Weekly Releases

Weekly Releases (24th July, 2017)

Trixsters Anonymous by Ahren Sanders

Trixsters Anonymous EbookSassy, dramatic, hot-headed are just some of the words used to describe me since the time I was born. A few little mishaps growing up and my mom has a running ‘Emerson Baker’ prayer circle, and I have the reputation of a spit-fire that won’t go away.

I prefer the terms loyal, passionate, fiery, and possibly a bit impulsive.

So when my best friend proposes the concept of starting our own business, I jump on the idea.

CHEATERS BEWARE!

That should be our motto… because your secrets can’t stay hidden for long with Trixsters Anonymous on the case.

We are the moonlighting duo hell-bent on helping those who suspect their lovers are cheating. We’re professional, careful, and completely anonymous…What could possibly go wrong?

Walker Scott… that’s what goes wrong.

I never stood a chance against the gorgeous, hazel-eyed, fiercely determined man who storms into my life and completely blindsides me.

He’s the proof that opposites attract—and when they do, the chemistry is explosive.

Did I mention he’s also a detective? A very, very, talented detective?

Pretty soon being a Trixster is a lot more complicated.

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Well Built by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde

CPEWWellBuiltCover5x8_BW_MEDIUMWhen it comes to women, sexy, well-built Kyle Coleman has always been a lover, not a fighter.  His one exception?  The tempting, beautiful Ella Fisher.  Her family and his share a tempestuous past, which make the two of them as a couple off-limits—despite the fact that she inspires some of his dirtiest fantasies. He’s kept his hands off of her for years . . . until the lines between family loyalty and lust become irrevocably blurred one fateful evening and changes everything between them.

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The Alpha’s Arrangement by Ryan Michele

RM Howls CoverIzzy needs a fresh start, and moving to the mountains of Montana is just what she was looking for. When she finds the perfect home, she can’t wait to begin her new life and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Little does she know that her home comes with a surprise.

Carter is known for getting exactly what he wants. When his mate shows up in his small town, the scent of her drives his instincts to claim her immediately. The problem is, she’s human and knows nothing about the shifter-wolves that live among her. Treading lightly isn’t his way, but he’ll do anything for his mate.

He has something up his sleeve to get her in his bed and in his life. Will Izzy resist? Or will she find out that, with the power of an Alpha, she’s unable to?

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Unfinished Business by Carina Adams

UnfinishedBusiness_mock1bThe Bastards of Boston live in a world most don’t understand. They follow their own rules, only accountable to each other, the innocents they protect, and the people they couldn’t save.

As president of the Bastards MC, Robert Doyle is the man behind it all. It’s his responsibility to keep his club safe, to be the smartest man in the room, and be ten steps ahead of everyone. He’d give everything he had, and sell his soul to the devil, to protect the ones he loves.

Until Rocker comes face-to-face with the pain he thought he’d buried. Old wounds are ripped open. Revenge consumes him. Once again he’s the teenager desperate to avenge his daughter’s murder and nothing else matters.

He calls me his angel, but the halo I wear caught fire a long time ago. There is no line I won’t cross, no law I won’t break. I’ll do whatever it takes to save him. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I’ll happily burn.

When past and present collide, we’re in for one hell of a bumpy ride.

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#MomFail Anthology

804b3912-9305-4184-993f-224c43c81b1aEveryone just stop for one bleeping minute so we can all get real with each other. Being a mom is some tough $#!†. You’re constantly wearing questionable substances that make you ask, “is this chocolate or … oh, crap …” and your purse is merely a receptacle for three-week-old snacks and broken crayons.

Let’s be honest … even when we’re doing this “mom” thing right, we’re somehow doing it completely wrong.

Pardon us while we dust off our collective Mother of the Year trophy and proudly present you with an epic anthology of #MOMFAILS.

*Stories inspired by real life (unless you’re a cop, then it’s all complete fiction). Names and situations have been changed to protect the guilty (and by guilty, we mean the moms). Because motherhood is a battlefield and we’re all just trying to survive by any means necessary.

