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#CoverReveal Driving Whiskey Wild by Melissa Foster

Published November 21, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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DrivingWhiskeyWild_FINALBook & Author Info
Driving Whiskey Wild by Melissa Foster
Publication date: February 21st 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance

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Synopsis
Driving Whiskey Wild is a captivating story of healing, trust, and finding everlasting love in the most unlikely places.
Special Forces veteran and Dark Knights Motorcycle Club member Bullet Whiskey lives to protect his family, their bar, and the residents of his small hometown. He’s rough, unapologetic, and haunted by a secret, painful past. He’s also a master at keeping people away, and when his sister hires gorgeous and sweet Finlay Wilson to help expand their biker bar, he knows just how to get rid of her.
After losing her boyfriend and her father, Finlay moves back to her hometown to be closer to the little family she has left. She needs her temporary job at Whiskey Bro’s to get her catering business off the ground, and she’s determined not to let the gruff, arrogant mountain of a man Bullet Whiskey scare her off.
Finlay is everything Bullet has never wanted. She’s afraid of his dog, afraid of motorcycles, and sweet enough to give him cavities, but as she weaves her way into the hearts of everyone around him, he’s powerless to resist her charms. Passion ignites, but trust doesn’t come easily, and when their pasts collide, Bullet finds out the true meaning of protecting those he loves.

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Author Bio
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers adore Melissa’s fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, and the Wild Boys After Dark. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented.

Melissa also writes sweet and clean romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on social media or her personal website.

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

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#Excerpt #Giveaway Bayside Desires (Bayside Summers #1) by Melissa Foster

Published April 20, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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Bayside Desires (Bayside Summers #1) by Melissa Foster
Publication date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance

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Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod.

BAYSIDE SUMMERS is a series of standalone steamy romance novels featuring alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re fun, flirty, flawed, deeply emotional, always passionate, and easy to relate to.

“With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!” -NYT Bestseller Julie Kenner

“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!” -NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely

In Bayside Desires…
As the co-owner of Bayside Resorts, Rick Savage has a fabulous job working with his best friends and brother, and a thriving business in Washington, DC, which he’ll be returning to at the end of the summer. Spending time with his family is great, but being back on Cape Cod has unearthed painful memories. When sweet, smart, and overly cautious Desiree Cleary moves in next door, Rick is drawn to the sexy preschool teacher, and she just might prove to be the perfect distraction.

Running an art gallery was not in preschool teacher Desiree Cleary’s plans, but after being tricked into coming to her impetuous, unreliable mother’s aid, she’s stuck spending the summer with the badass half sister she barely knows and a misbehaving dog. If that’s not frustrating enough, she can’t escape the sparks igniting with her strikingly handsome and pushy neighbor, Rick, who makes all her warning bells go off.

Passion ignites as Desiree and Rick spend long summer nights sharing heartfelt confessions and steamy kisses. For the first time in years Rick is enjoying life again instead of hiding behind mounds of work miles away from his family. Desiree has touched him in a way that makes him want to slow down. Only slowing down means dealing with his demons, and he isn’t sure who he’ll be when he comes out the other side.

All Bayside books can be read as standalone novels or as part of the series:
Coming Soon…
Bayside Heat
Bayside Escape
Bayside Passions

Bayside Summers is part of the Love in Bloom romance collection by New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. While each book may be read as a standalone, you might enjoy reading the entire Love in Bloom series. Characters from each sub-series appear in future books. Visit Melissa’s website for family trees, series checklists, and more.

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Desiree clearly stood at the end of a jetty at Indian Neck Beach, watching three brawny guys race around Cape Cod Bay on Jet Skis while she FaceTimed with her best friend, Emery Andrews. She had known Emery since first grade, and she was the only person who would understand why, after driving for more than twelve hours, Desiree was standing on that jetty, pretending to be on vacation, instead of facing the woman who had summoned her to Wellfleet.
“I should have come with you,” Emery insisted. “You’re at the beach, and I’m stuck here teaching yoga and Pilates to people who go home and eat entire pizzas afterward. Not that I’m only thinking of me. I’m just saying. I could be your backbone when you see your mother. You know, make sure you don’t wimp out on telling her how cruel it was to go months without any contact and then send you that email.”
Emery had a right to be upset. She’d been there for Desiree for more than twenty years, picking up the pieces of Desiree’s broken heart after short, awkward, visits with her mother. Lizza Vancroft had been breezing in and out of her life since Desiree was five years old. Desiree was used to hearing from her mother only once or twice a year, but her most recent email had taken the cake. She’d read the cryptic message dozens of times, as concerned as she was annoyed. I need you to come to Wellfleet and run my art gallery for the summer. It might prolong my life. She hadn’t even known Lizza was ill, much less owned a gallery and had been living in the States.
“I’ll be fine,” she said, though she wasn’t sure she believed it. After Desiree’s parents had divorced, Lizza had taken off to teach overseas with Desiree’s half sister, Violet, leaving Desiree to live with her father. Some small part of her was still waiting for her mother to make amends for leaving her behind. “I just need a few minutes to get my head on straight before facing her.”
One of the Jet Skis headed directly for another, swerving at the last second to avoid a collision. “Holy cow. Someone is going to get killed. Look at these guys.” She held up her phone to show Emery the crazy Jet Skiers. “Who does that? It’s so dangerous.”
“Hot Jet Skiing guys who thrive on danger. My kind of guys, and your perfect distraction.” Emery waggled her brows.
“I don’t need a distraction. Lizza is almost a stranger to me. It’s like I’m waiting to get bad news from someone I met a few times but don’t really know.”
“I know. Your mother is as flighty as a fairy, and I’m sure right now you wish you were wired like her and Violet instead of being responsible and organized to the nth degree, like your father,” Emery said. Spot-on, as always. “Then you could be the one who was living overseas working with one nonprofit or another without Internet or a care in the world, like Violet, instead of procrastinating the unleashing of a nest of demons you’ve spent years tamping down.”
“You’re so dramatic.” Desiree smiled, thankful for Emery’s teasing.
She had no idea whether Violet would be there when she arrived. Though she and Violet had grown up on opposite sides of the world, they had spent a few weeks together at the Cape each summer with their grandmother. At least they had until they were teens and one or the other had found better things to do, most years whittling those weeks down to just a few days. They’d kept in touch only sporadically during college, and before their grandmother’s funeral last winter, it had been more than three years since Desiree had seen Violet or their mother. But that didn’t mean Desiree hadn’t always wished for a relationship with her sister, despite how different they were.
“That’s why you love me.” Emery flashed a cheesy smile. “Seriously, though. You need to just go see Lizza and get it over with. And you should probably be glad I’m not there. Because as far as I’m concerned, her email was infuriating, unfair, and heartrending.” Emery’s eyes narrowed. “I’d like to give her a piece of my mind.”
“So would I,” Desiree admitted. “But I won’t.” A breeze swept off the bay, lifting the ends of her dress. She pushed it back down, catching a glimpse of one of the Jet Skiers slowing to watch her. As if she wasn’t nervous enough today?
“I know. You’ve got the biggest heart on the planet. We need a plan. You do best with plans.” Emery tucked her brown hair behind her ear and leaned closer to the screen, like she was sharing a secret. “Tonight, after you get your heart torn to shreds, since I’m not there to help heal your mama-wounds, please get yourself a nice bottle of wine and a big man. I promise that will help ease whatever pain she throws your way.”
“Don’t you mean a big bottle of wine and a nice man?” Desiree asked, as the Jet Skier who was watching her broke away from the others and sped past.
“Definitely not. You don’t need a nice man. I know you think you want romance and all the mushy stuff like flowers, candy, and midnight walks.” Emery flashed her don’t-even-try-to-tell-me-otherwise scowl. “But trust me. You need a man who takes control, whose kisses turn you inside out and make you forget about your crazy mother.”
She wrapped her arms around her middle, listening to the roar of the lone Jet Ski cutting tracks in front of her and wondering about kisses that turned a woman inside out. She had yet to experience anything like that, but Emery talked about them like she’d had enough to share. Maybe it was time to expand her horizons.
“Hello?” Emery said. “Think you can look at me and stop watching the hot Jet Skiers for two minutes?”
Desiree laughed. “Like you’d ever look at me instead of a guy? Besides, I’m only watching one, because he’s watching me. The other two are long gone.” She held up her phone again, showing her the hot guy with dark hair keeping time with her as she paced the jetty.
“God, you’re so lucky. Go take hot Jet Ski guy for a ride and show up late to see Lizza.” Emery waggled her brows. “For all you know, she’s not even at your grandmother’s house waiting for you.”
That was true. Lizza and Violet still hadn’t replied to her messages. But that didn’t change the fact that Desiree wasn’t a jump-in-the sack with a stranger kind of girl. “That’s just what I need. A reckless adrenaline junkie before seeing Lizza. No thanks.”
Emery turned away from the phone. “I have to go. My date is here.”
“You have a date? With who?”
“One of the reckless, adrenaline-junky Jericho brothers. I’ll let you try to figure out which one.” She blew Desiree a kiss. “Listen, babe. Take my advice. Bang the Jet Ski guy; then you’ll be nice and relaxed when you see Lizza. Call if you need me. Love you!”
Desiree ended the call, and the guy trailing her on the Jet Ski zoomed past. He made a sharp turn and headed back, eyes locked on her, making her heart race. Maybe letting loose for a night was just what she needed. One night of uninhibited anything would be a first. The Jet Ski turned again, taking another, faster pass, the hot guy’s eyes still trained on her. Butterflies took flight in her stomach. He was obviously interested. Maybe…
He turned again and headed straight toward the jetty.
Straight for her.
Oh God. How long had she been staring at him? What was I thinking?
She tried to act casual, looking at the boats, the sky, anywhere but at the man on the machine as she made her way along the rocks toward the beach. He fishtailed, spraying water in her direction. She shrieked and turned away as water rained down on her.
No, a reckless man was definitely not what she needed.

