by Lynn Cahoon
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pub Date: 7/11/2017
For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . .
After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series, won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.
By: Janie Crouch
Releasing July 11, 2017
The voices in her head have decided to kill her.
Most people joke about hearing voices in their heads. For Chloe Jeffries, they’re real. And as the creative force behind one of the most popular shows on television, she has used the constant flood of voices in her mind to her advantage: fuel for entertainment.
But now one of the voices has decided it wants Chloe all for itself.
Ex-Special Forces soldier Shane Westman just wants to make it back to Wyoming to begin to heal from the horrors of war. The last thing he needs, even as a favor for a good friend, is to take on bodyguard duty of a flighty television writer. But once he does, he realizes there are threats at play he doesn’t understand. And the woman who has somehow begun to thaw his frozen heart is in desperate danger from a menace they can’t see, but is always close.
The voice that will never allow Chloe to escape alive.
With escalating tension and palpable fear, the Survival Instinct takes the reader for a wild ride of paranormal abilities, the backstage drama of a television series, and an insistent, life-threatening, stalker hiding amongst the friendly faces.
Shane Westman is a troubled hero, the ex-Special Forces soldier lost his team in Afganistan and his will to fight in deadly battles. Shane was so easy to like, he is a solid man, trustworthy, kind and considerate. A man who takes a command of his surroundings, who is willing to risk his life to protect others. He has wrapped his heart with 'ice' to protect himself from feelings and hurt, something that has been a fault in his life before it turns into a blessing around Chloe Jeffries.
Chloe is a feisty and sassy lady who can cuss like a sailor. One-third of the triplets with paranormal abilities, she can hear people's thoughts, an ability she has learned to take advantage of as the creative director of the hit paranormal television series. Until recently, when the voices took a disturbing route, and slowly but surely started to kill her with the intensity of the emotion behind them. Only around Shane does she find moments of peace, as his 'ice' wraps around her, and the cold quiet takes over Chloe's mind.
I liked Chloe and Shane together, the connection between them is true, the chemistry is amazing. Shane understands her and her gift. He looks at her and sees his equal, there is nothing odd or weird about her voices to him. His practical way to see life and people give a sensible explanation to Chloe's gift, something that helped me as a non-paranormal fan to understand and accept it as well.
The suspense part of the tale is focused on the investigation of the increasing death threats. The more information is gathered, the more tension is on the scenes, until the explosive, fierce, ending that makes you take notice.
After the scene for the story is set, the pace of the tale picks up and delivers an entertaining, sharp, and intensive tale with tangible emotions raging in savage action and in enticing romance.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Chloe Jeffries looked over at her creative team. The Days End team was tired. Worried. The stalker had seen to that. Not to mention all the new bodyguards had definitely put a damper on the creative energy usually surrounding the show. But the new guy coming in definitely wouldn’t.
“The studio is sending in a security expert to coordinate security around here and to investigate our friendly neighborhood stalker,” Chloe told them. “We’re supposed to give him access to anything he needs. I’ve been assured that he will fit in just fine and will not hamper our artistic energy in any way. We won’t even know he’s here.”
“Like that guy walking towards us who definitely doesn’t scream I’m-a-Navy-SEAL or anything?” Travis’ eyebrow was raised so far it looked like it had found a new home in his hairline.
Chloe stared at the man in question. Didn’t seem able to turn away from him even if she wanted to. His long legs were encased in perfectly creased khaki pants, a collared light blue shirt tucked in—also perfectly—at the waist. His broad shoulders were covered in a tailored suit jacket under which Chloe was willing to bet all of this year’s salary lay a shoulder holster for a gun. His posture screamed military. The way he carried himself — the set of his shoulders and lift of his chest.
Alert. Deadly. Ready.
But impressive as his body was, it was his face that drew her more. There was nothing pretty about him. His face was rugged to the point of being harsh. His jaw already holding some stubble even though it wasn’t even yet lunchtime. And she had no doubt Mr. Military Man had shaved this morning, unquestionably during his perfect morning routine. His dark hair was cut close to his head, as if he couldn’t quite decide whether to keep it military short or go for a more relaxed style.
His eyes were hidden behind aviator sunglasses, but Chloe knew he saw everything. Knew he saw her and that if she stopped him right at this moment, blindfolded him and asked him to tell her where everyone was, he’d be able to do so with astounding accuracy, even though there were more than a dozen people milling around that he hadn’t looked at directly.
This man was the epitome of cool, calm, and collected. She could feel the former radiating off him. Wanted to close her eyes and sink towards him. Her brain, always under such constant onslaught with the thoughts of others, and particularly the one voice that had been searing through her mind so agonizingly lately, wanted to bask in this man’s ice. Wanted to douse herself in it.
But she couldn’t. Because while she had no doubt this man would be able to organize the hell out of security and unquestionably catch the stalker and freeze him with his ice-beams after leaping tall buildings in a single bound, there was no way he wasn’t going to hamper the creative energy of the set. Energy that Chloe relied on not only to make Day’s End the greatest show on television, but to keep her own sanity.
He was already sucking in her energy and they hadn’t even spoken yet.
Ten seconds later he was standing directly in front of Chloe with his perfect hair and jaw, perfect shirt tucked into his perfectly pressed pants.
“I’m Shane Westman with the Linear Tactical. We’ve been hired for security,” he said, taking off his sunglasses. Chloe wasn’t a bit surprised to find he had perfectly icy blue eyes. “I need to know who’s in charge.”
There was no way this Shane Westman could stay. No possibility Chloe could allow it.
He was too perfect. Too distracting. Too everything.
He may keep them safe from the stalker but who would keep her safe from him?
*100% of proceeds until July 16 goes to Cystic Fibrosis charities – with a special $0.99 price. Help us stomp CF! Plus, buy Survival Instinct before July 16 and get a free ebook by Janie not available anywhere else! More details here: http://www.janiecrouch.com/si-pp-0717
**Link to Free ebook offer with purchase:
Free Protector’s Promise ebook with purchase of Survival Instinct: http://www.janiecrouch.com/si-pp-0717
Award-winning romantic suspense author and 2017 Romance Writers of America RITA finalist Janie Crouch recently relocated from Virginia to an American military base in Stuttgart, Germany with her hubby and four kids.
She loves travelling, adventure racing, and movies of all kinds.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Ready to Run
I Do, I Don't #1
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing August 22, 2017
The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.
Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.
Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
by Olivia Dade
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17
An Admirer With A Secret . . .
Mary Higgs could be the poster girl for the buttoned-up librarian. She follows the rules. Stays ʼtil closing. Her kindness and dedication to her patrons is legendary. But those patrons have no idea what she’s typing to the mysterious shut-in who emailed the library needing a library card three months ago . . .
When the elusive Miles O’Connor shows up, he’s no invalid. A year ago, he was the gleaming, ab-sational star of the small screen. Then came the accident. Now he’s a wounded recluse with a pizza habit and fears so unshakable that only the thought of losing Mary to an online date could lure him out of his cabin.
Soon their email rapport has turned into weekends on the couch, watching tearjerkers and driving each other insane with red-hot makeout sessions. But as the desire grows and their horizons expand, the life that brought them together might not be enough for either of them . . .
“Angie, if you’re doing what I think you’re doing, please stop.”
“Oh, hi, Mary.” Once again, Angie minimized her browser window in one smooth movement. “I have no idea what you mean.”
“You want to find me a boyfriend, so you’re attempting to figure out what sort of man I’d prefer. His race. His height. His…um, other qualifications. Since you know I’d object, you’re going about it in a really roundabout and confusing way. And since you’re you, many of your questions have involved”—Mary lowered her voice from a whisper to a mere thread of sound—“personal endowments.”
“Personal endowments?” Angie kept her voice low, too. “That’s the most genteel euphemism for penises I’ve ever heard.”
With an effort, Mary resisted sharing the other terms she’d used for that area in the past. Such as, well, “that area.” Or “privates.” Or “man parts.”
“I’m not looking for anyone. And if I change my mind, I can conduct the search myself.” Pleased with both her restraint and her uncharacteristic assertiveness, she smiled at her boss. “But thank you for thinking of me.”
Angie’s eyes widened in appeal. “Come on, Mary. As far as I know, you haven’t been on a second date in months. Maybe a year.”
“Umm…” She shifted from foot to foot. “Two years.”
“And I know you. You’re not a one-night-stand sort of woman, so that means you’re experiencing an epic dry spell. Under the circumstances, what could a little online dating hurt?”
An involuntary flinch drew Mary up against the doorway. “Online dating? No. No online dating. I’ve heard so many horror stories, Angie, I can’t even tell you.”
“You’re a sensible woman. And I’d be happy to vet any contenders before you met them. So would all of our friends.” Angie clicked to maximize a window, and a colorful, half-completed form suddenly appeared. “Besides, it would be so easy. You already have a profile.”
Mary covered her face again and spoke through her fingers. “Angie. Please tell me you didn’t.”
