the word boyfriend, but she only says, “Oh.” Then she takes her hand from mine and brings her thumb to her mouth to chew on the nail.

Disappointed at the loss of contact with her skin, I pull her hand out of her mouth and lace my fingers through hers once again. “After you left, I went to my favorite club.” I purposely leave the part about destroying my kitchen out. “I couldn’t even get out of the car, Sidney. I sat there staring at the people dying to get inside and all I could think about was that I was dying to get out of that life. I don’t want to go to the clubs anymore. I’m tired of that shit. I just want to be with you. Here. On this couch. Eating fucking sushi if that’s what you want.”

I grimace, and she giggles.

It’s the fucking truth. Sitting in my car outside of Raw, all I could think about was how desperately I wanted to feel Sidney’s lips on mine and have her scent in my nose. I would have gladly choked down a pound of that crap if it meant I could go back and undo our fight and what I’d said.

“I’m sorry I freaked out when you called yourself my girlfriend.”

Her face falls.

I use my free hand to tip her chin up before I confess, “I don’t know how to do this. I have nothing to compare this to.” I use my hand to gesture between us. “But I can tell you that I want you. I want to hear you laugh. I want to make you smile. I want to hold you when you cry.” I run my thumb across her cheek. “I can tell you that I need you. I need your mouth on mine, your hair in my hands, your skin under my fingertips” Taking a chance, I lean in and place a light kiss on her lips.

She doesn’t pull away, so I continue speaking.

“I can tell you that no one else makes me laugh the way you do. No one else makes me feel stronger than you do. I miss you all the fucking time, Sid. Every minute of the day that I’m not with you, I’m dying to see you. My phone dings and I hope it’s you. When it’s not, I’m always so fucking bummed.” Lifting my shoulders in a shrug, I admit, “I’ve never felt this way about another person before, and I’m fumbling around like a kid trying to cop his first feel in the dark. I didn’t realize until tonight that I want you to be my girlfriend. I want to do all the cheesy couple things that people do—with you. And, Sidney, I’m really sorry I didn’t remember you from the club. I don’t know how I could have possibly forgotten you. But it’s not because you are forgettable. Because, ever since you fell down your fucking stairs, I haven’t been able to get you out of my head. And I don’t want to.” I blow out a breath when I finish and glance away from her penetrating gaze.

Undisputed_finalFORWEB

 

— ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A.S. TEAGUE —

A.S. Teague enjoys the warmth of South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. The stereotypes about peach cobbler and sweet tea are not overstated. After years in the medical field, she is now enjoying every minute of being a stay-at-home mom. She loves wine, the beach, wine on the beach, and crying at Disney movies. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, she can be found pestering her husband with pictures of animals she wants to rescue, as well as debating whether to exercise or take a nap.

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It’s a Cover Reveal: Everything for Her by Alexa Riley


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Coming December 27th 2016

 

Amazon US Amazon CA Nook

 

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 USA TODAY bestselling author Alexa Riley’s first full-length novel shows just what happens when a strong, possessive man finds the woman of his dreams.

 

I’ll never forget the way she looked, so confident and sure of herself. I watched her from a distance. She wasn’t ready for me yet. I didn’t approach her and I didn’t disturb her, but I never once took my eyes off her.  

Mallory Sullivan is ready to start her new life. After graduating at the top of her class, she’s landed one of the most coveted internships in the United States. Hard work and determination have gotten her to this moment of living the life she only dreamed of while growing up in foster care.

From the start, I knew that she would be my greatest achievement, so the day I let her go, I set down a path for her. A path to me.  

She never expected Oz to be the greatest culmination of those dreams. But sometimes fate determines who you fall in love with. Who makes you lose control. Who owns your soul.

And then you realize it wasn’t fate at all…

I’ve wanted to care for and protect her since the first moment I saw her. I’ve constructed everything in our lives so that at the perfect moment, I could have her, could give her the life she deserves.

 

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Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.

They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!

Author Links

Twitter  Facebook Website  Goodreads  Amazon Page  Instagram

 

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It’s a Cover Reveal: The Retrieval Duet by Aly Martinez

retrieval duet

ONE STORY. TWO COUPLES.

The Retrieval Duet by Aly Martinez is a two part series releasing September 2016.

RETRIEVAL releases on September 13th and will bring readers the first part of this emotional second chance romance.   

TRANSFER (Part Two) will release on September 27th!

Check out these beautiful covers &

Pre-order The Retrieval Duet TODAY!

You will not be disappointed.

Retrieval (Part One):

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2aMnW74

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2aW07Yb

iBooks: http://apple.co/2aH2bFb

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

Transfer (Part Two)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2b3AJ6S

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2aW0WAf

iBooks: http://apple.co/2beFszd

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2aW1So5

retrieval aly

Blurb

I proposed on our first date.

She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes.

