Thursday 28 July 2016


Enter to Win 1 of 2 ebook copies of
SEASIDE HEARTS, Seaside Summers Bk 2
Seaside Lovers
Seaside Summers #7
By: Melissa Foster
Releasing July 20, 2016
World Literary Press
In Seaside Lovers (Seaside Summers #7) by Melissa Foster, Parker Collins doesn't have anyone to help her get past the grief she's experiencing since losing the one person that's ever felt like family to her. Eating a mountain load of junk food, drinking tequila and watching a bunch of horror movies seems like the perfect way to help her through her sadness. However, Grayson Lacroux provides an even better distraction. 

Grayson Lacroux has been intrigued by Parker Collins for months. Unfortunately, they've never met and it seems unlikely that they will when she doesn't show at the time they planned to connect. Finding Parker in her time of mourning unsettles him, but he'll do anything to make things better. Even if it means helping her confront the bitter brother of the man she regarded as her only family. Can Grayson convince Parker that she's the right woman for him?

Ever since reading my first book by Ms. Foster, I've been slowly making my way through the books of different series that she's written. The Seaside Summers series has become one of my much loved series from this author, due to the incredible array of characters that go through so much to achieve their happy ever after. While providing both the right amount of emotion and romance to keep me -- as a reader -- entertained from start to finish.   

This book started off really well and gripped my attention immediately with what the heroine is going through. She's lost someone important to her and is mourning the loss hard. However, it was the moment when the hero and heroine came face-to-face for the first time that was captivating and made this book fast-paced because nothing could knock Parker out of her grief quicker than a good scare while she's watching scary movies.

The dialogue was intense due to the main characters back stories, and pulled me in by the characters emotions and reactions through the narrative. Parker doesn't have any family, so meeting Abe, the brother of the man she considered a father was rough. Could Parker convince Abe to see reason about his late brother? The man she's gone to meet is definitely difficult to deal with at first, so I was glad that the heroine was so persistent. That she continued to push past the man's stubbornness.

The main characters were compelling and together with the secondary characters definitely made this story a worthwhile read. Parker has achieved so much throughout her life, yet she's never had the one thing she's really ever wanted -- family. Certainly, her growing relationship with Grayson shows just how wonderful it is to have people that love and accept each other for who they are, no matter what happens in their lives. Something that is totally opposite to what she's used to as an actress. If she does anything even remotely wrong than it ends up in a paper or magazine. Luckily though, the publicity she gets is good and the way Grayson's sister memorialized the clipping had me laughing.
As for the heroine, she's goes through a lot in this story and I felt sorry for her because she's lost an important person that she cared a great deal about. Yet, she gains so much in spite of that loss. Grayson and his family are so tight-knit and would do anything for each other, and the way they welcome her into the family despite the pair not knowing whether they'll be able to make their worlds apart relationship work was wonderful and something she needed. 

While Grayson, he's hard-working, good at what he does, and I liked how protective he was of Parker. The way he protected her from unwanted attention had me smiling, even though the heroine always does her best to not attract attention that will make her look bad and hurt her career. I also liked how he helped Parker with Abe. He stood up for her and didn't allow the old man to get rid of her with his surly manner. 

Overall, Ms. Foster has penned another really good novel in this seventh book of her Seaside Summers series where the sex scenes were hot and illustrated this couple's intense chemistry perfectly. Both want a relationship between them to work, but with living in different parts of the country, it made things difficult. However, nothing is impossible, if they both want the same thing -- to be together. The way this story ended was wonderful, despite the fact that Grayson betrayed her trust. His sneakiness in getting her to meet with him was definitely a moment that had me grinning, once Parker realized what he did. Also, I liked what he did to break her trust because it led her to someone very important that she should get to know. I would highly recommend Seaside Lovers, if you've read the other books of this series. I'd also recommend this book, if you enjoy the opposites attract or friends to lovers tropes.       



After months of long-distance communication, actress Parker Collins and artist Grayson Lacroux finally plan to reconnect in the seaside town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. But Parker never shows, and weeks pass without a word, leaving Grayson to believe he’s misinterpreted their budding relationship.
Parker has been running on autopilot ever since she lost her friend, mentor, and the only family she’s ever known, Bert Stein. Armed with junk food, tequila, and her big, lovable dog, she’s prepared to hole up and mourn—and determined to mend a fence Bert had never been able to with his estranged and bitter brother. But Parker didn’t count on the sinfully hot artist she’s been fantasizing about for nearly a year walking in on her grief-induced drunken night.
When Grayson stumbles across Parker, he has no idea what to make of the gorgeous blonde who blew him off despite the heat sizzling between them. But that doesn’t stop him from feeling protective of the woman who’s consumed his thoughts for months, and when he learns of Parker’s plans to confront an angry old man, he refuses to leave her side. As Parker’s past unfolds, they’re led on an unexpected journey of discovery. Their connection deepens, and late-night fantasies become passionate realities, until good intentions spark painful secrets, threatening the love they’ve found.
Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo


Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women's fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented. 

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |Newsletter



Tuesday 19 July 2016


Enter to Win a Digital Set of
Book 1 & 2 in the Bad for You series
By: Amber Bardan
Releasing July 19, 2016
In For Her Protection by Amber Bardan, mixing business with pleasure in Connor's line of work can be a dangerous thing, but there's something about the woman he's been tasked to protect that makes him forget all his rules. However, with things becoming more and more dangerous for Charlize, he's going to have to do everything in his power to earn her trust. 
Charlize will do anything to save her father's company from being destroyed by those that feel they should be in charge, but having a bodyguard assigned to protect her may be more than she bargained her. With danger closing in from all sides, and not knowing who she can trust, Charlize knows any distraction could be risky. Yet, there's something about her bodyguard that makes her want to throw caution to the wind.
This is the first book I've read by Ms. Bardan, and I've got to say that it won't be my last. Right from the beginning, this sexy protector trope encompassing story had me enthralled due to the situation the heroine is in. Danger is closing in on her from all angles such as the company's employees and her extended family. It was hard not to feel sorry for her when she's already been betrayed by family in the past.
From start to finish, the dialogue was compelling and a perfect blend of intense, emotional and playful. The moment that the hero and heroine meet was wonderful, as Charlize isn't afraid to go after what she wants, especially after what happened that made her act with such desperation. She's very bold in that moment, although it wasn't a hardship for Connor to do what she asks. Not when he finds her so intriguing. 
I really enjoyed both the main characters, yet had mixed feelings about the secondary characters. Some I liked and some I didn't, especially the ones that were out to get Charlize. They were nice to her face, but scheming behind her back. and I figured out the person causing trouble for the heroine quite easily. Then there's the heroine's best friend. I liked how determined she was to get  Charlize out mingling to find a man again.
Charlize is strong, brave, tenacious and I liked how she didn't make guarding her easy for Connor. She definitely gives him the run around, even though when she does it seems to get her in trouble. She's also very dedicated to her father's company, and her determination to figure out what is going on is palpable by everything she does such as using outside help to investigate. Trusting a man isn't easy for her, but the more she gets to know Connor, the more she finds him to be someone she can put her faith in. 
While Connor, he's alpha all the way. He's confident when it comes to dealing with Charlize and determined to keep her safe. She isn't an easy client and getting her to trust him is near impossible. Yet, once he learns the truth of why she doesn't trust easily, I liked that he was willing to lay all his cards on the table. That he was willing to fight for her when it seems all hope is lost, and she does her best to put some distance between them.
Overall, this was a really good book where the sex scenes were fan-your-face hot. Charlize doesn't find it easy to trust after the disaster of her previous relationship. Yet, Connor is determined to prove he's the right man for her; a man that would never leave her. The way this story ended was wonderful, as Charlize makes a very important decision about her future and Connor shows her how much she means to him. I would recommend For Her Protection by Amber Bardan, if you enjoy the sexy protector trope.
You shouldn't mix business with pleasure.

Yet pleasure seems to be the one and only thing on Charlize's mind the moment Connor steamrolls into her life. Desperate to save her family company, prove she's more than a pretty face and worthy of being CEO, pleasure is a distraction she can't afford.

She doesn't want a bodyguard, especially not one whose caveman heroics kick her libido into hyperdrive. Surrounded by enemies, she's not sure if Connor is a man she can trust.

Connor knows better than to get personal with clients. Yet there couldn't be anything more personal about his feelings for Charlize. He'll win her trust, preferably one orgasm at a time.

With Connor in her office, her home, driving her to sweet, merciless distraction, there's only so long Charlize can resist his sexy, dominant brand of protection.

WARNING: This is an Amber Bardan Alpha Romance, featuring one dirty-talking hero obsessed with his heroine, and a Happily Ever After. No cliffhangers.

BUY LINK:  Amazon
She came right at him.
Connor leaned back in his seat. Shit. You’d think five-years in the job, he’d have more discretion.
But what red-blooded man wouldn’t stare at her?
She weaved between tables, hips swaying, full-fucking-irresistible cleavage peeking out from her blouse.
He kept his eyes on his glass, even if his peripheral was having a feast.
“Hi.” Her voice was as lush as the rest of her.
He’d fucked up. She’d noticed him watching and now there’d be a confrontation. If he was compromised, then he’d be forced to take matters to the next level.
He looked up.
Jet-black hair flowed over her shoulders. He’d seen her tug that hair from its ponytail and fluff it. Cheeky, attention-seeking minx. It hadn’t been so bad from over there. He hadn’t been able to smell her as he did now. He hadn’t known she used vanilla scented shampoo then. His fists curled. But her hair wasn’t the problem, even if he kept imagining it curled around his fist. The problem was her wide, almond-shaped eyes the color of butter warming in a pan, melting his brain.
She flinched, smile slipping, then reached to her front. He tried to stay still, damned hard work, because she reached between those magnificent tits and pulled out a bill. “I’ll give you ten dollars if you kiss me right now?”
He glanced at the money in her hand. Un-freaking-believable. “Do I look like a gigolo to you, woman?”
“No, I imagine the scowl would be terrible for business.” She laughed, the husky sound of it had his muscles clenching. “But I saw you looking at me, and I really need you to kiss me, so if the money’s offensive, would you just do it for free?”
Kiss her for free?
It’d cost if he kissed her—no way out of that, but he’d be the one paying.
She held his gaze, then sighed and squeezed the bill back into her top. “Never mind, I must have misunderstood.”
Her big eyes went soft and sad.
Fuck, did she do that on purpose? Did anyone ever actually say no to her?
He scooted back his chair. Well, if was a kiss she wanted, he’d damned well show her how it’s done.
Her lips parted as he rose, and her head tipped back. She gulped. He was used to that. Little women like her realizing they’d bitten off more than they could chew. She probably hadn’t noticed when he’d been seated that he’d have over a foot on her.
Maybe he’d have gone slow, moved in gently, if she hadn’t demanded that last part—right now.
The cheek.
He took a step. She swallowed again. This time he let himself take in the sight of her curves—he let his gaze trail all over her.
He reached for her shoulder, but the next thing he knew he’d buried his hand in that hair he’d been fantasizing about since he clamped eyes on her.

After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber Bardan finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her time in a coffee-fueled adrenaline haze, writing romance with a thriller edge.
She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.
Amber is an award winning writer, Amazon Bestselling Author, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and Writers Victoria.
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Friday 8 July 2016


Enter to Win a $25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
Dark Alliance #1
By: Kate SeRine
Releasing June 28, 2016 
In Deceived (Dark Alliance #1) by Kate Serine, Luke Rogan loves working as an operative for the Dark Alliance, but his latest assignment is his toughest yet. Protecting Elijah and Sarah Schofield is his number one priority, and he will do anything to keep them safe, even if it means going against his boss's orders. Not only because the Dark Alliance need to keep the knowledge deeply embedded in Elijah's head secret, but because Sarah and her son are coming to mean more to him than an assignment.
Sarah Schofield will do anything to keep her son safe, even if it means teaming up with the handsome stranger that rescues her and her son from the dangerous people after them. She never could have imagined falling in love again, but Luke Rogan is a man hard to resist. 
Being a total fan of romantic suspense, I was really looking forward to reading this story, and I've got to say that Ms. Serine does not disappoint. From start to finish, this story was everything I could have hoped for and more when it comes to the genre. As it encompassed compelling and well-written dialogue, remarkable characters that drew me into this story with everything they go through, and a fast-paced plot that had a perfect blend of suspense and romance to make this story a real page turner.
As for the dialogue, it was intense because it's not only narrated by the main characters but also the antagonist; a dangerous man that wants Elijah since the information the child knows will bring the bad guy power. However, there were some light-hearted moments between Sarah and Luke as well as the main characters and Elijah that had me laughing or smiling. There is so much love between Sarah and her son, and I liked that Elijah was just as protective of his mom as she was of him.
Both Luke and Sarah were incredible, and together with the secondary characters had me flipping the pages quickly to discover how this story would develop. Would Luke be able to keep Sarah and Elijah safe? Would Sarah be able to handle everything she discovers about her family and her late husband? How far would the bad guys go to learn the information Elijah knows? I felt sorry for Sarah because it isn't easy for her. Her father has kept a lot from her, and being so in the dark as she was, it took time for her to process. Yet, in saying that, I thought she handled everything quite well.
The heroine is strong, brave, and I liked how determined she is to protect her son. Everything Luke teaches her when it comes to protecting herself comes in handy, and she definitely shows the bad guys that she's a woman not to be messed with. She's also very smart and proves that with the way she sacrifices herself to prevent anything happening to Elijah. The fact that she trusts Luke, even after he admits why he's gotten so close to her, goes to show that she also knows he'll do whatever it takes to protect her.
While Luke, he's honorable, loyal and a very good operative for the Dark Alliance. Certainly, he'll do whatever it takes to protect Sarah and her son, especially when their lives have been turned so upside down. He's had quite an interesting past and it goes to show why bad guys are hesitant to go up against him. His reputation proceeds him, and it was understandable why the Dark Alliance recruited him. I also liked what he was willing to do to be with Sarah. She was more important to him than his job.
Overall, Ms. Serine has penned a very good novel where the sex scenes were hot, and illustrated the strong chemistry the hero and heroine had from the moment they met. The way this story ended was wonderful, as Luke finding love finally has his boss looking to change the rules when it comes to relationships while being an operative. I would recommend Deceived by Kate Serine, if you enjoy romantic suspense where the hero and heroine have some pretty tough obstacles to achieve their happy ever after. Also, this first book of Ms. Serine's Dark Alliance series has me looking forward to more of this series.

Luke Rogan's assignment is simple: secure young Elijah Scoffield and his mother and bring them back to headquarters--just an ordinary mission for an operative of the Dark Alliance. But Elijah is no ordinary kid. He's the grandson of one of the country's most influential politicians--a man privy to the Alliance's most valuable secrets, including its centuries-long connection to the Knights Templar. And someone else is attempting to capture the boy--someone who's proven he doesn't give a damn about collateral damage. . .

Heartbroken at the lies that tore her world apart, Sarah Scoffield will do anything to protect her son--even if that means teaming up with a deadly stranger. But Sarah soon finds herself falling in love with her dark hero. And as danger stalks ever closer, the fiery desire that claims them awakens in Sarah passions she'd thought dead and buried long ago. . . 

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

“I thought we were safe here,” Sarah said, her arms crossed over her chest.

            “We’re as safe here as anywhere until we get to my place,” Luke assured her.
            She lifted a brow. “Yet you’re acting like you expect someone to come barging in and attack us at any moment.”
            He took a step closer and immediately realized his mistake when his heart started pounding at the nearness of her. Shit. He shoved his hands into his pockets to keep from touching her. “If being paranoid is what’s going to keep you and your son alive,” he said, “then guilty as charged.”
            “Please don’t take this the wrong way, Luke,” she began, edging closer, damn it all, “but why does it matter so much to you if Eli and I are safe? You don’t know us. I get that you’ve been given an order, but I also heard you talking to your commander and know you’d rather be somewhere else. If you’d insisted that someone else watch over us, I would’ve understood. I can just go to the police, tell them what happened. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
            Luke stared at her for a long moment, trying to figure out the answer to her question. Hell if he knew why it mattered so much to him that he keep them safe. In the technical sense, he protected people every day and had for going on fifteen years when he added up his time in the military and then working for the government and now with the Alliance. But she was right—this assignment was hitting him on a level he hadn’t anticipated.
            “I guess because, when I wasn’t much older than Eli, someone took my mother and me in, watched over us when we needed it,” he finally said, not sure where the explanation was even coming from. “And someone else did the same thing for me again a few years ago when I was in a really dark place—except this time the enemy I was up against was myself. If it wasn’t for that person stepping in, I don’t know where I’d be. But dead is a damned good bet.”
            Sarah straightened. “Oh. God. I’m sorry.”
            “Don’t be,” Luke told her. He shook his head as his vision went a little blurry. Suddenly too tired to stand, he leaned against the edge of the sink. “I made a promise to keep you and Eli safe, Sarah. I’ll keep it. There’s no way I’d abandon you, so don’t worry about it.”
            The next thing he knew, Sarah’s arms were around his neck, hugging him tightly. He resisted the urge to wrap his arms around her and hold her close, to bury his face in her hair and let the warmth of her wash over him. But when she pressed a kiss to his cheek and whispered, “Thank you,” in his ear, he almost gave in.
            Fortunately, before he could move, she stepped away and hurried back into the room with Eli, leaving Luke gaping at the empty doorway and wondering exactly what the hell he’d gotten himself into…
Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) is a hopeless romantic who firmly believes in true love that lasts forever. So it's no surprise that when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed her characters would always have a happily ever after.
Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project—probably while consuming way too much coffee.
Kate is also the author of the award-winning Transplanted Tales paranormal romance series and the Protect & Serve romantic suspense series.
Connect with Kate at,, or on Twitter @KateSeRine.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads


Thursday 7 July 2016


Enter to Win a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card,
a print copy of Under Your Skin,
digital copies of Hot & Nerdy 2 (anthology of 3 novellas -
His Work of Art, His New Jam & His Dream Role)
Under Your Skin
For Your Love #1
By: Shannyn Schroeder
Releasing June 28, 2016 
Zebra Shout
In Under Your Skin (For Your Love #1) by Shannyn Schroeder, Norah O'Malley has returned home to be with her family, knowing she'll need them more than ever with her being pregnant. However, they don't make her feel all that welcome, especially when she won't reveal anything about the baby's father. She's know they're just being overprotective, but if she doesn't do something soon they'll drive her nuts. Knowing she needs to confront the past to move forward with her life, Norah is determined to tell the father about the pregnancy and find a job. Unfortunately, finding a job doesn't seem all that promising until the handsome Kai Ellis makes her an offer she can't refuse.
Kai Ellis can't handle living under the same roof as his mother, but she has no where to go after having knee surgery. Hiring someone to care for her seems a great idea, but having Norah O'Malley in his house could prove dangerous, especially when he's so attracted to her. Can he finally overcome his past to have a relationship with someone? Or will his troubled past always haunt him?
I always like discovering new to me authors, and this first book in a new series for Ms. Schroeder has me looking forward to reading more of her books, and most especially more of this series. Right from the beginning, this book was entertaining, fast-paced and captivated my undivided attention by what the heroine is going through. She's so young to be having a baby, and it isn't easy for her because her overprotective brothers.
The dialogue was intense due to the main characters back stories, the decision Norah has to make about her baby's future, and what's holding Kai back from pursuing a long term relationship with Norah. It isn't easy for him to overcome his past, especially when he feels indebted to a mate of his. Moreover, I liked the playful banter between the hero and heroine. Certainly, Norah keeps Kai on his toes. She's relentless in her mischievousness to flirt with the hero, and get him to let his guard down because she finds him interesting and worth getting to know. 
Both the main characters had compelling back stories, and it made them the interesting hero and heroine that they were. Norah has always felt separate from her family, and it was palpable why she felt that way after what they did to her so soon after her mother died. They let her down when she needed them most. She's also strong, brave and faces a tough decision on deciding what's best for her baby? Can she raise the little one on her own? Or will she give her baby to a couple that will be able to provide a better life for her? She faces a lot of pressure from her family, but in the end, it was her decision. Did she make the right one? Honestly, it was hard not to shed a tear for the heroine.
While Kai, he's done well for himself to overcome his past, even though he's still dealing with it. He's hard-working, kind and caring and would do anything for his family, even though he loves living on his own and having his mother living under his roof is a nightmare he could do without. I could understand why Kai was loyal to his friends, but it seemed like one of his friends kept continuing to drag him down with the guy's desire not to change his criminal ways. So, I liked the decision Kai made about the guy in the end. 
Nicely-detailed sex scenes spice up the story, even though it takes a while for Kai and Norah to finally consummate their relationship because of Norah's pregnancy. However, once there's nothing holding either of them back, their relationship spills onto the pages and does justice to this couple's intense chemistry, which is there from the moment they meet. The moment where Norah feels an instant attraction, although Kai was surly and did his best to steer her away.
Overall, Ms. Schroeder has penned a wonderful novel in this first book of her For Your Love series where the secondary characters -- especially Kai's mother -- entertained me almost as much as the main characters. The growing friendship between Kai's mother and Norah is sweet, and I liked that Norah won over his mother almost immediately, because it seemed she's not a woman that's easily pleased when it comes to people in the hero's life. The way this story ended was satisfying, as Kai makes every effort to prove to Norah that he wants her in his life. I would recommend Under Your Skin by Shannyn Schroeder, if you enjoy a story that encompasses remarkable characters, well-written dialogue and a storyline that will keep you flipping the pages quickly to see how the couple's relationship will progress.  

