Saturday, June 15, 2019

Audiobook Review for Trails of Love by Melissa Foster


Trails of Love
The Bradens and Montgomerys: Pleasant Hill - Oak Falls, Book 3
Narrated by: Virginia RoseAaron Shedlock
Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 03-25-19
Language: English
Publisher: Melissa Foster


Publisher's Summary

In Trails of Love....

When Graham Braden travels to Oak Falls, Virginia to attend the wedding of his buddy Reed Cross to Grace Montgomery, he sticks around to help with renovations to Reed's new theater. The last thing he expects is to be asked to assess and possibly invest in Grace's sister Morgyn's business endeavor. Graham is a careful, keen businessman, and Morgyn is impulsive, disorganized, and more interested in the energy flow in her eclectic retail shop than in the accuracy of her records. While Graham isn't ready to open his pockets to the sassy, sexy business owner, he may be ready to open his heart.



Audiobook Review…   I am not new to Melissa Foster and her steamy romances but I am new to listening to Virgina Rose and Aaron Shedlock.     The dual narrators are perfect for the sexy, sweet, and fun characters of Graham and Morgyn.   They bring to life the fun and loving way of life these two lives while telling the story of their meeting and falling in love.   

 Ebook Review…A dream come true to those who are Braden/Montgomery Family fans. These two families are forever intertwined with the coming together of Graham Braden and Morygn Montgomery. These are two amazing families who are mentioned throughout this series and now are coming together as couples. I love to reconnect with characters that intrigued me while reading past books and are now the main characters in their own stories.

The persistence in Graham’s need for Morgyn is wonderful. He doesn’t let their differences push him away, he embraces her uniqueness, loves her spirit, and lets her be herself. Morgyn also accepts Graham’s need for control and order, yet she does push him to accept that everything in life in not able to be under his control. 


I have to mention the Jericho brothers. Breaking in horses at an ungodly hour without shirts on….mmmm I want to hide on the hill and watch that. I look forward to hearing more about these cowboys.




Friday, June 14, 2019

Cover Reveal for The Dare by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Today we have the cover reveal for THE DARE by J. Beck & C. Hallman! Check it out and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

Title: THE DARE

Author: J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: July 5th

About The Dare:

He was more than my bully, he was what living nightmares were made of… “I dare you…” It started as a childish game played between two friends, that ended in heartbreak. I knew him once. A long time ago you may have even called us friends. That was before I moved away, before my mother married his father, before my entire life fell apart. I lost everything, my friends, my popularity, my future. This was supposed to be my fresh start… my last chance at new… but it wasn't it was real life hell. Vance Preston used to be a poor boy with a soft smile and kind eyes. He used to be my friend. Now he's God’s gift to women (his words not mine), disgustingly handsome, and filthy rich. He can do whatever he wants, say whatever he wants, and hurt whomever he wants. No one can stop him, and no one dares too. He might as well be god. And his newest target: me. He dares me to defy him. He dares me to fight back. He promises he won’t stop… ….not until he hurts me, not until he breaks me. But I’m not afraid, because you can’t break something that’s already broken. **This is book two in the North Woods University Series. It can be read as a complete standalone and contains NO cliffhanger, NO cheating, and includes a HEA. Please be advised this series contains material not suitable for all readers. This is NOT a YA series.**

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AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON CA | AMAZON AU

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Staggering backwards like I’m drunk I harden my gaze, “Entertain me con-artist, show me another use for that pretty mouth of yours, besides spouting off lies.” “I hate you,” She spits through gritted teeth, the lustful haze diminishing in her eyes. I hate myself too. For wanting you. For hating you. For being stuck in this stupid house with you. “Come on, we ain’t got all night…” I tisk, impatiently. I’m so caught up in taunting her, in feeling the lick of hate her presence brings me that I don’t notice the slap coming towards my cheek until it’s too late. Her hand makes contact with my cheek, and my head flies to the side with the impact of the blow. My jaw turns to steel and my temper ignites. I’m reacting before I even get a chance to stop myself. Reaching for her, my fingers curl around her throat, my hold is surprisingly gentle for the amount of bitterness flowing through my veins. Ava’s reaction to me is petrified fear and she starts to tremble when I lean into her face, giving her delicate throat a firm squeeze. “If you’re going to put your hands on someone then you better be prepared for them to put their hands on you.” “Don’t…” She croaks. “What? Hurt you?” I tilt my head to the side, eyeing her heart shaped face. “I could never hurt you like you hurt me, you’ve done enough of that for the both of us. I’m merely trying to show you a sliver, a fraction of the pain you made me feel.” Feeling as if I’m seconds away from crashing and burning I release her, and take a step back. Then I turn to walk away. I’m done. Done with this cat and mouse game.

About J.L. Beck & C. Hallman:

J.L. Beck & C. Hallman are two ladies with a love for coffee, books, and the bad boys who live inside them. They’re a dynamic duo who love writing all genres of romance, from erotica, to suspense. To date they’ve written ten books together and don’t plan to stop any time soon. When they aren’t writing you can find them making jokes, discussing their next book, arguing over cover photos, and of course drinking more coffee. They’re humble, and truly blessed to have found such amazing readers.

Connect with J.L. Beck:

Newsletter | Join Smut Queens | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Follow her on Amazon | Bookbub

Connect with C. Hallman:

Newsletter | Facebook Group | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bookbub | Twitter

     

Release Blitz for 10-Code by Freya Barker with a Giveaway



Title: 10- Code (Rock Point #4) 
Author: Freya Barker 
Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Release Date: June 17, 2019 



As a forty-one-year-old mother of three boys, working two jobs, Marya Berger doesn’t have the time or energy to consider a relationship. Especially after a lifetime of poor choices in the romance department. But when the disappearance of a young boy strikes a little too close to home, and a younger man she’s tried to ignore offers his help, she doesn’t stand in the way.
Single father, Dylan Barnes, the junior member of the La Plata County FBI team at thirty-three, has his focus firmly on his job and his son, Max. He’s certainly not looking to complicate his life, when he finds himself at his son’s soccer game, sitting beside the spirited brunette he can’t get out of his mind. Fate, however, appears to have different plans.
When an unspeakable crime draws the attention of the FBI, Dylan finds himself torn between his job and his instinctive need to protect Marya and her boys.

Available in Kindle Unlimited












Freya Barker inspires with her stories about 'real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy. 
She is the author of the Cedar Tree and Portland, ME Series, the Northern Lights Collection and the Rock Point Series. She is also co-author of the SnapShot Series.
To see Freya's complete backlist, or to find out what is coming down the pipe, visit freyabarker.com.  




All Available in Kindle Unlimited






Guest Post from Jode Millman author of The Midnight Call


The Birth of a Character by Jodé Millman

            I always knew that the protagonist of my novel, THE MIDNIGHT CALL, would be a female attorney. I can’t claim that the idea was divine inspiration. I knew that Jessie Martin, Esq. would be the central character in my novel from the instant that I decided to fictionalize the true story of a murder committed in my hometown of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The true crime, the murder of a teenager by a popular high school teacher that was committed in 1979, hit home to me, but the perpetrator, victim, attorneys, police and judges involved in the real crime were men. To make the story my own, I twisted some of the key elements of the crime. I decided to make the protagonist a female and show her world crumble as the result of her loyalty and betrayals by people she loved and trusted. This would be Jessie Martin’s story.
            Being a debut novelist, I wanted to write what I knew and being a female attorney in a male-dominated profession was something that I’d lived and breathed for decades. While the gender politics within the legal profession have changed since I attended law school, the American Bar Association reports that in 2018 only thirty-five percent of all lawyers were female. I wanted Jessie Martin, Esq., a relative rookie attorney, to feel the pressure of the bias and struggle against it, creating the tension that she must constantly prove herself, overachieve, to attain her goal of partnership.
            Once Jessie answered the midnight call, made the decision to rush to the aid of her friend, teacher and confidante, Terrence Butterfield, when he commited murder, the ancillary issues of Jessie’s life came into play. Considering the factors that could raise the stakes for a young woman, the answers became clear. A troubled pregnancy. A strained relationship. Betrayal by a loved one. Two old loves resurfacing - one good, one evil. I wanted Jessie’s life to become messy, like real life, so readers could sympathize with her, root for her successes and forgive her failures.
            The external influences upon Jessie’s life forced her to discover who she was as a person and to establish her priorities in life. As a character Jessie evolved and grew as she and I learned from each other. She developed a mind of her own, deciding her fate on the computer screen and, ultimately, on the page.
            Like a parent, I gave birth to the character of Jessie Martin. However, she grew into a strong, self-reliant, and occasionally frustrating, character who draws the reader in as she risks her life, career, love and her unborn child for justice.

