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Thursday, October 29, 2015

PROMO Materials: Broken Flowers




Psychological Suspense / Thriller
Date Published: September 2015

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A dramatic psychological suspense/thriller about the devastating consequences of drug addiction, Broken Flowers is a powerful story about brokenness, healing, and hope.

Dr. Mary Crawford is a fifty-year-old psychotherapist operating a successful practice in Los Angeles. Noted for her addiction assistance and suicide prevention techniques, she leads group therapy sessions with addicts in the throes of recovery.

During one particular session, she is called upon for a case involving an extremely depressed fifteen-year-old girl who was the victim of a violent rape and has survived a suicide attempt. The daughter of a noted brain surgeon, the troubled teen becomes the doctor’s private patient.

But on a day when the young girl spirals into a suicidal depression, she is unable to reach the doctor and successfully ends her own life. When the girl’s father discovers the circumstances of his da
ughter’s suicide—as well as the real truth behind the doctor’s mysterious absence—he vows to destroy the doctor at all costs. Now Dr. Crawford’s life hangs in the balance, and her only hope for survival is the broken people around her.

EXCERPT

Then Valarie handed the pipe and torch to Stu, who turned off the torch and put them down. The boys were watching Valarie, and were tripping out on the hit she had taken. Valarie held her breath for as long as she could. When she could not hold back anymore, she let the smoke out in a huge exhale. Jeff’s voice was filled with admiration as he told her, “That was one hell of a blast.” Suddenly, Valarie’s eyes went wide, and her body went absolutely stiff. A horrible sound was coming from her throat, like a constricted scream as she fell backwards. Even though this was happening in front of the two men, her fall was like she was thrown backward. They could not catch her, and she hit the floor hard.

 Jeff dropped to one knee beside her as he was starting to panic. “My God, Stu she’s overdosed. What do we do?”

Stu was on the floor next to Jeff. “Don’t panic man, don’t panic.”

 Jeff grabbed Valarie’s shoulders and shook her. Valarie’s legs were convulsing. There was drool coming from her mouth.

 Stu was screaming in her ear. “Valarie, Valarie! Do you hear me; do you hear me dam it? Stu, go get some ice water. A lot of it. Hurry man!”

As Jeff ran out the door Stu continued to shake the girl.  Her legs stopped shaking and her eyes were starting to close.

“Hurry, Jeff we’re losing her.”

 Stu slapped Valarie sharply across the face. There was a slight reaction. Her legs started to twitch as Jeff came running into the room with two buckets of ice water.
 “Quick, throw a bucket on her face.” Jeffery did so. The water drenched Valarie’s hair and shoulders. Her legs started to convulse again.

 Jeffery was crying, “Valarie don’t die. Please don’t die.”




About the Author


Howard Finkelstein is 77 years old, who lives with his wife and dog in South Pasadena. He is a master dog trainer, and ASCAP lyrist. He is a former drug addict who has not used drugs in 27 years. Broken Flowers is his first novel.

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$5 Amazon Gift Card


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PROMO Blitz: Bringing Boomer Home




Young Adult - Family Saga - Sports Fiction
Date Published: August 2015

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Cody’s worst day, was the day his brother – his best friend, left to join the Army. Boomer’s worst day was yet to come.

In high school, Cody followed his big brother’s blocks on the football field. Now, it is his time to lead. Cody and his girlfriend, Kim, embark on a journey to reveal the hero beneath the scars and bring Boomer home.




EXCERPT

Cody couldn’t breathe. After the vicious hit, the defensive end pinned him to the turf. He tried to push off the overpowering weight, but he didn’t have the strength. Suddenly, a huge hand grabbed the linesman’s shoulder pads and tossed him like a rag doll to the field.

“You OK, Little Bro?” Boomer asked.

Cody’s chest expanded as he sucked in a deep breath of air. Boomer leaned over him with his face partially concealed by his football helmet and hidden by the shadows cast by the overhead stadium lights. Cody could see his brother’s eyes filled with worry.

