BIRTHDAY #GIVEAWAY

Hey, all! It’s that time of year again, and I’ve put together an awesome giveaway to celebrate not only turning 26, but the birthday of our beloved Mr. Grey as well! It’s so much fun sharing a birthday with him, if I ever meet E.L. James, I’ll probably kiss her for picking June 18th for her hero’s date of birth!

To enter, head on over to my Facebook page and check out the post with the giveaway graphic and follow the instructions! The prizes:

TWO BIRTHDAYS + TWO PRIZES = TWO WINNERS

★Signed copy of Cherished By You (Love in the City, #4) + swag + adorable cross-body bag from Thirty-One Gifts!

★$26 Amazon gift card!

bdaygiveaway

Thank you so much for always making this day extra special for me by participating! I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend! My dad has only read a short story I wrote about a one-night stand, and his reaction was simply shutting the book and putting it back down, never to pick it up again. But he supports the hell out of me and tells everyone about his daughter’s books, so he’s the best dad a girl could ask for, supporting her dreams even if they stun him sometimes!

Xo,

Steph

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EXCERPT: Challenged By You (LITC, #5)

Hey, everyone!

I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I’d share a little something I’ve been working on. Paige’s story is one I know my Love in the City fans have been patiently waiting for, but I’m here to tell you that I am working on it! Between my new full-time job (that I actually love and enjoy going to everyday, and you know, I’m almost 26 so I needed to get off my parents’ health insurance) and my writing, I am going to bring you Paige’s story soon! I’m still in the process of writing it, so I don’t have a release date for you yet. But in the meantime, I hope this unedited excerpt of the prologue will hold you over for a little bit. Paige’s story is so unlike the rest of the Love in the City books, and I’m trying my best to make sure it’s perfect for you guys. You’ll really get to know the woman you’ve read about in the first four books, and I’m bringing in a new hero just for her. But for now, let’s take a trip back to 2003 where her story truly begins. . .

Prologue

June 2003

Paige

Positive.

Two lines meant positive, but one of the lines looked a little more faded than the other. What the hell did that mean?

Standing in the bathroom, I closed my eyes tight and shook the test like it was a damn Etch A Sketch, hoping the more faded line would disappear altogether. Another fearful glance at it told me the shaking only made the line appear more clearly.

The knot thickened in my throat and tears pooled in my baby blues as I stared back at my seventeen-year-old self in the mirror. In my opinion, I didn’t look the same as I did yesterday. Maybe it was my imagination but my boobs already felt heavier. My long blonde ponytail still kept in its sleek, tight hold felt almost too tight, like it was giving me a headache. The minimal makeup I wore did nothing to hide the fatigue etched into my ivory skin.

With trembling hands, I laid the test back down on the vanity.

This cannot be happening. I’m seventeen years old; I can’t be having a child! Especially when its father just graduated high school yesterday and plans to move across the country to play college football on a full-ride scholarship.

I sighed and looked away from the mirror, talking to myself aloud. “I cannot be pregnant right now.”

A knock on the bathroom door resonated, giving the first tear permission to drop onto my left cheek.

“Paige?” Mom asked in a worried tone. “Everything okay?”

“Uh-umm,” I stuttered nervously, taking a few deep, shuddered breaths to try to calm down. How would she respond to this news? Her baby girl—the head cheerleader and president of her class—getting knocked up by the star quarterback. What a fucking cliche. “Not really, Mom.”

The knob turned and she peeked her head in. “May I come in?”

Turning my back to mirror, I nodded. Rachel Abram in her perfectly pressed jeans and pink cardigan, with the same blonde hair as mine tied back in a poofy ponytail with a scrunchy instead of a hairband, joined me in the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

My mom and I were close. She was almost more like a friend than a parent most of the time. Both of my parents were more friendly than authoritative. They grew up during that hippie era, where it was all, “Make peace, not war”, so they were laid-back but intuitive.

She took one look at me and immediately noticed something was wrong. “Why the tears, baby girl?”

Her comforting voice alone was enough to push me over the edge. I covered my face with my hands and uttered, “I’m pregnant.”

“Oh, sweetie,” she soothed with a sigh, wrapping her arms around me in a hug. She kissed the top of my head and squeezed me tight. “It’s going to be okay.”

Holding on to her, I buried my head into her shoulder and cried harder. “I never missed taking a pill, I swear, and Drake always wore a condom.”

She ran her hand down my ponytail. “Things can still happen even when you use protection, Paige. You know that.”

“I know, but I-I-I didn’t expect this to happen.”

“Nobody ever does,” she replied calmly, dragging her thumbs over my cheeks. “It’s all going to be okay. Just take some deep breaths and—”

“Gah!” I cursed, pulling away from her. “Could you please try to be a little bit angry about this? This. Can. Not. Happen. Drake leaves for California in a few weeks to start football practice! The last thing he wants is a high school girlfriend with a baby on the other side of the country. This is going to ruin his life.”

“Paige. . .” Her brows furrowed as she took a step back. “Drake loves you. Maybe that’s why I’m not upset about this, because I know you love him, too. I knew you guys were serious a long time ago, when all you could talk about was him. You both used protection, but by some miracle, you still managed to get pregnant. This wasn’t just some stupid mistake you guys made; a baby is never a mistake. And I promise, it is not going to ruin either of your lives. Your father and I are here for you, and I know Drake’s parents will support you guys, too. It’s not the end of the world, it’s the start of a life. A life some women never get the opportunity to create.”

