[Excerpt & Promo] Moonlight Seduction – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Welcome to my promo for Moonlight Seduction. In today’s post, I’m thrilled to be sharing with you the Synopsis, pre-order links, the very first chapter and an amazing pre-order offer!

Cover

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Synopsis

 The de Vincent brothers are back—and so is the intrigue that surrounds them—in New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s sizzling new novel…

Nicolette Bresson never thought she’d return to the de Vincents’ bayou compound. It’s where her parents work, where Nikki grew up… and where she got her heart broken by Gabriel de Vincent himself. Yet here she is, filling in for her sick mother. Avoiding Gabe should be easy, especially when so much of Nikki’s time is spent trying not to be stabbed in the back by the malicious hangers-on who frequent the mansion. But escaping memories of Gabe, much less his smoking-hot presence, is harder than expected—especially since he seems determined to be in Nikki’s space as much as possible.

Gabriel spent years beating himself up over his last encounter with Nikki. He’d wanted her then, but for reasons that were bad for both of them. Things have now changed. Gabe sees more than a girl he’s known forever; he sees a smart, talented, and heartbreakingly beautiful woman… one who’s being stalked from the shadows. Now, Gabe will do anything to keep Nikki safe—and to stop the de Vincent curse from striking again.

Released on June 26th 2018


Pre-Order Links

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2BycJEF
BARNES & NOBLE: http://bit.ly/MoonlightSeductionJLA-BN
BOOK DEPOSITORY: http://bit.ly/MoonlightSeductionJLA-BookDepository

ADD TO GOODREADS >>> http://bit.ly/MoonlightSeductionJLA-GR

Pre-Order Offer

DIRECT LINK: http://bit.ly/MOONLIGHTSEDUCTIONS-PREORDEROFFER

RULES/INFO:

  • Preorder an ebook or print copy of Moonlight Seduction by Jennifer L. Armentrout and get an exclusive de Vincent bonus story sent via email!
  • Open Internationally
  • You must upload a copy of their preorder receipt of Moonlight Seduction to be eligible.
  • The de Vincent bonus story will be emailed after the release Moonlight Seduction (6/26/18)

Chapter 1

Six years later . . .

It took every ounce of self-control for Gabriel de Vincent to stand back and do nothing. Just stand there and watch him being led away, but that’s what he had to do, because that’s what he’d promised and Gabe tried to be a man of his word.

Sometimes he failed at that. Failed at that in ways that haunted him late at night, but he wouldn’t go back on this.

He’d promised them three uninterrupted months.
That’s what he was going to give them.
His jaw ached from how hard he was clenching it as the Rothchilds walked back into the restaurant. He didn’t take his eyes off them, not until he couldn’t see them anymore. Only then did he look at the slip of paper.

Looking down at the drawing of puppy on a piece of blue construction paper, he felt the worst mix of emotions. Sadness. Pride. Helplessness. Hope. Fury that he’d never tasted before. He had no idea how one person could feel all of that at once, but he did.

A wry smile tugged at his lips. There was definitely talent in the drawing. Real skill. The de Vincent knack for the arts was still kicking around it seemed.

His gaze flickered over what was written in a blockish handwriting. He’d already read in three times, but couldn’t bear to read it a fourth time. Not right now. He didn’t want to fold the paper and created creases in it, so he was careful as he carried it back to where he was parked.

“Gabriel de Vincent.”

Frowning at the vaguely familiar voice, he turned around. A man stepped out from behind a truck. Dark, square sunglasses shielded half the man’s face, but Gabe recognized him.

He sighed. “Ross Haid. To what do I owe the honor of seeing you in Baton Rouge?”

The reporter for the Advocate gave one of what Gabe assumed was a trademark half grin; the kind that probably got him into a places and events he sure as hell didn’t belong in. “Headquarters are here. You know that.”

“Yeah, but you work out of the New Orleans office, Ross.”

He shrugged a shoulder as he neared Gabe. “I had to come up to headquarters. Heard through the grapevine that a de Vincent was in town.”

“Uh-huh.” Not for one second did Gabe believe that. “And you just happen to hear that I was at this restaurant?”

The smile kicked up a notch as he ran a hand over his blond hair. “Nah. Seeing you here was just luck.”

Bullshit. Ross had been sniffing after his family for about two months now, trying to get to one of them when they were out at dinner or at an event, showing up at nearly every damn function one of them was attending. But back home, in New Orleans, Ross had trouble getting near them. Well, he had troubled getting to the one he really wanted to talk to which was Gabe’s older brother.

Didn’t require any leap of logic to figure out what was going on. Somehow Ross had heard that Gabe was here, and that’s why Ross conveniently ended up here. Normally he could tolerate Ross’ incessant questioning. Hell, he sort of liked the guy, appreciated his determination, but not when Ross was here and something he didn’t want a reporter finding out mere feet away.

Lowering his sunglasses, Ross eyed Gabe’s ride. “Nice car. Is it one of the new Porsche 911s?”

Gabe raised his brows.

“Family business must be going well. Then again, the family business is always going strong, isn’t it? The de Vincents are old money. The one percent of the one percent.” Gabe’s family was one of the oldest, linked all the way back to the days the great state of Louisiana was being created. Now they owned the most profitable oil refineries in the Gulf, coveted real estate all around the world, tech firms, and once his older brother married, they’d be in control of the one of the largest shipping industries in the world. So, yeah, the de Vincents were wealthy, but the car and nearly everything Gabe owned, he bought it with the money he worked for. Not the money he was born with.

“Some say that your family has so much money, that the de Vincents are above the law.” Ross straightened his sunglasses. “Seems that way.”

Gabe really didn’t have time for this. “Whatever you want to say, can you stop beating around the damn bush and get to it? I’m planning to head home sometime in the next year.”

The reporter’s smile faded. “Since you’re here and I’m here, and it’s damn hard to talk to you all any other time. I want to chat about your father’s death.”

“I’m sure you do.”

“I don’t believe it was a suicide,” Ross continued. “And I find it also convenient that Chief Cobbs, who openly and publicly wanted your father’s death investigated as a homicide ended up dead in a freak car accident.”

“Is that right?”

Frustration hummed off Ross about as loud as the damn locusts. “Is that all you got to say to me about this?”

“Pretty much.” Gabe grinned then. “That and you have an overactive imagination, but I’m sure you’ve heard that before.”

“I don’t think my imagination is nearly vast enough to compete with all the things the de Vincents have had their hands in.”

Probably not.

“Okay, I won’t ask you about your father or the chief.” Ross shifted his weight as Gabe opened his driver’s door. “Also heard some interesting rumors about some of the staff at the de Vincent compound.”

“I’m started to feel like you might be stalking us.” Gabe placed the drawing facedown on the passenger’s seat. “If you want to talk about staffing, then you need to have a chat with Dev.”

“Devlin won’t make time to talk to me.”
“That doesn’t sound like my problem.”
“It seems like it is now.”
Gabe laughed, but the sound was without humor as he reached inside, grabbing his sunglasses off the visor. “Trust me, Ross, this isn’t my problem.”

“You may not think so now, but that’ll change.” A muscle twitched along the man’s jaw. “I plan to blow the roof of every single damn secret the de Vincents have been keeping for years. I’m going to do a story that not even your family can pay to keep quiet.”

Shaking his head, Gabe slipped his sunglasses on. “I like you, Ross. You know I’ve never had a problem with you. So, I just want to get that out of the way. But you have got to come up with some better material, because that was cliché as shit.” He rested his hand on the frame of the car door. “You’ve got to know you’re not the first reporter to come around thinking they’re somehow going to dig some skeletons out of our closets and expose us for whatever the hell you think we are. You’re not going to be the last to fail.”

“I don’t fail,” Ross said. “Not ever.”
“Everyone fails.” Gabe climbed in behind the wheel.
“Except the de Vincents?”
“You said it, not me.” Gabe looked up at the reporter. “Some unasked for advice? I’d find another story to investigate.”
“Is there where you’re going to tell me to be careful?” He sounded oddly gleeful by the prospect. “Warn me off? Because people who mess with the de Vincents end up missing or worse?”

Gabe smirked as he hit the ignition key. “Doesn’t sound like I need to tell you that. Seems like you already know what happens.”  

Nikki stood in the center of the quiet and sterile kitchen of the de Vincent mansion, telling herself that she was not the same little idiot that almost drowned herself out in the pool six years ago.

She sure as hell wasn’t the same idiot who had spent years making an utter fool out of herself, chasing after a grown man. An act, which resulted in one of the worst ideas she’d ever had in the history of bad ideas.

And Nikki had a remarkable history of making not the brightest of all decisions. Her dad said she had a bit of wild streak in her, taking after Pappy, but Nikki liked to blame the de Vincents for the recklessness. They had this really bizarre talent of making everyone around them stick one toe into Recklessville.

Her mother claimed that most of Nikki’s bad decisions came from having a good heart.

Nikki had the habit of picking up strays—stray cats, dogs, a lizard here and there, even a snake, and humans, too. She was a bleeding heart, hating to see anyone she cared about in pain and she was oftentimes a bit overly affected by the troubles of strangers.

It was why she avoided the TV around the holidays, because they always played those heart-wrenching videos of freezing animals or children left to starve in war-torn countries. She hated everything about New Year’s Eve because of that and spent the week between Christmas and the first of January moping around.

There was a lot of Nikki that was the same as she was the last time she walked through this house. She still got emotionally invested in animals that didn’t belong to her—that was why she volunteered at the local animal shelter. She still couldn’t turn away from someone who needed help, and she still found herself in weird situations but reckless? Wild?

Not anymore.

Not since the last time she’d been in the house, right before she left for college. That had been four years ago and now she was back, and nothing and everything had changed.

“You okay, hon?” her father asked.

Turning to find her father standing just inside the large kitchen, she pulled herself out of her thoughts and smiled widely for him. Goodness, her dad was starting to look his age, and that scared her—truly terrified her. Her parents had her late in life, but she was only twenty-two, and she wanted another fifty years or so with them.

Nikki knew that wasn’t going to happen.
Especially now.
She forced those thoughts from her head. “Yes. I’m just . . . it’s weird being in here after being gone so long. The kitchen is different.”
“It was remodeled a few years back,” he replied. The mansion was constantly being remodeled it seemed. After all, how many times had this place caught fire since it was built? Nikki had lost count. Her father drew in a deep breath, and the lines around his mouth became more pronounced. He looked so tired. “I don’t know if I’ve said this to you or not, but thank you.”

She waved him off. “You don’t need to thank me, Dad.”

“Yeah, I do.” He walked over to where she stood. “You went away to college to do something better than this—better than cooking dinners and running a household. To become something better.”

Offended on his behalf, she crossed her arms and met his weary gaze. “There’s nothing wrong with cooking dinners and running a household. It’s good, honest work. Wok that put me through college. Right, Dad?”

“We take great pride in our job. Don’t get me wrong, but what your mother and I did all these years was so you could do something else.” He sighed. “So, it means a lot that you would come home to help us out, Nicolette.”

Only her dad and mom called her by her full name. Everyone else called her Nikki. Everyone except a certain de Vincent who shall remained nameless. He and only he called her Nic.

Her parents had worked for the de Vincents, one of the wealthiest families in the States and possibly the world, since long before she was born. It was weird growing up in this house, being privy to a lot of strange stuff—things the public has no idea about and would probably pay a large sum of money to learn. And personally? It was like she had a foot in two different worlds, one absurdly wealthy and the other middle working class.

Her father was basically a butler, except she always had a small suspicion that her father had . . . taken care of things for the de Vincents that no normal butler did. Her mother ran the day-to-day functions of the house and prepared the dinners. Both her parents loved working for the family and she knew both had planned to continue to the day they died, but her mom . . . .

Nikki’s chest squeezed painfully. Her mom was not well and it had happened so fast, coming out of nowhere. The dreaded C word.

“Honestly, this is perfect. I got my degree and this will give me time to figure things out.” In other words, figure out what the hell she wanted to really do with her life. Get to work or go for her master’s? She wasn’t sure yet. “And I want to be here while Mom is going through everything.”

“I know.” His smile wobbled a little as he brushed a strand of blondish-brown hair out of her face.

“We could’ve hired someone else to step in while your mother—”

“No, you couldn’t have.” She laughed at the mere thought of that. “I know how weird the de Vincents are. I know how protective you two are of them. I know how to keep my mouth shut and not see what I’m not supposed to. And you two don’t have to worry about someone new not keeping their mouth shut and not seeing what they’re not supposed to.”

Her dad arched a brow. “A lot of things have changed, honey.”

She snorted as she took in the white marble countertops with gray veining. Mom had filled her in on some of those changes during one of her chemo treatments. After all, what else did they have to talk about while she was being pumped full of poison that would hopefully kill only the cancer cells building in her lung?

Things in the de Vincent mansion that had changed.

For starters, the patriarch of the family, one Lawrence de Vincent, had hung himself a few months back. An act that had shocked her because she figured that man would’ve outlived a nuclear bomb. And Lucian de Vincent apparently had a live-in girlfriend and they were about to move into their own place. That was even more insane, the idea of Lucian settling down.

The Lucian she remembered put the play in player. He’d been an incorrigible flirt, leaving a string of broken hearts across the state of Louisiana and beyond.

She hadn’t met his girlfriend yet since they were away on some kind of trip; the rich rarely seemed to have much of a schedule. She just hoped whoever his girlfriend was, she was nice and nothing like Devlin’s fiancé.

Nikki might not have been around the de Vincents in four years, but she remembered Sabrina Harrington and her brother Parker.

Sabrina had just begun seeing Devlin the year before Nikki had left for college and that had been a year’s worth of snide comments and rather impressive disdainful looks. Nikki could deal with Sabrina though. If she was the same woman as she was before, she could be as mean as a cornered rattlesnake, but Nikki normally didn’t even register on her scale of people to pay attention to.

Parker though?

Nikki suppressed a shudder, not wanting to worry her father who was watching her like a hawk.

Parker had often stared at her the way she’d wanted Gabe to look at her, especially when she had grown brave enough to move from a one-piece bathing suit to a two-piece.

And Parker . . . he had done more than look.

She drew in a deep breath. She wasn’t going to think about Parker. He wasn’t worth a single thought.

What happened to Lawrence, and Lucian’s new romance weren’t the only things her mom had told her. She filled Nikki in on the whole sister reappearing and then disappearing again thing. Something that she knew the general public had no idea had even happened. She didn’t know the details around it, but Nikki knew that in typical de Vincent fashion, it had to the most drama-llama-est thing possible.

And she also knew better than to ask questions about it.
Her father stepped back. “The boys are all out.”Thank God and baby Jesus.“Devlin should be back this evening for dinner. He likes dinner to be ready at six. I believe Ms. Harrington will be joining him.”
Well, thanking God and baby Jesus lasted all of five seconds. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes and make a gagging sound. “Okay.”
“Gabriel is still in Baton Rouge, or at least, that’s the last I heard,” her father continued, ticking off the brothers’ schedules while she wondered what Gabe was doing in Baton Rouge. Not that she cared. She totally didn’t care whatsoever, but she wondered if it had anything to do with his woodworking business.

The man was talented with his hands.Really talented.
Her cheeks flushed as an unwanted memory of how his calloused palms felt pierced her straight through the chest. Nope. Not going there. Absolutely not.
There were examples of Gabe’s skill all around the house—the furniture, chair rails, and trim, even in the kitchen. All of the woodwork was designed and created by Gabe. As a little girl, she’d been fascinated with the idea of picking up a piece of wood and turning it into something that was truly a work of art. That fascination had turned into quite the hobby for Nikki.

It had started one long, fall afternoon when she was ten and she’d found Gabe outside, whittling away on a piece of wood. Out of boredom, she’d asked him to show her how he did it. Instead of shooing her off, Gabe had given her small scrapes of wood and showed her how to use a chisel.

