★ Book Blitz ★ LIGHTER by Gia Riley + Excerpt + Giveaway!

We're excited to present author Gia Riley's new book, LIGHTER, Book One of the Begin Again series! It's part of the book blitz organized by Xpresso Tours. Be sure to check out the exclusive excerpt, teasers and enter the giveaway below!

Publication Date: February 16th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance


What do you do when you can't save the one you love? 

Sophie can’t survive without control. Growing up with an alcoholic father, she craves the discipline of gymnastics. Feeling lost on a brand new college campus, she lets loose for the first time in her life. But with freedom comes consequences. Is one night everything she hopes? Or will she become her own worst nightmare?

Kipton's one year away from graduation. He's never thought beyond a one night stand until meeting his sister’s new roommate. Finally setting his sights on the girl he can't resist, he's more determined than ever when she won't give in to his persuasions. He's always gotten the girl, and he's not about to give up without a fight.

Will Sophie be able to salvage her dreams and wage a war against her own vices? Can she finally let love in? Or will history repeat itself causing her to self-destruct?

Lighter isn't your typical college romance. Darkness suffocates, dreams are dashed, and battles are lost. Love takes on a whole new meaning.

Sneak Peek: Excerpt!

Two Years Ago
                  “Sophie, wait! I’m sorry. I’m just worried about you,” Megan yells from the double doors leading from the locker room into the hallway.
                  She saw the bruises on my body.
I knew better than to change in front of everyone after gym class, yet I did it anyway because I was running late to meet my boyfriend. Blaine doesn’t like it when I keep him waiting. Tossing my book bag over my shoulder, I round the corner and smack right into him – and he doesn’t look happy.
                  “What did you say to her?” He questions with a deadly stare.
                  “Nothing. I didn’t say a word.” I didn’t but I still avert my eyes, choosing to stare at the tile on the floor instead of him. Without warning, he grabs my arm and pulls me into the bathroom. It’s empty.
         “Please, Blaine.” I’m begging him to stop. He hears me, but he doesn’t listen.
                  “I told you what I would do, didn’t I?”
I swallow, my hands shaking. “Yes.”
He pins my arms against the wall, hovering over me. “And yet you still couldn’t keep your damn mouth shut.”
                  I try to yank my arms from his grasp, but his grip is too tight. His fingertips dig painfully into my arms, his nails breaking through the skin. “I swear I didn’t tell her anything.”
                  He inches closer to my face, the warmth of his breath hits my cheek. “Don’t fucking lie to me, Sophie. What happened the last time you lied to me?”
                  “I’m not lying. Please, Blaine. I wouldn’t.”
                  “What happened, Sophie?”
                  He’s going to make me say it – as if I’d ever need a reminder. It’s impossible to forget. “You had to teach me a lesson.”
“But you never learn. No matter how hard I try to protect you.”
“I’m sorry,” I plead. Regardless of the fact that I’m innocent, he morphs my apology into an admission of guilt.
                  “Damn right you are,” he spits through gritted teeth. His calmness now completely gone and replaced with anger. “Don’t you ever lie to me again, you hear me?”
                  “Yes,” I whisper.
                  He grabs my chin, roughly scraping his calloused thumb over my lips. His dilated pupils pierce straight through me sending chills down my spine. “Tell me you love me.” My words get lodged in my throat and I make the mistake of pausing a second too long. “Say it!” he warns as his fist pounds against the wall next to my head. 
“I love you, Blaine.” And maybe there was a time I actually did. He wasn’t always like this, but neither was I. If I could go back in time, I’d tell him no. I’d push him away from me and keep my distance. But I’m just like my mother - unable to get away and desperate enough to stay. “Please let go of me. You’re hurting me.” 
Finally he releases me, replacing his harsh words with sweet promises – his rough touches with gentle caresses. With a flip of a switch, he’s back to the Blaine I fell for, masking any signs of the evil he’s become. 
“You make me so crazy, Sophie.” He runs his fingers through my long blond hair, leaving a trail of light kisses on my neck. “I only get mad because I love you so much.” 
“I know.” Painfully well. My scattered bruises a daily reminder of his temper. 
His hand falls from my hair as he latches onto my hip, pulling me flush against his body. “Baby, I need you. You’re everything to me.” 
Everything I don’t want to be. Not anymore. 
Beneath the surface, I’m scarred and broken; a much darker version of the girl I once was. There was a time I believed I was worthy of true love. But now, living in a hell littered with reminders of broken promises, I know what we have is anything but love. 
It’s in this moment that I know I’m not strong enough to fight another day unless I get away from him. But I don’t know how. I need a plan – something to get me away from this town and its memories. 
Closing my eyes, I say a silent prayer that my luck will change – that someone will save me from the hell my life has become. 




