Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Release Blitz feat Review:
When It's Real by Erin Watt!

Title: When It's Real
Author: Erin Watt
Release Date: May 30th, 2017


Wealth, fame and a real-life romance she never expected—seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star's fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt.

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There's nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star's got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he's settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley's image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She'll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there's no telling what your heart will do

My Review:

I was so excited when I first heard that Elle and Jen were teaming up again to give us When It’s Real. I had LOVED Paper Princess and this story sounded like it would be just as amazing. A troubled celebrity, a “normal” girl, and a fake relationship? Hell, yes! Sign me up for the drama and chaos that was sure to ensue.

The only problem is, instead of drama and chaos, I found myself surrounded by characters that I couldn’t much stomach and a story that left one too many loose ends untied.

The character development could have used a little work. The scenes with W made me cringe and I felt like he was thrown in for dramatic effect. I never really felt a connection between Oak and Vaughn so it didn’t bother me the way it should have when things became rocky, and Vaughn’s twin brothers ended up being the most likable characters for me.

As far as the story itself goes, I didn’t find myself getting into it until I was almost half way through. It’s not that it was bad, per se, it just didn’t hold anything special for me. Nothing that made it memorable. Nothing that made me stop to contemplate what I’d just read. The tweets at the beginning of each chapter didn’t really add to the story and some scenes seemed like they were tossed in just because.

It’s (un)fortunate that Paper Princess was their first collaboration because it set a standard that would be hard met by almost any author. I know they have what it takes, because they’ve done it before. I’m just waiting for them to do it again.

Sadly, When It’s Real didn’t meet my expectations. I liked it enough by the end thanks to some side characters and the beauty that comes from the struggle of finding oneself, but I can’t stay that this story will be one that I can remember a year from now.

2½ Stars

Buy Here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble


Review - ROYAL BASTARDS by Andrew Shvarts

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published: June 6, 2017
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 4

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey...

Initially, I was dead set on giving the book five stars. But I felt like the middle dragged too much for my liking. So instead, my overall rating is a 3.5. I liked the aspect of bastards being center stage of the story, and for the most part I liked the characters. I think I just felt a bit disconnected with the book the more I read. Which is weird because I connected so well with it at the beginning. 

The plot is interesting because it plays like a fantasy novel but the characters talk like they are from modern times. It kind of jilted me at first because the setting didn't really match what they were saying. Eventually, I just let it go and thought it was a cool touch. 

As I was saying at the beginning about mostly liking the characters...I didn't much care for the main character, Tilla. I felt like she was whiny, a crybaby, and immature. It's like the world owed her something when she wasn't the only one who got the short end of the stick. Towards the end I was able to tolerate her a little more but I wish the story would have been told from someone else's point of view. 

The story ended but I felt like it also left on a note of multiple interpretations. Which means, I do hope for a next book. I'd like to be able to see if the characters have grown and plus I really like Zell and Lyriana. I think if you're looking for a unique book with hints of romance, action, and a group of kids struggling to fit in, go ahead and read this. It's well written and although it dragged in the beginning, the overall book was well thought out and I look forward to more from the author. 

*A huge thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Buy the Book:


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Recommendation - WAITING ON THE SIDELINES by Ginger Scott

These books came out a few years ago but I only just discovered them a few months ago. To say I loved them is a huge understatement.

Nolan Lennox had things figured out. Named after a baseball legend, she enjoyed being the Tomboy, her closet filled with her brother’s hand-me-downs, cut-off jeans and soccer shorts. But when her first trip to high school results in a broken heart from the first boy to ever make her heart flutter and cruel words from an older girl she once thought a family friend, Nolan starts to question the very person she thought she was and wonders if her humble upbringing can compete with the afforded luxuries of her privileged peers.

Throughout the next four years, Nolan struggles to maintain herself throughout her path of discovery, learning just how cruel teenagers can be through the pressures of underage drinking, sexuality and class. And despite how life seems to continue to work against her, she still manages to listen to her heart, falling deeper and deeper for the guy the entire town adores, even if he only sees her as a friend. Can Nolan strike a compromise between her own integrity and the boy she loves? And can she make him notice her before it’s too late?

