#ReleaseBlitz “Hook Shot” by Kennedy Ryan

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Hook Shot cover

Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan

A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.

Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.

Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.
My perfect life blew up in my face and I’m still picking up the pieces.
The last thing I need is her.
A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can’t resist.
Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans
from the moment our eyes meet.
I promised myself I wouldn’t trust a woman again,
but I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.
She’s not the plan I made, but she’s the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.

Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met. The last thing I need is him.
I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.
I’ve seen what trusting a man gets you.
I. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This.
But he just keeps coming for me.
Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses
one by one.

He never gives up, and now…I’m not sure I want him to.

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Excerpt

The summer of my rookie season, I came to Harlem for the pro league tournament at Rucker Park, the most famous basketball court in the world. If you want street cred, you earn it here. It’s your pilgrimage to Mecca.

On the surface, it’s unassuming. There’s no glamour to the outdoor court with two hoops and five rows of bleachers, but legends were made here. Dr. J got his namehere before anyone really even knew who he was. The summer he played, people crowded the rooftop of the school across the street, climbed, and watched from trees, and pressed their noses to the fence for a glimpse of this kid who flew through the air with unparalleled grace, and rocked the rim with more force than they’d ever seen. It was the crowds at the Rucker who first chanted “Dr. J.” They christened him, and it stuck. He played for Philadelphia, my hometown, and he changed the game. So every time I come to the Rucker, it’s special, but today I feel the excitement even more.

And it has nothing to do with the dunking contest I’m here to judge for charity.

With the contest over, the other celebrity judges and I have taken photos with the winners, and now the autographs have begun. The whole time I’m signing hats, slips of paper, shoes, and whatever else people have, I’m scanning the crowd for one woman. Lotus never texted me back, so I don’t even know if she’s coming. Chances are she’s not, but that doesn’t stop me from checking compulsively every few minutes.

“How you liking New York, Glad?” Ben Mason, a point guard who came into the NBA the same year I did, asks. We’re signing autographs back-to-back, encircled by a crowd of kids.

“It’s okay.” I smile at a little girl who hands me a T-shirt to sign. “My kid lives here now, so I’m glad to have some of the off-season with her.”

“I did hear Bridge was moving to New York,” Ben says. “She’s on that new basketball wives’ reality show, right?”

Ben, like everyone else in the sports world, knows my business almost before I do.

“Yeah, she’s here,” I mutter.

“Did your divorce finally come through?”

“Yeah, it’s quits. Thank God.”

“Man, she did you dirty.”

Really, Ben? Sure, why not chat about my most painful, humiliating experiences while signing autographs for a hundred screaming kids? Perfect timing.

“It’s behind us now,” I say aloud instead. “We’re just trying to figure out how to co-parent my daughter well.”

“You a better man than me,” Ben continues. “If that had been me—”

“But it wasn’t.” I turn around to face him, not even trying to hide my irritation anymore.

“Sorry, Glad,” Ben rushes to say. “Man, I’m tripping. I know that was a tough time. I didn’t mean to bring it up.”

“And yet you’re stilltalking.” I turn back around and resume signing items and taking photos with fans.

My frustration isn’t actually about him, though. I’m disappointed Lotus didn’t show. I hadn’t admitted to myself how much I hoped she would. I did act like an asshole in the stairwell. I thought I fixed it, but maybe not.

“Over here, Glad!” a kid yells, holding up his phone to take a picture. When I look in his direction, a flash of color catches my eye. A small gap in the crowd reveals silk the color of butter spread on sun-toasted skin. A woman wears a backless yellow jumper that clings to her ass. What looks like an intricate zipper with tiny flowers instead of teeth is tattooed up her naked spine. A huge cloud of golden–brown hair with curls and waves on the loose fans out and around her neck and the curve of her shoulders.

“Lotus?”

It comes out as a question, but I know it’s her. I’m not the only one noticing every detail of her appearance. The crowd parts like the Red Sea and heads turn as she walks through. She seems oblivious to the lust she’s inspiring as she makes her way out of the dense crowd.

Away from me.

There are too many people separating us and I’d have to rudely push through a lot of teenage bodies fast to catch her at this point, but there’s no way she’s getting out of here without seeing me.

“Hey, PYT!” I yell through cupped hands in the direction I saw her take. She’s so short, I can’t even find the top of her head anymore.

For a second I think I’ve lost her, but that ray of sunshine she’s wearing flaunts her presence again several yards away. She’s turned to face me now, one hand on her hip and amusement on her face. I grin, fully prepared to be railed for calling her out.

“Where do you think you’re going?” I ask loudly enough for her and anyone between us to hear.

“I’m for sure not standing around all day waiting for you,” she yells back, her lips fighting the smile in her eyes.

“Well, you heard her guys.” I sign another hat and sigh. “I gotta shut it down. She’s leaving me.”

“I’d shut shit down, too, for that,” a guy standing halfway between Lotus and me says, eyes crawling over every inch of her exposed skin. I want to get her out of here.

“Excuse me,” I say, pushing through the crowd after I sign one last autograph. She could meet me halfway, but does she? No, just stands still in the crowd like a daffodil planted in the middle of a traffic jam, waiting for me to reach her. Once I do, I step as close as I possibly can without touching her so she has to tip her head all the way back to meet my eyes. Our gazes lock and don’t let go. The steam rising between us has nothing to do with the ninety-five-degree weather. I draw a shallow, Lotus-scented breath.

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Hook Shot – AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon | Free on Kindle Unlimited

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“In ‘Hook Shot’ Kennedy Ryan does something I wish more romance writers would do. She allows the reader to experience the slow burn of growing attraction, and the often disorienting new-relationship-energy between a couple getting to know, like and eventually love each other… Kennedy Ryan gave me the perfect balance of ‘the real’ with ‘the romance.’ I highly recommend it.

– Nia Forrester, author of Commitment and Afterwards

KRABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

A Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

#Review “Expecting Ty’s Baby” by Empi Baryeh

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Expecting Ty's Baby cover

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5/5 Stars!

I’m usually anti-baby in my romance stories. Not because I hate babies, but because I’ve read so many that didn’t completely sell me on the couple being together (or convinced themselves either), before a surprise baby was added like Bondo, sealing them together for all eternity. Oh, yeah… and they’re in lurve.

Kthanxbye.

But this author is three-for-three with me (with two more on the TBR), always delivering a satisfying read, so I had to go all-in on Expecting Ty’s Baby.

Financial consultant Ty Webber meets beauty consultant Patricia Owusu while on a job assignment in Ghana. They click and agree to a one-week, no-strings fling. They have a great week and then it’s bon voyage as Ty heads back to the states.

But he spends the next three months consumed with thoughts of Patricia, remembering all the little things about her and how other women don’t measure up. It goes against everything Ty believes in. He doesn’t do relationships and getting involved isn’t part of his ten-year-plan.

Patricia isn’t faring any better in Ghana, but she does sex, not relationships. She tries to push Ty from her mind and work on opening her own business when she finds out she’s pregnant.

Surprised, shocked, and saddened, the ever-practical Patricia decides to have her baby and continue to move forward… and not tell Ty about the baby. She’s in Ghana, he’s in New York and there’s no sense in building false hope.

Besides, men always leave.

But Fate has other plans for this couple when their best friends, Thane and Naaki, become engaged and plan a Ghanaian wedding.

Guess who’s the maid-of-honor and best man?

The battle of wills begin with Ty’s return, but it’s not just Ty against Patricia, but each of them against scarred childhoods that shaped the people they’ve become. Who wins?

Patricia is stubborn! But not obnoxious you’re-not-the-boss-of-me stubborn. She’s pragmatic, playing the hand she was dealt on her own terms. She’s on the fast-track to transform her high-profile on-site beauty consultancy into a brick and mortar business. She has no time for the guaranteed heartbreak love brings.

