NOW IN AUDIO! Lydia's Penance by Golden Angel is available on Audible.
GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY → https://amzn.to/2RgR5wV
BLURB:When her home situation becomes unlivable, Lydia hopes to escape through a marriage and her qualifications for her new husband are not long. Unfortunately she's a too-old bluestocking with nothing to tempt a man into wedding her, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The Duke of Manchester has been tricked and trapped into marriage with the quietly stunning Miss Lydia Stafford - he just doesn't know why. She's not a fortune hunter, she's not a social-climber, and she's still a virgin. While she appeals to him on many levels, how can he trust a woman who trapped him into wedlock and won't explain herself? Isaac tells himself he could never love a woman who trapped him, but what if she had good reasons for doing so? What if, despite her secrets, he fell in love with her? This book has 101,000 words, contains a trapped alpha male with a heavy hand for discipline, a distressed and desperate young lady, and the creative use of ginger. Heat level - incendiary.
About AngelAngel is a self-described bibliophile with a "kinky" bent who loves to write stories for the characters in her head. If she didn't get them out, she's pretty sure she'd go just a little crazy. She is happily married, old enough to know better but still too young to care, and a big fan of happily-ever-afters, strong heroes and heroines, and sizzling chemistry. She believes the world is a better place when there's a little magic in it.
Find Angel Online! Amazon → http://amzn.to/2DplX3X BookBub → http://bit.ly/2G68e3O Facebook → http://bit.ly/2Ds7c0e Goodreads → http://bit.ly/2rt4rdL Instagram → http://bit.ly/2CkqiqZ Website → http://www.goldenangelromance.com
Today we are celebrating the audiobook release of PRIVILEGED by Carrie Aarons. Privileged is now available on Audible and you can listen to it now!
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Privileged by Carrie Aarons
Listen to it now on Audible!
In a world of wealth and power, the rules of love and war are nothing as they seem.
Nora Randolph never wanted a life of luxury. But when her mother falls in love with the heir to the British throne, their small-town lives are uprooted and every little girl's fantasy becomes her reality. All too quickly, she learns the dangers of running in circles with the world's elite, especially when she attracts the attention of Winston Academy's resident golden boy.
Asher Frederick has known nothing but favor and fortune. The son of London's most influential family, his future has been written in stone since infancy. But a tragic childhood loss redirects his course, and revenge has been boiling in his blood for years. When innocent and unaware Nora lands in his path, it's as if the universe hands him the ammunition to finally drag his enemy through the mud.
But as his plan for vengeance gets more twisted, so do his feelings for Nora. And as her immersion into the upper crust dives deeper, she struggles to keep the secret she's been guarding for 18 years.
Heavy lies the crown, and when the ultimate betrayal blindsides her, will either of them survive the consequences that come crashing down on their heads?
Author of romance novels such as Red Card and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the stories she dreams up, and the yoga pant dress code, much better.
When she isn't writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, daughter and dog.
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Title: Crazy For You
Series: Miraculous Love #2
Author: Meghana Sarathy
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 26, 2018
They say one's life is settled when they have a good job, take marital vows and start a family.
In that sense, my life was settled except for the unease in my heart that was begging for some form of closure with Nate.
I was a happily married woman - My kids adored me, my husband was madly in love with me. My family was perfect. Just the way I loved it.
But then Nate came back and all the old feelings were stirred back to life. I demand answers, but he begs for forgiveness.
I want to turn my back on him, leaving him in the dark but he wishes to bask in the light of the truth - The truth that was kept from him all this while.
We had been trapped in the web of lies and deceit but now the veil of misunderstanding has finally been removed, making us face the raw, naked, agonizing truth.
They say Love is blind. We can't ever think rationally in love and our heart always wins, but I believe Love is a stubborn, selfish feeling that is not bound by any societal tags or labels, making us question our own morality.
So, this time, I neither listen to my head or heart. I leave the decision to my husband whose love for me has always been pure, 'right' and selfless.
Love destroys lives but also births miracles. I want to see how this miraculous love plays out in my life.
Crazy For You is the sequel to Enticed By You and is the final book in the Miraculous Love duet.
