COVERS REVEAL: The Sex on the Beach Series

Prepare yourself for Sex on the Beach, a trilogy featuring three New York Times and USA Today best selling authors! Three separate novellas. Three different authors. One literary world. These standalone novellas are sure to satisfy your need for sizzling romance and an emotion packed story. ♥

✦ Between Us by Jen McLaughlin 
✦ Beyond Me by Jennifer Probst 
✦ Before You by Jenna Bennett 

Expected release date: 4 March 2014
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betweenus

I’m just a girl…

I’m a famous country star who’s spent her life cultivating a good girl persona to avoid bad press, but I’ve reached my limit. I’m going away for spring break with my two best friends from college, and we’ve vowed to spend the vacation seeking out fun in the sun—along with some hot, no-strings-attached sex. The only thing I needed was the perfect guy, and then I met Austin Murphy. He might be totally wrong for me, but the tattooed bad boy is hard to resist. When I’m in his arms, everything just feels right.

And I’m just a guy…

I’m just a bartender who lives in Key West, stuck in an endless cycle of boredom. But then Mackenzie Forbes, America’s Sweetheart herself, comes up to me and looks at me with those bright green eyes…and everything changes. She acts like she’s just a normal girl and I’m just a normal guy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My past isn’t pretty, you know. I did what I had to do to survive, and she’d run if she learned the truth about my darkness. But with her, I’m finally realizing what it’s like to be alive. To laugh, live, and be happy.

All good things must come to an end…

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Connect with Jen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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beyondme

Can fun in the sun turn into lasting love? 

Spring break in Key West with my besties was supposed to be casual fun. But I never expected to meet James Hunt. Sex and frolic? Yes! A relationship? No. But his hot blue eyes and confident manner drew me in. And when he let me see the man behind the mask, I fell hard, foolishly believing there could be a future for us. Of course I never considered our relationship might be based on lies…or that his betrayal could rock my foundation and make me question everything I believed in…

Or will a life built on lies ruin everything? 

The moment I saw Quinn I knew I had to have her. She hooked me with her cool eyes and don’t touch me attitude. I had it all, money, social status, and looks. I could get any girl I wanted…until her. When my friends challenged me with a bet to get her into bed by the end of the week, I couldn’t pass it up. But sex wasn’t supposed to turn into love. She wasn’t supposed to change me, push me, and make me want more for myself. She wasn’t supposed to wreck me in all ways. And now, if I can’t turn my lies into truth, I just might lose her forever…

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Connect with Jennifer: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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beforeyou

It’s all fun and games…

I had a simple plan for spring break.

Sun, sand, and a hot guy. Sex on the beach, with no strings attached.

A chance to get rid of this pesky virginity once and for all.

And when I met Tyler McKenna, I thought I had it made.

Until someone gets hurt…

But then girls started turning up at Key West landmarks. Girls who looked like me, but with one crucial difference: They’d all been drugged and relieved of their virginity.

The virginity I still have. The virginity Ty refuses to take.

And now I’ve begun to wonder whether there isn’t more to him than meets the eye.

Suddenly, sex on the beach doesn’t sound so good anymore…

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Connect with Jenna: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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The Sex on the Beach Series (standalone novellas)
betweenus
beyondme
beforeyou

Between Us: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Beyond Me: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Before You: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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The Giveaway

The authors are giving away a $60 Gift Card to one lucky winner! This contest is administered by Inkslinger PR and it is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst

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Kate has given up on love—at least for herself. She is both blessed and cursed with the ability to sense a romantic connection between two people—a gift that her family passed down for generations. When Kate launches her own matchmaking company, Kinnection, with her two best friends in a cozy New York town, she has to put aside her own romantic disasters to make her business a success.

But when a furious man stalks into her office and accuses her business of being a scam, Kate is given the ultimate challenge to prove herself. Slade puts himself in her hands and asks Kate to find him love. Enraged at his arrogance but stubbornly eager to prove herself, Kate agrees, dedicating herself to the journey of finding him love…only to find herself falling for him along the way.

review

“I’m a divorce lawyer and a man who’s attracted to you. You’d be crazy to trust me.”

Jennifer Probst is one of those rare authors whose every single book I’ve not only read, but simply adored, and her latest novel is no exception. She is known for her relentless romantic streak, for her written-in-the-stars connections between strong heroines and dominant males, and the overwhelming sexual chemistry between them. Her stories sizzle and warm your heart all at the same time, and it is impossible not to be affected by the magic of her words. This is the first book in a brand new series and just when I thought nothing could beat her Marriage to a Billionaire series, Ms Probst proved me wrong.

Kate is the successful owner of a matchmaking agency, a young woman who hopelessly believes in love and everlasting happiness when two people are each other’s perfect match. She also has a rare gift of sensing strong energy between people who are meant to be together, something that helps her immensely in her career, but regardless of how many happy couples she has successfully introduced to one another, she remains single with no happy romantic prospect in sight. Her latest challenge comes in the form of Slade Montgomery, one of the top divorce lawyers in the state and love cynic extraordinaire, who comes to Kate’s agency with the intent of exposing her as a fraud by becoming her client.

