Release Blitz

Ravann: A Raven’s Bond by Lora Ann


Title: Ravanna: A Raven’s Bond

Series: Brothers of War, 4

Author: Lora Ann

Genre(s): Paranormal, Dark Fantasy

Illustrator: C.T. Cover Creations

Blurb

Ravanna is accustomed to surprises as the Gatekeeper of Purgatory. Her greatest blessing is to spend eternity with her once human husband. A gift granted to them, for humans are not allowed into the dangerous realm.

Memories are sacred. But when they coalesce with another’s, everything becomes more than complicated.

No stranger to the weight of choices, Ravanna must come face to face with the past. Ordered to the realm where one must bare all, she discovers there are not only dark secrets but also many layers of what is true.

Good and evil face-off as she and a once beloved friend’s perceptions are fully revealed. And the truth—every decision, right or wrong, does come with a consequence.

Excerpt

(Ravanna—present)

Tears trickled down her cheeks at the memory of her sister Annaliese. The youngest of the three and still on their mother’s milk when she was brutally murdered.

Jacob clasped her shoulders. “Don’t do this, my love. Your pain rips through my soul,” he hoarsely whispered.

She smoothed the lines of grief upon his brow with the lithest of touches. “I must speak of it. Don’t you see that the past will repeat itself if I refuse?”

“Pardon me, dear Ravanna,” Judicious intervened. “But that ship sailed with the half imp, half angel and Guardian of the Forest of Contemplation.”

Tome shook his head in warning at the Angel of Judgment.

Ravanna turned in shock. “You are never to speak ill of the dead. The Angel of Death should know that best.”

He gave a stiff bob of his head but said not a word.

She gasped, “Lars is correct?”

“The In Between Commander is grieving,” Judicious pointed out. “And in a precarious state as he teeters upon the thinnest of lines.”

“Answer me,” she ground out as Jacob yanked her back against him.

“Wife of mine, you would be wise to stay quiet,” he cautioned.

Her entire body vibrated with hostility and the need for answers as she fought to follow the protective warning. “Yes,” she barely whispered, “For now.”

But Ravanna did not miss the silent admission from the Angel of Death. What would it mean if Sharadian was still alive? And if she was, did that also clarify that her mother and beloved baby sister could be as well? No, she needed to focus and pull her head out of wishful thinking. After all, she was responsible for two of the three deaths. Forcing herself back in time, she took those present with her.

Purchase Ravanna here: https://books2read.com/RavannaLoraAnn

Add to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51770426-ravanna

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Brothers of War Series in order:

Judgment: Kian (part 1 of The Judgment Duet){Brothers of War, 1}:

https://books2read.com/LoraAnnKian

Only 99₵

Judgment: Lars (part 2 of The Judgment Duet) {Brothers of War, 2}:

https://books2read.com/LoraAnnLars

Mitch: Formed in Fire (Brothers of War, 3):

https://books2read.com/MitchLoraAnn

About the Author

A homeschooling mom by day and hot, steamy romance writer by night, there isn’t an adventure Lora Ann doesn’t mind taking.

The love of travel led her to the career of an international flight attendant as a young adult. And she still loves to travel, although her “wings” are now retired. Spending time with her sons, friends, hiking, and disappearing into the realm of all things possible, are just a few of her favorite things.

Lora does believe in happily-ever-after but knows that it doesn’t come without hard work and fight. Her stories reflect that real-life struggle and those who seek to destroy. Not only does Lora write romance, but she blends in action and adventure, suspense, crime, along with jaw dropping thrillers. Her newest genre is paranormal and dark urban fantasy.

Buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life as you dive into her books.

She loves to hear from her readers as much as she loves hearing which book of hers is your favorite. Drop her an email: author.lora.ann@gmail.com

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★★★ Stalk Lora Ann! ★★★★

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Book Blitz

View Finder



Suspense
Date Published: 11/7/2019
Publisher: BHC Press

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REALITY…

IS IN THE MIND OF THE BEHOLDER

BB Danser, the patriarch of the eccentric and zealous Danser family, narrates his life story in View Finder. Set during Hollywood’s Golden Age of greed, corruption, and scandal, his memoir is one of madness, passion, murder, and his desperate, lifelong effort to escape the confines of real and modern life.

The son of the famous actress Elizabeth Stark, BB is caught in the middle of his parent’s tumultuous relationship and his father’s crushing megalomania and jealousies. Desperate to escape, he becomes obsessed with movie cameras and cinematic storytelling, becoming transfixed with the question: Is it better to view or be viewed?

A roller coaster story of hope and vision, BB searches for about himself and his family in a world of industrialized fantasy making.






Excerpt

I spent the five days on the train slumped in my seat beside the window with the blinds drawn. The headaches wouldn’t allow me to move, and I threw up constantly. When I opened my eyes, part of my vision was clear and other areas were unfocused. I had the compartment to myself, and from time to time a steward brought me sandwiches, colas, bags of ice for the wound on my head, and clean buckets to vomit in.
We spent four days in Ann Arbor, Father’s hometown. I believe he had family there, but we stayed at a low-profile motel on the outskirts of the city. On the morning of our last day there, a doctor arrived. An area on the back of my head was shaved and sutured. By that time, my vision was almost clear except for faces. I couldn’t see eyes, only the shapes of heads, the centered noses, and expressive mouths.
Father told me to drive the hired car. Up front, I had my satchel and a motel towel rolled behind my neck. He was reclining in the back seat with his briefcase, and with Heidi, who Father preferred to call Heidi Ho.
“As in h-o-l-e,” he explained with his snorting laugh.
“Heidi Ho!” he called out like a boisterous greeting.
Heidi Ho protested.
He cupped her knee in his big, strong hand and said, “Darling, shut up.”


About the Author




Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s.

Contact Links
Twitter: @gfjolle

Purchase Links
Also in iBooks


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Release Blitz

Curtain Call by Brianna Stark

Title: Curtain Call
Series: A Driven Dance Theater Series #1
Author: Brianna Stark
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Women’s Fiction
Release Date: March 15, 2020
I am just one more dancer on a mission in New York City, sleeping on a studio couch.
I’ve spent my last five dollars.
My bag is gone.
There’s no one left to call.
Until he gives me a break.
He’s the Kent Morgan.
Intimidating.
Famous.
Gorgeous.
I call him my director.
My dance partner calls him the God.
And like all gods, he’s terrifying, mysterious, and the greatest thing to ever happen to the art form.
I came back to this city to give the performance of my life—before it’s too late.
Kent Morgan is my best shot.
But the world is turning against us.
And when the God sets his sights on me, I don’t know how to resist.
Turns out the performance of my life might just happen behind the curtain.
I am not sure where to start because I would like to shake the words out of him and his whole mysterious persona. That or absorb him whole.
“So what did you want to talk about?” I ask, but all he does is look at me like he wants to avoid telling me what he wanted in the first place. Not that it matters anymore. He’s in my bedroom, and it seems we are both adjusting to that. After a moment, I become self-conscious about how I look, and I shift around trying to create that perfect pose. It’s an old habit—when I realize what I am doing, I place my hands in my lap and look down at my twiddling thumbs.
He lets out a breath and adjusts himself to face me. I have no idea what to say. I sense his hesitation as the tops of our heads sink closer together until they are almost touching. His cheek moves in next to my cheek. We pause, and I close my eyes. His breath is warm, while mine is tight, and we slowly exhale. We release a little more, and his rough jaw grazes mine, then his smooth nose and lashes. I imagine this is how blind people see each other. We get lost in the touching, maybe because we don’t have the words, as we respond to each other’s signals. Before I know it, we are lying on the bed. He looks unsure about this development, but it’s happening so naturally.
Then, finally, he brushes his lips against mine and we gradually open and join inside, and he is seeing me through his lips and touching every detail of my soul. I feel so utterly visible as his fingers trace the outside of my sweater. It doesn’t take much longer for the kiss to become heavy, desperate, as though we are trying to consume one another and can’t get enough. Ever.
Kent pulls back. He rubs his hands quickly over his face and looks at me. “Is this a good idea?” His gaze pleads with mine.
“What? Sleeping together?” I’m dozy. Weak.
The muscle in his jaw clenches.
He stands up from the end of my bed and starts pacing in my tiny room, his hand scrubbing that worn spot on his neck. “I don’t know what my problem is,” he smirks. “This isn’t something I do.”
I reach for him and rest my hands flat on his hard, warm chest. “It’s okay,” I whisper, and he looks at me in a way that is disapproving, or maybe questioning. “Maybe you put too much pressure on yourself. We are human.” I’m not sure if I know what I am talking about, but it seems like something he needs to hear.
But my fingers have a mind of their own as they travel the cool cotton draped over his shoulders and curl over the collar of his shirt. I study his sharp eyes where his focus slices into me.
He inhales through his nose, my fingers tremble as they pull him closer by the collar, and our noses brush as our eyelids graze together.
“If I sleep with you…” His voice is coarse breath.
If you sleep with me…
The rest is said in our eyes as our focus falls away and our heads drop. We both fall onto our backs with a heavy sigh. 
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Brianna Stark writes romance with an edge. She spends her summers with her BF in a log cabin in the Pacific Northwest, where she is happiest writing. In her spare time she practices yoga, craves coffee more than she would like, and goes for walks with her three-pound Pomchi, who stops to kiss everyone. She is the author of the Driven Dance Theater series.
LIGHTS UP is available now. CURTAIN CALL is coming soon!
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Release Blitz

