Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Amy Rose Bennett | Exclusive Excerpt: HOW TO CATCH A WICKED VISCOUNT
Author Guest / August 28, 2019

Set-Up: Lady Charlotte Hastings and Lord Malverne, along with their aunt, Lady Chelmsford, have taken Sophie Brightwell for a jaunt through Hyde Park during the fashionable hour. . . Lord Malverne leaned closer, drawing her attention away from the lake. “So was I correct in my assessment that ton­nish activities are tiresome?” he murmured in a conspirato­rial fashion. “I’m quite content to enjoy the view,” remarked Sophie, trying to ignore the scent of Lord Malverne’s spicy cologne as it teased her nostrils, or the bump of his pantaloon-clad knee against hers. She didn’t think it would be wise to agree with him within earshot of Charlie, Lady Chelms­ford, or their current conversation partners, the Countess of Poole and her decidedly spinsterish sister. Lord Malverne smiled in such a way that Sophie’s heart tripped and her cheeks heated. “So am I. The view is quite spectacular.” “You really shouldn’t do that,” she said, trying to adopt an expression that would pass as reproving, but wasn’t too stern. It wouldn’t do to appear waspish. Infuriatingly, Lord Malverne’s chiseled mouth simply tilted into a half-smile that was even more roguish. “Do what?” “Openly flirt with me,” replied Sophie under her breath. She tried…

Aurora Rose Reynolds | Exclusive Excerpt: CATCHING HIM
Author Guest / August 27, 2019

I check out my reflection in the mirror while turning from side to side. My black mock turtleneck dress hits me just above the knees and fits me like a second skin. The long lace sleeves make the simple dress sexy, but the black leather high-heeled booties slouched around my ankles give the outfit a somewhat casual look. My long brown hair is pulled back away from my face with a clip, and my makeup is light, just some mascara, blush, bronzer, and lip gloss.  After getting home from working on my feet all day, I’m not in the mood to go out, but Charles sent a text this afternoon confirming he would be at my house tonight to pick me up, and I stupidly didn’t take that opportunity to back out of the date. When the bell rings, I take one last look at myself and grab my clutch off the bed. I make my way across the living room, and as soon as I open the door, I start to tell Charles I’ll just be a minute after I change out my bag, but it’s not Charles. It’s Tyler—Tyler wearing a pair of workman boots, dark jeans, and…

Melissa Foster | Exclusive Excerpt: CALL HER MINE
Author Guest / August 13, 2019

“What is that?” He stepped closer, and the pungent odor of poop hit him like a gust of rancid wind. He gagged, pointing to the baby’s back and trying to speak at the same time. But all that came out was dry heaves. “What?” Aurelia lifted her hand, and the mess was on her forearm, her shirt, and the front of the baby’s legs. “Gross! Help me!” She held the wailing baby away from her body as if it were a ticking time bomb. Ben pulled off his shirt, answering Aurelia’s perplexed expression with, “I’m not getting that on my shirt.” He reached for the baby, holding his breath. She shoved the baby into his hands, and he held her away from his body, trying to get his dry heaves under control. Aurelia tore her shirt over her head–drawing Ben’s attention and immediately remedying his gags. He had a screaming baby in his hands and his eyes were riveted to Aurelia’s breasts, which were practically popping out of a sexy lace bra. “What are you doing, Rels? This isn’t exactly the best time to try to turn me on.” She shot him a death glare, using the shirt to wipe…

Richard Kirshenbaum | Exclusive Excerpt: ROUGE
Author Guest / June 26, 2019

From Rouge: A Novel of Beauty and Rivalry. Copyright © 2019 by Richard Kirshenbaum and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press. Chapter 2 A NEW FRONTIER Sydney, Australia, 1922 The heat was unbearable, constant, itchy, and apparently determined to do battle with her skin. It was ironic how brutal the journey had been given that the point of it was to flee a brutal adversary at home. Her mother’s favorite phrase came to mind as she grasped the railing of the ship: “Wherever you go, there you are.” Were her dear mother here right now, she would also be telling Josiah to protect her skin by putting on her hat. Instead, in a flash of rebellion, she stared head-on into the sun as though the sun itself were her enemy and she would win the face-off so long as she did not betray fear. Oy vey ist mir. She could not keep this lament far from her mind as she thought of the distance between her loving mother and herself. The distance increased with every second, along with the ache in her heart. She could practically smell her mother’s distinct scent: sweet, earthy, like the kasha and sweet white…

Anna Schmidt | Exclusive Excerpt: RENEGADE
Author Guest / June 26, 2019

Renegade is the second book in the Cowboys & Harvey Girls series. It’s a sweeping, powerful Western historical romance series, featuring intrepid Harvey Girls and the rugged cowboys who win their hearts. I hope you enjoy this excerpt! *** She hadn’t seen much of the sheriff since Grace’s wedding. He rarely ate in the hotel dining room. She’d seen him a couple of times passing through the lobby, and he’d tipped his hat to her as he continued on his way. Now, once she reached the office door, she hesitated. The window that faced the street was dark, but a dim light was coming from a window at the side of the building. She rapped sharply on the door and after two seconds repeated the action, doubling the force. “I’m coming,” a male voice grumbled, and light flooded the window that overlooked the street. Lily stepped back, and when the door opened, she rushed inside, brushing past the sheriff, who was hooking his suspenders over his broad shoulders. “Miss Travis?” He ran his hand through his tousled hair. “What on…” He stepped outside and glanced around before returning and shutting the door. “Are you all right?” He looked her over….

