Excerpt Reveal: Drowning Erin by Elizabeth O’Roark

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When she falls in, she starts sinking fast.
Drowning Erin by Elizabeth O’Roark will be here November 9!!!

Erin Doyle can’t stand manwhores, and she particularly can’t stand Brendan Langstrom — the guy who avoids relationships like the plague and never sleeps with the same girl twice. She and Brendan have waged a war of mutual disdain for years, but when Brendan picks up the pieces after her world unravels, they’ll be forced to admit that beneath their dislike is something else entirely — something they’re not supposed to feel.

Because Brendan isn’t just her nemesis…He’s also her fiance’s best friend.

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CHECK OUT THIS SUPER STEAMY EXCERPT!!!

He lifts the champagne high overhead. “Mouth wide,” he warns.

“No, Brendan, it’s going to go everywhere,” I complain. “I can’t swallow it all.”

“That’s what she said,” he answers.

And then we’re both laughing, and he tips the champagne so it seems to explode from the bottle — over my face, my shirt, my shorts — and I laugh even harder. This moment, like so many from the last few weeks, reminds me of biking downhill faster than I should. It feels thrilling and wild and reckless, the danger and the excitement weighted equally. When I compare this moment to the rest of my history, it feels as if I’ve been tethered to the ground my entire life. Right now I finally feel free.

I jump to my feet, still giggling. “Your pouring skills are legendary.”

He sets the champagne down and moves toward me, closer than he should. I can feel the warmth radiating from him. It makes me want to move closer too. His hand presses to my stomach, and I hold my breath.

“You need to change or you’re gonna freeze out here. You want me to go get you clothes?”

I shake my head. As much as I don’t want to be the voice of reason, and as much I want to remain out here with him, I have just enough common sense to know it’s the last thing I should do.

“We should probably head in. We’ve got to be up in four hours,” I tell him. “But I wish we had more time.” I wish this was a night we could stretch into a week’s worth of hours, or more.

His eyes are brighter right now than I’ve ever seen them. “I wish a lot of things were different, Erin.”

My heart goes triple time, and my breath stills somewhere between my lungs and my throat. The prospect of admitting even a tiny portion of the truth to him is terrifying. “I wish they were different too.”

His hands frame my face, sliding through my hair, and then his mouth is on mine, better even than I remembered. He tastes like champagne, and all of my resolution is forgotten under the force of this, after years of wanting this exact thing only from him.

This kiss reminds me of diving off the rocks yesterday, of the moment when I first plunged into the water — surrounded, disoriented, thrilled, and horrified all at once. In the space of that moment, only as long as it takes us both to swim to the surface and gasp for air, nothing makes sense and nothing else exists — only tangled limbs and warm skin and hearts that beat too fast. My mouth opens under his, and he groans, one hand sliding down around my hip, pulling me into him so that all of his heat is pressed against me, pulsing and ready.

“I’ve wanted this for so fucking long,” he says, his mouth moving to my neck, his hands sliding to the hem of my shirt, grazing my skin.

There are a million reasons why this is a terrible idea, and I don’t care about any of them.

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About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth O’Roark is a former medical writer who lives in Washington, DC with her three children. She is an avid runner when able to escape the aforementioned children. She drinks an embarrassing amount of Diet Mountain Dew, and would exist entirely off of candy corn were it socially acceptable to do so.

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Blog Tour: A Little Too Late (Staci Hart)

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A Little Too Late, an all-new romantic standalone from Staci Hart is available NOW!


Review:

I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with the nanny.

When my wife left, she took the illusion of happiness with her, and I’ve been caught in a free fall ever since. For nine long months, I’ve been fighting to figure out how to be a single dad, how to be alone.

For nine long months, I’ve been failing.

When Hannah walked through the door, I took my first breath since I’d found myself on my own. She slipped into our lives effortlessly, showing me what I’ve been missing all these years. Because Hannah made me smile when I thought I’d packed the notion of happiness away with my wedding album.

She was only supposed to be the nanny, but she’s so much more.

The day my wife left should have been the worst day of my life, but it wasn’t. It was when Hannah walked away, taking my heart with her.

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I’ve read a few books by Staci Hart, and so far I’ve loved most of them, but I will admit that this one did very little for me, ending up being an okay read, but not remarkable. So, let me tell you what worked for me and what didn’t…

The positive:

  The premise. A single dad with 2 kids falls in love with their nanny, is a win premise for me, because of all the cuteness of the two small children, and the bonding between all of them.

  The book is told in dual POV, so we get to see what’s going on in both their heads.

  Big character development, especially for Charlie, and that is great, because I wasn’t his biggest fan from the beginning.

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The Negative:

♦  This book is a company novel to A Thousand Letters, which I loved. If you’ve read that one, you know that Elliot, the MC for the first book, basically raised her niece and nephew since the moment they were born. In case you’re wondering, yes, I mean Maven and Sammy, Charlie’s small children. So, I thought it was weird to only have 2 mentions to Elliot and both of them by Charlie. I wished that the children had mentioned her, and that there was some indication of any contact between her and her family.

♦  The romance didn’t work for me, I didn’t feel the chemistry between Hannah and Charlie at all. It happened way too fast, and I felt like they didn’t actually know each other, even though they were living in the same house.

♦  And, this one is important, I hated the plot and the major conflict on this book. I hate miscommunication, and here it was so unnecessary and it bugged the hell out of me.

Overall this is cute book, and it’s an okay romance, but it kind of frustrated me a bit, and I couldn’t rate any higher than 3 stars. I think a lot of people will enjoy it much more than I did, but I wasn’t able to connect properly, I guess… Give it a try it the blurb calls to you, though.


Excerpt:

CHARLIE

The next morning, I was up and in my office before anyone was awake, attacking my work with newfound enthusiasm and a plan in mind. Because I wanted to feel like I’d felt the night before in the kitchen again, and there was only one way to get that back.

Today, I would take a few breaks and be present. Today, I would change, work be damned. Today would mark the first real attempt. Because change wouldn’t happen on its own. I had to make it happen. And to make it happen, I would have to put boundaries in place, starting with my weekends.

I checked the clock around eleven that morning and closed my laptop, pushing away from my desk and heading up the stairs in search of my children.

When I rounded the corner into the kitchen, I found them sitting at the table with their lunches. And when they saw me, their smiles validated my grand plans with unwavering certainty.

“Hey, guys,” I said, smiling back as I walked over to them, ruffling Sammy’s hair when I passed him.

“Hi, Daddy,” he said.

Maven’s mouth was full, so she just waved, and Hannah smiled at me from the island where she was setting up a spread for sandwiches.

I snagged a grape off Maven’s plate and popped it into my mouth. She handed me another, which I accepted.

“Thanks, pumpkin.”

“Are you done working?” Sammy asked hopefully.

“’Fraid not, bud. But I thought I’d come have lunch with you. Is that okay?”

“Yeah! Want a Nilla Wafer?”

“Psh, obviously. And I thought we could play for a little bit before I have to get back to work. What do you say?”

He nodded, grinning. “We can play trucks! You be the bulldozer and I’ll be the tractor and Maven can be the monster truck and Hannah can be the ambulance because she helps people.”

“Perfect,” I said on a chuckle.

A burst of color caught my eye. A vase on the windowsill behind the table held a spray of red and orange tulips.

“Those are beautiful,” I said, gesturing to them. “Where did they come from?”

“Oh, I picked them up this morning,” Hannah said with that ever-present smile.

“Feeling homesick?”

“Always a little. But I love having fresh flowers in the house, something bright and delicate and alive. Well, maybe not alive anymore, but it feels alive, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” I said as I moved to her side.

“Can I make you a sandwich?” Hannah asked.

“Nah, I think I can manage, thanks. How’s it going this morning?”

“It’s good. We went to the park this morning.”

“I rode my bike!” Sammy crowed.

“Did you? No bumps or scrapes?”

“Nope!”

“I’m impressed. Maybe next time I can come too,” I said, hoping it was something I could deliver as I reached into the bread bag for a stack.

Hannah turned to the cupboard, returning with a plate for me.

“Thank you.”

She was still smiling, standing at my side, assembling her sandwich. It was so mundane, something completely and utterly boring, but like the weirdo that I was, I found myself watching her hands as she folded cold cuts. We worked around each other—not that it was complicated, but there was a sort of rhythm between us, a natural pace wherein I used what she wasn’t and finished just as she needed what I had. I wasn’t sure why I noticed it, but I did, and I appreciated the simple synchronicity of the moment, a breath where things were easy.

I passed her the mustard as she handed me the ham. “So, I was thinking …” I paused.

“Oh, were you?” She glanced over at me with a hint of mirth at the corners of her lips.

“I know. I almost sprained something.”

Hannah laughed gently.

“If it’s okay, I think I’d like to try to handle bedtime tonight.”

“Of course it’s okay; they’re your children.” That time, her laughter was sweet.

“Do you … would you … do you think you could maybe …”

She shifted to face me, her eyes full of encouragement.

“Would you mind … helping me?”

Hannah nodded, her smile opening up. “That’s what I’m here for. Just let me know what you’d like me to do.”

I smiled back. “I’m sorry. I know it sounds stupid. I just … I haven’t done this much on my own, but I’d like to start.”

Her eyes softened, caught by slanting light, lighting up with sunshine. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” she said simply.

I didn’t speak.

“There’s no right or wrong, and they don’t care about anything other than you being there. It’s simple enough; you only have to try.”

“Is it really that easy?”

“It really is. You’ll see.” She reached for my arm and gave it a squeeze that wasn’t meant to be anything but friendly but held something more, something in the pressure in her fingertips and the depths of her eyes.

It was something I did my very best to ignore. But I felt the heat of those fingertips long after they were gone, even as we sat across the table from each other eating lunch, the tulips in the vase behind her bowing their long heads as the sunlight illuminated them, exposing what was hidden within their petals.

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About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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