Release Blitz: Excerpt & Giveaway: Fallen Crest University by Tijan


Sam & Mason return in Fallen Crest University!
Now Available!

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1LqaWkl


Blurb
Fallen Crest is back with a vengeance! 

Samantha, Mason, and Logan are all together and united with one common enemy: Park Sebastian, the king of fraternity douchebags. 

With professional football scouts eyeing his every move, Mason Kade has to walk the line for the first time in his life. Any move he makes against Sebastian has to be perfect and under the radar. One mistake, and his career is over. 

Sebastian has other plans. Mason’s career isn’t his target—not even close. Wanting to destroy Mason completely, Sebastian knows he must hit him where it hurts the most: Samantha, who doesn’t give a rat’s ass that she’s the target. 

Sam is bound and determined to protect Mason herself, no matter the cost, but what if the cost is beyond her imagination? What if this time, the villain wins?


Excerpt One:
She was confident. She moved with purpose.

It hit me how much she changed from when she’d moved in with Analise. She’d lost everything. She hadn’t cared about anything, and she had been a badass because of it—striking out, not giving a shit. Logan and I took her in, and then she had something to lose—me. She got scared. She was pushed around by the girls and bullied by her own mother, and through all that crap, she’d still fought. She’d clawed her way back up, protecting and loving Logan and me at the same time.

Good god. I wanted to pull her on top of me. I wanted to lose myself in her.

When I sat on the couch, Sam had a knowing grin, and she sat right where I wanted her, right where maybe she shouldn’t have. My hands held her hips as she straddled me. She looped her arms around my neck and rested her forehead to mine.

Her grin never dimmed, not even as she teased, “Why do I feel like we’re in high school, and I don’t want my mom to catch us making out in the basement?”

Shit, I love this woman.

A smooth and lazy low laugh flitted from her lips. I waited for her to find my mouth with hers, but she didn’t.

She held back and her eyes traced over my face. “What happened today?”

I wasn’t going to tell her. More time. I needed more time. 


Excerpt Two:
I drew one of his fingers into my mouth. My tongue wrapped around it. I wanted to forget about my afternoon and how I was going to handle that situation. I wanted to get lost in his arms.

Seeing what I wanted, Mason tipped us both back, cradling me on his chest as he lay down. I was securely in his arms, and he rolled me over, so he was looming above me. His eyes darkened, holding my gaze before dropping to my lips where a small smile showed, and I let go of his finger. The ache for him already started inside me.

A knowing grin formed on his face, and without saying a word, he slipped from the bed to lock the door and flip the lights off. My heart started pounding. The need for him was rising between my legs, and I licked my lips, watching as he took his shirt off. He was all muscle. I could make out every single one of them as he came back to me. The flames were growing hotter and hotter. I wanted to slide my hands over every inch of him. I wanted to feel his weight on top of me. I wanted to feel him inside me.

I wanted him to break the fucking bed for me.


Excerpt Three:
A shiver went down my back. I hadn’t thought it would get that ugly, but Logan was right. There had been an attempted hit-and-run. A house was burned down. And those had been the opening acts.

Shit got real.

I sucked in my breath. My hand flattened against my stomach—no, that was Mason’s arm. I moved closer to him, edging forward, as Logan was talking. Mason held me back.

I moved back a step, and he glanced down at me. There was a question in his depths. Was I okay?

I nodded, feeling my pulse skyrocket, as Logan’s voice kept repeating, “Prison,” in my mind.

“You think that’s where this is going?”

Logan craned his head to the side. “We’ve been on campus for two days, and both days, we’ve run into you. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, and I think you’re stupid to pretend that they were.”

“What are you saying?”

“Nothing.” Logan looked around to the crowd. “Just telling you that we have no delusions where this is going and that we’re not underestimating you.” He glanced to Mason. “Though, I agree with my brother. I think you’re underestimating us.”

Logan is stalling.

The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. So was Mason. That was why his anger subsided. They were waiting for something. I studied Sebastian, and I noticed he was, too. No one was making a move against the other. The crowd grew more restless. They were like me, waiting for the fun to happen—not that it was fun. If this was a preview of what was to come throughout my entire freshman year, this was going to give me a heart attack by the end of the year.


Excerpt Four:
In ten.

“I’m not sure if you’re aware of this threesome dynamic,” Logan started.