Featuring this amazing lineup: Alissa York, A.M. Willard, BL Berry, Carina Adams, Claudia Burgoa, Crystal Burnette, Dylan Allen, Faith Andrews, Gia Riley, J.A. DeRouen, Kate Anslinger, Leddy Harper, LK Collins, LL Collins, Marie James, Piper Rayne, Riann C. Miller, Shari J. Ryan, Stephanie Rose, Stephie Walls, SM West, TL Swan, Teresa Michaels, and foreword written by: Nicole Kane Knepper

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The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez

The-Brightest-Sunset-For WebSticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Bullshit.

Words destroyed me.

“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”

“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”

“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Lies.

Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.

Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.

“He’s gone.”

In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

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Devil by Ker Dukey

devil ebookEvi Devil.

Yes, that’s really my name.

The irony is not lost on me.

I was created from two evil souls and have the name to prove it.

Devil worshipers, perverts, murderer. Is all terms used to describe the parents I refuse to remember. My mind won’t allow me to.

And why would I want to?

One born of dirty blood running through her veins can never truly be clean from its murky hue.

No matter what they try to tell me happened in my past, my mind denies me access, therefore how can I know it’s true?

How can I believe that’s what I’m born from?

Glimpses of my past haunt me, the screams of terror echo in the silent darkness of my memories, trying to remind me that my Mother went from room to room butchering our family.

I’ve learned from scars that I suffered abuse and that my Father and siblings weren’t my Mother’s only victims.

Hearing what they tell me.

Reading the words printed in the papers. None of it can prepare me for what’s to come.

My biggest lesson is learning that some memories we suppress for a reason.

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Tapped by Cora Cade

a8aade72-f25e-4d34-85e9-3757d4e7bff5One night is all she wanted.

Georgia Burke is on a mission to find a sexy one night stand. After she catches her cheating ex with her friend, in Georgia’s apartment no less, she visits her brother in his sleepy lakeside town to regroup. Her first night at Fox Lake and she finds the Drunken Duck pub and puts her plan into motion. Almost.

Will Calder is looking for the real deal. He’s done with the short-term flings and wants to find a woman ready for everything he has to offer. Will’s determined to show Georgia more than just a single night of debauchery and he’ll do everything in his power to keep her close.

Georgia’s going to find Will’s idea of the perfect woman isn’t what she expected. She’ll have to face her own insecurities to land the sexy contractor or settle for the vacation fling she anticipated.

Warning: Contains a curvy woman with a geeky streak and the contractor out to win her heart. Expect a sexy romp with a man who knows how to work with his hands.

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Keeping Her Close by Dani Wyatt

IMG_3454Black Rousseau has honored the code and kept his distance from the one thing in this world that means something to him. But things are about to change.   Black’s just received the blessing he’s been waiting for since the moment he set eyes on his boss’ daughter.

Growing up in the biker bar her father owned, Roxie Lear dreams of getting out of Hell, Michigan. The only other thing she’s always wanted is Black Rousseau. But he treats her like she doesn’t exist.  Until the day her father goes to prison, that is. And Black lets her know what’s been boiling behind his cool indifference all these years.

Will Black’s preparations to claim Roxie once and for all be too much for her?  Will the darkness inside of him frighten away the only thing in this world he’s ever needed?

Author note:   This alpha is a little dark and a bit brutal but he cherishes what is his.  As always, this story is safe/no cheating with the perfect happy ending.  Strap on your wrist cuffs and your safe word, this hot quickie of a smutty read will have you questioning your morals and wiggling in your seat.

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Mr. Right Now by Lila Monroe

2e7f5474-d0d6-4aeb-b2b1-3faf0f576a13“I’m face-down in forty glorious inches of well-endowed cake, seriously reassessing my life choices, when suddenly I hear it. The voice that launched a thousand teenage boy-band dreams. My #1 crush, Drew Delaney himself.”

Ten years ago, Drew was boy-band royalty: the subject of a million teenage fantasies – and the guy next door. He was so far out of my league, I couldn’t see him for stars, but now I’m back in town for our high-school reunion, guess who I run into but Mr. Right-Now himself…

Older. Hotter. And still sexy enough to make me forget about the glittery white frosting currently smeared across my chest.

Sparks are flying, and so are my panties, and soon, our trip down memory lane has taken a detour to ‘oh my god, don’t stop!’. Population: me.

But can I turn Mr. Right-Now into Mr. Forever? Or will crazed fans, vicious yoga moms, and three dozen c#ck-sicles (don’t ask) doom our romance to the ‘Where are they now?’ section of MTV’s greatest hits?

You’ll be begging for a taste of Lila Monroe’s new sexy, laugh-out-loud summer romance!

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Sapphire by J.A. Low

cae63808-bc95-4324-88fc-014bf151475dAn unconventional love is tested to its limits in this completely immersive dark ménage suspense, for fans of JL Perry and Pepper Winters.

Mateo is used to being in the spotlight, he craves it in everything he does . . . except when it comes to his love life – that is firmly in the closet.

Tomas shuns the spotlight, the one he was born into, he wants nothing to do with it or his high-flying family who now reject him for his choices in love.

But Tomas’ and Mateo’s carefully constructed lives are turned inside out when they discover a beautiful, battered woman on their doorstep. The woman with the sapphire eyes has no memory of who she is or how she got there. She doesn’t know about the Bratva Jewels – the Russian mafia’s most desired escorts – or how her story intersects with theirs. Can Tomas and Mateo help her remember before the men who are after her find her first?

The first standalone book in the BRATVA JEWELS series from the author of the DIRTY TEXAS books, JA Low.

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Weekly Releases

Weekly Releases (10th July, 2017)

Jilted by Sawyer Bennett

FINAL Jilted_Hollywood hath no fury like a woman scorned. In this fun, flirty second-chance romance from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett, an aspiring starlet reconnects with her first love.

“Sawyer Bennett never fails to deliver heroes I fall hard for and heroines I adore.”—Violet Duke

Eden Goodnight went to Los Angeles to make it big, not to be publicly humiliated by her cheating fiancé at a red-carpet premiere. But when Eden returns to her hometown to put the scandal behind her, she can barely find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Turns out the locals are worse than the paparazzi, and they all think she’s turned into a spoiled brat. But in a strange twist of fate, the one person who seems to understand what Eden’s going through is Cooper Mayfield . . . the boy she left behind.

Small-town charm is no match for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. At least that’s what Coop’s been telling himself all these years. As Eden’s old flame—and the landscaper for her family’s historic home—Coop feels some responsibility for getting her out of her funk. But as soon as he sees that million-dollar smile, he’s a goner. Soon they’re making out like teenagers again. But when a life-changing role falls into Eden’s lap, Coop just hopes she doesn’t give up on a love that’s meant to be.

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Wicked Grind by J. Kenner

WickedGrind_Ecover_FINAL_RSometimes it feels so damn good to be bad

Photographer Wyatt Royce’s career is on the verge of exploding. All he needs is one perfect model to be the centerpiece of his sexy, controversial show. Find her, and Wyatt is sure to have a winner.

Then Kelsey Draper walks in. Stunning. Vibrant. And far too fragile for a project like this. Wyatt should know—after all, he remembers only too well why their relationship ended all those years ago.

Determined to break free from her good girl persona, Kelsey wants spice. Adventure. And she’s certain that Wyatt is just the man to help.

But when Wyatt agrees to give her the job only if he has complete control—on camera and in his bed—Kelsey can’t help but wonder if she’s in too deep. Because how can a good girl like her ever be enough for a man like Wyatt?

All Wicked novels stand alone

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Summer Love by J. Lum

Summer Love_ebookTOBY

Spending the entire summer with my father wasn’t in my plans. I hated him. I was angry and resentful, and it made me feel out of control.

Until I met her.

Casey is carefree. She lives life to the fullest, without regrets, and to a guy like me, she was hope. We only had the summer, and I knew better than to get wrapped up with her, but I couldn’t help it.

And now? Now, I don’t know how to let her go.

CASEY

I’d never been in love. At fifteen, my life was filled with books and family expectations. Love was not something I had time for.

And then, he saved me.

Toby is a boy from California, so you would think he’d be easy going, but he isn’t. He’s the definition of self-control; everything has to be “just so.” But when we’re together, living each day with reckless abandon, I realize that life is so much more than fairytales within the pages.

I’m pretty sure he’s my soulmate. But what good can possibly come from falling so hard when you’re this young? How can this ever work?

A promise. That’s all we have to hold on to. One. Simple. Promise.

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Bought and Paid For by Jordan Marie & Jenika Snow

IMG_3324He wanted my virginity.

He wanted to own me.

I just wanted to be his.

Jackson

I wanted Megan from the moment I first saw her, and nothing would keep me from her.

I could have been called a bastard for knowing her father would fail in paying me for a mutual business agreement, for knowing I would take Megan as payment.

But she was mine and in my world, when I wanted something, I took it. And I wanted her.

She was bought and paid for, collateral damage when her father failed to uphold his end of the deal.

They all think it’s only for a week. They’re wrong.

I’m keeping her.

Megan

My father couldn’t fulfill a debt to Jackson King, but Jackson didn’t seem to mind, not when he got me as his payment.

Having been attracted to the brutal businessman for years, I couldn’t help but feel arousal and trepidation at what he had planned. He wanted me for a week, to do with as he pleased.

He wanted my virginity.

But I knew this was more than just repaying a debt. This was about Jackson wanting to own me, not just my body, but every part of who I was.

And the depraved part about it all was the fact that I wanted to give everything to him.

I wanted to be his.

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Shameless by Lisa Renee Jones

ShamelessThe second and final book in the sexy and intense White Lies Duet from New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Renee Jones.

Nick “Tiger” Rogers, sought out Faith Winter with revenge as his agenda. He made her his obsession. He seduced her. He made her want him. He made her trust him. And then he trusted her. He wanted her. He loved her.

But now, the lies will be exposed, the truth revealed.

Hearts will be broken. Lives shattered.

Nick. Faith.

The truth. The passion.

The SHAMELESS obsession.

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The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez

33357953Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.

“You’re pregnant.”

“It’s a boy.”

“Your son needs a heart transplant.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Lies.

Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.

Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.

“He’s gone.”

For ten years, the darkness consumed me.

In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

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Bad Boss by Stella Rhys

35385481He was supposed to be my first and only one-night stand.

He was definitely not supposed to become my boss.

I had always been the good girl – the workaholic with every second of her life mapped out to a tee.

Then I got trapped in an elevator with Julian Hoult.

He was… irresistible. Sophisticated sex in a crisp white shirt. His voice alone dropped me straight to my knees. What was I supposed to do?

Well….

I can tell you what I was definitely not supposed to do.

I was not supposed to run into him ever again. I was not supposed to be desperately unemployed, and I was definitely not supposed to accept his dirty little job offer.

But I couldn’t resist.

As CEO of the Hoult Media empire, Julian will stop at nothing to get what he wants. So for his next venture with Manhattan’s most lecherous billionaires, he’s hired me to play the role of bait. And while my official title is that of Executive Assistant, my actual job requires low tops, tight skirts and flaunting everything I’ve got till his clients are easy to bend – till they can barely think for themselves anymore.

It’s sleazy and wrong. Against everything I’ve worked for. But with Julian as my audience, I can’t help but enjoy every second. Thanks to him, I’m embracing the bad, and I swear…

I’ve never in my life felt this damned good.

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Reviews

REVIEW: The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez

Another emotional read from Aly Martinez, The Darkest Sunrise was enough to pull me out of my book funk and reignite my passion for reading.

Martinez doesn’t hesitate in tackling difficult subject matters, and from the first pages, holed up in my local cafe and sniffling into my coffee, I knew this would be an emotional struggle. Not only did it deal with one of life’s most frightening, nightmarish scenarios directly, but also with the aftermath and the fallout still occurring a decade after the event itself. It’s pretty harrowing.

With characters to fall in love with, The Darkest Sunrise is a beautiful nightmare, harsh but hopeful, dealing with desperation, numbness and fragility. Despite being a little predictable, it’s the sort of darkness to envelop oneself in, and emerge from the other side desperate for the second half of the story.

~Evelyn (4/5)

Giveaway, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance, Suspense

Out now! Review & Giveaway: Transfer – Aly Martinez

transferTransfer by Aly Martinez
Series: The Retrieval Duet #2
Genre: romantic suspense
Themes: law enforcement
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One story. Two couples.

I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist.

What started out as romance ended in hell.

His words turned to razor blades.

His kisses converted to fists.

His embrace became my cage.

His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately….

I broke.

I hated him.

My sole job in life became to protect our daughter.

I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears.

Until the day our savior arrived.

This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me.

The transfer of my life and my family.

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Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: this is not a standalone. It takes off from the conclusion of Retrieval (see our review here).

“I don’t want to be your Luke. Not anymore. I’m Heath. I’ve always been Heath. But, regardless of what my name is, I’m not going anywhere.”

This is definitely one of my favourite series of 2016. I didn’t have a favourite instalment, but I have to say that this second part really solidified my emotional connection to all four characters. It was wonderful to see Clare’s transformation, from broken to strong, and how sweet and caring Heath was in his interactions with her and Tessa.

I loved how it was written from all four main characters’ points of view, whilst successfully maintaining the focus on Claire and Heath in this part.

Walt had proven that love wasn’t always hearts and flowers. It could be dark and dirty, defined by power and pain, and filled with anguish and agony.

Above all, the storyline was just fantastic, and I very much enjoyed the angst not being due to forced relationship problems, but instead due to the external threat of Walt, and the emotional impact of the plot twists (which I totally didnot see coming). The benefit of this is that I never once doubted the budding relationships, not the heroes, within these pages – meaning I want to marry both Roman andHeath now.

Something had happened inside me when his lips had met mine. A hunger I hadn’t felt in years had surged through me. Passion. Longing. Desire.

A fantastically suspenseful, beautifully romantic story, about rebuilding lives and forging strong relationships, with one of the sweetest epilogues I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Highly, highly recommended.

Giveaway

$50 Amazon gift card

Excerpts, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance, Suspense

RELEASE & REVIEW: Retrieval – Aly Martinez

retrieval-alyRetrieval by Aly Martinez
Series: The Retrieval Duet #1
Genre: romantic suspense
Themes: second chance
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One story. Two couples.

I proposed on our first date.
She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes.
It was a whirlwind, but we were happy…
Until we got greedy and wanted a family.

It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand.
Finally, we were successful…
Until we were forced to bury our son.

We were left broken, battered, and destroyed.
They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us.

This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine.
The retrieval of my wife and our family.

Excerpt

“Where’d you get beer?” Elisabeth asked as she scrambled from the couch.

“Seth,” I replied, hanging my head and rubbing my eyes.

Jesus, I’d wanted to kiss her. She was being a bitch, spouting shit she didn’t mean just because she was too scared to let me in.

But, even through it, those plump lips were calling to me.

I’d never been able to resist that woman. Despite that we’d fallen apart, it hadn’t changed. The hum for her was still in my veins. It never went away, but for two years, it had been dormant. I’d packed it down so tightly that I’d hoped it had died. But, with one look, my body began thrumming like a live wire.

“Seth?” she asked as she bent over to straighten her tight, black pencil skirt.

It was a rare occasion to catch Elisabeth in something other than a perfectly pressed skirt and a pair of heels. But she’d been sleeping all day. It was wrinkled all to hell and back. The only thing her efforts succeeded in was drawing my attention down to her legs.

Legs that had spent many nights wrapped around my hips as she came while crying my name.

Shit. I should go.

But, after the way she’d latched on to me that morning, I wasn’t going anywhere.

“My assistant,” I answered. “I had him pick you up a bottle of wine, too.”

She blinked. “You have an assistant? Who delivers you beer? And your ex-wife wine?”

“No, I have an assistant who does whatever the fuck I need him to do. And, luckily for us, beer and wine happen to fall into the whatever-the-fuck-I-need-him-to-do category tonight.” She fought back a smile as I finished, “So do gyros.”

“Damn. I need to get one of those,” she mumbled to herself.

I smirked. “Cash my checks and you could afford one.”

It was a dick move, bringing up the money right then. But, despite her expert hand in decorating, that little starter house we’d bought with rose-colored glasses now needed a shit-ton of work.

Her back shot ramrod straight, fury crinkling the corners of her eyes as she snarled, “I’m not cashing your checks.”

I shrugged. “Guess you’ll have to figure out how to get your own wine and dinner after tonight.”

“I think I can manage,” she fired back.

“Suit yourself.” I pushed off the couch and meandered to the kitchen.

I went to the fridge and leaned in, searching for anything I could snack on. With the exception of at least a dozen Tupperware containers, she didn’t have much in the way of a quick bite.

Snagging a handful of grapes from the drawer, I made a mental note to send Seth to the grocery store after he’d delivered dinner.

Popping the grapes in my mouth one by one, I felt her watching me in what could only be defined as silent awe. I decided my best move would be to ignore it. “You know, I should have invented Tupperware. You alone could keep me in business,” I told her, retrieving a beer and then shutting the door.

She scoffed then muttered, “At least then I would have benefitted from you abandoning our marriage.”

Lava fresh off the volcanoes in Hell boiled in my veins.

I cocked my head to the side and questioned, “I’m sorry. Come again?”

“You should go,” she snapped.

Think a-fucking-gain.

“Nah, I’m good. Got any movies?”

I tipped the bottle to my lips, doing my best to calm the storm brewing within me, all while still fighting the desire to take her to the floor, plant myself between her legs, and remind her how that fucking attitude affected me.

Clearly, she had forgotten.

My cock had not.

“Roman, it’s been a crazy day. Please don’t do this tonight.”

“Do what?” I asked, leaning back against the huge, granite island.

She threw her hands out to the sides in frustration. “What you always do.”

“What do I always do, Lissy?”

“This!” she yelled.

I frowned and took another pull from my beer. “Haven’t been in our kitchen, drinking beer, in a long time. I hardly think it’s fair to say I always do it.”

Her eyes nearly bulged from her head. “My kitchen, Roman. This is my kitchen. Not ours. And you know good and damn well that is not what I’m talking about.”

My lips twitched as I pointed the neck of my bottle at her. “No. What I know good and damn well is that I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Or why you’re slinging unnecessary and, might I add, undeserved attitude at me like a short-order cook at the bitch house.”

“He did not say that to me,” she whispered to herself.

When I lifted a shoulder in a half shrug, she swung a pointed finger toward the door and yelled, “Get out!”

I grinned, crossing my legs at the ankle. “You always were cranky when you were hungry.”

And that was the exact moment her head exploded.

Purchase

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Review

Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★★

Never in a million years had I thought I’d be standing there, watching her walk away.

Never before have I started reading a book and felt my heart hurt so much. The opening to this was just one of the most devastating things I have ever read, and I immediately knew I’d be absolutely hooked.

What I appreciated the most about the first part of this duet is its originality. I found it refreshing to read a story from three different POVs, interlinked through the events of the subplot. All three characters were wonderfully complex, put in the most awful situations and struggling to put their lives back together – and who doesn’t like reading a story about this? The beginning of Elisabeth and Roman’s relationship is basically everything I ever dreamed of growing up, and it’s a very different and devastating feeling to start a novel watching such perfection fall apart. This is a different sort of second-chance romance, and I absolutely blitzed through it as I needed it to work out. I also can’t wait to explore more of Clara’s story in the sequel, her own life devastating in an entirely different way.

I’d always been amazed by how much punishment a heart could take. I was broken, battered, and destroyed. And yet, much to my dismay, as I watched the front door close behind her, my heart kept beating.

I think, in some respects, this could have done with being a longer read. There were a few more layers here which I’d have liked to have been explored, particularly Elisabeth’s relationship with Jon, and maybe a little more angst regarding Elisabeth and Roman’s present journey – but this is all likely to be included in the sequel. Similarly, I managed to guess the slight plot twist at the end, but this didn’t detract from my reading of the story in any way.

Although this is the first book I’ve read by Martinez, it definitely won’t be the last. She has a superb style of writingthat just forces one to keep reading, and the fact that she managed to make me care about two characters so much just from the opening is evidence alone of her skill.

Would I read the sequel? Um…yes. Yes.YES. I WANT IT NOW.

Excerpts

EXCERPT: Retrieval – Aly Martinez

retrieval-alyRetrieval by Aly Martinez
Series: The Retrieval Duet #1
Genre: romance
Release date: September 13th
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One story. Two couples.

I proposed on our first date.
She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes.
It was a whirlwind, but we were happy…
Until we got greedy and wanted a family.

It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand.
Finally, we were successful…
Until we were forced to bury our son.

We were left broken, battered, and destroyed.
They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us.

This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine.
The retrieval of my wife and our family.

Excerpt

Roman

The house was dark when I quietly twisted the lock so as not to wake her. God knows she needed the sleep. I didn’t know how she still functioned when her days were filled with tears and her nights weren’t much better. It was precisely the reason I stayed gone as much as I did. Or so I’d thought as I’d thrown myself into work. Money couldn’t solve my problems, but it might have been able to solve hers.

My body ached, and my lids barely stayed open despite the pot of coffee I’d downed not even an hour earlier. It was a miracle I had been able to drive at all. I should have just crashed at the office, but after yet another failed prototype, I’d needed an escape.

Instead, I’d gone home—the very place I’d spent so many nights trying to avoid.

Only one foot was over the threshold when I suddenly froze.

“Elisabeth?” I called, flipping the overhead light on.

My shoulders fell as I found her sitting on the sofa, her long, blond hair curtaining her face and suitcases surrounding her feet.

“What’s going on?” I asked as my gut wrenched, already knowing the answer.

I had no right to be surprised. I’d all but forced her hand. If I was honest with myself, it was what I’d wanted—for her. However, none of that made the pain of reality any less agonizing.

My heart raced. “Elisabeth?” I prompted again, needing to hear her say the words almost as much as I dreaded it.

“I can’t stay here anymore,” she whispered at the floor.

Acid rose in my throat.

Out of habit, I dropped my keys into the basket she’d bought when we’d first moved in. “If you fail the key basket, the key basket will fail you,” she’d announced with an infectious smile the day we had become homeowners to the two-bedroom-two-bath starter home we could barely afford. It was just seconds before I’d swept her off her feet and made love to her on the hardwood floor of our foyer in the middle of the day.

But such was life as a newlywed.

Inside that house with her was the only place I’d ever wanted to be.

Until the fantasy of forever had worn off and the walls of real life had closed in on us. Once my refuge, our home became an inescapable prison with bars built of my failures.

I couldn’t breathe inside that house any more than I could look her in the eye.

We’d only been married for five years. But, seeing her now, I felt like it’d been a lifetime since I’d peered into her eyes, promising to love her in sickness and in health.

But it wasn’t like she was the same woman, either.

Over the last six months, she’d wasted away both physically and mentally in front of my eyes.

And I’d done absolutely nothing to help her.

But how do you throw a lifeline when you yourself don’t even have a rope to hold on to? I might have been able to keep her afloat for another day, but I’d never have been able to pull her back to me.

We merely existed on the same plane. Living under the same roof, eating meals at the same table, sleeping in the same bed. But we were far from sharing our lives together.

“Are you coming back?” I asked, not willing to accept the truth that lingered in the air around us.

Her deep-green eyes lifted to mine—the red rims and the dark circles doing nothing to hinder her beauty. Swallowing hard, she shifted her gaze to the mantel on the other side of the room. I knew what she was looking at, but I refused to follow her into the past.

That might have been our biggest problem of all.

She was still living there.

And I refused to go back.

“Elisabeth?” My voice softened, but the question remained the same. “Are you coming back?”

“No,” she replied, swiping the tears from her cheeks.

A thousand arrows fell from the sky, searing into my soul. My breath hitched, and my lungs burned. This was it—the end of my life as I knew it. But, in that moment, with her shoulders hunched forward in defeat, I realized that it was the end of hers, too.

Why did that realization hurt more than the lifetime of loneliness that was awaiting me when the sun rose?

I lifted a hand and rubbed my chest, hoping to ease the mounting pressure threatening to overtake me. “Don’t do this,” I mumbled through the pain.

I wasn’t sure who I’d meant that for though.

Was I chastising myself for having asked her to prolong the inevitable just because I wasn’t ready to lose her yet? Or was I asking her to stay in this sham of a marriage for even one day longer?

Probably both.

“You’ll be okay,” she assured me, pushing to her feet and gathering her bag, complete with our Yorkie, Loretta, tucked in her mesh dog carrier.

My pulse quickened, nature’s fight-or-flight finally kicking in. But I’d been in flight mode for entirely too long. There was no fight left.

I stepped into her path. “Elisabeth, please.” I wasn’t sure why I kept saying her name. I secretly hoped that it would snap her out of it, bringing her back to the reality of it all. But it was the reality that was killing us.

“I’ll take off work tomorrow,” I pleaded. “We can talk. Figure things out.”

It was selfish. Completely and utterly selfish. But that was nothing new for me.

Her chin quivered as a steady stream of tears fell from her eyes. “Promise me something, Roman.”

I would have promised her the entire fucking universe if it had made her stay one night longer. But who was I kidding?

We were over.

We both knew it.

“Anything,” I whispered, reaching down to take her hand, desperate for the connection I didn’t deserve.

“Remember to live.” Her voice caught, and a silent sob tore through her.

Cupping the back of her head, I pulled her into my chest.

“I can fix this,” I swore, but it was yet another lie. “We just need time.”

Her shoulders shook as she cried in my arms. “We…we promised. We told him we’d live for him.”

I closed my lids and clung to her tighter.

We were supposed to be fighting and screaming. That was what soon-to-be-divorced couples did. But that wasn’t us. We didn’t hate each other. Elisabeth was my soul mate on every level.

And she was paying the price for that.

Minutes later, the tears stopped and she backed out of my arms. I fought the urge to regain my hold, forcing her to stay. But her sad resolve as she hurried to the mantel and then to the door made it clear it’d be a wasted effort.

Never in a million years had I thought I’d be standing there, watching her walk away.

But, then again, I’d never expected her to have the urn of our only child cradled in her arm, either. A reminder of just how much I hadn’t been able to give her. How much I’d never be able to give her.

My past, present, and future were walking out of my life, and I stood immobile as every fiber in my being screamed for me to drop to my knees and beg her to stay.

To take her in my arms and tell her that we’d figure it out.

To reclaim my life once and for all.

But how would that have helped her?

Staying wouldn’t magically bring back her smile. Nor would it make her look at me with those bright-green eyes that made me feel as though I could conquer the world.

It wouldn’t give me back the crazy woman who argued with her whole heart and loved with her entire soul. No. Those days were gone.

I’d lost that woman somewhere in the bitterness between grief and blame.

We’d been happy once.

But we’d gotten greedy and tried to start a family.

That was her future. Not mine. Regardless how desperately I longed to give it to her…and then selfishly take it for myself.

Sex. That’s how babies are made. Children as young as elementary school are taught the simple biological facts of reproduction.

But what they never tell you is that, for one in six couples, having a baby goes a little differently.

For Elisabeth and me, it looked more like this:

Thirty-six months of crushing disappointment.

Three miscarriages.

Hundreds of tests our insurance company refused to cover because the inability to reproduce was not considered a health condition.

Countless tears.

Helplessness.

Failure.

Failure.

Failure.

Her broken heart.

My empty chest.

Thirty-seven thousand dollars we didn’t have.

In vitro fertilization.

A sperm donor.

A handful of hope.

A positive pregnancy test.

Five months of utter bliss.

Earth-shattering devastation.

A funeral for a child I would never get to see grow up.

A job that became my only reprieve from reality.

And now…losing the only woman I would ever love.

I’d always been amazed by how much punishment a heart could take. I was broken, battered, and destroyed. And yet, much to my dismay, as I watched the front door close behind her, my heart kept beating.

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