sneak peek, To Be Read

[TBR + Giveaway] The Non-Disclosure Agreement


One of my favorite romance tropes is fake relationship. To be honest, I try not to look too much into, like the psychology behind it, and try to consume books of this trope solely for pleasure. (Of course, it doesn’t always happen. I mean, you’ve read my reviews. I always get into attack mode. Anyway.)

I am so excited to read Kelsey McKnight’s The Non-Disclosure Agreement! It’s been a while since I’ve got my hands on a good fake relationship book. You might want to order this book too after reading the blurb and excerpt! (And so fancy, there is also a book trailer for it!)

The Non-Disclosure Agreement
Kelsey McKnight
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I left my old life, and my broken heart, back in Michigan. When I moved to New York City for a fresh start, I didn’t know I would be made a sinful offer I couldn’t refuse…

My billionaire businessman boss decided that being the most powerful man on the East Coast wasn’t enough. He needed political power, too. But who would vote for a womanizing playboy with a different model on his arm every week? If he wanted to win, he needed a respectable wife…he needed me.

I had the looks, the small town charm—I was even already his employee, but I was willing to pretend to be so much more. And I’ve already signed a non-disclosure agreement, making me the perfect choice.

But will there come a point where pretend just isn’t enough?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

She stepped over to the security desk and dropped her license and proof of employment in front of the guard. Her hands were sweaty and she kept glancing nervously around the busy lobby. Everyone seemed to be in such a hurry. “Excuse me, sir, but I believe you have a badge for me? My name is Holly McIntyre and I just moved here from Michigan to work for Mr. Cantrell. I’ve never been to New York City and—”

“Here’s your card, sweetheart,” the guard said in a thick Brooklyn accent, slapping a piece of plastic down on the desk. “And a word of advice? Don’t talk so much. You need to be tough to make it in this building.”

Holly nodded and meekly slid the ID off the counter before turning toward the elevators. She felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment and internally abashed herself for rambling to a perfect stranger. She was used to chatting with everyone back in Michigan and now she’d just made herself look like a fool to the first person she met in the building. What a great way to start to her first day.

The elevators were packed, going up, and Holly had to squeeze herself between two very large men carrying briefcases to make her way up to the top floor. As people left the lift to exit to their levels, Holly gave herself a short, meaningful pep talk to fill the time during the long ride up.

Okay, Holly, you can do this. You can make it through this. This is just a building in a city, not one of the most major companies on the East Coast for marketing and international sales. So what if it controls eighty percent of the sales to China? All you’ll be doing it fetching coffee and picking up dry-cleaning. No big deal! Maybe you’ll address envelopes sometimes or water plants. Totally doable! Fake it until you make it. Or crash and burn…oh, God.

When she stepped onto the top floor, she was the last person aboard the elevator and entirely sure she should never be a motivational speaker.

The seventieth floor was as white and bright as the lobby below, but primarily empty. A receptionist tapped away on a keyboard. Across from her desk was a bright red couch for visitors, and three heavy oak doors against the far wall. Holly quietly walked up to the receptionist, her ID card clutched in her hand. The woman was a statuesque brunette wearing a chic sweater dress and a pair of fifties-inspired glasses. She stopped typing and looked up at Holly from behind her vintage eyewear.

“H-hi, I’m Holly McIntyre, the new assistant.“ She cleared her throat and held up her ID for proof, hoping the receptionist wouldn’t notice the wild shaking of her hand.

“Lovely.” The receptionist purred in a way that made Holly think of a cat that’d just spotted a defenseless mouse. “Go on in to Mr. Cantrell’s office. Begin filing the papers on top of the filing cabinet in alphabetical order. He’ll be in shortly to give you further instruction.”

Holly waited to be dismissed, but took the woman’s return to typing as her release. She walked back to the far wall to the three doors. One was labeled Meeting Room 1, the second Meeting Room 2, and the third read Cantrell in bold golden letters next to the door. Slowly, she grasped the handle and pushed the door open to let herself inside.