“I thought you needed a little nudge.” A gentle hand patted her arm. “And I was delighted to be the bearer of good nudges. Especially since you’re the sweetest woman I know. You deserve an amazing man in your bed. Or an amazing woman, I suppose.”
“Man,” she mumbled.
“Oh, good.” Angie sounded pleased. “That’s what I chose for the profile.”
“Again, I appreciate your thinking of me.” She dropped her hands and did her best to appear stern. “But I’m not looking for someone in my bed.”
“How about someone across a dinner table? Or beside you at a movie theater?”
With a sigh, Mary admitted, “That sounds nice.”
“I know you’re a strong, independent woman who doesn’t mind being single. If you want me to delete your profile, I will.” Angie met her gaze directly. “But I’d love to see you give this a shot. I promise you, I wouldn’t encourage you to do anything unsafe. You’re my coworker and friend, and I’d never put you in harm’s way.”
“I know.” And she did know. Angie had a huge heart and endless reserves of loyalty for the people she loved. Also a strong streak of recklessness, but Mary had grown to love that too. As far as Mary was concerned, her boss should serve as a model for timid women everywhere.
“And have you considered the Singles Skydiving event we saw in the paper yesterday?”
Well, maybe not a model, exactly. More like inspiration, tempered by common sense. Heavily tempered, until death-defying feats were no longer involved.
“I might be willing to try online dating. But if you try to sling a backpack on me and shove me off a plane, I’ll haunt you from beyond the grave.” Mary raised her brows at Angie. “And you know I’m a woman of my word.”
Angie snorted. “So dramatic. You’ve been hanging out with Sarah too much.”
“Most likely.” A smile spread across her face at the thought of her best friend. “Her mannerisms were bound to rub off sooner or later.”
“So you’ll keep this profile?” Angie’s head tilted toward the computer screen.
“I’ll keep a profile,” Mary corrected. “Not necessarily yours. Heaven only knows what you said in it.”
“Not much. Just that you’re lovely, intelligent, hardworking, and sweeter than any of them deserve. Also that you appreciate men in a rainbow of delicious colors.”
She came closer to the monitor, curious what else her boss had entered into the form. “For pity’s sake, Angie. I have never, not once in my life, described myself as ‘Beyoncé’s more beautiful and talented twin.’ I don’t look anything like her!” If only. That sort of effortless glamour and polish had eluded Mary her entire life.
Angie shrugged. “Just trying to approximate your babeliness in a way most people would understand.”
“What about the ‘more talented’ bit?” Mary gaped at her. “Don’t you remember that program last year? The one where I sang Christmas carols?”
A small wince creased Angie’s forehead. “Talent doesn’t have to mean singing. Which is a good thing, in your case. I think we attracted feral cats from miles around that night.”
Leaning over Angie, Mary wrestled the mouse from her boss’s grip and exited the form without saving. “I’ll fill one of these profiles out on my break. By myself.”
Angie’s lower lip poked out. “But I was enjoying myself.”
Olivia Dade grew up an undeniable—and proud—nerd, prone to ignoring the world around her as she read any book she could find. Her favorite stories, though, were always romances. As an adult, she earned an M.A. in American history and worked in a variety of jobs that required her to hide her bawdy interior under a demure exterior: Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, high school teacher, academic tutor, and (of course) librarian. Finally, though, she realized the call of the hussy could no longer be denied. So now she writes contemporary romantic comedy with plenty of sex, banter, and nerdery. When not writing, she cooks alongside her husband, dabbles in photography, and tries to hide her collection of throbbing-intensive romances from her curious daughter. Visit her on the web at oliviadade.com.
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One Last Chance
Oak Grove Series, Book 3
July 11, 2017
She's escaped an abusive relationship, he's hiding from the horrors that followed him home. Can the two of them find the courage to face their pain, heal, and find love?
Rachel Bennett has had enough. She’s finally found the strength to leave her bastard of a boyfriend with the help of her childhood friend and deputy sheriff, Sawyer. But the hurt runs deep, as do the family secrets that drove her down the spiral of self-destruction. She’s determined to start life fresh, but with nowhere to go, she finds herself staying with Sawyer.
Sawyer Truman has loved Rachel as long as he can remember. He joined the Army Reserves after high school to prove to himself—and Rachel—he’s the right man for her. He returns from Afghanistan, demons hot on his trail, to find Rachel shacking up with a new boyfriend. He fears he’s lost his one chance with Rachel. It doesn’t take long before he sees what no one wants to admit—Rachel is being abused. After one too many calls to her house, he convinces Rachel to leave Shane. What he didn’t expect to happen was to find her living in his guest room.
As Rachel heals from her abusive relationship, Sawyer and Rachel grow closer. But will a lingering family secret threaten to ruin Rachel’s fragile psyche? Will Sawyer’s unspoken love for Rachel survive and grow?
One Last Chance is a powerful, touching, emotion filled, authentic story about healing and surviving domestic abuse and PTSD. It is about learning to trust and love again, about family, forgiveness, and acceptance. It is a story that had me in tears because of the raw and real feelings that burst from the pages and touched my heart.
Rachel Bennett's story has been building up through the series. First, it was just the hints that something was not right, and then it escalated into more information about the abusive situation she lived in. The anticipation was high as I started the book, and from the first page, it pulled me into the story that I inhaled, forgetting everything else around me.
There are detailed domestic violence situations in the story, as well as nightmarish PTSD episodes that might be a trigger to some. They are very well done, respectfully and thoughtfully towards the survivors, yet filled with rough images of a true to life situations.
Sawyer Truman, the trustworthy, honorable, kind, patient, protective man was the perfect person for Rachel in every way. His support to Rachel during her healing is immeasurable, he would do anything to help her find herself again, to learn to stand up for herself again, to find the new Rachel who takes control of her own life.
As the time passes and their closeness brings more intimacy, the romantic feelings from their past develop into something much more, something passionate, something beautiful, lasting, the forever and a day kind of love. It is so beautifully done, absolutely adorable how the adoration Sawyer feels for Rachel helps her to find herself again.
The timing, in the story, is perfect. The healing takes time, the development of the characters as well as their feelings takes its time to grow and cultivate. There are several elements that keep the intensity high, the nightmares, the palpable fear of new attacks, the family secrets, and the angst of new chances, new beginnings, new careers, and new life, love, future. The story is well written flowing off the pages seamlessly with constant new twists in the characters lives making it impossible to put down until the very satisfying end.
The Bennett family has made an impact on me and found their way to my heart. The stories have the small town charm, yet are filled with such life-like, real, authentic emotions that it is easy to connect with the protagonists, and feel their joys and sorrows. Each story seems to top the previous one, yet all the books can be read as standalone stories.
A poignant and heartrending story that still manages to inspire, encourage, and deliver a beautiful message of love, trust, family, and forgiveness.
~ Five Spoons
She spun in a circle, her arms open wide. Her laughter filled the air.
Sawyer laughed along with her. She locked gazes with him and his eyes lit with excitement.
And another emotion smoldering just below the surface.
“I’m glad.” When she was done spinning, she recaptured his hand. She wasn’t about to count on him taking the initiative twice. She wanted to explore the unmistakable desire that had flashed in his eyes before he’d shuttered them. Butterflies danced in her stomach, their rapidly-beating wings stirring her insides to mush. If someone had asked her last week, shoot, just a few days ago, where she’d be, not in a million years would holding hands with Sawyer have been her response. She was like a teenager mooning over her first crush, before Shane had jaded her outlook on life and love.
Each stroke of Sawyer’s thumb over her knuckle sent a jolt that jump started her heart. She had forgotten that a man’s touch didn’t have to mean fear or pain. Could he hear the wild beating inside her chest? She couldn’t hide much from him, not when he stood so close.
Sawyer stiffened slightly. “So...are you gonna start back up at J.J.’s soon?”
Damn. She would have liked a few more minutes of bliss before being forced to confront the reality of her daily life staring her in the face.
“I’d like a couple of days to regroup and let my bruises fade. I’m sure I’m already the talk of the town, the Bennett girl who couldn’t take care of herself—”
Sawyer stopped walking. He released her hand but before she could mourn the loss of the connection, he cupped her cheeks so she had no choice but to look him in the eye.
“I don’t wantto hear you say that again. You’re a strong woman. Someone plenty capable of taking care of yourself. You just got bogged down in a difficult situationfor a while before you got out of it.You did that, Rachel.”
If only that were true. She wasn’t that strong.
His gaze dropped to her lips. Her tongue darted out and wet them.
Being this close to him, the flecks in his eyes sparkled. She leaned into him, just a bit. He didn’t back away. His eyes stayed fixed on hers. Did he have butterflies dancing in his stomach right now, too?
Memories of her childhood crush filled her mind. She closed the final inches between them, and her lips brushed against his — tentative, testing his response. He didn’t kiss her back, but he didn’t pull away, either. His lips were firm and strong. And soft. She tasted a hint of malt.
Well, him not kissing her back just wouldn’t do. She pressed gently against him, their bodies touching. His arms came around her and he tilted his head. Finally. His lips moved over hers, teasing and nibbling the corners of her mouth before brushing across her lips again. When she pulled back to see if the world had just shifted for him too, her hands stayed on his arms.
Nancy Stopper is an award-winning debut author. She writes contemporary romance with strong women and sexy heroes that tug at your emotional heartstrings and leave you with a warm feeling that lingers long after the last page. Her favorite escape is small-town romance and even when set in a larger location, her books have that small-town feel.Her first novel, One Last Risk, won first place in the Short Contemporary Romance category of the Fool for Love Contest and was a Maggie Finalist in the unpublished Single-Title Contemporary Category. Dreams Come True in Laguna, Nancy's first novella, was published in the Laguna Beach Kindle World in 2016. One Last Risk, her first full-length contemporary romance novel was published in April 2017. Nancy lives in Virginia with her husband, two of her three kids that are still at home, and one cat who regards her with disdain daily. When she's not behind her laptop, you can find her at a ballfield, cheering on her favorite team (Washington Nationals) or her favorite player (her son, who pitches for his local high school), or at a dance performance with her daughter.
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Brewing Passions #3
By: Liz Crowe
Releasing July 11, 2017
Trent Hettinger’s turbulent formative years transformed him into a cynic—and into a man who realized he required something outside himself to control his temper. Something he finds as a Dom—at least for a while. But he allowed himself to trust a woman once and was slapped back into reality with a vengeance and now devotes all his energy into building his real estate empire, raising his teenaged daughter…and avoiding anything resembling authentic attachments.
Melody Rodriguez kept her head down for years—working hard, making her own money, trying to get ahead with every deck stacked against her. She’s determined to move beyond the ugliness that haunts her without anyone’s help. When a mutual friend sets her up with Trent, she’s determined to have some fun with him and move on.
A man with nothing to left to lose. A woman hiding behind her past. When two lives spent in emotional denial collide, it’s a perfect match—at least on the surface. But neither Trent nor Melody are prepared for the full force of their true feelings, once fate intervenes and blows a cold breeze into their white-hot relationship.
He grabbed the remote and handed it to me between bites. “Well? I thought I was getting subjected to that horrible game.”
I took the remote, stuck my tongue out at him and clicked on the telly. The match flickered on after a few seconds.
“Ah, right,” he said, sipping his beer, then tucking into the soup. “The pretty boys game.”
“Damn straight,” I said, taking a bite of my own carnitas creation. Pretty damn good if I say so myself. “These men are fine.”
“Guapo?” He raised a dark eyebrow at me, which intensified the heat gathering in areas of my body I’d forgotten I even had.
“No. They’re too prima donna to be truly guapo.”
“Good. I like that word being reserved for me.” He stood. “I need another one of those amazing tacos. And you’re right. I hardly miss the cheese.”
“Of course I’m right.” I winked at him, then felt my face flush so hot I put my hand to my cheek.
We sat in companionable silence, regarding the game and eating for a while. As we leaned back, our feet up on the table, finishing our second beers, the match got more intense. At one point I leapt up and started cursing a stream of Spanish at the official.
“Calm down, already. What happened?” Trent asked, amusement on his face.
“That hijo de puta claimed offsides and called back that goal! Are you blind? Mierda!”
I flopped back onto the couch, this time so close our thighs brushed together when I propped my feet back on the table.
“Offsides, eh?” Trent put his glass to his lips and eyed me over the rim. “I have no idea what that means, at least in this game.”
I shoved our plates aside, grabbed the salt and pepper shakers and the empty beer bottles and attempted to explain it. After ten utterly frustrating minutes, I gave up and threw my napkin at his face after he asked one more stupid question. “Mierda! El burro sabe mas que te!”
He leaned back in mock horror. “Did you just call me a burro? Is that like an ass?”
I dissolved into giggles at the look on his face. “¡Mira qué cabrón! There, I just called you a smartass.”
“Neat,” he said, grinning widely. We stared at each other for a few seconds too long, then both turned to the match.
“For the record, I did say a burro was smarter than you.”
“Ah, of course,” he said, getting up and stretching right in front of me. I swallowed hard and made myself not look at his ass. When he turned around again, his face had gone pensive. “Your poor, beautiful face,” he said, out of the clear blue. “It’s all I can do to look at you and not run out of here and kill that motherfucker.”
I blinked fast, covered by grabbing my beer and totally missed my mouth. A dollop of the brew landed right on my best Real jersey. I stared down at it in horror. Trent chuckled. I glared up at him, daring him to say anything. He tried to stop laughing, but that made it worse. By the time I’d gotten up for a towel and maybe a shot of that tequila, he was practically rolling around on the floor in hysterics.
“Are you quite finished?” I asked, brushing at the stain, my face so hot I could have warmed a whole house in the middle of winter. I’d kept my back to him, the tall counter between us. Mortification was making my vision blur. Or was that tears? Shit, I’d never get this right. I was ruined. Ruined for relationships with real men, anyway. I whirled around to tell him to take his funny bone and get the fuck out of my apartment.
He was there, in front of me, too close for it to be in any way considered casual. His broad, black-cotton-covered chest filled my vision. His scent—a clean, fresh, outdoorsy odor—filled my nose. His voice—deep and musical—filled my soul.
“Melody,” he said, as he took my hands in his and brought them to his lips. Mi Dios, those lips! He kissed each one of my knuckles softly, keeping his eyes on mine. Then he turned my hands over and pressed his lips to first one, then the other of my palms.
“Trent,” I whispered, my mind awash with images and sensations, all of them good for a change.
“Sh,” he whispered, placing my hands on his shoulders, then sliding his hands around to the small of my back. “Sh, no talking.” His smile lit up my entire universe—corny, but true and I’m not ashamed to admit it. “I have wanted to kiss you since I saw you across that diner.”
“When… Oh, right,” I said, my voice breaking at the end like a silly virginal teenager’s.
Surely he won’t want me, when he finds out I’m spoiled goods. Surely he won’t…Surely he has got to be the best kisser in the entire known universe.
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, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
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.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
SEDUCING MR. SYKES
by Maggie Robinson
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17
In Maggie Robinson’s sparkling new series, the quaint village in Gloucestershire is where the wayward sons and daughters of Great Britain’s finest families come for some R&R—and good old-fashioned “rehab.” But sometimes they find much more…
No one at Puddling-on-the-Wold ever expected to see Sarah Marchmain enter through its doors. But after the legendary Lady’s eleventh-hour rejection of the man she was slated to marry, she was sent here to restore her reputation . . . and change her mind. It amused Sadie that her father, a duke, would use the last of his funds to lock her up in this fancy facility—she couldn’t be happier to be away from her loathsome family and have some time to herself. The last thing she needs is more romantic distraction…
As a local baronet’s son, Tristan Sykes is all too familiar with the spoiled, socialite residents of the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation—no matter how real their problems may be. But all that changes when he encounters Sadie, a brave and brazen beauty who wants nothing more than to escape the life that’s been prescribed for her. If only Tristan could find a way to convince the Puddling powers-that-be that Sadie is unfit for release, he’d have a chance to explore the intense attraction that simmers between them—and prove himself fit to make her his bride…
Puddling-on-the-Wold, September 1882
“It’s Lady Maribel all over again,” the grocer Frank Stanchfield
muttered to his wife, checking the lock to his back room. “How the girl
discovered the telegraph machine is a mystery.”
Except it wasn’t such a mystery, really. Lady Sarah Marchmain--
“Sadie” to her late mama and very few friends—had eyes, after all, and
there it was behind an open alley window, gleaming on a worn oak desk.
She had climbed in, her tartan trousers very convenient for hoisting
oneself into the building. After being caught trying to send a message to
who knows who, she was now unrepentantly inspecting the jars of candy
on the shop counter.
She might try to steal some of it, if only the shopkeepers would stop
hovering over her.
“Bite your tongue!” Mrs. Stanchfield whispered, looking over
nervously at Sadie. Apparently no one wanted another Lady Maribel de
Winter in Puddling. The first had been bad enough. Sadie had heard of
her in snatches from the villagers, and the woman’s portrait hung in the
parish hall. Her wicked reputation had outlived her, even if her decades
of good works once she married had mitigated some of it. She had been
a wild young thing who would have made Napoleon quake in his boots.
Or take her to bed. Lady Maribel had been, according to gossip,
irresistible to men. Fortunately her husband, a local baronet called Sir
Colin Sykes, had taken her in hand as best he could once they were married.
Sadie was determined never to be taken in hand.
Puddling was known as a famous reputation-restorer, a place to
rusticate and recalibrate. Prominent British families had sent their difficult
relatives here for almost eighty years. Lady Maribel was among the first
to be gently incarcerated within its limits in 1807, according to the elderly
vicar’s wife, who seemed to know everything about everyone dating back
to William the Conqueror.
Now it was Sadie’s turn to be gently incarcerated, and she didn’t
like it one bit.
The village had a spotless reputation. It was a last resort before a
harsher hospital, or worse, killing one’s own offspring. Or parent. Lady
Sarah Marchmain had angered her father so thoroughly that they’d come
to blows. When the Duke of Islesford dropped her off, he had been
sporting a significant black eye.
Well-deserved, in her opinion.
Sadie’s own eyes were unbruised and light green, the color of beryl,
or so her numerous suitors had said. Occasionally they threw in jade or
jasper—it was all so much nonsense. Right now she was examining the
penny candy in a glass jar, lots of shiny, jewel-like drops that looked so
very tempting. Sweet, edible rubies and citrine, emeralds and onyx. Frank
Stanchfield hustled over to the counter and screwed the lid on tighter.
She licked her lips. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a penny to her name.
She was entirely dependent on her housekeeper Mrs. Grace to dole out
a pitiful allowance every Friday, and Friday was millions of days away.
Sadie had spent the last of her money on a cinnamon bun earlier and had
reveled in every bite.
Her father’s draconian restrictions were designed to sting. Or so he
thought. Sadie didn’t really mind being impoverished and hungry in
Puddling-on-the-Wold. It meant she was not about to be auctioned off to
Lord Roderick Charlton, or any other idiot her idiot father owed money to.
The Duke of Islesford’s taste in men and luck at cards was, to put it
So far Sadie had overstayed her visit by one week. Originally consigned
to her cottage for twenty-eight days, she had somehow not managed to be
“cured” in that time.
Brought to reason.
Knuckle under was more like it. She was not getting married.
In fact, she’d like to stay in Puddling forever. It was very restful. Quiet.
The little lending library was surprisingly well stocked, and she’d gotten
a lot of reading done between lectures from the prosy ancient vicar who
instructed her daily. She also helped Mrs. Grace keep the cottage up to a
ducal daughter’s snuff.
Despite the fact that Sadie had no interest in becoming a wife, she
was remarkably domestic. It came of hanging about the kitchens of
Marchmain Castle, she supposed. The servants had been her only friends
when she was a little girl and she’d been eager to help them.
All that had changed after she was presented to the queen at seventeen,
wearing those ridiculous hoops and feathers that threatened to put out
someone’s eye. Suddenly, Sadie became a commodity, a bargaining chip to
improve her father’s ailing finances. A surprising number of gentlemen--
if you could call them that, since most men were absolute, avaricious,
thoughtless pigs—were interested in acquiring a tall, redheaded, blueblooded,
sharp-tongued and two-fisted duke’s daughter as wife. For the
past four years, she’d avoided them with alacrity, aplomb, and those
Needless to say, her reputation was cemented in ruination.
It amused Sadie that her father was using the last of his funds to lock
her away here in this very expensive Puddling prison, hoping that she
would change her mind, acquiesce and marry the one man who remained
Not bloody likely.
She touched the glass jar with longing.
“What may we help you with, Lady Sarah?”
The poor grocer sounded scared to death. His wife hid behind him.
Sadie batted her lashes. Sometimes this feminine trick worked, although
these Puddling people seemed remarkably impervious to charm.
They were hardened souls, harboring the odd, uncooperative, and
unwanted scions of society for a hefty fee, believing that being cruel to be
kind was the only way.
“Do forgive my transgression, Mr. Stanchfield. I so longed to
communicate with my old governess, Miss Mackenzie. Miss Mac, as I
so affectionately call her. I found a book on telegraphy in the library and
wondered if I had any aptitude for it,” she lied. Science in all its forms
confounded her. In truth, she’d read nothing but Gothic romances since
her arrival, very much enjoying the fraying sixty-year-old books written
by an anonymous baroness.
Moreover, Sadie’s old governess had been dead for six years and had
been an absolute Tartar in life. There had been little affection on her part,
4 Maggie Robinson
Sadie thought ruefully. The woman was at this moment no doubt giving
the devil a lesson on evil and grading him harshly.
“You know that’s forbidden, miss. No telegrams, no letters. Perhaps
when you are r-r-released, you may visit with the lady. A r-reason for your
good behavior, what?”
Goodness, she was causing the poor fellow to stutter. She stilled her
“Ah.” Sadie gave a dramatic sigh. “But I just can’t seem to get the hang
of it. Being Puddling-perfect, that is. Every time I get close, something
seems to happen.”
Like stealing Ham Ross’s wheelbarrow full of pumpkins. It had been
very difficult to push her loot uphill, and so many of the bloody orange
things chose to roll out and smash along the road.
Or turning up in church in her tartan trousers...her stolen tartan trousers.
Some poor Puddlingite was foolish enough to hang them on a clothesline
to tempt her. After some tailoring—Sadie was handy with a needle—they
fit her slender waist and long legs as if they were made for her.
Her father had always wanted a son. Instead her horrible cousin
George would be the next duke, and Sadie would lose the only home--
well, castle—she’d ever known.
It wasn’t fair. She sighed again.
“Here, now, Lady Sarah. I don’t suppose I’ll miss a few boiled
sweets.” Mr. Stanchfield relented and unscrewed the jar, his wife looking
disapproving behind him. He filled a paper twist with not nearly enough,
and passed them to her.
Sadie saw her opportunity for well-deserved drama. Any chance to
appear happily unhinged must be seized with two hands, so she might
stay here in Puddling just a little longer. Dropping to the floor on her
tartan-covered knees, she howled.
She had been practicing howling at night once her housekeeper Mrs.
Grace went home. Her neighbors were under the impression a stray dog
was in heat in the village, perhaps even a pack of them.
“Oh! You are too good to me! I shall remember this always!”
She snuffled and snorted, slipping a red candy into her mouth. Red
always tasted best.
“A polite thank you would do just as well.”
The voice was chilly. Sadie looked up from her self-inflicted chestpounding
and the candy fell from her open mouth.
Good heavens. She had never seen this man before in all the walking
she was made to do up and down the hills for her daily exercise. Where
had he been hiding? He was beautiful.
No, not beautiful exactly. His haughty expression was too harsh for
beauty. Compelling, perhaps. Arresting.
But, she reminded herself, he was a man, and therefore wanting.
Lacking. Probably annoying. Not probably—certainly. Lady Sarah
Jane Marchmain was twenty-one years old and had more than enough
experience with men in her short lifetime to know the truth.
The man reached a gloveless hand to her to help her up, but it didn’t
look quite clean. Something green was under his fingernails—paint? Plant
material? Sadie made a leap of faith and gripped it anyway, crunching her
candy underfoot when he lifted her to her full height.
He was still taller than she was.
Not lacking there. Not lacking physically anywhere that she could see.
His hair was brown, curly and unruly, his eyebrows darker and
formidable. His nose was strong and straight, his lips full, his face bronzed
from the sun. His eyes—oh, his eyes. Blue was an inadequate adjective.
Cerulean? Sapphire? Aquamarine? She’d have to consult a thesaurus.
But they weren’t kind.
She found herself curtseying, her hand still firmly in his.
“Thank you, sir, for coming to my rescue.” She fluttered her
“You were in no danger on the floor. Mrs. Stanchfield sweeps it thrice
a day. One could eat off it, it’s so immaculate.” He dropped Sadie’s hand
and kicked the crushed candy aside.
The grocer’s wife pinked. “Thank you, Mr. Sykes.”
Sykes. That was the name of the family the infamous Lady Maribel
married into. Interesting.
“I only speak the truth, madam.”
Sadie considered whether she should fall to the floor again. It would be
fun to gauge this Mr. Sykes’s strength if she pretended to swoon. Would
he pick her up and hold her to his manly chest? Whisper assurances in her
ear? Smooth loose tendrils of hair behind her pins?
But perhaps he’d just leave her there to rot. He wasn’t even looking
at her anymore.
Sadie was used to being looked at. For one thing, she was hard to miss.
At nearly six feet, she towered over most men. Her flaming hair was
another beacon, her skin pearlescent, her ample bosom startling on such
a slender frame.
She had been chased by men mercilessly, even after she had made it
crystal clear she had no interest. These past years had tested her wits and
firmed her resolve. She was mistress of her own heart, body, and mind,
and determined to remain so.
Mr. Sykes probably knew that—apparently everyone in Puddling had
received a dossier on her. She’d come across a grease-stained one at the
bakeshop under a tray of Bakewell tarts, and had tucked it into her pocket
for quiet perusal, along with one delicious raspberry pastry. Theft was
apparently in her blood.
It had been most informative. The dossier, not the tart. Sadie had been
gleeful reading an account of her past recalcitrance. She rather admired
the clever ways she’d gone about subverting her father’s plans for her--
she’d forgotten half of them.
It had meant, however, that she had to exercise creativity in Puddling
and not repeat her previous pranks. No sheep in the dining room. No
bladder filled with beet juice tossed out the window. No punching
fiancés or fathers.
There was only the one father, but Sadie had endured several fiancés.
The latest, Lord Roderick Charlton, was getting impatient. He’d given her
father quite a lot of money to secure her hand. To be fair, he’d tried to woo
Sadie with credible effort.
There wasn’t anything really wrong with Roderick, she supposed. But
there wasn’t anything right about him either.