Courageous Lover by Elis Angelico

Title: Courageous Lovers
Series: Cidade Cinza Book One
Author: Elis Angelico
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2020
The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long…
In the years since her divorce, artist Lucilia Barboa is living as she wants…free. No husband, no kids, and no interest in having either. After completely losing her identity when she was married, Luci is too scared to try love again. Sex however…she has nothing against casual sex. Just not with her tall, gorgeous, tattooed neighbor. 
Rafa Costa has watched Luci avoid him for weeks. When he finally gets the chance to talk to her, he is blown away by the instant chemistry a single touch ignites. Even more so when she offers to spend time with him. Just sex though. On that, she won’t compromise. That should suit Rafa fine since he’s convinced true love is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and he lost his years ago. But Luci quickly becomes as important as the air he breathes.
Embarking on an affair that burns fast and hot, Rafa and Luci race headlong into disaster. When fears and ghosts from their past collide with their present, they have to decide if they are strong enough to risk everything for love or if single is the ultimate happiness.
Chapter 1 
Luci
I stepped out my front door and deliberately ignored the shapes and the colors that flashed in my peripheral vision from the new store across the street. Rafa’s Tintas had opened six weeks ago. The storefront walls were black, covered in white and red pixo, a style of graffiti that defined São Paulo. The gray door had elaborate black letters, more reminiscent of calligraphy. Splashes of red dotted the window. The contrast of sharp angles and swoops reminded me of an Antonio Bandeira painting or a Jackson Pollock. As much as I wanted to know if the similarity to the two famous painters was intentional, I ignored the impulse to ask. 
The primary source of my reluctance was leaning against the door jamb, his tattooed arms crossed over his broad chest. I refused to look, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t aware. A teenager stood beside him, speaking loudly and waving his hands for emphasis. The man laughed, and the smooth, deep sound made my stomach flutter. I yearned to turn towards him, to stare and study the curves and angles of his face, to hear the timbre of his voice. Instead, I pushed my bangs out of my face, adjusted my headphones, and turned up the volume of my music. I continued without stopping. 
In the time the store had been open, I hadn’t said hello once. My best friend Natali told me I was being unnecessarily standoffish. I didn’t agree. I had no objections to casual sex with an attractive small business owner, but a neighbor was high on my list of undesirable qualities. 
When I moved into my house the year before, I’d been naive. One of the assistant managers at the nearby bakery had asked me out. Ciro. Our date had been boring enough for me to know I wasn’t interested in more. When I declined his offer for a repeat, he took to glaring at me whenever I went in to buy bread. Then he proceeded to loiter near my house and watch as I fumbled to unlock my door. He’d never directly threatened me, but the experience had been disturbing. Thankfully, he’d been transferred to another store on the other side of the city so I could go back to the bakery without fear. 
My concern with my new neighbor was less of the stalking variety and more of the proximity-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder type. My post-divorce freedom and newfound identity had been hard-won, and I refused to choose any involvement that would compromise that. The incredibly sexy shop owner was a clear no. 
“Olá, Luci.”
Marina, the owner of the newspaper stand on the street, called my name as I walked by. I took off my headphones and stepped inside. I kissed her on the cheek in greeting, and she went back to reorganizing a display. 
“Just finished my last order,” I said, lifting my canvas bag. I was carrying five hundred hand-addressed wedding invitations. Weddings were momentous occasions in Brazil and my main source of income. 
She lifted up several sets of blocks and puzzles and dusted the shelf. The decline of newspapers and magazine sales had forced her to branch out into snacks and toys and shoes for toddlers, catering to the preschool down the street. 
“Are you on vacation now?” she asked.
I specialized in customized invitations, but my true passion was mixed-media art combining embroidery with collage and calligraphy. I’d scheduled a two-week break from my business to complete my submission for an art competition. 
“I will be as soon as I’m done at the post office and bank,” I replied. 
She glanced over her shoulder, made a sign of the cross, and said, “God help you.” 
I laughed. We were both very familiar with the torturous delays of Brazil’s infamous bureaucracy, and my two destinations of the day were the worst. 
“Is the plan the same? You’ll use this time to work on your submission?”  
The São Paulo Bienal was one of the most important art exhibits in the country and the second oldest in the world. This year, for the first time in history, they were having open submissions. I’d been working for months to create a piece and still hadn’t achieved something I was thrilled with.  
“Yes. I’m going to need every minute of the next two weeks.” 
“You should ask your very attractive—and confirmed single—neighbor if he has any suggestions.”
“Marina,” I said with a sigh of exasperation, “the last thing I need is a distraction.” 
“I’ve talked to him several times. I like him. He’s quite…inspirational.” Marina pushed her curly red hair behind both ears and raised her eyebrows at me. 
She was in her early sixties, had owned the newsstand for over thirty years, and was a staple of the neighborhood. The newsstand was basically a small two-meter squared metal box on the corner in front of the neighborhood bakery. In the time I’d been renting my house, I’d come to consider her a mentor and a friend. I admired her creativity and persistence, though I enjoyed it less when she focused on my love life.  
“No thanks,” I said.  
Marina put down her scissors. 
“Why not?” she asked, holding my gaze until I looked away.
“His store is in front of my house. It’s not ideal for a fling,” I said. 
“With any luck, it would be more than that.”
“Wouldn’t call that luck,” was the kindest response I could muster. Marina knew I was divorced; while I hadn’t divulged the details, I’d made it clear that I was not interested in another relationship. Definitely not now, maybe not ever. 
Marina turned to face me, her painted-coral lips forming a soft frown. 
“Love is the only true luck.”
I rolled my eyes and smiled. I didn’t share her belief, but appreciated her enduring faith in romance.  
“I’ll pass. I’m not cut out for love, at least not right now. Just good old-fashioned sex for me.” 
“Rafa is guaranteed great sex,” she replied. 
“How could you possibly know that?” I asked. I drummed my nails against the counter and yawned, pretending like I was unaffected by his sexual potential but the idea had its appeal. In the two years since the divorce, I’d gone on a few dates, but at my age, most people were interested in long-term commitment. I wasn’t. It’d been three months since I’d had sex and longer since it had been great. 
She shrugged. “I’m a lesbian and a senior citizen, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to spot men with skills.”
I laughed. 
“He’s patient and attentive. Just last week I was trying to mount this new wire rack and he arrived just as I had given up hope. He stayed for over an hour, wrestling with the pieces until he got it together.”
“That was nice,” I said with reluctance. 
“And let’s not forget that he’s gorgeous.”
I rolled my eyes. 
“He has to be a great lay,” she finished.  
I got goosebumps at the thought of that prospect.  
“I’m not attracted to guys with tattoos or beards,” I said. My ex-husband, Gustavo, was the exact opposite. I’d been the one to ask for the divorce, but I still considered him my type, which is why I was surprised that I found my new neighbor so tempting. 
She snorted at me. “It’s not good to lie,” she said.  
“Little ones never hurt anyone,” I replied with a wink. 
She threw her head back, and her full-bellied laugh made me respond in kind. 
“We’re going around in circles. No sexy times with the neighbor. I mean it,” I said, leaning in to kiss her on the cheek to signal I was leaving. When I turned around, I walked straight into over six feet of tattooed and bearded, guaranteed great sex. 
Rafa
“Sexy times?” Is that what she’d said? Before I could consider what I’d just heard, my attention was drawn to her body pressed into mine. She was tall for a woman, only a few centimeters shorter than me, but she matched up in all the right places. 
“Hello, neighbor,” I said. 
Her smile shifted into a straight line and her pale skin flushed pink. She nodded in greeting, staring at my right ear. 
“Rafa,” I said in introduction. Six weeks I’d been waiting for this opportunity. 
“Lucila,” she said, without the warmth she’d shown to Marina. She didn’t move closer or offer a kiss on my cheek, the typical greeting in São Paulo. It seemed unlikely that she’d been talking about sexy times with me. 
At first, I’d been offended by her refusal to acknowledge me, but Marina had explained that Lucila’s reluctance stemmed from wariness over the previous threatening behavior of a man. Every day when she passed my store with her shoulder length brown hair slicked back, large geometric earrings, and bold red lipstick, I itched to call out to her. Her distinctive style and aloofness fascinated me. I hadn’t been so intrigued by a woman in years, but I respected her avoidance. My curiosity wasn’t more important than her sense of safety. 
“I’ve been hoping you’d come to the shop,” I said. 
Finally, her eyes met mine. The color was astounding, such a translucent brown that they shimmered like gold. They were wide set and framed by long lashes. The fine hairs on the back of my neck stood up. 
She turned up her palms, drawing my attention to a swath of blue pen that ran along her left hand and the black ink that stained the tips of her fingers. The word “artist” swooped across her left wrist. The tattoo was delicate and beautiful. I wondered about the missing “a” at the end of the word. The corners of her lips tipped upward but didn’t quite spread to a smile. 
“My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail,” she said. Her words were precise and her humor quick, giving me the impression she was older than I’d originally assumed.
 “I’ll make sure to hand-deliver the next one,” I said. 
She glanced down at my hands. Her gaze shifted to my mouth, and her brow wrinkled in concentration. Marina’s movements, the sounds of motorcycles revving, the conversation of people walking past all faded into silence. There was only me and Lucila. She tilted her head. I noted a hint of sandalwood. We stood, staring at each other for the length of several heavy heartbeats. Her chest rose with each breath. My palms began to sweat. She let out an exhale, the sound echoing in the small space. 
“Do that,” she said.
She re-adjusted her bag. As she moved past me, she leaned up and pressed her lips lightly against my cheek. There was barely any contact, but my smile was immediate. She left before I could say anything. As she moved farther away, I watched the straight line of her shoulders, the curve of her neck, the sway of her hips. 
“Today’s your lucky day,” Marina said as she kissed me on the cheek. By the time she stepped aside, Lucila was gone.  
“Maybe I should play the lottery?” I said, joking away the unexpected chemistry with Lucila.
“Waste of money. The only game of chance worth playing is love.”
I didn’t respond, but I agreed. When I helped Marina put together the shelving unit, she’d told me a little about her life. The commitment and depth that Marina believed in, what she shared with her own wife, I’d had that—once. But I’d lost it years ago, and every day I became more convinced that true love was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 
“It’s too late for me.” 
“Of course it isn’t,” she replied.  
“I’ve had it before,” I said as I leafed through a magazine. I hadn’t talked about Bruna in a long time. “It’s been years, and nothing else has ever come close. Maybe you only get one shot.”
“Oh, Rafa. Love isn’t a one-time proposition. It doesn’t work like that.” 
“Who knows how love works?” I asked, putting down the magazine and shoving my hands into my pockets. 
“You have to be as willing to bet on love as you are on the lottery to have any hope of answering that question.”
“Maybe if we had the real thing and didn’t get it right, we don’t get another go,” I said, surprising myself with the earnest sentiment. I liked Marina, made it a point to stop by every few days, helped her when I could, but I’d never even hinted at anything about Bruna. 
“You don’t,” Marina said. My face must have expressed my disappointment with her answer because she reached over and patted my forearm. “You’ll never repeat the love you had, but there are definitely other loves to be lived. As you just said, it has been a long time and nothing has come close. But that doesn’t mean it never will. Love can always happen; we just don’t know when or why. That’s why the most important quality for anyone to have, in order to live fully, is the courage to face the unknown.” 
I’d faced the unknown many times in my life. My courage hadn’t been rewarded. 
“I’ve got too much life to live to give myself over to the ol’ ball and chain,” I said, repeating the line that most men my age used. 
Marina tsked me. “Love is never a prison, but I can see my wisdom is wasted on the young.” 
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”
She smiled and shook her head. “I’m teasing you, Rafa. I can tell you’re a romantic at heart.” 
I opened my mouth to ask her why she thought that, but decided against it. The newsstand had provided enough excitement for one day.  
Elis Angelico is a Brazilian American who writes shameless romances for women who love sex and believe in love.
She taught middle schoolers in Southern California, completed half a masters in library science in D.C., mentored teenagers in Boston, and managed a job training program for homeless adults in São Paulo before devoting herself full-time to orgasms.
Her books are emotionally complex and explore the many ways that love is essential to enduring trauma, injustice, and pain. Her OCD (the diagnosed kind, not the tongue and cheek “I’m so organized” variety), father’s death by suicide, bisexuality and divorce are but a few of the life experiences that inform her writing.
She lives in São Paulo with her daughter and her soul mate and knows her way around a spray can.
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FIGHTING SERIES by Nikki Ash


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Cover Reveal

Risky Move by Robyn M. Ryan


★★★COVER REVEAL & PREORDER! ★★★
Risky Move by Robyn M. Ryan
Tampa Suns Hockey Standalone
Release Date — April 30, 2020

Amazon — getbook.at/RiskyMoveRMR
Apple — https://apple.co/33bxDW0
Nook — http://bit.ly/2IzVQvD
Kobo — http://bit.ly/2Q6pfSm

She’s his brother’s nanny…and totally off-limits.

In an effort to escape her overprotective mother, Cassie moved to Tampa to decide her future and claim her independence. When she lands a job as a live-in nanny to adorable twin infants, she’s convinced she’s on the right track.

Until she meets her new roommate: Tom. He’s an off-the-charts gorgeous neurologist (are they even allowed to be that sexy?), her boss’ brother, and also her aunt’s best friend. There are way too many points of contact for them to take the risk…but Cassie can’t help but fantasize what contact with him would feel like.

Tom knows the stakes, but Cassie’s vibrant spirit strikes a chord in his heart and he can’t stay away. But just when they start to think they’re moving in sync, the unthinkable happens. Did taking the risk create a chasm too wide to bridge?

**Risky Move is a standalone book in the Tampa Suns Hockey series. This sweet and spicy full-length novel can be read on its own—no cliffhanger, no cheating and a guaranteed Happily Ever After. 

You may enjoy meeting and following a growing group of friends connected by the Tampa Suns professional hockey team. Some characters are introduced in the Clearing the Ice Trilogy and Healthy Scratch.**

Blog Tour

A Cowboy’s Song By Megan Ryder

Title: A Cowboy’s Song (Redemption Ranch, #3) Author: Megan Ryder Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, Cowboy Romance Release Date: March 12, 2020 Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

The lost boy…

Tyler “Ty” lost everything in a car accident when he was twelve, retreating into his shell so tightly that it took months for him to come out again. Music and the ranch saved him, and he will always be grateful to his foster family for saving his life. Now, with the ranch on financial tenterhooks, he wonders if he can use his music to contribute to the solution.

The country music star…

Piper Raines is the daughter of a legendary country music family. While her parents and brother are all famous, her attempt at an independent career went off the rails, and, with exhaustion and stress and bad press dogging her every step, she needs a place to recover. When Piper is invited to vacation at the ranch, Piper and Ty connect through horses and music. After a video duet of Piper and Ty goes viral, they’re invited to sing in Nashville, which also provides added pressure, stressing their new relationship.

Can they build a future on a shaky foundation?

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The music continued in the background, a slow, love song from the past Piper had always loved. The sound of that song, the way the singers connected through their voices and words had always touched her heart. Somewhere deep inside, she had always longed to have someone sing with her, have that soul-deep connection like her parents, yet she never thought it would be possible. Earlier that evening, when Ty stood with her on stage, she finally thought she may have found that special person. Now, in his arms, she was even more sure that they had something. And he thought she was drunk. She opened her eyes and blinked a couple of times until she could focus on him. Maybe he was right. But it was so hard to care when she was so happy. Again, that could be the goofy juice talking, but she didn’t think so. She laid her head on Ty’s chest, feeling his heartbeat under her ear, and sighed. Ty’s arms tightened around her and his chin rested on her head. “You’ve gone over to the dark side,” he muttered. “I prefer to think of it as giving in to peer pressure, finally. What’s that cologne you’re wearing?” She rubbed her face against his shirt, trying to get closer. He groaned, put two fingers under her chin and lifted her face. “Stop doing that, Piper. You’ll regret it in the morning.” She cocked her head and pursed her lips. “I don’t think so. You tend to regret the things you don’t do more than the things you did. And there’s a lot of things I haven’t done because I’ve been too afraid to do them. Maybe I’m done being afraid.” “Alcohol will do that to you. Give you that illusion that you have nothing to fear, but when you wake up, you may think differently. Besides, what do you have to fear?” The music switched to a Dierks Bentley song that told her to get a little closer, and she tried, but honestly, she was as close as she could be without climbing him like a tree. So, she settled for pulling his head down a little closer, giving her the illusion they were alone on the dance floor, not surrounded by half the town. She tangled her fingers in the strands of hair that barely tickled the nape of his neck and tugged a little, loving the feel of his hair, clean and without all that product so many men liked to use nowadays, at least men she met. Ty was clean, neat, natural. “Piper? Are you with me, or have you drifted off again?” She grinned. “Just thinking.” “That’s what I was afraid of. When you think, I worry, darlin’. What were you thinking about? Things you’re afraid of?” He grinned at her, not appearing to be at all bothered by her tendency to drift off in the conversation and dwell in her own thoughts. He just patiently brought her back to their topic. “Fears, right? Maybe I’m afraid of being rejected if I do this.” She rose up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his, softly at first, tentatively. They had kissed before but hadn’t gone much further, and she wanted to make that next move, needed to show him that she wanted him for at least that night. His lips opened under hers, and his tongue stroked into her mouth, teasing her, tempting her to play. His arm drifted lower on her back to pull her tighter against his body; his other hand buried itself in her hair, to angle her head just right for his kiss, the kiss he now took over with ruthless intensity. She was powerless under his assault, his lips and tongue enticing her to higher levels of desire she had never felt before, and she met him stroke for stroke as she clutched at his shirt with her hands. Lust swept over her like a hurricane, something she had never felt before, had never understood, but now she knew what those country songs were all talking about, what she had been missing in her life. Ty lifted his head, breaking the kiss, and she gasped, reaching up for him, dazed, wanting more. But he shook his head, looking just as stunned as she was. As if from a distance, she heard laughter and a man’s voice. “Take it outside. Or better yet, take it home, brother.” She turned to see West and Tara next to them, amusement on their faces, tempered with concern. Piper blinked away the desire that had fogged her brain. What had she been thinking to basically attack Ty, in public no less? What if someone had been recording it? Before she could say anything more, Ty wrapped his arm around her waist, hauling her close, and nodded to West. “Can you grab our things?” “You got it.” And he headed straight for the door and into the cool evening.

Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.

   

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