#5Stars #Review #BlogTour – THE GOOD STRANGER by Dete Meserve

The Good Stranger (Kate Bradley Mystery, #3)

The Good Stranger

(Kate Bradley Mystery #3)

by Dete Meserve 

From the bestselling author of Good Sam—now a Netflix feature film—comes another Kate Bradley story about the nature of generosity and finding unexpected connections with strangers.

TV reporter Kate Bradley arrives in Manhattan ready to take on a challenging new position as a national news correspondent. When a massive power outage plunges New York City into darkness, the disaster she expected to cover takes an unexpected turn. Someone is leaving thousands of mysterious gifts throughout the city, and the only clue to the giver’s identity is the occasional note from “A Stranger.”

Together with handsome TV series host Scott Jameson, Kate must make sense of these random generous acts, which quickly escalate in scale and capture the attention of viewers across the country. In early-morning stakeouts and late-night surveillance, they crisscross the city hunting down leads, but the elusive Stranger is always one step ahead.

Menacing letters and videos addressed to Kate threaten to derail the investigation, but she’s determined to uncover the identity of the benefactor. The closer Kate gets to the truth, the more clearly she sees that even the smallest act of generosity can bring about powerful change. And it just may take her own selfless act of kindness to solve the feel-good mystery of the year.

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Wow-sers! This was a fantastic book. I loved every part of it. The writing flowed so smoothly and the story had me from the beginning. A great weekend read!

Thank you to the author for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

#BlogTour #Giveaway – A COWGIRL’S DREAM by Edith MacKenzie

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Cowgirl’s Dream (Barrels & Hearts, #1) By Edith MacKenzie Contemporary Romance, Western Paperback & ebook, 154 Pages June 24, 2020

An Aussie cowgirl far from home. A handsome Brazilian bull rider. Can they have a rodeo love story of their dreams?

Frankie dreams of being a champion barrel racer. When the opportunity of a lifetime knocks on her door, she moves halfway across the globe to chase it. After having her heart broken, she’s determined to focus on her ambitions. That means no time for cowboys, even if he is bloody cute.

Luciano is well on his way to getting everything he has ever dreamed of. That is, until an Aussie cowgirl crashes into his world, setting his soul on fire. He knows what it takes to get to the top and Frankie has it in spades. Now, all he has to do is convince her to see beyond the suave exterior and give him a chance.

Finally, Frankie has a shot at the championship buckle, but when photos appear of Luciano on the internet, she has to decide whether to stay or walk away. Is she kidding herself, can she have it all? Can Frankie find her courage to trust in love and still chase her Cowgirl’s dream?

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“So, you like me,” he stated confidently. He folded his arms over his chest, pulling his shirt tighter as he did. 

Frankie pulled her eyes away from his pecs. “I didn’t say that,” she denied hotly.

He gave her a smug, knowing smile. “You do not have to. I can see how you look at me.” 

Frankie’s temper began to rise. “You are unbelievable.”

“Thank you. I hear that a lot.”

Her mouth dropped open at his arrogance and she shook her head. “I didn’t mean it in a good way. Look, good talk, let’s not rush to do this again.” She spun on her heels and walked back up the aisle. 

“I did not think you were the type to run away Frankie,” he called after her, laughter in his voice.

“I’m not. I need to check on my friends.” Her strides were not slowing down.

“Frankie?” His voice floated from behind her.

“What?”

“If I want something, I work hard till I get it,” he warned her.

Frankie stopped, her hands balled by her side. How much more arrogant could he get? “Yeah, most guys do. It’s just that they lose interest once that get it. Goodnight, Luciano.”


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Other Books Coming in the Series


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About the Author

Edith MacKenzie or Eddie Mac to her friends is an Australian author of sweet and wholesome contemporary cowboy romance. They say in literary circles to write what you know and Eddie has certainly taken that to heart. Before embarking on a writing career she trained horses professionally and brings that wealth of knowledge to her writing.

Now a mum to a boy and girl, as well as wife, she delights with her tales of strong cowgirls and their adventures in finding love. When not weaving the love stories of her characters, she enjoys hanging out with her family and animals, as well as reading, fishing and camping

Just remember once a cowgirl, always a cowgirl.

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Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $20 Amazon eGift Card Open internationally to those eligible to use one of Amazon’s branches Ends July 5, 2020

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#BlogTour #Giveaway – WHERE THE ROAD BENDS by David Rawlings

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Where the Road Bends By David Rawlings Christian Fiction Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages June 2, 2020 by Thomas Nelson

Fifteen years after college graduation, four friends reconnect to keep a long-ago promise and go on a trip of a lifetime in the Australian Outback.

Eliza needs to disconnect from her high-powered fashion job to consider the CEO position she’s just been offered. Lincoln hopes to rekindle a past relationship and escape from another one. Bree looks forward to a fun getaway from home and her deeply buried disappointments. Andy wants to disappear from the mess he’s made of his life—possibly forever.

Dropped at a campsite in the middle of nowhere, the friends quickly discover they aren’t the same people they once were, and they begin to confront hard truths about one another—and themselves. Then a bizarre storm sweeps across their camp, scattering them across the desert. Wondering if they are part of some strange escape game, each of the friends meets a guide to help them find exactly what they need: purpose, healing, courage, and redemption.

But they’ve already traveled far down the road of life and course-correcting to become the people they were meant to be won’t be easy.

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Andy’s heart pounded in his chest and his ears. A tremor rippled through him, his limbs buzzing. He’d failed the first challenge, but he still hadn’t called for help. I will deal with this myself and not give you the satisfaction. He could do this—all he had to do was chase away the goanna. He surveyed the area. A fallen limb rested against the trunk. That would do.

With an annoyed headshake, his attacker lumbered away with its strange, swaying gait. Halfway to the bushes it turned and headed straight for Andy’s backpack, nosed it open, and rummaged inside.

“Hey!” Andy’s voice strained in the rapidly drying heat. “Hey!” His arm waving went unrewarded, but the path was now clear to the fallen limb. Andy landed with a thud, turning his ankle on the loose rocks. The goanna eyed him, a sliver of candy wrapper trailing from its mouth.

He lunged for the branch and, with a primal scream drawn from the depths of his very survival, ran at the prehistoric beast, waving his newly found weapon with gusto. The reptile gave a startled hiss and rushed into the only place it could find to hide. Andy’s swag.

Andy skidded to a halt. Any instructions of what to do next now sat underneath a giant lizard, along with his hat, sunblock, glasses, and everything else he’d need. He reached for his backpack. At least he still had his water bottle, small as it was.

He fixed his eyes firmly on his adversary, the swag now still. A flickering in the corner of his eye grabbed his attention. Away from the cliff, a distant deep-red vein throbbed in the heat haze. That could be the dirt track they’d used to drop him off, and it wasn’t too far away.

And there was a dust cloud heading toward him. They were coming back, and if he made good time, he could probably reach it. He would turn the tables and catch them unawares. And, holding the element of surprise, he would unload. On them all.

With one eye on his now-still swag, he hoisted the backpack onto his shoulder and jogged away from the cliff, grinning as he headed for the dust cloud.

From Where the Road Bends by David Rawlings. Used with the permission of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Copyright © 2020 by David Rawlings. Learn more at TNZ Fiction.

About the Author

David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a print copy of The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings (US only)

Ends June 24, 2020

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#BlogTour – THE BENEFACTOR by Nana Malone

I am many things. billionaire, rogue, rebel. But I never figured myself for a thief.

The Benefactor, book two in the See No Evil series by USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestseller, Nana Malone, is LIVE!

My money can buy power, control, access. Even oaths of loyalty.

The one thing it can’t buy is her…or her safety.

I vowed to protect her

I failed

To save her, I’ll need to forget everything I am and forgo control. And I can’t, under any circumstances, fail.

The canary jewel is the key. 

Tonight I am no longer a billionaire

Tonight I keep new secrets.

My name is Ben Covington and tonight, I am a thief.

Download your copy today!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30atCBI

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheBenefactorNM

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2xemesE

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2ViGAZZ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/34p30ge

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2VdMprz

Excerpt:

“You’ll have to trust me.”

“Right. Trust the man who hides so much.”

“You kept things to yourself too.” He ground his teeth, and I could see the muscle of his jaw working. 

Which unfortunately also drew my attention to his lips. And I could remember his taste, spicy on my tongue. The way he kissed, first with a sip that made you want to quench your thirst in one gulp. The slow, drugging kisses designed to make a woman moan without much effort.

Jesus, I needed to stop. I would not think about him kissing me, or him lifting up my skirt, bending me over the desk and spanking me. Nope, I was not going to think about that. “From now on, no more lies. I can’t take it. I need to know what you know.”

He narrowed his gaze at me then. “Got any more copies of this that you’re hiding from me?”

“Oh, nice. Real mature. That’s the only one. I’ve just given you my insurance policy; you have to give me yours.”

“No more lies.”

“Fine. And while we’re at it, can we get security for Telly and Carmen? Todd has heard me talk about them on the phone before. I don’t want them to be targets.”

The muscle in his jaw ticked. “Fine.”

I shifted on my feet. Do or die time. “Also, I’m not sure of the living arrangements. I don’t think I can go back to the loft.”

“You’ll be staying with me at Covington House.”

The way he said that, like a command, not a suggestion. That beautiful house with the pillars and the kitchen right out of Architecture Magazine. I hadn’t seen much of the space, but I would love to explore it. My brain slapped my pussy. Snap out of it, bitch. You’re not playing house. I cleared my throat. “I’ll accept because I have no choice. But so you know, if I had a choice, I’d be anywhere else but there.”

He approached slowly, as if he had all the time in the world. His smooth gait was catlike as he approached. The moment I could feel his heat I tried to back away. I knew I was weak. I’d lean in and sniff given half a chance. Stay strong. Stay strong.

“If it makes you feel better to say that, fine. But let me be clear. You and I, we’re not done. The conversation about us is still to be continued.” 

I swallowed hard. Because that sounded so much like a warning. One my body didn’t want to heed. I said nothing as I turned to head to my office. I wasn’t going to let him see in my gaze that I wanted to stay.

About Nana:

USA Today bestseller Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she “borrowed” from her cousin. 

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion, and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.


Connect with Nana:

Website: http://nanamaloneromance.net/

Facebook: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneFB

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneGR

Twitter: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneTwitter

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneAB

Instagram: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneIG

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Wwz3t9

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/NanaMaloneBB

#BlogTour – CARTER ISLAND Series by Cate Beauman

Secrets Hidden In The Glass (Carter Island, #1)

Secrets Hidden In The Glass

(Carter Island #1)

Release Date:  October 8, 2017

Book Description:

The secrets of the past are always closer than we think…

Stained glass artist Callie Davis is in desperate need of a vacation. Burnt out and on the edge of a nervous breakdown, she’s fleeing the pressures of her career and is taking refuge on Massachusetts’ tiny Carter Island. Callie yearns for long, lazy days and pretty walks on the beach—blessed solitude and an escape from the complications of her life. Then she bumps into gorgeous Nate Carter and everything changes.

Sheriff Nathan Carter couldn’t be happier now that the height of the summer season has finally come and gone. After four endless months, tourists have packed their bags and headed for the mainland. The quiet days of autumn are about to befall the town—the way Nate and his fellow Sandersonians like it best.

But nothing ends up quite the way Nate expects when he meets the beautiful blonde with the big blue eyes. Callie’s pretty smiles hide secrets—deep, dark mysteries that could cost them both their lives if they continue digging into the past and cross a killer’s path.

*A contemporary romance with twists of mystery and suspense

Aftermath of Secrets (Carter Island, #2)

Aftermath of Secrets

(Carter Island #2)

Release Date:  June 4, 2020

Book Description:

When The Secrets Of The Past Threaten To Destroy The Future…

Boston’s Most Eligible Bachelor has it all: good looks, a great career, and plenty of wealth and prestige. But Bradley Sanderson’s charmed life quickly falls apart when scandal rocks his famous family. Arrests have been made; the media circus has begun, and Brad’s been tasked with the daunting chore of restoring the Sandersons’ good name. Moving back to Carter Island and picking up the pieces hasn’t been easy, especially when the one person he needs the most won’t give him the time of day.

Bakery owner and island resident Molly Carter is loyal to her core, but that doesn’t mean Brad’s homecoming hasn’t left her torn. Brad’s darkest days aren’t lost on Molly, but reaching out to her lifelong friend isn’t so simple when she’s forced to guard her heart. Everything changed when she woke up alone after their sexy summer night.

The complications keep coming when Brad’s long-lost brother shows up in town, bringing the remnants of his checkered past with him. Forgiveness and redemption are possible for all, until new secrets come to light that may have dire consequences.

*A contemporary romance with twists of mystery and suspense

Buy links and more informationhttps://catebeauman.com/book/aftermath-of-secrets/

Buy links and more information: https://catebeauman.com/book/secrets-hidden-in-the-glass/

About Cate Beauman

Cate Beauman is the multi-award-winning, international bestselling author of The Bodyguards of L.A. County series and the Carter Island Novels. She is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense and contemporary stories.

Cate’s novels have been named Readers’ Favorite Five Star books and have won the Booksellers’ Best Award, Maggie Award for Excellence, the Holt Medallion Award, two-time Aspen Gold Medal, two-time Readers’ Favorite International Gold Medal, three-time Readers’ Favorite International Silver Medal, and the Readers’ Crown Award.

Cate makes her home in New Hampshire with her family and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack.

Website:  https://catebeauman.com/

Newsletter:  http://www.catebeauman.com/getmyfreebooks

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CateBeaumanAuthor/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/realcatebeauman/

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Cate-Beauman/e/B00A05KHVM

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cate-beauman

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6543858.Cate_Beauman

#BlogTour #Giveaway – THE CEO, THE PUPPY AND ME by Jennifer Faye

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
The CEO, the Puppy and Me
(The Bartolini Legacy #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
June 1st 2020 by Harlequin Romance

Has the search for her past…


…guided her toward her future?

Gia Bartolini’s determinedly searching for her real father. First stop on the enchanting Italian island of Lapri? A mysterious abandoned mansion…where, rescuing a trapped puppy, she falls straight into the arms of alluring Riccardo Moretti! Her passion for the all-business CEO burns bright, leaving Gia with a question: In uncovering her true roots, has fate led her to true love?

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“What’s the matter?” Ric asked.

“I twisted my ankle when my shoe got stuck. It’s not a big deal. Just help the puppy.”

“You’re sure?”

“Positive.”

He did as she asked. However, his light gray loafers weren’t the best shoes to venture through this overgrown jungle either. Limbs poked and prodded him.

There went the high-pitched whine again.

“Do you see it?” the woman asked.

He shushed her as he backtracked a bit. And then he followed the scratching sound to the back corner of the garden. There were shrubs and other overgrown vegetation blocking his view.

He worked his way through the vines, ignoring how the thorns dug at his arms. As the dog whimpered, Ric grew more determined to help it, even if he ruined his clothes during the rescue.

And then at last, he spotted a little puppy all caught up in some old wire. Its big brown eyes turned to him. They showed its panicked state.

“It’s okay.” Ric spoke in a calm, soothing tone. Every time the puppy got worked up and yanked to get loose, the wire dug farther into its flesh. Ric knelt in front of it. “I’m going to help you.”

The puppy stopped wiggling for a moment and studied Ric. The animal watched his every movement but didn’t react. It was either so relieved to finally have help or it was too exhausted to put up much of a fight. Either way, it took a bit but Ric was able to untangle the dog. He made a mental note to call a gardener ASAP. This place not only looked bad, but it was also dangerous to anything that meandered in here. He didn’t want any other creature getting hurt.

But the deepening red stain on the dog’s ginger fur had him concerned. Heedless of the blood and dirt, Ric scooped the pup up and held it against his chest.

“It’s okay,” he said in a gentle voice. “You’re safe now.”

He made his way back along the overgrown path to where the woman was standing. He stopped in front of her. “Here’s your dog.”

All her attention was focused on the animal. However, she made no motion to take it from him. That was strange.



Go to Jennifer’s Contact Page HERE and order your bookmark(s)!

Other Books in the Series

The Prince and the Wedding Planner
(The Bartolini Legacy #1)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
March 1st 2020 by Harlequin Romance

When different worlds collide…

…sparks fly!

With her family name on the line, wedding planner Bianca Bartolini needs this royal wedding to go perfectly—she can’t afford distractions. Too bad the bride’s dashing brother has other plans! Duty-bound Crown Prince Leo has mere weeks to announce his own engagement, but none of the candidates measure up to Bianca. They’re the most unlikely match, but might that just make them perfect for one another?

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And coming in September…

The Italian’s Unexpected Heir
(The Bartolini Legacy #3)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
September 1st 2020 by Harlequin Romance

Her baby surprise proves…

…that one night will never be enough!

Reeling from the secrets that have torn his heritage apart, Enzo Bartolini is set on selling his family’s Tuscan vineyard and trying to forget the impulsive, dazzling night he and best friend Sylvie shared in Paris. While the sale moves forward, the thrilling awareness between him and Sylvie is harder to move past…especially when she upends Enzo’s world by revealing she’s carrying his baby!

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About the Author


Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

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Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of THE PRINCE AND THE WEDDING PLANNER, winner’s choice of print (US only) or ebook
Open internationally
Ends June 17, 2020

#BlogTour – TANGLED IN IVY by Ashley Farley

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Kindle Edition, 304 pages

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of Sweet Tea Tuesdays comes a story of true love that spans decades.

Lillian Alexander’s father is dying of cancer. When he rambles on in a morphine-delirium, Lillian can’t ignore the feeling he’s trying to tell her something. At his funeral days later, she encounters ghosts from her past who stir long-suppressed memories from the day her mother died twenty-seven years ago. Why, if her mother’s death was an accident, does Lillian harbor guilt, as though she were somehow to blame?

When Lillian and her twin sister, Layla, learn the Stoney family fortune is gone, Lillian fights to save her ancestral home on Charleston’s prestigious East Battery. Desperate to resolve her money problems and get answers to her questions about the past, she tears her father’s study apart in search of clues. She discovers a thumb drive in a hollowed-out hardback copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls. The thumb drive, marked For Lillian in his handwriting, contains her father’s memoir. Secluded in the family’s cottage on Wadmalaw Island, she immerses herself in her father’s account of his stormy relationship with her mother. What she learns sets her on a journey of self-discovery.

Tangled in Ivy is a tale of tortured souls and southern family dysfunction.

#BlogTour – A ROYAL KISS AND TELL by Julia London

A Royal Kiss and Tell (A Royal Wedding, #2)

A Royal Kiss and Tell

(A Royal Wedding #2)

by Julia London

Every prince has his secrets. And she’s determined to unravel his…

Every dashing young man in London’s ton is vying for Lady Caroline Hawke’s hand—except one. Handsome, delectable roué Prince Leopold of Alucia can’t quite remember who Caroline is, and the insult is not to be tolerated. So, Caroline does what any clever, resourceful lady of means would do to make sure a prince remembers her: sees that amusingly risqué morsels about Leo’s reputation are printed in a ladies’ gossip gazette…all the while secretly setting her cap for the rakish royal.

Someone has been painting Leo as a blackguard, but who? Socially, it could ruin him. More important, it jeopardizes his investigation into a contemptible scheme that reaches the highest levels of government in London. Now, Leo needs Lady Caroline’s help to regain access to society. But this charming prince is about to discover that enlisting the deceptively sweet and sexy Lady Caroline might just cost him his heart, his soul and both their reputations…

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub’s Best Historical Novel.

#BlogTour #Excerpt – A ROYAL KISS & TELL by Julia London

FICTION/Romance/Historical/Victorian 

Mass Market | HQN Books | A Royal Wedding #2

Harlequin| Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | IndieBound | Kobo

SUMMARY:

Every prince has his secrets. And she’s determined to unravel his…

Every young man in London’s ton is vying for Lady Caroline Hawke’s hand—except one. Handsome roué Prince Leopold of Alucia can’t quite remember Caroline’s name, and the insult is not to be tolerated. So Caroline does what any clever, resourceful lady of means would do to make sure Leo never again forgets: sees that scandalous morsels about his reputation are printed in a ladies’ gossip gazette…all while secretly setting her cap for the rakish royal.

Someone has been painting Leo as a blackguard, but who? Socially, it is ruining him. More important, it jeopardizes his investigation into a contemptible scheme that reaches the highest levels of British government. Leo needs Lady Caroline’s help to regain access to society. But this charming prince is about to discover that enlisting the deceptively sweet and sexy Lady Caroline might just cost him his heart, his soul and both their reputations…

Since the day of Eliza’s betrothal to Prince Sebastian, Caroline had also assumed, quite incorrectly, that she would be the principal bridesmaid. After all, she and Eliza and Hollis had been entwined in one another’s lives since they were very little girls.

“I am content with flower girls, honestly,” Eliza said. “I’d be content with a very simple affair. I was content with the civil ceremony. But Queen Daria prefers otherwise.”

“Naturally, she does. This is the wedding where you will be seen by all the people you will rule one day.”

Eliza snorted. “I will not rule, Caroline. I’ll be fortunate if I can find my husband in this massive place.” She’d gestured to the decorative walls around them. It was not an exaggeration—Constantine Palace appeared to be bigger than even Buckingham.

“Let me be the maid of honor,” Caroline had begged her. “I am much better equipped to see to your train than Hollis is.”

 “I beg your pardon! I am her sister,” Hollis reminded Caroline.

“The train is thirty feet, Hollis. How will you ever manage? You’ve scarcely managed your own train since we’ve been in Alucia. And my gown should be seen. I spared no expense for it.”

 Eliza and Hollis looked at Caroline.

“I mean, of course, after your gown is seen.”

The sisters continued to stare at her. Caroline shrugged a very tiny bit. “Obviously,” she added.

“I rather thought that’s what you meant,” Eliza said charitably. The three of them had gleefully adopted the Alucian style of dress since arriving a month ago in Helenamar. The English style of dress—full skirts, high necks and long sleeves—was hot and heavy. They’d admired the beautiful Alucian gowns that fit the curves of a woman’s body, with the long flowing sleeves, and, most of all, the elaborately embroidered trains…until they discovered that the unusually long trains were a bit of a bother to wear.

“I will manage,” Hollis had insisted. “No one has come to this wedding to see your gown, Caro.”

“Well, obviously, Hollis, they haven’t. But they will be delighted all the same, won’t they? And by the bye, there’s no law that says the attendant of honor must be one’s sister.”

 “There is no law, but she is my sister and she will be the attendant of honor,” Eliza said. “And besides, if you were to stand with me, I’d fret the entire ceremony that you were too enthralled with Leo to even notice my train.” She’d arched a golden brow directly at Caroline.

As if Caroline had done something wrong.

 She most certainly had not. “Leo? Is that what we’re calling him now?” she drawled. Leo was Prince Sebastian’s younger brother. His Royal Highness Prince Leopold.

 Prince Leopold, as everyone knew, had spent the last several years in England, “attending” Cambridge, which meant, in reality, that he spent more time at soirees and gentlemen’s clubs and hunting lodges than studying. Caroline had encountered him last summer in Chichester at a country house party. They’d engaged in a charming little exchange that Caroline recalled perfectly, word for word. Prince Leopold, on the other hand, remembered it not at all. Worse, he didn’t seem to remember her.

The archbishop’s voice suddenly rose into a chant of some sort, drawing Caroline’s attention back to the ceremony. Oh dear, she was thinking about Prince Leopold again when she should be watching her best friend marry a prince. At that moment, Eliza slipped her hand into Prince Sebastian’s hand and held on tightly as the archbishop asked her to repeat after him in English. To love, to honor, to protect and defend.

So romantic.

Caroline glanced to her right. She was seated next to her brother, the baron Beckett Hawke. He was older than her by half a dozen years and had been her guardian since she was eight and he was fourteen. She leaned against him.

“Isn’t she lovely?” she whispered.

Ssh.”

 “I think she is lovelier than even Queen Victoria on her wedding day,” Caroline whispered. “Her gown is beautiful. It was my idea to use the gold and silver thread on the train.”

Beck pretended not to have heard a word.

“Do you know, I think I could have made that train.” Her brother put his hand on Caroline’s knee and squeezed as he turned his pale green eyes to hers. He frowned darkly.

Caroline pushed his hand away and glanced around her. It was massive, this Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Painted ceilings soared overhead with visions of angels and other godly images. All the fixtures were gold plated, particularly the pulpit, which looked more like a monument than a stand for the Bible. There was so much stained glass that the morning light fractured across Eliza’s long train, turning it into a moving rainbow as sunlight shimmered through the panes.

Every seat in the massive cathedral was taken, filled with beautiful people of varying skin tones and colorful costumes and glittering jewels. They had come far and wide, Caroline understood, from countries she’d never even heard of.

 In a cove above the altar, a choir of young men and boys sang the hymns that had accompanied Eliza down the center aisle to meet her prince. It had sounded as if the heavens had parted and the angels were singing for this bride.

The ceremony, almost an hour of it now, was filled with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Caroline wasn’t entirely certain what was happening, as the ceremony was conducted in Latin and Alucian and, for the parts Eliza had to say, in English. It seemed to her that Eliza and Sebastian were up and down quite a lot, one minute on their knees with their heads bowed, and standing the next, staring starry-eyed at each other. There was a somber moment when Eliza was directed down onto her knees alone. It looked as if she were knighted or anointed in some way, and when it was done, the archbishop put his hand to her head, the king and queen stood, and then Prince Sebastian lifted her up and pinned a gorgeous sapphire-and-gold brooch to her breast.

“She’s a real princess now,” Caroline whispered to Beck. Predictably, he ignored her.

Eliza looked like a princess, too, and Caroline wished Eliza’s father, Justice Tricklebank, could be here. Alas, his advanced age and blindness had made it impossible for him to attend. There had been a smaller, private ceremony in England—the first civil union—before Sebastian had returned to Alucia. That ceremony, which her father had attended, had been necessitated by the fact that Eliza and Sebastian could not seem to keep their hands from each other for as much as a few hours.

There was another civil union once Eliza had arrived in Alucia so there would be no question of impropriety, as the heat between Eliza and her prince had only grown. It was embarrassing, really.

But neither ceremony had been anything like this. This was a pageant, a feast for the eyes and hearts of romantics everywhere.

Caroline’s mind drifted, and she wondered if all these people would be at the ball tonight. She hoped so. She had a beautiful blue Alucian gown trimmed in gold that was astoundingly beautiful. She’d made the train herself. The ball would be her moment to shine…next to Eliza, of course.

Yesterday, Eliza had nervously counted out the heads of state that would attend the wedding and the ball and had turned a bit pale as the number mounted. Caroline’s pulse had leapt with delight.

“I can’t bear it!” Eliza had exclaimed, unnerved by the number of dignitaries, of the many kings and queens. “What if I say something wrong? You know how I am. Have you any idea how many gifts we’ve received? Am I to remember them all? I’ve never seen so many gold chalices and silver platters and fine porcelain in all my life! What if I trip? What if I spill something on my gown?”

“My advice, darling, is not to fill your plate to overflowing,” Hollis had said absently. She was bent over her paper, making notes for the periodical she published, the Honeycutt’s Gazette of Fashion and Domesticity for Ladies. The twice-monthly gazette covered such topics as the latest fashions, domesticity and health advice, and—the most interesting part—the most tantalizing on-dits swirling about London’s high society.

 Hollis could hardly keep up with the ravenous demand for society news now. She was planning to publish a gazette that would be twice the length of her normal offering with all the news of the royal wedding the moment she returned to London. She’d been busily dispatching letters to her manservant, Donovan, for safekeeping throughout the month they’d been in Alucia.

She was so preoccupied that her advice, while offered freely, was not offered with much thought, and Eliza took exception. “I beg your pardon! I’ve hardly eaten a thing since I’ve arrived in Alucia. At every meal the queen looks at me as if she disapproves of everything I do! I’m afraid to do anything, much less eat,” Eliza complained. “They’ll all be looking at me. They’ll be waiting for me to do something wrong, or speculating if I’m already carrying the heir. You cannot imagine how much interest there is in my ability to bear an heir.”

 “Well, of course!” Caroline said cheerfully. “You’ll have to be a broodmare, darling, but after you’ve given them what they want, you may live in conjugal bliss for the rest of your days surrounded by wealth and privilege and many, many servants.”

“They won’t all be looking at you, Eliza. At least half the room will be looking at your handsome husband,” Hollis had said with a wink.

Caroline was once again jolted back into the present when the archbishop lifted a heavy jeweled chalice above the heads of Eliza and Prince Sebastian. Surely that meant they were nearly done? Prince Sebastian took Eliza’s hand, and they turned away from the archbishop, facing the guests with ridiculously happy grins on their faces. They were married!

Hollis turned, too, and even from where Caroline sat, she could see Hollis’s dark blue eyes shining with tears of joy. The guests rose to their feet as the prince and his bride began their procession away from the altar. Rose petals rained down on the couple and their guests from above. The little flower girls fluttered around behind Eliza like butterflies, flanking her train as they followed the couple down the aisle. Prince Leopold offered his arm to Hollis, and she beamed up at him. Caroline felt left out. Hollis and Eliza were near and dear to her heart, the closest thing to sisters she’d ever had, and she longed to be with them now.

Eliza and Prince Sebastian floated past Caroline and Beck without any acknowledgment of them. That was to be expected—the two of them looked absolutely besotted. They were so enthralled with each other, in fact, that Caroline fretted they’d walk into any one of the marble columns that lined their path.

Oh, but she was envious, filled to the very brim with envy. In England, she rarely gave marriage any thought except on those occasions Beck complained she ought to settle on someone, anyone, and relieve him of his duty. But he didn’t really mind his duty, his protestations notwithstanding. Caroline rather suspected he liked having her underfoot. So she flitted from one party to the next, happy to enjoy the attentions of the many gentlemen who crossed her path, happy with her freedom to do as she pleased.

But looking at Eliza, Caroline realized that she did indeed want one day to be in love with a man who would be as devoted to her as Prince Sebastian was to his bride. She wanted to feel everything Eliza was feeling, to understand just how that sort of love changed a person.

Prince Leopold and Hollis passed by Caroline and Beck. Hollis’s face was streaked with happy tears. Prince Leopold happened to look to the guests as they passed, a polite smile on his face. His gaze locked on Caroline’s—well, not locked, really, as much as it skimmed over her—but nevertheless, she smiled broadly. She began to lift a hand but was suddenly jostled with an elbow to her ribs. She jerked a wide-eyed gaze to her brother.

“Stop gawking,” he whispered. “You’ll snap your neck, craning it like that.”

 Caroline haughtily touched a curl at her neck.

 Beck turned his attention to the procession. The king and queen were passing them now. Beck leaned toward her and whispered, “He’s a prince, Caro, and you are just an English girl. You’re indulging in fairy tales again. I can see it plainly on your face.”

 Just an English girl? She very much would have liked to kick Beck like she used to do when she was just a wee English girl. “Better to dream in fairy tales than not dream at all.”

 Beck rolled his eyes. He stood dispassionately as the archbishop and his altar boys followed the king and queen.

Just an English girl, indeed.

AUTHOR BIO:

Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub’s Best Historical Novel.

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#BlogTour #Giveaway – THE CEO, THE PUPPY AND ME by Jennifer Faye

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The CEO, the Puppy and Me
(The Bartolini Legacy #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
June 1st 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Has the search for her past…

…guided her toward her future?

Gia Bartolini’s determinedly searching for her real father. First stop on the enchanting Italian island of Lapri? A mysterious abandoned mansion…where, rescuing a trapped puppy, she falls straight into the arms of alluring Riccardo Moretti! Her passion for the all-business CEO burns bright, leaving Gia with a question: In uncovering her true roots, has fate led her to true love?

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Excerpt

Ric pressed the intercom button to speak with his assistant. “Yes, Marta.”

“Sir, there’s a woman on the other line. She’s calling about your uncle’s house.”

“My uncle?” Uncle Giuseppe had passed close to a year ago, leaving his entire estate to Ric.

“Yes, sir. It sounds serious.”

Alarm shot through him. He knew possessing a now vacant house might cause some security issues, but he wasn’t ready to part with it. For some reason he wasn’t willing to examine too closely, he had an attachment to the place.

Ric checked his cell phone. There hadn’t been any alerts from the alarm system. How could that be?

Still, he didn’t have time for problems. There were only a couple of hours before his very important business dinner—a meeting that had taken months to arrange. But he couldn’t just ignore this call. “Put her through.”

He’d speak to the woman. Surely it was nothing important. And then he’d be back on track. Everything would work out.

In no time, an older woman came on the phone. “Ric, is that you?”

He smiled, remembering his uncle’s neighbor, the kindly woman who’d offered him cookies still warm from the oven when he was young. “Mrs. Russo?”

“Yes. It’s me. Pardon me for bothering you at the office, but I thought you’d want to know there’s a young woman snooping around your uncle’s house.”

“Is she trying to break in?”

“I don’t think so. But I can’t be sure. She’s moved to the back, and I can’t see her now.”

His office wasn’t far away. “I’ll be right there.”

And with that he ended the call. He rushed to his car, anxious to catch this intruder. He wanted to stop them from doing any damage to his uncle’s estate.

He went to call the police but then hesitated. Calling them would draw media attention, and he’d had more than his share in recent weeks. He’d check out the situation and then decide if the authorities needed to be called in.

In no time, his midnight blue sporty coupe rolled to a stop in front of the house. From the front, nothing looked disturbed.

However, Mrs. Russo had indicated the person was making her way around the house. Being that it was quite a large place, he would need to make the rounds in order to surmise if the intruder was still there.

He stepped out of his car. Immediately, Mrs. Russo came rushing out of her house. He waved her off, signaling for her to go back inside until he had the situation under control.

It could be as simple as a salesperson, but then why would they have ventured around the house? Ric moved carefully and quietly. He wasn’t about to engage the intruder if they were armed. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t witness what they were up to so he could report it to the police.

As he neared the back of the house, he noticed a young woman in a flowy white-and-aqua top. White capris clung to her curves and a coordinating purse completed the summer outfit. As his gaze lowered, he noticed she only wore one high heel. As she hopped around on one foot, he noticed the other aqua heel, which appeared to be stuck between two cobblestones.

Her face was turned away from him. She had short, dark, spiky hair. If she was a burglar, she was an awful one. First, that summer outfit was bright and eye-catching. And those shoes, wow, how could anyone walk in them? Well, obviously she couldn’t, or she wouldn’t be hopping around on one foot. Whoever this woman was, she certainly seemed quite harmless.

Ric stepped into the backyard. “What are you doing here?”

Other Books in the Series

The Prince and the Wedding Planner
(The Bartolini Legacy #1)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
March 1st 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

When different worlds collide…

…sparks fly!

With her family name on the line, wedding planner Bianca Bartolini needs this royal wedding to go perfectly—she can’t afford distractions. Too bad the bride’s dashing brother has other plans! Duty-bound Crown Prince Leo has mere weeks to announce his own engagement, but none of the candidates measure up to Bianca. They’re the most unlikely match, but might that just make them perfect for one another?

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About the Author

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

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