Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, series, smartypants romance

Smartypants Romance BLOG TOUR! Under Pressure by Allie Winters

Under Pressure, an all-new opposites-attract new adult romance from Allie Winters, is now available in Kindle Unlimited! 

Mia knows stress. She’s dealt with it her whole life. So when she gets an opportunity to run a psychology study to help her get into grad school, it should be no problem dealing with the prickly guy she suddenly finds herself paired with.

The one she had a secret crush on last year. The one who refuses to let anyone close. The one she’s discovering by the day may have a softer side than he lets anyone else see…

Tyler knows stress. He’s grappled with it for as long as he can remember. And just because he has to share credit with this girl on his new psychology study doesn’t mean he has to be friends with her. Except she somehow keeps worming her way into his life. In school. In the boxing gym.

In his bed.

But everyone knows it’s safer to keep to yourself. You can’t hurt anyone that way. Even if it means giving up the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

As things heat up in the Stress Lab, will this match be able to work together without disruption, or will this growing attraction between them eventually… combust?

‘Under Pressure ‘ is a full-length new adult contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #1 in the Lessons Learned series, Educated Romance World, Penny Reid Book Universe. 

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Excerpt

“Close your eyes,” he says in that beautifully deep voice, “and take a deep breath. Focus on relaxing each muscle of your body and slowing your breaths. Inhale and exhale with me.” He counts to three steadily, bringing air in, then releases it on the same count of three.

I do all I can to concentrate on his words, the rhythm of it more than anything else, just trying to get out of my own mind. If I can just breathe with him, everything will be okay. This crushing weight will release.

I clutch at his arms like he’s a lifeline and he lets me, wrinkling the sleeves of his soft cotton shirt, taking in shaky breaths next to his strong ones.

We continue that way for long minutes until it’s safe for me to open my eyes, my chest finally rising and falling in an even tempo. My lashes and cheeks are still wet as I look up at him and he slowly brings a hand up to wipe the moisture away, his thumb featherlight on my skin.

He moves to tuck an errant curl behind my ear, brushing my neck as his hand wanders down, leaving shivers in its wake, then cups the back of my head, cradling it tenderly. The warmth of his fingers relaxes the muscles there, even more so when he gently massages the area, loosening the still lingering tension.

He’s silent, his eyes flicking back and forth between my eyes and mouth, and it takes me a moment to realize what he’s signaling. I’m unable to move, to think, to focus on anything but his face gradually coming closer.

I shut my eyes at the first gentle press of his lips. I didn’t know he was capable of such softness, such tenderness. My stomach dips in anticipatory delight as his other hand slides into my hair, holding me more securely to him as he moves his head a fraction, changing the angle of the kiss so it’s deeper now, but still just as slow and exquisitely soft.

I sway toward him, relaxing my hold on his shirt, kissing him back with enthusiasm. I had no idea he felt this way, that he likes me—

A sharp burst of laughter from the hallway outside the lab has us breaking apart, like we were caught doing something wrong… 

About Allie Winters

Allie is the author of the Suncoast University series, the Bishop Brothers series, and the Lessons Learned series. She lives in sunny Florida with her husband, daughter, and two cats. A librarian by day, she spends her nights writing happily ever afters. She enjoys reading, playing video games, and all things Disney.

Find Allie Winters online

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Books, cover reveal, Future book announcement, Kindle Unlimited, Romance

Happy Cover Reveal Day to Amy Daws!! Replay, coming April 8, 2021

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Football club lawyer, Santino Rossi is known in the locker room as the two-month chump. For years he’s been on a mission to find someone he can share his basil plant with and cure him of his former playboy ways. So when he ends up stuck in an elevator with the one that got away, the thinks a replay is a great game plan.
Preorder Now

book info

Title: REPLAY
Author: Amy Daws
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: April 8, 2021
Cover Designer: Amy Daws

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full blurb

Replay Cover-wrap-LESS GREEN-front--

Not all players deserve a second chance… no matter how hot their first chance was.

Football club lawyer, Santino Rossi is known in the locker room as the two-month chump. For years he’s been on a mission to find someone he can share his basil plant with and cure him of his former playboy ways.

Tilly Logan is a fiery, Scottish lass who didn’t bat an eye five years ago when a smoldering Italian pulled her into a nightclub bathroom. He was dark, dangerous, and exactly the good time Tilly was looking for—even if he worked for her over-protective brother’s team.

But a lot has changed and when Tilly returns to London five years later only to find herself trapped in an elevator with the smoldering Italian, it isn’t a happy reunion. Especially because her brother blames Santino for her high tailing it back to Scotland in the first place.

Tilly doesn’t want a replay of past mistakes and reconnecting with Santino is playing with fire.

But if they keep their relationship a secret, it could be worth the burn.

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buy links

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Falling in love. Beautiful young couple embracing and smiling wh

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bingeable

Football stadium in lights

Replay reads GREAT as a standalone, but if you’re looking for something to binge while you wait, check out Payback and Blindsided, a couple other spin off characters that are featured in Replay! You’ll be fully prepared for April 8 if you read these two hot footballers! Available in Kindle Unlimited

Payback
Allie Harris thinks a one-night-stand with a hot South African soccer player would be the perfect revenge against her cheating ex. But when her night of passion turns into an ill-conceived payback plan, things take an unexpected twist. Especially when that South African wants more than one night. Read Now

Blindsided
What happens when an almost thirty-year-old virgin agrees to let her Scottish best friend take her virginity? A whole lot more than either of them bargained for… Read Now

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giveaway

Check out Amy’s Facebook page for an awesome giveaway!

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about the author

Amy Daws Head Shot-sizedown

Amy Daws is an Amazon Top 13 bestselling author of sexy, contemporary romance novels. She enjoys writing love stories that take place in America, as well as across the pond in England. When Amy is not writing in a tire shop waiting room, she’s watching Gilmore Girls, or singing karaoke in the living room with her daughter while Daddy smiles awkwardly from a distance. For more of Amy’s work, visit: http://www.amydawsauthor.com

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stalker links

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Book Review, Books, Kindle Unlimited, Romance, series, smartypants romance

BLOG TOUR! Eye Candy, Fighting for Love #3, by Jiffy Kate, from Smartypants Romance! Now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Eye Candy, an all-new opposites attract small-town romance from Jiffy Kate, is available now in Kindle Unlimited!

❤️❤️ Now available in Kindle Unlimited ❤️❤️

BOOK REVIEW: This was a nice continuation of what you could call the Viking Invasion series, with the story of another Erickson brother coming to Green Valley. It was cute, well-written, hardly any drama or angst, and thankfully no ridiculous Big Conflict. Just two people falling in love and trying to figure out a way to be together against the odds.

Maggie is 24 years old and has been sheltered growing up, and so it almost felt like a high school or college romance even more than the college hockey romance I read right before this book!

The story and characters are entrenched in Green Valley, which I love, because not all the Green Valley books in the Smartypants Romance collection give me that same feeling.

There are two more Viking brothers, and I look forward to their stories. Thanks to the authors and SPR for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Vali Erickson is the classic middle child—misunderstood, underestimated, and overlooked. He’s fine with it. Really. The overlooked part is actually serving him well during this phase of life.

He’s in Green Valley in an effort to fly under the radar and regroup after a life-altering blow to his heart and ego. The last thing he’s looking for is a woman to warm his bed until one throws him to the mat and rocks his world.

Margaret O’Neal is an only child who has led a sheltered life. She’s used to being a wallflower. Her ability to blend into the background is what allows her to maintain her anonymity as a gossip columnist for the Green Valley Ledger.

Since the Ericksons moved to town, she’s never felt more inspired, especially with the newest addition. Vali Erickson is the definition of eye candy—devastatingly handsome with muscles for days—giving her plenty to report about.

The more Maggie observes, the more she finds herself wanting things she’s only read about in romance novels.

Admiring Vali from afar is good enough for her until their paths cross and she finds herself trying to stay afloat in uncharted territory—no labels, no promises, and WAY out of her comfort zone.

Will this arrangement be what finally breaks her out of her shell, or will her heart be a casualty of the Viking Invasion?

‘Eye Candy’ is a full-length contemporary romance, and can be read as a standalone. Book #3 in the Fighting For Love series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Excerpt

Standing outside the Green Valley Community Center, I’m getting a little antsy waiting for Maggie. I really hate not picking her up at her house for a date, but she insists it’s better this way. I’ve told her I didn’t care if she lived on the outskirts of town or Timbuktu, I still wanted to pick her up but she just laughed and redirected our conversation.

I have a feeling she doesn’t want to formally introduce me to her parents as the man she’s dating, especially after my one and only visit to their feed store. I guess I understand. I didn’t really make the best first impression but that’s on me. How can I redeem myself if she refuses to introduce me to them?

Maybe I need a do-over visit to the store.

Before I can formulate a solid plan, my attention is pulled to the parking lot where I see Maggie walking toward me, looking sexy as fuck. I lean back against a column and enjoy watching her come to me. She’s so striking with how she carries herself and I don’t think she even knows it. Her height and voluptuous curves paired with her long, dark hair and wide smile command the attention of everyone around her.

And she’s mine.

For now, anyway.

When she’s close enough for me to touch, I slide my arm around her waist and pull her to me. Capturing her mouth with mine, I claim it, not able to hold back any longer. Even though we made out in the parking lot of Genie’s on Friday, it’s been too long since I’ve been able to see her… touch her… taste her.

I want her so fucking much. I want to learn her body and watch her fall apart over and over. I want her to explore my body and have her way with me, any way she wants. I want so much but realize now is not the time or place for my dick to be running the show, so I slowly and reluctantly pull away.

Maggie’s lips are swollen and her eyes are dazed as she looks at me and whispers, “Wow”.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, beautiful.” I kiss her forehead, allowing my lips to linger so I can have one last taste before we walk inside.

“Same to you.” She bites down on her bottom lip, fighting back a smile as she shakes her head. I’d give anything to know what she’s thinking and to replace her teeth with my own. Those luscious lips have made an appearance in every dream I’ve had for the past week.

And as much as I want to make her come again, it’s not going to happen in the parking lot of the community center. My instincts tell me Maggie’s a virgin. Even though I don’t have a lot of experience in that arena, I know one thing for sure, I want every orgasm I give Maggie to be better than the one before.

I want all her firsts to be worth the wait because she definitely is.

“So, tell me about the jam sessions. I hear they’re pretty famous,” I say as I grab her hand and lead her to the building’s entrance, needing to distract myself so I’m not sporting a semi as we walk into the community center.

“They’ve been happening for a few years now and they’re pretty fun. Typically, they’re held on Friday nights and people from all over come to enjoy good music and even better food. You like bar-b-que, right?”

I look at her like she’s lost her mind. “Woman, I am from Texas. Of course, I like bar-b-que.”

She laughs and squeezes my arm as we step inside, where we’re instantly greeted by a friendly welcoming committee. After we get the rundown on where to find the festivities, we make our way to where the food is and Maggie continues our conversation.

“I know you’re from Texas, which is why I asked. Texas bar-b-que is very different from Tennessee bar-b-que. Some even say your version isn’t bar-b-que at all.”

I jerk away from her in shock. “Them’s fightin’ words, Miss O’Neal,” I say, laying my Texas twang on thick. “Now, take me to this high-and-mighty food so I can judge for myself.”

Thirty minutes later, I’m slumped in my chair, fighting the urge to unbuckle my belt and jeans.

“So, what’s the verdict?”

Maggie’s expression is smug and I want to kiss it right off her face but I’m too full to move right now. So instead, I give her a shrug, trying to play it off. “It’s alright, I guess. If you like that kind of thing.”

Her laughter fills the room and I’m mesmerized. It’s quickly becoming my favorite sound, second only to the sounds of her orgasm. Shit, I cannot be thinking like that right now, when I’m too stuffed to try and hide a boner.

“One of these days, I’ll fix you some Texas bar-b-que,” I vow.

