Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Love me in the Dark by Mia Asher




Title: Love Me in the Dark
Author: Mia Asher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 10, 2017



Blurb

Two strangers in Paris ...
One passionate, earth-shattering kiss.

He was the artist upstairs
with the tantalizing smile and laughing eyes.

He was the devil inviting me to sin,
seducing me to dance in the bright moonlight.

He was desire and need.

When he touched me, my body sang--
my soul came alive.

But I belonged to another man,
and he didn't want to let me go.









Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio

I'm a writer, a hopeless romantic, a wanderer, a dreamer, a cynic, and a believer. And, I might be a bit crazy - but who isn't?

I believe in happy endings however I know that not everyone is lucky enough to get one, but such is life. I think fine lines exist to be pushed and possibly crossed.

Love,
M.



Author Links





Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Love me In the Dark by Mia Asher Release Day Blitz




Title: Love Me in the Dark
Author: Mia Asher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 10, 2017



Blurb

Two strangers in Paris ...
One passionate, earth-shattering kiss.

He was the artist upstairs
with the tantalizing smile and laughing eyes.

He was the devil inviting me to sin,
seducing me to dance in the bright moonlight.

He was desire and need.

When he touched me, my body sang--
my soul came alive.

But I belonged to another man,
and he didn't want to let me go.









Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

I read Mia Ashers "Arsen" four years ago and that story stuck with me all these years. When this book was presented I jumped at the chance to read it. OMG, I am so glad I did. Right from the start, I was hooked. The tone is playful and fun but quickly takes a turn. As I saw into both Sebastien and Valentina's lives I quickly saw the pain and hurt they are both experiencing although it is for different reasons.

I couldn't stop reading. Mia Asher's words are strung beautifully together. Each word more tantalizing than the next. Each paragraph brings the story together in a way that drew out my emotions. I could see why each of these characters were at, at this point in their lives and why. 

What I love in books is build up. I love sexual tension, I love being in the characters minds as they imagine how the other would feel against their skin. Or how the other person would make them climax. To me, when an author can do that and do it well, UGH, I fall hard. And I did. Okay now look I absolutely adored this book and I understood why the characters did what they did. I also know that some people will have an issue with it but for me this is life. Yes, it sucks sometimes but choices have to be made. I loved how Mia wove the story together. It made me love these characters because they are real!







Author Bio

I'm a writer, a hopeless romantic, a wanderer, a dreamer, a cynic, and a believer. And, I might be a bit crazy - but who isn't?

I believe in happy endings however I know that not everyone is lucky enough to get one, but such is life. I think fine lines exist to be pushed and possibly crossed.

Love,
M.



Author Links





Thursday, April 20, 2017

Brittainy C. Cherry's The Gravity of Us Blog Tour

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The Gravity of Us, an all-new gripping and emotional standalone from Brittainy C. Cherry is available now!

gravity-ebook

The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

Release Date: April 13th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer: Quirkybird Designs

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.
I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.
Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.
Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.
Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.
Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

Lucy

We didn’t know how to act with one another after our first kiss. Our situation wasn’t the norm when it came to building a relationship. We did everything backward. I fell in love with a boy before our first kiss, and he fell for a girl who he wasn’t allowed to have. Our connection, our heartbeats, matched one another in our fairytale world, but in reality, society deemed us as an awful accident. Maybe we were an accident—a mistake. Maybe we were never supposed to cross each other’s paths. Maybe he was only meant to be a lesson in life and not a permanent mark. But still, the way he kissed me… Our kiss was as if heaven and hell collided together, and each choice was right and wrong at the same exact time. We kissed as if we were making a mistake and the best decision all at once. His lips made me float higher, yet somehow descend. His breaths somehow made my heart beat faster as it came to a complete halt. Our love was everything good and bad wrapped in one kiss. A part of me knew I should’ve regretted it, but the way his lips warmed up the cold shadows of my soul…the way he left his mark on me… I’d never regret finding him, holding him, even if we only had those few seconds as one. He’d always be worth those tiny seconds we shared. He’d always be worth that soul-connecting feeling we created when our lips touched. He’d always be the one I spent my nights dreaming of being near. He’d always be worth it to me. Sometimes when your heart wanted a full-length novel, the world only gave you a novella, and sometimes when you wanted forever you only had those few seconds of now. And all I could do, all anyone could ever do, was make each moment count. After we went home that night, we didn’t talk about it at all. Not the following week, either. I focused on Talon. Graham worked on his novel. I believed both of us were waiting for the right time to come up for us to speak about it, but that was the tricky thing about timing: it was never right. Sometimes you just had to leap and hope you didn’t fall. 

