THE WRANGLER'S SPECIAL DELIVERY
When the father of her baby bails, Devon Bennett finds herself in a difficult position. As in "giving birth in a truck on the side of a road" difficult. Devon's never felt more alone, until a hunky cowboy rides in to save the day.
Deputy Cody McCullough can't shake the feeling that Devon and her baby still need him, and not just because they're staying at his ranch. It's obvious that the single mom's heart has been broken before and trusting this cowboy lawman doesn't come easily. But Cody will do whatever it takes to make Devon feel safe again…and to see that her heart finally has a home.
A heartfelt, adorable, tender tale about life, love, and new starts in life, and how utterly wonderful can a misfortune turn out to be, a true blessing in disguise.
I am not sure if I have ever read a story so filled with positivity, good, warm, fuzzy feelings, loving and caring people, who are willing to go the extra mile, even for a stranger, and open their lives, hearts, and homes to those in need.
I smiled through most of the story, maybe not so much in the beginning, with the birthing in the truck and all, but from then on. I am in awe how the author managed to build such a loving, inspiring tale, and still keep the interest and enthusiasm alive. Yes, there's drama and struggle, not made by the characters, but the outside forces beyond their control.
Cody is so perfect. He is kind, protective, generous, and humble. He would do anything to make Devon's life easier. I liked the family unit that the Bennetts have, how they had the attitude 'all for one and one for all' from the start.
This story has nothing to do with Christmas, yet it gives the strongest testimony of the true meaning of it on each page of the tale. An adorable, uplifting, and encouraging story about human kindness, love, and family.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
The Wilde brothers have one thing in common—a thirst for adventure. But Griff Wilde is about to be taken on the ride of his life . . .
When Griff Wilde receives a letter from a dead man sending him on a race to find a mysterious treasure, he’s not worried about the competition. After all, salvaging sunken treasure is what he was born to do. But the riddles leading to the clues are a little trickier than he anticipated . . .
Ainslee Fontaine is ready for a change. A cross-country scavenger hunt sounds like a piece of cake after teaching in New York City. How hard could it be? For starters, travelling alone seems to have its hidden dangers, like real-life treasure hunters who ignite her deepest passions. But there’s still a hidden prize to find—unless someone stops them by any means necessary . . .
What a fun adventure filled story this was! I enjoyed it immensely and the twists in the plot with the scavenger hunt made it rather addictive. If you love the tv series Amazing Race, this is a romance novel for you.
The set up is intriguing, and the glee I had when I figured out the clues before the characters, I didn't know it possible to be in a competition with the characters, but I was right there, going 'duh' when I got it before them, and grinning when I completely missed it...
Ainslee and Griff are both charming, the banter between them made me smile, and the chemistry they had was amazing. They were truly a team and begun fast friends until they were more. I liked the tempo of the development of the relationship. Even though it was intense and everything was happening fast, they still didn't rush into it but got to know each other first.
Not only was the competition bring up the tension, the mysterious attacks towards them, that got increasingly bolder, brought danger and threat into the picture as well.
But despite the menace and competition, even the drama and trouble, the story had an ever delightful, joyful, even hopeful tone to it. I scenery the author painted with her words to the tale was breathtaking, the romance filled with passion and tenderness, and as the miles left behind increased, the feelings got deeper, the venture more dangerous, and the tension higher.
Truly a lively, entertaining tale, filled with adventure, endeavor, and aspiration
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Write what you know. I've taken this advice to heart, creating characters from small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors.
I grew up in a tiny Northern California town and currently live in beautiful Lake Tahoe with my husband and two daughters. When I'm not busy writing, I hike or snowshoe in the woods around my home.
Whether I'm writing contemporary, historical or romantic suspense, I bring the beauty of nature to my stories.
The invitation promised respite from the harsh realities of life.
But here at Pembrook, not even the dead are permitted to rest.
Olivia Pembrook knows something isn’t right. She’s not remembering things she should. Pembrook Manor’s caretaker, advises her to stay away from the new guest, but Hunter is attentive and sweet. She feels safe being near such a big, quite man. He listens and, Lord knows, she can’t remember the last time anyone paid her any attention. So when he invites her to join him for dinner, she can’t say no. Everything is wonderful. Perfect. Until the clock strikes five. The doors lock. And her memories return.
Luke Hunter, a wounded ex-S.W.A.T. officer, experiencing a recurrence of his childhood Sensory Perception Disorder, goes to a private island for seclusion and rest. Instead he finds a lover. A lover who relives her death nightly and forgets everything by sunrise. He’s determined to stop the cycle, but is unsure if he can survive his own ghosts—or the ones wandering the halls—long enough to secure their happily-ever-after.
And even if he does… will she remember him tomorrow?
Olivia glanced over her shoulder as she walked to the next window. “What do you do?”
He tilted his head to the side and his brows furrowed. “I’m between jobs, remember? I was an Army Ranger, and lately a cop. I need to look for something new, but I have no idea where to even start.”
“Yeah, sorry.” She winced and glanced away, staring down the hall. “I get forgetful sometimes.”
He whirled around and found himself staring at another door. What the hell was going on?
When he turned back to Olivia, she gave him a tight smile and started down the hall again. She was up to something. Was she hiding a lover? Maybe that’s why she didn’t want him to stay last night and why she didn’t want him in these rooms today.
He caught up and took her by the hand. “Look, Olivia, I don’t know what’s going on around here. Yesterday you trashed that room looking for something.” She opened her mouth and he held up his hand. “I don’t buy the mice story, so don’t start. All you wanted was for me to leave last night and today you’re acting like nothing happened.” He pointed to the room down the hall. “Someone is in there. Are you hiding someone? Maybe a lover?”
“No.” She took a step closer, a small smile spreading on her lips. “I don’t think I’ve had a lover in a long time.”
“What about Watts’ son . . . Jordan?”
“That was right after high school. We were kids.”
If not a lover, what the hell was she hiding? She was open, honest, sweet—he couldn’t imagine she had any nefarious scheme going on. “Look, you seem to be in some kind of bind here and I like you. I’m happy to help.”
“You do?” She drew up so close to him, the heat from her body seeped right into his skin. “You like me?”
His breath hitched. “Yeah.”
Her smile spread and she put her hand on his chest, lifting up on her tiptoes to press her soft lips to his.
What the hell? Hunter backed up a step and scowled. “What are you doing?”
She smiled. Smiled. The blasted woman always seemed happy. “I kissed you.”
Well, Christ, he knew that. That wasn’t what he meant at all. “You don’t . . . . You don’t meet someone, and then . . . .”
“Kiss him?” She winked. She was still smiling, damn her.
“No.” He paced away a few steps. No one had ever kissed him before. He found the whole idea disgusting. While logically he knew skin was different than sandpaper, the way his whacked-out nerves interpreted touch was similar. Why, the thought of something that abrasive—
Except she was different. Her touch hadn’t hurt. Her kiss had been . . . nice.
In two strides he returned to where she stood. In two more he had her pinned against the wall, his cane forgotten on the floor, his hands tangling in her hair.
He was no smooth Casanova that’s for sure, but as soon as she parted her lips on a gasp, he dove in, tasting her, exploring her mouth. The scent of roses and woman surrounded him, her skin warm silk under his hands. She tasted a little salty, a bit sweet and something he couldn’t name, but liked just the same.
Why her? Why was it this infuriating, confounding woman his body liked?
Olivia sighed and wound her arms around his neck. Her fingers tangled in his hair, sending shivers shooting down to gather at the small of his back. She didn’t have a light touch. No, her hands were weighty against his skin and he liked that. Her body went pliant against his, her small breasts soft against his chest. She must have noticed his erection raging between them, because she pressed her hips tighter to his.
Christ, he had an erection.
Look at that, you’re damn near a real man.
He wasn’t gentle. Desperate might be a more apt description, trying to steal as much as possible from the experience before it was ripped away. He tried to rein himself in, but she was so damn soft. So sweet. She even tasted sweet. And he needed her. Whatever it was that made her peaceful and bright, he needed it.
