Thursday, August 18, 2022

Never Look Back

An Enemies-to-Lovers, Close-Proximity, Second-Chance Romance from A.L. Jackson

Coming August 29th

Tension bound the room, and few words had been said, everyone’s attention rapt on the duel going down. 

Jarek tried to keep his expression neutral, the pompous prick with his slicked back black hair and his careless confidence that had been given to him through his name rather than earned. 

Like he was confident I would let him reach out and take what was mine. 

Not ever again.

Even with the pungent arrogance, I saw the tick of his jaw, the flinch of his eyes, the sheen of sweat that hinted at the edges of his brow and glimmered beneath the dull lights from the chandelier that hung from above. 

He glanced at his dwindling chips. 

“Your father-in-law would be proud. If only he could see you now.” I couldn’t help but taunt it as I rocked back in my chair. I did my best to ignore the presence that hovered over him from behind. 

A presence that fanned out and teased me like a sinful, decadent dream. A dream that had once been so beautiful it’d coerced me into believing there just might be something better in this life than depravity and greed. 

I glanced up in time to catch the worry that riddled those fire-agate eyes. The golden green with flecks of red that were begging for something she didn’t deserve to be given.

Mercy. 

I tore my attention from the lure of hers and watched as redness clawed at Jarek’s throat before he started to push in the chips to meet the bet. 

Aster gripped him by the shoulder. “Jarek, don’t do this.” 

I had to wonder exactly what he had riding on the line. Why he was there. Why I could feel the chinks in his armor coming apart.

Flinging off her hand, he cut her a hard glare. 

“Don’t,” he warned. 

The word was coated with his humiliation. With desperation. 

Ah. 

There was the chink.

Weakness wept through the powerful persona.

Reluctantly, Aster withdrew her hand, and her delicate throat trembled as she swallowed. She lifted that stoic chin that I’d caressed more times than I could count. 

Okay, fine.

That was a goddamn lie because I remembered every fucking touch. Every glance. Every broken promise she had made. 

Jarek met my stare as he pushed nearly the rest of his chips into the pot, raising me by a thousand.

I raised him another ten. 

How far are you going to go, asshole? Whatever you have, it’s mine.

A soft sound of pain wheezed from Aster’s chest. A heave of distressed air. 

My gaze followed to where the black dress she wore dipped low between her tits. My heart fisted when I saw what she wore around her neck. It was a star-shaped necklace, dangling down to kiss her cleavage.

I nearly cracked. Lost the control I was holding onto.

It had to be a joke. 

A taunt. 

A fucking cruel, sick twisted one, the girl coming down here and parading it like a slap to my face.

It made my teeth clench and the fury I was barely constraining flashfire through my veins.

I tore my attention from her when Jarek spat, “Fuck,” under his breath.

He still clutched his cards, refusing to give up the fight. 

Haille laughed, the sadistic fucker enjoying this far too much. He looked at Jarek. How the hell he knew him, I didn’t have a clue, but I didn’t believe in a coincidence quite this big. He pulled his cigar from his mouth and jabbed it Jarek’s direction. “It seems you’re in a small predicament, Mr. Urso. Are you already going to walk? And here I thought you were going to bring something interesting to the table.” 

Jarek all but growled, and Aster’s gaze darted between the three of us. Nerves flew from her soft, caramel flesh. That face carved of perfect lines and smooth skin tightened in dread.

He’d brought something interesting to the table, all right. 

“Just cut your losses, Jarek.” She begged it quietly, but I heard the strength behind it. 

Jarek roughed his hand down his pompous face, and he turned to look at the necklace around Aster’s neck as if it could be a solution to his issues. 

Aster gasped, and her hand came up to protect it. Tears sprang to her eyes. She took a small step back. “No,” she wheezed, like it would physically pain her to remove it. 

I wanted to jump to my feet. 

Take hold of her and demand answers.

Demand to know why. 

Why had she done it if she could stand there and look like there was a piece of her that was broken. 

Anger and confusion had me in a stranglehold.

Old grief I’d buried deep that was clawing to the surface. 

“Give it to me,” Jarek grated. 

“No.” My voice cut through the dense air. 

A roll of thunder. 

The tolling of a challenge. 

Aster froze. Her stare landed on me. 

It was pain. 

A plea. 

Desperation. 

It only made the sickness thrum harder. 

I looked to Jarek.

“The girl.” 

The stake came out without thought to repercussions. 

Without rationale. 

No sense. 

Just revenge. 

I wanted what never should have been his.

A gasp rocked from her, and she stumbled back farther. 

Jarek’s eyes sharpened to blades, and there was no question he wanted to reach over the table and choke the life from me. 

My fingers itched. 

I hoped he tried. 

I gave nothing. No smile. No sneer. Just the quiet hatred that emanated from within. The fact I intended to take everything from him.

I’d known one day I would. I just hadn’t anticipated the opportunity would present itself so soon.

He blinked then jutted his chin at the dealer for the exotic chip.

The one that signified he would hazard my proposition.

It wasn’t rare. A bid made for a beach home. A family heirloom. Something that couldn’t be replaced. Here, fortunes were won and lost. 

“What are you doing? I am not for sale.” Aster’s voice was aghast. Horrified and filled with disgust.

“He’s bluffing, Aster.” Jarek tossed in the chip.

It was the first time I let myself fully look at her. To sit back and take her in like she was mine to take. Sickened terror ridged her gorgeous face because I was pretty sure she knew this wasn’t close to a bluff. 

I couldn’t do anything but crack a grin. “It seems you are tonight.” 

Then I laid down my cards. 

A straight flush.

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"My heart in my throat for most of the book and she just did NOT disappoint! At all!"

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A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, FALLING STARS, and REDEMPTION HILLS novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, NEVER LOOK BACK, releasing August 29th!

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

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Thursday, August 11, 2022




Title: What's It Gonna Take
Series: Burgers and Brew Crüe #5
Author: Lacey Black
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 9, 2022


BLURB

Garreth

From the first moment I saw Reagan Turner at the bar and restaurant I help manage, I was drawn like never before. She was dating someone at the time, which meant she was off-limits, until the jerk broke up with her. I can’t get her out of my head, can’t stop wanting to kiss those perfectly lush lips. Fighting this attraction has been my kryptonite.

So, I give in to temptation.

Now, all bets are off. One touch, one kiss, one night will never be enough. Of course, I wasn’t factoring in us working together, which means I have to keep my desire—and my hands—to myself.

Should be easy enough.


Reagan

There’s something about the charismatic, flirty bar manager that pulls me in. When my boyfriend breaks up with me via text message, I suddenly see Garreth Taylor in a whole new light. He’s gorgeous, fun, caring, and everything a single woman could ever want. And for some reason, he seems to have his sights set on me, even if he doesn’t say it outright.

So, I make the first move.

The result is both explosive and dynamic, and before I know it, one night turns to two. He has a hang-up, however, about being professional while at work, and draws a line in the sand.

Looks like I’ll have to show him how fun it can be to cross it.







PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited





EXCERPT

My blood is boiling.
What kind of douche canoe sends a text to break up with a woman, and then shows up at the same place said woman you just broke up with is eating dinner?
Justin fucking Morales, that’s who.
I want to punch him in his smug, dirtbag face, but I won’t because my employers frown upon it. Well, maybe not Jameson as much as the others, especially when he hears what happened to his wife’s cousin. He’d probably jump to the head of the line to knock out a few teeth.
I remember growing up with Jameson and Walker. They definitely weren’t afraid to get into parking lot scuffles. We didn’t hang in the same circles, but I never had any issues with them. I was just more focused on getting good grades, playing baseball, and getting into college.
Reagan approaches where I stand, eavesdropping on her confrontation and not ashamed in the least. Her eyes are cast down at first, and when they finally meet mine, I can see her embarrassment and anger swirling together like a tornado. Part of me wants to reach out and pull her against my chest, vowing to kick his ass for hurting her, but I know she won’t appreciate that right now.
Instead, I go to the one place I know will get a reaction out of her. “I’m so turned on right now,” I mutter, throwing her a wink and a smile.
And just like that, the shock and rage reflecting in her stunning eyes falls away and is replaced by laughter. “Oh my God,” she sputters through her giggle fit. “What is wrong with you?”
See? This right here. I’d rather see her happy and laughing instead of what that asshole made her feel like. When she smiles, there’s this light that surrounds her. It’s vibrant and makes me feel like I won a million dollars or something equally as badass.
“You wound me, love.” I place a hand over my heart and sigh dramatically.
Reagan rolls her eyes, much as I’d expect her to. “You’re nuts.”
I sober and step closer, greedily breathing in her sweet scent. “Do you want me to drop a drink in his lap? Or maybe step on his patty before I serve it? I’d do it in a heartbeat, for you,” I tell her, only half-joking.
Reagan gives me a sad smile, and Jesus, I don’t like it. “I do appreciate the offer, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Please don’t make any health code violations on my behalf,” she replies with the faintest grin on her pretty lips.
“If you change your mind, send me a signal, okay? Maybe blow me a kiss from across the room or twerk. Twerking’s always good.”
Her face completely relaxes as she laughs and shakes her head. “You’re terrible. I’m going to head back to my friends,” she says, reaching out and squeezing my arm. Little bolts of lightning streak through my veins and land firmly in my balls. It’s hard to just stand here and watch her walk away. “Oh, Garreth?”
Glancing up, I meet her gaze. “Yes?”
“Thank you. For making me smile.” She rewards me with another small smile.
My throat is tight with emotion. “Anytime.”
Reagan rejoins her party, immediately jumping into an animated telling of what happened over with Justin. As much as I’d love to go over there, I can’t. I have a job to do, which right now, is serving the ex. Even if I’d rather kick his ass out or just flat out refuse to serve him, that’s not my job, and I always strive to do the best job I can.
Dammit.






ALSO AVAILABLE


99c for a limited time!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






COMING SOON


HOME SWEET HOME

Releasing January 10

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Only available at the following
retailers for a limited time







AUTHOR BIO


USA Today Bestselling Author Lacey Black is a Midwestern girl with a passion for reading, writing, and shopping. She carries her e-reader with her everywhere she goes so she never misses an opportunity to read a few pages. Always looking for a happily ever after, Lacey is passionate about contemporary romance novels and enjoys it further when you mix in a little suspense. She resides in a small town in Illinois with her husband, two children, and three rowdy chickens.


AUTHOR LINKS




BLOGS REVIEW

What's It Gonna Take is book five in the Burgers and Brew Crue series and each can be read as a standalone; however, it is funny to see how each of these men end up going from being single to finding the one. This whole Crue is worth reading and I recommend each book in the series. 
Garreth and Reagan are complete opposite attracts and if you have read the prior book you would think the siblings switched partners with how opposite both of these two characters are. I love seeing how far this bar has grown and how they realize their world does not spin without their significance to others. I highly recommend this series to those who love not only Motley Crue, but love unexpected lovers when you least expect them.