Release Day Blitz and Review: Changed by Alicia Renee Kline #Giveaway

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Release Day Blitz

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Book Title: Changed
Author: Alicia Renee Kline
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

It was only supposed to be a one night thing…

Will Delaney and Gracie Alexander are little more than acquaintances when fate lands them in same place at the same time. One drunken hookup later, they decide that the best course of action for all involved is to pretend it never happened.

Will’s recently divorced. Gracie’s perennially single.

Upon first glance, they have absolutely nothing in common.

They both agree on one thing: they’re not looking for a relationship.

The only problem is that they can’t seem to stay away from each other.

Can two people who have sworn off love forever find it in the most unexpected setting?

excerpt

He took my hand in his and allowed me to lead him to my bedroom. If he had half a mind to try to make a move on me again, he swallowed it down. We stripped to our underwear, him waiting for me to climb in under the comforter so that he could take the other side. In the darkness, I felt the mattress sink down with his unfamiliar weight. He was close enough to touch, yet far enough away that I supposed it was possible to forget he was there.

Possible, but not bloody likely.

I laid on my back, the comforter brushing against my bare breasts, mimicking how his hands felt upon my nipples. I closed my eyes, hoping to quiet the memories. Despite how tired I was, I’d never get to sleep like this.

“Gracie?” he whispered after a few minutes. “Are you still awake?”

“Yes.”

“May I hold you?”

Even though he couldn’t see my expression, I grinned at how silly his request sounded.

“Considering what we’ve done before, I think you’re past the point of having to ask permission to touch me.”

It was true. We’d slept together once – actually slept – back at his place. Granted, we’d both been relatively comatose given the amount of drinks we’d had. We hadn’t minded then if a random arm or leg invaded each other’s personal space.

But as he reached for me tentatively, I realized this was different. I submitted myself to him, letting him mold me the way he wanted to. He rolled me over so I laid on my side, him behind me. His arms held me tightly, but it wasn’t binding or restrictive. His face curved towards me, his lips pressed softly in the space where my neck met my shoulder blades, though he wasn’t kissing me. I could feel his every breath, his every heartbeat.

I could also feel my own pulse pounding very noticeably between my legs.

But I laid there, drinking it all in and wanting nothing more. In that very moment, I realized that I had never felt more safe in my life. The intimacy was astounding, a hundred times more powerful than that of the sex we’d had earlier. I knew then that he would do anything to protect me.

Even if it meant torturing the both of us.

Teasers

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My Review

Changed by Alicia Renee Kline, the 4th book in the series The Intoxicated Books was very interesting, and was the first one I have read in this series.  The story is about Gracie and Will, how they meet for a second time, and their story.  I loved how the author put them together, and since I hadn’t read any of the other books,  I did at times feel a little confused but that part wasn’t important for this book. I also enjoyed how they find each other again and both agree on that they are not looking for a relationship, but just some fun. Do you really think that can happen? In life, things always happens, there is always changes and forks in the road. Can they keep up their non-relationship so their friends don’t find out? Even when there are changes and being stubborn, can they maintain the “friends with benefits”)? I did find this story worth my time to read and can’t wait to read the other books in this story.

I was provided a free ARC from the author for my honest opinion.

Meet the Author

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Alicia Renee Kline has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her work has evolved from scrawling story ideas in spiral notebooks in loopy, middle school handwriting (complete with scribbles) to more professional looking fare via her laptop. She is eternally grateful for the “delete” key, so that no one can tell that she doesn’t get everything right the first time.

She resides in Northeastern Indiana with her husband, two daughters and two hamsters. When she isn’t being an author, she works full time in the insurance industry.

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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Tempting the Artist by Sharon C Cooper Book Blitz and #Giveaway

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Book Blitz

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Book Title: Tempting the Artist
Author: Sharon C. Cooper
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 27, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Christina “CJ” Jenkins, a free-spirited painter by trade is juggling her obligation to the family construction business, with the demands of her secret passion. A secret life she has successfully hidden until recently. When sexy, bad-boy attorney, Luke Hayden, enters the picture, he steals her heart. But the truth of Christina’s double life buried under lies, threatens to destroy them both.

Luke is leaving New York to escape the drama, which is his life. Starting over in Cincinnati with Christina appeals to him more than he will admit. Although her secret jeopardizes their steamy affair, it’s not until someone threatens to destroy the Jenkins family empire, and uses Luke to carry out their plan, that their relationship is truly tested. Luke will do what he can to help the Jenkins family, but he will stop at nothing to tempt the woman who has captured his heart.

excerpt

“Wha … what are you doing up?” she finally asked.

“I don’t sleep well without you in my bed.” His slumber-filled voice was deep and intoxicating. She had no doubt that he meant what he said. When she wasn’t in New York visiting him, he rarely slept in the bed, preferring the sofa in his home office. He’d often stay at work until nine or ten at night, only to arrive home and work for another few hours. She had no idea how he functioned with only three or four hours of sleep each night.

Luke moved across the room with the stealth of a lion, closing in on its prey. With a lean body, his sculpted chest and muscular biceps stood out. That quiet control swimming in his eyes, with a twinge of fearlessness, rooted her in place and had her heart pounding double-time. She was sure that look played well into him being one of the top defense attorneys at his New York law firm.

“What’s wrong? You’ve been distracted since we returned from the art show.” The richness of his baritone voice washed over her like a smooth, satiny caress. And he smelled so good. The fresh scent of soap permeated the air as if he had just stepped out of the shower. His voice, his scent, and all that made him the man he was, weakened her defenses and sent her senses spiraling out of control.

He pulled her effortlessly against his hard body and her arms slid easily around his neck. What she felt for him was unlike anything she had ever experienced. There was just something about him. Something about the way his welcoming embrace evoked a sense of peace that settled over her like a goose down jacket all snuggly and warm. And there was something about the way his self-assuredness gave her the desire to experience the world through his eyes, making her want to try new things and live life on the edge.

Christina moaned as his body molded against hers, chest to chest and thigh to thigh. He felt too good. It wasn’t helping that the feathery kisses he placed along the length of her neck were reigniting the smoldering heat from hours earlier. She couldn’t think straight. Couldn’t think straight when he looked at her, or when he kissed her, or when he touched her. An experienced lover, his caress had her body bending to his will.

Copyright © 2015 by Sharon C. Cooper

Meet the Author

Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication. Sharon is a romance-a-holic – loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. She writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net

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Cover Reveal: Making Amends by Taryn Plendl #Giveaway

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Book Title: Making Amends (Chrome Series, Book 3)
Author: Taryn Plendl
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Tony Roberts has always been the loyal friend and hard worker, living for the nights when he could throw himself completely into his work as the head bartender at Chrome.

When Tony finds the usual outgoing and happy, Morgan crying on the stairs of their apartment building late one night, he vows to try to make it better. What he doesn’t plan on is starting something with her that he is sure he is unable to finish.

With deeply buried secrets and promises to make amends for past hurts, Tony can’t see a way to make things work with Morgan. The timing is all wrong, even though he wants her with everything he is.

When the truth finally comes out, will Morgan be able to convince Tony that there is room in his life for her too, or will his desire to make things right push her away?

Visit all of your favorite characters and find out what happens in the final book in The Chrome Series.

excerpt

Morgan

“He just left?” Avery frowned at me as she set a cup of steaming coffee in front of me. I picked it up and took a sip, letting both the aroma and taste fill my senses. After an amazing night with Tony, one that I was beginning to feel like shouldn’t have happened, I needed something stronger than coffee. Maybe Fireball. There wasn’t much that Fireball couldn’t fix. At nine in the morning? No judgment please.

“Good morning.” Blake strolled into the kitchen, planting a kiss on Avery’s head as he began to pull out pans and ingredients for breakfast. “Are you staying for breakfast, Morgan?” Such a good husband.

“Yes,” Avery answered quickly, before I could even respond. Blake looked between us both and just shrugged as he began laying pieces of bacon in the pan, moving it around as it sizzled and popped.

“Focus,” she demanded, smacking her hand on the countertop, startling both Blake and me. “So, he just left without saying goodbye?” Avery asked again.

“Yes, I already told you that.” Seriously. Did she know how humiliating it was to say it once, much less repeat it? Was she trying to reduce what little self-esteem I had?

“Who left where?” Blake asked over his shoulder, still flipping the bacon.

“Tony,” Avery stated like it was no big deal. That got Blake’s attention.

“What about Tony?” he asked, frowning over his shoulder.

“He slept with Morgan last night,” Avery blurted out.

“Avery! Seriously!” I buried my head in my hands. This was getting so much worse than I imagined.

