Tuesday, September 13, 2016




Hot Alpha with a heart of gold? Check

Cute Puppies and Kittens? Check

Non-annoying Heroine? Check (Hopefully)

FREE on #kindleunlimited? Check

Super sexy, sweet standalone? Check

Available now to read? YUP!



Can’t Touch This by Pepper Winters writing as Tess Hunter is NOW ONLY LIVE!











Blurb



From New York Times Bestseller Pepper Winters writing as Tess Hunter, comes a sarcastic, sexy standalone full of men with big 'you know whats', puppies, pigmy pigs, and swoon-worthy moments.

I don't want to touch it.
I really, really don't.
He's egotistical, crass, and my patient's owner--which makes him totally off limits.
Yep, that's right. He owns the wiener I'm currently working on.
A wiener dog--get your dirty mind out of the gutter.
I've also worked on his Spoodle, his Cocker-shitzu, and a Cheagle--don't ask. (And no, it's not a sexual position).
It doesn't help that he also represents most of my joint-owned veterinary practice's small clientele. We'd only just opened the doors a few months ago, and in he strode with a yelping Taco Terrier. One haughty look at our sparkling new facilities, he'd demanded royal treatment, even though I was currently finger deep up a squalling tom cat.
Ever since then, he expects me to serve him.
Any time. All the time.
Him and his revolving zoo of dogs.
One of these days, I'm going to swat him for being such a pompous ass but I can't deny the way he handles his charges makes me want to see past the 'do as I say and don't ask questions' barking exterior.
But then last week...he caught me staring at his um, cough, package.
His bossy commands switched to a cocky smirk.
He gave me permission to do something I promised myself I would never ever do.
I can touch it.
If I want...






Excerpt



“Earth to vet Fairfax.” Ryder waved his hand in front of my face.
I jumped, hugging the dog tighter. “What? What happened?”
He bit his lip, doing his best not to smile. “You space-cadeted on me again.” He chuckled. “You were looking at my mouth. You weren’t thinking of doing bad things to me again, were you? Because if you were…I can totally help with that.”
Yes, please.
It would be so easy to nod and let whatever magic between us ignite. But we were at my work. I was supposed to be a mature, composed female.
Be that female!
My cheeks heated as I dropped my gaze to the Chinese Crested in my arms. “I wasn’t thinking bad things. Not in a bajillion years.”
“Bajillion, huh?” He raised an eyebrow. “Never heard of that amount of time.” He came closer, bringing sex and sparks and seduction. “Can I perhaps trade your bajillion and put my own time stamp on it?”
I froze as his hand cupped my cheek.
My face leaned into him.
Damn face.
Damn hand.
Damn chemistry.
“I suppose…” I breathed as his chest strained beneath his grey t-shirt. He was the one seducing me, yet he was just as affected. “What did you have in mind?”
His eyes lingered on my lips. “Do something for me and I’ll kiss you right here, right now.”
My mental capacity crashed.
“Do what?”
His eyes burned hot into mine. “It’s a huge, huge favour.”
The way he said huge made me think he’d swapped the word favour for cock.
I burned up as his thumb grazed my cheekbone.
He murmured, “If you did it, I’d do whatever you want.”
What, you’d chase me? Pretend to be a policeman and handcuff me? Reach inside my head and be prepared to play with me?
My tummy clenched. “What are you proposing I do?” I held the squirming dog as she tried to wriggle into my scrubs, looking for warmth. Not that I could blame her—it was fairly chilly in here with the air conditioning.
“You’d do it?” His eyes turned luminous. “For me?”
“Yes.”
Way to go, Ves. Don’t sound desperate or anything.
He smiled. “You’re such a kind, sweet…” His head tilted, bringing his mouth close to mine. His scent of outdoors and timber shot up my nose as he brought me forward, our lips only inches apart. “…amazing woman. I’m so fucking hard for you right now, Vesper.”
Dangnamit, everything inside me tightened, melted, swapped ownership and put its hands in the air to flay like idiots over how much I liked this guy.
How much I wanted this guy.
“Tell me what you want me to do, Ryder.” I licked my lips, almost hyperventilating with how much I needed him to kiss me.
“Christ, I love it when you say my name.” His thumb ran over my bottom lip, pulling it down as he pressed the lightest kiss there. “Vesper, I wouldn’t just ask this of any other woman. I’m asking you because you’re so damn incredible.”
Ask me what?
You want me naked and on all fours?
Got it, give me three seconds.
You want me to dress up in a nurse’s uniform and look after you instead of the dogs you bring in?
Hell yes, get on my table and drop ‘em.
I swallowed again. “Spit it out. I need to know.”
My heart needed to know before it galloped from my chest and left me a corpse.
“Okay, here it goes. Can you, Vesper Fairfax…knit?”
Eh…
What?!
I blinked, wrenching my face from his hold. “What did you just say?”
He bit his lip, shaking with mirth. “I asked how skilful you are with two needles and some wool.”
“Why? Do you have some crazy fetish you’re trying to admit to?”
“I have fetishes, but needles aren’t included.” He couldn’t hold back his laughter anymore. “Man, you should see your face.”
You should see what you did to my knickers, you jerk.





