Author Archives: Mirrigold

Blog Tour: Dancing with Daddy by Susan Hawke

Dancing with Daddy | Susan Hawke

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Release Date: May 16th, 2020

Universal Link: https://getbook.at/DancingWithDaddy

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Blurb

I love my daughter, but finding out she wasn’t biologically mine is the best news ever.

I’m a widower who is too scared to have the stupid test that would tell me whether or not I even have the gene that would mean dealing with a horrible illness and certain death. A gene that could’ve also been passed to my child, had she been mine.

She’ll need her father, if something ever does happen to me…

That’s why I search for Maddie’s biological father, and when I find him, ask him to become part of her life.

What I didn’t expect is for him to become my best friend. Shane is fun and easygoing, the exact opposite of me. He makes me laugh. He’s the perfect antidote for my neurotic existence. And he’s bi, like me.

But am I courageous enough to take the leap into falling in love with him?

Dancing with Daddy is a super sweet, full-length, standalone, feel good mm romance. There’s no angst, just two very opposite men who befriend each other super fast then slowly find their way to love…

…all while parenting the precocious five-year-old who belongs to both of them.

Audio coming soon. Narrated by Michael Dean

Excerpt

Bradley

“Can I be done now, Daddy? My tummy hurts.” Maddie pouted adorably, giving me her best puppy dog eyes.

I fought back the instant panic that came whenever my baby was sick, reminding myself that things weren’t always as they seemed. For instance, Maddie wasn’t exactly a fan of oatmeal. Sure, she’d eat it.

Reluctantly and with a healthy dose of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Feeling calmer, I set my empty bowl aside and studied her thoughtfully. “Would your tummy still hurt if I’d made pancakes?”

“The tiny little circle ones or the big kind you make on special days?”

I fought the urge to laugh. The little stinker was obviously not feeling as badly as she’d have me think. “Either one; they both taste just as good.”

She nodded as solemnly as a five-and-a-half-year-old could pull off. “I think my tummy could eat the little ones. We could try it, I guess?” She shrugged, as if willing to make the sacrifice.

“How about we save those for Saturday? Today is Thursday and you have school in half an hour. Now finish your oatmeal, it’s brain food.”

Maddie obediently took a spoonful and wrinkled her nose with a distrustful look at the offending food before taking the bite. As soon as she’d swallowed, she clutched her stomach and winced. “My tummy doesn’t like brain food today, Daddy.”

I bit my lip, wondering if maybe she wasn’t faking it. Leaning over, I rested the back of my hand against her forehead. “You don’t have a temperature, pipsqueak. I think the problem is you let your food get cold and now you don’t like it.”

She glowered and pouted, only making a small “hmph” noise as she ate another spoonful. I couldn’t handle how cute she was, but then I never could resist my daughter. I lowered my hand to her ribs and lightly tickled her. When Maddie squirmed away from my touch with a shrieking giggle, I figured she was okay.

I waited until she took three more excruciatingly slow bites before deciding she’d had enough. “Okay, I think you’ve eaten enough to fuel your brain. Go wash your hands and brush your teeth. I’ll be in to check as soon as I get our dishes rinsed.”

Maddie shoved her bowl toward me with both hands, her face lighting up with relief. “Thank you, Daddy. I know, you don’t have to say it… hurry so we don’t be late but make sure I brush good.”

Amused by how she’d parroted what I must say a bit too often, I chuckled and caught her around the waist when she stood to rush off, pulling her back against my side while I kissed the top of her head. “You’re a good girl, pipsqueak. Thank you for minding.”

She tilted her head back to see me, smiling at me upside down. “I tried to be good, Daddy. But my tummy didn’t like our breakfast today.”

I kissed her forehead then released her, giving her bottom a playful swat as I sent her off. “I hear you, loud and clear. Tomorrow is Friday; maybe we’ll celebrate the end of our week with Raisin Bran. Now go wash up before it gets much later.”

“Okay. Love you!” Maddie took off running around the corner, her long brown hair fluttering behind her.

“Love you too, pipsqueak.” I laughed under my breath while I cleared the table and straightened the kitchen.

 

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About The Author

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As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it.

This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy.

I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.

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Cover Reveal: Kings of the Mountain by Morgan Brice

Kings of the Mountain | Morgan Brice

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Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Release Date: May 21, 2020

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 63,000 words/238 pages

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Fast cars. Outlaw country boys.

A love that can’t be denied.

Snarky werewolves, vengeful ghosts and menacing monsters.

Dawson King’s family has been hunting things that go bump in the night in Transylvania County, North Carolina, since before the Revolutionary War.

Dawson was never happier than when he was racing his souped-up Mustang along winding mountain roads and hunting monsters with his best friend, Grady. Then Grady fell in love with him, which should have been perfect since Dawson had already fallen hard for Grady.

But Grady was only seventeen, and Dawson feared that sooner or later, Grady would realize his feelings were just a first crush, and then he’d be gone, leaving Dawson devastated. They both needed space to figure things out. So Dawson joined the army, while Grady stayed on the mountain.

Four years later, Dawson is coming home. He’s more sure than ever Grady is his forever love, and they’ve both agreed to begin this new aspect of their relationship as soon as Dawson gets back.

Then Grady’s father is killed in a werewolf hunt gone wrong. Grady is devastated, and he’s throwing mixed signals about moving forward. Dawson knows he needs to hold off on this new thing between them until Grady has time to grieve. But monsters never sleep, and one hunt after another throws Dawson and Grady into constant danger, while tension and unresolved feelings ripple between them.

Making it even harder, Dawson’s got a secret. He’s dreamed of death omens—which point to something stalking Grady. Can Dawson figure out who’s trying to kill Grady, save his life, and win back his heart?

Plenty of mutual pining, hurt/comfort, spooky chills, sexy thrills, and a very happy ending. The Kings of the Mountain is the first novel in the series. It is a MM romance intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after.

Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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Facebook Group | Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail) | Twitter: @MorganBriceBook

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Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebooks from Morgan’s backlist.

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Release Blitz: Inside Affair by Ella Frank

Inside Affair | Ella Frank

Prime Time #1

Release Date: May 27th, 2020

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Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WhgUhW

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

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Blurb

Xander

If I had to describe Sean Bailey, it would be: a surly, temperamental pain in my ass. Never in that equation would I ever include the word boyfriend—and not just because he’s straight.

The older brother of my life-long best friend, Sean is a detective for the Chicago PD, and is also known as Detective “Dick” for being…well, a surly, temperamental pain in everyone’s ass. He also happens to be the best they have, which is why I find myself on his doorstep the night my life is threatened by an anonymous stalker.

I only wanted the name of a bodyguard; I didn’t expect for Sean to volunteer for the job. Now, not only do I have a bodyguard, I also have a fake boyfriend.

Sean

It must be so hard to be Alexander Thorne, the number one prime-time news anchor in the country, with millions of dollars and a car that costs more than my house. I mean, I’m allowed to give him a hard time about it, but when some creep decides to cross the line and go after him, they’re gonna have to answer to me.

Going undercover has never been an issue in the past, so I don’t see why there’d be a problem now. Xander and I have known each other for years, so this should be a breeze. Except suddenly my stomach’s flipping when he looks my way, and my body comes alive whenever he brushes by me. I know I’m good at my job and playing a character and all, but this is getting out of hand.

I can’t be sure that either of us are playing anymore.

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About The Author

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite erotic serial, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction.

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.

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Website: https://www.ellafrank.com

Join Ella and Brooke’s Facebook reader group, Brooke and Ella’s Naughty Umbrella: http://bit.ly/36KdvLx

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New Release Blitz: The Loyal Whispers by Kathryn Sommerlot

The Loyal Whispers | Kathryn Sommerlot

The Life Siphon #3

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 25, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78,900

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

Smashwords | Kobo

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Blurb

Ravee: a pious Rad-em merchant’s daughter sailing with her family’s goods

Mairi: the Runonian king’s advisor seeing the outside world for the first time

Alesh: an alchemist’s apprentice in Joesar with a past rapidly catching up to her

Three women find themselves caught in the threads of change as the world threatens to fall apart around them. From across the Oldal Sea, the southern kingdom of Dusset has declared war, and if anyone is going to survive it, the alliance between Runon, Chayd, Rad-em, and Joesar must be solidified.

But there are forces at work that could undermine all the progress King Yudai and Tatsu have made. Peace treaty negotiations between the four realms could crumble at any time beneath the building tension.

As the women’s paths converge, they must navigate the true meaning of loyalty to themselves, their countries, and their families, while at the center of it all, a shattered king, hellbent on revenge, threatens the world balance.

Excerpt

The Loyal Whispers
Kathryn Sommerlot © 2020
All Rights Reserved

One: Ravee
Choked with debris, the waves lapped at the fire-blackened hull boards left behind, and worse yet, bodies bobbed in the spaces between splintered wood. They quivered up, bobbing with each crest, clothing billowing around motionless limbs, and Ravee had to turn away with one hand pressed to her mouth to keep her meager breakfast down. The air smelled of burning softwood and singed flesh interwoven into an overpowering and inescapable tang which did nothing to help her constantly queasy belly.

“Gods above,” Captain Wret hissed under his breath. When Ravee peeked over her shoulder, she couldn’t miss how his knuckles had blanched white, his fingers clamped around the deck rail. “What happened here?”

The answer seemed very obvious: the worst. The lingering fear of anyone who took to the seas was a shipwreck, whether it be by pirate attack or by the unforgiving elements, and the evidence of just such a tragedy lay strewn around their vessel in the whitecaps. But no storms had darkened the sky in the past week, only a clear blue horizon with favorable winds. Pirates tended to strip the ships of both treasure and hostages before destroying them. Broken shards of porcelain dishes floated among the wood, and anyone searching for profit wouldn’t leave something of value like that behind. The knowledge should have helped to ease Ravee’s nerves, for they were far less safe with their trade cargo if pirates roamed the Oldal Sea. Still, the uneasiness was slow to dissipate.

As her stomach settled and stopped roiling at the grisly aftermath, Ravee turned back to peer over the ship’s side. If it hadn’t been pirates and couldn’t have been the weather, few other possibilities made sense. Ships didn’t simply spontaneously break apart, and the sea serpents had already entered their dormant months. A horrible stillness settled over the remains, as though not even the sun’s bright rays could touch the bloody mess.

“Look!” one of the deckhands yelled. “Rad-em colors!”

The man’s outburst prompted a scrambling of boots across slick boards as the sailors searched for something to reach the silk with. Eventually, the cloth floated near enough for a man to fish it out with one of the long deck mops, and while Ravee’s heart skipped at the sight of her countrymen’s flag, the shock paled in comparison to what came up after it. More silks, strung together on the single rope line, tangled together in a mess of clumped, torn fabric. Ravee had never heard of the countries sailing under a united banner, not even in the oldest orated history lessons. She whispered a prayer under her breath as the crewman struggled with the cord, grateful her hands weren’t visibly shaking.

Captain Wret pushed the sailor aside to grab at the bulk, and his hands were steadier than the deckhand’s had been. He pulled the Rad-em colors free, and then the rest one at a time, peeling the sopping layers apart until four flags lay spread across the deck. Four silk banners, fraying and burned on the right side as though they’d caught fire as the ship went down and only the briny seawater had stopped them from being completely devoured.

Four silk banners representing the kingdoms of the southern coastline.

Ravee’s stomach twisted again with a painful throb.

“Rad-em,” Wret said, pointing, “Chayd, Runon, and Joesar.”

“Impossible,” one of the men argued. “They’d never sail together like this, and under united colors?”

All the flags had been displayed on a single vessel, and to have such a bold showing could mean only one thing.

“They were on official business,” Ravee whispered, speaking before she could stop herself. Wret’s head snapped in her direction, his eyes sharp, but he didn’t stop her from continuing, which was something. “In an official capacity.”

“Yes,” Wret said. “They were traveling as ambassadors. Peaceful ones, likely, given the treaty negotiations.”

“Who would attack a ship containing peaceful representatives from all four of the coastal kingdoms?” the sailor nearest to Ravee asked.

Wret’s gaze shifted to the broken, charred pieces of the ship still floating out on the sea. “The easiest way to answer that is to figure out where they were going.”

Then his expression morphed, cycling through surprise and shock before hardening in resolve. He crossed to the rail with long steps and hesitated only for a moment, scanning the water before shouting, “Get a lifeboat dropped! Someone’s alive down there.”

In the resulting chaos, Ravee was pushed back, shoulders bumping into her arms with such force her skin would bruise. She couldn’t see around the sailors to confirm for herself, and she knew better than to try to fight it; Captain Wret was displeased enough already to have her aboard his ship accompanying her family’s goods and hadn’t bothered to keep his feelings quiet. Making her presence known could result in banishment to the belowdecks sleeping quarters afforded to her.

A lifeboat splashed down into the sea and a few of the sailors started up nervous muttering, but it wasn’t until several moved to the rigging that Ravee felt confident enough to slip through the small crowd to the railing again.

The sailors in the lifeboat were pulling a body out of the water, and despite Wret’s earlier outcry, the man looked very dead to Ravee. He didn’t so much as twitch as the sailors rowed toward the ship’s side and prepared the dinghy to be lifted back up. When one of the crew hauled the man over the rail and deposited him onto the deck, his head lolled lifelessly to one side. Bits of his shirt had been eaten away by the flames and a nasty-looking cut sliced across his forehead, the red of the still flowing blood mingling with the sea water clinging to his skin. The sailors spent a long moment staring at him in silence.

In the stillness, the air above the ship’s deck shimmered as shivers ran the length of Ravee’s spine in a familiar tremble. Bithlad, God of healing, appeared behind her with all four of his hands ghosting over her biceps as he whispered, He’s alive. Help him.

Ravee darted in between the sailors, nostrils burning with the lingering smell of the less fortunate passengers and her feet propelled by the murmured command. She pressed her head to the injured man’s chest, shoulders sagging at the muffled breath sounds. He was alive, but only barely so.

“How did you know?” she asked Captain Wret, who had advanced to hover uncomfortably over her shoulder.

“He was clinging to one of the bigger pieces of the ship’s hull, and his position was too unnatural to have been the result of post-death rigor.”

Ravee studied the man’s body. “I doubt he would’ve lasted much longer out there in this state.”

“He may not be the only one. The lifeboat’s already prepared—we should search the area for more survivors,” Wret said, and he walked away to bark the orders at his crew.

Ravee stayed where she was kneeling with one hand on the man’s shoulder, wishing she could will him to wake up. His eyes stayed closed, though it was comforting to see his chest rise and fall, even if the breaths were shallow. The lack of movement gave her a better opportunity to check him for injuries. Though bleeding steadily, the cut on his head wasn’t deep, but as she peeled back the soaking layer of clothing from his torso, she exposed a fresh wave of crimson. Along his side darted a dark gash, and it seemed his shirt had been the only thing holding what remained of the skin together. Ravee clasped her hand against the wound in shock.

“Please!” she called, and one of the crewmen thrust a rudimentary first aid kit into her open hand.

At least she had a needle and thread, even without time to sterilize the metal. Ravee sent up a quick prayer to Urutte, God of fate. Her family sold leather goods, and while she’d never had to sew flesh before, her needlework skill ranked high. Her hands trembled so badly she pricked her own finger trying to stitch the wound, and all she could think of was how thankful she was the man remained unconscious. It would’ve been agony if he’d been awake to feel the needle threading through his already flayed skin.

She wanted to vomit, and somehow managed to keep all the bile in until she’d finished. Running to the railing took two heart-pounding moments, and she only barely made it in time to avoid her breakfast splashing across the deck. Her cheeks warmed, but there wasn’t time to be embarrassed; the lifeboat was hauling another body from the sea, and Ravee wiped her forehead with her shirt sleeve before moving to the newest one. Bithlad’s presence behind her faded, but she murmured a prayer the God might watch over the rest of the poor souls fished out from the brine.

By the time the entire area had been scoured, the sailors had found two more survivors, and Captain Wret called the search off as the sun set bright behind the wreckage. Fewer pieces of the unfortunate ship remained than had floated earlier along the whitecaps, and even many of the dead had been pulled beneath by the undertow. Wret’s men found four survivors total, including the first man: two more men and one woman. The crew carried the limp bodies to the bulkhead closest to the rudder and did what they could with the extra bedding supplies. But it wasn’t much, and as Ravee stood looking over the remnants of the ship’s unfortunate passengers, she could hardly breathe.

The man whose side she’d stitched closed seemed to have stabilized, and the woman had surface burns seemingly unrelated to her head trauma, but the last one, an older male whose arm had been severed at the wrist, was unlikely to make it through the night even with the tourniquet and linen wrapping they’d employed. Knowing the background of their survivors was impossible. They could have been crew on the ship, servants accompanying the envoys, or the dignitaries themselves, but until one of them woke with a clear enough head, Wret’s Sheersilk was sailing blind.

An entire ship destroyed, with nothing stolen and the passengers left to bloat.

“Where was their course?” Ravee asked as Captain Wret’s heavy footsteps sounded down the wooden stairs behind her.

“This far south? Dusset, probably, the same as us.”

Ravee swallowed hard. “You said earlier we’d know who did this by studying their heading. What does this mean?”

Wret’s face, almost unrecognizable without its usual sneer, was grim. “It’s possible someone has declared war on us all.”

The man missing his hand let out a low moan, and Ravee wrapped her arms around her chest to try to fight the sudden chill sweeping through the bulkhead.

About the Author

Kathryn Sommerlot is a coffee addict and craft beer enthusiast with a detailed zombie apocalypse plan. Originally from the cornfields of the American Midwest, she got her master’s degree and moved across the ocean to become a high school teacher in Japan.

When she isn’t wrangling teenage brains into critical thinking, she spends her time writing, crocheting, and hiking with her husband.

She enjoys LGBTQ fiction, but she is particularly interested in genre fiction that just happens to have LGBTQ protagonists.

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Release Blitz: Pieces of You by N.R. Walker

Pieces of You | N.R. Walker

Missing Pieces #1

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Release Date: May 22nd, 2020

Universal Link: http://mybook.to/piecesofyoublog

Add To Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53351569-pieces-of-you

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Blurb

Dallas Muller has everything he never expected he’d have. He owns a successful motorbike mechanic shop in Newcastle, and he’s madly in love with his boyfriend of four years, Justin Keith.

Justin has always struggled to find where he fit in, never realising his true worth or what it means to be loved—until he met Dallas. Living and working together might be too much for some, but Dallas and Justin wouldn’t have it any other way.

When a terrible accident tears their world apart, Justin’s left with no memory of Dallas or their relationship. Trying to put the pieces back together is almost impossible when some pieces are blank and some are missing altogether. Dallas has to let Justin find his own way back to him and just hope that their love will light the way.

