Title: Mae’s Cafe
Author: Elsa Kurt
Series: Welcome To Chance, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: June 4th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
In Chance, Connecticut, it’s about living the small-town life. Here everyone knows everybody’s business. Gossip and drama spreads like wildfire in this town.
But I’m happy here, content with my little café where locals come together. Even the rich wives-club have their own corner where they can sit around and swap gossip stories. Luckily, I’ve managed to stay off their radar…until a handsome writer arrives in town.
William is older, wiser, and nothing like any other man I’ve met. The attraction between us is instant, and totally unexpected.
While I try to ignore the connection we share, the entire town starts to notice. Suddenly my personal life has become the new topic of conversation.
A twenty-six-year-old falling for an older man is exactly the kind of gossip that can stir a lot of drama in Chance.
Question is, will our newfound love survive being the talk of the town?
Miles pulled into his parking space, the nose of the black Mercedes nearly touching the signpost that read: Reserved for Miles Hannaford, Broker. He loved that sign almost as much as the one that hung above the door of his building. Hannaford Realty in gold-colored script—Lucinda Calligraphy, he chose it himself—below that, “Where Dreams Become A Realty.” He often had to point out his little play on words, most people were so unobservant.
Brianna was already there, leaning impatiently against the passenger door of her custom color—‘It’s called cashmere,’ she told anyone who’d listen—Limited Edition Jeep Grand Cherokee. Her hair and nails were salon perfect, her outfit—cream-colored, wide leg linen pants and breast hugging, robin’s egg blue blouse—like something off a Saks 5th Avenue mannequin.
“Hey gorgeous, waiting long?” His eyes were on her breasts.
“Eyes up here, asshole. Yes, I’ve been waiting long, long enough to notice that you spelled ‘Reality’ wrong. Look, you forgot the ‘i.’ Nice job,” she scoffed.
“No, it’s supposed to—never mind. Here,” he tossed her the keys which she caught awkwardly, “let yourself in. I got some stuff in the trunk I gotta bring in.”
He didn’t really need to bring in the signs in the trunk, he was stalling. The thing was, Brianna was hot, no question about it. Hell, she was even hotter now than she was in high school. But Ricky was a good guy. And he was built like a house. Not that Miles lacked in any physical capacity. Shit, he was a God damn specimen. Twelve percent body fat. He ran a seven-minute mile, benched two-forty, and was half an inch shy of six feet. Not to mention his full head of thick, wavy, sandy-blond hair. Yes, Miles Hannaford was a fucking specimen, all right. There was a long line of satisfied ladies to attest to that. Including Brianna, who’d come back for more. Which was the problem.
Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, indie & traditionally published author to eight contemporary women’s fiction novels, and several romance novellas. She has also penned several children’s books (written as Melanie Cherniack), and a book of empowerment & inspirations based on her life experiences. She is a lifelong New England resident and married mother of two grown children. Visit her website, elsakurt.com, and join her in ‘Finding Beauty in the Imperfections of Life’. Follow Elsa on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram: @authorelsakurt.
Elsa is also on Goodreads, AllAuthor, and YouTube as well.
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Title: Under the Skin
Author: Zara West
Publication date: June 6th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller
A billionaire bridge builder
A gifted thief
A ruthless criminal
Can he save her before it’s too late?
Sal bounced into the kitchen and put the model bridge on the table and then dumped the plastic bag of toy soldiers on the tabletop.
Her mother gave Lena a hard look. “We will talk later. Right now, I have to get off my feet.” She headed toward her bedroom and then stopped. “Where did you get the pretty bridge, Sal?”
“From sis’s magic pack.”
“Cielos.” She picked it up, rotated in her hands. “Got an inscription on the bottom. Looks like it was an award of some kind.” She handed it to Lena. “See if you can read it.”
Lena tipped the metal plate toward the light. “International Association of Architects, Best Bridge Design. Mircea Vargas.” Her stomach tightened. She hadn’t wanted to know the name of the man who’d saved her on the bridge and seen that her injuries were treated. Now she did.
It made her regret stealing from him even more. She handed it back to Sal.
Her mother tapped the tabletop. “What was that name?”
Lena put the dishes in the sink. “Mircea—I think that’s how you would say it—Vargas.”
“Yes. I remember. Such a weird first name. He was on the news.”
She smiled at her mother. “You watching television on the job, Mama?” It was one of things they razzed each other about.
“It’s one of the few perks I get. But that man. He was attacked this morning. He’s building a bridge across the Hudson and a mob pushed him down and trampled him. Took him away in an ambulance.”
Lena bit her lip. Must have been someone else. She’d left the townhouse mere hours ago. Her rich guy hadn’t looked injured.
Her mama shook her head. “Poor man. You should give it back. Imagine winning a big award like that. And now he’s hurt. It’s bad enough what you do. You shouldn’t take people’s treasures.”
A twinge of guilt ran through her. She clenched her fists and drove her fingernails into her palms until it hurt. That was exactly what she did. Stole people’s treasures.
And she would keep stealing them as long as she had to keep her family safe.
Zara West loves all things adventurous and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Zara spends winters in New York where the streets hum with life, summers in the Maritimes where the sea can be cruel, and the rest of the year anywhere inspiration for tales of suspense, mystery, and romance are plentiful.
An accomplished artist by training and passion, she brings a love of art to every book she writes. When not marooned on an island or chasing after Greek shepherds, Zara tends her organic herb garden, collects hats and cats, and whips up ethnic dishes for friends and family.
To find out more about this author visit the following links:
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Title: He’s a Brute
Author: Chloe Liese
Series: Tough Love, #1
Publication date: May 6th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
One dark and handsome control-freak sports star meets one smarty pants bioengineer with hair to match her fiery temper. It’s an experiment straight out of sexual thermodynamics.
Every good scientist knows the second law of thermodynamics: the universe’s disorder, entropy, is always increasing. Professionally and personally speaking, Nairne’s familiar with the principle. After a streak of costly fame, now she’s set on saving the world, microscope in hand, and there’s no time for romance. Problem is, when a rude, despicably sexy Adonis shows up to run their board meeting, chemistry and its ensuing chaos become more than a formula—now they’re a burning hot reality.
Mafia prince. Professional footballer. Bad boy demeanor and a reputation for being as talented between the sheets as he is on the pitch. Rumors are the man’s an absolute brute. And he turns out to be just as demanding, controlling and vicious in person as he is on paper. The Law of Attraction’s proven true, as Nairne finds herself accepting Zed’s proposal: rough, wild stress release, more orgasms than she can count, and most importantly—no falling in love.
Agreement in place. End date secured.
No attachments. No forever.
What could possibly go wrong?Book One in the Tough Love Series—an enemies to lovers, suspenseful romance, full of sexy Italians, bedroom negotiations, feisty heroines, and an ending that’ll both satisfy you and leave you ready for more!”
I took a few careful steps toward her because something about her made me uneasy. From the other end of the table, she’d been lovely. A pretty face with a pouty frown. By the time I was one third the way down the conference table toward her, she was devastating. I stopped because she was affecting me plenty from twelve feet away. Long and glossy dark auburn hair. Ivory skin. Fine bones, a smattering of freckles, and a warm glow to her cheeks. Her eyes were the real showstopper, though. They were an unfairly high chroma green, like blades of grass darkened after rain. They glittered with defiance and not a little contempt for me as she spoke.
“Understood, Mr. Salvatore. I look forward to showing you how misplaced your concern is. Until then, I’ll remember not to take such stingy optimism personally.”
No one spoke to me like that. I was Zedekiah Lazaro Salvatore, Deirdre O’Shea and Brando Salvatore’s firstborn. Boston fucking royalty, king of the soccer field, and prince of the city’s Italian criminal underworld. People kissed my ass and rolled out the red carpet. They bowed their heads and averted their eyes. Nobody gave me shit. Except Nairne MacGregor, apparently.
I dropped my grip on my jacket to hide the boner her sharp mouth gave me and feigned a smile. “You’ll excuse me.”
Waiting for her polite acknowledgment was out of the question. If I stuck around, she’d know exactly what her sass did to my body. I stormed out, knocked shoulders with someone and muttered an apology, then barreled toward the exit. I wasn’t normally clumsy—both of my professions were predicated on exceptional coordination and hyper-awareness—but I chalked it up to ninety-five percent of my blood gathering in my dick rather than my brain. Finally, I landed outside where I sucked in a breath and oriented myself.
Observing her during the meeting had been torture. Elbow on the table, jotting things down then setting her pen exactly parallel to the paper’s edge. Precise. Perfectionist. She’d listened while her wide green eyes darted between people as they spoke. Nairne was neurotically observant, cunning even. Watching her gears turning had turned me on. Big time.
She hadn’t spoken much, but when she had, I’d noted her vowels were off. She had an accent, and it wasn’t Southie. I couldn’t place it, and just like her hair that wouldn’t make up its mind between mahogany and rich red, her speech was another wrinkle in my morning. I’d never been this simultaneously annoyed and aroused.
Chloe’s always been a sucker for a suspenseful steamy romance, ever since she managed to find the one saucy mystery series hiding in her high school’s prim little library. Nothing drives her crazier than a story that cranks up the heat, then closes the door on the reader’s face, so don’t read her books if you don’t want to know what actually happens when the lights fade to black…
When she’s not writing, Chloe’s busy reading books of all genres, rereading Harry Potter (which she can’t help but make her characters similarly obsessed over), and playing catch-up with her bad@$$ little girls. She’s also been known to scramble around the pitch for a pick-up soccer match and run along the river while dreaming up her next book.
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Title: Breaking the Rules
Author: Tinthia Clemant
Publication date: April 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Love isn’t supposed to hurt.
Hedge witch Shannon Baldos isn’t looking for love. She isn’t even looking for sex. She’s looking for the courage to finally leave her gaslighting husband’s ass. So the last thing she needs is a distraction, like the town’s land-grabbing yet oh so sexy property developer, Adam St. John.
Then again, maybe a little distraction is exactly what she does need.
Growing up under the domineering thumb of her maternal grandmother, and then married to a misogynistic husband, thirty-nine-year-old Shannon Baldos has learned that love hurts. For almost seven years she’s lived under the thumb of her abusive husband, all with the guise of wanting to give her son a stable home. The truth? She’s stayed because she’s a coward. Still is. But maybe, with heart fluttering, groin throbbing, Adam St. John by her side, or on top of her, under works too, she might discover some hidden courage and finally take her son and escape. As for falling for St. John and his pirate grin, not a chance. Rule #1: Don’t fall in love.
Referred to as an emotional train wreck, Wexford’s successful developer, Adam St. John, has rules. A lot of them. Created to keep him well-insulated from further pain and disappointment with regards to life, and love. At forty-nine, he’s quite happy with his life of solitude. With three divorces under his belt, he’s in no hurry to add a fourth. Besides, there are more than enough women willing to keep him warm at night. But when he meets the town’s green-eyed witch with the freckles splattered across the bridge of her nose, and the hips that sway under her flowing skirts, one night of passion leaves him craving more. Maybe it’s time to break a few rules.
In her newest novel, Breaking the Rules, Tinthia Clemant has woven a story about one brave woman’s determination to take back her life as she learns that love doesn’t always hurt.
Shannon fiddled with the buttons of her dress as she and Justin waited for their coffees. Outside, rain fell on people rushing by the window of the coffee shop. She moved her attention from the scene outside to her two-month-old son in the carrier next to her. He was the most beautiful baby she’d ever seen, and it still amazed her that he’d formed inside her body.
“Are you listening to me?”
She looked up at her husband of one year sitting on the opposite side of the booth and nodded. A sense of hopelessness washed over her. She’d tried to do everything right—paid for the train tickets with cash and not her credit card, hadn’t used her real name, all the little tricks she’d picked up from watching movies over the years. She’d even cut her hair. Yet Justin had found her after only two days. She wouldn’t make a very good spy.
“Say something,” Justin demanded, loud enough that the people across from the booth glanced over.
Shannon rubbed at her forehead. “I’m sorry, my head is pounding.” Hopefully, the lie would keep his anger at bay.
“Do you have anything you can take?”
He reached across the table and grabbed the diaper bag. After rifling the contents, he removed a pocket-sized tube of Advil, along with her cell phone.
She watched her phone slide into his coat pocket. “What are you doing?”
“I’ll hold on to your phone. Now that I’ve found the two of you, you won’t be needing it.” He poured four pills into his palm and held them out. “So, what do you think?”
“I need my phone.”
“I…I’m expecting a call.”
She struggled to come up with a name that wouldn’t set him off. “Maureen,” she lied a second time, hoping he didn’t know she hadn’t spoken to her coworker since quitting the ad agency.
“If she calls, I’ll give it to you. Now, back to what I said. What do you think?”
“What do I think about what?”
She received a severe frown as a response before he said, “You’re doing it again.”
“Not listening to me. How about thinking about me for once and not always yourself?”
“Yeah, you’re always sorry after you do something.”
She glanced at the baby. Satisfied he was still sleeping, she adjusted his blanket and returned her attention to the table, where she stared at her coffee.
Justin’s tone softened. “You make me do and say things. If you acted better, I wouldn’t be so hard on you.” He reached across the table again, this time offering his hand.
Shannon bit into her lower lip in the exact spot she’d recently opened with her right canine. Blood meandered through her teeth, and she slowly placed her hand in his.
“That’s my girl. What I said was, if you and Chad come back home where you belong, I’ll go to couples counseling like you asked. I can change.”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what?”
“I don’t know what to do.”
He lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles but then squeezed her fingers, driving her wedding band into the side of her pinkie. “I’m not the bad guy, Shannon. Most of the time I’m only joking around, but you take things much too serious. You know what your problem is? You’re too sensitive. You need to lighten up.”
The baby squirmed and drew her attention. Chad scrunched his face, coloring the round cheeks so that he resembled an angry plum. “I have to clean him.” She moved from the booth and looped the strap of the diaper bag over her shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”
Justin pushed his chair back from the table and walked with her to the bathroom. “I’ll wait right here,” he said, positioning himself against the wall. She pulled on the door, but he blocked it. “I’m taking you back, Shannon. You need me—you’re too weak to raise a kid on your own.”
He released the door, and she entered the bathroom.
While changing Chad’s diaper, distant voices filled her ears, voices that belonged to ghosts who wouldn’t stay vanquished. In her mind she was a child of six and hiding under her grandmother’s heavy, wooden desk.
‘Don’t you walk away from me, young lady.’
The memory of the voice was like a cold wind, the kind that could get under her coat and raise goosebumps up her back.
She knew her mother would speak next; the memory was always the same—never changing because the dead wouldn’t allow it.
‘For Christ’s sake, Mother, I just buried my husband.’
‘Keep your voice down, Katherine. Do you want everyone to think you’re hysterical?’
‘I don’t care what people think. This is not the time to have this conversation.’
‘This is the perfect time. What are you planning on doing? Raising the child on your own? You know you’re not equipped for that.’
‘I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my daughter.’
‘No, you’re not; you’re too weak. You need me.’
In the restaurant bathroom, Shannon squeezed her eyes closed, recalling the spider that had crawled up her young shin and how she’d placed her hand in its path and lowered it back to the floor. It had scurried out from under the desk, and her grandmother’s thick-soled shoe had turned it into a black splotch. That was how she felt now, like a spider with a dark shadow hanging over her head, ready to drop and crush both her and Chad.
“Shannon.” The doorknob rattled. “Hurry up.”
“I’ll be right out.” She unbuckled Chad from the changing table, returned him to his carrier, and paused to stroke his dark brown hair. In exchange for her tender touch, he cooed. She kissed his cheek and whispered, “I’m sorry munchkin. I tried.”
Tinthia Clemant was born in Medford, Massachusetts, over sixty years ago. Her childhood was a happy one. She lived in a loving home with her three siblings, mother and father. Her imagination soared as she passed the days enacting the scenes from the stories that spun through her mind.
Tinthia always wrote. From the time she first picked up a pencil, or perhaps it was a crayon, she wrote. Stories about searching for secrets. Stories about joy and sadness; friendship and betrayal; and, of course, stories about true love.
She self-published her first book by stapling six pages together. Her marketing plan was simple–give the book to her mother for Mother’s Day. Marketing her indie-published books has gotten a whole lot harder but she pushes on, knowing the worlds she creates will take each reader on a magical journey.
A romantic women’s fiction author, Tinthia fell in love with romance when she witnessed, at the impressionable age of five, the power of true love. On the silver screen of the Meadow Glen drive-in, she watched Prince Phillip defeat Maleficent’s tangled web of thorns and the fire-breathing dragon so he could save his lady love. As Phillip pressed his lips against Sleeping Beauty’s, she understood the power of true love’s first kiss.
As a hopeful romantic, Tinthia has searched far and wide for that special someone who will take her breath away. Unfortunately, she has yet to find love’s magical kiss. However, she learned a lot about herself along the way and uses these lessons to weave her stories and the strong (and older) heroines she brings to life.
Tinthia lives on the banks of the Concord River and spends her time teaching science at a local community college, gardening, painting, tending her flock of Mallards (follow her natural history blog at: concordriverlady.com), reading, and, of course, writing about journeys, disappointment, joy, and true love. Her two favorite men are Ben and Jerry and she wishes they would bring back the summer flavor, Blueberry Cheesecake.
To learn more about this author visit the following links:
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May 16th, 2019
Dawn of a Legend
(The Silvan, #3)
Publication date: May 3rd 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Book three in The Silvan, a best-selling series by award-winning author R.K. Lander. “Page-turning epic fantasy you will not be able to put down.”
A past to claim
A power to wield
A destiny to fulfil
To the enemy, Fel’annár is just a half-blood bastard, but to the Silvan people, he is their crownless warrior prince. Returning from battle in the mountains, he grieves for one who was lost, a death that triggers a mystery Fel’annár and his company of chosen brothers must unravel. But why do the trees speak of a beautiful monster?
