So Good: A Sexy, Funny Romance by Nicola Rendell – Blog Tour

 

Tour Banner for So Good by Nicola Rendell

 

 

 

 

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On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.

Read my Review of So Good on Goodreads

Max

As I unlocked the door to my houseboat, I heard it. At first, it sounded like a duck paddling, but then I heard something else—a panting, or a gasping. For a second, it died down. It didn’t worry me, really, because the docks were full of weird noises, and boats were noisy as fuck. But I turned the deadbolt turned, the sound got louder and more frantic. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound good and it sure as hell didn’t sound like a duck. I let my work belt slide off my shoulder onto the deck, and looked down in the water, gripping the taffrail. There in the shadows, gasping, paddling, and panicking, I saw something small and wet and terrified.
​Holy fuck. It was a dog. A tiny, drowning dog.

​Fully clothed, boots on, I jumped into the water off the sternside. I plunged in deep, submerged in a world of shadowy barnacle-crusted dock pilings and chains holding anchors far below. Holding my breath and looking up toward the sunshine, through the bubbles that came down with me, I saw it. No bigger than a chicken, and kicking hard. I breaststroked toward the dog, aiming to come up right below it, but the salt water stung my eyes, and I closed them out of reflex. When I surfaced, it had gotten a few feet away. It was just a tiny thing, soaking wet, sucking in terrified breaths. It doggy-paddled in circles, slipping down into the water so that only its nose was above the surface. I did one strong breaststroke, but it was in full flight-or-fight mode, absolutely fucking petrified, and it paddled away from me, slipping out of my grasp. With one more big stroke, I had it, and I scooped it up into my arms to held her up out of the water, the way people do when the hold babies in the air. I saw it was a girl, her tummy soft and much less furry than the rest of her. Her big black eyes bugged out for an instant, and then…

She went limp in my hands. Lifeless, with her feet dangling down, her tongue hanging out. Her eyes were closed. On my palm, I couldn’t feel a heartbeat where I was sure there should have been one thrumming along.

​Fuck. Fuck.

​I gave her a shake, but she dangled like a rag doll.

I held her out of the water, keeping her in a tight bicep curl over my shoulder. Carefully, I maneuvered under the jetty that led to my boat. I got a toehold on the old dock ladder, rusty and unsteady. Using one hand to climb up, and using both boots like climbing picks, I emerged from my boat’s shadow and out into the sunshine of the dock. I laid her down on her back, supporting her lifeless body. With every passing millisecond, my heart fucking broke more and more. I could not let this happen. I could not let her die. I pulled myself up all the way and knelt beside her. She was flat on her back, with no signs of life at all. Her arms were limp at the wrists, and her paws dripped onto the dry wood beneath her. Still, her tongue hung out. Still, her eyes were shut. Still, she wasn’t breathing.

Somewhere, buried deep in my memory, I remembered learning the basics of canine CPR. I felt like maybe it was in my lifeguard class when I was in high school, but I didn’t fucking know and it didn’t fucking matter. All I knew was I had to do something, and fast. So I did. I wrapped my fingers around her tiny muzzle and brought my lips to her leathery nose. I blew gently, and as I did I felt her chest swell up. I held my own breath and prayed for anything, any sign of life, but there was nothing. Lightly, with the tips of my fingers, I did compressions on her soaking wet fur. One. Two. Three. And then I did another breath. One. Two. Three.
“Come on, little lady,” I whispered, and rolled her onto her side. I gave her a few pats, firm but not too hard. She was absolutely tiny—from scruff to tail, hardly bigger than the span of my hand. I rolled her over onto her back again and gave her one more breath, all the while going through the paces of what the fuck to do if this didn’t work. I had no goddamned idea whatsoever where the vet was. Did we even have a vet? Would she survive that long? What the fuck was I going to do?

But as I started the next set of compressions, she coughed. She actually coughed, like a tiny person, a gasping choking hack, accompanied by a few mouthfuls of water spilling out onto the wood planks.

Holy shit.

I froze with my hands just above her tiny body. Her strange, buggy eyes opened up and she started panting hard.

“Hey, hey!” I scooped her up in my arms, cradling her to my chest. I could tell by the way she was so limp against me that she was exhausted. Keeping her close to my body, to keep her warm and safe, I scratched the fur at the back of her neck, her tail started to wag. But she was also shivering hard, and I didn’t like that one bit.

 

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links

 

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Chapter Reveal: SO GOOD, Coming Soon from Nicola Rendell

 

 

Coming August 7th

 

 

 

Front Cover of So Good by Nicola Rendell

 

AP new - synopsis.jpg

On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.

Max

I wasn’t planning to see her naked—I swear to God, I wasn’t. The day was a scorcher, one of those godforsaken New England summer days that makes a guy wonder how he ever said fuck you to winter. I stood on the roof her house, three stories above the Maine woods, with a far-off view of the ocean. It was pretty, yeah, like the kind of shit real estate companies put on complimentary calendars. But in that heat, it was like standing on top of a goddamned toaster, turned all the way to burnt. I could feel that shit in my socks, straight through my work boots. At my feet was a stack of shake shingles, old school, to replace the ones that were missing. Her house had a few slow leaks, and one over her bathroom that made the ceiling look like a huge Rorschach test. She said it definitely looked like a rose in bloom, I said it definitely looked like Batman. But I told her hidden meanings wouldn’t make shit for difference when the ceiling collapsed into the tub, so there I was. Fucking miserable work, but I was glad to do it. Glad to do anything for her—anything she needed at all.
In the forest on every side around the cottage, the cicadas screeched. It sounded like a needle squeaking off a record player. I knelt down by the stack of shingles, using my utility knife to score a line through one to fit a nearby gap. I snapped it with my hands and tossed the scrap end off the edge of the roof. A trickle of sweat ran down my forehead, and I wiped my face with my forearm. One droplet got away, sparkling in the sun. It caught my eye, and I watched it fall, as it landed on the skylight window with a splat.

And that was when it happened. Boom.

There she was, right under me. She couldn’t have been more than six feet away, but she felt even closer. I had a direct line of sight down into her gorgeous, soft cleavage, bright and pure in the sunshine. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the surprise of seeing her, but at first I didn’t really process that it was Rosie at all. My dude brain said, I want that woman.
Then my regular brain said, Don’t be an asshole, man. It’s Rosie. Have some respect.
Respect I definitely had, but of course I’d thought about seeing her naked before. She was so fucking beautiful that any man would have thought about it. Sometimes, like right then looking down into her dress, I couldn’t fucking help it. Sometimes we’d be out doing something ordinary, like eating dinner, or I’d be changing her oil, or she’d be teaching me to do shit I should have learned at some point in the last 34 years, like iron a dress shirt without screwing up the collar, and I’d catch myself watching her cleavage rise and fall as she breathed, or thinking how nice her legs were, and I’d think, Holy hell.

Now she was directly underneath the skylight. The angle of the sun cast my shadow down the roofline, away from the skylight, so I didn’t give myself away. Like that, I watched her. I gave in to my dude brain and just took her in. Her light brown hair glinted, and a beam of light caught the curve of her shoulder.

That was when the goddamned striptease started, beginning with the left strap of her sundress.

Her movements were graceful, sexy, sassy—the sway of her hips, the shake of her shoulders. I realized I might be in real fucking trouble, because I loved that sexy sass. It wasn’t normal Rosie-cute. It was naughty, like nothing I’d ever seen her do before. I liked it so much, I couldn’t look away. She shimmied out of her sundress, and it fell to the floor in a pool at her feet. No big deal, I tried to tell myself. I’d seen her in her bikini a thousand times. This was no different from that.

Except it was, because then she reached around to undo her bra. Before I could tell myself Don’t look, dude. It’s Rosie, don’t look, it was too fucking late. The straps slid down off her shoulders, and for one perfect second got caught on her nipples, swinging in the air before falling to the floor.

Holy…

I pressed my clenched fist to my mouth and groaned into my hand. All my blood was leaving my head. The roofline was getting wobbly.

It wasn’t like I didn’t know her curves; we’d spent whole summers on the beach—I knew her shape and her softness, I knew her lines and her freckles. Every curve of Rosie Madden was sacred in my book. Fucking douchebags on the beach giving her eyes had to answer to me and my eyes, right behind her. She did that to me—I was one punch away from defending her honor, always. But this? This was different. Seeing your best friend in a bikini at a clam bake is one thing. Protecting your best friend from assholes with wandering eyes is part of the guy-girl best friend creed. But seeing your best friend, absolutely naked in her bedroom, without knowing she can see you? That was a different deal.

…Shit.

Part of me knew I should keep my eyes off of her. She thought she was in private, I had no business spying. Anyway, I didn’t want to be that guy. I hated that guy. But the other part of me, fuck. The other part of me was nothing but want.

Then she bent at the hips, and time slowed down, like some kind of stop-motion Jackie Chan kung fu sequence. All the cicadas went silent, at least in my head they did. The wind stopped blowing through the trees. It was just her, and her perfection, in the sunshine underneath me. I felt like I was on one of those glass-bottomed boats, looking at a world I never knew existed.

She tossed her bra aside, and it landed on her neatly made bed. She shimmied out of her panties, shaking her ass as she did. I growled into my fist, and that’s when I went down into a crouch.

Because as she shimmied I saw it in a V above her ass. My kryptonite. A skimpy thong.
All these years, all these decades, I’d had her pegged for cute cotton panties—pastel polka dots, thin stripes, shit that was sweet and sensible. But I was so fucking wrong. Black. Strappy. Tiny. Not sensible at all. Now it was in a rolled-up ball at her ankles. Using her toes, she plucked her panties from the floor, and caught them on one finger.
Fucking A.

She was completely naked, not a thread on her. Every thought I’d ever had got sucked out of my brain, like dishwater down the sink drain. What was left was only one true thing, and it wasn’t about her ass, or her skin, or her breasts. It was the one thing I think I’d always known but never let myself feel. Until that moment.

She is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Part of the reason I thought that was, yeah, obviously, she was fucking stunning, every inch of her straight out of a dream. Not just my dream, either. Guys would slow down on Main Street to give her the elevator stare, and I’d quietly crack my knuckles and give them don’t-you-fucking-dare stares. But the other part, the part that wasn’t in my gut but that was in my heart, was that I fucking adored her. Adored her so hard it hurt.

She crouched down to pick up her dress, lifting the delicate straps with her small, sweet fingers. She pivoted, so I had a view of her other side of her body for the first time. There it was.

The tattoo.

I groaned again. I wasn’t prepared for this shit; three stories up, that body was dangerous. It was a rose tattoo, snaking around her hip, on the milk-white skin that was always under her bikini bottoms. The part of her I’d never seen. It was serious ink, real art, not some namby-pamby temporary tattoo or some amateur shit she might’ve gotten in an hour at a tattoo parlor on a dare on a cruise to Puerto Rico. It was complicated, detailed, and artful. Multiple visits to some tattoo artist, touching that creamy skin—goddamn.

It took every fucking ounce of strength I had, but I did manage to look away. I felt as disoriented as if I’d been sucker punched. Not cotton—lace. Not cute—hot. Not my friend—my fucking fantasy.

She was so important to me, such an integral part of my world, that I’d never let myself think of her as more than what she was. She was like running water, or electricity, or the sunshine itself. She was one of those things that was perfect exactly as it was, and one of those things only an idiot would want to change. I never looked at her and thought, I wish I could have more of her than I do already. That would be like thinking, I wish I could turn that cold glass of water into a swimming pool. Or, I wish electricity came through the air. Fuck that noise. Perfect things are perfect things, and Rosie Madden was a perfect goddamned thing, from the tips of her toes to the freckles on her nose. And that rose, holy fuck, that rose.
I was strong, but not that strong, and I let my eyes move down again. She’d disappeared from view, mostly, except for the edge of her ass. I watched her rifle through her closet, and a few dresses fluttered onto her bed. On her bedside table, I caught a glimpse of the picture she always kept there, of the two of us together. The memories flew back at me like a runaway train. The first time I’d ever seen her was the day my parents and I moved to Truelove, at the start of middle school. The first time I ever saw her, she was volunteering at the community gardens. She had a smudge of dirt on her cheek, and I thought she’d looked super badass. I’d helped her dig up carrots and had been too fucking tongue-tied to say a goddamned word.

That’s how I felt, all over again times a thousand.

I’d never made a move. She’d cried on my shoulder through a line of guys who were never good enough for her. Jocks and pricks and a brief and seriously unfortunate stint with a guy who was a drummer for a reggae band who I hated so much it made me grind my teeth. But I never said shit about it. She was perfect even when she made mistakes. Tips of her toes. Freckles on her nose.

Never mind that rose. Like Banksy took on a temple.

One more time, I glanced down. Now she was sitting on her bed, and I saw that dark V shadow between her thighs. Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck. I watched her put on a pair of red panties. Equally skimpy, equally not-sensible, equally ball-busting. They were only tragic because they hid the parts of her I’d never seen before.

Christ. All. Mighty.

As the world started to spin, I realized fixing the shingles could wait. I’d been working on old houses long enough to know that if you found yourself on a dangerously sloping roof and felt like you might be less than 100% on the ball, you needed to reconsider your game plan. I needed to get my shit together—that body had me totally fucking derailed. So I made my way down the roof, basically bouldering down backward. I focused on my grip, and my steps, like a climber coming down from Everest without enough oxygen. When I got to the gutter, I worked my way around the corner, standing on the eave, and hooked my leg over my ladder, making sure to put one foot after another and keep a tight grip on every rung.
When I stepped off the ladder, I grabbed a bottle of water that she’d left for me and filled up my palm and then splashed my face. My sweat stung my eyes through the droplets of water, and I rubbed away the tears. I heard the hinges on the screen door creak. “All done?” she asked.

I opened my eyes. They stung like hell, but I didn’t give a fuck. There she was, in a dress I’d seen before. Striped and sweet. But now I knew the secret. There were red panties under there. Red. Cherry red. My eyes fell on that part of her hip that I knew was inked.
“Max?”

I managed somehow to snap out of it. “Sorry. Getting there. Spotted something weird with the skylight.”

Rosie cocked her head. “Were you up there? Above my room?”

Awesome, dude. Smooth. “Just noticed it out of the corner of my eye.”

“I don’t like you being on the roof.” She pursed her lips. “Too steep. Promise you’ll get some ropes up there or something? Promise?” She reached out and put her hand to my arm, her fingers with their short pink nails pressing into my tanned skin. I had a quick but totally unavoidable image of her gripping my forearm in a very different situation. I want that. So fucking…

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

When I didn’t answer—I knew that if I opened my mouth the first words out would be You. Me. Right Now.—she looked up at the roof and squinted into the sun. She peered suspiciously up at me and shifted her nose, kind of like a bunny. Adorable. She wasn’t very tall, so whenever she looked at me she had to lift her chin, which used to be cute. But now looked…like everything I’d ever wanted. “Have you had too much sun?”

I was vaguely aware that she’d said some words, but I wasn’t hearing them because I realized that I couldn’t see her bra straps, so that had to mean she was she was wearing a strapless…

Knock. That. Shit. Off. “I’m good.”

“Mmm.” She nodded and furrowed her delicate eyebrows, which had never looked so pretty as they did at that moment. I didn’t even know eyebrows could be pretty. They’re eyebrows, for fuck’s sake. But suddenly I felt like for the last ten years, I’d been looking at her through a standard definition television, with a shitty cable connection. Now someone had handed me an HDMI cable, and she was in 1080 dots per inch. Christ.

“Lemme make you a sandwich. You’re acting strange.”

Rather than answer her, I dumped the remaining half a bottle of water over my head, like Andre Agassi used to do between break points at the French Open.

“Ham? Or turkey? I’ve got both. Or chicken salad!” She clapped her hands together, compressing her cleavage. “Do you want a pickle?”

She means an actual pickle, you fuckwit. “Surprise me,” I told her, and dragged my eyes off the curve of her cleavage. I grabbed the bottom of my T-shirt and pressed it to my eyes. I had to get out of there. I needed a cold shower, or a call from my tax guy, or an unexpectedly urgent trip to the DMV—anything to stop myself seeing her stark naked every goddamned time I looked at her. Anything to get my mind off that ink.

As I wiped my face, she cleared her throat, and I dropped my shirt. “What?”

She pressed her lips together and rocked back on her sandals. “Nothing!”

I followed her eyes and glanced down at my fly, but the stallion was still in the barn. “Come on,” I said, finding myself smiling right along with her. “What are you looking at?”

“Just…” She swallowed hard. “Looking good there, champ.” She glanced at my stomach, where I’d shown her my bare abs. She made a fist and gave me a mock punch, soft and sweet. “That P90X is working great for you.”

Here we go again with the fitness videos. For everything else she was—beautiful, smart, funny—she was also a fucking ball-buster sometimes. She’d worked up this whole narrative that I spent my nights with Tony Horton on my houseboat, getting cut and doing reps while I drank protein shakes with a straw straight from the blender. It was her only explanation for why I didn’t have a girlfriend. P90X it had to be, she’d said. Or maybe, she’d whispered like a co-conspirator, “Jazzercise.” Now, though, I had a better idea than ever about why I was so picky: not a single woman held a candle to her. I’d been fucking blind to it, but now the mist had burned right off. “I’ve never even seen the opening sequence. Never have. Never will.”

“They’re streaming now!”

“Christ.”

Rosie snorted and made a long wheeeeee. “Sure. Surrrrrrre,” she said, stifling her giggle. “One ham-and-turkey, coming right up.” She spun on her sandals and disappeared into the house. Hips swinging. Red panties invisible, but not to me.

Not anymore.

 

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links

 

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So Good: Coming Soon from Nicola Rendell — Cover Reveal & Pre-Order!

I’m delighted to introduce the cover of

SO GOOD

a sexy, sweet contemporary romance by favorite author Nicola Rendell! Check it out and pre-order today!

AP new - synopsis.jpg

On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.

 

Coming August 7th

 

 

Front cover, So Good, by Nicola Rendell
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Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Cover Photographer: Sara Eirew Photographer
Cover Model: Justin Edwards
Cover Model: Bella/Nikki Sebben

 

AP new -about the author.jpg

 

Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links

 

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Just Like That: A Sweet, Sassy and Sexy New RomCom by Nicola Rendell (Excerpt and Review)

 

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Book Cover, Just Like That, by Nicola Rendell
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“I bet I can untangle you.”

At an airport baggage claim, Penny Darling looks up from her knotted mess of ear buds to find the sexiest hunk of man she’s ever seen. He’s got a military haircut, a scar through his eyebrow, and he’s rocking a pastel pink dress shirt like only a real man can. But Penny is on a man-free diet so she leaves the airport without succumbing to his delicious double-entendres…or his dreamy dimples.

PI Russ Macklin can’t take his eyes off Penny. As she sashays out of the airport with hips swaying and curls bouncing, he suspects they may share more than just sweltering chemistry. That suitcase she’s rolling along behind her? It looks a lot like his.

Because it is.

When he tracks her down, he holds her bag hostage in exchange for a date. Their night begins with margaritas and ends in urgent care, and Russ proves that Cosmo’s theory about a very particular type of orgasm was oh-so-wrong.

In Penny, Russ finds a small-town sweetheart with a very naughty side. For the first time ever, he’s thinking about picket fences. Penny finds in Russ a loving, caring man who understands the power of massaging showerheads.

But Russ is only in Port Flamingo for a week. They agree it’ll be a fling and nothing more. Because really, they can’t fall ass-over-teakettle in love just like that…

Can they?

99k words. HEA. Dual POV. No cheating.
Featuring a big drooly dog named Guppy.

 

Penny

There’s all sorts of sexy Russ-rustle-rustling as he tries on his clothes. It takes all my willpower to stop myself from running over to his changing room and pressing my eye up to the slats like I’m looking through a peep hole. He slings his shirt over the top of the changing room door, then steps out of his shoes and socks. I can almost hear a drumroll in my head and then it happens: his suit pants fall to the ground.
Maybe today’s boxer briefs are light gray, like a sporty heather gray, because that would just be…
I grab a random black dress off the rack and dash into the second changing room. As I shut the door, I hear Maisie saying something like, “Boy, I sure could use some help with all these sunglasses, ahem-ahem.” But I ignore it. As the rustling next door continues, I unfasten the knot on my sundress and let it fall from my shoulders, so I’m standing in my bra and panties in front of the very unflattering full-length mirror. I’m hoping it’s unflattering. It damned well better be unflattering. But then I notice a very faint bruise on my hip, in exactly the pattern of his fingers as he gripped me last night. I slide my fingertips along it and turn to warm caramel inside.
“What kind of movie is it?” I ask him as I finagle my hands through the spaghetti straps above my head and tug the new dress down over my body. It’s a size too small and hugs me like shrink-wrap.
“Romantic comedy.” His zipper slides up. “Workplace romance.”
Oh, God.
I shimmy into the dress and stare at my reflection. There are times in my life when I am acutely aware of that devil-angel-shoulder situation, and this is one of them. Looking at myself in the mirror, and I can almost see the two of them in position. The devil is a real vixen. Combat boots, and a raspy, sultry voice. No bullshit and a very respectable smoky eyeliner. She likes her music feminist and her tequila straight. On the other shoulder sits the angel. She’s a dead-ringer for my fourth-grade librarian. She smells like mothballs, her lipstick flakes off when she talks, and she’s big into smooth jazz. I hate her. Also, she’s pretty much always exactly right. Double-demerit.
The angel says, “Penelope Eloise Darling. Why can’t you find yourself a nice man with a steady job? That eHarmony questionnaire doesn’t take that long. Just think: you could find a nice Baptist minister in Tallahassee! At least you’d live in the same state!”
I suck in my stomach so hard that I feel dizzy, and try to pull up my zipper. Not even close. I cinch the fabric shut with one hand, suck in harder, and give it a yank. It bites into me, and I stretch the dress to the side as far as I can, testing the tensile strength of 1% spandex to its limit.
The devil takes out her hip flask and downs a pull of tequila while she considers her black nail polish. “Fuck that noise, Pen. You want him, take him. Boom. Done.”
The zipper finally cooperates. I don’t even look like myself, this thing is so tight. I spin slightly and look at my ass, over my shoulder.
Which is when the door squeaks open. I fully expect it to be Maisie, brandishing her Kindle and saying something like, “I knew I’d seen that jawline before,” but it isn’t. It’s him.
“Oh, fuck. Sorry, I thought this was my…” He trails off.
The desire ricochets between us like a pinball trapped at the bottom of an arcade machine. He’s in shorts that fit him like a glove, and a soft navy T-shirt, with a vintage Pac-Man logo, washed out and faded. And he’s found a hat, like a super-stylish baseball hat with mesh on the back. Plus, flip-flops.
I thought he was handsome before, but this, this… Casual, and carefree, and look at those shoulders. Peeking out from the sleeve of the T-shirt is the bottom edge of his tattoo on the curve of his massive bicep.
Here lies Penelope Darling, who died of a swoon.
He lets out a breathy, quiet whistle. “I’m buying that for you.”
The way he talks, that dominance, makes me feel like I’m some new but treasured thing. I’m not used to it, but one thing is for sure: I like it. Except even in my haze, it’s the angel that answers first. “No, no, no. I’ll never wear it.”
“I don’t care.”
Frivolous retail purchases especially for me? “We…should get to work.”
His eyes move up and down over me again so deliciously slowly that I feel a shiver up my spine. “I’ll show you getting to work.” He takes a step toward me, and runs his hand up the side of my dress.
I grab ahold of the hanger rack behind me as my knees start to get a little wobbly. “I’ll take you to the boardwalk first. Rides. Ball-and-hammer. Funnel cakes.” He’s reducing me to bullet points. I can’t even string two nouns and a verb.
He pulls his hand away with a frustrated grunt. “Fine. But I’m buying it for you. No arguments. Got it?” he says finally, and then heads back to his changing room.
The devil turns to the angel, who’s got her lips in a tight, prudish line. But the devil?  She gives zero fucks, and she raises her hip flask to me. “Here’s to romantic comedy.”
Toodles, Man Wagon.


 

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a Ph.D. in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links

 

My Review of Just Like That

 

Just Like ThatJust Like That by Nicola Rendell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a die-hard Nicola Rendell fan since Professed, one of the sexiest debut novels I’ve ever read. Since then, I one-click her new releases as soon as they’re available for pre-order, because I know I’ll want to read every book more than once. Nicola has a fresh, lively writing voice and a genuine talent for balancing just the right amount of heat, heart, and humor in a story that engages readers from beginning to end.

If you love explosive chemistry; dominant, drop-dead-sexy, passionate heroes; sweet, quirky heroines; and big, goofy, drooling, gassy dogs you will love this story. Even if you’re not a fan of “insta-love,” Just Like That will convince you to suspend disbelief. I happen to believe in “insta-love,” because I’ve experienced it; so I didn’t have to stretch my imagination too far to convince myself that Russ and Penny are a match made in heaven.

But, as always, there are obstacles to overcome. They have to convince themselves to follow where their hearts lead. And as usual, our hero has a secret. He’s holding back his true identity, for plausible reasons, but since all relationships depend on trust, it’s a secret that could unravel their relationship altogether. And then there’s the fact that they only have a week together to go from a casual fling to a happy ever after.

Their romantic journey goes from hot to hilarious in a heartbeat, thanks to an unfortunate seafood incident, a disastrous trip to an Urgent Care center, a batch of suspicious “candy,” and an enormous dog with digestive issues. Because of the compressed timeline, and the use of alternating points of view, the story moves along quickly, which fits the story perfectly. My one critique is that Nicola delivers a twist at the end that defies logic. It was a distraction that didn’t add to the story, but as a writer, I know that the characters speaking into our heads don’t always apply logic. In fact, they rarely do. It’s a sweet, happy twist, however improbable, and that’s just fine with me.

I’ll read Russ and Penny’s story again and again whenever I need a healthy dose of erotic, alpha male sex; a little bit of angst, enough to twist my heartstrings; and a load of laughs at our hero’s expense. These well-developed, loveable characters will stay in your heart long after you’ve read their story; and you just might believe that lasting love can happen Just Like That.

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Now Available: Just Like That, a Sexy New RomCom by Nicola Rendell!

 

 

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Book Cover, Just Like That, by Nicola Rendell
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JUST LIKE THAT


“I bet I can untangle you.”

At an airport baggage claim, Penny Darling looks up from her knotted mess of ear buds to find the sexiest hunk of man she’s ever seen. He’s got a military haircut, a scar through his eyebrow, and he’s rocking a pastel pink dress shirt like only a real man can. But Penny is on a man-free diet so she leaves the airport without succumbing to his delicious double-entendres…or his dreamy dimples.

PI Russ Macklin can’t take his eyes off Penny. As she sashays out of the airport with hips swaying and curls bouncing, he suspects they may share more than just sweltering chemistry. That suitcase she’s rolling along behind her? It looks a lot like his.

Because it is.

When he tracks her down, he holds her bag hostage in exchange for a date. Their night begins with margaritas and ends in urgent care, and Russ proves that Cosmo’s theory about a very particular type of orgasm was oh-so-wrong.

In Penny, Russ finds a small-town sweetheart with a very naughty side. For the first time ever, he’s thinking about picket fences. Penny finds in Russ a loving, caring man who understands the power of massaging showerheads.

But Russ is only in Port Flamingo for a week. They agree it’ll be a fling and nothing more. Because really, they can’t fall ass-over-teakettle in love just like that…

Can they?

99k words. HEA. Dual POV. No cheating.
Featuring a big drooly dog named Guppy.

 



Russ

In my shopping cart, I’ve got assorted gifts: a box of wine, like I saw in her fridge; every kind of salt-and-vinegar potato chips they sell; a box of Dots; some Kama Sutra warming massage oil because I couldn’t fucking resist.
And that just leaves one more thing.
I put my basket down by a display of cupcakes and clear my throat. “I need to get something written on a cake.”
The baker turns around. She pulls her hairnet off her head and says, “I’m leaving for the night, sir. I can take your order, but it’ll have to be for tomorrow.”
This part can’t wait. Penny needs to know I’m not sleeping on this. She needs to know I listened to every single thing she said—every last detail, every last word.
I lean forward, putting my hands on the curved glass case. I glance at the baker’s nametag and then look her in the tired, baggy eyes. “Jacquie. It’s urgent. I fucked up, and I need to apologize.”
“The bait shop has some nice carnations. Usually.”
“Already tried that. Didn’t take.”
She gives me a stern stare, like if the blue carnations didn’t do it, I must really be in the shit.
“Jacquie. Please.”
She inhales long and hard, pursing her lips tight. “I’ve got my bowling group in twenty minutes.” She points backward toward the freezers, and I see a turquoise bowling shirt hanging on the back of a door. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t have time.” She starts undoing her apron, which is a smudgy, colorful explosion of frostings. “Like I said, come back tomorrow. I’ll be glad to do whatever you’d like then.”
I pull out my wallet and open the billfold. “I’ll pay your overtime. I’ll pay your lane fees. I’ll buy you a new goddamned pair of bowling shoes. Whatever you want.” I put a fifty on the counter, next to the crumbly remains of some free cookies. “I just need a cake, tonight, with a message written on it.”
She looks at the money and then back at me.
“Jacquie. We’re talking about…” What the hell are we talking about? Chemistry? Sparks? That feeling in my gut that I’ve never felt before? Happiness? No, it’s more than that, and there’s only one word for it. “Love, Jacquie. We’re talking about love.”
Holy fuck. As soon as I say it, I know it’s true. Just a few days with Penny and I’m saying the word I’ve never said before—the one I never thought I’d ever say at all.
She lowers her nose, crumpling her chin into her throat. “Love?”
“Love. Like love-at-first-sight, different-planet, just-like-that love.”
She sighs hard, considering the cash. And then finally she untangles her hairnet from her palm, slipping it over her crunchy curls. “Five minutes. Pick out your cake. I’ve only got time for writing, though. No extra flowers. No balloons. No decoration. No sprinkles. We’re clear?”
“Jacquie, you’re a life saver,” I say, and pull a small round cake, decorated with pink roses, from the display shelf below. I slide it across the bakery case as she reties her apron. Then she takes a pad of paper and hands me a pen.
“Print what you want. Nice and clear. No cursive. I’m not letting one of my cakes become a hashtag bakery fail, all right?” She puts on a pair of plastic food service gloves and pops the lid off the cake. She sets it on a pedestal to the left of the register.
I pick up the pen and look at the blank pad, thinking about what I want to say and how.
It isn’t Shakespeare. It’s the truth. Six words does the job. When I’m finished, I put the pad on the other side of the case. “There.”
Her gloves crinkle as she reads it, and then she recoils a little. She gives me a shame on you shake of her head. “Sir, this is a family establishment. I can’t write that on a cake.”
I pull another fifty out of my wallet. “How about now?”

 



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Meet Nicola Rendell

Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links

 

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Cover Reveal: PREY (The Irish Mob Chronicles), by Kaye Blue – Coming Soon

Book Cover, Prey, by Kaye Blue

Coming Soon…

PREY

by

Kaye Blue

Release Date:  April 20th

Pre-Order Links:

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iBooks

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About Prey:

One look, and I know I’ll have her. One taste, and I’m insatiable. One wrong move, and I’ll lose her forever.

I’ve never met a woman who was worth the time and hassle of a relationship. I’ve got my hands full leading the family.

Nya, though … she’s not just a pretty face and smokin’ body. She’s a woman who knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to take it. After one night with her, I need more.

But the next morning, someone tries to kill me. At first I wonder if she set me up, know that I’m so gone for her it might have worked. But her fear when she finds out who I am, what I do, proves to me that she’s a target too.

And now the ones who want me dead are about to learn just how far I’ll go to protect what’s mine.

Author Bio & Links

Kaye writes hot, gritty, suspenseful romance featuring alpha males and the women who love them.

 

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Love Sexy Office Shenanigans? Get Bossed, by Sloane Howell!

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BOSSED

by

SLOANE HOWELL

Bossed is now available on all major platforms…

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ADD BOSSED TO GOODREADS

ABOUT BOSSED

He’s the boss. But she’s ready to take charge.

In this provocative and sexy* office romance, a cheeky new hire tempts a hotshot sports agent to mix business with pleasure.

Jenny:

Job interviews are a bitch under the best of circumstances, but when your potential boss is the world’s biggest prick, that’s when you should simply walk away. It’s just that I need this job so badly—and I’m mesmerized by Ethan Mason’s piercing gaze. Men like him aren’t supposed to exist in real life. But under the tailored suits and GQ looks, Ethan simmers with barely restrained ambition. And no matter how hard I work to fight the attraction, I’m going to get burned.

Ethan:

You don’t become a top agent without learning how to close deals. I always get what—or who—I want, by staying cool and in command. Then Jenny Jackson walks into my office with her lush curves and “screw you” attitude and blows away my intentions of keeping things professional. All I can think about is exploring the perfect body hidden beneath those conservative clothes or shutting her saucy mouth with one hot kiss. Jenny’s worth breaking the rules over—if I can convince her to break the rules for me.


*By sexy, we mean sexy. Like, 18+ sexy. Sinfully, deliciously sexy.

EXCERPT

When I turned back to the cart, a suit and tie slammed into me, knocking my bag to the ground. I stumbled around in a momentary daze, trying to process what had just occurred.

“Oh my God. I’m so sorry. Please excuse me.” I crouched down and quickly gathered all the papers that had spilled out of my bag and shoved them back in. Finally, I turned my head to meet a perfectly creased pair of black slacks, then lifted my gaze up to his face. The guy had to be mid-to-late twenties. He glared down at me with a pair of warm brown eyes, holding his phone to his ear. His hair was dark and combed back like the models who graced the covers of GQ or Style. His lips curled into a devilish smile as my face flushed with heat at the sight of such a handsome man. It was like seeing a lion on the Discovery Channel, only live and in the flesh. Predatory men like him weren’t supposed to actually exist in day-to-day life.

His brows pinched together and he scoffed, “You’re excused.”

I was at fault. I knew this. Standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk and staring out into the park was just asking for trouble. But something about his cocky attitude and the way he spoke to me crept under my skin in the worst possible way. Pulling myself to my feet, I propped my hands on my hips and glared at the back of his jacket as he started to walk away. “Excuse me?”
He froze in his tracks as I eyed him from head to toe. His suit hugged him perfectly, as if it were specifically tailored to every dimension of what I imagined was the body of a Greek god. But being attractive wasn’t an excuse for being a dick, no matter how fast my heart sped up when he turned around, and his gorgeous eyes found mine again.“Hang on a moment,” he said to whoever was on the other end of the phone.
He took a few steps that seemed to last an eternity as he neared me. “Sorry. I thought I’d said you were excused already.” He paused for a quick moment, then his eyes widened.

“Oh, my. You’re deaf.”


He held out his hands and flawlessly signed, You’re excused. I knew because I’d minored in ASL in college.


Before thinking, I signed back, You’re a fucking prick, coupled with a smile that matched my sentiment.


He stared at me like I was an alien for another brief moment, before raking his gaze up and down my body. I clenched my fists at the shiver it sent crawling up my spine, and the heat it sent between my thighs.


“Well, aren’t you a clever one? Never would’ve guessed you had an attitude, judging by that outfit.” He smirked.


I folded my arms across my chest and stared lasers into his eyes. The same eyes that sent nerves skittering through my body. “Well, aren’t you—”


His hand shot out and his index finger was against my lips. “Shh.” He slid his finger down my mouth slowly before pulling it away and pointing to his phone.

“Important phone call.”


He stared out at the park as my chest rose and fell in huge waves. My face heated to an alarming degree.


“Yeah, well don’t let them fuck up my sandwich this time. I want the condiments on the side. They get the bread all soggy.” He cupped his hand over the phone and whispered, “So sorry. This will only be a second. Then we can get back to”—he waggled his index finger back and forth between the two of us—“this little thing we have going on here.”


I should bite his damn finger off. Or lick it. What the hell, Jenny?


“Yeah, see that it’s right before you bring it back to the office. Bye.” He tapped the screen on his phone and shoved it into his jacket pocket, then grinned at me. “Are we finished here?”


“I bet you hear that a lot from the ladies.” I tapped my foot on the ground. He picked the wrong woman to be an asshole to. I didn’t care how expensive his Armani whatever suit cost, being a jerk wasn’t acceptable. Who did he think he was?


“It’s usually more like, ‘I want you to finish here.’ ” He pointed at my chest and smiled a toothy grin.


I remained unmoved by his misogynistic sarcasm. His smile widened.


“No?” He drew out the syllable. “Here?” He canted his head sideways and pointed at my mouth, then chuckled. “What’s wrong? You can dish it out but can’t take it?”


I sighed and gave him an obviously fake laugh. “Oh, I can take it. I just prefer an entree. Not an appetizer.” I shot a glance to his crotch.


He leaned down next to me, his breath warm in my ear. “I can assure you, there’s plenty to eat down there.” He rose back up and examined me once more, as people made their way around us. “And it looks like you’ve been starving yourself for a while. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have important things to do.”

MEET SLOANE HOWELL: A GUEST POST


That’s right. I’m a guy.”


Thank you for having me on your blog and letting me tell your readers a little about myself. My name is Sloane Howell. Wait, that’s not true. I have a normal guy’s name but that’s irrelevant. Fact is, I’m a normal married guy with a kid and two dogs and an asshole cat.


People ask me all the time how I started writing romance. I think people are curious about an average everyday guy writing the genre. Obviously, it was so I could get thousands of followers on social media and make millions of dollars. Why else would a dude write romance? It certainly wasn’t to get in touch with my feelings or some other pussy reason like that. It wasn’t to make my writing well-rounded. Only a good writer would have a goal like that. Money and fame is the way to go, always. Facebook likes is how you should always measure your success.


Hah! Sorry, I joke a lot. I’ll punish myself accordingly.


There were a lot of reasons and I never expected it to be half as successful as I’ve been. I figured I could bring something different to the table writing from a man’s POV. When I wrote the first story of my Panty Whisperer series I didn’t know if my wife would divorce me when she read it or drag me to the bedroom. I’m still married so you can do the math. Apparently, it worked for readers too because I’m still around and my fans seem to enjoy my writing style.


It’s funny, because when I started researching the genre in the beginning, well, I won’t lie, I kind of expected stories that were written directly for women with these ridiculous expectations of how a man would act from a female’s point of view. A big feels fest with some unrealistic cheesiness.


I was pleasantly surprised, because the stories I dove into were anything but that. They were dirty, raunchy, hilarious, and I was hooked. I had to write something and there’s something about the disconnect when you’re just sitting in front of a keyboard that just lets you not hold back.


The naughtier the story, the more people liked it. Hair pulling (which I maintain is the answer to world peace), ass slapping, you name it, the more the merrier. Make the hero throw the heroine over his shoulder like a caveman and I’d get twenty messages immediately asking for more. There’s nothing an author loves more than having people chasing you down for more stories.


So, like any sane person, I kept writing them and kept trying to get better. The fact is that erotic romance can affect a reader the way other genres just can’t. It’s like my buddy from my sci fi days E.J. Robinson said (I’m paraphrasing), ‘You can read a murder mystery and you won’t go out and try to solve crimes. But when you read an erotic romance you can damn sure grab your significant other annnd go get busy in the sheets.’


Love and hate are the two strongest emotions in the world, so I try to slam a reader with both whenever I get the chance. Because I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t trying to push those buttons. I hope you’ll check out BOSSED (3/28/17) and SCORED (8/22/17) – and let me know if I achieved my goal.

Check out my blog and join my newsletter at: www.sloanehowell.com
Follow me on: Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

Thanks so much for having me! 😊

 

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