Friday, April 29, 2016

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Fading Starlight

About Fading Starlight

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 3, 2016)
Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging–a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she’s surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingénue who lives in the nearby mansion.
Kendall Joiner wants Lauren’s help uncovering the old woman’s secrets. In return, she’ll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren’s tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.
“An inspiring plot that brims with Old Hollywood suspense, vintage fashion and modern frustrations.”—RT Book Reviews
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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review: It took a long time to pull my eyes from the cover, because it is simply gorgeous. The story is really good, especially as its Christian fiction. I've found a lot of stories in this genre can be a little over the top with religion and that doesn't always sit well with me, except when its Amish fiction.

In this book Lauren has it all and loses it. I love the Hollywood aspect of this story. The losing it that results in her losing it, is a bit far-fetched when it comes to standards of Hollywood, but that didn't bother me too much. I really loved how Lauren connected with Charlotte and that is what the story centers on.

This is a wonderful heartwarming story and a great read

Rating: 5 flowers


About Kathryn Cushman

Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the acclaimed author of over a half-dozen novels, including  Leaving Yesterday andA Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women’s Fiction. Kathryn and her family make their home in Santa Barbara, California.

Connect with Kathryn

Website | Facebook








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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: The Dark Lady's Mask


02_The Dark Lady's Mask
The Dark Lady's Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare's Muse by Mary Sharratt

Publication Date: April 19, 2016

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Hardcover, eBook, Audio Book; 416 Pages




Genre: Historical Fiction


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Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.


Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Hardcover) | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble


Advance Praise
“An exquisite portrait of a Renaissance woman pursuing her artistic destiny in England and Italy, who may — or may not — be Shakespeare’s Dark Lady.”
— MARGARET GEORGE, internationally bestselling author of Elizabeth I

“Perfectly chosen details and masterful characterization bring to life this swiftly moving, elegant story. As atmospheric and compelling as it is wise, The Dark Lady’s Mask is a gem not to be missed.”
— LYNN CULLEN, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe and Twain’s End

“Mary Sharratt’s enchanting new novel, The Dark Lady’s Mask, is a richly imagined, intensely romantic and meticulously researched homage to lauded poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanyer, an accomplished woman of letters who many believe to be Shakespeare’s Eternal Muse. Sharratt unfolds a captivating tale, a compelling ‘what if ’ scenario, of a secret union that fed the creative fires of England’s greatest poet and playwright.”
— KATHLEEN KENT, bestselling author of The Heretic’s Daughter

“Mary Sharratt is a magician. This novel transports the reader to Elizabethan England with a tale of the bard and his love that is nothing short of amazing. Absorbing, emotional, historically fascinating. A work of marvelous ingenuity!”
— M.J. ROSE, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows

“I enjoyed this exciting fantasy of Shakespeare’s ‘dark lady.’ There was adventure, betrayal, resilience, and above all, the fun notion that Shakespeare might have had far more than a muse to help him create his wonderful plays.”
—KARLEEN KOEN, bestselling author of Dark Angels and Before Versailles

“Through the story of Aemilia Bassano, a talented musician and poet, Mary Sharratt deftly tackles issues of religious and gender inequality in a time of brutal conformity. The Dark Lady’s Mask beautifully depicts the exhilaration and pitfalls of subterfuge, a gifted woman’s precarious reliance on the desires of powerful men, and the toll paid by unrecognized artistic collaborators. Resonant and moving.”
—MITCHELL JAMES KAPLAN, author of By Fire, By Water

“In The Dark Lady’s Mask, Mary Sharratt seduces us with a most tantalizing scenario —that the bold, cross-dressing poet and feminist writer Aemilia Bassano is Shakespeare’s mysterious muse, the Dark Lady. Romantic, heart-breaking, and rich in vivid historical detail and teeming Elizabethan life, the novel forms an elegant tapestry of the complexities, joys, and sorrows of being both a female and an artist.”
—KAREN ESSEX, author of Leonardo’s Swans and Dracula in Love

“Mary Sharratt has created an enchanting Elizabethan heroine, a musician, the orphaned daughter of a Jewish Italian refugee who must hide her heritage for her safety. Taken up by powerful men for her beauty, Amelia has wit and daring and poetry inside her that will make her a match for young Will Shakespeare himself and yet she must hide behind many masks to survive in a world where women have as much talent as men but little power.”
— STEPHANIE COWELL, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

"Prepare to be swept away by Mary Sharratt's latest foray into historical fiction. Inspired by the true story of poet, Aemilia Bassano, THE DARK LADY'S MASK explores her relationship with William Shakespeare. Richly detailed and well researched, this lush tale brings Aemilia out of the shadows of history and let's her emerge as one of the founding mothers of literature. Drama, intrigue, and romance will have readers racing through this brilliant celebration of the muse."
PAMELA KLINGER-HORN, Sales & Outreach Coordinator, Excelsior Bay Books

Review I read about about Aemilia a year or so ago. Her story as Shakespeare's muse intrigued me then and I wanted to read more, especially since I had read a book by Mary Sharratt before.

Aemilia was truly a fascinating woman. For her time she was exceptionally educated and she was a poet in her own right. I felt like I learned more about her in this book than the previous novel that I read about her.

Mary writes exceptionally well. She pulls you into the time period and makes you feel like you are there. It isn't a quick read, but it is one that you will fall in love with.

Sharratt explores the belief that Aemilia was Shakespeare's lover and the inspiration for the Dark Lady sonnets, but if you think this is a romance, you would be wrong. This book is much much more than that.

Rating: 4 flowers



03_Mary SharrattAbout the Author
MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, April 19
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, April 20
Review at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Excerpt & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 21
Review at A Book Drunkard
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, April 22
Review & Giveaway at History Undressed

Monday, April 25
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 26
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, April 28
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, April 30
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Monday, May 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Cynthia Robertson, writer

Tuesday, May 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, May 4
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, May 5
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, May 6
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, May 9
Review at A Dream within a Dream

Tuesday, May 10
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Wednesday, May 11
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Thursday, May 12
Review & Giveaway at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, May 13
Review at First Impressions Reviews
Excerpt at Layered Pages

Monday, May 16
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, May 17
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 18
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, May 19
Review & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, May 20
Review at Broken Teepee

04_The Dark Lady's Mask_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: Promised To The Crown


02_Promised to the Crown
Promised to the Crown (Daughters of New France, Book One) by Aimie K. Runyan

Publication Date: April 26, 2016

Kensington

Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages
Series: Daughters of New France
Genre: Historical Fiction




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Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.

In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.

They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.

Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.


An engaging, engrossing debut.”—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie


An absorbing adventure with heart.”—Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Review: Promised to the Crown is a novel of the women the came to settle in New France. I've not read anything about the history of Canada's settlement, so I was really excited to read this book. It figures around three women, Elizabeth, Nicole and Rose, all who have had different trials that have brought them thousands of miles from home.

It is the kind of book you can't put down. If you judge by the cover you might dismiss this book as just another fluffy historical novel. It isn't. Aimie Runyan doesn't forget the hardships that these women dealt with in New France. She didn't forget them as she created the characters. Each woman had a hardship that sent her two the new world.

I loved the friendship between Elizabeth, Rose and Nicole. Each woman came from different backgrounds in France and when they arrive in New France they end up in different circumstances. Each woman has a different set of challenges to deal with, most of them deal with loss and others deal with dramas that are stirred up because of family in France.

I was pleasantly surprised at how things ended for Rose, as things that were part of her past seemed to be pushing her in directions other than marriage.

This book could have easily turned into fluff, since the book focused on how these women came to the New Word to be brides, but Ms. Runyan gives so much more and the characters really grow into admirable women.

This was a fabulous book. I can't wait for the second book in the trilogy.  I can't wait to find out what happens to the characters in the next two books, particularly the native girl that had lived with Nicole for a time, Manon.

Rating: 5 flowers




About the Author
03_Aimie K. RunyanAimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Women's Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master's thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. Aimie lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.

For more information please visit Aimie's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, April 26
Review at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 28
Interview at Book Nerd
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, April 30
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 2
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, May 3
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Wednesday, May 4
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 5
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, May 6
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Monday, May 9
Review at Cynthia Robertson, writer

Tuesday, May 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, May 11
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Creating Herstory
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, May 16
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 19
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, May 23
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, May 24
Review at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Thursday, May 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, May 27
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, May 30
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, May 31
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time


Giveaway
Two copies of Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Promised to the Crown


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Release Blast: Forever With You


Enter to Win a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card


FOREVER WITH YOU
The Starlight Hill Series #5
Heatherly Bell
Releasing April 26th, 2016
Tydandon Publishing and Heatherly Bell Books



B&N: Still Waiting


She forgot something on the way to the courthouse …

Sophia Abella has a good life, even if she is a little stuck.  Not quite single, not quite married, she keeps men at a safe distance. But when her ex-Marine husband returns to town and takes the job of chief of police, it might finally be time to get that paper work done once and for all. After all, most of her family already thinks she’s divorced.

They’re not actually, in the fullest sense of the word … divorced.

Years ago, Riley Jacobs chose the Marine Corp over his wife and has regretted his decision every day since. But once a Marine always a Marine, and he’ll use every tactical advantage he has to get Sophia to realize that she’s the only one for him.

Love and marriage … take two



When early onset stage fright dashed dreams of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Heatherly tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave. She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).

If she were not an author, Heatherly maintains she would be a detective and a criminal's worst nightmare. She watches Dateline every Friday night and takes notes.

She lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say 'hello' and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows.
                                                                                                     


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tasty Book Tours Pre Release Blitz: His Scandalous Kiss


COMING 7.26.16


HIS SCANDALOUS KISS
Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3
Sophie Barnes
Releasing July 26th, 2016
Avon Books


Thorncliff Manor is the perfect setting for a masquerade ball . . . where the heart’s secret desires are about to be uncovered in this scintillating Regency romance from Sophie Barnes

Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue . . .


Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever . . .

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Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor's degree from Parsons. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion: writing. When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.



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Monday, April 25, 2016

Great Escapes Book Tours: Raisin The Dead



Raisin the Dead:
A Bread and Batter Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: InterMix (April 19, 2016)
ASIN: B00PHV81AS
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Synopsis

 The author of Bun for Your Life returns to Destiny, New York, where bakery owners and amateur sleuths Molly Tyler and Olivia Williams never crumble under pressure…
While the rest of Destiny is focused on the arrival of an upper crust perfume mogul, Molly is more concerned about what’s on the front page of the newspaper: her mother. Library director Anne Tyler was photographed at the most romantic restaurant in town having a cozy dinner with library advisory board member Philip Baldelli. But there’s more for Molly to worry about after Philip is found dead a few days later.
When Detective Sean Corsino zeroes in on Anne as a person of interest in the case, it turns down the heat on his budding romance with Molly. But after he’s injured during the course of his investigation, Molly and Olivia must step in to sift through the clues and clear Anne’s name.

Review:  I'm on a cozy mystery kick these days.  Raisin The Dead is the first book by Karoline Barrett that I've read and it is the second in the Bread and Batter Mystery Series that I've read.

I loved Molly and her dog Noelle. I'm a sucker for books where pets figure in the story and Noelle and Beau were sweet.

This book involves the murder of a library advisory board member and Molly's mom is a person of interest. Phillip also has a visiting niece who happens to be a rich perfumer. She's not all that pleasant at first but she is a character that really grows on you as the story progresses.

Sean, the town's detective and Molly's boyfriend is injured on one of the town's new police horses. This really adds a lot of drama to the story. He's not there to work the case and his sister in law, Felicia is in town, trying to stir up some trouble.  There is no way you can like Felicia. She's a big ole B.

I'm surprised Sean was allowed to work the case with his girlfriend's mom as a prime suspect.

Molly's brand of sleuthing reminded me a bit of Hannah Swenson. I think it was the bakery that did it, though she's  more down to earth and not as condescending as Hannah.

The romance between Molly and Sean is front and center here, but I didn't really mind that. I liked them as a couple and can't wait to see how things go with them.

I really liked all the mystery involving the library expansion. It gave me warm fuzzies thinking that a library somewhere was getting bigger rather than smaller.

It was a fun fast paced mystery with characters you will absolutely fall in love with. 

Rating: 5 flowers



Tasty Book Tours Book Review: Marry Poppins


Enter to Win a Mary Poppins Inspired Charm Bracelet


MARRY POPPINS
Impossible Dream #3
Beth Ciotta
Released February 27th, 2016
BC Ink



When fate bobbles your dream, sometimes you have to make your own magic…

Award-winning author Beth Ciotta presents Marry Poppins, the third book in the contemporary fairy tale series—Impossible Dream—celebrating hope, love, and the magic of the human spirit!

She wants a family. He needs a wife. A marriage-of-convenience solves a myriad of problems for unlucky Georgie Poppins and down-on-his-luck Bryce Morgan. Falling in love wasn’t part of the bargain so no one is more surprised than Georgie and Bryce when sexual sparks ignite a full-blown romance. Unfortunately, as love swells, trouble mounts, including a glitch at Impossible Dream.com—an Internet company designed to match people with their most avid desire. Maybe Georgie and Bryce weren’t meant to be after all.

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This is the first book from the Impossible Dream series that I've read, but it is not the first book by Beth Ciotta that I've read. Marry Poppins is the third in this series, but these are all stand alone novels. Having finished this one, I know I have to go back and read the other two, because these just made my heart so happy.

Georgie Poppins is a character that I could really relate too. She's unlucky at life and love. Bryce is a guy she's had a crush on for ages. When he gets left at the altar, she offers to help him with his niece and nephew.  They think they are going to have a sort of marriage of convenience, but love has a way of changing things.

I love the emotion that this book brought. Both characters have their share of problems and want to do the right thing by everyone. I also loved the side romance with Angel and Georgie's brother Ryan. There's a little bit of drama with that one, and that's where some of the tears will come from.

 This book was a quick read that will make you laugh and cry, but all in all will leave you feeling good about having read the book. Not much heat, but many many warm fuzzies.  Can't wait to read the novella that was teased at the end of this book!

Rating: 5 flowers





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Beth Ciotta is an award-winning author who specializes in quirky romantic adventures. Dubbed “fun and sexy” by Publishers Weekly, her work includes contemporary, historical, and paranormal romantic fiction. Beth lives in New Jersey with her husband, two zany dogs, and a crazy cat.

A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing. To learn more about her colorful life, visit her website at www.bethciotta.com



Looking for more Impossible Dream Romances?

Tasty Book Tours Sale Blitz: Blurred Lines


ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME!!


BLURRED LINES
Lauren Layne
Released Aug 25th, 2015
Loveswept


In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

ONLY $0.99

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GOOD GIRL
5.17.16
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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.


Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals. 



Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).



 
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