’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays―even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.
Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wit’s end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby―and the inescapable longing in his heart―off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?
A sweet romantic story with a dash of danger and family drama that will surely hold your interest and entertain your mind.
I liked the story of ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East and Abby Harper. They were both strong characters, well thought out with room to grow and develop through the story. They both had their own issues with their past and with their families. Learning to trust and open up, learning to share life and the deep dark secrets their hold inside is something they both had to work on.
Abby is a strong and capable young woman, the legal guardian of her younger brothers. She has struggled to provide to her brothers the best life possible. And even though they might lack in some material goods, they have a strong, loving bond between them that is palpable and more valuable than anything else. The abandonment and trust issues Abby has developed over the years keeps her from taking the leap to embrace the attraction she feels towards the sexy SEAL currently protecting her and her brothers.
Clayton has avoided the painful memories his home brings to him and stayed away for four long years until his father's poor health and problems at the ranch bring him home. He is strong, protective, and deadly when so needed, yet there is a kind, tender, generous spirit in him that believes in second chances and new beginnings.
Not only does Clayton have a sizzling chemistry with Abby, he has a connection with her brothers as well.
I liked the romance between Abby and Clayton, it had obvious physical attraction yet also something very sweet and adorable in it, a word wholesome came to mind more than once while I was reading the book. Maybe that's why it felt so out of place that every movement of Clayton's cock (the author's choice of a word) was mentioned. The sex scenes were tender and loving, and amply describing the attraction between them and fitting part of the plot, but the 'cock twitching' felt an unnecessary addition to the tale, in my opinion.
The bit of a mystery with the accounting and cattle theaves brought spice and danger to the story, as well as the struggles of the Harper's over the years brought human interest side that touched my heart.
An enticing tale with scenes from poignant and delightful to thrilling and pleasing, a quick, entertaining read.
~ Four Spoons
When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.
Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.
Riveting, enthralling investigation that kept me, and the characters, on the edge through the story with the sweetest, tender, endearing romance that just took my breath away.
You ever get to the end of a book, you have a tear falling down your cheek and after the last sentence you hear yourself whimper aloud? Yes, a little whine comes out of you because it is just so perfect, so adorable, and you don't want to let them go and live their lives in the imaginary world, but you want to hold on to that moment for a little bit longer... I'm a bit emotional here, I admit...
The constant, convoluted, twisted search for the killer and for his motives combined with the talents of the detectives and the CSI workers impressed me and challenged me as I was reading the book. The steps they have to take, the politics and rules they have to follow, the clues they find - what seems like out of nothing - and how they put them together, risking their lives while doing it was dazzling.
The suspense plot is twisted and tangled, the tension is palpable, and overshadowing their personal lives as well.
Crime scene investigator Brooke Porter is a strong, tough, brave, capable, smart woman. I admired her and her abilities to piece the puzzle together. She goes out of her comfort zone to protect a young witness, putting herself in danger.
Homicide detective Sean Byrne has been attracted to Brooke for some time, he just hoped the chance to act on the interest would have had a better timing. Sean's patience, kindness, and sweetness are tangible when Brooke is around, yet the tough, capable, brave detective is utterly frustrated with Brooke disregard of her personal safety and mingling into his investigation beyond her duties.
Sean and Brooke have the chemistry to put the pages on fire. Yet there is also a bond that goes deeper than the physical attraction and fire they have for each other. They share their vulnerabilities and their fears, forming a true foundation to the relationship developing in between them.
This story captivated my mind from the very start and the constant twists in the plot and finds in the investigation, the development of the relationship and the intensity of the tale made this book unputdownable until the end. Prepare yourself for one breathtaking thrill ride!
~ Five Spoons!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense.
She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable).
Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
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Omega Sector: Under Siege- Book 1
by Janie Crouch
Genre: Romantic Suspense
He was a man on a mission, one that included a beautiful woman and a little girl he'd die defending…
What a serious case of mistaken identity. Ashton Fitzgerald is no unassuming handyman but a highly trained sharpshooter intent on protecting Summer Worrall and her baby daughter. The Omega SWAT member has a debt to pay and he isn't about to let Summer out of his sights.
For someone else has set their own sights on the lovely widow. Her unexpected relationship with Ashton has put Summer and her child straight into a madman's line of fire. Suddenly a mission to make amends becomes Ashton's quest to defend this little family with his very life.
“Ashton, it means the world to me that you would come here to fix this first thing in the morning.”
Ashton Fitzgerald, top sharpshooter for Omega Sector Critical Response Division’s SWAT team, had his head and half his large torso under the kitchen sink of a condo unit in Masking Ridge, a community just south of Colorado Springs.
He knew Summer Worrall, owner of said sink, didn’t expect much of a response from him, so he just grunted as he put a little more elbow grease into a stripped nut on her piping.
“I don’t know when it started leaking, but it was definitely bad when Chloe got me up this morning.”
As if in agreement, nineteen-month-old Chloe began gurgling in her mother’s arms and clapping loudly. She obviously wanted to be let down onto the floor to play with Ashton, but Summer was keeping her out of the way.
“It’s no problem,” Ashton muttered.
Actually, it was a problem. He was going to be late into Omega Sector’s SWAT training facility. Not that there would be any true harm in that; the team was just running exercises today unless something real came in. But as soon as they realized why Ashton was late, because Summer Worrall thought he was the maintenance man again, they were going to tease him mercilessly.
They all knew or at least knew of Summer and Chloe. Her husband had been killed in a hostage situation gone wrong nearly two years ago. Then she’d been kidnapped by a psychopath eight months ago in another incident involving the Omega Sector’s Critical Response Division, an elite interagency task force with some of the country’s best agents.
So no one on the team actually begrudged Ashton helping out the young widow. What they found so hilarious was the fact that Summer thought he was the handyman for the entire condo complex.
And Ashton could admit he was a pretty mechanically minded guy. Growing up on his parents’ farm in Wyoming had given him a lot of skills with his hands. He could fix most household problems, given the time and tools.
“I think I’ve got this under control,” he said. “It’s nothing big, just some piping that needed to be realigned and tightened.”
“Oh good. I didn’t want to turn a big, formal request in to Joe.”
Joe Matarazzo, the main hostage negotiator at Omega Sector, who also happened to be a billionaire, owned the condos in which Summer and Chloe lived. That’s how this crazy misunderstanding had started in the first place. Summer had needed a handyman and called Joe. Joe had said he’d send someone trustworthy right over.
But then Joe had an emergency with Omega and asked Ashton if he could take care of Summer’s problem. Instead of calling someone, Ashton had just gone over to Summer’s home himself. He’d had no intention of misleading Summer. Had even introduced himself as Joe’s friend.
Evidently she’d taken that to mean Joe’s handyman friend.
When he’d given her his number, telling her to call him if anything else came up, Summer had taken him up on that offer. Eight times in the last few months.
Now Ashton had no idea how to tell her the truth.
And that wasn’t even the worst secret he was keeping from her. He grimaced and worked his way out from under the sink.
“Okay, I think I’ve got it all fixed under here. I just need to turn your water back on in the basement.”
Ashton pulled himself the rest of the way out from under the sink and stood. He smiled at Summer, trying not to let himself be taken aback again by her beauty. Petite, with rich auburn hair, pale skin with freckles dusting her cheeks and nose. It was colder weather now, but Ashton knew from the tank tops she wore in warmer temps that her shoulders were dusted with freckles, also.
But he definitely did not want to be thinking about her bare shoulders or how he’d love to play connect the dots on them with his fingers or—even better—his lips. Summer wouldn’t be interested in any law-enforcement lips after what she’d been through. Especially his.
“Ah-ta!” Little Chloe squealed and threw herself forward from her mother’s arms, reaching for Ashton. He caught her, taking her from Summer and pulling her to his chest.
“Sorry,” Summer murmured.
“Don’t worry about it.” It happened every time he came by. Little Chloe loved to see him. Not able to say the word Ashton, she’d taken to calling him Ah-ta last month.
“Hey, gorgeous.” He smiled at the baby. “You shouldn’t be so quick to jump out of your mama’s arms.”
He knew he wouldn’t be.
Chloe put both her tiny hands on his cheeks. “Ah-ta.”
“Yeah, but I might not always be there to catch you.” He adjusted his tool belt so her little feet didn’t get snagged on anything. The belt didn’t bother him at all. It was quite similar to the SWAT utility belt he wore in other circumstances.
“Ashton, thanks again for making this your first stop. I’m sure you have other places to be. Other units higher on the priority list than mine.”
He shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. It was no trouble coming by here.”
Summer’s green eyes filled with distress. “You mean you only came here for me? You’re working out of another complex today? I’m so sorry.”
Ashton never knew what to say, so he said as little as possible. “Yeah, I’m working at another complex today.” That wasn’t technically untrue; the SWAT training facility was definitely another complex. “Don’t worry. I never mind coming by here.”
Ugh. Now he sounded like he was about to ask her out for a date. He was sure she’d shut that down real quick.
“I-I just mean…” he trailed off. Was he actually stuttering now? She must think he was a complete moron.
She touched him on the arm. “I understand and I truly appreciate it.” She reached over and tickled Chloe. “This little wiggle worm does too. She always loves to see you.”
“I’ll just take her downstairs with me to turn the water back on. Is that okay?” Chloe was currently playing with his ears. Pulling on them with her surprisingly strong little fingers.
“Sure,” Summer smiled. “Give my arms a break for a few minutes. I’ll put this stuff back under the sink.”
Ashton turned with the baby and began walking down to the basement. He knew where it was from a hot-water-heater problem a few months before. As a matter of fact, for a newer condo, this place tended to have a lot of issues. But he definitely wouldn’t complain.
It gave him a chance to see Summer. Even if it was as the handyman.
Little Chloe began jabbering to him in her baby language, laughing as he bounced her as he went down the stairs. He didn’t know why the little girl liked him so much, but he would take it while he could.
Someday she would find out Ashton was the reason her dad had died. Then neither she nor her mom would want anything to do with him.
BOOKS & SPOONS REVIEW HERE
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Janie Crouch writes what she loves to read: romantic suspense, heavy on the romance.
Janie recently relocated with her husband and their four teenagers to Germany (due to her husband's job as support for the U.S. Military), after living in Virginia for nearly 20 years. When she's not listening to the voices in her head (and even when she is), she enjoys traveling, long-distance running, and movies of all kinds.
Her favorite quote: "Life is a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller.
Books & Spoons October Giveaway:
USA TODAY bestselling author Regan Black returns with a pulse-pounding new Escape Club Heroes romance!
After escaping a world of ruthless crime with her child, Shannon Nolan finally thought she'd left her nightmares in the past. Then the worst thing she could imagine happens: her son is kidnapped!
With nowhere else to run and no one else to trust but her boss, she puts her life in Daniel Jennings's hands. Firefighter Daniel knows Shannon is safe under his protection, but the one threat he doesn't want to face is his growing passion for her. Moreover, she's vulnerable and isn't searching for love.
But as they put everything on the line to rescue her son, that very connection might just be what saves them all...
With the perfectly balanced energetic suspense and emotional romance, the story touched all the feels and had me enthralled from the very first page until the sweetest ending that had me swooning!
Shannon Nolan and Daniel Jennings have a roll-a-coaster ride for their happily ever after. The dangers they face are devastating and deadly, there are no guarantees, no safe place to hide in. Yet their stand tall and fight for what is right, for their future, and for their lives.
Daniel Jennings is a true hero and a superman. He has the kindest heart, he is generous, humble, and loyal to the bone. He does his best to balance the two jobs between the family construction company and the firehouse. Yet the constant battles with his father to leave the firehouse are grinding his mind. His attraction towards Shannon has been building over time and just as he is ready to act on it, Shannon's peaceful life explodes as her son is kidnapped.
Shannon Nolan is a tough and talented single mom. She loves her son more than anything, the bond between them is a treasure to witness. The perfectly balanced life she has built for them is torn apart by her ex-husband and his mobster connections, and the only person she can trust in the worst moment of her life is the calm under pressure Daniel, who is more than willing to risk his life to keep her and her son well and alive.
The constant twists kept me on my toes. The suspense is fierce and savage, each move is counterbalanced by the mob, the deadly danger is lurking behind every corner.
The romance between Daniel and Shannon, and Daniel's connection with her son, it was just so perfect and adorable. There was a tangible attachment between them, the bond was true and lasting, the trust and commitment to each other were obvious from the very start.
But even more than the romance, Daniel and Shannon became friends. They shared their lives with each other, the struggles, the hopes, the dreams for the future. I loved the conversations about Daniel's calling to be a firefighter and Shannon's talent and interest in construction. The turbulence in Daniel's relationship with his father was heartfelt and so realistic. I loved how Shannon stood up for Daniel, how their protected each other and were loyal to each other from the very start of their relationship.
The mix of intimidating danger and threat with the delightfully sexy romance and the emotional depth of the charming and lovable characters is a winner to me. I enjoyed this story immensely, each component of it equally exciting and appealing. I ended up reading this book in one sitting, having a hard time letting the characters go even at the swoon-worthy ending. A hero (and heroine) you will fall in love with!
~ Five Spoons!
As a USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy adventures I love to write action-packed stories with a twist! I'm also a coffee addict, domestic zookeeper, wife, and proud mother of two. My newest release: Timeless Vision, the first Knight Traveler novel. Look for my debut with Harlequin Romantic Suspense coming in the fall of 2016 and watch for more of the books I write with Debra Webb in the Dangerous Protector trilogy as well as those we write for Harelquin Intrigue.
Visit Regan at
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A cowboy sheriff and a by-the-book FBI agent team up to solve a string of murders and arson in this satisfying, slow-burning McIntire County series finale.
Returning to Eider, Iowa, wasn’t in FBI agent Liza Bartholomew’s game plan, but when word reaches her that an elusive scam artist she’s been tracking for years was spotted there, she heads south. Vengeance for his victims and her career are on the line, and she won’t rest until justice is served.
However, Eider’s sheriff makes for one big roadblock. Between the fallout over his recent close re-election, two gruesome homicides, a rash of arsons, and personal grief weighing on his soul, the last thing Shane Hamilton has time for is a determined FBI agent in his county.
But when it becomes evident that the crime wave and her case are intertwined, Shane makes a bold move that flies in the face of his longstanding vow: He gets close to Liza to share professional and personal secrets.
As the body count mounts, Liza and Shane find themselves and everyone they love in the immediate crosshairs. What will they sacrifice to stop the cold-blooded killer in time?
Sober Saturday night number 836.
Sixteen years dry.
Enough time to move on, to forget what happened that night sixteen years ago. Yet the anniversary would roll around and he couldn’t stop the binge. Sipping on those memories, downing them one after another, drowning in them until he was drunk. Letting her take him to a dark place in his soul he could never purge. By dawn’s light, he was left wasted and broken, a shell of a man, lying on the floor. Another piece of his soul lost, buried with her in that cold, dark hole.
Shane Hamilton had lived in this hell for so long, it became a ritual. Every April he prepared for it, taking off the day of and the day after. Even during those bleak six years where he was dodging bullets and bombs, he was swirling in a black abyss. This year, the anniversary fell on Saturday.
Hands braced on the tile walls, he watched the water snake along his body and pool at his bare feet. No matter what effort he put in to cleansing his body, or mind and soul, the water never baptized him from his sins.
Twinkling under the harsh electric light, the slim, gold circle danced and twirled at the end of the silver chain. She had danced and twirled under the smoky haze of neon lights, laughing and flirting, making promises that were to never come true.
Shane gripped the diamond ring, ceasing its merry spin, and flattened it to his chest. The emergency room doctor had removed it from her finger and given it to Shane, pity gleaming in the man’s eyes. The doctor’s fingers were heavy as they pressed the ring into his palm; the memory of the band’s slick feel from the blood was branded into his palm. From then on, the ring dangled from a chain around his neck, settling in a place near his heart. A reminder of what he lost in a moment of stupidity.
The jangle of his phone drifted into the bathroom. In the last half hour, he’d heard it go off five times. Lifting his face to the spray of the shower, he commenced with continuing to ignore the persistent caller.
A thrumming ache wove through his muscles and seeped into his bones. Too many years on the rodeo circuit riding some of the rankest broncs and his multiple tours in the Sandbox had left behind a different kind of pain he easily remedied with a few aspirin. Though it was getting difficult to ease the hurt, especially after a night spent on a hardwood floor. Shane turned fifty next month, but felt all of seventy.
Finishing his poor man’s shower, he shut off the faucet and then stepped out of the stall. Once more the old-fashioned telephone ring of his cell phone reached him. Toweling off, he turned his back to the open door.
Sunday morning rays peeked through the gaping brown, plaid curtains. Before passing away, his mother had decorated her little haven with homey touches only a cowboy like himself would enjoy. She had done it because she missed her husband—who passed two years before she did—and for Shane, who was to inherit the family farm. His mother must have believed in her heart that he’d leave this world as a bachelor, never daring to step into that minefield of love again. In reverence to his saintly mother, Shane hadn’t changed a thing.
He wrapped the towel around his waist, and then staggered into his bedroom to dress.
Avoiding the bed with its twisted sheets, he pulled on a pair of jeans and skipped his duty shirt. Today was a dark blue, plaid shirt kind of day. Finger combing his tightly coiled hair, he stepped into his boots and carefully picked a path down the hall. Each step sent flares of pain up his spine. It might be time to consider taking up Doc Drummond on his offer to make an appointment with an arthritis specialist in Iowa City.
Shane removed the half-full coffee pot from the warmer and slowly poured a cup. Lifting the stout mug to his lips, he inhaled the aroma of dark roast and then sipped the strong brew. During his travels all over the world, Shane had fallen in love with Community coffee in Louisiana. He sniffed, reality punching him in the gut. Louisiana had been his little trick rider’s home state; Community had been her favorite coffee. And what she’d loved, he loved, too.
Today was going to be rough. He had to find a way to get past this.
Rummaging through the cabinets, he upended a box of Pop-Tarts and snatched a package. Tearing into the foil with his teeth, he grunted as he bit through both pastries. Almost fifty and still eating like a kid. If she could see him now, she’d probably laugh.
His phone went off like a banshee. Damn it to hell and back! He made a crooked path to the table where the infernal machine continued to squeal. Seven missed calls and eighteen text messages glared at him.
“Shit.” He stabbed a blunt finger at the speakerphone icon. “Murdoch, this better be damn important to interrupt me on my sabbatical.”
“How damn important is it to you that there’s a body in the river, boss?”
Winter Austin perpetually answers the question “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope.” Living in the middle of Nowheresville, Iowa, with her husband, four teenagers, and two crazy dogs, Winter is trying to juggle a job while writing deadly romantic thrillers.
Find Winter Austin WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
The Poseidon team are hard-bodied, fiercely competitive Navy SEALs. But when a sensitive mission goes disastrously wrong, three of the team's finest will have to trust their hearts and instincts to uncover the truth…
No strings. No questions. Just pleasure. For a few blissful days, Lieutenant Commander Nic Savino is enjoying a wild fling with the sexiest stranger he's ever laid eyes—or any other body part—on. It's almost enough to make the stalwart SEAL let down his guard for once. Until he learns that assistant US attorney Darby Raye—his Darby—is heading an investigation designed to destroy him…and Poseidon.
The gorgeous eyes that Darby spent her nights gazing into are now glaring at her across a courtroom. This case could build her career, but if Nic's not a traitor, then he's being framed by forces powerful enough to eliminate every obstacle in their way. And the tentative trust she and Nic are rebuilding—as well as their very lives—could become collateral damage…
I have read a plenty of Tawny Weber books and I like her style of writing. She writes some of the smoothest seduction scenes, her characters are well thought out, and the plot is energetic and intriguing. And in the whole bunch that I have read, in my opinion, Call To Redemption is her best story so far.
First, the plot is built so well. The prologue catches the attention and brings the tension and fear, or sort of worry, into the prime. Then comes the seduction of mind, body, and soul where the romance gets its spark, where the feelings have time to linger, where the foundation for the relationship is laid out. And just when you are all warm and fuzzy with the sweetness and fervor of the allurement, the plot twist takes you back to the intense military world, to the suspicion of all your peers around you, to the danger of losing your career, your life as you know it, the new budding romance that was developing, even fatality is a possibility.
