*Harlot by Tracie Podger /Release Day Giveaway*

☆.•°☆.•°*°•.☆ RELEASE DAY & £50/$50 AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY ☆.•°*°•.☆°•.☆ 

 

Harlot by Tracie Podger is now live!  Read on below for an exclusive excerpt and links for a chance to win a £50/$50 Amazon Gift card among other fabulous prizes.
Synopsis
Charlotte Kenny is nineteen years old and a prostitute.
Not by choice, though.
When a client is murdered, Charlotte is thrown into a world she believes should be between the pages of a novel.
Beau Mercier is an ass with a dark past.
When Charlotte ends up on his doorstep, he knows trouble will follow.
Two people, who neither trust nor like each other, are forced together in a town where all is not as it seems.
Can Charlotte escape her trouble? Can Beau open up enough to help her?
Both want to, but secret pasts, murder, and intrigue, get in the way.
Harlot accompanies the thrillers, Gabriel and A Deadly Sin, and can be read as a standalone.
For readers over the age of 18.
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2kr5dnB
Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2lQo9t2

Amazon Aus – http://amzn.to/2l91zvI

Amazon CA – http://amzn.to/2kTMAaB

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34353568-harlot


 

Excerpt
I slumped into my broken and grubby
sofa, wincing at the soreness of my bare feet. I didn’t have the energy to
clean them. Instead, I poured myself a glass of cheap wine and gulped it down.
My hand shook so much it was hard to hold the glass to my lips. The wine burned
its way down my throat, mixing with the bile that was churning in my stomach. I
pulled my dirty feet up onto the sofa and curled up. Finally, the tears fell.
 
I hugged myself, trying to get some
warmth into my bones. The trailer I lived in was freezing with just a small gas
heater that gave off enough of a smell for me not to want to use it. I pulled a
quilt around my shoulders and then cried harder. 
 
My grandmother had made that
quilt; it was the only item I had that reminded me of her.
 
I missed her bitterly. I had since
she’d died but more so then. She would have hugged me; she would have known
what to do. I would never have found myself in the situation I was had she been
around. I cried out her name, praying she could hear and guide me. Not that I
thought I could sleep, but I closed my eyes, hoping that dawn would arrive
quickly and I’d have a clearer mind.
 
A sweep of car headlights across
the room disturbed me. I sat up, pulling the quilt tight around me and held my
breath. The lights came to a stop outside my trailer. I quietly slipped from
the sofa, and in a crouch, I crept to the window. I sat on the floor, my back
to the door, knowing if someone looked in, they wouldn’t see me.
 
My blood froze in my veins when I
heard my name being called, more so, when I recognized the voice. If he wanted
to get in, one kick would have the front door fly off its brackets. I covered
my mouth to stifle the sob when the door rattled.
 
“I know where you’ve been, whore,”
he slurred, before laughing. “You won’t be going back there.”
 
“Please, go away,” I whispered,
hoping for divine intervention. That came in the form of a dog.
 
Barking echoed around outside,
becoming more frantic. I heard his heavy footsteps clomp down the wooden steps,
away from the door, and then the headlights swept across the room again. I sat,
straining my ears to listen for the engine of his car and breathed a sigh of
relief when that sound became faint.
 
I knew at that point I couldn’t
stay there. I had to leave. I scrambled to my feet and rushed into my bedroom.
I gathered what few belongings I had, and crammed them into a battered
backpack. The last thing I picked up was the quilt. 
 
I pulled on some socks and
my sneakers, still aware of how dirty my feet were, and headed for the
kitchenette. Hidden in a cupboard, in a small tin, were my meager earnings,
well, the portion of earnings I was allowed to keep. In addition, there was my
‘gift’ of a hundred dollars. At the thought of that ‘gift’ and the person who
gave it, tears welled in my eyes again. I would call the police, but I would
have to do it anonymously. There was no way I could go forward and publicly
report what I’d seen.
 
I was scared, I was trailer park
trash, and I was a prostitute.
Copyright T J Podger

 

Enter Tracie’s giveaway for a chance to win a £50/$50 Amazon Gift Card voucher, signed paperback of Harlot and ebooks of Gabriel and A Deadly Sin.

 

About the Author


Tracie Podger currently lives in Kent, UK with her husband and a
rather obnoxious cat called George. She
s a Padi Scuba
Diving Instructor with a passion for writing. Tracie has been fortunate to have
dived some of the wonderful oceans of the world where she can indulge in
another hobby, underwater photography. She likes getting up close and personal
with sharks.
Tracie likes to write in different genres. Her Fallen Angel series
and its accompanying books are mafia romance and full of suspense. A Virtual
Affair is contemporary romance, and Gabriel and A Deadly Sin are
thriller/suspense. The Facilitator is erotic romance.

 

Available from Amazon,
iBooks, Kobo & Nook
Fallen Angel, Part 1
Fallen Angel, Part 2
Fallen Angel, Part 3
Fallen Angel, Part 4
The Fallen Angel Box Set
Evelyn – A Novella To accompany the
Fallen Angel Series
Rocco A Novella To accompany the Fallen Angel Series
Robert To accompany the
Fallen Angel Series
Travis To accompany the
Fallen Angel Series
A Virtual Affair A standalone
Gabriel A standalone
The Facilitator A standalone
A Deadly Sin A standalone
Harlot A standalone
Coming soon
Allana – 2017
Hitchhiker – 2017
Jackson – 2017
Letters to Lincoln 2018
Rocco: The Missing Years
2018
Stalker Links
Amazon Author Page https://author.to/TraciePodger
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*Release Blitz:The Fine Line between Love and Hate by Ashley Erin*

 

Release Blitz

Title: The Fine Line Between Love and Hate: The Complete Series

Author: Ashley Erin

Release Date: March 30, 2017

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

Note to self: Do not allow my mother to choose a tenant for my house ever again.

I like things done a certain way.
Some call me uptight, I prefer precise.

I can’t understand why my mother thought Evie Jackson would be the type of person I’d want rent my house. She knows me, knows how I live my life.

Instead of the quiet librarian I’m expecting, Evie’s a vibrant, tattooed woman who seems to find immense joy in making my life miserable.

She pushes me outside of my comfort zone. It’s called a comfort zone for a reason, and I have no interest venturing outside of it.

I hate her, and I’m positive the feeling is mutual. Why else would Evie go out of her way to make my life difficult?

 

AMAZON

jompauthorbio

ashleyAshley Erin lives in Alberta, Canada where winter and summer compete to take over. She wears flip flops as soon as it’s above freezing, because her hatred of socks outweighs her dislike of snow. Her boyfriend stays with her despite a penchant for adopting rescued cats and dogs without permission. Their two dogs and four cats are spoiled rotten. When Ashley isn’t writing, she is reading or working with horses.

Ashley is a self-published author of contemporary and new adult romance. Follow her on Facebook to keep up with her current and upcoming releases.

Social Media

Facebook| Amazon| Goodreads|

jomppromo

 

*Big Bad Neighbor:A Single Dad Next Door Romance by Tia Siren*

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Big Bad Neighbor: A Single Dad Next Door Romance

By

Tia Siren

**NOW LIVE**

Hosted By Chance Promotions

Amazon:
http://amzn.to/2nimRXb


Add to Goodreads

:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34725354-big-bad-neighbor

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BLURB

 

Love thy neighbor?

Oh, I intend to.

Being a single dad isn’t easy. No time for distractions. No time for women.

Until the biggest tease I ever saw moves in next door.

This pretty little damsel in distress turns my world upside down.

I can tell she’s running from something.

So I should run a million miles from her.

But my Navy Seal instincts make me want to wrap my strong arms around her
and protect her.

And what makes things harder is that our bedroom windows face each other.

From behind half-drawn curtains, we’re playing a dangerously delicious
game.

I watch her. And I know she watches me, imagining it’s her hand on my c*ck.

But that’s as far as I’ll let it go.

Because doing what I have in mind to her… it’s downright unneighborly.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Other than my insatiable desire for chocolate, reading and writing smutty
romances is my most guilty pleasure.

I write about tough and sexy Bad Boys who, underneath that armor of muscles
and tattoos (and sometimes suits), are more sensitive and wounded than
they’d like to admit.

I’m happily married to a really good guy, but, every now and again, I crave
the forbidden excitement of falling for one of the bad boys in my stories.

There really is a bad girl in me too!

SIGN UP FOR TIA’S NEWSLETTER

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*Delayed Call by Toni Aleo*

 

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Vaughn Johansson is the Nashville Assassins’ star player. He’s brash, cocky, and talented. And he isn’t afraid to let anyone know it. He lives his life on his own terms, never forming romantic attachments, and only allowing his very closest to see his true, caring self.

Brie Soledad has the weight of the world on her shoulders. As the staff reporter for the Assassins, she balances her high-profile job and its heavy travel schedule with being the sole provider for her adult brother with Down syndrome. Sure, she’d like to find love. But who has time for that when there are bills to pay?

Brie has been the match to Vaughn’s gasoline since the day she first held out her microphone to him. They strike sparks off each other, keeping their friends, the team, and the Assassins fans in stitches. Brie’s refusal to fawn over Vaughn sets his teeth on edge and his blood boiling. Especially in that body part…

Brie’s been let down by love before, but she knows she deserves nothing less than real, forever love. Vaughn’s past has left deep, hidden scars, and there are some secrets he cannot bear to reveal. As much as Brie wants him, Vaughn may be too big a risk for her wary heart to take. But he is at his best under pressure. When the delayed call is in effect and he has no choice but to score, Vaughn always delivers.

 

 

When Tricksie started to bark more frantically as he put his hat on, he looked down at her. “Two seconds, baby.”
She continued to bark as he grabbed his keys before reaching for the door, which she took off out of. He went to tell her to calm down, but before he could, he heard a woman’s voice, “Oh, my goodness! Hello!”
Peeking his head out the door, he found Brie on the ground. On her back, her arms around Tricksie as she jumped and licked her to death. “Oh, my God! Hello. My name is Brie. You are the cutest little dog I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Yes, you are. What is your name? Tricksie? Oh, my goodness, I just love you, I do. Is that your name because you are a three-legged baby and your daddy thinks he’s awesome at scoring hat tricks? I bet so.”
“For your information, yes.”
Brie just grinned as she continued to kiss and love on Tricksie. Which Tricksie was eating up like mad. “Do you want a treat? Treat? Ah, come on.”
Then she yanked the leash out of Vaughn’s hand before picking Tricksie up and kissing her head. “Hey, that’s my dog.”
“I know,” was all she said before pushing her door open and taking his dog into her apartment.
“Can I have her back?” Peeking his head in her door, he watched as she went to the kitchen, grabbing a treat bag before putting Tricksie on the counter and feeding her.
“Don’t worry, they’re all-natural treats. The guys across the hall in my last building had four French Bulldogs, and I used to give them treats until they went into food comas.”
Tricksie was going crazy, obviously falling for the blond-haired beauty who stood before her. Like the day before when they had moved Rodney in, she was wearing jeans and a shirt that he assumed said something witty. He couldn’t see because she was still cuddling Tricksie as she fed her. “You shouldn’t give treats to other people’s dogs.”
She looked up from Tricksie, her lips still curved in the most beautiful grin he had ever seen on her face. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Is it okay if I continue to feed her?”
Why did he find her so lovely at that moment? Her hair was a mess, tucked into a knit cap, yet she looked like someone he could cuddle with. If he cuddled. Not that he cuddled. Unsure of his feelings, he shrugged. “She needs to pee.”
“Okay, one more,” she said sweetly before feeding Tricksie and then kissing her hard on the head. “You can come in.”
He didn’t like how she was making him feel. It was weird. Like he wanted to go behind her, bury his nose in her hair, and just hold her. She looked so damn gorgeous, snuggling his dog and making her feel like the princess she was. Vaughn’s hands itched to touch Brie, and he didn’t understand that. He never itched for anything. He fucked women and moved on, but watching Brie as she acted a fool with his dog, he wanted to…cuddle.
Why did he keep thinking that?
Grumbling at his stupidity, he entered, shutting the door but staying right by it. “She really does need to pee.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry,” she said, kissing Tricksie again. “I really love dogs. I never got to have one growing up. Rodney is allergic to them.”
He nodded. “Yeah, Jensen said he had to put her up when Rod came over the other day.”
“It sucks, but I love them so much. They’re so much fun, and bless her, she’s gorgeous. What happened to her leg?”
“Hit by a car. I adopted her like that. She came in hurt, and they fixed her up.”
Her eyes lit up. “That’s sweet you adopted her. She looks happy as all get-out.”
“She’s spoiled, that’s for sure.”
   

 

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‘He was the downright biggest A****** she had ever met,and she did not like him…..'(Brie)

So with this the 11th in the Assassins series (a favorite of mine for some time) we are focused on Assassin player Vaughn Johansson, and team reporter Brianna(Brie) Soledad. From previous in this series,we have seen interactions of these two,often bickering,winding each other up,all the while oblivious to the obvious to everyone else-the attraction that simmers away underneath all the verbal jibes- only a matter of time till that bubbled to the surface!The book blurb gives enough away,but there is another side to the cocky star player-one that not many know about,and he would rather keep it that way-until he can’t.
I enjoyed this story,it was hilarious in quite a few moments(the banter between Vaughn and his buddy(s) Jensen and Wells) there was some pretty hotness between Vaughn and Brie when the inevitable happened,emotional with the reveal of Vaughn’s past,and with how Brie was with her brother…the assassins team and its owner Ellie Adler-who again knows her team better that they think,and the set up for the next story (am hoping it will be Jensen and Wren-Wells’ sister/team therapist) I won’t say much more as it would spoil for those who haven’t read it.

RHR Rating: 5*/5

*Ransom by Logan and Jacob Chance*

RANSOM

By

Logan Chance & Jacob Chance

Release Blitz

Release Date: March 23rd

Hosted by: Chance Promotions

Now Live

 

Amazon:http://amzn.to/2npO0v3

 

Synopsis:

 

Blood by birth – Brothers by choice

 

Aces & Eights Motorcycle Club is all they’ve known for the past twelve
years. They live hard, bound by the code of brotherhood.

 

Liam Fox: Vice President of Aces & Eights

Height: six foot one inch

Hair color: dark brown

Eye color: brown

Alias: Lo

 

Rory Fox: Sergeant at Arms of Aces & Eights

Height: six foot one inch

Hair color: dark brown

Eye color: hazel

Alias: Knuckles

 

The ladies know them as: Dominant males to submissive females, erotic,
dirty talking, alpha male, bad boy, lumberjacks of all trades with no known
accidental pregnancies or babies with the last name Fox.

Just kidding…

 

What they’re really known for is riding, fighting, whiskey and women. With
the brotherhood, they never have to standalone.

 

Aces & Eights is about to face their toughest enemy and play out the
Dead Man’s hand.

 

Links:

The Brothers Chance

Goodreads

 

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Who doesn’t love a Hot as F***,Dirty talking,generally speaking BAD-A** Biker? The MC Genre has become a very popular choice for some Author’s(I have at least 6 that are a go-to for that) and when the Chance Brothers-Logan and Jacob (who have individually achieved great success in the past year and continue to do so ) announced a first time collaboration-a venture into the MC world,I was intrigued as to how they would take a popular subject and make it their own! At first,I’ll admit,when reading ,I wasn’t totally convinced…probably due to having read so many MC books before- BUT on doing a re-read,my views changed! (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of their writing as I’ve read all their previous work)

6 Brother’s: Liam,Rory,Colin,Finn,Patrick and Keegan Fox…all members of the Aces and Eights MC-
All having joined after suffering a tragic loss,seeking retribution,that is still to be had…

This,the first is really Liam and Rory’s story,told in alt POV (one brother writing Liam/the other Rory)and as the blurb states,each hold a role of importance within the MC,what follows,is some drama with a rival club,that leads to some unexpected bloodshed,alongside the very HOT scenes between the brother’s and the women that they shouldn’t want but have -in Liam’s case-Audrey with whom he has a complicated History with…and in Rory’s-the ultimate off limits-his Prez’s daughter Fallon..who is a good few years younger(though not underage!)It moves at quite a pace,and the Epilogue,which is told from another brother’s POV,is obviously the set up for the next book.
I along with many other’s will be waiting to see what’s next for the Fox Brother’s and the MC,and it will be interesting with the changes that have been made within this story (not giving much more away) where both Logan and Jacob take this series.

RHR Rating: 5*/5

 

*Cover Reveal:TWO WRONGS by Donna Alam*

Two Wrongs: A Second Chance Romance by Donna Alam

Trouble by Numbers, Book 2

Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: Kellie Dennis – Book Cover By Design

Release Date: April 3, 2017

 

Synopsis

When Ivy Adams is summoned back to LA by her secret husband, it’s for the purpose of revenge, not a second chance. Estranged as long as they’ve been married, Ivy’s never told anyone she even has a husband, let alone he’s the Scots born movie star, Dylan Duffy.

Yeah, that Dylan Duffy. The sexy-as-sin bad-boy. The man whose rumbling accent has half the world’s panties damp.

But Ivy isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and screwing half of Hollywood hasn’t sated Dylan’s need for revenge. He’s hellbent on making Ivy pay for her mistakes in the most despicable way he can.

Two wrongs don’t make the pair even, but can they ever make their marriage right?

Goodreads

 

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2m1IcZ8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2mPJpl3

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2m1IUFR

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2nbJwIV

 

 

 

Giveaway

One of Five ARCs of Two Wrongs by Donna Alam

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d4/?

 

 

Available Now

One Hot Scot: A Second Chance Romance by Donna Alam

Trouble by Numbers, Book 1

Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance

 

Synopsis

Fin Hayes has ninety-nine problems. Quite literally.

She’s lost her husband, her job, recently avoided jail time, and is back living in the place she’s always loathed . . . when problem #100 walks in.

Rory Tremaine is ripped, rich, and handsome, and a blast from the past who seems to have no recollection of Fin. But second time around that’s okay, because when she’s near his firm ass and tattoos, she’s using a fake name anyway.

At least she won’t be leaving her virginity behind this time. Instead, she might just risk losing her heart.

Goodreads

 

Purchase Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kL86Pp

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2kM2bd6

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2locNfM

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2kkd0Q1

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Donna writes about exotic locations and the men you aren’t married to, but might wish you were. Escapism reads with heart and humor and, of course, plenty of steam.

Hailing from the North of England, she’s a nomad at heart moving houses and continents more times than she cares to recall. A bit clueless rather than stateless, she once worked at a school like the one described in her Pretty Trilogy. Alas, there were no handsome millionaires hanging around there.

An eclectic reader and part-time perv, Donna’s a huge fan of smart men and enjoys her protagonists with a large measure of inappropriateness.

 

Connect with Donna

Website: http://donnaalam.com/

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2mPA250

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2n0Vapu

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2mPEel3

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2muoxNF

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2muoAJl

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2noCZLf

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2n10JnV

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2ntnBtM

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2mtD5we

 

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*Cover Reveal:Curves in the Road by Amy K. McClung*



Author: Amy K. McClung

Title: Curves in the Road
Series: Southern Devotion, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 6, 2017
Designer: Claire Smith

 Add to TBR
 PREORDER FOR HALF PRICE 

 

Living in Nashville with his daughter, Katelyn, single dad Derrick Collins’s main goal is to provide a good life for his daughter. With no social life to speak of, he knows it’s time for a change. He just needs to find the perfect woman who will complete his happy family. The problem is he’s already met her and let her go.

Mary Jane Evans’s life took a path she could only dream of. Though leaving her home in Nashville meant saying goodbye to childhood friends, family, and the first man she ever loved. Now she has to choose if she will return or continue her new journey.

With a decision to make, is it possible for two lost loves to find their way back to each other or are there too many curves in the road?

 PREORDER FOR HALF PRICE 
 Southern Devotion Series 
Book 1 on sale for 99 cents!

Amy McClung was born in Nashville, TN. She is the second oldest of four girls and occasionally suffers from middle-child syndrome. She met the love of her life online in August of 2004, on his birthday of all days, and married him in September 2005.Currently they have no human children, only the room full of colorful robots that transform into vehicles and the large headed Pop Funkos who represent their favorite characters. Collecting movies, shot glasses, Pop Funkos, and dust bunnies are some of her favorite pastimes.

Amy began writing in September of 2011 and independently published her first YA novel, Cascades of Moonlight, Book one of the Parker Harris series the following May. Her first book was a means of therapy for her, enabling her to escape reality for a while during a difficult transition in her life.

*No Place to Hide:Megan Lowe*

 

Author: Megan Lowe
Title: No Place to Hide
Series: Rocking Racers, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: March 11, 2017
Designer: Claire Smith
Add to Goodreads TBR
 All Buy Links 
What happens when the one person you truly hate is the one person who really sees you?After McKnley Rhodes’s family fell apart, she struck out at Cole Matthews, her then best friend. Over twenty years later, she’s never forgotten the hurt she endured or the hate for the boy she believed caused it.

Cole Matthews hasn’t seen his childhood friend, McKnley Rhodes, for twenty-two years, and what he finds shocks him. She’s tired and beaten down, and he wants to fix that, just as he used to when they were kids. Cole’s the only one who can see she’s putting on an act by embracing her rock star persona. His new goal is to determine why and put an end to her torment.

Will McKnley let him in or will he leave her with no place to hide?

 All Buy Links 

 

Rocking Racers, Book 1
On sale for half price!
Breaking the Cycle

books2read.com/breakingthecycle

Megan Lowe is a lost journalism graduate who after many painful years searching for a job in that field, decided if she couldn’t write news stories, she would start listening to the characters whispering stories to her and decided to write them down.  She writes primarily New Adult/Contemporary Romance stories with Sport and Music themes. She is based on the Gold Coast but her heart belongs to New York City. When she’s not writing she’s either curled up with a good book, travelling or screaming at the TV willing her sporting teams to pull out the win.

 

 Rescue Me Submissions

 

*END ZONE:Cara Chance-Cover Reveal*

END ZONE

A M/M Sports Romance

By Cara Chance

Release March 16th

Cover Reveal March 11th

Cover by Letitia Hassar with Romantic Book Affair

Hosted by Chance Promotions

 

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Synopsis:

 

College football is rough and dirty. And for these two young men it’s about
to get a whole lot harder.

Thrown together by sports.

Brought together by need.

Together they must overcome hatred, lust, and love.

Will people’s perceptions tear them apart?

Or will they be able to conquer all on and off the field.

 

Add it to your GR:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34477107-end-zone-a-m-m-sports-romance

 

Cara Chance writes the stories everyone is to afraid to read in public.

Always with a bad boy and a HEA.

 

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*Delayed Call:Chapter Reveal:Toni Aleo*

 

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Coming March 20th

 

Vaughn Johansson is the Nashville Assassins’ star player. He’s brash, cocky, and talented. And he isn’t afraid to let anyone know it. He lives his life on his own terms, never forming romantic attachments, and only allowing his very closest to see his true, caring self.

Brie Soledad has the weight of the world on her shoulders. As the staff reporter for the Assassins, she balances her high-profile job and its heavy travel schedule with being the sole provider for her adult brother with Down syndrome. Sure, she’d like to find love. But who has time for that when there are bills to pay?

Brie has been the match to Vaughn’s gasoline since the day she first held out her microphone to him. They strike sparks off each other, keeping their friends, the team, and the Assassins fans in stitches. Brie’s refusal to fawn over Vaughn sets his teeth on edge and his blood boiling. Especially in that body part…

Brie’s been let down by love before, but she knows she deserves nothing less than real, forever love. Vaughn’s past has left deep, hidden scars, and there are some secrets he cannot bear to reveal. As much as Brie wants him, Vaughn may be too big a risk for her wary heart to take. But he is at his best under pressure. When the delayed call is in effect and he has no choice but to score, Vaughn always delivers.

 

   “He’s cute.”
   “She’s a sweetie, too.”
   “Oh, she’s a she?”
   “Yes.”
   “Girls don’t usually like me,” Vaughn Johansson said with his brows pulled together as he looked into the dark brown eyes gazing back at him.
They were full of such hope, wanting… And instantaneously, he fell in love.
   “Well, I think she loves you.”
   Looking up briefly at the adoption counselor, Vaughn gazed back at the little black French Bulldog and smiled. She was a cutie; her little nub tail was wiggling, and her eyes were so wide that Vaughn felt like he could fall into them. But just as quick as he fell in love, he noticed something was missing. “She only has three legs.”   
   The adoption rep smiled grimly. “Yes, she was brought in having been hit by a car, and we fixed her up. That’s what throws people off, her not being whole and all.”
   Making a face, Vaughn crouched down and took ahold of the fence as the little girl wiggled in excitement. She wanted to come through the fence. He could feel her eagerness, especially when she started to lick his hands, her eyes telling, or better yet, begging him to take her home. The thing was, she didn’t have to beg. The little three-legged dog was his from the moment he saw her. As he leaned into the fence, his nose went through the links before he whispered, “Don’t worry, girl, I’m not whole either.”
   She licked his nose before letting out the sweetest little bark, and Vaughn was hooked. Standing up, he clapped his hands together. “I scored three goals last night, a hat trick, so it only makes sense that my first dog be a three-legged one.”
   “Oh, cool.”
   She had no clue what he was talking about. “I play for the Nashville Assassins.”
   The lady, who obviously had never seen a game of hockey a day in her life, nodded happily.
   “Cool. That’s fun.”
   “You know what team that is, right?”  
   “Yeah, football. Right?”
   Vaughn blinked in dismay, but then, what did he expect? She was barely an adult and probably hadn’t been exposed to the great sport of hockey. “Hockey.”
   “Oh, I don’t like hockey,” she said, wrinkling her face up. “But the players are hot.”
   He couldn’t disagree, but then she looked him up and down with very sinful eye, and he froze. There was no way in hell he was going to prison for this jailbait, so that was his cue to get his dog and bounce. Yet, he asked, “Have you been to a game?”
   “Oh, no, I don’t have time.”
   Rolling his eyes once more, he looked back at his new girl and smiled. “Well, that’s too bad because I’m naming this girl Tricksie, and that won’t make sense to you.”
   “Oh, you want her?”
   “Yes, I do. You know what a hat trick is, right?”
   The fact that she had no clue what he was speaking of was all over her face as she only nodded. “Like tricks with hats?”
   Vaughn wanted to cry. The poor youth of the world. “It’s where you score three goals.”
   He might as well have told her the answer to the greatest unsolved math problem in the world, because she was more lost than the three blind mice. “Cool. That’s hard, huh?”
   Smiling, he shot her a wink. “For some. But for me, it’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy.”
   Her face scrunched up more. She thought he was an idiot. “That’s corny.”
   “Well, that’s because you’re ten.”
   She pressed her lips together in annoyance. “I’m twenty.”  
 “Same thing. Can I get my dog, please?”
    Rolling her eyes before popping her gum, she turned for the front. “Yeah, let’s go to the office, and Linda will get the paperwork done.”
   She started to walk away, but Vaughn didn’t move. “Can I have her?”
   Letting out a long breath, she nodded before reaching for her keys, which made Tricksie jump to the best of her ability and howl louder. A huge grin spread across Vaughn’s face as he bent down and the little girl came running for him, jumping into him and scrambling to climb up his body. Holding on to her overactive little body, Vaughn laughed as he stood, kissing her head. “I think she’s happy.”
   “That’s an understatement,” the girl said dryly as she started for the front of the adoption center, but Vaughn was in complete paradise.
   It had been a long month of looking for a companion, but holding Tricksie, Vaughn was pretty sure it had been totally worth the wait. His need for company came when he discovered he was the only single guy on the team. Everyone had girlfriends or wives and/or kids. Meanwhile, Vaughn was chilling with just an Xbox when he wasn’t working. Hockey kept him busy, but when he wasn’t at the rink, there was no one to hang with, no one to talk to, and he found himself a bit lonely. He wasn’t ashamed to say that; it was a natural occurrence when one didn’t want to put himself out there and find someone to love him. The thing about love was it was just so uncertain, and Vaughn didn’t have the time for it. But a dog, a dog loved you no matter what. Plus, he had always wanted a dog. Ever since he was a little kid, he had yearned for one, but since hockey was so expensive, his dad never got him and his brother one. Along with all the therapy and treatments his brother needed, a dog wasn’t doable. But now, now, a dog was doable.
   And Vaughn was convinced Tricksie was going to be the best dog ever.
   As Tricksie licked and barked happily, Vaughn couldn’t believe he had waited so long to do this. But then, if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have this beautiful gem of a girl. And boy, what a beauty she was. He couldn’t believe people would turn up their noses at her, all because she didn’t have four legs. She had killer dark-as-night fur, her big, brown eyes were two huge views into her heart, and she smiled. The damn dog was smiling, tongue hanging out as she wiggled in his arms. She smelled a little musky, but that was fixable. No, this girl was the jackpot, and Vaughn was glad he had pulled the lever.
   As he walked through the doors leading to the office area—or at least, he hoped this was the right way since the lady who was helping him had disappeared—his phone sounded with a notification from his Nashville Assassins’ team app. It was probably weird that he had the app to the team he played hockey for on his phone, but he liked to know what his team was posting. Plus, he sometimes heard information from the app before he did from Coach. When he pulled out his phone, sliding the tab over, he realized this instance was one of those times.
   Jensen Monroe signed to Nashville Assassins for a three-year, three-million-dollar deal.
   “Holy shit! Tricksie, look! Uncle Jenny is coming to our team,” he said to his girlie before he laughed out loud. “You don’t know Uncle Jensen, hell, you don’t know me, but you will. Don’t worry.”
   Tricksie licked him happily, and he was pretty sure she didn’t care what he said as long as he loved her and fed her, which was his plan. His phone started to ring, and he laughed when he saw it was the man of the hour. “Jensen Monroe, signed to the Nashville Assassins for some bookoo bucks! What’s up, brother?”
   Jensen laughed softly, his voice deep. It had been deep since they were, like, thirteen. “Who the hell says bookoo still?”
   “Fuck you, dude. Congratulations!”
   “Thanks, it’s a great deal, I’m excited. It will be like old times too,” he said with a low laugh, and Vaughn smiled.
   There wasn’t a teenage moment that didn’t have Jensen and their buddy Wells in it. The three had been inseparable. When Jensen came to live with Wells’s family to play for their high school team, the three guys just clicked. They played all through high school, went to the same college, and were all drafted the same year too. Even being apart, Wells on the Avalanche, Vaughn on the Assassins, and when Jensen was with the Wild, they all stayed in contact. They were brothers. Always would be too. The guys were there for Vaughn when no one else was, and he would be forever in debt to the two men who became his brothers.
   “Wait, what happened to Dylan?”
   “He got sent down. Mrs. Adler said she wants someone she knows will win games. He hasn’t won a game since last season. I can win the games.” He wasn’t lying. Jensen was a great goalie, and it surprised Vaughn that he had come to the Assassins as a backup when he had a starting position with the Wild.
   “Why did you leave?”
    “I wasn’t happy. Yeah, I was winning games, but my contract was up and I needed a change. So I took the deal from Mrs. Adler, and I think it’s a good one. Except now I’ll be fighting the best goalie in the league for playing time.”
   Vaughn sucked his teeth. “Yeah, Tate Odder is the best.”
   “Thank you.” Vaughn laughed. “Besides, you, duh,” he said, his voice high and playful. “I hate you, but are you still single?”
   Vaughn paused. “Shit, are you telling me you’re gay too? I always knew Wells was, but I never suspected it from you. And, dude, you know I don’t bat for that team. I’m a pussy-only kind of guy.”
   “No, you douche canoe. Fuck.” He could practically hear Jensen roll his eyes, which, of course, made Vaughn laugh. “I seriously hate you, and I can’t believe I’m about to beg for this, but can I please live with you?”
   Vaughn stopped laughing as he looked down to his new ladylove. “I don’t know, man, I just got a new roommate.”
   “What?”
   “Yeah, she’s sweet, cold nose, licks a lot, and has three legs, but she’s cute as all hell,” he said as Tricksie kissed him with excitement before barking out in agreement. “And she barks. I’m not sure if it’s a lot, though.”
   “You got a three-legged dog?”
   “Yes, I did.”
    “Of course you did. Who is going to watch said three-legged dog when we are on trips?”
   “Wren,” he said simply, and Jensen groaned loudly at the mention of Wells’s baby sister. Jensen had always had a thing for her, but Wren never took notice. She was too busy with her nose in a book. Which he guessed paid off because now she was a hotshot therapist for the Nashville Assassins. Plus, Vaughn was pretty sure she batted for the other team. He had never seen her with a dude, and he had tried to sleep with her plenty. He couldn’t imagine why she’d turn him down if she were straight. Obviously.
   “Does she know this?”
   “Yeah,” he lied, and Jensen let out a long breath of frustration.
   “You never think things through, I swear. But whatever, can you get me from the airport at 9:10?”
   Vaughn smiled since he had never said yes to Jensen living with him, for the simple fact that Jensen didn’t have to ask and he knew that. Jensen knew he had a home wherever Vaughn was. “Yup, me and Tricksie will be there.”
   “Tricksie?”
   “She’s a three-legged dog, and I scored a hat trick last night.”
    Jensen paused and then laughed. “You’re insane. See you in a bit, and make sure you call Wren.”
   “Will do.”
   They hung up, and Vaughn rolled his eyes. Jensen was always the do-right kind of guy. While Wells and Vaughn wanted to go out, get drunk, and break something, Jensen would talk them down and convince them that getting drunk and playing on the back pond was a better idea. He was the last one to lose his virginity because he wanted it to be with someone “special.” He never cheated on a girl, and when he broke up with one, he felt bad. When his young marriage broke up, he took all the blame on himself. Never said an unkind word about his ex. He called his mom every day, multiple times, and he hung out with the dorky kids growing up. He was voted Homecoming King of their class because he was so sugary sweet. Not to mention, he looked like a runway model, while Wells and Vaughn looked a little rough around the edges. Still, they were best friends, and nothing could ever change that.
   When his phone rang right as he reached the doors to go sign the papers for Tricksie, he looked down to see it was Wren.
   Shit.
   “Hey, Wren,” he said, answering the phone with a big smile. “How’s my favorite therapist who won’t sleep with me?”
   “Oh, I’m just fine. But funny thing, you didn’t show up for therapy, and then I got a text from Jensen saying you got a dog and I’m watching it. Oh, and it has three legs.”
  “Um… Her name is Tricksie and she is amazing, and I don’t need therapy.”
  “You do. Tricksie. Cute, but I never agreed to watch her.”
  “Yes, you did.”
   “When?”
   “When I got you drunk the other night and stole your virtue.”
   “Vaughn Johansson, I haven’t had my virtue in a long damn time.”
   “But did a guy take it?”
   “I will kill you dead, and that’s off the record, mister,” she growled into the phone, at which he laughed. “So you have no leg to stand on, and I don’t think Tricksie can lend you one.”
   Vaughn scoffed. “You said I needed a companion. I got one, and in return, you have to watch her when I leave.”
   “I meant a woman, but fine, a dog is fine. It’s a step in the right direction, I guess. But I never agreed to this, and I travel too, Vaughn.”
   “Not all the time, though. Maybe once a month, and I can board her then.”
   “So you have a plan?” she asked, and she didn’t sound convinced because, really, Vaughn never had a plan.
   “Yup, sure do.”
   “Okay, well, add me in at nine tomorrow before morning skate, and if you don’t show up, I’ll tell your coach.”
   Vaughn’s face scrunched up. “You’re mean.”
   “I love you too. Bye.”
   She hung up, and Vaughn tucked his phone into his pocket before looking down at Tricksie. “That was your aunt Wren and she’s mean to me, but she’ll be nice to you. Are you ready to go home?”
   Tricksie began to lick his skin off, and he took that as a yes. As a huge smile covered his face, Vaughn nodded his head. He had his baby girl, his best friend was coming to his team, Wren would watch Tricksie, and he was playing for the team of his dreams. Things were good. Really good.
   And loneliness would be a thing of the past; he just knew it.   

 

***   

 

   “Who talked me into this?”
   “No one. You did that to yourself.”
   “Why?”
   “I don’t know. You’re lonely?”
   “Oh. I am, aren’t I? Shit.”
   “Yup, so may the force be with you, my friend.”
   “But I don’t want to do this.”
   “Then leave?”
   “Can’t you come with me? There’s still time. It doesn’t start for another fifteen.”
   “I’m just sure my fiancé would love that.”
   Brie Soledad rolled her eyes as she leaned on the pillar of the ballroom, her eyes burning a hole in the sign that read: Speed Dating for Nashville Locals. It was embarrassing that this was what her life had resulted in, but as her best friend had said, she was lonely. Mekena Preston, though, was not lonely. Nope, she was all happy and in love with her fiancé, while having a great job and a wonderful life, blah, blah, blah. And if Brie was honest, she was jealous as hell and so desperately wanted to get laid, maybe even fall in love. Get the blah, blah, blah.
   God, she wanted the blah, blah, blah. So damn bad.
   Being a hockey reporter for one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Nashville Assassins, one would think she would be rolling in the men, but she wasn’t. Everyone treated her like a little sister or they ignored her or they treated her like shit. Well, only one did that, but that was beside the point. The point was, Brie needed more. She was happy in her career. It was awesome, she was amazing, and people loved her. She had even won an Emmy the year before; she was kicking ass. The only problem was she didn’t have anyone to share her success with.
   Yeah, she had her little brother, Rodney, but he really didn’t understand. Also, he needed to focus on his health and not on her. She was supposed to worry for him, not the other way around. Or at least, that was what she had promised her mom before she passed away from cancer a few years back. Sometimes, it was hard to remember, but she blamed that on the fact that she had no one to lean on. It was just her, with the weight of her job and her brother’s issues on her shoulders.
   And plus, she really wanted to get laid.
   It really didn’t make sense. She wasn’t an ugly girl. She was short, and maybe she could have skipped a few desserts, but then, what was life without ice cream and donuts? She had a pretty face, big blue eyes, and lips that screamed to be kissed, yet no one was kissing them. It was annoying, and pray God, this damn speed dating worked.
   “I’m gonna stay,” she said, coming off the pillar and fixing the skirt of her little blue dress that stopped right at the middle of her thighs. “I need to get laid.”
   Mekena stuttered. “Not tonight, though, right?”
   “Jesus, Mekena, I’m not a whore.”
   “Oh, you’re not?”
   And this was the problem with being best friends with a girl she met only a month ago. “I’m not. Asshole.”
   She giggled. “Fine, but please text me and let me know you weren’t killed.”
   “I’ve got my pepper spray.”
   “And your Taser?”
   “And my Taser,” she said, rolling her eyes. She wasn’t sure why Mekena was even asking; she was the one who had stuffed it in her purse the day before. If nothing else, Mekena Preston was practical and smart, very smart.
   “Good, text me when you leave.”
   “Will do.”
   “Have fun. Find your forever!”
    Brie’s face scrunched up. “That is dumb, don’t ever say that again.”
   “Hey, everyone says that when they fall in love.”
   “God, I hope I don’t.”
    “You will.”
    “I won’t.”
    “Stop stalling. Go find your forever.”
    “That’s disgusting. Bye,” Brie complained before hanging up and then tucking her phone into her pocket and taking in a deep breath. Looking around the room, she noticed there was a decent men-to-women ratio, which was good. She didn’t want to be the only chick in the middle of a sausage fest. While she wanted some sausage, she only needed one. A large one, thick, some girth, mmm… Great, now she was hungry. Pressing her hand to her belly, she rolled her eyes. She needed help.
   Or, again, to get laid.
   Maybe she should just go home with the first able-bodied man.
    When a large, round man stopped in front of her, her eyes widened. He was easily twenty years older than her thirty-two years and he was losing his hair, but he was trying to cover it with a toupee. People still wore those? Pointing at her, he smiled with bright yellow teeth. “Hey, sugar, make sure to stop at my table.”
   “Ugh, sure,” she blurted out before hightailing it to the left.
   She would not be going home with that guy. No matter how desperate she was.
   Standing in the back, she looked over the sea of people as the announcer explained what they were to do. The sad thing was, this wasn’t her first time, so she knew what to do. Last time, she hated it and met no one, but maybe this time would be different. Letting out a long groan, she shook her head. If she could be normal and meet someone in a coffee shop or at her job, that would be awesome. But she hadn’t had luck with guys her whole life.
   She wasn’t one of those serial daters or even a casual one. She dated for a reason, and because of that, she had only been in two serious relationships. Both were ended by the guy, which did nothing for her confidence. Both times she didn’t see it coming, and that alone was depressing as hell. Especially Matthew. She loved Matthew—a lot. But when her mom died, he said it was too much and left her high and dry. Not only did she have to pick up the pieces of her heart and Rod’s from her mother’s death, but then she had to pick up the extra pieces of her heart from Matthew’s departure. It was horrible, and because of that experience, she was a little scarred by relationships.
   Okay, a whole lot scarred. But she was coming up on a new year, and it was time to turn over a new leaf. She wanted the happiness that being with a guy could provide. It had taken her a long time to love herself again. After the grief was no longer overwhelming, after the pain of Matt was gone, she was ready to love once more. It was time, time for her to venture out and find that guy. The… There was no way she was saying the forever guy, but something along those lines.
   “So let’s get started!” the announcer said, and then she rang a really annoying cowbell. Taking the cue, Brie went to the first table and sat down as a guy with hair longer than hers did. He was decent-looking, but no spark whatsoever. Maybe it would come?
   “Hey, I’m Brian.” Brie smiled.
   “Hi, I’m Brie.”
   “Ha, like the cheese.”
    She blinked. “Excuse me?”
    “The cheese. I love Brie, it’s my favorite. I wonder if you taste like Brie? Wanna get out of here?”
    She blinked once more and then let out a hard laugh. “So let me get this straight,” she said, leaning on the table. “First, you compare me to cheese, and not even the most exclusive cheese, kind of midrange. And then you want me to go home with you?”
   He shrugged like that was a normal exchange.
   “Yeah.” “Yeah, no. And fuck-you-very-much,” she said, standing up just as the bell rang. Thankfully. Moving down the chair, she skipped the guy from earlier, the balding dude, and sat down as a very attractive, clean-cut guy sat down. And wowza, was he gorgeous. Big blue eyes, wonderful angles to his face, and thick, yummy shoulders. He reminded her of someone…but… Whoa, not now, Soledad.
   With a bright smile, she said, “Hey, I’m Brie.”
   “Tim, nice to meet you,” he said, matching her grin as he looked her up and down. “Let me guess, a doctor?” She laughed. “Reporter for the Nashville Assassins.” His eyes lit up. “Go Assassins!”
   She smiled as she nodded. “Greatest team in the league.”
   “Agreed, but I’m sad. I could have sworn you were a doctor. That would have worked for me since I’m a lawyer, and I need someone to deal with my crazy hours.”
   “Well, I need that too because I leave a lot.”
   “Oh, well then, hi,” he said, leaning on the table, and she did the same.
   “Hi.”
   “Family?” She nodded. “A little brother.”
   “What’s his name?”
   “Rodney.”
   “Is he in town?”
   “Yup, over at Riverdale.”
   His brows pulled together. “Riverdale? Isn’t that the old folks’ home?”
   “They also have a facility for people with Down syndrome.”
   “I didn’t know they kept retards too. That place stinks, I had an aunt die there.”
   Oh, look, there went all the attraction she even thought she had for this piece of junk. Swallowing hard, she stood slowly and then tucked her chair in. “Actually, not all people with Down syndrome have mental challenges. My brother is highly intelligent. You wouldn’t even know he had Down syndrome if he didn’t have the physical characteristics.”
   He shrugged, waving her off. “Same thing.”
   She could only blink. “You know what isn’t the same? A dick-fuck and a cuntasaurus.”
   “Um—”
   “But you know what? You’re both of those,” she yelled. “And we are done.”
   “Your loss, sweetheart.”
   “No, you piece of dog shit, it’s your loss because I am fucking amazing,” she announced before turning on her heel and walking straight out of the speed-dating event.
   Fuck guys.
   They sucked.

 

 

My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?
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