Wednesday, March 29, 2017

**EXCERPT REVEAL** Twist by Kylie Scott

  twistbanner   twist
From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series! 
 When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her. Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they're emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets...except the one that really matters. When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it's always better with a twist.
 I watched the streetlights cast shadows on the angle of his cheekbone, the furrow of his brow. Strange how his manly beauty had grown on me, redefining or rather stretching my usual boundaries. Perhaps some people’s allure came from the inside out. A good thing. Their ways and their words did the wooing instead of their physical appeal. Not to diss Joe’s impressive physique. As nice as a pretty face was, though, the personality, the person beneath the skin, should matter more. Anything else was pretty shallow and unlikely to last. Guess that was the difference between my scratching an itch with a stranger and the way this man had me tied up in knots. And not even neat, sea-worthy knots. I’m talking, haven’t washed or brushed your hair in forever and there’s a big old mess back there. Shit. At the bar, he’d flirted with me. Full-on flirted with me, his supposed platonic friend who was not his type. No way did I know what to do. Normally Valerie would be first on my hit list of people to call. But she’d just tell me to jump him, regardless of what else was going on, or any possible consequences. Plus, with him beside me it would be kind of uncool. But a couple of whisky sours or no, I was pretty certain I hadn’t imagined his interest. As Mom had always said, however, best to be sure. “What are the renovating plans for tomorrow?” I asked. “Rip out the old fittings and prepare the space for new.”   I nodded. “So we’ll be doing some pounding and screwing?” “Ah, yeah.” The man cast me a look out of the corner of his eye. “Sound okay?” “Absolutely. Can’t wait to get my hands back on that big hard hammer.” “Great,” he said, throwing me another questioning look. I gave a nice bland smile. Yeah, pal. Two could play at the what-the-fuck-is-going-on flirting game. I turned in my seat, all the better to face him. “Did you want to bang, Joe?” “What did you say?” Wide eyes flashed my way. “Like I did on that wall today. That was fun,” I said with all due sincerity. “Will we be doing more of that?” A pause. “Sure.” “Awesome.” Another quizzical look. “Something wrong?” I inquired politely. “No.” His Adam’s apple dipped as he swallowed hard, shifting in his seat, gaze decidedly unsure. The poor fool couldn’t begin to understand the crazy he’d unleashed with his little taunt. Get rough with the man? My starved libido was well beyond the rough-and-tumble stage. No more hiding or denying, sticking to the sidelines of life. It was my time to step forward and be brave. When it came to Joe Collins, I was more than ready to say yes. “I just . . .” he started. “Never mind.” Neither of us spoke as he pulled into a parking space a short walk down from the hotel. I leaned over, placing my hand on his denim-covered thigh. The muscle tensed beneath my fingers. Shame on me for straying a little close to his loins. “Thanks so much for tonight, Joe. I’m so glad we decided to be friends. Because you, sir, make a great friend.” “Right. Good.” A frown. “How much did you have to drink again?” “Not nearly enough. Quick, let’s get to my hotel room so I can have more!” I threw open my door. “Okay.” Hands stuffed in his pockets, he followed me inside, lingering a step or two behind. Guess he didn’t like it when people’s moods got all mixed up and mercurial either. Funny, that. I nodded to the dude at the front desk and pressed the button on the elevator. It opened immediately. Mirrors and old-timeylooking wooden framing decorated the small space. We both leaned against the back wall as it slowly ascended. “Yeah, sure can’t wait to do some banging, and pounding, and screwing around with you, Joe.” I smiled. “Sound good?” He just gave me a dry look from his superior height. All confusion gone from his handsome face. Confined spaces only made him seem bigger, even more imposing than usual. No way, no day, however, was I crawling back into my shell or turning into a shadow. We’d agreed to work on our issues, so fine, I was putting it out there. Still, my bravado was fading, I could barely meet his eyes. The man affected me in all the ways. “It’s hard, no pun intended this time, because sometimes it feels like you want to be just friends,” I said. “But then other times you flirt with me and I honestly don’t know what’s going on. No huge surprise there, I know. Social awkwardness is my jam. But I thought I mostly understood where you were coming from.” A ding from the elevator and the doors opened at our stop. I walked out, his bearded hotness following slowly behind, stalking me almost. For certain his usual cool, easy-going-guy persona was missing in action. The man radiated tension, intensity, even. And if he didn’t, I definitely did. Inside the hotel room I went for mood lighting, only turning on the table and bedside lamps. I rubbed sweaty hands against the sides of my pants. “What you said back at the bar about me getting rough with you, however. Now, that almost sounded like a dare.” “Did it?” “It did.” Arms hanging loose at his sides, he just watched me, saying nothing. Jerk. “So tell me.” I stood at the foot of the bed, facing him. Every part of me was wired, wide awake. “What’s going on, Joe?” His shoulders rose and fell on a deep breath. “I realized something tonight.” “What?” “That I was falling into old habits. Doing what was easy instead of doing what I wanted.” “Huh?” “It was just before you spilled ice on that guy’s pants.” “Sure. I can see how you’d be seduced by my smooth moves,” I said, voice filled with much doubt. My insides were ready to spontaneously combust. I swear I could feel sweat breaking out all over me, the man was just that hot. Also, my nerves were on high alert. One corner of his lips tipped up. “You know how you said you weren’t jealous?” “Yes?” “Well, I was.” Wow. I had nothing. “This is the part where you’re supposed to admit you were jealous too,” he supplied. “I didn’t think it needed to be said. I’m not that good a liar.” “True,” he said. “Anyway, I made the pass at you and then I was leaving it up to you to figure out what you want. To be brave and make the next move.” Softly, I laughed and shook my head. Men were such idiots. “Make the first move? This isn’t a game. As I said last time the subject of sex came up, previous hurt feelings, etc. It’s going to get complicated.” “Yeah, probably,” he said, voice deeper than I’d ever heard it. twist2     kyliescottimage
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/ 

