Sunday, July 15, 2018

Book Blitz: My Dream Job by Marcella Swan — Excerpt + Giveaway (INTL)


My Dream Job
Marcella Swan
Publication date: July 14th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Callie
He sees right through me. I like it. No, I crave it. His attention is like an opiate. It isn’t about the money. It isn’t about the power.
Then what? Even ask myself, I already know the answer.
He’s the summit of the mountain I can’t scale, no matter which tools I use. I would give him my body, but he tosses women away without a glance. I could offer my mind, but he’d play me like a well-fingered instrument. He’s mastered life and everything in it.
He holds the secrets. He is everything I want and cannot get for myself. I’ll find his weakness and when I do …
Alec

I’ve grown bored with success. The extraordinary has become my routine. Then she walked into my seminar and I felt the flame of challenge. I wanted her mind, her innocence, her body.

It wasn’t her youth, not even her siren’s body. It was the untilled soil of her potential that drew me toward her.
She was the only thing I could not buy, could not create and could not command. She was the supreme protégé; the urn to receive my carefully cultivated, highly sensitive awareness.
She sat there before me, willing and adoring.

Could I resist my urge to make her what I wanted her to be? Could I leave her richer for having been with me? Could I leave her … ever?
EXCERPT:
In between shaking hands, I coolly navigated the rooms, noting that everyone had adhered to costume and seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were two champagne fountains set up centrally and the buffets held warming trays with superbly prepared, gourmet level foods. After all, the event cost $2500 per plate, so at least the food had better be good and the booze plentiful.
“Hello John, how have you been? I don’t believe I’ve seen you since Singapore?”
“Well, Alec, you’re looking fine as usual. Always very fit. Any new deals you can let me in on? Yes, I believe it was Singapore.”
“John, you don’t mean to tell me your instincts are failing you?” I teased him. “Surely you’re the one with the tips to share?”
He shook his head as he left and turned back to the woman standing at his left. I assumed she was his wife, although I had never met her. I moved on.
“Alec! I hear you’ve taken on a new protégé.”
I nodded and looked toward the staircase. Callie hadn’t come down yet and I wondered if she was getting cold feet. “Yes Robert, as a matter of fact I have. Don’t try to steal her from me, now promise?”
“As good as all that, is she?” Robert eyebrows peaked with curiosity.
I neither confirmed nor denied and that was exactly what he expected. I was fairly certain once people met her, the question would come behind my back whether she was my business protégé or mistress. Let them think what they want, I thought to myself. Callie would set them straight.
I felt before I heard, the raised pitch in the conversation undertones. I knew something was happening and looked toward the staircase. Sure enough, Callie was coming down and there wasn’t a word strong enough to describe how beautiful she was.
She had interpreted the pirate theme to include female pirates. Most of the women there were dressed in 19th-century ball gowns, playing the role of the captured mistress or willing stowaway the pirates would use for their pleasure. But not my Callie.
Her beautiful, long legs were encased in black leather, the waist rising higher and ending just below her bosom. She wore a full-sleeved blouse, gathered at the shoulder and ballooning over her long arms before clutching her wrists in crystal studded bands. Its collars lay wide open, cut deeply below her décolletage, the suntanned mounds of her perfect breasts hugging one another in that curtained stage. Her long blonde hair had been drawn high above her neck, cascading in curls below her black, pirate’s hat. It, too, was studded with sparkling crystals. Black, high-heeled leather boots went over where her pantaloons ended and a cummerbund of crimson velvet emphasized her tiny waist. Every man in the room made a wish and every woman scowled. She was a diabolical mistress of the night and she was mine.
She waved at me over the heads of the crowd and I nodded and motioned her forward. People parted to make her path as she came toward me. There was no need to hush the crowd, they were already silent with appreciation. “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce my assistant and protégé, Ms. Callie Courtney. I’ve been fortunate enough to snap up this talented young lady and include her in my organization before the rest of you even knew she was available. I encourage each of you to meet her personally this evening as she will often be my personal representative. She will be authorized to discuss and execute all business on my behalf.”
My introduction drew an intake of breath across the room. I was not known for giving up control of any aspect of my business and the fact that I had just transferred trust onto Callie’s beautiful shoulders was rare indeed. A stuttering of quiet comments blossomed across the room and soon there was a general applause for her introduction. Callie beamed, smiling graciously and tilting her head to individuals around the room. She leaned toward me and whispered in my ear. “I’m so nervous,” she said, her voice higher pitched than normal in her anxiety.
“Honey, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them, I guarantee you. Everyone in this room owes me in one way or another. Think of yourself as a queen who can order heads chopped off.”
She looked at me, her eyes wide, her mouth forming an O-shape before dissolving into a smile as she winked.


Author Bio:
Marcella Swann has been putting words on paper for as long as she can remember. After working for years in the hard-boiled world of journalism, she how devotes her time to writing contemporary romances of strong-willed women who win the men of their dreams. As passionate about love as the beauty of a story well told, Marcella is a complete romantic and believes everyone desires their happily ever after. A small town girl from Louisiana, Marcella now lives in New York City and starts each day walking her Yorkie in the park. She also swings a mean kettle bell at the gym and loves karaoke nights with her friends.


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Blog Tour: The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner — Feature + Giveaway (US)



The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Ballantine Books
Hardcover; 448 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.

Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women, who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.

Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to her husband’s reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.

Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas II as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.

From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.

Praise for The Romanov Empress

“Gortner’s mesmerizing historical novel (following The Vatican Princess) depicts the remarkable life of the mother of the last Russian tsar. This insightful first-person account of the downfall of the Romanov rule will appeal to history buffs; at its core, it’s the powerful story of a mother trying to save her family and an aristocrat fighting to maintain rule in a country of rebellion, giving it an even broader appeal.” —Publishers Weekly

“A sweeping saga that takes us from the opulence and glamor of Tsarist Russia to the violent, tragic last days of the Romanovs. C. W. Gortner breaks new ground here, skillfully painting an intimate, compelling portrait of this fascinating empress and her family.” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America’s First Daughter

“The Romanov Empress has all the glitter and mystery of a Faberge egg, the outer decadence and beauty of Imperial Russia unfolding to reveal the mysteries and horrors within. The waning days of a doomed dynasty are recounted by the vivacious but tough Danish princess who would become one of Russia’s most revered tsarinas, only to see her line end in war and revolution. Gortner pens a beautiful tribute to a lost world, weaving a tale sumptuous as a Russian sable.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

“A vivid, engaging tale of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the mother of Russia’s last Tsar, her loves and her heartbreaks, bringing the troubled final decades of the Russian Empire to life.” —Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace



About the Author

C. W. Gortner holds an MFA in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California. He is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Last Queen, The Vatican Princess, and Marlene, among other books. He divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.

To learn more about his work and to schedule a book group chat with him, please visit his website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 10
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads it All
Feature at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, July 11
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, July 12
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 13
Feature at Bookfever {Me!}
Monday, July 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, July 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Wednesday, July 18
Review at Creating Herstory
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, July 19
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, July 20
Review at Bri’s Book Nook
Monday, July 23
Review at Books and Glamour
Tuesday, July 24
Review at Dressed to Read
Wednesday, July 25
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Thursday, July 26
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Friday, July 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Monday, July 30
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, July 31
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, August 1
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Friday, August 3
Review at Broken Teepee
Monday, August 6
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, August 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Thursday, August 9
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer
Friday, August 10
Review at Two Gals and a Book



Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of The Romanov Empress to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Romanov Empress



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Stain by A.G. Howard

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting On Wednesday hosted at Breaking the Spine.


Stain by A.G. Howard 
Expected publication: January 15th 2019 by Abrams/Amulet Books

A high-fantasy gothic fairytale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea.

Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins...

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest ... disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra's rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight, for she is his true equal. As Lyra rediscovers her identity, an impostor princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.

Stain is one of the top releases of 2019 for me. I've loved all the author's other work in the past and I'm super excited for her new retelling. I've never seen a book inspired by The Princess and the Pea, which is one of my favorite fairytales, so that makes me even more excited!



Monday, July 9, 2018

Release Blitz: The Billionaire’s Wake-Up-Call Girl by Annika Martin

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The Billionaire’s Wake-Up-Call Girl by Annika Martin 
Publication Date: July 9th, 2018 
Genre: Romantic Comedy
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SYNOPSIS: When my manager assigns me the task of finding a new wake up call service for our CEO, I think, how hard can this be?
Answer: practically impossible. It turns out that no wake-up call company in the world will take him on as a client. They’ve all had enough of his surly personality.
So in an effort not to lose my job, I secretly start making the calls myself, every day at 4:30 am sharp. OMG yes you read that right—four freaking thirty in the morning.
Confession: I’m not the nicest wake-up-call girl at that hour. Hello! Who wakes up before the roosters are even crowing? Luckily he doesn’t seem to mind my get-your-ass-out-of-bed attitude.
Day by day we’re becoming closer, and the calls start turning hot, like pay-by-the-minute hot and oh-so-wild. Snuggled under the covers with the moonlight streaming in the windows, we divulge our secrets to each other, but the one thing that he can never find out is that the sexy vixen who wakes him up every morning is just the lowly assistant who wears frumpy dresses. I can only imagine his disappointment.
Now he wants to take me out on a date and he’s scouring Manhattan to find me. He’s an overachieving billionaire bent on a mission. How much longer can I keep up this charade?
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Read Today!
ADD TO GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2yFTTvh
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Meet the Author:
Annika Martin loves fun, dirty stories, hot heroes, and wild, dramatic everything. She enjoys hanging out in Minneapolis coffee shops with her writer husband, and also likes birdwatching at her bird feeder alongside her two stunningly photogenic cats, especially when she should be writing. She’s heavy into running, music, saving the planet, taking long baths, and consuming chocolate suckers. She’s worked a surprisingly large number of waitressing jobs, and has also worked in a plastics factory and the advertising trenches; her garden is total bee-friendly madness and her most unfavorite word is nosh or possibly fob. A NYT bestselling author, she has also written as RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.
Connect with Annika:



Friday, July 6, 2018

Book Beginnings | The Friday 56: Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

 Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader

Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice

Grab a book, any book. Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader. Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) and post it.
~~


     Book Beginning:

Fowl Manor, Dublin, Ireland
Barely an hour north of Dublin's fair city lies the Fowl estate, where the boundaries have changed little in the past five hundred years.

    Friday 56:

Holly pointed to the sheen covering Angeline's face. "See the gel, Foaly, from the pores. And the smell of lilies too; there can't be any doubt."
"It's impossible," muttered the centaur. "We eradicated this years ago."
Artemis was growing weary of these vague references. "What is impossible? Eradicated what?"

I'm re-reading Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox. I think it's been 7 years or more since I last read it so I'm not remembering a whole lot about this book, although the more I read the more is coming back to me. Of course I'm loving it.

When Artemis Fowl's mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct due to a heartless bargain Artemis himself made as a younger boy.
Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it back to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short.
The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all?and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.





Cover Reveal: Scandalous by Sybil Bartel


Scandalous
Sybil Bartel
(Alpha Bodyguard #1)
Publication date: September 10th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Bodyguard.
Babysitter.
Chauffeur.
Not what the hell I thought I’d be doing with my life.
Especially not for a spoiled Hollywood actress on location in Miami Beach. But triple pay and carrying a gun had its advantages. I’d shove away paparazzi and screaming fans for a lot less. The Marines trained me to be Force Recon—intimidation and crowd control was child’s play compared to four tours. This assignment should’ve been easy money.
But the doe-eyed starlet with the perfect ass dragged me down her rabbit hole. Living for the spotlight, she leaked the perfect scandal. I warned her making headlines wasn’t in my job description, but she kept smiling for the cameras.
Now she was going to find out just how scandalous a bodyguard could be.
*SCANDALOUS is a sexy standalone book in the new Alpha Bodyguard Series!
The Alpha Bodyguard Series
SCANDALOUS – Tank’s story
MERCILESS – Collins’s story
RECKLESS – Tyler’s story
RUTHLESS – Sawyer’s story



Author Bio:
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
But Seriously?
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Title: Wilde in Love
Author: Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #1
Publication: October 31st 2017 by Piatkus

Genre: Historical Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 3/5

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . . .

The first book in Eloisa James’s dazzling new series set in the Georgian period glows with her trademark wit and sexy charm—and introduces a large, eccentric family. Readers will love the Wildes of Lindow Castle!

Wilde in Love was an enjoyable read to me and I liked the hero and heroine a lot, especially once they started getting stronger feelings for each other. I won't say it's my favorite historical romance ever but it was very well-written and had a lot of moments that made me swoon.

Lord Alaric wasn't the typical hero that I so often see in these kind of books. He had been away for years visiting foreign countries and writing books about everything he experienced. When he finally does come home he has no idea his books have become very popular with the ladies and that there's even a play about him. Needless to say he doesn't like this one bit. Then he meets Willa Ffynche who seems to be the only woman who doesn't swoon in his presence.

As I said before I really liked these two characters together. It took some convincing for Willa to accept her feelings for Alaric but once she did she had no more doubts about marrying him. I liked this a lot because it limited the drama somewhat. What I didn't like as much, though, was the drama surrounding Prudence. I know that her presence and what she eventually tried to do added some suspense but that part was too obvious for me. This, however, is my only slightly negative point.

Another part of what made the book so great were some of the secondary characters, like Willa's friend Lavinia. And even the animals in the story like Sweetpea, the skunk. It all added something different to the story. I also shipped the hell out of Lavinia and Parth because they just couldn't get along throughout the whole book. I'm sure they'd ben so much fun together to read about. I'm also glad the scene for the next book got set for North (Alaric's brother) and Diana. 

Overall, Wilde in Love by Eloisa James was a great start to this series set in the Georgian period. It had humor, steamy romance, witty characters and some danger. I can't wait to read the next book! 

Author bio:
A reviewer from USA Today wrote that she "found herself devouring [Eloisa's] book like a dieter with a Hershey bar"; People Magazine raved that "romance writing does not get much better than this." Eloisa wrote her first novel after graduating from Harvard, but alas, it was rejected by every possible publisher. After she got a couple more degrees and a job as a Shakespeare professor, she tried again, with much greater success. Over twenty best-sellers later, she teaches Shakespeare in the English Department at Fordham University in New York City. She's also the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting On Wednesday hosted at Breaking the Spine.


The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn 
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Hachette Australia

Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists, separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .

In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father's quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.

In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed 'Spring 1886' and a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons.

In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .

This book just sounds like it would be a wonderful read and right up my alley. The cover is beautiful and the description of the story about two female botanists just really speaks to me. I also love that it seems to be set both in Victorian England (one of my favorite time periods) and present-day Australia. I can't wait to get my hands on it.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Book Blitz: Strong Hold by Sarah Castille + Giveaway (INTL)


Welcome to my stop for the book blitz of Strong Hold by Sarah Castille. She's one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Also don't forget to scroll down to enter the giveaway below. You can win a $20 Amazon gift card + paperback copies of the first three books in the series (Against the Ropes, In Your Corner, and Full Contact). It's open internationally!


Strong Hold
Sarah Castille
(Redemption #5)
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: July 3rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“Shayla?”
For the longest moment Zack’s brain couldn’t process the sight in front of him.
Seven years, ten months and twenty-seven days. That was how long it had been since he’d seen her. That was how long it had been since he’d lived a life without regret.

Fight promoter Zack Grayson is on the prowl for a rising star. As the top recruiter of a prestigious MMA promotion company, he wants to take someone where he was never able to go: the top of the professional league. He didn’t expect that someone to be the woman he loved…and left.
Top-ranked MMA amateur fighter Shayla “Shilla the Killa” Tyler built walls around her heart when Zack left her seven years ago–and again when her husband turned violent. Now, seeing Zack is nearly enough to send those walls crumbling. But she can’t risk the exposure of the limelight, and she definitely can’t risk another heartbreak.
As Shayla and Zack grow closer, though, business turns personal. And once their passion unleashes, there’s no going back…
Redemption Series:
Against the Ropes (Book 1)
In Your Corner (Book 2)
Full Contact (Book 3)
Fighting Attraction (Book 4)
Strong Hold (Book 5)

What People Are Saying About Sarah Castille’s Redemption series:
“Powerful. Gritty. And sexy beyond belief. Sarah is a true master!”–Opal Carew, New York Times bestselling author of His to Claim
“Emotionally charged, amazingly sexy, and flat out fantastic.” —Fresh Fiction for Full Contact
“Castille continues to introduce characters who are both intense and vulnerable. The females are more than a match for the men in their lives, and these guys are worth their efforts.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars for Full Contact
EXCERPT:
“That kiss,” he whispers, his breath hot against my ear. “In Torment’s office. That was nothing?”
“Aside from the fact that we risked both our lives, and you have to pay a heavy price, and I maybe got a little hot from all the activity…nothing.”
“And when we touched…” He slides one arm around my waist and pulls me close as if we were alone and not in the Redemption parking lot where, no doubt, we are fueling the overactive gossip mill. “When I held you…nothing?”
My cheeks burn at the memory. “A friendly hug.”
“And back there in class…” His hips press up against mine, and his voice drops to a sensual growl. “When I had you underneath me with your hands pinned above your head totally at my mercy…nothing?”
I open my mouth, but nothing is exactly what comes out.
Zack responds with a satisfied grunt. “Something.”
“Don’t let it go to your head.” I grit my teeth and look away. “It was a natural physiological response. I’m genetically programmed to be attracted to handsome, sexy men in peak physical condition. Survival of the species and that sort of thing.”
He laughs, and oh God, I missed that deep, rich rumble that rolls right through me. “What about this?” He taps my head. “I’ve heard the brain can overcome basic instinct and genetic programming. Free will and that sort of thing.”
“Yeah, well, it’s not working right now. I think it’s the gi.” Unable to stop myself, I run my hand along the edge of his gi, my fingers trailing over the hard muscles of his chest. “It’s…distracting.”
His muscles tense under my touch, and a growl vibrates in his chest. “You’re distracting.”
“We’re supposed to be keeping it professional,” I remind him, pulling my hand away. I watched his body change from boyhood through his gangly teen years and then fill out when he reached his early twenties. He was ripped back then in a way that made heads turn, but his muscles now are thick and hard, ripened by age and hundreds of fights. When I last saw him, there was still some boy left in the way he held himself, a slight unease with his body. But now, he is all confidence and power. Pure solid man.
Zack grabs my hand and presses it against his bare chest, right over his heart. “You’re not making it easy. Your jealousy…knowing you care…feeling that connection… You don’t know what that does to me.” He is on me before I can part my lips, one hand firm around my neck, his lean, powerful body caging me against the car. His mouth claims mine, stealing my breath away with a kiss that sends a scorching wave of heat through my veins.
“Professional means no kissing,” I say when he lets me up for air. Without thinking, I trace the edges of the scar on his forehead, a bitter reminder of Matt’s misdirected anger when Zack brought home his mangled bike.
Zack covers my hand with his, trapping it against my cheek. “No kissing,” he agrees. “Unless you touch me, and then I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“Fine. No touching.” I pull my hand away, pleased that we are setting out some ground rules so I don’t have to worry about wanting to tear his clothes off in the gym.
His naughty hand skims the side of my face, his thumb stroking over the apple of my cheek as he tips my head back, forcing me to look at him. “I can’t train you if I don’t touch you, especially when we’re rolling on the mats like we just did in class.”
“Okay. Professional touching. Nothing else.”
He licks his lips like a predator about to feast. “Unless you want something else.”
I press my lips together and scowl. “Stop qualifying everything. I know exactly what you’re trying to do, and it’s not going to work. You can’t seduce me, Zachary Grayson. You know exactly what professional means. Now let’s shake on it.”
He cups my face between his hands and tilts my head back. “Kiss.”
“You had your kiss—”
Without warning, his hands drop to my hips, and he yanks me against him. His mouth crushes mine, and his tongue slides between my lips, touching, tasting, claiming. I startle at the urgency of his kiss, the raw heat, the fierce desire. I shouldn’t kiss him back, but I can’t resist the dark temptation, the firm hand that has found its way to my nape, holding me in place as he coaxes me open for the slow, relentless possession of my mouth.
Blood pounds in my temples, my hunger for him raw and wild. My hand slides up his chest and over his shoulder. I pull him closer, my fingers clutching the soft, silken strands of his hair. My heart pounds in my chest, and the world shatters around me.


Author Bio:
Sarah Castille is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Redemption Series, Ruin & Revenge Series, Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club series, and Legal Heat series. A recovering lawyer with a fondness for dirty-talking alpha males, she now is a full-time writer, who lives on Vancouver Island. Sarah’s books have been listed as Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Picks and Best Summer Reads, and Amazon’s Best Romance Books of the Year, and have won numerous reader’s choice awards including the Holt Medallion.

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