Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: A LIE FOR A LIE by Helena Hunting

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A LIE FOR A LIE (All In Series Book 1) by Helena Hunting

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author Guest Post

Guest Post: Lainey vs. Puck Bunnies in A Lie for a Lie

A Lie for a Lie is a heartwarming, sexy, emotional romantic comedy. It’s a second chance romance, filled with secrets and there are definitely some exciting, fun twists. It’s also a story of empowerment, self-discovery, and independence.

Rook Bowman, aka RJ or Rookie as he has been known as previously, has recently taken on the role as captain of Chicago’s NHL team, and with that role comes big responsibility and more fame than he sometimes knows how to handle. As with any professional sport, the NHL lifestyle can often be full of excess and decadence; money, fame and an endless stream of women who will do just about anything to get into bed with them, and it’s not always easy to avoid that kind of temptation.

When we meet Rook in A Lie for a Lie we learn that he has a less than shiny past when it comes to the excess and the puck bunnies (hockey groupies). NHL players are often drafted quite young—just watch a game and you’ll notice that the rookies can often barely grown peach fuzz, let alone a full beard. They’re still teenagers when they start their careers, and Rook was no different. Having grown up on an alpaca farm in rural New York, his focus was mainly hockey and the family farm, but once he hit the pros he found himself surrounded by women who literally threw themselves at him. And being young, attractive and full of testosterone, he fell headfirst down that rabbit hole. At least until the drama found him in the form of a fake pregnancy and a social media firestorm. Because of that, and the impact it had on his relationship with his family, Rook swears off the bunnies and refocuses on his career, rather than extracurricular activities.

He meets Lainey on the way to Alaska, where he’s gone every summer since he was a teenager with his dad and his brother. He lost his father a few years earlier, but kept the tradition with his brother because he craves the escape from the demands of his life as an NHL superstar. Lainey encapsulates everything he misses about being a “normal guy.” She doesn’t recognize him or seem to even know anything about hockey, and that makes her even more alluring. For once, he can just be himself. He doesn’t have to worry about ulterior motives or being used. Lainey is refreshingly innocent, incredibly smart, genuine and overwhelmingly sweet and Rook finds himself enamored with her sense of adventure. As they get to know each other, Rook learns about her traumatic past and realizes that despite the challenges she’s faced, Lainey possesses a quiet strength and resilience. Add some insane chemistry and you’ve got a recipe for love. Unfortunately for Rook, he built their entire fragile relationship on lie he can’t take back.

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Synopsis

C040BC59-AE0A-4A01-ADB7-798DDC621AB2Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a month long sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

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Donna 4 stars

I enjoyed this sweet romance about a summer fling, little white lies, and reuniting. Although I couldn’t relate to Lainey and her insecurities, I totally understood his attraction to her. Nicely done, Ms. Hunting. It is written in first person, each given their own voice that deftly conveyed their feelings without bogging down the story. Yes, RJ is a hockey player, but the story did not revolve around that. So those that are not fans of sports novels will also love it.

RJ was lovable while keeping his manliness. I’m glad he came across as determined instead of weak and desperate. So many things made me smile and swoon a little. They made a great couple in and out of the bed. There were steamy parts, but it was more about instant attraction, overcoming obstacles and how love can blend two opposite lifestyles.

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

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Excerpt

When Lainey excuses herself to the bathroom, I rush upstairs and throw on a T-shirt. I know she said whatever makes me comfortable, but sitting around shirtless is such a douche move.

I make it back to the kitchen and pour her a fresh drink before she returns from the bathroom.

“How can I help with dinner?” Lainey drapes her sweater over the back of a chair.

And my mouth goes dry. Like I ate an entire sleeve of saltines and chased it with a tablespoon of salt. So far I’ve only seen Lainey in a giant parka or an oversize sweater. Under all that bulky fabric is one hell of a body. She’s wearing a simple white waffle shirt that conforms to her curves. A pair of dark-wash skinny jeans encase her toned legs.

I’m used to bunnies throwing themselves at me, often in questionable states of undress. I stopped getting excited about miniskirts and revealing tops a long time ago. There’s something infinitely sexier about a woman who can show off her body without actually showing it off at all.

Lainey tips her head to the side. Her teeth press into her full bottom lip. I want to do that. Suck that pouty, full lip between my teeth and bite it. I want to do a lot of other, far more explicit things than that, but a kiss seems like a good place to start.

“RJ? Is everything okay?” Her eyes dip down to my chest. I’m wearing a shirt from one of my endorsement campaigns. It afforded me the extensive renovations on this cabin a few years ago.

“Huh?” I give my head a shake. “Oh. Yeah. Everything’s good. Sorry, zoned out there for a second.”

She smiles and pushes up on her toes, her eyes twinkling—like, they legit light up, and her excitement makes her entire body vibrate. It also makes her boobs jiggle. I try to keep my eyes glued to her face. It’s not easy, though.

“I do that all the time! Sometimes my brain is busy with so many thoughts I miss entire conversations. Does that happen to you too?”

I grin. I love that she seems to say whatever is on her mind. “All the time.”

“It’s actually a helpful skill when you’re being lectured, because I can sort through stuff in my head, but it’s not so great when your supervising professor is telling you what’s wrong with your thesis.” She pulls her hair over her shoulder and finger combs it.

“I take it that’s happened to you.”

“It did. Thankfully he also emailed all his criticisms, so missing out on it the first time wasn’t that big of a deal.” She divides her hair into three sections and deftly braids it without looking at what she’s doing even once. It’s pretty damn impressive. I almost want to pull it apart so I can watch her do it all over again. “Anyway, enough about that. Let’s get started on dinner!” She nudges me out of the way so she can wash her hands. She dries them on her jeans and moves over to the fridge, opening it to check out the contents.

I kind of like that she makes herself at home. I’m used to women who expect to be catered to. It’s refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t want me to pander to her.

I start pulling things out of the fridge as she starts naming items she’ll need and set them on the counter. I manage to locate most of what she asks for.

“What about garlic? Do you have any of that?” She leans over, peering into the fridge beside me. Her braid slips over her shoulder, skimming my arm.

“Uh, maybe we could forgo the garlic?”

