Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: FIRST EARL I SEE TONIGHT by Anna Bennett

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FIRST EARL I SEE TONIGHT: A Debutante Diaries Novel by Anna Bennett

Publication Date: October 30, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

CDE2680D-B0CD-438E-8498-4000374FE97FAn heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars, in First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett.

Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…

A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?

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Excerpt

First Earl I See Tonight_excerpt

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Saturday (11/10) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by St. Martin’s Press.

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About the Author

08ADBAB0-B2EE-4AE0-91D1-BCE2AE7D3719.Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.

Anna’s books include of the Wayward Wallflowers series and the Debutante Diaries series.

SOCIAL LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin

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INTERCEPTED (The Playbook Series, Book 1) by Alexa Martin

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

56C0999D-EBD8-4B2A-B967-1684B8266834Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

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Excerpt

The idea of Gavin showing up to my family home sets the butterflies in my stomach free. I have to remind myself he doesn’t remember me, he’s just being friendly to a teammate’s girlfriend. End of story.

“Don’t you wish. Chris isn’t even promised a seat. Quarterback or not, my family doesn’t share well when it comes to pasta.”

“Well, I’m awesome, and Chris is questionable. Your family would love me.”

“Maybe they could find a seat for you, but I’m not sure the room is big enough for your ego to tag along.” I ignore the jab at Chris, handing Gavin the final plate.

“Damn. You got jokes?” He acts insulted, but there’s a smile on his face when he says it. I shrug it off and give him a hand towel. I tend to forget not everybody knows my sense of humor. Something I should try harder to remember when it concerns my boyfriend’s coworkers.

He hands me the last plate to dry, and his fingers graze mine. The contact is so minimal, I shouldn’t have noticed it. But when it comes to Gavin, I notice everything. “Thanks for helping, but I really do have work to finish.”

I hang the towel from the stove and try to play it cool. I’m not a relationship expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure I’ve watched enough reality shows to know crushing on your boyfriend’s coworker is generally a no-no.

“TK told me you did his website. I checked it out and it looks fantastic. Are you taking on new clients?”

When I turn away from the stove and face him, he’s in the same spot, watching me with what I think is either curiosity, mistrust, or kindness.

Yes, I’m aware those are all different, but I’ve never been very good at reading people.

“Always. It’s rare for me to ever turn down a client.” I look for something else in the kitchen to keep me busy.

“Good, because my website needs an overhaul since I switched teams.”

Oh no. Not gonna happen. Seeing him on occasion is one thing, but working for him is on a whole other level of asking for trouble.

“Your website? Didn’t you already have somebody design your website?” I scramble for any excuse to say no. “I doubt you need a new one, just a few tweaks, and I don’t like messing with other people’s work.”

“You just said you didn’t turn down a client. I want a new website. I’ll have Madison email you some pictures of me in Mustangs gear and shots of my charity events.”

Oh lovely, Gavin and Madison. This keeps getting better and better.

“Your girlfriend is your secretary? How very old-school.”

“Madison isn’t my girlfriend. She’s an old friend who happens to work in PR.” He shakes his head, acting like the idea of him with the leggy beauty is outrageous. “Think about it for me. I’d really appreciate it, and I promise to recommend you to everyone I know.”

Dammit. Doing this would be huge for me. I got my degree in graphic design from the Art Institute five years ago and started doing some freelance work to keep me busy. Business has been growing slowly over the past five years . . . which is fine. Chris gets all offended when I offer to pay for anything so I shovel all my money into savings and paying off my student loans.

I graduated with my masters in marketing last spring and have spent all summer (unsuccessfully) trying to find an adult job complete with medical. Unfortunately for me, the closest I got to medical was the marijuana dispensary next door to an interview I went to. So while I wait to find the apparent unicorn job I’ve spent my entire life preparing for, I might just have to build a website for my ex-fling turned current boyfriend’s coworker.

I’m about to agree when the intercom buzzes and Chris’s voice booms through the kitchen. “Marlee, can you go find Pope for us?” he asks. He hangs up before I have the chance to answer.

“I guess that’s my cue.” Gavin starts walking out of the kitchen but stops before he makes it all the way out. “By the way, I think you dropped this.” He pulls something small out of his pocket, tosses it to me, and is gone before I even realize what I’m holding.

My grandma’s necklace. The one my mom gave me after she passed.

The one I lost four years ago in a Chicago apartment. 

Holy shit.

He kept it?

Holy shit.

He remembers me!

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Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Paperback provided by Berkley Romance.

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About the Author

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay at home mom. She lives in Colorado with her husband, a former NFL player who now coaches at the high school where they met, their four children, and a German shepherd. Her first book, Intercepted, was inspired by the eight years she spent as an NFL wife.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL by Margaret Brownley

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COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL (The Haywire Brides) by Margaret Brownley

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis

5F706DF9-4FFC-4E9F-8E74-E05F2B3AAFF1When Texas Ranger Brett Tucker accidentally derails a wedding, he’s determined to bring the estranged couple back together…but he never dreamed he’d start falling for the bride!

Texas Ranger Brett Tucker hates to break up a wedding, but the groom—notorious criminal Frank Foster—is a danger to any woman. So he busts into the church, guns blazing…only to find he has the wrong man.

STOP THAT WEDDING!

Bride-to-be Kate Denver is appalled by her fiancé’s over-the-top reaction to the innocent mistake and calls off the wedding—for good. Guilt-ridden, Brett’s desperate to get them back on track. But the more time he spends with Kate, the harder he falls…and the more he yearns to prove that he’s her true match in every way.

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Excerpt

Could she ever forgive the man for breaking up her wedding?

“Miss Denver. I’m afraid we didn’t get properly introduced the other day. I’m Brett Tucker, Texas Ranger.”

“I know who you are,” she said, her voice as hard as the peanut brittle displayed in the glass counter standing between them.

He sucked in his breath. If looks could kill, he’d be a goner for sure. Not that he could blame her. Thanks to him, not only was her interrupted wedding the talk of the town, the Haywire Dispatch had planted the story on the front page beneath a bold headline: Wedding Ends in Disaster.

Brett cleared his throat. “I…eh…came to apologize again for what happened. I had no idea that there were two Frank Fosters.” Thinking that an explanation was in order, he continued, “The Foster I was looking for is a wanted man. I’ve been on his trail for a long while.” TwiceBrett had almost caught him. Both times the man had slipped away.

“When I heard that someone by that name was getting married, I immediately assumed it was the fugitive I’ve been chasing.”

Miss Denver crossed her arms. “Next time you might want to look before you leap.”

“I hope to God there isn’t a next time, ma’am. I never want to stop another wedding.” He rubbed his still sore chin. “All I could think about was saving you.”

“Saving me?” She stared at him. “You don’t even know me.”

“Not personally, ma’am, that’s true. But the Frank Foster I’m after is a danger to any woman.”

She said nothing, and he continued. “I hope you’ll let me make it up to you. If there’s anything I can do…?”

“I believe you’ve done quite enough already, Mr. Tucker,” she said, her voice as cool as the eyes boring into him.

He drew in his breath. She wasn’t making it easy but then, why should she? Still, he wasn’t ready to give up. “There must be something. I tried bailing your fiancé out of jail, but he refused to accept my help.”

Something flickered in the depths of her eyes. “If you’re serious about wanting to do something, you’ll leave town and not return.”

Tilting his Stetson forward, he rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m afraid that will be a little hard to do, ma’am.” A crime wave had hit the county, overwhelming local lawmen. The opportunity to serve as a special Texas Ranger couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.Brett was sent to Haywire to assist the sheriff in bringing the culprits to justice, but the reason he’d volunteered for the job was far more personal.

“I’m here on special commission from Captain McMurray.”

Miss Denver greeted his news with a look of disdain. “Then I suggest you attend to your business and stay away from the rest of us.”

“As you wish,” he said.  He made quick strides toward the door before stopping.Glancing over his shoulder, he found her watching him. “Your dress,” he said. “I’d feel a whole lot better if you’d let me pay for any damage.” He had no idea the cost of a wedding gown, but it couldn’t be cheap.

“Go.” she said with a beseeching look. “Please. Just…go.

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Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Margaret is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist, with more than 40 novels to her credit. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

www.margaret-brownley.com

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: MAVERICK (Cat Star Legacy) by Cheryl Brooks

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MAVERICK (Cat Star Legacy) by Cheryl Brooks

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Synopsis

E96F8D6B-DD2D-4DD0-8682-7B89A3A58EBEZetithians are back. And they’re hotter than ever…

Having the Zetithian feline gene gives Larry Tshevnoe awesome beauty, fearsome strength, sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. But it can make the quest for true love…complicated.

Enter childhood friend and fellow Zetithian Althea Banadänsk. Her empathic powers make her the only one who can show Larry what he truly desires, and she’ll do anything to help…even if that means hiding her desperate craving for him.

But when a distress call sends them off course—and into danger—they find more than their hearts are at stake. Now it’s up to them to become the champions of truth and justice throughout the galaxy…or risk losing it all.

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Excerpt

“You have got to be kidding me.”

Larry was prepared for Althea’s reaction. After all, that was pretty much what everyone said when they first laid eyes on his ship. “Don’t worry. She’s got it where it counts.”

“Uh-huh,” she drawled. “Sure she does.”

“Come on now, Al. You know Mom wouldn’t let me fly around in a no-good ship. In fact, she’s the one who found it for me.”

Jack had also taken it to the same Delfian mechanic who’d outfitted the Jolly Roger, which could outfly damn near any ship in the quadrant—a distinction Jack was not only very proud of, but went to great lengths to maintain and seldom missed an opportunity to demonstrate. Larry’s vessel, being smaller with less room to accommodate the supercharged stardrive components, came in a close second.

“Hmm…” Althea studied the exterior, her gaze ultimately landing on the name painted above the main hatch. “The Three Stooges? Seriously? I mean, I get the reference, but what kind of a name is that for a ship?”

Larry had heard that comment before too. “Did that before Moe and Curly decided they wanted ships of their own. Never got around to changing it, especially since I’d already had it registered. I tend to refer to it as the Stooge, but I’m probably the only one who does.”

He stepped up to the hatch and keyed open the palm lock, then waited while two sections of the battered hull slid up like a pair of gull’s wings. “I’d thought of calling it the DeLorean, but that name was already taken. Guess Mom isn’t the only ship’s captain with a fondness for antiques.”

This time, Althea didn’t even rise to the bait, which had Larry more than a little concerned. He’d always been able to make her laugh. Something was different. Something even a Zetithian with the occasional prescient vision couldn’t figure out.

His concern was short-lived, however, because the other oddity of his starship chose to put in an appearance.

“Mother of the gods,” Althea whispered. “You might have warned me.”

To her credit, she hadn’t screamed, which was what most people did when they met his Scorillian navigator—or sidekick as Brak preferred to be called, a preference he seldom failed to mention.

After a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure the coast was clear, Larry beckoned to his partner. “Hey, Brak. C’mon out and meet Althea.”

With a wave of his fluffy antennae, Brak minced down the gangplank, holding out a barbed appendage as he approached. “I am pleased to meet you, Althea. I’ve heard so much about you.”

Althea chose to tap the joint above Brak’s terminal pincer rather than shaking hands with the huge insect, a move that Larry considered to be quite prudent. “Nice to meet you, Brak. I haven’t heard one damn thing about you.”

Brak’s antennae flattened as he rotated a bulbous eye toward Larry while keeping the other eye aimed at Althea. “There are times when I believe him to be ashamed of me.”

“Not ashamed,” Larry said. “Just careful. If the Baradans had known you were on board, they might not have let us land.”

Brak thrust his mandibles forward in a gesture Larry had only recently identified as a pout. If Althea could read Scorillians—and Larry honestly wasn’t sure she could—having her along for the ride would go a long way toward deciphering his shipmate’s moods. Although some of Brak’s emotions were probably best left in the dark.

“You know I am not a carrier of the plague,” Brak whined. “Why does this unjust stigma persist?”

Larry shrugged. “I can’t help you, Brak. Maybe if it was called something other than the Scorillian plague, you might be able to escape the connection, but it isn’t, so I guess you’re stuck with it.”

“So annoying.” Brak nibbled the tip of his pincer like a nervous Nellie biting her fingernails. “Particularly since we Scorillians have so many other redeeming qualities.”

“Yeah. So I’ve heard.”

Brak displayed his annoyance with the usual crunching of his mandibles. “I’ll be in my quarters if I’m needed.” With a flutter of his translucent green wings, Brak did a quick about-face and retreated up the gangplank.

Scorillians might have other attributes, but Brak’s ability to navigate a ship was Larry’s particular favorite. Brak claimed he could plot a course through a black hole and come out less than ten meters from his intended target on the other side. While that was an obvious exaggeration, he’d certainly never been lost—at least not to Larry’s knowledge.

Larry’s own expertise was in deep space communications, and he was amassing a fair fortune by upgrading outdated comsystems. Since most manufacturers would rather replace a system than upgrade it, he was able to save his clients a considerable amount of money, and his popularity had grown along with his bank account. He didn’t even have to advertise. Word of mouth got him all the work he could handle.

He’d been doing the same type of work even as a teenager aboard his parents’ ship, and while he could have set up shop somewhere, he wasn’t one to sit around and wait. So, like the tinkers in days of old, he traveled to wherever his services were needed, which was how he’d met Celeste.

If he’d met her on the street in Rhylos’s brothel district, where sex pheromones were continuously pumped into the air, he would’ve discounted the attraction entirely. But they’d met when he’d stopped off at the orphanage to visit Onca and Kim. Since there were no airborne pheromones inside the Palace, the only enticement was Celeste’s own personal scent, which was alluring, if somewhat baffling.

She was pretty too. Lush, curvy figure. Long, softly curling blond hair. Sparkling green eyes. Captivating smile. Yeah. She was very attractive, not to mention intelligent, witty, and charming. He just couldn’t decide whether he loved her. Perhaps he was wrong to go running off to find Althea—after all, hardly anyone consulted an empath before choosing a mate—but since he’d known Althea all his life, he saw no reason not to make use of her abilities. The truth was, with everything he’d seen and heard about how much trouble the sexual prowess of Zetithian males could cause, he didn’t trust himself. Or Celeste.

“He is kinda moody,” Larry whispered as Brak disappeared through the hatch. “Think you can handle that?”

Althea slung her oversized duffel bag over her shoulder and started up the gangplank. “I’m sure we’ll get along fine as long as I don’t have to share a bunk with him.”

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Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of MAVERICK

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse who resides in rural Indiana with her husband, two sons, two horses, four cats, and one dog. Her Cat Star Chronicles series was first published by Sourcebooks Casablanca in 2008, and includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and Rebel. Her Cowboy Heaven series includes the Cowboy Delight novella and two novels, Cowboy Heaven and Must Love Cowboys. Self-published works include Sex, Love, and a Purple Bikini, Midnight in Reno, The Soul Survivors Trilogy: Echoes From the Deep, Dreams From the Deep, and Justice From the Deep, and the Unlikely Lovers series: Unbridled, Uninhibited, Undeniable, and Unrivaled. Maverick is the first book in her new Cat Star Legacy series. Look for Mystic in January 2019. She has also published If You Could Read My Mind writing as Samantha R. Michaels. As a member of The Sextet, she has written eight erotic novellas published by Siren/Bookstrand. Her other interests include cooking, gardening, singing, and guitar playing. Cheryl is a member of RWA and IRWA. 

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: ONE MORE MOMENT by Samantha Chase

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ONE MORE MOMENT (Shaughnessy Brothers: Band on the Run) by Samantha Chase

Publication Date: September 04, 2018 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

F8E0BC4E-ED3D-4F7D-95DA-92DE70345D79Julian Grayson is taking a break
…from his cheating fiancée
…from his band
…from his life in the spotlight

Charlotte Clark is devoted to her work
…to save the world
…to help the homeless
…to get a broken man back on his feet

When Charlotte Clark offers to pay for Julian Grayson’s coffee, the world-famous drummer assumes she wants something from him. But Charlotte has no idea who he is, and Julian can’t resist keeping up the charade—being incognito is a novelty and a relief. He’ll have to tell her…eventually. But as Charlotte cheerfully undertakes to transform his life, Julian realizes there’s something about her that gives him what he hasn’t felt in years: hope.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I enjoyed this story and now need to go back and get the earlier ones – especially since this is the last in this series. I loved how the band and friends cared about each other and their easy banter. That’s why Julian’s almost pouty behavior a few times seemed out of place for me. Not enough to turn me off, just made me pause a second. Charlotte was so selfless, and it was a hoot on how they met. Loved that angle. They were all believable and relatable so that I was pulled into the lovely story. Great chemistry on the romance and just enough heat to make me smile.

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

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Excerpt

Slowly she came to her feet and brushed the sand from her dress. Inhaling deeply, she looked out at the waves one more time before reaching down for her purse. When she turned around, she immediately came up short.

Julian.

He stood ten feet away from her and his expression was unreadable.

Charlotte normally believed in coincidences, but she was having a hard time accepting this situation was just that. The hopeless romantic side of her—which didn’t come out very often—really wanted to think he’d been hoping to find her here or that he’d specifically been looking for her. But from everything she knew about Julian, he was too stubborn and strong-willed for such things.

They stood like that—facing one another, silently assessing for a few minutes.

“Hi,” she said finally, but didn’t make a move toward him. The breeze off the water kicked up and her hair was blowing wildly, her long skirt whipped against her legs. She groaned at what a mess she must look like but she still couldn’t make herself move.

It took all her self-control not to sag with relief when he finally took a step toward her. “What are you doing out here alone so late?”

And her foolish heart kicked hard in her chest at his gruff question.

“Just getting my daily beach fix in.”

But Julian shook his head even as he kept advancing. “You were out here this morning before you went to work,” he said, his voice low and almost tortured. “Every morning this week you’ve been out here. I can see you from my deck. Try again.”

He knew she’d been here earlier? How…? Why…?

Swallowing hard, she said, “I was heading home and wanted to come out here for a bit. I enjoy watching the sunset. A girl can get two daily beach fixes, you know.” She meant to sound defiant, but she had a feeling it didn’t come out quite that way.

Julian’s gaze roamed over her from head to toe.

And Charlotte cursed how unsexy the windblown look was on her.

They were almost toe to toe and she studied him with equal interest. His jeans were faded and hung low on his hips, his T-shirt was of the threadbare variety and looked like he’d owned it for years. And his hair was a wreck, just as hers was.

And then there was the five o’clock shadow.

It should have been a full-grown beard by now and yet it wasn’t.

But that didn’t mean she didn’t want to feel it scratching her sensitive skin.

Everywhere.

Charlotte held her breath while she waited for Julian to call her out on the admission, but he didn’t. Instead, he reached up and stroked one strong finger along her cheek right before his hand cupped it. Her lips parted on a sigh and—unable to help herself—she leaned into his hand.

“What are you doing out here?” she asked softly.

“Waiting for you,” he replied, so quietly she almost didn’t hear him. And before she could respond, Julian closed the distance between them. He felt so warm and solid and wonderful that she forgot what she was going to say.

Not that it would have mattered, because Julian lowered his head and gently touched his lips to hers. There was an uncertainty to him—a vulnerability—and it was quite possibly the sexiest thing about him. She loved the fact that he was comfortable enough around her to be like this.

One soft kiss turned to two and Charlotte slowly ran her hands up his arms.

Julian’s tongue gently teased at her lips as her hands raked up into his hair.

And then she was lost.

They went from slow and sweet to nothing but need in the blink of an eye. Charlotte knew this was why she wasn’t disappointed about being stood up—no one made her feel needy and out of control the way Julian Grayson did. It didn’t matter that she never even had the opportunity to meet her date earlier, she just knew it wouldn’t have been like this.

It couldn’t.

They kissed until they were breathless and when Julian lifted his head, he began a trail of kisses along her cheek and nipped at her earlobe before shifting and resting his forehead against hers.

“Why can’t I stay away from you?” he asked, but Charlotte had a feeling the question was more to himself than her. Reaching up, he caressed her cheek. “I should be able to stay away, but I just can’t.”

Trembling, she mimicked his pose and savored the scratchiness of his jaw. “Right now, I’m kind of glad you didn’t stay away.” It was good that she was looking down and couldn’t see his reaction to her words. She knew how cagey he could be and the last thing she wanted to do was have him take off on her—not after the second-hottest kiss of her life.

“Come home with me, Charlotte,” he begged quietly. “Please.”

No words had ever sounded sweeter to her.

“We don’t have to do anything but talk, if that’s what you want.” He paused. “I’ve missed seeing you, talking to you.”

Pulling back, this time she did meet his gaze. “I’ve missed seeing you too.”

If it was possible, Charlotte would say he looked relieved and almost…grateful.

Julian reached for her hand and they walked up the beach toward his house. Neither said a word and Charlotte was thankful for these few minutes to get her emotions under control. Maybe it was the same for him.

At the foot of the stairs that led to his deck, she stopped and took her hand from his, pulling her phone from her purse. Julian looked at her quizzically.

“I promised my friend Tami I’d text her when I got home.” As soon as she said the words, she realized how it sounded. “I mean—”

“She wants to know you’re safe,” he finished for her and then caressed her cheek again. “You are, Charlotte. I promise.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

 Samantha Chase Prize Pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

With twenty-three titles currently to her name, she has no plans to slow down. The success of the Montgomery Brothers series has her working on six new titles in that collection as well as two new exciting series set to start popping up on bookshelves in 2015. You won’t find her books with the erotica or paranormal titles, all of her works are pure contemporary romances.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, blogging, playing way too many games of Scrabble on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: COWBOY SEAL CHRISTMAS by Nicole Helm

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COWBOY SEAL CHRISTMAS (Navy SEAL Cowboys, Book 3) by Nicole Helm  

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

0470A975-B7E2-4A89-A783-1EA9922EADDBThree former Navy SEALs

Injured in the line of duty

Desperate for a new beginning…

Searching for a place to call their own.

Single mom and Revival Ranch’s on-site therapist Monica Finley has dedicated her life to helping brave servicemen and women, but former Navy SEAL Gabe Cortez is the one man whose shell she just can’t crack. Yet with the holidays fast approaching, she may finally have a plan. In a bid to get Gabe to open up, she’ll ask for as much help as possible—cutting down the Christmas tree, stringing lights, the whole nine yards.

Who could possibly be a Grinch with so much holiday cheer in the air?

Gabe has always hated Christmas—the holiday never fails to remind him just how alone he truly is. But the more time he spends with Monica and her young son, the more he finds himself drawn to their cozy little family…and the more he begins to realize his long-suppressed Christmas dreams may finally be coming true.

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Excerpt

And then they were all heading for the stairsMonica and Colin bickering over bedtimes, Alex and Becca sleepily arm in arm, and Gabe was left alone, seemingly forgotten, just him and the dogs.

He got up, ready to head out and ignore any of the idiotic disappointment in his chest. But bottles and glasses littered the coffee table, along with a few paper plates. Hed just grab those and throw them away, cutting down on some of the work Monica had to do. Quickly, before she came back down.

He collected the plates and a few bottles, disposing of them in the appropriate receptacles in the kitchen. Then he figured he could unload the dishwasher real quick, since hed lived here before the bunkhouse had been ready and he knew where everything went.

Once hed done that and added another load, he went back to the living room. Hed just collect the remainder of the glasses and then Monica wouldnt have to do anything.

Oh.

Gabe glanced toward the sound. Monica stood at the bottom of the stairs, and he couldnt read her expression or begin to understand what that oh had meant.

Got most of it done. Just these left.He ignored the glasses hed been going for and moved toward the door. I was getting ready to head out though.

Monica shook her head, grabbing her glass of wine and refilling it with the last of the bottle. Stay. Have a drink with me.

Gabe watched her suspiciously. Why?

She plopped herself onto the couch, staring at the fire instead of back at him. Because otherwise Im going to sit here and wallow about the passage of time. Id rather bicker with you.

Hed regret ithe knew hed regret itand yet he couldnt seem to resist. Much as he hated to admit it, he wasnt tired enough to sleep instead of wallow.

He was at least smart enough to take a seat in the armchair instead of next to her on the couch. And he was not about to drink any more.

So, why arent you with your family?she asked with no preamble.

Family. Funny word, that. Still, he didnt wince. He knew hed be asked. He had his rote answers prepared. They live all the way on the other side of the country.

I do believe they have these things called airplanes.

Really? Havent heard of them.

Her mouth curved, and she looked different in the flickering firelight. Fragile almost, where usually she looked impossibly sturdy and strong.

Why arent you with yours?

My parents are on a cruise celebrating their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.She smiled fondly, but it died quickly. Colins other grandparents dont much care for us. Well, that isnt fair. We remind them of Dex, and theywell, I suppose they havent fully dealt with their grief. Im not sure I can blame them. Im not sure all the therapist training in the world would help me if I ever lost…” She shook her head. See? Morbid wallowing. I dont want it. Say something obnoxious.

Marines are pussies.

She barked out a laugh, then covered her mouth, presumably since there were people sleeping upstairs.

She had a good laugh. Loud and uninhibited. Hell, he needed a beer.

My dad is not a pussy,she said, sounding far more amused than offended.

Gabe shrugged. Im sure he doesnt think so.

Monica shook her head. Shed worn her hair down today, which she rarely did. In the firelight, it was tinged red, and seriously, he had to get his ass out of this chair and get a beer.

But he sat. And he watched her.

She cleared her throat, holding the wineglass with both hands, staring hard at the fire in the fireplace. The dogs had disappeared at some point when hed been cleaning, so it really was just him and Monica.

I know I dont owe you any explanation about how I treat my son, butwell, youre very good with him. He looks up to you. All three of you really, and its good for him to have you three as influences in his life. But he seems to be particularly connected to you.

Everything in him tensed, chilled. That careful tone of voice, the way she wouldnt meet his gaze. He knew what came next. Hed been here before, hadnt he? And you want me to stay away?

No, not at all.She frowned, her gaze all shock and confusion as it met his. Why would you think that?

Gabe looked down at his hands. He hadnt realized hed gripped them both into tight fists, but there they werewhite knuckled and clenched. He tried to come up with some explanation, but in the end, his scratchy voice just managed some lame excuse. Im not his dad.

No, but he needs people of all stripes in his life, people wholl teach him different things and offer him different opportunities. He needs people to look up to because he feels a connection. Ill always be a shade too overprotective. Ive worked through some of it, butDex died…”

He unclenched his fists and placed his hands on the arms of the chair, ready to push out of it. You dont have to explain it to me.

But I want to. I want you to understand. Youre a part of Colins life.She said it so seriously, so baldly. None of her usual therapist carefulness in picking the words. He knew better than to look, but he couldnt seem to help himself.

She was staring at him, emotion written all over her face. An earnestness, a hope, and, underneath all that, lovelove for her son.

Gabe was somehow rendered speechless by that, and he was never, ever speechless.

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Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

5 Copies of COWBOY SEAL REDEMPTION

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Nicole Helm grew up with her nose in a book and a dream of becoming a writer. Luckily, after a few failed career choices, a husband, and two kids, she got to pursue that dream. Nicole writes down-to-earth contemporary romance. From farmers to cowboys, midwest to the west, she writes stories about people finding themselves and finding love in the process. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Missouri. She is slightly (okay, totally) addicted to Twitter (@nicolethelm), the St. Louis Cardinals, and someday owning a barn.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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RWA 2018 Celebration Giveaway & Author Spotlight

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I wanted to spotlight some authors I met at the Romance Writers of America Blogger Social. They were all so nice and a lot of fun. What better way to thank them for their smiles and laughter than a giveaway! /Donna

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Giveaway

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PRIZE PACK includes 7 books. One paranormal and the others are a mix of contemporary and romantic suspense. Plus enough swag to fill the box. Winner will be chosen Sunday (8/26) by 6PM EST.

★☆ENTER ON FACEBOOK PAGE HERE★☆

*Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway.

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B8F25C96-E09C-4974-A9CC-E52472B36597LISA OLECH! Her Captains of the Scarlet Night series is full of sexy pirates, and her Stoddard Art School series carries that sexy theme into contemporary romances.

Lisa is an artist/writer living in her dream house nestled among the lakes in New England. She loves getting lost in a steamy book, finding the perfect pair of sexy shoes, and hearing the laughter of her men. Being an estrogen island in a sea of testosterone makes her queen. She believes in ghosts, silver linings, the power of a man in a tuxedo, and happy endings.

Amazon Link

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DBAFE1E4-3A60-4368-A0DD-41D424A8079CTARA WYATT, and all I can say is that her smile lit up the room. She was so much fun to talk with, especially when talking about her steamy romantic suspense books. Her latest, Stripped, came out in May (can you say male strippers?).

Tara Wyatt is a contemporary romance and romantic suspense author. Known for her humor and steamy love scenes, Tara’s writing has won several awards, including the Golden Quill Award and the Booksellers’ Best Award. In addition, she is a 2018 RITA® Finalist for her novella, Until the Sun Sets.

Tara has been writing since 2013, and her first book, NECCESSARY RISK, was published in 2016. Since then, she’s written three more books, three novellas, and has co-written three books, with many more projects in the works.

When she’s not hanging out with your next book boyfriend, she can be found reading, watching movies, and drinking wine. Tara lives in Hamilton, Ontario with the world’s cutest dog and a husband who makes all her of her heroes look like chumps.

Amazon Link

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171B6CD2-68EC-477B-983B-907912BE8898AVRIL TREMAYNE is well known for her romantic comedies. Her newest book, GETTING LUCKY, is a sizzling hot contemporary romance that came out August 1st. She was so much fun to talk to.

Avril Tremayne took the scenic route to becoming a writer, having tried her hand at shoe selling, nursing, teaching and public relations. Along the way, she also studied acting, singing, pottery, oil painting, millinery, German and Arabic – with very mixed results. She figures it’s a perfect background for telling romantic stories. She is a committed urbanite, and lives in Sydney, Australia, where her husband and daughter try to keep her out of trouble – not always successfully. When she’s not writing or reading, Avril can generally be found eating – although she does not cook – drinking wine, and obsessing about shoes!

Amazon Link

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9F62E9F6-6F17-476C-958B-B7D587E9C0C6KATY LEE writes for Love Inspired Suspense, with a lot of stories to choose from. She is a sweetheart to the core!

Katy Lee is a RITA nominated romantic suspense author. Her award-winning stories thrill, inspire and satisfy the reader–from the edge of their seat. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on.

Amazon Link

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EVELYN ADAMS is the author of some steamy, sexy novels. Her Southerland Security series has received rave reviews, as did her contemporary selections. She sure has some stories to tell!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Evelyn Adams lives in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her three children, a handful of wayward animals and the man of her dreams. If she’s not writing steamy romances, she’s chasing kids, gardening or reading other authors’ steamy stories.

Amazon Link

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8CB8374F-1904-4A56-B354-A5FADA4B0AEDHANNAH MEREDITH is a historical romance author. She writes Regency, Victorian and has come out with a Fantasy romance as well. I loved her laughter!

Hannah Meredith is, above all, a storyteller. She’s long been fascinated by the dreams that haunt the human heart and has an abiding interest in English history. This combination led her to write historical romance. She hopes you enjoy her tales.

