#ExcerptReveal “The Best Man” by Winter Renshaw




I didn’t know her name, but I heard her laugh, tasted her lips, felt her warm skin as I held her in my arms. Together we watched our young children playing in the sand, the warm ocean lapping the shore behind them as the setting sun painted the sky. She was my soulmate and this was our life, our beautiful forever … 
Then I woke up—alone in a hospital room, connected to wires and machines. 
There was no wife. No kids. Not a single soul waiting for me. That life I dreamt of … never existed.
I’d been in a devastating wreck, a nurse told me when she rushed in. Comatose for weeks. I’d have a long road to recovery, but I was going to make it. 
From that moment on, the dream haunted me. I saw that woman’s face every time I closed my eyes, searched for her in every crowd, ached to be with a stranger I felt I’d known my entire life … and I swore that if I ever found her, I’d do anything to make her mine. 
Anything.
Then I found her.
And it was both the best and worst day of my life because the woman of my dreams … was about to marry my best friend.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: No cheating, no love triangles. That’s all I’m going to say … 😉

Cainan

Beep … beep … beep … beep …

​I wake to a steady sound, slamming into an unfamiliar shell of a body, which as it turns out is mine. A dreamlike haze envelopes me, and when my surroundings come into focus, I’m met with white walls, white blankets, white machines connected to white wires leading to a strip of white tape on my wrist holding an IV in place.

​I’m in a hospital.

​I try to remember how I got here, but it’s like trying to recall someone else’s dream—an impossible task. And it only makes the throbbing inside my head intensify.

​“My wife …” My words are more air than sound, and it’s painful to speak with a bone-dry mouth and burning throat.

​ “Mr. James?” A woman with hair the color of driven snow leans over me. So much fucking white. “Don’t move. Please.”

​She’s a calm kind of rushed, hurried but not frenetic as she makes her way around the room, pressing buttons, paging for assistance and adjusting machine settings.

​The room fades in and out, murky gray to pitch black, and then crystal clear before disappearing completely. The next time I open my eyes, I’m fenced by three more women and one white-coat-wearing man, all of them gazing down on me with squinted, skeptical expressions, as if they’re witnessing a verifiable miracle in the making.

​I’m certain this is nothing more than a bad dream—until my head pulsates with an iron-clad throb once again, accented by a searing poker-hot pain too real to be a delusion.

​“Mr. James, I’m Dr. Shapiro. Four weeks ago, you were involved in a car accident.” The doctor at the foot of the bed studies me. “You’re at Hoboken University Medical Center, and you’re in excellent hands.”

​They all study me.

​I try to sit up, only for a nurse to place her hand on my shoulder. “Take it easy, Mr. James.”

​Another nurse hands me water. I take a sip. The clear, cold liquid that glides down my throat both soothes and stings. I swallow the razor-blade sensation and try to sit up again, but my arms shake in protest, muscles threatening to give out.

​“Where’s my wife?” Each word is excruciating, physically and otherwise.

​She should be here.

​Why isn’t she here?

​“Your wife?” The nurse with the water cup repeats my question as she exchanges glances with the dark-haired nurse on the opposite side of my bed. “Mr. James … you don’t have a wife.”

​I try to respond, which only causes me to cough. I’m handed the water once more, and when I get the coughing under control, I ask for my wife once more.

​“Has anyone called her?” I hand the cup back. If I’ve been out of it for weeks, I imagine she’s beside herself. And our kids. I can’t begin to imagine what they’ve been going through. “Does she know I’m awake? Have my children seen me like this?”

​“Sir …” The nurse with the dark hair frowns.

​“My wife,” I say, harder this time.

​“Mr. James.” Dr. Shapiro comes closer, and a nurse steps out of the way. “You suffered extensive injuries in your accident …”

​The man rambles on, but I only catch fragments of what he’s saying. Shattered pelvis. Spleen removal. Internal bleeding. Brain swelling. Medically-induced coma.

​“It’s not uncommon to be confused or disoriented upon awaking,” he says.

​But she was just here …

​She was just with me …

​Only we weren’t in this room, we were at the beach—the little strip of sand beyond our summer home. She was in my arms as we lay warm under a hot sun, watching our children run from the rolling waves that rolled over the coastline, leaving tiny footprints up and down the shore.

​A boy and a girl.

​My wife smelled of sunscreen, and she wore an oversized straw hat with a black ribbon and thick-framed cat-eye sunglasses with red rims that matched her red sarong. I can picture it clearer than anything in this damn room.

​I can hear her laugh, bubbly and contagious.

​If I close my eyes, I can see her heart-shaped smile—the one that takes up half her face and can turn the worst of days completely upside down.

​“We’re going to let you rest, Mr. James, and then we’ll order a few tests.” The doctor digs in a deep pocket of his jacket, and then he sneaks a glance at his phone. “I’ll be here for the next eight hours, if you have any additional questions. The nurses will ensure you’re comfortable in the meantime. We’ll discuss your treatment plan as soon as you’re feeling up to it.”

​He tells the nurse with the dark hair to order a CT scan, mumbles something else I can’t discern, and then he’s gone. A moment later, the room clears save for myself and the third nurse—the one who’s done nothing but stare at me with despondent eyes this entire time.

