✍🏻 Professor Romance's More than 5 ⭐️ Review: Jewel E. Ann's The Life You Stole ✍🏻

Overall Grade: Stars don’t do this book (and its predecessor) justice—> More than all the stars

It’s February of 2020, and I’m dead. Obviously, it’s not literal; it’s figurative, of course. But after reading Jewel E. Ann’s The Life Series, I’m broken. The book that officially stuck a fork in my soul and rendered it done: The Life You Stole. There are many things that make a writer brilliant, talented, genius, (you choose the modifier here to express the greatness of a writer), etc. I’ve noted them in other reviews: the ability to connect a story to my soul so that my emotions overwhelm me when I’m reading the story, the careful construction of prose to render my writerly brain speechless in the face of said prose, the purposeful creation of characters that feel both real and unreal and my inability to suspend my disbelief in their presence. All of these conspire to create stories/books that earn the descriptor of “good.” Obviously, “good” or “bad” lies in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen GoodReads ratings of 1 star simply because someone hates the idea of a book. They have “been there done that.” I obviously struggle with that level of critique because it’s lazy and seems like a move to render themselves a “troll.” Whatever…

The point of my rambling in this review is set-up, the understanding of depth of genius. Because…because The Life series, and for purposes of this review The Life You Stole, illustrates the reason that people, readers, you, should read this duet and Jewel E. Ann’s booklist. Again, I know this is my opinion, and there are aspects of this book that will turn readers off instantly (I refuse to name them). But to NOT read this book and its predecessor is to ignore genius. Literally. 

I have only been reading romance for the past two years, so I’m a relative newbie. There is MUCH that I have yet to read. I mean, for gosh sakes, I just read my first Colleen Hoover book, and I refuse to read the Twilight series (yes, you can shoot me). I share this with you to show you my shortcomings as a reviewer. I am trying to catch up; I’ve read almost a 1,000 books from a variety of authors in the past two years. Yet, I know that there is a big wide world of romance out there. When I make this statement, take it with all of my spewing in mind. I have NOT read a book like the two of this series. Nothing (and I read anything from dark to clean, angsty to funny ha ha rom-coms) has compared to The LIfe That Mattered and The Life You Stole. Nothing. Here’s my come clean moment: I could NOT suspend my disbelief in the reading of The Life You Stole, and I had to read it out of chronology to save my soul. You might be asking me why I’m sharing that…because, to me, any book that renders me an emotional, anxious puddle is genius. When a book reaches into your heart and palpitates it for you, it’s a good book. Any book that makes you want to vomit out its pain is genius. Literature exists to MOVE us, not always to satiate us. The best writers of our time did and do that. And this series moved me and rearranged my thinking about topics I HATE to talk about. 

I will not talk about this story other than to tell you it is more of Evelyn “Evie,” Ronin “Roe,” Lila, and Graham. When The Life You Stole ends, you feel replete, but you MUST go through emotional turmoil to get there. This isn’t a “feel good” book in the midst of its telling; the resolution of its story brings a completeness that feels well-earned. Every word you read is a reward for the story’s end. Remember that. 

So, I’ve rambled on for good measure about the background of this book, the reasons for noting a writer as genius, here is where I will tell you, beyond the emotional connection of this book, WHY you should read Jewel E. Ann’s The Life Series, more specifically The Life You Stole:

  1. This is a master class in storytelling. I’m going to try to explain my thinking here, and it will probably be confusing but bear with me. In my review of The Life That Mattered, I noted the space between Ann’s words, as though there was more to be said but it wasn’t revealed in the story. In reading The Life You Stole, that revelation of silence is KEY. It’s intentional. The silence of The Life That Mattered finds its space in The Life You Stole, and Ann uses it to illustrate its harm. The characters of this story remain silent, and it breaks apart lives in destructive ways. To craft that silence into her prose and story is GENIUS. As romance readers, we miss aspects of storytelling such as structure, but we shouldn’t. It’s in that space where writers illustrate their craftsmanship. Jewel E. Ann is masterful with it here. Even more, she furthers this in giving Lila and Graham points of view in The Life You Stole. She’s filling in the silence of the story with more words, revealing more secrets as a contrast to the silence of the characters with each other in the story. Once again, this underscores the danger of keeping secrets and remaining silent.  This is storytelling acumen at its best. 
  2. I cannot share the concepts of this book without revealing spoilers so I won’t. What I will say is that Jewel E. Ann is playing with concepts in ways to challenge our thinking about them. As each page turns, you begin to question your thoughts and feelings about a concept, and you’re forced to ask yourself if you can change your perception of them. In fact, by the end of the book, you will find yourself in the gray, accepting things you never thought you might accept. Jewel E. Ann moves you, forces you to stare at your reflection and understand where your line is drawn in the sand. Even more, she challenges you with The Life You Stole (and The Life That Mattered) to re-draw it. The best writers challenge your thinking and values. That is the power of literature. 
  3. All her words. I’ve noted this in other Jewel E. Ann reviews, but her ability to string words together is a gift. She can take the simplest of terms and render them into a sentence of meaning. Over and over again, this book’s words bewitch your spirit. I found myself reveling in them, as I did with her story construction and character development. 

