A little preview of THE SHAVETAIL

Duty. Honor. Country. 

Love. Romance. Passion.

Paige

For way too long, I’ve been silently and hopelessly in love with a guy who doesn’t see me as anything but a casual friend. I stood by and watched as he found a woman to love–and as she dumped him the day of their wedding. I haven’t given him even a hint about my true feelings.

Until the day he asked me to be his pretend girlfriend. Now that he needs me, I finally have the chance I’ve been longing for–to show him how perfect we can be together.

Wyatt

My life was perfect. I was about to graduate from West Point and marry the most beautiful girl in the world all in the same day, then launch my career as a brand-new second lieutenant. When my fiancee dumped me, I thought I’d lost everything. I didn’t know how to go on.

Until the day I panicked and asked my friend to be my fake girlfriend. She saved my ass, and now I find myself looking for reasons to keep her close . . . because it turns out I don’t want to let her go.

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“Ah, young love. Nothing like it.” My attention jerked away from thoughts about my friendship with Paige as Coach Casey approached us. “Glad to see you could make it, Henderson.” He shook my hand and then turned to Paige. “And you must be his lovely bride.”

Shit. I’d hoped to clear up the misunderstanding about my marital status before Coach had a chance to double down on it, but apparently, that ship had sailed. And the expression on Paige’s face let me know that I needed to act fast.

“Coach, I was going to tell you today in your office before you got that phone call—there must have been a miscommunication somewhere. I’m not married. Paige isn’t my wife.”

His forehead wrinkled as he frowned. “Really? Huh. I could’ve sworn I’d heard that . . . well, you’re right. I must’ve misunderstood. My wife will tell you that it’s not the first time that’s happened. She swears that my foot lives permanently in my mouth.” He shrugged. “All the same, I’m happy to meet you—Paige, is it? I’m John Casey, the new coach. We’re all very excited that your fellow here is going to be working with us this year.”

Paige’s eyes slid to me, and I was pretty sure I glimpsed the contemplation of murder in her gaze. But before I could do more than open my mouth to try to clear up Coach’s error, he’d swung around to call over someone else.

“Anthony, there you are.” He slapped the man on his back, drawing him into our conversation. “Henderson, Paige, this is Anthony Trellini, my assistant coach. Anthony, meet Wyatt Henderson. You remember, he was quarterback for the team the past three seasons, and now he’s been nice enough to come back and work with our offensive line for the next year. And this is his girlfriend, Paige. Or is it fiancée?”

“Uhhhh . . .” It was all I could manage. This was a train wreck, and it was going from bad to worse.

“Casey, you’re putting pressure on the man. Look at him, like a deer in headlights.” The assistant coach laughed heartily. “You should know better than to ask a guy a question like that when his girl is standing right here.” He offered his hand to Paige. “Don’t mind us, Paige. We’re just dumb jocks. Or at least that’s been our excuse for the past twenty years or so.”

Coach joined his laughter. “Anthony and I have worked together for most of those twenty, so we’re used to each other. Give us time, and we’ll grow on you. I promise.” He craned his neck, scanning the room. “Let me introduce you to my girl. She’ll tell you I’m a lost cause. Oh, Patty, there you are. Come here, sweetheart.”

The woman who glided over to join us was lovely. She reminded me a bit of my mother, only slightly younger. As she joined our small circle, Coach draped one arm around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. “Angel, this is Wyatt Henderson and his girlfriend, Paige.” He paused. “Sorry, Paige. I didn’t get your last name.”

Next to me, Paige was stiff, the color in her cheeks telling me that even if she wasn’t displaying it to anyone else, she was quietly furious.

Still, her voice was cool and pleasant as she answered Coach. “It’s Mulaney, sir, but actually—”

“Ah, Paige Mulaney. That’s a strong Irish name.” He beamed and hooked a thumb at his chest. “Same here. My grandparents came over from the Emerald Isle when they were kids.” He patted her shoulder. “And just FYI—I can see you’ve been well-trained on Army protocol, which I guess is a good thing if you’ve hitched your wagon to Henderson, but around my office, I’m not a sir. Like I told your sweetheart, I’m John or Coach.”

Paige’s smile was slightly less strained. It was impossible to be angry with Coach, I thought—he was so amiable and friendly. But I was going to have to figure out a way to correct his error about Paige and me before it spread any further.

That proved to be a lot easier thought than done, though, because Coach Casey was relentless. He never stopped introducing us to others from his staff, and each time, he upped the ante a little bit more, alternating between referring to Paige as my better half, my long-time girlfriend or even as my fiancée.

We’d been at the party for about thirty minutes before he finally stepped away from us, apologizing as he explained with an accompanying eyeroll that he had to give a little speech. He’d just gotten to the podium and begun a basic thank-you-for-welcoming-us talk when Paige tugged at my arm.

“Wyatt,” she hissed. “What the hell? You need to fix this. Now, before he starts inviting everyone to our wedding.” Her green eyes snapped at me in fury.

“I couldn’t get a word in edgewise,” I responded in a whisper. “You saw that. Every time I tried to correct him, he told someone else.”

“Did you know he thought you were married?” she demanded. “How did this even happen?”

I heaved out a long, frustrated breath. “I had no idea until I saw the invitation he’d given me for tonight and saw it was addressed to both me and the missus.”

“And you didn’t tell him then?”

“I couldn’t.  I was about to explain, and then he got a phone call and I had to leave. I didn’t realize that he’d see us together and assume . . .” I ran my hand over my hair. “Coach Morgan and his guys knew I was supposed to get married, but apparently, word didn’t reach them about the wedding being called off. They would have assumed that I’m a married man now, and I guess they passed on that assumption to the new staff.”

“Great. Just dandy.” Paige’s lips pressed together. “Wyatt, fix this. As soon as he’s done speaking, you need to go over there and tell him that there was a mistake, that you and I are not married, engaged or even dating. You have to make the correction before—”

“And finally, this is a surprise I’ve been keeping from some of you. I’m pleased and privileged to announce that Wyatt Henderson, the man who led his team to several bowl games, to an undefeated season last year, and most importantly, to three amazing victories over Navy—” The room filled with cheers and shouts. “Wyatt Henderson will be part of our staff this year, as an assistant offensive line coach. Please help me welcome Wyatt and Paige Mulaney, his lovely girlfriend—soon to be fiancée, I’m sure!”

Everyone turned to us, applauding and smiling. I couldn’t do anything but nod, forcing my expression into what I hoped passed for a genuine grin of appreciation. Next to me, Paige’s fingers were a vice on my arm, her nails digging into my skin. She too was smiling, but I had a sinking feeling about what she was hiding beneath the exterior.

I was dead meat.

 

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Sway: Keeping Score Book 6

Gideon Maynard is football royalty. Generations of his family have played the game, owned the teams, run the leagues . . . and so it’s no surprise that Gideon is the starting quarterback and star player for the Richmond Rebels. But underneath his aloof yet drool-worthy exterior, he’s nursing a bruised and skittish heart.

Sarah Jenkins swore off dating athletes years ago. She’s completely committed to her career in politics and public relations and to life as a single woman, and that’s the way she likes it, thank you very much.

When the two meet through friends, the attraction is instant and undeniable, but both Gideon and Sarah are smart enough to know that a relationship isn’t in the cards for them. Slowly, though, they find a way to friendship . . . and eventually, to something even deeper.

But just as playing football takes more than talent and hard work, a lasting love requires more than steamy nights and passionate kisses. Forever means believing in scary ideas like trust and forgiveness.

Is a happily-ever-after possible for two hurting, broken souls who are willing to risk it all for a love that won’t end?

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“Gideon.” I stopped in front of him, the side of my leg brushing against the skirt of the chair upon which he was leaning. “I’m so glad to see you here tonight. I wanted to talk to you.”

His eyes met mine, that vivid blue slicing through me, traveling down the length of my body and then returning to my face.

“Hey, Sarah.”

His voice was a rumble, low and intimate, and I nearly lost my nerve. But . . . in for a penny, in for a pound.

“I needed to see you tonight . . . to tell you that I’m carrying your child.” I pressed the hand not holding my beer to my flat abdomen. “You’re going to be a daddy in a few months.”

It had been a gamble, using this preposterous lie to shock Gideon into relaxing a little and chatting with me, and for a terrifying moment, I was afraid I’d overplayed my hand. His face went as white as his dress shirt, and his eyes were blank with shock. Those full, sensuous lips that had brought me so much pleasure parted as he gaped at me.

I couldn’t torture him any longer. Doubling over, I snorted in laughter before I raised my beer bottle to my lips and took a long swig.

“Breathe, QB.” I lowered the bottle and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. “Oh, my sweet Jesus, you should’ve seen your face.”

Color was returning to his cheeks, and along with it, a flare of anger in his eyes. “That wasn’t funny, Sarah. Not one damn bit.”

“Oh, it was just a little funny.” I held up my finger and my thumb about half an inch apart. “If you had stopped to think one minute before you reacted, you would have realized that, for one, we practiced safe sex, and two, here I am, drinking a beer. Not exactly expectant mommy behavior.” I poked his ribs. “Besides which, what kind of woman would do that? I would hope you’d think better of me than that, Gideon, even if we’ve only known each other a little while.”

“You have no idea.” Gideon tilted back his head and drained his glass. “That kind of thing . . . it’s the subject of too many cautionary tales to make it a joke. From the time I was in high school, my parents have been warning me about safe sex and not putting myself into a position where a woman could claim I was the father of her child. That’s why hookups and one-night stands are so dangerous. No wonder they were so happy when I was with—” He broke off abruptly. “Anyway, safe sex or not, accidents happen. So no, that wasn’t at all a funny joke, Sarah.”

I rolled my eyes. “Point taken, but honestly, you deserved it.”

“Oh?” He quirked one eyebrow in that way that made him look like the lord of the manner. “How so, exactly? What have I done to you to earn that kind of treatment?”

I set one hand on my hip and tilted my head, giving him my best scolding stare. “You totally ignored me from the minute you got here today. You cut me dead earlier, before the ceremony. You didn’t even bother to stop by my table and say hello during the cocktail hour. Which, okay, well, that’s your prerogative, if you’re going to insist on being anti-social. But I finally walk right up to you, and all you can say is, ‘Hey, Sarah’? Seriously?”

Gideon flushed and rubbed one hand over his jaw. “What did you want from me? Was I supposed to sweep you into a kiss or some shit like that?” He shook his head. “This is why women make me crazy. You say one thing, but really, you have a completely different agenda in mind. A whole other set of expectations.”

“Oh, pul-ease.” I pretended to gag. “That’s utter bullshit—and you’re spouting it off because you know I’m right. If I was a guy who you spent the night with four months ago—”

“Never would’ve happened, princess. I don’t swing that way.”

I ignored his snarky interruption. “—a guy you hung out with at a party and then had a drink with at a bar after, then you would’ve waved the first time you saw me today, and you would’ve made sure to say hello at some point this evening. We would’ve tossed back some beers and caught up.”

A tick in his cheek twitched. “Maybe. You could be right. But we’ll never know, because you’re not a guy, and we did a hell of a lot more than hang out.” He shifted, and I sensed how uneasy he seemed, how uncomfortable he was—and that wasn’t just because of me.

Of course—he hated parties, and here he was, stuck at this one, forced to give the appearance of socializing . . . and too far from home to sneak away to his own space. I caught my bottom lip between my teeth, considering my options here.

“Hey.” I reached down and picked up his hand, holding it loosely in mine. It was just a friendly gesture, nothing seductive or romantic, but Gideon stared at our touching fingers as though we held a ticking bomb between us.

Still, I didn’t let go or move away. I couldn’t articulate, even to myself, why this mattered to me—but it did. Gideon Maynard, football legacy, sizzling hot and gifted quarterback with a bright and shiny future ahead of him, was the most alone man I’d ever met. It wasn’t my job to care, but I found myself in that place anyway.

“Hey,” I repeated. “It’s warm in here, isn’t it? I was thinking that I’d like to get out of the tent and maybe walk on the beach a little.” I pointed to the opening that led into the velvety darkness. “But I probably shouldn’t go by myself. The boogeyman might snatch me.”

Gideon’s lip curled. “I have a feeling he wouldn’t keep you long.”

Pretending I didn’t hear him, I tugged his hand. “C’mon. Keep me safe. I promise that I won’t compromise you out there.”

Still he hesitated, until I blew out a long breath of exasperation. “Gideon. Listen to me. I don’t have designs on you. I don’t want a reprise of our night in Richmond. But you promised to be my friend of convenience at stuff like this, and I’m holding you to that. Friends of convenience go for walks on the beach when the other friend needs it.”

“And you really need to go on a walk, out there in the sand?” Gideon wore an expression of long-suffering tolerance.

“No, QB, you need to go for a walk out there in the sand.” I pulled him again. “Come on. Trust me.”

 

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More to LOVE in a small town!!

 

Welcome to Burton, a small town just west of Savannah where the men are sexy, the women are sassy and happily-ever-afters are a speciality of the house. 

Meghan Hawthorne is restless and ready for a change. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.

Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents died, and serious is his way of life.

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see a future beyond their summer fling feels downright impossible.

Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change . . . maybe more than he can handle. But Meghan makes him want to believe in crazy things like forever and happy endings.

He may be the last one she should want. She may be the last one he should need. But no one ever said love was easy.

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Be sure to read all the books in the

Love in a Small Town series

Including TWO New Releases!

Love Me Home and The Meant To Be Girl

are now available everywhere!

 

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include new adult and adult contemporary romance; under the pen name Tamara Kendall, she writes paranormal romance, and under the pen name Tessa Kent, she writes erotic romance. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband, two sweet pups and too many cats. Assorted grown children and a perfect granddaughter live nearby. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

You can follow Tawdra on Amazon to receive updates on her releases. You can also visit her website for more information, and subscribe to her newsletter  for sales announcement, special exclusive content and promotions!

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Celebrating!

Once upon a time, I wrote a book . . . and then I wrote a bunch more. I published my very first book (FEARLESS) on December 6, 2011, about seven and a half years ago.
I remember the feelings I had, the trepidation, the anxiety–and then the inevitable let-down, because honestly, not much changed. I didn’t hit top lists or even sell more than a couple of copies. {Side note: there was good reason for that. I had no idea what I was doing, the cover sucked and I didn’t know from promotion and PR in those days!}
For subsequent releases, I had more realistic expectations. I didn’t wait for accolades and confetti; I did everything I could and hoped for the best, and that’s still been my philosophy.
But I have a confession: from the beginning, from that first book, I wanted the celebration. I wanted my family and friends to be excited for me. This was huge in my world! I wanted to go out to dinner, I wanted to talk with people who’d read the book, I wanted flowers and wine and  . . . well, recognition.
In the years between that debut and now, today, when my 75th book went live, I’ve gotten used to low-key releases. The positive part is that I don’t stress. I don’t worry. I know authors who need Valium to get through each new release day, and I’m glad I don’t. That being said . . .
I still want the celebration.
And that’s why today, this very morning, I had an epiphany. If I want the celebration, by gum, I’m going to make it myself. Today I’m not doing housework or hunkering down to hit my word count. Today, I’m going to treat myself to a leisurely bath. I’m going to read for pleasure. I’m going to eat something delicious for lunch, and when my family comes home, we’re going to have a celebratory dinner (they don’t know this yet).
What’s more, I’m not containing my celebration to only one day. No, sirree! Tomorrow, we’re having a family dinner to recognize that 75 releases is a damn good thing to appreciate. Thursday, I might go get a pedicure. On Friday, I’m taking the whole entire day completely off. And Saturday, I’m going to the beach.
I think that’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my fifties. We have to ask for what we need–and if no one else is going to supply that need, we have to be willing to do it ourselves.
Meanwhile, I want to recognize that YOU my amazing readers always make me feel special, loved, appreciated and yes, celebrated. My Temptresses especially post on release days, share the memes and pictures and tell their friends that they LOVE my books. All of you truly are my joy, and I thank you for that.
So celebrate with me this week. You deserve it, too! Watch on Instagram as I chronicle the celebrations . . . and tell me your favorite ways to mark special occasions. <3

The royal wedding was only the beginning of my happy ending . . .

I’m now a full-fledged member of the royal family. That means all my problems are over, doesn’t it?

Apparently not.

Even though I’m now a princess-by-marriage and a duchess-by-title, I’m still the same Kyra who’s prone to putting her sneaker-clad foot into her mouth.

It’s a good thing Nicky loves me. Our work is thriving and our marriage is strong. Together, we can tackle any challenge. But it’s not until our peaceful existence is threatened that I realize how precious it is.

And they lived happily ever after . . . right?

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Coming this fall . . . The Next Keeping Score Romance!

A sneak peek of Your Wildest Dreams . . . 

“You’re so beautiful.” I said the words without really thinking, speaking out of an intense need to say something, anything, that would hint at the depth of my feeling. I wanted to see her eyes go liquid again, and I needed that connection that only seemed to come when I was buried balls deep in her.
But the minute I opened my mouth, I realized those words were all wrong. Instead of warming, her blue eyes glazed over, shuttering in such a way that I knew she was pulling back, even if she hadn’t moved at all. Her head still lay on my arm, blonde hair spilling around both of us, and one of her hands was braced on my hip. Her face didn’t change, except that her mouth thinned just the slightest bit.
“Why, thank you.” Her voice was infused with humor and a little weariness. She fastened her gaze over my shoulder, and the tip of her tongue touched the corner of her lips. The air between us, that intimacy that was so rare, had vanished, replaced by a heightened tension.
“But that’s not what you want to hear from me. You don’t buy it.” I wasn’t asking a question, just stating a fact.
“Why wouldn’t I believe you?” She moved one slender naked shoulder. “I know what I look like. I have a mirror. Taking into consideration both modern conventional norms and traditional standards of beauty, there’s no doubt that I am beautiful. Why would I argue with you over something so clearly true?”
“No, that’s not it. I didn’t say you don’t believe me. Just that you don’t necessarily accept it from me, and you don’t want me to say it.” I ventured one hand out to wind a strand of her hair around my finger. “Because if I say it, I’m just like all those other guys who tell you that. But they do it because they think it’s going to get them in your bed faster. They do it because they have an agenda.”
“But you don’t.” Her tone was faintly mocking.
“I don’t need to lie to you to get you into bed, do I? Because here we are.” Loosening my hold on her hair, I spread my fingers and lay them against her warm cheek. “And I haven’t lied to you, Zelda. I never have. I never will.”

Football is everything,

but love is the only game that matters.

Read the Keeping Score series so you’ll be ready

for the release of Your Wildest Dreams this fall!

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