Ready to Run
I Do, I Don't #1
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing August 22, 2017
The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.
Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.
Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.
Damn. Charlie hadn’t been lying about the hot blonde.
The woman walking straight toward him was all tight jeans, high heels, and confi-dence. And hot. Very, very hot.
Charlie muttered something admiring under his breath, and Luke’s gaze flicked to the man beside the woman. Tried to place him. Couldn’t.
Not too many guys around here who wore light-purple shirts and white pants with the same easy comfort that Lucky Hollow residents wore jeans and flannel.
No doubt about it—neither was from around here. Not by a long shot.
The man was a half step behind the woman, and Luke assessed that the woman was calling the shots.
His eyes narrowed as he realized that she hadn’t once wavered in her approach.
She knew what she was after:
She got closer and Luke saw that the face matched the body. Wide blue eyes, full lips, sassy shoulder-length blond hair that was just tousled enough to make a man wonder how it had gotten that way—to want to be the one to muss it.
Her gaze flicked over him, and Charlie whistled and muttered under his breath. “She just checked you out, man.”
She had indeed, but Luke was far from flattered. It hadn’t been the assessment of a woman checking out a man so much as a predator evaluating its prey.
As though she was evaluating him for . . . something.
Blondie stopped in front of him, and the second her blue eyes locked on his, Luke felt a little jolt of awareness and was irrationally annoyed. It had been a long time since he’d been quite so aware of a woman.
Once, he’d enjoyed the feeling—sexual chemistry was almost the perfect combination of pain and pleasure. A subtle punch in the gut that you wanted to experience again and again.
These days, though, he was having a hard time getting past the pain part. The shitty parts had outweighed the good parts just one time too many. Now he mostly settled for casual hookups with a divorcée a few towns over who was even less interested in com-mitment than Luke was.
He had zero use for attraction to a pretty, bold woman in high heels.
Luke noticed that for a sheer moment she had a slightly off-balance look, as though she too had felt the annoying zip of arousal when their eyes met, but she recovered quick-ly.
Pasting a sunny, generic smile on her face, she stuck out her right hand. “Luke Elliott. I’m Jordan Carpenter. This is my colleague, Simon Nash.”
Good manners had him setting down his equipment and extending his own right hand toward hers even as his brain caught on her name. Familiar, and . . .
He managed to stop from jerking his hand back, but just barely. Instead, he gritted his teeth, gave her hand a perfunctory shake, and then fixed her with a glare. “You’re wasting your time, Ms. Carpenter. And mine.”
Blue eyes narrowed. “Aha. So you did get my emails.”
Those. The voicemails. The letters.
“Sure,” he said with a nod, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Just like I suspect you got the message that I didn’t want to be a part of your show.”
Charlie looked from the woman to Luke and back again. “Show?”
Ryan ambled over, his shit-eating grin telling Luke that this damn woman had already spilled the beans on why she was here. “Luke’s gonna be a national heartthrob.”
“International,” said the blond guy in the purple shirt.
Jordan Carpenter didn’t look at her companion, but all three firefighters did.
The other man gave the sort of easy smile that probably had him making friends easily. Luke didn’t want a new friend.
Especially not one who wanted to use his shitty romantic past for the sake of TV ratings.
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Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
Maverick Junction #3
By: Lynette Austin
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Maggie Sullivan can't wait to get out of Texas. Luckily, she just got the break she needed to make her big-city dreams a reality. But then Brawley Odell swaggers back into Maverick Junction, looking hotter than ever in his dusty cowboy boots and well-worn jeans. He's the guy she still dreams of at night. The guy who broke her heart when he left her behind.
Fed up with city life, Brawley jumps at the chance to return home and take over the local vet's practice—and get back to the smart, sassy woman he's never been able forget. He couldn't be prouder of Maggie's new wedding-dress business . . . until he realizes it may mean losing her all over again. Determined to win her back, Brawley must find a way to convince Maggie that their one true home is with each other.
Brawley Odell figured his life wouldn’t be worth one plug-nickel the second he stepped foot inside Maggie’s shop. Too damn bad. He hadn’t driven the thirty miles from Maverick Junction to back out now. He was goin’ in.
After all this time, he’d come home…and she was leaving.
He grasped the brass knob and shoulder-butted the oak door. It flew open, the bell overhead jangling. Maggie Sullivan, all that gorgeous red hair scooped into a jumbled mass, stood dead-center in the room. Dressed in a skirt and top the color of a forest at twilight, she held a fuzzy sweater up in front of her like a shield. Those amazing green eyes widened as he stormed in.
“We need to talk.” He ignored the woman at the back of the store who flipped through a rack of tops.
He held up a hand. “Don’t speak. Not yet.”
Her mouth opened, then closed.
Anger boiled in him, but he needed to find some modicum of control. Taking a deep breath, he held it for the count of ten, then slowly released it. “Did you plan on telling me?”
Her eyes narrowed, but she said nothing.
“You’re invited to New York City for a showing of your new line, and you don’t share that with me? I have to learn about it secondhand?”
“Last I heard this wasn’t about you, Brawley. In fact, my life, my business has absolutely nothing to do with you.”
His jaw clenched. “Anything that affects you is my business, Mags.”
She snorted. “Get real, Odell. You gave up any and all rights years ago.” Her head tilted. “Why are you even interested? You want to attend so you can show off your latest Dallas Cowboy cheerleader? Maybe order her trousseau?”
