Blog Tour: Trouble in Big Timber by B.J. Daniels

Thank you to Harlequin for providing me with and ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also provided all info and graphics.

Trouble in Big Timber by B.J. Daniels is available on May 25.

Book Description

He’s back at Cardwell Ranch

to find a killer.

Ford Cardwell is shocked when his college crush calls him out of the blue—even more so when he hears a gunshot. But when he joins forces with medical examiner Henrietta “Hitch” Rogers, she makes him wonder if the random call was a setup—not a murder. Together, they’ll need to discover the truth, but looking into the case will put them in the sights of a killer.

Add Trouble in Big Timber to your Goodreads!

Review

I was surprised by how much this book focuses on the mystery of what happened between Ford’s friends, Rachel and Humphrey. I expected this to be pretty romance heavy but the romance was definitely secondary to the story. This is a quick and twisted tale about a seemingly straight forward self defense murder but as Hitch keeps investigating she finds that things are just not adding up. The whole premise of this book was well executed and had enough twists in it that I was so enthralled that I didn’t want to stop reading. The ending was wonderfully suspenseful and a great way to end such a strong story. The romance did feel a little rushed but since this is a Harlequin romance I’m not holding that against it too much. If you have been interested in maybe trying out a Harlequin romance but romance isn’t typically your thing than this would be a great one for you to pick up. The romance is clean so nothing happens on page and the plot is an intriguing one that I think a lot of people would enjoy.

About the Author 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author B.J. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and three springer spaniels. When not writing, she quilts, boats and plays tennis. Contact her at http://www.bjdaniels.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/BJ-Daniels/127936587217837 or on twitter at bjdanielsauthor.

Connect with the Author

Website: https://www.bjdaniels.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100058056520669

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/b.j.daniels/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bjdanielsauthor 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/188611.B_J_Daniels

Excerpt

Trouble in Big Timber – Excerpt

B.J. Daniels

Ford shifted into Park and, hands shaking, pulled out his still-ringing phone. As he did, he had a stray thought. How rare it used to be to get cell phone coverage here in the Gallatin Canyon, of all places. Only a few years ago the call wouldn’t have gone through.

Without checking to see who was calling, he answered it, his hand shaking as he did. He’d come so close to going over the cliff. Until the call had saved him.

“Hello?” He could hear noises in the background. “Hello?” He let out a bitter chuckle. A robocall had saved him at the last moment? he thought.

But his laughter died as he heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from his phone. “Hello?” he yelled. “Who is this?” The scream was followed by a woman’s desperate pleas.

“No, please, don’t hurt me anymore.” Another scream and the sound of breaking glass.

“Hello?” He was yelling, frantic, having no idea who was on the other end of the call—just that she was in trouble. Had the woman meant to call 9ll? Maybe it was a pocket dial and she hadn’t meant to call anyone—let alone a stranger.

“Tell me where you are!” he yelled into the phone, but his voice was drowned out by another scream, this one filled with pure terror—and pain. He knew both too well.

The sound of something hard hitting soft flesh was followed by a choking sound. Choking on blood? The woman was being attacked. By an intruder? Or someone she knew? He’d never felt more helpless as he listened to more breaking glass and the woman’s screams.

“No! Please, Humphrey, you’re going to kill me! Please. Stay back. Don’t make me…” The gunshot sounded deafening—even on the phone. Then there was no sound at all coming from his cell.

Ford stared down at the phone in his hand, shock shuddering through him. The woman on the other end of the line had called the man Humphrey. His already pounding heart thumped against his ribs, making his chest ache. It couldn’t be. He stared at the name that had come up on his phone. No. He tried to call the number back. It went straight to voice mail. Someone must have found the phone and shut it off. Or declined the call.

His heart was pounding. For a moment, he was too stunned to move, almost to breathe, at what he’d just heard, what he’d been unable to stop. Rachel. The call was from his former college roommate’s wife, Rachel Westlake—now Mrs. Humphrey Collinwood.

He’d only recently added her number to his contact list after she’d sent him a friend request on social media and they’d exchanged cell phone numbers.

His pulse pounded so loud that he couldn’t hear himself think. Fumbling in his fear and panic, he hit 911. 

It couldn’t be true. He knew Humphrey. They’d been roommates most of their time in college. His former friend wouldn’t hurt anyone. Humphrey idolized Rachel. But from what he’d heard on the call…

Outside the pickup, the wind howled in the pines. A gust blew dirt over the cliff and into the abyss, reminding him how close he’d come to making that same descent. The only thing that had stopped him was the phone call. Or would he have hit the brakes on his own? He would never know.

The 911 operator came on the line. “What is the nature of your emergency?”

“I think I just heard someone being attacked and possibly killed on what I suspect was a pocket dial.” His voice broke. “Her name is Rachel Westlake. Sorry, it’s Collinwood now.” He listened as the dispatcher asked him a question. “No, I don’t know where she lives exactly. A ranch north of Big Timber. That’s all I know. We only recently reconnected. That’s how she had my number. Please, you have to find her. She might still be…alive.”

Buy Trouble in Big Timber by B.J. Daniels!

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335401762_trouble-in-big-timber.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Big-Timber-Cardwell-Ranch-ebook/dp/B08P3MDF33

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trouble-in-big-timber-b-j-daniels/1138369418lishers%20LLC

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/trouble-in-big-timber/id1541839185

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/B_J_Daniels_Trouble_in_Big_Timber?id=ciILEAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/trouble-in-big-timber

~Cassie

May Weekly Kindle Haul #4

I’m here today to share another Kindle haul which might be my smallest one ever. Like usual there are mostly romance and mysteries but there are a few other genres sprinkled throughout. A good amount of books in this haul were free so I feel pretty proud of myself and how little I spent last month. Let’s see if I can carry that into June!

When Daphne du Maurier wrote The du Mauriers she was only thirty years old and had already established herself as both a biographer and a novelist. She wrote this epic biography during a vintage period in her career, between two of her best-loved novels: Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. Her aim was to write the story of her family ‘so that it reads like a novel.’ 

Spanning nearly three quarters of a century, The du Mauriers is a saga of artists and speculators, courtesans and military men. From England to Paris and back again, their fortunes varied as wildly as their ambitions. An extraordinary family of writers, artists and actors they are…The du Mauriers.

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

He’s a player on and off the field…

Chad Gamble, all-star pitcher for the Nationals, is one of the best players on—and off—the field. And right now, the notorious bad boy wants Bridget Rodgers. But with her lush curves and snappy comebacks, the feisty redhead is the kind of woman a man wants to settle down with…and that’s the last thing Chad needs.

When the paparazzi catch them in a compromising position, Chad’s manager issues an ultimatum: clean up his act or kiss his multi-million dollar contract goodbye. To save his career, his meddling publicist says he’ll have to convince everyone Bridget isn’t just his flavor of the week, but his girlfriend.

Being blackmailed into a fake relationship with Chad Gamble isn’t easy, especially when the sizzling physical attraction between them is undeniable. With a month to go on their arranged pretense, it’s going to take every ounce of willpower they have not to fall into bed together…or in love.

Everyone knows the victim. Guess who did the crime…

When a celebrity icon is attacked in his home during an apparent robbery-in-progress, the authorities are tasked with tracking down the perpetrator.

Such a national treasure and his equally famous wife means the investigation takes top priority, but not everyone on the task force is convinced. Was it a random attack? Or a carefully choreographed diversion.

Could the famous family’s tightly-managed media persona blind everyone to the fact that their charmed life is not quite what it seems? And that there’s a LOT more to celebrity than meets the eye…

Alexandra Campbell’s life comes to a crashing halt the night her younger sister is killed during a convenience store robbery. Shattered by guilt, Alex distances herself from her friends and family. Months later, with the police investigation stalled, she fears justice may never be served.

Determined to avenge her sister’s murder, Alex disguises herself and joins the gang responsible for the shooting. To identify the one who pulled the trigger, Alex must put her own life at risk in a world of dangerous criminals. But the longer she plays her new game, the more the lines blur between loyalty and betrayal.

Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real. Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

In a small town rests an old lodge with a big secret. 

Maxine Finch and Simon York, a recently married couple with little money, use their limited honeymoon funds to buy a foreclosed inn in the tiny snowy town of Silver Ridge, Colorado, but when strange things start happening in the middle of the night, Maxine and Simon wonder if their investment is a dangerous mistake.

A high society murder. A spirited lady detective. Can she out-class the killer before an innocent person takes the fall?

London, 1923. Olive Belgrave needs a job. Despite her aristocratic upbringing, she’s penniless. Determined to support herself, she jumps at an unconventional job—looking into the background of her cousin’s fiancé, Alfred. 

Alfred burst into the upper crust world of London’s high society, but his answers to questions about his past are decidedly vague. Before Olive can gather more than the basics, a murder occurs at a posh party. Suddenly, every Bright Young Person in attendance is a suspect, and Olive must race to find the culprit because a sly murderer is determined to make sure Olive’s first case is her last. 

Murder at Archly Manor is the first in the High Society Lady Detective series of charming historical cozy mysteries. If you like witty banter, glamorous settings, and delightful plot twists, you’ll love USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett’s series for Anglophiles and mystery lovers alike.

Travel back to the Golden Age of detective fiction with Murder at Archly Manor. 

When times get tough, how bad does a good girl have to get? 

Sienna Blakely is bright, articulate, and woefully underemployed. In order to get by, she’s forced to rely on the one asset she vowed never to use – her looks. With bills piling up, Sienna signs a contract with Luxxor Escort Services. A contract that strictly forbids any sexual contact with clients… 

And then she’s assigned to escort Jason Sloan. 

Just meeting the hockey player turned business shark causes a full-body jolt. Arrogant, powerful, and sexy, he’s trouble. He can see beyond the facade she’s erected, right down to the intelligent and sensual woman underneath. He challenges her wits, and he challenges the rules. 

When he gets Luxxor to upgrade her to an exclusive and more lenient contract, just how far will Sienna go to pay her rent? And to explore her deepest, most intimate desires?

Fashion model Laura Oakes longs to be taken seriously. When an inheritance brings her to Sweetheart Creek, Texas, she shucks her old life and dives headlong into small town living. Too bad the handsome and serious cowboy Levi Wylder she’s crushing on sees her as nothing more than a princess.

Was it the sparkly cowboy boots? Because it couldn’t be due to how she stepped in and calmed that rearing horse outside his stable.

The last thing Levi Wylder needs is a high-maintenance woman interfering with his plans. But that’s exactly what he gets when his family ranch suddenly finds itself without a riding stable manager. And the only person he can find to fill those empty boots is a woman who buys her footwear based on looks alone.

But when Laura steps into the ring, Levi discovers there’s something about this beautiful stranger that he completely underestimated—such as her power to steal his well-protected heart.

Age has done everything except mellow the characters in Kingsley Amis’s The Old Devils, which turns its humane and ironic gaze on a group of Welsh married couples who have been spending their golden years—when “all of a sudden the evening starts starting after breakfast”—nattering, complaining, reminiscing, and, above all, drinking. This more or less orderly social world is thrown off-kilter, however, when two old friends unexpectedly return from England: Alun Weaver, now a celebrated man of Welsh letters, and his entrancing wife, Rhiannon. Long-dormant rivalries and romances are rudely awakened, as life at the Bible and Crown, the local pub, is changed irrevocably. 

Considered by Martin Amis to be Kingsley Amis’s greatest achievement—a book that “stands comparison with any English novel of the [twentieth] century”—The Old Devilsconfronts the attrition of ageing with rare candor, sympathy, and moral intelligence.

After her third broken engagement, Gianna Campbell comes home to help with the family business and to heal her heart, only to realize that she has become the town joke—dubbed the runaway fiancée.  If that wasn’t bad enough, who should show up in town but her former crush Zach Barrington, a man who has other reasons to hate her.

Zach returns to Whisper Lake not only for a job opportunity but also for a chance at personal redemption. The last person he wants to see is Gianna, who once got him kicked out of the only place that made him feel whole. But when an accident sends her into the lake, their first face-to-face meeting in years leaves them both breathless. 

And suddenly the past feels a lot closer…

Zach and Gianna back away as fast as they come together, both wary of more danger to their damaged hearts. But their search for a truth leads them to surprising secrets, life-changing revelations, heartbreaking emotion, and the chance for a love more powerful than they ever imagined. Can they trust each other the second time around?

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.

Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.

At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.

