Tag Archives: Lauren Stewart

#NewRelease #Excerpt – Darker Water by Lauren Stewart

Title:             Deeper Water

Subtitle:       Carson and Laney’s After Happily-Ever-After

Series:          Once and Forever #3

Author:        Lauren Stewart

Genre:          New Adult/Romantic Comedy

Release        Date: Feb 11, 2018

Word Count: 57,000

Two people can only tread water for so long

 A steamy new romantic comedy with the characters you fell in love with in Darker Water and Virtually Impossible.

My name is Carson Bennett.

The first time I slept with Laney Temple was two years ago.

At the time, I thought I deserved a medal for all the effort I put into making it happen. I ended up with so much more than I’ve ever deserved.

Now, with everyone and my brother getting hitched, I think I’m finally ready for the next big step. To make what Lane and I have better and stronger. Deeper. I’m just not sure if she’s ready.

Unfortunately, life isn’t all bacon and glitter just because we say three little words to each other.

When we’re horizontal, our communication couldn’t be better. And the other forty-nine percent of the day—when my pants are zipped, her bra is hooked, and nobody’s hands are anywhere fun—it’s still easy and full of laughs.

It’s just that last one percent we haven’t quite figured out yet.

Time’s ticking. And if we don’t repair the cracks soon, water is going to rush in and break this whole damn thing apart.

~ ~ ~

Carson and Laney are back! Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Get a look at their after happily-ever-after and be there for Hayden and Andi’s island wedding.

*Deeper Water is not a true standalone contemporary romance novel like the others in this series. You will enjoy it much more if you read Darker Water first. I suggest starting there.

Darker Water, book one in this series, will be on sale for only 0.99

from Thursday, Feb 8 until Thursday, Feb 15th

Email: ReadLaurenS@gmail.com

Website: www.LaurenStewartAuthor.com

FB Author Page: www.facebook.com/LaurenStewartAuthor

FB Reader’s Group: www.facebook.com/groups/laurenstewartauthor/

Twitter: @ReadLaurenS

Bookbub Author Page: www.bookbub.com/authors/lauren-stewart

Newsletter: www.LaurenStewartAuthor.com/news

 

iBooks Exclusive Pre-order: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/deeper-water/id1334953702

Amazon, Nook, Kobo & Paperback pre-order links available Februrary 8th

Goodreads

Lauren Stewart’s other work

Darker Water (Once and Forever #1)

Virtually Impossible (Once and Forever #2)

Hyde, an Urban Fantasy (Hyde, Book I)

Jekyll (Hyde, Book II)

Strange Case (Hyde, Book III)

No Experience Required (a Summer Rains novel #1)

Second Bite

Lauren Stewart grew up reading Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, James Clavell, Piers Anthony, and Agatha Christie, which explains why she can’t seem to stick to one genre at a time. She loves emoticons and hates when people speak in the third person, so…

I got to the more romantic stuff pretty late, but paranormal romance was what changed me from an obsessed reader into an obsessed reader AND writer. I think my writing style comes from a mash-up of all my early favorites and my new ones, women like JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Nalini Singh, Charlaine Harris, and Janet Evanovich. Wow, how much would you pay to be invited to that dinner party?

I want to make people think, cry, and giggle, not necessarily all at the same time (although it’s great when it happens). In every one of my books, you’ll find elements of other genres – fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humor.

Because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.

What Inspired Me to Write This Book?

This whole series began on a dare—that I wouldn’t be able to write a standalone novel that ended in a happy ending (until then, I’d always written series where one couple takes a few novels to reach their happy ending).

What can I say? Definitely not that I can pass up a challenge because I can’t. And so, I wrote Darker Water.

Darker Water was a twist on The Frog Prince, with the heroine believing she has the metaphorical power to turn good men—princes—into assholes—frogs. Because all the men she’d fallen for had seemed perfect right up until she found out they were total pricks. So what does she need to make her believe in love again? A frog, of course. An asshole who, because of her love, finally shows us that he’s been an amazing man all along.

The fairytale at the beginning of that book (and for the next five books) came to me as soon as I started typing. It just flowed and set up the entire framework for the story. The second part of Laney and Carson’s fairytale, at the end, encapsulates what they’ve learned and where they’re headed.

When I was challenged by readers (remember how I said I can’t say no to a challenge?) to give them more of Carson, I did.

Deeper Water is a continuation of Carson and Laney’s love story, what I call their after happily-ever-after, as well as that of Hayden and Andi, the main characters from Virtually Impossible (Book #2). I’ve always been a firm believer that stories don’t end on the last page of a book, just like our love stories don’t end when we say “I do.” At least I hope they don’t because that would be awful.

So in this book, Carson and Laney run into some hurdles and have to repair a few cracks that occur in all relationships, regardless of how wonderful they are.

Who Will We Meet in This One?

First let me say that it turned out to be a great way to explore relationships at every stage. For instance, Laney’s parents who’ve been married for almost thirty years are in this book. Hillary and Eric, Laney’s ex-roommate and her boyfriend have been together for more than a few years. Emilia, Andi’s married bestie/boss and her husband have been married for a few. And Carson’s mother, Renee? Well, she’s had experience with a lot of different phases with a lot of different husbands. Ha.

As for other people we’ll meet or meet again? Carson’s evil stepsister, Anna. Hayden’s ex-wife who I absolutely adore, Clare. And we also get to know Andi’s screwed-up friend Sara whose story will be in Immaterial Defense, the next book in this series.

So it’s a pretty full cast for my shorter-than-normal book. I guess I just can’t say goodbye to any of my characters. Don’t be surprised if one of my paranormal characters appears in this series.

It might be a challenge, but then, you know how I feel about challenges.

 

Lane pulled me deeper until the water was about waist-high. She slipped her hands around my neck and jumped into my arms. I gratefully caught her under her ass, and she wrapped her legs around me.

“Am I too heavy?”

“Not at all. But if a shark comes along, you know I’m going to drop you and run for it, right?”

“Of course,” she said, smiling. “No problem—I can handle a shark.”

“What if it’s a big shark?”

“Depends who’s measuring.” Laughing, she ground her hips on mine, and my big shark woke right up. “Men always seem to think things are larger than they actually are.”

“You’ve never complained before.”

“I complain all the time, just not about that.”

“I’ve never heard you complain. You must be doing it wrong. Try whining more next time so I know.”

“Like this?” she asked in a high, nasal voice, her nose and upper lip rising and making her look as close to unattractive as possible.

“That’d do it.” I tried kissing her, but with her mouth contorted like that, I got more teeth than lip. Pina Colada-flavored.

She pulled away. “What were you talking to your brother about at the bar earlier?”

“Do you always think about my brother while we’re kissing?”

“Jealous?” she asked. The brat. “Or do you just not want to answer the question?”

“Always, and no. I’d rather make out than talk about Hayden.”

“Then answer quick so we can get back to it.”

I sighed. “Fine.” I spoke faster than an auctioneer on speed. “He planned a surprise wedding gift for Andi back home. I’m helping him with it.” Done speaking, I leaned in for my prize.

“Really?” Pulling away, she did that girlie inhalation that lifted her breasts up beautifully, as well as her brow and the corners of her mouth. Like she was the world’s most perfect marionette or something. “How romantic! What is it?”

I shook my head. “If I tell you, it won’t be a surprise.” I would’ve zipped my lips if my hands weren’t happy where they were—cupping her ass so nicely. Good thing the water was deep enough to cover us or the thirteen-year-old kid staring at us from shore would’ve gotten quite a show.

“The surprise is for Andi, not me. So spill.”

As much as I liked to tease her, she’d find out eventually. “Promise you won’t say anything.”

“I promise.”

“Promise me that if you break said promise, you will let me do every deviant thing I can imagine to you while saying, ‘Please, sir, may I have some more?’ Complete with the English accent.”

She stared at me for a minute, stunned or maybe trying to figure out what deviant thing I could be referring to that we hadn’t already tried.

“Promise,” she said finally, in an English accent.

“That’s my girl.” I kind of hoped she told someone.

 

Short Book Quotes

Fairytale Beginning:

Once upon a time, there was a frog who, with great care, held the heart of the most beautiful woman in his entire world.

 

Fairytale Ending:

For this couple, as with all others who are destined to be, “happily ever after” means they will never give up… on themselves or on each other.

 

Laney:

It was as if we were both experiencing the same thing, feeling the same emotional component.

Oh, who am I kidding? He probably wasn’t thinking anything at the moment. Or, best case it was something like, “Ahhh…oooh…goooood.”

 

Carson:

I need to know—yes or no.” He swallowed. “Do you believe we have a future together?”

“Yes,” I said without thinking. “I can’t imagine my life without you. But we still have a lot of stuff to work on before—”

“Sorry,” he said, his smile stopping my heart for a second. “I quit listening after you said yes. We’ll deal with the rest of it later.”

 

“Well,” she said, still waving to her parents, who’d just gotten caught by the crowd. “My father might still be under the impression I’m a virgin, and the man I’m with respects my decision.”

I swallowed my laugh. She wasn’t kidding. “Oh, I respect your decisions, babe. Completely. For instance, I respected your decision to ride me like a cowgirl the other night. And I had all kinds of respect for you when you dragged me into that restaurant bathroom a couple weeks ago because you needed to fuck right then and there. And that thing you did with your tongue the other—”

 

“Get dressed.” She pulled away from me and tossed me a t-shirt. “I promised them we’d be there.”

“And I promised myself we’d use all these condoms before going home. I allocated a certain number for each day, and we can’t fall behind.” I shrugged. “One of us is going to have to break their promise, Lane. Guess what my priority is.”

 

As much as I liked to tease her, she’d find out eventually. “Promise you won’t say anything.”

“I promise.”

“Promise me that if you break said promise, you will let me do every deviant thing I can imagine to you while saying, ‘Please, sir, may I have some more?’ Complete with the English accent.”

She stared at me for a minute, stunned or maybe trying to figure out what deviant thing I could be referring to that we hadn’t already tried.

“Promise,” she said finally, in an English accent.

“That’s my girl.” I kind of hoped she told someone.

 

 

 

 

#NewCover – Darker Water by Lauren Stewart

Title:      Darker Water

Series:   Once and Forever #1

Author: Lauren Stewart

Genre:   Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Release Date: Oct 3, 2014

Word Count: 94,000

 

After another painful breakup, Laney finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She’s too busy for it right now anyway—she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she’ll be ready to switch from a plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won’t feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn’t meant to do…

Like break

Carson is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney’s heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does…a lot. But having feelings for someone isn’t allowed. It’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze…

 Like secrets

Two people want the same thing—a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can’t free themselves from the past, they’ll both be pulled under by it.

*** Darker Water is a stand-alone contemporary romance that does not end in a cliffhanger.

 

Email: ReadLaurenS@gmail.com

Website: www.ReadLaurenS.com

FB Author Page: www.facebook.com/LaurenStewartAuthor

Twitter: @ReadLaurenS

 

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00N1X6ZDE

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/darker-water/id914060185?mt=11

B&N: http://bit.ly/1qFaGU9

Kobo: http://bit.ly/YQEUrj

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lauren_Stewart_Darker_Water?id=ZNTxBwAAQBAJ

 

Goodreads

Lauren Stewart’s other work

Virtually Impossible (Once and Forever #2)

Deeper Water (Once and Forever #3)

Unseen (The Heights Vol. 1)

Unearthed (The Heights Vol 2)

Hyde, an Urban Fantasy (Hyde, Book I)

Jekyll (Hyde, Book II)

Strange Case (Hyde, Book III)

No Experience Required (a Summer Rains novel #1)

Second Bite

 

Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with one teenager, one almost-teenager, a mellow cat, and an incredibly high maintenance puppy.  On the nights when Lauren doesn’t pass out from exhaustion, she reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you’ll find elements of other genres–fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humor.

Because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.

 

What Inspired This Book?

 It began on a dare—that I wouldn’t be able to write a standalone novel that ended in a happy ending (until then, I’d always written series where one couple takes a few novels to reach their happy ending).

Darker Water is a twist on The Frog Prince, with the heroine believing she has the metaphorical power to turn good men—princes—into assholes—frogs. Because all the men she’d fallen for had seemed perfect right up until she found out they were total pricks. So what does she need to make her believe in love again? A frog, of course. An asshole who, because of her love, finally shows us that he’s been an amazing man all along.

The fairytale at the beginning of the book came to me as soon as I started typing. It was incredible and set up the entire framework for the story. The second part of Laney and Carson’s fairytale, at the end, encapsulates what they’ve learned and where they’re headed.

 

I took one of the comfy chairs in the corner, put my coffee and my feet up on the large ottoman in front of me, and opened the Angry Birds app on my phone. About fifteen minutes later, I saw jean-clad legs in my peripheral vision. His shoes were pointed towards me, but he didn’t say anything.

“Listen, I’m sure you’re a wonderful person, but I need to focus.” I pointed to my phone without raising my head. “Or I’m going to break my winning streak.”

“I’m not sure if you know this”—the legs moved a step closer—“but when you win, you don’t actually get any candy. Yeah,” he grumbled. “The day I found that out was one of the worst days of my life.”

I wiped my mouth to cover my smile—he’d probably take it as a sign I wanted to keep talking to him. “As much as I appreciate the tip, I’m not interested.”

“Me neither. Wait, what aren’t we interested in again? Oh, did you mean you and me…being interesting together? Then yeah, actually, I am interested in that.”

I looked up at him briefly. Well, no one could ever mistake him for average looking, that was for sure. Full lips that looked very comfortable wearing a smirk. The tattoos covering most of both forearms would’ve made my mom shake her head and say something witty like, Maybe his parents didn’t give him enough coloring books when he was little. Light-brown hair tossed in a hot, I-have-more-important-things-to-take-care-of-than-my-hair way. One of those more important things might be his body. If I wasn’t completely cured of men, I’d thank him for making it a priority. Not that I didn’t find men attractive anymore—I couldn’t control that. And sure, I’d love to take a few more looks at the guy. But that wouldn’t bring me anything but frustration. And frustration didn’t bring me anything but the need for more batteries.

Three months ago, I would’ve been blushing, stuttering, making a fool of myself, and planning our wedding. Now I had more important things to take care of, like my sanity. And some very unhappy birds.

So I slumped into the chair and went back to my game. “Trust me, you don’t want me to get to know you, not if you like who you are right now. I’m cursed. I could turn you into a frog with barely any effort at all. Go find someone else to pretend to be in love with. I wish you luck.”

He picked up my coffee from the ottoman and sat down. “Congratulations. You’ve just made yourself twice as intriguing. You have to know that all men enjoy a good chase every once in a while.”

“I’m not running—I’m telling you to run. Go hunt down someone else.”

“I’m Carson.”

“Okay, go hunt down someone else, Carson.”

“Maybe three times as intriguing.” After a second, he stood. “Nice to meet you, Lane.”

“It’s Laney, but how did you—?”

He glanced down at my coffee cup, which he was still holding. My name was written in big letters on the side, the ‘Y’ an illegible scribble. I should’ve gone the more environmentally friendly route and skipped the paper cup. But not a big deal. All he knew was most of my name and my drink order. Thankfully they didn’t write my phone number on there, too. Not that he would remember it three minutes from now, because frankly, I’m not worth that much of his effort.

He handed my coffee back but didn’t go away, seemingly content to keep staring at me with a cocky grin. Okay, he was really far from average looking. But guaranteed, he was as much a liar as they all are. Maybe worse because the more attractive a guy is, the more he thinks he can get away with. I take that back—the more he can get away with. Because women are idiots.

“Let me guess,” I said. “You’re different from every other guy, searching for the one woman who will complete you. You’re considerate, caring, and really want a chance to know who I truly am.”

“Not at all,” he said, ticking the points off with his fingers and grimacing. “Definitely not. Dear god no. That’s not even close to what I want from you. And…was that all of them? I got distracted by your breasts for a little while there, so I may have missed one.”

I coughed, covering my mouth before I spit my coffee out. “Seriously?” In the last few months I’d had a lot of similar conversations with moderately similar guys. But not a single one had an answer even remotely like that.

“Seriously. I’m a complete asshole who only cares about what he can get from someone. Take you, for example. I saw you sitting here alone, no ring, great body. And thought, ‘I want to fuck her.’ And yeah, those were the exact words that went through my head. On the way over here I tried to figure out the fastest and most efficient way to get you into my bed—which isn’t far from here by the way—hoping you weren’t the type who needed a couple dinners out first. So, Lane”—he popped an eyebrow—“are you?”

I didn’t know how to respond. Was I? I used to be. Except it had taken more than a couple dinners before I slept with someone. It had taken a commitment of some kind. And now? Even though I was done with relationships and love, I didn’t want to be celibate for the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure I was ready, but there was only one way to find out. And, as far as guinea pigs went, I couldn’t have found a more attractive one. So…

Fuck it. For some unknown reason, I’d shaved my legs this morning. Maybe it was a sign from the universe that today was the day to do some experimenting.

Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m about to do this. I stood, grabbed my bag, and pushed past him on my way to the door. Then I turned around. “I think that was an exceptionally efficient way to get me into your bed.”

Short Quotes

Fairytale Ending

Once upon a time, there was a woman who, though not stunningly beautiful, thought herself to be. Because she was in love with a man who made her feel that way.

Laney

How fucking ironic—I’d been looking for love for the last eight years. And when I finally stopped wanting and believing in it, it found me. I didn’t have feelings for Carson—I was in love with him.

’You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.’ My mother’s favorite expression was completely fucking wrong. If you kiss a lot of frogs, all you end up with is sore lips and a bunch of frogs. And if you kiss a lot of princes, hoping at least one of them will stay that way, all you get is a horrific amount of disappointment and even more frogs

I didn’t have feelings for Carson—I was in love with him. And what’s worse than falling in love when you don’t want to? Falling in love with someone who can’t love you back.

Carson

“If it could be anyone,” he whispered, “it would be you.”

“Life’s too fucking short to spend any of it embarrassed or guilty. If you’re going to learn how to put yourself first, you can’t keep being controlled by what other people do.”

“Seriously. I’m a complete asshole who only cares about what he can get from someone. Take you, for example. I saw you sitting here alone, no ring, great body. And thought, ‘I want to fuck her.’ And yeah, those were the exact words that went through my head. On the way over here I tried to figure out the fastest and most efficient way to get you into my bed—which isn’t far from here, by the way—hoping you weren’t the type who needed a couple dinners out first. So, Lane”—he popped an eyebrow—“are you?”