Worth the Fight #6
By: Sidney Halston
Releasing May 30, 2016
Opposites attract in this seductive novel from the author of Against the Cage (“Funny, steamy, scorching.”—Toni Aleo), with a chiseled MMA fighter falling for a single mom who could use a real man in her corner.
Working two jobs to support her infant daughter is harder than anything Penny Richards has ever done, but it sure beats living under the rules of her stepfather, a television preacher who demands a picture-perfect family. And if Penny hadn’t struck out on her own, she never would have met Travis Calhoun. The intensely physical heavyweight brawler has a way of drawing out her wild side. But Travis lives fast, with no responsibilities—and that just isn’t for Penny.
Most of the women in Travis’s circle wear tight clothes, high heels, and tons of makeup—not pearls or plaid headbands. But once he works past Penny’s inhibitions, Travis discovers a kindred spirit who longs to trust someone with her body, and her secrets. Still, Travis can’t help but wonder if this rich girl is just slumming it before she returns to her privileged life. Now it’s up to Penny to prove that she wants her hard-edged, hard-loving fighter just the way he is.
When a story is sexy, passionate, and even crude at times, and at the same time sweet, tender, adorable, and even innocent, it takes your mind and emotions for a wild ride, and touches your heart like rare stories does. That's what this series has been for me, and the ending for it, the crescendo, Stacked Up, was a true highlight in a series of amazing tales.
I have loved Travis since I started to read the series, he is fun and flirty, yet there's deep waters running in him, hurt, pain, and regrets, that he tries to hide and live with.
Penny has been the one to catch his eye, and life for him was never the same again.
Penny, my heart went out for her. She is so strong, she tries so hard to survive, even though her upbringing didn't give her many tools for survival. She works hard, keeps to herself, and tries to make it yet another month, loving her little Belle. Her faith is her cornerstone, and she is not ashamed of it. She relies on God's guidance, protection, and wisdom to make it through the day.
Belle, she steals the scene every time, her love for Travis is as healing and powerful as her mamma's, and the big fighter doesn't have a chance, when it comes to his girls.
Travis and Penny together are incredible. The chemistry is steaming hot, but there's the tender, vulnerable side to them, the side that needs healing from the past, and opens up raw and fragile emotions in them, where mending can take place, and rebuilding a new kind of foundation can start.
The love and sacrifices Travis is willing and ready to do, for Penny and Belle, are outstanding, and humbling. The fight against Penny's past is hurtful, yet, she, together with Travis, manages to stand up to the powerful force she already once escaped from.
The group of friends from the Academy, are the family of the heart, who always stands together, supports each other, and are there for each other. I will surely miss the gang, and the trouble they constantly get into. They have stolen my heart, and earned my respect, and definitely made me swoon more than a time or two.
~ Five Spoons
“Travis, I’d like you to meet Sarabelle.”
“Belle.” The little girl said.
“Belle, excuse me.” Penny laughed. “Travis, this is Belle. Belle this is my friend Travis.”
The little girl hid in her mother’s neck. “She’s very shy.”
“”S’okay, I’m not.” He moved closer to Belle. “Hey kid, I’m Travis. Who’s this?” He asked, pointing to the tattered bear she held.
“Bubba.” She mumbled into her mother’s neck.
“Bubba the bear. I like that.” Belle did that same move her mother did, shook her head slightly to take her bangs out of her eyes, but in this case it was one fat blonde curl. Then she looked up, and big blue eyes stared back at him. Blue eyes that looked almost identical to his and Jamie Lynn’s. Her soft milky skin and chubby cheeks, and shy smile took him aback. “Twavis.” She whispered, then hid her face again.
His feelings were scattered all over the place as he walked back his car. What the hell was he getting himself into?
USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: "Just Do It"--Nike. And that's exactly what she did.
After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she's not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She's a reader first and a writer second. When she's not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn't have it any other way.
Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website | GoodReads
Kiss Me That Way
By: Laura Trentham
Releasing May 31, 2016
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…
Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…
Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?
“You left Cottonbloom without telling me. Without saying good-bye. I want to know why.” Monroe hadn’t meant for the words to come out at all, much less with such vehemence.
“It was complicated.” Cade broke eye contact. “You were a good kid in a bad situation.”
“Weren’t you a good kid in a bad situation?”
He shifted toward her, bracing a hand on the dash and laying his other arm over the back of her seat, invading her space. She didn’t retreat. His intensity spurred her heart rate into an erratic gallop, yet she wasn’t intimidated. Perhaps it was only echoes of the past, but he made her feel safe, even when he was the one she should be scared of.
“I grew up fast and tough.” His voice contained more than a hint of warning.
“You were nice to me,” she said softly.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking I’m nice. I wasn’t then, and I’m sure as hell not now.”
He ran a callused finger down her cheek, the rasp igniting her nerve endings like a flint. His hand continued south and wrapped itself in her braid, the slight tug on her scalp sending shivers through her body in spite of the sun bearing down on the truck. Her nipples felt tight, and she hoped her tight sports tank masked her sudden, inexplicable arousal.
He pulled her braid, forcing her toward him. She didn’t fight him. He dropped his face next to hers, his coarse beard hair caressing her cheek, his mouth close to her ear. “If I see something I want, I go after it and get it by any means necessary.”
“How very Machiavellian.” She tried a laugh, but it came out more like a stuttering sigh. His scent hooked her even closer, and her lips grazed the outer rim of his ear.
He pulled back, his green-eyed gaze roving her face. She returned the favor, noting the faint brackets around his mouth, the crinkles at his eyes, the thick beard. A full-grown man. Yet was he so different from the boy she remembered?
“Ovid.” The movement of his lips jammed the cogs of her brain. The word made no sense. Her confusion must have been obvious, because the mouth she stared at tipped up in the corners, deepening the grooves. “The Greek philosopher Ovid, not Machiavelli, actually wrote: The end justifies the means.”
“Ovid. Of course.” Apparently, Monroe had slept through that philosophy class at Ole Miss. The fact that high-school dropout Cade Fournette was quoting Ovid made her wonder what other mysteries she might uncover if she went digging.
Just when she was ready to grab a shovel, he released her braid and slipped away. His limp was less pronounced as he took the stairs holding the cane parallel to the ground. Although he’d physically released her, she felt bound to him in some other fundamental way, incapable of tearing her eyes off him until he disappeared behind Sawyer’s front door. Even then, she sat, unable to drive away for a long minute.
How could the simple brush of Cade’s finger ignite a fire when other men left her cold? As her arousal ebbed, she realized something else. She’d just been manipulated by a master. He hadn’t explained why he left.
She spent the evening going through the motions of her life, eating when her stomach growled and heading to bed when her eyes felt heavy. A few short hours ago, her life had been tidy and predictable and boring. Cade Fournette’s return had spun her into chaos.
An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
TO SAVE A CHILD
In the dark of night, Quinn Robertson is on the run with her little niece, desperate to bring the child to her biological father. All Quinn knows from her scared sister is that the girl is in terrible danger. And when a security and rescue specialist intercepts Quinn and claims he's there to help her, she isn't sure who to trust. According to Malone Henderson, Quinn's niece was stolen as a baby from her real father—the very man Quinn is trying to reach. As Quinn works with Malone to uncover the truth, someone is trying very hard to make sure certain secrets stay buried, and that father and daughter are never reunited.