“None of that changes how I scared I am about this.” I knew she was right, but at the moment, I could only think about the future. I stared back at her and told her what scared me more than anything. “I’m scared to tell him. I’m scared I’m going to tell him and he’s going to do something drastic, like forget all about his full ride to USC and football so he can stay here and be supportive of us. You know that’s something he would do because he’s one of the good ones.” More tears threatened as I looked down at my flat stomach and fingered the hem of my shirt. “I can’t let him give up on his dreams for us, Mom. I love him too much to do that to him.”

Mom sat down on the edge of the tub and reached for my hand, pulling me down beside her. For the first time, I saw tears glistening in her eyes as she held both my hands in hers and smiled weakly. “You can’t make that decision for him.”

“YOUR MOTHER’S RIGHT!” Dad shouted through the closed door. “YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM!”

“Dad,” I whined, leaning into Mom as a wave of embarrassment washed over me. The door opened up and he joined my confessional. He squatted down in front of us, shot Mom a wink, and placed a hand over ours as he smiled at me. “Could you at least look mad, like you might kill Drake for knocking me up?”

He chuckled to himself, shaking his head. “No way, because I’m going to be the best goddamn grandpa you’ve ever seen, and my grandchild is going to have the best throwing arm in the nation.”

“It could be a girl, Cal,” Mom quipped playfully.

“And she’ll still be able to out-throw all the boys if she inherits her dad’s arm.”

“This is true,” she laughed. “But either way, it’ll inherit our baby girl’s beauty.”

Their excitement caused an honest smile to spread across my face, a smile that wasn’t weighed down with worry, and for the first time today, I thought, I can do this.

“Okay, I’m going to tell him.”

***

I jumped in my Jeep and headed west toward Drake’s house. I nervously tapped on the steering wheel as I drove by the same handful of estates I always did on my way over to his place. Drake and I grew up in Bedford, New York. His mom inherited a dairy farm, and my dad’s writing career had landed us an estate almost as big as theirs. Bedford was known for its estates and rural appeal. It was close enough to the city but still far enough away from the rush of it all that we could see the stars at night when we laid in the back of Drake’s old Chevy truck. Bedford was home for us, but as I drove by the old, abandoned Massey Estate, the one I dreamed of remodeling and calling my own someday, the same place Drake and I frequented for alone time, I thought about where we’d call home if it was just the three of us. A couple of teenagers with a baby couldn’t afford to remodel an estate that had been left to rot.

Pulling into the Wilkins’ driveway, I took a deep breath and then threw the car into park. Their home was just as beautiful on the outside as it was inside. It didn’t look like a farm from the front, but behind the home sat a tennis court and a pool surrounded by barns and acres of farmland that catered to the cattle. Lillian, Drake’s mom, stood at the door, expecting my arrival.

I shot her a knowing grin as she opened the door for me. This had become our routine. She’d greet me at the door and tell me where I could locate my boyfriend.

“He’s up in his room,” she said with a smile.

“Thanks, Lillian!” I said, as I started up the winding staircase.

On the upper level, I turned left and headed down the hall to his room. When I came to his closed door, I knocked softly and turned the knob. On the other side, I found the most beautiful guy stretched out on his bed, tossing his beloved football up in the air. Drake Lyle Wilkins had the best set of muscles a girl could find, buried underneath his creamy pale skin that made my body tingle just looking at him. His short, wavy black hair was pushed back out of his face and his bright blue eyes smiled when they caught mine.

He leaned up and pulled me down on the bed beside him, eliciting a loud giggle out of me as he curled an arm around my waist to snuggle and kissed me on the neck. “Hey there, P.J.”

“Hey,” I replied, before relishing in the softness of his lips as I ran my hands through his silky dark strands. He’d given me the nickname P.J. after learning that my middle name was Jane. “How are you feeling today? Do you feel like a high school graduate?”

He laughed, laying my head on his shoulder as his fingers skimmed up and down my back. “A very hungover high school graduate, but it was well worth it.”

“Good.” The longer I stared at him and the more my hands roamed, the less I wanted to tell him what I needed to say. He’d given me all of my firsts. My first dance. My first kiss. My first boyfriend. My first sexual experience. My first love. Now, my first child. I couldn’t wrap my head around how I wanted this to play out. One part of me wanted him to be elated, but the other part still didn’t want him to know. He had a heart so big, he’d give up anything for me, and I wasn’t sure if I could live with knowing he gave up chasing his dreams to be here for us.

Laying together, the silence grew between us, and I could tell he was thinking about something as his eyes searched every inch of my face. Those bright irises grew darker which told me he was worried; it was the same look he got when he was worried about landing his full-ride.

“Have you thought about how this year is going to play out?” he asked in a nervous tone. “My parents have drilled it into my head that I need to stay focused on school and football, but all I can think about right now is us.” His fingers entwined with mine. “What happens when I leave?”

I swallowed around the same knot that was still lodged in my throat. “I don’t know, Drake.”

“Well,” he started, “what do you want? This past year has been all about me, and all I can think about right now is how you’re not coming with me when I leave for California. Do you still want to go to USC next year after you graduate like we’d planned?”

Of course, I wanted to go wherever he went because I loved him, but things had changed now that I was pregnant. I’d have a baby next year, and I couldn’t imagine trying to raise a baby and attend college full-time, especially on the other side of the country away from my parents.

“I don’t know,” I repeated, turning to stare up at his ceiling, unable to watch the devastation take root in his eyes. “I haven’t really thought about what I want to do.”

“That’s what I mean,” he stated, turning my attention back toward him. “I have no idea what you want to do with your life because we’ve been too busy trying to make sure I get into USC to play ball. We’ve only been focused on my dreams, on my football career, but I don’t want to take away your chance for you to chase after your own dreams. If yours don’t include me, I’ll understand. I just feel like I need to give you the opportunity to figure out what you want to do, especially after all the love and support you’ve given me, Paige.”

Tears reappeared and I struggled to keep it together in front of him after already breaking down earlier at home. This was it. This was our good-bye. He was letting me go, and I couldn’t even try to fight him. But I’d be lying if I said this was what I really wanted. “My dreams will always include you, even if you’re not physically here with me.”

It was a feat that his pillow wasn’t drenched in my tears.

“I know our friends Barrett and Zoey are off to college too come fall, but you should spend your last year of high school living it up with friends and figuring out what you want to do with your future.”

I nodded, unable to speak as the regret trailed down my face.

His thumbs caught the tears, wiping each one away after they fell, and then he pressed a soft, sweet kiss to my lips and rested his forehead against mine. “I love you. You know I will always love you.”

“I know,” I whispered as a sob rattled through my chest. Tightening my arms around him, I tried to memorize everything about him. The way he always smelled of freshly chopped firewood and musk. How he always kept a stick of spearmint gum on hand so his kisses tasted delicious. His infectious smile and the dimples that accompanied it. The cute chin-butt that caught my attention the first time I met him. His baby blues that were brighter than mine. The dark, smooth strands of his hair that felt like silk between my fingers. The hard planes of muscle that corded through each extremity and beyond, creating a man of steel that look magnificent without any clothes. The sound of his laughter and the fact that he couldn’t carry a tune when he sang while driving. But most importantly, the way he’d touched every part of me, even the parts he physically couldn’t reach. “I love you, too.”

He continued stroking my skin as if he never wanted to stop. “You deserve for this year to be all about you.”

Except it wouldn’t be.

It wasn’t just about me anymore.

His comment was like a swift kick in the ass from reality. I pulled out of his embrace and scooted to the edge of his bed where I gathered myself, drying my cheeks with the backs of my hands. I cleared my throat and stood, righting the twists out of my clothes, and then shot him a weak smile over my shoulder. “You’re right.”

In that instance, I’d made my decision: I’d tell him about the baby after it was born, so he could see that I could do this on my own.

I walked out of his room without looking back, and when I walked by his mom on the way out, I smiled politely and said, “Good-bye, Mrs. Wilkins.”

On the drive back home, I focused on coming up with a plan instead of crying my eyes out like I really wanted. My whole high school life so far had been about Drake and me. My friends were his friends, and we attended everything together. I didn’t know how it was going to be without him, or even Barrett and Zoey, but I wasn’t alone even now. I had a baby to raise. A human life that was my sole responsibility. By the time I rounded the corner and pulled into the garage, I had a plan set in mind, but when I walked through the door and my parents greeted me, I completely lost it again.

“What happened?” Mom asked, leading me over to the couch. “How did he take it?”

“We broke up.”

“You told him you were pregnant with his child and he broke up with you?” Dad asked loudly in disbelief.

“No,” I cried, shaking my head. “He let me go, and I let him.”

Mom and Dad shared a secretive look with each other, had a whole unspoken conversation right there in front of me, and then leveled their attention on me.

“You didn’t tell him,” Mom inferred.

For the first time today, Dad appeared genuinely concerned. “Dammit, Paige, you should have told him.”

Drying my eyes, I pushed up from the couch and gazed back at them. “He wanted me to focus on my dreams and what I wanted to do after high school. Well, this is what I want. I want him to play football because that’s all he’s ever dreamed of. That’s why I didn’t tell him. If I take classes this summer, I can graduate early and prepare for the baby. I figure I’ll have it before he’s back for spring break, and I will tell him then, when he can see that we can do this without him, that he can still play ball and know the baby and me are doing fine on our own.”

“Sweetie. . .” Mom said, shaking her head. “He needs to decide if he—”

“Mom, you said you guys would support me,” I interjected, throwing her words from earlier back in her face. “Please just help me keep this a secret until he’s back for spring break.”

Mom shared another apprehensive look with Dad and then pursed her lips together and nodded.

“Thank you,” I said, rushing over to give her a hug.

“On one condition. . .” Dad stated.

Turning around, I saw the smile widen on his face. “Name it, although I’m not naming him or her after you.”

He laughed lightly and threw his arm over my shoulder. “I get to document every moment so Drake doesn’t miss a thing. That means pictures and videos, and I’m probably going to make you keep a journal, and you don’t get an ounce of say over it. You know how I get about the details, being a writer and all. If I’d missed one second of your mom being pregnant with you, it would have crushed me. From one father to another, let me do this for Drake.”

I had the best parents in the world. “You got it, Dad.”

*************************************************
Eek! What do you think so far? Now, don’t forget to add Challenged By You (Love in the City, #5) to your To-Be-Read over on Goodreads, and maybe send some good writing vibes my way while you’re at it so I can keep at it!

Thank you for patiently waiting for this book. It’s one I really am taking my time on because I want you to feel everything when you read it. Every sweet, charming line. Every heart-breaking tear. Every hilarious bit of banter you know someone in the gang will drop. I want you to feel it all.

Xo,

Steph

Amazon Giveaways Galore

Hey, everyone!

Just wanted to share a fun giveaway I’m participating in for lots of kindle ebooks! I’m giving away a kindle copy of Fantasized By You (Love in the City, #2). So, if you’re an Amazon/Kindle user, this giveaway is for you! Forty-five authors are offering 48 books up for grabs! Click here for more information on how to enter! Entry period closes on March 31st, 2016!

Good luck and happy reading!

**FREE BOOKS**

Hey, everyone!

I wanted to share an awesome promotion for free books that is only available for a limited time starting tomorrow, from March 7th through the 11th! So, be sure to grab these books quick and tell all your book lover friends about the promo as well! When you enter your email at the address below, you’ll be sent an email with all the links to the free books! No trying to hunt them all down on your relator of choice. But like I said, these freebies won’t last forever, so remember to get them while you can! All the information you need is right here:

★★★ FREE BOOKS – who doesn’t love them? How about 48 completely FREE, no strings attached books?! All you have to do is enter your email address here: http://bit.ly/FreebyFrenzyaweber and you’ll have almost 50 new books to devour!

This is a #FreebieFrenzy! What are you waiting for? Go on and get your FREE BOOKS! But be quick, because this event won’t last forever.

http://bit.ly/FreebyFrenzyaweber  ★★★

This is another great way to add new authors to your favorites list and save some money at the same time! I hope you all check it out and have fun with it! Be sure to leave some feedback for those books you read, too! Reviews and ratings and even a quick comment on an author’s website/social media can make their day! So, if you read something you love or didn’t love, please, please, please don’t hesitate to tell that author how you felt about their work! Both criticism and praise go a long way in supporting an author’s career, and if we can continue writing, you can continue reading! It’s a win-win for us both!

Happy reading, loves!
freebie frenzy copy

Ex’s & Oh’s

Hello, sweets!

February is the perfect month to give away goodies, and since I don’t have a valentine this year, I’m making all of YOU my valentines! As promised, here are the links to the Goodreads giveaways for each of my Love in the City books, open to readers in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Just click the book cover of each book below to be taken to the giveaway page to enter!

WBY copy

FBY copy

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Book4-front-ebook-amazon

I’m also participating in the #authorlifemonth event that’s happening all over social media networks during the month of February. Just search for the hashtag to find posts from writers like myself! We’re only on day six and it’s already been so much fun sharing! Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some of the playlist from Paige’s book, Challenged By You.

Last, but certainly not least, if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow me @stephnuss13! I’m teaming up with several authors to give you something special for Valentine’s Day, and you won’t want to miss out on it! I repeat, it will only be on Instagram!

Happy reading,

Steph

New Year, More Books!

The new year is in full swing, and with the first month in 2016 nearly over, I wanted to share some sales, new releases, and upcoming releases with my readers! It’s so important in the writing community to spread the word about what you read. Not only does it help the authors, but it also helps your fellow readers find new, exciting books to add to their to-be-read list. Some of the books/authors below I’ve read, some I have not. It’s still a great thing to give back and support others in this industry. So, if you know of any other deals or new releases or upcoming releases, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below!

KOBO DEAL

Redeem 50% off of any title published by Kobo using the promo code JAN1650 an unlimited number of times. Promo code is valid for 50% off select eBook purchases from this list!

SALES

Losing Charley (Full Circle Seties #1) by Casey Peeler – FREE
AmazoniBooksB&NKoboGoogle Play

The Enforcer (NHL Scorpions, #1) by Nikki Worrell – FREE
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Promises, Promises (Alluring Promises, #1) by Josie Bordeaux – FREE
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Finding Obscurity (The Secrets Series, #1) by Emma Shade – FREE
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Songbird Caged (Songbird Triology, #2) by Lisa Edward – $0.99
Amazon – iBooksB&N

NEW RELEASES

PUCKED Over (Pucked Series, #3) by Helena Hunting – $3.99
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Beautiful Burn by Jamie McGuire – $5.99
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

SNACK by Emma Burton – $2.99
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Boiling Point (Crossing the Line, #3) by Tessa Bailey – $3.99
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Saving Cassie (Fairfield Corners, #1) by L.A. Remenicky – $0.99
Join Facebook Party
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan – $0.99
Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

UPCOMING RELEASES

Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren – $7.99
2/2/2016
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Sexy Bastards Anthology by Various Authors – $0.99
2/8/2016
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Searching for Mine by Jennifer Probst – $2.99
2/9/2016
Amazon

Sensual Diversions by Various Authors – $0.99
2/14/2016
Amazon

Disarmed by M.S L.R. – $2.99
2/18/2016
Thunderclap Campaign
AmazoniBooksKobo

Fame by Lauren K. McKellar – $0.99
2/22/2016
iBooks

Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren – $1.99
2/29/2016
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Draw Me Close by Nicole Michaels – $7.99
3/1/2016
AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

EVENTS

I am so thrilled to announce that I’ll be attending Kinky in Kansas City on March 4th, 2017! I know it’s still a year away, but this signing is so close to home for me, I had to let everyone know about it! So, if you’re in or around the Kansas City area, please check out the reader group we have on Facebook and consider joining! Lots of great individuals involved in this event; I can’t wait! 2017 KIKC Author Event Group

KIKAE

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year has been good to you so far! Like I said, if you have any additional books to add to my lists above, please include them in the comments below so others can check them out, too! I know there have been several great releases with the new year that I’ve missed! Happy Reading!