The story has much more military life and protocol than the previous books, and I loved how thought out and realistic the details were. The loyalty, the brotherhood, the willingness to risk your life for your mission, for your team, and for your country is underlined in every action the team takes.
There was just more of everything in this story. Ms. Weber even intensified the emotions and seduction from the previous powerful fierceness. The conflicts between the main characters were heartbreaking, yet believable and true.
Lieutenant Commander Nic Savino has been a strong secondary character in the previous novels in the series, yet here we get to learn him intimately. He shows what makes him tick, his loyalties, his perfectionism, the sacrifices he has made, and the responsibilities he carries. He is a man who is easy to admire and look up to, he is his own worst critique, his code of conduct is unapproachable. And that is why the accusations of the criminal actions cut so deep.
Assistant US attorney Darby Raye has a lot of common with Nic. She aims for the best, the brightest, and the perfection with everything she does. Work is what she is living for, her career is what is worth her time and energy, rest will have to come later. Until Nic comes to her life, and everything changes. She is challenged in a way that will stretch her loyalties and professionalism, yet the risks she is taking might just be worth it.
Call To Redemption has delightful storytelling with sharp, strong, and vivid images, compelling characters that you want to root for, emotions that range from dread and terror to glee and thrill, a captivating and enthralling tale that was hard to put down.
~ Five Spoons
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
A GRIPPING, SUSPENSEFUL THRILLER
Can a psychologist, still grieving the loss of her husband, save a traumatized war veteran who is planning his own death? Stories Untold explores the devastation of loss, the struggle to find meaning in life, and the enduring power of love that transcends boundaries between past and future.
They’re both strong and fearless, determined, relentless.
He’s a decorated war veteran and he wants to die.
She’s a prominent psychologist and she won’t give up on him.
When a suicidal client seeks her help, Dr. Angela Blackwell cannot turn him away, despite the fact that he isn’t seeking the kind of help she normally provides her clients. The man, who won’t fully identify himself, wants the distinguished psychologist to stand witness after his planned death in six months’ time, ensuring his wife will not be charged as an accessory or be hindered from collecting the death benefit he carefully provisioned for her. He calls himself DJ and won’t willingly share anything about his past.
As Dr. Blackwell is struggling to reconstruct her own life after the loss of her husband, she recognizes his unusual request as a subconscious cry for help and embarks on a relentless effort to guide the reluctant stranger in uncovering the trauma that has permanently altered the course of his existence. Playing a deck of cards stacked high against her and rushing against time, she has no other option but to intervene, pushing the ethical boundaries of the doctor-client relationship and refusing to give up.
An astonishing, vibrant story of human strength and frailty, of love lost and love found, the Stories Untold saga will captivate as few stories ever do, with unexpected twists and turns, leaving a lasting memory ingrained into the essence of the reader’s being.
Dr. Angela Blackwell couldn’t bring herself to turn on the lights, although darkness had almost completely engulfed the living room, forcing her to abandon her reading glasses on top of the book lying open on the windowsill. In the deep twilight, she could still see the ocean waves foaming as they broke against the Pacifica shore, a good 200 feet below her terrace. Yearning for their soothing sound and the salty smell of the ocean breeze, she wrapped the cardigan tighter around her supple body and pulled open the terrace door.
She stopped in the doorframe and inhaled deeply, savoring the salty taste of the misty air as it touched her lips. Fog was rolling in from the sea in large clumps of restless cotton, soon to engulf the house in white silence, hiding the ocean view from her blurry eyes. She stepped outside and stood by the guardrail, keeping her gaze fixed on the horizon line, barely visible in the deepening crepuscule and the dense fog.
She closed her eyes and let herself feel the drizzle touch her face. Tiniest droplets of liquid chill she welcomed to take away the burning sensation in her forehead, to camouflage the tears that welled up in her eyes. After a while, the coldness of the mist reached her bones and sent a shiver down her spine. She shuddered and walked back inside, wiping the moisture off her face with the back of her hand.
She stopped at the fireplace and rubbed her hands in front of the dancing flames, pushing the sadness a little further from her heart. Seeing the bright colors of the lively fire, enjoying the dry warmth, after being outside, helped her chase the shadows away. When she was sure of herself again and felt confident her voice wouldn’t betray her, she grabbed her phone and dialed one of the only two starred numbers stored in her favorites list.
Waiting for Shelley to pick up, she put the phone on speaker and checked the time. It was late, almost eight-thirty, and that meant well past eleven at night on the East Coast. She knew her daughter well; if she’d gone to bed, her phone would be on silent, and she wouldn’t risk disturbing her sleep.
“Mom?” Her daughter’s voice almost startled her.
“Yes, sweetie, it’s me. I didn’t wake you, did I?”
“Nope. Was in the shower, that’s all. Glad you called.”
Soon the new generation would speak just the way they texted and tweeted. Who needs pronouns anymore? She felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth, and she let it bloom. The sound of her daughter’s voice always warmed her heart.
“Is water dripping on the floor right now, while you’re shivering and shifting your weight from one bare foot to the other?”
Shelley laughed, and the crystalline sound of her amusement filled the room. “Nah… nice try though. Good visuals. Try again.”
“Bathrobe?” she offered, enjoying their little game.
“Yup. Two of them, actually.”
“I can call later, you know, to give you time—”
“Nah… no need. I can talk to you while wearing a towel or two, right? You won’t be offended, will you, Mom?”
She laughed in unison with her daughter, then the sound of their laughter made way for a couple of seconds of loaded silence.
“I’m sorry to be calling so late,” Angela eventually said, poorly hiding a light sniffle. The cold moisture from outside must have clung to her, or something like that. Maybe fog had followed her inside the house, the unseen ghost of her lonely nights. “I hate this time zone thing. By the time I get home and I—”
“It’s all right, Mom, you’re not disturbing me.”
Angela forced air into her lungs, while her finger hesitated above the FaceTime icon. “Why am I not disturbing you?” she asked, managing to sound almost cheerful. “Aren’t there any interesting young men at Columbia anymore?”
“Oh, yeah, well… that, uh…”
Her daughter did that when she was uncomfortable talking about something. She poured all the pronouns and interjections she’d abstained from using in her tweet-like normal speak on a long breath of hesitation.
“Okay, I get it,” she replied. “You’re still researching the subject, I gather. It probably needs more study.”
“Well, I actually, um, met someone. Not sure though.”
Pronouns had gone missing again; she was about to share more about her someone. She waited patiently.
“He’s premed,” she added on the breath of a sigh. “Stars won’t align, that’s all.”
“What’s his name?” she asked gently.
“Do we have to give him a name?” Shelley pushed back. “That would make him real.”
“And you don’t want that,” she whispered. “He must have a name, I’m assuming, but it’s all right if you don’t want to share for now.”
A second of silence.
“It’s just that doctors are better off with other doctors, Mom. I read somewhere that other professions, like business, for example, have difficulties understanding the demands of the young med student’s, then later, the doctor’s workload. There’s no work/life balance, and they’re always on call. Not to mention the hordes of hot nurses trolling those hospitals hallways, looking for prey.”