​“There must be a mistake. Someone needs to call my wife immediately.” I try to sit up, but an electric intensity unlike anything I’ve ever experienced shoots up my arm and settles along my back and shoulders.

​The thought of her not knowing where I am sends a squeeze to my chest. What if she thinks I left her? What if she thinks I disappeared? What if she has no idea what happened? And what was I doing in Hoboken when our life is in Manhattan?

​“What’s her name?” Her question comes soft and low, almost like she’s trying to ensure no one hears her. “Your wife?”

​I open my mouth to speak … only nothing comes out.

​I can picture her as vivid as still blue waters on a windless day—but it’s the strangest thing because her name escapes me.

Nothing but blank after infuriating blank.

​“I … I can’t remember.” I lean back, staring into the reflective void of a black TV screen on the opposite wall.

​The nurse’s gaze grows sadder, if that’s possible. “It’s okay. You’ve been through quite an ordeal.”

​She doesn’t believe me.

​“Would you like me to call your sister?” she asks.

​My sister … Claire.

​If I can remember my sister’s name, why can’t I remember my own wife’s?

​“Yes,” I say. “Call Claire. Immediately.”

​She’ll be able to sort this out, I’m sure of it.

​“Would you like me to adjust your bed?” The nurse straightens the covers over my legs. “I’m Miranda, by the way. I’ve been assigned to you since you arrived. I can tell you just about anything you need to know.”

​“Just … call my sister.”

​“Of course, Mr. James. Can I grab you anything while I make that call?”

​I lift my hand—the one without the IV—to my forehead. “Head’s pounding like a goddamned jackhammer. Got anything for that?”

​“Absolutely. Be right back …”

​Miranda hurries out the door, and I’m alone.

​If I close my eyes, the room spins, but I can picture my wife with impeccable lucidity—the square line of her jaw, her heart-shaped lips that flip up in the corners, the candy-apple green of her eyes.

My heart aches, though it isn’t a physical pain, it’s deeper.

​More profound.

​Like the drowning of a human soul.

​I remind myself that the doctor’s said it’s normal to be disoriented, and I promise myself everything will come back to me once I get my bearings.

​The clock on the wall reads eight minutes past seven. The sky beyond the windows is half-lit. I haven’t the slightest clue if it’s AM or PM. I couldn’t tell you what day it is or what month it is for that matter.

​“Mr. James, your sister is on her way,” the nurse says when she returns.

​She hands me a white paper cup with two white pills.

​So much fucking white.

​If I never see white again after this, I’ll die a happy man.


Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi. 
And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j


#ExcerptReveal “The Cruelest Stranger” by Winter Renshaw

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The first time I saw him was at a bar called Ophelia’s on a misty Thursday night. I was there to drown my sorrows after a trying day, he was there to escape the storm. After a brief yet incredibly cruel exchange, the handsome stranger bolted before I had a chance to tell him off. Incensed and three cocktails deep, I followed him out the door, determined to give the audacious Adonis a piece of my mind.
Tearing after him in heels and barely able to keep up in the freezing rain, I ended my chase when I realized where he was going.
They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.
I never could have anticipated his…
And I never could have anticipated the way our paths would cross again—or that I would one day find myself falling for a man with a hollow cavity where his heart should be, a man as callous as he was beautiful, as complicated as he was mesmeric.
They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.
This one’s ours.

Through the shadowy haze of Ophelia’s, my unfocused gaze struggles to home in at first. And then I see him perfectly.

Chiseled cheekbones.

Impeccably-groomed obsidian hair.

Broad shoulders hardly contained in a navy cashmere sweater.

Jawline for days.

Could this be …?

Is that Mrs. Angelino’s nephew?

I take a generous mouthful of gin and tonic, contemplating how best to introduce myself. My palms tingle, and I rub them against the tops of my thighs, sucking in a shallow breath.

There’s a chance this man isn’t Garrett, and the more I think about it, he likely isn’t. I’ve yet to catch him scanning the room in search of someone.

But still—if it is him, I’d hate for him to think he’s being stood up. I would never do that to anyone, for any reason. My life’s mantra can be boiled down to the whole “do unto others …” saying.

Clearing my throat, I lean in his direction. “Excuse me?”

He doesn’t hear me.

Waving my hand to capture his attention, I say it again, “Hi. Excuse me.”

Still, nothing.

It’s like he’s in his own world—ten feet away.

The friendly, kindergarten-teacher smile teetering on my poppy-stained lips fades with the realization that I’m being ignored.

“Hi, excuse me …” Third time’s the charm. I wave once more, wiggling my fingers the way you’d politely flag down a restaurant server.

The man turns to his left, dark brows knit together and gaze tightened in my direction—and then he does the craziest thing: lifting his finger to his lips, he shushes me.

He. Shushes. Me.

Like a child.

Facing ahead, I take another drink, the glass trembling in my hand as a cocktail of thoughts swarm my head. The mirror behind the bar catches my reflection, and it isn’t pretty, but this time it has nothing to do with the damp, wiry, dishwater-blonde bun or the bar bathroom makeover.

