- Blog Tour & Giveaway – End Game by Emersyn Vallis

Title: End Game
Series: Fate Series #4
Author: Emersyn Vallis
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release: April 27, 2015
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Once upon time, there were two girls living their lives completely unaware of one another and the dangerous game they had been placed in…
Until Fate found them…
Fate saved them, made them stronger & with time, Fate brought them together to become friends rather than enemies…
Until a cruel Queen made her move, threatened the Knight,
And an innocent Pawn was sacrificed…
Now the game is in our hands…
Fate might have set us up for this… but we control the moves now…
And we have our own plan.
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Emersyn Vallis is a first time author with Adjournment being the first book in the Fated Series. Currently residing on the east coast with her husband and three children she is typically mistaken for being quiet and reserved her friends often describe her as a spastic spider monkey and always the first to be there with her quick wit to pull you back up when you’re feeling down. After reading as a hobby for most of her life it wasn’t until she had discovered R. L. Mathewson’s ‘Neighbor from Hell Series’ and Tara Sivec’s ‘Playing with Fire Series’ that she came up with the idea to fuse comedy and suspense together and her passion for writing was born.

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Emersyn Vallis is definitely an Author I will be watching for and can’t wait to read more from her. ~ Swoon Worthy Books


Emersyn has done it again. I liked Adjournment but I loved Hanging Pawns and I for one can not wait for book three in the Fate series. Emersyn is fastly becomming my favourite indie author. ~ Amazon Customer


Emersyn Vallis has done a wonderful job on the Fate Series. Adjournment, Hanging Pawns, and now Sacrifice are definitely in my definite recommend list, and re-read list for 2014/2015 ~ Amazon Customer

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- Release Blitz & Giveaway – Waiting to Lose by Dawn Chiletz

Title: Waiting to Lose
Series: The Contest Series #2
Author: Dawn L. Chiletz
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2015
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What happens when you win a love you don’t think you deserve?
Long distance relationships are tough and there are two sides to every story. No one knows that better than Jake Morgan and Madi Ryan. It’s not just about falling in love; it’s about staying together when everything in the world wants to tear you apart. 
When Madi’s attacker is released on bail, Jake decides he’ll to everything in his power to protect the woman he loves, even if that means keeping secrets. Strange emails and photos appear on Madi’s computer, warning her that Jake is not what he seems. Madi’s faith in him begins to waver, especially when Jake becomes linked to beautiful actress, Allison Gregory. Although he promises there is nothing between them, outside forces push Madi’s trust in him to the breaking point. 
Jake is willing to move heaven and earth to prove to Madi just how much she means to him. But when everything in their lives comes crashing down, will Madi be able to trust her heart or will she lose the only man she’s ever really loved?
Can two people stay together when one of them is always waiting to lose?
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Within a few seconds, the need to talk returned and she dashed to find him. Just as she was about to turn the handle, Jake opened the door. They both stopped in surprise. There was something about the way he looked at her. In those brief seconds, he looked angry, frustrated and hot as hell. Before she knew what she was doing, she flew into his arms and locked her lips with his. He grabbed onto her and pushed his tongue into her mouth as his hands gripped her waist. His fingers rushed into her wet hair, releasing the bun. They moved backward with purpose, onto the bed, as Jake deftly stripped her of her jeans, shirt and bra. Before she knew it, she was under him and he was unzipping his jeans. He pushed her underwear to the side as he entered her, as if there wasn’t enough time to remove her panties before he had to have her. She moaned at the feel of him. She clenched her muscles around him as his mouth pressed against hers. He was fucking her and she wanted it. Sometimes, love was slow and deliberate. Other times, it just needed to be thrust into your veins like a drug through a needle—painful for a moment, but worth it for the ecstasy that followed.

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A slow,
devious grin crept across her lips, and Jake desperately needed to know her
thoughts. “Mads, for the love of God, you need to tell me what’s going on in
that head of yours.”
“Didn’t I
just tell you that I wanted the steak?”
Jake’s mind
raced back to Madi, standing in red garter belts, drunk out of her mind in his
apartment in L.A. He remembered her telling him she’d always had the chicken
salad because it was safe. Back then she’d also said she wanted the steak. She
said he was the steak. “Are you hungry?” he asked, motioning toward the table.
Madi’s smile
widened as she glanced over his shoulder at the table of food. “That’s not the
steak I want.”
Jake closed
his eyes and smiled, shaking his head. He opened them suddenly when he felt her
fingers begin to unbutton his shirt. He followed her trembling hands with his
eyes as they deftly stripped his chest. Madi took a deep breath, and Jake
smirked as her eyes traveled the length of his torso. She flexed her hand over
his pecs before circling the nipples on his chest and running her fingers
through the small amount of hair there. She smiled and sucked in her lip as her
hand gently examined each one of his stomach muscles. That same electricity
they had between them before was present like another force in the room. Her
touch sent shivers through him, directly to his manhood.
“You are a
beautiful man, Jake Morgan.” She turned behind him, pulling his shirt down his
arms. She skimmed her fingers over him, kissing his shoulders.
“I assume
you’re satisfied with the cut of your steak?” he asked with a mischievous tone
as her hand reached around him and squeezed his stomach. Her tongue and lips
kissed the area between his shoulder blades. He could feel a smile in her kiss.
Jake closed his eyes and tried to remember to breathe. His mind went back to
the morning he awoke with her hand on his stomach. He remembered her saying how
tight it felt and how she had wanted to touch him. He also remembered her bare
legs wrapped in the covers. He felt a twitch in his pants. They were suddenly
becoming a little too tight.
He almost
said something, but he couldn’t focus on anything but the way her touch made
him feel. He’d denied himself her for so long. He silently promised himself
that he would never take a single kiss from her for granted. She continued to
press her lips to his back as her hands made their way down to his belt. She
quickly unfastened it, undid the button of his jeans, and gently pulled his
zipper down. Jake could feel the effect she was having on him and wondered how
long he’d be able to stand still. Her hand reached inside his boxer briefs and
found him. He couldn’t help the sharp intake of air that left his mouth at the
feel of her hands on him. She stood there for a few moments with her lips on
his back and her hands knowingly stroking him from behind, as if she could read
his inner thoughts and desires. Before he knew it, Madi turned and was on her
knees in front of him. “Jesus… Madi…” He could barely get her name out as he
“I… want…
the… steak. This piece of steak.”


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Dawn L. Chiletz released her debut “The Contest” in October 2014. “Waiting to Lose” is her second novel in the Contest Series. She currently resides in Illinois with her husband, two boys and two dogs.
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- Blog Tour & Giveaway – Pretty Remedy by S.E. Hall

Title: Pretty Remedy
Series: Finally Found #2
Author: S.E. Hall
Genre: NA Romance
Release Date: April 23, 2015
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Envy is a silent, cold-blooded killer, extinguishing a little more life from me every day. 
Hitting sharp, fast and seemingly out of nowhere; struck by lightning not a storm cloud in sight… in she rolls. Reece Madison, a force to be reckoned with, head of the class- which means one thing- she’s out of mine. 
“You’re wasting your time Rhett Foster. Locks have keys and walls can be climbed. I’m not buying your cold, skeptical act for one minute.” 
And then there’s that…
But as much as she compels me to open up, show her what no one else gets to see…there’s guilty shadows lurking in the depths of her eyes that she cannot hide.
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It always happens the same way, every time. The second I finish coming, the blip of exhilaration dissipates, and I’m left feeling vapid and angry. I turn my back on my latest conquest and, blocking out the images of insincere, physical satiation, I scurry off like a criminal. Maybe I should quit fucking them.
Or maybe I shouldn’t. The tête-à-têtes, and unrequited clinginess as much their fault as my own—more in fact, if everyone’s being honest with themselves. I tell them, straight up, in plain English, no “code” or sidestepping what I’m really saying, that it’s one fuck. I offer absolutely nothing more, and they accept. But women have a specific order and purpose to everything they do. It shouldn’t eat at me when another woman discovers her plan didn’t work, and surprise, she isn’t the one “different” enough to change me. 
You want to be the lady worthy of a call the next day, flowers, a ring? Then don’t ride the dick until you get at least one of them. And if you do jump on—gyrating and grinding in what you’re just certain is some mystical, “He’s never had it so good before” kind of way, and it doesn’t work—don’t blame anyone but yourself. Who was really trying to manipulate who?
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S.E.Hall, lover of all things anticipation and romance, is the author of The Evolve Series: Emerge, Embrace, Entangled, Entice and Baby Mama Drama, as well as the stand-alone novel Pretty Instinct. Her co-written works included The Provocative Professions Collection: Stirred Up, Packaged and Handled, One Naughty Night and full-length novel Matched with Angela Graham as well as Conspire, a romantic suspense with Erin Noelle. S.E. resides in Arkansas with her husband of 18 years and 3 daughters of the home. When not writing or reading, she can be found “enthusiastically cheering” on one of her girls’ softball games.
To receive S.E.Hall’s monthly newsletter, sign up at http://eepurl.com/7E-nP

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- Blog Tour & Giveaway – Unexpected Chance by Annalisa Nicole

Title: Unexpected Chance
Series: Running Into Love #6
Author: Annalisa Nicole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 20, 2015
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Aiden Wellington has it all. He has an amazing, fulfilling job as a lawyer. He has a wonderful family who are all married with children. He has fancy cars, friends, and a beautiful Seattle home. Yes, he has everything a man could ever ask for, everything except the one thing that he desires most…a woman.
Savvy Russell has led an extremely hard life. She’s learned from a very early age that good things just don’t happen to her. She’s convinced karma has it out for her. When she finds something good, ultimately she’s left with nothing except for the shirt on her back. She’s always waiting for her newly found piece of happiness to be ripped away from her.
When life literally throws Savvy into Aiden’s arms can he get past his bitterness and see what is right in front of him?
Will Savvy finally put aside her misguided feelings of self-worthlessness to see what everybody else sees?
Is it possible to replace a lifetime of hurt with something as simple as love?


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I am an “Indie” contemporary romance author. I live in California with my husband and two teenage boys. I absolutely love being a stay at home mom. 
I never liked reading as a kid. I only started reading romance novels in the past few years. My Kindle and I are inseparable now. A thought occurred to me in December of 2012 that maybe I could write a romance novel. So I went to work with the encouragement of my husband and my sister-in-law. It didn’t take long to figure out that I really enjoy writing. 
Today I am a self-published author and it has been an amazing journey. Sign up for Annalisa Nicole’s Newsletter and get A Fighting Chance for FREE!  (Newsletter Link)


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- Blog Tour & Giveaway – Caught by Erika Ashby & A.E. Woodward

Title: Caught
Author: Erika Ashby & A.E. Woodward
Genre: NA Romance
Release Date: April 20, 2015
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**New Adult novel coming from authors A.E. Woodward and Erika Ashby late this Spring**
There’s this boy. 
He kinda owns my heart.
Who am I kidding?
He owns all of me–but he’s completely oblivious to it.
And I can’t tell him.
Because there’s this girl.
And even though he’s my best friend, she is too.
Then there’s me…
CAUGHT between what feels so right, yet is so wrong.
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isn’t a bad looking guy. He’s not even slightly bad looking. In fact, he’s
extremely good looking with his brutish looks. But that’s the thing – he’s just
too beefy for my taste. He’s thick all over. Well, from what I can see, and
what I’ve heard, he is. Which is good for him since most people think buff guys
usually suffer from teeny weeny syndrome and they’re just trying to
overcompensate in other ways.
head is typically filled with blonde locks, but he shaved it off this summer.
Maybe it was some sort of rugby initiation or whatever weird sport he’ll be
playing in college.
me, Greg?”
head swings my way as if he was just waiting for me to call his name. His smile
is wide and his hazel eyes are bright. He’s genuinely a happy guy. And that’s
what I like about him. That’s why I’m able to look past his player ways and
enjoy his company.
do a quick glance up his muscly body from feet to face. His tan, smooth-looking
legs are crossed at the ankle, reaching the other side of the truck as they’re
stretched out. The colorful, geometric print trunks fully engulf his thighs, which
is a plus. Guys shouldn’t wear more fitted clothes than I do. Then there’s his
tank top. The non-existent fabric bunches loosely in the middle of his torso.
Quinn?” he smirks.
chesticles are showing.”
glances down and laughs. “Is that a problem?”
I pop a grape in my mouth. “I just can’t stop staring.”
laughs even harder and I try my best to refrain from it myself. I’m not looking
to choke on a grape as we drive down the highway.
em’ pop,” I demand as I lift my sunglasses to the top of my head for a better
know.” I sit my grapes down and hold my hands in front of my own chest, moving
my hands up and down. “Make them pop, dance, jiggle. Hell, make them rain for
all I care. They have to be capable of doing something cool.”
hell yeah. I’ve had that shit down since the seventh grade.” He straightens his
back and positions his arms in some weird flex in front of him. Then he begins
to make them pop, drop and lock it. I giggle like a little girl as I watch. His
face makes it all the better as he seems to be straining. He looks constipated.
any inclination, I toss a grape at his tits. And with perfect precision he
bounces his man boob just in time to deflect it. I play catch with his chest a
little while longer before finally putting my earbuds in and relaxing.


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Being born an “Army Brat”, Erika Ashby has been residing in Oklahoma the last 10 years finally putting an end to the nomad tendencies she had grown accustomed to. She’s a happy and slightly crazy mother of four. She has an insane passion for music and embraces her Inner Groupie any chance she has. It wasn’t until the age of 29 that she realized she also had a hidden passion for reading; before then she claimed to have hated it. Six months after unlocking that deep desire she never knew she held, she turned the key to another chapter of her life which has become the desire to write. And the rest is still history in the making.
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A.E. lives in Vacationland with her husband and two children. Between her real job and writing she finds little time to enjoy life’s finer things. However in the free time she does manage to steal, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, and reading. A.E. is the author of Kismet and A Series of Imperfections: Imperfectly Perfect, Imperfectly Real, and Imperfectly Bad. She is currently writing her fifth book, Working Girl.
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- Blog Tour & Giveaway – Spun by Shyla Colt

Title: Spun
Series: Kings of Chaos Book 1
Author: Shyla Colt
Genre: Contemp/NA Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2015
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Born to a King of Chaos patch holder with a case of wanderlust and a self-centered mother, twenty-one-year-old Nevada Weber is used to taking care of herself. She’s spent her life skating by on her wits and pure determination. When she lands in a situation, she can’t haggle her way out of, she’s forced to rely on another brother for help. 
Club enforcer Gage “Wizard” Carmody has done his job too well over the years. Icy and numb on the inside, he walks around in a prison of his making. When the bright green-eyed girl he helped raise winds up unclaimed and in need of protection he steps in seeking redemption.

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“I want you to have fun.” 
“I always do.” 
“No, you pretend.” He runs his fingers down the side of my face. 
My heart beats overtime. He’s in my personal space. His gaze is focused on mine, and inside I’m melting. 
“But it never reaches those green eyes of yours. I’ve known you a long time, Nevy. I know when you’re bullshitting.”
He sees me, the woman I keep hidden behind my barriers. It’s exhilarating and horrifying at the same time. “How can I have a good time when I know what’s going to happen?” I whisper. 
“You let me worry about your father. He’s just trying to save some of the face he doesn’t realize he lost years ago.” 
“You make it sound so simple,” I say wistfully. For him, it’s black and white. I never saw it that way. 
“It is. Come on, green eyes, you know he can’t hurt me.” Wrapping an arm around my shoulders he pulls me to his side.
His presence is warm and masculine. His hardness complements my softness, and I can’t stop inhaling the scent of leather and man.
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I step into the shelter of his arms, tilting my head back to accept his kiss. He traces the seam of my lips and I open eagerly. Our tongues tangle. Streaks of excitement race through my body. Dampness gathers between my legs and my nipples peak. When I push my chest into him, seeking relief, he moans. The sound echoes through his chest, vibrating my body. My center pulses. We come up for air and he studies my face. 
Little by little, he’s been opening up to me and I’ve seen a softer side of him. What was once a childhood crush has grown into something I haven’t completely figured out. I know he’s committed to our relationship but he’s still cautious. Moments like this, when he watches me with those all-seeing eyes, I can all but see the wall he keeps up between us. “What is it?” I ask breathlessly. 
“You’re happier now, I can tell. I like you happy.”
Those four words melt me.
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Shyla Colt grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, but has lived a variety of different places thanks to her wanderlust, interesting careers, and marriage to a United States Marine. She’s always loved books and wrote her very first novel at the age of fifteen. She keeps a copy of her first submission letter on her desk for inspiration. 
After a lifetime of traveling, she settled down and knew her time had come to write. Diving into her new career like she does everything else, with enthusiasm, research and a lot of prayers, she had her first book published in June of 2011. As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household. 
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company. A self-professed rebel with a pen. Her goal is to diversify romance as she continues to genre hop, and offer up strong female characters.
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- Blog Tour & Giveaway – Love Burns by Babette James

Title: Love Burns
Series: The River Series
Author: Babette James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Cover Art: Kim Mendoza 
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Smokejumper Dave Knight lives by two simple rules—play hard, work harder. Heartache taught him love and commitment don’t mix with his high-intensity lifestyle. That hot kiss with the classy Olivia Benedetti-Harper was a mistake, but he walked away in time. Too bad he can’t run from the memories. Then a plane crash shatters his future, forcing him to face the ashes of his past, the woman he can’t forget, and the toughest challenge of his life: Stop running.
The right man broke her heart. How could the wrong man heal it? Obedient daughter and dutiful wife, Olivia always followed the rules—only to be abandoned by her unfaithful husband. As she rebuilds her life, bad-boy Dave is a sizzling temptation she can’t afford. However, breaking the rules with the wrong man might be the best mistake this good girl’s ever made for love.
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​“Come here.” Dave held out his hand. “You’ll need your back done.”
Olivia handed him the sunscreen bottle and knelt.
He lightly kissed her nape before drizzling the lotion over her back. He smoothed both hands along her spine to the cleft of her bottom and to her hips, gliding, sliding, over waist, ribs, shoulders, and neck, turning the simple lotion application into a sensual massage. Her sigh escaped as a dreamy groan.
“Turn around.” His low husky voice drew a deep shiver through her core.
She shifted around, and her mouth dried at his simmering gaze.
He squeezed more lotion onto his fingertips. “Shut your eyes.”
Bright sunlight glowed through her closed eyelids. Cool touches of lotion brushed her face and throat, and she shivered under Dave’s delicate touch.
“Keep your eyes shut.”
She heard him shift on the blanket. His fingertips traced her face, trailed down her throat, and his breath whispered over her face, the scent of apple warning how close his lips were to hers. More gentle sweeps followed, ever lower, to the curves of her breasts.
His lips brushed hers and he dusted kisses across her cheek and jaw, and the tip of her nose, which made her giggle. His warm hand cupped her breast and, at the rough graze of his thumb, she shivered, nervous, yet greedy for more. As he drifted more lazy kisses lower, his thumb played a mesmerizing rhythm, setting her pulse to anxious dancing.
Stop, let him play. This is what you’ve craved: to play, to be wanted, to feel.
Carefully following the rules had brought her heartbreak. Breaking the rules couldn’t be any worse. Right?
The world spun for a second as he rolled Olivia under him.
She gasped and blinked, startled, but intrigued. Yes, she trusted he’d honor a no, but all she could think was oh, yes.
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Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.
You can sign up to receive Babette’s Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/ltvyP
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- Cover Reveal – Dismantled by Yara Greathouse

Title: Dismantled
Series: Girls On Top Series
Author: Yara Greathouse
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 18, 2015
Cover Design: Rebecca Berto of Berto Designs
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What happens when a stranger takes everything from you in the blink of an eye? When your life goes from perfection to hell and you aren’t sure if you want to climb out of the hole you’re in or dig down deeper?
Events from Traxx Maxwell’s past prevent him from getting into serious relationships and he likes it that way. One unexpected day, hell breaks loose. “The Incident” happens. Traxx is forced to watch something that no one should ever see. He starts to fall into a person that no one recognizes. There is darkness moving within him – he is broken inside.
While she’s waiting for Traxx to quit his slutty ways and really notice her, Ciara Collins is dating other guys and having fun. One unexpected day “The Incident” takes over Traxx’s life. While he tries to push everyone away, Ciara refuses to retreat. Can she help him put his fractured life back together or will he have to remain this shattered shell, completely dismantled?
And just when life seems somewhat bearable, the creepers who have been quietly observing and enjoying Traxx’s suffering, have decided to take everything away from him – once and for all.
This is a story about how the unexpected can make someone’s life fall into pieces, and how unconditional love and friendship can help those who are dismantled become whole again.
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Yara Greathouse likes to write contemporary romance dashed with elements of suspense. She grew up in Dominican Republic, moved to the Unites States at the age of 17 and served in the US Army. Always an animated storyteller, she finally gave into her friends’ requests for her to write. Her first series, “Girls On Top” is about strong female lead characters and the sexy alpha males who love them. 
She currently resides in Texas, but calls Georgia her “home” state. She lives with her husband, has two boys, a dog (Hank) and a cat (Mollie) who acts like a spoiled child. Her days are dedicated to a job she loves as a Business Analyst, and during her free time she writes, takes care of her family, and indulges on her love of reading, cooking and travel. She loves to hear from readers, bloggers and other authors. You can find her at:
Email: YaraWrites@hotmail.com


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- Release Blitz – The Promises We Keep by R.C. Martin

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Title: The Promises We Keep (Made For Love, #1)

Author: R.C. Martin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 1, 2015


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The promises you keep reveal who you are and define who you want to be…

With senior year of college just a breath away, Beckham and Grayson, brothers by fate, battle against their fears and surrender to their hearts’ bidding—consequences be damned; while Addison and Avery, sisters by blood, learn that in romance, all you need is love—except for when life is way more complicated than that.

Written in each of their perspectives, The Promises We Keep tells the story of a couple joined together and another split apart. As they make plans in preparation for life after college in the Òreal world,Ó they are each challenged with the reality that love can conquer all; but only if they choose to let it, which is never as easy as it sounds.

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I hop up onto the counter and watch Addie as she moves about the kitchen preparing our coffee. My sister takes care of me like no one else can. We call each other my other half for a reason—I tell people all the time that she is proof that God loves me. WeÕve been close always. Of course, weÕve had our disagreements and our fights, but weÕre more than sisters and weÕre more than friends. IÕm convinced that sharing a womb with someone links them to you in a way that simply cannot be understood by anyone who isnÕt a twin.

Sarah belts out a particularly shrill ÒnoteÓ and, this time, I canÕt help but laugh. IÕm so tickled I have to hold onto the counter to keep myself from falling off. Addie met Sarah freshman year. They both have plans to teach elementary school, so they met by way of a handful of shared classes. Sarah is easy to like and a blast to live with, aside from her lack of musical skill; and while she canÕt hold a tune to save her life, Addie has a beautiful voice. SheÕs been singing at our church going on two years, now. Mom always calls her Addie Jane, her little songbird.

ÒCanÕt blame her for trying,Ó says Addie. ÒHer lack of shame is actually sort of endearing, donÕt you think?Ó

I raise my eyebrows at my sister in question. ÒOne day, when she meets the love of her life and she gets married, I want you to ask him that.Ó She flashes me a goofy smile, implying her sympathy for SarahÕs future beau. ÒSpeaking of the love of oneÕs life, what time are the guys supposed to be here, again?Ó

ÒTen,Ó she answers, filling up my mug, complete with a spoonful of sugar and a splash of nonfat milk. She pours herself a cup as well. By the time sheÕs doctored it, her caramel creamer makes her coffee barely recognizable as such; itÕs the color of our complexion when sheÕs done. ÒThat is, if Beck doesnÕt over sleep,Ó she tacks on as an afterthought.

The guys consist of Beckham, Jackson, and Grayson.

Beckham—or Hammy, to me—is AddieÕs sweetheart. TheyÕve been madly in love since we were sixteen. I have not a single doubt in my mind that they will get married one day. I know if it were up to Addie, heÕd propose this summer and they would be married before he heads off to medical school—but even if that doesnÕt happen, theyÕre destined to be together.

Jackson is also the sweetheart to a special someone. HeÕll be coming with his girlfriend Claire. She spends most weekends downstairs, even though sheÕs got her own place a few blocks away. WeÕre quite used to having her around and we like her a great deal. We consider her an honorary roomie.

And then thereÕs Grayson. Well, I call him Sonny.

He strolled into my life about the same time that Sarah did. He was introduced to us through Beckham. They were paired together as roommates in the dorms freshman year and theyÕve been best friends ever since. To say that I was instantly attracted to him would be one hundred percent true. It surprised me at first, because I didnÕt think that someone like him was my type, but I couldnÕt argue against the evidence of my attraction—which manifested itself by way of my stomachÕs somersaults every time I saw him. But IÕve never been that girl who falls for the hot jock. IÕm a nerd; total band geek and completely unashamed. As for SonnyÉhot jock describes him accurately, as he is a distractingly handsome football player. A couple years ago, football was so far off my radar I couldnÕt even tell you what the role of the quarterback was—so Hot Jock was just nice to look at.

But then I got to know him.

I guess I should have known, if he was able to get along with Hammy so well, he had to be more than just his good looks. The tight knit group that started off as Addie, Hammy and me grew to include Sarah and need Sonny. While heÕs a wonderful sportsman and great team leader, heÕs also just a really good guy. Even still, it took about a year of friendship, and Addie and SarahÕs incessant goading, before I was willing to admit that, yeah, I like him a lot.

He, on the other hand, does not feel the same way about me. I know this to be a fact, as he has never even hinted to thinking of me as more than a friend. Seriously, if I made a list of all the things that we do that ensures me that IÕve been delicately stored in the friend zone, I could fill a book. For about the last nine months, Addie and Sarah have been trying to convince me otherwise, but neither of them have been able to give me a good reason as to why heÕs never asked me out—so I rest my case.

Besides, heÕs way too popular.

Who knew that word would follow my social life outside of the halls of high school? ÒHey, Twinkies!Ó greets Sarah, strolling into the kitchen.

Her long blonde locks are wet and sheÕs wrapped in only a towel. Neither Addie, nor I, bat an eyelash at her lack of clothing. SheÕs easily a half a foot taller than us and sheÕs shaped like a greek goddess—voluptuous with a small waist and a bust size at least two times the size of mine—which, I suppose, makes her about average, if IÕm being honest. SheÕs got piercing blue eyes and milky skin and I decided a long time ago that if she wanted to walk around in her underwear, all the power to her. She has a body worthy of admiration.

ÒMorning, Baker Babe,Ó says Addie. ÒThanks for the wake-up tunes.Ó

Sarah throws her head back in laughter. ÒSorry. IÕll make it up to you,Ó she promises. ÒIÕve got blueberries, chocolate chips, and strawberries in the fridge—all of which go quite nicely with pancakes.Ó

ÒMmm. YouÕre forgiven.Ó

ÒAnd now that I say that, I realize I really should get a move on. Just wanted you to know the showerÕs free.Ó

ÒMe first!Ó I cry, jumping from the counter. I donÕt miss the amused glances that pass between the two of them as I make my exit. I ignore them both, sipping at the warm nectar in my mug as I go.

Forty-five minutes later, IÕm standing in front of my closet, fretting over what to wear. Yes, IÕm aware that I probably spent too much time blowdrying my hair—I so would have curled it if I had the time. Yes, IÕm aware that I only have about fifteen minutes to decide on an outfit, dress, and throw myself back on the couch so that it looks like I didnÕt agonize over my appearance this morning. Yes, IÕm even aware that all IÕm getting dressed for is breakfast with some of our closest friends—but when I know that IÕll be seeing SonnyÉ

ÒAJ!Ó I call out as I hurry my way into her room. SheÕs sitting in the middle of the floor, leisurely blowdrying her own wet mane.

ÒWhat do you need?Ó she asks as she pauses.

ÒI need to borrow something,Ó I answer, sweeping my hands in such a way to signal my current lack of clothing.

She turns the hairdryer back on and speaks loudly over the hum. ÒYou know heÕd notice you if you were wearing a paper bag, right?Ó

I tilt my head to the side, agitated that sheÕs jumped to the conclusion that IÕm trying to dress to impress. I am—but we certainly donÕt need to talk about it. ÒExcuse me, anyone would notice me if I was dressed in a paper bag! IÕd look ridiculous.Ó She arches and eyebrow at me in response. ÒI just havenÕt done laundry yet. I donÕt have enough options. This is not about Grayson.Ó The second before I yell out his name, she turns off the hairdryer. I canÕt help the blush that colors my cheeks.

ÒDid I hear someone mention Grayson?Ó asks Sarah as she races her way into the room. SheÕs wrapped in her pink apron, which covers a pair of shorts and a tank top. I notice Addie has on shorts, too, only with a long sleeved t-shirt.

ÒShe needs help picking something to wear.Ó

ÒWhatÕs wrong with what youÕve got on?Ó Sarah teases. I look down at my bra and cotton shorts and then back at her. She snorts as she makes her way to AddieÕs closet. ÒYou know heÕd notice you no matter what you wore, right?Ó

ÒIÕm not trying to dress up for him, you know?Ó I lie, folding my arms across my chest.

ÒOh, sweetie,Ó Sarah murmurs as she presses a kiss on the top of my head, Òdenying your feelings wonÕt make them go away.Ó I narrow my eyes at her and she offers me a smirk. ÒHe—Ó

ÒIsnÕt interested,Ó I interrupt, finishing her sentence for her.

ÒHere we go again,Ó Addie says as she stands.

Sarah grins at her from over her shoulder before returning to her task, decisively reaching for items of clothing. ÒMy argument that he is interested still trumps yours. Shall we go over the list again?Ó She pauses as if to wait for an answer, but before I can speak, sheÕs yanking off my shorts and encouraging me into pair of distressed jeans, complete with holes in each knee. ÒHe always walks you to our front door after you guys hang out—even if you were just downstairs.Ó

ÒThatÕs just him being a gentleman. All of us get escorted home—by him or Hammy.Ó

I’ve seen him carrying your cello more than once,Ó pipes in Addie, ignoring my rebuttal. I forget to make my counter argument as Im temporarily distracted by the fact that Sarah’s dressing me—and I’m actually letting her. And the kicker, she says, tugging a spaghetti strap tank over my chest, is that he’s been to three of your orchestra concerts.

First of all, everyone came to my last one—even Jack and Claire,Ó I mutter, finding my words once more. Second, he was just being supportive. I go to his football games.

Yeah. Because you like him,Ó argues Addie.

ÒAnd he practically stamped I like you back on his forehead at your concert, says Sarah, plucking a thin, loose knit, sweater from a hanger. He wore slacks and a collared shirt,Ó she insists, pulling the garment in her hands over my head. He dressed up for you, she adds, as if her previous statement needs clarification. She sweeps my hair out from underneath the collar and it falls down my back. He’s shy, she explains.

No—see, that is the biggest hole in your entire argument. He’s the star quarterback! He’s one of the most well known people on campus—where thousands upon thousands of people attend school—he is not shy,Ó I say with a laugh.

You look adorable, Ave, says my sister, guiding me toward her full length mirror. How could he not be shy around you?

A knock sounds at the door and, for a moment, we all fall silent. They’re early, I announce.

Go let them in, says Addie. I just need a couple more minutes to finish drying my hair.

And I have to get back in the kitchen. Besides, we all know who Gray would prefer to open that door.Ó

I shake my head as they giggle and then make my way out to let our guests in. Despite the fact that I know who stands just outside, my breath catches in my throat at the sight of him.

c author bio


R.C. Martin is a born and bred Coloradan. While she now resides in Virginia, her home will always be in the land of the Rocky Mountains, where she’s left a piece of her heart and where her characters come to life. As a woman in love with love and filled with compassion for young women on a journey to find themselves in today’s society, she aspires to inspire her readers to do more than settle. She hopes that her writing will remind, or perhaps teach women that they are valuable and worthy of the best kind of love—the kind that is gentle, patient, faithful, passionate, all consuming, never ending, and leaves them breathless.



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