It's HERE. OMG. It's FINALLY LIVE everywhere. You guys, YOU HAVE TO READ THIS! Omg. Trust me, you will absolutely LOVE Zeke and Violet! They are perfection! 

Title: How to Date a Douchebag: The Failing Hour
Series: Standalone Novel - Bk #2
Author: Sara Ney
Release Date: January 31, 2017!
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Zeke Daniels isn't just a douchebag; he's an a**hole.
A total and complete jerk, Zeke keeps people at a distance. He has no interest in relationships—most a**holes don’t.
Being part of a couple? Nope. Not for him.
He's never given any thought to what he wants in a girlfriend, because he's never had any intention of having one. Shit, he barely has a relationship with his family, and they're related; his own friends don’t even like him.
So why does he keep thinking about Violet DeLuca?
Sweet, quiet Violet—his opposite in every sense of the word.
The light to his dark, even her damn name sounds like rays of sunshine and happiness and shit.
And that pisses him off, too.
UNFORGETTABLE GOODNESS!!!!! That what this is....
God, it was just EVERYTHING. Everything I could want from a book and so much more.   

Sara Ney's Douchebags are my new addiction! I just can't get enough. I am OBSESSED with these boys. They are ALL THE THINGS that are right in NA romance. This series (of standalone novels) has captured my attention and held it. And these characters are so special and important to me! There's something magical about them! Something that sets them apart from the rest. I am completely giddy over Zeke and Violet. I ADORED the way their story was told. The slow burn, sizzling and enthralling romance that unfurled was luscious, leaving me completely breathless. I can honestly say that I am whole-heatedly smitten with these booksboth Oz and Zeke's. And I can't recommend them enough. Decadent and delicious, heartfelt and absolutely intoxicating, this is NA romance at its best. 

Zeke Daniels is a douchebag—an utter asshole who will literally have you wincing at his biting remarks. Zeke's harsh and cold exterior is pissing off a lot of people, and he seems to be in need of a major attitude adjustment. Lucky for him, his wrestling coach has just the thing to set him straight. And Zeke doesn't like that at ALL

Violet is a happy-go-lucky girl who, despite having a bad hand in life, is working hard to make something of herself. She's warm and sweet and always ready to lend a helping hand when someone needs it. But when Violet meets Zeke she's intimidated and not impressed. And that leads her to do something that had me laughing out loud. 

These two are so charming. My heart beat fast and my hands got sweaty from the butterflies that were taking over my belly. Zeke is a tough bastard who is not easy to crack and watching Violet soften him, open him up, and mold him into a man who can make himself vulnerable was so sweet. It had me aching and swooning at the same time. 

Honestly, I'm in love with everything about this book and these characters. Zeke and Violet are complete opposites. She's the jelly to his peanut butter, the chocolate to his pretzel (LMAO. Go with me here... chocolate and pretzels go together but still seem opposite (ish) ;p ) **hahahahahaha** 

It was so refreshing! Refreshing to read NA Sports Romance with pure heart (and it's steamy too which takes this story to another level all together). Gosh, Sara Ney just knows how to write characters who feel real and authentic. Their emotions easily become your emotions and the story is a tangible thingyou'll close your eyes, see it, feel it and live it. It's invigorating. A romance that's a feast for your senses. And I was totally seduced. 

I'm sort of speechless. Truly. This was ANOTHER LEVEL. And to be honest, I've been just sitting on this review, not really knowing what to say to do this book justice. I just ... 

I want you to read it. 

I've been passionately screaming it to anyone who will listen and I will continue to do so. It's one of my fav reads of the year and I can't recommend it highly enough. 

 Angie's Rating:

The clock on the wall counts the seconds, steady as the rhythm of my beating heart, which thumps wildly within my chest until the glass door to the library opens, propelled by a gust of wind.

Some new fallen leaves flutter in, the heavy doors slamming from the draft.

Along with them? Zeke Daniels.

He shuffles in, dark gray sweatpants hanging low on his hips, black Iowa Wrestling hoodie pulled up over his head, the university’s bright yellow mascot screen-printed across the chest. Backpack slung over one shoulder, black athletic flip-flops, and a pair of black sunglasses perched on the bridge of his strong nose complete the overall ensemble.

