[Excerpt] The Boy I Hate by Taylor Sullivan

The Boy I Hate
Taylor Sullivan
Publication date: August 12th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Samantha Smiles and Renee Montgomery have been best friends for over a decade. They’ve shared laughs, secrets, and a mutual hatred for one person: Tristan Montgomery, Renee’s older brother. He was the guy every girl wanted, and every guy wanted to be, and it wasn’t uncommon they’d befriend his little sister just to get closer to him. Which was exactly how Samantha became Renee’s saving grace. She was the only girl Renee could trust not to fall in love with her older brother.

Until the one night Samantha spent with him alone, leaving her questioning everything she’d ever known about the blond headed heart-throb.

Years later, Renee asks Samantha to be her maid of honor. With no other option, Samantha is forced to drive cross-country with the focus of their teenage ire.

He was her first kiss.

Her only secret.

Can Samantha survive the trip cross-country with the reckless Tristan Montgomery? The guy who did what he wanted, whenever he wanted, without worry for tomorrow? Or will she discover a different side of him. One that’s sweet, funny, and maybe a little bit vulnerable. And fall completely and helplessly in love for the first time in her adult life with the one man who could cause her to lose her best friend forever?

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EXCERPT:

She looked down to the parking lot, seeing his Mustang still parked below, and knew she was about to lose it. She headed for her own room, placed the breakfast on the nearby table, then rid of every last drop of patience, began pounding on Tristan’s door.

“Wake up you lazy bastard! Wake up, or I swear to God I’ll beat this door down with my fists.”

A large boom sounded from inside the room, and Samantha smiled with satisfaction as she continued to pound. “That’s right,” she whispered. “Get up you lazy ass—”

But before she could finish her sentence, the door was yanked out from under her. She stumbled forward, barely able to catch her footing, and slammed face first into warm, solid, skin.

She froze, because the glimpse she caught on the way down wasn’t one she ever thought she’d see. It was a very large, very bare, and very “Good morning” version of Tristan Montgomery.

“Please tell me you’re not naked,” she whispered, but it was mostly to herself, because she didn’t really need him to answer. She squeezed her eyes shut, took one step backward, and turned around.

They both stood there, quiet and still, and she tried to recover her heart. The sight of Tristan in nothing more than his birthday suit left her feeling dizzy. She’d seen many naked men in her days, though until now, the only one she’d seen in person was Steven. Especially this close up.

“Well?” he finally asked, when she remained silent.

Well? Well… Tristan was much…larger than Steven. Much larger in every way imaginable.

She cleared her throat, knowing her voice would’ve cracked otherwise. “It’s ten in the morning,” she answered with more confidence than she felt.

“And?” But his voice was thick and husky, and she could swear he was having as difficult a time recovering as she was.

“It’s time to go.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” she said, hating how the tone of his voice sent a shiver down her spine. “And you should really put some clothes on. The people of Utah don’t want to see…that.”

He chuckled, but shifted slightly behind her. “Hate to break it to you sweetheart, but a lot of people want to see that.”

She cringed, because she knew it was true. Like in high school, she knew women lined up to catch the barest glimpse of Tristan.

He moved quietly behind her, his steps so soft you’d never know they came from a man of his size. “You can turn around now.”

She raked her teeth over her bottom lip, taking the very corner and chewing it before turning to face him. He still had no shirt on, his feet were bare, but he wore a pair of old gray sweats resting so low on his hips you could tell he wasn’t wearing anything underneath.

“Aren’t you freezing?” she asked, feeling a shiver run through her own body.

“No,” he said, leaning against the doorway and crossing his feet at the ankles. A tiny grin teased at the corner of his mouth, and she knew he was having too much fun at her expense.

She turned toward the Mustang, not attempting to hide her irritation. “I brought you breakfast,” she said quickly.

“That’s nice of you.”

“It’s not nice. Just my way of getting your lazy ass out of bed.”

He threw his head back with laughter. “Are you always this pleasant in the morning?”

Pressing her lips together, she wasn’t about to let him to pull her into another argument. “We need to go,” she said, turning on her heels and opening the door to her room.

