Monday, September 29, 2014

Cover Reveal and Interview with Vivian Winslow for Blue Dhalia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BLUE DAHLIA IS THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF

THE DAHLIA TRILOGY OF THE GILDED FLOWER SERIES.

New York socialite Dahlia Baron is falling for her Latin lover, Rodrigo Cruz, the scion of the Mama Linda Latin foods empire, and hopes to take the relationship to the next level. But there’s a dark secret that she must deal with first in order to truly give her heart to him. When Dahlia visits the man from her past, will the undercurrents of her emotions let her go to Rodrigo or will they pull her back to the one person who stands between them?

Blue Dhalia is available October 16th! Put it on your book list!

Amazon






 
Interview with Vivian Winslow!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Q & A
 
1.       I loved The Gilded Flower Series. (sorry not a question). What made you decide to become a writer?
 
I don’t mind a non-question.:) I love that you loved it!
Writing is probably the only thing I’m qualified to do after all the moving around I’ve done without a steady job. Haha.
Seriously though, having lived in a variety of cities and countries and encountering so many different types of people along the way, I just started to imagine what it would be like to fictionalize my experiences and those of some of my friends. At some point, a story began to swim around in my head, and I couldn’t shake it, so I finally decided to get it out. It felt wonderful to connect with the characters and develop stories for them. That was a couple of       books ago, and I haven’t looked back since.
 
2.       Do you plan to continue writing this genre (Erotica Romance Hotness)? Or will you be moving into other directions after this series?
I’m quite enjoying this genre right now. I’ve written women’s fiction and YA, so this has been a welcome change. It is incredibly freeing to be able to write steamy scenes and just go to that sensual place with your character. Sex is such a natural act, and I think that, if it’s incorporated well, it can really enrich a story. That said, once I finish The Gilded Flower series (and perhaps the extras that come with it), there’s a YA book that is screaming for me to finish. Hopefully I can get to it by next summer.  I can’t work on multiple projects at one time. I worry that one voice will bleed into the other, so I prefer to keep projects separate.
 
3.       How did you come up with the storyline?
 

            I was suffering from some serious burnout with a women’s fiction manuscript I had been   
working on for a long time. A friend of mine suggested I try writing in the erotic romance genre, which is one of her favorite. She helped me hash out the storyline, and Gilded Lily was born. Although it didn’t have that working title at the time, since Lily’s original name was Sara. About a quarter of the way into the book I changed it to Lily, and somehow the rest (the title of the book and characters’ names) came together. The one thing I was pretty clear about is that I wanted the story to include places I’ve lived or visited since I love to travel and feel that it provides the perfect kind of challenge for a character to adapt to a new setting. Once I had introduced all of the main characters in Gilded Lily, I realized that it would lend itself to a full series, and suddenly The Gilded Flower series was born.
 
4.       Who would you cast as Lily, Gustavo, Dahlia, Alejandro, Todd . . . I could name drop many more but that would be a massive collage!
After watching the Endless Love remake, I would love Gabriella Wilde for the roles of Lily and Dahlia Baron. Kim Basinger as Poppy, the twins’ mother, and Dennis Quaid for the twins’ father. Who wouldn’t love Scott Eastwood to play Todd? He looks like he could play the sexy bartender. There are some great Latino actors who would be well-suited to play the leading men in Lily and Dahlia’s lives:  Brazilian actors Cauã Reymond as Marcelo and Rodrigo Santoro as Gustavo; William Levy for the part of Alejandro; and Diego Boneta as his younger brother, Rodrigo. Victoria Justice would make a beautiful Rosa. There are so many gorgeous Indian actresses who can play Vi. Deepika Padukone would be great for the role.
Just wait until The Dahlia Trilogy. There will be more gorgeous men!
      5.       Lily has such a major transition from book 1 to book 3. What did you want the readers to think about her? (Only asking because I usually want to punch the main characters. Lily is not at all annoying and whiny).
 
I’m glad you didn’t want to punch her.:) I quite like her as well. I hoped readers would go from sympathizing with Lily to appreciating how she worked through her personal issues. Like most people in their twenties, Lily needed to work out what she wanted in life, both personally and professionally. Maybe some women have it figured out, but I certainly didn’t, so it was natural for me to write a character who needed to come into her own and figure things out as she goes along. By figuring it out, I mean, learning whom she can trust, who is worth giving her heart to and how her family and past influenced the choices she made in her life. I went through that in my own way, as I think many have. And I believe that when you come out of that and can own the choices you make, it makes for massive personal growth. I hoped readers would get that.
 
6.       Did you plot all three books of the Gilded Flower Series at once? Or did you write while you went?
It probably would’ve made my life easier if I had outlined the story. It didn’t seem necessary for these novellas. It was quite fun just to let the characters lead and allow the story to evolve that way. If I had had a fixed idea for how I wanted the story to go, I don’t think they would’ve been as interesting. That said, I do try to have some vague idea of the plot so that the story flows and ties well with the previous books.
7.       There are so many characters in these books that have left me wanting to know more about them! Can we expect more books including them? If not, please? I am counting about 20 more book! Three to match each person.
 
Ha. If that happens, I’ll be writing non-stop for the next several years. As it stands, only Lily, Dahlia and Vi will have their trilogies. There are a few more who may get their own standalone novellas. This will depend in part on how the story ties up by the end of Vi’s trilogy. Right now, I’m planning books for Poppy (the twins’ mother), Todd (the sensual bartender), and Rosa (the youngest of the Cruz siblings).
 
8.       How did you want to portray Gustavo as a person as a whole? Not just personal, business as well. I can give you a 3 page essay about what I think of him. However I will restrain myself.
 