Jodé Millman is the author of the best-selling Seats: New York Theatre guidebooks. Her Debut novel, THE MIDNIGHT CALL, was short-listed for the Clue Award and was designated as “Best Police Procedural” by Chantireviews.com. She is an attorney, blogs about publishing law, and the co-host and co-producer of the popular podcast, Backstage with the Bardavon (available on iTunes, Spotify and GooglePlay). Jodé lives with her family in the Hudson Valley, where she is at work on her next novel. 

Visit her at www.jodesusanmillman.com
or on Facebook JodeSusanMillmanAuthor 
and Instagram @JodeMillmanAuthor.








About The Midnight Call

Late one August night, Jessie’s lifelong mentor and friend—and presently a popular, charismatic, and handsome high school teacher—Terrence Butterfield calls. He utters a startling admission: he’s killed someone. He pleads for Jessie’s help, so out of loyalty she rushes to his aid completely unaware that she’s risking her relationship, her career, and her life—and that of her unborn child—to help Terrence. Does Jessie’s presence at Terrence’s home implicate her in the gruesome murder of the teenage boy found in the basement? Why does Terrence betray Jessie when he has a chance to exonerate her of any charges? Has he been a monster in disguise for all these years? To reclaim her life and prove her innocence, Jessie must untangle the web of lies and reveal the shocking truths behind the homicide. This quest turns out to be the fight of her life: to preserve everything and everyone she holds dear.

Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy at Amazon


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Review for This Is Home by Lisa Duffy



Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Atria Books




From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home. 

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong. 

My Thoughts…

The connections between these characters was surprising, amazing, and perfect.  Every person in this book is connected to the others.  They are family members, community members, housemates, brothers, fathers, daughters, and sisters.   They protect, they push, and they love with their whole hearts.     I loved how connected they were and how they stood together no matter what was happening.   

Libby is the perfect teenager.   She grew up mostly without a mother but had her aunts and her father to give her the love she needed to thrive and grow.  When Quinn moves into the apartment below them, she brings a relationship that Libby didn’t know she was missing.    It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t quick but it was real.   She became a friend, a confidant, and a woman in Libby’s life that was there by choice not just because she is family.  

Lisa Duffy wrote a book that handles so many tough subjects, PTSD being a big one, but she does it with care and respect.    She shows how a disease can affect the person and those who love them.   There is so much involved with the characters, their lives, and the lives they share.   I couldn’t put this book down.  

Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy at Amazon or Barnesand Noble



Release Blitz for Sweet Adventure by Tamie Dearen with a Giveaway

Title: Sweet Adventures
Author: Tamie Dearen
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Publication Date: June 13, 2019
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Will Katie jump into the shark-infested waters for a second chance at love?
Katie Carson is afraid of everything. Spiders. Sharks. And especially love… thanks to her ex-fiancé. That's why her immediate attraction to the reckless Gary Lassiter scares her to death. Sure, he looks like Superman and he saved her from a giant arachnid, but he's an adrenaline junkie.
Gary Lassiter owes his life to his best friend, Steven. But his loyalty is tested when he meets Steven's PA, Katie. Though Steven and Katie are probably a better-suited match, Gary wants Katie for himself. He sees a lot of spunk behind her overtly timid façade, and he’s determined to bring it out in the open.
When the three spend a week at Indigo Bay, Katie starts to fall for Gary, even stepping outside her comfort zone. It’s all fun and games until her adventure brings her to a moment of life or death. Thrown into the nightmares of her past, she’s convinced they can’t have a future together. Will Gary get past her defenses?
This is the sixth book in the Indigo Bay Second Chance Romance series. All books have been written as standalones, so feel free to dive in anywhere!

NOW LIVE ON MOST RETAILERS!


Tamie Dearen lives in Texas with her very romantic husband—her own personal romance hero. She’s been involved in creative writing since elementary school, though her degrees are in the science fields—Chemistry and a D.D.S. But a more recent master’s degree in higher education sparked her writing bug again. And with a zany and wonderful bunch of family and friends, there’s no end of inspiration for her stories. Contact her on her website at TamieDearen.com.
Author Links:
Chapter One
Katie screamed, jumping up so fast her desk chair crashed to the floor behind her. The spider on her desk was gargantuan—approximately the size of Godzilla—covered with spiky brown hairs. She could tell by the menacing look in each of its ten million beady eyes it was preparing to leap at her and inflict a lethal bite.
Maybe it already bit me!
She checked her arms for signs of puncture wounds.
“Is something wrong?”
The deep voice startled her, and she whipped around, stumbling on the overturned chair. The room tilted and a sledge hammer impacted the back of her head. She looked up from the floor, stars swirling in front of the face that bent over her. Thick brows furrowed over crystal blue eyes.
I know that face—it’s Superman!
Pain thudded in her skull, forcing her eyelids closed. 
“Are you okay?”
“Just hit my head,” she mumbled.
Her eyes came open as gentle hands lifted under her shoulders. The blue-eyed hero was kneeling beside her, so close she caught a whiff of his enticing scent, a combination of minty clean and a dash of masculine aftershave. Curling her legs to the side, she sat up and groaned, raising her hand to the back of her head.
“Let me see,” he said.
Her face was pressed against his clean black t-shirt, as his fingers parted her hair to probe the tender scalp on the back of her head. She inhaled deeply, enjoying the intoxicating smell.
“It’s not bleeding,” Superman announced. “Good thing you have this padded rug under your desk. The tile would’ve split it open.”
As her hero uprighted her chair, she couldn’t help noticing how his back muscles flexed and bulged, pressing against the thin cotton.
That’s strange… I’ve never wished I was a t-shirt before.
Stretching to his full-height, something over six feet, he turned to face her and bestowed a slow smile that sent warmth furling in her belly. Damp tendrils on his forehead suggested he’d been in the shower moments earlier.
Had he come from the company gym? She only interacted with a few of Gherring, Inc.’s employees, the ones who came to the board room to meet with Steven Gherring, her boss. She’d certainly never met this guy before. No way she could forget Superman.
He rubbed his hand across the stubble of dark beard on his square jaw, and she imagined her fingers doing the same, tracing the sharp angle, relishing the masculine feel of the soft bristles on her sensitive skin.
His eyes sparkled as if he somehow read her thoughts, and blood rushed up her neck to highlight her embarrassment.
As if it wasn’t humiliating enough to meet Superman when I’m sprawled on the floor.
“I’ll help you up,” he said.
She placed her palms in his outstretched hands. Big mistake! Charged like an ongoing static shock, his touch sucked the air from her lungs in a whoosh. Before she could escape his electrifying grasp, his large hands folded over hers. With what seemed to be little effort, he hefted her up and eased her into the chair. Then he sat back on the edge of her desk, folding his arms.
The spider!
“Stand up! Get off the desk!” she yelped.
At her cry, he jolted to his feet and whipped around, staring at it as though it might explode at any moment. “What’s wrong with the desk?”
She aimed a wobbly finger at the desktop, the last place she’d seen the spider, who’d now retreated into some unseen place. No doubt, his plan was to hide away, waiting patiently until she’d forgotten about him, only to spring out and clamp his jaws on her skin.
“There’s a spider.”
He glanced at the desktop, empty except for her laptop, the dark wood pristine as always, not a scrap of paper marring the gleaming surface. “Where?”
“He’s hiding now. Probably went underneath or in a drawer, but he was humongous.” She stretched her arms as wide as they would go.
“That big, huh?” The corners of his mouth twitched.
“He was huge. And poisonous. A brown recluse.” She put enough certainty in her voice to properly warn him, though she hoped her hero was brave enough to slay the skulking beast.
“Venomous.” He sank to his knees, peering under her desk. “Spiders are venomous, not poisonous.”
“Either way, I hate them.”
“It wasn’t a brown recluse, though.”
“How do you know? Do you see him?”
“Not yet, but I know we don’t have brown recluse spiders in New York City. It gets too cold here.”
Too her horror, half his body disappeared under her desk, deep into the spider’s lair. “Don’t go in there.”
A muffled chuckle sounded, before he backed out and stood, miraculously unmarked, brushing his fingers on his jeans. “I knocked a little spider web down. That should take care of it.” His hand swept toward the desk, as if all were clear.
“No, thanks. I’ll just do my work over here until the exterminators come.” Katie stood, crept toward her laptop and snatched it, retreating back to her chair, well away from the spider’s domain. Then the monster emerged, charging across the rug. “There he is!” she yelled, on her feet and scrambling away. “Get him before he makes it to the bookshelves!”
With amazing calm, her hero stepped on the spider. Relief flooded Katie’s system, knowing she wouldn’t have to be on guard for his reappearance. Superman bent down and examined the conquered foe.
“You’re that afraid of a tiny little spider?” He cocked his head at her, fingers shoving through his damp locks, pushing them into adorable disarray.
She shrugged. “He looked bigger on the desk.”
He coughed behind his hand, but it sounded suspiciously like a laugh. “Now that we’ve ended this horrible arachnid infestation, I’m here to see Steven.”
Katie snapped into her role, Guardian of the CEO.
“I’m sorry. Do you have an appointment, Mr. …?” She left the question hanging.
“Lassiter. Gary Lassiter. And no, I don’t have an appointment, but—”
“I’m afraid Mr. Gherring won’t be able to see you without an appointment. His schedule is quite full. Let’s see when we can fit you in.” She opened her laptop and pulled up his schedule, with no real intention of making an appointment. Steven Gherring had given strict instructions not to schedule any appointments he didn’t initiate himself. One of Gherring’s subordinates would no doubt handle this man, clearly an intruder, even if he did look like Superman and valiantly slayed large spiders.
“I think Steven will want to talk to me. We’re partners in a business deal.”
“If you aren’t willing to follow protocol, Mr. Lassiter, you may find your business deal canceled.”
“I’ll take my chances.” With an arrogant grin, Gary edged toward the entrance to Gherring’s private office, an ornately carved wood door.
In a flash, Katie was on her feet, racing for the door. With the element of surprise on her side, she reached it first, barring the entrance with her body. Her chin lifted in dogged determination as she glared up at the invader, who towered over her by at least six inches.
“No one goes through this door without an appointment.”
His devastating blue eyes crinkled at the corners as he retrieved his cell phone and held up his index finger. “One moment, please.”
He tapped once on his screen and held the phone to his ear. “Hi… I’m here… No, I can’t… Because your very attractive pit bull is guarding the door, baring her teeth at me.”
Katie heard her boss’ laughter from the phone in Gary’s hand just before the door opened behind her.
She barely kept her jaw from dropping. This interloper had Steven Gherring’s personal cell number?
“I tried to tell you.” Gary shook his head.
Her face radiated heat. But for the recent spider web, she might’ve crawled under her desk to hide. Instead, she aimed a glare at her boss. “You made an appointment with this man and didn’t bother to tell me?”
“An oversight on my part, Ms. Carson. It won’t happen again.”
His lips curved into the trademark, billion-dollar smile that left most women swooning. Katie, however, was impervious to his charms. Not because he was thirteen years older—he certainly didn’t look it—but because she’d sworn off men two years ago. All men. Including handsome billionaires, like her boss.
And hunky spider-killers who’re too smug for their own good.
“It was nice to meet you, Ms. Carson,” said Gary, apparently unaware of the poison darts her eyes sent his way. “I hope you don’t encounter any more giant arachnids.”
“Thank you for disposing of that one,” she mumbled, more irritated than grateful.
He followed Steven inside the door, but turned to his head to toss over his shoulder, “Just thought you might want to know, I noticed a bunch of empty spider eggs in that web.”
The door clicked closed behind him, but the sound was drowned out by the bass drum her heart pounded in her ear.

Guest Post from Sariah Wilson Author of The Friend Zone with a Giveaway



Why Football Players Make the Best Book Boyfriends with Sariah Wilson

I got inspired to write the “End of the Line” series after seeing the Netflix documentary Last Chance U. I loved the idea of a junior college that gave Division 1 football players a second chance at the NFL or to play for a Division 1 school again after they’d screwed up their scholarships. I chose football because while my family is not a typical sports family (my husband doesn’t watch at all), my oldest son played football all four years of high school and I’ve always enjoyed watching the game. Plus, isn’t there something just inherently appealing about football players?

It’s part of what makes them such great heroes—they’re strong, athletic, talented, protective. They’re committed to playing their sport and playing it well, which can also translate off the field and make them the types to seriously commit to a relationship because they’ve shown they’re willing to do the work to get what they want. I think that level of dedication speaks a lot to the kind of boyfriends they turn out to be.

My current project is THE FRIEND ZONE, and it’s a story about Logan Hunt, a disgraced football player being given a second chance to play and graduate from college, which he is determined to do. His new coach has a lot of rules he expects his players to follow, including no dating. Jess is Logan’s math tutor and off limits, especially since she’s the coach’s daughter. They decide to stay just friends and try to fight off their growing attraction to one another. He’s the perfect guy to start off this series because he’s someone who has overcome a lot and exemplifies what EOL means for the players—the chance to start over.

***

The Friend Zone Excerpt 

“Welcome. To those of you that I haven’t met personally, my name is Stan Oakley, and I’m the head coach of EOL’s Owls.”

A couple of the players made hooting noises in response.

“I thank you all for being here, for taking time out of your lives to hear what I have to say. Either one of the members of my staff has spoken to you or I have, and we have mentioned that this team has some serious rules. I’d like to talk to you about that now and what exactly those rules are.”

Here it was. I straightened in my seat and wondered what he could possibly throw at us that would be bad enough that Jess thought she’d be taking me right back to the bus station.

Coach nodded at Ford, who walked over to the white board and picked up a marker.

“First, punctuality. You will be on time. To class, to practice, to tutoring, to everything in your life that you need to show up for, you will respect the time of everyone around you and be there when you’re supposed to be.”

Ford wrote “#1 Be on time” on the board.

“There will be no drinking at all, ever. No drugs of any kind. You will be randomly drug tested on a regular basis. First time you fail, you’re out. There will be no second or third chances here.”

I felt Bash sinking down in his seat next to me as several of the guys murmured. “How are we supposed to let off steam?” someone asked behind me.

Coach kept talking. “There will be no swearing or cussing.”

“That’s not even realistic!” a guy in the front row protested.

“It is realistic. And you will do it because you represent me and you represent this team and you can do it without swearing. Next, in accordance with NCAA standard, you will maintain a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. I may give more playing time to guys with a higher GPA. The more playing time you get, the more likely you’ll be seen by a scout or a recruiter. Especially in the playoffs and the national championship game. Take your academics seriously. Keilani Kahananui will be talking to you about your options later and how we can help.”

There was more dissent among the ranks, more guys murmuring and complaining about the rules. None of them seemed that bad to me.

But I had the feeling the worst was yet to come.

“Next rule—no fighting. On or off the field.”

Now it was my turn to slouch down in my seat. As if that one had been directed specifically at me.

The marker squeaked against the whiteboard as Ford continued writing down Coach’s rules.

“In addition to being punctual, you will treat authority figures with respect. You respect your teachers by showing up to class. By not talking back. By turning in your assignments. You respect your coaches by showing up to practice ready to give a hundred percent every time. By listening and doing as you’re told.”

Off to my left somebody shouted out, “Yo, Coach! Respect has to be earned.”

“It absolutely does not,” Coach Oakley quickly countered. “Respect will be given without reservation. If you think that it must be earned, there’s the door. Because there’s no way you’re going to be playing on my team.”

The coach fell silent, waiting to see if anybody would leave.

No one did.

“I won’t get to coach most of you for four years. My goal is not to build a program that keeps you all here. My job is to get you to the next stage of your life. To turn you into men.” There were some more sounds of discontent, and the coach held up his hand. “I know a lot of you think you’re already men. But you’re not. Not yet. I expect you to all to start behaving like real men. Like gentlemen. For your entire lives, because you had some talent to play football, nobody cared how you behaved off the field. I care. I’m holding you to a higher standard. Better today than you were yesterday. Especially when it comes to women.”

My spidey sense started tingling. Whatever he was going to say next, I knew I wouldn’t like it.

“And our final rule for the evening: no women. No girlfriends, no dating, no one-night stands.”

That led to a loud and physical reaction in the room. Which I got, because I felt like I’d been sucker punched. It was one thing to be asked to give up most of the things you did to entertain yourself and relax.

But women? How were we supposed to go an entire season without girls? I didn’t know if I could do it.

“How will you know?” somebody asked. It was a legitimate question. Short of installing hidden cameras in our dorms, which at that moment I wasn’t putting past him, there was no way for Coach to know if we were messing around.

“I’m expecting you to behave like gentlemen, with honor and integrity. I’d like to be able to take you at your word.”

“No way! That’s it! I’m out!” one guy declared.

“That’s fine,” Coach said, shrugging one shoulder in the same way Jess had earlier. “Some of you may think that because once upon a time you were recruited by a Division 1 school, you’re better than this place. You’re not. I don’t have to play any of you. I don’t have to keep any of you on scholarship. And for anyone who thinks this team will fall apart without you, you couldn’t be more wrong. This team will be just fine.”

That one word, “scholarship,” made my decision easy. I didn’t necessarily need women in my life. It would probably help to have one less distraction as I went about dedicating all of my time to school and football.

“You really expect us to live like monks? Will we at least get to hang out with girls in the off-season?” another man asked.

Coach Oakley was silent, again giving off that commanding vibe that made people sit back down and be quiet. “You all know why you’re here and what’s at stake. For most of you, this is the end of the line. There is no somewhere else. But if you feel like you can’t live with my rules, again, there’s the door. You all have round-trip tickets to take you back home.” He turned and faced the dude who had asked the last question. “There is no off-season at EOL. You are my players until I say you’re not. I am holding you to a higher standard. But I know every person in this room is capable of rising up to do what I ask of you. Of being better. Prove me right.”

***

About the Book

Title: The Friend Zone
Author: Sariah Wilson
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Disgraced college quarterback Logan Hunt was on his way to NFL stardom when he messed up big-time. Now the Texas star player with a bad temper has a new option: Seattle’s EOL College—as in End of the Line, to his fellow misfit recruits. It’s Logan’s last chance. If he can follow the rules. No parties, no fighting, no swearing, and oh, no dating the coach’s daughter, Jess. Simple. Yeah, right. For Logan, there has never been a rule he’s more tempted to break.

The deal is “just friends.” The pretty, confident, and fiercely smart math whiz is fine with pizza, tutoring, and keeping Logan in line. But the closer Jess gets, the more receptive she is to his warm heart and spirit—not to mention his irresistible off-field passes. With defenses down, they’re both heading into the danger zone.

It’s more than thrilling. It’s love. It’s also a game changer that could sideline Logan’s NFL goals—and more important, a future with Jess. But dreams are worth fighting for, right?

Author Bio

Bestselling author Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane or climbed Mount Everest, and she is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soul mate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance series like The Royals of Monterra and #Lovestruck. After growing up in Southern California as the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children, she graduated from Brigham Young University with a semi-useless degree in history. She currently lives with the aforementioned soul mate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster who is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers). For more information, visit her website at www.SariahWilson.com.

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