He didn’t answer. He extended his hand. Boomer pulled him to his feet. Jogging back to the huddle, Cody stole a quick glance at the scoreboard. He wasn’t worried about the points. They were down by five. A touchdown would still win the game, but they only had time for one more play. One more play against their archrival Panthers. Their season wasn’t built on how many games they won, the only thing that mattered was if they beat the Panthers. That, and the fact that this was the last high school football game he would play with his brother, made Cody want to take a time-out and make it last a lifetime.

The tight end ran the play in from the Coach. Cody called the play in the huddle, but he knew it didn’t matter. The real play would depend on how the defense set up. The goalposts seemed like miniature toothpicks across the field. He wiped his sweaty hands on his pants. His heart was pounding so hard that it hurt. He slid his hands under the center and surveyed the defense. He knew it was going to be a blitz. He stepped away from the center and motioned his running back to stay in and block. Back under the center, his voice broke as he tried to bark out the count. He gripped the football and started to back away. Rising up for the block, the center’s heel stepped on top of Cody’s foot. He stumbled. Falling, he managed to pivot and get his hand down to keep his knees from touching the turf. The running back blocked one of the blitzing linemen.

Cody scrambled. Time slowed down. He felt like he could see every player on the field. The wide receiver streaked down the sideline. Cody rolled with him.

He could hear the defensive end coming up on his blind side. Instinctively every muscle in his body tightened for the impact. Boomer charged in front of him. He heard the deafening collision of two mammoth bodies.

The wide receiver pulled away from the Panthers safety. Cody planted his back foot and threw the ball as hard as he could. He lost it in the stadium lights, then watched it spiral back to earth. The wide receiver and the Panthers safety together looked back over their shoulders. The Panthers safety slowed and the under thrown football drifted into his hands.

Cody collapsed to one knee. He wanted to scream to drown out the cheers from the Panthers bleachers that echoed in his football helmet.

Boomer grabbed his brother’s shoulder pads and yanked him to his feet.

“Come on, Little Bro.”

Cody tugged off his helmet. He couldn’t meet Boomer’s eyes. He felt like someone pulled a pin and all the air had left his body. He struggled to put one foot in front of the other. When he reached the sideline the flash from the camera blinded him. When his vision returned he saw Kim, the girl with the camera.



In the locker room shower, the steam was thick as fog. Cody let the cascading water mask his face and feelings. The disappointed and frustrated crash and smash of his teammates’ fists and helmets against lockers had stopped. What voices that were left were subdued and then finally silent. He dried off, then wrapped the towel around his waist. The locker room was empty except for boy-man giant sitting on the bench. Cody walked down the aisle and collapsed next to his brother.

“You’re only a sophomore,” said Boomer. “Next year you’re going to be so frigging tough.”

“You won’t be here next year.” Cody rubbed his bruised ribs. “I wanted this game so bad. I wanted us to win.” Pain and frustration coated his words, “I screwed up. If only I let the ball go a second sooner.”

Boomer’s massive hand massaged the back of Cody’s neck.

“Whoa. Where’s this coming from? How many times have I told you, you never get down on yourself?” Boomer squeezed the back of Cody’s neck and gently shook his head. “You played a great game. That’s what I’ll remember.” Boomer groaned as he pushed up from the bench. “Get dressed. Let’s get out of here.”



They walked together across the deserted high school parking lot. The fire-engine-red Ford F-150 truck gleamed under the stadium lights. Cody tossed his bag in the back of the truck then sat in the passenger seat. Boomer pulled his towel from his bag. He wiped off gravel dust that settled on the truck, his face mirrored in the shiny hood.

Boomer got in and started the truck, then pulled out of the lot. His head was round like a pumpkin, his hair cropped short, his ears seemed too small for such a large head and his nose was slightly bent from being broken more than once. When at ease, his natural expression was a slightly tilted up smile with a boyish inquisitiveness reflected in his brown eyes. He wasn’t really a giant, but at 6 foot 5 and 260 pounds, he seemed that way when he walked the high school halls.