“Friendship lasts. Family. But romantic love is just a mirage—a glass of ice-cold Coca-Cola in the middle of the desert. You stumble and reach to quench the thirst, then find the glass vanishes right through your fingers.”

Slade is a man who does not believe in love, his failed marriage and his everyday dealings with jaded divorcees having turned him into someone who truly believes that marriage vows are doomed from the start. He equates marriage with divorce, love with heartbreak, and he does not see himself as someone emotionally built to sustain a long-term commitment to one woman.

“I deal with messiness every day, and I don’t live in your world of rainbows and sunbeams. You focus on the beginning where hormones and dreams rule. I get the heartbreak and emotional riptide of kids, money, and hate.”

The physical attraction between them is unquestionable from their first encounter, but one electrifying touch between them magnifies their connection even more. While Slade is happy to pursue a no-strings-attached type of relationship with her, Kate is sorely aware of their differing stances on love and commitment and the irony of the rare electric chemistry between them that would never come to fruition. She is even more determined not to cross the line set by their professional contract, knowing that one taste of Slade would ruin her for all men and jeopardise her business at the same time. But the more time they spend with one another, getting to know each other, the more she realises that she would never feel such a connection to another man because the only one her heart has ever wanted is not interested in someone like her.

“When was it her turn? When would she finally find the connection for herself? … Maybe, just maybe, there wasn’t a man or woman meant for everyone. Maybe, just maybe, she was meant to be alone.”

But Slade is a man used to getting what he wants and Kate is a temptation too great to resist, as there is nothing that his body has ever craved more than the irresistible woman before him who says she does not want him. It only takes one unforgettable night in each other’s arms to make them question everything they have ever wanted or dreamed of finding. Some things, however, not even a night of mind-blowing passion can change, and the very connection that brought them together is also the very reason they part ways.

“I’m not built for forever. At least, not with someone who thinks love is a fairy tale and we’ll live happily ever after… There is no forever!”

This story wrecked me, tugged at every one of my heartstrings because it made me feel every bit of the emotional conflict within these characters. I felt their insecurities, desperation, sorrow, resignation, inability to be something they are not and still love each other enough to put the other’s needs first. It’s a stunning tale of two people loving each other above all else, being perfectly matched in every possible way, apart from wanting very different things in life. But there is one thing that you can always count on when you’re reading a Jennifer Probst novel – she will put your heart through the wringer, but love is always the ultimate winner and you will walk away believing in happily-ever-afters just a little bit more.

A splendid new series, a whole new set of characters to fall in love with, a story that is still making me smile. And a dog named Robert who made me cry more times than I wish to admit.

“I want a soul mate, not a temporary bedmate.”

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK
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Searching For – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Searching for Someday: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Searching for Perfect: Amazon US | Amazon UK (29 Apr 2014)
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Searching For is a spin-off from the Marriage to a Billionaire series.

themarriagebargain4 themarriagetrap themarriagemistake themarriagemerger_322x500
The Marriage Bargain: Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Marriage Trap: Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Marriage Mistake: Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Marriage Merger: Amazon US | Amazon UK
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Connect with Jennifer: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Probst

themarriagemerger_322x500Her sisters have found wedded bliss with their wealthy,wonderful dream men, but not Julietta Conte. She’s stayed on terra firma as top executive of the family’s corporation, La Dolce Famiglia bakery.

Work is her passion, and her trendy Milan apartment her sanctuary . . . until Sawyer Wells, a masculine masterpiece in a suit, lures her out of hiding with an irresistible offer: an exclusive partnership with his international chain of boutique hotels.

Julietta’s been burned before—and trusting her brother-in-law’s friend, whose powerful gaze alone has her rethinking the best use of a conference room, is the riskiest proposition.

But with a once-in-a-career chance to take the bakery global, will she mix stone-cold business with red-hot seduction?

review

“You’ve done proper already, and it hasn’t worked. It’s time you do dirty.”

Some people watch re-runs of Sex and the City, some people indulge in chocolate comas… one of my guilty pleasures happens to be a Jennifer Probst book, and especially her Marriage to a Billionaire series. Each one of the instalments so far has been like a little piece of heaven for this HEA addict, and this last instalment of a truly beloved series did not disappoint. The Marriage Merger has all the trademark qualities of this author’s writing style – undeniable chemistry between characters, a sense of belonging drawing them together, strong family values at the core of their happily-ever-after, sizzling sex scenes, and deeply emotional connections between the characters and with the characters – all packaged nicely into a story that transports you into a world where the senses lead the way, where people fall in love and stay in love, where the heart can never be denied, and where family comes first and foremost.

In this final book of the series, we finally get to meet the eldest Conte daughter as we watch her find her happily-ever-after. Julietta has always been the responsible one in the family. While her siblings followed their hearts, she was driven by a sense of responsibility and loyalty towards her family and the family business, La Dolce Famiglia. Her ambition and stubborn determination to leave her mark in an industry where being a woman is her only downfall, Julietta has dedicated her life to making her family proud of her and to continuing a legacy started by her late father. She carefully controls all aspects of her life, leaving very little time to pursue personal interests. Her few attempts at finding what her siblings all have found – true love – have all ended in disaster, leaving her convinced of being frigid and incapable of feeling true passion. She blames herself for her body’s inability to keep the flame burning during the sexual act, and believes that no man would ever want a woman like that in his bed.

“No man had ever wanted her enough.”

Sawyer Wells is a successful self-made businessman, known for his ruthless business sense and his perennial bachelor status. His private life remains a mystery to even those closest to him, but his evident loyalty to those he cares for precedes him and only adds to the overall mystery of the man behind the impeccable business suit. When Sawyer approaches Julietta and makes her a once-in-a-lifetime business proposition, Julietta finds herself not only at a professional crossroad, but also at a personal one as well. Her attraction to him is unlike anything she has ever experienced before, raw and uncontrollable, and the object of her attraction appears to have the same primal reaction to her.

“He was a primitive wrapped up in civilization.”

Another proposition takes place, one of an indecent kind, and Julietta’s world tilts on its axis. For the first time in her life, a man succeeds in awakening her body and making her feel everything. Every touch burns her skin, every kiss curls her toes, every earth-shattering orgasm wrecks her and helps her find the passionate woman hiding inside her. But while Sawyer might be able to read Julietta’s body the way no man has even tried before, and he knows exactly what her body craves in order to let go of its mental restraints, he is also a man not interested in a romantic connection. He believes himself incapable of offering love to anyone, especially to a woman as deserving of love as Julietta.

“He ached to give her what she needed, but he’d been numb for so many years, he didn’t know how to feel any softer emotions, especially love.”

As always, however, there is no denying Cupid and what is meant to be eventually happens.

This book is in so many ways a bold departure from the previous books in the series. It follows a well-known winning formula, but it also delves deeper into the characters’ psyche, confronting them with slightly profounder personal issues as it tackles some more serious themes such as physical abuse in the form of flashbacks from their past. It also skims over certain sexual proclivities such as domination and submission, admittedly at a very mellow ‘vanilla’ level, but it adds a new flavour to the pot and let me tell you, it is delicious! I do believe some of the terminology could have been used with greater care, as having dominant tendencies in the bedroom does not make a person a Dom, but this ultimately did not matter – the gentle dominant/submissive dynamic between the characters succeeds in achieving the intended result believably and the reader enjoys every second of it. Every. Single. Mouth-watering. Second.

“I want to discover every hidden secret of your body and a thousand ways to make you scream my name… A reminder of the basic rules. Do everything I say. No talking unless I ask a question. And absolutely no thinking. I’ll do that for both of us tonight.”

I cannot tell you how bittersweet it was to read this book and know all along we would be leaving this world behind after this last instalment. I am hoping characters such as Wolfe get their own book one day as I am not quite ready to give up my little guilty pleasure just yet. Ms Probst knows how to make us escape reality, how to ignite our senses, how to make our hearts drop one minute and elate us with happiness then next. Pure escapism. Pure delight. Pure sizzle.

“You wrecked me, Julietta. You tore me apart piece by piece, and then put me back together.”

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Buy book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks
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Marriage to a Billionaire – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Connect with Jennifer: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Other books in the series or related posts:

BIRTHDAY TEASER: All the Way by Jennifer Probst

There are some romance writers that have the winning formula every single time. Jennifer Probst is one of those authors for me. Her Marriage to a Billionaire series gets me weak at the knees at every single re-read and as the series progresses, her stories only get more luscious and possibly even sexier.

Read my review of The Marriage Bargain
Read my review of The Marriage Trap
Read my review of The Marriage Mistake
Pre-order The Marriage Merger: Amazon

Her fourth book in the series, The Marriage Merger, is set for release on 23 July 2013, but today Jennifer is treating us to something else, something unexpected, something BRAND NEW! Book junkies, I give you an exclusive teaser from her upcoming book, All the Way

Expected release date: 4 March 2013

“Hey, Gavin, can you take table three?”

Gavin Luciano turned to face his younger brother, Brando. A familiar combination of pleading and rebellion shone from dark brown eyes as Brando shifted from one foot to the other. “I’ve got a crisis in the kitchen and you want me to play waiter? I thought we agreed that would be your responsibility?”

The rebelliousness won over the pleading. “I gotta go to the bathroom.”

Gavin lifted one brow. “I’m sure table three can wait another ten seconds.”

“Then I need to call Tracey. I told her I’d call at six.”

“Hmmm. I can always count on you to romance your women at prime dinner time.”

“Give me a break.”

Gavin hid a smile. He wondered if his younger brother knew he was capable of blushing. “Text her. I’ll take this table while you go the bathroom. Tracey can wait another hour.”

A scowl settled over Brando’s face but he decided not to argue. This time. “Fine.” Brando raced from the kitchen.

Gavin tried to remember if he’d ever been that young, where every lustful thought had been carved into his features and his body overruled his mind. Probably not. He couldn’t remember when he’d been willing to give up a business deal for a romantic afternoon in the park. Of course, that was probably the reason the family restaurant was going under. Pop had no problem throwing a sign on the door – Gone Fishing – even during peak lunch hours.

