Release Week Blitz ~ Jessica Scott's ALWAYS BEEN YOU~ Top 5 Playlist, Excerpt and Giveaway

by Jessica Scott
 (March 31, 2015; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

She plays by the rules . . . 
Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn't have much tolerance for BS, which is why he's mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can't possibly be true. He's even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there's something simmering beneath her icy reserve--and Ben just can't resist turning up the heat . . .

. . . and he's determined to break them

The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can't resist locking horns--and lips--with Ben. He's got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she's ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia's past, she will have to choose between following orders--or her heart . . .

Top 5 Playlist for It’s Always Been You
Oh I am very much a writer who needs music to get things done. I especially love an earworm. For some reason having a song stuck in my head really connects me with my stories.  For Ben and Olivia, they were a little bit tricky to get right. The top 5 for them is: 

Olivia looked away. The first packet was heavy in her hand. “The quick summary is that you have five drinking and driving, two assaults, three hot urinalysis tests and five soldiers caught with other intoxicating substances.”

“Define ‘other intoxicating substances’? What the hell does that mean?”

“Huffing, spice, bath salts.”

“Bath salts? What the hell are bath salts?”

Olivia pulled out her phone and pulled up a website explaining the drug. “They’re really new but we’re starting to see more of them. They’re meant to be a synthetic drug that mimics cocaine and ecstasy but they’re really bad stuff. Some of it is variants of plant food.”

Ben reached for her phone and angled it so he could see. His hand was big and rough against hers. Hot where their skin met. If he noticed, he didn’t give any indication. “Plant food?”

Olivia tried to ignore how his hand felt against hers. Because, oh yes, she’d noticed. Heat spread across her skin, sliding up her forearm and tingling down her spine. “Soldiers will smoke anything these days,” she said quietly.


“That’s a whole ’nother discussion,” she said, easing her hand out of his. “The short version is that intoxicating substances are prohibited by regulation and I advise you to do two things with these kids: send a strong message that this behavior won’t be tolerated but also enroll them into drug abuse counseling to send a message that you’ll help those who want it.”

Ben studied the paperwork in front of him. Tormented emotions flickered over his face and it was everything she could do not to ask him what was on his mind. She didn’t have time or reason to go crawling around Ben Teague’s head but that didn’t stop the want pulsing warmly over her skin.
“I know this kid,” Ben said quietly. “I served with him downrange last deployment but ever since he’s come home, he’s been nothing but trouble to the old commander. Zittorohas three previous drug charges,” he said.

“Private Zittoro is a different case. I recommend you separate him from the military under a chapter nine, rehab failure.”

She heard his quick intake of breath. Saw the conflict flicker over his sharp features.

He cleared his throat roughly in the awkward silence. “Zittoro… he’s got nowhere to go. He’s got a deadbeat dad and his mom is… well, she’s not winning any parent of the year awards.” His fist clenched on the table in front of her. “If I throw him out of the army, what happens to him? He’s an addict.”

She flinched at the pain in his words. Ben had only been a commander for a couple of hours but the strain was already obvious in his voice.

“You can’t save everyone,” she whispered. She waited until his eyes met hers.

“You know that, right?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

There was no comfort she could offer. This was the burden of command: to balance the needs of the army over the needs of the individual. A tightrope he had to walk alone.

All she could do was give him the facts and her opinion. But in that moment, she had the sudden urge to save him from this. “If you keep him, do you have the manpower to keep going to his room and making sure he hasn’t overdosed every night? Do you trust him enough to give him a weapon and believe he’ll do his job?”

Ben’s throat moved as he swallowed. “Guess not,” he said quietly. He leaned back and it was as if a wall of glass crystallized between them. “What other fun things do you have in there for me?”

Olivia wasn’t convinced by the sudden shift in Ben’s mood but now wasn’t the time or the place for digging any deeper. She reviewed the rest of the drug packets, watching him tense more with each one. She stopped after the last driving under the influence.

“Why is this bothering you so much?”

He offered a half-assed cocky grimace that failed to mimic the smile he was going for. A pretty shitty attempt to cover the darkness twisting beneath the surface. He took a deep breath. “I’m a big boy. I’ll do what has to be done.”

“I didn’t imply that you wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s not bothering you.”

He drummed his fingers on the table. “Let’s finish this up. I’ve got to get down to my company and start digging out from the mountain of crap that my predecessor left me.”

He brushed her off. The action was as insignificant as a paper cut.

She leaned back and picked up the next packet and wished it didn’t sting like it did. Then she made the mistake of meeting his gaze. There was such a dark lack of hope in his eyes. A bleak resignation to the things he was forced to confront. She almost reached for his hand. It would have been a simple gesture of support. But he looked at her as though a single touch might have shattered him.

He was not her problem. She didn’t do damaged and introspective.

Because there were people counting on her not to get distracted.

But looking at him now, she wondered about the glimpse of the tired warrior she saw behind those tormented brown eyes.

USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house. She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas. She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one ofEsquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

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Review and Book Giveaway ~ Need You For Keeps (St. Helena Vineyard #6) by Marina Adair

I am excited to share the latest book in the St. Helena Vineyard series by Marina Adair. Need You for Keeps is the sixth in the series.  If you missed my reviews: Kissing Under the MistletoeSummer in Napa  and Be Mine Forever Continue reading... as you scroll down, you will find my review and a chance to win a signed paper.  More  details below...

Need You for Keeps
(St. Helena Vineyard 6) by Marina Adair
Paperback, 279 pages
Published March 3rd 2015
Montlake Romance

When it comes to caring for the furry residents of St. Helena, California, groomer and pet rescuer Shay Michaels can handle anything. Humans are another story, though especially Deputy Jonah Baudouin. He s the town s resident superhero: upright, uptight, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous, even when he s investigating complaints about Shay s beloved foster animals. And that spells danger for Shay, a free spirit who can t risk trusting the wrong person again.

Jonah and Shay have been circling each other ever since she came to town, and he s running out of reasons to "not" kiss her senseless. But this deputy is a straight shooter with his eye on the sheriff's badge. He can t afford to get involved with Shay, a chaos magnet with luscious curves who s liable to turn his career and his life upside down. He enforces laws. She breaks them repeatedly. Keeping her out of trouble is becoming a full-time job and it s one he hopes is never going to end.

Shay is the St. Francis of Assisi of St Helena, the patron saint of animals. She rescues animals and tends to them until they find their "fur-ever" home. Quite the opposite of Shay as she grew up in foster homes- and those where not very good memories. Her story is tough, having lost both her parents to a drug bust gone bad, she ends up in a foster home where she is taunted and teased by her foster brothers. If that wasn't enough she fell on some hard times after being swindled by her ex. She is a survivor. Shay sways a bit on wrong verses right side of the law, the lines get muddy a few times; she has a big heart and that is what guides her. So she has had a run in with the law, having sexy neighbor "Sheriff" Jonah  there to serve and protect is enough for anyone to bend the rules. (sic) They tip toe around each other to the point where they are ready to combust.  Jonah is by the book but can Shay teach him to have fun, love life and be a "cat" person? Can Jonah teach Shay to trust a human as much as she trusts her animals? Their romance is like cat and mouse, it leads to some funny scenes and some tear jerking one. I encourage you all to pick up this one by Marina. She is an auto buy for me. She writes from the heart, this one has to pull your heart strings.. seeing the animals find their family is a joy... i would have loved to learn more about Goldilocks..maybe she can be a featured character in an upcoming book.  Can't wait to see the rest of what's in store for St Helena's residences.

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Tour ~ AT WOLF'S RANCH and WHEN IT'S RIGHT by Jennifer Ryan

Double the fun. FBL is participating in the Tasty Virtual Book Tour for AT WOLF'S RANCH and WHEN IT'S RIGHT by Jennifer Ryan, it runs from March 9th - March 20th, 2015.  Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway of A Welcome to Montana Gift Basket.  Follow the tour for more chances to win.

At Wolf Ranch: Montana Men # 1
Releases February 24th, 2015
Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

After years on the rodeo circuit, Gabe Bowden wants nothing more than land of his own and a woman who will claim his heart for more than one night. When he has the chance to buy the enormous Wolf Ranch spread, he snaps up the incredible deal. Everything is set, until Gabe rescues a woman on the deserted, snowy road leading to the property, and the half-frozen beauty changes everything.

Ella Wolf rushes to her family’s abandoned Montana ranch after her twin sister is murdered. She knows she’s next…unless she can uncover a secret hidden somewhere at Wolf Ranch. The last thing Ella expects is to be rescued by a rugged rancher with his own agenda. A man who almost makes her forget how dangerous love can be…

As an unlikely partnership sparks into something so much more, and a killer closes in, can Ella and Gabe learn to trust one another before it’s too late?

When It’s Right: Montana Men #2
Releases March 31st, 2015

Gillian‘s turbulent life has never been easy, but nothing prepared her for the moment of violence that sends her and her little brother running from San Francisco to her grandfather’s ranch in Montana. A man she’s never met. She learned long ago not to trust anyone, but she’ll do anything to keep her brother safe and give him the happy childhood she never had. When she meets Blake Bowden, a strong, silent, gorgeous cowboy who teaches her about the ranch and rescued horses-animals who have been through hell and back, just as she has-Gillian begins to feel at ease for the first time in memory. In fact, she even starts to feel happy. But in her world happiness has always been fleeting, and she’s not sure she can believe in it or the man who has quickly found his way into her heart.

Blake has everything he’s ever wanted: a partnership on a ranch that allows him to spend his day in the saddle training racehorses. His life is good, steady, uncomplicated…until the most beautiful, haunted looking woman arrives at Three Peaks Ranch. If he wants to keep his ideal life, his partner’s granddaughter is entirely off limits, but Gillian awakens a protective instinct in Blake that he can’t ignore…and ignites a passion he shouldn’t feel. But as Gillian heals and finds her way back into the world, Blake knows that he’s found the one thing that he never knew he was missing. And when danger comes close, he will do anything he must to keep Gillian safe…even if it means risking his life’s dream.

Are you in for a treat today, it's Twofer Tuesday here at FBL.  I read by At Wolf's Ranch and When It's Right by Jennifer Ryan. 

At Wolf's Ranch

This was the first time I read any of Jennifer Ryan's work. At Wolf Ranch is the first book in her new Montana Men series. It captured me from the start. Being framed for murder is hard to swallow but the murder of your twin sister. Geez, this one is a hit right from the start. Ella doesn't know who to trust as she starts her own investigation into the death of her sister. she is a party girl, far from it once you start to unpeel the character and what's see is about. Gabe is the knight in shining armor and will do anything and everything to keep Ella safe. Your in for a treat. Love suspense, a huge dash of romance and rugged cowboys- you have to pick this one up... Can't wait for the next book in the series.

When It's Right

Wow, another hit for Jennifer Ryan. Gillian has had it rough and that is saying it nicely. Her life pretty much sucked. Gillian is a great character, you can't help for feel for her and all she had to endure. She has a lot of trust issues. Who wouldn't after all she had to go through: to protect her brother, Gillian killed her father. They both move in with her grandfather who she does not know.
Blake, quite a hero. You got a glimpse of him in the first book, At Wolf's Ranch. You can't help but fall in love with him. Can Gillian learn to love and to trust?  Can Blake heal her heart? The story is fast paced and engaging. The author had some great secondary characters. I can't wait to read the next in the series.

Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

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