Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A DASH OF CHRISTMAS by Samantha Chase

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A DASH OF CHRISTMAS (Montgomery Brothers) by Samantha Chase

Publication Date: September 24, 2019 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

0FCF4B7D-33E7-4874-A23C-E6643D942FF8With a dash of Christmas magic…

Two people who have spent most of their lives being rivals…

Learn a little something about following their hearts…

Carter Montgomery broke the family mold when he went to culinary school. Now a successful restauranteur, he’s at a crossroads: should he continue on his successful path or look for a new challenge? What he needs is time alone to think things through. But his matchmaking family has other ideas

Emery Monaghan’s no-good fiancé has embroiled her in scandal and she needs a way out. When mentor Eliza Montgomery offers her a refuge, she’s relieved—until she realizes that the deal means rubbing elbows with Eliza’s son Carter—Emery’s childhood nemesis.

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Excerpt

“Don’t go.”

His voice was raw and it wasn’t hard to tell there was a battle waging within him. Normally, Emery enjoyed watching Carter squirm and struggle, but for some reason seeing him this emotional after a call with his mother affected her in a way she didn’t expect.

She felt compassion for him—a need to comfort him and tell him it was going to be all right.

She made her way toward him. “I think it would be best for everyone if I did. You didn’t deserve to be blindsided like this, and I’m sorry it happened this way. I truly believed you were aware of what was going on and you were coming here specifically to work on the book. I had no idea your trip here had nothing to do with it or that you were so against giving it more attention.”

Carter’s shoulders sagged a little. “At any other time…”

“I know,” she said softly, moving a little closer. “I get it. Hey, there isn’t anything I can do about whatever else you’re dealing with, but on this particular subject, I can. I’ll work with the files you sent your mother and I’ll make it into something closer to what she’s looking for, okay? And in the meantime, I’ll stay out of your way so you can have at least one night’s peace.”

They stood in silence for a long time, and as much as Emery wanted to pack and get out of his way, she couldn’t seem to make herself move. In all the years they had known one another, they had bickered and poked fun at each other and essentially gone out of their own way to make the other miserable. It was what they did. It was comfortable. But right now, she couldn’t think of a single snarky or antagonistic comment.

And that freaked her out.

Swallowing hard, she took a step back. And then another. Next thing she knew, she had spun and was walking back to her bedroom, mildly trembling. She went straight to her closet and pulled out her weekender bag. Knowing she wasn’t going to be going out or doing anything other than vegging in her hotel room, she walked over to her dresser and pulled out a couple of pairs of yoga pants, a few T-shirts, a pair of pajamas, and a pair of shorts and tossed them in the bag. Next, she opened her lingerie drawer and was pulling out a handful of panties when a large male hand closed over hers. Gasping with surprise, she turned and found herself face-to-face with Carter.

While they both held her panties.

Awesome.

Emery wanted to be outraged—or at the very least annoyed that he had invaded her space when she was clearly trying to be the bigger person here, but for some reason she couldn’t seem to make herself speak or react.

What was happening to her?

“This is crazy,” he said, his voice deep and low and borderline hypnotic.

So he felt it, too? This sudden, crazy pull toward one another? The change in the air around them?

“I already said I didn’t want you to go, Em,” he went on and that’s when she realized what he was talking about.

Forcing her gaze away, she carefully pulled her hand and underwear from his. “I think it’s for the best.” Then she moved away, tossing her garments in the weekender bag along with the rest of her clothes. For a few minutes, she busied herself collecting odds and ends—her laptop, her e-reader, her iPod—before going into the bathroom and grabbing her toothbrush, makeup, and brushes. Anything else she needed she’d get from housekeeping. When she walked back out into the bedroom, she found Carter sitting quietly on her bed.

And her weekender bag emptied.

Okay, now she was outraged.

“Seriously, Carter?” she cried. “Why can’t you just let me do this?”

He shrugged. “I already told you. It’s not necessary.”

“To me it is! There’s no reason for me to stay here. And, might I remind you, I’ve been a thorn in your side since we were kids!”

It pleased her that he paled a little at having his words thrown back at him.

“I would think you’d be thankful that I was leaving,” she said, hating the tremor in her voice. “One less thing for you to worry about.”

The curse that flew out of his mouth followed by a huff of annoyance didn’t really surprise her. This was them. This was the relationship they had. And honestly, she preferred this to the strained silence and whatever it was that she was feeling just minutes ago.

Carter stood and walked over until they were toe to toe. “What I said to my mother,” he began and then stopped. “What I mean is, that was said in the heat of the moment and really, it couldn’t have been news to you. I’ve been telling you that to your face since we were twelve.”

“Eleven, but…whatever,” she corrected and smirked when he growled with frustration.

“That! That right there is why I said it! Can’t you just let some things go?”

Me?” she cried. “How about you? I was being the bigger person here! I was putting your feelings first, and where did that get me, huh? I should be in a cab on my way to a hotel with room service, but instead I’m here arguing with you again! Why couldn’t you just let me leave?”

They both instantly fell silent and Emery felt herself holding her breath while she waited for his answer.

“What’s the matter?” she finally asked. “Is it possible the arrogant Carter Montgomery has nothing to say for himself for the first time in his life?”

Yeah, she was taunting him, but…she needed to. Needed things to be like they always were. If she didn’t get them back on solid ground—back on the familiar turf of a lifelong rivalry—she wouldn’t know what to do. For years she’d been aware of Carter as a person. She couldn’t deal with suddenly being aware of him as a man.

When his only response was a slight tick in his jaw, she figured she’d poke the bear a little more. “Did you burn the sauce? Is that why we’re not eating yet? Or maybe you realized all that pretentious crap you bought was no better than grabbing a couple of slices from the pizzeria on the corner.” She noted he seemed to be almost inflating before her eyes—his posture straightened, his shoulders seemed to grow broader…

Go big or go home, right?

Leaning in, she said, “I bet you really don’t know how to make homemade pizza. At least not good homemade pizza.” She let out a devious little laugh. “Probably thought I would be too naive to know the difference. You probably could have served up one of my frozen pizzas and I wouldn’t know the difference.”

He was breaking molars now, no doubt.