She scrunches up her nose, and while the look on her face is absolutely adorable, it’s not quite what I was hoping for. “You’ve had my cooking before. Do you doubt my skills?”

“It’s not that,” she starts. “It’s just that Texas bar-b-que is mainly smoked meat, not cooked over an open flame, and you put your sauce on the side!” Her hand covers her heart to illustrate the horror of her words.

“Listen, good meat is good meat, I don’t care where it’s from. But, it’s only fair that you try my meat since I just tried yours.”

The words are out of my mouth before I realize how they sound, and when I look at Maggie’s face to get her reaction, I’m pleased to see the same dazed look from earlier. She’s also blushing something fierce, which tells me she’s just as dirty minded as I am. Well, maybe not quite as much, but close.

“Hey,” I say to get her attention.

With flushed cheeks, she meets my eyes. “Yeah?”

“You gonna take me to one of the music rooms so I can finally dance with you?”

Her shoulders relax and she gives me one of her mega-watt smiles. “Are you sure you’re up to it?”

“Absolutely. Besides, I need to burn off some of this food.”

Maggie giggles and grabs my hand, pulling me out of my chair and leading me to the first music room we find. There are five or six musicians playing some good ol’ honky-tonk music, which is exactly what I need right now.

I twirl Maggie around before pulling her flush against my body. “Let’s dance.”

And, dance, we do. We two-step, we waltz, and we even jitterbug a couple of times before we’re worn out and need to take a break.

We leave the room and enter another with a band playing bluegrass music. I’m a little surprised to see both of my brothers, along with their significant others, on the dance floor. Bluegrass is not a genre of music we listened to much back home but it’s a slow song and I completely understand the draw of slow dancing with a woman. So much so, I grab Maggie’s hand and lead her onto the floor close to my siblings, so we can join in the fun, as well.

What a sight this must be, watching three big-ass dudes from Texas slow dancing to bluegrass music in a refurbished classroom.

“Oh, good, Cletus is playing. He’s so good on the banjo,” Maggie tells me.

“Who’s that?”

“You know Jenn from the bakery, right? Well, that’s her husband.” She uses her head to point in the direction of a man with wild hair, playing a banjo as if it’s the easiest thing to do. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of envious of his long beard. I’ve never been able to grow my beard out like that.

It doesn’t take long for me to get lost in the feel of Maggie in my arms again. She fits perfectly, her soft parts molding to my hard ones, and if it feels this good while we still have our clothes on, I can’t fucking wait to be this close to her while naked.

Maggie’s head is on my shoulder as we sway to the music, so she doesn’t see when Tempest waves at me. I look up at Tempest and watch as she mouths, “Have you asked about New Orleans.” Drawing my eyebrows together, I give a small shake of my head in reply. She’s obviously not happy with my answer because her eyes are now narrowed and her hands are on her hips.

Not wanting to get into it right now, I roll my eyes and sway our bodies so that my back is now facing Tempest. I’m sure I’ll pay for this tomorrow but I don’t care.

It’s not that I don’t want Maggie to go to New Orleans with us, with me, because I do. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s too soon for us. Of course, I wouldn’t have any expectations regarding the physical side of our relationship but it’d be our first weekend getaway as a couple, and to me, that’s a big deal. Road trips can either make or break a couple and the fact we’d also be with my family, as in my entire family… well, it kind of scares the shit out of me. I don’t want to pressure her or freak her out but, on the flip side, making that trip without her would fucking suck.

I will ask her, but not tonight.

Tonight, I just want to hold her in my arms for as long as she’ll let me.

About Jiffy Kate

Jiffy Kate is the joint pen name for Jiff Simpson and Jenny Kate Altman. They’re co-writing besties who share a brain. They also share a love of cute boys, stiff drinks, and fun times.

Together, they’ve written over twenty stories. Their first published book, Finding Focus, was released in November 2015. Since then, they’ve continued to write what they know–southern settings full of swoony heroes and strong heroines.

Find Jiffy Kate online

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Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance

New Smartypants Romance Release! You’re the One That I Want, Scorned Women Society #3 by Piper Sheldon from Smartypants Romance, now available in Kindle Unlimited!

The One That I Want, an all-new opposites attract contemporary romance from Piper Sheldon, is LIVE EARLY on AppleBooks, Nook, Kobo, and GooglePlay!

❤️❤️ Now available in Kindle Unlimited ❤️❤️

Book Review: I really love this series, which are about four women who had all dated the same man at different points in their history, whose Scorned Women’s Society motto is “No ex left behind.” The books are based loosely on beloved musicals. The One That I Want recalls the story of summer lovers who expect to never see each other again once they return to their homes. Sound familiar?

We got to know Roxy in the two previous books in this series: My Bare Lady and The Treble with Men. Sanders is a brand-new to Green Valley, Tennessee, and he is a very interesting character with a lot of depth. I actually wish we’d delved even more into the past from which he was trying so hard to run.

Do yourself a favor and get the audiobook of this story: Sanders is Australian and Rupert Channing does an amazing job with that sexy accent!

Thanks to the author and Smartypants Romance for the opportunity to read and review this book.

There is no such thing as luck.

Roxy Kincaid isn’t a biker chick anymore. She’s made herself more than Jethro Winston’s castoff, and she’s never going back to her old life with the Iron Wraiths. But one summer night, a charming stranger threatens to sweep Roxy off her feet. Ignoring fate and their instant attraction, she has to get back to her real life in Green Valley. He couldn’t be the one that she wants when he’s exactly the thing that could ruin everything. If only she could stop thinking about him.

Luck is everything.

Sanders Olsson is going to fix his mistakes. He’s determined to show his best friend he’s a reliable business partner not the distracted flake he’s been lately. But he has to listen when the universe brings him a sign in the form of a guarded beauty he can’t keep his eyes off. Their instant connection is almost magical but she leaves without giving him even a last name. When fate gives Sanders a second chance in life and love, he sets out for Green Valley without a backward glance.

Their summer lovin’ happened so fast but what will it take to make it last?

‘The One That I Want’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #3 in the Scorned Women’s Society series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Download your copy TODAY!

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Coming to Kindle Unlimited February 25th!

Pre-order your copy today!

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About Piper Sheldon

Piper Sheldon writes Contemporary Romance and Paranormal Romance. Her books are a little funny, a lotta romantic, and with just a little twist of something more. She lives with her husband, toddler, and two needy dogs at home in the desert Southwest. She finds writing bios in the third person an extreme sport of awkwardness.

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Book Review, Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

New Smartypants Romance release! Steal My Magnolia, a Love at First Sight novel by Karla Sorensen from Smartypants Romance! Now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Steal My Magnolia is more than a love story. It’s a beautifully crafted journey of life full of obstacles but a journey worth the travel with the right person.” –Author Andrea Johnston

❤️❤️ Now available in Kindle Unlimited❤️❤️

BOOK REVIEW: I really love Karla Sorensen’s books. This is the third in the Love at First Sight series. It’s hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so different, and so good! The underlying storyline – of a family “love curse” – is unique, and fun to read.

Each member of the Buchanan family deals with this situation, finding themselves completely in love with someone the minute they lay eyes on them and knowing that this person is their forever, differently. The storylines are so creative and interesting, particularly these last two since they deal with Grace and Grady, a sister and brother whose “forever” people have a deep history with each other, which causes its own particular set of issues.

One thing I really appreciated about this story was there was no misunderstanding or created discord or forced conflict between the characters. I hate those, especially when they seem manufactured, just to cause drama in the story. The issue between Grady and Magnolia, when it comes, is completely organic because it deals with the love curse, which is the basis for the entire Love at First Sight series.

I love how entrenched this series is in the Green Valley World that Penny Reid created. I’ve read some books in the Smartypants romance collection that only have a mere mention of a character we know from the Winston family, for example, as if that would be enough to make it a part of this world and enough to invested us in it. By contrast, in this book, Magnolia’s aunt is Daisy Peyton! Magnolia shops at the Piggly Wiggly where Jennifer Sylvester gets her bananas and where Cletus came to her rescue in the parking lot that time. (This is not mentioned but it came to mind while I was reading.) It feels authentic and genuine, and I love that because I can’t get enough of Green Valley, especially because I’ve visited Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains recently and I feel more connected to these books now.

I have been desperate for their cousin Hunter’s story since the first book in the series and it looks like it’s next. I can’t wait!

Thanks to the author and Smartypants Romance for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Life lesson from Grady Buchanan: If you’re going to fall in love with the untouchable girl in town, don’t hire her as your only employee.

Even after he bungled the interview with Magnolia MacIntyre, he knew better than to hire her. The list of why it’s a bad idea is a long one.

Her father could ruin his fledgling business.

She is completely overqualified.

And he’s attracted to her.

What does Grady do? He offers her the job.

Magnolia knew better than to take it. Normally, she’d make the safe choice, and working for Grady is anything but.

He’s new in town–and entirely too charming.

Her dad will be furious.

She hates the outdoors and working for an outdoor adventure company is not exactly the right fit.

What does she do? She says yes on the spot.

Grady and Magnolia will have to prove to everyone in their life that they’re not crazy. And prove to each other that the list of why it’s a bad idea should be tossed out the window.

For these two opposites, sometimes doing the wrong thing is exactly right.

‘Steal My Magnolia’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #3 in the Love At First Sight series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Download your copy TODAY!

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About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

Find Karla Sorensen online

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BLOG TOUR: Smartypants Romance release, Stranger Ranger, Park Ranger series #2, by Daisy Prescott – now available in KU

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Stranger Ranger, an all-new standalone contemporary romance from USA Today bestselling author Daisy Prescott, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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This is the final release in the Smartypants Romance Spring 2020 launch, and I’ve read every one. Only a few of them have gotten five stars from me, and Stranger Ranger is one of them. I also loved the first book in this series, Happy Trail, which is the story of Olive and Jay, a ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stranger Ranger is about Odin and Daphne, who is a co-worker of Jay’s.

There is so much to love about this story. Daphne and Odin are two self-professed weirdos, and I can totally relate. I saw a lot of myself in Daphne (she’s even a Hufflepuff, like me!) She can be awkward, she is a rule-follower, she’s trying to overcome a lifetime of expectations and become who she wants to be, she loves to learn and travel and have new experiences. Also, “loopy” Daphne is just adorable. I feel like we just scratched the surface of who she is, and where she came from, and I would have loved to know even more about her. That is the sign of a great character.

I liked Odin a lot, and would have liked to know more of his backstory, as well. It was touched on, but I definitely would have read a few more chapters about how he became who he is, and questionable choices in his past that he is trying to overcome. We meet his family briefly, and find out a bit about why he’s returned to his home in the mountains after being away for several years. I love a good origin story, and I wanted more of Odin’s!

There wasn’t a lot of steam to this story, which is absolutely fine. It was sweet, with a bit of a slow burn that I wouldn’t have minded being even slower. 🙂 They got to know each other as we all do, in little bits and pieces, as they spent more time together. There wasn’t a big conflict or a huge reveal of secrets, or a giant misunderstanding that they had to struggle to overcome. I’ve read a few books lately where there was a conflict that seemed manufactured just for the angst factor, and it was wonderful to not have that here.

I didn’t want this book to end. I could have stayed up late to finish it, but I wanted to save the last few chapters for the next day so I could extend my time with it just a little bit. I hope there are many more Park Ranger books to come!

New park ranger Daphne Baum is a reformed good girl. Breaking free from her overbearing family as soon as she turned eighteen, she’s been on her own ever since. The life of a park ranger, moving from park to park, suits her just fine. Though still a rule follower, she’s okay with a little sin in her life.

Every generation of Hill men has its black sheep. The general consensus among the family is that Odin Hill is the lucky bastard this go around. At seventeen, he blew out of town like an angry tornado only to return fifteen years later withdrawn and secretive. Living like a recluse in the hollows in the Smoky Mountains, he’s happy to keep to himself and is content to let locals believe he’s the town weirdo. Odin prefers the company of his pet pig to the nosy citizens of Green Valley.

When Daphne discovers Odin might be committing nefarious deeds on park land, she vows to find out the truth behind the handsome, yet chaotic, loner. Will the stranger help the ranger discover the difference between being good and doing the right thing? Or will they find themselves on opposite sides of love?

‘Stranger Ranger’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Park Ranger series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Excerpt

By early afternoon, the crowd at the farmers’ market fades, leaving only stragglers, bargainers, and tourists sampling the charms of small town life.

I’ve had enough people for the week I’m looking forward to the quiet of my own company. All the talking and friendly chatter exhaust me. You’d think vegetables would sell themselves given they’re pretty self-explanatory. Yet folks wanna hear a story about a carrot being grown from the guy who pulled it out of the dirt himself. So I play my part of the happy farmer at the stand. It’s my bad luck I’ve always been charming. Part of my DNA.

My family has lived in the mountains surrounding Green Valley longer than anyone around here can remember. Before there was a National Park or even a Cades Cove, the Hills had established a homestead in the Smokies straddling Tennessee and North Carolina.

Because our last name is Hill, some people like to joke we put the hill in hillbilly. Jethro Winston for example. He’s hysterical. Some people think they have a sense of humor when they’re just being mean-spirited. As my Nannie Ida always says, glass houses provide good views, but then again, so do mirrors.

This is why I prefer the company of Patsy over most folks. She’s smart, a good listener, tidy, and doesn’t give a damn about my family and reputation. She has more class than a lot of the gossips and Sunday church-goers around here.

After I consolidate the remaining produce into crates and load up the van, I fold the tables and collapse my tent. While I work, the face of the brunette ranger floats through my mind.

She looked familiar but I didn’t recognize her name. It isn’t likely our paths have crossed. I don’t get out much and I’m not hanging around the bars or the visitor center in Cades Cove. Normally, one of my cousins covers the stand at the weekly farmers’ market and I can avoid the crowds. This is what happens when I let my guard down and am forced to engage with the public. I get iceberg and Bible quotes. I’ve never been a fan of either.

Bothered I’m still thinking about her, I close and lock up the van.

“Come on Patsy, let’s go for a walk.”

She gives a happy snort and steps closer to where her leash hangs on the top rail of her pen.

When the two of us stroll through town, folks stare. It’s worse when they insist on sharing a comment, tell the same old joke, and, in general, make a fuss. Honestly, I assume at this point people seeing the two of us together would be old news around here.

Guess some folks don’t have enough going on in their lives that they need to make commentary about people minding their own damn business.

I don’t understand what the big deal is about a man walking his pig.

Patsy’s excellent on a leash. Doesn’t pull. Has never instigated fights with dogs. Hasn’t bit anyone. Doesn’t do her business in the middle of the sidewalk. In my mind, she’s much better mannered than any old hound dog.

She’s pretty darn perfect in every conceivable way.

Except the one time she trampled Mrs. MacClure’s flower bed.

Even that was my fault for not paying closer attention to where we were walking.

If I had to find fault with her, Patsy thinks she’s in charge. And she’s a little more than spoiled. I only have myself to blame.

“Clarice, please tell me you see that man walking his pig.” A woman shouts to her friend and points from about three feet away.

“I’m not invisible,” I tell her with a flat smile.

“Oh dear.” Her companion rolls her eyes. “You’re a tall drink of cool water, aren’t you?”

The question is rhetorical. Being compared to a refreshing beverage doesn’t require a response, so I remain quiet. Patsy tugs on her leash and releases a frustrated snort that we’ve stopped walking.

“You two have a nice day, m‘kay.” I step off the sidewalk to pass them.

I’d like to say their behavior is atypical. If I hear “You’re like the Jolly Green Giant. Only less green” one more time …

For the record, I am not jolly.

There must be something in the well water around here. We grow ‘em tall in Green Valley.

Does a pig need to be walked on leash for health and exercise? No.

I’m the only weirdo in all of Green Valley who likes to take my daily constitutional accompanied by a sow. Not even Cletus Winston is as much of an oddball as I am. And that’s saying something.

He’s only interested in pigs and boar in terms of sausage. In my opinion, he’s missing out. If we were friends, or even friendly acquaintances, I might suggest we partner up. Truffle salami can be incredible. Or so I remember. I don’t eat pork anymore. Not since I’ve had Patsy. I’d be offended if she ate human body parts around me.

Hogs will eat pretty much anything you give them. A few years ago a pig farmer went missing. Wife said he ran off with his mistress. Everyone believed her until his gold tooth turned up in the muck and mud of their hog pens. Macabre, but true.

I don’t eat pork and Patsy doesn’t eat me. It’s an unspoken pact between us.

Not that she’s some sort of demon pig crazed with bloodlust. Not at all. She’s the best pig in eastern Tennessee. Don’t need a blue ribbon from the state fair to make it true.

This leisurely stroll around town is all part of my ruse.

If someone sees us ambling someplace we don’t belong, they’ll leave us alone, which is the entire point.

There’s freedom in being a weirdo. Folks keep their distance. Sure, there are the asinine comments, but for the most part they assume I’m dim-witted or crazy. Fine by me. With or without my porcine sidekick, I’ve always been different. I learned early on that people like to form and hold onto their own opinions. Pointless to try to change someone’s mind. What they think of me is their problem, not mine.

About Daisy Prescott

Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog, Mulder, and an imaginary house goat. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.

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BLOG TOUR: Smartypants Romance New Release: Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards, book #1 in the Higher Learning series! Now available in Kindle Unlimited

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College, cookies, capers, Oh my!

Upsy Daisy, an all-new first love college romance from debut author Chelsie Edwards, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Daisy Payton has everything.

Exceptional grades.

Impeccable clothes.

Model family.

But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.

Trevor Boone has nothing.

Abandoned as a child.

Raised by distant relatives.

Constantly reminded he’s a burden.

Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.

When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?

‘Upsy Daisy’ is a full-length romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Higher Learning series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Excerpt

My room was small with pale yellow walls, one window on the far wall, two closets, two raised beds, and a single dresser. I’d beaten my roommate there and claimed the bed closest to the window. We’d made quick work of the cleaning and had gotten a good way through the decorating and hanging my clothes before Dolly flopped on the bed and called me to sit next to her.

I knew what was coming next. It was one of my favorite Dolly speeches. It was the “Today You Become a Woman” speech. My conservative guess was I’d become a woman twenty-three times in the last few years. It’d happened when I’d gotten my driver’s license, when I’d gotten asked to the junior prom, when I’d gone to the senior prom, graduation day … you get the drift. Dolly was good with marking milestones with big speeches.

She’d begin gently but I knew it wouldn’t stay gentle for very long, she would poke and pry and try to get me to cry and suddenly I was tired and ready for her to go.

“Do you like your room?” she asked innocuously.

I nodded, because I knew she hated when I nodded. Instead of reacting she simply stared and stared until I said, “Yes, it’s nice, a bit small for two people but I’m sure my roommate will be nice and we will make do,” I said it more hoping than knowing.

Dolly smiled, and then after a moment said, “Don’t be angry with your father …”

I stared at her confused, waiting for her to go on. She seemed to be struggling for words and so I patted her leg reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ll write him a letter. Or better yet, I think I saw a pay phone at the end of the hall, I’ll call him and tell him I’m not angry he couldn’t make the trip.”

She sighed. “No, Daisy, I know you’re not angry over that.”

There was another pause and she took a deep breath. “Daddy wanted to surprise you. He thought you might be more comfortable in your own room here since you have your own room at home.”

I continued to stare at her. “He called in a favor with one of his friends at the Alumni Association and they made special accommodations for you … someone will be by to collect the extra bed—”

“No,” I said more forcefully than I intended. I wasn’t angry with Dolly.

Although she had kept this from me until now, so maybe I should’ve been. In fact I definitely should’ve been.

“Dolly, why didn’t you tell me?”

“I knew it would make you upset. There is no use trying to change what’s done.”

“No use? Would make me upset? I am way past upset. I don’t want special accommodations. I don’t want my own room. I don’t want to be treated differently,” I hollered.

“Daisy, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world.”

How could I explain that it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a continuation of the same world.

And that was the problem.

I wanted to be Daisy Payton here, not style=”font-weight: 400;”>Daisy Payton.

Because Daisy Payton played a mean game of spades, and knew how to cornrow in every direction. She had a natural head for figures, and could even do three digit multiplication in her head. She loved the Temptations and could cut a rug on the dance floor with the best of them. She could bake better than your eighty-five-year-old granny. She studied geography for fun. She got a four-point-oh during the worst year of her life. She was good with potted plants but terrible in the garden; weeds were foes she could not defeat. She’d been kissed twice. Once was awful and once was amazing, so amazing that she did it again, and then again—so really four times, but three of the kisses happened in one session. And she wanted opportunities to roll that fifty-fifty dice again to find out how the next kiss would be.

But Daisy Payton?

Daisy Payton had a powerful father. (That poor man.)

Daisy Payton was a rich girl. (She’s not but it doesn’t matter if people think you are.)

She had a dead brother, who got murdered in Vietnam. (What a useless war.)

Daisy Payton had a mother who was there and then *poof* was gone from breast cancer. (Poor Daisy.)

Daisy Payton went from rich girl to poor girl. Poor little rich girl that everyone looked at with pity.

And she hated it.

She hated that everyone, everyone thought they knew her.

She hated the assumption that if they hurt with her, or worse, for her, then it made the pain better, as if that made it the entire community’s pain; when it absolutely didn’t.

She hated that she still read and reread the letters from her brother. Some of the pages had wrinkles from being crumpled in fits of anger because oh, she was so angry when he left. And then she felt guilty and stupid and horrified that she’d almost destroyed his letters when they were all that was left. Some were starting to show signs of age, yellow in some spots and the ink fading in others, and she hated that too because how could so much time have passed without him?

And she hated that her mother had been helping her shop for homecoming dresses and was buried before Thanksgiving. It had spread so fast.

No junior prom dress shopping. No junior prom.

She barely remembered her senior year.

She hated that her friends and family and perfect strangers spoke to her in hushed tones and assumed she was broken.

She hated that they were right.

Because the ache inside her was relentless. It constantly missed her brother. It constantly missed her mother. It would not abate. It could not be moved. She was thoroughly, horribly, broken and all that brokenness was put up for examination by an entire town. That just couldn’t happen here.

For the whole of her life, the whole of Green Valley had treated her differently, and she absolutely hated it.

But she wasn’t in Green Valley now. And Daisy Payton had a plan.

About Chelsie Edwards

Chelsie Edwards’ mother declared her a smarty-pants at 4 years old; now she gets to be one professionally. She manages project timelines by day and book timelines by night. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and has no dogs, fish, or birds, but her neighbors cat “Buddy” keeps her company by sunbathing on her porch. Her debut novella is scheduled to be released Spring 2020 on Smartypants Romance and will chronicle Daisy and Trevor’s journey.

TF

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BLOG TOUR: New Smartypants Release, Carpentry and Cocktails, Green Valley Public Library book 5, by Nora Everly – UPDATED

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Carpentry and Cocktails, an all-new heartwarming small-town romance from Nora Everly, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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REVIEW: I love a Nora Everly book for all its nerdy references. She is “a nerd in almost every way that exists,” and she’s not afraid to show it! I really like the mentions of other Green Valley characters that we know and love. Unlike other Smartypants Romance books I’ve read, the characters are there for a reason and not just dropped in to make those of us who love Penny Reid’s books feel connected to this new author’s story.

I liked this story, as I love a hot nerd like Everett. Willa was complicated, and I enjoyed her character development. I loved that they both had involved, supportive families. The ending seemed a bit rushed but it was still satisfying. I hope the rest of Everett’s siblings will get their own books, especially Barrett.

