Archive for the ‘Comedy Romance’ Category

Title: Spicy Spring Fling
Authors: Gwyn McNamee & Christy Anderson
Genre: Small Town Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 16, 2023
Cover Design: Bookin’ It Designs
 
Bobby Sweet is a legend in the kitchen.
Rumor is, he really knows how to handle an eggplant.
It’s the entire reason I’m here writing this article about him for the paper.
But I keep having to remind myself to stay professional.
Because things are really heating up in his kitchen.
And the rumors are true.
Bobby’s eggplant is something to behold.
Large.
Thick.
Exactly what I’ve been craving.
It makes my mouth water…
Along with other parts of me…
The only question is, will I be able to handle all of it?
I can certainly try.
A spicy spring fling with the hot chef may be just what I need…
Enjoy this stand-alone hot and dirty insta-lust romantic comedy filled with vegetable and kitchen shenanigans from USA Today Bestselling Authors Gwyn McNamee and Christy Anderson.

Gwyn McNamee is an attorney, writer, wife, and mother (to one human baby and two fur babies). Originally from the Midwest, Gwyn relocated to her husband’s home town of Las Vegas in 2015 and is enjoying her respite from the cold and snow. Gwyn has been writing down her crazy stories and ideas for years and finally decided to share them with the world. She loves to write stories with a bit of suspense and action mingled with romance and heat.

When she isn’t either writing or voraciously devouring any books she can get her hands on, Gwyn is busy adding to her tattoo collection, golfing, and stirring up trouble with her perfect mix of sweetness and sarcasm (usually while wearing heels).

Gwyn is the author of The Hawke Family series, The Slip Series, The Deadliest Sin Series, The Inland Seas Series, The Supernatural Love Stories in the Absurd (written as her alter-ego, DP Payne), and several stand-alone novels.

 

Writing with a whole lot of sarcasm and humor, mixed with a bit of Southern charm, Christy Anderson ain’t no sweet tea kinda storyteller. As an author of romance, Christy believes it doesn’t always have to be hearts and flowers; sometimes, it is dark and twisted, but romance nonetheless. She mixes terror, revenge, and a sliver of love and hope into stories about family, friends, struggles, blurred lines, and happily-ever-afters. Christy lives in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Tennessee with her husband and 152 cats (not really, but close), where she enjoys writing one twist at a time. Christy loves to hear from her readers, and here’s where you can find her:

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 ★✩★ NEW RELEASE ★✩★

Finding Farrah

 Book 2, Coq Blockers Team Member Romance 

By Stingray23

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Hosted by DS Book Promotions


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Blurb 

Asteamy textual relationship with a mysterious man is what lies between the pages in this deliciously hilarious rom-com around a donut shop.

 

“…wonderfully written and a page-turner.” ~ Goodreads Review

 

Farrah Ford graduated from college without a plan for her future—winging it has always been her style. So, when she takes her little sister, Maddie, to Donut Dilemma, a series of hilarious events occur, and she ends up with a new job and an anonymous texting suitor.

Narrowing him down to two men, she sets about trying to entrap him to reveal which dude he is. Is he the sexy SEAL, code name Celebration Sprinkles, she works for, or is he Frosted Stripes, the hottie doctor who’s a regular at the bakery’s cafe?

As Farrah finds herself falling in love with the mysterious man, she wonders if she will be happy or horrified when she finally finds out which man he is.

 

** Previously published as Do Donuts by Jessika Klide. **

 

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Title: Cougar From Hell
Series: Hellman Brothers Series
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Small Town Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2023
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson
I have my fresh start in a new town, this time a widow with a preteen daughter who rolls her eyes enough to make them stay that way. Too bad my past mistake is also here to greet me.

Daxon Hellman. Town a-hole. Hot young contractor hired to build my house in the woods.

It’s only when I’m face-to-face with him for the first time that I realize he’s the mystery man from two years ago. It’s a long story of too many drinks, grief that made me resort to acting out, and an encounter in the dirty bathroom of a bar. Try as I might, I can’t forget that night. And now I have a name to go with that hot body.

Daxon growls at me…I irritate him with my constant social media posting. He orders me to do things…I trample all over his ridiculous commands with a smile and a choice finger in the air. He builds my house with that tool belt slung low on his hips and my cat steals his construction plans. We fit together like rain and exposed drywall.

Between insults and hot stolen kisses, Daxon and I reach a truce: to let our bodies do the talking and keep our hearts locked down. I’m older than him, which means I’m smart enough to keep a clear head. Until I realize when it comes to love, age and common sense do not go hand in hand.

This crazy town has more surprises up its sleeve to drive us apart, which makes me think this might not be our forever home after all…
 
Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.
 
More information can be found at www.marikaray.com
 
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Title: Cougar From Hell
Series: Hellman Brothers Series
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Small Town Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2023
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson

Daxon gently pulling my hand away from my face was what woke me up. I let out a soft groan that had absolutely nothing to do with the pain radiating from my forehead and everything to do with the beast of a man sitting right beside me, taking care of me like he was my personal nursemaid instead of the biggest irritant in my life at the moment. Sadly, he’d put a fresh shirt on at some point while I slept.

“Please tell me you haven’t been sitting there watching me sleep like some creep,” I croaked. Man, he hadn’t been kidding about the adrenaline crash.

Daxon snorted and let go of my hand, more’s the pity. “No, of course not. But you were snoring so loudly you interrupted my work. Figured I’d wake you up and make you lunch. Anything to stop that incessant racket.”

I shoved myself up to sitting, ignoring the way that made my head pulse painfully. “I don’t snore. Just admit you have a protective streak a mile wide.”

The side of Daxon’s mouth threatened to pull up into a smile. “I do not.”

While he was in such a good mood—normally he’d be crossing his arms over his massive chest and snapping at me by now—I wanted to address the thing that had been bothering me.

“Daxon, I have to clear up something.”

He stilled, his expression instantly guarded. “You hate that ridiculous G-wagon too?”

I slapped his arm, mostly just to have a reason to touch him. “No! I love that car.”

He looked on the verge of smiling again, which might have been a record for almost-smiles in a conversation with him. “I always thought you had much better taste.”

“My late husband and I had a business arrangement.”

Welp, that wasn’t how I meant to address things, just blurting it out like that.

Daxon blinked, his jaw hardening. Clearly he didn’t want to discuss this, but I had to get it all out. I couldn’t have him believing that I’d cheated on my husband. That Daxon was just a convenient male. Like I did that sort of thing all the time. Like what happened between us meant nothing to me.

“We were never in love. We married as a business deal, agreeing that it would be an open marriage. He was always discreet and respectful about it, which I appreciated, especially after Ruby was born. We became friends, building a life together, but also separately. The night I slept with you was the day after he went into hospice care and we knew it was just a matter of time before he was gone. My world was being flipped upside down and I just needed to feel something other than lost.”

Daxon sat there staring at me, his face devoid of any emotion. I could feel waves of tension pouring off his body. I wanted to explain more while also snatching back every word I’d already said. This didn’t appear to be helping things between us. By being truthful, I’d somehow made things worse.

“We didn’t sleep together.”

I…was not expecting that response. “No? I could have sworn we did.”

“We fucked, kitten. There’s a big difference,” Daxon growled. 

He stood abruptly, the movement of the couch cushions jarring my head. I swung my legs off the couch and tried to stand too. The room got fuzzy around the edges and I sagged backward.

With a bit-back curse, Daxon grabbed my arms and guided me back to sitting. He followed, settling next to me on the couch with at least a foot of space between us.

“For fuck’s sake. Take it slow. You know what, let’s take you to urgent care. You probably have a concussion.”

I waited until the black dots faded from my vision. “I don’t have a concussion. Callan already ran me through some tests for that and said I was all clear.”

Daxon frowned harder. “He could be wrong.”

I huffed. This man was infuriating. One minute he’s sweet and protective. The next he’s growling at me, demeaning that night two years ago. The same one that had stayed with me through the hard months that followed.

“I just haven’t eaten anything yet. My bagel is back in the car at the base of my driveway.”

More curses flowed as he stood again. “Stay there.”

I rolled my eyes. He sure loved barking orders. But he still didn’t get what I was trying to say. Maybe I didn’t even know what I was trying to say.

“I’ve only slept with two people in my whole life, so I’m sorry if I use the wrong terms.” Apparently I’d become a blurter. The blurtiest of blurters.

Daxon froze. Every single muscle the man possessed—and good gravy did Mother Nature gift him with so much of it—locked tight. I lifted my hand to pull him back, but left it there hovering in the air between us. For half a second I had the fanciful thought that if I touched him, he’d surely break.

He spun around finally, ignoring my hand in the air. His eyes were snapping, devouring my face. “You what?”

Oh, so now he wanted to have this conversation.

I pulled my hand back in my lap so quickly it sounded like I clapped for his ridiculously short question. “I slept with Anthony once. It was not long after we got married. We both thought we’d try it out and see if there was any chemistry there.” I grimaced. “There was not. We went back to being friends immediately, putting that little experiment behind us. And then…then there was you.”

Daxon scrubbed both his hands over his face. I wanted to reach up and smooth the dark slashes of eyebrows back down. Why did he have to look like a male model posing as a lumberjack? It was an unfair advantage when a woman was trying to think around him.

“I don’t understand any of this. You’ve had two one-night stands in your whole life? You were married, but kind of not really?”

I wobbled my head back and forth. That was about right. Crazy and crazier. That had been my life, which was why I’d sought out a small town I could sink into with Ruby. A place I could be normal for once. “Will you sit down for a second and just let me explain?”

He sighed and moved to sit back down.

“And not bark one-word questions at me?”

“I don’t do that.”

“Yes, you do.”

“No, I— You know what? I’m just going to sit here and let you talk. How about that?” Daxon leaned sideways against the armrest, about as far away from me as he could get and still be on the same piece of furniture.

“Thank you,” I said with no small measure of sarcasm. “I know our marriage wasn’t conventional, but it worked for us. I was a small-town girl with absolutely no money but a stubborn insistence that I’d make it in a big city. Anthony needed someone to go to awards shows with and business dinners. Our pairing made more sense than most Hollywood marriages. He was my friend, and I grieved when he died.”

I hadn’t meant for my voice to shake when I got to that last part, but I hadn’t been able to talk about Anthony’s death. I’d tried to be there for Ruby, but no one had been there for me.

Daxon reached across the couch cushions and grabbed my hands where they’d been twisting the blanket. His hand was warm, fully enveloping both of mine. He gave me a squeeze and held on.

“I’m sorry,” he finally said, his voice scraping across the inches that separated us. “Thank you for explaining. I, uh, have a bit of a hang-up about married women.”

I tried not to smile too hard. “I could tell. You looked ready to find your nail gun and nail my toes to the foundation.”

“Definitely wanted to nail you…”

My gaze shot over to his. “Are you flirting with me, Daxon?”

“I’m hurt it was subtle enough you had to ask.” His lips were doing that thing again. What would it take to make the man smile fully?

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Daxon winced. “Ouch. That’s even worse. The pity excuse.”

I talked around the giggle. “No, it’s true. I’ve slept with two men, had one orgasm, and somehow mother a preteen with more attitude than me. I wouldn’t recognize flirting if the dick pic slapped me in the face.”

Daxon huffed what could have been the start of a laugh. “First of all, a dick pic is not part of flirting. And secondly, one orgasm? I’ll be forever wounded if you say that one wasn’t from me.”

Was it getting hot in here? Or maybe it was the low blood sugar combined with the blow to the head making me woozy. “It was definitely you.”

“Of course it was,” he said smugly.

I tried to pull my hands out from under his. “Jeez, ego much, Daxon?”

He held on tighter, somehow inching closer to me on the couch. “Not ego. Confidence. Maybe you need a refresher?” 

He was so close I could pick up on the soap he used and the smell of wood. That combination would forever make my stomach swoop. And not because I was hungry. “Daxon!”

He shrugged, his thumb sweeping out a rhythm against the back of my hand. I could feel that touch everywhere. I really was pathetic, finding a simple thumb touch a source of pleasure.

“Would it be so bad? At least you wouldn’t be married this time.”

I was shaking my head before I’d even catalogued all the ways that would be a very bad move to make. Without even putting sex on the table, I was overwhelmed by this man. I could barely be around him without tripping, or putting my foot in my mouth, or having to come home and seek out my trusty vibrator. One drunken encounter in a dirty bathroom had made me obsessed with him for months. Sober, intentional sex might break me.

“Absolutely not. No. Nuh-uh.”

Daxon smiled then, the kind of slow smile you feel across your skin. Like the sun rising over the mountains and heating up your whole body inch by inch. “So what you’re saying is you’ll think about it?”

“No!” I shook my head so hard it started being a heartbeat again along my cut. “That’s not at all what I’m saying!”

Good God, the man could smile. I could be ruined by that smile.

Daxon squeezed my hands one last time and let go, getting to his feet. “Let’s go make some lunch and then we need to get Ruby from school.”

I stood, taking slow deep breaths this time so I didn’t pass out. “I can get her on my own. I just need you to drop me off at my car.”

Daxon led the way to his tiny kitchen. “Can’t.”

I sighed, trying to keep myself from eyeing his backside. He had a really lovely backside. “There you go with the one-word answers again.”

He stopped at the refrigerator and pulled it open to peer inside. “Can’t take you to your car because it’s already been towed to the shop. I texted Clyde while you were sleeping, in case you were worried all I did was watch you sleep.”

Well, shit. There he went again, doing something nice. “I assume Clyde is a tow truck driver and not a car thief?”

Daxon shot me a deadpan glare. 

“In that case, thank you. Maybe you could drop me off at a car rental place so I can get a loaner?”

“Can’t.”

I threw my hands out to the side. “For fuck’s sake, Daxon!”

And that’s when I heard it.

A real live laugh from Daxon Hellman.

And it was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

I have my fresh start in a new town, this time a widow with a preteen daughter who rolls her eyes enough to make them stay that way. Too bad my past mistake is also here to greet me.
Daxon Hellman. Town a-hole. Hot young contractor hired to build my house in the woods.
It’s only when I’m face-to-face with him for the first time that I realize he’s the mystery man from two years ago. It’s a long story of too many drinks, grief that made me resort to acting out, and an encounter in the dirty bathroom of a bar. Try as I might, I can’t forget that night. And now I have a name to go with that hot body.
Daxon growls at me…I irritate him with my constant social media posting. He orders me to do things…I trample all over his ridiculous commands with a smile and a choice finger in the air. He builds my house with that tool belt slung low on his hips and my cat steals his construction plans. We fit together like rain and exposed drywall.
Between insults and hot stolen kisses, Daxon and I reach a truce: to let our bodies do the talking and keep our hearts locked down. I’m older than him, which means I’m smart enough to keep a clear head. Until I realize when it comes to love, age and common sense do not go hand in hand.
This crazy town has more surprises up its sleeve to drive us apart, which makes me think this might not be our forever home after all…

 
Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.
 
More information can be found at www.marikaray.com
 
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Title: Cougar From Hell
Series: Hellman Brothers Series
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Small Town Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2023
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson
I have my fresh start in a new town, this time a widow with a preteen daughter who rolls her eyes enough to make them stay that way. Too bad my past mistake is also here to greet me.

Daxon Hellman. Town a-hole. Hot young contractor hired to build my house in the woods.

It’s only when I’m face-to-face with him for the first time that I realize he’s the mystery man from two years ago. It’s a long story of too many drinks, grief that made me resort to acting out, and an encounter in the dirty bathroom of a bar. Try as I might, I can’t forget that night. And now I have a name to go with that hot body.

Daxon growls at me…I irritate him with my constant social media posting. He orders me to do things…I trample all over his ridiculous commands with a smile and a choice finger in the air. He builds my house with that tool belt slung low on his hips and my cat steals his construction plans. We fit together like rain and exposed drywall.

Between insults and hot stolen kisses, Daxon and I reach a truce: to let our bodies do the talking and keep our hearts locked down. I’m older than him, which means I’m smart enough to keep a clear head. Until I realize when it comes to love, age and common sense do not go hand in hand.

This crazy town has more surprises up its sleeve to drive us apart, which makes me think this might not be our forever home after all…

 
Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.
 
More information can be found at www.marikaray.com
 
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Title: Friend Zone Hell

Series: Hellman Brothers Book 3
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Small Town Romance
Tropes: best-friends-to-lovers, heroine with an illness, hero has that golden retriever + daddy dom energy
Release Date: October 6, 2022
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson

The town’s most eligible bachelor just saved my life. I paid him back by puking on him.
Callan Hellman. Mr. Nice Guy paramedic. My best friend.
He buys my friends flowers when he knows they’ve had a hard day. Who does that? Callan’s the guy every girl wants to date and take home to mama. Not me though. We’re just friends. Have been since elementary school. I was the weird girl who kept him laughing with my antics, even when his father abandoned his family and Callan hid those scars behind his smile.
But due to my sudden medical diagnosis at twenty-four, Callan insists I move in with him. I accept and soon regret it. Since when did he grow all those muscles, and why is he allergic to wearing shirts? I’m getting white-picket-fences-feelings I have no business feeling, and try as I might to suppress them, Callan makes a bold move that proves he’s carried a love-shaped torch for me for years.
Turns out, best friends make the best lovers, but when Callan’s daddy issues come between us, will his well-meaning brothers be able to patch us up and get our hearts beating together again? Or have I just lost the best friend I’ll ever have?

“Say the word and I’ll back off forever, Cricket. All it takes is a simple no and I’ll never bring this up again, but I gotta tell you, I don’t want to back off. I want to taste your lips and feel your body pressed against me. Preferably with less clothing.” I leaned down and traced a kiss along her neck, seeing the way her breathing kicked up to that of a sprinter. “Tell me to stop, angel.”

She swallowed hard and every cell in my body froze, waiting for an answer. No matter how much it pained me—and good lord would it pain me for the rest of my life—but if she said no I’d honor that and never let her feel my disappointment.

That moment in the kitchen the other night had shown me a tiny morsel of hope, that maybe, just maybe, Cricket felt the same heart stopping excitement when we were together. If there was even a small window of chance, I had to take my shot. Watching my older brothers find love had taken those feelings I’d harbored for Cricket over the years and given them an urgency I could no longer stuff down.

Her blue eyes were eating me up, the flush from earlier turning into a forest fire on her cheeks. Her voice came out on a barely-there breath but I still heard it.

“I don’t want you to stop, Cal.”

Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.
More information can be found at www.marikaray.com
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Title: Wilder Presley Says He Loves Me

Author: Winter Travers
Genre: Small Town Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 1, 2022

From Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestseller Winter Travers comes a small town romantic comedy that will have you laughing and swooning all at the same time.

Nine years ago, Shelby Lyn told Wilder Presley she loved him. Wilder hopped in his red SUV, and left without a word or a goodbye.

Now, Wilder is back looking as fine as the fireworks on the fourth of July lighting up the Jefferson county sky, and he’s here to stay.

Shelby always knew that Wilder was out of her league. He was the popular country boy who was loved and adored by everyone while Shelby was the shy, quiet girl who was invisible to everyone.

It shouldn’t matter that Wilder is back, but he just pulled into Shelby Lyn’s driveway, and he’s got something to say…
 
Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Winter Travers is a devoted wife, mother, and aunt turned author who was born and raised in Wisconsin. After a brief stint in South Carolina following her heart to chase the man who is now her hubby, they retreated back up North to the changing seasons, and to the place they now call home. Winter spends her days writing happily ever afters, and her nights being a karate mom hauling her son to practices and tournaments.. She also has an addiction to anything MC related, puppies, and baking.

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****NEW RELEASE****

Happily Ever Disaster

Blurb

One kid and two years later, Liza and Matt are finally going to tie the knot. After a rocky start to their relationship, Liza is finally going to marry the love of her life—her brother’s best friend.

The wedding has been planned down to the last detail—the most beautiful setting, the best food, and the perfect dress have all been picked by the bride and groom. But when things suddenly start to go awry, our couple starts to wonder whether they must be cursed or something. It feels like the universe is conspiring against them as more and more things go wrong.

After one big incident, when it feels like all is lost and the wedding needs to be canceled, Matt rallies their friends and family to plan the wedding they deserve in an impossibly short amount of time.

Will all be lost, or will Matt be able to save the day so that he and Liza can finally have their Happily Ever After?

Happily Ever Disaster is a novella that should be read after Book 2 of the Seasons of Love Book series. It is an open door romantic comedy with enough steam to fog your reading glasses.

Buy Link

All proceeds from now until 11.59 pm EST on December 31st, 2022 will go to FACES (Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures)*

#amazon #kindleunlimited #romcom #romance

Title: Not Over You
Author: Whitley Cox
Release: October 1, 2022
Genre: second-chance, closet Dom, brat heroine, cop romance, romantic comedy, thanksgiving comedy, heroine with PTSD

She’s thankful for many things this year, but her ex moving back to town isn’t one of them.
Four years ago, Officer Jordan Lassiter swept Rayma Young off her feet, making the twenty-year-old finally feel safe and loved. His quiet, calm, take-charge attitude made it easy for her to trust him with all of her secrets—even the dark ones.
Eager to prove himself as a rookie cop, Jordan accepted a transfer too far away for their relationship to work. Heartbroken, they broke up but remained friends. Or at least that’s what she thought …
Three years later, Jordan’s back and thinks they can just pick up right where they left off.
Not happening.
Hurt and angry for ghosting her, Rayma has slammed her walls back up and not even Jordan and his patient control will convince her to give him back her heart.
But when they wind up at the same Thanksgiving dinner, it’s all Rayma can do to remain strong as happy memories begin to crack the protective shell she’s forged around her heart, while Jordan does everything he can to win her back.
Except give her the one thing she needs.
His trust.

“It’s date number six, Jordan …” Rayma said, exasperated, horny, and looking hotter than she’d ever looked—in her opinion. “Can you at least kiss me for fuck’s sake?”

Jordan’s mouth twisted as he tried to hide his smile. “You really don’t care who can hear you, do you?”

Rayma rolled her eyes. “Sure fucking don’t. This is all just a game to you, isn’t it?”

“Couldn’t be further from a game, Rayma,” Jordan said, ushering them forward as they waited in line for a busy new restaurant that had just opened up downtown. Rayma had been trying to get a reservation for ages since everyone in her classes was just raving about the place, but so far, she hadn’t had any luck. Jordan, however, appeared to have pulled some strings and they had a reservation for eight o’clock. 

She’d changed her outfit four times that night before finally deciding on an adorable but also ridiculously sexy long-sleeved black dress that hit her on her upper thigh and showed off what little cleavage she had in a lace-trimmed sweetheart neckline. Her black boots with the four-inch heels hit her knees, and the black leather jacket that she was also permanently borrowing from Pasha’s closet tied it all together perfectly. She kept her hair down in thick waves and wore tear-drop cubic zirconia earrings, because, well, she was a starving student, she ain’t got the scratch for diamonds. 

Even with Jordan’s reservations, the restaurant was still packed and people were forced to wait outside in the cold as the staff hurried to clear and re-set tables. 

She shivered where she stood, questioning her choice of attire since her entire thighs were exposed to the elements and a sharp breeze from the harbor was tickling her ass cheeks.

“Here.” He tugged her in front of him, wrapped his arms around her front and plastered her back to his chest. He pulled the sides of his open peacoat around her, enveloping her in his heat and decadent scent. “Better?” 

“Infinitely,” she said. She pushed her ass back against his crotch and was pleased with the slight hitch to his breath. At least he wasn’t immune to her advances and friend-zoning her, which was what she thought was happening after date number two and he still didn’t even kiss her. 

By date four she thought maybe she had bad breath or stunk. But after a thorough pit sniff and a lot of mouthwash, she determined that wasn’t the case, either. 

Date five had her ready to end things right then and there, but then when he said he made reservations at Ellapora since the owner was a friend of a friend, she decided she’d at least see how date seven went before she decided to cut the hot, celibate cop loose. 

She did another little hip shimmy and smiled to herself when he groaned and his cock jerked in his dress pants against the crease of her ass. “Careful,” he warned.

A Canadian West Coast baby born and raised, Whitley is married to her high school sweetheart, and together they have two beautiful daughters and a fluffy dog. She spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn’t end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes, and it’s not quite wine o’clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.
 
A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With single dads, firefighters, Navy SEALs, mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role-playing, Whitley’s books have all the funny and fabulously filthy words you could hope for.
 


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Title: Friend Zone Hell
Series: Hellman Brothers Book 3
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Small Town Romance
Tropes: best-freinds-to-lovers, heroine with an illness, hero has that golden retriever + daddy dom energy
Release Date: October 6, 2022
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson
The town’s most eligible bachelor just saved my life. I paid him back by puking on him.
Callan Hellman. Mr. Nice Guy paramedic. My best friend.
He buys my friends flowers when he knows they’ve had a hard day. Who does that? Callan’s the guy every girl wants to date and take home to mama. Not me though. We’re just friends. Have been since elementary school. I was the weird girl who kept him laughing with my antics, even when his father abandoned his family and Callan hid those scars behind his smile.
But due to my sudden medical diagnosis at twenty-four, Callan insists I move in with him. I accept and soon regret it. Since when did he grow all those muscles, and why is he allergic to wearing shirts? I’m getting white-picket-fences-feelings I have no business feeling, and try as I might to suppress them, Callan makes a bold move that proves he’s carried a love-shaped torch for me for years.
Turns out, best friends make the best lovers, but when Callan’s daddy issues come between us, will his well-meaning brothers be able to patch us up and get our hearts beating together again? Or have I just lost the best friend I’ll ever have?

“Angel, please.” I whispered, cupping her face and stroking my thumb across her cheek. She finally shifted her gaze so that she was looking directly into my eyes. “I’m sorry for embarrassing you. I’m sorry for causing a scene. I’m sorry for stepping in your business. I just couldn’t let him disrespect you like that.”

Cricket’s eyes closed and when she opened them, I knew she’d forgiven me. “I know you’re sorry. And I know he deserved it. I just…” She sighed, the sound laced with disappointment, discontent, and whole layer of something I couldn’t identify. “I just wish I’d been the one to do it.”

“Why, Cricket, that’s mighty violent of you.” My lips tugged into a smile I hoped she’d reflect.

I wasn’t disappointed. “I would have kicked him in the nuts, but the nose was good too.”

I chuckled and she did too, letting me pull her into a hug. Her blonde head fit in the dip right between my pec muscles. “Dance with me.”

She didn’t answer, but her hands slid up my chest and onto my shoulders. My arms wound around her waist and held her to me, letting me relish the scent of her perfume as it surrounded us. I couldn’t live with myself if Cricket was mad at me. 

She kept her cheek against my chest, her fingers playing in the hair that met the collar of my shirt. If I closed my eyes, I could get lost in this moment. Get lost in her. I could imagine dances just like this in our kitchen as we aged together. Our children growing up watching their parents dance to an imaginary song, too in love to care there was no actual music. I could envision a whole life with her.

“You’re such a good friend, Cal. What would I do without you?” Cricket whispered, her words instantly and painfully dissolving the vision in my head.

Good friend.

That was all I’d ever be with Cricket, and I’d do well to remember it.

Like a criminal stuck in a life sentence on Alcatraz, I was firmly imprisoned in the friend zone.

But if that was all Cricket could give me, I’d take it and be the most grateful man on the planet. I loved her, and that meant giving her what she wanted: her freedom to love someone else.

Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.
More information can be found at www.marikaray.com
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