Hate the Player, a slow burn and hilarious romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe is LIVE EARLY!


Hate the Player (official 9x6)

“Roses are red, violets are blue, stay away from Andrew Watson’s *ahem* because no other women ever do.”

That’s quite the way to start a conversation at a casual lunch, huh? Grilled chicken, French fries, and pelvic-fatigue, oh my!

And that’s not even the worst of it.

My friend Raquel didn’t pull any punches when she warned me about my brand-new co-star and his notoriously player-esque ways. Apparently, my most important mission on my first role in a feature film is to stay immune to his charms.

Are you kidding me? Production costs on this movie are in the hundreds of thousands a day, and staying away from a panty-whispering, vajayjay-charmer is supposed to be at the top of my list? Pfft. Puh-lease.

It doesn’t matter that he’s annoyingly attractive, uber rich, crazy famous, and lusted after by ninety percent of the female population; Andrew Watson is trouble with a capital T—especially for a woman like me.

As a preventative measure, I’ve decided to go ahead and hate him.

Don’t worry, you guys, I’m completely in control. There’s absolutely no way I’m going to do something stupid like fall in love with him.

I can hate the player but still secretly love his addictive game.

I’m sure of it.

HTP - early AN

Download your copy today or read for Free on Kindle Unlimited!


Amazon Worldwide:

Add Hate the Player to Goodreads:

HTP - Teaser 5

About Max Monroe

A duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.

Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.

Connect with Max Monroe





Stay up to date with Max Monroe by joining their mailing list today:



The Butterfly Room, an all-new unforgettable, second-chance-at-love romance from #1 International bestselling author Lucinda Riley, is available now!

“Lucinda Riley once again has written a masterful saga.”– People Magazine

The Butterfly Room_300dpi (1)

Full of her trademark mix of unforgettable characters and heart-breaking secrets, The Butterfly Room is a spellbinding, second-chance-at-love story from #1 International bestseller Lucinda Riley.

Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday. Still living in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, set in the glorious Suffolk countryside where she spent her own idyllic childhood catching butterflies with her beloved father, and raised her own children, Posy knows she must make an agonizing decision. Despite the memories the house holds, and the exquisite garden she has spent twenty-five years creating, the house is crumbling around her, and Posy knows the time has come to sell it.

Then a face appears from the past – Freddie, her first love, who abandoned her and left her heartbroken fifty years ago. Already struggling to cope with her son Sam’s inept business dealings, and the sudden reappearance of her younger son Nick after ten years in Australia, Posy is reluctant to trust in Freddie’s renewed affection. And unbeknown to Posy, Freddie – and Admiral House – have a devastating secret to reveal…

TBR out now

Download your copy today!

Apple Books:
Amazon Worldwide:

Add THE BUTTERFLY ROOM to Goodreads:

Meet Lucinda

Kirjailija Lucinda Riley ||| Author Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and sold twenty million copies worldwide. She is a No.1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller.

Lucinda is currently writing The Seven Sisters series, which tells the story of adopted sisters and is based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. It has become a global phenomenon, with each book in the series being a No.1 bestseller across the world. The series is currently in development with a major Hollywood production company.

Connect with Lucinda


Connect with
Blue Box Press


Blog Review | The Breaking Season


5 Star Review!!

The Breaking Season had me at Hello!!!! I mean literally, I was lost in this book since page one. I think I was intrigued by this book since we were first introduced to Katherine Van Pelt. I mean just saying her name out loud makes you kind of feel that you need to be part of the Crew.

So we knew there was an arranged marriage between Katherine and Camden. I loved to hate Camden and Katherine. The Breaking Season title fits this story down to the T!

These two have to break each other down and it gets very messy. Heart wrenching messy. I had to catch my breath a few times.

Ya’all you need to read this story ASAP!!!! I could not put this book down and stayed in my PJs all weekend long hooked on this story!!!!


Release Date: July 21
A sexy arranged marriage romance from USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde…


I signed on the dotted line. A marriage contract to seal my union with the devil.



I thought I knew what I was doing. His money and name were mine for the taking. But Camden Percy always gets exactly what he wants. And what he wants is me—my body, my obedience, my surrender.




He wants to break me.




But I’m Katherine Van Pelt. I’ll never break. I’ll never beg. I’ll never give in.




Except I promised him one more thing—a baby. A Percy heir.




There’s no way out of this one. Either I comply or lose everything. Do I risk the husband I’m just learning to love or is this my breaking season?


Grab Your Copy Here:

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Kobo | Google Play 

Meet K.A. Linde
K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of the Avoiding Series, Wrights, and more than thirty other novels. 
She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. 
She loves reading fantasy novels, binge-watching Supernatural, traveling, and dancing in her spare time.


She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super-adorable puppies.
Visit her online at FacebookTwitter, and Instagram @authorkalinde.
Join her newsletter for exclusive content, free books, and giveaways every month.

Hosted By:


Blog Review | Winning My Best Friend’s Girl | New Book Alert!

Blog Review

5 King Stars!!!

Are we really on The Bailey’s Book #8???? I can’t remember when I was ever fully invested in a book series that makes me feel like I am finally home! I have loved the Bailey’s since Austin and Holly’s story. We go down through the line and I felt like Kingston was always the one that stayed in the dark. He was always in Anchorage and away for the most part. So I buckled up because I knew that we were in for a ride!

