A Year of Indecent Proposals? January (Calendar Girl #1) – Audrey Carlan

The Calendar Girl series was recommended to me by a coworker (I know, like I need something else to read) but the lure of the unknown and a quick read was irresistible. I try not to hold it against her that she also recommended Fifty Shades of Grey BUT that is a tale for another day…


January

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SYNOPSISIt’s really simple. I needed money. A lot of money. One million dollars to be exact. The amount didn’t matter. All that mattered is that at the end of that price tag held my father’s life.

No money. No life.

The time limit was one year. On January 1st I had to pay up or my Father was going to be killed.

When you’re faced with an ultimatum like this, you do whatever you have to do.

And that’s exactly what I did.

The job…Exquisite Escorts. My role, serve as high priced arm candy to anyone that can afford the $100,000 price tag for a month of my company. Sex is optional (for me) and a 20% increase on the price.


REVIEW

pretty-woman-1990-09-gI think my Pretty Woman loving soul was attracted to this plot-line, any deeper misogynist messages within sailed over my sixteen year old head when I first saw the movie that launched Julia Roberts career. Come on, you too would have been diverted by Richard Gere’s silver foxiness. Now I simply choose not to acknowledge them hypocrite that I am. January opens with a quandary for our heroine, Mia’s father, who sounds like a real prize, got in deep with the wrong people and ends up beaten to within an inch of his life. Since he is now in a coma his debt passes to Mia, the terms are simple pay back one million dollars or you and yours sleep with the fishes. While I think that the fact that the loan shark in question is one of Mia’s ex’s speaks very badly of her taste in men, I was willing to overlook this lapse in judgement for the greater good.

It turns out that Mia’s aunt runs a very exclusive escort service and she knows that the very statuesque Megan Fox doppelganger will draw top dollar. The deal is simple 12 months, each month with a different client who has PAID for your time and at the end of the calendar year… voilà – problem solved.

Her first client, a filmmaker doesn’t need an escort just a buffer between him and his many admirers. Wes is young, handsome and fun loving, resisting his appeal would prove to be difficult. Ultimately I enjoyed Mia’s first sojourn into her year as an escort and I can hardly wait to see what the rest of the year holds in store for her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A-CarlanAudrey Carlan is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She writes wicked hot love stories that are designed to give the reader a romantic experience that’s sexy, sweet, and so hot your ereader might melt. Some of her works include the wildly successful Calendar Girl Serial, Falling Series, and the Trinity Trilogy.

She lives in the California Valley where she enjoys her two children and the love of her life. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching yoga, sipping wine with her “soul sisters” or with her nose stuck in a wicked hot romance novel.

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Destroyed By The Bad Boy – Madison Collins

 

DESTROYED BY THE BAD BOY

Madison Collins

Releasing on January 29, 2016

Self-Published

 

This book contains two complete erotic romance novellas
with no cliffhangers.

 

Stranded …

On the way to our parents wedding in the mountains, the mother of all snow storms attacks, leaving me stranded in a remote cabin with my new stepbrother.

My hot as hell, I-need-to-change-my-panties because-they’re-soaked, cocky asshole of a stepbrother, Bentley McAllister.

The kicker of it all?

The only items he’s packed are liquor and condoms, and he’s looking at me like he wants to put both to good use.

My name is Sierra, and my libido can only take so much.

Send help!

Caged …

Two brothers…

One girl…

Rising stars in the cage fighting circuit, Cage and Tripp Garrett are as close as two brothers can be. Fiercely competitive and smouldering with intensity, neither has ever lost a fight. Until they face their toughest opponent yet: Lily.

They both want her. But neither can have her. Lily is as off-limits as they come. They make a pact that the tough-as-nails daughter of their trainer will never come between them.

Until one of them begins to fall in love. Then all is fair in love and war.

Caged is a sexy, fast-paced love story with a punch.

Warning: Contains adult language and sexual content.

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Madison Collins is the author of romantic short stories such as Caged, Stranded with My Stepbrother and the upcoming Monster Prick. She enjoys the occasional stiff cocktail, and watching romantic comedies. Most days you can find her curled up with a good book. She currently resides in New Jersey.

The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff

GUEST POST – Surly Joe


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SYNOPSISThe Wisdom of Pooh.

Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist’s favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl.

Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.


REVIEW

The New Year’s Resolutioners are out in full force with the best of intentions, wandering self-consciously through gyms, determined to get in shape and not be intimidated by the machines and the muscle heads. They are frantically downloading new diet plans, determined to lose the weight.  They are chewing nicotine gum and applying the patches, determined to kick the cigarettes.  But it’s hard.  It’s such a struggle.  And like every other year, many will have reunited with the old habits by Spring, feeling defeated, or rationalizing why it happened.  Again.

So what does any of this have to do with literature and Penny Dreadful?

The Tao of Pooh, a sweetly profound book by Benjamin Hoff, may be able to help.

Written in 1982, it quickly became a bestseller.  Its premise is simple and brilliant – use the characters of A.A. Milne’s classic Winnie the Pooh to explain the Eastern philosophy of Taoism, specifically its concept of “Wu Wei”, literally meaning “without doing, causing or making”, but in practicality, “without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort”.  This is the guiding belief of Winnie the Pooh, but because it’s so natural for him, he doesn’t even know it.  He is, according to Hoff, “the most effortless Bear we’ve ever seen”.  Never stressed, never frantic, he enjoys his Life.  “I don’t do much of anything”, Pooh says, but things sort of just get done.

The other animals of the Forest show the contrast.  Owl is the intellectual.  He sits for hours thinking, doing nothing.  Paralysis by analysis.  Eeyore the donkey is clever too, but cynically so, complaining about everything, enjoying nothing.  Similar to the New Year’s Resolutioners, it’s all such a Struggle.  Piglet is intimidated by everything.  He’s too Small and the world is too Big for someone so tiny.  And Tigger is impulsive, thinks he can do everything, and usually can’t.

Each character, except for Pooh, illustrates a fight with life in their various ways.  But according to Taoism, “the more forcing, the more trouble”.  Wu Wei “flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo”.  It is effortless so it doesn’t tire.

So what does any of this have to do with the New Year’s Resolutioners?

If the gym is a fight and the diets are boring and the call of the cigarettes is making abstinence seem an impossibility, maybe a step back from the Struggle is necessary.  Re-evaluate with Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh, absorb its wisdom and its childlike simplicity.  It doesn’t mean give up.  The resolutions can be achieved, just achieved in a different, non-combative way.  “Tao does not do, but nothing is not done”.  Just like Pooh.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

benjamin hoffBenjamin Hoff is an author based in the United States. The two books he is proud of are The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. Hoff has an essay online:
http://www.benjaminhoffauthor.com/ This is the only website he has officially endorsed or been involved with.


CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.

 

 

The Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse – Daphne Lamb (GUEST POST)

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GirlsGuideThe Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse Author: Daphne Lamb
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: August 11th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

SynopsisWelcome to the Apocalypse. Your forecast includes acid rain, roving gangs and misplaced priorities, in this comedic take on the end of the world as we know it, from debut author Daphne Lamb. As a self-entitled, self-involved, and ill equipped millennial, Verdell probably wouldn’t have ranked very high on the list of those most likely to survive the end of the world, but here she is anyway. Add in travelling with her work addicted boss, her boyfriend who she has “meh” feelings for, and a handful of others who had no businesses surviving as long as they have, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. But despite threats of cannibalism, infected water supplies, and possibly even mutants, Verdell is willing to put in as little effort as she can get away with to survive.

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BUY LINKS

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Why Use The Apocalypse As A Setting?

There’s a lot being said and written about the Apocalypse these days and maybe its because no one really feels in control of where we’re going and the news seems to be getting grimmer by the day. Whatever the case, it breeds a lot of discussion as to what we really hold important and if we could actually survive in a world where all the settings have been reset.

A few years back, I went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Belfast. I was mostly excited about going to Northern Ireland and didn’t really take into account how useful I’d be on a worksite. I was a soft, unathletic couch potato who figured building a house was just a matter of putting some nails in wood. I discovered I was incredibly wrong as throughout the day I would get taken off tasks and get demoted into simpler ones. By six o’clock, I was in charge of putting water in a bucket and I realized that I had no actual skills and if there was a time when I would need to survive in a world without the basic comforts of the 21st century, I would be screwed.

From there, The Girls Guide to the Apocalypse was born. With that perspective, I was watching those closest to me and wondering how they would fare if something dramatic enough were to happen to render them useless without their phone or car, or even a Starbucks to walk to for their daily fix.

If you do a simple Google search on “survival” or “survival tips” you’re going to get a lot of sort of doomsday prep that involves stocking up on guns and canned goods and some frightening drawings of how to pull out your own teeth. The lazy part of me read these articles and instead of being interested and motivated, my immediate thought was, “This sounds too hard.” There are some that would feel different, but as I covertly interviewed those around me I discovered that I was not alone in my apathy to actual skills in living in a world that wasn’t comfortable anymore. To me, that was a story worth exploring.

How long can you go without your daily routine before you’re happy to accept the change? What kind of person will you turn into? We’d all like to think we’ll become better people who learn how to appreciate the simple things, but not all of us will get so lucky. I still don’t want to live in an apocalypse, but I’m willing to learn what lessons it has to teach me.

AUTHOR BIO

DaphneDaphne Lamb was raised in the wilds of Colorado and now resides in a very different wilderness known as Los Angeles. She is a comedian and award winning writer who has worked in television, film and video games. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting comic books, discussing awesomely bad movies and thinks about what it would be like to own a cat.

She loves connecting to fans and readers, so feel free to contact her here!

Author links: TWITTER | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

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The Knave of Hearts (Rhymes With Love #5) – Elizabeth Boyle

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Enter to Win a Print Bundle of Rhymes with Love Series Books 1-4

THE KNAVE OF HEARTS

Rhymes With Love #5

Elizabeth Boyle

Releasing on January 26, 2016

Avon

In the fifth novel of the captivating Rhymes with Love series from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, a young woman’s hopes of a match encounter a wickedly handsome complication…

Lavinia Tempest has been eagerly anticipating a spectacular Season. But one disastrous pile-up on the Almack’s dance floor derails all her plans. Add to that, the very stunning revelations about her mother’s scandalous past have become the ton’s latest on dits. Lavinia’s future has gone from shining bright to blackest night in one misstep.

Alaster “Tuck” Rowland admits he’s partly to blame for Lavinia’s disastrous debut. But it’s not guilt that compels him to restore her reputation. Rather, he’s placed a wager that he can make Lavinia into of the most sought-after ladies in London. Who better than an unrepentant rake to set

Society astir?

Tuck’s motives are hardly noble. But in teaching the lovely Lavinia how to win any man she wants, he suddenly finds himself tangled in the last place he ever imagined: in love.

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EXCERPT

For a young lady who had made a study of all things proper, Miss Lavinia Tempest always seemed to find her fair share of mishaps.

The small fire at Foxgrove. The bunting incident of ’08. And the rather infamous trampling at the Midsummer’s Eve ball two years earlier.

Sir Roger still claimed he didn’t miss those toes.

Of course, he was joking. He’d been very fond of those toes.

And worse, every time Lavinia attended a ball, soiree, or even just the weekly meetings of the Society for the Temperance and Improvement of Kempton, someone (usually Mrs. Bagley-Butterton) had to remind one and all of one of her more recent follies.

So when Lavinia entered the hallowed halls of Almack’s, it was with, she vowed, a fresh start.

A clean slate.

And so it seemed she was right. No one pulled their hem out of the way as she drew near for fear of it being trod upon or worse, the lace being completely ripped away. No one whispered behind their fan, or laid wagers as to who or what would be broken by the end of the evening.

She was, for the first time in her life, merely Miss Tempest, the daughter of the respected scholar, Sir Ambrose Tempest.

“It is just as I imagined,” she said in awe as she and her sister Louisa handed over their vouchers. The perfect place to launch herself into the lofty reaches of London Society.

After all, she’d spent most of the afternoon planning out her evening (when she hadn’t been reading her favorite Miss Darby novel).

First and foremost, she was wearing her new gown—a demure and respectable dress done in the latest stare of modest fashion. And while she had longed for brilliant sapphire silk that had been on the shelf at the modiste’s shop, that color would never do for a debut such as this.

After all, the very rule was on her list:

Proper Rule No. 3. An unmarried lady always wears demure and respectable colors. Such as white. Or a pale yellow. Or an apple green, but only if the occasion permits.

So the blue silk could only be eyed from a distance, and she’d consigned herself to the muslin, for propriety was the order of the evening.

That is if she was to gain the highest obligation of every young lady making her debut Season in London:

Proper Rule No. 1. Marriage to a respectable, sensible, well-ordered gentleman is the order of business for every proper lady.

So she had the gown, entrance into the very heart of the Marriage Mart, and now all she had to do was finish the evening without incident.

But this was Lavinia Tempest, and that was easier said than done.

“No dancing,” Louisa whispered to her as their chaperone, Lady Aveley, led them into the Wednesday evening crush. Her sister held out her hand, pinky extended, and Lavinia wrapped her own finger around it and the two sisters bound their promise together.

No dancing.

In Lavinia’s defense, she had made her promise most faithfully with every intention of remaining safely at the side of the dance floor.

She had demurred when Lord Ardmore had asked. Begging off in a charming fashion that she was “too nervous to dance,” this being her first visit to Almack’s.

She’d even refused the very handsome and dashing Baron Rimswell—though she had been sorely tested for it was only a simple reel, but then one glance at Lord Rimswell’s glossy boots and she’d thought better of it and remained firm to her promise.

No dancing.

But apparently no one had told Mr. Alaster Rowland. Now in his favor, Mr. Rowland’s boots hadn’t a fine gloss and he was rather squiffy from an indeterminate amount of brandy, so even if she had stepped on him, he was drunk enough that it would most likely dull the pain.

 

ELIZABETH BOYLE has always loved romance and now lives it each and every day by writing adventurous and passionate stories that readers from all around the world have described as “page-turners.” Since her first book was published, she’s seen her romances become New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and win the RWA RITA Award and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards. She resides in Seattle with her family, her garden and always growing collection of yarn. Readers can visit her on the Web at www.elizabethboyle.com.

The Magicians – CANADIANS SET YOUR PVR ALERT

MAGIC IS A DRUG

It’s been a long time since Harry Potter for a lot of us and if the Dresden Files just aren’t getting it done The Magicians may just be your thing. The previews look amazing and look out for a show versus the book review coming soon from teachergirl73!

Premieres tonight at 9 p.m. – January 25th on Showcase

S1 – Ep 1 Unauthorized Magic – Based on Lev Grossman’s best-selling book series, The Magicians follows Quentin Coldwater, a highly intelligent but socially withdrawn twenty-something secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as achild about a magical land called Fillory. Beyond that, Quentin’s life is dull until he finds himself admitted to a very secret, exclusive college of magic in Upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorouseducation in the practice of modern sorcery. However, magic doesn’t bring the happiness, adventure, and meaning that he thought it would…until he and his friends discover that Fillory is real.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

book-magiciansLike everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined.

3817e-goodreads

I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) – Lauren Layne

VT-WishYouWereMine-LLayne_FINAL

I Wish You Were Mine Oxford #2

By: Lauren Layne

Releasing February 2, 2016 – Loveswept

Blurb – Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Link to Follow Tour | Goodreads Link | Goodreads Series Link


Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Winners Choice “Team” T-Shirt from Lady Fanatics Sports Apparel Website (up to $40.00 Value))

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OR,

Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c8907/?

IWYWM_17

REVIEW

When I started blogging, almost three years ago now (how time flies!), hands down one of the best discoveries I made on that horribly addictive place called Netgalley was Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne. Since then I have read all but two of her novels and quite frankly loved them all. Each time, and in particular with the Sex, Love & Stiletto books and even more so with the spin-off Oxford series, I am convinced that the characters I have just met are my absolute favourites.

Jackson is not adjusting well to life after the NFL, he is just marking time at Oxford. If sustaining a career ending injury in a car accident his wife left him and destroyed his reputation in the process. In New York he is just waiting to get back to his old life, if not on the field, he will settle for coaching. Jackson is determined not to settle in New York permanently it is just a place to lick his wounds until he can get back to where he is meant to be… Texas. He has no intention of making friends no matter how often his co-workers ask him to lunch but the one person he can’t resist is his former sister in law the only person who seems to understand him.

Mollie has come a long way from living in her older sister’s shadow, now she is a graduate student well on her way to achieving her dreams of becoming a scientist in the Big Apple. She has mostly learned to live with her feelings for her ex-brother in law. She knows nothing can come of her feelings for Jackson and despite what her sister says she can’t abandon him either.

What sets Lauren Layne’s writing aside is her ability to take the reader on a journey of self discovery with her characters without ever stepping into the territory of self indulgence or maudlin’ angst. As I read the synopsis for I Wish You Were Mine I couldn’t help but wonder how Ms. Layne was going to pull off a romance that on the surface seemed more than a little bit tawdry. I knew I would enjoy revisiting the Stiletto and Oxford staff members but I never should have should doubted as Mollie and Jackson’s story possessed every bit of the charm and appeal that I have come to expect from all of Ms. Layne’s stories and undoubtedly Jackson is my favourite character of ALL. Well at least until Someone Like You comes out in December.

EXCERPT

“You seriously didn’t have to hire movers,” Mollie said for the hundredth time as she watched two burly dudes easily maneuver yet another stack of boxes to Jackson’s guest room.

Jackson pointed at a barstool. “Sit. Relax. Want a beer?”

“No, I still need to unpack,” she muttered, reluctantly plopping onto the stool.

“Have a beer, Molls. Unpacking your night stand contents isn’t like operating heavy machinery,” he said, going to the fridge and pulling out two beers.

“Clearly you don’t know what’s in my nightstand.”

Jackson lifted his eyebrows. “Exactly how big is your vibrator?”

“I meant I have like a zillion books.”

“Which are not breakable,” he said, handing her a beer. “And is that a no on the vibrator?”

She gave him a look as she took the bottle from his hand. “I just want to state for the record that I have moved several times, on my own, without the help of movers, and I could have done it again.”

“Moving yourself is for college kids. You’re an adult. Hire movers.”

“No, moving yourself is for people without extra income,” she said. “Snob.”

“So what was the plan?” he asked, tipping the bottle to his lips. “You were just going to maneuver all those big-ass boxes around with those skinny sticks you call arms?”

“Don’t be silly. I was going to hire some big beefy dudes from campus to help me. Perk of working at a university.”

Jackson was about to set his bottle on the counter but his hand froze, just for a second, and Mollie felt a sting of regret as she realized she’d inadvertently hit a nerve. Not so long ago, Jackson Burke had been absolutely the type of muscled guy friend who’d’ve been really helpful to have around on moving day. Her eyes flitted to his shoulder. Now he was the guy who wouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting for a long time. Maybe ever.

She looked away, her brain scrambling to come up with a quick subject change.

Only maybe that wasn’t what he needed—for people to dance around his injury like it was the elephant in the room. Physically, he was on the road to recovery. He needed to get there mentally as well.

“You said the other night that it didn’t hurt,” she said. “Was that a big macho man moment?”

He stared at the counter. “I’ve told you. It’s fine.”

She rolled her eyes. “Please. Be a little more vague and manly.”

“Well, what do you want me to say, Molls?” he ground out. “That the pain wakes me up at night? That any motion more vigorous than brushing my teeth hurts like hell?”

“Are you going to physical therapy?” she asked, purposely ignoring the wounded-bear routine. That might scare off other people, but she was made of stronger stuff. Knew him better.

He looked away.

“Oh, Jackson.”

He shrugged. “What does it even matter? All the PT in the world isn’t going to help me play football again.”

“Well, gosh,” she said dramatically, “you may as well be dead.”

Jackson was in the process of taking a sip of beer and choked. “Jesus. You are such a smart-ass.”

“I’m just saying, you have a lot going for you,” she said, gentling her tone. “You don’t need a football in your hand or to help a girl move to be an amazing guy.”

“Yeah?” he said as he leaned on his forearms across the counter. “Want to tell me more about how I’m an amazing guy?”

If I did, I might never stop.

Author Info

Lauren_LayneLauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

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Author Links

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