**RELEASE BLITZ** Holding Onto Hope by Beverly Preston




Title: Holding onto Hope
Series: Beyond the Mathews Family #2
Author: Beverly Preston
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 29, 2017



Blurb

The biggest gifts often require the greatest sacrifices.

Italian winemaker, Antonio Giovanni is tall, dark, and handsome with an accent sexy enough to leave a trail of women’s panties in his wake.

Including Hope’s.

Master Sommelier, Hope Tidwell travels the globe seeking out the finest wines. She refuses to let relationships get in the way of her career and abides by a strict set of rules:

No ties.
No expectations.
No risks.


Lucky for her, those rules work just fine for Antonio.

Until they don’t.

When Hope’s sister asks her to do the one thing she’s sworn never to do, she can’t say no.

Can she?

She never intended to travel down this road.

When unanticipated and devastating events throw the trajectory of her life so far off course, she can’t even recognize her world anymore. Suddenly, the rules no longer apply.

Will Hope be able to do the one thing that terrifies her the most?

*Please note Holding onto Hope was previously released as The Italian








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Excerpt

“Stay,” he suggested in a tone so sinfully rich it made her head swim.

“Can’t.” Hope bobbled on one foot, slipping the other into her leather crisscross Louboutin black pump. A smile tipped the curve of her mouth, catching Antonio’s reflection in the full-length mirror. He lay naked, sprawled out across the bed looking rumpled and warm, watching with wide-eyed interest as she bent to fasten the tiny buckle at her ankle.

Rimani Qui?” Antonio repeated the request in Italian, the pull of his accent intoxicating and powerful. His light-grey eyes, full of playful offerings, gleamed in the early morning sunshine pushing through the window.

An involuntary laugh escaped her parted lips, attempting to conceal the hint of regret riddling her voice. “I’ve already extended my trip. My boss might think I’m taking a vacation on her dime if I stay any longer.”

It took every ounce of composure to keep her wits about her. Out of all the lovers Hope encountered during her travels, Antonio was always the hardest to leave.

Antonio Giovanni was the epitome of all men that women dreamed of. Tall, dark, and handsome with an accent sexy enough to leave a trail of women swooning in his wake. The man wore charisma like a fine silk suit…flawless and molded to perfection in all the right places, leaving just enough concealed to make you wonder what lay hidden beneath the faultless exterior.

“Si, I think you need some rest and relaxing. Come back to bed, bella.”

Drawing a long breath through her nose, she envisioned a week-long Tuscan rendezvous curled up beside him, under him, on top of him. Hope’s lashes dusted shut at the delicious image. Tempting.

“I really have to go or I’ll be late for my meeting with Tracy. I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of your sister-in-law.”

Taking hold of the extended handle of her suitcase, she started for the door. Antonio rolled to his back. Reaching an arm above his head, he caught her around the hip, halting her rush. A low laugh simmered in her chest at his tenacity.

“You have plenty of time. Tracy said she’d be in her office between nine and ten.” Antonio slipped a strong hand beneath the hem of her indigo wrap dress. His thumb played mindlessly along her bare thigh, coaxing a shiver up her spine. “And it’s only eight thirty. Let me take care of you before you go.”

“I have to be there at nine, otherwise I’ll be cutting it close to make my departure on time, and I can’t miss my flight again.” Her voice diminished, feeling his long, strong fingers curl around the back of her leg, pulling her close, until her knees rested against the silk bedding. The subtle aches in her inner thighs, sweet and electrifying, brought reminders of the night before.

Digging a heel into the mattress, Antonio inched his body further across the king-sized bed until his head dropped over the edge. The stark white sheet purposely arranged low on his hips, exposing the dark, trimmed hair at his groin. Heaven lay just beneath the silky sheets.

A small, wistful sigh of appreciation floated from her lips, taking in his lean body and sculpted abs. He looked nothing short of breathtakingly exquisite.

“Si’. I’d hate to make you miss your flight again.”

He didn’t sound one bit remorseful.

“Liar,” she teased, barely able to hear her own voice over the pulse hammering in her ears. “I think you’re trying to torture me.”

“Si, I could torture you all day. Stay,” he murmured, taking a gentle bite of her outer thigh.

She smiled down at him, running her fingers through his thick, dark hair. If she didn’t leave in the next sixty seconds, she’d be straddling his face in sixty-one. A tousled mass of golden brown curls fell over her shoulder as she hinged at the waist, placing a long kiss goodbye to the edge of his scruffy jaw.

“So beautiful,” he murmured. Pushing the loose tresses from her face, he twisted, brushing his lips to hers. Taking her mouth, he deepened the kiss, their tongues dancing in a smooth, masterful art of seduction. The provocative pressure, demanding yet playful, drew a low groan from her throat.

“Ciao,” she whispered contritely in his ear.

“Email me the next time you’ll be in Italy. Ciao, bella.”

Hope smiled, brushing the tip of her nose to his. Her upside-down stare connected with his, soaking up the last few glimpses of silvery grey before walking out the door.



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Author Bio


Beverly Preston is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotionally rich and sinfully sexy stories about the ultimate alpha good guy; the kind of man you want to drag you to bed and put a ring on your finger. She also has a passion for strong, humorous, female characters and stories ingrained in a solid sense of family and loyalty.

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, four kids, and two golden retrievers. If she’s not spinning richly emotional stories, you’ll find her on her spin bike.



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**RELEASE BLITZ With Giveaway** Torn by Sky Corgan




Title: Torn
Author: Sky Corgan
Genre: Contemporary/Dark Romance
Release Date: March 29, 2017



Blurb

He's a beautiful bastard, and he seems determined to make my life a living hell. I can't decide if I'd rather kick him in the dick or screw him, but I know what he wants to do to me. All of the deliciously sinful things that I crave.

We met by chance at a club, and the chemistry between us was undeniable. Then I started working for his mother, and he suddenly found me unworthy. Now he's doing everything in his power to make me quit or get fired. I'm not the kind of woman to let a man walk all over her, though.

He presses all of my buttons, both intimately and emotionally. I'm torn between the need to resist him and the desire to give into his demands. If I let him have his way, though, I'll lose everything.








