Trouble Walks In by Sara Humphreys is the second book in her McGuire series and this book is packed with mystery, romance and lots of chemistry. If you are a reader who is drawn to a book by it’s cover, then this is your lucky day. I love this cover.
Ronan McGuire a NYC cop with the K-9 division and works hard to protect both the citizens of his town and his friends. Will work prevent him from finding his own happy ending? With his brothers impending nuptials will everything fall into place? A family man and a man dedicated to protecting the community is a hero we all want to be with.
Maddy Morgan was involved with a man who worked with Ronan’s brother and his death affected her deeply. It’s been a while since she’s allowed herself the chance to open up and be with aother man.
Working in NYC is supposed to be an adventure and filled with fun filled days. So when Maddy’s world takes an odd turn and women she’s acquainted with are being murdered everything changes.
Suddenly Ronan is there to help make sure she stays safe. The heart never forgets and when these two are together again will things turn out differently? With all the chaos surrounding her world, can Ronan protect her?
We desperately want these two to find their happy-ever-after and know that it’s a matter of time before they can trust each other. Two strong and bold characters will face a few obstacles before they can figure out what their story has in store for them.
Sara has once again created a world of second chances, duty and honor. The McGuire that we’ve met so far are strong and intense men who will stop at nothing to protect the woman they love.
Discover for yourself how sexy a NYC cop is, especially one with a cute furry partner. This two peppers spicy latte hot delight has just enough sizzle to make you tingle and a lot of action! Oh, and yes, it’s for mature readers 18+.
While this is part of a series it can be read as a standalone. I received this ARC from the publisher for a fair and honest review. I wanted to read this book before I saw the cover and am happy the publisher sent it my way. I look forward to finding out who is next in the story line-up.
Thank you Sara for a fun filled few days with me on the blog!
Check it out with this Excerpt:
“I told you that I’d be there, and I meant it.” Maddy Morgan pressed the iPhone harder against her ear. She was attempting to block out the sounds beyond her office door while her best friend pestered her to within an inch of her life. “I’m your maid of honor, for heaven’s sake. What? You think I’m gonna bail after everything you and Gavin have been through? Hell no!”
“Okay, well, you can’t blame me for double-checking, can you?” Jordan hesitated, her voice concerned. “We’ve hardly spoken. I mean, you haven’t been home since… It’s been over a year and…”
Maddy stared out the window that overlooked the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and sucked in a deep breath, her friend’s unfinished thought hanging in the air. She nibbled her lower lip and fought the sudden, unexpected swell of emotion. It had been fifteen months since Rick died and a full year since she had been back to the town she’d always called home.
At least, she had until recently.
“I know,” Maddy said quietly.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and refused to cry. She’d cried enough at Rick’s funeral and during the weeks following. No more tears. If Rick were here, he would tell her to put on her big girl panties and get on with life.
“I’m not missing your wedding,” she said firmly. “Jeez, Jordan. You and Gavin have waited sixteen years to finally get hitched. Hell, you two would have gotten married last Christmas if it weren’t for me.”
“That’s not true,” Jordan said firmly.
“Bull.” Maddy laughed.
“Okay, well, it wasn’t the only reason.” Jordan replied. “Gavin’s parents wanted to throw us a huge Christmas wedding, and four months wouldn’t have been enough time to pull it all together. Deciding to wait a year has been a win-win. My future mother-in-law had plenty of time to do her thing, and we all had time to properly grieve for Rick. But I’m still worried about you…”
“I’m fine, Jordan, and I promise… I’m gonna be there to witness your dream coming true.”
“Yo, Maddy.” The increasingly irritating voice of Chris Drummond shot into the room as he barged in. “That blond, the Brenda chick—are you gonna to take her out to an open house this weekend, or should I? And what about those newlyweds? I know you’ve been slammed. I could take them out to see the new listings, if you want.”
“Hang on, Jordan,” Maddy said tightly.
She covered the phone with her hand and leveled an irritated gaze at her colleague. She knew that Terrence, the owner of the realty agency, had hired Drummond because he had an amazing reputation for selling and one of the best portfolios in the business, but he was a letch. A letch that thought anyone with boobs wanted him. Maddy had learned a long time ago that big talent usually meant even bigger egos.
Unfortunately, this talent was also turning out to be an asshole. She had already reported him once to Terrence for inappropriate advances on the young women in the office. Big talent or not, he was making her tired of him and his misogynistic bullshit. And lately, there had been attempts to steal her clients.
“Did you happen to notice that my door was closed?”
“Yeah.” He leaned in the doorway with his usual casual arrogance. Tall, slim, well dressed, and always perfectly coiffed, he was considered good-looking by most. But the air of entitlement he wore like a cloak was a turnoff as far as Maddy was concerned. Besides, she would never date a colleague.
“I’m on a call.”
“Right.” He jutted his thumb over his shoulder. “Anyway, should I take that Brenda chick out and, uh, show her the ropes? We could take the newlyweds, the, uh…”
“The Bartholemews,” Maddy finished for him. “No, I can handle my client list. Thank you.”
“Fine, then let me take Brenda out.”
The smarmy smile on his face gave Maddy pause. He’d been hitting on the assistants, who were savvy New Yorkers and more than capable of handling themselves, but now he was moving on to the young real estate agent. Brenda was a recent college grad from the Midwest. She was pretty, smart, and naive.
A prime target for a guy like Drummond.
“No,” Maddy said firmly. “Terrence asked me to handle her training. Thank you, and please close the door on your way out.”
His smile faded, and a hard, cold look settled in his eyes. Maddy had moved up the ranks quickly since joining Cosmopolitan Realty House, and her rise hadn’t gone unnoticed by Drummond. He hated not being number one, but she suspected that being second to a woman was a bigger insult.
“Sure thing,” he murmured.
Drummond left but neglected to shut the door. Maddy crossed the room, pausing only to tell Sharon, her assistant, to hold her other calls before she closed her door once more.
“Sorry about that, Jordan.” She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window and grimaced before running one hand through her unruly brown curls. “I’m coming into town a week before the wedding so I can help you with whatever you need. Y’know, all that bridesmaid stuff. I mean, I’m not a real girlie girl, but it’ll be fun to hang out. And tell Gavin he better not try to horn in on our girls’ night out. It might only be the two of us, but there’s a no-boys-allowed rule in effect for that event.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Jordan said through a chuckle. “All four of his brothers are coming in early as well. From what I hear, Ronan has quite the bachelor party planned. Speaking of Ronan, why don’t you two ride back to Old Brookfield together? I mean, you’re both in the city, and he is the best man.”
“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. I’ll take my own car, thank you very much. I’m staying at the Old Brookfield Inn, and Ronan will be at his parents’ house, obviously.” Maddy’s eyes narrowed, and the smile on her face grew. “Your matchmaking scheme hasn’t worked, Jordan. But I’ll give you and Gavin an A for effort.”
“What are you talking about?” Jordan asked with feigned innocence. “When you moved to the city last year, Gavin merely suggested that Ronan should look out for you. He’s been a cop there for over a decade. Besides, I heard through the McGuire brother grapevine that you two have been going running on the weekends, so Ronan can’t be all bad.”
Nope. –That was half the problem. He was exactly the right kind of bad.
They had gone jogging in Central Park almost every weekend for the past several months, but Maddy had made it clear from the start: she wasn’t interested in dating. Not him, nor anyone else. Friends? Sure. Romance? No way.
Her heart couldn’t take another turn through the shredder. Dating a cop, just because he also happened to be one of the sexiest men God ever put on this earth, would not be a smart move.
Besides, Ronan had a reputation as a total ladies’ man.
Not that she could blame any woman for taking a ride on that handsome train. When he flashed that lopsided grin and his bluish-green eyes crinkled at the corners, it took superwoman strength for Maddy not to drop her panties. He was a combination of mischievous little boy and irresistible alpha male—a deadly pairing.
Ronan McGuire was wickedly sexy. The worst part was that he knew it.
“Well, yeah,” Maddy said quickly. She sat at her desk and spun the chair to face the window so she could see the rest of the world. Living and working in this city made her feel like a rat in a cage sometimes. “Running around, getting sweaty, and panting in the cold is not exactly dating, Jordan.”
“Sweaty and panting sounds promising,” Jordan teased.
Maddy’s face flushed. “That’s not what I meant.” She quickly added, “I was talking about Bowser.”
“Sure,” her friend said slowly. “Sure you were.”
“You know Ronan doesn’t go anywhere without that dog. Speaking of which, are you prepared to have a drooling animal at your wedding?”
“Oh fine, change the subject.” Jordan sighed. “Any chance I can talk you into coming for Thanksgiving?”
“Sorry, babe. I’m slammed.”
“Then how about staying for Christmas? The wedding is on the twenty-third. Come on. Please? The girls would love it,” she said, referring to her two adorable daughters. “You’re going to be here for a week, so what’s a couple more days? You said they were closing your office between Christmas and New Year’s anyway.”
Maddy had never been part of big family holidays, and that had been fine with her, but the pleading tone in Jordan’s voice was starting to make her rethink her decision.
“You know the holidays were never a big deal for me, Jordan. My mom hated celebrating them after my dad died, and then once she was gone, I didn’t really want to. And besides,” she added quickly, “Rick and I never even got a tree or anything. He was always working, and so was I.”
“I know, but I hate to think of you alone in that big city on Christmas. Again. It’s bad enough you wouldn’t come last year. Please think about it?”
“I’m hosting a huge New Year’s Eve party for my clients—it’s at my apartment.”
“You could leave on the twenty-sixth and still be back in plenty of time to be party ready,” Jordan persisted. “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to call bullshit on that excuse. You and I both know your assistant already has the whole shindig tied up and ready to go.”
Jordan was right. The party was a lame reason not to spend the holiday with them. Besides, it was all being catered, and the invitations had been sent. What did Maddy really have to do other than show up and schmooze? And what was here for her on Christmas? She didn’t even have a cat or a fish to feed.
Ugh. She felt more pathetic by the second.
“Okay,” Maddy said with a dramatic sigh. “I’ll think about it. Jeez, when did you become such a nudge?”
“Since I had two children and learned that being a nudge can sometimes be quite effective.”
A knock on Maddy’s door sent a flicker of irritation up her back. But when she spun around, Sharon’s tearstained face stopped her cold.
“Girl, I have to go.” A knot of dread curled in her gut. “I’ll see you in a few weeks. Give Gracie and Lilly a kiss from Aunt Maddy.”
Maddy hit End and set the phone on her desk. Her legs felt like Jell-O as she rose to her feet. Sharon was still weeping while she closed the door behind her, and before it shut, Maddy saw two of the other agents in the office crying.
“Sharon, what is it?”
“Th-they found her.”
“Who?” Maddy asked shakily, her fingertips pressing into the mahogany desk. But she knew the answer before Sharon said it.
“Lucille Bowman.” The young woman swiped at her eyes and let out a shuddering sob. “She’s dead.”
(Excerpt posted with permission by Sara Humphreys)
Sara Humphreys is the award winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards–Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.
She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook.
For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.
Brave the Heat (The McGuire Brothers Book 1) by Sara Humphreys is a contemporary romance about second chances and not giving up on your dreams. From the smoking hot revamped cover (thank you Sourcebooks!) to the fast paced story this book is a great way to spend an afternoon by the pool.
Jordan McKenna hasn’t been home in years and the reasons surrounding her sudden departure are still unclear. When she finally returns to town there are questions and more mystery.
Gavin McGuire is the Fire Chief and his job is to protect and keep people safe. A sexy firefighter who still desires the one that got away – I love it!
Gavin and Jordan are looking for a second chance and an opportunity to make things right both with their family and with each other. There are secrets they have yet to share, can she trust him after all these years when he asks for the real reason she skipped town and left him behind? Will he open up with her about what happened when he was younger? Both will need to open up and take a chance.
When Gavin falls for Jordan he be faced with the danger of his job and how it affects the ones he cares for. Our hero wants to keep everyone safe and find out who is responsible for the fires in tow. There are plenty of people in town who once wanted them apart, will they encounter the same road blocks?
I love the way that Sara has created a story and series with plenty of brothers…I smell a ton of future books dear readers. If they are half as sexy as Gavin then we are in for a treat!
Discover a great series from a must read author. While this is part of a series it can be read as a standalone. Tomorrow I’ll be featuring the second book in the series who just happens to be Gavin’s brother and a NYC cop! I love Sara’s characters and the connection they have with each other. There is a great world waiting to unfold and I hope that you dear reader will get your copy now and make the McGuires part of your reading family.
Sara Humphreys is the award winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards–Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.
She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook.
For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.
****** Congratulations to the winner of the Day 10 Giveaway ******
***** Exclusive Giveaway *****
***** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ****
Prize no longer valid
Cosmicread you have won the BARBARA DEVLIN PRIZE :
ONE Amazon Kindle Fire 7″ a Kindle copy of To Catch a Fallen Spy AND The Black Morass
for one lucky winner in the US/Canada.
**International winner will receive a GC from Amazon.com **
Cosmicread you have 24 hours to e-mail email@example.com or a new name will be drawn.
As the Winter Extravaganza comes to a close with this last post I want to thank all the authors who made the past NINE days so much fun and who were generous with their time and contributions. Thank you Kimberly Kincaid, Sandra Lake, Stefanie London, MK Meredith, Entangled Publishing, Allison Butler, Hildie McQueen, Nancy Northcott, Jeanne Adams, Samantha Chase, Suzanne Ferrell, Dianna Love, Anna Campbell, Tessa McFionn, Naima Simone, Robin Covington, Elizabeth Heiter, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lauren Blakely and Barbara Devlin.
Thank you ladies and thank you readers.
Don’t forget to comment on the posts from Day 7, 8 and today. ALL winners will be posted by 7/22/16.
The Black Morass, the first book in the Pirates of the Coast series by Barbara Devlin focuses on Pirate Jean Marc Cavalier who appeared a character that appeared in To Catch a Fallen Spy (Brethren of the Coast Book 8). This somewhat dubious hero deserved his own book and Barbara delivered a must-read book for fans and introduces us to a sexy pirate who is naughty, daring and seeking redemption for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately the path to clearing his name is not as short one and will require a few compromises if he’s to survive the terms.
Lady Madelen Davies has no idea what Jean Marc is capable of whe she is resuced from her sinking ship by the pirate and his crew. Will he live up to his reputation or surprise her with the first of many reformed acts? Will he do the right thing or will his eccentric and spicy appetites become his downfall? Dear readers this pirate will pursue Madelene and push boundaries that have not been broached in the other Brethren books.
All our heroine wants is to return home to her family. It seems a simple request and our hero obliges – with quite a few catches along theway. However, Lady Madelene also makes some bold decisions of her own. Their journey is one that will push and pull them both. They will discover who they can trust, what their dreams are and that sometimes, family is the one you make of your own free will.
Can the tough man who once cared only for himself discover that his heart isn’t broken after all? In fact it beats strong, and maybe he’s finally found a woman who can satisfy his cravings and stand up to him despite the unknown fear of walking the plank?
There is balance in the tender and merciless way Barbara has crafted this new world. If you think the Brethren are spicy than just wait till you set sail with her pirates!
This book is a four pepper read for full on no holds barred and “go for it” sensuality & situations. For mature readers 18+.
I look forward to reading the next installment in the Pirates of the Coast series and can’t wait to discover what adventure awaits for our next pirate as he seeks his redemption.
Time to take a peak at The Black Morass….with an excerpt.
(Excerpt edited for content to maintain blog PG-13 rating)
Atlantic Ocean March, 1816
Virtue was a highly overrated characteristic in his estimation. In truth, he ranked it in the miserable depths of humanity comprised of respectability and righteousness. For the strong and fearless, the glorified traits of honor and integrity functioned as an impenetrable barrier to the excitement of the worldly existence filled with violence and debauchery in which he once reveled on a daily basis. In exchange for societal approval, grown men surrendered their dignity, and their whore’s pipe, he would argue, to abide by a set of rules in which most had no say, and for what? High principles? Prestige? Indeed, such noble qualities sucked dry the marrow of life, leaving naught but the simple pleasures to enjoy, as the Black Morass rode the waves.
Sunshine glittered on the ocean, as a sea of precious diamonds, and a cool breeze sifted through his long black hair, as Jean Marc Cavalier directed the helmsman. Restless and yearning for stimulation, something to feed the hunger that gnawed at his harrowed soul, he approached with caution what appeared to be a burning schooner that he might offer aid, in accord with the pact he signed in a moment of weakness or perhaps insanity.
“No movement on deck, Cap’n.” Tyne, the bosun, lowered his spyglass. “Should we continue our advance?”
“We will maintain course and heading, just to be sure there are no survivors in need of rescue.” For some strange suspicion he could not quite shake, Jean Marc surmised all was not as it seemed, given the nearest vessel disappeared below the horizon before he could inquire after the circumstances of the misadventure. For a seaman, naught struck fear in the heart more than fire aboard ship, which could send an entire crew to Davy Jones’s locker. And he had given his word to perform meritorious deeds for a full year, in trade for an unconditional pardon. At the end of twelve months, Jean Marc and his men would be free of past crimes, beholden to none.
But at what price had he bartered his autonomy?
It was for that reason Jean Marc refused to sail past the doomed lady. And then he spied activity at the stern rail, on the quarterdeck.
“What is it?” Peering over his shoulder, Tyne narrowed his stare. “Is that a white flag?”
As they drew closer, Jean Marc smiled, and a familiar itch in his palms had him flexing his fingers. The lure of conquest burned bright in his loins, and he struggled with a craving for fresh meat, if only to reassert authority over his life. “It is a woman.” He laughed. “And she waves her undergarments.”
Perhaps fate smiled upon him, as the chit might be just the balm to ease his unrest and allow him to regain a measure of control.
Obligated to the Crown, and no longer the master of his destiny, he thirsted for the power of ultimate domination, and nothing compared to the supremacy inherent in seduction.
“Bloody hell, she is a tasty bit o’ fluff.” Tyne licked his lips. “And a bottle of Jamaican rum says she is unspoiled, too.”
“I believe you are correct in your assertion, mon ami.” That tempered Jean Marc’s ever-growing arousal, as he never claimed virgin’s blood, because he preferred experienced whores who knew what he wanted and gave it to him, without complaint or inconvenient emotional attachments. Then he got a good look at the boon, in question, as the Morass glided to a halt, and full-blown lust threatened to consume him. Maybe it was time to sample the tender flesh of an innocent. “Ahoy, dear lady. Jean Marc Cavalier, most definitely at your service.”
“Kind sir, I would be grateful for passage to Port Royal.” Behind her, the masts collapsed, and she shrieked. How he ached to make her squeal with enthusiasm, as he would wager she could scream much louder with the right inducement. “As you can see, my current accommodation is about to sink, and I am in dire need of new transportation.”
“Lower the plank.” He signaled the crew. “As I am certain we can strike a mutually beneficial bargain.” With a lush figure made for sin, and of that he could envision committing many with her, and alabaster skin he fully intended to explore in more intense inspection, once he got her alone, she presented a delightful distraction. “How is it your ship fell into such misfortune, and where is the crew?”
“They are dead.” Tears pooled in her vivid blue eyes, and she emitted a soft sob, but he cared not for her sad tale. “We were attacked by pirates, and I hid in the captain’s cabin, in a small compartment beneath a concealed floor panel, which he revealed he previously used for smuggling, thus I was spared.”
“Come here, mon chou.” As the bow dipped below the surface of the water, he slipped an arm about her hips and whisked her aboard the Morass.
“Oh, do collect my bundles, as they hold irreplaceable personal items, including some of my mother’s keepsakes.” She pointed to two pillowcases, knotted at the opening. “Please, sir. I cannot lose them, and I shall ensure you are handsomely compensated, when I reach my destination, as I hail from a family of means.”
“Is that so? Then your every wish is my command.” And she would compensate him, all right, but not in the coin she proposed, as he had something else in mind for the delectable brown-haired wench. In seconds, Jean Marc jumped to the now high-pitched stern, grabbed the belongings, glanced into the waist of the doomed vessel, and discovered the remains of a massacre, which made no sense. At the very least, the sailors could have been sold into slavery, so why would anyone surrender such valuable cargo? A large crack in the boards indicated the ship yielded its last breath to the force of the ocean, and he took a running leap to safety. When he gained his footing, the woman flung herself at him and wept. “Now, now, none of that, mon chou.”
Guileless and genteel, his unwitting prize had no idea of the scheme he would enact to reclaim a portion of his pride, as the King stipulated naught in regard to conquest of the fair sex. Indeed, she possessed no means of defense against his provocative persuasion, and he would employ everything at his disposal to well and thoroughly invade every inch of her. Before he landed the little angel on Jamaica’s shore, he would instruct her in the art of pleasure, such that she would perform, at will, what even some professionals considered obscene, and render her quim raw. And then he would leave her, unharmed but a bit worn about the edges, without so much as a backward glance, as was his way.
“I thought I was going to die, and you saved me when all seemed lost.” Well, he was not so sure he saved her, inasmuch as he delivered her from one precarious position to another, though she knew it not. Whimpering, she hugged him tight, and he savored her soft and feminine curves. “How can I ever thank you?”
**Edited for content and approved by Author **
“You may start by telling me your name.”
** Edited for content and approved by Author **
“Lady Madalene Davies, sir. (**Edited for blog and approved by Author**) Is this a passenger-for-hire ship or a privateer in His Majesty’s Navy?”
“Not usually, and I am no longer a pirate.” He advanced, as her chin quivered, and desire surged in his veins. “Thus I am willing to negotiate terms, if you are amenable.” With a shrug, he trailed a finger along the gentle curve of her jaw. “Else I can return you to the sea.”
“I beg your pardon?” Lady Madalene blinked. “You are no longer a pirate?” She made another perfunctory study of his men and gulped.
“Am I in danger? Did you kill the Trident crew, and am I to suffer the same fate?”
“Mon chou, you insult me, as I would have taken them captive were that my work. And never would I waste something so lovely.” Swift and sure, he caught her in his arms, and she screamed, just as he claimed a lengthy kiss, to ribald hoots and hollers. When she wrenched free, pounded his chest with her fists, and prepared to protest, he nodded and thrust her into Tyne and Randall’s waiting escort. “Take her to my cabin.”
Freedom often commanded a steep price, in many instances exacted against the will of the innocent soul caught in its implacable lure, and Lady Madalene Davies pondered the cost her liberator, a self-proclaimed, one-time pirate blackguard who seemed much invested in his former trade, given his bawdy behavior and iniquitous demeanor, might demand in exchange for safe passage to Port Royal. But could she endure the consequences of such a bargain, as she foundered somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea?
Out of place in her new cabin, which contrasted with her modest chamber aboard the Trident, she doffed her cloak and bonnet. A plush, red velvet counterpane covered the largest bunk she had ever seen, given Captain Hammond used a hammock, and the mattress hosted a mountain of matching pillows.
** Edited for content and approved by Author**
Behind the thick oak panel stood a surly looking character she dared not challenge, and the small side chamber held naught but clothing. A locker marked with unique carvings revealed additional personal items, so she gave her attention to the hand-tooled desk, to search for some indication of the character of her erstwhile savior.
In the top drawer, she discovered a logbook, a set of maps and charts, and a deck of cards with the usual suits on one side and shocking images of ladies sans garments on the other, and she dropped the offensive items. Then her gaze lit upon a rolled parchment secured with an elegant ribbon. With a cursory check to ensure privacy, she untied the swath of silk, smoothed the paper, and examined what she realized was an official document, distinguished by its heading, Letter of Marque and Reprisal.
“Upon my word.” Madalene gasped. “Jean Marc Cavalier was a pirate.”
Before she could read the entire contents of the pact, a telltale voice brought her up short. Lightning quick, she restored the parchment to its secure space, glanced left and then right, and hugged herself. Adopting a relaxed stance, she peered beyond the window at the floating debris—all that remained of her ship, and considered her options, and of that there were few. It seemed she had traded one perilous predicament for another, and she knew not if she would survive to be reunited with her father, as her life depended upon a questionable creature Aunt Eileen would have no doubt described as a man with loose morals.
“You daydream, mon chou.” Her not so chivalrous rescuer slammed shut the door, and she jumped. With a cocksure swagger, her less than noble knight strolled to the impressive desk, drew a bottle and two glasses from a drawer, and then pulled a chair from a small dining table. “Have a seat.”
“Thank you.” Stiffening her spine, she perched on the edge and settled her clasped hands in her lap to conceal her trembling, as she studied her opponent.
Unlike the sailors, the captain wore a white linen shirt, buckskin breeches, and a polished pair of Hessians. Chiseled lines comprised his classical profile but did little to dispel his menacing guise. A long, jagged scar traced from his left ear and across his clean-shaven cheek, disappearing under a black patch adorned with a large ruby, which concealed his eye, and a leather strip tamed his long ebony locks. Although he might have been handsome at one time, he struck her as a dangerous adversary, and she would zealously guard her virtue in his company.
Madalene cleared her throat. “Good sir, I—”
“First, let me correct you, mon chou, as I would have us understand each other.” A sly smile played on his lips, as he leaned forward, and a tremor of dread traipsed her flesh. “I am no sir, and neither am I good. From this moment forth, you will address me as Jean Marc, as it is what I prefer, or I will give you to the sea.”
“But that is not proper decorum for a lady of character, sir.” Something in his expression, not to mention his threat, gave her a shiver, especially when he laughed. “And while I asked for transport to Port Royal, I would amend my request and have you put me ashore at the nearest dock.”
“No, and I have no use for proper decorum.” He shook his head, and her confidence plummeted to new depths. “You will tell me your history, and then we will negotiate compensation for my assistance.”
“I do not have much money, sir—Jean Marc.” When he arched a brow, Madalene gulped. “What I mean is I hold a trifle with which to pay my fare, but my father will reimburse you for any related expenses or a ransom, should you hold me prisoner.”
“You sell yourself short, as you are a handsome wench, but I will clap you in irons, if it will make you feel better.” Everything in his manner conveyed equal parts of power and peril, and she dared not protest, so she held her tongue. Tapping his chin, he narrowed his stare. “Everyone aboard this ship fills a need, and I wonder how you might serve me.”
“What would you have of me?” Bereft of viable alternatives, she composed a list of skills, the sum of which she could provide to the captain’s benefit. “I can cook a few dishes, and I can sew, but I am unaccustomed to manual labor. However, I am willing to learn, if you have the patience to teach me.”
“Oh, I am more than willing to teach you what I require, and I hope, for your sake, you possess a strong constitution.” His chuckle only increased her trepidation, as she had an inkling their intentions conflicted. “So you live well, Lady Madalene?” Reclining, Jean Marc gazed at her with unveiled interest and folded his arms, and she realized, too late, she made a grievous mistake. “Tell me of your wealthy father.”
“In truth, I know little of him, as he departed Boston when I was but a child of four, and I have not seen him since.” Never had her sire written a letter inquiring after her health, and her mother indicated he cared not for his daughter, but Madalene clung to faith, as she yearned for a relationship with her father. “When I was ten, my mother died of a nasty fever, and my grandfather became my guardian, but the task fell upon Aunt Eileen after he passed.”
“And I presume Aunt Eileen is gone?” His eyes, so blue, reminded her of the crystal waters off Boston Harbor, and she would do well to avoid his captivating gaze, as it mesmerized her. “Have you no siblings?”
“No, I am an only child. And I lost my aunt in January, to an unknown malady.” She bowed her head, as a tear coursed her cheek. “I was very close to my aunt, as she was all I had in the world, which is why I was so glad to receive my father’s missive, asking me to journey to Port Royal.”
“Why does he live in Jamaica, when he is an English lord?” The ex-buccaneer tapped his fingers to the tabletop. “Is he a wanted man?”
“Not that I know, but he is a stranger to me, in a sense.” And that bothered her more than she was willing to admit to herself or anyone else, as she knew not what awaited her in the equally foreign place. “I suspect his request that I join him has something to do with Aunt Eileen’s will. Given my mother preceded my grandfather in death, he left his vast estate, which includes a sugar plantation just outside Port Royal, to be divided between his surviving daughter and myself. As Eileen never married, there are no other beneficiaries.”
“Am I to understand that, in light of your aunt’s demise, you are the sole heir to the family fortune?” With an expression of surprise, Jean Marc stretched upright. “Indeed, you are the owner, according to American law.”
“So it seems, per an attorney and a probate judge in the Boston courts.” She nodded. “Now will you help me?”
“Were you traveling alone, and what precisely happened aboard the Trident?” The menacing captain rubbed his chin and shifted his weight. “Did the attackers take anything or anyone? Did you see them? If so, can you provide a description, as I am curious as to their identities?”
“My governess, Miss Wimple, accompanied me, but she was killed.” In a flood of unpleasant memories, Madalene revisited the screams of horror, and she shuddered and wrenched to the present. “I heard plenty, and it was terrible, but I saw nothing, and for that I am grateful. Captain Hammond bade me hide before the pirates overtook our ship. Once silence fell on the vessel, I emerged from my makeshift shelter and found everyone murdered and the boat in flames. Had you not come along when you did, I would have drowned, as I cannot swim, which I already told you, so I thank you for sparing me that fate.”
“Believe me, it is my pleasure, mon chou.” For a while, he simply studied her, and she fidgeted with nervous anxiety. “You had a governess.” It was a statement, not a question. “How old are you?”
“Eight and ten,” she murmured, as she toyed with the lace trim of her sleeve.
“Why are you not married?” When she shrugged, Jean Marc sighed. “Given your beauty and your inheritance, I gather you are popular in Boston.”
“While I appreciate the compliment, I am not interested in such flattery.” To her regret, she met his azure stare, which she suspected gleaned too much for her liking, and she swallowed hard, as he appeared on the verge of devouring her. “And I have no beau, given my father never negotiated a match.”
“You would leave such things for your father to arrange?” He snickered. “The English treat the most important commitment a man and a woman can make as a financial agreement.”
“If you intended to insult me, I take no offense, as I am an American.” Madalene sniffed. “And my private affairs are no business of yours, sir.”
“In that you are correct, and I told you that I prefer you address me as Jean Marc.” He licked his lips, which she tried but failed to ignore. “Since you do not strike me as stupid, I can only presume you deliberately bait me, which is never wise, because I may take more than you are willing to give. Perhaps I should throw you and your private affairs into the sea.” He snapped his fingers. “Then again, you cannot swim, so I encourage you to consider your words with caution, in the future, else you may not enjoy the consequences.”
“I apologize.” Never had she met anyone like Jean Marc Cavalier, and she wondered if the ocean might prove less dangerous. Still, if she hoped to reunite and reconcile with her father, she had to keep the irascible captain happy. Given her grandfather’s cantankerous nature, she knew how to placate a temperamental man, as they shared much in common with spoiled children, so she had but to appease Jean Marc until they reached Port Royal. “To my shame, I spoke in haste, and I humbly ask that you forgive my inadvertent slight.”
“You choke on those words.” With a snort, he slapped his thigh. “Ah, but this crossing proves far more interesting with each passing minute.”
“But I am sincere, Jean Marc. I do so covet compromise and will do my best to perform to your satisfaction, in whatever you command of me.” Fearing a watery grave, she accepted the lone option at her disposal. She would defend her chastity, maintain what she could of her dignity, sacrifice her pride, pray no one ever discovered her ill-fated trip to Jamaica, and persist. With that, she resolved to indulge her unpredictable host beyond the usual social dictates. “Given you wish me to serve you, where should I begin?”
“You may pour me a drink.” In that moment, he lowered his chin, scooted the bottle in her direction, and cast a half-grin, which she viewed as an olive branch, of sorts, until he whispered, “For now.”
Bestselling author Barbara Devlin was born a storyteller. A Texan, through and through, Barbara hasn’t been without a book in her possession since she was in kindergarten. She wrote her first short story, a really cheesy murder-mystery, in high school, but it was a Christmas gift, a lovely little diary with a bronze lock, given to her in the fifth grade that truly inspired her love of writing.
After completing part of her undergraduate studies at the University of London, where she developed a love of all things British, Barbara returned home and began a career in banking. But the late 80s weren’t too promising for the financial industry, and every bank that hired Barbara soon folded. So she searched for a stable occupation, and the local police department offered the answer to her prayers.
Initially, Barbara wasn’t too sure about her new career in law enforcement, but she soon came to love being a police officer. And then one uncharacteristically cold and icy day in December 1998, Barbara was struck by a car and pinned against a guardrail while working an accident on a major highway. Permanently disabled, she retired from the police department and devoted her time and energy to physical therapy.
Once Barbara got back on her feet, she focused on a new career in academia. She earned an MA in English and continued a course of study for a Doctorate in Literature and Rhetoric. She happily considered herself an exceedingly eccentric English professor, until success in Indie publishing lured her into writing, full-time, featuring her fictional knighthood, the Brethren of the Coast.
Today I’m featuring books by Robin Covington, Elizabeth Heiter, Sandra Lake, Lauren Blakely, and Elizabeth Hoyt. Their books include Erotic, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance and Historical Romane so there is something for everyone.
Be sure to check out the amazing e-book giveaways at the very bottom. It’s going to be a sweet and spicy day!
******* ROBIN COVINGTON ******
Bestselling author Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her bestselling books. When she’s not writing sexy, sizzling romance she is collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, and stalking Joe Manganiello.
You can find Robin at her website (robincovingtonromance.com), Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Don’t send chocolate . . . send eye candy!
Robin lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband, brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!) and her beloved furbabies.
One Little Kiss by Robin Covington is absolutely sinful and I am thrilled to see it’s a contender in the 2016 RITA Novella category. It’s got depth of emotion and plot, amazing characters and a VERY emotionally satisfying ending. Without sacrifice, work or challenges, love isn’t worth the risk!
Leighton Greer is on her way to Dublin for a chance of a lifetime until a raging blizzard delays her flight and strands her at the airport.
Karma can be worse than an crazy ex-boyfriend. For Leighton it smacked her straight into the very man she ran out on. Now, it will take a little Irish luck to charm her way around the very man who stole more than just her heart.
Jonas Sutton has a secret, he’s in love with Leighton and absolutely pissed she walked out on him. Things are totally complicated now, she’s his best friend’s sister.
Desperate to spend time and find out why she left him, Jonas rescues her from the airport. They are given a second chance for redemption, both at the airport because they are headed out of town. What are the odds?
Leighton is shocked by his sudden news and forced to face her feelings, will she run again? Can they both have their dreams? Will these two souls desperate for each other finally connect?
This three pepper spicy latte sizzles and is a must read. I sat down to read it and did not get out of my chair till I clicked on the last page. I am in love with this tasty tale.
This story is pretty hot with content for mature readers 18 +.
The guy leaning on me really needs an Altoid.
I shift to the side as my impromptu airport floor roommate snuggles closer and lets loose a snore that makes my nearby fellow captives look in our direction in alarm. I’m not looking forward to riding out the snowstorm in Terminal D with a man who needs an industrial strength nasal strip but I fought hard for the prime spot along the wall close to an electrical outlet and I’m not moving.
When the airline had begun cancelling flights due to the unexpected blizzard three days before St. Patrick’s Day, the first wave of activity in international departures was to secure a hotel room for the night. Being neither a platinum or some other precious gem level member at one of the big hotel chains had meant I was out of luck in securing any kind of room for the night so I’d wedged my way in between overstuffed carry-ons and whiny kids to grab my piece of prime real estate along the wall.
Two hours later, my phone is fully charged but the answer is clear—there is no room for me in the inn. Or the Marriott. Or the Hilton.
A great way to start my first adventure.
Two and a half months from my college graduation and I’m taking the chances in my life that I should have been taking all along. Finally. I’m beginning to feel like the person I am supposed to be but not everyone is on board with my accelerated program of development. The parentals, my twin brother—they mean well but they worry about me. Too much.
I am the fragile one. The one who needs to be careful. The one they almost lost. You’d think beating childhood leukemia would have made me brave, fierce. Nope. I’d bought into their characterization and worn it like a cloak to protect me from the big bad world until I’d almost suffocated under the weight. And then a few months ago, Brian-the-cheaterface had kicked my ass to the curb two weeks before Christmas for a girl named Silver who had green hair, ear gauges and a tongue stud and blamed it all on my being only slightly less boring than a bag of flour. Actually, his exact words were “if you’d only live with the passion you put into your fucking music I wouldn’t have had to look elsewhere” but it all amounted to the same thing.
And as big a cheating asshole Brian was, he wasn’t wrong.
So, I wallowed in my misery for a week and then grabbed the nearest bottle of champagne and proceeded to spend New Year’s Eve “living with passion” in the bed of a guy I’d wanted for what seemed like forever. I also beat feet out of there before the morning after ruined the memories of the night. A cowardly move, I know.
He must have been on the same page because he avoided me in the weeks following our night of sweaty fun between the sheets. The times when we had to be together were infrequent but held a level of awkward somewhere between catching your parents making out on the couch and leaving the restroom with your skirt stuck in your panties. Good times.
But I am determined to live with passion, so when my music program selected me to go to the Celtic Music Festival in Dublin a month ago, I dusted off my passport, spared a moment to regret the terrible ID photo, and booked my ticket.
And now my flight is cancelled until the snowstorm passes, I’m stuck in the airport with a million other spring breakers, and my folks have lost their minds. It isn’t like taking a spring break trip to Ireland is the height of danger but you’d think I was pledging to marry a death-row inmate or something, the way they are acting.
They finally stopped calling after I let their calls go to voicemail but they weren’t shy about pulling out the big guns and so the next series of calls were from their not-so-secret weapon—my twin brother Landon.
I hit the screen and sigh, making sure a little bit of bitch is added to the overall tone of annoyance. “Landon. I’m going to Dublin. The flights will be back on tomorrow. Stop calling.”
“Number Two.” I bite back the urge to tell him for the eleventy billionth time to stop calling me that childhood nickname. I was three minutes behind him in arriving on this planet and he never lets me forget it. “Mom is shitting a brick because she thinks you’re going to be murdered in your sleep by someone who wants your carry-on.”
I glance at the small backpack at my feet. Yeah, I have the usual electronics in it —iPad, iPod—but the real treasure is in the hard case tucked close to my side. My violin, Wonder Woman, is inside and worth at least a year of tuition according to the insurance papers. She is my best friend, an extension of my body. My heart. We’ve been together since I was sixteen years old.
“If someone wants her they’ll have to pry her out of my cold, dead hands.”
He laughs. “And that is exactly what mom’s having a cow about.”
“Landon,” I sigh.
Did I mention how much I hate that nickname?
“I wish everyone would stop treating me like I am helpless or something. I’m not going to break or have a breakdown because I have to sleep at the airport.”
“We worry about you,” he says and then mumbles something to himself I can’t make out.
“What? What did you say?”
“Look. I sent the cavalry,” he rushes in and I let out a groan that catches the attention of several of my fellow strandees. I smile, trying to reassure them that I’m not the wacko they need to worry about as he keeps talking. “It was either this or mom was going to call airport security.”
“She didn’t.” If she did I was going to die on the spot. Melt into a pile of embarrassed goo and be nothing but a dark stain on the disgusting industrial carpet.
“She didn’t because I offered a compromise.”
“What kind of compromise?” But I knew. I knew because I saw it walking towards me with a slow grin and six feet three inches of lanky, sexy, muscled body. I can’t help the way my mouth drops open on a whispered, “oh my God” as I end the call. Hell, I’m glad I can still form a sentence at this point in time since the last person I want to see and the one person I’m desperate to have saunters towards me.
