From New York Times Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes the next standalone romance in the Original Heartbreakers Series—CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE!
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CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE Synopsis:
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with an irresistible Original Heartbreakers story about a woman who’s never felt desired and the man who wants her more than air to breathe…
Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis’s past is full of memories she’d rather forget. But there’s one she can’t seem to shake—her longstanding crush on former Army Ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out…but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead.
Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves the curvy Dorothea night and day, he’s as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her.
But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.
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Daniel, having served multiple tours of duty, had come back a hero.
His life had meaning, hers didn’t. He and two of his friends had started a security company right here in Strawberry Valley. He took care of his ailing father, and in his free time he dated a plethora of city girls.
Dorothea knew about the girls because he’d stayed at the inn every time a date had ended…successfully.
Her flush returned full force as she considered the other five rooms he’d wrecked since his return…all the pleasure he’d been having…all the pleasure she wished she could experience.
Not with him, of course. With someone she liked and respected. Someone who liked and respected her, too, despite the fact that she was still too round for society’s unhealthy standards, a lot too freckled and trapped in a dead-end job.
Daniel Porter would never qualify.
Dorothea found him attractive, yes, but to her, ap¬pearance would never outshine personality.
My man must be my equal. She had a lot of love to give. She’d even grown to like herself…kind of. Maybe. Fine, she was trying to like herself.
Avoiding Daniel’s gaze, she said, “No, you stay. I’ll go.” Words her mother had drilled into her shouted in-side her head: the customer comes first. “I’ll finish your room later.” She rolled the vacuum toward her cart.
“You live here, right?” he asked. “You own the inn?”
“I… Yes.” Technically she lived in the attic. The more rooms she had available for guests, the more money she would make. At least in theory.
Money was the number one reason she cleaned the pig¬sties herself, rather than hiring a maid. She was saving her pennies to turn every plain, ordinary room into a themed paradise. Then Strawberry Valley residents would hap¬pily pay to stay just for fun.
Again, in theory.
So far she’d decided on six themes. (1) Four seasons—the weather, not the hotel chain. (2) An enchanted forest. (3) A techno dance club. (4) The underwater world of Atlantis. (5) A royal palace. And (6) an inner sanctum, aka a superhero’s wet dream.
Also up for consideration? A beach hut, an igloo, an insane asylum for her more daring patrons and a des-ert oasis.
With twenty-three rooms in total, she needed other ideas fast. And more money. A lot more money.
Maybe, when the transformations were completed, the feeling of accomplishment would finally chase away her anger and bitterness. Maybe she would feel alive. Happy.
“If any part of your stay was subpar,” she said, “I will personally—”
“No, everything has been great.” He looked over his shoulder and winked at her. “Just wanted to make sure you weren’t going to get into trouble with the boss.”
Every pulse point in her body leaped with excitement. He’d winked at her. Her!
I think you’re perfect just the way you are.
Red alert! She would not read more into his words than he’d intended. Not this time. He was a flirt, plain and simple. Always had been, apparently always would be.
“Why would I get in trouble?” she asked.
“For not finishing the room.”
Oh. Right. “Well, as long as you plan to come back to the inn, I won’t fire myself. Not because I’m desperate to see you or anything,” she added in a rush. “I’m not.” Dang it! “I mean, I’m always glad to see you here. I mean, I just want your money.” Okay. Enough!
He laughed, his amber eyes twinkling.
Air caught in her throat and sizzled. He had the sexiest laugh on the planet. His entire face softened. He pulsed with new life; fresh and vibrant, he was the epitome of spring.
Then he frowned, as if he couldn’t believe he’d found humor in, well, anything.
Her brow furrowed with confusion. Why the doom and gloom?
“In that case,” he said, his tone flat, “I think I’ll stay another night.”
“Really?” She licked her lips. “What about your girl¬friend?”
He stiffened. “She isn’t my—”
“No, don’t tell me. I’m sorry I asked. Your love life isn’t my business.”
“I live in Strawberry Valley. My love life is every¬one’s business.”
His wry tone made her chuckle, and he stiffened all over again. Great. What had she done wrong this time?
“I’ll be alone tonight,” he said, looking anywhere but at her. “Apparently I hover over my dad when I’m home, so he’s asked for another night off. But I swear to you, this room will be clean in the morning.”
She snorted. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
The corners of his mouth twitched. “Doubting Dot¬tie.” A pause, then, “Would you like a cup of coffee be-fore you go?”
“Oh, uh, no, thank you.” While she no longer viewed Daniel through the wounded eyes of high school betrayal— he’d been a nice boy doing a nice thing for a vulnerable girl in desperate need of a white knight—she’d endured too much heartbreak over the years to risk getting to know him better and reigniting her crush.
Look at the way she’d reacted to him already.
He appeared…disappointed? No, of course not. A trick of the light, surely. “Well. See you around, Daniel.”
“Yeah. See you around, Dottie.” He returned his at¬tention to his toiletry bag, dismissing her. Irritation had her snapping, “My name is Dorothea.”
Before he could respond, she stepped into the hall and closed the door with a soft snick. Hands trembling, she hooked the vacuum to the cart and rolled the cargo to the supply room…where her younger sister Holly was smoking a cigarette.
Gena Showalter’s CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt
Obsessed by books – Review
once upon a romance blog – Review
Scandalous Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
The Book Maven – Review & Excerpt
Alpha Book Club – Review
Beware Of The Reader – Review & Excerpt
Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt
Melena`s Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Romance Rebels – Review & Excerpt
Booknerd1107 – Review
East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt
Reads & Reviews – Review
Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt
Under The Covers Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt
Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm – Review & Excerpt
Rainy Days and Pajamas – Excerpt
Read. Eat. Love. – Review & Excerpt
Reese's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Shannonbookishlife – Review & Excerpt
A geordielass honest blog on reviews – Review
Never without a book in hand – Review & Excerpt
Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
Brittany's Book Blog – Excerpt
Kayns Book – Review
Ramblings From This Chick – Excerpt
The Lovely Books – Review & Excerpt
With Love for Books – Review & Excerpt
From the TBR Pile – Review & Excerpt
Kdrbck – Review & Excerpt
Living in Our Own Story – Review
Nessa's Book Reviews – Excerpt
Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt
My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Review
The Book Reading Gals – Review & Excerpt
As The Book Ends – Review & Excerpt
Nerdy Dirty and Flirty – Review & Excerpt
Red Cheeks Reads – Review & Excerpt
Smut Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Embrace the Romance – Review & Excerpt
Milky Way of Books – Review & Excerpt
Once Upon a Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Straight Shootin' Book Reviews – Review
Two Girls with Books – Review
BJ's Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Books and Things Blog – Review & Excerpt
Foxylutely Books – Review & Excerpt
Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt
A Fortress of Books – Excerpt
Nicole's Book Musings – Excerpt
The bookworms obsession – Review
What Is That Book About – Excerpt
a crazy vermonters book reviews – Review
Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review & Excerpt
Bloggin' With M. Brennan – Review
Francoise's Reading Corner – Review & Excerpt
Susan’s Books I Like – Excerpt
All Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt
Lover of Big Books Cannot Lie – Review & Excerpt
Rantings of a Reading Addict – Review & Excerpt
Escape Inside the Pages – Review & Excerpt
Reading Escape Reviews – Review
Taylor Fenner's Bookish World – Review & Excerpt
The Sassy Bookster – Excerpt
Romancing the Readers – Review
Travels N Reads – Review & Excerpt
Sassy Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt
JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Review & Excerpt
Lina's Reviews: A Book Blog – Review
Sofia Loves Books – Review
Wrapped Up In Reading – Review & Excerpt
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Dirty Girl Romance – Review
Stuck In Books – Excerpt
Shannon's Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
ContemporaryCween – Review & Excerpt
G & T's Indie Café – Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Ms. Me28 – Review & Excerpt
Relentless Romance – Review & Excerpt
About Gena Showalter:
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she's appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black--if you ask her about it, she'll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.
She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans