Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it's never the wrong time to find a love that's oh-so-right. . .
Caleb White knows what he wants out of life--and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest's gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .
The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren't meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can't resist, but she's not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?
So maybe that was the wrong thing to think about.
She steered the car through the familiar bends of the road from Salt Devil to Danny’s place, not needing to really pay much attention to what she was doing. She could make the drive with a bag over her head. Could probably drive all around Lansing that way and never miss a beat.
Unlike her heart, which was bumping just that little bit too quickly to let her fool herself into thinking she didn’t have a rapidly developing case of, to quote Ivy, “flaming panties,” when it came to Caleb White.
Well, her panties were just going to have to cool it a little longer.
She let her left hand drift out the open window, fingers spread to catch the night air rushing against her skin so one part of her body had a chance to feel cool. “My mom would tell you that’s a terrible habit,” Caleb said. His voice sounded lower in the darkness.
Engine vibrations. That was it. Blame it on the roar of whatever supercharged monster engine Will had put into the Mustang. That was what was making his voice sound so good.
Note to self: Drive the Prius if you ever have to share a car with this man again.
“I know this road. There’s nothing I could possibly catch my hand on.” She turned her head slightly to look at him for a second. He’d lowered his window too, his elbow resting on the window frame, his fingers gripped around the top. “And hello, pot, kettle, black. You do not have all limbs inside the vehicle, Mr. White.”
“My hand isn’t sticking out,” he said.
“And what would your mom say about that response?” “She’d tell me not to be a smart-ass.”
“I think I like your mom. What does she do?” “She’s a doctor. I think she’d like you too.”
Faith shook her head. Nope to him getting any kind of wrong idea. “I’m not really the kind of girl mothers approve of.”
“Rock star dad. Tattoos. Not interested in settling down.”
“You have tattoos?” he said, sounding intrigued. “I hadn’t noticed.”
“That’s because so far you haven’t seen any parts of me where they’re noticeable.”
“I see.” He sounded even more intrigued. “But they’re somewhere a mom might see them?”
“I think it’s more the alcoholic-rock-star–womanizing- dad thing than the tattoos. My family’s reputation precedes me. They think I’m going to have my wicked way with their precious boys and break their hearts.”
“Are you meeting these moms via time travel? That all sounds very nineteen fifties to me,” he said. “And just so you know, I am on board with wicked ways.”
She laughed at that. “In my experience, most men are.” “Maybe the men you meet are smarter than their moms.”
“Oh no.” She pulled her hand back in the window as the approached the turn-off to Danny’s drive. “The moms have my number. I’m not the marrying kind, as they used to say.”
“Really?” He sounded skeptical. “Trust me.”
“I take it this is you telling me that if I ever get to sample your wicked ways, I should beware?”
She tried to ignore the way the rumble underscoring “wicked ways” made her want to invent some very wicked ways on the spot. Dammit. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” She pulled into the drive, rolled the car to a stop outside the gate. “And, not to change the subject or anything, but we’re here.”
Caleb blinked. “So I see. Any point in me asking you in for a nightcap?”
As much as part of her wanted to say “hell yes,” she shook her head. “Not tonight.”
“Rain check on that too?” “We’ll see.”
“All right,” he said. He didn’t sound that put out. She didn’t know if that was good or whether she should be a little insulted. Caleb undid his seatbelt and turned to face her. “Then I’ll say good night. And I’ll tell you one more thing.” He slid a little closer along the seat and leaned toward her. Not too close. Giving her plenty of time to tell him to back off. To say no.
She stayed right where she was. Pinned in place by the weight of that blue gaze and the pounding in her chest and the heat suddenly burning through her again. She tried to sound casual. “What’s that?”
“The same thing I tell my mom when she’s butting into my love life. That I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself.” He leaned in close, until his mouth was hovering only a couple of inches from hers. “Also, that I believe that when you’ve beaten a girl at pool and hitched a lift with her in a Mustang that it’s only polite to kiss her good night.”
“Oh,” was all she had time to say before he closed his mouth over hers.
She couldn’t pretend she hadn’t thought about what it might be like to kiss him over the last few hours. What sort of kiss it might be. Most of her first kisses had been the hot, fiery, let’s-get-naked-fast kind.
Caleb White was undeniably hot but this kiss was . . . different. His mouth coaxed hers, gently, his hand cup- ping the back of her neck. Each tiny change in angle he made seemed to connect with a different nerve. First her lips were tingling, then hot, and then the heat spread out and down from there in a molten rush.
She opened her mouth and tasted him, tasted whiskey and man and heat. He groaned but he held her there, suspended with him in the dark, focused just on him and the places their bodies touched. She wanted more. Wanted closer.
But as she swayed toward him, tried to slide around in the seat so she could get nearer, he pulled back, leaving her startled by his sudden absence.
“Good night, Faith Harper,” he said. And then he was out of the car walking away from her, vanishing into the night when he stepped beyond the reach of the head- lights, leaving her wondering exactly what the hell had just happened.
Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.
The romantic cover drew me in, and the blurb's promise of a small town romance enhanced the allure. The setting between the daughter of a rock star and the pro athlete is unique, and the island as the premise of the new series sounded charming. As this is the book one of new series, there are bundles of secondary characters introduced to the reader, the author pays a considerate amount of attention to setting the scene for the series.
Faith Harper is keeping her father's legacy alive by arranging the annual music festival at the island. She loves what she does, and she does it well, yet there's a good amount of yearning for more in her, a certain kind of restlessness. She still has unresolved issues with her father who passed away several years ago. Her fear of being hurt and left behind keeps her from meaningful relationships and falling in love. She is independent and capable yet at times she seems not only lost but easily swerved by other's opinion and a bit immature.
Caleb White is at the crossroads in his life. His retirement, even though sort of planned, was still executed poorly. With no future plans, he is taking a break on the island, and Faith seems to be the perfect person to take the break with. I felt like I got to know only the celebrity Caleb, who is kind and charming to all, people are drawn to him, and he likes to entertain them. He constantly tried to pull Faith from her responsibilities showing his 'golden boy' attitude, but that was played off as his increasing attraction and desire towards her.
The relationship between Caleb and Faith at the beginning was mostly physical and when they finally had the time to go deeper and really get to know each other and develop sincere feelings towards each other - that part of the story, that week, was covered in passing and thus the resolve of the tale was more of a 'happy for now'.
Need You Now is a good start and foundation for the series. It awakens the curiosity towards the stories to come and the characters that were introduced. It is entertaining with the business of music festival and the work and passion that it takes to put out the show every year. The divided focus between the festival, the developing romance, and setting the scene for the series left the relationship between Caleb and Faith as a lighthearted, passion filled tryst that an epilog could have given more depth to, but maybe they will have a chance in the future books to develop their connection into something more meaningful and lasting.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect. Find out more about Emma at www.emmadouglasbooks.com.
Can a burnt-out attorney turn his friends-with-benefits relationship with a fiery redheaded shrink into something more when she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant?
Dr. Margaret James is a successful psychologist in the small town of Oak Grove, PA. After growing up with two absent parents, she sees no need for a family or children. She’s happy and independent and likes it that way. She even enjoys the friends-with-benefits relationship she has with Philadelphia lawyer Michael Bennett.
After his dreams for making partner at his big city law firm are shattered, Michael Bennett packs up, buys out a retiring attorney’s practice in his hometown, and moves home. He’s looking forward to the slower pace of life in Oak Grove and interested in reigniting his relationship with fiery Maggie James.
An unexpected pregnancy throws Maggie for a loop. She doesn’t know how to be a mother. Hell, she can barely take care of herself. Enter Michael, who wants to take care of her and the baby. Is she willing to give up some of her independence at a chance for love and the family she’s never had? Will Michael be able to overcome her objections?
I have said this before, and I gladly repeat this - I love the Bennett family, the bond they have, the support they give to each other, and the way they are ready to razz each other when ever the opportunity arises. The love in the family, and in between their significant others is a tangible force.
The story has a natural flow and the events move forward with a smooth tempo, holding the interest to the tale, and possibly keeping the reader up late at night. What I love most about the author's voice and style is how she is not afraid to go deep, to dig in to get those earth shattering emotions and feelings most of us hide and deal with those issues and fears we would rather shelter from others.
The story has some amazing, scorching hot chemistry going on, and the prologue gives us a taste of the heat between the protagonists. Yet the story goes so much deeper than the physical attraction and connection.
Dr. Margaret James and Michael Bennett will have to face their deepest fears of commitment, relationships, parenting, and love. The road to their happily ever after is a rocky road, the friction seems to escalate as the pregnancy moves on, and their feelings come part of the equation. Maggie's battle with her feelings, accepting the pregnancy, and accepting Michael, got to a point where I got a bit uncomfortable. I understand the waves of hormones she was under, but there was a moment where I really had to take a moment and evaluate my understanding of Maggie and where she was coming from.
The story has a very realistic, life-like conflicts and issues, things that most can easily relate to and connect to from their own lives. The characters are very distinguished with their characteristics, people you want to get to know better and spend time with.
The Oak Grove series and the Bennett family have found a place in my heart for sure! What a treasure these stories are, each hitting a painful, fragile issues we face in life, and dealing with the wounds with love and care.
A wonderful, heartfelt, sexy story about learning to love - as a partner for life, as a parent, as a member of a family, as a sibling, and as a child.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
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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Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay
Adult; Contemporary Romance
An accident changed Leighton Clarke's life forever.
When she awakens from a coma, her childhood memories are intact but she possesses no memories of the past six years of her life. Terrified, anxious and disoriented, she's only calmed by the presence of the gorgeous celebrity chef with compassionate brown eyes, the man who turns out to be her fiancée, Jonathan.
Jonathan Moran is tormented over his part in the deception that he's Leighton's fiancé. In truth, she's engaged to his brother! Any day now, her memory is destined to return and she'll remember it's his fault she was injured. Meanwhile, the more time they spend together, the closer they become until Jonathan begins to wish the pretense of them being a couple was real.
And then Leighton's memories come flooding back…
“What can I get for you?”
An elegant brow lifted. “You’re going to serve me?”
“I do it all.” He reached beneath the bar for a towel and slung it over his shoulder.
“I bet you do,” she murmured.
He stiffened. Had she actually said that or had his fantasy life taken over for a brief moment? He glanced at her, but her cool expression gave nothing away.
“Special service from a James Beard Award–winning chef. I’ll try to contain myself.”
“I’m sure my brother didn’t waste his breath extolling my achievements, so you’ve been checking up on me?”
He braced his arms against the bar and her eyes followed the motion, lingering. He could barely breathe. He had to force the oxygen into his body. No other woman had ever affected him in this way. Why her? He didn’t understand it.
She averted her gaze. “I check on everyone who comes into my life.”
He frowned. “I was just joking.”
“I wasn’t.” She placed her purse on the bar stool next to her.
Interesting. That type of vigilance made for a very lonely existence. And it wasn’t natural. Something had happened to make her believe such action was necessary. However, he didn’t get the feeling she would be amenable to sharing that information with him.
He straightened. “Now, about that drink . . . a cosmo, apple-tini, strawberry daiquiri?”
She exhaled and her lips quirked. “I appreciate you offering me some of your personal favorites, but I’ll take a Macallan 21 on the rocks.”
He hesitated. “You drink whiskey?”
It was rare, but he did know a few women who enjoyed the smooth spirit. He suspected his disbelief would annoy her.
He was right.
“Maybe, but it’s borne out by my fifteen years in the restaurant business.”
“Isn’t it wonderful to still be able to discover something new after all that time? An old dog can still learn . . . something.” Her sweet smile had him struggling to contain his grin.
He grabbed a lowball glass off the stack, added a couple of ice cubes and poured the drink. “M’lady.”
She took a sip. Her lashes fluttered and her jaw moved laterally as she coated her tongue with the flavors. The blood rushed straight to his dick again—it must have an E-Z pass—leaving him momentarily light-headed. Thank God he was standing behind the bar.
She set the glass down on the black cocktail napkin he’d provided. “What do you drink besides your beloved apple-tinis?”
She had jokes. One corner of his mouth tipped upward. That’s all he’d allow her. “Macallan’s good, but I prefer bourbon. Jefferson’s Presidential Select.”
“I’ve heard good things about Jefferson but I’ve never had the opportunity to try some,” Leighton said. “The stock is limited, right?”
“Yes, but I tracked down a case of the Seventeen.” He smiled, recalling the night he’d shared a bottle with Adam and Mike last year. “I’d be willing to part with a little bit.”
Silence met his offer. Then— “Maybe I can get Thomas to try it. He tends to stick to craft beers.”
Big guilt keep on churning . . .
He turned to put the bottle he’d used on the back bar shelf where it belonged. “Yeah, well, my brother’s taste has always left a lot to desired.”
Only after the words were out did he realize how they sounded. He turned back in time to see the hurt on her face morph to anger. “I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant.”
Her expression cut into him like an extremely sharp gyuto knife. She held up a hand as if to halt his words. “Then it’s a good thing your opinion makes no difference to our life at all.”
“No seriously. Leighton.” He rushed around the bar and reached for the hand that had fallen to her lap. He didn’t question his need for her to understand his words weren’t aimed at her. He dipped his head until he forced her to meet his eyes. “I swear, I wasn’t talking about you. My brother should be on his knees kissing someone’s ass every day, thanking his lucky stars that you’ve agreed to marry him.”