It was a whirlwind, but we were happy…

Until we got greedy and wanted a family.

It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand.

Finally, we were successful…

Until we were forced to bury our son.

We were left broken, battered, and destroyed.

They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us.

This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine.

The retrieval of my wife and our family.

Release Date: September 13th

Add to your TBR here: http://bit.ly/2aUVrn0

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Blurb

I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist.

What started out as romance ended in hell.

His words turned to razor blades.

His kisses converted to fists.

His embrace became my cage.

His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately….

I broke.

I hated him.

My sole job in life became to protect our daughter.

I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears.

Until the day our savior arrived.

This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me.

The transfer of my life and my family.

Release Date:  September 27th

Add to your TBR here: http://bit.ly/2aGPeOB

transfer full

author

aly martineez

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

It’s a Cover Reveal: Wilder by Rebecca Yarros

Wilder (Renegades #1)

Rebecca Yarros

Coming: September 19, 2016

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Synopsis2He’s Paxton Wilder.

Twenty-two-year-old, tattooed, smoking-hot leader of the Renegades.

Five time X Games medalist.

The world is his playground—especially this year—and for the next nine months I’m stuck as his tutor on the Study at Sea program.

He’s too busy staging worldwide stunts for his documentary to get to class.

But if I can’t get him to take academics seriously, I’ll lose my scholarship…if I don’t lose my heart first.

Six unlikely friends on a nine-month cruise with the Study at Sea program will learn that chemistry is more than a subject and the best lessons aren’t taught in the classroom…but in the heart.

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28672986-wilder?from_search=true

author

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for fourteen years.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. They recently adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.

Rebecca is represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency.

Connect with Rebecca

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1Y5zmlV

Website: http://www.rebeccaelizabethyarros.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaElizabethYarros

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/327562767450842/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaYarros

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/23mt0Qh

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

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Uw8NXZ

Make sure to join Rebecca’s newsletter because on August 18th all newsletter subscribers will be a sneak peek at Chapter 1 of Wilder!

Blog Tour: Banking the Billionaire by Max Monroe

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Banking the Billionaire Playlist: https://goo.gl/s243n5

Synopsis2

 Uninhibited. Sarcastic. Confident. Beautiful. With a thriving photography career that allows her to travel all over the world and capture the hottest of men behind her camera lens, Cassie Phillips is the woman who can’t be tamed.
Adrenaline-junkie. Jokester. Billionaire. Hot-as-sin. At six-foot-five, with muscles for days, and that perfect playful smile, Thatcher Kelly is the kind of man you don’t want to deny.
Wild for wild. Prank for prank. The two most unlikely of people may be the only ones to see that some personality traits only run skin deep.
Uncensored. Hilarious. And too damn hot to put into words. Grab a fan and get ready for one hell of a ride because when the opposite of opposites attract, things are bound to get a little messy.

Disclaimer:

The CDC has been notified of the infectious nature of Cassie’s craziness, siting her first case of full transmission to Thatcher Kelly. Measures should be taken to counteract its fast regeneration cycle, but avoiding the book is not recommended at this time. The Epilogue is the only known antidote.

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Giveaway

Tour Giveaway LINK: https://goo.gl/262V84


Tiny Tease:

I recognized the need to forget all the details and just concentrate on what I knew. And I knew how to eat a f*cking p*ssy.

      The secret was simple.

      It was never, ever the same.

      It could be the same woman, the same day, the same f*cking session, but a woman’s p*ssy is a special kind of woman. She’s picky but f*cking generous, and she gets off on all kinds of wicked sh*t, but her biggest turn-on is variety and a good sense of mood.

      I did my best to listen for Cassie’s cues, her moans and whimpers and the speed of her breath. Did she need it faster or slower, and was the pressure just right? The answer was never consistent, and I f*cking loved it. Every time I earned a reward through the curl of her toes or a squeeze of her knees, it made me work harder.

Buy The Book

Be sure to buy the book this instant!!

 http://www.authormaxmonroe.com/#!books/cnec

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Releasing Now: Undisputed by A.S. Teague

Undisputed_finalebookUNDISPUTED by A.S. Teague
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2016
— SYNOPSIS —
I live a life most could only dream of. Parties, women, fame—what more could I want?

As the undisputed MMA light heavyweight champ, I’ve faced the world’s toughest men. But, with a single glance, I knew that the five-foot-five redhead with a smart mouth and innocent eyes would be my hardest opponent yet.

Sidney O’Neil isn’t my type. While I spend my nights out drinking at the trendiest clubs in town, she spends hers taking care of her sick nephew. She lives for those she loves, and I only love myself. She is nothing I thought I wanted, yet she’s somehow become the one thing I need.

But what happens when the world is tipped on end and I’m no longer who she needs?

How do I convince her that we’re worth the fight when all she knows is defeat?