Gavin shook his head. It was going to be a hell of a night. Another waiter had called in sick, and his normally stable chef believed his wife was having an affair. The man seemed to have a heavy hand with the pepper and seasonings tonight, almost as if he imagined he served his new wife’s lover. Gavin hoped everyone ordered the special. The sea bass was easy to prepare without screwing up the spices.

His progress halted as Dominick, the bartender, blocked his path. “I need a smoke. Can you cover the bar?”

He grabbed for his patience and reminded himself he was here to save a restaurant, not kill his staff. “No. I told you the new rules. Smoke on your breaks.”

Dominick twitched and clapped him on the shoulder. Since they’d grown up together, it was difficult playing the boss. “Come on, dude. I’m dying here. The crowd’s taken care of for the next few.”

Gavin gave him a look that made many young interns quake. “Don’t push me, Dominick. I’m already playing waiter, and I’m not getting behind the bar. If you don’t want me to fire your ass, get it back in your spot.”

The mutinous look almost made him feel guilty. Almost. “You need to get laid, man.” He trudged back behind the bar, cigarette still in hand. No wonder Mia Casa never made a profit. The staff did what they wanted, Pop sat back and talked about the old days with his Sinatra Club crowd, and the chef cooked what he felt like.

He had three months to turn the Titanic and he’d already run out of lifeboats. Pumping an obscene amount of money into the renovations would help, but if they didn’t get a schedule together and solid, sparkling reviews for the food, God himself couldn’t hold back the icy waters.

He fought a shudder, clawed deep for calm, and headed toward table three.

Then he saw her.

He stopped short and stared. A swirling array of emotions slammed through him like a hurtling freight train, and for one brief moment, he was in another time and another place. The last image of her flickered before his eyes.

But, of course, that was from another lifetime.

She took off her raincoat and threw it over the back of the chair. One hand reached up to shake the moisture from her hair, and caused a couple of loose curls to escape the constraints of her perfect French twist. Titian-red strands slid over her neck and shoulders. He remembered those curls used to tumble down her back in wild gypsy waves. Used to feel like fire trapped in satin when he would thread his fingers through them. The single candle on the table flickered and illuminated the pearl sheen of her skin, left bare by the low cut black dress.

The woman reached for her menu and laughed at something her companion said. The sound drifted across the room, shot-silk amidst the clatter of china and glasses, and still heady enough to settle in the pit of his gut and squeeze. Hot enough to remind him of a sip of age-old whiskey. With a sting.

Three years loomed before him, reached out, and grabbed him around the neck. Three years of memories and regrets. Three years of forgetfulness and frustration.

And the old Bogey line flashed before his eyes with sudden, ironic swiftness. Out of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the word, she has to walk into mine. Hell, he wouldn’t be surprised if a piano player named Sam burst into “As Time Goes By”.

His gaze greedily swept her figure. She was different. Her body seemed riper, with more lush curves to cradle a man’s hand. A pair of trendy black-framed glasses now shielded jade green eyes. And something else, something intangible he couldn’t grasp yet. Almost as if there was a wall built around her that screamed look but don’t touch.

He wondered if her companion ignored the signal. He wondered why the thought bothered him so much.

Gavin dragged in a lungful of air and paused for a beat. Then he walked toward table number three.

***

Miranda Storme scanned the menu with an ease of an expert, her mind automatically making mental notes of prices and cuisine. She wondered if she’d have enough time to order the special.

“Uh-oh, you’ve got that look on your face.”

Miranda glanced up. “What look?”

Andy Carson pulled his brows into a frown. “The critic look. Can’t we enjoy one meal without whipping out your notepad? Let’s be rebels tonight. Let’s order a plain bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and forget about testing the chef’s skills. I’m tired of working every time I pick up a fork.”

She laughed. “Andy, you get to eat for free, and I don’t even make you write the column.”

“I don’t care. I had a Big Mac yesterday and I couldn’t enjoy it. I kept trying to figure out exactly what was in that special sauce.”

She bit her lip. “Okay. Since you’re nice enough to suffer through the opera with me, I’ll order the spaghetti. An Italian restaurant can’t screw it up and we can make the performance in time.”

His face lit up as he closed the menu. “Perfect. Anyway, we’re not on an official review tonight and— what’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

She watched the man approach her table and heard a strange roaring in her ears. Long strides closed the distance between them with the same ruthless determination he’d shown years ago. It had been part of him she’d fallen in love with.

Until he had used that same determination to walk right out of her life.

“Hello, Red.”

As the deep, gravelly voice stroked her ears, Miranda controlled a shudder. Slowly, she lifted her gaze to meet his, and was grateful she still felt numb. Steel-blue eyes met and held hers. Piercing in intensity, as if he could see right into her soul. Once, he had. She’d sworn to never make the mistake again.

“Hello, Gavin.” She kept her tone even, as if running into your first love occurred on a daily basis. “How are you?”