The room was large and richly furnished with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows behind a stately desk. It was almost sterile-looking with no personal items to be seen between the imposing grandfather clock and leather armchairs. Holly looked around for a picture of her future boss, but the only art on the wall was a modern painting a man might’ve chosen—bright squares of red, blue, and black thrown onto a canvas. She thought a child could’ve put it together. It was nothing like the fine Italian frescos she’d seen online, nor like the famous reproductions of Monet paintings her parents had hanging in their restaurant back home. But what did she know about modern art? Holly had no doubt, however, that the simple piece had cost him thousands.

She placed her secondhand purse on one of the two guest chairs facing the desk and made her way to a very tall, large filing cabinet tucked into the corner of the room. Her hands began to sweat as she saw how monumental the cabinet was. While she was around five feet tall, the cabinet must have been seven feet high. Wondering if she could actually do her duties with this monstrous piece of office furniture, she tried reaching the stack of papers and manila envelopes, but her hands barely grazed the top of the cabinet. She glanced around for a stepladder, or a stool, but only saw the expensive chairs meant for guests. Not finding any other option, she pulled the empty chair toward the cabinet and hopped on, balancing on the plush cushion.

She had just grabbed the heavy stack when the office door burst open, causing her arms to fly up in surprise and the papers to scatter all over the floor, mimicking the worst kind of snowstorm. Holly immediately jumped off the chair with her hand covering her mouth to stifle a small shriek of surprise that escaped as a pained squeak. She had not been in the office more than five minutes and she’d already made a mess. What made it worse was that the only person to witness her shame was her boss, Jackson Cantrell.

***

Jackson raised a brow as he inspected his new assistant. She seemed as flighty as a bird, and almost as delicate.

“Oh, goodness! I’m so sorry, Mr. Cantrell…sir…I can’t believe I…” Holly dropped back to the floor and began sweeping the papers into a pile with her quivering hands. “I’m sorry…I didn’t…I couldn’t reach…”

Jackson bent down to her level and began sorting the papers into small piles, slightly uncomfortable with the anxious woman fidgeting on his office floor. “I take it you must be my new assistant?”

“Y-yes. I’m Holly McIntyre.” She looked up at him, green eyes glassy with fear. “I promise, I’m not always so clumsy.”

He was taken aback upon seeing her fully. She was a pleasant-looking woman with a heart shaped face and full lips. As she lifted her emerald eyes to his, peeking at him from beneath her thick lashes, Jackson had to clear his throat. “Good to meet you, Holly.”

“I’m really not like this. I’m very well organized and—”

Jackson held up a hand. “Please, it’s really not a big deal. Why don’t you just go get settled at your desk for now, and I’ll fix this.”

“My desk?” Her face was still pink from embarrassment; a feature Jackson found oddly endearing.

“Yes. Your office connects with mine so that I’ll be able to reach you easily during business hours.” He scooped the rest of the files up and stood, holding a hand out to her.

Holly smiled uneasily, showing off a row of perfectly white teeth. Her hand was delicate in his, and when she rose to standing, he was surprised to see she had rather shapely legs beneath the unflattering sack she wore. “Of course, Mr. Cantrell. Is there anything I can get for you? Latte? Coffee? Tea?”

He shot her a small smile, amused by her nervousness. “No, thank you. Go get settled.”

Holly snatched her purse and tucked it under her arm, disappearing into her adjacent office. Jackson watched her leave, noting how that dowdy suit, and ugly shoes, did little to show her apparent charms. His other assistants were always well-groomed and expertly dressed, looking at ease in their designer clothes. Holly McIntyre almost seemed like a little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s closet. He thought she would do better if she embraced her girl-next-door beauty instead of hiding it.

As he arranged the last of the files on his desk, he wondered if Holly had what it took to survive life in the big city.

