Cover Reveal: Softer Than Steel by Jessica Topper + Never Before Released Excerpt & Giveaway!

***Giveaway is over and winner has been chosen and notified***

And now the moment you've all been waiting for...

From the author of Deeper than Dreams and the Much "I Do" About Nothing novels, a story that proves that you have to find yourself before you can find love...

As rock star "Riff Rotten", Rick Rottenberg has enjoyed all the perks that fame can offer, especially now that he's reunited with his former band mate, Adrian "Digger" Graves. But despite his success, Rick is a mess. Still reeling from the death of his wife years ago and terrified his demons will end his career, he agrees to seek help for his anxiety.

Burned by a musician in the past, Sidra Sullivan has closed her heart to love. So when Rick walks into her yoga studio, she wants nothing to do with him--until the bad boy shows an unexpected soft side.

As Sidra and Rick work through their painful pasts, they realize just how strongly opposites can attract. But when a crisis threatens the delicate balance they've forged, they'll discover if their love is strong enough to weather another storm or just too broken to survive...


Uncorrected proof excerpt courtesy of the author & Berkley/Intermix;
subject to change pending final editing.

Sidra could feel Rick’s presence still taking up energy within her yoga studio. She had been about to roll up her mat, but thought better of it. Calmly, she closed her eyes and stood in mountain pose, her back to him. Maybe he would get the hint and leave.
“Are we going to talk about last week?”
Rick’s words produced an effervescence that radiated through her core, and heat rushed to all the places he had lingered upon Friday night. She took a deep breath. Stillness. Stillness leads to clarity.
“Because it wasn’t just some whim, some cheap thrill. And I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think you wanted to just as much.”
Stillness, strength, power. Sidra took the pose as active as she could, aiming for the immovable stability of mountains that the pose was named for. She heard a gusty sigh rake from his throat; he was in front of her now. If she opened her eyes, if she saw the tangle of curls that always fell over one temple, the squint and furrow of that dark, defined brow as it focused his intense gaze upon her, she knew she would crumble and dissolve on the spot. She sensed how close he was; close enough for her to effortlessly raise a hand and trace the contour of his cheekbone down to his stubborn jaw line, and over to those full, fierce lips and down the scratchy-soft stripe of scruff on his chin.
“How can you just stand there, doing nothing? Saying nothing?”
Sidra’s eyes flew open, her face instantly matching the look of defiance he wore on his. “I am doing everything right now. Tadasana is not just standing,” she pointed out. “Skin to muscle to bone. It’s a very active pose.”
And it took all of her concentration; she was doing everything to keep herself from thinking about kissing him.
His stance now mirrored hers, and she felt the energy radiating out from him. “The crown of your head is reaching to the sky while your feet are pressing firmly in the earth. You may think you’re still, but you are moving,” she said softly. “Do you feel it?”
He was as rigid as any mountain, until he tilted his chin to catch her gaze. “Is there a fancy yoga name for what I’m feeling?”
It was as if his mere glance released her from one spell, yet trapped her in another. She stepped into his orbit. “It’s called dynamic tension,” she breathed, her lips resting on the hollow of his throat. A sigh escaped from him as he leaned into her touch, but his feet remained rooted, arms outstretched from his sides with his palms up and fingers wide, as if offering himself wholly up to her.
She gave him a shove, surprising him as much as herself.
“Bloody hell, what was that for?” he swore, stumbling back a foot.
“If you were truly in Tadasana, you wouldn’t move when I pushed you. Like a mountain.” She could feel her pulse hammering in her neck, her face heating up.
“What’s your problem with me, Sidra?”
“I don’t date musicians.”
He folded his arms across his chest and cocked a brow. “And I don’t date yoga instructors. So why don’t you stop teaching yoga?”
“That’s like,” she sputtered, “That’s like asking me not to breathe!”
Rick bit back a smile. “Exactly.”

He ducked down and caught her bottom lip between both of his. “The mountain’s not going anywhere this time,” he chided, grabbing her wrists to keep her from shoving him again. “In fact, the mountain will wait for you. It’s got all the time in the world.”

© by Jessica Topper

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New to the series? Read it from the beginning!

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband...and discovers a love that defies classification.

It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

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Will wedding bells rock out for Louder Than Love’s most beloved couple in this Love and Steel novella?

Falling in love with rock star Adrian “Digger” Graves was a dream come true for former librarian Kat Lewis. But with a little help from friends and family—including Kat’s adorable daughter, Abbey—Adrian has planned an evening and a proposal beyond her wildest dreams. 

The night before, Kat witnessed the triumphant reunion of Adrian’s rock band at Madison Square Garden. Tonight, he will escort her to the elegant, ultra-exclusive Library Lion’s benefit. It seems like a fairytale, but even fairytales have a deeper, darker side. When old habits return to tempt her knight in shining heavy metal armor, will Kat’s happily ever after come crashing back to reality?

Available August 18, 2015

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Jessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock n’ roll number cruncher.

She can trace her love for the written word back to age three, when she memorized Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice in its entirety. By day, she does bookkeeping for touring rock bands. By night, she creates books of her own.

She is the author of three novels from Berkley: LOUDER THAN LOVE (September 2013), DICTATORSHIP OF THE DRESS (January 2015) and COURTSHIP OF THE CAKE, the second in her “Much ‘I Do’ About Nothing” series (June 2015). Watch for DEEPER THAN DREAMS, an e-book novella coming in August, and SOFTER THAN STEEL, the second full-length novel in her Love & Steel series, releasing in September.

Connect with Jessica

The author is giving one lucky reader the entire Love & Steel series in eBook format! 

Winner will receive LOUDER THAN LOVE*
DEEPER THAN DREAMS on August  18th 
SOFTER THAN STEEL on September 15th!

*If you already have LOUDER THAN LOVE, the author will gift it to a friend of your choosing!

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