The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Romantic Suspense
Publisher Midnight Ink
Publication Date August 8, 2019
On the third day, Michael finally came home. When he did, he brought flowers. Warily I took the white roses, trying to contain my urge to flinch away from the hand that then dropped onto my head. I shivered, controlling my reaction with significant effort.
“You’re upset,” he said. “I may have overreacted, but the idea of losing you … it drives me crazy. I only reacted that way because I love you so much.”
When he put a pretty pink diamond ring on my finger to conclude the apology, I let him draw me close and rested my head on his chest, vowing not to make him feel insecure again. I’d never considered myself irresistible, but Michael clearly thought other men couldn’t see me without wanting me.
Stroking my back, he went on. “Men are animals, Marlena. You’re too innocent to understand that, and that’s why I have to fight twice as hard to keep you that way.”
I swallowed hard. What would Michael say if I told him I already knew? One of my mother’s boyfriends had shown me when I was eleven, and then later, Bobby Ray Hudgens reinforced the lesson. Before, I’d never thought those violations made me dirty, but I had no doubt my husband would feel that way. He’d probably think I was some little Lolita, seducing men with a sway of my hips.
“Oh.” It was the only sound I could make.
My lack of response didn’t matter because he was in the mood to talk. “I’ve never told you this … because I’m not proud of it, but I was married before. She … left me. And it took a long time for me to get over that.”
Left you? Is that what you’re calling it? My heart hardened into titanium, untouchable, impenetrable. But I couldn’t let on how much I already knew—about his past, and I couldn’t think on it too deeply or he might read that awareness in my expression. I understood far too well to be drawn in by diamond rings and repentant smiles.
But I kept up the pretense. “There’s never been anyone else,” I said softly.
“I do know. It’s part of what makes you perfect. But sometimes I lose the thread, and I’m sorry for that.”
It amused me to test him, though, and to see how he’d respond. “I went running in the park yesterday. Vin took me. But there was nothing personal about it.”
Michael nodded. “He gave me a full report before I came in. Now that I’ve had some time, I know you weren’t leading him on. And what happened with Will Stone, well, he’s a lecher, but that’s not your fault.”
It was tough to get the words out, but I could only cower for so long. “Next time you’re upset, if you could dial it down … I was really scared.” There, I said it.
“I’ll never hurt you,” Michael said. “You are my most precious possession, and it’s my greatest joy to protect you.”
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted an I’m sorry, I’ll do better, like he always forced out of me. And the fact was, he had hurt me. I had a circular bruise around my wrist from where he’d hauled me around and another on my hip due to my tumble over the ottoman, deep and blue, fading to green. I bit in the inside of my lip against an instinctive protest. I’m not your possession. I’m not.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE THIRD MRS. DURST by Ann Aguirre we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Ann Aguirre. Giveaway ends 8/18/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author ANN AGUIRRE has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in Mexico with her husband and children. She writes all manner of genre fiction for adults and teens.
Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon
Today's feature is A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR by Laura Trentham.
One lucky US reader will win a copy of the book to themselves by commenting
here on the blog post or Books & Spoons social media. (Must have a US mailing address to win. The book will be delivered by the publisher St Martin Press. The giveaway will end by Sunday 11th of August. The winner will be informed by email.)
The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…
Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…
Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?
“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the sto- ries she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.
Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through At- lanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and al- ready dreading their exit from the airport.
Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-rings your surprise?”
Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, consider- ing how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.
“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been roll- ing cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.
She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.
“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edin- burgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”
“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”
For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear- like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expres- sion on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.
Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six- foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.
From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and The Military Wife. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
Hidden emotions, life-changing secrets, regrets of the past, and one little boy in the middle of the mayhem - an emotional read that brought a range of feels to the top and had me reacting from smiles and sighs to tears and even with displeased annoyment.
I loved little Sammy. He was such a joyful boy, facing his challenges, and trying his utmost to communicate and show his love to his guardians.
Arianna Shrader was misjudged and mistreated by those who were supposed to have her back and guard her against the hurdles of the world. She was easy to relate to and I admired her determination and giving spirit. She knew that some of her choices in the past caused pain to others, she owned up to them, and often put other's needs in front of her own.
At first glance, Jack DeMoise seemed like a good, kind, generous, considerate man. I liked him, I understood why Arianna would fall for him. I liked his honesty, him standing up for Arianna and for the possible relationship they could have - until he didn't.
Jack and Arianna had a connection, they had a lot in common, they shared the interests, they shared the faith in God, and they both loved Sammy. The attraction was palpable, even though they were slow to act on it. What happens when Arianna's secret is revealed, was a tough setback to me. Jack takes the betrayal, that wasn't necessarily Arianna's, to the next level, and his behavior becomes something that is hard to look over or get redemption from. I struggled with this, and how it affected others around Jack, mostly to Sammy but also to Arianna.
In a way one could say it is what it is - even Christian people can be hateful and mean, even people of faith make mistakes and judges others unfairly. And that is all true. Yet despite the sweet romance, the growth in faith Arianna experience, the adorable Sammy, the hope-filled ranch, and Jack standing up to his father when needed, the way Jack continued to react after the secret is revealed - that was a bit harsh towards Arianna. And the reason why I will give this book
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Lee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. The PW bestselling author of eight contemporary romances for Harlequin Love Inspired and twenty independently-published novels and novellas, she recently contracted with Harlequin HQN to write three mainstream romance novels, coming in 2019. When she's not writing, she's probably cheering on her daughter at a gymnastics meet, mediating battles between her goofy goldendoodle puppy and her rescue cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University's MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.
A tough and competent leading lady, a woman comfortable in her own skin, who knows her capabilities and is proud of them is extremely appealing to me. I adored, admired, and respected Carly Valentine, and everything she stood for.
The story is a fast-paced thriller with political touches and small kingdom in upheaval.
