Release Day Blitz & *Giveaway* – Give Me A Reason, A.L Jackson

August 30, 2021 | Posted in Giveaway, Release Day Blitz | By

 

Give Me a Reason

A Single-Dad, Enemies-to-Lovers Romance from A.L. Jackson

Available Now on Amazon and Free with Kindle Unlimited

“Sexy and heart wrenching, with twists and turns that will have you gasping and begging for more. Give Me a Reason is an unputdownable rollercoaster ride of epic feels.”

-Catherine Cowles, author of the Wrecked series

“What a ride! Dark, gritty and undeniably sexy, this romance stole my heart and didn’t let go until the very end.”

– KC Booklover

 

Read on Amazon or with Kindle Unlimited: https://geni.us/GMARAmznB

Listen to the Audio Narrated by Connor Crais and Desiree Ketchum: https://geni.us/GMARAudioB

Order a Signed Paperback: https://geni.us/ALJacksonShop

 

Synopsis

From NYT and USA Today bestselling author A.L. Jackson comes a single-dad, enemies-to-lovers stand-alone romance about a jaded club owner and his son’s teacher…

Eden Murphy came into my club looking to make some extra cash.

A girl like her didn’t belong in a place like this.

She’d get ripped to shreds.

Most likely by me.

There’s nothing but sweetness dripping from her sexy little body, and I’m the monster who’s salivating to get a taste.

Trent Lawson is the last man I should want.

Dark.

Dangerous.

So wickedly gorgeous he makes my knees weak.

He’s also an arrogant jerk who happens to be my new boss.

When I discover his adorable son is also in my kindergarten class, I know I have to keep my distance.

 

But neither of us can ignore the attraction that flames.

One glance, and our hearts race.

One touch, and we’re aching for what we can’t have.

One night, and we’re falling fast.

 

Dragging her into my sordid world is wrong. 

It doesn’t matter.

Eden Murphy is mine.

Read on Amazon or with Kindle Unlimited: https://geni.us/GMARAmznB

Listen to the Audio Narrated by Connor Crais and Desiree Ketchum: https://geni.us/GMARAudioB

Order a Signed Paperback: https://geni.us/ALJacksonShop

 

Read on Amazon or with Kindle Unlimited: https://geni.us/GMARAmznB

Listen to the Audio Narrated by Connor Crais and Desiree Ketchum: https://geni.us/GMARAudioB

Order a Signed Paperback: https://geni.us/ALJacksonShop

GIVEAWAY

The Ultimate Reader Pack

Kindle Fire, Signed Bleeding Stars Set, and Mug!

ENTER HERE: https://geni.us/GMARReleaseGiveaway

Read on Amazon or with Kindle Unlimited: https://geni.us/GMARAmznB

Listen to the Audio Narrated by Connor Crais and Desiree Ketchum: https://geni.us/GMARAudioB

Order a Signed Paperback: https://geni.us/ALJacksonShop

 

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, and FALLING STARS novels. Grab her latest stand-alone, GIVE ME A REASON, now!

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

Connect with A.L.

Newsletter: https://geni.us/ALJacksonBookClubB

Facebook: https://geni.us/ALJacksonFBB

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Twitter: @aljacksonauthor

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TikTok: @aljacksonauthor

 

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New Release, Review & *Giveaway* – Rules of Play, Lane Hayes

July 23, 2021 | Posted in Excerpt, Giveaway, Release Day Blitz, Review | By

Title: Rules of Play

Series: The Script Club #2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 16, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 53K

Genre: Romance, Brother’s Best Friend, Geek/Jock, Friends to Lovers, Bisexual-awakening, Contemporary MM Romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The genius, the mechanic, and a new playbook…

George-

My brother’s friend is hot. If you’re into flannel-wearing lumbersexual former jocks who eat donuts for dinner and still scribble to-do lists on their palms. I’m not. I’m a serious scientist in my final of grad school. Okay, I admit I have few quirks of my own. I also have a broken truck and a boss who thinks I can help him find love. I’m in over my head. Help!

Aiden-

A few quirks? Really? George the weirdest dude I know. He wears capes in public, brings a book everywhere he goes, and loves all thing spooky. He’s also the smartest person on the planet—who somehow thinks I can help him write a How-To-Get-A-Date playbook for his boss. Yeah, that sounds suspicious. I know baseball; I don’t know anything about love. But I can’t say no. I’ve always had a soft spot for George. I just didn’t count on falling for my best friend’s nerdy brother. This is against the rules, isn’t it?

Rules of Play is an MM bisexual awakening story where opposites attract and shenanigans ensue!

Excerpt

“The Script Club?”

I grimaced. “Well, yeah. That name came later.”

“You really are a little weirdo, aren’t you?”

The twinkle in Aiden’s eyes and his affectionate tone paired with an unlikely term of endearment were exactly what I needed to pull me from my infatuation-induced awkwardness.

I smacked his biceps playfully, then leaned against his side, staring up at the crescent moon in the twilight sky. “I am weird and I am proud.”

Aiden chuckled. “I like that about you. I like your idea too. It’s a good one. I should get in on that and collect a few new experiences before I quit the garage and move on to my next venture.”

“What would you do? I mean, what would you want to try?”

“I don’t know. Maybe something will come to me.” He set the half-eaten container of meatballs down and reached for his beer. “As for your boss…he needs a rule book.”

I shifted to face him. “What kind of rule book?”

“A dating rule book. It would be the equivalent of a sports playbook…a list of strategies and a backup plan if things go awry.”

“Okay, that makes sense. Step one, ask for a date.”

Aiden shook his head. “No. Don’t go in hot. Gotta practice a little finesse. It’s better to get to know someone—ask about their interests, share yours, and see if there’s anything there. Theoretically, that’s how I think it should work.”

“You’re right. They have to build a rapport.” I squinted. “He’s going to need an icebreaker.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. Hit me with your best shot.”

“Uh…what do you mean?” I stammered.

“Pretend you’re into me and you want to get to know me.” Aiden quirked a brow and wiggled his fingers. “Ask me something.”

“What are your interests?”

