Love was the last thing on this untamed cowboy’s mind…until she stole his heart away.
Cleo Delaney will do anything to keep her promise and raise her best friend’s sons—even if it means telling a little white lie to the state to keep them. So Cleo turns to the only person she can trust to help her—her first love, Judd Laramie. If he fosters the three young brothers in name only, she’ll do all the heavy lifting. It’s a foolproof plan…but she never imagined that the feelings they once shared would return. With a vengeance.
Texas deputy Judd Laramie is stunned by Cleo’s request. Being a dad—even on paper—is the last thing this cowboy needs right now. But no one knows better than Judd how flawed the foster system is and how much these brothers need Cleo’s protective love. What starts as a simple lie becomes so much more, and soon it’s clear Judd needs Cleo and the family they’ve created as much as they need him. Now he’ll do whatever it takes to win Cleo’s heart and claim the future they all deserve.
There are few authors who can get me as enamored with a story as Delores Fossen does with her excellent, engaging storytelling talent and her way to use the English language. And Hot Texas Sunrise -- I just loved it, every word, scene and moment of it as I was simultaneously sobbing, laughing, swooning and falling in love.
Prepare yourself for an emotional ride that will pull all the feels into the surface.
Even with the mighty serious subjects of child neglect, abuse, and foster care challenges, and alcoholism, through the tale, there is a tiny line of hope following each challenge that the life throws at the brothers. There is that faith that things will turn better, that everything will work out, as long as we stick together and have each other's back. And that they do. They might have shown some tough love at times, but they are always there for each other.
Judd Laramie was so delightfully easy to fall for, completely. His humble kindness, his sense of humor, his way to look at life and the people he interacts with, he won me over from the start, no doubt about it. He struggles with his demons from his challenging childhood, yet he is honest about them and doesn't hide behind the troubles, but is trying to move forward.
Cleo Delaney is a feisty, spirited, determined, and brave, a true heroine doing her best to save the kids of a friend who passed away. Her passion for life and everything she engages with is admirable and fiery, as she gives her all every waking moment.
The connetion between Cleo and Judd goes all the way to their teenage years, as does the burning chemistry between them, the attraction that has been there for always. It is a tangible force, that takes off like a hurricane, and there is nothing they can do to stop it, so they just enjoy the ride (the pun intended.)
Hot Texas Sunrise is a story of survival, a family of heart, the strong bonds of brothers, and about resurrection and love. It is a tangled mess, it is fervent and intense. It has such hilarious unexpected humor in the most serious situations, and it has the feels, all the emotions on the surface as the story unfolds. I savored each moment of the tale, pacing myself, so I could catch each nuance and twist, take pleasure in a story while getting to know Judd and Cleo, and the whole wanton bunch at the Coldwater ranch.
~ Five Spoons!
In a world where he can have anything, he wants her.
From the author of the sinfully sexy and highly addictive The Wolf Hotel series comes a seductive and tantalizing new novel, SWEET MERCY!
Nina West’s SWEET MERCY is now available in Kindle Unlimited!
One visit to my father in prison—convicted for a murder he didn’t commit—and I’ve attracted the attention of the last man I’d ever want knowing that I exist.
Son of an infamous crime boss. Pretentious liar. Merciless womanizer. A scoundrel to the core.
Worse, he has figured out how desperate I am to protect my father from brutality behind bars. He has the power to grant that protection and he has offered it … for a price.
I am to become a prisoner in his playhouse mansion, to live with him until he tires of having me around.
I'll do anything for my father, including agree to Gabriel's cruel game. But I won't comply with his every whim and wish.
Not when he taunts me with that ruthless spark in his cold blue eyes.
Not when he requires that I share his bedroom at night.
Unfortunately for me, I think my loathing for him is what he’s enjoying most.
That's fine. By the time I’m through with him, he’ll be crying my name.
**Sweet Mercy is the first book in the Dirty Empire series.**
I check my watch for the hundredth time.
That’s three hours and ten minutes of sitting in this bland, uncomfortable waiting room, even though I made sure to arrive at eight thirty sharp this time, when visiting hours opened.
If there’s one thing I can say about Fulcort, it’s that it’s quickly becoming as predictable as a thief browsing a shop full of jewels.
And, I swear, that woman who just passed into security arrived well after me. So did the last five people they called. But I don’t dare complain. That leering, strip-search-threatening security guard from last weekend is there again today, stealing frequent looks my way that make the hairs on my arms stand on end.
With a heavy sigh, I sink back into the LSAT prep text book I borrowed from a friend, keeping one ear perked for my name to be called. It’s hard to focus—what with all the buzzers buzzing and people milling impatiently and Pervy Parker’s brusque barking—but time is not a luxury I can afford to waste, not if I’m actually going to pay the registration fees and take this test in the fall.
In my periphery, I sense a figure approaching, and a moment later they settle into the chair directly beside me. Even though there’s an open section across from me that would give this person—this male, based on the black Adidas and dark wash jeans that I can see from my hunched angle and the spicy cologne I just inhaled—an empty seat on either side of him. But, no, he has to sit down
I grit my teeth, annoyed. But I’m in a prison waiting area and likely to go in soon, so there’s no need to cause a potential scene by getting up and moving. Either way, I shift my body to give him the back of my shoulder.
“You want to be a lawyer, huh?” the stranger says, and somehow his deep, raspy voice slides down my spine like liquid honey.
And now he’s reading over my shoulder.
As much as I’d like to ignore him, my father’s words from last weekend about making enemies ring in my ear. I don’t need to be making enemies around here either. “Yup,” I murmur politely, but keep my head down.
“Smart and beautiful. I haven’t had that combination. Yet.” There’s no mistaking the humor in his voice. Or the insinuation.
This is where my politeness ends. “Look, no offense? But I’m not here to get hit on by….” The rest of the words fall off as I turn to find myself caught in intense blue eyes the color of nightfall.
It’s the guy from last week. The sexy-as-all-hell guy.
The one visiting the mob boss.
I clear my throat several times as a wild rash of flutters stirs in my stomach.
His lips curve into a knowing smirk, as if he can sense my reaction. He’s somehow even more attractive today. Almost model-pretty, with that cutting jawline, high cheekbones, and deep-set eyes. But the thin layer of stubble coating his cheeks, the rough hands, the slouchy, legs-spread way he sits in that chair radiates masculinity.
Pretty, but likely dangerous, I remind myself. God only knows how dangerous. This guy was visiting Fulcort’s version of Al Capone last week. For all I know, he’s a mob henchman. Maybe he knows where that missing witness went.
Maybe he’s the one who helped make him disappear.
I need to stay far away from this man.
“I’m no expert, but I’m guessing lawyers who can’t find their tongues don’t do very well in that profession.” His gaze drops to my mouth, where it sits for several beats. “Sorry, what were you saying? Something about not being here to get hit on by…?”
I clear my throat again. Being outright rude to him would be as stupid as welcoming his cocky version of flirtation. I settle for polite honesty. “By anyone.” But especially not by the goddamn mob.
“I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t hitting on you then.” His dark blue eyes drift casually around the room. “You’re not my type.”
“Well… good.” I duck my head as I try to shake my embarrassment. What is his type, I wonder? Silicone-filled, no doubt. Likely also dubious morals and a loose—
“Who are you visiting?”
“My father,” I find myself answering before I can stop myself. I hesitate. “You?”
He smirks. “Same.”
My stomach drops. This guy isn’t a mobster minion. He’s the son of a mob boss. Is that better or worse?
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Nina West is the author of the sinfully sexy and highly addictive The Wolf Hotel series. She enjoys binge-watching holiday movies, quoting lines from Friends, and weekend wine-touring (but will settle for anything that gets her a glass of wine.) She lives in the city but spends her summers in the wilderness with her husband.