She stared at him, stone faced, and he feared he may have ruined whatever accord they’d managed to form.
Which was probably for the best.
But when her features began to soften and forgiveness seemed to follow, relief made him giddy and he couldn’t have stopped what he did next even if his very survival depended on it.
One taste. That’s all he needed.
He touched his lips to hers.
He’d been wrong. He’d need much, much more.
He deepened the kiss, tasting, nibbling then moaning when her lips parted and she let him in. Her soft tongue glided against his and desire roared through him.
Her arms snaked around his waist and clutched his ass. She scooted forward on the stool, spreading her thighs and pulling him between them. His fingers skimmed along her jaw and slid through her hair, like air moving against silk.
His heart was pounding so loudly it drowned out any protests his rational mind tried to put forth. He didn’t care who she was, who he was, or why this could never be. He’d never experienced this kind of raw passion with anyone and in that moment, his only concern was giving her as much pleasure as she was giving him.
“Chef, do you want us to leave you—” Gib’s voice acted as fingers on a chalkboard, jarring and cringeworthy.
Leighton’s eyes flew open, and fear and disgust contorted her features. She pushed against his chest, catching him off guard, and he fell back into a neighboring bar stool.
Before he could process what was happening, she’d jumped from the stool and was running—quite a feat in her heels—to the front door.
He hurried after her. “Leighton!”
She pushed out into the night and paused looking left and right.
He saw the metal scaffolding falling and a roaring filled his ears.
Oh no! No! GODDAMMIT!!
He started to run. “Leighton, wait!”
He was too late.
For Louise and Jo Hempstead — sisters who married brothers and each had three daughters — summers at Lake Waseka were the happiest of times, filled with days of boating, swimming races, and the sound of children laughing. For years, the lake was the place where the women and their daughters loved each other the most. But when an unthinkable tragedy strikes in the form of an accidental drowning, the family closes up the lake house for good, never to return.
Now, more than 25 years later, Louise’s daughter Meg is sick with cancer and enlists her sister, Charlene, to reopen the lake house and gather the family for one last summer at the lake. But years of pain and unspoken grief have pulled the Hempstead women in different directions, away from each other: Meg might be dying; Charlene is unexpectedly jobless; Hope is reckoning with
the break-down of her marriage; Krista has just returned from a long prison sentence; Beverly is still traumatized by the drowning; and Louise and Jo haven’t been close in years.
But blood is thicker than water, and Charlene hopes that time and family might be able to heal even the deepest wounds. In this beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and female relationships, return to the lake with the Hempstead girls for a season of healing, second chances, and finally making peace with the past.
A heartfelt look at a family, the drama, the tragedies, the joys, the bond, the troubles of it. Each character is drawn with a sharp pencil, with the place to grow and deal with their issues. The characters might seem like the stereotypes of each of the issues they have, yet most of them manage to break the mold they are set in and surprise the reader, and the rest of the family.
Slowly but surely the story pulled me in and I was mesmerized by the memories from the lake and the troublesome life the two sisters families had lived. There's not so much that happens in the story, it is mostly built of memories of the past and in the current the character development that we witness by a lot of healing, growing, forgiving, moving on and learning to live again.
With the large cast of characters, that most of them also get to tell part of the tale from their point of view, it can get a crowded and confusing to keep up who was who and where in life they were again. The time changes from the past to present and back again, as well as the POV changes, were not marked or separated in the eARC I received.
Some of the family members were easier to relate to than others, to some I felt I didn't get a connection at all. I found Krista, the ex-convict, to be the most likable and relatable character in the story. She was a reasonable, smart, humble, kind, and considerate person.
The family made me laugh with their exaggerated dysfunctions, making my family look rather 'normal' and functioning. Yet they touched my heart, their need to fix things, find solutions to their issues, and find the family connection again was genuine and sincere. The support they were willing to give to each other was admirable, and the fragile connections between the family members were found to be on a solid foundation.
A heartening story about family dysfunctions, about forgiveness, about new chances, and the possibilities to start again, about acceptance, and how the support of the loved ones can change everything, even make the troublesome past lighter and easier to leave behind. A story about hope and love, about home and family bonds.
~ Four Spoons
Elite Crimes Unit #2
by Michele Hauf
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 8/8/2017
Olivia Lawson’s bosses at Scotland Yard don’t take her work very seriously. Art and antiquities? Bor-ing! But her latest investigation, at London’s world-renowned Tate, is turning out to be far more explosive than anyone expected. In fact, the vandalized, booby-trapped painting hanging on the gallery wall would have blown her off her feet if it wasn’t for the tall, dark-haired stranger who tackled her at the last second—a stranger as finely sculpted as any masterpiece in the museum.
Ethan Maxwell is working this case for the Elite Crimes Unit because it was a choice between that and lockup. A (barely) reformed art forger, he’s got the expertise to lead Olivia through a dangerous manhunt. But the crime may have a more personal connection to him—and the all-too-real feelings he’s developing toward Olivia could pull her into the line of fire too . . .
Olivia Lawson stood before the most hideous painting she had seen hung on the esteemed walls of the Tate Britain museum. Around her the forensics team and various police constables had begun to trickle in. Olivia had arrived twenty minutes ago, as soon as dispatch had forwarded her the call from Camila Wright, the museum’s director. The director had been frantic, and had suspected a vandalism.
Olivia had called in backup officers from Scotland Yard to search the outer perimeter of the museum. As she’d headed out, she’d stopped into her boss’s office. Superintendent Wellbrute had just been informed a gallery in SoHo, not far from where she lived, had been hit last week with methods similar to this morning’s incident at the Tate Britain. He didn’t understand why she hadn’t been on top of the SoHo incident. It was her job with the Arts and Antiquities Unit to investigate art crimes.
How could she be on top of what she hadn’t been aware of? Apparently the SoHo gallery owner had gone directly to Interpol instead of Scotland Yard. Which had miffed her boss. And baffled Olivia only so much. Private galleries had a lot at stake in keeping thefts quiet. They couldn’t have their reputations tarnished should Scotland Yard release information to the press. But it did stab at Olivia’s pride to have her boss angry with her. She should have heard about that one or picked up information from the art- world grapevine. Her lacking knowledge wasn’t going to help her status at Scotland Yard.
She needed to solve this case to show her boss she had what it took, and that she was not expendable. A promotion from constable to detective constable was her goal.
A promotion from constable to detective constable was her goal.
Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiquities Unit had been reduced to two police officers, her and Nigel Bellows, who was out with shingles. Not a day passed that Superintendent Wellbrute didn’t grumble about lacking funding, and who cared about art crimes, anyway? Wasn’t as if the perpetrator caused physical damage or violence to people such as with robbery or murder. Wouldn’t she be happier in dispatch or even—and this was always delivered with a wink—bringing him coffee and answering phones?
The cuts and insults never ceased, but Olivia would not break under such demeaning treatment. She was proud to be a woman working in the field of law enforcement and she would show the men exactly how valuable she was to Arts and Antiquities.
But before she tied herself up with worry knots over not learning about the SoHo incident, she had to decide if this call to the Tate was related to last week’s gallery vandalism, or was something else entirely.
Approaching the painting on the wall, Olivia took careful note of all surroundings, moving her gaze from the periphery and inward. As she reached the painting, she scanned the pale gray wall for fingerprints, smudges, disturbed dust. No dust. The museum’s housekeeping was meticulous.
Standing akimbo three feet away from the piece, Olivia scanned the ornate gold frame, which the director had insisted was the original that had framed the John Listen Byam Shaw masterpiece, Now Is Pilgrim Fair Autumn’s Charge, which had been the painting displayed on the wall. Or maybe it still was that painting. It was difficult to determine such.
Because pinned over the original—or whatever was beneath—was a stretched canvas, on which had been painted a copy of the Byam Shaw. An awful copy. Even the worst forger in the world would never take credit for such an aberration.
Trying not to stare too long at the horrible piece, Olivia took in everything else. No dirt in the curves and arabesques carved into the frame. Forensics would dust for prints and do a thorough run-through of the crime scene, but she always asked for a few minutes alone to take everything in. To make notes, both physical and mental. The painting hung about a foot above the green marble base that bordered the walls. Numerous other paintings from the Pre-Raphaelite period hung on the wall, close together but seemingly untouched.
With her cell phone, Olivia snapped a few pictures of the entire frame and pinned canvas. Some were close-ups of the frame; the texture of the paint on the new canvas; brushstrokes. It was a slapdash job, but she sensed whoever had painted this copy had sincerely attempted to imitate the master. The colors in the original were bold oranges, reds, and browns. The copy had matched them perfectly. And the wispy ghost-like creature crawling out of the water in the foreground was also executed with a careful hand.
Olivia stepped back and bumped into a man wearing white scrubs over his jeans and T-shirt. “Sorry, Howard.”
Howard Leeds smiled and nodded at the painting. He was deaf, but he didn’t need to hear to become one of the most honored technicians in London forensics over the past two years. Having learned sign language as a project in the fifth grade, and using it on many occasions over the years, Olivia signed that she needed a few more minutes, then he could do his job. Howard flashed another beaming white grin, punctuated by some killer dimples, then walked over to a wooden viewing bench and sat out his equipment.
Elite Crimes Unit #1
The Elite Crimes Unit works behind the scenes of Interpol—and employs some of the world’s most talented criminal minds. Because as everyone knows, it takes a thief to catch a thief—or to seduce one . . .
The old farmhouse in the French countryside is a refuge for former jewel thief Josephine Deveraux. Admittedly, there aren’t many men in the vicinity, but she has her cat to cuddle up with. It’s a far cry from her former life, constantly running from the law, and she’s enjoying her peace . . . until the intruder in the three-piece suit tackles her. He wants her back in the game, helping with a heist—and he’s not above making threats to get his way.
Little does Josephine know that notorious—and notoriously charming—thief, Xavier Lambert, is after the very same 180-carat prize she’s being blackmailed to steal. To his chagrin, he’s doing it not as a free agent, but as a member of the Elite Crimes Unit—the team he was forced to join when his brilliant career came to a sudden end. And little does Xavier know that his comeback is about to include a stranger’s kiss, a stinging slap, and a hunt for missing treasure—along with the infuriatingly sexy woman who’s outfoxing him . . .
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Michele Hauf has been writing romance, action-adventure and fantasy stories for over twenty years. Her first published novel was Dark Rapture (Zebra). France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage “write what you know,” all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.
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An Amish Nanny
Caring for her late cousin's young kinder is Jessie Miller's duty--even if it means seeing their father again. Years ago, she thought Caleb King might be her husband--until he met her cousin and Jessie's dream was cut short.
Laid up with a broken leg and a demanding dairy farm, Caleb needs her. But Caleb wants no woman around...and no reminder of the wife who abandoned her family before her death. Especially since he fears Jessie will throw a wrench in his plan to remain a single dad.
She's gentle and kind, and if Caleb isn't careful, she may be just what his little Amish family needs.
A thought provoking story about forgiveness and its effects on a person, and those around them.
I have been fascinated by the Amish Love Inspired stories, the culture, the beliefs, the language, I find it intriguing. Second Chance Amish Bride gives a glimpse of the way of living and forgiving. The Amish believe that you are forgiven with the same measure you forgive to others. Something to ponder.
Caleb King is headstrong and prideful. To admit that he needs help is not easy to him, to talk about his late wife and the mistakes she made, and how she broke his heart are too painful still years after. His children are hiding their sorrow and doubts to protect their loving father, there's a lot of healing still needed to happen and wounds that need to be cleaned to be able to mend them.
Jessie Miller has the biggest heart and giving, kind soul. She feels responsible for the action and choices her younger cousin, Caleb's wife, made while alive. Caleb once broke her heart, is there now a chance for a new beginning, forgiveness, and grace for all?
The story is well written with a fluent flow and events changing with a tempo that it holds the interest. All the characters, from the children to the adults, secondary and the primary, were well thought out and had their own temperament and characteristics. It was easy to like them and relate to them. The children were acting a little advanced for their age, I assumed they were years older than the revealed ages, but maybe they grow faster in that element.
I am not sure what I think about the writing in the partially Amish language or writing in any dialect for that matter. If the characters were not speaking English with each other at all, to partially use some terms in the story from the original language isn't then necessary, in my opinion. I think that would be the thing that I could get tired of with these Amish stories if anything.
Learning to forgive, learning to move on, to trust your heart, and daring to open it again to love and embrace the good memories, are some of the lessons Caleb and Jessie have to learn to be able to build a future together.
~ Four Spoons
They built a life on lies
Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
Irish all the way, though she wasn’t accented. Second generation, then, but he’d bet a pound her family was recent. He knew the name, but he wasn’t about to give her the satisfaction of that knowledge. He was enjoying her discomfiture. Most women he met went all sycophant on him within moments. This one was truly tongue-tied, and eyeing him like he was a juicy steak. He thought it was cute. Check that, he thought it was hot.
“Can I buy you drink, Sutton Healy?”
“From the open bar? Sure.”
She’d touched his arm again then, slower this time, and he’d known. He was going to take her upstairs, and they were going to spend the night together, and he was going to get to know Sutton Healy biblically, and he was going to enjoy every minute of it.
He heard Bill’s voice behind him, a harsh whisper overlaid with laughter. “Sucker.” Ethan flipped him off behind his back.
Sutton Healy wanted Macallan too, so he ordered doubles. They wandered off to a corner of the ballroom. He turned her to face the room so his back was to the crowd. They managed to stay that way, uninterrupted, for half an hour. He may have run his hand through his hair a few times. He was a little fuzzy on that, but it usually drove women crazy.
Two drinks later, he admitted he’d heard of her work.
“Historical romance, right?”
“Did your agent slip you a note with that information?”
“You read historical romance? You have to be kidding me.”
“It’s very soothing. Besides, I like seeing how women think heroes should act. Gives me guidelines. I need all the chivalry schooling I can get, especially now, with all the sensitivity training they make us do. It can get very confusing, where the lines are supposed to be drawn. If we acted toward eighteen-year-old virgins the way your heroes do, we’d be jailed. Can you imagine the juice the press would get out of it?”
“You, Ethan Montclair, are full of crap.”
“Maybe I am. Maybe I’m drunk.” Yes, he had run his hand through his hair then, knowing the thick waves would stand up a bit, mussed, as his mother used to say. He’d given Sutton Healy a slow, lazy smile. “Or maybe it’s the way you’re affecting me. Speaking of crossing lines, you want to get out of here?”
He worried for a moment he’d shifted gears too quickly, sounded too wanting, but she hadn’t hesitated. “God, yes. I can’t stand these parties. Can we go now?”
He remembered every one of the fifty steps it had taken to get to the elevator, anticipation buzzing in his veins. He had a hand on the small of her back—gentle, proprietary—could feel the smooth column of muscle where her spine met her finely shaped rump. He waited until the doors slid closed to kiss her. Her mouth was sweet and smoky from the Scotch, and when she threw her arms around his neck and pulled him deeper into the kiss, he felt his heart begin to race. It was more than the usual turn on, too. There was something about this woman that was absolutely intoxicating. He had a feeling he would remember this trip to New York for a long time to come.
They both had rooms on the same floor, the conference block. He motioned toward his door, but she shook her head. “I need ten minutes. Give me your key.”
He swiped the small plastic card, unlocked his door and handed her the keycard. “Don’t disappoint me.”
She grinned, eyes a wee bit unfocused. “Never.”
She scooted off down the hall. He paced. He brushed his teeth. He debated pouring another drink from the minibar, decided he was pretty well pissed and would ride the buzz a while longer.
And true to her word, she returned eight minutes later. He couldn’t remember the last time he was so happy to see anyone.
Inside the room, she rubbed up against him like a cat. He quickly discovered she’d taken off her knickers, and he was so turned on by the juxtaposition of naughty and nice he barely got her to the bed before he was inside her.
At four in the morning, sated, sitting naked in the rumpled sheets with an array of strawberries and chocolates and champagne he’d managed to have delivered from a very grumpy front desk overnight manager, watching his dress shirt fall off her pale, freckled shoulder, he decided that he loved her.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI" with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning literary television series, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter @thrillerchick, and Instagram @jt_thrillerchick.
by Dawn K. Henderson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Because life is one big ballroom – and all we can do is dance… Former UK dance champion Caroline Elliott has two burning passions in her life: her sexy, young Spanish lover Antonio, and the weekly Ballroom dance class she teaches to a diverse group of enthusiastic locals in the small English town of Castleham where she lives. But Caroline has a problem. The numbers attending her class have dwindled, and unless she can somehow breathe new life into it, she will have no choice but to close it down. A dance display at the local Arts Festival might just be the perfect opportunity to showcase her students and pull in those much-needed new members. How difficult could it be? With the date of the display approaching, however, illness, affairs and relationship break-ups threaten to crush Caroline’s hopes. As she battles to keep rehearsals on track and soothe her students’ rampant nerves, she must also conquer the demons of a long-ago tragedy in her own life. Will she be able to let go of her fears and step into the spotlight once again? Heel Lead is an emotional, passionate and poignant story that entertains while it tugs at your heartstrings. In this short yet compelling novel, author Dawn K. Henderson presents a captivating tale of the power of love, dance and the ties that bind us.
The Dance Class
Two, three, cha-cha-cha. The music chirruped gaily, pumping out the familiar notes of an old pop song.
‘Ouch! For God’s sake, you clumsy idiot.’ Stuart had trodden on his wife’s toe again – the third time that evening already – and she was laying into him big time. Caroline winced in sympathy. Poor Stuart, she felt sorry for him. Angela could be a right harpy at times and was no elegant swan on the dance floor herself. And while it painfully true that her feet were often subjected to Stuart’s abuse, to be fair it wasn’t always his fault. Angela needed to move more quickly. Caroline shook her head. Angela and Stuart loved their dance classes, they had told her so often; it just never seemed like it with all the conflict it created between them. If only Angela would replace those open-toed sandals with a closed-in shoe, her feet wouldn’t suffer half as much from Stuart’s mis-steps. But she had pointedly ignored Caroline’s frequent suggestions that she do so, claiming she didn’t like the full shoe, and eventually Caroline had given up trying.
Angela! Caroline had tried hard to like her, really she had. But, to be blunt, the woman really wasn’t very likeable. She was sharp-tongued, critical, and quick to take offence, with a physical appearance to match her character. Although she wasn’t old, only in her late thirties, her severe hairstyle – always pulled back into a tight bun – and permanently cheerless expression made her look considerably older. Caroline did her best not to judge; she had heard rumours of a tragedy in Angela’s past that the woman had been unable to move on from, and in an unguarded moment, Stuart had hinted at it too, a haunted look momentarily darkening his features. What the tragedy had been remained a mystery.
Stuart bore the brunt of his wife’s constant ill-humour with endless tolerance, letting the verbal blows fall, rarely retaliating, and then only with the gentlest of reproaches. He was popular with the rest of the class, friendly and approachable with a smile for everyone in his warm eyes, and yet… In their depths drifted the unmistakeable shadow of an enduring sadness.
Who knows what really lies beneath the faces and façades of anyone, even those we think we know well, Caroline pondered, watching them across the room. Angela’s complaining had fallen into a grumpy silence, though she was still looking daggers at her husband and limping exaggeratedly.
The other couples were still cha-cha-ing around the room – four tonight, even less than usual. While at first sight, they seemed an unlikely bunch to be Ballroom dancing, after years of teaching, Caroline had learned not to judge by appearances. Take Trash and his wife Donna for instance. Of course, Trash wasn’t his real name but Reginald, the one given on his birth certificate, really didn’t suit the huge bulk of a man and he had been known as Trash for as long as he could remember. When he had first registered for her class, he had sworn Caroline to secrecy to never reveal his true identity.
Of all the couples that came along to her class, Trash and Donna were perhaps the most incongruous and unlikely. Built like – to put it politely – the proverbial brick outhouse, Trash was a biker to his bones. Unruly sandy hair, now fading to the colour of washed-out nicotine and decidedly thin on top, reached below his shoulders, and had been pulled back into a rough ponytail for class. His face sported a beard of the same colour and length. He invariably wore tatty, faded blue jeans and an equally well-worn black T-shirt with the slogan ‘Ride or Die’ emblazoned across the front, the blood-dripping words entwined around a garish image of a scarlet skull from whose eye sockets heavily-fanged snakes stretched to breaking point over his impressive belly.
His wife, Donna, barely reached his shoulder. Her dyed raven-black hair was chopped short, revealing heavily studded earlobes, and matching studs graced her eyebrows, nose and top lip. Caroline had never seen her in anything other than unrelieved black, usually jeans, T-shirt and a hefty leather belt. She was pretty, a little plump with curves that any woman would envy, in all the right places.
The last bars of the Cha-cha faded. Next came a Waltz. Caroline revised the latest steps she had been teaching and started the music, returning to her study of Trash and Donna. She smiled as she watched them. They were probably the best dancers in the class. Despite his size, Trash was unexpectedly light-footed, and he floated across the floor, his huge bulk seemingly weightless as he guided Donna with a gentle but firm touch. Both of them felt, rather than heard, the music and its rhythm, and lost themselves in its magic; it was the secret ingredient essential to becoming a really good dancer that they both naturally possessed. Caroline had lost count of the times that technically able pupils of hers had failed to progress simply because they had been unable to get out of their heads and dance with their hearts. And of course, she thought with a touch of unwelcome envy, as she watched the couple glide around the room’s perimeter into a graceful Whisk, Wing and Telemark, Trash and Donna adored each other. The connection between them created a spark that was wonderful to watch, and forged an almost telepathic bond as they danced.
Dawn K. Henderson: Storyteller, poet & author
Goddess in training and ballroom diva (at least in her imagination)
12 years ago, Dawn walked into her first Ballroom dance class and the love affair began. Since then she has tango’d and quickstepped, waltzed and rumba’d through life. Although at the time of writing Heel Lead, she is without a permanent dance partner, she is fortunate enough to have good friends who lend her their men occasionally – she usually hands them back undamaged.
As D. K. Henderson, she is the author of The Skull Chronicles series of metaphysical adventure novels .
She lives and writes in the mystical, magical county of Wiltshire, England surrounded by crop circles, the ancient & mysterious stone monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, and her own family of crystal skulls. When she isn't wandering the ancient downlands that inspire her novels and poetry, you'll probably find her pottering in the garden, foraging in the hedgerows or attempting a nifty Cha cha or elegant Waltz on the dance floor.
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Wrong guy. Wrong situation. Might be right.
Free of her overbearing family and their dreams, not hers, Kayla Gallagher is living for herself instead of for her clan's successful restaurant. Step One: finally make her move on Aiden Patrick, the bad-boy son of Gallagher's long-time repairman. Too bad Aidan’s taciturn older brother shows up instead . . .
As the “responsible Patrick,” Liam has always made a conscious choice to do the right thing. He likes fixing things for people—whether it be a broken appliance or a bad situation. Which means he can’t just brush off the quiet Gallagher. Clearly, she needs a shoulder to lean on. But suddenly a shoulder becomes so much more, and Kayla isn’t the quiet little girl she used to be. She’s a vivid, down-for-anything woman showing Liam several sizzling ways to put passion first . . .
As things heat up between them, Liam’s family threatens to come apart for good. The only way Liam can set things right means giving up Kayla. But she’s not about to take no for an answer—or let their chance for something sweeter than desire crash-and burn without a fight.
It is all fun and sexy as all get out until the family drama spills over to the budding relationship and things get real.
I jumped into the book two in the series when I saw it on NetGalley and the joy of the cover picture allured me to read the blurb and I was hooked. So I can not tell you if Kayla Gallagher's family troubles and being disowned by the family has been divulged in details in the previous book, but here it was more of a statement of things that happened in the past. Why did she get tired of her family and what went on before she felt the need to walk away and change herself, I still have no idea.
Kayla was at the crossroads, she was looking for direction to go, she was unemployed, broke, and vulnerable - maybe not the best time to start a new relationship. But her life long crush Aiden asks her out, and she is not about to say no. Only, Liam shows up instead of Aiden.
Liam had his own family drama, he just didn't seem to be aware of it. The dysfunctions in Patrick family are plentiful, thus introducing some of the most unpleasant secondary characters around. Liam himself had a need to fix things for everyone around him. He is a kind hearted, protective, and loyal. His feelings for Kayla has been simmering for awhile. He is under immense stress with his family, yet I still find it hard to accept some of the decisions he made.
The chemistry between Liam and Kayla is scorching hot, and the long detailed sex scenes seem to take over the tale at one point. Nothing wrong with that, but I need a bit more emotional development with physical adventures as well. Regardless, I was really enjoying the story - it was fun, entertaining and hot - until the conflict came and I cringed as the protagonists turn into different people leaving me to ask if I know them at all. The decisions and actions taken during the conflict were not equal to the redemption, in my opinion, with anyone. Not with Liam, Aiden, their mom, or even with Kayla. And the epilog proved that not much had changed regarding the family dynamics with the Patrick family. I guess in a way that kept things real and life-like, I just had hoped that Mrs. Patrick would have seen 'the light' a bit more brightly.
Will I read more by this author - absolutely if the opportunity arises. With all the twists in the plot, even with the couple shortcomings (in my opinion) that I ran into, I found the story delightful at times, engaging and compelling at all the time and was invested to finish the book and find out about the destiny of the main characters.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
A navy SEAL's mission is to protect a vulnerable target, not give in to temptation...
Saving Gina De Santos from attempted kidnappings is one thing. But navy SEAL sniper Josh Elliott's assignment requires getting close to the ravishing widow to ascertain what she knows. And that feels more dangerous than combat. In her presence, Josh has to remind himself she's not to be trusted.
Gina's drug-kingpin father had been negotiating with terrorists when a CIA raid killed him and Gina's husband. Now someone is after the vulnerable single mom and her little boy. While traveling to the Caribbean in search of clues, Josh and Gina find their sizzling desire overpowering. But when they're attacked again, they must overcome their mutual mistrust to survive at the hands of an unknown enemy.
Refreshingly original elements in a story where the lines between the good guys and the bad guys are faded by the family connections and lives are threatened because of the sins of the fathers.
Gina De Santos is a daughter of a drug dealer and a widow of an arms dealer. The government agencies are convinced she knows more than she is leading them to believe, that the secret she hides means she was part of the cartel, part of the criminal activities, and willing to let her young son be part of that world, as well. But nothing is as it seems, and the secrets that Gina is holding on to might now kill them all.
Gina is filled with spunk, determination, and perseverance. She is a protective survivor, smart and capable, and very much likable. The fact that she is not completely clean when it comes to her past just gave her more fascination and allure. She is not afraid to act when the need arise, yet she does listen to the directions of those who know better than she does and takes their advice.
Josh Elliott is a marvelous hero, a SEAL sniper who does not claim to know it all, who still has humbleness in him as well as courage, protectiveness, and kindness. He lost his mother in tragic circumstances, and the past comes to play a part of the present in an unexpected twist of the plot.
The attraction between Gina and Josh is tangible, yet the tension and fear from the current threats, and the tangled past connections constraint the budding feelings muddling the romantic possibilities between them.
A fascinating and entertaining story with blurred lines of good and evil. The charming characters won me over, and the constant menace and peril kept the action going and suspense elevated.
~ Four Spoons
LORD OF THE SEAS
Viking Lords #3
by Sabrina Jarema
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub Date: 8/8/2017
The Vikings roamed and raided the known world, always returning to their beautiful, sacred realm. Now, a young Christian woman is forced into this land—by a Viking lord with a secret he dares not reveal . . .
From Istanbul to Ireland, Rorik of Vargfjell is legendary for the battles he has fought, the wealth he has amassed, and the women he has loved. So when a Northumbrian Earl refuses to pay tribute, and even burns one of Rorik’s ships, the Viking seizes the earl’s daughter—and will hold her for ransom. Or so was his plan.
At home in Northumbria, Elfwynn had experienced agonizing losses—including the peaceful world she was born into. Now she stands face to face with a towering, chiseled Viking in his wondrous kingdom. With her gift of music, her unworldly beauty and strange courage, Elfwynn will prove to be very different than any woman Rorik has known. And for a man who lords over sea and land, what she demands will be the greatest challenge of all . . .
Redbank, The keep of Earl Edward
Along the Humber River, Kingdom of Northumbria
he dragon’s head snapped off. It hit the water and sank as the men pulled it further out into the river. Little by little, the re- mains of the burned ship were dismantled to lie in the depths of the Humber where they belonged. The ribs of the vessel still rose above the water like the skeleton of the beast, but soon they, too, would be
Elfwynn, daughter of Earl Edward, shuddered. It had lain on their shoreline for several weeks, like some ugly, dead monster from the north. And yet, wasn’t it true? The Northmen were monsters, coming here to rape and pillage. Her father had driven them off, proving his strength to the foreigners who infested Northumbria each summer. He would keep them safe.
“Father wanted me to see if the men are nearly finished.”
Elfwynn looked up at her half brother. He’d come from the keep so quietly, she hadn’t heard him. “They’re working hard, Wulf, but that thing won’t be gone too quickly for my taste. I’d like to forget I ever saw it.”
“We may see more of them. The Northman who stopped here with his ships, Rorik, wasn’t alone. A larger fleet continued up the river, no doubt to attack other holdings near York. Father wants to make certain there’s no evidence of what happened when they return, on their way out to sea. We don’t want to give them a reason to stop here.” He rubbed the back of his neck under his long hair. “We’re still trying to figure out who gave the order to burn the ships. No one knows. Father wanted to pay the Northmen and let them leave. With so many of them in this area now, we can’t afford to antagonize them.”
“What does it matter who gave the order? It worked. We defeated them. They won’t try that again.”
“Wessex defeated the Northmen in a large naval battle last year near London. It didn’t stop them from wintering on the isle of Thaley near the Thames. Now they threaten the south.” With a slight smile, he ruffled her hair. “It’s nothing to concern yourself about anyhow. Father and I have agreed if the Northmen attack, my first duty is to get you and your mother to safety. Even if you were so foolish as to leave the keep to look at them when they were here. As beautiful as you are, it would serve you right if one of them fell in love with you and carried you off.”
“Rowena wanted to see them. She heard their leader, the one with the long black hair, was nice to look at. At times, she and I are friendly. I try, at least. Except when your mother is poisoning her against me, like she does so many here.”
“My sister has no sense. If she did, she’d see what our mother is. Even Father avoids her as much as he can. You can’t give in to Rowena in the hopes she’ll like you. Not if it puts you in danger from the North- men or anyone. If that ever happened, I’d give my life to go after you.”
“And I’d sell my soul to stop you. In that, we’re much alike.” “Except I’m better with a sword than you are.”
“That wouldn’t be difficult since I know nothing of warfare. Only weaving. And music.”
“Let’s hope it stays that way. Besides, you’re too fine to waste your soul on battles.”
“To save you, Father, my mother, and the people here, it would be a small price to pay.”
“Even those who turn their backs on you for your birth?”
“They only seek to ingratiate themselves to your mother. Not everyone holds it against me that I’m baseborn. They conveniently forget about that detail when they want to buy the cloth I weave.” She looked at the ship as the men rowed another piece of it out to the middle of the river. “Wulf, do you think they’ll come back? For re- venge?”
“If they do, we’ll be ready. I’m leaving soon to gather more of our forces in case we have to fight.”
Sabrina Jarema lives near Ocala, Florida, the Horse Capital of the World. She has a herd of fat, lazy Arabians on 40 beautiful acres. She also breeds and shows white German Shepherd Dogs and currently has several Grand Victrixes taking over her house. She’s joined by a menagerie of tortoises, turtles, birds, fish and cats. To avoid farm work as much as possible, she loses herself in the worlds she creates through the novels she writes, her art, music, dollhouses, and jewelry. She has worked as a professional fantasy illustrator and has written fantasy romance for many years. Recently, she has branched out into historical romances set in the early Viking era. She is currently writing the Viking Lords series, a family saga set in Norway during the ninth century. She is an active member of the Tampa Area Romance Authors chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
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Playboy detective Luke Cavanaugh O'Bannon isn't excited to be paired with his polar opposite, introverted Francesca "Frankie" DeMarco, on a case. But when Frankie's cousin is found dead of a suspicious drug overdose, she and Luke must work together to pursue a serial killer who's struck again.
And though they try to fight it, the two opposites attract...passionately!
After several false leads, their investigation points them to an online dating site where Frankie, despite Luke's objections, offers herself up as virtual bait. Will the killer reply with dinner and a deadly proposition?
Will Luke realize he's met his match--offline?
What mostly stayed with me from this story was the fun banter between Luke Cavanaugh O'Bannon and Francesca "Frankie" DeMarco. They seemed to love to irritate each other, and I often felt for Luke's partner who had to be the third wheel with these two love birds. Because not only were they ribbing each other, they also had a great chemistry between them, both mentally and physically.
The murder mystery was puzzling and fascinating. The clues were there, there are some viable evidence or at least links between the victims of the serial killer, yet there were also the mundane tasks the detectives had to perform, the time consuming, energy burning investigation that could have been so frustrating and discouraging if the detectives were not such professionals. I liked how the mystery played out, how you got the feeling of the detective work in a realistic way, and how the solution came from the left without further fanfare and surprised even this seasoned mystery reader.
Yes, the Cavanaugh books have a little formulation thing going, you know there is going to be a big case where the relatives help them to solve it, the partner is new, they are reluctant to go to the family feast at the uncle's house, but end up loving it and lose the track of time, and then the romance develop - but the stories have a nice flow, they are written well and entertain the mind for an evening, and the fact that there are actually so many of them, and they all work in the law enforcement, it is kind of enticing and charming in itself. A good mystery with fun romance between appealing characters
~ Four Spoons
by Ellie Douglas
Imagine waking up from a blackout, your memory betraying you as to where you have been or what you have done. This is what happens to beautiful and sexy, 24 year old, Annabelle Worthington.
Growing up, Annabelle’s life was anything but normal. Living with loveless parents, she was subjected to unimaginable abuse and torture at the hands of those who should have protected her. Her saving grace was her relationship with Ivy and Eva.
As an adult, she met Brett Campbell and finally her world became filled with the happiness, stability and love that she had never known. Then something unthinkable happens that destroys her idyllic life and fills her with rage. Annabelle’s blackouts increase and memories of her abusive childhood threatens to imprison her.
When Ivy and Eva comes back into her life, Annabelle elicits their help to rid the world of all cheating bastards.
Is there anything that can stop them before they wreak havoc on California? Which of them really poses the most danger to those who least expect it?
How many lives will be lost because of sexual desires and memories from the past?
I’m Ellie Douglas, and like you, I love horror, everything about horror, the goriest and most gruesome of horrors is the ultimate. I can’t get enough. So much so that I write horror. That need to be graphic, and explicit with my horror scenes makes me stand out. I give what I want to read to others, so now they can enjoy a true horror story.
I’m not all about just being graphic, I also build characters that the readers will love and or hate, so they can feel pulled right inside of the story that they are reading. It gives me so much enjoyment when I hear remarks like, ‘You made me want to puke,’ ‘I have nightmares every damned night –thanks,’ and ‘Quentin Tarantino and Steven King made a baby, YOU!’ when I hear comments like that, I know then I’ve succeeded, that also pushes me into writing more and becoming even better.
I’m fun loving, generous and very mysterious. I enjoy spending time with my family, and have four children to keep the horror writing alive. I enjoy helping others and volunteer my services to help Autistic children, I love cosplay and the chance to dress up as a monster, zombie or some other gritty character is fun, oh so much fun.
I love summer, and well…I hate winter. I live in New Zealand and feel often too far away from all the cool stuff going on in the world. I love helping people all the time. I’ve got my hands dipped in a few things, I write books, but I also make professional book covers for other authors, I also create adult coloring books and I have a gambling app that I designed on the apple store :) I’ve always got a project going, be it writing or creating, that is who I am and I love it :)
My ultimate aim is to give back, paying it forward, to constantly better myself and give the audience amazing stories. Let me scare you…
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Welcome to Mystery, Montana, a small town with dark secrets...
The body found in the Dunrovin Ranch stables isn't just a crisis for Wyatt Fitzgerald's family or his top priority as sheriff--Gwen Johansen is both the victim's sister...and Wyatt's ex.
And in a small town like Mystery, events of the past don't seem to fade. Maybe she'd misjudged his potential when they were younger, but now he could be her greatest ally--and not just in the investigation. That is, if he can work his way around a broken heart.
With the killer circling, the clock is counting down on more than Christmas, a time when family means everything and forgiveness is the best gift of all.
Ms. Calculation was very enjoyable romantic suspense story with a second chance romance between two high school sweethearts, and an escalating murder mystery that has the small town law enforcement on their toes.
The plot development of the story lays heavily on the development of the relationship between Wyatt Fitzgerald and Gwen Johansen as they are trying to solve the puzzling recent crimes in Mystery, Montana.
The hurt from the past, the years being separated, the history between the two families, and the tragedies with the Johansen family are all hurdles Wyatt and Gwen have to resolve and learn to move forward from.
The little town of Montana has all the same problems that big cities, with domestic violence, alcoholism, cheating, and so on, but here the problems are highlighted as everyone knows each other, and the list of suspects is much shorter, people you interact daily with.
Both Wyatt and Gwen are likable, charismatic characters that were easy to like and relate to. The emotions they were battling with were raw and real, the attraction between them sizzling hot even after all the years apart.
The rural life with its challenges and demands was fascinating while realistic and sound. I enjoyed the author's voice, her way of telling the story, and weave the plot.
The mystery and crimes were sort of solved to a point - I'm hoping this will continue on to a more conclusive conclusion as the series continue.
Ms. Calculation had engaging storytelling, with intriguing criminal puzzles to be solved and compelling, tender romance to be enjoyed
~ Four Spoons
Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Jason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Jason's final victim--Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."
It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.
Seven years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother...and since he last saw Dawn, his one-time lover. But as Tucker and Dawn grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both have the same question--has Jason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?
He swallowed. “Right. So…that’s what happened with me and Dawn. I wanted to stop causing her pain, and the best way to do that was to stay far away from her.”
“When we get to New Orleans, do you want me to be the one to make contact with her?”
Because one of them would have to meet with her. Once they’d talked to the local cops and learned the latest details of the case, it would be necessary to have a sit-down with Dawn. Her being in New Orleans while a crime like this occurred? He wanted it to be just a coincidence, but he couldn’t take any chances.
“Tucker?” Macey prompted. “You want me to handle the interview with Dawn?”
He looked out the window. He could see the lights from the Big Easy. “I think that would be best.” Because he’d never responded just right when he was around Dawn. She stirred his emotions too much. She made him want…too much.
No, that was seven years ago. He hadn’t touched her in seven years. “You don’t have a personal involvement with her,” he continued, clearing his throat because his voice was too rough, “so you should handle the interview.”
“You don’t have to lie to me.” Her voice was a gentle rebuke. “It’s not about personal involvement. It’s because you don’t want her to hurt,” Macey added softly. “When she sees your face.”
He glanced back at her. There was no need to reply.
“You might look like him, but that’s just skin deep.”
Easy enough to say. But having a lover who was blood kin to the man who’d spent hours making you scream? That wasn’t exactly something a woman could get past.
The captain’s voice floated over the speakers and the plane began its descent.
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Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award. Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over eighty novels and novellas.
Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.
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