Eager to start their life together, historian Vickie Preston and Special Agent Griffin Pryce take a detour en route to their new home in Virginia and stop for a visit in Baltimore. But their romantic weekend is interrupted when a popular author is found dead in the basement of an Edgar Allan Poe-themed restaurant. Because of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the corpse, the FBI's Krewe of Hunters paranormal team is invited to investigate. As more bizarre deaths occur, Vickie and Griffin are drawn into a case that has disturbing echoes of Poe's great works, bringing the horrors of his fiction to life.
The restaurant is headquarters to scholars and fans, and any of them could be a merciless killer. Except there's also something reaching out from beyond the grave. The late, great Edgar Allan Poe himself is appearing to Vickie in dreams and visions with cryptic information about the murders. Unless they can uncover whose twisted mind is orchestrating the dramatic re-creations, Vickie and Griffin's future as a couple might never begin...
Wicked Deeds, like all the Krewe of Hunters books, is a delightful mix of lots of history and mystery combined with a dash of magic and romance. For the third time historian Vickie Preston and Special Agent Griffin Pryce gets to star a story as they run into a crime while taking a weekend off before their new life starts.
I like Vickie and Griffin, they have a great chemistry, and they are perfect for each other. They compliment the other and have a tangible connection and fierce passion. To say I am bored with them would be wrong, I am not. But I do like the spark of a new romance igniting in the stories and the energy it brings to the tale.
Vickie is always filled with stories from the past, her knowledge is beyond most. But what was the fun and intriguing part for me in the story was the appearance of Edgar Allen Poe as the ghost. I loved the characteristics the author had given him, so fitting. Most of us have wondered at one time or the other how it would be to meet someone from the past, and the way this story is told, it just tickled my mind immensely.
The murder mystery gets intense. It is a tangled web of clues and suspects and like most of the Krewe stories, the past and present interweave with visions and dreams.
This is a good, satisfying story and a wonderful addition to the series. It is not my favorite within the Krewe books, but it is a solid tale of history and mystery
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
The Widower's Christmas Wish
With Christmas just around the corner, widow Willa Chase will do anything to retain custody of her twin girls and unborn baby--even if it means escaping to her childhood Amish home.
After her grandfather turns her away, Willa finds herself stranded at the home of blacksmith John Miller. A widower, John buries himself in work--until Willa's vibrant twins become impossible to ignore.
And before long, John is smitten with their beautiful mother, too.
But when Willa's past secrets are revealed, will they prevent John's Christmas wish for a happily-ever-after from coming true?
This was a sweet story about coming home - finding your place, your faith, your family of heart, and making that your forever-home, a place to build your future in.
The story had a lot interesting, intriguing information about the Amish culture, their rules and regulations, and the guidelines what they live by. The material about the culture was well embedded into the tale and a smooth part of the events Will and John were going through.
Willa Chase has been on a run ever since her twins were born. She carries a heavy burden of guilt and chilling fear of losing her children to her former in-laws. She is broke, she is pregnant, and in desperate need of help. Yet she has spunk, she is willing to go lengths for her children, she has skills she can use to provide for her family, she is not helpless or hopeless, she has a strong faith in God, but in acute need of people who care enough to make an effort and help her over the bump life has thrown in her way.
Several years ago John Miller lost his pregnant wife and has been withdrawn from emotions and living ever since to his work. He is a good man, with a solid character and an unwavering faith in the Lord. Twice gets he a chance to help Willa and the twins, and then open up his home to shelter them in a storm.
With a little matchmaking help from John's mom, Willa and the girls make a home with the Millers. I loved to watch John build up a bond with the twins, to play with them, and teach them the Amish way. The closer he is to the girls, the more room he gets in Willa's heart.
An adorable and delightful story that made me smile and look forward to the upcoming season and holidays.
~ Four Spoons
Perfect for fans of emotionally charged, sexy reads, Dirty Boxing, the first installment in the Blood and Glory series, reveals that the mixed martial arts battles waged inside the octagon are second only to the battles fought in the name of love.
After an unstable childhood, Jules Darcy is very familiar with the risks of falling in love. And as an adult, she’s never let herself forget just how high those stakes can be. That’s why she ran away a year ago after her fling with MMA fighter Nick Giannakis quickly got serious. But when she jumps at the opportunity to reconnect with her dad by accepting a job with his growing fight league, she’s stunned to learn the abs, the chiseled arms, and the rock-solid punches she has to market belong to none other than her former fling. Unable to run away from the sexy middleweight this time, Jules vows to keep things strictly professional. But one look at Nick, and her resolve starts to crumble….
The last thing Nick expects when he signs with the prestigious World Fighting Championship is that he’ll have to work with the only woman who ever broke his heart. Desperate to hide the pain she caused him, Nick vows to keep his distance from his gorgeous ex. But when he realizes their intense chemistry hasn’t faded after a year apart, he wonders if they could have a future together, even if dating the boss’s daughter could complicate his bid for the championship belt.
Under the bright lights of Las Vegas, in the world of high-stakes prize fighting, they’ll have to take a risk and decide if their love is worth fighting for.
The team working on the photo shoot had converted a corner of the WFC gym so they’d have access to punching bags and other training accessories they might need, which meant they were shooting at night when everyone was gone. Which was fine, except Jules wished there were more people around to keep her attention off Nick. But then she thought of what had happened at the club and realized a room full of people couldn’t save her from wanting him.
The music that had been playing while they were shooting changed from a dance beat to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” With a sigh of frustration at herself for still being hung up on him, she plastered on a smile and walked to where Nick stood, determined to face her demon head-on. He adjusted one of the giant wind machines an assistant had set up at the beginning of the shoot, fiddling with the dial on top. Krista, the make-up artist, had gone back to her table of supplies.
“You’re doing great. Enrique is very happy with what we’re getting. Thanks again for doing this,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest, trying not to think of where her
hands had been a week ago.
His trademark cocky smile appeared, the one where one side of his mouth tipped up higher than the other, but he didn’t look at her. She swallowed hard when her tummy fluttered in response. “Did you doubt me?” he asked, and turned the fan on.
“No . . .” She automatically started to reassure him, but stopped when he tossed his hair dramatically, the thick dark strands catching the wind and blowing out behind him. She caught a faint whiff of the citrus scent of his shampoo. It was the same scent she’d worn on her skin after spending the night with him back in Chicago.
He moved his shoulders and hips in time with the music as he tossed his head again. She couldn’t help teasing him, laughing a little. “Are you pretending to be Beyoncé?”
Looking over his shoulder at her, he winked. “Everyone secretly wants to be Beyoncé.”
She laughed harder, not even bothering to restrain it. As she watched him toss his hair like Beyoncé, bare chested with his hands still in fight wraps, she realized just how much she’d missed him. Missed this playfulness. Missed the way he could make her laugh when she was stressed. After that disastrous dinner with her dad last week, things had been very tense between them. He only spoke to her when he had to, and avoided her the rest of the time. Laughing with Nick was nice and made her forget that for a few minutes.
“I wouldn’t mind being Beyoncé,” she agreed when she finally stopped laughing. “But you should stop playing with the wind machine. It looks expensive.”
“Nuh-uh.” He grabbed her hand when she reached for the dial and pulled her in front of him, facing the wind. “Just try it.”
“What? No.” But she’d started laughing again.
“Just try. Here.” He gently nudged her feet apart. “Power stance,” he explained. “Now close your eyes and toss your head.” His hands went to her shoulders to pull them back before sliding down her arms to take her hands, leaving her skin tingling. She couldn’t stop her fingers from curling around his, craving more of his touch.
Spreading her arms out, he made her dance while singing, “All the single ladies,” softly in her ear. His lips brushed the shell of her ear, and his breath sent prickles of heat down her neck. The hard muscles of his chest were solid and warm against her back.
At one time she would’ve turned and kissed him, but that part of their relationship had to stay in the past. With his chest pressing into her back, though, it was hard to remember exactly why. Before Jules realized it, she was playing his game, swaying and shaking her hips to the music. She had to resist the urge to press herself against him every time her butt brushed his hips, reminding herself for the hundredth time that they were just coworkers.
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Kate Dawson Thrillers Book #1
by John L. Flynn
Genre: Mystery, Crime Thriller
Someone has a fetish for murder.
Detective Kate Dawson is willing to go undercover to catch a serial killer.
But this time, undercover may be exactly what the killer wants.
A rich, politically connected CEO dies in his private dungeon on a foggy San Fran night--beaten and castrated by a mysterious sex worker he hired. Detective Kate Dawson and her partner are assigned the case. Their only lead is a provocative email from "Crystal Rose" and an IP address at the University of San Francisco.
Before long, Kate's on the trail of a serial killer who uses the seedy underworld of porn shops, Internet sex sites, and S&M clubs to target victims. She knows the only way to catch the killer is to become part of that world.
John Flynn is the Hugo-nominated author of multiple non-fiction titles including Cinematic Vampires: The Living Dead on Film and War of the Worlds: From Wells to Spielberg.
In 1997, John switched gears from writing and literature to study psychology, and earned a degree as a clinical psychologist. Today, John lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and is a dean at Broward College. Intimate Bondage is his first published novel in the Kate Dawson series.
Architects of Armageddon
Kate Dawson Thrillers #2
Someone is hell-bent on world destruction…
Inspector Kate Dawson is called to investigate a mass murder; a call that will change her life, and possibly the whole world—forever.
Certain parents have been directed to put their children to death. They believe they are the Chosen Ones, destined by God to inherit the Earth. The charismatic leader of End Times Ministries, whose grand plan includes stoking the fires of Armageddon, has ordered parishioners to close ranks and prepare for a holy war.
Kate Dawson knows this is not God’s will, but that of a dangerous, diabolical mind that controls the lives of his people. “They plan to start a war!”
“Nearly a million people live in the San Francisco Bay area,” Senator Santiago said.
“That’s a lot of lives that would be lost, but nowhere near the hundreds of millions of lives lost in a global war, and the starvation, and sickness, and disease that follows.”
“So, you’re saying, the Doomsday clock is ticking?” Kate asked, already sensing the answer.
“It’s five minutes to midnight . . .”
Kate would have been the first one to confess that she didn’t know a whole lot about politics and religion—but she did know there was a group of fanatics out there who were determined to move the hands of the clock closer to midnight, and it was her duty to stop them.
Murder on Air Force One
Kate Dawson Thrillers #3
Murder on Air Force One When Inspector Kate Dawson is called in the wee hours of the morning, little did she know what would be waiting for her on the tarmac of San Francisco International Airport. Air Force One has landed with a corpse in the lavatory—Madame President and the First Man were on board with a slew of reporters and other presidential personnel. It seems someone enjoyed kinky foreplay, like having their oxygen supply limited, a gasper. It just went too far…or did someone else take advantage and finish her off? International politics, conspiracies, affairs, cover-ups, and all involving the First Family…
Terror at G-20
Kate Dawson Thrillers #4
Terror at G-20 (Fall 2017) by John L. Flynn is the fourth book in The Kate Dawson Thrillers. Someone has a fetish for the Asian sex trade... From what begins as the simple murder of a sex worker, Inspector Kate Dawson follows the clues to human trafficking and ultimately the Asian sex trade. Then, as the date of the G-20 Summit in San Francisco draws closer, Dawson struggles to connect the lives of five Asian women, who have presumably disappeared in Chinatown, with that of a mad North Korean Generals master plan of bringing about economic chaos in the West and his nuclear submarine playing hide-and-go-seek with fishermen in the Bay. As world leaders and economists converge on the annual summit, Dawson must prevent terror from breaking out at the G-20.
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Dr. John L. Flynn is a three-time Hugo-nominated author, psychologist, and college dean. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he earned a Bachelor's and Master's Degree from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. from Southern California University. He is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and he has written sixteen books, many short stories, articles, reviews, and two screenplays. In 1977, he received the M. Carolyn Parker award for outstanding freelance writing, and has been a regular contributor and columnist to dozens of science fiction magazines, including Starlog, Not of This Earth, Sci-Fi Universe, Cinescape, Retrovision, Media History Digest, SFTV, SF Movieland, Monsterland, Enterprise, Nexxus, The Annapolis Review, and Collector's Corner. He sold his first book,Future Threads, in 1985. He has subsequently had ten other books published about film, including Cinematic Vampires (1992), Phantoms of the Opera (1993), The Films of Arnold Schwarzenegger (1993), Dissecting Aliens (1995), War of the Worlds: From Wells to Spielberg (2005), Future Prime: The Top Ten Science Fiction Films (2006) (with Bob Blackwood), 75 Years of Universal Monsters (2006), 50 Years of Hammer Horror (2006),101 Superheroes of the Silver Screen (2007), and 2001: Beyond the Infinite (2008). Brickhouse Books published Visions in Light and Shadow, a collection of John's short stories, in 2001, and Galactic Books published his first novel, The Jovian Dilemma, in 2006. His first screenplay, which is based on The Jovian Dilemma, was a finalist in the 2003 Screenplay Festival, and was optioned for a brief time by a New York-based production company. His most recent screenplay is the erotic thriller Intimate Bondage, which John has developed into the novel published by BelleBridge Books. He has since written two follow-up books in the Kate Dawson thriller series, including Architects of Armageddon, published by W & B Publishers in 2017.
From a very early age, John demonstrated a keen interest in movies and science fiction. He made his first single-reel films with a Super-8mm camera; of course, he also designed all the sets, made all the costumes, and wrote all the scripts. When he went to college at age 17, he studied writing and theater. John received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of South Florida and Ph.D. from Southern California University. In 1979, he directed his first stage play, Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple," for the Patapsco Players. One year later, he not only directed but also designed the set and costumes for Stephen Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" for a local community theater. His set and costume designs were singled out for recognition by the local media, and earned him notoriety as a theatrical designer. From 1980 to 1987, he honed his skills as a costume designer, and after winning numerous national and international competitions, he earned the title of Master Costumer.
In 1995, John switched gears to study psychology, and earned a degree as a clinical psychologist. His study, The Etiology of Sexual Addiction: Childhood Trauma as a Primary Determinant (1997), has broken new ground in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual addiction.
He returned to professional writing in 1992, and earned the first of his three Hugo Award nominations, ten years later, in 2002. The prestigious Hugo Award is the Science Fiction Achievement Award which is given for excellence in the field of science fiction writing and the arts. Dr. Flynn received two additional Hugo nominations in 2003 and 2004. His notoriety in the field of science fiction has provided John with many wonderful opportunities. He has appeared on television (including the Sci-Fi Channel and Russia's RTR Television), was featured in the documentary "Finding the Future" (2004), has spoken on the radio, and been a guest at national conferences. With fellow author and academic Bob Blackwood, he founded The Film Doctors in 2004. The Film Doctors are academics who promote science fiction films in mainstream popular culture. Their first collaboration produced Future Prime: The Top Ten Science Fiction Films" (2006). Today, Dr. Flynn makes his home in Lake Worth, Florida. He also labors to promote the work of new and emerging science fiction writers through L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest.
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SLEEPWALKING WITH DANGER
The murder of security expert Jack King's girlfriend has haunted him for fifteen years. Returning to Pine Lake, Texas, where the townsfolk still consider him suspect, might not be the smartest move, but a killer seems to be holding up a mirror to his past.
The same witness to this new murder was also present the night Jack's girlfriend dieds...but both times, she was sound asleep... Sleepwalking has gotten Olive Belmont into some sticky situations. Being the witness to both murders may have put her on the killer's list.
Even so, she doesn't think the killer is Jack and is willing to help him. But will putting his past to rest ease her mind or leave her with even greater nightmares?
With the vivid, expressive images the author lured me into the tale and kept the interest elevated with the eerie, mystical atmosphere filled with secrets and veiled truths.
The story gave out strong 'Twin Peaks' vibes like I experienced with the original series. Every single person in town seems to have something to hide, secrets they could kill for to keep hidden. There is no one to trust, there is no one to have your back, each person is going for their own ultimate goal, and collateral damage is just part of the game.
Jack King is a cool-headed hero. He is determined to find the truth about the murder 15 years ago, the murder that changed his life for good. The old bitterness from being accused to be the killer of his girlfriend is still buried deep in his soul, the new doubts about her character and the possible truth about the events occurring in high school leave a sour taste in Jack's mouth.
Olive Belmont is not sure if she can trust the man she had a teenage crush on 15 years ago. He appears sincere yet the cold look in his eyes at times gives her chills. Olive was the outsider in high school yet now she seems to have the keys to all the murders, from the past and the present, if only she could remember.
I liked the chemistry between Olive and Jack, the passion and attraction are tangible. They obviously care and cherish each other, they want to protect each other from the threats surrounding them, yet the story leaves them more of a 'happy for now in a long distance fling' type of a relationship. The story felt at times a bit emotionless, cold and calculated.
The animated, dramatic images the author draws into the reader's mind made the story flow effortlessly off the pages and gave the story intensified, profound ambiance that kept me captivated until the end
~ Four Spoons
Sacrifice of the Pawn
Surrender Games Book 1
by Lydia Michaels
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Surrender Games follows the emotionally charged and highly erotic contemporary romance saga, The Surrender Trilogy.
Isadora Patras has sacrificed years raising her younger siblings, Lucian and Antoinette. As her brother and sister grow more independent, she feels her purpose is lost. Aching to do something selfish and hungry for a taste of the forbidden, she takes a lover—her father’s protégé and trusted family friend, Sawyer Bishop.
In a secret affair trust is tested, respect is bartered, and reputations are on the line. Sawyer has always been Isadora’s mentor, but now it’s her move. She’s through being a pawn and ready to demand the respect of a Queen.
The Surrender Games Series should be read after The Surrender Trilogy.
Unsure what to make of the shift in energy, she collected her glass from the bar to buy time, but something was definitely different, and she didn’t understand why.
“Is something wrong, Sawyer?”
His gaze followed her as she came to sit on the empty side of the settee. “When did you stop calling me Mr. Bishop?”
The soft, cajoling rumble of his voice was more soothing than probing. Voices like that could make audio instructions sound like Shakespeare.
Thinking over his question, her brow tightened. “I’m not sure. I suppose I was a teenager when you invited me to call you by your first name. Should I go back to calling you Mr. Bishop?” she teased. It seemed silly to think of him as anything other than Sawyer.
Turning his wrist, the ice in his glass shifted. “The boys … they’ve be friends for a long time.”
“And hopefully they will be forever.”
“And I’ve been your father’s friend for as long as I can recall. He gave me a job when I was fresh out of college.”
“And now you run one of his companies. What is it you’re trying to say, Sawyer?”
“You’re very young, Isadora. Too young to have a boy in college and a ten-year-old in your care, but you do it with the maturity of an experienced woman.”
“Thank you, but Lucian’s my brother, not my son. And Toni… I may act like her mother, but I’m not. I take no joy in erasing our mother’s memory.”
He glanced at his empty glass, the filtered moonlight reflecting in the crystal as he placed it on the table. “I should go.”
Tipping her glass over his, she filled it with a finger of scotch. “Not before you finish your drink.”
Peering through thick, black lashes, he gave her a questioning look that made her feel immediately foolish. Why had she done that?
He twisted to face her. “What are you doing, Isadora?”
“I don’t know. I’ve had a lot to drink.” Her voice dropped to a rasp as her gaze latched onto his, holding so tight she could hardly spare a blink.
“Is that it then?”
Her lashes fluttered, breaking the spell, and she laughed nervously. Those eyes were hypnotic, especially when he looked directly into hers. She shook her head, shaking off the affect. “Is that what?”
Lifting his glass, he finished her offering in one swallow, placed the tumbler on the table, and stood. She rose as well, the camaraderie they’d shared earlier rapidly evaporating. Perhaps thirty-seven wasn’t such a good year.
Tension closed in on her, its impending heaviness puncturing the inebriated haze cocooning her mind. The unfamiliar imbalance was more than the effect of alcohol. Maybe she was coming down with something.
She didn’t want him to go and his proximity to the door filled her with panic and heat. Stay, she wanted to say, but something kept her quiet. She wanted him to make the decision without her prompting his response.
It became a game of guessing what he might do or say next and she liked the uncertainty, found it unsteadily thrilling. Her heart beat too fast as she tried to identify a time she’d ever felt so nervous in such a fulfilling way. She didn’t typically favor anxiety, yet she coveted the feeling now, a dark anticipation for every motion, every word. So much to lose in such a simple decision, yet she hadn’t a clue what she’d gain if he chose to stay.
“I apologize for intruding on your evening,” he said, stepping around the table.
Her heart jerked. Her disappointment was a physical jolt that convinced her something else was happening here—something she shouldn’t feel.
She stepped around the other side of the coffee table and met him on the carpet, frantic to keep him there a while longer. She didn’t want to be alone, but maybe he was feeling this strange energy too and figured it best to leave.
“Sawyer, what changed?”
“The fact that you don’t know is a testament to your young age.”
Affronted, she drew back. Perhaps she was a bad drunk, because his words hurt more than they probably should.
She wasn’t an idiot and though she didn’t have much experience with men like Sawyer—or any men for that matter—she wasn’t a prude. Something changed between them tonight. A sort of chemistry had evolved.
She never felt this kind of attraction around him before and maybe he felt it too and that was why he was trying to escape. But she was drunk, so perhaps her perception was off.
Rather than further embarrass herself, she stepped aside. “I’m sorry if I did something to offend you.”
Gah! She always said the worst things. What was she trying to get, a sympathy stay? That was not what she was after.
“You did nothing offensive. It’s just … not appropriate for me to be here—alone with you. It’s late.”
Embarrassed that her eagerness reeked of inexperience, she looked away. She shouldn’t let him see her like this. She’d have to see him again and it was utterly humiliating to think he might assume she was some sad, desperate woman trying to seduce her father’s colleague when she just wanted a little company. Oh, God, she was desperate.
Her gaze dropped to the carpet as a dark sense of inadequacy swallowed her. “I understand. I didn’t mean to…” …whatever I’ve done.
She didn’t look up to see if he was staring at her. She didn’t need to. She could feel his stare measuring her. He hesitated as he approached the door.
“You’ll call if you need anything?” he asked softly.
Never. “Of course.”
With nothing more to say, he left, his leather-soled footfalls drifting almost silently as he made his way to the foyer.
Humiliated, she turned to the bar and lifted the expensive bottle. No matter how much her life resembled that of an adult, she never stopped feeling apart from the actual authority figures. A little girl with a license to leave the kiddie table for one meal before an early bedtime.
Rethinking the last couple hours and degrading herself for every unflattering impression she might have left, she wished desperately to erase the entire evening. She was not on his level and he saw her as his colleague’s pathetic kid who was astoundingly short on friends.
Collecting the glasses filled with watered down ice, she decided not to return to her father’s study anymore. Every time she left this room she felt like half a person—tonight more so than usual.
She dumped the ice in the sink at the wet bar and sat the glasses on the counter. “What a waste.”
The door to the office creaked and she pivoted, gasping as she found him still there and staring at her from the threshold.
“My…” He shook his head, brow tense with lines of tension. “I forgot my jacket.”
Her chest tightened as she blinked at him in question. His jacket was behind her, yet she lacked the will to move.
Was he really back for his jacket? Had he left it there on purpose? He watched her, keeping his distance, like she was some sort of black widow. She mentally laughed. She was about as threatening as a baby bunny.
Putting her back to the bar, she gave him room to get his belongings and go. Reaching past her, he slid the jacket off the back of the chair and stilled, close enough for her to see the contrast of silver threaded in the dark hair at his temples.
Her skin tingled as breath locked in her lungs, his scent crawling into her. A million moments she shouldhave had collided in her mind, borrowed memories from novels and cinematic romances and what she knew most girls experienced years before approaching her actual age.
His arm brushed the front of her blouse and his eyes shut on a whispered curse. Every breath she took tightened her clothing. She was winded, yet standing perfectly still.
“Tell me to go. Tell me to forget the jacket,” he whispered, voice low as it scratched along her every tender nerve.
She said nothing and he let the jacket slide down the chair and onto the floor. She couldn’t blink and she began to tremble subtly as he turned to fully face her, staring into her eyes.
Each inhalation lifted her breasts higher. Her lips parted, the scent of expensive scotch, rich cologne, and sin clouding her mind. She wasn’t a small woman. Thin, yes, but too tall. Yet, looking up at him now, she found her height perfect, and his stature arrestingly right. Strong.
“Tell me to go, Isadora,” he repeated, voice rasping in a way that prickled the back of her neck, seeming to lift the fine hairs along her collar.
There was something more than drunken secrets here. She edged closer, never one to act audaciously, but maybe this was the self-indulgent moment she’d been waiting for. Brazen seemed right.
Drawing in a shaky breath, she softly whispered, “I didn’t want you to leave in the first place.”
Uttering another curse, he reached for her so fast she took a startled step back, only to be blocked by the bar. His hand swept into her hair, fingers terrorizing her sensible bun, as he jerked her body to his on a gasp. His aggression was as unexpected as his intensity. The shocking press of his lips was a welcome delight. Warm. Unquestioning. Experienced.
His other hand surged low on her back, pulling her body flush to his as their heads tilted and his mouth opened against hers. Heat swirled low in her belly as her hands sought a place to rest.
A fever took hold, burning hot, as her knuckles flexed and her fingers dug into his broad shoulders. The distant thud of the bottle hitting the carpet only vaguely registered, as he spun her and backed her toward the desk.
His mouth opened wider, his tongue spearing between her lips, greedily taking as he dipped her over the surface, arching her backwards and exposing her neck. The five o’clock shadow covering his jaw scraped over her delicate skin, making her toes curl.
He lifted her and objects moved along the desk, the lamp light jostling in the shadows. Her knees drew up as a chair skidded out of the way. He towered over her, kissing, licking, biting. And her body was on fire.
Objects clattered to the ground as his touch dragged up her leg, hiking her simple pencil skirt higher. The bunched material gave way, sliding as high as her hips when he fit his legs between hers.
The weight of his arousal pressed against her core. She gasped and everything stilled.
His heavy breathing mingled with hers as his stormy eyes flashed in the light shining from the desk lamp. She’d never been in such a tangle. They were so close it was difficult to determine whose parts were whose.
“Shit.” He made to rise, but her grip on his shirt tightened. “Isadora,” he rasped, almost pleadingly.
Hating the regret she recognized in his gaze, she almost let him go. Almost.
She could do this--they could do this. Who would know? They were both adults.
Lifting her head, she gently brushed her lips against his. Shockingly, it seemed enough to hold him there. His mouth tilted over hers, pulling, slowly taunting, until everything inside of her seemed to stretch like warm taffy and melt her body into his. The tension left his shoulders as his weight sank into her.
His hand followed the curve of her hip, tracing the nip of her waist and un-tucking her blouse one ripple of fabric at a time. His warm fingertips scorched the hidden skin of her belly, skimming over her ribs with practiced ease. Her body arched as the swell of her breast filled his palm and her lips parted on a sigh.
“We shouldn’t do this,” he whispered, his thumb tracing delicate swirls over the hardening tip of her nipple.
There was no way she was letting him leave now. The press of his arousal was leaving her panties slick and his hand was working some sort of magic under her blouse.
“Yell at me, Isadora. Tell me to stop, to take my hands off you.”
“Stop fighting it, Sawyer.” She loosened the top button of her blouse. And another. And then another.
He eased back as the silk parted. He looked at her as no man ever had. “Jesus. You’re beautiful.”
Blinking, he stood and gently pulled her with him. Leaving her shirt open she quickly straightened her skirt.
His attention drifted around the room and he grimaced. “Your bed—”
“Is upstairs. Too close to my sister’s room. Here’s fine.”
His mouth pursed. He didn’t seem pleased with the options.
Releasing her hand, he shut the door tightly and turned the antique key sitting in the lock.
To read on, please download your copy of Sacrifice of the Pawn here.
Queen of the Knight
Surrender Games Book 2
The game has changed and no player’s position is safe…
In a world of power, money, deceit, and lust, no player is exactly how they seem. Love and trust are at stake when the game is changed and old enemies come out of hiding, disguised as friends.
Isadora Patras must proceed wisely. After thirteen years of heartbreak and denial, she no longer trusts her instincts. One man embodies her past, the other could be her future, but which one holds her heart? Isadora must choose between her family and two very different men. Either way, her choice could cost her everything.
In a game of kings, bishops, rooks, and knights there are no guarantees. But if Isadora wants to be a Queen, someone will have to lose.
The Surrender Games Series should be read after The Surrender Trilogy.
The Surrender Trilogy was released in 2013. It was an Apple iBooks Bestseller. Surrender Games is a spin-off of The Surrender Trilogy. It is a series that features the side characters of the trilogy and will eventually deliver each hero and heroine’s HEA.
It is highly recommended that readers read The Surrender Trilogy BEFORE reading Surrender Games.
Lydia Michaels is an award winning author of over 30 contemporary romance novels. She lives in Pennsylvania with her wonderfully supportive husband, beautiful daughter, and many crazy fur babies. If she is not off spending time with her family you can usually find Lydia at her computer working on her next story or hiding somewhere quiet with a great book. She loves taking a romantic plot with steamy chemistry and pressing the bounds of love. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.
Lydia Michaels' darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy was an Apple iBooks bestseller and she has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Bucks Happening Magazine three years running [2015, 2016, and 2017]. She is a four time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and two giveaways!
From New York Times bestselling author Cheryl Bradshaw:
A single moment is about to change Sloane Monroe's life forever ...
On an early winter morning, college student Shelby McCoy walks the quiet, snowy path back home. A tree branch snaps in the distance. Then another. A man is there with her, following close behind, whispering her name. She looks back, sees him gaining on her, and runs. Who is this man, and why is he carrying a gun?
A sound like the cracking of ice startled Shelby. She slowed down and looked around, again seeing nothing and no one. It was early. The sun hadn’t fully risen, and aside from a few park lamps, visibility was poor. Perhaps what she’d heard had been a rabbit or a squirrel. It was possible. Wasn’t it? When the noise rang out a third time she froze, staring in the direction the sound had come from—a thicket of trees beside her.
“Hello? Is someone there?”
All was still.
Deciding what she’d heard was nothing more than a tree shaking loose snow from its branches, she shrugged it off and again increased her pace.
The male voice was faint and low, her name spoken in a whisper.
“Paul, is that you? What, you’re stalking me now? Where are you hiding? Come out. This isn’t funny.”
There was no reply.
“I’m serious, Paul. There’s nothing left to say. Please. You have to stop this, okay? You need to leave me alone.”
Her instincts kicked in, and she realized the man might have been someone other than Paul. Paul would have presented himself by now, springing out from behind a tree or chucking a snowball in her direction. She slid one of her gloves off and shoved a hand into her pocket, feeling around for the miniature can of mace attached to her keychain. The pepper spray had been a gift from Sloane, her father’s girlfriend. When she’d received it, she laughed, thinking Sloane needed to stop being so paranoid about everything. Besides, she was tough and spirited, capable of taking care of herself. She never thought she’d need it, until today.
Now, gripping it in her hand, she was amazed at how much comfort she felt holding the small canister. She pressed it against her chest, her finger on the trigger. If she needed to use it, she’d be ready.
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Bradshaw writes in the genres of mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, and supernatural suspense. To date, she has published almost two dozen novels and novellas, including her New York Times bestselling mystery series based on a sassy, OCD challenged private eye named Sloane Monroe. In 2013, Bradshaw’s fourth novel in the series, Stranger in Town, was a finalist for a Shamus Award, and that same year, book three in the series, I Have a Secret, won best thriller of the year from eFestival of Words. She was raised in California and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
The Duke by Katharine Ashe
Series Devil’s Duke #3
Genre Adult; Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Katharine Ashe continues her lush and sensual Devil’s Duke series with a sweeping story of unbreakable love.
Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.
Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs.
But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret. So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around…
He saw her for the first time ever in a storage cellar with rain slashing at her face, standing atop a crate, struggling to fasten a window, and the first words he heard from her lips were, “Damn and blast it to Hades!”
Before he could duck his head beneath the lintel and move forward, she turned to him eyes the color of cloverleaves
and lit like lightning.
“Don’t gape, you big column of shark bait,” she shouted. “Help me!”
A blast of wind struck the building and the shop above them shuddered. Her grip slipped over the window latch.
Gabriel shoved his shoulders through the narrow doorway and in three strides crossed the room. The wind blew
hot and punishingly hard through the opening, but she did not release the latch. Covering her hand with his, he drove
the frame shut.
The building moaned, and Gabriel found himself looking down upon a nose both freckled and wet, lips both lush and damp, lashes both long and dripping, and cloverleaves that had gone entirely round. Her features were English, fine, and not unattractive. After five months at sea, he would have been one sailor in a million to resist following the trail of rainwater down her pale throat in which her pulse beat visibly to the gown laced tight around her collar, sodden, and clinging to her curves.
“Remove your hand from mine and your eyes from where they have fallen out of your head,” she said in such
an altered tone that he barely heard it below the groaning of the walls and the pounding of the rain. Rather, the
pounding of his pulse.
Too long at sea.
He removed his eyes and then his entire self. Stepping back, he offered his hand for her descent from the crate.
She lifted a single brow.
“I beg your pardon,” he said roughly, withdrawing his hand once again.
She grasped her sodden skirts and climbed nimbly down. “You are pardoned, Shark Bait. This time.”
“Lieutenant,” he corrected.
Swiftly scanning the room with those eyes that even in the murky light of this day were like the green of Highlands
mountains, she untied the ribbons at her throat, removed her dripping bonnet, and tossed it atop a barrel.
“Have you got a handkerchief?”
He reached into his waistcoat and proffered the square of linen. She glanced at his outstretched hand, then at his
face, then at his hand again, and did not move forward.
“You are a giant beast of a man, aren’t you?” she said.
“So I’ve been told.” He set the linen on a crate and backed away, curling his fingers into his palm that had
easily encompassed her whole hand. Taking up the kerchief, she unfolded it with trembling fingers and wiped the rainwater from her face. Wind and rain battered the building in frenzied fury, filling the tiny space with sound.
“I wonder how you go along aboard a ship.” Her gaze passed up and down him anew. “The crown of my head
is barely to your chin yet I found the quarters aboard our ship frightfully cramped. Unless naval ships are much
more spacious, you must spend every day bent over.”
“Aye, but only the part o’ the day belowdecks.”
The lush lips twitched. When she withdrew her gaze to look about the room, he felt the loss of that reluctant smile in his chest like the loss of air.
Nonsense. He was muddled with exhaustion from preparing the Fairway for the storm. This storage room beneath the shop was minuscule, heavy with heat, and packed with sacks of rice and grain, barrels of sugar and ham, wooden parts for furniture, skeins of silk, boxes of nails and other tools, and even one small keg of gunpowder. She strode the circumference of it, rounding him, and then halting where she had begun.
The wind blasted against the shop above and she tilted her face upward to peer at the ceiling that hung an inch above
his head. Biting her lips between her teeth, she drew a hard breath, and then looked at him again.
“I suppose you have experience with storms of this sort,” she said.
Not of this sort. But spots of pink sat upon each pale cheek now. She had tucked her hands into her soggy skirts
to hide their quivering. She was making a valiant effort to conceal her distress—more valiant than many a sailor
“ ‘Twill blow over soon enough, lass.”
“That was a lie,” she said, a dart forming between her brows. “Why did you lie to me?”
“I didna—” He bit back his retort. But his patience was frayed. There had been no sign of the Theia entering the harbor, though he had stood in the downpour until the swells were rising so suddenly and steeply over the quay he had finally been obliged to shelter here. And now this: a sharp-tongued English girl with the manners of a stevedore.
Gabriel didn’t care much for social niceties. But a man wasn’t made First Lieutenant of a ship of the line at twenty-three by failing to mind his tongue.
Minding his behavior was another matter entirely.
He bent his head and a stream of water cascaded from his hat brim. He glanced at her through the waterfall. “Would you be fretting if I remove my hat?”
The cinnamon spots that trailed over the bridge of her nose and across her cheeks crinkled together to make one big cinnamon blotch. “Why on earth should I?”
He set his hat upon a crate. Wrapping her arms about herself she watched him closely.
“Well?” she said. Some of her hair had escaped the knot at the back of her head and clung wetly to her brow
just as the fabric of her gown clung to her hips and legs.
Copper hair striated with gold.
Softly rounded hips.
The damn pulse in his head was a snare drum. He knew men whose cravings for feminine flesh got the best
of them when they finally came into port. He had never been one of those men. Women weren’t to be enjoyed
like a randy stallion taking a mare, rather with as much appreciation as a man savored a tumbler of fine brandy,
or a sublime piece of music, or a painting by an Italian master—a Michelangelo or Botticelli.
Her garments were fine, her speech cultivated, and she was old enough to know that her damp gown was not in
the least modest at present.
The stallion was winning.
“ ‘Twill be some time before the storm passes,” he said in too husky a voice. “ ’Tis miles wide.”
The brilliant cloverleaves popped round again.
“Miles?” Beneath the freckles and agitated flush, her skin was smooth—cheeks, brow, hands. She had not been
in the islands long, and she was little more than a girl.
After nearly a decade at sea, Gabriel could barely remember boyhood.
“You’ve just arrived?” he said.
“Two days ago on the Camelot.”
Gabriel knew it. As first officer on one of His Majesty’s finest ships of the line, it was his responsibility to know
the merchant vessels that docked at English ports.
“No one warned you o’ hurricanes?”
“No.” She had remarkable features: mobile and bright and expressive. “Should they have?”
“It’ll be hours still.” And it would leave a mighty mess of destruction.
“How many hours?”
“No’ till morning.”
With a long inhalation, she released her arms from about her chest. “Then we should make ourselves comfortable,” she said with newly crisp decision and swept him with another perusal, lingering ever-so-briefly on the medals pinned to his coat. “If you can. You are as wet as I, yet you look like a toy soldier, standing there so erect and unbending. I suppose sailors are accustomed to being soaked through, of course.”
“If they’re bad sailors, aye.”
Pleasure flared in her eyes. “Now, make yourself useful and help me search these crates for a woolen shawl or blanket. For I am soaked through.” She set to her task on the nearest crate, but the lid was nailed shut and her fingertips strained at the wood.
He went to her side. Scent arose from her damp hair and skin. She smelled like a memory. He withdrew the knife from his coat and pried open the lid.
“It seems that you are useful after all,” she said with a half grin that abruptly turned something very sharp in
his gut and made him want to tell her the truth. Urgently. All truths. Truths about the hurricane and truths about the
depths of the sea and the stars in the heavens and every one of the sins that made him a beast indeed.
“Lass, ’tis as likely as no’ that before this night is o’er, the sea will top the wharfs an’ swallow this building.”
“And we in it.”
“I see.” For a moment she said nothing. “After we find blankets we should look for a deck of cards or a backgammon board in these crates. For if we are to die tonight, we had better enjoy our final hours on earth, hadn’t we, Shark Bait?”
“Lieutenant.” He could not look away from her eyes. Black clouds without blotted the tropical sun, allowing
only the most reluctant light into this room, yet her eyes sparkled.
Backgammon. She had the body of a siren and the innocence of a girl.
“You’ve a disliking for sailors, it seems,” he said.
“The officers aboard the Camelot confined me to my quarters for the entire duration of the journey. They said it was not suitable for me to be atop, but I think they simply did not want me to witness them drinking the day away every day.”
More than likely they did not trust themselves with the pretty little siren wandering about.
“I think you are trying not to smile, Shark Bait. Will you attempt to deny that sailors drink excessively?”
“So, you understand the reason for my dislike.”
“Because hardworking men are fond o’ spirits?”
“Because they refused to share their spirits with me.”
They found blankets woven of soft wool and tins of biscuits. They had no lamp, which Gabriel said was for the better, and she accepted that without comment. As the storm lashed the shop above and water trickled through the seams of the window, and darkness fell, they found a cask of new rum. She said that she had never tasted rum, and asked if, being a Scot, he preferred whiskey. He replied that he did, but that any grog in a storm would do.
She smiled so readily, as though her lips were more accustomed to smiling than not. Despite her obvious breeding,
there was no maidenly modesty in her frankness. It was on the tip of his tongue to say that over both whiskey and
rum he already preferred her.
She discovered sugar, which he added to the rum to make it more palatable for her, and she sipped warily. As
the daylight waned and she explored the contents of crates and barrels, she darted glances at him—frequently.
She spoke with ease but she came no nearer to him than necessary. When the black night consumed every last wisp of light she ceased speaking. As the hurricane shook the walls, Gabriel settled onto the ground with his back against a crate. Closing his eyes, he made himself picture the Theia bobbing violently at anchor in some nearby port, its decks flooded in foam but its crew and officers tucked into some terrestrial haven.
No time left for repentance. He had thought he and Jonah would have plenty of time. Sailors perished every day at sea, but somehow he had believed them untouchable.
Invincible, Gabe. That’s what the storytellers will say of us someday. Invincible.
In the heavy darkness, her scent came to him again. Like home. Not the mossy grass of the mountains of Kallin, nor the wildflowers that carpeted the hills of Haiknayes. She smelled of woodland fir: crisp and warm and rich.
The room rattled and he felt her settle silently at his side.
“How did you come to be here in this cellar?” she said very quietly. She was close to his shoulder, closer than he
“I was watching for a ship. You?”
“I walked to post a letter and got caught up with exploring. Everything here is so different and interesting. I
was far from the hotel before I thought to turn around.” She made a sound that might have been a sigh. “I failed to heed the warnings.”
“Dinna fear, lass. ‘Twill be morning before long.”
“You are lying again, Shark Bait.” Then he felt the pressure of her body against his arm, her shoulder leaning
in. “But this time I don’t mind it.”
He did not move. He could not move. He wanted her bone and flesh pressing against his so simply. Perhaps in
these final hours that had come far too soon in his life, God was offering him mercy, a moment of innocent pleasure
after all the moments of sinful pleasure he had seized.
Something bumped against his leg. Then her fingers slipped beneath his hand. Her clasp was unhesitating, her
fingertips brushing across his palm then pressing tight against his knuckles. Palm to palm with her, he strove to
breathe and his heartbeats flew at twelve knots.
“You are lying to comfort me,” she said, “so that I will not dwell on how we are about to die.”
“Am I?” Only thin wooden walls and ceiling separated them from death, and yet the touch of a girl’s hand was all
he cared for now.
“You are,” she whispered clearly and softly beneath the storm’s scream. “It seems that I will be obliged to reconsider my poor opinion of sailors. One sailor, at least.”
Blindly he turned his face to her. He was in fact a beast of a man, and she was a little thing that he could crush
with a single arm, and he knew he should not be holding her hand, not even in this circumstance.
He bent his head closer. “Aye?”
She did not reply and her hand remained snugly in his and the night raged on
KATHARINE ASHE is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of historical romances reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including her acclaimed Devil’s Duke Series, and My Lady, My Lord and How to Marry a Highlander, 2015 and 2014 finalists for the romance industry’s most prestigious award, the RITA®.
Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History, she writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too.
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Tangled Up In Tinsel by Candis Terry
Series Sunshine Creek Vineyard #3
Genre Adult; Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date September 26, 2017
Meet the Kincade brothers: they’ll go to any lengths to protect their legacy—but what happens when love gets in the way…?
As if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, Parker Kincade has a restaurant to open. The fact that his Groomzilla brother wants the place for his perfect Christmas wedding doesn’t help. Then there’s the stunning woman who appoints herself his new chef before he’s ready to hire one. But one look at Gabriella Montani has Parker reassessing needs vs. wants. And that’s before he tastes what she has to offer…
Gabriella doesn’t need to get tangled up with a sexy man. What she needs is a job and a chance to prove herself. A place in Parker’s kitchen could give her the opportunity she’s been waiting for. The heat between them is sizzling, but a place in his bed could be downright dangerous. Neither Christmas nor men have ever lived up to her expectations, but Parker has soulmate written all over him. Should Gabi let herself be swept up in his holiday magic, or will it disappear before Christmas Day?
“I like where you’re going with this . . .”
He lifted her fingers and kissed them.
“So we’re on the same page?” she asked. “One night. A good time. Then tomorrow
it’s back to business?”
“Definitely.” His hand on her waist slipped a little lower and lust darkened his eyes. “One night only.”
“Right here?” she asked.
She slid her hand up his sleeve and enjoyed the warm, thick muscle beneath the soft fabric. “Then shut up and kiss me, Parker.”
Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm.
She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers.
Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.
Such A Pretty Girl by Tess Diamond
Genre Adult; Contemporary Romance; Suspense / Thriller
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date September 26, 2017
The body count is rising. Who can Grace Sinclair trust? No one.
Grace Sinclair is a woman of many talents. The FBI’s top profiler, she’s also a crime novelist, drawing upon the cases she works for inspiration that helps her top the bestseller lists. When women begin to be murdered, women who look just like Grace, she finds herself enmeshed in a dangerous cat and mouse game with her biggest-and deadliest-fan. And the man who’s tasked to help her? He may be even more dangerous.
A new member of an elite FBI team and Grace’s old flame, Gavin Walker is assigned Grace’s case and it’s personal this time. As they work together to figure out the killer’s sick game, it soon becomes clear that he’s closer to Grace than they could have imagined.
As more women begin to be targeted, the team is running out of time and chances. In order to come out the winner in this fatal game, Grace is forced to confront her past, her fears, and even the idea of a forever love.
McCord’s Jewelers was a tiny place, tucked in a nondescript brick building just outside of downtown DC. The gold-leaf letters on the door shone bright as Gavin pushed it open, and bells tinkled as they entered.
Gavin automatically glanced all around, taking in the two cameras situated in the room. Surveillance meant tapes. Maybe they’d be able to catch their guy buying the earrings. That’d make this an open-and-shut case, for sure.
An older man with gray hair and a sweater-vest looked up from his place at the counter, where he’d been examining a tray of loose diamonds. “Welcome,” he said with a smile. “How can I help you? Wait.” He held out his hand. “Let me guess. An engagement ring?”
Gavin could feel his cheeks heating up a little as he glanced over at Grace. But she just smiled, shaking her head, pulling out her badge. “I’m afraid we’re here for business, not pleasure,” she said. “I’m Special Agent Sinclair. This is Special Agent Walker.”
“Oh, my,” he said. “I’m Anthony McCord. I own this place with my wife. How can I help you?”
“We’re investigating a murder,” Gavin said. “We believe the victim in question was wearing earrings purchased from your shop.”
Grace held out her phone, the screen showing a picture of Janice Wacomb’s earrings in an evidence bag. “Do these look familiar to you?”
Mr. McCord pulled on his glasses, leaning forward and looking at the phone. “Yes, those are definitely my work.”
“Can you remember who you sold them to?”
“If you get me the serial number, yes,” Mr. McCord said.
“Serial number?” Gavin asked.
“Each diamond that we sell has a serial number engraved on the stone. It’s microscopic; you can’t see it with the naked eye. It’s done for insurance purposes—if a piece of jewelry gets stolen or lost, it can be traced that way. Isn’t that how you found the store?”
“We’re not forensics, but I’m sure that’s how they found you,” Grace said. “Just give me a moment; I’ll get the serial number for you.”
She stepped away and Gavin smiled at Mr. McCord. “While she’s doing that, mind if I ask just a few more questions?”
“Anything I can do to help,” Mr. McCord said.
“What’s your surveillance like here? I see the cameras. Do you save your tapes?”
“We don’t have the capacity for that, I’m afraid. We’re just a mom-and-pop shop. We keep the tapes for only a week. Then they’re erased and recorded over.”
“Okay,” Gavin said. Damn, unless their killer had bought the earrings in the last week, they weren’t going to get a video of him. They would have to rely on Mr. McCord’s memory to discover if he’d been the one to sell the killer the earrings. “And how many employees do you have?”
“Just my wife and me,” Mr. McCord said. “She does the books, I make the jewelry.”
“Sounds like a good system,” Gavin said.
“She’s always had a better head for numbers than me.”
“And what about your customers. Anyone stand out to you lately? Maybe he was nervous?”
Mr. McCord smiled. “I’m a jeweler, Agent Walker. That means most of the men coming in here are looking for engagement rings. And that’s almost guaranteed to make a man nervous.”
Gavin laughed. “Okay, fair enough,” he said. “What about someone who put in a big order? Was there someone in the last few months who ordered multiple pairs of those earrings Agent Sinclair showed you?”
Mr. McCord frowned. “Actually, there was,” he said. “I remember there was a gentleman who came in to buy a pair of earrings for his wife. And then about a week later, he came back in and put in an order for three more pairs. He said that his wife had loved them so much, she wanted their granddaughters to have matching pairs. It was very sweet.”
“You remember when this was?”
“I’d say maybe two months ago?” Mr. McCord said.
“I’ve got those serial numbers for you.” Grace pushed a piece of paper across the counter and Mr. McCord took it.
“Let me go look in my files,” he said. “Just a moment.”
He disappeared into the back room, and Grace leaned lightly against the counter, gazing at all the baubles surrounding her. Gavin couldn’t help but think she shone the brightest, even surrounded by all these diamonds.
“You like this stuff, Sinclair?” he asked, gesturing to the dazzling array of bracelets in the glass case in front of him.
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” she said, but there was a dry note of sarcasm in her voice that surprised him. He looked over to her questioningly, and she shrugged. “I’m more of an art collector,” she said. “Most jewelry isn’t exactly practical in our line of work. I have a few pieces, but they’re mostly sentimental and inherited.”
“From your grandmother,” he said, remembering how she had mentioned her that night they’d spent together. She’d been wearing a necklace then; the sapphires had glittered darkly against her skin, making it seem luminous.
Something flickered in that extraordinary face of hers, her eyes widening in what looked like confusion . . . or maybe surprise. “You remembered,” she said.
Gavin couldn’t tear his eyes off her. He wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch her—any part of her, just to remind himself what it was like. “I remember everything about you,” he said quietly.
Tess Diamond is a romantic suspense addict with a taste for danger – and chocolate cake. She lives in Colorado Springs with her law enforcement husband, two kids, and ferocious Jack Russell guard dog. She always dreamed of being an FBI agent, and now she almost is – if watching 24 reruns and plotting her next novel counts.
Laurel Creek Series #1
by Hildie McQueen
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Haunted by PTSD and a failed marriage, Luke Hamilton returns home to Laurel, Montana. Going home isn’t an easy fix, but it beats ending up in prison or dead. At first the familiar surroundings and open land seem to set things right, but soon his old demons rear their ugly heads and he realizes it's the wrong time to enter any relationship.
Leah Morgan’s experience in the corporate world has prepared her to prosper her father’s ranch in Montana. She knows everyone expects her to fail, but nothing will stop her from turning the ranch around and selling it to the highest bidder – especially not a rancher. The quicker she closes the deal, the sooner she can get out of Laurel and move on with her career.
But when Luke and Leah cross paths, they both discover that starting over can be a complicated business.
Needing fresh air, Leah went to the front door and stepped out to the wide porch that ran across the entire front of the house. Although some of the white paint on the walls and columns was chipped, it remained steadfastly beautiful. The wide porch with rockers had always made a perfect first impression to the graceful home she’d grown up in.
A truck rambled toward the house and she glanced at her watch. Whoever it was came early. The meeting was not for half an hour.
“Damn it,” she looked down at her worn jeans and bare feet. She’d hurriedly pulled on a t-shirt and jeans to cook and planned to change before the meeting. Too late now.
The truck stopped and a man surfaced. Over six foot of muscles, tattoos with the blank expression of someone who would snap your neck and spit down your throat sauntered toward her.
Eyes wide, she took a step back. This was not one of the Hamilton’s at least not someone she remembered. Of course she’d seen Tobias and Taylor in the last couple weeks. Luke, Tobias’ twin was gone, lived in Texas, or somewhere south last she heard.
“Who are you?” She said having made it just inside the doorway with one hand on the doorknob so she could close it before he reached the porch.
“He stopped in his tracks giving her a chance to study him.
This was not your typical Montana rancher. Instead of a Stetson, he wore a baseball cap. No plaid shirt for this man, instead his form fitting black t-shirt, left no illusions of the muscular body underneath. If it weren’t for the flatness in his eyes and the stoic expression, she’d find him utterly gorgeous.
At the moment, however, she’d describe him as more of a serial killer than a hunk.
A hunky serial killer. She moved back and closed the door a bit. “Who are you?”
“Luke. I’m Luke Hamilton. And you’re Pesky Morgan.”
No one had called her that since...well since middle school. Then it was Luke Hamilton who’d started everyone at school calling her that.”
“I hate that nickname. Don’t ever call me that again.” She relaxed and opened the door wider. “What are you doing here? Where’s Tobias, or Taylor. We have a meeting.”
His wide shoulders lifted and lowered and his upper lip lifted in what she could only describe as an Elvis snarl. “Neither want to deal with you. So they sent me.”
“From Hell. I’m the devil.” His right eyebrow rose, the only hint he was kidding.
Leah blew out an annoyed breath. “Well come in Lucifer. I have to get brownies out of the oven.”
Bestselling author Hildie McQueen loves unusual situations and getting into interesting adventures, which is what her characters do as well. She writes romance because she is in love with love! Author of Romance in Highland historical, Western Historical and contemporary, she writes something every reader can enjoy.
Most days she can be found in her pajamas hiding from deliverymen while drinking tea from her David Gandy coffee mug. In the afternoons she browses the Internet for semi-nude men to post on Facebook.
Hildie's favorite past-times are romance conventions, traveling, shopping and reading.
She resides in beautiful small town Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt, an unruly boy Chihuahua Pepito and a spoiled rotten girl Chiweenie named Lola.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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This isn't the man she married...
Jenny Buchanan never considered what "for better or for worse" meant when she married Adam Buchanan at nineteen. Six years and two little boys later, "for worse" arrives in the form of a tornado that ravages Slippery Rock and injures Adam.
Now he's a stranger to his family and love won't be enough to bring him back. Only when Jenny asks him to move out does Adam become the husband she needs...but Adam isn't the only one who's changed.
As their attraction sparks back to life, Jenny and Adam must learn what it is to grow up and grow together before this small-town breakup lasts forever.
An emotional, heart-wrenching, and thought-provoking story that is much topical right now in the current events. Maybe that is the reason why - I admit - I have kept putting this book off. I saw in the blurb that a tornado had leveled part of the town, and the hero was injured because of it, and suddenly all the hurricane, earthquake and wildfire news came that much closer and my idea of escape-reading was far-fetched.
Jenny and Adam Buchanan had married young, straight out of high school, after Adam had been in a serious car accident. The book has timing issues throughout the eARC. When they have been together ten years, when married six, when married nine years, when they got married when they were 18, then when they were 19, then being now 24, or 26 or next time 28, loving each other half of their lives but together only ten... So, the fact was, they got married very young and were under 30 years old. They lives were set around the circle of family, taking care of their boys, building up the family business until the tornado hit the town, and Adam was seriously injured, again.
It has been three months from Adam's injury when Jenny's cup runs over and life gets too much to handle. Adam's recovery is not happening fast enough and keeping up all the balls in the air is just too much for her and the laundry-gate happens.
As I was reading this story, I realized I was reacting to Jenny not only as disliking her as a character, but resenting her on a very personal level, as well. It has only been three MONTHS from the tornado yet she expects things to be moving on, Adam to snap out of it, and start to adjust to life in a wheelchair, and other limitations that could be part of his life rest of his days. I don't remember when I have been as mad at a character as I was with Jenny. As a person with a partial disability, and not at the state of wheelchair or epilepsy, it took me three YEARS to adjust to the new life, to adjust the medication, to adjust not being able to work, to snap out of the funk, and she expects him to perform as a functioning, contributing person after three MONTHS?! Lady... It is a good thing she is a fictional character, right?!
I liked Adam. Maybe it was easy for me to relate to him. His struggle to find his new place in his old life was realistic. His feelings for his family are true, his need to protect them from himself are noble, if not what they needed or wanted. I loved the connection he builds up with his sons, they brought tears to my eyes several times with the earnest, emotional scenes as they adjust to the new life.
So this story came to be a bit too personal for me, and thus it was difficult to be 'partial and fair' at times with Jenny and the twists in the plot. But I do believe the story deserves the four Spoons because it is well written and the story has a great flow, it engages the thoughts and emotions of the reader, and the characters have depth and show development as the tale unfolds. The great truth about saying "I do", and 'do' being an active verb, not an emotion or a feeling, and thus promising to choose love and commitment each day, and actively work towards that goal with one's actions and behavior as well, is a great lesson and reminder to the readers. Life is not easy, it can be very challenging, and to choose to act upon the promise made, even when everything goes wrong, that is the true test of the commitment to love each other in sickness and in health...
An interesting, challenging, and inspirational story about marriage and love at the most trying times in life
~ Four Spoons
SHATTERED AMISH SANCTUARY
After witnessing the murder of her best friend, Elizabeth Lapp flees to the Amish community she left years ago, hoping the killer won't find her. But the murderer follows Elizabeth, trapping her in her family's barn, and she's sure she won't survive—until an Amish man rushes to save her.
As the attacker runs off, Elizabeth sees her rescuer is none other than Thomas King, the handsome farmer she left behind with her dreams and her heart.
Now widowed with two small children, Thomas vows to keep her safe…despite not being ready to forgive her. And suddenly, the man whose love she longs for—but can't allow herself to accept—is all that's standing between her and a cold-blooded killer.
A tangled tale of murder and mayhem in the Amish community mixed with a second chance with love and the powerful message of forgiveness and redemption.
The Amish community and their faith and the culture are compelling and interesting. The simple way of life and the absolute faith in God and His guidance are rather impressive and alluring. I enjoyed the author's way to tell the story in such fluent, flowing way that captured my mind completely, dismissing everything else around me.
Elizabeth Lapp makes an intriguing heroine with her sudden return to the community, the mysterious secrets she is holding, and the way she departed her family, friends, and the Amish way seven years ago. She is kind, sweet lady, with heart of gold. Yet she has a stubborn streak, she is independent, she has a wide worldview after her years in the English world, and she's a very private person making it hard to open up about her deepest fears and doubts in her heart.
Thomas has had his heart broken twice, the first time when Elisabeth left the community without explanation, and the second time when his young wife died giving birth to their daughter. He is a devoted father, a good son, kind and helpful neighbor. His faith in God is unwavering, his ability to see the bigger picture and to find forgiveness in his heart are admirable.
While protecting Elisabeth and her mother from the constant attacks, Thomas is tangling with the old feelings awakening towards Elisabeth. The suspense is intense and the assaults escalating, turning into dangerous and deadly. The secrets from the past have come to hunt the present and only complete honesty will bring forward the clues needed to catch the culprit.
The grace, compassion, and mercy the characters display is commendable. The support of the community, the help, loyalty, and protection they provide to each other is praiseworthy. From the broken hearts and hopes for the future, they find the ability to open up, share their inner fears and doubts and forgive, forget, and move on to a brighter future.
While the mystery and mayhem kept the mind entertained and the story intense, the growing love and dispensation towards each other, the spiritual growth of the characters, gave something to reflect on and appreciate.
Compelling and enthralling romantic suspense with strong elements of faith and forgiveness
~ Four Spoons
In New York Times bestselling author Carla Cassidy's latest thriller, a loner cowboy meets his match!
A man who keeps his secrets close to his chest, gruff rancher Brody Booth is used to things being complicated. The last thing he expects is for a beautiful woman to be his undoing.
But Mandy Wright's as unpredictable as the snowstorm that traps them together. Mandy is independent and trusts no one. When it comes to relationships, she's always the first to walk away. Letting Brody close enough to protect her from a killer feels strange--and thrilling.
Having feelings for him is as risky as surrendering to the threat. Can she find a way to outrun danger and fall in love?
The Cowboys of the Holiday Ranch series continues with the story of Brody Booth and Mandy Wright. This series has been a delightful mix of thrilling suspense and enticing romance, and Brody and Mandy deliver the goods as well as the rest of them!
Mandy is the flirty waitress from the local cafe. From high school on, she has had a reputation in the town to be easy with the fellas, but you should never trust the gossip, there's always more underneath the surface. Mandy's home life hasn't been easy, her mother passed away when she was a young girl, her brother ran away leaving Mandy alone to deal with the escalatingly abusive father. All Mandy wanted was to make her father proud of her, find her prince charming to rescue her from the mundane life, and open her own restaurant. She is determined to stay positive, to be happy, and see the silver lining in everything. Her goal to wake up happy, every day, is put to the test when she finds her father murdered in their home.
Brody escaped his abusive father to the streets at the young age. He was rescued to the Holiday Ranch, and now was serving as the temporary foreman of the ranch. His biggest fear of having inherited his father's abusive nature made him decide to avoid any closer, intimate relationships. A decision that Mandy and being close to her made a difficult promise to hold.
Brody is stubborn, strong-minded and protective. Mandy loves to smile, make people around her happy, has a childlike belief in magic, and likes to spread cheer around her. They might seem like the opposites at the first glance, but the connection between them is real, the feelings growing inside them are true, and the passion simmering between them, with every innocent touch and look, is irresistible.
The danger surrounding Mandy wakens Brody's protective strike and keeps him close to the constant temptation Mandy is to him. The unexplainable attacks towards Mandy and her long-lost brother are escalating, the menace is deadly, it is obvious someone is determined to kill Mandy and her brother as well.
I really enjoyed this story, there was something very humble and vulnerable about both Mandy and Brody, making them easy to relate to, like, and understand. The brotherhood of the men at the Holiday ranch is admirable, a tangible force to be reckoned with. The mystery of the suspense, with so little clues and so many suspects, keeps the investigation intriguing, puzzling the mind.
Captivating investigation into mystifying crimes with delightful, tender romance delivers an engaging and entertaining tale
~ Four Spoons
Loving someone is something you never forget how to do . . .
Zoe Hornsby has enough on her plate. Her pet grooming business tucked inside her friends’ veterinarian clinic is busy, and all her free time outside of work is dedicated to caring for her mother’s ailing mind. Dating is certainly not on her agenda. For all she cares, the town gossips of Redwood Ridge, Oregon, can set their matchmaking sights on someone else. Because no way would she consider sexy veterinarian Drake O'Grady her perfect guy. Once upon a time, she may have harbored a little crush, but he’d only had eyes for her best friend. And the crazy attraction building between her and Drake now? Down boy, down.
After Drake lost his wife to cancer, he’s finally clawed his way out of grief and beginning to feel more like a part of the human race. But he’s appalled to learn his prying family thinks he's ready to jump in the dating pool. And the woman they thrust at him couldn’t be more inappropriate. As his dead wife’s best friend, Zoe is off limits. Even if they seem to share a common sadness, she is too potent a personality to get romantically tangled with. Yet she’s making his heart beat and blood roar like he never thought it could again. And he doesn't want to just exist anymore . . .
Yes, this will is me, blubbering through yet another emotional review for a Kelly Moran book, but as long as she keeps writing them, I am pretty sure I will be blubbering... Because I am having a serious author crush on her and her writing style to take the stories so deep to the dark corners of the human mind, to the hidden emotions that make us so vulnerable, to the depth of the passion and adoration that makes lovers inseparable...
And in New Tricks she touches an issue within a family that had me floored from the chapter one - the (early set) dementia and its consequences on any family it touches, and the tough, wrenching labor of love it is for the family members to witness it and take care of those who suffer from it. The moments with Zoe's mom are filled with love and respect, yet so realistic and painful, as are the conflicted feelings Zoe has about her mother's care.
The whole cast of characters won me over in the book one of the series, and even though these stories are standalone novels, the family is important to all of them, and thus all the members are playing an important role in each book.
I have been waiting to read about Drake and Zoe, to see how they manage to find their way to a romantic relationship, how they will get over Heather's death, and the part she played in their lives. And it is a touching, beautiful, intense road, that had more roadblocks than expected, yet so filled with true love and scorching passion it had me smiling, sighing, swooning, and tearful through the night as I inhaled the story on one emotion-filled swoop.
Drake O'Grady is the hot, brooding, oldest brother and surgeon vet, and a widow. His high school sweetheart passed away four years ago, and it had taken Drake years to find the way out of the foggy existence of grief. His anchor and dear friend through it all, Zoe, is suddenly waking up feelings in him that baffle and scare him, while intriguing and alluring him to find out more. The battle to let go of the past was getting easier each day, now he just had to convince Zoe that the one he wanted to build future with was right there in front of him the whole time.
Zoe Hornsby is one tough, capable, colorful, independent lady. I admired her, I adored her, I wanted to be like her. She faces the storms of life head-on, showing no fear even though it is festering inside. She has a tender, loving, loyal heart, yet there aren't many she is willing to show it or admit its existence to. She works hard, she takes care of her mother, she has given up her own life, her own goals, and dreams and even her teenage crush, yet she is no martyr, there is not an ounce of bitterness in her.
The connection and chemistry between Zoe and Drake are tangible and something so special, tender, sweet, hot, and sensuous it took my breath away. Yes, it is an emotional journey, yet the emotions touch the whole range from joy and jubilee to raw pain and fear.
Yet again the author has managed to stun me with the amount of emotional depth she manages to put into a story. The natural flow of the story keeps the mind hooked to the tale, the allure of the fascinating characters is strong, the road to happily ever after lined with both beauty and barries, and there're pets, cute, doting doggies and cats...!
~ Five Spoons!
New Tricks comes out September 27th - The perfect time to read books 1 & 2 while waiting...
Bestselling author Kelly Moran says she gets her ideas from everyone and everything around her and there’s always a book playing out in her head. No one who knows her bats an eyelash when she talks to herself, and no one is safe from becoming her next fictional character. She is a Catherine Award-Winner, Readers Choice Finalist, Holt Medallion Finalist, and earned one of the 10 Best Reads by USA Today's HEA. She is also a Romance Writers of America member. Her interests include: sappy movies, MLB, NFL, driving others insane, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet caffeine junkie and chocoholic, but don’t tell anyone. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband, three sons, and two dogs. Most of her family lives in the Carolinas, so she spends a lot of time there as well. She loves hearing from her readers.
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