“Not that it matters. I’ve got some microwave popcorn I can have for dinner, along with the last brownie. That’s the kind of stuff I can count on—and will probably be a lot more enjoyable.”

This time when Emery tried to move away, Carter’s large hand on her arm stopped her.

She had to hide her smile of satisfaction. “Problem?” she asked innocently.

“You’ve got a real smart mouth, Emery, but you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

“Oh, really? Care to explain?”

But he shook his head. “As a matter of fact, no. I don’t.”

She shrugged. “Fine, whatever. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my dinner awaits.”

“If you so much as think of making popcorn for dinner, I’ll strangle you,” he said, tugging her closer.

When she leaned in until they were nose to nose, she said, “I dare you.”

“Such a smart mouth,” he said right before he claimed it.

Excerpted from A Dash of Christmas by Samantha Chase. © 2019 by Samantha Chase. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

 

2 Bundles of The Montgomery Brothers Books 1-4

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

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: NOTHING TO FEAR by Juno Rushdan

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NOTHING TO FEAR (Final Hour Series, Book 2) by Juno Rushdan

Publication Date: August 27, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

8425E875-00E8-47E6-89D1-8C7F285F341DThe clock is ticking.

Fearsome Gray Box operative Gideon Stone is devoted to his work and his team. He’s never given reason to doubt his loyalty…until he’s tasked with investigating Willow Harper, a beguiling cryptologist suspected of selling deadly bio-agents on the black market.

He knows she’s innocent. He knows she’s being framed. And he knows that without him, Willow will be dead before sunrise.

Thrust into the crossfire of an insidious international conspiracy, Gideon will do anything to keep Willow safe…even if that means waging war against his own. With time running out, an unlikely bond pushes limits—and forges loyalties. Every move they make counts. And the real traitor is always watching…

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Excerpt

Willow’s car nosedived down a long ramp that mouthed open to three lanes. Vehicles lining the two on the left were stopped at a red light.

She grabbed the wheel and veered toward the empty right lane.

Relief flashed through her. But as quickly as it came, it was gone. Her car had no brakes and was on a collision course with a major intersection of traffic.

Pressure welled in her chest.

Figures. She’d just had the most highly charged experience in her short life with a guy she was crazy attracted to, and now she was going to die. After living a neutral—

Neutral. She shifted from drive to neutral and dragged the tires against the concrete curb. The friction would shave off some speed but not enough. Not while pitched downhill on a trajectory sending her right into traffic with the cruise control jammed at sixty.

She had to avoid causing a domino effect of collisions in the intersection. Cranking the wheel, she plowed over the curb, scraping the undercarriage, and climbed the grassy berm over uneven terrain. Her gaze flickered up to the rearview mirror and to a red Jeep speeding up behind her.

A concrete barricade ahead stole her attention and her breath. She spun the wheel, turning into the main street traffic. Cars squealed, braking. Another skidded and rear-ended a truck.

The Jeep bulldozed up beside her in the left lane, horn honking.

What was she supposed to do? What could she do?

The four-wheel-drive vehicle nosed past her bumper and crashed into her car, forcing her to make a hard right—straight into the parking lot of a grocery store.

A woman yapping on her cell phone while rooting in her purse crossed in front of them. Willow’s chest turned to a block of ice.

The Jeep that had run up beside her tapped her car to the right, engaging her focus.

She steered away from the woman to the side of the building and a vacant part of the lot.

“Willow!”

The sound of her name penetrated her shroud of fear. She looked over through the Jeep’s open passenger-side window.

Gideon.

He signaled to her, punching his hand down and yanking his fist up toward his shoulder. She glanced to her side.

Gear selector? No.

Emergency brake. He wanted her to pull up on the emergency brake.

She gripped the handle and wrenched up. The car whipped into a wild spin. She gasped. Light swirled into a haze of gray. Nausea flooded her in a violent wave. Her body shivered like it wanted to splinter into a hundred pieces.

Pressing her head against the seat, she released the wheel and crossed her arms, hands to her shoulders. The tail of the car crashed into something, shattering the back window. The vehicle rocked, jostling her forward.

Phfowmph!

A dense pillow punched her, throttling her back. A white cloud engulfed everything. The airbag sucked up the space around her. A scream strangled in her throat and died.

Dust and white powder clogged her nose and esophagus. She choked on the remnants of terror.

Her car door swung open. “Willow! You okay?”

A loud pop echoed. Her airbag deflated with a hiss, as if it’d been cut. She drew in a shuddering breath and waved to clear the congesting dust from her face.

Gideon whipped a double-handled knife closed and reached for her.

A whimper slipped from her lips as she cringed, raising her arm. It was all too much—losing the brakes, the sound of metal grating, hitting vehicles. Almost dying. She needed to breathe, gain her bearings, before he touched her.

“I want to help you from the car and make sure you’re okay. I won’t hurt you.” He reached for her slowly. “Okay?”

Shutting her eyes, she clutched the strap of her purse still draped over her and nodded.

He unfastened her seatbelt. One strong arm slipped under her legs, the other curled around her shoulders. He lifted her out the car, tucking her against his large frame.

Particles clung to her nostrils, burned her throat, and filled her lungs. She coughed and raked in a glorious breath of fresh air.

Gideon’s long legs stretched quickly, carrying her to his car. In his powerful arms, warm and solid, a blanket of calm covered her, dampening her chaotic thoughts save one.

She was safe with him.

He opened the passenger’s door and set her inside, but she didn’t want him to let go. Not yet.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Everything had unraveled in minutes. Trying to slow the car, the parking lot. Gideon helping. She still couldn’t make sense of it.

Gideon crouched in front of Willow and examined her, smoothing his big hands over her face and her hair. He tilted her chin up. “Did you hit your head? You might have a concussion.”

Staring into his wide eyes, now darkened to the bluish gray of a stormy sky in this light, her breathing slowed and her bunched muscles uncoiled. He looked shaken, off beat from his normal steady cadence.

“Willow? Are you all right?”

I’m okay. How bizarre since she’d almost died. “Everything is fuzzy, but I didn’t hit my head. I don’t think I have a concussion.”

“You can get it from whiplash. A doctor should check you.”