“Fine.” The polite, cliché conversation made her shudder, but no original words rose to her lips. His probing gaze released her and studied Andy. He seemed to take inventory, as if checking for weaknesses that could be used later to his advantage. An awkward silence settled over the table.

“I take it you two know each other,” Andy said.

Miranda re-gathered her composure. “Andrew Carson, this is Gavin Luciano.” The two men exchanged nods. “Gavin and I dated many years ago. He was an up and coming advertising executive at the time.” She forced a smile. “I’m sure he’s been quite successful.”

“I left.”

Miranda’s head swung back around. “You left?”

“Yep.” He rocked back on his heels with a satisfied look. “I moved into a different field.”

“What are you doing now?” she asked.

The tiny smile turned into a full-fledged grin. She sucked in her breath at the sight of that slow smile flashing a perfect row of white teeth. Totally confident. Overwhelmingly arrogant. Devastatingly masculine. “This,” he said. Gavin whipped out a pencil and notepad from his jacket. “Can I take your order?”

She blinked. She took in his appearance, which consisted of a black turtleneck, khaki slacks, and a sport jacket. “You’re a waiter?”

“Tonight I am. I’m the owner. This is my restaurant.”

A rush of memories flooded through her. Dear God, she’d known Mia Casa sounded familiar. How could she have picked his family’s restaurant? Not that she’d ever been invited here when they dated. Other than it was Italian and located in Manhattan, Mia Casa was just another common name of another place to dine.

Her stomach tilted. “You always said you never wanted anything to do with your family’s restaurant.”

Darkness settled over his features, then disappeared. “I was wrong.” His voice dropped to an intimate pitch. A shiver ran down her spine. “About a lot of things.”

Her hand shook as she reached up to slide the glasses back up her nose. She was so not going there. Having a chatty conversation with the man who dumped her would only ruin her appetite. She took a deep breath and briskly closed her menu. “How intriguing. Well, I think we’re both ready to order.”

Andy sat back in his chair and waved one hand in the air. His face reflected growing amusement. “Miranda, you order for me. You know what I want.”

She registered Gavin’s frown with relish. It would have been unheard of for Mr. Macho to let a woman order for him. For once, she succumbed to her evil side and deliberately leaned toward Andy. Her hand slid over his as she played with his fingers. His shocked expression almost ruined her moment, but she kicked him under the table and ignored his wince. “Darling, would you like to go traditional tonight?”

He blinked and remained silent. Her heel dug into his ankle. “Oh, yes, sweetheart. Traditional is fine.”

Her professional critic training kicked in and she relaxed into her familiar world of food. “I think we’ll start with the calamari, and bring some bruschetta with that. The spaghetti and meatballs as the main course. What’s your vegetable?”

Did he wince or was she imagining things? “Tonight we have broccoli rabe. But I recommend the salad instead of the vegetable. We have a wonderful house dressing to accompany it.”

“Broccoli rabe, please.”

“We’re known for the stuffed artichokes. I think you may enjoy that instead.”

Oh, yeah, he really didn’t want her to have the broccoli. She’d been to enough restaurants to know when a waiter was told to push certain items. Giddy satisfaction flowed through her veins. “No.”

He shifted his weight. “As you wish. May I suggest the special tonight, instead? The chef has been preparing it all evening and it’s quite extraordinary. Chilean sea bass over a bed of polenta served with—”

“No, thank you. Bring us two glasses of Chianti Reserve, please.”

Frustration beat from his figure. Gavin was used to being in control, both in and out of the bedroom. Andy was probably driving him crazy with his refusal to speak. “Perhaps your companion would like an opinion?” Gavin asked.

Andy shrugged. “Whatever she says.”

She almost laughed as her ex-lover’s jaw clenched. Miranda blew an air kiss across the table. “It’s so wonderful you don’t need to be in control. I won’t disappoint you, darling. I haven’t yet.”

“Funny, you used to love not being in charge.” He paused. “Quite loudly, if I remember correctly.”

Her breath strangled in her throat as she remembered the way he used to back her up against the wall, lift her skirt, and make her beg. She squeezed her thighs together, waited till she found air again, and forced a smile. “Not anymore. We’ll be skipping dessert to catch the eight o’clock show at the Met.”

His pencil paused. “La Traviata?”

His thumb rubbed the edge of the pencil with slow, fluid motions, and Miranda remembered those blunt fingers gliding over her naked skin as the powerful strains of the opera rippled through the air. Remembered each stroke of his body against hers as he controlled the rhythm, ignoring her cries as he took her on a wild ride of pleasure, until the tension exploded while the music rose to a crashing crescendo. Remembered lying in his arms afterward, gazing into the fire, and knowing she belonged to him.

She cursed the huskiness to her voice. “Yes.”

“You always did like the opera.” His hot gaze drifted over her face, and lower. “Some things never change.”

She looked away and handed him the menus. “That’ll be all for now. Thank you.”

“I’ll bring your appetizer shortly.” Gavin turned and strode gracefully across the room.

Andy cleared his throat. “Whew, I have bruises on my leg. Next time remind me if I need to play the role of your boy toy.”

“I’m sorry, Andy. It’s … complicated.”