The Infamous Duchess by Sophie Barnes
Series Diamonds in the Rough
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date March 26, 2019
When Henry Atticus Lowell awoke, the first thing he became aware of was the gentle tread of someone moving carefully about. He flexed his fingers and felt the soft cotton of a sheet draped over his body. Well, it would seem he was still alive, thanks to his brother’s miraculous efforts. And the pain . . . it was more of an ache now, which was a definite improvement.
Hesitantly, he opened his eyes just enough to let a bit of light in. It was blinding, the sunshine spilling in from a nearby window with unforgiving brightness. He winced and immediately closed his eyes again.
“Mr. Lowell?” The voice that spoke was feminine, soft and soothing, a mere whisper almost. Henry grunted his response and sensed the woman come nearer. “I hope I did not disturb you.” A soft hand settled upon his brow for no more than a fleeting second. “You do not seem to have a fever, which is excellent news.”
He drew a deep breath, focused on the tightening effect it had on his chest, and gradually expelled it. “No.” Again he tried to open his eyes, to see the nurse who’d come to attend him. She sounded lovely and . . . The light was no longer as bright as it had been. It shone at the woman’s back, surrounding her in a halo of gold. She was fair, with dark blond tresses catching the sun and tossing it back. Her face, however, was perfection itself, a pair of pale blue eyes and full lips portraying the deepest shade of rose he’d ever seen.
Perhaps he had died after all.
Henry closed his eyes on that thought and allowed himself to drift off again, certain he’d just caught a glimpse of heaven and one of its prettiest angels. But the matter of leaving his earthly state was quickly dismissed when he woke again later to find his brother sitting nearby. The room was now cast in shadows, alerting Henry to the late time of day.
He tried to speak but wheezed instead and was grateful for the glass of water Florian swiftly pressed to his lips. “Thank you,” he managed after savoring the cool liquid flowing down his parched throat.
Florian eyed him with stalwart gravity. “I was worried about you for a moment.”
Henry grinned and immediately regretted doing so when his wound stretched uncomfortably in response. He winced and grew serious, making every effort to relax. “Is that really all I deserve? A mere moment of concern?”
“Humph! I’ve enough faith in my own skills to know when more is unnecessary. That’s the moment I’m talking about. The second it took to assure myself that I wouldn’t have to convey the news of your death to our parents.” He paused for a second, and then, “What the devil were you thinking, antagonizing a cocky lad who’s barely quit his leading strings? You know someone like that is going to fight before he thinks.”
“You’re lucky he isn’t here to witness your insult or I daresay he’d call you out next. All I did was tell him his orange jacket looked ghastly and that his tailor ought to give better advice.”
“What? Would you not prefer for someone to tell you that you look ridiculous instead of continuing to parade about as if you’re presenting high fashion?”
“Of course I would, but that’s hardly . . .” Florian let the words fade and placed his hand on Henry’s arm instead. “I’m glad you’re all right and that you’re still here. The alternative would be unthinkable.”
Henry allowed a faint smile. “I made you miss your ship.” He felt terrible about upsetting his brother’s plans, but he’d also been more afraid than he’d let on and had wanted his brother’s medical expertise to be available.
“Yes. You did.”
“Can you forgive me?”
“After everything you’ve done for me? How could I not?”
Grateful, Henry sank further back against his pillow. And yet . . . “I haven’t done so much.”
Florian held his gaze. “No. Of course you haven’t. You only helped me fight Bartholomew after discovering I’d lied to you about him for fourteen years.”
“Telling me he was your father was not a simple thing.”
“No. It was not. But that doesn’t change the fact that perhaps it is I who should ask for your forgiveness?”
Henry sighed. “You’re my brother, no matter what. Forgiving you was easy.”
Florian shifted as if discomforted by the intimacy of their conversation, so Henry decided to change the subject. “There was a nurse here earlier, or at least I believe she must have been a nurse. She placed a compress on my forehead.”
The edge of Florian’s mouth lifted. “And?”
“Well, I was merely thinking that if she’s been assigned to my care, it would be nice to know her name.”
“Hmm . . .” Florian didn’t look convinced by this explanation, as evidenced when he said, “I don’t want you flirting with the staff, Henry. You need to recuperate and they need to do their jobs without you ta—”
“For God’s sake. I only want her name. You needn’t make it sound as though I have questionable intentions.”
Florian sighed. “Fine. If you can describe her to me, I might be able to help.”
Pleased, Henry couldn’t stop from smiling. Especially not when he thought of the woman he’d seen. “She’s fair with golden hair and eyes the loveliest shade of blue I have ever seen.”
“Ah. I believe you must be referring to Emily.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS by Sophie Barnes, we’re giving away a paperback set of the first three books in the series━A Most Unlikely Duke, The Duke of Her Desire, and The Illegitimate Duke!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the first three books in the series━A Most Unlikely Duke, The Duke of Her Desire, and The Illegitimate Duke. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 4/5/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
Born in Denmark, SOPHIE BARNES spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times-in three different countries and in three different dresses. When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. Visit Sophie Barnes at www.SophieBarnes.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter (@BarnesSophie).
London Calling by Veronica Forand
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance & Romantic Suspense
Publisher Entangled Amara
Publication Date March 25, 2019
Macknight scanned the surroundings outside the hotel room window. Everything seemed as it should be in downtown Minsk. Clear sky, bright sun, no abnormal congregations of people in the plaza. Men and women wearing only a few variations of the same dark business attire and blue-collar workers in somber colors headed to lunch while groups of school children loitered nearby during a break from classes. Up above, on a rooftop over the plaza, a lone security guard kept watch, more interested in his mobile than his job.
“How does this look?” Lucy asked, as though she were meeting a guy she’d swiped right on Tinder.
How did she look? Like bait for a very important fish. Her blond hair tumbled over her shoulders in loose waves. Her blue silk blouse showed an indecent amount of skin. Her short black skirt and sky-high heels gave the impression she’d be easy on the first date. If everything went as planned, she’d be a sure thing.
In the past, watching Lucy prostitute herself in the name of the Queen had pulled at Macknight’s conscience, but she’d always had the choice to say no, and she never did. Not in the five years since she’d joined his team. Her work made asset acquisition easier. Men lusted after her, adding incentive for potential spies to turn traitor to their own countries.
“You look perfect,” Owen answered. He circled her, nodding in approval. “If Panin doesn’t want you, Macknight and I will take you out tonight dancing and drinking and…”
Macknight lifted his hand to shut down Owen’s chatter. “If there’s a problem, we’ll be on a plane back to London to regroup and prepare for our next assignment. She’s not a party favor.”
Lucy’s confidence and ability to step straight into the lion’s den without hesitation should be recognized for the fearless act it was. Mollycoddling her before she set foot on center stage was the worst thing they could do for her.
“Let him be, Macknight. Owen wants what I want—a retirement spent sailing in Santorini and clubbing in Berlin.”
“And Ibiza. That was one insane night,” Owen added.
Macknight checked his watch again. “Five minutes.”
She walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder, her touch calming the tension in his muscles. “Isidor Panin shouldn’t be difficult to seduce. He’s a mid-level bureaucrat at the Russian Ministry of Energy. Sounds like a pretty dull existence to me. I’ll add a bit of spice to his life.” After five years of working together, she’d become his sanity, keeping him human, even on his worst days, a sister to replace the family he’d lost so many years ago. “Is everything ready?”
He nodded. “Owen and I will be at a table only a few feet away from you. We’ll have your back.”
“You always do.” Her smile faded. The game wasn’t new to them anymore, the thrill no longer overshadowing the risk. “Did the additional background check reveal anything new?”
Owen took his handgun off the table and secured it inside the waistband of his jeans. “Not much. He’s more than willing to sell his reputation and everything he knows about Arctic oil exploration for fifty thousand pounds per year. He’s drowning in debt, and his wife left him to move back in with her elderly mother.”
“Sounds pathetic, actually.” Lucy checked herself in the mirror again, a perfectionist in her art.
“He’s the ideal pawn. As long as we can keep him safe and undiscovered,” Macknight responded.
Lucy turned to face them. “We always do.”
“I don’t know what MI6 would do without us,” Owen replied, basking in his own praise.
“Let’s not get too confident.” Macknight tended to be the drag on their assignments. That was part of his job. Cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Get everyone home safe.
Once MI6 recruited an asset in a critical industry in a target country, the first few months determined the future effectiveness of the recruit. Money always flowed into their hands, but the transactions often included safe passage to the United Kingdom if anything went sour. When money wasn’t enough, there was sex to keep the asset loyal.
If Lucy wasn’t the right type of bait, Owen took over. He handled men and women equally. Macknight had a different job. If the risk of someone living became too high, he eliminated them. Anyone could be his target—a potential spy with loose lips or even a colleague at MI6 if the person knew too much. Only a few people in the world were safe from him, mainly Lucy and Owen. He didn’t keep a count of his kills, but the number was large enough to send him to the lowest levels of hell.
“One minute,” he said, glancing at his watch.
The conversation stopped, and each team member focused on their own part of the game. Macknight played through the scenario a few more times in his mind and ignored the gnawing in his gut whenever Lucy became someone’s plaything. He and Owen would remain in the background, watching for any threats. Hopefully, that would be enough to keep her safe.
She grabbed her purse off the couch. When she reached the door, she turned toward the men and waved. “Do svidainya.”
Once outside of the hotel room, they’d only speak Russian until they returned to London. Lucy would only refer to herself as Katya Nikonov, a Russian translator who grew up in the U.K. The hotel room had been swept for any surveillance devices when they’d arrived, providing them one small, safe haven where they could relax.
A minute later, Macknight and Owen headed into the plaza and found a not-so-perfect table. Large flower pots ablaze in reds and oranges and huge white and yellow sun umbrellas blocked part of Lucy’s introduction to Panin. As Macknight adjusted his seat to place Lucy in his line of sight, Owen ordered two beers. Beer in Belarus was never as smooth or as cold as a pint in London, but the only other palatable option, Russian vodka, would obliterate Macknight’s ability to assess the situation around him.
He’d dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, his hair pulled back and tied, a bloke out for a beer with his mate, who appeared a bit edgier with his brown hair gelled and spiked into a style only an overconfident punk could get away with. The goal was to keep attention off of them. Not even Panin should know he had a few extra observers in the vicinity. Although they’d guard the potential asset with their lives, his loyalty had yet to be proven. So they remained close, but unannounced.
A crisp May afternoon brought crowds of people outside. Too many for Macknight’s liking. Between the umbrella stands and customers jockeying for a better location on the patio, the view of their targets three tables over wavered between perfect visibility and complete blindness.
The meeting involved three people—Lucy, Panin, and Edward Ross, the MI6 recruiter. Ross located potential assets while flying around the world as an executive for British Petroleum. He’d recruited over thirty members of the Russian government to spy for the British. More professional, rational, determined, and driven than anyone Macknight had ever met, he’d been a mentor to Macknight, introducing him to the style and finesse required while living within the MI6 matrix.
When Ross had learned of Panin’s interest in becoming a mole for MI6, he offered him a large amount of cash—and Lucy—in exchange for critical information. From the smile on Panin’s face and his hand on her knee, he was more than willing to close the deal. Might as well live large while he could. If someone on the other side learned of his turning spy, he was a dead man.
A few people stood up at a table between Macknight and their targets. He feigned an ache in his back and stood up, his height allowing him to see over shoulders and heads.
This location wasn’t his first choice for a meeting. It wouldn’t have been his second or third choice, either, but Panin had requested a public place. Either the information he offered was more valuable than they’d thought, or he was extremely insecure and paranoid. Recruitment involved a dance between conflicting needs and loyalties. The more patient party often won out.
A wee girl brushed by Macknight, leaving a swipe of chocolate ice cream on his pant leg.
“Hey, watch it,” he said in Russian, holding back the swear word that sat on the edge of his tongue. He wiped off the sticky mess with a napkin. About five years old, the little blonde hadn’t meant to ruin his jeans, but the damage was done. She rushed away between the cramped tables and chairs, catching up to her mother and clasping her hand.
“Telling off children now?” Owen raised his glass toward the girl disappearing into the crowd.
“These are my favorite pants.”
“You need a vacation or a woman.”
Macknight pointed to the stain on his knee. “I’ve never had a woman come into my life without causing chaos. Except Lucy.” Dedicated to her job, she was a sympathetic ear after a tough assignment and the peacemaker of the team. She was perfection.
They returned their focus to the conversation at the other table.
Ross took a slow, relaxed sip of his vodka, while Panin and Lucy focused on each other.
“When are you available?” Panin asked her, all sound coming through the wire in Lucy’s ear.
“Tonight?” Her fingers rested on his arm; her gaze fell toward his lips. Sexy innocence oozed out of her every movement.
Panin smiled. A cockiness set his posture straighter. He turned to Ross. “I think this arrangement will work just fine.”
“May it be prosperous for everyone. If you’ll excuse me, I need to find the men’s room.” Ross stood, kissed Lucy on the cheek, and headed inside the bar. He glanced back at the table twice before disappearing into the building.
“Watch them while I meet with Ross,” Macknight told Owen.
“Grab me a beer while you’re in there.”
“One is enough.”
“We’re going to be sitting here for another hour while they make arrangements to shag. I need something to shift my mind off the image of Lucy and Panin in bed together.”
Macknight looked over at Panin and Lucy. Their conversation had veered to blow jobs and handcuffs. Maybe another beer would be helpful. First, he had to meet with Ross to confirm that Panin was acceptable. He pressed through the crowd and found Ross washing his hands in the men’s room, his back to the door, but his eyes focused on the mirror to provide a perfect view of the area. He gave Macknight a short nod to acknowledge the room was clear.
“Another jewel in the crown. Good work,” Macknight said.
Ross was an artist when it came to the subtle and dangerous negotiations that led to new moles inside key government positions.
“Not yet. He’s interested in Lucy, but he doesn’t show enough interest in the money, which might mean he’s playing us.” Ross massaged one of his temples and frowned. “Stay on guard. I don’t trust him yet.”
An uncomfortable chill spread through Macknight’s gut. That was the problem with recruiting. Sometimes people were legitimate, most of the time they weren’t. The Russian Military Intelligence Service, the GRU, could be entrapping Panin as much as MI6 was attempting to turn his loyalty.
“I’m going to say goodbye to Lucy and Panin then head to the airport. If he sends me the documents, I’ll wire his account and give Lucy the go-ahead. Keep an eye on him.”
Macknight nodded. “Maybe I’ll see you at the next go-round.”
“There’s always a possibility.” Ross stalled at the door. “Take care of yourself.”
Macknight gave Ross time to make it back to his table, then left the washroom and turned toward the bar. A pretty redhead came over to take his order. She leaned toward him and didn’t say a word, just lifted her brows in invitation.
“Two glasses of Krynitsa,” he ordered.
“Anything else?” She pulled out two mugs. “I’m free in a few hours.”
He rested against the carved edge of the bar and imagined relaxing with a stranger in a foreign city. Nothing stirred in him but impatience. Owen and Lucy were his priority. “I have to work tonight.”
She gave him a forced smile. “Maybe next time.”
“Sure.” Though he’d never be back. Watching over a teammate meant the closest he’d get to a night of shagging would be listening to the grunts and groans of Lucy and Panin sealing the deal.
Owen’s voice in his earpiece cut through his thoughts. “Is Ross with you?”
“No. He went back to the table.” He scanned the bar. “He’s not here, and the lunch crowd is swelling.”
Before he could make it out the door, an explosion rocked the pub, shattering its windows. He fell to the floor, his hands covering his face to avoid the debris flying in all directions. As the initial shock of the blast left his system, he stood up and pushed several bystanders out of his way.
