[Book Tour] Grace’s Kiss by Karen Tjebben

 

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Romantic Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Date Published: September 2018
 
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Grace followed the rules. She always played it safe and never put her heart in jeopardy. Until the night she met Ryan. She’d never imagined that she could connect with an alpha male like him. Giving herself to him as he’d cradled her in his arms came naturally… until she sobered up. He was everything that she’d convinced herself she didn’t need. Or was he everything she needed?
Ryan balanced on a thin line of gray. He’d killed his share of demons but managed to live at peace with his actions. Then he met Grace, a woman who pushed all his buttons and shook him to his core. The need to have her overwhelmed him, but she kept shooting him down. Could he convince her that he was exactly what she needed?

Excerpt –

  1. Ryan liked the way her cheeks flushed when she stared at his crotch. The flash of innocence was a total turn-on. How could she look so innocent when she was so unabashedly sexy? He couldn’t help but groan as her hands slid over his ass cheeks and squeezed. Unintentionally, he tilted his hips towards her as he slid a hand into her hair. With the other hand, he tilted her head upwards and pressed his lips against hers. He tasted the alcohol on her as he traced the seam of her lips.

She stepped closer to him and lost herself in the kiss. She squeezed his ass again, harder this time, and he groaned. His ass muscles clenched in her grip. The burning ache between her legs intensified.

Parting her lips, she moaned as his tongue caressed the inside of her mouth. She enjoyed the overwhelming sensation of him and pressed herself against his body. The feel of his hard cock against her sent a rush of heat between her legs.

What was it about this guy? She didn’t go around kissing strangers or feeling them up. But this man had the pull of a rare earth magnet to iron. She couldn’t resist the attraction, so she enjoyed the draw. Curving her hands around his hips, she considered ‘accidentally’ brushing her hand over his groin and sneaking a feel of the impressive rod in his pants. But she lacked the courage. Instead, she pressed her breasts against his chest, thankful that she hadn’t worn a padded bra. Her nipples hardened at the heat of his body. She shifted her chest just enough to rub her sensitized nipples against her lacy bra.

As the kiss deepened, and her pleasure intensified, she pulled out of the kiss and glanced up at him. “Do you want to squeeze my butt?” she purred. She knew she sounded silly, but she was too drunk to care. She wanted his hands on her. She wanted to feel again. Besides, it wasn’t fair that he was the only one getting groped. She shouldn’t take advantage of him like that.

Her angelic doe eyes stared up at him. How had she managed to make that question sound so innocent and pure? Hell yeah, he wanted to squeeze her ass. “Darling,” he drawled, “I thought you’d never ask.”

  1. Turning his torso so that he faced her, he asked, “May I kiss you?” Normally, he didn’t formally ask a woman for permission to kiss her. He just went by the feel of the moment. But Grace was skittish, and he didn’t want to rush her.

She knew they’d kissed on the dance floor. Heck, she’d rubbed her body against his in a shameful way as she’d groped him. But the way he asked her to kiss him, like he respected her, warmed her heart. With nerves whirring through her, she nodded and said, “Yes.”

The soft, whisper reply warmed Ryan’s heart in a way he hadn’t expected. He wanted to pound his chest in a proud display of masculinity. She was giving him her trust, putting herself out there for him, and he appreciated that honor.

Ryan leaned towards her, looking for any hesitation or concern on her part, but there was none. The trust and innocence in her expression stirred a desire in him that he hadn’t felt before. He’d experienced passion in a sexual sense, but now a different type of passion heated him. This passion didn’t radiate from his cock. It wasn’t lust based. This passion radiated from his heart and mind and flooded his body. Grace didn’t casually give herself to men, so her affections were so much more valuable than she even realized. He liked that purity. He could see himself with her in a long-term relationship.

As he pressed a hand against her cheek, his thumb brushed over her lips. Her heart fluttered at the tender caress. She quickly licked her lips in anticipation and then felt his lips against hers. Heat washed over her that nothing to do with the hot, humid evening of a summer in the South. This was a heat that was stirred through passion and went right to her core.

She wanted more of him, tracing the seam of his lips with her tongue, she urged him to take the kiss further. He didn’t disappoint. The little boat rocked as he repositioned his body for a better angle to continue the kiss. His tongue slipped into her mouth and caressed hers in an erotic dance. Her girl parts woke up and moistened. The ease and pleasure of his kiss assured her that sex with him would be equally pleasurable. Where had that thought come from? They wouldn’t be having sex anytime soon, despite the need surging through her body.

When he pulled away, he’d left her panting and with a pulsing need between her legs that Daniel had never stirred up. She adjusted in her seat, wishing she could beg him for another kiss. Did he feel the same desire in his own body?

“I like you, Grace,” he said. He wanted to kiss her again. Hell, he wanted to take her back to his place and make love to her, but he knew that would be rushing her. If Daniel was telling the truth, and she’d only had sex with him, then she wasn’t the type to have sex after a first date. That was okay with him. He knew they’d have more dates, and she’d eventually have sex with him after one of them. He only needed to wait her out.    

 


About the Author

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Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique characters that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes.
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[Failure Series] Part 1: Understanding Failure and Why We Need It

Failure. 

So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?

In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.

What Is Failure?

The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.

According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:

  1. A lack of success
  2. nonperformance
  3. or an insufficiency

You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success). dont-fear-failure-fear-the-absence-of-progress-motivational-gym-quotes

Why Does It Terrify Us?

Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly.  Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.

History Is Made on Failure

No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures. 

Why It Is More Valuable Than Success

db12c93a5358756069a09d2cacd08033This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature. 

Why We Need Failure

We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise. 

The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane

Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television. 

“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House

Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?

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Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:

Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House

Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar

Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor

 

[Marketing 101] Your Website is Your Hub

How many times has this happened to you? A customer or potential customer walks up to you in something as large as ReaperCon to something as small as the grocery store line, the two of you strike up a conversation and it leads to what it is you do. This could be an author, an artist, maybe an Avon agent, whatever your specialty.

Anyway, they ask you, “Do you have a website I can go to?” You happen to respond with anything from an “I’m working on one” or “I use Facebook” and all of a sudden you find yourself locked in this awkward silent moment.

Believe me dear readers, it does happen. More often than you may expect. 

The moral is, you must have a website. Nowadays, a website is a company’s first go to in order to find out just how serious you are about your craft.

Now, this also happens. You may have a website that has the domain name in it and to many this is perfectly fine as far as hubs like WordPress and Weebly but trust me, nothing bothers a potential client more than not have the old .com, .org, etc.

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Why? You might ask. 

Because a personal domain symbolizes professionalism. The next time you’re on a major site, how often do you see http://www.site.reallylongdomainname.sitehost… you most likely get the point. You don’t. Not ever. Please don’t do this.

As hard as it is to accept, if you wish to define yourself as a professional, you must invest in your website.

Think of it as your central hub. Your social media can be seen as spider threads. They branch out and reach potential customers and contacts but ultimately lead them back to your website.

 

Forbes magazine offers three powerful reasons as to why your website is vital to growing your small business.

  1. Your website is important in building first impressions
  2. Your website is your “shopping window”
  3. If your website is “sloppy” or “missing”, then you are losing business

 

To quote them:

“They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.” — Forbes Magazine

 

The truth is, with sites offering low rates on hosting such as godaddy.com, hostgator.com, and bluehost.com, just to name a few, there really isn’t much of an excuse to not have a professional website. Even WordPress has two different venues you may use to construct your professionally designed website.

A question you may ask then is, “what if I don’t know how to set a site up?” 

website-builders-comparisonTo this, the reply would be to invest the money to have it made the best it can be or to utilize sites with pre-made templates like weebly.com, squarespace.com, tyepad.com or wix.com. You may also use blogger which may be easier for those just beginning to get their feet wet in site design.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to cover all of your options in this blog post but that’s where search engines like google are your best friend. Do some research to find which is best for you. Check their pros and cons, maybe try them since sites like Squarespace and Typead often offer trial periods.

Some closing thoughts…

Whichever you choose and however you choose to go about it, make sure it’s the best you can make it, shows off your brand and highlights the products or services you plan to promote the most.

Remember! People are more likely to purchase from a brand they learn to trust and see as professional. Your website should tell your story, have a product/service page, etc. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at fyresydepublishing.com and subscribe to learn what’s coming down the pike!

 

 

[Blog Tour] Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie by Mark Nolan

 

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Thriller
Date Published: Jan. 1, 2016
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A mysterious killer who calls himself The Artist is assassinating wealthy lawyers in San Francisco. When war veteran Jake Wolfe accidentally takes his picture during a murder, The Artist adds Jake to his kill list and he becomes a target in a deadly game of cat and mouse that only one of them can survive. How far would you go to protect your loved ones from a killer? Jake wants to leave his top secret, violent past life behind him. But the reluctant, flawed hero can’t ignore his duty and his personal moral compass.
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About the author:

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Mark Nolan is the author of Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie, and the sequel,Vigilante Assassin. Right now he’s busy writing Jake Wolfe Book 3. He has raised two great kids and one very smart retriever dog. Mark also tries to make time every day to answer emails from readers. You can reach him and subscribe to his newsletter at marknolan.com.

