Review & Giveaway – IN THE RED ZONE by Crista McHugh

InTheRedZone-CristaMcHugh

 

IN THE RED ZONE

In The Red Zone
The Kelly Brothers # 6

By: Crista McHugh

Releasing March 25th, 2015

Self-Published

Blurb

All-Star linebacker Frank Kelly is as well-known for his off-the-field hits as he is for his on-field ones. When a dance club brawl ends with him in handcuffs again, he’s rescued by a well-connected woman who can get the charges dropped in exchange for a small favor. If he’ll agree to play the part of a doting boyfriend for two months, she’ll keep him out of the slammer and help restore his reputation.

Kiana Dyer may be the daughter of a Hall of Fame football player, but the charity organization she set up in his honor isn’t getting the media attention she’d hoped for. A staged romance with Frank Kelly is just the ticket she needs to get it in the spotlight. As the lines between fake and real start to blur, she begins to wonder if bailing him out was the best call she’s ever made. Just when everything seems to be falling perfectly in place, scandal surrounds her charity, and she’s the one left scrambling to clear her name.

 

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/in-red-zone-kelly-brothers-6-by-crista.html

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Excerpt 

The playful banter continued throughout the meal as he shared stories about his childhood. After they ordered dessert, he grew silent and studied her with his head tilted slightly. “Forgive me if I’m treading on something you don’t want to talk about, but what’s the story with you and Tre?”

Her back tightened. He’d been so open and cheerful about his family that she envied him. Her family was filled with enough drama and secrets to warrant a reality TV show. “What do you mean?”

“Well, for starters, he never mentioned you before Saturday night.”

“I told you. Our father had some trouble keeping his zipper up. He had a fling with my mom while he was married to Tre’s mom.”

Frank nodded, the light in his eyes telling her he was grasping far more than he dared to say. Her mixed race was something she’d dealt with her whole life. Her mom had been blond and blue eyed, so as soon as people saw Kiana, they knew her father was black. Her mother’s backwoods Georgia family shunned her for her black blood, just like Tre and some members of her father’s family had shunned her for her white blood. She’d grown up caught in the middle of two worlds, never really accepted by either.

But the man staring back at her didn’t seem to curl his lip in disgust or crack a joke about her nappy hair. To him, it seemed she was more than just her race. He looked at her as though he saw beauty and nothing more.

“So did you grow up between households?” he asked, making it sound like her parents had been divorced and sharing custody.

If only it had been as simple as that. Her father spent years denying she was his, only to rescue her when she needed him the most. “No. I lived with my mother’s family until I was eight. Then Dad took me in.”

“And his wife was cool with that?”

She nodded, the corners of her mouth rising up into a smile. She’d much rather talk about her relationship with her stepmother than her half-brother. “Denise has a big heart and raised me like I was her own daughter. She told me that she’d forgiven him and wouldn’t hold his mistake against me.”

“Sounds like a good woman.”

“She is. She’s as much my mom as she is Tre’s.”

“Is she active with the foundation?”

Kiana nodded. “As much as she can be. I think she’s still grieving over Dad, and anything associated with it seems to dredge up old memories.”

“I can see that.” The serious Frank resurfaced for a moment. “My mom went through something similar after my dad passed away, but it gets better with time. I think keeping busy with her church and bridge club helped.”

“Not to mention keeping seven boys out of trouble.”

He laughed and covered her hand with his own. “Are you saying I’m trouble?”

“Most definitely.” She found herself leaning closer and closer to him until their lips were inches apart.

“But only the best kind, right?”

He had no idea how correct he was. She knew the danger of giving into temptation, and yet her lips longed to touch his. Her mind cautioned that one kiss would be the beginning of a slippery slope, but her body decided it would be worth the risk. She closed her eyes and closed the gap between them.

Frank’s lips were firm and demanding from the start, moving against hers with subtle variances of pressure that heated her blood and sent a thrill coursing through her veins. He kept the kiss in check, though, and that helped to rein in her own desires. They were in a public place, after all, and she needed to maintain her respectable image.

But damn, if they were behind closed doors, she definitely would’ve indulged in what he had to offer.

She caught the flash of a camera when she opened her eyes. The jolt chased away the warm, fuzzy feelings elicited by the kiss and left a chill of fear in its wake.

Frank laced his fingers through the hand he’d been holding and cupped her cheek with his other one. “Relax,” he said in a soft, soothing voice.

“But someone just took a picture of us kissing.”

“Um-hmm.” He placed another of those feather-light kisses on her forehead. “Let them. Remember your plan.”

Part of her wanted to pull away, but she feared what the repercussions might be if she did. “Did you just stage that kiss?”

“Nope.” But the mischievous twinkle in his eyes told her he might have had something to do with the photographer.

“Frank Kelly, you are something else.”

“You don’t know the half of it.”

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I don’t know how I’ve missed the Kelly Brothers before reading In the Red Zone.  I love sports romances, add in an interracial relationship and I’m interested.

Frank and Kiana are a perfect complement to each other.  I couldn’t have asked for a better match up of characters while reading this romance.  I enjoyed their attraction and  how they  became more as their relationship developed.

I’ve already added the earlier books in the series to my to be read list.  I’m looking forward to reading more by Crista McHugh.

RatingSystem-4

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Author Info
Crista
Crista McHugh is an award-winning author of fantasy and romance who writes heroines who are smart, sexy and anything but ordinary. She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America (including the Greater Seattle Chapter and the Seattle Eastside Chapters), and Romance Divas.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Cover Reveal – THE MAGNOLIA AFFAIR by T.A. Foster

Today we’re having the cover reveal for The Magnolia Affair by TA Foster!! Check out this sexy new romantic thriller, and be sure to enter T.A.’s giveaway!!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00033]

Title: The Magnolia Affair

Author: TA Foster

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Release Day: May 21st

 

About The Magnolia Affair:

Audrey Kingston has the perfect life she always wanted. An adoring husband, a beautiful house, book club nights with friends. It was idyllic. It was serene. Until Paxton Tanner, candidate for state senator, moved in next door.

Seduced by his undeniable charm, Audrey’s life becomes unrecognizable as she gives in to her impulses.

The affair becomes deadly, and she gets tossed into a political scandal that leads all the way to the governor’s office.

When love becomes lethal, there’s only one way out.

 Goodreads

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00033]

Exclusive Excerpt:

I am having an affair.

I know what you’re thinking. There has to be a reason. There needs to be a reason. Something acceptable like after five years of marriage I had spent too many nights alone with a glass of wine. Or when my workaholic husband was home we slept back to back, as if he had forgotten how to touch me.

You would understand that. You’d probably pity me and say, “Bless her heart. How could a husband treat his wife that way? What else could you do?”

You’d want me to tell you that the only thing we exchanged was conversations about the weather and updates on what needed to be added to the grocery list.

It would probably calm the judgment bubbling to the surface if I described how we ate dinner in front of the television, commenting occasionally on a drastic cliffhanger to be continued next week.

You’d give me a look of pity if I told you he stopped noticing when I got my hair cut or if I walked into the room in a new dress.

The story would start to come together in your mind if I painted a picture of how we went to bed at separate times out of habit, forgetting that we once scheduled everything around the other.

You could see it happening. You would almost feel it slipping away like water through your fingertips. It might create doubt about your own marriage, even though you’d shake your head, knowing that couldn’t happen to you. Little pieces of your own truth filtering in between the images you have of us.

It wasn’t my fault. That’s what you’d tell yourself. You’d probably want to hug me and console me with soothing words, “It’s understandable. No one can blame you.”

But I have a confession. Something you won’t want to hear. Words that will haunt you more than the excuses. None of it is true. My husband didn’t do those things. There isn’t a single thing that led me to another man.

I am having an affair for the worst possible reason. Because I can.

 

A Magnolia taken in the afternoon sun in Summerville SC

About T.A. Foster:

T.A. Foster grew up catching rays and waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her husband, three children and canine kiddo.

She has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing, or planning her next beach trip.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Webpage

 

Enter TA Foster’s fantastic giveaway!!

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Pre-Release Promo – UNDER THE INFLUENCE by L.B. Simmons

Under the Influence KINDLE

Dalton,

I loved you once. A love I thought irrevocable. A love I mistakenly believed could transcend both time and circumstance. Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination. So drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face. So foolishly enamored, I blindly followed my heart into the depths of an emotion that would ravage me.

Years later, I know now what I wish I knew then. I am stronger. Smarter. Tougher. I will not allow myself to be broken again.

I loved you.

I raged for you.

I wept for you.

And now, I’m letting you go.

Author’s Note: Under the Influence is the journey of two childhood friends that spans the course of five pivotal years in their lives. It is a story about their discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, their experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and their endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption.

Spencer POV:

Cassie maintains her wide smile. “You go on a date and I guarantee what you find regarding Dalton and his feelings will surprise you.”

“Cassie. No one wants to go out on a date with me. Trust me.”

She shakes her head before she busts out laughing. The ridiculous sound of it reverberates around my room. “You really have no idea, do you? Every guy at school has a hard-on for you, you fool. They’re fucking scared to come within even ten feet of you because of Dalton. He let it be known that if they did, he would deal with them.”

“Oh my God! You have no idea what you’re talking about!”I’m laughing outright now. She really has lost her mind.

She shakes her head, the severity of her statement tightening her features. “I’m totally serious, Spence. I swear on my Kindle.”

At this, I take a sharp breath and sober immediately. To Cassie, her Kindle is sacred as the Bible.

She nods slowly, dramatically, as she watches me grasp the meaning of her statement. Right hand raised, she states, “On the over-abundance of trashy romance novels within my possession, I solemnly swear that before Dalton graduated, he straight-up took out a vendetta against any male in our school who dares approach you.”

“He did what?!”I screech, pressing myself off the bed and catapulting into upright position.

Anger ignites and my face heats wildly as realization dawns.

This whole year, in fact, the entire four years of high school, no one has looked at me. No one has asked me to come to parties, to go on dates, to go to prom. Not that I would go, but it would be nice to be asked, you know? Okay, I probably would go. I mean, it’s a rite of passage, right?

Two black painted fingernails make their appearance as they snap directly in front of my face, jolting me out of my inner thoughts.

“Hooker! Pay attention!”

I shake my head and refocus. Still seething, I whisper, “This whole time, I thought it was me. That I wasn’t dating material or pretty enough. Four years, Cass. Four years of feeling like I wasn’t good enough.”My molars grind together. “It all makes sense now.”

She waves her hand dismissively. “We’re getting off track here.”

My eyes bulge as she continues, “I have found someone who, luckily for you, seems to have recently acquired a death wish.”

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Make sure to sign-up HERE for L. B Simmons newsletter for exclusive teasers.

 

L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science.
She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.