Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cupcake Explosion (Cupcakes #4) by Bethany Lopez *~*~*~*~* Cover Reveal

Today we are sharing the cover reveal for CUPCAKE EXPLOSION by Bethany Lopez. Cupcake Explosion is the fourth book in the contemporary romance series, Cupcakes, and it will be releasing on May 14th. Check out the pre-order links for the book below, and links for the previous books in the series.

Pre-order Now

Amazon  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Nook  |  Smashwords


Cupcake Explosion by Bethany Lopez

(Cupcakes, #4) Releasing on May 14

Cover by Makeready Designs


For the first time in a long time, life is good. I've got a smokin' hot motorcycle man as my fiancé, the best friends a woman could have, a couple of great kids, and things have been relatively quiet on the PI front.
You know what that means... the other shoe was bound to drop sooner or later... Just when I was ready to settle down and plan the coolest wedding Greenswood has ever seen, the shit hit the fan, and hit it hard. My friends are fighting, Cade's been out of town doing God knows what for the club, and my sweet little twins are turning into hair-pulling pre-teens with more drama than my old daytime soaps. I feel like I'm being pulled in a million directions, and I've been going so crazy that Elin's swear jar is near to overflowing. I've been eating cupcakes like a woman possessed, and if I'm not careful, there's going to be a Cupcake Explosion... in my pants. WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE, SEX, SOME VIOLENCE, AND SHENANIGANS. IF NONE OF THAT BOTHERS YOU, GRAB A CUPCAKE AND READ ON!

Pre-order Now

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A1nt0F1SfnL._UX250_ Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She's a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.


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Monday, February 26, 2018

Paradise Found by Sarah O'Rourke *~*~*~* Release Blitz

★✩★ Paradise Found by Sarah O'Rourke is LIVE! ★✩★
Buy here >>>
Samantha “The Body” Dixon had once been a famous runway model who’d walked every catwalk from Paris to Milan and back again. When her career abruptly comes to a screeching halt, this leggy blonde sets out to prove she’s got a whole lot more to offer than just a pretty face and killer rack – especially when fate lands her back on her former fiancĂ©’s radar.
Benjamin Atkins might have once been the most in demand photographer in the fashion industry, but times have changed, and he’d learned the hard way to value substance over style. Now, he’s built a new life doing what he loves in the beautiful town of Paradise, Tennessee.  That is, until the woman he could never forget struts back into his life. 
When these two ex-lovers reconnect after a bitter break-up, can they overcome their heartbreak and find a way back to their own personal paradise found?
Standalone crossover between Sarah O'Rourke's Passion in Paradise and Sizzles Series!

Additional buy links:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Use Me by Kimberly Knight *~*~*~*~*~* Release Blitz, Giveaway & Review

Today we have the release blitz for USE ME by Kimberly Knight! Check it out and get your copy today!

Title: USE ME Author: Kimberly Knight Genre: Contemporary Romance Release: February 20


Rhys Cole's life has always revolved around hockey. Growing up, he knew he'd play in the National Hockey League, but when his dream of being drafted didn't happen, he chose the next best thing: becoming a hockey sportscaster for a local sports station. But just like in sports, you win some, you lose some. When Rhys discovers his girlfriend cheating with a stranger in his bed, he walks to the local bar down the street to let off some steam. After moving her way up the journalism field by covering stories in extreme weather conditions and working late hours, Ashtyn Valor is now the lead anchor for the nightly news. Finally settled into her career, Ashtyn is ready to take the next step in life with her boyfriend. But when he unexpectedly breaks up with her, Ashtyn decides to numb the pain with alcohol at the closest bar. Rhys and Ashtyn both expected an evening of alcohol to mask the pain of that October night. What they didn't expect was meeting someone who could shield them from the darkness of their heartaches. Or that their pasts would dangerously intertwine … When obsession becomes dangerous, Ashtyn turns to Rhys for safety. But how safe are they really? The game of love always goes on. And their game was just beginning.