Start your day with peaceful meditations, soulful inspirations, and encouraging Bible verses in this 365-day devotional from bestselling author Joyce Meyer to help you grow spiritually as you spend time with God.
Life is busy and often uncertain, but you can live in the full peace of God with this easy-to-understand devotional designed to encourage you each day of the year. This includes a daily Bible verse followed by a devotional reading and power thought to meditate upon.
With the constant demands and pressures, it can be hard to regularly take time to unplug and simply be with God. But Joyce’s practical teaching format in Quiet Times with God will encourage you to discipline yourself so that you can receive the fullness of God’s healing, revitalizing peace.

~Cassie

Stitching Saturday: 5.29.21

I’m coming to you late on Saturday because I almost missed another stitching post until I remembered that I took pictures last Saturday of some of my Stitch Maynia starts and then couldn’t post because I was having issues with WordPress. Today we went to the fair and it was a lot of fun but it was also a lot for me on top of the weather getting pretty hot (heat is a trigger for me) so when we came home I took the coldest shower possible and then went to bed for a while. Which is a long way of saying that I lost the light to take pictures of the projects I started this week but I’m happy that I remembered I still need to share last weeks. For Stitch Maynia I am doing a brand new start every single day (not quite) since I am newly back into the cross stitch world and I have so many things I want to work on. My Rituxan infusion at the end of April ended up being pretty difficult for me and I had ten days where I wasn’t able to do much other then lay on the couch. I was feeling too weak to do any of my stitching which is unfortunate since I have really been enjoying starting all these projects and I look forward to getting to work on throughout the year. I also missed a day of stitching because I spent the day stitching together my Uptown Cardigan. I am working on knitting the second pocket and then I will attach it and hopefully share my finish next week. Anyways, I picked my stitching back up on May 18 so I do have some to share with you today and next Saturday I will share the remainder of my Stitch Maynia projects as well as my June projects I’m adding to the project wheel.

*All patterns can be found on Etsy unless specified otherwise. There is a lot of Stitching with the Housewives since they are my favorite designers. They also have a Youtube channel that I really enjoy watching.

May 8: Bunny Bakery by Stitching with the Housewives

I know it’s hard to tell from this small start but I stitched one bunny ear and started on the second. In the future when I share my projects I will go into full detail about the fabric and floss colors that I am working on but for this month I’m just going to share my starts.

May 18: Red, White & Blue cup by Stitching with the Housewives

May 19: Liberty Cup

May 20: Bless our Home by Country Cottage Needlework

This is the smallest start and all I did was a tiny bit of the top border. This pattern is Bless Our Home by Country Cottage Needleworks and I bought it at 123 Stitch.

May 21: Loved By You by Liz Matthews

~Cassie

Blog Tour: You Will Remember Me By Hannah Mary McKinnon

Thank you to Mira Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also kindly provided all info and graphics.

YOU WILL REMEMBER ME

Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon

ISBN: 9780778331810

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Publisher: MIRA Books

Book Summary:

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland, wearing only swim trunks and a gash on his head. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth raises more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

Review

This brilliantly told story starts off slow and builds to an unbelievable ending. I was utterly captivated by our three narrators and astounded by this insidious story that McKinnon created. When the book first started I thought this was going to be a familiar domestic mystery tale filled with deceit and unreliable narrators. Which this book does have but it does it in such a devious and unexpected way that I was hooked pretty early on. Jack’s amnesia really propels this story forward as we try to figure out who exactly he is since he doesn’t even know the kind of person he is. Maya and Lily both have a stake in Jack recovering his memories and as things are slowly revealed the story becomes so much more than it appears. Any lover of domestic mysteries or mysteries will appreciate McKinnon’s spin on the familiar tropes.

Author Bio: 

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors, Her Secret Son, and Sister Dear. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @HannahMMcKinnon

Instagram: @hannahmarymckinnon

Facebook: @HannahMaryMcKinnon

Goodreads

Excerpt

Chapter 1—The Man from the Beach 

Cold. Cold was the first word that came to mind. The first thing I noticed when I woke up. Not a slight, uncomfortable chill to give me the shivers, but a cramp-inducing, iced-to-the-bone kind of frozen. I lay flat on my stomach, my left ear and cheek pressed into the rough, grainy wet ground beneath me, my entire body shaking. As my thoughts attempted to assemble themselves into some form of understandable order, a wave of icy water nipped at my bare toes and ankles, my instincts pulling my feet out of reach. 

I had a sudden urge to get up, a primal need to take in my surroundings and assess the danger—was I in danger?—but the throbbing pain deep in my head made the slightest effort to shift anything seem impossible. Lifting a finger would be too much effort, and I acquiesced, allowing myself to lie still for another few freezing seconds as the frigid water crept over the balls of my feet again. When I blinked my eyes open, I was met by a thick, fuzzy darkness enveloping me like a cloak. Where the hell was I? And wherever it was, what was I doing here? 

When I lifted my head a fraction of an inch, I could barely make out anything in front of me. There was hardly a noise either, nothing but a gentle, steady rumble in the background, and the cry of a bird somewhere in the distance. I made my brain work its way backward—bird, rumble, sand, water—and the quartet formed the vaguely cohesive image of a beach. 

Searching for confirmation, I inhaled the salty, humid air deep into my lungs as another slosh of water took aim at my calves. This time the discomfort was enough to push me to my feet, and I wrapped my arms around my naked torso, my sopping board shorts clinging to my goose-bump-covered thighs. An explosion of pain in my head threatened to send me back to my knees, and I swayed gently, wishing I had something to steady myself with, willing my body to stay upright. As I pressed a hand to the side of my skull, I let out a quiet yelp, and felt along a two-inch gash in my scalp. My eyes had adjusted somewhat to the lack of light, and my fingertips were covered in something dark that smelled of rust. Blood. How had I…? 

Another low rumble made me turn around, shuffling slowly in a semicircle. The behemoth effort was rewarded by the sight of a thousand glistening waves dancing under the moonlight like diamonds, the water stretching out and disappearing into the darkness beyond. As my ears tuned in to the rhythmic whoosh of the waves, my mind worked hard to process each scrap of information it took in. 

I’m definitely on a beach. It’s nighttime. I’m alone. What am I doing here? 

Before I could answer the single question, a thousand others crowded my brain, an incessant string of chatter I couldn’t stop or get away from. 

Where is everyone? Never mind them, where am I? Have I been here long? How did I get here? Where was I before? Where are my clothes? What day is it? 

My legs buckled. Not because of the unfamiliar surroundings, the cold burrowing its way deeper into my core, or the pain in my head, which had increased tenfold. No. My knees hit the sand with a dull crunch when I realized I couldn’t answer any of the questions because I couldn’t recall anything. Nothing. Not the tiniest of details.

Including my name.

Chapter 2—Lily 

A frown settled over my face as I put my phone on the table, pushed the bowl of unfinished berry oatmeal away and stretched out my legs. It was Saturday morning, and I’d been up for ages, too eager—too hopeful—to spend a day at the beach with Jack, but those plans had been a literal wash-out. The start to the summer felt capricious, with this second storm in the last week of June poised to be much worse than the first. I’d convinced myself the weatherwoman had exaggerated or got her forecast completely wrong, but clouds had rolled in overnight anyway. As a result, I’d been unceremoniously woken up at two thirty by a trio of bright lightning, deafening thunderclaps and heavy raindrops pelting against my bedroom window. 

At first, I’d pulled my pillow over my head to deafen the noise, and when that didn’t work, I rolled over and stretched out an arm. The spot next to me was empty and cold, and I groaned. Jack hadn’t come over to my place as I’d hoped he would, slipping into bed and pressing his naked body against mine. I’d buried my face back into my pillow and tried to ignore the tinge of disappointment. We hadn’t seen much of each other this past week, both of us too busy with our jobs to spend more than a night together, and I missed him. Jack had called the day before to tell me he’d be working late, finishing the stain on the cabinets he’d labored on for weeks before his boss had to let him go. Apparently expensive custom kitchens weren’t in as high demand in Brookmount, Maryland as originally thought. 

“But you got laid off,” I’d said. “It’s your last day. Why do you care?” 

“Because I made a commitment. Besides, it’ll help when I need a reference.” 

Typical Jack, always keeping his word. He’d bought a lottery ticket once, and the clerk had jokingly asked if he’d give him half of any winnings. Jack had laughed and shaken the man’s hand, and when he won ten bucks on the ticket, had promptly returned to the store, and paid over the share as promised. His loyalty was one of the many things I loved about Jack, although part of me wished he weren’t quite as dedicated to his soon-to-be ex-boss. 

“You could come over to my place when you’re done,” I said, smiling slowly. “I’ll leave the key under the umbrella stand. I don’t mind you waking me up gently in the middle of the night…or not so gently.” 

Jack laughed softly. The sound was something I’d fallen in love with eighteen months ago after our eyes had met across a crowded bar, the mother of all uninspired first-encounter clichés, except in this case I’d been forced to admit clichés weren’t always a bad thing. 

“It’ll be really late, Lily,” he said, his voice deep. His English accent was something of a rarity in our small coastal town, and still capable of making my legs wobble in anticipation of his next words. “I’ll go for a quick swim now, then finish up work. How about I come over in the morning? Around nine? I’ll bring you breakfast in bed.” 

“Blueberry pancakes from Patti’s? With extra maple syrup?” 

“This time I’ll order three stacks to make sure I get some.” 

“Pancakes or sex?” I said, before telling him how much I loved him, and whispering exactly how I’d thank him for waking me with sweet weekend treats. I’d hoped it might change his mind and he’d come over earlier, except it was ten now, and he still hadn’t showed. It was odd. Jack detested being late as much as he loved being early. He often joked they set Greenwich Mean Time by his father’s old watch, which Jack had worn since his dad passed a little over a decade before we’d met, when Jack was only twenty.

I checked my phone again. Jack hadn’t answered either of my calls, another anomaly, but I tried to talk myself into believing he’d worked late into the night to make the final good impression he wanted, and overslept. Maybe there was a line at Patti’s—the restaurant was slammed every weekend—and perhaps his phone was set to silent. 

I picked up my bowl and wandered to the kitchen. My place was the smallest of six apartments, a tiny but well-maintained one-bedroom in a building a few miles from the beach, farther than I’d planned, but the closest I could afford. I’d lived there for almost five years, had furnished it with an eclectic assortment of third-hand furniture, my favorite piece a royal blue microfiber sofa I’d bought for fifty bucks, and which Jack swore was the most comfortable thing he’d ever sat on. Whenever he sank down into it and pulled me on top of him with a contented sigh, I’d tease him about what made him happier; the squishy, well-worn cushions, or me. 

The image made my frown deepen. Where was he?

Excerpted from You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2021 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Local Woman Missing By Mary Kubica

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with an ARC and providing all info and graphics for this post.

Local Woman Missing

Mary Kubica

On Sale Date: May 18, 2021

9780778389446, 0778389448

Hardcover

$27.99 USD, $34.99 CAD

Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological

352 pages

About the Book:

People don’t just disappear without a trace…
Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.
Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…
In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

Review

I had no idea what kind of a ride Kubica was going to take me on but it was a wild one. I was not expecting all the twists and turns that this story took and it is a very clever thriller. As we crept closer to the ending I did figure a few things out but I still had no idea how it all happened. I was not disappointed by the conclusion and in a creepy way I can almost see this being a true story in a very twisted way.

The way this story is told is exceptionally smart because we see things from 11 years prior in both Meredith and her neighbor, Kate’s, perspective and everything in the present is being told to us through Delilah’s brother, Leo. This was the perfect way to tell this story and showcases Kubica’s brilliance as a writer. Meredith is a doula and for that reason I would caution anyone who is pregnant, has a newborn, or is triggered by infant loss or traumatic births to think twice about reading this book. Kubica does a great job of informing the reader of various things related to a woman’s right to consent when it comes to birth and labor which is incredibly important but the level of detail she goes into could be too much for some.

There were a few moments where I felt bogged down by the minutiae of Meredith and Kate’s lives and if I were to nitpick there are definitely things that could have been cut from the story to streamline things. I also didn’t find the characters all that likable which I’m not sure was intentional or not. I did really enjoy how there were a few subtle reveals in the story where Kubica let us know some information but didn’t feel the need to make a big deal about it.

This is a fantastic domestic thriller and another one that is perfect for summer reading. It would be so easy to get lost into this world that Kubica has created. Plus it is very atmospheric with a lot of rain storms and flooding which would be a great distraction from the hot sunny days. I highly recommend this one if you want an enthralling and chilling book about the secrets people will keep and what happens when they are about to be revealed.

