SUMMER READS BY THE INKHEART AUTHORS!!!!

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If you love a steamy new adult novel, then check out this list,
curated by InkHeart Authors…
Betcha can’t buy just one!

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ABrideForABillionaire_draft

For fans of Cruel Intentions and Dangerous Liaisons…

Matteo Benenati has spent his life wrapped in wealth and privilege. He is shallow, selfish, jaded—and he likes it that way.

When bold American art student Riley Tremaine crashes into his life, her light forces him to examine the dark places inside of his soul, the ones he thought he’d buried with his father. He knows he should let her go… but he’s never claimed to be a good man.

When Matteo is pitted against his unscrupulous stepsister Emilia Guerra in a bid for his late father’s empire, he must decide between honor and vice. In need of a wife—and desperate to possess her—Matteo makes Riley an offer she can’t refuse. She will be his bride—in every meaning of the word—so that he can protect his legacy.

But Matteo soon learns that Emilia’s soul is darker even than his own. And by marrying Riley, he has made her a pawn in a power struggle that could shatter their world.

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Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee JonesInfinite Possibilities by Lisa Renee Jones

Infinite possibilities….

Infinite passion…..

Infinite danger….

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn’t trust him. I shouldn’t tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loved to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten–even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard down, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?

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Infinite Possibilities Book 2

Secrets and lies. They are everywhere: haunting her, tormenting her. In the midst of it all, he’d been her escape, her passion. The only person she’d trusted in six years. And then he’d made her doubt that trust, cutting her deeply. But as she’d once told him, she was damaged, not broken. She is ready to fight and not just for survival. She is fighting for the truth and she won’t stop until she has it, not even for…him.

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entice

Chase Winter let the love of his life slip through his fingers and into the hands of his best friend and mafia boss of the Abandonato family. Now that he’s been given a second chance to right a wrong, he refuses to let his own selfishness stand in the way. The only problem? He’s not fully in possession of his heart, so when Mil De Lange — the girl who’s innocence he stole and heir to the worst of the worst mafia families in the US — asks him for a favor… he says yes, not realizing that one yes has the power to destroy them all.

Mil’s been in love with Chase Winter as long as she can remember, but as the years went by, love turned into hate, and now that he’s agreed to help her, she’s wondering if she made a fatal error. Because Chase isn’t a teenager anymore. He’s a hot-blooded male, bent on owning every part of her, body and soul, and he’s willing to kill anyone in his path who dares stand in the way.
Secrets will finally be revealed… but make no mistake, it’s going to take a lot of bloodshed for those truths to be discovered.

You’ve never read a New Adult Mafia story like this before. Loyalties will be tested, lovers reunited, and friendships obliterated.

Welcome to the Family. Blood in — No out.

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breathe into me

How did my life get so broken? It’s a question Lacey St. James asks herself every day. Stuck raising her little brother in a trailer park while she works a dead end job at a grocery store, she has a stalker ex-boyfriend, a bad reputation, and no way out.

And then she meets Everett, whose presence changes her entire existence.

Everett is an outsider to her small community, in town for the summer housesitting one of the grand mansions off the Mississippi coast. When he saves her in a bar one night, she’s grateful but wary of his intentions. Lacey doesn’t trust most men in her life, but for reasons Lacey can’t understand, Everett is completely captivated by her. He’s determined to show her that life can offer more than she’d ever hoped for, if only she believes in herself. As she works with him to free herself, Lacey desperately yearns to trust him, to move on and perhaps start fresh.

But what happens when she finds out that everything he’s told her about himself was a lie?

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hollow

Girl, Interrupted meets Beautiful Disaster in this thrilling and sexy debut novel, in which a college student learns her perfect life is a lie and finds new love where she least expects it—a mental institution.

Freaks, misfits, and psychopaths. Those are the kinds of people found at Newton Heights Psychiatric Hospital, and high-society girl Lucy White’s new home.

Freaks, misfits, and Jayden McCray. Jayden has his own set of rules for life at Newton Heights, and in this enigma, Lucy finds a way to live with the events that left her cheating boyfriend and best friend dead—and Lucy in the middle of the investigation into their demise.

The problem? Jayden makes her want things she’s not supposed to have, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality and making Lucy feel more at home in Newton Heights than she ever did at home. But this isn’t how her life is supposed to be…

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stupid girl

 

Only fools fall in love…

After her senior year of high school leaves behind nothing but heartache, Olivia Beaumont is sure of this: She’s no stupid girl. She sets out for Winston College, promising herself that she will remain focused on her first and only love – astronomy. But all it takes is cocky sophomore Brax Jenkins and an accidental collision with a football, to throw her entire year off course.

A quick-tempered Southie who escaped the inner city streets of Boston to pitch for Winston, Brax is known to play way more fields than just the baseball diamond. So, when his name is drawn to take part in his fraternity’s hazing dare, Brax eagerly accepts the mission to take Olivia’s virginity. But he doesn’t plan on falling hard for the sweet and sassy Texas girl who sees right through his bad-boy persona.

As Olivia and Brax battle their feelings for each other, echoes of the past year begin to surface. A boy who once turned Olivia’s whole world upside down reappears, and “harmless” pranks wreak havoc. Pretty soon the aspiring astronomer is on the verge of revealing her most difficult, heartbreaking secret. All the while, Brax must wrestle with the irrevocable dare, and Olivia struggles against all logic as she does the one thing only a stupid girl would do: fall in love.

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hands on

When Alexis Cassidy, an overweight, self conscious college sophomore, takes an au pair job in Greece, sitting for the daughter of Nikko Georgiou, a gorgeous, billionaire CEO, she knows he’s just the guy to give her the sexual experiences she’s looking for. Too bad he’s her boss, which means he’s hands off. But when she glimpses his hot neighbor through her bedroom window, she can’t help but wonder if he’d be interested in teaching a full figured girl a thing or two between the sheets, at the night club…in the hot tub.

Nikko catches the way his new au pair looks at Dimitri, his business partner/neighbor, and instantly knows what she wants. Since he and Dimitri share everything, professionally and personally, they put together a seductive plan…give Alexis the authentic Greek experience she’s after, all the while showing her that four hands are better than two.

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fast and mine

Geeky college student Claire Thomas suffers a humiliating rejection from the man of her dreams, and vows to learn the tricks of seduction. Her friends have the perfect tutor—Yardley College’s gorgeous king of one-night-stands, Sawyer Tremaine. Claire makes a wild proposal to Sawyer: she’ll tutor him in exchange for lessons in pleasuring a man. But she doesn’t know he’s more interested in giving her the hottest sensual pleasure imaginable than in teaching her skills.

Sawyer is the hottest and fastest rider on the East Coast illegal street bike racing circuit, but he’s fighting to escape the dangerous world and its high-stakes gambling. His psychotic ‘sponsor’ will go to any lengths to force him to ride. Can Sawyer break free and protect Claire—or will he lose her once she learns the dark secrets of his past?

Book 1, Yardley College Bikers. For readers 18 +. Previously published in the New York Times bestselling Riding Desire Box Set.

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thethrill

**The first book in the USA Today Bestselling No Regrets series**

A new adult story of Love. Sex. Addiction. Blackmail. And Power…
Some say love can be an addiction. Others say it’s the thing that makes life worth living. Let me tell you everything I know about love… Love isn’t patient, love isn’t kind. Love is a game, a chase. A thrill. Love is wild and war-like, and every man and woman must fight for themselves. At least that’s how it was for me. A high-priced virgin call girl by the time I started college, I was addicted to love and to sex. Even though I’ve never had either. I controlled love, played it, and held the world in the palm of my hands. Then I fell down from those highs, and I’m being blackmailed for all my mistakes, forced to keep secrets from everyone, except the only guy I don’t regret.
Trey.
**** With all the other women, I knew what they were. They were temporary. They were pills, they were bottles, they took away all the pain, and numbed the awful memories that wore away at my ragged, wasted heart. Until I met Harley. She’s the only girl I ever missed when she walked away. But now she’s back in my life, every day, and there are no guarantees for us, especially since I don’t know how to tell her my secrets. What happened to my family. All I know is she’s the closest I’ve ever come to something real, and I want to feel every second of it.
How can you love with no regrets when regret is all you know?

