Monday 26 December 2016


Enter to win a print copy of Troublemaker
By: Linda Howard
Releasing December 27, 2016
In Troublemaker by Linda Howard, being a government operative is dangerous work, but being ambushed and almost killed has Morgan Yancy needing to rely on others to get him back into tip-top shape. When his supervisor organizes for him to lay low at the one place no one expects the man to send him to, Morgan comes face-to-face with the one woman that could change his mind about relationships, if she's willing to give him a chance.  
Isabeau 'Bo' Maran can hardly blame Morgan for showing up on her doorstep, expecting for her to accept the fact that he's come to stay with her to recuperate from the injuries he sustained when someone ambushed and almost killed him. Letting Morgan into her home isn't easy, because it's hard for her to trust, but for all his secrets and the dangerous aura he exudes, she's intrigued. Together, can they discover who tried to kill him before they try again? 
Romantic suspense -- I believe -- is one of the best genres, and Ms. Howard has penned a really good one in this book, which starts off slow but after what happens to Morgan and then the various incidents that put the heroine in danger, it was engaging, fast-paced and a story that had me determined to discover answers to the questions that continued to surface. Will Morgan recover fully from his injuries? Will Bo be able to help Morgan figure out why someone tried to kill him? Will something happen to one of the main characters when the bad guys finally discover where Morgan is hiding out at?
As for the dialogue, it was intense due to the main characters back stories. Bo doesn't trust men and it isn't easy for her to give Morgan a chance, because he has the ability to hurt her not only physically but emotionally as well. Since the more she gets to know him, the more she could see herself becoming attached. However, there were some light-hearted moments through this story that had me smiling. Bo's dog is a real hoot the way she can understand human speech and Morgan's reaction to her made me like the hero even more, as he couldn't quite believe she was so intelligent, and yet, the dog proved him wrong. 
I really liked Bo. She was a strong and brave heroine that would do anything for her friends and those that needed her help. It wasn't always easy having to deal with the town folk, especially with what was happening with a couple on the verge of divorce, but she managed by standing by her principles. By never giving up on what she believed was the right thing to do for everyone involved. Also, I could understand why she fought her attraction to Morgan. She's been hurt before and doesn't want to go through that again. However, the hero doesn't give up on her. The way he gives her time and space, so she comes to her own conclusion about what should happen between them had me cheering for this couple. Bo needed Morgan just as much as he needed her, and eventually, their strong chemistry spilled over onto the pages nicely.
While Morgan, he's a real fighter. It seemed he could have easily given up on wanting to get better, because he'd barely survived, and yet, he fought hard to regain his old self. It was a real challenge the way he pushed himself and was a little dispirited by not achieving what he was hoping to accomplish the first time around, but he didn't give up because he knew he didn't only have himself to protect but he also had to keep Bo safe.

Overall, Ms. Howard has penned a really good read that encompasses a good dose of romance and suspense to keep me as a reader entertained from start to finish, although there wasn't as much suspense as I thought there would be. Really, I thought the main characters would have had to defend themselves at least one more time from the people wanting to hurt the hero. The way this story ended had me on the edge-of-my-seat with what happens to one of the main characters. Would Morgan and Bo be able to protect each other? Would one of them have to sacrifice themselves for the other? I would recommend Troublemaker by Linda Howard, if you enjoy romantic suspense.


A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.
Buy Links:      AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO

It was dark, the other side of nine-thirty, when he pulled into his parking slot at the condo. It had been late when he’d docked the Shark, then he’d cleaned his tackle and locked it away before heading home. He’d also made a brief stop at a grocery to cover his basic food needs; he hooked the plastic bags on his fingers and dragged them with him as he slid out of the seat. A click of the remote locked the truck.

The condos were at least thirty years old, six rows of two-story buildings made of brick and pebbled concrete. He supposed the effect was supposed to be modern and uncluttered—and maybe it had been thirty years ago, but now it was nothing more than butt-ugly. Each ground-floor unit, like his, had its own little patio, while the upper-story condos had balconies that struck him as fairly useless but that were used a lot during the summer for grilling and such.

