Release Date: September 22nd

Grab this ALL-NEW collection of sweet and sexy romance novellas from 10 best selling authors obsessed with falling in love today, for ONLY $2.99 DURING RELEASE WEEK!!!

All new. All standalones. Guaranteed to make you swoon.

This collection will feature brand new stories from:
Fiona Cole
Willow Winters
Meghan Quinn
Skye Warren
Ella Fields
Jade West
K. Webster
Amelia Wilde
Trilina Pucci
Meagan Brandy




Before the school bell rang on September 1st, we were already falling in love.

Stories of September is a collection of sweet and sexy romance novellas from 10 best selling authors obsessed with falling in love.

Authors included are:
Fiona Cole
Willow Winters
Meghan Quinn
Skye Warren
Ella Fields
Jade West
K. Webster
Amelia Wilde
Trilina Pucci
Meagan Brandy


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GRAB FOR $2.99 ONLY!  



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Jessika Klide has revealed the cover for Rules of Engagement,
a sexy enemies to lovers standalone that proves in the game of love, winners never quit!


Releasing November 19, 2020


Jessika Klide steps into K. Bromberg's Everyday Heroes World with an enemies to lovers, steamy, standalone romance about a case of miscommunication that leads to total crisis management and proves that in the game of love, winners never quit. Featuring a precocious K9. 


Jorja Jones:

My boss, Editor in Chief of Modern Family Magazine, Sidney Malone, informs me that I will be writing our entry into the First Annual Thorton Publishing House Contest, and the theme is Everyday Heroes, featuring Sunnyville's recently returned Navy SEAL Jocko Malone.

Jocko? Just my luck! We have bad blood, high-school history.

The day before he left for the Navy, he took his torture to another level.

He kissed me like we were lovers. It was humiliating.

Six years later, the memory still makes my blood boil ... and my toes curl.

I'm doomed!


Jocko Malone:

The last time I saw Juicy Jorja, her body that's built like a brick house was pinned between my manhood and the lockers, and I had kissed the ever-loving (fill in the blank) out of her sassy mouth.

The memory of which got me through all the darkness I faced.

She's the reason I returned to Sunnyville.

She and I have unfinished business.

Get ready to fall hard for Sunnyville's returning hero, Navy SEAL Jocko Malone as he fights to win back the girl he left behind. Failure is not an option.

One-click-it-today and immerse yourself back into Sunnyville with an all new magnificent Malone man. 


Jessika Klide's Rules of Engagement is a fast-moving, action-packed, all-the-feels, contemporary romance written in K. Bromberg's Everyday Heroes Worlds project.



Preorder today on Amazon!

US |

WW |


Goodreads |



Rules of Engagement is written in New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg's Everyday Heroes World, which is one of two KB Worlds projects that launched this August. With over 100 authors, who were selected by and are working with K. Bromberg, these stories are fan fiction at its finest—and sexiest. Devoted fans of the Driven and Everyday Heroes series will have the opportunity to revisit their favorite characters and settings. You can find out more about K. Bromberg and the KB Worlds at

KB Worlds Amazon Page |

KB Worlds Facebook Group |

KB Worlds Newsletter |




Meet Jessika

Jessika Klide is my pen name. I live in the Deep South. Trust me. It's better this way.

I'm an Amazon Bestselling Author of Romantic Comedies, featuring some of the hottest badass men, and strong, sassy women you will ever read. I write insta-love, billionaire, military heroes, and single dad romance stories. I promise panty-melting passion delivered full-frontal that guarantees you will experience more than one happy ending. ;)

I've been interviewed by USA Today, Happily Ever After Blog, been featured on romance podcasts, and quoted for relationship advice in Men's Health, Bustle, Prevention Magazine, Parade, YourTango, My Joy Online, StyleCaster, and The Real Daily.

I'm from LA ... Lower Alabama. I married my high school sweetheart. It was love at first sight, and he still, forty years and counting, does it for me. I'm living the happily ever after! I'm a lucky girl.

I absolutely LOVE writing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my stories, supporting my passion, and allowing me to live my dream.


Connect with Jessika

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She didn’t like bikers, until she met him.

Wild Fire, the all-new consuming and must read 1,001 Dark Nights and CHAOS, Black Brothers novella from New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley and is available now!


“You know you can’t keep a good brother down.”

The Chaos Motorcycle Club has won its war. But not every brother rode into the sunset with his woman on the back of his bike.

Chaos returns with the story of Dutch Black, a man whose father was the moral compass of the Club, until he was murdered. And the man who raised Dutch protected the Club at all costs. That combination is the man Dutch is intent on becoming.

It’s also the man that Dutch is going to go all out to give to his woman.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**


My Review


Download your copy today!
Amazon: 🏍 US  🏍 Worldwide 🏍 Paperback 🏍 



“Invisible Man, this for you, or someone else?” Duke asked, taking Dutch’s attention, and Dutch realized he was so lost to his thoughts, he was working on autopilot and hadn’t noticed he’d approached the register and laid down his books.
“Someone else,” Dutch answered.
“You read it?” Duke asked.
“Yeah,” Dutch told him.
“Whole world should read it,” Duke muttered, jabbing a thick finger against the screen of the tablet that stood in for a till.
“Yeah,” Dutch agreed. “Listen, you wouldn’t have any copies of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas that haven’t been shelved yet, would you?”
Duke shook his head. “Not many givin’ up that book. We get one, you want me to call you?”
He could go to Barnes and Noble, easy.
With Tex as her barista, not to mention Indy and her crew all being the subject of those books that had been published, so folks came in all the time, Indy wasn’t hurting for customers, or cash.
Still, Dutch bought his books exclusively from Fortnum’s.
And he had a lot of books.
He had no idea why Fortnum’s was his go-to. It wasn’t about buying local or any of that other millennial shit.
Thinking on it, it was the fact he liked the vibe.
It was the fact that walking in there was like walking into someone’s house.
Like coming home.
To family.
Shaking off his thoughts, he agreed, “That’d be cool.”
“You wanna stay for a cup o’ joe and a talk?” Duke asked, and Dutch hid his surprise.
The man hadn’t approached. Not in word or deed.
There were the looks he gave Dutch, the ones he exchanged with Tex.
But he never said dick.
“No, got shit to do this afternoon,” he lied.
He had no shit to do that afternoon.
Or at all.
“Boy—” Duke started.
“I’m not a boy,” Dutch bit.
His temper wasn’t usually short, but these days, it could be.
This was why Duke blinked.
He then said, “Son—”
“I’m not your son either,” Dutch returned.
“Right then.” Duke’s voice was no longer a friendly rumble. It was tight. “First, my age can’t have escaped you, considerin’ all this gray hair and wrinkles, so you are a boy to me, and you will be until you’re sixty and I’m dead. And second, any man’s a man at all, a man that’s younger than him and obviously struggling is his son. A son he looks after.”
Christ, was he not hiding it?
“I’m not struggling,” he lied again.
“Brother, just ring me up so I can get on with my day,” Dutch demanded.
Duke was silent a beat.
He then finished ringing him up, and Dutch paid.
“No bag,” he grunted.
Duke slid the books over the counter toward Dutch.
Dutch had turned, avoiding Tex’s eyes as he did, and started heading toward the door when Duke called, “You know that door is always open, but the one to my cabin in Evergreen is too, man.”


About Kristen


Kristen Ashley is the New York Times bestselling author of over sixty romance novels including the Rock Chick, Colorado Mountain, Dream Man, Chaos, Unfinished Hero, The ’Burg, Magdalene, Fantasyland, The Three, Ghost and Reincarnation, Moonlight and Motor Oil and Honey series along with several standalone novels. She’s a hybrid author, publishing titles both independently and traditionally, her books have been translated in fourteen languages and she’s sold over three million books.
Kristen’s novel, Law Man, won the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Romantic Suspense. Her independently published title Hold On was nominated for RT Book Reviews best Independent Contemporary Romance and her traditionally published title Breathe was nominated for best Contemporary Romance. Kristen’s titles Motorcycle Man, The Will, Ride Steady (which won the Reader’s Choice award from Romance Reviews) and The Hookup all made the final rounds for Goodreads Choice Awards in the Romance category.

Connect with Kristen

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Well it's no secret that I absolutely love Kristen Ashley's writing. And her Chaos series has been a thing of beauty. But add her to a 1001 Dark Nights and I'm one happy little camper.


Because as much as I love Kristen Ashley, man can she be wordy. And being someone who doesn't care about fashion or decorating I love that she skips over those parts in these novellas and gets right to the heart of her characters and their story.


Mainly because she writes such great characters. And although the men are all growling, alpha, bad arses I can't get enough of them. Dutch obviously is one I have "known" for a while through other members books. But getting all of him was awesome. And I loved that so much of this book was told from his perspective.


The way he saw Georgie was truly beautiful and even if she had been a raging bitch, I still would have loved her from how Dutch saw her. Luckily for us she was a typical strong, opinionated, interesting woman who was easy to admire.


I really loved this story. And I really loved seeing Jag, Keeley and Hound. But now I am upset we have to wait six months for Jaggers book. I should say that while I'm obsessed with this author and have read all these books you could happily read this as a standalone. However be prepared because this rock chick is addictive and she has enough books to keep you sleepless for months. Just saying. 



🏈 ℂ𝕠𝕧𝕖𝕣 ℝ𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕒𝕝 🏈
𝐀𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐂𝐢𝐳'𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐆𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐆𝐎𝐑𝐆𝐄𝐎𝐔𝐒! 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐯𝐚? #𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐎𝐜𝐭𝟏𝟓𝐭𝐡



Designer: @jerseygirl_design
Photographer: @wanderaguiar_photography
Models: @megannapolitan and @wayne_skiv04
Graphic by


@𝗨𝗼𝗳𝗝𝟰𝟭𝟭: 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗳𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗹𝗲 @𝗖𝗮𝘀𝗮𝗡𝗼𝘃𝗮𝟴𝟳? #𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗚𝗮𝗺𝗲#𝗟𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗧𝗗𝘀

𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒈𝒊𝒓𝒍—𝑻𝑯𝑬 𝒈𝒊𝒓𝒍.

Kay. My Skittles...𝗠𝗜𝗡𝗘.

Then a blitz from the past flattened me like a linebacker.

Time for a new playbook.

𝑴𝒂𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝑵𝒐𝒗𝒂 𝒊𝒔...𝒂𝒓𝒈𝒉!

I told myself to stay away.

Warned my heart 𝘯𝘰𝘵 to fall for him.

Did it listen? 𝗡𝗢𝗣𝗘.

Now it feels like it’s crushed under a fallen cheer pyramid.

Sorry to tell you, but 𝘺𝘰𝘶 are 𝗡𝗢𝗧 a game changer.

️🖤 🖤

GAME CHANGER is book 2 in the U of J Series and cannot be read as a stand-alone. It picks up right from the cliff LOOKING TO SCORE threw you off of. Can our too-charming-for-his-own-good Casanova win back his pint-sized, rainbow-haired sass queen in this second chance sports romance? The banter between these two continues until Mase and Kay’s story concludes in PLAYING FOR KEEPS out in December. 



➡️ Add to your TBR:

🏈 Don’t want to wait? Start with book 1 𝕃𝕠𝕠𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕋𝕠 𝕊𝕔𝕠𝕣𝕖 free to read in KU:


The author is giving away a $50 Amazon GC on her Facebook page to celebrate. Stop by to enter!





Alley Ciz is an indie author of Contemporary/New Adult, Rom-Com, Sports Romances.

She's a stay at home mom to 3 amazing and crazy mini royals, a 95lb lab, and let's face it on some days her hubby is her 4th kid... But to be fair she totally loves him a lot.

When she's not corralling her crazy mini royals she can be found writing the stories the voices in her head tell her. Caffeine is a staple in her daily diet since she does most of her writing late at night when the rest of her house is asleep, usually with her trusty dog Buke (short for Beukeboom reluctantly named after a NY Ranger even though she's a NJ Devils fan all the way. Is it any surprise she writes sports romances?

Pizza and mac-n-cheese are major food groups and she is a proud Potterhead and superhero buff.

She is a complete romance junkie and can always be found reading or listening to a book.


Follow Alley Ciz

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Reclaim, an all-new emotional and gripping second chance romance from USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez is coming November 12th and we have the beautiful cover!


 Cover Designer: Hang Le
Photographer: Wander Aguiar


Choices. Everyone makes them. From mundane to unimaginable, one choice can change the trajectory of your entire life.

My mother’s choice was to abandon us with our abusive father.
My brother’s choice was to go to prison for killing the boy who assaulted his soulmate.
Camden Cole’s choice was to fall in love with a shattered girl who had absolutely nothing to offer him but heartbreak.

It was one summer beneath the trees, but with Camden, I had a place where I belonged.
A friend who was always waiting for me.
A boy who I caught staring at me more often than not.

He was mine, but when the world closed in and secrets exploded all around us, it was my choice to let him go.

Choices. Everyone makes them.
But mine would ruin us all.



Pre-order your copy today!


About Aly


Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her husband and four young children.
Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and olives. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.
She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.




Title: Unfriend Me
Series: Jobs From Hell #3
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: September 23, 2020


It’s hard to tell your best friend you’re in love with her when she’s busy dating everyone but you.

I’ve been called a smart-mouthed, tattooed firecracker with a penchant for running straight into trouble, but after coming off the worst break up in history, all I want is to get my life together. No more trouble, no more surprises.

So when my best friend changes the rules on me, I’m not sure how to react. Though my body sure knows how to react seeing him without his shirt on. Where did all those muscles come from? And when my ex comes back to town to wreak havoc, my lofty plans go right out the window.


I fell in love with Amelia in the sixth grade when I pulled her off another girl in a hair pulling fight. And she put me directly in the friend zone. We’ve been through everything together from ER trips after skateboarding mishaps to fighting off a peacock with a mean streak. But the one thing I’ve never told her is how I really feel. Now that Amelia is single again, it’s time to make my move. But Amelia has never gone down without a fight involved, and this will be no different.

Either she’ll fall in love with me like I hope, or Amelia will unfriend me forever.



Free in Kindle Unlimited


I stepped closer to the window, seeing our overflow dirt parking lot. And then my gaze slid left where I saw Titus standing by a huge pile of wood and drywall that he’d ripped out of the guest room. His T-shirt was off and there was a healthy dose of sweat dripping down his torso. He twisted off the cap to a water bottle and chugged the whole thing, his Adam’s apple working to hypnotize me. When was the last time I’d seen him without a shirt?
Because that? That specimen with six-pack abs and a chest you could bounce quarters off of wasn’t the Titus I remembered. He’d always been lanky, which made sense, given his extraordinary height. And he’d always had muscles because he was athletic in school and his job required strength. But holy wow. What the hell had happened over the last year?
My nose hit the cold glass and I jumped back, rubbing it as I pondered the changes in Titus when I hadn’t been looking. The steady hum in my gut also gave me pause. Was that...lust?
My brain screamed at me to walk away and quit staring at him, but my body was having nothing of it. We were gonna pull up a chair and stay for the show for as long as the show lasted. Better yet, why not go out there and see it up close?
Good judgement had always been a weak spot in my character, but I never shamed myself for it. I went with impulses, so what? Sometimes they worked out great. Other times, not so much. But the way I figured it, you never got some excitement in your life unless you made the leap. And right now, I wanted some excitement in the form of a half-dressed Titus. I’d worry about what it all meant later. Much later.
“Yo, T!” I hollered as soon as I turned the corner outside and stepped off the blacktop onto the dirt.
Titus swiped the sweat from his forehead with his bulging bicep. His face lit up in an easy smile when he saw me. “Hey, Lia. Almost done here.”
I sauntered over, not looking where I was going. “Yeah, I see that.”
There was a bead of sweat sliding down right between his pecs. A fascinating journey of bumps and valleys.
A throat clearing had me looking up. Titus had a playful look in his eye, his mouth tugging into a smile. “Are you undressing me with your eyes, Amelia Waldo?”
I guess I was, but he didn’t have to call me out like that. “Are you kidding me? You can’t walk around half-dressed and then blame a girl for looking. If I was half-dressed, wouldn’t you be looking at me?”
Titus took a giant step forward and flicked the collar of my shirt. He didn’t even touch me, but I could feel it all the way to the tips of my toes.
“Hell, yeah, I would. I’d ogle you until my eyes bled.” His gaze flicked down the length of my body and suddenly I needed to squeeze my thighs together.
“Are we actually doing this? We’re flirting? You and me?” I whispered it, afraid to say it too loud. Like the volume of my voice would make it something real I couldn’t take back.
Titus shrugged slow and lazy, his eyes heating further. That finger still toyed with my shirt. If he didn’t stop, I might melt into a puddle at his feet.
“I don’t see why we shouldn’t. You’re hot, I’m hot. Kind of makes sense to flirt.”
I smirked. “Wow. Nice ego you got there.” I studied him seriously. “You don’t worry about harming our friendship?”
Titus’s eyelids slid down and I wondered what it would be like to kiss him. He had to be a good kisser after kissing the entire female population of Auburn Hill.
“Sometimes friends make the best lovers.”



Free in Kindle Unlimited


Free in Kindle Unlimited


Marika Ray spends her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking the beaches of southern California, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy.

Marika enjoys writing all types of fiction novels, based on what inspires her. Right now she's working on a new steamy RomCom series along with sweet romances to make your heart explode. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.

More information can be found at



I love this series so much, the Just Us League is a thing of beauty. But whoever classified these as romantic comedy has a mean sense of humour. There are some laugh out loud moments, generally when I am caught unaware and emit one of those snort laugh things that has the dog looking at me like I’m nuts. But these stories have so much depth and the characters are so human and flawed that they made me feel all of their insecurities and worries and fears and I spent so much of the book feeling anything but laughter.


Bethany was the sort of character I can only imagine, I am so far from that A type personality that reading her thoughts made my heart hurt for her. She was perfect, in that entirely broken way every human is. And I loved that Tessa wrote her warts and all, but more, I love that Tessa lead her to showing her warts to everyone that loved her.


Although seriously if Wes were chasing after me wanting to hold all my broken pieces and whispering dirty nothings in my ear, I’d probably show him whatever he wanted. Because damn was Wes mature beyond his young years. And getting to know him and see where life had taken him, I just loved him even more.


Of course Laura was an absolute star and no one could help but fall in love with her. She was perfectly age appropriate and I enjoyed watching her worm her way into everyone’s hearts and make them want to be better people for her. Hopefully this isn’t the end of our Just Us League members stories because I have had so much fun watching them support each other to pursue their dreams. 




(Hush Note #3) 

by Rebecca Yarros

Release Date: October 6th    




 If I can keep Hush Note’s leading guitarist, Nixon Winters, on the straight and narrow for the next six months, I’ll finally get my own band to manage—assuming we don’t kill each other first.

The egotistical, irritating rock star is fresh out of rehab, but it’s obvious his demons followed him home—and now I’m sleeping down the hall. I’ve watched him self-destruct every summer, and with album deadlines and tour dates looming, I can’t let it happen again. My career is in his hands.

But tattoos can’t cover every scar, and I’m starting to see through his trademark, irresistible charm to the damage beneath.

Everyone wants the rock star.
I’m falling for the man.

If he doesn’t let me in,
he’ll never break the cycle—
And when these six months are up,
I might be the one left broken.


Add to Goodreads  



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About the Author


Rebecca is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, and is always ready to bring on the emotions. She's also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series.

She loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for eighteen years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with two of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time. She lives in Colorado with her family, their stubborn English bulldog, and a feisty chinchilla. Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October.

Visit her website at for more! 


Connect w/Rebecca

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Stalkers: A Dark Romance Anthology
Publication date: February 16th 2021
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Romance


 You should never fall for the bad guy…


Over thirty of your favorite USA Today and bestselling authors have come together to create an epic collection of forbidden, dark romance stories.

Get lost in this unputdownable mixture of short stories. From heroes to bad guys, there’s something for everyone.


A person who stalks : a person who pursues someone obsessively.


Stalkers is a taboo romance collection jam-packed with captivating stories.



Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Losing Forever
Tara Gallina
(The Forever Series, #6)
Publication date: September 17th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


 Healing doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does falling in love.


Frankenstein has nothing on this twenty-year-old. Okay. Maybe a few more stitches in a few more places but we both were sewn back together.

A year and a half ago, I lost my family in an accident that left me scarred inside and out and with a sizable inheritance I refuse to spend. Money can’t bring me happiness. No touch can bring me comfort, and desire—forget it. Who’s going to want me like this?

That’s what I thought until Grayson came into my life.

The ex-baseball star has a list of home runs on the field and off. He’s all wrong for me, possibly broken beyond repair. I can’t help him. I’m still trying to fix myself.

But when he’s near, parts of me spark back to life. And when he looks at me, I feel like my old self or a version of her.

How wrong would it be to pursue this thing between us? Could I handle it? Should I bother finding out?


Damaged? Me? Maybe a little. Fine,a lot. But I’ve been through some shit.

It’s not every day you find out your dad’s a liar and a criminal who launders money for the mafia. Trust issues are only one of my problems. Trouble has a way of finding me or maybe I create it. I turned down an offer to play in MLB and quit the game.

At twenty-two, I’m a walking disaster, which is fine as long as I keep my guard up and don’t bring anyone into my mess.

That was the plan until Braylee entered my life.

How can someone who’s lost so much face the world with more strength than I have in my batting arm? I want to devour her and shelter her at the same time.

I’m trying to be good. But that’s never worked for me in the past, especially when all I want to do is tear down her walls, her clothes, and anything else she’s hiding behind.

*Spin-off to The Forever Series. Standalone.


Goodreads / Amazon


Braylee anchors herself to the seat beside mine as I drive the boat. Salty air blasts my face and blows my hair back. The water is only a little choppy. Fluffy clouds break up the blue sky and cross over the sun, blocking the direct rays and making the temperature bearable. In short, it’s a perfect day, made even more perfect because of the beautiful girl beside me.

We hit a wave and the boat catches air. My stomach drops a little. Braylee belts out a laugh. She does it every time the boat takes flight then lands. I love the sound, could listen to her laughing all day. Her smile is infectious and breathtaking, her lips the desire of every male, especially this male.

I shouldn’t think about her in this way. We’re friends. It’s what she wants, and I’m going to do my best to give it to her.

With one hand, she clutches the bar in front of her seat and uses the other to secure her hat to her head. A long-sleeved white beach dress covers her top half but shows off her amazing legs, even part of her ass when she stands. Although I love that, I hate that she has to cover up at all to protect her scars from the sun and that she worries about them so much.

Braylee leans toward me and says something I can’t quite decipher.

I slow the boat to hear her over the engine. “What was that?”

“How far is this island?” She sounds a little out of breath, and it’s sexy as hell on her sweet voice. Pink tints her cheeks from either the sun or the windburn.

Guilt punches me in the stomach. I shouldn’t have gone so far out into the Gulf. She was laughing and having fun. I wanted to continue showing her a good time.

“The island is back by the coast. This was a joyride for your benefit. I’ve never heard you laugh this much or seen such a big smile on your face. I wanted you to have more. Sorry.”

She relaxes into the seat as I slow the boat more and make a wide turn. “Why are you sorry? I love that you kept going for me.” She touches her flushed cheeks. “I haven’t laughed this much in…” her delicate features pinch, “a while.”

This might be a mistake to point out, but… “Your cheeks are red. I hope they’re not sunburned.”

Her face lights up. “They are? Maybe I’ll get a little color.” At my confused expression, she adds, “I don’t mind getting sun on my body, just not on my scars. I have to be careful. When the sun darkens them, it takes time and lots of scar cream to get them to lighten again.” She glances at her torso and folds her arm across her waist in a protective way.

“Do you feel okay?” I eye her stomach. “I can go faster if you’re feeling seasick.” I straighten the boat and speed up enough to make the ride steady versus rocking. “Better?”

She swings her legs and faces me in the seat. “I’m not seasick.” Nervousness shines in her eyes, and she tucks her chin. Seconds pass before she lifts her face, her expression determined. “I have scars. On my stomach. No one knows except for my doctors, and my aunt. And now you.” She studies me.

Gauging my reaction? If she expects me to be repulsed, she’s wrong.

I give her a soft grin. “Thank you for sharing that with me. But I assure you, nothing you say or do or have on that incredible body of yours could ever be a turnoff. You’re too beautiful, and if someone can’t see that, then they don’t deserve your attention.”

She blinks, and her eyes fill with tears.

Fuck. I screwed that up? I slow the boat and put it in neutral, so I can hold her.

The boat rocks with small waves as I close the short distance between us and pull her into my arms. She comes willingly and feels so perfect and delicate against me, I don’t ever want to let her go. She smells like heaven and strawberry fields.

Her hat falls to the deck, but she doesn’t seem to care. Instead, she buries her face into my chest and cries, her slight frame shaking. I kiss the top of her head, my lips brushing her soft, wavy hair. “I’m so sorry, Braylee. I can’t believe I made you cry. I’m a dick who doesn’t know how to communicate clearly. Whatever I said that upset you, please forgive me.” I cup the back of her head, my fingers weaving through her silky hair. “Please don’t cry.”

Each snivel is like a knife to my chest. I’d rather be stabbed with a dull blade multiple times than listen to her cry like this.

Finally, her breathing slows. Her head lifts and she looks at me. Tears streak her rosy cheeks and glisten in her light-blue eyes. She doesn’t move away, not minding that I have her tucked up against me.

“You aren’t a dick.” She raises her hand that’s sandwiched between us and wipes her nose. “That’s not why I’m crying.”

I touch her face and run a thumb across her moist cheek. “What is it then?”

The boat rocks beneath us, but I keep her close, bracing myself against the motion and keeping us from stumbling around.

“What you said.” She catches her breath as if to stop another onslaught of tears. “I never thought I’d hear that from anyone, least of all you. You’re so charming and talented and beautiful and to hear you say that about me…it was a lot. A good lot, but still a lot. Thank you.”

She’s thanking me for being honest? “I know you don’t know me that well, which is no fault of yours. I’m the distant ass who needs to work on his friendship skills, but if you knew me—once you know me—you’ll see I’m honest, bluntly so, especially when it’s something I’m passionate about. So don’t thank me. All I did was tell you the truth.”

One corner of her mouth lifts with a faint smile. She glances at my chest and her eyes get big. “I soaked you.” Her delicate fingers wipe my wet skin.

I chuckle. “It’s fine. You can soak my chest anytime.” I catch her gaze and hold it. “I mean it. We’re friends, and friends are there for each other when they need them.”

“Do you hold all your friends this closely? Not that I’m complaining.”

What the what? Is Braylee flirting with me? The smirk that tugs my lips is automatic. “Baby, you’re a special friend who gets special privileges. Groping my chest is also one of the privileges, should you feel the need.” I wink, and she laughs, all musical and sweet. Best sound ever.

Author Bio

Tara Gallina is the author of the NA romance The Forever Series, and the YA retelling Fated to Die. She writes and reads romance in a variety of genres but has a soft spot for retellings.

She believes in fairies, true love, and happily ever after. When she's not writing, she loves to visit gardens, European castles, and Caribbean beaches. She's passionate about interior design, obsessed with throw pillows, is addicted to vinegar, favors the color pink, and only drinks wine that tastes like melted sugar.

She grew up in a small town by the beach but soon after moved to Orlando, Florida with her patient hubs, two older sons, and two fur-babies. With local theme parks like Disney World and Harry Potter, it's no wonder her life is filled with fantasy and make believe.

Daily needs: sunshine, laughter, morning coffee, family.
Daily wants: castle, English accent, princess hair, anti-age venom.

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I knew that this duet would destroy my ability to adult. Honestly, I struggled to put it down and ended up reading it in a day. Because after the end of Heartache and Hope I NEEDED them to get to their happily ever after.


But I had this idea in my head of how it would all play out and I was so wrong. Not that I'm disappointed with what I got from this story but damn did it just keep making my heart hurt more and more. The twists and turns on this were so perfectly executed I couldn't even be mad at Jay for making me cry.


I had moments where I was like “seriously Ava how are you always crying?” Then realising I was crying and mentally apologising to a fictional character. Luckily my family is used to my brand of crazy.


Everything about this story was perfection. Ava and Connor were the best kind of magic together and I am so glad I finally found my lady balls and read this because it was beautiful. Now I just need to recover enough to pick up my kindle again without crying.


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