If Sadie could just resist the pressure to marry, she’d come into a
substantial fortune when she turned twenty-five. She wouldn’t have to
turn it over to some man, and her father wouldn’t be able to touch it. She
could live her life just as she liked. She might even buy herself a small
castle, if one could be found. One that wouldn’t fall down around her
ears. One that had working fireplaces and no rats.
However—and this was a huge however—the Duke of Islesford was
threatening to have her declared incompetent, seize her funds, and lock
her away in a most unpleasant private hospital. Sadie did not think it was
an idle threat, and to some, it might look as if she deserved to be there.
She was much too old now for the tricks she’d played, and four
years was a very, very long time to stall. Sadie was beginning to realize
she hadn’t done herself any favors with the pumpkins or the trousers
or the howling.
But she couldn’t succumb—she just couldn’t. No matter how many
times Mr. Fitzmartin, the elderly vicar, reminded her of a proper woman’s
place—as helper to her husband, silent in church, subordinate, obedient--
she felt her fingers close into a fist.
Maggie Robinson didn’t know she wanted to write until she woke up in the middle of the night once really annoyed with her husband. Instead of smothering him with a pillow, she decided to get up and write—to create the perfect man—at least on a computer screen. Only to discover that fictional males can be just as resistant to direction as her husband. The upside is that she’s finally using her English degree and is still married to her original, imperfect hero. Since she’s imperfect, too, that makes them a perfect match. Until her midnight keyboarding, she had been a teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, administrative assistant to two non-profits, community volunteer, and mother of four in seven different states. Now Maggie can call herself a romance writer in Maine. There’s nothing she likes better than writing about people who make mistakes, but don’t let the mistakes make them.
WARRIOR OF FIRE
by Shona Husk
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17
Is theirs a love match?
For Leira Venn, her future is a given foretold by the oracle of the Albah, the ancient people she was born to. Which is why she knows from the moment she meets Dr. Julian Ryder that he is fated to be hers. But nothing else about the prophecy feels right. For the handsome doctor is shrouded by darkness, and intimately involved with a woman who seems intent on killing Leira …
Or a death wish?
Sorrow has shadowed Julian Ryder for as long as he can remember. But from the moment he meets lovely Leira, his heart is filled with hope for the future—a future that is as combustible as the powerful attraction between them. For Leira is marked for death by the very forces who killed his mother. The very darkness that stole everything he held most dear. Only this time, Julian is stronger, more in control of his powers than ever. But will it be enough to save Leira from those who would destroy her?
Emily slipped her phone into her pocket. He hadn’t been lying about
leaving the hospital late. She’d watched him walk out the door. She’d spent
a lot of time watching him and not enough doing anything. The times
they were together they got as close as two people could, yet Julian had
managed to keep the rest of his life completely apart from her. She was
pretty sure that no one even knew they were dating.
She sat in her car without starting it. They weren’t really dating
and she shouldn’t be feeling pissed that he’d blown her off. He was a
mark, not her lover.
He was her kill to get her full membership to the Guardians of Adam.
She closed her eyes and leaned over the steering wheel. So why hadn’t
she done it already? She should’ve done it months ago when they first met.
She’d known that he was Albah from the curl of his ears. But he was also
attractive, educated, and nothing like the egotistical magic-using maniacs
her mother had told tales about. She should’ve questioned him and killed
him two weeks ago while the undead horror was alive and killing. Now
the Albanex had vanished and she knew a Guardian hadn’t killed it. The
Albah were probably protecting it. Hiding and feeding it.
How could Julian, a well-respected doctor and burns specialist, participate
in something like that? Yet it was in his blood to become an undead, blooddrinking
Albanex. She needed to find out where his father lived—which
was harder than it should have been. She’d tried.
There was a tap on her window. Her heart stopped and she almost died.
What a Guardian she was, jumping at a security guard doing his rounds.
She opened her window a crack. “Yes?”
“Just checking you’re all right, miss.” The security guard looked concerned.
Emily softened her features as though she’d seen a dying relative and
sniffed. “Yeah. Just gathering myself before I drive home.”
“Never wise to linger in the car park. Better safe than sorry.” He smiled.
He looked as though he couldn’t run down a thief even if the thief was
carrying a box full of donuts and a coffee to wash them down.
Emily nodded and obediently started her car. When he didn’t move
away, she pulled out of the bay. She needed to get home. It was late, but
no doubt her mother would want a status update.
No change. Nothing to report.
The only excuse she could give for why the Albah was still alive was
that he could lead them to more…and hopefully the Albanex.
She paid for her parking and headed out of the city. She’d go to Julian’s
place and wait to see if he came home tonight at all. That twinge in her
chest was not jealousy.
He didn’t have another lover.
He barely had time for her.
She knew the real reason Julian was still alive was because she did
fancy him just the tiniest bit. And he saved people. Maybe he wasn’t like
the other Albah.
But all Albah could become Albanex. Albanex were the vampires that
humans thought existed only in myth. Albah were more like the elves or
witches, harmless until they did the magic that would make them drink
blood and live forever. The Guardians should’ve wiped them all out 200
years ago instead of calling for a truce; then she wouldn’t be in this position.
Doctor Julian Ryder, for all his good work, was still only one magic
ritual away from becoming an undead monster.
Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back. With over forty published stories, ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance.
McAllister Justice #1
By: Reily Garrett
Releasing July 10, 2017
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a pervert threatens her friend, she sends an anonymous message to police, leading to a firefight that leaves a cop wounded.
Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity and arrest. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle indicating the identity of the next murder victim.
The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs, a psychopath bearing equal talent.
Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.
With a mysterious murder case and characters who catch your interest with their enticing charisma, the Digital Velocity pulled me into the world of murders, dark web and cyber crimes.
Lexi Donovan has had a tough life, living on the streets, in a bordello and doing what she needed to survive. She fights the crimes she sees around her by giving tips to the police. She is young and in an odd way (and physically) innocent, she is brave, resilient, talented with the computer and cyber world. I liked her, her spunk, surviving and making the best with the hand she was dealt with, holding her own with the McAllister brothers.
Ethan McAllister is a solid, trustworthy, honorable, and protective. His banter with his brothers, his relationship with his family is delightful and fun, my favorite part of the story. It lightens up the heavy intensity of the crimes, it was the comic relief the darkness of the delinquency created around them.
The fragile trust and delicate friendship building between Ethan and Lexi take its time to develop into a passion-filled, ardent, hot blaze.
The beginning of the story was a bit muddled up and moving slow, yet it does pick up as the investigation to the murders escalated. The twist and turns are constant, there is no respite from the killer who gets up close and personal with the McAllisters.
A fascinating and intriguing romantic suspense story with a captivating and entertaining cast of characters and complex murder cases that keep the readers on their toes.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
I move frequently—but gain no distance.
I am warm, moist, and dark but give no comfort.
I can stretch and shrink, giving or taking at will, bringing both pain and pleasure with each.
“If God wanted you to tie the knot, he’d give you a near-death experience to better appreciate life, along with a craving for procreation. Then he’d smother your soul with the essence of venison, squirrel, frog legs, taters, or beer, to attract a likely counterpart from the sticks. No, wait. The latter has already happened, hasn’t it? Sorry.” Ethan narrowly kept his balance on the green-slicked, handmade bricks leading up the two-story, mauve-colored Victorian. If his 210-pound mass ended up sprawled on the steps, no doubt the picture would be splashed all over the precinct by noon with various unsavory captions.
“Maybe you should try it. The stick up your ass has to cause at least minor discomfort.” Larrick’s early-morning snark was a common greeting.
“Hey, I’m a normal guy.” Ethan glared over his shoulder.
“Still wet from our early-morning storm. Watch your step, it’s slippery.” Scanning the myriad amorphous shadows lurking in the wood line, realization struck that he and his partner were sitting ducks if a sniper perched among the loblolly pine and oak trees lining the front and side yards.
Larrick’s reply came in equal measure of soft tones. “Either that or a large flock of birds dropped in recently to help her redecorate. Great detective work.”
“Bird droppings are—”
“Sought after for facials. Especially the Japanese Nightingale shit.” Larrick grinned.
“Only you would know that.” Ethan adjusted his tie, an acknowledgment of the apprehension filling his mind.
“Are we whispering because your paranoid gut can’t assimilate food well enough to distinguish indigestion from an outside threat? This woman lives alone, gonna think we’re a couple of perverts and liable to shoot us.”
“Word has it she’s a pacifist.”
“Fine. You’re one to talk about signs—dragging my ass to a stranger’s house at this ungodly morning hour. I love knocking on a stranger’s door and asking, ‘Lady, are you all right? We’re police detectives who received an anonymous tip that you might have a hangnail. Perhaps we could lend you a pair of nail clippers…’ then ask if she needs the gutters cleaned.” Derision and humor warred for dominance in Larrick’s tone, yet his sharp gaze continually scanned the perimeter in consideration of his partner’s unarticulated hunch. Yin and yang, they fit together, a clean-cut detective and his partner whose hair length had passed regulation specs weeks ago.
