Play by Piper Lawson (Review)

A book that shot up my 2016 favorite books list is this month’s recommendation. Read on for all the details, my book review, and how to enter for a chance to win a magic 8 ball and also get to name a secondary character in the follow up of PLAY!

This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

Piper Lawson
Publication date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

I’m Payton Blake. A successful, balanced twenty-something living the dream.

OK. So it’s a big, shiny-ass lie.I could be all of those things. If I had friends outside of work. And if I didn’t mainline watermelon slushies like they were a food group. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)

But when you know where you’re headed, who needs to enjoy the ride? Even if part of me longed for a little between-the-sheets adventure, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call.Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. His eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in an ‘are-you-in-a-band?’ kind of way, and fighting with him gets me off faster than Jorge on bezerker mode. But he’s arrogant. Presumptuous. Colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. And I’m not talking about his face, because the guy’s barely old enough to shave.None of it changes the fact that I crave Max Donovan like a watermelon slushy on a hot summer day.

I should ignore him. But I can’t, because he just became my biggest client. And whether he’ll admit it or not, he needs me even more than I need him.

So what happens when the girl who lives to work goes head-to-head with the guy who was born to PLAY?
Game on, Max Donovan.PLAY is a sassy standalone romantic comedy about life, love, and video games. For 18+ due to language and Kindle-incinerating steamy scenes.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Review

The one thing I love in romance novels is the one thing I rarely find. Relatable characters. And by that I don’t mean characters with a couple of traits that simply make them fall into a category with a neon sign screaming “a-hole bad boy” or “dominant CEO” or even “brooding hermit”. I mean 3-D real people with complex stories that make their reactions hard to predict. Heroes that don’t make you roll your eyes.

That’s where Piper Lawson delivers in spades. Max and Payton became my friends overnight. He’s way more complex than a sexy gaming genius geek. She’s way more interesting than a bank junior associate missing dates over balance sheets. And their relationship is way more plausible than your standard insta-attraction that goes wrong.

There’s scorching sexual tension, enough false-starts to want you to eat your Kindle but when these two do hook-up it’s the fourth of July. And it’s not just the build-up and the hot sex. It’s that by the time it happens, you’ll know both of them so well you won’t want to let go.

That’s the recipe for a book you won’t easily forget.

Author Bio:

Join my Insiders list now for a steamy exclusive excerpt! ➜

I love reading and writing about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them. Schooled is the introduction to my Travesty series about ambitious girls who chase their dreams of a fashion label from California to New York and back again.

My main household expenditures include books, coffee and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and I’ll defend it accordingly). I have two business degrees, neither of which I’ve leveraged into a fashion label.

Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes. Come find me on the tennis court, at the beach, on the web at or on twitter @piperjlawson.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter



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Chick-lit meets thriller: Scandal (Part 1) by Alison Foster (Review)

A real page-turner. It’s been a long time since I read a book that really made my pulse accelerate (what is Ella getting into?) and laugh out loud with her snarkiness. Scandal: Part One(a serialized novel) is free right now, so if you’re okay with a heroine with a no holds barred approach and a dirty-mouthed sex god (who could be a murderer), click on the title below. This review tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

Scandal: Part One by Alison Foster

Publication date: July 31st 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Purchasing Links: Amazon|  B&N

Official Synopsis

Ella Wade knew working at a website called The Daily Scandal might lead to an interesting summer job after graduating college. She did not know that one big mistake would pull her into the heart of a sleazy world of publicity where truths are worse than lies and a murderer is on the loose.

When Ella gives into temptation and sleeps with her stepsister Madison’s ex, her world flips upside down. It doesn’t matter that Madison is dead or that Jaxson Cole wasn’t, in fact, her boyfriend but a publicist’s stunt to link two of the hottest catwalk models romantically in order to feed tabloid curiosity. The damage is done and with deadly consequences.

Even worse, Jax definitely knows things he won’t say. Falling for his epic hotness could mean one good screw will screw Ella for a lifetime.

My Review

She: Fresh-out-of-college Ella Wade, aspiring writer, lands a summer job with The Daily Scandal—a rag. Her waning interest turns into obsession when her boss asks her to go sniff out her dead stepsister’s murderer. The story is written from Ella’s PoV.

He: One word is needed to describe Jaxson Cole: god. The wet dream of million of women worldwide, this top model is spoiled, arrogant and wants Ella. Bad. But his ex-girlfriend (who wasn’t his girlfriend) just died and he wants to help Ella find the culprit. Or mess with her and cover his tracks.

The conflict: The ordinary sibling enters the glam and dirty world of her super model step-sister, which killed her. Determined to find the truth, she dives right in, but Jaxson is the most potent drug. Will she find the truth or lose herself?

The heat: OMG. Very original writing there. Warning: it goes into erotica terriroty.

The good stuff: Super fresh writing. Incredibly witty with subtle yet amazingly effective observations that turn the protagonists into truly complex characters. The suspense element is there, getting stronger towards the end.

The other stuff: for a romance, I wasn’t certain who the Hero was. If not for the blurb, I wouldn’t be sure who Ella would find her HEA with. Still not entirely sure.

Bottom line: One of my best recent reads. I’ll definitely buy the rest of the series.

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Alison Foster loves reading a good love story almost as much as she loves writing one. She spends her time dreaming up strong heroes and even stronger heroines and she enjoys finding unexpected strengths within her characters when they are in the most unexpected places.

She believes that passion makes the world go round and that a sexy grin is as sweet as candy. She loves interacting with readers, so feel free to drop her a line.

Connect with the Author

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Waterfall & Waterproof by Amber Garr (NA – Dystopian)


A world that starves for water. A nuclear holocaust. A boy and a girl fight to survive against all odds. That’s the gripping tale of the Water Crisis Chronicles by Amber Garr, presented today. Read on for all the book details, my four-star review and details on how to win a Kindle Fire (if you’re in the US) or ebook copies (open internationally). This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

Waterfall & Waterproof by Amber Garr

(The Water Crisis Chonicles, #1)
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult

Purchase Links Book 1: Amazon |  B&N

Purchase Links: Book 2: Amazon |  B&N



Official Synopsis

Synopsis book 1 – Waterfall:

The water is gone. The wars have begun.

Clean water is a luxury most can no longer afford. Climate change, industrial sabotage, and greed have turned country against country as each one tries to provide for its citizens. Terrorist groups target desalinization plants and frustrated governments hunt those who work against them. Rationing, sequestering, and patrolling have become routine at a time when there are too many people and not enough resources.

While the world around them disintegrates into chaos, Zach and Vivienne hope that their life in a government-run complex will retain some semblance of normalcy. But when attacks on their water supplies bring war to their sheltered community, they must accept their new fate. Stay and fight or flee and endure—it’s a difficult decision with lasting consequences.

Will they choose what’s safe? Or will they choose to survive?

Synopsis book 2 – Waterproof:

Dying of thirst is the new reality.

Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.

Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart. A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe?

In this life, it pays to be waterproof.

My Review of Waterfall

Why I selected this book

A waterless earth and the ensuing chaos, combined with a solid blurb was what attracted me to this book. The budding romance between a boy and a girl fighting for mere existence, having lost everything was the other factor.

My impressions after I read Waterfall

This is a well written book. Amber Carr is an excellent line author. The action is heart-pounding, relentless and vividly portrayed, involving all senses. I really felt I lived in this world. However, I didn’t find myself particularly engrossed because I saw no endgame. Struggle to survival is the theme of this story, but there’s no conflict or a defining moment (after the world goes down) to help me get more involved. I’m sure this is more evident in the second book, but I needed to have a clearer idea where this was leading to. The two MCs, Zach and Vivienne, get off to a great start, but their relationship is very static in this first book.

Bottom line: if you enjoy action-packed, dystopian stories, Waterfall is the book for you. As a reader who goes for character-driven stories, I expected more.

Enter here for a chance to win a Kindle Fire (US) or ebook copies (Int’l)

About the Author

AmberAmber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of the bestselling novels The Syrenka Series, the award-winning Water Crisis Chronicles, The Leila Marx Novels, and the Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. Find out more at
Author links:

Sexy and angsty: Slashed by Tracy Wolff (Review)


Tracy Wolff is one of my go-to authors. She handles emotions masterfully, and her steamy scenes? Reading with the fridge door open might help. Slashed is Book #3 in Tracy’s Extreme Risk, New Adult series. Read on for all the book details, my four-star review and to find out how you can win a Select Loveswept Ebook Bundle and a titillating excerpt. This tour was brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.


Extreme Risk # 3
Author: Tracy Wolff
Release Date: Sept 29th, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo



Official Blurb

Do nice guys always finish last? In the new Extreme Risk novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff, a burnt-out underdog and a vulnerable tomboy defy the pressure to be perfect and go after what they really want.

Bighearted and easygoing, Luc Jennings is falling behind in a family of serious overachievers. While he may be decent enough at snowboarding to turn pro and rack up some sponsors, he’s never topped any podiums—unlike his friends Z, Ash, and Cam. Luc’s always been head over heels for Cam Bradley, but she’s never seen him as anything more than a friend. Now, after years of coming in second, Luc can’t take it anymore—especially if it means watching Cam chase another guy.

Cam hangs out almost exclusively with dudes, and that’s fine by her. She’d much rather be shredding at the Olympics than primping in the mirror. Cam’s wildest dreams have a way of coming true—except when it comes to getting her longtime crush and best friend, Z Michaels, to notice her. Then her mother suddenly shows up after being gone for, like, ever, and Cam’s whole world comes crashing down. Desperate for a place to lay low, she turns to the one person who’s always had her back.

Try as he might to move on, Luc could never leave Cam hanging. He lets her crash at his place—and it isn’t long before she winds up in his bed. With Cam running scared and her icy facade starting to melt at last, Luc’s determined to finally win the only prize that matters.

My Review (4 stars)

She: Cameron Bradley, 21, is one of the top snowboarders in the world–one of the guys. She’s just accepted that Z, her longtime crush, is better off with another girl. But her forever friend turning into her lover? Not going to last.

He: Luc Jennings, 21, is finally where he’s craving to be. Under the sheets with Cam. But she’s been lusting after the world’s No. 1 forever. If she wants the No. 1–the only place on the podium he’s never reached–will she settle for anything less?

The conflict: A heavy load of insecurities on top of an unexcpected friends-to-lovers development–unchartered waters with heroes not owning who they are enough to be able to deal.

The setting: Off-season Aspen. Pro winter athletes taking it easy, prepping for the upcoming season.

The heat: Scorching hot, as you’d expect from Tracy Wolff.

The good stuff: Tracy Wolff’s writing. She’s a master at depicting emotions–the more muddled the better. Clean outline, good pacing. Also, the characters live and breathe their sports. There’s no language concession here—you’ll get all the jargon you can muster and then some.

The other stuff: But you’ll also take all the angst and broodiness you can take. Granted, Luc and Cam have a well-founded, deep-rooted insecurity (he sells himself short, she’s a tomboy) but their unspoken fears would be better suited to a YA novel. Also, the situation in Cam’s home with her absentee mom suddenly returning is not resolved.

Bottom line: I haven’t read a Tracy Wolff book that isn’t readable and that applies to Slashed as well. This was a little less in that it got to be too much in terms of unsettled emotions.

Enter here for a chance to win a Selected Loveswept Ebook Bundle


I don’t like being ignored. Or, more specifically, I don’t like being ignored by Luc.

The guy who’s been my best friend since I was four years old.

The guy who taught me how to ride my very first snowboard.

The guy who knows everything about me—and who I know everything about.

Or at least I did. Now, as he sits across from me talking and joking around with anyone and everyone but me, I’m not sure I know anything about him anymore. He sure as hell doesn’t want to know anything about me. He won’t even look at me. And if he puts any more distance between us, he’s going to end up falling off the back of the damn boat the first time we hit a rough wave.

Which at the moment, I might actually pay good money to see. Especially when he glances up from his super intense conversation with Ash, and our eyes meet for the first time in way too long. I start to smile, but he yanks his gaze away before he sees it. And I’m left feeling like a total idiot.