Xo,

Steph

P.S. – I’ll be giving away signed copies of the Love in the City series on Goodreads soon! Be sure to watch your emails for the post so you can enter for your chance to win!

Cherished By You Blog Tour + New Excerpt

 Today kicks off the start of Cherished By You’s blog tour, and I’m so excited to read all the bloggers’ reviews of Cherished By You! As many of you know, one the greatest ways to support an author is by leaving a review for their books wherever you purchased it. I try to make it a point to read every review, whether it’s on a sales platform (Amazon, iBooks, etc.) or Goodreads, because I love growing from the feedback from readers. I feel, as a writer, that’s what we should take away most from reviews, how our audience feels about our work, how we can improve said work and what we should keep doing to entertain our fans. I know not everyone is going to enjoy every book I write. You’re going to have a couple you love more than others, or a storyline that captivated you more so than another’s in the series. And that’s okay. But I want to know how you feel regardless. It will make me a better writer, and that’s what I strive for each time I start writing a new book. So, thank you to those of you who have already left reviews! To those of you who haven’t yet, I encourage you to please consider leaving a review once you’ve finished reading Cherished By You; I’d greatly appreciate it! And a special thanks to all the blogs who participate this week in Cherished By You’s Blog Tour (October 11th-17th)! Thank you for taking the time to create your blog posts, write your reviews, and share my new release with your followers! And thank you to Southern Belle Promotions for hosting my release day blitz and blog tour for Cherished By You! Enjoy the new excerpt below from Chapter Three, and don’t forget to check out Cherished By You’s soundtrack, its awareness page and the clothes/scenes boards!
“I can’t believe you agreed to live with a woman,” Cash said, sitting down on the couch in my living room with a beer in his hand.
It was Saturday afternoon, and most of the gang was over at my place, waiting for Tessa and her brother to arrive so we could help move all of her stuff in. Maverick and Harper were at home with their baby girl, Seghen, and Paige had a work function with a client.
I really couldn’t believe it either. I’d never had a roommate before who wasn’t some sort of family member, but I knew I didn’t want Tessa living in some dilapidated hole in Grand Concourse again. Just hearing her talk about growing up there pissed me off.
“Living with a woman isn’t so bad,” Carter stated proudly, with his arm slung over Elly’s shoulder. “They make the place smell good. They’re nice to look at.”
“They cook,” Fletcher added, rubbing Bayler’s thigh. They weren’t living together yet, but they stayed together enough that he enjoyed the benefits of Bayler’s excellent cooking skills.
“Not all of them cook,” Carter retorted, nodding his head toward his wife.
“Hey!” Elly exclaimed, smacking him in the stomach. “I’m cooking your baby right now.”
The room filled with laughter as I paced over to the window and looked down at the sidewalk. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure whether or not Tessa would like living with me. I’d had the place cleaned twice this week in anticipation of her arrival.
“But Tessa loves cooking,” Elly continued, smiling up at me. “You can finally stop eating out every night.”
I scoffed, glancing over my shoulder at her. “I don’t eat out every night.”
Bayler laughed. “All you have in your fridge are takeout boxes and condiments.”
“And beer!” Carter said, clinking his bottle with Fletcher’s.
“Ladies,” Fletcher stated, shaking his head at the women. “Jameson has the necessities. Lay off him.”
“Tessa is going to freak when she sees the fridge,” Elly said, laughing along with Bayler.
I turned to face the gang as anxiety tumbled in my stomach. “What do you mean? Why would she freak out?”
“Because Tessa enjoys cooking,” Bayler explained.
“Yeah,” Elly said, nodding. “She’s used to having a stocked kitchen, especially since she’s cooked for her and her brother most of her life.”
Now I felt bad about not going grocery shopping. The truth was, I did order takeout often, only because it was easier than attempting to cook a meal. I’d grown up with either a maid cooking for me or my grandma, but no matter how many times Janice Jameson tried to teach me how to cook, the meal never turned out the way she made it.  
“You guys can go grocery shopping later,” Cash said, running through the television channels. “That way she can pick out whatever the hell she wants.”
“Maybe she’ll even teach you how to cook,” Elly teased, nudging my arm.
“Yeah,” Bayler continued, pointing her beer bottle at me. “Every guy should know how to cook. Women love a home-cooked meal they don’t have to make themselves.”
“I’m not trying to find a woman,” I stated, furrowing my brows.
The gang laughed at my candid response, despite the fact that it was true. I’d practically given up on finding a good woman during my college years. The girls I seemed to attract back then only wanted my help passing a class. The only date I’d been on since was a few years ago when my grandma set me up with her neighbor, Elly. The chemistry wasn’t there, so we became friends instead, which was perfectly fine with me. She was still in love with Carter, and I’d been a loner most of my life. When Carter moved back to New York, he and Elly started dating, and I gained another friend. Our group of friends continued to grow after that with the addition of Carter’s sisters, Harper and Bayler, falling for two of our own, Maverick and Fletcher.
“I call bullshit, Justin,” Bayler exclaimed, rolling her eyes. She leaned into Fletcher’s side and rested her feet up on the coffee table.
The laughter quickly died down at her blunt retort.
“Excuse me?” I asked, deflecting my surprise.
“All men are predisposed to think with their penises,” she explained, entertaining everyone with her words. “I don’t care how much of a genius you are; you’re still a man, which means that brain of yours down south is focused on sex just like every other man’s.”
Laughter grew louder around me as I stared her down, the smile spreading wide across my face. We got a kick out of giving each other a hard time, and I enjoyed dishing it out just as much as everyone else. Leaning down next to her ear, I said, “No, Bayler, what I meant was, I don’t have to try to find a woman.”
She nearly spit out her beer as she smacked me on the arm and laughed. “See! Just like every other guy! I knew you had a dick in there somewhere, Jameson.”
“Is this the part where I tell you I know how to use it, too?” I asked sarcastically, laughing along with her.
A knock on the door sounded before she could reply, so I walked over to answer it. Opening the door, I found Tessa and a younger guy standing behind her, with three suitcases resting at their sides and a duffle bag slung across his body. She wore an old pair of ripped jeans and a hoodie. Her long brown hair was knotted on top of her head, but it was her light blue-gray eyes smiling back at me that caught my attention the most.
“Hey,” I said, grabbing one of the rollers. “Come on in.”
“Thanks,” she said, crossing the threshold into my apartment.
The Love in the City series is about a group of friends looking for love in New York City. Each book is about a different couple, so they can be read as standalones. The stories are told from both the female and male point of views, and they all end in happily ever afters, no cliffhangers here! Finally, all the book covers are different colors to represent a certain awareness or cause that is referenced in each book. Grab the first book in the series, Wanted By You, for FREE today!

 

Cherished By You (LITC, #4) is LIVE + Excerpt!

 Title: Cherished by You (Love in the City #4)
Author: Steph Nuss
Release Date: Oct 7, 2015
Find on Goodreads

“Move in with me,” he said. 

Being cherished is how Tessa Wilder always imagined falling in love. But for years, she’s always gone for the wrong guys. Now that she’s fallen for one of the good ones, she fears rejection.

“I can’t,” she replied.

Justin Jameson quit looking for a woman after being used so many times for his brains. A bit of an introvert and completely oblivious to women’s advances, he can’t even see that his friend cherishes everything about him.

When Tessa needs a place to stay, Justin’s the first to offer her a room. Hearts are opened; feelings are ventured. They’ll finally know what it’s like to be cherished in the city until one moment threatens the relationship they’ve built.

“I can’t lose you.”

I spent the morning at work searching online for apartments, which caused a ball of anxiety to tighten in my stomach as reality smacked me in the face. I knew living in the city was expensive, but I didn’t think it was that expensive. I’d found studio apartments, where the bathroom and kitchen were practically in the same room, and I still couldn’t afford them. I was one second away from a cry fest when Justin Jameson and Carter Jennings walked into Elly’s psych clinic for lunch. Just the sight of Justin in his professor ensemble brightened my day. He paired brown loafers with khaki pants that hung from his lean hips. The navy blue sweater vest over his light-blue plaid button-down highlighted his wiry frame and made his hazel-blue eyes pop against his tan skin. His long, sandy blond hair was pulled back into a low ponytail, his normal work style. To some, his appearance probably wasn’t sexy in the slightest, but it was one of my favorites.    
Ever since Carter had moved back to the city last year, he and Justin spent most of their lunch breaks at Elly’s clinic. It wasn’t too far away from NYU, where they both taught. Now that Carter and Elly were married and expecting their first child together, not a day went by that he missed having lunch with her.
“Hey, Tessa,” Carter said, placing their bags on the table in the lobby.
“Hey, guys,” I said, smiling politely. I was in no mood to have lunch with anyone, even my friends, so I decided to forgo the sandwich I’d packed and continue apartment hunting. “Elly’s last patient just left, so she should be out in a minute.”
“Okay,” Carter said, taking a seat. He started unpacking the lunch he’d brought, a smile proudly stamped across his face. Justin sat across from him, doctoring his sandwich with dressing.
Elly soon appeared in the lobby, rocking an adorable black dress that slightly hid her baby bump. “Hey, guys!”
“Hey, babe,” Carter said, as Justin offered her a silent nod.
She immediately greeted Carter with a kiss and plopped down in the seat next to him. “What’d you bring us today?” she asked, rubbing her belly.
“A turkey sub without mayo this time,” he replied.
“Oh good, because Baby Jennings is not a fan of mayonnaise,” she said with a cringe as she unwrapped the paper. “Did you get the vinegar and oil and oregano?”
Carter laughed. “Of course.”
“I love you,” she said, offering him another kiss. She turned her attention toward me and smiled. “Tessa, are you going to eat with us?”
I sighed and shook my head. “Nah, I’m not really hungry.”
“How are you not hungry?” Elly asked, before taking a bite of her sub.
Well, I wasn’t eating for two, and the reality check of apartment hunting had completely stolen my appetite.
“What are you looking up on there?” Carter asked, nodding toward my computer.
Leaning back in my chair, I gazed over at my friends and confessed. “Trey wants to move out and get a place with a friend, but I told him they could have my place and I would find something. So, I’m apartment hunting now.”
“Are you having any luck?” Elly asked.
“Not really,” I said gravely. “Even the crappier places I’ve found are on the higher end of my budget. I had no idea how expensive apartments were now. Living under rent control will do that to a person.”
“You know, I could give you a raise,” Elly said, smiling genuinely. “But you’ll probably just say you don’t need one, so why don’t you move in with us for the time being?”
“No, I don’t deserve a raise, and I couldn’t do that to you guys. You just got married a few months ago, and you have a baby on the way. Thanks for the offer, but I just can’t.”
“Okay,” Elly said, rolling her eyes. “But the offer still stands. You’re always welcome.”
“I know,” I said, turning my attention back to my computer screen. I decided to widen my search to other boroughs, so I began looking there while they ate in comfortable silence.
“What about Paige?” Elly asked. “She has a spare bedroom at her place.”
“You lived with Paige back in college,” I stated. “You really think she wants a roommate now? She couldn’t wait to find her own place once you guys graduated.”
“True,” she said.
“Speaking of Paige,” Carter said. “Where is she? She usually has lunch with us.”
Paige had texted me earlier, saying she had a lunch meeting for work. Elly and I shared a glance, and then she turned to Carter and sighed. “She had a work lunch she had to attend today, and she’ll probably have them until the baby arrives. She’s avoiding me now that she knows I’m pregnant.”
“Are you serious?” Carter asked, brows furrowed.
“Carter,” Elly warned, shaking her head.
“Whatever,” he stated, taking a bite of his sub. “She needs to get over whatever issues she has with babies. Everyone loves babies.”
“Some people prefer a child-free lifestyle,” she continued. “We’ve talked about this.”
“I know, but she’s one of our friends,” he argued. “All I’m saying is that she shouldn’t feel the need to avoid us for nine months.”
Elly smiled at him and then playfully took a bite of her sandwich and asked with a mouthful, “Can we please drop this so I can go back to enjoying my lunch?”
“Yes,” he laughed, placing a chaste kiss on her cheek. “Fuel up, babe.”
I laughed as I scrolled through the apartment listings. I’d been spoiled for too long, and now I was paying for it. I worked full-time as Elly’s receptionist, and I still couldn’t afford any of these places. I couldn’t imagine what dump Trey and Josh would’ve ended up finding on their measly part-time paychecks.
“Move in with me.”
Turning my head back toward the table, I looked up in shock and found Justin staring back at me. “W-what?”
“I said, you can move in with me.”
I couldn’t possibly live with Justin Jameson, especially not after the sex dream I had starring him the night before. I had the world’s biggest crush on him, and it’d somehow moved into wet dream territory. How the hell was I supposed to live with him?
“I can’t,” I said shyly, shaking my head. “I-um-I don’t know if I can aff—”
“I have an extra bedroom,” he explained. “I’ve never had a roommate before, but I think we could make it work. Plus, I think I speak for everyone when I say I can’t let one of my friends live in a box just because it’s in her budget.”
Great. Now, I’m his charity case.
“Thanks, but I don’t think I can afford even half your rent.”
Justin lived in a nice condo near Washington Square. The building had a doorman and included amenities like a spa and housecleaners. It also had a five-star restaurant and a lounge in the lobby. I probably couldn’t even afford a third of the rent at a place like his.
“You wouldn’t have to worry about rent,” he stated, his smile widening. “I bought the condo years ago, so it’s mine now.”
Of course, he had it paid off already. Justin came from ridiculously smart, rich parents who authored science textbooks now. Apparently, they’d been genius scientists back when he was younger, but they’d since retired to write. He never talked about them and we’d never met them. All I knew was that they passed all of their intelligence on to him, which led to Justin entering college at the age of fourteen. Now, after acquiring several doctorate degrees in various fields, he was 30-years-old and already tenured at NYU.
I didn’t even graduate high school.
“I can’t just live with you for free,” I said, feeling my cheeks heat with embarrassment.
“Why not?” he asked earnestly.
Carter and Elly quietly watched us as if they were watching a tennis match, back and forth, with considerable interest.
“I-I don’t know,” I stuttered, nervously playing with the buttons on my keyboard. “I would feel like I owe you, and I don’t want to be some charity case.”
Justin sat back in his seat and gave me a smirk. “You’re no one’s charity case. You’re my friend.”
My heart sank at the mention of our friendship. Sadly, friends were all we’d ever be.
Get over it already, Tess.
“If it makes you feel better, we can split the utilities or groceries or whatever,” he said, before popping a chip in his mouth.
I watched as he chewed, smiling back at me, and the knot of anxiety that had settled in my stomach quickly crawled up into my throat. His sweetness was one of the things I loved most about him. He would do anything to help anyone. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. But God, it would be impossible to live with him, feeling the way I did about him.
Justin was a man of habit: he wasn’t too keen on change. So, the fact that he even offered me his guest bedroom was a huge step for him, especially since he’d never had a roommate. We were opposites in almost every way. He came from money and intelligence; I came from parents who abused drugs and alcohol. He had several academic degrees; I only had my GED. Where he was the silent observer of our group of friends, I was our social butterfly, always chatting away and eager to go out and have fun.
For years now, I’d believed he deserved a woman more like himself, but my beliefs couldn’t deter my feelings for him. He had no idea how I felt about him, and I chalked it up to his obliviousness to women and the effect he had on us.
“I think this is perfect!” Elly cheered. She gazed over at me excitedly, and I sent daggers her way. She knew how I felt. She knew he favored consistency. Yet, she was encouraging this living arrangement.
“What do you say, Tessa?” Carter asked with a smile.
The three of them stared at me, silently begging for my answer. Justin looked slightly amused, as if he couldn’t figure out why I even had to think about it. Carter appeared as eager as his wife, which made me question what he knew about my feelings toward Justin. Elly’s gaze never waived, pleading with me to agree.
So, I did.
“Okay,” I replied, nodding stiffly.
“Yay!” Elly squealed, clapping her hands. “When can she move in, Justin?”
He laughed, smiling back at me. “As soon as you want. The room is already furnished, but you’re welcome to change anything and make it your own.”
You’re welcome to change anything. Who was this guy and where did Dr. I-Hate-Change go?
“Thanks,” I offered. “I really appreciate it.”
“Maybe we can help you move in this weekend?” Elly suggested.
“No,” Carter rebuked, shaking his head at her. “You will not be helping with anything. You can just sit back and relax with our baby.”
“I’m pregnant, Carter; I’m not debilitated!”
“I know,” he said, sliding his hand over her bump. “I just don’t want anything to happen to either one of you. You can just order us around while we move Tessa in. How does that sound?”
“Perfect!”
“Great,” Justin muttered, unenthusiastically. “Just what we want—a woman ordering us around.”
“Don’t act like you don’t like it, Jameson,” Carter teased, wrapping his arm around Elly’s shoulders and pulling her closer. He placed a kiss on her temple and then stood from his seat. “We should be getting back to work.”
Elly pulled him back down for a longer kiss and then swatted him on the butt. “Okay, I’ll see you later. Love you.”
“Love you,” he said, smiling down at her.
Justin cleaned up the table, discarded their trash, and then came over to my desk and leaned up against it. “So, are we moving you in this weekend then?”
I sighed. “Yeah, I think the sooner, the better. You know teenagers. They want their independence. The sooner I’m out, the quicker Josh can move in.”
“I understand,” he laughed.
Gazing into his beautiful, bright blue eyes, I smiled. “Thanks again for offering me your spare room. I probably would’ve ended up in a box in the Bronx again.”
“You deserve much more than that,” he replied. Then he pushed away from my desk and walked toward the door with Carter. “See you later, roomie!”
Laughing, I waved at them as they exited Elly’s clinic. “Bye, guys!”
Once they were gone, Elly rushed over to my desk and perched on the edge, wearing a huge grin and laughing. “This is probably the best thing that could’ve ever happened to you!”
“No, it’s not,” I muttered, rolling my eyes. “How am I supposed to live with him, Elly? I’ve been in love with him for years, and he doesn’t even know it! He completely ignores any of my advances or flirting.”
“Justin’s introverted,” she explained. “I think once you move in with him, you’ll see a totally different side of each other, and I mean that in a good way. He’s really quiet when we’re all together, but one-on-one, I think he’ll open up to you. He may act like he’s oblivious, but no guy can live with a woman he’s not related to and not think about having sex with her.”
“Oh my God, I never even thought about all the crap he’s going to learn about me. Like my period schedule. Am I supposed to keep my tampons in his bathroom or hide them in my bedroom? See, nothing in his place will be mine! Everything is his because it’s his place that he bought! Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yes,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. “And I think you’re freaking out over nothing! Justin is an adult. He knows you have a period. Leave your tampons wherever you want. It’s not like he’s going to have the nerve to tell you to put them somewhere else.”
When I just stared at her, she continued. “I about choked on my food when he said you could move in. This is progress for him, Tessa! He’s never had a roommate before, so he wouldn’t have offered if he didn’t want you there.”
“You know, I’m really starting to hate this positive, no worries side of you,” I mumbled, shaking my head.
“Hakuna matata!” she cheered with a little shake of her hips, causing us both to break out in laughter.
The Love in the City series is about a group of friends looking for love in New York City. Each book is about a different couple, so they can be read as standalones. The stories are told from both the female and male point of views, and they all end in happily ever afters, no cliffhangers here! Finally, all the book covers are different colors to represent a certain awareness or cause that is referenced in each book. Grab the first book in the series, Wanted By You, for FREE today!

 

Free Book Spree

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Welcome to the FREE BOOK SPREE! Aren’t we just fancy-shmancy with a cool rhyming name?

I grabbed some of my wonderful author friends and we compiled an amazing list of FREE READS! All in one special place, for your convenience! Happy one-clicking!

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download (4)download (3)download (2)

 

 

 

 

 


 

download (1)1938699112309779

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Girl, You Earned It

Since I know you’ll will be spending my birthday reading E. L. James’ Grey, I decided to post my giveaway early because you earned it! Every message you send me, every comment you post here on my website, and every review you leave does not go unnoticed, and I cannot thank you all enough for taking a chance on my Love in the City crew and falling in love with them!

I also didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s time with Mr. Grey himself. Happy Early Birthday, Christian; it’s a honor to share a day with you!

Anyway, back to the giveaway . . . I’m giving away this cute crossbody filled with signed copies of my first three books to one lucky reader! The giveaway is opened internationally. To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to my website (on the right side of the page) and comment on this post with your favorite book of all time! *Giveaway ends on June 19th, and the winner will be chosen at random*

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If you’re a member of my Nuss’ Navy group on Facebook, I’ll also be doing special giveaways on June 18th for the swag pack pictured below and other goodies! So, be sure to join my group for exclusive Love in the City teasers and giveaways!

NussNavy_SwagPack

Finally, don’t forget to join the Sassy Mum Book Club on Facebook because I’ll be taking over on June 18th! Spend the evening with me, talking all things Love in the City and hosting more giveaways! I’m turning 25, so there will be five $5.00 gift cards up for grabs, and so much more!

Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making another year so special for me! After obtaining the rights to my books and self-publishing them, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own, but I quickly realized I’m not alone in this. I have my readers, and it’s because of you that I get to do what I love and share my characters’ stories with you!

Cheers to many more years!