A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

BEARD IN MIND by Penny Reid

Winston Brothers series #4

THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by Emma Scott

Companion to the Full Tilt series

THE HUNTING GROUNDS by Katee Robert

Hidden Sins series #2

UNWRITTEN by Jen Frederick

Woodlands series #5

Cross My Heart by L.H. Cosway

Hearts series #5.75

MOONSHADOW by Thea Harrison

Moonshadow series #1

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt



Title: Duke of Desire
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt 
Series: The Maiden Lane Series #12
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

SYNOPSIS:

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed. Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?


EXCERPT

Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.

A pistol.

She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.

She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.

The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.

Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.

He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.

Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”

His voice was calm. Quiet.

With just a hint of menace.

She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”

The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.

“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”

“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”

“At the next village, then.”

“I think not.”

He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.

She shot him.

The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.

Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.

The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.

She reached forward and snatched it off.

And then gasped.

The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.

She knew because she recognized him.

He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.

God of the underworld.

God of the dead.

She had no reason to change her opinion now.

Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to save you.”




Purchase here:

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About the Author:



Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.



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Enter win 1 of 10 print copies of Duke of Desire

Release Blast: Drive by Kate Stewart


We're celebrating the release of DRIVE by Kate Stewart!


Contemporary Romance
Stand Alone
Designer: Q Designs
Scheduled to release: October 17, 2017

PURCHASE HERE:
Paperback US: http://amzn.to/2wSsOj4

BLURB:

Music . . . the heart’s greatest librarian.

The average song is three and a half minutes long; those three and a half minutes could lead to a slow blink, a glimpse of the past, or catapult the soul into heart-shattering nostalgia.

At the height of my career, I had the life I wanted, the life I’d always envisioned. I’d found my tempo, my rhythm. Then I received a phone call that left me off key.

You see, my favorite songs had a way of playing simultaneously. I was in love with one man’s beats and another’s lyrics. But when it came to the soundtrack of a life, how could anyone choose a favorite song? So, to erase any doubt, I ditched my first-class ticket and decided to take a drive, fixed on the rearview.

Two days.

One playlist.

And the long road home to the man who was waiting for me.

EXCERPT:

Breathe. Breathe. This is in the bag, Stella. You can do this, so do it.

I clicked on the camera and quickly glanced at my notes.

One minute.

Electricity shot through my veins and seeped through every pore, reminding me that this was it.

Thirty seconds.
I took a sip of water and set it beside my laptop as I waited.

Ten seconds.
A flicker of doubt processed for mere seconds before I wiped it away.

Five.
I expelled a stressed breath, clicked Go Live, and addressed the camera.

“Womanizer, bully, genius, recluse, and the world’s greatest MC. Even with all those labels, Phillip Preston, also known as Titan, is still a bit of an enigma. Despite the universe he’s constructed with storytelling lyrics, he’s always left it up to us to decipher his truth from his fiction. He burst onto the music scene fifteen years ago, an underdog in the belly of rap, with chaotic and desperate rhymes that resonated and pushed him into an unexpected level of stardom. With one hundred and eighty million records sold, he still holds his title as heavyweight and remains a household staple for his die-hard fans, collecting an army of new followers over the past two decades. I must admit, I was a bit intimidated when I sat down with him this past weekend in his Chicago fortress. I, like millions of others, am a huge fan of his genius. The simplicity of our surroundings in his home studio was shocking, to say the least. The feeling was a bit clinical and there were no platinum records on his walls, no personal photos, and there was no hint of the history he’d made as the world’s most notorious rap star. He sat in a leather chair next to his soundboard, water bottle in hand, and spoke about his love of rap, while subtly redirecting questions about his personal life—though we know he recently broke up with his long-time girlfriend, Jordan Wilson.”

My eyes nearly watered as I watched the live view box tick to a hundred thousand. I had a hundred thousand people watching my podcast in a matter of minutes. I took a deep breath.

“But it seemed my reputation had preceded me because when I sat down with the rap mogul, Phillip appeared ready for the firing squad. We dueled well as I asked the hard questions—the questions of a fan. Questions I know so many of his loyal listeners want answers to, and I think you’ll be surprised to hear his answers. So, without further ado, take a look at my exclusive with the man behind the myths. Feel free to form your own opinions, but above all, remember it’s the music that matters most.”

I linked my pre-recorded interview and watched the ticks explode as soon as his face hit the screen.

That was the moment my career peaked.

With pride, I watched my interview with the white whale, the Moby Dick of the music industry. Gorgeous, brilliant, and highly elusive, Phillip Preston was the hardest artist to get personal with in an interview. And I was the woman he reached out to, to break his silence about his road to success, his parents, his ex-wife, and finally—after some careful eggshell coaxing—he spoke about his recent relationship. He had delivered to me, on a silver platter, highly personal details about his life where so many other journalists had failed, and it was nothing short of miraculous.

It was my greatest accomplishment as a music journalist. I was flying, soaring as my phone began to blow up with message after message. I hadn’t told a soul, not a single person about my exclusive. I was high on adrenaline when the notifications began to ping on my phone. A hundred, two hundred messages, and then I saw the viewer ticks had jumped drastically to half a million. Half a million! I laughed out nervously and checked Phillip’s social media. He had just posted my podcast link to our interview. My jaw dropped. He had over eighty million followers on one forum alone.

And the viewer counts just kept rising. I had done it. I gasped when the ticks went past a million.

A million people were watching my podcast.

A million people were watching my podcast!

“AHHHHHH!” I screamed to no one as I looked around the vacant room. I raised both hands in the air when the ticks rolled past two million. “Oh my GOD!” I shot up from the desk, my eyes full of incredulous water.

I’d never had more than a million views. Ever. And those took months to accrue. It was the greatest career high of my life. I looked back down at my phone, anxious to talk to someone, anyone. Lexi’s middle finger popped up on the screen, and I couldn’t resist answering her call.

“AHHHHHHHH!” I screamed into the phone..

“Stella?”

“Yes! Is it good? You think I asked the right questions? I edited for like nine hours.”

“What?”

“What do you mean, what? Titan’s interview.”

“You interviewed Titan?”

A small amount of my excitement dispersed. “Yours was the wrong call to answer.”

“You fucking interviewed Titan?”

“Yes. I wanted to surprise everyone.”

“And you didn’t bring me?”

“Sorry. I’ll feel guilty later.”

“Yeah.” Her voice dropped. I heard a toilet flush. “Yeah, Stella, that’s so cool.” Another toilet flushed.

“Where are you?”

“I’m in the bathroom at the Marquee.”

“Okay. Well, I’m buzzing right now, woman. Like, literally, my phone is exploding. Five million hits, Lexi. Five million!”

“I’m so happy for you, Stella.”

I frowned. “Yeah, with that amazing monotone, I can tell.”

“I’m so sorry.” And then her voice broke. My best friend doesn’t cry. Ever.

“Oh, shit. What’s up?”

“I’ll call you back, okay? I don’t want to ruin this.”

“You aren’t ruining anything. You couldn’t ruin this. I promise. I’ll be high for days. So, tell me. Why are you in the bathroom?”

“I’m on a blind date. He took me to a wedding.”

“Okay. You need an excuse? That’s not like you. You’re ballsy. Just give him your usual, it’s not me, it’s you.” I chuckled because she’d used it in front of me on a bass player with a cowlick and halitosis.

“Stella.”

I knew that tone. That tone was the bearer of bad fucking news.

“What? Say it.”

“It’s his wedding.”

I eyed the clock while I zipped my suitcase. I had an hour and a half before my flight. I was cutting it close. “Whose wedding?”

“Stella.”

“I know my name. Damn, who—” Realization struck and my heart met the floor. I stayed mute while she rambled on nervously.

“What are the odds? What are the goddamn odds? I don’t know what to do. Do you want me to leave? There’s no handbook for this. Did you even want to know this? That he’s married? I can’t believe I just watched him get married! Who in the hell ends up at their best friend’s ex-boyfriend’s wedding? I couldn’t not tell you.” She sniffed as the toilets repeatedly flushed around her.

“Stella, please say something.”

I pressed the sting back. “I’m alright, of course. I’m fine. Why are you crying?”

“I don’t know.” She sniffed. “Ben called me last night, and things are just so fucked up, and today this shit happens, and I know you’re happy. I know you are. But . . . I mean, this is—”

I put my hand up as if she could see it. “Don’t tell me anything else, okay? I’m good.” I looked at my reflection in the mirror from the bed into the adjacent bathroom. Nothing had changed. I wasn’t leaking. I was fine. “I’m okay. I’m glad you told me. I have to leave for the airport now, or I’ll miss my flight.” A slew of questions was on the tip of my tongue. Did he look happy? Was she beautiful? And more questions I hated myself for that Lexi would never be able to answer. Still, my head and heart refused to keep those questions bottled.

Was she prettier than me? Did he look at her the same way? Did he propose to her with half his heart? Did he think of me when he did it? Was any part of him thinking of me now? Was I in his dreams the way he drifted through mine sometimes?
All my thoughts were selfish. All of them. And of all the thoughts I could have had that day, self-loathing was not the one I expected to nudge its way front and center. I forced myself to speak.

“Stay.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, of course. I’m fine.”

“This freaky shit always happens. Always with you.”

“I know.”

“It’s like karma or God or someone hates you. It’s so fucked.”

I laughed ironically, though inside my heart was pounding.

Silence passed over the line as we both waited for some sort of solution that wasn’t coming.

“Stella, God, I’m so sorry.”

“About what? Stop. You know I would have told you if the situation were reversed. I should go. Love you.”

“Love y—” I hung up the phone before she could finish, frozen in the middle of the hotel room.





About the Author:

Kate Stewart lives in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. A native of Dallas, Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring it her creative muse. Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it's what she loves as a reader. A lover of all things '80s and '90s, especially John Hughes films and rap, she dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity only and does a horrible job of playing the ukulele. Aside from running a mile without collapsing, traveling is the only other must on her bucket list. On occasion, she does very well at vodka.

Contact Kate- Email-authorkatestewart@gmail.com

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Release Blitz: Dawn by Jessica Florence




Title: Dawn 
Series: Hero Society #1)
Author: Jessica Florence
A superhero romance series

Synopsis


Dawn has come, a time for heroes to rise.
Draco has lived long and felt the pain of loss more than anyone in one lifetime could imagine. Immortality was given to him as a gift, a gift that failed him and turned him into a shell of the man that has nothing left but to wait out the end of existence alone.
Until her.
Rose is an empath who sees more than who Draco is supposed to be: she sees him, and what they could be.
Together, they will begin the search for others with extraordinary powers, to stop a war that’s been brewing for over a millennia.
The journey is only beginning, and an unnamed enemy has started to make his mark on their world.
The dawn of heroes has finally arrived.
Only time will tell if it’s too late to defeat the upcoming darkness of night that now descends upon all of mankind.







Now Available! 
Amazon- http://amzn.to/2jXgMDi
I-Books, KOBO, B&N- http://bit.ly/2xtJvCN




Monday, October 16, 2017

Release Blitz with Giveaway: Most of All You by Mia Sheridan



Title: MOST OF ALL YOU
Author: Mia Sheridan
Publication date: October 17, 2017 
Publisher: Forever




SUMMARY

"Heartbreaking...inspiring, uplifting and raw..." ― RT Book Reviews, A 5-star Gold Pick

A broken woman . . .

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior and carries within her a deep mistrust of men, who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there's an undeniable goodness in him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .


Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world, which had stolen everything from them, would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far, and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.







BUY THE BOOK HERE

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2uN4spa
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.



SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS


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Giveaway

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#ReadForever

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cover Reveal with Giveaway: Juniper Unraveling by Keri Lake

Juniper Unraveling Mailerlite Image

COVER REVEAL

Title: Juniper Unraveling
Genre: Dark Dystopian Romance
Cover Design: Okay Creations
Release Date: October 31, 2017

Post Buttons - Synopsis


Papa says everyone has a story that deserves to be told.
Most begin years ago, after the second bomb hit, unearthing a deadly contagion that divided the population into the pure, the infected, and the Ragers.
Many recount the moment we rose up from the ashes and started anew.
Others tell of the day we built a wall to keep them out. For some, they’re nothing more than the vestiges left behind—a simple name carved into the knotty bark of a Juniper tree.
My story begins with a boy. A mute, from the other side of the wall, known only as Six, who touched my heart in ways that words never could, and gave me the courage to face my darkest truth.

Juniper Unraveling Full - Reduced

To be notified when the book goes live and for a chance to win an advance copy, sign up here: http://www.subscribepage.com/JuniperUnravelingAlert

Or join Keri Lake’s reading group for updates and sneak peeks: VIGILANTE VIXENS

JU Teaser 5


Post Buttons - About The Author

Author pic

Keri Lake is a dark romance writer who specializes in demon wrangling, vengeance dealing and wicked twists. Her stories are gritty, with antiheroes that walk the line of good and bad, and feisty heroines who bring them to their knees. When not penning books, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, and their rebellious Labrador (who doesn’t retrieve a damn thing). She runs on strong coffee and alternative music, loves a good red wine, and has a slight addiction to dark chocolate.

AUTHOR LINKS:


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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Played by Jen Frederick




Title: Played
Series: Gridiron #4
Author: Jen Frederick
Release date: October 6, 2017
Cliffhanger: No




REVIEW

Played is the fourth installment of the Gridiron series, bringing us Ty Masters' story, who is Knox's identical twin. Knox is the hero from Sacked, book one, which is quite possibly my favorite of the entire series so far. The Gridiron books have been new adult perfection for me, and the standard for what I look for in the genre. Jen Frederick knows how to deliver the goods that I'm expecting: flirty, witty banter, a delicious amount of angst and steam, and a group of secondary characters who shine equally as much. The notable character development is what really makes these stand apart in an oversaturated genre.

Regretfully, for the first time, I just wasn't feeling that same love for Ty's story. I wish I could say I felt that same excitement, but there was something missing here for me. Or several somethings. This is what I would call your typical friends to lovers trope.

I knew when I first met him during freshman orientation that I had two choices. I could date him for a short time and be forgotten. Or I could be his friend. I chose the latter, and four years and countless girlfriends later, Ty and I are best friends.

As you would expect, one of the main conflicts was Ara's fear of ruining their friendship if their romance didn't work out. In addition to this, adding to her hesitancy was the poor relationship record of her father. His inability to maintain a long term relationship because his art career was his first priority taught her a damaging lesson. It was easy to draw a comparison to Ty and her father. Ty, who loves football so much that he couldn't invest any time or interest in making a relationship work throughout college. In her eyes, it was better to push down her deeper feelings, never hinting that her best friend made her desire so much more.

Here's my problem with Ara. She is quite the frustrating people pleaser. And when you're this type of person, you inevitably let others walk all over you. And no, I don't expect a character to be perfect from beginning to end, I like to see character growth. It makes them feel much more realistic. However, in her case, she was her own worst enemy on so many different occasions that I really wanted to knock some sense into her. Trying to make her mother happy and seeking validation, who did nothing but insult her, and disparage her choices. Choosing to endure the abuse of her co-worker to appease his anger over how she got hired. Not just suggesting, but pushing Ty into the arms of a seemingly unhealthy relationship with another girl just to deflect him away from her own feelings. I'll be honest, it got to be a bit much. She was incapable of standing tall and living her truth in her life.

Ara had a lack of maturity for her age, that I couldn't get on board with. Her method of dealing with a problem that arose in her life was to pretend it wasn't there, or to run like the wind. After her first hook up with Ty, she pretended as if it never happened rather than addressing it and clearing it up with him. The second time, she avoided him like a scared child when he tried to have an adult discussion with her over their relationship. I wasn't a fan of how she treated him, especially after the second time. She left him hanging, feeling confused, angry, and hurt. All during a time when he needed her to be there for him.

Ty had his fair share of personal conflicts that dogged him leading to his imminent entry into the draft. A vindictive ex-girlfriend who smeared his character on social media, an agent with questionable morals and methods of doing business, and the supposed weak spot to his image because he didn't have a girlfriend. First of all, his chosen agent was a complete scumbag, and he was so bad, I lost a measure of respect for Ty for not dropping him before he was forced to do so.

His agent after Ty's girlfriend dumped him:
"Dammit," Dana curses but he does is while smiling. He's great at putting on a show. "Why the hell can't you keep one dumb bitch satisfied?(...) Find a dumb bitch, then, and fuck her into submission, okay?" 

His advice when Ty's ex trashed him online:
"If she's not bribable, than we threaten her. Give me her number and I'll tell her that if she doesn't take this post down and apologize, we're going to make her into the next college porn star."

And why do you ask, does he STAY with this piece of filth? His pride and stubbornness. His family and friends are telling him left and right that he needs to send him packing, but no. He lets this man manage his career simply because he doesn't want to hire his brother's agent. He wants to do things on his own. I'm sorry, how could you remotely be okay with someone with such glaring character flaws? And then he is somehow surprised when his choice blows up in his face later. Not sure how that is possible.

The whole "you need a girlfriend" thing and his image issues that plagued him were not really that believable to me, and the resolution was surprisingly anti-climatic I thought. Just one throwaway sentence towards the end that everything was smoothed over suddenly, after the drama that ensued throughout the book? It made me sit and go, "Hmm." When it came to Ara, he was very sweet, and I can't say that he was a bad guy overall. But as a couple...I wasn't feeling much excitement for them. There was a definite lack of angst during the period they worked through the barrier of their friendship. I almost felt ambivalent over how they would come together. I didn't see their desperation to be together, it was more lukewarm than anything. So, as a result, I didn't feel that.

Despite the disappointed tone of this review, I didn't hate this one, but unfortunately I didn't feel nearly what I was expecting based on my enjoyment of the series in the past. It was a very fast paced read, and I was never bored or overly angry. But the spark was missing for me personally. Maybe you won't feel the same, and this book sounds right up your alley. I urge you to pick up Played and give it a chance.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blog Tour: Necessary Roughness by Julie Brannagh




Tanner Cole’s football career was over in less than thirty seconds one Sunday afternoon. After a lifetime playing the sport he loves he’s been forced into an early retirement. Between figuring out his plan for the rest of his life and dealing with the pain of his injuries, this grouchy hottie isn’t in the mood for the perky physical therapist who makes him in ache in more than one place.
Jordan Mueller doesn’t have time for a sulky ex-NFL player, even one who looks like Tanner. She’s done with falling for the bad boy without a heart. When she’s forced out of her apartment and offered an opportunity too good to pass up, she agrees to move in with Tanner. She’s only there to speed up his recovery. No funny business, even if her body is telling her otherwise.
As Tanner and Jordan spend more and more time together, they begin to see each other in a new light that threatens to change everything. But when the ghosts of girlfriends past reappear, Tanner must decide if he’s willing to put everything on the line for a shot at a future with Jordan.

About the Book


Title: Necessary Roughness
Author: Julie Brannagh


Series: n/a; standalone


Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance


Publisher: Avon Impulse


Publication Date: October 10, 2017




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EXCERPT



Chapter One

Tanner Cole grabbed the remote off the couch cushions and clicked through the two hundred or so channels on his satellite TV. Daytime TV sucked. Even worse: it sucked yesterday, the day before, and the day before that too. But it wasn’t like he had a lot of choices for entertainment right now. His knee was slowly healing, but mostly, he wanted to be left alone while he tried to figure out how he was going to deal with the rest of his life.

He was a professional football player. Well, he used to be. He’d torn both his ACL and MCL and broken his tibia after planting his cleats on some shitty turf in Washington, DC, during the last two minutes of a fucking blowout he shouldn’t have been playing in in the first place. His coach had practically begged him to sit on the bench that afternoon and spend a few minutes powering down some Gatorade while his backup took the risk of injury instead. In the coach’s defense, “practically begging” meant he glanced over at Tanner and said, “why don’t you have a seat, and we’ll finish this one for you?” But Tanner had insisted that cold afternoon in Washington. He’d played anyway. And his career was ended because of a freak hit by a rookie who thought he was making his mark by permanently sidelining one of the best left tackles in the league.

Winners didn’t sit on the bench. Winners went out there and dominated, in football and in life. He remembered every buzzword and cliché-laden locker-room speech he’d heard in his career, typically when he was lying away at three AM and wishing he had that thirty seconds or so before his injury back again. He’d wanted to make the decision when it was time to hang it up. That was taken away from him. He wasn’t happy about it.

People (specifically his ex-girlfriend) were not as willing to put up with his various personality flaws when he wasn’t headline news anymore. He could tick off those shortcomings on his fingers, and he’d done so more than once while alone in the predawn hours. According to his ex, Star, he was too overbearing, too competitive, too impatient, and too insensitive. She didn’t seem to care about his faults when he was ordering $150 bottles of champagne at the club or buying her a little somethin’ somethin’ at the jeweler’s or the latest designer shoes and bags. He’d wanted to believe their breakup was all her fault, but being alone for a few months brought some clarity. He was as much to blame for the end of their relationship. He’d have to man up at some point and make an apology.

Before he met with the surgeon who was putting his knee back together, Tanner had been told by the team’s doctor that he wasn’t going to play football again.

“With your age and these types of injuries, you’re not going to be able to pass any team’s physical, even after rehab. I know this isn’t how you wanted things to end,” the doctor said.

“No, it isn’t,” Tanner said.

“Look at it this way: it’s a great chance to get on with the rest of your life.”

Tanner knew the guy was just doing his job, but he was already sick of people telling him to look on the bright side. He’d be damned lucky if he walked with a limp. Right now, he’d be happy if he could get off the couch and walk to the mailbox without a walker.


About Julie Brannagh

USA Today bestselling author Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

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