Cody powered down the window. The cool autumn breeze couldn’t blow away his feeling of despondency, nor could the tires humming on the two-lane asphalt country road as the high school lights retreated into the background. He could still see the football falling short into the Panthers safety’s hands and hear the cheers that weren’t for him and Boomer.

Cody shook his head and mumbled, “Shit.”

“Let it go.”

Cody stuck his head out the window. The wind blew tears from his eyes.

The truck’s headlights illuminated the stop sign. Instead of turning left for home, Boomer turned right.

“Where’re you going?” asked Cody.

“You need to chill.”

The country road followed the bends of the river that led to the small town of Grand Rapids. Most of the stores lining Main Street were closed, and tonight the town seemed as subdued as Cody’s feelings. A few cars were parked in front of O’Malley’s bar, and at the Dairy Queen at the end of the block. Boomer stopped at the flashing stoplight, then drove into the darkness at the edge of town.

Boomer slowed, then turned onto the gravel road leading down to the rapids. He turned off the headlights and drove by feel, pebbles crunching under the tires.

The harvest moon bathed the rapids with ashen hues. Boomer turned off the engine. “Come on.” He didn’t wait for Cody to follow.

Cody slipped going down the steep embankment. He dug the sides of his shoes into dirt, then jumped the final few feet to the riverbank.

Boomer was already in the river jumping from one rock to the next. A large granite outcropping rose up from the water a third of the way across the river. Boomer jumped and grabbed the edge, then hauled himself up to the flat surface. He sat on the edge, then looked back at his brother.

Cody strained to see the rocks beneath the surface of the rapidly flowing water. The first time he saw Boomer go out to Buffalo Rock, he really thought his brother could walk on water. In spring, when Walleyes run, the rocks are completely submerged by melting winter snow. But in summer and fall, when the water level falls, if you knew where to look, you could see the stepping stones. He jumped to the first rock and felt cold water seep into his gym shoe. He skipped to the next one. Now both shoes were wet. A cloud passed beneath the moon and suddenly it was like he was wearing dark sunglasses. He stood still waiting for moonlight to return while listening to the river.

Boomer reached out his hand. Cody locked his hand around his brother’s forearm and Boomer lifted him up to the boulder. They sat side by side with their legs dangling over the edge. Cody fell under the spell of rippling water. The riverbanks were lined with tall trees that stood like dark silent sentinels. Beyond the rapids were islands in the stream and the distant glow of a city where the river merged with the lake. A breeze stirred and trees rustled. Cody inhaled the river’s primeval scent of mud and decaying leaves. He rested back on the boulder, cupped his hands under his head and tried to see stars through moonlight.



About the Author


Terence O'Leary was born in Chicago, Illinois, but has spent his teenage and adult life in Northwest Ohio where the varied seasons and sports provide the background for his three 'sports as therapy' young adult novels. A graduate of the University of Toledo with a degree in Journalism, English and Psychology, O'Leary's critically acclaimed realistic coming-of-age stories focus on teenagers facing a family crisis. He is the author of Penalty Kick and More Than A Game.
 
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Friday, October 23, 2015

Review Wrap Up: Ghost of a Chance by @_ani_gonzalez #review



Paranormal Romance
Date Published: October 7, 2015


B-movie actress turned real estate agent Elizabeth Hunt should have it made. The real estate market is thriving and she had a fabulous house to sell. Too bad the house is in Banshee Creek, a tiny Virginia hamlet that has been recently crowned as the “Most Haunted Town in America.” But with the help of the Banshee Creek Historical Preservation Committee, Elizabeth hopes to put the ghost stories to rest. Her hometown will again be known for its vintage homes, its heirloom apple orchards, and its historical, not phantasmagorical, attributes, and she won’t let anyone, even her long-time crush, Gabe Franco, stand in her way.

Gabe Franco has a big problem. His new marketing campaign for Banshee Creek Cidery is based on one thing, ghosts. But the Historical Preservation Committee nutcases are trying to erase the town’s spookier traditions, and he has to stop them before they render his investment worthless. Unfortunately, the leader of the anti-ghost crusade is all-too-tempting Elizabeth Hunt, his best friend’s sister and the one woman who is strictly off limits. But when sexy real estate agent rallies the townsfolk against him, Gabe wonders if he'll lose his business…or his heart.


This novel has a current Amazon Rating of 4.5*'s.
Get your copy for $3.99!






REVIEWS FROM THIS TOUR

October 8 - Readsalot
October 9 - The Book Sirens
October 10 - Deliciously Savvy
October 12 - eBook Addicts
October 14 - Us Girls and a Book
October 19 - Perfect at Midnight
October 20 - Tea Time and Books
October 22 - Wall To Wall Books




Ani Gonzalez loves sexy stories and quirky towns with spooky houses.  She currently lives in Minnesota with her family.


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Review Wrap Up: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn by @kristibelcamino #review #giveaway


Mystery / Detective
Date Published: September 29, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers


San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops' reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies—the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her—she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.
It is not until evil strikes Gabriella's own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves...



This novel has a current Amazon Rating of 4.9*'s.
Get your copy for $1.99!



REVIEWS FROM THIS TOUR

September 28 - Penny For My Thoughts - Review
October 1 - Misty 103 - Review
October 6 -  Us Girls and a Book - Review
October 11 - Perfect at Midnight - Review
October 12 - The Travelogue of a Book Addict - Review
October 15 - The Self Taught Cook - Review
October 17 - British Bookworm - Review
October 19 - The Book Sirens - Review
October 22 - Books Are Love - Review



Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist. In her former life as a newspaper crime reporter in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and interviewed serial killers. She is now a journalist based in Minneapolis and the Gabriella Giovanni mysteries are her first books. Find Kristi on Facebook www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter or on Twitter @KristiBelcamino

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Review Wrap Up: @InsightsTheBook by @Chris_LoPresti



Non Fiction / Business / Coaching / Entrepreneurship / Education / Start-Ups
Date Published: July 29, 2015


What if you could sit with the founders of successful companies and discover the secrets to their success?

Through INSIGHTS, Chris LoPresti has gathered 101 world-class mentors to share their invaluable experiences for the benefit of every entrepreneur.

INSIGHTS grants you access to some of Yale’s leading entrepreneurs and the key learnings they’ve collected on their own entrepreneurial journeys. From founders of Fortune 500 companies such as FedEx, to the next generation of entrepreneurs like Thiel Fellows, to early investors in Apple, Cisco, Facebook, and other billion dollar startups, INSIGHTS is a collection of the best advice offered by a diverse group of leaders and innovators.

The 101 featured contributors reveal lessons learned the hard way to help you avoid common pitfalls and allow you to lead your company toward more streamlined success. This unique library of knowledge is available to reference as often as you need.

Thinking about starting your own company? Trying to improve your organization? INSIGHTS provides a wealth of information to guide you along your entrepreneurial journey.

From the author: This book was created to bring together a community of people to share their knowledge and pay forward the help they've received throughout their individual careers. All 101 entrepreneurs volunteered their advice and experiences in this book, and at many other times in their lives, they have offered their insights for free. They all share a common desire to support entrepreneurs of every type.

The proceeds from INSIGHTS will go to ELIS Inc., a registered 501c3 organization created by some of the entrepreneurs in this book. The purpose of the nonprofit is to help future entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators gain access to resources--both mentors and money.

Your contribution, by either making a direct donation or by buying this book, will help foster the next great organizations and businesses.



This novel has a current Amazon Rating of 5*'s.
Get your copy for $4.99!






Chris LoPresti is the Founder of TouchPoints, a consumer data technology company that helps brands connect with their community. LoPresti is also the founder and chairman of ELIS Inc., a nonprofit focused on promoting STEM education and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs. In addition to his work with next-gen doers at ELIS Inc., LoPresti is a member of the Thousand Network, a coach at The Future Project, a member of the NationSwell Council, and a proud Eagle Scout. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.


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PROMO Blitz: Dead in a Park



Mystery / Romance
Date Published: November 12, 2015

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When Leah Norwood finds the body of Donald Collins in the city park, she doesn’t know he is a distant relative. Young Donnie was a jewel thief and a career criminal. Hidden in the lining of his suit jacket was an exact replica of a ring that has been in Leah’s family for over a hundred years. After her home is burglarized, the sexy chief of police is convinced the ruby ring has something to do with the murder.

Leah wants to find out what happened to Donnie, but why would someone kill for a hundred year old ring? She discovers a connection between Donnie and the drug-dealing Cantono family, between the Cantono family and a jewelry appraiser, and between the jewelry appraiser and one of her own employees. Chief Griggs might be onto something. All clues lead back to the family ring.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the killer strikes again?

EXCERPT

“You didn’t know the victim?” Griggs asked when he returned his attention to me.
“I don’t think so, but I didn’t really see his face.” I paused and then asked, “Who was he?”
“We don’t know,” he replied. “He didn’t have any identification, no wallet, no keys, nothing.”
“How did he get here?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Just curious,” I said innocently.
Griggs’ eyes were full of amusement as he looked at me, and Reddish laughed. They both know all about my curiosity. I love a good mystery. I read a lot of detective novels and try to solve the mystery along with the protagonist. Movies that feature a mystery are my favorite. If a crime makes the news, I take notes and follow along. I fancy myself a sideline detective. That trait may have been what got me almost killed just before Christmas.
“We don’t know,” Reddish answered my question. “The uniforms didn’t find any unaccounted for vehicle.”
David Reddish is a hard man to read. He has been a police officer for over thirty years and a detective for the Reed Hill Police Department for eight having moved to town from Dallas. He is a large man, attractive, with broad shoulders and flat stomach. He has skin the color of coffee with a dash cream, but it is his eyes that tell you he’s not someone you want to cross. They are hard and calculating.
“Was he murdered?” I asked softly.
“Oh, yes. It was murder,” Griggs replied.
The last time I found a body it had never occurred to me that the police would consider me a suspect. As a law-abiding citizen, I had just assumed that people knew I was innocent. My experience with the police showed me I was wrong. I looked at both Griggs and Reddish.
“Please tell me you don’t think I killed him.”
Griggs snorted. “No, we don’t think you killed him. He was taller than you, and his neck was broken. No way could you have done that.”
“It was fast and neat,” Reddish added and then turned to Griggs. “Probably someone with military or combat training.”
“Someone who knows how to kill with their hands,” Griggs said softly.
I swallowed. Candace had shot and killed two people in December and tried to kill me twice. She had been crazy, her behavior unexpected and unpredictable, which had made the situation scary. This sounded worse. A person who was calm and rational murdering someone with their bare hands was chilling. And I couldn’t forget about the weird shoe thing.
“Did you find his shoes?”
“No,” Griggs replied turning toward me.
“Why would someone want his shoes?”
“Who knows? There wasn’t much of a struggle although there were multiple sets of footprints. But all appeared to be made by people wearing shoes.” He turned away from me and back toward Reddish. “Between Leah and her dog stomping around, I doubt we’ll get any viable footprints.”
“Hey,” I said indignantly. Both men ignored me.
“Let’s keep the area secure anyway,” Griggs continued. “Send a team out to see if they can find anything. Maybe the shoes will show up somewhere else in the park.”
“Got it,” Reddish replied as he started to walk away. “See you around, Leah.”
“Bye, David,” I said reluctantly. I didn’t want to be alone with Griggs. It was awkward and unpleasant. I’m not exactly sure why he had kissed me and then disappeared from my life, but I wasn’t going to ask. I hadn’t thought he would be interested in me in the first place. Although not traditionally handsome, Griggs is an extremely attractive and sexy man. After waiting weeks for him to call or come by, I finally chalked it up to a gaffe on his part. Instead of telling me he wasn’t interested, he simply disappeared. If I hadn’t found this body, I probably would have never seen him again except in passing.
We stood there in silence for a few moments before Griggs said, “You can leave now. Thank you for your patience.”
He sounded so formal and polite. I didn’t like it. I gathered Harry’s leash, pulled him up, and started to walk away. “Well, I guess…I guess I’ll see you around.”
Griggs stepped back and let me pass. I hadn’t gotten very far before I heard him call my name. When I turned around, he was standing in the same spot with an odd look on his face. He rubbed his hand across his head and then gave me a slight smile. “It was good to see you, Leah.”
“Uh, yeah, you too,” I stuttered before we both turned and walked away.





About the Author


B. L. Blair writes simple and sweet romance and mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Holton Romance Series and the Leah Norwood Mysteries. She enjoys reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cover Reveal: Waking up to Love by @TompkinsFalls #excerpt




Contemporary Romance
Date Published: October 21, 2015


Kyle Pennington broke Lyssa’s heart when he let her go, rather than interfere with her budding career. An ocean away now, Lyssa has fallen under the spell of golden-tongued Rand Cunningham who’s in a hurry to marry her. But Kyle is miserable without her and is willing to risk everything to get her back. Will Lyssa wake up in time to ask who she really loves?


EXCERPT

“So you didn’t bring along a mate of some kind—husband, wife, lover?”

“Just me and my broken heart.” Lyssa was secretly pleased that her heart didn’t clench with pain at the words. Just a mild ache.

“Ah, you’re on the rebound?” Rand sidled closer.

“I am that.”

“It’s dangerous territory, they say.”

“Reboundville?” She brought her fingernails to her mouth and chattered her teeth in mock terror.

“And I’m a pretty dangerous guy.” He reached a hand down to her. “You might be in trouble.” He pulled her up from the floor and looked hungrily at her lips.

With a knowing grin, she pushed him away. “Let’s go out for food. My tummy’s rumbling.”

“That’s the second time you’ve been close to kissing me and pushed me away. A guy could get a complex.”

“I?” She laughed. “Was close to kissing you? Admit it, Randall, you initiated both those close contacts, on the terrace before my interview and right here in my bedroom.” She tsked.

“Wrong. It’s Bertrand, not Randall. My father goes by Bert.” He moved closer and, before she could push him away, grabbed her wrists. “And I’m a very good kisser,” he told her, his voice husky.

She could have broken his hold, might have, if she hadn’t been so curious about what kissing him would be like. Rand’s devilish smile made her laugh. It had been two years since she’d kissed anyone on the lips.

He let go of one wrist and pulled her against him. When she stroked the back of his neck with her free hand, he teased her lips with his, then kissed her—lightly, insistently—and nipped her lower lip. She pressed closer, enjoying the feel of his toned, sexy body against hers. His kisses grew firmer, more arousing. When he released her, she swayed and stepped back with one foot to steady herself.

“Very good kisser.” She touched her hot cheeks with trembling fingers.

“I think you needed a good kissing, didn’t you?” He wore a self-satisfied smile.

“I guess I did.” Damn, I wish it had been Kyle.





About the Author


Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She enjoys lunch with friends at quaint inns, and she cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter, and inspiration. To the outside world, she’s a tech-savvy college professor. In her soul, she’s a passionate author of warm-hearted romance.



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Monday, October 19, 2015

Release Day: Keeping Score




Contemporary Romance
Date Published: October 19, 2015

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Cleveland Clash center Jade Wren takes her mother and grandmother’s Korean family values to heart, and living up to their expectations is a big part of that plan. But there’s another side of Jade that longs for something more than teaching elementary school and marrying a nice Korean guy. That’s the side that decides to kiss a sexy American stranger, simply to prove that she can stray from the straight and narrow every once in a while without anything bad happening. Except, the guy isn’t exactly a stranger. He’s sports radio shock jock Rome Rizzelli, and as far as the Cleveland Clash is concerned, he’s Public Enemy No. 1.

Rome isn’t the kind of guy to argue when a beautiful woman kisses him in a bar during a break at a remote broadcast, but the same beautiful woman ends up singled out by his new, feminist producer and invited on air to talk about women’s tackle football. It’s a battle of the sexes—a battle he needs to win to save his job and continue to support his disabled mother and younger sister. But Jade is no pushover, and Rome can’t decide whether that’s a turn-on or reason to fight back even harder.

When Jade’s cameo appearance on the Riled up with Rome show turns into a regular gig, the gloves—among other things—come off, leaving Jade and Rome bare. But can two strong personalities, who have found security in keeping up appearances, let down their guards long enough to fall in love?


EXCERPT


Jade left the restroom on determined strides, the blood whooshing in her ears. And even though the stairs to the bar were narrow and someone was heading down, she charged up anyway. You’re just going to have to move, buddy.

Glancing up—way up the steep incline—she saw the guy, all blue jeans and James Dean swagger, slow his pace. She slowed hers too as they met in the middle with two free steps in between.

There was a hint of a smile on his face. A little sexy. A little cocky.

This was exactly the kind of man who hung out in bars, exactly the kind of man she shouldn’t trust. Broad shoulders, rugged face, and a look in his eyes that said, “Hold on, baby. You’re going to enjoy the ride.”

Trusting a guy like that was the last thing on her mind.

She smiled, too, until her mother’s words of warning echoed in her head. Don’t trust your judgment.

But they were wrong. She could trust her judgment. She’d been on her own for six months now, and nothing terrible had happened. Just because she strayed from the straight and narrow every once in a while didn’t mean she was doomed. And to prove it ...

She raised up on her toes, closed the distance between them, and laid one on him. The kiss was sharp and short, like a bold period at the end of a hard-hitting sentence. But before she could pull away, she took a breath, filling her nose with the soft scents of denim, soap, and beer. Her mouth watered. Her brain told her to be still. Just a little bit longer.

When, bam! He came alive, brushing his lips back and forth across hers in a simple but sensual motion. He skimmed his hand up her hip, raising chill bumps on her skin. And then, he sucked her upper lip between his before he pulled back and whispered, “Hello, there” in a low, dreamy voice that somehow seemed familiar.

“Hi,” she whispered back, only to be drowned out by the group of women from the restroom.

They barreled up the stairs behind her amid laughter and a ruckus that made her think about her friends, who were waiting upstairs. Holy crap! Talk about getting sidetracked.

The sexy stranger didn’t say another word. He just stepped aside to let her pass, but not before he unleashed a killer smile that seemed to be saying, “Come find me later.”

But she wouldn’t. It was hard to get into any real and lasting emotional trouble when you didn’t take your interactions with the opposite sex seriously. That’s why she didn’t do relationships. Too risky. Her analytical mind preferred calculated risks. Like kissing some guy you would probably never see again—no numbers exchanged, no names.

As the women pushed at her back, she stepped up and up again, and for a split second, Jade and the mystery man finally stood on the same step. He was short! What a shame! A little bit of his sexy shine wore off, which was probably a good thing. All the more reason not to take it beyond one random kiss.

Caught up in the wave of women, Jade climbed the rest of the stairs, still feeling the rush of kissing a perfect stranger in the stairwell. Her mother and grandmother would call that bad judgment. Definitely.

But at the top of the steps, she looked up at the suspended ceiling and smiled. The sky hadn’t fallen. She’d kissed a sexy—albeit short—stranger, and absolutely, positively nothing bad had come of it.

Take that, bad judgment.

“Where the hell have you been?” Jillian ran toward her. “And why aren’t you answering your texts? You’re never going to believe who is here tonight!”

“Who?”

“Rome Freaking Rizzelli! And rumor has it, he’s hot! I don’t know, though. We haven’t seen him yet. He’s on a break.”

Jade’s steps faltered. A bathroom break? She swallowed hard. No. It couldn’t be. But there had been something familiar about that voice.

“Come on!” Jillian pulled on her arm. “You’re not going to want to miss this.”

Then why did she feel like she absolutely, positively did?





About the Author


Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness. Elley writes books with charming characters, emotional stories, and sexy romance. For a complete list of Elley’s books and social media links, visit www.elleyarden.com.

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