Reading The Life You Stole awakened my literature brain. I took two pages of scribbled notes about this book trying to make sense of my emotions and thoughts. This rambling review is the closest I can get to telling you WHY you should read this book and its sister. I won’t give you any summary; there are other truths I’d love to reveal; and there is literary theory that I could pour into this review, but it would reveal too much. And The Life Series must simply be experienced for you to understand its truth. There is a depth of understanding about human nature in this book that will bend your mind, your heart, and your soul, and I predict there is no book in 2020 that will do the same. The Life That Mattered and The Life You Stole sit in a class all their own. 

In love and romance, 

Professor A

✍🏻 Want more of Stacey Lynn's Ice Kings series? Check out the surprise cover reveal of Scoring Off the Ice, coming April 7th. You can preorder it today! ✍🏻

Hockey was my sole focus until she knocked on my door.

Scoring Off the Ice, an all-new surprise single dad, standalone romance from Stacey Lynn is releasing April 7th, and we have the smoking hot cover! 

Pre-order your copy today!
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Sometimes scoring off the ice leads to the greatest rewards.

I’ve had only one goal in life since I first strapped on a pair of skates—make America’s pro hockey league.

I left Denmark. I made it to the top. Now, I’m determined to be the best. No distractions. I eat, sleep, and breathe hockey.

Until my birthday when my teammates convince me to live a little.

But living a little takes on a whole new meaning when less than a year later I’m confronted with a crying baby on my doorstep, drooling on a note that declares he’s mine.

Suddenly, I’m a single dad in way over my head.

There is no playbook for situations like this.

Luckily, I have Paisley.

My gorgeous neighbor, my long-time crush, and now—my savior.

She’s there any time I need her.

Helping. Guiding. Gazing at me with those green eyes that make me feel capable of this after all.

With her at my side, I’m quickly learning there’s more to life than winning a hockey game.

Cover Design: Shanoff Designs 

✍🏻 My Favorite Read of 2020 is HERE! The Life Series is complete with Jewel E. Ann's The Life You Stole. This is a MUST READ! ✍🏻

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“Absolutely brilliant. Every book she writes leaves me desperate for more!”
– Ella James, USA Today bestselling author

The Life You Stole, the unforgettable and stunning conclusion to The Life Duet from Jewel E. Ann, is available now!

Enter my giveaway for this TOP 2020 read on my Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/professorromance/

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Sex.
Lies.
Revenge.

On the heels of a devastating loss, Evelyn fights to put her life back together.
Only … part of her husband belongs to another woman, and the devil owns her soul.

“If you tell her the lie, I will tell her the truth.”

When her best friend goes to great lengths to protect Evelyn from destruction and devastation, mistakes are made, lines are crossed, and all trust is shattered.

“We weren’t unbreakable.

I just needed to believe we weren’t unrepairable.”

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/31w0kf7
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheLifeyouStole
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/32gr6sr

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Start this MUST READ duet with The Life That Mattered.
Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
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About Jewel

www.annajon.es

Jewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor.

With 10 years of flossing lectures under her belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business.

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the Contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked. Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing.

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree at a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course…heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels.

Connect with Jewel

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Qzj2iq
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Stay up to date with Jewel by joining her mailing list:
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http://www.jeweleann.com

✍🏻 Want a little sneak peek of Logan and Ella in Crowne of Lies by CD Reiss? Check it out here! These two are EVERYTHING you love about Reiss's stories. ✍🏻

Crowne of Lies, an all-new delicious and red-hot marriage of convenience romance guaranteed to melt your kindle, from New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss is coming February 28th, and we have your FIRST sneak peek!

Sneak Peek

“I don’t think your mother’s convinced,” I said, letting him lead our dance.

He glanced up at his parents, then back at me. “Let’s fix that.”

When he leaned down to kiss me, I put my hands flat on his chest.

Logan wasn’t my type. He had things I needed now, but nothing I wanted for the future. I’d die of boredom with him, and I was clearly not what he had in mind when he imagined a happy marriage. But some things needed to be said out loud.

“Wait,” I said. “We have to get divorced at some point, and…” I paused to organize my thoughts and failed. “There’s a lot of kissing and… it’s necessary. I understand. But the thing is…” I stopped myself, meeting the cool blue of his eyes. “I don’t want you to get confused.”

“About what?”

“We’re getting divorced.”

Anyone who heard his laughter without hearing what we were talking about would have thought he was delighted with the woman he loved. “Yes, Estella. We’re getting divorced.”

“No feelings,” I said. “Right?”

“None whatsoever.”

“Okay. Kiss me.”

It must have been the champagne and the music. Definitely the way his arms held me so tightly, rocking back and forth with the rhythm.

No feelings, sure. But Logan kissed like he meant it, and the champagne fizzed inside me, bubbles popping up from the base of my spine, shaking long dormant nerves awake. His hands stayed in an appropriate position, but all I wanted was to feel them stroke lower, deeper, where I shuddered with desire.

“Stop,” I said, pulling away.

“You all right?”

“Fine, just… I need a second.”

“You’re flushed.” He brushed the backs of his fingers along my cheek. “That’s how I know you want to fuck. Make a note.” He spun me away and rolled me back.

“How do I know when you want to?”

“You’re in the room.”

Want more Logan and Ella? Click Here: http://bit.ly/2HCCVzF

Synopsis

Logan Crowne needs one year from Ella.

Twelve months living in his house, holding his hand, wearing his ring on her finger, and in exchange, she’ll get her father’s company in the divorce settlement.

They have one year to convince his skeptical parents that they’re happily in love, and he’s settled enough to run Crowne Industries.

Ella wants the company badly enough to live with a man who will never love her. She’ll sleep in his room and kiss him for show.

Her heart may melt whenever he’s around, and his touch may ignite a fire inside her, but surrender will break her heart.

She’s sure she can last a year without giving him her body.

She’s wrong.

Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/30ezM1i

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About CD Reiss

CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up she’s at the well hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

She’s frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

Connect with Christine

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iwpkPQ

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For Text Alerts: TEXT “CDREISS” to 77948

*standard text messaging rates apply*

✍🏻 J. Kenner's cover for Wrecked with You was revealed on Frolic. Catch a gander of it here. Then go to Frolic and read the full article. ✍🏻

It’s hard to get in—but it’s hell getting out.

Wrecked With You, an all-new sexy and suspenseful standalone in the Stark Security series by New York Times and #1 International bestselling author J. Kenner, is releasing April 21st! Check out the sizzling hot cover revealed yesterday on Frolic! 

Pre-order your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HwJEeC
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Check out the full article on Frolic → http://bit.ly/WWYFrolic

He’s spent a decade chasing shadows. Ten long years tracking down the man who kidnapped him as a child and murdered his mother and uncle. And finally, Antonio Santos has found him. 

All he needs is access to the exclusive private island. A carnal wonderland that only the elite can enter. But to gain access, Tony needs two things. The significant fee. And a woman. 

An experienced operative with deadly skills, Stark Security agent Emma Tucker has no desire to be Tony’s arm candy, especially when she’s still reeling from a breakup. But the more she works with Antonio, the more she admires him. And when the island’s games push them over a sensual cliff, she can’t deny that his skills top the charts in the bedroom, too.

Bit by bit, admiration leads to passion as the mission twists and turns. Soon, they become lost in this island playground full of lust, greed, and danger. Where they could both lose their hearts … or their lives.  

✍🏻 Blog Tour & Excerpt Reveal: Catherine Cowles's Beautifully Broken Control – a beautiful, 5 ⭐️ romance ✍🏻

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A woman trying to rebuild her life.
A man haunted by a past he can’t forget.
But with pasts like theirs . . . you never know when darkness might descend.