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*Contains affiliate links*
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Google Play

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Melissa writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers adore Melissa’s fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, and the Wild Boys After Dark. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on social media or her personal website. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

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Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest

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#CoverReveal Without Words by Delancey Stewart

Published March 29, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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Without Words by Delancey Stewart
Publication date: May 22nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance

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Sometimes love speaks for itself…

After an accident in the line of duty, firefighter Roberto DeRosa’s life is turned upside down. His career fighting fires is over, and he’s left with an uncertain future and an injury that makes communicating difficult for him. The only time words flow easily is when they’re lyrics and he has a guitar in his hands. Talking to women is definitely out, especially if they have bright blue eyes that seem to see right into his soul.

Dani Hodge is on the brink of realizing her dream of opening a small combination wine and book store in San Diego’s funky Ocean Beach neighborhood. But before she can open the doors, there’s work to be done, more work than she can do herself.

When the tattooed guy who completely ignored her at a bar walks by and offers her a hand wrangling a tile saw, Dani can’t afford to say no—and why would she say no to Mr. Strong and Silent when his stare conveys more than words could?

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Delancey Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wine seller. Despite lots of other interests, she has always been a writer.
A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler, story reader, and tech writer. She tackles all these efforts from her current home outside Washington DC.

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#ReleaseBlast #Excerpt #Giveaway Hard Justice (Body Armor #2) by Lori Foster

Published March 21, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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Hard Justice (Body Armor #2) by Lori Foster
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense

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Playing it safe has never felt so dangerous…

Justice Wallington knows how to harness his strength and intimidating size—skills he put to good use first in the MMA cage, and now as a bodyguard at the Body Armor agency. But no opponent has ever left him feeling as off balance as his new client, heiress Fallon Wade. Far from a spoiled princess, she’s sweet and intriguingly innocent. It’s a risk-free assignment, until he’s required to fake a relationship with her in order to blend in.

