Chapter Reveal & 5 Heart Reviews – Glass Castle Prince, Nicole Williams

March 28, 2019 By

 

 

 

 

5 out of 5 stars

Glass Castle Prince is Nicole Williams’ newest sweet, funny and romantic story. I’m a huge fan of Nicole’s and her writing. She always entertains me with her wit, charm and interesting characters. Glass Castle Prince is a modern romance that felt like a historical romance with the royalty and setting. Charlotte has returned to the estate where she grew up as the Groundskeeper’s daughter. She was never allowed inside the castle and now she’s alone for the winter to take care of it. She’s needed a break from her life to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She wasn’t expecting her alone time to be interrupted by the prince himself. Edward, handsome, smart and entitled. After all, he’s next in line to be the king. After a hilarious introduction, an exchange of barbs that had me laughing out loud, Edward and Charlotte become friends. She doesn’t see him as the prince and he doesn’t see her as a commoner. They are just themselves. When Charlotte asks for his help with something very unconventional, he can’t say no. No man could. The lines of friendship get blurred and unexpected feeling come into the mix. Edward got more than he bargained for, but can he make his own choices? What if he chooses Charlotte. I really enjoyed this story! It was funny, sexy, interesting and the secondary characters were hilarious. I was glad Edward has such good friends! Charlotte is outspoken, smart, beautiful and doesn’t mince words. Edward is sweet, handsome, knows how to use words and just isn’t sure if he’s ready to be king. It’s his birthright, but it’s a lot to take in when he’s only twenty-two. I loved how honest and open he was. How much he liked Charlotte as a woman. I was swooning all over the place!

 

“I’m not a very good follower.”

“I’m banking on the fact that I’m a better leader.”

“Someone ate a bowl of Cocky O’s for breakfast.”

 

“Last time I went easy on you. I held back. This time I won’t.”

“That was holding back?”

“My whole life, I’m required to exhibit a precise level of restraint in all that I do. I refuse to show that restraint when I’m with a woman. “

 

“Was that your way of saying I’m not exactly pretty?”

“That was my way of saying that for someone who gives very little thought to beauty, I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful in all my life.”

 

Sandra's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Glass Castle Prince is Nicole Williams’ next standalone. One I am hoping turns into a series since I enjoyed the supporting characters so much. I will try to make this fast so I don’t spoil anything.
Charlotte makes the decision to take a year off from university so she can figure out what she wants to do next. For the next eight months she will be taking care of the royals’s summer home during the off-season. The one her father was the groundskeeper for until she was ten years old. The one she never stepped foot in until she had the keys to the place. It was the perfect place to be. It was in the middle of nowhere. It was quiet so she could think about her future. Well, that was until four unexpected visitors showed up. One of them…the future king.
Edward was only twenty-two but wasn’t like his peers. He had his friends. He had get together but he never indulged in the party scene. He would rather take a walk around the lake then drink scotch. Of course, the papers didn’t see it that way. And that was exactly why she looked at him like he was nothing but a pompous playboy. And exactly why he liked her. She didn’t kiss his ass like everyone else. She didn’t swoon when he looked at her. She fired back. She was trouble and he liked it. He liked Charlotte from the moment he saw her. But, he couldn’t have her. She deserved better life. One that wasn’t controlled.
What will happen when two people from different ways of life find common ground and an undeniable chemistry?
Everything. Will their separate decisions led them together or apart in the end?
I loved this one! I love when characters see past labels and see the real person underneath them. I also enjoyed their banter. They don’t hold anything back. And like I said, I loved the supporting characters as well and hope to see them again.
Overall…it’s a fun, flirty, sweet, and royally sexy. I laughed, cried, and swooned.
Quotes:
“I was employed to tend to the house, not any people who might find their way inside it. Get your own milk.” For a moment, he seemed as surprised as I was that I’d spurted that.
“And who are you employed by?”
“The Royston Group,” I replied, smiling innocently.
“Who happens to be owned by?”
“Your father.” His hand circled.
“Whose son is?”
I bit my tongue. For half a second. “An asshole.”
“You can’t trust a person whose eyes express something different than their words.”
“Marriage is both a life and death sentence. Might as well like the chick’s brains as much as you do her boobs.”
“Poetry. A future Emerson or Frost.” Frederick tipped an imaginary hat at James.
AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

A glass castle shatters as easily as a glass house—all it takes is one stone.

Prince Edward has known this all of his life, and taken staunch measures to ensure he doesn’t give the public any reason to pick up their rocks. Or torches. Or pitchforks. As a twenty-two-year-old in line to ascend the throne, he lives more like a cloistered monk than his college-aged peers. Restraint is the tone of his life, resilience the theme.

That is, until he meets a young woman who couldn’t care less about his title—unless she’s poking fun at it. Charlotte Everly grew up a stone’s throw away from the royal family’s summer house, but her life was, and is, entirely different from the prince’s.

They clash at each turn, disagree on every topic, and bear a general contempt for one another. Until . . .

One night, accompanied by one proposal, leads to one lapse in judgment . . .

Results in a nationwide scandal neither of them will escape

 

 

 

