TRUST FUND FIANCÉ by Naima Simone – Release Day Feature

TRUST FUND FIANCÉ

by

Naima Simone

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An intriguing proposal mixes romance and finance…

His friend needs a fiancé to claim a fortune.

But they both know it’s about more than money…

Ezekiel Holloway’s proposition could save his friend Reagan Sinclair’s inheritance and give her the freedom she craves. But when family scandals force Ezekiel to end their fake engagement, the heiress comes up with a counterproposal—and they elope to Vegas after all! Is there something more than mere convenience at stake here?

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EXCERPT

“Marry me.”

Ezekiel stared at Regan, struck speechless. Dozens of questions bombarded him, and he mentally waded through them, finally settling on the most important one. “What?”

“Marry me,” she repeated, closing the short distance between them, not stopping until her hands fisted the lapels of his suit jacket, her thighs braced against his and that honeysuckle scent embraced him like a long-lost lover.

He swallowed a groan at her nearness, at the feel of her body pressed to his. Lust, hot and hungry, punched him in the gut, then streamed through him in a swollen flood. Desperate to place distance between them so he could f*cking think, he gripped her hips to set her away from him. But touching her backfired. Instead of pushing her back, he held her close, his body rebelling and taking control. Two weeks. It’d been two long weeks.

“Reagan,” he rumbled.

“No, Zeke. Don’t give me all the reasons why we shouldn’t. I don’t care. Do you know where I just came from?” she asked, switching topics with a lightning speed that left him floundering. Between that and his *ick finding cushion against her stomach, he couldn’t keep up. “I just left a restaurant where my father arranged for me to have lunch with Justin McCoy.”

“The hell?” His grip on her tightened. Douglas had set her up with that a**hole?

“Yes.” Reagan nodded as if reading his mind. “Apparently my father considered him a more suitable match than you. A man who uses and throws away women for his own gain rather than you, a man who has been nothing but honorable and unfailingly kind and respectful. I had enough. I walked away from him and his machinations. I’m through allowing him to run my life, to make choices for me out of guilt and loyalty.”

Guilt? What the hell did that mean?

Shoving the questions aside for the moment, he refocused on her. “I understand your anger, believe me, I do, but take a moment and think this through before you make a mistake you can’t take back. This decision will cost you your inheritance. It could damage your relationship with your parents. Is this rebellion worth that? Because you’re not in…” He couldn’t finish that sentence. Couldn’t fathom it.

“No, Zeke, I’m not in love with you,” she assured him, and he exhaled a heavy breath. Even as an unidentifiable emotion twisted in his chest. “And maybe this is a little bit of rebellion on my part, but it’s so much more. I’m taking control—of my choices, my mind, my life. I respect you, Zeke. But this isn’t about you. It’s about me. About finally becoming the woman I’ve been too afraid to own. So, from now on, I’m making my own decisions,” she continued. “And that includes you. I choose you, Zeke. And I want you to marry me.”

Jesus, did she know what a delicious temptation she was? How he’d fought following after her that evening he’d let her walk out of his house? That had required strength he hadn’t realized he possessed. Doing it a second time…

No, she might feel certain here in this office, but she was still upset. Could feel very differently in the morning, hell, hours from now. Maybe after they talked this out, she would see—

She rose on her toes and crushed her mouth to his.

Oh f*ck.

His control snapped.

Like a flash fire, the press of her lips to his poured gasoline over the lust that had been steadily simmering. He took possession of that sweet siren’s mouth, claiming it with a thrust of his tongue. Possessing it with a long, wet lick. Corrupting it with an erotic tangle and suck that left little to the imagination about what he wanted from her.

And he wanted it all. In this moment where the lines between platonic friendship and desire incinerated beneath his greedy mouth and her needy whimpers, he wanted everything she had to give him.

He'd known her since she was a girl. He had no business thinking of her naked, sweating & straining beneath him.

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ABOUT NAIMA

Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”  She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

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REVIEW

An angsty, seriously steamy read that’s in keeping with what I expect from Naima Simone’s books. 

Marriage-of-convenience and friends-to-lovers are two of my favorite tropes in romance and Reagan and Zeke’s story brings them to life in an emotional and sexy way.

