A rule-following ranger finds himself on the hunt for a killer--and falling for a woman who should be off-limits...
On the hunt for a serial killer, ranger Ryan Spencer can't afford any distraction. But Jana Lassiter, sister to one of the missing women, won't let Ryan investigate Mystic Mesa alone. Even though the seasoned officer has always been by the book, something tells him it wouldn't be so bad to break a few rules for Jana.
When Jana's life is suddenly jeopardized, the lawman is forced to face his darkest fears. He's allowed desire to overshadow duty. Now he has to rein in his emotions to save Jana from becoming the next victim. Because losing this woman he's inexplicably fallen for will destroy this warrior forever.
The Ranger Brigade: Family Secrets
An exciting and entertaining 'whodunnit' that keeps the reader guessing as more intrigue is surrounding the 'Family', yet there are two others that might look just as suspicious as the man who calls himself the 'prophet'.
Ryan Spencer is a character easy to like. He is straight forward, honest, considerate man, who has charm but does not take advantage of it. From the first meeting with Jana Lassiter the sparks are flying, yet the timing could not be worse since Jana is the sister one of the three young women who are missing.
Jana has spunk and spirits. She knows what she wants and goes after it. Her worry about her sister is palpable, the comfort and understanding Ryan shows to her are admirable and touching. I liked how he didn't try to fill her with falls hope, he was as honest as he could be with her, considering the ongoing investigation, yet he was taking into consideration of her fears, needs, and worries. There are moments, as he was offering her support, that were so sweet and adorable.
The puzzle of the investigation is challenging and exciting, each new piece of the evidence raising more questions. There are three possible known suspects that each behaves in a suspenseful matter, some acting creepy enough to raise all the hairs in the neck as I was reading the story yet keeping the interest high and alive through the tale.
A dramatic and captivating story that kept the curiosity alive towards the alluring prophet and the mysterious 'Family', as well as the appealing Ranger Brigade. A baffling case of missing women turns into something much more and very dangerous to all involved. Mix in the tempting romance and the tale is sure to entertain and enthrall...
~ Four Spoons
Cindi Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager before turning to writing full time. She's written both historical and contemporary romance, as well as dozens of short stories and nonfiction articles. Cindi thinks writers have the best job in the world.
Former president of San Antonio Romance Authors, Cindi is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
She and her husband and their two dogs live in the mountains Southwest of Denver. When she's not caught up in creating new characters and stories, Cindi enjoys reading, quilting, gardening, skiing and hiking. She's also in demand as a speaker, teaching workshops and making presentations to both local and national writing groups.
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DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
by AJ Nuest
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 6/27/17
Revenge might be cold . . .
Xander Dade has a deep-seated regret, and the nomadic decade he’s spent doling out justice as a computer hacker hasn’t helped ease his conscience. Ever since Charlie McGovern was asked to leave the specialized revenge-for-hire business called Dirty Deeds, the curvy blonde bombshell has been stuck in his head. And now that the talented thief is being stalked by a dangerous enemy, Xander isn’t about to let her slip through his fingers—not when he’s so close to convincing her she belongs in his bed . . .
But desire is a dish best served hot
Caught in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, Charlie won’t be surrendering her secrets any time soon. Not even when long-lost friend, Xander Dade, shows up, packing a sexy agenda all his own. Her movements are being tracked, and accepting his help may put everyone she loves in danger. Things are getting too hot to handle, and selling her secrets to the highest bidder may end up costing more than her heart . . .
Multi-published, award-winning author and editor AJ Nuest resides in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and a bevy of spoiled pets. Her four-part serial fantasy romance, The Golden Key Chronicles, was recently named the RONE Time Travel Romance of 2015 by InD’tale Magazine, and her contemporary romantic comedy, She’s Got Dibs, won First Place in the Heartland Romance Author’s Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2013. For more please visit her at ajnuest.com.
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A seasoned cop becomes the target of a killer. And so does the woman he's falling for.
Detective Lieutenant Thomas Watson had been off air force active duty so long, he thought he was safe. Until a gunman crashes his daughter's wedding, reawakening the warrior inside him. He hires nurse Jane Boyle to care for his injured father so he can focus on bringing the gunman to justice. While Jane is the ideal caretaker, her dark past has landed her in witness protection. And the more she's embraced by this family of cops, the more danger she's in. For a shadow from Thomas's own past might be willing to lend Jane's stalker a helping hand...
The Precinct: Bachelors in Blue
This story left me with a big smile on my face, what a wonderful ending to the series! This truly is 'character driven romantic suspense' because here the protagonist really are the ones to move the plot on, to shine with their integrity, knowledge, and experience.
I enjoyed the mature hero and heroine, they have depth, tone, and spirits that are easy to connect with, they are the kind of people you want to surround yourself with, people you want to cheer for.
Thomas Watson is a protector. He holds his family together, has been doing it ever since his wife died 20 years ago. He charmed me completely, I admit. I am enamored with his personality, his kindness, his caring, protective nature. And Thomas and Jane Boyle are adorable together. Jane is an alpha woman but there is enough strength in Thomas to take it and love it when she takes a command. They respect and admire each other, and not just physically, the connection they have goes much deeper, even though the passion and desire between them were tangible.
The suspense builds continuously through the tale, elevating the tension and dread with every twist in the story. The malice attacks are continues, and as part of the story is told by the culprits' point of view, their thoughts and actions take the creepy form...
A marvelous, entertaining, and suspenseful ending to the series that does not require you to read the first three books to love the events and characters of Protection Detail, but I do recommend the whole series!
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Hellions Angels #1
By: Lia Riley
Releasing July 11, 2017
Her biggest fantasy is about to become a reality. . .
Jed West is Mr. Hockey. The captain of the NHL’s latest winning team, the Denver Hellions—and the hottest player on the ice—at least according to every magazine. .and Breezy Angel. Breezy has been drooling over Jed at games for years, and he plays a starring role in her most toe-curling fantasies. But dirty dreams don’t come true, right?
Then Jed saunters through the doors of her library, a last minute special guest for a summer reading event, and not only is he drop dead gorgeous up close, his personality is straight up swoon-worthy. He even comes to the rescue when she has an R-rated “Super Book Worm” costume malfunction. But when he mistakenly assumes she’s more into books than pucks, she’s too flustered to correct his mistake. And then comes a big kiss, followed by a teensy-tiny problem. Jed’s dating policy is simple: Never date a fan.
So what’s a fangirl going to have to do to convince her ultimate crush that he’s become less of a perfect fantasy, and more like the perfect man. . .for her?
Jed West’s stomach curdled faster than overheated hollandaise sauce as he squinted at the menu for Zachary’s, Denver’s most popular all-day breakfast hangout. Ghost-like shadows haunted the specials list, blurring the descriptions for peanut butter French toast, country fried steak benedict and sweet potato pancakes. Ah, shit. Not fucking now. There went the prices too–the dollar signs and numbers blurring until barely legible.
No point blinking. He knew the drill. Jaw tight, he reached for his orange juice, took a swig and waited. Short bouts of double vision had dogged him ever since Game Seven, the pattern the same. After a minute or two, his focus would snap back to normal as if nothing had happened. Until then, he needed to follow one of coach’s favorite axioms: “Suck it up, Buttercup.”
Who cared about the damn menu anyway? He pushed it to one side, having already ordered the “Manwich”, chorizo and eggs smashed between a jalapeno cheddar biscuit–the kind of breakfast that wanted to kill you in the best kind of ways–and crunched ice. Too bad the cubes didn’t pass on their chill, because this. . .situation for lack of a better word, was getting under his skin and it shouldn’t.
No–Scratch that. It couldn’t.
Unexplained double vision wasn’t a walk in the park, but facts were facts. And the ugly truth was that if he didn’t quit batting his lashes like Scarlett O’Hara with a fly in her skirt, The Post’s toughest sports columnist would glance up from across the table, mistake his tic for a cheesedick wink, and go Lord of the Flies on his nut sack.
At least for the moment, Neve Angel was occupied. She hunched over her digital voice recorder, dark bangs obscuring her sharp gaze as she fiddled with the control settings. Her lips moved to the upbeat Buddy Holly song piping over the sound system while she plucked a mic from her messenger bag. His vision came back online in time for him to read the orange button pinned to the front.
Had a Ball at The Rock Creek Testicle Festival.
Christ, looked to be an authentic souvenir too.
Slamming his knees together, he forced a grin, the one that had potential endorsements lined up around the block, eager for him to shill everything from vitamin infused coconut water to shaving cream. He unwrapped the paper napkin from around the fork and knife, and began tearing the corner into neat strips.
No doubt the eye thing was fatigue-related, an inevitable toll from the grueling NHL season and subsequent hard-fought playoffs. Everything would be all right in the end. If it wasn’t all right, it wasn’t the end.
“You plan on telling me what’s up with Mount Napkin Shreds?” Neve leaned her elbows on the recycled wood tabletop, a signal they were shifting into interview mode. Her brows arched beneath her thick-cut bangs. “Nervous about being in the hot seat, princess?”
“Yeah, terrified,” he answered laconically, not missing a beat. Hiding his true feelings behind a mask of confidence was a reflex; it came with the territory of having the “C” stitched on the front of his jersey. A good captain never showed fear to an opponent. “A jackal’s bark is worse then it’s bite.”
“Jackal? Don’t tell me you’re using Gunnarisms now.” She rolled her eyes. “And I’d so wanted to enjoy my bagel without gagging.”
The Hellions Head Coach, Tor Gunnar, had a reputation for dismissing the press as “jackals.” He fostered a tense relationship with journalists, in particular, the tiny woman sitting opposite. Neve had run a piece on his divorce a few years ago. He retaliated by refusing to call on her during press conferences. Neve hit back with increasingly critical op-eds. Their mutual enmity had devolved to the stuff of local legend.
A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Curvy, nerdy librarian gets a chance to score with her fantasy crush, the captain of the Denver hockey team.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed two things about writing this book: Breezy Angel and Jed West. I have always loved the trope about the so-called “ordinary” person who falls for a celebrity who in turn views them as nothing short of “extraordinary.” Probably one of the reason that Notting Hill is one of my all-time favorite movies. I wanted Jed to be alpha in the bedroom and obviously an amazingly talented athlete, but I didn’t want to right him as a one-dimensional “bro.” Instead, I wanted him to be a good guy, someone supportive of team mates and his woman. A natural leader who thrives by building up those around him, most importantly his lady. And as for Breezy, I wanted to write a woman who wasn’t drop-dead model perfect. I don’t know women like that in real life, and I want to see people in line around me at the grocery store get a chance to have their own swoony, earth-shattering happy ever after moments too!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I am so excited for readers to get their hands on Book Two in the Hellions Angels series. Head Coach is coming out on November 21st and features (wait for it) Hellions Head Coach, Tor Gunnar and his enemies-to-lovers relationship with determined sports journalist Neve Campbell. There is hate kissing, a bet over a game of air hockey and a fake date to a wedding. Also, it’s one of the sexiest books I’ve ever written.
And don’t forget about Virgin Territory about the team goalie who is not only an almost-priest who was kicked out of seminary school, but also has a reputation for brawling. Plus he may or may not be a virgin hero.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Don’t Stop Believing by Journey…because I’m mostly an optimist, plus I would take immense satisfaction creating ear worms every where I went.
If you had to title your own life what would it be and why?
Did I Leave the Stovetop On?: A Lia Riley Story
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
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This undercover agent can't disguise his true desire!
Undercover DEA agent Marcos Costa is shocked to see Brenna Hartwell—his very first crush—cozying up to the brutal drug lord he's about to bust! He hasn't seen her since childhood, but he never imagined she'd turn to a life of crime. What the hunky agent doesn't know is that Brenna's working her own bust as a rookie cop undercover.
Brenna didn't think she'd ever see Marcos again, especially not on her first undercover mission! She knows she has to keep her distance…but while she and Marcos play out their daring ruse, their youthful passion reignites. One wrong move could blow their covers. Can two loners used to self-reliance trust their lives—and hearts—to each other?
The Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn
From the very first moment, the story is filled with nail-biting tension and palpable fear for survival, that the unique, closed-off scene for the first part of the book just intensifies. There is no escape, there is no backup, there are no weapons to use to protect yourself, just your wit, your smarts, and your experience is keeping you alive in the deadly game of cat and mouse with the drug lord.
