Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Catherine Bybee's Fool Me Once Promo & #Giveaway

Title: Fool Me Once
Author: Catherine Bybee
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Series: First Wives, #1


Cynical divorce attorney Lori Cumberland lives by one motto: Love is grand, but divorce is a hundred grand. With one failed marriage under her own personal belt, Lori had fallen hard and early—and it isn’t something she plans on repeating. She’s content focusing on the temporary marriages of her rich and famous clients. When she joins some of her recent divorcĂ©es on a celebratory cruise, her only vow is fun, sun, and new friends. But Lori finds herself tempted by a jury of one.

For Reed Barlow, falling into the world of private investigation was easy. He knows the law and knows how to avoid breaking it—all while doing his job. His rule to live by? No emotion, no involvement…until Lori. His charming smile and cocky attitude distracts Lori and lowers her guard, which is exactly what Reed desires.

But what appears as a one-time-only flirtation may be a plot orchestrated by Reed. As he’s taking his investigation to a dangerous level, it’s Lori who could end up in jeopardy. Reed has only one shot for Lori to grant him a second chance. But if he comes clean with her, he blows his cover. And that just might cost him the opportunity for an alliance of family…and of love.

Exclusive Excerpt: Fool Me Once by Catherine Bybee

“Don’t look.”

Funny how when someone tells you not to look, that’s exactly what you want to do. Lori found her eyes drifting from the spinning ball on the roulette table.

Shannon elbowed her gently.

Lori snapped her attention away from the table.

“He cannot take his eyes off you.”


The croupier called out the number, placed his marker on the board, and paid out the winners. Sadly, Lori wasn’t one of them.

She took the moment to pick up her drink and briefly scan the room.

Sure enough, Mr. Single stood on the opposing side of the craps table, watching her.

Instead of pretending she didn’t notice him, she lifted her glass in salute and smiled. It felt good to flirt, even though it was against her better judgment.

His answering grin was mixed with mischief.

“That’s the guy you were telling us about, isn’t it?” Shannon asked.

“Sure is.”

“Wow, he is something to look at.”

Lori hummed.

“Needs a haircut, though.”

Lori broke eye contact with him and turned to Shannon. “I know, right?” She set her chips on the table and stood back.

“Place your bets,” the croupier told them. Shannon leaned across Lori to reach the higher numbers.

When Lori looked back up, Mr. Single was gone. A hair of disappointment wiggled up her spine.

“Thirty-one black.”

Shannon high-fived Lori. “Whoop, whoop!” Her five-dollar chip sat on the line between thirty-one and twenty-eight.

“Next round is on you,” Lori teased.

Shannon collected her money and generously placed her bets. She glanced up. “Where did he go?”

“Who knows?” Lori looked at her hand of dwindling chips, promising to walk away if she didn’t win on the next turn of the table. Just then her skin prickled and her palms started to itch.

“Red.” His voice came from behind her, his lips close to her ear.

She forced herself not to smile. “You’re sure?” she asked.

The croupier spun the wheel and released the ball.

“Forty-eight percent sure.”

She looked up and down the table, remembered the green zero and double zeros. She put twenty on red and scattered another twenty bucks on various red numbers.

“No more bets.”

The ball started to bounce.

Lori held her breath.

“Fourteen, red.”

“Okay, then. I guess I owe you a drink,” Lori said as she peeked over her shoulder to find Mr. Single staring.

“Hello.” Shannon peered from Lori’s other side.

“Hello,” he replied, then narrowed his eyes. “Aren’t you—”

Lori panicked and lifted a finger to his lips as if she had a right.

His amused eyes widened as he reached to touch her hand.

“My friend is on vacation.” Lori hoped her words kept him from bringing unwanted attention to Shannon. “Far away from home.”

His eyes told her he understood. With a tiny squeeze of her hand, he let her go.

Shannon tilted her head. “Thank you. Do you have a name other than Mr. Single?”

“You’ve been talking about me.”

Lori felt like she was sixteen years old, caught talking about the new kid in school. She tried to hide her embarrassment.

He reached across Lori. “I’m Reed.”

“Nice to meet you, Reed. This is my friend Lori.”

“Lori.” It sounded as if he was testing her name with the weight of the sigh he used when saying it.

The heat on her neck felt unnatural.

“Now that we have the names straight, what should I bet on now?”

The ball was already rolling.

“Let it ride on red.”

“I never let it ride.”

He stopped her hand from pulling her chips away. His lips moved close to her ear again. “What are you worried about, losing Sugar Daddy’s money?”

Before she could pull the chips off the table, the croupier waved a hand over the table, indicating she’d lost her opportunity to back out.

“Twenty-seven, red.”

She sighed, and once she’d been paid out, she removed her chips. Not that she worried about losing forty dollars. Hell, she was down two hundred and she’d only been in the casino for forty minutes. Gambling in general was outside her control spectrum. A little bit was fine, exciting even … but if any real money was involved, she’d probably break out in hives before the ball settled on a number.

“No guts to do it again?” Reed asked.

She pointed to the table. “Where’s your bet?”

“TouchĂ©.” He removed his wallet, placed a hundred-dollar bill on red.

The croupier made quick work of removing the cash and replacing it with several green chips.

Less than a minute later, twenty-one, red was called.

Lori stood back to watch, her hands tightening in on themselves with each rotation of the ball.

All she noticed was the color when the ball dropped.


Reed let it ride.

“You’re nuts,” she whispered.

Lori wasn’t sure if his reckless gambling was because of his cocky self-assuredness or if he was just a man using his money to flirt with her. Either one was slightly flattering.

Four spins later, Reed was up sixteen hundred dollars. Only then did he pull off the hundred dollars he started with.

“You’re going to leave it there?”

He shrugged with a grin.

The other players at the table were watching. Others were putting their money on black, muttering his luck was about to run out. Lori held her breath, the ball bounced. “Twelve, red.”

Even Shannon was speechless.

Lori was sweating, and it wasn’t her money.

“You’re not a gambler,” he observed.

She looked up to find his eyes laughing at her.

“Apparently not.” 

“Sir?” the croupier caught Reed’s attention.

He smirked like it was a natural thing for him to leave three grand on the table riding on a color. “Leave it,” Reed told him.

Author Biography

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-seven books that have collectively sold more than three million copies and have been translated into twelve languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series.
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Digital Copy of Fool Me Once
Ends Oct 5, 2017

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