I love Stella. She is the Achilles to Kingston’s heel. I was almost frustrated with these two at the get go. They needed to stop worrying about the past and get on with the now. But how Piper Rayne through in a wrench when history almost repeated itself. There was a little angst, but not too bad. It was a slow burn for these two, but believe me when I say you will not be disappointed. I am so excited or Sednona’s and Jamison’s book next! There is a surprise at the end that I am dying to know how it happened! Folks! You need The Bailey’s in your life. I know I do ❤


Release Date: July 21

Imagine lying in a hospital bed and the doctor who pulls the curtain back to treat you is the one who got away. Even if you never really had her in the first place. She’s not only your high school crush, she’s the ex-girlfriend of your ex-best friend. The one girl you’ve always wanted.

Here’s a step-by-step list to finally win her over…
Key to win #1:  Try not to take offense that she snuck back into town without telling you—six months ago.
Key to win #2: Rekindle the friendship to ease the awkwardness. But… DO NOT enter the friend zone.
Key to win #3: Ignore the fact that she went speed dating the night before. Take it as good a sign—maybe she’s looking for a relationship.
Key to win #4: Attempt to keep the two of you out of the town gossip blog and away from your large family.
Make sure you don’t let this last one throw you off your mission. 
Key to win #5: Don’t get deterred when you find out the past is about to repeat itself. Because the man she met at the speed dating night is your best buddy from work.
Just remember, you sat back and let her slip away once, you won’t do it a second time. 
Failure is not an option.

Grab Your Copy Here:


Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU  

Amazon DE | Apple | Nook | Kobo | Google Play


Meet Piper Rayne: 

Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two USA Today Bestselling authors for the price of one. Our goal is to bring you romance stories that have “Heartwarming Humor With a Side of Sizzle” (okay…you caught us, that’s our tagline). 

A little about us…. We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We’re both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We’re both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too. 

Connect with Piper Rayne:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub | Goodreads 

Join our newsletter & get 2 FREE BOOKS!

Be one of our Unicorns!

Hosted By:


#CoverLove #Restraint

RESTRAINT by Adriana Locke

Release Date: August 3rd

Cover Designed by: Kari March, Kari March Designs

Add to Goodreads:

Sign up to receive an email when it’s live:

Or text the word Adriana to 21000 (US numbers only)


$10 Amazon Gift Cards Giveaway (5 winners):

Signed Paperback Giveaway (3 winners):

Join Adriana’s Facebook group for a week of fun:


Blaire Gibson knows better than to have one-night stands.

She prides herself on her decision-making skills. It’s the one asset that has never let her down. But even the best thinkers have weaknesses. Hers is a delicious business mogul with a quick tongue. Unfortunately for her, that tongue is good for more than just talking.

Holt Mason doesn’t need to justify anything to anyone.

He wants Blaire. He pursues Blaire. And he gets Blaire because that’s how his life works.

Until it doesn’t.

What begins as a single night in a hotel room spirals into an unusual agreement. As late nights provide the space to trade secrets and walls come tumbling down, more is shared than just pillow talk.

They both should’ve known better. They should’ve shown restraint. Because when guards are dropped, hearts get hurt.

*RESTRAINT is a brand-new standalone romance from USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke.

About the Author:
USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.

She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.

Connect w/Adriana:
Facebook Group:
Newsletter Signup:

This Love Hurts, the all-new all-consuming romance guaranteed to bring the heat from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Willow Winters is available now!


5 Star Review!!!!

This is what we all have been waiting for!!!! This Love Hurts is addictive, insanely unpredictable, and you wonder if you are losing your mind over this story. I love it all. I have been wondering what Marcus story would be like and believe me folks, it is everything you would never expect.

Delilah – well I worry for her. Seriously, I am wondering if her thoughts inside is what is happening around her. This book left me in a tizzy. My heart still flutters for Officer Walsh, but my heart skipped a few beats for Marcus!!!!

He is very much a mystery! But he is ready and so am I!! I need the next book and it will take me a couple of days to come down from this book high!!




USA Today Best Selling Author, Willow Winters, brings you an all-consuming, sizzling romance featuring an epic, anti-hero you won’t soon forget.

Some love stories are a slow burn. Others are quick to ignite, scorching and branding your very soul before you’ve taken that first breath. You’re never given a chance to run from it.
That’s how I’d describe what happened to us.

Everything around me blurred and all that existed were his lips, his touch…
The chase and the heat between us became addictive.

Our nights together were a distraction; one we craved to the point of letting the world crumble around us.

We should have paid attention; we should have known that it would come to this.
We both knew it couldn’t last, but that didn’t change what we desired most.

All we wanted was each other…


Download your copy today or read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon Worldwide:

Add THIS LOVE HURTS to Goodreads:



Even now, as I take each deliberate step through the glass double doors that slide open automatically as I approach and feel the cool breeze of early spring against my heated face, I try to rid myself of the memories that flash before my eyes.

The bar. The drinks. The feel of a chilled glass of white wine mixed with the scent of whiskey from the man next to me. The court cases and late nights spent getting lost in bed with a man I knew I shouldn’t be with. The flirtation, rules being broken.

My heels click as I remember losing my law license, as every dreadful moment returns with the stain of blood. So much blood. Acts of passion that couldn’t be taken back. The pain that’s already present mingles with so much more.

Wrapping my arms around myself, I attempt to protect my body from the wind but it’s useless. The weather isn’t what batters me.

The remembrance of his lips on mine and the searing heat of his light touch, force a gasp from me. It’s a short one full of longing, knowing those moments are now nothing more than lost ghosts of the person I was. Of the people we were before it all went to hell.

All of the memories are a cocktail that infuses into my conscious thoughts as I listen to my keys clink while I unlock the door to my sedan with a low beep that fills the practically vacant lot. From the time I entered the grocery store to now, a mere fifteen minutes at that, the sun has decided to set, casting a shade of red across the dark tree line of thick forest beyond the store parking lot and stealing the light that was here only a moment ago.

The leather seat groans and the door shuts with a loud thud. All I can do is sit here, my purse now on the console. My keys in my right hand, resting against my lap with the metal digging into my palm since I’m gripping them so tight. My breathing comes in faster and faster although I’m doing everything in my power to stay calm. He’ll be here soon.

When I hear the click of the back door opening, the one behind my seat, I close my eyes. He didn’t make me wait long.

He enters the car accompanied by a chill from the evening wind and the car rocks gently until he’s seated behind me and the door is shut. His scent fills my lungs first and as it does, I remember that I’ve been told that smell is the sense that holds the most memory. Maybe I read it somewhere, but I’ve never known something to be truer than that fact is now.

When I open my eyes, his chilling gaze is on mine in the rearview mirror and my treacherous heart chokes me in an attempt to escape. It hovers at the base of my throat, pounding viciously in protest.

I did always love him. There wasn’t a moment that I didn’t love him.

He knows that. He has to know that I still love him; we just simply couldn’t be together. We decided. We decided together.

“You said you’d let me go,” I whisper, speaking over my strangled breaths.

My gaze never leaves his, even as tears prick my eyes. Not until he answers me.

“I changed my mind.”

Meet Willow Winters

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 9.13.14 PM (1)

Willow Winters is so happy to be a USA Today, Wall Street Journal and #1 Contemporary Best Selling Author!

Willow started writing after having her little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during her pregnancy with Evie she continued to read and she only wanted to read romance. She was reading a book a day — sometimes two.

In January 2016 Willow was staying up late with Evie and just thinking of all these stories. They came to her constantly so she finally sat down and just started writing. She always wanted to do it so she figured, why not? Today Willow cannot be happier for making that decision!

Connect with Willow

W Winters:


Willow Winters:

Sign up to Willow’s newsletter and receive EXCLUSIVE content, sneak peeks, and FREE books monthly:




Title: From Spirit and Binding

Series: Elements of Five #3

Author: Carrie Ann Ryan
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Release Date: July 14, 2020
NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues Lyric’s
prophecy in this breathtaking sequel to From Flame and Ash.
In my quest to unlock four of my five elements, I have watched those I love
fade into ash and ruin. Bearing the weight of soul-crushing loss, my friends
and I must try to regroup and journey back to the only home I have left—the
Obscurité Court.

With the future uncertain, and the one person who could help my control my new
powers missing, I’ve never felt more lost.

The King of Lumière wants revenge for his lost brother, and I stand in his way.
With a missing king, a lost prince, and a few unexpected allies, I will have to
battle more than one enemy as the darkness wraps its claws in my future…and in
my heart.



Purchase Links

Also Available
FREE for a limited time!
Coming Soon
Releasing March 9, 2021
Author Bio
Carrie Ann
Ryan is the New York Times and USA
Today bestselling author of contemporary, paranormal, and young adult romance.
Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Fractured Connections, and
Elements of Five series, which have sold over 3.0 million books worldwide. She
started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry
and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over seventy-five novels and
novellas with more in the works. When she’s not losing herself in her emotional
and action-packed worlds, she’s reading as much as she can while wrangling her
clowder of cats who have more followers than she does.
Author Links


Today we have the release day blitz for What’s Left of Me by Kristen Granata! Check out the release day blitz and be sure to grab your copy today!

Title: What’s Left of Me
Author: Kristen Granata
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About What’s Left of Me:

“It’s very rare that an author surprises me. Kristen Granata didn’t just surprise me, she completely blew me away. If you love emotional, poignant, and healing romance, you simply cannot miss What’s Left of Me. A five-star must read and a lovely introduction for me to a new author I know I’ll love for years to come.” — Bestselling Author Kandi Steiner

Callie Kingston’s life as an Orange County housewife isn’t as perfect as it seems. Her husband isn’t the same man she fell in love with nine years ago, and her home is no longer her safe haven. But she’s determined to keep up appearances, especially when it comes to concealing the bruises her husband’s temper leaves behind.
Until Cole Luciano moves into her best friend’s house across the street. He’s abrasive and rude, but his steel-blue eyes tell a different story—one with dark secrets that has Callie curious.
After suffering through an unspeakable tragedy, Cole lives in his sister’s pool house until he can get back on his feet. He’s convinced that he deserves to live with the guilt he harbors from his past, and wants nothing more than to be left alone. Yet he can’t seem to stay away from his beautiful neighbor. He sees right through Callie’s carefully orchestrated lies and is desperate to help her.
Callie discovers more than an angry and bitter man underneath Cole’s hard exterior. But when Callie finally finds the courage to create a new life for herself, Cole isn’t sure if there’s enough of his heart left to give in order to be the man she deserves.
Can two broken souls heal each other, or are some just too damaged to be put back together?
*This book contains some graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

Get Your Copy Today!

Exclusive Excerpt:

I’m not getting out of bed today.
This is an amazing mattress. Just the right amount of firm-to-soft ratio. This comforter rocks too. It’s puffy but not suffocating. These sheets are a high thread count. Breathable. I did good when I picked these out. I could stay here all day. Don’t need to go grocery shopping. Who needs to eat when you have a mattress like this? Laundry? Pffft. I won’t need clothes if I stay in bed. This is the perfect solution to all of life’s problems.
But what is that awful smell?
A long, wet tongue slides across my cheek, and I groan. “Go back to sleep, Maverick.”
With my eyelids still closed, I reach out and smooth my fingers through my retriever’s fluffy fur. His tongue makes another pass over my cheek, and again, I’m hit with a blast of that stench.
My nose scrunches as my head jerks up off the pillow. “Maverick, did you eat your poop again?”
His head dips down, and he rests it on top of his front paws.
“Don’t give me those eyes! They’re not going to work on me this time.”
He leaps off the bed and bounds into the hallway, tail swatting from left to right as he waits for me at the top of the stairs.
Guess I’m getting out of bed.
I flip the comforter off my body, swing my legs to the side of the mattress, and jam my feet into my plush white slippers.
Once I’m vertical, my head throbs like someone dropped an anvil on it. I grip onto the cool iron bannister and take my time down the spiral staircase. Maverick waits at the bottom, his body thrashing like a shark from the momentum of his tail.
“You are way too awake for me right now, bud.”
He woofs in response and prances into the kitchen ahead of me.
When I stagger into the kitchen, sunlight streams through the windows, reflecting off the marble countertop and searing my retinas. I yank the cord on the blinds and bury my face in the crook of my elbow, hissing like Dracula.
Maverick plops down at my feet, nuzzling my ankle with his wet nose. We both jump when we hear the creak of the front door, and then he takes off into the foyer.
Paul strides into the kitchen, saturated in sweat from his morning run, and I hold my breath until his lips curve up into a smile.
“Good morning, gorgeous.”
Relief washes over me. “Morning. How was your run?”
Paul snatches a water bottle from the refrigerator and twists off the cap. “Four miles today.”
His royal-blue Under Armour T-shirt clings to his broad chest, the muscles in his biceps flexing with his movements. His blond strands are damp and disheveled, and his skin glows with a golden sheen.
I lift an eyebrow. “How is it that you look this sexy after a four-mile run?”
He grins. “How is it that you look this sexy when you just woke up?”
I huff out a sardonic laugh, knowing damn well I resemble the Crypt Keeper at the moment.
Paul leans in with puckered lips, but I make an X with my forearms in front of my face. “The poop-eating bandit got me. You might want to stay back.”
He looks down at Maverick, and as if he knows we’re talking about him, Maverick ducks around the corner of the island.
“You’re nasty, dog.”
“I’ll call the vet today. Maybe they’ll know how to deter him from eating his own feces.”
Paul leans his hip against the counter. “I think all dogs eat their own crap.”
“We have to watch him better when he’s out back. Stop it before he can get to it.” I walk around the island so I can start on breakfast. “I read something once that said dogs eat their poop when they’re lacking vitamins in their diet. Was it an article? Maybe Josie told me. I don’t know; I can’t remember. Either way—”
I stop moving and snap my fingers in front of Paul’s face. “Are you even listening to me?”
Paul shakes his head, his eyes roving over my body. “I haven’t heard one word since you stood up in those silky shorts.”
I smile and set a frying pan on top of the stove. “Please. This isn’t anything you haven’t seen before.”
“Yet it never gets old.” He closes the distance between us and stands behind me, trailing his hands up my arms.
I hum at his light touch, welcoming it. “Let’s hope you always think that.”
“I know I will.” He tilts my head to the side and presses his lips to my neck. One of his hands slips under my camisole, cupping my breast, while he tugs my shorts down with the other.
My head falls back against his shoulder, and a long exhale leaves my parted lips. “Don’t you have a meeting?”
“Just means we’ll have to be quick.” His fingers slide between my thighs and press inside me while his thumb rubs circles on my clit at the same time.
My legs quiver, and I reach forward to grip the edge of the counter. Paul gives my back a gentle push until my chest is pressed against the cool marble, and then he slides his length inside me.
“I love you,” he whispers at my ear, gripping my hips, pumping in and out of me in long, controlled strokes.
I arch my back to meet each of his thrusts, and his fingers return to my clit as he drives into me faster, harder, deeper. I moan, writhing against his hand, and his pace quickens.
I can feel the pleasure mounting in my core, the steady build like a rising wave. Soon, it crashes over me. I cry out as the spasms rack through my body. Paul goes under too, grunting as his hot liquid fills me.
He holds me there, pressing soft kisses to my shoulder, my neck, my temple. “This is what I’ve missed. I’m so glad we can finally get back to how things used to be.”
“Me too.”
And that’s my halfhearted truth.
I should relish in this feeling, the closeness, his gentle love, but my mind crawls toward the analytical place it always goes to, calculating the date, the time, the exact location in my cycle. My fingers itch to reach for my phone and click on the fertility app out of habit, but for the first time in three years, I don’t.
And after last night, I never will again.
With a pat on my backside, Paul pulls away and tucks himself back into his running shorts. “I’m hitting the shower.”
My eyes linger on his wide back and confident swagger as he leaves the room with his head held high, free from the anxious thoughts that plague me.
Guilt squeezes my chest when I think about everything that I’ve put him through over the past few years. The stress, the doctor’s appointments, all my tears.
No more.
Paul’s right. We need to get back to the way we used to be. Back before I became obsessed with starting a family. Before I plunged into depression and dragged him down with me. Before the people we were when we got married turned into strangers.