He is utterly…ridiculous.



His arrogance knows no bounds; I can see it in his loose gait, the exaggerated swagger, and the too-casual way he’s dragging his flip-flops across the cold, marble tile floor. It’s noisy, irritating, and completely uncalled for.

In the moment, my mind drifts to his personal life, and I theorize that he listens to heavy metal music to sooth his foul temperament, drinks his coffee black—as black as his soul—and his liquor straight up. I imagine once he’s had sex with someone, they’re never invited back. I go one step further and theorize that they’re never invited to spend the night at his place, either.

Zeke Daniels makes his way to a table at the far end of the room, near the periodicals, one out of the way with plenty of privacy.

Sets his bag down in one of the four wooden chairs. Flicks on the small study lamp. Plugs his laptop cord into the base and stands.


Our eyes would have met then were it not for those ludicrous sunglasses. I choose the exact moment he lifts his gaze to look down at the ground. Busy myself with shuffling papers on the counter. Count to ten instead of chanting, Please don’t come over, please don’t come over, please don’t come over…

But luck isn’t on my side because he most decidedly does.

Makes his way over like a predator at a pace so deliberate, I’m convinced he’s doing it on purpose. As if he suspects I’m watching from under my long lashes, dreading his imminent arrival.

He basks in my discomfort.

The distance between us closes, his strides purposeful.

Twenty feet.





His large hand reaches up, pushing down the hood of his sweatshirt, his fingertips pinching the earpiece of his sunglasses and pulling them off his face. My eyes follow the movements as he folds them closed, hanging them on the neckline of his hoodie.

His gaze lingers—those clear gray eyes famous around campus—and finds the shiny silver bellhop bell perched on the counter with the sign next to it that reads, Ring for help.

The tip of his forefinger presses down on the small bell.


He hits it again, despite me standing not three feet in front of him.

What an ass.
Purveyor of all things witty & romantic, I love: iced latte's, traveling, and bright, bold colors. On any given day, you can find me in my office, lovingly gazing at my bookshelf or shuffling my Bic felt-tip pen collection. I love hand writing letters, and sarcasm. 

I live in the midwest, but "Will Write for Travel," and believe everyone should follow their dreams, no matter how big or small. My favorite authors include Cindy Miles, S Walden, Suzanne Enoch, Tessa Dare (to name a few). I am a glutton for Historical, RomCom, Sports and MC romance.

One husband. Two daughters. Plenty of chaos.

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ALSO, You can also grab the FIRST STAND-ALONE in this series here. These books DO NOT have to be read in order. They are perfect stand-alones. Though, I will say, I ADORED Oz's book and definitely think it's one you should read :D

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No doubt about it, Sebastian ‘Oz’ Osborne is the university’s most celebrated student athlete—and possibly the biggest douchebag. A walking, talking cliché, he has a filthy mouth, a fantastic body, and doesn’t give a sh*t about what you or anyone else thinks.
Make no mistake, Jameson Clarke may be the university’s most diligent student—but she is no prude. Spending most of her time in the hallowed halls of the library, James is wary of pervs, jocks, and douchebags—and Oz Osborne is all three.
She’s smart, sarcastic—and not what he expected.
He wants to be friends.
He wants to spend time with her.
He wants to drive her crazy.
He wants…


Title: Mist of the Serengeti
Series: Stand-alone Novel
Author: Leylah Attar
Release Date: Jan 29, 2016!
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Once in Africa, I kissed a king...
“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”
When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.
Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.
Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.
But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?
“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”
A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.
 Mists of the Serengeti is a thought provoking, life affirming drama bookended by a prologue and an epilogue that will completely steal your breath away. I dare you to read the prologue of this book and not be immediately ensnared. There is no way you can read that prologue and not feel compelled to see where Leylah Attar is taking these characters, where she's taking her readers. This story begins with a tragedy, an atrocity so vile and heartbreaking I couldn't breathe. It ends with an epilogue so intense, so satisfying of every curiosity, yet completely jaw dropping. I didn't know whether to smile or cry, to feel devastated or feel gratified. It's truly magnificent what Leylah Attar does here in these pages. This is a book that will change the way you look at the world, at humanity, at the connections we make everyday that seem so irrelevant but might just be the most important moments of our lives.

Mists of the Serengeti is a story that connects two people through tragedy, connects countries and cultures by chance. An English teacher and an African coffee farmer are united by one single moment, a tragedy that sets a series of events in motion that will change the lives of everyone in its wake. It's a unique reminder that we are all connected. Is it fate that brings Rodel and Jack together? Is it sheer coincidence that two broken people can find each other and heal each other after such devastation? Or is our vast world simply smaller than we think? We are all connected. Attar brilliantly and masterfully illustrates this foreign place with its foreign practices and colors and language and makes it feel so... close, so relatable. We are all connected by pain and love and hope. We all seek joy and friendship and we all suffer the same way when we are robbed of what we cherish most. This story will stay with you. This story will change the way you see the world. This story will broaden your horizons, it'll give you hope and it'll change the way you view your fellow nan. It'll sweep you away. It'll demand you fall in love, in love with love, in love with words, in love with possibilities, in love with these characters, in love with life.

Mists of the Serengeti is a boldly enchanting  story full of heart and adventure. It's as utterly captivating in its romanticism as it is in its calamity. This story broke my heart and filled it up. It's devastating and rich and the writing is as stellar as as the storytelling is masterful. There's so much more to be taken from this novel than romance. Yes, it is absolutely an epic romance that'll warm your heart and give you hope. It'll bring you to tears for these characters who so deserve good things after having endured so much loss. It'll overwhelm you with joy, it'll surprise you with just how steamy it gets, it'll kick you in the gut with the tumultuous emotions Attar creates with her words. But this is also a book that feeds your soul. It makes you feel as if you've traveled to this great land, been exposed to a culture you'd likely never otherwise know. Leylah Attar acts as our travel guide in many ways, using Jack and Rodel as a means to illustrate this place, the smells and tastes and practices of Africa in vivid detail. I love a story that makes me feel like I've grown and learned and this is one of those books.

Leylah Attar is to the book world what gourmet Belgian chocolates are to the grocery store. She's not an author with an endless stock on the shelf you can find while browsing the market, toss in your cart and gorge yourself on the whole ride home. She's the rare treat you get for Christmas, that you nibble and savor and enjoy for the rare find it is because you know you won't taste anything quite as delicious for a good long while. She is the essence of stellar writing and epic storytelling. Her sentences are as lush as her characters are magnetic. In this particular story, Attar doesn't just whisk us off to foreign lands, she steals our hearts and our minds with such an unforgettable story, I've not yet returned from the whirlwind I was taken on and I'm certain I don't want to.

Jessica's Rating:
“I’ve missed you.” She traced the lines of my face, her hair falling like a curtain around me. “You’re like the broken chapter of my favorite story.”

Something fierce trembled inside of me as I tucked one side of her hair behind her ear. How could I explain to her the hunger, the craving, the obsession? The small, sharp memories of her, always at the edge of my brain? I couldn’t. So I kissed her. With all the words I couldn’t form. My arms locked around her and she melted into me like a sigh.

It was soft, butter-smooth love. Heat rising under our skin. Clothes undone. A string of kisses on her breast. Her legs sliding against mine. The rapture of re-learning her curves. The indescribable fullness of holding her, of watching her body respond to the sensations I was making her feel.

I was hungry for her and hungry to pleasure her. With my hands and my lips and my tongue. I loved the way she came—body arched, mouth open, warm flesh quivering under my touch. Each time she reached her peak, I burned a little more, until the desire to possess raged through my blood like an inferno. There was a brief tear of a foil wrapper, and then I sank into her—deeply, completely.

God. The feel of her body opening up to me, molding around me like a warm, wet glove. Her tongue in my mouth. The way her hands clutched me. The way her leg wrapped around my hip. I bit her shoulder as the animal in me rose. And then it was all primal passion, nothing but the sound of her soft moans. My release should have been quick, but I held on, not wanting it to end. Being inside of her was like a drug. Being inside of her was pure euphoria. I captured the gasp that escaped her as her body stiffened. She was coming again.

“Yes,” I growled as she writhed under me. “Fuck, yes.” And then I gave in to the explosion of fiery sensations that overtook me, rocking me to the core.

In the aftermath, she slipped her leg between mine and put her head on my chest. I could feel her eyelashes against my skin every time she blinked. It was the tiniest flutter—the softest sensation—but it soothed the hot, brimming ache her absence had left. A wave of completeness washed over me as slowly, gradually, she closed her eyes and fell asleep in my arms.

Leylah Attar writes stories about love - shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she's not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.

Leylah Attar's Release Day Giveaway



HUGE HUGE HUGE sale, guys! This is ONLY 0.99! 
I don't know how long it's 0.99 for, but I thought I would let you know because you get...

Get the first four books in L.H. Cosway’s Hearts series, plus BRAND NEW bonus novella, Cross My Heart. From quirky heroines to heartthrob heroes and exhilarating plot lines, The Hearts Series is a collection of interconnected standalone novels that will have you glued to the pages.

The Hearts Boxset Bundle includes:
Six of Hearts (book #1)
Hearts of Fire (book #2)
King of Hearts (book #3)
Hearts of Blue (book #4)
Cross My Heart (bonus novella #5.75)

That is a super steal because several of the books are normally $3.99 EACH! So... yeah! GET THIS STEAL ALERT! :*

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PS: You can find Jessica's Reviews to the first FOUR books here:



This book. OMG. THIS. BOOK. I read it in one sitting. I pretty much lost my happy little heart reading it. SO FUN. SO STEAMY. SO FUNNY. I laughed and laughed and laughed and swooned and it was just EVERYTHING. It's on Pre-Order right now for 0.99! And the 0.99 price is for FOUR DAYS only. GET IT NOW. Do it. This is the BEST read. 

Title: Anything You Can Do
Series: Stand-alone Novel
Author: R.S. Grey
Release Date: 2/2/2017!
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Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.
It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.
The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.
I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.
The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.
Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good.
"Can you kill someone with a kiss? I think that’s what he’s doing—slaying me with his mouth." 

That was DELECTABLE. Delectable and steamy and full of the sweetest, most delightful feels. Lord, my heart. I can safely say that Anything You Can Do is my most FAVORITE R.S. Grey read to date. It took my breath away. I am still trying to gather words in an attempt to express myself here. It's hard. I was so swept up by these characters. They were funny and charming, and the dialogue was so witty, the setting and storyline so consuming. I feel as though I just rode the BIGGEST BOOKISH HIGH! And now.... I'm walking on CLOUD NINE. I can't even think or speak or type without getting shouty! 


***twirls and swoons and sighs and closes eyes basking in the bookish amazingess** **Tehehehehhehhe** I'm in LOVE. Completely LOVE! 

Okay, so lets get down to review business. 

RomCom is my fav. I absolutely love a romantic comedy. I've been reading so many of them lately because with the world in disarray and I feel like I need HAPPINESS to block it out. I've been actively searching for books and authors who will give me those breathless, 'I'm falling in love' feels. 

I want to LIVE a fantasy. 

I want to feel taken out of my life, transplanted in another world and be completely owned by a novel. That is what R.S. Grey did to me with Anything You Can Do. I feel as though I have been swept off my feet by the most charming and tantalizing romance around. This was deliciously fun, everything a love story should be. It had all those hate to love you feels that I just ate up. I couldn't get enough. 

ONE SITTING, you guys. I read this book in ONE sitting. I'm still buzzing. It pulled so many feels from me. I even shed some tears !!!!!! <<---- AHHH! 
PAGES AND PAGES AND PAGES of the most decadent highlights. 
I am OBSESSED! POSSESSED by this story. 

If you are a fan of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne or Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, then this is your read. RS Grey plowed right over two of my most favorite hate/love romances and is now sitting at the top spot above them. Addicting. Charming. This book disarmed and slayed me. 

When we first meet Daisy, who is back in Hamilton her home town, she's got a plan to take over Dr. McCormick's Family Practice. Her dreams, her hard work, are about to pay off. She only gets to simmer in that victory for a minute, though, because soon she finds out that Lucas Thatcher, her arch nemesis, is also back in Hamilton, and the bastard is out to get what she thought was securely hers! 

Daisy and Lucas have hated each other since they were babies! ::laughs:: And they are fiercely in competition over everything. The banter between these two, the back and forth, is utterly hilarious. I don't remember the last time I've laughed that hard. The things they do to get the upper hand will have your cheeks hurting--you cannot help but smile almost this entire book. 

When Lucas and Daisy see each other after 11 years apart... IT IS EVERYTHING. 

The sparks! The sizzle! The funny! The swoon! 

Gosh. Gosh. Gosh!!! All of that EXPLODES off the pages. Lucas is armed with a new bag of tricks though (or so Daisy thinks)! And when he employ's his new tactic, it throws her off for just a second! This game they've been playing shifts and a scorching sexual chemistry burns hot and bright, their dynamic taking a whole new turn. 

INTOXICATING! This story is so well written. RS Grey took this trope and made it her own. Both Lucas and Daisy are endearing. I couldn't stop swooning. Even when they are being crazy, you can't help but giggle and fall even more in love. 

I'm so enchanted! So, so, so enthralled! The pacing, the writing, the dialogue. I feel like everything was so SOLID! And that this will be a read that will appeal to the masses. 

I highly recommend it for anyone who's looking for complete enjoyment, for the ULTIMATE escape. This is one of the BEST ROMANCES I've read this year. And I think it will undoubtedly be in my TOP reads. It's just so good. 

Angie's Rating:

I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, metaphors and similes, black labs, and cold weather.




Title: Stay
Series: A Bleeding Hearts Standalone
Author: A.L. Jackson
Release Date: January 23, 2016
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From NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson comes the next sexy, gripping Bleeding Stars Stand-Alone Novel…
I’m Ash Evans.
The life of the party.
Hot. Rich. Charismatic.
A tattooed rock star with the world at my feet.
I burn through women faster than the strike of a match.
I’ve embraced my lifestyle and live it to the fullest.
Until the day my lifestyle caught up to me.
Willow Langston found me at my lowest.
Facedown in a puddle of my own blood.
I owe her my life and I have three months to repay that debt.
What I never should have done was touch her. Kiss her. Take her to my bed.
Love wasn’t supposed to be a part of the equation.
I gave up that nasty complication a long damned time ago.
Now I want her more than my next breath.
But she doesn’t know what I know.
Do I leave to protect her? Or can I face my demons and ask her to Stay?
Stay is an unexpected love story between two people who are lost, a story of fate stepping in forcing together two untethered souls blowing in the wind. Willow Langston saves broken things. Finds them, sees the possibilities behind their bruises, fixes them up. She heals their cracks and dents and brings them back to life even when it's difficult to see the possibility what's beneath their flaws. Ash Evans is the life of the party. Reckless. Brazen. He hides his pain behind jokes and laughter, silly grins and blatant flirtation. Disguises his insecurities behind music and false bravado. Ironically, both of them need to be saved from themselves and don't even know it. And they could probably save each other if they can just get out of their own way. 

Stay is a romance on a time limit. It begins by accident, but evolves into an agreement between two people who are all wrong for each other, broken in the places that make it so they won't ever fit together the way two people should. Both in agreement that anything real between them is impossible, they agree to pretend, to give each other what they can, take from each other what they want knowing the clock is ticking. But as in these cases where A.L. Jackson is concerned, things get messy, feelings get tangled, and a romance neither Ash or Willow predicted is born. 

Stay is a story that sneaks up on you. I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling as I read and then BOOM, I was sucker-punched. I mistakenly thought this was going to evolve just like every other romance where two people agree not to fall in love but then lines get blurred, feelings get involved. I would've been fine with that because, truth be told, there's really nothing more intoxicating than reluctant lovers succumbing to what's between them. I like a slow burn. I like the push and pull. I like the pain, the secrets, the journey that has to be navigated to get to that place. A.L Jackson seems to know what I like because she delivered exactly that. But then this story took a darker, emotionally exhausting turn that I should've expected but didn't! This story went to a place so much deeper than anything I saw coming. Stay takes a turn in a direction I immediately rebelled against in my mind. I actually hated where it went which is probably why I ended up really liking this book. It's bittersweet and frustrating and I wished with everything in me that it wasn't so. I was gutted right along with these characters. Heartbroken. Angry. Tormented. Stay got under my skin and I both loved and hated all the reasons why in equal measure. 

Stay remains consistent with the other books in the Bleeding Stars series. Pain. Heartbreak. Tragedy. Steam. An epic romance that vies with the others that came before it for the sexiest, most addictive, most heartfelt. It's all here. Sunder has been through so much as a band, each member enduring their own share of tragedy and loss and strife. So one by one, watching them each get what they deserve is so satisfying. Your heart will burst for each one of these guys, but they'll crack and break and bleed first. And Ash and Willow, together, will cut you deep. With Stay, Jackson pulls you back in to this circle, grips you with undeniable romance and excruciating pain before sending you off with a satisfying conclusion that'll stay with you long after the last page.

Jessica's Rating:

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, as well as the newest BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for the next installments, WAIT and STAY, coming in 2016.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson - Sign up to receive her newsletter http://bit.ly/NewsFromALJackson or text “jackson” to 96000 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

Connect with A.L. Jackson online: www.aljacksonauthor.com
Snapchat: aljacksonauthor



We are so excited to be able to join in with our blogging sisters and participate in an exclusive prologue reveal for Mists of the Serengeti by Leylah Attar. Follow along each day as a new section reveal. The first two excerpts are at Natasha is a Book Junkie and Shh Moms Reading! FULL PROLOGUE schedule below. Also, there are FIVE ARCS (advance reader copies) up for grabs. Make sure you enter the giveaways on each blog.  

Title: Mists of the Serengeti
Series: Standalone 
Author: Leylah Attar
Release Date: January 31, 2017
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Once in Africa, I kissed a king...
"And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newly born butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”
When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.
Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.
Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.
But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?
“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”
A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.
Chapter Reveal Schedule:

** The first two excerpts are at Natasha is a Book Junkie and Shh Moms Reading!**

“I know the drill, Lily. Have I ever failed you?”
“Don’t forget to record it!”
“Go.” Jack laughed. “Dance up a storm.”
Lily took a deep breath and smiled. “See you on the other side.”
“See you on the other side, baby girl.” He watched her disappear behind the curtains.
“Jack…” Miss Temu tapped him on the shoulder. “The balloons. They’re kind of distracting. Would you mind putting them away?”
“Of course.” Jack looked around the hall. It was filling up, but the first two rows were reserved for family. “Do I have time to run to the car and drop them off?”
“Five minutes, but Lily is up third, so you should be okay.”
“Great. I’ll be right back.”
Jack took the escalator back up to the parking lot. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee hit him as he passed the café, reminding him of the travel mug he’d left in his car. Nothing beat the taste of rich Arabica coffee beans from the farm. There was a precision that led to its distinct flavor—from planting to picking to roasting it in a rotating drum over a gas flame. Jack unlocked the car and retrieved his coffee, taking a deep, satisfying swig.
He was about to put the balloons inside when a burst of sharp, loud cracks rattled the air. His first thought was that the balloons had popped, in quick succession, but the sound had an echo, a boom that reverberated through the parking lot. When it happened again, Jack felt a bone-deep chill. His marrow congealed. He knew guns. You don’t live on a farm in rural Africa without learning how to protect yourself from wild animals. But Jack had never used a machine gun, and the shots ringing out from the mall sounded very much like one.
They say that a person’s true strength comes through in times of calamity. It’s a strange and unfair measure of a man. Because disasters and catastrophes are absurd, freakish monsters lurking in the periphery of your vision. And when one of those formless, shapeless shadows shows itself and stands before you, naked and grotesque, it completely incapacitates you. Your senses witness something so unexpected, so bizarre, that you stop to question the reality of it. Like a blue whale falling out of the sky. Your brain doesn’t know what to do with it. And so Jack stood paralyzed, holding his coffee in one hand and the balloons in the other, in Parking Lot B of Kilimani Mall on a clear Saturday afternoon in July, as shots rang out from inside, where he’d just dropped off his daughter.
It was only when the screaming started, when a stampede of panicked shoppers tumbled through the doors, that Jack blinked. He didn’t feel the burn of coffee on his feet as his mug split open. He didn’t see six yellow balloons drifting off into a blue whale of a sky. He just felt the desperation of a father who needed to get to his daughter. Instantly.
If someone had flown over the mall in that moment, they would have witnessed a strange sight: a mass of people scrambling, pushing, fighting to get out of the building, and a lone, solitary man scrambling, pushing, fighting to get inside.
It was more conviction than strength that got Jack through the crowd. Inside was pure chaos. Gunfire rattled through the mall. Discarded shoes, shopping bags, and spilled drinks were everywhere. The balloon cart stood, abandoned and unaffected, smiley faces and Disney princesses gaping at the havoc. Jack did not stop to look left or right. He didn’t care to differentiate friend from foe. He rushed past the café, past the half-eaten almond croissants and crushed cookies, past the cries for help, with a single-minded purpose. He had to get downstairs to the recital hall.
Sit in the front row so I can find you, okay?
I know the drill, Lily. Have I ever failed you?

He was almost at the escalator when a toddler, going the opposite way, came to a halt in front of him. The boy was lost and had cried himself into a state of exhaustion. Jack could barely make out his soft whimpers over the pounding of his own heart. For a moment they stood there, the little boy with his face painted like Batman, colors smudged from tears, and the man who, for a split second, was torn between getting him to safety and getting to his own daughter.
Then Jack stepped aside. He was sure he would always remember the toddler’s face, the look of expectancy in his big, round eyes, the pacifier pinned to his shirt. As he stuffed his shame into a dark recess of his soul, someone started shouting.
“Isa! Isa!”
From the way the boy turned at the woman’s voice, she was obviously the person he’d been looking for.
Jack heaved a sigh of relief and rounded the escalator.
“Mister! Stop. Please. Get my son out of here.”
She was lying on the floor, about ten feet from Jack, beside a stroller that had toppled over, holding on to her ankle. She was hurt. And pregnant.
“Please get him out of here,” she begged.
People were still fleeing the mall, terrified blurs of motion, but of all the people, of all the people, she was asking Jack. Perhaps because Jack was the only person who had heard her. Perhaps because he had stopped long enough to acknowledge a crying toddler in the middle of the chaos. She had no concern for her own safety, no request for herself. And in that, they were united. They both just wanted to get their kids out.
Jack felt the escalator belt sliding under his hands as he stood at the top of the stairs.
Go down.
No. Help them.

“I’m sorry,” he said. Every second he wasted was a second that kept him from Lily.
He should have averted his eyes then, but he caught the moment the boy embraced his mother, the slackening of his little body, the relief at having found her, the belief that everything would be all right—in complete contrast to the utter desolation and helplessness in her eyes.
So Jack did the hardest, bravest, most selfless thing in his life. He turned back. He grabbed the boy with one hand, supported the mother with his other, and got them out the door. In his adrenaline-fueled state, it didn’t take more than a minute. But it was a minute too long.
As he turned to get back inside, an explosion rocked the mall, blowing him clear off the stairs. A panel of glass landed on him, trapping him underneath. Chunks of steel and concrete rained down on the parking lot, shattering windshields and headlights. The high-pitched wailing of police cars and ambulances mingled with the incessant blaring of car alarms. But those who were hurt remained eerily silent, some of them forever.
Jack stirred and fought the darkness threatening to pull him under. He had something to do. Somewhere to be. He focused on the acrid smoke that filled his lungs—sharp, bitter, and as black as the realization that hit him when he opened his eyes.
Lily. Oh God. I failed you.
As the world fell to its knees around him, walls torn, roof blown off, blood and bone everywhere—Jack felt himself rip into two. Before-Jack, who loved black coffee, blue skies, and driving into town with all the windows down, and After-Jack, whose daughter’s sweet smile and cotton-candy ponytail swam before him in the heated, five-alarm blaze of the afternoon.
How do I look?
Beautiful. As always.

In that moment, as Jack struggled to lift the weight that was pinning him down, he knew. He knew there would be no escaping this, no getting back up from it. And so, like the weary antelope that bares its throat to the lion, Jack closed his eyes and let the numbing cloak of darkness devour him.

**Continue reading Vilma's Book Blog tomorrow**

Leylah Attar writes stories about love - shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she's not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.