Thursday, September 2, 2021

Speakeasy Taproom Series - New Releases from Christine DePertrillo, Wendy S. Marcus, and Stephanie Rose

Part of Sarina Bowen's World of True North
Release Date: September 2, 2021


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Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs

He doesn’t trust women. She only trusts dogs. Why can’t they keep their paws off each other?  

Darren Reade builds stone walls in Vermont--and around his heart. Women don’t stick around, so it’s better to put up No Trespassing signs and focus on raising his adopted son. Darren is willing to do whatever it takes to help the boy cope with his mother’s death. But doing it alone is a challenge. 

Grace Hollings indulges her love of old-school jazz by singing nights at the Speakeasy Taproom,  and spends her days training service dogs, connecting small humans with smart pooches. Of course she’d planned to be married already, but a failed engagement has taught her that dogs make better company than men.  

One evening, Grace and Darren don’t exchange names, but they do engage in a single night neither of them will forget. Is once all there is? Or can they train their hearts to trust what they’ve built under the starlight?


“So what will you do then?”

In the mirror, I caught Kolton’s confused scowl. How did one explain the purpose of a date to a ten-year-old boy? With all of his difficulties, Kolton hadn’t noticed girls yet. Not that I wanted to rush into that territory, but he was oblivious to them.

“I imagine we’ll talk, eat, and enjoy a nice evening together.” I rinsed off my razor and stowed it in the vanity drawer then splashed a few handfuls of water on my face. “Will you kiss Grace?”

Okay. Maybe he wasn’t as oblivious as I’d thought. “Umm . . . I don’t know.” I didn’t want to lie to him, but I didn’t want to admit that kissing was at the top of my agenda either. I blushed a little thinking about what else was on that agenda.

“Grace is pretty and nice.” Kolton angled his head as he met my gaze in the mirror.

“She is.” I rubbed a towel over my face.

“So wouldn’t you want to kiss someone who is pretty and nice?”

Where is Mrs. Lilly? I needed a bedtime story intervention. Quickly.

“It’s a bit more complicated than that,” I said.

“Do you know how to kiss?”

I turned to face him now, my manhood in question. “Of course I know how to kiss.” I certainly knew how wonderful it was to kiss Grace.


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Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs

Randall Dickson is coping. Sort of. An upcoming medical eval, one that could end his military career, has him stressed and making bad choices. So when a concerned friend issues a strongly-worded “invitation” to Vermont, R.D. is all in for a change of scenery, a temporary job as a bartender, and the opportunity to shake himself out of his self-destructive routine. 

Then he sets eyes on his seriously sexy new co-worker… 

Lily Reynolds, an artist by day, Speakeasy’s favorite bartender at night, works hard to stay positive, unlike her surly new coworker. He may be a treat to look at, but that grumpy attitude and terse manner are not her type. So when Lily finds herself in desperate need of someone to share expenses, she convinces R.D. to rent her vacant room. There’s no way she’ll find herself falling for him.

She’d like to find the secret admirer who’s leaving her secret love notes around the bar, though. But he won’t reveal himself... 

This standalone contains: opposites who definitely attract, a workplace romance, and an opinionated French bulldog. 


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Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs

The worst kind of heartache is the kind you can’t walk away from.

Jilted. Living in a glorified closet. The world’s worst bar waitress. I just need to keep a roof over my head and make tuition payments until I can finish graduate school. Then my real life will start. But right now, long nights at the Speakeasy have me burning the candle at both ends and the wax melting all over my fingers.

When a bar manager offers me a job taking care of his adorable five-year-old daughter, it seems like the perfect solution. I get a quiet place to study. Matteo gets a reliable sitter. 

There should be no complications. Except that I like my new boss a little too much. His gorgeous dark eyes humble me, and the long talks we share fill me up inside. I can’t possibly fall for him.

But the undeniable pull between us leads to a scorching kiss I can’t ignore or forget, and suddenly I’ve fallen for them both, father and daughter. 

And now three hearts are at stake. 


“This was great. Thank you for dinner and for ice cream.” Melanie’s mouth stretched into a tight smile as she reached for her bag.

“You don’t have to go. Stay. I’ll switch the movie to something we both haven’t seen a hundred times.”

“Yes, I do.” Her arms dropped to her sides. “If I stay—” she trailed off when I framed her face.

“If you stay, what are you afraid of?” I ran my thumbs back and forth over her cheekbones. Her full bottom lip quivered as she took in a shaky breath.

“Everything.” She clenched her eyes shut and grabbed my wrists.

“This is probably a bad idea,” I confessed, so close to her lips I could almost taste her.

“The worst,” she agreed with a breathless whisper.

I wasn’t sure who went in first, but before I knew it, my mouth was slanted over hers. I ran my tongue along the seam of her lips, pushing inside her mouth when it opened on a whimper. She looped her arms around my neck, my body shaking against hers as I forced myself to go slow. She felt too good, tasted too good. With Melanie in my arms, all of my control and reason evaporated.

She broke the kiss, both of us panting as I kept my hands on her waist. I studied her face for a reaction. I wanted her so much that my vision was hazy, but I was letting her take the lead.

Melanie pressed her hands against my chest, drifting them down my torso until she hooked her fingers into the belt loops at my waist.

“What do you want, Melanie? Tell me.”

She straightened, flicking her eyes to mine before grabbing the back of my head and pulling me in for a sloppy, mindless kiss. I kept my lips on hers as I backed her against the wall, dragging my lips down her neck and running my tongue along her throat.

I sifted my fingers into her hair, weaving them around a fistful to tilt her head back.

“Look at me,” I whispered.

She met my gaze with hooded eyes and swollen lips, and she never looked more beautiful.

“What I want is you, and I’m sick of denying it.”

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