Thursday, February 29, 2024

✱✱Audio Book Review✱✱ Play Maker by Piper Lawson

 


Play Maker
King of the Court, Book 3
By: Piper Lawson
Narrated by: Lance Greenfield & Carly Robins

I chose a championship over love.

When Nova smashed her way into my hardened heart, she showed me there’s more to life than basketball.

She taught me patience and forgiveness. With her help, my Kodiak teammates became brothers instead of rivals. For the first time, I cared about more than a game.

But one mistake sent me crashing from all-star to rock bottom.

Broken inside and out, there’s no one to blame but myself.

I won’t let the people I love suffer for my mistakes, on or off the court. I’ll win back the brothers who trusted me, the city that backed me, and the woman I don’t want to live without.

Unless I’m too late.

I have one last shot. One last chance.

Countdown's on, and I’m playing for keeps.

Play Maker is the third and final book in the King of the Court series. Clay and Nova’s steamy, addictive grumpy sunshine sports romance begins in Game Changer and continues in Shot Taker.

Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐

Clay and Nova have made it to the home stretch. Umm... final quarter (since this is a basketball romance), except it's the final third of the trilogy. Eh, however you wanna say it. It amounts to the same thing for this couple: we finally get to the HEA. I don't feel like I'm giving anything away with that little tidbit since we all expected it. Besides, it's the journey that makes it all worthwhile, and this pair has earned that HEA. The whole trilogy has been full of ups and downs with all the feels to match. That said, it hasn't all been angsty and full of heartbreak. I mean, Clay and Nova had to be good together for us to want them to stay that way, and they are really good together. The chemistry is crazy good, and they generate enough steam to peel the paint off the walls. That's the thing - when you love as hard as Nova and Clay, there are going to be some hiccups and growing pains along the way. Those hiccups just made their whole story that much more believable for me, even if I did go through my share of grumbling when things went sideways. You might ask if it was worth it. We are talking about 16+ hours listening time between the three parts of the story, and I'd have to say it very definitely was worth it. I was invested in this pair before the first book ended, and I absolutely couldn't get enough of them.
It doesn't hurt that Lance Greenfield and Carly Robins give voice to these characters, and they do it quite well. In my opinion, the performances of these narrators only add to the listen, and when you combine those performances with Piper Lawson's storytelling talent, you have a winning combination. 


✱✱Book Review✱✱ Release Blitz for Never Fall for the Bride's Father by Julia Kent




Title: Never Fall for the Bride's Father
Series: Whatever It Takes #2
Author: Julia Kent
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Tropes: Age Gap/Single Dad/Enemies to Lovers
Release Date: February 29, 2024


BLURB

Power outages. Runaway brides. Collapsed wedding cakes. Tainted caviar. Handsy grooms.
And the always classic: jealous MILs who wear white.
No wedding catastrophe can faze Katie Gallagher, because when you plan for the worst, you deliver the best.
The best wedding ever.
Her company, Wedding Protectors, Inc., promises happily ever afters. Guaranteed. Whatever it takes.
But always-prepared Katie? She’s steering clear of her own HEA. Years of dating older, wealthy, alpha businessmen who treat her like an ornament has left a bad taste in her mouth.
And some bruises on her ego.
Love is her job. Not her destiny.
So when she falls for silver fox and self-made millionaire Patrick Cooper, she breaks a rule so taboo, it doesn’t technically exist:
Never fall for the bride’s father.
Enter Patrick, a widowed art dealer with salt-and-pepper charm. He can't resist trying to share an Uber with the captivating, enticingly stubborn blonde. Their encounter? Classic enemies-to-lovers. Sparks fly, but not the good kind... at first.
Starting off on the wrong foot left a terrible impression, but when a series of coincidences pushes them together, the more time they spend with each other, the more the lines blur.
Chance favors the risk-takers, so when he takes a leap of faith and gets a passionate kiss that rocks his world, Katie opens closed doors in his heart.
Can he really have a new soulmate —
Or is this just a May-December fling?






PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
UNIVERSALB&N / KOBO 





EXCERPT

On the wall behind her, taking up the entire space, was an enormous contemporary oil painting. Bold loops of black paint seemed to dance across a white ground, dominating the room. It was so dramatic, so unexpected and somehow energetic, a rush of excitement flooded her.

“It makes me want to twirl!”

“Exactly!” He reached for her free hand, lifting it and turning her so suddenly and smoothly, the graceful spin finishing with their mouths inches apart. He looked as surprised as she felt, but the most surprising thing wasn’t the spontaneous twirl, or even the fact that he’d done it.

It was the rush of pure desire that flooded her–a raw, burning, melting desire that was like nothing she’d ever felt before. And it was matched by the equally desperate desire to run out the front door, go home, pretend this “meeting” had never happened.

But she didn’t move, and neither did he. Gathering her courage, she peeked up through her blonde wisps to see him looking down at her intently. His scent filled her nose–there was a faint, spicy cologne and the starchy smell of his shirt, but mostly, it was his skin, and she wanted to press her mouth against it. A brief moment passed in silence, then he lifted her hand, touched it to his lips, and released it, taking a small step back.

“Thank you,” he said lightly. “It justifies my existence when someone understands the art. You brought my painting to life.”

REVIEW
Momma says: 5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I love an age-gap/silver fox romance. I'm sure that has a lot to do with my own age-gap romance - or maybe it's just because there's something totally yummy about a silver fox. Anyway, this one is Katie and Patrick's love story, and I absolutely loved this pair. Their journey to HEA is sweet, sexy, and, in true Julia Kent form, hilarious. You can't read this book without laughing, and we can all use some of that. Needless to say, Never Fall for the Bride's Father is everything I've come to expect from Julia Kent. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Whatever It Takes romance, and this one even more so. I can't wait for the next in the series, and I'm thinking I may need to visit with this couple again while I wait.  


ALSO AVAILABLE


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU



AUTHOR BIO


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 21 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French, German, and Italian, with more titles releasing in the future.

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

She loves to hear from her readers by email at julia@jkentauthor.com, on Twitter @jkentauthor, on Facebook at @jkentauthor, and on Instagram @jkentauthor. Visit her at http://jkentauthor.com


AUTHOR LINKS

Quake Tour and Giveaway

 


 The secrets of the bayou dance to the rhythm of jazz!  

Quake

Jazz Sessions Book 1

by Maya Alden

Genre: Romantic Suspense  


The secrets of the bayou dance to the rhythm of jazz!

She was the princess of Bayou Belle, sleeping with me, a bayou rat born on the wrong sides of the sheets.

Gaia Doucet was my first love, the one who had me body and soul…until she accused me of something terrible; and I was sent into cruel exile by her mother. But now, ten years later, I'm back. Her grandfather has left me controlling interest of the Doucet empire and I'm ready to enjoy my revenge. I'll start with her mother and end with her.


While I made a fortune in New York, she's slinging drinks at Jazz Sessions, her brothers' bar in the pulsing heart of the French Quarter. I have achieved all my dreams and she's a failure.

I'm ready to crush her into the ground even though I want her with the same desperation as I did a decade ago.

But when someone hires a hitman to kill her, it sets off a tumultuous QUAKE that shakes the very foundations of our lives. Hate her, I may, but I won't be able to live in a world where she's not there.

In the steamy, seductive streets of New Orleans, where secrets and scandals are as common as the sultry jazz rhythms, Quake is the first book in the Jazz Sessions series. Please note, each novel in this series is a standalone romance, complete with its own satisfying happily ever after. Yet, the shadow of a sinister family mystery stretches across the arc of the first three books.

Perfect for fans of LJ Shen and Shain Rose.

Note: This book contains mature themes, including violence, strong language, & sexual content, for full content warnings, please see Content Warnings page on Maya's website


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Chapter 1

Gaia

I knew he was back when I saw the single calla lily left at the doorstep. The prodigal son had returned. My first lover, my only love, had left his calling card. 

I'd have thought it was a romantic gesture when I was younger, but now I knew it was a threat. Rome Decuir didn't do romantic gestures. Even ten years ago, when I'd first fallen into bed with him, he told me what we had was just sex. 

I'd been seventeen, silly in love. 

I picked up the calla lily and walked out to the front porch of the Bayou Belle Mansion: my childhood home, my prison, my source of joy and pain, all wrapped into one.

This is where Rome and I had begun. I was so much in love that I'd done what I could to protect him, which included staying away from him. He'd been exiled from Bayou Belle for his sin of fucking Gaia Doucet, granddaughter of Lucien Doucet. Rome may have been banished from Bayou Belle, but I had been discarded.

I knew he'd come to New Orleans. 

My grandfather had told me what was in his will before he died. I'd told no one, not even my brothers, because Grandpère had asked me not to. He'd wanted to warn me that Rome Decuir would be the first non-Doucet to own fifty-five percent of Bayou Belle Holdings and the beautiful prison I had grown up in, the house that was more palace than home. 

But what was in a name? Rome was more Doucet, more like my grandfather Lucien when it came to business acumen, than my mother, siblings, and cousins all put together, even if he was born on the wrong side of the sheets and had no Doucet blood flowing in his veins.

My mother and cousins all owned shares of Bayou Belle Holdings—but Rome would have the deciding vote as soon as Lucien Doucet's will was read. Grandpère had done this to make right what had been done wrong ten years ago. He'd done it to punish my mother for her crimes against Rome and to punish me for being weak.

I had lived for ten years without Rome, knowing he hated me, wasn't that punishment enough? 

"The whole family will be out for blood," Grandpère had chuckled. 

For Rome's blood. 

Well, good luck with that. The boy he used to be had been tough, but the man he'd become, from all accounts, was more formidable. He'd made a lot of money, like he'd wanted. He'd become the corporate juggernaut he'd promised he'd be. And now he'd own Bayou Belle and have more power than any Doucet. A big fuck you to all of us, Doucets. 

I was happy for him. I had wanted this for him. Had made sure he'd have it. I had given up Bayou Belle, relinquished my inheritance, and invested in Rome's future. 

I knew that my brothers wouldn't mind what Grandpère had done; in fact, they'd celebrate. My oldest brother, Blaze, had jazz and traveled the world with his saxophone and band. Sure, he got a law degree from Duke, but he ditched that. He had no interest in the law, Bayou Belle or being a Doucet. My middle brother, Zephyr, co-owned Jazz Sessions with Blaze, a jazz club in the French Quarter where I managed the bar and kitchen, and he the jazz. 

I didn't have any of the Bayou Belle fortune; instead, I was free of my mother and of being that Doucet. 

My brothers still had plenty of Doucet money in their bank accounts after selling their shares of Bayou Belle to Grandpère and buying Jazz Sessions. They'd given me a job at the bar and a place to stay in the apartment upstairs. They'd tried to make me an equal partner, but I'd resisted. I couldn't take something I hadn't earned. 

I had changed ten years ago; they saw it and correctly associated it with Rome and me breaking up.

Zephyr had begged me to tell him what had happened when Rome was exiled. I didn't. Couldn't. Then, it had been perilous in case Rome returned. Now, it didn't matter. The statute of limitations for rape was only five years in Louisiana. 

Chapter 2

Rome

I watched her twirl the calla lily in her hands as she stood on the porch.

I knew she'd find the flower. I'd make sure of it. It was petty, but I'd earned my right to torment.

I snuck into the estate as I used to when I was a half-breed bayou rat, fucking the heiress. The rat who had to use the servant's entrance even though I was friends with Zephyr. Even though I was under the wing of Lucien Doucet. But Camille Doucet ran the household, and she'd made it clear that a servant's bastard son should know his place. 

Gaia closed her eyes and let the calla lily stroke her skin, down her cheek, down, down, down to her cleavage. Her breasts were larger. She'd been a girl then. Just seventeen. Now, she was a woman. She'd cut her long hair. It was a sleek bob. It suited her. Sharpened her angular Doucet features. She was still beautiful. She walked into a room, and you couldn't look away, or maybe, it was just I who couldn't look away. She'd always had a hold on me.

She'd been a virgin then. Not like me. I'd been fucking girls since I was fifteen. Gaia had been pristine. Innocent. I still remembered her milky white skin that I put marks on. The way she'd whimpered when I'd hurt her that first time. The way she'd held on, telling me she wanted me, only me. 