I loved the intensified suspense, and the romance developing between the secretive hero and the potent heroine. Yet the political speech in the prologue with 'make Lukinburg great again' quotes put a burden on my mind regarding the hero, an obstacle he needed to overcome to get me on his side.
I enjoyed the tight family ties Carly has with her father and brothers. The back and forth between the siblings was entertaining and while it was a lot of jokes and banter, there was an element of protectiveness and shielding their sister from trouble and heartbreak that was endearing.
Ivan Mostek, the hero, was a gentle and kindhearted man with a touch of geekiness mixed with extreme capableness on many fronts. He was likable and good-natured, he had secrets and responsibilities that he was sworn to, and he hopelessly, helplessly, and completely fell for the force to be reckoned with,
Carly Valentine, who impressed him with her professional tactics from the first moment they met.
I always enjoy Julie Miller's stories, the strong characters she creates and the balance between action, suspense, and romance in the smoothly flowing tales. Through her stories, I have fallen for Kansas City and the skilled police officer who protect the town.
~ Four Spoons
USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Miller writes breathtaking romantic suspense. She has earned a National Readers Choice Award and two Daphne du Maurier Awards among many other prizes for both her series and single title books. She was also honored to receive the RT BookReviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Suspense, and has twice been a finalist for RWA’s prestigious RITA Award. With millions of copies in print worldwide, many of her books have appeared on the USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon and BookScan Top 100 Romances bestseller lists.
An intense thriller to catch the menacing killer, the mastermind behind the recent murders, the one who is going all out to frame Deputy Tanner Dempsey for the crimes and would gladly use Bree Daniels' life as collateral damage.
As a reader who is not a fan of serial novels and who likes to each book in a series to have a new couple finding their HEA, I am in awe with this story and how brilliantly the author manages to make me forget that this is part two to a serial novel of Tanner and Bree's life. Humbled how well it can be done, how fresh she kept the story, and how easily anyone could pick this book up and not be disappointed, thinking they are missing something - while not being too repetitive to those who had the pleasure to read Calculated Risk first.
To see Tanner and Bree's emotions and feels for each other grow slowly yet passionately and deeply, taking such root that has the potential forever after, was delightful and sweet. The desire is there yet the passion is mostly kept behind the closed doors. There are so much love and devotion between Tanner and Bree it is palpable, yet the depth of the feels managed to get me completely off guard when life got fragile, and I found myself in tears, hoping for redemption.
The fierce, mortal, on the edge suspense that comes up close and personal for Tanner and Bree and puts their lives and future in danger, was potent, vigorous, and gripping. The tempo, tautness, and energy of the tale stay high, the beginning of the tale getting the heart rate up and the following events keeping it accelerated as the story unfolds.
The sweet innocence of the romance mixed with brutal murders, lethal crimes that puts Tanner and Bree in dire straits.
A thrilling and riveting continues to their story.
~ Five Spoons
USA TODAY bestselling author Janie Crouch writes what she loves to read: passionate romantic suspense. She is a winner and/or finalist of multiple romance literary awards including the Golden Quill Award for Best Romantic Suspense, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the coveted RITA© Award by the Romance Writers of America.
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 engaging in all sorts of crazy adventures (200-mile relay races; Ironman Triathlons, treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp) traveling, and movies of all kinds.
From a rather intense relationship drama to what seems like an impossible to solve legal drama this novel covers a lot of life, living, loving, and growing, trouble, and drama.
I absolutely adore the Chase brothers series and this spinoff to Petal, Georgia has been a great, entertaining addition to the original one.
Royal Watson might be the most honorable, loyal, affectionate, amazing book boyfriend ever, I mean, he is all that and so much more. Just truly a one of a kind man that was easy to admire, trust, and fall for. And I can't think of a better match to Royal than the sassy, smart, sweet, caring, reliable, steadfast Caroline Mendoza. These two were like the two halves of the whole, they completed each other, were there for each other, and the name of their story, Count On Me, was perfect for them. I loved their love story. I loved the passion between them, the fun, the difficult things they went through, and the way they dealt with the jealous ex (who drove me nuts, really not a fan of her, but Caroline was the Queen dealing with her).
I found the legal aspect of the story intriguing, and the suspense and threat were intense.
So there is a lot I liked, enjoyed, and even adored in the tale, yet there were some aspects that I had a really difficult time to understand, and thus not the five Spoons score for the book. See, in my mind, the people in Petal were petty and just weird to chastise someone for a difference of opinion. And it went so much further than just that, there was violence involved. Now, this might be a cultural thing, but what kind of people do that?! For real?! It all seemed to be based on racist hate, and how deep the venom runs in the society, even within a family. And as such, showing that in the community, the author did a stellar job of it. But as a reader who reads to escape the crazy in the world, this aspect of the tale really got me down.
So first there was the ex who just caused unnecessary drama, and then there were the crazy people that turned on one of their own, and after all the research and drama and disturbance, the ending to the murder case was a bit too easy in my mind. I expected fireworks, and maybe it was my expectations that failed not the story, yet here we are...
So. This is difficult because while I absolutely loved some aspects of the story, there were others that made me want to quit reading it, yet the desire to find out more kept me going.
Do I want to read more of the series? Yes.
Can I recommend the series and this book? Yes.
I just want you to be aware that there might be some issues and events in the story that can cause serious irritation and even sadness on the way to the happily ever after...
Royal and Caroline, despite all the hate, difficulties, and obstacles you had to go through to find peace and serenity into your life, I loved your love story and cheered you all the way.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Sometimes after the fact, it is fun to look back and see the path that took you where you are today. I have had some amazing opportunities along the way and I met so many of my favorite authors two years ago in Orlando while attending RWA (Romance Writers of America annual conference).