He made an obnoxious buzzer noise and rolled his eyes. “Wrong. That’s a date question. A lame one, too. Would you really walk up to someone and ask them what they’re into?”

“No, of course not.”

“Redo. You’re trying to get to know me, but you can’t be too forward, and you can’t make assumptions. Got it?” He waited for my nod of agreement and continued. “Pretend we’re standing at the coffee machine at work on a Monday morning. And…action.”

“O-kay…what did you do last weekend?”

Aiden smiled. “Good one. And my answer…not much. I went to that college ball game I told you about last week, watched a lot of basketball, made arrangements to schlep your Bronco here, and played pool with Kenny and a couple of high school buddies. You?”

“I studied and hung out with my friends.”

He stared at me long enough for me to wonder if I had meatball between my teeth.

“If that’s all you have to say, you just killed this conversation,” he deadpanned.

I chuckled. “I did not. It was your turn to ask <em>me</em> something. That’s how it works in real life. I’m not that big of a dork!”

“But what about your boss?”

Good point. “Newton is a big dork. Very big.”

“Right, so this is where rules come into play. You have to pay attention and take hints and clues to heart. Almost everything I mentioned about my weekend had a theme…sports. I told you what I’m interested in without announcing, ‘I like sports.’ If you really wanted to get in my pants, you’d ask me a sports-related question.”

I shot to my feet, whirling my cape like a true badass. “Who said anything about getting in your pants?”

Yes, I was entirely in favor of the idea, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t said it aloud.

“Isn’t that the end game?” Aiden flashed a devilish grin my way.

“No! I mean, maybe for you, but not for Newton. I don’t think he’s hoping for sex.”

“Then what’s the point?”

“Love!”

Aiden widened his eyes comically. “What’s that?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed in defeat, reclaiming my spot on the stoop next to him. “That’s why this is complicated.”

Purchase at Amazon

Kara's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Rules of Play is the second book in the Script Club series by the talented Lane Hayes. This is an bisexual awakening romance with his best friend’s brother! We met George in Following the Rules, he’s Simon’s brother. Aiden is Simon’s best friend. Aiden has known George since he they were young. He always had a thing for him, but he never really knew what it was. When he saves the day and helps him repair his car, he realizes now what it is. Attraction. To a man. But not just any man. Just to George. Aiden isn’t scared or nervous, he wants to see where the attraction goes. George had a crush on Aiden when he was a kid. He’s big, burly and sexy. But he’s straight, right? Not if that kiss is any indication. Aiden needs George’s brain and George needs Aiden’s help when his boss asks for dating advice. It’s the perfect plan. They get to spend time together getting to know each other as adults and they get to explore their attraction with sexy kisses, make out sessions and so much more. They promise to always be friends no matter what happens. This is the happiest Aiden has ever been but he’s not quite ready to come out as bi. George wants Aiden to be happy, to live his best life. Will they be able to admit their feelings and have a future together? I can’t even express how much I LOVE Aiden and George. I was invested in them from the first paragraph and they have quickly become one of my favorite couples of Lanes! Aiden is so sexy in his plaid shirts, chest hair a few extra pounds. George is the best kind of weird with his penchant for wearing a cape and having a book with him everywhere he goes. I was laughing out loud, getting hot and bothered and not wanting this story to end!

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub

Did you miss book 1 in the series? Get Following the Rules at Amazon

The geek, the jock, and a new set of rules…

Also available in Audio

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Release Day & Giveaway – Reel, Kennedy Ryan

June 8, 2021 | Posted in Giveaway, Release Day Blitz | By

“Reel is alive and pulsing like a beating heart. This romance is a triumph of art and emotion.” –Talia Hibbert, New York Times bestselling author

Reel, an all new epic CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE love story from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

One moment in the spotlight.

For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for my time to shine. I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night. Canon Holt. Famous film director. Fascinating. Talented. Fine. Before I could catch my breath, everything changed. I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood. From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips. Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic, catapulting me into another stratosphere.

But stars shine brightest in the dead of night. Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond my control jeopardize my dream. Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?

GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY! Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xwekW8 Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Reel Apple Books: https://apple.co/3dWwUyG Kobo: https://bit.ly/2QCKcHS Nook: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr Google Play: https://bit.ly/3gHMDUc Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2RpXgAe Order your Signed copy of REEL today>> http://bit.ly/EagleEyePB

ALSO AVAILABLE IN AUDIO NOW!

“Bravo . . .A true literary audio experience!” — Alexandria House, Amazon & Audible bestselling author

Narrated by Eboni Flowers and Jakobi Diem Featuring Nicole Small Vocal Performance by April Christina

➜ Audible: http://mybook.to/ReelAudio

ENTER RELEASE G!VEAWAY ➜ https://geni.us/ReelReleaseGive $50 G!FT CARD + Signed Paperback

JOIN THE ZOOM RELEASE PARTY ➜ http://bit.ly/REELPARTY

 

About Kennedy Ryan USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Kennedy Ryan and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmo, TIME, O Mag and many others. A RITA® Award winner, Kennedy writes empowered women from all walks of life and centers those who have found themselves perennially on the margins of traditional storytelling.

Her Hoops Series (Long Shot, Block Shot and Hook Shot) and All the King’s Men Series (The Kingmaker, The Rebel King and Queen Move) have been optioned for television.

An autism mom, Kennedy co-founded LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable initiative, and has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for autism families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

Connect with Kennedy Text KennedyRyan to 797979 for release alerts! Subscribe to Mailing List: subscribepage.com/kennedyryan Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2GY6eyb TikTok: @kennedyryanauthor Instagram: http://bit.ly/2TaYiAi Facebook: http://bit.ly/2GUq0uF Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Fvhqiz BookBub: bookbub.com/authors/kennedy-ryan Website: http://kennedyryanwrites.com

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Release Blitz, Review, Excerpt & *Giveaway* – Following the Rules, Lane Hayes

May 13, 2021 | Posted in Excerpt, Giveaway, Release Day Blitz, Review | By

Title: Following The Rules

Series: The Script Club #1

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: May 7, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50k

Genre: Romance, Nerd/Jock, MM Romance, Bisexual Awakening, Best Friend’s Brother,

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The geek, the jock, and a new set of rules…

Topher-

My friend’s brother needs an academic assistant and I need a job. Problem…jocks are my weakness. Seriously. I lose my ability to speak coherently around muscle-bound hotties. Oh yeah, I lose my inhibitions too—not a good look for a guy with a genius IQ. So what am I going to do about Simon?