The plastic bags rustled and banged against his left leg with every step, reminding him of why he hated buying groceries. After the fact, he always thought that he should throw a backpack in his truck and leave it there for hauling in what few groceries he bought, but he wasn’t home often enough for it to be a habit so he’d forget about the backpack. He’d also almost forgotten he didn’t have any coffee left, but the grocery’s sign had caught his eye and he’d whipped into the parking lot without time to signal, resulting in a few indignant horn blasts. Couldn’t be helped; he had to have coffee.
A concrete support pillar and some tall shrubbery partially blocked his view of the condo building, something that grated but the homeowners’ association wasn’t willing to do away with part of its mature landscaping and shady trees just because he didn’t like it. He couldn’t explain that the greenery provided points of ambush because civilians simply didn’t get shit like that, so he dealt with it. It wasn’t as if he had a lot to worry about; the crime rate in these units was very low, and was in fact a selling point for the young families who made up the majority of residents.
Still—habits were a bitch, but he couldn’t ignore half a lifetime of training. To keep from walking around a blind corner, he swung wide into the street the way he always did so he was approaching straight on; there wasn’t a lot of traffic in the condo development, and he didn’t often have to wait until a car passed.
But even with a direct approach, he still didn’t like it. Sometimes, such as now, he liked it less than at other times, and he couldn’t have said why. He didn’t have to; instinct was what it was.
He stopped in his tracks.
Sometimes . . . such as now.
The sudden surge of awareness was like an electric shock, sending all of his senses into hyperalert. He instinctively moved his right hand to the pistol snugged into the holster at the small of his back even as he tried to pick up any movement in the shrubbery that shouldn’t have been there, anything that was responsible for making the back of his neck suddenly prickle. He couldn’t see anything, but still his senses were screaming. Something was there, even if it wasn’t anything danger—
The thought hadn’t completely formed when the shadows of the shrubbery moved slightly, black on black. More adrenaline shot through his system, and Morgan acted without thought, training taking over as he dropped the plastic bags and dove to the left, leaving his right hand free as he pulled his weapon.
His body was still airborne, stretched out, when he saw a faint flash and a sledgehammer hit him in the chest.
He had two distant but clear thoughts: Suppressor. Subsonic round.
He slammed to the ground, the impact almost as jarring as the sledgehammer to the chest. He rolled with it, the pistol grip fitting into his palm as if his hand and the weapon had been made together, one functioning unit. One part of his brain knew he’d been hit and hit hard, but the other part stayed ruthlessly focused outward, intent on doing what he needed to do. He fired toward where he’d seen the flash, the sound sharp in the crisp night air, but he knew only a rank amateur would stay in the same place so he tracked his next shot away from the shrubbery, following the barely seen black-on-black shadow, and pulled the trigger again.
His mind disconnected from the shock waves of pain rolling through his body because that was the only way he could function. His thoughts raced, analyzing probabilities and angles of fire, selecting the best option even as adrenaline overrode the devastation and kept his body moving. Without being aware that he was moving, he rolled behind a fireplug, and didn’t realize where he was until he was already there. A fireplug wasn’t much cover, but it was some.
His vision was wavering, things rushing at him then drawing back, as if pushed and pulled by an invisible tide of air. Peripherally, he was aware of entrance lights coming on, of curtains being pulled back as his neighbors peeked out to see what the hell was going on. He blinked fiercely, trying to stay focused. Yes—the increase of light brought a man’s form into dim view and he fired a third shot, controlled the upward kick of the muzzle, fired again. The dark form toppled to the ground and lay still.
God, his chest hurt. Shit. This had really fucked up his tattoo.
His vision wavered again, but he grimly held on, keeping his weapon trained on the downed threat. “Down” didn’t mean “out.” If he let go, let the darkness come, the other guy might get up and finish the job. Dead didn’t count until it was confirmed dead, and he couldn’t confirm shit right now.
But doors were opening, people were shouting. The sounds were distorted and strangely far away, the lights fading. Through the growing shadows he thought he saw some of the braver souls venturing out, investigating the gunfire. Words swam at him, around him, and some of them sank into his consciousness.
“Shawn! Are you crazy?” A woman’s voice, both angry and afraid.
“Just call the cops,” said a man—maybe Shawn, maybe someone else.
“I already did,” said a third voice.
“What the hell is going on?”
More noise, more voices added to the chorus as people began approaching, cautiously at first, then with more confidence when nothing else happened. Morgan tried to call out, say something, make any kind of noise, but the effort was beyond him. He could feel his breath hitching as the distant pain rolled closer, like a tidal wave that was about to swamp him.
This might be it for me, he thought, and was almost too tired to care. He tried to control his breathing because he’d heard that hitching sound before and it was never good. He didn’t have to hang on long, he thought—maybe half an hour, if people would get the lead out of their asses and get him to the hospital. But half an hour seemed like an eternity when he wasn’t certain he could hang on even one more minute.
He rested his head on the concrete sidewalk, feeling the chill of it. His outstretched hand was just resting on the winter-dead grass at the edge of the sidewalk and he had the distant thought that it was kind of nice to be touching the earth. If this was it for him, well, it sucked to go, but all in all this wasn’t too bad, considering all the grisly ways he could have gone.
But, damn it, he was fucking pissed because if he died, he didn’t know who had killed him or, more importantly, why.
Someone bent over him, a vague shape swimming out of focus. He had to send MacNamara a warning, and with his last ounce of strength he gasped out, “Ambush.”
Linda Howard is the award-winning author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Gadsden, Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.
Author Links:   GOODREADS | AMAZON



