Exclusive excerpt + giveaway: Buns by Alice Clayton

Alice Clayton’s books have been a long-time favorite of mine. I love how fun they are to read, how they manage to tout the perfect mix of romance and humor. I’m so excited about her next novel, Buns—out May 23rd! As we all anxiously await its arrival, I have an exclusive sneak peek, plus your chance to win a print copy of the book!

Order now: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble ✦

About Buns

The third in the hilarious yet sizzling hot Hudson Valley series from New York Time and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton.

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

Excerpt

I stayed to the right as directed and began to wind my way up up up. The road twisted and turned to the top of the mountain underneath the late-afternoon sky, which was thickening with storm clouds and an ever-increasing gloom. On my left the hillside was covered in trees and thick brambles that’d be bursting with green in a month or so. On the other side the road fell off sharply, the trees giving way every so often to showcase fallen boulders, craggy and rough. I spied a trailhead, clearly marked for guests of Bryant Mountain House, winding into the forest.

The hiking must be incredible up here.

Making a mental note to investigate the off-season trails, I continued up the hill, which at this point was quickly becoming the Mountain in Bryant Mountain House. Turning my wipers up another notch against the now-steady rainfall, I turned around the final bend and there, finally, was the resort.

At least, there was part of it. The enormity of this single structure was too great to be captured in just the windshield of my tiny, impractical, andwholly unsuited for mountain terrain sports car. But what I could see was impressive as hell.

I drove under a stand of weeping willows planted along the road like soldiers, arching across and creating a tunnel effect that in summertime must be stunning. At the ass-end of winter and the equally-as-ugly beginning of spring, the bare limbs feathered together, slick with slush and almost gnarled. Not entirely welcoming.

Shivering slightly, I continued through the archway, getting my next peek at the resort. Rising high into the air, the east wing loomed up suddenly—the real money shot being either the mountain view to the west or the lake view to the east. Six, no, seven stories climbed against the wintry sky. I slowed to a stop to appreciate the architecture—fieldstone mixed with deeply burnished redwood, green shutters, soaring high gray stone chimneys. I whistled as I hit the gas again, once more twisting into the dark woods that surrounded the property. I passed several barns, the stables, the summer garden, and glimpsed just the edge of the championship golf course.

And then the road swung me back around to the front of the resort and the edge of the parking lot. One look at how fast the rain was falling and I immediately opted for valet and gunned it for the covered entryway.

Gunning it in a rain that’s bordering on icy sleet isn’t wise in a boring beige Corolla, and it is for damn sure not recom- mended in a shiny red sports car with rear-wheel drive. I spun out on the last turn, my back end slipping wildly as I clutched the wheel and tried to straighten out. I overcorrected, swung wide, and out of the corner of my eye I caught a man dressed in a green slicker and matching hat gesturing, holding out his hands and yelling.

“Look out!” I cried.
“Stop!” he cried.
I thumped the curb and missed hitting the rain slicker guy

by mere inches, who threw himself to the side at the last second, tumbling into a large shrub.

“Oh my God,” I whispered to myself, everything suddenly quiet. I looked through the wipers and saw galoshes kicking in the air, the shrub branches thrashing wildly as the man I’d nearly hit fought to climb back out. “Oh my God!”

I jumped out of the car, ran over to the shrub just as he was pulling himself loose. “I’m so sorry, oh no, are you okay? I’m so sorry!”

His raincoat, emblazoned with the words Bryant Mountain House, was caught on a limb, his hat was hanging off the back of his head by the string, and one of his galoshes had come loose.

“Oh, for pity’s sake!” he exclaimed, tugging at the branch.

“Can I help you?” I asked, reaching for the tangled limb.

“No no, I think you’ve done enough,” he snapped.
“Well, let me at least see if I can—”

“It’s fine, don’t do that—”
“I think I found where it’s stuck, just—”
“Don’t do that, it’s going to tear, it’s really fine, it’s—watch

out!”
The branch tore free, taking with it half of the raincoat, thwapping him upside the head as it rustled and resettled back into the bush.

“Wow, I can’t believe that just . . . I’m so sorry.”
“It’s. Fine.” He spoke through gritted teeth.
The two of us stared at each other. I felt terrible. He looked frustrated.

I clasped my hands behind my back, looked around, then

tried to smile. “So, where do I check in?”

Series reading order

Each can be read as a standalone

Giveaway

To win a print copy of the book:

  • Share this post using the social media buttons below
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  • Follow Alice Clayton and Vilma Gonzalez (me) on Instagram (or Facebook if you don’t have Instagram)

U.S. entrants only, winner chosen Sunday, April 30th

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New giveaway: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Lost Stars and Bloodline comes a thrilling sci-fi adventure that Kass Morgan, bestselling author of The 100 series, calls “startlingly original and achingly romantic…nothing short of masterful.”

Get the book: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble ✦

So excited to partner with Little, Brown to share this amazing giveaway with you! One winner gets:

  • Copy of Defy the Stars
  • Constellation sweatshirt
  • “Mostly Human” coffee mug

See a pic of what you can win here! U.S. entrants only. Please click the photo above for details on how to enter via Instagram! Winner chosen Sunday, April 9th.