This trilogy of the three foster brothers in law enforcement, that had formed a family of a heart, has had me on the edge of my seat with each installment. They are easy to be read as standalone stories, but if you enjoy sharp romantic suspense with action and heart perfectly mixed together, you might want to check out the whole series.
Marcos Costa is the youngest of the brothers. He nearly lost his life in the foster home fire leaving him scarred for life. He is the jokester, always ready to smile and flash his dimples. His bond with his two brothers is tight, he would do anything for them. When it comes to his heart, he lost it at a young age to a girl who apparently set the fire that scarred him, Brenna Hartwell.
Brenna has been alone most of her life, ever since her mother died. She has longed for a family, for people to love and a place to belong to, yet she tends to hold her distance from others to save herself from pain and disappointment. She is brave, smart and capable, with a big heart and sweet disposition.
Brenna and Marcos's old connection and feelings spark to life immediately as they face each other in a life or death situation up in the Appalachian Mountains. I loved them together, the chemistry between them is tangible. Their past helps them understand each other, to see the strengths and weaknesses of each other, to support and survive, not only with the criminals surrounding them but in life as well.
Within the story, immersed right into the smoothly flowing tale, the author brings attention to the issue of aging out of the foster-care system, and the game of chance it is to most of the young people still needing mentoring and support to map out their lives. This concern is close to my heart, and here the best and the worst case scenarios were illustrated in vivid form.
The twists in the plot that are constant and unexpected, kept me on my toes through the tale. Just when you think there is time to gather yourself, you better think again. The crimes are harsh and savage, there is no mercy, no second chances. It is a deadly game with no real winners.
Riveting, energetic, vicious action and suspense with a side of alluring, dazzling, and sweet romance makes this story unputdownable.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and eight languages; they've also been shortlisted for the National Readers' Choice, Daphne Du Maurier and Booksellers' Best awards and won the RT Reviewers' Choice award.
Elizabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America.
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by Lynn Cahoon
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pub Date: 7/11/2017
For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . .
After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series, won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.
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By: Janie Crouch
Releasing July 11, 2017
The voices in her head have decided to kill her.
Most people joke about hearing voices in their heads. For Chloe Jeffries, they’re real. And as the creative force behind one of the most popular shows on television, she has used the constant flood of voices in her mind to her advantage: fuel for entertainment.
But now one of the voices has decided it wants Chloe all for itself.
Ex-Special Forces soldier Shane Westman just wants to make it back to Wyoming to begin to heal from the horrors of war. The last thing he needs, even as a favor for a good friend, is to take on bodyguard duty of a flighty television writer. But once he does, he realizes there are threats at play he doesn’t understand. And the woman who has somehow begun to thaw his frozen heart is in desperate danger from a menace they can’t see, but is always close.
The voice that will never allow Chloe to escape alive.
With escalating tension and palpable fear, the Survival Instinct takes the reader for a wild ride of paranormal abilities, the backstage drama of a television series, and an insistent, life-threatening, stalker hiding amongst the friendly faces.
Shane Westman is a troubled hero, the ex-Special Forces soldier lost his team in Afganistan and his will to fight in deadly battles. Shane was so easy to like, he is a solid man, trustworthy, kind and considerate. A man who takes a command of his surroundings, who is willing to risk his life to protect others. He has wrapped his heart with 'ice' to protect himself from feelings and hurt, something that has been a fault in his life before it turns into a blessing around Chloe Jeffries.
Chloe is a feisty and sassy lady who can cuss like a sailor. One-third of the triplets with paranormal abilities, she can hear people's thoughts, an ability she has learned to take advantage of as the creative director of the hit paranormal television series. Until recently, when the voices took a disturbing route, and slowly but surely started to kill her with the intensity of the emotion behind them. Only around Shane does she find moments of peace, as his 'ice' wraps around her, and the cold quiet takes over Chloe's mind.
I liked Chloe and Shane together, the connection between them is true, the chemistry is amazing. Shane understands her and her gift. He looks at her and sees his equal, there is nothing odd or weird about her voices to him. His practical way to see life and people give a sensible explanation to Chloe's gift, something that helped me as a non-paranormal fan to understand and accept it as well.
The suspense part of the tale is focused on the investigation of the increasing death threats. The more information is gathered, the more tension is on the scenes, until the explosive, fierce, ending that makes you take notice.
After the scene for the story is set, the pace of the tale picks up and delivers an entertaining, sharp, and intensive tale with tangible emotions raging in savage action and in enticing romance.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Chloe Jeffries looked over at her creative team. The Days End team was tired. Worried. The stalker had seen to that. Not to mention all the new bodyguards had definitely put a damper on the creative energy usually surrounding the show. But the new guy coming in definitely wouldn’t.
“The studio is sending in a security expert to coordinate security around here and to investigate our friendly neighborhood stalker,” Chloe told them. “We’re supposed to give him access to anything he needs. I’ve been assured that he will fit in just fine and will not hamper our artistic energy in any way. We won’t even know he’s here.”
“Like that guy walking towards us who definitely doesn’t scream I’m-a-Navy-SEAL or anything?” Travis’ eyebrow was raised so far it looked like it had found a new home in his hairline.
Chloe stared at the man in question. Didn’t seem able to turn away from him even if she wanted to. His long legs were encased in perfectly creased khaki pants, a collared light blue shirt tucked in—also perfectly—at the waist. His broad shoulders were covered in a tailored suit jacket under which Chloe was willing to bet all of this year’s salary lay a shoulder holster for a gun. His posture screamed military. The way he carried himself — the set of his shoulders and lift of his chest.
Alert. Deadly. Ready.
But impressive as his body was, it was his face that drew her more. There was nothing pretty about him. His face was rugged to the point of being harsh. His jaw already holding some stubble even though it wasn’t even yet lunchtime. And she had no doubt Mr. Military Man had shaved this morning, unquestionably during his perfect morning routine. His dark hair was cut close to his head, as if he couldn’t quite decide whether to keep it military short or go for a more relaxed style.
His eyes were hidden behind aviator sunglasses, but Chloe knew he saw everything. Knew he saw her and that if she stopped him right at this moment, blindfolded him and asked him to tell her where everyone was, he’d be able to do so with astounding accuracy, even though there were more than a dozen people milling around that he hadn’t looked at directly.
This man was the epitome of cool, calm, and collected. She could feel the former radiating off him. Wanted to close her eyes and sink towards him. Her brain, always under such constant onslaught with the thoughts of others, and particularly the one voice that had been searing through her mind so agonizingly lately, wanted to bask in this man’s ice. Wanted to douse herself in it.
But she couldn’t. Because while she had no doubt this man would be able to organize the hell out of security and unquestionably catch the stalker and freeze him with his ice-beams after leaping tall buildings in a single bound, there was no way he wasn’t going to hamper the creative energy of the set. Energy that Chloe relied on not only to make Day’s End the greatest show on television, but to keep her own sanity.
He was already sucking in her energy and they hadn’t even spoken yet.
Ten seconds later he was standing directly in front of Chloe with his perfect hair and jaw, perfect shirt tucked into his perfectly pressed pants.
“I’m Shane Westman with the Linear Tactical. We’ve been hired for security,” he said, taking off his sunglasses. Chloe wasn’t a bit surprised to find he had perfectly icy blue eyes. “I need to know who’s in charge.”
There was no way this Shane Westman could stay. No possibility Chloe could allow it.
He was too perfect. Too distracting. Too everything.
He may keep them safe from the stalker but who would keep her safe from him?
*100% of proceeds until July 16 goes to Cystic Fibrosis charities – with a special $0.99 price. Help us stomp CF! Plus, buy Survival Instinct before July 16 and get a free ebook by Janie not available anywhere else! More details here: http://www.janiecrouch.com/si-pp-0717
**Link to Free ebook offer with purchase:
Free Protector’s Promise ebook with purchase of Survival Instinct: http://www.janiecrouch.com/si-pp-0717
Award-winning romantic suspense author and 2017 Romance Writers of America RITA finalist Janie Crouch recently relocated from Virginia to an American military base in Stuttgart, Germany with her hubby and four kids.
She loves travelling, adventure racing, and movies of all kinds.
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Ready to Run
I Do, I Don't #1
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing August 22, 2017
The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.
Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.
Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
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by Olivia Dade
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17
An Admirer With A Secret . . .
Mary Higgs could be the poster girl for the buttoned-up librarian. She follows the rules. Stays ʼtil closing. Her kindness and dedication to her patrons is legendary. But those patrons have no idea what she’s typing to the mysterious shut-in who emailed the library needing a library card three months ago . . .
When the elusive Miles O’Connor shows up, he’s no invalid. A year ago, he was the gleaming, ab-sational star of the small screen. Then came the accident. Now he’s a wounded recluse with a pizza habit and fears so unshakable that only the thought of losing Mary to an online date could lure him out of his cabin.
Soon their email rapport has turned into weekends on the couch, watching tearjerkers and driving each other insane with red-hot makeout sessions. But as the desire grows and their horizons expand, the life that brought them together might not be enough for either of them . . .
“Angie, if you’re doing what I think you’re doing, please stop.”
“Oh, hi, Mary.” Once again, Angie minimized her browser window in one smooth movement. “I have no idea what you mean.”
“You want to find me a boyfriend, so you’re attempting to figure out what sort of man I’d prefer. His race. His height. His…um, other qualifications. Since you know I’d object, you’re going about it in a really roundabout and confusing way. And since you’re you, many of your questions have involved”—Mary lowered her voice from a whisper to a mere thread of sound—“personal endowments.”
“Personal endowments?” Angie kept her voice low, too. “That’s the most genteel euphemism for penises I’ve ever heard.”
With an effort, Mary resisted sharing the other terms she’d used for that area in the past. Such as, well, “that area.” Or “privates.” Or “man parts.”
“I’m not looking for anyone. And if I change my mind, I can conduct the search myself.” Pleased with both her restraint and her uncharacteristic assertiveness, she smiled at her boss. “But thank you for thinking of me.”
Angie’s eyes widened in appeal. “Come on, Mary. As far as I know, you haven’t been on a second date in months. Maybe a year.”
“Umm…” She shifted from foot to foot. “Two years.”
“And I know you. You’re not a one-night-stand sort of woman, so that means you’re experiencing an epic dry spell. Under the circumstances, what could a little online dating hurt?”
An involuntary flinch drew Mary up against the doorway. “Online dating? No. No online dating. I’ve heard so many horror stories, Angie, I can’t even tell you.”
“You’re a sensible woman. And I’d be happy to vet any contenders before you met them. So would all of our friends.” Angie clicked to maximize a window, and a colorful, half-completed form suddenly appeared. “Besides, it would be so easy. You already have a profile.”
Mary covered her face again and spoke through her fingers. “Angie. Please tell me you didn’t.”
“I thought you needed a little nudge.” A gentle hand patted her arm. “And I was delighted to be the bearer of good nudges. Especially since you’re the sweetest woman I know. You deserve an amazing man in your bed. Or an amazing woman, I suppose.”
“Man,” she mumbled.
“Oh, good.” Angie sounded pleased. “That’s what I chose for the profile.”
“Again, I appreciate your thinking of me.” She dropped her hands and did her best to appear stern. “But I’m not looking for someone in my bed.”
“How about someone across a dinner table? Or beside you at a movie theater?”
With a sigh, Mary admitted, “That sounds nice.”
“I know you’re a strong, independent woman who doesn’t mind being single. If you want me to delete your profile, I will.” Angie met her gaze directly. “But I’d love to see you give this a shot. I promise you, I wouldn’t encourage you to do anything unsafe. You’re my coworker and friend, and I’d never put you in harm’s way.”
“I know.” And she did know. Angie had a huge heart and endless reserves of loyalty for the people she loved. Also a strong streak of recklessness, but Mary had grown to love that too. As far as Mary was concerned, her boss should serve as a model for timid women everywhere.
“And have you considered the Singles Skydiving event we saw in the paper yesterday?”
Well, maybe not a model, exactly. More like inspiration, tempered by common sense. Heavily tempered, until death-defying feats were no longer involved.
“I might be willing to try online dating. But if you try to sling a backpack on me and shove me off a plane, I’ll haunt you from beyond the grave.” Mary raised her brows at Angie. “And you know I’m a woman of my word.”
Angie snorted. “So dramatic. You’ve been hanging out with Sarah too much.”
“Most likely.” A smile spread across her face at the thought of her best friend. “Her mannerisms were bound to rub off sooner or later.”
“So you’ll keep this profile?” Angie’s head tilted toward the computer screen.
“I’ll keep a profile,” Mary corrected. “Not necessarily yours. Heaven only knows what you said in it.”
“Not much. Just that you’re lovely, intelligent, hardworking, and sweeter than any of them deserve. Also that you appreciate men in a rainbow of delicious colors.”
She came closer to the monitor, curious what else her boss had entered into the form. “For pity’s sake, Angie. I have never, not once in my life, described myself as ‘Beyoncé’s more beautiful and talented twin.’ I don’t look anything like her!” If only. That sort of effortless glamour and polish had eluded Mary her entire life.
Angie shrugged. “Just trying to approximate your babeliness in a way most people would understand.”
“What about the ‘more talented’ bit?” Mary gaped at her. “Don’t you remember that program last year? The one where I sang Christmas carols?”
A small wince creased Angie’s forehead. “Talent doesn’t have to mean singing. Which is a good thing, in your case. I think we attracted feral cats from miles around that night.”
Leaning over Angie, Mary wrestled the mouse from her boss’s grip and exited the form without saving. “I’ll fill one of these profiles out on my break. By myself.”
Angie’s lower lip poked out. “But I was enjoying myself.”
Olivia Dade grew up an undeniable—and proud—nerd, prone to ignoring the world around her as she read any book she could find. Her favorite stories, though, were always romances. As an adult, she earned an M.A. in American history and worked in a variety of jobs that required her to hide her bawdy interior under a demure exterior: Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, high school teacher, academic tutor, and (of course) librarian. Finally, though, she realized the call of the hussy could no longer be denied. So now she writes contemporary romantic comedy with plenty of sex, banter, and nerdery. When not writing, she cooks alongside her husband, dabbles in photography, and tries to hide her collection of throbbing-intensive romances from her curious daughter. Visit her on the web at oliviadade.com.
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One Last Chance
Oak Grove Series, Book 3
July 11, 2017
She's escaped an abusive relationship, he's hiding from the horrors that followed him home. Can the two of them find the courage to face their pain, heal, and find love?
Rachel Bennett has had enough. She’s finally found the strength to leave her bastard of a boyfriend with the help of her childhood friend and deputy sheriff, Sawyer. But the hurt runs deep, as do the family secrets that drove her down the spiral of self-destruction. She’s determined to start life fresh, but with nowhere to go, she finds herself staying with Sawyer.
Sawyer Truman has loved Rachel as long as he can remember. He joined the Army Reserves after high school to prove to himself—and Rachel—he’s the right man for her. He returns from Afghanistan, demons hot on his trail, to find Rachel shacking up with a new boyfriend. He fears he’s lost his one chance with Rachel. It doesn’t take long before he sees what no one wants to admit—Rachel is being abused. After one too many calls to her house, he convinces Rachel to leave Shane. What he didn’t expect to happen was to find her living in his guest room.
As Rachel heals from her abusive relationship, Sawyer and Rachel grow closer. But will a lingering family secret threaten to ruin Rachel’s fragile psyche? Will Sawyer’s unspoken love for Rachel survive and grow?
One Last Chance is a powerful, touching, emotion filled, authentic story about healing and surviving domestic abuse and PTSD. It is about learning to trust and love again, about family, forgiveness, and acceptance. It is a story that had me in tears because of the raw and real feelings that burst from the pages and touched my heart.
Rachel Bennett's story has been building up through the series. First, it was just the hints that something was not right, and then it escalated into more information about the abusive situation she lived in. The anticipation was high as I started the book, and from the first page, it pulled me into the story that I inhaled, forgetting everything else around me.
There are detailed domestic violence situations in the story, as well as nightmarish PTSD episodes that might be a trigger to some. They are very well done, respectfully and thoughtfully towards the survivors, yet filled with rough images of a true to life situations.
Sawyer Truman, the trustworthy, honorable, kind, patient, protective man was the perfect person for Rachel in every way. His support to Rachel during her healing is immeasurable, he would do anything to help her find herself again, to learn to stand up for herself again, to find the new Rachel who takes control of her own life.
As the time passes and their closeness brings more intimacy, the romantic feelings from their past develop into something much more, something passionate, something beautiful, lasting, the forever and a day kind of love. It is so beautifully done, absolutely adorable how the adoration Sawyer feels for Rachel helps her to find herself again.
The timing, in the story, is perfect. The healing takes time, the development of the characters as well as their feelings takes its time to grow and cultivate. There are several elements that keep the intensity high, the nightmares, the palpable fear of new attacks, the family secrets, and the angst of new chances, new beginnings, new careers, and new life, love, future. The story is well written flowing off the pages seamlessly with constant new twists in the characters lives making it impossible to put down until the very satisfying end.
The Bennett family has made an impact on me and found their way to my heart. The stories have the small town charm, yet are filled with such life-like, real, authentic emotions that it is easy to connect with the protagonists, and feel their joys and sorrows. Each story seems to top the previous one, yet all the books can be read as standalone stories.
A poignant and heartrending story that still manages to inspire, encourage, and deliver a beautiful message of love, trust, family, and forgiveness.
~ Five Spoons
She spun in a circle, her arms open wide. Her laughter filled the air.
Sawyer laughed along with her. She locked gazes with him and his eyes lit with excitement.
And another emotion smoldering just below the surface.
“I’m glad.” When she was done spinning, she recaptured his hand. She wasn’t about to count on him taking the initiative twice. She wanted to explore the unmistakable desire that had flashed in his eyes before he’d shuttered them. Butterflies danced in her stomach, their rapidly-beating wings stirring her insides to mush. If someone had asked her last week, shoot, just a few days ago, where she’d be, not in a million years would holding hands with Sawyer have been her response. She was like a teenager mooning over her first crush, before Shane had jaded her outlook on life and love.
Each stroke of Sawyer’s thumb over her knuckle sent a jolt that jump started her heart. She had forgotten that a man’s touch didn’t have to mean fear or pain. Could he hear the wild beating inside her chest? She couldn’t hide much from him, not when he stood so close.
Sawyer stiffened slightly. “So...are you gonna start back up at J.J.’s soon?”
Damn. She would have liked a few more minutes of bliss before being forced to confront the reality of her daily life staring her in the face.
“I’d like a couple of days to regroup and let my bruises fade. I’m sure I’m already the talk of the town, the Bennett girl who couldn’t take care of herself—”
Sawyer stopped walking. He released her hand but before she could mourn the loss of the connection, he cupped her cheeks so she had no choice but to look him in the eye.
“I don’t wantto hear you say that again. You’re a strong woman. Someone plenty capable of taking care of yourself. You just got bogged down in a difficult situationfor a while before you got out of it.You did that, Rachel.”
If only that were true. She wasn’t that strong.
His gaze dropped to her lips. Her tongue darted out and wet them.
Being this close to him, the flecks in his eyes sparkled. She leaned into him, just a bit. He didn’t back away. His eyes stayed fixed on hers. Did he have butterflies dancing in his stomach right now, too?
Memories of her childhood crush filled her mind. She closed the final inches between them, and her lips brushed against his — tentative, testing his response. He didn’t kiss her back, but he didn’t pull away, either. His lips were firm and strong. And soft. She tasted a hint of malt.
Well, him not kissing her back just wouldn’t do. She pressed gently against him, their bodies touching. His arms came around her and he tilted his head. Finally. His lips moved over hers, teasing and nibbling the corners of her mouth before brushing across her lips again. When she pulled back to see if the world had just shifted for him too, her hands stayed on his arms.
Nancy Stopper is an award-winning debut author. She writes contemporary romance with strong women and sexy heroes that tug at your emotional heartstrings and leave you with a warm feeling that lingers long after the last page. Her favorite escape is small-town romance and even when set in a larger location, her books have that small-town feel.Her first novel, One Last Risk, won first place in the Short Contemporary Romance category of the Fool for Love Contest and was a Maggie Finalist in the unpublished Single-Title Contemporary Category. Dreams Come True in Laguna, Nancy's first novella, was published in the Laguna Beach Kindle World in 2016. One Last Risk, her first full-length contemporary romance novel was published in April 2017. Nancy lives in Virginia with her husband, two of her three kids that are still at home, and one cat who regards her with disdain daily. When she's not behind her laptop, you can find her at a ballfield, cheering on her favorite team (Washington Nationals) or her favorite player (her son, who pitches for his local high school), or at a dance performance with her daughter.
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