He shot her a deadly look, one that had made grown men back away.
Not Maggie. She actually took a couple steps toward him. The woman had no survival instincts. Another reason she had no business heading off to New York alone.
She tapped a scarlet-tipped finger on her chin. “Oh, that’s right. There’d be no trousseau for your honey, would there? Maybe a weekend-fling outfit for your date du jour? A one-night-stand set of lacy lingerie.”
“Shut up, Maggie.”
“Make me.” Her eyes flashed.
This time the look in his eyes must have warned her she’d treaded too close to the edge. She stepped back.
“You challenging me, Maggie?”
When she wet her lips, his gaze dropped to her mouth, followed the tip of her pink tongue as it darted out.
“Only one way I could ever get you quiet,” he said.
Her hand shot up. “Don’t even think about it.”
“No thought required. Been wanting to do this a long time now.” He closed the distance between them and dropped his mouth to hers. Fire. Smoke. Hell, a full-out volcanic eruption.
Lynnette Austin, a recovering middle school teacher, loves long rides with the top down and the music cranked up, the Gulf of Mexico when a storm is brewing, chocolate frozen custard, anything by Blake Shelton, Chris Young, and Thomas Rhett, and sitting in her local coffee shop reading and enjoying an iced coffee. She and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida's beaches and Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Having grown up in a small town, that's where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse. Writing for Grand Central and Sourcebooks, she’s published twelve novels and is at work on a new series.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Two families long divided by an ancient feud. Can a powerful love finally unite them?
Blade Hamilton is the last of his line. He's never even heard of Crossroads, Texas, until he inherits land there. Riding in on his vintage Harley-Davidson, Blade finds a weathered ranch house, an empty prairie and a dark river that cuts a decisive path between the Hamiltons' land and that of their estranged neighbors.
When Dakota helps a stranger on the roadside, she isn't prepared for the charisma of the man on the motorbike—or for the last name he bears: Hamilton, of her family's sworn enemies, representing all she's been raised to loathe. The problem is, it looks like Blade is in town to stay, and there's something about his wolf-gray eyes she just can't ignore.
Lauren Brigman feels adrift. Unhappy in work and unlucky in love, she knows she ought to be striving for more, but she's never truly at peace unless she's at home in Crossroads. If the wider world can't satisfy her, is home truly where her heart is?
Crossroads, Texas - The place I would love to visit since it feels like I know the town and its quirky citizens. There's a special, nearly poetic style, that the author has written the entertaining stories of lives and loves of the Crossroads folks. Each story is filled with drama and trouble, loving and laughs, and I have grown to care for many of the characters portrayed in the series like they were my friends.
This book, what seems to be the ending of the series, finally wraps up what started at the very beginning, Lauren Brigman's story. I was so happy that she finally found her place, some peace of mind and got her wishes and dreams fulfilled. Like most of the time when a book has more than one love story, I was yearning for more details on each romance, but regardless, Lauren's future seems bright and happy.
The Hamilton-Collins feud and its solution is an entertaining part of the tale. Blade Hamilton is a mysterious alpha male that gets Dakota's attention immediately. The back and forth, the banter, the sexual tension, and Blade's role with the Collins women was delightful and charming, it even had me laughing out loud as grandma puts everyone on their place.
With a fluent flow and lyrical tone to the story, the readers are allured into small town living, with all the drama and trouble, even crimes and gun fights, relationships and flirtations, it entails. The series has been an epic, idyllic array of tales, and I am looking forward to the holiday novella that will wrap up the lovely stories from the Ransom Canyon
~ Four Spoons
Monster Among the Roses
Fairy Tale Quartet #1
By: Linda Kage
Releasing July 25, 2017
“Do you know how to get to the rose garden?”
“No, you can’t go there. A monster lives there.”
Shaw Hollander is desperate.
Broke, unemployed, and determined to help his ailing mother, he falls on the good graces of a wealthy benefactor who is willing to give Shaw a job at his mansion in order to pay off his mother’s debts. Suddenly finding himself surrounded by lavish riches, he has no idea what his duties truly entail until he’s sent to the rose garden and meets the tragically mutilated Isobel.
This Beauty and the Beast story holds true to the core of the fable while shaking off the element of fantasy and dragging it into present day reality. Shaw and Isobel are ready to let you climb into their four-wheel-drive pickup and take a ride with them into their version of happily ever after, but only if you first dare to gaze upon the monster among the roses.
Great. I was lost. Shading my hand over my eyes, I decided the far right should take me in the general direction I wanted to go. So I went that way, only to end up at the edge of the house, but not where I’d started, and not close enough to the rose garden to get me inside.
Strangely enough, however, a boy played outside, using sidewalk chalk to color a picture of…what the hell was he drawing? Maybe some kind of dying animal with blood gushing from its side and an arrow sticking out of its back.
It didn’t look right, whatever it was.
I shook my head and jerked my gaze from the disturbingly morbid sketch. “Hey, kid.”
The boy jumped and looked up, hopping to his feet and backing away from me as I were the scary one.
No idea who he was; he looked too young to be Mr. Nash’s son from the photos I’d seen, plus he had white blond hair, the complete opposite shade of the young man in all the pictures in Mr. Nash’s office. But he was here, so he’d have to do.
Wanting to appear as non-threatening as possible, I smile and waved. “Hey. Sorry for bothering you, but do you know how to get to the rose garden?”
That must’ve been the wrong question to ask. His face drained of color. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “You can’t go there.”
What? “Why not?”
“A monster lives in there. Half her face is melted off. She eats the thorns from the roses so she can spit them at people, stabbing them in the neck to slice their throat open until they bleed out and die.”
Somehow, I’d stumbled across one of the children of the corn. Nice.
Lifting my eyebrows, I drew my own step in reverse. Time to retreat. “Dude, that’s gruesome.”
Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.
He gave a serious nod. “It’s true. My mom’ll tell you she’s real too.”
“Oh yeah?” Relieved he wasn’t claiming he’d sprouted from Satan’s cabbage patch but actually had a mother, I glanced around for this wise, all-knowing parent of his. Maybe she could tell me how to get to the conservatory. “Who’s your mom?”
“The cook,” he said, puffing up his chest as if that were the most important title in the house. “She’s worked here for fifteen years. She knows everything about this place there is to know. So…don’t go into the roses. You won’t come out alive. Lewis, the groundskeeper, doesn’t even go in there.”
Aha! So this place did have a gardener. I knew it.
I took a second to ponder why I was being sent to garden then, when Mr. Nash already paid someone to maintain the place. But if Lewis refused to go into the roses, as the kid had said, maybe it was rumored to be haunted or something, and that was where I came in. Then again, why wouldn’t Mr. Nash just hire a new groundskeeper who wasn’t so scared and superstitious? Then I stopped pondering the whys. It wasn’t my place to question strange, rich people and their strange, oddball orders. I was just here to do what I was told and save my mom.
Nodding gravely to the boy, I said, “Thanks for the warning, kid. But I think I’ll take my chances. Which way?”
He looked at me as if he’d never see me again because I was headed forth to my death, then he lifted his hand and quietly pointed toward another opening in the path of bushes.
“Thanks.” I nodded and got out of there before some of his creepiness started rubbing off.
Fortunately, he’d steered me in the right direction. I landed right at the outdoor entrance into the glass gazebo. Propping the door open, I carted my supplies inside and then paused to breathe deeply.
But fuck me, it smelled good in here. You didn’t have to be a flower enthusiast for this garden to amaze you. It was like the holy shrine of roses. A hallowed kind of reverence filled my chest. Haunted or not, I liked it. It felt peaceful and yet revitalizing.
Suddenly intimidated because I didn’t want to mess anything up in such a perfect place, my hands shook as I flipped back to the pages about rose care. The more I skimmed, however, the more confused I became.
These roses didn’t need a lick of my attention. They were all in excellent condition as if someone already tended to them. Maybe creepy kid had been wrong, and Lewis the groundskeeper came in here hourly to care for them.
Still…What the hell?
I frowned and slid my finger along the silken petals of a blood red rose. Perfectly pruned, weeded, and watered. It was as flawless as a thing could get.
But I couldn’t go tell Mr. Nash they didn’t need anything, could I? What if he fired me for lack of work to do, or because he thought I was lazy and lying about the roses not needing care?
I looked around again, searching for anything to water, or clip, or re-soil. It was crazy how thriving every single flower looked.
Maybe this was some kind of test, and Mr. Nash wanted me to fail. What if he’d never intended for me to work for him and the contract I’d signed to save my mom was being burned in the fireplace in this office as I stood here like a dumbass with nothing to weed.
Confused and worried, and growing a little angry, I scowled at a wall full of pink vine roses growing to my right. But they were honestly too pretty to be glared at, so my mood settled.
I bet Mom would love them. She was a fan of pink. And flowers. Plus, these were the good-smelling kind. I’d be a good son if I brought home such a flower to her. And it seemed as if they grew in abundance, not as if they were one of the rare breeds Mr. Nash had spoken of. So I reached for a bloom to pluck it from the vine without even thinking beyond how much it’d make my mother smile.
Behind me, a voice growled, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Jumping half out of my skin because I’d been certain no one had been in here with me, I whirled around only to gasp, “Shit!”
The creepy cook’s son hadn’t been lying.
In front of me stood an irate woman with half her face melted off.
I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my husband, two daughters, nine cuckoo clocks, and a cat named Holly. My life's been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing's always been a major part my world, and I'm so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers.
I'm a member of Romance Writers of America, and I've been through a writing correspondence class in children's literature from The Institute of Children's Literarture, and then I continued my writing lessons by majoring in English with an emphasis in creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State University.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Former soldier Vito D'Angelo has come home with a foster son—and a secret that could devastate his comrade's lovely widow. Lacey McPherson is Vito's childhood friend and the last person he wants to hurt.
But as their friendship turns to more, the truth grows harder to reveal.
Lacey's trying to renovate her guesthouse and build a peaceful single life. Yet letting ruggedly handsome Vito and young Charlie stay on her property awakens a longing for the family she's sure she'll never have.
But it may open the door to a loving future…if the onetime boy next door proves to be just the man she needs…
A touching story about trust, loyalty, betrayal, forgiveness, family, and love. The story takes the reader on a deeply emotional journey where honesty and integrity hit the crossroads with promises made and trustworthiness is tested.
Vito D'Angelo is in a tough spot. He made a promise to his dying friend, and that promise is about to compromise his own future, his own dreams, desires, and hopes. Vito's integrity, kindness, and caring heart make him an excellent hero, his dilemma with the promises made and where his loyalties lay are understandable and reasonable.
Lacey McPherson has put her deceased husband into a high podium where he really doesn't belong. Time has golden her memories of the marriage and mourning for him has become a part of her life. Lacey is a caring, loving, and kind woman. Her complicated feelings towards Vito and her misleading images of the past are coloring the present causing conflicts for her and the future possibilities family and a relationship with Vito.
The Soldier's Secret Child is a compelling story with charming, likable characters. The meddling community is entertaining, the interactions between the characters realistic and sensible. The emotions are high, the incidents are life-like, and the strong faith in God that the protagonist declares is the guiding light in their lives.
~ Four Spoons
No woman has ever caught him…until now
Rafe Lawson is driven by two things: his music and living a life away from the influence of his powerful senator father. The woman he meets at a high-profile family celebration won't change his playboy ways. Still, Rafe is intrigued by the stunning Secret Service agent who never mixes business and pleasure. He has no choice but to jet to DC and use his legendary Lawson power of seduction to win over Avery Richards.
The first female in her family to rise up the ranks of high-level government security, Avery is comfortable flying halfway across the world at a moment's notice. But her desire for the sax-playing heir to a political dynasty creates more tension than being on presidential detail. Their fathers are enemies who share a long, bitter history. When Avery falls for Rafe, her loyalty to her family is tested and Rafe's contentious feud with his father could cost them everything. They must now decide what's most important—the life they've always lived or the one they can possibly make together.
The sweet, smooth seduction of mind and body ignite the tale of two soulmates that resembles the forever so classic theme of the two families fueling with lovers caught in between the powerful fathers and their hopes and desires for their children's future.
Rafe Lawson is as hot of a character as the picture on the cover of this book. He reminds me of steaming liquid velvet if there is such thing, with the tender, sexy, alluring way of his with the women. He has spent his life rebelling towards his father and building his own empire and music career.
Avery Richards is tough as nails heroine, a CIA agent, on the fast track to being one of the top agents in the country. Her soft, feminine side is pulling Rafe like no woman for a long time, and one of the most popular bachelors is about to fall, and fall hard.
Even though the story is wrapped in the dance of attraction, temptation, and adoration, the references to the current events and the awareness of the challenges in today's society where not ignored or passed over by the author giving the tale relevance on a completely different level.
One of my personal preferences with romance stories is that after the meet cute and the ignition of the attraction the protagonist has the focus on each other and don't have other dates/interests/lovers on the side. With Rafe trying to resist the allure of adoration he feels for Avery, he does everything he can think of, to stay away from her and to get over her, even seeing other women.
The push and pull between the hero and the heroine were enticing and entertaining with palpable intensity. As they get closer together and the trust is formed, they open up and expose their deepest vulnerabilities, they learn to make compromises and own up to their growing feelings, their reverence to each other
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
COURTING THE CORPORAL
by Heather McCorkle
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub Date: 6/27/17
May the road rise up to meet you . . .
The Civil War has ended, but for Corporal Patrick “Rick” Fergusson the battle rages on. Still haunted by what he witnessed on the battlefield, the earnest Irishman is heading west, seeking only to be free of the past. His services are in high demand; wealthy East Coasters in need of escort clamor to join him on the journey. But one client, a beautiful lady named Cat, disturbs Rick’s newfound equilibrium.
High society widow Catriona O’Brian is anxious to get to California, even if it means traveling with the handsome corporal who seems to dislike her so. Cat no longer seeks marriage; she has pinned all her hopes on making it to the west coast and starting her own winery. Between the elements, wild animals, and hostile natives, however, everything seems to be conspiring against her. Time and again, Rick comes to her rescue. And soon, the independent lass discovers that her biggest obstacle may be the longing of her own traitorous heart . . .
Heather McCorkle is an award-winning author of paranormal, steampunk, and historical fiction. When she is not writing, editing, or designing book covers and websites, she can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, she enjoy the outdoors nearly as much as the worlds she creates on the pages. No need to travel to the Great Northwest though; connect to her instead on her blog and her many social networking sites. You can also find her the first Monday night of every month at 6:00 pm Pacific Time on the #WritersRoad chat on Twitter, which she co-created and moderates. Entertaining readers and uncovering stories and points of view that haven't been covered are two of her greatest passions. For more info please visit heathermccorkle.com.
NOT THROUGH LOVING YOU
by Patricia Preston
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17
In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove.
When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn't exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad, complete with Aaron's cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her.
Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she's determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad—and more unsettling, everything she's ever hoped for in a man. After all she's put him through, is it too late to form a family—and maybe put a song in the good doctor's heart?
Lia looked into Aaron Kendall’s irate blue eyes. She hadn’t expected
handsome. She had thought he would be older, bald on
top, definitely glasses, reserved with an adoring chubby wife at his
side. She had pictured them as a sweet couple who were thrilled by
the prospect of having a son and who would give Candace’s unwanted
baby the home he deserved.
How could she have been so wrong?
“All right. Tonight.” She needed time to think through this latest
wrinkle in her life. “I’m staying at the Lansdale Hotel. There’s a
small restaurant in the hotel. We can meet there.”
She glanced at his hand that was still on top of hers. He was the
kind of guy who was available because that’s the way he wanted it.
Why else would he be single? He was attractive. Tall with the lean,
athletic build of a man who was no stranger to physical activity.
The deep crow’s feet on the sides of his eyes revealed that he was
in his mid to late thirties. He had a little scar on the side of his chin.
She wondered how he got it. She wondered why his wife had left
him, and when she met his gaze, she wondered if he realized they
were close enough to kiss.
“I’ll see you at eight.” He released her hand and stepped back.
The tension rolled off him in waves. “It would be good if your sister
joined us as well.”
“Yes, that would be good,” she said before she slipped inside the
Jag. She let down the window. “Unfortunately, Candace is dead.”
She left Aaron Kendall standing speechless in his driveway. Four
days ago, that news had left her speechless, too, when a scruffy girl
named Kelly had shown up on her doorstep with a duffel bag containing
Candace’s belongings as well as a box holding her ashes.
Patricia Preston is a Mississippi author who writes witty mainstream historical and contemporary romance as well as humorous short stories. She won the William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction, the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, and Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition. Besides working as a medical office manager, she has also worked as a librarian. She loves the atmosphere of small towns but would love to live in New Orleans or Nashville, her favorite cities. Her other interests include history, cooking, photography, and getting together with friends and family. She is happiest when she is in her writing cave with a glass of sweet iced tea and ideas flowing. Readers can visit her website at patricia-preston.com, fine her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
Where I Need to Be
McKenna # 3
By: Jamie Hollins
Releasing July 18, 2017
When heroin stole James Foley’s wife and destroyed his marriage, he poured all his energy into raising his young son and running his auto garage. There’s no room in his life for anything else until Megan McKenna walks into his shop. He finds it impossible to resist the sexy school teacher.
After an ugly divorce, Megan lost her home, her job, and a big chunk of her self-respect. With her posh lifestyle now a memory, she starts over by indulging in an unexpected fling with a hard-bodied mechanic.
What begins as something casual turns into something meaningful. But how can their relationship survive when it’s built on half-truths?
James and Megan soon discover that being honest with themselves is just as important as being honest with each other. Only then will their relationship fire on all cylinders.
Even over the wailing guitar of an old Chevelle song, James had no trouble hearing a deep rumbling and god-awful clanking outside the closed bay doors. After dusting off his hands on a shop rag, he turned down the radio in time to hear a car door slam shut.
It was half past eight o’clock on a Friday night. The shop was officially closed. He had half a mind to stay put and let whomever was out there figure that out on their own.
But when he heard the distinct clacking of high heels across his front parking lot, he changed his mind. Not because he knew it was a woman. More because he was hopeful it was one particular woman.
Reaching the front office door, he peered outside to see Megan McKenna scribbling furiously across a scrap of paper. Even in the partial darkness, he could see she was concentrating hard, biting her lower lip as she wrote the note. Something about her biting her lip sent all his blood rushing below his belt.
Jesus, he felt like he was in high school again. He had no idea what type of spell this woman had cast over him, but he found himself thinking about her too often. And looking at her now, he really didn’t have to wonder why that was.
She was fucking gorgeous.
She had the most gloriously long legs he’d ever seen, made even longer by her black patent leather heels. The remnants of the day’s light made Megan’s red cardigan and matching shirt glow above her tight black skirt. He was starting to think he was getting a thing for cardigans too.
Before he started to drool on the glass, he quickly unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door. Megan looked up, startled.
“Oh, my gosh,” she breathed. “You scared the crap out of me.”
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”
That was true, but he liked the way her cheeks got all flushed.
She smiled. “I wasn’t sure what time you closed. When I saw the times on the door, I was going to leave my keys with a note in your drop box. I parked my car over there.” She turned and pointed to her Accord. It was kind of hard to miss. “I was on my way home from work and something broke, so I drove straight here.”
She sounded exhausted.
“What exactly happened to it?” he asked, stepping from the doorway and walking toward the car.
“I had just pulled out of the parking lot and made it about a block before I hit a pothole, and I heard this really loud bang followed by a high-pitched scraping sound. I couldn’t see anything out the back window, and it seemed like all my gauges were okay, so I continued driving.” She stopped beside where he knelt to look under the back of the car. “Within two blocks there was another awful sound, then all of sudden my car sounded like a helicopter.”
James knew even before he looked at it what had happened. “Your muffler fell off.”
Megan sighed. “Is that bad?”
He looked up at her from where he stooped on the pavement—trying not to check out her legs—and nodded. He stood up, dusting off his hands on his thighs. “I’m gonna have to order you a new muffler. I can probably have it here by Tuesday.”
His eyes got caught on where she was biting her lower lip again. “How much is that going to cost me?”
He pulled his gaze away from her lips and saw the worry in her expression. “You’re looking at anywhere between two hundred to two fifty for parts and labor.”
She looked back at her car and sighed. “I guess there’s no way around it, so go ahead. Do you need me to fill out any paperwork?”
“No. But I’ll need your keys.”
She dropped her keys into his grease-stained hands. “Thanks, Mr. Foley. Just give me a call whenever it’s done.”
She heaved her purse up her shoulder before giving him a tired smile and wave. James was too busy watching her walk away when he suddenly realized that she planned to walk home by herself.
“Megan,” he yelled. When she turned toward him, he asked, “How far is your place from here?”
“Oh, it’s just a few blocks. No biggie.”
She had just started to turn back toward the sidewalk when he had a completely stupid idea.
“I was about ready to head home for the night. How about I give you a ride?”
She regarded him for a moment before saying, “You know, after the day I’ve had, I think I’ll take you up on that.”
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Jamie Hollins was born and raised in rural Northeast Ohio. After graduate school, she embarked on a perilous career in Human Resources where she met plenty of real life characters. When she’s not writing or chasing after her toddler, she enjoys reading and golfing. Jamie lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and their dog, Winston.
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A brew that brings two lovers full circle.
A Brewing Passion Novella
Releasing July 18, 2017
When Ross and Elisa open their new business in Detroit, they believe theyâve embarked on a dream life, complete with their beloved, precocious daughter. But owning and running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart, and Elle quickly becomes laser-focused and obsessed, while Ross spends his days consulting, or concocting new beers on his pilot systemâand wondering why she wonât agree to set a date for their wedding. When their restaurantânamed âKomfortâ for its focus on the comfort foods of various culturesâis featured on a nationally televised tour of hot new eateries, its popularity shoots into the stratosphere, and Elleâs stress level reaches a breaking point.
Faced with a mutual inability to communicate beyond their robust sex life, Ross issues an ill-considered ultimatum: the restaurant or him. Stunned when she refuses to consider such a ridiculous demand, heâs forced to come to terms with his own selfish tendencies. Hoping to repair the damage heâs done, he concocts a new beer inspired by her, using a recipe for a classic German-style KÃ¶lch. He crafts the final product using a special ingredient designed to catch Elleâs attention. It does. But not necessarily the way heâd planned.
âAdjunct Loversâ fills in the story begun in LIGHTSTRUCK, and provides a closer look at Rossâs and Elleâs complex personalities as they make their sexy way toward happily ever afterâwith the help of a very special brew.
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Brewing Passion Romances
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, âRomance: Worth the Risk,â which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the âHEAâ and more in the âWHAâ (âWhat Happens After?â).
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Donât ever ask her for anything âlike a Budweiserâ or risk bodily injury.
A rule-following ranger finds himself on the hunt for a killer--and falling for a woman who should be off-limits...
On the hunt for a serial killer, ranger Ryan Spencer can't afford any distraction. But Jana Lassiter, sister to one of the missing women, won't let Ryan investigate Mystic Mesa alone. Even though the seasoned officer has always been by the book, something tells him it wouldn't be so bad to break a few rules for Jana.
When Jana's life is suddenly jeopardized, the lawman is forced to face his darkest fears. He's allowed desire to overshadow duty. Now he has to rein in his emotions to save Jana from becoming the next victim. Because losing this woman he's inexplicably fallen for will destroy this warrior forever.
The Ranger Brigade: Family Secrets
An exciting and entertaining 'whodunnit' that keeps the reader guessing as more intrigue is surrounding the 'Family', yet there are two others that might look just as suspicious as the man who calls himself the 'prophet'.
Ryan Spencer is a character easy to like. He is straight forward, honest, considerate man, who has charm but does not take advantage of it. From the first meeting with Jana Lassiter the sparks are flying, yet the timing could not be worse since Jana is the sister one of the three young women who are missing.
Jana has spunk and spirits. She knows what she wants and goes after it. Her worry about her sister is palpable, the comfort and understanding Ryan shows to her are admirable and touching. I liked how he didn't try to fill her with falls hope, he was as honest as he could be with her, considering the ongoing investigation, yet he was taking into consideration of her fears, needs, and worries. There are moments, as he was offering her support, that were so sweet and adorable.
The puzzle of the investigation is challenging and exciting, each new piece of the evidence raising more questions. There are three possible known suspects that each behaves in a suspenseful matter, some acting creepy enough to raise all the hairs in the neck as I was reading the story yet keeping the interest high and alive through the tale.
A dramatic and captivating story that kept the curiosity alive towards the alluring prophet and the mysterious 'Family', as well as the appealing Ranger Brigade. A baffling case of missing women turns into something much more and very dangerous to all involved. Mix in the tempting romance and the tale is sure to entertain and enthrall...
~ Four Spoons
Cindi Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager before turning to writing full time. She's written both historical and contemporary romance, as well as dozens of short stories and nonfiction articles. Cindi thinks writers have the best job in the world.
Former president of San Antonio Romance Authors, Cindi is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
She and her husband and their two dogs live in the mountains Southwest of Denver. When she's not caught up in creating new characters and stories, Cindi enjoys reading, quilting, gardening, skiing and hiking. She's also in demand as a speaker, teaching workshops and making presentations to both local and national writing groups.
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DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
by AJ Nuest
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 6/27/17
Revenge might be cold . . .
Xander Dade has a deep-seated regret, and the nomadic decade he’s spent doling out justice as a computer hacker hasn’t helped ease his conscience. Ever since Charlie McGovern was asked to leave the specialized revenge-for-hire business called Dirty Deeds, the curvy blonde bombshell has been stuck in his head. And now that the talented thief is being stalked by a dangerous enemy, Xander isn’t about to let her slip through his fingers—not when he’s so close to convincing her she belongs in his bed . . .
But desire is a dish best served hot
Caught in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, Charlie won’t be surrendering her secrets any time soon. Not even when long-lost friend, Xander Dade, shows up, packing a sexy agenda all his own. Her movements are being tracked, and accepting his help may put everyone she loves in danger. Things are getting too hot to handle, and selling her secrets to the highest bidder may end up costing more than her heart . . .
Multi-published, award-winning author and editor AJ Nuest resides in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and a bevy of spoiled pets. Her four-part serial fantasy romance, The Golden Key Chronicles, was recently named the RONE Time Travel Romance of 2015 by InD’tale Magazine, and her contemporary romantic comedy, She’s Got Dibs, won First Place in the Heartland Romance Author’s Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2013. For more please visit her at ajnuest.com.
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A seasoned cop becomes the target of a killer. And so does the woman he's falling for.
Detective Lieutenant Thomas Watson had been off air force active duty so long, he thought he was safe. Until a gunman crashes his daughter's wedding, reawakening the warrior inside him. He hires nurse Jane Boyle to care for his injured father so he can focus on bringing the gunman to justice. While Jane is the ideal caretaker, her dark past has landed her in witness protection. And the more she's embraced by this family of cops, the more danger she's in. For a shadow from Thomas's own past might be willing to lend Jane's stalker a helping hand...
The Precinct: Bachelors in Blue
This story left me with a big smile on my face, what a wonderful ending to the series! This truly is 'character driven romantic suspense' because here the protagonist really are the ones to move the plot on, to shine with their integrity, knowledge, and experience.
I enjoyed the mature hero and heroine, they have depth, tone, and spirits that are easy to connect with, they are the kind of people you want to surround yourself with, people you want to cheer for.
Thomas Watson is a protector. He holds his family together, has been doing it ever since his wife died 20 years ago. He charmed me completely, I admit. I am enamored with his personality, his kindness, his caring, protective nature. And Thomas and Jane Boyle are adorable together. Jane is an alpha woman but there is enough strength in Thomas to take it and love it when she takes a command. They respect and admire each other, and not just physically, the connection they have goes much deeper, even though the passion and desire between them were tangible.
The suspense builds continuously through the tale, elevating the tension and dread with every twist in the story. The malice attacks are continues, and as part of the story is told by the culprits' point of view, their thoughts and actions take the creepy form...
A marvelous, entertaining, and suspenseful ending to the series that does not require you to read the first three books to love the events and characters of Protection Detail, but I do recommend the whole series!
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Hellions Angels #1
By: Lia Riley
Releasing July 11, 2017
Her biggest fantasy is about to become a reality. . .
Jed West is Mr. Hockey. The captain of the NHL’s latest winning team, the Denver Hellions—and the hottest player on the ice—at least according to every magazine. .and Breezy Angel. Breezy has been drooling over Jed at games for years, and he plays a starring role in her most toe-curling fantasies. But dirty dreams don’t come true, right?
Then Jed saunters through the doors of her library, a last minute special guest for a summer reading event, and not only is he drop dead gorgeous up close, his personality is straight up swoon-worthy. He even comes to the rescue when she has an R-rated “Super Book Worm” costume malfunction. But when he mistakenly assumes she’s more into books than pucks, she’s too flustered to correct his mistake. And then comes a big kiss, followed by a teensy-tiny problem. Jed’s dating policy is simple: Never date a fan.
So what’s a fangirl going to have to do to convince her ultimate crush that he’s become less of a perfect fantasy, and more like the perfect man. . .for her?
Jed West’s stomach curdled faster than overheated hollandaise sauce as he squinted at the menu for Zachary’s, Denver’s most popular all-day breakfast hangout. Ghost-like shadows haunted the specials list, blurring the descriptions for peanut butter French toast, country fried steak benedict and sweet potato pancakes. Ah, shit. Not fucking now. There went the prices too–the dollar signs and numbers blurring until barely legible.
No point blinking. He knew the drill. Jaw tight, he reached for his orange juice, took a swig and waited. Short bouts of double vision had dogged him ever since Game Seven, the pattern the same. After a minute or two, his focus would snap back to normal as if nothing had happened. Until then, he needed to follow one of coach’s favorite axioms: “Suck it up, Buttercup.”
Who cared about the damn menu anyway? He pushed it to one side, having already ordered the “Manwich”, chorizo and eggs smashed between a jalapeno cheddar biscuit–the kind of breakfast that wanted to kill you in the best kind of ways–and crunched ice. Too bad the cubes didn’t pass on their chill, because this. . .situation for lack of a better word, was getting under his skin and it shouldn’t.
No–Scratch that. It couldn’t.
Unexplained double vision wasn’t a walk in the park, but facts were facts. And the ugly truth was that if he didn’t quit batting his lashes like Scarlett O’Hara with a fly in her skirt, The Post’s toughest sports columnist would glance up from across the table, mistake his tic for a cheesedick wink, and go Lord of the Flies on his nut sack.
At least for the moment, Neve Angel was occupied. She hunched over her digital voice recorder, dark bangs obscuring her sharp gaze as she fiddled with the control settings. Her lips moved to the upbeat Buddy Holly song piping over the sound system while she plucked a mic from her messenger bag. His vision came back online in time for him to read the orange button pinned to the front.
Had a Ball at The Rock Creek Testicle Festival.
Christ, looked to be an authentic souvenir too.
Slamming his knees together, he forced a grin, the one that had potential endorsements lined up around the block, eager for him to shill everything from vitamin infused coconut water to shaving cream. He unwrapped the paper napkin from around the fork and knife, and began tearing the corner into neat strips.
No doubt the eye thing was fatigue-related, an inevitable toll from the grueling NHL season and subsequent hard-fought playoffs. Everything would be all right in the end. If it wasn’t all right, it wasn’t the end.
“You plan on telling me what’s up with Mount Napkin Shreds?” Neve leaned her elbows on the recycled wood tabletop, a signal they were shifting into interview mode. Her brows arched beneath her thick-cut bangs. “Nervous about being in the hot seat, princess?”