Excerpt

I grew up next door to the royal family’s summer house on the banks of Lake Genovese.
Not because my family was rich and could afford one of the sprawling estates near Valmont Manor, or due to some trace of royal blood in our heritage.
​I grew up next door to Valmont because my father was the groundskeeper, our humble quarters tucked into the trees on the south end of the grounds. I grew up surrounded by privilege and wealth, but my parents had cocooned me—as overprotective types with only one child did. I never interacted with the royal family or any of the distant relations who flocked to Valmont in the summer months for the legendary parties Her Royal Highness put on. My dad left his groundskeeper position the fall I turned ten in favor of a job in the north as a park manager.
It had been a decade since I left Valmont as the groundskeeper’s daughter, but little, if anything, had changed. Royal families were like that; change came gradually, if at all, to everything from their estates to their hemlines.
​“Do you understand your position here?” The prune-faced woman, in her matronly tweed suit, came to an abrupt stop in the grand foyer, interrupting my nostalgia.
​I slipped on the same competent expression I’d worn the day I’d been interviewed for the job. “I understand.”
​“You’re quite young. The last off-season house manager was twice your age.” The woman, Mrs. Hutchinson, appraised me, the corners of her mouth turning down.
​“What I lack in age, I make up for in work ethic and energy,” I said, checking my shoes to see if I’d somehow managed to step in horse dung when I passed through the Queen Angeline Ballroom, as Mrs. Hutchison’s brow suggested. “And I spent the first ten years of my life on Valmont’s grounds. I know my way around the place.”
​“Your father was the groundskeeper, which means he wouldn’t have stepped foot in the castle.”
​“Correct.” I made sure to smile as I said it, not wanting to anger the person who was technically my boss. Thank the gods she’d be joining the royal family back at their primary estate, Stratford Castle, as soon as she left here.
​“There’s a great deal of difference between keeping the lawn green and shrubs shaped and winterizing sixty-two rooms while keeping an eye out for any signs of snow or ice damage.”
​I held my smile and reminded myself she probably didn’t mean to talk down to me. “I’m a quick learner.”
​Mrs. Hutchinson’s eyes suggested We’ll see before she walked toward one of the side doors. “Prince Edward and you are the same age, right? Did your paths ever cross when you were growing up here?”
​My nose scrunched up, since her back was to me. “He’s two years older, and no, our paths never crossed.”
Thankfully. Prince Edward was a pompous, lazy playboy whose smirk embodied everything that was wrong with society—entitlement and smugness.
​“That’s too bad. He’s such a lovely fellow.”
​“The loveliest,” I said flatly.
​When we stopped at the door, she checked to make sure the giant black binder was still clutched in my arms. She’d assured me it would answer any question I might have about my responsibilities here, as well as detail every duty, from covering the furniture with sheets to setting the thermostats.
​“Why did you decide to take the year off from Whitbridge?” she asked, slipping into her beige trench coat after checking the glum weather out the window. “It’s the most prestigious university in the country. Was the course work too rigorous?”
​My hands slid into the front pockets of my overalls. “No. I scored top marks both my first and second year.” I wasn’t sure how much I should say. “I just needed a year to decide what I want to do with my life before I commit to another two, or ten, years of college.”
​Mrs. Hutchinson chuckled, slipping on her leather gloves. “Doctors go to school for ten years, dear.”
​“Not groundskeepers’ daughters?” I said, verbalizing her probable thoughts.
​She waved me off as though I were making a bigger deal than necessary. “You know what I mean.”
​“I do,” I stated, because I did understand the way people viewed one another based on social standing and pedigree. My parents had never come right out and admitted it, but I knew my dad giving up his job as a royal groundskeeper had a lot to do with not wanting to raise me around such stunted, old-fashioned views.
​“Well, I’ll leave you to it now.” Mrs. Hutchison gave me another look, one that suggested she wasn’t sure if Valmont would be reduced to ashes when she returned with the royal family at the start of summer.
Not that she had a lot of alternatives. There were never a lot of people to apply for a position like taking care of a massive estate in the off-season in one of the most isolated places in the country. A person could go weeks here in the dead of winter without seeing another living soul, animal included.
​But I’d had my reasons for applying.
​“If anything comes up, I can be reached on my cell day and night.” Mrs. Hutchinson stepped through the door, frowning at the gray, mottled sky.
​“I’m sure everything will be exactly as you left it come June.”
​She waited under the awning for the driver equipped with an umbrella to fend off the drizzle. “I’m hopeful it will be,” she said before she climbed into the back seat of the black Aston Martin.
​There was a vehicle reserved for me to use while I was here, but it was not an Aston Martin. It was more like an old rumble-bucket truck that a person would sell turnips out of the back of.
​Standing in the doorway of Valmont, I waved at the retreating car, saying farewell to any signs of life for at least a few good weeks. Time I could use to deconstruct the funk littering my brain and hopefully find my reset button. The one that would put me back to my original factory settings, the place before life, with all of its complexities and expectations, had shoved me off my intended course.
​The magic place where I was me and knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
​With an excited squeal, I spun inside, locking the door to keep out the rest of the world. Alone at last.
The first thing I did was kick off my sneakers and throw my long hair into a ponytail. Then I slid through room after room, flipping on lights as I went, living out my childhood fantasy of dancing through every room I’d only seen from the outside looking in.
​It wasn’t a brief task.
​I managed to frolic my way through half of the rooms on the main floor before I gave myself a side-ache and declared my childhood fantasies fulfilled.
​Catching my breath at the bottom of the grand staircase, I decided it was time to get to work. The majority of the rooms would be sealed up during my stay, the third floor of the west wing remaining open for my use. The black book of all things Valmont instructed I was to start in the ballroom, but the inherent rebel inside me decided to start in the dining room.
​I preferred to get the biggest chores done first, saving the easiest ones for last. The dining room could take a solid week of work, judging by the list in the binder.
​Setting my portable speaker on one of the windowsills, I selected my favorite playlist, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work.
​The playlist was on its third replay and my elbows felt like the size of grapefruits when the clock chimed twelve times. Blowing wisps of hair from my face, I assessed my progress. The silver candlestick holders had been polished and tucked away into one of the mahogany buffets. The massive table had been shined to glass, as had the actual windows, which were now drawn by curtains.
​I took a few minutes to throw fresh white sheets over the furniture before deciding a cup of something warm was in order before bed—cocoa, coffee, milk, tea, I wasn’t picky.
​The staff kitchen was tucked into the back of the house, where a small gravel lot was used for staff members’ cars during the summer. The kitchen was dark and still smelled of bleach and lemon cleaner. I was about to flip on the lights when an unexpected sound came from the direction of the side door coming off the staff entrance.
​Holding my breath, I waited, hoping it was the wind making funny noises, rather than a home invader. There was no shortage of royal nutters out there, plus those looking to make some extra cash by selling a heisted painting on the black market.
​The doorknob jiggled. A definite, deliberate jiggle. So much for the wind theory.
​Crouching, I grabbed the closest item that seemed self-defense worthy, cursing myself for leaving my phone in the dining room playing Joan Jett yet again.
The stainless steel skillet was heavier than I expected, and it took both of my hands to wield. After stumbling across the house, I positioned myself to the side of the front door, in the ideal spot to either knock out the intruder or make a run for it myself.
​The doorknob rattled again, right before the door whined open. Adrenaline flooding my system, I raised the skillet above my head and waited . . .
​For half of a second.
​“Die!” The word shot out of me on its own as I drove the skillet down on the black-hooded head that had skulked inside.
​The person dropped instantly, limbs sprawling across the white-tiled floor.
​“I got him,” I whispered, still clutching my weapon of choice.
​Several figures came rushing through the doorway, followed by another handful more.
​“Freeze!” I hollered, winding the pan back for another swing.
“What the hell?” One of them gasped when they noticed the motionless form on the floor. “Who are you?”
“Who are you?” I replied, my fingers fumbling for the light switch that was somewhere beside me.
A rumble of what could have been sighs or laughter passed between the three as I finally found the switch. Light flooded the kitchen, illuminating the scene . . . and my mistake.
“I’m the Duke of Westington,” the one closest to me answered, as the other two crouched beside the one I’d cracked with the skillet. “And that, splayed out on the floor thanks to your skill with kitchenware, is Prince Edward.”

 

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Release Day & Reviews – Glass Castle Prince, Nicole Williams

March 20, 2019 By

 

 

 

 

5 out of 5 stars

Glass Castle Prince is Nicole Williams’ newest sweet, funny and romantic story. I’m a huge fan of Nicole’s and her writing. She always entertains me with her wit, charm and interesting characters. Glass Castle Prince is a modern romance that felt like a historical romance with the royalty and setting. Charlotte has returned to the estate where she grew up as the Groundskeeper’s daughter. She was never allowed inside the castle and now she’s alone for the winter to take care of it. She’s needed a break from her life to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She wasn’t expecting her alone time to be interrupted by the prince himself. Edward, handsome, smart and entitled. After all, he’s next in line to be the king. After a hilarious introduction, an exchange of barbs that had me laughing out loud, Edward and Charlotte become friends. She doesn’t see him as the prince and he doesn’t see her as a commoner. They are just themselves. When Charlotte asks for his help with something very unconventional, he can’t say no. No man could. The lines of friendship get blurred and unexpected feeling come into the mix. Edward got more than he bargained for, but can he make his own choices? What if he chooses Charlotte. I really enjoyed this story! It was funny, sexy, interesting and the secondary characters were hilarious. I was glad Edward has such good friends! Charlotte is outspoken, smart, beautiful and doesn’t mince words. Edward is sweet, handsome, knows how to use words and just isn’t sure if he’s ready to be king. It’s his birthright, but it’s a lot to take in when he’s only twenty-two. I loved how honest and open he was. How much he liked Charlotte as a woman. I was swooning all over the place!

 

“I’m not a very good follower.”

“I’m banking on the fact that I’m a better leader.”

“Someone ate a bowl of Cocky O’s for breakfast.”

 

“Last time I went easy on you. I held back. This time I won’t.”

“That was holding back?”

“My whole life, I’m required to exhibit a precise level of restraint in all that I do. I refuse to show that restraint when I’m with a woman. “

 

“Was that your way of saying I’m not exactly pretty?”

“That was my way of saying that for someone who gives very little thought to beauty, I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful in all my life.”

 

Sandra's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Glass Castle Prince is Nicole Williams’ next standalone. One I am hoping turns into a series since I enjoyed the supporting characters so much. I will try to make this fast so I don’t spoil anything.
Charlotte makes the decision to take a year off from university so she can figure out what she wants to do next. For the next eight months she will be taking care of the royals’s summer home during the off-season. The one her father was the groundskeeper for until she was ten years old. The one she never stepped foot in until she had the keys to the place. It was the perfect place to be. It was in the middle of nowhere. It was quiet so she could think about her future. Well, that was until four unexpected visitors showed up. One of them…the future king.
Edward was only twenty-two but wasn’t like his peers. He had his friends. He had get together but he never indulged in the party scene. He would rather take a walk around the lake then drink scotch. Of course, the papers didn’t see it that way. And that was exactly why she looked at him like he was nothing but a pompous playboy. And exactly why he liked her. She didn’t kiss his ass like everyone else. She didn’t swoon when he looked at her. She fired back. She was trouble and he liked it. He liked Charlotte from the moment he saw her. But, he couldn’t have her. She deserved better life. One that wasn’t controlled.
What will happen when two people from different ways of life find common ground and an undeniable chemistry?
Everything. Will their separate decisions led them together or apart in the end?
I loved this one! I love when characters see past labels and see the real person underneath them. I also enjoyed their banter. They don’t hold anything back. And like I said, I loved the supporting characters as well and hope to see them again.
Overall…it’s a fun, flirty, sweet, and royally sexy. I laughed, cried, and swooned.
Quotes:
“I was employed to tend to the house, not any people who might find their way inside it. Get your own milk.” For a moment, he seemed as surprised as I was that I’d spurted that.
“And who are you employed by?”
“The Royston Group,” I replied, smiling innocently.
“Who happens to be owned by?”
“Your father.” His hand circled.
“Whose son is?”
I bit my tongue. For half a second. “An asshole.”
“You can’t trust a person whose eyes express something different than their words.”
“Marriage is both a life and death sentence. Might as well like the chick’s brains as much as you do her boobs.”
“Poetry. A future Emerson or Frost.” Frederick tipped an imaginary hat at James.
AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

A glass castle shatters as easily as a glass house—all it takes is one stone.

Prince Edward has known this all of his life, and taken staunch measures to ensure he doesn’t give the public any reason to pick up their rocks. Or torches. Or pitchforks. As a twenty-two-year-old in line to ascend the throne, he lives more like a cloistered monk than his college-aged peers. Restraint is the tone of his life, resilience the theme.