Emily March | Exclusive Excerpt: JACKSON
Author Guest / June 18, 2019

Caroline had faced many challenges in her life. She’d tackled some serious life-and-death trials. She’d persevered. She’d emerged if not victorious, then at least still standing. So why was she trembling in fear at this relatively minor task laid before her? It’s ridiculous. It made no sense whatsoever. “Are you ready?” Jackson asked. No! her inner self screamed. “Sure,” she said, lifting her chin. The music started. He emerged from behind the stage onto the empty dance floor at the Last Chance Hall. It is my last chance, Caroline thought. My last chance to bolt for the door. As a native Texan, it had been her biggest secret, her greatest shame. She didn’t know how to two-step. She’d never learned. She’d listened to pop music in high school and college. Robert introduced her to classical music, but he didn’t like to dance. So, she’d never learned. That, apparently, was about to change. Keen-eyed Jackson had noticed that she always made excuses not to dance at the Last Chance and called her on it. When she finally fessed up to her lack of skill, he’d declared himself her teacher. She wanted to learn. She did. So why was she so embarrassed…

Dori Ann Dupre | Exclusive Excerpt: GOOD BUDDY
Author Guest / June 14, 2019

Christmas Eve Buddy was looking forward to this Christmas unlike any other Christmas in his entire life. Christmas growing up in Texas was exciting like it is for any kid. That is, until Kenny started to drink and beat his mother and just generally be an asshole to everyone…ruining their family. Then Christmas wasn’t so much fun anymore. It was just a short break from the loud, sad, horror show that seemed to hijack his interrupted childhood. Christmas, after arriving in North Carolina, seemed to be okay, but it took a while for Buddy and his mother to make their own new traditions for the holiday. They were living someone else’s life at that point, and so they were doing someone else’s traditions. They had no family to speak of, no one to go visit, no one to come visit them, no one to send Christmas cards to…not even to the nice ladies they met in New Mexico. There was no receiving a gift in the mail, such as a dress shirt that didn’t fit quite right, from Daniel Junior’s Uncle Frank and Aunt Nikki. It was a strange holiday now. Just – nothing, empty, voided – but with reds…

Maya Rodale | Exclusive Excerpt: SOME LIKE IT SCANDALOUS
Author Guest / June 12, 2019

They were alone. They were away from prying eyes and the cutting comments about her, which she’d had enough of for one evening, thank you very much. They were alone and there was no need to maintain any ruse. “Daisy, I don’t know what to say, other than that I’m sorry.” “It’s not your fault. You didn’t say any of those things.” He remained silent, a confession of sorts, and she understood. “You didn’t say any of those things within earshot,” she corrected. “Tonight.” “I am so sorry. It is unkind for anyone to say such things in any circumstances. And with you, it’s also just plain wrong. For one thing, if you are old then so am I.” Daisy couldn’t care less about being considered old, not when she was counting the minutes until she was officially On the Shelf and an Unredeemable Spinster. But she wasn’t so hurt or stuck up that she couldn’t recognize his offering of peace. Funny that, coming from him. But she wasn’t so hardened that she didn’t appreciate the overture. Even if she didn’t know what to do with it. In fact, it left her speechless. They stood there in the dim light,…

Ashley Dyer | In My End Is My Beginning: The Cutting Room + Exclusive Excerpt
Author Guest / June 10, 2019

Here’s how it happened: I’d just submitted Splinter in the Blood to my agent (Felicity Blunt), expecting it to go out with more of a whimper than a bang—and it confounded my wildest expectations, receiving keen interest from publishers worldwide. This was 2017, the genre du jour was domestic noir, and Splinter was a serial killer thriller—my first, after publishing 12 crime and mystery novels, and the fulfillment of a twenty-year ambition. A self-indulgent treat that might be seen as self-destructive, given that it seemed the publishing world was focused elsewhere, but at that point, I wasn’t thinking beyond Splinter: you see, I’d convinced myself that novel #13 would be my last, so I thought, What the heck… The London Book Fair was just days away, interest was hotting up, and multiple bids were on the horizon. But one of the foreign rights scouts wanted to know about the next book. Did I have any ideas, Felicity wondered, “Even a para you could put together?” As a rule, I start jotting down notes and ideas about the next book two-thirds the way through the one I’m currently writing. This time, I had nothing—why would I, when book thirteen was sure…

Katy Evans | Exclusive Excerpt: MILLION DOLLAR DEVIL
Author Guest / May 28, 2019

Jimmy swings his head to look at me, a dimple under his scruffy beard appearing a little bit as our eyes meet. Bearded jaw. Roguish smile. Golden tan. White teeth. Eyes so bright and blue it’s sort of a shock when they land on me. He might be hot, but he is not my type at all. I’m me, and he’s … so raw; he’s the most primitive man I’ve ever seen. I shift in my stool and turn back to take a quick sip of my drink, bracing myself for another look. I steal it. My stomach clutches because, oh god, he’s blatantly staring at me. He raises an eyebrow, and I stiffen in my seat and turn back to my drink, listening to a soft male laugh behind me. “Jimmy!” I hear someone call. I turn, and Jimmy is now looking at another guy who’s kicking his chair back. Jimmy raises one eyebrow. For some reason, the deep bass of his voice causes the hairs on my arms to rise at attention. “I told you I’d find you.” Jimmy speaks threateningly to the other man. “Here I am,” the other says. They start to face off, winding around the…