Thursday 15 December 2016


Enter to Win a $15 Amazon Gift Card
Skirting the Ice
Bannister Brothers #3
By: Jennie Marts
Releasing December 8, 2016
In Skirting the Ice (Bannister Brothers #3) by Jennie Marts, If there's one girl Jack Bannister has never forgotten, it's his teenage crush, Murphy Ryan. Never did he think he'd see her again, but after inheriting her grandfather's house, she's moved in next door. However, trouble has followed Murphy to Colorado, and unless Jack can help her figure out who her stalker is, happy ever after might not be possible for the pair.

After reading my first book by Jennie Marts, I have looked forward to every release since, and this story was fantastic in the way it provided plenty of laughs, a good dose of suspense due to Murphy's stalker, and a storyline that entertained me from start to finish. The way this story began with Jack making a error in judgment by trying to take something that wasn't his had me smiling, and Murphy's reaction was understandable. What did Jack think he was doing? Furthermore, the moment the hero and heroine come face-to-face again for the first time in years was memorable. Both were hopeful that they'd see each other again, but never imagined it would be with Murphy taking residence next door.

The dialogue was intense due to the main characters back stories, especially that of the heroine. She never expected trouble to follow her all the way to Colorado, and yet it has. How is she going to handle her stalker? Will she let Jack and the police help her? As the incidents escalate, I felt sorry for the heroine. Even though, she does her best to hold it together, it's difficult for her to deal with. Because although she has an inkling of who may be stalking her, she can't prove it. Murphy is strong, brave and I liked how determined she is to get the chance to play in an all women's ice hockey league. She has the resources to make it happen, and nothing will stop her from achieving her dreams.

While Jack, he's definitely the opposite to Murphy. Where she's outgoing and wild, he'd rather stay at home playing video games or working. Yet, they seem so right for each other. Jack has issues when it comes to his brothers. They're jocks while he's the nerd, and at times he feels inadequate. Will Murphy be able to convince him that he's the Bannister brother she wants? Also, I liked how protective Jack was of Murphy. The heroine needed someone to confide in when it came to her stalker, and Jack is there for her. Then there's the teasing dialogue between Murphy and Jack. Throughout, it feels like they've been friends that talk regularly, when in reality, they haven't seen each other in years. 

Overall, Ms. Marts has penned a wonderful novel in this story where the romance was a bit of the sweet side and didn't go into a lot of detail when it came to intimate moments. However, in saying that, there were a few hot kisses. The way this story ended was intense due to what happened between the main characters and the stalker, but ended perfectly with Jack finally realizing how much Murphy means to him and that there's no way he can let her go now that she's back in his life. I would recommend Skirting the Ice by Jennie Marts, if you enjoy romantic comedy with a dose of suspense or the opposites attract trope.