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About The Author

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Social Media

Website

Facebook

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Amazon

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Email:

nrwalker@nrwalker.net

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Blog Tour: The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron

The Girl Next Door | Chelsea M. Cameron

2-TourBanner_TheGirlNextDoor_Cameron

Length: approx. 60,000 words / 272 pages

Publisher: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Next-Door-Chelsea-Cameron/dp/1335146946

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-next-door-chelsea-m-cameron/1135551933

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-girl-next-door/id1491603923

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-girl-next-door-77

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Chelsea_M_Cameron_The_Girl_Next_Door?id=GjXEDwAAQBAJ

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Blurb 

Iris Turner hightailed it out of Salty Cove, Maine, without so much as a backward glance. Which is why finding herself back in her hometown—in her childhood bedroom, no less—has the normally upbeat Iris feeling a bit down and out. Her spirits get a much-needed lift, though, at the sight of the sexy girl next door.

No one knows why Jude Wicks is back in Salty Cove, and that’s just how she likes it. Jude never imagined she’d be once again living in her parents’ house, never mind hauling lobster like a local. But the solitude is just what she needs—until Iris tempts her to open up.

A no-strings summer fling seems like the perfect distraction for both women. Jude rides a motorcycle, kisses hard and gives Iris the perfect distraction from her tangled mess of a life. But come September, Iris is still determined to get out of this zero-stoplight town.

That is, unless Jude can give her a reason to stay…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

A new Carina Adores title is available each month:

The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover (available May 26, 2020)

Just Like That by Cole McCade (available June 30, 2020)

Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available July 28, 2020

Better Than People by Roan Parrish (available August 25, 2020)

Full Moon in Leo by Brooklyn Ray (available September 29, 2020)

If You Can’t Stand the Heat by KD Fisher (available October 27, 2020)

Just Like Us by Cole McCade (available November 24, 2020)

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About The Author

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She’s a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader, and world’s worst video gamer.

When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head.

More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

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Website: https://chelseamcameron.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chel_c_cam

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chelccam/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chelsea-M-Cameron-Official-Author-Page-304422529610919/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752359.Chelsea_M_Cameron

New Release Blitz: Lighting The Lamp by K.R. Collins

Lighting the Lamp | K.R. Collins

Sophie Fournier #3

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 25, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 100,100

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo

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Blurb

Entering her third season, Sophie Fournier has almost everything she wants. She’s the captain of the Concord Condors, she’s roommates and linemates with Elsa Nyberg, the elite Swedish winger she’s wanted to play alongside since the Zurich U-Tourney.

There are two major things she’s missing, though. She doesn’t have her next contract lined up, and she still hasn’t won the Maple Cup, hockey’s most coveted prize. If she wins the Cup, she’ll have leverage going into her contract negotiations.

And, in case she needed more motivation, this is Benoit Delacroix’s final season as a Concord Condor, and she’s determined he won’t retire without lifting the Cup.

Excerpt

Lighting the Lamp
K.R. Collins © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The 2013 draft in Orlando, Florida marks the third one Sophie’s attended. She made history in 2011 when she was the first woman drafted into the North American Hockey League. Last year, she was given the honor of selecting Elsa Nyberg for her team, the Concord Condors.

This year, Sophie’s responsibilities are fewer, but she’s still here representing the League. Unlike other players, who watch the draft from their couches or receive alerts while on the beach or touring wine country, Sophie is here in a crisp black pantsuit, a red pocket square her only flash of color.

She’s here so the Commissioner can lay a heavy hand on her shoulder and lean in for pictures to prove how progressive his league is, as if one woman among hundreds of men is progress. Well, it is progress, but it isn’t nearly enough.

There will be more women drafted today and tomorrow, and Sophie’s confident at least one of them will play against her this season. She refuses to hope Elsa will keep her promise and make the jump from the Swedish Hockey League to the NAHL this year, but she has high expectations for Alexis Engelking.

The American is slated to be drafted high. Lenny Dernier, infamous for his rants on The National Sports Network, is already wringing his hands over her upcoming inclusion among hockey’s best. Once, forgetting she was mic’d up, Engelking dropped an f-bomb on live television. Dernier accused her of being “a terrible role model for our Canadian children” as if every Canadian who has played the game is an angel.

Indianapolis files on stage to make the first selection of the draft, a long procession of middle to upper-aged white men in suits. The TVs behind the stage show Engelking sit up straighter in her seat as if she’s anticipating her name being called. Her hair is chopped short, jagged angles as sharp as her cheekbones.

A different camera shows Chad Kensington, another American, slumped in his seat. His blond hair is parted to the side and slicked to stay there. His mother elbows him, and he makes a half-hearted attempt to sit up straight.

“Thank you, Orlando, for hosting us today,” Indy’s owner says. The crowd, predictably, cheers. When he thanks the Commissioner, the crowd boos, also predictable. Sophie doesn’t remember the Commissioner facing constant heckling when she was younger, but he’d made himself no friends when the League ground to halt during the 2010-2011 season.

Indy’s owner steps aside so his grandson, a cute kid with chubby cheeks and a Renegades ball cap on his head, can step up to the mic. They have to lower it for him, and the boy checks the cards in his hands before he looks over his shoulder. His grandfather smiles encouragingly. “Um, first overall, the Indianapolis Renegades select Chad Kensington.”

Kensington stands up and shoots the nearest camera a pair of finger guns. His smile is as greasy as his hair. Sophie’s seen enough tape to know he’s talented, but he struts up to the stage as if he thinks the League should be grateful to have him. His suit is too big in the shoulders and too long in the leg as if he expects to grow into it. He’s dwarfed by the men on stage; the only ones he’s taller than are the owner’s two grandkids. He taps the brim of the grandson’s hat. The owner’s granddaughter hides behind the man who Sophie assumes is her father.

Sophie discreetly checks her phone as she waits for all the hoopla to finish. Being at the draft always brings back memories of her own. She wasn’t sure she’d be invited until a few months before and, even once she was there, it wasn’t a guarantee a team would select her. In case being the first woman to try to play in the NAHL wasn’t enough of a barrier, the Commissioner required teams to apply to be co-ed.

The Concord Condors were the only team able to draft her, and she sat in the stands as they made selection after selection, never calling her name. It took two hundred and twenty-four names until hers was called. Instead of being drafted first, or even first round, she was dead last.

She shakes the memory aside as Seattle comes on stage. Sophie quits feeling sorry for herself. Barrett Corderman is the one who deserves her pity as Seattle drafts him. She’s making a name for herself in Concord, pulling her franchise from the depths of the League and turning them into a real contender. Seattle, on the other hand, is where players have their love of hockey sucked out of them.

Indianapolis makes another appearance for the fourth pick, gained in a trade last season. This time, the owner ushers his granddaughter on stage, and Sophie has a good idea of where this is headed. When the girl calls out Alexis Engelking’s name, Sophie allows herself a smile. Engelking marks the fourth woman drafted into the League, and the highest selected of them all. There’s a tightness around Engelking’s eyes as she accepts her jersey as if she felt she deserved to go higher.

Welcome to the club.

*

Concord drafts a defenseman with the first of their first-round picks. With their second, they select Tanner Bechtol. He’s small like Kensington, and his hair falls into his eyes, only for him to shake it back out of his face. He looks overwhelmed by everyone on the stage, and it takes two tries for him to pull his jersey over his head.

It isn’t exactly a promising start, and she expects a lot out of him. This is one of the picks which came from trading their captain, Matty, at the deadline last year. Bechtol stumbles off the stage. He would’ve tripped and face-planted in front of the cameras if Mr. Wilcox didn’t steady him. Sophie keeps her expression tranquil in case anyone is watching her, but inside, she scowls. This is who they gave Matty up for?

About the Author

K.R. Collins went to college in Pennsylvania where she learned to write and fell in love with hockey. When she isn’t working or writing, she watches hockey games and claims it’s for research. You can find K.R. on Twitter.

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