 Awww. He’s someone you love to hate. I had no idea how Gustavo’s character was going to evolve until I was writing Calla Lily. Until then, I was (get ready for this) even considering him as Lily’s HEA (I can’t believe I just wrote that!) Gustavo, to me, embodies the qualities and attitudes of powerful businessmen and alpha lovers I’ve encountered over the years. Their intelligence, charm and sexuality make it difficult to dislike them fully. But once he tried to buy Lily’s family’s company, I realized there would be no redemption for him.
Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. If Lily and Gustavo were going to end up together, she would’ve ended up on an entirely different trajectory as a character, and the story would’ve had to focus on forgiveness and her ability to make her peace being with a man who was married when they met. I feel like his being married was key to her growth and maturity as a character. If they were going to come back together, his marriage would’ve become their greatest obstacle, which would’ve diminished her personal growth. This is a series about women coming into their power as individuals. Finding love is a wonderful and fun consequence, but not the main objective. Had Gustavo and Lily stayed together, the series would’ve only been about their relationship and not her growth as a person.
 
9.        Also, Todd. At first I can’t say I was a fan. But there is a story to his past that is screaming to be written. Will he get his story told?
 
Yes!!! I like Todd’s character a lot. I didn’t realize when I wrote him in Gilded Lily that he would be a recurring character. But something about his quiet, self-contained, and sensual manner made me want to bring him back. His backstory is interesting, and I look forward to sharing it with readers. I’m considering a trilogy on a few of the men of The Gilded Flower series, which would include stories for Todd, Ben and . . . name your third. Not sure about that one although I have some idea based on The Dahlia Trilogy. And no, it won’t be Gustavo. My sincerest apologies to anyone who would like for him to have a separate book. I do love his scandalous character, but his story won’t make an interesting book.
 
10.   Would you ever want your books to be considered as possibilities for a TV show or movie?
 
Absolutely.  There are a lot of characters in this series, and the storylines definitely lend themselves to a TV show more than a movie. When I realized that The Lily Trilogy would become The Gilded Flower series, the story began to take a telenovela-like feel, which is such fun to write.
 
11.   Getting a massage after reading Gilded Lily sounded like a must! It was absolutely hot..and Marcelo. What happened to him? Sigh
 
In one of the original storylines, he was going to be a bigger character than he turned out to be. I thought perhaps Lily would end up falling for Marcelo and bring him back to NYC. (It no longer fit once Gustavo became such a major character). Marcelo wasn’t her HEA (that was never in the cards for them), and it didn’t take long before I realized that it would’ve taken the story in an entirely different direction. It wouldn’t have been a balanced story, with the rich girl-poor boy scenario. I wanted the characters to be on more equal footing, though not simply in terms of wealth, but also of life experiences or emotional maturity.  I didn’t want any of the characters to have to be “saving” the other. There would’ve been a lot of turmoil between Lily and Marcelo, and I didn’t want that for either one of them. I’m not especially fond of two characters going back and forth for too long. She has her back and forth with Gustavo, but it works. Not too much tormenting and I love you/I hate you. That gets old really fast. 
 
12.   Latin guys, huh? I’m starting to think you may know a little more about them then I do. Explain!?
 
Haha. You want me to tell you all my secrets, don’t you?:) I lived in Spain and Brazil for a few years, as well as other European countries. Something about Latin men stands out. Can’t explain it. Perhaps it’s the macho thing combined with their general love and adoration of women. (I’m generalizing, I know, but have you noticed how much they show their appreciation of women?).
 
13.   Now the fun questions! Favorite city: Rio, NYC or Miami?
Ugh. Why make me choose. They are all hot and sexy in different ways. To live, NYC. Miami for a short getaway, and Rio for pleasure. If I really have to choose, then I’d say NYC. It’s an all around awesome city that has everything.
 
14.   Cuban food vs Martini’s vs NY hot dogs?
Again, do I have to choose? Martinis at Bar Pleiades (where Lily has her voyeur experience in Calla Lily). They use gorgeously large, green olives. Cuban food is a close second.
 
15.   Favorite ice cream?
 Earl Grey and Pistachio are my all time favs. Were you expecting me to say mint chocolate chip? :)
 
 
 
You want to see the latest and hottest picture Vivian has on her FB? See below! Like her FB page to see more!
 
 
 
About the Vivian Winslow:
Having spent most of the last two decades abroad, Vivian Winslow currently resides in New York City with her husband and two grade school-aged children. Her stories are heavily influenced by her ex-pat experiences. The Gilded Flower Series is her first foray into erotic romance.
Check out Vivian on her links:
 



One Funeral Release Day!!

One Funeral RDL Banner

It's the release day for One Funeral the second book in Kat and Stone Bastion's No Weddings Series. There is a special price for the release AND you can get the digital copy signed for a limited time!!! So check it out and make sure to enter the awesome giveaway!! :)  


2-OneFuneral_Cover
 
 


One Funeral Synopsis:

The stakes climb higher in this second book in the No Weddings Series for Hannah Martin, a woman restrained by her past, and Cade Michaelson, the man who could help set her free. I’m drawn to Cade as he charms his way into more of my life and offers me something I truly haven’t ever had: a friend. Yet his humor, patience, and drop-dead sexiness take my breath away, and I know my heart is at risk. I want to move forward but am terrified I can’t. Cade seems to have it together from his own devastating heartache. His subtle actions, however, suggest a different story. And even though he says he wants more, I wonder if he’s able to trust in our developing relationship. As we navigate through our tangled feelings, we vow to take it slow. Yet no matter how careful we try to be, things between us intensify—and there’s nothing we can do, or want to do, to stop it. But the biggest question remains: Is chemistry enough to move beyond the past and toward a future together?   *** PLEASE NOTE *** Scorching (explicit) sex scenes.Fire extinguisher highly recommended. ***

The No Weddings Series Release Dates *** No Weddings ~ Sep 8th One Funeral ~ Sep 29th Two Bar Mitzvahs ~ Oct 20th Three Christmases ~ Nov 17th  

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | One Funeral Goodreads

No Weddings Buy Links: Amazon | B&N

Exclusive Excerpt:   At the faux-funeral, Cade teases Hannah about bathroom trips…and other things…   We stepped out into the main room, which was done up just like a funeral viewing, from the spray of flowers at the front to the rows of uncomfortable-looking chairs. And of course, there was a huge ornate cross up on the dais, but then again, we were in a church. Okay, this isn’t so bad. It’s a funeral. After a quick scan of the room, I saw Cade. He looked miserable until the moment his gaze locked onto mine. Then he dropped his head, slumping in shame. I burst out laughing. Drawn to him, I crossed the room without a second thought. “Nice tie.” He tugged at the bright collar at his neck, grumbling, “Don’t forget the cummerbund.” “That’s nothing. Look at me.” I plucked at the shiny, pink fabric. “Isn’t this the most ghastly thing ever to be called a dress? It’s a monstrosity in taffeta.” He backed up a step, making a show of visually drinking in my entire body from head to toe. “I don’t know, Maestro. All I see is a burlap bag.” His eyes flickered with heat. “And petticoats.” My legs bounced with sudden excitement, and I forced air out of my lungs on a slow exhale. Cade did things to me—heated, body-rocking, mind-spinning things—and I wanted unlimited amounts of that kind of medicine tonight. How ironic. I wanted some of Cade’s wild-and-crazy to calm me. “I need you tonight, Cade. This whole” —I gestured frantically to my outfit, then his— “getup is freaking me out a little.” He put firm hands on my shoulders, staring hard at me. “A little?” I thought about the great strides I’d made in therapy and how what I believed became reality. I was stronger than a bridesmaid dress. I’d learned how to separate my present from my past in therapy, and there was no way I was going to let all of that progress unravel now. Tonight, in a bright pink bridesmaid dress, I made a vow to myself to enjoy the present moment. I tilted my head and shook it. “No, I’m okay. Even if what I’m wearing is a travesty.” He pulled me closer and held me against his solid chest, wrapping his arms around me. “But I liked the whole ‘I need you’ part. What if I never leave your side tonight? Would that help?” I nodded. “Done.” He pulled back. “So to clarify the details, if I have to lift and hold your petticoats while you pee, will you lift and hold something when it’s my turn?” Wicked eyes glittered down at me. I gaped. “You are not lifting anything of mine while I pee.” “But I’m never leaving your side tonight.” I cast him a sidelong glance, grumbling, “What did I just agree to?” He chuckled, flagging down a waiter who held a tray of filled Champagne glasses. “Something very interesting from my point of view.” He grabbed two glasses. “Here, drink up. The night is young, and I intend to accompany you to no less than three bathroom trips.” I jabbed an elbow into his ribs. “Pig.” He coughed until his shoulders shook from laughter. I swiped a glass from his hand and glared at him while I drank down the liquid courage, not yet caring that it would make his petticoat-lifting wishes come true. He slid his hands into his pants pockets, rocking back on his heels, as the corners of his lips twitched. “Actually, I’ve been told I’m hung like a horse.” I sputtered, choking on my Champagne. He grinned. “Care to confirm?” He chugged his glass, a crime with the ten-dollars-per-swallow Cristal. “I’ll keep up with you. Then we’ll each fulfill our end of the bargain. Lift and hold. Keep practicing the technique in your mind.” “I am not holding…there’s no way I’m touching…” Cade grinned and leaned down, brushing his lips along my jawline. His hot breath fanned an erotic path up the side of my neck until a kiss caressed my ear. “My massive cock?” My breaths came in short bursts, my heart racing. All I could think of now was Cade’s massive cock. And all I wanted to do was see it. Touch it. I swallowed hard, trying to catch my breath as aching heat pulsed between my legs. When he pulled back, I stared at him. All I could manage was a nod. What was I nodding to? That yes, I did want to touch it? My thoughts fuzzed. “That’s right, Hannah. We both know you want to, now. I hope it’s the only thing you think about all night.”
Shoe and Boot Photo

  Kat Bastion with Stone Baston Bio:

Award-winning and bestselling romance author Kat Bastion has teamed up with her husband Stone Bastion to create the new contemporary romance series No Weddings. A few factoids about the writing team… Kat enjoys her chocolate rich and dark, her music edgy and soul-filling, and her vacations exotic with toes dug into the sand. And she’s wildly, madly, deeply in love with Stone. Stone likes pounding the trails on a mountain bike, vibrating the sound system with rock music, and down time spent on a stand up paddleboard. And he loves Kat wildly, madly, deeply…and then some. Together, they’re having a blast bringing fun-filled romantic stories to life and hope you’ll join them in the exciting adventure. Kat’s first published work, Utterly Loved, was a twentieth anniversary gift of love poems to Stone that they decided to share with the world to benefit charity. Net proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of net proceeds from all their books, go toward charities involved in the fight against human trafficking. Kat and Stone live amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Visit their blog at www.talktotheshoe.com, website at www.katbastion.com, and their Twitter accounts at https://twitter.com/KatBastion and https://twitter.com/StoneBastion for more information. Keep informed about new releases by joining their Email Subscription list.

Links: Blog | Twitter | Twitter | Facebook | Author Goodreads  

Enter Kat & Stone's fabulous giveaway!!
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Blogs Taking Part in the Release Day Launch
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Friday! Day 3: Tiger Lily, book #3 in The Guilded Flower Series by Vivian Winslow


 



Title:  The Gilded Flower series
Author:  Vivian Winslow
Genre:  Erotic Romance
 
Synopsis:
Weary from battling a hostile takeover attempt of her family’s company, Lily seeks a distraction in Todd, an erstwhile bartender with a large trust fund and magical tongue. Meanwhile, a connection seems to be developing between Lily and Alejandro, a wealthy and gorgeous Cuban-American, whose brother, Rodrigo, is dating Lily’s twin sister, Dahlia. When Alejandro unexpectedly rebuffs Lily one night, she is deeply dismayed. But, after seeing Alejandro’s picture with a gorgeous Latina model in the gossip pages, Lily thinks it wasn’t just a misunderstanding. When the sisters and brothers reunite in Aspen for a ski weekend, will Lily’s heart remain frozen or will the fire between her and Alejandro rekindle and melt away the ice?
BUY LINKS:
 
Darra's Review:
 
 
After reading the first two books, I was on a mission to find out happens next for Lily. A "I have to read tonight despite having to get up in 5 hours" kind of thing. "What is going on with Todd:" As I talk to myself in the middle of the night.
Despite my problems with getting a grip on reality, I thought this book was the best. Which means if the last book of Lily is the best, I get what I want. All readers dream come true.
Lily is trying to figure out her life. She is having to sacrifice a large part of herself to keep the company going all the while trying to move forward with her personal romances.
Now we have one more Latin man that Lily wants to be involved with. Alejandro is different. I don't believe there is a woman out there that will dislike him. Thoughtful, sexy and intellectual. Winner!
 
I shall not say more than the few words above.
Except that I truly enjoyed all Vivian's books. They pulled together a story about so many dealings with life, who you can love and trust. Or who is deceitful and selfish. Which people do you want to be surrounded with.
 
 Fantastic books only lead up to more Amazing stories. I think we will see that from Vivian Winslow.
 
 
My Rating? 1 out of 5. It's a 5!
 
************Do you want to know about Vivian and her books? Check out our Q & A on Monday to see if she answers all your questions about the characters...and other things.(wink)
 
Last Excerpt!
 
“We’re not finished, baby,” Todd says, spooning out a bit of ice cream. “Lick this.” He fixes his gaze on Lily’s mouth. She licks her bottom lip slowly before wrapping her lips around the spoon. The strong mint flavor of the ice cream fills her mouth with sharp sensation. Todd takes a spoonful for himself before offering more to Lily with his tongue.
MY IDEA of Todd:
And Don't forget Alejandro! HOT!
 
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Calla Lily from the Gilded Flower Series: Day Two!

Title:  The Gilded Flower series
Author:  Vivian Winslow
Genre:  Erotic Romance
 
Synopsis of Calla Lily (Book 2): Having experienced a profound personal and sexual awakening during her solo honeymoon to Brazil, New York socialite Lily Baron rushes back to New York upon hearing the news that her father has fallen ill. Now, Lily must take the helm of the Baron Media empire and fend off a high-stakes hostile takeover attempt. With the fate of the company hanging in the balance, will Lily be able to resist the advances of the luring, unwanted suitor in the boardroom as well as the bedroom?
BUY LINKS:
 
Darra's Review:
 Day Two of me terribly explaining how great Vivian's books are. When I writes reviews, I explain a little that goes on in the book and say it is good, I liked it, it was alright. Today? Best choice of words: Wow...ugh...AWESOME book 2!
That is why I am not an author. Once you have read The Gilded Lily, you are coming down hard from euphoria of Rio(well most of it) and now she is at home with her ailing father. Sucker punch, I know. Now the story shifts to real life in New York. Having to take over for her Dad at the company, dealing with the sticky situation she left behind and trying to staying strong for her family is rough. 
There is more than hot, lustful exhilarating sex. (I won't lie about this. That is one of the best parts to a book) You finally meet Lily's sister. As a reader, you will not like her in the first book. However you will change your mind once she has the talk with Lily and what really went down.
The main question for this book is "How do you keep from yourself  separate from the business side to your personal life?" Heart break, amazing sex, stress and release sum up the book well. 

You want another Excerpt?(Rhetorical question)
EXCERPT:

“Lily, life is all about the upsides. Sometimes you just have to just go with your feelings. Let life take you on an adventure.”
“You sound like a cliché.”
“Clichés are clichés for a reason, dear Lily.”
“So the sex is fantastic?” Dahlia squeals.
“Mind-blowing.” Lily replies.
“What’s that I hear about my sex?” Gustavo stands at the bathroom door, start naked and smiling.
Like this. Db

About the Vivian Winslow:
Having spent most of the last two decades abroad, Vivian Winslow currently resides in New York City with her husband and two grade school-aged children. Her stories are heavily influenced by her ex-pat experiences. The Gilded Flower Series is her first foray into erotic romance.
Check out Vivian on her links:

 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Gilded Flower Series: Day One

Title:  The Gilded Flower series
 
Author:  Vivian Winslow
 
Genre:  Erotic Romance
 
Synopsis of Gilded Lily (Book 1): After catching her fiancé Jack in bed with her sister the day before her wedding, New York socialite Lily Baron escapes to Rio, her honeymoon destination—alone. There, Marcelo, the dark and sexy hotel masseur, releases a heated passion Lily had never experienced with Jack. When Lily meets handsome and powerful Brazillionaire Gustavo de Lima, she can hardly resist him. There’s just one problem. He’s married. In this uber-sensual city, will Lily’s reluctance to be with a married man, in light of her own fiancé’s betrayal, give way to her burning desire for Gustavo?
BUY LINKS:
Darra's Review:
 
 
I have been very lucky to have come across Vivian Winslow's series, The Glided Flower. I have not just read it once. But twice in this past month. Mind blowing. Not just reading it twice, but her books. With each turn of the pages, I wanted to slowly read each word to draw out every little detail of what happens to Lily.
 
Well, besides the cheating parts. You just get angry about that. Have you read a book that makes you feel what the character is feeling? That is great writing. And I believe Vivian did just that. Although I wish I felt all of Lily's adventures, I can only read and imagine. There are so many fascinating characters in the book, it is an over load in my brain! I can't help the smirk I am wearing just thinking about Rio.
What a vacation. Can we consider it a staycation now? Whatever people, read it and you will understand.
 
My rating? You will have to wait till Friday till I give my overall rating for the series. For now I have included one of my favorite scene's in the book. And a taste of Rio.
 
 
 
Excerpt:
Lily was too on edge to relax. It wasn’t long before Marcelo stopped the massage to ask her. “Why are you so tense?”
She shakes her head in response. She wants to tell him it’s because she makes terrible decisions when it comes to men, that she doesn’t completely understand then and it’s all because her mother fed her some fantasy about finding a prince who would always be faithful and good. Instead, a single tear escapes and trickles down her face.
Marcelo wipes it away and kisses her cheek. She looks into his warm eyes and pulls him down to her. His lips are as warm as she imagined them to be. Lily gently bites his lower lip, and he groans in response.
 
About the Vivian Winslow:
Having spent most of the last two decades abroad, Vivian Winslow currently resides in New York City with her husband and two grade school-aged children. Her stories are heavily influenced by her ex-pat experiences. The Gilded Flower Series is her first foray into erotic romance.
Check out Vivian on her links:
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Where We Belong by K.L. Grayson

 photo WhereWeBelong_zpsfa1a4cac.jpg
 
 photo WhereWeBelongFrontCover_zps54411fa1.jpg

Title: Where We Belong
Author: K.L. Grayson
Genre: Adult Romance
Publish Date: September 23, 2014
Cover PhotographerTess J Photography
Cover Designer: Wicked by Design

Synopsis

Regret . . . she's a snarky little bitch. I’ve tried several times to regret the events that took place on June 5, 2008, but for the life of me, I can’t. I'd never regret the pain, the suffering, or the heartache because they ultimately led me to the place I am now. And I can’t regret the place I am now. What I still can't figure out is this: how is it possible that the single worst day of my life inadvertently became the very best day? Five years ago my life was irrevocably changed. Seventeen minutes was all it took— to lose my best friend… to lose the love of my life… Seventeen minutes was all it took for the seeds of hope—the seeds of my future—to be planted in the worst possible way. My name is Harley Thompson, and this is my story.

   GOODREADS    

 

Darra's Review:

Wow. What a memorable way to start a book. I loved the book. It is fantastic from beginning to end. If you read below, you will understand why I could not keep my nose out of this book. There was not one character in the story I didn't like. Harley have a rough few years after Ty left. Gut wrenching to imagine being in her position.
 
What happens? Tyson shows back up. How can you prevent from loving your best friend if you have loved him all along? There is so much struggle with how Harley and Ty felt.
 
To explain how much I loved the book will not do it justice. The story made me laugh, cry, broke my heart and then mended it. Such a strong story that could be real life. No fairy tale and that is what makes you relate to the situations in the story. 
 
I give the book a 4.7. I can't imagine any reader will not be intrigued. 


Prologue

Harley
Holy shit that burns!”I crinkle my nose up at the fire the tequila leaves behind.
“Pussy.” Quinn laughs, handing me a lemon and popping one in her mouth.
Flipping her off, I swivel in my seat, watching all of the sweaty bodies fight for attention on the dance floor. Adam Levine’s seductive voice croons through the speakers, and I sway to the beat.
My eyes wander over to the pool table, landing on Ty. Reaching up, he runs his fingers through his shaggy, brown hair and laughs at something someone says. His dimples take root, and his smile lights up his face. I tilt my head to the side, a deep sigh rushing from my lips. Ty.
We’re friends.
Best friends.
That’s it.
Tyson and I grew up together. Literally. Our mothers have been best friends since the day my family moved in next door to his when I was the ripe age of twelve months. Not only did we learn how to walk together, we went to preschool together, learned how to drive together, we even had our first after school detention together.
Tonight, we are celebrating because this morning, we graduated from college together. Me, with a degree in nursing, and Ty with his bachelor’s in biology, Pre-Med.
Quinn nudges my shoulder. “You love him. You need to tell him or you’re going to regret it.” She thinks she’s helping, but in all reality she is only making me wish for things that I most certainly should not be wishing for.
“Quinn,” I say, raising my glass to the server with a quick nod, letting her know I want another. “It’s complicated.”
She shakes her head with a sarcastic laugh. “Only because you’re making it. Why you two are in the friend zone is beyond me.”
The server sets down another round of shots. “Shut up and drink. To friends!” Raising my glass I tap it against hers, and down the shot. My head spins, signaling the beginning of a nice buzz. I wasn’t planning on getting drunk tonight, but after the bomb Tyson dropped on me a couple of hours ago, I need this.
Tyson is standing in the doorway to my bedroom, his hands tucked deep in his pockets. He looks off to the side. “Harley, we need to talk.” His voice is pained. He hasn’t made a move to come in. I can tell I’m not going to like this. My heart drops into the pit of my stomach. I can feel it in my bones–something is off.
“Okaaaay, shoot.” I train my eyes on the suitcase in front me and pull out clothes. He reaches for me, but I turn away and stuff some T-shirts in my drawer. “Moving back home is going to take some getting used to,” I murmur.
“A lot can change when you go away to college for four years,” he says, running his hand down the back of his neck.
“Yes, it does.” Opening the closet door, I stare into the dark, empty space. “I’m definitely finding a place of my own soon. Right after I find a job.”
“Brit and I decided not to stay at Wash U for medical school,” he blurts. “She wants to be closer to her family.” Ty wipes his hands on his jeans and fidgets as he sits on my bed. I take a deep breath and close my eyes.
Ty shifts toward me, reaching for my hand. This time, I don’t pull away. “Please look at me, Harley. I want you to understand what I’m saying.”
I blow out the breath I didn’t know I was holding and stare at my suitcase for a few more seconds before I look up. “Doesn’t Brit’s family live in New York?”
“They do.” He nods. “As soon as she told me she wanted to be near them, we applied to the medical school at Columbia, and we’ve both been accepted. We, um, we leave next week.”
“What?” I gasp, jumping up, my eyes nearly popping out of my head. “You can’t be serious.” My voice rises with each word. “Just like that?” I shake my head, refusing to accept this. “You’re just going to up and leave?” I shove a drawer closed harder than I intend, causing the mirror to shake violently. “One week? That’s it?” Tears gather in my eyes and I look away, blinking rapidly to keep them at bay.
I will not cry.
I will not cry.
“I’m sorry, Harley,” Tyson’s voice cracks. “I didn’t know how to tell you.” He sighs heavily, dropping his head. “I didn’t want to tell you.” His hands shake in his lap, and some of my anger dissipates. The magnetic pull we’ve always had draws me closer to him. My fingers itch to dive into his hair and pull him against me. To comfort him. To comfort me. Something . . . anything to slow down whatever storm he’s battling . . . but I don’t.
“Wow,” I whisper, sitting on the bed next to him. “I’m not really sure what to say.” I look up, and our eyes meet in the mirror. “Is this what you want? I mean, she isn’t pressuring you to do this. Right?”
He shakes his head slowly. “No, she isn’t.” I reach over and grab his hand, entwining my fingers with his, and he squeezes his eyes shut with the contact. “She’s my future, Harley,” he says, looking up. “This is my future. Please tell me you understand.” He clutches my hand, a silent plea for me to accept the path he’s chosen.
Don’t go.
Stay.
Don’t do this.
“Of course,” I whisper, my heart breaking at the lie. Unable to hold back the tears, I let them fall silently down my cheeks. My mind yells at me to say or do something to make him stay.
“Earth to Harley,” Quinn says, nudging me out of the emotional wrecking ball that was my morning.
I glance over at the pool table again. Tyson’s arm hangs loosely around Brit’s neck. Her arms are wrapped tightly around his body.Me. That should be me.
I watch as he wraps her perfectly straight blonde hair around his hand and tugs hers beautifully sculpted face up to his. He leans down, placing a gentle kiss on her pouty lips and when she smiles, I swear, I’m blinded by her sparkling blue eyes.
I, on the other hand, was cursed with an unruly brown rat’s nest on top of my head and a pair of mossy green eyes with a tiny button nose. Side by side, we are the princess and the frog. I may be exaggerating a bit. I’m cute, or so I’ve been told, but Brit is every man’s dream. She can have any guy she wants, but she wants Tyson–my Tyson.
I sigh as he pulls her in closer. And he wants her, too.
I hate her.
My relationship with Brit is rocky at best. She’s frequently upset with the amount of time that Ty and I spend together. Despite our reassurances that we’re just friends, she doesn’t buy it. On more than one occasion, she has tried to convince him that I was harboring secret feelings for him. She went as far as to accuse me of using our friendship as an excuse to spend extra time with him.
Tyson never believed her, but she was right. I do have feelings for Ty. I’ve loved that boy since I was nine years old. The minute he punched Jimmy Tallen in the nose for calling me ugly, my heart belonged to him.
Telling him about my feelings never seemed like an option. He never seemed to be into me, and I wasn’t willing to risk losing our friendship. So I sat back, watching quietly as he dated girl after girl. I nursed his broken hearts and encouraged him to get back on the dating wagon, as any good friend would do. Then Brit literally stumbled into our lives, and everything changed. I didn’t like it at all.
Tyson used to know everything about me. He knew all of my secrets, lies, and insecurities. But that isn’t the case anymore. He doesn’t know my biggest secret. He doesn’t know that I’m in love with him.
Something happened when he told me he was moving. I’m not sure what it was, but a puzzle piece was put into place and everything became crystal clear. I had to tell him. He can’t leave without knowing the truth. I’ve always been able to predict how Tyson will react to things, but I honestly have no idea how he is going to respond to this.
“One more shot,” I say, raising my glass to Quinn.
Her lips curl in a devious smile. “Someone is getting brave.”
“I need all the liquid courage I can get.” We tap and chug.
“It’s about damn time.” She has been trying to get me to confess my undying love to Ty for the past four years.
My head spins when I move to stand, but it’s not because I’m drunk. Confrontations have never been my strong suit. Not that I’m going to confront Ty in a bad way, but still.
On unsteady legs, I make my way across the bar. Ty is playing pool with Levi and Cooper, his college roommates. This is the perfect time to approach him since Brit is standing at an adjacent table talking to some of her friends. I would prefer her to not be present for this conversation.
Levi greets my intrusion with a hug. “Hello, gorgeous.” His hand roams down the small of my back, and I smack it away playfully.
Poking his chest, I give him a firm look. “No ass grabbing tonight,” I scold.
I lean against the back wall as Cooper sweeps the table and that’s my cue. Wasting no time, I kick off the wall and approach Ty. “Hey, got a sec?”
He cocks his head to the side, giving me a lopsided grin that makes my insides melt and my knees wobble. “Anything for you, you know that.”
Taking a deep cleansing breath, I calm my nerves. “Can we step outside? Maybe somewhere a little more quiet?”
Tyson purses his lips, tilting his head to the side, but he doesn’t protest. Instead, he places his hand at the small of my back and steers me toward the side door.
“I think there are some tables outside in the back,” he says quietly.
I nod once and continue for the exit. Tyson opens the door and a warm rush of hot air greets us. I look around, not finding any tables. Ty guides me to the right and toward the back of the building where we spot some picnic tables, while I give myself a silent pep talk.
You can do it.
What’s the worse that could happen?
Don’t forget to breathe.
We come to a stop by a table and I grab Ty’s arm, preventing him from sitting. “I think you’re going to want to stand for this.”
I know him all too well and I’m sure that within the next two minutes he’ll be pacing like a bull.
“Okay. You’re starting to make me nervous, Harley. Is everything okay?” He runs his hands through his hair, giving it that I-just-had-wild-monkey-sex look, and then he shoves them both into his pockets.
I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly. It’s now or never. “I love you.”
Smiling sweetly, he replies, “I love you, too.”
I shake my head, pinning him with my stare, trying to convey just how much my feelings have morphed from friendship into something more. “No. I love you, love you, Ty.”
At first he just looks at me, and I’m not completely sure he understands what I’m saying.
But then I see it.
Acceptance, relief, and fear flash quickly through his eyes before they settle on me. Written all over his face is the one thing that makes this all worth it: love. Pure love.
My body sags with relief. This was the right move.
My small bubble of hope is quickly popped as Tyson’s expression changes. His face turns cold. His eyebrows narrow. He shakes his head slowly. He looks over at me and then stares at the ground, clenching his fists. When his eyes land back on mine, the love that I saw a second ago is gone. But it was there. I saw the adoration in his eyes.
“Don’t leave. Please don’t leave,” I beg. My voice is panicky. Desperation takes over. I cling to his arms, trying to get him to look at me, but he shrugs me away. “Stay. Please stay. Stay here with me. I love you.” My words rush out, tumbling over each other. I just can’t stop them. “I know you’re my best friend, but I love you. I’m in love with you. I want to be with you, Ty. Give me a chance…give us a chance.” I reach slowly for his hand, needing to make some sort of contact, but he pushes me away. With his fingers tightly laced together, he places his hands on his head and paces in circles.
“I know I’m asking a lot,” I say, my voice thick with emotion. “I should have told you a long time ago, but I didn’t, and I can’t change that now.”
Tyson keep walking in circles, clenching and unclenching his fists.
I take a hesitant step toward him. “I know that this is incredibly selfish of me. I know I’m asking you to give up everything but—”
“I can’t believe this is happening,” he interrupts. I don’t respond because I’m not given the chance. “How long, Harley? How long have you felt like this?”
“Years.”
“Years?” he asks incredulously, his eyebrows arched.
I nod my head, swallowing hard, suppressing the tears threatening to fall.
His head drops down. His voice is quiet but full of curiosity. “Why now, Harley? Why not a year ago, a month ago, or hell, a week ago? Why now?”
“Because I was scared. You’re too important to me, Ty. ” My voice cracks when I say his name and a fat tear streaks down my cheek. “I didn’t want to risk our friendship. I didn’t want to lose everything we have if you didn’t feel the same way.” I squeeze my eyes shut and hang my head in regret. I should have told him sooner, but I’ve come this far and I’m sure as hell not giving up now. Wiping away the wetness under my eyes, I step in Ty’s path, preventing further pacing. “Would it have mattered? If I would have told you a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago . . . would it have mattered?”
His eyes are downcast, and his lips are tilted in a frown. My chest tightens. My hand twitches, wanting to touch him, but I don’t.
“Yes,” he whispers, looking up at me. “It would have mattered.”
“Then it matters now!” I snap. “If it would have mattered then, then it matters now. We can do this, Ty. You just have to take the chance. Please take the chance. Please,” I beg.
His emotions shift once again as anger and resentment visibly overtake the sadness. Reaching for his head, Ty grips his hair tightly and a deep growl rips from his throat. “Damn it, Harley.” His voice is low and hard. My eyes widen in shock at the menacing glare he shoots at me. “What the fuck do you want me to say to that? You’re doing this because I told you I’m leaving. Do you realize what you’re asking? You’re asking me to uproot my entire life. Do you know the work it took to transfer medical schools? And what about Brit?” His mouth parts and a look of horror overcomes his features. “Brit,” he mumbles to himself. “Fuuuuuck. Brit was right.”
He begins to mumble. I’m not sure if he is talking to himself or to me, but his words are like a punch to the gut. “Brit told me you had feelings for me. I didn’t listen. I defended you. I mean . . . I had hoped you did, but I didn’t know. I told her she was wrong and that she was just jealous.” He looks up at me, eyes wide with shock. “But she was right. My god! All those times I left her to spend time with you . . .” His words drop off but quickly resume. “I told her there was no way you felt that way about me because you’re my best friend.” He stops pacing and turns to face me, but his eyes are trained on the ground.
Silence consumes us. Tension fills the air.
“Ty, say something please,” I whisper. “Please tell me what you’re thinking. You’re my best friend, and I know you feel like I’m just throwing this at—”