“You know this isn’t the first tip we’ve gotten, not to mention the fact that the other leads were solid and led to arrests. And while we’re at it, why don’t you step to the side? Standard police procedure when approaching an unknown situation.” Ethan turned sideways, standing by the door with his hand poised to knock on the solid oak. He hesitated. Moisture coated his palms, a rare occurrence. Scrutinizing the interior through the narrow sidelights yielded nothing more than expected. Elegantly upholstered furniture, gleaming hardwood floors, and delicate bric-a-brac adorning the thick mantle and each side table completed the sophisticated picture. “Don’t see any problem. Maybe she’s fallen and can’t get to a phone.”
“You expected an old lady brandishing her curling iron? As for leads, I get mine from three-dimensional people while you get yours from a bunch of ones and zeroes. Why can’t our IT department trace your anonymous texts further than the loony bin? Though that’s probably appropriate since your secret admirer’s last present consisted of a flower basket bigger than my TV along with fur-lined cuffs. I’ve never laughed so hard I pissed myself. I thought that was hogwash, a myth made up by old ladies.” Larrick leaned over the iron railing to peer through the window. “Can’t see squat, bottom sill’s too high.”
“As my partner, you’re supposed to have my back, not stab me in the back. You didn’t have to broadcast it through the whole department by hanging the cuffs from the sprinkler system with a bunch of roses twined in them. Now my brothers won’t let up, and I’ve been subscribed to every kinky magazine known to the publishing world. You think I should know why some whacko chose me for their personal marionette?” Ethan suppressed a shudder before his partner gained more verbal ammunition. If his suspicions were correct, his informant was in fact a beautiful enigma with waist-length, chestnut hair and an emerald gaze capable of melting steel.
“Maybe because you were the youngest to make detective? Rising star, golden boy, and all that shit.”
“No. Probably afraid your redneck ways would rub off on them, or maybe because I’m the biggest sap.” Ethan’s gut rumbled, more of a warning sign from a well-heeled intuition than hunger. “Larrick, this doesn’t feel right.” Behind him, the slide of metal on leather let him know his partner just palmed his Glock. Three years of working together circumvented the formality of dissecting gut reactions.
A creak of leather sole betrayed Larrick’s backtracking to scrutinize the surroundings. “Side windows are lower. I’ll take a look.”
“Hood of her BMW is cold. Didn’t go anywhere recently.” Larrick’s harsh whisper halted a nearby squirrel scampering up a tree, its head cocked to one side while studying the strange human interlopers.
Sunshine warmed the first spring buds on the low shrubbery bordering the walkway to complete the idyllic setting. Nothing but peace and serenity, yet Ethan’s heart hammered against his ribcage like an aggressive punk drummer. With his partner disappearing around the corner, he again scanned the perimeter while the morning’s corrupted equanimity formed a sour wad in his chest. A lazy March breeze combed its cool fingers through his short hair while the deep foreboding received with the initial text message blossomed into multiple horrific scenarios, leaving one of them a corpse, their life’s essence forming macabre shapes on gleaming hardwood floors.
“I see bare feet beyond the kitchen island. Toes up. Probably female.” Larrick’s disembodied whisper just provided probable cause. “Backup?”
Reily is a West Coast girl transplanted to the opposite shore. When she’s not working with her dogs, you can find her curled up with a book or writing her next story. Past employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
Over time, and several careers, many incidents have flavored the plots of her stories. Man’s cruelty and ingenuity for torment and torture is boundless, not contained by an infinite imagination. Witnessing the after-effects of a teenager mugged at knifepoint for a pair of tennis shoes, or an elderly woman stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver for no apparent reason, left an indelible impression that will forever haunt her subconscious. In counterpoint, she has observed a woman stop her vehicle in severe, snowy weather to offer her own winter coat to a stranger, a teenager wearing a threadbare hoodie. Life’s diversities are endless.
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.
In reading, take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four-legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Grayson Blake always has a purpose and never a moment to lose. He's come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.
Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can't erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she's lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth, and hope.
Secrets are like boils. They fester and throb, but until the hard core of truth is released, there is no relief.
Valery Carter lived every day with that festered, throbbing boil.
With trowel in hand, she poked at the weeds springing up around headstones tilted and shrunken by time. The Portland family cemetery hadn’t been used as burial grounds in a century, but something about its quiet dignity, about the way it had honored the dead for nearly two hundred years, compelled Valery to tend the small space. Hidden to the south of Peach Orchard Inn in a quiet, shady glen, the gravestones had long since faded to either barely visible or impossible to decipher.
Four of the graves haunted her. Baby graves. She couldn’t leave them unattended. Charlotte Portland Gadsden, who’d lived through the Civil War clinging with delicate British fingers to this land and the antebellum mansion that now housed Peach Orchard Inn, had lost four children and buried them here, marking their tiny graves with white stones, now gray, and the dates of their births. Only one infant had survived more than a day. Anna Cornelia had breathed five days before the angels carried her away.
Tiny baby, pink and pretty and helpless. Five days wasn’t enough for Anna to know how desperately her mother had loved her.
Valery rubbed a gloved hand over Anna’s headstone, scraping away the bird droppings and lichens, tracing the name with her fingertip. She dug fresh dirt to bolster the tilting stone and removed every weed that tried to hide the memory of the baby’s short life. The knock-out roses she’d planted last year looked dead, but she remained as hopeful as the bluebird flitting through the trees in search of a nesting place. Babies deserved sunny daffodils and sweet pink roses.
She felt a kinship with the lost babies and with the mother who had, no doubt, knelt in this very spot to weep and mourn and wonder why.
Tears blurred Valery’s vision. She understood a little about weeping and wondering why, about bearing the unalterable. Perhaps that explained her affinity for the cemetery every bit as much as her need to numb the memory.
She knew she had a problem. What she didn’t have was a solution. Julia and Mama frowned their disapproval, but Lord forbid either of them sit down for a long discussion. Mama claimed Valery would be happier if she attended church more often, otherwise feigning ignorance as if she wasn’t as much to blame as Valery. Julia simply pretended the problem didn’t exist. The elephant in the room loomed large in the Carter family.
The Carter women held their secrets close to the vest, even the ones they didn’t know.
A capricious wind rustled the overhead tree branches so that they rubbed together like dry bones. Valery shivered against the chill, though not from superstition or fear. The cemetery was a place of peace and rest for her as much as for the generations of Portlands and a few Civil War soldiers who’d died at Peach Orchard, then a thriving farm. Except for the deep, festering boil that ached continually, Valery was, she sometimes thought, as dead as they were. She’d felt alive once, but she didn’t dwell there any longer.
Inside her zippered fleece jacket the cell phone vibrated. She sat back on her heels, pulled off a glove and fished the device from her pocket.
Don’t forget, the text read, guests arriving at four.
Playing hostess at the bed-and-breakfast was Valery’s responsibility today, but even when Julia was away in Knoxville with her new husband and son, she worried that Valery would let her down.
Sad but true. She’d let them all down in so many ways, most of all herself, but she still clung to her sister’s new marital happiness as proof that she could do something worthwhile. Hadn’t she been the one to exonerate Eli, Julia’s husband, and save him from another prison term?
She sighed heavily. None of that mattered. She was who she was.
It was hours yet until four o’clock and the guests’ arrival. Julia’s vote of no confidence loomed loud and clear.
She texted back. Got it covered.
Shoving the device back inside her jacket, Valery rose, touched each little stone and murmured soft reassurances to the babies before turning toward Peach Orchard Inn—the house where all four had been born and all four had died.
NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA , the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.
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THE HITMAN WHO LOVED ME
by Shady Grace
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 6/20/17
Is that a gun in his pocket or…?
Jamie Fields can hardly refuse a free vacation. Jobless and broke, the struggling single gal is in need of serious stress relief. Sure, the set up is suspicious—no one gives away a trip to exotic Cuba—complete with 50,000 dollars cash—just for delivering a package. But once Jamie’s enjoying sunny beach days and exhilarating tropical nights, she’s too happy to care. Especially when she finds herself hotly pursued by a sexy stranger…
The McCoy empire is under siege, and Sam Hayes has been tapped to take care of the culprit. Sam knows better than to get involved with his target, but there’s something about Jamie that keeps him from simply finishing the job and moving on. Maybe the hard-bodied hitman just can’t wrap his mind around the fact that the first woman to set his soul on fire is a common criminal. The only thing Sam can do is keep her close. An easy enough task—if Sam doesn’t do something stupid. Like fall in love with the bombshell he was sent to kill….
As he caught his caving breath, he scanned the street and spotted a bargain clothing store a few shops down. He rushed in, grabbed a pair of jeans off a shelf, a hoodie from a rack, and went straight to a dressing room. Once he transferred his wallet and cigarettes into his pockets, and removed the reading glasses, he stepped out of the dressing room like a new man. “Ah, just what I need.” With calm only a man used to a life of chaos could have, he strolled over to a row of baseball caps and fitted the nearest one onto his head.
