Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Very Friendly Valentine's Day


Title: A Very Friendly Valentine's Day
Author: Kayley Loring
Genre: Steamy Romantic Comedy
Release Date: January 14, 2021

EDDIE: Cancel your dinky little roomette on the train. I’m booking us two of the big bedroom suites. 

BIRDIE: I’ll cancel it AFTER you’ve booked the other sleeper rooms. And reimburse you. 

EDDIE: Don’t worry about it. Just cancel your tickets. I got this. Round trip. I’m on the Amtrak website right now. 

BIRDIE: You don’t have to leave NYC when I do! You’ll hardly be able to spend any time with your Instagram girlfriend that you've never met! 

EDDIE: It’s fine. She’ll be fine with it. Cancel your tickets. 

BIRDIE: You aren’t going to stop texting me until I’ve canceled them, are you? 

EDDIE: Damn right I’m not. Just do it. You can thank me later. 


EDDIE: Um. Did you cancel your tickets? 

BIRDIE: Yes, Edward. I canceled them. 

EDDIE: Okay, because it turns out they only had one Family Bedroom from LA to Chicago. But the good news is I booked it for us. It’s the biggest room they had. The bad news is I booked it for us. And it’s the only sleeper room they have left now. 

EDDIE: In related news, there was also only one room left from Chicago to New York. 

EDDIE: Hands up if you’re excited! *man raising hand emoji* 

BIRDIE: I am so mad at you right now. 


BIRDIE: I’ve compiled a list of ground rules re shared train bedroom. Check your email, please read carefully, and refer to it again on the ninth of February. Thank you. 

EDDIE: *nerd face emoji* Received. I have some notes.

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Audio narrated by Connor Crais & Mackenzie Cartwright coming soon!

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Before writing steamy romantic comedy novels, Kayley Loring got a BFA in creative writing from a Canadian university and had a fifteen-year career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles (under a different name). She mostly wrote PG-13 family comedies that studios would pay her lots of money for and then never make into movies. In 2017 she decided to move to the Pacific Northwest and write about all the fun stuff that she wasn't allowed to write about in those PG-13 scripts. Now she’s breathing cleaner air and writing dirtier words. It’s an adjustment she’s happily getting used to.


The Invitation Excerpt Reveal


Title: The Invitation
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2021

Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, The Invitation? Check out this SNEAK PEEK of CHAPTER 1!

