Releasing Now: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

LOVE IN THE FRIEND ZONE by Molly E. Lee is live! Check out the excerpt below!

YA Contemporary Romance
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How can she hook up the boy of her dreams with the girl of his?
The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams.
Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor, and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much.
Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot to find true love before leaving for college. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all.
His eyes found mine before looking around the room. “It went by fast, didn’t it?”
I nodded, recalling the first day we’d walked into this room freshman year. Fynn had held the door open for me, more out of habit than an attempt to be a gentleman, and had announced to the seniors that I was their new editor-in-chief. Of course, I hadn’t earned the position yet, but I had by the end of the year—which quickly made him the star photographer.
Not that being my best friend made it happen—the boy had a knack for capturing the most stunning images imaginable—but we’d been friends since kindergarten; there was no way I wasn’t giving him all the prime stories to cover.
An easy grin shaped my lips as I thought all the way back to the first day I’d met him. Don Trainer—who would always be the school bully—had stolen my favorite red crayon and snapped it in half, laughing the way only evil maniacs could as I cried my eyes out. Fynn had shoved him so hard his butt hit the activity mat with a thud loud enough to stop my tears. He then took my broken pieces of crayon to the teacher and asked for tape. He returned it to me, a thick bandage of scotch tape around its middle. We’d been inseparable since.
“What are you smiling at?” he asked, nudging me with his elbow. The move shot a thrill of warmth through my chest.
I blinked a few times, mentally cursing the rapidly approaching graduation ceremony forcing my mind to overrun with memories. “Just thinking about how you’ve always been the Prince Charming sort.”




About the Author:

Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her debut novel EDGE OF CHAOS, and as a fourth year mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult and Young Adult Contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.
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Review Post: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas

THE FORBIDDEN by Jodi Ellen Malpas

(August 8, 2017; Forever trade paperback original; $15.99)

A new story of dangerous temptations from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the This Man trilogy. 
Annie has never experienced the ‘spark’ with a guy – the kind of instant chemistry that steals your breath and blindsides you completely. Until a night out with friends brings her face to face with the wickedly sexy and mysterious Jack. It’s not just a spark that ignites between them. It’s an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.
Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who’s had such a powerful impact on her and who could bend her to his will so easily, must be dangerous. But she’s already in too deep. And Jack isn’t only dangerous. He is forbidden.

“Every kiss, every sexy scene, every word between this pair owned a piece of my soul.  I could read this book a hundred times and still react as if it was the first time.  The Protector is a top 2016 fave for me.” –Audrey Carlan, #1 bestselling author of The Calendar Girl series

Buy the Book!


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***** 5 Amazingly Forbidden Stars *****

Jodi Ellen Malpas continues to be an author that completely consumes me within every single book she writes. She is one of my absolute favorite authors, and her books continue to wow me and blow me away with all that they have. The way her writing pulls me into it all, the way she brings this unforgettable intensity to every word, and the way she weaves so much emotion and fire and power to what she so beautifully crafts is just part of what has made her books some of my all-time favorites.

I think it’s pretty much impossible for this author to write a book that I won’t love. She just has a way of writing and storytelling that is enthralling, breathtaking, and bursting with a love story that takes ahold of me with all that it has. Jodi Ellen Malpas knows how to write a mesmerizing love story through and through, one that will own you, your heart, and your very mind, and one that will have you so beyond in every word of what she so phenomenally creates.

The Forbidden was no different. This book captured me in from the very first page, pulled me right into the thick of it with its characters, and had me completely engrossed in the intensity and spark of it all. This story definitely pushes the boundaries, but does it in a way that is real, honest, heart wrenching and truly unforgettable. The moment I finished this story, I just wanted to start it all over again to experience more time with these characters because that’s how much I loved this book.

Jodi Ellen Malpas once again blew me away with what she gave me in this book. The Forbidden was bursting with her exceptional writing, her dynamic characters that completely seared themselves to my heart, and a story that had me living and breathing and feeling every word from start to finish. This book was incredible, so well-paced, and had my heart in every single word, and that is just part of what made me love it so much.

What I loved about The Forbidden:

  • A love story that pushes the boundaries. From the moment I read the blurb for The Forbidden, I knew that this story would be one I would not soon forget. The blurb had me all kinds of ready to figure out why Jack was forbidden, how he would meet Annie, and what would transpire between them. Jodi Ellen Malpas completely lets you understand every part of what makes Annie and Jack’s relationship forbidden. She lets you see and experience where it all begins, how they fight against it, how it pushes them both further and further over that edge, and how it all keeps building and building through every amazing word. The way she so thoughtfully creates that in this book is just part of what makes this story so intense and unforgettable, and it is what had me needing to know what would happen next and how everything would work out. The Forbidden gives a story that will push your mind and heart and morals and boundaries a bit, but it does it in the most exceptional way that truly allows you to understand and feel every part of these characters and what they share. No matter what you might feel about the forbidden nature of the relationship between Jack and Annie, you will feel a lot, and that will give you the most incredible reading experience as this story unfolds. Trust. Me.
  • All those flying sparks. When I tell you that the connection between Jack and Annie is intense, I mean it is one of the most intense, fieriest, and passionate connections I have read between two characters. The sparks and pull between Annie and Jack is magnetic, so strong, and it burns every single second that those two are together. From the very first moment they meet it fires off the page, and even after the forbidden nature of their relationship is revealed, that connection and those sparks are still right there at the surface. Every new moment with Annie and Jack deepens what they share, their fight against it all, and what it’s making them feel. The way that you experience all of that fire and spark with them will have you burning for those two, what it all means, and how it continues to build and intensify. It was that spark that pulled my heart to them and that allowed me to root for them, it showed me why they fought against the pull they shared so hard, yet at the same time couldn’t help but feel what they did, and in the end it was what made this book so incredible to read.
  • Annie’s journey. Annie was a character that I found to be very real and relatable. She is a young woman in her late twenties doing all she could to make her dreams a reality. She doesn’t have any time for a relationship, but all of that changes when she meets Jack. After a night of passion that she knows she’ll never forget she soon starts to think that she might have just met someone she wants to know more of. The only problem is that she soon finds out he is forbidden, and she isn’t supposed to have him. What ensues in this book is Annie’s own emotional and personal journey to discovering what is right, what is wrong, what she feels, what she pretends she doesn’t feel, and what she really and truly wants. This book and its events push Annie to her limits. They make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, her morals and ethics, and it makes her fight with all that she has against her desires and heart. The more this story unfolds, the more Annie discovers that her fight might not be as strong as she thought it was. Getting to be there with her as she dove heart first into the web of the forbidden was everything, and I loved every second I got to spend with her real and relatable character.
  • Jack’s heartfelt determination. Jack was a character that stole my heart from the very first moment I met him in this book. He was a character that was alluring, that was tempting through every single breath, and that had me questioning my own thoughts and feelings with what was right and wrong. That man just melted my heart, and getting to experience the effect he had on Annie, the effect she had on him, and what was transpiring between them as they waded through their feelings was amazing. What I loved about Jack was that through it all he was a man that I knew had a heart of gold. He was a man who was going to fight for Annie, fight for what they felt, and who was going to fight for what they could share together with all that he had. I loved feeling every ounce of that determination with Jack, and that just pulled my heart to him again and again. The way that Jodi Ellen Malpas gave me so much with his character even though I wasn’t actually in his head made me fall for that man something fierce, allowed me to understand the struggle he felt, as well as the effect he was having on Annie, and in the end it was what made me love him so so much.
  • All the feels and struggle. The Forbidden not only packs a story of romance and forbidden and spark, it also packs a story that finds the perfect balance of feels and struggle. This story pushes these characters to their limits, and puts them through so much. It makes them struggle with their minds and hearts and even some outside forces. It brings up discussions they aren’t prepared for, it tears them in two, and it pushes everything they think they know about themselves. Jodi Ellen Malpas did the most exceptional job weaving in those feelings, those breathtaking emotions, and all of that external and internal struggle these characters go through in this book. She let me feel it all with them, and that put me in every amazing word of this story. At times that hurt my heart for what these characters went through, at others it soared with them as they felt what it did, and through it all it had me consumed with every emotion and feeling they went through as this story came to be. I was that level of emotion and feeling, along with that struggle that really put me in what I was reading, and what had me needing for things to work out for these two because of what I got with them.
  • Twist and turns, oh my, oh my. Let me tell you that this story is chalk full of events that will literally steal your breath, and have you turning the pages of this book like crazy to figure out what will happen next for Jack and Annie. The way Jodi Ellen Malpas intricately places the twists and turns of this story, the way she allows to you feel the effects of those twists with these characters, and the way that she makes those moments completely heart stopping was phenomenal. That was just another thing pulling me in more to everything I was experiencing in this story, and it was those twists and turns that had me unable to put this book down for anything. The way those twists and turns add to the story and what these characters share pulled every part of my heart and mind into what I was reading with them, and I loved that. It made this story full of adrenaline pumping moments, so much heart and emotion, everything Jack and Annie shared, and through it all it had me so encapsulated in every unforgettable word.

The Forbidden was another outstanding story by Jodi Ellen Malpas. This story definitely pushed my heart and all of my emotions to the edge, but it did it in the most intense and all-feeling way that I know I won’t soon forget. Everything I got with Annie and Jack as they wove their way through the web of their forbidden feelings was real, raw, so incredibly intense, and so packed with the most breathtaking emotion that gave me it all.

This story and its characters were exceptionally developed and crafted, had me feeling so much through every word, and in the end they gave me a reading experience that was the perfect amount of romance, fire and spark, emotion, and shocking twists and turns that had me encapsulated within it all.

Jodi Ellen Malpas created the most phenomenal story and characters in The Forbidden. She created a book I could not put down, and she created a love story that struck me to the core of my heart. This book wowed me, it consumed me, and it pulled me in a million different directions with its characters, and I can’t say enough how truly incredible it was to read and experience.

The Forbidden is a story that will make you think and feel and question from page one to the very end. It will push your heart and your emotions and your mind through every word, it will give you Annie and Jack and the forbidden web their relationship weaves, and in the end it will give you one helluva love story that I promise you won’t soon forget.

“Thank you for your help,” I say quietly, studying him, definitely detecting that he’s deep in thought. Don’t ask, don’t ask, don’t ask. I need to get back into my apartment without engaging with him, which could prove tricky when he’s blocking the doorway and looking like he has no intention of shifting to let me in.

“Annie,” he breathes. “I’m struggling so badly.”

“I’m not doing this.” I swallow, pushing my way past him. He grabs me by the top of my arm and holds me in place. “Let me go, Jack.”

“I’ve already told you I can’t do that. Annie, I’m drowning here. I’m going out of my mind, and the more time I spend with you the fucking worse it’s getting. Listening to you, talking to you, sharing a passion with you that goes way beyond the amazing time we had in bed together.”

“You have to forget!” I yell, knowing anger is the only way forward. Be angry with him. Let it dominate me and rule me, because the alternative scares me to fucking death.

He pushes me into the hall and slams the door behind us, forcing me to back up. “No,” he says, straight and even. “No,” he repeats, moving one more step forward, except this time I don’t retreat. Because I can’t. Because he has me locked in place with those grey eyes, and now they’re back to their full glory. Sparkling, even if it’s with anger. He reaches for his shirt and starts unbuttoning it before shrugging it off and throwing it to the floor, revealing the chest that’s haunting me.

I quickly look down at the pile of material, my mind reeling. His chest. His perfect damn chest. “What are you doing?”

“I have no fucking idea.” He reaches for me and slides a hand around my neck, pulling me to him. Our chests meet, and my determination to repel him vanishes under our connection. Wrongs turn into rights. Conflict turns into craving.

“I can’t get you out of my head, Annie.” His forehead meets mine, his palm massaging away the tightness in my neck muscles, softening me up until I relax in his hold. “I want you all over again, and I can’t even find the will to worry about how much more that’ll make me want you.” He breathes down on me. “I’ve played that night on repeat. I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms again. I’ve craved the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch, the softness of your lips on mine. I know I shouldn’t want you. But I do. Nothing has ever made me feel this insane with need. Nothing has taken up so much space in my head. I can’t fucking help it, Annie.” His grey gaze sinks into me, my heart steadying to an even thrum. His head starts to shake mildly, his splayed hand moving up to the back of my head and fisting my hair. “I don’t want to help it,” he growls. “I want you. I don’t care how wrong it is.” His clenched fist tightens, gripping my hair harshly. “I know I’ve been on your mind since I fucked you every which way in that hotel room. Stop denying it. Don’t insult me and tell me you don’t crave that amazing feeling all over again. I can see it in your eyes every damn time I look into them. You. Want. Me.”

It’s me who moves in first. All me. I lunge forward and smash my lips to his, the magnetic force winning. His words winning. Jack winning. My heart winning. I coax his mouth open with hard, hungry kisses. I’ve lost my mind to a craving too powerful to fight off. And, like Jack, I don’t care how wrong it is.


Yet as he walks me backward until my back slams into the wall, I feel found again.

I cry out, and Jack moans. We’re clumsy and desperate. He’s pushing me up the wall with the force of his kiss, then he’s rolling away, taking me with him until it’s his back slamming into the wall. It’s the elevator all over again. The atmosphere is sizzling. I’m on fire. He scoops me up, pinning me to him, and carries me into my bedroom. I focus on him. Only him and the return of feelings that I’ve fantasized about since that unforgettable night. All the guilt is abandoning me, and I let it, unprepared to let anything stop me from taking the forbidden.



About the Author

Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

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Releasing Now: A Better Place by Jennifer Van Wyk

Title: A Better Place
Author: Jennifer Van Wyk
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing

Because fighting for love is always worth it.

After James Cole’s wife walked out on him, he put his dreams aside to raise his daughter. But now she’s grown and he’s ready for more.

When the opportunity arises to own a restaurant, his life-long dream, he can’t deny that it’s meant to be. And for more reasons than one.

He’s kept his heart closed off since the day his wife walked away. He’s never found someone who he thought was worth opening himself up to. But one look at her, and he knew she was everything.

Carly Hanson has a secret. A secret only she and her teenage son, Jack, know about. She’s built a new life but kept herself carefully guarded.

The day Carly stumbled, literally, into James, her world was turned upside down. She tries to keep him strictly as a friend, but he’s relentless in his pursuit. Can he break down the walls she’s so firmly built? Can he get her to join him in… A Better Place?


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“Can I come in?” he asks, still standing on my front porch under the soft glow of the porch light.

“Oh! Yeah. Of course. Let me just let Jack know you’re here,” I say over my shoulder as I make my way back into the house.

“Wait. Can I talk to you? Just for a quick second?” he asks, reaching out and touching my hand and stopping me.

“Sure.” I nod my head. “What about?” I ask as I lean against the back of the couch in the living room. I reach over and grab one of the cream-colored throw pillows and hug it to my chest. It gives me a sense of comfort, and stops me from fidgeting — or reaching out and tugging him close to kiss the crap out of him. That might not give him the right idea for just staying friends.

“I have a favor to ask,” he hedges but hastily continues, “and I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t really important, and it’s a strictly friendship favor. I promise.”

“James. I know I’ve been a little… determined to keep it in the friend-zone, and you’ve never crossed the line. I can’t tell you how much your patience means to me. I trust you. I promise.”

“Yeah? I’m not being too pushy?”


“Okay. Good. That’s good. I would never want to do anything to make you feel uncomfortable.”

There’s not a single molecule in my body that doesn’t believe that. “I know. And you haven’t.”

“Would you go to a wedding with me?” he blurts out.

“What?!” I ask, surprise evident in my voice.

“I’m sorry. I just kind of blurted that out, huh? Let me start over. My niece, Emily, is getting married a few weeks after Christmas. It’s only about two hours from here, but I wondered if you would be my plus-one? And I’d love for you to meet Lily, and she’s been so swamped lately that she hasn’t had a chance to spend much time here. I guess she’ll be here for Christmas, so maybe you can meet then, but yeah. And, Tess will be there, obviously, so you would know someone.”

“I don’t know, James. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m honored that you invited me, or thought of me…”

“No one else I would think of,” he murmurs before I continue with my protest that I know will just fall flat anyway.

“You don’t want to bring someone else?”

“Like who?” he challenges, turning his head to the side.

I shrug my shoulders and say the only name that comes to mind. “Christine?”

They actually seem like a logical couple to me, both being in the food-service industry. Both being single parents of daughters. But even though there’s so much that seems right about those two together — and I love Christine dearly — the thought of it makes me physically ill.

He’s shaking his head before I even finish saying her name.

“There’s no one else I would rather bring with me to this wedding, Carly. Jack can come with us, if you’re worried about it being too date-like. I told you I would keep it in the friend-zone, and I don’t go back on my promises. But that doesn’t mean that I want to stop getting to know you better or spending time with you.”