I’ve never lost a match, and I refuse to start now.

But, sometimes, the toughest fight of your life is outside the cage.

 

— PURCHASE —
KINDLE US | KINDLE UK

undisputed RDB BANNER

Happy Couple Enjoying the Partyundisputer teaser 1undisputed teaser 2

— EXCERPT —
She takes my hand, the smallest of grins splitting her lips. Standing, I pull her to her feet. She isn’t dressed like the other women in the club. Her jeans fit her like a glove and show off her curves, but they aren’t designer threads. Her tank top barely reveals any cleavage, but it does show off her toned arms.

“I bet I looked ridiculous,” she states, brushing the hair out of her face.

Words flow from my mouth before I can even stop them. “Someone as beautiful as you could never look ridiculous.” Nice line, cheese dick.

Blushing, she shoves her phone and her charger cord back in her purse. “That’s really nice of you to let me use your phone. If you’re sure you don’t mind, I’ll just send my sister a text.”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I minded,” I reply, holding her gaze until she shyly glances away. “Here.” I offer her my phone.

She takes the phone and grimaces. “Just one message,” she says before quickly typing a message and then handing it back. “Oh, wait. I should probably delete that.” She snatches my phone back giving me a wicked grin.

I’m lost in her bright, blue eyes as her fingers slide over the screen, doing God knows what in my phone.

Between the booze and this woman, there are no fucks left to give. She could steal the damn thing and I’m not sure I’d be able to protest.

“Thanks again.” She tucks the phone in my hand before turning to leave.

I catch her arm at the elbow. “Hey. Where ya goin’? You didn’t tell me your name.”

She glances up through her lashes while tucking a stray hair behind her ear. “It’s Sidney.”

Sidney.

Sidney.

Fucking remember that, you drunk douchebag.

Sid…ney.

“Sidney. That’s a gorgeous name. It fits you. Are you here alone?” I rush out, doing my best to hide my drunken slur. I pray that she says yes, not only because I’m interested in her, but also because what kind of an asshole lets her crawl around on the ground?

Her gaze shifts from side to side while she smirks. “Are you trying to pick me up?”

“Well, technically, I just did,” I tell her, gesturing to the spot she was just in on the floor.

“Touché.” Her smile grows. “I’m here with some friends, actually”

Glad she didn’t mention a boyfriend, I offer, “Let me buy you a drink.”

She shakes her head. “Thanks, but no, thanks. I’m not drinking. I was actually about to head home.”

“Well, then let me get you a soda. A water? I hear the bartender makes a mean Shirley Temple,” I counter, determined not to let her leave yet.

She laughs, and the magical sound spurs me on.

“What’s the rush? Husband waiting at home?”

Shaking her head again, she responds, “Nope. Just my couch and Netflix.”

I dramatically clutch my heart then shoot her my best smile. “You’re too beautiful to waste it on your couch. Come have one nonalcoholic beverage with me.” I stick my bottom lip out in an attempt to look pathetic enough that she’ll say yes.

Fuck. Am I really doing this?

I’m rewarded for my efforts with a big smile and a quick nod. Yes. Yes. I fucking am.

“How can I resist the puppy-dog face?” she laughs.

Pumping my arms in the air, I shout, “She said yes!” Gripping her around the waist, I lift her off her feet and jokingly spin us both around in a circle. “She said yes!”

Wiggling out of my arms, she shrieks, “Oh my god, put me down! Jesus, how drunk are you?”

Grinning from ear to ear, I tell her, “I’ve only had three drinks.” I hold up five fingers and wink.

Shaking her head, she mumbles, “Multiply that by two at least.”

Ready to continue this conversation with a drink in my hand, I place my hand on the small of her back and guide her to the bar.

Knocking on the bar with my knuckles, I get the bartender’s attention. “I’ll have a Crown and Coke. And the hottest chick in the club here wants a Shirley Temple.”

Gripping my bicep, she interjects, “I’ll just take a water, please.”

Normally, I’d throw in a flex for good measure.

For this chick? I throw in three.

A few minutes of fighting not to stare at her cleavage later, he sets the drinks in front of us. I hand hers over and offer my glass up in a toast.

Raising one eyebrow at me, she smirks, “This ought to be good.”

I clear my throat before saying, “To cell phones. May yours always be dead, sockets be missing, and heroes be plentiful.” I pause when I realize what I said. Then I correct myself. “And, by heroes, I mean me. May I be plentiful.” I clink her cup with mine.

She giggles before taking a small sip. “Hear, hear.”

Undisputed_finalFORWEB

— ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A.S. TEAGUE —
A.S. Teague enjoys the warmth of South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. The stereotypes about peach cobbler and sweet tea are not overstated. After years in the medical field, she is now enjoying every minute of being a stay-at-home mom. She loves wine, the beach, wine on the beach, and crying at Disney movies. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, she can be found pestering her husband with pictures of animals she wants to rescue, as well as debating whether to exercise or take a nap.