The roar of terror intensified as people ran from the scene. Screams and cries echoed across a war zone. New sounds came from the terrace now, glass breaking, the hiss of flames, and the wailing of the injured and dying. Smoke billowed from the spot where Lucy had been seated.
His thoughts scrambled, trying to make flash judgments. He ran past the table where he’d sat for the past hour. Owen was gone.
In the middle of the patio, there were at least twenty people on the ground unconscious or dead. Limbs and blood mixed with broken tables and chairs. Macknight pushed past a crowd of shocked bystanders. With each step, guilt, anger, and frustration built inside him. The flowers on the tables had scattered on the ground, adding more red to the blood already splattered everywhere. Shattered remnants of dishes blanketed the area with sharp edges. A few people hurried into the fray, wanting to help. Some turned away, their faces pale after seeing the carnage.
He left his handgun at his waist, afraid the sight of a firearm in his hand would set him up to be arrested. Instead, he crouched low, steadying his breath and focusing on one task. Protect his teammates, then kill the son of a bitch who did this.
He found Isidor Panin dead on the ground. Part of his chest was gone. The part where his heart had been. Blood coated his face and drenched the area surrounding him. His eyes stared out into something beyond this spot, his mouth open in shock. He’d never stood a chance.
Lucy was on the ground about ten feet away. The sight of her stunned him into a moment of paralysis. His heart, his head, his entire being ceased to function. The woman he’d lived with for the past five years hadn’t been murdered, she’d been destroyed. The pounding in his ears blocked out the screams of the living.
Owen was at her side, closing her eyes, moving hair away from her face. Macknight didn’t help. It wouldn’t make her whole again, and he didn’t care to scuffle with his teammate in his grief. Instead, he wanted someone to suffer and die for what they’d done. He glanced away from the bombing. Where was Ross?
“Ross?” he called out.
“Never made it back here.” Owen remained with Lucy, staring and shaking his head.
The pressure of her loss punched into Macknight’s chest. He couldn’t breathe. Lucy’s hair, stained in blood, covered part of her face. She was missing a shoe on one leg. The other leg was gone. His knees gave out until he was kneeling on the ground next to Owen.
“What the hell happened?” He wanted a name, a person he could chase down. Someone had murdered the wrong woman. Someone who would wish they’d never stepped inside Belarus. Lucy had been his sanity. On his worst days, she urged him on. For her, he pulled himself out of his grief and went to work. He slid the earpiece off her to keep her anonymous, even in death.
Owen fisted one of his hands and paused for a few breaths. “I had a decent view of Lucy and Panin, but lost sight of Ross after he stepped out of the bar. When I turned to look for him, the bomb went off. Everything went to hell pretty fast after that.”
Owen glanced away from Lucy’s corpse toward him. Part of his ear was missing.
“You okay?” An icy shiver shot through Macknight’s spine. He clenched his fist to steady the emotions coursing through him. He wouldn’t lose two teammates in one day.
“I’m fine. It’s Lucy…” Owen’s voice trailed away as blood streamed down his neck. He shook his head as though he had a bug in his ear. His skin was sallow, and he swayed like a drunk. “I missed something.”
“We’ll have time to figure it all out. Let’s get you out of here.” The tightening in his chest decreased enough for him to inhale a decent breath of air mixed with smoke and debris.
“Good idea.” Owen tried to stand, but his legs didn’t hold, and he fell back to the ground. Between the shock and the blood loss, his body shut down, collapsing in a heap next to Lucy.
Police and ambulance crews arrived. The sound of the sirens echoed through Macknight’s skull. Lucy was dead. But Owen wasn’t.
He lifted Owen into his arms and waved away the ambulance workers, telling them his friend had passed out from the bloody scene. Owen could get medical treatment on the jet back to London. With a final look at Lucy’s remains, Macknight headed to the airport. Ross better have been abducted, because if he had any part in this, he was a walking dead man.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of LONDON CALLING by Veronica Forand, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 3/29/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
VERONICA FORAND is an attorney and an award-winning writer of romantic suspense. She's lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate.
An Unwilling Earl by Sharon Cullen
Series Mayfair Men of Mystery Book One
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Entangled Amara
Publication Date March 25, 2019
The day was gloomy, wet, and tired looking, as if London were simply weary of being a city.
Jacob Baker dodged a muddy puddle and stepped over a steaming pile of horse dung. With a quick sidestep he barely missed running down a finely dressed matron.
She sniffed and harrumphed and lifted her chin to stomp past him.
Jacob was late for a meeting with the estimable Oliver McCaron, the Earl of Armbruster. It was their weekly Mayhem Meeting, as they liked to call it, where they perused the newspapers looking for the most sensational crimes and tried to solve them while drinking copious amounts of port. They had been doing this for years. Jacob wasn’t quite sure how this amateur sleuthing actually started, but he seemed to remember it was after some drunken revelry.
A sudden shout from the street and the terrified cry of a horse made him turn to find the frightened animal, pulling a loaded cart of barrels, rearing onto its hind legs. Below him, cowering on the cobblestones, was a young man, arm extended to shield his face, head turned away from the deadly hooves.
Jacob jumped over a puddle to grab the young man’s arm and drag him away before the horse could trample him. The man was more of a boy, and he appeared to be quite wanting in the food department, for he was very insubstantial. So insubstantial that Jacob yanked much harder than needed and ended up on his rear on the wet cobblestones, the boy sprawled on top of him.
Quickly the boy pushed himself up, springing to his feet in a remarkably graceful way.
Jacob stood a little more slowly, brushing the mud and gunk off his trousers. The driver yelled a few obscenities followed by a rude hand gesture and urged the nervous horse on.
“Are you hurt?” Jacob asked.
The lad shook his head. His face was grubby. Only God knew how long it had been since it had been washed.
He was wearing a red velvet waistcoat with odd patches worn off in places. His jacket, so old and dirty that the creases were shiny with grime, was blue and sported wooden buttons. Even his shoes did not match, one black button-up, the other brown laced. His shirt was brown now but had probably been white at the beginning of its life.
The boy’s face was smooth, with not a bit of facial hair, and he had wide blue eyes. The eyes appeared larger, the cheeks sunken. Dirty blond hair stuck out from beneath an old top hat that he had shoved onto his head after Jacob unceremoniously yanked him out from the horse’s hooves.
“At least tell me that you are unhurt,” Jacob said.
“I’m fine.” This came out as a throaty whisper that Jacob strained to hear.
Jacob reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin. “Take this. Get a hot meal to calm your nerves.”
The boy looked at the offer warily, but his eyes told the real truth—that a hot meal was much needed.
Jacob waved the coin in the air. “Go ahead. Take it.”
The boy snatched the coin quickly and pocketed it even faster. “Thank you,” he murmured.
“You’re sure you’re unhurt?”
He nodded and then ran away. For a moment, Jacob stood in the middle of the street, splashed by the passing carriages and carts, and watched the boy weave in and out of the crowd until he disappeared down a side alley.
The doorman at Brooks gave Jacob’s muddied appearance an odd look but let him in anyway.
He found his friend, Armbruster, sitting in his usual nook, reading The Times. Other London newssheets were stacked neatly beside him.
Armbruster lowered the paper enough to eye Jacob’s wet and muddy trousers. “What happened to you?”
“Just another day saving lost boys from death by horse’s hooves.”
His friend grunted and folded the paper to place it on the table between them. Jacob read the headline and shook his head at the words meant to incite fear. “How many bodies has this been?”
“Four. Another woman. The police are speculating she was a servant, but it’s hard to tell since she was found with no head nor hands.”
The city was nearly in hysterics, although Jacob was hard-pressed to determine exactly which kind of hysterics. People were alternately horrorstruck and enthralled—locking their servants inside while devouring the newspapers for more sensationalized details. Preachers were screaming from the pulpits that the devil was at work, and women—especially women of the serving class—were afraid to go outside for fear of being the next victim.
A bottle of their favorite port appeared, and the servant poured two healthy glasses before moving on.
Armbruster took a swallow of his. Jacob was not in the mood for port. Strangely, the encounter with the boy had shaken him. It wasn’t often that one saved a life. It was a peculiar feeling, and he wondered where the boy lived and what circumstances had brought him so low.
“Have you looked through the rest of the papers?” Jacob asked.
“Some. A woman’s husband was poisoned. That one is simple. She surely has a lover and wanted the husband out of the picture.”
Love and jealousy. It was a common theme. He’d learned that most crimes were solved by looking to the ones closest to the victim.
“What else?” he asked.
Armbruster leaned back and eyed Jacob speculatively. “Word has it you’ve been elevated in Society.” This was said in the bored way that he affected when in fact he was anything but bored.
“You can’t believe everything you hear,” Jacob said, but he couldn’t match the blandness of Armbruster’s tone. His heart had suddenly dropped to his stomach. He was surprised Armbruster had said something and then surprised he’d been surprised. Of course he would say something.
“Oh, I have this from the most trusted source.” He paused. “My mother.”
Jacob winced. If the Dowager Countess knew of the inheritance, soon all of London would know.
“You are an earl. An earl, Ashland. With all of the benefits it entails.”
Jacob tapped the arm of his chair in irritation upon hearing his title come from his friend’s mouth. “I’m a solicitor, Armbruster. It’s what I’m trained for, and it’s what I want to be.”
“An earl is much better than a solicitor.”
Armbruster would say that. From the moment the man had drawn breath he’d been trained to be an earl. He’d been groomed for it before he could eat solid food. It was in his blood, and he fit the role well. He liked being an earl.
Jacob knew nothing about any of that and wasn’t sure he was even interested.
“I guess I should give my condolences on the death of your cousin.”
“Thank you, but I never met the man.” And now he’d inherited the title. “I don’t know the first thing about being an earl.”
“Never fear, friend. That’s where I come in. I’ll teach you all you need to know.”
Jacob snorted. “Spending your days at Brooks and your nights in houses of ill repute?”
“I don’t do that every night.” Armbruster appeared to be offended, but Jacob knew the opposite was true.
The man had a certain reputation that kept the matchmaking mamas away, for fear their lily-white daughters would be infected with whatever it was that he exuded.
He’d perfected the image of a classic rogue. A wretch who drank too much, slept too late, and was a general ne’er-do-well. But Jacob knew he was so much more. He was a shrewd businessman, skilled at making money. He’d catapulted the Armbruster earldom into one of the most successful and richest of the realm.
“Wasn’t your cousin married?” Armbruster asked.
“He left a wife and young daughter behind. Unfortunately, the wife has proven that she is not in delicate condition with an expected heir.”
Armbruster grunted. “And what will you do with the widow and her daughter?”
“I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself most days. How the hell am I supposed to decide what to do with them?”
“Well, let’s not think about that now.” Armbruster reached for the stack of newssheets. “Let’s find out what London’s underbelly has to offer us.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of AN UNWILLING EARL by Sharon Cullen, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 3/29/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
Bios are the hardest things to write. I always want to be interesting and make it sound like I’m a world traveler. Unfortunately I’m not a world traveler. Yet. And I like to think I’m witty but my bio doesn’t seem so witty. So here is an unofficial bio–bulleted and in list form. 1. I wrote my first book when I was nine years old. It was about a girl and her horse and it was written on a flip top spiral notebook. I designed and drew the cover myself. 2. I attended three high schools and met my husband on the first day of my third high school. I’m not uber-religious but I believe that God had a hand in that. 3. When I was thirty-three I decided to get serious about my life-long dream of publishing a book. I gave myself a deadline of four years to get published. I figured people earn a college degree in four years and that should be adequate time for me to learn to write a novel. 4. My first published book, A Forever Kind of Thing, was published four years after I started writing. 5. I have three very talented kids. One is talented in music, another in writing (hmmmm) and another in sports. 6. I love dogs. If I could I would adopt every homeless dog out there.
From New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover comes DOWNFALL, a sexy, standalone contemporary romance! DOWNFALL is now available on all retailers for today only!
Grab your copy today before it moves to Amazon KU tomorrow!
Solomon Sanders doesn’t have time to fall in love. Until a stunning, skittish, single mother forces him to pause and recognize just how empty and hollow his busy life has become.
From the start, it’s been ingrained in Solo’s DNA to fight.
Fight for what he believes is right.
Fight for the people he loves.
Fight for the traces of good in a place which tends to be filled with a variety of bad.
Fight for survival, so at some point, his life will quiet down and find a normal pace.
He wasn’t ready for the impact his secretive, shy, obviously out of place new neighbor was going to have on him. And never in a million years was he prepared to fall head over heels for her and her young daughter.
Now, he’s facing the most important, and the hardest fight he’s ever fought… the battle to win Orley’s damaged heart.
Orley Vincent’s heart is full of fear, leaving no space for love. Until a big, brash, brawler of a man forces his way in and makes her realize facing her fears is the only way she can ever be free.
From the start, Orley was groomed to believe she wasn’t good enough.
She wasn’t the perfect daughter. Or student. Or girlfriend.
But, she has always been the best mother she could be to her daughter, Noble.
Keeping Noble safe has always been the one thing she was determined to do, which ironically, is how she ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, living next door to an unlikely hero. Orley’s a woman on the run. She had no idea her frantic sprint was going to land her in the tattooed arms of a man ready to teach her how to fight for herself… and for love.
“What did I tell you about lurking around my place, Skinner? I don’t fucking like it.” The guy’s voice was a low growl. Intimidating without even trying. “I don’t fucking like you.”
Out of habit, I reached back and covered Noble’s ears with my hands. She wasn’t new to foul language, but I didn’t need her repeating this stranger’s garbage words, which she absolutely would at the most inopportune moment.
My eyes widened as he shook the lurker hard enough to snap his head back and forth comically. The smaller man whimpered and clutched at the hands locked on the front of his dirty coat.
“Let me go, Solo. I was just having some fun. She’s a prissy bitch. You’ve seen her walking around here like her shit don’t stink.” The pleading was wasted. The larger man was clearly unmoved.
The new arrival’s massive arms tensed and flexed as he practically threw the other man on the ground. I noticed he was dressed in nothing more than a dark t-shirt even though it was chilly outside. The short sleeves showed off more than his impressive build. In the faded street lights, I could hardly make out the designs that were inked over almost every visible inch of skin. That wasn’t an uncommon look in this neighborhood. Gang tattoos, prison tattoos, and general outsiders who called these streets home tended to rock some serious ink, but this guy’s looked more deliberate and artistic than a simple statement piece.
As soon as my attacker was back on the ground, the bigger guy stepped forward. I reflexively cringed as he lowered his big, booted foot down on the other man’s unprotected private parts. A wail of agony shrieked through the air, and I realized belatedly I should be hauling ass for my apartment, not standing around waiting to see how this brutal display of street justice played out.
I clutched Noble’s hand in mine and briskly jogged the last few yards to my apartment building. I lifted Noble over the sleeping homeless man and hustled up the five flights of stairs to our floor. The elevator had been broken since before we’d moved in, not that I would dare let either of us get trapped in a small place with anyone from this complex.
I was a panting, quaking mess when I finally slammed the door. I dropped to my knees and pulled my daughter into my arms, covering her tear-streaked face in kisses and whispering soothing words over and over again.
There was no way this could be our new normal.
But it was.
Noble deserved so much better than this.
I sighed, pushing her hair off her precious face. “You know what, sweets?” She blinked big, watery blue eyes at me and shook her head. “I think we both need cake.”
She nodded and cuddled close to me.