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You ever really think that you’ll win the lottery? Meet Mr. Right? How about two Mr. Rights?

Somehow the universe is handing me everything I want (except for that lottery part…), and I don’t like it. Not one little bit. Because just when you get all your dreams handed to you on a silver platter, that’s when an airplane dumps its sewage on your house. Or your mama’s diabetes takes a bad turn. Or your mobile phone gets stuck in your hoohaw.

(What? It happens…)

Boring old average me got everything I wanted already, moving from small-town Ohio to big-city Boston to follow my heart. So when the fancy invitation offering me a pile of money to come with the band, Random Acts of Crazy, to perform on an island resort and be their manager arrived, I thought it was a cosmic joke. Enough money to help my mama get what she needed, five days in sunny paradise, and a shot at greatness for the band? Unreal. One big shoe was waiting to drop. On my head.

Just like no one really ever finds a naked man wearing only a guitar standing by the side of the road hitchhiking and ends up falling in love with him and his friend and moving halfway across the country for true love, no one gets an invitation to come to what turns out to be a resort where people make what me and Joe and Trevor do together look like a chaste peck on the cheek. But…

Well.

I guess these things do happen.

To me.

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GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MENDED by Kim Karr Blog Tour Stop!!!!

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Mended

MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO HEAL ALL…BUT NOT ALL BROKEN HEARTS CAN BE MENDED.

Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever….

BUY LINKS

AMAZON – http://amzn.to/1ap7Jwn
iTUNES – http://bit.ly/1i9fQkM
B&N – http://bit.ly/1iaTkYS
Paperback – http://amzn.to/1dtnJgJ

MY REVIEW (Colleen)

4 STARS

        I love Xander. He is perfectly imperfect and at times I felt that he was too good for Ivy. Strong and sexy, sweet and irresistible, Xander is everything that I love in a man. Kim Karr knows how to write the perfect leading man to fulfil all your fantasies.

         I really wanted to like and feel sorry for Ivy but I spent most of the book wishing I could reach through my ereader and slap some sense into her. Woman, just love and be with the man you love already….geez!!!! Luckily, the last quarter of the book I found my groove with her and began to appreciate everything that she had been through in her life and the road that led her back to Xander.

        I have never gone wrong reading Kim’s books. I always get lost in the story and never come up for air until I am finished. She is one of those authors that comes out with quality work again and again. I find myself impatiently waiting for her next release.

        Mended can be read as a stand alone but there is crossovers from other characters in earlier books in the series. There is no cliffhanger. Do yourself a favor and read the Connections Series!

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EXCERPT

Xander Wilde

The magic of rock and roll—it casts a spell on you. I’m no exception. I’m a band manager and I’m living the dream, touring with The Wilde Ones, helping them secure their well-deserved place in the music industry. I love being a part of it all, especially watching the band perform live—the crowds, the cheers, the music. It’s a high and a low all at once and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Every step of the way with this band has been fun, exciting, stressful—every possible emotion. Obviously we’ve had some breaks but mostly we all put in a lot of hard work—myself, Garrett Flynn, Phoenix Harper, River Wilde, and now Zane Perry.

“Can you hear me now?” he bellows.

I nod my head as my heart pounds in my chest. My hands feel cold and clammy and a nervousness that makes me weak and shaky takes over. Doubts race through my head and I’m questioning if he’s going to make it through this. A vague awareness that something bad could happen kicks around in my mind and I can’t shake it. The Wilde Ones are doing a sound check on stage and Zane’s not on his game.

It’s July and the weather has been brutally hot. But today it seems cooler. Maybe it’s the California weather maybe it’s the excitement of being home. The Beautiful Lies Tour bus finally rolled back into our home state of California after six months away. When we pulled into the amphitheater, we could see tanned kids in board shorts and bikini tops already lined up at the will call window. Security guards in polo shirts directed us to the artist parking lot, and we were officially home. Tonight we’ll be headlining our biggest show to date. We’re on tour without my brother, River, and still more than half of the shows are sold out, including tonight’s. River quit the band—touring just wasn’t for him but even so the album is on its way up the charts. Who knows it may even hit gold status. The songs on the album were written and sung by River but are performed in concert by Zane. Having him as my brother’s replacement has been the key to our successful transition in a world where replacing leads is normally unsuccessful—simply put, we’re lucky as hell to have him. River promised to make a surprise appearance at our next stop. It’s going to be epic.

But tonight is all about the arena—Mountain View and the Shoreline. “That’s enough,” I yell to the band and call rehearsal. This place is the biggest outdoor venue we’ve played and I couldn’t be more stoked—or more nervous. A sold out show and a rocking opening band—what a combination. But a lead singer with another cold and a weakened voice that can’t be heard throughout an amphitheater scares the shit out of me.

I head straight for the bus and spend the next few hours hashing out a song with Nix that he calls a jumbled mess of muscular sense and big-riff sunshine—whatever the hell that means. All I know is that it needs help and that’s why he’s turning to me. I hadn’t played guitar since I was eighteen but for some reason over the course of this tour I’ve picked it back up. At first I used whatever was lying around but last month I had my mother mail my old one to me and it feels like home. It’s a light blue and brown Gibson and I had to have it because it was the guitar that Slash played on. Playing again seems to help pass the time and brings a calm over me that I haven’t felt in awhile.

Hours pass and before I know it, it’s almost show time. We make our way over to the Amphitheater, do the typical festival schmooze fest, and then settle back to wait. Waiting for them to take the stage is always the most nerve-racking time. I’m sitting in the practically vacant makeshift meet and greet area back stage and sipping a beer in a worthless effort to calm my nerves when a voice travels through the sound system. It’s a powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano range that is nothing short of explosive. She sounds unlike any singer I’ve ever heard before—with only one exception, Ivy Taylor. I push back the memory of her name and the emotions it evokes—the memories are just too painful. I can’t see her on stage but I know that the voice belongs to Jane Mommsen. Her band Breathless is playing right before The Wilde Ones.

A hand on my shoulder startles me. I twist and glance up as Amy sits down beside me, crossing her legs. “Hi, Xander. I thought I saw you earlier at the hotel.”

She’s a beautiful woman—long, wavy dark hair, petite figure, very natural looking. She’s wearing jeans, a blue shirt with some kind of foil design, and silver sandals. Grinning at her I say, “Finally we catch up. Can I get you a drink?”

“I’d love that. How’s life on the road been?”

“You know, it has its ups and downs but actually not bad. You?”

“Jane’s been going full-force for a while now. But the tour ends with the summer. I’ll be glad to be back in LA.”

Standing up, I laugh. “I know the feeling. I’ll be right back, let me grab us that drink.” Tossing my empty bottle, I make my way to the coolers lined up under the tent and grab two beers. I know she’d rather have a glass of Chardonnay but beer it is. Amy is Jane’s assistant and I’ve taken her out more than a few times. We went to high school together and Amy and I know most of the same people so whenever I need a date, I ask her. Last time I saw her was almost nine months ago when I took her to River and Dahlia’s wedding.

Heading back to the table I hear Jane yell out to the crowd, “Are you ready for three of the hottest guys in music?” The audience starts screaming and the stage lights dim cuing the guys that it’s the fifteen-minute countdown until they take the stage. The band huddles together in their typical pre-performance stance. I’ll have a quick drink with Amy and then join them. As I hand her the bottle my fingers touch hers and we both grin, knowing that we will end up alone by the end of the night.

“You sticking around for the whole show?”

“I think I might,” she smiles.

“How about we ride back to the hotel together and grab a real drink at the bar?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Great. Time for me to get back to work.”

She rises from the table, I do the same. She stands up on her toes and kisses me quickly on the lips. “See you tonight,” she smiles.

“Catch you later,” I say and then cross the room to join the band.

“You’re late,” Nix snickers. “What’s with you two anyway?” he asks.

I shrug my shoulders. “Nothing. We casually see each other once in a while.”

Garrett raises an eyebrow. “Chicks are never cool with casual.”

Shaking my head at him, I don’t bother to disagree. Amy and I have been doing this for years. It works for her and for me. We like each other’s company but only see each other sporadically. I’ll call her once in a while and we’ll go out but we are in no way exclusive. I don’t ask her about other men and she doesn’t ask me about other women. I grab the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the shot glasses stacked on the cap. It’s our pre-show routine. A shot and a prayer, so to say. It’s Garrett’s turn tonight to ‘pray’ so this should be good.

He raises his glass. “Here’s to hoping Xander gets laid so he’ll get off our backs.”

Tipping my glass back, I quickly down the amber liquid. It burns as it makes its way down my throat. Once we’ve all drank our two shot maximum before a show Garrett follows his toast up with, “Seriously man, you need to get laid.”

The guys laugh and I actually join in. Jerking off in the small bathroom on the bus is definitely one of the downsides of touring. I’ve slept with a few girls at some of our stops but screwing groupies isn’t really my thing. I’m not one to have time for a girlfriend but I’m also not about to pull my dick out backstage, so it’s been a long six months.

Zane coughs after he slings back the shot and I look at him with concern. “You’re going to a doctor tomorrow.”

He shakes his head. “Yes, Mom, if you say so.”

“I’m not kidding. Your voice sounds like shit.”

“It’s a fucking cold. I took some medicine. I’ll be fine.”

“Doctor. Tomorrow. I mean it. I’ll have Ena set it up.”

“I can always sing,” Garrett chimes in and I smack the back of his head.

“Hey. I can.”

The lights start to flicker and I look at Zane with that feeling of uneasiness again. Second time this tour he’s coughing and hacking. We’re screwed if he really gets sick. He nods at me as I pat him on the back. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he heads out first raising his arm in the air. The crowd goes crazy. The six foot guy is a chick magnet and no one misses my brother tonight. Garrett heads out next yelling, “Great to be here Mountain View!” and Nix follows with his trademark nod. Zane skips his normal charming banter and I know he must be saving his voice. Again, I think about how we’re fucked if he gets sick.

I stand at the edge of the stage all night until they finally come to their last song. “It Wasn’t Days Ago,” is a simple but crowd affecting ballad and Zane belts it out. Shouts from nearly thirty thousand fans call for an encore. Turning away from the microphone Zane coughs again. Biting his thumbnail he looks over at me and I slice my finger across my neck.

“One more song for tonight,” he tells the screaming fans and my blood pressure rises. “This one is a cover, an ‘ode to’ I’ll call it. It’s for Xander Wilde, the band’s manager and it’s his favorite song. Everyone ready?” As he starts to sing Linkin Park’s “Iridescent,” I close my eyes and listen. When he hits the chorus his voice gets so low my eyes snap open. Zane turns to grab a bottle of water while the guys continue to play but I can tell something isn’t right.

 

***

 

Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good PR.

I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house, and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel.

To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs.

My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful—the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.

My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her that I could.

It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was, what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing—remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved.

She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty, wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent, her fiancé, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore.

She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we weren’t near each other.

Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up.

“Are you okay?”

I nod. Not able to say a word.

“Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me agitated.

“Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it was too late—she had gotten engaged.

Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.”

My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen, I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.”

“That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles and starts toward the bar.

Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough to call me back.”

“I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the doctor say about Zane?”

“He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.”

“You sure? You’re back in LA for almost two weeks after tomorrow night right? Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?”

“Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice to change forever.”

“Do you blame him?”

“No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to Dahlia?”

He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

“You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”

“Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”

“Because you have no idea what this means to me.”

“Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I can’t play a twelve string.”

Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. “Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke.

He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?”

Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t get your panties in a wad.”

“That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’

“What?”

“Ivy Taylor’s here.”

“No way. Have you talked to her?”

“Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.”

“You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.”

“What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think I’m lying.”

“You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”

“No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time is right. Do you hear me?”

“Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t mean shit.”

“Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my skin crawl.

Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him—why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin, I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kim Karr

Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance, including her sexy New Adult romance series, Connections.  She describes herself as wearing a lot of hats–writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all-around go-to person of the family.  However, she always finds the time to read.  She believes in soul mates, kindred spirits, true friends and Happily-Ever-Afters, and loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.  Kim lives in Florida with her husband and four kids.

Also here are links to Kim’s other books in Connections series…
AMAZON LINKS:
Connected – http://amzn.to/1fDaywN
Torn – http://amzn.to/18r6puZ
Dazed – http://amzn.to/1hwLS9g
Mended – http://amzn.to/1ap7Jwn
Blurred – http://amzn.to/1mCHwQ1
Frayed – http://amzn.to/1cnBwof

BEFORE YOU by Amber Hart Cover Reveal!!!

Before You revised

Synopsis:

 

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both. Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.
It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.
Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.
At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.
Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.    

 

What other authors had to say:

 

“Beautiful and evocative!” ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

“Fresh and unique…will hook and hold you.” ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

 

EXCERPT

1

Faith

My closet is a place of secrets.

This is where I change into Her, the girl everybody knows as me. Searching through hanger after hanger of neatly pressed clothes, I find the outfit I’m looking for. A black knee-length pleated skirt, a loose-fitting white top, and two-inch wedge shoes. Looking good at school is a must. Not that I do it for me. It’s more for my dad’s reputation. I have to play the part.

I am stuffed into a borrowed frame. One that fits too tightly. One that couldn’t possibly capture the real me.

“Faith,” my stepmom calls. “Are you joining us for breakfast?”

There is no time. “No,” I reply, my voice carrying downstairs.

I quickly dress for school, catching my reflection in the closet door mirror. Waking sun shines off my hair, highlighting a few strands brighter than the rest. Everybody has a favorite body part. Mine is my hair, which is the fiery-brown of autumn leaves. My best friend, Melissa, swears my eyes are my best asset.  Ivy-green, deep-set, haunting. Like they go on forever.

Speaking of Melissa, her horn blares outside. Beep, beep, pause, beep. That’s our code. I race downstairs, passing my dad, stepmom, and little sister on the way out.

“Wait,” Dad says.

I sigh. “Yes, Dad?”

He glances at my outfit, pausing at my shoes. If it were up to Dad, I would wear turtleneck shirts and dress pants with lace-up boots forever. The perfect ensemble, it seems. As it is, I dress conservatively to protect his image. I’m eighteen. You’d think he’d stop cringing every time he saw me in anything that showed the least bit of skin.

“Hug,” he says, waving me over.

I hug him. Place a kiss on my five-year-old sister’s jelly-covered cheek. Then, grab a napkin to wipe the sticky jelly from my lips.

“Bye, Gracie,” I say to her. “See you after school.”

She waves a small hand at me and smiles.

“Take this.” Susan, my stepmom, hands me a bagel even though I already declined breakfast. It’s poppy seed. I’m allergic to poppy seed.

As usual, I don’t put up a fight. My frame feels especially uncomfortable at the moment. It’s always the same thing. I learned early on that it’s easier to go with the flow than to be different. Different is bad. Standing out attracts attention, something I try to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, being the dance captain makes that more difficult.

“Have to go,” I say, shoving the bagel in my bag.

The screen door swings shut behind me.

Melissa waits in my driveway. We live in a modest, yellow-paneled house in Oviedo, Florida. The majority of the people here are middle class. We fit in well.

“What’s up?” Melissa smiles. “Took you long enough.”

“Yeah, well, you try waking up late and still looking as good as I do,” I joke.

Melissa whips her blond hair into a ponytail and puts her red Camaro in reverse, careful not to hit my Jeep on the way out. I have my own car, but since Melissa lives three doors down, we have a deal where we alternate driving to school. She takes the first month; I take the second, and so on. Saves gas.

“You look smokin’,” Melissa says, lighting a cigarette.

I roll my eyes.

“Liar.”

She’s always hated the way I dress.

Melissa laughs. “Okay, true, the clothes need to go. But your hair and makeup are flawless. And no matter what you wear, you still look beautiful.”

“Thanks, you too,” I say, eyeing her tight jeans and sequined top. Melissa is effortlessly beautiful with her sun-freckled face and athletic build.

“Prediction,” Melissa begins. This is something we have done since ninth grade: predict three things that will happen during the year. “Tracy Ram will try to overthrow you as dance captain, once again, but you’ll keep your spot, of course, ’cause you rock. You’ll quit dressing like an eighty-year-old and finally wear what you want to wear instead of what society dictates is appropriate for a pastor’s daughter. And you’ll come to your senses and dump Jason Magg for a hot new boy.”

Melissa always predicts that I’ll dump Jason, has done since Jason and I began dating freshman year. It’s not that she doesn’t like him. It’s just that she thinks my life is too bland, like the taste of celery. What’s the point, she figures.

“First of all, I do not dress like the elderly,” I say. “And second, I don’t know what you have against Jason. He treats me nicely. It’s not like he’s a jerk.”

“It’s not like he’s exciting, either,” Melissa says.

She’s right. What I have with Jason is comfortable, nice even, but excitement left a long time ago.

“Prediction,” I say, turning to Melissa. “You will not be able to quit bugging me about dumping Jason, even though last year you swore you would. Despite your doubts, you will pass senior calculus. And you’re going to win homecoming.”

Melissa shakes her head. “No way. Homecoming is all you, girl.”

I groan. “But I don’t want to win.”

Melissa laughs. “Tracy Ram would have a heart attack if she ever heard you say that.”

“Great,” I say. “Let her win homecoming.”

We grin. Melissa and I have been friends since kindergarten. Memories come to me suddenly. I’m in elementary school, and it’s sleepover night at Melissa’s. In my overnight bag, I carry a small stuffed bunny, my steadfast companion since forever. People would laugh if they knew, me carrying around a stuffed baby toy, but Melissa never tells. Fast forward to middle school. The braces on Melissa’s teeth are still so new that the silver catches the light from the fluorescent fixtures when she smiles. The headgear is huge, cumbersome, and no one lets her forget it. But I relentlessly defend my friend. She’s so beautiful, can’t they see? Sometimes I leave flowers stolen from a neighbor’s rose bush at her locker when no one is looking. That way people will know that she is loved. High school. Melissa and me, same as always.

“What do you want to bet?” Melissa asks.

Whoever gets the most predictions right wins.

“Hmm,” I say. “If I win, you have to quit smoking.”

Melissa almost chokes. “Pulling out the big guns, are we? Okay, then. If I win, you have to break up with Jason.”

“Deal,” I say, knowing that she won’t win. She never does.

Melissa purses her lips and gives me the stink eye. She knows I have a better chance.

“Faith, I will find a way to break you out of your mold,” she says.

I laugh, partially because of the determination in my friend’s eyes, but mostly because of the absurdity of her statement. Everybody knows that girls like me never break free.

2

Diego

 

 

“Diego, vamonos.”

I can’t help the frustrated sigh that escapes my lips, hurled at mi padre, my dad, like a gust of wind that threatens to flatten our house of cards. It’s my fault. I should have built something stronger with the cards I was dealt. But I didn’t. I didn’t know how.

“Go away,” I say. “Vete.”

I’m not planning to attend school today.

In fact, I didn’t plan to be in the States at all.

Vamonos. Let’s go,” mi padre repeats in his heavily accented voice, yanking me off of the couch. “You will not miss senior year.”

He has this new thing where we have to speak English as much as possible now that we live in the States. I almost wish I weren’t fluent. Several trips to Florida, and I am.

With a grimace, I pass him, reluctantly moving toward my room. It feels like my feet are sinking, like I’m walking over sticky sand instead of thick, dirty carpet.

How did I get stuck in this place?

I open my dresser drawer and pull out faded jeans, a white T-shirt, and my Smith & Wesson.

“No,” mi padre says, grabbing the gun.

I take a step toward him, challenging. He does not back down.

“This is why we left,” he says.

Hypocrite. Under his bed is a similar gun, waiting. Just in case. But he’s also the one who taught me how to fight. I’m bigger than he is, but he has more experience. And the scars to prove it.

Not that I haven’t been in countless fights myself.

“Fine,” I say through clenched teeth, and turn toward the bathroom.

The hot water heater goes out after five minutes. The tiny two-bedroom apartment—this hole we now call home—is the only thing mi padre could afford. It’s not much, but it’s inexpensive. That’s all that matters. The plain white walls remind me of an asylum. Feels like I’m going crazy already.

Our jobs keep us afloat. They’re our life vests, our only chance of survival in a sea of ravenous sharks. Mi padre found a job with a lawn crew a couple weeks ago. Not many people would hire him with his scarred face and tattooed body. A restaurant offered me work part-time. Two shifts as a cook, one as a busboy. They promised a free meal every night that I worked. Couldn’t pass that up.

“Don’t be late for school or work,” mi padre says as I step out of the house.

School’s only ten minutes away. I walk, staring at the graffiti-covered sidewalk that stretches in front of me like a ribbed canvas. Latinos roam the block. It didn’t take moving to the States for me to know that’s how it is. The gringos, white people, live in nice houses and drive cars to school while the rest of the world waits for a piece of their leftovers. I’m trying not to think about how screwed up it all is when a Latina walks up to me.

Hola,” she says. “¿Hablas inglés?

“Yeah, I speak English,” I answer, though I’m not sure why she asks since both of us speak Spanish.

“I’m Lola.” She smiles, sexy brown eyes big and wide. She reminds me of a girl I knew back home. Just the thought, the image of home, makes my guts clench.

“What’s your name?” she purrs.

“Lola,” a Latino calls from across the street. She ignores him. He calls again. When she doesn’t come, he approaches us.

One look tells me he’s angry. He has a cocky stance and a shaved head.

“Am I interrupting something?” he snaps.

What’s this guy’s problem?

“Yep,” Lola says, turning her back on him. “My ex,” she explains, brushing a strand of curly hair out of her face.

Perfecto. Just what I need. I didn’t even do anything. Not that I’m going to explain.

“She’s mine,” the guy says, staring me down. “¿Entiendes, amigo?”

“I’m not your friend,” I say, gritting my teeth. “And you do not want to mess with me.”

Lola is smiling. I wonder if she enjoys the attention. Probably. I’ve met too many girls like her. She fits the type.

“You don’t know who you’re messing with,” he says, stepping closer.

A few guys come out of nowhere, closing in on me. Blue and white bandanas hang from their pockets like a bad-luck charm. I know what the colors signify. Mara Salvatrucha 13 Gang, or MS-13.

I turn to Lola. Watch her smile.

This is all part of the game. What I can’t figure out is if the guy really is her ex and she doesn’t care that she could be getting me killed, or if he sent her to see how tough I am, to help decide whether he wants to recruit me.

I turn to walk away, but someone blocks my path.

“Going somewhere?” another gang-banger asks.

This whole time I’ve wondered if I’d end up fighting at school. I hadn’t thought about the fact that I may never make it in the first place. I silently curse mi padre for hiding my gun. He wouldn’t get rid of it completely, though.

“What do you want?” I ask.

The original guy laughs, looks me up and down. The number 67 is tattooed behind his right ear in bold black numbers. It only takes me a second to figure out the meaning. Six plus seven equals thirteen.

“What are those markings?” he asks, eyeing my tattoos.

“Nothing,” I lie.

If they wanted to fight me, they would’ve done it already. This is a recruit.

“Where you from?” he asks.

I don’t answer. Members of MS-13 stretch around the globe like fingers. They can easily check my past. I’m not gonna give them a head start.

“Swallow your tongue?” one of the guys asks.

I’m trying to figure out if I can win a fight against the five guys who surround me. I look for weak spots, scars, old injuries. I look for bulges that might be weapons. I’m a good fighter. I think I can take them. But at the same time, fighting will guarantee me a follow-up visit from MS-13.

Just then, someone speaks behind us. “Is there a problem?” a police officer asks from the safety of his car.

Everyone backs away from me.

“Nope,” one of the gangbangers answers. “We were just leaving.”

“See you around,” 67 says, throwing an arm around Lola.

I turn my back and walk the last block to school. The police officer trails slowly behind, like a hungry dog sniffing for scraps. He leaves as I enter the double doors.

I think about what my dad said. Moving here will give you a brighter future.

His words sit heavily on my mind, like humidity on every pore of my skin. His intentions are good, but he’s wrong. So far, moving here has done nothing but remind me of my past.

3

Faith

“Hi, I’m Faith Watters.”

Those are the first words I speak to the new Cuban guy in the front office. He grimaces. He’ll be a tough one. I can handle it, though. He’s not the first.

I can’t help but notice that he looks a lot like a model from the neck up—eyes the color of oak, strong bone structure. Everywhere else, he looks a lot like a criminal. Chiseled, scarred body … I wonder for a second about the meaning behind the tattoos scratched into his arms.

One thing’s clear. He’s dangerous.

And he’s beautiful.

“I’ll show you to your classes,” I announce.

I’m one of the peer helpers at our school. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it counts as a class. Basically I spend the first two days with new students, introducing them around and answering their questions. Some parents with kids new to the school voluntarily sign their students up, but it’s only mandatory for the international students, of which we have a lot. Mostly Latinos.

This Cuban guy towers over me. I’m five six. Not tall. Not short. Just average. Average is good.

This guy’s not average. Not even a little bit. He must be over six feet.

I glance up at him, kind of like I do when I’m searching for the moon in a sea of darkness.

“Looks like you have math first. I’ll walk you there,” I offer.

“No thanks, chica. I can handle it.”

“It’s no problem,” I say, leading the way.

He tries to snatch his schedule from my hands, but I move too fast.

“Why don’t we start with your name?” I suggest.

I already know his name. Plus some. Diego Alvarez. Eighteen years old. Moved from Cuba two weeks ago. Only child. No previous school records. I read it in his bio. I want to hear him say it.

“You got some kinda control issues or somethin’?” he asks harshly, voice slightly accented.

“You got some kind of social issues or somethin’?” I fire back, holding my stance. I won’t let him intimidate me, though I’ll admit, he’s hot. Too bad he has a nasty attitude.

The side of his lip twitches. “No. I just don’t mix with your type,” he answers.

“My type?”

“That’s what I said.”

“You don’t even know my type.” No one does. Well, except Melissa.

He chuckles humorlessly. “Sure I do. Head cheerleader? Date the football player? Daddy’s little girl who gets everything she wants?” He leans closer to whisper. “Probably a virgin.”

My cheeks burn hot. “I’m not a cheerleader,” I say through clamped teeth.

“Whatever,” he says. “Are you gonna give me my schedule or not?”

“Not,” I answer. “But you can feel free to follow me to your first class.”

He steps in front of me, intimately close. “Listen, chica, nobody tells me what to do.”

I shrug. “Fine, suit yourself. It’s your life. But if you want to attend this school, it’s mandatory for me to show you to your classes for two days.”

His eyes narrow. “Who says I want to attend this school?”

I take the last step toward him, closing the gap between us. When we were little, Melissa and I used to collect glass bottles. Whenever we accumulated twenty, we’d break them on the concrete. When the glass shattered, the slivered pieces made a breathtaking prism of light.

I cut myself on the glass by accident once. It was painful, but worth it. The beauty was worth it. It’s funny how the bottle was never as beautiful as when it was broken.

You will not shatter me, I silently tell Diego. Somebody already did.

“If you don’t want to be here, then don’t come back,” I say.

A taunting smile spreads across his face. My first thought is that he has nice teeth, but then I scold myself for thinking about him like that.

“My name is Diego,” he says, like he’s letting me in on some kind of secret.

“Well, Diego,” I say, “better hurry. Class starts in two minutes.” I step around him to lead the way.

While we walk to math, I feel Diego’s eyes on me. I don’t know what it is about him. All the other confident students had nothing on me, and I swear I’ve heard it all, but he seems different. He shines. In a dark way. When he looks at me, I get a tingly sensation, like I’m being zapped by electricity.

It doesn’t matter. He’s rude. And besides, I have a wonderful boyfriend. Jason. Think about Jason.

“Quit staring at me,” I say, glancing at him.

He laughs, and strands of black hair fall into his eyes. I imagine it’s a little like looking at the world through charred silk.

“Why? Does it make you uncomfortable?”

He’s messing with me to get under my skin, like a pesky little splinter.

It’s working.

“Yes,” I answer.

In his white shirt, Diego’s skin is dark. Perpetually tanned by heritage.

I keep Diego’s schedule out of his reach. He inches closer, no doubt to grab it and run. I try to concentrate on the newly painted beige walls and tiled floors. Every few feet hangs a plaque about achievement or school clubs or tutoring programs.

When we come to the door, Diego rests an arm on the wall and leans toward me.

“I have a proposition for you,” he says in a sultry voice.

It’s hard to seem unaffected.

“I don’t do propositions,” I say dismissively.

He grins, his mouth arching up like the curl of a wave.

“But you haven’t even heard me out,” he says.

“Don’t need to.”

He ignores my comment. “What do you say we forget about this thing where I follow you around like a little dog? And when the guidance counselor asks, I will say you were superlative.”

“Big word,” I mumble. This guy did not do well on his entry exams, but he says things like superlative? What’s with that?

He glares at me; I sigh.

“You know, it wouldn’t kill you to drop the tough-guy act for two days. You’ll be rid of me soon.”

I turn to leave but Diego grabs my arm gently. My breath catches.

“It’s not an act,” he says, jaw hard.

I wave him away nonchalantly, like his touch didn’t just do all kinds of crazy things to my body—things that make me want to forget about the warning blaring in my mind.

I need to stay away from him.

I need to forget him.

Will you touch me again please?

I walk away. He watches me go.

“By the way,” I say as I flick a look over my shoulder at his hardened face, “I see right through you.”

4

Diego

She sees right through me? What does that mean? I wonder for the twentieth time as I enter the cafeteria. I managed to avoid my peer helper after my first few classes, rushing out before she could meet me. Did she really think I couldn’t get another class schedule? Maybe next time she won’t underestimate me.

A sweet smell hits my nostrils as I pass the fruit section. It smells like my peer helper, and I’m reminded of my disgust for her. She thinks she knows me, but she knows nothing. She’s a snob, trying to prove something. They’re all the same.

Girls like her don’t know what it’s like to struggle, really struggle.

She’s probably never gone so hungry her stomach knots. Never roamed the streets wondering if she’ll have a safe place to sleep. With a face and body like hers, she’s probably never had to work for anything in her life. The people she represents, the life she lives, it’s all fake.

Javier, my cousin, warned me about her. She’s one of the Big Five, the ones who think they rule this school. Even with her perfect boyfriend and flawless life, she isn’t fooling me.

I hear Javier before I see him. “Diego, aquí.”

Through the crowd, I spot my cousin sitting with a group of Latinos. With his six-foot, two-hundred-pound frame, he’s hard to miss. I approach him. One of his friends mumbles something in Spanish about how tall I am.

“Hey, what can I say? They make ’em big in mi familia,” Javier says, laughing.

Truth backhands me. I realize now that I never actually thought I would see Javier again. After … after … no. I shove the thoughts away. Not here.

Not here.

“What’s up, ’cuz?” Javier says.

Nada.” I force a smile, though my relief is real. It’s good to see family.

¡Siéntate!” Javier says.

I sit. Sitting is usually an indulgence for those who can afford to relax. I pretend for a moment that I’m one of them. My cousin takes a minute to introduce his friends.

“Diego, this is Ramon, Esteban, Juan, Rodolfo, and Luis.”

Ramon and Esteban, with their slight overbites and similar features, must be brothers. Juan has a large head for his small frame; he’s covered in tattoos. Rodolfo has a smile full of white teeth and a dimple on the left side of his cheek. What happened to the other dimple? It’s as though God had an asymmetrical look in mind when He created him. Next to my cousin, Luis is the biggest. He has lots of freckles, splattered on his face like paint, seeping into his skin.

“Welcome to los Estados Unidos,” Juan says, biting into his burger.

“Gracias,” I reply.

My stomach growls, an animal hungry to live. Javier notices.

“Come with me.” He motions for me to follow him through the crowd.

As we walk to the lunch line, I spot my peer helper at a table, surrounded by her friends. There’s one of her kind at every school. The girl everyone hates to love and loves to hate. She’s probably been stabbed in the back countless times. Not that she would know, since everyone acts fake to her face. Her friends remind me of worker bees, buzzing for the queen’s attention. I wonder if she knows that the workers eventually kill the queen.

“When you get to the front, show them your student ID,” Javier says.

The guidance counselor already explained that I get one free lunch a day because of our low income. As we pass the food selections, I cannot believe the prices.

“Are they for real?” I ask. “Six dollars for chicken and fries?”

I have an image of Faith Watters taking out her designer wallet and easily paying for one of the pretentious lunches.

“Yep. Gringos,” Javier says, eyes hardening. He remembers what it was like in Cuba, the struggle.

Just by looking at the lunchroom crowd, it’s clear who the haves and have-nots are. Surprisingly, though, there are more Latinos than I expected.

I grab a burger and make my way to the register. As I pull out my ID, football players in letterman jackets glance my way. Part of me wishes I had it easy like them: popular, at ease, able to pay for things.

I shouldn’t want to be like them.

I don’t want to be like them.

Yes, I do.

Some days.

The bigger part of me knows that a life like that will never happen for someone like me. It’s just the way things are.

I grab a water bottle and head back to the table with Javier. Do people here know that most of the world doesn’t get water from a bottle, but from a stream or river or muddy ground?

“So, you fittin’ in well?” Javier asks.

“Yep.” For the most part. No one has singled me out for being new.

“Latinos blend around here. One of the good things about Florida,” he says.

We pass a beautiful girl on the way back to our seat. I take a moment to look. She smiles.

“That’s Isabella,” Javier explains. “Sexy, but taken.”

“Too bad,” I say.

I’m not looking for a girlfriend, but it would be nice to have a little fun. I’m almost at the table when someone steps in front of me.

“What’s your problem?” my peer helper asks, one of her friends in tow.

Momentarily shocked by her boldness, I quickly regain my hard stance. Just like earlier, she doesn’t seem fazed by me. She’s either tougher than I thought, or she puts on a great front.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I reply. I try to feign confusion, but a smile creeps through.

“Oh, you think this is funny?” she asks, hands on her hips. For a second, she looks kind of beautiful, eyes hard and old. Wisps of hair fall out of her ponytail and around her face like angel feathers.

“A little.” I grin.

She huffs. “You weren’t there to meet me after your classes this morning. If I report you, you could lose your chance to attend this school.”

Is she threatening me? “Like I said, I already have a mamá. I don’t answer to you.”

I hand my tray to Javier. He sets it on the table so I can deal with her.

“You’re being difficult,” she says.

“So are you.”

What is your weakness? is what I want to ask.

She doesn’t back down. “I’ll be there before the end of your next class. Don’t even think about ditching me again.”

I have to, don’t you see?

“I’m serious,” she says.

This girl is asking for it. I glance at her blond friend, who’s eyeing Javier, not paying us any attention. I wish my peer helper was as easily distracted.

Being tough does not scare Faith Watters. Time to change tactics. I relax and flash a grin.

Mami, why don’t I help you loosen up a little?”

She blinks, but doesn’t show any outward evidence that my words have affected her. I move close, very close. When I look down at her, she doesn’t look away.

Her eyes remind me of stained glass, bright and cutting.

“We could have a good time, you and me,” I say, mischief punctuating my voice.

“I don’t think so,” she says coldly.

I will not let her upstage me. I give her a long, slow onceover. She dresses older than she is, like she doesn’t belong in high school. I wonder what makes her so uptight.

What are you hiding, chica?

I usually don’t have to try with girls. It’s one of the very few advantages life has thrown my way.

“Oh, come on. You might like Latino if you tried it,” I say, voice low. The guys behind me laugh, egging me on.

“When you’re done with him, I’m available, mamacita,” Juan says. “I don’t mind leftovers.”

She sneers. Good. That’s progress.

“Let me take you out,” I say.

I’m not really going to take her anywhere. I just want to make a crack in her icy shield.

Why do you have a shield, anyway?

“Why?” she asks suspiciously.

Because I know it annoys you when someone else has control. “Because it would be fun,” I say, bending close to her face. “And I can promise you one thing.”

She looks cautious.

It’s a look I know well.

“What?” she asks.

That one night with me will relax you.

Girls like her love bad boys, whether they admit it or not. I imagine it’s similar to visiting a haunted mansion. Exciting, at first. One foot slips through the door, then the next. Heart hammers. Blood races. It’s a rush. A fix. Never knowing what’s around the next corner, through the closed door, beyond the shadows. Trying to find a way out. Not really wanting to leave. Wondering how close a person can come to danger before something bad happens. Looking for the moonlight at the end of the tunnel, an exit.

Sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I can show her excitement like she’ll never experience with that boyfriend of hers.

But I don’t say any of those things. Instead I let my lips brush her ear lobe as I answer.

“That you will leave satisfied.”

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES’ sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep’d by Beth Miller of Writers House. 

 

Links:

Website: www.amberhartbooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberHart

Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmberHartBooks

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/AmbersShelf

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/AmberHart 

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/AmberHart

GIVEAWAY

Two copies of Before You

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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MENDED by Kim Karr Cover Reveal!!!

Mended

Title: Mended (Connections #3)
Release date: June 3, 2014
MENDED SYNOPSIS:

MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO HEAL ALL…BUT NOT ALL BROKEN HEARTS CAN BE MENDED.

Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.  

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever….

PRE-ORDER LINKS

MENDED BOOK TRAILER – 

EXCERPT

Excerpt from Mended

Connections #3 by Kim Karr

© 2013 by Kim Karr

Published by the Penguin Group

Release date: June 3, 2014

Xander Wilde

The magic of rock and roll—it casts a spell on you. I’m no exception. I’m a band

manager and I’m living the dream, touring with The Wilde Ones, helping them secure

their well-deserved place in the music industry. I love being a part of it all, especially

watching the band perform live—the crowds, the cheers, the music.

It’s a high and a low

all at once and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Every step of the way with this band has

been fun, exciting, stressful—every possible emotion. Obviously we’ve had some breaks

but mostly we all put in a lot of hard work—myself, Garrett Flynn, Phoenix Harper,

River Wilde, and now Zane Perry.

“Can you hear me now?” he bellows.

I nod my head as my heart pounds in my chest. My hands feel cold and clammy and

a nervousness that makes me weak and shaky takes over. Doubts race through my head

and I’m questioning if he’s going to make it through this. A vague awareness that

something bad could happen kicks around in my mind and I can’t shake it. The Wilde

Ones are doing a sound check on stage and Zane’s not on his game.

It’s July and the weather has been brutally hot. But today it seems cooler. Maybe it’s

the California weather maybe it’s the excitement of being home. The Beautiful Lies Tour

bus finally rolled back into our home state of California after six months away. When we

pulled into the amphitheater, we could see tanned kids in board shorts and bikini tops

already lined up at the will call window. Security guards in polo shirts directed us to the

artist parking lot, and we were officially home. Tonight we’ll be headlining our biggest

show to date. We’re on tour without my brother, River, and still more than half of the

shows are sold out, including tonight’s. River quit the band—touring just wasn’t for him

but even so the album is on its way up the charts. Who knows it may even hit gold status.

The songs on the album were written and sung by River but are performed in concert by

Zane. Having him as my brother’s replacement has been the key to our successful

transition in a world where replacing leads is normally unsuccessful—simply put, we’re

lucky as hell to have him. River promised to make a surprise appearance at our next stop.

It’s going to be epic.

But tonight is all about the arena—Mountain View and the Shoreline. “That’s

enough,” I yell to the band and call rehearsal. This place is the biggest outdoor venue

we’ve played and I couldn’t be more stoked—or more nervous. A sold out show and a

rocking opening band—what a combination. But a lead singer with another cold and a

weakened voice that can’t be heard throughout an amphitheater scares the shit out of me.

I head straight for the bus and spend the next few hours hashing out a song with Nix

that he calls a jumbled mess of muscular sense and big-riff sunshine—whatever the hell

that means. All I know is that it needs help and that’s why he’s turning to me. I hadn’t

played guitar since I was eighteen but for some reason over the course of this tour I’ve

picked it back up. At first I used whatever was lying around but last month I had my

mother mail my old one to me and it feels like home. It’s a light blue and brown Gibson

and I had to have it because it was the guitar that Slash played on. Playing again seems to

help pass the time and brings a calm over me that I haven’t felt in awhile.

Hours pass and before I know it, it’s almost show time. We make our way over to the

Amphitheater, do the typical festival schmooze fest, and then settle back to wait. Waiting

for them to take the stage is always the most nerve-racking time. I’m sitting in the

practically vacant makeshift meet and greet area back stage and sipping a beer in a

worthless effort to calm my nerves when a voice travels through the sound system. It’s a

powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano range that is nothing short of explosive. She

sounds unlike any singer I’ve ever heard before—with only one exception, Ivy Taylor. I

push back the memory of her name and the emotions it evokes—the memories are just

too painful. I

can’t see her on stage but I know that the voice belongs to Jane Mommsen.

Her band Breathless is playing right before The Wilde Ones.

A hand on my shoulder startles me. I twist and glance up as Amy sits down beside

me, crossing her legs. “Hi, Xander. I thought I saw you earlier at the hotel.”

She’s a beautiful woman—long, wavy dark hair, petite figure, very natural looking.

She’s wearing jeans, a blue shirt with some kind of foil design, and silver sandals.

Grinning at her I say, “Finally we catch up. Can I get you a drink?”

“I’d love that. How’s life on the road been?”

“You know, it has its ups and downs but actually not bad. You?”

“Jane’s been going full-force for a while now. But the tour ends with the summer.

I’ll be glad to be back in LA.”

Standing up, I laugh. “I know the feeling. I’ll be right back, let me grab us that

drink.” Tossing my empty bottle, I make my way to the coolers lined up under the tent

and grab two beers. I know she’d rather have a glass of Chardonnay but beer it is. Amy is

Jane’s assistant and I’ve taken her out more than a few times. We went to high school

together and Amy and I know most of the same people so whenever I need a date, I ask

her. Last time I saw her was almost nine months ago when I took her to River and

Dahlia’s wedding.

Heading back to the table I hear Jane yell out to the crowd, “Are you ready for three

of the hottest guys in music?” The audience starts screaming and the stage lights dim

cuing the guys that it’s the fifteen-minute countdown until they take the stage. The band

huddles together in their typical pre-performance stance. I’ll have a quick drink with

Amy and then join them. As I hand her the bottle my fingers touch hers and we both grin,

knowing that we will end up alone by the end of the night.

“You sticking around for the whole show?”

“I think I might,” she smiles.

“How about we ride back to the hotel together and grab a real drink at the bar?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Great. Time for me to get back to work.”

She rises from the table, I do the same. She stands up on her toes and kisses me

quickly on the lips. “See you tonight,” she smiles.

“Catch you later,” I say and then cross the room to join the band.

“You’re late,” Nix snickers. “What’s with you two anyway?” he asks.

I shrug my shoulders. “Nothing. We casually see each other once in a while.”

Garrett raises an eyebrow. “Chicks are never cool with casual.”

Shaking my head at him, I don’t bother to disagree. Amy and I have been doing this

for years. It works for her and for me. We like each other’s company but only see each

other sporadically. I’ll call her once in a while and we’ll go out but we are in no way

exclusive. I don’t ask her about other men and she doesn’t ask me about other women. I

grab the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the shot glasses stacked on the cap. It’s our

pre-show routine. A shot and a prayer, so to say. It’s Garrett’s turn tonight to ‘pray’ so

this should be good.

He raises his glass. “Here’s to hoping Xander gets laid so he’ll get off our backs.”

Tipping my glass back, I quickly down the amber liquid. It burns as it makes its way

down my throat. Once we’ve all drank our two shot maximum before a show Garrett

follows his toast up with, “Seriously man, you need to get laid.”

The guys laugh and I actually join in. Jerking off in the small bathroom on the bus is

definitely one of the downsides of touring. I’ve slept with a few girls at some of our stops

but screwing groupies isn’t really my thing. I’m not one to have time for a girlfriend but

I’m also not about to pull my dick out backstage, so it’s been a long six months.

Zane coughs after he slings back the shot and I look at him with concern. “You’re

going to a doctor tomorrow.”

He shakes his head. “Yes, Mom, if you say so.”

“I’m not kidding. Your voice sounds like shit.”

“It’s a fucking cold. I took some medicine. I’ll be fine.”

“Doctor. Tomorrow. I mean it. I’ll have Ena set it up.”

“I can always sing,” Garrett chimes in and I smack the back of his head.

“Hey. I can.”

The lights start to flicker and I look at Zane with that feeling of uneasiness again.

Second time this tour he’s coughing and hacking. We’re screwed if he really gets sick.

He nods at me as I pat him on the back. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he heads

out first raising his arm in the air. The crowd goes crazy. The six foot guy is a chick

magnet and no one misses my brother tonight. Garrett heads out next yelling, “Great to

be here Mountain View!” and Nix follows with his trademark nod. Zane skips his normal

charming banter and I know he must be saving his voice. Again, I think about how we’re

fucked if he gets sick.

I stand at the edge of the stage all night until they finally come to their last song. “It

Wasn’t Days Ago,” is a simple but crowd affecting ballad and Zane belts it out. Shouts

from nearly thirty thousand fans call for an encore. Turning away from the microphone

Zane coughs again. Biting his thumbnail he looks over at me and I slice my finger across

my neck.

“One more song for tonight,” he tells the screaming fans and my blood pressure

rises. “This one is a cover, an ‘ode to’ I’ll call it. It’s for Xander Wilde, the band’s

manager and it’s his favorite song. Everyone ready?” As he starts to sing Linkin Park’s

“Iridescent,” I close my eyes and listen. When he hits the chorus his voice gets so low my

eyes snap open. Zane turns to grab a bottle of water while the guys continue to play but I

can tell something isn’t right.

***

Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair

next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s

noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving

right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up

with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I

would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good

PR.

I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and

tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to

the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house,

and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel.

To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask

her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around

Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting

through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in

my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs.

My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double

take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful—

the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde

hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the

same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically

follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing

suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still

that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and

toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has

passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.

My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair

reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she

sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to

the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my

grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music

and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of

putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have

when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together

I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her

that I could.

It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at

me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was,

what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep

flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing—

remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved.

She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing

her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty,

wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed

facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually

met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent,

her fiancé, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore.

She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just

wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck

him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can

sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we

weren’t near each other.

Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear

what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then

suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her

arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up.

“Are you okay?”

I nod. Not able to say a word.

“Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy

asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me

agitated.

“Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I

ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all

those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to

go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it

was too late—she had gotten engaged.

Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.”

My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m

about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen,

I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is

River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.”

“That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles

and starts toward the bar.

Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough

to call me back.”

“I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the

doctor say about Zane?”

“He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.”

“You sure? You’re back in LA for almost two weeks after tomorrow night right?

Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?”

“Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be

sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but

obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to

change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery

is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if

Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice

to change forever.”

“Do you blame him?”

“No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do

what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t

survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to

Dahlia?”

He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

“You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”

“Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”

“Because you have no idea what this means to me.”

“Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I

can’t play a twelve string.”

Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

“Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke.

He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?”

Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t

get your panties in a wad.”

“That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’

“What?”

“Ivy Taylor’s here.”

“No way. Have you talked to her?”

“Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.”

“You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.”

“What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think I’m lying.”

“You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”

“No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time

is right. Do you hear me?”

“Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And

Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t

mean shit.”

“Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing

that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her

everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another

glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father

was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing

them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he

picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial

difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not

only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my

skin crawl.

Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing

himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him—

why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin,

I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years.

INFORMATION ABOUT BOOK #2:
Title: TORN (Connections #2)
TORN SYNOPSIS FROM NAL:
Rock star River Wilde brought Dahlia London back from the brink of hopelessness with his unwavering love and devotion. But their entwined history is about to test the strength of that love…

Dahlia was certain she had found true love and met her ‘Once in a Lifetime’ when she reconnected with River. But Dahlia’s world comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, and all of River’s carefully hidden secrets are exposed.                                                                                                                  River wants to show Dahlia that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass—it’s about dancing in the rain! But how many times can one broken heart be mended?  Will River and Dahlia be able to face the turmoil together or will they be torn apart?
Available for purchase at: 
 
INFORMATION ABOUT BOOK #1:
Title: Connected (Connections #1)
CONNECTED SYNOPSIS FROM NAL:
 
What if a ‘Once in a Lifetime’ could happen twice?

Suffering from a past full of tragedy, Dahlia London’s soul has been left completely shattered. Happily ever after is a far cry from reality in her world. But, when she is reconnected with her past, the bonds that form are irrefutable.

When River Wilde, lead singer of The Wilde Ones, comes back into Dahlia’s life, the intensity that fires their relationship combined with underlying feelings that have never died lead her to believe she has met her soulmate.

Struggling with confusion as old connections fade and new ones begin, Dahlia’s grief begins to lift–but guilt remains. River wants to be the one to mend all that is torn within her. 

But with a past that is never really gone, can their future survive?

Available for purchase at:

INFINITE POSSIBILITIES by Lisa Renee Jones Review

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Secrets and lies. They are everywhere: haunting her, tormenting her. In the midst of it all, he’d been her escape, her passion. The only person she’d trusted in six years. And then he’d made her doubt that trust, cutting her deeply. But as she’d once told him, she was damaged, not broken. She is ready to fight and not just for survival. She is fighting for the truth and she won’t stop until she has it, not even for…him.

MY REVIEW (Colleen)

4.5 STARS

        Book Two in The Secret Life of Amy Benson Series finds Amy again on the run; from lies, from love, from her past. She is tormented and hunted both by the  evil that wants her dead and the man that supposedly loves her. Can they be one in the same?

        Once again, Lisa Renee Jones delivers a mysterious, suspenseful and powerful read. I could not wait for the second installment of the Amy Benson series! Ms. Jones is certainly weaving a tale of intrigue. Everytime that I thought that I had the story figured out, another set of circumstances popped up and made me reevaluate everything that I thought I knew. The action, suspense and romance are what keep me coming back to Lisa Renee Jones’ books time and again.

        I am routing for Amy. She has had a tough, complicated and dangerous past six years of her life. She is a strong, brave woman who fights back instead of giving up. I love that she has a backbone. Amy is no wilting flower. Every time she gets knocked down she rebounds standing taller then ever.

        Liam is as yummy as he is in the first book but I still don’t trust him completely. There are too many twists and unanswered questions to be 100% positive that Liam is as noble as he seems. He is a tasty little treat and I do enjoy his schmexiness!

        Excellent, provocative read from the first page straight through to the last. I couldn’t read it fast enough and thoroughly devoured it in a matter of hours. Eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series!!!!

TIES by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt Synopsis and Review

TIESblogtour

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TIES

by Liz Reinhardt and Steph Campbell

Ties is a companion book in the Lengths series NOT a sequel. It was written as a stand-alone title. The other books do not need to be read prior to Ties in order to follow the story.

When a shiny new convertible arrives for her twenty-first birthday, Hattie Beckett has had enough of her absent dad trying to buy a place in her life. It’s time for him to face her–or get out of her life forever.

She tosses some clothes in a bag, looks up her father’s last known address, and sets her GPS for Silver Stand, California.

When she arrives at a beach-bum paradise that’s totally foreign to her New England upbringing and finds nothing but an empty lot where her dad maybe once lived, her immediate instinct is to pack up her car and head right back to Connecticut.

But she also finds… Deo. The half-brother she never knew she had. He and his hippy-dippy mom insist that Hattie stick around—at least for the summer. And with all of her friends spending the summer abroad, what else does she have to do?

Her ideas about family are blown wide open as Deo and Marigold pull her in with their charm and love. But there’s still a huge question mark where her dad is concerned, and that question mark definitely looms over her ideas about love and relationships.

When Hattie meets Ryan, the college dropout turned competitive sailor, her perspective flips with her heart. Like it or not, Hattie is falling fast and hard for Ryan… even if it’s the last thing that she expected – and the last thing her newly found brother wants for her.

MY REVIEW (Colleen)

4 STARS

        I was conflicted when I first began reading Ties. I loved Deo and Whit’s story so much and remembered Ryan so I really didn’t think I would enjoy the storyline. I was wrong.

        Hattie is a strong female character which I love but at times I felt that she was too harsh and too focused on her “rules.” I completely understand why she is the way she is but those guidelines that she held herself to drove me nuts. I loved it when her softer side came through. For example, when she was in the kitchen cutting onions so she could cry over Ryan and no one would know. She really needed someone to break down her walls and show her that it’s ok to feel.

        I was terrified Ryan was going to be a jerk but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. He reformed his playboy ways and found a way to ground himself. He is the complete opposite of Hattie which is what made them so perfect for each other. If opposites attract, these two should collide together with the force of a nuclear explosion!  I loved that Ryan fell for Hattie so deeply and unashamedly with his whole self even though most of the time she acted like a crazy dictator with all her freaking rules.

        Ties is a good edition to the series but can be read as a stand alone as there is a reintroduction to most of the important main characters. I am hoping that there are more books coming in the series. I’d love to find out more about Enzo!!!!

Author Bios:

Steph Campbell grew up in Southern California, but now calls Southwest Louisiana home. She has one husband, four children and a serious nail polish obsession.
Steph’s works include Delicate, Grounding Quinn and Beautiful Things Never Last; My Heart for Yours and My Fate for Yours (with Jolene Perry); A Toast to the Good Times (with Liz Reinhardt) and the bestselling new adult LENGTHS series with Liz Reinhardt: Lengths, Depths, Limits, Ties & Riptides.
@stephcampbell_

Liz Reinhardt was born and raised in the idyllic beauty of northwest NJ. A move to the subtropics of coastal Georgia with her daughter and husband left her with a newly realized taste for the beach and a bloated sunscreen budget. Right alongside these new loves is her old, steadfast affection and longing for bagels and the fast-talking foul mouths of her youth.
She loves Raisinettes, even if they aren’t really candy, the Oxford comma, movies that are hilarious or feature zombies, any and all books, but especially romance (the smarter and hotter, the better), the sound of her daughter’s incessantly wise and entertaining chatter, and watching her husband work on cars in the driveway.
She is the author of the Brenna Blixen series (Double Clutch, Junk Miles, Slow Twitch), the Youngblood series (Fall Guy, Perfectly Unmatched), and co-writes with the awesome Steph Campbell in the Lengths series (Lengths, Depths, Limits, Ties, Riptides).
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