Before she voiced objections, a sheriff’s car pulled into the lot, lights flashing, siren muted. Gideon patted her knee and left her side. He spoke to the officer, pointing to her car, waving his hands in the air as if explaining everything that’d happened.

What exactly had happened?

This morning, nothing was wrong with her brakes. She’d had the car checked recently, never pushed the service due date. Yet she’d nearly been killed.

Excerpted from Nothing to Fear by Juno Rushdan. © 2019 by Juno Rushdan. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

3 Copies of Every Last Breath

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the Author

Juno Rushdan draws from real-life inspiration as a former U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer to craft sizzling romantic thrillers.  Although she is a native New Yorker, wanderlust has taken her across the globe. She’s visited more than twenty different countries and has lived in England and Germany. When she’snot writing, Juno loves spending time with her family. She currently resides in Virginia.

Author Website: www.junorushdan.com

Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: HANDLE WITH CARE by Marie Harte

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HANDLE WITH CARE (Veteran Movers Series, Book 3) by Marie Harte

Publication Date: August 27, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

E223B426-BE6D-4213-B7F8-08387D585BE4Evan Griffith has had a hell of a day…

And that was before he met the stunning, sexy woman having a meltdown.

Evan Griffith has had many careers in his life. But who knew working for his family’s moving company would hold just as much action as his stint in the Marine Corps? On an unforgettable job, Evan finds himself taken by a teenage conman and confronted by a woman wielding a knife—and promptly falls head over heels for her.

Kenzie Sykes is doing her best to raise her little brother and keep him out of jail—all while dealing with her own broken heart that just hasn’t healed. She doesn’t have time for romance. He’s not asking… Until he is, and she finds herself saying yes.

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Donna 5 Stars

I enjoyed this installment in the Veteran Movers series. Evan’s story lived up to my expectations and then some. Kenzie and her crew were as funny and crazy as Evan’s, fitting both of their lives together like a puzzle. That opening scene was a hoot! Granted Evan could sometimes come across as too good to be true – and Kenzie edged close to my “she’s fighting the relationship too much” line, but neither circumstances made me groan. Another thing I liked about this story, is Kenzie’s younger brother was a part of the budding romance. I loved how Evan not only fell in love with Kenzie but grew to love her brother too. It was natural and never seemed forced. This is a sexy hot romance full of laughter and warm-fuzzies.

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

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Excerpt

Funny, he’d said. Evan had been set up. Again. Daniel Sykes needed some discipline, something the Corps, or a foot up his butt, might just provide. Then again, should Evan be upset at another opportunity to see Kenzie up close?

Damn, but even angry she turned him on. Yeah, that was it. He wanted her. Physical desire. That he understood. And if he ignored the quickening of his heart and the need to sigh just looking at her, he’d believe his own bullshit. Because falling for a woman he didn’t even know made no sense. And Evan was nothing if not rational.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, biting out each word.

“I’m supposed to meet your brother to discuss financial matters. He had a legitimate question about tax penalties, and since I was already in the area, I told him I’d meet him.”

Kenzie clenched her jaw.

“So he was lying?”

“No. I am having some issues with my books, but I’m not sure why Rachel’s moving guy is qualified to help us.”

Evan smiled. “I’m an accountant. I was, I mean. Well, I still am. I’m just working for myself now.”

“Why?”

“So much suspicion.” He grinned, not telling her how adorable she looked in her pique. Women didn’t like hearing that they were cute when trying to appear serious. “I wasn’t fired for any wrongdoing. I left the firm because I couldn’t handle the hours. But I’m still consulting for them, and I have a few clients staying with me who left Peterman & Campbell Accounting when I did.”

She blinked. “I know that firm. One of my clients uses them. They’re big money.”

“Yep.” Evan wanted to stroke her cheek, to see if she felt as soft as she looked. So he tucked his hands in his pockets.

“What was with lying to Rob about your clients using me? Or me being overbooked?”

He shrugged. “I know Rob. He’s competitive. The thought of him not getting to use your services because you don’t have time for him would annoy the crap out of him. Plus it never hurts to make people think you’re more than you are. Perception is everything, and before you know it, you will be overbooked.”

“Oh.” She gave him a tentative smile. “Thanks.”

“Mind if I grab a coffee and wait with you for your brother? It’s getting crowded in here.”

She nodded, her gaze thoughtful.

Evan picked up a coffee and a few pastries and returned to Kenzie. “How about some sweets as a peace offering? I had no idea I was interrupting a meeting.”

She accepted an apricot Danish. “Thanks. It’s not your fault I couldn’t snare Rob Talon on my own.”

He didn’t know about that. Rob had seemed pretty smitten when Evan had seen the pair sitting together.

“How do you know him anyway?” Kenzie asked.

“I knew his sister from a long time ago. She and I dated briefly in college. Rob is a good guy, and he and I became friends after Kayla and I broke up.”

“Really? Kayla is amazing.”

“She is. But I was the problem.” I was too boring for Kayla. And I really hate that word. “She wanted to see the world, and I had responsibilities.” He sipped his coffee, remembering the past and wondering where the time had gone. “Well, actually she wanted to go to India for some technology conference, and I wanted to go to Miami for a wild spring break. We parted ways after I joined the Marine Corps and she moved to Bangalore.”

“You were a Marine?”

Am a Marine.” He smiled with pride. “You’re never an ex. You become a ‘prior’ or ‘former’ Marine. It’s always with you.” Even though he hadn’t enjoyed many of the aspects of the military, he missed the camaraderie, which explained why he loved working with the gang at Vets on the Go! It felt like a mini-Corps of likeminded individuals.

“So if you don’t mind me asking, why are you moving furniture for a living? Because you burned out doing accounting?” She sounded disbelieving.

He couldn’t blame her. “Actually, I’m a partner in our moving business. My cousins and I own Vets on the Go!, and one of our guys is out due to a broken arm. So I’m helping out until he’s back. But to be honest, it’s been enjoyable using my muscles more than my brains for a while. I got tired working eighty-hour weeks for Peterman & Campbell.”

Her eyes softened. “That makes sense. I love my job, but I get tired too. I worked all weekend in between cleaning my house and running errands.” She sighed. “And today was a bust.”

“Sorry to hear that. I’ll make sure Rob calls you back since I interrupted you.”