That is, until he meets a young woman who couldn’t care less about his title—unless she’s poking fun at it. Charlotte Everly grew up a stone’s throw away from the royal family’s summer house, but her life was, and is, entirely different from the prince’s.

They clash at each turn, disagree on every topic, and bear a general contempt for one another. Until . . .

One night, accompanied by one proposal, leads to one lapse in judgment . . .

Results in a nationwide scandal neither of them will escape

 

 

 

 

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Blog Tour, 5 Heart Review & Excerpt – Dating the Enemy, Nicole Williams

September 28, 2018 By

 

 

 

Kara's Review

5 out of 5 stars

Dating the Enemy is Nicole Williams’ newest masterpiece. I’m a huge fan of Nicole’s and she’s become a must read for me. I don’t even bother looking to see what it’s about, I just read it! Dating the Enemy is just what I needed this week! It’s an enemies to lovers story with a little twist. Hannah, Ms. Romance and Brooks, Mr. Reality have just been pitted against each other to win a promotion. They each write a column about romance and fate in her case and reality and love isn’t real in his. They are forced to date for three months in front of a camera and if he can get her to fall in love with him, he wins. Easy Peasy. Yeah, not so much. They are both smart and know a lot of big great words. They are writers after all. But they are also physically attracted to each other which adds the perfect amount of fun to this story. Their banter is witty and sarcastic. All the talking is foreplay. But the goal is to resist. Not fall in to the love trap or the realistic one. Easier said than done. What happens when it all becomes too real? Will declarations be made for real or just for show! I loved this story! I’m usually bothered only the female POV, but in this case, I loved not knowing what Brooks was thinking. It added another level of the story for me. You didn’t know if he was being sincere. You didn’t know if he was pretending. You saw it all from her eyes. Her very romantic colored eyes and I loved every second of it! Brooks is sexy, smart, rocks the suit and really does say sweet things. He’s not what he appears to be. Hannah is funny, hopeful, smart and sexy without knowing it. They each had insecurities and I enjoyed watching them open up and let each other in. Overall, I laughed, cried, swooned, smiled and laughed some more.

 

“Miss me?”

“You keep asking me that question.”

“I keep waiting for a different response.”

 

“I don’t want it digging into my stomach.”

“Then you shouldn’t have worn that dress.”

“And we’ll lump that in the category known as victim-blaming.”

“It’s not your fault my dick has a thing for your dress. It’s his fault, one hundred percent. Total case of dick-blaming right here.”

 

“Nine out of ten women polled claimed I left them speechless.”

“And the tenth?”

“Still speechless.”

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

Ms. Romance, Hannah Arden, writes one of the top read relationship advice columns in the nation. Mr. Reality, Brooks North, writes the top read relationship advice column.Ms. Romance believes in true love and soul mates. Mr. Reality believes love is a term humanity has assigned to the primal instinct to procreate. She believes in fate—he in chance. She knows there’s one right person for everyone—he knows there are multiple ones. The two writers couldn’t be more polarized on relationships. They’re professional rivals, and philosophical antagonists.

For eight years, their battles have been fought with words and ink. That changes when they apply for the same position at the World Times and find themselves face-to-face for the first time. Brooks isn’t the sour-faced, antiquity of a man Hannah pictured. And Hannah isn’t exactly the middle-aged shrew with cat hair on her housedress that Brooks imagined either.

In lieu of competing for the promotion traditional ways, the two writers are presented with playing the leading roles in a social experiment unlike any before. Can a person be tricked into falling in love? Can a relationship be crafted under the right string of circumstances? Hannah knows the answer. So does Brooks.

Agreeing to the terms, the two set out on a three-month dating experiment, live-streamed for the world to watch. All Hannah has to do to win is not fall in love with the narcissistic brute. All Brooks has to do is get the starry-eyed dreamer to fall in love with him. Both are so confident in their philosophies, they expect the challenge to be easy.

With the world watching, Brooks and Hannah will be forced to confront their beliefs and conclude, once and for all, who’s right. The answer is one neither of them saw coming.

 

 

“Where do you think you’re going?”
​I jolted. Brooks had an annoying talent of being able to appear out of thin air. “As far away from this dance floor as I can get.”
​“But we haven’t danced yet.” Brooks crept in front of my path, forcing me to stop or crash into him.
​Braking to a stop, I shot him a look. “I’ll be sure to shed some tears for that later. When I’m asleep.”
​“Someone’s notably grumpier now than they were earlier.” His eyes narrowed in an investigative kind of way. “Methinks you weren’t totally forthcoming about you minding if I danced with other women.”
​The cameraman was leaning in, our ever-present third wheel, but I didn’t feel the need to lower my voice. “Methinks you were onto something when you expressed trepidation over your manhood’s functioning properties after tonight.”
​Brooks let out a low whistle. “Under the right circumstances, those words, from that mouth, would be such a turn-on.”
​“The right circumstances being what? Your standing appointment with a dungeon and a dominatrix?”
​One dark brow lifted. “Bad kitty.”
​“No. Grumpy cat.” I circled my face before going around him.
His arm whipped out, cinching around my waist to draw me back to him. “Let’s see if I can help with that.” His hand found mine, lifting it, while his other secured at my back, bringing me closer. And closer.
And . . .
“Brooks,” I hissed, remembering the camera before I put into words what I’d just felt.
He didn’t appear the slightest bit fazed. “What was that about my functioning manhood?”
“I don’t want to feel it digging into my stomach when I’m trying to focus on tangoing.”
“Then you shouldn’t have worn that dress.”
“And we’ll lump that in the category known as victim-blaming,” I muttered, trying to ignore the hard swell rubbing against my midsection.
“It’s not your fault my dick has a thing for your dress.” Brooks didn’t lower his voice at all. “It’s his fault, one hundred and ten percent. Total case of dick-blaming right here.”

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

 

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Release Day Blitz, 5 Heart Review & Excerpt – Dating the Enemy, Nicole Williams

September 23, 2018 By

 

 

 

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

Ms. Romance, Hannah Arden, writes one of the top read relationship advice columns in the nation. Mr. Reality, Brooks North, writes the top read relationship advice column.

Ms. Romance believes in true love and soul mates. Mr. Reality believes love is a term humanity has assigned to the primal instinct to procreate. She believes in fate—he in chance. She knows there’s one right person for everyone—he knows there are multiple ones. The two writers couldn’t be more polarized on relationships. They’re professional rivals, and philosophical antagonists.

For eight years, their battles have been fought with words and ink. That changes when they apply for the same position at the World Times and find themselves face-to-face for the first time. Brooks isn’t the sour-faced, antiquity of a man Hannah pictured. And Hannah isn’t exactly the middle-aged shrew with cat hair on her housedress that Brooks imagined either.

In lieu of competing for the promotion traditional ways, the two writers are presented with playing the leading roles in a social experiment unlike any before. Can a person be tricked into falling in love? Can a relationship be crafted under the right string of circumstances? Hannah knows the answer. So does Brooks.

Agreeing to the terms, the two set out on a three-month dating experiment, live-streamed for the world to watch. All Hannah has to do to win is not fall in love with the narcissistic brute. All Brooks has to do is get the starry-eyed dreamer to fall in love with him. Both are so confident in their philosophies, they expect the challenge to be easy.

With the world watching, Brooks and Hannah will be forced to confront their beliefs and conclude, once and for all, who’s right. The answer is one neither of them saw coming.

 

5 out of 5 stars

Dating the Enemy is Nicole Williams’ newest masterpiece. I’m a huge fan of Nicole’s and she’s become a must read for me. I don’t even bother looking to see what it’s about, I just read it! Dating the Enemy is just what I needed this week! It’s an enemies to lovers story with a little twist. Hannah, Ms. Romance and Brooks, Mr. Reality have just been pitted against each other to win a promotion. They each write a column about romance and fate in her case and reality and love isn’t real in his. They are forced to date for three months in front of a camera and if he can get her to fall in love with him, he wins. Easy Peasy. Yeah, not so much. They are both smart and know a lot of big great words. They are writers after all. But they are also physically attracted to each other which adds the perfect amount of fun to this story. Their banter is witty and sarcastic. All the talking is foreplay. But the goal is to resist. Not fall in to the love trap or the realistic one. Easier said than done. What happens when it all becomes too real? Will declarations be made for real or just for show! I loved this story! I’m usually bothered only the female POV, but in this case, I loved not knowing what Brooks was thinking. It added another level of the story for me. You didn’t know if he was being sincere. You didn’t know if he was pretending. You saw it all from her eyes. Her very romantic colored eyes and I loved every second of it! Brooks is sexy, smart, rocks the suit and really does say sweet things. He’s not what he appears to be. Hannah is funny, hopeful, smart and sexy without knowing it. They each had insecurities and I enjoyed watching them open up and let each other in. Overall, I laughed, cried, swooned, smiled and laughed some more.

 

“Miss me?”

“You keep asking me that question.”

“I keep waiting for a different response.”

 

“I don’t want it digging into my stomach.”

“Then you shouldn’t have worn that dress.”

“And we’ll lump that in the category known as victim-blaming.”

“It’s not your fault my dick has a thing for your dress. It’s his fault, one hundred percent. Total case of dick-blaming right here.”

 

“Nine out of ten women polled claimed I left them speechless.”

“And the tenth?”

“Still speechless.”

 

 

 

 

 

“So?” His head lowered toward mine. “Have you fallen in love with me yet?”
A single-noted laugh escaped from me. “No. Sorry to burst your bubble.”
“You know it’s only a matter of time.”
“Before our three months are up and, lo and behold, I haven’t fallen madly in love with you?” I said. “Yeah, I know that.”
He held out my glass of cider, scooting closer. “Am I really that offensive?”
“Taken as a whole, no, you’re not. But taking this whole set-up into account, along with your beliefs that love is for weak-minded ninnies, then yes. You really are so offensive.”
A half smile emerged. “What do your readers think about this whole thing?”
“My readers definitely don’t want me falling for you,” I answered.
“But your readers love romance, and some handsome, roguish fellow taking your hand in a park while you’re dressed in a white dress is the definition of romance.” Right then, Brooks’s hand covered mine where it was resting on the blanket.
Instead of stiffening or whipping away, I found myself relaxing under his touch. The camera’s presence screamed at me from the corner of my eye.
“My readers believe in finding the one.” My hand slipped from beneath his. “Not the one who takes your hand and pretends to like you so he gets the promotion.”
“Who says I couldn’t be your one?”
I laughed. “Even I don’t need to run the numbers to know that has about a one-in-an-impossible chance of happening.”
Brooks slid his glasses onto his head, his eyes unapologetic in their stare. “You and me? You couldn’t see it?”
“Not even a little.” I had to look away. “When it’s right, you know it. You feel it.”
Brooks’s head shook before he took a drink of his cider. “I admit, it’s a nice idea. But don’t you feel it inside? The realization that it’s just not true?” He stared out at the park and the people in it.
I gazed with him, trying to ignore that pit opening up in my stomach. “I’d rather spend my life chasing a dream than swallowing a cruel reality.”
“You’d rather spend your life lying to yourself than being honest?” Brooks asked.
“I don’t think any of what I believe is a lie. Soul mates, unconditional love, happy endings—it’s all real.”
“Fairy tales,” he muttered under his breath. “So explain why a marriage dissolves after twenty years because of fifteen minutes of indiscretion.”
Reaching for my glass, I answered, “It wouldn’t have if he kept it in his pants.”
He blew out a sharp breath. “No, that’s like saying twenty years, our kids, our house, our finances, everything is worth less than that fifteen minutes of fucking.” His arms threw out, his tone rather impassioned. “That’s not unconditional love. That’s the very conditional kind.”
“You’re right. It is the conditional kind. On the part of the one who engaged in the fifteen minutes of extra marital . . .” I just caught the cameraman’s hands flailing before I said, “Screwing. That was one-sided unconditional love, and that never works in a relationship.”
One of his brows rose. “That’s a convenient explanation. But I’ll stick to my beliefs that all of that unconditional love junk is worth its weight in bullshit.”
I shot the cameraman an apologetic look—so much for keeping this date in the PG realm. “Then how do you explain the couples it has worked for? The ones who live a long, happy, committed relationship together.”
“I call it a case of two determined people willing to overlook each other’s weaknesses and not be hell-bent on changing or fixing the other, who’ve figured out a way to laugh at themselves, forgive easily—not to mention often—perfect the fine balance of selflessness and selfish, and on top of that, won the relationship lottery.” Brooks clinked his glass against mine before finishing what was left of his cider. “That’s how I explain that.”
I blinked at him. “Wow. Don’t hold back or anything.”
“That’s just half of it.”

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Cover & Excerpt Reveal – Dating the Enemy, Nicole Williams

September 5, 2018 By

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

Ms. Romance, Hannah Arden, writes one of the top read relationship advice columns in the nation. Mr. Reality, Brooks North, writes the top read relationship advice column.Ms. Romance believes in true love and soul mates. Mr. Reality believes love is a term humanity has assigned to the primal instinct to procreate. She believes in fate—he in chance. She knows there’s one right person for everyone—he knows there are multiple ones. The two writers couldn’t be more polarized on relationships. They’re professional rivals, and philosophical antagonists.

For eight years, their battles have been fought with words and ink. That changes when they apply for the same position at the World Times and find themselves face-to-face for the first time. Brooks isn’t the sour-faced, antiquity of a man Hannah pictured. And Hannah isn’t exactly the middle-aged shrew with cat hair on her housedress that Brooks imagined either.

In lieu of competing for the promotion traditional ways, the two writers are presented with playing the leading roles in a social experiment unlike any before. Can a person be tricked into falling in love? Can a relationship be crafted under the right string of circumstances? Hannah knows the answer. So does Brooks.

Agreeing to the terms, the two set out on a three-month dating experiment, live-streamed for the world to watch. All Hannah has to do to win is not fall in love with the narcissistic brute. All Brooks has to do is get the starry-eyed dreamer to fall in love with him. Both are so confident in their philosophies, they expect the challenge to be easy.

With the world watching, Brooks and Hannah will be forced to confront their beliefs and conclude, once and for all, who’s right. The answer is one neither of them saw coming.

 

 

“So?” His head lowered toward mine. “Have you fallen in love with me yet?”
A single-noted laugh escaped from me. “No. Sorry to burst your bubble.”
“You know it’s only a matter of time.”
“Before our three months are up and, lo and behold, I haven’t fallen madly in love with you?” I said. “Yeah, I know that.”
He held out my glass of cider, scooting closer. “Am I really that offensive?”
“Taken as a whole, no, you’re not. But taking this whole set-up into account, along with your beliefs that love is for weak-minded ninnies, then yes. You really are so offensive.”
A half smile emerged. “What do your readers think about this whole thing?”
“My readers definitely don’t want me falling for you,” I answered.
“But your readers love romance, and some handsome, roguish fellow taking your hand in a park while you’re dressed in a white dress is the definition of romance.” Right then, Brooks’s hand covered mine where it was resting on the blanket.
Instead of stiffening or whipping away, I found myself relaxing under his touch. The camera’s presence screamed at me from the corner of my eye.
“My readers believe in finding the one.” My hand slipped from beneath his. “Not the one who takes your hand and pretends to like you so he gets the promotion.”
“Who says I couldn’t be your one?”
I laughed. “Even I don’t need to run the numbers to know that has about a one-in-an-impossible chance of happening.”
Brooks slid his glasses onto his head, his eyes unapologetic in their stare. “You and me? You couldn’t see it?”
“Not even a little.” I had to look away. “When it’s right, you know it. You feel it.”
Brooks’s head shook before he took a drink of his cider. “I admit, it’s a nice idea. But don’t you feel it inside? The realization that it’s just not true?” He stared out at the park and the people in it.
I gazed with him, trying to ignore that pit opening up in my stomach. “I’d rather spend my life chasing a dream than swallowing a cruel reality.”
“You’d rather spend your life lying to yourself than being honest?” Brooks asked.
“I don’t think any of what I believe is a lie. Soul mates, unconditional love, happy endings—it’s all real.”
“Fairy tales,” he muttered under his breath. “So explain why a marriage dissolves after twenty years because of fifteen minutes of indiscretion.”
Reaching for my glass, I answered, “It wouldn’t have if he kept it in his pants.”
He blew out a sharp breath. “No, that’s like saying twenty years, our kids, our house, our finances, everything is worth less than that fifteen minutes of fucking.” His arms threw out, his tone rather impassioned. “That’s not unconditional love. That’s the very conditional kind.”
“You’re right. It is the conditional kind. On the part of the one who engaged in the fifteen minutes of extra marital . . .” I just caught the cameraman’s hands flailing before I said, “Screwing. That was one-sided unconditional love, and that never works in a relationship.”
One of his brows rose. “That’s a convenient explanation. But I’ll stick to my beliefs that all of that unconditional love junk is worth its weight in bullshit.”
I shot the cameraman an apologetic look—so much for keeping this date in the PG realm. “Then how do you explain the couples it has worked for? The ones who live a long, happy, committed relationship together.”
“I call it a case of two determined people willing to overlook each other’s weaknesses and not be hell-bent on changing or fixing the other, who’ve figured out a way to laugh at themselves, forgive easily—not to mention often—perfect the fine balance of selflessness and selfish, and on top of that, won the relationship lottery.” Brooks clinked his glass against mine before finishing what was left of his cider. “That’s how I explain that.”
I blinked at him. “Wow. Don’t hold back or anything.”
“That’s just half of it.”


AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

 

Read More...

Release Day & 5 Heart Reviews – Almost Impossible, Nicole Williams

June 19, 2018 By

 

 

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

Fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han will delight as the fireworks spark and the secrets fly in this delicious summer romance from a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. Jade hasn’t been in suburbia long and even she knows her annoying (and annoyingly cute) next-door neighbor spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days–and nights–worth remembering.