Ty has made a name for himself in high finance on four continents, but he’s eager to return to Ghana, and not just for the wedding.

The sense of belonging he’s yearned for since childhood and the connection to his ancestral roots surround and calm him in Ghana. And then there’s the captivating woman occupying his thoughts.

Ty and Patricia are both likable and their positions are easy to understand. However, Patricia had me rolling my eyes when she committed the Typical Romance Heroine dumb move. I understood her reasoning… but it was just dumb.

Emotions runs high when the truth of Patricia’s sad childhood is revealed, but will it free her or continue to keep her closed off?

The wisdom of our elders will always steer us in the right direction—if we take the time to listen—and it’s no different here. Patricia’s mom, Aunty Ama, and great-aunt, Menaesi, are priceless and enrich every scene they’re in.

Excited about their upcoming wedding, Thane and Naaki still take the time to be supportive friends and try to steer Ty and Patricia in the right direction, whether or not they want to hear it. (Loved the week of Yes!)

However, my favorite supporting character was African culture.

From the heartbreak of the slave trade through Cape Ghost Castle to the cultural pomp and circumstance of the marriage ceremony to the proper way to greet a visitor and why, the beauty of tradition is seamlessly woven throughout the story, enhancing it and making it a learning experience.

Expecting Ty’s Baby is an enjoyable romance that challenges preconceived notions, proves you can never say never, and underscores the fact we don’t always know ourselves as well as we believe we do. Kudos to the author for wiping the cynical smirk from my face.

Don’t miss out on this one!.

Enjoy!

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 Author: Empi Baryeh

Series: From Ghana With Love #2
Stand-Alone: yes
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural
Heat Level: Sensual
Cover Artist: Kim Killion
Expected Publication Date:  March 30, 2019

 

 
Abandoned by her father at a young age, beauty therapist, Patricia Owusu, has learned the hard way that men can’t be relied on. She’s determined to make it on her own without falling into the cultural trappings of marriage. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a torrid love affair with African-American financial consultant, Ty Webber, she discovers one man’s resolve to stick around.
 When Ty discovers Patricia is carrying his baby, he offers marriage; because real men take responsibility for their actions. He isn’t prepared for Patricia’s stubborn determination to make it on her own. But nothing will prevent him from claiming his child or the woman he considers his.
 
Can Ty convince Patricia to take a chance on him to help provide a loving home for their baby, or will Patricia’s mistrust lead her to miss out on true love and rob her child of the type of father she never had?
 
 
Available March 30, 2019
 
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#BlogTour “Expecting Ty’s Baby” by Empi Baryeh

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Author: Empi Baryeh
Series: From Ghana With Love #2
Stand-Alone: yes
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural
Heat Level: Sensual
Cover Artist: Kim Killion
Expected Publication Date:  March 30, 2019
#WTMOETB

 

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Abandoned by her father at a young age, beauty therapist, Patricia Owusu, has learned the hard way that men can’t be relied on. She’s determined to make it on her own without falling into the cultural trappings of marriage. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a torrid love affair with African-American financial consultant, Ty Webber, she discovers one man’s resolve to stick around.
 
When Ty discovers Patricia is carrying his baby, he offers marriage; because real men take responsibility for their actions. He isn’t prepared for Patricia’s stubborn determination to make it on her own. But nothing will prevent him from claiming his child or the woman he considers his.
 
Can Ty convince Patricia to take a chance on him to help provide a loving home for their baby, or will Patricia’s mistrust lead her to miss out on true love and rob her child of the type of father she never had?
 
PRE-ORDER
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EXCERPT

“I don’t need taking care of, you know,” Patricia said when they stepped outside. Her voice came out low, a whisper, which nonetheless projected in the still warmth of the night.
After several seconds without a response from him, she turned sideways. He stared ahead, his profile stoic. Finally, she heard his deep intake of breath.

He looked at her, and thunder might as well have struck after the flash of…annoyance? Impatience? Incredulity?
“Are you always on the defensive?”

Aggravation. Despite the balmy, breezeless air, Patricia shivered. Perhaps she should have been scared, but she wasn’t. Somehow, Ty didn’t strike her as the kind of man whose patience wore thin as easily as wind blew away flakes of cotton. Yet, she also realized she’d pushed a button or two between yesterday and today.
She began to say something, but her response staggered as she realized she didn’t know how to answer his question. She sighed. “It’s always been just me and my mum. I guess I’m simply used to having to stick up for myself.”

His look softened. “Trish, I know you’re a strong woman. Hell, it’s one of the things I admire about you. But did it occur to you I only wanted some alone time with you?”
She couldn’t help it. She giggled. “You could have just said so.”

“In that case, how about this?”
He faced her fully, subjecting her to a powerful blast of his magnetism. Electricity jolted through her, and she realized he’d touched her; warmth infused her body where his hands bracketed her waist.

The next instant, she was plastered against him, her soft abdomen privy to the state of his desire. His heated breath wafted over her face, a mix of him and the whiskey he’d had at dinner. An avalanche of sensations, fierce and unrelenting hit her in the gut.
Then the worst thing happened. The most embarrassing moment of her life.

She threw up.
On him.

For several seconds, she could only stare in horror at her dinner, now a less than palatable concoction splattered on Ty’s clothes and shoes.
He still held her as she doubled over, one hand on her shoulder, the other rubbing her back.

“Trish, what’s going on?” He pushed back a few strands of her braids hanging loose from the confines of her up do.
“I am so sorry,” she said.

“We need to get you to a hospital.”
Crap! Her stomach lurched again, and she figured out what had triggered the emesis. Thankfully, what came out the second time was minimal. She took in a deep breath, exhaling through her mouth. It seemed to help.

Ty held up the bottle of water he’d taken with him from dinner. “Here—”
“Please stop talking,” she gasped, turning away from him. “I need a minute.”

“This could be food poisoning. You need a doctor.”
“I don’t, and it’s not food poisoning. It’s the alcohol.”

“You didn’t drink.”
“No, but you did.”

His features assumed a frown, his confusion absolute. “You’re sick because I drank?”
“I’m not sick. I’m—”

She stopped abruptly, tossing different possible explanations in her head, all of them partial truths. No matter what anyone said, keeping quiet and outright lying were not the same. She wasn’t prepared to do the latter, but she’d spoilt her chances of doing the former.
“I’m…uh.”

His eyes narrowed. “You’re what?”
“I’m…”

Shiiit.
She couldn’t believe she was going to tell him. “I’m pregnant, Ty.”

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PRAISE FOR EXPECTING TY’S BABY

Well written, enchanting, and heart-warming, this is one romance fans should love. – TAYLOR JONES (Reviewer)

Poignant, charming, and full of wonderful characters, Expecting Ty’s Baby will warm your heart right down to your toes. A wonderful love story and a worthy addition to the series. REGAN MURPHY (Reviewer)

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Event hashtags: #FromGhanaWithLoveSeries #FGWLseries #ExpectingTysBaby #ChancingFaith #BlackOpalBooks

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G I V E A W A Y

Enter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

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Missed Book 1 in the series? 
 
Grab it in ebook, paperback or audiobook formats
 
(+ meet Ty and Patricia from book 2):
 
He didn’t do short-term relationships…
 
American ad exec, Thane Aleksander, doesn’t date co-workers either—until business takes him to Ghana, West Africa, and he meets Naaki. Now he’s at risk of breaking all the rules. Can he stop this headlong fall before it’s too late?
 
Until he met her!
 
Naaki Tabika has a burning need to prove, to herself and others, that she’s more than wife and mother material. To do so, she’s prepared to give up everything for her job. Meeting Thane, however, makes her want to get personal. But falling for her boss could destroy her career. Will she be willing to risk it all for the one thing that can make her truly happy?
 
Two divergent cultures, two different races, two career-driven professionals, only one chance at true love—will they find the faith to take it, or will their hearts be sacrificed on the altar of financial success?
 
 
Event hashtags: #FromGhanaWithLoveSeries #FGWLseries #ExpectingTysBaby #ChancingFaith #BlackOpalBooks

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ABOUT EMPI BARYEH

Empi Baryeh is the award-winning author of Most Eligible Bachelor (Book of the year, 2017 Ufere Awards). She writes sweet and sensual African, multicultural and interracial romance, which happens to be her favourite genres of romance to read. Her interest in writing started around the age of thirteen after she stumbled upon a YA story her sister had started and abandoned. The story fascinated her so much that, when she discovered it was unfinished, she knew she had to complete it. Somehow the rest of the story began to take shape in her mind and she’s been writing ever since. 
She lives in Accra, Ghana, with her husband and their two lovely kids.
CONNECT WITH EMPI

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#ReleaseBlitz “Unlikely Friends” by Sahar Abdulaziz

Title: Unlikely Friends
Author: Sahar Abdulaziz
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/
Humor/ Satire
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Cover Designer: Patrick knowles Patrick Knowles Design
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Irwin is not only the local Librarian; he’s also a book snob and an all-around grouch. There’s nothing he values more than his privacy. As a loner, he’s happy to be surrounded by books instead of subjected to the incessant blatherings of dysfunctional people.

The one thing Irwin despises more than people is change. He’s content in his predictable, routine existence…until a young girl barrels her way into his dreary life and turns it upside down.

Harper is witty, smart, free-spirited—but most of all, stubborn. Baffled by her need to gain his friendship, Irwin does his best to brush her off, but Harper refuses to budge. In fact, it only makes her latch onto him even more. Friendship, after all, can be found in the most unusual places.



Cornelia plucked another cookie from the tin. “And what part, if any, do you play in this family tragedy?”

“Good question. And to be honest, I’m not sure, except the kid has latched onto me. For whatever reason, Harper’s got it into her head that I can do something to help her.” Irwin threw his palms in the air. “I’ve barely spoken to this kid if you don’t count our daily exchange of obnoxious notes and verbal potshots.”

Irwin walked the dirty dishes to the sink. “Well, time for me to pack it in for the night.” Cornelia feigned a yawn. “I’m exhausted, and I have a big day tomorrow.” She stood and stretched. “Remember, Irwin. Harper needs a friend right now and like it or not, you’re it.”

Irwin groaned and began washing out the mugs.

“Abdulaziz is a master at crafting a thriller that is paced by truth.”

Sahar Abdulaziz has authored seven books: But You LOOK Just Fine [Health/non-fiction], As One Door Closes [Contemporary Fiction], The Broken Half [Contemporary Fiction], Secrets That Find Us [Fiction/Thriller/Suspense], Tight Rope [Thriller/Political Fiction], Expendable [Psychological suspense] and her children’s book, The Dino Flu. Her next literary fiction novel, Unlikely Friends, is due for release Feb 19, 2019. Abdulaziz’s work covers a wide range of hard-hitting topics: mood disorders [depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, PPD], domestic violence and sexual assault, marital and family dysfunction, racism, sexism, and prejudice, but most of all–survivorship. Her multidimensional characters have been described as having “substance and soul.”

Originally from New York, Sahar moved to Pennsylvania in 1993 with her growing family. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Science degree in Health and Wellness Promotion and Administration, as well as a certification in Community Health Administration. In 1995, she received a Certificate in Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Counseling, and shortly after, as a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Counselor/Advocate. She volunteered for many years as a hotline worker and counselor/advocate. In 2016, Abdulaziz received an award for Community Written Expression at the Second Annual Monroe County Image Awards and in 2018, nominated for the Rabata, ‘We Are Aisha’ Award in the category Writer/Author. Most recently, she has guest co-hosted for Sistah Chat Radio, WESS 90.3 FM, Gynesis Radio, and is a member of the Pocono Liar’s Writer’s Club. Rep’d by Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Limitless Publishing.

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