Spotlight & Excerpt: Restrained Desires + Giveaway

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Restrained Desires
Katherine McIntyre has a new FF contemporary romance out: Restrained Desires.

One rule: don’t fall for your best friend’s straight sister. Especially not when she’s pretending to be your fake girlfriend.

Chelsea Moore is officially divorced from her asshole husband, and after wasting her early twenties putting up with his shit, she’s burning to get out there and play the field—especially a certain kinkier side he made her feel like garbage about.

Kyle Walker’s terrified to put herself out there. According to her mother, she doesn’t have the looks to hook anyone, but what makes it worse is that her dating history falls in line. However, when her family tries to claim she’s not really a lesbian, she tells them she’s bringing her girlfriend to Christmas. Only problem? She doesn’t have one.

In comes sexy, newly divorced, and straight Chelsea Moore to the rescue—her best friend Aubrey’s little sister. She’s doing Kyle a favor—like any friend would—except Kyle’s half in love with her from the moment they start hanging out. All too soon those lines begin to blur—lingering touches, flirting, kissing…. And when they connect on kink and begin hooking up, that’s when Kyle knows she’s screwed.

Chelsea might have Aubrey to protect her heart, but Kyle could lose both her best friend and the only woman who’s made her feel like she’s worth more.

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Giveaway

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Excerpt

Restrained Desires Meme
“So, care to explain how I ended up here?” Chelsea asked, leaning against the counter. “Everything got a bit hazy after I jumped onstage to do amateur burlesque.”

Kyle ducked her head, the blush lighting up her cheeks. “Yeah, no one managed to top your performance.” The tension in the air between them thickened, and Chelsea cocked her head in curiosity. Before she could ask anything, Kyle continued. “Then we all proceeded to drink. A lot. And when Aubs was ready to ship you home, you told her if you got in a car you’d hurl. Then you explained that we were having a sleepover, since I lived right up the street.”

Chelsea snorted. “Yeah, sounds about right. I’m sure my sister went apoplectic.”

“I got a stern talking to, but that was about it,” Kyle said, bringing the laden plates over to the small two-seater stationed in her kitchen. “And then I got you into the bed, and I took the couch.”

Christ, this woman. She’d never met someone as genuinely caring as Ky, and she wouldn’t again. Her brows drew together. “Wait, why’d you get the talking to?”

Kyle arched a brow, a blush spreading to her entire face. “Because we’re both single women, and she seemed to think I’d try to jump you in the middle of the night or convert you to the gay.”

“That ever-contagious gay.” Chelsea rolled her eyes. “Aubrey’s one to talk. Besides, I’d way rather wake up in bed next to you than half of the guys at the bar last night.”

Until the words escaped her mouth, she didn’t realize how suggestive they sounded. Right, that was going to go over great, flaunting herself in front of her sister’s best friend. Not like the woman wasn’t hot as fuck, especially all relaxed like this in her own environment. Kyle glanced away, letting out a slow breath. Chelsea’s heart sped a little faster, probably from the coffee kicking in.

“Better dive into breakfast before it gets cold,” Ky muttered, as if she wasn’t trying to divert the conversation. “Cold eggs just taste like scrambled rubber.”

Chels snagged a slice of bacon and began to chew, enjoying the salty flavors exploding on her tongue. When she added the buttered toast to the mix, she almost let out a groan. Breakfast might be simple to fix up, but this was cooked to perfection. The yolk of the sunny-side up eggs split, running across her plate, and she dipped the pieces of toast into it. The breakfast and coffee started to invigorate her, as if she wasn’t roadkill in the wake of bad decisions.

Still, she refused to count her divorce as one. Marrying Noah, yes, that had been a grievous error on her part, but leaving him had been her best choice, even if Dad had been disgruntled about the whole thing the past few months.

“Did you have fun last night?” Chelsea asked, curious to have some of the blanks filled in. The outing had been necessary, a chance for her to let loose and declare her freedom to the world. “Sorry if me crashing here vag-blocked you or anything.” She scratched her wild waves, more than aware she looked like a train wreck right now.

“Please. Me?” Ky responded, shaking her head. “Do I look like the type who’s bringing home girls every night? Maybe like the type who owns a thousand dogs, but I don’t play the field like that. I had a blast, mostly because you were so trashed it kept Aubs and Sky from trying to hook me up with any single lady they found at the bar.”

“What would be so bad about that?” Chelsea asked, taking a sip of her black coffee. She’d known Kyle for years but never got a chance to talk with her one-on-one like this.

“If we could skip past the awkward introductions where I say something horrifying, nothing. But I’m the least charming person in the tristate area, and I’ve scared more women away in the first five minutes than I can count.”

“No fucking way,” Chels said, shaking her head. She took a minute to wipe under her eyes, realizing her makeup probably streaked everywhere. “Sorry, I didn’t even look in the mirror. I probably look horrible.”

Kyle shook her head. “Nah, you’re gorgeous.” Her voice was so soft when she said those words in an earnest tone that made Chelsea melt.

“Wait, you’re telling me women walk away from this?” she asked, circling her finger around as she pointed at Kyle. “Between the genuine grin of yours that would make hardened criminals weak in the knees and the way you put the people around you at ease, you’re a freaking catch.”

“I’m going to hope the earth swallows me up in the next five seconds so I don’t die from embarrassment,” Kyle said, taking a bite from her bacon all while avoiding Chelsea’s eyes.

Kyle’s tendency to dodge compliments and downplay herself never struck her before, but while talking one-on-one like this, she noticed immediately.

Kyle swallowed her bacon and glanced back up. “Most women don’t seem to agree. Whenever I meet someone new, rational conversation escapes my brain, and I end up telling them they’ve got great sternocleidomastoid muscles or ask if free will is real or just an illusion.”

Chelsea pursed her lips. Disbelief coursed through her. How had no one found those questions charming? Everything about Kyle Walker was endearingly cute. Maybe her sister had the right idea after all. After Noah, the idea of hopping into bed with another guy made her gut roil.


Author Bio

Katherine McIntyre
Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: You’ll Be Fine + Giveaway

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Book Title: You’ll Be Fine

Author: Jen Michalski

Publisher: NineStar Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: August 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance, Family comedy, trans character

Tropes:  Comedy of errors, love triangle

Theme:  Forgiveness

Heat Rating: 2 flames     

Length: 77 900 words/ 343 pages

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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Buy Links 

Publisher  |  B&N

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

you'll be fine

Second chances don’t mean repeating the same mistakes

Blurb  

After Alex’s mother passes away, Alex takes leave from her job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often self-destructive, life.

While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening, tender relationship that blossoms between them as well.

To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna, who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements, and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?

“An enjoyable story about an adult trying to grow up.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Excerpt 

The last time she’d seen Juliette was high school graduation. They hadn’t spoken for weeks, and their last names—Sprigg and Maas—ensured they’d be nowhere near each other in the audience of graduating seniors. Alex had told Owen and her mother to meet her in the parking lot after the ceremony. She had no intention of lingering in the high school gym, drinking fruit punch and eating sheet cake emblazoned with GO SENIORS and CONGRATULATIONS with the other kids who’d treated her like she was some highly contagious lesbian fungus.

She’d gotten through the first row of cars and spotted her mother in the fourth row, near the exit, leaning against their Subaru. Her mother wore Ray Bans and a black fedora, her arms crossed like she was the third Blues Brother or had materialized from some mid-80s new wave music video. As Alex raised her hand to wave to her, she felt another hand on her shoulder.

“Alex.” It was Juliette’s mother, Barbara Sprigg. She wore a floral print dress with a ruffled collar. A small crucifix hugged her thick neck. Her hair was red like Juliette’s but her face ruddier, plastered with freckles. She smiled. “You’re in a hurry! Congratulations!”

“Thanks.” Alex glanced over Mrs. Sprigg’s shoulder, saw Juliette, still in her graduation gown, lagging behind with her father and little sister. “My mom is taking us out to dinner.”

“Oh, I won’t keep you.” Mrs. Sprigg said, clasping Alex’s forearm as she did so. “You haven’t been by the house for a long time—Juliette says you’ve been so busy getting ready for Swarthmore. I’m sure your mother is so proud.”

“Uh huh.” Alex nodded. “I know Juliette is excited to go to Eastern Shore State.”

“Well, she’s⎯” Mrs. Sprigg glanced over her shoulder, “never been much of the academic type. I’m just glad I taught her to bake.”

“It’s a shame they didn’t let you guys supply the cakes.” Juliette’s mother ran a bake shop in town. Even now, she smelled faintly of sugar and frosting.

“Well, they wanted some asinine discount,” Mrs. Sprigg snorted. “Because Juliette is a student. Fine, but a 50% discount?”

“It was very nice to talk to you.” Alex tugged her arm away gently. “But I’ve got to go.”

“Is everything okay at home now, dear?” Mrs. Sprigg looked in the direction of the Subaru.

“Yes, why?” Alex glanced at Juliette again, her dark red hair, the few strands that stuck to her lip gloss. Alex wondered if the lip gloss smelled like mint, or strawberry. She wondered how Juliette’s hair would feel splayed between her fingers at that moment.

“Okay. I’m glad.” Mrs. Sprigg nodded, and Alex wondered what Juliette had told her. There was a lot, she thought, she could tell Mrs. Sprigg about Juliette.

They embraced, a half, light, back-patting hug, their cheeks brushing.

“Stay away from my daughter,” Mrs. Sprigg murmured into Alex’s ear. Then, as if nothing happened, Mrs. Sprigg waved vigorously and went to join the rest of the Spriggs. Stunned, Alex watched them walk toward their Buick. Before they reached it, Juliette turned her head, her mouth parted, her eyes searching Alex’s. Alex wondered, for a moment, if she had been too hasty, too harsh, to Juliette, if there was something salvageable between them.

No, she decided. Her life after high school would be awesome, and she wouldn’t remember Juliette any more than their high school mascot or her mom’s boyfriend Lewis. She held up her hand to Juliette, as if to wave. Instead, she gave her the finger and joined Owen and her mother at the other side of the parking lot.

“Did you just flip someone off?” Her mother lowered her sunglasses. Her hazel eyes bored into Alex with an unwavering intensity of a gamma ray. “At graduation?”

“It was Juliette,” Alex murmured, shaking her head. In her new life, she would be more mature. She felt fears in her eyes. “I shouldn’t have. I just—”

“Are you kidding?” Her mother grabbed Alex by the shoulders and looked up at her. She grinned. Alex noted her mother had borrowed her lipstick. “I’m more proud of that than your stupid diploma.”

Her mother pulled a pack of Benson & Hedges out of her dark cotton blazer with the rolled-up sleeves and tapped out a cigarette.

“Smoke?” She held out the pack to Alex. “You’re almost eighteen.”

Alex shook her head. “I don’t want lung cancer.”

“Your choice.” Her mother shrugged, lighting hers. She took a drag, then exhaled with a flourish. “Welcome to adulthood.”

 

About the Author 

Jen Michalski is the author of three novels, The Summer She Was Under Water, The Tide King (both Black Lawrence Press), and You’ll Be Fine (NineStar Press), a couplet of novellas entitled Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc Books), and three collections of fiction. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including Poets & Writers, The Washington Post, and the Literary Hub, and she’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times. She lives in Carlsbad, California, with her partner and dog.

Author Links

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Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebooks/paperback copies of You’ll Be Fine (reader’s choice)

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