Sheltered from the world after a family tragedy, Fallon longs to experience life—going to bars, dancing, talking to strangers. Not easy with a huge, lethal-looking bodyguard shadowing her every move. Justice seems like her polar opposite, but pretending to be a couple stirs undeniable heat. And when danger strikes again, it’s not just her safety in jeopardy, but a passion that’s real, raw and absolutely against the rules…

HARD JUSTICE - Now Available 2

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When the doorbell rang, Fallon Wade’s heart jumped into a beat so furious, it stole her breath. He was here. She wasn’t ready, would never be ready, but she hadn’t been given a choice.

Opening her bedroom door very quietly, she tiptoed to the staircase landing and peeked over.

Her father and mother stood before the man, in her line of vision. But it didn’t matter. He towered over them and it’d take a giant to block him. Holy smokes. He had to be at least six-five.

Muscles bulged everywhere. Like…seriously. Ev­erywhere. Shoulders, biceps, chest, neck; he stood in a casual pose, if a brick wall could ever be casual.

Dark hair stuck up in a messy faux hawk. An un­trimmed goatee mixed with beard shadow covered a hard, square jaw. And his nose…well, his nose looked as if it had been broken. At least once.

Or maybe multiple times.

Oddly none of that detracted from his extremely rug­ged good looks, but rather added a dangerous, sexy edge. He certainly looked more than capable of pro­viding protection.

While her father, no doubt a little shell-shocked, prat­tled on about what was and wasn’t acceptable for his “precious daughter,” the man shifted his weight, crossed his arms and, with polite impatience, listened.

Until he glanced up at her.

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LORI FOSTER is a New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than 55 titles, beloved for her contemporary romance novels revolving around alpha males and the women they fall for. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance.

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#Excerpt Love, Honor, and Ink (Montgomery Ink #6.6) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Published March 19, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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Love, Honor, and Ink (Montgomery Ink #6.6) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Publication date: March 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance

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In a bonus Montgomery Ink novella, it seems that falling for your best friend isn’t as easy as fiction says and friends of the Montgomerys might finally find their happy ever after.

Wedding planner Arianna King had everything planned out down to the last detail until her father’s ultimatum changed everything. Now she’s alone, trying to open her own business, and seemingly failing at every corner. Just when things start to look even bleaker, she’ll find out just how much she can rely on her best friend—and herself.

Being in love with your best friend isn’t always easy as Harper Rosso knows. He’s been by her side since the beginning, but now that she finally has time to breath, he might just be able to show her what he could be for her. Only he’ll have to make sure he’s ready to take that chance and perhaps lose her forever.

Sparks fly between the two of them once they finally take their relationship to the next level. Only the burning temptation than fills them might not be enough in the face of what they left behind and what threatens their future.

Love, Honor, and Ink was originally found in the Once Upon a Valentine Anthology.

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Without bothering to knock, he unlocked the door using the key she’d given him a couple of years ago and walked inside. Despite the fact that the sun had just set, and darkness crept through the windows, she hadn’t turned on any lights. He closed and locked the door behind him, toed off his shoes so she wouldn’t yell at him for ruining her carpets again, and went in search of her.

If she’d merely had a bad day, Harper would expect to find her up in her tub with her eReader. He drew up short, cursing his dick. Thinking about Ari slick and covered in bubbles wasn’t the right direction for his mind to go. Not now.

But since Ari had probably dealt with Justin that day, Harper had a feeling this might take more than a bubble bath to get over.

He headed to the kitchen, and that’s where he found her.

She sat on the kitchen floor between the two counters, her shoes beside her tossed to the side. Was it wrong that she looked damn sexy with those stocking feet and short skirt even though he knew she probably wanted to scream or cry at the moment?

Her light pink and grey outfit had wrinkles in it—something he never thought he’d see on Ari, and even her sexy blonde hair looked like she’d run her fingers through it over and over.

Oh, sweet Jesus, his Ari looked like hell.

Without a second thought, he took off his jacket and slid down beside her without speaking. She looked up at him with those big green eyes, and he fell for her all over again.

Not that he’d tell her that.

“Hey, you,” she said, her voice a little slurred.

That’s when he noticed the beer bottle in her hands. He raised a brow. “Beer, Ari, really?”

She grinned up at him and leaned into his side. He lifted his arm so she could sink into him. “You know I hate wine. People say it’s fruity or whatever, but all I can taste is chemicals.”

“You just aren’t drinking the right wine.” He ran his hand down her side, and she sighed. The little sound went straight to his cock but he’d long since learned how to control his physical responses around Ari.

At least he tried to.

“Shut up, Harper. You don’t like wine either.” She brought the beer up to her lips, and he patted her thigh.

“True. I’m more of a beer man myself.” With that, he took the beer out of her hands and took a sip.

“Hey, that’s mine.” She slapped his stomach, and he grinned around the bottle. “Why is your stomach so hard? I think I hurt my hand.”

He sucked in a breath and told his dick to calm down. She was drunk, and he wasn’t an idiot.

“What? It looked good,” he teased.

She smiled at him, and for once, it looked like a true one. He relaxed somewhat. If she could still smile at him, then all was not lost.

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Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

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#Excerpt #Giveaway Hard Justice (Body Armor #2) by Lori Foster

Published March 18, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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Hard Justice (Body Armor #2) by Lori Foster
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense

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Playing it safe has never felt so dangerous…

Justice Wallington knows how to harness his strength and intimidating size—skills he put to good use first in the MMA cage, and now as a bodyguard at the Body Armor agency. But no opponent has ever left him feeling as off balance as his new client, heiress Fallon Wade. Far from a spoiled princess, she’s sweet and intriguingly innocent. It’s a risk-free assignment, until he’s required to fake a relationship with her in order to blend in.

Sheltered from the world after a family tragedy, Fallon longs to experience life—going to bars, dancing, talking to strangers. Not easy with a huge, lethal-looking bodyguard shadowing her every move. Justice seems like her polar opposite, but pretending to be a couple stirs undeniable heat. And when danger strikes again, it’s not just her safety in jeopardy, but a passion that’s real, raw and absolutely against the rules…

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When she reached the landing at the top of the curving staircase, she saw that he stood there at the bottom.
Waiting.
Again his gaze trapped her. He had a way of staring that consumed a person. Beside him her father looked small, even though Clayton Wade stood nearly six feet tall and looked very distinguished with his silver-tipped hair and impeccable manner.
Holding the handrail and attempting a smile, Fal¬lon started down.
“You will remember your place,” her father said to the man.
Oh, dear God. Mortified, Fallon wailed, “Dad.”
“My place?” the man asked.
“As an avuncular escort who will, at all costs, en¬sure her safety.”
Fallon wanted to disappear. Did her father honestly think that massive hunk of macho man would be at-tracted to her?
He looked merely confused, not insulted, so she rushed to move beyond her father’s awkward reprimand.
“You’re my protection detail?”
“Afraid so.”
What did that mean? Did he regret the assignment already—or was he expecting her to regret him? She waited, but he said nothing else, just tracked her every step as she descended.
Her father broke the silence. “Justice Wallington, meet my daughter, Fallon Wade. Fallon, Mr. Wallington is the security I’ve hired from the very respected Body Armor Agency.”
As she got closer, she said, “Mr. Wallington,” in for¬mal acknowledgment.
“Justice will do, Ms. Wade.” His gaze skipped quickly down her body, then forcefully back to her face. He looked to be concentrating.
Did he just check me out? Fallon wasn’t at all sure, but it felt like it and her voice went squeaky again. “All right. Then you must call me Fallon.”

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*Contains affiliate links*
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Google Play

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LORI FOSTER is a New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than 55 titles, beloved for her contemporary romance novels revolving around alpha males and the women they fall for. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance.

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#Excerpt Truly, Madly, Whiskey by Melissa Foster

Published March 15, 2017 by Ashley Montgomery

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Truly, Madly, Whiskey by Melissa Foster
Publication date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance

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A new, emotionally riveting, sexy standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster. Watch mysteriously sexy Bear Whiskey claw his way to his happily ever after with sassy, rebellious Crystal Moon.

In TRULY, MADLY, WHISKEY…
Eight months is a long damn time to have the hots for a woman who keeps a guy at arm’s length. But Crystal Moon is no ordinary woman. She’s a sinfully sexy, sass-mouthed badass, and the subject of Bear Whiskey’s midnight fantasies. She’s also one of his closest friends.

Just when Crystal thinks she has her life under control, scorching-hot, possessive, aggressive, and fiercely loyal Bear pushes all her sexual buttons, relentless in his pursuit to make her his.

The more Bear pushes, the hotter their passion burns, unearthing memories for Crystal that are best kept buried. But there’s no stopping the collision of her past and present, catapulting the two lovers down an emotional and sexually charged road that has them questioning all they thought they knew about themselves.

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CRYSTAL FLEW THROUGH Truman and Gemma’s front door like wildfire, eating up everything in her path. Her raven mane was soaking wet, framing her beautiful, scowling face as she stormed into the living room. Her black hoodie hung open over a Rolling Stones T-shirt, and her piercing baby blues threw daggers. Her skintight black jeans had tears along her thighs and beneath her knees, revealing flashes of her tanned skin. Skin he’d like to touch and taste and have wrapped around him.
She stopped a few feet from Bear and set her hand on her hip. “Give me a paintbrush, or a roller, or a goddamn gun for all I care. Just give me something and get out of my way.”
They’d finished painting ten minutes ago. Bear chuckled at her vehemence. She was sexy as sin no matter what mood she was in, but this tigress before him made him want to comfort her and fuck her at once.
“Hard night, sugar?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Not hard enough. And I’m not your sugar. I need to work out my frustrations.” She thrust out a hand, obviously waiting for a paintbrush.
He grabbed that delicate little hand and hauled her against him. His entire body flamed. Several months of playing cat and mouse was way too long. Her eyes darkened and her breathing shallowed. Bear was done messing around. This brazen beauty not only wanted him, but she needed him. She just didn’t know it yet.
“What do you think you’re doing?” She spoke in a low voice and probably meant it to sound threatening, but she sounded sultry and hard to resist.
He cupped her chin, brushing his thumb over her lower lip, and the air rushed from her lungs. His hand slid over her hip. She had the sleek, sexy curves of a ’61 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide, and he couldn’t wait to rev her up and make her purr. “Giving you what you need. A wild Whiskey night is the perfect remedy for your frustrations.”
“Uncle Be-ah!” Three-year-old Kennedy ran into the room wearing a Dora the Explorer nightgown and clutching the Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed toy Bear’s younger sister, Dixie, had given her. She squeezed between them. Truman had rescued his younger siblings, Kennedy and Lincoln, from a crack house after their mother overdosed. He and Gemma were raising them as their own.
Crystal smirked at Bear and arched a brow.
He reluctantly released her. Cockblocked by a three-year-old.
“Hi, pretty girl.” Crystal gave Bear a snarky look as she crouched and hugged Kennedy. “This cuteness is all I need after a frustrating evening.”
“Why are you fwustrated, Auntie Cwystal?” Kennedy still had a hard time pronouncing r’s, and the way she spoke turned Bear’s insides to mush.
“I’m not anymore, thanks to you.”
“I came to kiss you and Beah good night.” She gave Crystal a tight hug and kiss, then reached her spindly arms up to Bear and went up on her toes.
He lifted her up, and she wound her arms around his neck.