Silence fell heavy after Shelley’s high-pitched argument had ended. Angela thought hard for something she could say, without bringing up the one thing they didn’t want to talk about.
“You don’t have to marry him yet, sweetie,” she eventually said. “If you like him, date him for a while, and see where it goes.”
“Why?” Shelley snapped, taking her by surprise. “So I can get attached to him, then lose him too?”
“Maybe you won’t,” Angela replied gently. “As you might happen to know, not all doctors marry other doctors,” she added quietly.
For a few moments, she didn’t hear a sound from Shelley. When she spoke, her voice was loaded with tears, shaky and choked.
“I still miss him, Mom.”
And there it was, tearing her heart to shreds and threatening to let out a long, wailing sob. She clenched her jaws and managed to control her emotions a little. “I miss him too, baby.”
“I can’t believe it’s been five years,” Shelley continued, no longer hiding her sadness. “Feels like yesterday.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” she managed to whisper. With trembling hands, she poured some wine into her glass and took a sip, hoping it would strengthen her heart.
“I wonder what he would’ve said about Jamie,” Shelley said.
A tiny smile formed on Angela’s lips. “Oh, so he has a name, after all. I’m relieved.”
“I never got to talk about things with Dad. Real things, adult things, you know.”
“You mean, like dating?”
“Yeah… I know I have you, but I wanted a man’s perspective, that’s all.”
“Oh, honey, let me tell you this,” Angela replied, wiping her tears. “When you turned fourteen, a friend of his from work asked him if he was ready to be the father of a dating teenager. You know what he said?”
“No, but I’m curious.”
Angela could hear the smile in her daughter’s voice. “He said, ‘Sure, I’m ready. I bought a shotgun.’”
“What? Dad had a shotgun?”
She laughed. “No, sweetie, he was just joking.”
Another moment of silence, but this time Angela didn’t fear it anymore.
“How about you, Mom? Seeing anyone?”
“No... That part of my life is over.”
“It doesn’t have to be, you know. You’re still young, and you’re hot.”
“I’m telling you, you’re so hot. I’d take you clubbing with me any day.”
“So, you go clubbing? Please be careful. All sorts of creeps are out there.”
“Really? Change the subject on me like that? What, you think I’m thirteen and can’t figure it out?”
“You’re right, I’m sorry,” she admitted. Her daughter deserved more than that. She was an adult, and she’d earned the right to be treated like one. “But I’m still not interested. I’m fine the way I am, I’m okay.”
“Don’t you get lonely sometimes?”
“Yes, I do, but that’s because I miss your Dad.” She stopped short of saying how she couldn’t sleep at night, tossing and turning after waking, believing he was somehow still alive, still in the house somewhere. Believing she’d had a bad dream, and he was actually downstairs, munching on one of his famous three-in-the-morning snacks. She didn’t mention how she worked late these days, so she wouldn’t have to come home to the nest that they’d built together, now barren. Shelley didn’t need to hear any of that; all she needed was to believe her mom was all right.
She straightened her back and raised her head a little, forcing her body to act as if she were okay, in the hope that the weary mind would follow the body out of habit.
“Give Jamie a chance, Shelley. A couple of dates, and you’ll find out if he’s a keeper.”
“Oh, he’s a keeper all right,” she blurted.
“You already decided on that? Only minutes after not willing to share his name?”
Shelley laughed quietly. “Test drove him a couple of times too.”
“Good girl,” she replied. “Now get to bed, young lady, it’s almost midnight, and it’s a school day tomorrow,” she added, putting enough humor in her voice to make Shelley giggle one more time before hanging up the phone.
Then there was silence again.
What Readers Say About Leslie Wolfe
-- “Leslie Wolfe has the talent that is comparable to the likes of a Tom Clancy or a Michael Crichton, or even James Patterson.” - Dennis Waller
-- “Wolfe keeps readers turning the pages...” - Kirkus Reviews
-- “Leslie Wolfe knows how to blend advanced technological data with powerfully written human behavior responses and the result is a novel that few will want to put down once the story begins.” -- Grady Harp
-- "Verdict: A phenomenal novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend it!" -- KWNY Publicity
Readers and Critics Talking About Leslie Wolfe Novels
-- “Leslie Wolfe is now very much on my list of MUST READ AUTHORS and I can't wait for the next book to be released”
-- “Characters you really can bond with and want to read more about. Too real and plausible not to keep you reading far too long after bed time!”
-- “Now this was a real smoker, really kept it moving, very well written. Guess I better find out if my wife is talking to me.”
-- “Leslie Wolfe just gets better and better.”
-- “This story has one of the best plots I’ve read in a long time.”
-- “From the beginning to the last page her novel manages to keep reader’s attention, delivering intrigue, thrill and suspense.”
-- “An impressive amount of suspense throughout.”
-- “As soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down! Full of suspense and keeps you at the edge of your seat. I loved it!”
-- “As a long-time fan of Tom Clancy's early works and Dan Brown's techno-thrillers, it makes me proud to see a woman stepping so confidently into this male-dominated arena. Well done, Leslie.”
Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based "Wolves’ den," Leslie answers one true calling: writing.
Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl(2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/titles
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.
Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels:
Anything can happen when you let your guard down . . .
After receiving a violent threat on the heels of her father’s disappearance from the town of Arrowhead Bay, Devon Cole fears for her life—until Vigilance, a local private security agency, steps in to shield her from danger. Although she isn’t usually quick to surrender her freedom, she has no problem stripping her defenses for her new sexy bodyguard . . .
Tortured by the painful memory of lost love, Logan Malik is determined not to fall for a client again. So when he’s tasked with watching over Devon day and night, he’s focused on doing his job. Day is no problem, but as tensions rise at night, nothing can protect them from giving in to unbridled passion . . .
With an intriguing start, the story hooked my mind and I was looking forward to experiencing this new author to me with the new series.
And it was a good story. I think maybe my expectations were too high since both the romance and suspense left a little to be desired in my mind. At times it felt like the twists in the plot, or the plot itself could have used a little more thought or stronger hand with editing.
The sex scenes were detailed, there was no lack of intimacy there, yet I felt unconnected to the hero and heroine, and was left wondering if their felt connected to each other at all. From the very first chapter, Logan feels his attraction towards Devon as he is battling with 'his cock stiffened' while Devon is in great danger. So there is an undeniable, strong physical attraction there. From that scene, I also realized that maybe the writing style of this author is not so much for me.
There are insights to the main characters and their thoughts by constant inner battles and reflections. I admit some of the angst Logan created in his head was a bit tiresome.
I liked Devon Cole, she was cool under pressure, she manages herself well, she knows what she wants, and is not afraid to go after it. And Logan Malik was likable as well, but the previous heartbreak was still a large part of his emotional map and had a great effect on his decisions.
I think the series itself got a great setup in here. The secondary characters peeked interest, at times more so than the main characters in this book. So I would say that Hide and Seek was a good start for a new series, it was exciting and thought-provoking, for sure.
~ Three Spoons
A Something Just Ain't Right Novella
by Sheena Binkley
Genre: Interracial, Mystery & Suspense, Romance
What happens when the chaos ends and their normal life begins?
It has been three years since Hayley and Morgan Carter experienced the turmoil caused by Morgan’s family. Now that the threats, kidnappings, and shootings are behind them, the two can now live a normal life with their two-year-old son, Morgan Jr. While Hayley is living her dream as an event coordinator for a high-profiled company, Morgan decided to go into law enforcement and become a detective. With their lives slowly falling into place, the two will soon find out that things are not what they seem.
As the two receive some surprising news from a former nemesis, they must decide what is best to protect themselves and their loved ones. Will the two result back to their former lives to keep their happily ever after, or will it be too late?
A lot of people take that word for granted. Some do it because they’re scared to be loved by someone, or feel that they shouldn’t be. I have felt that way before, all because of the things I have done. I never thought I was worthy of it.
Until I met Hayley.
Hayley is and always has been the love of my life. When I first laid eyes on her, I knew she would be the one for me, but I let my personal views on love and life get in the way of happiness. When she made me realize how precious life can be, I let all of my past feelings go and just lived. That’s something I haven’t done in a long time. Since I have been with Hayley, I never looked back. Even with all of the bullshit that has happened with us, our love became stronger, which I’m happy for every single day.
Since Hales and I got married, we have been living a pretty normal life. We have a two- yea r-old son, Morgan Jr., who we call MJ. That boy is certainly a handful but I enjoy being a father to him. It’s definitely the highlight of my day. Not only are we parents, but Hales is working as a private event consultant with a high-profiled agency, while I took an extremely different career path. I decided to become a cop.
Yep, a cop.
After the incidents concerning my family, I wanted to give back to society in some sort so I decided to go to the academy. Throughout the training, I kept wondering if I was doing the right thing, but when I looked at what I have been through and the future that I will have with my family, I knew I was making the right decision. Two years later and I was promoted to being a detective. With my new title, I knew one thing I wasn’t going to do and that was abuse my badge like my so called father did. To be honest, I think that was another reason why I went into law enforcement.
Sometimes, I have to laugh at the life that I’m living right now. Me, Morgan Carter, the former womanizer, is talking about happiness and love and living a normal life. That’s something I’ve never experienced, but I’m glad that I’m able to now.
I looked over to see Hayley staring at me. She is still as beautiful as when I first laid eyes on her all of those years ago. Her curly hair was now a honey brown color to match her honey skin tone. Her brown eyes looked into mine as she gave me a huge smile and leaned closer to me.
“Hey, baby. I didn’t hear you come in.”
“That was because you were asleep. Long day?”
I slowly sat up from the couch and looked around. I looked down at my clothes realizing that I was still wearing the suit that I’d gone to work in.
“You must really have had a long day if you’re still in your clothes.”
“I guess I laid down as soon as I walked in.” I slowly replied.
“Luckily MJ is staying with my parents tonight, or you probably would have forgotten to pick him up,” Hales said. She paused before speaking again. “Or did you forget that he was spending the night there?”
I sat up on the couch and ran my hand through my hair. “I guess it’s this case I’m working on. Between meeting with the Sergeant and working these damn stakeouts, I guess I just lost track of everything.”
Hayley smiled and sat down beside me. She motioned for me to turn so that my back was facing her.
“I guess a massage is in order then.”
“That would be nice.”
Once her hands were on my body, I immediately relaxed. Just having her near me was all I needed.
“I know you can’t talk about any of your cases, but…”
“You’re right… I can’t. As much as I want to I can’t jeopardize any type of information we have on certain suspects. Not just that but I don’t want to put you or MJ’s life in danger.”
“I understand, baby. I just wanted to understand how your days are with you working on the force. I still find it hard to believe that you’re on the force.”
I chuckled. “I think no one saw that coming.”
She turned me so I could face her again. She ran her fingers through my hair and smiled. “I know why you’re doing it, though. You needed to find a purpose for everything that has happened with your family.”
“Let’s hope I don’t have to deal with any of them again.”
“I hardly doubt it. With Travis, Will, Caroline, and Sophia still in prison and Rick dead, that will be highly unlikely that you’ll come across any of them again.”
I leaned my back on the couch and sighed. “I have thought about it, though. Whether anyone would try and come after us again.”
“Hales, even though we have been living this perfect life, we still shouldn’t let our guards down. There could be other people out there who are working with Travis but just haven’t made their move yet.”
“Do you think you’re overreacting a bit? It’s been almost three years, baby. If anyone was going to do anything, they would have done so already.”
“Do you really think that? If anyone does make another move, cop or not, I will be ready.”
Hayley sighed. “Maybe I just got too comfortable with actually living a normal life compared to us always on the run looking over our shoulders.”
“I sort of forgot too, but just for a little while.”
Hayley leaned her head on my shoulder and I wrapped my arms around her. She gave a soft sigh.
“Should we be worried about this now, though? Your cousin is getting married next week, so whatever thoughts you’re having, you shouldn’t worry him about it.”
I caressed her shoulder, knowing she was right, but I can’t stop thinking about it, especially when I have information about Travis being released from prison. I didn’t know if I should tell Hales about it, especially since everything is going so good between us.
I’ll tell her when the time was right. Whenever that may be.
Sheena Binkley first discovered her love for storytelling when writing her first story for a class project at the tender age of nine. Since then, she has composed several short stories and numerous tales that are not only engaging, but simply entertaining. She is also a freelance writer, penning articles on various topics including education and entertainment.
To date, her best-selling novels include In Love With My Best Friend, Love Unbroken, Something Just Ain't Right, and The Love Chronicles.
In April of 2016, Sheena launched her own publishing company which focus strictly on romance books. Besides writing, she loves reading, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. She lives in Houston (where the weather is always unpredictable) with her husband and son.
It's Christmas in Copper Ridge, and love is waiting to be unwrapped…
Falling for a bad boy once is forgivable. Twice would just be foolish. When Sabrina Leighton first offered her teenage innocence to gorgeous, tattooed Liam Donnelly, he humiliated her, then left town. The hurt still lingers. But so does that crazy spark. And if they have to work together to set up her family winery's new tasting room by Christmas, why not work him out of her system with a sizzling affair?
Thirteen years ago, Liam's boss at the winery offered him a bribe—leave his teenage daughter alone and get a full ride at college. Convinced he wasn't good enough for Sabrina, Liam took it. Now he's back, as wealthy as sin and with a heart as cold as the Oregon snow. Or so he keeps telling himself. Because the girl he vowed to stay away from has become the only woman he needs, and this Christmas could be just the beginning of a lifetime together…
I have loved the Copper Ridge series from the very start, but I do believe the Donnelly brothers are my favorites from the bunch. There is just something about the sexy, brooding, broken men that had me not only swooning over them but also connecting with them and the strong women they have fallen for.
Liam Donnelly has been the toughest nut to crack of the bunch. There is just something very vulnerable in the standoffish way he meets the world. And when he finally opens up, the hurt, the years of pain, the hunger for acceptance and the need to be enough, to be loved, to be noticed, and not abandoned, not to be left behind, not to be overlooked when the scars of his childhood are revealed, it floored me with the deep, raw emotions pouring out of him.
Liam might come off as a scrooge that stole all the cheer, yet inside there is a man who fiercely protects his own, who sacrifices for his loved ones, who holds his true family, his brothers, dear to his heart. He says he has done one honorable thing in his life, and that was to walk away from the young Sabrina Leighton when temptation was too much.
Sabrina might have gotten over Liam much sooner than the 13 years it has taken from her but when it is a friend who turns their back on you, when it is the one person you trusted, opened up to, counted on to have your back that walks away from you without a word, the sting goes deeper, and the wound never really had the opportunity to heal.
Sabrina is a strong woman, much stronger than she considered herself to be. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She stands what she believes in, and is willing to face her past, her troubles, even if she has to bite her lip through the showdown.
I loved the fragile yet passion filled connection between Sabrina and Liam. It was such a beautiful mix of tenderness, adoration, and raw lust. With all the talk of temporary, it had the makings of something lasting and powerful, something that could make a big impact if they let it roar.
The story touches all the emotions. It has a touch of the magic of Christmas, it has that strong bond between the brothers. It has those delicate teenage feelings of first love, it has the swoon-worthy possibilities of second chance romance, those steamy, sweep you off your feet love scenes. And it has the emotions that seem to touch you all the way into the deepest corners of your soul and makes you want to shout out loud and claim that you indeed are enough.
I smiled, I sighed, I swooned, I was in tears, and I chuckled and laughed. I enjoyed the marvelous storytelling and beautiful, smoothly flowing writing. And the epilogue truly paid a delightful tribute to the Donnelly brothers and their families. I already miss them all...
~ Five Spoons!
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book.
Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard.
She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Banned from Heaven. Escaped from Hell. They are UnHallowed.
Touched by the divine, Amaya Prince is a weapon, existing for one purpose—kill all creatures of Hell, including UnHallowed. But when the Archangel Michael approaches her with words she’s longed to hear since childhood, she can’t refuse his plea for help.
About the Series
Only One I Want
The UnHallowed Series
About Tmonique Stephens
I wrote my first novel about a reporter and a hockey player after the U.S. hockey team won gold in the 1980 Olympics. I love writing flawed characters who reflect the emotional baggage we all carry. I write complicated stories for complicated people. Paranormal romances and fantasy novels are my favorite genre. I’ll read anything about fairies, demons, or angels, but I also enjoy Stephen King and Preston and Childs.
I’m hooked on Lucifer, The Backlist, The Strain, Vikings, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and BlindSpot. I can’t get enough of these shows!
I was born in St. Thomas USVI, but grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. I love SyFy, the History channels, and Asian cuisine. But my heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean.
Heroes of Henderson, Book 1
Publisher: Kelly Girl Productions
FREE until the end of the Year!!!
What happens when best friends fall for the same girl?
A bromance, a romance, and a love triangle.
Local sports heroes Brooks Bennett and Vance Evans are used to being part of a winning team. Yet when it comes to romance their good cop, bad cop images have them handcuffed. They want a woman’s point of view to help unshackle their reputations, and they’ve picked out one pretty, pony-tailed firecracker to do it.
Lolly DuVal longs for a summer fling that can set off all her bells and whistles. So she agrees to tutor Henderson’s hunkiest heroes on what women really want. But now she finds herself caught between two cops and a hard place. And those bells and whistles? They are starting to sound a whole lot more like alarms.
The Newest Release in the Heroes of Henderson Romance Series
Release Day – October 24, 2017
Heroes of Henderson, Book 6
Publisher: Kelly Girl Productions
Release Date: October 24, 2017
After Dallas, Laidey Bartholomew finds Henderson to be a breath of fresh air. Out from under the expectations of her socialite family, she can be as invisible as she chooses. She’s perfectly happy flying under the radar, until a hot-tempered, masculine work of art roars into town on his Road King and zeroes in on her.
All of a sudden, Laidey’s not invisible anymore.
Xavier Wright hasn’t lived in Henderson for fourteen years. You’d think by now everyone would have forgotten about his juvenile antics. Knowing his sick ma doesn’t need any additional stress in her life, he’s determined to make amends for his bad-boy ways. Unfortunately, a certain little newcomer continually brings out the worst in him.
She’s way too prissy for him. He’s way too domineering for her.
Harry believes it’s a match made in heaven.
All the books in the Heroes of Henderson Series are complete romances. They do not need to be read in order, but it might be more fun that way as characters continue to show up in Henderson in big ways and small.
Heroes of Henderson Reading Order
Good Cop Heroes of Henderson ~ Book 1
Bad Cop Heroes of Henderson ~ Book 2
Taming MollyHeroes of Henderson ~ Book 2.5 (Novella)
Top Dog Heroes of Henderson ~ Book 3
Tempting ViviHeroes of Henderson ~ Book 3.5
Kissing Cooper Heroes of Henderson ~ A Christmas Edition
UnderDog Heroes of Henderson ~ Book 4
Mr. Wrong Heroes of Henderson ~ Book 5
Mr. Wright Heroes of Henderson ~ Book 6
About the Author
Growing up every summer in a place where dancing and romancing are literally part of its theme song, Liz Kelly can't help but be a romantic at heart. And since her favorite author, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss wrote some of the world’s greatest romances, she's just trying to give the world a little more of that. (Okay, maybe a little sexier that, but we are now in a new millennium after all.)
A graduate of Wake Forest University, where she met her handsome golf-addicted husband, (who is now sporting dark glasses everywhere he goes) Liz is a mother of two grown sons (also sporting dark glasses) and a miniature Labradoodle named Annabelle. They split their time between The Windy City of Chicago and the Fountain of Youth, a.k.a. Naples, FL where dancing and romancing continues on ad infinitum.
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Keep a song in your heart this holiday season…
Music teacher Ella Baker's plate is already full. But when single dad Beckett McKinley's wild twin boys need help preparing a Christmas song for their father, Ella agrees on one condition: they teach her to ride a horse. She's hoping that'll help mend her strained relationship with her rancher father; it certainly has nothing to do with the crush that's lingered since her one and only date with Beck.
It isn't disinterest spurring Beck to keep his distance—if anything, the spark is too strong, with Ella reminding him of his ex-wife. Soon what started as an innocent arrangement is beginning to feel a lot like family. But with the holidays approaching, Beck and Ella will have to overcome past hurts if they want to keep each other warm this Christmas…
Adorable and heartwarming holiday romance story that captivated my mind and heart.
The twins with their horses and puppies certainly were a delightful addition to the story, their love towards their father was palpable and desire to please him with the Christmas gift so lovely.
Ella Baker is a strong female lead. I liked her strength, patience, and aim to go after what she wants. She has had a tough childhood, her relationship with her father is turbulent, yet she has clear goals in life and is willing to work towards them when needed.
Beckett McKinley is a family oriented man, his love for his twins is the driving force in his life. He has big heart, caring nature, he is generous and kind. But what he doesn't want is to fail in a relationship again, so acting upon his attraction towards Ella Baker is completely out of question.
Ella's father has a Parkinson's disease and needs constant care and help. Ella's struggle to accept her father's new challenges came close to my heart. I found that part of the story oddly comforting and consoling, my personal feelings and struggles coming into the play.
Beckett and Ella, as well as the twins, they all have challenges they are facing this holiday season. And while working on their fears, overcoming obstacles, and learning new skills they get to know each other in a new way. They find their hearts and minds are in tune, and there are new feelings taking root in their souls, feelings they cannot ignore for long. The attraction growing between Beckett and Ella is flaming, palpable force yet the story is sweet in nature leaving the passion to the reader's imagination.
With snow storms, ranch life, lots of Christmas caroling, cute kids, and alluring romance the story has all the ingredients that touch the emotions, and make you smile, sigh, and long for the season to start.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
A country-music star returns home to win back the woman he loves in this charming holiday novella from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey
Ava Wright isn't happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He's only come back to bury his estranged father, but there's no way she'll be able to avoid him. No one can: he's become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.
Jace Morrow grew up believing "money can't buy happiness" was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it's the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he'll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.
When Jace is roped into being part of the town's annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava's forgiveness. And though Ava's heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he's hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they're both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.
A well crafted, deeply emotional, second chance story of high school sweethearts who once wanted to reach the stars together but life and need for success draw them apart.
Ever read one of those stories that pulverize your heart to dust with the angst, anger, and despair? Yes, Hold Her Again has those deep, dark emotions of pain, desertion, and guilt, having been left behind to seek fame and money.
I enjoyed both of the lead characters. Ava Wright was a strong woman, she was comfortable with her life, she was not ashamed of her feelings. She was open about the pain and sorrow she had gone through when Jace Morrow left her behind, and she had no desire to go through that dark valley again.
Jace Morrow had it all, fame, successful career, all the possibilities he could dream of, and the money to make them into a reality. The only mistake he made, was leaving Ava behind to seek the stardom. He missed her daily, made hit songs about the yearning towards her, yet it took six years, and his father death, to seek a contact with her again.
The small town is charming, the preparations for the holidays engaging, it was easy to immerse myself into the story and let the multitude of feelings overtake my mind and heart, from the regrets to joy and jubilee, all the feels were there, tangible and real.
With the shorter length of the story, I felt that the repentance and the awakening of the adoration and admiration anew was a little short lived. Yet with the epilogue, the author brought all the doubts and questions into a lovely, complete, and satisfying ending.
A sweet, and captivating story about forgiveness, forever kind of love between soulmates, about small-town Christmas jubilation, and finding your place, your purpose, and aiming for your goals and dreams.
~ Four Spoons
Other Holiday Titles By The Author:
by Fran Connor
Genre: Historical Romance
Victorian England with its hypocritical mores, a poor orphan girl elevated to High Society where she learns how to be a 'Lady', a handsome and wealthy love interest and a dastardly baddie combine to make this Romatic Thriller a page turner that you won't put down. The road up from the gutter is long; the way back may be quicker unless Victoria can outwit her Nemesis and overcome her jealousy.
Richard stood behind Victoria and put his arms around her to hold the gun in both his hands. ‘Now take the weapon from me, carefully.’
She transferred it into her own hands and held it tight in a two-handed grip. Richard adjusted her hands so she held it firmly but not too tightly. She could feel his breath on her neck. A few butterflies cavorted around inside her. Since their encounter in the field was disturbed by the gypsies, they had not spent any time together, alone. He guided her hands until she was looking down the five-inch barrel. Hitting the bucket was the last thing on her mind. Being engulfed in his strong arms was all she wanted.
‘Now squeeze the trigger, gently.’
She eased back the trigger until suddenly a deafening bang went off and the gun kicked upwards in her hands. The noise made her ears ring. ‘Did I hit it?’
‘Well, you hit the manure about three feet to the right of the bucket.’
Richard still had his arms around Victoria. He guided her hands back to the shooting position. Carefully she squeezed the trigger and then closed her eyes just before the bang.
‘How was that?’
‘Two feet above. You closed your eyes. Keep them open!’
Her third shot tore into the manure just below the bucket; the fourth and fifth hit the target. Richard clipped five more bullets from his pocket with one hand while keeping the other arm around Victoria. She leant back against him. She knew it was not a gun barrel she could feel pressing against her. It sent a tingle of excitement down her spine. He wants me and I want him. To hell with convention.
Now with two arms back around her, Richard reloaded the pistol and put it back into her hands. She lowered it to her side and turned in his arms to face him. She slipped her free arm around his waist.
‘Richard, we cannot go on ignoring what we both feel.’
‘I agree, absolutely. I know it is wrong for us to be together until I am no longer married. But I do not want to wait any longer. We must be very careful to protect your reputation. I confess, Victoria, I have fallen in love with you.’
‘I love you too, Richard.’ Thank goodness, his halo has slipped!
He pulled her to him. Gently their lips met.
Victoria felt a wave of joy surge through her body. At last! At last!
The sound of horses’ hooves and the metal rims of carriage wheels on the stable-yard cobblestones made them quickly separate.
‘Bonnie and your mother are back.’
‘Damn! Sorry!’ said Richard, taking the pistol from her hand. He slipped the gun into his jacket pocket.
‘We need to talk,’ said Victoria.
‘I know. Could you come to my room before dinner this evening? I have something crucial that I need to tell you about Peggy.’
‘Yes. I wish you were coming away with us. I will miss you terribly.’
‘And I you.’
And then a shot of guilt ran through her. ‘But Richard, you are married. I am not sure . . . I know you are going to divorce but . . .’ And then the memory of that kiss and what she felt took over. ‘Yes, Richard. Yes, I will be there. Please do not be shocked. I do not want to wait for the divorce. It is so far in the future.’
‘I will explain everything this evening. You will understand.’
Victoria’s head was in a spin from the kiss. She hardly took in a word that Bonnie said or took notice of the results of their London shopping trip to buy clothes for the holiday, even though there was a stunning white dress for her in the bundle.
Fran Connor is British and lives in SW France with his wonderful wife Viv, their dog Molly and chickens. He claims he's living in that area for the lifestyle and weather which he says helps an author's creative juices. It may just be an excuse to drink wine and lounge in the sun. He writes novels, nine published so far with two more coming out soon.
In addition to novels, he also writes screenplays.
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