This book is now available in Kindle Unlimited. Thanks to Smartypants Romance and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Everett Monroe can’t keep his eyes off his gorgeous tenant.

He’d like to put his hands on her too, but she’s prickly, closed-off, and gives new meaning to the word disgruntled. In other words, she’s his perfect match and he’ll do anything to make her see it too.

Willa Hill has finally left her teen runaway past behind and wants a fresh start—alone. Men are nothing but trouble and she’s had enough man-trouble to last a lifetime.

Too bad her irresistibly sexy, nerdy-hot landlord doesn’t agree.

When their mutual yearning becomes a white-hot fling and passion crosses carefully drawn, albeit one-sided boundaries, Everett finds himself in love and Willa finds herself in a pickle.

Because, unfortunately, when she returned to Green Valley, her problems came too.

When the past she escaped crashes into the future she finds herself wanting more than anything, will Willa stay in Green Valley?

Or will she run away again?

‘Carpentry and Cocktails’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Excerpt

We had danced together before, the night I’d first met her. Months ago, I’d been at Genie’s with Wyatt to have a few beers and shake off the day. Instead, I’d danced all evening with the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Every time I remembered holding her close, I had to fight against getting hard. Since that night, I had been half in love with her. The physical half was all in—I was attracted to her something fierce. The mental half didn’t know enough to start the fall, even though everything I learned about her drew me in and each day made me fall a little further. She was skittish with a fiercely sharp wit; she had been hurt. I could tell she was protecting a soft spot and it made me want to discover it so I could be the one to keep her safe.

But she had kept her distance from me—well, as much as she possibly could while living in the apartment in my basement—and we hadn’t touched again, not once. Having her crash into my arms just now was heady stuff. Her scent, the feel of her body, the warm press of her against me—she made me feel intoxicated, and I had yet to order a single drink. My heart was in danger, but I couldn’t make myself stay away.

“My sister…I’m sorry—” she stammered as she started to step back.

I tugged her closer instead of letting her get away. “Don’t apologize. Dance with me?” My hands drifted around her waist as I started moving us backward toward the dance floor.

“Oh, I don’t know if we should.” Hesitation flashed briefly in her eyes, but she acquiesced and followed me across the floor as I turned to hold her hand, giving it a gentle tug of encouragement.

Leaning to the side, I whispered in her ear as we walked. “It’s just a dance, Willard.” I pulled back and grinned down at her with a wink. Her gorgeous eyes—big and light blue like the summer sky—widened as she opened her mouth to say something, but I twirled her under my arm instead of letting her speak. Country music blasted through the bar, fast and wild. It left no room for hesitation. I yanked her into my arms. “Okay?” I shouted over the music.

My mother loved to dance; she taught all us boys how. A gentleman always takes his lady dancing. And maintains a respectful distance. I took a small step back, placing my hand on Willa’s upper back as our fingers linked together. With a step forward, she closed that distance to press against me once more. My lips curled up in a grin as her hand tightened in mine and her arm slid around my neck, hand drifting through the back of my tied-back hair. She wasn’t as immune to me as she pretended to be and I wouldn’t dare test that by stepping away from her again, even if it wasn’t gentlemanly. If she wanted me close, then that’s where I’d be.

Her gorgeous eyes twinkled in the lights as she smiled up at me and her body relaxed in my arms. “Okay, Everett. I’ll dance with you,” she breathed. Her voice was much too quiet to hear over the blaring music, but my focus on her gorgeous mouth allowed me to understand her words.

Quick, quick, slow—our easy Texas two-step was the same as everyone else’s on the floor but with her in my arms, this felt like so much more than a simple dance. I led her across the floor, spinning her out and pulling her back. I wanted to make her laugh again, like I did during our last dance so many months ago. I wanted her to want me as much as I wanted her. We had almost shared a kiss that night but were interrupted before anything could happen. She had the prettiest lips; full and soft and always pink. If I never kissed Willa before I died, it would be one of my greatest regrets. I had faith the right moment would present itself. As the song came to an end, I took both of her hands to spin her under my arms before dipping her low over my knee. Her ponytail brushed the floor as her neck arched back. She laughed, lifted her head and my heart skipped a beat as her eyes shone into mine with unbridled delight. Her sexy laugh tickled over my skin like I wished her hands would do and I felt the fall I was so afraid of coming even closer.

“God, you’re such a good dancer. Where’d you learn to dance like this, Everett?” she asked, slightly breathless and totally adorable as she beamed up at me. It seemed that dancing with Willa was one of the keys to get her to respond to me. I filed that fact away for future contemplation as I pulled her up and into my hold once again.

My smile turned sideways as I was about to admit my nerdy momma’s-boy truth to her. “From my mother,” I shouted over the music. “She loves to dance. My father tries, but he isn’t very good at it, so she taught all us boys how. We used to take turns two-stepping with her all over the living room.”

“That’s the sweetest thing ever,” she said. Score one for the nerds! “One more?” I didn’t want to let her go yet.

“Sure, I have time for one more before I have to get back to work.”

With its slower beat and romantic lyrics, Lady Antebellum’s “I Run to You” changed the energy between us. The rise and fall of her chest as she sighed against me filled me with need as her forehead briefly rested on my shoulder and our fingers linked. I loved it that she was so tall. At six-foot-six I towered over most women, but Willa fit me just right. My need grew urgent as I wrapped my arm around her waist and my hand met the soft swipe of her skin, bared by the tied hem of her Genie’s tank top. Smooth and warm, it tempted me into thoughts inappropriate for our location. I inhaled a sharp breath to regain control. Dipping my head low, I took in her sweet scent as my cheek rested against hers—so soft. Her curly hair tickled my chin as my senses filled with nothing but her. Having her next to me felt right and I didn’t understand why. My heart raced out of control and I wondered just what it was about her that made me react so intensely.

She reminded me of a Palomino horse; all long legs, flowing light blond hair, and pale skin kissed with adorable freckles. Willa was some kind of wild, and totally free. I shut my eyes and pictured her running across her momma’s land up in the hills above town with her gorgeous hair flying behind her like a gold cloud, her laughter trailing through the air. God, she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I grit my teeth as my control started slipping away again. I was in danger of making a fool of myself. I was in danger of a lot of things, and a broken heart was at the top of that list.

“I love this song…” she whispered in my ear as she pulled away. Her head lifted from my shoulder as her hand trailed down my arm. She linked our fingers and I resumed leading her around the floor, rather than the slow sway we’d fallen into when the song started.

“Mm hmm,” I muttered as I gazed into her eyes and smiled faintly, at a loss for words.

She studied my face. “Everett, why do I always feel like when you’re looking at me, you really see me?” she murmured.

“I do see you. Sometimes you’re all I see,” I confessed, hoping it wasn’t too much, too soon.

Lowering her head, she tucked her blushing cheek into the side of my neck and sighed against my skin, leaving goosebumps in the wake of her breath. I continued leading her across the dance floor with my heart beating like crashing thunder bolts in my chest. I should be careful; I didn’t want her to end up being just another girl I fell for who didn’t want me back. Story of my life.

About Nora Everly

Nora Everly is a lifelong bookworm. She started reading the good stuff once she grew tall enough to sneak the romance novels off the top of her mother’s bookshelf and it has been non-stop ever since.

Once upon a time she was a substitute teacher and an educational assistant. Now she’s a writer and stay at home mom to two small humans and one fat cat.

Nora lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and her overactive imagination.

NENENENENE

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Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Romance, Uncategorized

New Release! No White Knight by Nicole Snow

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Book & Author Details:
No White Knight
by Nicole Snow
Publication date: April 30th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis:

Handsome devil. Hate-worthy. Walking scandal.
I’m catching one feeling with him and it’s got teeth…

If I was a bird, I know who I’d paint white.
Holt Silverton.
The cocky dolt who swaggered up thinking he’d buy my ranch out from under me.
I know his reputation—those stormy eyes and chiseled looks ruined half this town.
Spare me the pick up lines and pretty words.

I’d rather chew nails than get roped up in anything with him.
I ain’t selling off my home, my inheritance, or my horses.
Not even if I desperately need the cash when trouble comes calling.
But there are two things I didn’t count on.

Holt’s as stubborn as a bull.
He’s also hiding a rough and tumble country boy behind that big city suit.
Everything flips upside down the day he says he’ll help save my land.
Too easy.

Because I can’t let anybody uncover the awful secret on my property.
Not even gorgeous stallions turning I-hate-you into what-are-we-doing.
He’s no white knight.
The way Holt kisses is a warning…
Nothing will ever be the same after this dark knight rocks my world.

From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – a rogue of a man plays for keeps when he collides with a determined small-town firecracker. A bantery enemies to lovers thriller. Full-length standalone romance novel with all the Hell Yeah Happily Ever Afters.

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AUTHOR BIO:
Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.

Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.

Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.

Author links:
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Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

BLOG TOUR: Batter of Wits, Donner Bakery book #5, by Karla Sorensen! A Smartypants Romance now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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“Heartfelt, hilarious, with a dash of angst…Karla Sorensen shines with the perfect feel-good read!” –Author Catherine Cowles

Batter of Wits, an all-new funny and heartwarming romance from Karla Sorensen, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy TODAY or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Excerpt

When I looked down, her hands were fisted on the countertop, shaking from the effort of keeping them still.

“I’d take a picture of that,” I told her, voice low and charged.

She tilted her chin up toward me. “Of what?”

In the low light of the apartment, her eyes glowed like melted gold.

“Your hands.” I licked my suddenly dry lips. “I feel like they’re telling me something that I can’t figure out.”Grace peered down at the fists she was making, and her fingers relaxed, the skin no longer white around her knuckles.

“What are they telling me, Grace?” I begged.

She ducked under my arm and I exhaled heavily. Without the heat from her body against mine, I took a second to get myself under control. When I turned, she was handing me her camera.

“Go ahead,” she said.

I tilted my head. “You want me to take your picture?”

Grace studied the camera, carefully removing the lens cap and pulling it up to her eyes. She aimed it at my face, and I wondered what she saw. If I looked like I was one thread away from snapping, because that’s how I felt.

I’d never felt like I was one quick step away from freedom, but here, I was. One nudge over the edge of the cliff, and she’d have me free falling without a parachute. I’d never, ever wanted it so badly.

When I heard the click of the shutter, I rubbed the back of my neck. “Can I see?”

She ignored me, pulling the camera away so she could look at the digital image on the back. Her lips curved in a secret little smile.

“What do you see?” I asked.

Her chest expanded on an inhale. “Frustration.” Her eyes met mine. “Want.”

Words lodged in my chest, and I couldn’t tear them loose.

I held my hand out and she passed the camera to me. With a rough swallow, I squinted at the tiny viewfinder once it was at eye-level. Grace came into my eye line, holding my gaze with such directness that I fought the urge not to throw the camera across the room simply because it was between us.

It was her turn to ask. “What do you see?”

My finger pushed the slick button on top of the camera, and her mouth curled in surprise that I took a shot.

I pushed the button again as she took a step closer.

“You’re not answering me,” she said lightly.

“Because I can hardly think straight when you’re looking at me like that.” My admission was rough and hard, out before I could stop it.

She took another step, within reach now, and one of her hands slid up my forearm.

One more picture, the sound of the shutter snapping between us like a shot.

Somehow, I set it down on the counter without smashing it.

“You can’t lie to a camera,” Grace said quietly, watching her hand on my arm before the other landed on my heaving chest. “It captures things as are they are, good or bad or ugly or beautiful.”

I slid an arm around her waist and tightened my grip until she was flush against me. My other hand pushed up the back of her neck and into her hair.

“This is insane,” she breathed, dropping her forehead onto my chest.

“No, it’s not.”

Grace lifted her head and pinned me in place. “Tucker, seventy-two hours ago, I hated you. You can’t tell me this doesn’t feel a little nuts.”

I couldn’t stop my smile. “You didn’t hate me. Not really.”

One eyebrow lifted. “Wanna bet?”

About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be

cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

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