A pain bolted through his thigh, hinting at an oncoming cramp. It was no wonder, he had her bent back over his arm, the injured muscle in his amputated leg working double-time to support their position.
Forcing a slower pace took every ounce of discipline he possessed. He eased her out of the kiss, nipping at her lips, kissing her cheeks. They were both breathing heavy, and he let out a rusty chuckle. “Ah, Livy. I swear I didn’t follow you up here with the intention of accosting you in a deserted hallway.”
“Don’t apologize.” Her lashes swept up to reveal those deep, violet eyes. “That was lovely.” She bit her lip. “I didn’t want it to end.”
He leaned in close. “Me, either.”
A vacuum clicked on somewhere down below, the droning indicating Watts wouldn’t interrupt them any time soon and Hunter’s gaze locked onto a nearby love seat.
He shouldn’t. Olivia deserved someone better than him.
She swayed closer, her eyes heavy with passion. “Kiss me again, Luke Hunter.”
He didn’t even try to resist her invitation. He slipped his hands into her hair and lowered his head. The world fell silent as his lips touched hers.
She took a step back, pulling him along with her, their mouths sealed together in an intimate love play. With slow steps, she led him and, as long as she allowed him to continue kissing her, he cared less where they went. They turned, and something hit the back of his knee—the love seat. “Mm. Great minds think alike.”
He eased down and she knelt over him. He was sure he’d died and gone to heaven when she became the aggressor, pushing him against the back of the loveseat and kissing him for all she was worth. Her hands stroked down his chest, then clenched at his shoulders. She snuggled closer, lowered herself into his lap . . . and froze.
She stopped kissing him, staring at him with wide eyes. “What is that?”
Her hand dropped to the hard shell fused to the thigh of his amputated leg.
That was all it took to chase his erection away. “It’s a prosthesis.” He cleared his throat. “A fake leg.”
Her lips formed an O and she lifted her weight off him. “Oh, my God, am I hurting you?”
Only his goddamned pride. “No. Look, maybe we’d better open some more windows or you’ll still be doing this at dinner time.”
She sighed, getting to her feet. “Guess I did a bang-up job of killing the mood.”
Cara Crescent currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her children and three overly dramatic ferrets.
When not writing, you can usually find her curled up with a book, engrossed in a movie, or playing video games with her best friend.
Visit Cara on the web at www.caracrescent.com
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Chasing Fire #3.5
By: Ann Marie Walker & Amy K. Rogers
Releasing September 20, 2016
Hudson Chase and Alessandra Sinclair's heartracing romance continues in this hot, new novella in the Chasing Fire series.
Return to the dangerous and seductive romance that got pulses racing in the Chasing Fire trilogy...
It took ten years for Hudson Chase and Alessandra Sinclair to find their happily ever after, and they’re not about to let anything get in their way...
Nothing could stop the passion between Allie and Hudson—not time or distance. Not even tragedy, betrayal, and blackmail. But now they’re facing a new challenge: wedding planning. And while Allie’s social status demands she put on the event of the century, her well-intentioned family and friends have her doubting her walk down the aisle...
Hudson knows tensions are pushing Allie to the brink, but he’s not letting her throw everything away over some flowers and cake. He has plans for his new bride, and unlike their last adventure, he's determined that this time there will be no unwelcome surprises. But for all his determination and control, there’s one element Hudson Chase has never been able to predict—and she has some adventurous ideas of her own...
Hudson spun to face her and within seconds Allie was in his arms, the hard planes of his body crushing her against the alley’s brick wall. Both hands framed her face as Hudson sealed his mouth over hers. His tongue pushed passed her lips, taking her in a lush, deep kiss she felt echo to her very core. Allie’s hands found their way into his hair, her fingers twisting through the dark waves, trying in vain to hold him to her when he broke their kiss.
His face hovered mere inches from hers. “You’ve been a bad girl tonight,” he rasped.
Just those few, roughly spoken words had her heart racing with excitement. Hudson was in control and she wouldn't have it any other way. In the boardroom she stood her ground, going toe to toe with her stubborn husband on a wide range of issues. But in the bedroom he was her dominant lover and although there was a time she would have never considered such behavior a turn on, there was no denying the effect it had on her. There was a freedom in surrendering herself to him, a liberating sense of self unlike anything she’d ever experienced. With Hudson she was able to let go of her inhibitions and explore the wanton lust only he could evoke.
A soft moan escaped her lips as he ran his tongue up the column of her throat.
She hadn’t expected him to show up at her bachelorette party and had certainly never imagined him dragging her out of the club cave-man style. But there he was, touching her, kissing her, and all she could think about was how badly she wanted him.
“Did you enjoy having those men rubbing themselves all over you?” The hard ridge of his erection pressed against her though the soft fabric of her skirt. Behind them a muffled bass beat a hypnotic rhythm through the club’s darkened windows. It pounded through them, urging her to grind her body against him.
“It’s only you Hudson. It’s always been only you.”
“You can prove it to me when we get home.” He stepped back, leaving her warm and wanting, to reveal their limo idling behind him. He reached for the handle and gave the door a hard yank. “After you.”
Allie slid across the leather bench with Hudson close behind. Before he had even settled onto the seat she was in his lap. “We don't have to wait until we get home.”
Though thousands of miles apart, Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers are in constant contact, plotting story lines and chatting about their love of alpha males, lemon drop martinis and British supermodel, David Gandy. You can find them on twitter as @AnnMarie_Walker and @Amy_KRogers.
Her Guardian Groom
Paid to accompany two orphaned siblings to their grandfather in Nebraska, Lily Winter is dismayed to discover the old man has gone missing. And when the children's inheritance makes them a target, buying protection is Lily's only option. Until a handsome gun-for-hire suggests another solution: marriage.
Undercover US Marshal Jake Elder can't reveal his true identity without blowing his mission. Nor can he leave the town's pretty new arrival unguarded. But while uncovering a plot against her charges is difficult and risky, falling for Lily is all too easy. Especially once their marriage in name only gives Jake a glimpse of how wonderful Christmas—and their future as a family—could be.
A truly heartfelt story mixed with mystery, danger, a family of a heart, and a marriage of a convenience.
This story was easy to emerge in and get lost in the world way back when. I loved the way Lily and the children had with each other, the instant connection all three of them had with Jake, even though his identity was misleading at the time.
The unit they formed was binding, they looked after each other, took care of each other, and they were willing to go great lengths to keep each other safe and out of harm's way.
The danger and mystery added new dimensions to the tale, giving the plot more spice. Not only were they running away from the people wanting to take the kids, but the dangers of the nature challenged them as well.
The subtle humor shows up unexpectedly every now and then, making me smile. The story doesn't have a direct Christian message, that you often find in the Love Inspired books, yet the goodness, sweetness, and kindness of the characters are inspiring, them living true the message with their lives, instead of their words.
A charming and delightful tale, with jeopardy and threats, near escapes, attacking turkeys, mixed with precious tender moments, genuine characters, and an unconventional family unit built by love
~ Four Spoons
The Phoenix Syndrome
by Claire Gem
Genre: Contemporary Romance , Women's Fiction
Turning forty rocks a research technician's world. Her husband leaves her, and then she's bitten by a mouse at work. She goes a littlecrazy, taking off to chase after her old dream of a music career and her newcrush: a rock band drummer.
Turning forty, for Lannie Marvin, is rough. It's the day she discovers her husband is leaving her for a younger "soulmate." At work, a crazed mouse being treated with an experimental drug brutally bites her. Then, Lannie goes a little crazy, too.
Seems she's recently developed a serious crush on the drummer of her son's favorite heavy metal band. Waking up to her husband's empty closet, her finger still throbbing from the mouse bite, Lannie snaps. Under the ruse of a shopping trip, Lannie kidnaps her sister-in-law/best friend, and heads toward Bethel, New York - the site of the original Woodstock concert.
Just so happens Dreamwish is playing a concert there, and Lannie managed to procure the pair of tickets her son won but couldn't use.
Tristan Allard, the band's drummer, holds this benefit every year in memory of his wife, whom he lost to breast cancer. The musician is beginning to doubt his ability to write the band's music without his wife's inspiration - she was also his muse. Plus, he's damn lonely. So when a sexually charged, extremely attractive, slightly older woman literally plows into him at the backstage reception, Tristan is ready to learn more about her - and her long-buried interest in musical composition.
The two head off for a wild ride of a weekend, but reality bites back. Tristan is headed to the UK to audition his next album's scores. And an elevated libido isn't the only side-effect of that experimental drug.
To her horror, Lannie soon discovers the treated mice have gone deaf.
Claire writes intensely emotional romantic novels. Her vision is to transport her readers into another place and time, creating characters so real, readers miss them when they reach The End. Her heroes are hot, & her heroines strong and brave: a combination producing the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human, just like you & me. They make mistakes, they get clumsy sometimes, & they're not too proud to laugh at themselves & each other.
The keyword here is EMOTION. Big on the *Sigh* factor, Claire's stories aim to hit you straight in the heart and leave you smiling through happy tears.
She writes in two genres: romance w/a ghostly twist, and sexy contemporary. Claire's books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it's spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or hot-flash-inducing sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.
You can connect with Claire here:
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Jackson Stiles, Road to Redemption
Road to Redemption #1
By: Jo Richardson
Releasing September 21, 2016
Jackson Stiles is used to having bad days, but they’ve been especially bad since a certain tabloid reporter seems to have it out for him.
Emma Green doesn’t mean any harm. She simply sees it as her duty to report the misdeeds of certain Private Detectives who charge too much in a society where people need more superheroes and less villains; something even Jackson has convinced himself he deserves to be called, deep in his gut.
When the two of them realize they’re investigating the same suspicious circumstances, Emma makes Jackson an offer he only wishes he could refuse. But can the man who trusts no one allow the one woman he can’t stand help him get to the bottom of a murder he feels responsible for?
Exposed and unsure, these two unexpected allies come together to unmask the mysteries cloaked in plain sight while uncovering secrets within each other. A lost soul and a seeker of truth travel down the road to redemption and discover more than they bargained for.
Intriguing and alluring suspense, that kept me guessing for a long time who was the mastermind behind the murders in the city, and who all were actually involved, how deep the deceit went. The plot had plenty of twists and surprises to engage and entertain the reader's mind and keep the interest to the story high.
The story is told in the first person point of view, by Jackson. His thoughts are sporadic and all over the place, coming through the hangover haze, filled with bad language and his constant desire to smoke the last cigarette. I really had a hard time with him, to like him. I didn't like to be in his head, read his every thought from those that mattered to all the way to his need to use the toilet in the morning. It took until about 45% mark in the book, that I realized I got used to him, and the plot got so thick with suspense, that it overpowered the dislike to Jackson.
And it is not that Jackson isn't a good person, he seems to care too much about other people, and because of his trust issues, rather stays away from close relationships. But for some reason, he is drawn to confide in Emma, regardless that she didn't prove to be much trustworthy through the twists in the tale. The development of them working together, and the growing attraction, while dealing with the life and death situations and trying to stay alive was captivating. Jackson working on his inner demons, when not drowning them in tequila, was encouraging and somewhat entertaining.
Yes, this story had just about everything I try to avoid in the stories I read - 1st person POV, the crime not solved all the way through/left open-ended, substance abuse, way too much bad language that seemed to get stuck in my head, not resolving old relationships before starting a new one... Yet I found the plot interesting, the twists in the suspense mesmerizing, and the need to know who done it so strong I stayed up late to finish the book. The characters grew on me, I found myself rooting for Jackson, hoping he would find a peace of mind, make peace with his family, and find a balance of existence with his father.
So despite the fact that many things in the story weren't working for me personally, I found the story arresting, the character engaging, and the constant new revelations peculiar, and I admit it was a good story
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
“Morning, Stiles.” The five-and-a-half-foot brunette that likes to make my life miserable is easily five-eight, maybe even five-nine, in the heels she’s got on today. Combined with the dark blue power suit she’s wearing, she comes off as all business despite the fact that she doesn’t make eye contact with me. She’s too busy scrolling through a bunch of bullshit on her smartphone.
I growl a response so it comes out as more of a warning than a greeting. Is it a bit much for this time of day? Maybe. Considering our history, I’m not exactly worried about her impression of me, though.
Emma Green is the latest and greatest “crime” reporter for our friendly neighborhood tabloid. And I use the term “reporter” loosely, by the way. Very loosely.
Doesn’t care about getting the story right in certain cases, if ya know what I mean, loosely.
Her name’s been on nearly every article the Redemption Chronicle has put out since she arrived from somewhere down in Florida. She shows up at most crime scenes, from burglaries to homicides, and has very much become a royal pain in my...
“You’re late, by the way. They were just talking about you.” She mutters and points, blindly, down the hall as she steps into the elevator. Which is my cue to get the fuck out.
My one and only cigarette calls to me from the front pocket of my button down. Thank God I remembered it. But quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to pull it out. Not that I wouldn’t get arrested if I did, but . . .
“And you look like hell.” She’s full of compliments today, I see.
“Fuck you very much, Green.” Not that I’m complaining. It makes it easy to respond to her in like fashion. And bonus: I’m feeling pretty good about getting the last word in on this battle of the banter, as the doors close but then they open again.
“Maybe you shouldn’t stay up so late playing around with your buddies over at the police department.” I look back to see her foot blocking the sensors that would normally allow the doors to close. She still can’t be bothered to look up. She’s too busy burying her nose into the iPhone.
Let’s be real here. Flirting is not her forte.
“I appreciate that enlightening bit of useless advice, Green.” Despite my attempt to be nice sarcasm spills out of every word. It’s only when she pulls her foot all the way in and the doors are halfway shut that I ask myself─ how did she know I was downtown last night?
Emerald eyes peer up at me as the question enters my mind. And I swear, she’s fucking smirking.
Between the pleasant smile and the way her expression lights up like she’s about to pounce, I’m not sure what the hell to think. I haven’t seen her smile like that since the day I briefly met her on the scene of a break-in I was hired to investigate. First thing I noticed was her smile. She seemed...new.
The next thing I noticed was her eyes.
Deep green. The grab-a-hold-of-you-and-don’t-let-go kind that make you wanna know everything that’s going on behind them.
And don’t even get me started on her ass. It begs for mercy because she, no doubt, runs it every day, then follows up with a pint of fat free yogurt and a jug of water.
Not that I’ve thought about it.
But I digress.
She was polite enough. Or so I thought. Asked me if I had any insider’s information on what had gone down that day. It’s not like I was rude or anything. All I did was tell her I wasn’t doing her fucking job for her.
I paid the price for that comment in the article she ran the next day. The headline read, “Local P.I. steals more from family than burglar.” I won’t bother you with the details, but let’s just say, the article was less about the break-in and more about what an asshole I am.
I mean, what the fuck?
I can assure anyone who has the balls to ask, I charge less than ninety percent of the dicks working the tri-state area. Just ask the bill collectors.
The asshole thing is still up for debate...in most circles.
Lesson learned here? Never trust a woman with eyes that stunning or an ass that tight.
Basically, I fucking hate her.
A movie fanatic, a writer of stories, a lover of life.
I grew up in Maryland with four siblings, three parents and an endless number of cousins within the vicinity – but it was too cold up North for this thin blooded girl. So today, I live in Florida with my two girls and a husband that shares my same sense of humor and basic take on life as we know it.
Life is too short to put dreams on the back burner.
I write both contemporary and paranormal stories that include mystery, suspense, humor, action, romance, and anything else I can think up.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
By: Lindsay McKenna
Releasing September 29, 2016
Blue Turtle Publishing
You met Tal and Wyatt's in Tangled Pursuit, book 2 in the Delos Series. Read their continued story.
Captain Talia Culver risked her heart again for Navy SEAL Wyatt Lockwood. The brave, cocky Texan was worth the risk and Talia couldn’t be happier. Still recovering from injuries she received from her last mission in Afghanistan, Wyatt whisks her away to meet his family on their sprawling Texas ranch. But things don’t go as planned when Wyatt hears the local gossip that his drug dealing ex-friend is out of prison and planning a drug run across the Lockwood ranch. Wyatt wants to enjoy some hard-earned down time with Tal, but he can’t ignore the danger at his backdoor.
As Wyatt plans a dangerous operation to catch the drug dealers, Tal fears she could lose the man she loves.
“There they are, darlin’—my family is waiting for you,” Wyatt Lockwood said, his hand resting lightly against the small of Tal Culver’s back. It was the day after Christmas, and the bright blue December sky was a wide vault above them, showing the flat, arid Texas landscape below it. The Culberson County Airport was located three miles outside of Van Horn, Texas. It had just a couple of runways; as airports went, it wasn’t much to write home about.
Tal smiled, taking her time because her broken ankle was in a special supportive boot and she refused to use her cane in front of his family. That was just beneath her Marine Corps pride. She might limp a little, but she’d be damned if she were meeting her fiancé’s family with a cane in her hand.
Wyatt, six feet tall, his shoulders as broad as the state he was born in, was a former SEAL and the man she loved. She felt his large hand on the small of her back, monitoring her movement, the depth of her limp, and he cut his stride to remain at her side. As an ex-SEAL and a naturally badass Texan, he was protective of her whether she needed it or not, even more so lately because she wasn’t fully mobile. She was a bit like a bird with a broken wing right now, but Tal was working hard on a daily basis in the gym at Artemis Security to restrengthen that shattered ankle of hers.
Tal saw a whole passel of people behind the cyclone fence between the control tower building and the asphalt apron where the Delos Gulfstream jet had just landed. The copilot was out the door, opening up a side panel to retrieve their luggage. “Your family looks nice,” she murmured to Wyatt, catching his glinting gray gaze. The man was impossibly, ruggedly handsome, his brown hair cut military-short and topped by a gray Stetson.
“They’re much nicer than I am,” he drawled, winking at her, his hand moving more surely against her back. “Take your time. You can’t hit your normal stride with that boot on, Ms. Culver. They’ll wait patiently for us to get to the gate.”
She snorted softly, glad that she’d worn a black wool pantsuit and a white angora turtleneck sweater beneath it. The temperature was in the forties, the wind sharp and gusting at times. “You’re right. I hate being like this, Wyatt. I wish my ankle would get over itself so I could be a hundred percent again.”
Wyatt gave her a sympathetic glance. Tal looked good enough to eat, her black hair curling down below her shoulders, the sun sparking blue highlights here and there in it as she walked. “You’ll get there,” he told her gruffly. Tal was the CEO of Artemis, the Delos charities’ in-house security company. He worked with her as the head of mission planning at Artemis. As a captain in the Marine Corps, she’d run one of the two sniper units out of Bagram in Afghanistan for five years. And she’d been damn good at it. He’d chased her for three of those years while he was stationed there with his SEAL team, trying to get the time of day from her.
“I feel like whining,” Tal admitted, ashamed, holding his gaze for a moment.
Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write: romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.
Because she went into the military, this experience became the backbone of her writing—she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive of Fate, 1983, Silhouette Special Edition) and has created a thriving sub-genre within the romance field! As a New York Times Best Selling author, she has sold 23 million books and in 32 foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!
Lindsay has gone Indie in 2015 and has created a new family saga on par with Morgan’s Mercenaries. It is known as the DELOS SERIES. There will be paperback and eBooks created under Blue Turtle Publishing, her company for her fans. Readers who love Morgan and his family are bound to fall in love with the Culver family. Delos is romantic suspense, which Lindsay is well known for. It took her five years to create and bring DELOS to her readers. It was worth the wait, but we’ll let you decide that.
Lindsay loves to hear from her readers and loves to know what they’d like to see her write next. Stay up with the latest on the Delos Series here. Please visit her Web site at www.lindsaymckenna.com. And be sure to sign up for her free quarterly newsletter. It contains exclusive content found nowhere else on the Net. Plus, giveaways and other surprises, to her loyal and faithful subscribers!
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
The one-night stand who got away is back—and expecting…
Security entrepreneur Zachary Gatlin can't decide whether to kiss her senseless or give her the brush-off, but Sadie Adams insinuates herself into his business and he's hooked.
Sadie's on a mission to dig up dirt on Zach and disqualify him from a multimillion-dollar inheritance. Success means she'll be able to pay for her little sister's medical bills.
But when Zach once again proves irresistible to Sadie, she faces a fateful choice: follow her heart or save her sister. And then there's the child she's carrying—Zach's child…
What would you be willing to do for your family? What would you be willing to sacrifice for them? Your own happiness and the chance of true love?
This tender and heart-wrenching story paint such a gorgeous picture of the romance between Zach and Sadie. Their past history has set doubts in Zach's mind about Sadie's trustworthiness, but the attraction is strong and pull to each other unavoidable.
The scenes with Zach and Sadie are filled with passion and palpable searing emotions. They take it slow, time passes by, Zach knows she might have to leave at any time to be with her family, he knows there might not be a future for them, but he has no idea of the depth of her secrets and deceit.
I loved Zach and Sadie together. They both had such a deep, profound love for their families, and both of them have always been taking care of their loved ones. There were so many swoon worthy moments, just absolutely breathtakingly adorable and tender instances between them. Yet the deceit and lies were the constant in-between them, and Sadie's actions started to bother me about halfway through the tale. The deeper the emotions between Zach and Sadie came, the more her motivations and actions came to question in my mind.
Sadie is in a tough spot in her life, to save her family she has made some questionable choices, and for the second time.
I admired Zach through the tale, his character had such high standards, his manners, kindness, thoughtfulness, and protectiveness was admirable, and at the end his big heart and ability to forgive and forget convinced me of his amazing spirit.
A time-old tale told with a new and refreshing voice, about the choices we make in life and the consequences of them, about love, lies, and forgiveness, leaving me to wonder how far I would be willing to go to for the sake of my family
~ Four Spoons
Dani Wade astonished her local librarians as a teenager when she carried home 10 books every week – and actually read them all.
Now she writes her own characters who clamor for attention in the midst of the chaos that is her life.
Residing in the southern U.S. with a husband, two kids, two dogs, and one grumpy cat, she stays busy until she can closet herself away with her characters once more.
Meant to Be
Southern Heat #2
By: Jenna Harte
Releasing September 27, 2016
Charming and sexy, detective Mitch McKenna lets women into his bed—not into his heart. When his first love left him in a lurch, crushing his soul, Mitch swore off relationships and love. After all, any woman who chooses what her parents want over what she wants is not worth fighting for.
Or is she?
Successful New York doctor, Sydney Preston left the only man she ever loved to follow the path that her parents paved for her. When a tragic incident at the hospital threatens her life, Sydney moves to Virginia to rekindle the spark with her ex-fiancé.
But Mitch isn’t interested in reigniting the flame that fizzled out long ago. Will they both allow resentments and misunderstanding spoil their chance of discovering what was meant to be?
The warning grew more intense until Mitch couldn’t help but turn around and stare right into the beautiful hazel eyes of Sydney Preston.
His heart stuttered in his chest as a wave of conflicting emotions; anger, love, bitterness, joy crashed through him. His first instinct was to leave, which only pissed him off. He’d stared down insurgents in the Middle East. He could survive seeing Sydney Preston. Another, equally strong, part of him wanted to touch her, to hold her close and see if she felt as soft, smelled just as sweet as he remembered. But he wouldn’t succumb to her charm again. Like a steel gate, everything inside Mitch closed.
“Doctor Preston is our new OB/GYN from New York. She’s helping out at the free clinic, too. Doctor Preston, this is my husband, Kevin, and our friend Mitch McKenna. They’re Charlotte Tavern’s finest police detectives. But watch out for Mitch, he’s a real ladies’ man.”
The hazel eyes that had once captivated him flashed with surprise and maybe panic. But then it was gone, replaced by a blank smile.
“Hi.” He choked out the word, not wanting to appear rude. At the same time, he wasn’t going to go out of his way for a chummy reunion. She didn’t deserve his recognition, so he wasn’t going to give it.
Her head tilted to the side, and a slight smirk crossed her lips. “Actually, we’ve met.”
“Really?” Jenny’s voice suggested intrigue and delight at the prospect. “Where?”
“We went to college together.” Sydney held his gaze. If she wouldn’t flinch, neither would he.
“Oh, wow. Hey, maybe you know his old girlfriend. Poor Mitch lost his heart to her, and she crushed it like a bug.”
“Honey.” Kevin patted Jenny on the back, while casting Mitch an apologetic smile.
Mitch didn’t know if Kevin was intervening because he knew no man liked to have his emotional history laid out in public or if he recognized there was something more between Sydney and him. Probably both. Kevin was observant and insightful, which is what made him a skilled detective, one that Mitch was grateful to have as a partner.
“What?” Jenny blinked up at her husband.
“Yes, I knew her.” Sydney’s tone was matter-of-fact. Mitch’s eyes narrowed with scrutiny as he waited to see if she was going to admit to being the one who squashed his heart.
Jenny turned her attention back to Sydney. “Was she a real bitch? I heard she came from a rich family that didn’t like Mitch. But what’s not to like, right? I mean, he’s as yummy as cherry pie.”
“I thought that was me.” Kevin pouted.
“You’re peach pie, my favorite.” She smiled coyly at Kevin, who gave her wink. Mitch imagined there was a story there but blocked his brain from filling in the details of what it might be.
“Speaking of peach pie, why don’t we go to the cafeteria and get some,” Jenny suggested. “We can let Mitch and Doctor Preston get to know each other.”
“I don’t need to get to know Doctor Preston. I’m sure I’m not her type.” He knew the minute it was out of his mouth that Jenny would reprimand him.
“Why, Mitchell McKenna, your mother would light you up if she knew you were being so rude. I’m so sorry Doctor Preston—”
“It’s okay.” Sydney waved the comment away, much like she’d waved him away ten years earlier. “I have to check on Mrs. Warner anyway. You go enjoy your pie.”
She said it with such smoothness, it highlighted Mitch’s bad manners. But he didn’t care. Let Jenny and Kevin think he was a heel. He knew the truth and Doctor Preston knew the truth. She didn’t deserve his time or attention. Not anymore.
Sydney walked, back straight and chin up, until she turned the corner. Then she sagged against the wall, hoping her legs would still hold her upright. Her hand shook as lifted it to cover her thundering heart. Over the last ten years, she’d imagined what seeing him again would be like. But what actually happened had never been in any of the scenarios she’d considered. Not that she’d thought he’d take her in his arms, confess his undying love, and kiss her senseless as he used to do, although, admittedly, she’d always hoped that would be his response.
He was still ridiculously handsome with his bronze wavy hair and emerald eyes. But gone were the affable smile and charm, replaced by eyes that were as hard and cold as his welcome.
She hadn’t considered that he’d pretend to not know her. It showed just how deeply she’d hurt him. Even so, she wasn’t going to let him get away with it. She was in Charlotte Tavern for one reason only: to fix things with Mitch McKenna. Sure, they still might not have the future they’d once planned, but at least she would address the regret and hopefully make amends. Life, she’d recently learned, was too short to not live it to the fullest without guilt and unresolved issues.
“Are you okay, Doctor Preston?”
Sydney looked at the nurse approaching her.
“Yes, Meg. Just a little tired.”
“I have Mrs. Warner’s meds. I was just taking them to her.”
“Actually, I’m on my way to see her.” Sydney pushed off from against the wall, grateful for the distraction.
“She has such a cute baby.” Meg walked alongside Sydney. “Not all babies are cute.”
Sydney agreed, although she was surprised to hear Meg say it out loud. “No. But they’re all a gift.” A gift Sydney knew she’d never have.
Jenna Harte is a die-hard romantic writing about characters who are passionate about and committed to each other, and frequently getting into trouble. She is the author of the Valentine Mysteries, the first of which, “Deadly Valentine,” reached the quarter-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. She is also the author of the contemporary romance series, Southern Heat, with includes Drawn to Her, and upcoming September 2016 release of Meant to Be. She has a bundle of stories filled with romance, mystery and even time travel rattling around in her head and is eager for the day when a device is invented allowing her to download what’s in her brain onto her computer. When she’s not telling stories, she works by day as a freelance writer, author, blogger and online entrepreneur. She lives in central Virginia with her husband, two college-bound children and a two fat cats.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
A Sister's Wish
The Charmed Amish Life #3
By: Shelley Shepard Gray
Releasing September 27, 2016
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.
Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.
He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.
But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.
Thirteen years ago
He had almost made it.
All he had to do was make it another two miles, then he’d be able to catch the bus to New Philly and eventually Mansfield. After that? Simon Hochstetler reckoned it didn’t really matter. He would be free and that was good enough.
But for now, all he had to do was ignore the pain in his side, make it over the next bend, then finally hike through the northern edge of the Kinsingers’ property. Once he did all that, the road would be flat. A whole lot easier to walk on.
He winced as he shifted his stuffed army-green backpack on his left shoulder, wishing that his right one wasn’t as bruised as it was. ’Course, if he was making wishes, he should probably start with wishing that he didn’t have a black eye or cut lip. From there he could wish his ribs weren’t hurting, either.
His father had been in fine form tonight.
He walked on, patting his pocket, feeling for the wad of money he’d been saving for the last year and kept hidden in an old coffee can near the woods. How long was it going to last? He had no idea how far eighty-eight dollars lasted in the city, but he was fairly sure it wouldn’t be far enough. He was going to need to figure out a way to make some cash, quick.
Feeling panicked, he stopped to readjust his backpack.
“Simon? Hey! I thought that was you,” Amelia Kinsinger called out, her voice ringing through the empty field like a bright, merry cowbell. “Whatcha doing?”
He froze. Then, attempting to gather himself, he turned to watch her trot closer. A bright smile was on her face. She looked really pleased to have spied him.
Though he knew better than to stay, he remained where he was. Even at only nine years old, little Amelia was the prettiest thing he’d ever seen. White-blond hair, crystal-blue eyes, and pale skin that never seemed to tan, she was everything delicate and perfect. She was also sheltered and his best friend’s baby sister—and the only person who seemed to think he was worth something. Both of her brothers had confided that Amelia had a terrible crush on him. They’d thought it was embarrassing. Levi had even apologized for her.
He hadn’t needed an apology, though. Simon had always thought Amelia’s infatuation made him something special. He’d never let on that he noticed the way she always looked at him. He never acted annoyed when she rushed over to tell him about her day. Instead of making fun of her, he’d been patient and often sat with her when her older siblings were too busy.
But that said, he’d always taken care for her not to see him like this. He wanted to look worthy in her eyes. Not beaten and bruised.
“Can’t talk right now, Amy,” he bit out as he started forward. He took care to keep his gaze fixated on the ground in front of him. Maybe then she wouldn’t catch sight of his eye.
But, as usual, she didn’t listen to his warning. Instead, she picked up her pace. “Did you know that the sun is almost set? Where you going? It’s going to be dark soon.”
“Ain’t none of your business.”
She stumbled, then caught herself before he reached out to steady her.
“Slow down, wouldja?” she said.
She sighed. “Why are ya being like this?” she asked, hurt in her tone. “All I asked is—”
“Simon! What happened to you?”
Unable to help himself, he drew to a stop. Then, because he probably was never going to see her again anyway, he allowed himself to lift his chin and let her look her fill. As he’d expected, she was staring at him in concern, her pale pink lips parted in wonder. And, he suspected, pity.
“Go on home, Amelia.”
“Did you . . . did your daed do that?” she whispered, letting him know that his secret had never actually been one. “Do you need something? Do ya need some help? ’Cause my daed’s home. If we went to him, I bet he’d help ya.”
That was why she meant so much to him. Here he was, bruised and battered, running away from home, and she thought he could still be saved. “Your daed can’t help.”
Tentatively, she held out a hand. Then, to his shock, she swiped at a patch of skin just to the side of his lip. When he flinched at her touch, she looked at him with sad eyes. “Sorry, but your lip is bleeding.” She held up her finger to show the stain.
Seeing his blood on her hand was one of the worst things he’d ever experienced. It symbolized everything that was his life . . . and everything he didn’t want it to be. Unable to help himself, he grabbed her hand and roughly swiped it on his shirt. “Wash your hands when you get home, hear me?”
“Oh. All right. But . . . but, Simon, won’t you come with me? You could wash up, too.”
“Nee. I’ve gotta go.”
“You’re leaving, aren’t you?” she asked softly. “Just like your brother and sister did.”
He couldn’t lie to her. “Jah. I’m leaving. Just like Jeremy and Tess did.”
As much as he would have liked to do anything she asked, he couldn’t do that. “Listen, do me a favor, wouldja? Don’t tell nobody you saw me.”
Her bottom lip trembled. “But—”
“They’ll find out soon enough. Just . . . just let me go, okay?” Then he did what he’d sworn he’d never do. He looked at her directly in the eyes and let her see his pain. “I have to do this, Amy.”
Around a ragged sigh, looking so very sad, she nodded.
“Bye, Amelia. You take care of yourself.”
He started walking before she could reply. Before he did something stupid and followed her to her house. Before he thought about staying just a little longer so he could see her again.
He started walking because no matter how difficult and scary it was to leave, he knew for certain it was always going to be a whole lot worse at home.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold Medallion winner.
She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
In the aftermath of her financier husband's suicide, Emma Shay Compton's dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients' life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband's crimes. She is left with nothing.
Only one friend stands by her, a friend she's known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn't easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she'd rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.
Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can't escape her husband's reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she'd ever ask for help—her former best friend. It's an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they've made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.
A beautiful and powerful story about life, love, forgiveness, family in all the different forms and shapes, and moving on after one of the life's curveballs.
The story flows well, with often taking a step back and going through the events again, with little more depth, with a different point of view. For those who like to read a book from cover to cover in one sitting, it might feel like repetition, but most might enjoy it.
The characters in the story have all faced life's difficulties, have had challenges most can't imagine. As they work through their past in the story, the complications, and disputes, without difficulty it made me reflect on the matters of the tale in my own life. I love stories that make you think and you get life lessons from them.
Emma's life situation felt like a never-ending nightmare, the consequences of her choices and the judgment from others seemed unbelievable. She wasn't perfect by any measure, but she was willing and eager leave the past behind, learn from it, and move on.
Riley had her own issues to be faced and dealt with. I loved how the two stories harmonized with each other. How both Emma and Riley developed, flourished, and matured as the tale unfolded.
A charming tale of life and love, with characters that fascinates, a pleasing plot that intrigues the mind, while delivering messages that make you take inventory of yourself, I believe that is called a life-changing romance novel
~ Five Spoons
“I’m frequently asked what it is about my stories that make them so popular. I think it’s the sense of community and that combination of romance and women’s fiction,” says author Robyn Carr. “I’m naturally drawn to strong, capable female characters, and when I begin a story, I ask myself, ‘What is she up against?’ It’s very empowering to read about women like ourselves as they resolve the issues that threaten their happiness and peace of mind. It’s also empowering to watch smart women choosing and falling in love with men of honor and integrity.”
The author of more than 40 novels, Robyn reaches a wide audience with her writing. In addition to her touching novels, she’s written historical and contemporary romance, as well as a gripping thriller. “This is the best job I’m ever going to get wearing pajamas,” she
says of her writing career.
Originally from Minnesota, Robyn and her family have seen much of the country, thanks to her husband, Jim, and his career in aviation. After the two high school sweethearts married, Jim joined the air force. They’ve lived in Texas—all four corners—Alabama, Florida, California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.
The couple moved to Henderson, Nevada, so Jim could explore a new business opportunity. “At first, being a Midwest girl at heart, I said, ‘Oh, no, not another desert!’ It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the beauty of Nevada—and the unrivaled spectacle of Las Vegas!”
Robyn well remembers how she began her career as an author more than 25 years ago. “I was trained as a nurse but found it impossible to get work because my husband was constantly being transferred. At the time, I was reading a lot of genre fiction for the sheer entertainment value, and I thought to myself, ‘I can write this!’”
And how was her first foray into the world of literature received? “It was universally panned. I thought I had written Gone with the Wind, but in actuality it was complete trash.” In fact, it was on her third try that Robyn finally succeeded in becoming a published author.
Now that Robyn’s two children are grown—and finally out of the house—she has the luxury of a little free time. “Until my kids grew up, I didn’t realize that a person could have hobbies other than laundry,” she jokes. But it turns out not to be hobbies that keep Robyn busy when she isn’t writing— she has found her niche in community service.
She has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out of state whenever possible and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fund-raising and visiting-author events that bring writers, their books and the community together. “It is the people in my life that fill the well,” she says. “Especially the people who share my love for books and writing.”
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Young Adult / New Adult Fantasy
Date Published: May 1, 2016
A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she's just like all the other magi.
A dragon who sees through her lies.
Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.
Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she's got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can't afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.
The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.
As an illusionist, she doesn't have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems...
Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.
Viper made a soft hissing sound of irritation between his teeth, pulling back from her. “Cormac has no vision. I know what I want and I’m prepared to offer anything to get it. You have but to ask.”
Well. There was one thing. Her cheeks flared crimson and she squirmed a bit before stuttering out another question, swallowing back her embarrassment.
“You keep a hoard like a dragon, right? I don’t suppose you would consider loaning me a little? I swear I’d pay it back.”
His head tipped to one side, and he looked her up and down anew. She suspected he was just noticing her frayed cuffs and cheap shoes. He’d been so intent on getting whatever it was he wanted out of her that he hadn’t paid attention to the package it came in until now. When she caught the very slight curl of his lip, there and gone in a flash, embarrassed heat filled her cheeks.
Feeling both dirty and humiliated, she ducked her head. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have asked. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this.”
“Come now, I’m sure it’s not that hard. All it takes is a yes.”
“No,” she said, this time with a bit more vehemence. Cormac was right. There was something off about Viper, and never mind what a perfect ass she’d just made of herself. Worst of all, that flash of disgust showed he obviously had no respect for her. At least Cormac never made her feel tolerated. “Thank you for the offer, but I’ll find some other way of getting what I need.”
He slowly rose to stand, heaving a sigh as he settled back on his heels.
“That’s unfortunate. This would have been much easier if you had agreed.”
Kimberly would have asked what he meant by that, but the look in his eyes froze her in place.
His eyes burned a molten gold as he spread his arms, which were expanding and shifting at an alarming rate. Faster than she might have thought possible, he was growing, his clothing melting and skin disappearing under a layer of metallic scales. Nearby, people were noticing, shouting and screaming in fear as they stampeded in every direction to escape the shapechanging Other in their midst.
When he ceased growing, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, he was over thirty feet long, with a wingspan half again that size.
Kimberly sat immobile, unable to so much as squeak in terror as the beast before her lurched back to arch its neck and spread its wings, barbed tail lashing as it growled at her. One thick, talon-tipped paw lashed out, flattening her on the grass and squeezing the air out of her lungs. It gave an awkward, one-legged hop forward to catch its balance before clenching its claws to dig deep furrows in the grass and close around her waist and legs, pinning her.
Then those wide, ribbed wings began to flap, the sun playing off the tones of brass and copper and gold. The ground fell away, people scattering before the airborne monster.
And Kimberly could do nothing but pray, staring up at this great beast that had her in its claws.
She’d gotten what she’d asked for. Now she would have to pay the price.
I'm a displaced New Yorker with a penchant for the silly, the obscure, and the fantastical. These days, you can find me in the Tampa area. I'm currently working on the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series and the Blackhollow Academy young adult/new adult contemporary fantasy series. Find out more about my books, drop me a line, or join my mailing list at www.jesshaines.com!
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A Fool For You
Foolproof Love #3
By: Katee Robert
Releasing October 3, 2016
It’s been thirteen years since Hope Moore left Devil’s Falls, land of sexy cowboys and bad memories. Back for the weekend, she has no intention of seeing the man she never got over…or the two of them getting down and dirty. It’s just a belated goodbye, right? No harm, no foul.
Until six weeks later, when her pregnancy test comes back positive…
Daniel Rodriguez hasn’t forgiven himself for how things went down with Hope all those years ago. He knows she’s better off without him, but when she shows up on his doorstep, panicking because she’s pregnant with his baby, he can’t help seeing it as a chance to make up for the past.
Too bad Hope has no intention of going along with his plans.
Hope Moore held her breath as she passed the sign declaring Welcome to Devil’s Falls. She hadn’t crossed the town boundary in thirteen years, not since she sat next to an open grave as they lowered her brother into the ground. Not since she turned her back on her entire life here, whisked away by her parents to the best medical facilities Texas had to offer.
She touched her knee. She’d never cheered again, never run track, never done any of the things she’d had planned when she was eighteen and had graduated high school with stars in her eyes.
Stars in her eyes, and love in her heart.
Neither had lasted past that car crash.
Oh, it had taken the love a lot longer to die than it had her knee, but Daniel Rodriguez made sure she knew where she stood with him.
She caught herself taking her foot off the gas and picked up speed again. There was no telling if she’d see him while she was here, but it couldn’t matter. She’d moved past what happened that night, moved past the disappointment that she’d almost let sour everything else about her life. It might not have happened like she planned, but she’d made the best of her college experience, and she’d gone on to create a successful little niche for herself, helping people and institutions with too much money on their hands create trusts and scholarships for those in need.
And now Hope was back in town to finally do that in her brother’s memory.
She pulled onto Main Street, heading for the only lodgings someone out of town with no relatives to stay with would consider—Sara Jane’s B&B. It was a nice little place, but Sara Jane was nosy to a criminal degree and gossiped more than anyone Hope had ever come across. The second she checked in and went up to her room, everyone with a phone would be getting a call letting them know that she was back in town.
It wasn’t that it was a secret, but she couldn’t help but feel that she’d always be John Moore’s little sister, the one who survived when her older brother—her better in a lot of ways—didn’t. She knew that was her own insecurity. She’d had too many years of therapy to believe anything else, except in her darkest heart of hearts, the place she didn’t let see the light any more than strictly necessary.
But it was hard to ignore that little voice when driving through Devil’s Falls. No, not through. To. This was her destination.
Her parents hadn’t been too thrilled about her coming back, even for a limited time, but even they couldn’t deny that this scholarship she was here to set up was a good thing—the right way to honor John. He’d been in the middle of a full ride at the University of Texas when he was killed, and it made sense to set it up to allow other kids the opportunity he’d never be able to realize.
She pressed a hand to her chest and pulled into the nearest parking spot against the curb. God, even after all this time, it still hurts. Most days it didn’t. He’d been gone long enough that she’d processed her grief as much as one person could process grief, and she was able to focus on the good memories.
Her eyes focused on the sign she’d been staring blindly at, and she frowned. Cups and Kittens. That was new. In a town as mired in the past as Devil’s Falls, change was something of a novelty. Or maybe she was biased in a negative way, because the only thing this town held for her was memories. Some bad, mostly good, all dust now.
Pathetically grateful for something external to focus on, she climbed out of her car and looked at the cheery window painting depicting kittens frolicking in between flowers.
The B&B could wait a little while longer. Her meeting with the town board wasn’t until tomorrow, so there was no reason she couldn’t do a little poking around in the meantime. Thirteen years was a long time. If anyone had asked her, she would have joked that she hadn’t expected anything about Devil’s Falls to change while she was gone.
Apparently she’d been wrong.
She pushed through the door and froze in the face of a pair of cats staring at her from their perch on a table overlooking the big window in the front. The sight surprised a laugh out of her. “Cups and Kittens, indeed.”
“In the most literal sense.”
She glanced over at the woman behind the counter, a third cat lounging near the register. Familiarity rolled over Hope. “Jules Rodriguez.” Daniel’s little cousin. Not so little anymore. Last time she’d seen Jules, the girl had been lanky to an almost awkward degree and had braces with bright green bands. She’d grown up pretty, and there was more of Daniel about her now than there had been when she was a kid.
Or maybe I’m just back in Devil’s Falls and seeing Daniel wherever I look.
Jules’s dark eyes cleared. “Hope? What are you doing back in town?” She hesitated. “I don’t suppose you’re here to sweep my brooding cousin off his feet and shove him back into real life?”
Her mind tripped over itself trying to keep up with the other woman’s verbal gymnastics. Jules had always been like that, now that she thought about it—a bright and bubbly steamroller. She tried to weed her way through what the woman had just said, but there was only one thing she could focus on. Daniel. Always Daniel. “What do you mean, back into real life?”
“Well, you know.”
No, she really didn’t. She studied Jules’s face, the way she wouldn’t quite meet her eyes. “Is he okay?” She hadn’t missed the way Quinn Baldwyn had frozen up when she’d asked that same question a few weeks ago at his sister’s wedding, and worry had been simmering in the back of her mind ever since, no matter how many times she told herself it wasn’t any of her business. Daniel was a grown man, and he had always been more than capable of taking care of himself—and everyone else around him. Things changed, but she couldn’t see that changing.
Jules shifted, her hand darting out to pet the calico on the counter and then darting away when the cat swiped at her. “Define okay.”
It was none of her business. It stopped being her business a very long time ago.
But that didn’t stop her from clearing her throat and asking, “Is he…is he married?” Did he build the house we always talked about and have those two wild boys and one sweet girl? Does he bring his wife waffles for breakfast in bed on the weekends?
Oh my God, stop.
But Jules was already shaking her head, her mouth turning down. “Nope. No wife, no kids, no serious relationship in, well, thirteen years.”
Hope blinked. “You’re joking.”
“I wish I was.” A calculating look came into her eyes, but then she shook herself and it was all guileless enthusiasm. “What are you doing for dinner?” She rushed on without waiting for a response. “We’re having a little thing with Quinn and my friend Aubry, and, well, I kind of went and married Adam Meyers.”
Some things really do change. She remembered Adam, the wild-eyed boy who’d grown into a wild-eyed man, better than she remembered Jules. No one had expected him to come back to Devil’s Falls after he blew out of town that last time, let alone to settle here and…get married. “Wow. What’s Daniel have to say about that?”
“He was best man at our wedding.” Jules laughed. “Though he was pretty furious at the beginning. Here, sit down. You look like you could use a coffee, and I’ll tell you the story since we’re generally pretty dead Thursday nights. Then I’ll close up and we can go to dinner. The boys will love to see you. Quinn was just talking about you the other day.”
Hope wasn’t sure she actually agreed to any of it, but the next thing she knew, she was drinking coffee while a cat curled up in her lap and listening to Jules’s wild tale about a fake relationship that turned into a real relationship. Somehow in the middle of that, she was bundled up into Jules’s truck, and by then it was too late to change her mind.
She settled into her seat, consoling herself with the fact that Jules had very specifically not mentioned Daniel’s name. There was no reason to think he’d be there, but it would be nice to reconnect with some of her old friends. As much as it had hurt when things went south with Daniel, knowing that she’d lost Quinn and Adam, too, had just been salt in the wound. She’d chased them around since she could toddle after her big brother and his friends, and they’d turned into true friends over the years. She understood why they hadn’t reached out, but she wasn’t going to turn down a chance to catch up with them.
It would probably be the only nice thing about being back in Devil’s Falls.
“You haven’t even heard what I’m asking.”
“Don’t need to.” Daniel Rodriguez leaned down and unbuckled Rita’s saddle and hefted it off the horse’s back. They’d had a good run today, the hot sun making it impossible to think too hard about anything other than whether a human being could roast alive in Texas in August. He hadn’t yet, so that put the odds ever so slightly in his favor.
All he wanted was to finish here and head back to his place for a cold shower and an even colder beer.
It would just fucking figure that the universe had other ideas. He glanced up, but Aubry Kaiser hadn’t moved. In fact, with her arms crossed over her chest and her chin up, all signs pointed to this adding up to an argument he couldn’t possibly win.
She frowned harder. “It’s your birthday. You can’t just sit at home by yourself.”
“Since it’s my birthday, this is the one day a year I should be able to do exactly that with no one bitching at me.” He regretted the harsh words almost as soon as they were out of his mouth, but Aubry wasn’t like his little cousin. She was meaner than a rattler and twice as likely to bite.
She narrowed her amber eyes at him. “Your cousin misses you.”
That explained why she was out here when he knew for a fact she thought horses were akin to goats—as in, the devil’s own creatures. Hell, she was giving poor Rita a suspicious look even while guilt-tripping him using the one person in his life he couldn’t say no to.
Which doesn’t explain why Jules herself isn’t here.
“She sees me on a regular basis.”
“This is your birthday.” Aubry sighed and rolled her eyes, looking put-upon. “Look, it goes like this—Jules has worked really hard to put together a surprise birthday party for you, and if you don’t show up to be surprised, she’s going to be crushed.”
He stared. “I don’t want a surprise birthday party.” The fact that it was no longer a surprise said a whole lot about Aubry’s priorities, and he couldn’t blame her for that.
“Look at my face. This is the face of a woman who doesn’t give two fucks what you care about. What I care about is Jules, and that means you’re going to go shower off the smell of that animal and show up at their house in an hour, right on time.” She paused, her brows slanting down in an expression that was downright forbidding. “You helped me out not too long ago, so I’m going to do you a solid and give you the lowdown. Ready?”
Fuck, no. “Sure.”
“Jules is worried about you. Really worried. If you don’t show up tonight, she’s going to take that as a sign to go forward with plan B.”
He knew he was going to regret it, but he still asked, “What’s plan B?”
Aubry gave a tight smile. “A full-scale intervention with everyone in your life, including your parents. The kind where they sit you down in a circle and each speak their mind in the most uncomfortable way possible until you’re ready to beg the ground to swallow you whole.” Her smile dimmed. “She’s worried about you, Daniel.”
Everyone seemed worried about him, though they usually did him the courtesy of at least trying to hide the looks exchanged when they thought he wasn’t looking. The whispered conversations with his various cousins and his parents. The never-ending work that was only there because they were throwing him a goddamn bone. It didn’t seem to matter that he hadn’t done anything requiring an intervention. He’d just stopped enjoying the company of people, mostly because he was such shitty company these days. But try telling that to the family, and they acted like he had just confessed to being an ax murderer.
At least Jules had mostly stayed out of it. Up until today.
He grabbed the curry brush and went over Rita’s back. Aubry was right. Showing up to a party he didn’t want on a day he sure as fuck didn’t feel like celebrating was vastly preferable to the alternative. “Explain to me what the plan is.”
She gave a grin that did nothing to reassure him. “Dinner and drinks. It’ll be nice. Adam and Quinn miss you.”
“I see those assholes every day.” Kind of hard not to when they worked the ranch alongside him. It felt right to have Adam back, to have Quinn there, but at the same time it was a constant reminder that they were a man short.
And it was his fault.
“It’s different and you know it,” Aubry continued, obviously enjoying how miserable he was. She’d always been a mean one, which never failed to amuse him because Jules was her polar opposite—as bright and happy as a spring day. Rita shifted in her stall, and Aubry went even paler than she was normally. “Dinner starts at six. Don’t be late.” Then she was gone, moving at a clip fast enough that a less cautious man than Daniel would call it running.
He waited a good five minutes before he followed, hauling the saddle into the tack room and sorting out the bridle. He didn’t begrudge Quinn his happiness—or Adam, for that matter—but sometimes it sure as fuck was hard to be around them and their women. The fact that one of those women was his little cousin barely entered into it.
He headed for his truck and took the pitted dirt road leading around the edge of his parents’ property to the little house he’d built a few years ago. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it got the job done, and it was far enough outside town that most people thought twice before stopping by unannounced.
Most people not including his family.
The shower did nothing to ward off the feeling of pending doom. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Jules or Adam or Quinn or whoever the fuck else was going to be at this damn party, but he wasn’t in the partying sort of mood. Truth be told, he hadn’t been in that mood for over a decade. It was almost enough to make him call the whole thing off, but the knowledge that Jules would have no problem bringing the party to him got him moving again. Not to mention the potential intervention he needed like he needed a hole in the head.
At least if he went there, he could hang out for the appropriate amount of time, make his excuses, and slip out while everyone else was occupied. Two hours, tops.
Feeling significantly better, he pulled on a pair of his favorite old jeans and a T-shirt and grabbed his keys. It struck him as he walked out the door that he was thirty-fucking-four years old. How the hell did that happen? He shook his head. He knew damn well how that happened. One day turned into a week, a month, a year, a decade. All while he kept on keeping, the world changing around him, but never changing enough.
He glanced at his watch. “Two hours starts when I get there.”
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee.
She found romance novels at age twelve and they changed her life.
When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Getting dumped is never easy, but there’s a special bonus sting if your ex-fiancé is a producer for a popular morning radio show. Jillian Atwood’s breakup with Nico has become the hosts’ number-one topic.
They’re even running a competition to find him a new girlfriend. The entire population of Boston, it seems, is tuning in with an opinion about who Nico should date next—and what Jillian should do to get over him.
Jillian’s co-worker, Ben, has his own ideas on that score. He hates seeing Jill depressed over a guy as unworthy as her ex. While he’s providing a friendly ear, he's also realizing how much more he’d like to offer.
And if Jill could just get over the man who broke her heart, she might find the one who’s perfectly equipped to heal it...
No, breakups are never easy, especially after a longer relationship. They often take a toll on the people, sometimes even affecting the people around the couple separating. This story is a somber and wistful tale of the end of Jillian and Nico's relationship after six years together and three weeks engaged.
It is told in the first person from Jillian's point of view only, and we get to live with her through all the angst, sorrow, sadness, doubts, the first laughs after the split, the disaster that follows with the radio station, the pining after Nico, the hopes for them coming back together, the rejections, the anger, all the crazy that can happen after a very public breakup, all the thoughts that are in her mind for several months that follow.
The dark cloud does have the silver lining, Ben. But it takes time for Jillian to be able to move on, and get over Nico, the years they were together, the humiliation of the whole town knowing what is going on in her life. And even though Ben is there for support and some flirts, the story's focus is on moving on from the breakup, getting over the past, and learning to accept what happened.
I didn't know if I should have laughed or cried for the desperation of the dating world for the thirty-somethings wanting a relationship. I am aware it's not easy, and not making fun of it in any form, but the dread Jillian had was written with humor and made me want to laugh out loud.
With the different twist to a romance story, being more about breakup and development from the devastation of it, than the development of a relationship, it really wasn't for me, or for my taste. That said, I am sure there are many who will enjoy it. I just didn't like to be stuck in Jillian's head with the first person point of view. I guess this story is a great example of what can happen when a relationship goes on for years without commitment one of the party wants and needs, in a way reminding me of the movie He Just Not That Into You.
With the silver lining shining, the author gave a satisfying and pleasing storyline of the worst case scenario of a breakup turning into a blessing and growing moment in life
~ Three Spoons