Once Upon a Bookclub is a unique way to gift those who love books and a true book adventure. Earlier this year I received a book box filled with my mystery book selection and special gifts to open at specified pages.
My selection to read was The Taster by V.S. Alexander and it delivered. While I was excited to read the selection it took a while to find the perfect time to read. This book is a World War II selection and dives into the world of those who lived to serve Hitler, a select group of women known as the “tasters” who did just that, taste his food.
Magda Ritter was one of 15 girls who was selected to taste Hitler’s food because she was naive and uneducated. In a world where communication was spares and daily conversations with others was limited, she learned to cope. Many readers may find it difficult to imagine and may find it hard to understand the anxiety of waiting for news and not knowing if anyone had “opened” your letters. We live in an age of e-mails and texts from the moment we rise until we fall asleep, can you imagine Magda’s world?
Captain Karl Weber is a security officer and a man who will befriend Magda and possibly save her from the nightmare she finds herself in. A world with secrets, loneliness and companionship that’s formed from the least likely of people. The only thing between life and death is one bite.
Karl will risk their lives to uncover the truth and the what if suspense is thought provoking and hard to swallow at times. A war romance that is in the lion’s den and unlike any other I’ve read.
Every so often I would uncover a sticky note with a gift number to open to bring me closer to the story and characters as they progressed in their journey.
The membership is reasonably priced and offers a variety of choices to suit any budget. With the holidays approaching in a few months, gift those who love to read a book adventure that they’ll remember forever!
Why Soldiers are Sexy
I don’t remember a time when the military, in particular the army, wasn’t part of my life. My father, a 1965 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, was in Vietnam when I was born. I lived on army posts and was used to men in jungle camo BDUs. Much later, I married another army man—another graduate of West Point—and lived on other army posts.
Being part of the military family is like living in another world that exists within the society we all know. As an army wife, I knew that I had to stop to show my ID every time I came home; at 5 PM, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we had to stop and stand to honor the lowering of the flag and the playing of Taps, blasted throughout post. And it wasn’t unusual to see lines of soldiers walking past our house, heading out to some field exercise or another.
Thus, when I decided to write a new series of romance books, it wasn’t that odd that I chose to do military romance. After all, it was a world that I knew, and we all must admit, there’s not much in this world sexier than soldiers.
Why is that, anyway? What is it about a man in a well-fitted uniform, his hair cut short, his body in prime condition, steel in his eyes, that makes women sigh and swoon? Hmmm. Maybe we don’t need to ask that question.
But I do think that soldiers have an attraction that goes beyond the obvious. It may have something to do with their intensity, with their single-minded devotion to duty and mission, that makes women feel cherished, protected and loved.
I chose to set the first six Career Soldier books at Fort Lee, Virginia, because that’s the first post where we were stationed after we got married. I knew the area fairly well. All six of the soldiers in question are captains, all platoon leaders, and all are single guys who’ve had no lacking of female companionship over the years.
And over the course of the books, all six meet women who turn their worlds upside down—in the best ways.
But this series is about more than just romance and sexy soldiers. It’s about the community found within the military and the close-knit friendships that last for decades. It’s about courage, loyalty and love.
As one of my husband’s classmates told me on my wedding day, as I walked with my groom under the arch of swords . . .
“Welcome to the army.”
The Career Soldier series includes eight books, plus a collection set containing the first six books. The series will continue later this year with three new romances set at West Point. You can learn more about the books right here.
Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include new adult and adult contemporary romance; under the pen name Tamara Kendall, she writes paranormal romance, and under the pen name Tessa Kent, she writes erotic romance. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband, two sweet pups and too many cats. Assorted grown children and a perfect granddaughter live nearby. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.
You can FOLLOW Tawdra on social media to receive updates on her releases. You can also visit her website at for more information, and subscribe to her newsletter for sales announcement, special exclusive content and promotions!
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An Excerpt from Maximum Force by Tawdra Kandle
“Do you like Garth Brooks?” The question was abrupt and came out of the blue, making me frown sharply at her.
“Uh . . . yeah, I guess. I like his music. I’ve never been to a concert or anything, but sure. Why do you ask?”
She flashed me a wry smile. “My parents . . . they’re not country music fans at all. They like folk music and some rock from the eighties, but I never listened to country music growing up. The first time I ever heard a Garth Brooks song was my first day of college. My roommate loved him, and she’d play country all day long. I started to enjoy it, too. I thought at first my parents might disown me.” She laughed.
“Ah.” I still didn’t see where she was going with this. Maybe she was making small talk until we got to my house, just to keep the awkward at bay.
“My favorite song of his is The Dance. Do you know it?” When I nodded, she went on. “It’s from that bull rider movie. I’m pretty sure it’s a biopic. Anyway, I’ve always loved it. And something you said before reminded me of the lyrics.”
“Really? What’s that?”
“When I told you that you’d missed a lot of fun by playing it safe, you said that you’d missed a lot of pain, too. But you know, there’s that line in the song . . . where Garth says that he could have missed the pain, but he’d have had to have missed the dance, too.”
I shifted in the seat. “I guess the question is whether or not the pleasure of the dance—or whatever it might bring—is worth the pain that might come along with it.”
“There’s no way to know that ahead of time. The dance could bring us incredible joy.”
“Mine is the third townhouse on the left. And if the pain is crushing?” I hadn’t realized I was clenching my jaw until I spoke.
“I still think it would be worth it.” She slowed the car and turned into my drive. We were quiet as she shifted into park.
“Life would be monotonous and boring if it were utterly safe. It’s the moments of pain—and the hours of joy—that make it . . .” She paused, thinking. “Beautiful.”
I sat, unmoving, staring at her hand on the gearshift, willing myself to open the door, say thank you for the ride and good night, and then turn my back and go into my house. It would be the smart move. The best move.
And it would be boring, and monotonous, and cowardly. Suddenly safe didn’t seem so appealing.
Before I gave myself time to second-guess it, I laid my hand over hers, curling my fingers until they linked with Samantha’s.
“Come inside with me.”
She lifted startled blue eyes to mine. Surprise and then passion flared before, to my relief and terror, she nodded.
“So you’re going to go out with him? When he asks, I mean?” I’d told Beckie about my match, and about my bet with Trace. “For cheese?”
“Not for cheese. For respect. I can’t lose a bet.”
“You’re sure you have no ulterior motive? What if you really are perfect for each other?”
“Meh.” I shrugged. I was pretending that there was nothing more to it. This was about Wensleydale cheese, and if you’ve ever tried it, you’d understand exactly why.
Though there might have been a little more to it. Something only my body was ready to admit. My mind was a stubborn bitch. “The only reason I’m even considering going on a date with Fuerte is because Trace ate all my fancy cheese.”
“You do realize that sounds insane.” Beckie sipped her pinot noir and stared at me across the table at our favorite wine bar downtown as we sat after work on Thursday night.
“I don’t care.”
“You like him.”
“I actually think I might hate him.”
“He’s really hot though.” She raised her glass to tap it with mine.
I tapped glasses with her and smiled as I took a sip of my wine. “That he is.”
But all the planning and betting and chatting with Beckie about Fernando’s clear hotness did nothing to prepare me for what actually happened next.
Happy Book Birthday Scoring the Keeper’s Sister.
Review coming soon!
99c for a limited time!!
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Delancey Stewart is an award-winning author who writes romantic fiction
with humor and heart.
Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a
pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wineseller.
A wife and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate
captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler and story reader. She tackles all these
efforts at her current home outside Washington D.C.
There’s no better cure for the winter doldrums than a hot beach romance. Olivia Hardin’s new prequel to her small town beach romance series, Love & Found, releases today as a part of the Legacies of Love anthology… and it’s just 99 cents for all six amazing stories!
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Olivia Hardin’s The Way You Drive Me Crazy (A Love & Found Prequel):
Can a simple drive lead to something as crazy as love?
Lacey: I’m not adventurous. I’m not a wild child. Crazy isn’t what I do. And I’m certainly not the kind of girl who gets into a car with a total stranger to go off on a wild goose chase. But losing my dad changed things and I’ve been on a mission to find out everything I can about our family heritage. So, if hitching a ride with a cute mechanic from Simoneaux Bayou is needed to track down the last mysterious piece of my genealogy… well, a girl’s gotta do at least one crazy thing in her life, right?
Luke: I’m just a grease-under-the¬-nails diesel mechanic. A mechanic who just happens to be the favorite nephew of one Betty Ruth… as in Betty Ruth’s Country Store. And if there’s one thing Betty Ruth loves, its to put her nephew to work. In her eyes I can fix just about anything, so its not that unusual to get a call from her about the “pretty little girl” who’s car is broken down out at Simoneaux Bayou. But this girl is all woman and its hard to keep my eyes off of her long enough to get a good look at her busted transmission. And when Aunt Betty tells me I have to drive the girl to Lafayette… well, I’m not gonna argue over getting to spend a few hours alone with the best-looking girl a mechanic like me has ever seen, am I?
When my parents moved off to Arkansas for Dad’s retirement, I’d decided to stay behind in their old house across the bridge in Texas. Even so, the bayou was still a second home to me, and I spent most of my weekends there, fishing and carousing with my friends and Aunt Betty’s. And it wasn’t unusual for my aunt to call on me out of the blue to repair a car or an appliance or even an A/C unit for the local church. According to her, I could fix just about anything.
I saw the car with the hood up in the lot next door to Betty Ruth’s, so I pulled in beside it instead of going directly to the store. On the phone she’d said, “pretty little girl,” so I figured the chances were good it was some high schooler with a dead battery, and I might as well be prepared to give her a jump.
I’d just started checking things out when I heard footsteps behind me. “I hope you’re Lukey,” a female voice called out.
“It’s Luke, not Lukey. You know how aunts can be.” I pulled the oil dipstick, replacing it when I saw it had plenty of clean oil. Apparently the “pretty little girl” was good about getting oil changes.
“I get it serviced regularly.”
There was a touch of defensiveness in her tone, and I grinned a little to myself. “Yeah, that’s good. So, what was it doing it exactly?”
“Started shifting funny. And making a kind of whizzing sound. I don’t know. Just didn’t feel right.”
“Hmm,” I grunted, head still under the hood. “Might be the transmission. Is this a ‘99? They had some problems with that model. How many miles do you have on it?”
“About a hundred fifty thousand,” she said, and this time her voice was closer. She’d inched in beside me, and I saw a pair of manicured hands take hold of the edge of the car as she bent over to see. I caught the scent of something flowery, like one of the lotions Aunt Betty liked to get at the mall in Port Arthur. Sweet but not too overpowering. I let my eyes study her hands, how slender and long her fingers were. How soft I thought they would probably feel.
As I backed a step from the vehicle, I looked down and caught sight of her legs. Long, slender, yet shapely legs that went on and on. My gaze followed her bare arms up until I caught sight of her face.
This “pretty little girl” was all woman.
Her eyes were brown, dark brown against flawless honeyed skin. There was a sprinkling of freckles across her nose, though I figured she tried to hide them with the little bit of makeup I firmly believed she didn’t need. Her lips were shaped like a heart, darkened a reddish tone by lipstick.
When our eyes met, she let her mouth drop open a little, smiling and stepping away as if she thought she was intruding on something. I instinctively reached into my back pocket for a rag, thinking of how dirty I probably looked. I wiped my hands on that scrap of material that was just as blackened with oil and dirt as my skin was, making any attempt to clean up pretty much pointless.
I was just a diesel mechanic. And this woman was an absolute knockout, with long blonde hair, straight as a board and so fine it reflected the sun in waves. Yeah, she was a looker and out of my league, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy the view.
My eyes took all of her in, from the tight little pink tank top to her black shorts and her strappy shoes. I didn’t hurry, lingering as I absorbed every curve and angle. When I found her gaze again, she had a slightly annoyed expression on her face. She tilted her head to the side.
“Are you going to check out my car now or what?”
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About the Author
When Olivia Hardin began having strange movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long the writing bug had her and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, and she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again.
Olivia’s attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term road scholar and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic.
A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.
Get a free gift just for signing up for Olivia’s Newsletter!
And if you love her books, join Team OH!
Looking for a few book adventures this week? Check out these recently released and pre-orders waiting to find a new home. Fill up your e-readers now!
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