“Wait, I thought he was at some gala with his family last night. Were you at the gala, too, Morgan?” Blake took the pan off the burner, giving us his full attention.

“No, she was in Boston surprising some douchebag, Richard.” I just nodded, placing one finger on my nose and pointing at Avery. It looked like she was going to do all the talking for me anyway. It was like charades.

“Wait.” Blake held up his hands. “You slept with Tony last night? My Tony?”

“I think it is safe to say that he was Morgan’s Tony last night.” Avery giggled, apparently amusing herself, and not at all swayed by my dirty look.

“That’s not like Tony.” Blake shook his head, looking like he was trying to figure things out.

“What’s not like him? Why wouldn’t he sleep with Morgan? Is there something wrong with her?” Avery put her hands on her hips, glaring at her husband. She was talking like I wasn’t there, so I just kept my head down in shame and sipped my coffee.

“What? No! That’s not what I meant.” Blake held his hands up defensively.

“And why didn’t you tell me Tony lived in the same apartment building as Morgan?” Avery demanded.

“Now, hold up just a minute, Little Bit. I’ve never even been to Tony’s new place.” Blake sighed, stepping back, trying to separate himself from Avery’s sudden hostility. She was like a yippy Chihuahua. “And why do I feel like I’m in trouble all of a sudden? You two do realize you are talking to a man, right? And, to top it off, you are talking in some girl code that I’m not grasping. I’m still trying to figure out why Tony said he needed the night off for a gala when he was in Boston with Morgan and some guy named Richard.”

“What?” Avery and I questioned at the same time before we began laughing.

“Forget it!” Blake turned back around, clearly frustrated, and continued with breakfast, mumbling under his breath about crazy women and not understanding.

“Ugh,” I groaned. “Just let me talk.” I held up my hand to Avery, stopping her from interrupting. I explained every humiliating moment of the previous night to Blake as he cooked, right up until Tony and I kissed, not wanting to give any other details, as Blake set plates of bacon, toast, and eggs in front of us.

Avery took a bite and sighed. “You have to give us more details, Morgan. Think of it as research for me.”

“Nuh huh. My life is not going to end up in one of your books.” I shook my head.

“Come on.” Avery giggled. “This is too good. I couldn’t make this shit up.”

Meet the Author

taryn plendl

Taryn discovered her love for books at an early age, spending many hours lost in someone else’s story.

It wasn’t until well into adult hood that she discovered, late at night while the house was quiet, that she had just as many stories inside her just waiting to be let out. Writing has been a way for her to step away from reality and live a bit through her fun and sometimes damaged characters. You will almost always find a Happy Ever After at the end of her stories. She can’t help it, it’s an addiction.

She’s a Southwestern girl living a Mid-Atlantic life with her husband of seventeen years and two incredible daughters who inspire her daily. She is proud to be an advocate for her child with autism, and feels incredibly blessed to be able to see the world through her eyes. Her daughters teach her more than she could ever teach them.

She enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her family, but cherishes those quiet nights after everyone is asleep when she can curl up on the couch with her fifteen year old dog. (Shh, don’t tell…He’s not supposed to be on the couch.)
Keep an eye out for more from her!

Webpage: http://www.tarynplendl.com
Email: tplendlbooks@gmail.com

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M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz #Giveaway #T4T

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid with Giveaway #T4T

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold
and
Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The-Looking-Glass-Cover

Find the diary, break the curse, step through The Looking Glass!

Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth’s old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B—before she becomes the inn’s next victim.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“If you’re looking for a good ghost story that’s meant for suspense and not horror, or if you’re just a lover of some really good paranormal magic, this is just the book for you.” – Jasmyn – Bitten By Romance

” I think one of the creepiest things about The Looking Glass was the way it made me feel so claustrophobic. It was similar to the way I felt when I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome–trapped and a bit panicked.” – Kelly –Goodreads Reviewer

“It was so different and so beautifully written and detailed that I really could not put this story down and I felt as though I was there with Alice throughout the story. I have read LOTS of paranormal, YA genre books, but this is truly unique!”– Melissa – Simplistic Reviews

About the Author

Jessica+Arnold

Jessica Arnold writes YA, codes ebooks, and is currently a graduate student in publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She spends most of her time in class or work or slogging through the homework swamp. If she has a spare moment, she’s always up for a round of Boggle. Given the opportunity, Jessica will pontificate at length on the virtues of the serial comma, when and where to use an en dash, and why the semicolon is the best punctuation mark pretty much ever.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Pretty Dark Nothing

Pretty-Dark-Nothing-cover

It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“This is a surprisingly very psychologically draining book and reminded me of the first season American Horror Story and Stephen King’s Carrie.” – Syahira –Requiem for More Books
“With a fast paced plot and more twists and turns that you can count this is one book you won’t want to miss.” – Katie – Curse of the Bibliophile
“If you are into paranormal books that are a little darker, if you are into love stories and knights in shining armour, if you are into books that leave you breathless craving more than go and read this book. Like seriously, read it now!”– Marie – Goodreads Reviewer

About the Author

Heather

Heather L. Reid has always had a sense of wanderlust and a belief in the paranormal. She eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves video games, and getting lost in a good story. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where she spends her weekends wandering the moors in search of the ghost of William Wallace and exploring haunted castles.

                                                      Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!
Giveaway Information: – Winner will be drawn April 9, 2015

• Two (2) winners will receive a digital copy of The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid (INT)

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Preview Blitz: Finding Fisher by Dakota Madison #Giveaway

Finding Fisher Review Blitz

Review Blitz

Finding Fisher CoverBook Title: Finding Fisher
Author: Dakota Madison
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Franklin Smith was the perfect fiancé. He was at the top of our class at Stanford and had been recently accepted to Harvard Law. But Spring Break our senior year of college changed everything. He went back home to New Jersey and never returned. At his funeral I discovered a guy I never knew. His secret past. And a twin brother, Fisher, I didn’t know existed.

Author’s Note: This book is dedicated to cover model, Joshua Scott Nicholson (August 30, 1990 – December 12, 2014). A portion of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated in Josh’s memory to Joining Hearts, Inc., a 501 (c)(3), all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing support to people living with HIV and AIDS in Atlanta. Cover Photographer Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography will also donate a portion of his profits to Joining Hearts in Josh’s memory.

excerpt

When I phoned information they gave me an address for Sherry Smith in Old Town. Heading down a long, windy semi-paved dirt road I’m just thankful I have a rental and not the luxury car my parents purchased for me for my twenty-first birthday.

I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face when I see a run-down double-wide at the end of the driveway. The house, if you can call it that, has definitely seen better days. And those days weren’t in this century. The place is surrounded by old trucks in various states of disrepair along with piles of engine parts everywhere.

After I park the little Hyundai I hop out and stretch my long legs. I normally don’t do well in compacts, even with the seat back as far as it will go. This car is no exception.

As I look around for signs of life all I see are a few mangy-looking stray cats milling about, no doubt searching for rats or other varmints who will serve as their next meals.

Then I hear the faint sound of tapping. Followed by an “Oh, No!”

I guess it’s not just me and the cats here. I head toward the area from where the exclamation emanated.

An old truck that looks like it hasn’t been driven since the 1950s is behind another truck maybe from the 1970s.

There’s a man with the entire top half of his body underneath the hood of the older truck, obviously trying to fix it. All that’s visible as I approach is his bottom half, in tight-fitting Denim and black work boots.

I clear my throat, hoping to get his attention, but I get a rather annoyed “Just a minute” instead.

After sixty-two seconds pass I clear my throat again. “It’s been over a minute. Sixty-three seconds to be exact.”

He laughs. One that sounds familiar. Too familiar. His laugh sounds just like Franklin’s. A shiver runs through my entire body in response.

When he extricates himself from the hood of the car and turns toward me my knees buckle and I nearly faint.

The man grabs me just before I hit the dirt. Once he has me upright I notice that the brand new white silk shirt I’m wearing is now covered in grease.

“This can’t be happening,” I utter as I try to remember if grease can be removed from silk.

I quickly remove my stash of sanitizer wipes from my pocketbook and get to work trying to remove some of the grease from my shirt.

“I don’t think that’s going to work,” the man says.

He looks just like Franklin, but a disgustingly filthy version of my fiancé. Every inch of the guy is covered in grease and dirt. It’s like my worst nightmare come to life.

One of the few things I hate more than being disorganized is being dirty. I will do almost anything to avoid becoming soiled in any way.

The guy’s eyes search mine as if he’s trying to figure out what I’m doing standing in front of his old truck in the middle of nowhere New Jersey.

“Here,” I say as I hand him two of my sanitizer wipes to clean his grimy hands.

“That’s not going to work either.”

I hand him one additional wipe. “Better?”

He shakes his head. “Not really. I have special grease remover in the house. My hands are never completely clean, but I’m used to it. I’ve been a mechanic all my life.”

“Your voice,” I mutter. “You sound just like him. You look like him too. It’s unbelievable.”

“Like who?”

“Franklin.”

“I should. He’s—um—was—my twin brother.”

I feel my stomach start to knot. “He told me he was an only child.”

The guy lets out a cynical laugh. “I’m not surprised. When he left Old Town he left all of us behind. A hot shot lawyer and fancy politician doesn’t need a twin brother whose a mechanic hanging around his neck. Better not to have a brother at all, I suppose.”

“He really is gone?” My voice cracks again. It’s starting to get annoying.

“He was gone a long time ago. When he left for Stanford he didn’t look back. But he is dead, if that’s what you mean.”

His face looks pained. Grubby and wounded.

As it finally starts to sink in that Franklin, my Franklin, really is gone. I can feel my entire body start to shake. And before I know what’s hit me I’m crying.

Me, Chloe Woodford, the girl who never shows any emotion, is blubbering like a child. “I just—don’t—understand—it,” I say between snivels.

“What?” Franklin’s brother whispers.

“Any of it.”

“Can you tell me what you’re doing here?”

I hold up my left hand, hoping he’ll take note of the 1.2 carat diamond engagement ring that Franklin bought me.

“Nice rock. So you’re rich. I figured that out before you flashed the bling. But it still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”

“Franklin is—um—was my fiancé.” I try to speak with as much dignity as I can muster, but the words still feel like they’re getting caught in my throat.

When he slams the hood of the truck closed I nearly jump out of my skin. I’m raw and on edge and the loud noise sends me reeling.

“I should have known.” He waves a hand up and down my body. “You fit every requirement he could ever want in a trophy wife. A tall, beautiful blonde. Model thin, but still has a nice rack. Your family obviously has money. And you go to Stanford, right? So you’re not dumb. You’re the perfect package. You would have made the ideal politician’s wife.”

“You’re not a very nice person,” is nearly all I can manage to say. “I lost my fiancé.”

“And I lost my twin brother. So what’s your point? There’s no law that says I have to be nice.”

I’m not sure what to do. I don’t like Franklin’s brother. I really don’t want to be around him and his filth, but I’m not sure I have any other options. I need answers and at least he’s giving me some, even if I don’t like the message or the messenger.

My mother is a shark is sheep’s clothing. And she always told me you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. That might be a cliché, but I’ve always found it to be true. I decide to up the charm a few notches to see if I can entice Franklin’s brother to tell me more.

“So you’re a mechanic?” I bat my big blue eyes at him. “Do you work at a garage?”

“This is it.” He motions around the yard, which looks more like a junkyard. “I’m a mobile mechanic.”

“I’ve never heard of that.”

He removes a business card from the front pocket of his jeans and hands it to me. I try to take it in such a way that I don’t have to touch the grease stained fingerprints all over the outer edge.

“Are you afraid of getting dirty?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“You seem to have an aversion to it.”

“I don’t like it. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of it.”

I examine the card: Fisher Smith, Mobile Mechanic and then a phone number.

“I’m Chloe Woodford, by the way, in case you’re interested.”

He just nods. And doesn’t really give me a clue whether he’s interested in knowing anything about me or not. But I soldier on because there are a lot of things I still want to know about Franklin. And in order for me to get the information I want I need to try to warm Mr. Iceman up a little bit.

“So do you drive around and fix people’s cars?”

He laughs. “That’s a small part of my business. The local sheriff is a buddy of mine. He refers anyone who breaks down on the side of the road. I work with local farmers, who need help with old trucks or even tractors or farm equipment. I also work on dirt bikes, race bikes, ATVs. If it has an engine I can fix it.”

Holding up the card I ask, “How’d you get the name Fisher?”

“My dad loved to fish. It was one of his favorite pastimes.”

“He doesn’t fish anymore?”

He shakes his head. “He died when Franklin and I were twelve. I guess he never told you that either.”

“Nope. How did he die? He must have been pretty young.” As soon as I ask the question I immediately regret it. Especially when I see the look on Fisher’s face.

“Shotgun suicide.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. It’s just…”

“Franklin didn’t tell you much, did he?”

I let out a single, cold laugh. “He told me a lot. I’m just realizing that most of it wasn’t true. Your dad didn’t work on Wall Street either, did he?”

Now Fisher is the one who laughs. “Is that what he told you? Dad was a mechanic. Taught me everything I know.”

“What about your mom?” I ask.

“Mom started working at the local deli after my dad died. She’s been there ten years now. She works the breakfast and lunch shifts mostly. They’re known for their Taylor ham sandwiches. Best in the county. She’ll be back soon. Then I’ll be on the road. I’ve got to help Randy Barnes get his Jeep ready for race season.”

I had no idea that people raced Jeeps, but I keep that to myself. He seems to take it for granted that it’s common knowledge.

“Maybe I’d better go before she gets back.”

“Why?” For the first time since I arrived he actually sounds like he wants to talk to me.

“I phoned Franklin’s cellphone when he didn’t make it back to Stanford. Your mom answered and didn’t seem very happy to hear from me.”

“She’s been going through a lot the last few years. And losing her golden boy didn’t help. We have no idea what’s going to happen with Jackson. She’ll most likely get full custody. Not that she didn’t have him a lot anyway, but now it will be 24-7 thing.”

My stomach knots as I ask the next question. “Who’s Jackson?”

The smallest of smiles appears on his face. “My brother was full of secrets, wasn’t he? Come on.”

Meet the Author

DAKOTA MADISON is a USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR. She has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds. DAKOTA also writes romance under the pen names: Savannah Young, Sierra Avalon and Ren Monterrey.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Blog Tour: Between Now & Never, by Laura Johnston #Giveaway

 

Between Now & NeverBlog Tour Schedule

Between now and neverBetween Now and Never by Laura Johnston

Buh boom, buh boom.

My heart thrusts with a force that takes me by surprise. Telling me something I don’t understand. A splitting pain, a longing to slip back under. They tell me I was in a hit-and-run, but I can’t remember what happened that night. All I know is that I woke up with pictures in my pocket, a card from one of those photo booths in the mall. And I’m in the pictures. Cody Rush. Me and…

Julianna.

Her brother was there that night, and my dad, the FBI agent, was the one who put her mom behind bars. What’s the connection? And why won’t Julianna talk to me now? Somehow, she holds the key to it all, and getting close–real close—to her for the answers I need will be no hardship at all…

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Praise for Between Now & Never
“A romance that will keep teens turning pages.” ~ Janette Rallison

“This was a lot different than I was expecting and I was honestly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. The cover led me to believe this would be a cute, love story but it was a suspenseful and gripping read.” ~ Review from Goodreads

“Best book I read all year! On the edge of your seat suspense, heartwarming romance, and characters to cheer for—Between Now and Never is one you won’t want to miss.” ~Kelly Nelson, author of The Keeper’s Saga

“I had the privilege to read BETWEEN NOW AND NEVER when it was in manuscript form. I loved loved loved it from page one! Laura Johnson is such a talented author — really looking forward to reading more of her work!” ~Kay Lynn Mangum, author of The Secret Journal of Brett Colton

 

EXCERPT

I couldn’t decide which on to post, so I posted all, this book looks really good.

Excerpt 1—Photo Booth

JULIANNA

We listen to the monotone voice reel off instructions. Four pictures. A light will flash before each picture is taken. Etcetera. How I ended up in this position I’m not sure. We both sit, staring at our reflections on the dark plastic and, no doubt, both stuck on the same thought that crosses everyone’s mind when they’re on this seat.

“Quick,” I say, “what should we do?”

A flash of light. Picture one down. Both of our mouths were hanging open, blank stares straight ahead.

We burst into laughter and can’t stop. A second flash. Picture number two: both of us laughing.

Our gazes meet and we pull ourselves together, his eyes never veering from mine. He leans toward me, coming halfway before pausing, his eyes seeking permission. I regard him with equal parts terror and anticipation, the intimacy of the situation whispering a thrill. He closes the distance between us and glides his nose through my hair. My heart rattles around as though this is the first boy I’ve ever been close to.

“Now smile,” he whispers into my ear. Even if I should be creeped out, forget it. My cheeks burn despite myself and I feel the corners of my lips tugging upward. A flash of light signals the third picture and I am totally seduced.

 

 

Excerpt 2—A Dimple-Loaded Smile…and a Challenge.

JULIANNA

“Listen”—I cut him off before his flirtatious ways turn me into a puddle of mush at his feet—“for the record, that whole photo booth . . . incident . . . didn’t mean anything, okay?”

He sits up, leaning forward to pull a wallet from his back pocket. He fishes something out and slaps it down on the coffee table.

“Oh, yeah?” he challenges. “What about that?”

I glance down at the pictures—the photo-booth pictures. His index finger taps the third picture, the one of him practically kissing my neck. The nerve! I feel a wave of heat rising up my neck and into my cheeks. Wait, he keeps this in his wallet?

“Pulling out that dimple-loaded smile of yours and doing . . .” I fish for a term to describe what he’s doing in that picture. Smelling my hair? Kissing my ear? It’s too intimate, too personal to articulate. “. . . doing . . . that. . . might win over every other girl who comes your way, but it doesn’t work for me.”

“Oh, yeah?” he asks again and leans in dangerously close, his tone doubtful. His gaze drops from my eyes to my lips. “What does do it for you, Julianna?”

The sound of my name on his lips sinks right to my core, rich and tempting. Like chocolate. Isn’t the admiration of three fourths of the Highland High School female student body enough for him? Why is he toying with me?

“You would like to know, wouldn’t you?” I ask, loading as much spite into that challenge as possible. One side of his lips kicks up, like he’s thoroughly enjoying this.

 

Excerpt 3—Dinner Conversation Gone Wrong

CODY

“So, Julianna . . .” I say at the dinner table forty-five minutes later, “the girl who tutors me—”

“She’s purty,” Lizzy says with a mouth full of mashed potatoes. “Can I have some chocolate milk, Mom?”

“You’ve got a tutor?” Dad asks, his forehead gathering up over a confused stare. “Since when do you need a tutor?”

“He needs help in art, honey,” Mom cuts in with a light whack on his arm. “There’s no shame in that. Rachel, take out your earbuds.”

Rachel doesn’t hear. It’s almost six o’clock and Julianna still hasn’t woken up. She’s been asleep upstairs for over an hour and a half. I’ve checked on her several times, wondering if I should wake her. Each time I chicken out.

“Ryan, say something,” Mom whispers, her eyes shifting between Dad and Rachel.

“Rachel. Earbuds. Out,” Dad orders.

Rachel’s eyes snap up to meet his gaze and she yanks the earbuds out.

“Anyway,” I say, “she’s sleeping in my bed.”

Now all eyes are on me.

There’s a real possibility Julianna might walk down any minute, so I figured it was best to get this out in the open. It was either this or wake her up and sneak her out. Now, with everyone staring at me and Lizzy’s mashed-potato-covered mouth hanging open, I wonder if that wasn’t the better option.

Dad drops his silverware and directs a firm hand toward me to emphasize whatever point he’s about to make. “Son, I know we’ve discussed the importance of using protection, but I figured it went without saying that bringing a girl into our home—into your bedroom!—is out of the question.”

“Ryan!” Mom snaps. “Lizzy, cover your ears. Cody, save it for marriage.”

This is the first dinner conversation Rachel has been interested in for months. She snorts back a laugh.

“It’s not like that,” I say, hardly able to hold back a laugh myself as I realize I should have phrased this better.

Dad’s lips form a stern line. “This is not a laughing matter, Cody.”

“She fell asleep in the living room, okay? While I was working on my art project.”

“Your art put someone to sleep?” Rachel says. “What a surprise.”

“Rachel, cut it out,” Dad barks.

Mom simply looks grateful to have Rachel participating at the dinner table.

“How did she end up in your bed?” Mom asks.

Lizzy’s wide eyes ping-pong from Mom to me.

“I carried her.”

“And she didn’t wake up?” Rachel asks.

“She was pretty out of it,” I say. “I think she isn’t feeling good. Had a fever.”

Mom looks at the clock. “Won’t her parents be worried?”

“They—” I say and pause. “Aren’t home.”

A muscle in Dad’s jaw flinches. He picks up his fork and knife and starts cutting into his meat again. An awkward silence with no end in sight falls over the table.

“Can I have my chocolate milk now?” Lizzy asks. I’m not sure how I figured this conversation would go, but this certainly wasn’t it.

 

Excerpt 4—Medicine on the Nightstand

JULIANNA

A soft rap at the door sends me running for the window.

“Hey,” his voice greets me.

I whirl around, feigning composure. Cody leans up against the door frame and casually slings his hands in the pockets of his basketball shorts, like finding me in his bedroom is completely normal.

I fell asleep in his living room during our tutoring session and he carried me in here. He had to have.

“Sleep well?” he asks.

“It’s, like,”—I gesture to the clock—“nine o’clock. And I’m in your bedroom.”

“Yeah, I thought you’d be more comfortable in here. And your head was on fire. I put some medicine on the nightstand. Here—”

He crosses the room to the nightstand, his shadow against the far wall stretching as he draws closer. Now I notice the glass of water and little bottles of medicine clustered around it.

“Headache reliever and fever reducer,” he reads from the first bottle and then picks up another. “I wasn’t sure which one you’d want, if any.”

I watch him fish through the medicine that he set out for me while I was sleeping. This is so unlike Vic or Dad, so unlike Lucas or any other guy I’ve met, and I suddenly have a very hard time swallowing.

He reaches up toward my face, his intent gaze nearly undoing me. My heart flings a stream of flutters against my rib cage and I hold my breath. His thumb brushes my cheek, that weak spot of mine that turns me to mush. And this is Cody Rush.

“Here,” he says, his eyes shifting to follow the motion of his thumb. “You have something under your eye.”

Mascara. Makeup everywhere. Ratty hair. I recall the reflection I saw in his mirror a moment ago. “I’ve got to get home.”

He takes a step back. “I’ll take you. Let me change my shirt real quick. I made Lizzy laugh when her mouth was full of chocolate milk and I learned my lesson.”

I glimpse the specks of brown covering his shirt before he whips it off in one swift motion right in front of me.

I spin away, looking anywhere else. “Ah . . .”—I motion toward the door—“I’ll just, you know—”

“Come again?” he says, pretending not to hear me. I’m well acquainted with that playful tone in his voice by now and I turn to meet his eye, instantly knowing it was a mistake. The dim lighting of the lamp casts shadows in all the right places along his defined chest and abs. His mischievous smile sneaks out to tease me right before he pulls on a new shirt.

“Come on,” he says with a wink as he heads to the hallway. “Let’s go.”

 

 

Excerpt 5—Three Momentous Words

JULIANNA

I stare at my reflection, trying to steady my uneven breathing.

Giving up, I dash from the bathroom. Decision made. I’m not turning back now.

I pass the drinking fountain, searching the hallways. I fling aside all thoughts of Cody’s dad and my mom, all fears of Vic and my dad warning me against Cody. I turn down a maze of corridors, searching left and right. And then I see him. Alone. Pacing.

“Cody,” I say.

He turns at the sound of my voice but looks away again.

“Cody, look at me.”

Nothing. He rests one hand on his hip, the other hand digging into his hair. Frustration oozes from his rigid stance.

I start toward him, not about to back down. “What’s wrong?”

At last he turns. “You,” he says, his voice reverberating through the empty hall, bringing me to a stop.

“You and me; this is all wrong. It always has been.”

The words cut deep. Sting. “You don’t mean that,” I say, the hitch in my voice betraying me.

“You’re right,” he says. “What I’m trying to say is I love you.”

His words hit me, melting every last barrier around my heart. He loves me. Three momentous words out in the open.

He runs his fingers through his hair again, messing it up. Suddenly, he looks more rugged than put together. Seductive. It reminds me of when he first came to school, a total mess sitting in that wheelchair. I loved that boy, too. As senseless as it is, I’ve always loved him.

Cody shifts his weight from one leg to the other and gives me a look. “What do you want, Jules?”

Somehow I know this question is monumental, my answer pivotal.

I stare at him and falter. No one has asked me this in weeks, months. I think about all the things I’ve had my heart set on, worked to keep together, strived to accomplish. But looking at Cody now, it’s hard to think of anything else.

What do I want? How do you place your heart out in the open like this?

I want you.

The words tangle up, wedged like a knot in the back of my throat.

Cody brushes a curly lock of hair away from my face, his gaze following the motion. “’Cause all I want right now is to kiss you, and I’m sick of trying to think up more reasons why I shouldn’t.”

My breath catches in the back of my throat, my heart hammering with the need to reach out and give him what he wants—what I want.

Cody draws back, his hand falling to his side. Like he’s about to walk away again.

“Then stop trying,” I say.

 

Laura Rewind to You AuthorAuthor Laura Johnston

Laura Johnston lives in Utah with her husband and two children. Growing up with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. She fell in love with the young adult genre both through her experience in high school as well as her job later as a high school teacher. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, traveling, writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl