On The Way Down by Ella Fox : Excerpt Reveal

ON THE WAY DOWN by Ella Fox
Release Date: October 13th
Cover Design: Sommer Stein of Perfect Pear Creative Covers

Add To Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41444975-on-the-way-down

 

 

Blurb

She was too young. He was too famous.

Shaelyn Monroe was only seventeen when she met larger-than-life action star, Garrett Riordan.

He thought she was a breath of fresh air.
She thought he was out of her league.

Their attraction was something neither could ignore.
They shouldn’t have worked…
But somehow, they did.

Everything was perfect.
Until it wasn’t.

Could their love survive what happened on the way down- or had it always been too good to be true?

 

Excerpt

His footsteps echoed across the travertine tiles on the floor in our kitchen as he got closer to where I was. Pushing my hair back, I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, and gave myself a quick pep talk. I’d called and told him what I was doing eleven hours earlier. Surely I could do it in person.

His choked inhalation told me he’d made it into the room—which meant he was seeing all the things that were packed and ready to go.

“Jesus, Shae… I can’t believe you’re really fucking doing this.”

In a lot of ways I couldn’t either, but I’d never tell him that. As prepared as I was ever going to be, I turned to face him, keeping my expression as blank as possible as I did. It had only been six days since I’d seen him last, but it felt like a hundred years. It hurt like hell seeing how exhausted he looked because I knew what was happening between us was the reason. In addition to the dark circles under his eyes he’d lost some weight. I wanted to soothe him, but that couldn’t happen anymore.

“Why are you here?” I demanded. “You’re should be on set in New York.”

His head reared back as if I’d slapped him. “Fuck the job and fuck anything else that would make you leave me. I’m here because you’re here—and I belong wherever you are. If you need me to quit, I’ll quit. Tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you. I’ll walk away from everything but you without hesitation. Don’t quit on us, baby.”

The sadness on his face paired with the desperation in his voice was physically painful. It felt as if the weight of a thousand bricks had just settled on top of me, and I could feel myself sinking even further emotionally under the weight. I was so exhausted it was a miracle I was still upright. I was tired of him, tired of us, tired of myself. No matter how I presented my reasons for doing what I was doing, he’d never understand.

“If we belonged together none of this would be happening,” I told him. “There’s a reason we’ve done the things we’ve done.”

He made his way toward me slowly, as if I were a doe he’d spook with any fast movements. His logic was proven sound when I automatically took a step back at the moment he got close enough for us to touch.

I bit my cheek and forced myself not to run into his arms. I needed to feel him more than I needed my next breath. Unfortunately, life had taught me that what we yearned for wasn’t always aligned with what we deserved.

“I’m not giving up on us,” he said, his tone of voice solid and determined. “No matter how big of a wall you build or how much space you put between us, I know that we belong together.”

And I knew he believed those words as he said them, but that wasn’t our reality.

He’d given up on us before.

So had I.

I was doing it again—this time permanently.

 

 

About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Ella Fox has learned a bunch of stuff along the way but the most important of all those things is that anything is possible when you try. In 2012 she took a big leap of faith and published her first book, Broken Hart. Since then she’s written fifteen more full-length books and several novellas– and every one is a reminder that you can live your dream as long as you work for it.

Ella’s favorite things are music, movies, traveling, The Foo Fighters and, of course, reading. This isn’t a surprise considering the fact that her mom is USA Today Bestselling Author Suzanne Halliday.

Connect w/ Ella
Website: http://www.authorellafox.com/
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2oTMJvU
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ella-fox
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllaFoxAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorellafox
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6456709.Ella_Fox
Instagram: https://instagram.com/EllaFoxAuthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/AuthorEllaFox/
Book + Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/ellafox

 

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The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March @SMPRomance

ChristmasWishingTree_FacbookCover_AvailableNow

THE CHRISTMAS WISHING TREE
An Eternity Springs Novel
Eternity Springs (Volume 6)
Emily March
St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Christmas Wishing Tree COVERSometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From USA Today bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…

A delightful Christmas novel in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.

Buy Links:

Macmillan

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

Indie Bound

Powells

My Review

 

Rating : 4 Stars

This was a really sweet, tender romance with suspenseful elements. Jenna Stockton and her son Reilley have been moving constantly with their fifth wheel travel trailer. Jenna is being harassed and has received unsettling calls that scare her.  The nomadic lifestyle suits them, and what began as a flight has evolved into a way of life they enjoy. They have found a slot at Stardance Ranch and they hope they will be able to stay in Eternity Springs for a while. Devin Murphy has come home for the summer. And despite her best efforts, Jenna is not immune to Devin’s charm.

Part of what I enjoyed about this book is watching Jenna and Devin slowly but surely come to terms with their feelings for each other. There were a few angsty moments but other than that, this was a fun and romantic read.  It was truly heartwarming to see how Devin dealt with Jenna’s son, Reilley.

With them both being a little commitment shy, the path of true love didn’t run as smoothly as one could expect. To be honest, Devin made me a bit frustrated being a typical guy with commitment phobia. But meddling family members and friends helped make the romance even more enjoyable.

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book!

Excerpt

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
Christmas carols played softly in the background. The scent of spiced cider perfumed the air.

Shoppers munched happily on gingerbread cookies and perused the bookshelves for that perfect gift.

Dr. Jenna Stockton imagined ripping the halo off the angel’s head and choking her with it.

Instead, she reached deep within herself for patience and managed to find a smile for the costumed character behind the bookstore counter.
“If I could speak with your manager, please?”
“She’s awfully busy.”

Jenna thought of the ridiculous length of her own to-do list as she fought to keep her smile from turning into a sneer.

“Yes, well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? Your manager?”

The little angel gave a haughty sniff, and then said, “If you’ll step out of line, please?”
Without missing a beat, the angel turned a bright smile toward the woman waiting behind Jenna.

“I’m so sorry for this unfortunate delay, ma’am. I’ll be as quick as I possibly can.”
Jenna didn’t snarl like a rabid dog. She didn’t. She smiled at the woman behind her in line. Sweetly.

Without canines.

The woman and the four people behind her each gave Jenna an annoyed glower.
She gave them all a smile too,  then reached for the nearest book, which she pretended to read until the clerk returned,
accompanied by a fiftysomething woman dressed like an elf. The angel gestured toward Jenna and said,

“This is the one, Ms. Thomas.”
The elf spoke in a harried tone. “May I help you?”

“I hope so.” Especially considering that I went out of my way to support a local business rather than ordering online.

Jenna set down the paperback. “I placed a special order two weeks ago and someone
from this store called me last week to tell me it was in. However, your … angel … can’t find it in your computer system, so she insists I’m mistaken.”

“Do you have your receipt?”
“Not with me, no.”

“Well, if you’ll come back—”
“I don’t have time to come back. I ordered the books for an event that begins”—Jenna checked her watch
—“in forty-five minutes. I’d like you to check your stock room. My name is Jenna Stockton.”

“Ms. Stockton, I can’t—”
“I ordered thirty copies of New Adventures in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room.”
“Oh.” The manager pursed her lips. “Oh. I recall that order.”

“Good.”
Then the manager winced. Uh-oh. Maybe not so good. Jenna drew a deep, calming breath, then asked,
“If you will get it for me, please?”
“Oh dear.”
Jenna closed her eyes.

“I’m afraid we had some internal miscommunication. We sold out of our stock of that particular title and an employee unfortunately failed to notice the hold notice on your order. She put them on the shelf.”

“How many are left?”
“It’s a popular title,” the manager hedged.
Jenna leaned forward. “The books are for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital. The Christmas party is at four o’clock.”

“Oh dear,” the manager repeated. “Four o’clock you say?”
Jenna nodded curtly.
“I’ll call our distributor. If you can stop back by—”
“You’ll need to deliver them directly to the hospital. To the attention of Dr. Jenna Stockton.”

She removed a card from her purse and handed it to the manager. “Here’s the address.

Take them to the information desk in the lobby. I’ll tell the volunteers working there to expect them.”

“But we don’t have a delivery—”

Jenna folded her arms and gave the manager her best take-no-prisoners look.
“I’ll do my best to have them there by four, Dr. Stockton. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Now is there anything else I can help you with? I saw you looking at the new Liza Holcomb thriller.”

She picked up the book and handed it to Jenna. “It’s a fabulous book. Scariest stalker story I’ve read in years.”

Jenna quickly returned the book to the display table. A stalker story? That was all she needed.

No, thank you. All I need today is what I ordered. Thank you for the help. You have my phone number.

I trust if there is any further problem, you will give me an immediate call?”
“Yes. Of course.”

“Perfect. Merry Christmas, Ms. Thomas.”

“Merry Christmas to you too, Dr. Stockton.” The manager gave her a bright smile that didn’t quite hide the worry in her eyes.

Copyright © 2018 by Emily March in The Christmas Wishing Tree and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Author Bio:

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Social Links:

Emily March Website

Twitter: @EmilyMarchBooks

Facebook: Emily March

Pinterest: Emily March

Dirty Rich Betrayal by Lisa Renee Jones

A DEVASTATINGLY SEXY AND EMOTIONAL SECOND-CHANCE STANDALONE ROMANCE.
Grayson Bennett.
He’s a billionaire, a lawyer, the king of the world to some. A professed lifelong bachelor. A man who took his father’s business and fortune and turned marginal success into an empire. Now someone is threatening that empire and he’s going to burn them to the ground. But he’ll need the help of one person. He’ll need her.
That woman is Mia Cavanaugh, criminal attorney, ex-lover, a woman who believes he betrayed her, a woman who could burn him to the ground, but she won’t. Because she loves him. Because he loves her, and it’s time that she sees the truth of the past.
Now, he’s handing her the key to his future. He’s giving her the chance to burn him to the ground. He’s letting her see the real man beneath the surface that not even she’s seen in the past. She has to decide what to do with that man. Love him or destroy him.
Signed Paperback → http://bit.ly/2wQxDeM

Excerpt

He kisses me, a quick brush of lips over lips. “I need you naked. I need to feel you next to me.” He rolls me to my back and with that “for now” in the air, he moves and resettles with his lips to my stomach and this is not an accidental connection. My heart squeezes with the certainty that he’s reminding me of how many times he told me he wanted a little girl just like me. It affects me. We had so many plans. We were best friends. We were so many things that happened so very quickly and easily, and then it was gone.
He pulls down my pants, and all too quickly my sneakers and everything else are gone. I’m naked and not just my body. I am so very naked with this man and always have been. But as for my body, I’m not alone for long. He strips away his clothes, and I lift to my elbows to admire all that sinewy, perfect muscle before he reaches down, grabs my legs and pulls me to him. The minute my backside is on the edge of the bed, he goes down on a knee. I sit up and cup his face. “Not now. Now I need—I need—”
He cups my head and pulls my mouth to his, kissing me with a long stroke of his tongue before he says, “And I need to taste you.”
“Not now. I’m not leaving. We have time. I need—you. Here with me.”
His eyes soften but he still leans in and licks my clit, and then suckles. I’m all but undone by the sensation because one thing I know and know well is how good this man is with his tongue. But he doesn’t ignore my request. He pushes off the floor, and in a heartbeat, he’s kissing me and I don’t even know how we end up in the center of the bed, our naked bodies entwined. We just are and it’s wonderful and right in ways nothing has been in so very long.
He lifts my leg to his thigh and presses his thick erection inside me, filling me in ways that go beyond our bodies; driving deep, his hand on my backside, pulling me into him, pushing into me, but then we don’t move. Then we just lay there, intimately connected, lost in the moment and each other. “Is this what you wanted?”
“Yes,” I say. “This is what I wanted.”
“I didn’t think I’d ever have you here, like this, with me again.”
“Me either,” I whisper, my fingers curling on his jaw. “Grayson,” I say for no reason other than I need his name on my lips. I need everything with this man.
He kisses me, a fast, deep, passionate kiss. “I missed the hell out of you, Mia. So fucking much. I don’t think you really understand how much.”
This moment, right here, right now, is one of our raw, honest, perfect moments that has always made his betrayal hard to accept. I need that honesty in my life and with him and I don’t even think about denying him my truth. “I missed you, too. More than you know, Grayson.”
He squeezes my backside and drives into me again. I pant with the sensations that rip through my body, my hand going to his shoulder. “Nothing was right without you,” he says. “Nothing, Mia.” He kisses me, and I sink into the connection, pressing into him, into his thrust, into the hard warmth of his entire body. Needing to be close. Needing the things that separated us not to exist.
DIRTY. RICH. AND UNDENIABLY SEXY. Each book in the Dirty Rich series features a couple that’s ready to fight dirty for their love.
There are currently three books available now, and FOUR upcoming books available for pre-order!
LEARN MORE AND ORDER HERE → http://dirtyrich.lisareneejones.com
***
And don’t miss ERIC’S STORY which will be the FILTHY DUET! The Bastard (book one) is out on November 14th, and book two, The Princess will be out on January 23rd!
LEARN MORE AND ORDER HERE → https://filthyduet.lisareneejones.com
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.
In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling WHITE LIES and LILAH LOVE series.
Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

 

A Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred #3) by Joanna Shupe

Joanna Shupe returns to New York City’s Gilded Age, where fortunes and reputations are gained and lost with ease—and love can blossom from the most unlikely charade.

With the fate of her disgraced family resting on her shoulders, Lady Christina Barclay has arrived in New York City from London to quickly secure a wealthy husband. But when her parents settle on an intolerable suitor, Christina turns to her reclusive neighbor, a darkly handsome and utterly compelling inventor, for help.

Oliver Hawkes reluctantly agrees to a platonic marriage . . . with his own condition: The marriage must end after one year. Not only does Oliver face challenges that are certain to make life as his wife difficult, but more importantly, he refuses to be distracted from his life’s work—the development of a revolutionary device that could transform thousands of lives, including his own.

Much to his surprise, his bride is more beguiling than he imagined. When temptation burns hot between them, they realize they must overcome their own secrets and doubts, and every effort to undermine their marriage, because one year can never be enough.

About the Book

A Notorious Vow
by Joanna Shupe

Series
The Four Hundred Series

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
September 25, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks

Excerpt

He was done fighting.

If she did not desire him, then so be it. He would not pressure or try to convince her. However, if there was a chance for them to occasionally enjoy each other physically during the next few months, he was dashed well going to take it.

Then she could find a normal man, one without Oliver’s quirks and stubbornness.

Until then, she was his.

Mouth gone dry, he licked his lips. “May I ask you a question?” She nodded so he went back to the ledger and wrote. The night in the gallery, were you disappointed I did not kiss you?

Her brows rose slightly as she read, clearly taken aback by his question, but she did not look at him. Instead, she took the pencil from his hand and turned over a new page in the book. A bit.

Heart pounding in his chest, he wrote, And if I asked to kiss you now, what would be your answer?

Her fingers gripped the pencil so tightly while writing that her fingertips went white. She bit her lip as she turned the ledger toward him.

I would say yes.

She’d actually written it.

Christina could scarcely believe she’d done it. Yet somehow it was easier to be truthful on paper than speaking aloud.

And it had been the truth. She wanted to kiss him. Badly.

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A NOTORIOUS VOW by Joanna Shupe, Avon is giving away one paperback set of the entire Four Hundred series!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the Four Hundred series by Joanna Shupe. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 9/25/2018 @ 1159pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copy out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

About Joanna Shupe

JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. In 2013, she won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband. To connect with Joanna, visit JoannaShupe.com.

Author Links

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

 

This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality PR.
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Duty by Bethany-Kris : Cover Reveal

DUTY

by Bethany-Kris
Andino + Haven, #1
Publication Date: October 8, 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

Cover Credits: Mykel Mignon at Oh So Novel

SYNOPSIS

They say heavy is the head that wears the crown …

Andino Marcello’s world is turned upside down when he becomes the next heir apparent to the Marcello empire. He was comfortable in his place as a Capo, but comfort is for the weak in the world of mafioso. The boss’s seat is waiting. It takes meeting a tattooed beauty who has no idea who Andino is or the criminal legacy he now carries beneath his three-piece suits, and charming smile for him to finally bend the rules set out for him. That doesn’t mean he can keep her.

They say things that never challenge you won’t change you …

Haven Murphy is doing her own thing, and she does it well. The owner of a successful Brooklyn strip club, she makes it her only goal to never fail. She’s just trying to live her life when a morning jog puts her face to face with a man that will change the direction of her life with a single conversation. She knows there’s a dark side to him beyond his good looks, and three-piece suits, but it’s hard for her to care when she wants him. That doesn’t mean he can be hers.

He’s going to break her heart; she’s going to keep his.

Because duty waits on no one.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: DUTY

“Bad things happen to people who aren’t paying attention,” the woman said.

Andino nodded. “That’s true.”

She gave him another look, adding, “I guess the bad guys probably don’t wear three-piece suits, or walk their dogs in the middle of broad daylight.”

Funny.

Hadn’t he just killed a man a couple of days ago? Didn’t he have a gun hidden at his back? Wasn’t he just told he would be the heir to a criminal empire?

That all spelled bad guy to him.

Just in different ways.

“Life is busy,” Andino said, whistling after for Snaps to come back. Unquestioningly, the dog left the woman’s side, and came back to his master to sit patiently at Andino’s leather loafers. “Too busy for me, maybe. I don’t like change, but someone decided something recently that changed everything for me. Walking Snaps clears my head.”

The woman crossed her arms over her chest, and it drew Andino’s attention to the colorful artwork tattooed up her arms. Full sleeves on both arms, ink covering her throat, and traveling down to where the baggy tank top dipped low on her chest.

Damn.

He wondered what kind of stories her ink told.

Something amazing, probably.

“You should take a break, then, stranger who wears a three-piece suit to walk his dog.” Her tone was half-amused, and half-teasing. “You looked happy right before I interrupted—I bet Snaps would like you to take a break, too.”

“I—”

Andino’s phone buzzed with a call—he cursed as he shoved his hand into his pocket, and pulled the offensive device out to check the call.

Dante.

The boss.

No shunning a boss.

It was a rule.

He turned slightly to make his shoulder face the woman as he picked up the call. “Yeah, boss, what can I do for you?”

“Nothing you can’t handle, I am sure.”

The last thing Andino wanted to do was handle business. Any kind of business. He thought of the woman, and her words. Maybe she had a fucking point.

“Actually, I need a couple of weeks,” Andino said.

“Excuse me?” Dante asked.

“Yeah, I need a break.”

“For …?”

“At this point, whatever the hell I want. And anything that is not in this city.”

He needed to get away, and just … relax. Maybe then he wouldn’t get so snappy when his mother asked about women in his life, or whatever. Maybe then he might start to feel better about this whole fucking boss thing.

“Is this about the business, and la famiglia again, Andi?”

“Do you really need me to answer that?”

“You’re the right choice,” Dante said quietly. “The best choice. And you know it.”

“Fact remains. You’ve upended what I thought was my life. I need time to adjust.”

Dante sighed harshly, and Andino knew then he was going to get what he wanted. After all, Dante would want to keep him happy.

This was a two-way street.

A give and take.

“Fine, but—”

“No buts,” Andino interjected. “A break is a fucking break.”

“Has your father ever told you that you’re a demanding little shit?”

“Yes, and also that it suits me.”

Dante grumbled under his breath, but Andino was pretty sure his uncle said, “He’s not wrong.”

“Yeah, well—”

“Take your break.”

Dante hung up the phone without a goodbye. Andino wished he could say he was surprised. Turning on his heel to apologize and say goodbye to the woman who had been at the mouth of the connecting trail, he found the spot empty.

And the woman gone.

Fuck.

He hadn’t even gotten her name.

Snaps looked up at Andino with his big, dark eyes—ready and willing to find yet another stick to be thrown for him, probably.

“Where did she go?” Andino asked his dog.

Snaps simply wagged his stubby tail.

Thanks for the help, buddy.

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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Five Years Gone by Marie Force : Excerpt Reveal

So happy to be sharing an excerpt from FIVE YEARS GONE, a romantic standalone title by Marie Force.

Five Years Gone will be releasing on October 9th!

Pre-order links can be found below.

 

FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

Coming October 9

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

PRE-ORDER IT NOW!

Kindle US | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

IndieBound | Booktopia AU | Books-a-Million

PURCHASE IN AUDIO: Amazon | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU

 

Read this excerpt from Five Years Gone.

Prologue

Ava

We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me.

Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues.

I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.”

And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew.

“I’m John.”

I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.”

Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?”

“Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.”

“What do you think so far?”

“I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.”

As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?”

I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.”

“The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.”

“I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool.

“Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along.

“Do people always do what you say?”

“If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?”

Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan.

“Go big or go home,” he said with admiration.

“That’s my motto.” I was so full of shit. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier.

When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.”

I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.”

“So, where’re you from, Ava?”

“New York.”

“I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.”

I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?”

Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.”

“I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?”

“I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.”

“Where’s home?”

“Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?”

I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?”

“Somewhere we can talk.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”

 

That’s how we started. We were intense from the first second we met until the last time I saw him five years ago today. I can’t believe it’s been five years since I looked into those incredible blue eyes or woke to him on the pillow next to me or heard his voice in my ear, whispering words that’re permanently carved into my heart as he made love to me.

The worst part is I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, being held captive or if he’s living his life somewhere else with someone else. I don’t know, and the not knowing is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

I love him as much today as I ever did. No amount of time could ever change that simple fact of my life. We had two beautiful, magnificent years together, caught up in our own little bubble. He never met my family. I never met his. We didn’t make couple friends. We didn’t talk about the future. We didn’t need to. Our future was decided that first night, and it would take care of itself in due time. I honestly and naïvely believed that.

Now, with hindsight, I realize the bubble was strategic on his part. He gave me everything he had to give, including no promise of tomorrow.

Five years ago today, we watched the horror unfold on live television. A US-based cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. Four thousand lives extinguished in a heartbeat. Our world permanently changed once again, our country declaring yet another war on terrorists. After 9/11 we thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong.

“I have to go,” he said, grabbing the duffel that stood ready in the front hall closet. He called it his “go bag.” I’d thought nothing of it.

“Where’re you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know that either.” He held my face in his hands and gazed at me, seemingly trying to memorize my every feature. “I love you. I’ll always love you.” Then he kissed me as passionately as he ever had and was gone, out the door in a flash of camouflage.

I never saw him again.

I’m not his wife or even his fiancée, so no one notified me of his whereabouts. And three months after he left, when I found a way onto the base in a desperate quest for information, no one there could tell me anything either. I tried to locate his parents and other people he mentioned, but it was like they didn’t exist. I could find no record of a retired general named West in the Marine Corps, Army or Air Force.

Furthermore, an exhaustive search for information on the John West I had known led nowhere. No high school, no college, no military service, no nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed the two years we spent together, doing mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, watching TV and sleeping together after long days at work. But then I’d remember the blissful passion, the scorching pleasure, the desire that ruled us from the beginning, and I’d know I didn’t dream him. I didn’t dream us. We were real, and he was everything to me.

Sitting on the floor in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, I take a few minutes before the movers arrive to memorize every detail of the place where we lived together. I’ve packed his things along with mine, and I’m moving home to New York. Today was my deadline. I gave it five years, and I simply can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit in our home among our things, waiting for something that’s never going to happen.

It’s over. It’s time for me to move on. It’s probably long past time, if I’m being honest with myself. And though I know it’s the right move at the right time, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t shattering all over again as I dismantle the place where we were us.

My sister is getting married next month. I promised her I’d be home in time to hold her hand through the festivities. Other than occasional trips home for holidays and other occasions, I’ve been gone more than ten years. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to the girl who left home at eighteen seeking independence from her overbearing family at a faraway college out West.

I accomplished all my goals, finishing college, landing a decent job and falling in love with the man of my dreams. I found out what happens when dreams come true and how painful it is when they blow up in your face.

It’s time now to set new goals, to start over, to begin a life that doesn’t have John at the center of it the way it did here. It’ll be nice to be back with people who love me and care about me, even if they tend toward smothering at times. That’s looking rather good to me after years of loneliness and grief.

The intercom sounds to let me know the movers are here. I pick myself up off the floor and steel my heart for the day ahead. I can do this. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll survive this the same way I’ve survived everything else. Despite my resolve, my eyes fill with tears as I press the button that opens the door downstairs to the movers.

It doesn’t take them long to pack my belongings into their truck. I keep with me the things that can’t be replaced—precious photos, gifts he gave me, the clothing he left behind. After taking a final look around the apartment, I pack those boxes into my car, turn my apartment keys into the leasing office and head east, feeling as if I’m leaving behind everything that ever mattered to me.

It’s like I’m losing him all over again. I cry all the way through the desert of Southern California and well into Arizona. I relive every minute I can remember, every conversation, every special moment. I think about what it was like to make love with him and wonder how I’ll ever to do that with anyone but him. Maybe I won’t. Maybe that part of my life ended with him, and even though I’m only twenty-eight now, I’m okay with that possibility. Once you’ve experienced perfection, it’s hard to imagine settling for anything less.

The tears finally dry up somewhere in northern Arizona, but the ache inside… I take that with me all the way to New York, where I will try my very best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and put them back together into some new version of myself.

After all, what choice do I have?

—————

 

ADD FIVE YEARS GONE TO GOODREADS

 

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

Join Marie’s Reader Groups

InkSlinger Blogger Final

 

Dirty Headlines by L.J. Shen : Blog Tour

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“Dirty Headlines is a fantastic enemies to lovers office romance with a perfect filthy asshole hero that I wish I’d written myself.” – Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author

Dirty Headlines, an all-new sexy, enemies-to-lovers romance from bestselling author L.J. Shen is available NOW!

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Célian Laurent.

Manhattan royalty.

Notorious playboy.

Heir to a media empire.

…And my new boss.

I could have impressed him, if not for last month’s unforgettable one-night stand.

I left it with more than orgasms and a pleasant memory—namely, his wallet.

Now he’s staring me down like I’m the dirt under his Italian loafers, and I’m supposed to take it.

But the thing about being Judith “Jude” Humphry is I have nothing to lose.

Brooklyn girl.

Infamously quirky.

Heir to a stack of medical bills and a tattered couch.

When he looks at me from across the room, I see the glint in his eyes, and that makes us rivals.

He knows it.

So do I.

Every day in the newsroom is a battle.

Every night in his bed, war.

But it’s my heart at stake, and I fear I’ll be raising the white flag.

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2wLg9ka

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/DirtyHeadlines:

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2MMSl9p

Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2GuCKIB

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Excerpt:

He had an American accent. Not French. American. Smooth. Familiar. Ordinary. He fired out sentences at the speed of light. I heard him, but I couldn’t listen. Shock gripped my body as the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. My dirty one-night stand was my boss. My lying, American boss. And now I had to deal with that—hopefully for a very long time, because I desperately needed this job.

Someone snapped their fingers, and my gaze shot from Célian’s face to Grayson.

His forehead had crumpled into a frown. “You look like you’re trying hard not to cry or having a really intense orgasm. I’m hoping for you that it’s the latter and some kind of a weird-slash-awesome condition. You okay?”

I nodded, scraping up a smile. “Sorry. Zero orgasms happening under this dress. I just zoned out for a second.”Lies. I was about to orgasm just remembering how good Célianhad felt parting my thighs with his big, callused hands and dipping his tongue into my slit.

Then words stopped streaming down on everyone’s heads like a scalding shower, and I realized that indeed there was something worse than hearing Célianspeak in his perfect American English. And that was not hearing him speak at all. Because now the icicles were pointed at me like a cocked gun.

I glanced up to meet his gaze. He stared at me for exactly one second before his focus snapped to Grayson. “Am I understood, Gregory?” he asked.

Gregory?

“Crystal clear, sir,” Grayson bowed, his voice trembling at the edges.

Célian jerked his chin toward me. “Your cover girl material is going downhill.”

God. Damn. Bastard.

He recognized me, and I knew it. His eyes had kindled, melting the ice and growing darker the minute our gazes mingled. He remembered, and maybe it killed him that I was here in the same way it buried me.

I want my iPod back, my gaze told him. I had over three thousand songs on that thing, and they were all too good to be wasted on that jerk.

“Jude Humphry. Junior reporter. It’s her first day,” Grayson highlighted, almost pleadingly. He shifted in my direction, as if he might need to physically protect me from the sharp-tongued, suited monster.

I suppressed a smile when I realized I’d told Célianmy last name was Spears. Well, he certainly wasn’t a Timberlake. He was a Laurent. An American monarch through and through. A billionaire, a powerful force, and judging by our one and only encounter—a raging playboy.

This man was inside you, I internally shrieked. And not just once. His cock was buried so deep in you, you screamed. You can still taste the salty, earthy flavor of his cum.You know he has a freckle on his lower back. You know what sound he makes when he empties inside a woman.

I internally thanked my mind for ruining my panties in public, and nodded. “Pleasure to meet you, sir.” I offered him my hand, my face flushing with embarrassment at my choice of words.

Everyone was looking at us, and there were at least fifty people in the room. Célian—if that was even his name—ignored my outreached hand. Instead, he turned his face to the man beside him. “Mathias, any other words of wisdom?”

Mathias? Wasn’t that his father? Just how cold was the man with the icy blue eyes?

“I think you touched everything,” said the big boss—and he did have a heavy French accent, so at least the lie had a seed. Mathias stared at me placidly, like he could read the secret his son and I shared on my face.

Célian spun toward me, uncuffing his cufflinks and rolling his sleeves up his veiny forearms. “Accounting can go back to their unfortunate line of work. Couture is excused from this meeting—though not forgiven for their horrid blog. Miss Humphry?” He snapped his fingers impatiently.

He was already waltzing down the narrow hallway, knowing I’d chase him like a puppy, and no doubt taking pleasure in that fact.

“I have a bone to pick with you.”

Bone, boner—same difference, right?

I shot Grayson a please-save-my-butt look. His eyes said, I would but I still have a life to live.

I followed Célian down the hall, my Chucks slapping the floor in a hurry. He sliced through the throng of accountants, then stopped at a corner office, opened the door, barked “Out!” to the man inside, and tilted his head for me to go in. I did. He closed the door, and it was just the two of us.

Two feet of empty space between us.

About LJ Shen:

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets people’s’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

LJShen

Connect with L.J. Shen:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorljshen/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lj_shen

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