Beautifully Broken Control, an all new
unforgettable small-town romance in the Sutter Lake Series from Catherine Cowles, is out now!

Read my 5 ⭐️review HERE.

Beautifully Broken Control AMAZON

A woman trying to rebuild her life.

Kennedy is doing all she can to escape, to prove that she’s not the monster her father was. A simple life of peace and service is all she needs.

A man haunted by a past he can’t forget.

Cain has buried his demons under layers of control and success. The only thing he needs is his company and his solitude. Certainly not a woman with captivating green eyes filled with ghosts so similar to his own.

He’s a reminder of the life she’s left behind. And she’s a threat to his tightly guarded control. As sparks fly between them, they discover that what they might need most is each other.

But with pasts like theirs . . . you never know when darkness might descend.

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Download your copy today!

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Excerpt:

Faint rays of sunshine still lit the sky as I headed to my SUV, but the air had just a hint of a bite to it. That was spring in the mountains. I glanced at Walker. “Thanks for the warm welcome.”

He gave my back a slap. “Anytime, brother.” He paused with me at my vehicle, looking out to the fields and then back to me.

“What is it?” You didn’t know someone as long as I’d known Walker without recognizing their tells. The little ticks that told you they were worried or angry or, like now, had something they wanted to say but were holding back.

“Kennedy.”

My body began to stiffen, but I forced it to relax. I was the master of giving nothing away, and this situation should be no different. “What about her?”

Walker shifted on his feet. “She’s young.”

“Looks it.” I didn’t know how young, but I’d find out soon enough.

Walker’s jaw hardened. “Be careful.”

I bristled at that. But he wasn’t wrong to warn me off. She had an innocence that radiated from her in waves. And I had no plans to change that, but I was curious. That…something I couldn’t put my finger on kept niggling at me as though she were playing at something she wasn’t. I shook my head and gave Walker a grin. “I’ve got no plans to defile Jensen’s protégé. You can rest easy.”

The set of Walker’s shoulders eased. “Good. You want free and easy, there are plenty of women around here who are down for that, just like you are. But I get the sense that’s not Kenz.”

“Kenz?” The nickname curled around my tongue. It fit her.

“That’s what Jensen calls her, said Kennedy was too formal. Guess it’s catching on.”

I nodded. “I gotta get back to the resort, but let’s grab a drink tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating my closing on that property.”

Walker grinned. “I hope it works out. Shoot me a text tomorrow, and we’ll figure out a time.”

“Sounds good.” I beeped my locks and opened my door, but paused before I climbed in. “Walker?” He paused in his trek back to the ranch house, turning to face me. “I’m happy for you.” The words made a burn take flight in my chest.

The smile that spread across his face was one that could only belong to a man who was a total goner for his woman. “Thanks, Cain. You’ll—” He cut himself off before he could finish the sentence. He knew better than to tell me that I’d find that. “I’m glad you’re here.”

“I am, too.” I gave a jerk of my chin and climbed into my SUV. The drive back to the resort I was staying at a few miles outside of town was quiet. Only the sounds of gravel under my tires to keep me company.

Gravel turned to pavement as I pulled into the resort. I hopped out of my Rover, leaving the door open for the valet. I ignored any polite smiles from fellow guests and staff as I headed straight for my suite.

The familiar itch at the back of my brain was back. Something that said I needed to know more about the girl from dinner. I slipped my keycard into the lock, fingers drumming against my thigh as I waited for the light to turn green. I pushed open the door and headed straight for the safe. Keying in the code, I removed my laptop.

I strode to the desk, setting my computer down and settling into the chair. I opened the laptop, typing in my security codes. I launched a browser and got to work. An hour went by in record time. An hour, and almost nothing to show for it.

I stared at the image on my screen. Auburn hair, freckles dusting the tops of her cheeks and nose, creamy white complexion below, and startling green eyes. There was no denying she was beautiful. Beautiful in a way that would stop a man in his tracks and make him do a whole lot of stupid shit just to get her to turn that smile his way.

But there was also no denying that she was a ghost. The only photo I could find of her was the one on her driver’s license. Other than that one single piece of ID, the woman didn’t exist. No bank account. No credit cards. No lease. No car.

There was nothing else, good or bad, that I could find. Anywhere. While some would say that was a good thing, I knew the truth. It was nothing but bad. People didn’t erase a life unless they had something to hide.

One dinner and I knew my friends were taken by her. It was no surprise. Sarah and Jensen had the most tender hearts of anyone I knew. They were forever rescuing strays, both animal and human. Hell, that’s why I was there, wasn’t it?

But they often didn’t think about the risks involved. Walker used to be good about checking that stuff out, but it seemed Taylor had softened him, made him just a touch less cynical about the world. I was happy for my brother, but it just meant that I needed to look out for the friends in my life who were more like family.

And that’s just what I’d do.

About Catherine

Writer of words. Drinker of Diet Cokes. Lover of all things cute and furry, especially her dog. Catherine has had her nose in a book since the time she could read and finally decided to write down some of her own stories. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring her home state of Oregon, listening to true crime podcasts, or searching for her next book boyfriend.

Connect with Catherine

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IEQXSw
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✍🏻 Blog Tour and Excerpt Reveal: W Winters Irresistible Attraction – Have you grabbed your copy yet? ✍🏻

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I knew he’d be my downfall, and I was determined to be his just the same.

The Irresistible Attraction series by USA Today bestselling author Willow Winters is available now in a complete collection featuring three suspenseful and romantic, full length novels!

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From USA Today bestselling author Willow Winters comes the complete collection of the heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat gripping, romantic suspense trilogy, Irresistible Attraction.

Sometimes you meet someone, maybe meet isn’t the right word. You don’t even have say hello for this to happen. You simply pass by them and everything in your world changes forever. Chills flow all the way from the crook in your neck where you imagine he’d kiss you, all the way down, with only a single glance.

I know you know what I’m referring to. The moment when something inside of you ignites to life, recognizing their other half that’s been gone for far too long. It burns hot, destroying any hope that it’s only a coincidence, and that life will go back to what it was.

These moments are never forgotten. That’s only with a single glance.

I can tell you what a single touch will do. It will destroy you and everything you thought you knew. I felt all of this with Jase Cross, every flick of the flames that roared inside of me. I knew he’d be my downfall, and I was determined to be his just the same.

Irresistible Attraction is the complete collection of the USA Today bestselling, Irresistible Attraction series.

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Download your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2P2H3gC
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Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3bEM8p1

Excerpt:

The faint light from the disappearing sun kisses her skin as the loose shirt slips down her shoulder and she has to readjust it. She doesn’t look back at me as she does. With her legs bent, her bare feet resting on the edge of the sofa and a thin blanket thrown over her lap, she looks far too casual for this moment.

As if that exposed skin of hers wasn’t everything I’ve been thinking about since I first saw her across the bar. As if I don’t want to rip that shirt off of her and devour every inch of her body with open-mouth kisses, dragging my teeth along her skin and making her that much more sensitive for what I’m going to do to her.

There are moments in time, pauses in your reality, where you realize this instant will be a memory forever. Something that will never leave you. I’ll remember this one forever.

I hope I never forget how the adrenaline is rushing through me, how eager I am. I want to remember it all. Every single detail.

I’ll remember it, and I’ll have to, because I’m going to lose her. She’s not meant to be mine.

Meet Willow Winters:

Willow Winters is so happy to be a USA Today, Wall Street Journal and #1 Contemporary Best Selling Author!

Willow started writing after having her little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during her pregnancy with Evie she continued to read and she only wanted to read romance. She was reading a book a day — sometimes two.

In January 2016 Willow was staying up late with Evie and just thinking of all these stories. They came to her constantly so she finally sat down and just started writing. She always wanted to do it so she figured, why not? Today Willow cannot be happier for making that decision!

Connect with Willow:

W Winters:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2kBla8e

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2WWGReads

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2L6c8va

Willow Winters:
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Sign up to Willow’s newsletter and receive EXCLUSIVE content, sneak peeks, and FREE books monthly: http://eepurl.com/b98e3D

✍🏻 Ready for Jolie Vines's first book, Storm the Castle, on audio? It's AVAILABLE! Download your copy today. ✍🏻

Jolie Vines’s Storm the Castle is now on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. 

Storm the Castle (Marry the Scot, #1) is now available as an audiobook!
Listen to the soft Scottish brogue of one huge alpha laird.
Buy link: https://www.audible.com/pd/B084WXJ2VJ/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-183759&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_183759_rh_us

✍🏻 Jolie Vines is one of my favorite author finds of 2019! The first two books in her Marry the Scot series are on sale for 99 pennies EACH. Grab these two books and fall madly in love with Callum and James's stories. ✍🏻

💙99c sale on two steamy hot Scots💙

The first two books in the wildly popular Marry the Scot series are on sale!- a completed 5-book series available plus spin-off- steamy contemporary romance in the Highlands- so many big Scottish men needing their lass.

Start with reading how Callum wins over Mathilda in Storm the Castle. He has a family of lovelorn brothers and a castle to manage, but for the right woman, the huge laird will move mountains.

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✍🏻 Blog Tour & Excerpt Reveal: K. A. Tucker Wild at Heart – Find your Alaskan romance in Tucker's book ✍🏻

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Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker

Release Date: February 18, 2020

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Wild at Heart, book two in the Simple Wild series by USA Today bestselling author, K.A. Tucker.

Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.

But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in interior rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.

With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.

This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.

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Download your copy today!

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Excerpt:

November

“So … I guess I’ll see you when I see you.”

I can’t manage words around the flaring lump in my throat, and so I simply nod. The past four days with Jonah in Toronto have been a blur. A bliss-filled blur that I’m not ready to let go of yet. The Uber driver shuttling me home after this parting will have the privilege of a sobbing mess in their backseat.

An unreadable look flashes across Jonah’s icy blue eyes. I still haven’t grown accustomed to seeing him without a beard, though I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed admiring that chiseled jawline and those dimples. He takes a deep breath and turns away, his carry-on slung over one broad shoulder, his boarding pass and passport dangling from between two pinched fingers.

I watch him hand his documents to the agent at the US-bound entry gate, who spends all of one second reviewing them before waving him toward the glass security doors. On the other side is his fourteen-hour flight home. In seconds, Jonah is going to be out of sight, gone.

Who knows when I’ll see him again? He flew here to tell me in person that he’s been miserable these past two months since I left Alaska, that he doesn’t want to be a carbon copy of my father—spending his life pining over my mother—that he wants to find an “us” that will work. That he wants me beside him.

I haven’t given him an answer yet, too afraid to leap.

Until now.

I feel the word rising inside me—an emotion about to erupt. “Yes!” My pulse pounds in my ears.

Jonah turns to regard me with a raised eyebrow.

Am I crazy? Maybe.

But I’m fully committing to it.

I take a step forward and swallow my nerves. “I’ll come back to Alaska.” Because being with Jonah again—laughing and reminiscing, having him in my space, waking in his arms—has only confirmed what I’ve suspected for months: I’m deeply in love with him, and living in Toronto when he’s not here doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

I’m done saying goodbye to this man.

Jonah leaves the line and retraces his steps to close the distance, dropping his bag by his feet. It’s five a.m. and we’re creating an obstacle, forcing travelers to weave around us on either side to get to their flights. Their grumbles touch my ears, but in this moment, I don’t care.

The severe frown cutting across Jonah’s handsome forehead as he stares down at me says he doesn’t, either. “Are you serious?”

I nod. “Yeah. I mean, if you’re serious about moving to Anchorage—”

“When?” he demands to know, his voice suddenly gruff.

“I don’t know. As soon as I can?” How long does it take to pack up your life and move to a different country? Granted, a country I was born in and still have citizenship with but haven’t lived in for more than two decades.

His eyes spark with determination. “Come for Christmas.”

I laugh. “That’s like a month away!”

“So? What else you got goin’ on?” It’s a challenge, delivered in Jonah’s typical blunt style. “I’m not going to see my mom in Oslo anymore. And Aggie and Mabel would love having you there. Especially since it’s the first one without Wren. You should come.” His Adam’s apple bobs with his hard swallow. “Come.”

Somewhere in between his words and his tone and the way he’s looking at me, I hear the silent plea. In truth, the idea of being near the people closest to my late father for the holidays sounds more appealing—and more feasible—by the second.

“Okay?” I say on an exhale, my voice shaky.

About K.A. Tucker:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.

Connect with K.A. Tucker:


Facebook: http://bit.ly/2MYEDhK

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Website: https://www.katuckerbooks.com/