And the worst part is, it’s all my fault. The weirdness, the awkwardness, Luc’s inability to even look at me—I’m responsible for all of it. I’m the one who got drunk a few months ago when Z first got together with Ophelia. I’m the one who threw myself at Luc when he was equally drunk, who kept pushing and pushing until he took me back to his place. And I’m the one who freaked out so completely when I woke up in bed with him the next morning. He’d tried to be cool, to be nice—and I had lost it completely.

Nothing has been the same since.

I’ve spent the last few months trying to clean up the mess I made—doing anything and everything I could think of to get us back on even ground—but it isn’t working. We used to practically live in each other’s pockets, and now we only hang out when the others are around. When he can use Z and Ash and Tansy and Ophelia as a buffer between us. And only when he doesn’t have to say more than one or two sentences to me at any given time.

It’s driving me absolutely, totally, completely, batshit crazy.

Part of me wants to apologize—again—for freaking out on him instead of just going the whole one-time friends-with-benefits route, especially since I’m the one who initiated everything. But there’s another part of me that wants to slap the hell out of him. I mean, yes, I handled the morning after badly. But, really, one mistake and sixteen years of friendship are suddenly null and void?

Just the thought makes me mad. I’d never shut him out like this—I wouldn’t even know how. The fact that he’s doing it so easily hurts me more than I want to admit, even to myself.

“So, who’s up first?” Ash calls from where he’s lounging against the side of the boat, his girlfriend, Tansy, balanced on his lap.

“I am,” I tell him, reaching for my wakeboard.

“That’s my girl!” Z whoops as he starts to slow the speedboat down. “Get out there early, show ’em how it’s done!”

“Oh, I plan to.”

Z’s girlfriend, Ophelia, laughs even as she holds her hand up for a high five. “Ten bucks says Cam can stay up longer than any of the guys.”

“No bet there,” Ash tells her. “Cam fucking rules on a wakeboard.”

I shoot him a look. “Almost as much as I rule on a snowboard.”

“Hey now, it’s a little early for trash talking, isn’t it?” Z asks.

“It’s not trash talking if it’s true,” Ash’s younger brother, Logan, says. He flashes me a huge smile and I can’t resist giving him a quick, one-armed hug. I love this fourteen-year-old kid so much it’s ridiculous, and the fact that he can still smile, still be so upbeat even with everything he’s had to handle in the last year, blows my mind completely. Not only did he lose his parents in a horrific car wreck, he also lost the use of his legs in that same wreck. And yet, here he is, laughing and joking around like the total badass that he is.

“At least Logan knows the truth,” I tell him with a wink. “And that’s all that matters.”

“Can you teach me?” Tansy asks as Z brings the boat to a stop.

“Sure. I—”

“Hey, I’ll teach you, babe,” Ash tells her.

“But you just said that Cam’s better than you,” she tells him, eyes wide and innocent. “And I want to learn from the best.”

I crack up. I can’t help it—the way Ash’s mouth drops open is absolutely priceless, and for a second, I wish my phone were out so I could get a picture of it. I glance at Luc, wanting to share the joke, but he’s looking out over the water. Deliberately not looking at me. Deliberately not joining in the conversation about me.

I freaking hate it.

Tracy_WolffAbout the Author

New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff lives in Texas and teaches writing at her local community college. She is married and the mother of three young sons.

Contact the Author

Website Facebook Twitter | Goodreads


Super fun, steamy hot: Bossy by Kim Linwood (Review)

Bossy: A Stepbrother Romance: (With bonus novel Rebel!)is Kim Linwood’s follow-up to her super successful debut stepbrother romance, Rebel, and I’m sure it’ll outshine it. It’s pure fun to read, super steamy and hilariously funny. Read on for my 5-star review and all the book details. Keep in mind that for a limited time, purchasing Bossy for just 0.99 gets you Rebel for free!