Reed Johnson came to Coolidge High School with a lot of fanfare. The son of a hometown football legend and the brother of a local football hero, Reed wore all the pressures of carrying a town without hope into the spotlight. Thankfully, he had the talent to back it up. But when he meets a girl who makes him think twice about exactly what being a hero means, he starts to wonder if following in his brother’s footsteps might be all wrong. 

Nolan Lennox was everything that was opposite of expected. She didn’t flirt, she didn’t drink and she didn’t sleep around. Nothing about her was easy, but something about her made Reed want to try harder. Though she didn’t look the part, she seemed to be spending a lot of time in Reed’s thoughts, and he wondered if she could be the one who made it all worthwhile. But could Reed handle letting her down? And would breaking her heart break him beyond repair?

Waiting on the Sidelines explores young love to its fullest, exposing how real young heartbreak and passion is and how important it is to discover yourself and hold onto your own identity. The story follows two young characters as they deal with mature situations, including the prevalence of bullying and promiscuity in today’s high school setting. Ultimately, Waiting on the Sidelines is a story of hope, honesty and those powerful, first true loves—the ones worth holding onto at any cost.

Words from Me:
It's been a few months since I read Waiting on the Sidelines by Ginger Scott and yet the book is still with me. I would even go as far as to say it's probably my favorite book this year that I've read. I had never read anything by Scott  prior to reading this book, but you bet your ass that I went and bought everything she had out on Amazon. From the very beginning...I fell in love. My number one favorite types of stories are the ones where I get to follow a character through everything; falling in love, first heartbreak, the angst, etc. And not only did I get to follow Nolan from the time she was a freshmen until she was a grownup, well I was just beyond heartbroken when it came time to say bye to the characters. I felt like I'd known them for years and years. The two books take you through so much...and my heart was beating erratically the whole time. I hope that you can find a way to READ these books and fall in love with them the way I did. Thank you Ginger, for writing such a profound and loving book. Obviously, you have a fan for life.

Buy Waiting on the Sideline:
Amazon UK

Buy Going Long:
Amazon UK

About the Author:
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count and Hold My Breath.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for pretty much ever. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).


Friday, May 26, 2017

Review - UNDER A SARDINIAN SKY by Sara Alexander

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pub. Date: April 25,2017
Genre: Fiction
Source: E-ARC
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Set against the beautiful backdrop of post-World War II Sardinia, Sara Alexander's evocative novel is a sweeping story of star-crossed romance between an American lieutenant and a local girl.

Sometimes a family's deepest silences hide the most important secrets. For Mina, a London-based travel writer, the enigmatic silence surrounding her aunt Carmela has become a personal obsession. Carmela disappeared from her Italian hometown long ago and is mentioned only in fragments and whispers. Mina has resisted prying, respectful of her family's Sardinian reserve. But now, with her mother battling cancer, it's time to learn the truth.

In 1952, Simius is a busy Sardinian town surrounded by fertile farms and orchards. Carmela Chirigoni, a farmer's daughter and talented seamstress, is engaged to Franco, son of the area's wealthiest family. Everyone agrees it's a good match. But Carmela's growing doubts about Franco's possessiveness are magnified when she meets Captain Joe Kavanagh. Joe, an American officer stationed at a local army base, is charismatic, intelligent, and married. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together must bring upheaval and heartache to both families.

As Mina follows the threads of Carmela's life to uncover her fate, she will discover a past still deeply alive in the present, revealing a story of hope, sacrifice, and extraordinary love.

That was such a beautiful story. The descriptions made me feel as if I were truly in 1950s post war. Mina, is a travel writer and wants to get down and uncover family secrets. In doing so, she opens up a whole beautiful world where we get to meet Carmela. A beautiful seamstress who falls in love with an American soldier. 

So romantic, right? It is but there is one problem. Carmela is engaged to marry a good looking and wealthy man where she lives. Joe Kavanagh, the soldier, is married. The more and more she sees of Joe, the more she sees that her fiancé, Frank, isn't right for her. There starts a story is forbidden love, jealousies, and more important than anything, the love of family. 

The author writes a rich and captivating story that feels more like a slow burn then anything else. I was engrossed with the words, the story, the characters, and the way I felt throughout the book. Poetically beautiful, I think I found a new author to read. 

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Buy the Book:

About the Author:
I grew up in North West London but all my summers were spent in my mother's homeland of Sardinia, specifically those dusty streets of Ozieri where I argued and fell in love with the neighbours. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Excerpt - ROAR (Stormheart Series #1) by Cora Carmack


From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Releasing June 13, 2017, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below!


About ROAR (Stormheart Series #1):
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack's young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence.

 Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, 

Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems.

 He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? 

They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.
Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence.

 And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.
Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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Add to your Goodreads


 There was a hole in her chest, an awful, gaping hole that screamed like she wanted to. Like a cyclone, it seemed to suck up everything in its path until her knees were curled into her chest and her body hunched, and she just kept collapsing in and in and in. 

Suddenly unable to breathe, she clawed at the beaded fastenings that connected her headdress and necklace. One of her fingernails bent and splintered as she scrabbled for the hooks; when she could not find them, she took hold of the beaded cord and pulled until it broke, beads scattering across the stone floor around her. The headdress tipped sideways, tugging painfully on her hair.

 Again and again, she pulled at the ties until her palms felt raw and beads littered the floor around her. The headdress began to sag, and she was nearly done, nearly free when someone stepped through the archway, and she froze. Novaya. 

 Thank the skies. The dark-haired servant held an urn full of steaming water in her hands, and she stared in horror as if she had stumbled upon a monster rather than a crying girl. Nova had been Rora’s closest friend before she cut herself off from everyone at her mother’s command. Girls with secrets the size of Rora’s could not have friends. Nova took a step forward, paused, then knelt down, her large brown eyes carefully blank.

 “Should I call for your guards? The queen?” Nova asked.

 “No!” Softer, Aurora said, “No. Please don’t tell anyone.” 

 Once upon a time, Nova had kept all her secrets. Now the two rarely even looked at each other in the eye when their paths crossed, and it was all Aurora’s fault.

 “Your Highness? What happened?” Rora shook her head and returned to tugging at the headdress still tangled in her hair. She couldn’t say the words aloud, couldn’t let anyone see how much of a fool she was. Aurora had become accustomed to her shortcomings as a Stormling, as an heir. 

But she’d thought she had her mother’s strength, tenacity, and intelligence. But maybe that was wishful thinking. Maybe she was altogether…inadequate. “Stop, Princess. You’re hurting yourself.” Nova put the water aside, crawled forward, and grabbed Rora’s wrists.

 “Aurora, stop.” All the years spent missing their friendship came rushing back, and she froze at the sound of her name. Not Princess. Not Your Highness. Aurora. But the moment she stopped moving, it all came crashing down on her. Her naïve plan to kiss him, to experience something real. She should have known that her future would hold only more lies.

 As if she knew anything about real life, real anything. She lived in this palace, protected and pampered and put away like a doll on a shelf, too fragile for anything but appearances. And it seemed that’s all she would ever be. Cassius wanted control of the city for himself. He thought he’d have to fool her to do it, but the moment the world found out that Rora had no magic, he’d become the ruler in truth, and she’d be the puppet at his side. 

He wouldn’t have to feign interest in her then. He wouldn’t need her at all. She wound her arms about her legs and rested her forehead on her knees. Nova moved closer, and Rora sat still and silent as the girl worked to remove the headdress.

 Her old friend had grown into a beautiful young woman—flawless bronze skin, shiny black hair, stunning features. She’d recently begun assisting the royal seamstress in addition to her position as a maid. She probably had more friends than she could count. Aurora could not help imagining how different her life would be now fi she had never become heir. The headdress finally gave way, and Nova slipped it off and laid it on the stone floor beside them.

 “Tell me what happened.” Rora leaned back against the wall. It was cool against her abused scalp, and she muttered, “Nothing happened.” At least she had that much. She hadn’t kissed that beast.

 But what she had done felt worse. She had hoped. And hope broke more hearts than any man ever could. “Should I get someone? A friend?” Rora let out a bleak, cold laugh. As if she had any of those. Softer, she said, “I don’t want to see anyone. I just need this dress off. The makeup too. I need to breathe, and I can’t do it through all this mess.”

 “I can do that. I came to help remove the headdress and gown. Stand up and we’ll go to your room. Everything will be fine, Your Highness.” She didn’t tell her old friend how wrong she was, not as she peeled the dress off her and unlaced the corset. Not as she wiped away the powder that was smudged and striped on Rora’s face, thanks to falling tears.

 Another maid came in with more steaming water for a bath and Rora let them clean her up, wishing it was as easy to wipe away the last few hours. She sat in the bath until the water grew cold and her skin shriveled like dying fruit. She had to face the facts. 

The Rage season was coming, as was this sham of a wedding. And she didn’t know how to fight it any more than she knew how to stop a storm. But she would not give Cassius any more opportunities to see her vulnerable. Nor was she giving up. If there were no other way, she would marry Cassius. But she had six days. Wars had been won, empires toppled, and cities leveled in less time. If there was a way out of this, Rora would find it.  

About Cora Carmack:
Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA fantasy, Roar. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.    

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blog Tour Review - THE WRIGHT BOSS BY K.A. Linde

TWBoss iBooks

A new stand alone office romance from USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde... I’ve always had one rule: Don’t mix business and pleasure. But then Landon Wright comes home to his family’s construction company with a broken back and a beaten heart and ends up as my new sexy boss. As the office gets heated, I’m thinking about throwing the rulebook out the window. If only there weren’t a million reasons this could never work. We may have shared a single perfect kiss, but I can’t let our intense connection cloud my judgment. Not with everything I’ve worked for on the line. Dating your boss is so very, very wrong…even if he feels so Wright.     

Linde has done it again. I absolutely adore anything and everything she writes. Even though I was hella excited for Landon's story, I was still a litle bit iffy. Only for the fact that the girl Landon wants is none other than his ex girlfriend's (now sister in law)  best friend, Heidi. Don't ask me about my double standard as to why it was okay for Emery to date Landon's brother, I'm just weird like that.

Fact of the matter is, I liked Landon and Heidi a whole lot more than I thought I would. He's trying to get away from his crazy wife, Miranda. For good reason, shes absolutely bat shit crazy! Heidi is the cool girl who doesn't take any type of crap from any type of guy. But there's something about Landon that just sets her on fire. Lucky girl.

The build up between the two was so damn delicious. I LOVE books like these...all that yummy angst! I hope you read Linde's books because they are pure gold. They have everything you could want in a book; romance, playful banter, great characters, and a story that makes you want to fall in love. Thank you, Ms. Linde for writing these stories and giving us such sexy men!

AmazoniBooksB&NKoboGoogle Play


K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifteen novels including the Avoiding series and the Record series. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, geeking out over Star Wars, binge-watching Supernatural, and dancing in her spare time. She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super adorable puppies.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Release Blitz Excerpt ft Giveaway - SCORE by Victoria Denault


Title: SCORE
Author: Victoria Denault
Series: San Francisco Thunder, #1 
On Sale: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook$3.99 USD
Denault launches a new series, featuring the bad boys of the San Francisco Thunder, with gusto, passion and heaps of tension and sensual detail.  Several genre-defying complications makes the story feel unexpectedly fresh.  Moreover, the consistent reinforcement of the female characters’ strength and individuality turns this book into something unique, and provides plenty of incentive for fans of sport romances to seek out this new series without delay.” –RT Book Reviews

Sexy, sassy, and a perfect new adult read for fans who love hockey and romance, not necessarily in that order. An excellent new sports series launch.” –Library Journal

He's used to winning, but now he's playing with his heart.

Jude Braddock. Hockey god. That's how everyone sees him now. But when they were teenagers, Zoey knew him as the kid who didn't have enough nerve to make a move on their one and only disastrous date. Seems he doesn't have that problem anymore, though. According to the rumors, he's with a different woman every night. After a rough divorce, the last thing Zoey needs is more heartbreak. But Jude's cocky, playful attitude is mighty hard to resist.

Jude knows he isn't built for long-term relationships. But he's getting sick of women pounding on his door in the middle of the night looking for a rematch. When Zoey comes back into his life, it's like fate has given him a second chance. He'll do anything to make her happy again. Is this what love looks like? He has no idea. All he knows for sure is that this time, he's playing for keeps.

Still staring at my blank phone screen, I stumble toward the door and of course I walk straight into someone. Of course. Because to- day is going to be shitty in every possible way. Luckily, I manage to avoid getting chai latte on either of us; it barely spills over the lid and only dribbles onto my hand.
“I’m so sorry!” I say at the exact same time she does, and I look up to see a familiar face staring back, but I can’t place it.
She blinks azure eyes and then her whole face lights up. “Zoey?
Zoey QuinlinOh my God!”
She’s hugging me before I realize what’s happening. I wrap the hand not covered in latte around her back and return the embrace. She pulls back, still holding my shoulders, and smiles. “Holy crap! It’s been over ten years! Oh my God.” She pauses and glances around before adding in a softer voice, “It’s Dixie. Dixie Braddock. You used to babysit me at my family’s summer cottage in Maine. You were friends with my brother, Jude.” 
“Holy shit! Dixie Braddock?” I can’t believe it. The last time I saw her she was thirteen. Wheat hair; pink, suntanned skin; freckles across her nose and chronically scabbed-up knees from trying to keep up with her older sisters and brother, who were all daredevils on their bikes and skateboards and surfboards. Babysitting them—well, the girls, anyway—for the two years I lived in Maine was a highlight of my summers. And so was seeing their brother. Shit, I hadn’t thought of Jude Braddock in a while. I find myself smiling now that I am.
“You live in San Fran?” she questions as she takes my elbow and leads me over to the counter and hands me a napkin for my latte- soaked hand.
“Yeah. Stayed local after college,” I explain as I put down the latte and wipe my hand. “And you live here?”
She nods, her sleek blond bob moving like a curtain around her face. She looks close to the tiny thing I babysat but much more refined and beautiful now. I do the math: she’s only twenty-four, but she looks more put together than any twenty-four-year-old I’ve known.
“Yeah. I went to school for sports media, then interned with the San Francisco Thunder hockey team, and they hired me full- time this year.” Her eyes dart around, and her voice drops again. “Jude plays for them, so I use my mom’s last name, Wynn, so no one thinks he got me the job. He didn’t.”
“Jude is in San Francisco?” I don’t know why I felt the need to say that with such breathless shock. I knew he made the NHL, but I had thought he was playing in Milwaukee. That’s where he was last time I Googled him, which was three years ago, before I married Adam.
“Yeah. Got traded a couple years ago,” Dixie explains. “So how’s your family? Where’s your dad preaching now?”
“He’s retired. Mom and Dad are in Sacramento,” I explain. “My brother, Morgan, is a teacher here in San Francisco.”
“Morgan!” She laughs and her cheeks turn a little pink. “Sadie, Winnie and I had such a crush on your brother when we were little. Remember we used to keep begging you to invite him over when you were watching us?”
I nod and can’t help but smile back. Yeah, that memory hasn’t faded. The Braddock girls wanted my brother to come over, but I never invited him. Not because he was gay, which I already knew at that point, but because if Morgan was around, he would tease me about gawking at Jude, which I always did if he happened to come home before Mr. and Mrs. Braddock’s date night ended.
Dixie glances at her phone in her hand, and I realize we both must have been looking at our screens when we collided. She frowns. “I have to go. I have a meeting at the arena in twenty.” She puts a hand on my arm again. “But I would love to catch up with you, and I know Winnie and Sadie would too. They’re going to be in town this weekend. Would you be able to do brunch?”
“Yeah, I can do brunch,” I reply and am shocked at how excited I am at her suggestion. I haven’t really done much of anything social since the separation. I kind of lost touch with a lot of my friends after marrying Adam and adopted his circle of friends. And they all promptly orphaned me after the separation. I didn’t care much because I didn’t feel up to social interaction, but suddenly this seems like a pleasant distraction from my reality. The Braddock family was one of my favorite parts of my childhood.
“Amazing!”  Dixie almost squeals.  “How about  tomorrow.  Eleven?”
I nod. “Where?” 
“You pick.”
“MKT?” I blurt out because it’s in my hotel and I’m too flustered to think of anything else. To be honest, I don’t even know what they serve for brunch.
“Great! Sadie loves that place, and she’s normally impossible to please.” She hugs me again. “See you tomorrow! Winnie and Sadie are going to be so excited!”
And then, before I can even lift my hand to wave, she’s back out the door. She never even got a coffee, but she doesn’t seem to notice. I’m more dumbfounded and confused than I was from the phone call with Minerva. The Braddocks are here. Well, at least Jude and Dixie are here. In San Francisco. Where I live. When the hell did that happen?
I look around the coffee shop to make sure there’s no one else from my past lurking around. A teacher, a neighbor, another sister of an old unconsummated love. Although Jude was my only unrequited love, but he did have three sisters. Whom I will be having brunch with tomorrow. Crazy!
I slip out of Peet’s and concentrate on the clicking of my heels as I make my way back over to my office. I finally take a sip of my jostled latte. It’s barely warm but the caffeine still manages to clear my head a little. Not enough that eagle-eye Marti doesn’t notice something is up.
“Everything okay?” she wants to know as she stands at her desk, gathering things she needs for her day and placing them in her bag. “You look more out of it than you did before the coffee.”
“I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time,” I murmur, and for some reason Jude’s seventeen-year-old face floats through my head, not Dixie’s from this morning. “The last time I saw her was in Maine eleven years ago, so it was surprising.”
“Wow.” Marti takes a break from filling her Michael Kors satchel with listing flyers. “Small world, huh? I love when that happens. Unless it’s someone I hate. Was it someone you hate?”
“No. Not at all,” I reply and drop down gently into my seat. “She and her sisters were sweethearts. Seems like they still are. I’ll definitely find out, because I’m having brunch with them tomorrow.”
“Cool.” Marti isn’t paying attention anymore. Her eyes are focused across the room on Parker McDavid, who is the owner of our company. He’s midforties, tall with a dad bod that is oddly at- tractive, probably because he covers it in perfectly tailored designer clothes. His dark hair is graying in all the right places, like George Clooney’s, and his eyes are warm and his smile is kind. But he’s an astute businessman who expects a lot from his Realtors, and Marti is constantly trying to impress him. I am too, if I’m being honest, but I’m new. She’s not new, but she’s still hungry.
“I’m going to tell Parker about the deal I just closed, and then I’m off for a condo showing,” Marti explains and barely even waves good-bye as she hustles toward the kitchen Parker just disappeared into for his morning croissant and English Breakfast tea.
I open my laptop and pull up my email, determined to keep my mind focused on work. I need to send a follow-up email regarding the potential Haight listing, but my brain is bouncing from Adam to Dixie.
One future encounter I’m dreading—confronting Adam—and one I’m looking forward to—seeing the Braddock sisters. But the one that isn’t destined to happen is the one that fills me with excitement I haven’t felt in a long time—the potential that since I’m meeting three Braddock siblings I might also run into the fourth: Jude.




Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in L.A. but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.


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