She walked inside, hoping the action would give him the hint to do the same. “I’ll have your breakfast waiting for you in the car.” But before she closed the door, she could swear she caught him smiling.

“My God.” she whispered, resting her forehead against the wall, taking in all the air she’d forgotten to take over the last two minutes. “Three more days. Just three more days of Tristan Montgomery.” She repeated the last words over and over, gathered up the rest of her belongings, and headed for the car.

Author Bio:

Taylor is mom of three young (or not so young) children she loves more than life. She runs them around endlessly, hoping she looks presentable enough to be out in public, and day dreams about fictional characters. Maybe she’s crazy, or maybe she craves the barbie games she played as a little girl a little too much, but that’s where her stories are born. It’s where they blossom, and grow, and eventually breath life on the page of her stories.

She’d love to hear from you. (Or I’d love to hear from you. I wrote this in 3rd person to sound cooler)

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[Excerpt + Playlist + Giveaway] Start Your Engines by Jim Cangany

Start Your Engines
Jim Cangany
Published by: Crimson Romance
Publication date: August 7th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Buckle up for a race for the championship and the prize of a lifetime in this heartfelt reunion romance.

When racing team director Brad Thomas needs a new driver, his boss insists there’s only one answer: Gabrielle Marquez. The Indycar ace has newly returned to the United States after becoming one of the European circuit’s top drivers. But ten years ago, Gabrielle caused a crash that ended Brad’s racing career and killed their mutual best friend, along with the burgeoning crush they were exploring.

Gabby’s ready to put the past behind her, even though she knows making amends and regaining Brad’s trust won’t be easy. Rebuilding their professional relationship paves the way for healing, and old feelings soon rekindle, but a rival’s dangerous game of sabotage may threaten their team’s chance at the title.

Then an irresistible offers lands on Gabby’s windshield, forcing her to choose between her heart and her hard-fought career. Will achieving her professional dreams mean personal sacrifice?

Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors

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EXCERPT:

The AES machine flashed across the finish line as the starter waved the green flag, the prismatic paint job displaying every color of the spectrum.

“God, she’s beautiful.” The moment Brad had uttered the words, he realized he wasn’t sure if he was referring to the car or its driver. He was happy he didn’t have his microphone on, though.

A video feed of Gabrielle’s progress was in a corner of his computer screen. As she barreled down the long backstretch, which was five-eighths of a mile in length all by itself, he checked her speed. She was zooming at over two hundred miles per hour.

At Gabrielle’s request, the team had disconnected her speedometer. Brad was to report her speed when she finished the first lap and again when she completed the attempt. He was to say nothing else.

Brad held his breath as she flew down the front straight, the song of the turbocharged engine sweeter than an opera singer, and completed lap one. Her speed flashed on the screen. It was all Brad could do to keep from shouting.

“Two hundred point thirteen. Everything looks great.”

The first lap was pole-winning speed.

Down the backstretch and into turn three, the line Gabrielle took was as smooth as soft-serve ice cream. Exiting turn four, she drifted up so close to the white concrete retaining wall, Brad flinched and closed one eye for a moment.

The close call didn’t slow her down, though. She took the checkered flag, completing the run with a two-lap average of 200.2 miles per hour.

“Congrats, Gabrielle, you just set a Continental Series track record.”

“Yes!” Her shout almost burst Brad’s eardrums.

Scott gave Brad a thumbs-up but pointed at the scoring pylon. There were two cars left to make their qualifying attempts. One of them was Chas.

By the time Gabrielle was out of the car and had her helmet off, the number seventy-seven had the first lap in the books at just under 199 miles per hour. He was no threat. The team gathered around her to wait for Chas to make his attempt.

Brad gave Gabrielle a fist bump, but nothing more. He didn’t want to jinx anything.

The Thornton Industries machine looked fast as it took the green flag. Brad reached out and took Gabrielle’s hand. A pleasant tingling sensation went up his arm when they touched. She didn’t pull away. Rather, she held on. It was a perfect fit.

Nobody said anything as Chas came into view coming out of turn four. Brad kept his focus on the scoring pylon as their rival completed lap one.

199.96.

Gabrielle loosened her grip a touch as the group let out a collective sigh of relief. Chas wasn’t far off Gabrielle’s time, but catching her could be a tall order. It was an order he couldn’t deliver. His second lap was a tick over two hundred miles per hour.

Gabrielle was on the pole.

For the most important race of the season.

At the most historic racing venue on Earth.

Amid a cacophony of whoops and shouts of elation, Brad took Gabrielle by the shoulders.

“You did it.” At that moment, someone bumped him into Gabrielle, which brought his lips to hers. The moment they made contact, fireworks went off. Brad wasn’t sure if they were real or imagined, but he didn’t care. Kissing the woman in his arms was electrifying.

Her lips were soft, with a hint of blueberry from her lip balm. His thumb stroked her cheek and wiped away a tear. All too soon, she pulled back. He opened his eyes to find her red-cheeked but smiling from ear to ear. He recovered his senses enough to take her wrist and raise her arm.

“Presenting your pole winner for the Memorial One Hundred, Gabrielle Marquez.”

Playlist

1. “I am the Fire” by Halestorm – This would be Gabrielle’s on-track theme song, as she’s picked up the pieces of her career to resume chasing her dream. Lzzy Hale, the lead singer of Halestorm is an amazing talent and this song of belief in oneself and female empowerment would really resonate with Gabrielle.

2. “Angry Young Man” by Billy Joel – Brad might not like it, but this classic rock song really captures the essence of who he is early in the story. His dreams have been crushed and he’s chosen to carry those negative feelings with him, like a weight around his neck.

3. “The Distance by Cake” – I can totally envision Brad racing to this song early in his career. It also carries a touch of the rage that drives him after his crash.

4. “Madness” by Muse – This is how I imagine Brad would feel when he realizes how deeply he cares for Gabrielle. He knows it’s crazy to pursue a relationship with her because of their history and his broken-ness, but he can’t help it, and he wants her to help him move beyond the madness.

5. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol – There’s a highly emotional scene in Start Your Engines when Brand and Gabrielle finally talk about their past and the damage it’s done to both of them. In the aftermath, they spend some quiet time, simply being in each other’s company. This is the song that would be playing in the background as they lay together in the grass together.

6. “Sweet Home Chicago” Blues Brothers version – Start Your Engines has more than a handful of ups and downs for Brad and Gabrielle, but one of the highest peaks is Gabrielle’s first win of the season in Chicago. I thought it would be fitting to celebrate the team’s first race win in the City of Big Shoulders with this Chicago blues classic.

7. “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys – Gabrielle and Brad face plenty of challenges on their way to their happily ever after, but it’s simply crushing when they find out people have been scheming against them. This would be Brad’s response to those people.

8. “I won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz – While Gabrielle and Brad both are works in progress in Start Your Engines, Gabrielle is much further along her road to healing. Because of that, I can see Gabrielle telling Brad she won’t give up on him, or them, when he asks her for help.

9. “Ultraviolet (Baby, Light My Way)” by U2 – To me, this song encapsulates Brad and his deep love for Gabrielle when he makes his grand gesture near the end of the book. He’s ready to let her lead him wherever their road takes them. Plus, this one of my top five favorite U2 songs.

10. “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay – I simply adore this song. From its bouncy groove to its hopeful message, I think it’s a perfect metaphor for the adventure of a lifetime that awaits Gabrielle and Brad at the end of the story.

Author Bio:

A lifelong resident of the State of Indiana, Jim Cangany is proud to call himself a Hoosier. The youngest of eight children, he grew up in a household full of books and people. Thanks to the influence of his older siblings, Jim gravitated toward fantasy and sci-fi when looking for something to read. He wrote his first story at age fourteen. A school project, The Magic Coin was a fantasy that involved a king, some bad guys, and, not surprisingly, a magical token.

These days, Jim writes romance on the sweet end. If you ask him what is a guy like him is doing writing romance, he’ll reply, “Those are the stories in my head.” A believer that the world has enough doom and gloom, he likes stories with a happy ending, regardless of genre.

He lives in Indianapolis with his wonderful wife Nancy, sons, Seamus and Aidan, and kitty-cat Maria.

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