A highly recommended read... The Telling Touch by Keira Dominguez (Review) #bookreview #mustread #regencyromance #historicalromance

The Telling Touch
By Keira Dominguez 
Adult Historical Romance, Paranormal
Paperback & ebook, 280 Pages
February 25, 2020

Summary

AN UNACCEPTABLE PROXIMITY

For as long as she can remember, Margaret Summers has been in love with Nicholas Ainsley, but her “gift” has shown her that he does not reciprocate her affections, and he leaves for six long years. Her sister’s scandal places Meg under a cloud of suspicion, and she resigns herself to being the outcast, the unacceptable girl. Isolated and vilified, Meg is content to live in the country with her grandfather. When her sister is widowed young, she returns home and sets in motion unthinkable plans, forcing Meg to break the silence of the family’s unusual abilities to keep Nick safe from a fate she cannot allow. Little does Meg know, she’s had the wrong of it for these many years, and Nick has his work cut out for him to prove the truth of his heart.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE TELLING TOUCH is a Regency romance with a bit of a paranormal twist. It has delightful characters, an engaging plot, and a sweet romance. Highly recommended to fans of sweet and clean Regency romance with plenty of fun banter and a few twists!

This is the first book I've read from this author, but I plan to read the book before this one, which is already waiting for me, as well as read the next book in the series as I loved this book so much! I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I began reading this, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. The characters were complex, easy to relate to, and so much fun! Plus there was a bit of a twist in relation to these sisters. The villain was a bit unexpected at first and the author did a great job in making me really, really dislike her. I didn't feel like any of the characters fell flat. The romance was delightful, with plenty of chemistry. I also liked that as a reader you figure things out a bit along with the main character. There was almost a constant undertone of danger that just continued to build as the story reached its end. And what a fantastic end it was!

In the end, was it what I wished for? Wonderful characters and a page-turning plot makes this a very entertaining read. If you like clean Regency romances with paranormal twists, then I'd highly recommend this one! I'm looking forward to more from this author!

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through the Whitney Awards for judging purposes, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

Is this author new to you too? Do you enjoy stories like this?

New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for May 24th - May 30th #freebook #booksale #booklinkup #booklinky


Here are the New Releases / Free & Bargain Books, hosted by
Sharon over at Beck Valley Books, for this week! Check it all out below...

Authors please feel free to add your own books.
Readers please free to add your own finds.
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!


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Come back and check out the new selection every week!

Read an excerpt from this women's fiction... The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister #womensfiction #harlequinbooks @harlequinbooks


Read an excerpt from this new women's fiction below...

The Rooftop Party
(Dana Barry #2)
By Ellen Meister
Women's Fiction, Adult Contemporary Fiction
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 336 Pages
May 25, 2021 by MIRA Books

Summary

A Host of Trouble…

In this witty and engaging novel, Dana Barry, the Shopping Channel’s star host, stops by the company’s rooftop party to pitch the new CEO her brilliant idea that just might save the flagging business, her job and possibly her love life.

As she chats with the smarmy executive, he backs her into a dark corner. For Dana, it’s a quid pro oh-hell-no. She escapes his lecherous grasp and grabs her drink on her way to the dance floor. Woozy, she blacks out.

When she comes to, the CEO is dead, fallen from the roof. Or was he pushed? And if so, by whom? It’s hard to know, but one thing is certain: Dana was close enough to be suspect.

Sure, she loathed how the creep moved in on her, but she’s no killer. Or is she? Truth is, Dana can’t remember much about those minutes. Now she has to use all her skills to prove her innocence to everyone, including her police detective boyfriend—and herself.

Meister’s latest is fun and breezy, a compelling, suspenseful read that entertains and keeps you guessing.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt



1


Dana Barry raised her fist to knock on the door and paused. She wasn’t easily intimidated, but walking into Eleanor Gratz’s office was like trying to open an umbrella in a hurricane, and she needed a moment to anchor herself.

Not that Dana wasn’t used to stormy weather. Until she got this job at the Shopping Channel, her life had been one shitstorm after another. The last monsoon hit six months ago, when she was fired from her job at a mall store in Queens. With no acting auditions on the horizon, Dana didn’t know how she would pay her rent, let alone her student debt. So she did the only thing she could think of. She got drunk. And high. Thank god for her friend Megan, who burst in and dragged her to an open call. Now here she was, with a steady gig as a Shopping Channel host. And she was crushing it.

Dana took a breath and rapped twice on the door.

“If that’s not Anthony Bourdain with an exotic drink and two tickets to Fiji, get lost,” Eleanor called. Dana opened the door and stuck her head in. “You know he’s dead, right?”

“Like this whole place might be if I don’t get my work done.”

Despite the warning, Dana stepped inside. The sun-drenched office of the Shopping Channel’s head buyer was a study in whites, grays and aqua blues. Eleanor sat behind a long desk the color of sea pearls. She was sixtyish, with shoulder-length salt-and-pepper hair, offset by hammered-silver hoop earrings. She wore a jewel-toned top with bell sleeves, bohemian-inspired but sophisticated. A pair of tortoiseshell reading glasses rested low on her nose. Through the window behind her, the Manhattan skyline flexed its might against the sky.

“You want me to come back?” Dana asked.

“Like a yeast infection,” Eleanor said, but she sighed, relenting. “Sit down.”

Dana took one of the chairs opposite her desk and the two women studied one another.

Despite her bluster, Eleanor’s demeanor was open, and Dana took a moment to reflect. She could hardly believe how long she’d been at this job without screwing it up. Usually, she’d be cleaning lead out of her foot by now and filing for unemployment. But somehow, every self-sabotaging shot had missed. So she was living the life of an actual adult, with a paycheck that covered her expenses and then some. And sure, she missed the rush of going on auditions and the thrill of getting callbacks. She even missed nursing the hurt of rejections. But she didn’t miss getting threatening notices when she was late on her student loan payments. Or being so broke she couldn’t afford tampons without a discount coupon.

So for now, her acting ambitions were on hold. (Or at least the ones she could be public about.) In the meantime, the Shopping Channel gig was so much more than she had imagined. But lately, Dana worried it could all blow away. Despite her personal success, the company’s sales were down overall. They had even brought in a new CEO, sending a ripple of anxiety through every department.

That’s why she wanted to present her idea to someone important. And sure, it might be impolitic to leapfrog her boss to talk to the head buyer about it. But going straight to Sherry Zidel with the idea wasn’t an option, especially now that the business was so wobbly. Sherry was always tightly wound, but these days her jaw was tense enough to crack teeth.

“They tell me you’re our resident action hero,” Eleanor said, “saving us all from imminent demise.” She laced her fingers, and her emerald-cut diamond ring took center stage. It was flanked by sapphires, showcased in an art deco platinum setting. The piece was tasteful despite the size, and Dana could imagine cooing over it on the air.

“Some heroes wear capes and fight crime,” Dana said, offering a self-deprecating smile. “Me? I can talk for hours without taking a breath.”

Eleanor shook her head, her expression serious. “Silly girl, you don’t even know your own superpower.”

“Enlighten me.”

“It’s your eye for detail.”

Dana shrugged. She’d heard that kind of thing before. She noticed minutiae on an almost atomic level. It enabled her to talk about the quality of the polished rivets on a pair of jeggings with the same gushing enthusiasm she could rally for a diamond ring.

“I’ve been told it’s pathological,” she said.

“As long as you move products,” Eleanor said, “I don’t care what you call it.”

“That’s what I came to talk to you about—products.”

Eleanor shrugged as if to say, What else is new? People talked to her about products all day long.

Dana hoped she could break through, and leaned forward to study Eleanor Gratz’s age-defying complexion. Though her face was softening around the jawline, there was barely a wrinkle. And nothing about her appearance suggested Botox or a face-lift.

“What kind of moisturizer do you use?” Dana asked. It was a question she had formulated on the elevator. She would flatter her way in, but earnestly.

Eleanor pulled off her glasses. “I know an opening line when I hear one.”

“There’s a reason I’m asking.”

“I would hope so.”

Dana regrouped. Eleanor wouldn’t respond to fawning or manipulation. She had to get right to the point.

