Release Blitz: Heart Stronger by Rachel Blaufeld

“So exquisitely titillating, full of hope and second chances, and so honest, this is Rachel Blaufeld’s best and swooniest romance yet! I LOVED it!”

– Katy Evans, New York Times Bestselling Author

Heart Stronger, an all-new emotional romance from Rachel Blaufeld is available now!

Synopsis

“Sometimes, I feel like I’m watching a movie . . . that it’s not really me, Claire Richards, getting this second chance at life.”

“Open your eyes, it’s you, and I’m damn glad it’s with me.” ~ Aiken

Single mom and college professor Claire Richards only wanted a few hours of me time to soak in her tub, read a book, and drink wine.

But tragedy struck, and Claire found herself with a lot more me time than she bargained for.

Three years later, Claire is still mourning her losses when Aiken Fordham—who looks young enough to be one of her college students—moves in next door.

Forcing Claire to face her fears, Aiken almost forgets his reason for moving to Small Town, Pennsylvania. Falling for the sexy, smart, and strong professor next door was never in the plan.

But now it is . . . until their future intersects with their pasts.

Read Today:

iBooks: https://apple.co/2DQ48zn

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2HstIIQ

Amazon Universal: myBook.to/heartstronger

Nook:http://bit.ly/2FdKdrH

Kobo: Going Live 2/19

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2Fwcs3R

About Rachel:

Rachel Blaufeld is a bestselling author of Romantic Suspense, New Adult, Coming-of-Age Romance, and Sports Romance. A recent poll of her readers described her as insightful, generous, articulate, and spunky. Originally a social worker, Rachel creates broken yet redeeming characters. She’s been known to turn up the angst like cranking up the heat in the dead of winter.

A devout coffee drinker and doughnut eater, Rachel spends way too many hours in local coffee shops, downing the aforementioned goodies while she plots her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end as lusciously as her treats.

As a side note, Blaufeld, also a long-time blogger and an advocate of woman-run anything, is fearless about sharing her opinion. She captured the ears of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog, BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and running a business, often at the same time. To her, work/life/family balance is an urban legend, but she does her best.

Rachel has also blogged for The Huffington Post and Modern Mom. Most recently, her insights can be found in USA TODAY, where she shares conversations at “In Bed with a Romance Author” and reading recommendations over at “Happy Ever After.”

Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two beagles. Her obsessions include running, coffee, basketball, icing-filled doughnuts, antiheroes, and mighty fine epilogues.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found courtside, tweeting about hoops as her son plays, or walking around the house wearing earplugs while her other son, the drummer, bangs away.

Connect with Rachel:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelblaufeldtheauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelblaufeld

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelblaufeld/

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TunnelVIPS/

Stay up to date with Rachel by joining her mailing list today: http://www.rachelblaufeld.com/signup

http://www.rachelblaufeld.com

New Release + Review: Elite by Carrie Aarons

 

Title: Elite

A Privileged Novel

Author: Carrie Aarons
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: February 18, 2018
Blurb
If you’re in, you’ll never have to ask. If you ask, you’ll never be in.Eloise Mason knows what it’s like to live among the privileged. Seeking a
change from the upper crust society of Europe, she flies halfway across the
world for a semester abroad in the one place guaranteed to toss responsibility
out the window and provide some good, old-fashioned fun; college in The United
States.

Except nothing at the picturesque, Ivy-covered university in Vermont appears as
it seems. And after a mysterious invitation arrives on her doorstep, curiosity
wins over the need to turn her back on games meant for the rich and ruthless.

Secret societies, risky tasks, and an inner circle to rival the royals. But it
may just be one American boy who threatens to be the most dangerous endeavor of
all.

Colton Reiter defines the word idolized at Jade Mountain University. In fact,
he practically rules the roost from the three point line of the basketball
court. The college’s star point guard, he is a god and treated as such;
professional scouts at every game, teachers looking the other way when it comes
to grades, and girls falling into his lap at the snap of a finger. He wants for
nothing, or at least that’s what he wants everyone to believe.

But when he meets the sassy girl with the British accent who could care less
about his status, her very existence threatens to unveil the skeletons buried
deep in the back of his closet.

With stakes this high, and hearts on the line, can they turn their backs on
power and popularity before the ivory tower comes crashing down on their heads?

 

ADD TO GOODREADS 

Purchase Links

99c for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Also Available

99c for release day only!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

 Review:

I was so excited to read Elite after reading Privileged- and good news is that you don’t have to read the first book in order to read the second book, although they are connected and overlap a little bit.

I love Carrie’s style of writing and I have loved each of her books, but I am pretty sure this one is my favorite.  I love the secrecy in the Social Clubs – serious Cruel Intentions vibes and I LOVE it- I loved the secrets in the book from the main characters and I loved how I stayed interested throughout the whole thing.

Eloise is from the privileged lifestyle, but that hasn’t always been the case.  Her and her family were slumming it until her dad caught his big break and now she lives a lifestyle only most can dream of.  She decided to attended college in the U.S. to have a sort of normal college experience before heading back to Europe to attend cooking school in the elite city of Paris.  On her first day there, she not only meets a boy that takes her breath away, but also is invited to join the elite society of a group of girls, but is sworn to secrecy.

Colton also has his secrets and man, are they of the big variety.  But when he sees Eloise, he knows that she is life changing, no matter the cost.  He will do anything to help his family just like he will do anything to get to know Eloise.  But unbeknownst to the both of them, they both have their secrets, and it seems like it’s a recipe for disaster.

Reading this book brought me back to my sorority days, and thank goodness by friends weren’t awful people like these girls are.  The main girl who leads the sorority needs a serious life check and thankfully she gets it- the end has a sweet wrap up that made my heart sore because girl GOT what she deserved.

My heart completely broke for Colton.  Even though what he was doing is not right, it’s like he had no other choice and you can’t help but try to understand where he was coming from.  I wanted nothing more for them to be together because they both fit each other.  They worked so well together and made each other better.  I absolutely adored reading about they just clicked and worked.  While neither of them had serious relationships before, something about their chemistry just worked, and I thought Carrie did a great job of writing the story to show you exactly how much they cared for each other.

I give this book 4 stars because I loved the story and my heart broke over and over each time they came across an obstacle.  I love the characters and I loved how they both overcame things to get what they wanted in life.  I am a sucker for HEA, and Carrie definitely brought me that.  There were times when I wanted to punch the girl group because bitches be crazy, but I’m glad everyone got exactly what they deserved.  Elite is a book that I would definitely recommend and I think that you should pick it up if you haven’t already!

Author Bio

 

Author of romance novels such as Red Card and the Captive Heart Duet, Carrie Aarons writes sexy, swoony and sarcastic characters who won’t get out of her head until she puts them down on a page.
Carrie has wanted to be an author since the first time she opened a book. She loves spinning tales that include dapper men, women with attitude, and the occasional hunky athlete.
When she isn’t in what her husband calls a “writing coma”, Carrie is freeing up her jam-packed DVR, starting her latest DIY project, or planning her next travel adventure. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, who is more than happy to watch sports while his wife plots love stories.
Author Links

 

 

Blog Tour: The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan

2018-SBPRBANNER-TWKOL-BT

The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan
Publication Date: February 12th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

wrong_amazon

From New York Times bestseller Lexi Ryan comes a sexy new standalone romance novel about a runaway bride, a single dad who’s sworn off love, and the kind of family secrets that can threaten to break even the deepest bonds.
***
You never forget your wedding day. Or the moment your twin sister pukes on your bouquet and confesses she’s pregnant . . . with your fiancé’s baby.

I wanted to get away, to hide until my heart mended. I found myself in a strange town with a mysterious stranger whose talented mouth and hands almost made me forget it was supposed to be my wedding night.

Afraid to go home to face my broken life, I pretend to be my twin so I can take her job in Jackson Harbor caring for a six-year-old girl. Imagine my surprise when I find out my new boss is my mysterious stranger—Dr. Ethan Jackson.

I never meant for Ethan to discover my secrets. I never meant for them to matter. But the longer I work with him and his sweet daughter, the harder I fall, and the clearer it becomes that I’m not the only one carrying a secret that could tear us apart.

Get ready to fall for the boys of Jackson Harbor in Lexi Ryan’s sexy new contemporary romance series. These books can all be read as standalones, but you’ll enjoy reading them as a series! 

TWKOL-AN

Read Today!

➔ Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DT7Jtq
➔ iBooks: http://apple.co/2Bij1Zb
➔ B&N: http://bit.ly/NookTWKL
➔ Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboTWKL
➔ GP: http://bit.ly/GPTWKL
➔ Paperback: http://amzn.to/2DrHaP6
➔ Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2AZFjPo

blog tour (9)

Excerpt:

“Did somebody hurt you?” My gut knots with the question. You can’t save her, Ethan.

“You could say that.”

I step forward. Maybe that’s why she’s here on this impulsive visit to Jackson Harbor. Maybe she’s running from someone, escaping a home that’s not safe. “Do you have somewhere safe to go?”

“It’s not that kind of hurt,” she whispers. She swallows, and her gaze dips to my mouth. “Why are you so sad?”

Because you remind me of Elena. Because I couldn’t walk away from her either. “I’m just worried about you.” I don’t know if I step closer or if gravity pulls me that way, but in a breath, she’s at my fingertips and my thighs brush her knees.

“Will you do me a favor?” she asks, her attention still on my lips.

“What?”

“Will you kiss me?”

“Nic . . .” I wait for the excuses to find their way onto my tongue, but they don’t, and I realize I don’t want an excuse to walk away from her. My whole body is warm and my fingers itch to touch her. The only thing I want is my mouth on hers. I want to taste her joy and sadness. I want to know how it feels to have that body pressed against mine.

I’m silent a beat too long, and she winces. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s not that I don’t want to, but you’re vulnerable.”

“Are you always so noble?”

“If you think my thoughts are noble right now, you’re even more naïve than I feared.” I lean my forehead against hers. Christ. Who am I kidding? She’s asking me to do something I’ve been thinking about since I first laid eyes on her. I couldn’t deny her if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. Not even a little.

I cup her face in my hand and run my thumb along her jaw.

She slides a hand behind my neck. “I like the way you look at me. You make me feel sexy. Wanted.”

“Who made you feel like you weren’t?”

“A mistake.”

“Then he didn’t deserve you.” I lower my mouth to hers, telling myself the kiss will be brief, that I won’t get carried away. But then her other hand joins the first behind my neck, and her breasts press against my chest. Her thighs part, and I step between them in my instinctive need to be closer. A soft moan slips from her lips as our mouths connect.

This girl kisses like she does everything else—with unabashed emotion. She doesn’t hide a thing she’s feeling, and I’m hard even before her mouth opens under mine and our tongues sweep across each other.

I thread one hand into her hair and slide the other up her bare leg, my fingers curling into the flesh of her hip while my thumb strokes her inner thigh. Her skirt is bunched around her waist, and it would be so easy to follow this soft skin up and find her panties. She’s making the sexiest sounds, and I’m dying to touch her, to find out if she’s as turned on as she sounds, but I keep my hand where it is and give her the kiss she asked for. I offer the evidence that she’s sexy and desirable, no matter what some asshole made her think.

The Wrong Kind of Love © 2018 by Lexi Ryan

DSC_3812

Meet Lexi:

Lexi Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles. A former academic and English professor, Lexi considers herself the luckiest girl around to make a living through storytelling. She loves spending time with her crazy kids, weightlifting, ice cream, swoony heroes, and vodka martinis.

Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and a spoiled dog. You can find her at her website: http://www.lexiryan.com

Connect with Lexi:

Website: http://www.lexiryan.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexiryanauthor
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/qymaH
Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/lexi-ryanv
Instagram: http://instagram.com/writerlexiryanv
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerlexiryan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2856947.Lexi_Ryan
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bIYjGa

Review:

I absolutely fell in love with Nicole and Ethan’s story. From breaking my heart at the very beginning to the HEA ending at the very end- I could and did not want to put down this book! It was fun, flirty, and had some super steamy scenes that I absolutely loved.
Nicole has an identical twin sister and when she finds out on her WEDDING DAY that home girl has stolen her man, she steals her identity (is it really stealing if you look alike anyways?!) and heads to the job that Veronica (twin) was supposed to be starting. Upon getting there, Nic gets totally wasted at a local bar- because hello who wouldn’t do that the day she finds out her sister has stolen her future husband- and *almost* hooks up with one of the locals. It’s totally out of character for her, but it was the almost release she needed.
Ethan is a OB/GYN at a local hospital and he is the local that Nic almost hooks up with, but duty calls and he has to leave her hanging on by a thread. Unfortunately, he is also the dad that Nic/Veronica was supposed to start babysitting for, and as you can see this is quite the dilemma.
This whole slew of characters have secrets and they are a bunch of rascals! At times, I literally wanted to punch her sister Veronica in the face because WHO DOES THAT!!! and especially twins with their sharing brain power. But all of the characters were lovable characters-seriously I felt like I was reading about a family that I wanted to be a part of.
Both Ethan and Nic are not ready for love- they have both have had their heart broken and aren’t looking for anything, but their chemistry and attraction are something else! Seriously you could feel the electricity just by reading. In the end there was no denying that they were meant to be together and I was so happy when they finally made it work!
I gave this book a 5 star rating because I truly enjoyed the story! I fell in love with each of the characters (yes even the annoying ones!) and the book just gave me a warm sense of comfort- like I could tell that I was going to enjoy reading all about the other characters that are to follow! I loved how sexy the book was, I loved the banter between the characters, and I loved how great the writing was. It wasn’t too cliche of a story and I am a sucker for HEA’s so this made my heart just melt! I would highly recommend this book if you are looking to get sucked into a family of characters and need something enjoyable to read! I can’t wait for what else is to come!

New Release: The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan

The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan
Publication Date: February 12th, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

From New York Times bestseller Lexi Ryan comes a sexy new standalone romance novel about a runaway bride, a single dad who’s sworn off love, and the kind of family secrets that can threaten to break even the deepest bonds.
***
You never forget your wedding day. Or the moment your twin sister pukes on your bouquet and confesses she’s pregnant . . . with your fiancé’s baby.

I wanted to get away, to hide until my heart mended. I found myself in a strange town with a mysterious stranger whose talented mouth and hands almost made me forget it was supposed to be my wedding night.

Afraid to go home to face my broken life, I pretend to be my twin so I can take her job in Jackson Harbor caring for a six-year-old girl. Imagine my surprise when I find out my new boss is my mysterious stranger—Dr. Ethan Jackson.

I never meant for Ethan to discover my secrets. I never meant for them to matter. But the longer I work with him and his sweet daughter, the harder I fall, and the clearer it becomes that I’m not the only one carrying a secret that could tear us apart.

Get ready to fall for the boys of Jackson Harbor in Lexi Ryan’s sexy new contemporary romance series. These books can all be read as standalones, but you’ll enjoy reading them as a series!

Read Today!

➔ Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DT7Jtq
➔ iBooks: http://apple.co/2Bij1Zb
➔ B&N: http://bit.ly/NookTWKL
➔ Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboTWKL
➔ GP: http://bit.ly/GPTWKL
➔ Paperback: http://amzn.to/2DrHaP6
➔ Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2AZFjPo

Meet Lexi:

Lexi Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles. A former academic and English professor, Lexi considers herself the luckiest girl around to make a living through storytelling. She loves spending time with her crazy kids, weightlifting, ice cream, swoony heroes, and vodka martinis.

Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and a spoiled dog. You can find her at her website: http://www.lexiryan.com

Connect with Lexi:

Website: http://www.lexiryan.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexiryanauthor
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/qymaH
Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/lexi-ryanv
Instagram: http://instagram.com/writerlexiryanv
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerlexiryan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2856947.Lexi_Ryan
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bIYjGa

New Release: Feels like Home by Jennifer Van Wyk

Feels Like Home, an all-new emotional standalone from Jennifer Van Wyk is LIVE!

Andy Simpson never expected to be raising his teenage twin sons alone.

Then again, he also never expected to walk into his house and see his wife with another man. In their bed. Or that it wasn’t her first time.

Bitterness threatened to wrap around his heart, darkening every part of his life.

But a brightness he wasn’t even looking for entered their lives and wouldn’t let it take hold.

Christine Jameson knew all about being a single parent. But she was holding a secret. A secret she wasn’t willing to allow anyone to find out. One she’d held tight for years.

But one look at Andy, and she knew that she needed to be honest with him. That he deserved to know he wasn’t alone.

They both needed friendship. Needed someone who understood, who had compassion without judgement.

What they didn’t imagine was for it to become something more.

That they would come to share something they never thought they would experience again.

They didn’t expect for it to… Feel Like Home.

Download to Today or Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2BTZYRj

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/FeelsLikeHome

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2w93YLP

About Jennifer:

From the Ground Up was Jennifer’s first published novel and now that she was bitten by the writing bug, has no intention of ever stopping. Jennifer makes her home in small town Iowa with her high school sweetheart, three beautiful, hilarious and amazing kids, one crazy Jack Russell terrier. This is where her love for all things reading, baking, and cooking happen. Jennifer’s family enjoys camping, boating, and spending time outside as much as possible. You’ll be her best friend if you can make her laugh and follow up with asking her what to read next. When she’s not writing, you can find her cheering the loudest at her kids’ sporting events (read as: embarrassing them), sipping coffee or iced tea out of a mason jar with her Kindle in her lap or binging on Netflix.

Connect with Jennifer:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vZV2Ic

FB: https://www.facebook.com/jennifervanwykauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorJenVW

IG: https://www.instagram.com/jenvanwyk/

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JennifersJavaGirls/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2foP8dK

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-van-wyk

Book + Main: https://bookandmainbites.com/users/295

Now Available: The Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey

THE BEAU & THE BELLE by R.S. Grey is available now! Don’t miss your hands on this new romantic comedy – read for free with Kindle Unlimited or grab it for just $2.99!

About THE BEAU & THE BELLE

Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

Add THE BEAU & THE BELLE to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on THE BEAU & THE BELLE now:

★AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2DVSRNd
★AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079D852KG
AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079D852KG
AMAZON AU: http://amzn.to/2DGRoqO

REVIEW:

I absolutely adored this book- I loved the banter between the characters, I loved the back story, and I loved where the book was set- my favorite and only Crescent City! I will also say that I have never highlighted passages in a book as much as I did this one! The attention to detail of the city and area were also a pleasant surprise and you can really tell that the author did her homework on getting it right. From the all girls school to the neighborhood names and debutante balls- this book was a straight home run!

I loved Lauren and Beau’s story and I loved how the stage was set from the very beginning. It’s a hard to be raised in the South and especially hard if you fall from grace- trust me you will never live that down. But when Lauren and Beau first meet, the circumstances aren’t right and a storm separates them for a long time. When Lauren decides to move back home – because trust me you always end up back home at some point!- she never expects to see or even feel anything for Beau. Little does she know that he has just been waiting and working towards being everything she could possibly want. Because now the circumstances are right, and he isn’t letting her go this time.

This book was funny and a true Rom-Com! “My blonde curls are cooperating for once in my life, so I take a second and shoot a quick thank you up to the savior, Paul Mitchell, that is.” I mean, if you live down South, you know ALLLLL about good hair days (and how rare they are thanks to the wonderful humidity!). It was these sorts of sayings scattered throughout the book that not only made the story fun, but also showed that the author really understood the setting.

I give this book 5 stars because it was such a good book! It wasn’t overly sexual and it didn’t have to be. It was a good book on its own. It has great writing, I loved each and all of the characters and I felt like I was back home reading a story about one of my high school friends. I feel like when you have a connection with a book, you just do, and this book was definitely one of my favorites of 2015 so far! I would definitely recommend it and cannot wait to read others by R.S. Grey!

About R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

Website| Twitter | Facebook | R.S. Grey’s Little Reds Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram

Release Blitz: Under the Stars by Tia Louise

SBPRBanner-UndertheStars-BT.jpg

Under the Stars, the stunning conclusion of the thrilling, white-hot second-chance Bright Lights Duet from USA Today bestselling author Tia Louise is available NOW!

TLUndertheStarsBookCover5x8_BW_325

Under the Stars

All around us was darkness and night…

I’m not a hero. I’m a survivor.

I had one way out, and I took it.

Now all I want is peace,

A place to pick up the pieces and start over.

But she wants justice.

Names on a list, faces in the crowd.

I vowed to help her, but it’s taking us back to the demons.

Until he appeared.

I thought he died in the fight.

I was wrong.

He’s here.

Stronger, more powerful… Sexier.

And dangerous.

The boy I loved is now the one man we have to fear most.

When he tried to save me, he had no power.

Now everything has changed, and he’ll never stop until I’m his.

Excerpt:

~ Lara ~

We stop walking and turn to face the emerald waters. The briny air pushes her hair back and around her shoulders. Tendrils spin around my face, and the inescapable sorrow filters through my chest.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“Yes, you can.” Her voice is flat, and she bends to put Pierre on the dry sand. “I’m going up. How much longer will you be out here? Celeste is making Quiche Lorraine for breakfast.”

Another sigh. “I’ll be up in a bit. I’m finishing my exercise.”

“Don’t stay out too long or I’ll eat all the food! Come, Pierre!”

I watch her run up the tall staircase, her little dog at her heels, thinking of the reasons she has to run. I remember her as a small girl on the street, in the dark alley behind the theater. She was thin and starving and hunched in the corner waiting to die.

She was so malnourished, I thought she was younger than her actual age, which was twelve. I remember carrying her inside and fighting with Rosa. I remember Rosa boxing my ears and telling me the first time that kid cried, she’d throw us both in the alley with the rats. I remember the terror I felt that night and Molly falling asleep so quietly with her head on my chest.

She needed me. She loved me, and I loved her fiercely in return.

I remember her running around the theater, a sweet and innocent kid never suspecting the hawk was circling above, watching her, closing in to steal her soul and warp her future. I’ll never forgive myself for what happened to her. I’ll never forgive myself for not being there to protect her.

A flash of pain moves through my stomach, and I remember someone saying the same words to me not so long ago…

Walking to the edge of the water, I look out at the surf, at the waves rushing in and out. I think about how nothing bad can happen here. The sins of the past are far, far away from this beautiful place.

Only it’s a lie.

The sins of the past are never far away.

We carry them with us in our hearts wherever we go.

No matter how far we run, we can never outrun ourselves.

Tears are in my eyes, and I blink them away. My emotions are so close to the surface these days. I squat and wrap my arms around my knees, holding my insides together and wishing…

My wishes never come true.

“Lara!” A strong male voice cuts through the breeze.

For a moment I don’t believe it. It’s a wish caught on the wind and carried away out to sea.

“Lara!” It’s louder this time, closer.

Nervous anticipation floods my chest. I stand and look up and over my shoulder. The staircase where Molly descended is empty. The one ahead of it is empty as well.

Was it a dream?

Another shout, and I realize it’s coming from behind me. Turning, I see a tall figure jogging down the steps. He’s alone, and he’s moving fast. I look around, and no one is here. I have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

My heart alternates between beating out of my chest and dying. I’m back on that train, seeing him for the first time out of the blue, completely caught off-guard, alternately panicking and rejoicing… He’s alive!

He’s wearing faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. His caramel hair is a little longer, but not much. It moves in the breeze as he approaches me.

He’s strong and pure and gorgeous as ever, and the way we touched, our glorious reunion is stronger and hotter in my memory than the sun climbing higher in the sky.

I want to cry. I want to sing. I want to hold him…

But now everything has changed.

UTS-AN

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BLDuet-Complete

Start the series with UNDER THE LIGHTS for only 99¢!

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About the Author:

Tia Louise is the USA Today best-selling, award-winning author of When We Touch, the “One to Hold” and “Dirty Players” series, and co-author of the #4 Amazon bestseller The Last Guy.

She loves all the books (as long as they have romance), all the chocolate (as long as it’s dark), strong coffee and sparkling wine.

After being a teacher, a book editor, a journalist, and finally a magazine editor, she started writing love stories and never stopped.

Louise lives in the Midwest with her trophy husband, two teenage geniuses, and one grumpy cat.

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Website: Http://www.AuthorTiaLouise.com

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