Spotlight & Excerpt: Val + Giveaway

Val

Val
by Jennie Lynn Roberts
(The Hawks #2)
Publication date: April 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

He’ll do anything to save her. And then he’ll say goodbye…

Being framed for murder, captured, and tortured for weeks didn’t break Val. But seeing Alanna every day, knowing she didn’t love him as he loved her, surely would. So, he’ll do whatever is necessary to stop the king from executing her…then he’ll walk away. Forever.

Queen Alanna gave up everything—including her soul mate— to secure the treaty that would end the war. Now, her husband wants her dead and any chance she had for true happiness with Val is ruined.

The king’s new guards are arrayed against them, the threat of war looms large, and their enemy has the upper hand. When all is said and done, will Alanna choose to sacrifice her own happiness to save her kingdom? Or will she risk it all for a second chance at happily ever after with Val?

Val, book 2 in The Hawks series, is a sexy, steamy, adult fantasy romance full of swords, shifters (kind of), and tons of action. But fair warning: This book is intended only for readers who love slow burn romance, fast-paced adventure, soul mates and found family—and characters who curse when they fight for survival. If that’s you, happy reading.

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Excerpt:

Val turned around and walked away, his appetite gone. He was wrong about waiting one more day, or even one more minute. It was time to go.
A soft voice called his name, but he ignored it.
He let himself into his tent and stopped, letting his head fall forward and his wings drop. He didn’t even know what he was doing there. The neatly tied bedroll, the folded blankets, even the clothes on his back—none of them were his. He had nothing. No possessions to pack, no home to return to. Nothing to hold him.
He could go, now, immediately. Take whatever scraps of his pride were left and set himself free.
He spun, ready to leave, and walked straight into Alanna, knocking her off her feet.
She had been so silent, or perhaps he’d been so lost in his misery that he hadn’t heard her come into the tent behind him. He hadn’t realized she was there, but now she gasped, flailing as she fell, and he reached out to catch her slim arms and pull her back to safety, into his chest.
He held her there, warm and alive against his body, her wide green eyes looking up into his, just for a second.
And then he leaped back, pulling his hands away in horror as if she’d burned him. And in some ways, she had.
They stood, staring at each other in silence as hurt flickered in her eyes. Well. What did she want from him?
She looked away for a moment, and then, seeming to gather herself, clasped her hands in front of her body and met his eyes. “Good morning.”
He sighed. She had put them right back to where they’d started. Polite and formal. Distant. He hated it.
He wanted to push past her and walk away, but he knew how the court had treated her for so long, how badly it had wounded her, and he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
He nodded his head formally. “Your Majesty.”
She rolled her shoulders back and lifted her chin, a spark of anger flickering in those luminous eyes. “Alanna.”
He had only ever called her Alanna once, and she had thrown it back in his face. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again.
“What do you want, Your Majesty?” he asked roughly.
“Alanna.”
Gods. She was so strong and proud, standing with her back straight and chin up. So beautiful. He wanted to unravel those infuriating braids and run his hands through her silky hair. He wanted to unlace her jerkin and pull her bare skin against his. He wanted to lean down and worship her with his mouth and never let her go.
He took a step back and folded his arms. “I’m not in the mood for games.”
“What are you in the mood for?”
Had any other woman said those words, they would have been intentionally seductive, and he couldn’t help the flood of images his imagination immediately supplied.
But not Alanna. She looked genuinely curious, one pale eyebrow lifted as she watched him, waiting patiently for his answer.
Gods. She had absolutely no idea what she did to him. And she never would.
He turned his back on her and walked further into the tent. “I’m in the mood for you to go away so that I can pack.”
“Pack?”
He shrugged, refusing to look at her. They both knew that he had nothing to pack.
“Why are you packing?” she asked eventually.
“I’m leaving. Today.”
There was a moment’s silence and then a soft footfall. A gentle hand landed on his arm and his muscles quivered with the conflicting torture of how desperately he wanted her to touch him, and the need to throw her off before he did something they both regretted.
“Okay.” She sounded so sad and resigned that he almost turned to look at her. He wished that she would argue, ask him to stay. It wouldn’t change anything, but it would have been nice to think she cared for him, just a little.
But she didn’t. He gritted his teeth and kept his face away.
She sighed and asked softly, “Where are we going?”
What?
He didn’t understand why she had asked the question. But he definitely understood that she was going to stay with the squad that could protect her. And that he was going far away. By himself.