 

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[Book Blitz] Counting on You by Laura Chapman

Counting on You banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Counting on You by Laura Chapman. Read on for more information about this book and there’s an US only giveaway. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 27 August till 2 September. See the tour schedule here.

Counting on YouCounting on You (Amarillo Sour #1)
By Laura Chapman
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 28 August 2018

Blurb:
Is love worth the risk?

Math teacher Haleigh Parde has no desire to change her single status until she receives an invitation to her high school reunion. With her ex spreading rumors she needs a date and fast. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Haleigh finds herself meeting a blind date at a neighborhood bar called Amarillo Sour . . .

After watching Haleigh crash and burn, app developer Ian Henning makes her a proposition. If she’ll provide honest feedback on his new dating app, he’ll guarantee her a date to knock the socks off her former classmates. Even better, he—and the other Amarillo Sour regulars—will help her navigate the rocky road of dating.

Through setups ranging from awkward to absurd, Haleigh discovers her matchmaker might just be better than the matches. And Ian wonders if she’s the answer to everything he’s worked for professionally. Or is she something much, much more . . .

 


Excerpt

 

In an effort to mask her embarrassment, she raised the glass to her lips.

“Wait.” He held out his glass to hers. “Here’s to taking chances.”

She could drink to that. She toasted his glass and sipped, appreciating the way the wine both chilled her throat and warmed her chest on the way down.

He drank his beer and set it down. “So, you know I couldn’t help overhearing your date with Patrick.”

“Yeah, we covered that.”

“And I know we only officially met a few minutes ago, but I feel like—what with the eavesdropping and all—we’ve gotten to know each other a little.”

“Or you’ve learned my most embarrassing secret. I only know you develop software and—based on how well you know the lay of the land—you apparently spend a lot of your time hanging out at a bar.”

“Which is pretty much all there is to know about me. Except that I like watching both sports and nerdy TV shows, and that I wish I could have a dog, but my apartment won’t let me.”

“You’re right,” she said. “We’re practically married. Should we spend Christmas with your family or mine?”

He snorted. “Now that we’re friends, and I know that you need a date to your reunion and you’re on a deadline, I wanted to run something by you.”

Her heart fluttered. Was this guy she just met going to help her get a date? No, that was crazy. But maybe he had some advice. She’d been sarcastic when she’d asked for it earlier, but it really couldn’t hurt.

In fact, it might be better coming from a stranger than any of her work friends. It would certainly keep Nina from spreading the details through the rumor mill.

“I’m listening. Not that I know if you have the credentials to give lectures on—”

“It’s not a lecture. And I’m not a dating expert. Well, not exactly. I’m not an expert,” he repeated and cleared his throat. “But I have done a lot of research on dating. Or at least my company has, and I’ve used it for my job.”

“I thought you build apps.”

“We do. Our new app—one that’s coming out next month—is a dating app.”

“Like Tinder?”

“Kind of, but not really.” He launched into an explanation about how the app was part game, part matchmaker. That it helped connect people who’d really get along without making the process cumbersome. So far, it sounded good.

But how did she fit into this?

“We’re actually trying to find one more person to try it out.”

Oh. He needed a guinea pig. “Why?”

“We’re close to the launch date. While our feedback has been good, it hasn’t been personal. We haven’t been able to see it from the inside.”

“Why doesn’t one of your employees try it?”

He shook his head. “That’s not objective enough. We need someone who can give us an inside look, while not influencing the outcome. Someone local. Someone who can find a good match that we can brag about to our investors. Someone with a good story.”

Someone desperate enough to give it a try with an audience. Someone like her.

She could see the logic. That didn’t mean she liked where this was going. “So, you want me to try your app and report back.”


You can find Counting on You on Goodreads

You can buy Counting on You here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Google Play
iTunes


Laura ChapmanAbout the Author:
Laura Chapman is the author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies. A born and raised Nebraska girl, she loves watching football, traveling, crafting, and baking. When she isn’t writing her next story, she is probably working at a museum by day and binge-watching Netflix with her cats Jane and Bingley at night. So, basically, she’s living large.