She'd come to the small stilt house I'd lived in with my mother until she died, and then alone. The Bayou Belle servants lived there. My mother's stilt house was separate so that the master of the house could come and go unnoticed. Mama died when I was fifteen, and no one cared that I lived alone. I was relieved that I'd been allowed to stay at Bayou Belle. The estate had been my home since birth, a bastard with no blood relation to the Doucet, an illegitimate rat borne off Lucien's daughter, Korina's husband Shawn, and my beautiful and kind mother, Arcadia Decuir, a Bayou Belle servant.

The heiress had dirtied herself with me.

I love you, Rome. 

Yeah, well, love hadn't lasted, had it? She sold me out. I'd been made to leave Bayou Belle and New Orleans, exiled with the sword of a rape conviction hanging over me. 

Once her mother knew we were fucking, Gaia changed her tune. She told Camille I raped her. 

I'd been given a choice. Leave or go to prison. My twenty-year-old ass couldn't believe Gaia, my Calla Lily, would do this. I'd demanded Camille that Gaia tell me herself. And she had. She'd told me I'd raped her, and I should go. Her eyes had been red-rimmed, her face pale, and her lips trembling. But the words…they were clear.

But now I was back. Soon to be the King of Bayou Belle. 

Lucien Doucet had told me he was making amends. He told me he was giving me what I needed to get revenge, if that was what I wanted. In return, he wanted me to save the Doucet family business and the family name because his heirs were destroying it. 

I didn't want Bayou Belle for the money. I'd made plenty. I wanted it for the prestige and, more importantly, for revenge. 

Oui! I'd start with Camille, work my way through that bastard second husband of hers, Rufus Stark, the other Doucets who owed me, and then and only then, I'd go for Gaia. 

"Try to forgive her even though what she did is unforgivable," Lucien told me when he came to see me in New York. 

"I can't," I'd told him honestly.

"Rome, when you love someone, you hurt when they hurt," he'd warned me.

"I don't love her. I never loved her," I'd assured him.

"Then so be it. They've all made their beds, and they'll have to sleep in them. As will you."

I certainly intended to sleep in my bed once I cleared out the Doucets from my new house. The Bayou Belle Mansion was going to be mine, I thought with satisfaction. 

She didn't live here. Zephyr told me she lived in an apartment atop the jazz bar he owned. 

Gaia had aspired to do great things. She'd been ambitious. It gave me satisfaction that she'd not achieved any of her desires and had ended up running a fucking saloon while I had made every dream of mine come true.

"You don't know everything," Zephyr had told me once when he was in New York, and we'd gotten drunk after my company had made its first big investment.

"Really?" I'd taunted. 

"She's my sister, man."

"I know. Trust me, I know."

He shook his head. "I wish you'd…I wish she'd…."

"What?"

"Nothing." Zephyr raised his shot glass. "To ICeR Capital. Congratulations, Rome."

"Thanks, Z. Couldn't have done it without your help." I clinked my glass with his. Zephyr had invested in my company and believed in me. I'd kept my friendship with him, even though his sister had tried to ruin my life. 

J'emmerde cette salope! Fuck the bitch!

"It is my pleasure. I'm happy to see you succeed," Zephyr had said sincerely.

And he had been. He was my oldest friend. One of my closest friends. That he loved his sister as much as I hated her was an irony that wasn't



Maya has a passion for weaving tales of love and desire.

With a background in literature and a heart filled with hope, Maya pours her emotions onto the pages of her novels, capturing the essence of true love and the power it holds to transform lives. Combining unforgettable characters, sizzling chemistry, and heartfelt emotions, Maya's stories will whisk you into a world of passion and enchantment.

Maya invites you to join her on a journey of love, laughter, and happily-ever-afters that will leave you with a sigh and a smile.


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 – 1 winner each!  


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When the Stars Align Tour and Giveaway

 


A fake dating, movie star romance


Loving a Star

When the Stars Align Book 1

by Emery Cruz

Genre: Contemporary Romance  


 Pretend to date the broody, ridiculously handsome movie star while writing the score for his film… It’s a great gig until we score in other ways.

In my teens, Ethan Stone was one of the biggest stars, and I had a huge crush on him. Until a decade later, while I’m standing next to him on a movie set and he opens his mouth. What a jerk!

Luckily, I’m here to write and perform the songs for the movie. So I don’t have to work with him at all.

That is until the director and Ethan’s agent ask me to fake date him to generate some tabloid gossip about the movie.

I’d rather shower naked with a hungry bear.

But I’ve made a promise to myself, so I need to see this project to the end. And if I play this right, I might just be able to do that and get the hell out of this selfish, backstabbing industry.

But Ethan has a secret, and I’ve just fallen in love…


**Only .99cents!**

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Mila

Outside, a car is waiting for me, and I climb in, feeling a little throb of excitement in my chest. I have no idea how tonight is going to go, but I’m sort of excited to find out. I know it’s going to be weird, playing up to the cameras and pretending like I actually enjoy Ethan’s company, but I can do it, right?

The future of my career—or rather, the lack of it—hinges on it.

I arrive outside the restaurant and sneak a look around to see if there are any photographers trying to snatch a picture. Nobody yet, at least that I can see. 

I brush down the dress and balance on my heels to make my way inside without falling flat on my face. The pointy black stilettos are precisely ten inches higher than anything I have ever worn before—at least, that’s how they feel—but I need to act as though it’s natural to me.

“Mila?”

I look up, and my body floods with relief when I lay eyes on Ethan. Damn, I never thought I would be happy to see him. 

He takes my arm and smiles at me. “You look great,” he murmurs, letting his eyes travel up and down my body slowly. 

I feel a little shiver. He looks really good, too. He’s in a sleek suit with a tie that matches his eyes, making them stand out even more than usual.


Unlucky in Love

When the Stars Align Book 2

 Dating your childhood idol is never a good idea. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it.

When my client auditions for the role of a lifetime, I cross paths with the casting director—former teenage bad boy Joey Radnor all grown up and even more delicious than I remember. But he’s also broody, rude, and self-centered. I want to run when he asks me out, but I can’t tick off the guy in charge of hiring my client.

Our date is even worse than I expected, and once it’s over, I ignore him rather than admit I can’t stand the man I spent most of my teenage years drooling over. But when he cuts my client from the roster, my job and reputation are on the line. Meeting him face to face again is a bad idea. We’re oil and water. We don’t mix.

But when I look into those gorgeous eyes, I know we can beat the odds…if we don’t kill each other first.


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Love in the Spotlight

When the Stars Align Book 3

 I didn’t start the conversation with Teddy, but now all I want is for it to continue.

Ready to leave modeling behind, I strut into an A-lister event to pitch my cosmetics line. Investors are swarming until a self-absorbed movie star barges in and asks me out. I’m dumbfounded when the investors scatter, but Teddy is good looking, famous, and most importantly, rich.

A few dates certainly couldn’t hurt.

Teddy’s agent thinks I’m bad news, but dating him is better publicity than modeling. When Teddy and I become closer, though, his agent makes him choose between me and his career. Hurt when he hesitates, I end it for him.

Depressed and alone, I cling to his fading spotlight and release my cosmetics line early. When sales explode, the press claims our relationship was a stunt to sell products, which was maybe true…at first.

When my personal life implodes, I realize the one solid thing in my life had been Teddy, and I’d let ambition ruin that.

He has no reason to take me back, but with the rest of my life in ruins, I have nothing left to lose.


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**On Sale - Get the box set for only .99 cents!! **

https://a.co/d/fRqvG5M


I'm Emery Cruz. I LOVE books! I love to read them, and I love to write them. My favorites are contemporary romance stories. I like to be hooked and twisted and left feeling exhausted and happy ;)

I am a newly published author. I plan to turn my passion into my full-time career. So, I will continue to write stories I hope you will love.

If you'd like to receive my newsletter or be a part of my ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team, please join from my website: EmeryCruz.com


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$20 Amazon



  

Here Be Jinn Tour and Giveaway

   Ancient magic is an advantage in the battle for the modern Middle East   Here Be Jinn Fieldwork in Mesopotamia Book 1 by Dennis Tsarso...