I have been asked many times by people "Why do you read romance?" "Aren't you happy in your marriage?" "What can you possibly get out of reading that?" My answer? While most people who have asked me this are men and some women I look at them for a long hard moment and think, "Wow, are they really trying to judge me and make me feel ashamed for what I choose to read?" Before I break it down to them and rattle off the reasons I love this particular genre. This book right here will definitely be one of the books I tell people about when I am asked these questions again. I sit here genuinely in awe. There are so many elements in this book that make it one of the top books I have read this year. 

Graham is a lonely man despite what it may look like to others. He is cold and unfeeling. At first, I thought how in the hell is Cherry going to make this work? It has been a while since a book in this genre has grabbed me wholeheartedly. Yes, I have read many books but this book made me feel so many things, It made me uncomfortable, the way Graham would speak to people. It made me want to hate Graham for his treatment of Lucy. It made me sad when I continued on and read his reasons of isolation and his own willingness to be there. It made me love him because I saw his scars and their beauty therein. 

Lucy, man this character, she is everything. She reminds me of me if I was quirkier and more open. Okay, she's not me but if I could have her personality I so would. She is carefree and doesn't care what others think. She is unapologetic and loves openly. She wears her heart on her sleeve. While Graham finds that to be a downfall when they first meet he soon learns that it is actually her greatest strength. Both these characters knew nothing of love but circumstances and gravity pulled them together. Together they learn what unconditional, real and true love is. They overcome circumstances trying to tear them apart and for once in his life Graham does not run. 

Obviously, I don't do spoilers and I feel that one must experience this book blindly. When I started reading I didn't understand why there two had the story to tell. I was shocked but as I continued they unfolded their secrets and I fell in love with them. Lucy, I loved right away while Graham took time. Cherry wove together a story that will live in my heart forever. These characters with their flaws were perfect. Her words are mesmerizing and powerful. I honestly thought it was going to be another run of the mill romance novel and I was glad when it turned out to be so much more. 

Alright, now I loved Ollie. I want a real him. I have professors that mean a lot to me but I don't have an Ollie...yet. I'm searching though, and his family. 

Meri (Pod) ugh she made me sad, mad, rage, then love. She went through so much and I was glad she had Lucy by her side. I hated Parker and wished he'd get hit by a car. (I know that's not nice but when you read the story, you tell me if you don't agree.) I was so angry with her treatment of her sister, after all, she did for her. Seriously, hate Parker!!! He's a douche. By the end, I loved her because I knew her heart.

Lyric, Jesus I hate this bitch....okay strong dislike....Nope, no that's hate I feel towards her. 

Jane, oooh girl be glad you a fictional character. She reminds me of a woman I can't stand because she is pretentious and ruins people's happiness much like this character. UGH, I LOATHE HER more than Parker! <--- (for those that have read the story...I know what your thinking but seriously think about why I did this.)

I cried several times reading this story. The way it unfolded, I could not believe the events. From Talon to Ollie, to Parker and Richard every person in this story made it mind-blowing and so incredible. Cherry has a way of making me feel the characters and their words. Every time I thought the book was going one way, it turned and went another. I have not given a romance novel 5 stars in a loooong time because I haven't felt moved by the story, but this one deserves all the stars! It is truly amazing. This book is the reason I love this genre so much. It inspires and gives hope. It makes me feel that humanity is not lost and good people are still out there, sometimes we need to foster the relationship and not walk away so quickly.




TGOU-AN

Read Today!


Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/2UgSH7
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Start the Series of Standalones Today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

The Air He Breathes

The Fire Between High and Low

The Silent Waters



Hi! I'm Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I'm learning, things I'm re-learning, things I'm forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories. 


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrittainyCherryAuthor/ Twitter: @BrittainyCherry Stay up to date with Brittainy by signing up for her newsletter: https://goo.gl/VOg4l8 https://brittainycherry.wordpress.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Betrayed By Lies By Rebecca Shea Blog Tour

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USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Shea brings you the third title in her thrilling and sexy romantic suspense Bound & Broken Series, BETRAYED BY LIES. Order BETRAYED BY LIES, and be sure to grab your copies of BROKEN BY LIES and BOUND BY LIES today! Fall into the deliciously dark world where the line between good and evil becomes blurred.


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From the USA Today bestselling author of the Unbreakable series, comes a sexy, heart-wrenching novel…Betrayed by Lies.

As an ATF agent, bringing down the Estrada cartel has been my sole mission. I’m a skilled agent, determined and fearless, but a relentless pursuit and a willingness to risk everything almost killed me.
A year later, when an opportunity in Los Angeles presents itself, I jump at the chance to start over and rebuild the career and life I almost lost.
Kate Stevens was not part of my new plan. I never expected she would be the one to save me from my past. She was exactly what I needed—smart, beautiful and independent. I finally have a future I look forward to.
Only nothing in my life ever goes according to plan. Losing Kate is not an option, but fate seems poised to ruin me, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.

Order BETRAYED BY LIES Today!

iBooks ** Barnes and Noble ** Kobo ** GooglePlay Amazon Live Release on April 24th!

This is the 3rd book in the Bound and Broken series. 
I have read EVERY book that Rebecca Shea has put out because I love her writing and the characters she creates. Her books bring in different elements and are never the same, even though they all deal with love. This book is no different. When I was first introduced to Sam I didn't like him all that much. If you haven't read Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies then you will have no idea what I mean when I say #SaveAlex. I wasn't too sure if I wanted to read a book about Sam but in the end, of course, I did because... Rebecca Shea!

Sam is an ATF agent who leaves his old office in Pheonix and moves to LA. Needing a place to live his boss tells him that his sister Kate has a guesthouse he could rent out. Kate and Sam meet and 
A chain of events sets off, there is no turning back for either of them. Kate is a self-assured woman who has put her career before everything else until Sam walks into her life. I loved Kate she is not a needy, whiny chick who needs a man, she knows what she wants and has built her life to meet her wants/needs. 

If you have been reading my blog/reviews for a while then you know I love me some secondary characters. I find that they bring in comic relief or bring out more of the MC's attitude and tone. They did not disappoint in this book. Adam is funny and amazing. He has a few lines that had me cracking up. Then there was Nick (Kate's Brother) and his wife Nicole or Nic for short...yeah how cute they both have the same name. We also got to catch up with past characters from books 1 and 2. 

While I enjoyed the book I felt that it was short and a really quick read. I was expecting more angst and build up and just more of Sam and Kate. While I know most of Sam's back story I didn't really get to connect to well with Kate. I don't know much about her and I get not everyone has a super sad story or has secrets but I wanted to get to know her more. Her likes and dislikes. Has she had a broken heart before? Why was she still single? Who the hell is Kandi and why didn't we see more of their interaction? Don't get me I loved the writing but I think I just wanted more because I'm a greedy bitch. I really enjoyed Sam's story, he may not have been my favorite but he certainly won me over. 

This can be read as a standalone but I feel that reading book 1 and 2 will help get a reader better acquainted with Sam and his past.

And don’t miss the first two books in the Bound & Broken Series!

BROKEN BY LIES is just $.99 for a limited time only!


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BROKEN BY LIES

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play


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BOUND BY LIES

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play


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Rebecca Shea’s BETRAYED BY LIES – Review Tour Schedule

April 17th

a geordielass honest blog on reviews

Jade's Reads

Marieke’s Books

April 18th

Book Boyfriend Reviews

I LOVE STORY TIME

Mile High Kink Book Club

April 19th

Bookhooked Brit

Kindle Crack Book Reviews

April 20th

Chatterbooks book blog

Guilty indulgence review site

The Book HookUp

April 21st

Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews

The Book Boyfriend Addict

KatyaRath

My Girlfriend’s Couch

April 22nd

Dog-Eared Daydreams

Up All Night Book Addict

For the Love of Books and Alcohol

Kdrbck

April 23rd

A crazy vermonters book reviews

BRIDGER BITCHES BOOK BLOG

MammieBabbie

April 24th

Booked All Night

TDC Book Reviews

Two Book Pushers

April 25th

Always Books

Book Lovers Obsession

Tied up in Romance

April 26th

Becca the Bibliophile

I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore

Queenzany

April 27th

Three chicks and Their Books

Reviews from the Heart

Beneath the Covers Blog

Amo and Sarah’s Book Corner

April 28th

Book Angel Booktopia

Extravagantbookblog

Love Drug Book Blog

Theory of a Dreamer

She Hearts Books

  BBL Teaser 1   1P0A8953Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.  