Sebastian’s eyes narrowed. Logan was too cocky, too sure of himself. Sebastian’s head lifted to the side as he kept skirting among all three of us.

Nine.

I was next to my brother. They came from the basement section of the bookstore, so Sebastian was blocking his friends from us. His three friends were down a few steps, too far but close enough where they could catch Sebastian.

Eight.

Logan continued, “But the three of us…” He gestured to all of us. “Well, technically, it’s the Fearsome Foursome with Sam, but she’s not here.” His tone lowered, growing more serious. “And she’s not a part of this, so I guess, right now, you can call us the Threesome Fearsome.”

Seven.

Sebastian was almost ignoring my brother. He was solely focused on me. Fine. I let him see the threat in me and murmured, “My brother’s not kidding, you know.”

Logan quieted, edging back so that I was now in the front.

“About what?” His tone was clipped.

Sebastian knew. He was remembering Logan’s threat.

I reminded him. “Your sister. Your girlfriend.”

Six.

“I don’t have either one of those,” Sebastian shot back.

Logan piped in, “But there’s someone.”

I added, “There’s always someone.”

Sebastian grew silent, looking between the two of us.

Five.

Nate spoke up, “They’re talking about who’s vulnerable to you, Sebastian.”

“You shut up,” Sebastian snapped at him. “You left the house. You don’t deserve the right to talk to us.”

His three friends got riled up at that. They moved forward, and I started eyeing the big one closest to Sebastian. He was a big motherfucker.

Four.

“Nate never should’ve been with you,” I said, commanding all of their attention. We were close. The camera would rotate back. I wanted their focus on me, not Logan. “That was a mistake he rectified.”

Three.

Sebastian’s eyes narrowed to slits. “I’m going to make both of you sorry that you came back here.”

“What about me?” Logan smirked at him.

No. I wanted Sebastian watching me.

He turned. “I already tried to get your acceptance revoked.”

Well, holy shit, I hadn’t expected that response.

Two.

Logan opened his mouth. His eyes flashed in anger, and he was going to say something to piss Sebastian off. I blocked him. I needed Sebastian and friends’ eyes on me.

“Time’s up,” I said calmly, quietly.

It worked. They all turned to me, and Sebastian’s eyes widened. He started to rear back—

One.

I rushed forward.


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Author Information
I didn't begin writing until after undergraduate college. There'd been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can't blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I'm hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.
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Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway: Make Me by Tessa Bailey


About MAKE ME

In the final Broke and Beautiful novel from bestselling author Tessa Bailey, a blue collar construction worker and a quiet uptown girl are about to discover that the friendzone can sometimes be excellent foreplay.

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

Excerpt:
Chapter One 

Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations. 

Russell Hart stifled a groan when Abby twisted on his lap to call out a drink order to the passing waiter, adding a smile that would no doubt earn her a martini on the house. Every time their six person “super group” hung out, which was starting to become a nightly affair, Russell advanced into a newer, more vicious circle of hell. Tonight, however, he was pretty sure he’d meet the devil himself.  

They were at the Longshoreman, celebrating the Fourth of July, which presented more than one precious little clusterfuck. One, the holiday meant the bar was packed full of tipsy Manhattanites, creating a shortage of chairs, hence Abby parking herself right on top of his dick. Two, it put the usually conservative Abby in ass-hugging shorts and one of those tops that tied at the back of her neck. Six months ago, he would have called it a shirt, but his two best friends had fallen down the relationship rabbit hole, putting him in the vicinity of excessive chick talk. So, now it was a halter-top. What he wouldn’t give to erase that knowledge. 

During their first round of drinks, he’d become a believer in breathing exercises. Until he’d noticed these tiny, blond curls at Abby’s nape, curls he’d never seen before. And some-fucking-how, those sun-kissed curls were what had nudged him from semi-erect to full-scale Washington monument status. The hair on the rest of her head was like a…a warm milk chocolate color, so where did those little curls come from? Those detrimental musings had lead to Russell questioning what else he didn’t know about Abby. What color was everything else? Did she have freckles? Where? 

Russell would not be finding out – ever – and not just because he was sitting in the friend zone with his dick wedged against his stomach – not an easy maneuver – so she wouldn’t feel it. No, there was more to it. His friends, Ben and Louis, were well aware of those reasons, which accounted for the half-sympathetic, half-needling looks they were sending him from across the table, respective girlfriends perched on their laps. The jerks. 