At first, it’s easy to dismiss the premise of their coming together as rich people problems. Reagan wants access to the millions in the trust fund her grandmother left her. Zeke needs to help out a friend to feel useful amidst his family’s rapidly escalating financial scandal. Reading further along, one could see that the causes of their internal turmoil are real and relatable. Reagan chafes from living under the control of her parents as a decade-long penance for a teenage mistake. Zeke has closed off his heart after the death of a beloved. Their union, however temporary, changes their lives for the better. 

I especially liked Reagan’s growth arc in this book. She takes control of her life even if it means losing the people she loves.  Zeke’s turnabout could have been less sudden. Same with Reagan’s father’s change of heart. 

While Trust Fund Fiancé can be read as a stand alone, I’d recommend starting the series from the first book in order to fully appreciate the dramatic saga of the Wingate family. 

A SHOT TO THE HEART By Catherine Stein – Happy Release Day Review

A Shot to the Heart graphics

Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s A Shot to the Heart, a Sass and Steam novella.

 

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A Shot to the Heart cover

The best shot of these Olympic Games is coming from Cupid’s bow.

Competitive archer Cora Maxwell will let nothing stop her quest to compete at the 1904 Olympic Games. Not even a devastating injury to her arm. With the help of a mechanical device known as the Electro-Flex, Cora has worked her way back to top form—and she’s found a long-distance friend in the machine’s inventor. She’s ready to shoot for gold and she’s thrilled to have a fan to cheer her on.

Inventor Adam Levett harbors a secret love for his athletic friend, but he values their friendship too highly to risk revealing his feelings. When they meet in person for the World’s Fair and the Olympics, he plans to cheer her to victory, but he won’t allow himself to hope for more. Until a searing kiss makes him suspect the attraction might not be as one-sided as he’d believed.

As the days tick down to Cora’s competition, strange disturbances at the Fair threaten both Adam’s career and her Olympic dream—as well as their evolving relationship. But these friends are no quitters, and together they square off against rogue dragons, electrical mishaps, and vicious competitors. Because in these Games, only true loyalty can win the heart of a champion.

Buy Links: 

Amazon          Universal          Barnes & Noble          Google Play          Kobo

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REVIEW 

A fast-paced Olympic romantic adventure

Another winner from the highly creative mind of Ms. Stein. She seamlessly integrates the technology of the future with events from the past to tell her brilliant love stories in the age of steampunk. Subtly feminist, A Shot to the Heart celebrates a strong heroine and a hero who supports her wholeheartedly.

I liked the cameos and I especially appreciate the note about the World Fair. Ms. Stein really did her research and wrote an imaginative tale around a real-life event.

4 out of 5 stars

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Follow Catherine here: 

Facebook page        Facebook group        Twitter        Instagram        Pinterest               Bookbub        Goodreads        Amazon        Book + Main        Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Know

SF in bed todays

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Twenty-Two

Carpe diem,” he read out loud. His fingers traced the outer edges of each word, scratching at the leftover adhesive. He stretched out beside her, his hand continuing to caress, to build the fire. “When did you get it done? And why?”

Maddie shivered in delight. His touch provided both relief from the itch and the slow-burning heat. “Last Sunday, after my first time at paddling, I decided to get a tattoo. For me, this describes my attitude towards the future after I returned to you.” She turned to face him. “I don’t know if tomorrow will come, and if it does, what will happen. I only know I want to spend my todays with you from now on.”

Aidan scooted closer, placed an arm around her, and kissed her lightly. “I want that too. I want to be beside you in the present and in the future. I love you, Maddie-mine.”

Maddie kissed him right back. “And, I love you, Aidan-mine.”

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

THE SCOUNDREL’S NEW CON By Catherine Stein – Excerpt And Review

The Scoundrel's New Con graphic

Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s The Scoundrel’s New Con, a retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes, part of the Lady Goosebury’s Tales series from various authors.

 

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The Scoundrel's New Con cover

He’s pulling the con of a lifetime. Unless she exposes the naked truth.

Conman Jack Weaver has his eyes on the prize. The arrogant Earl of Bardrick has offered five thousand pounds to anyone who can prove his castle is haunted. With money like that, Jack can ensure he’ll never end up on the streets or in prison again. And his spirit photography skills are just the trick needed to convince all of the earl’s houseguests to believe in something unseen.

Investigative journalist Tess Cochran believes in one thing: the truth. She’s not going to let phony ghosts and trick photographs swindle anyone, even a snobbish aristocrat like Bardrick. And she’s certainly not going to let herself be swayed by Jack Weaver’s charming smile and mischievous antics.

When Jack and Tess stumble upon one of the castle’s many secrets, they realize something nefarious lurks behind the earl’s competition. To solve the mystery, these rivals forge a reluctant partnership. As they strip down the facts, Jack and Tess begin to find that the deepest truths may be concealed in their hearts.

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EXCERPT

Weaver slid into the empty seat beside Tess as silently as the ghosts he supposedly photographed. Goosebumps rose on her flesh. The air seemed to hum with energy. And none of it had anything to do with the spiritualist at the front of the room. No, this was far too corporeal.

You did this to yourself, Tess.

A few single empty places remained in the rows closer to the performance. She could have taken any of them, and given herself a better view. Instead, she’d chosen the empty back row. It gave her the chance to slip away at any time, she’d told herself.

“Good evening, Tess,” he murmured. On his lips, her name sounded sensual. Illicitly enticing.

“Not photographing any longer?” she whispered.

“It’s past sunset. All the candles in this castle would give me nothing more than a blur on the plate.”

She looked at him just long enough to give him a sweet smile. “And here I thought that’s exactly what you wanted.”

“On the contrary.” He edged closer, until no more than an inch separated his body from hers. “I prefer a crisp, sharp photograph. One that exposes every detail.”

Thank the Lord the entire room was fixated on Rowland and his little pile of burning papers, or they might have noticed Tess combusting in the back row. Her simple dress felt stifling, and she wanted to tear it from her body to cool her heated skin. The thought of Jack Weaver seeing that skin only made her warmer.

Tess bit her lip. Enough was enough. She was tired of him having control of the situation. She was going to show him she could match him jab for jab.

“Oh, I would love to expose you, Jack.” Her whispered words were far too breathy, but she pressed on. “I intend to strip you bare for all the world to see.”

“My room, midnight.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Follow Catherine here: 

Facebook page        Facebook group        Twitter        Instagram        Pinterest               Bookbub        Goodreads        Amazon        Book + Main        Newsletter

 

REVIEW

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Catherine Stein continues to show tremendous growth in her craft with her latest excellent offering.

The Scoundrel’s New Con is an incredibly original work in a subgenre that is often flooded with stories centered on the nobility. Here, as in most of Catherine’s books, the main characters are “ordinary” but remarkable people in the Victorian era. Tess is a news reporter, intent on exposing the truth about spiritualists and their ilk who seek to divest the gullible of their money. Jack, a spirit photographer and con man, is one of those she plans to discredit. There’s only one problem, she’s deeply attracted to him. The better she gets to know him, the weaker her determination to strip him of his livelihood.

I love that their flirtation is frank and sensual. I appreciate the slow reveal of their respective pasts to explain their present choices. I like the proper amount of push and pull that made me anticipate the eventual happy payoff.

I enjoyed the dialogue, pacing, action, and photography competence porn. I adored the cat Phantom. And, best of all, I admire the matter-of-fact feminism that was laid out in a manner that came naturally to the characters and not at all preaching to the readers. Brava!

4 Four-half-stars

 

 

 

 

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Today

SF bed No guarantees

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Fourteen

She loved Krista and Blake. She was happy for them. But seeing them together reminded her of what she wanted but didn’t have. Yet.

Maybe Krista and Blake had it right, carpe diem-ing their decisions in life. There were no guarantees for their future. Today was the only day that mattered.

If she told Aidan she loved him, what was the worst thing that could happen? That he didn’t love her back. But, what if he did?

Aargh! She was going to give herself a headache with these thoughts, and that would make sleep difficult. She did need to be early at work in the morning, as she was leading a pitch. If tomorrow came, she’d seize the day. For now, it was time to hit her lonely bed.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Hope

couple on a bed holding hands

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Nineteen

Dear Maddie,

I’m sorry. For stealing the privilege of using the name only your friends call you. You may no longer consider me your friend, but I will always think of you as mine.

I’m sorry for letting my job take precedence over you. It was never my intention to hurt you, yet my choices took away yours. I will give up my career if it means having you by my side and in my arms again.

I’m sorry for my selfishness in holding on to your things. As long as they remain with me, I have hope that you’ll return.

I’m sorry my words are inadequate to express my regret for hurting you. I will wait until you grant me the opportunity to say it in person and seek your forgiveness and love.

Always yours,

Aidan

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Crave

vanilla massage v2

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Twelve

The moment the heady scent of vanilla infused the air, she knew what he was going to do. Just like that, all tension left her.

“I bought this from your perfumer,” he said as he spread the fragrant oil on her shoulders and all over her back. “It promises to soothe tired and sore muscles, promote rest and relaxation, and nourish your skin.”

It was working. The soothing and relaxation part, at least. Maddie sank deeper on the bed as Aidan alternated the pressure and pace of his ministrations, digging hard and slow at the base of her neck and shoulder blades, while sweeping fast along the fleshy parts of her back and thighs.

He delivered on his promise to take care of her, sliding off the bed to better reach her entire body.

There was pain—was there ever. The tear-inducing force of the heel of his hand on her left calf, the jolt caused by his thumb on her right instep that had her gasping for breath, she’d expected all of that. It was part of the therapy.

She also anticipated the healing and the pleasure. Especially the pleasure. There was relief when he scratched the marks her tight bra had left on her flesh. Tingles fluttered on her skin from the glide of his palms on the sides of her breasts.

”’

Aidan’s voice was rough as he tipped the vial over his palm, catching the drops as they fell. “Did you know when you chose vanilla to be your signature scent that it’s a powerful aphrodisiac?” He rubbed his hands together, warming the oil.

“Yes,” she gasped as he brought his hands down to her chest, smoothing the oil in circular motions.

“That’s why I can’t keep my hands off you. The reason I can’t get enough of your scent,” he said, bending down, inhaling deeply. “Why I enjoy the feel of your skin, why I crave your special taste.”

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Please

bed 1

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Sixteen

… tonight was for giving, not taking. Tonight was for Maddie, not him.

He lowered her to her feet beside their bed and took the towel from her.

“I can dry myself,” she protested but released the fabric at his tug.

“I know you can. I want to do it for you. Will you let me?” When she sent him a questioning look, he said, “Please?”

Please forgive me for keeping secrets from you.

Please remember tonight.

Please know how much I love you.

Her nod of assent felt like an absolution that he didn’t deserve, but that he wanted more than anything else.

Soft pats burst the bubbles that still clung to her silky skin. Gentle swipes dried most of the moisture from her body.

He’d get her wet again, Aidan promised himself as he laid them both down on the bed.

He’d get her hot. It wouldn’t take much. It never had.

One kiss. All they needed to set fire to their passion for each other.

As if she’d read his mind, Maddie reached up to twine her arms around his shoulders and pulled him to her. “Kiss me, Aidan,” she murmured against his lips.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Coffee

coffee 3

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Three

Maddie started at the sound of his amused voice. She turned in her seat to stare while Aidan made his way to her side. He’d changed into a moisture-wicking top and track pants, both black, better suited for walking than the cotton he wore earlier. Again, he looked like the spy Rini had thought he was.

And now, she was wide awake once more. This morning, she’d likened Aidan to dark chocolate.

Wrong.

He was coffee. Black, no sugar, the way she preferred it: strong, hot, addictive.

Maddie let out a sigh filled with regret. She should have jumped him when she’d arrived. In white t-shirt and gray sweatpants, jaw shadowed by a day’s growth of stubble, he had looked totally jumpable.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Bathtub

bathtub scene

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Sixteen

A baby. An image of a black-haired, brown-eyed little girl flashed in his mind. She’d have her mother’s beauty and his height. Their child. His and Maddie’s. Without thinking, he dragged the sponge to Maddie’s flat stomach. “Do you want to have children?”

She stilled in his arms for a second before resting her head on his shoulder. “Yes. At least one.” She exhaled a soft whish of breath against his neck. “But not yet. Before I turn thirty-five for sure,” she said in a perkier voice, but he still heard the wistfulness she tried to hide.

Aidan, who’d never planned anything long term, was all of a sudden dreaming of babies with the woman in his arms. If this wasn’t love, he didn’t know what else it could be.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.