Posted in Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary, New, New Release, Romance

Capture My Heart

Title: Capture My Heart
Author: Erin Crisofoli
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Red Umbrella Graphic Designs
Editor: Schwartz Fiction Edits
Publication Date: July 17th, 2018
 
Blurb:
Avery Clarke was like any typical senior in high school – obsessed with her boyfriend and looking forward to partying at graduation. Except, sometimes life has other plans.
Fast forward seven years; Avery’s world consists of her waitress job at the local diner and more importantly her six year old son, Jacob.
One morning, a chance encounter with a hot construction worker named Reece, turns Avery’s world upside down.  Avery is set on maintaining the delicate balance of her world and there’s no room for romance.
PReece is determined to prove to her that she can have it all. But when Avery gets the scare of a lifetime, will it pull the couple closer or will she walk away?

Erin Cristofoli resides in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two kids. She loves to write and is thrilled to have fulfilled a dream to publish a book of her very own. When She is not writing, she thrives on many creative ventures, including photography, painting and crocheting.

Author Links:
Advertisements
Posted in Contemporary, New, New Release, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense Elements, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Romance

Groupie

Title: Groupie
Author: Denise Jaden
Genre: YA Contemporary (with romantic suspense elements)
Publication Date: July 16th, 2018
Blurb:
Kass, never in a million years, would have pictured herself as someone’s groupie, but when Eli and his band score a spot on the hot new reality TV show, Hold That Note, she decides to surprise him in L.A… and hopefully win back his heart.

Denise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith, was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007 and she loves talking with writers and students alike about her Just-Get-To-The-End fast-drafting process.
Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough, Foreign Exchange, A Christmas Kerril,  and Avalanche. Her non-fiction books for writers include, Writing with a Heavy Heart, Fast Fiction, and Story Sparks.
In her spare time, she homeschools her son, acts with the Vancouver film industry, and dances with a Polynesian dance troupe. Find out more at denisejaden.com.

Author Links:
Buy Links:
Posted in Adult Contemporary Romance, Book Blitz, Contemporary, Love, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Beyond the Pine

Title: Beyond the Pine
Author: Kate Benson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: SBenson Designs
Blurb:
Watch and pray that you may not enter temptation…
What if in one moment, you find out your life-your entire existence was a lie?
When rogue, nomad biker Asher Reed finds himself on the side of the road injured from an accident, he assumes he’s taken his final ride. Waking days later in an infirmary located within a secret, religious compound, his first impulse is to run. His church had always been the road, and he, the last man who should be among the faithful. When his raven-haired caretaker appears, his instincts and everything he once believed in diminishes, leaving only temptation.
The spirit indeed is willing…
Riley Chapman had long ago resigned herself to a life of order, reverence, and duty. Her coveted role as assistant to the Reverend should be enough to keep her happy, content with her life. Her whole life she wondered about what was on the other side of the tree line she’d always been told would keep her safe.
What if she wasn’t safe anymore?
But the flesh is weak.
When a chance encounter pulls Asher and Riley together and temptation is too much to resist, how can they keep their dangerous secret?
In a place where secrets are sins and the trustworthy can’t be trusted, who will they turn to in search of salvation?

Kate Benson was raised in Texas and currently resides in central Florida with her husband and their growing army of fur minions.

She learned to read at the age of four and has been hooked ever since. She credits her passion for literature to her mother, her love of story-telling to her father and her unwavering faith in happily-ever-after’s to her husband, Sean.

Some of her favorite things include rainy days, loud music, superhero movies, hot tea and of course, lazy afternoons with a great book.

To find out more about Kate, her work or to just say hello, she loves hearing from her readers and can be found on social media.

Author Links:
Benson’s Book Babes (Fan Club/Readers Group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/PromiseSeriesSupportGroup/
Buy Links:
 
Posted in Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary, New, New Release, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Queen’s Island

Title: Queen’s Island
Author: Xaviera Snow
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Michele Gwynn
Publisher: Paper Gold Publishing
Publication Date: July 13th, 2018
 
Blurb:
At thirty-four, Claire Townsend found herself fatigued, fifteen pounds overweight, and in need of medical help. When Doctor Marie Petit prescribes a month-long stay at an exclusive spa on a remote island off the French Riviera, Claire believes she’s being sent for some rest and physical rehabilitation, but when she arrives, the ‘spa’ is not at all what she expected, and neither is her assigned therapist, Cade Malone.
The handsome Aussie is both annoying and alluring by turns, confusing Claire and driving her mad as he invades her personal space, and then withdraws. Things become more muddled as the spa’s sexy head masseuse and the athletic activities director both make plays for her. Despite all the unexpected male attention, it’s Cade’s kisses she desires, his touch she craves against her better judgement after a sexy encounter in the warm sea that later leads to a sharp rejection. Her pride stung, Claire decides to cut her time short on Queen’s Island. But fate, and the weather, have other plans.
When a new patient arrives Claire’s prescribed spa vacation turns dangerous fast. Trapped on the exclusive island resort in a gathering storm, lives are threatened as secrets are revealed. Can Cade keep her safe or will Claire become a pawn in the deadly game played by a loan shark who never bets on anything less than a sure kill?
Xaviera Snow is an American author of steamy romance, comedic romance, and scintillating erotica. She’s a wry witticist, and unapologetic provocateur. Her turn ons are progressive thinkers, self-deprecating word jugglers, and Rocky Road ice cream with a side of snark. Her turn offs include tunnel visionists, blind believers, people who never ask ‘Why?’, and men who leave their socks on. (Gah! Please remove the socks!) She enjoys, strangely enough, news and politics, which she contends should never be watched either sober or clothed, and she loves to laugh, drive with the windows down and the music cranked up loud, and take chances. Xaviera is an appreciator of seasoned men with stories to tell, and younger men in need of stories to tell….
She indulges adult fantasy in all her books, and sprinkles in a bit of reality for a little spice. The fun is in figuring out which sexy tidbits are erotic imaginings, and which are juicy secrets revealed. One thing is sure, each Xaviera Snow title will take you on a wild ride and set your heart aflame. It’s all about tickling your biggest erogenous zone…your mind.
Author Links:
Buy Link:
 
Posted in Adult Fiction, Contemporary, New, New Release, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Sweet Romance

Summer Bride

Title: Summer Bride
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Genre: Sweet Romance, RomCom
Publication Date: July 12th, 2018
 
Blurb:
Two scheming matchmakers are at it again…
Sage Presley loves her job as the receptionist at Golden Skies Retirement Village in Holiday, Oregon. She enjoys the residents and their wisdom, even if some of them are more than a little quirky. Determined to ignore the matchmaking efforts of two women at the retirement home, Sage’s sole focus is on raising her brother, Shane. In spite of her best efforts, she can’t help but notice the hunky electrician who continually comes to her rescue.   Grateful for the opportunity to open his own electrical business, Justin James moves to Holiday full of plans and dreams. He’s quickly drawn in by the close-knit community, but finds the lack of suitable single women disturbing. Despite himself, his attention is captured by the receptionist at the retirement home where he’s working on a big job. Yet, he can’t begin to understand why two matchmaking octogenarians are intent on forcing him together with the woman he’s convinced is married. 
A sweet romance sprinkled with humor, hope, and the meaning of real love, Summer Bride will warm the hearts of readers while bringing them a smile.
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.
Author Links:
Buy Link:
Valentine Bride: https://amzn.to/2ugBuja
Matilda held out a bright purple gift bag with orange polka-dotted tissue paper stuffed inside.
Justin took the bag, removed the tissue, and pulled out a T-shirt. He unfolded it and held it up, unable to hide a grin. “I work with strippers” was emblazoned across the front along with a silhouette of a pair of wire strippers.
“This is great. Thank you so much,” he said, smiling at the two women.
“Try it on! We want to see how it looks,” Matilda said in an insistent tone.
Ruth placed a hand on Matilda’s arm, as though she could restrain her friend’s demands and ideas. “Now, Tilly, let’s leave the boy alone and let him get back to work.”
“Not just yet. It’s only half as fun if he doesn’t model the shirt for us,” Matilda said, her vermilion-coated lips rolling into a pout.
Justin wondered how an octogenarian could appear so girlish, but Matilda Dale had it down to an art.
Rather than disappoint her, he unbuttoned his work shirt and slipped it off then pulled the T-shirt on over his head.
“How’s it look?” he asked, wondering if Matilda had purposely ordered a size too small or if it had been an accident. The shirt clung to every muscle and outlined every line and ridge of his form.
“Mmm. I’m not sure. Let’s get another opinion.” Matilda grabbed his hand and tugged him out of the construction area. He went along, not wanting to disrupt her fun. However, he hoped no one saw him parading around in the T-shirt that was outrageously tight.
Ruth strolled along on his other side. “We really should let him get back to work, Tilly.”
“Oh, bosh. This will just take a moment.” Matilda said, leading him down the hallway to the lobby.
Justin wanted to pull away and turn around when he saw Sage sitting at the receptionist’s desk talking to someone on the telephone. She wore her hair twisted away from her face and secured at the back of her head in a tidy knot, although a few wisps escaped and danced around her cheeks. She looked lovely in a pink top that brought out roses in her cheeks and accented the soft shade of her lips. Lips that looked so inviting and entirely too kissable.
Annoyed with himself for noticing every detail about her appearance, he freed himself from Matilda’s grasp. “I don’t want to bother her. She’s busy working and I should be, too.”
“Fiddle-faddle,” Matilda said, giving him a push forward. “See, she just hung up the phone.”
Justin started to argue, but Matilda gave him another push and waved a hand at Sage. “Sage, darling, we need your opinion.”
Sage glanced up from the note she was writing then did a double take. Her amazing green eyes widened in shock as she gaped at him. Slowly, a smile lifted the corners of her mouth into an amused smile.
“What kind of opinion, Matilda?” Sage asked, leaning back in her desk chair. Her gaze lifted and Justin felt the impact when it collided with his. Something magnetic and strong arced between them, like electricity dancing between two points of contact.
“We bought this shirt for Justin as a thank you for his help the night of your accident. What do you think? Does it fit him okay?”  Matilda asked. The brazen old woman ran her hand across the width of his chest then had the audacity to wink at him.
 
Posted in Adult Fiction, Contemporary, New, New Release, Re-Release, Romance, Women's Fiction

Raiders Bodyguard Service

Title: Raiders Bodyguard Service
Author: Cheryl Dragon
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: July 11th, 2018
 
Blurb:
Abducting Andrea
When an attack is confirmed against the rich and powerful Edington family, Raider’s Bodyguard Service springs into action. Jake Raider is assigned the independent but spoiled Andrea. He’s protected her before but this time he’s bringing the tools to tame her and make her his.
There are plenty of things Andrea wants to do with Jake but none of them involve business. In the past, he rejected her advances but this time he’s giving her what she wants and making her beg for more. Exploring the sexual needs they’ve denied, she’s at his mercy and loving it.
Pushing Penny
Going to Italy with a sexy man should be hot but for Penny it’s all business. The plus sized designer of plus sized fashions met Grayson Raider at her best friend’s wedding, and now, he’s her bodyguard. While she doesn’t expect trouble, Penny’s rich Texas family is overprotective. She has no reason to protest—Grayson makes her feel safe and beautiful.
Grayson knew the moment he met Penny that she was the challenge he’d been looking for. Confident in her work, Penny needs to let him lead in the bedroom. His Dom side enjoys giving her pleasure and pushing her limits. Being tied up naked by a man she’s paying to protect her is hot enough, but when he start using mirrors and fashion to drive her crazy, he might just push Penny right out of her comfort zone.
Backing Brian
Once a Texan, always a Texan and Brian Beaumont is back home to open his high-end western wear shop. Not everyone is thrilled with the gay son of a Texas millionaire opening a clothing store. Lucky for Brian, his new brother-in-law sends protection from Raider’s Bodyguard Service. If only Brian could resist the hunky muscled Texas native assigned to guard his body day and night.
Jones never wanted to go back to Texas. He left at eighteen for many reasons, but his career is more important than the demons of his past. Always a professional, he meets his match in the tempting Brian. The line between business and pleasure vanishes when their mutual love of sex, rope and power play takes over.
Doubling on Denise
An ex who won’t let go is a real nightmare for Denise. When he gets out of jail on a technicality, she turns once again to the only men who can protect her and know her secret.
The Temple brothers are two of Raider’s finest bodyguards and had a perfect record until Denise fired them a year ago. Now she’s back and begging for help. Little does she know how well they understand her submissive side and how long they’ve wanted to show her the safe and proper way to serve her true Masters.
A lover of unusual things, Cheryl Dragon enjoys writing unique stories with sinfully hot erotic romance. Her two favorite settings are Las Vegas and New Orleans…where anything can happen! Cheryl lives in the Chicagoland area with her deaf albino cat. By day she analyzes numbers for a division of a large international conglomerate, which leaves the creative juices free for her erotic romance novels.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Blitz, Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Romance

This Stormy Love

36872539_2125971850961144_2487090715004239872_n.jpg

❃ ❃ BLOG TOUR ❃ ❃

This Stormy Love by Tia Lee

Ice Party (1).png

https://amzn.to/2uj2iQE

BLURB

Rachel is starting her sophomore year at Oklahoma State. She meets a friendly engineer student, Asher, but he his soon overshadowed by Liam. Liam is a man Rachel is sure stepped right out of her dreams. The more Rachel gets to know Liam the more she realizes she might be in over her head and she may need some help from Asher.

GRAB YOUR COPY FROM SWOON READS

About Swoon Reads: Swoon Reads is for YA and NA readers and authors. Authors upload manuscripts and readers help find their favorite stories to get published. It is free for all and fun to earn badges and find great reads. Readers can read, leave reviews and hearts, and use the swoon index to be more specific in what they saw in the book.

EXCERPT

Rachel is starting her sophomore year at Oklahoma State. She meets a friendly engineer student, Asher, but he his soon overshadowed by Liam. Liam is a man Rachel is sure stepped right out of her dreams. The more Rachel gets to know Liam the more she realizes she might be in over her head and she may need some help from Asher.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

WORDPRESS authortialee.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/tialee1869/

This Blog Tour was hosted by Lexis Infinitum PR

26219596_557427387924611_9113051266640452613_n

Posted in Chick Lit, Contemporary, Cover design, Cover Reveal, New, Pre Order, Romance

Roomies

Title: ROOMIES
Author: Lynn Stevens
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Southhampton Design
Publication Date: August 20th, 2018
 
Blurb:
The night before my wedding, I ran.
I needed a place to hide. A place to start over. A place to figure out how to move forward with my life.
When my cousin Lena offered me a rent free apartment in Chicago, it seemed like the perfect solution. And it was until the legal tenant, a Marine named Josh, returned early from his deployment overseas.
The little security I had shattered. I had no place left to go, and I couldn’t live with a man I didn’t know. But I had no choice. If he knew how badly I was damaged, he wouldn’t want me around. After all, that’s what he had told me over and over. Nobody would want me.
Maybe sometimes you have to run away to find yourself.
The night of my wedding, I ran, but I hadn’t ran far enough.
Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. She’s the author of Full Count and Game On..

Author Links:
Posted in 99c, 99c Sale, Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Free, Freebie Blitz, Love, New Adult, Romance

Ignite Series

Title: Ignite Series
Author: Kate Benson
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Editor: Chasing Sophie Publications
Cover Designer: SBenson Designs
 
Blurb:

***This book contains adult material intended for mature readers only***

Some love sets off a spark… Others ignite the flame.

When the athletic Zeke Turner moves in next door to eccentric Addie Greyson, the unlikely pair become instant friends. Growing inseparable over the years, the two stand together through all the trials of adolescence.

Zeke returns for the summer after his freshman year of college right as Addie’s preparing to start hers at another school. Their time apart forces them to begin seeing each other in a whole new light. When the temptation becomes too much to resist, lines are crossed and their friendship is irrevocably changed.

As outside influences interfere, the relationship they’ve fought so hard to protect begins to suffer. When Addie feels the sting of betrayal from the only other person she can trust, it makes her question everything she ever thought she knew.

When fate brings them back together two years later, will they get a second chance? Or will they find out the hard way that there are some things you just can’t take back?

Blurb:
***This book contains adult material intended for mature readers***
Two years after a misunderstanding pulls free-spirited Addison Greyson from tenacious Zeke Turner’s life, fate finds a way to give her back.
Not all reunions are simple, though.
Between a sordid arrangement she made to save her father, the secret she vowed to keep and her twisted new reality, Addie returns to Zeke a different girl.
When their attraction to each other proves too much to deny, they reunite in secret, rekindling their long lost love in the shadows. Their feelings ignite into something more and staying apart is no longer an option.
Fighting to stay together when it seems the whole world wants them apart won’t be easy.
They soon realize it never was.
Will giving into the desires that smolder beneath the surface be the one thing that saves them?
Or will they find out the hard way that some things are best kept secret?
Smolder is the second and final anticipated installment in The Ignite Series. It is full-length and multi-POV.

Kate Benson was raised in Texas and currently resides in central Florida with her husband and their growing army of fur minions.She learned to read at the age of four and has been hooked ever since. She credits her passion for literature to her mother, her love of story-telling to her father and her unwavering faith in happily-ever-after’s to her husband, Sean.Some of her favorite things include rainy days, loud music, superhero movies, hot tea and of course, lazy afternoons with a great book.To find out more about Kate, her work or to just say hello, she loves hearing from her readers and can be found on social media.

Author Links:
Benson’s Book Babes (Fan Club/Readers Group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/PromiseSeriesSupportGroup/
Buy Links:
 
Posted in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary, New, New Adult, New Release, Romance

Just One Summer

Title: Just One Summer
Author: Lynn Stevens
Genre: New Adult Romance
Cover Designer: Ampersand Book Covers
Publication Date: May 21st, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: 
One summer, no regrets
Carly Reynolds does not want to work at her father’s Branson theater over the summer, but she has no choice. After wrecking his prized Mercedes on Prom night, she’s got to pay him back somehow before she leaves for college. Now she’s stuck working as the personal assistant to twenty-year-old Gracin Ford, former member of one-hit-wonder boy band Accentuate.
Gracin is demanding, condescending, and an all-around jerk. Carly would rather eat glass than deal with a male diva who’s more famous for his stint in rehab than his music. Until she realizes that Gracin’s lonely. Once she welcomes him into her life, she starts to let him into her heart. Even though she knows it will end when she leaves for school, Carly doesn’t want to look back on her life and wonder what if. Even if it means a broken heart.
Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. She’s the author of Full Count and Game On..

Author Links:
Buy Links:
CHAPTER ONE
Nobody sane should ever be up at eight on a Saturday morning. Especially not when said person stayed up until three a.m. for a horror movie marathon with her best friends Ivy and Nena. So totally worth it though. 
What a waste of a Saturday. I could be sleeping, or bungee jumping, or sleeping, or ziplining, or sleeping instead of starting a job I didn’t want in the first place.
I bit back a yawn as I smoothed the wrinkled turquoise polo, the required uniform for Mountain View Resort employees. Taking a deep breath to steady the waves in my stomach, I knocked on the door to room four-oh-two three times, as instructed, and squeezed my clipboard against my chest.
What had my father been thinking bringing this guy to Branson? For the last few years, I’d overheard Dad lamenting to my brother about how the shows didn’t make enough money and the profits from the resort disappeared into the theater. If Dad wanted to revive that dump, he’d need someone to sell out every performance. I had serious doubts about his choice. Another reason I was in the doghouse.
I lifted my fist to hammer the door a second time when it flew open.
A wet torso greeted me, and a hint of the hotel’s jasmine soap drifted from the room. My gaze followed water dripping down tanned pecs and over the only real six-pack I’d ever seen as it disappeared into the thick hotel towel wrapped around his waist. Wow. My face burned hotter than the coffee I’d slammed earlier, and I forced my head up to meet the gaze of The Gracin Ford, celebrity bad boy and former member of Accentuate, a one-hit wonder boy band.
Gracin’s manscaped eyebrows arched as bright blue eyes took a circuit over my body. My skin tingled all over in response to his gaze.
Sadly, he had to open his mouth. “Not my type, but thanks.”
Then he slammed the door in my face.
What? That… that… that son of a bitch! I punched the door three times, fully prepared to give this egotistical asshole a piece of my mind. Meanwhile, my father’s lecture from half an hour ago echoed between my ears: “If you want to go to U of N in the fall, you work for me this summer to pay me back for the damage to the Mercedes. Don’t, and you can go to Southern Community like your brother did.” I counted to thirty, trying and failing to calm myself while I waited for his highness.
The door swung in. At least this time, he’d had the decency to put on a pair of khaki shorts and a t-shirt. His gaze shifted over me once more, and I tried not to squirm, but blue eyes gave me the creeps. And brought back memories I’d rather pretend didn’t exist.
“What now?” he asked. If he was even slightly miffed, he didn’t show it. The cool nonchalance in his voice didn’t stop my temper from shooting toward the atmosphere.
I dug my nails into the back of the clipboard and smiled my best smile. “Hi, Mr. Ford. I’m Carly Reynolds, your … personal assistant. Your father provided us with a detailed itinerary of your day-to-day–”
“Let me see it,” he said, leaning his shoulder against the door jam.
I handed it over, keeping the tremor in my hands at bay. Personal assistant my ass, more like his errand bitch. If he hadn’t fired his previous P.A., I could be lounging by the pool as a lifeguard or cleaning rooms or checking guests at the front desk. Instead, I had to spend my summer following every whim of a twenty-year-old has-been. As he took the itinerary, his eyebrows furrowed at something else. Before my hand could drop back to my side, he snatched it and tugged at the tie holding the leather cuff covering my wrist.
His eyebrows lifted again and amusement danced across his full lips. “Nice tat. Why hide it?”
 “Who says I’m hiding it?” He let go of my hand, and I quickly retied the cuff over the small trinity knot tattoo on my wrist. It had only been two weeks since I’d gotten inked, but Mom and Dad hadn’t noticed. Yet.  I crossed my arms and bit the inside of my upper lip. As much as I didn’t want to be here, I also didn’t want to go to Southern Community. Keeping my mouth shut was kind of required if I wanted to go to Nashville in the fall.
Gracin nodded and refocused on the itinerary. He flipped the paper, shaking his head. “According to this, you’re supposed to take me to breakfast every morning at eight so we can discuss the day’s schedule.” He handed the clipboard back to me. “I’m assuming that’s why you’re here now.”
“Yep.”
He sighed. “Let me get my shoes. No doubt the big kahuna will be expecting me.” He moved into the room and I reached out to hold the door open. “I’ll get a more realistic schedule to you.”
“Realistic?” I asked as he slipped on a pair of boat shoes and a Rolex that could pay for half a semester at U of N or the entire two years at Southern Community.
“Yeah, that’s clearly the schedule Dad wants me to keep. Not even close to reality.” Gracin stepped into the hallway, patting his pocket. He groaned and turned to stop the door from shutting completely, but it was too late. He fell forward, letting his forehead thunk against the thick wood. “You wouldn’t happen to have a key to my room, would you?”
“No, but we can get one from the front desk after breakfast. You’re moving into one of the cabins today anyway.” I shrugged because it wasn’t that big of a deal. “No worries.”
Gracin laughed, but there wasn’t any humor to it. “Do me a favor. Keep this key thing between us, okay? The last thing I need is to hear how irresponsible I am. Again.”
I held back the scoff and the sarcastic comment that would normally shoot from my mouth in record speed. Especially since I’d heard the same lecture more times than I could count. “Yeah, okay. But we have to go now, or you’re going to have to hear how irresponsible I am.” 
“Well, I won’t say anything about the tat in that case.” Gracin’s smile showed his Hollywood white teeth.
We were half way between his room and the elevator when his cell rang. I tried to ignore his half of the conversation, but when you’re alone with someone, it’s hard not to listen.
“Hey, babe.” Pause. “Yeah, I had a great time too.”
Another pause. Gracin laughed, clutching his hand against his chest.
“Probably best they didn’t catch us. Photographic evidence and all.”
Another pause when we got to the elevator. Gracin’s face turned from California tan to the shade of a bruised red pepper.
“You didn’t? Please tell me you didn’t.”
I wanted to lean closer to hear what the person on the other end had done. Celebrity drama and all. I didn’t seek it out, but that didn’t stop me from reading the headlines when they popped up on my computer.
After I pushed the button for the elevator, we stood side by side. Gracin’s fingers tightened around the phone. I could hear a female voice coming from his speaker but not what she said. Gracin slapped the mirrored doors.
Housekeeping’ll love that.
The doors dinged open as Gracin’s fist soared toward them, and he threw himself into the elevator. He managed not to fall, but it was so hard not to laugh.
“Next time you talk to that jackass, tell him you were just another one-night stand.”
Wow. I’d somehow managed to keep my expression neutral when he fell into the elevator, but my mortification couldn’t be hidden. 
He stared at me in the mirror. “There goes hiding my lack of responsibility today,” he said in a calm voice that didn’t match the fury from a moment ago.
I kept my mouth shut despite the thoughts running through my head and held his mirrored gaze. Both took supreme battles of will. I thought only one thing: U of N. Nothing was going to keep me from going to Nashville.
Gracin tilted his head. His eyebrows sagged as he opened his mouth. A beep sounded from his phone, distracting him from whatever he was about to say. He shook his head at the screen and then handed it to me. “Here. Fair warning before Hurricane Albert leashes his wrath on me.”
I wasn’t interested in getting caught up in his drama, but curiosity got the best of me and I glanced at the image on the screen. It wasn’t anything major. A beautiful girl with bright brown eyes and obviously dyed red hair kissed a smiling Gracin on the cheek. It was pretty clear they were in a bar when this was taken. Several empty beer bottles sat on the table in front of them.
“A hot chick took a photo of you guys in a bar?” I handed the phone back. “Big deal.”
 “The ‘deal’ is she sold it to a tabloid.” Gracin shoved the phone into his pocket. He didn’t spare me a glimpse, even in the mirror. “I can see the headlines already: ‘Gracin Ford Falls Off the Wagon.’ ” Finally, he faced me. “Except I didn’t. I’ve been sober for almost a year. None of those empties were mine. Not that anybody will believe me. Especially King Albert.”
“Oh.”
“Yeah, ‘oh.’”
I didn’t say anything, but the heat burning the tips of my ears was enough.
The elevator opened to the lobby. Gracin motioned me out first and followed me to the private dining room. Dad sat at the head of the table in the middle of the room. My mother sat to his right, and a gray-haired man with a stringy comb-over sat on his left. His extensive lack of hair didn’t stop Albert Ford from trying. My older brother, Luke, sat next to three empty seats for me, Gracin, and my little sister, Miranda. Quite the family affair.
“Carly, I’m glad you made it,” Dad said, adding a fake laugh at the end. To anyone else, it might’ve appeared teasing. I knew better. Dad was not happy we were a minute late. Of course, when it came to me, he wouldn’t have been happy had I been two minutes early either. My father was the consummate politician around here. He ruled more like a dictator, but was JFK when guests were around. “I thought you were going to be late.”
“That’s my fault, Mr. Reynolds,” Gracin said. He threw out a hundred-watt smile.
I fought to roll my eyes. At least he’s taking the hit for me.
“Carly rushed me out the door, then let it close before I remembered to grab my key.”
And under the bus I go. Thanks, asshat.
Dad stared through me with his laser pointer green eyes. “Well, Carly, I suggest you head to the front desk and get another. While you’re there, make sure housekeeping stays out of his room until this evening when the cabin is ready.”
“Yes, sir.” I let my head drop in good girl compliance, catching the laughing eyes of my brother. We both inherited Dad’s light brown hair, but Luke lucked out getting Dad’s eyes. Unfortunately, he used them to taunt me at every turn, which only served to remind me who was the chosen one in the Reynolds family. Hint, his name began with an L.
Gracin made his way toward the buffet spread. He piled fresh fruit on his plate, winking at me. I shuddered as I freed myself from the room. Guys who winked were just plain creepy.
My last summer before heading off to college was going to be the worst one of my life. All because of a little dent in a Mercedes. Smashing.