Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Blog Tour and Review: The Best Man by Winter Renshaw









I didn’t know her name, but I heard her laugh, tasted her lips, felt her warm skin as I held her in my arms. Together we watched our young children playing in the sand, the warm ocean lapping the shore behind them as the setting sun painted the sky. She was my soulmate and this was our life, our beautiful forever … 




Then I woke up—alone in a hospital room, connected to wires and machines. 




There was no wife. No kids. Not a single soul waiting for me. That life I dreamt of … never existed.




I’d been in a devastating wreck, a nurse told me when she rushed in. Comatose for weeks. I’d have a long road to recovery, but I was going to make it. 




From that moment on, the dream haunted me. I saw that woman’s face every time I closed my eyes, searched for her in every crowd, ached to be with a stranger I felt I’d known my entire life … and I swore that if I ever found her, I’d do anything to make her mine. 




Anything.




Then I found her.




And it was both the best and worst day of my life because the woman of my dreams … was about to marry my best friend.




AUTHOR’S NOTE: No cheating, no love triangles. That’s all I’m going to say … ;-)



Cainan


Beep … beep … beep … beep …

​I wake to a steady sound, slamming into an unfamiliar shell of a body, which as it turns out is mine. A dreamlike haze envelopes me, and when my surroundings come into focus, I’m met with white walls, white blankets, white machines connected to white wires leading to a strip of white tape on my wrist holding an IV in place.

​I’m in a hospital.

​I try to remember how I got here, but it’s like trying to recall someone else’s dream—an impossible task. And it only makes the throbbing inside my head intensify.

​“My wife …” My words are more air than sound, and it’s painful to speak with a bone-dry mouth and burning throat.

​ “Mr. James?” A woman with hair the color of driven snow leans over me. So much fucking white. “Don’t move. Please.”

​She’s a calm kind of rushed, hurried but not frenetic as she makes her way around the room, pressing buttons, paging for assistance and adjusting machine settings.

​The room fades in and out, murky gray to pitch black, and then crystal clear before disappearing completely. The next time I open my eyes, I’m fenced by three more women and one white-coat-wearing man, all of them gazing down on me with squinted, skeptical expressions, as if they’re witnessing a verifiable miracle in the making.

​I’m certain this is nothing more than a bad dream—until my head pulsates with an iron-clad throb once again, accented by a searing poker-hot pain too real to be a delusion.

​“Mr. James, I’m Dr. Shapiro. Four weeks ago, you were involved in a car accident.” The doctor at the foot of the bed studies me. “You’re at Hoboken University Medical Center, and you’re in excellent hands.”

​They all study me.

​I try to sit up, only for a nurse to place her hand on my shoulder. “Take it easy, Mr. James.”

​Another nurse hands me water. I take a sip. The clear, cold liquid that glides down my throat both soothes and stings. I swallow the razor-blade sensation and try to sit up again, but my arms shake in protest, muscles threatening to give out.

​“Where’s my wife?” Each word is excruciating, physically and otherwise.

​She should be here.

​Why isn’t she here?

​“Your wife?” The nurse with the water cup repeats my question as she exchanges glances with the dark-haired nurse on the opposite side of my bed. “Mr. James … you don’t have a wife.”

​I try to respond, which only causes me to cough. I’m handed the water once more, and when I get the coughing under control, I ask for my wife once more.

​“Has anyone called her?” I hand the cup back. If I’ve been out of it for weeks, I imagine she’s beside herself. And our kids. I can’t begin to imagine what they’ve been going through. “Does she know I’m awake? Have my children seen me like this?”

​“Sir …” The nurse with the dark hair frowns.

​“My wife,” I say, harder this time.

​“Mr. James.” Dr. Shapiro comes closer, and a nurse steps out of the way. “You suffered extensive injuries in your accident …”

​The man rambles on, but I only catch fragments of what he’s saying. Shattered pelvis. Spleen removal. Internal bleeding. Brain swelling. Medically-induced coma.

​“It’s not uncommon to be confused or disoriented upon awaking,” he says.

​But she was just here …

​She was just with me …

​Only we weren’t in this room, we were at the beach—the little strip of sand beyond our summer home. She was in my arms as we lay warm under a hot sun, watching our children run from the rolling waves that rolled over the coastline, leaving tiny footprints up and down the shore.

​A boy and a girl.

​My wife smelled of sunscreen, and she wore an oversized straw hat with a black ribbon and thick-framed cat-eye sunglasses with red rims that matched her red sarong. I can picture it clearer than anything in this damn room.

​I can hear her laugh, bubbly and contagious.

​If I close my eyes, I can see her heart-shaped smile—the one that takes up half her face and can turn the worst of days completely upside down.

​“We’re going to let you rest, Mr. James, and then we’ll order a few tests.” The doctor digs in a deep pocket of his jacket, and then he sneaks a glance at his phone. “I’ll be here for the next eight hours, if you have any additional questions. The nurses will ensure you’re comfortable in the meantime. We’ll discuss your treatment plan as soon as you’re feeling up to it.”

​He tells the nurse with the dark hair to order a CT scan, mumbles something else I can’t discern, and then he’s gone. A moment later, the room clears save for myself and the third nurse—the one who’s done nothing but stare at me with despondent eyes this entire time.

​“There must be a mistake. Someone needs to call my wife immediately.” I try to sit up, but an electric intensity unlike anything I’ve ever experienced shoots up my arm and settles along my back and shoulders.

​The thought of her not knowing where I am sends a squeeze to my chest. What if she thinks I left her? What if she thinks I disappeared? What if she has no idea what happened? And what was I doing in Hoboken when our life is in Manhattan?

​“What’s her name?” Her question comes soft and low, almost like she’s trying to ensure no one hears her. “Your wife?”

​I open my mouth to speak … only nothing comes out.

​I can picture her as vivid as still blue waters on a windless day—but it’s the strangest thing because her name escapes me.

Nothing but blank after infuriating blank.

​“I … I can’t remember.” I lean back, staring into the reflective void of a black TV screen on the opposite wall.

​The nurse’s gaze grows sadder, if that’s possible. “It’s okay. You’ve been through quite an ordeal.”

​She doesn’t believe me.

​“Would you like me to call your sister?” she asks.

​My sister … Claire.

​If I can remember my sister’s name, why can’t I remember my own wife’s?

​“Yes,” I say. “Call Claire. Immediately.”

​She’ll be able to sort this out, I’m sure of it.

​“Would you like me to adjust your bed?” The nurse straightens the covers over my legs. “I’m Miranda, by the way. I’ve been assigned to you since you arrived. I can tell you just about anything you need to know.”

​“Just … call my sister.”

​“Of course, Mr. James. Can I grab you anything while I make that call?”

​I lift my hand—the one without the IV—to my forehead. “Head’s pounding like a goddamned jackhammer. Got anything for that?”

​“Absolutely. Be right back …”

​Miranda hurries out the door, and I’m alone.

​If I close my eyes, the room spins, but I can picture my wife with impeccable lucidity—the square line of her jaw, her heart-shaped lips that flip up in the corners, the candy-apple green of her eyes.

My heart aches, though it isn’t a physical pain, it’s deeper.

​More profound.

​Like the drowning of a human soul.

​I remind myself that the doctor’s said it’s normal to be disoriented, and I promise myself everything will come back to me once I get my bearings.

​The clock on the wall reads eight minutes past seven. The sky beyond the windows is half-lit. I haven’t the slightest clue if it’s AM or PM. I couldn’t tell you what day it is or what month it is for that matter.

​“Mr. James, your sister is on her way,” the nurse says when she returns.

​She hands me a white paper cup with two white pills.

​So much fucking white.

​If I never see white again after this, I’ll die a happy man.






My Thoughts:
 
Anyone who follows my reviews will know that I don't often hand out five stars; it takes a special book to earn them and this one did it for me. How? Well, it starts with the author and how she plies her craft. Winter Renshaw is one of those writers who can take what might on the surface seem like a typical plot and twist the hell out of it in such a way, it becomes a breathtaking masterpiece. She did it with The Cruelest Stranger - which is still one of my favorite books by her and I like them all - and she does it again with The Best Man. She started with an intriguing blurb about a man living the perfect life only to realize it was a dream he had while in a medically-induced coma after a near-fatal accident and she finished it with a pretty epic HEA for Cainan and Brie. But I'm not going to tell you any of that - in fact, I'm not going to tell you anything at all that would spoil this journey for you and it is quite a journey for this couple! I will tell you this, though. Read this book and if you're anything like me, you won't be sorry. I, for one, eagerly anticipate the next book from this author.








Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi. 




And if you'd like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here ---> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j




HUGE News from Jennifer L. Armentrout!

FBaA - RB banner copy

“Action, adventure, sexiness, and angst! From Blood and Ash has it all and double that. So many feels and so many moments it made me cheer for the character. Read. This. Book! You'll be obsessed!”

- Tijan, New York Times bestselling author

From Blood and Ash, a captivating, sexy and action-packed high fantasy novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, is available now!

FromBloodAndAsh AMAZON 


If you love forbidden romance, this book is for you. If you love snark, this book is for you. If you love action and intrigue, edge of your seat moments and being caught off guard by what you’re reading, this book is for you. And if you’ve been missing . . . vampires in your life, this book is for you.

A Maiden…
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.


FB&A FB 


Download your copy today!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/bloodash
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2UuUUiF

 
FB&A teaser 1 

To receive the FREE gift with your purchase of FROM BLOOD AND ASH, click here: https://bit.ly/2WTMCTh
 
FBA tattoo and bookmark gift with purchase IG
Facetune 

About Jennifer L. Armentrout #1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Border Jack Apollo. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over a hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.

 
Connect with Jennifer L. Armentrout
Instagram: @jennifer_l_armentrout http://bit.ly/33GWn8R
Twitter: @JLArmentroutnews http://bit.ly/2QvDYpT
Stay up to date with Jennifer by joining her mailing list: https://bit.ly/2qBce5m

Release Boost: Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire by Pippa Grant




Title: Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire
Series: Bro Code #3
Author: Pippa Grant
Genre: Romantic Comedy
 Release Date: March 24, 2020



Blurb

Never borrow pants from your brother. Especially if he’s a size smaller than you are, because all that pressure in the junk will short-circuit your brain.

And you’ll lie to a woman in a club about your real name.

Leave her unsatisfied after making out in a bathroom.

Then find out that she’s the one thing standing in the way of your dreams. And she very much doesn’t like being lied to.

Now I have to convince Lila Valentine—the woman I can’t stop thinking about, my biggest regret, and my new boss—that I’m what’s best for the baseball team she’s inherited.

If we can’t work together to save the Fireballs, the commissioner’s forcing a sale and moving them across the country.

I’ll do anything to save my home team.

But the one thing I can’t do?

Keep my hands to myself.

Which would be fine, if she hadn’t been telling me lies this whole time too.

Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire is a rocking fun romance between a single dad obsessed with baseball, an heiress with secrets, baseball pants, a rundown team, and rabid ducks. It stands alone and comes with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.







Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited







Excerpt

The squawking erupts again nearby and saves me. There are no visible chickens on the field, and it gets louder as we approach the dugout on the first base side.
Louder and more intense.
Very intense.
Like, are there chicken police? Because we might need the chicken police.
I drift directly behind Tripp while we approach the noise, shameless in using him as a human shield if this is a chicken uprising. What's that movie? The one with the apes that rebel and take over the world? That's what this sounds like, except with feathers and clucks instead of chest-pounding and grunts.
"Should we call security?" My self-defense classes didn't cover protecting yourself from rabid chickens.
"That'd be a foul," he murmurs. And then chuckles to himself, and oh my god.
"Foul—fowl? Like a bird-fowl? Did you just make a dad joke at a time like this?"
"A time like this? You mean a random Tuesday night at a deserted ball field?"
"At a time when the chickens are gathering for a ritualistic sacrifice of one of their own."
His shoulders shake, and he seems to be struggling to cough.
"Oh, god, did you inhale a feather? Is that how this starts? They shed their feathers to choke us to death?"
"Please don't talk about chickens and choking in the same sentence."
"That was not a dad joke."
"No, it was—oh. Duck."
I squat low, spinning to see what I'm ducking from.
Tripp flips his flashlight on me. I squint and cover my head. "Stop! I can't see! What's coming?"
"Lila. Ducks. Ducks. Not chickens. It's mating ducks."
He swings the flashlight to the dugout, and—oh.
Oh.
"Is it...supposed to be that violent?"
There are two ducks under the bench in the dugout, one flapping its wings and chasing the other, who's squawking so loudly she could wake the dead.
And— "Ohmygod, I did not need to see that!"
Duck penis.
Duck penis.
Oh my god. Duck penis. Duck penis should not look like that.
Tripp's bent double laughing.
"Where's security?" I demand. "Hello? Security? Security? I'll give whoever removes this duck a ten-thousand-dollar bonus. Right now."
No one comes running for ten grand, because no one can hear me.
The squawking. It's a cry for help.
"It's nature," Tripp says. He's wiping his eyes now, he's laughing so hard. "Give 'em a few. They'll finish up."
The girl duck is racing back and forth under the bench.
The boy duck is chasing her with that thing.
And I am not having it. "Shoo. Shoo!"
"Lila!" Tripp calls, but I'm already gone.
Flapping my arms. Yelling. Charging the dugout and the ducks.
Why are they even here? There's no pond here. Winter's coming. They should be flying to the Caribbean for Mai Tais and sunshine.
And instead, they're ruining the sanctity of my ballpark.
"Shoo!" I yell again.
I hit the stairs down to the long covered bench, and the boy duck suddenly seems to realize I'm coming at him.
He turns, pointing that thing at me, flaps his wings, and gets this evil glint in his eyes that means I really should've thought about what I was doing before I came in here.
"Woo her nicely," I snap.
He squawks—no, quacks at me.
Crap.
I need to go back to kindergarten to learn my animal sounds again. I'm a city girl. We don't do farm animals.
"And put that thing away!"
"Lila." Tripp's laughing so hard he's wheezing. He grabs my elbow and tugs. "Let the ducks be."
"I'd let it be if he wasn't attacking her."
"Maybe that's how ducks have sex."
"Then maybe ducks shouldn't exist."
"QQQUUUUAAAACCCCCKKKKK!" the boy duck yells.
It's like a Braveheart yell, and I realize I'm asking the wrong question.
I shouldn't be asking why is the duck assaulting the other duck in a dugout?
I should be asking what have humans previously done to this duck because he's going to kill me?
It charges, wings flapping.
I scream and take off running. Tripp mutters a well-timed, oh, fuck and runs with me. "The other dugout," he shouts, pointing to the dugout on the third base side.
Another light flashes up in the stands.
"Security!" I yell. "Arrest the duck! Arrest the duck!"
It's gaining on us. Quacking louder. And it can fly. It can fly.
It's going to swoop over us, poop on our heads, and whack us with that—that—that mutant penis and then scoop us up in its talons, and—"Aaah! It got me. It got me!"
It bit me on the butt.
"Don't fuck with nature," Tripp grunts.






Also Available


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

ALSO AVAILABLE IN AUDIO & PRINT




AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

ALSO AVAILABLE IN AUDIO & PRINT







Author Bio

Pippa Grant is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes romantic comedies that will make tears run down your leg. When she's not reading, writing or sleeping, she's being crowned employee of the month as a stay-at-home mom and housewife trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be productive members of society, all the while fantasizing about long walks on the beach with hot chocolate chip cookies.


Author Links




Release Blitz and Giveaway ($20 Amazon gift card): Dirty Hookup by Mira Lyn Kelly




Title: Dirty Hookup
A Slayers Hockey Series Novel
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
Genre: Hockey Romance
Release Date: March 31, 2020



Blurb

One look and I know… this chick hates me.
I should walk away, find some puck bunny to gleefully sit on my lap and tell me what a big, hot, hockey stud I am--totally true, BTW. But there’s just something about this feisty redhead I can’t let go. She’s got an edge to her that’s sexy as hell and a smart mouth that’s been tying me up since the night I met her.

She tells me to forget it, we’re not happening. But this isn’t the kind of woman a guy ever forgets. Especially when the air starts to sizzle and pop every time we get within ten feet of each other. She’s in my head and under my skin, and all I can think about is the way she looked at me that one time. Like she already knew how it could be between us.

I’m not the kind of guy a girl like her takes home… But maybe I want to be.







Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / APPLE BOOKS






Trailer



Excerpt

Unfreakingbelievable.
Ducking around a corner, I press my back to the wall and suck one shaky breath after another until the spots behind my eyes finally clear, along with any wayward thoughts about a third Slayers hockey player needing a bed in the ER.
I can’t believe it. After all these years.
Quinn O’Brian.
Two feet in front of me. Giving me that same smile. The one that put my belly into free fall the first time I saw it. Left me breathless. And then less than a day later, left me humiliated. Devastated. Working up fantasies about the wrath I’d rain down on him if I ever saw him again.
So much for that badassery. My knees barely held me when I looked up to find those stupid sea-green eyes twinkling back at me like some Disney hero come to life.
Stupid eyes.
Stupid shoulders and muscles-everywhere body.
Stupid sandy blond hair standing up like some foolish girl just had her hands in it for the last hour.
And that introduction.
Blowing out a breath, I shake my head.
He didn’t even recognize me. Though why I ever thought he might is beyond me. Six years later and I’m still reading more into that night than there ever was. More into those soul-deep stares and slow touches. More into those tender words that turned out to be total lies.






Author Bio


Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire. Mira Lyn Kelly is the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen sizzly love stories with over a million readers worldwide. Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy… only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in Minnesota, where their four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs provide an excess of action and entertainment.


Author Links