 

 

You can find and contact Laura Chapman here:
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Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Counting on You. One winner will win a Amarillo Sour Starter Kit, that includes two shot glasses, two coasters, a bottle opener and pens with the bar’s logo on them plus a $10 Amazon card. US Only.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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[Blog Tour] Finders, Not Keepers by D.E Haggerty

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Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 20, 2018
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What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?
While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.  
Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

 

 


 

Interview

#1 – Do You See Writing as a Career?

Oh definitely, I work full-time on my writing career. I don’t make full-time wages, but that’s a different story.

#2 – What was the Hardest Part of Your Writing Process?

Staring at a blank page, ready to start a new manuscript, is one of the hardpest parts of the writing process. Every time I start over with a blank page, I’m nearly convinced I can’t do it all over again. Can I finish a complete manuscript? Will it all fit together? What if the characters refuse to speak to me? The doubts will take over if you let them. Cheeky buggers.

#3 – Did you have any One Person Who Helped You Out with Your Writing Outside of Your Family?

Hmmmm…. There’s not really one person who helped with my writing outside of the family. There are a whole bunch of people from reviewers who have stuck with me through ups and downs, my editor who has put up with me and my deadlines from the near beginning, bloggers who support my books, and a whole bunch of strangers on social media who have given me advice in way or another.

#4 – What is next for your writing?

Finders, Not Keepers is the first book in the Not So Reluctant Detective Series. There are two more books in this series – or at least that’s the current plan. I’m also working on a historical fiction novel set in Holland.

#5 – Do you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?

I would say my addiction to reading is actually worse than my addiction to writing. I’m currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt and The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.

DESCRIBE Your Book in 1 Tweet:

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for a lost diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough

This or That?

#1 – iPd or Mp3? iPod

#2 – Chocolate or Vanilla? CHOCOLATE!!!

#3 – Mashed Potatoes or French Fries? Fries

#4 – Comedy or Drama? Comedy

#5 – Danielle Steel or Nicholas Sparks? Nicholas Sparks

#6 – Fantasy or Reality? Fantasy

#7 – Call or Text? TEXT. Don’t call me, I’ll call you

#8 – Public School or Home School? Public School

#9 – Coffee or Hot Chocolate Coooooofffffeeee!!!

#10 – eBook or Paperback? eBook


About the Author

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I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Finders, Not Keepers is my thirteenth book.
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[Book Blitz] Undisclosed by A.M. Salinger

Undisclosed
A.M. Salinger
(Nights, #7)
Publication date: August 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

I have a problem. His name is Lincoln “Asshole” Hudson. He’s the bastard who wants to run me out of town. I should hate him. Trouble is, Lincoln is my type. Like one hundred and ten percent. And, ladies, he has the biggest, er, package I’ve ever seen on a man — Eveline

I have an itch I want to scratch. Her name is Eveline “Sassy Mouth” Claude. She’s the woman standing in the way of what could be my most lucrative project yet. Eveline is my enemy. There’s one hitch: she’s the hottest thing on legs my dick has ever seen — Lincoln

When Eveline Claude discovers she doesn’t actually own the land on which her most successful club stands, she is determined to get it back from the man who has now laid claim to it. Unfortunately, Lincoln Hudson, the new landlord and über successful billionaire behind the Hudson Group, doesn’t want to play ball.

Lincoln Hudson is in Tokyo for a landmark deal that could help secure his company’s foothold in the Far East and expand his hotel business in a new and exciting direction. The only hiccup is, someone else thinks they own the prime piece of land he’s just bought. And that someone is a woman he very much wants to bed.

After Lincoln convinces Eveline into becoming his personal escort for the duration of his stay in Tokyo in exchange for considering leasing her the land, the two of them come to a mutual agreement; they will enjoy each other—socially and carnally—until such a time that their arrangement comes to an end.

But as their time together draws to a close, Eveline and Lincoln discover that they have more in common than just great sex. Will they let their business affairs sour what is growing between them? Or will they put aside their differences and accept that enemies they may have started as, but lovers is what they’re meant to become?

Discover Eveline and Lincoln’s story in this sexy and wickedly funny addition to the hot, contemporary romance series Nights by A.M. Salinger. Note from the author: although each book in Nights can be read as a standalone, you will enjoy this series even more if you read the books in order!

This is a novella length MF romance with a HEA.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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Sign up for the blog tour here!

EXCERPT:

Eveline Claude blinked slowly. “Come again?”

A muscle jumped in the jawline of the man seated on the other side of the conference room table.

“You don’t own the freehold to the Tokyo branch of Le Secret,” Malcolm Brooks repeated stiffly.

Eveline’s pulse started to race as she stared from Brooks to his poker-faced partner, Victor Kline.

“I’m sorry, did I just hear you say that I don’t own the tenure of one of my most successful business enterprises?” Silence greeted her stunned question. “Are you guys yanking my chain right now?” Eveline chuckled in disbelief. “You are, aren’t you? Because there’s no way my one-thousand-dollar-per-hour, top-notch city lawyers just informed me that they fucked up.”

Brooks glanced at Kline. “Told you she’d bring up the hourly fee,” he muttered.

Kline ignored his partner and studied Eveline with an impassive expression. “Of course, we’ll be working to resolve this matter pro bono. The mistake is ours and we cannot apologize enough on behalf of the firm.”

Eveline’s mouth went dry as she looked between the two men and realized they were serious. The first inkling that her day was going to turn out to be gloriously shitty began at six a.m., when the fire alarm in her apartment building went off. Having left Le Secret at two, Eveline wasn’t pleased that her much needed beauty sleep had been interrupted by some asshole who hadn’t figured out how to use his new waffle maker. Her ire rose tenfold when she went to collect her car from the underground garage and noticed the fresh scratch on her midnight blue Maserati. She’d made a note to ask the security guards to check the cameras covering the parking lot and had barreled out of the building and into the early morning Tokyo traffic at twice the allowed speed limit; she hated being late for an appointment and her nine o’clock meeting with Brooks & Kline was taking place on the other side of town. She’d made it to their office on the twelfth floor of the glass and steel high-rise housing their law firm with four minutes to spare and had waited impatiently in the conference room, curious as to why they’d requested the urgent face to face.

It was Brooks who’d called her the day before to set up the meeting.

“Something’s come up. We need to talk,” the lawyer said cryptically after Eveline’s assistant put his call through.

Eveline paused and lowered her cup of coffee, her gaze shifting from the busy dual computer screens on the desk before her, to the glorious views beyond the panoramic windows to her right. Her office was located next to a small, private flat she kept above Le Secret and overlooked Ginza, the most famous and exclusive district in Tokyo.

Eveline frowned as she studied the busy intersection outside, the first seed of unease stirring inside her.

“What’s this about, Malcolm? It’s rare for you to call me yourself.”

“I know. It would be best if we had this conversation face to face,” Brooks replied.

He’d refused to answer Eveline’s questions and gave her the details of their appointment before disconnecting. Though she’d been troubled by her enigmatic conversation with the lawyer, Eveline soon forgot about the exchange, the daily demands of running her internationally renowned and incredibly successful chain of upscale escort clubs consuming all her attention and focus. Business was booming, especially since she’d opened the latest branch of Le Secret in Singapore.

Eveline swallowed presently and leaned back in the sleek metal and leather chair of the conference room, her knuckles whitening where she gripped the arm rests. Maybe I should have thrown salt over my left shoulder before I left my apartment this morning. Or burned some incense or do whatever it is people do to ward off bad luck.

She studied the two lawyers with narrowed eyes. “Explain to me exactly how this happened.”

Brooks sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose while Kline slid a file across the table.

“It seems Mr. Nagato forged the documents his lawyers provided to us five years ago, when he sold you the plot in Ginza as a freehold,” Brooks said bitterly. “What you actually bought off him was the right to lease. His son-in-law works for the local land registry office and we suspect he made the counterfeit papers. According to one of our contacts in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the Nagatos have connections with an organized crime syndicate that specializes in land rights grabs.”

Eveline tensed, her gaze skimming the folder before her distractedly. “You mean, they’re part of the Yakuza?”

Kline grimaced. “They are linked to them in a distant, convoluted fashion, yes.”

Eveline’s heart pounded as she digested the implication of the lawyers’ words. The Yakuza were the Japanese equivalent of the Italian Mafia. Having witnessed secondhand what the mob did to their business rivals in New York, Eveline had no desire to associate with the local criminal organizations here in Japan, even if she suspected several of the clients who had visited the Tokyo branch of Le Secret over the last five years had some kind of connection to them.

Eveline clenched her jaw. “What can we do about this? I paid Nagato a hefty sum of money for that land. We’re talking seven figures here, as you both well know.” She paused, an unwelcome thought bringing a bitter taste to her mouth. “Wait. Did he even own that plot? Don’t tell me the asshole sold me someone else’s—”

“He does,” Kline said. “Or he did.”