Mission: Rescue—No job is too dangerous for these fearless heroes
Lots of action, mysteries, attacks, murder, and mayhem, in a fast paced tale, that keeps the reader on their toes.
The chaos, danger and the constant threat that surrounds Quinn, seems to be out of control, and it takes the FBI, the local police, the HEARTS and her brother, to keep her safe and alive. The only one who believes her sister is innocent on the recent string of crimes, and not to mention kidnapping, is Quinn. Her sweet heart wants to believe her sister has changed, and she makes some questionable decisions, to try and rescue her, just getting in more trouble herself.
The cast of characters is interesting, fascinating, and capable folks. They all spike the interest, and I would have liked to get to know them better. The secondary characters play an important role in the plot, and take a lot of screen time.
The romance is much in the background on the story. Quinn and Malone don't really have time to get to know each other, in all the turmoil around them, but somehow they still managed to develop deeper feelings for each other, and let the spark of attraction they feel for each other take a flame.
I liked the action, the turmoil was constant, and since the cast doesn't really know who they are fighting against, or not sure why, and what do they want, it is a perpetual guessing game for all of them, including the law enforcement.
Quinn was just at the edge of letting go of her sorrow of loosing her husband three years past, and now can't believe the feelings she is having. Malone, the man who's always there for her, support her, protect her, and take care of her, gives her the time she needs to accept and knowledge her feelings, but makes sure he is there waiting, when, and if, she is ready.
Tight suspense, non-stop action, brutal attacks, and near escapes, while a budding romance takes root, and bantering siblings and team members argue away - fun and exciting story, good entertainment!
~ Four Spoons
One secret can change everything
It's been eight years since Liam Goetz has seen his ex-fiancé. Vanessa Epperson had everything: beauty, brains…and a family fortune. He chose her, while she chose a life of luxury and never imagined their paths would cross again.
An unexpected phone call from Vanessa—desperate for his help in a human trafficking case—ressurects old longings.
As they work together to save hostages and catch a predator, Liam begins to learn some shocking truths—about himself and the woman he thought he once knew so well…
From the start of the story, my heart and mind was brought about, and involved in the story. This tale goes deeper into the dark emotions of sorrow and loss, it squeezed my heart with inhumane treatment of the children, the victims of the human trafficking, and soared with joy for the second chance romance, and the new beginnings.
The story is well crafted, so the suspense, action, and development of the romance, all are intertwined into each other, giving the story a fast paced, enjoyable rhythm, that is hard to put down.
Liam, the cheerful flirt from the Omega Sector, who for years had flirted and played the field, 'fake it till you make it' style. He had pretended the part for so long 'he nearly believed the press release of his own actions himself' was for me, one of the key moments, giving more insights to him, and his player persona. There obviously was more to him than meets the assumed behavior.
And as soon as he met Vanessa, he proves himself. He is caring, protective, tender, and understanding. He is willing to do anything to her and the girls safe, and survive the impending threat.
The events from the past has shaped Vanessa's life more than expected. The loss, the heartache from eight years ago, are still present, still burning. With help of Liam, she is able to build a bridge to the past, rectify her relationship with her parents, and move on.
To see and understand all the nuances of the developing characters, events and relationships, I hung on to every word. The danger, the constant fear, the uncertainty of the immediate future, kept my mind on the edge. The jubilee of the new chances in life, love, passion, and future, brought joy and delight to my heart. The team work of the Omega Sector is commendable, and the loyalty to each other admirable. The story brings forward the constant threat of human trafficking in our world suffers from, too often forgotten and overlooked. And brings forward the message of redemption, the possibility of forgiveness, and the chance for new beginnings and brighter future, while underling the importance of communication, honesty, and willingness to fight for what you want in life
~ Five Spoons
Between the evil and the deep blue sea…
A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line's Destiny, sets sail from the Port of New Orleans—with a killer on board. He's known as the Archangel Killer because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And how he places a different saint's medallion on each body. No one knows exactly who he is or why he's doing this.
Jackson Crow—head of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators—is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship's piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim's ghost appears to her—and to Jude. She and Jude share an attraction, and not just because of their mutual talent.
There are many suspects, but one by one they're ruled out… Or are they? In the end, Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and escape his evil plans for Alexi.
Every moment in the story reminds me of Agatha Christie books and Hercule Poirot character stories, where he would solve crimes on the cruise ships. The book has a cozy mystery vibe through it, with easy going, friendly cast of characters, and cruise ship in a world of trouble.
I have read several of the Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters series stories, and this was very different from the rest I have read. It was missing the constant action, sharp edges in the story, and turbulent emotions. The cruise ship environment is restricted, to the action, cast of characters, possibilities to investigate, and when the storm hinders the connection to the mainland, the agents have to use the old fashion way to investigate the murders.
There's a lot of attention paid to the living and entertaining on the cruise ship. If this is not in your interest, it might get little repetitive. The characters talk in an old fashion, and rigid way, making it sound even more like a story from the other era.
Jackson is a true gentleman, and fighting against his ability to be able to communicate with the death. Alexi, who has accepted her ability as a gift, is helping him, and in the process falling for him while on the story seas. The emotions between them fell a flat for me, yes, there was an attraction, but I couldn't connect the deeper emotions between them, or with them, at any level.
I've liked the little ghost appearances in the past stories of the series, gives them a little extra spice. In this story they are actual, active characters of the story, and part of the investigation more than in the stories I have read before.
Obviously, this wasn't my favorite Krewe of Hunters story. It is a cozy mystery, that manages to keep the suspect conjecture for a long time.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
An Enchanted Spring
Mists of Fate #2
By: Nancy Scanlon
Releasing May 24, 2016
Nancy Scanlon continues the timebending saga she began with The Winter Laird, pulling heroes and villains alike through the portals of time to help save their futures and find their truest loves.
A time travel accident has left Aidan MacWilliam, younger brother of a medieval Irish laird, trapped in the future. Though he’s become a successful entrepreneur in the twenty-first century, Aidan still can’t banish thoughts of the world he left behind. In search of distraction, he heads to New York to scout a PR person for his cousin’s matchmaking firm, Celtic Connections.
Emmaline Perkins might be the perfect candidate. A PR expert and closet medievalist, Emma has always put work before her social life. When a breathtakingly handsome man who looks like he stepped straight out of the Middle Ages proposes business, she struggles to keep her professional and personal lives separate.
Then Emma's ex-fiancé resurfaces, threatening Emma’s livelihood, her home, and ultimately her safety. Aidan jumps to protect her and not just because she’s good for business. He feels a primal need to defend the alluring young woman. But the question is not where she'll be safe, but when.
He stopped directly in front of her, his body inches from hers, and slowly leaned in. Emma’s breath hitched, and her body went on full alert, her senses hyperaware of him. His clean scent filled her nose, and his nearness made her knees turn to jelly. When her eyes locked on his clean-shaven face, it took every fiber of her being not to rise up on her toes and run her tongue along his jawline.
His eyes met hers, and she saw it—raw hunger. As he raised his hand slowly, she parted her lips, hoping for a second taste of Aidan MacWilliam.
The sound of something rustling above her head forced her to look up.
Aidan brought a bag of coffee down to the counter and trapped her between his arms.
She couldn’t move. She didn’t want to move.
They stood like that for a long moment before he shook his head a little, as if questioning his sanity, before he placed his hand on her jaw, tugged it open, and melded his firm lips to hers. Her eyes fluttered closed of their own accord, and she was suddenly enveloped in his arms, his hand stroking her neck. He cradled her head and flicked his tongue to hers. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and brought them up to his neck, as he kissed her gently, carefully, as though she would break.
She sighed softly and leaned into him, and he growled into her mouth. Aidan kept one hand in her hair, his fingers gentle, and pressed his other hand into the small of her back, bringing her body flush with his. He deepened the kiss, devouring her in the best of ways. Emma felt cherished, branded, and hot all over.
She pressed into him harder, and he slid his hand up her spine, sending chills throughout her overheated body. She ran her fingers through his hair, surprised at its softness. He drew her attention away from wandering thoughts, though, when, without breaking the kiss, he grasped
her waist and lifted her onto the counter. He angled her head and kissed her as though his life depended on it.
She lost all coherent thought.
His hands were on her back, her shoulders, her hair, her legs. She dragged her hands up his abs, feeling the ridges of muscles and flesh; she wanted to tear his shirt off and kiss him everywhere, all at once.
Dimly, she registered that someone was standing on the other side of the island, and she tried to disengage from Aidan.
“Kitchen’s closed,” Aidan said, his voice rough. He rested his forehead against Emma’s.
“Let me know when it’s open, all right? I need some coffee before I start working,” Colin replied, the grin in his voice unmistakable. A few seconds later, a door opened and closed.
They looked at each other for a moment, breathing hard, and didn’t say anything. Aidan flicked his gaze to her lips, and kissed her hard and deep before pulling away. “I won’t apologize for that.”
More confused than ever, she glared at him. “I don’t know whether to slap you or…or…”
His green gaze locked on her for another moment, and he let out a sudden chuckle. “Christ, Emma, what you reduce me to. Kissing you in my cousin’s kitchen.”
“That felt more like ravishing,” she snapped before she could stop herself. She slid off the counter.
He brought his body against hers once more, and she cursed herself for freezing in place. He leaned down, his mouth on her ear, and ran his tongue along it. “Then you’ve never been properly ravished,” he whispered.
Born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts, Nancy Scanlon wrote her first romance novel at age 16, when she realized that fictional boyfriends were much easier to figure out than real ones. In the time since, she managed to earn a degree in English, obtain a graduate certificate in creative writing from the University of Cambridge, and marry the man of her dreams (but she still holds tight to her fictional boyfriends).
Currently, she resides in Puerto Rico with her husband, two children, and two dogs. When not writing, Nancy spends her time reading, reviewing and blogging about romance novels, watching too much HGTV, and taking care of her family.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Lost in Oblivion #5
By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott
Releasing May 23, 2016
Rainbow Rage Publishing
Book 5 of the rockstar series, Lost in Oblivion.
Music kept them going. Now it's torn them apart…
Guitarist Nick Crandall lost the most important thing in his life—his band—just as he was falling in love. A year has passed, and Oblivion is returning from hiatus. And Nick is ready to ask Lila to spend forever with him, even if he won't have his best friend at his side for the ceremony.
Simon has spent the past year trying to find his way back to the thing that sustained him in his darkest hours, then grew to be his biggest demon. Margo has been at his side, but she's tired of him denying his dreams. With her help, he’s ready to admit it’s showtime.
Perhaps he's even ready to stand up for his best friend…and face him on the stage that united them so long ago.
It’s do or die, one more time.
**The guys—and their women—are in the driver's seat in Owned, and the ride's gonna rock. This is the final book in the Lost in Oblivion rockstar series.**
Simon’s chest constricted. The crash of piano and soaring blend of Margo’s strings was as powerful as it was haunting. He’d been expecting a lively jaunt. Jazz had demanded Frank Turner for more than half the ride up from the city.
But no. It was a passionate and sweeping song that had more in common with an epic battle of man and nature. In his head it felt like there should be a piano on top of a cliff a la 90’s Bon Jovi videos in MTv’s heyday.
Jazz’s fingers dove up and down the keys and Margo followed her as if she was tethered to every note. The song got bigger and bigger and he itched to match it.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d found the urge to sing. He sang lately out of spite. To prove that he could. But the actuality of the pull had him so out of sorts that he had his hand on the doorknob to the room before he knew what he was doing.
Jazz looked over her shoulder when the door opened. Her purple tipped lashes fluttered so wide they touched her eyebrows. He quietly sat on the stool with the winding arm. Tension fried the edges of every nerve. Why the hell did his fingers ache? He looked down at the white of his skin under his nails from the death grip he had on the arm.
He could do this.
He released the chair arm.
It wasn’t the box.
The room he’d practiced in before.
He was used to the closet in Ripper Records. It gave him cold sweats, but he was used to it.
Here he was in front of Jazz. Sitting right beside her.
In front of strangers.
In front of Margo. He kept the music separate from her for so long, it was odd to have her in his space.
Jazz handed him her notebook.
He took it with shaking fingers. He cleared his throat. “Play it through from the top?”
Jazz nodded. He hummed his way through it once, scanning her lyrics as he followed along. When they went through it a second time his brain was on fire to join in. He wanted his voice to match that sound.
Around the last quarter of the song, he let the words out in a whisper. Margo brought down the power of her strings to account for his sheer cowardice.
He cleared his throat. “Again.”
He closed his eyes and let the music take him. This time there was a guitar added into the lilting opening of the song. His voice was rough with disuse.
No, don’t concentrate on that.
He needed to find the heart of the song.
Jazz’s words were heartfelt, but they weren’t quite his. He followed instincts that had never steered him wrong before. He changed the bridge and let his voice soar up with the epic battle of violin and piano.
His voice evened and went bell clear as he climbed up an octave he hadn’t touched in two full years. He bowed his head as Gray came in with the guitar solo that hadn’t been there the first few times through.
But it was right.
Logan piped it in from the main studio.
Gray and Margo merged until there was nothing but a breathtaking crescendo. He stepped in. His voice ached with the loss that was burned into the lyrics. His head fell back as he brought it full circle with the final verse, and finally…the bridge.
The room was silent.
He was terrified to open his eyes. He avoided both of the girls as he twisted in the chair and went out the door and past a stunned Gray. He couldn’t look at Margo. Not now. He couldn’t watch when the disappointment filled her big brown eyes.
He took the stairs two at a time and scanned the area for the nearest exit.
The Rocked & Twisted Boxed Set (Lost in Oblivion Books 1 – 2.5) is FREE!!!
What’s included in the Rocked & Twisted boxed set:
- Rocked, book 1
- Rock, Rattle and Roll, book 1.5
- Twisted, book 2
- Untwisted, book 2.5
USA Today bestselling author Cari Quinn likes music and men, so she figured why not write about both? When she's not writing, she's screaming at men's college basketball games on TV, playing her music too loud or causing trouble. Sometimes simultaneously.
USA Today bestselling author Taryn Elliott is obsessed with rock stars, men, and her unending playlists--maximizing these things seemed like a very good idea. When she's not writing, she's losing hours to hot men on TV, and/or a graphic design project. Multitasking is her middle name.
They decided to combine forces and found that hey...this writing deal is even more awesome when you collaborate with your best friend.
And so Lost in Oblivion was born.