Abby was off-limits. Not because she was taken – thank Christ – or because someone had verbally forbidden him from pursuing her. That wasn’t it. Russell had taken a long time trying to find a suitable explanation for why he didn’t just get the girl alone one night and make his move. Explain to her that men like him weren’t suitable friends for wide-eyes debutantes and give her a demonstration of the alternative. 

It went like this. Abby was like an expensive package that had been delivered to him by mistake. Someone at the post office had screwed the pooch and dropped off the shiniest, most beautiful creation on his Queens doorstep and driven away, laughing manically. Russell wasn’t falling for the trick, though. Someone would claim the package, eventually. They would chuckle over the obvious mistake and take Abby away from him, because really, he had no business being the one who’s lap she chose to sit on. No business, whatsoever. 

But while he was in possession of the package – as much as he’d allow himself to be in possession, anyway – he would guard her with his life. He would make sure that when someone realized the cosmic error that had occurred – the one that had made him Abby’s friend and confidant – she would be sweet and undamaged, just as she’d been on arrival. 

Unfortunately, the package didn’t seem content to let him stand guard from a distance. She innocently beckoned him back every time he managed to put an inch of space between them. Russell had lost count of the times Abby had fallen asleep on him while the super group watched a movie, drank margaritas on the girls’ building rooftop, driven home in cabs. She was entirely too comfortable around him, considering he saluted against his fly every time they were in the same room. 

“Why so quiet, Russell?” Louis asked, his grin turning to a wince as his actress girlfriend, Roxy, elbowed him in the ribs. Yeah. Everyone at the damn table knew he had a major thing for the beautiful, unassuming number whiz on his lap. Everyone but Abby. And that’s how he planned to keep it. 

“I know why,” Ben said, causing Russell’s stomach to catapult itself across the bar. Before he could change the subject, Ben pulled his student-turned-main squeeze closer and continued. “He doesn’t need to give us advice on girls anymore. His powers have been diminished.” 

“We’ve slain the beast.” 

Ben and Louis toasted their plastic beer cups without a single glance at one other. Why was he friends with these two again? Oh right. The power of beer had brought them together. Praise be to Heineken. Smug as they were, though, Russell knew humor was their way of showing support. If it wasn’t humor, it would be sympathy, aka dude kryptonite. 

“What kind of advice did he give you about us?” Roxy wanted to know, shooting Louis and Ben stern glances. 

“Uh-uh.” Russell shook his head. “I’m calling bro confidentiality on you both. That includes pillow talk and supersedes any and all forms of sexual coercion.” 

Ben adjusted his glasses. “That reasoning, however, should lend some insight into what you ladies missed.” 

Honey leaned across the table and patted Russell’s arm. “It all worked out in the end, big guy. Who knows? You might have had something to do with it after all.” 

Russell opened his mouth to respond, but whatever he planned to say withered in its inception because Abby spun in his lap again, sending the world around him into slow motion. A left jab of her scent – which after careful consideration he’d termed white grape sunlight – caught him in the chin and he barely restrained the urge to shout oh, come on, at the top of his lungs. Her big hazel eyes were indignant on his behalf, mouth pursed in a way that shouldn’t have been sexy, but damn-well was. She’d snapped her spine straight, hip bumping his erection in the process. 

Please, almighty God, just kill me now. 

“Russell gives great advice,” Abby protested and Russell would have smiled if he wasn’t busy earning his master’s degree in boner-soothing meditation. She really had no idea her outrage only made her sweeter because it looked so unnatural on her. “Remember the man on the first floor of our building? The one who used to clear his throat loudly every time we walked by?” She waited for Honey and Roxy to nod. “Russell told me the next time it happened, I should just shout TROUBLE at his door. I did. And it hasn’t happened since.” 

When Louis and Ben started laughing into their beers, Russell flipped them off behind Abby’s back. What his friends knew that Abby didn’t? As soon as she’d told him the problem, he’d paid a visit to their downstairs neighbor and explained that trouble would find him if he so much as breathed in Abby – or any of her roommates’ – direction again. Hence, the single word being so effective. Russell was trouble. 

But as Abby turned a bright, encouraging smile on him, swelling his heart like an inflating balloon, he recognized that his brand of trouble had nothing on Abby’s. She didn’t even know how dangerous she was to his health. Because while Abby was the package that had been delivered by mistake, he’d gone and fallen for her, despite his attempts to simply be her friend. 

And maybe it was his imagination, but the loss of her seemed to loom a little closer each day. Like any minute now, she would peer a little closer and realize he was in imposter. Loss was something with which Russell was familiar. Loss had cut him off at the knees at a young age, made him hyper aware of how fast it could happen. Whoosh. Chopped off at the knees. So he was already in damage control mode, hoping to limit the fallout when she inevitably headed for a younger version of Gordon Gekko. For now, it was all about keeping a comfortable gap between him and Abby. 

She scooted back on his lap to make room for the waitress who had returned with a round of drinks, and Russell gritted his teeth. 

Okay. Comfortable definitely wasn’t the right word. 

*** 

I have friends. I have friends now and it’s glorious. 

Six months ago, when Abby Sullivan had placed the ad on Craigslist, seeking two roommates to share her Chelsea apartment, her highest hope had been for noise. Maybe it sounded silly, but apart from the Ninth Avenue traffic trundling past and the occasional shouting match on the street, her life had been so quiet before Honey and Roxy showed up. She’d been hoping for hair dryers in the morning, dishes being tossed in the sink, singing in the shower. Anything but the void of sound she’d been living with, alone in the massive space. 

Then, oh then, she’d gone and done something even more impulsive than placing an advertisement for massively discounted rent in cyberspace. She’d blurted upon meeting them for the first time that she didn’t need help paying the rent; she merely wanted friends. Unbelievably, it hadn’t felt like a mistake to reveal such a pitiful secret to a couple of strangers. There had been a feeling when all three of them first stood in the same room that it would work out, like a complicated math equation that would prove itself worth the work. 

Now? She couldn’t imagine a day passing without them. The guys had been an unexpected bonus she hadn’t counted on. Especially Russell. 

As they walked crosstown toward the Hudson River where they planned to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, Abby smiled up at Russell where he towered over her. She received a suspicious look in response. Suspicious! Ha! It made her want to laugh like a lunatic. All the way back to her furthest memory, she’d been reliable, gullible, sugar-filled Abby to everyone and their mother. Even Honey and Roxy, to a degree, handled her carefully around subjects that might offend her or hurt her feelings. She was too grateful for their presence to call them on it, though. Sometimes she opened her mouth, the words I’m not made of spun glass hovering right on the tip of her tongue, but she always swallowed them. They meant well. She knew that with her whole heart. Maybe someday, when she was positive they wouldn’t vanish at a rare show of temper—the way people always did when she bared a flaw—she’d tell them. Until she worked up the courage however, she would stay quiet, and appreciate her new best friends for the colorful positivity they’d brought into her life. 

But Russell? She appreciated him even more for getting mad at her. 

Such occurrences were her favorite part of the week. Russell stomping into the apartment, grumbling about her not checking the peep hole. Refusing to go out on a Saturday night until she changed into more comfortable shoes. Giving her that daunting frown when she revealed they’d had a leak in the bathroom for three weeks and hadn’t yet called the super to repair it. He’d had it fixed within the hour, but he hadn’t spoken to her the entire time. 

It was awesome. 

Because he kept coming back. Every time. No matter what—no matter what she said or did—he never washed his hands of her. Never got so fed up with her admittedly flighty behavior that he skipped a hang out. Or didn’t respond to a text. He was the steadfast presence in her life she’d never had. 

No one spoke to Abby at her job. She’d been hired after graduating at the top of her Yale class and placed in a silent power position at a hedge fund. Her father’s hedge fund. So she could understand her co-workers’ reticence to invite her for happy hour. Or even give her a polite nod in the hallway. At first, she’d been prepared to try anyway. Force them to acknowledge her in some small way, even if it was just passing the stapler in the conference room. Then she remembered. When she forced her opinion on people, or had an outburst, they went away, and didn’t come back for a long time. 

Her coworkers assumed she sat in her air-conditioned office all day playing Minecraft or buying dresses online. And why wouldn’t they? She’d done nothing to sway that notion. In reality, however, she worked hard. Showed up before the lights came on and stayed later than everyone else. Brought work home with her and often, didn’t get to sleep. She had no choice. 

Stress tightened like a shoelace around Abby’s stomach, but she breathed through it. Tonight was for fun with her friends. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough to face her responsibilities. 

“It’s the shoes, isn’t it?” Russell demanded, encompassing Abby, Roxy and Honey with a dark look. “This always happens in the eleventh hour. You girls started limping around and we just have to watch it.” 

Ben sighed. “Here we go again.” 

“No, really. I think I’ve finally figured it out.” Russell swiped impatient fingers over his shaved head. “You ever heard of sympathy pains? When my sister-in-law gave birth, my brother swore someone was firing a nail gun into his stomach. To this day, the guy has never been the same.” He pointed at Abby’s electric blue pumps. “Women wear these evil creations around to confuse us. Sure, they make a girl’s legs look good, but that’s the black magic, my friends. They want us to feel their pain and not understand why.” 

Louis turned, walking backwards on the sidewalk so he could face them. “I have to admit, I’m with Russell on this one.” He smiled at Roxy’s outrage. “You could go barefoot and it wouldn’t make a difference to me.” 

“I’ll round it out with a third agreement,” Ben chimed in. “I like Honey in her Chucks.” 

That statement earned Ben a kiss from Honey and a groan from Russell. “I’m thrilled you assholes have found a way to use my amazing logic to earn points.” 

Abby loved the familiar argument simply because it was familiar—a routine she had in common with others—but she had to admit her feet were throbbing. After a night of dancing, the crosstown walk was giving her blisters. She wore heels all day at the office, but they were sensible and low-heeled. Nothing like the stilettos she’d borrowed from Roxy. In fact, now that she’d acknowledged her tired feet, every part of her seemed to sag with exhaustion, as if she’d finally given her bones permission. “I can end this argument right here,” Abby interrupted with a weary, but determined smile. The group stopped to watch as she slipped off her shoes and placed her bare feet back onto the cool sidewalk with a hearty sigh. For some reason, everyone’s gazes swung to Russell who – God love him – was frowning at her like she’d just crashed his beloved truck. 

“A new tactic, gentlemen. Take note.” Their four friends laughed at Russell’s ominous tone, but Abby stayed pinned under his scowl. Although now, his scowl had a hint of uncertainty behind it. “Put them back on, Abby. You’re going to step on something. Broken glass, or—” 

Abby breezed past Russell. Honestly, he worried constantly for no reason. They were only a few blocks away from the river and the streets were well lit. What was the worst that could— 

Her feet left the ground, her gasp cutting off as she was cradled against Russell’s big chest. His expression was hidden, thanks to the streetlights shining blindingly above his head, but Abby knew from experience, he would be annoyed. She couldn’t prevent the smile from spreading like wildfire across her face, feeling as if it reached as far as her chest. It seemed impossible, but somehow she’d earned a place among these people who cared about her. Friends. Good friends. The kind you can’t live without. 

Especially Russell. Her favorite. 

“You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?” 

“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?” 

“No. It makes you a woman.” 

She muffled her laugh with the use of Russell’s shoulder. “Men make women crazy, too. It’s not a one-sided affair.” 

He frowned down at her. “What would you know about it?” 

That question coming from anyone else might have embarrassed Abby, but for all Russell’s bluster, he never judged her. Not for her lack of a love life, anyway. Shoes were another matter altogether. “I know things.” 

“Things, huh? Maybe Louis and Ben should spend more time at their own apartments.” His arms flexed as he hefted her higher, with minimal effort. “Do you actually like watching the fireworks or is this just a patriotic custom we’re upholding?” 

“No, I love fireworks.” She tilted her head back and looked at the sky. “Everyone forgets over the course of the year how incredible fireworks are. You know? They forget until they’re standing beneath them again. You don’t like them?” 

He stared ahead as he answered. “I like that you like them.” 

Abby smiled, knowing Russell would have to be extra gruff for the remainder of the night to make up for that slip. And needing to torture him a little over it. “That’s how I feel when you make me watch the Yankees.” She laid a hand against his cheek. “It’s worth it just to see your adorable man eyes light up.” 

His sigh was sharp, but she caught the corner of his mouth kicking up. “All this time, I thought you were enjoying it.” 

“The blooper reel is my favorite.” Drowsiness settled more firmly over her and she stifled a yawn against his shoulder. “Also, I love when kids in the audience catch foul balls.” 

“Crowd. It’s called a crowd.” 

She hummed in her throat, eyelids beginning to weigh down. “I knew that. Just seeing if you were paying attention,” she murmured. 

Russell chewed his bottom lip a moment, worry marring his features. “You’re so tired lately, Abby. Everything okay?” 

“Totally fine,” she lied. “Just going to rest my eyes a minute.” 

Positive he would wake her up when they reached the Hudson, she wound her arms around his neck and dozed off. It was the first time she’d slept in three days. 

About TESSA BAILEY
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives on Long Island with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Where to buy MAKE ME

Giveaway:

Waiting on Wednesday #43: Bonded by Laura Wright

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, it spotlilghts upcoming releases that we are dying to read.

This week my WoW is ... Bonded by Laura Wright!


The New York Times bestselling author of Brash returns to the Triple C Ranch in River Black, Texas, for more cowboys, romance, and danger…

Ranch hand Blue Perez’s once simple life is spinning out of control. He’s discovered he has three half-brothers, and they’re not ready to accept his claim on the ranch. Also, Blue’s girlfriend may have betrayed him in the worst way possible. And after one evening of drowning his sorrows at the bar, there’s someone he can’t get out of his mind, a woman who says she’s carrying his child.

Following a night of breathtaking passion in the arms of the man she’s longed for all her life, waitress Emily Shiver is contemplating her next step. With everything that’s going on in Blue’s life, she doesn’t want to force him into fatherhood. Yet as hard hearted as he may seem, Blue can’t turn his back on her, particularly when she becomes the target of someone’s dark obsession....

Expected publication: September 1st 2015 by Signet
Bonded is the fourth book in the Cavanaugh Brothers series and if you've been reading from the beginning then I know that you've been dying to get your hands on Blue's book just like me. Bring on the cowboys!


Pre-order Links:
Amazon

About the Author:
I was born and raised in Minnesota. It’s where my love of all things green, wet and grown in the ground comes from. As you read above, before writing I was an actor, singer and dancer, specifically a BALLROOM dancer - an instructor and competitor as well. That work took me to many places like New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. I live in Los Angeles now, but I’m always thinking about greener pastures – literally.

Author Links:

Release Day: Excerpt & Review: Anything But Broken by Joelle Knox


After five years, tragedy brings Hannah Casey back to Hurricane Creek to bury what’s left of her family. She’s flunking out of college, haunted by scandal, and the only person who cares is Sean Whitlow, an irresistible bad boy with a soft spot for her. The problem? He’s her dead sister’s ex.

Sean doesn’t bleed red, he bleeds motor oil. During the week, he struggles to turn his auto repair shop into a profitable business. But when Saturday night rolls around, he’s the reigning stock-car king of the local race track. He doesn’t know how to lose–or how to walk away and leave Hannah alone with her grief.

Between her grades and her wealthy family’s dark secrets, Hannah’s barely holding her life together. And the last thing Sean needs is to get tangled up with another Casey girl. As the attraction between them spins out of control, they’ll either find a love with no limits–or go up in flames.

Expected publication: August 25th 2015




Excerpt:
I don’t stay in bed. By the time Sean comes knocking on Evie’s front door, I’ve washed my face, brushed my teeth, and torn through my room, kicking dirty clothes into the closet and wondering how I made such a damn mess when I don’t even have all my things with me.​ 
I’m at the door before I remember I forgot to change, and it’s too late now. So I answer the door in my pajamas—cotton shorts and a tank top that feels transparent right now. 

“Hey. Come on in.”

“Good morning.” He actually did something, one of the bright blue boxes from the bakery down the street from the boutique, and he hands it to me as he walks in.

“Thank you.” I carry the box into the living room, where my quilting supplies are spread out on the floor in front of the TV. Evie helped me sort scraps last night, and I went to bed without putting anything away. “Are you thirsty? I can make coffee, or we have some Cokes.”

“The bakery thinks of everything.” He tilts his head toward the box, and I open it to find two covered cups of coffee nestled inside along with the pastries.

“You’re going to spoil me,” I tell him as I sit on the couch. The coffee table is another of those pieces that looks either cosmetically distressed or lovingly salvaged—only now I know which. Evie finds them at flea markets and yard sales, dropping ten dollars on pieces of furniture no one wants, only to turn around and make them beautiful.

Just like Sean and his car—or me with my scrap quilts, I guess. Maybe we’re all obsessed with rescuing broken things.

Sean takes one of the coffees and sprawls out beside me, one arm looped casually around my shoulders. “Got any plans for today?”

Just the hospital later, but I don’t feel like bringing it up. So I reach for one of the pastries instead, breaking off a corner to nibble. “Not really. I need to open up my laptop and actually deal with some of my email, I guess.”

“Sounds fun.” He wrinkles his nose as he leans his head back and closes his eyes. “I left Gibb alone at the garage.”

I should probably feel guilty about that, but it’s hard to when he’s here, next to me, and I get to snuggle into his side as I eat breakfast. “I’m sure he can handle it. He seems really good at his job. Evie says he is, anyway.”

“She’s right.” Sean tilts his head my way and opens one eye. “You look good.”

My cheeks aren’t the only part of me that heat at the compliment. I abandon the pastry and coffee in favor of curling closer to him, because every point of contact means another giddy spark of anticipation.

It’s easier to flirt with him in text messages, but I try to capture a hint of that mischief as 

I smile at him. “I stayed in my pajamas just for you.”

“I like it.” The back of his hand brushes my bare thigh.

An accident? I don’t want it to be. Holding my breath, I shift closer, chasing his fingers. 

But he hasn’t moved, so I wind up rubbing my leg against his hand.
Sean is watching me now. “Does Evie come home for lunch?”

I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to know for sure, and I can’t remember right now, anyway. Because that’s not what he’s really asking. This isn’t safe like the lake, with people nearby to keep us from going too far.

Whatever too far means. 

“I think she might be meeting Sawyer for lunch,” I tell him, because I know she talked about it. Was it today? God, I hope so, because I can’t think with Sean watching me.

He slides his free hand into my hair and cups my neck. He doesn’t say anything, but he’s utterly focused on my mouth, and he draws in a sharp breath when I lick my lips.

It’s the reminder I need—that I’m not the only one caught in the grip of needy hunger. I press my hand to his chest, splaying my fingers wide. Not to hold him back, but to brace myself as I lean in.

He lifts me into his lap instead, his steely grip a shocking reminder of his strength. I end up perched on his thighs, my knees riding alongside his hips. Straddling him, and it’s nothing like the lake. We might be wearing more clothing—well, he is—but there’s no darkness or water to hide behind.

He can watch my cheeks flush, and he can watch that warmth spread. My tank top is too thin to hide the tightening tips of my nipples, so I crush my chest to his and kiss him before reality can catch up with me.

But it isn’t reality that crashes into me a heartbeat later. It’s sensation, the tightness spreading into a deeper heat as his tongue slicks over mine, and his fingertips edge beneath the hem of my tank top.

I want to melt. Everything inside me is screaming for it, but I break away and pant against his cheek. “I should tell you. That I still don’t—that I’m not ready—”

“For sex?” His voice is low, hoarse. Filthy. 

I never thought anything could weaken my resolve. But I didn’t know I could feel like this—flustered and turned on and achy. Empty, and just thinking that makes me feel debauched. “Can we still do other stuff?”

His chest rumbles beneath mine, and his hands slide higher up my back. “Hell, yeah.”

My Review:
As soon as I heard Kit Rocha was writing a new series under a new pen-name Joelle Knox I was so excited. I love the hell out of their books and even though they promised something different from the Beyond books I knew whatever it was I was going to love it. Anything but Broken is the first in a gritty New Adult series that hits you with a dose of harsh reality.

We are introduced to Hannah Casey. She is returning to Hurricane Creek after years away to bury her parents. Hannah is failing out of school in Atlanta and for the first time in her life, doesn't have someone telling her what she should do or be. In the first chapter we see what she uses to deal with her grief—alcohol. It's not talked about as much as it should be, especially for kids her age, because most peoples mindset is "they're in college, they're having fun" but "fun" can turn into an addiction quick. While Hannah is at the bar, we meet Sean *sigh*

“The voice alone makes me shiver. I haven't heard it in five years, but I'll never forget it. I sure as hell wasn't expecting to hear it tonight, but maybe that's what happens when you go chasing ghosts. They start popping up all over the place.”


Sean Whitlow is Hannah's sister—Cait's ex-boyfriend. Sean is the dreamy bad-boy that we all wanted to date when we were younger. He owns his own mechanic shop and races cars every week. And he might do a little fighting here and there, just to let off some steam :)

“I meet his eyes for the first time, really meet them, and this is why girls can't stop looking at Sean. Because he's rough around the edges and exudes bad boy, but when he notices you, even just for a few seconds, you're the center of his world, and you know things aren't as bad as they seem.”

Sean is pretty much perfect. He tries to be there for Hannah and help her deal with everything she's going through, without repeating the kind of relationship he had with her sister. There are a lot of sexy-times in this book, and let's be honest, they're the best part! Sean is patient and careful with Hannah, but he's also sure of what he wants and isn't afraid to take it.

“He kisses a path down to my throat, though calling them kisses is an understatement. He's dragging his open mouth over my skin, and the slick friction of his tongue is a thousand times dirtier than a kiss could ever be.”

We also meet Sean's best friend Gibb, who I absolutely cannot wait to read about! His book is next, along with Evie, Hannah's old friend. Both Gibb and Evie were important characters to this story and I can't wait for them to get their happily ever after.

All in all this book wasn't what I was expecting, and I think that's why I loved it so much. It dealt with a bunch of uncomfortable but extremely realistic issues. Steamy romance, but what else would you expect from this writing duo? Excellent book and one of my favorites of the year!

*I was provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About Joelle Knox:
Who is Joelle Knox?
Joelle Knox is the penname of co-writing team Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. Best friends for years, they’ve been collaborating and publishing together since 2008. As Kit Rocha they write the award winning dystopian erotic romance Beyond series, and as Moira Rogers they’ve penned dozens of paranormal novels, novellas and stories.

Anything but Broken is their first contemporary romance and their first new adult romance.

Why so many pennames?
So readers know what they’re getting–and what they’re not.

Where do I find you?

Waiting on Wednesday #42: Hold On by Kristen Ashley

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, it spotlilghts upcoming releases that we are dying to read.

This week my WoW is ... Hold On by Kristen Ashley!



Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn't in the cards for her.

In love for years with the last bastion of the 'burg's eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia's children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett "Merry" Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett's back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.
Expected publication: September 1st 2015

I'm obviously unhealthily obsessed with Kristen Ashley books. I just finished re-reading the first 5 books in The 'Burg series and holy shit. I can't wait for Merry to get his HEA! Also, these covers got a makeover and they are gorgeous. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon

About the Author:
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Author Links:

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Of My Auto-buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.
This week's TTT is Top Ten Of My Auto-buy Authors


1. Kristen Ashley
   
Okay, I own every single book by Kristen Ashley. In both print and ebook. BOOM.

2. Penny Reid
  
Penny Reid's books always bring a smile to my face and she's just an all-around amazing person. Gold star for Penny!

3. Kit Rocha
   
All Hail Kit Rocha. Yes, their Beyond series is one of my all-time favorites. And they're starting a new series under the pen name Joelle Knox. Keep your eyes peeled!

4. Jill Shalvis
   
I've read almost every single book she has out. I own them all, but I feel like I need to save a few for a rainy day.

5. Kresley Cole
 
Kresley Cole does it all. YA, PNR, Adult, even Historical Romance! Seriously, if you can't find one of her books that interests you we can't be friends.

6. Kylie Scott 
   
I absolutely loved Kylie's Stage Dive series. Super sad when it ended. BUT DO NOT FEAR—early next year she'll be releasing a new series, Dive Bar. Bring it on!

7. Joanna Wylde
   
Probably my favorite MC author. Her storylines are freaking awesome and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

8. Elle Kennedy
 
It seems like Elle Kennedy writes it all. NA, Adult, Mysteries & Thrillers. Her Killer Instincts series is amazing, if you haven't read it go do it now! NOW!

9. Christina Lauren
   
Writing duos kick ass and Christina Lauren is no exception. Their Wild Seasons series is epic and one of the few series that I immediately start reading at midnight when it lands on my kindle. Also, I'm totally obsessed with their colorful covers!

10. R.S. Grey
 
R.S. Grey is my spirit animal. I want to live in her head. Or maybe just visit for a few hours, but her books have some of the funniest lines followed by the sweetest. I may have a girl-crush on her. LET'S BE BEST FRIENDS.

So, that is my Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors, what are yours?