Meanwhile, check out some fun links to get the scoop on Defy the Stars!

About Defy the Stars

Our worlds belong to us.

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything–including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

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Exclusive cover reveal: Immortal Reign (#6, Falling Kingdoms) by Morgan Rhodes

You guys!!! Check out the amazing cover of Immortal Reignthe sixth and FINAL book in the Falling Kingdoms series by New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes!

*cue flailing*

December 12th is the date to circle on our calendars! And if you’re new to the series and love fantasy adventures (like me) you can get started now with FALLING KINGDOMS.

Pre-Order IMMORTAL REIGN  | Check out the entire series ✦

And best of all, I have an epic giveaway for you all! One of you can win Falling Kingdoms paperbacks 1 through 4, plus a hardcover of the latest release Crystal Storm!

About Immortal Reign

As two lethal elemental gods set out to destroy Mytica, sworn enemies must become allies in the final fight to save the kingdoms. 

Jonas continues to willfully defy his destiny, but the consequences of plotting his own course are drastic. As the fight for Mytica rages on, he must decide just how much more he’s willing to sacrifice.

Lucia knows there’s something special about her daughter and she’ll do anything to protect her, even if that means facing Kyan alone.

Amara is called back home to Kraeshia. Grandma Cortas has her own plans for Mytica’s future. She promises Amara  power, revenge, and dominance if she agrees to be part of her scheme.

Magnus and Cleo‘s love will be put to the ultimate test. Dark magic is causing widespread destruction throughout the kingdom. Enemies across the sea are advancing. And unrest is stirring throughout the land. Is their love strong enough to withstand the outside forces tearing them apart?

Series reading order

Giveaway

Win Falling Kingdoms paperbacks 1 through 4, plus a hardcover of the latest release Crystal Storm…

To enter:

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Related Reads:

Spotlight: Blush for Me by Kristen Proby

Kristen Proby’s Blush For Me is out today and I’m thrilled to tempt your senses with a special spotlight feature. Along with some other awesome blogs, I’m participating in tour where each day focuses on a different sense and an aphrodisiac that goes with it. Today, we’re focusing on smell! See what Kat and Mac recommend below, and make sure to click the buy links to start reading this seductive standalone romance!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble ✦

About Blush for Me

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby continues to delight the senses with the latest novel in her delectable Fusion series.

As the take-charge wine bar manager of Seduction, Portland’s hottest new restaurant, Katrina Meyers is the definition of no-nonsense, and she isn’t afraid of anything. Well, almost anything: she hates to fly. When she’s forced to travel on a death trap with wings, the turbulence from hell has her reaching for any safe haven—including the incredibly handsome guy sitting next to her.

Ryan “Mac” MacKenzie hasn’t been able to get his sexy seatmate out of his head. The way she clung to him stirred something inside him he didn’t think existed: tenderness. As the owner of a successful wine touring company, Mac thinks he’s got a handle on what life can throw at him and he’s not prepared for any surprises, especially in the feelings department. And when he brings a tour into Seduction, he sees the petite spitfire he just can’t forget.

Mac is determined to discover what else they have in common besides fine wine and the inability to keep their hands off each other. But what will it take for two stubborn people to realize that what they have is so much more than a hot chemistry between the sheets and to admit to falling in love…?

A note from Kristen

I think that smell is something we often overlook when it comes to matters of the heart. I truly believe that less is more here. I’m not a fan of strong colognes or perfumes. Instead, I’m more attracted to a subtly scented candle, something citrusy. 

Excerpt

“Now you’re just trying to get in my pants.”

“You’re not wearing pants.”

“I love an observant man,” she says and leads me into a barn that the owner has converted into barrel storage. “Oh, there’s nothing like the smell of oak in a wine barn.”

“Agreed.” The tour guide is describing their process of crushing the grapes, barreling them, how long they ferment, and I can’t help but feel a little bad that he got our group so late in the day because we’re all a little tipsy.

Finally, he dismisses us to have a look around, and to wander back to the main building to sample more wine and eat some cheese, breads and fruits, which is a good idea.

“Is this the last place today?” Kat asks me.

“Yes. After this we head back to the hotel.”

“And room service,” she says with a dreamy look on her gorgeous face. “I’m hungry. Are you hungry?”

“Yes.”

“What are you going to order?”

“I’m not that kind of hungry,” I reply and feel my cock twitch when she raises a brow and sends me a flirty wink.

Kat: There are some really great smelling wines out there. One of my favorites is the 2004 Chateau Haut-Brion. It’s an expensive Bordeaux, so I keep it on hand for special occasions, but the spiciness and hints of fruit are just fantastic.

Mac: That is a good one. I also love the 2014 Aracauria Riesling/Pinot Grigio from Brazil. The combination of these wines lends to a pretty, floral blend that I think many different palates will enjoy.

Follow the tour

March 6 – Maryse’s Book Blog
March 7Vilma’s Book Blog
March 8 – Shh Mom’s Reading
March 9 – Angie & Jessica’s Dreamy Reads
March 10 – Scandalicious Book Reviews

Giveaway

About Kristen

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

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