Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How We Deal With Gravity Cover Re-Reveal

HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY by Ginger Scott is getting a new look! Check it out!



How We Deal With Gravity by Ginger Scott
NA Contemporary Romance

Purchase links:

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Blurb:

When her son Max was diagnosed with autism, Avery Abbot’s life changed forever. Her husband left, and her own dreams became a distant fantasy—always second to fighting never-ending battles to make sure Max was given opportunity, love and respect. Finding someone to fight along her side wasn’t even on her list, and she’d come to terms with the fact that she could never be her own priority again.

But a familiar face walking into her life in the form of 25-year-old Mason Street had Avery’s heart waging a war within. Mason was a failure. When he left his hometown five years ago, he was never coming back—it was only a matter of time before his records hit the billboard charts. Women, booze and rock-n-roll—that was it for him. But it seemed fate had a different plan in mind, and with a dropped record contract, little money and nowhere to go, Mason turned to the only family that ever made him feel home—the Abbots.

Avery loved Mason silently for years—until he broke her heart…completely. But time and life have a funny way of changing people, and sometimes second chances are there for a reason. Could this one save them both?



Bel first reviewed How We Deal With Gravity back in 2014. Click here to read it!


About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, A Boy Like You and A Girl Like Me.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout Excerpt



Publisher: Harlequin Teen (September 5, 2017)
Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.
Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.
Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.
For what she let happen.
With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Hello fellow readers!  As you know, I'm a big JLA fan, so I'm so very excited about If There's No Tormorrow, so when this was delivered a couple of days ago...



I was all like...



And I know what I will be reading on my vacation next week!  I can't share my book with all of you, but I can share this excerpt.  I hope you enjoy!  



Sebastian had texted a few times since Wednesday, but I hadn’t seen him since the kiss. There was no fooling myself. Things had changed. When Sebastian was home, even when he was dating Skylar, I saw him nearly every other day if not every day. The only time I didn’t was when he wasn’t home.
So he was avoiding me.
I cursed under my breath, tapped out of the app and dropped my phone on top of the book on the floor. Edgy anxiety churned my stomach, and I shook my head as I stared at the large maple in the backyard. Was he back with Skylar, a handful of days after I kissed him? Did it even matter?
It shouldn’t, but it did.
Disgusted with myself, I opened up the paperback, needing to lose myself in something unrelated to me.
 I’d made it a couple of pages before I heard footsteps on the stairs leading up to the balcony. I lifted my chin and I froze when I saw the top of Sebastian’s head, torn between wanting to dive back into my bedroom and rush him with my arms spread wide.
I did neither of those things.
Heart thumping heavily in my chest, I slowly closed the book as he crested the last step. All the air leaked out of my lungs.
Oh come on.
Sebastian was shirtless. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen him half clothed, but each time was like the first time.
Chest defined, stomach chiseled like he was cut off marble and hips lean. He wasn’t overly muscled. Oh no, he was just a prime example of how football could do a body good. And he was wearing a baseball cap. Backwards.
I just imploded into mush and goo.
I hated him.
One side of his lips quirked up as he swaggered across the small balcony.
“Hey, nerd.”
For a moment, I couldn’t respond. I was thrust back to the lake, me in his lap and his mouth oh-so briefly on mine. Heat flushed my cheeks and spread lower, much lower.
Oh my God.
I needed to get control of myself and go about things as if nothing had happened. That was what he was doing. I could do it, too. I had to, because if I couldn’t, how could we be friends?
He looked up and his gaze briefly met mine before flickering away. I thought I saw a faint pink infuse his cheeks. Was he blushing? Maybe he wasn’t as good at pretending as I thought he was.
Clearing my throat, I cradled the book to my chest. “Hey dumbass, did you forget to get dressed before you walked out of the house?”
His eyes glimmered as they moved back to me. His shoulders loosened. “I was just so excited to come visit you that I didn’t want to waste time finding a clean shirt.”
“Uh-huh.”
“I thought about texting you.” He leaned against the railing, next to my feet. “But figured you were out here.”
“Am I that predictable?”
Yes.
“Well then,” I muttered, searching for something to say. “Did… did you have practice this morning?”
Sebastian nodded. “Yeah. Till twelve. Than I took a nap when I got back.”
“Late night?” I asked innocently enough, but my pulse was spiking.
He shrugged one broad shoulder. “Not really,” he answered, and I tried to determine if that was code word for getting back with Skylar or hooking up with someone else.
But really they were just two words that didn’t mean anything.
“Keith ended up getting plastered and setting off a stash of fireworks.” He folded his arms, drawing unneeded attention to his chest. “I’m still surprised he didn’t blow off a couple of fingers. Or a hand.”

“Me too, actually.”
“Anyway, I’m over here for a reason. He’s having a barbecue today. Actually, his older brother is. Only a few people are going to be over there,” he said. “You should come with me.”
My heart started dancing all over the place, screaming yes, yes, yes! My brain recoiled and immediately told my heart to shut the hell up, because my heart was stupid and it made me do stupid things. “I don’t know….”
Come on.” He grabbed my foot. I tried to pull it away, but he held on, wrapping his fingers around my ankle. I refused to read anything into that. “We haven’t had the chance to see each other the last couple of days and I just got back last weekend.”
Yeah, and I kissed you and obviously you weren’t into it. He was acting normal, totally normal, though. So much so I almost wondered if I hallucinated the lake.
“Spend time with me. Quality charbroiled cheeseburgers time.”
I dropped my book in my lap and grasped the arms of my chair. “I’m not hungry.”
“Turning down grilled cheeseburgers? Now, I know you’re just being difficult.”
My eyes narrowed as I tried to pull my leg free again.
Sebastian dipped his chin. “I’ll drive and you’ll have fun. All you have to do is get your pretty butt out of that chair and I’ll handle the rest.”
I froze, eyes wide.
He thought I had a pretty butt?
The grin on his face spread, and a second later his fingers danced over the bottom of my foot. I immediately shrieked. “Stop! Stop it!”
His fingers hovered over my foot as he raised his brows. “Are you going to come out with me?”
I was breathing heavy, paranoid that he was going to start tickling my feet again. “You’re not playing fair here.”
“Why play fair when I can just tickle you into doing what I want?” he replied, placing one finger on the center of my foot. My whole leg jerked. “So, what’s it going to be, Lena-bean?”
Lena-bean?” I shouted, fingers digging into the arms of the chair. When was the last time he called me that? Before I needed to wear a bra? “I’m not ten years old, Sebastian.”
His lashes flicked down, shielding his eyes. “I know you’re not ten anymore.” His voice deepened. “Trust me.”
My lips parted as his words cycled over and over in my head. His gaze flickered up and met mine. There was no dancing in my heart, only a wild beating I felt in every single part of my body.
Why didn’t you kiss me back?


Purchase Links:


Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia.
When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories, therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. She writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J.Lynn.
She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (2014) and untitled YA (Fall 2014) from Disney/Hyperion. She is also published with Harlequin Teen and HarperCollins.

Connect with Jennifer

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Monday, August 21, 2017

Keeper Cover Reveal


Keeper wrap-smaller file.jpg

Keeper by Amy Daws releases on September 7th!


Sharing a bedroom wall with your best friend from childhood quickly turns to anything but sweet and innocent.


Add to your TBR: http://bit.ly/2fdkp5Y


Keeper-front GOOD-smaller file.jpg

Full Blurb

They were best friends until they became roommates.
Booker Harris has spent the last several years pushing himself to become the best goalkeeper in the Championship League. Tired of living in the shadows of his headline-splashing brothers, he has finally carved a path of his own.
As a child, Poppy McAdams was content in her own little make-believe world, until the boy next door with dimples and pained eyes came barreling into her makeshift fort demanding all her attention.
Best friends for most of their lives, everything changes when Poppy abruptly leaves London for University.
Now she is back, and gone is the awkward girl from Booker’s youth. She has been replaced by a stunning woman with secrets. Secrets that Booker is desperate to know.
Sharing a bedroom wall with your best friend from childhood quickly turns to anything but sweet and innocent.


Meet the Harris TWINS  in Challenge & Endurance
NOW AVAILABLE & Free on Kindle Unlimited (Standalone)

Challenge

Amazon US     I    Amazon UK     I     Amazon AU     I     Amazon CA 

Endurance

AmazonUS     I     AmazonUK     I     AmazonCA     I     AmazonAU 


 About the Author 


Amy Daws is a lover of all things British and her London-based love stories bring the incredible city to life on every page. Read all about hot British men, hilarious heroines, and unforgettable and original ensemble casts that pull out all the feels. For more of Amy’s work, visit www.amydawsauthor.com

Website/Newsletter     I     Facebook     I     FacebookFan Group

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If Ever Release Day Blitz




Title: If Ever
Author: Angie Stanton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 21, 2017



Blurb

Fiercely independent Chelsea Barnes has caught a rare break and been cast as the first non-celebrity on the hit show Celebrity Dance Off. Chelsea is coined ‘America’s Chance to Dance,’ but her partner planned on an A-lister, not a nobody.

Clashing with her partner, she’s ready to go home; but during an emotional dance, her heart-breaking past as an abandoned, homeless teen is revealed. Not only do the viewers fall in love with her, so does the flirty British guest singer, Broadway star Thomas Evan Oliver.

Tom is struck by this feisty girl who complicates his over-structured life, and pursues her in a romantic cross-country courtship until she’s voted off and joins him. Their sexy whirlwind love affair blossoms in New York as she navigates the big city and his exhausting eight shows a week, but most important, her scarred heart begins to heal. Perhaps happily ever after might be a possibility after all. 








Purchase Links

99c for release day ONLY!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Available at other retailers soon






Author Bio

Angie Stanton is a life-long daydreamer who grew up with her hands on a book and her head in the clouds. As an adult, she’s put her talent to use writing contemporary fiction about life, love, and the adventures that follow. 

Angie is the bestselling author of nine novels. Her work has been translated into French, German, and Bulgarian. In her spare time, Angie sneaks off to New York City to enjoy the best live entertainment experience--Broadway. She is a contributing writer to Broadway World is currently working on another Broadway-themed book. 


Author Links

WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM




Giveaway

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Review

* * *

In If Ever, Angie Stanton bridges two worlds together - reality tv and Broadway. I myself occasionally watch reality tv shows and I've seen some off Broadway shows so it's nice to go behind the scenes to find stories there.

Chelsea Barnes wins the chance of a lifetime when she is picked as a contestant on Celebrity Dance Off. She had previously quit her job and was dumped by her boyfriend so doing something like this should help her break free of her old self. Except that the show is more than she bargained for. She feels completely out of her depth as far are her dancing skills are concerned. Her hottie of a dance partner, Dominic isn't making things any easier with his gruff attitude towards her. Yet this is Chelsea and even if she is an outsider amongst all the celebrities, she'll work through her insecurities and make something of this cazy, unbelievable moment in her life. When Broadway performer, Tom Oliver is invited to come on the show to sing one of Chelsea's favourite songs during her dance number, he's not expecting to be meet anyone. It's a one-off opportunity to bring his current Broadway musical to the national spotlight. But Chelsea is different and he likes that. They do the long distance thing for a while, a few visits here and there but neither knows what's happening for them in the long run. 

As with other of Stanton's books I've read before, her romances are always charming. Both Chelsea and Tom are at a crossroads in their careers, attempting to figure out exactly what they want their next step to be. Her stint on Celebrity Dance Off gave Chelsea the confidence that she can conquer anything and Tom finds inspiration in that. It's the "what's next for them" question that's temporarily tripping them up. There's some magic time thrown in but it's mostly a syrupy sweet, cozy read that we yearn for every once in a while. I can always count on Angie Stanton for that and if what you need right now is a fairytale romance and to know that everything will fall into place, then If Ever should be your next read!

~ Bel


Friday, August 18, 2017

An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League #1) by Alyssa Cole

* * * *

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .




"Man's inhumanity to man wasn't solely regulated to skin color, although it did allow its practitioners to choose their targets more easily." ~ Elle, p.44

An Extraordinary Union was added to my wish list when I saw the Twitterverse raving about it. When I attended the Kensington panel at RT17 back in May, my fellow Bibliojunkies watched me race my way up to the table to snag myself a copy of it. I was ecstatic!

A freed slave turned spy for the Union is an intriguing concept and one that I wanted to learn about. My knowledge of the Civil War is quite limited and as part of my self-education on it I want to be sure to learn about the stories that don't get as much attention. This is one of them. Elle herself is an impressive woman: she's always been able to memorize and recall information, an ability that's vital in the war effort to fight the Rebels. Too often though her skills are underestimated simply because she is a woman, and of colour. Yet, this is also an advantage to any spy, especially that of the Loyal League. Since she is given little regard by her employers, she can fly under the radar gathering information from conversations she overhears and things she sees. It's amazing the things people divulge when they're ignoring you because they feel you're beneath them. Malcolm's appearance makes things harder. He's also a spy for the Loyal League and they have to work together. Malcolm has always found slavery to be a contemptible practice but he knows that not everyone shares his progressive attitude. As part of his cover, he plays nice and woos and flirts with the society women and banters effortlessly with the gentlemen of the South, all the while using his charm to gain their confidence and wean information from them. Two spies with special gifts in a dangerous situation, made even more risky by their growing attraction to each other. In all of this they must not lose sight of their mission.

There's a tinge of suspense that penetrates the entire story due to the tension and danger that come across strongly. The risk of being caught or double-crossed is always a probability especially in those secretive moments. I know this will sound a bit strange but I found the romance to be a bit distracting at a couple of times. I did like the verbal sparring that went on between Elle and Malcolm - they're both equally up to the challenge - and I loved that he delighted in her outspokenness. I think I was just so focused on the spying and infiltrating of the enemy's lair. 



"..., but it galled him that Elle's effectiveness was partially rooted in society inherently seeing her as inferior." ~ Malcolm, p.55



What's most striking are the cringe-worthy moments exposing mankind's ugly side. We all know that slaves were maligned and mistreated (which sadly is a gross understatement) but it's still shocking to see them referred to as "darkies" and thought of lacking in any intelligence. Men would comment on Elle as an object to be toyed with and worse. One character who is absolutely reprehensible is that of Susie, a high society daughter. She's a vile, insipid character who thinks nothing of how she treats anyone much less slaves. Hats off to Cole though for injecting half an ounce of empathy for her as a Southern Belle who is pushed by her mother to make a good marriage, but even that doesn't erase her disgusting personality. For me, the highlights of the book come with Elle and Malcolm's insights into human nature and that of the circumstances they witness. On the surface of it, Malcolm represents everything she should fear and detest. He's a white man, a part of the group that has forcefully uprooted, enslaved and persecuted her people. Yet he harbours none of that despicable behaviour towards her or her kind. Malcolm sees a young woman possessed of incredible intellect, bravery and beauty. The difference in skin colour has no bearing on who he cares for or falls in love with even though he know's most of society will not be accepting of them.

An Extraordinary Union is moving, suspenseful and romantic. Not only did I learn something from it, I came away with a profound new respect for those who simply wanted to live free of fear and subjugation, and those who risked their lives to make that happen.

~ Bel


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Irresistible You (Chicago Rebels #1) by Kate Meader

* * * 1/2


Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…


Source: e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review


All right, folks. There's a plethora of hockey romances out there so what makes this one different? Answer: a little Cajun spice.

Remy or "Jinx" has his peers call him is on the brink of retirement but first he needs to do one more thing before that happens: win the Stanley Cup. And he thinks it'll happen with his current team. But a certain, newly-minted owner of the Chicago Rebels has other ideas. She trades for him to join the Rebels hoping that his work ethic and experience will fire up her team and take them from Loserville to hoisting that much sought-after piece of hardware. It looks great on paper but in real life it's going to require a great amount of effort on Harper's part to convince Remy that this is a good move. She even strikes a bargain with him without informing her half-sisters, who are the other co-owners of the Rebels, about this. While Remy may be resistant to the trade it doesn't mean he is impervious to the hotness that is his new boss, Harper Chase. The woman has a confident, don't-mess-with-me-or-I'll-knee-you-in-the-balls vibe and that only makes Remy hungry to get closer to her. As the new owner of the Rebels, Harper has much to prove in a little amount of time. Not only does she need to get her organization running smoothly again but she and her sisters have to fulfill the terms of her late father's will in order to keep control of it. Everyone from the media to the public to other organizations is looking to see them fail, Harper especially. So she won't let a little inconvenient attraction to her team's latest acquisition sideline her momentum. The boss can't mess around with one of her employees because that would be unprofessional and hurt her credibility but ...

Firstly, there's a lot of heat throughout most of this book. Remy is an imposing figure, all masculinity and charm. It helps that he drops those lovely French phrases and terms of endearment regularly. I was pleasantly surprised by his backstory and what his anticipated plans are for after his retirement. His line of thinking was not something I was expecting from a pro-athlete who has it all from luxuries to women thrown at his feet. I did get a kick out of how he started to bond with his teammates. Some of them don't have quite the finesse he has but he seemed to take to his role of being a leader seriously. Secondly, I felt for Harper. Like most females in the workplace, she's in a precarious position. Meader provides plenty of Harper's backstory and examines how any woman taking on a leadership role within a company faces skepticism from her counterparts about her worthiness or effectiveness at her job. A woman has to work 10 times harder to prove her detractors wrong. I personally had reservations about her and Remy hooking up but then there wouldn't be a story if they didn't. And because their relationship is forbidden it only makes their "magic time" hotter. Let me tell you, that stroll down a New Orleans street was quite something memorable!  

I had a great time reading Irresistible You. It's naughty, fun and I mentioned naughty, yes? Allow Remy to add some spice to your reading list :)

~ Bel



P.S. I got to meet Kate Meader at RT17 back in May and she was so delightful and sweet. I had to share this pic of us! It was taken after a very taxing and loud trivia game but it was oh so much fun ;)


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chief's Mess by L.A. Witt

***

From Riptide:


Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.
When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.
But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.
Source:  Advance electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.  
When the story starts, you think Anthony is going to be the one to bring the angst, but once he gets over his anger at Clint (yes!  You get to visit with Clint and Travis from Afraid to Fly!), it's Noah and his addiction that makes you feel all the feelings - the whole emotional spectrum.  

L.A. Witt writes amazing stories of addicts and recovery.  They are often difficult to read, but amazing stories.  In Afraid to Fly, Witt dealt with Clint's recovery as an alcoholic, in Chief's Mess, she writes Noah's life as a functioning alcoholic and his path to acknowledging his problem and seeking help.  Despite Anthony's problems with Clint, he goes to Clint for help and advice on how to help Noah.  It's touch and go for a while, but I promise, you will be smiling by the end of the book.  

Don't worry, you only have to wait until September for Book 4, Rank & File!  

~Shel

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell Review and Release Day Blitz

Ladies and gentlemen, we are so happy that Illegal Contact is finally here!  




St. Martin's Press sent us an excerpt for you below.  Unfortunately, my overtired mind couldn't get the graphic they sent to work, but we've still have the excerpt! 

If you haven't read a Santino Hassell book yet, you are seriously missing out.  He does great angst and jerkface characters we hate to love.  And let's not forget the steamy, messy sex that will have you all:



I mean, just check out this cover:




...

Sorry, lost my train of thought there for a minute.  Phew.  Ok, back to it.  Santino Hassell's Illegal Contact.  It's here.  You should read it.  Preferrably on a beautiful day by the lake, like I did.



Illegal Contact definitely falls into a top 10 sport's romance spot for me.  Gavin is a total dick, but you love him anyway.  Noah is great.  The two together just work.  But for the totally unfiltered review, I thought it would be fun to show you messages sent to fellow BiblioJunkie Nat after she finished reading Illegal Contact.


Ok, so maybe I'm a little hung up on what a jackass Gavin is, but honestly, I like my men a little surly.  Nat and I then discussed how Illegal Contact wasn't quite as filthy as Santino's books usually are and how his editor at Intermix (ignore that I had the wrong publisher in the message) must have made him tone down some of his trademark dirty sex...



  








I'm giving Illegal Contact 4 stars, because, as I said above, I just love these characters and want to hang out with them.  Illegal Contact gave me the warm fuzzies, made me laugh, made me drool, and gave me great fantasies about being a fourth with Gavin, Simeon, and Marcus.  😉  I hope you all grab Illegal Contact today, because we need more Baron's books!  If you've read it, tell us your thoughts!  If you haven't, check out the excerpt below - it will hook you!

~Shel
***

Gavin

Somewhere in the past couple of weeks, right around the time I’d watched Noah’s face light up as he threw himself into philanthropic planning schemes and he’d warned me about Joe being a nosy scumbag, I’d lost my mind. Evidence? Me wanting to smack my closest friend for putting the moves on him.

At first I’d thought I was being overprotective. Not even a week ago, I’d had this whole talk with Noah about him feeling safe, and I’d taken it seriously. As a foster kid, I’d never felt safe. Especially in the homes of people who’d temporarily taken me in. I’d been constantly reminded of my precarious position in their houses, and how they could put in a thirty-day notice with my social worker at any point. And they’d used that leverage against me.

I wasn’t about to step into the shoes of bastards who’d worked hard to ensure I would end up distrusting and despising people for the rest of my life.

He was my employee. I was his boss. He obviously didn’t trust me but had agreed to shack up in my house for two reasons only—money to help his father and to catch up on his debt. He didn’t really want to be here, but he had to be. The least I could do was respect his wishes. The same for my friends, but Simeon was laying it on thick.

As he’d run his hands all over Noah, I’d justified each jolt of discomfort by saying Simeon was shitting all over my promise. But Noah agreeing to fan day and whatever else? That had turned discomfort into outright jealousy. Especially since he hadn’t even known my damn name after meeting me at the interview, but he knew all sorts of random facts about Simeon. Simeon, who was in full-throttle, charming superstar QB mode. I was over it.

Regardless, my jealousy was a complete anomaly. Had never happened before. But it was happening right the fuck now, and I was furious with myself. Who cared if Noah was cute and a smartass who wasn’t afraid to tell me to go fuck myself? And so what if that turned me on? Who cared if he was proving to be helpful and loyal enough to warn me about Joe? He was still my employee. I wasn’t supposed to care that he was more interested in my best friend.

Fuck. Whose idea had it been for me to be someone’s boss? I had zero clue what I was doing. Why had I ever listened to Joe?

I returned to the game room and paced the mostly empty space. I’d just seen that anger-management person a few days ago, and every tip and suggestion had flown out of my mind. All I could think about was how pissed I was at myself, and how I needed to go down to the gym and beat the shit out of a punching bag to work it out of my system. The last time I’d been this mad at myself had been when I’d trusted a journalist who’d invented a fake backstory for himself to get me to respond to his prying questions. Then he’d blasted my childhood across the front page of the newspaper.
Gavin Brawley Blames His Out of Control Temper on Hardscrabble Past.
Every word out of context. Bits and pieces of my identity twisted to fit the story he’d wanted. After that, I’d vowed to never talk to a reporter again. I hadn’t expected my emotional thermometer to blast through to enraged over Simeon coming on to Noah. And now I had nothing to use as an outlet. I could work out from morning to night, but after a while it was monotonous. Energy being expended but not going anywhere, and I felt like it circled the air and absorbed right back into my shoulders every goddamn night.

“You’re being real extra right now.”
Marcus’ calm voice did nothing to settle me down. “Shut up.”
“Nah.” Marcus yawned and plopped onto one of the sofas. “Fuck, dude, I’m ready for nap time. Your cagey, jealous shit is ruining the vibe.”

“Who says I’m jealous?”
“Your white ass gets so flushed when you’re mad that it would be impossible to miss. I thought you
were going to jump Simeon when he made that comment about giving ole boy a ride.”
“Yeah, well, what can I say?” I stopped pacing. “I didn’t invite you assholes over here to give my employee a hard time.”

“Your employee.” Marcus threw his muscular legs up onto the couch and stretched out. “Don’t even front like you don’t want to smash him.”

“I don’t.”
“Bullshit. You were staring them down the whole time we were downstairs. I mean, hey, no judgment. He just looks like a typical white-boy hipster to me, but whatever floats your boat, man. You may want to lay it down for Simeon if you’re serious, though. He most definitely wants to tap that ass.”

I ground my teeth together and tried to remember the last time I’d felt possessive over anyone, but I came up short. Then again, I didn’t normally hang out with the people I had sex with for more than ten minutes after we both came.

“I don’t want Simeon fucking him, and it has nothing to do with me being jealous.”
“Oh yeah? What’s it got to do with?”
“Him not pissing off the only person I can stand to have in my house for six months,” I snarled.  “Simeon can stick his dick in someone else until Noah is finished here.”
“And then you’d be cool with it?”
“Yeah, then I’d be cool with it.”
Marcus snickered. He knew I was full of shit.
“Let me ask you a question, Gav.”
“Is that a question or a warning about the fact that I can’t stop you from asking even if I wanted to?”
“Probably the last one.” Marcus propped his feet up on the arm of the couch, making himself nice and comfy. “If you’re having jealous temper tantrums over this kid after a month, how the fuck are you gonna act in another two or three? He’s gonna be here all the time, dude. Showering in your bathroom, sleeping in your guest room, jacking it in bed a few thousand square feet away . . .”

“For fuck’s sake, Marcus.” 

“Am I right or am I right, though?”

He was right. But I refused to admit it.
“I already told you I’m not jealous. Do we get along? Yeah. We do. And you know that’s a miracle when it comes to me. Half the Barons can’t stand my ass because I won’t laugh at their stupid jokes, but at least they respect me. Most people think I’m a piece of shit.”

“And your boy?” Marcus pressed, looking truly intrigued. “What’s he like?”
“He’s . . .” How was he? What was it about him that had even clicked with me enough to make me want to guarantee he not walk out of the oversized front door and not come back? To become desperate and throw in that huge bonus so he wouldn’t have to keep commuting? “He’s a smartass, but he’s a good person. And he gets me.”

Marcus raised an eyebrow. “How’s he get you? He doesn’t even like football.”
The disgusted tone drew a smile out of me. I plopped down in one of the armchairs and tilted my head back. “He didn’t grow up like me, but . . . he gets it. And he’s not phony. He’s straight up with his opinions and isn’t afraid to tell me them.”

“So he’s not scared to say . . . ‘Gavin, you’re being a dickhead.’”
“Basically. He talks almost as much trash as I do, which is probably why we managed to get along. Also, he keeps trying to make me look good to Mel. Gave me credit for all this shit that he came up with.  I don’t get it, since I was a total douchebag to him, but I appreciate it. He’s a good dude.”
“Huh.” Marcus slowly nodded, analyzing me with his big dark eyes. “Aiight, I’ll talk to Simeon.” 

“About what?”

“Him keeping his greedy hands off your boy.” Marcus winked. “But if you’re keeping on with this whole I’m-trying-to-hold-on-to-my-employee bullshit, I’d recommend getting laid. From where I’m sitting, you just look like a jealous, horny bastard.”

“Done.”

Marcus rolled off the sofa and sprang to his feet. He arched his back with a jaw-cracking yawn. “You mind if I catch some sleep, dude? I’ve been having nightmares every night for the past few days.”

“What kind of nightmares?”
“Eh. Stress shit. Getting injured before the season even starts. Moe getting hurt messed me up, man.” 

“You spoke to him?”

“Yeah.” Marcus sobered. “His agent isn’t feeling too good about his contract since this is his last year, and he’s had four fucking surgeries during the life of it. Remember what I said earlier? About them saying he was injury-prone? I wasn’t making it up. His career may be over, man. Or maybe they’ll trade him to some douchebag team like the Predators.”

The Predators were infamous dickholes. It seemed to be a requirement for signing with them. Even their cheerleaders were mean as fuck. The Slytherin of the NFL. The only time I could play a game without everyone mentioning my shitty reputation was if we were playing the Predators. They, as a whole, had a shittier reputation than me.

“You won’t get hurt.”
Marcus arched a brow. “You a prophet now?”
“Yeah. And I prophesize your ass winning the Super Bowl this year.”
“Without you and Moe? Nope.”
I scoffed. “Yeah, right.”
“For real, man. I love Phil, but he’s no Brawley. He’s small and lean enough to run circles around Dmen after a reception, but he has none of your force or bulk. They’re changing everything to account for you and Moe not being there. Fucking sucks.”

It did suck. Even more so because I was now facing the reality that my team was short not one but two starters. If I’d controlled myself better, I’d be there to support them. All of this stress and anxiety about how the season would roll out wouldn’t be on their shoulders, although in my opinion Moe was more of an asset to the team. He was one of the best wide receivers in the league. Even so, I wanted to be there to step up. But I was stuck. Because of my need to escalate shit five times past where it could have ended.

“All right, bud. I’m gonna go talk to Simeon, and you figure out how to get laid.”
I nodded, watching him go, and actually listened to the tip. Between Simeon and Noah, the shit about Moe, and now the news that my replacement wasn’t rising to the occasion of starting for the Barons? I needed an outlet. It was either time to get in a monstrous fistfight or take out the brimming frustration on someone’s ass.
I went for the latter.