That experience was surreal: I walked into the conference hotel and there were my social media coming to alive right before my eyes. I am thankful for the authors who gracefully indulged my fangirl moments one after another. The trip was my gift to me, I then called it a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and greet my favorite authors in attendance, to inspire and to network in the sometimes lonely world of blogging.
Well, a lot of things have changed in my personal life in the past two years since Orlando RWA. After years of attempts to rehabilitate, I got my disability retirement in January 2018. I moved internationally in August 2018, back to my home country after 26 years as an expat. I took an active role in helping my parents cope with aging, health issues, and the demands of dementia and Parkinson's in everyday life. All this while trying to adjust to living in a country that has changed so much over the years, and getting accustomed to speaking the language daily again with all the other challenges moving to a new place, home, town, and country comes with.
One thing has stayed the same, though. I still escape to my romance novels, I still read into the wee hours of the morning, I still get swept away by the story. My time might be more limited, the opportunities I have to read and work on the website might be less than before, but I am still committed to Books & Spoons, so much so that the 'once in a lifetime opportunity' turned into a second chance at the end of the month in New York City when I get to fangirl again while attending RWA.
The opportunity came about by many tiny (and not so tiny) blessings and gifts and sales and pure perseverance, and I am excited. Thrilled might be the perfect word for it. So to celebrate the five years of blogging, I am flying to New York to attend RWA as a book blogger in less than two weeks! Yihaa!
I am looking forward to meeting with other bloggers and readers and authors and publishers to toss ideas with, to share our love for romance novels.
I have so many new ideas for the website and a more fine-tuned direction I want to take it to comes autumn, maybe some new graphics, layouts, etc. I still have a few books I want to read before my departure for the new adventure. I have about seven days to get everything settled to travel, and I can not wait.
Author: Katie Reus
Series: Endgame Trilogy #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 9, 2019
The Bishop siblings’ family is on the verge of collapse as all three find themselves embroiled in danger. Family bonds may keep them alive…but only love can give them something to live for. Read BISHOP’S KNIGHT, the first novel in this ALL NEW heart-pounding Endgame trilogy.
She needs his protection…
Thanks to years of government training, Evie Bishop knows how to get into places she doesn’t belong—and she’s very good at it. But years of doing black ops work burned her out so she returns home—to unexpected chaos. One of her brothers is in a coma and the other is in hiding, wanted for murder. Then a fellow operative from her past shows up shot and bleeding with news that an assassin is gunning for everyone involved with a past op. She’s forced to turn to the one man she knows she can trust—the man whose heart she broke.
But it will come with a price…
When Dylan Blackwood proposed a year ago, Evie turned him down flat and walked out of his life. He’s stunned when he finds her on his doorstep covered in someone else’s blood, needing his help. He always knew there was more to her than met the eye—that Evie was never simply the pampered society princess she wanted people to believe she was. But he never expected this. If she needs help, he’ll give it. Even if he can’t forget her betrayal. Even if he isn’t sure he can trust her. But his protection will come with a price—her heart. Before they can have a chance at a future, they’ll have to work together to take down a faceless enemy who has Evie firmly in his crosshairs.
“We’ve got a tail,” Dylan said before she could say the same, his tone clipped.
“Yeah, three cars back. Gray Nissan.”
“That’s the one.”
It was a neutral, boring car that wouldn’t stand out anywhere. But she was trained to see stuff like that. And so was he. He’d been in the Marines and in war zones. He knew when someone was following him. “They could just be heading in the same direction as us.” Of course if they were, they’d been behind them since they’d pulled out of the hospital parking lot.
“They could.” Dylan took a sharp left turn onto a residential street.
A few seconds later, the gray car followed, revving its engine as it sped after them, giving up any pretense of not following them.
Her heart rate increased as she turned around. This could be whoever had shot Samara. And if they thought they could hurt her—or Dylan—she was about to show them the error of their ways. “Are you armed?” Evie asked even as a shot of adrenaline punched through her.
Jaw tense, a short nod.
Why was she not surprised? “Where?”
“One in the center console and one under my seat.”
She paused. “Two weapons?”
“I take my security seriously.” His gaze flicked to the rearview mirror again.
All right, then. She’d never seen him in action, not in real life anyway. But she’d seen an old satellite video of the man taking enemy fire and holding his own—and saving four men’s lives. He could more than take care of himself. She opened his center console. Sure enough, a pistol was tucked inside. Normally she was armed but her weapon was back at his place. Without asking for permission, she plucked his pistol out of its holster.
He frowned at her but didn’t tell her to stop. “I’m not getting in a high-speed chase with this guy.”
Evie didn’t like the idea of that either. Not surrounded by all these residential streets. Too big of a chance of a civilian getting hurt. “You could drive straight to the police station.” She hated the idea of losing this guy, but she also wasn’t going to let any civilians get hurt. Hell no.
“I have a better idea.” He revved the engine, speeding up as he took another sharp turn onto another residential street. Cars lined both sides of the street, some parked in driveways, some on the road.
“What are you doing?” She clutched the grab handle as he tore into an empty driveway and quickly reversed. “Oh shit!”
He gunned the engine, arrowing straight at the gray car.
“He’ll swerve.” The man looked absolutely convinced as he pressed on the gas.
Yeah, well, she wasn’t so sure. She pressed the sunroof button, opening it as he sped down the asphalt.
The other car zoomed right at them. Her heart jumped in her chest. The guy wasn’t swerving. Neither was Dylan. Fuuuuccck.
They were only a few car lengths apart now. Oh, God. Her throat seized— The gray car swerved at the last minute.
Heart still pounding, she unstrapped and jumped up, pistol out, and aimed at the rear window. Glass shattered everywhere. She took another shot, this time at one of the tires.
Adrenaline pumping, she ducked as a bullet glanced off the top of Dylan’s car. Hell, the guy was firing back.
“Evie, get down!”
Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.