“Are you allergic? My oldest brother gets bloated when he eats it. It took us forever to figure out what was causing it. Sometimes I’ll still put some in when he’s coming for dinner, because it’s funny to see him look like he’s expecting.” She tips her head to the side. “Or you just don’t like garlic?”

“I like it sometimes, but it depends.”

Her brows pinch together. “On what?”

“Who I’m eating with. I mean, if I’m going out with buddies, you bet I’m gonna order the honey garlic wings, or the cheesy garlic bread, or the pasta Alfredo. But if I’m eating dinner with a pretty girl, I’m gonna pass on the garlic.”

“Oh.” She twists the end of her braid around her finger.

I hope I’m not reading things wrong and making her uncomfortable.

“Does that mean you think I’m pretty?”

That she sounds genuinely curious as to my answer is unexpected. “You see yourself in the mirror every day—what do you think?”

She averts her gaze, still playing with the end of her braid. “My eyes are too big, so I always look like I’m surprised. My nose is small, and my lips are too full, so my mouth doesn’t really fit the rest of my face.”

“Wow. I think you need a new mirror, because all I see is a whole lot of gorgeous.”

She snorts a laugh and waves me off. “Once, I took a portrait class, and we learned all about proportion and symmetry of the face. Those are just my flaws based on what I was taught.”

“Well, I’m a big fan of all your flaws, and I think they make you more beautiful, not less.”

“Thanks. I think you’re beautiful too.” She cringes. “I mean handsome. You’re very nice to look at, with or without a shirt on. When I fell in your lap on the airplane, I remember thinking, At least I fell on someone nice looking.”

“Is that so?”

“Mm-hmm.” She opens a drawer, maybe to avoid looking at me. “And as much as I was mortified when you sat beside me on the Cessna, I couldn’t complain about the view, inside or outside of the plane. That you turned out to be really nice, and just so helpful, was a great bonus.” She hands me a roll of foil. “Why don’t you wrap the potatoes? They take the longest, so we should get started on those first.”

I put the potatoes on the barbecue and let Lainey order me around. She definitely knows her way around a kitchen. When I was growing up, my mom did most of the cooking, but my dad could make a mean Saturday-morning brunch. He also made great bread, which I miss a lot.

An hour later we’re seated at the table, plates full of steak, twice-baked potatoes, and crispy brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat. I open a bottle of red wine and offer Lainey a glass.

“Just a little bit? I’m not sure I like red wine.”

“Maybe you just haven’t had the right red wine.” I pour a little into her glass.

She picks it up and gives it a swirl, then sniffs it. “I’ve seen people do this in the movies, but I don’t really know what the point is,” she admits, then tips the glass back and takes a tentative sip. Her expression turns thoughtful; then she takes another, slightly more robust sip. “This is actually really nice. I like it. Maybe the red wine I had before was bad.”

“Maybe. Some of the cheap stuff tastes pretty awful.” I pour more into her glass before filling mine. I hold up my glass and wait for her to raise hers.

“To chance meetings.”

“To new adventures and great company to share them with.” We toast and take a sip, each smiling behind the rim.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

If you have Kindle Unlimited you can borrow this series for Free!

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Helena Hunting’s A LIE FOR A LIE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

965E5447-1A96-428F-B355-4B949A912726New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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Review & Giveaway: HIDDEN COVE (Solace Island Series) by Meg Tilly

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HIDDEN COVE (Solace Island Series Book 3) by Meg Tilly

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

AF561C79-8D5D-4D62-9F21-6BB47AA8BC0BOscar-nominated actress Meg Tilly strikes again with the third gripping contemporary romantic suspense novel set on the idyllic Solace Island in the Pacific Northwest.

When Solace Island gallery owner Zelia Thompson’s close friend Alexus Feinstein of the prestigious art gallery Feinstein & Co. dies of a “drug overdose,” Zelia’s intuition sounds an alarm. The Alexus she knew didn’t do drugs and had everything to live for.

As Zelia begins looking into the circumstances of her friend’s death, what she uncovers will put her life in imminent danger. Will Zelia–with the help of the reclusive crime fiction novelist Gabe Conaghan–be able to unravel the mysterious happenings surrounding Alexus’s untimely death? Or will she become the bloodthirsty artist’s next victim?

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Donna 4 stars

I enjoyed this romantic suspense…and it was suspenseful! I like how the author gave just enough information that we could fill in the serial killer’s actions. I’m not a fan of graphic violence or torture, so it worked well for me. I loved Gabriel’s character. His family only added to his charm and made me smile. I liked Zella as well, but was a bit confused by her behavior during intimacy. To me it just didn’t match her backstory or her and Gabe’s actions. This romantic and tension-filled story pulled me in and held on tight. I can’t wait to see what Solace Island has in store for us.

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

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter Facebook Paperback Giveaway HERE

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image Meg Tilly may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning lead performance in the movie Agnes of God. Other screen credits include The Big Chill, Valmont, and more recently, Bomb Girls, and Netflix’s movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. After publishing six standout young adult and literary women’s fiction novels, the award-winning author/actress decided to write the kind of books she loves to read–romance novels. Tilly has three grown children and resides with her husband in the Pacific Northwest. She is currently at work writing the next Solace Island novel.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: SILVER TOWN WOLF: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Terry Spear

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SILVER TOWN WOLF: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Terry Spear

Publication Date: September 24, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

0A2307B4-2537-4C40-970A-F843856C72EDSilver Town is howling with Christmas cheer

Gray wolves Meghan MacTire and Sheriff Peter Jorgenson plan to spend the rest of their lives together, and what better time to start forever than Christmas? But they are both harboring dark secrets that are about to surface and threaten their future together. With holiday magic in the air and all Silver Town ready to celebrate, Meghan and Peter have to conquer the past if they’re to have any hope of spending this Christmas in each other’s arms.

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Donna 4 stars

This was a fun addition to the Silver Town Wolves. (POSSIBLE SPOILER)  I’m still up in the air about ghosts and how it dominated the story, but it did add an interesting dimension to this sexy romance. The real-life danger dogging Meghan could have carried the story if it had more action and suspense. That may have cut in on the day-to-day building love for each other and bonding with the town. Meghan and Peter made a lovely and believable couple, neither too bogged down in what happened in their pasts. I’m glad they took care of that angle early on so they could focus on everything else going on. This was a nice holiday romance that I enjoyed.

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

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Excerpt

“I have to change clothes,” Meghan MacTire said to her sisters, Laurel and Ellie. She was feeling a little anxious about the date she was going on with Sheriff Peter Jorgenson tonight, since she needed to tell him about her psychic ability to speak with and see ghosts.

Running their Victorian inn in wolf-run Silver Town, Colorado, had been keeping the triplet sister busy during the holiday season. And now it was just ten days until Christmas. Meghan had hoped she and the sheriff could go to her home for an intimate dinner and watch Christmas movies, like they’d been doing whenever they could get the free time. But tonight he wanted to take her out to the Silver Town Tavern. The food and atmosphere were great there, and it was private membership, so only wolves were allowed. Still, it wasn’t as relaxing after a hectic day. Especially when everyone in the pack was wondering if Peter and she were mating. If not, other bachelor males in the pack were waiting in the wings. Some were sure to see her and Peter at the tavern and would be keeping an eye on their relationship.

“Do you think he’s going to ask you tonight if you want to mate him?” Laurel asked. Her sisters had been dying to know when Peter would pop the question. They were both mated to Silver brothers and couldn’t wait until Meghan was mated as well.

“I don’t know. I’ll let you in on it if it happens, you know.” Meghan had been dating Peter for over a year now, not really typical but everyone was different. Sam and Silva, owners of a tea shop and the tavern, had dated for years before they finally tied the knot. Peter didn’t seem to be in a rush to ask Meghan to mate him, and she needed to discuss some issues with him that could affect how he viewed her.

Besides her ghost abilities, she had sent a wolf to prison before she moved to Silver Town, something one of their kind was never to do, and she hated to tell Peter. Even if he could live with what she’d done, she didn’t want anyone else in the pack to know. Would he be willing to keep her dark secret? Or would it bother him that he had to?

She could imagine the news getting out to the rest of the pack, and she knew some would no longer see her the same way. She wished that night had never happened, but it had. And there was nothing she could do to take it back.

She’d been so hurt the last time she’d mentioned it to a wolf boyfriend that she never wanted to discuss it with anyone again. The ex-boyfriend and her sisters were the only ones who knew. But she had to tell Peter before long. Tomorrow night. She couldn’t do it at the tavern. She had to talk to him privately about it before he asked her if she wanted to mate him, and she thought he might ask soon. She kept thinking something might be holding him back too, some dark secret of his own. Unless she was projecting her own mistake on him.

Meghan managed a smile for her sisters before she became too melancholy thinking about the notion. She pulled on her coat and headed for the back door of the inn.

“Have fun,” Laurel and Ellie both said.

“Thanks!” Meghan hurried outside to reach her Victorian house through the snow-covered garden. Just in case Peter proposed, she planned to wear a red satin dress, hoping she didn’t look too overdressed, as if she was expecting something to happen. But it was Christmastime, and she was going to dress up since she didn’t normally.

When she arrived home, she went upstairs to her bedroom and pulled the dress out of the closet. Maybe it would be a little much. Too dressy. Too shiny. Too sexy. Maybe she should just wear a green sweater and her MacTire plaid skirt and boots.

She brought them out and laid them next to the red dress on the canopied Victorian replica bed. She stripped out of her slacks and sweater and considered both outfits. It was cold out. Really cold out. And snowy.

She eyed the red dress. She’d never worn it for Peter. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be the wrong choice. She pulled off her bra and put on the red strapless one she’d purchased to wear with the dress. Then she pulled on the dress and struggled to reach the zipper on the low, low back. Darn it. She couldn’t reach it, no matter how hard she tried. She’d only worn the dress once—to a Christmas party two years ago when she and her sisters still lived in St. Augustine, Florida—and she’d forgotten she needed help with the zipper.

Before Peter arrived, she called Laurel. “Hey, I can’t get my zipper zipped. Can either you or Ellie come over and zip it up for me?”

“Ohmigod, you’re wearing the red dress. I’ll be right over. Unless you want Peter to zip it up for you.”

Right. Hurry, before he gets here.” Meghan hated to ask. She knew Laurel would tell Ellie that Meghan was wearing the dress, created to hook a guy for sure. Yes, it was an eye-catcher, but she’d never caught a wolf’s attention while wearing it.

She brought out her red high heels before Laurel arrived. If Peter proposed, she wanted to be dressed for the occasion, though she reminded herself they still had to talk before she could say yes.

Excerpted from Silver Town Wolf: Home for the Holidays by Terry Spear. © 2019 by Terry Spear. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Destiny of the Wolf

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

USA Today bestselling author TERRY SPEAR has written over 35 paranormal romances featuring werewolf and jaguar shapeshifters. In 2008, Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. She lives in Spring, Texas.

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: CLAIMING SARAH by Susan Stoker

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CLAIMING SARAH (Ace Security Series, Book 5) by Susan Stoker

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author Guest Post

Opposites Attract: When Cole Claims Sarah

In Claiming Sarah, Cole Johnson is co-owner of one of his town’s most popular gyms. He’s extremely busy since his partner, Felicity, is out of town. He makes an appointment to meet with Sarah Butler, to arrange for some self defense training for her, but he almost loses his chance when she overhears him telling his secretary he’s too busy and to give her an excuse as to why he can’t meet her. The couple (obviously) works out that awkward first meeting and Sarah begins learning how to defend herself from a creepy man who keeps giving her inappropriate presents. Of course the more time Cole spends with Sarah, the more he likes her and they end up dating. When she disappears it’s up to Cole, and Ace Security, to put together the clues to find her before it’s too late.

Cole Johnson is a man who’s used to plowing through his day and when he needs or wants something, he simply gets it. Sarah Butler is more reserved. As a kid who didn’t feel wanted until she was finally adopted she was used to being in the background. Cole and Sarah compliment each other perfectly. Cole is able to ferret out what Sarah wants and needs and he delivers. And in return Sarah keeps Cole grounded. She smooths out his jagged edges.

I think that’s how good relationships work, at least in my books. The Hero is there to protect and shield his woman from anyone or anything that might want to hurt her, and she’s there to keep him grounded and to support him. It seems to just work.

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Synopsis

45FDF5E8-370B-4770-A58E-8B11BCE56280Sarah Butler isn’t flattered. She’s angry and unnerved. She’s been getting intimate gifts from a man she barely knows. Nothing threatening yet, but there’s just a weird vibe she can’t ignore. Her recourse is Ace Security. Their solution: self-defense lessons at Rock Hard Gym with a personal, hands-on instructor. One look at the bearded, tattooed, green-eyed alpha is enough to take Sarah’s breath away.

Cole Johnson is definitely the man for the job. He’s eager to train her. Eager to get closer. And when it comes to Sarah’s instincts, Cole knows she’s not imagining things. He’s also not imagining the intense attraction between them—and his desire to protect her is growing. But so are Sarah’s fears, the worst of which come true when she disappears.

Enlisting the help of Ace Security, Cole will stop at nothing to find the love of his life . . . before she vanishes forever.

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Donna 4 stars

 

I enjoyed this installment in the Ace Security series, though not as much as the others. Sarah was a little too self-depreciating for me…needing assurances all the time. It didn’t really match her upbringing for me. That being said…she was sweet, caring, and a perfect match for Cole. The antagonist in this story had a nice twist as well. A bit different than the usual fare, so adding a nice dimension to show Sarah’s caring nature. They had a nice spicy romance that developed rather quickly into love. It was a quick read that I could not put down and made me anxious for the next installment.

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

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Excerpt

“Do you ask out every woman you train at your gym? It just seems . . . fast.”

Cole stared at her for a long moment, and when he frowned, Sarah felt as if she’d somehow disappointed him.

“No, I don’t ask out every woman I train. Not even close. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked anyone out. And believe me, Sarah, I’m looking at you—and I like what I see. A lot. You’ve got an air of innocence about you that I find fascinating. You’ve had a tough life, but haven’t let it harden you. I respect you, and I . . . I’d like to get to know you better.”

She bit her lip and took a deep breath, but didn’t immediately protest, so he went on. “I have a feeling simply being around you will make me a better person.”

Sarah shook her head. “Don’t do that. Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m not some paragon walking around sprinkling glitter throughout the world.”

Cole laughed. Threw his head back and laughed as if she’d said the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

Sarah tugged on her hand again, somewhat offended, but he still refused to let go.

When he got himself under control, he said, “I know you’re not perfect. You’re too trusting. You see the good in everyone, even when there isn’t any there. You probably neglect your own health in order to do something good for someone else.”

“You make me sound like an idiot,” Sarah grumbled, despite being secretly kind of flattered.

“You’re not an idiot. You’re refreshing. And I’m not. I’ve got more than my share of flaws that I’m sure you’ll discover sooner rather than later. But as I said, if you let me get to know you, go out on a few dates with me, I’m hoping you’ll find that you like me back . . . just a little.”

Sarah frowned. “I already like you, Cole, but I don’t understand you. You don’t know anything about me. I could totally be lying to you right now, and you just bought my lies hook, line, and sinker.”

He smiled again. “You’re not lying.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m an expert at reading body language. I’ve been around some bad people in my life, angel. You are who you say you are. What you see is what you get.”

Sarah licked her lips nervously, and his gaze immediately followed the movement.

Cole persisted. “Say you’ll go out with me, Sarah.”

“I thought I was here to figure out how to defend myself.”

“You are. And we’ll get to that. Agreeing to go out with me in no way affects whether or not I’ll teach you some basic moves that will allow you to get away from someone and get to safety.”

“But if I say no, things could get weird.”

“Then say yes,” Cole cajoled. “I swear you’ve got nothing to fear from me. I’ll even get references if that will make you feel safer.”

“It’s not that. I think I feel safer with you than anyone I’ve ever been around . . .” She
hesitated.

“But?”

“I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’ll decide I’m annoying. Too much work or something. I work odd hours, weird shifts. And I looked you up online. I know about your friend and what happened to her. And about the Andersons. The last thing I want is my stalker getting upset when he sees us together—because he will—and taking out any anger on you and your friends.”

“Breathe, angel. Take a breath. Nothing is going to happen to them.”

“You can’t control people, Cole,” Sarah pressed. “They’re unpredictable.”

“Fine. Then we’ll meet with Logan, Blake, Nathan, and Ryder, and make sure they know everything about this Owen guy. We’ll let them investigate and figure out what will make him back off. In the meantime, we’ll hang out at my place. Or here. Or your house. We won’t shove our relationship down Owen’s throat. We’ll be discreet. How’s that sound?”

Sarah could only gape at him. “How’d we go from me wanting some tips on protecting myself to having Ace Security investigating Owen and you and me hanging out at each other’s houses?”

He smiled at her again, but didn’t answer her question.

She took a deep breath and gave him the only answer she could. “Okay.”

He beamed. “Okay,” he said quietly. Then he finally let go of her hand and stood, before immediately reaching the same hand down to her again. “Time for your first lesson.”

Automatically, she reached up and let him help her off the floor. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. A kiss to seal the deal. A hug. A discussion about when and where their first date would be. But so far, Cole hadn’t done anything the way she expected him to.

“First lesson for today will be how to get a guy to let go of your hand if he’s been holding on too long and you’re uncomfortable.”

Sarah knew he was referring to her feeble attempts to pull her hand out of his, and blushed. But he was right, this was something she should know. It would come in handy at the hospital too, just in case one of the patients or family members got a little too familiar, as they’d done in the past.

Concentrating on his instruction, she did her best to put her nerves about dating Cole behind her.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

If you have Kindle Unlimited you can borrow this series for Free!

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Susan Stoker’s CLAIMING SARAH

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the Author

A6A4A7AC-5A93-469E-AFD3-1946AC00DD2BSusan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love.

Review & Giveaway: DARK ILLUSION (A Carpathian Novel) by Christine Feehan

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DARK ILLUSION (A Carpathian Novel, Book 33) by Christine Feehan

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

41020C94-2B43-4142-B5D6-C0B7297AEC0AA mage and a warrior must see beyond their facades and embrace the bond that links their souls in this powerful Carpathian novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

At any other time, Julija Brennan would find solace in the quiet of the Sierra Mountains, but now the mage is in the race of her life. Having broken free from her controlling family, Julija’s attempt to warn the Carpathians of the coming threat has failed and put a target on her back—and those who are hunting her are close behind.…

After centuries locked away in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Isai Florea can’t believe he’s finally found his lifemate—the missing half of his soul. The second he sees Julija, his world blazes with color. But despite their explosive connection, Julija rebels against what she sees as Isai’s intent to control her and rejects the bond that would prevent him from becoming a monster.

As their unfulfilled bond continues to call to them both, Julija and Isai aim to complete the task that brought them together. They are used to facing danger alone, but now the mage and the ancient warrior must learn how to rely on each other in order to stop a plot that threatens all Carpathians.…

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Donna 4 stars

I enjoyed this installment – for the most part. Do I dare say that they are becoming repetitive? Nothing new except the characters themselves? 33 stories have pushed this romance series to its limit? I rated it a 4 because I like her writing style, and I get sucked into the Carpathian saga. Granted, I was rather worried at the beginning that I would not like Isai at all. His behavior when they first met pissed me off. Thankfully that changed and I understood him more. Julija’s motives and actions were also believable with her background, so nothing jumped out at me and I’m glad they got together and found their love. I sadly found myself almost speed-reading through the many spells and over-abundance of pages to describe one action. If you love the Carpathians, you will enjoy this book and how it leads into the next one…leaving some unresolved issues. It’s not a cliff-hanger, just readying the readers for what comes next.

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

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Kindle | Hardback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

HARDBACK COPY

ENTER FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (9/9) by 6PM EST. Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway. Paperback was provided to Reading in Pajamas by Berkley Romance. 

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image 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.

Website | Facebook | TwitterPinterest

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE WALLFLOWER WAGER by Tessa Dare

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THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: Girl Meets Duke Series Book 3 by Tessa Dare

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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89E87107-6DB1-491D-8938-A02923A1F82AThey call him the Duke of Ruin. To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

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Excerpt

She circled back, standing before him. “There now. Better?”

He gave a reluctant nod.

“Can you move your arm in all directions?”

He rolled his shoulder to prove it. “Yes.”

“What about your grip?

“My grip is strong.”

“Perhaps I should wrap the arm in a sling.”

“I do not need a sling.”

“Wait here. I’ll dash upstairs to fetch some linen and—”

“For the love of God, woman. My shoulder is fine.” He took her by the waist and lifted her straight off the floor, until they were eye to eye. “There. Believe me now?”

She nodded, wide-eyed.

“Good.”

In his hands, she was delicate, breakable. Her hair was a golden treasure he should never, ever touch. And oh, how he hungered for those soft, pink lips.

The familiar voice echoed in his ears.

Don’t touch, boy. She’s not for the likes of you.

Put. Her. Down.

But before Gabe could lower those beribboned pink slippers to the floor, she captured his sooty, sweaty face in her hands—

And kissed him on the lips.

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Cori 4 Stars

This book was so much fun! I loved all the rescue animals Penny had. Penny and Gabriel’s story had all the hot romance, the emotion and the fun the animals brought to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. THE WALLFLOWER WAGER is the third book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke Series and each book can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend this series for romance lovers looking for a historical romance series with some laughs, great characters and feel good love stories.

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

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: Girl Meets Duke by Tessa Dare

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (8/26) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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5EF0B3E0-E85F-4191-A769-504BD0D64088Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: RESIST (Wicked Ways) by K. Bromberg

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RESIST (Wicked Ways Book 1) by K. Bromberg

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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784FC746-8BD4-4D2B-A548-BC81580BB160From the New York Times bestselling author of the Driven series comes a powerful romance about reaching great heights through low depths.

Who says you have to play by the rules to get what you want?

Agreeing to meet Ryker Lockhart is my first mistake. Rich, handsome, and more than intriguing, he thinks blackmail will bend me to his will.

But he’s wrong.

I may have done a few things that weren’t exactly legal, but I have my own reasons for that. The last thing I’m going to do is let some high-powered divorce attorney come into my life, have my body, and rule my heart. Not to mention ruin everything that I have carefully built in just a short amount of time.

But as much as I try to resist him, and against my better judgment, there is something about him that has me agreeing to his proposal.

I’m putting everything on the line for him. I just hope I won’t lose everything when this is all over.

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Guest Post: A Pretty Woman With Power by K. Bromberg

Ryker Lockhart: Powerful. Unrelenting. Stubborn.

Vaughn Sanders: Defiant. Strong. Unyielding.

With those two sets of characteristics, Ryker and Vaughn are definitely oil and water one moment and then an ember met with gasoline the next. That dynamic is what made writing them and their story so much fun in my latest book, Resist. Their tale was a delicate dance though because the push and pull of the chase better be worth the reward for readers.

I often enjoy taking characters and painting them with broad strokes (i.e. Vaughn’s profession) so that readers initially question them. Then over the next 100,000 words, I love to smash their preconceived notions so that they root for the heroine. So that they are right beside her cheering her on and falling in love with the hero just like she is.

It’s not often an easy task to write a heroine, because women are often harsher on female characters than they are males. Heroes can be over the top alphas who are dominant and say all the wrong things, but once they show vulnerability, we somehow forgive them. Heroines on the other hand, are judged more fiercely. She’s too weak. She’s too strong. She’s too wishy- washy. She’s being a b*tch for pushing him away. Making a reader like a strong-willed female character isn’t always an easy task. So when you put two characters together who embody all of these things, it’s a delicate balance to have enough push and pull. Enough sexual tension. Enough redeemable qualities so you can love them despite their faults.

This challenge is one of the reasons I loved writing Resist (and its sequel Reveal). I don’t quite remember where the storyline came from, but I recall the furious scribbling on paper as Ryker and Vaughn’s story came to life in my imagination. Take a strong-willed woman with a risqué job and give her a real reason to need that job. Take a domineering divorce attorney who deals with love gone wrong day-in and day-out, and force him to see that there can be more than just sex between a man and a woman. That love is, in fact, possible.

Challenge accepted.

Is Resist a subtle nod to the Pretty Woman trope? I never really thought of it that way, but I can see the similarities being drawn. Vaughn (my character) and Vivian (movie character) have names that both start with the letter V. They both wear a red dress in a scene. The both work in fields that deal with selling sex for profit . . . but that’s where the comparisons stop.

Vaughn Sanders is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, she’s a madam, but once you get beneath the moniker, readers find a strong-willed woman taking measures into her own hands for the benefit of someone else. Readers will find a woman with a strong backbone and a take no prisoners attitude. A woman they can’t wait to see succeed. Sure, we throw in our hero–Ryker, a senator you know is dirty somehow, an adorable niece, and whole cast of other characters and situations and we’re left trying to figure out how it’s all going to play out . . . but the one thing we know for sure, is that we want Ryker and Vaughn to end up together.

Because hopefully when you finish Resist, like Ryker and Vaughn, you start to believe true love does in fact exist.

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The lobby is elegant, with its large chandeliers, but they’re kept dim so as to allow each of its patrons some privacy. Almost as if they know I’m trying to hide some from the rest of the room for a bit. Soft classical music flows from the overhead speakers as people mill about in evening wear. There are hugs given among people, and laughs echo off the walls and marble floors.

I stand in the corner, surveying the crowd as nerves I don’t want to admit to run a riotous act within, and my mind tries to grapple for the nth time with what I’m about to do.

You’re keeping your reputation intact.

That’s how I have to look at this. That’s how I have to justify this.

Just like that, my breath catches when Ryker Lockhart waltzes into the lobby. I’m rarely affected by a man—sure, I can say one is handsome or sexy or gorgeous, but rarely does a man really catch my eye.

But there he is . . . standing in the middle of the lobby, surveying everyone around him, making my pulse race.

This is a bad idea.

He’s tall, his shoulders are broad, and there’s an air about him that screams authority while a magnetism about him makes people look his way.

And he hasn’t even spoken a word to anyone yet.

Such a bad idea.

He’s in a well-tailored tuxedo, everything black save for the crisp white dress shirt beneath it. His hair is styled, and an expensive watch glints at his wrist when he holds it up to look at the time.

Of course, that’s my cue that I’m not there exactly on time, but I give him a few more seconds to make him wait.

It’s all about power, even when I’m in a different pair of shoes.

With a deep breath, I walk toward him, shoulders square, head high, and remind myself that I’m not Vee right now. I can’t act like we’re on an equal playing field.

He has hired me. I am his. 

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Cori 4 Stars

I love K. Bromberg’s books and really enjoyed this one. I normally wouldn’t have picked this one up based off the description alone. I wasn’t sure it would be very romantic but I just trusted the author would deliver a good love story and she did. Vaughn and Ryker were explosive together and their story gave me all the feels! There is a cliffhanger ending, so be warned. I’ll be devouring the next book as soon as it releases in September to finish Vaughn and Ryker’s story. I recommend RESIST for romance lovers looking for a hot and steamy love story with some angst.

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

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of K. Bromberg’s RESIST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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021A5195-A007-41CA-9D20-D0AA47BA4B17New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary romance novels that are sweet, emotional, a lot sexy, and a little bit real. She likes to write strong heroines and damaged heroes that readers love to hate but can’t help loving.

Since publishing her first book on a whim in 2013, Bromberg has sold over 1.5 million copies of her books across eighteen different countries and has repeatedly landed on the bestseller lists for the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by the streaming platform Passionflix, with Driven available now.

You can find out more about this mom of three on any of her social media accounts. The easiest way to stay up to date is to sign up for her newsletter (http://bit.ly/254MWtI) or text “KBromberg” to 77948 to receive text alerts when a new book is released.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: A SEAL NEVER QUITS (Texas Navy SEALs) by Holly Castillo

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A SEAL NEVER QUITS (Texas Navy SEALs Book 1) by Holly Castillo

Publication Date: July 30, 2019 

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

AA583A8F-9363-486F-917A-A110B2E6547CFirst in a thrilling romantic suspense series featuring a band of do-or-die Navy SEALs in Texas

A SEAL is ready for anything…except losing his heart…

Lieutenant Amador “Stryker” Salas and his tight-knit Navy SEAL team are undercover on a Texas ranch and tasked with covert ops across the border. It’s an assignment that requires all their skills, all their secrets, and all their know-how.

Anya Gutierrez, the local veterinarian, has been serving the ranch for years. She loves the animals and ranching life, and Stryker finds her a breath of fresh air in his otherwise rigidly disciplined existence.

When Anya gets caught in the crosshairs of a mission gone sideways, Stryker must tell her the truth about who he really is, risking everything to keep her out of harm’s way, even if it destroys him…

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Donna 4 stars

I loved the premise of a Special-Ops team setting up shop on a sprawling ranch with an ongoing antagonist hiding behind every bush. I did find that six handsome alpha males doing this in a small town close to the bad guys, with no believable story, and money to burn on said ranch…unbelievable and asking for trouble. However, I liked all the guys and their group dynamic. Stryker was believable and thankfully he didn’t dwell on the “I’m not good enough for her” too much. Anya was also believable and had an inner strength that moved the story along. Their romance was hot and moved along the storyline quite well. The bad guys were a little stereotypical, but fun to read and guess about who is pulling their strings. I found this book to be a fun and exciting read – making me anxious to see where the series goes from here.

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

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Excerpt

She had just lifted her hand for the doorbell when the door was yanked open by a man who could have been Stryker’s brother. His skin was lighter, and while Stryker’s hair had a slight wave to it, this man’s hair was straight and cropped rather short. He was tall, and, in his simple T-shirt and jeans, his muscles were obvious. He looked at her, then smiled, though it seemed it wasn’t something he was used to doing.

“You must be the veterinarian,” he said, and held the door open a little farther. “Come in.”

A wave of cool, air-conditioned air welcomed her into the foyer, and her eyes drank in the beautiful architecture and design of the house. She couldn’t see anything that reminded her of the previous house. It was as if the entire place had been gutted, and they had started over.

“My name’s Phantom, by the way,” her door greeter said, extending his hand to her.

She smiled up at him as she shook his hand. “I’m Anya Gutierrez. Are you—do you live here now too?”

He nodded. “I’m here, along with Stryker and four other men. Buzz is the newbie to the ranching world, so if you see a guy who looks totally out of place, that’s him.”

Anya grinned at him. “I’m sure you’re going to educate him just fine.”

A sly smile crept across Phantom’s face, and Anya suddenly felt very sorry for Buzz. “Oh, yeah. Buzz is in good hands.”

The sound of boots on the hardwood floors came from somewhere within the house, and Stryker suddenly rounded the corner and faced both of them. He eyed Phantom for a moment, then turned his full attention on Anya. “Are you ready to go?”

He was dressed in a navy-blue button-down shirt and a pair of jeans that fit him perfectly. Anya felt like asking him to turn around so she could get the full picture. Good grief, this man is turning my mind to mush. She felt the heat of a blush burning her face. “Y-yes,” she stammered. “I’m ready to go.”

“Be back later,” he tossed over his shoulder to Phantom, as he opened the door and placed his hand at the small of Anya’s back, guiding her out the door in front of him.

The feel of his hand through the cotton of her polo shirt sent a small thrill through her. She had to remind herself to breathe as he escorted her to his F-250, which already had the gooseneck trailer attached to it. It was a big trailer, and she knew they’d be able to bring home at least ten or more calves. It would be a good addition to his current cattle, especially since he had about twenty-five head that were ready to be auctioned off to make room for some heartier heifers.

The ride to Kingsville was punctuated by the sounds of the latest country music coming through the radio. Anya had come prepared for the drive with her ledger and a stack of invoices she needed to record before mailing them out. Stryker had taken one look at her paperwork, raised an eyebrow, and then returned his eyes to the road.

They hadn’t talked since the first day she had met him, and only briefly when she had called to tell him about this sale. She’d hesitated even to call him, but she’d made a commitment. She hadn’t expected him to say yes.

They pulled up to the sale arena where the Kleberg-KenedyCounty Junior Livestock Show was held every winter, and Anya remembered with fondness her years showing cattle and goats and even some turkeys. She had won the title of County Stock Show Queen when she was sixteen, and then had gone on to win the County Rodeo Queen when she was seventeen. She still had her tiaras and sashes.

“What on earth has put that look on your face?” Stryker asked. She realized at that moment they’d parked and she was still sitting in the truck with a goofy look on her face.

“Dreams,” she replied with a smile. “Haven’t you heard of them before, Stryker?”

Her quip at his expense seemed to take him by surprise. He shook his head at her, then left the truck. “Well, you’re about as much fun as getting a root canal,” Anya said to herself, before her door was yanked open and Stryker stood looking up at her impatiently.

She hopped down from the truck and instantly had to scramble to get her feet set right underneath her on the muddy ground. Suddenly Stryker’s muscular arm snaked around her waist, and he pulled her to him, holding her tight.

She was hit with the scent of his spicy cologne, leather, and man—pure, hearty man—and her hands immediately pressed against the front of his shirt as her feet settled beneath her. Buther mind and body were far from settled.

He leaned down and the feeling of his lips brushing lightly against her ear caused her heart to thunder so hard, she was afraid it would beat out of her chest. “Just for your information, I can be far more fun than a root canal…You just have to know what to ask for.”

Excerpted from A SEAL Never Quits by Holly Castillo. © 2019 by Holly Castillo. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Giveaway

3 Copies of A SEAL Never Quits

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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About the Author

Holly Castillo lives on an80 acre ranch, surrounded by cattle during the day and hearing the howl of coyotes by night. She has endless inspiration for her writing. Holly’s romantic suspense series about heroic Navy SEALs is set in her own backyard of south Texas. She lives with her husband and two children just south of San Antonio. Visit her online at hollycastillo.com/.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Review: DRAKON’S KNIGHT (Blood of the Drakon) by N.J. Walters

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DRAKON’S KNIGHT (Blood of the Drakon, Book 7) by N.J. Walters

Publication Date: June 24, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

DC152ACA-4186-4F19-A784-DC8676E7C045Drakon Jericho Drake, the child of a pure-blood dragon and human, has a simple plan: Kill the leader of the Knights of the Dragon and start a war. Except, when he meets his target, Karina Azarov, she can’t remember who she is. Worst of all––he can’t kill her. His dragon side has just claimed the dangerous woman as his mate.

Karina has no idea why these Drakon’s have taken her to their home. And she most certainly does not understand why she’s so drawn to her captor. Maybe because he’s strong, intelligent, and caring, in his enigmatic sort of way. One thing she knows, he’s not going to hurt her. If only she could remember something from her past that would explain why these Drakon’s hate her so much.

But if her memory returns, mated or not, he may get his war.. And one of them will die.

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Cori 4 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed DRAKON’S KNIGHT. It’s the seventh book in N.J. Walters’ Blood of the Drakon Series. I recommend reading the books in order, but each book can be read as a stand-alone. When I picked up DRAKON’S KNIGHT I was unsure if I would like Karina because I didn’t like her in the previous books, but I found myself admiring her. Jericho and Karina story was full of passion, mystery and danger and I couldn’t put it down. N. J. Walters’ paranormal world of drakons (half dragons/ half men) and the evil knights that hunt them is a unique paranormal series that I highly recommend for paranormal romance lovers looking for a great dragon shifter series. I’m hooked!

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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✦Blood of the Drakon Series by N.J. Walters✦
1. Drakon’s PromiseKindle | Review
2. Drakon’s PreyKindle | Review
3. Drakon’s PlunderKindle | Review
4. Drakon’s PastKindle
5. Drakon Unchained ➢ Kindle
6. Drakon’s Tear ➢ Kindle
7. Drakon’s Knight ➢ Kindle

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About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: IT STARTED WITH A COWBOY by Jennie Marts

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IT STARTED WITH A COWBOY (Cowboys of Creedence Series, Book 3) by Jennie Marts

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

 

Synopsis

80520906-8ED2-457D-9475-2CD12A8698AEWhat will this cowboy risk for love?

Colt James is back home on the family ranch, and he’s done taking risks. A car accident ruined his shot at a professional hockey career and messed up his love life, and he’s not taking a chance on anything that seems too good to be true. Especially not on Chloe Bishop, his nephew’s irresistibly charming teacher and the one woman he can’t stop thinking about.

Chloe Bishop liked her life the way it was—orderly, structured and safe. Life goes from managed to messy when Colt talks her into helping him coach a hockey team of rowdy eight-year-olds. Being this close to the cowboy she’s crushing on is dangerous territory. But when a real enemy threatens Chloe, Colt will do anything to protect her. Even if it means risking himself—and his heart.

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Donna 4 stars

I enjoyed this story of two people finding their confidence and how they learn to let go of their pasts. Colt was sexy, handsome and a truly nice man. I liked Chloe well enough but wish she hadn’t come across so needy at times. At one point, she should have been the one to come forward to apologize, not Colt. That being said…they were good for each other. The danger to her was believable and flowed nicely with the story, showcasing her hang-ups, personality and giving nature. I also love the people around them, family and friends with their lifelong banter is something I enjoy in books.  It’s a nice and sexy romance that left me smiling.

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

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Excerpt

He passed her the towel, then turned his back. He should leave, he knew he should, but he couldn’t get his feet to move.

He heard the splash of water as she stood and stepped out of the tub. His eyes cut to the big mirror on the wall just in time to catch a quick glimpse of her wet, glistening body before she wrapped the towel around herself.

“You can turn around now,” she said, her voice timid and soft.

He slowly pivoted until he faced her again. It felt like something was happening here, and he didn’t want to ruin this chance. He opened his mouth to say something, anything. I like you. You’re beautiful. You have a great smile. I think you’re funny. Maybe best not to mention her sense of humor while she was standing practically naked in front of him. 

Before Colt could think of the best thing to say to dazzle her with his wit and charm, his eyes fell on the top half of her arm and the row of purple bruises there. “Holy shit.” He crossed the bathroom and gingerly lifted her arm to examine the marks. Flares of rage sparked through him, and he wanted to kill Rank Johnson. “I will never let that bastard put his hands on you again,” he said through gritted teeth.

“I’m okay. They don’t hurt that bad. And it could have been worse. Much worse.”

She was right. Rank was as mean as they came, and she was lucky he hadn’t done worse to her or the kids. “He shouldn’t have touched you at all.”

“I know,” she whispered.

The scent of her skin surrounded him, and he was caught between wanting to wrap her in a blanket to protect her and wanting to pick her up and carry her to his bed. At this point, either option would work for him.

He lifted his hand, raising it to cup the side of her face. Tendrils of her hair tickled the back of his hand. “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

She shook her head, just the slightest movement. Then she placed her hand on top of his and leaned her cheek into his palm. “I’m not. If it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here with you now.”

This woman was going to flat–out kill him. He ached for her clear to the marrow of his bones. He leaned in, fully intent on capturing that pretty little mouth in a kiss, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He pulled back, shaking his head. “I like you, Chloe, but…”

Her face fell. Colt saw it and knew instantly that he’d blown it. Her shoulders shrank in, and she wrapped her arms around herself as if trying to cover the towel. “But not like that,” she finished for him. “I know. I get it.”

He shook his head. “No, I don’t think you do. I do like you, exactly like that. You’re all I’ve thought about for the past several months. And now you’re finally here, standing right in front of me, and I can’t do a damn thing.”

Her eyes widened, and she looked like she didn’t know if she should stay still or run—-like a dang deer caught in the headlights. A beautiful deer. He knew he was screwing this up. Of all the ways he’d imagined this moment would go, this hadn’t been one of them. He had to do something to save himself. As his dad used to say, it was time to fish or cut bait.

“Chloe, just listen. It’s not that I don’t want to…that I don’t want you. I do. And it’s killing me to say this, because I want you so bad, it freaking hurts. I want to kiss you and touch you. I want to take you to my bed and spend the whole day exploring every inch of your gorgeous body.” He let out a breath, his brows drawn together as if saying the words actually pained him. “But you’ve just been through this whole traumatic ordeal, and I want to give you time to heal. Someone hurt you, and I don’t want to be a jerk by not giving you the space you need. The last thing I want to do is make you feel uncomfortable. And I don’t want to take advantage of you.”

Q

Chloe stood perfectly still, as if her feet were glued to the tile floor. A cool drop of water dripped from a tendril of her hair and trickled down the front of her neck and into the terry cloth of the towel. Her skin was so hot that she wouldn’t have been surprised if the drop had evaporated into steam.

She tried to take in everything Colt had just said. She wasn’t sure she’d heard it all over the rushing in her ears that sounded after he’d said he liked her exactly like that and had been thinking about her for months. Then why had he pulled away when she’d kissed him at the rink? Why hadn’t he kissed her back?

Oh, for flint’s sake, what the French toast was she doing wasting time analyzing what happened a few days ago? It didn’t matter now. What mattered were the crystal–blue intensity of Colt’s eyes and the passion behind his words. He’d said he wanted her, said he liked her.

His words touched her, and she could appreciate the sentiment, and the chivalry, behind them. But she wasn’t a victim. She wasn’t a poor, helpless woman who needed space. A flaming–hot cowboy had just told her that he wanted to take her to his bed and explore her body. That was what she needed. Not space, not coddling. Despite the chill of the wet towel, her body was on fire and she wanted him, needed him.

Something inside her snapped, the deep part of her that had been fantasizing about this moment. The part that had been dreaming this could come true. And she knew in her heart this was the moment she’d been waiting for—-her chance to risk something, to be daring and fearless. She’d never wanted anything as much as she wanted Colt James, and this was her chance to grab him. No guts, no glory.

I can do this. I just need to pretend to be someone else. Someone who is brave and daring.

Her eye caught the swish of Agatha’s tail from where she lay next to the vanity, and Chloe knew that was the answer. She needed to think like a cat. Cats were bold and didn’t care what other people thought. They took what they wanted; they were adventurous and playful. She wrenched up her inner feline, brought her to life, and steeled herself to play.

I am woman, hear me roar. Or at least meow very courageously.

She reached for the knot securing the towel around her chest as she raised her chin and offered him her most seductive stare. “I like you too. And I love that you don’t want to push me, that you want to give me space, but I don’t need space. I need you. And I want you to take advantage of me. Right now.” She inhaled a breath as she took a step back and released the towel, letting it drop to the floor.

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About the Author

Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.

Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.