He grinned. “No problem, it was kind of fun. I guess that’s the guy who screwed you up, huh?”

His words hit the tender spot of memories buried deep. “Yep.”

Andy reached out and awkwardly patted her hand. “Let’s see, this is the part in the evening when my wife would say a few words to make you feel better.”

“Care to give it a whirl?”

“Guys suck.”

She gave a strangled laugh. “Tell me about it. But he taught me a lot about myself. I’m stronger now.” Maybe if she said it enough she’d finally believe it.

One brow shot up. “Just don’t confuse strength with denial. Shutting yourself off from feeling isn’t necessarily being strong.”

“I always told you to be a shrink.”

“Those weren’t my words. They were from my own shrink.”

Miranda sighed. “Maybe he gives group discounts. After tonight, I think I’m going to need it.”

The Story

He wants her back … and she wants revenge.

Miranda Storme never expected to see Gavin Luciano again. Three years ago, he bolted. Now he’s back, and Miranda has the pleasure of a little professional payback: a scathing review of his restaurant! With three months to turn the fortunes of his family’s struggling Italian restaurant, a bad review is Gavin’s worst nightmare. He’s determined to spend the next eight weeks proving himself to her in the kitchen… and in the bedroom!

The Author

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain.

Connect with Jennifer: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

One lucky winner will be able to pick an e-copy of any ONE of the books in the Marriage to a Billionaire series – The Marriage Bargain, The Marriage Trap, The Marriage Mistake OR The Marriage Merger (to be sent on date of release) – OR an e-copy of All The Way (to be sent on date of release). To win, please enter below. By entering, you accept the following Giveaway Conditions.

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The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst

Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.

Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand – and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable – and Carina is furious.

Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed …

 

review

“I am the big bad wolf, sweetheart. Now get your ass up to your room.”

Reading Jennifer Probst’s books makes me feel like I am on some tropical island, laying in the sun, a sexy cabana boy on call and a cocktail in hand. I feel a little naughty from the pleasure it gives me, but I’m grinning from ear to ear from the sheer indulgence of it all. There is something in these books, perhaps the idea of a marriage of convenience turning into true love that just ‘speaks’ to the hopeless dreamer in me. I want to escape into her books, lose myself in the delicious scenarios she creates for us and never set foot into the real world again.

This is Max and Carina’s story. We met them in The Marriage Trap where we first noticed young Carina’s infatuation with her brother’s best friend. Three years later, Carina has completed her MBA and she is ready to get involved in the family business. Max is asked to show her the ropes, a task he considers on par with baby-sitting, but what he does not realise is that Carina is no longer a besotted self-conscious little girl who used to pine after him – he finds himself in front of a hot-blooded vixen, with a killer body and personality to match.

Carina has been in love with Max all her life. The quiet but sensitive young girl that she once was used to spend her days daydreaming of her brother’s friend, watching him going through one love interest after another, constantly hoping he would pick her one day. But that day never came and the last time she saw him he had openly demonstrated he had no interest in her by choosing a random woman at a party over her. That day Carina said goodbye to her childhood crush on a man she could never have.

“… she offered his companion the second glass. He jerked back as if realizing the symbol of her gesture. Carina looked up and memorized his beloved face for the last time. She left him in the garden with the woman and didn’t look back. She surrendered more than the love of her life. She gave up her old dreams and left her old life behind.”

Now she is back in his life and she is ready to “exorcise the ghost of Maximus Gray”. But Max is not willing to let her do that this time. Their attraction is flaming hot, every look, every touch leaving their skin tingling and the reader fanning themselves – they fight the draw between them with excuses of age difference and life-long friendships, but their bodies betray them at every turn. Eventually, they agree on indulging themselves with one night of passion to take the itch away, hoping they would be ‘cured’ in the morning.

“I deserve one night of great sex, Max. Would you deny me that? Would you deny what you give to yourself? I’m not a perfect china doll placed on a shelf to be played with in careful moments. I’m flesh and blood and I want messiness and passion and orgasms.”

Their one-night-stand proves to be a life changing experience for both of them. The connection between them is not just flesh-deep but neither of them is ready to admit that just yet. At this point, fate butts in in the form of mama Conte who discovers their indiscretion the following morning and convinces them that the only way to save their families from embarrassment and humiliation is by marrying each other. What might appear as an old-fashioned blessing in disguise is nothing more than a curse for Carina – getting the man of her dreams by twisting his arm into marrying her out of obligation rather than undying love is the last thing her heart craves.

“Where the f*ck is my happily-ever-after, Max? I dreamed of a real proposal, with a man on bent knee and vows he actually meant. You know what I got? Good intentions, responsibility, and a few orgasms.”

Carina’s journey is one of finding her true passions in life, voicing what she wants and does not want. In this story, we witness a vibrant young woman willing to sacrifice everything she was raised to think was right for her in order to find out what would truly make her happy. Her courage to cut the ties that bind her and finding strength within her was inspiring, showing us that one needs to be strong on their own before they can be strong with someone else. She is a fierce heroine, one that likes to submit to her lover in the bedroom but firmly holds the reins of the relationship together with her partner.

“I’m finally claiming what I’ve wanted for a long time. A man who makes me explode with pleasure and can take me places I crave to go. A man to hold me and give me orgasms and share the night with.”

Max is just as complex as Carina is – he is a man torn between loyalty and his irrepressible pull towards Carina. While she has always seen him as the personification of all her desires, Max needs to readjust his perception of her. He fights a battle inside his head, wanting to keep the role of protector and friend to her, while realising at the same time that this woman is also his soul-mate. Carina is the first woman in his life that makes him crave to be a better man for her.

A story of people being each other’s constants in life, of childhood dreams becoming reality, of lovers reaching into each other’s souls and giving life to every dream, every hidden desire buried in there. This is possibly a new favourite of mine in the Marriage to a Billionaire series, having allowed Carina and Max to get under my skin and desperately ached for their happy ending. Ms Probst never lets me down, she feeds the romance junkie in me and she always leaves me satisfied. As fairy-tale-like as her stories might be, we all need an escapist safety haven for our dreams to go wild and that is the world that she builds for us so finger-lickingly well. Every. Single. Time.

5stars

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The Marriage Trap by Jennifer Probst

Wife wanted … Italian billionaire seeks faux fiancée. Willing to agree to anything in return …

In order for his sister to marry, Italian billionaire Michael Conte has to find himself a bride – and fast! When he learns that photographer Maggie Ryan is going to be in Milan, Michael hatches a plan to introduce her to his family as his “fiancée”. Never mind that Maggie is confident, independent, and a control freak. Never mind that she’s everything he doesn’t want in a wife … and everything he wants in his bed!

Convinced that Michael is in love with her married gal pal, Maggie agrees to keep up the ruse if he’ll keep away from her friend. Besides, she’s not attracted to charming, ridiculously hot billionaires who drive her nuts. Once they’re in Italy, however, everything changes – and the sexual tension between Maggie and Michael goes from simmer to naked nuclear meltdown!

But have they found the perfect arrangement … or are they trapped in a make-believe marriage?

 “Let me be clear, la mia tigrotta. I’m taking you to bed. I’m going to strip off your clothes, bury myself inside you, and make you come so many times the only word from your lips will be my name, begging me to do it all over again.” (la mia tigrotta ~ my tiger cub)

review

There are some romance authors that get it right every single time and Jennifer Probst is one of those authors. Her delicious stories tantalise your senses, they keep you in a constant state of arousal and cheeriness, the only dilemma in your mind being – wine or chocolate?

In this provocative sequel to The Marriage Bargain, our heroine is Maggie, a successful young photographer whose love life is as colourful as it is unfulfilling. She guards her heart fiercely, her fear of rejection holding her back from believing in ever finding love. But Maggie craves to be loved, to have a man look at her with possession and devotion – her unemotional upbringing has made her hungry for affection, secretly hopeful that every man she takes to bed would end up “slaying the demons in the evening and be enough under the harsh morning light”. She is lonely, tired of being alone and her past traumas have made her believe that she would never be truly wanted by anyone, never good enough.

“Nothing was worse than that empty, gnawing feeling in her stomach when she rolled over and realized the man next to her was not The One. Would never be The One.”

Michael has been a thorn in Maggie’s sight ever since their failed blind date over a year ago. Now they find themselves in Italy, Michael’s homeland, in an unconventional agreement of pretend-marriage and desperately trying to deny the sizzling attraction between them. But while they are convinced to be all wrong for each other and to have nothing in common, Maggie and Michael are a lot more alike than they realise. They have been looking for the same thing in life, the same empty search for a ‘soul mate’ both troubling them as well as filling them with hopelessness.

“Do you take them to bed to escape the loneliness, hoping it will end up to be more? Do you wake up in the morning with a sick feeling in your stomach, knowing you lied to yourself again? Do you wonder if you’re meant to be alone? Wonder if something deep down is holding you back?”

Michael wants a woman to challenge him, with a strong independent streak on the outside and a kind and loving heart on the inside. Deep down, he longs for a woman that is “wild, untamed, contradictory, and stubborn.” Maggie awakens this unconscious longing in him, he finds himself desperate to peel off her defences, one by one, and make her reveal her true self to him. He senses that something is holding her back from admitting her feelings for him and he patiently attempts to knock that wall down brick by brick.

“… there was a cool detachment in her aura, surrounding her like a thicket of thornbushes with nasty-looking spines. Look, but don’t touch. Touch, but don’ feel. Her emotions were locked up and controlled to a point of strangling.”

He senses her need to feel loved, her lingering pain and yearning to form a lasting attachment to someone, but he also struggles with his own reluctance to admit that she might actually be exactly what he’s been looking for all along. Michael finds himself unable to fight his attraction to Maggie any longer – the more he gets to know her, the deeper his feelings for her become. Her unpredictable personality and smart mouth are his undoing. Their connection is electric, intense, overconsuming. Before they know it, they are ‘stripped-bare’ before one another, with no walls between them, fighting for control over their emotions and over one another.

“She twisted everything inside of him until he vibrated at a high pitch, and she made the long line of women he’d taken to bed fade away into nothingness. She was prickly, hardheaded, honest to a fault, and hid a soft center that melted his heart.”

The build-up of sexual chemistry between the main characters, the anticipation, the will-they-won’t-they will leave you breathless. Ms Probst’s stories are pure escapism at its finest – they awaken the hopeless romantic in you and they fill your dreams with sexually-charged fantasies of meant-to-be’s. This book is a worthy sequel to a favourite of mine and it only makes me wish for this series to never end.

The next book in the series, The Marriage Mistake, comes out on 6 November 2012. I cannot wait!!!

4halfstars

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The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

A marriage in name only … To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother – the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition. A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right? Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans …

 

 

review

I read this book some time ago, pre-blog and pre-book review mania, and since it has been proudly sitting on my Favourites shelf ever since then and to celebrate its print debut on 4 September, I felt that it deserved to be revisited and reviewed in detail this time.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive …” ~ Sir Walter Scott

I honestly LOVED everything about this book! From start to finish, it kept me in a constant state of elation, the escapist in me doing cartwheels of joy every time I turned a page. This is a feel-good, funny, sexy, romantic story of two people who do everything they can to fight the chemistry between them, to only fail miserably at every turn. A story like this is a romantic escapist’s dream come true.

Alexa is a strong and independent young woman, a small business owner, in desperate need of two things – the man of her dreams and a large sum of money to save her family’s home. Preferably in the same package. She dreams of a man possessing “loyalty, intelligence, humor, a strong sense of family and a love for animals, a healthy income.” The solution to all her problems comes in the form of her childhood crush, her best friend’s arrogant older brother, whom she has not seen ever since he broke her heart when they were kids. Nick is a successful architect who needs a wife for a year in order to inherit his late uncle’s company and is willing to pay for it. He does not believe in “love everlasting, marriage, and family” but he is willing to have a fixed-term marriage of convenience with someone he trusts, even if that someone is the only woman capable of getting under his skin and making him question his resolve.

“All women wanted marriage, and marriage meant messiness. Fights above emotion. Children tearing them both at the seams, wanting more attention. Needing more space, until the end became the same as every other relationship. Divorce. With children as the casualties.”

Alexa comes from a tight-knit family, a family that fights to stay together and fights for each other, and she would do anything for the ones she loves, even marry a man who she knows could never love her the way she dreams of being loved.

”Could she stand being married to a man who made logic his God and thought monogamy was a female thing? … Nick only experienced strong emotions for his buildings. Never for women.”

Nick, on the other hand, is the product of a broken home, whose parents’ self-absorbed behaviour has taught him from an early age that marriages are as messy as they are short-lived.

“Marriage is unnecessary. The dream of forever is a fairy tale. White knights and monogamy don’t exist. … Sure, people mean it when they confess love and devotion, but time erodes all the good stuff and leaves the bad.”

Two people with completely opposite views on most things, most importantly on the importance of commitment, but equally desperate to achieve their goals. The deal gets sealed, they marry each other and all their best laid plans slowly fall through. Neither of them quite expected for their loveless marriage of convenience to turn into an irresistible battle of wills, a delicious struggle against their ever-growing attraction, or to find their ‘soul-mate’ in the midst of it all. They tear through each other’s walls and become vulnerable to something neither of them have ever experienced or felt before. The more they fight the pull, the more the chemistry between them sizzles. Eventually they lose the battle and give in to all the pent-up frustration and emotions that have tortured them since their wedding day. But nothing is easy or uncomplicated when two equally stubborn individuals are trying to make a relationship work, never giving up or changing their views on what that relationship should look like in the long run.

The highlight of the book for me were the dialogues, especially between the two main characters, Alexa and Nick. It is so enjoyable when a heroine with a smart mouth can disarm a man with only a few words – “It was nice to see you again, Pretty Boy.” Alexa is a woman we want to emulate, befriend, idolize. Her only weakness is her fierce devotion to her loved ones which is also her biggest strength. Her larger-than-life personality disarms Nick, makes him question everything he has ever believed about love and relationships – she gives herself to him completely, unselfishly and shows him the truth of his feelings for her.

“She gave for no gain of her own, no goal she needed to reach. Love was not a prize but something she owned inside and shared freely. Every night she took him deep into her body and held nothing back. The woman who was his wife was a fierce, proud creature who both shattered and humbled him, and he realized in the glimmer of firelight that he loved her. He was in love with his wife.”

However, love is easy, trust is hard and eventually their biggest challenge is shutting down their doubts about each other and trusting their hearts to have made the right choice. Nick’s personal journey in this book drives the storyline and his emotional growth in the end is the catalyst for everything else. He shows us that it is never too late to become better people if what we are causes pain to the ones we love. Life is full of compromises, we give and we take, and sometimes life throws us a bone that is worth re-evaluating everything we hold dear just to keep it.

A truly wonderful and uplifting book, a delightful writing style, even Ms Probst clichés leave a sweet taste in your mouth. The second book in the series – The Marriage Trap – comes out on 2 October and I have been counting down the days with pleasurable anticipation.

5stars

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