Buy Now

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU iBooks | Nook | Kobo


“Sucks your game was canceled tonight.” “Yeah, but if it hadn’t been,” he said as we began to walk in the direction of my condo, “I wouldn’t have walked in on my cheating girlfriend, and I wouldn’t have met you.” I could feel the heat hit my cheeks. “This is true, but I wish we would have met under different circumstances.” “I don’t,” he stated. “Then I wouldn’t have gotten to be your fake boyfriend for a few hours.” I laughed. “Thank you again for that.” “Anytime, Cupcake.” “Cupcake?” I laughed. “Yeah.” “Why cupcake?” “Because I want to lick and eat you.”


I Heart Books Review 

Use Me by Kimberly Knight 
Review by Theresa Esterline 
Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

They are in for one wild and windy game...

Awesome romance with a few sports themes. Characters are lovable, funny, relatable and believable. Based in Chicago, my current home, and while our local bar isn't Judy's, we have one just like it! The story is sexy, funny, romantic, with a little suspense. And now a bit about the story...

Ashtyn is the late news anchor and has just ended a relationship. Rhys is a hockey reporter who in the same boat, or should I say bar. Rhys saves Ashtyn from a barfly by pretending to be her boyfriend offering to let her "Use Me" anytime. Now the only question is what if she doesn't just want to use him...

- “Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you’re stupid rather than open it and remove all doubt.”
- “Now, it’s a felony.” Dad shook his head. “If we get caught.” Carter laughed.
- Now here I was with the perfect man, and he was singing how he’d be my dream, my wish, my fantasy, my hope, my love and everything I’d need.
- “I know a guy who knows a guy.”

Note: I was given a free copy and voluntarily chose to review this book.


About Kimberly Knight

  Kimberly Knight is a USA Today Bestselling Author that lives in the mountains near a lake with her loving husband and spoiled cat, Precious. In her spare time, she enjoys watching her favorite reality TV shows, watching the San Francisco Giants win World Series and the San Jose Sharks kick butt. She's also a two time desmoid tumor/cancer fighter that's made her stronger and an inspiration to her fans. Now that she lives near a lake, she plans on working on her tan and doing more outdoor stuff like watching hot guys waterski. However, the bulk of her time is dedicated to writing and reading romance and erotic fiction.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Can Explain by Missy Johnson *~*~*~*~*~* Release Blitz & Review

Title: I Can Explain
Series: Awkward Love #2
Author: Missy Johnson
Genre: Romance
Release Date: February 15, 2018


Standing on the balcony, outside my boss’s apartment, wearing only my underwear?

Not how I expected to start my Saturday morning.

I guess I should’ve thought harder about going home with my sexy new gym instructor, especially since I had no idea the guy was married. When he pushed me out onto the balcony, five seconds before his wife walked through the door, I jumped one apartment over because I thought it would be less embarrassing for a stranger to find me than his wife.

That was a smart move.

So here I am, wearing next to nothing and freezing my ass off, standing outside the living room window of my young, sexy, and very intimidating boss, Chase Winston.

I have two choices: I sit here and try to think of another way out of this and risk dying of hypothermia. Or I can suck it up and knock on that window. After a long, internal argument with myself, I choose
option two.

Here goes nothing…

**Awkward Love is a series of short, sexy, fun novels that can be read in ANY order. Each book is COMPLETELY separate from the next, so you can read one, or you can read them all!**

Purchase Links


Free in Kindle Unlimited


“Seriously, did you see the way she looked at me when she told me not to stuff it up?” I huff, stalking back over to Peyton. “Like, God forbid I put two sugars in his damn coffee instead of one. Hey, maybe I should slip some laxatives in there?” I say with an evil grin. “I mean, he walks around like he’s got something lodged up his ass, maybe all he needs is a good, old-fashioned cleanout.”


“No. I don’t care how ridiculously sexy he is or how dreamy those blue eyes are to stare into,” I say, cutting her off.

I was on a roll, and Peyton wasn’t going to stop me. I have two years’ worth of frustration to vent, and it’s all coming out now, one way or another.