“Look,” she said, “I know we’re not doing as well in apparel as we used to. And Sherry is leaning on me hard. But the fact is, there’s no way we can compete with the internet. All those fashion websites—they’re creaming us.”

Eleanor snorted. “With cheap rags. Made with cheap Chinese labor.”

“Awful,” Dana commiserated.

“Disposable clothes held together with spit and a prayer.”

Dana nodded, agreeing. “They can’t touch us on quality, but that’s hard to demonstrate on TV. Skin care, on the other hand…”

“Please don’t tell me you’re suggesting a skin care line.”

“Why not? I can sell it, Eleanor. I know I can. All I need is a couple of models and a tight shot of disappearing crow’s-feet.”

Eleanor laughed. “Honey, you really think this is an original idea?”

“I don’t know if it’s original. I just know I can make it work.” She had been studying the industry giants—HSN and QVC—and knew that any product with a strong demo moved like beer at a frat party.

“Twenty years ago, when this was still a young company, I brought in a skin care line and it was a disaster.”

Dana straightened her back. “Maybe it wasn’t the right time or the right host or… I don’t know. Point is, twenty years is a long time. It’s worth another shot, don’t you think?”

“Which is why I’ve been pitching the idea every few years. But the board always knocks it down. It’s like they have PTSD from one loss on the books two decades ago.”

“What about that hand lotion Kitty used to sell?” People at the Shopping Channel rarely brought up Kitty Todd—the former star hostess who was found with a bullet in her head—but this was important.

Eleanor waved away the comment. “That California Dreams crap? It was a loss leader. The board holds it up as further proof we would always fail at skin care. I’m telling you, they’re dug in.”

Dana considered this as she pictured the man now occupying the largest office in the company. He had the look of an aging preppie, with a full mop of white hair and webs of burst blood vessels on his nose and cheeks. Evidence, she assumed, of a hard-drinking past, though today he seemed as sober as a judge.

“But we have a new CEO now,” she pressed. “Maybe he’ll be open to it.”

Eleanor released a bitter laugh. “Ivan Dennison.”

“He was brought in to shake things up, wasn’t he? Maybe this is just the—”

“He’ll never go for it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Trust me, Dana. I’d never get anywhere with Ivan…” She trailed off, as if she were burrowing deep inside an idea.

“What is it?” Dana asked.

Eleanor pursed her lips in thought. After a few beats, she lowered her head as if confiding something. “Dana, there’s a particular kind of man to whom women become invisible at a certain age. We’ve served our usefulness, and now we’re dispensable. Ivan Dennison wouldn’t hear me if I came in with a bullhorn.”

“You?” Dana asked. Eleanor was such an imposing presence this was hard to imagine.

“Trust me, I could burst into flames and he’d lean forward to light his cigar.”

Dana squinted, struggling to understand. “If he’s such a sexist, why did the board—”

“Because they’re desperate, and he’s a ruthless fuck.”

Dana sat back and tried to reconcile this description of Ivan with the friendly man who had been introduced to her on set. He’d been flattering and collegial, conspicuously straitlaced. The sort of man who found a way to work his marital status into every conversation with a woman.

“He seemed nice enough to me,” Dana said.

Eleanor indicated the entirety of Dana’s lanky twenty-nine-year-old appearance with a sweep of her hand. “Of course he did.”

“What if I pitched him the idea?” Dana asked, energized. “He seems to like me.”

“He probably wants to bang you.”

“So what?” Dana said. “He’s got this whole choirboy vibe going on. Like a born-again something-or-other. I don’t think he’ll come on to me.”

“And if he does?”

“He won’t.”

Eleanor raised an eyebrow, and Dana got it. Guys who constantly mentioned their wives were covering up their darkest urges. Caged beasts posing as carpool dads.

“I can handle it,” Dana said. “I promise.”

Eleanor stared at her, fingers tented, and Dana held her breath. She could tell the formidable buyer was actually considering it. Without warning, Eleanor rose and walked to a tall wooden armoire on the left side of the room. It was a pretty piece—more suited to a bedroom than an office—painted white and stenciled with delicate aqua waves. She pulled open the doors and stood on her toes to drag a navy-blue box from the top shelf. She brought it back to her desk and placed it in the center. It was a shiny, oversized cube, with the word Reluven stamped in gold foil on the side. Dana had never heard of the brand, but assumed it was a skin care company.

Sure enough, Eleanor opened the lid and began pulling out products and placing them on her desk, narrating as she did so. “One-step facial cleanser, exfoliating body scrub, firming mask, shower gel, nighttime eye serum, daily moisturizer with SPF 30, hydrating body lotion, retinol antiaging miracle creme.”

Dana studied the Reluven products, lined up before her like obedient soldiers in color-coordinated uniforms. Eleanor closed the box and picked up the scrub—a round gold jar about the size of a tub of whipped butter—and unscrewed the top. She held it toward Dana. “Smell this.”

Dana leaned forward, closed her eyes and breathed in. It was a delicate scent, fresh and young and nostalgic all at once, with a hint of gardenias. “That’s…sublime.” She took another sniff.

Eleanor’s voice went wistful. “It’s the best skin care line I’ve ever come across. If only I could get it on the air.”

Dana pointed to the body lotion. “May I?”

Eleanor nodded her assent, so Dana picked up the bottle, pumped a dab into her palm and rubbed her hands together. The feel was rich and velvety. She took a whiff, enjoying the same sensual smell as the scrub, and smoothed it onto her neck. Dana imagined her boyfriend, Ari, reacting to it as he kissed her there. The thought was enough to distract her, but she brought herself back to her mission.

“I can do this,” Dana said, studying Eleanor’s face. “I can get Ivan to agree to let us give this a shot.”

The buyer leaned back in her chair, considering it, but Dana sensed she had already decided. She held her breath.

“Maybe,” Eleanor said, “but we have to approach this strategically.”

Dana inhaled a tingle of success. Eleanor was on board. “What’s the plan? Should I pop into his office? Better to make an appointment? I’m afraid he might ask what it’s about and then—”

“Easy, tiger,” Eleanor interrupted. “I admire your determination, but you need to keep your impulsivity in check. This has to be done methodically.”

“I’m listening…”

“You need to schmooze. Flatter. Build a relationship first.”

“The anniversary party!” Dana said, bringing her hands together. It was a big rooftop bash the company was throwing the following week to celebrate twenty-five years on the air, and as soon as she said it, Dana knew it was the perfect opportunity to pitch Ivan Dennison.

“It’s a good place to start.”

“It’s a good place to finish,” Dana insisted. “If I talk up the idea when he’s happy and relaxed, the center of attention…”

Eleanor shook her head. “Honey, you might know how to sell on TV, but there are nuances to the one-on-one pitch with a narcissistic executive.”

“What if he seems open to it?”

“Trust me, you have to play the long game. Get cozy with Ivan at the party, but do not bring up business. Eventually, he’ll come to you.”

“I don’t know,” Dana said. “I might need to strike while the iron is hot. It’s not like he’s going to fall in love with me. I think you have too much faith in my appeal.”

Eleanor tsked. “And I think you have too little.”

Excerpted from The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister. Copyright © 2021 by Ellen Meister. Published by HQN Books.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)

About the Author


Ellen Meister is the author of several novels including LOVE SOLD SEPARATELY, DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE; FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER; THE OTHER LIFE and others. Ellen is also an editor, book coach, ghostwriter, and frequent contributor to Long Island Woman Magazine. She teaches creative writing at Long Island University Hutton House Lectures and previously at Hofstra University. Her latest novel is THE ROOFTOP PARTY. For more info visit ellenmeister.com.


Does this sound like something you'd like to read?

Another fun story in this small-town collection... Crazy for You by by Michelle Sass Aleckson, presented by Susan May Warren (Review & #Giveaway) #christianromance #romancebooks #cleanromance @justreadtours @sunrisepublish


I'm reviewing the newest in the Deep Haven Collection today. You can read that
below and check out the tour currently running with JustRead Publicity Tours...

Crazy for You
(Deep Haven Collection #3)
By Michelle Sass Aleckson
Presented by Susan May Warren
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 304 Pages
May 25, 2121 by Sunrise Publishing

Summary

The problem with being related to everyone in town is that there is no one left to date…until now…but will this outsider survive his family?

Former soldier Veronica “Ronnie” Morales isn’t going to let her kid brother, Tiago, get pulled into the gangs of Minneapolis, so, seeking safety and a fresh start, she heads to sleepy Deep Haven on the north shore of Minnesota. She’s hoping to put down roots as the paramedic for the new Crisis Response Team, but it’s not easy to be the town outsider.

Fire Chief Peter Dahlquist is a peacemaker—he has to be. After he’s related to both of the Deep Haven dynasties – the Zimmermans and the Dahlquists, Deep Haven’s version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Worse, Peter is the holdout vote for a landmark project, which also makes him the loneliest guy in town when both sides demand that he pick sides. The only one who seems to understand his plight is the newcomer in town…his pretty, street-tough paramedic.

When Tiago finds himself caught up in small town shenanigans and the town blames Ronnie for tragedy, Peter is forced to pick sides. But will his choice cost him the home—and the woman—he loves?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

CRAZY FOR YOU is a story about a gal who formerly worked as a medic in the military who is now the guardian for her brother and moves to a small town to fill a medic position there. It's a story of forgiveness, trust, faith, family and romance. Fans of the genre, clean romance and the series may enjoy this one.

I really liked these characters. Ronnie is a tough shell with some rough edges, but who is very protective. She tries to not open her heart after growing up as she did. She finds that Peter seems to get past her barriers no matter what she tries to do. She is also a bit at loose ends with her brother and hopes that the small town will be a good place for him to grow up. However, she feels like an outsider and has a lot going against her, particularly some of the townspeople's opinions and prejudices. Peter is just an all around good guy. He does have some issues with making decisions, stating what he thinks and wants, and standing up to his family. He really wants everyone to be happy and feels bad when they don't. He's a gentleman, a great fireman, and ends up being a soft place for Ronnie to land. Tiago is a bit of a loose canon, but I expected as much with where he's coming from. I liked the parts where Peter and Tiago spend time together and would have loved more of that in this story. I loved all the cameos from characters in prior stories. I wanted a bit more of a small-town feel, but it is still present, especially when the town comes together.

The romance takes center stage in this story. It's sweet, fun and light, but with some great chemistry. There is also a faith element, which is weaved through the second half of the story. Parts of it didn't feel genuine, but other parts did. I also liked the overall message of God loving unconditionally and wanting His children to come to Him regardless of how their earthly family has treated them. There is additionally messages of fighting for what is right when it is is right and found family.

There were some things that unfortunately rubbed me wrong or didn't work for me in this story. One was the theme of Ronnie needing to "fit in" and even Seb who I knew from a prior book being a strong force for that in this story. Seb also came across as a bit of a pushover, which felt off from what I knew of him. I also didn't like that not only was that theme of Ronnie fitting in coming from these characters who were also Christian, but it also was a requirement for a job instead of her keeping it based on her skills or how she did. It felt like for her to keep her job, they were also assessing her personal life in how she acclimated to the small town over a 90-day period. It just was a huge red flag for me professionally and for Christian fiction. I also had an issue with how abrupt Ronnie was and how rude she was. To me, I felt she knew she was being rude but didn't care, but then later she acts totally clueless. I felt like from her history she would have a better handle on dealing with people or at least be more aware of how her actions or behavior could be portrayed, and regardless didn't feel consistent with her character. I then had an issue with Megan and her outright stating twice that Ronni's brother was a bad influence. It was never really addressed or worked through in the story and I felt it should have been. Ronnie's brother seemed more like a 12-year-old than a 10-year-old, especially with how he freely roamed (I currently have a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old so a lot of the situations felt a bit off). The drama was a bit much and felt a it blanketed instead of more developed/complex. Finally, I felt like this story read like a light, generic romance. Not that those types of stories are bad, but I just expect more depth, character development and not so much instant attraction and constant romance from this series.

In the end, was it what I wished for? Overall, this is a fun read. I felt it needed more development, more consistency in some areas and deeper writing, but still enjoyed reading it. I'm looking forward to the next three installments in this collection.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through JustRead Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Authors


Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at www.susanmaywarren.com.



After growing upon both the east and west coasts, Michelle Sass Aleckson now lives the country life in central Minnesota with her own hero and their four kids. She loves rocking out to 80’s music on a Saturday night, playing Balderdash with the fam, and getting lost in good stories. Especially stories that shine grace. And if you’re wondering, yes, Sass is her maiden name. Visit her at www.michellealeckson.com.


Merging the creative energies of best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Lindsay Harrel, Sunrise Publishing is the matchmaker for established authors who want to build on their current success for future growth and aspiring authors looking to break out, build an audience, and hone their writing skills.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | admin@sunrisepublishing.com

Follow the Tour

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Tour Giveaway


(1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card + 3 Crazy for You ebooks (one ebook for the winner and two to give to friends)!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 25, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on June 1, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Are you a fan of Deep Haven and/or small-town settings?

I Can't Wait for... The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #historicalromance #victorianromance #properromance #cleanromance @ProperRomance @ShadowMountn


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Tag me on your CWW posts on Twitter (@wishfulendings) and I'll like and retweet!

This series is so much fun! You can read my reviews for the previous two books: The Lady and the Highwayman and The Gentleman and the Thief. There are penny novel stories within the main stories and the group of characters are wonderful. I'm really looking forward to the next installment! It's my pick this week...

The Merchant and the Rogue
(Proper Romance Victorian #3)
By Sarah M. Eden
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
August 17, 2021 by Shadow Mountain

Summary

London, 1865

Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she's come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he's built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn't entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

Brogan and Vera's paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they've both grown to love. But that means they'll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.

(Affiliate links included.)


Will you be reading this one?

Read an excerpt from this romantic comedy just in time for summer... Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley #romcom #womensfiction #newbook @harlequinbooks


Welcome! I'm sharing an excerpt today for this new release. Read it below...

Talk Bookish to Me
By Kate Bromley
Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedy
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 320 Pages
May 25, 2021 by Graydon House Books

Summary

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

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

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


Catch Kate on tour!
The Book Revue virtual launch event at May 25th @ 7 pm ET
In conversation with Brenda Janowitz

Excerpt



One


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Should you really be calling your fiancĂ© a creep?”

“He’s my creep so it’s okay.”

“Valid point.”

“Picture please! Will you girls get together?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m so happy for you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t I always?”

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

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

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

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

Went to college with me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bastard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes way,” I answer happily, overcompensating.

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

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

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

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


Excerpted from Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley, Copyright © 2021 by Kate Bromley
Published by Graydon House Books.

About the Author


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

Photo Credit: Samantha Rayward, City Headshots


What do you think? Will you be reading this one?

A story of mystery, friendship and romance... A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins (Review) #historicalromance #victorianromance #mysterybooks #romancebooks

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem
(A Lady's Guide, 1)
By Manda Collins
Adult Historical Romance, Mystery
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
November 10, 2020 by Forever

Summary

An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collin's fun and flirty historical rom-com, perfect for readers of Evie Dunmore, Julia Quinn, and Tessa Dare!

England, 1865: As one of England's most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she's determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are praying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham's refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she's the key witness in a new crime, he's determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they'll need to catch a killer.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

A LADY's GUIDE TO MISCHEIF AND MAYHEM is a story about an independent woman who runs a newspaper and is of the nobility, and a Scotland Yard detective who she causes trouble for, but who she ends up being intrigued by as well. Together they investigate a string of murders in the hope of discovering the murderer. Full of mystery, friendship, romance and even a bit of mayhem.

I rather enjoyed the start of this story with Katherine and Caro standing up for women at a dinner party, which leads to them writing a column together at Katherine's newspaper. Katherine is a great character and I easily fell in love with her. Her past isn't at all lovely, but she has found herself again after her husband's death. I liked how she wasn't afraid to push forward, but also was willing to realize when she made mistakes and to try to do her best to rectify them. Andrew is also a great character and an easy hero to cheer on. He's a man of integrity and takes his job seriously. He's a bit challenged by Katherine, not in just that she wants to be involved, but also because she is so different from other women he's known. There is an instantaneous attraction between them. I rather liked the two of them together as a couple. Caro and Val were fun side characters who I'm sure will be the focus in the next book in the series.

The mystery part of the story was weaved throughout. I felt like a few more hints could have been dropped here and there and the suspense could have been a bit stronger, but it was an intriguing part of the story. It also made sense in the end, as did the way the investigation unfolded. Other parts of the story could have used more development, such as Caro's and Kate's relationship going from being acquainted to best friends overnight. I honestly would have enjoyed this story so much more without the love scenes. I was happy with just the kissing and it kind of ruined the book for me for it to be more than that and to make the relationship involve so much lust. It felt like the relationship just went from getting acquainted to much more and love a bit quick. 

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an overall enjoyable story with great characters and an entertaining plot. I would recommend it to those who enjoy historical romance with mature content.

Content: Some mild swearing, one detailed love scene and some referenced/closed-door love scenes, innuendo, non-detailed murders
Source: Loaned from the library

What do you think? Is this something you'd enjoy reading?

New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for May 17th - May 23rd #freebook #booksale #booklinkup #booklinky


Here are the New Releases / Free & Bargain Books, hosted by
Sharon over at Beck Valley Books, for this week! Check it all out below...

Authors please feel free to add your own books.
Readers please free to add your own finds.
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!


By adding your link, you acknowledge that the information you provide will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and transmitted to Inlinkz in accordance with their Privacy Policy.

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here

Come back and check out the new selection every week!

Read an excerpt from this new Christian romantic western... The Promise Tree by Janalyn Voigt (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #western #historicalromance #newbook @justreadtours


Welcome to my tour stop with JustRead Publicity Tours! Read an
excerpt from this new Christian historical and enter the giveaway below...

The Promise Tree
(Montana Treasure #1)
By Janalyn Voigt
Christian Historical Romance, Western
Paperback & ebook, 254 Pages
May 5, 2021 by Mountain Brook Ink

Summary

A preacher’s daughter shouldn’t encourage a troublemaker—no matter what her wayward heart desires.

Liberty has always believed she should marry a man of God, but Jake doesn’t qualify. The promises they’d made at age twelve can’t change that. If only Jake would stop pursuing her, she might keep from falling in love with him.

Jake fears he’ll lose Liberty to Beau, the new man in town. He doesn’t trust the smooth-talker—and certainly not with Liberty. Expressing his opinion sounds jealous and pushes Liberty further away. Jake’s efforts to forget the woman he loves lands him in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

A bounty hunter on the trail of a notorious outlaw gallops into town, and Liberty finds herself in unexpected peril. When Jake rides after her, he faces a test of faith. Jake and Liberty must each overcome their own false beliefs. Only then can they experience the truth of God’s redeeming love.

Set during a troubled time in America, the Montana Treasure series explores faith, courage, and love in the Wild West. Read this heartwarming story to affirm your faith in love.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

Jake lifted her without invitation and deposited her on the low branch. Liberty frowned. “I don’t need your assistance, thanks all the same.” What had gotten into him? She’d been scrambling onto that limb by herself since she was six.

“Take your nose out of the air, Liberty.” He grinned. “You can blame it on Ma. She’s renewed her efforts to teach me proper manners.”

Liberty could understand Felicity Buckthorn wanting to impress social graces on her son. Jake’s mischievous streak often landed him in trouble. Liberty usually couldn’t fault Jake’s behavior toward her, but today she didn’t mind helping his ma out. “Then maybe you should ask permission before you hoist a person like a sack of potatoes.”

“Sorry to offend you.” Jake levered upward and sat beside her. “I thought we were on different terms, or I’d have asked.”

Liberty didn’t know how to respond. Her friendship with Jake was shifting in ways she didn’t entirely understand. She tilted her head and squinted into the tree’s leafy crown. From that high, a person could see all the way to the Bitterroot Mountains. She’d climbed the laddered branches many times with Jake, but not lately. When had they stopped? She brought her attention back to Jake. “I wish we could act the way we did before.”

His gaze softened. “Things can’t stay the same.”

About the Author


Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales "written" in her head.

Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in several genres. The same elements--romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy--appear in all her novels, no matter what the genre.

Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at http://janalynvoigt.com


Tour Schedule

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Tour-Wide Giveaway


(1) winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 18, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on May 25, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What did you like about the excerpt? Do you enjoy reading Christian historical romance?