Support Authors of Color: New Romance Book Releases

There are so many amazing books out by BIPOC and I wanted to share just a few of the ones I'm excited to add to my ever-growing TBR pile! 

What books from Black authors have you discovered and loved recently?




From Wall Street JournalUSA Today Bestselling and RITA® Award-winning Author Kennedy Ryan, comes a captivating second chance romance like only she can deliver...

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can't have…

Dig a little and you'll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.
Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.
Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.
Get into our business and you'll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.
Twenty years later, my "awkward duckling" best friend from childhood, the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.
Finer. Fiercer. Smarter.
Taken.
Tell me it's wrong.
Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have.
When we find each other again, everything stands in our way--secrets, lies, promises.
But we didn't come this far to give up now.
And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.




He’s discovered his leading lady

The role of her dreams: in his arms.

Chloe Daniels is determined to land the role of a lifetime. Even if she’s terrified to get on a horse! And the last thing her reluctant teacher, Tristan Tillbridge, wants is to entertain a pampered actress. But the enigmatic cowboy soon discovers that Chloe is as genuine as she is gorgeous, and he’s determined to make her his. Will this unlikely pair discover that the sparks between them are anything but an act?



A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos 

A June 2020 Indie Next List Pick!
An Entertainment Weekly "New Books to Read May 2020" Pick

From talented new writer, Yaffa S. Santos, comes this unforgettable, heartwarming, and hilarious rom-com about chefs, cooking, love, and self-discovery that is a cross between The Hating Game and Sweetbitter.

Lumi Santana is a chef with the gift of synesthesia—she can perceive a person’s emotions just by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a single mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she decides to take a chance and puts her heart and savings into opening a fusion restaurant in Inwood, Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines that have been a source of culinary inspiration to her.

When Lumi’s eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as a sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant in midtown owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. Lumi and Julien don’t get along in the kitchen--to say Lumi is irritated by Julien’s smug attitude is an understatement, and she secretly vows never to taste his cooking. Little does she know that her resolve doesn’t stand a chance against Julien’s culinary prowess.

As Julien produces one delectable dish after another, each one tempting Lumi with its overwhelming aromas and gorgeous presentations, she can no longer resist and samples one of his creations. She isn’t prepared for the feelings that follow as she’s overcome with intense emotions. She begins to crave his cooking throughout the day, which throws a curveball in her plan to save up enough money and move on as soon as possible. Plus, there’s also the matter of Esme, Julien’s receptionist who seems to always be near and watching. As the attraction between Lumi and Julien simmers, Lumi experiences a tragedy that not only complicates her professional plans, but her love life as well...




He was everything she wanted.
She was perfection in his eyes.
All of that changed in one night.
Their world crumbled and now,
Tiara and Jason are trying to pick up the pieces.

Can they find their way back to each other through heavy hearts?





Liquor, cigars, and luxury are synonymous for the name Charmain Wright. As the CEO of Wright Liquors, Charmain is no stranger to hard work and staying ahead of the latest acquisition. She has her eye on one of the most exclusive bars in town. Even though she is successful in everything financial, Charmain finds that her efficient way of dealing with the opposite sex is becoming more troublesome than it’s worth. Wanting to avoid the inefficiency of falling in love, Charmain finds that it may not be as troublesome with someone who knows exactly how to “negotiate.”

As the owner of one of the most exclusive cigar bars in Chicago, J is no stranger to balancing his personal life with business.

As the years have gone by, J is noticing that he no longer yearns for the exciting dichotomy of straddling the fence between being legitimate and walking the more dangerous side of the shadows. As the nephew of one of the most notorious Italian crime families in Chicago, he finds himself burnt out and looking for peace. Yet, the last thing he expected was for “his future” to come straight to him.

Matches are lit and flames are stoked as J and Charmain meet one another head on. Can they trust one another as partners and as lovers? Can they move forward into uncharted waters to experience a love that exceeds their expectations? Or will the safety of their routines be too appealing?


Review & GIVEAWAY: The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis

Book Review: The Summer Deal 
Publisher: Harper Collins  
Release Date: 6/2/2020 
ISBN: 1472269624
Genre: Women's Fiction/Contemporary Romance 
Rating: 4 Heart Review 

BLURB: Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.

 

And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for . . . well, anything. She's fierce, tough, and she’s keeping more than one bombshell of a secret from Brynn -- her long-time frenemy.

 

But then Brynn runs into Kinsey's best friend, Eli, renewing her childhood crush. The good news: he’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell.

 

The bad news: when he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have real connections, possibly love, and a future—if she can only learn to let go of the past.

 

As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them.


CHEEKY THOUGHTS: 
First, let's talk about that cover. It just screams summer read and I'm totally here for it. I'm also a BIG fan of animals on covers when they play a role within the story, as yellow lab puppy "Mini" does.

For me, this book straddled the line between women's fiction and romance and Shalvis does a great job at balancing the story elements of friendship and family with a real romance. Not every author can pack as much "other" into a romance and still achieve the character arcs for a hero and heroine to pull off a satisfactory HEA. If there was one area of the book I wanted to be more fully fleshed out, it would have been a little more of an arc for Eli. While I was satisfied with where he ends up in the story, I could have done with a little more emotional growth than we got. Maybe a few more challenges to his status quo?

One of the other relationships in the book is that of Brynn and Kinsey and it truly is done exceptionally well. There was real depth and development on the page between these two characters and you cheered and cringed as they muddled their way to a deep bond. 

Brynn's Moms and their relationship with not only her, but also Kinsey, Eli and Eli's brother Max, were a delight. My hope is that they continue to show up in any upcoming books in this series. Hell, I want them to come be my Moms for awhile! 

We do get insight into Brynn and Kinsey's past relationship through excerpts from their Summer Camp journals. These short flashes into their childhood worries and fears gives the reader a deeper understanding of how these women came to be who they are, and how intertwined their lives have always been. Also a fantastic reminder that you never know how your small actions can impact someone else's feelings and potentially, their life! 

This is my second review in a row to focus on books that explore family dynamics and while completely by accident, I've found myself finding comfort in that during these times. Shalvis makes a substantial statement about the powerful role family can play in someone's life, for good or bad. But much more importantly, Shalvis speaks to the power of unconditional love and support being the true marker of who makes up a family. 

Shalvis once again crafted a winner of a summer read. Do you think I can get away with reading them again in Winter? 😍

ENTER TO WIN A COPY: 

UPDATED: The Winner is Katelyn! 

Want to win your own copy of The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis? I want to hear how you are planning to find some joy in your Summer this year. We all need to find some joy, so let's share ideas with one another! Comment below for a chance to win and make sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win. 

Want an extra entry? I just joined Instagram as @Cheeky_Reads and would love some more friends! Check out my account there and if you like, give me a follow or like a post. Come back and comment with your Instagram account for an extra entry to win! 

Winner will be chosen on Monday June 8th and contacted via email. Open to US and Canada residents only. 


ABOUT JILL SHALVIS

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.


Connect with Jill

Website: http://jillshalvis.com/

Facebook: @JillShalvis

Twitter: @JillShalvis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jillshalvis/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jillshalvis/

Tumblr: http://jillshalvis.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22370.Jill_Shalvis?from_search=true

 

Authors of Color: Support Black Romance Authors

The world is a shit show right now and allies should be looking for ways they can support the Black community right now. For romance readers, I ask that you show your support by considering buying books from Black romance authors. Thanks to Kristan Higgins for suggesting this on Twitter. This is the first post in a continuing series that I'll be featuring here on Cheeky Reads. 

Below are some books that I'm personally super excited about and think you'll love! Check out the descriptions and then click through to buy these amazing stories. 


One of Oprah Magazine's 21 Romance Novels That Are Set to Be the Best of 2020

USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral...

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. 

When big, brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and former rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact to him, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Suddenly, half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? 

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his... um, thighs. 

The easy lay Dani dreamed of is now more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint? 

“Talia Hibbert is a rockstar! Her writing is smart, funny, and sexy..." - Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Little Bridge Island and Princess Diaries series  




"If you're looking for an easy charmer, this is the novel for you."—Shondaland
 
When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.


Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans for what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open. His brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop....

Part-time shop employee Kerry Fuller has kept her crush on Jesse a secret. When she overhears his impassioned plea to his brothers to keep the knitting shop open, she volunteers to help. Unlike Jesse, Kerry knows the “knitty-gritty” of the business, and together they make plans to reinvent Strong Knits for a new generation.

But the more time they spend together, the stronger the chemistry builds between them. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe their relationship can last longer than she can knit one, purl two. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her forever and always. After all, real men knit.


n this witty rom-com celebrating the "unique joys of strong female friendships," three young women bond when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they've all been duped by the same man. (Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date)

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be "that" girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she's been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other "girlfriends," London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men and no dating.

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she's always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

"A smart, funny digital-age romance about real women living in the real world. Couldn't put it down!" --Abby Jimenez, USA Today bestselling author of The Happy Ever After Playlist

*Cosmopolitan: Best Summer Reads 2020*O, The Oprah Magazine: Most Anticipated Romances of 2020*Book of the Month selection*LibraryReads selection*Bookpage: Most Anticipated Romance of 2020 *SheReads: Most Anticipated Reads of Summer 2020



Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick

“Smart and witty . . . the perfect historical read.”

 —Julia Quinn, #1 New York Times bestselling author
 
Created by a shrewd countess, The Widow’s Grace is a secret society with a mission: to help ill-treated widows regain their status, their families, and even find true love again—or perhaps for the very first time . . .
 
When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband's mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow's Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .
 
A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she's breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?

“One of the best historicals I’ve read in years.” 
—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author 

“Vanessa Riley at her finest.”
—Sarah MacLean, New York Times bestselling author


“Expertly crafted romance.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Book Review: Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras Cover

Book Review: Island Affair 

Publisher:  Zebra  
Release Date: 4/28/2020
ISBN: 1420150170
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Heart Review

TW: Eating Disorders

Book Blurb:
Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancĂ© . . .

Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their fake relationship fade like the stunning sunset . . . or blossom into something beautiful?

Cheeky Thoughts: 
This was such a fun book! Exactly what I needed at this time and I finished it in a day and then found myself looking at photos from my last trip to Key West! Priscilla really brought Key West and that community to life in this story and her love for it just comes out on the page. 

My favorite part of this story was how Priscilla deftly handled the inclusion of the eating disorder of the main character. It was woven into the story in such a believable and heart-felt way without this turning into a dark and heavy read. It's a perfect example of how you can write REAL characters who live with secrets and struggles just like we do in real life. Her characterizations felt well written and true to the characters she had created. 

For me, there were a few areas that made this a 4 Heart review instead of 5. 

The first issue I had was the initial meet cute of Sara and Luis. While I loved the premise and set-up, it felt a little too quick to be believable. As much as Sara was in a tough spot, it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief for how quickly she jumped right into Luis' truck (basically a total stranger) with him and offered to take him to stay with her family. I would have liked a little more time of Sara still being wary even after Luis agrees to help her. 

My other issue was the resolution of the relationship issues between Sara and her sister. While I LOVED Priscilla digging into this sister dynamic and showing family relationships that are strained, it felt to me that this particular issue needed much more than just one conversation for it to start being turned around. The animosity is sooo deep at the beginning of the story, that I would have liked to have seen multiple steps/touchpoints between the sisters as they get toward the end of the story events. 

All in all, I highly recommend this book and loved both of the families dynamics, the setting and most of all the great characters Priscilla created. Luis and Sara are a wonderful romance story surrounded by families you want to keep reading more and more of. I will be checking out Priscilla's backlist, but also cannot wait to hear when the next book in this series will release. Because this one is so good, of course there will be another book in this series! 

I you haven't read this yet, pick up a copy today and enjoy a fantastic summer romance! 

Follow Me on Instagram!

I'm finally branching out of my blog cave and created a #Bookstagram account over on Instagram as @Cheeky_Reads. Would love it if you would follow me there! While I will tease out when new reviews post on the blog, I'm hoping to do content exclusive to that shorter form platform.

Here's a peek at my first ever #bookstack. I have a LOT to learn about taking images and creating book layouts, but I hope you'll enjoy watching me try to get better. LOL!


Also, if you don't already follow me on Twitter hit me up there as @CheekyReads and let's talk all things books and romance!

- Cheeky Girl Sabrina


Guilt Free Shopping: Currently Free Contemporary eBooks

I LOVE a good freebie and with eBooks, it means the ability to try out new to me authors or first in series books without depleting my monthly book fund. Here's a round up of five free contemporary romances that caught my eye on Amazon. Happy guilt-free shopping! 





Blurb: Rose Martin, proprietor of San Francisco’s premiere wedding venue the Rose Chalet, is trying to convince herself that the man she’s marrying in a week is the right one for her. But with only seven days left until he loses her forever to another man, RJ Knight, the landscaper and handyman at the chalet, can’t step aside any longer. He might not be a wealthy member of San Francisco high society like her fiancĂ©, but RJ is desperately in love with Rose…and he’s pretty darn sure that she’s in love with him, too. Now, with help from the rest of the Rose Chalet staff, he just needs to prove it.




Blurb: It’s a fine line between feuding and flirting...

Ever since Megan Miller arrived in stunning Lost Harbor, Alaska, she’s been at odds with boat captain Lucas Holt. They’re opposites in every way. She’s a city girl, he’s from an Alaska homestead. She runs nature tours, he’s all about big-money charters. He’s also arrogant, annoying and oh yeah, wildly attractive. Lost Harbor would be the perfect escape from the tragedy that sent her running--except for her feud with the hottie captain.


Lucas Holt came home for one thing—settle his father’s affairs then hightail it back to Colorado. So why is he still here? Is it because there’s something fishy about his father’s death? Is it the endearingly eccentric locals and enchanting scenery? Or could it be Lost Harbor’s newest resident, a sassy scientist who’s as sexy as she is stubborn? Arguing with Megan is the best foreplay he’s had in years.


Until one of Lost Harbor’s dangerous storms tosses everything up in the air, and a feud turns to a passionate affair--with stakes higher than Megan ever imagined.






Blurb: Telling my wannabe rock star ex that I’m his new PR person is easy. What's hard - besides his abs? The fact that he's way hotter than he was 12 years ago.

Not that I'm noticing. Nope. I'm 150,000% over him.

As far as I’m concerned, my relationship with Alastair Wells is strictly professional. Despite that brooding regret he has when he looks at me. And that smile that tells me he has ideas of his own and they definitely include me. But not in any kind of professional sense.

Did I mention I’m 150,000% over this guy?

Maybe make that 149,000%...






Game, Set, Match: Sports Romance (Love Match Book 1) by Nana Malone 


Blurb: I am a cautionary tale...The tennis golden boy who trusted the wrong person and lost the woman I loved.

And now my image and my body have taking a beating. On the court, I'm down forty-love. But I'm wiser now. I won't make the same mistake again. All I have to do is convince the woman I loved and left behind to trust me again.

My career and my heart depend on it.

Easier said than done. Good thing I'm up for the challenge. Game on.




Brooklynaire: A Billionaire Romance by Sarina Bowen


Blurb: You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?

Book Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas


Chasing Cassandra Historical Romance by Lisa Kleypas
Book Review: Chasing Cassandra (Book 6 in the Ravenels Series) 
Publisher: Avon 
Release Date: 2/18/2020
ISBN: 978-0062371942
Genre: Historial Romance
Rating: 4 Heart Review
This book was self-purchased for review

Book Blurb:
Everything has a price . . .
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Everything except her . . .
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:
Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .
Cheeky Review:
Can we please talk about the way Kleypas writes descriptive prose? I've thought about this over and over since reading and then listening to this audiobook (which I also highly recommend!). Enjoying food and delicacies is something the heroine Cassandra loves but is constantly told to abstain from. Throughout the story, Kleypas proves her mastery at not just characterization but of writing readers into her world to experience it as the characters do with her descriptions of food.  She describes the food in a way that directly reflects how Cassandra herself experiences it. Each meal or dessert is layered into the story in way that showcases not only how much the heroine savors the act of eating said food, but also its importance to her identity and her joy in life. 

From the moment Severin declares "I'll be your oyster," I was hooked. Throughout the story, Kleypas shows us Severin feeding Cassandra treats he knows she will love and without judgement or admonishment. This is feeding the soul. Food as metaphor. Food as love. The body positivity in this book was a joyful inclusion and I loved that it was a key part of showing that Severin did indeed have feelings, even if he wasn't consciously aware of them.  

I've seen some reviewers mention that there wasn't enough conflict in this story for their taste. While I would agree that it is light on conflict, I didn't find myself missing it at all. Maybe it's because I was greatly in need of an angst-free read at the time, or maybe I just wanted to enjoy seeing two people falling in love easily and without drama. I relished this story and its characters! 

This might very well be my favorite in the Kleypas Ravenels series, but I know Tom Severin was my absolute favorite hero of the bunch and that's saying a lot. I ADORE West Ravenel, but Severin still managed to get a leg up here. His forthright honesty, self-owning nature and unconscious love of those he surrounds himself with won me over big time. 

If you are looking for a beautifully written story with low angst and a general warm and cozy read, then I cannot recommend this book highly enough! 

Awesome News: Bustle features The Ripped Bodice

Bustle recently did an amazing article and video feature with Leah from The Ripped Bodice and how they've pivoted to an online business model during this pandemic. It's clear from the article and video why The Ripped Bodice is an amazing store for us romance readers! Go check it out and support your local indie stores who love and support romance!

 

The First Kiss: Welcome Amanda Forester, Author of A Wedding In Springtime!

The First Kiss
by Amanda Forester

The first kiss.  There is nothing else like it.  It is the moment when intentions are made clear and two people move from friends or acquaintances toward becoming something entirely different.  It can be a powerful attraction, or it can be an alert you've made a terrible mistake.  Either way, that first kiss will always be memorable.

In my new release, A Wedding in Springtime, Eugenia Talbot has every reason to be wary of Mr. Grant. Five minutes into her presentation at court, the notorious rogue, William Grant, makes her laugh before the queen, ruining her debut. To hush up the scandal, Genie needs to make a brilliant marriage, and fast.  Genie's aunt hires a matchmaker to find a suitor—anyone except the infamous William Grant—but amiable Genie shows a disturbing tendency to follow her heart.  When a traitor creeps closer, threatening to ruin more than just her reputation, Genie and Grant are drawn into a dangerous world of deceit and intrigue, where losing their hearts could mean their ultimate undoing.

Here is an excerpt from the moment when everything changed for them, their first kiss.

The weather was indeed unstable, and the few raindrops were soon joined by others, until throngs of raindrops plagued them from above. The rain turned into a deluge, and Grant found it necessary to seek shelter or face death by drowning. He took Genie’s hand, and they both ran along the path. He expected complaint, as he would get from any finely bred London female, but Genie had been raised in the country and was made of sterner stuff. She merely smiled and ran along with him.
Finding a large willow tree, he ducked under the branches, pulling Genie next to him. The space was crowded with multiple branches, forcing Grant to pull her close. This was a disaster, stuck with a debutante under a tree in the torrential rain with his boots surely ruined.
Far from seeing the horror of the situation, Genie’s eyes were dancing. She screwed up her mouth, trying not to smile.
“My boots are ruined,” said Grant, stating his most pressing concern.
Genie began to laugh.
“I see you have no regard for my boots!”
“I do apologize!” said Genie between giggles. “But here we are stuck under a tree and all you can think of is your boots?”
“You would too if you knew how much they cost.”
“Yes, indeed. I did not realize they were so dear. I am sure my bonnet is quite ruined too.”
It was no great loss, but Grant said nothing. Despite the chill, he was suddenly quite warm. Genie stood next to him, close, inches away. He could touch her merely by shifting his feet. He would not, of course, but he wanted to. When was the last time he had been so attracted to a debutante of all things? When had he last been attracted to anyone this way?
Genie started to shiver, standing still in the cold. He guessed her long pelisse was borrowed from Louisa, since it was fashionable in style, but it was also made of muslin and not intended for inclement weather.
Grant put his hands on her delicate shoulders and gave them a gentle rub. “You are soaked, poor thing. Here, take my coat.”
“No, no, I couldn’t. You would be too cold.”
No, he wouldn’t. He was not cold at all. He was practically sweating he was so hot. He unbuttoned his coat, but Genie shook her head.
“Here, we can both be warm.” He opened his coat and wrapped it around her, drawing her to him.
“I do not think… is this proper?” Genie put her hands against his chest but leaned close to allow him to wrap his coat around her.
“No, not proper I fear,” confessed Grant. He was truthful, even if he was a cad. Genie felt delicious. He wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer, reveling in her small frame, her gentle curves. She laid her cheek on his chest and he had to stifle a sigh. This was what he wanted. He wished he could stay under the tree forever, boots be damned.
His arms around her rubbed her back. He wished to reach further down but dared not; he could not let this get out of control. Yet in plain truth, it was already out of control. Genie sighed and melted into him. There was no other word for it. She fit with him—warm, soft, perfect.
Genie looked up at him, her blue eyes deep and inviting. “I am quite warm now, thank you.”
Grant was beyond warm. He prided himself on his ability to avoid complications with the gentler sex, but with Genie, he was a stupid schoolboy.
“I think it is letting up a bit. Perhaps we should try again to make it to the carriage?” Her voice was airy, her breathing fast, and he could feel every time she inhaled, pressing her bosom against him.
“Perhaps,” murmured Grant. He did not care about the carriage or his reputation or anything except the blue of her eyes and the rose pink of her lips. He leaned down closer, slowly. This was the time she should pull away, but instead, she tipped her head up to him. This could not happen; it must not. He stopped moving and yet still drew closer. As if moving of their own accord, their lips met. For one beautiful moment, he pressed his lips to hers and a tingling shock coursed through his body, energizing, waking parts of him, stinging him to life.
He pulled back slowly, taking a gulp of cool, moist air. What was he thinking?

I hope you have as much fun reading A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME as I had writing it! I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.

What was your most memorable first kiss!


New Release: Meant To Be By Terri Osburn

Meant to Be is the first novel in the Anchor Island Series by debut author Terri Osburn. It's a contemporary romance that I was happy to get an early look at and it was fantastic! Here's the blurb:

Sometimes the next best thing is what you’ve been looking for all along…

Beth Chandler has spent her whole life pleasing others. She went to law school to make her grandparents happy. She agreed to marry her workaholic boyfriend, Lucas, to make him happy. And, despite her fear of boats, she took a ferry to see Lucas’s parents just to make them happy.
While suffering through a panic attack on the ferry, Beth meets a tall, sexy stranger who talks her down from her fear—and makes her heart flutter in the process.

Soon, she has a new reason to panic: her gorgeous, blue-eyed rescuer is Lucas’s brother, Joe. But could she ever leave her fiancĂ© for his own brother…even if Lucas is more focused on making partner than on making their relationship work…and even if Joe turns out to be everything she never knew she wanted?

Filled with excitement and delight, Meant to Be is the story of a young woman torn between urban pressures and small-town pleasures.

Meant to Be is on sale today! Go check it out!

Happy Reading - Cheeky Girl Sabrina