“I can’t do this…” I stopped halfway up the marble staircase. 
Fisher paused a few steps ahead of me. He walked back down to where I stood. “Sure you can. Remember the time we were in sixth grade and you had to make that presentation about your favorite president? You were a nervous wreck. You thought you were going to forget everything you’d memorized and be standing there with everyone staring at you.” 
“Yes, what about it?” 
“Well, this is no different. You got through that, didn’t you?” 
Fisher had lost his mind. “My fears all came true that day. I got up in front of the blackboard and started to sweat. I couldn’t remember a single word I’d written. Everyone in the class stared, and then you heckled me.” 
Fisher nodded. “Exactly. Your worst fear came true, and yet you lived to see another day. In fact, that day turned out to be the best day of your life.” 
I shook my head, bewildered. “How so?” 
“That was the first time we’d ever been in the same class. I thought you were just another annoying girl like the rest of them. But after school that day, you ripped into me for teasing you while you were trying to do your presentation. That made me realize you weren’t like the other girls. And that very day I decided we were going to be best friends.” 
I shook my head. “I didn’t speak to you for the rest of the school year.” 
Fisher shrugged. “Yeah, but I won you over the next year, didn’t I? And right now you feel a little calmer than you did two minutes ago, don’t you?” 
I sighed. “I guess I do.” 
He held out his tuxedo-clad elbow. “Shall we go in?” 
I swallowed. As terrified as I was of what we were about to do, I also couldn’t wait to see what the inside of the library looked like all done up for a wedding. I’d spent countless hours sitting on these steps, wondering about the people walking by. 
Fisher waited patiently with his elbow out while I debated another minute. Finally, with another loud sigh, I took his arm. “If we wind up in jail, you’re going to have to come up with the bail money for both of us. I’m way too broke.” 
He flashed his movie-star smile. “Deal.” 
As we climbed the remaining steps to the doors of the New York Public Library, I went over all of the details we’d discussed in the Uber on the way here. Our names for the evening were Evelyn Whitley and Maximilian Reynard. Max was in real estate—his family owned Reynard Properties—and I’d gotten my MBA at Wharton and recently moved back to the City. We both lived on the Upper East Side—at least that part was true. 
Two uniformed waiters wearing white gloves stood at the towering entrance doors. One held a tray of champagne flutes, and the other a clipboard. Though my legs somehow kept going, my heart felt like it was trying to escape from my chest and take off in the opposite direction. 
“Good evening.” The waiter with the clipboard nodded. “May I have your names, please?” 
Fisher didn’t flinch as he doled out the first of what would be a night full of lies. 
The man, who I noticed had an earpiece in, scanned his list and nodded. He held a hand out for us to enter, and his partner handed us each bubbly. “Welcome. The ceremony will take place in the rotunda. Seating for the bride is on your left.” 
“Thank you,” Fisher said. As soon as we were out of earshot, he leaned close. “See? Easy peasy.” He sipped his champagne. “Oooh, this is good.” 
I had no idea how he was so calm. Then again, I also had no idea how he’d managed to talk me into this insanity. Two months ago, I’d come home from work to find Fisher, who was also my neighbor, raiding my refrigerator for leftovers—a common occurrence. As he ate two-day-old chicken Milanese, I’d sat at the kitchen table sorting through my mail and having a glass of wine. While we talked, I’d sliced open the back of an oversized envelope without checking the address on the front. The most stunning wedding invitation had been inside—black and white with raised gold leaf. It was like a gilded work of art. And the wedding was at the New York Public Library, of all places—right near my old office and where I’d often sat and had my lunch on the iconic stairs. I hadn’t visited in at least a year, so I was seriously pumped to get to go to a wedding there. 
Though I’d had no idea whose wedding it was—a distant relative I’d forgotten, maybe? The names weren’t even vaguely familiar. When I turned the envelope over, I quickly realized why. I’d opened my ex-roommate’s mail. Ugh. That figured. It wasn’t me who was invited to a fairytale wedding at one of my favorite places in the world. 
But after a couple of glasses of wine, Fisher had convinced me it should be me going, and not Evelyn. It was the least my deadbeat ex-roommate could do for me, he’d said. After all, she’d snuck out in the middle of the night, taken some of my favorite shoes with her, and the check she’d left behind for the two months of back rent she owed had bounced. At a minimum, I ought to get to attend a ritzy, thousand-dollars-a-plate wedding, rather than her. Lord knew none of my friends were ever getting married at a venue like that. By the time we’d polished off the second bottle of merlot, Fisher had decided we would go in Evelyn’s place—crash the wedding for a fun night out, compliments of my no-good former roomie. Fisher had even filled out the response card, writing that two guests would attend, and slipped it into his back pocket to mail the next day. 
I’d honestly forgotten all about our drunken plans until two weeks ago when Fisher came home with a tuxedo he’d borrowed from a friend for the upcoming nuptials. I’d balked and told him I wasn’t going to crash some expensive wedding for people I didn’t know, and he’d done what he always did: gotten me to think his bad idea wasn’t really that bad. 
Until now. I stood in the middle of the sprawling lobby of what was probably a two-hundred-thousand-dollar wedding and felt like I might literally pee my pants. 
“Drink your champagne,” Fisher said. “It’ll help you relax a bit and put some color back in your cheeks. You look like you’re about to attempt to tell the class why you like John Quincy Adams so much.” 
I squinted at Fisher, though he smiled back, undeterred. I was certain nothing was going to help me loosen up. But nevertheless, I gulped back the contents of my glass. 
Fisher tucked one hand casually into his trouser pocket and looked around with his head held high, like he didn’t have a fear in the world. “I haven’t seen my old friend party animal Stella in a long time,” he said. “Might she come out to play tonight?” 
I handed him my empty champagne flute. “Shut up and go find me another glass before I bolt.” 
He chuckled. “No problem, Evelyn. You just sit tight and try not to blow our cover before we even get to see the beautiful bride.” 
“Beautiful? You don’t even know what she looks like.” 
“All brides look beautiful. That’s why they wear a veil—so you can’t see the ugly ones, and everything is magical on their special day.” 
“That’s so romantic.” 
Fisher winked. “Not everyone can be as pretty as me.” 
Three glasses of champagne helped calm me enough to sit through the wedding ceremony. And the bride definitely didn’t need a veil. Olivia Rothschild—or Olivia Royce, as she would be now—was gorgeous. I got a little teary eyed watching the groom say his vows. It was a shame the happy couple weren’t really my friends, because one of their groomsmen was insanely attractive. I might’ve daydreamed that Livi—that’s what I called her in my head—would fix me up with her new hubby’s buddy. But alas, tonight was a ruse, and I was no Cinderella story. 
The cocktail hour took place in a beautiful room I’d never been in. I studied the artwork on the ceiling as I waited at the bar for my drink. Fisher had told me he needed to use the restroom, but I had a feeling he’d really snuck off to talk to the handsome waiter who had been eyeing him since we’d walked in. 
“Here you go, miss.” The bartender slid a drink over to me. 
“Thank you.” I took a quick look around to see if anyone was paying attention before dipping my nose inside the glass and taking a deep sniff. Definitely not what I ordered. 
“Ummm, excuse me. Is it possible you made this with Beefeater gin and not Hendricks?” 
The bartender frowned. “I don’t think so.” 
I sniffed a second time, now certain he’d made it wrong. 
A man’s voice to my left caught me off guard. “You didn’t even taste it, yet you think he poured the wrong gin?” 
I smiled politely. “Beefeater is made with juniper, orange peels, bitter almond, and blended teas, which produces a licorice taste. Hendricks is made of juniper, rose, and cucumber. There’s a different smell to each.” 
“Are you drinking it straight or on the rocks?” 
“Neither. It’s a gin martini, so it has vermouth.” 
“But you think you can smell that he used the wrong gin, without even tasting it?” The guy’s voice made it clear he didn’t think I could. 
“I have a very good sense of smell.” 
The man looked over my shoulder. “Hey, Hudson, I got a hundred bucks that says she can’t tell the difference between the two gins if we line them up.” 
A second man’s voice came from my right, this one behind my shoulder a bit. The sound was deep, yet velvety and smooth—sort of like the gin the bartender should’ve used to make my drink. 
“Make it two hundred, and you’re on.” 
Turning to get a look at the man willing to wager on my abilities, I felt my eyes widen. 
Oh. Wow. The gorgeous guy from the bridal party. I’d stared at him during most of the wedding. He was handsome from afar, but up close he was breathtaking in a way that made my belly flutter—dark hair, tanned skin, a chiseled jawline, and luscious, full lips. The way his hair was styled—slicked back and parted to the side—reminded me of an old-time movie star. What I hadn’t been able to see from the back row during the ceremony was the intensity of his ocean blue eyes. Those were currently scanning my face like I was a book. 
I cleared my throat. “You’re going to bet two-hundred dollars that I can identify gin?” 
The gorgeous man stepped forward, and my olfactory sense perked up. Now that smells better than any gin. I wasn’t sure if it was his cologne or some sort of a body wash, but whatever it was, it took everything in my power to not lean toward him and take a deep whiff. The sinfully sexy man smelled as good as he looked. That pairing was my kryptonite. 
There was a hint of amusement in his voice. “Are you telling me it’s a bad bet?” 
I shook my head and turned back to speak to his friend. “I’ll play along with your little bet, but I’m in for two hundred, too.” 
When my eyes returned to the handsome man on my right, the corner of his lip twitched just slightly. “Nice.” He lifted his chin to his friend. “Tell the bartender to pour a shot of Beefeater and a shot of Hendricks. Line ’em up in front of her, and don’t let us know which is which.” 
A minute later, I lifted the first shot glass and sniffed. It honestly wasn’t even necessary for me to smell the other, though I did it anyway, just to be safe. Damn… I should’ve bet more. This was too easy, like taking candy from a baby. I slid one shot glass forward and spoke to the waiting bartender. “This one is the Hendricks.” 
The bartender looked impressed. “She’s right.” 
“Damn it,” the guy who had started this game huffed. He dug into his front pocket, pulled out an impressive billfold, and peeled off four hundred-dollar bills. Tossing them in our direction on top of the bar, he shook his head. “I’ll win it back by Monday.” 
Gorgeous Guy smiled at me as he collected his cash. Once I took mine, he lowered his head to whisper in my ear. 
“Nice job.” 
Oh myHis hot breath sent a shiver down my spine. It had been way too long since I’d had contact with a man. Sadly, my knees felt a little weak. But I forced myself to ignore it. “Thank you.” 
He reached around me to the bar and lifted one of the shots. Bringing it to his nose, he sniffed before setting it back down and smelling the other. 
“I don’t smell anything different.” 
“That just means you have a normal sense of smell.” 
“Ah, I see. And yours is…extraordinary?” 
I smiled. “Why yes, it is.” 
He looked amused as he passed me one of the shots and held the other up in toast. “To being extraordinary,” he said. 
I wasn’t generally a shot drinker, but what the hell? I clinked my glass with his before knocking it back. Maybe the alcohol would help settle the nerves this man seemed to have jolted awake. 
I set my empty shot glass on the bar next to his. “I take it this is something the two of you do on a regular basis, since your friend plans to win it back by Monday?” 
“Jack’s family and mine have been friends since we were kids. But the betting started when we went to the same college. I’m a Notre Dame fan, and he’s a USC fan. We were broke back then, so we used to bet a Taser zap on games.” 
“A Taser zap?” 
“His father was a cop. He gave him a Taser to keep under his car seat just in case. But I don’t think he envisioned his son taking hits of fifty-thousand volts when a last-minute interception made his team lose.” 
I shook my head. “That’s a little crazy.” 
“Definitely not our wisest decision. At least I won a lot more than he did. A little brain damage might help explain some of his choices in college.” 
I laughed. “So today was just a continuation of that pattern, then?” 
“Pretty much.” He smiled and extended his hand. “I’m Hudson, by the way.” 
“Nice to meet you. I’m St—” I caught myself in the nick of time. “I’m Evelyn.” 
“So are you a gin aficionado, Evelyn? Is that why I didn’t smell anything different between the two?” 
I smiled. “I wouldn’t consider myself an aficionado of gin, no. To be honest, I mostly drink wine. But did I mention my occupation? I’m a fragrance chemist—a perfumist.” 
“You make perfume?” 
I nodded. “Among other things. I developed scents for a cosmetics and fragrance company for six years. Sometimes it was a new perfume, other times it was the scent for a wipe that removes makeup, or maybe a cosmetic that needs a more pleasant smell.” 
“Pretty sure I never met a perfumist before.” 
I smiled. “Is it as exciting as you’d hoped?” 
He chuckled. “What exactly is the training for a job like that?” 
“Well, I have a chemistry degree. But you can have all the education you want, and you still won’t be able to do the job unless you also have hyperosmia.” 
“And that is…” 
“An enhanced ability to smell odors, an increased olfactory acuity.” 
“So you’re good at smelling shit?” 
I laughed. “Exactly.” 
A lot of people think they have a good sense of smell, but they don’t really understand how heightened the sense is for someone with hyperosmia. Demonstrating always worked best. Plus, I really wanted to know what cologne he was wearing. So, I leaned in and took a deep inhale of Hudson. 
Exhaling, I said, “Dove soap.” 
He didn’t look completely sold. “Yes, but that’s a pretty common soap choice.” 
I smiled. “You didn’t let me finish. Dove Cool Moisture. It’s got cucumber and green tea in it—also a common ingredient in gins, by the way. And you use L’Oreal Elvive shampoo, same as me. I can smell gardenia tahitensis flower extract, rosa canina flower extract, and a slight hint of coconut oil. Oh, and you use Irish Spring deodorant. I don’t think you’re wearing any cologne, actually.” 
Hudson’s brows rose. “Now that’s impressive. The wedding party stayed in a hotel last night, and I forgot to pack my cologne.” 
“Which one do you normally wear?” 
“Ah… I can’t tell you that. What will we do on our second date for entertainment if we don’t play the sniff test?” 
“Our second date? I didn’t realize we were going to have a first.” 
Hudson smiled and held out his hand. “The night’s young, Evelyn. Dance with me?” 
A knot in the pit of my stomach warned me it was a bad idea. Fisher and I were supposed to stick together and limit contact with other people to minimize our chances of getting caught. But glancing around, my date was nowhere in sight. Plus, this man was seriously magnetic. Somehow, before my brain even finished debating the pros and cons, I found myself putting my hand in his. He led me to the dance floor and wrapped one arm around my waist, leading with the other. Not surprisingly, he knew how to dance. 
“So, Evelyn with the extraordinary sense of smell, I’ve never seen you before. Are you a guest or a plus one?” He looked around the room. “Is some guy giving me the evil eye behind my back right now? Am I going to need to get Jack’s Taser from the car to ward off a jealous boyfriend?” 
I laughed. “I am here with someone, but he’s just a friend.” 
“The poor guy…” 
I smiled. Hudson’s flirting was over the top, yet I gobbled it up. “Fisher is more interested in the guy who was passing out champagne than me.” 
Hudson held me a little closer. “I like your date much better than I did thirty seconds ago.” 
Goose bumps prickled my arms as he lowered his head, and his nose briefly brushed against my neck. 
“You smell incredible. Are you wearing one of the perfumes you make?” 
“I am. But it’s not one that can be ordered. I like the idea of having a true signature scent that someone can remember me by.” 
“I don’t think you need the perfume to be remembered.” 
He led me around the dance floor with such grace, I wondered if he had taken professional lessons. Most men his age thought slow dancing meant rocking back and forth and grinding an erection against you. 
“You’re a good dancer,” I said. 
Hudson responded by twirling us around. “My mother was a professional ballroom dancer. Learning wasn’t an option; it was a requirement if I wanted to be fed.” 
I laughed. “That’s really cool. Did you ever consider following in her footsteps?” 
“Absolutely not. I grew up watching her suffer with hip bursitis, stress fractures, torn ligaments—it’s definitely not the glamorous profession they make it out to be on all those dance-contest TV shows. You gotta love what you do for a job like that.” 
“I think you have to love what you do for any job.” 
“That’s a very good point.” 
The song came to an end, and the emcee told everyone to take their seats. 
“Where are you sitting?” Hudson asked. 
I pointed to the side of the room where Fisher and I had been seated. “Somewhere over there. Table Sixteen.” 
He nodded. “I’ll walk you.” 
We approached the table at the same moment as Fisher, who was coming from the other direction. He looked between Hudson and me, and his face asked the question he didn’t say aloud. 
“Umm…this is my friend Fisher. Fisher, this is Hudson.” 
Hudson extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.” 
After shaking with a silent Fisher, who seemed to have forgotten how to speak, he turned to me and took my hand once again. “I should get back to my table with the rest of the wedding party.” 
“Save a dance for me later?” 
I smiled. “I’d love to.” 
Hudson turned to walk away and then turned back. As he walked backwards, he called, “In case you pull a Cinderella on me and disappear, what’s your last name, Evelyn?” 
Thankfully, him using my fake name reminded me not to give him my real one as I’d almost done the first time. “It’s Whitley.” 
Oh GodDid he know Evelyn? 
His eyes swept over my face. “Beautiful name. I’ll see you later.” 
“Uhh…okay, sure.” 
When Hudson was barely out of earshot, Fisher leaned close to me. “My name’s supposed to be Maximilian, sweetheart.” 
“Oh my God, Fisher. We have to leave.” 
“Nah.” He shrugged. “It’s no big deal. We made up Maximilian anyway. I’m your plus one. No one knows the name of the person Evelyn brought. Though I still want to play a real estate tycoon.” 
“No, it’s not that.” 
“Then what is it?” 
“We have to leave because he knows...” 


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Please note: There will not be an Amazon ebook pre-order, but it will be available on Amazon on release day.

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Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Wish Release Blitz


Title: The Wish
Author: Brooke Gillespie Trout & Trisha Harley McCarthy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Nicholas St. James is a model living in New York City. He's at the height of his career, landing a coveted Calvin Klein billboard in Times Square. But he wants more. He wants to follow his passion and act.

At a New Year's Eve party, he finds himself in the grips of a well-known socialite who suddenly throws him into the spotlight.

Holly Winters hosts a popular talk show, Scandal, that streams online from her hometown, South Lake Tahoe. She loves a good dose of drama and isn't disappointed when her show is the unexpected catalyst for the latest gossip.

From the East Coast to the West Coast, both Nicholas and Holy make a wish as the clock strikes twelve. Little did they know, their wish would bring them together.

Amidst the gossip in the media and unsolicited opinions on social platforms, Nicholas and Holly find themselves connected in a trendy, yet unconventional way.

The New Year is off to a crazy start with many new developments in both of their careers.

Sometime dreams really do come true. Or does a person need to be careful what they wish for?

Follow the Authors

Rowdy (Black Ops MMA #2) Release Boost


Title: Rowdy
Series: Black Ops MMA #2
Author: D.M. Davis
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: January 7, 2021

D.M. Davis’ ROWDY is a messy, meant-for-me, sexy, contemporary romance and Book Two in the Black Ops MMA series. 

You think this is a love story. You’re wrong. It’s a massacre. 

A massacre of who I think I am, 
where I come from, 
and who I thought I’d have a future with. 

One wouldn't have me. 
The other couldn't. 
Both stole my heart. 

You think you know me. You have no idea. 

He thinks I'm a lion. 
I'm really a mouse, 
afraid of the demons nipping at my heels. 

No one can touch me. 
No one except him. 
I don't fear his touch. 
I crave it. 

Darkness is my enemy, 
yet his shadow doesn't scare me. 

He's the only dark I'm not afraid of. 

When their pasts threaten to topple their future, can the lion and her beast prevail, or will the darkness overtake them? 

For maximum enjoyment, it is suggested the Black Ops MMA Series be read in order to fully experience the world and the characters that inhabit it. 

Black Ops MMA Series: 
NO MERCY | ROWDY | CAPTAIN (coming Mar 2021)

Free in Kindle Unlimited

“Only a kiss,” I growl. I shouldn’t be doing this. She’s not ready for me. My need for her is already too big to contain in my head. In my pants, my cock is planning ways to drill through my jeans to get to her. 
“To start.” She leans in, so fucking eager and sweet. So, so sweet. 
Fuck it. 
I aim for a center-of-her-lips, closed mouth, gentle and slow kiss. 
What I get is her tongue sweeping out to lick my lower lip the second our mouths connect. 
All sanity leaves the building. 
She wraps around me, grinding her hips as if she knows my cock is seeking its way to her. 
A gasp from her, a parting of our lips, and our tongues are tangoing like they didn’t just meet. 
Her mouth is heaven, if heaven is a fiery pit of temptation and lust. 
“Damn, Kitten.” Am I dreaming? I lean back to be sure it’s her I’m kissing. 
I’m met with a whimper and her hands sinking into my hair, drawing me back to her mouth. 
“Take what you need,” I breathe against her lips what might be my final words as she sucks my tongue and reduces the air in my lungs by half. 
Blood rushes to feed the cocky sucker in my pants, nodding like he has any idea what he’s getting himself into. 
Cocky, have you met Blue Balls? 
I think you’re about to become good friends. 
A frenemy situation. 
Her hunger unleashed, she attacks my body like a starving carnivore that’s been stuck on a deserted island and just found fresh water and red meat. All I can do is hold on, take what she’s giving, devour her taste as she eats at my lips and feeds me her tongue over and over, deliciously hard, deep, and wanton. 
She’s killing me. 
Straight out murder by kissing. 
Who knew kissing was lethal? 
What a way to go.

Free in Kindle Unlimited    

D.M. Davis is a Contemporary and New Adult Romance Author. 

She is a Texas native, wife, and mother. Her background is Project Management, technical writing, and application development. D.M. has been a lifelong reader, and wrote poetry in her early life, but has found her true passion in writing about love and the intricate relationships between men and women. 

She writes of broken hearts and second chances, of dreamers looking for more than they have and daring to reach for it. 

D.M. believes it is never too late to make a change in your own life, to become the person you always wanted to be, but were afraid you were not worth the effort. You are worth it. Take a chance on you. You never know what’s possible if you don’t try. Believe in yourself as you believe in others, and see what life has to offer.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Housewife Chronicles Release Blitz +Review


Title: Housewife Chronicles
Author: Jennifer Snow
Genre: Dark Comedy/Women's Fiction
Release Date: January 12, 2021

Her husband's affair coming to light two weeks before his death should have been the worst thing to happen to Beth Cartwright that year. But being a widowed, single mom in a community of upper-class housewives is proving to be far more difficult.

Living next door to her husband's mistress and her former yoga instructor-Gina Thompson, has Beth wanting to pack up her teenage kids and get the hell out of the neighborhood. But when she becomes a suspect in her husband's death, she needs to rely on her husband's mistress and the rest of her quirky neighborhood friends to keep her out of jail.

Housewife Chronicles is a dark comedy with a hint of mystery and a focus on unlikely female friendships.

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Part 1… 
Upper-middle class was a special version of hell. 
Expensive homes with crippling mortgages, perfectly manicured lawns, and luxurious cars in the driveways could mask all kinds of sins. I like to think the secrets happening within the walls of my own split by-level weren’t the worst ones in the neighborhood. As I jog through the streets, my feet pounding the pavement in the same footsteps every morning for fifteen years, I fantasize about the lives I’m not living. 
My husband’s death should have been the worst thing to happen to me this month, but as it turns out, there are worse things a husband can do to a wife than simply die. 
Being the single widowed mom in a community of housewives was nowhere on my life plan. That thing we all fill out before high school graduation–our hopes and dreams, our roadmap to our future. 
So optimistic. So ultimately full of shit. 
I stop in front of the white picket fence of a three-story house and stare at the red-painted door. Red is supposed to be inviting. Apparently, everyone in the neighborhood had gotten the memo–except me. Our door is still white. 
Would painting it now stop the neighbors from giving me those suspicious looks? 
Oh good, Beth finally painted the door. She’s one of us now. 
Or would it be, 
Beth finally painted the door. What is she hiding now? 
I keep saying I'm going to stop coming to this weekly coffee, but after twelve years, I wouldn't know how to quit. It’s my routine. So far ingrained in my social calendar as though part of my DNA. Can one ever fully escape the cult that is upper class housewives? Howard's death could have at least given me that much. 
I finish stretching, not in a rush to go inside, but the garbage pick-up truck inches closer, and I want to avoid the feel of male eyes on my ass or worse, the embarrassment of not warranting their attention. I climb the stairs, turn the knob on the front door, and enter the house. 
Instead of freeing me from this obligation, Howard's death had somehow become the new reason I need these women. The same ones who brought his affair to light two weeks before he died. The ones who'd picked up the scent of an extramarital vibe around my husband at a neighborhood barbeque and followed the trail right to the house next door to mine where the divorced yoga instructor lives. 
My yoga instructor. 
My Fitbit Heart Rate Monitor starts beeping. 
Deep breath in. Deep breath out. 
Howard is dead… Karma already did what I'd been tempted to. 
An almost shrill, soprano voice drifts down a spiraling marble staircase as I close the door behind me. “Elizabeth, is that you?” 
No. It's Beth. Just Beth, but we've already had this conversation a dozen times, and Grace refuses to believe my parents actually named me Beth. Nicknames weren't acceptable to her. 
I jog up the stairs to the third floor. “Where are you guys? 
“My bedroom,” Grace says. 
As I approach the Master bedroom at the end of the hall, that a small child could go missing in-if children were allowed inside the home-I hear them talking about me. They know I can hear them. They don’t care. 
“Why are we always waiting on her?” 
“She doesn't work, yet she's always late.” 
“I’m never late when coffee is at my house,” I say, entering the room. “What are we...?” 
I stop at the sight of Sophia sitting on Grace’s bed–topless. Grace has her hand on Sophia’s left breast, but bruising and a faint scar around the nipple are visible on the other. 
“Feel. Just like the real thing,” Sophia tells me. 
A month ago, she’d said the same thing about her new platinum blonde hair extensions. 
“No thanks. I have my own.” Not nearly as impressive as the double D’s I can’t look away from. Nothing these women do ever surprises me anymore. I never know what I’m going to walk into…maybe that’s the real reason I still come to coffee. 
“Come on. Everyone else has,” Grace says. 
The other woman in the room, Holly, is on her cell phone near the window, but she nods her agreement. 
Well, if Holly did it. 
I step forward and poke one. Sophia grabs my hands and presses one to each breast. I’m held captive. They feel nothing like I assumed they would. Only days after surgery, and they do feel real. Like mine did before two children, gravity, and a lack of giving a shit turned my breasts into a place to balance my plate when I ate dinner at my pottery wheel. Which was every day lately. 
“Okay, now my nipples are getting hard.” 
I drop my hands. 
“Just kidding, the surgery eliminated almost all nipple sensitivity,” Sophia says, reaching for a tan, surgical bra and her discarded shirt draped across the bed. 
Grace hands me a card, and I read “Dr. River Onyx-Top Breast Augmentation Surgeon in L.A.” 
So, I'm not the only one to notice my saggy, lifeless breasts. 
“You really should call him. Gina recommended him to me and–” Sophia stops short. 
The women all exchange looks. 
“We can say her name.” Gina and her rocking body are not going anywhere, anytime soon, and despite the trash-talk about her, I know they’re all still attending her yoga classes. Everyone could claim to blame Gina for the affair, but we all still wanted a body like hers. 
I glance at the card again. “Can I keep this?” 
“Tell him I referred you,” Sophia says. 
I slide the business card into the pocket of my sweatpants. I’d never book an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon while in my right state of mind, but in case there’s an even lower point for me to reach… “Is coffee made?” 
“I’ve got something better than coffee,” Grace says. “Follow me.” She leaves the room, her expensive perfume–a mix of honey and daffodils–lingers like a cloud behind her, but I love the smell, so I breathe it in. She refuses to tell any of us what brand it is, like it’s her signature scent, and she can’t be unique and envied without it. 
I watch Sophia on the stairs, staring at her new chest, but the breasts don’t move as she descends. No bounce, no sag. They stay perfectly put. 
It would be nice to have one thing in my life that under control. 
Holly follows behind the group, her cell phone still plastered to her ear, talking quietly in an authoritative tone, her short, graying, jet-black bob covers her left eye and cheek. I’m not sure I’d even recognize her if I saw her full face. 
We reach the lower level, and unlike the delicious scent of Grace’s perfume, a rancid smell fills my nostrils as I enter the kitchen. “What is that?” I ask, trying not to breathe too deeply. 
“Durian tea,” Grace says, as a timer sounds on the counter. 
“Ohhh, I read about this in Cosmo last month.” Holly has finally put her cell phone away. She leans over a pot boiling on the stove. 
At our age we are still reading Cosmo? Must be the doctor’s office copies. Wouldn’t we get carded if we actually tried to buy one? 
Sorry, ma’am, but the amount of wrinkles on your face suggests you are too far gone for these pearls of wisdom to be of any benefit. It would be unethical to allow you to waste your money. 
“This stuff is supposed to be the ‘king of fruit,’” Sophia says, reading a text message on her cell phone. Her crazy long, mint green nails fly over the keyboard as she responds. 
“Then why does it smell so bad?” I ask. 
“Give it a chance,” Grace says. “It’s really good for you. It’s even an aphrodisiac.” 
“Not exactly what I need right now.” 
Grace pours four mugs of the hot, clear liquid and places one in front of me anyway. I open the fridge for a bottle of water instead. As I go to sit on a stool at the counter, Grace stops me. She scans the kitchen, grabs a plastic step stool, and gives it to me to sit on. “You don’t mind. I just had them redone, and you’re all sweaty from your run.” 
I sit on the newly reupholstered stool. She can kiss my slightly sweaty ass. 
Grace doesn’t argue. She doesn’t believe in conflict. It’s one of the things that intrigues me most about her. She’s so calm and even-tempered. For my own sense of self-worth, I have to envision her screaming in her massive walk-in closet when no one is around. She puts the stool back and addresses the group. 
“Okay, so I'm thinking we should add a book club element to these weekly coffees.” She picks up a book on the counter. 
Love and Rumors, by Grace Lee. 
Grace is a fiction author. Her new book is based on her latest divorce from Hollywood movie star, Brent Jackson. Her third failed marriage. Like an older version of a certain young popstar, Grace has learned to turn her heartache and drama into profit and live a very nice lifestyle from the settlements. 
“Advanced reader copies. I have one for each of you,” she says, as she hands them out. 
Holly hands hers back. “No. This hour every week is the only time I get to relax. I'm not studying for it.” She’s typing an email with one hand as she says this. Answering six work-related emails during this hour is probably relaxing to her. 
“It's reading…not studying,” Grace says, unoffended. 
“It’s not happening.” 
At forty-six, Holly is the oldest in the group, and that, by default, prevents any of us from disagreeing with her. She’s the “housewife” in the group I like best. Especially, today. Of course, I'll tell Grace I read her book. Honesty isn’t as important to this group as ego-stroking. 
“You all owe me twenty-seven, fifty. Pay whenever you can,” Grace says. 
“Can we get onto the subject of the day?” Holly asks. The subject of the day was her idea. If we only had an hour of girl talk a week, it should be focused on a topic, so as not to waste time with idle chitchat. It was the host’s job to come up with it each week. 
Grace stares straight at me. “Yes. This week’s topic is Elizabeth.” 
“Me?” Since that isn’t my name, I can’t be sure. 
“Let’s be more specific,” Sophia says, blowing on the hot liquid in her cup. 
So, there’s more than one thing they’d like to discuss about me. When did I become so fascinating? 
“Okay, her love life or sex life, I guess,” Grace says. 
Holly nods while responding to another message on her phone. “I agree, this should be discussed.” 
“I was waiting for someone to bring it up,” Sophia says, her cell phone blowing up with new text messages from her husband, Bob. 
“I’ve been widowed all of five minutes.” 
“But you’ve been separated for weeks, and let’s be honest, Howard wasn’t lying when he said your marriage was over a long time ago,” Holly says, sipping her tea. Her teal-rimmed, oval glasses steam up, blocking the look of judgment in her eyes. 
“I don’t necessarily agree with that.” Howard’s perception of our marriage had been completely different from mine. We’d been comfortable. We had a routine. Suddenly that meant the death of a marriage? 
“Before he died, when was the last time the two of you had sex?” Sophia asks, as she replies to her husband’s texts. 
I want to answer, but I don’t know. Of course, Howard was screwing Gina for months, so his interest in me had waned. 
“Okay, then. So, we need a plan to get Elizabeth ‘back in the saddle.’ Anyone have any single male friends we can set her up with? Rebounds. Not good guys, they will come later. Right now, we just need hot and available,” Grace says. She picks up her phone and scrolls through her contacts list. 
She better not recommend one of her own rebound boy toys. That’s a line I refuse to cross. 
The others think. And think. 
Grace frowns. “There’s gotta be someone,” she mutters. 
I get up from the stool. “You know what, get back to me. I have a client coming to pick up some pieces, so I have to go.” 
“Do you want to take your tea?” Grace asks, reaching for an eco-friendly, disposable to-go cup from a stack on the counter. 
“No, thank you. Someone else can enjoy mine.” Someone who had a penis lying around they could use in case that aphrodisiac side effect kicked in. 
“Okay…,” Grace says in a tone that suggests I’ve turned down the opportunity to drink from the fountain of youth, and I really can’t afford to. 
“Oh, and Beth?” Holly says, as I go to leave. “Now that you’re on your own, you may want to get your lawn mowed.” 
Seriously? “Are you trying to imply that I may have been at fault for Howard cheating? Cause I’ll have you know, my ‘lawn’ is very well maintained–” 
Holly turns to Grace. “What the hell is she talking about?” 
Grace nods toward my crotch. 
“I think she thought you meant...” Sophia has no problem showing her bare breasts to the world, but she’s embarrassed by the word vagina. 
“I actually meant your real lawn,” Holly says, as her cell phone rings, and she checks the call display. “The grass has grown well above neighborhood standards, and we’ve let it slide because you’re grieving, but you’ll need to take care of it.” 
Right. “I’ll do it today.” Embarrassed, I hurry out of the kitchen. The sound of their laughter follows me even after I leave the house. 
I really, really have to stop coming to weekly coffee.

This is the first book by Jennifer I have read. This book was an interesting read. Beth finds out that her husband is cheating on her with the much younger yoga instructor neighbor. She kicks him out and he moves right in next door with her. Then two weeks later he has a heart attack and dies. Only the police say he was murdered. Naturally Beth is a suspect. With all this going on in her life. Beth really begins to take stock of her life and what she wants. Its bad to say but her husband cheating on her and dying maybe the best thing that happened to Beth. She does a lot of growing and self-discovery. This book has humor as well. The neighbor hood ladies group she belongs to are hilarious at times. They are sometimes exactly what you suspect of upperclass ladies. Other times they shock you with what they say or do. Turns out they really are Beth’s friends and what to be there for her. The yoga instructor neighbor, Gina as well. She confused me a little. Some times she seemed so intelligent and put together but at the same time she had a hard time understanding why Beth didn’t want her in her life or the kids lives. Over all I really enjoyed this book and recommend it. It was a mix of dark comedy, a bit of romance, and some mystery. Great job Jennifer. 
Jennifer Snow is an award winning, USA Today Bestselling author of over 35 romance and thriller novels. Publishing with Grand Central, Harlequin, Berkley and Thomas & Mercer, she has over ten years of experience crafting stories that connect with readers worldwide. Her books have been translated into five different languages and have been optioned for film and television. She has won the Booksellers’ Best Award and has received Starred Reviews from Publishers’ Weekly. 

Jennifer is the writer of the Mistletoe series of screenplays. She is known for her romantic comedies and female-driven dramas for TV and film. In 2014, she was a finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest for her work “Mistletoe Fever”. She’s also written true-crime and thriller screenplays as work-for-hire assignments for various production companies. 

Her film work is represented by Alexia Melocchi at Little Studio Films and her literary work is represented by Jill Marsal at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. More info can be found on her website: