Monthly Archives: July 2013

Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding (Book 2) Review & Rafflecopter Giveaway


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This is the second book in the series. You can read my review for the first book at https://cynthiashepp.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/robert-bryndzas-the-not-so-secret-emails-of-coco-pinchard-review/

Synopsis:

The highly anticipated sequel to the hit bestseller The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard!

A year has passed, Coco’s career has taken off, and her relationship with the hunky Adam is going from strength to strength… there is even talk of marriage!

Then the day before Adam is due to move in – he ends their relationship without explanation… After the initial shock and anger (and an ‘I told you so’ from ex mother-in-law Ethel) Coco digs deeper and discovers why. Adam is in terrible trouble, and he needs her help.

Will Adam’s mistake come between them? Or will they get to live happily ever after?

Featuring an exciting cast of characters both familiar and new, and of course a starring role for the wonderfully horrible Ethel! Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding is a hilarious, heart warming romantic comedy.

My Review

Coco Pinchard has to be one of my favorite book characters. She is British, out there, and manages to get herself in and out all sorts of scrapes. This is the second book in the series and I know most people remember me raving about the first. The characters are SO real…it is like they could just walk off the page. It is a great read that had me laughing at and feeling sorry for Coco all at the same time. In this installment, Coco and Adam are together, Rosencrantz moved out, and Ethel is still her cranky self, hilarious self. When circumstances cause Adam to cut Coco out of his life, Coco goes on many adventures to find herself and find out the reason why. The answer is more shocking then you think. I would love to see Rosencrantz’s story. I love him and his flat mates. All the characters together just breathe life into this book. There is never a dull day with Coco’s clan. I give this book 5 stars!

Buy on Amazon:

Book One: The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard: A Funny, Feel-Good Romantic Comedy (Book One)

Book Two: Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding: A Funny Feel-Good Romantic Comedy (Book Two)

Rafflecopter Giveaway of Reader’s Choice of Book One or Book Two
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(Novel Publicity) Excerpt from Along the Watchtower (David Litwack) GIVEAWAY!


Please enjoy this gripping excerpt from Along the Watchtower by David Litwack. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

Becky

On the ground floor, the center of the hospital opened into a small courtyard, an insecure space with too many places for insurgents to hide. I took a quick breath and tensed.

“Wait up, Ralph.”

“It’s okay, Freddie. You’re safe here.”

“Give me a minute. It’s my first time out.”

I surveyed the perimeter. A few benches. A flower garden dominated by hydrangeas, but not like the softball-sized blossoms my mom used to grow. These were small and paler than the Cape Cod variety, which were a blue that could compete with the sky.

At once, I could see my mom, hands buried in the hydrangeas, grooming her flowers—one of the few memories I could bear to recall. Me and my brothers in the driveway shooting hoops. Mom telling us to keep the ball out of her garden. She was happy then, surrounded by her family, her garden, and the ocean.

I looked past the hydrangeas to find purple asters and some lilies too. But no roses. For some reason, I’d been hoping for roses.

Despite the nice day, the courtyard was deserted, except for a woman about my age who sat on a wooden bench, finishing up a brown-bag lunch. Her eyes were closed and her head tipped back to take in the sun, making her appear to be dreaming. Sitting alone on the bench, her face seemed framed by flowers.

When she heard us coming, she sat up, straightened her scrubs, and smiled.

“Hey, Ralph. What do you have there? Another victim for me?”

“Becky,” Ralph said. “What’s up? This is Freddie, Lt. Williams, our newest patient. We’re trying to bring him back from the dead. Freddie, meet Becky Marshall, one of our physical therapists.”

I nodded a greeting to her, not much in the mood for small talk. She tilted her head to one side as if evaluating me. Then she gave me the kind of look that said we’d met before, if not in this world than in another, and that she intended to make a difference in my life.

“Is he ready for me?”

“Soon. If he’s assigned to you.”

My attention was drawn to a soda can on the bench next to her. I’d seen too many IEDs in soda cans.

She caught me fixating on it and grinned.

“Just my diet Pepsi, Freddie. See?”

She chugged what was left and tossed the can into a nearby trash basket. Then she crumpled the bag into a ball and to show off, stepped off exactly five paces and shot the bag into the basket in a perfect arc.

“Nice shot,” I said.

“I make that shot every time.”

“Yeah, right.”

She came close enough that our knees were almost touching and hovered over me, sizing me up.

“You’ll be mine,” she said finally. “I can tell. I get all the hard cases.”

As she walked away, light on her feet like a dancer, I fumbled for the wheel of the chair, trying to spin it around so I could watch her go. But Ralph had set the brake.

The Gardener

The white butterfly fluttered before her face. When she saw it, she reached out a hand and at once it landed on the curve of her wrist.

“Now there’s a fine omen for you,” she said. “Light knows we need one these days.” She whispered some words and the butterfly flew off across the courtyard and out over the castle wall.

A fine omen? Perhaps. But I’d learned to be wary. I stepped forward, scuffling my boots to make noise. She ignored my presence. Not until I was a pace away did she turn.

It was hard to say if she was beautiful or even pretty. Soil from the garden had splattered her cheeks and marked her forehead with a splotch that looked like a raven. A muddied apron hid her shape. But I took note of a glint in her gray-green eyes, as if the flowers had conspired to lend their color. And her mouth was a crescent moon upturned on its side.

The corners of the crescent twitched when she saw me but only for an instant. Then she went back to her work as if I were invisible. Her hands cradled each bloom as she sliced off the heads with a small knife.

“Are you spirit or demon?” I demanded.

She made no answer.

I drew my sword, relieved it slipped so easily from its scabbard, and stretched it in her direction. She watched the point from the corner of her eye but kept her head down and continued to work. Finally, I nudged her with the tip.

She let out a yelp. Only then did I realize I’d thrust too hard, and the blade had slit her garment. I backed off at once, ready to apologize, but then recalled my encounter with the assassin. I poked again, more gently this time.

“Why do you keep doing that?” she said.

“To see if you’re real.”

She stood and faced me, feet set wide and planted squarely on the ground.

“Why shouldn’t I be real?”

She was tall for a girl, her head rising above my chin, and had a bearing unlike a servant. When I continued to challenge her, she reached out and eased the point of my sword to one side.

“Would you put that silly thing away?”

I began to back off, then remembered the circumstance and held firm. “Why didn’t you say anything when I first approached you?”

“Because we servants aren’t supposed to talk to you royals.” She lowered her gaze and turned back to the flowers. “I’m sorry . . . Milord.”

“What’s your name?”

“Rebecca.”

“Rebecca. My name is Frederick.”

She paled and then bent in a deep curtsy, her brashness collapsing into two whispered words. “The dauphin.” . . .

I wandered in a circle, hands folded behind my back, and inspected the flowers, unsure of what else to say. Then a thought occurred to me.

“Do you have roses in this garden?”

“No roses, Milord. I have asters and hydrangeas. Some fall crocus. And climbing the wall to the watchtower, sweet autumn clematis. A bit of monkshood underneath and tulips in the spring. But no roses.”

I must have looked disappointed. She came closer and reached out, but not enough to touch me.

“It must be lonely, Milord, a terrible burden. Every morning as I walk from my village to the gardens, I see the darkening clouds and wonder where my strength will come from. Then I remember. The dauphin will protect us. Save Him Oh Goddess, I pray. If only I could do something to help.”

I mumbled a thank you and turned to go, but stopped when I saw her examining her damaged apron.

“Are you here every day?”

“No, Milord, I have other gardens as well.”

“Come tomorrow, and I’ll bring you a new apron to replace the one I tore.”

She curtsied more deeply this time.

“I’d be so grateful, Milord, but I have nothing to give in return.”

“No need.”

“Ah, wait.” She took her small knife and clipped off a bulging blossom at the stem and handed it to me. “Now place it in water the first chance you get.”

I accepted the gift and admired her through its petals.

“Thank you,” I said. “Tomorrow at noon.”

As I walked away, I glanced over my shoulder to get one last look at the gardener. She was back at her work, resuming her song and snipping away, so light of hand and foot. As she blew away a curl that had drifted across her face, the summer dress rustled against her skin. I inhaled the scent of the flower and thought I caught the sun peeking through the clouds over Golgoreth.

And for the first time since my father died, goddesses seemed possible.

Watchtower Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, both Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack are on sale this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Pick up Along the Watchtower at its discounted price of $2.99 on Amazon
  2. Get There Comes a Prophet at its discounted price of 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media events
  5. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

Along the Watchtower tells of a tragic warrior lost in two worlds; a woman who may be his only way back from Hell. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

There Comes a Prophet A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a time of violence and social collapse. Nathaniel has grown up in their world of limits, longing for something more. For what are we without dreams? Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

David Litwack, the once and future writer, explores the blurry line between reality and the Visit David on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

(Novel Publicity) Along the Watchtower Blog Tour & Rafflecopter Giveaway


Please enjoy this guest post by David Litwack, author of the gripping contemporary novel, Along the Watchtower, and the deep, dark dystopia, There Comes a Prophet. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

The Virtual World of Gaming and the Plight of War Veterans: A Guest Post by David Litwack

Gaming and war would seem to be as far apart from each other as you can get. But while you’re in the midst of them, they share one thing in common—a sense of being in an alternate reality.

I’ve always been fascinated by how much of what we consider to be reality is subjective, how each of us bring our own experiences and biases into play. But when we’re ripped from our normal lives and placed in extreme circumstances, our reality becomes totally fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war.

A couple of years ago, I became engrossed in the online game, World of Warcraft, thanks to my son. I’m on the east coast and he’s on the west, so we’d meet every Wednesday evening in the virtual world of Azeroth, where our avatars would go on quests together. I was struck by how immersed I became in the mood of the game as we wandered through castles and crypts, solving riddles and vanquishing demons, how for a short period of time, I could totally buy in to the alternate reality.

The fantasy gaming experience has a dream-like quality to it, which led me to wonder: how would this experience affect the dreams of someone whose reality has been fragmented by the trauma of war? These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.

I began to research the effects of war on returning veterans. I learned that 30% are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress. That means after six months they’re still dealing with flashbacks, disturbing dreams, depression and difficulty re-assimilating into their former lives. And that doesn’t account for the many others who are seemingly able to adjust but continue to deal with inner turmoil. The war experience changes all forever. Many have suicidal thoughts (the suicide rate among veterans is triple that of the general population. More soldiers have died by their own hand than in the war itself). Many struggle with dark thoughts and have difficulty forming relationships, unable to “turn off” the normal flight or fight syndrome, leaving them suspicious in crowds and always on alert.

And then, there are the physical injuries. One of the ironic successes of these recent wars is the advance in battlefield medicine. The result is that far fewer die of wounds than in prior wars. The ratio of wounded to dead in WWII was 1.1/1, in Vietnam 1.7/1. In Iraq, it’s 7/1. More are saved, but more come home with debilitating, lifelong injuries. And 68% of the wounded have some form or brain trauma, penetrating injuries from shrapnel or non-penetrating concussions from the blasts of IEDs.

To learn more about brain injuries, I read In an Instant, the story of Bob Woodruff. The brilliant Woodruff had just been named co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight. Then, while embedded with the military in Iraq, an improvised explosive device went off near the tank he was riding in. Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him. The book describes his recovery and recounts how fragile the human brain can be. At one point, the erudite Woodruff could rattle off the names of all prior U.S. presidents but couldn’t remember the names of his own children.

And I read about post traumatic stress. One of the best books is Achilles in Vietnam. Written by Jonathan Shay, a Vietnam War era PTSD counselor, it compares his clinical notes from patients to the text from Homer’s Odyssey, showing how we as human beings have dealt with war trauma across the millennia. He shows how war disrupts our moral compass, leaving re-entry into normal life as a brutal and agonizing experience.

Playing a make-believe fantasy game and going to war both have a surreal quality that takes us out of our normal reality. But for war veterans, the sense of normality doesn’t return without a struggle.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a wonderful organization, dedicated to helping veterans adjust. Their stated mission is: “To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” How successful we’ll be at achieving that goal will tell a lot about who we are. It’s one of the most important stories of our time.

Watchtower Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, both Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack are on sale this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

    1. Pick up Along the Watchtower at its discounted price of $2.99 on Amazon
    2. Get There Comes a Prophet at its discounted price of 99 cents
    3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the featured social media events

  1. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

Along the Watchtower tells of a tragic warrior lost in two worlds; a woman who may be his only way back from Hell. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

There Comes a Prophet A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a time of violence and social collapse. Nathaniel has grown up in their world of limits, longing for something more. For what are we without dreams? Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

David Litwack, the once and future writer, explores the blurry line between reality and the fantastic. Visit David on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Origins Promotion & Rafflecopter Giveaway


ORIGINS PROMOTION & GIVEAWAY

Origins_Cover_for_Kindle

John Mitchell’s life in the small Midwestern town of Mill City Wisconsin is about to change forever. The animals in his lab at the Neuro Science Research center suddenly die, he learns gut wrenching news about his wife of ten years and the most important meeting of his career gets canceled when his boss mysteriously disappears.

After accidentally injecting himself with a serum made from the instructions scribed on a seven-thousand-year-old artifact John discovers he has new abilities and new blood-chilling enemies. He and his wife Jenny are soon running for their lives from the terrifying figures that will stop at nothing to protect the serum’s seven-thousand-year-old secret and retrieve the artifact needed to finish their plans.

On the run and searching for answers they are thrown into a world of ancient secrets, esoteric mysteries and a clandestine underground race when they become trapped in a cavern deep under the ruins of ancient Babylon. As millions of people around the world suddenly begin disappearing they learn the horrific news of the inevitable extinction of the Human Race.

AUTHOR BIO:

ScottMeyerPic (2)

S. E. MEYER has been studying ancient civilizations and religions from around the world for over ten years. He has a passion for stimulating conversation and debate within these topics. Hobbies include playing guitar and anything to do with the outdoors or gardening. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Chippewa Valley of western Wisconsin.

Links:

Website: http://www.meye27.wix.com/origins

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/originsbook

Link to local news magazine published article: http://volumeone.org/articles/2013/07/02/5824_in_the_beginning

Link to Book on Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/B00CEKDQO6/?tag=indiestyle-20

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!

Win one of two copies of Origins! Click the link below!

 
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The System (Virulent Book 2) Review & First Book Giveaway!


This is a review for the second book in the Virulent series. I do not do long reviews for second books in case some people have not read the first, but I am going to put the synopsis for the first book and a buy link, as well as a review for the second. There is also a giveaway for the first book!

book 1    AMAZON KINDLE BUY LINK

Lucy King is only an hour away from embarking on the most incredible vacation of her life: White sandy beaches in a tropical paradise, snorkeling and sunbathing in peaceful tranquility. But as Lucy looks forward to her trip, a sinister plot is unfolding that will demolish the world as she knows it. An unknown bioterrorist group unleashes a virus that virtually wipes out the earth’s population—leaving Lucy, and a small faction of survivors, trapped inside her high school to wait out the apocalypse.

As war, looting, and death wreak havoc outside, inside, the students must contend with a tyrannical and paranoid principal and their own struggles of being orphaned, frightened, and unsure of what the future will bring.

What begins as a basic fight for survival turns into a search for answers that will challenge everything Lucy has ever known about her life and her family.

Lucy King’s saga continues as she searches for her family and for the truth in Book Two of the Virulent trilogy.

It took one week to demolish the world and obliterate the earth’s population. And it took two weeks to solidify the ties of friendship and build-up a small society of survivors who must rely solely on each other to navigate the future’s unknown terrain.

As Grant Trotter and Lucy King make their journey to Brixton, Nebraska in search of answers, the Oregon contingent must deal with Ethan’s failing health and resentful, mysterious newcomers. Each group faces new challenges as they adjust to their new terrifying realities.

 

MY REVIEW:

I love the Virulent series. I bought the first book on a lark and devoured it in less than a day. To my utter dismay, the second one wasn’t out yet. I found Shelbi on Facebook and to my relief, the second one was coming soon. Now I’m dying for the third!

In the second installment, Lucy and Grant have lost just about everyone that they love. Lucy’s brother isn’t doing well and Lucy and Grant are on the way to Nebraska in search of Lucy’s father. When they finally make it, Lucy and Grant are separated in a dire situation, as the Nebraska survivors will not accept Grant. The second book follows them on this journey of discovery and the sacrifices it takes to reunite.

This book was just as good, if not better, than the first book. The characters are so lovable and intense. It is like they are real people that could walk off the pages into your living room and you would instantly connect with them. I think Shelbi did a fantastic job with the end-of-the-world scenario, hitting the feelings and emotions just right. If you haven’t read the first book, it is a must read and you better have you one-click finger ready to buy the second as soon as you close the last page!

 

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY TO WIN EBOOK COPY OF 1st BOOK IN THE SERIES

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Death Lies Between Us Spotlight & Rafflecopter Giveaway


Death Lies Between Us by Jody A. Kessler - Banner

Death Lies Between Us

Jody A. Kessler

Death Lies Between Us Cover

Saving the life of someone you love should not be the worst thing you have ever done, unless you are an Angel of Death.

Disgruntled with his position in the afterlife and conflicted by his feelings toward his new client, Nathaniel Evans forgoes the rules and saves nineteen year old Juliana Crowson from being hopelessly stuck in Forge Creek. This alters Juliana’s destiny and she finds herself in a series of near death accidents.

In the mountains of Colorado, Nathaniel comforts Juliana as she struggles to understand her paranormal abilities while coping with her brother’s drug addiction. When an ill-tempered Native American Shaman teaches her the difference between ghosts and place memories, she decides she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world. Too bad she doesn’t know that Nathaniel is part of it.

Will fate bring these two together, or has Nathaniel made the biggest mistake of his afterlife?

Excerpt 1:

“Juliana?” I don’t respond. I can’t face anyone.

“Can I sit with you?”

I hug my knees into my chest with my face buried in my folded arms. I mumble into the pit of my lap. “Are you here to end my misery?”

“Not yet.”

It’s an odd answer but then again so was the question. “Then, please leave.”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come, but neither can I go.”

I turn my face, taking in the crisp air and digest his unusual answers. There are so many things that have happened tonight that don’t make any sense. Why would one more confusing sentiment make any difference?

Loneliness wraps around me, holding me in a cool embrace. I break its grip by saying, “It goes on the list, you know?” I speak into the dark. No movement or sound gives away his location but I can feel him close by. The low thumping of Blue Nouveau’s drums is the only sound breaking the stillness of the forest.

The caress of his voice brushes my ear. “Which list are you referring to?”

“Our list — things that are inexplicable.”

“Which deficiency of mankind are we adding tonight?”

“Lying to someone you love.” My voice is flat but the tear leaking from my eye gives away my true feelings.

“We can put that one on the top of the list,” he says.

A gentle hand surprises me as it wraps gently around my swollen ankle and finds a comfortable hold. The warmth penetrates through the sore muscles like a mild current of electricity.

Excerpt 2:

He turns to stand in front of me, silent as a shadow. His hand lifts out of the dark. His fingertips brush the underside of my chin gently tipping my face up to his. How does he move and make no sound? His fingers move to my temple, brushing away a hair then trailing down to the edge of my jaw where they halt. He watches my face and looks into my eyes. I feel a surge of loneliness from somewhere deep inside him. I don’t understand it or have time to dwell on it but it makes me want to hold onto him. His gaze lowers to my mouth.

He’s so close. I didn’t see it before, but he glows. The slightest iridescent shimmer encapsulates him, so totally different than the way Chris’s aura looked. He smells good too, like I remembered, and more. It’s so familiar, but I can’t say where from. The ozone smell of clean air after a storm and hints of cinnamon and honey swirled in cream. It’s intoxicating. Even the feel of him standing near me is like a caress passing over my skin. I can’t believe myself. I’m going to let this vague stranger kiss me, and I want him to.

Bio

Jody A Kessler

Jody A. Kessler enjoys writing paranormal novels and is a member of Pikes Peak Writers. She is a yoga instructor, Reiki Master, and a graduate from the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy. When she took an extended leave from her massage practice to stay at home with her newborn she returned to her first true passion —writing. She spends most of her time being a mother, writing, and teaching yoga, but also likes going to concerts, hiking, practicing herbal medicine, and reading anything that catches her interest. Jody lives in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

She welcomes visitors to her website www.jodyakessler.com

Buy a copy on Amazon Barnes and Noble

Or connect with her here: Facebook Goodreads Twitter Pinterest

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Review of Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey


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Elle Casey’s foray into adult romance is scorchingly sweet and completely different from everything she has ever written that I have read. Andie has her whole life planned out… she follows her life plan to the letter… to stay in control… until she is forced to go to a bachelorette party… in VEGAS! Once there, after too many drinks, she follows her sights to sin in a cowboy hat sitting at the blackjack tables. The night was a blur of drinks and sensations, only to wake up the next morning with only vague recollections of the night before.

Fast forward two years and Andie is fixing to get married, still following her life plan, but now cold and friendless. Until she comes across a little hitch in her plans… she is already married! Trekking to the country to try to get out of a marriage she doesn’t even remember, Andie finds that life is more about shining than burning and that love is more than a life plan.

This book was soooo good. I forgot how much that I enjoy contemporary adult romance because I never read it anymore. Andie had problems that made her need control and you just prayed that she would find her way. And the cowboy that loved her… nothing but a wet dream, baby. LOL! He was sin on a stick and oh so sweet. The sex was fiery hot and the romance was beautiful. All the characters will grab your heart and not let go. I do not think that it is a new adult book because they are out of college with careers, but regardless of the genre it is placed in, this is one book that you don’t want to miss if you love romance. I am betting that the next book in the series is going to be about the cowboy’s brother (I hope!) and I can’t wait! I give this book 5 steamy stars!

BUY ON AMAZON:

Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey (Kindle)

Connect with Elle:

https://www.facebook.com/ellecaseytheauthor

Add Shine Not Burn to Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17973653-shine-not-burn?ac=1