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Brittainy C. Cherry's The Gravity of Us Release Day Blitz

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The Gravity of Us, an all-new gripping and emotional standalone from Brittainy C. Cherry is LIVE!

gravity-ebook

The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

Release Date: April 13th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.
I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.
Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.
Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.
Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.
Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.
TGOU-AN

Read Today!

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/2UgSH7
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Start the Series of Standalones Today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
The Air He Breathes
The Fire Between High and Low
The Silent Waters (Now ONLY 99¢!)

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I'm learning, things I'm re-learning, things I'm forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

Connect with Brittainy:

Twitter: @BrittainyCherry
Stay up to date with Brittainy by signing up for her newsletter:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sara Ney's Kiss and Make Up blog tour series

The Kiss and Make Up series by Sara Ney. Each book has been separately reviewed. As always no spoilers will be in the review because that is not how I roll.  Each book in the series can be read as a standalone.  

KiC Amazon 


This novel, along with all others in this series, is a standalone with no cliffhanger. You're welcome.
WILL SHE, OR WON'T SHE...
Studious and (mostly) sensible, the only thing Molly Wakefield wants to do is get through Senior Year and graduate. Well, that and hit the beach in her spare time. Okay, fine - and go shopping every once in a while for a new dress... (and who could blame her?)
And things are going according to plan - until the day she spies Weston McGrath, handsome star athlete and scholar, spying on her in study hall.
A tad creepy? Maybe.
Thrilling? Absolutely.
You see, Weston McGrath happens to be one guy no one can get close to.
Despite her best efforts to avoid it (because let's face it - the guy isn't exactly "boyfriend material") Molly and Weston form a friendship.
And more....
Sort of.
But it's a friendship that comes with a price - because Weston just cannot seem to stop screwing things up. Or saying all the wrong things. Possibly in that order...
And who has time for an 18 year old "fixer-upper" that should know better?
Not Molly.
Or does she?
Note: This YA book is intended for 17+ due to the vulgar language used by its male characters (and occasionally the females as well, even though they're too lady like to do it throughout the entire book). Some adult sexual situations that steam up a few car windows. This title is approx. 63,000 words.
Read KISSING IN CARS for free with Kindle Unlimited!

I previously read the Douchebag series by this author, while I didn't love the first book in that series I wanted to read this series because as many of you know I am a huge YA fan. 
I am a bit on the fence about this book. While I usually like my YA with more substance this is a cute book. The characters act like teens should act. Molly is a girl who is spunky, sassy and smart I mean she has the 3 s's. Then there is Weston who is all about hockey but finds Molly interesting and yet he can't seem to figure out the right way to act in front of her. I loved this it makes the characters relatable. I remember in HS how awkward it would get around my crush so it brought those feelings back as I read. 
I loved the moments of hilarity that broke up the monotony. The author does this well and I like that I can picture the characters and laugh right along with them. Then there is Jenna and while I love secondary characters IDK I just didn't connect with her and her advice.  
Overall I would say if you are looking for a quick cute read this would definitely hit the spot!

HKMF Amazon

This novel, along with all others in this series, is a standalone with no cliffhanger. You're welcome.

HE SAID...
“Trust me – If there’s one thing I’m not attracted to, it’s the shrieking, overly-dramatic shrew that’s taken over my sister’s apartment. And what is up with her hair? I know what I want; an easy, uncomplicated lay – and Cecelia Carter sure as shit isn’t one. But I never could resist a challenge, and vow to wipe that condescending grin off her pretty face. Aw, shit. Did I just call her pretty..?” – Matthew Wakefield
SHE SAID...
"Trust me - If there's one thing I'm not attracted to, it's an arrogant, selfish and foul-mouth hockey player. I know what I want; someone who’s good for my body and soul and makes me laugh - and Matthew Wakefield isn't any of those things. I cannot stand the sight of him; I mean, what a jackass. If I refuse to give him anything but sass and sarcasm, it's only because he deserves it…” - Cecelia Carter
This book is intended for those 17 and older. If you're offended by cursing (particularly "F" bombs), sarcasm, sexual situations and Alpha Male jackasses - this book is not for you...
Read HE KISSED ME FIRST for free with Kindle Unlimited!

Alright so this book wasn't one of my favs in this series. Cece or Cecelia was a tad annoying and I really wanted to smack her a few times. Matthew was a guy, he acted and spoke like a guy would so there was that. Again the author has moments in here of hilarity which kept me going but overall I wasn't too fond of this particular book. I don't know what it was, maybe I just couldn't connect with the characters? I don't mean it was a bad book by any means just wasn't exactly my cup of tea. This is more of an NA book than YA but even with that I felt sometimes Cece was a bit immature for her age. 

AKLT Amazon

This novel, along with all others in this series, is a standalone with no cliffhanger. You're welcome.

ABIGAIL DARLINGTON IS AWKWARD…
She will never be “that” girl. You know the one: that girl on campus, confident in her own skin. Always saying the right things. Putting herself out there. Knows how to talk to a guy without stammering.
Nope. Shy but clever, and easily embarrassed, Abby is fine being the wallflower in her circle of outgoing, beautiful friends; she would rather read about a sexy book boyfriend than actually have a live, breathing one.
…BUT CALEB LOCKHART IS WORSE.
Star goaltender for the University’s hockey team, Caleb is quiet and broody, preferring the solitude of his orderly, regimented life. He doesn’t like, or need people—and plans to keep it that way. One more year left of hockey and he’ll be long gone.
AWKWARD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD. Both their lives change the day that Abigail falls for Caleb. Well, falls directly on top of him, to be accurate. Because sometimes we don’t settle into love.
We fall there.
WARNING: This book contains cursing, and LOTS of it. It also has sex, uncomfortable and often awkward situations. Not to mention, the secondary characters say some really inappropriate s**t. Not intended for readers under 17
Read A KISS LIKE THIS for free with Kindle Unlimited!
Of all the books in this series I have to say this one is probably the best one. We meet Abby who is reserved and shy. She likes staying in and reading. Caleb is also an introvert so them getting together comes slowly. I did have issues with this one as well only because I seriously hated the beginning when Abby is at her cousin's frat house and she is climbing out of the window and Caleb who lives next door sees her and calls her a slut. Granted I get maybe some guys would say that but I would hope my boys would never be so disrespectful to a girl. There were words used in here that had me think huh? Caleb finds Abby's ring and is mortified????? why mortified? I couldn't understand why the author used that word. Maybe if there was more of his inner dialogue at this point maybe I could understand this word choice. Nevertheless I did like this book and the characters were sweet, awkward and charming. I liked Caleb and Abby. They were just meant for one another. 


Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte's, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

Betrayed by Lies Excerpt Reveal

Betrayed by Lies CR Banner

USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Shea brings you the third title in her thrilling and sexy romantic suspense Bound & Broken Series, BETRAYED BY LIES, releasing April 24, 2017. Don’t miss the amazing first chapter below! Pre-order BETRAYED BY LIES, and be sure to grab your copies of BROKEN BY LIES and BOUND BY LIES today! Fall into the deliciously dark world where the line between good and evil becomes blurred.

  RSBetrayedbyLiesCover55x85_BW_HIGH-UPDATED (2)  

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Unbreakable series, comes a sexy, heart-wrenching novel…Betrayed by Lies.

As an ATF agent, bringing down the Estrada cartel has been my sole mission. I’m a skilled agent, determined and fearless, but a relentless pursuit and a willingness to risk everything almost killed me. A year later, when an opportunity in Los Angeles presents itself, I jump at the chance to start over and rebuild the career and life I almost lost. Kate Stevens was not part of my new plan. I never expected she would be the one to save me from my past. She was exactly what I needed—smart, beautiful and independent. I finally have a future I look forward to. Only nothing in my life ever goes according to plan. Losing Kate is not an option, but fate seems poised to ruin me, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.

Pre-order BETRAYED BY LIES Today!

iBooks ** Barnes and Noble ** Kobo ** GooglePlay Amazon Live Release on April 24th!

 

CHAPTER ONE

Sam

I wake with a start, sitting straight up in my bed. Cool air fills my lungs when I gasp, pulling a deep breath in. My eyes slowly adjust to the dark room, and I rub the sweat from my forehead before swinging my feet over the edge of the bed and resting my arms on my knees. The dream is always the same, the piercing pain of the bullets hitting my flesh…and the fear of dying, scared and alone. An exaggerated huff leaves my mouth when I see the alarm clock on the bedside table. It reads four-ten in the morning. That puts three hours and twenty minutes of sleep under my belt. It's the longest I've slept since I arrived in Los Angeles three days ago. I'm used to surviving on very little sleep, but the nightmares of that night are back and making it more difficult to find rest. I push myself out of bed and throw on a pair of athletic shorts and t-shirt. Grabbing my phone and hotel room key, I head to the gym. With no one else up this early, I play music directly from my phone while watching CNN with subtitles as I get my daily seven-mile run in. I like running outdoors better, but it's easier to use the gym and treadmill here at the hotel. My phone pings with incoming texts, but I focus on my run. The burn in my lungs relieves the stress in my shoulders. Sweat coats my skin and drips from my nose as I increase my speed—pushing myself harder. The treadmill roars as I increase the speed yet again, and my heart pounds wildly against my ribcage as my lungs fight for air. Pain—it's the only way I know I'm alive. Pain in my chest. My mind. My body. The treadmill slows just as my phone pings again, multiple times, alerting me to more incoming text messages—messages that I ignore. I've got three days’ worth waiting for a response, and I'm in no hurry to get to them. Transferring to the ATF offices in Los Angeles makes for an easy reason to avoid everyone and everything. Avoidance is what I do best. I grab a bottle of water and return to my room for a shower before heading into my new office. New office. New job. New city. New state. New life. A chance to start over. A chance to leave the past where it belongs…in the past. I pull a suit out of the closet and turn on the shower to let the water warm up. Raking my hands over my face, I do my best to shove the events of last year to the back of my mind, but the life goes out of my eyes when I see the scars scattered across my chest. They're a constant reminder of the day I lost almost everything…including my life. Standing in front of the mirror, I run my hand up over my chest and shoulder, my fingertips brushing the smooth surface of the scars spread across the left side of my chest. I ball my hands tightly and release, repeating two more times, a coping mechanism my physical therapist taught me to deal with my anger. I step into the shower and let the hot water ease my tension. My neck, shoulders, and back instantly begin to relax, and I allow my mind to let go at the same time. "New beginnings," I mumble to myself as the shower cleanses me of my anger, a baptism of sorts. I dress and am out the door in less than thirty minutes, easing my car onto the bumper-to-bumper packed L.A. freeway. A commute that would take me less than ten minutes in Phoenix takes me damn near forty-five. I find a covered parking spot just as my phone begins to ring. A number I don't recognize flashes on the screen, and I decline the call. I don't have the time nor patience to deal with unknown callers. Gathering my suit coat and phone, I find my way to the main entrance, using the security badge that was sent to me prior to my arrival to allow me entrance into the building. My phone begins ringing again just as I'm weaving my way through the lobby and headed to the elevators. Same number. This time I press accept and answer. Before I even speak, the female voice on the other end catches me off guard. "Oh my god, I didn't expect you to answer." She pauses. "I was leaving a voice mail and my call dropped so I was just calling back to finish the message." I hear her sigh. "This is Kate Stevens. Nick Stevens sister. He gave me your number." Nick Stevens, my new boss. "He mentioned that you might need a place to rent. I have a guesthouse he thought would be perfect for you, and he asked me to call you. I'm sorry if this caught you off guard. He said he was going to speak with you." She finally stops speaking so I can get a word in. "Hello, Kate. Nick didn’t mention this to me." I hear her sigh loudly. "He's the most unorganized human being alive," she mumbles, and I can't help but chuckle. I've met the guy three times, and she's right from my observation as well. "I'm so sorry to have called you," she apologizes. "Don't be. I'd love to check out the place. I got here Friday, and I've been staying in a hotel while I look for something more permanent—" "Don't feel obligated," she cuts me off. "I don't," I answer her honestly. "I'm mainly looking for something not too far from the office and just somewhere to lay my head. Nothing fancy. I won't be around much because all I ever do is work." "Sounds like Nick," she says with a small laugh. "You're welcome to check out the house anytime. It's close to your office, but it's a little off the beaten path near the foothills. Either call or text me, and we'll schedule a time for you to stop by, or have Nick show it to you anytime. He knows where I hide the spare key. I'm also not home often so coordinating our schedules might be tough." I hear a horn honk in the background as she mutters a string of curse words worthy of an R-rating, and I can't help but laugh. "That sounds great. Thanks for calling, Kate." She ends the call without another word, and I'm left standing in the lobby of my new office, laughing. The morning is spent being briefed on projects that the team is working on and investigating. I'll be taking over a case that my predecessor left when he was promoted to a position in Washington D.C., as well as anything new that comes in. There's a quick knock on my doorjamb before Nick sticks his head in my office. "You got any lunch plans?" "Not today," I toss over my shoulder as I close the folder on my desk. "Let's go grab a quick bite. I need to get the hell out of this office." He loosens the tie around his neck. Nick is about my height and build, probably a few years older than me, California born and raised, and started in the San Diego field office. Worked his way up to Los Angeles and plans to retire here. I grab my phone and slide it into the pocket of my suit jacket. "How's the first day treating you?" he asks as we weave through cubicles lining the rectangular office floor outside our offices. "Good. Just briefing myself on the Navarro case." "We’ve been working on that for years," he grumbles. "Hoping you can close the deal on that one." His car beeps as we approach and he unlocks the doors. "Hey," he buckles himself in and starts the car. "You do great work. I heard how you took down the Estrada cartel." He slides his sunglasses on his face. My heart races as I wonder how much he knows—if he's aware the Estradas are my family. It was well known in the Phoenix office, but I'm not sure how much Los Angeles knows about my 'family' history. I nod but don't say anything. "You're the best of the best, which is why you're going to take down Navarro," he continues as we take off down the road. "It was easy for me to approve the transfer request." "Thanks." I offer a tight smile and turn to look out the passenger window. "I'm excited for you to kick ass here in L.A. So why the hell did you want to leave Phoenix anyway? There's so much shit going on in that office, you must’ve had years of work still." I blow a puff of air from my mouth. "My injuries—" "Shit, I forgot about that. Sorry, continue." He winces as I continue. "My injuries fully healed with time and physical therapy, and I wrapped up the cases I was working on." I look at him out of the corner of my eye to gauge his response. He raps his thumb against the steering wheel and nods his head slowly. "And it just felt like it was a good time to start fresh. Start over with a clean slate." He turns his head to look at me. "I cannot tell you how lucky we are to have you here in Los Angeles. I hope you're fully prepared to kick ass and take names." I can't help but smile, appreciating the vote of confidence. *** As the day winds down and the office empties, I find myself wrapped up in the case file on my desk, familiarizing myself with all the key players, the locations where the guns are being held, and the evidence that we have to date, along with notes on what we still need to document. Nick doesn't knock when he enters my office this time, rather throwing himself into the chair across my desk with an exaggerated sigh. "What's the sigh for?" I ask him as I tuck the case file into my bag. I'll finish combing through the remaining details tonight and make my own notes. I have a system for how I set up my case folders, and I need to rework all of these. "Just a Monday," he states, looking around my bare office. "You going to decorate or something? Throw a poster on the wall?" He waves his hand around, gesturing to the stark gray walls. "Decorate? No. I do have some awards and diplomas I'll hang once they arrive. They're being sent from Phoenix." He nods, content with that answer. I clear my throat. "Speaking of decorating, I got a call from Kate." I raise my eyebrows and sit back in my desk chair. "She said something about having a guesthouse to rent. Were you going to tell me she was going to call?" "I did. I sent you a text on Saturday." He relaxes in his chair and props a foot on his opposite knee. I really need to stop ignoring my messages. He continues, "I stopped by to see her this weekend and forgot she had that guesthouse. Immediately thought of you when I saw it." "Thanks. I need to find some time to check it out. Living out of a hotel room is less than ideal." I reach over and power down my laptop. "Let's go now. It's just down the road a few miles. I know where she keeps the spare key if she's not there." "She also mentioned that," I laugh. "Grab your shit and let's go. You can follow me there." He jumps up from the chair and quickly pulls his tie off. Nick looks more like an outdoorsman than a senior agent with the ATF. He looks uncomfortable in a suit. I see him more as the park ranger type, running around in cargos and hiking boots. I follow suit, loosening my tie as I follow him to our cars. A few miles is more like fifteen, and about half of those miles are in bumper-to-bumper L.A. traffic. Something that I'm not sure I'll ever adjust to. Once we exit the freeway, we wind through gorgeous neighborhoods all the way back to the base of the foothills. I would never in a million years guess the house we pull up to is a house in a suburb of Los Angeles. It sits on what I assume is about an acre of lush green land with neighbors spread out down a long secluded, tree-lined street. The ranch style house is simple yet modern with an updated exterior, wood shutters, and wrought iron accessories. "Not a bad drive, eh," Nick says as we both step out of our cars in the driveway. "I should say for L.A. standards. If your commute is under an hour, you're pretty much living the life," he laughs. It really wasn't a bad commute. I eyeball the watch on my wrist and the drive was just under thirty minutes. Nick reaches inside a hanging planter that swings from the covered front porch and pulls out a key. He waves me toward the side of the house where a brick sidewalk snakes around to the guesthouse that sits just off the main house. It looks exactly like the main house, just slightly smaller. "This is it," he says, sliding the key into the front door. “One bedroom, a small office slash library, kitchen, living room, and one and a half baths." We step inside. It's obviously been remodeled recently. The smell of fresh paint hits me as I walk deeper into the house. Everything is brand new, sleek, and modern. Bright white trim and doors offset light gray walls. A dark wood floor makes the bright white kitchen pop against the stainless steel appliances. "The only thing that's missing is a washer and dryer. She said she'd order those once she leased the house. The laundry room is off the back." He points to a door off the kitchen. "It's a large pantry and a laundry room." I'm impressed with what I've seen thus far. I walk through the open living room and down the hall to the bedroom. It's large and bright with one wall of windows that start near the ceiling and stretch about three quarters of the way down the wall. Long, dark gray curtains hang to each side of the paneled windows that overlooks more of the lush backyard. There's a single French door that leads to a small brick patio off the master bedroom, and a table and chairs sit out there. In the middle of the table is a fire pit. I instantly imagine myself relaxing around this table with a beer after a long day at the office. I head back down the hallway where I stop and peek my head in the office. It's got two glass French doors that lead into the square room. One entire wall has built in bookshelves and a built in desk. It's the perfect home office. I scan the living room and kitchen again and make note that my dark furniture will fit perfectly in the space and complements the gray and white theme throughout. This might be the easiest decision I've made since deciding to move to Los Angeles. Nick steps out front while I take one last look around, making mental notes of the space and things I'll need shipped from Phoenix. After we step outside and Nick locks the door, I hear him shuffling behind me on the brick walkway. "So what do you think?" "Perfect. It's everything I was looking for," I say as I spin around and am met face-to-face with the bluest eyes I've ever seen. I stumble momentarily because, for half a second, those words mean so much more than just the house I was looking at. "I'm Kate," she says, her voice strong and secure. She holds her hand out to shake mine. She's tall with light brown hair that hangs just past her shoulders, and she’s wearing a navy blue dress and heels that put her at almost my six-foot-two. Confident. She's confident. I can read a woman by the way she carries herself, the tone of her voice, and what she wears. I take her hand in mine and smile. "Sam. Sam Cortez. I'll take it." Again, those words mean so much more than just the house. Her lips turn into a half smile, and she holds eye contact with me. She licks her lips and tilts her head before glancing over to Nick and then back to me. "Nice to meet you, Sam Cortez. Welcome home." And my heart begins to beat again for the first time in eighteen months.  

And don’t miss the first two books in the Bound & Broken Series!

 
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BROKEN BY LIES

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BOUND BY LIES

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Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.

 

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