The cashier stared at him with wide, unbelieving eyes, before her nervous gaze shifted to the
street. Two hospital guards and a few cops stood outside hitting up pedestrians for information.
Sam smiled at the girl. She looked barely of age, probably only in the work force for a few
months. He’d bet a grand she was about to pee behind that counter.
He lifted his hands to reassure he didn’t have a weapon. “You have nothing to fear from me.” With one hand still raised, he reached into his pocket with the other, pulled out a few bills and gently
placed them onto the counter. “This is more than enough for the clothes, and a little extra for
She nodded despite the shimmer of tears in her eyes. “I won’t say anything. Just promise you won’t hurt me.”
Sam smiled again, positive she wouldn’t alert the cops. “I promise, and I appreciate your
cooperation. It’s not what you think.”
He knew she didn’t believe him. “Whatever you say, mister.” Sam headed toward the front door.
“You—you’re gonna go out there? There’s cops everywhere,” the girl said, her eyes wide with
surprise, her mouth curved up in a do it, I dare you grin.
Sam couldn’t help a low chuckle. She may be scared, but like a typical kid, she was thrilled by the
chase. He headed for the door again, but paused to say over his shoulder, “If I were you, I’d treat
myself to a night out with that money. It’s Saturday, the best day of the week.”
The cashier blushed and pocketed all of the money. “We don’t have cameras in here. Stuff goes
missing all the time.” She shrugged, obviously more comfortable now that he was leaving, and maybe
because she had made a few bucks for keeping her mouth shut. She grinned. “Have a good day, sir,
and good luck.”
Sam winked and walked out of the store, right in front of the men in uniform. He knew he wouldn’t be recognized with a new outfit and a baseball cap. He plastered an expression of concern on his face. “What’s going on?” He stood next to one of the officers, withdrew a cigarette and his lighter
from the case. As he lit the end and took a long drag, one of the cops turned to face him.
The officer gave Sam a good once-over and nodded. “We’re looking for a man who just escaped from the hospital.”
“You mean a mental patient?”
The cop shook his head. “No. All we know at this time is that he was wearing grey slacks with a
white button-up shirt, glasses, and he looked to be of mixed descent. Average height and build.”
The cop glanced at him again from shoes to baseball cap.
Sam hid his amusement as he sucked in another deep drag of his cigarette. Mixed descent could mean anyone this day and age. He was often confused as being Asian or Native American, or a mixture of the two, and he enjoyed keeping people guessing his true African-Irish origin. “I see.”
Another officer joined them. Sam recognized him as one of the guys connected to the McCoys. They often called upon him for Intel: when patrol would be going by, or to make tickets and profiles
disappear, or to dig up background on a person. He was also among the badges at Colton’s funeral.
As they made eye contact, Sam kept his expression passive. “Well, I hope you find him. We don’t
need criminals running around these streets.”
Shady Grace makes Northern Ontario her home, where the bush is so thick you can't see two feet past the tree line. Perhaps the mystery of the woods was what initially sparked her need to write. She adores strong alpha males who fall for fiery, independent women, in settings with humorous dialogue and action-filled plots. Shady believes love and sex should be exciting and unforgettable. Being able to write about it is better than cheesecake. Shady Grace is the new pen name of multi-published erotic author BL Bonita, who earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly for Dark Sun Rising. Visit her website at shadygrace.weebly.com, and find her on Facebook at facebook.com/shadygraceerotica.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
Nearly the last remaining member of Olivia Cattenach's family has just died overseas and left her overcome by grief. But when a soldier shows up at her ranch with a final message from her brother, she finds new purpose. Nathan Roldan is as formidable as they come. Bulging muscles and inked to boot, he looks like every bit the bad boy he claims to be. Except, under his shuttered gaze and behind his walls lies a gentle giant. Determined to carry out her brother's wishes, she chips away at Nate's layers and discovers more pain than any person should ever have to endure. And a passion she never dreamed was possible.
He's not the hero she thinks he is...
Nate's mistake got a fellow comrade killed, and a deathbed promise to take care of the guy's sister lands him in Wyoming with the hope of redemption. But he wasn't expecting...her. Beautiful, witty, and sweet, Olivia is everything he doesn't deserve. Born a nothing, he'll die a nothing. Though guilt is a living thing, temptation is too hard to resist. Somehow, she's unleashing his restraint and unearthing feelings he buried long ago. He wants her. More, he's worried he needs her. She's trying to save him, but when she learns the truth, he'll lose the only happiness he's ever known.
This poignant story hit the emotions hard and deep and took me for an intense ride where I enjoyed every single word of the story. At times I was in tears, at times smiling, even laughing while still tears running on my face. An emotional experience, that is guaranteed.
Olivia Cattenach has faced yet another loss of a loved one during her young life, and while missing her little brother something fierce, she is surviving, thriving, and successful with the family ranch. Her heart is gold, she is kind, generous, considerate, stubborn, independent, tough, and hard-headed. She embraces life with passion, living in the moment and fondly remembering the past.
Nathan Roldan was abandoned at birth. He was abused and withheld to fulfill his basic needs while in the system. He hasn't known what it is when someone cares for you, looks after you, worries for you. He is not accustomed to being touched, not even to eat for the pleasure of it. But he is a man of dignity, he holds his word, he is trustworthy, loyal, and hard working. He has so much love, tenderness, protectiveness and kindness inside of him, emotions he is not used to feeling or showing to anyone.
The ardent adoration that builds between Nathan and Olivia took my breath away. It is fragile, yet filled with so deep, wild, and wide emotions, feelings that seem to have been building inside of them all their lives. To say that the passion is hot is an understatement, it is fervent, vehement, genuine and true.
The secondary characters contribute to the building of a family of the heart. They help to open up the eyes to see the past, accept it, and to move on. They give more meaning to the themes of devotion, trust, and loyalty that builds over time. The story is not just about the amazing love growing and developing between Olivia and Nathan, it's the beginning of the story of the people living at the Cattenach Ranch.
Through trust, opening their hearts and minds, sharing their secrets and painful past, rejoicing in the success and finding joy in the everyday living - Olivia and Nathan might fumble and fall on their way to the happiness and blessings they both deserve, but working hard to get what you want is nothing new to either of them, and they are willing to do the hard things, no matter how much it might hurt or scare them at first.
I am trying to hold myself back and not gush all over this review, but seriously, this story took my breath away again and again. The emotions in it found a way to my heart, the characters pain and joy of life were tangible, relatable, and profound. I sit here thinking about words like marvelous, wonderful, heartbreaking and stunning when I think about the build up of the plot, the character development, and the intensity, the connection, the kindred feelings I had for the people at the Cattenach Ranch. Once again the author Kelly Moran has blown my mind and heart with a story that will stay with me for a long while.
~ Five Spoons!
A brooding covert operative and a spunky CIA agent discover a burning passion in the next installment of Julie Ann Walker's red-hot BKI series
Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes
The first two left blood on his hands.
The third left him wondering...what if? What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?
Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan.
It's just as well that he's never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives...
In a mixed of explosive and intense action, as the protagonist try to fulfill their mission and then escape for their lives, there is a beautiful story of the all-conquering love that comes with forgiveness and loyalty.
If you are not familiar with the Black Knights Inc series and Julie Ann Walker's writing, this would be a great place to get acquainted with them, since the book is completely stand alone and the references to the past BKI books, stories, and even characters are minuscule.
Dagan Zoelner is a mighty hero, that was so easy to like and connect with. He has the past he regrets, mistakes he has made that are still hunting him. He is loyal to his family, he carries his responsibility, he has kindness, even sweetness inside of him that left me breathless, as he shares his dreams and hopes with Chelsea.
Chelsea Duvall is a sassy lady, who can hold her own. Her love for her parents, her dedication to her family, her willingness to do anything for them is obvious. She carries a secret that if exposed could end her career as well as her budding relationship with Dagan. The man she has secretly loved for years who is finally giving her a chance.
I liked Chelsea and Dagan together. The fact that they have known each other for years, and have been lusting for each other, made the eruptive, huge leaps their relationship moved forward believable and sound. The need to express their feelings to each other was palpable, the want to get to know each other in all the possible way tangible, the passion between them swoon-worthy, for sure! It was steamy, all-consuming, and oh, so hot! But it was also heartbreakingly fragile, and honesty and trust were stretched to their limits as their muddle through the deep waters of their past mistakes while working for the CIA.
The action is constant, vicious, and deadly. The suspense and fear for life ceaseless. The criminal case is left partly open, hoping to get more insight to it in the future installment of the BKI series. And I do hope the series continues, even if the hints of it winding down or changing in form were plentiful in the mixed of the tale. Emily and Christian are still bantering and fighting at every chance they got, and even Ace, another member of BKI, gets a man to flirt with.
Hazardous action and frenzied romance, the kind where there is no place to hide, and your only choice are to fight for your life and your future happiness with all you have, fill the pages of this intense, fiery and entertaining romantic suspense story.
~ Four Spoons with the teaspoon on the side
DAYS OF DESIRE
by Tina Donahue
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub Date: 7/4/2017
In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .
Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.
The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice. . . .
“Diana Fletcher is mine.” Benedict Bishop pinched snuff generously
between his stout fingers. “You will make certain to deliver her.”
In times past, Royce Hastings would have dismissed Bishop as the
swine he was. Not now. Circumstances were not in Royce’s favor, his
loved ones’ future in his hands. If he made a wrong move or didn’t do
everything Bishop demanded of him, his mother and sisters would pay
with their freedom, virtue, and perhaps their lives.
Quelling his outrage, he simply listened and endured.
Bishop sniffed the tobacco. Face contorted, he sneezed explosively into
a lace-edged handkerchief then blew his nose. The resultant honk mingled
with the din outside the shadowed room. Horse hooves clopped, carriage
wheels clattered, merchants hawked their wares. Slaves were among the
A nude young woman, her skin as dark as night, fanned Bishop with
ostrich feathers. The air she produced did naught to relieve the oppressive
heat and humidity flowing through the open windows.
Sweat bathed Bishop’s ruddy face and numerous chins. He blotted each.
Another female slave knelt on the polished stone floor, kneading his
fleshy calves and naked feet.
He cleared his throat. “Tristan Kent will hang, of course, along with
Diana’s brother, Peter.” His beady eyes gleamed. “That will teach her to
try to get away from me.”
Only a woman gone mad would willingly be at Bishop’s side. Old
and ugly, he stank of rose water, the scent heavy and cloying. “Have
you considered Diana never joined you here because she and the others
might be dead?”
“Impossible.” He set his powered wig more firmly on his head. “Natives
have heard of a white man and others on an island off Madagascar. From the
description they provided, that man has to be Kent and his pirate crew. They
also mentioned a white woman. Who else but Diana could be with them?”
“How can you be certain the natives spoke truthfully?”
Nasty business that consisted of a rope wrapped around a victim’s
skull, then tightened until his eyes burst out. The perfect torture chosen
by barely civilized men. “How many did you have questioned and killed?”
“Enough. Once my agents dispatched several, those remaining were
eager to divulge everything. Except the island location, which they swore
they didn’t know. I believe them.” He flicked a persistent fly from his
brocade coat. “Even a witless savage wouldn’t willingly die or risk his
children’s deaths to keep such a secret. The whereabouts are for you to
discover. My crew will help you capture Diana, the others, and islanders,
if there are any. The natives should bring a fair slave price, compensating
me for losing the Lady Lark. However, if the vessel’s about, you’ll return
it with everything else.”
As easily as that. The man was either stupid or insane. “Have you any
idea who Tristan Kent truly is? Not romantic rumors on how he treats his
crew and captives, but fact. Mainly, what he’s capable of.”
“He’s taken enough ships from me to prove he must hang. I will not
rest until he does.”
“If he’s had Diana for as long as you say, she could be with child by now.”
Bishop curled his upper lip. “Until I discard her, she belongs to me, no
other man. If she’s conceived, once she births the bastard I’ll give it away
or send it to a workhouse. Not my concern.”
Even the Devil wasn’t as foul. “Her reaction to your plan should worry
you deeply. The moment you give her infant away and see her brother’s
neck broken, prepare for her to plot your end. I promise it won’t be pleasant.
Females are curious like that when it comes to their families. As far as
Kent goes, you believe he’ll be easy to fight and win against? A pirate
no one has yet to catch?” Royce leaned up in his chair. “If he’s alive, has
an island, and Diana, he will protect both, especially if she’s carrying his
child. A frontal attack would be suicide. Should anyone escape death, he
would hound them and you to the ends of the earth.”
“You sound afraid.”
“I would expect daring from a man who is willing to engage in the
foulest deeds for much-needed capital. It would seem your reversal of
fortune has affected far more than your appearance.”
Royce suppressed a retort at how common he must look to a windbag
like Bishop. Wigs were for fools who had gone bald or cared what others
thought, not him. In this clime, silks and velvets were a torment only a
simpleton would suffer. Royce’s wool breeches and linen shirt clung to him,
providing enough discomfort. “Unlike some others, I value good sense.”
“You should have thought of that before your—damnation.” Bishop
jerked his leg from the slave. “You scratched me.” Rage tightened his
features. “Filthy savage.” He slammed his cane on her shoulder.
The crack and her shriek tore through the smallish space. Moans
followed. Trembling, the slave drew her arms and legs into herself.
Royce gripped the walking stick before Bishop hit her again. “Beat her to
death and you lose valuable merchandise.” All that mattered to men like him.
“She deserves punishment.” Bishop tugged his cane.
Royce held on to it. “You’ve succeeded in drawing blood and proving
“I’ll do far worse to her and to Diana. She’s the one who should be naked
and cowering at my feet, and she will be with your help.”
Royce wrested the cane away, then hurled the thing. It struck the
whitewashed wall and clacked against a table. He dropped to his chair.
“Any woman will fight to her death if you threaten her child or family.”
“Diana has no power. No female has.
“You.” He threw his buckled shoe at the beaten slave. “See to your task
and take care this time, lest I kill you.” He stuck out his portly leg.
Tears slid down the young woman’s ebony cheeks. She crawled to his
side and stroked him.
He sighed noisily. “See what a strong hand does? It instills fear and
obedience. No matter what you may believe, you have no control over
this situation, any more than a slave, Diana, or Kent does. You will do as
I demand or risk everything. Tell me, what would you do if harm came to
your mother and sisters?”
Bile rose in Royce’s throat. He swallowed the hideous taste. On Bishop’s
word, Royce’s sisters and mother could be lost to him forever because he
hadn’t the funds to buy back their freedom. To bring them home.
His determination to succeed grew icy, his calculation cold. Having
Bishop’s neck in his hands was going to be heaven. A murder he promised
himself once he had the money to rescue his family. “Care to find out?”
Fear registered in Bishop’s dark eyes. He fiddled with his lacy collar.
“You best see to your undertaking. If nothing else, Diana’s enslavement,
along with Kent and Peter’s deaths will ensure your loved ones’ well-being.”
Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary, and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers' Choice Award winners. Another three of her erotic novels (Adored; Deep, Dark, Delicious; Lush Velvet Nights) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic romance, was chosen Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category) at the French review site, Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was to created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Deep, Dark, Delicious received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away captured second place in the NEC-RWA contest. And The Yearning was honored with an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. She’s featured in the 2012 Novel and Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.
The hero we've all been waiting for...
Ethan "Ozzie" Sykes
Former Navy SEAL
Underground operator for Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop.
In a black-on-black international mission that went seriously sideways, Ozzie was badly injured—now he's stuck at BKI headquarters in Chicago, champing at the bit to get out into the field again. To his disgust, he's tasked with distracting Chicago Tribune ace reporter Samantha Tate, who's been trying to dig up the dirt on BKI for years. Turns out Samantha's beauty, intelligence and sense of humor are a seriously big distraction, and Ozzie's losing his desire to keep her at bay.
Ozzie's tired of hiding, and Samantha may be the best-and worst—person to share his secrets with...
It has been a couple of years since I downloaded the first six (if I remember correctly) Black Knights Inc. books onto my Kindle and left for a vacation. I have been a fan since that day and I have loved Ozzie like that annoying little brother since the first book. This story, even though book 9 in the series, could be read as a standalone. But I think to get the essence of Ozzie, the kid he was, the fun and carefree man-child, and how he has grown, matured, and how that explosion that damaged his leg changed him, you should go back for at least a couple of books. Ozzie is worth it because he is just that lovable, loyal, beautiful, fun person inside and out. I was nervous about the book because my expectations were SO high for this story, but Ms. Walker delivered and delivered well.
Samantha and Ozzie's chemistry has been sparkling since the very first time they met. They fit together, as the Wild Ride demonstrates, they really get each other. They have this connection that it seems like they can see into each other's souls and just get the thoughts, feelings, and the pain and joy that is there.
If only Ozzie could be open and honest with her, and tell her who he really is and what he stands for.
The story is well balanced between the building of the physical relationship, on top of the friendship, Samantha and Ozzie have and the suspense and action that is lurking around them. The atmosphere is intense because of the secrets, the attraction, the misunderstandings, and the danger and threats just add to it, making it potent.
There are moments that were so real, so filled with malice that, that I felt it in my being (violence against women that might be a trigger to some).
There were moments of such brokenness from Ozzie, the inner thoughts of the happy-go-lucky man, that nearly broke my heart while tears were running.
There was fun, sexy, passionate, banter, and ribbing that made my smile. And there are the moments of cheer, joy, and happiness that made me swoon and sigh.
I missed the rest of men of the Black Knights, but Christian and Emily provided some interesting entertainment that made me look forward to their book to come out.
A riveting, entertaining, and an intense story filled with love, passion, danger, and peril. The larger than life Ozzie and sassy Samantha finally got their story, and it was worth the wait, with a perfect timing, I would say.
~ Five Spoons