It’s time to put it to rest.
And it’s up to me to do it.
I can be better.
I can find happiness again.
I straighten my camisole, pull up my shorts, and start gathering the ingredients I need for breakfast.
The kitchen is my favorite room in this entire house. Beautiful marble countertops; tall, white cabinets; stainless steel appliances. Paul had the contractor create it based off of my exact vision. He says it’s because he loves me so much. I say it’s because he needs me to cook for him because Paul could burn water.
Sometimes it feels like I’m living someone else’s life, like this is all a dream. Living in a mansion in Orange County, California, married to the Adonis that is my husband, not having to get up and work 9-5 every day. I’m very fortunate to have everything I could ever need at my fingertips.
I didn’t grow up with all this. I came from an average, middle-class family. But when I met Paul in college, everything changed. We’ve been together for nine years now, and I’m still not used to this lifestyle. I don’t think I ever will be.
As I scoop the egg-white-and-spinach omelet with hash browns into the glass container, Paul
struts back into the kitchen, dressed to perfection in his navy suit. I hand him his lunch bag, his breakfast, and his coffee mug.
He presses his lips to the top of my head. “Thanks, gorgeous. I’ll see you tonight.”
“Have a good day.”
“Be good, poop breath,” he calls over his shoulder.
Maverick barely lifts his head from where he’s sprawled out by the back door, bathing in the sunspot.
The dog-life of Riley.
When I hear the click of the front door, a long exhale whooshes out of me. I want to walk upstairs and climb right back into bed, but if I’m going to make things better, I have to start by looking the part. So instead, I drag myself up the stairs and into the bathroom.
It’s been a while since I’ve cared about my appearance. Been a while since I’ve cared about anything other than becoming a mother.
Fake it ‘til you make it, they say.
Flipping on the lights, I shimmy out of my pajama shorts and tear the camisole over my head. I suck in a sharp breath when my eyes land on my reflection in the mirror for the first time this morning. My stomach clenches at the sight of the dark-purple splotches along my left bicep, memories of last night flooding my vision.
Damn you, Maverick. I wanted to stay in bed today.
I blink away the hot tears before they get the chance to brim over, quick to replace the weak emotion with logic.
Paul drank too much last night, and everything we’ve been holding in for the last three years came to a head.
It was my fault.
I shouldn’t have let things get to that point.
I shouldn’t have spoken up.
I’ll do better.
It won’t happen again.
Needing a plan rather than wallowing in self-pity, I examine the span of the bruising and mentally scour through my wardrobe for the right sweater. Hopefully, today will be brisk enough to wear one without drawing attention to myself. Even if the weather’s hot, I could get away with wearing one of my cardigans with three-quarter-length sleeves. Shouldn’t be too conspicuous.
Deep breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
California king bed.
Walk-in closet.
Dream kitchen.
Yard with a pool.
“I’m fine,” I tell my reflection. “Everything’s fine.”
I twist the lever in the shower and step under the waterfall, letting the warm water cascade over my skin. By the time I lather and rinse, the urge to cry is gone and I can breathe easy again.
Wrapping the towel around myself, I swing open the bathroom door and head to my closet. My pale-yellow sweater covers the mess on my arm, and I leave it unbuttoned over my white-and-yellow floral maxi dress. I spend thirty minutes lining my eyelids, curling my lashes, and passing the flatiron over my blond waves, taming it the way I know Paul prefers it.
With my armor in place, I square my shoulders in the mirror and heave a sigh. “Good as new.”
At the sound of my sandals clunking down the stairs, my overeager dog gallops toward the front door.
“Ready for your walk, Mav?”
He woofs and spins in a circle.
I’m clipping his leash onto his collar when a loud boom echoes outside. My shoulders jolt, and Maverick jumps to scratch at the door, barking like a madman.
“Are we starting with the fireworks already?”
The Fourth of July isn’t for another week. Plus, it’s nine o’clock in the morning.
I push the sheer cream curtain aside and peer out the window. A white pickup truck rolls to a stop in front of Josie’s house across the street. Well, there are visible areas of white paint—the truck was white at one time—surrounded by burnt-orange rust spots eating away at the metal. The bed of the truck is covered by a blue tarp, securing the contents underneath with a yellow bungee cord. Thick, black smoke billows from the exhaust pipe, trailing all the way down the block.
The truck pops again as it idles, sending Maverick into another barking fit.
“All right, bud. Enough.” I reach down to pat his head, keeping my nose glued to the windowpane.
The driver’s door swings open, and a man steps out. A navy-blue baseball cap sits on his head, pulled down low over his eyes. His plain white T-shirt, which looks more like an undershirt, is wrinkled and smudged with brown stains. His jeans are ripped—not the kind of rips people pay for—and equally as filthy as his shirt. He strides around the front bumper and up the walkway that leads to Josie’s backyard.
“He must be the new landscaper.”
Maverick cocks his head to the side as if he’s listening to me.
Josie’s Lexus isn’t in her driveway, so I find it strange that she’d give a stranger the passcode to get in through her back gate. Maybe she left it unlocked for him before she left. Seems odd, but we’ve been desperate to find a new landscaping company after one of the workers from our old company got caught having an affair with Mrs. Nelson down the street. If Josie found someone dependable, I’m going to need his card. Paul will be thrilled. Our shrubs need trimming, and weeds are beginning to poke up through the pavers in our driveway.
“Come on, bud.” I snatch my sunglasses off the entryway table and lead Maverick out the front door.
Once we cross the wide street, Maverick pulls ahead of me, his nose to the ground, sniffing
his way up the path of pavers. The iron gate is ajar, and Maverick continues pulling me through the opening into the backyard.
The layout is like mine. Same-sized rectangular inground pool, similar patio furniture. But Josie’s yard is full of life, whereas mine has barely been touched. Squirt guns, skateboard ramps, and balls from every sport litter her grass. It’s obvious that a family lives here.
Josie often complains of the mess, but I’d give anything to step on a Lego block belonging to my child.
The landscaper is standing in front of the pool house with his back to me, one hand on his hip while the other tips the neck of a brown glass bottle into his mouth.
So much for finding a reliable landscaper.
I stop a few feet behind him, wrapping Maverick’s leash around my hand a few times to keep him from pulling me any further.
“Don’t think you should be drinking on the job, sir.”
The man spins around and blasts me with a scowl that sends a shiver down my spine. Under the brim of his hat, I spot a deep, disgruntled crease that lies between his dark brows. His prominent, unshaven jaw pops, clenching, as if he’s gritting through physical pain while he glares at me with piercing steel-blue eyes.
The hairs on my arms lift in a whoosh of awareness, and fear slices into me.
I shouldn’t have come back here alone.
Maverick’s tail thumps against my leg as he leans forward to get to the stranger, clearly unfazed by the potential danger I’ve put us in.
“I … I’m sorry.” I pull Maverick back. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I live across the street.”
Great idea. Tell the nice murderer where you live.
He doesn’t respond. Doesn’t introduce himself. He just keeps hitting me with that unwavering glacial stare. It’s too much, too powerful to withstand, so I lower my gaze and take in the rest of him.
Strong shoulders span wide, adding to his towering height. His shirt is taut around his upper-body. The muscles in his arms are well-defined striations, more than just swollen biceps and triceps. He’s carved from stone, detailed and unforgiving. A work of art that people travel from all over to stand in front of in admiration.
This man is beautiful.
Then again, that’s probably what every woman said about Ted Bundy right before he killed them.
I should leave. Flee back to the safety of my home.
But I’m frozen, sucked in by the enigmatic energy surging around him like a tornado of rage and agony.
And I’m standing right in his path.
I swallow, my throat thick with apprehension. “I, uh, we’re in need of a new landscaper. I saw you come back here and figured I’d come ask for your card.” I swallow again, my gaze flicking to the beer bottle glinting in the sunlight. “It’s a little early to be drinking, don’t you think? I mean,
you shouldn’t be impaired while operating heavy machinery. Don’t want to lose a foot in the lawn mower.”
I choke out a laugh, desperate to make light of the situation, but it comes out strangled and strained.
The man doesn’t laugh with me. He doesn’t crack a smile. Not sure his facial muscles would know how if he tried to. One massive hand is curled at his side, as if he’s gripping the leash on his composure, his self-control ready to snap.
“You’ve got some nerve coming back here like this.” The man’s voice is gruff with a sharp edge, like he gargles with a throatful of razors every morning.
My eyebrows lift in a flash of irritation. “Me? I’m a potential customer. One who wants to pay you for your landscaping services. Or I did, before I caught you getting drunk on the job.”
Why am I arguing with the scary man?
He folds his arms over his chest, accentuating the corded muscles in his forearms. “And you assume I’m a landscaper because why?”
“Your truck, for one.” I wave my arm in front of him. “You’re too dirty to be pool maintenance. If you were a roofer, you’d have a ladder.” I shrug like it’s simple addition. “And this isn’t your backyard, so unless you’re here to rob the place …” My fingers touch my lips. “Oh, God. You’re not here to rob them, are you?”
He edges closer, the look of disgust twisting his features—the look he’s directing at me.
I lift my chin and try not to flinch.
I’ve learned that flinching only makes it worse.
Maverick strains against his leash, his eager nose in the air, wide eyes begging the stranger to pet him. I have to use both hands to tug him back.
Some guard dog you are, Mav! This man is about to kill me, and you’re trying to sniff his crotch and make friends.
The man points his index finger at me, revulsion rolling off his tongue with each syllable. “You self-righteous, pretentious little princess.”
My mouth falls open, and my stomach bottoms out.
“You stand there in your designer clothes, your shoes that cost more than a month’s rent, scrutinizing everyone behind your ridiculous fucking sunglasses, and you’re gonna judge me?” He shakes his head. “My clothes are dirty because I work my ass off. My truck’s a piece of shit because I have more important things to pay for. And I’m a grown-ass man, so I’ll drink whenever the fuck I feel like drinking. All you rich motherfuckers act like you’re better than people like me, but I know the sickening truth. I can lay my head down at night with a clear conscience because I’m not living a lie. I’d rather look ugly on the outside than be ugly on the inside like you.”
His words pack a physical punch, hitting way too close to home. A tremor rips through me, and before I can stop it, a tear escapes from under my sunglasses.
It’s time to go.
“I’m sorry.” I whip around and bolt out of the backyard, dragging Maverick behind me.
My legs carry me across the grass as fast as my wedges will allow. I bunch my dress in my
fist, hiking it up over my knees so my strides are longer.
When I reach my house, I slam the door closed behind me and press my back against it. My chest heaves as I gasp for air, my heart racing. A sob gurgles in my throat, but I swallow it down.
California king bed.
Walk-in closet.
Dream kitchen.
Yard with a pool.
Maverick whimpers, nudging me with his cold nose. I sink down to the floor and fling my arms around him, burying my face in the comfort of his soft fur.
“It’s okay, Mav. I’m okay.”
Everything’s okay.
I shouldn’t have confronted him like that.
It’s my fault for making him so angry.
My speeding pulse returns to normal after a few minutes of deep breathing, and I push off the floor. Maverick follows me into the kitchen as I swipe my purse and my car keys off the counter.
“Sorry, bud. You gotta stay here. I’m running to the store. Making a special dinner for your dad tonight.”
I kiss the top of his head, and then I’m back out the door, head down, without so much as a glance at the pickup truck out front.

* * *

“Mmm. So good, babe.”
My lips spread into a smile. “Figured I’d surprise you with your favorite dish tonight.”
Paul’s hand slides across the cherry wood table, and he entwines our fingers. “I love it. Thank you.”
“How was your day?”
He tugs on his tie, loosening it, before popping his collar and slipping the loop over his head. “Good. Meeting went well. I think Haarburger’s going to sign with us.”
“That’s great.”
He dabs the corner of his mouth with his napkin. “How was therapy?”
“It went well.”
His Adam’s apple bobs up and down. “Did you, uh, tell her what we talked about last night?”
“I told her about our decision to stop trying to have kids. She thinks it’s good that we’re on the same page, that we’re able to move on together.”
“Not what I was referring to, Cal.”
He’s asking if I told her about the bruises he left on my arm.
I look down at my spaghetti. “No, I didn’t mention it.”
“Good.” He sets his fork down beside his plate. “Because I meant what I said last night. It won’t happen again.”
I nod, unsure of what he wants me to say to that. It wasn’t the first time he put his hands on me, nor was it the first time he promised that it won’t happen again. I want to call him out on that. I want to ask him why he feels the need to hurt me in order to get his point across. I want to ask him why he can’t control his temper. I want to ask him what happened to the sweet man I met in college. I want to ask him to get some help.
But sometimes, silence is easier than navigating around all the egg shells lying at my feet.
He picks his fork back up. “Did you call the vet?”
“I did. They said to watch him when he’s in the backyard so he doesn’t get the opportunity to eat his poop.” I lift my goblet to my lips and take a long sip.
“Did you ask why he’s doing this?”
My stomach coils. “The, uh, the doctor said it could be due to anxiety.”
“Anxiety. Like you.”
“Yeah. He asked if we’ve been stressed, because dogs can pick up on our feelings.”
Recognition flashes across Paul’s face, his light-brown eyes hardening. “So what did you tell him?”
“I told him everything’s fine, of course. He said we could put Maverick on a low dose of anxiety medication, but I said that won’t be necessary. We’ll just watch him better when he’s outside. Won’t happen again if we keep an eye on him.” I force a smile and clasp my hands together. “Ready for dessert?”
He shakes his head and pushes his chair back as he stands. “I’m going to change. Got some e-mails to send out.”
“Of course. I’ll get this all cleaned up.”
He’s gone before the sentence leaves my lips.
Could’ve gone worse, I suppose.
I release a sigh and begin stacking our plates.
While I rinse off the dishes in the sink, I gaze out the window into the darkened yard. The pool house at the far end elicits the memory of the bizarre encounter in Josie’s backyard this morning.
I’ve tried not to think about the rude stranger all day, but my mind keeps drifting back to him. Back to what he’d said.
He was right. I’d judged him by his appearance and made an assumption based on it. Shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, though. He could’ve laughed it off like a silly misunderstanding. He didn’t need to go off on me like he did. People judge books by their covers all the time.
Hell, he did the same thing with me, didn’t he? He lumped me in with the wealthy people in this neighborhood, pointing out my expensive clothes and accessories, calling me a fake without
knowing anything about me. I could call him a jerk and chalk it up to him being mean.
But his words carry weight.
I am a fake.
I am living a lie.
Who was that man, and how did he read me so easily?
More importantly, does Josie know that someone was in her yard today?
I dry my hands on a dishtowel and dig through my purse to find my phone. Before I can tap out a text, I spot one already waiting in my inbox. When I click on it and read the words that pop up on the screen, my hand clamps over my mouth.

Josie: So I heard you met my brother this morning.


About the Author:

Kristen Granata is a teacher by day, and an (exhausted) author by night. Known for writing emotional New Adult Romance, she loves creating realistic, flawed characters who struggle through the darkest parts of life and come out stronger on the other side. Kristen is a self-proclaimed “bitter cynic trapped in a hopeless romantic’s body.” Her characters pack a sarcastic punch, make you laugh, make you think, make you ugly cry – and they will always live happily ever after. If you’re a lover of moving, inspirational reads, Kristen’s your girl.

Kristen was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1986. She moved to Staten Island with her family and lived there for almost twenty years. There she attended community college and became a teacher. Despite her passion for writing, and despite her professors strongly suggesting she become a writer, she took the more sensible route (bitter cynic, remember?) After going through a difficult divorce when she was only twenty-nine, Kristen returned to writing. The raw story that poured out of her led her to publish her debut novel, Collision, in March of 2018. Soon after in August 2018, the sequel, Avoidance, was published. Her third novel, The Other Brother, released in April 2019.

Kristen openly shares her mental health struggles with depression and anxiety with her Instagram following. Her message is a beacon of hope to anyone who is suffering: You are not alone. She delicately weaves this theme into her writing, and demonstrates the ability of love to heal trauma.

When she’s not teaching or writing, Kristen is reading, Instagramming, indulging in her messy love affair with popcorn, and annoying her wife and step-daughters by incessantly singing along to The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

Connect with Kristen:
Instagram | Facebook | Website | Amazon | GoodReads | Twitter


Tyrant by Jagger Cole Release Blitz!!!!!




She’s all mine. She simply doesn’t know it yet.
I spent half my life as a savage guerrilla soldier, fighting to take back the kingdom that was stolen from me. Now, I’m back on the throne as the King of Bullogia. My will is iron, my control unflinching, and my heart walled-off and cold.
Until Claire Shaw explodes into my world, that is.
The spunky, strong-willed reporter is part of the media circus I’ve invited to my country for the first time. My enemies seek to turn the world against me. They call me the tyrant. Bringing Claire here was meant to set the record straight. But once I lay eyes on the curvy American, I know I’m about to keep her all to myself, come what may.
Freedom takes power. Protecting my kingdom takes an iron fist. Making Claire mine might just take me apart at the seams, but so be it.
The world already calls me a tyrant. Let them see how I am when I truly take what I want.





Jagger Cole likes his romance books like he likes his martinis—extra dirty, with a twist. A reader first and foremost, Jagger got his start with steamy romance almost ten years ago, writing especially dirty and somewhat perplexing Star Wars erotic fan-fiction for online message boards.
After deciding to hang up his writing boots, Jagger worked in advertising for a number of years pretending to be Don Draper. It worked enough to convince a woman way out of his league to marry him, though, which is a total win.
Now, Dad to two little princesses and “Daddy” to a Queen, Jagger is thrilled to be back at the keyboard.
When not writing or reading steamy romance books, he can be found woodworking, enjoying good whiskey, and grilling outside—rain or shine.
WebsiteFacebook –  Email  – Instagram 




Hate the Player, an all-new enemies to lovers romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe is coming August 13th and we have the smokin’ hot cover!

I can hate the player but still secretly love his addictive game.

I’m sure of it.

Hate the Player (official 9x6)

“Roses are red, violets are blue, stay away from Andrew Watson’s *ahem* because no other women ever do.”

That’s quite the way to start a conversation at a casual lunch, huh? Grilled chicken, French fries, and pelvic-fatigue, oh my!

And that’s not even the worst of it.

My friend Raquel didn’t pull any punches when she warned me about my brand-new costar and his notoriously player-esque ways. Apparently, my most important mission on my first role in a feature film is to stay immune to his charms.

Are you kidding me? Production costs on this movie are in the hundreds of thousands a day, and staying away from a panty-whispering, vajayjay-charmer is supposed to be at the top of my list? Pfft. Puh-lease.

It doesn’t matter that he’s annoyingly attractive, uber rich, crazy famous, and lusted after by ninety percent of the female population; Andrew Watson is trouble with a capital T—especially for a woman like me.

As a preventative measure, I’ve decided to go ahead and hate him.

Don’t worry, you guys, I’m completely in control. There’s absolutely no way I’m going to do something stupid like fall in love with him.

I can hate the player but still secretly love his addictive game.

I’m sure of it.


Pre-order your copy today!


Amazon Worldwide:

Add Hate the Player to Goodreads:

About Max Monroe

A duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.

Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.

Connect with Max Monroe





Stay up to date with Max Monroe by joining their mailing list today: