Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: Dare to Run (The Sons of Steel Row #1) by Jen McLaughlin

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Dare to Run (The Sons of Steel Row #1) by Jen McLaughlin

Releasing February 2, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

imageThe New York Times bestselling author of the Out of Line Novels takes readers to Boston, where one gang of criminals knows how being bad can be so good…

She knows what he’s like on Boston’s mean streets. Now she’s going to find out if he’s got some heart.

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.

Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.

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Excerpt

There was something about him, some- thing I couldn’t put my finger on, that made me hyperaware of his very being whenever he was in the same room as me. I didn’t know his name, but I knew he had danger written all over him. In permanent marker.

He watched me with narrowed eyes that did bad things to my equilibrium. I knew from memory that they were green. Like, really green. They looked clean and fresh and happy, but he was none of those things. He always came in wearing jeans and a muscle-hugging long-sleeved shirt, which he always rolled up to just below his elbows to show off his strong arms covered in a thin dusting of ne hair. I’d stared at those freaking arms way too many times. I’d never been one for arms, for the love of God, but on him? They just worked. Everything did. In truth, he looked raw, gritty, and dangerous. And he had the faintest hint of a Boston accent.

As if he hadn’t already been unfairly sexy.

He’d been in every night for the past week, but before then, I’d never seen him. When he came in, he barely spoke two words to me and mostly communicated with grunts and money. He wasn’t rude or anything. Just the strong, silent type.

The only personal thing I knew about him was that he ran the mechanic shop across the street. I wanted to know more, and there was only one way that was going to happen. Straightening, I made my way over to him. “Whatcha drinking tonight, Lucky?”

He shrugged out of his dark brown leather jacket— another item he was never without—and dragged his hands through his dark brown hair. Although it wasn’t completely brown. It had a tinge of red . . . not that I’d noticed, of course. Once he settled his jacket on the stool, he eyed me with those bright Irish eyes of his. “My name’s not Lucky.”

“Are you sure?” I cocked my head. “It fits. I mean, you practically scream Irish. Reddish hair, light eyes. Devastating charm.”

He cocked a brow. “Devastating charm, huh?”

“Sure.” I leaned on the bar. His eyes dipped south but shot back up almost instantly. “You come in here, scowl at everyone, and barely say a word. If that’s not devastating charm, I don’t know what is.”

“Then you need to get out more, Heidi.” He tapped his fingers on the bar and locked gazes with me. “That’s your name, right?”

My stomach clenched tight at the sound of my name on his lips. With his accent, it sounded almost musical. “Yeah. How did you know?”

“I pay attention . . .” He trailed off and gave me a charming—yes, charming—smile. “In between bouts of being lethally charming, that is.”

My heartbeat picked up speed, but I ignored it. I would not swoon over the guy just because he smiled my way. I would not. “Sure. Or you’re a stalker. One or the other.”

“Darlin’?” He leaned in. He smelled good. Like Dolce & Gabbana cologne, leather, cars, and a healthy dose of pure man. And when he said darling, with the hard r dropping off like that, it melted my insides into a puddle of hot want and desire. I bet he knew it, too. “I’ve been coming here all week. You of all people should know I don’t need to stalk women to get them to come home with me.”

I reared back and widened my eyes, doing my best to look offended. It wasn’t easy, because I was pretty much impossible to offend. “Excuse me?” I feigned. “Who said anything about me going home with you?”

For a second, he looked embarrassed. A brief, tiny second. Then the smirk slipped back into place and he tapped his fingers on the bar again. The leashed power behind such a simple gesture sent a shiver down my spine. “Oh, that’s just adorable. You didn’t have to say a thing. I’ve felt you watching me every night.”

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Cori 4.5 Stars

Wow! Just wow! I’m hooked now! I’ll admit I chose to read this book based on the cover alone. It’s that hot. Jen MacLaughlin delivered an incredible story that lived up to the cover. I love the  bad boy/ villain heroes and Lucas was just that. I fell in love with him while the heroine was falling for him. All that cocky Boston bad boy attitude with a protective streak had me swooning. The chemistry between Lucas and Heidi was off the charts. I loved their interactions and banter. Dare to Run was full of angst, suspense and smoking hot romance. It’s a little dark but not too dark. We get a look into the gang life without being overwhelmed with too much of it. It focuses on the love story. This series is now one of my book addictions. I’ll be stalking the next release and can’t wait to see what Jen MacLaughlin has in store for us next.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon PBK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

GOODREADS LINK

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Giveaway

PAPERBACK COPY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway.

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About the author

imageJen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of sexy books with Penguin Random House. Under her pen name, Diane Alberts, she is also a USA TODAY bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, hit the New York Times, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

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Cover Reveal: RoomHate by Penelope Ward

RoomHate by Penelope Ward

Cover designer: Letitia Hasser, r.b.a designs

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Add RoomHate to your TBR list on Goodreads!
http://bit.ly/1ZQFxtz

Sign up for Penelope’s mailing list now to be the first one notified of releases: http://eepurl.com/MnXoH

RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2016

Synopsis

imageFrom New York Times Bestselling Author, Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.

Author’s note – RoomHate is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Additional Books from Penelope Ward

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Release Launch: Taking the Lead (Secrets of a Rock Star) by Cecilia Tan

DIRTY TOGETHER BANNER - MEGHAN MARCH - ROCKSTAR PR

Taking the Lead (Secrets of a Rock Star) by Cecilia Tan

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Erotica/ Contemporary Romance

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Synopsis

imageWhen the rich and famous come out to play, nothing is off-limits . . .

Everyone knows Ricki Hamilton as the icy heiress living in a billion-dollar mansion, high up in the Hollywood Hills. But few realize that behind the gilded gates, Ricki is the mistress of LA’s most exclusive private club. A place where no fantasy is forbidden and no one goes unsatisfied-except for Ricki. If she had her way, she’d leave the business behind . . . until she meets the one man with the power to change her mind.

The hottest rock star in the world, Axel Hawke, has the requisite sexy look and bad-boy reputation. Yet even his biggest fans have no clue just how decadently dangerous he can be. From the moment he meets Ricki, he knows there is no other woman who will satisfy him. He can feel the heat hiding beneath her cool demeanor and he’s determined to stoke her flame.

Together Ricki and Axel indulge their every desire. The deeper they go, the more she craves. Submitting to Axel opens her eyes, and for the first time Ricki knows exactly what she wants. All she has to do is take it . . .

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Excerpt

“Okay, where were we?” Sakura drank a bit more of the sake. “Last time I’m going to say this: if Axel did anything sketchy, beyond carrying you off for a lark, anything that violated the rules of consent, then his name is mud in the BDSM community and you definitely shouldn’t be inviting him to join your club. But nothing you’ve told me so far really sounds all that sketchy. He carried you off, you willingly had some light role play and heavy sex; you played the submissive role and had, if I’m not mistaken, some of the best sex in your life. And that’s why you’re upset.”
“Because the sex was good?”
“Because you discovered that letting someone else be in charge is a turn-on for you. Ricki, let me assure you, being submissive in the bedroom isn’t the same thing as being subservient or second-class to the pushy men in your life.”
I dug in my heels. “That’s easy for you to say because you’re dominant.”
She sighed. “The other thing is, really, if something’s going on in your head, it’s probably got more to do with you than with him. The way to straighten it out is to talk it out with him. Axel may be fairly new to serious dom role play but I know for a fact that he knows about aftercare.”
Aftercare. I huffed. He’d tried to take care of me and I’d kicked him out. Sakura was making sense but I couldn’t quite put it all together in my mind. It was a lot to take in at once. “Okay, I confess. The thing is, when I’m near him? All common sense flies out the window, Sarah. I literally can’t get together with him to talk about this without melting into a puddle.”
“Ahhh.” She seemed to think that explained a lot. “Well. Have you tried calling him?”
“Of course I haven’t. I don’t even have his number.”
“Yes, you do.” She gave me a sly, knowing smile. “I programmed it into your phone before I gave it back.”
“You sneaky thing!” I pulled my phone out to see if what she said was true: sure enough, there was an Axel Hawke in my contacts now.
There was also a text from Paul. Schmitt’s pressing me to schedule an appointment with you, his message read. Y/N?
“Tell him he can have an appointment with me after he gives me a slot to address the CTC board of directors,” I said aloud.
Sakura sipped her tea. “Huh. Speaking of pushy men in your life. Schmitt?”
“How did you guess?” He couldn’t want to talk about the upcoming kinky dungeon party. He’d want to meet with both me and Gwen for that. “I have no clue what he wants now. I guess I have to meet with him to find out.”
“Don’t be silly. Have Paul get an agenda from him. No agenda, no meeting. If the items are too sensitive to put on an agenda, well, that gives you the answer in another way.”
“Right. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“You’ve got to stop thinking of yourself as at the beck and call of these guys in suits, Rick’. Start thinking of yourself as the Queen of the Universe whom they all serve.”
“What are you talking about? I’m already Queen Bitch of the Universe twenty-four-seven these days and I’m tired of it, Sarah.”
“Tsk tsk. I didn’t say bitch. You do pretty well with your staff; I’ve seen it. You’re firm, fair, but very definitely in charge and demanding your due.”
“But they’re my employees. Of course I can be all leader-like with them.”
“And I’m telling you, act like that with these executives and lawyers in the club or they’re going to treat you like Cy’s little girl forever.” She set her sake cup down. “You’re afraid that being a sub in the bedroom means you’ll be submissive to these jerks, too? Don’t let it happen. I don’t care that they’re three times your age. You can buy and sell every one of them. Act like it.”
“I have a ‘game face,’ ” I said in my defense. “Ice queen.”
“Drop the ice and just think queen. Think: crown on your head.” She pointed to the top of her own head where a tiara would go and I felt myself sitting up straighter without even trying. “Demand their respect and you’ll get it, Ricki. Axel already respects you a hundred times more than these assholes.”
“Does he?”
I tried to imagine what getting on the phone with him would be like. Part of me longed to hear his voice again. But what exactly did I want to say to him? Could I make him understand the reasons why I couldn’t be with him? Could I make him understand what was going on in my life? “I just don’t know, Sar’. What do you say to a guy who’s turned your whole world upside down?”
The door slid aside and there was our waiter with a gigantic wooden tray shaped like a boat in his hands, well laden with a display of fish as colorful and gorgeous as a jewelry display at Tiffany’s. He sailed it onto our table, gave us another smile, and then retreated again. The arrival of such a feast distracted us completely from the fact that Sarah never answered my question.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon PBK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author

imageCecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. RT Magazine awarded her Career Achievement in Erotic Romance in 2015 and their prestigious Pioneer Award. Tan’s BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) also won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats.

Find Cecilia Tan Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Pre-Order Alert: BOUNTY (Colorado Mountain Series) by Kristen Ashley

 

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BOUNTY (Colorado Mountain Series Book 7) by Kristen Ashley

Publication Date: April 18, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

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imageJustice Lonesome has enjoyed a life of bounty.

Even so, she’s inherited the curse of the Lonesome. A poet’s soul. Which means she’s still searching for something. Searching for peace. Searching for the less…that’s more.

And when the foundation of her life is pulled out from under her, grieving, she goes to the mountains to find her oasis. She hits Carnal, Colorado and decides to stay.

Deke Hightower lost everything at the age of two. He lost it again at fifteen. His life has not been about bounty. It’s been about learning to live with less, because there’s no way to get more.

Deke’s also watched all his friends go down to the women who gave them what they needed. He wants that for himself. But he knows that search isn’t going to be easy because he’s a rider. His home is the road. That’s the only place he can breathe. And the woman who takes her place at his side has to do it sitting on the back of his bike.

When Deke meets Justice, he knows she’s not that woman. She’s cute. She’s sweet. And she’s into him, but she’s got it all and Deke knows he won’t fit into that. So he holds her at arm’s length. Establishes boundaries. And Justice will take it because she wants Deke any way he’ll let her have him.

But when Justice finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game, Deke makes a decision.

When he does, he has no idea he’s just opened himself up to bounty.

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Pre-Order

Kindle $3.99 http://amzn.to/1KGeLNJ

Amazon Series Link: http://amzn.to/1KGeOJh

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COLORADO MOUNTAIN SERIES BY KRISTEN ASHLEY
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  1. The Gamble
  2. Sweet Dreams
  3. Lady Luck
  4. Breathe
  5. JaggedReview 4.5 Stars
  6. KaleidoscopeReview 5 Stars
  7. Bounty (Releasing 04/18/16)

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  Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: SPIDER GAME (Ghost Walker Series) by Christine Feehan

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SPIDER GAME (Ghost Walker Series) by Christine Feehan

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

imageIn a world so dark and seductive, expect nothing less than a triple-cross in the explosive all-new Ghostwalker novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan…

The Cajun dive in the middle of the godforsaken swamps wasn’t exactly Trap Dawkins’ idea of fun. But the GhostWalker wasn’t there for a good time. He was looking for her. Cayenne. It’s where she found her victims. Poor suckers. Then again, who wouldn’t want to leave a place like this with a woman like her?

It’s not Cayenne’s fault. Locked up, experimented on and never knowing kindness, she was bred this way—with a heart of pure venom. Trap understands her. He survived his own dark past and he shares her desire for getting even. But now Trap’s greatest danger is Cayenne herself. Because what’s inside her is hard to control—especially when it’s aroused by a lover as reckless as Trap.

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Excerpt

Read Chapter 1: http://www.christinefeehan.com/spider_game/chapter1.php

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Graphic from Christine Feehan’s Facebook page.

Trailer

https://youtu.be/FiQyCjYRstA

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Donna 4 stars
I liked Cayenne and enjoyed how she slowly adapted to her new life. It was fun to see her learn things that we take for granted. She and Trap made a great couple but only because she had far more patience than I would. He bordered on unbearable a time or two but she somehow worked through it. While they fired up their relationship, outside forces were at work to destroy the GhostWalkers, especially her. I appreciated that the danger was a little different this time and made it unpredictable. Another scorching hot romance filled with suspense and danger.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Graphic from Christine Feehan’s Facebook page.

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon PBK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of SPIDER GAME by Christine Feehan

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway. 

 About the Author image#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has over 40 novels published, including four series. Each of her four series has hit #1 on the NY Times. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature for 1999. Since then she has been published by Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards.

She is pleased to have made numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Bookscan, B. Daltons, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Waldenbooks, Ingrams, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, Washington Post, and Walmart. She has received numerous honors throughout her career including being a nominee for the RWA’s RITA. She has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

She has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including large print, palm pilot, e-book, and hardcover. In October of 2007 her first manga comic, Dark Hunger was released in stores. This was the first ever manga comic released by Berkley Publishing and it made #11 on Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller’s List. Her ground-breaking book trailer commercials have been shown on TV and in the movie theaters. She has been featured on local TV, appeared on the The Montel Williams Show, and her book Dark Legend was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine.

Christine Feehan has also appeared at numerous writers’ conventions and book signings including: Romantic Times Convention, Get Caught Reading at Sea Cruise, Celebrate Romance Conference, Emerald City Conference, and numerous Romance Writers of America Conferences.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Reign (Sin City Outlaws) by M. N. Forgy

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Reign (Sin City Outlaws) by M. N. Forgy

Publication Date: January 27, 2016

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One bad biker. One gorgeous sheriff.
One intense biker romance.

Buy Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1SNisb3
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1SNipfz
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1OgVjKR
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1Y0mpZl
iBooks: http://apple.co/1lsK5JT
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1RDdfCi

Goodreads Link: http://bit.ly/Reign_GoodReads

Amazon Homepage: http://amzn.to/1HTKKhw

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Synopsis

Reign by M.N. Forgy coverAs the president of the Sin City Outlaw Motorcycle Club, l I fuck as hard as I ride and rarely go to bed alone.

The women are fast and the violence is intense.

I excel in both.

People either respect me or fear me. I’m not arrogant. It’s just the truth.

I was a king, reigning over Vegas without complication, until one gorgeous sheriff made everything fall apart.

When I saw her, I became a Neanderthal, wanting nothing more than to be between those legs.

I guess that’s where I went wrong, because my reality was shot to hell real fucking fast.

One kiss caused her to step over that blue line.

One night in her bed made me a traitor.

And now… we’re both screwed.

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Teaser Reign (Sin City Outlaws) by M. N. Forgy

Excerpt“Really? You got me donuts?” I arch a brow, dropping the lid.
He turns, a mischievous smile fitting his face.
“Don’t all cops like donuts?” he jeers. I roll my eyes, placing my hand on my hip.
“That’s so stereotypical,” I huff.
“Oh, really?” he replies, grabbing the box off the table, a smug smile still on his face.
“I’ll get rid of them then.”
“No, wait!” I nearly trip over my feet trying to grab the box of donuts. He holds them higher than me and smiles so big I think I see two dimples. Really, he’s pulling the notorious bully move holding them just above my reach? Why am I attracted to him again?
“I thought you didn’t like them,” he taunts.
“I do like them. A lot, actually.” I cross my arms, my cheeks flushing. My dad used to always take me to the local bakery to get donuts on the weekends. I would get whatever I wanted—usually anything with sprinkles—and we would drop the rest off at the department. What can I say, embrace your stereotypes.
“So, it’s true. Cops love donuts,” he states arrogantly, sitting the box back down.

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card & Swag Pack (1 Winner)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Teaser Reign (Sin City Outlaws) by M. N. Forgy

About the author

M.N. Forgy bio picture M.N. Forgy was raised in Missouri where she still lives with her family. She’s a soccer mom by day and a saucy writer by night. M.N. Forgy started writing at a young age but never took it seriously until years later, as a stay-at-home mom, she opened her laptop and started writing again. As a role model for her children, she felt she couldn’t live with the “what if” anymore and finally took a chance on her character’s story. So, with her glass of wine in hand and a stray Barbie sharing her seat, she continues to create and please her fans.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Release Launch, Review & Giveaway: EXTREME HONOR (True Heroes #1) by Piper J. Drake

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EXTREME HONOR (True Heroes #1) by Piper J. Drake

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

imageHONOR, LOYALTY, LOVE

David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility . . . and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.

Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else-and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both . . .

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Donna 5 Stars

I am excited by this new series! David is one of several dog trainers that specialize in military and police dogs, especially those that have seen action. All of the men at the facility are x-military and along with being hyper vigilant, they are prepared for any contingency. Enter Evelyn, the now grown, connected military brat trying to make a name for herself, a wild tempest surrounding a dog in rehab and you have the makings of a fast paced fun story. I connected and liked everyone from the beginning, got drawn into their lives and kept glued to the pages. All in all a hot romance with nonstop action. Fun!

*Review copy provided Forever Romance in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

His kiss wasn’t light or gentle or teasing. His lips came down on hers with heat and firm pressure. His hand moved from her chin to cup the back of her head, urging her to tilt for him. She did, opening her mouth and giving him access, too. His tongue swept in, hot and searching. She answered in kind and they explored each other.
This was . . .wow. More than wow. Heat swept through her and she reveled in the sensation he sent coursing throughout her body with his kissing.
It was a long time before he let her up for air and when he did, she realized she was clutching the front of his shirt with both hands. Oh hey. How about that?
“You need to get over this.”
What?
Shocked, she started to step back but David’s hand was still on the back of her head and his other arm came around her waist. Tucked against him, she looked up to see him glaring at Atlas through the chain-link fence.
The big dog had reared up and put his front paws on the fence.
“You can deal,” David said to Atlas. “Don’t even tell me you gave Calhoun this kind of interference when he was with somebody.”
Butterflies tickled her and she buried her face in David’s chest as she giggled.
“What? That’s seventy-five pounds of canine jumping up on me if it weren’t for this fence.” Despite his words, amusement colored his tone and his arm remained firmly around her waist.
“With the two of you, there isn’t anything that can keep me worried.” She smiled up at him, enjoying the fit of their bodies against each other.
David gave her a lopsided grin. “Good. I’d like to say we make a solid team but Atlas here is working for you but not with me, if you get what I mean.”
“Ah well, he’s a free agent for the time being.” She didn’t want to ruin the mood. But it’d be stupid to pretend Atlas wouldn’t be returned to duty once they’d gotten him back to one hundred percent responsiveness. The big dog was too good to retire yet.
“True.” David pressed a kiss to her temple. “So.” She could barely believe her own audacity but the last few days, the last few minutes in particular, were all about personal evolution, apparently. “Where were we before Atlas expressed his opinion?”
Because she’d like to get back to that. And explore. In detail.
Okay, maybe she wasn’t as daring as she could be. Yet.
“Here.” David caught her mouth for another hot, fantastically mind-blowing kiss.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon PBKB&NiBooksKobo

And don’t miss the second book in the True Heroes series, ULTIMATE COURAGE, on sale July 26, 2016!

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Giveaway

10 Print Copies of EXTREME HONOR by Piper J. Drake

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the author

imagePiper J. Drake (or “PJ”) spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre. PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award. PJ’s romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.

Author Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Into the Fury (BOSS, Inc. Book 1) by Kat Martin

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Into the Fury (BOSS, Inc. Book 1) by Kat Martin

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

imageA bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a P.I.–the men of Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc. are down for the job. . .

Sinners, whores, and sluts beware–your time is at hand: a faceless menace is threatening lingerie models on a cross country tour, and Ethan Brodie is there to defend and protect.

Ethan’s learned the hard way that beauty is no substitute for character. So even though Valentine Hart is one of the most breathtaking women he’s ever seen, he’s keeping his hands off and his eyes open. Or that’s what he tells himself.

Then one of the models is murdered, and the closer Ethan gets to the answers, the closer he finds himself to Valentine–and the hotter the pressure feels. There’s more to Val–more to the other girls–than he could have guessed. But one is keeping a secret that could kill them all.

Link to Follow Tour

Goodreads Link

Goodreads Series Link

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Excerpt

​“Beau Desmond, meet Ethan Brodie,” Carlyle said. “The guy with the ’stache is Dirk Reynolds.”
​Desmond reached out a hand and Ethan and Dirk both shook.
​“Ethan’s heading up the additional security team we’ve hired. He’s also a PI, so he’ll be doing some digging, trying to find out who sent those notes.”
​“Long as he keeps his nose out of my business he can do whatever he wants,” Desmond said.
​One of Ethan’s eyebrows went up. So it was going to be a pissing contest. Who’s the toughest, who’s the best at his job. He’d been afraid of that when he’d spotted the earrings.
​“I’ll do my best to stay out of your way,” Ethan said diplomatically. He was there to do a job. He’d do it with or without Beau Desmond.
​“Make sure you do,” Beau said, determined to get the last word.
​Carlyle made no comment, but clearly he had picked up on Desmond’s belligerent attitude. As they walked away, Dirk was grinning in anticipation. He loved nothing better than making a dickhead look like a fool.
​“Beau’s good at his job,” Carlyle said. “Be helpful if you kept that in mind.”
​“Oh, I will,” Ethan said.
​Dirk wisely made no comment.
​Leaving​Beau Desmond behind, Carlyle led them into a room where four men stood drinking coffee. They each wore jeans and a black T-shirt with a white La Belle logo on the front left corner, the symbol for male and female, a round circle with a cross at the bottom and an arrow off the circle at the top.
​The shirts made them easily identifiable as La Belle security. He and Dirk had been given a stack when they’d walked in that morning and each was wearing one now. Carlyle made the introductions. “Listen up, you men. The guy on my right is Ethan Brodie. He’s heading up additional security for the show. That means the four of you. The guy next to him is Dirk Reynolds. They’re both professionals. They know what they’re doing, so listen and do what they say.”
​The men introduced themselves one at a time. They all had some security experience, not much. A sandy-haired, thirty-something parking lot guard named Sandowski, a tall beanpole of a guy named Walt Wizzy who had worked for Walmart. A Hispanic named Pete Hernandez who was built like a brick house but stood only about five foot six and, by the jut of his chin, probably had a little-man’s complex. Ethan figured if there was trouble in the group, Hernandez would be it.
​A black guy named Joe Posey was an ex-cop, but he was older and out of shape. The men were hardly first string, but Ethan figured unless something really bad went down, they would do just fine.
​He gave the guys a brief rundown of what he expected them to do. “Your job is to keep people out of the theater who aren’t supposed to be here. With this many women around, there’s bound to be a handful of smart-asses who think they’re God’s gift. Handle them pleasantly but firmly. Whatever bullshit story they come up with, don’t let them anywhere near the models. You get in over your head with one or more of them, use your radio to call for backup. Questions?”
​No one spoke.
​“The second part of your job is to keep an eye out for anyone or anything that looks suspicious. Someone who has ill intent, no matter what it might be. Report anything out of the ordinary directly to me or Dirk, and don’t be afraid to say something, even if it seems insignificant. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
​Joe Posey raised a dark hand. “I heard a rumor someone sent threatening notes to some of the models. That true?”
​It was, but Carlyle didn’t want the media getting their hands on the information, turning the show into some kind of circus.
​“These women model lingerie,” Ethan said. “They get all kinds of mail, some good, some not so good. Carlyle has his own men escorting the ladies to and from the theater, so you don’t have to worry about that.”
​He ended by filling them in on what Carlyle had told him. “Rehearsals the rest of the week. They start at eight in the morning, go till they’re finished. We’re here before they get here until after they leave. The show is on Saturday night, then we travel. You all understand we’ll be spending some time on the road, right?”
​The men rumbled an affirmative.
​“One last thing: Keep your hands off the girls. No fraternizing, no hassling the women. Stick to that rule and we’ll get along just fine. Break that rule—you’re fired.”
​They had all been warned, but it didn’t hurt to repeat the warning. “Now, I’d like you to spend some time getting familiar with the theater. You need to find all the nooks and crannies, places some joker could hide. Take your time and make it thorough.”
​It was a task he and Dirk would be performing, too, as soon as Carlyle was finished with them. The group of men broke up and headed out the door.
​Ethan turned to Carlyle, who had been standing quietly to one side. “What’s next?”
​“Now I introduce you to our ten top models. There are thirty in all, but these are the stars of the show, the ones who got notes like the one I showed you. These are the women I’d like you to focus on.”
​Carlyle led them out of the room, back to the rear of the stage, where all thirty models were lined up, ready to start rehearsing.
​“There are five segments to the show,” Carlyle explained. “Countries of the World, Nashville, Devil-Angel, Winter Wonderland, and Diamond Jubilee. There’s a wrap with the entire cast, then we’re finished. Each of the women makes at least two costumes changes. They’re working on the World segment now. Follow me.”
​Ethan and Dirk followed Carlyle toward the group of women standing in a semicircle, taking direction from the choreographer of the show, who stood in front of them.
​“That’s Daniel Clemens. He can be a little pissy, but he’s damn good at his job. We couldn’t do the show without him.”
​For rehearsal, most of the women were wearing black leggings under a collection of very short skirts, cutoff jeans, long T-shirts, and cutoff sweatshirts.
​“For the next few days they’ll be working on their routines. There’s a full dress rehearsal the day before the show. That’ll include final costume fittings, live orchestra, everything.”
​Ethan’s gaze ran over the women. At least for the moment, they were decently covered. Their casual dress didn’t change the fact that each woman was incredibly beautiful, their faces right out of a magazine.
​Carlyle roll-called ten names and the women came forward. A couple of redheads, five blondes, two brunettes, and an ebony-skinned beauty with amazing cheekbones and long jet-black hair.
​Ethan flicked a glance at Dirk, who carefully kept his eyes straight ahead.
​“Ladies, these men will be working as additional security while we’re on tour. Ethan Brodie is the big guy on the right. Dirk Reynolds is the guy with the ’stache.”
​Carlyle smiled. “Do me a favor and cut them some slack. They have a job to do, same as you. It’s easier if they don’t have to contend with naughty smiles and flirty remarks.”
​The women chuckled good-naturedly.
​“Introduce yourselves. First names are enough. Start at the far end and work this way.” A redhead stepped forward. “I’m Caralee,” she said with a soft Southern drawl.
​“I am Katerina.” A beautiful, smiling blonde with a hint of Russia in her voice.
​As the women each spoke their names, Ethan mentally attached the name to a face, knew Dirk would be doing the same. The redheads were Caralee and Megan. The blondes were Heather; Katerina, the Russian; Delilah, with very high cheekbones; Ursula—either German or Austrian; and Valentine.
​The brunettes were Isabel, a young Sophia Loren lookalike; and Carmen, a pretty, dark-eyed Latina. The exotic ebony-skinned woman was Amarika. From Africa, maybe.He couldn’t be sure.
​He let his gaze travel over the women a final time, paused for a moment on the one who called herself Valentine. He liked blondes, always had. All five of them had gleaming long blond hair, some straight, some wavy. Valentine’s was the color of honey. It curled softly down her back and swung around her shoulders.
​She was maybe five nine, about an inch shorter than the redhead named Megan, who stood beside her. Most of the girls were around five ten; a couple, including Amarika, appeared to be at least six feet. All of them wore strappy high heels that pushed them up another five or six inches.
​ In a room full of gorgeous women, it took a helluva lot to stand out. He heard throaty laughter, realized it came from redheaded Megan. Next to her, the blonde flashed a grin, and a stunning pair of dimples popped out. He’d remember that one now, Valentine. Sounded more like a stripper than a classy underwear model, but hey, what did he know?

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon PBK | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

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Giveaway

3 Paperback copies of INTO THE FURY (U.S. Only)

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About the author

imageKat Martin is the author of twenty-one Historical and Contemporary Romance novels. She tackles many different aspects of her genre with settings ranging from the rugged West to the Antebellum South, Regency, Georgian, and Medieval England. Not one to shy away from change, she also tackles Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels which involve the paranormal. Some of her titles include Nothing But Velvet, Sweet Vengeance, and Dangerous Passions. These works have won a bevy of awards including a recent Romantic Times Magazine nomination for Best Historical Romance of 1998 for her latest release, Wicked Promise. She is also published in, among others, Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Russia, and Spain.

Before starting her writing career in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, Larry Jay Martin, also a Kensington author. After double majoring in Anthropology and History at the University of California at Santa Barbara, she found herself incredibly interested in the past. In fact, she and Larry often do research in the areas where their books take place. She remarks, “We like to stay in out-of-the-way inns and houses built in times past. It’s fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a bygone era.”

In May, Kat will release her next Historical Romance, Night Secrets. Following that is an upcoming Zebra release, a Contemporary Romantic Suspense entitled The Silent Rose, which will be out in August. “It’s a ghostly tale of romance and intrigue that was based on a real life incident,” says Kat. “It’s a little bit scary, a whole lot sexy, and hopefully lots of fun to read.”

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Release Day Launch: Blood on the Bayou: A Cafferty & Quinn Novella by Heather Graham

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 We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for BLOOD ON THE BAYOU by Heather Graham! BLOOD ON THE BAYOU is A Cafferty & Quinn Series Novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. Check out the excerpt and teasers below!

Blood on the Bayou - cover

Buy Links

Kindle $2.99 | Amazon PBK $7.99

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Synopsis

From New York Times bestseller Heather Graham…

It’s winter and a chill has settled over New Orleans, binding a stream of blood that leads a tourist to a dead man, face down in the bayou.

The man has been done in by a vicious beating, so violent that his skull has been crashed in.

It’s barely a day before a second victim is found . . . once again so badly thrashed that the water runs red. The city becomes riddled with fear.

An old family friend comes to Danni Cafferty, telling her that he’s terrified, he’s certain that he’s received a message from the Blood Bayou killer–It’s your turn to pay, blood on the bayou.

The two quickly become involved, and–as they all begin to realize that a gruesome local history is being repeated–they find themselves in a fight to save not just a friend, but, perhaps, their very own lives.

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Excerpt

Michael Quinn heard the hysterical crying the minute he entered the police station. The young woman creating the commotion was inside Detective Jake Larue’s office. Someone else was trying to soothe her while not becoming hysterical herself.

“This one is right up your alley,” Larue told him as he approached.

“My alley?”

“That young woman is certain she saw a rougarou. She was on a bayou tour in Honey Swamp last night.”

He smiled. No kid grew up in Southern Louisiana without hearing about the rougarou. Every region of the world had their own particular brand of monster. The rougarou belonged to the Cajun region of Southern Louisiana, stretching right into the city.

“Honey Swamp?” he asked. “Doesn’t a problem in that area go to the Pearl River police?”

“Yep,” Larue said. “But she’s here because she believes the rougarou followed her home, showing up in the window of her hotel last night.”

He arched a brow at the ridiculousness of the statement. “I’m assuming there’s more.”

“A dead man in the swamp. Head bashed in, throat ripped.”

Which grabbed his attention.

“I want you to talk to them,” Larue said. “I told them that you’re a rougarou expert and that you’ll get to the bottom of things. They were out on some night ghost tour in the bayou and their boat came upon the dead man. Right now, she’s so hysterical that she’s not making sense. But you rougarou experts are used to dealing with that.”

He shook his head at Larue’s sarcasm. He was no more a rougarou expert than someone was a ghost expert. Once upon a time, he’d worked with Larue as partners in the NYPD. Before that, Quinn’s life had been anything but normal. He’d actually been a pretty horrible person, not as in deadly or criminal, but as in vain and egotistical. His prowess in sports had led to excess, which eventually led to him being declared legally dead.

Which changed everything.

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About the author

imageNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.

Heather was a founding member of the Florida Romance Writers chapter of RWA and, since 1999, has hosted the Romantic Times Vampire Ball, with all revenues going directly to children’s charity.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages, and to have been honored with awards from Waldenbooks. B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times, and more. She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, People, and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including local television and Entertainment Tonight.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Sign Up | BLOOD ON THE BAYOU on Goodreads

Blood on the Bayou - Available Now

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: FATAL TRUTH by Misty Evans

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Fatal Truth: Shadow Force International by Misty Evans

Publication Date: January 25, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

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Buy Links

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N not available yet

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Synopsis

imageShe’s an investigative reporter who lives to uncover the truth.

Feisty television host, Savanna Bunkett, exposes government coverups on her award-winning show, The Bunk Stops Here. When she digs into a rumor about a top secret government project that’s producing “super soldiers” for the president, she suddenly finds herself on an assassin’s hit list.

He’s the man who knows the truth.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Trace Hunter is the only soldier to survive Project 24. After refusing a direct order from the president, he was branded a traitor, and his career imploded after the sexy reporter turned him into a national headline. He now works undercover for Shadow Force International, a secret group of former SEALs helping those who have no where else to turn, using his enhanced skills to fight for justice and protect the innocent. His first assignment? Protect Savanna from the one man who wants them both dead—the president.

One wrong move and they’ll be silenced forever.

Helping Savanna is the last thing Trace wants to do, but her unwavering determination to expose the president’s dark truth matches his own. She’s his one chance to set the record straight and he’s her only chance at survival. When their mutual enemy closes in, can they put the past behind them and trust each other? Even if it means losing their hearts in the process? Or will secrets, lies, and forbidden passions cost them everything?

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Excerpt

Trace climbed the stairs two at a time, the stairwell of the fancy apartment building empty at the dinner hour. Or maybe the rich snobs who lived here were too good to take the stairs.
He was two hours late. Not the best way to start his first assignment for Shadow Force International. Then again, he hadn’t planned to be working for Rock Star Security and shoved out the door and into the world of protection services so fast it had made his head spin.
The past couple of days had been a whirlwind. He’d struck out on his own, surviving the first Virginia night in an empty fishing shack with no heat or running water. Reese’s cheeseburger didn’t last long, and while the lake wasn’t frozen over and the owner had left some gear behind, Trace hadn’t been able to catch a damn thing.
The next morning, he’d stumbled through a snowstorm into Murder Creek, found the lone greasy spoon in town and ordered breakfast. The coffee was mud and the eggs were runny. He didn’t care. It was better than prison food any day.
The small 1980s TV in the corner was turned up, a weatherman dressed in a fancy suit waving at various colored blobs on the map and declaring the storm would intensify throughout the day and continue overnight. By the next morning, they were expected to have six feet of snow.
As Trace had finished his toast, a sheriff’s car had driven up. The two men who got out walked like military men, not cops. Before the bell over the door rang, he’d left the waitress a generous tip and disappeared out the back and into the woods.
His mother had always said he was as stubborn as the day was long, but he wasn’t an idiot. While there’d been nothing on the news about his escape from Witcher, he’d known the men in that car were looking for him. A storm was moving in that would lock down the area. He had no vehicle to get out and no supplies to hunker down and ride it out.
He needed help.
Admitting that fact had taken every last ounce of his common sense, but now he was here. Beatrice had cleaned him up, made him shave his beard and cut his hair.
Because of his specialized work for Command & Control, the agency had scrubbed his past years ago. Few pictures existed of him before his time in Iraq with SEAL Team 3, when he’d first grown his hair long and sported a thick beard to blend in with the locals. SEALs often needed out-of-the-Navy-box appearances on their assignments, and that was the picture Ms. Bunkett had spread all over America.
He was a squeaky-clean Boy Scout now, with colored contacts and new clothes—nice threads, not the usual camo gear he was used to. The only thing he hated was the fancy dress shoes.
Petit and Reese had put him through their version of basic protection service training, and Reese’s wife had explained all the ins and outs of his new job.
Beatrice. He was pretty sure that hadn’t been her name when she was in Command & Control, but it didn’t matter. She’d confirmed that she had played a part in getting him out of Witcher and that there were men looking for him. Nothing official on the news yet, the government wanting to keep his “escape” a secret and hoping they could find him and put him back before the public caught wind of the situation.
Petit and Reese hadn’t been happy when Beatrice insisted Trace take this assignment. They’d wanted more time to work on him, and they’d planned to send him out of the country on a Shadow Force assignment. Beatrice had other ideas, and neither man seemed eager to argue with her.
So here he was, playing bodyguard. A test run, Beatrice had called it. He’d kept himself in good shape inside Witcher, had kept his skills sharp. His enhancements from Project 24 had never faded.
Still, with a secret manhunt on for him, he had to stay in the shadows as much as possible. Beatrice had given him a set of rules to follow, briefed him on the client. Single female, twenty-eight, with a potential stalker. He was to keep an eye on her but not be obvious about it.
The stalker is high-profile, Beatrice had said. Has possibly harmed the client’s sister, but there’s no proof and the client can’t make public claims without evidence. We’d like you to investigate, see if you can incapacitate the stalker and discover the sister’s whereabouts.
The woman lived in the penthouse on the top floor. He climbed the last set of stairs and went through the fire door.
It was Beatrice’s fault he was late and she’d supposedly called ahead to let the client know. Still, Trace felt a shot of nervous adrenaline firing below his breastbone as he rang the doorbell. There was a marble-topped table near the elevator with an elaborate floral arrangement. A ficus tree sat in the corner under a skylight, and a large painting of the sun rising over a mountain range hung on the wall left of the door.
Seconds ticked by. He straightened his tie, smoothed the lapels of his suit coat, fiddled with the brim of his baseball hat.
The hat didn’t go with his outfit. He’d picked it up on his way over, feeling too exposed otherwise. Even with his change in appearance, he feared being recognized after Savanna Bunkett had done such a fine job of splashing his face all over the news a year and a half ago.
On the other side of the door, he heard a muffled voice, “Coming!”
A second later, the door swung open. The woman was out of breath, her hair swept up in a high ponytail. She was dressed in workout attire and a fine coating of sweat glistened on her ample cleavage as she wiped her face with a towel. The rhythmic beat of a drum, tambourine, and finger cymbals of Middle Eastern music echoed in the background.
From behind the towel, she said, “You must be…”
And then she moved the towel to her neck and met his gaze.
Oh, shit.
The towel stilled and the woman studied his face. “Coldplay?”
Trace felt frozen in place. In the briefing with Beatrice, she’d referred to the client only as Ms. Jeffries.
Ms. Jeffries, my ass.
His heart stuttered in his chest for a second. Even without makeup and her signature red power suit, she stood out like a diamond among glass. She was striking, her dark hair offsetting her pale skin, all of it softened by a delicate nose and high cheekbones. Workout clothes did nothing to dampen her natural, elegant demeanor.
Before him stood the woman who had ruined his life.
Trace took a step back. Waited…
She didn’t seem to recognize him.
One hand went to her hip. “Are you the strong, silent type or is this one of the rules, that you can’t speak to me? I must have missed that one in the contract.”
Why would she recognize me? She had one grainy photograph of me from six years ago, and I was nothing but a story to her.
Trace forced his mouth to work, struggled to get sound out. He tipped the brim of his hat down a little farther. “Sorry, I’m late.”
“Randy didn’t buzz me. How did you get in?”
Randy, the doorman. What a joke.
Trace shifted gears, forcing the anger boiling in his gut aside. As soon as he could get hold of Beatrice, all bets were off. “Security check of the building showed me some weak spots. I got in through a service door entrance on the first floor. I’ll speak to the manager tomorrow about beefing things up.”
She stepped back, using the towel on her arms. Long, slender arms with small wrists and finely-boned hands. “Come in. I’ll grab a shower and then we can talk about…my problem.”
Talk. Right. “I’ll stay out here at the door until you’re ready.”
“Um, okay. Sure.” She gave him another once over. “Have we met? You seem familiar.”
Met? Jesus God. “No, we’ve never met.” Not in person. If we had, I would have wrung your neck.
She gave him a small smile. “Even if we had, we have to pretend otherwise, right? Sorry, this is all new to me.”
He nodded and stepped back, grinding his teeth. She closed the door, leaving him alone in the penthouse hallway.
Counting to a hundred to give her time to get in the shower, he paced to the elevator doors, locked the thing down, then locked the door to the stairwell. He withdrew the cell phone Beatrice had provided and punched in her number.
She picked up on the first ring. “Yes?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Sorry?”
He forced himself to lower his voice. “Ms. Jeffries? Her name isn’t Jeffries and you know exactly who she is and what she did to me. If this is some kind of joke, I swear I’ll…I’ll…”
“Yes?”
What would he do? The woman was smarter than smart and she was, well, a pregnant female.
A man, he would beat the shit out of for tricking him like this. But he would never hit a woman. “…I’ll beat up your husband.”
“You can try,” Beatrice said without concern. “What’s the problem?”
Trace nearly crushed the phone. “You know exactly what the problem is. You lied and set me up with the woman who crucified me.”
“I didn’t lie. Her real name is Savanna Jeffries-Bunkett, but she only goes by Savanna Bunkett for her show. Her mother, Doris Jeffries, is from the New Hampshire Jeffries, a Daughter of the Revolution, and a top-notch lawyer. Her father, Shawn Bunkett, is the president of a private Catholic college. Her sister Parker works for National Intelligence as a glorified profiler, you might say. Her job is rather vague and ill-defined. She has a degree in cognitive therapy and a knack for understanding how criminals work, which National Intelligence has found helpful. For reasons I haven’t quite figured out yet, Parker pulls together the president’s daily briefing and presents it to him. I doubt that has anything to do with her brain research, other than to profile a terrorist here and there. A month ago, she went missing. All I can get out of my sources is that she’s on assignment.” Her voice emphasized assignment. “Odds are there was something…personal…going on between her and the president, or he gave her a black op job and she got caught.”
Linc Norman. The president sure liked to spread himself around.
The sound of a fridge door opening came from Beatrice’s end. “Who do you think passed your file—the bogus one—to Savanna?”
Trace took off his hat and scratched his hairline. “The sister?”
“If my guess is accurate, and I am correct ninety-nine percent of the time, Parker received the file outlining your rogue activities from the president.”
A patient silence descended, as if she were waiting for him to connect the dots. A possible scenario spilled out without too much brainpower. “Linc Norman told Parker to make sure Savanna broke the story.”
“Parker is missing. The president is stalking Savanna. It adds up, only we don’t know exactly why. Norman is now keeping tabs on Savanna, no doubt fearing she’ll reveal her suspicions to the world that he’s made Parker disappear. She doesn’t have any facts—yet—and President Norman hopes to keep it that way.”
“What am I supposed to do about it?”
“I don’t suppose you want to tell me why the president had you branded a traitor on national television?”
When he didn’t respond, she went on. “Well, consider this your chance to prove to Savanna that you’re not a traitor and that her intel from President Norman was bogus.”
“How am I supposed to do that?”
“Find her sister. And if the president is the one who threw your ass in prison, who better to have on your side than an investigative reporter with a fan base of six million viewers? She can clear your name, Coldplay. Think about it.”
He was thinking all right. Thinking his former job as a cleaner for the president might put Savanna Jeffries Bunkett in more danger than she was already in.
“She can also help you dig up dirt to blackmail Linc Norman,” Beatrice went on. He heard the clink of silverware against a bowl. “So he stops trying to kill you.”
Trace returned the hat to his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “You set me up.”
“I did,” Beatrice admitted freely. “In so doing, I also gave you a way out of the mess you’re in. I don’t care about your past and the things you’ve done, but it would solidify your job with Shadow Force International if you’re not a hunted felon.”
His past was not something to be proud of, Navy SEAL or not. He’d killed for his country, sure, but his job as a cleaner went beyond that. While once he’d believed he was doing the morally right thing, helping the president wipe out threats to America, he was no longer sure there was such a thing as morally right. “Savanna is already suspicious. Even with the change in my appearance, she suspects we’ve met.”
“So come clean. Tell her the truth. She needs you and you need her. Besides, she signed a contract.”
So did I. Every employee of Shadow Force International, whether they worked as bodyguards for Rock Star Security, performed search and rescue missions, or assisted on kidnapping cases, were required to sign one. If he breached his agreement, he was out in the cold again.
Petit planned to put Trace in charge of a team. If things worked out. Even if they didn’t hold him to his contract, bailing on his first assignment would hardly help his cause. He’d never make team leader if they couldn’t depend on him.
Did he even care? He wasn’t a team player anymore. Couldn’t endanger anyone else.
“Follow the procedure I gave you and think about it overnight,” Beatrice said. “If you wish to terminate the assignment in the morning, I’ll find someone else to guard Ms. Bunkett.”
A growl formed in his throat. Beatrice’s logic was so…so…logical. Be the hero again. Keep someone safe. Solve all your problems.
If only it were that easy.
Didn’t matter. He couldn’t complete this assignment without risking his freedom. Morning was nearly twelve hours away. Could he keep Savanna Bunkett from figuring out who he was in the meantime?
The woman was a bloodhound when she picked up the scent of a story. Sure, it had been eighteen months since she’d run his, and she’d had plenty of stories since then, but she wasn’t one to forget a name or a face for long, he bet. “She’ll terminate the assignment before morning.”
“You can’t hide forever,” Beatrice said. “And there’s only so much I can do to keep you off the grid. This is your chance to clear your name. Don’t blow it.”
The line went dead.
Trace braced one hand against the wall and sighed. Twelve hours. He had twelve fucking hours to keep up this charade, and then what? Bail?
He’d never quit a job in his life—except the last order from the president—and he wasn’t about to do so now. If Savanna figured out who he was and called the police, he’d have to, but until then, he’d lay low and plan for the worst case scenario.
…clear your name.
Pocketing the phone, he shook the ridiculous idea from his brain and walked back down the hall to wait.
He’d follow procedure like Beatrice had instructed him to when she gave him the assignment. Scan Savanna’s apartment for bugs, make sure her windows and doors were all secure. Check her personal security system. Then he’d stand guard for the night.
By morning—if he made it that long—he’d have a plan of escape.
Or one that would take down the president of the United States.

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About the author

imageUSA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

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