“Yeah, terrified,” he answered laconically, not missing a beat. Hiding his true feelings behind a mask of confidence was a reflex; it came with the territory of having the “C” stitched on the front of his jersey. A good captain never showed fear to an opponent. “A jackal’s bark is worse then it’s bite.”
“Jackal? Don’t tell me you’re using Gunnarisms now.” She rolled her eyes. “And I’d so wanted to enjoy my bagel without gagging.”
The Hellions Head Coach, Tor Gunnar, had a reputation for dismissing the press as “jackals.” He fostered a tense relationship with journalists, in particular, the tiny woman sitting opposite. Neve had run a piece on his divorce a few years ago. He retaliated by refusing to call on her during press conferences. Neve hit back with increasingly critical op-eds. Their mutual enmity had devolved to the stuff of local legend.
A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Curvy, nerdy librarian gets a chance to score with her fantasy crush, the captain of the Denver hockey team.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed two things about writing this book: Breezy Angel and Jed West. I have always loved the trope about the so-called “ordinary” person who falls for a celebrity who in turn views them as nothing short of “extraordinary.” Probably one of the reason that Notting Hill is one of my all-time favorite movies. I wanted Jed to be alpha in the bedroom and obviously an amazingly talented athlete, but I didn’t want to right him as a one-dimensional “bro.” Instead, I wanted him to be a good guy, someone supportive of team mates and his woman. A natural leader who thrives by building up those around him, most importantly his lady. And as for Breezy, I wanted to write a woman who wasn’t drop-dead model perfect. I don’t know women like that in real life, and I want to see people in line around me at the grocery store get a chance to have their own swoony, earth-shattering happy ever after moments too!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I am so excited for readers to get their hands on Book Two in the Hellions Angels series. Head Coach is coming out on November 21st and features (wait for it) Hellions Head Coach, Tor Gunnar and his enemies-to-lovers relationship with determined sports journalist Neve Campbell. There is hate kissing, a bet over a game of air hockey and a fake date to a wedding. Also, it’s one of the sexiest books I’ve ever written.
And don’t forget about Virgin Territory about the team goalie who is not only an almost-priest who was kicked out of seminary school, but also has a reputation for brawling. Plus he may or may not be a virgin hero.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Don’t Stop Believing by Journey…because I’m mostly an optimist, plus I would take immense satisfaction creating ear worms every where I went.
If you had to title your own life what would it be and why?
Did I Leave the Stovetop On?: A Lia Riley Story
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
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Books & Spoons Review & Giveaway for SECRET AGENT SURRENDER by Elizabeth Heiter
This undercover agent can't disguise his true desire!
Undercover DEA agent Marcos Costa is shocked to see Brenna Hartwell—his very first crush—cozying up to the brutal drug lord he's about to bust! He hasn't seen her since childhood, but he never imagined she'd turn to a life of crime. What the hunky agent doesn't know is that Brenna's working her own bust as a rookie cop undercover.
Brenna didn't think she'd ever see Marcos again, especially not on her first undercover mission! She knows she has to keep her distance…but while she and Marcos play out their daring ruse, their youthful passion reignites. One wrong move could blow their covers. Can two loners used to self-reliance trust their lives—and hearts—to each other?
The Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn
From the very first moment, the story is filled with nail-biting tension and palpable fear for survival, that the unique, closed-off scene for the first part of the book just intensifies. There is no escape, there is no backup, there are no weapons to use to protect yourself, just your wit, your smarts, and your experience is keeping you alive in the deadly game of cat and mouse with the drug lord.
This trilogy of the three foster brothers in law enforcement, that had formed a family of a heart, has had me on the edge of my seat with each installment. They are easy to be read as standalone stories, but if you enjoy sharp romantic suspense with action and heart perfectly mixed together, you might want to check out the whole series.
Marcos Costa is the youngest of the brothers. He nearly lost his life in the foster home fire leaving him scarred for life. He is the jokester, always ready to smile and flash his dimples. His bond with his two brothers is tight, he would do anything for them. When it comes to his heart, he lost it at a young age to a girl who apparently set the fire that scarred him, Brenna Hartwell.
Brenna has been alone most of her life, ever since her mother died. She has longed for a family, for people to love and a place to belong to, yet she tends to hold her distance from others to save herself from pain and disappointment. She is brave, smart and capable, with a big heart and sweet disposition.
Brenna and Marcos's old connection and feelings spark to life immediately as they face each other in a life or death situation up in the Appalachian Mountains. I loved them together, the chemistry between them is tangible. Their past helps them understand each other, to see the strengths and weaknesses of each other, to support and survive, not only with the criminals surrounding them but in life as well.
Within the story, immersed right into the smoothly flowing tale, the author brings attention to the issue of aging out of the foster-care system, and the game of chance it is to most of the young people still needing mentoring and support to map out their lives. This concern is close to my heart, and here the best and the worst case scenarios were illustrated in vivid form.
The twists in the plot that are constant and unexpected, kept me on my toes through the tale. Just when you think there is time to gather yourself, you better think again. The crimes are harsh and savage, there is no mercy, no second chances. It is a deadly game with no real winners.
Riveting, energetic, vicious action and suspense with a side of alluring, dazzling, and sweet romance makes this story unputdownable.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and eight languages; they've also been shortlisted for the National Readers' Choice, Daphne Du Maurier and Booksellers' Best awards and won the RT Reviewers' Choice award.
Elizabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America.
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The Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn
BODYGUARD WITH THE BADGE