Simon-

Finishing college isn’t high on my list of priorities, but my future in professional football is looking bleak. I need a plan B or C, and I could use some help navigating life as an undergrad. Topher is perfect. He’s also a little strange…but in a good way. And I like the way I feel when I’m around him—as though anything is possible. Maybe if we follow our hearts, we’ll find what we’re looking for. But that means changing the rules…

Following the Rules is a MM, bisexual awakening romance starring a lovable nerd, a cool jock, and some extracurricular fun.

Excerpt

I served us both a slice of each kind of pizza and slid a plate his way, gesturing for him to help himself to the cheese or whatever else he might want.

“I don’t care about money,” I said around a mouthful of food. “Eat up. This is tasty, but it won’t be as good when it’s cold.”

Topher flashed an anxious sideways smile and took a mouse-sized nibble. “Mmm, that’s delicious.”

I washed down my pizza with a healthy swig of wine, nudging his knee as I swiveled to face him. “Are you okay?”

He wiped his hands on a napkin and drained half his water, setting it on the island with a decisive thud. “Yes, I’m just a little nervous.”

“Nervous? Oh. I’m sorry.” I frowned and before I could rein my tongue, blurted, “You seemed fine when we were joking about tiny gorilla penises, and hell…you saw my dick and—”

“I wasn’t joking. I was reciting a fact and as far as your penis is concerned…”

I twisted to face him, unable to contain a mischievous grin.

“Yes? I’m waiting,” I singsonged, biting into the ham and pineapple pizza.

“I told you, Simon…I was simply doing the math,” he replied matter-of-factly. “Six and a half inches.”

“Nine.”

Topher narrowed his eyes, his features softening in amusement. “Six and three-quarters, max.”

I scoffed and hooked my thumb under the elastic waistband of my sweats. “Wanna see?”

“No! Geez. You know, it’s very difficult to stay on topic with you. And staying on topic is the only way this will work.”

“Okay, fine. Back to dick size. What animal has the biggest schlong on the planet?”

He gaped at me for a hot second. “The blue whale. It’s estimated to be seven to ten feet long.”

“Whoa!”

“Although I don’t know that it’s ever been measured during intercourse. Or if that’s even possible.” He reached for his pizza with his brow knit in concentration as though pondering whale dick…as one does.

“Whales are huge. It makes sense. What about land animals?”

“Elephants. They’ve legitimately measured specimens in excess of thirty-nine inches.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” I snort-laughed. “Christ, I’m feeling very inadequate with my mere twelve inches.”

“Six,” Topher scoffed. “Look, before we get sidetracked again, I just want to—”

“I’ll pay you double.”

“What? Why?”

I sighed as I picked up my wineglass. “I don’t want to fail. No…it’s more than that. I need to look smart. I can’t come across as the fuckup wide receiver who got dumped from the NFL and blew the cushy back-door admittance to a prestigious university by failing his first semester. I thought I might be able to muddle through with a few pointers from George, but it’s going to take more than that. I need a real assistant.”

Topher widened his eyes, then blinked in disbelief when I named an exorbitant salary. I had a hard time keeping my own expression. What the hell was I thinking? Did I really need an assistant?

I didn’t know, but I needed…something.

“Oh, that’s a lot of money,” he whispered breathlessly.

“It’s the going rate for a personal assistant. Ironically, I never had one while I played ball, but I need the help now. I want the best, and George says that’s you.”

Topher smiled. “George didn’t say he was the best?”

“Actually, he did. But we can’t be in the same room for an hour without wanting to take a swing at each other.”

“You and George fight?”

“Not as much now that we’re older, but…yeah, I guess we still fight. We don’t have much in common.”

“You and I have even less in common,” he replied.

“That’s a good thing. Trust me, it’s better for me that you don’t know that I slept with a teddy bear until I was thirteen…or that I still have that damn bear for reasons unknown.” I gave a self-deprecating chuckle, then sipped my wine and set it on the island. “So…are you in? Make me smarter, Toph. I need your brain!”

He stared at me for a long moment, inclining his head. “Okay.”

“Yes!” I fist-pumped the air as if I’d just scored a touchdown and held out my hand for a high five.

Topher left me hanging for a few long seconds before gently tapping his palm to mine. I grabbed his wrist to hold him steady for a redo. The contact was light and breezy…and spontaneous. But that was how I rolled. For a guy who played professional football, it was nothing.

However, this didn’t feel like nothing.

Purchase at Amazon

 

Kara's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Following the Rules is the first book new series, The Script Club, by Lane Hayes. It’s a brother’s friend, awakening story full of fun, sexiness, dorkiness and little angst. My favorite kind of book! It’s a feel good story about Simon, the jock and Topher, the nerd. An unlikely pair who happen to be perfect for each other. They are both at pivotal places in their life. Simon needs to finish college while he’s waiting to hear about his future in football and Topher is about to start grad school and looking for the perfect job. Simon needs help with school and Topher is a genius who needs the money. Win win. And the added extra bonus, they have crazy chemistry! I loved their fun banter and the way Simon is so laid back and never questioned his attraction for Topher. Topher cracked me up with his facts and his nervous talking. I couldn’t love these two more if I tried! Looking forward to the next one!

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Bookbub

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Cover Reveal, Excerpt & *Giveaway* – Reel, Kennedy Ryan

May 5, 2021 | Posted in Cover Reveal, Excerpt, Giveaway | By

Reel, Kennedy Ryan’s new breathtaking standalone romance set in the glamorous world of film and theater, is coming June 8th, and we have the beautiful cover and your first look!

Award-Winning Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Kennedy Ryan launches a brand new series with a Hollywood tale of wild ambition, artistic obsession, and unrelenting love.

One moment in the spotlight.

For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for my time to shine. I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night. Canon Holt. Famous film director. Fascinating. Talented. Fine. Before I could catch my breath, everything changed. I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood. From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips. Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic, catapulting me into another stratosphere.

But stars shine brightest in the dead of night. Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond my control jeopardize my dream. Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?

Reserve your copy today! Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xwekW8 Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Reel Apple Books: https://apple.co/3dWwUyG Kobo: https://bit.ly/2QCKcHS Nook: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr Google Play: https://bit.ly/3gHMDUc Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2RpXgAe Barnes and Noble Paperback: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr

➜ Enter the Goodreads Giveaway! Kennedy is giving away 10 Signed Reel Paperbacks! http://bit.ly/REELGoodreadsGive

➜ Follow Hollywood Renaissance series on Instagram: @TheHollywoodRenaissanceSeries

Keep reading for the very first excerpt from Reel!

When the show reaches its climax, at the very end, the song pries the final note from my diaphragm, pulls it from my throat and suspends it—leaves it throbbing in the air. The theater goes quiet for the space of a breath held by 800 people and then explodes.  Applause. The relief is knee-weakening. I literally have to grab John, the lead actor’s arm for support. He doesn’t miss a beat, pulling me into his side and squeezing. “Bravo,” he whispers, a broad, genuine smile spread across his face. The last song made me cry, and my face, still wet from those tears, splits into a wide, disbelieving grin. I did it. I survived my first Broadway performance.  The lights drop and we rush backstage, a cacophony of laughter and chatter filling the hidden passageways. When the curtain call begins, the cast return to the stage in small waves, the applause building as the principals take their bows.  And then it’s my turn. On legs still shaky, I leave the safety of the wings, the long skirt of my costume belling out around me. I take center stage. The applause crescendos, approval vibrating through my bones and jolting my soul. Someone thrusts flowers into my arms and the sweet smell wafts around me. Every sense, every molecule of my being strains, opens, stretches to absorb this small slice of triumph. I can’t breathe deeply enough. The air comes in shallow sips, and I’m dizzy. The world spins like a top, a kaleidoscope of colors and light and sound that threatens to overwhelm me. The whirl of it makes me giddy, and I laugh. Eyes welling with tears, I laugh. These are the moments a lifetime in the making. We toil in the shadows of our dreams. In the alleys of preparation and hard work where it’s dark and nothing’s promised. For years, we cling by a thread of hope and imagination, dedicating our lives to a pursuit with no guarantees. But tonight, if only for tonight, it’s all worth it. I’m still floating when Takira bursts into the dressing room. “Neevah!” she screams, throwing her arms around me and rocking me back and forth. “You did it. You chewed that performance up and spat it out. You hear me?” I laugh and return her squeeze, new tears trailing down my cheeks.  “Thank you.” I pull back to peer into my friend’s face. “I can’t believe it.” “Well, believe it. You served notice.” She snaps her fingers and grins. “Neevah Saint is here.” “Now to do it seven more times.” I laugh and start taking pins from the wig, which is as hot as a herd of sheep on my head. “Oh, you got it, unless Elise hears how amazing you were and cuts her vacation short.” “Not happening. She was ready for a break, but she’d never missed a show.”  I strip off the costume and stand in only panties, unselfconscious. Modesty is one of the first things to go in this business. I’ve undressed hurriedly in a roomful of actors and dancers in smaller shows where there was a dressing room, so we get real communal real fast.  I tug on skinny jeans with a tight-fitting orange sweater, and layer it with a brown leather jacket, scarf, boots. I wipe away the heavy stage makeup. It feels like my skin can breathe for the first time in hours. I assume there will be some fans at the stage door, even if it’s just a few. They’ll have to get the real Neevah because I don’t want anything more than a slick of lip gloss and a bit of mascara. A brown, orange and green plaid newsboy cap covering the neat cornrows I wore under my wig is all I’m doing for hair. Slim oversized gold hoops in my ears finish the look. “Ready?” I ask Takira, hefting a slouchy bag on my shoulder. “Let’s do this. Hopefully your adoring fans won’t take all night, ’cause your girl is starving.” We’re still laughing, and I’m so preoccupied with my empty stomach, I’m completely unprepared for the crowd at the stage door. Are they here for John? For some principal player because surely they’re not all here for the understudy. “Neevah!” a young girl, maybe ten or eleven, calls. “Can you sign this?” She thrusts a pen and a Splendor playbill toward me. She glows, her smooth brown cheeks rounded with a wide grin. Her eyes shine with . . . pride? “Oh, sure,” I mumble dazedly, taking the pen and signing my name.  She’s the first in a long line of girls, all shapes and colors and ages, saying what it meant to see me onstage. Mothers whispering how impactful it was for their Black and brown daughters to be in the audience tonight. The impact is on me; what could feel like a weight or burden or responsibility feels like a warm embrace. Feels like strong arms encircling me. Supporting me. The first time I saw someone who looked like me onstage, it planted a seed inside of me. It whispered a dream. That could be you. It makes me emotional to think I might have done that for any of these girls tonight, and I spend the next twenty minutes scribbling my name on playbills through a film of tears. “Neevah!” a deep male voice calls from the back of the now-thinning crowd. I squint at the tall man, frowning until I place him. “Wright!” I take a few steps and he meets me halfway, giving me a tight hug. “Oh, my God. You were here tonight?” “Was I here?” When he pulls back, a warm smile creases his handsome face. “You blew it out of the water. I knew you were good, but damn.” Laughter spills out of me and I don’t think this night could get more perfect. I randomly met Wright Bellamy a few weeks back at a gig when he subbed for the pianist, giving the audience more than they bargained for with such a famous musician tickling the ivories that night. “Thank you.” I step away and shove my hands into the pockets of my jeans, huddling in the leather jacket against the chill of an October night. “I was nervous as hell.” “Didn’t show. Your voice is spectacular. I knew that from the gig we did, but I had no idea you were that good. Wow. Glad I saw your post on Instagram or I would’ve missed it.” I’m stone-still, shocked that he came tonight specifically to see me perform. “I’m so glad you made it. You’re still in LA, right?” “Yeah, but I’m here for some stuff. Heading back home in a few days.” Takira walks up, linking her arm through mine. “Girl, if we don’t get some food,” she whispers. “Oh, yeah. Sorry.” I turn back to Wright. “Takira, this is Wright Bellamy. Wright, my friend Takira.” “Nice to meet you,” Takira says. “You got any food on you? I’m about to eat your hat.”  As usual, Takira never meets a stranger and has us laughing right away. “We’re actually headed to Glass House Tavern,” I tell Wright. “Come if you want. It’s a group of us from the show. Just some of the cast celebrating, but you’re welcome. We can catch up.” A small frown dents between his thick brows and he glances over his shoulder. “I mean, no pressure obviously,” I rush to assure him. This is one of the biggest names in music, and here I go, inviting him to dinner with a group of strangers.  “No, it sounds cool,” he says, looking back to us. “Lemme check with my boy. Can he come?” I glance over his shoulder and spot a tall man turned away from us, his broad shoulders and back straining a wool blazer, a hoodie pulled up to cover his head and face in the cold. His hands burrow into the pockets of his blazer and he’s nodding like he’s talking to himself. “He’s on the phone,” Wright explains. “But lemme see if he wants to roll.” He steps away toward the man and Takira immediately squeezes my hand and squeals. “Neeve.” Her eyes are wide and bright. Mouth dropped open. “That’s Wright Bellamy.” “I know. He’s cool as a fan.” “You know him? How—” “We’re in,” Wright says, stepping back up beside us. “He’s finishing a call, but we’re ready. Lead the way.” It’s just a few blocks, and the three of us chat about the show and what Wright’s been doing in New York. All the while his friend’s deep voice rumbles a few paces behind. I don’t want to be rude or nosy and look back, but the rich timbre, his towering height, his face obscured by the hoodie—I’m intrigued. He hangs back on the sidewalk, still on his call, when we enter the restaurant.  Our friends already have a table and a shout goes up, congratulating me on popping my White Way cherry. My three understudy buddies came. John’s here, too, and one other principal. A few from the stage crew. Our little troupe has become a family and, as if eight shows a week isn’t enough time together, we gather and eat every chance we get.  “You’re not paying tonight,” John says, holding out the seat beside him. “And drinks are on me.” “Awwww.” I plop into the chair and drop my bag to the floor. “You’re so sweet. You don’t have to do that.” “You were fantastic,” John says, baby blue eyes sincere and smiling. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.” Takira is already sitting beside me, so Wright takes the seat next to her. “Hey,” he says to Janie across the table. “Could you hold that seat beside you for my friend? He’s wrapping up a call, but’ll be in soon.” “Sure.” Janie blushes. “I love your work, by the way. The score of Silent Midnight . . . gah.”  “Thank you. That was a special project. Lots of fun,” Wright replies with a smile. “Now tell me about the show.” Wright’s a genius, but he’s so unassuming and modest. A man as famous as he is could easily make this conversation about him, let everyone at this table give his ego a real nice hand job, but he doesn’t. He talks about our show, compliments the performance, asks John about his process. I liked him when we did that last-minute gig, and we’ve interacted some on social media since. My impression of him holds up. He’s a good guy.  Not to state the obvious, but also fine. Like fine fine. He has this Boris Kodjoe vibe. Real smooth. Kind of golden–brown. Clean-cut, close-cut. I can objectively recognize his appeal, even though he’s not my type.  Not that I have a type lately. I’m so deep in this dick drought I’m past the point of thirst.  At first I thought it was merely the grind. Auditioning constantly, taking craft classes, doing commercials and voiceover work to not just keep bills paid, but to save. This business is feast or famine. I’m eating now, but I’ve been hungry before. Not again. I’m thirty. Too old to still be living gig to gig and buying into that starving artist thing. I need health insurance and regularly scheduled meals, thank you very much. So yeah, the grind could account for my semi-disinterested libido, but I suspect it’s more.  Maybe I’m disinterested. I need a man who doesn’t think that because he has a dick and I don’t that I should defer to him—shrink my dreams down to a more manageable size. I’m cautious not only about who I share my heart and body with, but I’m also protective of my dreams; of my ambition. I won’t endanger my future for a man who can fuck. Though . . . a man who can fuck? I wouldn’t turn it down, but it will take more than that to pique my interest. “What are you getting?” Takira asks, leaning over to read my menu instead of hers. “Anything here meet your high standards?” My standards aren’t that high. I’ve just cut out red meat and stopped drinking as much alcohol. My health demands it.  “I’m thinking about the salmon, but I—” A chair scraping across the floor catches my attention. Wright’s friend has finally come inside to join us. The table shrinks immediately when he settles his imposing frame into the seat beside Janie. He peels the hood away from his head and I bite off a gasp. It’s Canon Holt. Like the Canon Holt. The director I, and probably every actress at this table and in this dining room, would sacrifice a pinky toe to work with. Canon Holt is at my table sitting across from me.  Takira’s expression doesn’t register this massive earthquake of a revelation, but she kicks me under the table and hisses from the corner of her mouth. “Did you know?” I pretend I need to reach for something on the floor so I can whisper back, “Do you think I would have kept my shit together this long if I knew?” “True. True.” Takira casually glances up from her menu and smiles in Canon’s general direction, but he’s not looking at her. He’s studying his screen. He’s apparently in an exclusive relationship with his phone, and no one at this table tempts him to stray. Which means I can look at him. Good. God. He’s not that handsome, but that’s irrelevant. Some might even call his features, examined on their own, unremarkable.  They’d be wrong. It’s a Maker’s sleight of hand. Now God knew this man did not need lashes that long and thick, a paradox against the hard, high slant of his cheekbones. Canon hasn’t looked twice at anyone here as far as I can tell, but I’ve stolen enough glances to know there’s a fathomlessness to his dark eyes that is arresting. His unsmiling mouth is wide, the lips full in the blunt elegance of his face. A five o’clock shadow licks the ridge of his jawline. There is a geometry to him—angles, lines, edges—that disregards the individual parts and illuminates the compelling sum.WANT MORE REEL? Click here for the rest >> www.thehollywoodrenaissanceseries.com/excerpt

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Cover Designer: Lori Jackson Design Photographer: Sophia Barrett Studios Models: Jasmine Raiford and Ajayi Bodden

About Kennedy Ryan

A USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Kennedy Ryan and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmo, TIME, O Mag and many others. A RITA® Award winner, Kennedy writes empowered women from all walks of life and centers those who have found themselves perennially on the margins of traditional storytelling.