“We’ve already lodged an appeal in court to contest the new owner’s claim to the freehold,” Brooks said. He ran a hand through his hair. “It’s going to take some time to—”

“New owner?” Eveline scowled. “What the hell do you mean, new owner?” She jumped to her feet and leaned her hands on the table. “Are you telling me that conniving bastard sold my land to someone else?!”

“Yes,” Brooks said quietly. “And this time, the documents he provided were the legitimate ones.”

Eveline took a shuddering breath and closed her eyes briefly, her nails biting into her palms where she’d fisted her fingers.

“I’m gonna kill him,” she hissed. Eveline grabbed her bag and stormed toward the conference room exit. “I’m gonna strangle that lowlife with my bare hands and dump his body in Tokyo Bay! What’s his address?”

“Sit down, Eveline,” Kline said with a sigh.

Eveline stopped by the door and whirled around. “I’m not kidding, Victor! I hope you guys know a good criminal lawyer ‘cause I’m going to need—”

“Nagato is dead,” Brooks said.

Eveline froze. She opened and closed her mouth soundlessly, her eyes rounding as she gaped at the two lawyers.

What?!” she shrieked.

“Nagato died three weeks ago,” Kline stated. “It was a heart attack, apparently.”

A light-headed feeling swept over Eveline. She made her way back to the table on unsteady legs and flopped down in the chair she had just vacated.

“He completed the sale of the freehold a few days before his death,” Brooks added.

Kline leaned across the table and opened the file in front of Eveline. “This is the letter we received yesterday from the new owner’s law firm.”

Eveline blinked before focusing on the top sheet of the paperwork before her.

“The land in Ginza is now the property of Lincoln Hudson, the President and CEO of the Hudson Group,” Kline continued. “His lawyers have given us formal notice that Le Secret’s leasehold rights will be revoked in thirty days.”

Eveline’s hands trembled as she picked up the letter and read it over, the words blurring in front of her eyes. Her heart sank as she finally absorbed its content.

It was just as Kline had said.

The new owner of the plot on which Le Secret stood had given her thirty days to dissolve her business and vacate his land.

“Wouldn’t a leasehold be for fifty years?” Eveline mumbled. “Can he even do this?”

“The new leasehold law that came into effect twenty-five years ago gives the landowner the right to refuse the leaseholder permission to run a business on his property,” Kline said. “Hudson is completely within his rights to issue a revocation order.”

Blood thundered in Eveline’s ears, the sound matching the emotions storming through her as she stared blindly at the printed text. She put the letter down, inhaled shakily, and stared at the men opposite her.

When it rains, it fucking pours.

“How long will the court appeal take?” she said, her voice growing steely as cogwheels started turning in her brain. She had not come this far in life without learning how to roll with some punches. Eveline frowned. Or how to get back up and knock the enemy right out of the ring.

“Six weeks,” Brooks said.

Eveline drummed the fingers of her right hand on the table, her polished, red-lacquered nails rapping an impatient tempo.

“Can we do anything to expedite it?”

“We’ve got a meeting with one of the judges this afternoon,” Kline said. “As to whether he will be willing to bring the case forward is not something I’d want to bet money on.”

Eveline gritted her teeth. “Do the Hudson Group President and his lawyers know the details of this affair? As in Nagato swindling me out of—”

“They know,” Brooks said. “We spoke to Lincoln Hudson’s lawyers and his secretary yesterday after we received the letter. Hudson’s secretary got back to us thirty minutes ago.”

Eveline leaned forward in her chair, her heart pounding against her ribs. “And? Is he willing to negotiate something?”

“Hudson said that it ain’t his problem,” Kline muttered.

Eveline stilled. “What?”

Brooks rubbed his eyes tiredly. “According to his secretary, Lincoln Hudson’s exact words were ‘I don’t give a flying fuck’.”

 

Author Bio:

Ava Marie Salinger is the pen name of an Amazon bestselling author who has always wanted to write scorching hot contemporary and erotic romance. In 2018, she finally decided to venture to the steamy side. NIGHTS is the first of several sizzling series featuring sweet, sexy men and women with dark pasts and a whole lot of love to give to the ones brave enough to fight for their hearts. When she’s not dreaming up hotties to write about, you’ll find Ava creating kickass music playlists to write to, spying on the wildlife in her garden, drooling over gadgets, and eating Chinese.

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