“No, please don’t. I can handle my business myself.”

He sensed a little bit of tension there, but he understood the need for independence. “No problem. At least finish the Danish.”

She shoved half the pastry in her mouth and grinned at him. “Happy now?” she asked, her mouth full, and he laughed.

“You know, I can see where your brother gets that attitude.”

She managed to swallow the ball of dough and groaned. “Now I should be apologizing to you. I can’t believe he tricked you into coming here.”

“So you’re not having a problem with your taxes?”

“Yes, but—” The buzz of her phone interrupted her. She read a text and blinked. “Daniel just told me he’s on his way here to meet with you and not to be freaked out if I see you because you’re not stalking me, you’re doing him a favor.”

“Wow. He texted all that?”

“Mostly in abbreviations and emojis, but I understand teen-speak.”

Evan laughed. “Better you than me. I couldn’t even figure out how to change my name back.”

“What did he change your name to?”

“Well, my ringtone became ‘Dancing Queen.’ And my name became Sexy Moving Man with a Fine Ass.”

She couldn’t stifle her mirth, and he saw it.

Excerpted from Handle With Care by Marie Harte. © 2019 by Marie Harte. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

3 Copies of Smooth Moves

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Award-winning author Marie Harte has been writing professionally since 2005. She’s both a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author and has written over 100 books and counting. Marie writes books with heat, humor, and character.

She writes independently and for several publishers, to include Sourcebooks and Samhain. Though currently writing contemporary romance, she also writes paranormal and romantic suspense.

Before turning to writing full-time, she earned a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and spent several years in the United States Marine Corps as a communications officer.

Marie currently lives in Central Oregon with her family. There’s nothing she likes more than finding a good book to read and a great cup of coffee to drink.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: I’VE GOT YOU, BABE by Lynnette Austin

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I’VE GOT YOU, BABE (Must Love Babies Book 2) by Lynnette Austin

Publication Date: August 27, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

4812203B-F7B5-4052-B867-0D5A5ABEE122Where do you go when you’re at the end of your rope

Former Marine Tucker Wylder wants nothing more than to work with his brothers in their vintage car restoration business and be left alone with his nightmares and regrets. The last thing he needs is to take on someone else’s troubles…

Then Elisa Danvers and her young daughter arrive in Misty Bottoms, Georgia. Elisa has reached the end of the line—flat broke, engine trouble, sick in body and spirit. Tucker steps up to the rescue and finds himself reluctantly taking care of a feisty preschooler and her independent mother, who doesn’t seem to want his help. And Tucker isn’t sure he’s ready for the way precocious little Daisy and headstrong, beautiful Elisa herself capture first his bachelor household and finally his carefully guarded heart…

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Excerpt

A cup of hot, black coffee in hand and a well-earned—and desperately needed—weekend fishing trip on his mind, Tucker unlocked the front door of Wylder Rides. The smell of oil and new tires welcomed him like an old friend. He liked the peace and quiet of the early morning, the solitude before his brothers arrived.

When a breeze drifted in through the open bay door, he thanked the stars the calendar had finally flipped to October. This summer, his first in Misty Bottoms, Georgia, had been hotter than Hades. With the onslaught of autumn, though, temperatures had dipped to a less humid mid-seventies.

Still, even the Georgia low-country summer had been a hell of a sight better than the sweltering heat he’d suffered during his Middle East deployment. There the July temperatures hovered above the hundred-degree mark. Add in the blistering sun, and the place could turn a man’s hide to shoe leather in no time.Don’t even get him started on the never-ending sand that found its way into every crack and crevice on the human body and scoured exposed skin raw.

A tough place to live. A worse place to die.

Involuntarily, his hands clenched into fists. Taking a deep breath, he relaxed them. Not today. He dropped to the creeper, slid partially beneath the ’Vette, and got busy replacing the brake lines.

Southern rock blasted from his stereo. Over the magic of Charlie Daniel’s fiddle, Tucker heard a car slow, then pull in out front. Its muffler was shot. The engine knocked, coughed and sputtered, then shut down with a rattle.

Seconds later, a totally different sound caught his attention—high heels on the garage’s concrete floor. Tucker slid a sidelong glance toward the front of the bay and almost swallowed his tongue. Framed in the narrow window between the floor and the car’s bumper were a pair of legs that would have any red-blooded man drooling…and they crossed slowly toward him. Laying the wrench on the floor beside him, he gave a push with his foot and slid the creeper from beneath the car.

Flat on his back, he let his gaze travel up over a body that matched the legs beat for beat, then on to a face only angels could have created. The heart-shaped face, with its sensuous lips and the biggest, bluest eyes he’d ever seen, sent a shockwave rocketing through him. Long, pale blond hair had been caughtback in a ponytail.

An illusion? Maybe he’d breathed too many gas fumes and was hallucinating?

Nope. This woman was real and, from the expression on that stunning face, in trouble.

“My car—” She waved a hand toward the front of the building.

“Could use some work,” Tucker finished, slowly getting to his feet. Wiping his hands on a grease rag, he moved toward her. “Look, we’re not a repair shop, but I can probably figure out what’s wrong. If it’s minor—”

She swayed and reached out toward the wall.

“You okay?” Even as Tucker spoke, he saw those mind-blowing eyes go blank. Dark lashes fanned her cheeks.

With a muttered curse, he lunged, barely reaching her before she hit the floor. Heart racing, he held her against him and swore again. Out cold.

“Hey, can you hear me?” He tapped her cheek but got no response. “Wake up.”

Sweat broke out on his brow. Where were his brothers? They should be here by now. What was he supposed to do with an unconscious woman? He leaned his head close to hers, relief flooding him when her breath whispered against his cheek.

A high-pitched wail split the air. Panicked, his head whipped up, and he glanced toward the beater parked out front. The driver’s side door hung open; in the back, strapped into a child’s seat, sat a little girl with her mama’s pale blond hair—a little girl winding up for one hell of a crying jag.

And the day just got better!

He shook the limp woman gently, noticed the sheen of perspiration on her face. “Come on, sugar. For God’s sake, open those baby blues.”

She didn’t.

Kneeling and taking the woman down with him, he spread an old garage blanket and laid her carefully on it, straightening the short skirt of her flower-print dress.

With his forearm, he swiped the sweat from his brow. “Hey, wake up.”

She didn’t.

Okay. Time to tackle the second half of this double-feature horror show.

Edging toward the used-up Ford Escort and its young occupant in much the same way he’d approach a suspected sniper’s nest, he pulled out his phone and hit 911.

The sheriff answered on the first ring. “Misty Bottoms Police Department. What can I do ya?”

“Jimmy Don, it’s Tuck Wylder. I’m out at my shop.” Opening the sedan’s back door, he stared at the young child, at her tear-covered face and runny nose. He’d guess her to be maybe two or three years old. An opened bag of pretzels lay on the seat. Leaning in, he grabbed one and handed it to her. She raised it to her mouth and chewed, her cries dying to quiet whimpers.

Thank you, Jesus.

“Tuck? What’s goin’ on?” the sheriff demanded.

“A woman pulled up in front of our place, and, well, she’s passed out.”

“Been drinkin’?”

“I don’t think so, but she’s hot.”

“I don’t care how good lookin’ she is.”

“No, Jimmy Don. Not hot hot, hot! As in sweating.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so?”

“I did!” Who’s on first? he thought.

“Do I hear a kid?”

Exasperated, Tucker raked fingers through his short hair, his gaze travelling over the woman. She still hadn’t moved. What a friggin’ mess!

“Yeah, you do. She came with the woman who’s passed out on my garage floor.”

“She okay?”

Tucker raised his eyes to the heavens and rubbed at his forehead. “Which one?”

“The kid.”

“How would I know? Nothing wrong with her lungs, I can tell you that.” The nagging beginning of a headache bloomed into a full-fledged whopper.

“You need an ambulance or you gonna take the gal in to see Doc Hawkins?”

“What?” Tucker pulled the cell away to stare at it. Bringing it back to his ear, he asked, “Are you serious, Jimmy Don? You want me to pick up an unconscious stranger, toss her in my car, along with the baby, and drive them into town?”

“So I guess you want me to send the town’s ambulance out there.”

“Bingo.”

Excerpted from I’ve Got You, Babe by Lynnette Austin. © 2019 by Lynnette Austin. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Must Love Babies

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

LYNNETTE AUSTIN gave up the classroom to write full time. An author of eight novels, she has been a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest. She and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Blairsville, GA.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: BRAZEN AND THE BEAST by Sarah MacLean

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BRAZEN AND THE BEAST: The Bareknuckle Bastards Series Book 2 by Sarah MacLean

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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68BA980F-A739-41E2-8659-930CA10CFA44New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

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Excerpt

Chapter One

September 1837
Mayfair

In twenty-eight years and three hundred sixty-four days, Lady Henrietta Sedley liked to think that she’d learned a few things.
She’d learned, for example, that if a lady could not get away with wearing trousers (an unfortunate reality for the daughter of an earl, even one who had begun life without title or fortune), then she should absolutely ensure that her skirts included pockets. A woman never knew when she might require a bit of rope, or a knife to cut it, after all.
She’d also learned that any decent escape from her Mayfair home required the cover of darkness and a carriage driven by an ally. Coachmen tended to talk a fine game when it came to keeping secrets, but were ultimately beholden to those who paid their salaries. An important addendum to that particular lesson was this: The best of allies was often the best of friends.
And perhaps first on the list of things she had learned in her lifetime was how to tie a Bosun knot. She’d been able to do that for as long as she could remember.
With such an obscure and uncommon collection of knowledge, one might imagine that Henrietta Sedley would have known precisely what to do in the likelihood she discovered a human male bound and unconscious in her carriage.
One would be incorrect.
In point of fact, Henrietta Sedley would never have described such a scenario as a likelihood. After all, she might have been more comfortable on London’s docks than in its ballrooms, but Hattie’s impressive collection of life experience lacked anything close to a criminal element.
And yet, here she was, pockets full, dearest friend at her side, standing in the pitch dark on the night before her twenty-ninth birthday, about to steal away from Mayfair for a night of best-laid plans, and…
Lady Eleanora Madewell whistled, low and unladylike at Hattie’s ear. Daughter of a duke and the Irish actress he loved so much he’d made her a duchess, Nora had the kind of brashness that was allowed in those with impervious titles and scads of money. “There’s a bloke in the gig, Hattie.”
Hattie did not look away from the bloke in question. “Yes, I see that.”
“There wasn’t a bloke in the gig when we hitched the horses.”
“No, there wasn’t.” They’d left the hitched—and most definitely empty—carriage in the dark rear drive of Sedley House not three-quarters of an hour earlier, before hiking upstairs to exchange carriage-hitching dresses for attire more appropriate for their evening plans.
At some point between corset and kohl, someone had left her an extraordinarily unwelcome package.
“Seems we would’ve noticed a bloke in the gig,”
“I should think we would have,” came Hattie’s distracted reply. “This is really just awful timing.”
Nora cut her a look. “Is there a good time for a man to be bound in one’s carriage?”
Hattie imagined there wasn’t, but, “He could have selected a different evening. What a terrible birthday gift.” She squinted into the dark interior of the carriage. “Do you think he’s dead?”
Please, don’t let him be dead.
Silence. Then, a thoughtful, “Does one store dead men in carriages?” Nora reached forward, her coachman’s coat pulling tight over her shoulders, and poked the dead man in question. He did not move. “He’s not moving,” she added. “Could be dead.”
Hattie sighed, removing a glove and leaning into the carriage to place two fingers to the man’s neck. “I’m sure he’s not dead.”
“What are you doing?” Nora whispered, urgently. “If he’s not dead, you’ll wake him!”
“That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Hattie pointed out. “Then we could ask him to kindly exit our conveyance and we could be on our way.”
“Oh, yes. This brute seems like precisely the kind of man who would immediately do just that and not immediately take his revenge. He’d no doubt doff his cap and wish us a fine good evening.”
“He’s not wearing a cap,” Hattie pointed out, unable to refute any of the rest of the assessment of the mysterious, possibly dead man. He was very broad, and very solid, and even in the darkness she could tell that this wasn’t a man with whom one took a turn about a ballroom.
This was the kind of man who ransacked a ballroom.
“What do you feel?” Nora pressed.
“No pulse.” Though she wasn’t precisely certain of the location one would find a pulse. “But he’s—”
Warm.
Dead men were not warm, and this man was very warm. Like a fire in winter. The kind of warm that made someone realize how cold she might be.
Ignoring the silly thought, Hattie moved her fingers down the column of his neck, to the place where it disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt, where the curve of his shoulder and the slope of…the rest of him… met in a fascinating indentation.
“Anything now?”
“Quiet.” Hattie held her breath. Nothing. She shook her head.
“Christ.” It wasn’t a prayer.
Hattie couldn’t have agreed more. But then…
There. A small flutter. She pressed a touch more firmly. The flutter became firm. Slow. Even. “I feel it. She said. “He’s alive.” She repeated herself. “He’s alive.” She exhaled, long and relieved. “He’s not dead.”
“Excellent. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s unconscious in the carriage, and you have somewhere to be.” She paused. “We should leave him and take the curricle.”
Hattie had been planning for this particular excursion on this particular night for a full three months. This was the night that would begin her twenty-ninth year. The year her life would become her own. The year she would become her own. And she had a very specific plan for a very specific location at a very specific hour, for which she had donned a very specific frock. And yet, as she stared at the man in her carriage, specifics seemed not at all important.
What seemed important was seeing his face.
Clinging to the handle at the edge of the door, Hattie collected the lantern from the upper rear corner of the carriage before swinging back out to face Nora, whose gaze flickered immediately to the unlit container.
Nora tilted her head. “Hattie. Leave him. Let’s take the curricle.”
“Just a peek,” Hattie replied.
The tilt became a shake. “If you peek, you’ll regret it.”
“I have to peek,” Hattie insisted, casting about for a decent reason—ignoring the odd fact that she was unable to tell her friend the truth. “I have to untie him.”
“Not necessarily,” Nora pointed out. “Someone thought he was best left tied up, and who are we to disagree?” Hattie was already reaching into the pocket of the carriage door for a flint. “What of your plans?”
There was plenty of time for her plans. “Just a peek,” she repeated, the oil in the lantern catching fire. She closed the door and turned to face the carriage, lifting the light high, casting a lovely golden glow over—
“Oh, my,” she said.
Nora choked back a laugh. “Not such a bad gift after all, perhaps.”
The man had the most beautiful face Hattie had ever seen. The most beautiful face anyone had ever seen, she imagined. She leaned closer, taking in his warm, bronze skin, the high cheekbones, the long, straight nose, the dark slashes of his brows and the impossibly long lashes that lay like feathers against his cheeks.
“What kind of man…” she trailed off. Shook her head.
What kind of man looked like this?
What kind of man looked like this and somehow landed in the carriage of Hattie

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Cori 5 Stars

I loved this book! I thoroughly enjoyed BRAZEN AND THE BEAST from the first page to the last. It is the second book in Sarah Maclean’s Bareknuckle Bastards series and each book in the series is a stand-alone. I went back and read the first book after reading this one though because I loved it so much. Hattie and Whit’s story was full of passion, emotion, danger and fun. Hattie is a strong and intelligent heroine with goals and Whit does everything to give her her dreams. This author is now on my must read list and this book will be on my favorites list this year. I highly recommend this series for historical romance lovers and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

*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 BRAZEN AND THE BEAST by Sarah MacLean

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (8/12) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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BB2DD64A-F99B-441A-9DC7-AF31332ACFF7A life-long romance reader, Sarah MacLean wrote her first romance novel on a dare, and never looked back. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romances and a columnist for The Washington Post, where she writes about the romance genre. She lives in New York City. Visit her at www.sarahmaclean.net.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: LAST CHANCE RODEO by Kari Lynn Dell

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LAST CHANCE RODEO: A Blackfeet Nation Novel by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

7B303109-004B-411F-86BF-CDE79F32B6D1He came to Blackfeet Nation looking for his missing horse

And found the heart he’d lost along the way.

One thoughtless moment cost David Parsons everything—his irreplaceable horse, his rodeo career, and his fiancée. After four long years he’s finally tracked his horse to the Blackfeet Reservation and is ready to reclaim his pride.

It should be the happiest day of his life. But the troubled young boy who’s riding Muddy now has had more than his fair share of hard knocks, and his fierce guardian, Mary Steele, will do whatever it takes to make sure losing this horse isn’t the blow that levels him. David finds himself drawn to both woman and child, and is faced with a soul-wrenching dilemma: take his lost shot at rodeo glory…or claim what could be his last chance to make his shattered heart whole?

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Excerpt

When David Parsons rode into the arena in Cody, Wyoming, he knew in his gut he’d ride out a winner. He was on that kind of roll. He’d drawn the right calf and, Lord knew, he was riding the right horse.

Muddy rooted his nose, pushing into the bit as David turned him around in the roping box. When David tugged on the reins, Muddy kicked up his hind feet, revving his engine like a drag racer burning his tires, a quirk he’d developed as a colt and never outgrown. Then he jammed his butt into the corner of the box, ears forward, every molecule of his body cocked and ready.

David kept a tight hold on the reins, his attention zeroing in on the calf. Head’s turned. Wait. Wait. Make sure he’s standing square. Let him take the first step.

The instant the calf looked forward, David nodded. The gate banged open. David’s rein hand barely twitched and Muddy exploded from the box, the start perfectly timed. The loop sliced through the night air. One, two, three swings, and throw. Zap! Clean around the calf’s neck. David felt the sizzle of the rope dragging through the hondo as he pulled his slack.

Muddy’s stop was like slamming into a brick wall on a motorcycle. Wham! Sixty to zero in a single stride. David swung out in the right stirrup and let the momentum launch him down the rope, so fast he was standing at the calf’s head as it spun around, still on its feet.

Muddy scrambled backward, pulling the calf into David’s lap. He flipped it onto its side, had the loop of his piggin’ string snugged tight around the front leg before the calf hit the ground. He scooped up the back legs, crossed them over the front, took one, two wraps and a half hitch, and threw up his hands to signal for time.

David hustled back to his horse, vaulted into the saddle and rode Muddy forward a few steps to put slack in the rope, adrenaline pounding through his veins as applause washed over them. Muddy bobbed his head, acknowledging the ovation.

“Seven point three seconds!” the rodeo announcer shouted. “Ladies and gentlemen, there is your tie-down roping champion!”

A committee member caught David at the gate as he rode out. “We need you behind the bucking chutes for the television interview.”

“Give me a minute to tie my horse up.” He swung off and wove through a gauntlet of backslaps and congratulations to a spot along the fence behind. Muddy flattened his ears at the next horse in line.

“You’re not big enough to win that fight,” David said. He reached up to give Muddy a scratch for a job well done.

Muddy jerked his head away, pinning his ears again. David laughed. “Cranky little bastard. Good thing we don’t get paid for your personality. Or your looks.”

Muddy shot him a look that was the equine equivalent of a middle finger. David laughed again, flipped the reins around the fence rail, and patted Muddy on the butt as he left, just to annoy him.

When the interview was over, David made his escape into the milling crowd.

“Hey, hotshot!” a voice called. “You too cool to hang with us losers now?”

He looked over to see a trio of cowboys lounging against the fence and sipping beers. Losers. Hah. Between the three of them, they owned enough gold buckles to pave the road to Oz.

One waved an empty cup. “You’ve been takin’ my money all year, least you could do is buy an old man a brew.”

David hesitated, then angled over to join them. Muddy would be okay for a few more minutes. He fetched four fresh beers and took a deep draw off his while the others exchanged opinions and jibes, and David basked in the knowledge that he’d been accepted by this most exclusive club as, if not their equal, at least a worthy contender.

Then the arena lights went out and one of his companions drawled, “Oh goody. Fireworks.”

Oh shit. David whipped around. “I gotta go.”

He moved as fast as the dim lights allowed. Dammit. It was the Fourth of July. How could he have forgotten the fireworks? Muddy went ballistic at the first sign of the big overhead boomers.

The grandstand had started to clear, and people strolled toward their cars, clogging David’s path. The first rocket burst overhead before he fought his way clear. He rounded the last turn and swore. The spot where Muddy had been tied was empty.

Eighteen hours later, David slumped onto the fender of his horse trailer. Exhaustion crashed down on him as he faced the awful truth. Muddy was gone, and he had no one to blame but himself.

Excerpted from Last Chance Rodeo by Kari Lynn Dell. © 2017, 2019 by Kari Lynn Dell. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

KindleAmazon Paperback

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Fearless in Texas

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

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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/.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: ONE FINE DUKE: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell

 

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ONE FINE DUKE: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell

Publication Date: July 23, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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CEA8075E-D175-45AD-ABEC-D4245BAB62A0USA Today bestselling author Lenora Bell returns with her third book in the sexy School for Dukes series.

Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny’s dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There’s only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe’s brother Drew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, intuitive, passionate…and halfway to melting Drew’s cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

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Excerpt

“There he is, Wilhelmina,” Grizzy whispered, staring reverently across the crowded ballroom. “The Duke of Thorndon.”
Holy hell he’s handsome, thought Mina.
Jaw-dropping-on-the-floor handsome. Drool-on-your-lace-fichu handsome.
Distract her from her plan with his brother, handsome.
Her uncle had been right. Thorndon was a fine figure of a man. Objectively speaking, the finest she’d ever beheld.
Tall as a doorframe, with a face hewn from the same granite as the rugged Cornish coastline.
A face rendered seductive by contrasts: sharp cheekbones and curved, sensuous lips. Gleaming ebony hair brushed his collar. His eyes were a light, gold-tinged brown—the only warm thing about him.
He owned this ballroom. Literally. And he owned everyone in it by dint of his oversized presence and the cold, unsmiling arrogance scrawled across his face.
He didn’t even follow the dictates of fashion, preferring plain black attire to the white pantaloons and gaily-colored waistcoats of the other gentlemen.
Why should he follow the dictates of fashion? Everyone should follow him.
“When you’re introduced to Thorndon, pray speak as seldom as possible,” Grizzy whispered. “Attempt to appear biddable and do try to recall my decorum lessons. Remember, no one in London knows anything about you, thank the Lord.”
Mina had seen several polished, elegant young ladies staring at her, nudging each other and whispering. She was an outsider, a usurper, her proper place in the social hierarchy not yet established.
They needn’t worry. She had no designs upon their prize duke. And she was about as unpolished as a debutante could be—as rough as an un-sanded plank. If anyone touched her they might get splinters.
She longed to shed her country skin swiftly and emerge as the sophisticated social butterfly her mother had been. But she knew that it would take time, observation, and experimentation.
Her first flirtatious conversation, first kiss, first taste of brandy, first adventure…it was all ahead of her.
She couldn’t wait to taste it all.

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Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of ONE FINE DUKE: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (7/29) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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5AA538BB-8E3C-4C7E-AB0B-5A6732793E72Lenora Bell is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves hearing from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways.

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Spotlight, Review & Excerpt: COWBOY IN WOLF’S CLOTHING by Kait Ballenger

 

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COWBOY IN WOLF’S CLOTHING (Seven Range Shifters Book 2) by Kait Ballenger

Publication Date: June 25, 2019 

Genre: Paranormal Romance 

Synopsis

288462FD-6BB0-4BB8-8072-604724CB9CBCBorn a cowboy and bred a warrior…

High Commander Colt Cavanaugh has spent his life defending his pack and its sprawling ranchlands. But the hardened Grey Wolf soldier has a dark secret that could destroy his life forever.

Belle Beaumont is a wanted woman, on the run from the wolf pack that kidnapped her. When fate brings her face-to-face with the Grey Wolf High Commander himself, rivalry becomes passion, and suddenly more than just her freedom is at stake.

Colt will fight to the death for the healing Belle brings to his battle-worn heart—and for this cowboy wolf, all’s fair in love and war…

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Donna 5 Stars

This is a great follow-up to Cowboy Wolf Trouble, showing that this series will be fun to read. The trouble started immediately and spread throughout the book at the perfect pace. The drama wasn’t only from the vampires, but also from Colt and Belle themselves. Colt is the standoffish soldier and Belle, the skittish rogue with hidden mettle. They’re both dealing with their pasts and trying to move forward, thus giving them a nice depth of character. Their relationship built from instant attraction, to hot and spicy romance, to love. All this bound together with the pack camaraderie and the message that DNA isn’t the only thing that makes a family. I can’t wait for book 3 in this series.

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

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Excerpt

“Good,” he said. “That leaves us time to discuss another negotiation.”

She raised a brow, pushed herself to standing, and crossed the clearing to return the spare adhesive and gauze to his saddlebag. “And what would that be?”

As she faced toward him again, a wicked grin crossed his lips. “The night we’re going to spend together.”

“Excuse me?”

He’d surprised her when he’d let slip that he wanted to protect her. Help her. But…Belle couldn’t have heard him correctly, could she?

“I want to make it clear that our prior agreements still stand, and they have no relation to your decision. Regardless of my position, you have a choice, of course.”

Maybe she had heard him correctly. He couldn’t possibly be serious. She gaped at him. Yes, there was heat between them. Tension. She sensed it too. But she wasn’t about to admit that. Definitely not to him. She couldn’t risk another relationship with an alpha wolf—no matter how attractive and brave he might be, or how tempting the offer. No matter how much she wanted to see that softer side of him again.

No. She needed to nip this in the bud before it got out of hand.

She settled on being saucy. It worked with him, and that seemed to be the only way they could converse without her simultaneously wanting to pull her hair out and feeling weak in the knees whenever he looked at her. “Do you often try to piss off women who saved your life?”

“Only when I’ve already seen them naked.”

She knew he was teasing, but still she forced a snarl.

Those intense gray eyes locked on to her, causing her stomach to fill with traitorous butterflies. “Is that what I do you to, Belle? Piss you off?”

The question was so to-the-point that it caught her off guard. She wasn’t certain she could define how he made her feel. Yes, there was frustration, but there was also something…more. Something complicated.

At her lack of response, he smirked. “I didn’t think so.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He shrugged. “Only that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. You can glare and pucker those full pink lips at me like you’ve tasted something sour all you want, Belle, but your eyes give you away.”

She raised a brow. “Oh really? And what do they say?”

His gaze locked with hers. “They say that our verbal sparring doesn’t really piss you off at all. In fact, I’d go so far as to say you not only like it, you crave it.”

She laughed. “That’s absurd. I barely know you.”

“You don’t need to know someone to be attracted to them.”

“Me? Attracted to you?” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Not a chance.”

“You enjoyed when I held you naked against me—in the clearing.” He said it with such utter confidence, as if he knew it without a doubt. “You can’t deny that.”

She could, and she would for that matter, even if it wasn’t true. “Don’t flatter yourself, Colt.”

He chuckled darkly, pushing from where he sat on the log to stand. At his full height, he was all the more intimidating, towering over her. “I don’t need flattery. Most women find me attractive. It’s a matter of fact. Some are better at hiding it than others.” Those steely eyes fell to her. “But you’re not one of those women, Belle. You can’t hide your emotions, even when you try.”

She was hiding more from him than he’d ever know. “I’m not like most women.”

“No, you’re not,” he agreed. Colt’s eyes narrowed, and he stepped closer to the fire, staring into its depths. The flames burned bright, casting a dim orange glow on his face and creating shadows that hollowed the sharp lines of his cheekbones. “Most women bat their eyelashes, smile, and giggle when they find a man attractive. You, on the other hand, do the opposite. You narrow those pretty hazel eyes, pucker that little mouth, and let that viper-tongued wit fly, but it’s a defense mechanism. I’m a commander, Belle.” His gaze flicked toward her. “I know a defense tactic when I see one.”

“You think you have me all figured out, don’t you?”

“No.” He chuckled. “I know a challenge when I see one, and you work hard to be a challenge, Belle. But if the look in your wolf eyes is any indication, you may be a challenge, but you’re not as difficult to solve as you think. Not for me.”

She scoffed at him. “You’re not my type at all.”

It wasn’t true. Not in the slightest. But she needed to try to keep him at arm’s length. Her experiences with Wyatt had taught her that. It didn’t matter that she wanted otherwise. Before Colt, Belle hadn’t been certain she had a type, but with each passing second, she became more certain that if there were a reference book of her life, under “Belle’s type” Colt Cavanaugh’s picture would be the definition. See synonyms for reference: worst fear, here-comes-trouble, and The Devil Wears a Cowboy Hat.

There was that wolfish grin again. He saw straight through her. “Could have fooled me.” He turned away from the fire and drew closer. “I saw your desire in the clearing, felt the way you melted into my arms.”

Her hands clenched into fists. She was quickly losing this battle. “I was faking it.”

He shook his head, that grin still curving his lips in the slightest tilt as he prowled toward her. “You’re lying.”

He stood in front of her now, less than a foot away. She retreated until her spine pushed flush against one of the mighty pines behind her. The width and breadth of his shoulders dwarfed her, but still she fought to regain control. This was no more than one of his power plays.

“Then prove it.” The words slipped from her lips before she could stop them.

Those metal-gray eyes burned a molten liquid steel. “There are two things you need to know about me, Belle. The first is that I hate to be defied. As a commander, I’m more than used to getting my way. In fact, I damn well expect it. The second is that I never back down from a challenge”—his next words were a near growl—“because I always win.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Do your worst, Commander.”

Excerpted from Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing by Kait Ballenger. © 2019 by Kait Ballenger. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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About the Author

ROMANCE AUTHOR, WORLD TRAVELER, ENGLISH PROFESSOR, AND FORMER PROFESSIONAL
BELLYDANCER, Kait Ballenger hated reading when she was a child, because she was horrible at it. Then by chance she picked up the Harry Potter series at the age of eight, fell in love with reading, and never looked back. When she realized she could tell her own stories, the deal was sealed. After stints working as a real vampire (aka a phlebotomist), a bingo caller, and a professional bellydancer, Kait finally decided that her eight-year-old self knew best: Kait’s meant to be a writer…though the jury is still out on being the next J.K Rowling.

When Kait’s not preoccupied with writing captivating paranormal romance, page-turning suspense or love scenes that make even seasoned romance readers blush, she can usually be found spending time with her family or with her nose buried in a good book. She lives in Florida with her husband and two young sons.

And yes, she can still bellydance with the best of them…

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