She’d gotten pretty good at it, but she hadn’t picked up a chisel in over four years. Nikki refocused on what her dad was telling her.
“We’re a little understaffed right now,” her dad continued. “So there’s a lot of dusting in your near future. Devlin is very much like his father.”

Great.

That was not a compliment in her book.
“Is it the ghosts?” She half joked. “Scaring off the staff?”
Her father shot her a look, but she knew damn well that her parents believed this

house was haunted. Hell, they wouldn’t even come here at night unless it was a dire emergency. None of the staff would and everyone in town knew the legends about the land the de Vincent mansion sat on. And who hadn’t heard about the de Vincent curse more than a time or two?

Being in this house as much as she had been in the past, she had seen some weird things and heard some stuff that couldn’t be explained. Plus she grew up within minutes of New Orleans. She was a believer, but unlike her friend Rosie, whom she met in college, she wasn’t obsessed with all things paranormal. Nikki operated on the whole if- you-don’t-acknowledge-ghosts-they-can’t-bother-you theory and so far it had worked so far wonderfully.

Then again, Nikki had only come here at night once in her life, and that had not turned out well at all. So maybe ignoring ghosts didn’t work, because she liked to think

she was possessed by one of ghosts that supposedly wandered the halls, and that was what provoked her to do what she’d done that night.

Nikki was well aware of how the house was run because she’d spent most of her summer vacations in the house watching her mom, so she got to work pretty quickly once her father left her.

First thing first was tracking down what staff they did have at the house. Understaffed her butt! The only staff they had left was her dad; the landscaper who was constantly mowing grass it seemed or re-mulching; the de Vincent driver; and Mrs. Kneely, an older woman who’d done the laundry services since Nikki was a little girl.

Beverly Kneely actually owed her own laundry business and only came to the house three times a week to take care of the linens and clothing.

According to Bev, whom she found in the large mudroom at the back of the house, packing up clothing that needed to be dry-cleaned, over the last couple of months, nearly everyone had quit.

“So, let me get this straight.” Nikki smoothed back a few strands that had escaped the knot she’d pulled her hair up in. “The waiters are gone, as are the maids?”

Bev’s buxom chest heaved as she nodded. “It’s just been your parents for the last three months. I think all that work was wearing poor Livie down.”

Anger flashed through Nikki. Hadn’t the de Vincents noticed how thin and tired her mom had been getting? How quickly she got out of breath? “Why didn’t the de Vincents hire someone to help?”

“Your father tried, but no one around here wants to come close to this place, not after what happened.”

She frowned. “You’re talking about Lawrence? What he did?”

Bev tied up the bags. “Not like that wasn’t bad enough, but that wasn’t the straw the broke the camel’s back around here.”

Nikki had no idea what she was talking about. “I’m sorry. I don’t think I’ve been updated on all the crazy. What else happened?”

Looking around the room, Bev arched her brows as she headed toward the side door. “Walls got ears. You know that. You want to know what’s been going on here, you ask your father or one of the boys.”

Her lips pursed. She was so not asking the boys.

Bev stopped at the door and looked back. “I don’t think Devlin is going to be happy when he sees what you’re wearing.”

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” It was jeans and a black tee shirt. No way was she going to dress like her mom or her dad. Her willingness to help her parents did not extend to wearing uniforms.

She looked down at herself and saw the hole just below the knee.
Nikki sighed.
Devlin was probably going to have a problem with the hole, but what Nikki wanted to

know was what the hell had happened in this house to drive almost all the staff away?
It had to be something.
Not just because the de Vincents paid extraordinarily well, but also because her father hadn’t told her.
And that meant it was something really bad.


About Jennifer. L Armentrout

JLArmentrout-AuthorPhoto# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance.

She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over a hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more. She is also the creator and sole financier of the annual Write Your Way To RT Book Convention, a contest that gives aspiring authors a chance to win a fully paid trip to RT Book Reviews.


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[Exclusive Exerpt] Man Card By Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby

Today it’s my pleasure to share with you an excerpt from Man Card! I recently read this book and its soo funny! You can read my review here

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The Except

“Name your other favorite movies,” I challenge Braht.
“All of them?” He chugs his margarita.
“Hmm. Top ten? Top five?”
“That’s totally easy,” he says. Somehow I’ve gotten closer to him on the floor. When he sits back, I actually snuggle in beside him. He’s wearing a ridiculously soft shirt that feels good against my skin. And I watch with fascination as he ticks off the names of films on his fingers. “When Harry Met Sally. The Devil Wears Prada. Roman Holiday. Clueless. And Working Girl.”
I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. “Those are all chick flicks. You should just hand over your man card right now.”
“Not a chance.” Braht’s expression grows intense. “In the first place, I gave you a very thorough demonstration of my man card last week. I don’t remember hearing any complaints.”
I swallow hard, because this is certainly true.
“And secondly, you’re looking at this all backward.”
“I…am?” And why can’t I look away? He has the most beautiful, intelligent eyes.
“Yeah, you are,” he whispers. “It’s the guy who has a firm grip on his man card that can hold your purse. He’s not afraid to be seen with that Tory Burch you like to carry—nice color, by the way. He’ll free up your hands because he likes your hands, and he remembers all the terrific things you can use them for.”
“Oh,” I say slowly. Now my fingers itch to reach out for him. I have to make fists with both hands so I won’t do it.
“Furthermore, he’s not afraid to quote Working Girl. Because Joan Cusack is a genius. And who wouldn’t want to say Melanie Griffith’s best line out loud?”
I can’t help saying it with him, and together we sound like the world’s horniest Greek chorus: “I have a head for business and a body for sin.”
Sin sounds pretty good right now, actually. But Braht’s not done with his speech. “Any man who tells you that chick flicks are for pussies can’t be any good in bed. Because that man does not speak the language of women. He doesn’t know that a little luxury can erase a shitty day of worrying about your ex…”
Braht takes my hand in his and begins to massage it. He has a great technique, applying gentle pressure between each joint. I relax just a little bit more against him.
“…That man doesn’t speak the language because he’s afraid of sounding like a girl. But fuck that noise, honey bear. If a man doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe a satin teddy with peekaboo lace and mother-of-pearl snaps at the crotch, he can’t buy it for you and then strategically ask you to wear it. He can’t plan ahead to blow your mind sometime by lifting your skirt somewhere semi-public and dangerous. And he can’t get down on his knees and kiss that lace and then pop open those snaps while you bite your own hand to keep from screaming when you climax.” Braht takes a deep breath and lets it out in one hot gust. “Fuck. What was the point of this speech?”
“Um…” My voice is hoarse, and my face is suddenly very hot. Let’s not even mention my nipples. “Man cards, I think.” But I’m not sure, because everything tingles.
“Right,” he says with a sigh. “Still got mine. Shall we watch Working Girl next?”
“Okay,” I breathe, sinking a little further into his comforting embrace.

