What began as a tiny flame when we were young now threatens to consume us.
The Close-Up, an all-new riveting and emotional Hollywood Renaissance/HOOPS novella from New York Times bestselling author Kennedy Ryan and 1,001 Dark Nights is available now!
I met Nazareth Armstrong when I was eighteen years old. From the beginning, my brother warned me to stay away from him. Told Naz to stay away from me.
Our hearts didn’t listen.
I shared one magical night under the stars with my brother’s rival, thinking it was the start of a once-in-a-lifetime something. But one awful moment ended it all.
Years later when we meet again, we’ve both pursued our dreams, lived a little, found success…but never found love. What began as a tiny flame when we were young now threatens to consume us. I’m more drawn to Naz than ever, but his complicated history with my brother makes whatever this could be…nearly impossible.
But Naz accepts impossible as a dare.
Through his clever maneuvering and dogged determination, I find myself on a yacht with him and his friends cruising through the Mediterranean. It’s a whirlwind set ablaze. Away from reality, surrendering to the tender heat of his touch, I forget that everything could burn.
*This is the love story of Takira, who first appears in Reel, book 1 of the Hollywood Renaissance series. Characters from the HOOPS series also make appearances, but you do not have to read any of those books to enjoy this one.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
About Kennedy Ryan USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Kennedy Ryan and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmo, TIME, O Mag and many others. A RITA® and Audie® Award winner, Kennedy writes empowered women from all walks of life and centers those who have found themselves perennially on the margins of traditional storytelling.
Her Hoops Series (Long Shot, Block Shot and Hook Shot) and All the King’s Men Series (The Kingmaker, The Rebel King and Queen Move) have been optioned for television.
An autism mom, Kennedy co-founded LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable initiative, and has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for autism families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.
Title: Always the One for Me Series: The Wilder Brothers #2
Author: Carrie Ann Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 15, 2022
The Wilder Brothers from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continue in this emotionally charged enemies to lovers romance.
It took two days for me to know Kendall was the one for me.
And it took two years for me to realize I had to leave in order to protect her.
When I walked away, I told myself it was for the best. But now we work together, and every time we’re in the same room, we end up fighting. If we didn’t, we’d end up naked. Or worse–spilling heartbreaking secrets.
If she knew the truth, she’d either walk away for good or convince me to take a second chance. The first thing would break me, and the second would break her. I can’t let either of those things happen…
Kendall was happily married to Evan and although she didn’t know what the future would hold she knew that he would be in it. She was devastated when he ended their marriage suddenly and without any explanation, but she had no choice but to pick up the pieces and move forward.
With the emotional state that Evan was in at the time he thought that his only choice was to end his marriage. Years later they now find themselves working together which brings up all the feelings they still have for each other, and they will finally have to confront the past that neither has been able to overcome.
This is an emotional story about two people who have always belonged together who were torn apart. Seeing them fight their way back to each other is everything you could want and more.
Ryan is the New York Times and USA
Today bestselling author of contemporary, paranormal, and young adult romance.
Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Fractured Connections, and
Elements of Five series, which have sold over 3.0 million books worldwide. She
started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry
and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over seventy-five novels and
novellas with more in the works. When she’s not losing herself in her emotional
and action-packed worlds, she’s reading as much as she can while wrangling her
clowder of cats who have more followers than she does.
She drives him crazy and he’s falling crazy in love.
Matchmaking a Single Dad, a hilarious, hot single dad romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank and USA Today bestselling author Angela Casella writing as Angela Denise, is out now!
They’re all wrong for each other…but sometimes two wrongs do make a right.
Cole The only woman I need in my life is my eight-year-old daughter, Jane. As a widowed brewery owner, I don’t have the time or inclination for anything more serious than a one night stand. Running the brewery is a big job, and being a parent is a bigger one, especially since my in-laws keep trying to prove I’m an unfit guardian.
But there’s no denying Holly Mayberry drives me crazy with her sassy mouth and attitude. I’ve known her most of my life, but I’ve always done a good job of evading her. Until now. She’s teaching Jane’s after-school computer program, and fate keeps throwing us together.
Holly and I are like oil and water, no good for each other. I need to stop thinking about her, so I agree to beta test a new dating app—one that Holly designed, although she’s the last person I’d tell.
My match and I can only DM each other for thirty days. No photos. No real names. No personal information until the end.
If I wanted more with a woman, Cherry Bomb checks all the boxes…so why can’t I stop thinking about Holly?
Holly Cole Garrison is a jerk. Or so I’ve told myself for years. The truth is, he’s a DILF and a half, and bickering with him is better than kissing someone else.
Hopefully, the guy I’m chatting up on my dating app will help me forget him…and take his place in my dirty daydreams.
Keep reading for a look inside Matchmaking a Single Dad!
The door opens, and the teacher sponsoring Tech Time, Mrs. Applebaum, comes in, followed by a boy and three little girls. Four. That’s not so bad. That’s two each for Mikey and me. I give him a we can do this look, but his expression has soured like milk left out too long. Mrs. Applebaum takes care of getting the kids into the room, which is its own brand of chaos, and then she claps her hands, her expression changing from frazzled to upbeat, and says, “There. Now I’ll leave them in your capable hands.” “Wait,” Mikey says with alarm, rocking on his feet, “you’re not staying?” “Oh, I’m sure you’re quite capable of holding down the fort. I’ll check in with you toward the end.” “Are you sure—” I start, but I’m cut off by the closing of the door. “Hi, I’m Eloise,” one of the kids says. She’s a little girl in a button-up shirt with pearl buttons that go up so high I’m surprised it’s not choking her. Oh, yeah. Introductions. “I’m Holly,” I say, gesturing broadly to Mikey, “and this is Mikey. Why don’t you all pick computer stations?” “Aren’t we supposed to call you Miss Holly and Mr. Mikey? Or by your last names?” Eloise asks as the kids get seated. They’ve barely had time to introduce themselves before the door bursts open, revealing a newly harried looking Mrs. Applebaum, followed by none other than Cole Garrison himself and his small, dark-haired daughter, Jane. “No,” I say reflexively. “No, what?” Jane asks. “Hey, Dad, that’s the woman you always argue with.” It’s my turn for murder eyes, only I make them at Cole. Cole, who only got better with age, damn him. His wavy dark hair has been joined by a short, trimmed dark beard that perfectly frames his lips, as if saying, “please kiss here.” Those eyes are as puppy doggish as ever, and now he’s both tall and broad, the kind of man any woman would welcome in her bed. To her detriment. Because he’s still a jerk. I’ve had a somewhat recent refresher course on his jerkitude, actually. Before I left for New York, I made the monumental mistake of trying to be nice to him, and it’s a tactic I’m not about to reprise. “Will you be joining us, Jane?” I ask, my tone tight. Cole mustn’t know the no-swearing-in-a-school rule either, because he curses under his breath. “I didn’t know you were teaching this class,” he says to me. “Maybe this was a bad idea.” “Excuse me,” I say. “I’m very qualified to teach a bunch of eight-year-olds Scratch.” “What’s Scratch?” Jane asks. “Is it gambling?” “No,” Mrs. Applebaum blurts, looking horrified. “I mean. It’s not, is it?” “It’s basic coding,” I say, glancing back at the other kids. “I’m going to teach y’all to make your own games. Doesn’t that sound fun?” Please God, let them say yes. There are a few enthusiastic nods, although Eloise instantly raises her hand again. Sighing, I nod at her. “Yes, Eloise?” “Will there be a test?” “No,” I say, “but we’ll be giving a presentation to the rest of the school before Christmas break.” “Sounds like a test,” Jane mutters. There’s probably no getting rid of her, and it’s not her fault that I have an issue with her father, so I say, “Why don’t you take a seat?” She does, choosing the open seat near Mikey. Cole scratches the back of his neck, looking at her. I guess Mrs. Applebaum is satisfied to have done her part, because she nods and says, “All right. That’s settled then. I’m going to my classroom. I’ll be back at the end of class.” Does she have a flask in there or something? She seems suspiciously eager to get back to her desk. “Can I talk to you for a second?” Cole asks. It takes me a second to realize he’s addressing me. I gesture toward the children. Mikey is regarding them with escalating terror, probably because if I step out, he’ll be left in charge. “Not a great time, to state the obvious.” “Why are you doing that?” Jane asks Mikey, who’s tapping the side of her monitor agitatedly. “Do you have a nervous tic, or is there something wrong with the screen? If there’s something wrong with the screen, you probably shouldn’t have let me sit here.” He mutters something about this being just like middle school. “It’ll only take a second,” Cole says, his eyes burning into me. Despite myself, I feel a not unpleasant sense of awareness. “Fine,” I say begrudgingly. “Mikey, get them to turn on their computers and draw up the program.” It’ll be easier for him to step up if there’s a concrete task to focus on. I step out into the hall, and Cole takes several steps back, as if he feels the need to constantly keep a minimum distance between us. Fine by me. “What is it?” I ask tersely, shutting the door. For a second, he just looks at me, and I’m about to lose patience when he finally says, “I know you don’t like me, Holly. But don’t take it out on my daughter.” He might as well have punched me in the gut. “Is that what you think of me? You think I’d be a creep to a little girl because she has the misfortune of being related to you? If anything, I’ll be nicer to her to make up for it.” His expression suggests my shot has landed too, and I’m glad, but only temporarily. The corner of his lips tip up in a self-deprecating smile that lacks any mirth. “You’re hardly the only person to think it’s her misfortune. I had to say it.” “Did you?” I ask, tilting my head. He takes a slight step toward me, as if preparing to tell me off, then says, “Goodbye, Holly.” In my mind, I think of another day, of a young boy, still on his way toward becoming a man, saying, “I’ll be seeing you, Holly Mayberry.” How the hell has it come to this? I watch him go, partly because I want to make sure he really leaves and partly because he does, damn him, have a fine butt. No harm in looking, ladies.
About Denise Grover Swank
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten ho uses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
ANGELA CASELLA loves writing romcoms, particularly with the lovely Denise Grover Swank. They write together as Angela Denise. Angela also writes the Fairy Godmother Agency series. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, daughter, and two geriatric dogs. Her hobbies include herding her daughter toward less dangerous activities, stress baking, and marathon watching TV shows.
About New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank and USA Today bestselling author Angela Casella writing as Angela Denise
ANGELA DENISE is the pen name for the writing duo Angela Casella and Denise Grover Swank.
ANGELA CASELLA loves writing romcoms, particularly with the lovely Denise Grover Swank. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, daughter, and two geriatric dogs. Her hobbies include herding her daughter toward less dangerous activities, stress baking, and marathon watching TV shows.
DENISE GROVER SWANK is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author and has sold over three million books. She indie published her first book, a romance mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, in 2011. She has since published over fifty novels, multiple novellas and short stories as an indie and with five publishers. She is published in seven languages. She is a single mother to six children and four dogs and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
Even though Holly’s relationship with Cole is more antagonistic than friends the same can’t be said when it comes to his daughter Jane who is enrolled in a course she is teaching. Holly has created a new dating app and she is hoping that it will be a success and from her first match it seems to be headed that way.
Cole is a single father to his precocious daughter Jane and she is his whole world but the weight of his in-laws wanting to take custody of her certainly takes its toll. He has been convinced by Holly to take part in the app and for the first time he has formed a connection with a woman that goes beyond the physical.
I enjoyed the interactions not only between Holly and Cole but when Jane was involved as well. These two have been trying to deny their feelings for each other but some things are meant to be and that is the case with this romantic and fun couple.
We are so excited to share the cover reveal for The Hometown Dilemma by Julie Archer, the next book in the Meet Cute Book Club Series. Keep reading for more details about this sexy, return to hometown romance.
Title: The Hometown Dilemma
Author: Julie Archer
Release Date: 9/8/2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Trope: Return to Hometown Romance
Jaime Who says you can’t go home? Coming back to Abbott Ridge and starting over was my plan. But, just like everything in life, plans change. Especially when the interior design reality tv show I dreamed of being a part of gets canceled before filming even begins. Now I’m stuck without a job and forced to rethink how I’ll start my own company. Insert, Wade Dempsey. Owner of Dempsey’s bar, and one of my closest friends from college. He immediately offers me a temporary job working with him, like old times. It’s an offer I can’t refuse. Oh, and did I mention that my new boss is even sexier than I remember? Things between us are going great…until a call from New York presents me with a new offer that has me second guessing my stay in Abbott Ridge. Wade Home is where the heart is. I’ve spent my whole life in Abbott Ridge, running in and out of my family’s bar until I was finally old enough to take over. Now I’m in charge, but it’s a struggle to keep the place from going under. I need fresh ideas to compete with all the fancy bars and clubs popping up downtown. Insert, Jaime Harlow. Having Jaime back behind my bar seems like a good place to start. She’s an inspiration and a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. Old times, new feelings – and one stormy night – are all we need to ignite the desires I never realized existed. When New York calls for Jaime and the only future I’ve known goes up in flames, we find ourselves faced with a huge dilemma that threatens our new found relationship. Can we really make this work when right now it feels like we can’t even see eye to eye? There’s only one way to find out. The Hometown Dilemma is a standalone, return to hometown romance that is part of the multi-author series, Meet Cute Book Club. Escape with this swoon-worthy collection of romances where meet-cutes don’t only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters.
Escape with the Meet Cute Book Club where meet-cutes don’t only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters.
Eight single women bound by their love of books take a monthly break from real life to lose themselves in the chapters of romantic fiction. From friends to lovers to fake relationships and more, each story features a brand new couple and their journey to find love from an amazing lineup of authors including Louise Lennox, Tracy Broemmer, A.M. Williams, Mel Walker, RJ Gray, Rebecca Wilder, Julie Archer, and Kate Stacy.
These eight standalone romances are packed with meet-cutes, heat, and of course a happily ever after!
This promotional event is brought to you by TheIndie Pen PR
Join us for the cover reveal of Ship Happens by Kate Stacy, the first book in the Love at Sea Series. Keep reading for more details about this sexy, friends with benefits romance.
Title: Ship Happens
Author: Kate Stacy
Release Date: 9/5/2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Tropes: Friends with Benefits, Friends to Lovers, Forced Proximity
Tate Macy Carmichael has been my friend with mind-blowing benefits for a long time now. But, I’ve been craving more from her. More than she’s ready to give. When my siblings book me on an all-inclusive cruise, I jump at the idea of a free vacation and a chance to get away for a while. Unfortunately, my meddling older sister left out a few important details—like the name of the cruise. Love at Sea. Is she for real? If that’s not bad enough, she signed me up for a variety of activities and makes me promise that I’ll take part in every single one. She also failed to mention that she convinced Macy to book the same cruise. Imagine my surprise when she sits down across the table from me during the speed dating event I didn’t even want to attend. All bets are off. I’ll be damned if some other man is getting close to what’s mine. Macy Desperate for a vacation and break from everyday life, I take the suggestion of a close friend and book myself a week-long cruise. I even go along with her recommendation. The Love at Sea cruise aboard the Heart of the Deep. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, even if the whole cruise is based around finding and celebrating love. But when my best friend with toe-curling benefits, Tate Thorne, shows up during the speed dating event, I know I’m in trouble. No matter what I do, it always comes back to him. Maybe away from the hustle and bustle of our small town, we can finally explore something more. That is, if I can finally let go of all the “rules” of our previous arrangement. Ship Happens is a friends to lovers romance, part of the Love at Sea multi-author series. Get ready to set sail through the Caribbean on Festival Cruises’ most alluring voyage with eight of your favorite authors – happily ever after guaranteed! Experience everything the Love at Sea series has to offer. From speed dating to masquerades, guests are sure to enjoy the hot days and steamy nights. Explore hidden waterfalls, swim with dolphins, and watch as eight couples find their forever on the open ocean.
Author of emotionally-gripping, contemporary romance, Kate Stacy’s novels feature sassy heroines, swoony heroes, life, love, friendship, and all the angst. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family and friends in small-town North Carolina, Kate can most likely be found nose deep in her Kindle. She stays up too late, swears too much, and loves too hard.
Get ready to set sail through the Caribbean on Festival Cruises’ most alluring voyage with eight of your favorite authors – happily ever after guaranteed!
Experience everything the Love at Sea series has to offer. From speed dating to masquerades, guests are sure to enjoy the hot days and steamy nights. Explore hidden waterfalls, swim with dolphins, and watch as eight couples find their forever on the open ocean.
Each story features a brand new couple and a fun trope from our amazing line up of authors including: Kate Stacy, HM Thomas, Mari Sol, S.A. Clayton, T.L. Anderson, Karigan Hale, Susan Renee, and A.M. Williams.
This promotional event is brought to you by TheIndie Pen PR
Choosing her may ruin his life. But he doesn’t want a life without her.
True North, an all new forbidden, workplace contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author JB Salsbury is now available!
The North name is a heavy burden. Two things I learned young—the best way to keep my head on is to keep my head down, and… never fall in love. But I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress.
Lillian came into my life swinging. Mistaking me for my abusive twin brother, she greets me with a swift kick to the balls and a busted lip. Then she really shakes up my world.
She needs her job, but she needs a break just as much. And nothing silences my demons as efficiently as playing the hero.
To protect her from my jerk twin—her boss—I take her on a business trip and quickly learn that she’s different. Blunt. Honest. Intriguingly strange. I’m transfixed, so when she unknowingly sinks a multimillion-dollar deal, I don’t speak up. Something my family won’t forgive.
Now, I have a choice to make. I can go against my own blood and burn the North legacy to the ground, or play it safe, commit to my self-imposed rules and predestined future. Choosing her would ruin my life as I know it, but I’m starting to wonder if a life without her is worth living.
Keep reading for an exclusive excerpt from True North!
We stroll down the street, taking turns with the fried bread and looking at each booth that offers some variation of Native American cuisine. Lillian finds a way to strike up a conversation with everyone. The woman likes to talk. And I’m getting an unexpected level of enjoyment watching her. “Let’s head to the arts section.” She tugs on my jacket sleeve. “I want to get a souvenir—oh, look! A bouncy house!” She hooks her hand into the crook of my elbow. I startle a little at the contact, even though, so lost in her excitement, she doesn’t seem to notice she’s even touching me. “We have to jump in the bouncy house!” “Why? We’re not six years old.” She drags me closer to the jungle-themed contraption, complete with inflated palm trees, monkeys, and bananas decorating the entrance. “Because it’ll be fun.” She whirls around, her pale blue eyes dancing. “You do remember what fun is, don’t you?” “My idea of fun isn’t making a fool out of myself in front of a bunch of kids.” “Why not?” She toes off her shoes. “Kids don’t care if you look like an idiot.” “You go ahead.” “You’re missing out,” she calls as she ducks through the strips of green plastic made to look like hanging vines. Within one minute, she’s laughing with the kids, jumping in a blur of black, with her golden hair flying in every direction. I don’t mean to stare, so I pull out my phone, sure that there’s an email I can attend to, but her laughter keeps my eyes from the screen. I’ve never heard a sound so authentic, free from the constraint of social expectation or acceptance. Have I ever met a person who gets this much joy from something so simple and childish? Lillian balks at a three-Michelin-star meal and finds a contagious kind of joy from a bouncy house. She’s breathing hard as she has an in-depth discussion with the kids about what she dressed up as for Halloween and who would win in a fight between Sophia the First and someone named Doc McStuffins. A little girl asks her where Lillian’s mom is and if she wants to have a playdate tomorrow. “See that guy there?” Lillian points me out to her new friends. “He’s afraid of bouncy houses.” The group of littles reply in multiple forms of shock. An evil smirk tilts her lips. “I think he might feel brave enough to try if you guys go talk to him.” “Oh, come on…” I grumble. Three kids who I wouldn’t guess to be older than five come barreling toward me. “Don’t be scared!” “My little sister isn’t even afraid!” “You can hold my hand.” A small hand slips into mine and holds on. The little girl with bright brown eyes and black hair tilts her head back to look up at me, and something warm seeps into my chest. “Just hold on, okay?” Only an asshole would say no to that face. I kick off my shoes and let her drag me to the bouncy house. The kids are still shouting their encouragement while Lillian dissolves into a fit of laughter. “Don’t be a wussy!” one of the boys calls out while jumping furiously. I release the little girl’s hand and walk straight into Lillian’s space. Her laughter dies, and I watch her throat bob with a hard swallow. “I’m going to pay you back for this,” I say low so the kids don’t hear, which makes my voice rumble. A spark fires in her eyes. “You’ll have to catch me first.”
About JB Salsbury JB Salsbury, New York Times Best Selling author of The Fighting Series, lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and two kids. She spends the majority of her day lost in a world of battling alphas, budding romance, and impossible obstacles as stories claw away at her subconscious, begging to be released to the page.
Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. With her journalistic background, writing has always been at the forefront, and her love of romance prompted her to write her first novel.
Since 2013 she has published six bestselling novels in The Fighting Series and won a RONE Award.
Lillian has always felt a distance between her and other people in her life as despite her best intentions she can’t change her personality which causes turmoil both personally and professionally. After her latest altercation with her boss she finds herself going on a business trip with his brother Hudson and begins to see herself and her life from a different perspective.
Although it started out as a way to put some distance between Lillian and his brother it wasn’t long before Hudson sees Lillian for the fun and unconventional person that she is. Getting personally involved with her was never part of the plan but someone she has captured his heart and now he can’t imagine a future without her.
Hudson is perfect for Lillian in every way as not only does he accept her for who she is he appreciates everything about her that makes her special. The characters and their story draw you in and it was great to catch up with the rest of the family.
Is it a bad idea to lose your virginity to your boss?
Mitchell Bowmen is tall, alluring, and handsome. He checks all the boxes.
So why not?
First of all, there’s his sweet daughter to consider.
If everything goes sideways with he and I can’t disappear from her life like her mother has.
I also need this job in the worst way to pay for a lawyer I’ll need soon for all the threatening letters I’ve received. I can’t drag Mitchell and his family into my mess. I don’t know how far the people who are causing my problems are willing to go to get what they want from me.
That doesn’t stop Mitchell from starring in my dreams.
If only we didn’t end up together on a mountain caught in a snowstorm.
If only… the question is what will happen next if I lose my head and give in to our undeniable perfect attraction.
Terri E. Laine, USA Today bestselling author, left a lucrative career as a CPA to pursue her love for writing. Outside of her roles as a wife and mother of three, she’s always been a dreamer and as such became an avid reader at a young age.
Many years later, she got a crazy idea to write a novel and set out to try to publish it. With over a dozen titles published under various pen names, the rest is history. Her journey has been a blessing, and a dream realized. She looks forward to many more memories to come.
Charmed by You, an all-new must-read novella set in the Stark Security world from New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner and 1,001 Dark Nights is available now!
Former vigilante-for-hire Simon Barré has one steadfast rule: stay far away from celebrities. Too bad Simon’s first assignment at Stark Security is to protect A-list actress Francesca Muratti. He can’t even turn down the assignment, as that would be violating his second rule—never fail a woman. Now he finds himself up-close-and-personal with a high-maintenance diva whose flash and sass drives him crazy—but whose touch he undeniably craves.
The world might believe that Francesca Muratti leads a fairy tale life, but the truth is far darker. For years, she’s kept a horrible secret about her best friend’s death. Now someone is threatening to kill Francesca if she doesn’t reveal all. She needs protection, but there’s no way she’s going to tell the sexy Stark Security agent what she did or why she’s being threatened. Which means that in order to survive and protect her secrets, Francesca must pull off the biggest acting job of her career: she’s going to have to let Simon close, but not let him see her true heart.
**For fans of J. Kenner’s Stark Security series, Charmed By You is book nine in that series.**
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
He didn’t want to like her. He really, really, really didn’t want to like her. She was a self-involved, conceited, money-hungry star who lived in a fantasy world and didn’t know a damn thing about real people or real problems. Just like every other actor in this fucked-up town. He knew it. Was certain of it. He was familiar with the type, after all. Hadn’t they destroyed his childhood? Ripped away his fiancée? Oh, yeah. He knew better than to like or trust this breed, and Francesca Muratti was no exception. She was just one more spoiled actress who’d caught the eye of a nut job with a grudge against spoiled actresses. And yet… He bit back a grimace, hating that he had to acknowledge those two little words. And yet… And yet this spoiled, insufferable star was willing to put her life on the line to keep her fans happy. This self-involved woman who made a living play-acting actually understood that the only reason she could enjoy the privilege of the life she had built was because she’d been lifted onto her pedestal by those fans. More than that, she not only understood it, but she was willing to risk literally everything to offer her thanks to those fans the only way she knew how—by being there for them. He didn’t have to like her. Hell, he didn’t like her. But he damn well respected her. “All right,” he said, hopping down from the buffet and moving to stand opposite her across the table. “We’ve settled that you’re going to the con.” He glanced around the room, making sure no one intended to keep up the argument. When all remained silent, he nodded. “Good. That means we’re to the final point on today’s agenda.” He met Francesca’s eyes. “Who sent the note? And what does he want you to reveal?” He kept his attention locked on her, so there was no missing either the way her eyes widened just a hair or the slash of fury that cut across her undeniably beautiful face. “Do I need to write you a song?” she snapped. “Do a tap dance? Or maybe you want me to tattoo the answer on my forehead. Some asshat wants me to say some magic words or else he’s going to kill me, and I. Do. Not. Know. What. They. Are.” A tear snaked down her cheek, and she swiped it away, the gesture both angry and impatient. “I can’t tell what I don’t know.” She spoke directly to him, and he took the challenge, moving closer until he was breathing her air and could smell the lilac in her perfume. “That’s kind of my point, sweetheart,” he said, studying her expression. Every tiny tick, every movement of her eyes. “I think you do.” “Excuse me?” She glared at him. The kind of look designed to melt a lesser man. Too bad for her, he wasn’t a lesser man. “You heard me,” he repeated. Sparks flew from her eyes. Not literally, but he could damn sure imagine them. He said nothing. Just looked back at her mildly, keeping his own temper in check. He was an expert at not showing his feelings, and that was a skill that would come in handy with Francesca Muratti. Probably more than his dead-on aim with a pistol. With a huff, she turned to face Ryan, then Damien. “Assign another agent, or I’m firing the lot of you.” “And here I thought you liked me. What with convincing them to let you go to the con.” She whirled on him. “You insufferable prick. Don’t you dare—” “Frannie. Calm down.” Damien’s voice was low. Reasonable. And Simon was absolutely positive that was the wrong approach to take. “Are you fucking kidding me, Stark? The man just called me a liar to my face. I have no idea—zero theories—as to what’s going on, and he’s accusing me of…well, fuck him. Fuck all of you. Dammit.” She blinked, her lips pressed tight together as she spun away, giving all of them her back. And for a moment—a very, very fleeting moment—Simon had the urge to put his hands on her shoulders and tell her that it would all work out. “Frannie,” Damien said softly, “we’re going to get to the bottom of this.” Her shoulders shook, and as much as she grated on him, he also knew that she was truly afraid. And because he was a damned idiot, his heart softened a little. At least until she spoke again. “I don’t want him here.” The words were low. Barely audible. “He’s an arrogant prick, and I don’t want him in my home. For that matter,” she added, turning to look at Damien and Ryan in turn, “I don’t want anyone here. I got some stupid note, and I freaked, okay? But I shouldn’t have, because there’s nothing for me to tell. Nothing. Which means it’s a prank. A joke. I’m safe. So go. All of you.” She shifted, eyeing everyone in the room. “Go on,” she snapped, her voice rising. “Get out of my house.” Nobody moved.
About J. Kenner J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over one hundred novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.
JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A six time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy) and in 2017 for Wicked Dirty in the same category. Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development as a television show.
Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.
In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.
Francesca is a successful actress who is being threatened as someone believes that she has information that they want. She contacts Stark Security however she finds Simon, the man assigned to protect her, annoying as he believes she knows more than she is saying.
Looking after an entitled actress is not the assignment that Simon wanted however, he soon finds out that she is much different than he thought and that his need to protect extends far beyond the professional to the personal.
Suspense, surprises and steam as Francesca and Simon take us on quite the ride.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐨𝐧 𝐄𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 is the debut solo novel from acclaimed, award-winning romance narrator, Joe Arden, coming September 13, 2022. A secret identity romance from the man with the secret identity! Pre-order yours now!
You can expect the following from 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐨𝐧 𝐄𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭: * RomCom * Hilarious banter * Hollywood vibes
* Male POV
* Strong/Sassy Heroine * All the feels * Enough heat to melt your kindle/earbuds
Lights. Camera. Action…
I’ve got everything it takes to make it in Tinseltown: confidence, charisma, and a killer chin. Now all I need is a chance.
But Los Angeles is full of hot, young hunks, and talent might not be enough to separate me from the cookie-cutter crowd.
Well, you know what they say: fake it till you make it.
So I devise a wild scheme to get noticed. Pretend I’m someone I’m not—goodbye Will O’Connell of Cincinnati and hello Liam O’Connell of Dublin.
‘Liam’ and his talent with accents is enough to get myfoot in the door, but I never anticipated meeting the woman who has me more worried about keeping my foot out of my mouth.
Enter Raven Locke, the dark-haired bombshell who puts the ‘tude in tattooed.
On set, she’s the costumer tasked with fitting my pants, but all I can think about is how to get into hers.
As my — I mean, Liam’s — budding career begins to heat up, so do our feelings.
While Raven pursues her passion for fashion; I chase her heart.
Our picture-perfect screenplay seems sure to send us riding off onto Sunset Boulevard… Until Raven finds out that Comedy and Tragedy aren’t the only masks I’m wearing. Our romance might be destined for the cutting room floor, unless I can salvage our story with a plot twist she won’t see coming.
*This first-person, male-POV rom-com has it all: lots of heat, plenty of heart, and a Hollywood-worthy HEA.
Bones, an all-new addictive dark standalone romance full of heat and suspense from USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Shantel Tessier is available now!
BONES I got my name from breaking the bones of a kid who picked on my younger brother, but that’s only where it started. My black heart craves violence, and being a King gives me plenty of opportunities. When a friend comes to me for help because someone he loves is in danger, I’m happy to do so. After all, my friends are few, and they are my family. Once I have her, I do what I have to in order to protect her. She thinks she’s in hell, but this is child’s play compared to what she would have faced. She’s an innocent through and through and completely off-limits. But that’s not enough to stop me from doing what I do best—taking what’s mine.
MIA I was born into a deadly Mafia family, yet I’m a nobody. To the world, I don’t exist. Shuffled from Vegas as a child and sent to Italy for my protection, I became invisible. Until they found a use for me. Now I’m a card my father can play. A chance to cash in on the family name to the highest bidder. Taken from my home, I’m sold to a King. His hard blue eyes take no prisoners. He’s just another pretty face to hide the evil and in no way my savior. Now I know what hell looks like because I’m living it. But just when I think I can finally be free, it all comes crashing down, and the King I thought would end me is the only one who can save me. All I wanted was to be somebody, but now I wish I’d stayed the nobody.
She stares out the window, holding the ice pack to the side of her face. It angers me that the pathetic man hit her. Men like him are weak. He needed his ass beat. I’ll do it. Later. Her evening gown was supposed to make her look like a princess, but it’s ripped up her thigh, and my eyes keep going to the lace material that covers her pussy. “Where is home?” she asks, not bothering to look at me. I take a sip of my drink. Her head slowly turns to finally look me in the eyes. Her porcelain face is tight, nose scrunched, eyes looking smaller by the second as she glares at me. I half expect her to throw the ice pack at my face. And that turns me on. Fight me, beautiful. She sighs heavily, making her chest rise and fall with irritation. “Is it in another country?” “Does it matter?” I finally ask. “Yes,” she hisses, slamming the ice pack to her lap. “You’re kidnapping me.” I bite back a smile. “Honey, I paid for you.” That just seems to enrage her more. She starts speaking a different language. “Excuse me?” Her words cut off, and she takes in a deep breath, the action making her chest rise again, and this time, I allow myself to watch the way her breasts bounce from the motion, making my cock hard. “I called you a pompous, self-absorbed son of a bitch,” she clarifies with a bite and adds, “in Italian.” I take a drink from my glass and smile behind it. She’s exactly what I expected a female Bianchi to be—fucking fire. My cell rings, and I pull it out of my pocket to see it’s Luca. “Hello?” “So it went well?” he rushes out. “You’ve got Mia?” “Yes,” I say, taking another drink. He lets out a long breath. “Thanks, Bones.” The sound of appreciation in his voice makes my chest tighten. Why has he kept her a secret all these years? Where the hell has she been? If he cared so much, why did he allow this? Between him and the Kings, we could have protected her. He has to know that we would have done whatever he needed for her. All he had to do was ask. We protect our own. I consider Luca a brother. I look up at her to see her beautiful eyes already on mine. The soft glow of the purple lights makes them look exotic—like a rare diamond. A look of concern covers her pretty, bruised face. The ice pack is now on the floor—long forgotten. “You saved her,” he whispers, then clears his throat. “But you do whatever you have to do. Do you understand?” “I understand.”
About Shantel Shantel is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author. She lives in Oklahoma with her high school sweetheart, who is a wonderful, supportive husband and their two daughters. She loves to spend time cuddled up on the couch with a good book. Although she has a passion to write, her family is most important to her.