Silver Silence

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh 

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Description: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her extraordinary Psy-Changeling world with a story of wild passion and darkest betrayal…

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence–her mind clear of all emotion–Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

Review originally posted at Alpha Book Club.

Review: 

To be honest, I read this book twice before writing my review. The first time I read it was solely for my own enjoyment. I absolutely adore everything Nalini Singh has ever written and this book is no exception! Silver Silence made me both chuckle and cry, and

Me with Nalini Singh when I was lucky enough to meet her in 2015.

by cry, I mean ugly sob for the second part of the book. I was afraid I was dehydrated by the time I finished this book. It was all I could have wanted for Silver’s book. Okay, enough gushing and on to the review!

Silver Mercant was introduced in the first half of the Psy-Changeling series. She was Kaleb Krychek’s personal assistant and her family is a Psy shadow power. In the later books, she heads up the EmNet which is a worldwide emergency response system. Needless to say, Silver’s a complete badass and alpha heroine! She needs a hero who can both appreciate her badassness and break through the shield of Silence surrounding her. Luckily the readers, Nalini Singh had the perfect hero up her sleeve. Valentin Nikolaev, the alpha of the StoneWater Bears. Yup, bears! Singh has moved away from her usual leopards and wolves to bring us to a new pack of bears! And the bears are freaking awesome. Like the SnowDancer wolves, the bears reside in the same housing complex, this time a cave. Silver is introduced to the world of the bears after being poisoned and needing a secure place to reside. Luckily for her, Valentin had his eye on Silver for a while now and was more than willing to offer her safe haven.

While a majority of the book focused on Silver and Valentin, Singh continued introduce the arc of the new series, Psy-Changeling Trinity, of which Silver Silence is the first book. Unlike her previous books, i.e. Slave to Sensation, Kiss of Snow, etc, these books have two word titles, singling the start of the new storyline. Silence and the Psy Council fell in the previous books and now a new world order is developing, complete with a new unknown villain. One of the storytelling techniques Singh excels at is keeping the reader engaged throughout a long series. While each of her books is standalone, apart from Allegiance of Honor, there is an overall storyline which ties them together. Silver Silence continues that new storyline as the stability of this new world is threaten by fringe groups as well as the Architect. I have my guess about how the Architect is but I have feeling we won’t find out for a while, especially considering how long it took us to find out who the Ghost was in the previous series.

As much as I admire Singh’s world shaping, my favorite part of this book is the relationship between Silver and Valentin. In this series, we’ve seen many examples of Pys’s breaking their Silence and forming relationships. However, Silver presented a new twist to this familiar story. She quickly gives in to Valentin’s playful seduction but her Silence is still necessary. She has a very different reason for needing to suppress her emotions and when she has to make that choice, my heart broke. Without spoilers, the depth of their relationship is severely tested and how Valentin deals with it shots him up to the top of my all-time favorite heroes list. He is so passionate and loving of Silver even when facing something which surely means his own heartbreak. I honestly have no words for the emotions I experienced reading their love story. It was just so beautiful.

I’m sure I’ve gushed enough over this book by now but I’d just like to throw out a few more things. There was a myriad of nicknames within this book, which some characters like Valentin having as many as four. While initially confusing, it actually proved to be very sweet once you realized they symbolized a special connection. I’m also hoping for a MM romance for Nalini Singh. There were hints of it in this book and maybe if we all wish hard enough, Nalini Singh will give us a novella with Silver’s brother, Arwen and Pavel, Valentin’s lieutenant. I want to end this review with saying that everyone should read this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! 

    

Review Copy of Silver Silence provided by Nalini Singh for an honest review.

 

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RAGT 2017

To end my crazy literary adventures, I took a quick and impromptu trip to Cincinnati. May kicked off with my first Romantic Times Convention down in Atlanta. In the beginning of June, I attended a Feminism in Romance Novels panel at The Strand and then BookCon at the end of the week. During this time I learned about Lori Foster’s annual Reader and Author Get Together, or RAGT. More importantly, I learned that both J.R. Ward and Karen Marie Moning would be signing books on Saturday, June 10th. So like any other normal romance fan, I booked a flight to Cincinnati. Luckily, my mom encouraged this madness and even attended with me! We arrived on Friday and spent the day exploring the city before heading to the book-signing on Saturday. And boy did we have a blast! RAGT, for the little we attended, was an awesome event and totally on my list for next year! I had a great time hanging out in line for J.R. Ward and Karen Marie Moning and chatting with the guests! I brought books for both authors to sign. I also got books signed for the people who introduced me to both authors. One of my best friends has always given me the best romance novel recommendations and she, many years ago, insisted that I would loved Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series and she was totally right! When I was first reading vampire romance, back in my *hides face* Twilight days, I had read Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. However, I couldn’t get into the series back then, probably because I was a bit too young. When I started working at Barnes and Noble a few years ago, one of my coworkers recommended the Black Dagger Brotherhood and I tried them out again. Of course, I loved them. So I had to get a book signed for her as well. I truly had an amazing time and feel so blessed to meet such amazing authors. Every experience I’ve had in the romance novel community has been positive and I’m so grateful for such a supportive and lovely group of people. Okay, gushing done, time for pictures!

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Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

When the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

 

THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND
Rokesbys #2
Julia Quinn
Releasing May 30, 2017
Avon Books

 

While you were sleeping…
With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…
 
I told everyone I was your wife
When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.
 
If only it were true…
Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.
 
Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.


 

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Excerpt

Manhattan Island

July 1779

 

His head hurt.

Correction, his head really hurt.

It was hard to tell, though, just what sort of pain it was. He might have been shot through the head with a musket ball. That seemed plausible, given his current location in New York (or was it Connecticut?) and his current occupation as a captain in His Majesty’s army.

There was a war going on, in case one hadn’t noticed.

But this particular pounding—the one that felt more like someone was bashing his skull with a cannon (not a cannonball, mind you, but an actual cannon) seemed to indicate that he had been attacked with a blunter instrument than a bullet.

An anvil, perhaps. Dropped from a second-story window.

But if one cared to look on the bright side, a pain such as this did seem to indicate that he wasn’t dead, which was also a plausible fate, given all the same facts that had led him to believe he might have been shot.

That war he’d mentioned… people did die.

With alarming regularity.

So he wasn’t dead. That was good. But he also wasn’t sure where he was, precisely. The obvious next step would be to open his eyes, but his eyelids were translucent enough for him to realize that it was the middle of the day, and while he did like to look on the metaphorical bright side, he was fairly certain that the literal one would prove blinding.

So he kept his eyes closed.

But he listened.

He wasn’t alone. He couldn’t make out any actual conversation, but a low buzz of words and activity filtered through the air. People were moving about, setting objects on tables, maybe pulling a chair across the floor.

Someone was moaning in pain.

Most of the voices were male, but there was at least one lady nearby. She was close enough that he could hear her breathing. She made little noises as she went about her business, which he soon realized included tucking blankets around him and touching his forehead with the back of her hand.

He liked these little noises, the tiny little mmms and sighs she probably had no idea she was making. And she smelled nice, a bit like lemons, a bit like soap.

And a bit like hard work.

He knew that smell. He’d worn it himself, albeit usually only briefly until it turned into a full-fledged stink.

On her, though, it was more than pleasant. Perhaps a little earthy. And he wondered who she was, to be tending to him so diligently.

“How is he today?”

Edward held himself still. This male voice was new, and he wasn’t sure he wanted anyone to know he was awake yet.

Although he wasn’t sure why he felt this hesitancy.

“The same,” came the woman’s reply.

“I am concerned. If he doesn’t wake up soon…”

“I know,” the woman said. There was a touch of irritation in her voice, which Edward found curious.

“Have you been able to get him to take broth?”

“Just a few spoonfuls. I was afraid he would choke if I attempted any more than that.”

The man made a vague noise of approval. “Remind me how long he has been like this?”

“A week, sir. Four days before I arrived, and three since.”

A week. Edward thought about this. A week meant it must be… March? April?

No, maybe it was only February. And this was probably New York, not Connecticut.

But that still didn’t explain why his head hurt so bloody much. Clearly he’d been in some sort of an accident. Or had he been attacked?

“There has been no change at all?” the man asked, even though the lady had just said as much.

But she must have had far more patience than Edward, because she replied in a quiet, clear voice, “No, sir. None.”

The man made a noise that wasn’t quite a grunt. Edward found it impossible to interpret.

“Er…” The woman cleared her throat. “Have you any news of my brother?”

Her brother? Who was her brother?

“I am afraid not, Mrs. Rokesby.”

Mrs. Rokesby?

            “It has been nearly two months,” she said quietly.

Mrs. Rokesby? Edward really wanted them to get back to that point. There was only one Rokesby in North America as far as he knew, and that was him. So if she was Mrs. Rokesby…

“I think,” the male voice said, “that your energies would be better spent tending to your husband.”

Husband?

“I assure you,” she said, and there was that touch of irritation again, “that I have been caring for him most faithfully.”

Husband? They were calling him her husband? Was he married? He couldn’t be married. How could he be married and not remember it?

            Who was this woman?

Edward’s heart began to pound. What the devil was happening to him?

“Did he just make a noise?” the man asked.

“I… I don’t think so.”

She moved then, quickly. Hands touched him, his cheek, then his chest, and even through her obvious concern, there was something soothing in her motions, something undeniably right.

“Edward?” she asked, taking his hand. She stroked it several times, her fingers brushing lightly over his skin. “Can you hear me?”

He ought to respond. She was worried. What kind of gentleman did not act to relieve a lady’s distress?

“I fear he may be lost to us,” the man said, with far less gentleness than Edward thought appropriate.

“He still breathes,” the woman said in a steely voice.

The man said nothing, but his expression must have been one of pity, because she said it again, more loudly this time.

He still breathes.”

“Mrs. Rokesby…”

Edward felt her hand tighten around his. Then she placed her other on top, her fingers resting lightly on his knuckles. It was the smallest sort of embrace, but Edward felt it down to his soul.

“He still breathes, Colonel,” she said with quiet resolve. “And while he does, I will be here. I may not be able to help Thomas, but—”

Thomas. Thomas Harcourt. That was the connection. This must be his sister. Cecilia. He knew her well.

Or not. He’d never actually met the lady, he felt like he knew her. She wrote to her brother with a diligence that was unmatched in the regiment. Thomas received twice as much mail as Edward, and Edward had four siblings to Thomas’s one.