Amazon Link

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Credit: Mark Oxley/Studio 16

JAMI GOLD is an award winning and bestselling author of paranormal romance. Her Mythos Legacy series has it all, dragons, faerie and unicorns. She was so much fun to talk to.

After an allergic reaction thwarted her attempt to find Atlantis, Jami Gold moved to Arizona and decided to become a writer, where she could put her talent for making up stuff to good use. Fortunately, her muse, an arrogant male who delights in causing her to sound as insane as possible, rewards her with unique and rich story ideas.

Fueled by chocolate, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales that range from dark to humorous, but one thing remains the same: Normal need not apply. Just ask her family–and zombie cat.

Amazon Link

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664372CA-C3F4-423A-AD0C-7EFF20203229BRONWYN SCOTT’s newest release in her Russian Royals of Kuban series, Seduced by the Prince’s Kiss, comes out in September. Bronwyn Scott writes historical romances for Harlequin, Mills and Boon. She has over forty titles currently in print with them. Bronwyn’s 2009 novel, The Viscount Claims His Bride was a RomCon finalist for best short historical, as was her 2011 release, A Thoroughly Compromised Lady. Bronwyn enjoys learning foreign languages, traveling, and history.

Amazon Link

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: THROUGH THE FIRE by Katie Ruggle

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THROUGH THE FIRE (Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit Series, Book 4) by Katie Ruggle

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

75F9BEDF-157B-404B-88D1-DB511E891D2CHe’s tall.
He’s dark.
He’s brutally handsome…
And he may be her only hope.

Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they’ve been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it’s a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can’t do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he’s willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders…and the more danger they’re in. A member of the K9 unit’s inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

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Donna 5 Stars

I loved this book. Kit waded into a mess of epic proportions while trying to fit into a new town.  It was trial by fire and she reacted in such a believable way that the reader just went with it. Despite my knowing all there is to know about the town and Jule’s home, the author kept Kit in the dark and let me groan as she discovered things bit-by-bit. Then there was Wes….loveable, awkward, hunk of a man…Wes. He wasn’t the typical hero, but I fell in love with him all the same. Their romance moved sweet and slow, and worth the wait. I also enjoyed how we knew who the antagonist was right away, catching a glimpse into their actions, but the reason for it all was a mystery until the end. Nice twist!

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

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Excerpt

The snow crunched under Wes’s boots as he climbed. It was a beautiful day, with the late-afternoon sun shading to orange as it approached the mountain peaks it was about to hide behind, but Wes didn’t pay much attention to the scenery. He was intent on reaching the bat cave.

Despite its name, the bat cave was more of a rock overhang than a cave, but the bat part was true enough—it housed a good-sized colony of silver-haired bats. Researchers and animal-loving hikers frequently visited the location. Although Wes had gotten some striking photos at the bat cave, he hadn’t even brought his camera with him this time. He was more interested in the cell reception.

When the trail evened out, leading to a large, flat rock overhang, he pulled out his cell phone. Sure enough, he had reception. Finding his sister’s name in his short list of contacts, he called her. As he waited for her to answer, pacing back and forth across the granite ledge, he made a mental note to set up a cell-signal booster at the tower. He should’ve done it before, but he hadn’t missed phone service. Having to mindfully go somewhere with cell reception allowed him to control when and whom he called. It wasn’t enough now, though, not when there was someone he was hoping to call—as soon as he got her number.

“Wes!” Leila sounded winded. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong.” Well, nothing except his social skills when women—not including his sister—were around.

“Oh.” There was a pause. “I thought there was an emergency. You never call except for every other Sunday afternoon.”

“No emergency.” He tried to mentally plan out his question. “I need some advice.”

“Advice?” Another silence fell, and Wes could almost hear the gears in her brain turning. He smiled. Leila was even smarter than he was, and she was a whole lot more intuitive and perceptive. That’s why he was calling her. “Does this have something to do with a woman?”

“Yes.”

She squealed, the sound so excited that he smiled wider even as he winced and pulled the phone slightly away from his ear. “Are you dating someone? What’s her name? When do I get to meet her? What does she do? Is she funny? Pretty? Smart? A badass? Tell me details, Wes!”

“Answering most of your questions might be premature.” As much as he wanted to talk about Kit, Wes knew it could be dangerous. The more he said, the more real the possibility of something happening with her felt, and he didn’t want to build up hopes too high. After all, the more excited he got, the harder the disappointment would hit if she never wanted to talk to him again.

“Fine.” Although Leila was obviously trying to sound calm, Wes could tell that she was thrilled, and it made him wonder if he’d done the right thing by calling his sister. Now there might be two extremely disappointed people if nothing happened between him and Kit. “Just answer the basic ones, then. Are you dating?”

“No. We’ve only met three times.” He didn’t think their radio conversation counted.

“But you like her?”

“Yes. I like her.” It seemed like a barely adequate phrase to encompass the fizzing excitement he’d felt around her—and even later, when he was alone and thinking about her. “I’m…interested in her.” That didn’t seem much more accurate.

Leila let out another small squeal, and Wes looked up at the sky, even as he felt his face heat. “Sorry,” she said as if she could see his long-suffering expression. “That’s out of my system now. Back to basic questions. Is she interested in you?”

“I don’t know.” Crouching down, he absently picked up a few small pebbles, his brain fully occupied with the mystery that was K9 Officer Kit Jernigan. “That’s what I wanted to discuss with you.”

“Hang on. I think I need to get comfortable for this conversation.” There were a few rustling noises, and then Leila spoke again. “Okay. I’m ready. Let’s start with the first time you met. Tell me what happened.”

“I needed propane, so I refilled my tank at the station on the southeast side of town. I wanted to be back home before things got busy—”

“Wesley,” she interrupted. “I’ve been to your Podunk town, remember? It never gets busy. There are, like, ten buildings and eight people total.”

“The population of Monroe—”

“Nope. Don’t care. Tell me the story.”

It never hurt his feelings when Leila cut him off like that. In fact, he appreciated her directness. It was easier than trying to guess what a person was thinking by their body language or tactful words. “Four days ago, I was driving west on Mule Drive at six fifty-four, but I was forced to stop due to an SUV backing a small utility trailer into a driveway.” He frowned at the memory. “Attempting to back a small utility trailer into a driveway.”

“Go on. No, wait! Let me guess. Did you save this woman from getting run over?”

“No.”

“Oh.” She sounded disappointed. “Go on, then. What did happen?”

Wes smiled slightly. His sister was terrible at listening to stories. She didn’t have any patience, wanting to rush right to the conclusion instead. “After talking with the driver, I didn’t think she’d move the trailer into the driveway efficiently—which meant I’d be late—so I got out of my truck in order to help.”

“She was the driver?” Her voice was hushed, amusing Wes.

“Yes.”

“That’s so romantic!”

His eyebrows scrunched together. “It is?”

“Well, not really, I guess. I think I’m just anticipating that it’s going to be romantic soon. Go on… Get to the good part!”

He hesitated. “I’m not sure what you’d consider the good part.”

Her gusty sigh was audible. “Just tell me the rest. I’m dying of curiosity here!”

“I helped her get the trailer into her driveway and unhitched it.”

“And then?”

“She drove away.”

There was a long beat of silence. “That’s disappointing.”

“It was.”

“Did she tell you her name, at least?”

Wes found himself smiling. “Yes. Kit Jernigan.”

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through the fire

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Rocky Mountain K9 Unit Series by Katie Ruggle
Amazon Series Link
1. RUN TO GROUND ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2r9lAnc | Review 5 Stars http://bit.ly/2sXcrzl
2. ON THE CHASE ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2vOfxXs | Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-9EQ
3. SURVIVE THE NIGHT ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2Ba4dvn | Review 5 Stars https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-aBb
4. THROUGH THE FIRE (Releasing 08/28/18) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2E6y62c

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Also check out Katie Ruggle’s Search and Rescue series! 

Search and Rescue Series – Amazon Series Link: http://amzn.to/1QUqjBr
On His Watch (novella) ➢ http://amzn.to/1n61qck
Hold Your Breath ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-4Am | http://amzn.to/1P4yEFa
Fan the Flames ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-5orhttp://amzn.to/1SH25hR
Gone too Deep ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-5Nbhttp://amzn.to/1LiJlm3
In Safe Hands ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-6Nihttp://amzn.to/29HSXWW

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Giveaway

Katie Ruggle Prize Pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author
imageWhen she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: BRAVE NEW EARL (The Way to a Lord’s Heart) by Jane Ashford

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BRAVE NEW EARL (The Way to a Lord’s Heart Series) by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: July 31, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

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9781492663355_bravenewearlAn Earl mired in melancholy is no match for a determined woman… 

Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.

Miss Jean Saunders is a cousin by marriage. She doted on Benjamin’s late Countess, and can’t bear it when she hears rumors that the Earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away.

Jean’s sudden eruption into the Earl’s household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected home—and his aching heart…

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Toward the far end of the attic, Jean came upon a row of leather trunks bound in brass. Resettling her lamp securely, she opened the first. The scent of camphor wafted out at her. Pushing aside a layer of tissue paper, she unearthed a swath of satin brocade in an exquisite shade of peach. Although the fashion of another era, it was one of the loveliest gowns she’d ever seen.

There was no one around, and she was so tired of the few outfits she had with her. She couldn’t resist. She slipped off her much plainer gown, placing it out of the dust on a sheet of tissue, and slithered her way into the peach creation.

The dress was a bit large on her. Fortunately, it laced up the side so she could reach to pull it tighter, but the shoulders still threatened to slip off. Her shift and stays showed above the low neckline, and without the elaborate underpinnings such a garment required, the skirt sagged around her in heavy folds. Even so, she felt very grand.

“Very elegant,” said an appreciative male voice.

Jean whirled and nearly lost the dress. She frowned at Lord Furness, who stood near the head of the attic stair, as she pushed the shoulders back into place. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my house.”

“Yes, but you went riding.”

“And I returned.” Benjamin strolled toward his disheveled houseguest. In his ancestress’s gown, Miss Saunders was an unsettling combination of little girl playing dress-up and lush courtesan, with her clothes falling off and her curling hair making a determined break for freedom.

She gathered the heavy skirts and retreated to a rank of trunks a little distance away. “I was just… I’ll put on my own gown.”

Benjamin walked a bit closer.

“If you will go away.”

“But I came up to help you look for toys for Geoffrey.” It was an increasing delight to tease her. There was something so charming about the look she got, which said she knew precisely what he was up to and refused to stoop to acknowledge it. And yet she couldn’t help but react.

“I haven’t found any.”

“Only a hoard of finery.” Benjamin walked along the row of trunks and glanced inside them. He picked up a satin coat. “I think I remember my grandfather wearing something like this, with lots of lace at his shirtfront. Perhaps it was this very coat.” He held it up and looked closer. “I’m not sure. He died when I was around Geoffrey’s age.” He smiled at his disheveled companion. “Grandpapa didn’t care much for change at the last. Or for what people thought of his appearance. He wore what he liked.” Geoffrey would have appreciated that attitude, Benjamin thought. “He had a dueling scar across his cheek.” His hand went to his own face to demonstrate. “A bit puckered and quite frightening, as I recall. They don’t seem to go together—all this frippery and bloody swordwork.”

“I imagine gentlemen took off their coats when dueling,” replied Miss Saunders.

Benjamin laughed.

“You should try it on,” she added in an odd tone.

He looked at her, hands clutching the brocade bodice to keep it from sliding off, a beam of sunlight shining through the uninhibited glory of her hair. Holding her gaze, Benjamin slowly took off his coat. “No wigs,” he said. “I draw the line there.”

“I haven’t found any,” she answered breathily.

He donned the bright satin garment. It fit well enough, only a little tight in the shoulders. It felt strange to have wide skirts around his legs. He made an elaborate bow. “Pon rep, my lady, I am so pleased to see you. I hope I find you in better health?”

“What do you mean, better?”

Benjamin straightened. Ive been concerned about you since—

“I’m fine,” she interrupted. “My…outburst in the library was quite uncharacteristic, I assure you. It won’t happen again.”

“No apology is necessary.”

“I wasn’t apologizing.” Coppery glints snapped in the depths of her eyes. “Only informing you that all is well.”

He didn’t believe her, though he couldn’t have said why. Her bearing and expression were calm, her manner quelling. Clearly, she didn’t want to talk about the bout of weeping, and he had no right to press her. Why should he wish to? “I don’t know how ladies moved about in those gowns.” He indicated the sweep of peach brocade trailing over the floorboards.

“With stately elegance,” she replied.

“That is to say, very slowly. Have you seen the sort of shoes they wore? Teetering along on four-inch heels must have made it hard to run away.”

“From what?” she asked with a quizzical glance.

“Anything.” Benjamin had spoken randomly. All his attention was on her, leaving his tongue unsupervised. “Bears.”

“Bears?” She laughed.

It was a delightful sound. Benjamin realized he hadn’t heard it nearly often enough. Irresistibly drawn, he stepped closer. “Or impertinent admirers.”

“The gentlemen wore heels, too,” Miss Saunders said. “So it would have been an equal race, mincing along the cobblestones in a satin-draped procession.”

She looked up at him, still smiling. Her eyes were suffused with warmth now, her lips a little parted, and Benjamin couldn’t help himself. He moved closer still and kissed her.

Just a brush of his mouth on hers, an errant impulse.He pulled back at once.

She leaned forward and returned the favor, as if purely in the spirit of experiment. Benjamin felt a startling shudder of desire.

In the next moment, she’d twined her arms around his neck, and they were kissing as if their lives depended on it. He buried his fingers in her hair, as he’d been longing to do for days. It sprang free and tumbled over his hands, a glorious profusion of curls. Hairpins rained onto the attic floor.

Then she pulled back and blinked at him, her eyes wide, dark pools. Her arms dropped to her sides. She took a step away, and another. “Oh.”

The small sound was a breath, a worry, anastonishment. Benjamin struggled with his arousal, glad now of the long, concealing coat.

Miss Saunders put her hands to her wild crown of hair. The lovely lines of her body were outlined in peach brocade and sunlight. “Oh dear.”

“I could help pin it up, if you like.” Benjamin bent and gathered a handful of hairpins.

“No, you couldn’t.”

He gave her the pins. “I have a deft hand,” he said.

“My hair is beyond deftness. It has to be wrestled into submission.”

He nearly lost his careful control at the phrase and the thoughts it elicited. “I have strong fingers.”

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KindleAmazon Paperback

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5 Copies of The Duke Knows Best

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A WOLF APART (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale

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A WOLF APART (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale

Publication Date: July 31, 2018 

Gesnre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

2A9821B7-2E59-4C07-9F50-2D31942A3D63Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?

Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying…

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he’s forced to endure. He’s Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained…

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

5 Copies of THE LAST WOLF

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Excerpt

Elijah intentionally lost a challenge that would have brought him back to Homelands. He is battered inside and out and turns to Thea, a woman he doesn’thave any claim on. But she takes him in and cares for his injuries (“a fight” is all he tells her) and when a snowstorm moves in, he stays.  The peace he had hoped for turns to something else.

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“‘The great man’”—I try to remember the quotes and strip away the emendations that John made, altering them to our circumstances; “the great wolf” was what he actually said—“‘is the one who in the midst of the crowd’”—John said “of humans”—“‘keeps with perfect sweetness the stillness of the forest.’”

She stares at her book for a moment and then puts her finger on a passage.

“The quote is ‘keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.’ I like yours though.”

“My old English teacher loved Emerson. But I learned it a long time ago. Must have mixed it up.”

Of course, I didn’t. The summer before we were to go Offland, Leonora did her best to make sure that those of us who were leaving understood how to appear human in the world they had re-created in their image.

John tried to do something altogether more subtle and difficult. Whatever disguises we were wearing, he wanted to make sure that we preserved the Homelands within us. He wanted us to make sure that there was a place for the wild inside, even if there wasn’t a place for it anywhere else.

“You liked your English teacher?”

“What? My… Yes. Very much. He was more than an English teacher. He was kind of the…head of our little rural community. We’re very tight-knit, but tempers can run short. He worked hard to keep everyone together.”

She dunks the tea bag a few times before fishing it out with a spoon and, wrapping the string around it, squeezes it dry. “Was it worth fighting for?”

“I didn’t win, if that’s what you mean.”

“Not really. A good fight isn’t about the outcome. It’s about knowing that you’ve made things better by trying.”

Then I hear Victor’s voice. “You will win, Alpha,” he says. My one advocate with his sour, judgmental voice and his sour, judgmental face.

“Honestly, I don’t know if it was worth fighting for. I don’t know anything anymore. And no one seems to know who I am.”

When she blows across her tea, she sends the damp-orchid-and-honey scent to my waiting nose.

“Do you? Know who you are?”

“Of course, I do,” I snap, all the Pack’s skepticism and my own self-doubt suddenly brought to a head by this woman who doesn’t know me from Adam. Then I remember what she is. A woman. A human. “I am a partner in one of the most powerful law firms in the country.”

“You’re not just a lawyer, any more than I am just an ECO.”

“So what else would you say you are?”

“All sorts of things. I’m a woman who doesn’t listen to music in the background, because that’s not actually listening. Who is a vegetarian gun owner.Who makes her living helping people but likes to be alone. Whose ancestors were on this landmass when the people who yell at her to ‘go home’ were sleeping with pigs in Europe. Who likes caffeine and Cheetos. Who was in a sorority for four months. Who is the daughter of dead parents and the sister of a dead brother.

She lifts her tea to her lips.

“What happened to your family?”

“You’re changing the subject. I’m saying that I’ve never met anyone who was just one thing. Who was just ‘a lawyer.’ So, Elijah Sorensson, Esquire, what else are you?”

What else am I? I’m an exile. A disappointment. An Alpha without a Pack. A leader no one wants to follow. A flashy vessel hiding something unspeakably sacred and undeniably fragile. I am a monster: neither one thing nor the other, belonging nowhere.

“Lost,” I say, staring at the fire until my single working eye begins to dry out. “Just. Fucking. Lost.”

My throat feels achy and full, and I turn back to the page, pretending to read, because I feel her ironwood eyes on me, and I know what she sees: an angry, defensive, broken, defeated man in a human’s castoffs and with a wolf-ravaged, bruised-gourd face.

And then I feel something else. I feel Thea’s hand hanging loose between us. She has returned to her book, but the wordless invitation is there. The cabin being what it is, when I let my hand drape to the side of the bed, I’m close enough to touch her.

In the snow-muffled peace of no expectations, I stare sightless at the pages, every nerve focused on the shared heartbeat between our fingers.

When I finally look up from the blurred pages, the mottled fire is reflected in the warmth and welcome of her eyes. I can’t stop myself. I collapse to my knees, my head at her lap, my arm wrapped around her knees, silently asking if thiswoman who makes a living finding people can find me too.

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About the Author

2519C8DF-822E-41D5-9F32-6809592F1626Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.

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