“But you are,” he interrupts loudly. “You are just throwing this at me, Harley!” I grip my hands tightly in front of me, wringing my fingers together in pure desperation. My heart slams in my chest. I know he feels the same way. He loves me. I saw it in his eyes. I just have to convince him that this is right.
I wait patiently for him to continue, but when his hard gaze lands on me, my hope vanishes into thin air. My heart plummets to the ground. His lips are set in a firm line, and his eyebrows are dipped low in disappointment.
“I’m with Brit,” he states firmly. “And I’m not going to hurt her; I can’t.” He shakes his head. “She hasn’t done anything to deserve that…to deserve this,” he says, waving his hand between the two of us. The pacing continues, back and forth in front of me until he finally removes his hands from his hair and places them on his hips. He turns to face me. There is a finality in his eyes that causes my resolve to crumble. I throw a hand up to my mouth, but I can’t stop the sob that slips out.
“Harley . . .” He trails off; his eyes are searching mine, for what, I’m not sure. “Harley, I can’t do this. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.” He pauses again, taking a second to sit down on the table. Placing his elbows on his knees, he bends forward and lowers his head. His voice is so soft that I almost don’t hear his final words. “We need to step back and take a break. From our friendship, Harley . . . We need to take a step back from our friendship.”
I cry, and my body trembles. “No.” My hands shake, and my mind works furiously to find a way to fix this. “No,” I repeat desperately. “We don’t need to take a step back. We need to move forward.” I crouch down in front of Ty and grip his fisted hands in mine. “Please give me a chance. I know you’re scared, but I promise, you won’t regret it; you won’t regret me.” My eyes flicker across his face, pleading with him to take this leap.
He exhales loudly and raises his face. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. To Brit. Now. When I’m supposed to be moving to New York in a week. A fucking week, Harley!” Standing abruptly, his eyes lock onto something over my left shoulder, but I can’t tear my eyes away from him to find out what it is. “I can’t do this. I won’t do it.” His voice is laced with decisiveness and a cold shiver of realization trembles through me. “I’m leaving next week for New York. With Brit. It’s best for my relationship with her if you and I don’t talk . . . at least not until I can sort through all of this in my head.”
His words hit me like a knife to the chest. He can’t mean that. He’s just shocked. “We can’t be friends?” I hiccup, gripping my chest where I’m sure there’s a gaping whole from his words. “Please don’t do this. Please, Ty! I’m sorry.” I grab his arm, forcing him to face me. “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me, forget I said anything. I can’t lose you, I won’t lose you.” My tears fall freely. I’ve stopped wiping them away; there’s just no point.
I startle when I hear someone behind me clear their throat. I turn slowly and find myself face-to-face with Brit. I’m not sure how long she’s been standing there, but based on the look on her face, I’d say she pretty much knows what’s going on.
Ty moves to walk around me, and I quickly grab his wrist. “Please Ty,” I whisper. Gently removing my hand, he reaches for Brit, entwining his fingers with hers. Without a glance back, they walk in the door.
Slumping down onto the picnic table, I close my eyes, praying that this was all a bad dream and I just have to wake up. Realistically, I know it’s not, but there is always that small window of time right after something horrible happens that you feel like if you hope and pray hard enough you can actually rewind time and undo the damage.
I grip my hair tightly at the scalp and watch as my tears cascade off of my face and hit the table below. I’m not sure how long I sit but eventually I get up and pace the alley behind the bar, trying to wrap my head around everything that just happened.
What on earth have I done?
He can’t seriously end our friendship.
He can’t really walk away.
There is way too much history for him to do that. Right?
A gravelly slurred voice interrupts my thoughts. “Harley? That you?” The hair on the back of my neck stands up and I squint through my tears, trying to see who the drunken voice belongs to. Relief washes over me at the familiar face. I try to respond, but a deep sob comes out instead. He moves to my side quickly. “You’re crying,” he says, putting a comforting hand to my back. “Please don’t cry.”
I normally wouldn’t get this close to someone who isn’t Tyson or Quinn, but right now I need the familiarity. I need the comfort that he offers, and in a desperate move, I wrap my arms around his middle, bury my face in his chest, and cry like I’ve never done before.
The stench of smoke deeply rooted in his shirt fills my nostrils and the stale odor of liquor makes me sick as he whispers calming words in my ear. I should be worried. I’ve heard that he’s gotten into some heavier drugs recently, but I know I’m safe.
We stand there for several minutes, neither of us saying a word. His body sways slightly to the left. I grip him tightly to steady his balance and raise my face to his. “Are you okay?”
His red-rimmed , glossy eyes lock onto mine, but he doesn’t respond. I watch his expression change. A shiver runs up my spine as goose bumps take over my body. “Are you okay?” I repeat, trying to keep the fear out of my voice. Loosening my grip, I attempt to step back, but his arms tighten around me.
“You always smelled so good,” he slurs, eyes roaming my face. His hand slides up my back and to my neck. He wraps his fingers around my hair and tugs, forcing my head to snap back. Leaning into me, he runs his nose up the side of my neck and my stomach churns. “I would have given you anything. But I wasn’t good enough for you, was I?” I don’t respond and he yanks my hair again, causing my back to arch. “Was I?” he seethes.
I’ve never been in a situation where I feel legitimately uncomfortable in the presence of another human being, but right here . . . in this second . . . I am terrified. Adrenalin courses through my body. My heart slams violently in my chest and my muscles tense as terror washes through me. I squeeze my eyes tightly shut. A sharp pain rips through my scalp. My face smacks the ground, and a metallic taste fills my mouth.
Please God. Please let me survive this.

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About the Author

K.L. Grayson resides in a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri. She is entertained daily by her extraordinary husband who will forever inspire every good quality she writes in a man. Her entire life rests in the palm of six dirty little hands, and when the days is over and those six little hands have been washed and tucked into bed . . . and the stars align, you can find K.L. typing away furiously on her computer. K.L. has a love for alpha males, brownies, reading, tattoos, sunglasses, and happy endings . . . and not particularly in that order.  

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Giveaway

Two Signed Books and One Twenty Dollar Gift Card