"The Bannister Brothers series has everything I, humor, and heart!" - Kristin Miller- New York Times Bestselling author 

Buttoned-up accountant Jack Bannister lives an uncomplicated life until his teenage crush moves back into the house next door…all grown up and sexy as hell. Murphy Ryan is still wild and reckless, and danger has followed her to Colorado.  Jack will do whatever it takes to protect her, even it means letting her go…again.
Murphy Ryan is focused on building a new NHL women’s hockey team. But staying on her game is hard with the distraction, and the memories, of the hot nerd in the house next door. Jack Bannister had been her first kiss, and she wants him to be her last. With his dry humor and sexy glasses, being smart never looked so good.
Jack’s been given a chance to win back the one that got away, but worries this gorgeous hockey player is still out of his league. He’s kept his heart on ice, but now that Murphy’s back, she might be the one to finally thaw it.
BUY LINKS: Amazon eBook / Amazon Print


    He looked down at himself, his eyes widening as if noticing for the first time that he was wearing only a pair of black boxer briefs.

She was noticing too. She’d already seen him shirtless and knew that his chest was hard and muscled, but this was different. He was practically naked. And hot as hell, his body reminding her of a swimmer’s, lean and toned.
And he was standing very, very close. Mere inches separated them.
Suddenly, her heart was pounding in her chest again, but this time for a different reason. She was still scared, but this was another kind of frightened.
This time she wasn’t frightened that something was going to happen—she was scared that it wouldn’t.
Jack seemed scared too. She reached up, softly resting her hand on his bare chest.
He inhaled sharply at the touch of her fingers. His chest trembled slightly below her hand.
Gazing up, she peered into his eyes, questioning, searching for a signal to keep going.
His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat as he swallowed. But he didn’t move, didn’t pull back. He may have even leaned forward a little.
Was that the signal she was waiting for?
She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry. His gaze shifted to her mouth, and she heard his quick intake of breath through his own parted lips.
God, the guy had great lips. And everything in her yearned to kiss them, to taste them, to taste him.
They stood still, neither speaking. Neither moving forward nor back.
One of them had to do something. She could either make a move herself or continue to wait to see if he would eventually try to kiss her again.
To hell with waiting. Either he wanted to kiss her or he didn’t.
Only one way to find out.
She leaned toward him, her hand still on his chest, as she pressed her lips against his.
One soft kiss. Gentle. Slow.
She pulled back, just a hair’s breadth away, her lips still close, but waiting, dying for an invitation to kiss him again.
He froze, just for a second, his body stiff, then his hands slipped around her waist, and he pulled her tightly against him.
He crushed her lips with his, taking her mouth in an onslaught of passion, kissing her as if he were a starving man and she was his first meal.
His hands slipped up her back, one sliding across her neck to cup her cheek while the other dove into her hair.
Tipping her face, he slanted his mouth across hers, deepening the kiss.
Parting her lips, his tongue slid between them, a soft moan escaping him as he tasted and savored her mouth.
Her hands gripped his muscled shoulders, holding on as she kissed him back with everything she had. Everything she’d been holding onto all of these years.
The tension of this kiss had been building for a decade, and if this was the only kiss she ever got to share with Jack Bannister, she was going to make it worth the wait.
And make it so that he wouldn’t be able to resist kissing her again.
Sliding her hand along his neck, she tangled her fingers into his soft hair, pulling his head closer still, as if they could get any closer.
Every nerve inside of her tingled with pleasure, with warmth and with something else—a feeling that she hadn’t had in a long time. Being in Jack’s arms, his lips pressed to hers, felt like she was finally where she belonged. Like she was finally home.
Jennie Marts is the USA Today Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.

Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances. 

Guest post for SKIRTING THE ICE: A Bannister Brothers Book

by Jennie Marts

5 Reasons Smart Just Got Sexy

In SKIRTING THE ICE, the third and newest book in the Bannister Brothers series, a hot nerd meets his match with a wildcat hockey player. Sparks fly in this second chance romance where opposites attract and a cute nerd gets a chance to win back his teenage crush.

Buttoned-up accountant Jack Bannister lives an uncomplicated life until his teenage crush moves back into the house next door—all grown up and sexy as hell. Murphy Ryan is still wild and reckless, and danger has followed her to Colorado.  Jack will do whatever it takes to protect her, even it means letting her go…again.

Murphy is focused on building a new NHL women’s hockey team. But staying on her game is hard with the distraction, and the memories, of the hot nerd in the house next door. Jack Bannister had been her first kiss, and she wants him to be her last. With his dry humor and sexy glasses, being smart never looked so good.

            This story is a wild ride that will make you smile and root for the underdog, which in this case is a hot accountant with glasses, asthma, and great abs. But brains can overcome brawn and here’s 5 Reasons why Smart Just Got Sexy:

1-      The Glasses – There’s something about when a guy takes off his glasses that is oh so hot! It’s like he’s undressing his face and letting you see his vulnerable side.

2-      Smart guys know how to research, and they pride themselves on getting things right. (wink, wink)

3-      Smart Guys are punny—they know how to use clever word play and sometimes quote poetry. They also sometimes quote algebraic equations- but in Jack’s case, it comes out quite romantic. 

4-      Bowties—imagine a hot nerd mixed with a Chippendales dancer

5-      And lastly, let’s just say: Clark Kent, Felicity Smoak (from Arrow), Zachary Levi (as Chuck), Ben Affleck (as the Accountant), Jeff Goldblum (that voice!) and Chris Pine (as Captain Kirk).

Well, that ought to put you in the mood for some hot nerd action.

I fell in love with Jack and Murphy as I wrote their story, and I hope you do too. This book is full of snappy dialogue, a little suspense, and plenty of sizzle. And if you’re already a fan of the Bannister Brothers series, you’ll be happy to know that all of the brothers make at least one appearance in this book, and you’ll get to meet the youngest brother, Beau.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my new book. To keep on top of all my news, including sales and new releases, please visit to sign up for my newsletter and I would love to invite you to join my street team, Jennie's Page Turners. Click HERE to join on Facebook.

Thanks again and I hope you love the new book. Happy Reading!





Tuesday 6 December 2016


Win a Stiletto / Oxford eBook Prize Pack
Someone like You
Oxford #3
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing December 6, 2016
In Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne, the playboy image Lincoln Mathis reveals to the world is really a front to cover the sorrow he's felt ever since a tragedy in his past robbed him of someone he loved. But the moment he meets Daisy Sinclair, the twin sister of one of his friends and a woman he's been warned away from, he finds the guard he uses to protect himself from further pain slipping. And the more time he spends with Daisy, the more he finds himself falling. Can he fully let go of the past, so they can have a future together, or will he let the one person that completely understands him slip through his fingers?
What an amazing novel Ms. Layne has penned in this book, which has become my top read of 2016. Where from start to finish, this story was utterly captivating, highly emotional, fast-paced, and a book that once I finished knew right away that I'll want to re-read again and again. Because Daisy and Lincoln are wonderful characters that deserve a second chance at love, no matter how many obstacles they have to overcome to achieve it.
The dialogue was intense due to the main characters back stories, and there was no way I could have gotten through this book without crying, especially after a certain loss one of the main characters suffer. However, the dialogue wasn't all intense and the playful dialogue between the main characters certainly dried up the tears at the right times throughout this story. And in fact, their playful dialogue had me laughing at times, especially when it came to the nickname Lincoln gave Daisy and the fact that this could be considered a forbidden romance trope themed book because of the warning Lincoln receives about staying away from the heroine. However, in saying that, the advice the secondary characters give both the hero and heroine palpably reveal how good these two are for each other.
With the main characters, both Daisy and Lincoln are fantastic and characters that I could not get enough of. I've loved the hero in the previous books of this series, and have been waiting for his story to be released and it was everything I'd hoped for and more. Lincoln has hidden such pain from his closest friends and it's finally time they know what he's been going through, what he's still going through and hopefully help him move on, even if it means pushing him towards Daisy so they can help each other. Certainly, he has some major decisions to make; decisions that aren't easy. But at the same time, the ones that he makes help him to heal, which was what he needed.
While Daisy, she's strong, brave and I liked how determined she is -- if she finds the right man -- to move forward from her disaster of a marriage. Her husband was a real horrible jerk and it's no wonder she has trust issues and is wary of getting close to men. But at the same time, overcoming those demons makes her that much stronger. Is Lincoln a safe option? Is he ready to move on? The answers to those questions made this book a complete page turner, yet what I liked most about the heroine was how supportive she was towards Lincoln when it came to his tragedy. She's the one person he can talk to; the one person that may be able to understand his pain of not being able to let go and move on.
Overall, Ms. Layne has penned what I believe is her best novel to date; a novel where the sex scenes were hot and in their own way help Lincoln and Daisy to heal from the hurts of their pasts. Daisy hasn't been able to trust a man since her marriage ended, and Lincoln has had his own reasons for not getting close to a woman, so it makes their relationship all that more special. This story ended perfectly with Lincoln's way of getting Daisy back, because it was something that she'd love, no matter how embarrassing it would have been for him. However, it was the epilogue that wrapped this story up nicely, because it illustrates how lucky two people are to have been able to find love again. I would highly recommend Someone Like You by Lauren Layne, if you enjoy the forbidden romance trope, or a hero and heroine that desperately need each other to help them heal from the hurts of their pasts.

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo

“Lincoln, you know that I love you like a brother, but if you make a move on my sister, I will end you.”
Lincoln Mathis took a slow sip of his cocktail as he studied the fierce bride-to-be. “I hope Cassidy knows how lucky he is. You’re so delicate and gentle.”
Emma Sinclair, soon to be Emma Cassidy as of this time tomorrow, lifted one elegantly manicured fingernail and flicked his chest. “Promise, Lincoln. No hitting on Daisy.”
“I don’t hit on women.”
Emma gave him a look.

He held up his free hand in surrender. “I don’t. They come to me. I’m like the stamen.”
Emma stared at him with wide, slightly accusatory brown eyes. “The what?”
“The stamen. The pollen-producing part of a flower, Sinclair. Don’t you watch the Discovery Channel? Animal Planet? I just saw a fascinating documentary on bees. See, when the bees land on a flower, their little feet pick up pollen from the stamen— “
“Mathis. Are you talking to my fiancée about semen?” Alex Cassidy asked, coming up beside Emma and setting a possessive hand on her waist.
Stamen,” Lincoln clarified. “Not semen. Honestly, is sex all you people think about?”
“Yes.” This came from Riley Compton, a brunette bombshell whose status as New York’s foremost “sexpert” meant she had zero qualms about discussing sex at her best friend’s rehearsal dinner. “And you know, actually, the stamen is rather sexual. I saw that bee documentary too, because these are the sort of things you do when you’re nursing a never-satisfied baby, by the way, and the stamen is a flower’s male reproductive organ. Sexy, right?”
Emma inserted the arm not holding her champagne flute between the two of them. “Guys, it’s my wedding weekend. Can we not talk about flower boners?”
“Fair enough, Bride,” Lincoln said. “What do you want to talk about? Cassidy’s boner?”
Alex Cassidy choked into his champagne.
“There will be no boner discussion,” Emma said. “Lincoln and I were just having a chat about how Lincoln will be maintaining his distance from my sister.”
“Speaking of flowers, where is Daisy?” Riley asked, scanning the room.
“Running late. Knowing my sister, her dress had a slight crease from the suitcase, and she won’t make an appearance until every wrinkle’s banished, every hair’s in place, and there’s not a speck of lint anywhere.”
“Gosh, however will I keep my hands to myself?” Lincoln muttered.
“Lincoln, I swear to God—”
“He’s messing with you, Em,” Cassidy said, carefully tugging his fiancée away from Lincoln. “Don’t let him press your buttons. And Lincoln, man, what is with that drink?”
Lincoln glanced down. “It’s called a Jasmine. Gin, lemon, some Campari—”
“It’s pink,” Cassidy observed.
“Right? You want one?”
Cassidy rolled his eyes. “I’ll stick with wine, thanks. Ah shit, there’s my grandma waving us over. Emma, you up for talk about the state of your uterus?”
Emma groaned. “Oh no. I thought she’d agreed to wait until after the wedding to talk about my eggs.”
“I’ll go with you,” Riley said. “As the only one in our little group of friends who’s ever pushed a human skull out my—”
“Okay, I’m going to expand my taboo list,” Emma said. “No talking about boners, flowers, or vaginas.”
“Fine,” Riley said, as she entwined her arm in Emma’s and started leading her toward Cassidy’s grandma. “But if Grams starts talking about fertility, just follow my lead . . . ”
Lincoln smiled as he watched his friends walk away. He could follow, certainly, help run interference, but new mom Riley was a far better choice for this particular bridal-party duty.
Besides, as best man, Lincoln had enough to worry about. The ring, reconfirming transportation to the church tomorrow, the speech that he was going to slay tomorrow, the—
Lincoln’s best man to-do list scattered as his eyes landed on a woman standing in the doorway to the private event room. He did a double take. When had Emma found time to change? Generally speaking, he didn't consider himself particularly in tune with his friends' clothes. Especially the women, because, well . . .  he didn’t really give a crap. But he was pretty damn sure Emma had been wearing a white dress just ten seconds ago.
Now she was wearing a short yellow dress, with fussy, flowy sleeves, high-necked and a bit demure—
No, not demure, Lincoln amended as she turned. Hot. The dress was backless, showing a smooth expanse of lightly tanned skin from the small of her back all the way up to long dark blond hair.
. . . Blond hair.
Emma had shoulder-length brown hair. A wardrobe swap, he might be able to buy, but the hair?
You idiot.
He was looking at none other than Daisy Sinclair, the forbidden fruit, in the flesh.
He’d forgotten that Daisy wasn’t just Emma’s sister—she was Emma’s identical twin.
Other than the fact that she was, apparently, not to be hit on, Lincoln didn’t know much about her.
Well, he supposed  he now knew that she dyed her hair blond.
Or maybe Emma dyed hers brown?
Whatever. Girl stuff he didn’t care about one way or the other.
And yet he didn’t look away, captivated somehow. He racked his brain for everything he’d heard about Daisy Sinclair.
He knew that she and Emma had grown up in North Carolina. But Emma left for New York City shortly after college, and Daisy had stayed. He thought he remembered talk of a recent divorce, although he didn’t recall the details.
Didn’t need to, really. Lincoln knew better than anyone that not all relationships had happy endings.
Lincoln watched as Daisy hesitated just inside the doorway, unnoticed yet by the rest of the bridal party and out-of-town guests.
Making people comfortable was a particular skill of his. Normally he’d be over there in a heartbeat with a glass of wine and some of his best banter until her shoulders relaxed and he’d coaxed a smile from her pretty face.
But he wasn’t entirely convinced Emma wouldn’t make good on her castration threats, so instead Lincoln merely studied Daisy. The woman was beautiful. No surprise there, since Emma was gorgeous. Yet, though their features were identical, they were attractive in entirely different ways.
Emma was all polished confidence, stunning in an untouchable sort of way.
Daisy was softer somehow. Gentler. She seemed . . . touchable.
Lincoln’s cocktail froze on its way to his mouth as the forbidden rocked him back on his heels. Daisy Sinclair was not for him to touch for reasons that had nothing to do with Emma’s threats.
As though sensing a man’s brooding thoughts on her, Daisy turned slightly, her eyes locking on his. Eyes that he’d known would be dark brown like Emma’s, and yet eye contact with Emma had never felt like this.
Lincoln felt something akin to panic, because for a heart-stopping moment, it felt like Daisy Sinclair was seeing him. Not seeing the Lincoln he wanted everyone to see.
The real him.
He gave himself a little mental shake. Get it together, Mathis. The woman doesn’t even know you.
None of them did.
Not really.
He saw the moment of answering shock in her own gaze, sensed that for a split second, she considered turning and running. From him, from the party, all of it.
Then he saw something else. Something familiar, because he’d done it a thousand times himself. She squared her shoulders, and he watched as a mask slid into place.
He knew even before she approached that Daisy was exactly like him—good at being around people only because she chose to be. Knew that perhaps once it had been second nature, and now it was nothing but a deliberate attempt to make sure everyone thought she was okay.
Daisy began making her way toward him, and he tensed for reasons he couldn’t identify before ordering himself to chill out.
It was just his friend’s sister. The maid of honor to his best man.
She stopped in front of him, and he caught just the faintest whiff of her perfume, a surprisingly elegant scent for someone named Daisy, before she extended her hand.
“You must be Lincoln Mathis, The Manwhore of Whom I Should Beware?”
Her voice was a surprise. It had the same low huskiness as her sister’s, but years in New York had all but erased the Southern from Emma’s whiskey-raspy voice. Daisy’s drawl was very much intact—a mint julep on a hot day.
He grinned and took her smaller hand in his. “Which would make you Daisy Sinclair, Delicate Flower to Whom I’m Not to Speak.”
She grinned. “Nailed it.”

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official 
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