Author Bio

Kelsey McKnight is a university-educated historian from southern New Jersey. She has married her great loves of romance, history, and literature to create her newly finished works. Her first books, “The Scottish Stone Series”, are coming in April of 2017 by Limitless Publishing. Book one is titled “Queen of Emeralds”, and is available now. “The Scottish Stone Series” take readers on a journey through the bustling streets of Victorian London and into the lush hills of the Scottish Highlands. Her second book, a contemporary romance titled “The Non-Disclosure Agreement”, will also be available in May of 2017 and feature a bad boy politician and the small town girl that could change his ways. When she’s not writing, Kelsey can be found reading, drinking too much coffee, spending time with her family, and working on two nonprofits.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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[TBR] It Happened On Love Street by Lia Riley

Reading about stories set in small towns are always my cup of tea. There’s just something mildly utopic about the concept of knowing almost everyone. Mildly, because it is always revealed how there are problematic things that go on in small towns as they always do anywhere else.

In a literary sense, there is something really romantic about small towns. Perhaps it is tinged with nostalgia, but the heightened sense of going into a familiar place gives a sense of calm and safety.

Riley_ItHappenedOnLoveStreet_MM

Title: IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET
Author: Lia Riley
Series: Everland, Georgia
On Sale: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
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In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Marina Adair, comes the first in a new series by Lia Riley about two city sisters finding love in a small town.

The most romantic place she never wanted to be . . .

Pepper Knight moved to Everland, Georgia, as step one in her plan for a successful legal career. But after this big-city gal’s plans go awry, going home with her tail between her legs isn’t an option. So when the town vet—
and her sexy new neighbor—offers Pepper a temporary dog-walking job, she jumps at the chance. No one needs to know that man’s best friend is her worst nightmare . . . or that Everland’s hot animal whisperer leaves her panting.

The last thing Rhett Valentine wants is to be the center of small-town gossip. After his first love left him at the altar, he’s been there, done that. These days, life is simple, just the way he likes it. But sultry southern nights get complicated once sparks fly between him and the knockout next door. When she proposes a sexy, secret fling—all the deliciousness and none of the prying neighbors-it seems too good to be true. And it is. Because Pepper’s determined to leave Love Street, and when she goes, she just might take his heart with her . . .

Thoughts

Lia Riley’s It Happened on Love Street is exactly my cup of tea. Even the premise of going back to one’s hometown to lick your wounds triggers my one-click tendencies! I can’t wait to read this book.

Excerpt

“Here’s an idea.” He nudged his finger on hers. “Say we—and this is purely hypothetically—enjoyed the . . . ahem . . .pleasure of each other’s company in the privacy of ourhomes.”

“Hypothetically, kept it casual and under the radar?”

She nudged back. “When I leave, there’s no heartbreak, no drama, and no one is the wiser.”

“Interesting theory?” He reached out, his hand splaying her knee. “Or recipe for disaster?”

Tingles shot up her thigh. His skin was warm, those fingers very big and very male. “I have enough to worry about with my future. If you don’t need me for more than a little here and now? I might be persuaded. Hypothetically.”

He moved his hand from her knee to the back of her neck. The touch melted her faster than an ice cube in the July sun.

“What are you thinking?” she murmured.

His deep blue gaze locked on hers and there it came again, that curious sensation of floating and drowning. “That I’d like to hypothetically kiss you.”

There was a sudden roaring in her ears, a whoosh of blood. “Well, there’s only one way to test a hypothesis.”

Slowly, oh so slowly, he dipped forward. His lips didn’t settle on hers like she expected. Instead, he kissed the center of her forehead, softly, experimentally. A tremble rocked through him.

The evening air was sultry, no a hint of chill. The idea that she shook this steadfast man sent a shiver of need through the join of her thighs, a throbbing shudder that swelled to an ache as he peppered a light trail of kisses down her temple, and then moved lower. He took his sweet time on her cheeks, treating her as something to savor, a delicious dessert you didn’t want to wolf in one bite. Tension spread through her body, pulling tighter and tighter, her belly doing a fluttery dips and dives.

When he finally reached her lips, it seemed reasonable to expect that the kiss would be as soft as the others. Silly. Because Rhett was full of surprises. He didn’t hold back, his tongue was greedy, insistent, and hungry. Their teeth banged together. A chair tipped over. They crashed against a table leg, sent it screeching across the floor.

“In theory, you’re a good kisser,” she gasped, tracing her lower lip with her tongue. The skin was puffy, aching.

“Let me experiment a bit more. The initial results are promising.”

Buy Links

Amazon |Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | iBooks | Indiebound |Kobo

About the Author

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme

Lia Riley is a contemporary romance author. USA Today describes her as “refreshing” and RT Book Reviews calls her books “sizzling and heartfelt.” She loves her husband, three kids, wandering redwood forests and a perfect pour over coffee. She is 25% sarcastic, 54% optimistic, and 122% bad at math (good thing she writes happy endings for a living). She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Have you read this book already? Tell me what you think loved about it by leaving me a comment below!

sneak peek

Sneak Peek: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

It is no secret that I’ve always wanted to receive galleys to be reviewed and be compensated with more galleys, but I just lost time for most of last year since I shifted officially into the Anglo-American Literature program in my uni. So, bit by bit, I vow to really get on with this blogging business and continue reviewing, because – I’m still nowhere near receiving galleys as often as I wanted to. Anyway, I recently opened my account on NetGalley, because a friend reminded me that, hey, I also have this dream of receiving galleys and I need to work on it STAT! And, look what a pleasant surprise I found! There is a free sneak peek of Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything, which will be released this coming May! saint anything I am beyond excited for this!! As you may, or may not, know, I am a huge Dessen fan. I will read anything this woman writes. And even though The Moon and More didn’t really win my heart, I still believe in Dessen. And the sneak peek really strengthened my love for her!

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The sneak peek provided by NetGalley was wonderfully short. Such a tease. But in that very short taste of what’s to come this May, I have full confidence this book is going to rock everyone’s world, and I know this will solidify Sarah Dessen’s writing legacy even more.

The thing about Sarah Dessen is that her works pack so much power on being a story about a girl and how she grows into her own person, tempered by unfortunate circumstances, difficult people, and the heady potential of a young love.

One may think that such bildungsroman stories are so typical nowadays what’s new, right? Well, Sarah Dessen’s stories strength lies in how realistic they are. They remind readers that everyone’s problems are very real, whether they be complex or simple. And in reality, what young adults face are simple but very difficult problems. You’d think that family problems or losing yourself along the way are very typical, but that’s exactly it. People usually dismiss such encounters as nothing big, nothing significant, that they overlook how trying it is to be in the middle of such adversity.

Dessen gives young adults that clasp on the shoulder, that nudge that empowers them that they are not alone, and they only need to find that strength inside them, and around them. She introduces readers to smart girls, girls who are cracked and flawed, but they make it. These girls triumph over their hurdles because they are given a hand by these colourful people they meet in their journey, their families – whether biological or emotional – holds their hands tightly and accompanies them as they grow into their full potential. And that’s exactly how Dessen and her books are. She and her stories are the hands that hold millions of young adult readers as they face their own realities. She bolsters their courage by basically saying, “Annabel did it. You can, too.

And Saint Anything, if by judging from that snippet, is going to give us exactly the Sarah Dessen that we all loved, with another character we will be friends with. Sydney feels so lost and at the same time, in that few lines that we meet her, she easily captivated our hearts with her. She grew up in a family that could more than provide for her, and her brother as the central character in her life. And in a slow descent into madness, her world is flipped. She volunteers to change her lifestyle to help with her family, her brother goes to jail, and she is just right there, in the precipice of Before and After. It’s a scary place to be in, and full of possibilities – whether good or bad.

I am excited to read about Mac though, because we weren’t really given much exposure from him. I really hope he gets to have his own development in the story, as compared to Dessen’s previous book.

So, yeah. I am so stoked for this book. Its release is on May, and of course, I’ll be blogging about it! I feel it in my bones that this is going to be a classic Sarah Dessen book. I feel it!!!