Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: July 26

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  • The Writer’s Desire by Katie Devoe: Blog Tour & Giveaway

  • The Letter: Dear Michael by Theresa Sederholt: Blog Tour & Giveaway

  • Banking the Billionaire by Max Monroe: Release Blitz

  • Fatal Identity by Marie Force: Release Day

Book: The Writer’s Desire (Exploring Desire Book 2)

Author: Katie Devoe

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Synopsis

Natasha Carson doesn’t believe in fairytale endings. And she doesn’t want a Prince Charming. She had that with Christopher and look where that got her. Suffocating. Tolerating a respectable teaching position she never loved and lying to everyone about her true passion: writing smut.
So Natasha does the only thing she can. She leaves it all behind. The perfect boyfriend. The great job. New York City. Even the gorgeous grad student, Adam LaRue, who tempted her with sexual ecstasy and promises of making her every desire a reality.

As she explores the sex clubs of Berlin’s kinky underbelly, Natasha can’t help but wonder if she made a mistake. But when a chance encounter brings Adam into her life, she’s forced to confront her true feelings and deepest fears. With only a few days together, Natasha must make a choice: run away or relinquish control.

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Author Bio

Katie Devoe grew up in New York City and has lived in Los Angeles, Madrid, and Barcelona. She’s worked as a barista, bookseller, cheese-maker and organic farmer. Her idea of a dream day is curled up in a cozy sweater, drinking Fortnum & Mason tea, and reading.

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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
Book 1 – The Professor’s Secret


Natasha Carson’s life is perfect. She’s a respected novelist, the youngest fiction professor at a prestigious university, and every night she comes home to the perfect man who absolutely adores her. There’s only one problem. No one, not even her boyfriend, knows that she pens bestselling BDSM erotica in secret. And that’s exactly how she wants to keep it.
Then Adam LaRue enters Natasha’s classroom and her life, threatening everything. The gorgeous grad student isn’t just a kinky temptation – he knows her secret. And makes it clear that one way or another, he’ll have her in his bed.
As she watches her life crumble around her, Natasha must ask herself, Is it really as perfect as everyone believes?
The Professor’s Secret is an erotic tale of self-discovery and what happens when the line between fiction and reality blurs.
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Book: The Letter: Dear Michael

Author: Theresa Sederholt

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Synopsis


MICHAEL
He thought his life was perfect. He was ready to take the next step: get married  and eventually start a family. Then, a “Dear John” letter and the unearthing of a deeply buried secret turn his dream into a nightmare.
A product of rape.
A family with hidden enemies.
A bank account with more zeros than can be deemed natural.
Michael’s hope of a life without limitations seems too far out of reach to ever be truly realized.  The pressure of family, safety, and secrets is overwhelming. Everyone turns to him, but who can he turn to?
“When you step outside the box, you never know who might want to dance with you.”
DAGEN
Dagen is a type A personality who doesn’t let her own insecurities allow others to pull the wool over her eyes. However, they have boxed her in, limiting her life experiences.
That is, until Michael comes along and tries to convince her to step out of her comfort zone. It’s then that he realizes they have that in common; he needs to step out too.
They both learn that when two hearts are searching for each other, nothing and no one can stand in the way. That is until Michael’s life hangs in the balance.
A face from Michael’s past might hold the key to his future.
But what kind of hoops have to be jumped through to get that key?




Author Bio

I was born in Brooklyn New York. I am old enough to know there is no luggage rack on the hearse. I am married to a Professional Chef.
I have a son who is a Research Chemist and a wine maker. Yep I’m covered from the food to the drinks. I have 2 dogs Vito and Godiva.
I live in the United States. I’ve had so many different jobs, even I can’t keep count.
I believe if you give a girl espresso and Nutella she can change the world!

Social Links

Book 1: The Unraveling of Raven


Book 2:  Darkness into Dawn



Book 3: Shattered Lies



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 Book: Banking the Billionaire
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: July 26, 2016

Blurb


Uninhibited. Sarcastic. Confident. Beautiful.
With a thriving photography career that allows her to travel all over the world and capture the hottest of men behind her camera lens, Cassie Phillips is the woman who can’t be tamed.Adrenaline-junkie. Jokester. Billionaire. Hot-as-sin.
At six-foot-five, with muscles for days, and that perfect playful smile, Thatcher Kelly is the kind of man you don’t want to deny.Wild for wild.
Prank for prank.
The two most unlikely of people may be the only ones to see that some personality traits only run skin deep.Uncensored. Hilarious. And too damn hot to put into words.
Grab a fan and get ready for one hell of a ride because when the opposite of opposites attract, things are bound to get a little messy.

Disclaimer:

The CDC has been notified of the infectious nature of Cassie’s craziness, siting her first case of full transmission to Thatcher Kelly. Measures should be taken to counteract its fast regeneration cycle, but avoiding the book is not recommended at this time. The Epilogue is the only known antidote.

Review

This book has it all. It is sexy and funny. These two characters are so much fun to read!

Full review coming soon! Check back for it!

Purchase Links

Find all purchase links here:

http://www.authormaxmonroe.com/#!books/cnec

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✦TAPPING THE BILLIONAIRE SALE STARTS ON JULY 26TH

It will be 99 cents for a limited time.

This is a series of interconnected romantic comedy standalones and Tapping the Billionaire (the first in the series) is currently on sale for limited time for 99 pennies!!!

Tapping the Billionaire (#1)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1SIItun
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1SuIHjq
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1T9prYs
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1Qx801Y
Nook: http://goo.gl/84lRuS
iBooks: http://apple.co/1SNU6jL
Kobo: https://goo.gl/a2dY1m

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Fatal Identity (Fatal, #10)

 

Book: Fatal Identity

Series: Fatal Series

Author: Marie Force

Publication Date: July 26, 2016

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Blurb

Every family has its secrets… 

As the first anniversary of her marriage to Vice President Nick Cappuano approaches, Lieutenant Sam Holland is dreaming of Bora Bora—sun, sand and a desperately needed break from the DC grind. But real life has a way of intervening, and Sam soon finds herself taking on one of the most perplexing cases of her career.

Government worker Josh Hamilton begs Sam to investigate his shocking claim that his parents stole him from another family thirty years ago. More complicated still, his “father” is none other than the FBI director. When a member of Josh’s family is brutally murdered, Sam begins to question how deep this cover-up goes. Is it possible the revered director was part of a baby-napping ring and that others involved are also targets?

With a killer intent on deadly revenge and her team still reeling from a devastating loss, Sam’s plate is full—and when Nick and their son, Scotty, take ill, is her dream of a tropical anniversary celebration in peril too?

Review

I am a total Fatal Series fan! I am like a crazy person when I get my hands on each one of the books in this series. I devour each page and usually finish the book in record time. This one was no exception.

In this book, we get all of the intense intrigue with a story that rocks the characters we know and love. All the while Sam is trying to get to the bottom of the new case that she technically isn’t working on, she is dealing with family issues. With Nick and Scotty both sick, we see a side of Sam that we all have known was there but she doesn’t like to show us very often. She shows us her domestic side. Sam becomes the worried wife and mother taking care of her family.

We also get the sexy moments with Sam and Nick. Boy are those two one hot couple!

Five huge stars for this book! Another great job by Marie Force!

Purchase Links

Kindle US  |   iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Google  |  Kindle CA  |  Kindle UK  |  Kindle AU

Get Fatal Identity in print at AmazonB&NBooks A MillionChapters Indigo, Booktopia, Harlequin and Indie Bound

Audiobook

Amazon |  Audible  |  Audible UK  |   Audible AU

Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: July 19

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Book: Obsession (Steel Brothers Saga #2)

Author: Helen Hardt

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 19th July

 

 

Goodreads

Synopsis

 

Jade Roberts is in love with Talon Steel but no longer welcome in his home. While she resolves to move on, she still longs for the passion she and Talon shared…and when her boss asks her to dig up information on the Steels, she’s only too happy to comply. Talon and his brothers are hiding something, and Jade is determined find out what it is.

 

The moment Talon saw Jade he wanted her, ached for her, craved her…and now his desire has become his obsession. He knows she deserves better than his broken soul, but he can’t stay away from her, and he finally confesses his love. If he and Jade are to have a future, he knows he must make peace with the dark shadows and horrors of his past.

 

But as Talon begins his journey of healing, Jade uncovers some startling secrets…

 

Buy Links

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1XIYChB

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VQfcgA

B&N: http://bit.ly/1SWvC7j

Nook: http://bit.ly/1XH4Kqp

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Qi0E2b

iBooks: http://apple.co/1SV9vcf

PlayBooks: http://bit.ly/26aRAYD

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1MICDqw

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Vh70a5

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1UclKFw



Meet The Author:

 

USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.

 

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Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: July 18

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Book: Wicked Beautiful

Series: Wicked Games

Author: J.T. Geissinger

Publication Date: July 19, 2016

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Synopsis

A ruthless businesswoman and the playboy who dumped her long ago find themselves embroiled in a high stakes game of love, lies and revenge.

Life coach and best-selling author Victoria Price has it all: a successful career, fabulous friends, a fantastic penthouse in Manhattan. What she doesn’t have–and doesn’t want–is a husband. Fifteen years ago her high school flame broke her heart so badly she swore she’d never love again. Now she makes millions teaching other women how to be just like her: a ruthless bitch.

Drop-dead sexy restauranteur and infamous playboy Parker Maxwell has only three rules for the women he dates: no questions about his past, no expectations for the future, and no spending the night. When he meets Victoria, however, he’s willing to break his own rules if it means sating the explosive desire she arouses in him. What he doesn’t know is that the alluring Victoria Price used to be the mousy Isabel Diaz, the girl he deflowered and dumped long ago.

Presented with a perfect opportunity for revenge, Victoria decides the game is on. But when her connection with Parker proves more than just skin deep, she has to make a choice: continue with her plan for payback, or risk her career, her reputation, and her heart by taking a second chance on love?

Excerpt

“You have the most interesting internal conversations,” says Parker, watching my face. “Someday I’d love to be in on one of them.”
I blurt, “I was just thinking about sleeping with you.”
He stares at me. I’ve never seen such a look of hunger. Softly, he says, “Go on.”
“I…cannot believe I just said that out loud.”
Parker hasn’t blinked. His pupils are dilated. I wonder if mine are, too.
“Seriously, let’s just pretend I didn’t say that, OK? Rewind. Erase. Press play again.”
Aware that I’ve begun to babble, I snap my mouth shut. We stand in silence, looking at each other, until Parker lifts his hand and brushes his thumb over my lower lip.
“OK. We’ll pretend you didn’t say it. Please ignore the churro in my pants, because he’s not quite as good at pretending as we are.”
My gaze involuntarily drops to Parker’s crotch. And there, in all its glory, is one large and determined-looking bulge.
“I just said ignore it, Victoria, not stare at it. Show some mercy, woman.”
I press my lips together to keep from smiling. Mercy is the one thing he’ll never get from me.
Gazing up at him, I capture his thumb lightly between my teeth and nip it playfully. “I can’t help it. Remember I told you how much I love churros? Your churro looks particularly big and yummy.”
He exhales, hard. “Jesus. I can’t decide if I should laugh, kiss you, or bend you over the counter and have my way with you. That was just evil.”
I giggle. “Evil’s my specialty. You’ve been warned.”
He clasps my face in his hands and plants a firm, potent kiss on my mouth. In a husky voice he says, “If we’re going to dinner, we better get to it, because we’ve got only about thirty seconds left before Mr. Big Yummy Churro takes control of the rest of my body and I rip off your dress. With my teeth.”
That’s as blatant a proposition as I’ve ever heard. I’m thrilled he’s so affected by me.
I’m far less thrilled by how affected I am by him.
But if there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that every worthy endeavor is difficult, challenging, and usually painful. Nothing truly valuable comes easy. A battle easily won is no battle at all.
And we are at war, he and I. Blood will be shed. By the end of it, we’ll both bleed.
But he’s the only one who will be dead.
I stand on my tiptoes, brush my breasts against his chest, and whisper in his ear, “Let’s go have dinner, then. I’m hungry. But maybe we’ll save the dress-ripping for dessert.”
I turn and walk away, leaving him standing in the kitchen, chuckling to himself and muttering, “So goddamn evil.”
Oh Mr. Maxwell, I think, smiling, you really have no idea.

Author Bio

J.T. Geissinger is a #1 internationally best selling author of smart, sexy romance. Writing in both the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, her ten published novels all include a high level of sensuality, intense emotional connections, and dark plot twists galore.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

 

J.T.’s Social Links

Visit her website at www.jtgeissinger.com

Twitter: @JTGeissinger
Instagram: JTGeissingerauthor

WICKED BEAUTIFUL GIVEAWAY!  

Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: July 17

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Book: Wicked Sexy

Series: Wicked Games

Author: J.T. Geissinger

Publication Date: July 19, 2016

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Synopsis

A badass ex-Special Ops officer and a smartass hacker fight a dangerous enemy…and a blistering attraction to each other.

Connor Hughes is an ex-special ops officer, CEO of Metrix Security, and bonafide badass. His private security firm is renowned for its effectiveness. He’s renowned for his lethal precision and iron self-control. But when the former Marine meets a gorgeous young hacker with a mouth as smart as her brain, his control unravels in ways he never could have predicted.

Tabitha West is a genius MIT dropout with a bad attitude, an obsession with Hello Kitty and piercings in unmentionable places. Tabby amuses herself by outwitting the most secure technology systems on the planet. Known in hacker circles as Polaroid due to her photographic memory, she’s as secretive as she is accustomed to working alone. So when Connor decides she’s the only one who can help him catch a cyber criminal intent on taking down one of his clients, she tells him exactly where he can stick it.

But when the cyber criminal turns out to be the Hannibal Lecter of computer crime—and a dark presence from Tabby’s past—Tabby and Connor are drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. They quickly find themselves fighting not only their common enemy, but also an explosive desire that threatens to consume them.

When the stakes are this high and the game this deadly, will falling in love be the most dangerous move of all?

Excerpt

 
For a moment Connor just examines my face in silence. There’s a strange tension in him, a stillness, like a held breath but in his entire body. Then he abruptly swings around in his seat so he’s facing me, his massive thighs on either side of my bar stool, his booted feet planted on the floor.
Trapping me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I ask, my voice high with panic.
“Got something to say to you. It’s important, so don’t talk until the end.”
He looks dangerously intense. His dark eyes are heated, drilling into mine. His cheeks are flushed from the fire, or from something else, but I don’t have time to think about what that something else might be because he opens his mouth and starts to speak, and my brain faints dead away, leaving me to fend for myself.
“I want you. Bad. Don’t know exactly why, you’re a complete pain in my ass and pretty much the most contrary, foul-tempered woman I’ve ever met, and you’ve made it really clear what you think about me, but every time I look at you I have an almost overpowering urge to touch you, kiss you, do a lot of bad things to you, and I don’t know how to manage it. Yeah, it might be more prudent for me to keep this shit to myself, but I know that when you don’t talk about shit it festers, gets worse, and if the way I feel about you gets any worse I won’t be able to put my goddamn shoes on in the morning. So I’m putting it out there.”
He takes a breath. Deeply shocked, I stare at him with my mouth open, my heart up in my throat.
“We’re both professionals. We have a job to do. And I don’t mix business with pleasure. Ever. But the way I figure it, we’ve got one more night until the work actually starts, and if I don’t do something to get you straight in my head I won’t be able to do the job at all.”
He stops abruptly. Then he waits, watching me with unwavering intensity as I attempt to digest what just happened.
I whisper in disbelief, “You’re propositioning me?”
His gaze drops to my lips. When he looks back into my eyes, his own are burning. “You liked that kiss.”
He gives me time to deny it, but I don’t. How could I? We both know I’d be lying.
He adds, “And you called me hot, so I know you don’t think I’m a complete troll, even though you act like you do.”
“That was an accident.”
“Yep.” He nods. “And you fuckin’ hated yourself for it. Which is why I know it was true.”
Things are happening in my body. My nipples harden, my breath quickens, there is a distinctive throb and ache between my legs. All because this jarhead I hate just told me he wants to do bad things to me.
Bad things. Dear God, were any two sexier words ever spoken?

Author Bio

J.T. Geissinger is an Amazon #1 bestselling author of smart, sexy romance. Writing in both the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, her eleven published novels all include a high level of sensuality, intense emotional connections, and plot twists galore.
She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

JT’s Social Links

Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: July 15

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Book: Surrender to More

Author: Rachel De Lune

Genre: Erotic Romance
Synopsis

Trust. A simple notion for some, but impossibly out of reach for Jessica Riley. The walls around her heart are built high from betrayal and years of keeping everyone at arm’s length. She’s happy with the way her life is, or so she thought.

Hardcore Dom, Lucas Clark, was immediately drawn to Jessica. As their paths continue to cross, Lucas tests Jessica’s submissive nature, as well as her steadfast resolve to keep her emotions out of her relationships. He wants more than just sex. He demands Jess’ trust. The one thing she keeps locked away.

As their bond intensifies, Jessica fears that this Greek God will put the pieces of her heart back together. Family, marriages and ghosts of her past all plague her ability to trust her own decisions, especially the ones that revolve around love.

A woman who’s afraid of heartbreak fights her own surrender against the man who doesn’t let her play it safe anymore.



Meet the Author

Rachel De Lune writes emotionally driven erotic romance. She began scribbling her stories in the pages of a notebook several years ago. Today, she’s still scribbling stories of dominance and submission and is looking forward to releasing more books to the world.

Rachel lives in the South West of England and daydreams about shoes, lingerie and chocolate, in-between being a mum and a wife. She would love to give up her day job to devote more time to her scribbles.  For every woman who’s ever desired more. www.racheldelune.com
Social Links

Website       Facebook        Pinterest      Goodreads 

Excerpt:

“Excuse me, Ms. Riley?” A deep, smoky voice catches the attention of every atom of my being.

“Yes.” My breathy response embarrasses me. “Um, yes. That’s me.” I straighten in my seat, before I turn my eyes up to the man who spoke my name. Holy Jesus Christ!  A tall, dark haired, green eyed god stands before me. He holds out his hand to introduce himself.

“I’m Dr. Clark. Dr. Cross is running a little late. I thought I could get started with some of the paper work while we wait.” I watch his lips move and I think I can hear the words. My arm moves of its own volition towards his palm. My hand slides into his and the gentle squeeze of his fingers around mine melts a part of me inside. We shake. The contact lasts longer than I’d usually be happy with. Not this time. I don’t want to drop his hand.

“Pleased to meet you.” My voice isn’t even recognisable as mine. I look up into his eyes and see them darken before me, the pupils grow wider. My heart beats wildly in my chest and I seat myself back down before my legs give out. 

Dr. Clark steps around me and takes a seat at the other end of the sofa. A cool, fresh scent fills my senses as he passes and makes my core contract with excitement.

“If you would fill this out, please.” He hands me a clipboard with some papers attached to it. I pull my focus from the good Doctor and look at what he’s handed me. Name, address, date of birth… mundane basic information to register with The Clark Practice.

I dutifully start writing my details with the pen clipped to the board. I try, really hard, not to sneak a few glances back to Dr. Clark, but I can’t stop myself. My eyes feel drawn to him. Magnetically being pulled to admire his stubble covered jaw, his forest green eyes. Through the tops of my lashes I notice that he hasn’t stopped his watch of me. That thought heats my body faster than baking in the midday sun.

Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: July 11

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  • The Rarest Rose by H.A. Robinson: Blog Tour & Giveaway

  • unForgivable by Sara Hubbard: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Book: The Rarest Rose
Author: H.A. Robinson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Synopsis



“Elijah is a self-confessed workaholic, taking a forced break from his non-stop obsession with righting an old wrong.
Sarah is a reclusive artist, holed up alone out of fear for far too long, hiding from a history she can never divulge.
When their paths cross on a misty day in Cornwall, two worlds are turned upside down, and neither will ever be the same again.
But when Sarah’s past comes back to haunt her, it threatens to destroy everything she’s built, and there’s no guarantee that either of them will make it out unscathed.”





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Trailer

Author Bio


H. A. Robinson is a jet-setting billionaire with a home on each continent, who spends her free time saving kittens from trees and babies from burning buildings. A graduate of Hogwarts and a frequent visitor to Narnia, she drinks coffee in Central Perk and tames dragons in Westeros.
In her dreams…

In reality, she’s a support worker living in a small town in Cheshire, who would almost always choose fantasy over reality. She’s been an obsessive reader from the moment she picked up her first Enid Blyton book, more years ago than she cares to admit, and enjoys nothing more than getting lost in new worlds and adventures from the minds of all the amazing authors out there.
She’s had the voices of characters in her head for as long as she can remember, and puts them down on paper in order to convince herself and the men in white coats that she isn’t crazy.

Social Links


Twitter: @H_ARobinson




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Book: unForgivable
Author: Sara Hubbard
Genre: Contemporary Romance




Synopsis



From international bestselling author, Sara Hubbard, comes a contemporary novel about the choices and consequences of a young woman in a cruel city. 
Beth is a twenty-four-year old woman raised by the mob. She’s never gotten herself into a situation her family couldn’t drag her out. So when those closest to her wind up dead or missing in action she’s left to her own devices, and she quickly realizes how hard it is to survive on her own.
Damien is a corpsman coming home from war with the hopes of starting over. He knows what he wants and he’s accustomed to getting it. So when he finds himself falling for a girl stumbling through life—like he once did—he’s determined to help her, whether she wants help or not.

Buy Links

Author Bio

Sara Hubbard is a romantic fiction author. She loves alpha males and the sweet, sassy women who make them believe in change. Sara lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with her two children (four if you count her husband and her needy labradoodle) and works as registered nurse.

Social Links


Book 1 – inCapable


Synopsis

After spending four years caring for her mother, twenty-two year old Evie Crane is starting over with a new job in a new city. Unfortunately, her new life involves working for a woman with close ties to the mob. When a short walk home turns into tragedy and Evie is left broken and beaten, a mob hitman comes to her rescue. In his debt, she feels a bond to him and wants to help him as much as he helped her, but getting close to a criminal brings her more chaos than she bargains for.
Declan Lewis grew up on the streets until taken under the wing of a man with a soft spot for a child he never had. The man taught Declan all he knew, only…all he knew was being a hired killer for the Dantes family. When Declan crosses paths with a girl so unlike himself, he can’t help but be attracted to his polar opposite. However, bringing her into his life means bringing her into his world, a mistake that might prove fatal. He wants to be the man she deserves, but to give her what she needs, he’ll have to change. And is change really possible for a killer?
inCapable Buy Links

Giveaway

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Things I Learned on Our Vacation

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Recently my husband and I took a 12 day vacation to parts of the country neither of us had visited. We are from Louisiana and were headed to the northeast and midwest so this was quite a big trip for us. We had spent a full year planning the trip but had no idea of what to expect from it. With a firm time limit of 12 days, we were fully aware of the time that we would spend in the vehicle during the trip in order to accomplish all that we planned to do during that time period. We had quite the itinerary planned and were determined to accomplish all of it. I am happy to report that we accomplished all that we set out to accomplish on the trip. In addition, we learned quite a few things along the way.

Before I get into what we learned, I want to give a few stats on our trip:

12 days, 4014.4 miles traveled (Ronnie drove every single mile), 73 hours spent in the vehicle, 2 countries (USA & Canada), 24 states (see below), 4 MLB fields, 2 MLB games, 5 Hard Rock Cafes, 2 of the Great Lakes (right by a 3rd but the trees blocked our actual view from the road)

States visited: LA, MS, AL, TN, GA, WV, VA, PA, MD, NY, NJ, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME, MI, OH, IN, IL, WI, MO, AR

This trip was an awesome adventure but it was also a very big learning experience for us. We learned quite a few things along the way with many of those things surprising us. Most things were positive with only a few being stressful or downright negative.

So, on to the point of this blog post…the things we learned in 12 days:

  • 73 hours in a vehicle together was tiring but it also was a great time for us to talk. At home we spend a lot of time on electronic devices or watching TV without talking to each other. On this trip we spent a lot of time talking…and it was wonderful!
  • When budgeting for a trip to this area of the country, don’t forget to budget for toll roads. We didn’t budget for that and spent around $100 on tolls during the trip. We don’t have toll roads where we live so we were shocked at how much we spent on tolls.
  • Prepare for road work in your timing of your drive. With all of the tolls, obviously it helps these states keep up their roads because there was road work everywhere! Louisiana might learn a thing or two from these states.
  • Apple maps is very accurate. Very accurate. The traffic monitor that it has is also wonderful…not always totally accurate but very helpful in avoiding stand still traffic.
  • No matter how much you try to navigate accurately, there will always be wrong turns. Not the maps fault, but the navigator’s fault or the driver’s fault. Sometimes those wrong turns actually turn out to be helpful, sometimes not. Regardless they are always adventurous!
  • People in the northeast are so friendly! They have conversations with you, not just the passing smile or hello. Not just a few people here and there but everyone we encountered. Everyone!
  • People in other parts of the country do not sound like they talk any different to us. They sure think we sound different to them! It makes for a great conversation starter.
  • Being in a part of the country with low humidity means no sinus issues. I could actually breathe every day!
  • We loved Newport, RI! I knew we would enjoy being there but I had no idea that we would fall in love with the area. We will be going back!
  • We loved Chicago! Neither of us are “city” people. We both wanted to visit Chicago and felt like we would enjoy it but never expected to love the area. We will be going back there also. There is so much to do there and we can’t wait to go back!
  • NY is a beautiful state. Literally beautiful. One of the prettiest states we saw. Tolls are terrible but the state is pretty.
  • I don’t care for clam chowder. Tried it…not my thing.
  • Drivers in the northeast are the most courteous drivers we have ever encountered. Merging traffic works perfectly. If there is a lane closure, people start getting over at the first sign and no one tries to fly ahead and get in way down the road. No one drives like they are in a rush.
  • Drivers in Chicago are crazy! If there are 3 lanes, you might have 4 cars across. Everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else. Just craziness!
  • Drivers in St. Louis beat everyone in the crazy department. Crazy to the point of one jumping out of his car to yell and scream at us while waving his hands in the air. This was as soon as we got to St. Louis and basically ruined our time there.
  • We may be Atlanta Braves fans but we both loved Fenway Park! Loved it to the point that we would love to attend a game there.
  • We loved traveling by train in Chicago. (did I mention Chicago drivers?!?!) Since neither of us had ever used a train before we were not sure what to expect. Loved it!
  • If you get to Gettysburg National Military Park, hire a tour guide. We did not and wished we would have. The price is very reasonable. If you don’t want to spend the money, you need to be really up on your history of the Battle of Gettysburg to get the full impact of the park.
  • Gettysburg is a cool little place. We wish we would have had time to park and walk the downtown area.
  • When going to Chicago in the summer pack long sleeve shirts. And pants. Fortunately I had packed one of each and had a jacket so the night that we were out and about I was covered. The windy city is chilly!
  • You have to pay a toll to get out of the US and a toll to get back into the US. Crazy!
  • Border officers have zero personality. Zero. I know this is probably how they are trained to be but really, a little personality couldn’t hurt anything could it?
  • You don’t get a stamp in your passport when you enter Canada. I was disappointed.
  • If you travel to Newport, RI, plan to see all five of the mansions. We only purchased tickets for two because of time. We needed at least another day there so we could visit the others. On our to do list for the future. Also do the Cliff Walk. The views are spectacular.
  • We discovered that we loved sailing. This is major for me considering I have a little bit of a boat on open water phobia. We did the night sailing fireworks tour on Lake Michigan and we were amazed at the peacefulness of the sailing.
  • If you go to Niagara Falls, plan to visit the Canadian side. It is worth it.
  • Almost everyone in Chicago has earbuds and pay no attention to the world around them. You could basically tell who was a tourist…the ones who did not have earbuds.
  • Another thing to budget besides tolls is parking. We spent a fortune on parking! At our hotel in Chicago we paid $65 per night just for parking.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate World was pretty cool. Glad we went to it but it isn’t a place we would want to visit multiple times. It had a 4D show that was almost Disney quality. Very cool place.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate World cupcakes are nowhere near as good Disney cupcakes. Disappointing.
  • Chicago’s twice weekly firework show is the closest to Disney quality fireworks that we have found.
  • Chicago’s skyline (day and night) from Lake Michigan was beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous.
  • Chicago has so much to do. You could easily spend a week there and never be bored.
  • A Hop On-Hop Off bus tour in a city is the way to go.
  • Navy Pier was not what we expected. It did provide beautiful views though.
  • Outside of the view from Niagara Falls, Canada, the town itself was just a typical little tourist town with with things like a wax museum. It wasn’t what we expected.
  • Marie Force puts on a great Reader Weekend. This was the event that our entire trip was planned around and it was worth it!

I know there are many other things that we learned that I am not thinking of. What I do know is that this trip was more than I ever imagined it could be. We loved the places we visited and are both thankful that we had this opportunity. We have also found two places that we really want to visit again. This means future trip plans!

Ronnie and I love to travel. This trip showed us both that we can fall in love with places that we never imagined to enjoy so much. It has us looking at the future and other places within our beautiful country that we would like to visit.

I hope you have enjoyed reading just a little bit about our trip.