Fel’annár will learn the ways of the Kah Warrior from a legendary commander while facing the disdain of another who struggles to accept this ‘ignoble son’ for who he is, not for what he represents. Meanwhile, Fel’annár’s royal half-brother reveals a plan to restore the Great Forest to its past splendour of multi-cultural harmony. But the Forest is falling apart under the final onslaught of a ruthless traitor and the Silvan people are turning away from their ruler. Can Fel’annár come to understand what role he must play in this plan before it is too late? Can the brothers put aside their resentment towards each other for tearing their families apart and learn to trust one another? Can love prosper in the midst of battle and hardship as dark enemies converge on the Motherland?
Danger lies in wait for an elf who is slowly coming to terms with his heritage, learning to wield a natural ability and accepting the nature of his unfolding destiny.
The greatest warriors of their time will come together once more—in the name of justice. In the name of love.
Start your Silvan adventure today!
Book One: Path of a Novice
Book Two: Road of a Warrior (Best Indie Book Award winner 2018)
Book Three: Dawn of a Legend – coming soon
Book Four: Rise of a Warlord – 2020
The thud of an arrow piercing flesh, a cry of pain from an elven warrior who was thrown to the floor with the force of the bolt.
A roar of anger, a plea for aid, the scream of a defeated soldier, the desperate sounds of elves and Deviants locked in combat, fighting and dying in the frigid cold. But Fel’annár did not flinch, even though he stood in the midst of the chaos. He couldn’t; he was the only master archer left, the only one who could eliminate the Deviant snipers that were picking off their warriors.
He sighted his next target, stance perfect; it had to be. His arm did not waver, it could not, and his heart did not feel; it must not. He would not allow that, and when the last sniper was down, he whipped out his long and short swords with a morbid sense of satisfaction and moved closer to Captain Comon and The Company’s position, where the fighting was at its worst.
The shriek of polished metal upon rusted iron grated on their ears, but it did not deter the Alpine warriors of Tar’eastór, even though they had been fighting almost constantly for the last weeks. They bore down upon the rotting mass of Deviants that had thought to surprise them, their elven faces twisted into snarls of hatred for an enemy that was relentless, ruthless.
“Behind you,” warned Fel’annár as he moved closer to his captain to engage another Deviant, whose massive scimitar swung unnervingly close over his head. Shocked, he flipped backwards to gain space and time and then moved to the side and scored a blow to the Deviant’s shoulder. But that only served to enrage it. Roaring in unbridled wrath, the beast bore down on Fel’annár with such strength it sent him stumbling backwards. What was wrong with him? Yet even as he asked himself he knew the answer: he was tired, his concentration slipping, and this opponent was not going down easily.
Swivelling his right sword to the left, he whirled around and sliced into its other side, garnering another unearthly shriek that vibrated painfully in his ears.
He moved in from the front this time, but the beast’s counter blow was so strong it was all Fel’annár could do to keep his sword from flying out of his sticky hand; he was off balance once more, and the nascent tingle of dread began to take hold of him.
Fel’annár raised both blades and brought them down upon his enemy, but they were blocked, and for one strange moment, bright green eyes locked with the cloudy but challenging gaze of the Deviant. There was hatred and cruelty there, as there always was; he had expected that, but Fel’annár hesitated, for there was something more, something he could not place. His brow twitched in confusion, but before he could ponder it any longer, the handle of the Deviant’s blade caught him in the side of the head with a heavy thud, sending him stumbling backwards and then, to his utter horror, to his knees. He was down, and he desperately blinked to clear his reeling mind, not fast enough to avoid the boot that crashed into his mid-section, sending him gasping to the floor. It was all he could do to roll out of the way as the scimitar came down upon him, missing him by mere inches, a blessing in disguise, for the beast had placed so much weight behind the blow that it overcompensated. Fel’annár had just enough time to plunge both swords into its mid-section.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I write epic fantasy for adults. I love battles, warriors, great adventures – elves, monsters and generally weird things, but above all, I love a good story with compelling characters.
My first project is The Silvan Series, with book three, Dawn of a Legend ready to launch April 2019. I hope you’ll enjoy my stories and perhaps click the ‘follow’ button. And I would love to see you over at rklander.com. You’ll find some story extras there and freebie if you’re interested.
Title: I Spy the Boy Next Door
Author: Samantha Armstrong
Publication date: May 25th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Four p.m. spy sessions are the highlight of Mallory Taylor’s day. Observing the boy next door—one with a body and an attitude to match—has her perched beside her window so often it can’t be healthy.
When she finally convinces her mom to let her go to public school, Mallory comes face to face with her neighbor, Troy Parker. And he makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. His rejection awakens a newfound tenacity and maybe even a touch of recklessness. But when Troy starts to show up when she needs him the most, Mallory can’t help but wonder if there’s more to him than he’s let on.
Taking chances, breaking rules, and following her heart is all new to Mallory. And no one warned her just how fickle hearts can be. When she discovers that Troy isn’t at all the guy she imagined him to be, secrets rise to the surface that will change her life forever.
**This is a standalone mature YA/new adult contemporary romance.
We’re about ten minutes into the lesson when everything around me stops and spins. I don’t know which because all I can see is him.
“Mr. Parker, nice of you to join us,” Mr. Brown says.
I stalked him a few years ago on Facebook to see if we were in the same grade, but I wasn’t expecting to be in the same class.
My day just got a hell of a lot better.
I press my palm to my chest, feeling the familiar beat. I press harder, hoping the pressure will soften the racket inside of me.
He slides a note onto Mr. Brown’s desk, barely acknowledging him before returning his attention to his phone. His fingers fly across the screen as he walks down the aisle.
Please look at me. Please look at me. Please look at me, I silently chant, but when he turns and heads directly for me, my prayers abruptly change. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me.
My heart’s thumping so hard against my ribcage, I’m losing air.
This is the moment.
I don’t know what to do. I’ve been envisioning it for so long, and now that it’s about to happen, everything I’ve ever planned I would do or say has gone out the window. I start clicking my pen, then tapping my foot. I should be focusing on the lesson at the front of the room, but I can’t take my eyes off him. He’s wearing a hood, but I can see his hair slipping out from under it. Dark jeans hang low on his hips, and a bag sits snug on his back.
He’s only a few steps away. I swallow.
He’s in front of me. He looks up.
My breath catches in my throat.
His eyes widen, then narrow. All these years later, he still doesn’t smile at me.
And I realize, I sat in an already claimed seat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Samantha Armstrong’s novels incorporate all of the feels–from swoon-worthy heroes to sweet-but-mostly-sassy heroines, quirk and laughter to emotional grit and panty melting-heat. She has written in multiple genres, but never strays far from romance.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Samantha Armstrong prefers to be tucked away writing whenever she can — or, rather, whenever her adorable yet demanding baby boy allows.
A normal day for her includes diapers–lots of them–walks with both babies (i.e. human baby and dog baby), writing between naps, and staying up late to write even more. Then somehow fitting all the other stuff in between.
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Title: In Other Words
Author: Jennifer Woodhull
Publication date: April 30th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
We became close friends in college. When Sinclair returns home to Dallas after two years in New York, I introduce her to my best friend Cole. The good-looking playboy ballplayer is the perfect kind of guy for the woman I’m sure would never be interested in me…even if seeing them together breaks my heart.
He was the nerdy PhD candidate. I was the cheerleader. We made unlikely friends. Moving back home after two years away, he looks hotter than ever. When I start dating his ballplayer best friend, things get complicated. He doesn’t see me as girlfriend material…but I can’t get him, or my feelings for him, out of my head.
There are not enough words. I don’t mean that in a dramatic way as if there are not enough words to express something with which I’m momentarily frustrated. I mean there are often times when the optimum word for something simply does not exist.
Fernweh is a German word that describes a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never visited before. The Swedish word, lagom, describes taking not too much nor too little, but just the right amount of something. To wear or use something for the very first time is expressed in Spanish by the word estrenar.
I love words more than anything. I love hearing someone intelligent use the absolutely perfect, most fitting word at exactly the right moment. I love anagrams, crossword puzzles, and riddles. I love how they make me think about language and how people use it. Perhaps most of all though, I love awful puns—even dad-level terrible ones. I only know one person who loves language as much as I do, and he also happens to be the very person I can hardly wait to see.
The Portuguese have a word for the sensation of nostalgia and longing for someone who is far away. Saudade. That’s what I’ve been experiencing since I moved to New York. I have saudade for Dexter Flynn, but that’s about to come to an end.
I walk into The Tipsy Alchemist, an upscale hipster place Dexter chose to start our reunion evening. I visually scour the space, and am disappointed when I don’t see him. I walk the length of the bar and just as I’m about to turn and head back toward the front, a man leans in close behind me and says, “Excuse me, miss, but might I buy your first libation of the evening?”
I turn, ready to tell the guy to get lost so I can call the person I want most in the world to see. When I turn around, though, I’m met with a pair of sweet, soulful brown eyes hiding behind tortoiseshell frames. My heart darts around my chest. I throw my arms around him so hard, I nearly send us both tumbling to the floor.
“Dex!” I squeal, squeezing his neck. His arms wrap around me, and they’re far stronger than I remember.
“It’s about time you came back,” he whispers into the side of my neck as he squeezes me tightly. “I’ve missed you, Clair.”
I feel an instant wash of relief, being here in his arms. The feel of his cheek against mine and the smell of his aftershave trigger an eruption of happy memories. My brain floods with late night talks and board game marathons. My circuits overload with shared stories and supporting each other through tough times—with gushing over books and documentaries at the independent theatre. He has been such a huge part of my life for so long, and now, with him, I finally feel like I’m really home.
When we finally break from our embrace, we both realize we’re standing in the highest traffic area of the bar, and the place is so packed we might be physically in danger from rowdy patrons clamoring for beer.
“Come on,” he says, grabbing my hand. “I reserved us a booth.”
He leads me through the trendy, dark-paneled space to the back where tiny, high-walled booths, are situated. This area of the bar is quieter than the rest, and the high walls of our booth offer some much-appreciated privacy.
The booth to our immediate right houses what I can only assume is a bachelorette party judging by the volume and frequency of the word woo, coming from their direction.
When the server arrives, I order a cocktail, and Dex orders a beer. “Miss, can I ask, the group of ladies in the booth next to us…is one of them a bachelorette, by chance?” He smirks in my direction.
“Actually, yeah. Are they being too rowdy?”
“Not at all. I was just curious,” he replies. I snicker and he winks in response.
“It’s a cool story, actually,” the server pauses to tell us more detail. “She just got out of the military. She met her fiancé while they were stationed together. He was injured, and she’s a nurse.” She puts her hand to her chest. “They fell in love while he recovered in her hospital.”
Dex and I look at each other, and each make the universal face that any red-blooded human with feelings makes when seeing a baby, or a puppy, or hearing a sweet love story. “Aww,” we say in unison, laughing.
“Would you please take them a bottle of Dom Perignon and put it on my tab? Anonymous, though, please…with thanks for her service, and her fiancé’s,” Dex adds.
“Wow, that’s really nice of you! Absolutely, I’ll take care of it,” the server replies.
When she walks out of Dexter’s line of sight, she catches my eye and mouths the words, “Lucky you,” with a wink. It makes me smile unreasonably wide.
Lucky me that such a kind, thoughtful, generous man is in my life and cares so much for me. Lucky me that he’s my friend. Unlucky me that he’s not more than just a friend.
“That was very generous of you,” I tell him.
“I had the good luck to meet an inventor whose work I really admire once at a party. Knowing I was new to success, he told me, “I always say, if you’ve got it, spread it around. Nobody likes a successful, stingy asshole.” I’ve always tried to remember that,” he says with a shrug. We toast to successful good guys.
“You look amazing, Sinclair.” Dex is grinning at me, his brown eyes sparkling.
I reach across the table and take both his hands in mine, giving them a squeeze. “You look amazing too. By the way,” I say, stifling a giggle. “I didn’t know I’d need tickets.”
“Tickets? For…what, exactly?” He cocks an eyebrow up in question.
“The gun show,” I reply, pointing to what I can see is a pronounced bicep on each arm.
His cheeks flush with crimson as he looks down and away. The expression belongs to the shy, gangly guy I met in school, not the hunky, successful entrepreneur sitting across from me.
“So, have you been hitting the gym, or did you invent some magical neurotransmitter that passively enhances muscle tissue?” I tease. “Because if you have, please sign me up as a test subject. Pilates is torture, but I like to eat far too much to ever give it up without some sort of alternative.”
He chuckles. “I like to think of the fitness thing as my transformation to Dexter two-dot-oh. I have to say, I don’t hate that my efforts are producing noticeable results. I told you about my business partner Cole, right?” He asks sheepishly.
“Your friend Cole, yes,” I reply, rolling my eyes.
I think he still has a little trouble wrapping the high school part of his brain around being friends with a jock.
“Yeah. Anyway, since he pitches for the Frontiersmen he knows all the best personal trainers. He convinced me to start working out with one he recommended. I go to the gym almost every day now. Turns out I’m not as unathletic as I thought I was.” He grins wide, pride evident on his face.
“You certainly seem like you’re feeling pretty good,” I reply. I stand up enough to reach across and squeeze his bicep. “Yep, feeling pretty darn good to me.”
He smiles, then he shakes his head and chuckles. “I really do feel good…and even better now.” Something flashes briefly in his chocolate-brown eyes, then he smirks. “I’m just so happy you’re back, Clair.”
Clair. No one but him calls me that. The way he says it is familiar and makes me feel special that he has a nickname just for me. It’s the same way I call him Dex. Those terms of endearment are just for us, like they’re special words all our own.
By the time we finish the drinks the server brings over my stomach is growling, so we head down the street to a Mexican place that has always been one of my favorites.
As we walk the four or five blocks to the restaurant, a group of girls walking the opposite direction toward us are all checking Dex out as they pass. I turn to look over my shoulder and see them all looking back, whispering and giggling. When I look over at him, he seems oblivious.
And this is why he has trouble finding the right girl. He has no clue when a woman is into him.
I bump his shoulder with mine.
“They were checking you out,” I say with a smirk.
“That group of girls that walked by. They were cute, too.”
He rolls his eyes.
“So, not seeing anyone?” I ask.
“Not at the moment.” He lets out a sigh. “Maybe I’m too picky.”
“Maybe you are,” I agree.
And that’s the other reason he can’t find the right girl. He has never fully explained the criteria with me, but he seems never to have found a girl that checks all the boxes on the list of Dex requirements for the perfect girl.
Someone as genuine and kind, as smart and as funny as Dex deserves someone wonderful, though—someone who can see him for everything he is. I have tried to resign myself to the fact that I’m not that girl in his eyes. I only hope that one day he finds her, and she deserves him.
That brings me to another word that should exist, but doesn’t. There should be a word for enjoying something you have, but still wishing it was much, much more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Woodhull is based in the Southern United States, spending time in her second home of England, and traveling as often as she can. Her love of travel permeates her work, and her characters often find themselves exploring new and foreign surroundings.
A keen observer of human behavior, Jennifer often draws inspiration from something as simple as a fleeting connection, or the glimpse of a unique trait or characteristic. Her favorite place to write is on airplanes.
“The drone of the engine, the scores of people, all traveling to something or from something, and being disconnected from digital distractions are a combination that provide the perfect place to write,” she says. “If you see a woman in seat 9F who is balancing her Macbook on her lap because it’s time to close your tray table, please have patience. I’m just trying to finish one more sentence.”
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Title: What Matters More
Author: Liora Blake
Publication date: April 9th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A sexy contemporary romance about what happens when a casual one-night stand becomes anything but casual.
JT Maxwell has it all . . . well, almost. He’s a US Marshal, he looks like he belongs in an aftershave commercial, and he has tattoos—lots of tattoos. Unfortunately, he’s also in debt up to his pretty blue eyeballs. Between that and his recent divorce, his personal life is nonexistent these days. But when a free-spirited artist approaches him for a no-strings-attached one-night stand, things suddenly start looking up.
Anya Alves’s life is a mess. She’s lost her job, caught her boyfriend cheating on her, and if it weren’t for the house-sitting gig she just landed, she’d be homeless. On top of all that, her creative muse has up and disappeared. If she doesn’t get it back, her burgeoning career as an artist will be over before it starts. But after indulging in a steamy hook-up with a guy who makes it easy to forget her troubles, she gets her mojo back.
The last thing she expects when starting her house-sitting job, is to see her sexy one-night stand again . . . living right across the street.
Anya managed a nervous smile and thrust her arms forward, with the baking pan perched in her hands like an offering—one she suddenly wasn’t sure would be welcome.
“We made enchiladas for dinner,” she blurted out. “And we saved some for you. Tara said you can send her a thank-you note tomorrow. I kept them warm, and I have salad and some beer, too. Are you hungry?”
JT’s gaze zeroed in on the pan in her hands and he simply stared at it, not saying a word, even when Anya cleared her throat to ease the uncomfortable silence. She felt a blush creeping across her cheeks, and a panicked thought hit her. One that if she hadn’t lost her mind earlier, she would have been able to see coming before she found herself with these damn oven mitts on her hands.
Maybe this was a mistake.
She could see how this must look, this show of domesticity on her part that he certainly hadn’t asked for or even insinuated that he wanted. But here she was, making him dinner and keeping it warm until he arrived home, like she was some proper Kennedy-era housewife—which, on so many levels, she definitely wasn’t. Even the outfit she’d changed into, a lavender floral mini dress, made it look like all she was missing was a cute little vintage apron to complete the look.
Of course this was a mistake.
Anya considered setting the pan on the ground and walking away without saying another word. But then JT locked his eyes with hers. A hungry, heated look was on his face, and because she was regretting this whole thing now, she wasn’t sure whether that look was for her or the enchiladas. Either way, she needed him to say something soon because she was about to drop this hot pan and swoon, although not necessarily in that order.
“I’m starving,” JT rumbled. Then he made his way toward the door into the house, opened it, and invited Anya in with just the tip of his chin. She scooted past him in the doorway and swore that when she did, he actually grunted quietly as she passed.
Even then, she still wasn’t sure what he wanted to eat first.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Wife of one. Mom of three plus a Beagle.
Liora Blake is a contemporary romance author living in Colorado.
When she isn’t writing, she’s likely baking cookies she shouldn’t eat, inventing elaborate excuses to avoid going for a run, or asking the nice barista to sell her another quad-shot Americano.
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