Her Hoops Series (Long Shot, Block Shot and Hook Shot) and All the King’s Men Series (The Kingmaker, The Rebel King and Queen Move) have been optioned for television.

An autism mom, Kennedy co-founded LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable initiative, and has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for autism families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

Connect with Kennedy

Text KennedyRyan to 797979 for release alerts! Subscribe to Mailing List: subscribepage.com/kennedyryan Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2GY6eyb Instagram: http://bit.ly/2TaYiAi Facebook: http://bit.ly/2GUq0uF Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Fvhqiz Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2NE0cU0 BookBub: bookbub.com/authors/kennedy-ryan Website: http://kennedyryanwrites.com

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New Release, Exclusive Excerpt, Review & *Giveaway* – Changing the Rules, Catherine Bybee

March 23, 2021 | Posted in Excerpt, Giveaway, Release Day Blitz, Review | By

 

Title: Changing the Rules

Author: Catherine Bybee

Release Date: March 23, 2021

Publisher: Montlake 

Exclusive Excerpt from Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee

 

“Wow, why are you girls all dolled up?” Lars asked before he sat down. 

 

“Jax has a date,” Claire announced. 

 

“What’s your excuse?” Cooper asked. “Do you have a date, too?” His eyes walked up and down her body. She was wearing a dress, which she didn’t often do unless she was painting the town with her best friend. 

 

But sometimes, when she’d been cooped up too long and hadn’t been able to shop or let her hair down, or be something other than a girl trapped in a world she didn’t want . . . yeah, at those times she needed to get out. It was her release valve. 

 

Jax started to laugh. 

 

And laugh. 

 

Claire followed Cooper’s gaze in Jax’s direction. 

 

“Claire doesn’t date!” 

 

The hair on her neck started to stand on end. 

 

“I date.” 

 

Jax leaned her head back and laughed. “No, what you do doesn’t classify as dating.” 

 

Much as Claire wanted to disagree, she knew her friend spoke the truth. It wasn’t that she had an aversion to dating, there just didn’t seem to be enough datable guys out there. 

 

“What the hell does that mean?” Cooper’s tone was anything but happy as he asked the question. 

 

Claire was about to ask why he cared when Neil stepped forward. “Are we done with the chitchat and ready to work?” 

 

“Technically this is my day off.” 

 

Neil’s expression told Claire he wasn’t amused. 

 

Cooper looked like he had more to say, but kept his lips shut. Lars patted Cooper on the back as he walked by. “I need coffee.” 

 

“There’s a fresh pot in the surveillance room,” Claire informed him. 

 

“We start in ten,” Neil said before heading to his office. 

 

Once the door was closed, Cooper slid beside Claire. “Mind elaborating about this ‘doesn’t date’ thing?” 

 

“Why are you so interested?” And why was Cooper standing so close and watching her as if an expression was going to give something away? 

 

When his eyes dropped to her lips, her belly did a little twist. 

 

It was then that her brain started to short-circuit and the coffee felt bitter in the back of her throat. 

 

There were two reasons a man stared at a woman’s lips. 

 

The first was if they were a family member or possibly a gay friend that wanted to comment on the shade of lipstick. 

 

And the second . . . he wanted to kiss her. 

 

She blinked several times. 

 

Cooper wanted to taste her. 

 

The realization of that fact had her head spinning. Then, because she couldn’t stop herself from looking, she took in his lips, and then the expression on his face. 

 

So many things clicked together. With them, a thousand questions. 

 

Lars pushed through the door from the surveillance room talking and had Cooper taking a step back. “Have you met the new guy?” 

 

Claire’s eyes stayed on Cooper. “Yes, I have.” 

 

Cooper blinked and turned away. “I have not.” 

 

A few more steps and Cooper walked into the other room. 

 

“What the actual hell?” Claire asked the universe out loud. 

 

Lars walked by, oblivious to what had just happened. 

 

“What?” 

 

Claire glanced over at Jax to see her soft smile. 

 

In German, Claire asked, “Did you see that?” 

 

“I felt the static in the room,” Jax replied. 

 

“You know it’s rude to speak in a different language, right?” Lars said. Jax shook her head and went back to writing on the whiteboard. “Sorry,” she replied in English. 

***

Summary 

As an employee of MacBain Security and Solutions, Claire Kelly can certainly hold her own. Armed with an impressive set of covert skills, she’s more than prepared to tackle any job that comes her way…except one involving Cooper Lockman.

Cooper and Claire used to work together before his feelings for her sent him packing to Europe for six long years. But now he’s back and determined to ignore the still-smoldering heat that lingers between them.

Their current mission: go undercover together at a California high school to root out the mastermind behind a prostitution ring targeting young girls. The closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, however, the deadlier their task becomes. As Claire and Cooper risk their lives to bring down their target, will their hearts be the final casualties?

Kara's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Changing the Rules is the first book in the Richter series by Catherine Bybee. We met Claire and Cooper in Say it Again and I was so happy when I heard they were getting a book! I loved Claire as soon as she said “Put it away Cooper. You’re too old for me.” And not only that, we get to see Neil, Gwen and Sasha again. I was so engaged with this story that I didn’t want to put it down.  Claire isn’t a kid anymore. She’s grown up, working for Neil and loving her job. Cooper left town for six years and now he’s back. Claire hasn’t seen him since and she’s so happy to have her friend back. But Cooper can’t hide his feeling for Claire anymore and when she sees what everyone else sees, she can’t stop thinking about him. They have a job to do though and she’s going undercover as a student and he as a teacher. While they are at school it’s business, but after Cooper is just glad she’s not eighteen anymore. They have a serious job to do, tracking down a group of sex trafficking people, some of which might be teachers or undercover cops. I didn’t even know who to trust! I had my favorites and prayed it wasn’t them! I loved Claire’s teenage antics and her confidence and attitude. Cooper was swoonworthy as he put it all on the line with Claire. His honesty just made him sexier! And then she was saying “Put it away Cooper. We don’t have time for that right now.” I’m already loving the secondary characters and can’t wait for more from this series (Give me Leo!) Overall, I loved Cooper and Claire. There were fun, hilarious, sexy and sweet!

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About the Author

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than five million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite Series, the Weekday Brides Series, the Most Likely To Series, and the First Wives Series.

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Release Blitz, Reviews & *Giveaway* – Dirty Talker, Mira Lyn Kelly

March 22, 2021 | Posted in Giveaway, Release Day Blitz, Review | By

 

 

 Release day: March 22nd 

DIRTY TALKER

Slayers Hockey #4

Wade & Harlow

#Hockey, #FakeRelationship, #OppositesAttract, #SmallTown

Synopsis:

His mouth is hot enough to melt the ice

Ten days. That’s all I’m asking for.

But not one of my NHL teammates is willing to cough up a sister, cousin, or trusted friend to play my fake girlfriend for this wedding.

Pucking BS. Yeah, my mouth has been known to get me into places I don’t belong. But this Class Five panty melter is on lockdown because the last thing I need is another complication.

I’m about to give up when fate delivers the answer to my prayers.

I’m not her type.

She doesn’t date jocks.

All this sharp, sexy over-achiever wants is a little fun, an escape from her career driven life.

It’s a simple arrangement. So why am I complicating it?

Buy Links:

https://www.miralynkelly.com/dirty-talker

Amazon: https://smarturl.it/DTAZ

Apple https://smarturl.it/DTApple

Nook https://smarturl.it/DTBN

Kobo: https://smarturl.it/DirtyTalkerKB

Google: https://smarturl.it/DirtyTalkerGP

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3b7kfX7

 

Kara's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Dirty Talker is the fourth book in the Slayers Hockey series by the talented Mira Lyn Kelly. I’m loving this series with these sexy hockey players and the women they fall hard for. This is Wade Grady’s story! Oh man, I love this man. He’s strong, smart, and sexy, but he’s also a good guy. He’s nice and funny and has a dirty mouth. He’s the perfect man. Will whisper sweet nothings in one ear then dirty thoughts in the other. Yes, please! Wade is going home for a week for his brother’s wedding and he needs a no strings date. Just someone to pretend to be his girlfriend and nothing more. No one will help him find someone, but one night, one just comes to him. Kind of. A few too many cocktails and Harlow agreed to go to the wedding with Wade. But she can’t do that. She’s not spontaneous and the details are a little fuzzy. When she tries to back out, Wade is actually nice about it and she can’t say no. So off she goes. With this sexy hockey player. It will be fine. She can just pretend and that’s it. Until she starts to notice his muscles and his smile and his everything. They have to practice touching, that will be easy. They have to get comfortable being near each other. Easy peasy. Wade didn’t expect to be attracted to Harlow. There’s just something about her buttoned up clothes and her aloofness that he loves. She’s not a bunny and it’s refreshing. But one real taste of her and he’s not sure he’s pretending anymore. Will he be able to convince Harlow to try for real or have to let her go? Oh boy! Wade is so swoony! I had to many favorite scenes, but “be the bunny” was on the top of the list. I love how fun he was. How easy going. But he’s smart and complicated too! Harlow just need to relax and get a different perspective on her life. She didn’t mean to fall for him, but she did! I loved watching them slowly fall for each other and let their guards down and just be with each other. Overall, I loved every word and it’s my favorite of the series. Can’t wait for more from the Slayers!

 

Sandra's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Dirty Talker is the fourth book in the Slayers Hockey series by Mira Lyn Kelly. I am in love with this team of hot, hilarious, and shameless flirts and the women who bring them to their knees. You can read each book as standalone but I recommend reading the series since they all have their unique stories.

Wade is desperate for a date to his brother’s wedding. But it’s not only a few hours. It’s a ten-day affair to his hometown. A small-town full of expectations. He just wants to borrow a teammate’s sister, cousin, friend, anyone who won’t be a stage five clinger or take out a kidney in his sleep. He is a good guy but no one is willing to go with his plan until her. A woman who he has only seen a few times without conversation until fate stepped into a club. He knows she is perfect since she doesn’t even want him which is a hit to his ego but good for his plan. He doesn’t have time for distractions so why does he want to cause trouble only a few days in? He is so fucked.

Harlow can’t believe she volunteered to be his fake date. It’s so unlike her but she had the time off and wanted to have some fun for once in her life. She should probably remember his name or know what sport the man played first and she was an amazing student. She could do this. Study him. Easy, right? He wasn’t even her type. Tall, hot, abs for days, sweet, and plays hockey? Yeah. That’s not sexy at all. Nope. Not. At. All. Ten days of fun was promised but she had no idea how much she would enjoy him.

It’s unexpected. It all is. Two strangers playing their part. Two people learning each other. Two people who need it to end come Monday.

Omg! I love Wade and Harlow. They are hilarious, sexy, and so much fun. And yes, unexpected. Of course, there is more to their story than just fun. There is a reason why he truly needed a date. Reason for her to get out of her head. I loved it all. I can’t wait for the next book. I never want this series to end.

P.S. Make sure to get the bonus epilogue!

Quotes:

“If you want to make a point, now seems like a really good time to do it.”

I shouldn’t. I know better. But— “You want to pull the pin on this grenade?”

She nods, one brow arched. “Think you can handle it?”

“Be the bunny, dude.”

From the second I peeked into the front room of the suite this morning and found him reading in bed, bare-chested, hair in such sexy disarray it was impossible to see it without imagining my fingers in it, my brain has been off.

Twitchy.

Twisting every innocent act into a moment rife with dirty potential.

RELEASE WEEK ONLY Giveaway: https://kingsumo.com/g/2xs3dl/dirty-talker-release-week-giveaway

 

About Mira:

Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire, Mira Lyn Kelly is a USA TODAY bestselling author with over a million readers worldwide. She writes sizzly love stories with hot, possessive heroes who know how to laugh, heroines who give as good as they get, friends as close as family, and happily ever afters up-against-the-wall style! Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy… only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Mira now lives in Minnesota with her husband, four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs. When she isn’t reading, writing, or indulging her weakness for hard cut abs, she can be found running the kids around, watching the Chicago Blackhawks, and cooking with her family and friends.

 

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New Release, Excerpt, Review & *Giveaway* – Starting From the Top, Lane Hayes

March 14, 2021 | Posted in Excerpt, Giveaway, New Release, Review | By

Title: Starting From The Top

Series: Starting From, #5

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: March 8, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83k

Genre: Romance, Age Gap, Rock and Roll, Hurt and Comfort, Bisexual, Contemporary Romance

Add to Goodreads

 

Synopsis

The guitarist, the dad, and a band on the rise…

Johnny

A quiet place to live and some time to recharge before my band heads out on the road again sounds amazing. I wouldn’t mind a distraction too, but my new neighbor is off-limits. There are rules about not getting involved with your bandmate’s ex, right? And Sean isn’t my type anyway. He’s too bossy, too commanding, and he has way too much baggage. I’ve learned that it’s best to let go of the heavy stuff. So why am I so drawn to him?

Sean

Coming out later in life has taught me to protect my privacy at all costs. And while juggling a handful of businesses and two kids isn’t easy, I excel at the art of multitasking and keeping everything separate. But Johnny blurs those lines. He’s easy-going, sweet-natured, and cool. In short, he’s everything I’m not. I want to know all about him…starting from the top.

Excerpt

The cheery sound of family fun drifted through the house…the dog barking, cupboards closing, and a girlish squeal of delight. And more dog barking.

I chuckled at the chaotic homey cacophony. I would never have envisioned this was Sean’s life. He’d always seemed like a badass boss to me—not a man who’d wear an apron to bake cupcakes with his daughter while his son had a guitar lesson. His chocolate mussed hair and concerned parental frown made him look goofy and yet very…endearing. In a hot dad way.

Okay. Definitely time to go. I reached for the knob just as Sean did.

“I’ll walk you out,” he insisted, holding the door open.

I stepped onto the porch and blinked against the bright afternoon sun at the hilltop view of the city. “Wow. This is nice.”

“Yeah,” he agreed absently. “How was he?”

“Amazing. The next Chuck Berry.”

Sean sighed grumpily. “Less sarcasm, please.”

“Sorry, Dad.” I snickered. “He was great. I mean, he sucked, but I think he had fun. I told him to keep the guitar and practice on his own. If you want me to come back, I will.”

“Really? That’s good.” He stared at the horizon for a moment before glancing my way. “I wanted to—why are you smiling at me?”

“You’re fuckin’ covered in chocolate. It’s in your ear.” I made a face and tugged at my own ear.

He gestured at the apron. “Baking isn’t my thing.”

I flashed a megawatt grin at him. “Sure, it is. Are you decorating those cupcakes with anything besides frosting?”

“Sprinkles. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Thanks, but I don’t want to crash your family time.”

Sean inclined his head. “So…did he talk to you?”

“It took a little coaxing. Full disclosure…we played video games before we picked up the guitars. You’re not paying me, so I don’t really feel guilty. I just don’t want you to think it was a jam session from the start.”

“I know.”

“You know?” I repeated.

“I snuck in to see how you were doing. Hulk let you down. You might want to go with Iron Man or Captain America next time.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I snort-laughed, then sobered. “As for Parker…he’s a good kid. He’s shy, reserved, and likes organization. He seems like the kind of person who excels at things he can control. I bet he builds killer Lego sets. He might learn a few songs, but I doubt he’s a savant. You never know, though. Kids are sponges. They pick up stuff you and I would never catch.”

“That’s true. I’m impressed. And you’re right…about everything. He keeps a lot inside. He’s always been that way. Very thoughtful and methodical. He sets a high bar for himself. He likes to get things right the first time. He does well in school, but he’s struggling with the transition to junior high. His old friends tried out for sports and he opted not to. It’s left him feeling ostracized and alone. Hormones don’t help. I thought it might be good for him to spend time with someone cool who—”

“Cooler than you?”

“Well, let’s not get crazy.” Sean flipped the corner of his apron and let out a self-deprecating laugh. “I just…thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.”

“No problem. Hey, if he really is interested, we can do this regularly. My schedule is light for the next couple of months, but it’ll get crazy again in late spring.”

“I’ll call you.”

“Text me. I hate phone calls.” I held out my right hand and snatched it away a second later, narrowing my gaze. “You have frosting on your nose.”

“My nose?” He wiped his hand over the apron, then across the tip of his nose. “Did I get it?”

“No. Come here. Let me help you.” I stepped into his space and brushed the sugary goodness away.

“Did you get it?” he asked in a huskier than normal tone.

“Yeah, but it’s on your ear and your chin and…”

“Where else?”

“Here.”

I ran the pad of my thumb under this bottom lip. “Got it.”

I didn’t move. I should have, but something held me in place. I studied his features, noting the flecks in his eyes. I wondered what color they were…gold, green, brown? I traced a line at the corner of his mouth, rubbing the scruff of his neatly-trimmed beard. I stared at his full lips for a long moment before meeting his gaze. Then I inched closer and…kissed him.

Purchase at Amazon

Kara's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Starting from the Top is the fifth book in the Starting From series by the talented Lane Hayes. I have read so many books by Lane and every one becomes my new favorite. Her writing just keeps getting better and better. I’m seriously in love in love with Johnny and Sean. Johnny is young, fun, talented, but he had a hard childhood and he doesn’t see himself as famous. Sean is older, has kids and needs to have control over everything in his life or he’s afraid it’s all going to fall apart. What starts out as a fun thing that’s just physical, turns into something more meaningful. They become friends. Johnny spends time with Sean and his kids. They talk about themselves, their lives. What they want. But what happens when feelings change? When it’s more than just fun? Oh my! I couldn’t get enough of this story! I loved how Johnny saw the world and that he learned and grew just from being with Sean. I loved how Sean lightened up and relaxed more and actually let Johnny in. And Parker and Penny, they were so funny and real! This is the perfect age-gap, rock star, family fun book!

Meet the Author 

 

 Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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Get the Entire Series Here!

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