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Excerpt

I bend to climb into my car. Holden is on me in an instant, pulling me back and closing my car door. I'm so startled that I allow him to back me up against my car, to pin me there. Tears are gathering beneath the surface. I refuse to look at him, refuse to let him see that he's breaking me down.

“I can make you submit.” He reaches up a hand, and I flinch away, squeezing my eyes shut to keep the tears from spilling. The backs of his fingers whisper across my cheek. Then he cups my chin, tilting my face up.

“I hate you.” My voice is weak and pathetic.

“A lot of people hate me. But I still get what I want from them.”

Is that what is going to happen? The thought fills me with despair. He's already whittled me down so much.

My mind is going a million miles per hour. I'm trapped, suffocating, about to panic. I'm two seconds short of freaking out when I feel something that totally turns logic on its head.

Lips. His lips on mine. Kissing me. So hard.

I open my eyes and a muffled sound comes out, perhaps an objection. I can't really tell.

The kiss deepens. His tongue darts out to taste my mouth. And then the sick realization hits me that I like this. I like the feel of his mouth on mine. I like that he's holding me so tightly. I'm not supposed to. I'm supposed to loathe the very thought of him putting his hands on me, but I don't. Something inside of me has snapped—the part that keeps me grounded. I don't know if I'm coming or going anymore. I don't know what's happening. All I do know is that he smells incredible and that his lips feel amazing pressed against mine.




Author Bio


Sky Corgan is the USA Today bestselling author of Bully. She lives in Texas where the sun is hot and the men are hotter. When she's not typing away at her next steamy romance novel, she enjoys hanging out with friends and attending kinky BDSM clubs. Many of the events in her books are based on things that actually happened, and she greatly fancies infusing real life with fantasy.



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**BLOG TOUR** Under Pressure by Aria Cole
















Jean-Luc Martel knows good taste. As the award-winning celebrity chef of éloïse, he's amassed a high-end clientele and hordes of dedicated foodie fans. But while he's a master in the kitchen, his reputation for being a nightmare to work with precedes him. Known for his rapid-fire temper, chiseled good looks, and a dash of tattooed, bad boy edge, Jean-Luc doesn't take shit from anyone. Until he meets Delaney Thomas. She's talented, sassy, entirely too sexy for her own good, and the niece of his best friend and sous chef.

Every bone in his body is telling him to take what's his, but outside forces soon conspire to pull them apart, and Jean-Luc finds himself more torn and tortured than he's ever been. As his bad boy reputation threatens to rattle the very foundations of the forever he's trying to build with Delaney, they'll both be forced to decide if love really can exist under the most intense pressure.

Warning: Jean-Luc is a sex-on-a-stick, walking, talking, blue-blooded alpha male. The only thing that melts this man's frozen heart is the woman of his dreams, and something tells him nothing would taste sweeter than Delaney on his tongue. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of Jean-Luc's kitchen!