Gia is a lover of all things romance and a firm believer that everyone deserves a happily ever after. She resides in the small but mighty state of Delaware with her husband and son. Mother and wife by day, writer by night - she's a girl with a dream to write.

When she's not busy writing, she can be found roaming the isles of Kirkland's or up to her elbows in Play-doh.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou

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★ Book Blitz ★ THE GILDED CUFF by Lauren Smith + Excerpt + Giveaway!

The Gilded Cuff Review Blitz

We're excited to present author Lauren Smith's exciting new book, THE GILDED CUFF (Surrender Series #1) as part of her book blitz organized by the Book Enthusiast! Be sure to check out the excerpt, delicious teasers and enter the giveaway to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card below—enjoy! 

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by Lauren Smith 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: February 2015 
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Book Blurb

Every passion has its price . . .

Journalist Sophie Ryder has been following Emery Lockwood’s story since she was a little girl. There has always been something in his haunted eyes that she couldn’t resist and now, when she’s certain he holds the key to solving a string of kidnappings, she’ll do anything to speak to him. Even if it means venturing deep into the seductive world of the Gilded Cuff, a luxurious BDSM club on Long Island’s Gold Coast and Emery’s personal playground.

From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.


When she got back to Emery’s bedroom she grabbed her suitcase and dropped it on the bed. She started throwing clothes in and rushed into the bathroom to gather her toiletries. Hurrying back into the bedroom, she stopped dead when she saw Emery leaning casually against the door frame, blocking the only exit. His arms were crossed over his broad chest and a scowl darkened his face.
“What do you think you’re doing? You can’t leave, not after you’ve given me my family back.”
She gulped and remained silent. Her heart thudded loudly enough that she was shocked he didn’t seem to hear it.
“Sophie,” he growled. “I’m not letting you walk out of this door.”
He was across the room in seconds and with a quick swipe of his hand he knocked the suitcase to the ground. The move wasn’t violent, more decisive than anything else. She stared numbly at the clothes she’d hastily shoved into the suitcase. They were now scattered in a heap on the floor. Emery seized her attention by clasping his hands around her wrists wore and trapping her hands at the small of her back. All she could do was gaze up at him, wide-eyed, her body humming with muted pleasure at the domination swirling in his eyes.
“I put cuffs on you. Even if they aren’t on you all the time, the symbolism is the same.” His voice was passion-rough, as though he held onto his control by a whisper-fine thread. “Do you know what cuffs on a sub means in my world?”
Her mouth was as dry as sandpaper as she struggled to speak past the lump in her throat. “Cuffs represent a claimed sub. A Dom cuffs a sub he wishes to show to others belongs to him. The next step up is to collar a sub during a ceremony.” She knew that much from what Hayden had briefly explained over the phone when she was giving Sophie some inside tips on the club and the D/s lifestyle.
Emery licked his lips, his body tense against hers. “To me they are a sign of commitment. If I were to take you to the club wearing these, everyone would know you were mine, that I owned you as sure as I owned my own soul. A cuffing is not always temporary, Sophie, especially not for me. I’ve never cuffed a woman before. I want you like I’ve never wanted anyone, and I don’t want just one night.” His confession was a ragged whisper and the echoing wildness in his eyes had her heart racing to a tempo it had never beat before. He released her a single moment, to retrieve her a set of leather cuffs from his dresser before he came back to her and secured the cuffs to her wrists.
The cuffs on her wrists seemed to burn her skin deliciously. They weren’t just pretty jewelry. They meant something important to him, and that in turn made her feel their presence all the more strongly. He wanted her for more than one night? She’d never been wanted like that. No one had ever… She closed her eyes a moment, trying to regain control. It was all she’d ever craved, in the darkest, loneliest part of her soul. One wish: to be wanted. And he’d uttered those longed-for words with the hunger of a starving man.
“I know I should give you a choice, let you walk away if you’re frightened…” He lowered his head to hers, teasing her lips with his, but not kissing her. “But I can’t. You’re mine. You’re not free to leave me, or this.” He feathered his lips over hers.
Sophie marveled at how different this kiss was. Each time he touched her, kissed her, held her, she was struck with a deep sense of wonder. So much of his soul, his heart, his very being seemed to flow from his mouth to hers. For a man so determined to separate himself from the world and hide behind the bars of his gilded cage, he wore his heart not on his sleeve but on his lips.
“Say something,” he begged in a low growl of frustration. His grip on her wrists tightened the faintest bit.
Foolishly, she couldn’t say everything that burned at the tip of her tongue. “I’m not going to write the story. I can’t. I didn’t see before now how much I had intruded on your life, your privacy. It wasn’t right.”
He sighed against her cheek, his dark golden lashes falling down over his tanned skin.
“For such a brilliant woman, you never cease to amaze me with your silliness. I don’t give a damn about the story. We can discuss it later.” Emery opened his eyes again, fixing her with a cinnamon gaze pierced with shards of forest green. “Right now, all that matters is getting you beneath me in bed. If you don’t want that, then use your safe word. Say apricots and I won’t touch you tonight. But if you don’t say it…” His eyes flicked to something behind her. Belatedly she realized it was the bed, mere inches away.
Her breath hitched and she had to resist the urge to sigh in relief and lean into him. Finally. He was taking control, telling her she couldn’t leave, that there was something between them worth exploring. She could let him take over, let him rule her as he wished, and be free to enjoy the passion he’d promised in every heated touch and fiery caress since she’d met him.
“What about your parents?” she asked.
“Gone. Hans took them home. We’re going to attend their party next week.”
“Their annual costume party,” Emery said as he released her wrists and moved back to his bedroom door, shutting and locking it. The click of metal into metal shot a bolt of excitement through her, shocked by the strength of the desire that followed.
All thoughts of the party or his parents faded. She was caught up in the panther-like grace of his movements as he came back to her, pausing to open the drawer of his nightstand. He pulled out the pair of leather cuffs she’d worn in the club and placed them on the bed near where she stood. Then he turned back to the drawer to retrieve two more leather restraints and several short lengths of chain no more than three feet long apiece.
“Come here,” he ordered. The short tone was intimidating but not cruel.
When she hesitated, the frown on his handsome face turned into a brooding scowl. She hastily walked to him, eyes dropping to the carpet at his feet.
“Wrists,” he prompted.
Sophie held out her wrists and he removed the gilded cuffs and replaced them with the leather cuffs, taking a second to slide a finger under each leather cuff to make sure they weren’t too tight. He didn’t link the cuffs together yet, but kept her wrists unbound. Then he knelt at her feet and secured the second pair of restraints to her ankles.
She stared down at the tousled halo of soft wheat-gold hair. It was one of the features she adored about him. He wore it longer than was fashionable and he always looked deliciously rumpled, as though a woman had been running her hands through his hair. It made him look so thoroughly male, so virile and attractive. She wanted those to be her hands. To leave her mark upon him, much in the way he left his mark on her body with each kiss.
As though aware of her gaze on him, he raised his head, his eyes tracing a searing path up her body before reaching her face.
“Tonight, you fulfill your bargain. We play by my rules. Do you understand?” The change in his tone, the darker hints of domination and control, teased the words, and she couldn’t repress an excited shiver that flashed through her body like quicksilver.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Yes, what?” he growled. One hand cupped the back of her neck and he massaged the tense muscles, but his expression was stony and almost cold. This was Emery, the Dom. A side of himself he’d kept hidden until now. It didn’t frighten her. It excited her. Her nipples pebbled at the rough feel of his hands against her skin as he continued to stroke.
“Yes, sir?”
A momentary wink of amusement colored his eyes into a deep honey gold. “Are you asking me a question, little sub?”

Sophie nearly started to explain, but realized that would get her spanked. As much as she liked the idea, she wanted to prove to him she was learning about his world.




Meet the Author

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. 

She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

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★ Guest Post ★ Hazel Gaynor's Top 5 Historical Romance Novels + Giveaway!

Today we're excited to welcome bestselling author Hazel Gaynor to our corner of the web! She's sharing her top 5 favorite historical romance novels of all time!

This guest post is a feature of our stop on the blog tour for her book A MEMORY OF VIOLETS, hosted by Tasty Book Tours + giveaway below!

A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers
by Hazel Gaynor
Release Date: February 3rd, 2015


From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Hazel Gaynor comes a beautiful historical novel about Tilly Harper, a young woman who finds the diary of an orphaned flower seller who was separated from her sister in Victorian England, and her journey to learn the fate of the long lost sisters. Gaynor’s research into the events that inspire her novels is outstanding, and the world of the Victorian flower sellers on the streets of London in the late 1800s is utterly fascinating.

In 1912, twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves her sheltered home in the Lake District for a position as assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls in London. Orphaned and crippled girls wander the twisted streets with posies of violets and cress to sell to the passing ladies and gentleman, and the Flower Homes provide a place for them to improve their lives of hardship.

When Tilly arrives at Mr. Shaw’s safe haven, she discovers a diary that tells the story of Florrie, a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after being separated from her sister Rosie. Tilly makes it her mission to find out what happened to young Rosie, and in the process learns about the workings of her own heart.

On Goodreads

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | IndieBound

★ Top Five Historical Romance Novels 

Wow – this is tough! It’s a little like being asked to choose your favourite child, but I’ll do my best. My choices are a mixture of all time classics and novels from contemporary writers of historical fiction. I hope you enjoy my selection. 
Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
Who doesn’t love the captivating and intriguing romance between Lizzie Bennett and Mr Darcy? This novel is loved by so many and is romance writing – in fact, writing of any genre - at its very best. A novel packed full of memorable characters, wonderful humour (and cutting sarcasm that Lady Violet Grantham would be proud of) and rich with stunning prose. A much-loved classic from one of the finest novelists of all time, and one that I could fall in love with again and again. What more can I say?! 
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
I am often torn between Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as my favourite novel of all time, but there is something so special about the relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester that wins me over when it comes to romance. From the harrowing experience of Jane’s childhood and her poignant friendship with Helen Burns, all the way through to Jane’s arrival at Thornfield Hall and the terrifying presence of the madwoman in the attic, there is so much in this novel to capture the reader’s imagination. Reaching its climactic conclusion, the line, ‘Reader, I married him,’ is simply perfection. Bravo Miss Bronte. Bravo!
After the War is Over – Jennifer Robson  
In this sequel to her debut novel, Somewhere in France, Canadian author, Jennifer Robson continues to explore the relationships between the characters we met in her first novel and tells of the enduring love story between Charlotte Brown and her dearest friend’s brother, Edward. Robson captures post-war England perfectly with beautiful writing and great characters. Charlotte and Edward’s is a turbulent and never-easy romance which makes for compelling reading. 
The Girl You Left Behind – Jojo Moyes
Written after the global phenomenon, Me Before You, this is one of my favourite Jojo Moyes novels. Set partly in WWI and partly in modern-day London, there is much to fall in love with. I especially enjoyed the scenes written in 1916 and the portrayal of Sophie and Édouard’s captivating and heart-breaking love for each other. As the novel progresses and the mystery of their past is revealed, this is an historical romance novel that really makes for a heart-warming and memorable read. 
Ellis Island – Kate Kerrigan
Kate Kerrigan’s first novel in the ‘Ellis Island’ trilogy is a gorgeous tale of a young Irishwoman, Ellie Hogan, who leaves rural Ireland to start a new life in America. Torn between her love for her husband and her love of the alluring 1920s America, Ellie is a great character who I really cared about. This is a wonderfully written and gorgeously romantic tale set in the fascinating, and starkly different, worlds of 1920s America and Ireland. City of Hope and Land of Dreams complete the trilogy, and bring Ellie’s story to an emotional conclusion.

About the Author:

Hazel Gaynor’s 2014 debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME – A Novel of the Titanic was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is her second novel.

Hazel writes a popular guest blog ‘Carry on Writing’ for national Irish writing website writing.ie and contributes regular feature articles for the site, interviewing authors such as Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Joyce and Jo Baker, among others.

Hazel was the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. She appeared as a guest speaker at the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Historical Novel Society annual conferences in 2014.

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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