Man Card is out on the 15th January, preorder your copy here

200 Followers!

In the chaos that was New Year, I hit 200 followers!

I just wanted to take a few moments to say welcome to all you newbies and thank you for following me!

I was pretty happy when I hit the 100 mark so having doubled that in less than 6 months is amazing. I hope you find my posts entertaining and as fun as I do.

Copy of TY-2

Until Next Time! 🤓

Hooking Up – Helena Hunting: 1st Chapter

Hi Guys! So you may remember back in August I posted the Cover Reveal for Hooking up By Helena Hunting. Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you the first chapter.


One

Wedding Unbliss

Amie

This is the happiest day of my life. I allow that thought to roll around in my head, trying to figure out why it doesn’t seem to resonate the way it should. This should be the happiest day of my life. So I’m not exactly certain why the uneasy feeling I associate with cold feet is getting worse rather than dissipating. I’ve already done the hard part; walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

My husband excused himself to go to the bathroom several minutes ago and, based on Armstrong’s itinerary for the day, speeches are supposed to begin promptly at eight-thirty. According to my phone, that’s less than two minutes from now, and he’s not here. The emcee for the evening is awaiting Armstrong’s return before he begins. And then the real party can start. The one where we get to celebrate our commitment to each other as partners for life. As in the rest of my breathing days. Dear God, why does that make my stomach twist?

I sip my white wine. Armstrong pointed out that red is not a good idea with my dress, even though it’s my preference. Besides, I don’t want it to stain my teeth. That would make for bad pictures.

I glance around the hall and see my parents, who are probably celebrating the fact that I didn’t walk down the aisle with a convicted felon. And frankly, so am I. My dating history pre-Armstrong wasn’t fabulous.

The sheer number of people in attendance spikes my anxiety. Speaking in front of all of these people makes me want to drink more, which is a bad idea. Tipsy speeches

could lead to saying the wrong thing. I check my phone under the table again. It’s after eight-thirty. The longer Armstrong takes to return, the further behind we’ll get. The music playlist, devised by Armstrong with painstaking efficiency, leaves no room for tardiness. If we don’t start on time I’ll have to take out a song, or possibly two, to compensate for his delay and he’s selected the order in such a way as to make that difficult and that will annoy him. I just want today to be perfect. I want it to be reflective of my decision to marry Armstrong. That I, Amalie Whitfield, can make good choices and am not a disgrace to my family.

“Where the hell is he?” I scan the room and take another small sip of my wine. I should switch to water soon so I don’t end up drunk, especially later, when all of this is over and we can celebrate our lifelong commitment to each other without clothes on. I’m hopeful it will last more than five minutes.

Ruby, my maid of honor and best friend for the past decade, puts a hand on my shoulder. “Would you like Bancroft to find Armstrong?”

Bancroft, or Bane for short, is Ruby’s boyfriend who she’s been living with for several months. Recently I find myself getting a little jealous of how affectionate they still are with each other, even after all this time. Cohabitation hasn’t slowed them down on the sex or their PDA. I have hope that Armstrong and I will be more like Bane and Ruby now that we’ll be sharing the same bed every night.

I’m about to tell Ruby to give him another minute when a low buzz suddenly fills the hall. It sounds like a school PA system. I start to panic—they can’t start the speeches without Armstrong at my side. What’s the point of speeches if the groom isn’t present?

I’m halfway out of my seat, ready to tell the deejay, or whoever is behind the mic, he needs to wait, when a very loud moan echoes through the room. The acoustics are phenomenal in here, it’s why we chose this venue.

I glance at Ruby to make sure I’m not hearing things. Her eyes are wide. The kind of wide associated with shock. The same shock I’m feeling.

Another moan reverberates through the sound system, followed by the words, “Oh, fuuuck.”

A collective gasp ripples through the now-silent crowd. While the words themselves are scandalous among these guests, it’s the voice groaning them that makes me sit up straighter, and simultaneously consider hiding under the table.

“Fuck yeah. Ah, suck it. That’s it. Deep throat it like a good little slut. Fuuuuuccckkkkk.”

My mouth drops and I look to Ruby to ensure I have not completely lost my mind. “Is that—” I don’t finish the sentence. I already know the answer to the question, so it’s pointless to ask. Besides, I’m cut off by yet another loud groan. I clap a hand over my mouth because I’m not sure I’m able to close it, my disbelief is as vast as the ocean.

Ruby’s expression mirrors mine, except hers is incredibly animated since she’s an actress. “Oh my God. Is that Armstrong?” Her words are no more than a whisper, but they sound very much like a scream. Oh no, wait, that’s just Armstrong on the verge of an orgasm. But these sounds are nothing like the ones he makes when he’s in the throes of passion with me.

I clutch Ruby’s hand. The next sound that comes from him is a hybrid between a hyena laugh and a wolf baying at the moon. And every guest at our wedding is hearing

the same thing I am. Our wedding. Someone other than me is blowing my husband at my own wedding. My mortification knows no end.

I grab the closest bottle of wine and dump the contents into my glass. Some of it sloshes over the edge and onto the crisp white tablecloth. It doesn’t matter. There’s plenty more where it came from. I chug the glass, then grab Ruby’s.

People lean in and whisper to each other, eyes lift to the speakers. A few people, the ones who are probably just here for the social-ladder-climbing potential, question who it is.

“Is the deejay watching porn?” That comment comes from a table full of mostly drunk singles in their early twenties.

Several eyes shift my way as I carelessly down Ruby’s wine and someone asks where the groom has disappeared to.

The grunts and groans grow terrifyingly louder. This is nothing like what I’m used to in bed with Armstrong. The dirty words aren’t something he ever uses with me, mostly it’s just noises and sometimes a “Right there” or “I’m close,” but that’s about it. He’s never talked to me like he is to the woman currently providing oral pleasure. And I’m very adept at oral. Although with Armstrong it’s very polite, neat oral, with no sounds other than the occasional hum. Slurping is uncivilized and a definite no-no.

I reach past Ruby for the bottle of red since I don’t really give a flying fuck about purple teeth right now. As I sink low in my seat I pour another glass of wine, surveying the people in the ballroom from behind the cover of the centerpiece. The centerpieces are huge and excessive and I don’t like them at all, but at least provides a protective barrier between the guests and my disgust, which I’m certain they must share. He sounds like a

wild animal rutting. It is entirely unsexy. I have no idea who he’s getting intimate with, but I’m suddenly very glad it’s not me.

And doesn’t that tell me more about our relationship than it should.

It’s only been about thirty seconds—the most humiliating thirty seconds of my life—before Armstrong comes. How do I know this? Because he says, very clearly, “Keep sucking, baby, I’m coming.”

And “baby,” whoever she is, makes these horrific gurgling noises. It sounds like some form of alien communication. It’s way over the top, and apparently Armstrong is loving it, based on the string of vile profanity that spews from his asshole mouth.

“Holy crap. Is this for real? That was really fast,” Ruby mutters.

I guzzle my glass of wine. Then decide the glass is unnecessary and take a long swig from the bottle before Ruby snatches it away. Wine dribbles down my chin and onto my chest, staining the white satin purple. My dress is ruined. I should be freaking out. But I really don’t care.

“Come on,” Ruby tugs on my hand. “We need to get you out of here while people are still distracted.”

My older brother Pierce and the emcee are standing in the middle of the hall, gesturing wildly to the speakers above us. My other brother, Lawson, is on his way toward the podium in an attempt to do something. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to stop this train wreck from there.

Ruby tugs again, but I’m frozen, still trying to figure out what exactly just happened. Well, I know what’s happened. I just can’t believe it.

The sound of a zipper and the rustle of clothes follows. “Thanks for that, now I’ll be able to last later tonight,” Armstrong says.

“What about me?” A female asks. Her voice is nasally and whiny. “What about you?”
“Well I helped you, aren’t you going to help me?”
“Didn’t you come with a date?”

“Well, yes, but—” God her voice is familiar. I just can’t figure out where I know it from.

“My cousin, right? He loves my sloppy seconds. Speeches are starting. I gotta get back to my ball and chain.”

Gasps of horror ripple through the room, followed by a few giggles. These people really are assholes.

I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe he’s going to come out here and pretend nothing just happened. Like some other woman didn’t just have her lips around his cock. His distinctly average cock. Maybe even slightly below average in length, if I’m being one hundred percent honest.

A door opens and closes.

Lawson turns on the mic behind the podium and taps it, sending screeching feedback through the room, making people cringe. Too bad no one did that a minute ago.

Murmuring grows louder and glances flicker to the head table and then away as Brittany Thorton, a seriously skanky debutante, comes strutting through the doors, using a compact to check her lipstick. She’s made it her mission to attempt to get into the pants

of half the eligible men in this room. She’s followed, not five seconds later, by a very smug-looking Armstrong.

“I’m going to kill him.” I grab the closest steak knife, but it appears my hasty, and possibly felonious, plan is unnecessary. My brothers leave their respective posts and stalk toward him. Across the room my mother is gripping my father’s arm, whispering furiously in his ear. Great. Just what I need, additional family drama.

“Oh shit,” Ruby gasps.

I follow her gaze to find Bane converging on Armstrong with my brothers. Bancroft is a tank and he used to play professional rugby. I’ve seen him with his shirt off, he’s built like a superhero and he’ll probably crush Armstrong, or at least break something. Possibly multiple somethings.

For a second I consider that Ruby should probably stop Bane from destroying Armstrong’s pretty, regal face, but then I realize I don’t actually care. In fact, the possibility that he might break Armstrong’s perfectly straight nose fills me with glee. Armstrong’s wellbeing is no longer my concern, it’s more about Bane ending up in prison for murder.

“I hope Armstrong has a good plastic surgeon, he’s going to need it once Bane is done with him.” Ruby echoes my internal hopes and her chair tips as she jumps up. “Come on, let’s get you out of here.” She nods to the right.

I notice my mother and father engaged in a heated discussion with Armstrong’s parents. I really don’t need this right now. Not the drama. Not the humiliation. All I wanted was a nice wedding. Instead I end up with a husband who gets a blow job during our reception—and it’s broadcast to everyone attending.

Ruby urges me into action. “Don’t worry about them. Get your stuff and we’ll get you the hell out of here. I’ll have the limo meet you by the entrance near your bridal suite as soon as I can.”

I nod and stumble unsteadily to my feet, thanks to having consumed the better part of a bottle of wine in the last minute and a half. It’s amazing how ninety seconds can change a person’s entire life.

All hell breaks loose as more men jump in to either pummel or extract Armstrong from the pummeling. I grab my clutch and phone from the table, gather up my stupid, too puffy gown, and head for the bridal suite, where I had prepared for what was supposed to be the most amazing day of my life. And now it’s likely the worst, at least I hope the mortification level I’m experiencing can’t exceed this. I feel like the foulest version of Cinderella ever.

I rush down the empty hall and grab the doorknob as I fumble around in my clutch for the key. I’m surprised when it turns. I thought I’d locked it before we left for the ceremony. Regardless, I need to get away from everyone before I either lose it or commit a felony. Maybe both. Murder in the first. Armstrong will be my victim. And maybe that horrible skank, Brittany.

I thrust the door open and slam it closed behind me, locking it from the inside. Tears threaten to spill over and ruin my makeup. Not that it matters since there’s no way I’m going out there again. I can’t believe my forever lasted less than twelve hours. I can’t believe the man I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life loving couldn’t be faithful to me for even one day. What the hell is wrong with me? With him? I’m as devastated as I

am angry and embarrassed. Once I annul this farce of a marriage I’ll become a spinster. I should probably go ahead and adopt six or seven cats tonight.

“I need to get out of this dress,” I say to myself. I reach behind me and pull the bow at the base of my spine. Instead of unfurling, it knots and I only succeed in pulling it tighter. Of course my dress has to be difficult. I growl my annoyance and rush over to my dressing table where my makeup and perfume are scattered from earlier today. Half a mimosa sits unconsumed beside the vase of red roses Armstrong had delivered.

The card read: I can’t wait to spend forever loving you.

What a load of bullshit. I drain the contents of the champagne flute, not caring that the drink is warm and flat. Then I throw the glass, because it feels good and the sound of shattering crystal is satisfying. Next I heave the vase of roses, which explodes impressively against the wall, splattering water and shards of glass across the floor.

I yank out a couple of the drawers and find a pair of scissors. They actually look more like gardening shears and seem rather out of place, but I don’t question it. Instead I reach behind me with my back to the mirror and awkwardly try to cut myself free. It’s not easy with the way I have to crane my neck.

“Goddammit! I need to get out of this stupid dress!” I yell at my reflection. I think I might actually be losing it just a touch now. I stop messing around with the laces in the back and shove the scissors down the front. I nearly nick myself with the blade—they’re a lot sharper than I realized—but that doesn’t slow me down. I start hacking my way through the bodice; layers of satin, lace, and intricate beading sliced apart with every vicious snip.

I just want out of this nightmare.

PDF Version here for easier reading.


About the Author

NTY and USA Today Bestselling author of The PUCKED Series, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance to romantic comedy, sports romance and angsty new adult romance.

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COVER REVEAL: HOOKING UP – HELENA HUNTING

Hi, fellow book nerds!

I’m super excited to bring you a cover reveal today, so without further ado, I present to you:

Hooking Up.jpg

Blurb:

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is a standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy.

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About the Author

NTY and USA Today Bestselling author of The PUCKED Series, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance to romantic comedy, sports romance and angsty new adult romance.

 

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100 Followers

Today I received my 100th follower!

I just wanted to take a few moments to say thank you. In the big scheme of things 100 followers is probably not that big of a deal but for me it’s a huge achievement!

So thank you! I am so grateful to each new follower I get on here. The positivity in the community is really nice and I look forward to welcoming more new followers as time goes on.

TY

Until Next Time!!

Tracey-J 🤓

Let’s Talk (#9) – Reading Challenge’s

At the beginning of this year, I set myself a GoodReads challenge of reading 150 books, however by the time it got to April/May time I was wayyy behind schedule and feeling under pressure which resulted in me feeling rather stressed out and this started to suck the joy out of reading. So I made the decision to adjust my goal slightly. My newish challenge is 120 books.

As we are halfway through the year I thought it would be fun to have a look at some of my other reading statistics from this challenge. I present to you my first ever personally made infographic:

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I didn’t actually realize how many books I’d rated 5 stars until I made this graphic which was a nice surprise. I’m pretty happy to be 64 books in, I’m 5 books ahead of schedule now that has definitely eased the pressure as well.

One other thing that I forgot to add which I think is pretty cool is that so far this year I have read 18,604 pages!!

So have you set yourself a reading challenge? Are you managing to keep to on schedule? I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time! 🤓

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I’m so chuffed to have been nominated for this. A great big thank you to Book Huntress for my nomination!! Be sure to check out her blog if you haven’t already.

About the “Mystery Blogger Award”

 “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

This award was created by Okoto Enigma @ Okoto Enigma’s Blog

RULES:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You nominate people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Me:

1. I love to stargaze!

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2. Watching movies is my second favorite thing to do (reading is obviously first!)

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3. I’m a lifelong introvert, to the point that some days it’s a real chore having to interact with people.

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Book Huntress Questions:  

1. Can you say that you are addicted to books?

Yes! and I can say this with confidence because my TBR list is going way up, despite the fact that I’m 6 books ahead on GoodReads reading challenge!

2. What do you do to the books you didn’t like? Do you keep them? Throw them? Give them away?

If it’s on my Kindle then I remove the book from my device. If it’s a physical book I give them away.

3. If you’ll be a writer, what genre will your books be categorized?

Either Young Adult or New Adult.

4. Have you ever tried talking to some stranger because of books?

On the internet, yes, all the time. Real life no not ever.

5. Funny/Crazy question) Have you ever tried looking funny outside (mostly on public places) whenever you read a book and a particular scene makes you angry that it made you rant loudly? If yes, can you tell a short story about it?

Hmm, ok so I do a big chunk of my reading on my commute to work, the thing that happens to me the most is when I’m reading really sad or a happy ending part of the story I almost always tear up! Which is majorly awkward. I end up sitting there blinking like my eyes like a lunatic!


I Nominate:

Mad Tea Party Book Reviews

 Never Not Reading

Where Book Addicts Meet


My Questions:

  1. 1.What’s the biggest challenge you have faced as a blogger?
  2. If you could choose to be any character from any book, who would you be?
  3. What book have you re-read the most?
  4. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
  5. Where is the strangest place you’ve read a book?

My Best Post

This has to be my discussion post I did a few weeks ago: Let’s Talk (#4) Tamlin the Man Behind the Mask

and that’s all from me. Until next time! 🤓

 

 

Rapid Fire Book Tag!

Summer has officially arrived! It’s warm and humid out but I’m not complaining too much because sunshine! Yay!! Anyways it’s Sunday and for some reason, I do quite liking doing a tag on this day! Not sure why but let’s just go with it!

I found this tag on Going Through Books, which a pretty cool blog make sure you check it out and it was originally created by GirlReading.  This tag is a series of random book-related questions.

E-Book or Physical Book? 

E-books and this is purely for convenience because it allows me to carry almost my entire book library around with me.

Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback – because I find them more comfortable to read than a hefty hardback.

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Both – I probably do more online book shopping but I do love browsing book shops.

Trilogies or Series?

Depends on my mood, I enjoy both.

Heroes or Villains?

I’m a sucker for a hero!

A book you want everyone to read?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas– I’m obsessed with this entire series!

Recommend an underrated book?

With This Heart by R.S Grey – This book totally took me by surprise with how good it is.

The last book you finished?

Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Last Book You Bought? 

I bought these together: Forces of Nature by Brian Cox and Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

A lollypop stick

Used Books: Yes or No?

Yes

Top Three Favourite Genres?

  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Paranormal

Borrow or Buy?

Buy

Characters or Plot?

I kinda feel you need both for a book to be really good.

Long or Short Books?

In general Long but if the story is good I don’t really mind

Long or Short Chapters?

Both – depending on the story and writing style

Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

The Foxe and the Hound (R.S. Grey) really made me laugh there were so many funny moments!

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional Worlds

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes

Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Yes I have and I do this quite often which is really bad and it’s a habit I’m trying to break

Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations? 

Defiantly Book to TV Adaptations.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book? 

The Vampire Diaries and PS I Love You.

Series or Standalones?

I’d don’t have a preference, it usually depends on my mood.


That’s it, please feel free to have a go and link back to me so I can see your answers!

Update & New Post Announcement

Update: A new look for Books & Other Pursuits!

Hi, I hope you are all having a great weekend.

As you may have noticed over the last month or so I have given this blog a brand new look. It’s running a new theme: Toujours. I have designed a brand new header image along with new feature image templates for each post. Basically, all the big things have been replaced. I have also changed the color scheme and fonts that I’m using.

Here are some before and after photos:

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Before
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After

Overall I’m pretty happy with how it has turned out, I think it looks like a proper blog now. I’m hoping this is it in terms of big changes. I’m still working on smaller things like page dividers and add an “add to GoodReads” graphic etc.


New Post Announcement.

When I first decided I wanted to start a blog I knew I wanted it to be mainly focused on books but I also wanted to leave it open so that if I did want to discuss other things I could, hence the name “Books & Other pursuits.” Now that I have a rhythm with the bookish it part of this blog I feel it’s time to expand a little.

So I’m super excited to announce that I will be posting a monthly post called “Other Pursuits” in which I will be giving you a round up of everything else I have been up to during the last month. Things that will feature are; what I’ve been watching on TV, Movies that I’ve enjoyed and anything else I think might be interesting or significant that it needs a mention.

These posts will be scheduled to go live either on the last day or the first day of the month depending on what day it happens to fall on because I don’t want it to interfere too much with the other things I post weekly.


That’s all from me, this should be the last update a do for awhile!

– See you on the flipside! 🤓