“He’s an asshole to everyone here but Jade, and I bet that’s only because she’s sucking his cock. Not that I wouldn’t go there if he asked me to—”

“Lanna,” Peyton hisses, her eyes wide.

“Oh, come on, like you wouldn’t suck his cock too,” I retort, nodding knowingly at her. “Hey, maybe we could tag team him.”

We’d had a lengthy discussion about this a few weeks ago over a bottle of tequila, so I knew exactly what she wanted to do with that ten inches of pure stiff muscle. And I thought I was the dirty one. I
chuckle to myself and turn around. My heart skips a beat when I spot Chase leaning against Jade’s desk. He smirks at me and casually lifts one eyebrow.

Oh, god no.

My heart pounds as I wait for him to react. This can’t be happening. I cannot believe I just said that. Well, I can believe it, because I say shit like that every day, but not when he’s standing right behind me. I glare at Peyton, who releases a snort and then flushes, bowing her head. Chase’s eyes don’t leave me as I glance around the room, praying for an escape, but there isn’t one.

It’s like a scene from a really bad movie. With any luck, he’ll drag me outside and throw me on the back of his bike and take me somewhere to have his way with me. Or his office will do just fine.

“Is Jade here?” he asks, directing his question at me, his smooth, deep voice making me shiver.

I shake my head, incapable of speaking. I think it’s worse that he’s ignoring the obvious issue of my outburst. I’d almost prefer for him to say something about it. Anything. Almost... He nods, and then walks over to the door, stopping just as he reaches it. I brace myself as he turns his attention back to me.

“Alana?” he asks.

I force myself to meet his steel blue eyes, wishing he didn’t find this so damn amusing.

“Yes?” I whisper, feeling sick. God, I am so embarrassed.

 “While I appreciate your attentiveness to my health, I can assure you that everything is functioning just as it should. Maybe you should focus more on your job and less on things that don’t concern you?” he asks lightly. “Like who is and isn’t sucking my cock.”

He walks out, briskly closing the door behind him.

I stumble over to my desk and slump down onto my chair, my eyes wide. I breathe out, feeling dazed. My heart’s racing and I’m feeling a mixture of extreme nausea and embarrassment over the whole situation. Every time I think about what I just said, more or less to his face, I
want to throw up.

Peyton rushes over to me, both panicked and trying not to laugh, which under any other circumstance would be a funny combination. I glare at her, which sets her off.

“I’m so sorry,” she giggles, shaking her head. “I swear I’m not laughing at you, but that just made my fucking day.”

“I’m glad I can be a source of amusement for you,” I grumble, my tone sour.

“At least he knows your name now.” she offers, her eyes twinkling.

I scowl at her. I think I preferred it when he didn’t.


I Heart Books Review 

I Can Explain by Missy Johnson
Review by Theresa Esterline 
Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The truth will set you free...

Standalone office romance / romantic comedy. This story has many awkward and hilarious moments. If it were a movie they would likely all be in the trailer ;) And I'm sure a few have happened to someone out there... like the time you land on your boss balcony in your underwear! A little frustrating at times with the lack of communication, but then if they just were HEA from the beginning we wouldn't have a story. And now a bit about the story...

Alana works for Chase's assistant. She's a recent college grad and her duties include fetching dry cleaning and coffee. She knows she could learn so much from Chase, if only he'd notice her. As the two get to know each other better Alana's responsibilities increase. Now to see if she's up to the challenge, can you really keep business and pleasure separate?

Favorite passage: My reaction decides how big this is, which means I can end this before it even begins.

Note: I was given a free copy and voluntarily chose to review this book.

Also Available


Free in Kindle Unlimited


I Heart Books Review 

It's Complicated by Missy Johnson
Review by Theresa Esterline 
Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A rip roarin' good time!!

Standalone romantic comedy. Full of lots of pounds and awkward and hilarious moments. Hard, pun intended, to put down. I started and finished same day! No tissues needed... well unless you are Ms. Henderson. Anyway back to the review. This story is well thought out, very descriptive, and extremely relatable!! Even though you know you shouldn't you can just picture yourself following in Anna's footsteps. And now a bit about the story...

Anna's mother left when she was very young. Now she's in college and her father's dating life is more exciting than hers. That is until she looks out her window one night. There is her hot neighbor, Nick, stripping out of his clothes. She knows she should turn away, but she can't. She has to see if the rumors are true. Not only is he older, but he's also her dad's best friend. She shouldn't keep watching right? But then he catches her in the act... no what'll she do!!!

Favorite passages:
- “I mean, I do have a big load, but so long as I keep on top of it…”
- I was beginning to feel like Cinderella, only it wasn’t a shoe I was trying to squeeze into.

Note: I was given a free copy and voluntarily chose to review this book.

Author Bio

Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she's a cat, a cat who thinks he's a get the picture).

When she's not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

Author Links

Tattooed & Reckless by Alicia Rae *~*~*~*~* Cover Reveal

Are you ready for a new book in Alicia Rae's Tattooed Billionaires series? TATTOOED & RECKLESS is releasing June 2018 and we're so excited to reveal the cover today! Check it out below and enter to win an awesome giveaway!



Available June 2018
That. Kiss.
That god damn kiss.
I couldn't get it out of my head.
Those russet eyes of his were sexy and enigmatic and dangerous. They called to me in an inexplicable way, latching onto the deepest part of my soul, refusing to let go.
His touch was hypnotic, worse than any drug. A single brush of his hand electrified my skin, sent my heart racing, and left me desperate and aching for more. It was sensual and addictive-a total rush.
And that damn smile of his. I'll never forget it. It made my heart skip a beat and stunned me into complete silence.
I didn't want to feel this way; I really didn't. It was a stupid, foolish way to respond to a man, but I was powerless to control my reaction to him.
All it took was one look, one smile, one kiss-and I was fucking doomed.
TATTOOED & RECKLESS releases June 2018 - sign up for Alicia Rae’s newsletter and like her on Facebook to be notified when it goes live!

Enter to Win

Alicia Rae is giving away a signed set of the first three books in the Tattooed Billionaire series, plus some swag! This is open internationally. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below!
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About Alicia Rae

Alicia Rae is a Contemporary Romance Author who lives in Dekalb, Illinois, with her husband and three beautiful boys. Alicia has a passion for reading all types of romance, writing to bring a story to life, and wedding photography.

Alicia loves to hear from readers! Text RAE to 22828 to join her mailing list

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review: Her Baby Donor

Her Baby Donor Her Baby Donor by Chance Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's a lot to be said about hard work an honesty...

In this story the main characters meet at her place of employment. Though not much of the remainder of the story is conventional, they seem to work it out. They are adventurous, humorous, and even at times a little heartbreaking. And now a bit about the story...

Casey was raised by a wonderful single mom. Until Casey turned 10, and her mom was killed in a car crash. She was in foster care until she went to college. Now she has a stable job, a small apartment, but something is missing. She wants a family. Alexander is a client at the clinic where Casey works. They strike a bargain that he will help her get the family she's always wanted and it works the first time around. Only problem is they can't stop thinking about each other and now they want more...

Favorite passages:
- Camping? Not sure if that sounds like a romantic outing or a horror movie.
- Apparently, in the world of the maternity ward, having had your water already break is like a fast pass at Disney World.
- This was how every Friday went. I, along with the upper management, knew to never schedule anything extraordinarily important after three o’clock on Friday afternoons, because everyone was already mentally off work for the weekend.

Note: I was given a free copy and voluntarily chose to review this book.

View all my reviews

The Troublemaker by Lili Valente *~*~*~*~* Cover Reveal & Pre-Order

Title: The Troublemaker
Author: Lili Valente
Genre: Sexy Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Bootstrap Designs
Photo: Perrywinkle Photography
Release Date: April 23, 2018


They say Rafe Hunter is trouble with a capital T.

I say—bring it on.

As long as Trouble comes in a package as delicious as Rafe’s, I’m ready to climb on his Harley and ride all night long—and I’m not just talking about his motorcycle.

I can hide out until the scandal with my evil ex blows over AND have a wild rebound at the same time. Besides, I’ve got no heart left to break. My ex made sure of that.

As long as Rafe and I keep our no-strings fling from our families, what can possibly go wrong?


This is so damned wrong.

I don’t do drama, and this thing with Carrie Haverford has Bad News written all over it. After one red-hot kiss, I know I should cut and run.

Instead I take her home, take her in her car, take her to the beach and make her scream louder than the crashing waves. And then I take her so far into my heart I don’t see how I’m ever going to let her go.

The say the bigger and badder they are, the harder they fall. But when I fall for a girl with third degree love burns, how can I convince her that fire is a good thing?

This sexy Standalone romance will make you laugh, melt, and fall madly in love. 

Pre-order Links


Author Bio

Lili Valente has slept under the stars in Greece, eaten dinner at midnight with French men who couldn’t be trusted to keep their mouths on their food, and walked alone through Munich’s red light district after dark and lived to tell the tale.

These days you can find her writing in a tent beside the sea, drinking coconut water and thinking delightfully dirty thoughts.

Author Links

Monday, February 12, 2018

Free Fall by Emily Goodwin *~*~*~*~* Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway

Today we have the release blitz of Emily Goodwin’s Free Fall! We’re excited to share this new romance—be sure to check it out and grab your copy today!

Title: Free Fall

Author: Emily Goodwin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Free Fall:

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Nora Fisher. The way my heart sped up in my chest and blood rushed through every part of me. I was drawn to her the moment our eyes met. She was beautiful. Guarded. Damaged. Just like me. I never meant to hurt the only woman I’ve ever loved. She was light, and I was dark, casting shadows on everything around me. Letting her go meant spiraling back into the darkness only Nora could pull me from. But I’d sacrifice myself a thousand times for her. Four years later, she’s back, and the passion she ignites makes the fight for her stronger. But the more I try to make things right, the more I realize how complicated things have become. And now I'm starting to see that maybe her light was never meant to be mine. Free Fall is a standalone, contemporary romance.

★Buy Links★
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Amazon CA

Exclusive Excerpt:

Still, the thought of getting naked with Jack scares me as much as it exhilarates me. I want to make him feel. I want to make him happy. “I want to,” I whisper, feeling the spark bust into a wildfire. “Stop,” he growls and sits up. “Not now. Not here.” He doesn’t have to explain it for me to understand. Things won’t end with a kiss. I take my hand from his side and interlock our fingers again. I move up and lean against the wall, looking through the cut-out window at the stars. He tightens the grip on my hand. “How do you do it?” “Do what?” “Keep going like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” “Because there has to be. I’m scared of the dark, and the only way to get back to the light is to keep going. Even when the light is fading, and things seem impossible. You just keep going.” “Don’t you ever want to give up?” I’m nothing but honest. I don’t need to hold up a front around Jack. “Yes. Especially lately. But what good would that do? My grandma used to tell me ‘you can’t lose if you’re trying’, and I never really got it before. I guess it’s kinda like losing a battle but not the war, and the only person you’re truly at war with is yourself.” “I never thought of it that way.”  “Mimi had a unique way of looking at the world. She was tough. The strongest person I’ve ever known. My grandpa died like a year and a half before my mom. She lost her husband and then her daughter so close together. And then had to take in a six-year-old.” “You’re tough too.” “So are you.” Jack shakes his head. “No. I’m not.” “What you did was so brave.” “Being brave and being tough are different. The toughness comes after you did that brave thing. And I…I’ve given up.” He trains his eyes on mine, airing his vulnerabilities. “I didn’t see the point in trying to find the light again.” “Do you see the point now?” “I see you.” Jack’s brow furrows, jaw tensing. He’s fighting against his emotions, and I want him to lose. I want him to give in to me, even though I shouldn’t. I can’t help it.  


I Heart Books Review 

Free Fall by Emily Goodwin
Review by Theresa Esterline 
Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm free fallin...

You'll need some tissues for this one... Love starts off young in the romance between two soul mates with horrible pasts. They meet in high school and share their pasts and quickly become reliant on each other. Characters are wiser than their age. Scene descriptions and location described in a way that it is easily visualized! And now a bit about the story...

Nora has lost all of her family. She is placed in a foster home where she meets Jack. Jack is her next door neighbor and has a dark and depressing past that haunts him. Though he doesn't believe in the ghosts that are haunting him, Nora seems to make if all better. But can a relationship starting at 16 and 18 last with such a horrendous background as its beginning....

Favorite passages:
- You can change the world. Just don’t let the world change you.
- “It’s just me and you.”
- “Clean your room before rats start living in your dirty laundry.” “They already do. That’s why I keep the dirty plates here. They have to eat.”
- “I don’t know why I didn’t come to this last year.” “Because it’s lame?” “This is not lame. I feel like I’m in a Hallmark movie!” “Exactly. Lame.”
- I’m sure every guy in the group is wondering the same thing I am. Is there a ticking time bomb inside of me too?

Note: I was given a free copy and voluntarily chose to review this book.

About the Author:

Emily Goodwin is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over a dozen of romantic titles. Emily writes the kind of books she likes to read, and is a sucker for a swoon-worthy bad boy and happily ever afters. She lives in the midwest with her husband and two daughters. When she's not writing, you can find her riding her horses, hiking, reading, or drinking wine with friends. Emily is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Living Out Loud by Staci Hart *~*~*~*~* Blog Tour, Review & Excerpt

Living Out Loud-Blog tour.jpg

Living Out Loud, an all-new emotional standalone from Staci Hart is available NOW!


Bestselling author Staci Hart brings you another installment of the Austen Series, inspired by the works of Jane Austen, with a heartfelt contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility.
When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.
Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.
See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.
Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.
Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.
What wasn’t on her list: Greg Brandon. And just when she thinks she’s figured out where to put him, everything changes. In the span of a few staggering heartbeats, she finds herself her caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.
List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.
Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.


GREG We chatted as we walked down Fifth to the bike rental station and unlocked one of the blue bicycles. And a little while and one park bench later, we were walking through the park in search of a grassy stretch off the beaten path. We found what we had been looking for—a space lined with trees, somewhat shielded from the rolling, open knoll by boulders jutting up out of the grass. “This looks good,” I said, lowering the kickstand before taking off my backpack. She pulled off her bag, looking nervously at the bike as she took a seat in the grass. A thin sheen of sweat glistened on her cheeks and forehead, her face a little pale. “You sure you’re okay?” I asked, eyeing her. She smiled—her favorite way to answer. “It looks worse than it is. Promise.” I frowned. “Really, maybe the bike is too much. Maybe we can do this after your surgery.” “Greg, I’m fine. Come sit by me for a minute.” I kept my arguments to myself and sat next to her. “The cool air feels so nice,” she said, gathering up her hair and pulling it over one shoulder, exposing her neck. “When they fix your heart, will you still feel like this?” “No. I should be able to do anything physical I want within a few weeks of the surgery.” My brows drew together. “Really? After open-heart surgery?” “Really. It’s not like a heart transplant or anything. The hardest part of my recovery will be the incision and the fusing of my sternum back together.” A shudder tickled its way down my spine at the thought of a bone saw opening her rib cage. “What all will they do to your heart?” “Close the hole, repair my valve. I’ve had open-heart surgery before, but I was too little to remember anything about it. The scar is the only proof that it happened. Well, that and my mother’s stories. But this shouldn’t be too hard on the muscle itself, just some sutures when it’s all said and done. My body will work a lot more efficiently once the surgery is complete—like, immediately. I just have to get through the whole split-ribs thing,” she said with a little smirk. “All right, I feel better. Are you ready?” She looked better. Her cheeks and lips were tinged with color, and the waxy quality her skin had taken on was gone. “Ready when you are.” We got to our feet, and I stepped to the bike to lower the seat. Once it was down, I waved her over. “Come here and see if this works.” She climbed on cautiously, her feet on the ground and her hands gripping the handlebars. The seat was probably too low, but I figured it’d be better for her center of gravity—plus she could stop herself easier if she tipped. “Okay,” I started, one hand on the back seat and my other on the handlebar next to her hand, “I’m gonna hang on and hold you steady while you pedal.” She shot me a worried glance. “And if I fall?” “You get up and try again.” She laughed, not looking convinced. “Don’t worry; you’re not going to hurt yourself on the grass, but I’m not going to let you fall. I’ve got you, okay?” With a deep breath, she nodded once. “Okay.” “All right. Put your feet on the pedals.” My grip tightened when the balance was all on me. “Ready?” “Ready,” she echoed with determination. “Now, pedal.” She did, moving us both forward, the bike only wobbling a little bit under her. “Good, let’s go to that tree. Just keep it slow like this.” Her tongue poked out of her lips, her hands white-knuckled on the handlebars until she got to the tree. And when she smiled, it was with more confidence. “I did it!” I laughed. “You did. Come on, let’s go back. Ready?” She nodded, and we took off again. This time, she wobbled a little less, speeding up until I had to trot next to her to keep up. When we stopped at our backpacks, she cheered. “Again!” “All right,” I said on a chuckle. “I’m just gonna hang on to the back this time. And…go.” I did just that, my hands on the back of the seat, the handlebars swerving a little but nothing she couldn’t correct. And then I let go. She didn’t notice, wholly focused on staying upright, and I kept jogging, pulling up beside her. When she glanced over, I held my hands up in the air and wiggled my fingers. Her face opened up with joy, and a whoop passed her lips—just before she swerved into me. A string of expletives hissed out of me as I tried to grab her, but it was too late. She tumbled into me, bike and all, taking us down to the cold grass. Annie was lying on top of me, her hair tossed across her face. The ground was cold and damp under me, and the handlebar of the bike was jammed into my ribs, but I barely even noticed. Not with Annie sprawled out across my body, her green eyes sparkling and her laughter ringing in my ears. My own laughter met hers like an old friend. “Are you okay?” I asked, sweeping her hair out of her face to tuck it behind her ear. She flushed but made no move to pull away from me. “I’m fine. Are you okay?” “I’ll live.” We watched each other for a moment through the rise and fall of my chest, the movement carrying her like a rocking ship. And then she giggled again, climbing off me before reaching for the bike. It was then that I began to fully comprehend the depth of the trouble I’d found myself in.


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I Heart Books Review 

Living Out Loud by Staci Hart 
Review by Theresa Esterline 
Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Be loud!! 

Have you ever just wished the two characters you are reading about could read each other's thoughts? Ugh! But of course, what fun would that be to read... This one is sad, comical, frustrating, heartfelt, and exciting!! It will be okay if you haven't read Last Call (Bad Habits #3) and Wasted Words (Austen's #1), but if you have you'll have background on Greg and know some of the gang. And now a bit about the story...

Annie adult life is just starting. She hasn't really ever lived and now her father is dead and her mother is paralyzed. She's 18 and off to New York City with her mom and two sisters to live with her aunt and uncle. She has a book of firsts she can't wait to accomplish. Greg isn't on her list though. And when she falls for another before she really sees him, finishing her list may become impossible.

Favorite passages:
 - “He’d tell us to find joy every day, to hang on to each other, to turn our faces to the sun and warm ourselves with hope.”
 - Maybe a rabid poodle, coiffed with a ridiculous haircut meant to make her look fancy. Because it was painfully clear that Fanny thought she was fancy. But it was hard to take her seriously when she was foaming at the mouth.
 - “And she only needed two stitches.” 
 - “You know that old saying, If you have to ask yourself the question, the answer is probably no?”
 - I’d expected magic, and I’d gotten mediocre. I shouldn’t have been disappointed, but I was. 
 - “In life, all things are temporary.” “That’s both futile and comforting.”
 - I also discovered that running was the actual worst and vowed never to do it again unless someone was after me with a weapon. 

Note: I was given a free copy and voluntarily chose to review this book.

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About the Author


Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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