Bossy: A Stepbrother Romance(with bonus novel, Rebel)

by Kim Linwood
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Heat Level: 4 (explicit sex scenes)
Purchase link: Amazon


My Review

She: Claire Anderson, 21, has just graduated with a political science degree and a 3.9 average. Letting her hair down for a night of hot sex with a tattooed demigod is totally not her, but she’s not sorry. Until she sees said demi-god occupying her boss’ (and future stepbrother’s) office desk.

He: Declan Riordan, 27, is totally against his father remarrying with that woman. But, if he plays his cards right, the girl who’s starred in his fantasies for way longer than she’s supposed to, might be the ticket to ruining the impending marriage. All he has to do is make her life a living hell. And convince himself she’s just a temp with benefits.

The conflict: Declan’s bent on breaking Claire, Claire’s bent on holding her ground, her vicious ex is bent on winning her back, and the case assigned to her might be a ticking bomb—an explosive mix.

The setting: A very “Mad Men” law firm with all the ‘50s trimmings, a grand castle (with a moat), the setting is richer than that of your standard stepbro romance.

The heat: OMG hot. Off-the-charts chemistry, naughty settings, and the perfect mix of dirty talk and sexy stuff.

The good stuff: The pure fun. This is the author’s second book, but she sure has amped up the fun factor. Original pranks and jokes that had me laugh out loud, made this book all the more readable. The characters are solid with enough drama in their background to add substance. I loved Carl, the older employee with the quirky sense of humor who becomes Claire’s sidekick and accomplice. The parents are more present and have more to offer compared to parents in similar books.

The other stuff: Nada. Nothing to dilute my fun. Maybe I needed a longer epilogue, but then I always do.

Bottom-line: One of the best stepbro romances I’ve read. Kim Linwood takes standard ingredients, but her recipe tastes so much better!

I was offered this book in exchange for an honest review.

Bossy teaser

About the Author

Kim Linwood is a sucker for bad boys, billionaires and alpha males. If they’re all three at once, that’s even better. When she’s not writing about romantic conflicts and witty dialogue, she’s herding two growing boys (who are of course not bad) with her husband.

Find out more about Kim’s books and sign up for Kim’s Newsletter at

Contact Kim directly with any comments, questions or concerns at

Find Kim on:
Twitter as @KimLinwood
Facebook as Kim Linwood (

Impossible Choice by Sybil Bartel (Review)


Impossible Choice is out! I’ve talked up Impossible Promise (Unchecked Book 1) (here) by Sybil Bartel, and the sequel was equally rave-worthy! Read on for my 5-star review, all book details, and info on how to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of No Apologies by the same author. This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

  Impossible Choice

                                                  by Sybil Bartel

(Unchecked #2)
Published by: Carina Press
Publication date: August 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Purchase LinksAmazon |    Barnes & Noble


Official Synopsis

Book two of Unchecked

After her parents were murdered, Layna Blair spent three years on the run—until Marine Sergeant Blaze Johnson stepped in and saved her. With him, Layna knew safety for the first time…but two weeks after shipping out for another tour in Afghanistan, Blaze comes home early.
When Layna sees the jagged wounds covering his body, every truth she thought she knew is destroyed. Blaze is distant and angry and though her heart is shattered, Layna desperately tries to keep their relationship together in the face of another tragedy. When the tenuous bonds holding them together are ripped apart by a revenge-hungry maniac, Layna must trust her survival instinct and bury her past for good.
But the enemy is two steps ahead, and before she can take action, Layna’s hand is forced by his deadly demands—save herself or save the man who risked his life for her freedom. Blaze saved her once. This time it’s her turn to protect him. 

My Review

She: Layna, 19, lost everything, including her sense of self when, at 16, she (audio) witnessed her parents’ murder. She was recently freed from the mobster who ruled her existence for the past three years by one devastatingly sexy marine and his military-trained friends. Life should be back to normal, but struggling to find herself inside a schorchingly intense relationship (not only between the sheets) with said marine, proves to be Layna’s biggest challenge ever.

He: Blaze (Buck) is an all or nothing guy. He used to be all marine. Now, he’s all marine (once a marine, always a marine) plus all Layna. Not good with big words or showing emotion (outside the bedroom), he smothers her. And then he leaves for the warzone.

The conflict: Love between two young people who’ve dealt with deadly danger and loss, and are then torn apart can be destructive.

The setting: Sunny Miami, sweltering heat, sea-front villas and fast cars.

The heat: Mind-numbingly hot! You don’t see much originality in sex scenes these days, but the steam in this one will set your fire alarm off.

The good stuff: The characters. They are not 3-D; they’re 4-D! I could not only feel but smell them (heat, sweat and coconut). All romance heroes are supposed to be hot, but Buck is scorching hot. Still, his domineering side got to me more than once, but then gradually he grows (not over his 6.4) and the author with masterful strokes (the operative word being “strokes”) turns him into the purrr…fect man.

Some reviewers of the previous book called Layna whiney and too angsty. Angst is a vital component in NA stories, and if Layna’s past coupled with the intensity of a relationship that asks too much too soon didn’t turn her into a hot mess, then she would have been a cartoon, not a character. Still, I’d like to see her less apologetic and gaining assertiveness through her actions.

The writing is stellar. Sybil Bartel draws full-fleshed characters that pop out of the book and greet you. After you’ve ended the book, you’ll know them … intimately. She’s a master at portraying emotion. This book will touch you in more ways than one.

The other stuff: Just some minor plot issues of the “didn’t he already know that?” type that didn’t take away from my reading pleasure.

Bottom line: I said in my review of Imporssible Promise that it was one of the best books I’ll read in 2015. Impossible Choice comes really close in that list. For an emotional ride you won’t easily forget, go get a copy!

About the Author

SybilI grew up in Northern California with my head in a book and my feet in the sand. I dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew me into the world of storytelling. I love the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes me swoon.
I now live in Southern Florida and while I don’t get to read as much as I like, I still bury my toes in the sand. If I’m not writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in my backyard, you can find me spending time with my handsomely tattooed husband, my brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…

But Seriously?

Here are ten things you probably really want to know about me.

I grew up a faculty brat. I can swear like a sailor. I love men in uniform. I hate being told what to do. I can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks me out. My favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—I can’t decide. I have a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on me for driving directions, ever. And I have a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell my husband.

Connect with the Author


Love Always, Damian by D. Nichole King (Book Blast)


“Caring about someone isn’t worth the deadness that follows after they’re gone.” A heart-wrenching New Adult romance is today’s suggestion. Love Always, Damian by D. Nichole King is the follow-up to Love Always, Kate which is now FREE on Amazon. Read on for the book details, a spot-on excerpt and a chance to win a free ebook. This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

Love Always, Damian by D. Nichole King

(Love Always #2)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Purchase Link: Amazon




They say time heals all wounds.

What a load of bull. It’s been four years, and Kate’s voice still echoes in my mind.

Every. Damn. Day.

I numb her memory when it taunts me. In college, I drown her out with booze and easy lays. I can’t do what she asked

I can’t let her go.

Not even when Lia shows up, freaking ripping what’s left of me to shreds. Caring about someone isn’t worth the deadness that follows after they’re gone. I didn’t ask for this. Didn’t ask for her.

And I sure as hell didn’t plan to miss her when she walked out of my front door.

Now, if I want to keep her, I have to straighten myself out and earn her. I can’t screw this up.

Because if I do, I’ll lose more than just Lia.

I’ll lose my life.

A lucky visitor who leaves a comment will win an ebook of Love Always, Damian.

Also, for a chance to win a

  • Signed paperback from each book of the series (Love Always, Kate; Eight Days; Love Always, Damian)




It takes me an hour to get to the cemetery. After Mom and Liam died, I never stepped foot here. Not until Kate convinced me to come. It had been one of her five wishes. One through three I’d done because she was with me. Because I loved her. I promised her number four, so I followed through. Number five, though?

Number five is impossible.

I come here often now—day, night, whenever I need to be close to her. Even in death, Kate draws me in. To this place where she’d only trodden once when she was alive.

I grab the three bouquets of flowers from the passenger seat and swing the door open. When Kate brought me here four years ago, I barely managed to get out of the car. Now it’s easy.

Too fucking easy.

