Friday, 31 August 2018

Book Review (& Author Giveaway): Hot Heir by Pippa Grant

Title: Hot Heir
Author: Pippa Grant
Genre: Sexy Romantic Comedy
 Release Date: August 31, 2018


If I had to pick a bride of convenience, my first choice would NOT be Peach Maloney.
My fiftieth choice would NOT be Peach.
Top spot on my list of occupational hazards? Yes. 
Royal pain in the ass?  Yes.
A bride of convenience? No.
But I’ve unexpectedly gone from royal bodyguard to monarch, having inherited a crown that was stolen from my family long before my birth. The kicker of this unexpected royal gift? In order to take the throne I must find a wife.
Have I mentioned Peach would NOT have been my hundredth choice?
But I’ve no other options, and she needs a favor that my new position can fulfill quite nicely. So we’ve agreed to play the doting newlyweds out in public.
In private, though, our rules are simple:
No touching.
No talking.
And certainly no sex.
I should have known better than to marry a rule-breaking pain in the arse.


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My Thoughts

With character names such as Peach and Papaya, pet alpacas masquerading as unicorns, hot air balloon thefts and smelly polecats, well, it can only be a Pippa Grant book! And in HOT HEIR we get another book with Pippa’s trademark zany antics and slapstick-style humour.

It’s Viktor and Peach’s turn this time. We have met them in previous books but this time, Viktor is no longer a royal bodyguard, and instead finds himself the heir of a European House of Royalty. Peach is still a hardworking business owner but finds herself the guardian of her 14 year old sister – a sister who is constantly finding trouble. Their individual circumstances dictate that both Viktor and Peach need get to married. They may find each other annoying, but at least they’re not strangers to one another, so why not marry each other. Only for the sake of convenience, of course.

On paper, Viktor and Peach are so very different. Their background, their experiences and even they way they talk is so diverse. Yet, there’s an attraction between them that neither can resist; an attraction that heats up nicely once they get started and leads to some very steamy times.

I much preferred the latter half of the book, especially the last quarter. I found the story much more focused on our main characters. At this point Viktor and Peach really begin to let down their guard with one another and we get some wonderful moments between them.

The first half of the book was more of a struggle. I felt there were too many competing storylines and characters that took my attention away from Viktor and Peach. I am glad I persevered because I finished the book on a high.

As always, there is plenty of humour and some wild adventures to be experienced. 

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Author Bio

Pippa Grant is a stay-at-home mom and housewife who loves to escape into sexy, funny stories way more than she likes perpetually cleaning toothpaste out of sinks and off toilet handles. When she’s not reading, writing, sleeping, or trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be productive members of society, she’s fantasizing about chocolate chip cookies.

Author Links


Thursday, 30 August 2018

Book Review: The Judas Tree by Susan Bacoyanis

About the Book

Mary Webster’s reaction to her lover’s betrayal is off the chart… 

Mary seems like an ordinary 46-year-old divorcee, beginning a new life in rural England, but she has depths of pent-up pain, the result of 20 years of marital infidelities and abuse. All she needs is a trigger to unleash savage emotions.

When she becomes entangled with Jonas, a married man, Mary suddenly finds herself in the opposite role of the ‘other woman’. Jonas has a nasty streak, however, and taunts with the nursery rhyme ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary…’ . 

But when Mary uncovers Jonas’s web of seductive lies, betraying not only herself but his wife and several young village women, she plots her revenge and acts out the real meaning of the nursery rhyme…

As things go from bad to worse, Mary is driven over the edge of normality. Because Mary is not normal ... she is damaged. Her only redeeming quality is her belief that she is acting for the greater good …

Susan Bacoyanis’s intriguing psychological thriller The Judas Tree is a chilling tale of multiple acts of betrayal and the consequences of greed. It has deep echoes of Penelope Mortimer’s angry woman classic of the Sixties, The Pumpkin Eater. 

My Thoughts

Where to start? First and foremost, I do recommend The JUDAS TREE by Susan Bacoyanis. Apart from a few murmurings from other readers having enjoyed the book, I had no expectations when I started. I am glad I just dove in because what an exhilarating ride this book turned out to be.

I enjoyed and appreciated the author’s tie ins between this story, Mary Tudor and nursery rhymes. I learned something new, which is always a bonus.

As for our present day characters, well, it soon becomes clear that this book contains no traditional heroes or heroines. Instead, we have a group of people who are cunning, manipulative, greedy, lacking in remorse and vengeful. From the planners who deliberately orchestrate schemes to those who have react after reaching breaking point to those who simply choose to take advantage of circumstances, this book has got a wonderful range of “bad guys”.

At times the story is graphically violent. While I understand it works within the plot, some readers may find it distressing.

The story is not always slick, and at times coarsely told but the plotting and tie in to nursery rhymes and Mary Tudor is deliciously clever. I found The Judas Tree a thoroughly enjoyable escape into storyland.  

About the Author

Susan Bacoyanis was born and educated in rural England, the only child of patient parents who tolerated her insatiable quest for knowledge. She spent many hours alone, which she credits to the development of a vivid imagination, that would serve her first career as a stage actor and her lifelong passion for writing.

She paused her acting career and founded her own business for the practical purpose of raising her three daughters as a single mother. All her daughters are smart, professional young women and motherhood, she claims, is her greatest achievement.

In 2002 Susan moved half way around the world to live and work in California. She entered the New York Film Academy to update her skills in the Television, Film and Screenwriting industry and rekindled her acting career, working as a screen actor in Hollywood. She joined Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions in LA as part of their writing team and helped establish and promote the Cinema City International Film Festival, which is dedicated to promoting new writers and film makers. 

“I believe in learning my craft by acquiring the skills to write well; a good education, practical knowledge and a keen eye for detail. Interesting life experiences are a bonus. Learning what makes us all so diverse and extracting the best and the worst of human traits to form characters . . . this is the fun. Life is like a recipe, with good ingredients the dish will be tasty. But, if you add some spice, the dish will be spectacular! For me the spice is ‘passion’.”

Susan writes every day with dedication and passion. Like her characters, she has lived many lives, but she believes that if you follow your passion, you will live your best life.

Book Review: Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall

About the Book

 What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, everyone close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

My Thoughts

I found KEEP YOU SAFE by Rona Halsall to be an engaging and well-paced book. Told primarily from character Natalie’s point of view, I enjoyed the switch between the present, where she is not only searching for her son, but running from people who have threatened her and her family’s lives, and the past, where we learn about how she ended up in prison serving time for a crime she claims she did not commit.

The author does a fine job of keeping up the tension throughout the book. Both in prison and outside, Natalie struggles in knowing who to trust. She can only rely on her wits; wits that her prison stint has helped her hone typically via unpleasant experiences. In fact, I quite enjoyed reading about time Natalie spent in prison. Her experiences inside shaped her and she certainly was not able to leave behind that life once outside.

One of my ‘buts’ with this story is that I guessed who the unknown narrator was much earlier than I would have preferred and this diluted part of the mystery for me. Also at times, I did feel the need to suspend belief with respect to some storylines. Having said all this, the book more than held my interest and I was happily turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

I learned after reading this book that it is the author’s debut novel. Well done! I hope she continues writing because I am keen to read what she comes up with next.

About the Author

Rona's debut psychological thriller, Keep You Safe is out on 17th August 2018 and her second will be out in November. She has been a bookworm since she was a child and now she's actually creating stories of her own, which feels like a dream come true.

Rona lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and three guinea pigs. She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful glens and beaches on the Island while she's plotting how to kill off her next victim. She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories! 

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Cover Reveal: #1 MUSE by T. Gephart

Today we are sharing the cover reveal of 

#1 MUSE 
by T. Gephart

This is a contemporary romance, standalone title that you won't want to miss! This novel is part of T. Gephart's #1 Series, and #1 MUSE releases on October 4th. Pre-order links can be found below.

Pre-order Now:

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Sign up for T. Gephart's Newsletter for exclusive news about the book.

#1 MUSE by T. Gephart (#1 Series, #5)

Coming October 4

Pre-order Now:

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Landing a writing gig in Hollywood was just as difficult as becoming an actor, and something Claire Becker had learned the hard way.

Sure, she didn’t have to conform to ridiculous beauty standards and give up her love for raw cookie dough, but the sting of rejection burned all the same. The only things that kept her sane were her two amazing roommates and her guilty pleasure—writing fan-fiction.

Getting lost in her own world, she’d forget that she had yet to land her dream job, and instead spent time with her dream man—Nick Larsson. Well, at least in the literary sense. Too bad he wasn’t aware or an active participant—her fictional love life, outstanding.

Tall, good-looking and sexy beyond comprehension, Nick Larsson not only had a famous last name—and four equally smoldering brothers—but was talented beyond belief. A star on the rise with a critically acclaimed series, his body and face were what fantasy scripts—and dreams—were made of. Made for some pretty steamy writing opportunities too.

And yes, it was probably “wrong” for Claire to objectify him, but it wasn’t like anyone knew about it. Just her, and her two amazing, supportive roommates.
Or at least they were amazing and supportive, and bound to be missed after Claire killed them.
In a moment of unexplained insanity, one of them —or both, each as bad as the other—sent her latest installments to the man himself.

Cue panic of epic proportions.

All Claire needed to do was sneak into his apartment and retrieve the misappropriated story before Nick, or anyone else, read it and mistook her for a creepy stalker. Although, breaking and entering probably wouldn’t convince anyone to the contrary either.

Claire was going to get the best material of her life, or end up with a restraining order. Either way, the story was getting a hell of lot more interesting.





Available Now

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Available Now


Available Now

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#1 LIE

Available Now




T Gephart is a USA Today and International bestselling author from Melbourne, Australia.

With an approach to life that is somewhat unconventional, she prefers to fly by the seat of her pants rather than adhere to some rigid roadmap. Her lack of "plan" has resulted in a rather interesting and eclectic resume, which reads more like the fiction she writes than an actual employment history. 

She'd tell you all about it, but the statute of limitations hasn't expired yet. But all those crazy twists and turns have led her to a career she loves—writing romantic comedy.
When she isn't filling pages with sassy and sexy characters with attitude, she's living her own reality show in the 'burbs of Melbourne with her American husband, two teenage children, and her fur child—Woodley.

She loves adventure, to laugh, travel, and strives to live her life to the fullest.


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Book Review: Spook Street by Mick Herron

About the Book

What happens when an old spook loses his mind? Does the Service have a retirement home for those who know too many secrets but don’t remember they’re secret? Or does someone take care of the senile spy for good? These are the questions River Cartwright must ask when his grandfather, a Cold War–era operative, starts to forget to wear pants and begins to suspect everyone in his life has been sent by the Service to watch him.

But River has other things to worry about. A bomb goes off in the middle of a busy shopping center and kills forty innocent civilians. The agents of Slough House have to figure out who is behind this act of terror before the situation escalates.

My Thoughts

I cannot speak highly enough about this series and SPOOK STREET by Mick Herron has risen to the top as my favourite book in the series to date.

There is a lot more focus on the resident screw-ups of Slough House in this book, and we get to delve into their lives and thoughts more than in previous books. But don’t get too maudlin, they are as exasperating and trying as ever. Yet it’s difficult to be too critical of them because I think many of us can see little pieces of ourselves in some of these characters. And they provide humour whether that is the intent or not.

In this book, recent atrocities are linked to past secret service deeds, and River Cartwright’s grandfather is mixed up in it. The grandfather whose reputation is that of the real behind-the-scenes leader of the service in his day; the grandfather who now is rapidly aging and has dementia.

As the Park (secret service head office) and the Slough House team work towards uncovering the mystery and stopping the criminals, we are taken on a tension-filled and suspenseful ride. This was definitely a page-turner of a book. There were plenty of twists and particular revelations shocked me. Herron is certainly not afraid to mix things up and with Spook Street everything and everyone is in store for a big shakeup.

I found Spook Street a gripping read from start to finish and it’s cemented itself into my Top 5 reads of 2018.

About the Author

Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Sarah Tucker/Zoë Boehm series and the standalone novel Reconstruction.  His work has been shortlisted for the Macavity, Barry and Shamus awards, and his novella DOLPHIN JUNCTION was joint winner of the 2009 Ellery Queen Readers Award. His second standalone, Nobody Walks, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2015, and was one of Booklist Magazine’s Best 101 Crime Novels of the Decade.

He is the author of the acclaimed Jackson Lamb series, the first of which, the Steel Dagger-nominated Slow Horses was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the “the twenty greatest spy novels of all time”. The second in the series, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for both the Gold and Steel Daggers, for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and for the 2017 Macavity Award. It won the Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2017, for the best humorous crime novel of 2016.

Spook Street, the fourth Jackson Lamb novel – praised by Ian Rankin for its “sublime dialogue and frictionless plotting” – won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2017.

The fifth Jackson Lamb novel, LONDON RULES, will appear in 2018.

Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford. He writes full time. 

Book Review: Real Tigers by Mick Herron

About the Book

London’s Slough House is where disgraced MI5 operatives are reassigned to spend the rest of their spy careers pushing paper. 

But when one of these “slow horses” is kidnapped by a former soldier bent on revenge, the agents must breach the defenses of Regent’s Park to steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade’s safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but also the highest authorities in the Security Service. 

After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the slow horses suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself.

My Thoughts

REAL TIGERS is another thrilling instalment in Mick Herron’s Slough House series. 

Slough House has new recruits, and they are as dysfunctional and dangerous – in their own ways - as the rest of the inhabitants. Yet in true Slough House style, their introduction initially has little impact; most of the inhabitants are in a world of their own and living with the untold tedium of doing the work of people seen as lower than even the bottom rung of the secret service ladder.

Machinations at both the Park (secret service head office) and within the government sees those aspiring to the top jobs plotting to overthrow incumbents and take those roles themselves. The plotting wonderfully weaves a cohesive narrative involving the Park, politicians and the Slough House team as they all fight for survival.

There’s a great cast of self-interested characters that I have no problems in believing exist in real life. And along with the ever-acerbic Jackson Lamb, and his hapless crew, I was treated to a marvellous thriller that had me engaged from the first page until the very end. 

Each book gets better and better in this series and I cannot wait to read the next one.

About the Author

Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Sarah Tucker/Zoë Boehm series and the standalone novel Reconstruction.  His work has been shortlisted for the Macavity, Barry and Shamus awards, and his novella DOLPHIN JUNCTION was joint winner of the 2009 Ellery Queen Readers Award. His second standalone, Nobody Walks, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2015, and was one of Booklist Magazine’s Best 101 Crime Novels of the Decade.

He is the author of the acclaimed Jackson Lamb series, the first of which, the Steel Dagger-nominated Slow Horses was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the “the twenty greatest spy novels of all time”. The second in the series, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for both the Gold and Steel Daggers, for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and for the 2017 Macavity Award. It won the Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2017, for the best humorous crime novel of 2016.

Spook Street, the fourth Jackson Lamb novel – praised by Ian Rankin for its “sublime dialogue and frictionless plotting” – won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2017.

The fifth Jackson Lamb novel, LONDON RULES, will appear in 2018.

Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford. He writes full time. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

New Release: Clandestine Royal by Gigi Thorne

We're celebrating the release of 
by Gigi Thorne! 

Get yours today for #99cents or #free with #KindleUnlimited!

Erotic Romance

New royal novella from Gigi Thorne.
Suffering due to sins of the father is typically how it goes, but as the son of a predatory and entitled mother, I’d fallen victim to the consequences of her indiscretions.

Her deathbed confession revealed my darkest secret. At my lowest point, I shared it with the two people I trusted the most.

It proved to be my biggest mistake.

For the last five years, I’d watched the woman I love reign with a man I despised. He stole my life, she allowed it, and I was about to make them both pay.

The only way to bring down a king is by stealing his queen.

Five long years without a single look my way. Luke believed that I’d betrayed him and I’d suffered in silence while he’d torn me apart with his playboy ways.

Set on vengeance, he refused my truth but not without doling out punishment I couldn’t resist. Little did he know I had plans of my own—if he’d only let me get close enough.

About the Author:
Gigi Thorne is a group of Amazon, USA Today and NYT bestselling authors who came together under one name to write bite-sized romance for the naughty girl.

We will bring you weekly releases in the shape of sexy, irresistible novellas you can devour in one sitting.

Follow us on our social media for giveaways, exclusive news & cover reveals - and be able to choose our future themes!

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CLANDESTINE ROYAL was written by bestselling author Kate Stewart. You can find her here:
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Book Review: The Earl of London by Louise Bay


Louise Bay 

is LIVE! 

Grab this sizzling, enemies to lovers STANDALONE today for a limited time release price of $2.99!


Prefer to Listen? Get The Earl Of London on Audio -->

Love left me off its to-do list.

I date. I’m all for giving guys a chance. I’ve just never met the one.

Until on a spring morning in the English countryside, a tall, dark stranger emerges from the mist.

Logan Steele is all tousled hair, hard chest and lips so perfect I want to reach out and touch them just to check they’re real. I’m sure that’s a thunderclap of chemistry I feel between us.

Did I mention he’s an Earl with a self-made fortune?

A billionaire who works tirelessly for charity?

And he’s so hot, watching him is like staring at the sun.

But like I said, love isn’t rooting for me.

When I find out Logan Steele is out to destroy everything I’ve dedicated my life to protect, the chemistry disappears and the hope that had blossomed my chest turns to rage.

It no longer matters that he quickens my pulse just saying my name, weakens my knees with a single touch and that he might just be the greatest kisser that ever lived.

I might believe in love but Logan Steele is definitely not the one.

A standalone romance.


THE EARL OF LONDON by Louise Bay has a bit of everything I enjoy in a romance; there’s the sweet, the sexy, the downright hot along with a good dose of humour and a touch of drama.

When Logan Steele meets Darcy Westbury, things don’t go smoothly. While there’s an attraction between them it appears that loving thy neighbour will not be part of the plan when they find themselves on opposing sides of a land development application.

I thoroughly enjoyed Logan and Darcy’s story. They kept each other on their toes and the banter between them is both fun and insightful. They openly admit to wanting something more in their lives and while there are many similarities between them, there are just as many differences. I liked the time they spent together, getting to know one another; they were building a solid relationship foundation.

When Logan and Darcy were spinning their wheels, it was a lot of fun reading the extreme matchmaking efforts of the villagers. Sure, they were a tad pushy at times, but their intentions were genuine and sweet.

The Earl of London really does tick all the romance book boxes: the setting, the characters, the story and the happy ever after. Highly recommended.

USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels – the kind she likes to read.

Ruined by romantic mini-series of the eighties, Louise loves all things romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films. 
Louise loves the rain, The West Wing, London, days when she doesn’t have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne. 

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Friday, 24 August 2018

Book Review: Bring Down The Stars by Emma Scott



About the Book

I fell for Connor Drake. I didn’t want to; I fought against it, but I fell in love with him anyway. With his words. With his poetry. With him. The gentleness and beauty of his soul that speaks directly to mine. He writes as if he can feel my heart, hear its cadence and compose the exact right lyrics to accompany every beat and flow. 

I’m in love with Connor…so why do I feel an inexplicable pull to his best friend, Weston? Grouchy, sullen, brooding Weston Turner, who could cut you down with a look. Fiercely intelligent with a razor sharp wit and acid tongue, he’s the exact opposite of Connor in every way, and yet there’s electricity in the air between us. The thorny barbs Weston wraps around himself can’t keep me away. 

But the more time I spend with these men, the more tangled and confused my emotions become. When they both sign up for the Army Reserves during a time of increasing strife in the Middle East, I fear I’ll never unravel my own heart that sometimes feels as if it will tear straight down the middle…for both of them. 

Bring Down the Stars is an emotional, angst-filled novel of unrequited love by bestselling author, Emma Scott, and is inspired by the classic tale, Cyrano de Bergerac. (Roxanne) It is Book I in the Beautiful Hearts Duet, coming this summer. Book II, Long Live the Beautiful Hearts, to be released a few weeks later. #lovetriangle #confusedhearts #notamenage  


Purchase Links


It takes something special for a book to rise above the rest, and Emma Scott’s stellar writing has made this happen in BRING DOWN THE STARS. 

The book delivers on the promise of being ‘an emotional, angst-filled novel’, and while my feelings did take a battering in more ways than one, I finished the book with my mind spinning not only about what will happen next but also thinking about the themes that play out as the book progresses.

Bring Down the Stars is certainly a love story. Not only does Scott put into words the feelings and emotions shown by the characters, she also illustrates how grand gestures as well as the minutest of actions have great significance. The love just pours from the pages. 

But what interested me more were the themes of debt, responsibility and transparency. What is the price a person must pay when they take on the mantle of responsibility, especially when that responsibility is unsolicited and potentially burdensome? How do you calculate indebtedness, especially when no money in involved? How do you payback those debts? And how do you move forward when one single act snowballs into a secret that will hurt a person you love should they discover the deception? And can love render all things equal?

And here, all these play out from the beginning when, as 12 year olds, wealthy and privileged Connor Drake steps in to stop scholarship student Weston Turner being bullied by other students. The friendship between them is strong and continues unwavering, but it comes with strings and dependency on both sides. It also comes with pressure from external sources; none more so consequential than that of Autumn Caldwell, the third person in this triangle that plays out in the best Cyrano De Bergerac romantic-tragedy style. 

There will be no spoilers from me but I can easily say that this book took me on a journey of grand emotions. The build-up of suspense as I neared the end had me in knots. The language of love had my heart melting. The manipulations had me cursing loudly. Some characters I cheered for, others I wanted to throw darts at. At the end, I wanted to sit down and just have a good old cry to let it all out. 

BRING DOWN THE STARS is book one in Emma Scott’s Beautiful Hearts duet. Book two, Long Live the Beautiful Hearts, is coming soon. 


Here’s a link to my review of LONG LIVE THE BEAUTIFUL HEARTS, book two in the Beautiful Hearts duet.


I took the cement stairs into the library and entered the cool, hushed confines of the main reading room. None of the long mahogany desks with green-shaded lamps were empty. One of the university clubs had taken over two-thirds of the space. The rest of the tables were filled with students like me, trying to get a head start their course load.
I finally found an empty seat at the end of a table, opposite a blond guy engrossed in reading. His open backpack spilled books and papers into what I hoped could be my table territory.
“Excuse me,” I whispered. “Can I…?”
He looked up, his expression vaguely hostile. Piercing blue-green eyes set in a stunningly handsome, if angular, face met mine. High cheekbones, sharp chin and long straight nose. He looked chiseled out of smooth stone at first glance, then his features softened for a moment as his gaze swept over me. Something like recognition lit up his eyes, and I could see the gears of his brain turning as he studied, analyzed, and then came to a conclusion. Not a good one, I guessed, because his expression hardened again.
“Yeah, sure,” he muttered. He stood up, leaning his tall, slender frame over the table to corral the books back into his pack.
“Thanks,” I said, thinking if he wasn’t a basketball player or a runner, he was a model.
All right, girl, get a grip.
I sat, cracked my textbook and settled in to read. I wasn’t through two pages when the words blurred to nonsensical gibberish and my skin prickled with the sensation of being watched.
I glanced up, straight into the ocean eyes of the guy across from me. A million thoughts swirled in their soft depths before they quickly glanced down. He slouched lower in his chair, disappearing behind his book—the collected poems of Walt Whitman. Part of me wanted to melt. Good lord, a hot guy reading poetry? I was only human.
And this is how you wound up with a broken heart in the first place.
I must’ve been frowning at the book because the guy held it up and said, “Not a fan?”
I blinked back to reality. “No,” I said. “I mean, yes. I love Whitman. And poetry in general. I just... Never mind.”
He regarded me a long moment, then slowly closed Whitman and picked up Atlas Shrugged from his short stack of books.
“Ugh, that’s even worse,” I muttered without thinking, and then shook my head. “God, sorry, I left my filter at home. Don’t listen to me.”
His lip curled. “Is there anything in my collection you approve of?”
A hot, smart asshole, I thought. Game on.
“Sorry,” I said. “I’m not in a good mood today and it’s making me forget my manners. I’ll leave you to read your capitalist propaganda in peace.”
The guy’s eyebrows shot up, disappearing under the blond hair that fell across his brow. “Not a fan of Rand either?” He smirked knowingly. “No, of course you aren’t.”
My blood heated at his flippant tone. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
The guy nodded at my textbook—Global Responsibility and the Third-World Hunger Epidemic—and shrugged, as if that answered everything.
“Oh.” I frowned. “Well… yes. I mean, Rand’s point of view is purely capitalist and mine isn’t. Not by a long shot.”
The student sitting to my right exchanged glances with the girl sitting across from him. Then both packed up their books and left.
“We’re being disruptive,” I said to my across-table neighbor. “We need to stop talking now.”
He leaned back in his chair, his eyes intent on me. “So what’s your point of view?”
“My what?”
“You said your point of view isn’t capitalist.” He raised a brow. “So what is it?”
“Humanist, I suppose. Since you asked. I think everyone, regardless of race, creed, income-level, or sex should be granted the same shot as anyone else.” I raised a brow at him. “But you don’t?”
“Are you asking me or telling me?” he said with a slight chuckle. “Since we’re tossing labels around, I’m a realist.” He held up his book. “And not a fan of Rand either.”
“You’re not?” I leaned back too, crossing my arms. “Are you just messing with me or what?”
“Maybe,” he said. “What do you care what I think anyway?”
My mouth fell slack. “I don’t. Thanks for reminding me.”
“No problem.”
“Wow, you’re rude.”
“That’s the word on the street.”
“I can see why.” I lifted my own book up to signal conversation over, but my eyes wouldn’t focus. I could feel the hum of his presence like a field of electrical wires, getting under my skin and infiltrating my thoughts. The buzz went beyond distraction. It felt like a challenge had been laid down.
And I never walked away from a challenge.
I lowered my book to see the guy’s glance hide behind his book again.
“Well?” I demanded.
“Well what?”
Why are you watching me?
“Why are you reading Ayn Rand if you don’t like her either?”
“Required reading for an English Lit minor.”
“And your major? Let me guess, pre-law.”
“God, no,” he said.
I raised my eyebrows but he offered nothing more. “Are you going to make me run through Amherst’s list of majors until I guess which one is yours?”
“Yes,” he said. “Alphabetically, please.”
A laugh burst out of me against my will, and the guy almost smiled. Every one of his hard angles softened.
“Economics,” he said. “But I don’t know what I’m doing with it.”
“That feels like the most honest thing you’ve said to me so far,” I said.
“And that’s important to you?”
“Yes,” I said, my laughter dying away as I remembered Mark and that girl, naked in the bed I’d slept in just the night before. “Honesty is very important.”
He lifted one shoulder.
“You don’t agree?” I asked.
“Being honest is sometimes mistaken for being rude.”
“You must be really honest,” I said.
Again, he almost smiled. “Must be.”
Satisfied that I’d held my own against this beautiful but hostile member of the opposite sex, I went back to my book…for eight entire seconds before my skin started prickling again. The electric hum of his attention was impossible to ignore.
When I looked up this time, he didn’t look away but cleared his throat.

“I’m Weston Turner.”




Emma Scott is a bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy thoughtful, realistic stories with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy my novels. 



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