“Can I think about it?” I ask, already knowing that he’ll break me down, and my answer will be yes.

His smile stretches across his scruff-covered face. I was never big on facial hair, but the way James does it makes shaving seem like it should be a crime. Apparently, anything James does makes me change my views. Tattoos? Used to make me turn the other direction. Now? Hot enough to lick. Facial hair? Used to make me think lazy and dingy. Now? I want to run my fingers through it and lick. Either I’m severely hard up, or James is getting burrowed deep under my skin.

“Of course. But let me sweeten the pot. This way you can answer that question that you’ve been dying to have answered since the moment you met me.”

I giggle quietly. “Oh yeah? And what’s that?”

“Who’s the cooler uncle, Dean or myself?”

I almost burst out laughing. He’s so lighthearted and full of life. He’s truly just a fun guy to be around — always a mischievous twinkle in his eye. He could have become a bitter and cynical man after being left to raise a daughter on his own. Instead he embraced it.

“Oh, that question! I already figured it out!”

“It’s not hard to realize, right?” he said as he puffed his chest out a bit, giving me an impish grin.

“Nope. Dean is obviously the way cooler one between you two.” I press my lips together to stop the smile threatening to take over my face.

“Carly,” he warns playfully as he takes a step toward me.

“What? He’s probably not boring, and I’m sure way better looking.”

“Oh really?”

Two steps.

I nod my head seriously. “And in way better shape,” I say, almost choking on the words.

“You think so?”

Another step.

“I’m positive. And cooking? Pssshhh. Hands down, I bet he’s better in the…”

I squeal and take off running through the house as James advances one step closer, a deep growl escaping his throat.

I burst out laughing. Heavy footfalls follow me, making my heart race in anticipation. I round the kitchen island and spread my hands across it, breathless from laughing and running. “Maybe I had it wrong this whole time, and he’s Captain and you’re Private?”

“Take it back,” he says, smiling, his own hands spread wide across the wooden countertop of the island.

I turn my head to the side. “What? Take what back?” I ask innocently.

“Carly,” he warns again.

I tap my finger on my chin, feeling more playful and lighter than I have in years. “Hmmm, maybe I will have to come with you to the wedding. See what the younger Cole brother has to live up to.”

His eyes flash, and I know I’m in trouble, but I can’t seem to stop. “Oh, you think you’re so funny, don’t you?”

I giggle and shrug my shoulders as I start to take steps toward him. He turns and saunters my way, flipping his ball cap backward, our eyes never leaving each other’s. “I think I’m a little funny,” I say as I continue walking toward him, holding my finger and thumb up with only a little space apart.

“Funny or delusional?”



I guffaw and press my hand to my chest. “Delusional? Who’s the delusional one here?”



“You’ll see.”



“I’ll see the awesomeness of Dean? I have no doubts.”



And I’m suddenly hanging upside down over James’s shoulder being carried back into the living room.

“Aggghhh! James! Put me dow…” I laugh. “I’ll pee! James! Seriously!” I’m laughing so hard that tears are already forming in my eyes.

He tosses me on the couch and pounces, his large body covering mine in a very non-friendly way, but I don’t say a thing. I can’t say a thing. While we have not been overly touchy in the weeks that we’ve known each other, we also haven’t refrained from showing each other small amounts of affection. He always puts his hand on the small of my back when we’re walking, and he’s held my hand when we were crossing the street to go for supper. This, though? This is by far the most affection and feeling we have shown each other.

“Take it back,” he repeats, his eyes heated and voice husky, his arms pinning my hands above me, our fingers threaded together so perfectly it felt like they were made for each other.

“Hmm? What was that?”

“I said…” He lowers his face so we’re nose to nose. “…take…” His nose skims the length of my neck. “…it…” Deep inhale. “…back.”

Heart flutters.




My breathing picks up, and I know in this moment that I have two choices:


  1. Melt into a pile of goo. Which I’m basically well on my way to doing.
  2. Take matters into my own hands.


I choose option two.

I pull my hands free, frame his face, and pull him down closer. His eyes heat and flit over mine questioningly. And I do something I’ve been wanting to do for what feels like ever.

I lick him, from jawline to temple.

I lay my head back down on the pillow and watch as his face transforms from lust-filled to incredulous.

“Did you just… lick me?”

“I did.”

“I don’t know what to do with that,” he admits.

He pushes himself into sitting position, and I shimmy up the couch, crossing my legs and tucking my hair behind my ears. He’s facing forward. Slowly he turns his face toward me. “You licked me,” he says like he still can’t believe it.

“Yup,” I say. I have no clue why I did it, other than I just wanted to, so giving an explanation isn’t even an option at this point.

“First time your tongue was on me…” He trails off, looking away again.

A giggle bursts out of me, and I quickly put my hand up to my mouth to hold it in.

James shakes his head at me, stands up, and places his hands on his hips. He narrows his eyes and points at me. “Now you have to go to the wedding with me.”

“For the lick?”

“Wedding for the lick.” My eyes widen, and he continues. “That’s right. I said it. You licked me. Therefore, we wedding.”

“That’s not even grammatically correct!” Stupid argument? Probably.

“That’s your defense against going?”

“Hey! It’s true!”

“Be that as it may, doesn’t change the fact that you licked me. And we’re now going to a wedding. Together. Hi, Plus-One.”

I hear a deep snort from the other side of the room and gasp when I see Jack standing in the doorway to the living room, his broad shoulder leaning against the opening, an amused expression on his face.

“You guys are so weird,” he says, pointing to the two of us.

“You say weird. I say awesome,” James says. “Just wait and see who the best Cole man is when you both join me for Emily’s wedding.”

“Why am I being sucked in to this thing?” he asks. “I hate weddings. I don’t wedding.”

“Maggie will be there. In a dress. She’s a bridesmaid.”

“I’ll be there.”

James snorts and looks my way, winks, and my entire body goes up in flames. Bye-bye wall I built so strongly.

James huffed and puffed, and it blew right down.


From the Ground Up was Jennifer’s first published novel, with the hopes of many more to come. Jennifer makes her home in small town Iowa with her high school sweetheart, three beautiful and amazing kids, one crazy Jack Russell terrier. This is where her love for all things reading, baking, and cooking happen. Jennifer’s family enjoys camping, boating, and spending time outside as much as possible. When she’s not writing or editing/proofreading manuscripts for the many talented authors she’s come to love, you can find her cheering the loudest at her kids’ sporting events, sipping coffee or iced tea out of a mason jar with her Kindle in her lap or binging on Netflix.

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Review Post: The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez

The conclusion of this new, highly emotional must-read duet by Aly Martinez is LIVE! Buy THE BRIGHTEST SUNSET now!

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.


Words destroyed me.

“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”

“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”

“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.


Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.

Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.

“He’s gone.”

In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

*****5 Unforgettable and Amazing Stars*****

Let me start this review by saying that I am a proud emotional masochist when it comes to reading. I absolutely LOVE it when a book makes me feel it all, when it literally takes my breath away with the level of raw and authentic emotion it has to give me, and when that book breaks me, breaks all of my emotions and feels, and physically hurts my heart. Because let me tell you, when you experience a book with that exceptional level of emotion, it hurts in the most unforgettable way. In a way that is tangible. In a way that is wholly real. And in a way that hurts so damn good.

So. Damn. Good.

I sometimes like to joke that I like to be emotionally murdered by the books I read, and honestly that is beyond true because I do love me some highly emotional and heartbreaking feels. I want to live and breathe and feel and be consumed by those emotions and feels. I want them to be tangible. I want them to shake me to my core. I want them to blow me away with all they have. And yes, I want them to murder my emotional masochistic heart to pieces because I want to feel it ALL, and getting and experiencing that level of emotion is what truly shows me how completely consumed I am in what I’m reading.

Let me tell you, The Darkest Sunrise the first book in this amazing duet murdered all of my emotions…and I LOVED every amazing and all-feeling moment of that. And just when I thought all of my feels and emotions were sufficiently murdered in a way that gave my emotional masochist heart what it wanted, Aly Martinez went and murdered them again in The Brightest Sunset….and you know what? I LOVED every moment of that even more than I did in The Darkest Sunrise because that’s how truly exceptional those feels, the level of varied and deep emotion, and everything I got with these characters was.

The Brightest Sunset was the absolute PERFECT conclusion to this duet.

It was emotional. It was real. It was exactly what I needed, and even more of what I didn’t even know I needed from these characters. It was superbly written and crafted. It blew me away through every page, and that is honestly just a fraction of what made this one of the best books I have EVER read.

This book wowed me on every level. It had me feeling and experiencing every part of this book, this story, and these characters as it all unfolded in front of my eyes and heart. This story had me crying like a baby at times (read: in every single chapter of this book), and physically feeling the emotional toll and affect this story’s events had on its characters through every single page. It had me laughing my ass off and smirking like a fool with the banter and spark of these characters, all while loving the connection and fire they shared through it all.

I feel as if I could go on and on about how much I loved The Brightest Sunset, how much it made me feel and experience, how much it gave me while I read this story, and I wouldn’t even come close to capturing what it was like to read this conclusion to this unforgettable duet and to live and breathe this story with Porter and Charlotte.

I could not have asked for a more fitting continuation and ending to these characters’ journeys, or a more emotionally gripping and satisfying conclusion to what they shared together.

To put it simply, The Brightest Sunset was a book that captured every phenomenal aspect of this duet into a spectacular conclusion that delivered on every level.

As I sit here writing this review, all I can truly think about is how much I loved this book, and how much I really don’t want to tell you much of anything that happens in it because I would never want to spoil this story for you. The conclusion that Aly Martinez so thoughtfully crafted in The Brightest Sunset is so epic, so fitting, and just so damn good that me revealing even just a little bit of what actually happens in this ending would take away from the literal amazingness of this ending and what it’s like to experience it.

What I will say though is that The Brightest Sunset continues everything I loved and felt for these characters through every word, sentence, paragraph, page and chapter in the most incredible, all-feeling, and distinctive way. This book invested me more in Porter and Charlotte and what they shared together. It had my heart in it even more than I thought was humanly possible with what those two share and go through as they try to figure out what they hell they are doing. This book pushed them both, and me right along with them, to their emotional limits. It pushed them to places they never thought they’d be.

Places they feared and dreamed of, places they thought were always going to be out of reach for them, places that scared them in the best way possible. Places that showed them who they really are, who they truly wanted to be, and who they were ready to fight like hell with all that they had to find.

What I got with both Porter and Charlotte deepened the connection I had with their characters and their intertwined journeys. This book made me love them more, it allowed me to feel for them more, hurt and break for them more, hope for them with all that I had, all while basking in every breathtaking moment I got with them as this story unfolded. The depth I got with their characters, and the exceptional level of understanding I had with what they were going through, what they feared, and what was literally taking over every part of their lives and heads and hearts, seared me to them completely.

Those two took ahold of my heart, my emotions, and my very soul, and I honestly don’t want those three things back yet because that’s how much I loved every breath of what I got with Porter and Charlotte in this book.

I have to say that one of my favorite aspects of this book was getting more of Porter’s emotional journey and fight to heal. The Darkest Sunrise gave me all of that and more with Charlotte, with Porter right there with her every step of the way in the exact way she needed. This book flipped that dynamic in a way, putting Charlotte in a place to be there for Porter as he found that way through the darkness, through the pain and anger and anguish, and through the literal heartbreak to find the light he needed and so deserved. Both of the books in this duet give you the exceptionally interwoven journeys of these characters and what they share and are trying to build together, but I can’t say enough how truly incredible it was to get those different dynamics in each book.

To experience him helping her try to heal, to then experience her helping him try to heal, to experience all of the phenomenal supporting characters along the way supporting them in the exact way they needed, and in the end experiencing what it was like for Charlotte and Porter to continue that push and pull towards healing and light was EVERYTHING.

The way that Aly Martinez creates that dynamic in both of these books, through every page of this unforgettable story, and how that continues to show what these characters are sharing and trying to build with one another was perfection.

It was so real. So heartfelt. So genuine. So beautiful. So raw and intense and heart squeezing. It was so Porter. So Charlotte. And so them.

I know I have probably spent most of this review rambling about emotional murdering and talking around what happens in this story to avoid spoilers, but let me just say that if there are two books that you NEED in your life, it is The Darkest Sunrise and The Brightest Sunset. I could say that a million times over, and I would still need to say it again because that is how truly incredible these books are.

What Porter and Charlotte so authentically, so viscerally, and so honestly give you in both of these books, and especially in this conclusion, will wow you, move you, break you, make you, heal you, and in the end will have you knowing that every heartbreak, every ounce of pain and emotion, and every breath of what they went through was damn worth it.

This book deserves more than 5 stars. It deserves them all. And then some. It deserves the highest praises because that is how phenomenal it is. What Aly Martinez gives you in this book with these characters as they fight that good fight, as they try to wade through the emotional superstorm that is their lives and their “normal”, and as they attempt to put the pieces of themselves back together again is everything.


As I sit here writing this review I find myself not wanting to end it all because that’s how much I completely love these characters and what I got with them in this book and this duet. Even though those two made me cry in EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER for one reason or another, even though they pushed my heart and soul to its emotional limit, and even though they broke me and shattered me again and again, I will be forever grateful for all of that because all of that gave me them.

All of that gave me their powerful and meaningful story. All of that gave me the most unadulterated and perfect level of emotion and connection as it all came to be. All of that gave me Porter. All of that gave me Charlotte. All of that gave me Travis and Hannah and Sloth and Rita and Brady and Tom.

All of that gave me one of the most exceptional stories that I have EVER read, a story that I know will stay embedded in my heart and soul forever because that is how damn good it is, and that is how much it permanently pulled me to these characters.

What can I say about The Brightest Sunset?

It made me laugh at times to the point that my cheeks hurt. It made me smile in the most heartfelt and genuine way. It made me cry and feel. Everything. It made me blush something fierce, and allowed me to experience the most incredible fire burning between Charlotte and Porter. It gave me one of the most meaningful stories and character journeys I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

And in the end it gave me Porter and Charlotte. Their lightness. Their darkness. Their hearts. Their love. Their passion. Their flaws. Their highs and lows and everything in between.

It gave me every part of them, every part of what they shared, and every part of their unforgettable story, and it truly doesn’t get better than that.

Trust. Me.

So just do yourself a favor and read these incredible books. Fall in love with Porter and Charlotte. Feel every word and syllable of their story. Live every moment that Aly Martinez so exceptionally creates.

Read this book. Live it. Feel it. Love it. Let it emotionally murder you, and put you back together again and again. Take in and experience every single second of The Darkest Sunrise and The Brightest Sunset.

It would be wrong not to.




The Brightest Sunset–Book Two in the Darkest Sunrise Duet by Aly Martinez

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Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.









Releasing Now: The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez

Today we are sharing the release for The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez. This is the conclusion of a must-read contemporary romance duet, and is it available to read for FREE on KindleUnlimited!

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The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)

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Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.


Words destroyed me.

“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”

“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”

“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.


Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.

Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.

“He’s gone.”

In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”


The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)

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Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.




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Releasing Now: The Beauty of Chaos by Liz Monroe

Title: The Beauty of Chaos
Author: Liz Monroe
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing

Is it better to be whole and love or can you be broken together?

I needed something new.

Somewhere new.

I couldn’t live in the city my mom died in, knowing that the only family I had left hated me.

So I left.

It was selfish but I did it to protect my heart. I ran away from a city of heartbreak to one where I could start fresh. A new job a few states away was the opportunity I needed and I took it with hopes of rebuilding my life while healing.

I didn’t think I would meet anyone.

I didn’t think I would give my heart away.

I didn’t think I could risk breaking all over again.

But I did meet someone. I met him.

And I did give my heart away.

But this time I got to decide, let the love break me or accept that sometimes there’s beauty in chaos.

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The dirty dishes were in the sink, our stomachs were full, and we were somewhere past drunk. I sat on the couch with my legs resting over Mason’s lap. He grabbed my foot and started rubbing it. I took another sip of wine. By that time, I’d stopped counting how many glasses I’d had.

We’d talked about everything and nothing as we always had. My head rested against the armrest, but when I brought it back up, I saw a change in Mason’s eyes. He had a strong gaze that I felt over each spot his eyes traced. Each pass over me flared with heat. When his eyes finally met mine again, I felt another flood of heat that encompassed my entire body and ended in my stomach. We held onto the tension for a moment.

“Dance with me.” He grabbed my hand and guided me up and into the kitchen.

“I might wobble more than dance.” I giggled at the loose feeling that came with being tipsy.

“I’ve got you.” He held me close, my hand in his as it rested on his chest.

I rested my head against him.

“I don’t think I’ve told you how stunning you look tonight.”

“I think you’ve only said it every other minute,” I said, because he had told me just that many times as we ate.

I wrapped my hands behind his neck.

He brought his lips to the top of my head and started to sing. It was quiet at first, a whisper, just for me.

I bit my lip. I may have been drunk on wine, but I was intoxicated by him.

He could actually sing. I hadn’t known that about him before, and once again, I felt myself falling deeper. I looked up at him while he sang. He didn’t take his eyes away from me, and I hung onto every word.

I pulled him in as he finished the song. I couldn’t kiss him fast enough. I tried so hard to show him how much I felt for him with my lips. His hands on my bare skin just below the hemline of my dress, he grabbed onto my legs then pulled them up. I wrapped them around him in response. He brought me over to the couch and lowered me slowly. Our kiss deepened.

“I can’t.”


Liz lives in a small town in the Midwest with her husband, two sons, and evil cat. She’s always had a love for writing but just recently started with novels. She’s a firm believer in the magic of coffee and music. When she’s not writing she’s a human trampoline for her toddlers. When she can escape that she’s reading. She loves living in the worlds of dystopian, YA, and, NA.


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Review Post: The Bars Between Us by A.S. Teague

Today we have the blog tour for The Bars Between Us by A.S. Teague!! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!!

Title: The Bars Between Us

Author: A.S. Teague

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About The Bars Between Us:

I don’t have a damn thing in common with the beautiful rich girl who walks in to my bar. She’s southern class, fancy cars, and designer shoes.

I’ve got a drunk for a mother, a cheater for a father, and a reputation for trouble I’ve more than earned.

I look the other way, pretending I don’t notice how perfect she is. She wouldn’t give me the time of day anyway. Until she shatters that first impression and shows me she’s so much more––everything I never thought I deserved.

After a lifetime of being a disappointment, I want to prove to her that I’m better than my past.

We have one tragic thing in common, and the thread that binds us together will tear us apart as it unravels.

Are we strong enough to break through the Bars Between Us?


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*****5 Unforgettably Amazing Stars*****

A.S Teague continues to be an author that completely blows me away with her writing talent and storytelling ability. The ways that she brings her stories, her characters, and the worlds she so authentically creates to life is phenomenal in every way. I have LOVED each and every one of her stories to pieces, and I have loved getting to know and fall in love with the unforgettable and dynamic characters she creates. She has solidified herself as one of my favorite authors, and what she gave me in The Bars Between Us proved that to me again and again.

This book completely took ahold of me from the very first page, and it did not let me go all the way through. It made me smile, it made me feel it all with these characters, and it made me fall so fiercely in love with them as they saw what could be between them. This story had it all.

The Bars Between Us is a love story that packs the perfect level of emotion and heart, connection and fire, past and present, pain and healing, and two characters fighting to find themselves, their hearts, and the glorious possibilities of what could be.

What you get with Bronn and Grace in this book will just amaze you, and will simultaneously make you fall completely in love with them and all that they share. Those two will take ahold of your heart from the very first page, and your love and feelings for them will continue to grow through every turn of that page. This book will show you them at their highest, their lowest, and every valley of emotion in between, and that is just part of what makes this book so exceptional.

A.S. Teague has completely outdone herself with this book, and I truly can’t say that enough.

What I loved about The Bars Between Us:

  • The push and pull of the past and present. From the very start of this book, A.S. Teague brings out the past and present of these characters in the most phenomenal, intense, and memorable way. From the gripping and emotional prologue, to the chapters that follow, through everything you get with Bronn and Grace, that past and present are there, coming together and pushing and pulling against each other in a way that gives you it all. Throughout this story she continues to build on that past and that present in a way that pulls you into everything more, in a way that shows how that past builds to everything in the present, and in a way that grows that tension and intensity in the most tangible of ways. It’s that push and pull between the pasts and presents of Bronn and Grace that give you so much with these characters, that allows you to understand these characters on the deepest of levels, and that will have you beyond ready to see how this story comes together for them. Getting to see and exepreince these characters, their pasts and their presents, and everything in between is something I will truly never forget.
  • Go on with your Bronn self. Bronn is a character that is rough around the edges, with a hardened heart and exterior, and he is not afraid to admit that. You see that man has been through a world of hurt and pain in his life, he’s been told he’s a certain kind of person with a certain trajectory in life, and that has lead him to believing he knows the kind of person he really is….but all of that starts to change when a southern girl with a heart of gold and some fire comes into his bar. What I loved about Bronn was that he truly wanted to prove that he wasn’t the kind of guy that everyone made him out to be. He wasn’t perfect, but he was real, and that man completely stole my heart in this book with his determination and tenacity. Sure he had his moments when the past and the present became too much, and when those rough edges reared their sharp points, but through it all that man kept trying, kept fighting, and kept trying to find who he really was and who he wanted to be. I am telling you, there is no way you can resist that man and his story. He will own your heart, and you will love every second of it.
  • Grace and her genuine heart. Grace was a character that I felt for from the very start of this book. That girl has a heart of gold and has been through a world of hurt and tragedy herself, and she is just trying to find her place in this world where she can be happy and where she can find herself. That search brings her back to Beaufort, South Carolina, a place that feels like home, and a place that brings her face to face with Bronn, a man who she can’t help but connect with even though he puts on that strong front. What I loved about Grace was how strong she was and how she had a bit of fire to her that was just waiting to come out. This book and its events push Grace to her limits, yet that girl faces it all head on, with her heart on her sleeve, ready to do what’s right and ready to do what it takes to get to the place she wants to be. I loved Grace with my whole heart, and getting to be with that girl as she journeyed through this story, as she fought to stand on her own two feet, to find herself and who she wanted to be, and to fight for the feelings she knew were there was everything. It was real, it was her, and it was truly unforgettable.
  • A connection worth fighting for. From the very first moment they meet, Bronn and Grace share a connection that just won’t quit. Even when those two butt heads from time to time, even with his rough shell and her fears and worries, that connection is there between them, building and simmering and growing. Throughout this book that connection continues to build and build between Bronn and Grace, and what starts off as something easy, soon becomes something very real that scares the hell out of those two. Both Bronn and Grace have never felt the things that they do when they’re together, and boy does that scare them to their bones in so many ways, but in the same breath it gives them it all. It gives them that hope for more, that tenacity and fight to keep going when things get tough because of what they share and what could be, and it gives them the world of feeling they share for one another. Through it all that connection is there firing off like crazy, pulling them together like two magnets that can’t help but be brought back together again and again. Getting to experience that through this book is the absolute best, and will have you rooting like hell for these two that they find a way to make it all work.
  • All that glorious emotion. One of the best aspects of this story was the varied and phenomenally captured emotion that wove its way through this book. I literally cannot say enough good things about how A.S. Teague brought that emotion to life. She made that emotion real, and tangible, and so all-feeling through every page in a way that connected me with these characters on the deepest of levels. She not only let me get and understand these characters, she let me feel with them, and be with them through it all as this story progressed. It was that connection and level of unforgettable emotion that made this book the spectacular thing that it is. That glorious emotion, how real and well captured it is, deepens everything you get with these characters and this story in the most phenomenal way. It amplifies everything Bronn and Grace share, it amplifies their pasts and presents, and it heightens everything happening between them because of that amazing emotion and what it gives you. Simply put, the level of emotion A.S. Teague creates in this book is everything, and it makes this story.
  • The want for more. Both Bronn and Grace are looking for more in this book. They’re looking for more for themselves, more for what they want for their lives, and more understanding of what got them to the places they are. I loved getting to experience that want for more with those two. I loved feeling that fire with them, that driving force that exuded out of them both through so much of this book, and I loved getting to be there with them as they both fought for that more. That want for more pulls these two together something fierce, exudes how genuine and real they are, how easy to love and root for they are, and it makes them two characters with some serious heart and fire. Both Bronn and Grace’s journeys in this book are defined in many ways, and it is that want for more that pulls them together, and that gives you so much with them both as they go about trying to find that more they both so truly deserve.

Let me tell you now that you will be blown away by this story. You will be blown away by what A.S. Teague so thoughtfully crafts through every page. You will be blown away by what you get with Bronn and Grace through every word of this unforgettable story. You will be blown away by what they share, how real it is, how deep it all goes, and what it brings out in them both. And in the end you will be blown away by how it all comes together and what that leads these characters to sharing.

You. Will. Be. Blown. Away. And you will LOVE every second of that.

The Bars Between Us is a story about what happens when you try to find yourself, when you find what it is you want and need, and when find that one person who might just give you what you never knew you needed. This book is an all-feeling, emotional, and wholly consuming in a way that will connect you to these characters and their journeys on the deepest of levels, and that will have you with them in the thick of it through it all as they try to see what could be between them.

Bronn and Grace’s story is real, intense, full of meaningful and unforgettable emotion, and in the end it is a story of breaking through the pain and hurt of the past, to get to the present and future you want, you need, and that you completely deserve.

The Bars Between Us is one of my favorite reads of the year, and I can’t recommend it enough. It is so beyond phenomenal, and I truly can’t say enough good things about it and what I got with its characters and their story. It is a book you need in your life, and it is a book that will wow you and blow you away through every word, and that is just part of what makes it so completely incredible.



I was pissed.

I’d spent the entire day looking forward to seeing her, and then she’d just blown me off. No call, no text, nothing.

So when she’d texted that she was outside the bar at three a.m., I‘d fought the urge to tell her to take a hike.

I didn’t need to spend my entire day waiting on a phone call.

I didn’t need to hear her voice.

I didn’t need to see her face, hear her laugh, smell her hair.

At least, that was what I was telling myself.

But, it was all lies.

Even after she’d shown up and apologized, I’d continued to tell myself that I didn’t need her, that she didn’t have any effect on me. I’d tried to be cold and distant, not letting her know just how fucking pathetic I’d been tonight. But she wouldn’t stop pushing, apologizing, asking me what was wrong. And the words had flown out of my mouth before I could stop them.

Here I was, pining over a woman, worrying that something had happened to her, or worse, that she had finally decided to cut her losses and move on, like the smart woman I knew she was.

In the matter of mere weeks, I’d gone from the consummate bachelor, destined to be married to my work, to being so wrapped up in a woman that it was a wonder that I could breathe without her.

Though the funny thing was, now, with her nestled beside me in my bed telling me about the not so pleasant parts of her life, I didn’t want to breathe without her.

Not even in the slightest.

I was invested.  It wasn’t even that I wanted to know more about her—I needed it. Deep inside me, I needed to see the ugly parts of her so that I could show her the ugly parts of me. The parts I tried so desperately to keep hidden. The parts that she somehow made acceptable with nothing more than a simple grin and gentle touch. I couldn’t explain it, this deep-rooted need to connect with her, but it was there all the same.

Her body is small against mine, fitting into the curve of my arm as though she’d been made to be there.

And hell…here I am staring down at her, wondering if she had been.

Her soft hand rests over my racing heart and her silky hair smells of flowers as it tickles my chin.

Maybe it was the beers I’d slammed back in a worthless fit of anger earlier, but whatever the reason, I’d spilled the beans about my dad, and then revealed to the only woman I ever wanted to keep the horrible things my piece of shit mother had said.

She should have looked at me with disgust.

She should have run.

She should have never looked back.

But Grace, being well, Grace, her beautiful face above mine, her eyes full of sadness, she stared down at me with respect and admiration blazing in her eyes.

There was no pity, and for that I was thankful.  No, what I saw in her eyes was understanding, a commonality that somehow bonded us, two people from different sides of the tracks. And that thread of likeness only caused the lust to surge through my veins thicker and faster than ever before.

I study her face, asking for something that it’s probably too soon to hope for. But, through her sadness, there’s also desire.

She wants me, too.

About the Author:

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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Review Post: The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez

Welcome to our blog tour stop for The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez. It is the first book in a contemporary romance duet, and is it available to read for FREE on KindleUnlimited.

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The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)

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Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.

“You’re pregnant.”

“It’s a boy.”

“Your son needs a heart transplant.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.


Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.

Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.

“He’s gone.”

For ten years, the darkness consumed me.

In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

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I’d never for the rest of my life forget those moments in my office with Porter Reese.

The ones where the world finally stopped—even as it kept turning.

I had patients waiting on me, but I couldn’t care less. I’d been waiting for over a decade to take a single breath that didn’t hurt. And, no matter how much I tried to deny it, nothing hurt with Porter, not even in the darkness.

How Porter gave that to me, I wasn’t sure. He didn’t understand my situation. But he didn’t pretend to. He didn’t offer any sage words of advice or try to give me a pep talk about moving on. He just listened and held me.

He’d spoken words, I was sure of it. But those moments were all about feelings.

There was something inherently freeing about telling him about Lucas. Our situations were different, but the same shade of black painted both of our souls.

But, as I clung to him, trying to perform the impossible task of collecting myself, it hit me that the darkness was all we’d ever have.

In the light, we lived on polar-opposite ends of the spectrum.

Porter had his children. His future was in ballet recitals and baseball games. And, after hearing his story, I was happy for him. Really, I was. But I couldn’t handle being a part of that.

That was his life. Not mine.

And, when he aimed a sad smile at me and used the pads of his thumbs to dry under my eyes, I knew he realized it too.

Leave it to me to connect with a single father. I mean, seriously. Karma was sadistic.

Peering up at him, I softly asked, “So, what now?” I didn’t want the answer though.

He shrugged, but it wasn’t in indifference. It was disappointment. Heartbreakingly so. It was also real, no matter how much I wished that it weren’t.

I sighed. “At the risk of sounding like a teenage girl, I really like you.”

His face lit. “I like teenage girls.” His eyebrows pinched together as he quickly amended, “Never mind. Ignore that. It sounded way better in my head.”

Giggling, I gave him a squeeze.

He groaned as he returned it. “Any chance we can rewind to Saturday night?”

“Would it change anything?”

He tipped his head down so he could see me, his blue eyes becoming dark and serious. “No. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again.”

My stomach fluttered. Jesus, he was such a good guy.

It was going to break me more than I already was to let him go, but I had to end it before I had the chance to beg him to stay.

“Porter, I want to. I just…” I closed my eyes and stepped out of his arms while confessing the one word that I feared was starting to dictate my life. “Can’t.”

“I know,” he replied, allowing his fingers to linger on my shoulder until I was out of his reach.

Wrapping one arm around my waist, I attempted to ward off the chill his body had left behind and choked out, “I’m so sorry.”

He twisted his lips—his beautiful, plump, kissable lips. “Don’t apologize. It’s okay. Seriously, I’m not that great. Trust me. You’re getting the good end of the deal.”

I barked a laugh only to start crying all over again. Pointing to my eyes, I said, “This is ridiculous. We barely know each other. You must think I’m insane.”

He chuckled, that deep, masculine sound I loved so much, and it only made the pain in my chest intensify.

“If you’re insane, Charlotte, I’m certifiable. Because this fucking sucks.”

God! The fact that he felt it too made it that much worse.

He brushed the hair off my shoulder, a tingle lighting my skin where his fingers touched. “How about this? If you ever decide you can, promise me I’ll be the first to know. I believe I owe you a kiss.”

I fought back a sigh and asked, “How old is your youngest?”

“Creeping on four.”

I hiccupped a laugh. “You’re in luck. Mills women age really well. I mean, I’m a workaholic who will probably die of a heart attack by the time I’m forty, but if I make it that long, you are in for a real treat.”

He smiled and I wanted to cry all over again.

Christ. What the hell was wrong with me?

Oh, right. The first man I’d felt anything with in as long as I could remember was walking out of my life. And I was all but pushing him out the door because he had children.

When he kissed my forehead, I sucked in a sharp breath and allowed a million memories to flash on the backs of my eyelids.

Memories of me laughing, his eyes lit up as he watched me, a huge smile on his face.

Memories of him touching my lips after that kiss he’d promised.

Memories of us curled up on a couch, watching TV together, a fire crackling in the background, but that warmth only he could give me radiating in my chest.

Memories of him making love to me, slow and desperate.

Memories of me coming home to him after a long day’s work and crashing into his strong arms seconds before falling asleep.

Memories of us watching the bright sunrise together.

Memories that would never exist.

And then Porter left.

He didn’t say anything as he backed out of my office, but goodbyes were spoken all the same. My heart felt as though it were being ripped from my chest with each step he took closer to the door.

He never tore his gaze from mine. It was both a gift and a punishment, because for the first time since I’d met Porter, it gave me the opportunity to see the staggering emptiness in his eyes.

I hated it almost as much as I loved it. He’d lived through hell, but for one lunch, one dinner, and over half an hour in his arms, it had brought him to me.

That was enough.

And, as I watched the door close behind him, I accepted that it would have to be.

It wasn’t.

After that day, the sunrise only got darker.


*****5 Breathtakingly Emotional Stars*****

Just when I think there is no possible way that Aly Martinez can make me love her books or her exceptional writing more, she goes and does just that. She makes me feel more. She makes me cry more. She makes me laugh my ass off more. She makes me swoon more. She makes my heart soar and fall and break and heal and melt and squeeze infinitely more. She just gives me more.

So. Much. Damn. More.

And that is just a fraction of what makes experiencing her stories, her characters, and her words truly unforgettable.

The Darkest Sunrise is the first part of one of the most emotionally breathtaking and all-feeling stories I have EVER read. It is a story that had me in tears. So many tears. Tears of pain. Tears of anguish and hurt. Tears of hope and strength. Tears of light. Tears of darkness. And most of all tears that were born from two characters my heart immediately seared to.

When I tell you you will feel this book, I mean that you will feel it with every fiber of your being, with every piece of your soul, and every breath of your body. Literally. This book will own you. It will consume your heart and your mind through every word and through every turn of that page. It will steal your breath. It will bring tears to your eyes more times than you can count. It will overwhelm you in the most extraordinary of ways with what you get with these characters.

But let me tell you, I would cry those tears and feel all of those breathtaking emotions again and again with these characters until the end of time because that’s how much I LOVED this story. That’s how much I felt it, lived it, breathed it, and experienced it. That’s how much it blew me away. That’s how much it gave everything.

What Aly Martinez so exceptionally creates in The Darkest Sunrise is something I will never forget, and even when it hurt my heart something fierce for what these characters go through, it hurt so damn good.

This story follows what happens when two people perpetually stuck in the darkness of the tragedies they’ve experienced, meet the one person who truly gets what that darkness feels like. This book follows them as they meet, as they connect, and as they start to realize that they might’ve just met the one person who gets them, their struggles, and the knot of anguish and pain that seems so tightly wrapped around them. Every page of this story gives you them, their emotion filled journey together, and their fight to make it stop, to find that light, and to know that they’re not alone in that darkness they live their life in.

The Darkest Sunrise is a story about two battered and bruised souls who meet through a set of circumstances that will make them, break them, and take them through every emotion and feeling under the sun.

From the very first pages of this book, I was completely in this story with these characters. That is the power and literal magnificence of Aly Martinez’s writing. She puts you right in the thick of it from the get go, from page one, and her words and her stories and her characters truly never let you go. And honestly, it doesn’t get better than that. Trust me.

Her words in this book owned me. Her characters in this story simultaneously shattered me and glued me back together again on a gloriously all-feeling continuous loop. The power and meaning behind every moment of this story, and what I got with Porter and Charlotte gave me it all. It gave me the heartfelt emotion of what they’d been through, and what they started to share together. It gave me their pasts, their intertwined presents, and a future that became more necessary with every breath. It gave me them. Their real, raw, and vulnerable selves that my heart loved and felt for and held onto through every word.

Simply put, her words, her sentences, her story, and everything she gave me in this book were everything. EVERYTHING.

As I sit here writing this review I find myself not wanting to reveal too much about Porter and Charlotte and their story together because this book is one that you just need to experience for yourself. It is one you need to just dive right into, while letting what it gives you wash over you again and again. This is a story that will literally give you it all if you let it, and that is just part of what makes it one of the best books I have EVER read. I also know that my words will in no way do this story or its characters the true justice they deserve. This story is just that powerful, that meaningful, and that unforgettable that my words can’t possibly capture what Aly Martinez so epically created in this book and in this duet.

So just trust me when I say: you NEED this book in your life.

You need Porter and Charlotte. You need Travis and Hannah. You need Lucas. You need Tanner and Rita and Sloth. You need Tom and Brady and Charlotte’s mom. You need them all….because when you put all of their wonderful and distinctive pieces together you get one helluva story that you will feel every breath of.

I have to say that one of my absolute favorite parts of this book was getting to know and fall in love with Porter and Charlotte. Those two pretty much take the cake in my eyes. They are real and honest and just them. They have both been through so much struggle and pain and hurt in their lifetimes, and yet they’re still holding on and putting one step in front of the other. Both of them are beyond endearing, so completely easy to love, and they will pull your heart in again and again to them because of what you experience with them along the way.

Whether it’s Porter’s sweetness and heart, or Charlotte’s vulnerability and strength. Whether it’s their honesty and how they both really go there, or how even in the most emotional of moments they can still find that humor and that connection and spark to see them through. Whether it’s that glorious push and pull that grows between them, or the emotional connection behind it all. Whether it’s their highs, their lows, them in that darkness or in those small glimpses of light, you will LOVE these characters.

You will feel them, you will go through it all with them, and you will experience every lick of what they share together.

Aly Martinez does the most extraordinary job of putting you with them, in their heads and in their hearts, allowing you to be with them in every way possible as this story unfolds. That gives you the most phenomenal level of understanding of those two, what they’re going through, and what they’re sharing, it pulls your heart to them both again and again, and it shows you them. It shows you them in every word, their connection and magnetic pull, and it shows you repeatedly why they have to find a way because of what they share.

What those two share is everything. It’s beautiful. It’s full of a tangible spark that you will feel in your bones. It’s that spark that is there between them through it all, and it will give you life with those two, even as they share some of the most emotional and heart squeezing moments. What Porter and Charlotte share will give you it all and then some, and it is what they share that will take you through every page and breath of what this story throws at them.

The Darkest Sunrise is a story about many things. It’s a story of unimaginable loss and anguish. It’s a story of a father’s love for his children, and a mother’s love that never goes away no matter what is thrown its way. It’s a story of two battered and broken souls, spinning around in the dark, searching for even the most miniscule amount of light they can hold onto. It’s a story of what happens when you meet the one person who gets your cracks, who gets what it feels like to be so thoroughly consumed by a darkness that is so raw and viscerally emotional. It’s a story of hope, of connection, and of finding that light and that feeling and that piece to the puzzle you so desperately need.

This books is a story of two people who share a world of things no person should ever have to go through, yet seem to find the most exceptional feeling and connection and meaning in the midst of that pain they both can’t seem to escape.

This is a book about finding that person that might just be the lifesaver you desperately need. That person who throws you the rope, who reaches out and grabs your hand and says I’m with you, I understand, and I’m not letting go. It’s about finding the person who could be that flashlight in the darkness, that person who can so perfectly loosen the knot of emotion around your heart, and that person who gives you the most glorious hope and life to hold onto.

The Darkest Sunrise is the first part of Porter and Charlotte’s emotionally consuming, breathtakingly beautiful, and completely unforgettable love story.

This book will shock you. It will take your breath away and make you cry more times than you can count. It will allow you to feel it all, and then some, and then some more. And in the end it will have you simultaneously NEEDING the final part of the story like you need your next breath, all while feeling the power and meaning and utter brilliance of what Aly Martinez created.

I could literally go on and on about how much I loved this book, how much I was blown away by it and its characters, and what I experienced within its extraordinary pages. I could keep going and going about how unforgettable this story was, how much I felt through every page, how much Aly Martinez gave me through her exceptional writing. I could keep going and going for thousands of more words, and I wouldn’t even scratch the surface of how amazing this book is. I wouldn’t even come close to capturing a fraction of what it gave me and how much I loved it, and the moment you read and experience this book for yourself, you will completely understand why I say that.

This book is EVERYTHING. It is everything wrapped up in one unforgettable, all-feeling, and completely mesmerizing package, and it is hands down one of the best books I have ever read.

So seriously, run yourself to this book this very second. Run. Do not pass go. Do not collect your 200 dollars in imaginary money. Do not dilly dally. Just read this book. Read it. Live it. Feel it all. Love it all. Hold on through it all. Embrace Porter and Charlotte and what they so exceptionally give you. And in the end, I promise you will be damn glad you did just that because like I said this book, these characters, and what they give you is everything.



The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)

Coming July 27th

Pre-order it Now

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU


You won’t want to miss this amazing series!



Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.




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Releasing Now: The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez

Today we are sharing the release for The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez. It is the first book in a contemporary romance duet, and is it available to read for FREE on KindleUnlimited!

Be sure to follow Aly’s newsletter for exclusive news about the duet.




The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)

Buy it Now

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU


Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.

“You’re pregnant.”

“It’s a boy.”

“Your son needs a heart transplant.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.


Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.

Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.

“He’s gone.”

For ten years, the darkness consumed me.

In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

Add The Darkest Sunrise to Goodreads


The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)

Coming July 27th

Pre-order it Now

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU


You won’t want to miss this amazing series!



Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.




Sign up for Aly’s Newsletter

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Review Post: The Bet (The Players #1) by Elizabeth Hayley

The Bet (The Players #1) by Elizabeth Hayley

Releasing: June 27th, 2016



Jace “the Jet” Benning is a legend on the football field. And off. He has the arm, the charm, and the reputation of being the hottest player in the league.

Too bad Dr. Alessandra Mastrazacoma is not impressed.

With a busy schedule and a bruised heart, Alessandra doesn’t have time to date, but when she is lured into making a friendly bet with her best friend, she finds herself agreeing to go out with the next guy that asks…and to give him three shots, three dates, before pulling the plug.

Jace also has a friendly wager with his friends going, and it involves making sure the slightly klutzy, but very pretty, doctor will be his date to the biggest night in sports. With two wagers and two hearts on the line, will Aly and Jace win or are they betting to lose?

My Review

*****5 Amazing Stars*****

Elizabeth Hayley never fails to give me a story that will make me laugh, that will make me blush, and that will give me unforgettable characters that I can’t get enough of. I have loved each and every one of their books to pieces, and The Bet was no different. With their phenomenal writing, vibrant characters, and with their stories that I can’t ever put down, Elizabeth Hayley once again gave me it all with this book.

The made me laugh until the points that my cheeks hurt with the banter of these characters. They made me feel like I needed a fan after feeling the fire and connection these characters shared. They made me fall and believe in everything that was happening in this book, and more than that they made me love and enjoy every single second I spent within its pages.

The Bet is the first book in their new series of standalone sports romances, and let me tell you, after reading what I did in this book, I can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on the rest of this series. This book, and what I got with Jace and Aly as they experienced just how life changing a simple little bet could be was enjoyable in every way. Those two were real, they were funny as all get out, and there was just something about them that I couldn’t get enough of.

The way Elizabeth Hayley gives you them as this story unfolds will have you in every word of it all as these two see where their bets take them, as they try to wade through what they feel and share, and as they see what could be. Told through Elizabeth Hayley’s effervescent writing, this story gives you them, every bit of what they share, and will have you rooting for the two of them through every word.

Trust me on that.

What I loved about The Bet:

  • Aly and her no nonsense self. From the very first moment I was in Aly’s head I loved her. That girl was smart, she had some quick wit, and she made me smile because she was so real and just her. There was nothing fake or misleading about her, and Aly owned every bit of who she was. I can’t say enough how much I loved and respected that about her. I loved that she wasn’t afraid to be herself, to be a little nerdy, to be awkward, fumble her words, and just be her. That made her so easy to love and connect to, and it had me loving every bit I got with her as this story progressed. Getting to be with her as Jace flustered her, as he affected her, and as he made her feel all that she was starting to feel was fantastic in every way and made me love that girl more for how she kept him on his toes. Aly is such an authentic and strong female character that I felt for, that I rooted for, and that I felt for through every word of this book, and that is all a testament to how Elizabeth Hayley so phenomenally crafted her character.
  • Jace and his charm. Jace is a male character that you can’t help but love and fall for. He is charming, he is sweet, and he’s got that something about him that makes you blush, while simultaneously making you want to bat your eyelashes a few times. I loved getting into his head, getting to understand him, and getting to know that man behind all that charm and flirt. There is so much more to his character than what meets the eye, and each turn of the page in this book allows you to get another phenomenal piece to that man. What I loved about Jace was that through every page of this book I knew and felt how good of a guy he was. He was thoughtful, he cared about those close to him, and he was honest. While this whole situation with Aly might’ve started with a bet, it led him to some very real feelings and a connection that wouldn’t quit, and I loved how honest he was about that. Elizabeth Hayley made him a male character that was so beyond easy to fall for and love, and getting to know him as I did in this story pulled me to him even more.
  • A spark that just won’t quit. Aly and Jace share one helluva connection that starts from the first moment they meet, and continues to build and intensify with everything that they begin to share. While their first interactions are certainly memorable in a lot of ways, these two soon find themselves feeling a whole heck of a lot more than they expected. They have this certain push and pull going between them, and the closer they get and the more they share, the more they can’t help but be drawn to one another. That spark is full of fire and heat and some serious passion that I am telling you will have you looking for the nearest fan with what those two share. The way Aly and Jace’s connection strengthens in this book will have you feeling it all with them as things start to become very real, and as they start to realize that this is way more than they thought it’d be.
  • All bets are off. The start of this book finds both Aly and Jace placing bets with their friends that ultimately push the two of them together. Aly makes a bet to give a guy a chance and go on 3 dates with him, while Jace makes a bet that he can find the most beautiful girl to bring to an awards ceremony. A bet is what brought these two together, but after their first date and as they start to share more, they both start to realize that what they’re sharing is more than they bargained for. That adds an entirely new layer to this story, and forces these characters to really think about what they want, who they are, and what they’re willing to fight for. Everything between them started with a bet, but as their feelings deepened and their connection continued, Aly and Jace must figure out what in the world they’re going to do with what they share. This book and its events certainly puts them to the test, but I am telling you, you will love getting to be there every step of the way as these characters see what happens when all bets are off.
  • Humor and vibrancy galore. Now this wouldn’t be a book by Elizabeth Hayley if I didn’t find myself laughing like crazy with what comes out of these characters mouths and the good kinds of crazy they find themselves in. Through every page and chapter in this book I found myself laughing at the banter between all of these characters, their wonderful antics, and the situations they seemed to find themselves in no matter how hard they tried to keep it together. Elizabeth Hayley not only wove together a story with the most enjoyable and authentic humor, they also made these characters and their personalities so vibrant. They made them full of life, they made them fun and real, and they made them all so beyond easy to connect to and love. Aly, Jace, and every other character in this book had me laughing and loving every bit I got with them, and that was just another thing that made this book so enjoyable to read.
  • A world of characters I can’t wait to get more of. This book is the start to a new series, and I for one can’t wait to get more with all of these characters. This was Elizabeth Hayley’s first foray into sports romance, and I loved what they gave me in this book and what they’ve set up for in this series. They perfectly blended the love story, the characters, and the nuances of the sports themselves into this story and with these characters in a way that had me loving every bit of what I was reading even more. The personalities of all these characters already has me missing them something fierce, and eager for their stories and to get more of the banter and friendships they all shared together. The way Elizabeth Hayley created this world and put me right in the thick of it with all of these characters was enjoyable to the highest level, and already has me knowing that I will love whatever they have in store for them in the rest of this series.

The Bet was a story that had it all. It had the characters I could not get enough of, it had a story that was so consuming through every word, and it had one helluva love story that had me so enamored in everything that I got with Jace and Aly as they tried to figure out what in the world they were doing. This book made me laugh, it made me swoon just a bit, and it gave me two characters who were real, who were easy to love and root for, and who had one heck of a connection.

The way that Elizabeth Hayley brought every word of this story to life had me loving everything I was reading and experiencing with these characters, and so in this story in the most phenomenal way.The writing talent of this duo knows no bounds, and I have no doubt that I will love anything these talented authors write because their books are that good, their characters are that dynamic, and their stories are that unforgettable.

The Bet is a story about two seemingly opposites who find themselves drawn to one another in a way they haven’t been to any other. This story explores what happens when that bet brings them together, yet ultimately pushes them closer to what might tear them apart. Every word in between that these characters share is real, honest, and heart meltingly good, and that is just a part of what makes this story so good to read.



Buy The Book

~The Bet~

Amazon    B&N     KOBO

~The Wedding Agreement~


Amazon B&N KOBO

~Just Say Yes~


Amazon B&N KOBO

Read My 5 Star Review of Just Say Yes

~The Best Medicine~


Amazon B&N KOBO

Read my 5* Review of The Best Medicine

Be sure to check out Elizabeth Hayley’s other books because they are all AMAZING!

~Pieces of Perfect~

PiecesofPerfect1-Dark2 (1)


~Sex Snob~

Sex Snob


~Picking Up the Pieces~



~Perfectly Ever After~



Read my 5* Review

~Pieces Series Box Set~

(Pieces of Perfect, Picking Up the Pieces, and Perfectly Ever After) All 3 for one price!




To learn more about Elizabeth Hayley and their books check out the following links:

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