Cecilia Harcourt. What on earth was she doing in North America? She was supposed to be in Derbyshire, in that little town Thomas had been so eager to leave. The one with the hot springs. Matlock. No, Matlock Bath.

Edward had never been, but he thought it sounded charming. Not the way Thomas described it, of course; he liked the bustle of city life and couldn’t wait to take a commission and depart his village. But Cecilia was different. In her letters, the small Derbyshire town came alive, and Edward almost felt that he would recognize her neighbors if he ever went to visit.

She was witty. Lord, she was witty. Thomas used to laugh so much at her missives that Edward finally made him read them out loud.

Then one day, when Thomas was penning his response, Edward interrupted so many times that Thomas finally shoved out his chair and held forth his quill.

“You write to her,” he’d said.

So he did.

Not on his own, of course. Edward could never have written to her directly. It would have been the worst sort of impropriety, and he would not have insulted her in such a manner. But he took to scribbling a few lines at the end of Thomas’s letters, and whenever she replied, she had a few lines for him.

Thomas carried a miniature of her, and even though he said it was several years old, Edward had found himself staring at it, studying the small portrait of the young woman, wondering if her hair really was that remarkable golden color, or if she really did smile that way, lips closed and mysterious.

Somehow he thought not. She did not strike him as a woman with secrets. Her smile would be sunny and free. Edward had even thought he’d like to meet her once this godforsaken war was over. He’d never said anything to Thomas, though.

That would have been strange.

Now Cecilia was here. In the colonies. Which made absolutely no sense, but then again, what did? Edward’s head was injured, and Thomas seemed to be missing, and…

Edward thought hard.

…and he seemed to have married Cecilia Harcourt.

He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the green-eyed woman peering down at him.

“Cecilia?”

tastytoursreview

Review: 

In her first story outside of England, Julia Quinn takes the reader to Revolutionary New York. Without getting too bogged down in the conflict, she presents her hero, Edward as a British officer who lost his memory. Upon awakening from an injury, he discovers his best friend’s sister by his bedside. Cecilia had claimed to be his wife and Edward believes her. Their relationship had previously been built on notes through letters between Cecilia and her brother. In addition to that past, the best part of their relationship was the support between Cecilia and Edward. While he is injured, she cares for him and when Cecilia is given bad news, he supports her tenderly. This was a heartwarming book to read and Julia Quinn has excelled at creating likable and relatable characters. In the story she’s created, it actually makes sense for Cecilia to claim to be Edward’s wife. Quinn does an excellent job of pulling off one of the most unbelievable tropes- the amnesic hero.

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Feminists Take On the Romance Genre

On Monday, I kicked off BookCon week with an impromptu trip to the city! I decided to attend a panel discussion at The Strand Bookstore: Feminists Take On the Romance Genre. This panel featured Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Maya Royale, and Sarah MacLean, all of whom I adore. I was lucky enough to get an awesome seat ( three rows behind Gloria Steinem!!) and was able to Live stream some of the discussion on my twitter and Facebook. Twitter Live Stream. Facebook Live . This was an informative and lively panel about romance and the role it plays in feminism. The main take away is romance is books by women for women that celebrate female sexuality and pleasure! What can be more feminist than that!


 

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Twenty-Two Release Day

 

 

 

 

When Lucas Brooks was traded to the Nashville Assassins over a decade ago, he was a brash, brawling hothead without an anchor.

Well, four kids and a smokin’ hot wife will weigh you down real fast, but Lucas wouldn’t change a minute of his happily ever after.

During an epic, end-of-season quest for the Cup, changes appear on the horizon, and suddenly, there’s a plot twist in Lucas’s fairy tale.

 

 

My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?
Author Links

 

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Twenty-Two Chapter Reveal

 

Pre-order exclusively via

iBooks HERE

When Lucas Brooks was traded to the Nashville Assassins over a decade ago, he was a brash, brawling hothead without an anchor.

Well, four kids and a smokin’ hot wife will weigh you down real fast, but Lucas wouldn’t change a minute of his happily ever after.

During an epic, end-of-season quest for the Cup, changes appear on the horizon, and suddenly, there’s a plot twist in Lucas’s fairy tale.

The Brooks Family

“I want to watch SpongeBob!”

“No! Ariel!”

“Yeah! Mermaid! I wanna watch Ariel!”

Lucas Brooks covered his face with his hands before he yelled from his bedroom, “There are nine TVs in this house! Separate!”

“But she has the popcorn!”

“And he has the milk!”

“Daddy, I want to be with Asher!”

“Why are they eating popcorn at seven a.m.?”

Groaning, he looked over at his wife, who was cuddled deep into the bed, her dark brown hair covering her face as her thick, plump lips pursed out toward him. He almost leaned over and kissed her, but he was exhausted. “I don’t know. Where is Aiden?”

“I don’t know.”

“What’s the point of having an older kid if he isn’t going to care for the crazy little ones?”

“I don’t think that’s why we had them so far apart.”

Lucas scoffed. “Says you.”

Fallon giggled as she scooted over toward him, cuddling into his shoulder. Both of them knew the real reason for the big age gap between their children, though they never talked about it anymore. In their eyes, they did this on purpose and, really, it didn’t matter because they were happy.

“Mom! Asher won’t give me some milk!”

“Stella backwashes!”

“Mommy! I’m thirsty! Can I have some sweet tea?”

“Daddy, I want tea!”

“What in the hell?” Lucas muttered, staring at the ceiling as Fallon continued to giggle.

“Why are they up so early? The game was late.”

“Who knows? I’m exhausted.”

“So am I,” Lucas groaned, and he was. He felt the pain all over his body from the big win over St. Louis that advanced the Assassins to the second round. His whole body was aching. He wasn’t like his young self that bounced back after a hard-fought game. No, Lucas Brooks needed a good week after a game like the one the night before. It had gone into overtime, and the Blues had been playing desperate hockey. But by the grace of God, Jensen Monroe didn’t let any in, and Vaughn Johansson scored the winning goal. Vaughn had wanted to make his night even better since he had just proposed to his girlfriend and found out she was pregnant. So last night’s win was a biggie for everyone. Though, Lucas wished he had a solid month to recuperate before the next one. But he didn’t. He only had a few days of rest before the second round started.

“But, really, where is Aiden?”

“I have no clue.”

“Text him.”

“That means I have to move,” he complained, and she rolled her eyes before throwing her arm behind her to find her phone. Bringing it to her face, she dialed their son’s number, putting the call on speaker.

“Hello?”

 

Lucas closed his eyes. Aiden’s manly voice still was like a punch to the gut. His baby was growing, fast, and it was killing him slowly. “Baby, where are you?”

Aiden let out an exasperated breath. “Out front, where I always am. Where are you?”

Fallon looked to Lucas as he looked back at her. “Excuse me?”

“Oh my God, Mom, did you forget I had training for summer league this morning?”

Throwing the blankets off, she sat up. “Not at all. I’m running late.”

“You forgot!”

Lucas laughed as Fallon shot daggers from her eyes. “I did not! I’m coming.”

“If you would let me drive, this wouldn’t be a problem,” Aiden reminded her.

“If you cut your hair, maybe we’d buy you a car,” Lucas called out, and Aiden laughed.

“You’re just jealous I have hair!”

“Hush it, both of you. I’m coming,” she said, hanging up the phone and throwing on some sweat pants. “I can’t believe I forgot.”

“I can’t believe he went after not getting home until midnight last night.” She shot Lucas a deadpan expression. “Okay, I can. I would have.”

“Exactly. He’s his daddy’s son.”

Lucas grinned. “He is.” Then he glared, running his hands along his thinning hair. “I have good hair, right?”

She laughed. “Yes, baby, lots of great hair.”

“He has more.”

“He’s going through puberty.”

He raised a brow. “I think he’s past that.”

 

She shook her head. “I don’t know if we can wait till his birthday to give him a car, Lucas,” she said, pulling her hair up as she glanced back at him.

“That’s all you, babe. I told you to give him mine, and I’ll go get a new truck.”

“He wants a sports car.”

“And I don’t give two fucks. That kid isn’t going to be driving a better car than what I had. He can have a nice Ford and be happy, or he can walk—if his momma would let him.”

“What does that mean?”

“You’re overprotective as hell.”

“I am not.”

“You are.”

She glared. “But he is a good kid, Lucas.”

“The best, and he’ll be happy with my Ford.”

“Ugh, okay,” she groaned before leaning down and kissing his lips. He savored her for a moment, grabbing her butt.

“Can we make him wait a bit longer to be picked up?”

She chuckled, desire flashing in her eyes. “I doubt you can move.”

He looked sad. “I can’t.”

She laughed as she kissed him again. “Can we give the car to him today?”

“Tomorrow.”

Her brows rose. “Why tomorrow?”

“Because I can’t move, and I have to go buy a new car for me.”

She laughed, smacking his chest, which made him wince. “I’ll be back.”

 

“Be careful,” he called as she headed out of the room just as Emery ran right into her.

Picking up their youngest, Fallon kissed her loudly on the lips.

“Be good.”

“Me?” Emery asked.

“You.”

“Why?”

“Because you want cake at sissy’s birthday, don’t you?”

“Oh! I’ll be good!”

Fallon rolled her eyes, placing their daughter on her feet before waving back at Lucas.

Emery ran to him, jumping on the bed and breaking his bones further. He groaned out as Emery cuddled into him, and he closed his eyes. “Daddy.”

“Yes, love?”

“I love you.”

He smiled into her hair, kissing her temple as his arms came around her, holding her tight. He’d never known he could love any child as much as he loved Aiden. Lucas could still recall the first moment he saw his son. Outside of Fallon’s house, begging her for a chance to reconnect after seven years of separation, but then Aiden walked out, and Lucas knew. Aiden was his son, and boy, did he fall in love. Head over heels for the kid. Lucas never thought any kid could come close to his love for Aiden, but then Asher came.

His spunky, dry-humored little geek. The kid was always on his computer, always busy making something, and damn smart. Asher was great on the ice, though Lucas didn’t think he’d go far with it. He was too obsessed with computers and rebuilding them. His first love wasn’t the ice; it was making things tick. But Lucas was proud nonetheless, especially considering the fact that Aiden’s drive to make it to the NHL was enough for the whole family.

In all reality, Lucas had been set with two great boys. But then, by the grace of God, came Stella. His little diva. She looked just like Fallon, breathtakingly stunning with big brown eyes and thick brown hair. She had her momma’s looks, and God help him, her mouth too. Those two went at it daily, mostly about clothes and hair, but his little girl had his heart, and of course, he was wrapped around her finger.

That was it…until Emery came. She was a complete surprise, but in a way, she was the missing piece in their lives. Their family had been off-balance and needed her quirky little brand of badass. While Emery favored both Fallon and him physically, she had his demeanor with Fallon’s mouth. It was a bad combination because while she was ruining your life, she was making you feel right about it. Unlike her sister, Emery didn’t care about hair or clothes. She cared about being a fairy princess, which, for an almost four-year-old, he figured was logical.

But she was daddy’s princess.

Holding his sweet baby, he couldn’t help the grin on his lips, though he was aching in spots he hadn’t even thought he could ache. He had taken a hard hit into the boards, coming down and slamming his head on the ice. Thank God for a helmet because his brain would have been scrambled eggs if not. But he was feeling every bit of it now. Though, he couldn’t think of that. All he could think about was how much his life had changed. He used to be a lonely bachelor, living life in the fast lane and enjoying the NHL. But when he moved to Nashville, everything changed. Fallon happened. And now, Lucas couldn’t imagine his life without her and their kids. Between playing and being his kids’ biggest fan, he didn’t see any other point to life.

Oh, yeah, and loving Fallon.

 

But that came naturally.

That woman was his world.

Everything was great in the Brooks household. Now, if only his body could stop hurting and aching, things would be grand. Oh, and if his kids could stop growing. And he needed the Assassins to bring home the Cup.

Yup, then Lucas Brooks would be a happy man.

“I love you too, love bug.”

“Can I still have cake if I’m bad?”

“What did Momma say?”

She pouted. “Do you love cake, Daddy?”

“I do.”

“Me too.”

He smiled, kissing her head. “I know, love bug.”

“Can we watch Ariel?” She sat up, her eyes wide and gray like his. She had Fallon’s lips, though, and the shape of her face. Her hair was in pigtails with big pink bows in them that he was sure Stella had put in. “Please. You’re my favorite daddy.”

“I’m your only daddy.”

She nodded. “And my favorite.”

He smiled. “Do I have to move?”

She thought that over. “No.”

“Then, yes.”

***

 

Pulling up in front of Aiden’s private school, Fallon hit the brakes, slamming forward as she looked over to where Aiden was standing, shaking his head. Gone was her baby, replaced by a hormone-driven monster with long hair. Actually, he was the greatest kid in the world and she loved him more than anything, but God, she hated his hair. He looked like a damn fool, especially with that stupid man bun. But boy was he handsome. Just like his daddy, he had a strong bone structure, thick, dark brows, and dark gray eyes. He was beautiful, and if she didn’t know he was a good kid, she’d lock him up.

Opening the back, he threw in his bag. “Hey, Mom.”

“Hey, honey.”

“Hey, Aiden.”

Fallon about broke her neck trying to see who was calling her son’s name. She saw a pair of girls standing beside the stairs in what she felt were too short skirts. Sure, they were cheerleading skirts, but still. Fallon glared as Aiden turned, tipping his chin at them. “Hey.”

“Are you going to the dance on Friday?”

“Probably not, I’ve got a game.”

One of them puckered her lips. “Can’t you come after?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll let you know. Have a good practice.”

“Okay, I’ll save you a dance.”

When he flashed her a grin, his dimples shining in all their precious glory, Fallon shook her head.

There was Lucas Brooks reincarnated.

“Cool. See ya.”

 

Closing the back, Aiden walked around, and she swore he had grown another inch or so.

Opening the door, he climbed in and looked over at her. “You know, being the oldest, I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be forgotten. Emery is.”

Fallon glared. “Shut up. I’m exhausted. It was a late night. How did you even get here?”

“Brayden’s mom drove me, like you asked her to at practice.”

Fallon paused as she moved the shifter of her van into Drive. “I did, didn’t I?”

“You did,” he said dryly, throwing his legs up on the dash as he started to play on his phone.

“Hmm. Hey, at least I got that far,” she decided, hitting the gas.

“Thank God.”

“Practice was good?”

“Great. Coach is happy with me.”

“Good.”

“Heard Bellevue is looking at me.”

Fallon glanced over at him. “From whom?”

“Coach.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, he said I should talk to my counselor.”

“For what?”

“I have enough credits to graduate this summer and start over there if I wanted.”

Fallon’s heart stopped. “You just turned seventeen.”

“Yeah?”

“Do you want that?”

 

“Yeah,” he laughed, looking over at her. “Mom, I want to go to college so I can go into the draft. The Sinclair brothers all went to Bellevue. I need that exposure before I enter the draft.”

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Too much. This was her baby. Her firstborn and he was ready to go.

He was itching for the NHL. He wanted to play like his father. He wanted to live his hockey dreams, and all she wanted was for him to go back to fighting hippogriffs. “Talk to your father about this. You’re making my head hurt.”

Aiden laughed. “Mom, I’m getting older. I’m practically a m—”

“Shut your dirty mouth, Aiden James Brooks.”

He laughed harder as she turned down the main road. “Where we going?”

“Audrey’s.”

“Why?”

“I gotta get some donuts she made for your father for winning last night, and then I gotta approve the cake she’s making for Stella’s birthday next weekend.”

“Do I have to go to that?”

She flashed him a dirty look. “You mean your sister’s birthday?”

“Yeah.”

“Of course you do. You’re the damn crab, Sebastian.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No,” she said simply. “I hope the costume fits.”

“Oh my God.”

“I even hired a photographer. So when you’re in the NHL and they need those pictures of you growing up, I’ll have that one.”

 

“You’re horrible.”

“I try.”

He scoffed, and she grinned over at him before pulling onto the road that held Audrey Jane’s. “So, who were those girls?”

“Addy and Melissa.”

“Your fans?”

“Everyone is my fan,” he said, waggling his eyebrows, and she laughed. “I’m practically a hockey-playing god, Mom.”

“All right, pump the brakes there, mister. You’re no Vaughn Johansson.”

Aiden laughed. “JoJo is amazing.”

“He is, but he’s cocky as all hell,” she said simply, pulling into Audrey Jane’s and

parking beside her baby sister’s car. Getting out, they went inside just as Fallon’s niece, Penelope, hollered out, “Welcome to Audrey Jane’s!”

Fallon beamed as Aiden ran after Penny, gobbling her up and tickling her before Audrey came out of the back, a grin on her face. “Hey.”

“Hey, you,” Fallon said, kissing the back of Penny’s head.

“You’re here early.”

“Yeah, I forgot to pick my kid up after practice, so here I am. Where is Philippe?”

“With Tate. He didn’t want to come in.”

Fallon nodded. “How’s Tate feeling?”

Audrey exhaled loudly since the subject of her husband, the Assassins’ starting goalie, Tate Odder, was a touchy one. He had a serious groin injury and had had surgery about two months ago, but he still wasn’t recuperating from it well. An infection had spread and knocked him down some more, long after the doctors had assumed he would be back on the ice. So it was easy to say the Odder family was very tense. “Lots of pain, but I guess he’s getting better. He doesn’t talk about it. He mainly asks me to make cupcakes. He’s pissed he missed last night.

Thank God Jensen did great.”

“Right?” Fallon agreed with a nod. “Well, hopefully, he’ll be up and at it soon.”

“I don’t know, Fal, I just don’t know.”

“What does that mean?” Aiden asked. “Uncle Tate’s okay, isn’t he?”

Audrey faked a grin. “Of course. Come here. You want a cupcake?”

Aiden laughed. “You know, I’m seventeen, you can’t distract me— Whoa, are those cookie dough?”

Audrey smiled happily at Fallon as she shook her head, and Aiden took the cupcake.

“Come on, I’ll show you the cake for Stella, and your donuts are right there.”

Aiden looked at the donuts. “Can I have one?”

“Save one for your dad.”

“Okay,” he said with a mouthful as she followed Audrey to the back.

“Kid has a tapeworm, I swear. He’s always eating.”

Audrey laughed. “He’s always been an eater. It’s not fair.”

“Agreed.”

As Fallon followed her into the kitchen, Audrey looked back at her sister. “I think he might have to retire.”

“Who? What? Tate?” Fallon’s eyes widened. “Never.”

“Yeah, he is grief-stricken about it and things are bad, but he can’t seem to get better. I don’t know. I told him he needs to decide.”

 

“Wow.”

“Yeah, it’s not good. We’re fighting a lot, and he’s withdrawn because he feels like a failure. Shit’s so bad, he started to go see Wren Lemiere, the team’s therapist.”

“Good for him,” Fallon said, exhaling hard. “I hate that for him, though.”

Audrey nodded as she turned on her computer. “Me too. At least you don’t have to worry about that. Lucas’s got at least nine more years in him.”

Fallon shot her sister a wry smile. “He creaks when he walks. I’m waiting for him to tell me he’s done.”

“He won’t.”

“I know, which makes me nervous.”

“Yeah, but you know, Lucas would be okay. Tate…he’s not, and I just want my happy husband back. I’m worried he won’t be happy without hockey.”

“No, he has you guys. He loves you three. So much.”

“I know he does, and he is the best father ever. Sucky in the husband department right now, but I get it. We’ll be okay.”

“You will,” she said, wrapping her arms around her sister. “Don’t worry.”

“Thanks.” Audrey hugged Fallon back as the computer came on. “Okay, so here it is. The best Ariel cake for my niece.”

Fallon grinned as she took in the perfect seven tiers of Ariel-themed cake. “She’ll flip her shit.”

“That’s my goal.”

“It’s perfect.”

 

“Awesome,” she said, shutting her computer lid. “I’ll be over next Saturday morning to set everything up.”

“Cool.” Fallon leaned her hip to the counter as she met her sister’s gaze. Audrey had changed so much over the years. She used to be obsessed with her weight. Now, she stayed healthy, even if she was rounder than she used to be. Kids would do that, though. One thing was for sure. Even with all the shit going on, Audrey had a grin on her face that Tate and the kids had put there. Her sister was complete, and like she’d said, she would be okay. Fallon just knew it.

But Fallon was pretty sure she was going to have her own mini heart attack. “Aiden told me his coach said he could probably graduate early and that Bellevue might want him.”

Audrey’s jaw dropped. “What?”

“Yeah.”

“What did you say?”

“For him to talk to his father!”

Audrey laughed. “Fallon.”

“What?”

“It would be great.”

“He’s a baby.”

“He’s seventeen. He’s a great kid. Smart and talented as hell.”

“Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t think I want him to do it.”

“If it’s going to be what’s best for his career, then he has to, you know?”

Biting her lip, Fallon nodded. “We’ll see what my husband says. If he can even move.”

Audrey smiled. “He’s sore today?”

“Yes, bless him. I don’t know if he’ll make through the whole series in one piece.”

 

“He is old now.”

“He isn’t a spring chicken, for sure.” Fallon grinned. “Except in the bedroom.”

“Ew!”

Fallow snorted as Audrey shook her head and then smiled. “I think they’re going to go the whole way. I feel it.”

Fallon nodded. “I do too. Rumor is, Elli was in the locker room crying last night. She’s so emotional.”

“Think she’s pregnant again?”

Fallon laughed. “Lord, I hope not!”

“Right? She’s already so damn busy.”

“I know.” Fallon shook her head. “Are you going to Lucy’s baby shower next Sunday?”

“Did you not check the group?”

Fallon just looked at her. “Obviously not, Audrey.”

“It’s been postponed until further notice.”

“Why?”

“Because of the play-offs.”

“That’s dumb. Why plan it around the play-offs, then?”

“I don’t have an answer for that, but they called me asking to hold off on the cake.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. Which is good ’cause I can focus on Stella’s cake.”

“This is true. Ariel needs all your attention anyway.”

Audrey grinned as she leaned into her sister. “You know, you can come by more.”

“Same for you. Or come to the winery, and I’ll get you drunk.”

 

Audrey beamed. “That’s a plan.”

“Mom! Let’s go! Penny is going to make me fat.”

Penny’s giggles met them in the kitchen, and Fallon laughed. “Kid couldn’t get fat if he tried.”

“Right?” Audrey asked, shaking her head. “And what’s up with his hair?”

“I don’t know. I want to cut it, but he won’t let me.”

Audrey laughed as they went out of the kitchen to find Penny feeding Aiden cookie after cookie. “Mom,” he whined, and Fallon laughed.

“Hey, boogey butt—”

“Audrey!” Aiden complained, and they all laughed since he hated his nickname. “I told you about calling me that.”

She feigned hurt. “You are my baby, and I will call you that if I want. Even when you’re a big, hotshot hockey player, I’ll be in the stands hollering, ‘That’s my boogey butt!’”

“Mom,” he groaned, and Fallon just kept laughing.

“Anyway, if I throw gum in your hair, will you let me cut it?”

He glared. “Stay away from me.”

“It’s so long. And dirty,” Audrey said, coming toward him, and when Fallon saw the scissors in her hand, she tried to stifle her laughter.

“I washed it like ten minutes ago!” he said, slowly stepping back from his aunt.

“It’s ugly. Let me cut it.” She went for the bun, but he deked around her, running to Fallon and hiding behind her. Which was pointless since he was practically seven times her size.

“Leave me alone! Mom! Tell her to leave me alone.”

 

“We’re leaving.” Picking up the donuts…well, the three that were left, Fallon shook her head. “Bye, Penny loaf,” she called to Penelope.

“Bye, Auntie!”

“Bye,” Audrey sang. “I’ll get you later, Aiden James.”

Going outside, Aiden looked over at Fallon. “You won’t let her cut my hair, right?”

“I mean, if she gets to you before I do, I’m sorry for ya.”

“I look amazing!”

“You look like a damn fool,” she said, opening the door. “But I love you.”

He shot her an exasperated look. “Do I really have to be Sebastian next weekend?”

“No,” she laughed, shaking her head. “Asher is Sebastian. You’re Flounder.”

“Mom!”

With a grin on her lips, she got in the car.

But she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t worried about Aiden.

Or Tate.

Or even her dinosaur of a husband at home, who might or might not make it through the play-offs.

 

My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?

 

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RT Booklovers Convention 2017! 

I’m going to be offline for a few days for RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta!! Please check out my twitter, @booksonmymind, for updates and cool pictures with romance authors!! 

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Ride Rough Release Day

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Kaye brings you the second title in her Raven Riders Series, RIDE ROUGH, releasing today! A sexy romantic suspense, you might’ve first met the Ravens in the Hard Ink world, but this series about a different kind of a motorcycle club with a protective mission stands on its own and is even sexier, edgier, and grittier! The Raven Riders Series takes you on a new adventure and kicks it into overdrive! Grab your copy of Ride Rough today!

 

RIDE ROUGH - cover

About Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2, 4/25/17)

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

 

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And don’t miss all the books in the Raven Riders Series!

Hard As Steel now available
Ride Hard now available
Ride Rough coming April 25th, 2017
Ride Wild coming October 31st, 2017

 

 

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Order Ride Rough by May 1st, fill out this form, and receive an email with a bonus short story of more of Hard Ink’s Beckett after Release Week! Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

 

 

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EXCERPT FROM RIDE ROUGH:

“What am I going to do? My entire life is wrapped up in him. My job. Where I live. My car. Where Mom lives. Everything. Oh, God. This is going to be a nightmare, isn’t it?”

Maverick grasped Alexa’s hands. “One thing at a time. You’re out. You can stay here as long as you need to. I have plenty of room. I’ll help you through it. That’ll give you time to figure out what it is you want. There’s no rush.”

“Okay,” she said. “Okay. God, thank you.” A shiver raced over her skin.

“You don’t have to thank me. I’m so relieved for you that I might fall the fuck over,” he said, his thumb rubbing over her knuckles. She almost managed a little smile. “Your hands are like ice, Al. I shouldn’t have made you stand her all this time when you’re soaking wet.”

Alexa shook her head. “It felt good to get it out, Maverick.”

“Glad to hear it. Would a hot shower make you feel better? I can find you a T-shirt and a pair of boxers to change into while your clothes dry.”

All the TLC and understanding he was giving her reached right inside her chest. When was the last time someone had taken care of her this way?

The last time you were with Maverick. The truth of that thought made her breath catch. “Yeah. I’d like that,” she managed.

He gave a tight nod and stepped back, and she missed his heat immediately. “Uh, good. That’s good. You remember your way around?”

“Of course,” she said. How much time had she spent here over the years? Even before they dated? At one point, Maverick’s place had practically been a second home.

“You okay?” he asked, watching her.

She pushed off the door. “I don’t know yet,” she said, coming to him. “But what I do know is how grateful I am to you. For everything. For being there when I told you not to. For listening. For just . . . being you.”

“Always.” He crossed his big arms and ducked his chin, like something about the exchange made him uncomfortable.

“I mean it,” she said, and then she pressed onto tiptoes and kissed his cheek, his stubble tickling her lips. “You saved me tonight.”

“No,” he said, eyes flashing, one brow arched. “You saved yourself, Al. I was just your getaway driver.”

Staring into one another’s eyes, the tender moment stretched out, morphed, suddenly flashed hot. Being so close to him set her body on fire, and finally she could actually consider acting on it. Need roared through her, a living, breathing thing. “Maverick,” she whispered.

“Fuck, Alexa, I think you better go take that shower,” he said, his jaw ticking. “Now.”

She released a shaky breath and nodded. He was right. Of course, he was.

So, showering. She could handle that. Afterward, God only knew what she was going to do.

 

 

Raven Riders Series Trailer:
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https://video214.com/play/r1VEuIF50oumtHVUulO2vg/s/dark

 

 

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Laura Kaye - headshotAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and monster puppy, Schuyler, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

 

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Razer

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Larissa Ione, comes RAZR, a passionate and spellbinding novella from the Demonica Underworld Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure you grab your copy today!

 

 

RAZR - cover

About RAZR:

New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione returns to the Demonica Underworld…

A fallen angel with a secret.

An otherworldly elf with an insatiable hunger she doesn’t understand.

An enchanted gem.

Meet mortal enemies Razr and Jedda…and the priceless diamond that threatens to destroy them both even as it bonds them together with sizzling passion.

Welcome back to the Demonica Underworld, where enemies find love…if they’re strong enough to survive.

Amazon ** Amazon UK ** Amazon CA ** Amazon AU ** Paperback

 

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Larissa Ione’s RAZR – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

April 12th

A Fortress of Books – Review

Booklovers For Life – Review

Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Rebels – Review & Excerpt

April 13th

Abigail Books Addiction – Review

Calling All Bookaholics – Review & Excerpt

GraveTells – Excerpt

Smut Book Jukie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 14th

A Woman and Her Books – Review

Milky Way of Books – Review

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

The Ordinary Housewife Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

April 15th

danielriding.com – Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 16th

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews – Excerpt

I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt

Shelf_life – Review & Excerpt

The Escapist Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

April 17th

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

That’s What I’m Talking About – Review

April 18th

Books, Baking and Other Objects of Beauty – Review & Excerpt

Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt

Under the Covers – Review & Excerpt

April 19th

A Hopeless Romantic’s Booklandia – Review & Excerpt

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Rambling Reads – Review & Excerpt

Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt

April 20th

Adria’s Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Loves Great Reads Blog – Review & Excerpt

Rantings of a Reading Addict – Review & Excerpt

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 21st

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Review

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews – Excerpt

 

 

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Larissa Ione - author imageAbout Larissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | 1001 Dark Nights

 

Review: 

When I went to read Razr, I realized I missed the previous book in this series. However, Razr worked really well as a stand-alone novella. Razr is an angel being punished for losing precious gems with hold immense power. Jedda is a gem elf, which is a new introduction into the Demonica world, who gains power from different gems. She ends up with one of the stones Razr is looking for. However, outside forces push Razr and Jedda together as they try to find away to both survive their enemies and come together. This was a satisfying short story with plenty of action and steaminess between Razr and Jedda. Both Jedda and Razr had flaws and there were definitely challenges in their relationship but the attraction and later love was able to overcome. This book reminded me how much I like Larissa Ione’s writing and I’m going to go back and read the books that I missed!

 

 

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The Hot Shot

 

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TheHotShot Amazon-2First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

AMAZON | iBooks | B&N | KOBO | Paperback

 

 

 

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KCauthor

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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Review: Kristen Callihan usually hits it out of the park with her books and The Hot Shot is no exception! Finn and Chess have excellent chemistry and their relationship progresses from friends to roommates to much, much more. Once they hit the roommate stage, it is clear that Finn wants more from their relationship but he respects Chess and her hesitation. Both have personal issues from their past to overcome and with the support of each other, they work towards a future together. This book runs parallel to The Game Plan and does have some plot spoilers from that book. However, it could just as easily be read as a standalone. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for Kristen Callihan’s next book!

 

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