Meghana Sarathy is from Bangalore, India. She is an avid reader and also a writer. She mainly reads and writes Adult and New Adult romance, as well as dark and psychological thrillers. She has a special affinity towards love triangles and angst filled stories. Her all time favorite characters are her very own characters- Jennifer, Brandon and Linden. She tends to fall hard for boys who are either cocky, good flirts and total charmers.
She spends most of her free time reading, writing or watching anime. Depending on her mood, she tends to write two to three books at a time. She is a crazy fan of Dragonball Z and can be seen watching the episodes in repeat. Vegeta is her all time favorite anime character.
Title: At The Wrong Time
Series: The Right Kind of Wrong #3
Author: L.B. Reyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 29, 2018
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Cover Design: Deranged Doctor Designs
Guilt. It has the power to suck the soul right out of you. I’ve spent four years behind bars to wallow in mine, thinking about every wrong decision I’ve made.
The more I thought about my past mistakes, the more I realized that my biggest one…was him.
Derek Hensley. The man I love, and also the man I betrayed.
Now that I’m free from prison walls I have a chance to do things the right way. I want to start over, but no matter how hard I try to leave the past in the past, my heart still belongs to him.
I know I screwed up. I know I don’t deserve a second chance. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try.
L.B. Reyes, lover of all things romance and professional procrastinator, was born and raised somewhere in the large state of Texas. She spends most of her time listening to music that bring her characters to life, or dancing to it when she needs to destress. When she's not writing, she's thinking about how to torture her characters or give them the happy ending they deserve. A mother, student and now author, L.B. Reyes is always busy, but makes sure to make time for her family. She is a firm believer that all obstacles may be overcome and so she spends her days encouraging others to follow their dreams, no matter how far away they seem.
Royce by USA TODAY bestselling author Kat Mizera releases on January 24th! Get excited for this standalone hockey off-limits romance!
ADD TO YOUR TBR ⇢ http://bit.ly/2EgIJypJust because opposites attract, doesn’t mean they belong together... Professional hockey player Royce Lenahan is no stranger to chaos. He grew up surrounded by it, so as an adult he likes things nice and orderly: His apartment, his hockey schedule, even his dates. When his best friend and teammate asks him to take his visiting sister to a rock concert, he isn’t expecting the sultry, leather-clad vixen that has his jaw dropping. Force of nature Kristina Papdakis feels like two separate people sometimes: The demure, proper Greek girl she was raised to be, and the badass rock musician she could be. She’s never had a problem keeping her worlds apart until her brother’s straight-laced but oh-so-hot teammate stumbles into both of them, creating a collision she wasn’t looking for. As Royce and Tina explore an unexpected but undeniable passion, they soon discover that love isn’t always enough. Opposites might attract, but they’ll have to learn to compromise if they want to last. Royce has to be willing to give up control long enough to tame Tina’s gypsy soul, before she wanders away for good. About the Author: Kat Mizera is a South Florida native. Born in Miami Beach with a healthy dose of wanderlust, she’s called Los Angeles, Long Island, upstate New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Atlanta home. She’s never been able to pick which locale is her favorite, but if pressed, she’d probably choose the west coast. Kat’s a typical PTA mom with a wonderful and supportive husband (Kevin) and two amazing boys (Nick and Max). When she’s not writing, she’s either scrapbooking or indulging in her second love (after writing) – traveling. Greece is one of her favorite places in the world. She loves that Athens is a big city with a small-town feel. The food, beaches and culture keep her going back as often as possible. She hopes to retire there one day so she can spend her days writing books on the beach. Kat has been a working freelance writer for nearly 30 years. She sold her first article–a review of a rock concert–for $10 in 1985. Since then she’s been an entertainment journalist, waitress, bartender, legal assistant, food critic, magazine editor, substitute teacher, and sports writer. She also spent some time working at A & M Records in Los Angeles. As you can guess from her series, the Las Vegas Sidewinders, Kat loves hockey. She is also a freelance hockey writer, covering her favorite team, the Florida Panthers, and any other teams that have an interesting story. The rest of the time, she writes novels: sexy, romantic fiction that she hopes makes you as happy as it makes her. There’s something enticing about hockey players and romance… Connect with Kat: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkatmizera/ Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lzRBG6 Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKatMiz Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2li6zRe Website: http://www.katmizera.com
Series: Crimson Elite #1
Author: T.L. Smith
Genre: Romance (standalone)
Release Date: December 27, 2018
Welcome to Crimson Elite, the most exclusive sex club in the world.
Enter at your own risk, and always remember our number one rule--
You must never speak of Crimson Elite—the punishment is severe.
Creed ‘Too Hot For Words’ Christopher
If God created the perfect man he would closely resemble Creed, on the outside that is.
He’s as cavalier as they come. Unconcerned. Cold. Dismissive. I wonder if he has any feelings at all.
And when his lips touch mine, everything goes black. He takes me into his world, and it’s the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced.
And I’m sucked in time and time again.
Like a moth to the flame, I am ready to be set alight.
Elicea ‘F*cks With My Head’ Beckham
Elicea is a firecracker. She has piqued my interest, and no one piques my interest anymore.
Beautiful women are what I do—it’s my work.
Not one of them has managed to get their claws into me the way she does. It’s as if she’s seeing my ice heart and trying to set it alight with each touch of her sinful lips.
But that can’t work, it won’t work.
Not in my world.
5 Star Review by Lorena
Give me some bad ass rich guys who know they have it all. The looks, the wealth, the power -- all of it and I'll be sure to tell you that it will be one of my fav reads.
T.L. Smith is a captivating author for me. Her stories consume me. I always get immersed in her stories and I can't seem to stop until I'm done with it. I love how she doesn't make them long, but they're long enough to have to write everything that needs to be said in the story.
Creed and Elicea were like dynamite together, I couldn't get enough of them together. Although, there were times where I wanted to scream at Elicea through my kindle because she would be such a pig-headed girl at times. But Creed was always the patient man who tolerated her childish antics.
I get that she was a strong and independent girl and never wanted any help from anyone. She wanted to succeed and thrive on her own, but come on. When a guy like Creed comes along and wants to give you the world....you freaking take it!
Overall this was one book that I was unable to put down!
Can't wait to continue this series with the rest of the brooding, alpha, rich men in this series!
It's just business, nothing personal.
Until you have to work with your ex.
Nothing Personal, an all-new standalone romantic comedy by New York Times Bestselling author Karina Halle is live!
Nova Lane is having the worst week possible. Her latest relationship ended while on her much-needed vacation, then upon her first day back at work, she learns that her beloved boss has quit – and despite having worked so hard for it, she's not being considered for his position.
Who is being considered for the position is none other than Kessler Rocha. Her ex-coworker and ex-lover, Kessler’s the man who broke her heart five years earlier and the reason she moved thousands of miles away, switched jobs, and created numerous voodoo dolls in Kessler’s (very burly, very handsome) liking.
Yup. Worst week ever.
New in town and on her turf, Kessler promises he’s not the same man he was – and considering he’s now a single father to a precocious toddler, he’s telling the truth.
But he’s still an arrogant, devilish and dangerously intelligent man who’s taking over the position Nova feels she deserves. The fact that he’s gotten even more sexy over the years doesn’t help either.
Now Nova and Kessler have the choice to let bygones be bygones, or fight with each other every chance they get, with unresolved sexual tension only adding fuel to the flames, creating a fire that might just burn down the whole office.
In the corporate world they say it’s just business, nothing personal.
Nova and Kessler are about to show just how personal things can get.
Download your copy today!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2rW2gg7
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/NothingPersonalKH
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2EzdcJ4
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
Connect with Karina:
Join her Reader Group: https://goo.gl/wpCBSS
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They were known to be the fiercest of all Norse warriors, charging into battle in a wild frenzy, no protection except the weapon they held in their hand.
Said to have the spirit of a wild animal inside of them, they were feared … revered.
And I had fallen in love with one.
I was a wanderer, a free spirit. I was paid to track and hunt, to kill. It’s what I did, how I survived. And I loved every minute of it.
But I found myself going to the same village because of one person … Greta.
I shouldn’t want her. She’s far too innocent for the likes of me. I’m more animal, more feral than the fiercest of Vikings. But I can’t stop myself from being drawn to her.
And then she’s taken from me before I can claim her.
I’ll find her and bring her back. But that’s not all I’ll do.
Once Greta is back in my arms, I’m making her mine and never letting her go.
Warning: This story is totally wild and unrealistic. But it’s filthy and sexy, features a totally over-the-top hero who only has eyes for one woman, and he'll do whatever it takes to make her his. If you didn’t like Vikings before now, that's about to change *wink*
I should have knocked first, but my mind had been occupied with all the things I wanted to say to Greta tonight, all the things I wanted to do to her.
And as I stood there staring at her, watching as the droplets of water cascaded down her body, I knew that practicing any self-control would be the hardest task I’d ever done.
The cotton cloth she wore barely covered her, and she brought it tighter around her. All that accomplished was having the fabric mold to her even more, showing me all of her curves. The material was almost transparent from being wet, and it showed every part of her, the pinkness of her tight nipples, the roundness of her breasts.
And then the dark blond curls at the junction of her thighs.
My mouth watered. My heart raced.
“I should have knocked,” I said, my voice so gruff it almost sounded as if it belonged to someone else.
She was close enough to the fire that I didn’t worry if she was too cold. I found myself wanting to care for her, make sure she was content, happy. I wanted her fed and happy, warm and pleased.
I. Just. Wanted. Her.
“I’m finished,” she said softly and smiled. “This is your home. You can come and go as you please.”
I swallowed at hearing those words.
I stepped closer to her, feeling every wild part of my body come alive at the mere presence of her. And as we stared at each other, neither of us speaking, both of us breathing harder the more time that passed, I knew one thing for certain.
I couldn’t let her go.
“You look at me as if you want me.”
My mouth dried, my muscles contracting as the blood rushed to every part of me … especially the thick length between my thighs.
“You watch me as if you’re hungry.” She said that last part on a breath.
“I am hungry for you, Greta.” Those words spilled from me before I could stop them. But the truth was I wouldn’t have. She needed to know what she was getting involved with, what type of male I was.
“You’re hungry for me?” She sounded so innocent.
“So damn much,” I said on this harsh whisper, knowing she could see the effect she had on me, the fact I was no doubt tenting my leathers, the fierce look I knew was covering my face.
And then she dropped the cloth, exposing her naked body to me in all its glory.
Jenika Snow, a USA Today bestselling author, lives in the northeast with her husband and their children.
She prefers gloomy days, eats the topping off of her pizza first, and prefers to wear socks year round.
Today we are sharing an excerpt from THE FALLBACK by Mariah Dietz! It is a contemporary romance title that will release on January 10th. You can pre-order it now and check out the blurb below.
PRE-ORDER NOW ON AMAZON
THE FALLBACK by Mariah Dietz
Coming January 10th
Breaking up is hard to do.
It's even harder when you're not expecting it.
Brooke Jensen is a planner. Not only in her personal life but also professionally as one of the most sought after event planners in Chicago.
But, when the ideal life she built for herself, complete with handsome, long-term boyfriend and perfect apartment crumbles, she realizes there are some things you just can’t plan for.
While trying to start anew from her best friend's guest room and discovering the best doughnuts in the city, an idea sparks to life when she meets Levi. He's intriguing, funny, and shockingly good-looking, and what had been a few stray thoughts becomes a new passion for Brooke, a blog detailing learning how to be single. The project introduces Brooke to new people and experiences, and keeps returning her back to Levi.
But, Brooke learns kismet may have been wrong when she learns Levi is the last person she should be interested in.
Falling for the wrong guy once has Brooke hesitant to start a new relationship, but Levi is quickly proving that The Fallback might be even better.
PRE-ORDER NOW ON AMAZON
“What are you doing?” My words are so pitched I don’t recognize my own voice. It’s appropriate considering everything appears unfamiliar.
Gabe’s hips stop moving over the brunette woman in our bed. He turns his head, and his brown eyes grow three sizes as he stares at where I’m fixed inside our bedroom, watching my boyfriend of six years sleeping with another woman.
“This wasn’t…” he begins before closing his eyes, suddenly looking exhausted. The drained expression feels like a bigger betrayal than his current actions. Like owing me an explanation is burdening him. He rolls off the dark-haired woman and carefully pulls the sheets—my sheets, ones that cost a small fortune for our last anniversary—and covers her. Slowly, she rolls to her back and looks my way.
My heart thunders in my chest, the pulsations so loud and strong I hear it in my ears and feel it in my fingertips. I stare at her, trying to recall if I know her—if I’ve ever seen her in passing or at a work event--anywhere. Under my scrutiny, she pulls the sheets higher and shifts her bright-blue eyes around the room, never settling on any one place as she tucks some misplaced strands of her blown-out hair behind an ear.
It’s nearly impossible for me to stop watching her, working to recognize if she’s been here before—if they’ve done this before. Slowly, my attention moves back to Gabe, realizing he’s talking. Several seconds pass, but I can’t focus on what he’s saying. The bass of my heartbeat is all I hear as he continues speaking, and then he has the audacity to dip his chin and stare up at me with concern rounding his eyes.
I blink. Once.
Three times, attempting to make sense of the situation. Once when I was thirteen, I had a panic attack. I had thought I was having a heart attack and was going to die. It feels like that again. Like my heart isn’t physically capable of beating this fast, this hard. I’m light-headed and so warm I’m starting to sweat. My thoughts—like my feet—are stuck in place.
“Brooke,” Gabe says my name again, this time louder and more abrupt. It triggers my heart into beating a new rhythm. “What are you doing home?”
“What am I doing home?” Offense coats my voice, which is still pitched high and unrecognizable.
“You said you had to meet a client tonight. Flowers or cake…” He runs a hand lazily over his head, mussing his dark hair further. “Something.”
“They had to reschedule,” I reply lamely. I’d spent my drive home discussing this month’s events with my boss, Catherine, and looking forward to trading my work clothes for a pair of sweatpants, climbing into my expensive sheets, and ordering takeout.
They weren’t what I’d imagined when I’d walked in and found our cat, Lucky, sitting at our bedroom door with one paw stretched beneath the small crack in an attempt to get inside.
I stare at Gabe and wait. I don’t know what I’m wanting or even expecting. If it’s an apology or lame excuse—blame because I work too much or tears because he’s just inflicted inexplicable pain to my chest and our relationship. He swallows, the column of his throat moving sluggishly as he considers his words. Brown eyes that I can read better than words reveal none of the replies I’m imagining being a reality.
“Brooke, I’m sorry,” he says. “I’m really, truly sorry.”
My throat grows tight, and my eyes sting. His sympathy hurts nearly as much as his decision to do this so publicly, with the person who contributed to ripping us apart still lying on my bed, privileged to a conversation I never saw coming.
“I love you, Brooke. I love you so much that I’ve been struggling with how to tell you…”
“There are a thousand variations of words you could have used. Words like ‘I like someone else,’ ‘I’m having an affair,’ ‘I’ve decided I want to try dating a tramp.’” I list them off, my voice void of the emotions surging through me as I look pointedly at the woman in my bed. She recoils deeper into the security of my bed, my expensive sheets shielding her.
“It didn’t feel like I was having an affair.” Gabe’s words chill me.
My attention slowly shifts to his long legs hanging off the side of the bed—our gray overstuffed duvet that we picked out a couple of years ago when his mom sent us a gift card for Christmas is tucked over his lap. “I’m sorry,” he says again. “I wanted to have this conversation with you and explain my feelings so you’d know I wasn’t trying to hurt or deceive you. I’ve been meaning to talk to you for so long, it’s just…”
I raise a hand to stop his slowed speech and shake my head before turning and striding back out of my apartment.
Clouds and the setting sun darken the sky, promising more rain as I descend the two flights of stairs to the parking lot and numbly climb into the driver’s seat of my car and start the engine.
Without looking, I back up. A horn blares. I stomp on the brake, my body jolting forward against the tight restraint of my seat belt. A small, black car is stopped mere inches from my bumper, his hands thrown in the air with frustration. I make an attempt to wave an apology before moving my car back into drive and rolling forward. He zooms past me, honking once more. My hands are trembling, and all my muscles are strained as I force myself to sit back and take a deep breath, knowing full well neither is due to the near accident.
I blow out a deep, shaky breath. The tiredness I’d felt on my drive home has been replaced with fatigue, and all thoughts about the events I’ve been obsessing over at work cease, replaced with the image of Gabe moving in and out of the brunette. His hands gripping her waist. His face enchanted by the purposeful rhythmic beat his hips followed.
Bile builds in my throat, and with a quick punch to my seat belt latch, I’m out of the car and losing the contents of my stomach on the grass in front of our apartment building.
Moisture escapes my eyes as I get back into my car and search for some tissues to wipe my face.
I turn off the radio, take a drink from my coffee from this morning to rid the rancid taste, then check my mirrors twice before I back up again and drive for thirty minutes of numb silence.
Getting out, I notice it’s raining and wonder if it was the entire drive over. I was working so hard to not think of anything—and more importantly anyone—that I can’t even recall getting off the highway or checking to make sure I took the right turns.
The motion-sensor lights flip on as I move to close my car door, and like a spotlight, they follow me to the front door, where I ring the doorbell and take a step back on the small, concrete stoop. I probably should have gone to Felicity’s. My best friend wouldn’t have time to pry about me being there at this hour because her young kids would need their bath followed by stories, and then she’d likely fall asleep with them while snuggling like she so often does. However, there’s a good possibility she would have deferred the tasks to her husband and insisted on making sure I was okay. I could have gone to my brother’s house. But although Brandon likes to be a pain in my ass, he would have cared too much about this situation and would likely have been up all night, plotting revenge against Gabe—partly out of love and also some strange respect code that men share.
Additional lights flip on, illuminating the front of the small house, and the door swings wide, revealing my grandma holding a large-print book in her small hands. Her face warms from concerned to happy as she quickly pushes the glass storm door open. “Brooke!” she calls. “I didn’t know you were coming by tonight. Are you alone, or is Gabe with you?”
“Sorry, Grammy. It’s kind of an impromptu visit.”
At my words, she pauses. Creases now reveal her age, which her clear blue eyes defy as they carefully inspect my features for all the words I’m not saying. “Supper’s just about ready. Why don’t you go wash up while I pour us some tea?”
Guilt trickles into my senses. “I didn’t mean to impose,” I tell her. “I’ll just sit with you.”
“I said it’s time for supper.” Though she’s more than six inches shorter than me, she drops her chin and stares at me with a challenge to refuse her again.
“I should have called.”
Grammy’s lips curve into a smile. “Don’t be silly. You’re always welcome.” She reaches forward and takes my hand, lending me her warmth and security. She pats the top of my knuckles with her other hand. “Go wash up.”
As I turn to the back of the house, Grammy swats my backside. Though I’m nearing thirty, she still affectionately pats my butt like I’m a toddler in diapers. It’s something that mortified me during my teenage years and later became a contest between my brother and me to see who could best dodge her during a visit. Now, it barely phases me.
Over the small vanity in the bathroom, I stare at my reflection, realizing why Grammy was looking at me with concern. My hazel eyes that often change color with my clothes are too round, my dark-blond hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, and my jaw is too tight. I don’t recognize my own expression—even my breathing sounds different. My grandma isn’t the type to meddle. She also doesn’t make attempts to fix issues. She’ll listen and offer her support, but she isn’t one to interfere—making coming here the right decision.
I quickly wash my hands and head to the kitchen, where Grammy is absorbed in a game show.
“Can I help?”
She shakes her head and carries a bowl of diced apples to the table. They’re covered in clouds of sweetened whipped cream because the only way she eats fruit is if it’s covered in some form of sugar. I follow behind her, taking a seat so my back faces the TV I know she’ll want to watch.
Large bowls of green salad are at each place setting, topped with tomatoes, yellow peppers, and jicama. Grammy’s plate is crowded with a pile of mashed potatoes, gravy, and fried pork chops—foods I stopped eating more than a decade before. A plate of sliced homemade bread completes the table.
“Brandon must not have known you were making pork chops,” I say.
Grammy pats my shoulder as she sets a napkin next to my plate and takes a seat across from me. “If he had, I would need twice as many chops.”
“How was rummy this week?”
Grammy’s blue eyes brighten. “They never stand a chance.”
I laugh at her complete disregard of humbleness.
“How’s work?” she asks in return.
My shoulders drop as I take in a deep breath. So often my job at the prestigious and prominent event-planning company Glitter and Gold overwhelms me with all the moving components and changes that keep me busy late into the night and weekends. After today, though, my job seems like such a simple and monotonous task. “It’s good,” I tell her. “Busy. With wedding season approaching, we’re having a big rush of customers.”
She nods, her attention torn between my answer and the show playing over my shoulder. “I bet it is. Any interesting themes this year?”
“Nothing quite as unusual as the circus wedding from a couple of years ago,” I tell her. “But there is a gothic wedding that is teetering between classy and creepy and another one that is supposed to be a trip around the world. It’s a fun idea, but some of the details are proving to be trickier than I’d expected.”
“You’ll figure it out. You always do.” She smiles at me. Grammy’s attention moves to the TV, where she starts yelling out answers and slapping the table each time the contestants don’t answer correctly, providing me some of the solitude I’d come here for. She doesn’t comment on how little of my dinner is eaten, and I’m grateful, knowing I couldn’t stomach it even if I tried.
When the show ends, Grammy stands and moves toward the sink to do dishes, and I follow, a companionable silence between us.
“How’s Gabe?” Grammy asks as she dries a plate.
I lean against the kitchen sink with my hip, filling the pan she used to make gravy with hot water. Feasible answers don’t come. Nothing does.
Grammy’s small hand covers mine, turning the faucet off. “It’ll be okay,” she tells me. “Everything’s going to be fine.”
“Would you mind if I stayed over on the hide-a-bed?”
Grammy’s lips pull into a thin line, realization fully dawning on her that this isn’t just a minor dispute. Since Gabe and I moved in together four years ago, I’ve never sought out another place to stay. She clutches my hand tightly. “I’ll grab the blankets.”
My phone dings, and my heart catapults to my throat.
Is Gabe checking on me?
Is he apologizing?
Will he tell me it was the biggest mistake of his life and he wants me back?
Trepidation makes my movements to retrieve my phone from my purse slow and tense. I flip the screen over and see a message from Michaela, the wife of James, who is Gabe’s best friend.
My heart rate quadruples in a second.
Has he already told everyone?
Am I going to start receiving pity texts and calls?
Is that how this works?
My thumb shakes and my palms sweat as I flip the screen open to receive her message and read it three times before the words sink in.
Michaela: Sorry to cancel last minute, but James has caught the flu. Hopefully we can reschedule for next week or sometime soon! Love you guys!
My sigh is so deep it’s audible. I don’t respond to Michaela and instead scroll down in my messages to Felicity’s name.
Me: Mind if I come by in the morning to borrow some clothes? I need an outfit for tomorrow. I’ll bring you coffee and a cinnamon roll. *on knees, begging*
Felicity: Begging on your knees for my clothes? Did you message the wrong person again? #MyClosetSucksssss
Me: I messaged the wrong person one time…
Felicity: One time my ass. It happens every time you want to gossip about someone.
Me: And karma, being the bitch that she is, taught me to stop after choking on my own words too many times.
Felicity: You’re welcome to come over. I have my pre-kiddo clothes still in my closet, but they’re probably all out of style. #momlife
Me: #idontcare #yourethebest #hashtagsarelame
Felicity: Well, you owe this *lame* hashtag user a venti now.
Felicity: Is everything okay?
Me: It will be. ☺ I’ll see you in the morning. Kiss the kiddos goodnight for me.
Felicity: !!!! It will be?!?!? What kind of response is that? What happened?
Me: I’m fine. Promise.
Felicity: ...you’ll tell me in the morning?
Me: Bright and early.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Dietz lives with her husband and three sons, who are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent most of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.
She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.
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The Cowboy’s Forgetful Bride
She had a lot of nerve to show up looking so goddamned gorgeous and not deign to give him the time of day.
Sawyer Cooper liked nerve.
Their game had been going on for the better part of a year now. Function after function, they would circle each other—or more accurately, he would circle, like a wolf closing in on an unsuspecting pronghorn—and when he had all but backed her into a corner, she would finally turn to acknowledge him with a show of polite surprise.
God, their game of cat and mouse turned him on more than he had ever imagined it would. He’d been crossing paths with her since he settled in Boston, and she was one of the reasons he’d stayed so long, even enduring stuffy events like this one. He liked to keep his distance from Montana anyway—and the family business he wanted no part of. The Country Coop chain of farm stores was his family’s legacy; it was an empire, all right, but in a family of three brothers, could you ever really be the undisputed king of it? No, Sawyer wanted to make his own waves in the world, and that meant divorcing himself completely from Country Coop and its redneck reputation.
Sawyer wanted a lot of things, but he had never wanted to bed a woman as thoroughly—and hopefully repeatedly—as he wanted to bed Bella. Problem was, the vixen knew it. How could she be oblivious, when Sawyer himself made it so obvious? He had done everything except outright ask her for a romp between the sheets. He still had some shred of pride, despite Bella’s persistent ability to test it.
Looking like that, tonight just might be the night she brought him to his knees.