Website | Facebook | Taryn’s Twitter | Cari’s Twitter | Taryn GR | Cari GR
Blame it on the Stetson…
Brant Ellison's easygoing nature makes him one of the most sought-after horse trainers in Wyoming. His powerful muscles don't hurt, either. Nothing makes Brant happier than training a new colt at his foster home, Thunder Mountain Ranch—except maybe the colt's sexy new owner, if she wasn't all work and no play.
Aria Danes hopes that once trained, the colt will help her injured brother. But Brant is proving to be a distraction from her responsibilities—she has a wicked urge to strip him from his hat to his boots. Ride 'em, cowboy. Aria and Brant can't get enough of each other. Their craving is insatiable, even if they have nothing in common. Even if some cowboys can never be tied down…
The easy going exterior and gypsy lifestyle might hide much deeper character that shows outside, and it takes one special, bossy, stubborn lady, and some cherry pie, to change one world view and life goals completely.
I love Brant, the gentle giant. His attitude, demeanor, and position in life is cheerful, engaging, and uplifting. He is easy to be around, and his gentle touch calms the biggest case of nerves. He is, well, swoon worthy for sure.
Of course Aria at first seems his total opposite, but as they get to know each other, they find many points, views, and likes they have in common. The chemistry between them is so hot, it is beyond any measures, and they are burning for each other. The story has lots of love scenes in it, and they are steaming hot each one. I have to say I would have liked the balance between the clothing on and off to be a bit more balanced, so they could have had the chance to get to know each other more deeply about other matters as well.
Also the ending came rather apace, the events in the story take place only in a few days. I wanted to be part of the Tuesday evening cooking lesson, and see the new students arrive. I just felt the story was left unfinished in a way, undeveloped or incomplete. I had high hopes for the epilogue, but that was just setting up the next story in the series.
And don't get me wrong, I love this series, I love the concept behind it, Rose and Herb and their dedication to the family, the loyalty of their boys, and the stories of the boys finding love, they have all been wonderful. And I adore Brant and Aria together, the smoldering heat that they have between them is unforgettable. As is the cherry pie. But I was left with the thought that this could have been so much more, it had all the keys to it, but Blaze series is suppose to be more about the heat and sizzle, so I understand that point of view.
A willful lady, determined to rescue her brother from himself, falls into an immediate lusty relationship with the tender magician Brant, who melts her inside out, and teaches her to dance with the colt, enjoy the life, and laugh out loud whenever possible. A red-hot, quick, entertaining read!
~ Four Spoons
The Official Essex Sisters Companion Guide
By: Eloisa James & Jody Gayle
Releasing May 24, 2016
This is a book no Eloisa James fan should miss! Eloisa revisits the scintillating world of the Essex Sisters with "A Midsummer Night's Disgrace," a new story featuring a young lady, Cece, who would rather ruin her own reputation than endure further speculation about whether her children will be "silly," like her brother, Billy. Happily for fans of Pleasure for Pleasure, Cece's best friend is Josie, Countess of Mayne!
Just as exciting, the Companion includes not only Eloisa's original notes about each book and her "extra" chapters, but a 170 page alternate ending to Kiss Me, Annabel. Eloisa discarded this shockingly different plot after writing one draft, and the published novel went in an entirely new direction. Make up your own mind about which is better-Eloisa's original, or the final book!
Super fan Jody Gayle's engaging guide includes essays about fascinating historical details, including period fashion designs. Explore the world of horse racing and tour the London theater scene. Delve into the rich history and deep literary tradition that makes Eloisa one of the top writers of historical romance.
The Companion also gives you a sneak peek at Eloisa's newest full-length novella, "A Gentleman Never Tells"-which springs from the world of the Essex Sisters! What will happen when one of the men who ruined an heiress' debut by labeling her a "Wooly Breeder" (and Josie Essex a "Scottish Sausage") decides that it's time to make amends?
The Boundaries of a Book by Eloisa James
When Jody first approached me with the idea for an Essex Sisters companion consisting of historical essays addressing various aspects of the novels, I imagined contributing a couple of pages. But once we began discussing possibilities that went beyond historical investigation, my contribution grew to include an original novella, extra material that had previously been published only on my website, and this narrative essay, which traces my initial idea for the quartet to an “extra” chapter set a decade after Pleasure for Pleasure, the final book in the series. While Jody and I quickly agreed to include material already available to readers, the really
crucial question for me had to do with Kiss Me, Annabel, which exists in sharply different versions.
The original plot of Kiss Me sprang from the fact that my husband is an observant Catholic, whereas I was introduced as a child to a confusing medley of religions, from Lutheran to Buddhist, none of which I now practice. I wanted to write a novel in which hero and heroine are not of one mind with respect to faith.
My editor at the time found the second half of the novel far too dark. The change she requested required me to cut the last nineteen chapters and rewrite them. As it happened, I was reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books aloud to my daughter at the time; I credit those books with inspiring me to reshape my overly dark story into a lighthearted road trip (with a detour into the mysteries of butter churning).
The two endings are so different that I don’t think it’s possible to say that one is “better” than the other. Reading the original draft all these years later, I love the focus on Ewan’s faith, as well as all the drama. But I might as well add that when I recounted the original plot to my current editor, Carrie Feron, her eyes grew round and she said that she likely would have found the story a bit dark.
For me, including the original half of Kiss Me, Annabel here definitively transformed this companion from a bunch of complementary essays to something that questioned our conception of a genre novel. Why shouldn’t a book exist in two different versions, as long as each ends happily? Why shouldn’t a reader be able to follow—and take pleasure in—two completely different paths by which the same characters end up in the same place?
Once I accepted that, the temptation to meddle with other parts of the series was irresistible. As I again immersed myself in the world of the Essex Sisters, I found loose ends in Pleasure for Pleasure that, interestingly enough, all had to do with bullying. The novel is a reader favorite, not least because Josie’s experience of being labeled with the horrid nickname the “Scottish Sausage” resonates with so many readers. What happened to the other girls mentioned in the book, who were ostracized along with Josie? What about the young lady deemed unmarriageable because her brother was “silly,” leading everyone to assume that her children would be cognitively impaired? Or the “Wooly Breeder,” so named because she had unruly, curly hair and a father who owned many sheep?
Part of the reason this companion took two years to assemble was that I found myself writing new, discrete novellas to answer those questions. A Midsummer Night’s Disgrace, included here, tells the story of the sister of “Silly Billy,” and her recognition that she was tired of being shunned; instead of silly, she chooses to be scandalous. A Gentleman Never Tells, another new novella, is being published in tandem with the companion; it answers the question of what happened to the “Wooly Breeder,” while also considering the long-term consequences of bullying on the bully. I hope readers will be happy to see that Josie and her husband, the Earl of
Mayne, make a brief appearance in the companion, and then reappear in company with their daughter in A Gentleman Never Tells
ELOISA JAMES is a New York Times best-selling author and professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but who can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit Eloisa at www.eloisajames.com or on Facebook or Twitter.
Author Links: Website | FB | Twitter | GR
JODY GAYLE, best-selling author and researcher, likens her work to that of a literary archeologist rather than a traditional author. She is dedicated to unearthing publications of the past, and sharing these long-forgotten books … the jewels and riches of the written word. She has uncovered tens of thousands of old publications from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and wants to bring them to life, and send her readers traveling back in time.
Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Facebook
An Accidental Affair
Liliana Batchelor #1
By: Holly Blackstone
Released March 2013
Two souls meet at a dark railroad crossing… there's no hint this night will be the beginning - and end - of everything.
Lily doesn't exist any more - old Lily, anyway. That night made her different, rewrote her life, tore up everything she thought she knew and understood.
How do you go back to normal after you've met someone who has turned your life upside down? When you fear the passionate connexion but don't want to live for anything else? When those few moments were the most intense and intimate of your life and it was the barest taste of what you could have together?
How do you find the strength to not run away from something that has the power to shatter your heart?
Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language and situations that some readers may find objectionable (including spanking and bondage). Content intended for adults only.
She walks through the ballroom and heads to the exit and the elevators. Suddenly a voice breaks the relative quiet.
“I thought you were going to bed.”
The voice gives her goosebumps - Stuart. She turns and he saunters towards her, jacket gone, his lean yet strong physique now obvious through his shirt.
Lily’s smile is wiped off her face instantly. She feels guilty for turning him down earlier, and he seems annoyed that she lingered at the reception rather than visiting with him.
“It was my intent at the time”, she says defiantly.
“Well, since you’re still awake…” He walks past her and presses the elevator button. “…we’ll go to my suite and continue the conversation.” He takes her elbow and steers her to the open door. She’s in that intoxicating bubble again; his touch is exciting and his assurance is overpowering. Nearly.
“No, I don’t think so”, Lily says, and taps the button marked ‘6’.
Stuart presses the Penthouse level button, but she ignores this. “Is there a reason?”, he asks. The doors close.
“Because I really am tired now, and sessions start at nine to-morrow.” She replies determinedly.
The floors begin to tick by. “But you don’t have to attend every session. No one ever does at these things.”
“That’s not the point”, she says. The number five ticks by on the floor display.
He turns her around so she is facing him. His touch seems to melt her will. “I almost think you’re avoiding me.” The bells sound and the doors open behind her. Lily casts her eyes over her shoulder and down the hallway to her room. Stuart is still holding onto her arms and she isn’t trying to pull away.
She turns to look him in the eyes as the doors begin to close behind her.
“Why?”, she asks in a whisper, searching his features, wishing she had more willpower.
He lifts a hand and caresses the side of her face and her breath intakes sharply at his touch. “I want to get to know you”, he says softly and continues to stroke her hair. There is a chime and the door opens.
He turns her around and places his arm across her back as they exit the elevator.
The Penthouse lobby is small and leads to a hallway. There is one door along each side and another one at the far end that says, ‘Hotel Staff Only’. Stuart walks towards the door on the right, and the attendant standing discreetly in the lobby rushes to catch up to him.
“Good evening, Mr…”, but Stuart quiets him with a shake of his head. The door opens and Stuart ushers Lily inside and after a professional ‘Good Evening’, the attendant closes the door after them. Lily hears Stuart lock it and there is now a lump in her throat.
“You know”, she begins nervously, “I’m here for the next few days, we could do this another night.” Being alone with him is daunting - a mixture of trepidation and desire.
“Come. I’ll make you a drink.”
“I think I’ve probably had enough for the night…”
“I was just going to have a wee nip”, he says in his incredibly sexy accent as he walks to the wet bar tucked into the right of the living room.
“Okay, fine, but just a little”, she cautions. Lily steps towards the windows that fill the wall in front of her.
“This is AMAZING”, she says emphatically as she turns her head to Stuart. The wide eyes and smile on her face are enough to make him break into a grin.
“It is at that.” He walks around the bar, a glass in each hand. He narrows his eyes at her. “How do you like your scotch?”, he asks playfully.
“Neat!”, she replies without hesitation and he hands the drink over.
“Liliana”, he says softly and she looks up at the sound of her name. Their eyes lock and he raises his glass.
“Thank you”, he says, and the tone is so tender and earnest it nearly brings tears to her eyes. “Thank you for saving my life.” He reaches his left hand up and his finger tips touch her cheek lightly. Lily lowers her lids, relishing the sensation, trying to burn the feeling and the words into her head.
She opens her eyes to see him watching her. She raises her glass and clinks with his and takes a sip.
“Mmmm”. The strong taste of iodine and the smokiness of the peat fill her mouth, and her lips and tongue begin to tingle. The scotch warms a path to her stomach and leaves her with a contented feeling. “Perfect.”
Stuart is still lightly touching her cheek and trails his fingers to her lips, watching her reaction intently. She doesn’t move as his thumb brushes against her mouth, and then he slides his hand and is cupping her cheek. She hears the clank of his tumbler as it touches the tabletop and he removes the glass from her hand.
He leans into her; she can smell the scotch on his breath as he slowly moves his lips to hers. Lily’s breath catches in her throat, her pulse is racing, and she feels her stomach twist expectantly.
He pauses; their mouths are a hairsbreadth apart, and she realises he’s prolonging it, relishing this moment of anticipation. A burning desire for him has taken up residence in her abdomen; she longs for his kiss and leans forward but he maintains the distance.
“Is this what you were afraid of?” His voice is sexy - low and rough. His breath envelops her like a shroud of silk - seductive, soft.
“Yes”, she gasps out.
His mouth parts in a brief smile and then his lips are on hers, as soft and sensual as she feared. His hand at her cheek urges her mouth open and he plunges his tongue into her, mingling with the remnants of the scotch, tickling her tongue while his right hand rests on her hip. He is overwhelming; she has never been kissed like this, forcefully and passionately.
Her left hand comes up and touches his face and he melts into her palm, their bodies pressed against one another, their mouths still joined.
Finally, reluctantly, he pulls away.
“Was that so terrible?”, he growls.
Lily nods. “It was everything I feared.” His mouth turns up in a smile and he reaches for his glass and takes another sip of scotch.
“When do you need to be at your first seminar?”, he asks and trails his fingers along the edge of the table in front of the window. He stares at her as she’s seen predators eye prey.
“I should be there at nine, Stuart”, she replies and takes a drink from her glass. What is wrong with her? She craves him like a thirsty man would yearn for water and yet she’s trying to find excuses to leave.
You fear his intensity. That much is true. She turns to look out the magnificent windows; Edinburgh Castle is in the distance, lights marking angles into sharp relief.
He’s behind her now, and uses the most delicate of touches to brush her hair aside. He leans down towards her ear and whispers. “What if I asked you to stay?” Her knees weaken and he puts an arm around her waist, pulling her to him. She can feel his erection pressing against her back and moistness is pooling between her legs.
He begins to kiss her hair. “Stay”, he says as he drinks in the scent of her hair and the faint aroma of her arousal. It’s more intoxicating than anything he’s had to drink that night.
“Stuart…”, she wants to protest. He’s so sexy and I do want him so terribly, terribly bad.
There is the distant clacking of heels and then Lily hears a throat clear. “Mister… Sir, there has been a break-in.”
He turns his head, his arm still firmly around Lily’s waist. She can feel the strength in his muscles, the hardness of his chest against her back.
He turns Lily around so she is facing him. “I need to, I HAVE to deal with this. Please. Just give me a short while.”
He takes her head in his hands and kisses her forehead before turning to follow Ava. Lily can hear the click of footsteps receding into the distance. As quickly and quietly as she can manage, she picks up her purse and heads to the front doors. She nods to the attendant, calls the elevator and takes it down to her floor.
Lily is exhausted – emotionally wrung out. She closes the curtains, locks the door and readies for bed in record time. She sets her alarm and turns off the ringer on her phone. Tonight was completely unexpected; what would to-morrow bring?
THIS TITLE IS FREE!!
Holly Blackstone has been writing stories and poetry since she was seven and has always been an avid reader. She enjoys cooking, painting, reading, blogging, music, writing, dancing and gardening, and lives in the Pacific Northwest, just outside of Seattle.
Holly enjoys exploring how her hero and heroine grow when faced with adversity, and believes erotica can not only be sexy and sensual, but contain rich characters and tell a compelling story.
She enjoys interacting with readers and discussing her books and what motivates the people in her stories.
Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Subject: Petty Officer Christian "Cowboy" Laramie
Mission: Locate a missing person…without seducing the man's fiancée!
Navy SEAL Christian Laramie knows everything about explosives, including how to avoid them. But he sure as hell isn't prepared for Sammi Jo Wilson—all gorgeous red hair and long-legged sexiness—in a wedding dress, asking him to find her kidnapped fiancé. Yep, he is definitely dealing with one dangerous bombshell…
Laramie has a rep for thoroughly pleasing the ladies, but he's not interested in emotional entanglements. He has rules—and engaged women are a definite no-no. Yet the searing heat between him and Sammi is like nothing he's ever experienced. Each touch gets hotter. Each kiss more intense. And if Laramie can't disarm this desire, it will blow up in the only way possible…in bed!
I always knew there's more to Cowboy, than met the ladies. There was something about him, that gave away the deeper waters running through him, than just the playboy reputation. And I enjoyed getting to know him better in this story.
I also enjoyed the humor, the farce of the wedding planning, and the banter between Sammi Jo and Laramie. The story provided lots of laughs as the small town insanity around the inn and the wedding was unfolding.
I loved that Sammi Jo and Laramier had a connection from the childhood. That he had been her hero, the one who taught her how to read, and guarded her against the bullies. That Sammi Jo had no doubt in her mind, that Laramie would help her, because of their past, made me swoon.
The attraction between them is sizzling. Those two together are something else, but it is not only physical attraction. It was being attracted to the other person, their mind, dreams, goals, and wishes for life, who they are, and what they want to accomplish, they genuinely liked and enjoyed each other, that made it adorable.
Small town gossip, few blistering phone calls, the oddest kidnapping of the history, intriguing ways to eat cake, and Cowboy finds the only lady who could win his heart, splendid, addictive entertainment
~ Four Spoons
By: Laura Griffin
Releasing May 24, 2016
The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.
As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.
I am in love with this series. I love Laura Griffin style to write, and the characters she creates. They are intriguing, smart, charismatic, and charming, with insides to them that makes you want to get to know them even more, ask about their motives, and observe them work, find the clues, to solve the crimes. But one thing you don't want, is to be them. Because the action, suspense is intense, it is violent, vicious, and deadly dangerous. And they are the target.
The tale is gripping, and nearly impossible to put down. From the first page I was immersed into the story. Potent feelings of danger, fear, and scare are constantly present, increasing as the story unfolds. It seems no one is safe, very few to be trusted, and something very sinister is developing in the background, hindering the detectives solve the crimes amounting.
Watching Laney and Reed's relationship develop is like watching a passionate tango, with every four steps forward, there's two steps to the side or back. It is not only their age difference, that is making them take steps to the side, it is the ongoing investigation, and the fact that Laney seems to be even more involved, than they first suspect. The deadly force is creeping closer, and right into their own doorsteps, again.
Since I finished the story, I have changed all the passwords on my computers, the story has that strong impact on me. I loved, feared, and swooned through the pages, Reed and Laney are so perfectly imperfect, so very much opposite, but yet so ideal, impeccable when together, like two pieces molded together, making a one stunning unit. Even book ten in the series is not enough for me, I am craving for more already!
Endless, relentless, fear filled action, a fragile, yet passion filled romance, and suspense that held all the way to the end, giving an unexpected, treacherous crescendo to the story
~ Five Spoons
Reed watched her, and she had that frustrated look in her eyes again. Every time she started to open up to him, he did something to tick her off. She shook her head and glanced away.
“I’m a detective. It’s my job to ask questions. To push.”
She looked at him again and her expression softened. “No, you’re right.” She glanced down at her beer bottle and picked at the label. “I’m glad she has you.”
“Who has me?”
“April. You seem--” She paused, like she was searching for the right word. “--committed.”
He didn’t answer. It wasn’t really a question, but the way she looked at him gave him the feeling she wanted a response.
She drained her beer and plunked down the bottle. “I should get home.” She stood up.
Reed stood, too. He left a tip on the table and followed her through the throng of people. The bar was packed, and the music had gotten louder since they’d first walked in.
They stepped into the warm, muggy air. It was dusk now, and a neon Lone Star Light sign cast a blue-and-red glow over the sidewalk. As they walked in silence, he thought of what she’d said about her job being meaningful. It was refreshing. Maybe he’d been a cop too long, but he didn’t know anyone who talked about things being meaningful anymore. If they thought about work in those terms, they kept it to themselves.
Maybe he was jaded.
No, he definitely was jaded. But it had more to do with his failed marriage than anything he’d seen on the job.
Reed spotted her little white car and felt a twinge of regret. He’d enjoyed talking to her, enjoyed being near her. And he couldn’t remember the last time that had happened with a woman. Having a beer with Laney had been the highlight of his crap week. Hell, the highlight of his month.
She looked around. “Where are you parked?”
She gazed up at him. He couldn’t read her expression.
“Thanks for the drink,” she said.
“You bought it.”
He couldn’t read her tone either. The thrum of music seeped through the thin walls of the bar as they stood there in the light of the beer sign.
She stepped closer, and a jolt of heat went through him. She looked up at him with those bottomless brown eyes, and he knew he was in trouble. It was a bad idea to involve this girl in his investigation. Whatever useful info she might have was outweighed by the fact that she was young, and edgy, and he wanted her. And she must have seen something in his face because her eyes sparked.
She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.
Copyright 2016 Laura Griffin
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
A Daughter's Dream
The Charmed Amish Life #2
By: Shelley Shepard Gray
Releasing May 24, 2016
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s second book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a young teacher and farmer discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to healing old wounds from the past…and finding love in one another.
Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.
That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?
Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.
But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness…and true love?
From Chapter 1:
When the last of the students were gone, Rachel turned to Rebecca and smiled. “Danke for helping me today, Rebecca. You were a lifesaver.”
The praise was as embarrassing as it was unwarranted. “I don’t think that was the case at all, Rachel. I tried my best, but chaos reigned. I don’t know what happened—I was sure I could manage things easily for an hour.”
She chuckled. “Don’t fret. You did fine. It’s simply in children’s natures to stretch their boundaries. They like to push a bit, just to see when someone will push right back.”
“Well, they certainly pushed.” They also won. Again, Rebecca wondered how it was possible for her to work so well with hundreds of grown men at the lumber mill but be putty in twenty-five children’s hands. “I see I have a lot to learn about managing a classroom.”
Rachel waved off her concerns. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Any job takes time to learn. I’m sure I would be a nervous wreck managing things like you do at the mill. Whenever I’ve come to visit Marcus, I’ve seen you at your desk, surrounded by demanding men and ringing telephones.” She shivered dramatically. “Give me children to manage any day.”
“That’s nothing. All it took was practice.” Hearing her own words, Rebecca grinned. “I guess I just need some more practice with the children.”
“You do, especially if you are serious about wanting to take on this job one day.”
“I am serious. But I don’t want your job,” she assured her quickly. “Simply a teaching job at one of the Amish schools in the area.”
“If that is what you want to do, I’m sure you will succeed just fine,” Rachel said. “I’ve never seen you back down or give up in all the years I’ve known ya.”
That was a nice compliment. Rebecca hoped Rachel was right in this case. She’d had a dream of being a teacher for years, but had never been able to give it much attention because of the demands of the mill.
However, after last year’s terrible accident at the lumberyard, which had killed five men, including her father, Rebecca had decided the time had come to stop putting dreams off and start putting them into practice. It was simply too bad that her first opportunity to be in charge of the classroom had gone so badly.
Not wanting to dwell on herself anymore, she looked at Rachel closely. “Did everything go all right with your appointment?”
“Jah.” A small, secret smile appeared on Rachel’s face before vanishing.
Just as Rebecca was about to ask what that smile had been about, a man appeared at the door, his hand resting on the shoulder of a shy-looking thirteen-or fourteen-year-old girl. “Excuse me. Is one of you the teacher?”
While Rebecca found herself staring rather dumbly at the man who was entirely too handsome to be any teenager’s parent, Rachel lifted one of her hands. “I am,” she said in a sweet voice. “I’m Rachel Mast.”
“Hi,” the newcomer said with a tentative smile. He was a bit older than Rebecca, and was wearing a long-sleeved light green shirt and heavy boots peeking out from beneath his dark trousers. Rebecca also noticed his mesmerizing green eyes.
After squeezing the girl’s shoulder once, he dropped his hand. “My name is Jacob Yoder and this here is Lilly,” he said a bit awkwardly. “I need to enroll her in school.”
Rachel smiled at the girl.
As did Rebecca. Looking at the teenager, Rebecca noticed that she, too, had green eyes. But instead of dark brown hair like Jacob, she had dark auburn. She also seemed to be blessed with skin that tanned instead of freckled. She was a pretty girl who was going to be beautiful one day.
“Hiya, Lilly,” Rachel said in her sweet way. “Like I said, I’m Rachel Mast, the teacher here at Charm School.”
“Hi,” Lilly said. She met Rachel’s eyes briefly before looking down at her tennis-shoe-clad feet.
“Did you just move here?” Rebecca asked. Though she didn’t know every Amish family in Charm, she recognized most.
“I just arrived here from Florida,” the man said.
“Welcome to Charm, then,” Rachel said easily. “This is my friend Rebecca Kinsinger. She volunteers here from time to time.”
Feeling a bit tongue-tied, Rebecca lifted a hand. “Hiya.”
Jacob glanced her way, then stilled. “Hi. It’s, ah, it’s nice to meet you,” Jacob said.
Rebecca belatedly realized she was probably smiling so broadly that the dimple in her right cheek was showing.
When he didn’t add anything else, either about himself or Lilly, Rachel cleared her throat. “Rebecca’s family owns the lumber mill. Do you work there?”
“Nee. I’m a farmer.”
Still looking at her feet, Lilly smiled for the first time.
When Jacob noticed her expression, he laughed. “Lilly’s smiling because I’m currently not much of a farmer. I keep making mistakes right and left. We just moved in with my parents, Lilly’s grandparents. I’m afraid farming is as unfamiliar to me as building houses in the Florida heat would be for most of the men around here.”
“Someone recently told me to have patience with my wishes and dreams,” Rebecca ventured, unable to keep from smiling at him. “Maybe that would work for you in this case, too?”
“I hope so.” He smiled back at her. “My daed is counting on my help.”
“I bet you both will get the hang of things here in Ohio in no time,” Rachel said. “Things are different from Florida, for sure, but the people are just as nice. Everyone helps each other, just like always.”
“Only he needs to get the hang of things here,” Lilly said, slowly coming out of her shell. “I’ve been living in Ohio. I was just over in Berlin.”
Just as Rebecca was going to ask why they’d been living in two different places, Rachel said smoothly, “How about the two of you come sit down? I have some paperwork you’ll need to fill out before tomorrow’s class.”
“What kind of paperwork?” Lilly asked. “Is it a test?”
“Nothing of the sort,” Rachel said. “I simply need some basic information. We’ll worry about schoolwork and figuring out where you’ll fit in best tomorrow.”
Jacob nodded. “That sounds like a plan. Now, what time should Lilly get here? Seven thirty? Eight?”
Feeling like she was in the way, Rebecca gathered her things. “I’ll be seeing you, Rachel. You know where to find me if you need my help.”
“It was good to meet you, Rebecca,” Jacob said.
She felt her cheeks heat. Seeking to cover it, she smiled more brightly. “Danke. It was gut to meet the both of you.”
“See you soon, Becky,” Rachel said before turning her full attention toward the man and the teenager.
It seemed to be another indication of Rachel’s expertise in the classroom. In less than an hour, Rachel had returned from a doctor’s appointment, taken back control of her class, counseled Rebecca, and was now greeting a new student and her father. She was able to manage multiple tasks easily and accept transitions with hardly a blink of the eye.
Rebecca, on the other hand, was juggling a dozen questions about the students, asking herself how she could have done things better, and wondering why Lilly hadn’t been living with her father until recently.
Rebecca stewed on all that had transpired that morning as she walked down the short sidewalk toward Main Street. It was time to go back to Kinsinger Lumber, where she usually worked at the reception desk eight hours of the day. Today it would only be for a few hours, but it was sure to be busy. She’d be lucky to have a minute to grab a cup of coffee.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Passing through Brandiss
By: Patricia Yager Delagrange
Releasing May 20, 2016
After the tragic loss of her husband, Annie and her young son search for a new life full of meaning and hope. Fate nudges Annie into the arms of a man whose wife disappeared with his child years ago.
Annie’s life spins out of control when first the pregnant teenager she hires to help her with her garden asks Annie to adopt her baby and shortly afterwards the long-lost wife of the man Annie loves reappears.
Riddled with grief and heartache, the experiences demonstrate how, even in the face of overwhelming sorrow, opening her heart and home to those most in need of love has reaped unexpected joy for Annie and her son.
A cream-colored blanket covered him from the waist down, a white sheet folded over at the edge. Gauze shielded the top part of his head and a black accordion tube snaked out of his mouth. Machines surrounded his bed, blinking and beeping, the rhythm oddly calming.
He was alive.
Annie laced her fingers with his and squeezed, willing her energy to pass through him, as if her touch could keep him more alive than the contraptions. She leaned over the side of the bed, kissed his cheek, inhaling the sickeningly sweet scent of Betadine.
Suddenly the beeps burst to life, louder, more insistent and irritating. A thin blue line, straight and flat, slid across the black screen on the monitor above his bed.
Firm hands grasped Annie’s shoulders and pulled her away from his bedside.
“What are you doing? Stop! What’s happening?”
A nurse tugged on Annie’s arm and led her through the doorway. “Mrs. Davidson. You have to leave the room. Now.”