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It’s a DOUBLE Cover Reveal: Cement Heart & Wild Heart by Beth Ehemann

**** COVER REVEAL ****

Cement Heart & Wild Heart

By: Beth Ehemann

*** CEMENT HEART ***

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Lawrence Finkle, known simply to his die-hard Minnesota Wild fans as Viper, isn’t used to hearing the word no. He lives his whole life just a little on the reckless side. After all, life is just one big game, right?
Wrong.
When what was supposed to be an innocent bet goes horribly wrong, he’s left to deal with the aftermath—and the guilt. In an effort to make things right the best way he can, he ends up falling for the one person on the planet he never should have.
The old saying goes that two wrongs don’t make a right . . . or do they?

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*** WILD HEART ***

RELEASING AUGUST 9TH

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For Lawrence “Viper” Finkle, hockey isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life. Since the first time he stepped onto the ice at just eight years old, he knew what he was meant to do, and he does it well.

When his career takes an unexpected hit, and his relationship is pushed to the breaking point, he’s left sidelined and wondering what his future holds.
 
Just when he’s sure things can’t get any worse…they do.
 
Can Viper pull himself together in time to save his career, his girl, and his sanity? Or will he be permanently benched?

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Blog Tour: Dirty Work by Chelle Bliss & Brenda Rothert

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DIRTY WORK by Chelle Bliss & Brenda Rothert is now live!

A brand new romantic standalone you won’t want to miss!

Politics have never been so dirty…

Purchase it here:

Amazon US – amzn.to/29urE3V

Paperback – amzn.to/29hWpMG

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Amazon CA – amazon.ca/dp/B01EXZU8OK

Amazon AU – amazon.com.au/dp/B01EXZU8OK

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Synopsis2
From authors Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert comes a smoldering standalone enemies to lovers romance that will, ahem…check all your boxes.
Reagan
I hate him. Jude Titan is everything that’s wrong with the male sex: cocky, domineering and loaded with swagger. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Republican? Yeah, the guy’s so conservative he leans to the right when walking. And lucky me, I’m running against him for Senate. But I’ve got plenty of fight in me. A golden boy war hero opponent with a smile that leaves melted panties in its wake? Bring. It. On.
Jude

Damn, she’s sexy. Reagan Preston intrigues me from the moment I lay eyes on her. And speaking of laying…I want between those thighs. But I want to make her burn for me first. Every debate and stolen moment is foreplay for us. She claims she hates me, but her body tells a different story. I plan to win this election, but I also want to win the sharp, fiery Democrat who captures my attention like no woman ever has. Politics is filthy, just like all the things I want to do to Reagan Preston.

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Excerpt

Lexi approaches and takes my arm. She’s giving me the look. It means something’s up.

“I’m sorry, guys,” she says to the group of waiting people. “She has an interview at a news

station in fifteen minutes. I have to take her.”

One of my deputy campaign managers passes out business cards to everyone who wants one.

Lexi steers me toward the waiting campaign bus.

“What’s up?” I ask her as soon as we step on and the driver closes the doors.

“I got a call from a TV station manager in Springfield. He wants to know if you’re

interested in doing a Q&A thing with Titan and Sonny Solomon Wednesday evening.”

“Wednesday?” I arch my brows. “Yikes. That’s tomorrow. Not much prep time.”

“I know. I think he wants to capitalize on Titan’s announcement. I can tell him no.”

I shake my head. “No, I’m in. I’d like to size Jude Titan up in person.”

“I’ll let the manager know.”

The bus starts up, and we head toward the news station. Claire, another of my staffers, kneels

in front of me and powders my nose.

“I’m sweating like a whore in church,” I say to her. “That gym wasn’t air-conditioned.”

“We’ll get you all fixed up,” Claire says. “Want me to pull up your hair to help cool you off?”

“That would be great,” I say, reaching over to open the fridge from my seat. “You want a water?”

“Sure.”

I take two bottles out and hand her one. As I open mine and take a drink, I’m thinking about

meeting Jude tomorrow. I’m eager to find out if his presence is as commanding as it seemed on

TV today. I’m also eager for him to see that I can bust balls with the best of them.

Jude Titan can bring it on.

I’m ready.

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author
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BRENDA ROTHERT – AUTHOR BIO:

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/BrendaRothert
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1TyGXds

CHELLE BLISS – AUTHOR BIO:

Chelle Bliss, USA Today Bestselling author, currently lives in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, and coffee fiend. She’s written over thirteen books and has three series available. She loves spending her free time with her boyfriend, 2 cats, and her hamster.
Before becoming a writer, Chelle taught high school history for over ten years. She holds a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and a bachelor’s in history. Although history is her first love, writing has become her dream job and she can’t imagine doing anything else.