“Thank you for letting me help you paint.” Kennedy yawned and rested her head on his shoulder. “The house will be pwetty for Mommy and Tooman’s—I mean Daddy’s—wedding.” Although Kennedy and Lincoln were Truman’s siblings, when Lincoln had begun talking, he’d called Truman Dada, and Kennedy had said she wanted to call him that, too. Sometimes she forgot and called him Tooman.
Bear ran his hand down her back. It was hard to believe it had been less than a year since Truman had found them. Kennedy had gone from a rail-thin, frightened little girl to a healthy, happy member of not just Truman’s family, but Bear’s, too.
“You’re the best painter around, sweetheart. Thank you for helping me.” He lifted his eyes, catching Crystal watching him with a warm—interested?—look in her eyes. He liked that a whole lot.
Crystal’s eyes skittered away. “Hey, Ken? Where’s Mommy?”
“She’s giving Lincoln a baf.”
Crystal smiled. “Want me to take you up to bed?”
“Yes,” Bear and Kennedy said at once.
Crystal rolled her eyes at Bear and reached for Kennedy.
Bear put an arm around Crystal’s waist, ignoring her glare. “I’m escorting two of my favorite girls upstairs. Deal with it.” He guided her toward the stairs, where they ran into Truman on his way down.
Truman stood eye to eye with Bear, his dark eyes moving between the two of them. His lips curved up and he shook his head. He must have read the annoyed expression on Crystal’s face, because he reached for Kennedy. “I think I’ll intervene. Thanks, guys.”
After he went upstairs, Crystal said, “You can let go of me now.”
“No thanks.” He kept ahold of her as she stalked back to the living room. “Want to tell me what happened tonight?”
“No. I want to paint.” She squirmed out of his grip and he tugged her back.
“If you think I’ll let this go, you’re wrong. Talk to me. What’s got you so irritated?”
“Jesus, Bear,” she snapped. “I’m not yours. You don’t have to protect me.”
He ignored her comment because she knew damn well how things worked with the Whiskeys. More importantly, she knew him well enough to know he’d never sit idly by and let her get hurt. If someone had pissed her off, he’d straighten them out.
“You’re not mine yet,” he conceded.
“God, you’re so arrogant and handsy and…Ugh!” She pushed away. “I just had a rough visit with my mom, that’s all.”
“What happened?” Her not wanting to go into specifics didn’t surprise him. She’d always been cagey about her parents.
She grabbed the ladder and dragged it toward the far wall. He took it from her, and she glared at him again. She was the most stubborn woman he’d ever known. She was also sharp, confident, and possibly the most sensitive person he knew, though she’d never admit to it. Those were just a few of the things he found utterly entrancing about her.
Her arms were crossed, and he was pretty sure if it were possible she’d have steam coming out of her ears. “Can we just paint?”
“Sorry, sugar, but we’re done for the night.”
“Seriously?” She looked around the room, and her stomach growled. Her lips curved up at the edges as she spread a hand over her belly.
Perfect. He whipped out his phone, texting Tru and telling him he was taking Crystal out for a bite to eat. “Grab your bag. We’re going out to eat.” He draped his arm over her shoulder and headed for the front door.
“I’m not hungry.”
He gave her his best deadpan stare.
Challenge rose in her beautiful eyes. “You don’t tell me what to do.”
“All right. Your stomach’s growling. Obviously you’re hungry. Let’s go grab something to eat.”
She folded her arms over her chest. “That’s telling.”
“Christ, woman.” She had no idea how much he adored this side of her. They’d never been on an official date, but they’d gone to grab a bite to eat spur-of-the-moment like this plenty of times. “Are you hungry?”
“I could eat.”
“Great,” he said. “Let’s go.”
“Oh my God. Really? Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to ask a woman if she’d like to go out to eat?”
“Are you telling me to ask you out on a date?” He slid his arm around her waist again and waggled his brows.
“No.” She laughed.
He loved her laugh. It was brazen and loud, like her. “Damn. Thought I got lucky. Crystal Moon, would you like to grab a burger with me?”
She picked up her bag from the floor. “Fine. But I need to tell Gemma. You’re so bossy.”
“You totally dig bossy, and I already texted Tru and told him.”
“Presumptive and bossy.”

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Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.

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