However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram
His Rebellious Lass by Callie Hutton
Series Scottish Hearts Book One
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date July 8, 2019
He wants to marry her off quickly. She says absolutely not.
When the Marquess of Campbell inherits a fiery, red-headed Scottish beauty as his ward, it’s his job to marry her off. No problem. She comes with a fortune. Lady Bridget MacDuff will have suitors falling all over themselves to wed her.
Not so fast. Lady Bridget has plans for that fortune and they involve helping unfortunate women. And she has no intention of helping her devastatingly handsome guardian in his quest to get her off his hands. He doesn’t plan to marry, either. Why should she?
Bridget and Cam are now on opposite sides of a war that neither one plans to lose. Even if Cam’s rakish presence throws Bridget’s heart into turmoil and the marquess can’t deny that his ward sets his heart afire. And then Cam makes a bold proposal...
Donald, The Marquess of Campbell, known as Cam to family, friends, and lovers, gripped the missive he’d received from his land steward and frowned.
It is imperative that you return to Cumberland as quickly as possible to retrieve an item of utmost importance.
Mr. David Sterns
He stared at the paper and read it over several times. No matter how hard he tried, no other words to clarify the statement appeared. He shook his head. Surely a more puzzling note did not exist. What the devil was “an item of utmost importance”?
He strode down the corridor to his bedchamber, none too happy. As he tossed items into a small satchel to make a quick trip in answer to the nebulous summons, he dwelled on the work in Parliament awaiting his attention. Although Parliament was no longer in session, having struck the final gavel for the year in June, Cam was, nevertheless, attending meetings and discussions with other members who had remained in Town. Meetings had been necessary to consider bills he was working on to assist veterans and their families. Taking the time to travel all the way to the Scottish border was frustrating. Especially when he had no idea why he was being summoned.
He had also planned to squeeze in a rousing couple of weeks of fun, frolic, women, and liquor to soothe himself, as the last of his three life-long friends had just married. While happy for the men and their newly acquired spouses, the last thing he wanted was a wife. He gripped his satchel and left the house.
Just the thought made him itchy.
After five days of travel, Cam was more than ready to end his trek. Even though he’d spent time out of the carriage and on his horse, Nettles, he wanted to sleep in his own bed, eat Cook’s food, and drink a glass of decent brandy in front of his own fireplace.
He and his valet, Markham, had traveled together in Cam’s large and comfortable coach. He had no intention of staying any longer than it took to retrieve this “package.” Even if he stayed only a few days in Cumberland, he would miss several important meetings in London.
Wearily, Cam climbed from the carriage, pressed his hands against his lower back, and stretched. He could not help the smile that covered his face as he looked at Campbell Manor. For as much as he preferred to be in London for Parliament, he loved his home estate.
The Manor staff awaited him outside, lined up to greet their master. Ralph, the head butler, introduced two new footmen. Mrs. Bromley, his housekeeper, had hired one new chamber maid. He always made it a point to greet each member of his staff and had learned their names, spouses’ names, and children—although that changed somewhat dramatically visit to visit. His servants were quite prolific in their ability to reproduce.
After they made it into the entrance hall, Cam turned to Markham. “I would like a hot bath, clean clothes, and dinner. In that order.”
Markham nodded and followed Cam into the house, giving orders to the footmen for a hot bath to be brought to the master’s bedchamber directly.
Cam took the stairs to the first floor two at a time. This comfortable home was the place he had been raised with his younger sisters, Constance and Maryann.
Cam had been a mere twenty years when his father died ten years before, leaving Cam head of the family and guardian for the young girls, who were then twelve and fourteen. After sufficient grieving time, he’d enrolled them in a fashionable boarding school in London, which allowed him to see to his Parliamentary duties and stay close to them.
At the end of their first Seasons, both girls had become betrothed and were now enjoying marital bliss, bringing children into the world at an alarming rate.
His bedchamber welcomed him, as though it had held its breath for his return. The chunky dark furniture had been his father’s, but the wall coverings, bedcovers, and draperies had been his own choosing. The deep-brown and blue print coordinated well with the dark wainscoting and blue-striped paper on the walls.
He’d kept the furniture to preserve the memory of his father, the man who’d made Cam’s childhood one miserable event after another. Beatings, starvation, and other cruel means of discipline had comprised Cam’s daily life. He wanted this reminder so he would never have children of his own and end up like his father.
His only escape from the brutality had been when he was sent to school, where he’d met Hawk, Templeton, and Bedford. They had become his family.
Cutting into his musing, footmen appeared with a large tub and buckets of steaming water, a reminder of his plan to have a bathing room installed in the house. It had been on his list of improvements for at least two years. All his time spent in London had forced him to put those projects on hold.
As he climbed into the tub and washed the road dust off, he considered not spending as much time in London. He missed it here, and there were many projects with the house he’d like to begin.
He looked around the room as he washed, dried off, and dressed. As always, he insisted on tying his own cravat, as every gentleman should do. A quick brush of his hair and he descended the stairs, cheerful to be out of the coach and ready for one of his best brandies before a delectable dinner.
He opened the door to the library, walked about two steps, and then came to a complete stop. A young woman he’d never seen before stood in the center of the room, staring at the doorway, her chin in the air. Her flashing crystal-blue eyes regarded him with a combination of fear and anger, and golden-red curls falling from her poorly constructed hairstyle landed on soft white shoulders.
The young lady’s face was perfection. High arched brows, creamy skin, a tiny nose, and full lips. Lips that looked ready for kissing. On second glance, the way they were pursed, maybe not kissing.
“Who are you?”
“I am your ward.” She placed her fisted hands on her hips. “And not happy about it.”
Bridget glowered at Lord Campbell as all the blood seemed to drain from his face. Good, she’d shocked him. Precisely how she’d felt when she learned her fate.