Basic human decency is the one thing I value most in this world, and this man has none of it.

The full weight of his piercing stare anchors me to my seat, and every atom in my body is shouting for me to stay, to not march ten feet down the bar to give him a piece of my mind.

But today marks the anniversary of one of the worst days of my life, I was caught in a rainstorm and stood up, and I’m about two cocktails deep.

My self-control is non-existent.

Drink in hand, I slide off my seat and saunter toward the infuriatingly handsome asshole in the five-hundred-dollar sweater, but before I have a chance to utter a single word, he speaks first, “You seem incredibly insecure about something. Are you okay?”

“Excuse me?” I’m glaring, and I never glare. This isn’t good. This man’s about to bring out a side of me I never knew existed. And what the hell is he talking about? Insecure? “What kind of—”

“—what kind of asshole bothers a stranger for no reason?” he commandeers my question like he owns it. “Let me ask you this, when you saw me come in, saw me take a seat at the end of the bar away from everyone, what part of that gave you the impression that I wanted to be bothered?”

The man has a point—especially if he isn’t Garrett.

But it still doesn’t make him any less of a prick.

“I wasn’t trying to bother you, I was—”

“Really?” His full lips tug into a taut smirk, his tone as sharp as it is incredulous. “Because I’m pretty sure when you were waving at me and smiling and saying ‘Hi, excuse me’ in that cutesy little voice fifty thousand times … you were trying to bother me.”

“Are you always this cruel?”

“Are you always this desperate?” He doesn’t miss a beat.

My grip tightens on my glass. I’d love nothing more than to dump the remainder of this drink down his pretentious designer sweater.

Lucky for him that isn’t my style.

Besides, it’d be a shame to waste all that top-shelf liquor on a bottom-shelf bastard.

“For your information, I was supposed to meet someone here tonight. Someone fitting your description,” I say.

His jaw sets.

He takes a sip of his drink staring ahead, flashing a smirk that advertises a perfect dimple in the middle of his cheek. “Sure you were.”

“What, you think this is something I do to meet men?” My voice is pitched higher than I intended.

“You said it.” His brows rise as he centers his drink on a coaster.

“Don’t flatter yourself. You’re not my type.”

He sniffs. “I’m everyone’s type.”

I’m … speechless.

Is this jerk for real?!

Not only is this vexatious stranger cruel, heartless, and lacking in basic human decency, he’s also the epitome of arrogant.

“You can leave now.” He waves me off, but I’m stunned into silence as I try to gather my thoughts so I can leave him with one last zinger of a comeback.

“Everything okay over here?” Eduardo is hunched over the other side of the bar, his watchful stare passing between us. I swear he came out of nowhere—that or I was too distracted by this man’s willful audacity to notice him approaching us.

The cocky Adonis shoots me a glance before turning his attention to the bartender.

“We’re good, Eduardo,” he says. “I was just giving our friend here a lesson in etiquette, appropriacy, and basic decorum.”

Once again, I have no words.

Rising from his bar stool, he finishes the remainder of his drink with a smooth swallow before shouldering into his wool trench, heading for the door, and disappearing into the cold, dark evening.

Rain drops pelt the windows, obscuring anything and everything on the other side of the glass.

Peeling my fruitless gaze from that direction, it settles on an umbrella leaning against the wall next to the door.

His umbrella.

The blackest black.

The color of his soul—or the empty space in his chest where his heart should be.

Fitting.

Without giving it another thought, I slap a twenty on the counter and slip into my coat.

A moment later, I’m grabbing the stupid thing and diving out into the rain, praying I catch him in time.

As incensed as I am, as infuriating as he is, sometimes the best thing to do is fight cruelty with kindness. It’s something I learned early on in my life and something I instill in my students from the second they enter my classroom.

I spot him at the end of the block, waiting for the crosswalk to change.

Picking up my pace, I canter over cracked and pitted concrete, squeeze past umbrella-wielding locals—and make it to the end of the street just in time for the light to flick from neon white to warning-sign orange, forcing me to stop.

I wait where I am, my gaze trained on him in case he turns onto a side street.

The traffic signals begin to change, and within seconds, the crosswalk blinks to white.

I sprint across, ignoring the stinging cold rain drops pelting my skin, the frigid air biting through my clothes, and the painful clench in my jaw that keeps my teeth from rattling.

I’m a mere half of a block from him when he turns and disappears inside a local business.

But it isn’t just any business …

… it’s the Paulley-Hallbrook Funeral Home—a place I know well.

A moment later, I’m standing outside the very doors he walked into mere moments ago, frozen in every sense of the word.

The rain slows, gentle.

And then it stops.

Earthy petrichor fills my lungs as I witness the dark-haired, cruel-hearted mystery man as he’s greeted by a lady in a charcoal pant suit.

She places a hand on his shoulder and gives him an apologetic wince before escorting him away.

I wanted to give him the umbrella to teach him a lesson in compassion.

The irony of that isn’t lost on me.

 

Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.
And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j

 

 

#BlogTour “The Beltane Choice (Celtic Fervour Series Book 1)” by Nancy Jardine

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Beltane Choice cover

AD 71 Northern Roman Britain
Lorcan of the Brigantes knows that unity of the northern tribes is essential when the Ancient Roman legions advance northwards to Brigantia. Yet, everything comes at a price. Using his captive, Nara, as a political bargain with the Selgovae comes with impossible stipulations. Battle at Whorl – Iron Age tribes against the Romans – is inevitable.

Will Nara have her Beltane choice?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan begin…

Purchase Link

http://getbook.at/findhere

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EXCERPT

The story so far…

A.D. 71 ‘Borderland’ Brigante Territory, Northern Britannia

Nara of the Selgovae has been attacked by a wild boar but her rescuer has turned out to be an enemy Brigante who names himself Lorcan of Garrigill. When she realises he is still intent on seduction as his due for saving her – even though she has already managed to give him a minor flesh wound – she knows she’s in trouble…

Rolling away from him, Nara sidled herself upright. Unable to locate her weapons she used her feet, a swift kick that contacted his solid thigh. Lorcan’s amused rumble irritated her even more, because it had been a half-hearted kick from one who was warrior-trained.

“You lie.” He grinned, challenging her honesty before an expert spin took him out of her reach while she readied for another attack. Springing to his feet, he chided, “Admit it. Your body tells me.”

Incensed by the truth, Nara glared, a hot flush blistering her cheeks when he plucked her hands from the sword hilt she yanked up.

“Why should I leave you be? Did I not save you from the boar’s tusks?”

As he disposed of the sword Nara fought against frustration and confusion. “I am beholden to you for that, maybe, but that is all. Would you force me, Brigante?”

“You think I need to force you? Or any woman? As in your tribe, the women of mine mate when they like what they see.”

Arrogance dripped from him, confidence filling his gaze, though a glint of some humour twinkled there too.

“You have a high opinion of your prowess, but your fame as a fabled lover has not reached the Selgovae, yet.”

Her words had the opposite effect from she intended since her bold scorn stimulated the warrior even more. “Maybe you are the one who needs to inform your worthy bard of my skills. Time my prowess is tested?”

The sudden ripping startled her when his one tug burst open the leather strap around her waist, tumbling her pouches to the ground. Raising her tunic, the Brigante’s questing fingers tunnelled. The tightening and tingling at her chest drove her gaze skywards in confusion. A deep groan escaped while he whispered kisses at her neck, one hand reaching inside the gathered waist of her braccae.

Dé thu a déanamh?” Her gasp shared the warrior’s breath. Her head swam from a lack of breath and something else. “By the Lady Rhianna? What are you doing?” Sagging against him her legs could no longer support her weight. “I cannot…” she mumbled, unable to think coherently. Like a runt puppy, she lapped up the scraps of his handling. Seeking. Something. Yet, she did not know what she sought.

“I feel…”

“Aye. Let go. Let the feelings take you, Nara,” Lorcan muffled more encouragement into her ear. He changed her position against the tree his questing lips, tongue and hands continuing to roam. His fingers explored through the soft wool of her tunic before he pulled it clear of her head, the cloth unbearable when it scratched past her sensitised skin, the coarseness of the tree bark against her bare spine not mattering a whit. His lips continued their torment while he loosened his sword belt and let it thud to the ground. Releasing the thong of his forest-green braccae, he allowed them to glide to his knees. She felt the urgency in his movements.

“I’m a…aahhh!” The words of explanation died in her throat as the warrior’s twisting search found spots Nara had not known existed. Supporting her body against the tree, Lorcan wrapped her legs around his waist.

“What is wrong? Has it been such an age since your man took you?”

Wriggling away from him, she yelped. “Rhianna’s wrath be upon you! I have never coupled with any man.”

“What did you say?”

He held himself immobile before the breath rushed back into him; noisy inhalations through his nose. His eyes displayed great confusion when he stared at her, glazed with some enormous emotion Nara had no name for before they screwed tight shut for a few heartbeats. With a frightful force Lorcan yanked himself free and dropped his grip of her body as though scorched. She slumped to the ground, her hands flattening to bear her weight while she gawped up at him. His disbelieving eyes raked her, the veins in his neck pulsating, his breathing laboured.

“You cannot possibly still be an unmated woman?” Bewilderment shrouded Lorcan’s expression, but his fury was even more dominant. “You must be more than twenty summers?”

She refused to answer the man whose resentment could not possibly be greater than her own. Her gaze slid sideward, since she could not face the warrior who now despised her.

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Nancy JardineAuthor Bio

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)

A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.

Social Media Links

Blog   Website   Facebook   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon Author Page   Goodreads

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G I V E A W A Y

E N T ER to Win

One signed paperback of The Beltane Choice (1 winner – UK Only)

One digital copy of The Beltane Choice (1 winner – Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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#ExcerptReveal “You Have to Believe Me” by Sunday Tomassetti



She has every reason to hate her ex …

Every day on her way home from work, Dove Damiani drives past her ex-house, where her ex-husband lives with her ex-dog and her ex-yoga instructor, next to her ex-neighbors and the ex-life she once affectionately described as “frighteningly perfect.”

To outsiders, Dove is bitter and resentful. The divorce left her alone, with nothing but a set of car keys and 50% of a paltry savings account.

…but it doesn’t mean she wants him dead.

When the lifeless body of her former husband is discovered in the birch grove outside Dove’s apartment on what would have been their fifth wedding anniversary, investigators waste no time making Dove a person of interest. She swears she didn’t do it. She’s never so much as killed a spider in her thirty years.

But as evidence mounts against her, Dove finds herself questioning her memory, her sanity, and even—her innocence.

She saw me.

But in my defense, I wasn’t trying to be inconspicuous. I wasn’t trying to sneak by unnoticed. It’s not illegal. I wasn’t harassing her. I would never do those things. This isn’t about me getting revenge, this is about you getting justice by any means necessary.

I slowed to a crawl when I got to the house, trying to grab a quick mental snapshot before speeding off. But all I gleaned was that she was home—evidently alone—and she was peering out the living room window, her body poorly masqueraded behind a curtain panel.

Hands gripping the wheel, I turn off Blue Jay Lane and head back to my side of town, the window half rolled down and the radio tuned to some Top 40 station.

I find it interesting that your parents aren’t there to console her—or to be consoled by her. If we were still together, your parents and I would’ve been inseparable from the second news broke.

It makes me wonder what they think of her, if they find it odd that you spent twenty years with me and the instant you bring someone new into the picture, you’re mysteriously murdered. Of course Michael and Lori are too kindhearted to make their opinions known to anyone but themselves, but I can imagine the connection they’re drawing and I can imagine it matches the one I’m drawing myself.

In less than ten minutes, I’m back home.

I strip out of the day’s clothes and wash up before crawling beneath the chilled covers of my lumpy used mattress. My thoughts go to her. To Kirsten. The way she peered out from behind the curtain as if the backlit living room wouldn’t give her silhouette away. It’s like a cat that thinks it’s hiding beneath a chair, tail sticking out to give it away.

I stare at the ceiling for several endless minutes, mind spinning, before I relent and grab my phone off my nightstand. The screen flashes to life and I wince as I dial down the brightness and tap in my code. A second later, I type your name into a search engine to see if there are any new developments. The top result in an article on CNN, but the timestamp shows it was posted earlier this morning. No updates. I check the articles on the three local news stations in the area, but the information is stale and recycled.

They still don’t know who killed you and they haven’t released an official cause of death.

I can only pray it was quick.

I don’t like to think about you suffering.

A yawn hits me out of nowhere and the phone turns to dead weight in my hands. Looks like I might get some sleep tonight after all.

In the seconds before retiring for the night, I decide to perform one last search …

… on Kirsten.

Why I never thought to do it before is beyond me. Then again, I’ve always taken people at face value. The first time we met was when she came to deliver some mail of mine at my paint-n-sip and introduced herself as my business neighbor, the owner of Best Life Yoga. Everything about her was Zen and graceful and centered, the way a yoga instructor should be. We met again after that at a mixer for local business owners. She ran up to me, excited to see a familiar face, and we talked all night like two people who’d known each other their whole lives.

Our close friendship spanned two years, and not once did I ever think she would do what she did. Not once.

You think you know someone, Ian …

She duped us both, I’m afraid.

I type “Kirsten Best” into the search bar and the results assume I’m searching for “Kirsten Dunst.” Sighing, I type in “Kirsten Best Detroit, Michigan” and try again. Results populate the screen in seconds, and I start at the top with an unused LinkedIn account, before continuing to an article about a legal aid under scrutiny for embezzling—the photo does not match. The third result is a memorial. I click on the headline.

A black and white photo of a good-looking man with dark hair and dimples, unquestionably too young for an obituary, takes the upper left-hand corner. I scroll down and find his name—Adam Nicholas Meade. And then his age—twenty-seven. His obituary is brief, mentioning that he grew up in Detroit, worked as a welder, and passed unexpectedly.

There’s no mention of parents or siblings, just that he had a lot of friends …

… and that he is survived by his fiancée, Kirsten Best, of Detroit, Michigan.

Sunday Tomassetti is the pseudonym of a Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon Charts, and #1 Amazon bestselling author who wanted an outlet for her passion projects. A thirty-something married mother of three, Sunday resides in the midwest where you can always find her hard at work on her next novel.

Sunday is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

#ExcerptReveal “Redesigning Happiness” by Nita Brooks

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REDESIGNING HAPPINESS BY NITA BROOKS

A Note from Nita:

Thank you for giving Redesigning Happiness a try! When I started writing this story, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted Yvonne to do. She’d gotten over a rejection from her child’s father, built a new business, and was engaged to the perfect man. As the story unfolded and the situations changed, I realized my characters were telling a different story. I hope readers will understand the decisions Yvonne made in the past and the final decision she makes in the end.

– Nita Brooks

Real life is a work in progress… #DesignYourLife

It wasn’t easy for Yvonne Cable to get over a heartbreaking relationship and revamp her life. But now the once-broke single mom is Atlanta’s most sought-after interior designer—and one-half of the media’s hottest power couple. She and her celebrity fiancé, Nathan, are a perfect, practical match, on—and off—camera. And with their new home improvement reality show the object of a fierce network bidding war, there’s no limit to how far they can go . . .