Blood Is Thicker Than Ink. . .

Norah O'Malley has been alone for a long time. It's been ten years since her father and four brothers shipped her off to be raised by her aunt. Seven months since she's seen the guy who got her pregnant--who still doesn't know. And it's two weeks since she came home to Chicago and discovered none of her family wants to talk--or listen.
She never expected to walk into a tattoo shop seven months pregnant and get her socks knocked off by instant attraction. She can't even see her socks. But Kai Ellis is big and gruff and sexy as hell, and if he has a past, well, so does she. Even more, Kai knows how to listen so that Norah feels just a little less alone . .
All the chemistry in the world can't help Norah make her decisions. And no sizzle of desire will make Kai believe in happy endings. But a little time with someone who understands might just change everything . ..
Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google| iTunes | Kobo
Kai Ellis came from the back room to the musical sound of female laughter. The girl sitting across from Tommy at the front counter had an awesome rack spilling out of her tank top and her tits jiggled as she laughed.
“Hey,” he called, “I told you no girls while you’re on the clock. Get busy on your own time.”
Tommy dropped the food in his hand. “Gross, man. This is my sister.”
She wiggled her fingers. Then she pointed. To Tommy, she said, “Let’s ask your friend here, I’m sure he’s made mistakes in his life.”
“Boss.” Kai crossed his arms. He had no intention of answering questions about his mistakes, but it annoyed him that she jumped to the conclusion that he’d made them. Part of the reason for opening his own business was so he would never have to answer to anyone about his past again.
“I’m his boss.”
She continued on as if he hadn’t spoken. “It’s normal for people to make mistakes, right? Even if they’re huge mistakes, you still learn from them. Life lessons and shit.”
He knew all about making life-altering mistakes, but he still wasn’t about to discuss them. Addressing Tommy, he said, “Girlfriend or not, she needs to go.”
Her eyes popped wide and she slid from the stool. Tommy laid a hand on her arm. “It’s fine.” He twisted on the stool. “Kai, this is my sister, Norah. She just moved back to town.”
Norah stepped around Tommy with her hand extended. Her belly stuck out full with a baby. He’d forgotten about Tommy bitching about his pregnant sister.
When he didn’t move, she dropped her hand. “Sorry. I thought I’d catch Tommy before his client came in. I brought him lunch and dessert.” She turned and picked up a plate from the counter. “Want a Rice Krispies Treat?”
Her smile was friendly as she spoke, but her light blue eyes filled with mischief. Like she was offering up more than marshmallows and cereal. It was a good thing that belly was between them. He stayed rooted to his spot. Then his phone rang. Again. He’d ignored Jaleesa all morning, but if he planned to get any work done, he’d have to deal with her.
With his phone in hand, he spun and walked back out the way he came. “Yeah.”
“It’s about time. I’ve been calling you all morning.”
“I’m aware.”
“Mom’s surgery went fine. She came through with flying colors.”
He’d figured as much. It was just her knee. “Good to know.”
“Are you coming to the hospital today?”
He walked until he hit the back door of the shop and stood in the alley. “I don’t know. Depends on how busy I get.”
“Kai, it’s not like this was some surprise. We scheduled it. You could make sure you’re free. You’re choosing not to.”
His sister’s sigh whistled in his ear. “We need to talk about where Mom will go when she’s released from the hospital. She’ll only be here a few days.”
“I thought you were looking into a rehab facility.”
“I tried, but it made her upset. She thinks we’re going to dump her off and leave her for good.”
“So explain to her that’s not the case. She knows she won’t be able to get around your house. It’s not like she lost her mind.”
“She’s feeling vulnerable and she’s worried about being alone.”
“I don’t know what you want from me, Jaleesa.”
“Maybe she could stay with you.”
“I have stairs in my house.”
“Five, Kai. Five measly steps to get up to your door. Everything else is on one floor. You have the space.”
What she really meant was that he could make the space for his mom to move in. He didn’t want to. His house was set up exactly as he wanted. He would have to move all of his workout equipment somewhere, probably to the basement or the garage. He had no furniture for her. No bed or anything. He didn’t have guests and he liked it that way.
“I can’t take care of Mom. I don’t know what to do with her.”
“And I do? You figure it out, Kai. That’s what you do for family.”
“I have a business to run and I keep long hours.”
“At least think about it. We can probably hire someone to fill in when you’re not around so she’s not alone, but she’ll feel secure in your house.”
“Why can’t we hire someone to help at your house?”
“Maybe we can convert some space to make it work.”
“My whole family isn’t losing our living room so you don’t have to man up.”
He shook his head, not wanting to lose this argument. “We’ll talk about this later. I have to go.”
“Try to stop by the hospital. It’ll make her happy.”
“Yeah.” He clicked off and stared at the brick building across from him. He was tempted to throw his phone to hear the satisfying crack of plastic against the wall. Instead, he inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. The air he sucked in was rank with the smell of rotting garbage. Tomorrow was pickup day and the heat did no favors for the Chinese restaurant on the corner.
The sun beat against his skin, searing it. Five minutes of quiet without thinking about his mom at the hospital. Anything was better than the damn hospital. Leaning against the back door, with his eyes closed, he allowed the sun to sink into him.
The door thumped against him and he stepped away. So much for his five minutes.
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) will release this summer with the first title Under Your Skin. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies. Find out more at:
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Top 5 Most Requested Tattoos
By: Shannyn Schroeder
In my latest release, the hero, Kai Ellis, is the owner of a tattoo shop called Ink Envy. To have a little fun for this blog post, I decided to write about the top 5 tattoos that people request. When I was doing research for this book, I did a lot of reading about tattoo artists and shops, so this was interesting. Obviously, there are different trends each year, and this list is only based on my research.
1. Gang tattoos – This isn’t really one of the trends, but it fits into Kai’s life. Kai used to be a gang banger, but he left that life behind years ago. When he opened his own shop, one rule he made for himself was that he wouldn’t do any gang-related tattoos and in fact, he won’t work on anyone who is affiliated with a gang. I included this on Kai’s list because it’s still a big part of who he is.
2. Finger tattoos – from a simple symbol, like a hashtag to more personal one, like names and birthdays, or even miniature portraits of animals, people like small designs.
3. Arrows – from simple lines to more complex designs. Many people have taken a minimalist approach to tattoos. (Some people have a row of dots or lines)
4. Tribal designs and mandalas – People want them everywhere from their skulls to the length of their entire arms.
5. Florals – These are a perennial favorite
Kai’s tattoos:
Norah makes references to Kai’s tattoos often, but she’s not specific about many of them. He has a tribal band on his forearm and a complicated twist of thorny vines that covers his side from armpit to hip. The one that strikes her as out of place, though, is the compass over his heart.
She stared at his chest. Specifically at the ornate compass tattoo inked over his heart. She didn’t believe for a minute that Kai let his heart act as his compass.