I don’t even think about coming anymore. It’s automatic. Routine, like my nightly shots of whiskey.

It shouldn’t be like this. In three short years I lost the three people I loved most. Death sucks, and I’ve had my fill.

I slam the door closed and tread over the grass. The three identical stones jut up from the ground, and even when I’m here after dark, I don’t have a problem seeing them. They’re etched into my memory.

The idea to have Kate buried here beside my mother and brother was entirely mine and entirely selfish. The Browdys had asked me to help with her funeral arrangements, and other than the time of the graveside service, this had been my only request. This way she’d be close to me.

Shade from the elder tree casts a shadow over them. I stand inside its cover from the sun, facing the cold memorials. These pieces of granite have no real connection with the people they were.

Hell, they didn’t even pick them out. Didn’t see them, yet their names, dates of birth and death are etched into them as if they’d been owned by those they claim to represent.

Cemeteries—these stones—aren’t for the dead.

No, they’re for the living.

My gaze trails over the Celtic symbols engraved at the center of each one. Identical to the tattoos inked into my body. Faith. Brotherhood. Hope.

My eyes linger on Kate’s as they usually do, and the memory of when I’d given her the trinity heart necklace pours over me.

“It’s the Celtic symbol for hope. Now you’ll always know where to find it,” I’d told her.

Damn. I’d given it to her so she’d think of me whenever she needed me, but really, it was I who needed her.

I take a deep breath to hold myself together. I lost everything the day Kate died.

I rake a hand through my hair and shut my eyes. Out here, away from everyone, I don’t have to pretend that I have a fucking clue how to live without her.

Out here, it’s just me.

In front of Kate’s gravestone, I lower myself to the ground, dropping the flowers at my side. My chest is empty, yet somehow, it hurts. It’s the same damn thing year after year—aching to see her smile at me just one more time. One more and I’d be satisfied, I tell myself.

I know it’s a lie because one more smile from her would never be enough. I need to touch her, run my fingers over her warm skin and protect the hell out of her.

But I’m a failure. I had the power within me, in my blood, to save her, and I failed.

I can barely see the inches in front of me as I break down. Four years ago, my father sat here with me and told me the pain would never go away, but it would lessen over time.

What a load of bullshit; the pain has only grown.

“I miss you so damn much, Katie,” I say even though she can’t hear me. And that thought kicks me in the gut as much as anything. No matter what I say to her now, she’ll never know any of it.

I slide my fingertips over her name: Kathryn “Katie” Browdy. Seventeen short years on this earth and I only had her last months. They were the best months of my life.

I sit with her until the sun begins to send streaks of gold over the horizon. Even though Kate would be disappointed, I need to pick up more liquor before I head home. I have to have something to get me through this pain.

A gust of wind rustles the dead flowers I left on their graves last week. I scoop them up and replace them with the fresh ones I brought. Daisies for my mother, some generic flowers he wouldn’t give a shit about for Liam, and red roses for Kate.

Always red roses for my Katie.

“Love you, Mom,” I murmur, fanning out the daisies in the vase beside her headstone.

Then I move onto Liam’s. “Take care of my girl, man,” I tell him, then I remember how I’d taken care of his. “But if you touch her, I’ll fucking kill you.”

I squat down and lay Kate’s roses at the base of her stone. There’s nothing I could say to her that I haven’t already said a million times. So I settle for the words I couldn’t say until just before she died. “I love you, baby. I’ll always love you.”

About the Author

DNicholeBorn and raised in Iowa, d. Nichole King writes her stories close to home. There’s nothing like small-town Midwest scenery to create the perfect backdrop for an amazing tale.

She wrote her first book in junior high and loved every second of it. However, she couldn’t bring herself to share her passion with anyone. She packed it away until one day, with the encouragement of her husband, she sat down at the computer and began to type. Now, she can’t stop.When not writing, d. is usually curled up with a book, scrapbooking, or doing yet another load of laundry.

Along with her incredible husband, she lives in small-town Iowa with her four adorable children and their dog, Peaches.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A man who never reads lives only one.” –George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons.

Connect with D. Nichole King