But despite their storybook-perfect romance, every time Jade moves closer, Quentin pulls away. And when rumors of a jilted ex-girlfriend come to light, Jade knows Quentin is hiding a secret–and she’s determined to find out what it is.

 

5 out of 5 stars
Almost Impossible is Nicole William’s next YA novel. I don’t read many YA and if I do they are usually darker ones but this one came at the perfect time! I wanted something lighter. Something that would take me back.
Jade had never stayed in one place for too long. Her life was on the road with her mom and her band. She loved it. Loved the traveling and experiences but she wanted one summer where she could stay in one place. Have a bedroom. A dresser even. A job that a teenage would have instead of a girl who acted as a band manager. That was why she was here. At her aunt and uncle’s house is suburbia. She wanted one summer to be a regular teenager. She might have had her freedom on the road but that was because she was a very responsible person. This summer she was told to live. To have fun. Not too much but enough to learn so lessons in life. What she didn’t expect was him. Quentin. Head life guard and the boy who looked like trouble.
Quentin didn’t see her coming. Really. She scared him but he was up for the challenge. He wanted to get to know her. She was different than the other girls. She understood him. She made him laugh. She made him think. He might have looked cool and acted cool but he was full of surprises. And she was too. They had one summer to discover them. What will happen when it was time for Jade to hit the road again?
I loved this story. I thought it was cute, fun, flirty, and real. I loved the characters. Jade knows what she wants. She is responsible, strong, witty, and smart. Quentin is the just the perfect amount of arrogant, responsible, strong, and smart. Both of them love their families, want to have safe fun, and live their lives to the fullest. I thought they were just so cute.
Overall…it’s a fun story full of fun, flirt, and life lessons.
Quotes:
“Why don’t you try creating your own story instead of living inside the pages of someone else’s imagination?”
“A bad influence and an ego checker? I think I’m smitten.”
Worst Idea Ever? Nice to meet you. Jade Abbott. I’m sure we’ll be best friends forever.
5 out of 5 stars

Almost Impossible is Nicole Williams’ newest YA romance. I don’t read a lot of YA, but I will always read anything Nicole writes. This story just warmed my heart. It was cute, sweet, and funny. Jade wants the normal seventeen year old summer experience and she’s going to get it. Sexy neighbor, Quentin, who’s sweet and hot and responsible and quiet. But he wants to show her fun and the teenage things she’s been missing. Jade doesn’t want to like him but he doesn’t give her a choice. He pursues her in the cutest way. Not playing coy and doing the dumb teenage boy thing, just out right saying that he likes her and wants to spend time with her. I found him adorable and refreshing! He’s keeping a secret, which isn’t hard for the reader to figure out, but it didn’t deter me from loving this story. It may have been obvious to us, but not to everyone else. They are teenagers. You see what you want to see, what you think is right. No matter how worldly or smart you are. Jade and Quentin have fun conversations that made me smile and remember being young. I absolutely adored this story and these characters. They were just what the other needed in their lives. Quentin thought it was awesome that Jade got to travel and see the world. Jade was envious that Quentin had a house, friends and family around. While they were showing each other how the other lives, they fell for each other. It was a slow, teenage falling that I loved watching. I want more of their story. I loved how it ended, but I’m a lover of epilogues and wouldn’t mind seeing these characters again!

 

A slow smile lifted into place, one side higher than the other, and then he winked.

He winked.

 

“You can kiss me now if you want to. Just putting that out there.”

“I don’t want to kiss you. Who do you think I am?”

“Some girl who wants to kiss me.”

 

“Think fate’s trying to tell you something?”

“Yeah, I think it is. Try harder.”

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Chapter Reveal – Almost Impossible, Nicole Williams

May 23, 2018 By

 

 

 

June 19th 2018

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

Fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han will delight as the fireworks spark and the secrets fly in this delicious summer romance from a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. Jade hasn’t been in suburbia long and even she knows her annoying (and annoyingly cute) next-door neighbor spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days–and nights–worth remembering.

But despite their storybook-perfect romance, every time Jade moves closer, Quentin pulls away. And when rumors of a jilted ex-girlfriend come to light, Jade knows Quentin is hiding a secret–and she’s determined to find out what it is.

 

 

 

Anything was possible. At least that’s what it felt like.
Summer seventeen was going to be one for the record books. I already knew it. I could feel it—from the nervous-excited swirl in my stomach to the buzz in the air around me. This was going to be the summer—my summer.
“Last chance to cry uncle or forever hold your peace,” Mom sang beside me in the backseat of the cab we’d caught at the airport. Her hand managed to tighten around mine even more, cutting off the last bit of my circulation. If there
was any left.
I tried to look the precise amount of unsure before answering. “So long, last chance,” I said, waving out the window.
Mom sighed, squeezing my hand harder still. It was starting to go numb now. Summer seventeen might find me one hand short if Mom didn’t ease up on the death grip.
She and her band, the Shrinking Violets, were going to be touring internationally after finally hitting it big, but she was moping because this was the first summer we wouldn’t be together. Actually, it would be the first time we’d been apart ever.
I’d sold her on the idea of me staying in the States with her sister and family by going on about how badly I wanted to experience one summer as a normal, everyday American teenager before graduating from high school. One chance to
see what it was like to stay in the same place, with the same people, before I left for college. One last chance to see what life as an American teen was really like.
She bought it . . . eventually.
She’d have her bandmates and tens of thousands of adoring fans to keep her company—she could do without me for a couple of months. I hoped.
It had always been just Mom and me from day one. She had me when she was young—like young young—and even though her boyfriend pretty much bailed before the line turned pink, she’d done just fine on her own.
We’d both kind of grown up together, and I knew she’d missed out on a lot by raising me. I wanted this to be a summer for the record books for her, too. One she could really live up, not having to worry about taking care of her teenage
daughter. Plus, I wanted to give her a chance to experience what life without me would be like. Soon I’d be off to college somewhere, and I figured easing her into the empty-nester phase was a better approach than going cold turkey.
“You packed sunscreen, right?” Mom’s bracelets jingled as she leaned to look out her window, staring at the bright blue sky like it was suspect.
“SPF seventy for hot days, fifty for warm days, and thirty for overcast ones.” I toed the trusty duffel resting at my feet.It had traveled the globe with me for the past decade and had the wear to prove it.
“That’s my fair-skinned girl.” When Mom looked over at me, the crease between her eyebrows carved deeper with worry.
“You might want to check into SPF yourself. You’re not going to be in your mid thirties forever, you know?”
Mom groaned. “Don’t remind me. But I’m already beyond SPF’s help at this point. Unless it can help fix a saggy butt and crow’s-feet.” She pinched invisible wrinkles and wiggled her butt against the seat.
It was my turn to groan. It was annoying enough that people mistook us for sisters all the time, but it was worse that she could (and did) wear the same jeans as me. There should be some rule that moms aren’t allowed to takes clothes from the closets of their teenage daughters.
When the cab turned down Providence Avenue, I felt a sudden streak of panic. Not for myself, but for my mom.
Could she survive a summer when I wasn’t at her side, reminding her when the cell phone bill was due or updating her calendar so she knew where to be and when to be there? Would she be okay without me reminding her that fruits and vegetables were part of the food pyramid for a reason and
making sure everything was all set backstage?
“Hey.” Mom gave me a look, her eyes suggesting she could read my thoughts. “I’ll be okay. I’m a strong, empowered thirty-four-year-old woman.”
“Cell phone charger.” I yanked the one dangling from her oversized, metal-studded purse, which I’d wrapped in hot pink tape so it stood out. “I’ve packed you two extras to get you through the summer. When you get down to your last
one, make sure to pick up two more so you’re covered—”
“Jade, please,” she interrupted. “I’ve only lost a few. It’s not like I’ve misplaced . . .”
“Thirty-two phone chargers in the past five years?” When she opened her mouth to protest, I added, “I’ve got the receipts to prove it, too.”
Her mouth clamped closed as the cab rolled up to my aunt’s house.
“What am I going to do without you?” Mom swallowed, dropping her big black retro sunglasses over her eyes to hide the tears starting to form, to my surprise.
I was better at keeping my emotions hidden, so I didn’t dig around in my purse for sunglasses. “Um, I don’t know? Maybe rock a sold-out international tour? Six continents in three months? Fifty concerts in ninety days? That kind of
thing?”
Mom started to smile. She loved music—writing it, listening to it, playing it—and was a true musician. She hadn’t gotten into it to become famous or make the Top 40 or anything like that; she’d done it because it was who she was. She was the same person playing to a dozen people in a crowded café as she was now, the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in the world playing to an arena of thousands.
“Sounds pretty killer. All of those countries. All of that adventure.” Mom’s hand was on the door handle, but it looked more like she was trying to keep the taxi door closed than to open it. “Sure you don’t want to be a part of it?”
I smiled thinly back at my mom, her wild brown hair spilling over giant glasses. She had this boundless sense of adventure—always had and always would—so it was hard for her to comprehend how her own offspring could feel any different.
“Promise to call me every day and send me pictures?” I said, feeling the driver lingering outside my door with luggage in hand. This was it. Mom exhaled, lifting her pinkie toward me. “Promise.”
I curled my pinkie around hers and forced a smile. “Love
you, Mom.”
Her finger wound around mine as tightly as she had clenched my other hand on the ride here. “Love you no matter what.” Then she shoved her door open and crawled out, but not before I noticed one tiny tear escape her sunglasses.
By the time I’d stepped out of the cab, all signs of that tear or any others were gone. Mom did tears as often as she wrote moving love songs. In other words, never.
As she dug around in her purse for her wallet to pay the driver, I took a minute to inspect the house in front of me.
The last time we’d been here was for Thanksgiving three years ago. Or was it four? I couldn’t remember, but it was long enough to have forgotten how bright white my aunt and uncle’s house was, how the windows glowed from being so
clean and the landscaping looked almost fake it was so well kept.
It was pretty much the total opposite of the tour buses and extended-stay hotels I’d spent most of my life in. My mother, Meg Abbott, did not do tidy.
“Back zipper pocket,” I said as she struggled to find the money in her wallet.
“Aha,” she announced, freeing a few bills to hand to the driver, whose patience was wilting. After taking her luggage, she shouldered up beside me.
“So the neat-freak thing gets worse with time.” Mom gaped at the walkway leading up to the cobalt-blue front door, where a Davenport nameplate sparkled in the sunlight.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say most of the surfaces I’d eaten off of weren’t as clean as the stretch of concrete in front of me.
“Mom . . . ,” I warned, when she shuddered after she roamed to inspect the window boxes bursting with scarlet geraniums.
“I’m not being mean,” she replied as we started down the walkway. “I’m appreciating my sister’s and my differences.
That’s all.”
Right then, the front door whisked open and my aunt seemed to float from it, a measured smile in place, not a single hair out of place.
“Appreciating our differences,” Mom muttered under her breath as we moved closer.
I bit my lip to keep from laughing as the two sisters embraced.
Mom had long dark hair and fell just under the average-height bar like me. Aunt Julie, conversely, had light hair she kept swishing above her shoulders, and she was tall and thin. Her eyes were almost as light blue as mine, compared to Mom’s, which were almost as dark as her hair. It wasn’t only their physical differences that set them apart; it was everything. From the way they dressed Mom in some shade of dark, whereas the darkest color I’d ever seen Aunt Julie wear was periwinkle—to their taste in food, Mom was on the spicy end of the spectrum and Aunt Julie was on the mild.
Mom stared at Aunt Julie.
Aunt Julie stared back at Mom.
This went on for twenty-one seconds. I counted. The last stare-down four years ago had gone forty-nine. So this was progress.
Finally, Aunt Julie folded her hands together, her rounded nails shining from a fresh manicure. “Hello, Jade. Hello, Megan.”
Mom’s back went ramrod straight when Aunt Julie referred to her by her given name. Aunt Julie was eight years older but acted more like her mother than her sister.
“How’s it hangin’, Jules?”
Aunt Julie’s lips pursed hearing her little sister’s nickname for her. Then she stepped back and motioned inside. “Well?”
That was my cue to pick up my luggage and follow after Mom, who was tromping up the front steps. “Are we done already? Really?” she asked, nudging Aunt Julie as she passed.
“I’m taking the higher road,” Aunt Julie replied.
“What you call taking the higher road I call getting soft in your old age.” Mom hustled through the door after that, like she was afraid Aunt Julie would kick her butt or something.
The image of Aunt Julie kicking anything made me giggle to myself.
“Jade.” Aunt Julie’s smile was of the real variety this time as she took my duffel from me. “You were a girl the last time we saw you, and look at you now. All grown up.”
“Hey, Aunt Julie. Thanks again for letting me spend the summer with you guys,” I said, pausing beside her, not sure whether to hug her or keep moving. A moment of awkwardness passed before she made the decision for me by reaching out and patting my back. I continued on after that.
Aunt Julie wasn’t cold or removed; she just showed her affection differently. But I knew she cared about me and my mom. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t pick up the phone on the first ring whenever we did call every few months. She also wouldn’t have immediately said yes when Mom asked her a few months ago if I could spend the summer here.
“Let me show you to your room.” She pulled the door shut behind her and led us through the living room. “Paul and I had the guest room redone to make it more fitting for a teenage girl.”
“Instead of an eighty-year-old nun who had a thing for quilts and angel figurines?” Mom said, biting at her chipped black nail polish.
“I wouldn’t expect someone whose idea of a feng shui living space is kicking the dirty clothes under their bed to appreciate my sense of style,” Aunt Julie fired back, like she’d been anticipating Mom’s dig.
I cut in before they could get into it. “You didn’t have to do that, Aunt Julie. The guest room exactly the way it was would have been great.”
“Speaking of the saint also known as my brother-in-law, where is Paul?” Mom spun around, moving down the hall backward.
“At work.” Aunt Julie stopped outside of a room. “He wanted to be here, but his job’s been crazy lately.”
Aunt Julie snatched the porcelain angel Mom had picked up from the hall table. She carefully returned it to the exact same spot, adjusting it a hair after a moment’s consideration.
“Where are the twins?” I asked, scanning the hallway for Hannah and Hailey. The last time I’d seen them, they were in preschool but acted like they were in grad school or something. They were nice kids, just kind of freakishly well
behaved and brainy.
“At Chinese camp,” Aunt Julie answered.
“Getting to eat dim sum and make paper dragons?” Mom asked, sounding almost surprised.
Aunt Julie sighed. “Learning the Chinese language.” Aunt Julie opened a door and motioned me inside. I’d barely set one foot into the room before my eyes almost crossed from what I found.
Holy pink.
Hot pink, light pink, glittery pink, Pepto-Bismol pink—every shade, texture, and variety of pink seemed to be represented inside this square of space.
“What do you think?” Aunt Julie gushed, moving up
beside me with a giant smile.
“I love it,” I said, working up a smile. “It’s great. So great.
And so . . . pink.”
“I know, right?” Aunt Julie practically squealed. I didn’t know she was capable of anything close to that high-pitched.
“We hired a designer and everything. I told her you were a girly seventeen-year-old and let her do the rest.”
Glancing over at the full-length mirror framed in, you bet, fuchsia rhinestones, I wondered what about me led my aunt to classify me as “girly.” I shopped at vintage thrift stores, lived in faded denim and colors found in nature, not ones manufactured in the land of Oz. I was wearing sneakers, cut-offs, and a flowy olive-colored blouse, pretty much the other end of the spectrum. The last girly thing I’d done was wear makeup on Halloween. I was a zombie.
Beside me, Mom was gaping at the room like she’d walked in on a crime scene. A gruesome crime scene.
“What the . . . pink?” she edited after I dug an elbow
into her.
“You shouldn’t have.” I smiled at Aunt Julie when she turned toward me, still beaming.
“Yeah, Jules. You really shouldn’t have.” Mom shook her head, flinching when she noticed the furry pink stool tucked beneath the vanity that was resting beneath a huge cotton-candy-pink chandelier.
“It’s the first real bedroom this girl’s ever had. Of course I should have. I couldn’t not.” Aunt Julie moved toward the bed, fixing the smallest fold in the comforter.
“Jade’s had plenty of bedrooms.” Mom nudged me, glancing at the window. She was giving me an out. She had no idea how much more it would take than a horrendously pink room for me to want to take it.
“Oh, please. Harry Potter had a more suitable bedroom in that closet under the stairs than Jade’s ever had. You can’t consider something that either rolls down a highway or is bolted to a hotel floor an appropriate room for a young

woman.” Aunt Julie wasn’t in dig mode; she was in honest mode.
That put Mom in unleash-the-beast mode.
Her face flashed red, but before she could spew whatever
comeback she had stewing inside, I cut in front of her. “Aunt Julie, would you mind if Mom and I had a few minutes alone?
You know, to say good-bye and everything?”
As infrequently as we visited the house on Providence Avenue, I fell into my role of referee like it was second nature.
“Of course not. We’ll have lots of time to catch up.” Aunt Julie gave me another pat on the shoulder as she headed for the door. “We’ll have all summer.” She’d just disappeared when her head popped back in the doorway. “Meg, can I get you anything to drink before you have to dash?”
“Whiskey,” Mom answered intently.
Aunt Julie chuckled like she’d made a joke, continuing down the hall.
I dropped my duffel on the pink zebra-striped throw rug.
“Mom—”
“You grew up seeing the world. Experiencing things most people will never get to in their whole lives.” Her voice was getting louder with every word. “You’ve got a million times the perspective of kids your age. A billion times more compassion and an understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Who is she to make me out to be some inadequate parent when all she cares about is raising obedient, genius robots? She doesn’t know what it was like for me. How hard it was.”
“Mom,” I repeated, dropping my hands onto her shoulders as I looked her in the eye. “You did great.”
It took a minute for the red to fade from her face, then another for her posture to relax. “You’re great. I just tried not to get in the way too much and screw all that greatness up.”
“And if you must know, I’d take any of the hundreds of rooms we’ve shared over this pinktastrophe.” So it was kind of a lie, the littlest of ones. Sure, pink was on my offensive list, but the room was clean and had a door, and I would get to stay in the same place at least for the next few months. After living out of suitcases and overnight bags for most of my life, I was looking forward to discovering what drawer-and-closet living was like.
Mom threw her arms around me, pulling me in for one of those final-feeling hugs. Except this time, it kind of wasa final one. Realizing that made me feel like someone had stuffed a tennis ball down my throat.
“I love you no matter what,” she whispered into my ear again, the same words she’d sang, said, or on occasion shouted at me. Mom never just said I love you. She had something
against those three words on their own. They were too open,
too loosely defined, too easy to take back when something
went wrong.
I love you no matter what had always been her way of telling me she loved me forever and for always. Unconditionally. She said that, before me, she’d never felt that type of love for anyone. What I’d picked up along the way on my own
was that I was the only one she felt loved her back in the
same way.
Squeezing my arms around my mom a little harder, I returned her final kind of hug. “I love you no matter what, too.”

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

 
 

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Blog Tour, Reviews & Excerpt – Hate Story, Nicole Williams

November 7, 2017 By

 

 

 

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

Nina can’t let herself fall in love with the man she’s going to marry. Both of them have experienced the sting and sham of love and have no intentions of falling victim to it twice. Love is expensive—hate is free.

Three years. A million dollars. A solution to both of their problems. They planned it all, from the story of their first meeting to the date of their divorce. Nothing could go wrong.

But what they didn’t consider was chemistry, and Nina and Max have no shortage of it. After too many near-kisses, Nina convinces herself that hating Max is better than loving him, and the more she gets to know this soon-to-be-husband of hers, the more she discovers just how very much she truly, madly, and deeply . . . hates him.

This isn’t a love story. This is the other kind.

 

He hadn’t stopped smiling at me, and it wasn’t the friendly kind of smile. It was the kind that made it seem like he was in on some secret I wasn’t privy to. The kind of smile that made me feel like I was being trifled with and made the punch line of a hundred jokes I had yet to hear.
I wanted to wipe the cocky smile off his face, but that would have required touching him and even I wasn’t gutsy enough for that. A woman did not touch a guy like him unless she wanted him to be her undoing. Nope. You didn’t play with fire. You didn’t touch it. You didn’t even come close.
Fire. That was all I saw when I looked at him. I was playing with it by agreeing to this kind of arrangement with him.
Even the way he lounged in the chair was smug. Like it was his throne and he was just waiting for minions to come bow before him.
“You’re younger than I thought you’d be.” He broke the silence first.
Though it was faint, I could just make out an accent. It was European, but I couldn’t nail down the country. To look at the bastard, you’d think he was Scandinavian—blond hair, blue eyes, commanding frame—but his accent was too sharp to hail from the land of Vikings.
I was tempted to glare at the tipped smile aimed at me, but I didn’t want to lead him to the impression I cared. I gave him my version of the same smile, abandoning my “no expectations” policy for the prospect of pissing him off. “You’re older than I thought you’d be.”
His smile shifted into the realm of a smirk, like he knew I was lying. So yeah, maybe I was lying about thinking he was older, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of confirming his silent accusation. He was older than me, but not by much. He might have been closing in on thirty, but he wasn’t past it.
He leaned forward in the chair. When his gaze circled my face to my fiery red hair, his brow elevated. Yes, I am the stereotype. Be warned.
“Prettier too.”
I stiffened. He was fucking with me now. I’d already agreed to marry him. How much more did he think he could screw me over?
I gave him a cursory glance and kept the unaffected look on my face. “Uglier.”
He cocked a brow like he knew better. “And the personality of ten women rolled into one.”
“Intimidated?”
His head shook once. “Intrigued.”
“Irritated?”
His eyes investigated me again. It felt intrusive, definitely not cursory. “Impressed.”
“As impressed by me as the woman in heat who was just mauling you over by the bar?”
“You mean the woman who gave me this?” He pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and set it on the small table between us.
It was a hotel card key. With a lipstick kiss pressed into it.
“Classy place, this five-star hotel.” I glanced back at the woman at the bar. She was still there, watching him as though he was the height of the male species. “Did you tell her the reason you were here?”
His attention stayed on me. “Yes, I told her I was here to meet the woman I was going to marry.”
My stomach wrung. This was the man I was going to marry.
Holy shit.
“And she didn’t ask for her room key back?” I asked.
“She didn’t give it to me until right after I mentioned that.” His stare was intense. Too intense. I felt like every secret—every piece of who I was—was strewn out on that table for him to see. “Women love a man who isn’t afraid of commitment. It’s like an aphrodisiac.”
“You know what else women like?” I didn’t pause for an answer because I guessed he didn’t have a clue. “A man who’s humble.”
He fought a smile and leaned back in his chair when a server approached with a couple of drinks on a tray. “No, they like to think they do, but they don’t.” His head shook authoritatively. “They like the cocky bastard who goes after what he wants and doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Because the server was shielding some of me from his view, I allowed myself to shift. I was getting fired up, and if he kept saying the same kinds of things with the same kinds of looks on his face, that drink was going to wind up in his face.
That was when I noticed what the server had set in front of me. A tumbler with something amber in color. The same thing she was setting in front of him. Although from the curve of her smile, she was offering to give him a blow job on the side, compliments of the house.
“What is this?” I asked. Him. Her. Whoever wanted to answer.
“Scotch,” he answered, ignoring the server lingering between us.
My nose curled at the drink.
“Expensive scotch.”
“I don’t care if it came from the fountain of youth. I won’t drink it.”
His forehead creased with what appeared to be irritation, but I couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was confusion, like he couldn’t decide what to make of me. “You would have me believe you wouldn’t take a sip of that if you knew it would give you eternal life?” When I shook my head, his head tipped. “Why?”
“Because I value my free will far more than long life.” I pushed the drink away until it clinked against his. “I’d rather live one day free than an eternity in a cage.”
He was quiet for a moment. The server stayed between us, staring at him, waiting.
“Then why are you here?” he asked me finally.
I leaned forward and hoped my stare was as powerful as his. “Because free will is expensive.”
5 out of 5 stars
Hate Story is a standalone novel by an author I found to love this year, Nicole Williams. I actually thought I read it before but I was wrong. It was a wtf? moment. Anyway, I do love a good hate story and this is definitely a great one…
He needed a green card. She needed to save her home. One marriage and a million dollars give them exactly what they both wanted. They would both get to keep their homes. The agreement is three years. No sex. No cheating. No feelings. Especially no falling in love. Should be easy for two people who don’t believe in it. That was until things went and got complicated…
I don’t want to give too much away so I will just say that I loved this one! Nina is witty, strong, and sexy without knowing it. Max is funny, dead sexy in his suits, smart, and a bit of a closet romantic. Together, they are fucking hilarious with their banter. Beautiful with their bodies. Strong with their protectiveness. I love that they come from two different worlds. He has made his money and isn’t afraid to use it. She isn’t poor but she isn’t rich either. She has two jobs and doesn’t spend money loosely. She definitely isn’t a gold digger and that makes her different to Max. He was intrigued by her. He was a riddle to him.
Overall…I loved everything about this story. It has beauty. It has pain. It has heart. It has sexiness. It has hate and it has love. I laughed, cried, and got hot and bothered. And you will too!
Quotes:
“I kind of hate you, you know that?”
His eyes challenged that. “I’m asking you to marry me, not like me. Hate me all you want.”
Nina was my sanctuary as much as she was my war zone. Peace and solace one moment, explosions and massacre the next.
“Look who’s been watching their fill of hard porn now?”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh, shut up and come already.”
4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Nicole Williams’ for years and Hate Story is one of my favorites. I love her writing. It’s always funny, romantic and filled with emotion. I love her characters and the depth she always uncovers. Max and Nina enter into a contract. Be married for three years. In the end, Nina gets one million dollars, Max gets his green card. It’s a win-win as long as their emotions don’t get involved. Nina is an independent woman just trying to save her home. She’s smart, sassy and hilarious. She needs to hate Max for this arrangement to work. She can’t fall in love with her husband. Everyone who she’s loved has left her. She won’t fall in love. Max needs a no string marriage so he can stay in the US. He loves his home and is willing to do anything to stay here. The good thing about being tied to someone is that you can be yourself, so Nina and Max are being real with each other. Sharing their lives and pasts. But, will that make it harder to not get involved? Max and Nina have incredible chemistry. Their connection is so deep that they are both fighting their feelings. I loved watching them fight to not care. Fight to continue to hate. Fight to not love. Hate Story is a beautiful story about wanting love, trying to hate and getting what you need in the end. Max was perfect. He was strong, smart, caring, and has truly genuine feelings for Nina despite her own issues. And I loved his sexy accent!