About the Author



Tess Hunter is the superhero pen name of a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Bestseller who gave up swallowing her one-liners and decided to write them instead. Her libido scares even her and having an outlet to be snarky, stupid, and sexy while cloaked by incognito is the perfect recipe for naughtiness online and in-between the romance pages.





Stalk Her:  Facebook | Goodreads



THANK YOU!



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The Healing

by Summer Storm The Enigmas #1 Publication Date: September 5, 2016 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
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Cahan Whalen is the drummer for the hard rock band, The Enigmas. He also happened to be a century old Lycan. Living with a curse that was set upon him in his youth, he waited for the day when fate would bring him the woman that would choose him and break the curse. Freeing him to kill the one man he had waited his whole life to kill, his half-brother Niall. Tempest Dempsey is the senior vice president for Whitehall Media’s record label. Her life outside of work is pretty quiet and she likes it that way. On the night she meets Cahan, the sexy drummer’s touch sparks a connection that will change her quiet life forever. When the president of the record label steps down, Tempest is curious about who his replacement is going to be. In walks Niall Fannin, an extremely sexy and intelligent man who will challenge and excite her. As Tempest is torn between these two fearsomely handsome men, fate will have both of them fighting to win her heart.

About Summer Storm

I am what I am, a tell it like it is, no holds barred female. No apologizes out of me. So don’t ask a question you don’t want a real answer too. I don’t kiss ass and tell people what they want to hear I tell them what they need to hear. So no holds barred here either. This is my first attempt at writing, with no formal writing experience, so I have been learning as I go so please forgive all the…well mistakes. Editing is not my strong suit. And being an Indie writer you can’t afford all the editing, proofreading and all that other stuff. The story is what has been churning in my brain and thanks to my wonderful daughter, I dumped it down on paper. I have the wonderful support and expertise of a group of indie writers, yea girls you know who you are, that have nurtured and encouraged my path. As one of them told me when I kept going back and editing the same pages and not moving forward, “You can’t edit a blank page. Just put your story down and go back and edit it later.” Just the kick in the ass I needed. I have always been into fantasy stories. I started down that path way back when with writers like Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. At some point life got in the way and I stopped reading for years. Then my daughter hooked me into wonderful authors like JR Ward, Larissa Ione, Kendall Grey and SL Jennings, just to mention a few. If you want to be seduced, I highly recommend reading their books. My hope is that you, as readers, will fall in love with my band and follow their struggles, heartache and passion.
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Title: Road to Peace
Series: Dogs of Fire #6 
Author: Piper Davenport
Genre: Contemporary/MC Romance
 Release Date: September 13, 2016



Blurb

18+ for language and sexual content!
 
Connor ‘Hatch’ Wallace is the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Dogs of Fire Motorcycle Club. His past is a bitter one, but he puts it behind him and makes a new life in Portland, Oregon.

When stranded single mom Maisie Mann gets roadside assistance from a bad ass biker, it sparks an emotion she hasn't experienced since her husband died. After an accident lands her in the hospital and puts her back in the path of the mysterious man, she’s shaken to the core.

Will these two people from vastly different backgrounds find common ground?