But Yvonne is stunned when mogul Richard Barrington III unexpectedly makes an offer for their program. He’s the man she thought left her for a more successful woman. And he’s the father of her son—though he didn’t know it until now. Richard wants to get to know their boy, and Yvonne agrees, though she’s wary. Yet little by little, she’s finding it hard to resist the responsible, caring man Richard has become. But when a scandalous leak puts everything Yvonne’s worked for at risk, she’ll have to look beyond surfaces to come to terms with who she is—and discover what she truly wants.

AVAILABLE ON:

AMAZON | KENSINGTON | BARNES & NOBLE

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RH Teaser 2

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EXCERPT REVEAL

Chapter 1

The Power of Perfection. 

Yvonne Cable stared at the headline and grinned. The glowing feature on her latest design made her want to do cartwheels down the hall in her office. If only she’d mastered the art of a cartwheel.

The picture below the headline was of the completed home office for her latest client. Muted blue-grey colors created a cozy and restful feel. The natural light from the picture window overlooking the home’s intricate landscape brightened the room. A mixture of textures—cotton, leather, and wood— added depth and visual interest.

After clawing her way through Atlanta’s cutthroat interior design community, the article in Atlanta Life Magazine was the coveted crown after a hard-fought battle. She created perfection for her clients. Gave them the spaces they needed to be comfortable and content, a haven in their hectic lives. Money, family, status . . . she didn’t care. Whatever her clients needed, she was going to give them.

She put the magazine on her desk and walked over to the perfectly organized whiteboard in her downtown Atlanta office. Nine sections partitioned off. The title of her projects in blue at the top of each section. Tasks associated with each project in green. Due dates written in purple. Red checkmarks for completed tasks. The board served as a quick reference guide to where she was and what she needed to do next.

Her grin widened as she a grabbed the green dry erase marker to add the title for a new project to the ninth box. Sandra Covington Project. Or, as her assistant Bree liked to call it, the super enviable commission of every designer in Atlanta. The people who’d vied for Sandra’s new home project were many, but Yvonne was the one to land it.

Sandra Covington, self-help author turned radio personality, had just announced that her radio program was going into nationwide syndication. Yvonne was familiar with Sandra’s radio show. The woman’s advice was quoted everywhere. Known for going deep into her readers’ and clients’ pasts to help them unlock the “key to their potential,” her famously quoted words, Sandra kept her own personal life out of the spotlight. Yvonne didn’t care about Sandra’s past, all she cared about was that she’d gotten the project. Designing Sandra’s house, and possibly getting a shout-out on her show, combined with the notoriety she’d gotten from her appearance on Celebrity Housewives, would go a long way toward increasing the demand for an original Yvonne Cable Design when someone needed decorating for their home or business.

She’d arrived. Shed the mistakes of the past and become a household name. Her mom still couldn’t believe it. On most days, Yvonne couldn’t believe it either.

“Yvonne, I got the fabric swatches you needed for the Tyson project, and don’t forget that you’ve got a call with the editor of Lady Entrepreneur magazine in fifteen minutes.”

Bree Foster, Yvonne’s administrative assistant, swept into Yvonne’s office with an arm full of fabric. She laid the material on the drafting table in the creative corner of Yvonne’s office. Vision boards for projects adorned the walls in that corner. Sketch pads, colored pencils, and drawing notebooks littered the drafting table where Yvonne created her designs. Bree continually purchased organizers to keep Yvonne’s samples in order, but when Yvonne was in the middle of the creative process, materials scattered the desk. As usual, Bree picked up the strewn color charts, pencils, post-its, and papers and put them back into their correct spots.

“Crap, I completely forgot about that call.” Yvonne hurried over to her desk, in the working corner of her office. Lady Entrepreneur magazine wanted to start a lifestyle section which would include design tips. Yvonne wanted to be the person who supplied the articles.

Lady Entrepreneur had a wide circulation. Women all over the country subscribed to the magazine, which provided everything from tips for running a business to interviews with successful women on its pages. Of course, she wanted those same women to think of her when they thought of interior design.

“That’s why I’m here,” Bree said. A recent graduate of design school, they’d met when Yvonne hired Bree as an intern the summer before. After graduation, Yvonne had snatched up the brilliant designer immediately. “Besides, you’ve got a good excuse. I can imagine your head is elsewhere.” Bree grinned and squeezed her hands together in front of her chest. Bree’s curly hair was worn in a cute pixie cut and her brown eyes sparkled with excitement behind a pair of black framed glasses.

“I know. I’ve been busy thinking about what I need for my first meeting with Sandra Covington.”

“I’m not talking about that. I mean your proposal over the weekend. The way Nathan surprised you! That was so romantic!”

Yes. The proposal. You’d think saying yes to the man she loved after he proposed via the jumbotron at the Atlanta Braves game wouldn’t slip her mind. Honestly, she was still getting used to the idea of being engaged. For the past six years, she’d been a single mom and business owner. Now she was part of a team. Of course, she would have a hard time believing it.

Nathan Lange, home improvement television star, boy next-door sex symbol, and all-around good guy, was her fiancé. She couldn’t be happier. And if she happened to notice that saying yes to Nathan had gotten her more congratulations and well wishes than starting her own business, being named business woman of the year twice, or working for a star on Celebrity Housewives, she didn’t let it bother her. Not too much.

Marriage was a big deal. Her son, Jacob, would have a father. She would have a man who loved and supported her. That was worth congratulating.

She glanced at the three-carat diamond on her left hand. “I can’t wait to marry Nathan, but no, that’s not what distracted me. Now that I’ve got Sandra’s account, I want to make sure I don’t let any other projects slip through the crack.”

“That’s what you have me for,” Bree said. “As your administrative assistant, I’m determined to keep you on track. But once you and Nathan get the television show, I may need an assistant for all of the work that’s going to come your way.”

Yvonne knocked three times on the oak surface of her desk, then crossed her fingers. “I hope so. The television show is still up in the air.”

She’d met Nathan on the set of Celebrity Housewives, where he’d worked as the contractor. The disagreements and attraction between them had sparked almost instantly. So much so, they’d stolen every scene they were in. Their chemistry had given Nathan’s publicist the idea they could be the new helm of a home improvement show. While Yvonne had never thought about television, she wasn’t one to turn down the opportunity to grow her business even further. She’d once been forced to accept whatever scraps she could get from the person who claimed to love her. Not anymore. Neither she, nor her son, would ever be in that position again.

“You guys will get it.”

“Maybe, but until then I can’t forget what got me here in the first place. No matter what happens with me and Nathan, Yvonne Cable Designs is and always will be my priority. I fought too hard to build my brand to this point to let it go just because I’m getting married.”

“But you will be making time to plan your wedding.”

“You know it!”

“I’d expect nothing less.” Bree looked at her cell phone. “Five minutes until the call. I’ll leave you alone so you can get ready.”

Yvonne went through the notes she’d jotted down for why she should be their go-to person for the lifestyle section. When she’d spoken with Lashon, the editor of the magazine, she’d still been considering a few other designers. This call would, hopefully, convince Lashon to go with her.

Lashon called right on time. They went through the normal pleasantries: quick stories about their kids, Lashon had two girls, and the latest good news from the magazine staffers. Then Lashon got to business.

“Look, Yvonne, I know you’ve gotten really busy lately.”

“Not too busy to supply design tips for the readers of your magazine. I was thinking of a focus on commercial spaces. Restaurants, offices, things like that.”

“Actually, I was thinking we could go in a different direction,” Lashon said before Yvonne could go into the reasons why she was the right choice.

“You’re no longer looking to include interior design tips?”

“No, silly. I’m surprised you haven’t already figured that out,” Lashon said laughing. “I want the feature to be with you and Nathan.”

“Really?” That idea had not crossed her mind.

“It’s genius, right?”

“I’m not sure I’m following along.”

“Lady Entrepreneur is still going to focus on women business owners, but I’m thinking of expanding the lifestyle section to also tackle relationships. Doesn’t that make sense?”

Not entirely, considering the magazine was supposed to be a business resource, but Yvonne never claimed to be an expert in magazine editing. “I’m intrigued by this new direction. Tell me more.”

“We did a survey of our subscribers. Many of them are single women who are also struggling to find a balance between work and family. You, my friend, are now the epitome of what so many single women want. You made a successful career despite having a child.”

“Despite?” A child wasn’t an automatic liability.

“And even though you are a single mother, you still happened to land a great guy like Nathan Lange. We think a quarterly feature on how you balance being a wife, mother, and business owner would go a long way to giving our readers hope.”

Giving the readers hope? Landing a great guy like Nathan hadn’t been part of her life goals. If anything, after the disaster that was her relationship with Jacob’s father, she’d never believed she would trust a man again. But she had, and yes, Nathan was great, and she was happy things worked out, but she wouldn’t say her life was now defined by her engagement. Was it?

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RH Teaser 1

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ENTER TO WIN

Nita Brooks is giving away a signed copy of Redesigning Happiness & a $10 Amazon gift card to a lucky winner!

CLICK TO ENTER

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ABOUT NITA BROOKS

A reading addict, self-professed connoisseur of home improvement shows, and a collector of teapots, Nita Brooks resides in South Carolina with her family. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter at @AuthorNitaB.

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#ExcerptReveal “Til I Overflow” by B. Love

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Til I Overflow cover

Til I Overflow by B. Love

She tried to fill him with love and drowned in the overflow.

It was ironic. Poetic Justice, maybe? Whatever the case, Rakeem Owens escaped the streets, and at his retirement party, his home was raided, and he was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. After spending seven years in prison, he is given the opportunity of early release with two major stipulations – probation and volunteer work to give back to the community the Judge believed he took so much from. With no hesitation, Rakeem agrees, but when he finds out that he’ll be serving under Maliah Dixon… jail seems to be a better option.

It was karma. Fate, maybe? Whatever the case, Maliah Dixon is thrilled when she finds out Rakeem will be volunteering with her organization. She started it with her best friend before he went to jail, and it has been her main priority ever since. It was during a visit to see her best friend that she first set eyes on Rakeem, and now that he’s a free man, Maliah was sure there was nothing that would stand in the way of making Rakeem her man.

Rakeem’s heart has been closed and guarded for years, and it will take more than a pretty face and nice frame to soften him toward any woman. But Maliah is determined to not only fill him with her love but be cleansed in the overflow. There is one problem with both water and love, though. Both were soft enough to cleanse and give life yet hard enough to drown and destroy anyone or anything who stand in their way.

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Enter to Win a copy of Til I Overflow

Just follow these three steps and you’re in!

  1. Follow @authorblove on Instagram
  2. Comment on one of B. Love’s Instagram posts using the hashtag: #BLoveTilIOverflow
  3. Winner will be selected at random on April 27, 2019

Click Here to Enter

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Excerpt

Maliah

We walked into the dining room hand in hand, memories flooding me with each step. When we were in school, we spent the weekend together at least three times a month. Sometimes it was at her place, sometimes at mine, but we were almost always together.

“I’ll tell you about him, but I want to know what’s up with you first. You’re glowing too, ma’am.”

We sat on the same couch, leg to leg. Hands still locked. Asia released a dramatic exhale before smiling widely. Her hand squeezed my thigh as her head shook.

“Okay, you’re not going to believe this, but…” She paused for dramatic effect, rattling my nerves even more. “I’m getting married!”

We both screamed as I pulled her into my arms.

“Oh my God! Congratulations, Asia! I’m so freaking happy for you!”

“Thank you, boo! And you know I have to have you as my wedding planner. There’s no way around it.” Her grip around me loosened. Voice lowered. “Well, mama wants me to meet with a few other planners. She says a professional should plan my wedding, but I told her that just because you never started a business centered around planning weddings that didn’t mean you were any less capable. I have four more people to meet with today, but I’ve already told daddy that I want you. Since they have agreed to pay for the wedding and let his parents pay for the reception, I’m going to entertain her, but you know you have the job. I’m not getting married if you don’t plan my wedding.”

“Girl, bye!” I yelled through my chuckle before hugging her again. “I’m so happy right now, Asia. For real. Who is he? How did you meet? How did he propose? I need all the details, honey.”

“He’s here now, actually. I’ll go get him so you can meet him. I’m surprised he hasn’t come down yet after hearing all this screaming.”

I chuckled as she stood to leave. Well I’ll be. Asia Hayes is about to get married. That’s crazy. I never thought the wild party child would get married before me, but you never can say. While I waited for her, I pulled my phone out to scroll through my calendar and social media.

“Why are you acting so funny?” I heard Asia ask with a strain in her voice. “You can go back upstairs after you meet her.”

Putting my phone up, I stood to meet the man that had successfully tamed my girl.

As soon as Damon appeared, my mouth opened wide. I snapped it shut not wanting to alarm Asia, but I couldn’t keep my hand from flying to my chest as my knees weakened. A chill shot to my core as my head began to spin. Lowering my hand to my stomach, I plopped down on the couch before my knees gave out on me.

Asia rushed over to me, wrapping her arm around me.

“Are you okay, Corrine?”

She pushed my hair out of my face as she fanned it with her hand, but that didn’t stop the queasy feeling from erupting in my stomach as my entire body heated.

“I have to throw up,” I announced, standing on wobbly legs. Not able to bear the sight of Damon, I lowered my head and my eyes as Asia led me out of the room, but the second I passed him I weakened all over again.

“Damon, help me,” she requested, unable to keep my body up with her own strength, but I’d rather fall than let him touch me again.

Jerking away, I leaned against the wall as I muttered, “I’m okay,” regretting opening my mouth. The vile taste of his betrayal began to rise within my throat. Covering my mouth, I kicked my shoes off and rushed down the hall as quickly as I could. Just making it, I fell against the toilet, emptying the contents of my stomach as I hugged it.

The juice.

The fruit.

His seeds.

The feel of Asia’s hand on my back only made me angrier, but I couldn’t take this out on her. Clearly she didn’t know that there was anything between me and Damon, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to slap the shit out of her for marrying my man.

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B. LoveABOUT B. LOVE

Voted AAMBC’s 2018 Romance author of the year, Master storyteller, B. Love, is the unparalleled self-love teacher. As the powerhouse for modern-day womanhood, she pens contagious content that encourages readers to internalize admiration and intimacy. She allows her most powerful vessel to guide her stories, wholly.

Since age 12, Love has been spreading self-awareness, care, and appreciation. For close to three years, Love has authored over 75 publications centered around heart-piercing, reverence-worthy romance. Her novels not only entertain but challenge the audience to explore love. With a keen eye for passion, desire and dynamism she includes heuristic methods in her beautifully curated accounts of life.

B. Love’s entire persona is spearheaded by her incredible infatuation with the power of love. Contained within each novel, is an edification created for the glorification of self. Her pen bleeds for the souls who need just an inkling of empowerment. Each story is written with the intent to enlighten, engross and enkindle the passion in whoever picks up her book.

CONNECT WITH B. LOVE

AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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