 

He was pretty much female catnip in a six-foot-three bundle of ego and muscle.

 

So what? He had an ice butt. And a nice face. And a nice everything else in between. So he was fun to look at.

 

“Why would you want me?”

“Because every part of me wants every part of you. That’s why.”

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
 
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Read More...

Cover Reveal – Almost Impossible, Nicole Williams

October 26, 2017 By

 

 

 

Coming May/June 2018

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg
Fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han will delight as the fireworks spark and the secrets fly in this delicious summer romance from a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. Jade hasn’t been in suburbia long and even she knows her annoying (and annoyingly cute) next-door neighbor spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days–and nights–worth remembering.

But despite their storybook-perfect romance, every time Jade moves closer, Quentin pulls away. And when rumors of a jilted ex-girlfriend come to light, Jade knows Quentin is hiding a secret–and she’s determined to find out what it is.

 

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
 
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

 

 

Read More...

Blog Tour, 5 Heart Reviews & Excerpt – Exes with Benefits

September 22, 2017 By

 

 

 

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

 

***He wants a second chance. I want a divorce. To get what I want, I’ll have to give him what he does.***

From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Williams:

The only benefit I want from my ex is a divorce.

We got married for all the wrong reasons. The one thing we got right was our separation. I should have known better than to think I could bet on forever with a guy like Canaan Ford. Everything about him screamed impermanent, from his wild eyes to his restless soul.

When I left him and the small town I’d spent my whole life in, I swore I’d never go back. Never only turned out to be five years. Canaan claims he’s changed, but he hasn’t—same knowing smile, same rough demeanor, same body crafted from sin and sinew. And yet, something is different. He thinks this is his chance for redemption. My disagreement comes in the form of divorce papers dropped in his lap. He refuses to sign them. Unless . . .

He wants a month to prove himself to me—that’s his offer. One month to make me fall in love with him again and if I don’t, he’ll sign the papers. As much as I want to say no, I agree. I can suffer my ex for a short amount of time if that’s what it takes to be free of him once and for all. I fell for him once; I won’t make that same mistake twice.

He says we’re not over. I say we were over before we got started. Only one of us can be right, and I can’t let it be him.
5 out of 5 stars

Nicole Williams is one of my go-to-authors. I’ve been a fan for years and she’s hasn’t disappointed me! She’s constantly coming up with fresh ideas, interesting plots and sexy, likeable characters. Exes with Benefits is her new gem. It’s an epic second chance romance. Childhood friends who become teenage lovers and marry at eighteen. It ended before it really began and heartbreak sent Maggie running from her husband, her family, her friends and her home. Five years later she’s back to serve Canaan divorce papers. She’s made a name for herself in Chicago and she just wants him to sign the papers and get back to her life. But he has other ideas. He’s her husband and he’s not letting her go without a fight. He agrees to sign them if she give him one month. Just one month of dating and spending time together and if she wants to leave, he’ll let her go. Canaan isn’t the same man he was when Maggie left. He’s changed. A lot. He’s not the angry teenager with a chip on his shoulder, he just needs to prove to Maggie that she’s always been the one. Maggie doesn’t have time for this. She has a life and a career she loves, but she can’t bring herself to say no to Canaan. They didn’t’ work out before, so why would they now. Canaan is even sexier than he was. The grease and coveralls just add to his appeal, damn him! Maggie is learning that he’s not the same man. He’s calmer. Sexier. Sweeter. And determined to keep her. Is she strong enough to hold her ground? Will Canaan and his charm show her they are meant to be together forever? I loved this story! OMG! Canaan is perfection. Pure perfection. Yes, at the beginning I wanted to smack him upside his head, but he’s grown up, matured and has the words and actions that Maggie needs. She just has to let go of the past and look at her future. This is an emotional story with a lot of past baggage and current obstacles and I was honestly worried that I was going to have to curse Nicole! But I knew she would never let me down. Overall, it’s an emotional story filled with sexiness, humor, sadness, redemption, second chances and sweet words. I already want more of Canaan!

 

“You’re a married woman, Maggie.”

“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.”

“He’s here to reclaim them.”

 

Damn. Canaan was in his mechanic jumpsuit, but he has shrugged out of the top half and tied the arms around his waist, leaving nothing to cover his upper half except a thin white tank painted to his skin and a whole mess of grease streaked everywhere else.

 

“Because you can’t write a great love story without a tragedy to overcome. Because that’s when love’s proved. Not when life’s easy, but when it’s so damn hard you can barely breathe.”

 

“We are wrong for each other in all the right ways, Canaan Ford.”

 

5 out of 5 stars

Exes with Benefits is a standalone by an author I fell in love with this year, Nicole Williams. I actually didn’t read the synopsis for this one since I just knew I would want and devour it. I love second chance romances and look at that cover! A man under the hood of a car knows his ways around a woman. Side note: I am married to a mechanic. Anyway…
It’s been five years since Maggie drove away from Canaan and her small town life. She never planned on returning but life had other plans. She was back and Canaan wasn’t going to let he walk away again. Not without a fight.
Maggie knew it wouldn’t be easy. Dealing with Canaan never was. But, his proposal was unexpected. He would not give her a divorce until she gave him thirty days to prove that they belong together. She wasn’t happy about it but if it was the only way to get those papers signed then she could give him those thirty days. What the hell, she thought. It would only prove what she thought she knew…he never changed. And that they were only good at two things and they both started with the letter f”. And the fun one was off the table.
Can Canaan show her that has changed? That he isn’t that 18 year old boy she married but a 24 year old man that wants his wife back.
I loved every minute of this story! The good. The bad. And the sexy. Seriously though, I was hooked from the beginning and when I met Canaan Ford, I knew I would be falling in love. With him. With Maggie. With the town. Everything that followed caused laughter, tears, and swooning.
Overall…it was everything and more than I expected. Canaan was more than I thought he would be. He is definitely one of my favorite book boyfriends. Ever. And I read a lot. I wish I can explain all the reasons why but I can’t. You just have to fall in love with him yourself. I can say that he will make you laugh, feel your heart flutter, and your insides tingle. 😋
Quotes:
“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.” My eyes found his, expecting them to shoot away once mine made contact. They didn’t. His gold eyes held to mine.
“He’s here to reclaim them.”
“Why ask for the truth if you’re determined to never believe it?”
“I swear, when you keel over dead one day, that part of you will go on living.”

 

“One month. That’s nothing in the scope of a person’s life.” He slid a bit closer.
“One month is everything when it comes to opening myself back up to you.”
He didn’t argue that. He let silence speak for him instead.
“What exactly are you expecting during this one month?” I might have winced when I heard myself say those words.
He rubbed his mouth, trying to hide whatever was trying to form. “For you to give me another chance. For you to be my wife.”
The term made me nauseated. “Your wife? As in your indentured servant? No way.”
It was a smile he was trying to hide. Not very successfully. It made me thankful I’d slipped into these old boots so I could give him a solid kick in the ass if necessary.
“Like be willing to spend time with me. That’s it. That’s all,” he added when he correctly interpreted the question in my eyes. The question.
“What will we be doing during that time we’re spending together?” I pulled at the chest of my dress when I noticed the way his gaze had lingered there a moment too long.
His shoulder rose. “Got any ideas?” There was an unmistakable glint in his eyes.
“No,” I answered instantly.
“You used to have plenty of ideas for filling the time.” He took a swig of his Coke.
“And then I learned how to use my brain.”
He studied my fake smile, almost like he was contemplating what it would feel like against his mouth. “Dinners. Dates. Simple stuff like that.”
I held my best poker face, considering his offer. I didn’t want to stay married to him. If one more month was what it took to be free of Canaan Ford, I could suck it up. I’d already made it five years. “No expectations of anything of a physical nature?”
“If I remember right”—his eyes narrowed as he rubbed the back of his head—“it was generally you who instigated all of that back then.”
I shoved his chest. Bad idea. Solid. Firm. Home.
My jaw ground as I worked to erase that word from my conscious where he was concerned. “And you were just the perfect gentleman.”
Canaan snatched my hand before I could pull it away. Holding onto it, he dragged me closer. Not so close that our bodies touched, but close enough the separation was painful.
“Exactly,” he said in that low voice of his. The one he’d whispered my name in so many times as he moved inside me. “A gentleman gives his woman exactly what she needs. As many times as she need it. Just doing my part.”
“How noble.”
“That’s right. So if you want to make any changes to this one month agreement, consider me your humble servant.” When his hand dropped to my waist, his touch hesitant at the same time it was insistent, I didn’t flinch out of instinct the way I should have.
Instead, I had to remind myself to pull away from him; to flinch at his touch. “I have a boyfriend, Canaan.” Even to my ears, it sounded like a weak protest.
His hand didn’t fall away when I stepped back. “You’re a married woman, Maggie.”
“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.” My eyes found his, expecting them to shoot away once mine made contact.
They didn’t. His gold eyes held to mine. “He’s here to reclaim them.”

 

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

 

ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

 

Read More...