Jean-Luc

“Get these out the door. Come on, guys! It’ll be fucking cold by the time it reaches the table!” I belted, pushing two elegantly decorated plates into the hands of the next server that walked into the kitchen.
She looked at me, eyes wide as she struggled, nearly dropping one of them.
“Table twelve.” The growl that vibrated from my throat must have done its job. She spun, racing right back out the doors she’d come through without a word.
“Fuck, who does the hiring around here?” I shoved a hand into the deep pocket of my apron and pulled out my pack of cigarettes. I was supposed to be quitting, one last habit I hadn’t quite been able to shake. “I’ll be back in five.”
I waved, leaving the kitchen staff to handle the firing of a new round of dishes. Sometimes I imagined what my life would be like if I went somewhere else, cut and run on this little venture, but I couldn't, because it was my little venture.
I groaned, shoving through the back door to the alleyway and leaning against the cold brick as I lit the stick in my mouth. I took one long, slow inhale, letting the smoke evaporate my anxiety, feeling it coil through my body like an instant muscle relaxer. No wonder I couldn't quit these little babies; my life was too damn stressful at éloïse not to have a few vices to get me through.
“Chef?” My sous chef, Nero, pushed through the crack in the door.
“Fuck, what, man? I can’t take any more shit tonight. I’m going to start taking the hiring away from Frank. I can’t carry the front and the back of the house by myself.”
Nero’s eyes widened before someone stepped out from behind him, almost smaller than he was, as if that were possible. She was barely five foot two and had enough curves to get a man lost for days.
“Who’s this?” I drew on my cigarette.
“This is my niece. Frank hired her as the hostess, but she’s got some experience expediting.” Nero nodded. “She grew up in my father's restaurant, knows her way around things real well.”
“How old is she?” I tried like hell to keep my eyes off her oversized ocean-blue ones. Christ, why did she keep looking at me like that? Like she was seeing inside my soul. Every goddamn dark corner I kept hidden, she shone a light on. It made me uncomfortable, made me kinda fucking itch. I sucked another lungful of cancer into my body and exhaled, trying to shake the feeling, praying the nicotine would do its job and relax my muscles into submission.
“Just turned twenty-one,” Nero finally answered. I knew his family came from a long line of chefs, cooks, and restaurateurs. They were an accomplished family in their own right, and that’s why he was my right-hand man. Also, because he knew me, inside and out. Every shameful secret I had, Nero knew. He was one of the few people who knew everything about me that I actually kept around—and only because he was a damn good cook. I couldn't run this place half as well without him, and I paid him top dollar to show my appreciation. Fucker deserved a gold mine for the hell I put him through.
I’d met Nero years ago, during a time I’d rather forget. That guy had seen me at my worst. And now that we were both in a better place, it’d only made sense that I bring him on when I finally cajoled investors and was able to open my own restaurant. Whoever sank two million into the startup of éloïse had to be a little crazy, and Frank was no doubt that, but he also saw something in me no one else had: passion. Food was my life, and it was the only thing that saved me all those years ago when I was destitute on the street.
But that was the past, and hell if I liked lingering there.
Éloïse, home of seasonal local dishes that evolved on a daily basis, was my baby. All plates curated by me, Chef Jean-Luc Martel. Food & Wine had rated me #1 up-and-coming chef to watch when I was twenty-two. I’d had a rocky road the first half of my thirty-two years, but the second half I’d made count.
The one thing I apparently did not have?
A decent wait staff.
“Tell Frank I want to chat with him about hiring,” I shot to Nero, tossing my cigarette in the butt tray then finally catching the eye of the blue-eyed beauty who’d been cowering in the shadows before now. “What do I call you?”
She took a step into the light, eyes narrowing before her lush lips opened. “Delaney Thomas.” I swore when she said her name a lightning bolt cleaved my heart in two. “Can’t wait to work with you, Chef.”
Christ, I was in deep water with this one.
My gaze ate up and down her form. “How loud do you holler?”
Her eyes flared with surprise as Nero’s laugh pulled me from Delaney Thomas. “I’ll catch you later, Lane.” Nero patted Delaney on the back, shaking his head at me before putting up a finger. “Go easy on her, Chef.”
“Goin’ easy on anyone never got them anywhere.” I knew that firsthand. I’d worked tooth and nail to get this place, and the fact that the front of the house was all but failing was a thorn in my side. I had to take the reins on hiring, and I only hoped Miss Delaney Thomas knew what she was doing because I didn’t have the tolerance for ineptitude. There was a reason éloïse was a Michelin starred restaurant, and I planned on keeping it that way.
“I can work front or back, wherever you want me,” she said. Her uncle had left us alone, this dark alleyway and a sliver of moonlight the only things separating me from her.
Our bodies.
Fuck.
I hadn’t thought about a woman this way since… Hell, maybe ever. And that irritated me. Everything about this irritated me. How could I work in the kitchen when she was floating around, bumping against my body, and leaning over, her gorgeous tits flashing in my—
“Where do you want me, Chef?”
I cleared my throat, suddenly starved for something. Her, underneath me, would satisfy my craving, for starters.
I moved closer, the heady scent of delicious peaches unfurling around me. Jesus, did she really smell like that? I wanted to bury my face in her creamy, delicious flesh and take my fill. Eat and drink from her altar until I was covered in her juices, dripping with the scent of ripe peaches and Delaney. Damn, I bet she tasted like honey.
Fuck. I had a problem.
“I’ve got high standards, Delaney. I’m not an easy man to please.” I paused, leveling her with my eyes. “I hope you can handle the pressure.”
One eyebrow arched, beautiful red painted lips quirking up in a soft grin. “You might be surprised what I can handle.”
Her arms crossing over her chest drew my attention to the delicate petal pink fabric falling over her heavy tits. I sucked in another inhale of peach-scented heaven, my jaw tense as I growled, “Don’t wear the smelly shit tomorrow.”
I don’t think my dick can handle it.
“Sure thing, Chef.” She tilted her head to the side and walked back through the back door, belting out orders to the kitchen staff like she’d been doing it her whole life.
Jesus.
I didn’t know if I should thank Nero for saving my life or fire him for torturing me with his niece.
Delaney was in my kitchen and under my skin, and I’d only known her five damn minutes.
I was in so much trouble.






Aria Cole is a thirty-something housewife who once felt bad for reading dirty books late at night, until she decided to write her own. Possessive alpha men and the sassy heroines who love them are common, along with a healthy dose of irresistible insta-love and happily ever afters so sweet your teeth may ache.

For a safe, off-the-charts HOT, and always HEA story that doesn't take a lifetime to read, get lost in an Aria Cole book!
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**ANNOUNCEMENT AND COVER REVEAL** All Closed Off by Cora Carmack

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From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack, comes the highly anticipated fourth standalone title in her Rusk University Series, ALL CLOSED OFF! A passionate story and journey, get ready to be mesmerized with Stella’s story! ALL CLOSED OFF is coming your way May 1, 2017!

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Cover Design and Photography by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton at K. Keeton Designs

ABOUT ALL CLOSED OFF (Releasing May 1, 2017):

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.
But none of that matters because she’s just fine.
For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.
When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.
Vulnerable.
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Don’t Miss All of Cora’s Standalone Rusk University Series Titles!

 

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About Cora Carmack: Cora Carmack is a twentysomething New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twentysomething characters. Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various TV shows on Netflix. She lives by one rule: embrace whatever the world throws at you and run with it (just not with scissors).          

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cora Carmack Goodreads

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**RELEASE BOOST With Giveaway** Con Man by T. Torrest




Title: Con Man
Author: T. Torrest
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 24, 2017



Blurb

Lucas Taggart is the best con man in the business, so to speak.

A former-geek-turned-hottie, Luke is now an image consultant and life coach to the rich and privileged in New York City. His eight-week program is designed to transform ugly ducklings into swans by instilling some much-needed confidence, and hey, a makeover never hurts.

But when Ainsley Carrington signs up as a client, Luke's world is thrown into a tailspin. Ainsley doesn't need an image consultant; her image is already perfect just the way it is. Luke immediately finds himself grappling with his attraction to the introverted beauty as all his old insecurities come bubbling back to the surface.

Thankfully, his new friend Mia is around to help him out. Soon enough, the teacher becomes the student as lines get blurred and professionalism gets thrown out the window.


The thing is, Luke doesn't date his clients. Ever. But fighting his desire is proving more difficult than he ever imagined. Especially since the cocky and arrogant "confidence man" has just completely lost his cool. 

***CON MAN is a romantic comedy novel intended for ages 18+ due to some offensive language and graphic sex/sexual situations.***

READ WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MOOD FOR: cocky, fun, dramatic, insightful, relatable.








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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The gorgeous redhead leaned forward across my favorite table at my favorite restaurant, and from the look in her eyes, I already knew what was coming next.

“So, what do you think?” she asked. “Should we take this conversation back to my hotel room?”

The two of us were seated at a prime patio table at Ocean, a fairly classy restaurant bordering the south end of Central Park. We’d been having a pleasant conversation from our outdoor post, enjoying the mid-summer breeze which was made blessedly cooler from the shade of our umbrella. We’d been planning to indulge in a leisurely meal as we talked, but Charise’s question ensured that this little luncheon was going to be cut rather short.

I eased back in my chair and assessed the fiery-haired bombshell seated across from me. Her invitation was unmistakable, and I found myself letting out with an exasperated breath. “I think there’s been a misunderstanding.”

“Well, maybe I should have been a little clearer,” she purred, sliding a finger to trace along the swell of her ample breast. “I’m hoping you’ll be able to, ah, teach me a thing or two about what a man really wants.”

“That’s not what I do.” I’d encountered this scenario a time or two, and I’d learned it was best to just confront the situation head-on, without mincing words. “Look, Charise, I think you’ve been misinformed about what kind of service I provide. I’m not a sex therapist; I’m an image consultant.”

I’m the founder and CEO of Swan, Inc., New York City’s preeminent makeover service. People who felt stuck in the “ugly duckling” stage of their lives came to me for transformation. My services provided much more than a simple makeover, though. Aside from helping these ladies out with a new hairdo and some clothes, I also offered some intensive remodeling of a client’s self-esteem. Reputedly, these methods helped to unleash a woman’s inner sexpot.

It kinda went with the territory. The sex appeal was simply a happily unexpected side effect of the confidence training I provided.

Charise blinked a few times in my direction, clearly confused. “I was told that you teach women to be absolute maneaters. And after I saw the change in Darla Haagen… I mean, she was positively glowing by the time you got through with her. She said you were a godsend. She said she never experienced a better eight weeks in her entire life. I’m sorry. I guess I just assumed…”

“Sometimes people do. I’m not offended.”

Most of the time, a new client and I will have engaged in a series of emails prior to our first meeting. Even if we haven’t, it was easy enough for them to do their homework on their own; my website clearly lays out what it is that I do. But sometimes, like in the case with Charise, here, people jumped to their own conclusions and thought they were merely hiring a high-priced escort. Hell, even if I was in the sex therapy business, actual sex isn’t a part of the therapy provided.

I gave Charise a smile, trying to put her at ease regarding the mixup. Essentially, the woman had just offered herself up on a silver platter only for me to turn her down. Rather than dwell on her undoubtedly bruised ego, I decided to point her in the right direction. “In fact, if you’re looking for a sex therapist, I can recommend someone for you. I have a friend out in Arizona—his name is Justice Drake and he’s the best at what he does. But he and I don’t work in the same field, understand?”

Charise tipped her head to the side and eyed me curiously. “No. I guess I don’t understand. I thought I was hiring you to teach me how to please a man.”

“Yes, to a point. Essentially what I do is teach you how to please yourself.” Charise’s lip curled, confirming that her mind was spinning all over again. Before she could jump to another conclusion, I added, “I teach confidence. That’s it. When you think about it, that’s the sexiest trait of all, wouldn’t you agree?”

I could see the shift in her posture as my words finally sunk in. “But I already have confidence.”

“Yes, you certainly do. Rightfully so.”

She gave me a flattered smile for that. “So, I guess this isn’t going to be a good fit, is it?”

“I’m sorry, no, it’s not.”

There was an awkward pause between us as the situation sank in, until finally, she let out with a resigned sigh. “Well,” she said agreeably as she rose from her chair. “It looks like my little sex-school adventure is going to turn into a shopping marathon instead.” She gave me a smile and held out her hand. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Luke.”

I came around to her side of the table to give her a hug. “You too, Charise.”

When we pulled away from each other, there was a devilish twinkle in her eye as she purred, “You know, Luke… Just because I’m not hiring you for sex, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun off the clock. Armed with nothing but false information and your photograph, I flew all the way out here from Houston, and I have to say, you’re even more delicious than your picture. I’d hate to think the sexy vacation I was planning is actually going to be a complete letdown. I could use some company over the next couple of months while I’m here.”

I couldn’t contain my smirk as I answered, “That is one tempting offer, Charise. Truly. But I’m going to have to respectfully decline your generous proposition. Something tells me you’re going to have one hell of a vacation without me. Here,” I added, pulling out my wallet and digging around for my friend’s business card. “Maybe after you’ve torn up New York for a few days, you’ll decide to reroute to Sedona. Give Drake a call. He really knows his stuff.”

She took the card from my hand, flicking it around her fingers as she said, “I will. I promise.”

One of my brows raised as I added, “Although you strike me as someone who’s already well-schooled in this area.”

Charise grinned as she gave me a last peck on the cheek before jaunting across the patio and into the park.

My morning appointment was a bust, and my afternoon appointment wasn’t scheduled to be here for another two hours. Since now I had some time to kill, I decided to take a walk to clear my head. I asked Fernando to hold my table, then slipped out of the gated patio and into the courtyard.

There were a few high-end boutiques that bordered this end of the park, so I did a little window shopping. Eyed up a new suit in the display at Brooks Brothers; checked out a new watch in the front case of Tiffany’s. When my stomach started growling, I became aware of my abandoned lunch, and stopped off at a corner pushcart to get a dirty-water dog with the works.

I loved the city. New York was the best place in the world to test a person’s mettle. You could live out your every dream or disappear into a sea of faces. Do whatever you wanted to do; be whoever you wanted to be.

I headed back to Ocean and hit the men’s room to clean up before my next appointment, throwing a couple bucks in the attendant’s tray and giving a quick glance in the mirror as I ran a hand through my hair.

I wasn’t always this good-looking.

Before you can accuse me of being an arrogant, conceited jerk, I’ll tell you that the personal assessment of my handsomeness is mentioned without spectacle or vanity of any kind.

Well, maybe a little pride, but that’s it. And I’m only proud because it took a ton of hard work to get myself looking this way. Countless hours at the gym, consultations with fashion gurus, and a whole helluva lot of mental reprogramming all combined to create the man you see standing before you today.

Fact is, before I was one of the “beautiful people,” I used to view an attractive person with the same sort of indifference as I would an air balloon.

Pretty to look at, but there’s no substance to it.

Strange that I should’ve made my living as an image consultant, right? If I had such disregard for external beauty, then why did I make it my mission to help women achieve the height of theirs?

And no. Before you can ask, I’ll tell you emphatically that I did not start this whole venture as some elaborate scheme to pick up chicks. I’m not looking to hit on them. I’m looking to help them.

Unfortunately, the sad fact is this: I’ve been where these women are now. I know from firsthand experience what it’s like to be ignored or downright snubbed for not looking like those people you see on your television screens. Society as a whole has always been impressed with such superficial qualities in a person. Looking good is the easiest way to catch a guy’s eye, and if a woman is coming to me to help her land a man, she’s going to have to understand that men appreciate external beauty above all else.

At least they think they do.

That’s why the second part of my service is even more important than the first. Yes, I’ll whip your body into shape. Yes, I’ll hook you up with hair and makeup professionals. But while all that is happening, I’ll be working on your internal assets. Pointing out your positive attributes, trying to teach you how to use them to your advantage. Building your confidence in little baby steps until you’re ready to do it on your own.

At the end of it all, you’ll have reached a point where you don’t even need that spa-day makeover, but you’ll get it just the same. Although by then, it’ll merely be icing on an already delicious cake.




Author Bio


T. Torrest is a fiction writer from the U.S. She has written many books, but prays that only a handful of them will ever see the light of day. Her stories are geared toward readers of any age that know how to enjoy a good laugh and a dreamy romance.

Ms. Torrest was a child of the eighties, but has since traded in her Rubik's cube for a laptop and her Catholic school uniform for a comfy pair of yoga pants. She's a pop-culture junkie, a movie aficionado, and an enthusiast of talking about herself in the third person. A lifelong Jersey girl, she currently resides there with her husband and two sons.

She also really digs it when she hears from readers, and is known to use words like "dig" in a non-sarcastic way. You can find out more about her books at her website: https://www.ttorrest.com/ 

She also LOVES to get friend requests on Goodreads and Facebook, and personal messages from readers via email: ttorrest@optonline.net



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