About the Author:

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of six novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY, EVERY LAST LIE, WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT, and THE OTHER MRS. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children. Her last novel THE OTHER MRS. was an instant New York Times bestseller; is coming soon to Netflix; was a LibraryReads pick for February 2020; praised by the New York Times; and highly recommended by Entertainment Weekly, People, The Week, Marie Claire, Bustle, HelloGiggles, Goodreads, PopSugar, BookRiot, HuffingtonPost, First for Women, Woman’s World, and more. Mary’s novels have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller,” (Kirkus Reviews) and “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times).  LOCAL WOMAN MISSING is her seventh novel. 

Social Links:

Website: https://marykubica.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryKubicaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryKubica 

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7392948.Mary_Kubica 

Excerpt

MEREDITH

11 YEARS BEFORE

March

The text comes from a number I don’t know. It’s a 630 area code. Local. I’m in the bathroom with Leo as he soaks in the tub. He has his bath toys lined up on the edge of it and they’re taking turns swan diving into the now-lukewarm water. It used to be hot, too hot for Leo to get into. But he’s been in there for thirty minutes now playing with his octopus, his whale, his fish. He’s having a ball.

Meanwhile I’ve lost track of time. I have a client in the early stages of labor. We’re texting. Her husband wants to take her to the hospital. She thinks it’s too soon. Her contractions are six and a half minutes apart. She’s absolutely correct. It’s too soon. The hospital would just send her home, which is frustrating, not to mention a huge inconvenience for women in labor. And anyway, why labor at the hospital when you can labor in the comfort of your own home? First-time fathers always get skittish. It does their wives no good. By the time I get to them, more times than not, the woman in labor is the more calm of the two. I have to focus my attention on pacifying a nervous husband. It’s not what they’re paying me for. 

I tell Leo one more minute until I shampoo his hair, and then fire off a quick text, suggesting my client have a snack to keep her energy up, herself nourished. I recommend a nap, if her body will let her. The night ahead will be long for all of us. Childbirth, especially when it comes to first-time moms, is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Josh is home. He’s in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner while Delilah plays. Delilah’s due up next in the tub. By the time I leave, the bedtime ritual will be done or nearly done. I feel good about that, hating the times I leave Josh alone with so much to do. 

I draw up my text and then hit Send. The reply is immediate, that all too familiar ping that comes to me at all hours of the day or night. 

I glance down at the phone in my hand, expecting it’s my client with some conditioned reply. Thx. 

Instead: I know what you did. I hope you die. 

Beside the text is a picture of a grayish skull with large, black eye sockets and teeth. The symbol of death. 

My muscles tense. My heart quickens. I feel thrown off. The small bathroom feels suddenly, overwhelmingly, oppressive. It’s steamy, moist, hot. I drop down to the toilet and have a seat on the lid. My pulse is loud, audible in my own ears. I stare at the words before me, wondering if I’ve misread. Certainly I’ve misread. Leo is asking, “Is it a minute, Mommy?” I hear his little voice, muff led by the ringing in my ears. But I’m so thrown by the cutthroat text that I can’t speak. 

I glance at the phone again. I haven’t misread. 

The text is not from my client in labor. It’s not from any client of mine whose name and number is stored in my phone. As far as I can tell, it’s not from anyone I know.

A wrong number, then, I think. Someone sent this to me by accident. It has to be. My first thought is to delete it, to pretend this never happened. To make it disappear. Out of sight, out of mind. 

But then I think of whoever sent it just sending it again or sending something worse. I can’t imagine anything worse. 

I decide to reply. I’m careful to keep it to the point, to not sound too judgy or fault-finding because maybe the intended recipient really did do something awful—stole money from a children’s cancer charity—and the text isn’t as egregious as it looks at first glance. 

I text: You have the wrong number. 

The response is quick. 

I hope you rot in hell, Meredith. 

The phone slips from my hand. I yelp. The phone lands on the navy blue bath mat, which absorbs the sound of its fall. 

Meredith. 

Whoever is sending these texts knows my name. The texts are meant for me. 

A second later Josh knocks on the bathroom door. I spring from the toilet seat, and stretch down for the phone. The phone has fallen facedown. I turn it over. The text is still there on the screen, staring back at me. 

Josh doesn’t wait to be let in. He opens the door and steps right inside. I slide the phone into the back pocket of my jeans before Josh has a chance to see. 

“Hey,” he says, “how about you save some water for the fish.” 

Leo complains to Josh that he is cold. “Well, let’s get you out of the bath,” Josh says, stretching down to help him out of the water. 

“I need to wash him still,” I admit. Before me, Leo’s teeth chatter. There are goose bumps on his arm that I hadn’t noticed before. He is cold, and I feel suddenly guilty, though it’s mired in confusion and fear. I hadn’t been paying any attention to Leo. There is bathwater spilled all over the floor, but his hair is still bone-dry. 

“You haven’t washed him?” Josh asks, and I know what he’s thinking: that in the time it took him to clear the kitchen table, wash pots and pans and wipe down the sinks, I did nothing. He isn’t angry or accusatory about it. Josh isn’t the type to get angry. 

“I have a client in labor,” I say by means of explanation. “She keeps texting,” I say, telling Josh that I was just about to wash Leo. I drop to my knees beside the tub. I reach for the shampoo. In the back pocket of my jeans, the phone again pings. This time, I ignore it. I don’t want Josh to know what’s happening, not until I get a handle on it for myself. 

Josh asks, “Aren’t you going to get that?” I say that it can wait. I focus on Leo, on scrubbing the shampoo onto his hair, but I’m anxious. I move too fast so that the shampoo suds get in his eye. I see it happening, but all I can think to do is wipe it from his forehead with my own soapy hands. It doesn’t help. It makes it worse. 

Leo complains. Leo isn’t much of a complainer. He’s an easygoing kid. “Ow,” is all that he says, his tiny wet hands going to his eyes, though shampoo in the eye burns like hell. 

“Does that sting, baby?” I ask, feeling contrite. But I’m bursting with nervous energy. There’s only one thought racing through my mind. I hope you rot in hell, Meredith. 

Who would have sent that, and why? Whoever it is knows me. They know my name. They’re mad at me for something I’ve done. Mad enough to wish me dead. I don’t know anyone like that. I can’t think of anything I’ve done to upset someone enough that they’d want me dead.

I grab the wet washcloth draped over the edge of the tub. I try handing it to Leo, so that he can press it to his own eyes. But my hands shake as I do. I wind up dropping the washcloth into the bath. The tepid water rises up and splashes him in the eyes. This time he cries. 

“Oh, buddy,” I say, “I’m so sorry, it slipped.” 

But as I try again to grab it from the water and hand it to him, I drop the washcloth for a second time. I leave it where it is, letting Leo fish it out of the water and wipe his eyes for himself. Meanwhile Josh stands two feet behind, watching. 

My phone pings again. Josh says, “Someone is really dying to talk to you.” 

Dying. It’s all that I hear. 

My back is to Josh, thank God. He can’t see the look on my face when he says it. 

“What’s that?” I ask. 

“Your client,” Josh says. I turn to him. He motions to my phone jutting out of my back pocket. “She really needs you. You should take it, Mer,” he says softly, accommodatingly, and only then do I think about my client in labor and feel guilty. What if it is her? What if her contractions are coming more quickly now and she does need me? 

Josh says, “I can finish up with Leo while you get ready to go,” and I acquiesce, because I need to get out of here. I need to know if the texts coming to my phone are from my client or if they’re coming from someone else. 

I rise up from the floor. I scoot past Josh in the door, brushing against him. His hand closes around my upper arm as I do, and he draws me in for a hug. “Everything okay?” he asks, and I say yes, fine, sounding too chipper even to my own ears. Everything is not okay. 

“I’m just thinking about my client,” I say. “She’s had a stillbirth before, at thirty-two weeks. She never thought she’d get this far. Can you imagine that? Losing a baby at thirty-two weeks?”

Josh says no. His eyes move to Leo and he looks saddened by it. I feel guilty for the lie. It’s not this client but another who lost a baby at thirty-two weeks. When she told me about it, I was completely torn up. It took everything in me not to cry as she described for me the moment the doctor told her her baby didn’t have a heartbeat. Labor was later induced, and she had to push her dead baby out with only her mother by her side. Her husband was deployed at the time. After, she was snowed under by guilt. Was it her fault the baby died? A thousand times I held her hand and told her no. I’m not sure she ever believed me. 

My lie has the desired effect. Josh stands down, and asks if I need help with anything before I leave. I say no, that I’m just going to change my clothes and go. 

I step out of the bathroom. In the bedroom, I close the door. I grab my scrub bottoms and a long-sleeved T-shirt from my drawer. I lay them on the bed, but before I get dressed, I pull my phone out of my pocket. I take a deep breath and hold it in, summoning the courage to look. I wonder what waits there. More nasty threats? My heart hammers inside me. My knees shake. 

I take a look. There are two messages waiting for me. 

The first: Water broke. Contractions 5 min apart. 

And then: Heading to hospital.—M. 

I release my pent-up breath. The texts are from my client’s husband, sent from her phone. My legs nearly give in relief, and I drop down to the edge of the bed, forcing myself to breathe. I inhale long and deep. I hold it in until my lungs become uncomfortable. When I breathe out, I try and force away the tension. 

But I can’t sit long because my client is advancing quickly. I need to go.

Excerpted from Local Woman Missing @ 2021 by Mary Kyrychenko, used with permission by Park Row Books.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Local-Woman-Missing-Mary-Kubica/dp/0778389448/ 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/local-woman-missing-mary-kubica/1137387568  

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/local-woman-missing/9780778389446 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778389446 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488211690-local-woman-missing 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Local-Woman-Missing/Mary-Kubica/9780778389446?id=8051055467945# 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/local-woman-missing-by-mary-kubica-hardcover/-/A-81225904 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Local-Woman-Missing-Original-ed-Hardcover-9780778389446/700252600 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/local-woman-missing-a-novel/9780778389446-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/local-woman-missing 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/local-woman-missing/id1524947457 

Google Play: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Local_Woman_Missing/sKazzQEACAAJ?hl=en 

~Cassie

WWW Wednesday 5.26.21

This fun weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

My buddy reading group is reading A Court of Mist and Fury this week and I was a little worried because I found the first ten percent incredibly boring but thankfully it has picked up a lot. I’m a little behind the rest of my group so I only just started part two but I have high hopes that I will like this book way more then I did ACOTAR.

I started reading Hummingbird Salamander last month and then I put it down for some reason. I recently picked it back up and I’m still really enjoying the story even though I have no clue where the story is going. This is my first Vandermeer book so I have no clue how it stands up next to his other works but his style of writing reminds me a lot of Chuck Palahniuk.

What have you recently finished reading?

Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley

The Nesting is a fantastic introduction to Nordic Noir and I gave it five stars. I am so behind on reviews and I have a stacked blog tour schedule coming up but I do hope to have a review for this up next month. I gave it five stars.

Hard Sell by Hudson Lin

Get a Life, Chloe Brown is one of my favorite romances I have read and definitely my top favorite of this year. I again want to have a review of this up next month and this was an obvious five star read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series next month.

I received an ARC of Just One Look from Netgalley so I will have my review for this up on or near it’s publication date, July 27. This is a seriously engrossing, captivating and creepy tale with a main character that makes you cringe that you are actually rooting for. Think a less terrifying Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes (no wonder they blurbed her on the cover!). I gave this five stars.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I will be spending today and tomorrow reading You Will Remember Me for a blog tour post on Friday. The synopsis of this sounds so good and it has such a high rating on Goodreads that I feel like I might just fly through this one tonight.

After I finish the previous book I will be picking up Real Men Knit since it is almost the end of the month and I would love knock another book off my Pop Culture Readathon TBR.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Talk Bookish to Me By Kate Bromley

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also kindly provided all info and graphics for this post.

TALK BOOKISH TO ME

Author: Damhnait Monaghan 

ISBN: 9781525806438

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Publisher: Graydon House Books

TALK BOOKISH TO ME (On-sale: May 25, 2021; Graydon House; Trade Paperback Original; $15.99) is a laugh-out-loud stunner of a story, perfect for fans of Beach Read and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, that will delight book nerds everywhere! 

Kara Sullivan is definitely not avoiding her deadline. After all, it’s the week of her best friend’s wedding and she’s the maid of honor, so she’s got lots of responsibilities. As a bestselling romance novelist with seven novels under her belt, she’s a pro and looming deadlines and writer’s block (which she definitely doesn’t have) don’t scare her. She’s just eager to support Cristina as she ties the knot with Jason.

But who should show up at Cristina and Jason’s rehearsal dinner but Kara’s college ex-boyfriend, (the gorgeous and infuriating) Ryan? Apparently, he’s one of Jason’s childhood friends, and he’s in the wedding party, too. Considering neither Kara nor Ryan were prepared to see each other again, it’s decidedly a meet-NOT-cute. There is nothing cute about this situation, and a bit of notice to mentally prepare would’ve been nice, Cristina! However, when Kara sits down to write again the next day, her writers’ block is suddenly gone. She has to wonder what’s changed. Are muses real…? And is Kara’s muse…Ryan?

Review

This was an exceptionally fun and surprisingly emotional read from a debut author which makes it that much more impressive. There was an unexpected amount of drama and humor packed into this book and I was not prepared for the journey it took me on. While this story is still light hearted in most aspects there was also quite a lot of moments that had me tearing up. Kara is an easy character to fall in love with and since she is not only an author but a fellow romance lover and bookstagrammer she is someone that we can all easily connect with in some way. Ryan is a complicated hero that is so easy to root and yet even he and his and Kara’s situation is more complex than I was expecting. Which is probably why I love this book so much since it felt so realistic. This book also has the added bonus of giving us snippets of the historical romance that Kara is working on. I wasn’t as wowed with this extra story but I did think it was a fun addition. Overall, this is an incredible romance that perfectly balances humor and emotion and one where I will be thinking about these characters for a long time to come.

Author Bio: 

KATE BROMLEY lives in New York City with her husband, son, and her somewhat excessive collection of romance novels (It’s not hoarding if it’s books, right?). She was a preschool teacher for seven years and is now focusing full-time on combining her two great passions – writing swoon-worthy love stories and making people laugh. Talk Bookish to Me is her first novel.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @kbromleywrites

Instagram: @katebromleywrites

Facebook: @katebromleywrites

Goodreads

Excerpt

One

“Wait, was I supposed to bring a gift?”

I turn my gaze from the floor to the well-dressed man standing beside me. There are only two of us in the elevator, so he must be talking to me.

“I think it’s a matter of personal preference,” I answer. “I’m the maid of honor so I had to be excessive.”

His eyebrows bob up as I adjust my grip on the Great-Dane-sized gift basket I’m carrying. The cellophane wrapping paper crinkles each time I move, echoing through the confined space just loudly enough to keep things weird. Because if everyone isn’t uncomfortable for the entire ride, are you even really in an elevator?

I’m low-key ecstatic when the doors glide open ten seconds later. With my basket now on the cusp of breaking both my arms and my spirit, I beeline it out of there and stride into the rooftop lounge where my best friend is hosting her pre-wedding party, drinking in the scent of heat and champagne as I maneuver through the sea of guests.

Like most maids-of-honor, I flung myself down the Etsy rabbit hole headfirst and ordered an obscene amount of decorations for tonight’s event. Burlap “Mr. & Mrs.” banners dangle from floating shelves behind the bar as twinkle lights weave around the balcony railings like ivy. Lace-trimmed mason jars filled with pink roses sit on every candlelit cocktail table. Cristina and I worked with the tenacity of two matrimonial Spartans to get everything ready this morning, and it’s clear that our blood, sweat and tears were very much worth it.

It’s then that I spot Cristina mingling near the end of the bar. Beautiful, petite and come-hither curvy, I’d hate her if she weren’t one of my favorite people ever. Her caramel hair spills down her back and her white high-low dress sets her apart from the crowd in just the right way—she’s a princess in the forest and we’re her adoring woodland animals. I’m her feisty chipmunk sidekick to my core.

I place my gift on a nearby receiving table and give a little wave when I catch her eye. She’s waiting for me with a huge grin when I arrive at her side.

“Hey, lady!” she says, pulling me in for a hug. “Look at you, rolling in here looking all gorgeous.”

We step apart and I stand up a bit taller. “Why, thank you. I feel pretty good.”

It’s also very possible that Cristina is just so used to me dazzling the world with yoga pants and sweaters every day that my transformation seems more dramatic than it is.

“Were you able to get any writing done this afternoon?” she asks, handing me a glass of champagne from off the mahogany bar top.

I get a twisting knot in my gut at the mention of my writing, or lack thereof. Having been dying a slow literary death for almost a year, I’m never without some stomach-turning sensation for long. The final deadline for my next romance

novel is officially a month away and if I don’t deliver a bestseller by then—

“Okay, you’re making your freak-out face,” Cristina interjects. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

I inhale a shallow breath and force a smile. “It’s fine. I’m good.”

“Let’s switch gears—are you sure it’s not weird that I’m having a pre-wedding party? Was booking the salsa band too much since I’m having one at the wedding, too?”

Beyond grateful for the booming trumpet and bongos that are drowning out my own thoughts, I turn to the corner and find the ten-piece group playing with addictive abandon. Cristina’s relatives, who are essentially non-trained professional salsa dancers, dominate the dance floor, and rightfully so. Cristina’s brother, Edgar, once tried to teach me the basics but I’m fairly confident I looked like a plank of wood that was given the gift of limbs. Cristina recommended dance lessons. Edgar suggested a bottle of aguardiente and prayer.

“The band is amazing,” I say as I swing back around, “and of course people have pre-wedding parties.” I’ve actually never heard of a pre-wedding party. An engagement party, yes. A bachelorette party, absolutely. But what’s going down tonight is basically a casual reception days before the mega-reception.

“Jason and I just have so many people coming in from out of town, plus we wanted the bridal party to get acquainted. We figured a little get-together would be fun.”

“I’m all for it. Who doesn’t want to pre-game for a wedding a week in advance?”

“I know I do,” Cristina says, lifting her own champagne and taking a sip. “Everyone is here except Jason and some groomsmen. Can you believe that creep is late to his own party?”

“Should you really be calling your fiancé a creep?”

“He’s my creep so it’s okay.”

“Valid point.”

“Picture please! Will you girls get together?”

I look to my right and find a teenage boy with wildly curly hair pointing a camera at us. He’s dressed in all black and looks so eager to take our photo that I can’t help but to find him endearing.

“Absolutely! Big smile, Kara.” Cristina throws her arm around my waist and after we withstand an intense flash, the young man is gone before my eyes can readjust. “That was Jason’s cousin, Rob. He wants to be a photographer, so I hired him for the night.”

“That was thoughtful of you,” I say, still recovering from my momentary blindness. “By the way, where is Jason?”

“He’s still at home. Two of his groomsmen are driving up and he wanted to wait for them since, apparently, grown men can’t find their way to a party by themselves.”

“Driving in Manhattan is intimidating. He probably didn’t want them to get lost.”

“Right, because neither of them has GPS? Jason should be here.”

I’m honestly shocked that Jason isn’t here. I love Cristina and Jason both to death but they’re one of those couples that rarely go out socially without each other. Even when I invite Cristina over to my apartment for a wine night, she asks to bring Jason. I’ve always thought it was a bit much, but I guess it works for them.

“Okay, forget everyone else, let’s toast.” I clear my throat and hold up my champagne. “When we were both waitressing at McMahon’s Pub in grad school, I had no idea it would lead to nine amazing years of friendship. Now I’d be lost without you. Here’s to you having a magical night. I’m so glad I’m here to celebrate with you.”

We smile and tap our glasses together, the ding of the crystal echoing my words.

I take a sip and the bubbly drink slips easily down my throat. Still savoring the sweetness, I ask, “So, who are these mystery groomsmen Jason’s waiting for?”

“One is named Beau and I can’t remember the other one. They’re two guys he grew up with when his family lived in North Carolina.”

“North Carolina? I thought Jason was from Texas?”

“He spent most of his life in Texas, but he lived in North Carolina until he was ten. He somehow kept in contact with these two through the years.”

“That’s nice, him staying friends with them for so long.”

“Yeah, it’s adorable, but they still should have gotten their asses here on their own.” Cristina is poised to elaborate when her gaze locks on something across the room. She tries and fails to look annoyed instead of excited.

“I’m guessing the groom has arrived,” I say, glancing over my shoulder. My suspicions are confirmed as I see Jason making his way toward us, smiling at Cristina like a fifth grader saying “cheese” on picture day. He’s tilting his head and everything.

“There she is! There’s my incredibly forgiving future wife.” Jason leans down and kisses Cristina before she can verbally obliterate him. He gives me a quick kiss on the cheek next and then shifts back to his fiancée’s side, sneaking an arm around her waist and pulling her to his hip.

“So, I’m going to go ahead and disregard all the semi-violent text messages you’ve sent me over the past hour. Bearing that in mind, how’s everything going?”

Cristina looks up at him, feigning disinterest. “It’s going great. Since you weren’t here, I talked to several nice men. Turns out, pre-wedding parties are a great place to meet guys.”

“I’m so happy for you.”

“I appreciate that. Four contenders, specifically, really piqued my interest.”

“Are they taller than me?” Jason asks. “Do they make a lot of money?”

“Obviously. They’re way taller and all of them are independently wealthy.”

“Nice. Kara, did you meet these freakishly tall and rich men?”

“I did and spoiler alert, I’m engaged now, too! Double wedding here we come!”

Jason smiles and pulls Cristina in even closer, his gaze holding hers. “I guess this is where being late gets you. I’m sorry I wasn’t here. Do you forgive me?”

“Don’t I always?”

He leans down and gives her another picture-perfect kiss.

It’s official. I’m dying alone. Just putting that out there.

“Now, where are these friends of yours? Oh! Let’s set one of them up with Kara!” Cristina looks at me with a dangerous matchmaker gleam in her eyes.

“Actually, I already mentioned Kara, and one of my buddies said he went to college with her.”

Went to college with me?

Jason looks towards the entrance and waves. “Hey, Ryan! Come over here!”

And then I go catatonic. I can’t move. I stand stock still, looking at Cristina like she sprouted a third arm out of her forehead and it’s giving me the middle finger.

Someone walks past me and a soft breeze ghosts across my overheating skin. I stare in a state of utter disbelief as Ryan Thompson steps into view beside Jason.

“It’s been a while, Sullivan,” he says, his voice as steady and tempting as ever.

My champagne glass falls from my fingers and shatters against the floor.

“Kara?” Cristina’s voice rings with concern as she nudges us away from the broken glass that’s now littered around our feet. She grasps my elbow, but I don’t feel it. She could backhand me across the face with a polo mallet and I wouldn’t feel it. My mind is spiraling, plummeting inwards as I come to grips with the realization that Ryan is standing two feet away from me.

Dressed in a navy suit, a crisp white button-down and brown dress shoes, he’s come a long way from the sweatshirts and jeans that were his unofficial uniform in college. His dirty-blond hair is on the shorter side, but a few wayward strands still fall across his forehead. Ten years ago, I would have reached up and brushed them aside without a thought. Now, my hand curls into a tight, unforgiving fist at my side.

If we were another former couple, seeing each other for the first time in a decade might be a dreamy, serendipitous meet-cute—a Nancy Meyers movie in pre-production. We’d have a few drinks and spend hours reminiscing about old times before picking up right where we left off. It would be comfortable and familiar as anything, like a sip of hot chocolate at Christmas with Nat King Cole crooning on vinyl in the background.

But we are not that kind of former couple, and I’m convinced that if Nat King Cole were here and knew my side of the story, he would grab Ryan by the scruff of his shirt and hold him steady as I roundhouse-kicked him in the throat.

It’s a tough pill to swallow but Ryan looks good. Like, really good. His face is harder than it was when he was twenty-one and the stubble on his chin tells me he hasn’t shaved in a few days, making him seem like he just rolled out of bed. And not rolled out of bed in a dirty way, but in a “I just rolled out of bed and yet I still look ruggedly handsome and you fully want to make out with me” kind of way.

The bastard.

“Ryan,” Cristina says, always the first to jump in, “Jason mentioned that you and Kara went to college together.”

“We did.” His eyes don’t move from mine for even a second. “It’s got to be what, ten years now?”

“Yeah, it’s been a long, long time,” I say quickly, turning to face Cristina. “I think I may have mentioned him before. Remember my friend from North Carolina?”

If someone were to look up “my friend from North Carolina” in the Dictionary of Kara, they would find the following:

My friend from North Carolina (noun): 1. Ryan Thompson. 2. My college boyfriend. 3. My first real boyfriend ever. 4. My first love. 5. Taker of my virginity. 6. Guy who massacred my heart with a rusty sledgehammer and fed the remains to rabid, ravenous dogs.

Cristina is well versed in the dictionary of Kara and recognition washes over her. “No way,” she says, her voice dropping.

“Yes way,” I answer happily, overcompensating.

Now’s it’s Cristina’s turn to panic. “Wow. Okay, wow, what a small world, huh?” She grabs Jason’s hand in an iron grip, making him wince as she blasts an over-the-top smile. “Well, we should give you guys a chance to catch up. My abuelita just got here so Jason and I are going to say hello.”

“Your abuelita died two years ago,” I hiss.

“I know, it’s a miracle. See you two later!” She drags her soon-to-be husband away before he can get a word out.

I watch them go, sailing away like the last lifeboat as I stand on deck with the string quartet, the cheerful Bach melody only further confirming that this ship is going down.

Excerpted from Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley, Copyright © 2021 by Kate Bromley

Published by Graydon House Books.

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~Cassie

On My Radar: June 2021

June is one of my favorite months of the year and I am so thrilled that some of my most anticipated releases of the year are coming out next month. There are a lot of books on this list and like always I will be buying some of these, checking some out from the library and just keeping my eye out for good deals for them.

June 1

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

He was supposed to be a myth.
But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell…
…he was, quite simply, mine.

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth…a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…

A modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.

*No synopsis since this is the third in the series

A true crime podcaster. A retired detective. A case they can’t let go. 

True crime podcaster Trinity Scott is chasing breakout success, and her new serial looks like it will get her there. Her subject is Clayton Jay Pelley. More than two decades ago, the respected family man and guidance counselor confessed to the brutal murder of teenage student Leena Rai. Why he killed her has always been a mystery. 

In a series of exclusive interviews from prison he promises to tell Trinity the truth about what happened that night beneath Devil’s Bridge. What Clayton says shocks the Pacific Northwest town of Twin Falls to the core. But is Clayton lying now? Or was he lying then? 

As ratings skyrocket, Trinity is missing a key player in the story: Rachel Walczak, the retired detective who revealed Pelley’s twisted urges and put him behind bars. She’s not playing Clayton’s game–until Trinity digs deeper and the podcast reverb widens. Then Rachel begins to question everything she thinks she knows about the past.

With each of Clayton’s teasing reveals, one thing is clear: he’s not the only one in Twin Falls with a secret.

Is Trinity finally getting to the truth? Or falling victim to a killer’s sick game?

June 3

𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒈𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒃𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔… 𝑮𝒆𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚!

𝘾𝙇𝘼𝙔

Marymount girls are good girls. We’re chaste, we’re untouched, and even if we weren’t, no one would know, because we keep our mouths shut.

Not that I have anything to share anyway. I never let guys go too far. I’m behaved. 

Beautiful, smart, talented, popular, my skirt’s always pressed, and I never have a hair out of place. I own the hallways, walking tall on Monday and dropping to my knees like the good Catholic girl I am on Sunday.

That’s me. Always in control. 

Or so they think. The truth is that it’s easy for me to resist them, because what I truly want, they can never be. Something soft and smooth. Someone dangerous and wild. 

Unfortunately, what I want I have to hide. In the locker room after hours. In the bathroom stall between classes. In the showers after practice. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑠𝑤𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑝 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑟𝑡. 

For me, life is a web of secrets. No one can find out mine. 

𝙊𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙄𝘼

I cross the tracks every day for one reason—to graduate from this school and get into the Ivy League. I’m not ashamed of where I come from, my family, or how everyone at Marymount thinks my skirts are too short and my lipstick is too red. 

Clay Collins and her friends have always turned up their noses at me. The witch with her beautiful skin, clean shoes, and rich parents who torments me daily and thinks I won’t fight back.

At least not until I get her alone and find out she’s hiding so much more than just what’s underneath those pretty clothes. 

The princess thinks I’ll scratch her itch. She thinks she’s still pure as long as it’s not a guy touching her. 

I told her to stay on her side of town. I told her not to cross the tracks. 

But one night, she did. And when I’m done with her, she’ll never be pure again. 

*TRYST SIX VENOM is a standalone, new adult, bully romance suitable for readers 18+. It will release directly into Kindle Unlimited!

June 8

A British actress discovers the dark side of Hollywood when she is the only witness to the sudden disappearance of a woman she meets at an audition in this psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody.

Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Every cable network and studio looking to fill the rosters of their new shows enticing a fresh batch of young hopefuls, anxious, desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Careers will be made, dreams will be realized, stars will be born. And some will be snuffed out.

British star Mia Eliot has landed leading roles in costume dramas in her native country, but now it’s time for Hollywood to take her to the next level. Mia flies across the Atlantic to join the hoard of talent scrambling for their big breaks. She’s a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive and faceless world of back-to-back auditioning. Then one day she meets Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. Emily is friendly and genuine and reassuringly doesn’t seem to be taking any of it too seriously. She stands out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow auditionees. But a simple favor turns dark when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her, and the woman who knocks on Mia’s door the following day claiming to be her new friend isn’t the woman Mia remembers at all.

All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.

Actress and author Catherine Steadman has written a gripping thriller set in a world close to home that asks the question: In a city where dreams really do come true, how far would you go to make the unreal real?

For readers of Jane Harper and Rachel Caine comes a chilling thriller from award-winning author Jen Williams about a woman who discovers her late mother had been secretly corresponding with a serial killer for decades.

When prodigal daughter Heather Evans returns to her family home after her mother’s baffling suicide, she makes an alarming discovery–stacks and stacks of carefully preserved letters from notorious serial killer Michael Reave. The “Red Wolf,” as he was dubbed by the press, has been in prison for over twenty years, serving a life sentence for the gruesome and ritualistic murders of several women across the country, although he has always protested his innocence. The police have had no reason to listen, yet Heather isn’t the only one to have cause to re-examine the murders. The body of a young woman has just been found, dismembered and placed inside a tree, the corpse planted with flowers. Just as the Red Wolf once did.

What did Heather’s mother know? Why did she kill herself? And with the monstrous Red Wolf safely locked inside a maximum security prison, who is stalking young women now? Teaming up with DI Ben Parker, Heather hopes to get some answers for herself and for the newest victims of this depraved murderer. Yet to do that, she must speak to Michael Reave herself, and expose herself to truths she may not be ready to face. Something dark is walking in the woods, and it knows her all too well.

In Laura Jensen Walker’s second Bookish Baker mystery, Teddie St. John enters a pie-baking contest. But her chances of winning plummet when she’s suspected of killing one of the judges! 

August in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, always means one thing: the annual baking contest. Picture The Great British Baking Show, writ Midwestern. It’s a huge draw for the upper crust of Wisconsin pastry aficionados. And, of course, bon vivant baker-turned-mystery writer Teddie St. John has a pie in the ring. The white vinyl baking tent boasts an array of folding tables housing each entrant’s daily baked good. And at one of those tables sits the corpse of the head judge, his face half-buried in a delectable coconut cream pie.

The body in question belonged to notorious Les Morris. Les may have been getting on in years, but he hadn’t outgrown his well-earned reputation for lechery. Now, Les is no more. But unfortunately, by his side lies Teddie’s distinctive embossed rolling pin…covered with blood.

It’s out of the baking pan, into the oven. A life sentence behind a lattice of prison bars and a tangle of rhu-barbed wire will never do, and Teddie’s quick wit and bohemian charm won’t save her from the long spatula of the law. So, with the help of her friends, she’ll concoct a recipe to clear her name–if the real killer doesn’t ice her first.

More bloodshed at a bibliophiles’ bed-and-breakfast as Victoria Gilbert’s delightful series continues.

Meeting your favorite author in the flesh can be the chance of a lifetime. But for one unlucky fan, her plum place in line at a book signing will lead to her untimely demise.

Beaufort, North Carolina, is home to Chapters Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed. This historic 18th-century inn draws in voracious readers from far and wide with its lovingly curated special events celebrating a host of genres and authors.

On this sunny July weekend, a visit by one of the biggest names in romantic fantasy attracts throngs of admirers to the quaint coastal village. That’s not ideal, as the author retreated to Chapters to get away from it all for a while. No matter–she’ll appease her fans with a “Tea and Talk” meet-and-greet at the B&B celebrating her bestselling series (starring a devilishly dashing, time-traveling pirate), follow that up with a quick book signing at Bookwaves, the hip indie bookstore across town, and spend the remainder of the weekend in delightful repose.

But when the president of the reclusive writer’s fan club is found dead in the harbor by the Beaufort docks–done in by a blunt-force blow to the head–it’s up to Charlotte Reed, her neighbor Ellen, and Ellen’s trusty Yorkshire terrier to sniff out the killer. Because if they can’t, a spectacularly successful book series–and its author–may come to a sudden, lethal conclusion.

June 15

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. 

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. 

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

From the author of the “full-throttle thriller” (A. J. Finn) No Exit—a riveting new psychological page-turner featuring a fierce and unforgettable heroine.

Three months ago, Lena Nguyen’s estranged twin sister, Cambry, drove to a remote bridge sixty miles outside of Missoula, Montana, and jumped two hundred feet to her death. At least, that is the official police version.

But Lena isn’t buying it.

Now she’s come to that very bridge, driving her dead twin’s car and armed with a cassette recorder, determined to find out what really happened by interviewing the highway patrolman who allegedly discovered her sister’s body.

Corporal Raymond Raycevic has agreed to meet Lena at the scene. He is sympathetic, forthright, and professional. But his story doesn’t seem to add up. For one thing, he stopped Cambry for speeding a full hour before she supposedly leapt to her death. Then there are the sixteen attempted 911 calls from her cell phone, made in what was unfortunately a dead zone.

But perhaps most troubling of all, the state trooper is referred to by name in Cambry’s final enigmatic text to her sister: Please Forgive Me. I couldn’t live with it. Hopefully you can, Officer Raycevic.

Lena will do anything to uncover the truth. But as her twin’s final hours come into focus, Lena’s search turns into a harrowing, tooth-and-nail fight for her own survival—one that will test everything she thought she knew about her sister and herself…

The perfect after-school job turns deadly for teens working as simulated patients at the local med school. Everyone has something to hide and no one is safe in this contemporary YA thriller that exposes the dark reality of #MeToo in the world of medicine, for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

It seemed like a cool part-time program — being a simulated patient for med school students to practice on. But now vivacious, charismatic Viv lies in a very real coma. Cellphone footage just leads to more questions. What really happened? Other kids suspect it was not an intentional overdose — but each has a reason why they can’t tell the truth.

Through intertwining and conflicting narratives, a twisted story unfolds of trust betrayed as we sift through the seemingly innocent events leading up to the tragic night. Perhaps simulated patients aren’t the only people pretending to be something they’re not . . .

June 22

You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most.

A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of RoomHostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.

Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply. 

It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi’s intriguing new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling.

It’s the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema.

Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies.

Following up on her acclaimed and wildly successful New York Times bestseller Lady in the Lake, Laura Lippman returns with a dark, complex tale of psychological suspense with echoes of Misery involving a novelist, incapacitated by injury, who is plagued by mysterious phone calls.

After being injured in a freak accident, novelist Gerry Andersen lies in a hospital bed in his glamorous but sterile apartment, isolated from the busy world he can see through his windows, utterly dependent on two women he barely knows: his young assistant and a night nurse whose competency he questions.

But Gerry is also beginning to question his own competency. As he moves in and out of dreamlike memories and seemingly random appearances of a persistent ex-girlfriend at his bedside, he fears he may be losing his grip on reality, much like his mother who recently passed away from dementia.

Most distressing, he believes he’s being plagued by strange telephone calls, in which a woman claiming to be the titular character of his hit novel Dream Girl swears she will be coming to see him soon. The character is completely fictitious, but no one has ever believed Gerry when he makes that claim. Is he the victim of a cruel prank—or is he actually losing his mind★ There is no record of the calls according to the log on his phone. Could there be someone he has wronged★ Is someone coming to do him harm as he lies helplessly in bed★

Then comes the morning he wakes up next to a dead body—and realizes his nightmare is just beginning…

A group portrait of young adults enmeshed in desire and violence, a hotly charged, deeply satisfying new work of fiction from the author of Booker Prize finalist Real Life 

In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, set among young creatives in the American Midwest, a young man treads delicate emotional waters as he navigates a series of sexually fraught encounters with two dancers in an open relationship, forcing him to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness. In other stories, a young woman battles with the cancers draining her body and her family; menacing undercurrents among a group of teenagers explode in violence on a winter night; a little girl tears through a house like a tornado, driving her babysitter to the brink; and couples feel out the jagged edges of connection, comfort, and cruelty.

One of the breakout literary stars of 2020, Brandon Taylor has been hailed by Roxane Gay as “a writer who wields his craft in absolutely unforgettable ways.” With Filthy Animals he renews and expands on the promise made in Real Life, training his precise and unsentimental gaze on the tensions among friends and family, lovers and others. Psychologically taut and quietly devastating, Filthy Animals is a tender portrait of the fierce longing for intimacy, the lingering presence of pain, and the desire for love in a world that seems, more often than not, to withhold it.

A transporting love story of music, stardom, heartbreak, and a gifted young singer-songwriter who must find her own voice–“pure sun-soaked summer fun” (Kate Quinn, bestselling author of The Alice Network).

The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid’s intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show.

Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid’s place at the festival, it almost doesn’t seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse’s disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born.

Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry’s sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse’s music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time.

Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?

June 29

It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.

Three best friends, a lake house, a secret trip – what could go wrong?

It was supposed to be the perfect prom weekend getaway. But it’s clear something terrible happened when Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours.

Three went up the mountain, but only one came back.

Now everyone wants answers – most of all, Claire. She remembers Friday night, but after that… nothing. And now Kat and Jesse – her best friends – are missing.

That weekend changes everything.

What happened on the mountain? And where are Kat and Jesse? Claire knows the answers are buried somewhere in her memory, but as she’s learning, everyone has secrets – even her best friends. And she’s pretty sure she’s not going to like what she remembers.

The New York Times bestselling author returns with an unsettling but riveting psychological thriller about a captivating woman who joins a family and threatens to upend their picture-perfect lives. 

They had everything they needed for a perfect family vacation: close-knit relatives, a bucolic setting . . . and a murderer in their midst?

Summer’s looking forward to a break from hustling for acting work in Manhattan when she, her husband Gabe, and Gabe’s nine-year-old son arrive at the annual family get-together at her in-laws’ sprawling estate. On the agenda are leisurely gourmet meals, tennis matches, and plenty of relaxation by the pool.

But this year, Gabe’s brother Nick has invited his new flame Hannah, whom Summer immediately recognizes from a few years before. Oddly, her brother-in-law’s girlfriend claims not to know her. Yet she charms the other family members, and after Nick announces that he’s proposed to Hannah, Summer doesn’t have much choice but to grin and bear it.

Then the reunion is rocked by tragedy when a family member is found dead. Though the doctors attribute the loss to natural causes, a grieving Summer fears that the too-good-to-be-true Hannah is involved, even as Gabe dismisses her suspicions.

How far will Summer go to expose the truth? As she investigates just what Nick’s fiancée might have done to keep her perfect image intact, she begins to fear that the first death might only be the beginning . . .

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London in A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

“A compelling page-turner one won’t want to put down.”–New York Journal of Books 

Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes’ worth of secrets.

In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father’s death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared.

When Savannah’s rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman’s predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She’s evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from…and what will happen if it finally catches up to her.

“A delicious daydream of a book.” —Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author of 28 Summers

“With lyrical writing and a page-turning plot, this sun-dappled book has it all: heart, smarts, and an irresistible musical beat. A tone-perfect evocation of the free-spirited late 1970s and a riveting coming-of-age story.” —Karen Dukess, author of The Last Book Party

“In LADY SUNSHINE, Amy Mason Doan has crafted an engrossing tale of secrets, memory, music, and the people and places you can never outrun. This novel will transport you to the ‘70s and summertime magic and a long overdue reckoning. A fantastic summer read.”
—Laura Dave, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me

ONE ICONIC FAMILY. ONE SUMMER OF SECRETS. THE DAZZLING SPIRIT OF 1970S CALIFORNIA.

For Jackie Pierce, everything changed the summer of 1979, when she spent three months of infinite freedom at her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast. As musicians, artists, and free spirits gathered at The Sandcastle for the season in pursuit of inspiration and communal living, Jackie and her cousin Willa fell into a fast friendship, testing their limits along the rocky beach and in the wild woods… until the summer abruptly ended in tragedy, and Willa silently slipped away into the night.

Twenty years later, Jackie unexpectedly inherits The Sandcastle and returns to the iconic estate for a short visit to ready it for sale. But she reluctantly extends her stay when she learns that, before her death, her estranged aunt had promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her late uncle at the property’s studio. As her musical guests bring the place to life again with their sun-drenched beach days and late-night bonfires, Jackie begins to notice startling parallels to that summer long ago. And when a piece of the past resurfaces and sparks new questions about Willa’s disappearance, Jackie must discover if the dark secret she’s kept ever since is even the truth at all.

~Cassie

May Kindle Book Haul Weeks 2 & 3

This weekend my blog has given me a massive headache because it wasn’t loading the write a blog post page and after lots of researching all I had to do to fix it is to clear the cache? I’m not very technologically savvy so I’m not even really sure what that means but I am so annoyed that it was such a small and easy fix that took me forever to figure out! But I did figure it out which is great because I can’t even imagine missing this post another week. I haven’t been purchasing quite as many Kindle books but it is way more manageable to do these posts once a week.

Billionaire Jackson Spearman is impatient, demanding, and private. 

He’s practically a recluse. 

When his assistant goes on maternity leave, Amy Walker virtual assistant extraordinaire arrives to save the day. 

Or does she? 

Amy is inquisitive and far too optimistic. 
She isn’t impressed with Jackson at all. 

Is she even real? 

They can’t stand each other. 
Unfortunately, they can’t seem to resist each other, either. 
Soon, their work relationship starts to feel like something more… 

Even when Amy meets her dream man, she can’t seem to stop thinking about her annoying online boss. 

And the woman who ’s never fallen in love before, finds herself falling for two men. 
Both of them have everything she’s ever wanted. 
But she has to choose one. 

Can Jackson convince her that he can be everything that she needs? 

Or will her past come back to haunt them and ruin her chance at love?
 

Note: Contains a grumpy, workaholic tech CEO with a guarded heart, and a virtual assistant whose skills border on diabolical. Also, two cats named Ramen and Sushi.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare… 

When Isabel’s daughter, Lauren is snatched from outside her school, she suspects Jody McBride is behind the kidnapping. Yet the detective in charge of Lauren’s case seems more interested in picking apart her statement, and investigating members of her family. 

Can Isabel persuade the police to take her seriously, or will she have to take matters into her own hands? In order to save Lauren, she must take a stark look at her own relationships, and consider how well she really knows her daughter.

This sizzling psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Rachel Abbott, Mark Edwards, Nicci French, Sabine Durrant and C.L Taylor.

It’s 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?

Captivating and disturbing, Alias Grace showcases best-selling, Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood at the peak of her powers.

A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there’s no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.

She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie’s police chief father. But it’s a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton kicks off a dreamy new series with a sweep-you-off-your-feet friends-to-lovers romance.

Three days before Erin Bellini’s wedding, her fiancé breaks up with her–in an email! Hurt and embarrassed, she decides to have a fling with veterinarian Jason Callum, who’s both the best man and the hottest guy she knows. But Jason wants a lot more than just a one-night stand with the woman he’s cared about for years. So he’s taking things slow. And hot. And showing Erin what real love can look like.

Suddenly Erin finds herself spending a lot more time with Jason than she intended. Feelings she never planned on having again are wrapping around her heart, refusing to let go. Erin isn’t sure she can trust her instincts, though. After all, she made a terrible choice with her ex-fiancé. But Jason intends to convince her that he’s the best man for her, and that what they have together is a real love that will last forever.

The Hummel case has bothered William Wisting for more than six months. The investigation into what happened when taxi-driver Jens Hummel disappeared has been fruitless, and he has to endure criticism. A crucial discovery directs suspicion at Dan Roger ‘Danny’ Brodin. The problem is, however, that Danny is already in prison, convicted of another murder. Wisting is accustomed to building up a solid case for the prosecution, but this time things are different. Now he has to use all his expertise and experience to unpick a case that other people already believe to be over and done with. He follows his own convictions – all the way into the courtroom.

A short, irresistible, and bittersweet coming-of-age story in the vein of “Stranger Things” and “Stand by Me” about a group of misfit kids who spend an unforgettable summer investigating local ghost stories and urban legends.

Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls–a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place–Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turns twelve, he befriends a pair of siblings new to town, and so Calvin decides to initiate them all into the “Saturday Night Ghost Club.” But as the summer goes on, what begins as a seemingly lighthearted project may ultimately uncover more than any of its members had imagined. With the alternating warmth and sadness of the best coming-of-age stories, The Saturday Night Ghost Club examines the haunting mutability of memory and storytelling, as well as the experiences that form the people we become.

Anne
Crunch time. 

Two words every game developer fears, and I’m living the horror of impossibly long work days, that bleed into weekends. 

The only upside is spending a lot of that time with my sexy-as-sin boss. I probably shouldn’t get physical him, but the need for stress relief is real, and so is the size of his… desk. 

Then word gets back to my best friend’s brother. 

The guy whose house I practically grew up in. Who I thought saw me as a second sister. Talk about jealousy. Though I’m not sure if it’s toward me, or my boss. Apparently they hooked up a few times, too. 

One thing leads to another leads to the three of us playing naked Twister without the mat. 

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush. 

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough. Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

A mother’s worst nightmare, a chance at redemption, and a deadly secret that haunts a family across the generations.

There’s only room for one mother in this family.

Claire Abrams’s dreams became a nightmare when she passed on a genetic mutation that killed her little boy. Now she wants a second chance to be a mother, and finds it in Robert Nash, a maverick fertility doctor who works under the radar with Jillian Hendricks, a cunning young scientist bent on making her mark—and seducing her boss.

Claire, Robert, and Jillian work together to create the world’s first baby with three genetic parents—an unprecedented feat that could eliminate inherited disease. But when word of their illegal experiment leaks to the wrong person, Robert escapes into hiding with the now-pregnant Claire, leaving Jillian to serve out a prison sentence that destroys her future.

Ten years later, a spunky girl named Abigail begins to understand that all is not right with the reclusive man and woman she knows as her parents. But the family’s problems are only beginning. Jillian, hardened by a decade of jealousy and loss, has returned—and nothing will stop her from reuniting with the man and daughter who should have been hers. Past, present—and future converge in a mesmerizing psychological thriller from acclaimed bestselling author Kira Peikoff.

A suspected blackmailer is found murdered in this gripping crime story from the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger winner, Arnaldur Indridason.
Detective Sigurdur Oli is in trouble. 
After a school reunion exposes the chasm between his life and those of his much more successful contemporaries, leaving him bitter and resentful, one of his old friends asks him to pay an unofficial visit to a couple of blackmailers. He readily agrees, only to arrive to find one of the pair lying in a pool of blood. When the victim dies in hospital, Sigurdur Oli is faced with investigating a murder without revealing his own reasons for being present at the murder scene. 
Moving from the villas of Reykjavik’s banking elite to a sordid basement flat, “Black Skies” is a superb story of greed, pride and murder from one of Europe’s most successful crime writers.

One By One, They’ll Die. . .

Twenty years ago, wild child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth’s high school. Most in Jessie’s tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected that Jessie was hiding a shocking secret-one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer. . . 

Until There’s No One Left. . .

Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie’s old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure that the body is Jessie’s, that the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie’s friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation. . . 

But Her. . .

Becca Sutcliff has been haunted for years by unsettling visions of Jessie, certain her friend met with a grisly end. Now the latest deaths have her rattled. Becca can sense that an evil force is shadowing her too, waiting for just the right moment to strike. She feels like she’s going crazy. Is it all a coincidence-or has Jessie’s killer finally returned to finish what was started all those years ago?

1998. Varg Veum sits by the hospital bedside of his long-term girlfriend Karin, whose life-threatening injuries provide a deeply painful reminder of the mistakes he™s made. Investigating the seemingly innocent disappearance of a wind-farm inspector, Varg Veum is thrust into one of the most challenging cases of his career, riddled with conflicts, environmental terrorism, religious fanaticism, unsolved mysteries and dubious business ethics. Then, in one of the most heart-stopping scenes in crime fiction, the first body appears

A chilling, timeless story of love, revenge and desire, We Shall Inherit the Wind deftly weaves contemporary issues with a stunning plot that will leave you gripped to the final page. This is Staalesen at his most thrilling, thought-provoking best.

The discovery of a girl abandoned by the side of the road threatens to unearth the long-buried secrets of a Texas town’s legendary cold case in this superb, atmospheric novel from the internationally bestselling author of Black-Eyed Susans.

“If you only read one thriller this year, let it be this one. Psychologically absorbing, original and atmospheric. I could not turn the pages fast enough.”–Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author of 28 Summers

It’s been a decade since Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody handprint behind. Her pretty face still hangs like a watchful queen on the posters on the walls of the town’s Baptist church, the police station, and in the high school. They all promise the same thing: We will find you. Meanwhile, her brother, Wyatt, lives as a pariah in the desolation of the old family house, cleared of wrongdoing by the police but tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion and in a new documentary about the crime.

When Wyatt finds a lost girl dumped in a field of dandelions, making silent wishes, he believes she is a sign. The town’s youngest cop, Odette Tucker, believes she is a catalyst that will ignite a seething town still waiting for its own missing girl to come home. But Odette can’t look away. She shares a wound that won’t close with the mute, one-eyed mystery girl. And she is haunted by her own history with the missing Tru.

Desperate to solve both cases, Odette fights to save the lost girl in the present and to dig up the shocking truth about a fateful night in the past–the night her friend disappeared, the night that inspired her to become a cop, the night that wrote them all a role in the town’s dark, violent mythology.

In this twisty psychological thriller, Julia Heaberlin paints unforgettable portraits of a woman and a girl who redefine perceptions of physical beauty and strength.

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

It’s time for the annual Recipe Days bake-off in Lubbock, Texas. Soccer moms and grandmothers gather to show off their family recipes, learn new secrets for the perfect shortcake, and perhaps earn a chance to be on the famous cooking show, How Would You Cook It, Then?

When the bake-off is crashed by a federation of pro wrestlers — including American Badass, Jersey Devil Jill, Tiny Giant, The Village Person, Jonah the Whale, the Hellbillies, and the fan favorite Xombie — all hell is set to break loose. Your heart beats faster as you anticipate who will come out on top in the ultimate showdown of the century: soccer moms or pro wrestlers. Anything can happen.

An infected batch of donuts has transformed most of the wrestlers into mindless brain-eaters and the doors of the convention center have been chained shut, leaving the survivors locked inside, forced to fend for themselves against the hungry dead.

Possessing the intensity of a shotgun to the face, Zombie Bake-Off is a stripped-down masterpiece of blood and doughnuts from celebrated author Stephen Graham Jones.

Food Pharmacy shows the extraordinary power of food to reduce inflammation, restore gut bacteria, and cure disease. Future prescriptions can be filled at the local grocery instead of at the drug store.” —Dr. Mark Hyman, New York Times bestselling author of Eat Fat Get Thin

The real and practical science behind foods that will reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and revitalize your health.

The key to a healthy life is healthy eating. We know this fact, but how do we make sense of it and live it out with the myriad of information out there on gut health, autoimmune diseases, anti-inflammatory diets, and what foods to eat and not to eat?

Food Pharmacy finally tells the complete story of friendly bacteria, intestinal flora, anti-inflammatory superfoods like turmeric, the difference between good and bad fats, vitamin D, and how we can reduce inflammation and heal chronic diseases by regulating our immune system with simply the right natural foods—nature’s pharmacy that will never cause you to overdose. 

Marrying scientific research with seventeen supplementary recipes, practical advice and tips, and a quirky, humorous voice, Food Pharmacy extolls the kitchen’s anti-inflammatory heroes—like avocado, cloves, kale, cinnamon, and green bananas—and shows you how to live your healthiest life equipped with the right knowledge and food. 

With facts substantiated by Professor Stig Bengmark, a former chief surgeon and stomach bacteria research scientist, Food Pharmacy is for anyone interested in learning about how what you put in your mouth affects your body’s ecosystem, and is the ultimate guide and manifesto to leading a life as anti-inflammatory and healthy as possible.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer… 

I’ve hated Rachel Dawson since I was seven years old. My next door neighbor and number one sworn enemy, she’s the reason why almost all of our childhood fights ended with me setting something of hers on fire. (Or, vice versa.)

She snitched on me when I broke curfew. 

I snitched on her when she lied about having a boyfriend. 

We went back and forth like this throughout high school, both vowing to never talk to each other again when we went off to college. 

But that was until she showed up at my apartment during my senior year and asked me for a temporary place to stay. Until I realized just how much between us had changed, and the line I thought we’d never cross became harder and harder to ignore…

**This is a standalone friends (to enemies) to lovers romance**

Some of the Aubrey Rules to Live By: 

*If I’m going to indulge in French fries, I must add extra time to the treadmill the next day. 
*Always keep your work and private life separate. 
*Being open to new experiences will never involve eating kale. 
*Never, ever date a professional athlete. 

For Chicago social media professional Aubrey Paige, the rules are everything. So much so that Aubrey has painstakingly written her rules for living into a polka-dot Kate Spade notebook that she carries with her at all times. It’s her personal guidebook to living her life. These rules are the Holy Grail—ones never to be broken. They guide her actions for everything, from dealing with workplace drama to finding a great guy to date. After all, these are her own rules, built from her life experiences and observations. So they have to be perfect, right? 

Or are they? 

Because when Aubrey meets a cute Canadian, she suddenly finds her rules being tested and challenged in ways she never dreamed possible. Beckett Riley is the shy, quiet, determined captain of the Chicago Buffaloes, a hockey team on the verge of turning the corner to becoming a winning organization. He’s Aubrey’s opposite, with so many qualities that Aubrey had listed as ones she’d never want in a man. 

Yet Aubrey finds herself drawn to Beckett in ways she’s never known. And when she unexpectedly finds herself working with Beckett, she wonders if rules are meant to be broken after all . . . 

Kaine Reynolds wants nothing more than solitude. After an unthinkable tragedy destroys his family, he’s cut off all ties to his former life so he can battle his grief the only way he knows how.

Alone. 

So when Piper Campbell knocks on his door, rambling on about being his new neighbor, he slams the door in her face.

But Kaine’s gruff demeanor doesn’t scare her. She’s set on living in Montana and starting over after a terrible divorce. And she wouldn’t mind having a fling to chase away the pain of her husband’s betrayal. Her handsome, albeit rude, neighbor is the perfect candidate.

Yet what neither of them suspect is that their no-strings affair will result in the surprise of Piper’s lifetime—and Kaine’s worst fear.

The last thing I expect when I walk into The Hawkeye Club is to fall head over heels in lust. It’s supposed to be a rescue mission. I have to get my baby sister off the pole, into some clothes, and out of the grasp of the pussy peddler who somehow manipulated her into stripping. But the moment I see Savage Hawke and verbally spar with him, my ability to remain rational flies out the window and my libido takes center stage. I’ve never wanted a relationship—my time is better spent focusing on taking down the scum running this city—but what I want and what I need are apparently two different things. 

Danika Eriksson storms into my office in her high heels and on her high horse. Her holier-than-thou attitude and accusations should offend me, but instead, I can’t get her out of my head or my heart. Her incomparable drive, take-no-prisoners attitude, and blatant honesty captivate me and hold me prisoner. I should steer clear, but my self-preservation instinct is apparently dead—which is exactly what our relationship will be once she knows everything. It’s only a matter of time. 

The truth doesn’t always set you free. Sometimes, it just royally screws you. 

A few years ago, Tiffany Jenkins was detoxing behind bars at a Florida prison, incarcerated on 20 felony charges. Now, she’s clean and sober, a married mother of three. As she found her way in her new life, she started sharing on social media as an outlet for her depression and anxiety. She struck a chord, several of her videos went viral (one with 46million views), and in the past year her following exploded from a few hundred thousand to more than 3 million.

The memoir opens in the Florida women’s prison where Tiffany was incarcerated for 180 days. The memoir flashes back in time to the events that led to Tiffany’s imprisonment (during the time of her active addiction, Tiffany was dating and living with a cop), and moves forward to her eventual sobriety.

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead … but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

They’re pretending. Until they aren’t. 

Thomas McKinney has never wanted a woman the way he wants Callie Adesso. Since she started working alongside him at the Colonial Marysburg Research Library, he’s spent his desk shifts fumbling pencils, tripping over his own feet, and struggling to remember both the Dewey Decimal System and the existence of her inconvenient boyfriend. Now, however, Callie is suddenly single–and in need of a last-minute faux-boyfriend for an episode of HATV’s Island Match. Thomas is more than happy to play the part…and in the process, convince Callie that a week together isn’t nearly long enough.

Callie has never found a man as irritating as she finds Thomas. He may be brilliant, kind, and frustratingly handsome, but the absent-minded librarian also makes every workday an anxiety-inducing exercise in stress. Even seven days in paradise by his side won’t change her opinion of him. Really. No matter how attentive he is. And gentle. And sexy.

One plane ride later, the two of them are spending long, hot days under the sun and on display, pretending to be in love for a television show. This may be a vacation, but it’s also an act–as well as Thomas’s last chance to persuade the woman of his dreams to include him in hers. And soon, the island heat isn’t the only thing steaming up HATV’s cameras…

Catriona Masterton’s fiancé, Ethan, is Normal.

He plans trips six months in advance and arrives at the airport a minimum of three hours early. He purchases life insurance, luggage insurance, and always opts for the extended warranty. He’s responsible, reliable, and would make any woman a wonderful life partner.

In other words, he’s the exact opposite of the Masterton clan.

Cat’s mother has a kitchen gadget fetish, a father whose best friends are taxidermied field mice, and a super stoner man-child brother who lives–where else?–in the basement. Then there’s Nan, her proud Scottish grandmother with a proclivity for profanity and mischief.

What on earth will Catriona’s Normal fiancé think when he comes home with her to meet her parents? What will he think when he discovers his soon-to-be in-laws invited Cat’s ex to join them for a holiday dinner?

Ben Buttars is the youngest of the four Buttars brothers who come to Steeple Ridge Farm, and he finally feels like he’s landed somewhere he can make a life for himself. At only twenty-five, and having been cared for by his older brother when their parents died a decade ago, Ben’s never dated, never had a serious relationship, never really worried about anything. 

Reagan Cantwell is a decade older than Ben and the recreational direction for the town of Island Park, five miles from the farm where Ben works. When she visits him to discuss a partnership between the farm and the recreational department, she likes a lot more than just his horse. But she’s practically married to her job, works with two dozen other men, and doesn’t know how to carve out room in her life for Ben. 

Though Ben is young, he knows what he wants—and that’s Rae. Can she figure out how to put what matters most in her life—family and faith—above her job before she loses Ben? 

Be sure to read Starting Over at Steeple Ridge, a Timeless Romance novella, to get an introduction to the farm and all it’s wonders in fictional Island Park, Vermont. 

Is she restoring “this old house” or reimagining her future with the man she left behind?

Man down.
When “Diamond” Jim McCall gambles on a fixer-upper for sentimental reasons, his house of cards implodes – along with his health. Ruby’s ready for a job change but agreeing to become her first crush’s apprentice might be her biggest mistake. She doesn’t doubt they can “flip” the derelict ranch house and save Summit Construction, but at what cost to her heart? After all, Boone Fielding became the son her father never had when she left for college.  

Man up.
Helping Ruby McCall and her sisters flip Diamond Jim’s “money pit” makes sense financially, but he can’t partner with someone he doesn’t trust – and Boone hasn’t forgotten his last close encounter with Ruby. But every day on the job reminds him of why he fell in love with her in the first place.  

How is he ever going to let her go when the job is done?

For fans of James Patterson and Melinda Leigh: Introducing a brand new series from bestselling thriller author LynDee Walker! 

Two dead girls.
One determined Texas Ranger.
Three horrifying truths.

It’s been months since Jessa DuGray left her dorm for a study date and disappeared, her charred, disfigured remains discovered outside a cave after weeks of exhaustive searching.

Tenley Andre is the poster child for the perfect life: Gorgeous. Brilliant. Champion athlete. Until her broken body is found on the drought-ravaged shores of Lake Travis one sunny April morning, igniting a firestorm of shock and speculation in one of Texas’ most affluent communities. How did a young woman with everything to live for meet such a tragic end?

Texas Ranger Faith McClellan is itching to shake her ‘new girl’ status–and her famous father’s shadow–and get back to real police work. Tenley’s case is the perfect path: Faith doesn’t buy the easy verdict of another privileged, pressured teen suicide, and no one else wants to look beyond it. But when the intricate web of lies surrounding Tenley and her family ensnares Jessa’s high-profile unsolved murder, secrets that could destroy reputations and relationships in powerful circles are laid bare.

Now, Faith must examine old loyalties and topple ingrained biases in a race to unmask evil lurking in Austin’s most sacred institutions before another life is lost. But the insidious truths at the heart of this case are darker and more dangerous than even she can imagine.

A Killer Cupcake is the debut novel in a charming and hilarious new cozy mystery series by #1 bestselling author Fiona Grace, whose bestselling Murder in the Manor (A Lacey Doyle Cozy Mystery) has nearly 200 five star reviews.

Allison Sweet, 34, a sous chef in Los Angeles, has had it up to here with demeaning customers, her demanding boss, and her failed love life. After a shocking incident, she realizes the time has come to start life fresh and follow her lifelong dream of moving to a small town and opening a bakery of her own.

When Allison spots a charming, vacant storefront on the boardwalk near Venice, she wonders if she could really start life anew. Feeling like it’s a sign, and a time to take a chance in life, she goes for it.

Yet Allison did not anticipate the wild ride ahead of her: the boardwalk, filled with fun and outrageous characters, is pulsing with life, from the Italian pizzeria owners on either side of her who vie for her affection, to the fortune tellers and scheming rival bakery owner nearby. Allison yearns to just focus on her delicious new pastry recipes and keep her struggling bakery afloat-but when a murder occurs right near her shop, everything changes.

Implicated, her entire future at stake, Allison has no choice but to investigate to clear her name. As an orphaned dog wanders into her life, a devoted new sidekick with a knack for solving mysteries, she starts her search.

Will they find the killer? And can her struggling bakery survive?

A hilarious cozy mystery series, packed with twists, turns, romance, travel, food and unexpected adventure, the Beachfront Bakery series will keep you laughing and turning pages late into the night as you fall in love with an endearing new character who will capture your heart.

Have you heard the rumor about campus celebrity DJ Dalton?
No, not the one about number of the zeros in his bank account. Or the one about his father, the head football coach. Or even the one about his special talent between the sheets.
I’m talking about the one where he has a female roommate in an all-male dorm.
I can’t speak to the first three, but that fourth one is true. I know because that girl in his room is me.
Because of an error by the college, I’m placed with Mr. Campus Celebrity in the traditionally male dorm.
Is he panty-meltingly handsome with an attitude to match? Sure.
Do I accidentally fanaticize about him one (okay, maybe two) times? Fine, I’m honest enough to admit it.
None of that matters, because we’re opposites in all the ways that are important for getting along as college roommates:
He comes from a perfect life and old money. I come from a broken home and bowls of ramen.
He’s at Greene State to party. I’m here to study.
He’s a popular jock. I wouldn’t be caught dead playing sports.
To say we get off to a rocky start would be an understatement.
Ironically, that’s what causes our sizzling attraction to boil over one night. But even that comes at a price.
Because our story has a twist neither of us could see coming.
One that changes both of our lives, ‘till death do us part.

Boomerangers [boo-muh-rang-ers] noun, informal: an adult that moves back home to live with a parent after a period of independence. 

Spencer 

I love sex. I love the power, the intimacy, the euphoria it brings. Too bad I’m not having any . . . You’d think as New Orleans’ most renowned sex therapist that I’d be swimming in single men. In a way, I am . . . except for the fact that one is in diapers and the other two are drowning in preteen hormones. As a single mother of three, my days are devoted to my clients and my kids, and my nights are spent with Fabio, my trusty vibrator. When my world begins to unravel, I have no choice but to move back home. And when my high school sweetheart comes waltzing back into my life, comedy and chaos ensue. 

What can I say? I never said I could pick ’em, but you can bet your ass I know how to fix ’em. 

Cooper 

As soon as the ink dried on my divorce papers, I made myself a solemn vow: I was done with relationships. Moving home to take over my father’s firm was the plan, until Spencer decided to return, along with three souvenirs from the life she’s lived without me. 

I’ve been in love with the girl next door for nearly all of my life; the rest was spent trying to forget her. I’d give almost anything for a second chance with her, but I have no time for distractions—especially the kind that involve diapers, bottles, and eighteen-year commitments. 

The problem is, she’s already got me by the balls . . . and I’m beginning to feel the noose tightening around my heart. 

*Intended for readers 18+

“Miss du Maurier has brought to the art of the biography the narrative urgency which gives such animation to her storytelling.” –New York Times Book Review

Pursued by the twin demons of drink and madness, Branwell Bronte created a private world that was indeed infernal. As a bold and gifted child, his promise seemed boundless to the three adoring sisters over whom his rule was complete. But as an adult, the precocious flame of genius distorted and burned low. With neither the strength nor the resources to counter rejection, unable to sell his paintings or publish his books, Branwell became a spectre in the Bronte story, in pathetic contrast with the astonishing achievements of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. This is the biography of the shadowy figure of the “unknown” Bronte.

New York Times –bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that’s Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.

New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

I’m the only one from my group of friends who isn’t madly in love. After getting fired, I had to move back in with my parents. Welcome to Loserville. Population me.

Avery Biggs is convinced her life can’t get any worse, but a child falling through the ice is about to change everything.

When a patch of thin ice on a pond gives way, Avery finds that her trouble is more than doubled by two handsome and eligible bachelors.

Local veterinarian, Dr. Noah James, is smart, handsome, and charming. He’s the man of Avery’s dreams, plus he loves animals!

Trouble seems to swirl around new-to-town Gage Tavish. He’s a sexy bad boy to his core. Avery knows she should keep her distance, but something about Gage is irresistible.

Even as Avery’s love life is on the fast track to disaster, she embarks on the mission of a lifetime to help her best friend keep her little boy in a bitter custody battle with the child’s neglectful birth mother.

Will these delightful characters be able to find their winding way to happiness? Find out now in Shaded Amethysts.

*No synopsis since this is the second book in the trilogy.

When competing card sharps stir up Siobhán O’Sullivan’s quiet Irish village, a poker tournament turns into a game of Hangman . . .

Naomi’s Bistro, managed by the many siblings of the lively O’Sullivan brood, is the place to go for a cuppa tea in Kilbane. For a pint or a game of darts, it’s the pub you want. But when Dublin card sharp Eamon Foley is found swinging from the rafters of Rory Mack’s pub, it’s time for the garda to take matters into their own hands. Macdara Flannery would lay odds it’s a simple suicide, but Siobhán suspects foul play. With conflicting theories abounding, tensions are running high between Siobhán and Macdara. Soon it’s up to Siobhán to call a killer’s bluff, but if she doesn’t play her cards right, she may be the next one taken out of the game . . .

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Hard Sell by Hudson Lin

Thank you to Carina Adores for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also kindly provided all info and graphics for this post.

Hard Sell by Hudson Lin is available in eBook, trade paperback and audiobook formats on May 25th!

Book Description

One night wasn’t enough.

Danny Ip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbour Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend’s younger brother—the hottest one-night stand he ever had—to be there.

Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive—and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother.

It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed—and into his life for good.

If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy…

Jade Harbour Capital

Book 1: Hard Sell

Book 2: Going Public

Add Hard Sell to your Goodreads!

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.

  • The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover (available now!)
  • The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (available now!)
  • Just Like That by Cole McCade (available now!)
  • Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available now!)
  • The Love Study by Kris Ripper (available now!)
  • The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher (available now!)
  • Just Like This by Cole McCade (available now!)
  • Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love by Kim Fielding (available now!)
  • Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish (available now!)
  • The Hate Project by Kris Ripper (available now!)
  • For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes (coming August 31)
  • Sailor Proof by Annabeth Albert (coming September 28)
  • Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell (coming October 26)
  • The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper (coming November 30)

Review

Hard Sell is an emotional, spicy, heartwarming, fun romance that is exceptionally written. I fell hard for our main characters, Danny and Tobin, and as much as I loved their romance, I also loved the personal journey they both go through. Lin seamlessly weaves all the intricacies of this story together in such a balanced way that every time I put this book down I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. Danny and Tobin are both at different places in their lives due to their age difference which makes this story feel incredibly realistic. Their personal issues brought a lot of conflict but also understanding between the two of them and I enjoyed seeing it all play out. Also, the food mentioned in this book had my mouth watering and had me wishing I was eating at the same places as Tobin and Danny. The side characters all felt fleshed out enough to add to the credibility of the story and I am eagerly waiting for the second book in this series.

About the Author

Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with often times conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.

Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Lin likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters. Her books are diverse romances featuring queer and disabled people of color.

When not getting lost in a good story, Lin hosts a podcast, interviews queer people of color, and a does bunch of other stuff.

Connect with the Author

Website: https://www.hudsonlin.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hudsonlinauthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hudsonlinwrites 

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17681173.Hudson_LinAmazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hudson-Lin/e/B07B6RKS72

Excerpt

Read on for an excerpt from Hard Sell.

Danny adjusted the watch on his wrist as he headed out. If only he didn’t need a win so god damn badly. He would love to march back into the meeting room and rip up the offer right in front of Cyrus West’s face. What smarmy remark would Cyrus have then?

Unfortunately, Danny did need a win and, even more unfortunately, WesTec was his best shot. Maybe his last shot. Jade Harbour’s financial backers were starting to notice that his once stellar track record wasn’t looking so stellar lately. His ass was on the line, which left Danny with very few options.

Outside, he stopped, still vibrating with adrenaline from the confrontation.

“That was pretty badass.” Tobin looked back through the doors they’d exited, as if Cyrus was going to come bursting through them at any minute.

Perhaps it was, but Danny saw no reason to take pride in it. His job was to close deals and sometimes the sellers needed a little encouragement.

Tobin turned to him, and suddenly WesTec and Cyrus West didn’t matter anymore.

Was he dreaming? Was Tobin really standing in front of him? Chubby cheeks had given way to sculpted cheekbones. A bit of acne scarring on his skin made Tobin look even more adult. He held himself with such self-assurance; like he’d grown into too-big clothes that now fit him just right. He was striking. He would turn heads when walking down the street. Danny’s body certainly made its interest known.

Danny took a step backward, needing the extra foot of distance between them. Seven years ago, he had succumbed to Tobin’s appeal. There may be years and geography between them, but one thing hadn’t changed. Tobin was undoubtedly special.

Did he remember that night as vividly as Danny did?

A shy smile tugged at Tobin’s lips, as if he’d read Danny’s mind, and Danny couldn’t help but return it. It didn’t matter what Tobin did or did not remember. They were…childhood friends, practically family, connected in a way Danny didn’t have words for. It’d been too long since they were in touch. No matter their reasons for drifting apart.

“Are you free for dinner tonight?”

Tobin’s smile exploded at Danny’s invitation. “Yes! Yeah, 

definitely, totally. Uh…” He patted his pockets. “Shit. I think I left my phone upstairs.”

Danny reached into the inner pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a business card. Always be prepared. “Here. Give me a call when you’re done, and I’ll send a car around.”

Tobin took the card and ran a thumb over the embossed letters, as if committing them to memory. He clutched the card in his hand. “Oh, I, uh… I can meet you wherever.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll send a car for you.”

Tobin looked a little taken aback, almost as if he was going to put up a fuss. But then he chuckled and nodded. “Okay, sure. I guess I’ll give you a call when I’m done.” He held up the card in a wave as he walked backward toward the doors. “See you later.”

Danny nodded and watched Tobin go. At the building’s main entrance, Tobin stopped and glanced back at Danny as if checking to make sure he was real.

Danny felt exactly the same way.

Add Hard Sell to your Goodreads!

Buy Hard Sell by Hudson Lin

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335500151_hard-sell.html 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335500151 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Jade-Harbour-Capital-1-Hard-Sell-Paperback-9781335500151/789839963 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Sell-Jade-Harbour-Capital-ebook/dp/B08HX2S5WD 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-sell-hudson-lin/1138272518 

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hard-sell/id1531566162 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Hudson_Lin_Hard_Sell?id=uar8DwAAQBAJ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hard-sell-12 

~Cassie