Annie glanced back at Cam before passing the room’s threshold, shuffled backward into the hallway and banged against the wall. Doctors and nurses raced from all directions and funneled to Cam’s bedside.
She stared at the closed door to Cameron’s room, her eyes burning. “Please, God, save him. I need him. Rafe needs him. Don’t let him die.” No matter how busy God was, helping other people in the world, perhaps Annie’s personal plea would reach Him.
She envisioned a happy scenario. Cam was going to pull through. She knew it.
The door swung open. Dr. Tsao walked out slowly, eyes and head angled down until she reached the middle of the wide hallway. Annie pushed away from the wall. Their eyes met.
The doctor didn’t have to say a word. The downward twist of her lips, the flat glaze of her
eyes. Annie knew Dr. Tsao wouldn’t be uttering the words she hoped to hear.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
By: Marie Skye
Releasing February 19, 2016
Everything I ever had is gone. Ripped away, taken before I was ready. So I just hid. Hid in the shadows, hoping to disappear, blending in, fade away. I didn't want to be found, and I sure as hell didn’t want, to be discovered.
But one man did. He saw me. Saw right through me. He's overbearing, egotistical, and did I mention a total asshole? When I'm with him, I want to scream, Punch him, And then have him rip my clothes off.
I gave him one night. He wants more. And so do I. I'm his. Grayson Mandrake owns me.
I take, because I can. I claim, because I can. She was mine the moment I saw her, And I will destroy her soul to keep her. Have her. Own her.
I'm ruthless, And relentless, A total asshole. And I will do anything for her. Emmalin Ross is mine.
We rode back to headquarters discussing how the rest of the day was going to pan out. I tried prying some information out of Chace regarding him and Isabella, but he remained tight-lipped. As we stopped at Glenda's desk to retrieve messages before our meeting, our attention was diverted to a woman walking out of Grayson's office.
Her designer heels made her at least 5'10, and the V-neck dress she wore, which barely held her breasts in, matched the blood-red lipstick she wore perfectly. She spotted Chace and strolled over as if she was on a runway. She looked me up and down as if I was no more than trash before placing her hand on Chace's chest and purring.
"It's been a while.”
Chace took a half step in front of me, as if blocking me from view. Grayson came walking out of the office, his hair a mess and collar mussed. It didn't take much to put together what had been going on here. He stopped at Glenda's desk.
"Please have security escort Mrs. Stewart out of the building."
She withdrew her hand from Chace and turned, a scowl creasing her brow. "Is that necessary, Grayson?"
He looked past her and made immediate eye contact with me. He glanced at Chace, almost as if he were silently pleading.
Chace lightly grabbed my arm. "You have that meeting."
I pulled my arm away. "He means well, right?"
The blonde stood there and watched us back and forth before widening her grin. "Wait, is this her?"
"I would choose your next words wisely, Ashley," Grayson said through gritted teeth.
Just then, the elevator dinged and security entered. I wasn't going to wait around for the drama and strolled right past all of them to the conference room.
Sitting there, I willed myself not to cry. I felt like such a damn fool. I didn’t know how much time went by before someone else came in, and I realized I had a job to do.
Right before our meeting was to start, Grayson walked in. I immediately diverted my eyes, and noticed how everyone sat straighter in their chairs, as I willed mine to swallow me whole. He stood directly behind me. That masculine scent overpowered everything as he leaned over.
"Ms. Ross, may I have a moment of your time?"
Keeping my eyes on the doodle I was drawing, I answered, "No."
He paused. "I'm sorry?"
I cleared my throat, and I glanced across the table at Edith, who only gawked at someone saying no to the CEO of the company. "I said no, Mr. Mandrake. No, you may not have a moment of my time. You may, however, request to schedule a moment of my time, and I'll be sure to pencil you in at my earliest convenience."
Holy shit! Did that just come out of my mouth? Okay, keep it together. You are officially speaking out of anger. Hold your ground. I dared a glance around the room. All eyes were on us. Well, this was embarrassing. I looked back up at Grayson, and his eyes were dark and smoldering. They narrowed at me, and I thought I saw a hint of a smile, but I was pretty sure that was wishful thinking on my part.
He placed his hand on my shoulder, his eyes never leaving mine. "On second thought, I think I'll stay for the meeting after all.” Of course, the chair next to me was free. He slid in closer than one needed to, not respecting boundaries at all. I tried turning my chair in the opposite direction, but a firm grip on my thigh stopped me instantly.
Pursing my lips, I turned toward the beginning of the presentation as much as I could, or as much as Grayson would allow me. Just when I thought there was a possibility this might go well, the lights dimmed. Grayson’s ironclad grip started traveling up my thigh. I made a mental note to start wearing pants. I tried everything to get my chair to move without causing a distraction. His fingertips grazed the outer edge of my panties. He wouldn’t dare do this here. I was torn between trying to be pissed at him and trying to keep myself from being turned on.
As I attempted to shut my legs again, I swore I heard him smirk.
Hooking a leg around my ankle, he pried my legs apart before pushing the lace of my panties aside and lightly grazing over my clit. I jumped immediately upon contact.
So he was going to do this here. I was trying to retain my composure, and just when I thought I had it under control, he slipped two fingers past my folds, and I suddenly gripped the table. In the distance, I heard my name being called.
I glanced at the front of the room where Edith stood with Kevin, looking my way. I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” My voice came out higher than I intended.
Edith started speaking again, but I didn’t hear a word that came out of her mouth the moment Grayson’s thumb started circling my clit. I was focusing hard on trying to keep my breathing under control.
All of a sudden, Grayson started contributing to the conversation while continuing his agonizing torture, while I sat there and bit my bottom lip to prevent myself from moaning. Every time a question was directed toward me, Grayson intercepted and I would nod in agreement. I was so close, and he knew just what to do.
“Well, I think this should call for an early dismissal for the day if everyone agrees, and if everyone is satisfied with this proposal?” Grayson flicked my clit and pleasure shot through me as I tried to stay as still as possible. He looked around the room as everyone nodded in response to the early dismissal. “Ms. Ross, for clarification, were you satisfied?”
That bastard. I nodded, since that’s all I could do. Everyone started to clear out of the room, but I just sat there.
When I finally got up and headed for the door, he grabbed my arm.
“I’m pissed at you. You had no right to do that.” I tried jerking my arm away, but he gripped it harder
He cocked his head. “Is that so?”
“Are you kidding me right now?”
“No, I’m not kidding you right now.” He thrust me against the wall, his erection digging into me, and I found myself grinding into him. “You refused me, and in your defiant attitude, said you would pencil me in. Not only did you manage to piss me the fuck off, but you made me so fucking hard, I was prepared to throw you over this damn table and fuck you in front of everyone. So now we’re going to talk my way. I think it’s time I introduced you to orgasm denial. I’m going to fuck you, redden your ass, and then fuck you again, and maybe then we can talk.”
I opened my mouth to talk.
“Don’t say a word. I don’t want to hear a fucking word out of your mouth.” He dragged me out of the conference room.
As pissed as I was, I was unbelievably turned on.
Marie Skye currently resides in Austin, Texas. She's always wanted to be a writer, and one day decided 'why not?' She's a sucker for all things romance, but also loves those stories that are dark and twisted, and makes you think to yourself "what would people say if they knew I read stuff like this?" They would be jealous. Visit her on Facebook, her Facebook Group or Website.
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