When a threat is discovered close to home, will Hatch be able to put aside his past bitterness and protect Maisie?









Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS






Also Available





Author Bio

Piper Davenport writes from a place of passion and intrigue, combining elements of romance and suspense with strong modern day heroes and heroines.
 
She currently resides in pseudonymia under the dutiful watch of the Writers Protection Agency.
 
Like Piper's FB page and get to know her! https://www.facebook.com/piperdavenport



Author Links

Giveaway

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Mad Sea

by K. Webster Publication Date: September 13, 2016 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Novella
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Motorcycles and the ocean are my only loves. Until Hali. Every Sunday, I exchange my mancard for a punch on my pink frozen yogurt card. Just to see her. This is what stalkers do, you see. I’ll do whatever it takes to catch one tiny glimpse of her bright smile—a smile she shines upon me, even if only for a few brief moments—to light up my usually dark, lonely world. Hello, my name is Madden Finn. And I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t even know my name. ***Mad Sea was originally created as a story for an anthology. There were size constraints which explains the short length of this story. Because of this, the story is sweet, to the point, and all kinds of instalove. If you’re looking for a quick, lovable read that is quite outside your normal reading zone, then you’re going to love this.***
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About K. Webster

K Webster2 K Webster is the author of dozens romance books in many different genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her husband of twelve years and two adorable children, she’s active on social media connecting with her readers. Her other passions besides writing include reading and graphic design. K can always be found in front of her computer chasing her next idea and taking action. She looks forward to the day when she will see one of her titles on the big screen. You can easily find K Webster on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads! Website: www.authorkwebster.com Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bllgoP
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Title: The Other One
Author: Jiffy Kate
Release Date: Oct 11, 2016
 
 
 
They are two strangers, struggling from day to day—one trying to overcome the past, while the other hides behind it.
 
Just when Tripp Alexander thinks he has everything figured out and nothing can stop him, a swift dose of reality plants his feet firmly on the ground. Maybe a little too close to six feet under.
 
Loren Jenson knows heartache. Circumstances from her past have tarnished her outlook on life, making her feel like her future has been pulled out from under her. That is, until a boy with deep green eyes and a shy smile falls into her life, bringing with him a connection she can't deny.

 
Will they be able to trust enough to share their secrets and accept one another, despite what they've been through? Or will the truth about their pasts derail the chance fate has handed them?
 
How do you allow yourself to live out the life set before you when you are the other one?
 
 
 
 
In case you didn’t notice, there are two of us. 

We’re both from the south, one just a little further than the other. 

Jiff was born and raised in Louisiana. She’s now living in Texas with her two teenagers and a bulldog named Georgia Rose. She loves purple and 80’s movies and geeking out at Comic Cons. 

Jenny Kate was born and raised in Oklahoma. She’s the mom of a twelve-year-old and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Wrigley and Oliver. She also loves Kris Bryant, the Chicago Cubs and coffee.

Some people think we’ve been friends forever, but in reality, we’ve only known each other for five years. Four of those years, we’ve spent spinning tales and writing words. Our first published book, Finding Focus, was released in November 2015. 

If you like a romance set in the south, then you’ll love our southern fried fiction with heart and soul.
 
   
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Her Only Salvation

by J.C. Valentine Publication Date: September 13, 2016 Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sweet / Clean Romance, Thriller
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BUY:

Amazon (99c or #FREE with #KindleUnlimited): http://amzn.to/2bEdxJD
 
Synopsis: Sometimes, relationships can be deadly.
Terri thought she was marrying a strong, loving man, only to find that beneath that handsome face lies something cold, brutal, and dangerous. After years of abuse, her husband takes things a little too far, and Terri finally summons the courage to take matters into her own hands and make her escape. But freedom comes at a price. Forging a new life, Terri moves to a new town and tries to forget her past, but she can’t help looking over her shoulder at every turn. When prison bars can no longer hold her husband, and her past comes knocking, Terri finds that the strength to trust again may be her only salvation. When her attractive new boss steps up to the plate and vows to protect her at all cost, she’s inclined to accept…but can she ever allow herself to trust her instincts again? *Author Note* Her Only Salvation is a bold and enticing storyline with a hint of romance (sensual but not explicit). This book was originally released under J.C. Valentine’s given name and was entitled “Spring Cleaning.”

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EXCERPT

She wasn’t on the floor for more than five minutes when Cathie called her behind the bar. “You have a phone call, doll.” Passing off the receiver, she flashed a quick grin over her shoulder and said, “It’s a guy.” Not knowing anyone who would possibly be calling her, let alone a man, not to mention at work, puzzled Terri. With a dark frown, she lifted the receiver and pressed it to her ear. “Hello?” At first she didn’t hear a thing, the noise in the bar drowning everything out. Turning her back to the room, she cupped her hand over the phone and repeated the greeting. At first, she didn’t trust what her ears were hearing. The voice was too distinct, too familiar to be real. Her first inclination was to throw out the most obvious explanation and come up with something that she was better equipped to handle mentally. However, when his voice came down the line again, rough and laced with menace, reality slammed into her like a freight train. “Hi there, sweets,” Randy said smoothly. “Miss me?” Terri’s voice seemed to be caught in her throat, a lump that she had difficulty even getting her short breaths past. “Judging by your silence, I’ll take that as a yes. Don’t try to deny it,” he snapped, then quickly reigned in his temper. Terri didn’t realize she had been shaking her head. In that instant, she knew he was watching her. Immediately, she spun on her heel and scanned the crowd. There were so many people tonight, she could barely make out their faces, let alone single one out. As he continued to talk, she slowed her visual inspection, breaking the room down into square foot sections, taking in every face methodically. Randy had distinct, pale blonde hair, and anyone who didn't fit that description, she tossed out of the equation, and those with similarly blonde hair she subjected to intense scrutiny. “You’re looking good, sweets,” he complimented her from his hidden vantage point. “Always knew you would live up to your full potential one day.” She could almost feel him moving through the room, his eyes pinned to her every step of the way. It made her skin crawl. “From housewife to barmaid,” he continued. “Wouldn’t your mother be proud.” “My mother was always proud of me,” she sneered into the phone. Bringing up her deceased mother had always been a sore spot for her, and he well knew it. She would not allow him to sully her memory any longer. Randy snickered, loving that he had managed a reaction out of her. “You always were easy to rile up, sweets.” “Don’t call me that,” she nearly shouted in return, but managed to lower her voice at the last minute to avoid attracting any unnecessary attention. “Not so fond of that nickname anymore?” He clicked his tongue thoughtfully. “How about love bug? Does that suit you better?” “I hate it,” Terri growled, hoping to sound as angry as she felt. “Good, love bug it is. Now,” he went on, uncaring of her growing temper. “I must be going, but before you beg me to stay, I want to assure you that I won’t be far.” Suddenly it was as if the sound coming through the other end of the phone had entered a vacuum. Eyes darting frantically across the sea of dancers, Terri honed in on a set of familiar wide shoulders set against a tall frame and a head of pale blonde hair cut short in an almost military fashion, exiting the club. It had to be Randy, she thought, but he was gone from view so quickly, she couldn’t be sure. Except that she would know him anywhere. With shaking hands, Terri replaced the phone on its station, and without saying where she was going, walked mindlessly down the narrow passage leading to the locker rooms. She needed to be alone. She couldn’t think. Her mind was too clouded with visions of her murder, of Randy strangling the life out of her once and for all. With panic setting in, Terri burst through the locker room doors and ran for the washroom where she proceeded to vomit her dinner into the toilet. Luke found her soon thereafter, worry and annoyance warring for dominance on his broad face. “The girls are wondering where you disappeared to,” he informed her, crossing his arms over his chest as if she were a child in need of reprimand. “You know you can’t just take off without telling someone where you’re going.” “I know,” Terri muttered, keeping her head low. She lacked the strength to hold it up, too weakened from the turmoil eating at her insides to do much else than sit there and ponder her fate. “I’m sorry. Tell them I’m sorry.” Luke was suddenly sitting beside her. She hadn’t even heard him move. Lifting her chin, he narrowed his deeply blue eyes on her and tilted his head. “Are you sick or something?” “I’m fine,” she managed, trying to find some strength to lie effectively and failing miserably. Tucking a chunk of hair that had escaped her ponytail behind her ear, he shook his head. “Talk to me, Terri. I know everything isn’t fine. I know there is something going on with you, and I want to know what it is.” “It’s nothing,” she insisted, forcing herself to meet his gaze. Dropping his hand, Luke’s expression changed from soft and understanding to a mix of anger and annoyance like a switch had been thrown. “That’s bull and we both know it. Now this…whatever this is,” he waved a hand through the air encompassing her, “is starting to affect your performance here. This is a business, Terri, and if you want me to be understanding, then you’re going to have to level with me.” Terri narrowed her eyes on him. “Are you saying you’ll fire me if I don’t confide in you?” Luke sighed deeply, pinching the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “No, I’m not going to fire you, Terri. I just need you to help me understand. I can’t help you if you don’t.” The pained expression he turned on her, one of utter defeat, somehow compelled Terri to open her mouth and admit this one person into her shrunken world. “My husband,” she began, and swallowed hard to tamp down the tremor in her voice, “he’s been released from prison.” Luke looked at her in a way that told her he was trying to be sympathetic but still didn’t grasp the gravity of the situation. She went on. “He was here tonight, and I think he was here last night too.” She grimaced, knowing in her heart of hearts that what she was about to say next was the truth. “I think he was the one who hit that boy in the parking lot.” Luke’s eyes widened, understanding mixed with equal parts anger and worry twisting through them until the blue seemed to swirl with his anger. “I’ll kill that asshole,” he seethed, his fingers curling to form tight fists against the bench they sat on. Terri shook her head. “You can’t. They would lock you up, and then who would watch out for me?” She didn’t want Luke to get himself into trouble. It was obvious he was a fighter, willing to go up to bat for any cause he deemed worthy, but she didn’t want to see him get caught up in the drama of her life. Not if she could help it. She hadn’t meant to, but she started to shake a little, almost as if the cold outside hadn’t fully left her. Seeing this, Luke wrapped her in his arms and squeezed her to him. “Hush,” he murmured. “I won’t let anything happen to you.” “Promise?” she asked, then sniffed back the start of a runny nose. Had she started crying too? Jesus, she really was a mess. “Promise. It will be a cold day in hell before I let that creep get anywhere close to you again.” He petted her hair absently. “Don’t you worry about a thing, I’ll work something out.” Closing her eyes, she leaned into his embrace. For the second time in her life, Terri decided to put her trust into a man. This time, she only hoped she wouldn’t get burned. her-only-salvation-teaser-2


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ABOUT J.C. VALENTINE

JC Valentine
J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Series. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry. J.C. earned her own happily ever after when she married her high school sweetheart. Living in the Northwest, they have three amazing children and far too many pets and spend much of their free time together enjoying movies or the outdoors. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors. Sign up for J.C.’s newsletter and never miss a thing! http://bit.ly/1KxXWWB

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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ONLY TWO MORE DAYS until For the Love of English hits Kindles everywhere! Are you ready to get your hands on the book reviewers are calling "Simply breathtaking" and "a sweet and sexy book from start to finish." #TeaserTuesday #SingleDadRomance


#PreOrder: http://amzn.to/2ccnQZq


From USA Today Bestselling Author, A.M. Hargrove, comes a New Adult, Single Dad, Sexy, Stand Alone Romance

Single Dad, Beckley Bridges, is sexy as hell.
No, really, he’s the hottest thing since the sun was created.
Honest to God, crack an egg on him and the thing will sizzle.
So what’s the problem?
He’s also a gigantic jerk.
I hate the bastard.
I try to avoid him at all costs.
But for some reason, everywhere I go he seems to show up.

Only the real issue is his daughter, English.
She’s an adorable quirky first-grader who’s the sweetest thing since iced tea.
And she’s one of my students but also the love of his life.
So I have to deal with him on a professional level.
It’s not easy.
On a scale of easy to hard, dealing with Beckley Bridges is like nails screeching across a blackboard.

But when English’s mother tries to gain custody after abandoning her on Beckley’s doorstep as an infant, he’ll do anything possible to keep her under his roof.

That’s how he ends up propositioning me.

And crazy as it sounds?

I find myself considering it.

*This is a full-length, stand-alone, novel, with no cliffhangers, and an HEA. It contains mature content and is not suitable for younger readers.



Title: Runaway Road
Author: Mira Day
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 13, 2016






Synopsis



Have you ever wondered who was in the car next to you? Wondered where they were going and why? A vacation? Business trip? Or is it someone’s only chance to run away…

Brett Myers needs a change; a soul searching move to another city. Walking in on your brother and girlfriend in bed together will do that. So after two weeks of sleeping on a friend’s couch, Texas is his destination. A new town and a new life. He’s ready to start over.



Mia Brown needs a change; a soul-searching trip to her past. More than ready to leave her controlling boyfriend and life in North Carolina, Mia uses this chance for a fresh start. There’s no plan. Just to hit the road, head out West, and never look back.



When their paths cross on a long stretch of Highway 85, these two strangers will learn just how much they need each other to heal.



Purchase your copy today!



 




Excerpt



Carefully refolding the letter, I place it gently on my nightstand. The stack of adoption paperwork is next. I skim the words, not completely sure of the lingo. My dad and Michelle’s names pop out a few times, along with the name Sarah Collins. She was sixteen when she had me.  



I stare at the mirror hanging on the wall opposite of my bed. She was my age.  



Looking down at my stomach, my hand pressing firmly into my skin, I think about how different my life would be if I had a baby right now. The stares and murmurs as I walk through school. No prom, no dating, no driving. I can’t even imagine.  



I finger through the rest of the paperwork before coming across another envelope with my name on it. The handwriting is loopy and unrecognizable. 



Opening up this one, I see that it’s from Sarah to me. 



My little Roly Poly, 



Where do I even begin? I fell in love with you the moment that test said positive. 



I don’t know how old you’ll be when you read this. I bet you’re a beautiful girl. I always pictured you to have chestnut hair with green eyes, just like my mom’s. You’ll probably be a mess as you grow older, getting into trouble left and right. But you’ll have the heart of an angel, caring and loving. I hate that I’m going to miss all of this. 



Mia, please know that I didn’t want this. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want. Mr. Dylan seems to be a saint of a man. I could tell from the moment I met him that he was going to take good care of you. If you ever want to get up with me, please, don’t hesitate. Mr. Dylan and I have agreed to stay in touch. 



So, as I sit here and stare at you, lying in the nursery with all the other babies, my heart breaks. I love you so much and I will pray every day that you are happy and well. 



The letter shakes in my hands. Without hesitation, I grab my phone, dialing the cell phone number left on a contact sheet in the back. I don’t want to talk myself out of it. I just want to hear her voice. 



“Hello?” 



My tongue is suddenly made of sandpaper. I swallow some spit, hoping to find a voice. 



“Hello?” The voice sounds slightly irritated. 



“Sarah?” My words come out like a choke, and I cough to clear my voice. “Sarah Collins?” 



Now she’s silent and I could hear her shift on the other end. “Yes?” 



I clear my throat once more. “Sarah, my name is Mia. I’m…I’m your daughter.” 






About The Author

 


Mira Day is a Romance writer, born in the Carolinas with a passion for food. She loves the outdoors, NFL football and exclamation points! You'll usually find her working, writing or catching up with Friends on Netflix. 



Mira has two Holiday Novellas published, Finding the Christmas Spirit and Choking Cupid and her debut novel, Playing House. After Runaway Road, look for her third book, Bourbon and the Midnight Show, coming Spring of 2017.



Author Links:







Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2aDY64X 





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Title: Somewhere To Begin
Author: Mika Jolie
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 20, 2016
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Synopsis
There are wounds that never show on the body.
For twenty-nine years, Colbie Bennington does as expected with an eternal smile stained on her lips. The biggest chances she’s ever taken can be counted on one hand, three fingers to be exact—her battered red chucks, painting her toenails a vibrant blue, and her wedding dress. Always the dutiful daughter and a Stepford fiancĂ©e, she has never acted on impulse, never been in love. She’s never lived. On her wedding day, Colbie ends a toxic relationship, drops the fake smile, and says, “I can’t do this anymore.” Navy SEAL Zander Serrano returns home broken and burdened with a volcano of remorse. Too trapped in a mental war to be at peace and too damaged to be at war, he shuts the world out. The last thing he expects is to feel, especially for a runaway bride with her own baggage. Two empty hearts marred in different spots find themselves drawn to one another. Each with their own scars. Some, the world can see. Others, unseen to the naked eye. They say two broken people should not be together. But for Colbie and Zander, their attraction is undeniable, unexpected. Can two souls with fractured parts be the best cure for each other’s wounds? Starting over is never easy, but sometimes in life, everyone needs somewhere to begin.
Pre order your copy today!
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Prologue

“Somewhere there’s a war.”

~ Mika Jolie

Afghanistan, six months ago . . .

Zander’s body hit hard against the concrete. Bones cracked. Muscles snapped. Another massive blast shook the building, blowing everything up in its path. Walls screamed. Lights flickered. Tables jumped. Chunks of the ceiling caved in. A cacophony of sounds hit his ears like a tidal wave—the crunching of metal, the tinkling of glass shattering as the explosion blasted its way out of the complex, the sound of a shrill and deafening alarm warning of danger. “Evacuate. STAT. Bomb. Bomb.” The raucous blaring of the overhead radio jarred through his head. Black dust hung in the air, burning Zander’s throat and invading his lungs. They were ambushed by enemy fire, facing a barrage of bullets from all directions. Every cell in his body reeled at the immediate assault. Too close. Much too close. Human instinct told him to counterattack. Ignoring the initial urge, he waited and gathered his wits. Years as a Navy SEAL taught him never to invest in the first option that crossed his mind. SEALs held back to see what else showed up. He spotted a shadow darting around the corner of an adobe wall, assault rifle in hand. Zander drew his semi-automatic pistol. With only a split second to decide, he squeezed the trigger and watched the body collapse. A deathly silence loomed. Choking on the lack of oxygen, he released a breath, rolled onto his chest, and scanned the room. Blood dripped from his forehead into his eyes, blurring his vision but not enough to obliterate the horror staring at him. His friends lay like rag dolls in the position of death—lifeless and dismembered, flesh and brains erupted in liquid halos, a plethora of shattered bones—arms outstretched, burning flesh, cracked skulls, brains blown out. Death tinged the air. He coughed and swiped his mouth. Through cracked lips, he spat a glob of blood mixed with saliva onto the floor, then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Squinting, he inspected the room through the swirling dust for Ben. A few feet away, his best friend, wet with gore, slouched against a wall. His face was twisted in a grimace, his skin pale and clammy as molten-red fluid pumped from his stomach. “Help me.” The desperate plea sent chills down Zander’s back. Nausea rolled in his stomach. He closed his eyes for a moment and swallowed hard, pushing back the vomit from his parched mouth. “I’ll get us out. Don’t move,” he cautioned when Ben motioned at the wound on his thigh. They were brothers—not cut from the same cloth, but they’d shed blood together. “I promise—” His words cut short by another deafening explosion. In the chaos, he analyzed the environment and assessed the risks. Two doors. Four windows. Enemies to the right and left. They were ambushed—a well-organized attack—leaving his band of brothers dead or critically injured. The chance of surviving was nil, but he’d die trying. Zander flicked his mind to autopilot mode—survival instinct—willing himself out of his surroundings. Becoming invisible was a powerful mental skill he’d mastered over the years when shit got real. He was trained to control the situation, to never react on emotion and to judge every move with logic. Bullets continued to plow through the room like metallic hail, chipping the pavement around him. Some passed so near to his face he could feel the air being cut in front of him. He snatched one of the fired rounds from the ground and rolled it between his soil-covered fingers. So light, so cold, a trinket designed to take the only thing that really mattered, life. He shook hands with death, acknowledged it, and whisked it away like a bunch of fruit flies caught in a heavy gust of wind. Time to kill or be killed. Relaxing his grip, the bullet slipped through his fingers. The empty casing hit the concrete, making a hollow clinking sound. Zander planted his hands on the floor and pushed himself up. A stifling sensation, as if shaving with a flamethrower, shot through his body. His legs wobbled. Gravity yanked him down. Winded, he dragged himself to a sitting position. Back pressed against the wall, he peered at his legs. Below his knee, blood turned his khakis a deep Tuscan red. Fuck. Quickly, he stripped off his jacket, tied it around his thigh, and scanned the area. Not a sound could be heard, either close at hand or in the far off distance. Even his own breath seemed to die as soon as it left his mouth. It was an eerie sort of tranquility as if the world was encased in a cocoon or a bubble, and there was no way out. So instead of being soothed, his senses heightened. He spotted an M4 carbine inches away. Stretching his arm, he grasped the handle and hauled it toward him. Gun in hand, he belly crawled along the floor, scraping his fingernails across the puddle of his own blood. Sweat and sanguine fluid poured in warm rivulets down his face. He went from body to body, patting down the corpses of James, Pete, and Scott for identification. Something. Anything to commemorate their existence. Nothing. Because SEALs often worked behind enemy lines, a dog tag or something that could give away their identity was considered a huge unnecessary risk. He knew it, but he’d hoped. Pushing back the thought he’d have to identify every one of them later—if he survived—Zander wormed his way from one side of the room to the other and sat next to Ben. His elbows burned from the effort. None of that mattered. “Put your arms around my shoulder.” Ben glanced at him. His blue eyes dazed, his skin pale as a ghost. Shit. Not Ben, too. Zander rose to his feet, his teeth cutting on his bottom lip. The injury down his thigh protested, and he staggered a little. Ignoring the fire blazing through him, he dragged Ben’s weight down the hall. Tiny lead pellets traveled at twice the speed of sound through what remained of his left leg, the pain intensifying with each dragging step, jarring and brutal. He winced as the pain burned without mercy, penetrating to the cells that should have been protected by smooth skin but most likely lay open and raw. He was a soldier. A SEAL. He trained for war, stood for justice, and fought to win. With all the strength he could muster, he pushed his weight up against the doorway, dragging his left leg along with him. After leaning Ben’s body against the wall, he palmed the door open and picked out the details of his target. A group of insurgents stood in a circle, plotting. They thought they’d won. Every movement became robotic, more machine than man. The rush of combat spiked his psyche with crazy excitement and hyperalertness. Curling his finger around the trigger, he aimed and squeezed. A hail of bullets jingled in rapid succession, pushing through the air with elegance, striking bodies with extreme precision. Flesh tore. Arteries split. Indistinguishable faces marked with red splatter extinguished without a wisp of silvery smoke. For a moment, silence loomed. Time stood still and yet it raced. Sand shifted under his combat boots. Suddenly he heard the sound of blades in the sky. With a deadly whoosh, the helicopter launched its missiles. A storm of dust came stinging, numbing the air with an acrid smell of death. Exhausted, he leaned against the doorway, drowsiness coiling insidiously within him. An uncomfortable premonition—a feeling in the pit of his stomach as if he was looking death right in the eye—swept over him. Another earsplitting sound rumbled in the distance. Clouds of fire belched upward. Weightless, he collided with the ground, drenched in his own blood. He sucked in a breath as every muscle throbbed in pain. The faces of his parents, his sister, his brothers, and home dangled in front of him as the gate of hell opened. Eyelids fluttered shut. One last memory of roughing it in a football game with his band of brothers crossed his mind. A smile curved his lips. And then everything faded into an abyss.
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About Mika Jolie
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    Mika Jolie is the bestselling author of the Martha’s Way series. She lives in New Jersey with her Happy Chaos—her husband and their energizer bunnies. A sports fanatic and a wine aficionado, she’s determined to balance it all and still write about life experiences and matters of the heart. Let’s face it, people are complicated and love can be messy. When she’s not weaving life and romance into evocative tales, you can find her on a hiking adventure, apple picking, or whatever her three men can conjure up. She loves to hear from readers. Connect with Mika on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Amazon. For latest news on her current works-in-progress, interviews with fellow authors, or just to see what she's up to, check out her website: http://www.mikajolie.com or sign up for her newsletter http://mikajolie.us8.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=031e437e36c82d666bd5f3d46&id=af83626053 where you can hear her latest news and enjoy giveaways.
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