Author Bio:

Jennie Lynn Roberts believes that every strong, kickass heroine should have control of her own story, a swoony hero to support her at every turn, and a guaranteed happily ever after. Because that doesn’t always happen in real life, she began creating her own worlds that work just the way they should. And she hasn’t looked back since.

Jennie would rather be writing than doing anything else—except for spending time with her gorgeous family, of course. But when she isn’t building vibrant new worlds, she can be found nattering with friends, baking up a storm, or strolling in the woods around her home in England.

If you want to talk books, romance, movies, reluctant heroes, or just about anything else with Jennie, feel free to contact her atwww.jennielynnroberts.com. But be prepared to settle in for a long chat if you bring up shifters, vampires, Star Wars, or The Princess Bride….

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Rattlesnake Road + Giveaway

Rattle snake Road

Rattlesnake Road
by Amanda McKinney
(A Small Town Mystery Romance)
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Romance, Suspense

★ From bestselling and award-winning author Amanda McKinney comes her most evocative and twisted small-town Mystery Romance… ★

Everyone hits rock bottom, only the brave escape.

Welcome to 1314 Rattlesnake Road.

A quaint two-bedroom log cabin nestled deep in the woods of the small, southern town of Berry Springs—the perfect hideaway to escape your past.

Tucked inside thick, mahogany walls lay mysterious letters, forgotten and untouched for decades. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame breathtaking views of jagged cliffs, deep valleys, and endless lies. Mature oak trees, tall enough to touch the clouds, carry the whispers of the haunted, of stories untold.

Inside sits Grey Dalton, emotionally battered and bruised, her only wish to pick up the broken pieces of her life. But outside, await two men, one a tattooed cowboy, the other a dashing businessman.

One will steal her heart, the other, her soul.

Rattlesnake Road is a standalone mystery romance about love, loss, hitting rock bottom, and clawing your way to the other side.

Your escape awaits…

(Due to serious subject matter and mature content, please be aware that this book might be an emotional trigger for some readers.)

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Excerpt:

Eight hours, and the nightmare would be over. This completely unexpected, slap-you-in-the-face nightmare.
I often look back on that day, thinking that if things hadn’t happened the way they did, how different my life would have been.
It wouldn’t have been a lie when I promised “for better or for worse.” It wouldn’t have been a lie when I told myself I had everything under control.
I might have become a PTA mom, the mother of two strapping young boys, whose greatest worry in life was snagging her eight-karat diamond ring on her cashmere sweater. A trophy wife, a gracious hostess, a homemaker in our many homes across the world.
My life would be easy. Secure. Simple.
Until it wasn’t.
Before the day that changed all that, I foolishly considered my life to be stable and controlled. My life. But the assumption that my life was my own was the biggest misconception of all.
The reality is that our lives are not our own. Instead, a culmination of events, most of which are out of our control, governed by the ripple effect of our reactions to those events. We fight that knowledge, deny it, numb it with drugs and alcohol, but at the end of the day, we’re all merely the point of a pendulum slowly being pulled back, waiting until the day we’re released to our fate.
This was my day.
The day the universe let go. The beginning of a journey that took me to the deepest depths of hell.
I remember the hyper-awareness of that morning. The way the single bead of sweat trickled down my back as I paced back and forth. My heart, a pounding staccato, in sync with that stupid instrumental jazz music my husband demanded play through the speakers of our Upper East Side penthouse suite. Every day—every single day—starting at six a.m. The kitchen stank like old, burned coffee from the pot I’d started an hour earlier but had yet to drink.
My palms were cold and clammy as I wrung my hands, staring at the city beyond the window. Little did I know how different the view from my windows would soon be.
“You took them?”
Startled at the deep voice behind me, I turned.
William stepped into the kitchen, tucking his navy dress shirt into his Tom Ford slacks, his dark hair wet from a shower and combed flawlessly to the side, as usual.
Disdain brewed in my churning stomach as I took in the perfection of my husband. While William had been enjoying a shower, I’d been fighting off a panic attack, clutching a prescription bottle in my hand.
Words weren’t able to penetrate the haze of my emotions, so I simply nodded in response—the last fake response in a house built on lies.
“Okay.” William returned my nod while he adjusted his shirt to his liking. “It will all be over soon.”
Blinking, I stilled.
It will all be over soon.


 

Author Bio:

Amanda McKinney is the #1 bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than fifteen small-town romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY in 2017, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series, BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES, and many more to come.

Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy romance. She lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.

Text AMANDABOOKS to 66866 for the latest on new releases, promos, and freebies!

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Half-Orphan’s Handbook + Giveaway

TheHalf Orphan Handbook Tour

The Half-Orphan’s Handbook
by Joan F. Smith
Published by: Imprint/Macmillan
Publication date: April 6th 2021
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Young Adult

For fans of John Green and Emily X.R. Pan, The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith is a coming-of-age story and an empathetic, authentic exploration of grief with a sharp sense of humor and a big heart.

It’s been three months since Lila lost her father to suicide. Since then, she’s learned to protect herself from pain by following two unbreakable rules:

1. The only people who can truly hurt you are the ones you love. Therefore, love no one.

2. Stay away from liars. Liars are the worst.

But when Lila’s mother sends her to a summer-long grief camp, it’s suddenly harder for Lila to follow these rules. Potential new friends and an unexpected crush threaten to drag her back into life for the first time since her dad’s death.

On top of everything, there’s more about what happened that Lila doesn’t know, and facing the truth about her family will be the hardest part of learning how a broken heart can love again.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


Excerpt:

I opened the door. “Hi?”
“Hi,” the woman said. “I’m Mari. Lead counselor.” She had a medium-brown complexion and pale green eyes. I’d never seen legs so long in my life. They stuck out of a pair of cutoff jean shorts. Her smile revealed a row of crooked bottom teeth.
I forced a smile back. “I’m just dropping off my brother.” “Really?” Mari hugged a clipboard to her chest and adjusted a beaded bracelet on her wrist. I started to pull the door closed but stopped when she spoke. “That’s not what Sammy says.”
Traitor. I narrowed my eyes at Sammy, who beamed. I swallowed. “Uh. Right. I—”
Mari gestured toward the clipboard she held. “I can give you a sec.”
I glanced at Mom, and her expression was so goddamn hopeful that I almost relented. She unbuckled her seat belt and used her knee to nudge open her door. “You can heal here, Lila.”
The tips of my ears burned. Heal? Like how counseling healed Dad?
“Honey . . . your dad would want this.”
Would he, now? Oh, well, in that case. I couldn’t stand any part of this. I couldn’t fathom the ride home with her, or entering our ridiculous house without our ridiculous father. I glanced out the window, where Sammy waited, and finished pulling the door closed with a sharp click. I didn’t want him to hear some bogus explanation about what our father would want. I steeled myself. “Jesus Christ, Mom. I’m not some knee scrape you can put Neosporin on—”
“Honey—”
“I don’t need to be healed.” “We all do, sweetie. We do—” “Stop it. Please. Just stop.” “You don’t need to be scared.”
“God, Mom, do you ever stop? No wonder he left us.” The second the words left my mouth, I couldn’t believe I’d said them. I wanted to snatch them from the air between us. “Mom. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
Her mouth rolled into itself, and she gripped the steering wheel so hard her arms shook. I watched her knuckles drain of color. “I know you didn’t mean that. But that . . . you . . . Not cool, Lila. Not cool.”
“I don’t even know why I said it. I’m sorry.” Guilt rained over me, soaking my hair and settling into my toes.
“I forgive you,” she said, her tone making it very clear that she more than likely did not. At least not yet.

 

Author Bio:

Joan F. Smith lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she works as an associate dean, a creative writing professor, and a dance instructor. She received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and has written articles for The Washington Post and Thought Catalog on destigmatizing discussions around mental health and suicide prevention. The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is her debut novel.

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