The guy I spent the night with on New Year’s Eve and then ditched before the sun came up. My brother’s roommate and best friend.
He stops right in front of me, forcing me to look up to see his face. He stares down at me, not missing a damn thing and barely hiding the smirk teasing at his lips.
“Who’s your boyfriend?”
I glance at the dude still leaning against my shoulder and lightly shove him away. He sways in the opposite direction for a nanosecond but then falls back against me, a loud snuffly snore joining the waft of bad breath he aims in my direction. I shudder and try to breathe through my mouth.
Jonas shoves his hands in his pockets but I’m not fooled by the casual manner, the zinger is coming. He’ll never let a moment like this pass him by.
Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With nine New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller List more than three dozen times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love and Fighting Fire. She recently released BIG ROCK, a sexy standalone romantic comedy that became an instant New York Times Bestseller. In the late spring, she’ll release MISTER O, another standalone romantic comedy.
Mister O by Lauren Blakely is a sexy and fun adventure of a man that will knock your socks off. In her latest release Lauren has once again written a story that is full of charm, impeccable comedic timing and sizzle. For those who read Big Rock and thought it couldn’t get any better, you haven’t read Mister O.
Satisfaction guaranteed is Nick Hammer’s motto, a skill he’s quite proud of and not afraid to mention to anyone willing to listen. In fact, when his best friends younger sister needs help with men, Nick is all too eager to help. There’s just one catch, Nick needs to remember that she’s practically family and off limits. If Nick isn’t careful he’ll discover that he’s attractive to her nerdy ways and quirkiness.
Nick is a cartoonist and has it all going for him, a hit TV show, a lifestyle that suits his single ways, and loves living in NYC. But, is he ready to let go of his heart and fall in love?
Harper Holiday has known Nick for years and is clumsy, nerdy and absolutely unable to talk to men. At least a man who isn’t a friend. When Nick witness’s her blunder when men approach her, intervention is necessary. Harper admires Nick’s uncanny way with words and wonders about the truth to the rumors of his skills in the bedroom. With her brother away for a week on his honeymoon, it’s time to put her plan into action. Will Nick help her learn what she needs to finally find a man?
A week is a long time for advice, tutoring and lots of time together to perfect a few necessary dating skills to secure a man. Hmmm, will these two friends discover that the chemistry between them is more than just a fleeting moment? It’s obvious to everyone around them, but they are too scared to admit it to each other.
Between the flirty texts, the sexy moments and the intense banter this book will become a new favorite read. I’m looking forward to reading about the other supporting sexy men that Lauren has written about.
If you loved reading about Spencer and Charlotte in Big Rock, then you will LOVE Mister O. I’m also thrilled to read that Nick’s brother Wyatt will have his story next. Congrats Lauren on a fresh, fun and intensely sexy read!
Please be sure to check the blog tomorrow for my Coffee With Lauren!
This 4 Jalapenos Spicy Latte is full on, no holds barred and go for it sensuality and situations. Definitely heats it up and might offend. For mature readers, 18 +.
I received this ARC from the author for a fair and honest review.
“You’re good, Nick. You know just what to do and how to behave. This is why you attract women in droves.” I kind of want to protest. I feel like she has this impression of me that I don’t necessarily want her to have, but I’m not sure how to deflect this. “Because I have a gift?”
“That and several other reasons.” She waves broadly at my arms. It’s October, but it’s not chilly tonight so I don’t have a jacket on. “First, there are the arms. All that ink and muscle.”
She roams her eyes over my biceps. “I mean, your ink is awesome,” she says, pointing to the shapes and swirls I designed myself. The tattoos are abstract lines and curves, but inside them there’s a sun, a moon, and stars, because those were the first things I realized I was good at drawing.
“Then, the body. Mr. Men’s Health-I’m-so-fit,” she says in this mocking tone, but it’s not me she’s making fun of. It’s the article.
“You read it?”
“I read everything. I devour information,” she says, and we’re right back to that place I seem to inhabit with her, where she compliments me, but she could be saying it like I’m a car she’s considering buying. And this one has one hundred seventy horsepower.
“And then, there’s your face, and you have all this awesome scruff on it.”
I run a hand over my jaw, and the neat, trim beard that’s like an additional sex toy I can bring to the bedroom. “Chicks dig the beard,” I say, with a lopsided grin.
“I bet they do,” she says under her breath. She doesn’t say anything else right away. She presses her teeth into the corner of her lip and then speaks, more softly than before. “Can I feel it?”
** I received the excerpt, graphics, and all non-amazon links from Ink Slinger.**
(** re-posted from 5/2/16)
Big Rock by Lauren Blakely is available now!
Does size matter? It depends on what you’re talking about! For many, some will say no, it doesn’t matter, for others, they will say yes, it does. Spencer Holiday loves to brag. If you want to know how he feels, read Big Rock.
Spencer is perfect in almost every way. Gorgeous, smart, a savvy businessman and heir to the renowned jewelry store in the heart of New York City. You know, the one that puts all their jewels in a little blue box. It’s a family business that just might need his help but he’s content with his own business, the one he runs with Charlotte Rhodes, his best friend.
Charlotte is both a perfect business partner and best friend. She’s the kind of woman that knows what Spencer needs, most of the time. Beautiful in her own right, she’s always willing to partake in a plan or rescue without hesitation
When Spencer randomly mentions to his father during a key meeting for the family jewelry store that he’s just proposed to Charlotte, will they take him seriously? Engaged? Can he go through with it? Perhaps there’s more to it than changing the outcome of the meeting? Sometimes a plan doesn’t always end the way it should. Spencer might just find out that what he’s been looking for has been right in front of him the entire time.
Discover what happens as Spencer and Charlotte kick their game up a notch. Can these friends convince everyone their love is the real deal despite being “just friends?”
Is it true that New York City’s notorious playboy is off the market and ready to commit to forever with one woman? Everything is perfect, but someone isn’t happy about Spencer and Charlotte’s impending nuptials. Will they make it down the aisle?
If you are looking for a standalone read that’s off the chart with sizzle from the super smokin’ cover to a story written from his POV, then you will want to get your copy now. At $3.99 the price is just right for a mid-week treat. Tackle those mid-week doldrums with a Spicy Latte read.
This was the first book I’ve read from Lauren and I thought her writing was flawless, witty and super steamy. A quick mention to the cover designer, creative use of the wording on the cover
This Spicy Latte is full on, no holds barred and go for it sensuality and situations. Definitely heats it up and might offend. For mature readers, 18 +.
I received this ARC from the author for a fair and honest review.
(** re-posted from 1/6/16)
******* ELIZABETH HEITER ********
ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range.
Checkout a few books from Elizabeth’s Harlequin Intrigue series.
Seduced by the Sniper, by Elizabeth Heiter, is the second book in The Lawmen Series from Harlequin Intrigue. Chelsie Russell, an FBI negotiator, is involved in a tragic hostage situation that doesn’t end they way she’d planned. The results affect her family and colleagues. Scott Delacorte is an FBI agent trained to rescue hostages and has a reputation for being a playboy. When an unexpected development in a supposedly resolved case puts them in jeopardy, will they have the strength to admit the truth about how they feel towards each other?
Assumptions were made that could interfere with him protecting her. Can Chelsie open up to him? Will he put his playboy ways behind him? Scott is determined to keep her safe at all costs. There’s just one problem, he is still thinking about what happened between them before the hostage ordeal and it’s driving him crazy.
There is something so sexy about an FBI agent who can’t figure out his way around women but knows how to fire a weapon with precision and accuracy. So sexy! This story will keep you engaged with enough action, sizzle and heat to keep you reading till the very last page.
This was the first book I’d read by Elizabeth and I absolutely LOVED it. I receive this ARC from the author for a fair and honest review but would have purchased this book for myself or a friend. Get your copy now!
(** re-posted from 3/29/15)
SWAT Secret Admirer (The Lawmen), by Elizabeth Heiter, is a must read. Maggie Delacorte has been haunted by a madman from an unsolved case that has remained so for the past ten years, with very few leads. Everything she’s done, her job and relationships, has been affected because of what happened. Working for FBI SWAT is vital to her physical and emotional survival. When an unexpected letter arrives, everything changes and no one is safe.
Grant Larkin is new to the SWAT team and unbeknownst to Maggie, knows more than she probably would like about her past. When Grant is assigned to her case, things become clear, risks must be taken, and secrets need to be revealed. However, Grant wants more than friendship from Maggie and isn’t sure how to tell her. If he pursues his feelings it could jeopardize everything. How will she respond? How will he react? Maggie can’t afford to let herself get close to him, or can she?
This book is another great read from Harlequin Intrigue and has all the elements of it that we expect from a fabulous publisher! The perfect amount of romance, hot young FBI agents in a compelling and griping story that twists and turns!
While this book reads great as a stand alone, it’s even better when read in order as there is crossover from other great characters in each book.
I received this ARC from the Author for a fair and honest review and would absolutely buy this book and any future Lawmen series books. In fact, I look forward to more. Who’s will be next, Kammy? Clive? There just has to be more!
(** re-posted from 3/30/15) **** ELIZABETH HOYT ****
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
The Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt is the tenth installment in the Maiden Lane series. Welcome to the world of secrets, games and fairy tales wrapped in a beautiful cover!
Bridget Crumb is the loyal housekeeper for a man who seek out the worst in people and holds those secrets for his gain. When circumstances force the Duke out of town, Bridget is left to manage his home and it leaves many questions unanswered. Intent of saving someone she loves from his wicked schemes she seeks out the truth from within the house. If her boss is away, why does she always feel like someone is watching her too?
Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery has witnessed his share of horrific acts by men who were supposed to keep people safe. Now a grown man he is still on a quest to find out the truth to that painful night all those years ago. The grown Duke is not a man anyone wishes to cross and with his collection of secrets it could be disastrous for anyone who crosses him. Can the man who controls everything let himself be tamed? One question still haunts him, who is Bridget loyal too?
Growing up without love can destroy a man rendering himself unable to reciprocate when the opportunity presents itself. When Bridget sets out to fix the pain Val has inflicted, what will he do with the news of her betrayal? Is it really a betrayal if it’s with good intention?
Elizabeth has infused this story with redemption, honesty and love. When Val believes he is unable to be loved it is due to the knowledge of atrocious acts inflicted by those closest to him. The damaged is from witnessing the effect it had on the one person he cared about. Yet, years later, he hasn’t been broken. While he still carries that secret close to him it is out of love to protect his sister. It will take a strong woman to show him that he is worthy of love and affection with someone of his own.
Another captivating read from Elizabeth with attention to most intricate details. From the characters to the house Val lives in, this story is fantastic. There is a certain expectation when you sit down to read a Maiden Lane book. What is that dear reader? A great story infused with a magical fairytale of wisdom and truth, animals of all kinds, and absolute chemistry for our hero and heroine that sizzles.
Are you new to the series? Fear not dear readers this book can be read as a standalone but I think you will enjoy your reading pleasure more if you read the entire series in order. There are TEN books to dive into. So, wherever you obtain your books from – library, bookstore or e-retailer, you can find them anywhere!
A spicy 2 1/2 pepper read and has enough heat to make you sizzle and is for mature readers 18+.
Get your copy here and have it delivered to your e-reader before you wake up this Tuesday. A wonderful gift to yourself this holiday weekend.
Around back of the stables Bridget saw a group of boys surrounding something on the ground. As she gasped, a boy—a great big fellow, nearly as big as a man—drew back his leg and kicked.
The thing on the ground yelped.
“No!” Bridget shouted, but she was drowned out by a gunshot.
She turned to see the Duke of Montgomery, standing in his shirt-sleeves and pink embroidered waistcoat and breeches, hip cocked, a smoking pistol held almost negligently aloft in his left hand.
He smiled, as sweetly as an adder baring its fangs, at the boys. “Won’t you please vacate this area?”
The boys seemed frozen by surprise—or stark fear.
The duke tilted his head and his smile dropped from his face, leaving it blank—and somehow much more frightening. “Now.”
There was a mad scramble and then the mews was deserted save for her and the duke.
Bridget blinked and hurried to her little terrier, tied quite disgracefully by a cord around his neck to a stake in the ground. He lay on his side in the mud, but his tail thumped against the dirt when he saw her. He jumped to his feet, shaking himself, and tried to limp toward her, but was stopped by the cord.
She knelt in the mud and tried to pull the cord from his neck, but it had been tied terribly tight and her hands were shaking.
She felt the duke crouch behind her, his arms reaching around her, warm and hard, and felt a moment’s confusion before he leaned forward and murmured in her ear, “Here.”
He placed her opened chatelaine knife in her hands.
She took it gratefully. “Thank you.”
Carefully she cut the cord and picked up the little dog, his body warm and rather smelly in her arms.
The terrier immediately began licking her chin.
Bridget inhaled on a sob, even as she felt the brush of the duke’s tongue at the corner of her eye.
“Your tears taste like salvation.” His voice was deep, resonating against her back, and he almost sounded puzzled.
She shuddered, gasping, but didn’t dare look around, and then he was gone.
Biting her lips, she smoothed her hands over the dog’s small, wriggling body, trying to feel for broken bones. As far as she could tell, the terrier was bruised, but fine, although he had a bit of blood over one eye. He gazed up at her adoringly and it came to her all at once that his name was Pip.
She looked up.
The duke was still there, watching her in the gloaming, his beautiful golden hair ablaze in the setting sun.
She cleared her throat. “I…thank you. For saving him.”
It was hard to tell his expression in the dim light, but she thought he smiled.
She still held Pip, loath to let him go. Would the boys find him again, perhaps kill him this time? “I…er…I didn’t know you liked dogs?”
Check out the featured prized that have been generously donated for the first post of the day. Check out what you could win…
From Robin Covington:
ONE print copy of RUSH
From Sandra Lake:
SIX e-book sets of A Sons of the North Series (The Warlords Wife, The Iron Princess, and The Northman’s Bride)
From Elizabeth Heiter:
ONEautographed print set The Profiler books (Hunted, Vanished & Seized).
From Lauren Blakely
ONE e-book of Big Rock
From Elizabeth Hoyt
ONEPaperback copy of the Duke of Sin
For a chance to win one of these AMAZING prizes please comment and respond to the following questions on this blog post:
How do you decide where to go for your big meal of the holiday? Is your family so big that you have to spread it out? What is your favorite dish to make and what do you do while you are waiting for it to all cook?
Do you cook it all or split it up and have everyone bring a faborite dish?
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Dear followers and readers who have attempted to comment in the past few days. I have left the giveaways open for another day due to a blog error that prevented many of you from commenting. The problem has been fixed and I want to allow time for those who wanted to comment to do so.
All contests for Day7 with Nancy Northcott and Day 8 with Jeanne Adams will stay open till tomorrow, July 19 at 2PM.
You must comment on these pages to be entered to win.
Today I’m featuring books by Samantha Chase, Suzanne Ferrell, Dianna Love, Anna Campbell, Tessa McFionn, and Naima Simone. Their books range from romantic suspense to erotic so there is something for everyone.
Be sure to check out the amazing e-book giveaways at the very bottom. It’s going to be a sweet and spicy day!
USA Today Bestselling author Suzanne discovered romance novels in her aunt’s hidden stash one summer as a teenager. From that moment on she knew two things: she loved romance stories and someday she’d be writing her own. Her love for romances has only grown over the years. It took her a number of years and a secondary career as a nurse to finally start writing her own stories.
Currently there are two main series she’s actively writing in: The Westen Series, a contemporary small town series based in a fictional Ohio town where “things aren’t always what they seem”, and features Close To Home, Close To The Edge and Close To The Fire. The second series is the Romantic Suspense books KIDNAPPED, HUNTED, SEIZED and VANISHED, featuring the Edgars family as they fight for justice, even if it means stepping slightly outside the rulebook.
KIDNAPPED and HUNTED were both Golden Heart finalist, and SEIZED, book #3 in the Edgars Family Novels, was a finalist in the novella category of the OKRWA’s National Reader’s Choice Awards contest.
Suzanne’s sexy stories, whether they be her on the edge of your seat romantic suspense or the small town romantic suspense stories they’ll keep you thinking about her characters long after their Happy Ever After is achieved.
Exposed (An Edgars Family Novel) by Suzanne Ferrell is explosive. I LOVE the cover and it really sets the tone for the story, can you feel the heat?
Our hero, Frank Castello is a rugged take-charge guy who is neat, organized and always putting his family first. Add in a dash of charming and a heaping spoonful of pure gentleman and it makes him a perfect hero! If only he didn’t hate photographers, but then he has his reasons and it will take a firestorm to change his mind.
Sydney Peele lost her father as a child and cherishes the gift he gave her long ago, her treasured camera. Now, a rising photographer with an eye for capturing life and a booming business, she’s enjoying her career as a fashion photographer. Too bad her nomadic brother can’t get his act together and leave her out of shenanigans.
After a night out on a job, Sydney returns to find her home up in flames. Everyone now has questions for her. Why? Why? Why? I love Sydney and there is no reason to incinerate her life like that, but ooohhh it brings her and Castello together. Suzanne, if you must I will forgive you just this one time.
Castello will need to break protocol and about every other “inner voice” warning to get to the bottom of what happened. In order to find out who has targeted Sydney she will have to go off the grid. It doesn’t take long for things to heat up between them, but will they give in to their desire? Castello has one goal, discover who is after Sydney and protect her. Suzanne has packed so much into this fifth installment and fans of this series will be elated. I’m excited and I only know Castello from Captiol Danger.
Oh, quick note…. this book is best consumed in one serving. Trust me, I sat down and could not turn my e-reader off. The writing is full of adventure, tension, romance and everything you would expect from Suzanne. From the fist page you can tell Castello had a story to tell and he sure did! I’d love to see this as a TV movie – when you finish I’m sure you’ll agree! Check out her storyboard on pinterest for her inspiration (link at the bottom).
Need a few more reasons? There is nothing sexier than Frank’s two word sentences, a handful of bad guys, a few puzzles and old school photography. Well done Suzanne – this was exactly what I needed last night.
Discover for yourself how action packed & exciting a Deputy U.S. Marshal can be! This two peppers spicy latte hot delight has just enough sizzle to make you tingle and a lot of action! Oh, and yes, it’s for mature readers 18+.
While this book is part of a series it can be read as a standalone. If you are a reader who must read in order, check out Suzanne’s backlist and also be sure to read Capitol Danger.
I received this ARC from the author for a fair and honest review. Only a few more days till this hot book is released. When I have a link I’ll include it.
Check out this Excerpt of EXPOSED now and see for yourself (thank you Suzanne).
The North Bank Park was located just west of downtown Columbus, below where the Olentangy and Scioto rivers merged to form the bigger Scioto River. The park itself was built on what used to be the pump house for the old Ohio Penitentiary.
He’d happily pointed out to Luke how ironic it was that two federal agents were getting married where criminals were once housed. For some reason, the kid didn’t think it was funny at all.
Locking his door, Frank left the reserved spots in the parking lot perpendicularly down the street from the park. A number of parking meters had been reserved on the street beside the park, but they should be for the Edgars’ immediate family and grandparents. Besides, his leg could use the exercise.
Walking down Neil Avenue towards the Park’s glass-enclosed pavilion where the ceremony would be held, he enjoyed the crisp June air. He had to give it to Luke and Abigail, they’d picked the perfect day for the wedding. He wasn’t overly romantic, didn’t get gushy when people talked about weddings, but he did believe good things should happen to good people. Especially when one of them almost died.
A little more than a year ago, Abigail had been in the hospital. She’d thrown herself between Luke and a knife. Nearly losing her had been the final wake-up call for the youngest Edgars brother. He’d dropped his playboy lifestyle to focus entirely on Abigail, even after she recovered.
As Frank crossed Long Street in front of the pavilion, a taxi pulled to a stop at the crosswalk. From the backseat emerged a petite woman, her blonde hair pulled up into some zany sort of a bun with strands of it falling loose like straws from an unkempt pile of hay. Dressed in green-khaki cargo pants, hiking boots and a huge, oversized blue sweater, she had two travel bags hanging off her shoulders and her hand hooked around the handle of a garment bag. Aviator-style sunglasses hid half her face.
“Let me get you some extra cash for getting me here so quickly from the airport,” she said to the driver as she fished around in one of her bags, losing her grip on the garment bag. “Oh, no!” she yelped, trying to manage everything and losing the carryon bag at the same time.
Acting out of instinct, Frank took two quick strides and grabbed both bags before they hit the pavement. “Got ’em.”
“Oh, my God! Thank you,” the woman said, turning a relieved smile up at him as if he’d saved her from dropping a baby onto the concrete. “I don’t know what I would’ve done had that crashed on the ground.”
She reached for the carryon bag, but he held it firm, wondering what the hell she had in it to make it so heavy, and nodded at the taxi driver behind her.
“Oh, yes.” She handed the other man some money and took the handle of the larger suitcase from him.
“You sure this where you want me to drop you, ma’am?” the driver asked in slightly halting English with a middle-eastern accent. He scanned around the pavilion and office buildings in the area then back at her, concern in his eyes.
The woman laughed. Not a childish tinkling or giggling, but a husky, dark, whiskey kind of sound that caught Frank smack in the middle of his chest.
“Yes, I’m sure,” she said, smiling at the man. “You’re probably used to your fares wanting to go to a hotel or their homes, but this is where I need to be this afternoon. It’s a wedding.”
The driver glanced at her clothes, then over at Frank before shrugging. “Most happy felicitations to you both,” he said, then climbed into his cab once more.
The woman started to protest, but the driver had already pulled out into traffic. She watched the taxi for a moment, then whirled on him. He’d never been trout fishing, but her open-mouthed expression of bewilderment reminded him of a fish he’d seen on one of those nature sports shows shown on Sundays before the football games aired.
“How could he possibly think we were getting married?” she asked.
He glanced down at the three-piece tuxedo he had on. Then, quirking one brow, he nodded at the garment bag in her hand. “I have no idea.”
That had her lips slamming shut into a line. He imagined she was glaring at him from behind those sunglasses, which he suddenly wished were gone so he could see what color her eyes were.
“I take it you’re here for the Whitson-Edgars wedding?” she finally asked.
He refrained from asking if there was more than one wedding here today. He might be a bachelor, but he knew that a sarcastic comment to an already irritated woman might result in bodily injury. Instead, he just nodded.
Suddenly her face lit up with a hundred-watt, straight-to-his-gut smile. “Oh, my God, you’ve got to be Frank. Abby’s told me all about you. A man of few words.” Letting go of her suitcase handle, she stuck her hand out to him. “I’m Sydney Peele.”
“The photographer.” He stared at her hand as if it were a cobra ready to strike, his humor and interest in the little tornado of a woman flattened like a tire running over nails in the road.
Her smile fading, she withdrew her hand and grabbed her suitcase once more. “Um, yes. I was…hoping to get here before the wedding party arrived.”
“They’re not here yet.” He wanted to hand her the heavy carryon bag, which he suspected carried the cameras she used to ply her trade into people’s privacy, and distance himself from the pariah of modern social technology. Paparazzi. Photographers. Demon spawn. But the woman already had both hands full of bags.
“That’s good. I promised Abby I’d be here to take pictures before the wedding started. Please tell me there’s somewhere I can change? I just got off the plane and came straight here.” There was a slight hesitation in her voice as she glanced around at the glass enclosed pavilion.
Damn it. As much as he wanted to drop her camera case on the concrete sidewalk and possibly smash the offensive equipment of her trade, he couldn’t ignore that little signal of distress.
It was a character flaw. The need to protect. His late partner called it his hero-complex. He couldn’t let someone in trouble—even if it was simply finding a place to change clothes—fend for themselves.
“This way,” he said. Stepping around her, he led the way to the brick portion of the facility in back of the pavilion without waiting to see if she followed. At the entrance, he did hold the door for her, but refused to help wrangle the roll-on type suitcase in for her. “Third door on the right is the women’s restroom.”
“Thanks,” she said with another of those overly-bright smiles, and strutted down the hallway.
Despite her chosen profession, he had to admit those pants shifted nicely on her bottom as she sashayed away, her blonde hair bouncing like a halo around her head as she walked.
It wasn’t until the door closed behind her that he realized he still held her bag of camera equipment. He should just leave it outside the bathroom on the floor. But someone might steal them, and he had a feeling it would be very expensive for her to try and replace them.
He stalked to the door and knocked on it—hard. “You forgot your bag.”
The door opened a minute later.
“Oh, thanks,” she said with another smile, the aviator-framed sunglasses now on top of her head. She had a dusting of freckles on her nose and cheeks. “I usually don’t let that bag out of my sight,” she said, taking the bag and stepping back into the restroom, closing the door on him.
Her eyes were so blue they appeared purple.
Who the hell has purple eyes?
“Castello, give us a hand.”
He shook off the odd numbness that seeing Sydney Peele’s eyes had caused him to look to his left in time to see Dave and Matt Edgars hauling in two crates of wine. He hurried to help his friends load in the drinks for the reception, pushing inappropriate thoughts of the little photographer out of his mind. The last thing he needed was to give her any reason to focus her attention, or one of her cameras, on him.
Close to the Mistletoe (A Westen Series Novella) by Suzanne Ferrell is a thrilling holiday novella that you must read this holiday season! With a brilliant cover it draws you in to visit Westen and it’s beloved characters in this absolutely perfect story. I don’t know about you but I just love those power tools! Dear readers, it’s time to head out to the hardware store or add a few to your wish list.
Our heroine Holly Murphy agrees to go out and celebrate with an evening of fun and mischief. That is until she realizes she needs to be rescued. What will she do and who will help her?
Nick Fisher can only focus on Holly but isn’t so sure she notices him. Time is of the essence. Can they figure out what they want or will it take Santa to make the magic happen?
Download this holiday novella and discover for yourself how a wardrobe malfunction, a holiday town tradition and a Christmas pageant make this a must read.
In the meantime, download the series from Suzanne’s backlist and see why I love the town of Westen.
I received this ARC from the author for a fair and honest review. I hope that you will scoop up this holiday novella and make your e-reader happy.
Close To The Mistletoe
What the hell was she doing here?
Holly Murphy tugged at the hem of her tight skirt as she followed her best friend, Stacy Williams, into the Wagon Wheel Tavern. Actually, she knew what she was doing here. Tonight she was Stacy’s wingman—or was it wing-woman? Whatever it was, her duty was to accompany Stacy on her first foray into the single world, in celebration of the finalizing of her divorce. It’s what friends did. Even if they hated going to bars. Even if they hated dressing in tight clothes that showed off more of their flaws than necessary. Even if they had to order one drink and let it get warm so that they could be the designated driver.
“Come on. You look great,” Stacy said, holding the door for her, an annoyed, hurry-up look on her face. “It’s Friday night. The place will be filled with people. And by people, I mean men.”
And that’s what had Holly worrying about her outfit—the one Stacy picked out for her. She’d prefer to wear a nice pair of jeans, cowboy boots, and a big, comfy sweater, especially on a cold winter night. Stacy had nixed that idea, insisting she borrow the tight jean skirt that accentuated her hips and thighs, the thin, gold shimmery sweater that cut way down into the cleavage her new bra formed out of her average-sized breasts, and the leather jacket and three-inch heels. Basically making her into a shorter, chunkier, brunette version of the tall, blonde bombshell Stacy. The kind of man Stacy wanted to meet tonight wasn’t the kind Holly dreamed of meeting. She didn’t want exciting men interested in one-night stands. What she dreamed of was a man who would be interested in a home and family, someone solid and dependable, handsome, and interested in someone not so glamorous.
But tonight wasn’t about her. Tonight was a celebration for her friend. So, she pasted on her best smile, ignored the feel of the skirt hitting her mid-thigh, and marched into the Wagon Wheel.
Stacy was right. The place was packed.
She’d been here a few times when she first moved to Westen six years ago, fresh out of college. It really hadn’t changed much since that day. The wood-paneled walls, floor and bar area gave it the rustic feeling that went with the title. Neon-tubed signs for beers and alcohol flanked the bar area, that featured a huge wheel from some nineteenth-century wagon anchored in the center of the back of the bar mirror. Bottles of every kind of alcohol sat on the spokes. Of course since it was the first of December, there were Christmas lights—the big-bulb kind in various colors—and gaudy strings of silver tinsel strung around the bar and wagon wheel. Off in the corner of the poolroom was a fake Christmas tree, with the same lights and garland covering it.
The other difference was the clientele.
Instead of just truck drivers looking to relax after sixteen hours on the road, and local farmers coming in for a night away from home, there were couples doing line dancing, construction workers playing pool with some punk rockers, and what looked to be new millennials filling up the booths.
“I told you a lot of the newbies in town come here on the weekends. It’s all the talk at FiberCO,” Stacy said, and headed to a spot that just cleared at the bar.
FiberCo, a fiber optics manufacturing company, was one of several new enterprises that moved to the
outskirts of town in the past year, taking advantage of the new highway connecting the area around Westen with both the state capital in Columbus and the cities in the northeast section of the state. After the town was nearly blown up by a crazed meth dealer, the state started infusing building capital into the area. The resulting influx of new workers and jobs for long-term residents had Westen expanding both physically and financially.
“Aren’t you concerned Drake will be here, too?” Holly asked, as she squeezed into the spot between Stacy and a group of men talking football.
Stacy shook her head. “He doesn’t party in town. I learned that through the divorce. He likes to drive into Columbus. That’s where he met his whore girlfriend.”
“What can I get you girls?” the female bartender asked.
“Two mojitos, if you have them,” Stacy ordered.
“Sure thing.” Something else new to the Wagon Wheel. More cocktails were being served, adding to the usual menu of beers and whisky.
The music shifted from a country dance song to hard-bass rock, and several of the couples at the tables walked onto the dance floor. Holly watched them for a few moments, wishing she felt confident enough to join them. She loved dancing around her house, but hated anyone seeing how awkward she was.
“There you go, ladies,” the bartender said, setting their drinks down. Stacy handed her a twenty and told her to keep the change.
“Let me help pay.” Holly reached into her bag for her wallet.
Stacy stopped her and smiled. “Not this round. I’m just glad you came out to celebrate with me.”
“I am, too.” Holly raised her glass. “To a new beginning.”
They clinked glasses and took a drink. Stacy turned to lean back against the bar and started scanning the room. “Oh, look. There’s Joe. Let’s go say hi.”
“Joe? Who’s Joe?” Holly hurried to follow her friend to the far corner of the bar.
“A friend from work,” Stacy said over her shoulder. “He said he’d be here tonight.”’
As they neared the table, Holly saw two men. The tall, dark-haired man seemed to have shoulders that went on forever. His burgundy Henley shirt—open at the collar, and sleeves pushed up to show off muscular forearms—stretched down his body and tucked into a pair of jeans slung low on his hips. To top it off were a pair of boots—not cowboy boots, but hiking-work boots. If that was Joe, Holly could see why Stacy wanted to say hi. Right now, Holly wanted to say take me home and have your way with me.
Both men slid off their barstools. But it wasn’t sexy-shoulders-and-arms man who smiled as they neared. The shorter, slightly balding man stepped away from the table and pulled Stacy in for a very close hug. Friend. Right.
“Holly, this is Joe, and his friend, Nick,” Stacy said, as she slid onto a vacant barstool.
“Nick’s just moved to town,” Joe said, holding a barstool for Stacy. “Thought he could use a night out.”
Holly smiled at both men and tried to wiggle onto the high stool. No easy feat when you were barely
taller than the stool, and your skirt was too tight and too short.
“Here, let me help,” Nick said in a deep voice that sent heat from her ears all across her body as he held the stool steady for her with one hand and took her elbow with the other.
Grabbing on to the table with her free hand and placing her foot on the rung of the stool, she gave a little shove and twisted her behind onto the seat. She swore she heard a tearing sound. Then the skirt gave. Suddenly, cool wood met the back of her bare upper thighs. Then the split went higher and her bare bottom met the slick barstool. She froze.
It was four days before Christmas and Bobby Roberts sat on the edge of the bed, her hands twisted together in her lap. She’d been too nervous to look at the damn stick. Instead, she’d laid the thing on a towel on the counter and fled the bathroom, leaving her fiancé, Gage Justice, in there to read the results.
A very long minute later, her soon-to-be-husband sauntered out of the bathroom, his blue cotton pajama pants riding low on his hips. He stopped in front of her, his face unreadable. Bending, he scooped her up in his arms.
“Gage?” She squeaked his name as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
He sat on the bed, keeping her cradled on his lap. “Let me ask you something.”
“What? Is something wrong? You’re scaring me.” The serious look on his face wasn’t what she’d been expecting.
He leaned in and kissed her, slow and deep, her worries fading into the dim morning light as the need for more of him consumed her. When she made the move to snuggle in closer to his naked chest, he slowly ended the kiss. “Bobby? Do you love me?”
She leaned back and cupped his face in her hands, staring into the forest green of his eyes. “You know I do.”
“No matter what that little stick says, you’re still going to marry me tomorrow evening and spend the rest of your life with me? Right?”
The slight hesitancy in his question made her heart swell. To think this strong and wonderful mountain of a man could be scared she might reject him made her love him even more. She kissed him softly then smiled at him. “That’s the plan, big guy.”
The lines of worry on his face eased as a grin spread over it, slow and suggestive. “Oh, I’ve got something big planned for you.”
“Oh, you do, do you?” she said with a giggle. Lifting her leg, she wiggled around until she straddled him. She slid forward, feeling the thickness of his erection against her bare bottom. “Mmm, a man of his word.”
“That’s me, a promise is a sacred thing.” He reached down and pulled the hem of her nightshirt up and over her head and arms, flinging it to the floor. “And right now, I promise to love you until you scream my name.”
“And what will Mrs. Munroe have to say?” she asked, scooting closer so her nipples rubbed deliciously against the soft hairs of his chest. Her efforts were rewarded by a growl from deep inside him as he grasped her ass cheeks with his hands to haul her in tighter.
“I doubt she sleeps with her hearing aids in, but I like a challenge.” He grinned in that sexy, I’m-about-to-make-hot-mind-blowing-love-to-you way that already had her growing moist between her thighs.
Before she could ask exactly what he had planned, Gage reached up and gripped the back of her head in one hand, his fingers clenching in her hair. He dragged her down until his mouth claimed hers in a hard, hot kiss, his tongue sliding in between her parted lips. He tasted minty.
She pulled back. He’d had time to brush his teeth while she’d been waiting for him to tell her about the stick?
“Gage, the stick?” she asked as he trailed his mouth down the column of her neck, sending shivers and goose flesh all over her.
“Later, I’m busy right now.” He caught her mouth once more, this time in a low, slow, kiss, as if he were devouring the most decadent dessert in the history of desserts. Leaning back, he took her with him, until she was spread over his chest. All the while, one hand gripped her bottom tight against the thick part of him and the other controlled her head, keeping her focused on the things his mouth and tongue were doing to hers.
As always she couldn’t get enough of this man. Couldn’t get close enough. Couldn’t taste enough. Couldn’t feel enough. Her hands caressed and kneaded the long, thick muscles of his arms then traveled down to his hips and slowly up his sides, finding every ridge of sinewy muscle and hard plane of rib.
Slowly, he turned them until she was beneath him and her legs parted wide for him to settle between them. He lifted up on his hands, his gaze fastening on hers. “Would it be a bad thing if the stick said we were pregnant?”
Her hands on his lower back, she gazed into his eyes, reading both the question and hope in them. “No,” she said, smiling. “Having a baby with you would be wonderful. And we’re not getting any younger.”
“And if we weren’t yet, would you want to try?” he asked.
This time the smile turned into a happy grin. “Yes, I believe I would.”
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.
When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Silver Bell Falls by Samantha Chase is about hope, forgiveness and family. I’ve read a few holiday stories from Samantha and have enjoyed each and everyone. While it might be the middle of the summer and most of us are spending our days relaxing at the beach or lounging by the pool Samantha’s stories will cool you off wishing it was the beginning of Christmas season ;).
Melanie Harper didn’t always dislike Christmas and now all the things that are associated with the festive time of the year are not helping her to finish her latest work assignment. Under deadline Melanie, a romance author, must turn in her next book and she has writers block in the worst way.
No one understands why she could dislike the holiday season so when her father informs her of a wish from her Grandmother who recently died, Melanie reluctantly obliges dear old dad and her wishes. Maybe it will help her find her magic or give her a little peace and quiet from it all.
When I started reading this book I was immediately drawn in with her vivid description of the town, the characters and Melanie’s first encounter with Josiah.
There is nothing more enticing right now than a town filled with happy residents who are kind and especially one that includes a sexy Sherriff. Who couldn’t use a little of that right now?
The holidays are about giving, spending time with loved ones and lots of merriment. Can Melanie finally celebrate Christmas without hate and resentment? We are rooting for Josiah to be the one to figure out why she dislikes it so much and open her eyes to the beauty in the town and season. If Melanie can trust him there is so much out there to keep her in Silver Bell Falls.
If you love stories that have lots of flirty and tense scenes between the hero and heroine, a story with a plot that stands on its own and is set during Christmas then this book should be added to your e-reader now. This book will leave you satisfied from beginning to end and if you’ve never read a book by Samantha then dive right in with this one and then check out her backlist. There are so many to choose from that you will thank me :).
I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review. I hope that we will see more from the other characters in Silver Bell Falls. With a large family there are plenty of siblings Samantha, I hope we meet one soon!
The Christmas Cottage and Ever After by Samantha Chase are two holiday books bundled together in this book that was released from Sourcebooks Casablanca this past October. From the sweet cover to the enchanting holiday fairytale of a cottage that has magical powers strong enough to bring two souls together forever will charm you and leave you looking for your own fairytale ending. I absolutely loved this story and you will too!
In The Christmas Cottage we meet Ava Callahan who insists she continue the family tradition when it comes to her upcoming wedding and stay in the cottage so that she too can have the “ever after” magic sprinkled into her life.
Will the fairytale ring true? Will it give her everlasting love? Find out what happens to those near and dear to her as they try to make her wishes come true.
If Lacey Quinn can pull of the makeover of the century she will win over the heart of her best friend forever. If only her brother agreed with her crazy and impulsive reasons.
Ean Callahan is the boy who Lacey confessed too years ago, the one who went off to college and left behind a young girl and a crushed heart. Ean is Laceys best friend Ava’s brother, and now the stand-in groomsman for her wedding. What happened to Brian McCabe and why was he demoted?
Who will make it to the alter and who will find their fairy tale ever after? What happened to Brian and what is it with the cottage that has everyone ready to cast aside what they really want?
This book will make the holiday merry, add lots of love, tinsel and warmth to your e-reader or bookshelf. Don’t miss out on adding this one to your collection now. The holidays might be a few months away but it’s never too soon to add those books to the reading list 🙂
New York Times bestseller Dianna Love once dangled over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. Now she focuses her energetic muse on storytelling. The first book she wrote won a RITA® Award and sold out in six weeks. She writes high-octane romantic thrillers and urban fantasy, with FATAL PROMISE, book 6 in the sexy, fast-paced Slye Temp romantic suspense series released June 28th, and DRAGON KING OF TREOIR, book 8 in the bestselling Belador urban fantasy series scheduled for January, 2017.
When not in the writing cave, Dianna loves touring the country on her BMW motorcycle. She lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her motorcycle-instructor husband and a tank full of unruly saltwater critters.
Connect with Dianna on facebook at Dianna Love Fan Page or sign up for the crazy fun on her Dianna Love Street Team. Follow her Amazon Author Page for new release updates and other news about her books. Excerpts of all her books are at AuthorDiannaLove.com.
New York Times Bestseller Dianna Love wraps up the exciting Slye Temp romantic thriller series with Gage and Sabrina’s long awaited story.
Synopsis provided by Dianna Love for FATAL PROMISE
The last person Sabrina Slye wants on this mission is Gage Laughton, the one man capable of distracting her when a lack of attention will get them both killed.
A rogue CIA assassin has eluded Sabrina for two years after her team was traded for his life during a blown op. She turned her back on everyone in the agency. Who wouldn’t after that betrayal? A lead that sets her on the killer’s trail exposes the tip of a deadly international threat. Everyone in her world is at risk, including Gage, her one-time CIA handler … and former lover.
Gage has waged war on Sabrina’s emotional walls from the moment she surfaced again, determined to have her back in his arms. As one of the deadliest operatives alive, Sabrina bends to no one’s will, not even when Gage is trying to keep her alive. That won’t happen unless they can stop a megalomaniac from starting a third world war. The survival of her Slye agents and the future of the world depend upon Gage convincing Sabrina to trust him again with all that she protects, including her heart.
EXCERPT FROM FATAL PROMISE
by NYT Bestseller Dianna Love
Gage’s tone turned a shade dire. “Your name is surfacing in the wrong places. Someone is coming for you and it might be from inside our government. I can’t protect you out here in the open. I need you to go to a safe house with me.”
Was he serious? “Dream on,” she muttered.
“I’m not joking, Sabrina.” His voice dropped even lower. “Hell, we could be dealing with those fanatical Orion Hunters who’ve infiltrated the government.”
“Exactly, Gage.” She leaned in, tapping her index finger on the bar as she said, “I’m not about to hide somewhere and leave my team exposed.”
Hope jumped into his expression. “Not a problem. I’ll find places for them, too.”
She chuffed out a sarcastic laugh. “News flash. They don’t trust you and that’s just another reason you and I have no business trying to be together.”
He sat back, defeat clear in his face. “You’re a walking target and I don’t know who the enemy is, but you think it’s me.”
Why did he have to say crap like that? “I don’t think you’re my enemy, Gage,” she countered softly.
“Yes you do, Sabrina. You’ve spent your entire life operating with one set of criteria. Someone is either on your team or not. I’m clearly not, as far you’re concerned.”
It didn’t help that he was right. Her insides had turned into a battlefield where her heart waged war against her mind and her other organs were quickly becoming unavoidable casualties.
Gage cared for her.
She knew it logically and heard the sincerity in his voice, but those were just words. Dingo and Josh had grown up on the streets with her. They’d stepped into any fight and shared everything they’d had with her even if it was one slice of bread to feed the three of them.
Even all these years later, they’d never used the L word with each other because love was only a word. What they had was stronger than anything you could put into words.
Gage had never understood their bond and never would.
This was why she had to be the strong one right now.
One day, either she or Gage would not come home.
She didn’t want to be the one left behind, not by this man, and she couldn’t continue half in and half out of a relationship any longer.
He reached over and grasped her hand. All her convictions wobbled on their unsteady foundation, but the truth pushed its way forward.
All they had were stolen moments here and there.
That wasn’t a relationship.
Standing up, she pulled out of his grip and slipped the purse strap over her shoulder, which reminded her why she’d come here to begin with—a phony snitch meeting that he’d set up.
All her unsteadiness fled. She put steel in her voice and said, “I’m through talking. Stay out of my way and don’t ever screw with one of my snitches again.”
He gave her a confused look. “What snitch?”
Gage shook his head. “Not following you.”
Blood rushed through her so quickly the sound roared in her ears, blocking the noise of the restaurant. She took in the place with one sweeping scan then turned to him. “How did you know I was here?”
She dropped her head down and her voice came out in a low growl of warning. “Just fucking answer me for once.”
He blinked at her rare curse. “I tailed your car from the airport. Picked you up leaving your office.”
Her face chilled with a clammy feeling. “You didn’t set this up with someone for me to meet you here?”
“No.” He was stone-cold serious now. “What’s up, Sabrina. Talk to me.”
She wanted to swipe the glasses off the bar and knock him off that stool. He’d screwed up her meeting with the contact. Her anger rose with the power of a tidal wave, threatening to kill everything in its path.
Sucking in a deep breath, she said, “Don’t call me. Don’t come near me and don’t you dare ever walk up to me uninvited again.”
“Who were you expecting to meet here?” Gage was looking around, now up to speed on what he’d cost her.
“None of your damn business.” She strode away, leaving him in a wake of her fury. He’d better stay the hell away before another word could be spoken.
If not, she’d say something she’d live to regret.
Outside, the street life had picked up with the approach of prime-time dinner hour.
Sabrina wove in and out of groups, then she picked up speed going downhill toward Peachtree Street, swinging into her parking deck.
When she made it to the third floor, she hurried off the elevator and turned to the right. Her car was eight spaces down.
The lights on that end of the parking deck were out.
She’d arrived before they came on, so she had no idea if that was normal or not.
Drawing her 9 mm, she crossed her arms to keep it shielded as she walked toward her car. She watched and listened for any hint of threat, keeping to the middle of the lane between the lines of parked cars.
A raspy voice called out in a sharp whisper, “Over here!”
Damn. Sometimes she hated to be right.
She turned to find a hunched-over figure emerging from shadows where nothing had been a second ago. A plump, elderly woman shuffled forward. She favored her left arm, holding it tucked against her body as though it were injured. Sabrina believed that how much?
Not one bit.
The woman kept her voice down and moved forward two more steps, asking, “Who was that man? You were supposed to meet me.”
Sabrina held her position where she’d stopped two spaces from her car. The hinky feeling that had crept along her neck from the moment she’d stepped into the parking deck cranked up a notch.
She got right down to business. “I understand you have a location for me.”
“Yes. I … need the money. He’ll kill me if he finds out.” The woman kept moving slowly, limping actually, with her back to the light, which kept her face silhouetted. Had this woman been with Rikker? Had he abused her?
Sabrina said, “Stop.”
The woman complied, pausing ten feet away. She picked her head up and Sabrina could make out a plain face with dark-rimmed glasses.
When silence stretched too long in Sabrina’s mind, she said, “I have the money. Give me the location.”
Nodding slowly, the woman pulled her right hand away from where it had been hooked around her left arm, and lifted her head as she straightened her posture. She held a Walther PPK. Her voice was soft, but urgent. “Come with me quietly and nothing will happen to you.”
And yet again, she’d like to not be right.
Who had set this trap? Sabrina hadn’t been asked to hand over her weapon yet, so maybe this woman didn’t realize she was armed.
Had Rikker sent her?
Sabrina wanted to find out more before she might be pushed to use her weapon. She said, “I hate to disappoint you, but you’re leaving without me or the money. You can tell Ziggie he owes me for this.”
The woman dropped her voice to a whisper as if she thought someone was close enough to hear her low conversation. “Listen to me. You’re in dan—”
An explosion blasted.
The shock wave hit Sabrina in the back.
She flew across the parking deck and smacked into the windshield of a car. Glass cracked. She slumped down the hood.
She couldn’t feel anything. Bad sign. Her world faded to black.
Anna Campbell has written ten multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins, and her work is published in seventeen languages. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Write Touch, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times). Anna is currently engaged in writing the “Dashing Widows” series, which started in 2015 with The Seduction of Lord Stone. She lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time
The Seduction of Lord Stone (The Dashing Widows Book 1) by Anna Campbell is charming, seductive and absolutely sublime. Every time I sink into one of Anna’s books it gets better and better. This is no exception.
In her latest novella series it’s all about the widows, and these ladies are not your typical widows. After a loveless and non romantic marriage, widow Lady Caroline “Caro” Beaumont is desperate for love and excitement now more than ever. This time it will be on her own terms without the chains and legal commitment of marriage.
After all, she’s done duty and obligation. All it did was leave her with a void when her husband died. Now as a widow she has the power to change everything. If only fear wasn’t standing in the way.
Silas Nash, Viscount Stone, is shocked when his sisters friend confides key details of her newly devised plan for happiness. When Silas realizes that his feelings towards Caro are anything but friendly, it unhinges him. This devilishly handsome “stud” is sought after by many women of the ton and yet his desire is just set on one woman. When Caro insist on seducing his best friend will he survive the sordid details?
Can Silas win the heart of a woman who has no intentions of ever marrying again? With no strings and no attachment, can he persuade Caro to follow her heart?
Dear readers the payoff is perfect! Discover for yourself now and download this must read book that has passion, heat and lots of romance for just $0.99!
I was given this ARC by the author for a fair and honest review. This is one book that you won’t want to miss and a series that is a must read. Add it to your gift list, wish list and TBR pile now. As for the other two widows, I look forward to their journey too. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.
Tempting Mr. Townsend (The Dashing Widows Book 2) by Anna Campbell is seductive, witty and even better than the first book in this must read series -and I LOVED The Dashing Widows Book 1! Every time I see one of Anna’s covers I’m giddy with excitement and anticipation, this one is no exception. Check out that beautiful rich blue!
In the series second installment, we reconnect with a widow who has grown and is not afraid to take risks, even if it means potentially damaging her reputation. There is a certain amount of power with that confidence and it makes our heroine strong, despite the obstacles she must overcome to find her happy ending. Five years is a long time to be in morning and Lady Fenella Deerham has only recently packed up her mourning clothes. Does this mean she is finally ready to move on? Perhaps all she needs is a little push?
Anthony Townsend has discovered that his nephew has disappeared from boarding school. Further news reveals the boy has run off with a school mate, so he heads straight to the poor boys home looking for answers. His arrival is unannounced, beastly and demanding.
Nothing can prepare Fenella for what charges through her door. The news that Fenella could lose her son is not an option, she must find him! Time is of the essence and she insists on joining Mr. Townsend in his search for the boys. She’s determined to go into the night with our without him. I love how Anthony and Fenella are brought together and the adventure that awaits. A journey with a stranger, oh how wicked Anna.
Lady Fenella will discover that it’s possible to find love twice if only she would give in to her feelings. One kiss will impact Fenella and she will need to make a decision that could change everything. Mr. Townsend has pushed her buttons and the game they play is intoxicating with tension, teasing and passion.
Every book Anna writes is satisfying and her characters are compelling and oh so charming! This novella sizzles and is the perfect way to spend a chilly afternoon warming up. There are a few surprises for readers and I was thrilled with this satisfying ending. Don’t miss out on this must read series perfectly priced at just $0.99. It’s time to discover a world of hope, adventure and love.
I was given this ARC by the author for a fair and honest review. I look forward to the widow’s we’ve yet to discover and their journey too! Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long, I hear the next book will be out later this spring.
Curzon Street, Mayfair, November 1820
“What the devil have you done with my ward, madam?”
Shocked, Fenella jerked her attention from the embroidery that she’d picked up to while away a rare quiet night at home.
Good heavens. A man the size of a mountain had invaded her drawing room.
An angry mountain.
Astonishment, rather than fear, was her immediate reaction. She slid her tambour frame onto the table beside her and straightened in her chair. “And who on earth are you?”
Greaves, her butler, rushed in with two brawny footmen looming behind him. “My lady, this fellow pushed his way into the house before I could stop him.”
The fellow clenched his huge fists at his sides and shot her servants a narrow-eyed glare. Despite their size, Tom and John faltered back.
Fenella could see why. The mysterious intruder looked ready to commit murder. Ready, and more than capable. His excellent tailoring did nothing to hide his impressive muscles and the breadth of shoulders and chest.
When he focused that searing stare on her, her stomach jumped with nerves. Was this some madman escaped from confinement? Although he didn’t look unhinged. Just furious.
“Don’t pretend you don’t know who I am,” the man said tersely, a northern accent edging his deep, resonant voice. “Just stop all this blasted nonsense and take me to the lad.”
Today we can finally read the latest in Anna Campbell’s must read Dashing Widows series. Anna has provided us a tease at what we can expect and an excerpt below!
All rakes are the same! Except when they’re not…
Spirited Helena, Countess of Crewe, knows all about profligate rakes; she was married to one for nine years and still bears the scars. Now this Dashing Widow plans a life of glorious freedom where she does just what she wishes – and nobody will ever hurt her again. So what is she to do when that handsome scoundrel Lord West sets out to make her his wife? Say no, of course. Which is fine, until West focuses all his sensual skills on changing her mind. And West’s sensual skills are renowned far and wide as utterly irresistible…
Vernon Grange, Lord West, has long been estranged from his headstrong first love, Helena Nash, but he’s always regretted that he didn’t step in to prevent her disastrous marriage. Now Helena is free, and this time, come hell or high water, West won’t let her escape him again. His weapon of choice is seduction, and in this particular game, he’s an acknowledged master. Now that he and Helena are under one roof at the year’s most glamorous house party, he intends to counter her every argument with breathtaking pleasure. Could it be that Lady Crewe’s dashing days are numbered?
Excerpt from Winning Lord West (Dashing Widows Book 3) Out 30th April
Richmond Park, London, May 1820
Lord West made an effort to lighten the tone. “I arranged this picnic purely for the pleasure of seeing you flying across the grass on the back of a galloping horse.”
Oh, dear, that wasn’t what Helena wanted to hear. She’d imagined he’d put this party together to further his pursuit of Caro. Helena didn’t want West noticing her. For years, he’d been content to treat her as a distant acquaintance. “Really?”
“Yes, really. It’s been a fancy of mine since I saw you restricted to a trot in Hyde Park. The experience was most uncongenial for an observer. You looked like someone was strangling you. Slowly.”
She frowned, resenting that West made her the focus of his attention. And that his conclusions were so accurate. “Town isn’t the place to ride neck or nothing. I’ll soon be back at Cranham.”
West signaled to a groom. “Such a pity.”
“That I’m leaving London?”
“No, that you don’t want a good gallop, when I went to such trouble to bring you a suitable mount—and a suitable saddle.”
The groom led a pretty chestnut mare toward them. Helena immediately noted the gleaming sidesaddle. Her hand curled at her side as if it already held a crop. Despite her misgivings about the man offering the favor, she itched to throw herself onto the lovely horse. The groom passed the reins to West, bowed and left.
West’s smile was mocking. “If you deny me, I’ll think that you don’t like me.”
She ran a gentle hand down the Arab’s jaw and bit back a sigh of longing. The mare truly was a darling. “I don’t.”
That wasn’t completely true. Her feelings for West had always been more complex than mere antipathy. When they were children, he’d been her hero. Shreds of that fondness lingered, although she’d long ago recognized that he was cut from the same cloth as her depraved husband.
She studied West, as with unconvincing nonchalance, Silas wandered off in Caro’s direction. “You don’t believe me?”
West shrugged. “Explaining exactly what I believe requires more time and privacy than we now enjoy. Even if you insist on seeing me as the enemy, I hope you’ll still accept Artemis as a gift.”
“Gift?” Helena stared at him, appalled. “What on earth do you mean? I can’t take such an extravagant present. Have some sense, West.”
He stood unmoved by her refusal, tall and lean in his immaculate dark green coat and fawn breeches. “Nonetheless, she’s yours.”
“That’s…” Helena struggled to understand what lay behind this ridiculous and inappropriate gesture. West had been out in society all his adult life. He knew how the world would interpret his generosity.
His gaze remained unwavering on her face. “Yes.”
“Yes, what?” she snapped, although she had a sinking feeling she knew.
“Yes, it’s a declaration of intentions.”
Horror flooded her. She faltered back across the grass as if he’d made an unwelcome physical advance. “This isn’t funny.”
“I’m deadly serious.”
“Then you’re wasting your time.” She straightened and glared at him. Her mind worked a thousand miles an hour to make sense of this abrupt alteration in their dealings. “I was a rake’s wife. Be damned if I’ll be a rake’s mistress.”
(** re-posted from 4/30/16)
Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards.
When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music.
A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.
SPIRIT FALL, BOOK ONE:
His moody introspections had allowed something other than his feet to dictate his impending destination. The blocks and buildings melted into the darkness until he arrived on the edge of Balboa Park. Now this place was more like it. He enjoyed the park. Its neatly trimmed grassy flats surrounded by ancient shade trees, sprinkled with historic museums and architectural landmarks, sprawled across a couple miles in the heart of the city. The park had a much friendlier feel than New York’s Central Park, but it still gave any visitor the impression of being in a place other than a congested city.
The hour was late, well after one in the morning, so the grounds were pretty much empty. Except for one lone figure, partially obscured by a copse of eucalyptus trees, standing against the bridge barricade. The figure was small, perhaps a teenager looking for a lost skateboard. Kai watched for a few moments until, to his horror, the figure climbed onto the ledge.
Was this for real?
He allowed a split second to pass before he moved to the bridge. Trees and houses rushed by in a blurred blink before he appeared a few feet away from the person whose desperation poured out from their very skin. He could almost taste the emotion in the air, bittersweet misery tempered with the salt of unshed tears.
An unfamiliar energy began to pulsate just beneath his skin, and he paused as he experienced an unfamiliar sensation. Silence. For so many years, the hum of scattered thoughts from passing strangers had kept him mental company. Could this be real? Could she be the one?
His mind raced, trying to find a way to halt the jumper, searching for the right thing to say.
Kai reached out to gently touch the worn-out running shoe nearest to his hand. His gaze journeyed up to find the face of a young girl, her thick, wavy hair pulled into a haphazard ponytail, and her eyes closed in preparation for an untimely demise. Her body was just beginning to show curves. Small, high breasts and shapely legs were concealed by the thin clothes. No. That couldn’t be right. He’d been paired with a child?
His voice must have caught her by surprise, judging by the jolt that lanced down her body. Eyes flitted behind closed lids as her chin twitched in his direction.
“What? Why?” Her voice was weak and confused.
“Because I asked nicely?”
He kept his eyes trained on her profile, carefully watching her inner struggle play across her face. Through the light contact with her body, he was able to pick up on her troubled, swirling emotions. His appearance had shaken her resolve. Still, her eyes remained shut.
“Why should you care? You don’t even know me. Now just leave me alone.”
The spite in her voice seemed forced and insincere. He sensed she was a kind person by nature. Kind, but very disheartened. The more he heard her speak, the more he realized his initial guess at her age was off by a few years. Early twenties, perhaps. The tone was deeper and richer than most of the women he’d encountered in the city, conjuring images of Lauren Bacall and other seductresses of film noir. He needed to keep her talking. More than that, he had to stop her from killing herself. If his instincts were right, she was the other half of his spirit, and he was not about to let her go in this manner.
“True,” he sighed. “But still, I did ask nicely.” He leaned casually against the concrete barrier, hoping he might get close enough to grab for her should she decide to go through with her plunge. She looked small; it would be easy enough to pull her down. But somehow, Kai suspected that wouldn’t stop her from trying again on another night.
“Give me a reason.”
The voice sounded thin and breathy, hollow and empty. Most likely from disuse, but he detected traces of a different person than the one perched upon this ledge. Faint whispers of faded laughter and lost smiles echoed in the distant background, dimmed by despair and gloom. Loose strands of deep chestnut hair whipped around to reveal hints of pale skin, natural and unkissed by the sun. Slender and youthful in appearance, she was petite in every way, with small curves above and below the waist.
No. The longer he studied her, the more he realized her body was strong, athletic, and still entirely feminine. His efforts seemed to be wearing her down. She would have jumped already if she were truly determined.
He thought carefully before he responded.
“I can think of about a million of them, but somehow I’m not sure I’ll pick the right one for you on the first try.”
Great. All the Good Samaritans out there and she got a comedian.
SPIRIT BOUND, BOOK TWO:
“Calliope, I have something to ask you. If you choose not to answer, I will understand.”
She leaned in, resting the Red Tale Ale bottle on the counter for a heartbeat. “Wow. You used my full name. This must really be important.”
Her apprehensive smile did not fool Galen; he had sensed her trepidation before the bottle touched down. He reached across the Formica barrier, covering her hand with his. “I do not mean to frighten you. If you would rather not…”
Cal’s smile stunned him into silence. “You have been amazing to me, Galen. I think you’re entitled to a couple of answers.” She looked up, her dazzling green eyes pinning him with a serious stare. “But I might have a few questions of my own.”
“Quid pro quo?” he asked, quirking an eyebrow.
She nodded. “Definitely. Like, what does that word mean?”
His brow furrowed at her odd query. “What word?”
Lifting the brown bottle to her mouth, she mumbled around the lip of the bottle as if afraid she was going to botch the pronunciation. “Um, that, uh, a-ag…”
He chuckled lightly as she tripped over the familiar phrase. “You mean ‘agapi’?”
Sighing with a smile, she nodded. “Yeah, that’s the word.”
“It is simply a term of endearment in my native language,” he answered with a smile. “I hope you don’t mind.”
Her silent answer appeared as a tempting blush, pinking her cheeks, as an innocent grin melted across her face.
His eyes drank her in, his heart filling with a loving pride. The corners of his lips curled up as her eyes sparkled with emerald fire. Those evil men tried to break her, tried to take her away from him. Never again would anyone bring her harm. The thought clanged around his head, the edge of his smile faltering.
Her eyebrows pulled together as he let his anger slip out of his grip. “Gee, I’d hate to be on the receiving end of that glare.”
His rage disappeared in the blink of an eye, his gaze softening as he captured her hand. “Agapi mou, you need never fear that. For those who have felt my anger never do so again.” Bringing her hand to his lips, he brushed a tender kiss along the rapid pulse at her wrist. “But my question, I hope, will not cause you alarm.” He sat patiently, giving her time to change her mind.
She exhaled in a huff, her short locks swaying from side to side. “Nah, I should be good, I hope.” She lifted her gaze, her bright green eyes wary but willing. “OK. Let’s hear it.”
Galen threaded his fingers through hers and phrased his query as delicately as he could. “While I was healing you, I sensed something was very wrong.” He paused, gauging her response. When he met silence, he pressed on. “And twice, you tried to awaken too early into your healing rest. Is there something that stops you from sleeping?”
A sad smile graced her full lips, her eyes slipping away from his face. “Yeah, about that…” Gnawing her bottom lip, she paused and studied the floor, as if searching for the best way to explain her situation. “Well, straight answer? I’m dying.”
He blinked at the words hanging suspended between them. “I’m sorry, but did you just say…?”
Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard many years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days—and nights— creating stories of unique men and women who experience the first bites of desire, the dizzying heights of passion, and the tender, healing heat of love.
She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States. Come visit Naima at https://www.naimasimone.com.
Only for a Night by Naima Simone is a short and steamy read that answers the question, is it possible that a bad boy can reform and have the one thing he’s never waivered on, the shy girl he lusted after in school?
Rion Ward is not the same guy that Harper Shaw once knew. Now she’s come back and discovered that he can give her everything she wants. Can they agree to just one night together? Who will crave more? What will happen when Harper craves more? Will Rion finally be able to give her what she desires?
Naima is a master at the sensual and larger than life characters that leave you begging for more! This is a very steamy start to a new series and I look forward to the next installment.
Proceed with caution, this three pepper spicy latte must read is pretty hot and may offend. For mature readers 18+.
I received this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.
Excerpt (*edited for posting on the blog by the author*):
“What are you doing here?” The deep, midnight voice sliced through the memories, and Harper willingly locked the vault on them. Rion’s velvet tone slid over her exposed skin like a velvet caress, resonating in her chest, curling in her belly—and lower. “I asked you a question,” he said, the demand silky but no less menacing.
“I-I came here to speak with y-you,” she stammered. God, she sounded like an idiot. “I hoped we could talk.”
A black eyebrow arched high. “Talk,” he enunciated, a corner of his sensual mouth curling into a faintly sardonic sneer. “What could you and I possibly have to talk about?”
“I—” She peered over his shoulder, for the first time noticing the blond giant standing behind Rion. Sasha. Sasha Merchant. A close friend of Rion’s. “Would you mind if we… Can we speak in private?”
She reeled back on her death-defying heels, teetering before grabbing the table tighter. “No?” she repeated. Seconds of silence passed between them. Irritation warred with mortification, and she tilted her chin in spite of the heat rushing up her throat and into her face. “That’s it? Just no?”
She sighed, exasperated. “Rion…”
“Go home,” he interrupted, the order unyielding, hard. Dismissive.
“Rion, please,” she murmured, cringing at the plea that crept into her voice.
“Sasha, would you mind escorting her safely to her car?” He turned, again disregarding her without hearing her out.
Anger shoved the hurt aside, surging hot and hard inside her. She’d been dismissed, shelved, or patronized too often in her life. She’d also been mute, opting to remain silent, not rock the boat. Not voice her needs, her wants…her desires. Well, that time had passed.
She was tired of living—no, existing—in a cocoon that was supposed to be safe but was really suffocating.
And he didn’t get to push her back into that cocoon.
Aiming a dark scowl at Rion, Sasha stepped forward, his hand extended toward her. “Sorry, sweetheart—”
“Wait a minute,” she snarled, skirting past Sasha and latching onto Rion’s arm, ignoring the sexy flex of muscle beneath her fingers and palm. Rion froze, probably in surprise rather than from her hold. “We were friends for a long time. Too long for you to just toss me aside like a stranger. Okay it’s been five years since we’ve seen one another. You can at least give me five seconds.”
Slowly, Rion pivoted, dislodging her hand. Staring up into his lean face with its stark lines and stormy eyes, she shivered. Fear had picked a fine time to remind her the absolute stupidity of stirring a predator.
“Five seconds.” He slid his hands in his pants pockets.
“Thank you.” She sighed, relieved. “If we could just—”
“Three,” he stated, his tone past bored and veering into catatonic.
“I need you,” she blurted. Damn. Oh God. Just…damn.
His eyes narrowed. “What do you need me for?”
“I can’t—” Panic crawling up her throat, she shot a glance at Sasha who didn’t even pretend not to be absorbed with the scene playing out before him. “Rion,” she whispered.
“Damn it. Sex. I need you for sex.”
For the first time, Rion lost his stoicism, shock widening his eyes and parting his lips. Beside him, Sasha sounded as if he were being strangled, and her? She squeezed her eyes shut, flames bursting inside her, consuming her in a conflagration of humiliation. Jesus Christ. Was death by mortification possible?