It wouldn’t occur to me until much later that I hadn’t bothered to shout a thank you or shown any appreciation at all to my savior. I had no clue if he was any better than the scumbag who had grabbed me, but he had at least kept my daughter safe, so I owed him, even if he was one of countless things in this forever dark place that scared the life out of me.
People didn’t help other people in this neighborhood… but he had stopped and helped me, whether his intentions were altruistic or not.
And I owed him… well… at the very least, more than a piece of cake.
Get DOWNFALL before the 28th when it goes into KU!
Amazon Live Alert: https://amzn.to/2tWo63W
From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kaylea Cross comes the next scintillating novel in herCrimson Point Series! ROCKY GROUND is a standalone romance with a hero sure to keep readers up long into the night. Check out the release blitz below and pick up your copy of ROCKY GROUND today!
She’s been hurt too many times…
Single mom Tiana Fitzgerald has sworn off all romantic relationships to protect herself and her daughter. Her track record is disastrous and she’s done getting hurt. But a certain sexy Scotsman in Crimson Point has other ideas, and somehow manages to sneak past her defenses at every turn. As the hits keep coming and her life implodes, she begins to see he’s unlike any man she’s ever known. Now he’s become the greatest threat to her heart, because there’s no possible future for them. Not when he’s leaving the country in a few weeks. And when her worst fears are realized, she must risk everything by placing her trust in in his hands.
He’s determined to capture her heart.
Scotsman Aidan MacIntyre never saw the fiery, beautiful Tiana coming. The prickly redhead has gotten under his skin as badly as he wants to get under hers. But she’s determined to keep walls between them. Luckily the former Royal Marine doesn’t know how to give up. Someone from her past wants to hurt her, but Aidan will stand between her and any threat. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her and the little girl who have completely stolen his heart—and fight for them to have a future together.
The molten hunger in his eyes sent a torrent of heat rushing through her body even as her old fears bubbled to the surface again. “Aidan…” she murmured, dropping her gaze to his chest.
She’d done it. Given her unspoken consent. Now her heart was trying to pound its way out of her chest.
His hand came up to stroke her hair away from her face. She leaned into his touch, craving more. Craving this wonderful, incredible man that for some reason wanted her in spite of all her imperfections.
Her heart beat an erratic rhythm against her ribs. She’d never experienced anything like this before. Not with this level of intensity. This was…something she’d only read about before. Was it because of everything they’d gone through together? Because she’d relied on him for survival?
His fingers stroked against her scalp in a drugging caress that had her eyelids drooping. “What are you so afraid of?”
She looked up at him again. God, he was beautiful. And strong. And brave.
He was also going to rip her heart out when he left.
It wasn’t easy to voice her insecurities aloud, but she felt comfortable with him. Close to him in a way she’d never felt with another man. “Of making another mistake. Of getting my heart broken again,” she whispered.
He cupped the side of her face to run his thumb over her cheekbone. “I’ll not hurt you, lass.”
Her insides squeezed at the tenderness in his voice, the yearning in his eyes. No, he wouldn’t hurt her intentionally. “But you’re leaving soon. In another few weeks.” That was going to leave a scar, no matter how gently the cut was made.
“Aye,” he agreed, his gaze locked with hers. “But I’m here now.”
His words reverberated in the deepest recesses of her heart. He was right here in front of her, and he wanted her.
Any other arguments she had stored up vanished in the space of a single heartbeat. Before she could think herself out of it, she gave free rein to the need pulsing inside her, took his face in her hands and pulled him down to her waiting lips.
USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with this heartwarming novel about the power of friendship, love and what happens when an ending is just the beginning…
To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone.
Audrey, a young woman from London, has left behind a heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money and no knowledge of the French language, suddenly a summer spent wandering the cobbled streets alone seems much more likely…until she meets Grace, and everything changes.
Grace can’t believe how daring Audrey is. Audrey can’t believe how cautious newly single Grace is. Living in neighboring apartments above the bookshop, this unlikely pair offer each other just what they’ve both been missing. They came to Paris to find themselves, but finding this unbreakable friendship might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them…
An ode to the strong women and the tight bonds of true friendship that encourage them to be the best version of themselves, through tears and laughter, through pain and growth, love and loss, they always stand by us, hold us up when needed, and never say they are 'just fine'.
When cheating and third person issues are one of my hard limits on the romance novels I read, the author's name was the only reason I said yes to review this title. And I am immensely glad that I did say yes, and I want to thank HQ for sending me the eARC, cause this story, it shook the foundation. The story made me think, it made me laugh, brought tears to my eyes, it brought back sweet memories of Paris, and it made me reach out to my sister-friends. Rarely there is this deep, sweet, contentment in my whole being when I finish a book, but One Summer In Paris, with its theme of forgiveness and redemption, love and friendship, family and the tribe of people we bring to our lives, it just went directly to my heart and wowed me.
Grace, Audrey, and Mimi - three women of different generations, yet tightly bonded together were all effortless to connect with and relate to. Each of them dealt with issues in their lives that were real and plausible, contributing to the tale, giving life and love a new perspective.
The fourth 'woman' in the story - Paris itself - was as delightfully seductive as always, the city of lights, passion, and love delivering the delightful images, the ardent backdrop to the passionate story of women loving and living and learning, finding their inner voice, inner strength, and their own wolfpack.
One Summer In Paris is an experience that will touch your heart, it is a sensual, triumphant tale of women, life and loss, loving and living fully, tearing down the pretenses, and daring to be honest, open, and true to yourself and others around you.
It took my breath away
~ Five Spoons
Chemistry so hot it should be illegal! THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR is a scorching new romance from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely that mixes a sexy bad boy, a feisty heroine, an unbreakable lease that makes them housemates, and a kissing contest that'll test all their resolve!
Get ready to experience one of Lauren Blakely’s hottest heroes ever!
This book has it all!
✔ An inked, motorcycle-riding, dirty-talking hero with a heart of gold!
✔ A strong, quick-witted heroine who's a kickbutt cop!
✔ Off-the-charts steam! (Warning: this book is intensely sexy!)
Get your copy of THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR now!
That inked bad boy who’s been flirting hard with me since he rode into town? Turns out he’s my new housemate, which is one hell of a problem since our chemistry is so hot it should be illegal.
I have a fantastic family, great best friends, a job I love…and now I’m up for a promotion to police sergeant. I need total focus—not a flirty, dirty, irresistible, tattooed hottie riding into my town on his motorcycle. Can I arrest him for being too good-looking? When he kisses me senseless in the back of a waffle truck, it’s criminal, the things he makes me think about hot syrup and melted butter. One order of hot, fluffy hookup to go, please.
But the next time I see him, it’s not for our date with benefits. He’s the guy who just rented the room above my garage.
I need the rent to pay my bills, not a man like Derek, who I soon discover to be strong, caring, generous, good with kids, and kind to puppies… If I’m not careful, he’ll be moving into my heart as well as my house.
A no-strings-attached fling with the fiery redhead who revs my engine? Why, yes, that does sound like a delicious perk of my new job in this new town, thank you very much. I’m coming off a bad relationship, and I have zero interest in anything serious. I’ve got all the serious I need helping my sister take care of her three little kids while her husband is deployed.
Except, surprise! Perri isn’t just my future fling. Turns out she’s my sexy, sassy landlord.
A lease definitely counts as “strings attached,” and as much as I’d like to get tangled in her sheets, I can’t let myself get tangled up in a relationship.
But as soon as we put the cuffs on our escapades, I learn over late-night conversations in the kitchen, that my landlord is so much more than the sexiest woman I’ve ever met– she has a quick mind and the biggest heart.
Once I’m in, I’m all in. And to convince her that we should see where this goes, I plan on turning up the heat—and not just in the kitchen.
Today is my lucky day.
I’d like to thank my sister for getting my ass out of bed.
I’d like to thank my niece for telling me the nice lady with the paints had just made her way down the veggie aisle.
And I’d like to thank fate that this avocado stand is in an out-of-the-way corner of the market, and that the farmer running it must have had to take one hell of a leak.
It’s just us.
This woman is fiery, flirty, and already driving me out of my mind. The stream of market-goers has thinned to a crawl as we near closing time, and left us in a cocoon of raw lust.
I place the fruit on the red-and-white-checkered tablecloth, brush my fingers over her hip, and tug her against me. She lets out the sexiest little sound. “Tell me your name. I’m dying to know.”
“Why do you need it so badly?”
“So I know what name to say when I’m fantasizing.”
A murmur crosses her lips, and she leans her head back against me, her hair spilling down my chest. “Are you fantasizing about me?”
“Every. Single. Night.”
“You must be having a log of long nights, Mr. Trouble.”
“Long, hard nights…Miss Demeanor,” I say with a smirk, trying that nickname on for size.
“Thank you. It just came to me.”
She glances back at me, her green eyes looking rife with dirty thoughts. “Do you want to come down to the station with me?”
“I want your name, beautiful. Give me your name,” I growl into her ear, commanding her.
“Perri,” she says breathlessly, her voice betraying her longing. A longing that matches mine.
“Perri,” I repeat, tasting her name on my tongue.
Her voice tightens to a warning and sharpens as she speaks. “Don’t say it.”
I narrow my brow in question. “Say what?”
“Don’t say it’s a guy’s name.”
I laugh lightly in her ear, jerking her ass closer to my hard-on. “Do you honestly believe I’m thinking for one second about guys right now?”
She lets out a gasp, chased by a soft moan. “I don’t know. What exactly are you thinking about?”
I drag my scruff against her neck. “How close I am to getting a ticket for indecent everything.”
She wriggles her sexy rear against me. “I’d say everything feel way more than decent.”
I groan as a dart of lust shoots down my spine. I’d like to find a way to kiss the breath out of her right here, right now.
She tenses against me, her body straightening like a ruler, and my gaze flicks to the new crowd of people streaming around the corner, heading toward us.
A #1 New York Times Bestselling, #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and #1 Audible Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's sweet, sexy and witty. Her heroines are strong and smart and her heroes have hearts of gold and fantastic funny bones. She lives in California with her family, including her smoking hot and hilarious husband and her two brilliant and kind children. She has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs -- she might have four dogs, or maybe five. If she's lucky, she'll soon have six dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she's sold more than 3 million books. In March she'll release THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR, in May THE DATING PROPOSAL, and in June SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.
To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter
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An amazing handbag giveaway that will make you look good and feel
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Fast, furious, intense action in a story that took me for a wild ride from the very first scene and delivered an entertaining and engaging action thriller type, on edge of your seat suspense with a touch of ardent yet deliciously tender romance on the side like an extra treat to be savored.
I absolutely loved the fact that both hero and heroine, while being strong and capable characters were not perfect, they had faults, they had weaknesses, and they were a bit broken. That brought humbleness and humility into them that was easy to relate to.
Both Declan O’Neill and Grace Lawrence were likable and easy to admire and swoon over when they act upon the sizzling attraction between them. And they had chemistry, the budding feelings towards each other, that they both were hesitant to let grow and linger, yet found it impossible to ignore the more time they spend together.
There was not much time or opportunity for them to build a deep, meaningful relationship, and the author didn't push it to the forever HEA but gave a satisfactory ending and solution that had me beaming, it was so perfect for Declan and Grace and for the beginning of the new series.
All Declan's team members, as well as Charlie, were intriguing secondary characters that I look forward to getting to know better in the future installments of the series. I have a feeling that there is a lot of fast action, severe suspense, and ardent love stories in the store for the readers, so you better buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
The Redenzione Series Book 1
by Perryen Livingston
Genre: Romantic Suspense
“You have guacamole on your shirt and you’re wearing Wonder Woman slippers. Super classy.” I lean down and lick the guac' off my shirt. That stuff costs extra.
“I called you to come over so we could watch trash TV and make fun of people. You used to love doing that. Carson has made you nice. I don’t like it.” The truth is, I adore Carson. He adores Lando and that’s what matters. It’s about time Lando found a man who is quality.
“Sugar, you know that I will sit here all day and talk smack, but that’s not why I’m here.”
“I’m going to try and find my father today. I think it’s time. I’m scared. What if he doesn’t want me anymore? It’s been forty-one years and he probably has a wife and kids. Francessca acts like she never had a kid and hasn’t told a soul. What if I’m a secret that Jamieson has kept, too?”
“You won’t know unless you try. You should prepare yourself for the possibility that he’s moved on and not looked back but you also need to have a little faith. Your dad is not your mom. You are nothing like Francessca, maybe you are more like him. What does Gracen think you should do?”
“Gracen supports whatever I decide. He hasn’t looked into Jamieson, yet. He is waiting for me to tell him what I want to do. I think that knowing Jamieson wanted to keep me when I was a baby has given him hope that he’s not a threat to me emotionally. He did say that forty-one years can change a person. It’s changed me.”
I turn the TV off and grab my laptop off the coffee table. It’s time. Lando scoots closer so we can do this together. We’ve always been there for each other during the hard times. We might give each other a hard time, talk smack, and play jokes on the other but at the end of the day, we are ride or die. Best Friends Forever. As I log into my Facebook account, I feel Lando’s hand on my boob. He’s scooping guac’ off my shirt with a chip.
“Seriously, Lando, and you think I’m not classy?” It makes sense he’d do that. We share most things. Men are pretty much the only thing we don’t share.
“Hurry up! I’m jonesing to see your hot dad.”
“You think he’s going to be hot? What exactly makes you think that?”
“Well, sugar, you are beautiful. Remy, God forgive me, he’s my godson, is handsome. You don’t look like your mom so…”
Facebook is up and my finger is hovering over the search bar like it’s going to bite me. I can do this. I can do this. I type in Jamieson Drake while Lando chomps chips in my ear. Right as he’s about to put another chip into his mouth, I swat it across the room.
“I was going to eat that!”
“You’re distracting me. You’ve gotten crumbs on my laptop. If you are this spun up about my dad, how do you think I feel?”
“I have peanut M&M’s and Twizzlers. I brought stress snacks, let’s find your dad.” I grab the package of Twizzlers, rip them open with my teeth, and grab a whole handful.
“There are so many Jamieson Drakes. Some don’t have pictures.” I scroll down a long list of Jamiesons but I stop on one photo. I click on the profile and I can’t breathe. I know that I’ve found my dad. This Jamieson is sitting on a Harley, sunglasses on, and a smirk on his face. I have that same smirk. It’s kinda my thing. Lando has Facebook pulled up on his phone and he sees it, too. He saves a picture from Jamieson’s photo album to his camera roll. Weirdo.
“Look at me. I want to see something.” I turn and Lando holds his phone up beside my face.
“Take my phone and go look in the mirror, sugar. This has to be your dad.” I go into our guest bathroom and shut the door and lock it. I have a death grip on Lando’s phone but I can’t look yet. I need a moment. Lando is right outside the bathroom door. He knows I need to do this alone.
“I know you are afraid to look and I would be, too, but it’s now or never.” I take a deep breath, count to ten, and face the mirror. I bring Lando’s phone up to my face and stare at our reflections. There he is, my dad, staring right back at me with the same nose, lips, and smirk. All of these years, I thought my mom and I would look like twins—sisters, at least. My dad, I am the female version of him.
“Lando, call Piper, please. I need her to come over. She’s the one who encouraged me to look for him.” I’m staying right here, locked in the bathroom till she gets here.
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Perryen Livingston is a Southern-raised, Sicilian born, self-proclaimed rebel Belle. She is a lover of espresso, great books, all things Chanel, and Great Danes.
Perryen spent two decades traveling the world with her Air Force husband and two sons. In 2016, she finally was able to put down roots in Central Florida— the land of sunshine, beaches, and Disney.
Always one who needed to be creative to thrive, whether it be ballet or fashion design— Perryen knew her next adventure lay between the pages of a novel, her novel.
When she’s not writing, Perryen lives the domestic life wifein’ and momin’: lint-rolling dog hair off her signature-style black leggings, walking around barefoot, and spending time relentlessly loving on her family.
Little Dove is her first book in The Redenzione Series and will have two more books to follow. You can stay up to date on what’s happening next by following her on social media.
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What a thrilling, suspense-filled investigation into a horrid killer's body dumping ground. The story left me speechless, and the conclusion, who the culprit was, blew me away. Rarely does it happen that I have absolutely no inkling of the killer - and Laura Griffin is one of the few authors who manage to do that.
Bones is one of my all-time favorite television shows, and when one of my favorite romantic suspense book series, Tracers, has a forensic anthropologist as the female lead, you bet I was super excited to read Stone Cold Heart. And it delivers in all fronts. This story swept me away, completely, and it was early morning hours and 'the end' until I was able to put it down.
The suspense through the investigation is intense. You can feel the frustration, the helpless feeling of the law enforcement when there are clues found but not the dots that would connect them to the killer. The tension arises, and as part of the story is told from a victim's point of view, it is petrifying, bone-chilling to live through the fear and dread of the assaults, if not death itself.
Sara Lockhart and Nolan Hess gave me the butterflies with the tangible chemistry that is in between them. Sara has never been successful in a romantic relationship, thinking it is just not something she could and would be comfortable in. Yet Nolan is tempting her in every turn with his presence, his character, and with his sexy physique.
But with the tender determination, patients with no boundaries, and giving her the space she needs, and time it takes, Nolan stays in her sights, charming her mind, protecting her when needed, and mostly, working side by side with her to find the killer.
I love this series, and the way it connects the previous books and the characters, yet still is a completely a standalone novel.
Stone Cold Heart has the perfect balance between eerily intriguing suspense story, and vastly entertaining, delightfully, tenderly ardent love story, just what is needed to balance the terror. Highly recommended!
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Author: D. Kelly
Series: Illusion Series World
Release Date: May 14, 2019
About D. KELLYKelly, author of The Acceptance Series, The Illusion Series, and standalone companion novels Chasing Cassidy and Sharing Rylee, was born and raised in Southern California. She’s a wife, mom, dog lover, taxi, problem fixer, and extreme multi-tasker. She married her high school sweetheart and is her kids’ biggest fan. Kelly has been writing since she was young and took joy in spinning stories to her childhood friends. Margaritas and sarcasm make her smile, she loves the beach but hates the sand, and she believes Starbucks makes any day better. A contemporary romance writer, D. Kelly’s stories revolve around friendship and the bond it creates, strengthening the love of the people who share it. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | BookBub
ADVICE FROM A JILTED BRIDE
The Baileys #2
By Piper Rayne
Release Day March 21
What’s a girl to do after being ditched at the altar by text message? That’s right. Text. Message.
How does she pick up the pieces and move on? I’m no Dear Abby but here’s a little free advice…
Advice #1 – First, purge your apartment of all things him—by tossing his belongings off the balcony.
Advice #2 – Do not, I repeat do not, throw anything out into the hallway because you’ll injure your hot new neighbor.
Advice #3 – When said neighbor brings over Chinese Food do not let him stay and keep you company. It’s awkward when you realize he’s your boss.
Advice #4 – Accept his offer to help you with your side business but think twice before using a date to his sister’s wedding as collateral.
Advice #5 – Investigate who your mystery neighbor really is. Don’t trust his word even if he’s the world’s best kisser.
If you listen to nothing else, pay attention to that last one. It’s the most important and will save you a lot of heartache.
LOVESICK IN LAKE STARLIGHT
Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two USA Today Bestselling authors for the price of one. Our goal is to bring you romance stories that have "Heartwarming Humor With a Side of Sizzle" (okay...you caught us, that's our tagline). A little about us... We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We're both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We're both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too. Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Bookbub | Website Join our newsletter and get 2 FREE BOOKS! Be one of our unicorns
Can't Escape Love by Alyssa Cole
Series Reluctant Royals
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date March 19, 2019
Alyssa Cole delivers another fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!
Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She's finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.
Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?
Dear Mr. Kendoku,
I hope this email finds you well. You may not remember me, but three years ago I used to tune in to your Streamlive.com channel, The Puzzle Zone. We chatted quite a bit over the course of three months, or rather I sent messages in the live stream chat function and you responded.
I’m writing with what I’ll admit is an unconventional proposition. I’d like to request approximately ten hours of audio recordings of you speaking. I’m willing to pay a more than reasonable amount for this product, and will have a contract drawn up specifying that it is for my personal (noncreepy) use, protecting you from any unlawful dissemination of said product. I look forward to hearing back from you.
There. Nice and formal and businesslike, so there was no reason for him to think she really needed his voice, even if she did. But maybe it wasn’t the right tone? They’d spent every night together for three months after all—that was longer than any of her relationships had lasted. They’d kind of been friends.
Not enough for him to want to keep in contact, though.
Kakuro Kendoku’s email address had been unearthed by Reggie’s twin sister, Portia, Jill-of-all-trades and amateur internet detective. Portia, who was off on some kind of Eat, Pray, Swords journey of self-discovery in Scotland, had accidentally found out her boss was the secret love child of a duke using those same skills. Reggie was not in royal watchers fandom, but even she was intrigued, and the hits to Portia’s blog posts on GirlsWithGlasses were a bonus.
Reggie was certain she’d weirded her sister out by asking for anything from her, let alone information on a guy, since they usually didn’t talk about dating and personal stuff like some twins did. She’d let Portia think whatever she wanted because the reason she needed Kakuro was embarrassing.
His voice was the only thing that could help her sleep when her insomnia got this bad. She’d discovered that over the course of their short online friendship, a friendship in which neither knew the other’s real name, age, or location—their knowledge of each other was limited to what they’d revealed in the privacy of a totally public online live stream. The thing was, it had been private, since no one else had ever tuned in.
Whenever she couldn’t sleep, she’d revisit the stream’s archives; it’d still been up six months ago when she’d had her last battle with a recalcitrant Sandman. But it was gone now, deleted, and though she’d hoped that she wouldn’t need his soothing voice for a good long while, she needed her auditory Ambien now.
It pissed her off—she shouldn’t have to rely on a stranger like this, though he wasn’t exactly a stranger at this point. She didn’t know what he looked like, had never seen higher than his chin and mouth because his camera had been set up to focus on his hands, creating a kind of reverse Kakashi-sensei situation, but they’d “talked” almost every night after a couple of weeks of her lurking on his stream. She’d stumbled across it while looking for stuff to post on her fledgling website; his voice helped her focus as she worked late at night, searching for content and writing articles, figuring out how to turn her hobby into a hustle.
She had a great memory, but she hadn’t really known him then. It was her repeated bedtime listening sessions of his archived videos had led to her inadvertently absorbing things about him and his life. His relationship with his younger brother, who would sometimes walk around in the background of the videos and try to distract him. How often he mentioned his grandmother. His love of crunching on shrimp chips like his mic wasn’t picking up the sound, how he’d gone to school for architecture and been in between jobs. He’d also had a really nice mouth, not that it mattered. So he wasn’t a stranger, but she’d let herself turn his voice into a necessity, and now she was paying for it.
What if he says no?
ALYSSA COLE is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who lives in the Caribbean and occasionally returns to her fast-paced NYC life. In addition to writing, she founded and hosted the Jefferson Market Library Romance Book Club and taught Romance Writing for Beginners. She speaks on topics such as writing erotic romance, writing multicultural romance, and self-editing. She has contributed romance-related articles to publications including RT Book Reviews, Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, and The Toast. She has also started a bi-monthly column in the Romance Writer’s Report, Romancing the Globe, in which she chats with romance writers from around the world. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching anime with her husband or tending to her herd of animals.