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Latest Top Recommendations

There’s nothing that makes me believe in happily-ever-after more than the idea of an estranged couple finding their way back to one another after years apart, and Kristen Ashley’s new novel is an absolute masterclass in character-driven storytelling, and in its nuanced portrait of two people fighting for what they should have never stopped being—perfect together. But nothing in this novel is easy or cheaply sentimental. Familial tensions, complex human bonds, and long-hidden truths transform the story into a powerful pressure-cooker of emotions that never loses its distinctive Kristen Ashley flavour and depth. There are passages I wanted inked on my skin for the rest of my life, there are scenes I would never want to relive, and there is so much beauty in the most unexpected of moments, all coming together to tell a story of love, forgiveness, and second chances in life, but also of breaking the cycle that is holding us down and setting the example for those we love the most.

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What I can only describe as the love child of every soap opera I have every watched, this wonderful, slow-paced, drama-rich, age-gap romance kept me in its claws beginning to end. It’s the story of Indiana, a young girl who gets adopted by a wealthy Texan family with questionable influence and several unsavoury characters in its fold, to find out that her birth mother actually sold her to them for one million dollars. Her childhood is one big rollercoaster of emotions—from being deeply loved by a woman she loses at too young an age to then being made to feel unwelcome and worthless within the only family she knows—but her one constant in life remains Milo, a cowboy living in a barn on her family’s ranch. Indiana and Milo slowly become each other’s emotional anchors in life, sometimes the only bright light in an otherwise dark and oppressive circumstance, and over the years, that friendship blossoms into something more. But Indiana’s father, the family’s ruthless patriarch, is a man set on not only keeping them apart, but also on dispersing misery with his every command. And his latest wish is for Milo to marry a woman that is not Indiana.

Spanning many years and several jaw-dropping plot twists along the way, Indiana and Milo’s love story is as twisted as it is beautiful. Jewel E. Ann throws endless roadblocks on their path to happiness, yet through it all, their young love endures. Exquisitely written, well thought out and put together, and so emotionally addictive, I never wanted it to end.

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One of my favourite books of the year so far, this delightful friends-to-lovers romance has everything I’ve always loved about Abby Jimenez’s writing—wit, heart, SO much emotion, and a cinnamon roll hero you’d slay dragons for. It’s the story of two emergency room doctors, both trying to get over complicated breakups, who meet as potential rivals, become best of friends while faking to date one another, and end up falling in love while desperately trying to ignore the sizzling sexual tension between them. This is the kind of book you wish you could read for the first time over and over again, every time falling a little more in love with Jacob Maddox.

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Christopher Rice takes us back to Sapphire Cove, the luxury beachfront resort on the sparkling Southern California coast, with a love story that filled me with so much emotion, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Before travelling the world and working his way to becoming the head pastry chef at an exclusive resort, 40-something Ethan Blake spent his youth supporting himself any way he could—something only a few people in his life know. At first glance, he has very little in common with Roman Walker, a 20-something ‘fitfluencer’ who seems to be trapped in a situation where no part of his life is under his own control. But from the moment their paths cross on the page, we discover that these two men’s fates have been intertwined for a very long time. And while revenge might have brought them into each other’s lives, love is what sets them both free in the end. Christopher Rice writes with such command and feeling for his characters that you can’t help but become invested in their story, delivering a sexy, soapy age-gap romance bursting with secrets, scandal, blackmail, and high drama of the best kind.

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Bookish News

The third book in Abbi Glines‘ Smoke series is coming in June and I have an exclusive first look for you.

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Elle Kennedy is kicking off a brand new series in October, Campus Diaries, and we have the cover and blurb of the first book in the series, following the daughter of Garrett and Hannah Graham from The Deal.

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Samantha Young continues The Highlands series in December and we have the gorgeous cover of the second book in the series—an enemies to lovers, no strings attached romance set in the Scottish Highlands.

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NBJ WEEKLY RECAP

New & Upcoming Releases; Bookish News; Latest Top Recommendations

16 May, 2023

NEW RELEASES

GRUMPY/SUNSHINE + ENEMIES TO LOVERS + SMALL TOWN + BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE

I never thought I’d be the proud owner of a quaint small-town bookstore, but life has a funny way of surprising us.

With my virtual BFF’s encouragement to seize the day and follow my heart.
I say goodbye to my corporate job and say hello to my new adventure.
Until I meet the town’s grumpy billionaire, Huxley Spearman.
He’s every woman’s dream.
Tall, devastatingly handsome…
But annoyingly arrogant.
And if making a new enemy isn’t enough, there’s more:

1. My long-lost Mother might be alive.
2. This bookstore is the money pit.
3. My checking account is in shambles.
4. My online friend wants to be more than my virtual crush.
5. And, somehow, I‘m falling for two different men.

Can love truly grow from a virtual connection? Or will a rough-around-the-edges man steal my heart?

This is the sixth book in the Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers series of standalone novels with interconnected characters.

Series recommended reading order: Faking the Game | Can’t Help Love | Along Came You | My Favorite Mistake | The Way of Us | Meant For Me | Finally Found You (7 Aug 2023) | Where We Belong (6 Nov 2023)

Click to Read An Excerpt


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AGE GAP + FORCED PROXIMITY

Marcus

To listeners of The Vers, a queer podcast I host with my three best friends, I’m known as The Realist—I accept life the way it is, believe in honesty over sugarcoating, and okay, I can maybe be a little bossy.

If you asked The Vers guys, they’d tell you I’m a caretaker who’s always thinking of others, but they also give over-the-top hugs and don’t believe me when I say feelings are the worst.

It’s why I have no business offering Kai Lewis a place to stay when he’s in need. He’s a flirt who makes no secret about wanting in my bed…somewhere I’d like to have him if he wasn’t the employee of one of my closest friends. But he’s too trusting and leaps before he thinks, so at least he won’t get taken advantage of if he’s with me.

Now he’s always around, wearing shorts that leave nothing to the imagination and saying he wants to take care of me because I’m always doing it for others. It’s not long before I can’t resist him—a man who likes listening in the bedroom but is stubborn in other situations.

Kai is sweet and funny and gets me to open up to him. Maybe this whole relationship thing wouldn’t be so bad…if he wasn’t nine years younger…and leaving Southern California soon…or if I had any idea what I was doing.

This is the third book in a series of standalone novels with interconnected characters about four best friends and co-hosts of a queer podcast called The Vers.

Series recommended reading order: The Loner | The Romantic | The Realist | The Charmer (6 Sep 2023)


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Sparks fly when a romance novelist and a documentary filmmaker join forces to craft the perfect Hollywood love story and take both of their careers to the next level—but only if they can keep the chemistry between them from taking the whole thing off script…

Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Sure, she’s got an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist with a slew of bestsellers under her belt, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practicing what she’s preached.

Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. What happens when the optimism she’s spent her career encouraging in readers starts to feel like a lie?

Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, loves his work in large part because it allows him to live near his daughter. But when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element. Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution. What if he could show the queen of romance herself falling head-over-heels for all the world to see? Fizzy gives him a hard pass—unless he agrees to her list of demands. When he says yes, and production on The True Love Experiment begins, Connor wonders if that perfect match will ever be in the cue cards for him, too.

This is a standalone novel, set in the same world as The Soulmate Equation.


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ENEMIES TO LOVERS + SMALL TOWN

There’s a fine line between love and hate.

In Huckleberry Bay, Oregon, everyone knows that when it comes to Juniper “June” Snow – what you see is what you get. When you hire her construction company to do a job, it’s done right, on time, and on budget. When she’s your friend, she’s a ride-or-die who will support you no matter what. And when you’re her enemy…well, she can hold a grudge.

And she’s never forgotten how the tall, dark, and delicious Apollo Winchester hurt her so many years ago.

In a small town, it’s impossible to ignore someone who greets you with a death glare every time you meet. Apollo can’t recall why June hates him, but it doesn’t stop him from stirring her up every chance he gets. There’s something about her stubborn, “don’t mess with me” attitude that keeps him coming back for more. But June is his sister’s best friend and permanently on the “off-limits” list.

June puts aside her war with Apollo and hires him to work on her most important project, the renovation of a chapel into her dream home. She wants the best…and Apollo is the best . . . on the job site and in her bed. He won’t turn down the chance to spend more time with June, especially when it’s clear that she wants him as much as she hates him. Proximity leads to opportunity, and opportunity leads to steamy times between the sheets.

But a mystery threatens June and Apollo will protect her and their growing connection, no matter the cost.

This is the third book in the Huckleberry Bay series of standalone novels with interconnected characters about three best friends, a local legend, and finding love on the stunning Oregon Coast.

Series recommended reading order: Lighthouse Way | Fernhill Lane | Chapel Bend


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BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE

The truth behind the lie isn’t always a relief.

Loving a man known for his wealth, arrogance, and power had been a mistake. My head had known he was dangerous but my heart hadn’t cared. When the lies began to unravel and the truth slapped me in the face, running was the only thing I knew to do. I didn’t belong in this world.
His world.
But you don’t run from The Family. Not when they claim you as their own. Trusting anyone is a mistake. Friendship is only as deep as the Boss allows it to be. You are never hidden. They will always find you.
Every move I made, he controlled. The people helping me were all under his command. The only weapon I had was his obsession with me. Learning to use it against him could destroy me but I had no other choice.

This is the second book in the Smoke series and it is not a standalone novel.

Series reading order: Smokeshow | Fireball | Smoke Bomb (11 Jun 2023)


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BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE

I’m damn good at my job.

So if I swipe my boss’s event invitations from time to time, it’s kind of like a much-earned bonus. He’ll never miss them, and I get a five-star free meal in the company of men in well-fitted suits.

But then he shows up at an award’s dinner that I’m most definitely not supposed to be at.

Lucky for me, when my boss accuses me of stealing his ticket, a hot swoony man in a tux steps in and says, “She came with me.”

Now I owe the stranger one, which is totally cool.

Until I discover the hot, swoony man is none other than Steele Sebastian, a rich man with a penchant for scandal.

And the way he wants me to pay him back?

Let’s just say that Steele Sebastian has a reputation as a dirty filthy billionaire, and I’m about to find out why.

This is a standalone novella set in the Dirty Universe.


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When a woman who’d rather do anything than read meets a swoon-worthy bookworm, sparks fly, making for one hot-summer fling…

For Samantha Gale, a summer on Martha’s Vineyard at her family’s tiny cottage was supposed to be about resurrecting her career as a chef, until she’s tasked with chaperoning her half-brother, Tyler. The teenage brainiac is spending his summer at the local library in a robotics competition, and there’s no place Sam, who has dyslexia, likes less than the library. And because the universe hates her, the library’s interim director turns out to be the hot-reader guy whose book she accidentally destroyed on the ferry ride to the island.

Bennett Reynolds is on a quest to find his father, whose identity he’s never known. He’s taken the temporary job on the island to research the summer his mother spent there when she got pregnant with him. Ben tells himself he isn’t interested in a relationship right now. Yet as soon as Sam knocks his book into the ocean, he can’t stop thinking about her.

An irresistible attraction blossoms when Ben inspires Sam to create the cookbook she’s always dreamed about and she jumps all in on helping him find his father, and soon they realize their summer fling may heat up into a happily ever after.

This is a standalone novel.


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I have one simple rule: don’t date professional baseball players. There are no exceptions, no workarounds.

“What if—”
No.
“Could he—”
Nuh-uh.

With a brother in the league, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the downright horrifying. Those guys might seem tantalizing when they’re in uniform down on the field, hitting grand slams in front of a crowd of adoring fans, but I know better. The huge egos? The insane travel schedules? The veritable buffet of female companions? No ma’am. Professional athletes are best handled at a distance, preferably far enough away that their chiseled jawlines blur into oblivion.

Enter Grant Navarro.

He’s the baseball player to end all baseball players. The one I should have marked with a big red X the first moment I laid eyes on him. Only the night we met (and kissed—oops), I didn’t know he was my brother’s newest teammate. Imagine my shock when I realized the sexiest man in Manhattan was officially off limits. Just my luck!

Let the record show that I had every intention of following my rule and staying away from Grant. When he smiled that irresistible smile and those dimples popped, I stood my ground. When he made it very clear he’d love to pick up where we left off the night we met, I said, Hold it right there, partner. When he messaged me all sorts of naughty things on Instagram, I logged out of that app so fast I dented my iPhone screen.

Baseball players are bad, bad, bad.

So tell me why giving in to Grant just for a night, getting one taste of what could be starts to seem not just tempting, but downright mandatory.

Yeah, about that one simple rule…haven’t you heard?
Rules are meant to be broken.

This is a standalone novel.


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GRUMPY/SUNSHINE + SMALL TOWN + BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE

My new assistant is all smiles and sunshine—and she’s about to set fire to my cold, grumpy heart.

I’ve moved to this god-forsaken small town to run the family business.
I need to hire a new PA and the pickings are slim.
Some say my irrational expectations are the reason I’ve gone through assistants quicker than most people refill their coffee.
Incompetence is my pet peeve.
If that makes me irrational, so be it.
Then Georgia Reynolds walks into my office.
Blonde hair.
Sapphire eyes.
And a smart mouth that irritates me as much as it turns me on.
On top of being a rockstar at her job, she is a ray of freaking sunshine on steroids.
I have no patience for it.
Nor for the way she flutters around the office like a modern-day Tinkerbell.
She has ridiculous taste in music.
Drives an unreasonable form of transportation.
And did I mention that I caught her dancing in my closet when I sent her on a simple errand?
My new assistant has somehow become my kryptonite.
But I am her boss, and I am not going to be a pathetic cliché.
It doesn’t matter that my cold, jaded heart has started beating again.
In my world, a beating heart makes you weak.
And I do not tolerate weaknesses.

This is a standalone novel in the Cottonwood Cove series.

Series recommended reading order: Into the Tide | Under the Stars | On the Shore (Jul 2023) | Before the Sunset (Sep 2023) | After the Storm (Nov 2023)


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ONE NIGHT STAND

Who knew that one night out would change everything?

As a financial analyst, Rachel Bai is more comfortable with numbers than people. When her boss promotes her to head a team in San Francisco, his message is clear—she has one year to build a successful team and become an effective leader. Rachel sets out to discover how to be more comfortable interacting with people, but a drunken night meant for research results in a mechanical bull ride and a one-night stand with a sexy stranger—definitely not part of her plan.

Attorney Luke Trudeau is intrigued by the mysterious woman who’s determined to put their night together firmly in her rearview mirror. So when Luke sees Rachel again, he proposes a deal: he’ll smooth out her rough social edges and teach her to charm clients if she’ll help him devise a financial plan to open his own practice.

It seems like a win-win, but Luke breaks the rules by falling in love. Can he convince Rachel that what they have is real and, when it comes to love, there are no set rules?

This is the second book in the From Sunset Park, With Love series of standalone novels with interconnected characters.

Series recommended reading order: The Year of Cecily | The Rachel Experiment


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ENEMIES TO LOVERS

He’s the hotshot agent who hates my guts.
I’m the (almost) one-night stand turned business rival.

Imagine my surprise when Paxton Ramsey shows up across the boardroom table.
Gone is the sexy smirk, replaced by open hostility with a side of taunting.

His overbearing, grumpy attitude makes my blood boil.
But I can’t forget the taste of our kiss. The thrill of his touch.

Our clients expect us to work together.
I can’t even stand being in the same zip code.

Surely, I can survive one week trapped on an island with my nemesis?
Until one week turns into two. Then three. Then four.

When he flaunts his power to make my career dreams come true…
It takes everything in me not to ruin his.

Paxton Ramsey thinks he’ll be the death of me.
But I just might teach him how to live in the process.

This is a standalone novel.


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MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

You are cordially invited to my fake wedding.

Marrying Beckett Coleman is the best idea I’ve had in years. I can grant my sick dad’s wish to walk one of his daughters down the aisle, and Beckett has my help solving a custody situation with his daughter. Our plan is to spend a year together, then part ways. Easy, especially since I’m not his type, and he’s not mine either.

He’s too quiet and too serious. And while he’s distractingly gorgeous, he’s also my brother’s teammate. Beckett is fake husband material, not the real deal. I just have to remember that.

Until I move in with him. Get to know him. Share a bed with him. Turns out, the line between fake and real isn’t just blurry, it’s almost impossible to uphold when he looks at me the way he does.

This marriage is a whole lot more complicated than we bargained for. We’re threatening to destroy everything we’ve built, something neither of us can risk.

Marrying Beckett might’ve been the best idea in years. But falling in love with him would be the worst.

This is a standalone novel.


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FRIENDS TO LOVERS

Sam can’t escape the smash hit “Lost Boy” because, well, he is the lost boy. His pop-singer ex immortalized him in a song about his childish ways, and now his comedy career is on the line.

At least he still has Bree, his best friend and confidante. Bree has always been there for Sam, but she’s never revealed her biggest secret: she’s in love with him. To help herself move on, Bree applies for her dream job across the country—and doesn’t say a thing to Sam.

But as Sam tries to resuscitate his career, he turns to Bree for support—and maybe more. In the confines of her tiny apartment, they share a different dynamic. A charged dynamic. But she’s his friend. He can’t be falling for her.

Except he is.

Are his feelings for Bree just funny business? Or is their smoldering attraction the real deal?

This is a standalone novel.


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AGE GAP + ARRANGED MARRIAGE + MAFIA ROMANCE

Aislinn Killeen is a good girl. When her sister goes missing during a trip to New York, Aislinn leaves her hometown Dublin behind to search for her. She finds shelter with her uncle, a priest in the city’s biggest Irish-catholic parish and also the confessor for the Irish mob. Her investigations soon lead her to the criminal underworld and one of its major players: Lorcan Devaney.

Lorcan Devaney’s reign is brutal, his temper feared, and his patience non-existent. Aislinn is sure he’s the man who knows what happened to her sister. She realizes too late that attracting the attention of a man like Lorcan is a horrible idea. When secrets from her family’s past are revealed, she’s forced to marry the man who might be responsible for her sister’s disappearance.

Will she find her sister and escape the unwanted marriage, or will she be the second Killeen to disappear?

This is the first book in the all-new Five-Leaf-Clover series.


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AGE GAP + BROTHER’S BEST FRIEND

Brooks Huntley is the last guy on earth I should ask to take my virginity.

He’s a decade older than me. Lethally hot. And so far out of my league it’s not even funny. The biggest downside to my plan, though?

Brooks is my older brother’s best friend.

I see Brooks every day when I deliver muffins to his office. With his swaggering confidence and sexy smirk, it’s no wonder I’ve always had a crush on him. But I’m not looking to cause any trouble—at first. I just want to give my V-card a long-overdue swipe.

Too bad I have no game when it comes to picking up guys—but Brooks is a master at charming the pants off women. While Brooks himself is off-limits, who better to study for tips on how to get laid?

When he offers me a weekend away at a five-star resort as thanks for satisfying his sweet tooth, I say yes—with the caveat that he comes too. That way I can watch him in action. He counters with a caveat of his own: he’ll come, but my brother can never find out.

On our secret getaway, I do my best to learn from Brooks and take someone new home. But I fail so miserably that Brooks steps in and kisses me “to show me how it should be done.”

And can I tell y’all, I just melted.

Now can I convince him to show me how everything should be done?

This is a standalone novel in the Sex & Bonds series.

Series recommended reading order: The Dealmaker | The Troublemaker | The Bond Trader (2024)


Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Print

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

When the shoe drops, it always hits her on the head…

Tessa Albertini has spent much of her life guest-starring in other people’s stories. Her older sister is a type-A personality who creates opportunities like other people build hopes, and her younger sister finds trouble like it’s an integral strand of her DNA. Finally Tessa’s hard work and sacrifice allow her to open that restaurant she’s been dreaming about since she was a young teenager working her butt off, regardless of the obstacles now slamming into her.

There’s an advancing enemy who doesn’t want Tessa to succeed in business, while Nonna Albertini is determined she’ll succeed in love, no matter how much meddling it takes. Finally, Nick Basanelli, the most arrogant and sexy man she has ever met, zeroes his formidable focus into actually courting her—and that’s before he discovers she’s in danger and morphs into overprotective alpha male mode.

While a family’s middle child is supposedly a peacemaker, the world is about to discover that when pushed far enough, Tessa is willing to go to war.

This is the fifth full-length book in The Anna Albertini Files series.

Series reading order: Disorderly Conduct | Bailed Out | Adverse Possession | Holiday Rescue (novella) | Santa’s Subpoena | Holiday Rogue (2 Aug 2022) | Tessa’s Trust | Habeas Corpus (Feb 2024)


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FORCED PROXIMITY + REGENCY ROMANCE

Surviving on a tropical island will be hard.
Living with him will be impossible. . .

Shipwrecked on a tropical isle, Caroline ‘Caro’ Montgomery is furious to discover that her sole fellow castaway is her brother’s infuriating best friend, Maximillian Cavendish, the fourteenth duke of Hayworth.

Max might be the most handsome man she’s ever met, but he’s teased her ever since they were children. So when Max claims to have lost his memory, Caro seizes the opportunity for revenge—and informs him he’s a lowly stable hand.

As they work together to survive, attraction flares hot between them. But should Caro reveal her deception? And what will happen if Max finally remembers he’s a duke?

This is a standalone novella in the Ruthless Rivals series.

Series recommended reading order: A Reckless Match | A Daring Pursuit | A Wicked Game | Desert Island Duke (novella)


Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Apple Books | Print

SECOND CHANCES + FAKE RELATIONSHIP + ENEMIES TO LOVERS + BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE

He was supposed to be my forever love
Until he becomes my personal hell…

Declan Beauchamp: he’s the super-hot, super-bad boy actor.
I’m the new voice, who has an overnight break-out single.
Together we are unbeatable.
A match-made-in-tabloid heaven.
Until he betrays me…

I manage to put him behind and move on.
I even have a new boyfriend.
Except my career is in freefall…
Only consolation?
Declan isn’t faring better either.

With my future and his at stake.
Declan comes up with a plan.
One movie together,
And a fake relationship to catapult our futures back on track.

But when our chemistry detonates,
I know I can’t survive this encounter.
I tell him the deal is off,
Except it’s too late…

This is a standalone novel.


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Killian swept in like a knight in shining leather pants to save Scarlett once she exposed the groom. The next time they saw each other, they ended up fake-engaged. Can they find a way to make it down the aisle together and live happily ever after? 

How it started:
An accidental phone grab during my rehearsal dinner while my fiancé went to use the restroom.

How it ended:
Reading all the dirty texts between him and my maid of honor, aka little sister, during our vows in front of the world in what would later be considered one of the most viral wedding videos on TikTok.
Of. All. Time.
Did I mention his vows were before mine, and he compared me to my adopted dog because… and I quote, “I’m so loyal.”
It’s not my fault that my first instinct, after exposing his dirty lies, was to run up to the clueless rockstar that was supposed to headline my reception and ask him to sing my tears away. I never expected him to help me escape certain disaster, kiss me senseless, and then buy me ice cream.
But that was all in the past—until I’m staring down at a wedding invitation from the crappy little crap pants ex. You see, he swapped sisters, and now a year later, they’re getting married at a gorgeous winery while I’m still staring down at a plus one, wondering if I can bring my pet turtle.

How it happened:
In desperation, I sent a drunken text to the hot rockstar with a picture of my turtle, Chuck Norris… in a bowtie. Who knew he would show up at the wedding—but get this, it wasn’t to save me, nope, it was to… yup, SING!
SHE STOLE HIM TOO!
But now that he’s there and I’m there, and the history is there, I beg him one more time to save me, this time as my date.
But lie after lie just kept pouring out of my mouth until we were somehow fake-engaged.
I would laugh if crying didn’t feel so good.
Should have brought the freaking turtle…

This is a standalone novel.


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Latest Top Recommendations

There’s nothing that makes me believe in happily-ever-after more than the idea of an estranged couple finding their way back to one another after years apart, and Kristen Ashley’s new novel is an absolute masterclass in character-driven storytelling, and in its nuanced portrait of two people fighting for what they should have never stopped being—perfect together. But nothing in this novel is easy or cheaply sentimental. Familial tensions, complex human bonds, and long-hidden truths transform the story into a powerful pressure-cooker of emotions that never loses its distinctive Kristen Ashley flavour and depth. There are passages I wanted inked on my skin for the rest of my life, there are scenes I would never want to relive, and there is so much beauty in the most unexpected of moments, all coming together to tell a story of love, forgiveness, and second chances in life, but also of breaking the cycle that is holding us down and setting the example for those we love the most.

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What I can only describe as the love child of every soap opera I have every watched, this wonderful, slow-paced, drama-rich, age-gap romance kept me in its claws beginning to end. It’s the story of Indiana, a young girl who gets adopted by a wealthy Texan family with questionable influence and several unsavoury characters in its fold, to find out that her birth mother actually sold her to them for one million dollars. Her childhood is one big rollercoaster of emotions—from being deeply loved by a woman she loses at too young an age to then being made to feel unwelcome and worthless within the only family she knows—but her one constant in life remains Milo, a cowboy living in a barn on her family’s ranch. Indiana and Milo slowly become each other’s emotional anchors in life, sometimes the only bright light in an otherwise dark and oppressive circumstance, and over the years, that friendship blossoms into something more. But Indiana’s father, the family’s ruthless patriarch, is a man set on not only keeping them apart, but also on dispersing misery with his every command. And his latest wish is for Milo to marry a woman that is not Indiana.

Spanning many years and several jaw-dropping plot twists along the way, Indiana and Milo’s love story is as twisted as it is beautiful. Jewel E. Ann throws endless roadblocks on their path to happiness, yet through it all, their young love endures. Exquisitely written, well thought out and put together, and so emotionally addictive, I never wanted it to end.

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One of my favourite books of the year so far, this delightful friends-to-lovers romance has everything I’ve always loved about Abby Jimenez’s writing—wit, heart, SO much emotion, and a cinnamon roll hero you’d slay dragons for. It’s the story of two emergency room doctors, both trying to get over complicated breakups, who meet as potential rivals, become best of friends while faking to date one another, and end up falling in love while desperately trying to ignore the sizzling sexual tension between them. This is the kind of book you wish you could read for the first time over and over again, every time falling a little more in love with Jacob Maddox.

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Christopher Rice takes us back to Sapphire Cove, the luxury beachfront resort on the sparkling Southern California coast, with a love story that filled me with so much emotion, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Before travelling the world and working his way to becoming the head pastry chef at an exclusive resort, 40-something Ethan Blake spent his youth supporting himself any way he could—something only a few people in his life know. At first glance, he has very little in common with Roman Walker, a 20-something ‘fitfluencer’ who seems to be trapped in a situation where no part of his life is under his own control. But from the moment their paths cross on the page, we discover that these two men’s fates have been intertwined for a very long time. And while revenge might have brought them into each other’s lives, love is what sets them both free in the end. Christopher Rice writes with such command and feeling for his characters that you can’t help but become invested in their story, delivering a sexy, soapy age-gap romance bursting with secrets, scandal, blackmail, and high drama of the best kind.

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Bookish News

The third book in Abbi Glines‘ Smoke series is coming in June and I have an exclusive first look for you.

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Elle Kennedy is kicking off a brand new series in October, Campus Diaries, and we have the cover and blurb of the first book in the series, following the daughter of Garrett and Hannah Graham from The Deal.

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Samantha Young continues The Highlands series in December and we have the gorgeous cover of the second book in the series—an enemies to lovers, no strings attached romance set in the Scottish Highlands.

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BOOK REVIEW: Perfect Together by Kristen Ashley

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