“My what?” The man barely got the word out. Not that she cared if he was upset. She wanted her freedom—and money—and he could go to the devil.
“Please don’t tell me you are the package I was sent to retrieve.” He glared at her. She glared back. Fine. If he was as unhappy about this arrangement as she was, then he would most likely be willing to find a solution. One that would give her leave to do as she wished.
She regarded him coolly. “I believe so. Your man told me you would most likely not come if you knew you had a ward waiting for you.”
“Smart man. And in a vast amount of trouble.” Lord Campbell strode to the sideboard and poured a brandy. “Would you care for a drink? Or perhaps send for tea?” At least he had manners.
“Tea is for invalids and old ladies. I would like a drink, but none of that sherry. Whisky. Scotch whisky.”
Although his eyebrows rose almost to his hairline, he poured the brown liquid from the bottle he held into a crystal tumbler. He re-capped the bottle—French brandy, she noted—and picked up another bottle then splashed two fingers’ worth into a second glass. He strolled across the room and handed one to her. Motioning to the settee in front of the fireplace, he said, “Sit.”
Her jaw dropped. This man is insufferable. “Is that an order, Lord Campbell?”
He sighed and dipped his head. No doubt he considered a minor nod a replacement for an apology. “Please have a seat.” He swept his hand in the direction of the settee.
Bridget settled herself and took a sip of the whisky. For all her bravado, she was shaking inside now that she finally faced her guardian.
She was ever so annoyed and angry at this turn of events. Her dear papa had died only two weeks before. At the reading of his will, she’d been astounded to find that he had left her care in the hands of The Marquess of Campbell. For three days she’d cried, railed, and, yes, cursed her beloved father.
The problem was, as his solicitor, Mr. Manning had explained with a flushed face, Papa had not changed his will in years, and the Lord Campbell he’d meant to be her guardian was this Lord Campbell’s father. Papa had not identified her guardian in any other way, therefore, by law, this young, handsome, and—from what she understood—rakish man was her guardian.
“I will begin by telling you I am more than happy to break this ridiculous arrangement and allow you to return to London and do whatever it is you do that makes the gossip columnists so very happy.” She waved a dismissive hand at him.
He narrowed his eyes. “Perhaps, before you showed your poor manners by attacking me the minute I walked into my own library, you might introduce yourself properly and explain exactly what this guardianship means.”
Oh, he is repugnant. Then as his words rolled over her, she cowered with shame. She had been quite rude, and this man was as much a victim of her father’s will as she was. But if she were to gain some control, she had to stay strong. She took a deep breath and offered him a smile. “I apologize. I did not mean to attack you. I merely wanted to advise you that I do not want, nor do I need, a guardian. My name is Lady Bridget MacDuff, I am one and twenty, and I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”
“Apparently, your father did not think so.” He took a sip of his drink, and she tried very hard not to notice how his lips covered the rim of the glass, making her wonder what they would feel like pressed up against her own lips. She mentally chastised herself. The man was her enemy, and she best ignore any silly attraction she felt toward him.
Her so-called guardian was a tall man and quite broad-shouldered. His curly ginger hair skimmed the top of his cravat in the back. The locks also covered his forehead, right above the greenest eyes Bridget had ever seen, surrounded by shining bronze gold–tipped eyelashes. She imagined the gossip columnists were correct and he gave many a young lady heart palpitations and something to dream about at night.
Certainly not her, though. He was her worst nightmare. “My father was getting on in years and refused to acknowledge that I was quite grown up.”
“Nevertheless, he chose to name a guardian for you. I do not know you, nor your father, so perhaps you can enlighten me on how this all came about?”
Unable to sit for long periods of time, especially when she was unsettled, she placed the now empty whisky glass on the table in front of them and stood. Lord Campbell rose as well. Yes, very good manners. But then again, anyone who spent so much time seducing the ladies must possess the very best of polished manners. And charm.
“Papa and your father were schoolmates, who apparently kept up a correspondence over the years. Although the former Lord Campbell visited our estate a few times, I don’t remember him, as I was quite young the last time he did.”
“But my father has been dead for ten years. Your father must have known that. Why was a new guardian not named?”
Bridget shrugged. “I asked Mr. Manning, Papa’s solicitor, the same question, and he told me he had urged Papa to change his will, but he always had an excuse.”
Lord Campbell wandered over to the heavy wooden desk in the center of the room and rested his hip against the edge, swinging his booted foot. No. She did not notice how his breeches tightened over his muscled thighs. “Where can I find this Mr. Manning?”
“He lives in the village near Papa’s estate.”
“Where is that?”
“Scotland. Right across the border in Dumfriesshire.”
“Scotland? I do not detect a Scottish accent.”
“I spent a few years in London, where I attended a boarding school that beat the accent out of me. Papa wanted me to enter into London Society to find a husband.”
“And did you attend a Season? I don’t remember you.”
She grinned. “No. I’ve been able to skip that torment for the past three years. I did not like London. ’Tis a dirty, smelly place, and I missed Scotland far too much.”
“What happened to your father’s estate?”
She raised her chin and scowled at the memory of the heir’s response to her summons. “A very rude second cousin from the Highlands inherited Father’s lands. He didn’t even come for a visit, just sent word that he was much too busy and would attend to the estate in a few months.”
Lord Campbell studied his empty glass. “I will contact Mr. Manning, but I’d like you to tell me the terms of this guardianship. If you are already one and twenty, I don’t understand the need for it.”
Praise the saints! Maybe the man would be gracious enough to cancel the entire thing. She nodded furiously. “I agree. Papa’s will states that I am to have a guardian until I am three and twenty. At that time, if I have not married, I will inherit his fortune.” And she had plans for that money, plans that could not wait another eighteen months.
Lord Campbell’s eyes lit up. “Married?”
Her heart sunk to her knees. Blast it. Was that joy she saw in his eyes? Surely, he would not attempt to marry her off? She sucked in a breath. Or, worse yet, force her to marry him? A rake? Someone after her inheritance, perhaps?
She blurted out, “I will not marry you.”
Once again, his brows rose to his hairline. “I am happy to hear that, Lady Bridget, considering I have no intention of marrying you. Or anybody, for that matter.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of HIS REBELLIOUS LASS by Callie Hutton, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 7/12/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Callie Hutton
CALLIE HUTTON, USA Today bestselling author writes both Western Historical and Regency romance with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, a daughter-in-law, twin grandsons and her top cheerleader husband (although thankfully not all in the same home!). Living in the Midwest provides plenty of opportunities for Callie do pursue her interests: researching history, meeting readers, spending time with her adorable two year old twin grandsons, and discovering new adventures. Callie loves to hear from readers and welcomes the opportunity to become friends, both in person or virtually.
Her Other Secret by HelenKay Dimon
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date June 25, 2019
Is it the perfect escape?
Whitaker Island is more than a getaway. For Tessa Jenkins, the remote strip of land in Washington state is a sanctuary. Fleeing from a shattering scandal, she has a new name, a chance at a new beginning, and a breathtaking new view: Hansen Rye. It’s hard not to crush on Whitaker’s hottest handyman. At six-foot-three and all kinds of fine, he’s also intensely private—and the attraction between them soon simmers dangerously out of control.
…or a private trap for two lovers?
After a devastating family tragedy, Hansen finds the pebbled shores of the faraway island to be an ideal refuge. Letting down his guard for the sexy, impulsive Tessa is an unexpected pleasure. But there’s another newcomer to Whitaker. He’s no stranger to Hansen. And when he’s murdered, the crime casts a threatening shadow. As suspicion falls on Hansen, all his secrets are about to collide with Tessa’s. Now the pasts they were determined to outrun are catching up to them. So is a killer who’s putting their love—and their lives—on the line.
Just as Hansen was about to ask for more details, Tessa started talking. “The unknown guy was in a suit as if he jumped off a boat in full work attire, including a tie, then washed up on the beach and kept walking. He had to see us, or at least hear us, so why walk away? Why hide from Hansen in the woods?”
Ben made a humming sound. “I agree. It’s strange.”
That was about as ruffled as Ben got but Tessa didn’t seem to appreciate it. “Gee, you think?”
Rather than let them wrestle this out, Hansen stepped in. The sooner Tessa told the rest of her tale, the sooner he could get Ben alone and ask what the hell happened to set Tessa off. She was nice to everyone . . . except Ben right now.
“Tessa also said the boat has been out there, no lights and no movement for more than twelve hours,” Hansen explained.
Tessa switched her gaze from the glare she had locked on Ben since they walked in, back to Hansen. “So, you were listening to me.”
He ignored that because the truth was he spent far too much time paying attention to her. She was impulsive and sexy, adorably cute and could talk on any subject forever. So, naturally, he wanted her. He couldn’t think straight some days because he wanted her so badly. But he wasn’t on the island to date . . . no matter how tempting she was.
A sassy, smart, sexy, and suspenseful story, as much filled with danger and twists as it is with sarcastic humor and adorable ardent romance.
Her Other Secret is just perfectly entertaining, fun, and engaging. It kept me on my toes throughout the tale, the cast of characters just a hoot, with their secrets, information they want to hide and are willing to go to the distance to keep the information hidden on an island that spreads gossip faster than light.
Tessa Jenkins is a heroine easy to like and admire and Hansen Rye is the perfect mate to her, a partner, companion, and lover. The spark between them is like a fourth of July fireworks, they just get each other in a lever few does. I loved the way they were equal, both protective, both willing to go to battle for the other and do anything to keep the other safe. Their pillow talk was endearing, and them together just adorable and lovely.
The suspense is breathtaking. The murder mysteries and how everything is tight to everything else, and how the past secrets and the protagonist's history all play into the crimes committed on the small island, kept the guessing game going on until the very last part of the story where everything unrattled and comes to life and death matter in a whole new way.
I love the cheeky dialog, the clever, and the utterly sarcastic, biting way the author uses words to paint the picture, the mood, and the characteristics of the protagonists. This story pulled me in from the very start and kept me lured into the twists of the tale until wee hours of the morning and the end was at the hand.
Unputdownable, addictive storytelling that charm and allure, leaving the reader enamored and anticipating for more. Loved it. Absolutely loved it!
~ Five Spoons
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of HER OTHER SECRET by HelenKay Dimon, we're giving away a paperback set of Her Other Secret and The Protector by HelenKay Dimon to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of Her Other Secret and The Protector by HelenKay Dimon. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 7/15/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About HelenKay Dimon
Award-winning author HELEKAY DIMON spent twelve years in the most unromantic career ever - divorce lawyer. After dedicating all of that effort to helping people terminate relationships, she is thrilled to deal in happy endings and write romance novels for a living. Her books have been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine and E! Online. HelenKay loves hearing from readers, so stop by her website at www.helenkaydimon.com and say hello.
The Sterling Wood Series Book 1
by Charlene Johnson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Kingston Publishing Company; 1 edition
Publication Date: May 30, 2019
Lily Sommers reluctantly returns to Sterling Wood to attend her Uncle Jimmy's funeral - a town she left years ago.
Sterling Wood holds painful memories she’s tried to forget. One, in particular, is still raw and every time she returns pulls the scab off a wound that will not heal - Luc Pearson, the handsome high school sweetheart who betrayed her.
Seeing Luc again isn't the only problem she has to face in Sterling Wood. Someone is trying to kill her, and she doesn't know why.
She soon learns shocking revelations that could change the course of her life as a ruthless killer stalks her. Will the people closest to her be able to save her?
Things like that weren’t supposed to happen in Sterling Wood.
Charlene is a Waynesburg, Pennsylvania native. She went to Waynesburg High School and graduated Cum Laude from Waynesburg College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Currently lives in Sacramento, California where she spent the last 33 years working at Northrop Grumman.
Books have always been her passion. She started reading at an early age and progressed to full-length books by age nine. The first supernatural book series she read was Dark Shadows, and it sparked her interest in all things paranormal, with a spicy touch of romance mixed in for good measure. She also started writing poetry in grade school and continues to do so today.
Being an avid reader, the consummate daydreamer and an incurable romantic with a Cinderella complex, she started creating her own characters and story lines because she realized she had her own stories to tell.
She is married to John, who believes she can do anything. She has a son, Ty; a daughter, Danika; and four beautiful grandchildren, Aries, Victoria, Maya, and Tobias.
Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys photography, travel, music, and great movies.
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
Series Feminine Pursuits
Genre Adult Historical Romance & LGBTQ Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date June 25, 2019
As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.
Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.
While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?
It wasn’t until Lady Moth set the bundle of cloth down on the desk that Lucy realized: one, she had been staring, and two, there was quite a lot going on with that bundle of cloth. It was deep navy blue, rolled tight, and looked very fine indeed. “What is this?” Lucy asked.
Lady Moth sat in her usual spot on the sofa, but the way she leaned forward and the spark in her eyes had Lucy’s pulse racing with anticipation. “A little something I’ve made,” the countess said. She smiled, not without some anxiety. “A gift.”
Lucy sat straight up in astonishment. “A gift for me?”
Lady Moth’s laugh was always soft, as if it had been packed away in an attic for too long, unused. “Who else?”
Lucy shook her head, feeling silly, and reached out a hand. The fabric unrolled and revealed itself to be a generous shawl, and Lucy choked back a gasp.
She’d thought at first it was an ocean blue, but there in front of her was spread the whole night sky.
Each edge of the shawl glittered with comets, icy silver spheres made of spiking stitches, a few with long wispy tails of single strands stretching out toward the center of the fabric. Arranged in a line they formed shapes like classical columns, or arches on some Palladian monument. Between these edges was a vast, starry expanse, tiny glass spangles scattered across the blue like diamonds on velvet. Lucy’s trained eye picked out the familiar patterns at once—there was the boxy bulk of Ursa Major, and spiky Cassiopeia the jealous queen, and the broad shoulders of Orion the hunter. She looked back again in wonder at the comet border, marveling at the subtle color variation in the silk threads. Silver and white and gold and even a hint of palest green, each thread as precisely placed as a brushstroke on a portraitist’s masterpiece, giving the impression that each comet was still somehow streaking across the nighttime sky on their impossible journey.
She wanted to wrap the whole thing around herself like armor—and oh, wouldn’t it make the most of all her gowns in their simple lines and mourning colors? Her lavenders and greys would look restrained and mature, rather than simply undecorated.
“Do you like it?” Lady Moth asked.
Lucy looked up, English and French and the language of astronomy spinning madly together in her brain. “I am trying very hard not to cry on you again,” she stammered, “but it’s difficult—because this may be the single loveliest thing I have ever seen.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE LADY’S GUIDE TO CELESTIAL MECHANICS by Olivia Waite, we're giving away a bound manuscript copy of the book to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a bound manuscript copy of The Lady Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Oliai Waite. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 7/9/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Olivia Waite
OLIVIA WAITE writes historical romance, fantasy, science fiction, and essays. Every first Thursday of the month she reviews romance old and new in the Kissing Books column for the Seattle Review of Books. When the birds are propitious, she sends out the Oliviary: a newsletter full of links, recommended books, and great pieces from all over the great wide internet.
You can reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter, or follow one of her glorious Pinterest boards. To pitch books for review, write to her at: email@example.com.
Ambush in the Everglades
by Petie McCarty
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: May 19, 2019
Plenty of action-adventure in this romantic-suspense tale. Photographer Kayli Heddon is given the biggest assignment of her career—a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration—and a special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn't count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and unpredictable airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner makes all the difference in your survival.
Skye Landers takes the airboat safari gig as a favor to his cousin who is called out of town. Skye doesn't expect the governor's photographer to catch his eye, but Kayli Heddon is unlike any woman he has ever met. He knows he should keep his distance, but common sense flies out the window whenever she gets near.
Unfortunately, Kayli thinks honesty is the most important thing in a relationship—any relationship—and Skye Landers is a fraud. When secrets surface from his past, Kayli and Skye are soon on the run from more than just alligators.
Pulling back a palm frond, Landers nodded toward the clearing beyond. Kayli eased closer to peer over his shoulder. His unique scent of male, sunscreen, and cologne tantalized her senses and left her light-headed.
She blinked and caught a blur of white. A wood stork hovered near the trunk of a small live oak and rocked slightly in place. Landers turned his head, which put his face inches from hers. She concentrated on the bird but could feel Landers wanting her to notice something.
“Oh, my gosh,” she whispered. The bird stirred at the sound. “He’s got a hook stuck in his beak.”
She could feel Landers nod. His scent seduced at this close range, and she wanted to scream at the sudden desire to wrap it around her like a cloak. One day out in the sun, and she had completely lost her mind. She shook her head hard.
“What?” he whispered.
“Nothing. Can you help him, Landers?”
A smile twitched at one corner of his mouth. “How do you know it’s a him?”
“No self-respecting female wood stork would eat something with a fish hook in it,” she whispered back. “She’d check her food first.”
His jaw dropped, and she wanted to scream in exultation until she saw the grin start and his eyes darken. Apprehension sapped her mirth. Her mouth went bone-dry. Twelve inches separated his kiss-me-you-know-you-want-to lips from hers. Not far in the grand scheme of things.
Landers shifted. Ten inches separated them.
She hazarded a brief glance at his eyes. Pupils gone dark, no color.
“When are you going to call me Skye?” His voice had gone husky too.
The blur of white snagged their attention. The stork hopped, and they could see monofilament line attached to the hook and twisted around the bird’s legs, leaving him nothing but an awkward hop for locomotion.
Kayli stifled a gasp.
“He hasn’t been like that long,” Landers said, watching her.
This man could read her mind, and that alone should scare the devil out of her.
“How do you know?” she managed to ask and kept her eyes focused hard on the bird. She felt him turn.
“Because he’d have starved by now. Wading birds that can’t walk and stir up the bottom sediments for food soon starve.”
His face was close enough she could feel the change in temperature against her cheek. She imagined the press of her lips against his sultry mouth only inches from hers, and her insides turned all squishy. Dang, she yearned for another mind-numbing kiss from him.
You don’t really have a boyfriend, her heart reasoned.
You convinced this gorgeous man you did, in fact, have a boyfriend, her better judgment prodded.
What would he think if I kissed him right now?
Landers waited for her to turn and face him, but at this close range she didn’t dare. If she did, she would press her lips to his—hard. And she couldn’t. Had to be his move. He was the one to put distance between them after their first kiss.
Even the bird had shifted to stare in her direction, and his tiny dark eyes begged for help.
“Please help him.” She kept her eyes on the distressed bird.
“Skye,” he whispered in her ear. “Please help him, Skye.”
Lord help her, that felt like a kiss. She thought to jerk away from the warm breath against her ear for her own peace of mind and at the same time, wanted to press her ear against his lips. She couldn’t focus enough to draw air into her lungs. Her whole being focused on the warmth against her ear.
“Please help him, Skye.” Her voice sounded barely audible even to her own ears, which were probably a vibrant scarlet he couldn’t miss.
“Look at me.”
Why is he torturing me?
The stork shifted position and stared her right in the eye. She would do this for the bird’s sake. Right?
Slowly she turned her head. His incredible green eyes caught hers and held on. Her stomach lurched up against her lungs in anticipation.
Skye didn’t move. He only held her gaze captive.
A tiny shiver attempted to maneuver up her spine. No stare had ever felt more like a caress. Her insides had again turned to jelly, as though his muscled arms had actually held her close.
“Wait here until I check him out.” His warm breath brushed her cheek.
Kayli leaned toward him in his retreat, suffering an aching letdown. As she gulped for air, she watched Skye ease closer to the bird, step by silent step. The bird warily monitored his proximity and the soft shushing sound he made to keep it calm. Calling him Skye felt oddly normal. No, perfectly normal at this moment.
He shuffled to within a couple feet of the bird, which made no effort to hop away and somehow seemed to know the stranger had come to help.
“When I grab his beak and his belly, you run over and untangle the line from his legs as quickly and as gently as you can. Then we’ll try to get the hook.”
“Whatever you say . . . Skye.”
He slanted his eyes her direction and grinned without moving his head. Her stomach flip-flopped.
Get you free Kindle app here
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World—"The Most Magical Place on Earth"—where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband and an opinionated Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in No Angels for Christmas.
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom (now a beloved Hallmark Original movie) comes a heartfelt story of family secrets, forgiveness, and unexpected romance.
Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe's love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram's maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.
As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven--nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.
As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy's heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they've become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.
Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of more than 30 novels, including "The Convenient Groom" and "A December Bride", which have been made into Hallmark movies.
Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.
Denise and her husband live in Indiana, where they raised three sons, and are currently enjoying an empty nest. In 1996, Denise began her first novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books contain a strong romantic element, and her husband says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
Love, Life, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Sandra Hill
Series Bell Sound
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date June 25, 2019
Welcome to Bell Cove, North Carolina. Independence Day may have just passed in this small Outer Banks town known for its famous bells, but one ex-Navy SEAL has a declaration of his own to make . . .
Merrill Good knows there are many different kinds of exciting. There’s the adrenaline rush he experienced during his years in the military. There’s the thrill of starting up his own treasure hunting company. But topping them all is the surge of exhilaration he feels every time Delilah Jones crosses his path. Smart, voluptuous, and outspoken, Delilah is a bombshell with a secret that could explode at any moment.
Since Delilah moved to Bell Cove to take over her great-uncle’s Elvis-themed diner and motel, the locals have been nothing but friendly. And that’s a problem. The moment someone gets close enough to figure out her ex-con past, her future will be jeopardized. But keeping Merrill at arm’s length isn’t easy when the rest of her body has other ideas.
Add to the mix Delilah’s little girl who fashions herself “Little Orphan Annie,” a former showgirl grandmother with a gambling problem, a whole town full of quirky matchmakers, and there’ll be fireworks long after the Fourth of July . . .
“Merrill, are you all right? Do I need to call an ambulance?”
Her face was so close, he could feel her breath on his lips. Like a kiss.
A breath kiss?
He liked the sound—rather, the thought—of that.
And so he did what he shouldn’t, but what he’d wanted to do since the first time he’d seen her. He put hands on either side of her face and tugged her the few remaining inches closer. Then he locked lips with her in a kiss that was sweet and seeking and innocent as a hello.
But, hello, her lips were parted in surprise . . .
...and because fifteen years on the teams had taught him to grab any window of opportunity before it disappeared...
Seize the day!
...or because maybe she’d been wanting this as much as he had . . .
Okay, that’s a stretch.
Well, for all those reasons, and then some, the sweet kiss turned wicked. Wicked good.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of LOVE, LIFE, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by Sandra Hill, we're giving away a paperback copy of The Forever Christmas Tree by Sandra Hill to three lucky winners!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Three winners will each receive a paperback copy of The Forever Christmas Tree by Sandra Hill. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 6/9/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About the Author
SANDRA HILL is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than ten years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories.