Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: BEARS BEHAVING BADLY by MaryJanice Davidson

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BEARS BEHAVING BADLY (BeWere My Heart Book 1) by MaryJanice Davidson

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

05BD7247-46AD-4B7F-A1FC-C44533D8AD0DThese social worker bear shifters give the term “mama bear” a whole new meaning! Bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson is back with this brand-new paranormal romance series featuring a foster care system for at-risk shifter babies and teens.

Werebear shifter Annette Garsea is a caseworker for the Interspecies Placement Agency. When a selectively mute and freakishly strong teen werewolf is put in her custody, Annette has to uncover the young girl’s secrets if she’s to have any hopes of helping her. And not even the growling of a scruffy private investigator can distract her from her mission…

Bear shifter David Auberon appreciates Annette’s work with at-risk teen shifters, but he’s not sure if her latest charge is so much a vulnerable teen as a predator who should be locked up. All that changes when he, Annette, and her motley band of juveniles find themselves dodging multiple murder attempts and uncovering a trafficking cartel that doesn’t just threaten the kids, but risks discovery of the shifters by the wider world of homo sapiens.

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Excerpt

While David tore the intruders to pieces, Annette jacked shells into her .12 gauge. Twenty-inch barrel, six-round mag, and a place to attach a bayonet, not that she’d ever felt the urge.
She eschewed buckshot; slugs had the advantage of range, greater accuracy, would shred their target at 1,800 feet per second, and could knock a full-grown werewolf off all four paws. Slugs would also, to use the technical term, incapacitate like a bastard.
Annette stepped out of the room, socked the gun to her shoulder, fired at the
(sixty pounds, six-inch bite-wound radius, four feet at the shoulder, sees the gun but tries for my carotid anyway because he is a clear IDIOT)
werewolf, and moved slightly to her left as the werewolf’s momentum carried him another eighteen inches while the slug rearranged his coronary arteries.
To her left came a choked snarl that was chopped short. David had pulverized the werewolf’s vocal cords as he went in for the final strike. While she’d run for the gun case, he had killed the other one before he’d gotten a dozen feet from the car, now parked haphazardly at the far end of the yard.
“Oh, hell,” she said, popping the safety and inhaling. Blood, cordite, fear, blood, triumph, scones. “We live to bite another day, hurrah for us, but we’ve killed all our leads.”
Welp, as Mama Mac would say, better them than us. Then she’d bake a Bundt cake.
I would love a Bundt cake.

“Pat!” she called. “Sound off!”
“I’m good, we’re all good back here!”
“You okay, Annette?” David asked hoarsely. “You hurt?”
She turned to see David, all six-foot-plus of him, bloodied head to heels. He wiped his face with the back of a bloody hand, which was an exercise in futility. His dark hair was sticking up like he’d used gore for mousse, and he was all powerful arms and broad chest and long, blood-spattered muscles and, um, long…long…
Feet.
Do not gape at the man like a slack-jawed yokel, you slack-jawed yokel! Shifter nudity taboos were, by necessity, far more relaxed than anything in the Stable world. But it still wasn’t polite to stare, no matter how fine the Shifter in question was. Quite the opposite; it could be construed as a challenge.
“I’m all right. Are you?” She stepped closer, and there was no way, no way to stop herself from reaching out. “Well, hell. At least one of them got his teeth into you.”
“Worth it.” Now he stepped closer. Don’t read into it. Maybe he’s worried you can’t hear him from two feet away. He’s so considerate! “Are you sure you’re okay?”
She looked down at her sweater. “None of this is my blood, David.”
“That shouldn’t be as hot as it is,” he said, and cupped the nape of her neck and kissed her. Neither the time nor place, her inner Girl Scout primly pointed out, but damn, the man had a nice mouth. Mmmmm…Skittles…
Just as suddenly, he drew back, leaving her gasping. “Sorry.”
“That bad?”
He shook his head. “Christ, no. But I should’ve asked.”
“Is that an apology?”
“No.”
“Well then. This serves you right.” And she kissed him back. She was pressed up against him, more blood smearing on her sweater, and he was right—it shouldn’t be so exciting. But it was. It didn’t matter that she’d never shifted. Some urges were difficult to deny. For example, the urge to slide her hands down from the small of his back to the springy muscles of his ass, because for some reason men often had the most wonderful asses and David was walking around with a top-notch booty. It wasn’t fair.
She broke the kiss. “Dammit.”
“Yeah, our timing sucks. And I’m glad you’re okay, and you were right to go for the shotgun, but…” He trailed off, then added shyly, “I was kinda hoping to get a look at your beast.”
“Next time.” She took advantage of their proximity to take a closer look at his wound, while resisting the urge to stretch up and taste the spot behind his ear. “Not deep, at least. But you’ve definitely got more holes in you than you did this morning.”
“I’m fast, not infallible.”
“Noted.” Fast was an understatement. It hadn’t been two minutes since they’d gotten out of the car. “Let’s go check on the—”
“Okay, okay! I get it. Caro, you were supposed to drag me clear of the fight. Well, fight’s over, so it’s okay for me to leave the room, so you can just…dammit!”
Annette turned in time to see Pat limping into the kitchen while Caro, in wolf-form, gently clamped her teeth around his calf to hinder his momentum.
“Annette, will you tell her to step off, for the love of all that’s annoying?”
She went to one knee and stretched out a hand to Caro’s wolf, a beast the color of midnight with eyes like hurricane lamps. Such unusual coloring for a gray wolf Shifter. “Thank you so much. You did exactly right. You can let him fend for himself now.”
Caro dropped the bite and made a noise that sounded suspiciously like Hmph!
“Pat, are you okay?” She went to her roommate and started feeling him for injuries. “Does this hurt? Does this? How many of me can you see? Does…ow!”
“I’ll slap your hand again if you keep that up. You know I’m hyperticklish. Why is there blood on your face? Were you so hungry you just started biting them as a biped? Because yuck and I’ll have to get to work on an intervention.”
“It’s just back spatter from the shotgun,” she soothed.
“On your face? In the shape of fingers? Like someone grabbed your face? With their fingers? And snogged you silly?”
“Don’t say ‘snogged’ like you’re British, and can we please realign our priorities?”
“You want to talk priorities? Bad enough I’m ruining my favorite apron to shield the eyes of the tender minors in our care—”
“Pat,” she said, exasperated, “literally no one cares about your dick.”
“My Instagram begs to differ.”

 

Excerpted from Bears Behaving Badly by MaryJanice Davidson. © 2020 by MaryJanice Davidson. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

KindlePaperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of Bears Behaving Badly

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

An award-winning author, MaryJanice Davidson is the NYT and USA Today best-selling author of the UNDEAD and UNWED paranormal romcom series. Her books have been published in over a dozen languages and have been bestsellers worldwide. A former model and medical test subject (two jobs that are closer than you’d think), she lives with her family in St. Paul, MN.

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Review & Giveaway: THE BILLIONAIRE IN BOOTS by Julia London

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THE BILLIONAIRE IN BOOTS (The Princes of Texas Book 3) by Julia London

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

265D27A7-BE88-4B89-85D0-BCFA63998490As the firstborn son, it’s been drilled into Nick that he is the heir apparent to the Prince family empire. But cattle ranching has never been his true passion. Nick wants to be a pilot. However, when his father dies, leaving Nick to clean up the mess, he knows he must do his duty before following his heart.

Charlotte Bailey can’t believe that Nick is back to run the ranch. As the office manager, she knows it’s her responsibility to help him. If only he wasn’t so brooding and cranky–and so hot it’s a wonder his chaps don’t melt right off him. But when sparks fly between them, she’s adamant about staying away from a cowboy on his way out the door.

Nick knows the ranch’s pretty, smart, and capable office manager is off-limits, but he needs her. And working in such close proximity to Charlotte every day is making Nick crazy. She smells good, she looks good, she makes him laugh, but most of all she makes him want to stay….

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Donna 5 Stars

Oh my, what a fun story. I fell in love with Nick right off. Something about him resonated with me and I wanted to make everything alright for this strong and good man. Charlotte was a hoot! I loved how she behaved during all the sexual tension boiling around them. They made a fun couple to watch. Honest emotions, strong chemistry, witty banter, and a romance with just enough heat to keep me warm. Then there are the people around them; large nutty families, well-meaning friends, and of course the animals. I laugh, I cried and now I’m in a warm-fuzzy book coma.

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

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01928A5F-B5F1-4DD2-AA33-ED6492EF4C21

Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of THE BILLIONAIRE IN BOOTS by Julia London

Enter Facebook Giveaway HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (3/16) by 6PM EST. Paperback was provided to Reading in Pajamas by Berkley Romance.

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About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author of more than forty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Highland Grooms historical series, including Wild Wicked Scot, Sinful Scottish Laird, Hard-Hearted Highlander, Devil in Tartan, Tempting the Laird and Seduced by a Scot. Her latest historical series, A Royal Wedding is set in Victorian England and the first book The Princess Plan has been welcomed with rave reviews. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including the Pine River Trilogy, her Lake Haven Series and her latest contemporaries, The Princes of Texas books.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: CALLING ON QUINN by Blue Saffire

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CALLING ON QUINN (The Blackhart Brothers Book 1) by Blue Saffire

Publication Date: February 25, 2020

Genre: Romantic Suspense 

Synopsis

412D9DDE-A97E-4A90-877B-ACD08D6B1FE5He’s trouble—of the very best kind

Quinn Blackheart is a private investigator, former cop, and no-nonsense, take-charge kind of guy who adores his sprawling Irish family. He likes to check all the boxes, and his niece’s gorgeous driving instructor just earned a place at the top of his to-do list.

Alicia Rhodes has had a tough, chaotic year, and she’s ready to put the past behind her and find happiness in the present. When handsome Quinn Blackhart shows up at a driving lesson, she can see he’s the very best kind of trouble—but is she game? Now isn’t a great time to get involved with a man—even if he’s the most romantic, supportive, understanding, magnificent man she’s ever met.

So between unfinished business of Alicia’s, and a dangerous case threatening the Blackhart family, Quinn is determined to both woo Alicia and keep her safe—which is going to make for one wild, sexy ride.

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Donna 4 stars

I enjoyed this story, not just for the romance, but also the family camaraderie. I would love to belong to the Blackhart family. They poke fun at each other and get a little crazy, but when things get tough, they jump in to have each other’s backs. Quinn was definitely swoon-worthy and rather romantic. I wish his style of protection didn’t include constantly keeping Alicia in the dark. To me it effected the flow of the story. I didn’t warm up to Alicia right from the start, she was too deep into her past for me to relate to. But I understood her more as information was doled out and her personality began to come through. I’m glad, because then I was more invested in them both and cheered as they moved into a very sexy love-story. I also need to mention that the mysterious background story had me happily guessing until the end. I do wish more information was shared with the reader throughout the story because someone would get a call, faces were grim, then they rushed off to god knows where. Plopping the reader into the next scene to wait for the information to be shared. That is why I rated it a 4 and not a 5. Overall I loved the book and can’t wait for the next one.

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

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Excerpt

Quinn

That lass does my head in. I don’t know how she can annoy the fuck out of me and turn me on so much I forget my own name at the same time. My body wants to go after her, but my mind is telling me to stay put.

My brothers and I have been on rotation to watch over Erin. Ma and Da left a while ago so Ma could shower in her own home and spend time with the babes. Kasey and Molly need their grandma. All of this is a big adjustment for the family. I think we’re all exhausted.

I can’t say the last time my mum didn’t stay overnight here at the hospital, with my da right by her side. I was happy to sit in while they take some time away. However, now my jaw ticks as I watch the swaying hips of the woman who’s been on my mind for a week.

I need to talk to her. That call went all wrong the other night. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m nothing but awkward when it comes to dating. Still, that woman made it a hell of a lot harder to try to ask her out.

I twist my lips into a frown as I watch her walk away. Trenton walks past her in the hallway, turning his head to watch her go by. I release a growl, feeling possessive and irritated.

“Now, that’s a looker.” He whistles when he enters the room.

“Stay here,” I snap at him.

“Wait, what?” he calls after me, but I’m already in motion.

My long legs eat up the floor as I head in the direction Alicia retreated in. I have her in sight as the elevator arrives. She steps in and the doors go to shut. I get there just in time to stick my foot in the way of them closing.

The lift makes a dinging sound as it opens wide. Alicia looks up from her phone as I step on. Our eyes lock and I close the distance between us. She drops her head down shyly to break the connection. She has to feel the same thing I feel. This energy that’s charging the tight space between us has a pulse.

The elevator chimes and others begin to crowd on, causing us to move closer together. Alicia tries to take a step back, but my hand shoots out. It lands protectively on her waist, drawing her into me to shield her.

I trap a groan between my lips when her soft curves press against me. She still won’t look up at me, but she doesn’t wiggle out of my hold either. She feels so right this close.

I dip my head to whisper in her ear, “We need to talk.”

She lifts her head to look at me, her lush lips are parted, begging me to kiss them. I’m this close to listening. The lift stops again, allowing more passengers onto the car.

Alicia places her hands on my chest as we’re squished more closely. The look in her eyes tells me I’m not alone in this. She indeed feels it too.

When we reach the lobby, the crowd starts to exit. I maneuver her body in front of mine to cover her as I lead her out. She relaxes into my hold on her waist, causing me to have hope that this won’t be a fight.

As soon as we get off the car, my newfound confidence implodes. A stony-faced Kevin is standing outside the elevator. When he turns his eyes to me, I know my talk with Alicia is going to have to wait.

“We need to talk,” Kevin says gruffly.

“I should be going anyway,” Alicia rushes out.

She tries to take off, but I wrap my fingers around her forearm to stop her forward motion. She turns to look back at me. I grind my teeth against the electric current that zaps straight up my arm.

“This isn’t over. We’ll be having that talk,” I say before releasing her.

“Not such a good idea, but it was nice seeing you again. I’ll keep Erin in my prayers,” she replies softly.

Excerpted from Calling on Quinn by Blue Saffire. © 2020 by Blue Saffire. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of CALLING ON QUINN

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

As a young girl, Blue’s mother introduced her to the world of love and music through movies, but once she got her hands onbooks, an author was born. With more than thirty contemporary romance novels and novellas under her belt, she’s now an award-winning, bestselling author. She lives with her husband on Long Island.

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Spotlight, Review & Excerpt: WHITEOUT by Adriana Anders

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WHITEOUT (Survival Instincts Book 1) by Adriana Anders

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

DB6A5991-F353-4688-B4C3-699802A192E7With a storm coming and a killer on the loose, every step could be their last…

Angel Smith is finally ready to leave Antarctica for a second chance at life. But on what was meant to be her last day, the remote research station she’s been calling home is attacked. Hunted and scared, she and irritatingly gorgeous glaciologist Ford Cooper barely make it out with their lives…only to realize that in a place this remote, there’s nowhere left to run.

Isolated with no power, no way to contact the outside world, and a madman on their heels, Angel and Ford must fight to survive in the most inhospitable—and beautiful—place on earth. But what starts as a partnership born of necessity quickly turns into an urgent connection that burns bright and hot. They both know there’s little chance of making it out alive, and yet they are determined to weather the coming storm—no matter the cost.

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Donna 4 stars

This is a new author that is going on my must-read list. I like how the author didn’t go into minute detail to explain the environment, yet I felt I was there. That made the story flow and not get bogged down. What a wild ride it was…I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next. It had it all: A couple you grew to care about, villains you love to hate, ongoing human caused danger, survival of the elements in the balance, and people around them that blend as a group. Coop/Ford, was seriously introverted, yet the author let us see what was going on inside him enough to feel for the guy. Angel was my favorite heroine. Vulnerable, but when strength and determination are needed, she was right there leading the way. They made a great and believable couple. I am was excited to see the development of this new series – now I have to wait for book 2.

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

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Excerpt

They finished dinner, cleaned up, and went about getting ready for bed.
“Better take care of those feet,” he said.
A low sound of protest emerged from inside the sleeping bag, where Angel had already taken up residence. “Can it wait till the morning?”
“Frostbite’s not something to mess with. Let’s see them.” He didn’t intend to sound quite so bossy.
“I’ll do it.” Her words were slurred.
“You can barely move.” He held on to the kit, obstinate—and something else. Responsible, maybe. “I saw you limping out there. Your knee’s bugging you. Don’t deny it.”
She threw him a glare, but surprised him by complying.
He took hold of one slender foot and stripped it gently but quickly, since even in shelter, the risk of frostbite was real. It was light in his palm and mostly warm enough to alleviate his worry, though her toes were chilly. He touched each one. “Any numbness?”
She shook her head.
With great care, he peeled the bandages off, cleaned her skin, and reapplied fresh ones where needed, slipping the sock back on before starting the whole process with the other foot.
He couldn’t say exactly when it occurred to him that he held her naked foot in his hand, but once the realization popped into his head, it wouldn’t go away. Hung around like an itch he couldn’t get to.
A foot, for God’s sake. Ridiculous.
But the foot didn’t feel ridiculous right now. He gently squeezed it and expelled a harsh breath.
It felt…improper. Especially in comparison with the rest of her fully clothed body. And secret, somehow. He knew things about her now. He knew her second toe was longer than the big one, that her arches were high and elegant, her skin already roughened from two days of marching in the freezing desert air. He knew she’d put on a bright red nail polish at some point. It’d worn mostly off, but it made her toes look like candy. And he’d never craved sugar so badly.
The best course of action, now that she was all bandaged up, was to give her back her foot.
But he couldn’t.
Instead, he ran his thumb along the central curve, pressed forward beneath her toes, then down to her heel. The sounds she made were—he swallowed—obscene. A shocked gasp that urged him to look her way. He didn’t, though, because if their eyes met, he might have to stop.
And that was the last thing he wanted to do.
Another rub, deeper this time, bearing down on aching muscles. But it didn’t sound like pain when she moaned, low and guttural, and though he knew better, he let his eyes slide up her body to her face.
He froze. He’d never seen anything hotter—not on-screen or in the throes of sex or in his darkest fantasy.
Mouth open, eyes closed, cheeks flushed, everything about her screamed pleasure. Just to be sure, he stroked back and pressed again, wanting—no, needing—to know which notes this spot would play on her ever-changing face.
And she didn’t disappoint. Every feature cringed, slowly, sensually, in a magnified expression of pleasure-pain. Sweeping up to caress her toes now was sheer torture, because he was hard—shocking in this cold—and her reactions, though subtle, were more intimately real than any peepshow.
He could’ve gone on forever, rubbing, rapt, eyes glued to her face as she showed him just how good he made her feel, picturing how amazing she’d look if he were kissing her, or—
Her eyes popped open, ensnaring his in their velvet trap.
Everything went quiet, stilling as if the storm had taken a breath. Or maybe it was him going a little deaf, like when his ears needed popping in a plane. Except he could hear the things happening in this tent. Could feel and smell with overwhelming precision every fine detail blown up under a microscope.
They shared a couple hard inhale-exhales, the tension between them as palpable as the frigid temperature.
The press of his fingers lessened, his caresses slowed, until he did nothing but grasp her foot while she just as steadily held his gaze.
“That feels amazing,” she said in a bedroom whisper that he could feel deep in his bones, though it couldn’t possibly be loud enough to hear.
Her mouth closed and his attention flicked down, watching her swallow with something awfully close to hunger before sliding back up to find her eyes boring into him.

Excerpted from Whiteout by Adriana Anders. © 2020 by Andriana Anders. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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About the Author

Adriana Anders is the award-winning author of the Blank Canvas series. Under Her Skin, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017 and winner of two 2018 Holt Medallions, has been featured in Bustle, USA Today Happy Ever After, and Book Riot. Today, she resides with her tall French husband and two small children in France, where she writes the gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: COLD NOSE, WARM HEART by Mara Wells

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COLD NOSE, WARM HEART by Mara Wells

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

EBA4BC02-46C3-4F1A-9336-D2AD9AA4AA6CA poodle, a black lab and a Chihuahua walk into a dog park…

All Caleb Donovan has to do to redeem his family name is take a rundown Miami Beach apartment building and turn it into luxury condos. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, that would also turn the local dog park into a parking lot and the neighbors aren’t having it. Caleb is faced with outright revolt, led by smart, beautiful building manager Riley Carson and her poodle, LouLou.

For Caleb, this project should have been a slam dunk. But even more challenging than the neighborhood resistance is the mutual attraction between him and Riley. It would be so much easier just to stay enemies.

Can Riley and her canine sidekick convince Caleb that what’s best for business isn’t always best for the heart?

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Donna 4 stars

This is a sweet debut novel by Ms. Wells, full of quirky characters, both human and animal. I enjoyed how the author wove this diverse group of people into a community that fit together perfectly. Riley could have easily sunk into bitch-mode under the circumstances, but luckily, she remained likeable and Caleb’s attraction was believable. I also appreciate that Caleb was written with all his emotional layers on display while he worked through his past and present obstacles. I liked them both and happily watched them work through the issues surrounding them. This romance had family drama, frustrations, humor and love. It was a pleasure to read.

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

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Excerpt

“LouLou!” a hoarse voice called. “LouLou!”
“Over here!” Caleb yelled, not sure where the voice was coming from, but hearing the pain in it and wanting to do anything in his power to make that pain stop. What could he say? Rescuing furry damsels in distress brought out his mushy side.
Through the sheets of rain, he spotted Riley limping along the sidewalk across the street from dog park. She didn’t look much better than LouLou had, hair flattened and plastered to her head, clothes sticking to her as though she’d taken a dunk in the ocean. And was she barefoot? All those shoes outside her front door, and she’d run out in the storm without so much as a flip-flop to protect her?
“You’re a pair, aren’t you?” He whispered to LouLou, waving frantically to get Riley’s attention. “Over here! Riley, I’ve got LouLou!”
Riley looked across the road, and he knew the moment she saw them. She collapsed to her knees, hands over her face, and a giant sob racked her body. So they’d be staying out in the rain a little longer. He crossed over and knelt beside her, the soaked poodle between them.
“It’s okay. She’s okay. You’re okay.” He sounded like an idiot. He knew it, but he kept saying stupid things anyway. “I’ve got her. She’s right here.”
Riley sucked in a big breath and looked up at him with her tilted eyes. “Thank you.” She held out her arms for LouLou. He shifted the dog’s weight to Riley’s hold, but LouLou curled her paw around his wrist, tight.
Riley’s chin sank. “I deserve that.”
“No, it happens.” Caleb didn’t know what he was talking about. What happened? Rain? Dogs running loose in the streets? “You didn’t do anything wrong.” He knew that part at least was right.
“I couldn’t find her.” She scrubbed at her face with the heels of her hands, eyes red and lids swollen from crying. “And now she’s hurt. What happened to her paw?”
“She’s fine, just a small piece of glass.” He pried LouLou’s paw off his wrist and handed the dog over, surprised at how giving her back felt like a loss. If he felt this attached after such a brief time with the dog, how bad must Riley have felt when she realized LouLou was missing? The impulse to make Riley feel better kept his assurances flowing. “Eliza patched her up, and she’ll be good as new in no time.”
“Thank you.” She buried her face in LouLou’s fur and stood, but as soon as she did, she lost her balance and keeled over with a squeak.
Caleb reached out to steady her. “What’s wrong?”
Riley closed her eyes and leaned heavily on him. “Think I stepped on something.”
“Let me see.”
Feeling a sense of déjà vu, he crouched to inspect the bottom of her foot, dark with dirt and specks of gravel stuck to it. “Looks like a bad bruise. Maybe from a rock.”
Riley bit her lower lip. “Sounds right.”
“Can you walk?” He levered her back to standing on her own.
“Of course.” One careful step forward. Then another. “Thanks for taking care of LouLou, but you don’t have to hang around.” She winced and took another step, face as white as the knuckles clutching her dog. “I’ve got it from here. No problem.”
It was painful to watch. Still, she’d said to back off, so he did. Until she stumbled, almost dropping the poodle, and a car horn blared at her for hogging up the road.
“This is ridiculous.” He scooped her up, exactly like he’d done with her dog. Unlike LouLou, she wasn’t grateful.
“Hey! What’re you doing?” Riley couldn’t bat at his chest because she was holding onto her dog, but she glared. “You can’t swoop in and take over everything.”
“Hang on tight. I’m taking you home.” Caleb clutched Riley and LouLou against his chest, her legs over his arm like in some damn rom-com movie, and strode back toward her condo. If he wasn’t mistaken, he could hear Eliza’s cackle following them, but he didn’t care. It felt good to save LouLou, and it felt even better to have Riley in his arms.

Excerpted from Cold Nose, Warm Heart by Mara Wells. © 2020 by Mara Wells. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaway

3 copies of Cold Nose, Warm Heart

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Mara Wells loves stories, but especially stories with kissing. She lives in Hollywood, Florida with her family and two rescue dogs—a poodle-mix named Houdini Beauregarde, and Sheba Reba Rita Peanut, a chihuahua-mix. To find out more, you can sign up for her newsletter at marawellsauthor.com.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: WICKED COWBOY WOLF by Kait Ballenger

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WICKED COWBOY WOLF (Seven Range Shifters Book 3) by Kait Ballenger

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Romance 

Synopsis

7449563C-08AB-452C-A2CA-0DF3A60B7DD0To his enemies, he’s known as the Rogue. To her, he’s her only chance at survival…

Years ago, Grey Wolf Jared Black was cast from the pack for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, he’s the mysterious criminal wolf known only as the Rogue, a name his former packmates won’t soon forget. But when a vampire threat endangers the lives of their entire species, Jared must confront his former packmates again, even if that means betraying the only woman he’s ever loved…

Ever since Maeve Gray escaped the pack’s bloodsucking enemies, she’s been determined to save her species—and fast. Each passing day risks the lives of her friends and family. But when a wicked cowboy wolf shows up on the Grey Wolf ranch, offering everything Maeve’s heart desires, her eyes are opened to a whole new world beyond the packlands. For this cowgirl, sleeping with the enemy could prove as desirable as it is deadly…

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Donna 4 stars

I enjoyed this installment in the Seven Range Shifter Series. In large part to the Rogue and his group. They had a great bond and camaraderie that made me like them all instantly. They were fun to read about and showed what a good man Rogue/Jared was. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Mae but came to realize that is because she was kept in the dark about so much in the past. Despite being kept in a gilded cage for so long, she showed inner strength when needed. For me, the story was all about Rogue. His tortured past and wounded heart grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It was fun watching their relationship grow – despite their best efforts – into a passionate romance.

The story was nicely written and flowed nicely from one scene to the next. I had a problem with some things being glossed over. Especially obtaining the main driving force of the story. Poof, it was there, leaving me feeling a little cheated. A fun read. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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

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Excerpt

The pink summer sunset had long since faded to nightfall by the time Mae returned to her cottage on the other side of the Grey Wolf compound. As she approached home, she cringed at the thought of the poor excuse she’d given Alexander. There was no way he’d bought her lie. Sure, she and Maverick had scheduled Alexander for a meeting with the Pact, which was a small step forward, but if they didn’t get him on board and fast, their prospects were limited. But Mae was determined. She would find a way to save
her pack. She had to.

Feeling more than a little defeated, she shuffled up to her door, scanning the other nearby pack cabins. Hers was one of many adjacent to the dining hall and the main compound building, which housed the elite warriors and the main pack offices. She grabbed her keys from her purse. As she did so, she glanced over her shoulder, as if she might find the Rogue lingering there in the darkness. But she didn’t. He’d disappeared without a trace.

She released a long sigh. From what she knew of his dangerous
reputation, it was just like the arrogant bastard to trod right into a pack of alphas that would just as soon see
him torn apart. He really was a rogue with a devil-may-care attitude to match his title. She gripped her keys tighter in her hand.

After unlocking her front door, she slipped inside.

Immediately, the taps of tiny hooves clopping against tile sounded from the darkness. She flicked on the dim entryway light. Tucker, her teacup pig, stared up at her from the white tiled floor, his beady black eyes sparkling with pleasure at her arrival. He let out a pleased oink. Mae grinned.

Bending down, she scooped him into her arms, coddling him like a baby as she cooed at him. Still a piglet, Tucker was no bigger than a small dog, and according to the breeder, he’d been the runt of the teacup litter and would likely stay small.

With Tucker cradled against her, Mae made quick work of feeding him a bottle of milk replacer before snuggling him into his fluffy, pink dog bed in her living room. Once the piglet was rocked to sleep, she showered before she changed into her nightgown and settled into the comfort of her bedsheets. The day had left her worn out, but her mind refused to calm.

Had she really seen the Rogue, or had it all been in her head?

That question still plagued her. She wasn’t sure how he would have gotten onto the ranch without detection, especially considering the heightened security for the reception.

She shook her head. It must have been her imagination, a memory triggered by the stress of Alexander’s questions. The Rogue couldn’t possibly have shown up at Wolf Pack Run only to disappear again.

Though it had felt so real…

She sighed, sinking deeper into her mattress. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d thought of him since their encounter in the vampire coven.

Heat rose in her cheeks. She’d dreamed of him almost every night since—and not in the way she should have. The memory of the night when her life had been threatened by bloodsuckers was a dark one, but when she dreamed of that night, of him, her dream often took a completely different course from reality. Instead of dreaming of the danger she’d faced, she’d woken more than once to the thought of his uncharacteristic heroism as he whisked her from the vampires’ cells, only to find her own hand exploring between her legs.

It was sick. She knew it. She shouldn’t be attracted to a dangerous criminal like him. Despite that, he stirred something primitive inside her. She knew what sort of dark circles he traveled in, yet she couldn’t seem to help it. A wolf like the Rogue was everything forbidden to her: a non–Grey Wolf, a vigilante. Not to mention one of her brother’s enemies, and the antithesis of every criterion she should consider for a mate.

Somehow, that only made him more appealing.

By her birthright, she was destined for a Grey Wolf alpha warrior. She shuddered at the thought. The Grey Wolf warriors were all fine men, handsome cowboys, but they were practically her brothers. Mae tossed and turned in her bed as she tried to put the Rogue from her mind, but still his face taunted her.

Eventually, her hand trailed beneath her nightgown. Maybe if she eased this ache, the desire would go away. Maybe then, sleep would claim her. Slowly, her fingers probed the folds between her legs, locating her own clit. She knew her body, what she liked.

Gently, she massaged and probed as she remembered how it had felt when the warmth of his breath had brushed against her ear, the deep timbre of his voice thrumming through her.

You won’t regret this, he’d whispered.

She imagined his lips trailing downward.

What would it be like to be with a criminal like him?

Something told her every touch, every caress would be more powerful, more sinful…just more. Soon, she was
moaning in climax, the walls of her core tightening in a delicious wave that sent a rush of moisture straight to her center. She cried out, arching her back against the pillows.

As the last throes of her orgasm shook her, she relaxed into her sheets, sated, though it was little more than a fantasy. At that thought, a pang of sorrow thrummed through her. That was all her dreams would ever be—fantasy. Not just him, but all her heart’s desires. She wanted more than she could have. She always had. She loved her pack, but the duties that bound her to them had never been her choice.

She may have been a Grey by birth, but if she were braver, she’d live her own life. She’d make her own choices.

If she were free…

Mae lay there, the weight of the things she’d never have pressing down on her, constraining her chest so much that she struggled to breathe.

If only…

At least she could dream. Her dreams and desires were hers alone. She released a long sigh, switching on the light of her bedside table as she reached for a book to read. Until the sound of a familiar voice came from the darkness.

“Evenin’, Princess.”

Excerpted from Wicked Cowboy Wolf by Kait Ballenger. © 2020 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 | Paperback

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE GODDESS GETS HER GUY by Ashlyn Chase

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THE GODDESS GETS HER GUY by Ashlyn Chase

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

44B2D3C9-0E1E-4889-AECA-DE72BE27E0D0What happens when the goddess meets Mr. Right…but she absolutely can’t tell him who she really is?

After leaving his job as a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Aaron Samuels needs a new purpose in his life. Wanting to help his patients even if he can’t operate, he heads to the Puerto Rican rainforest to find a cure for heart disease. He never imagined he’d meet a beautiful, mysterious woman, especially not one talking to a frog in the middle of the jungle…

Gaia—a.k.a. Mother Nature—has had it with paranormals breaking her number one rule: Never reveal your supernatural powers to humans, not even your mate. Fed up, she transports to the rainforest, happy to converse with amphibians who don’t talk back. But Dr. Samuels is a much better conversationalist, and Gaia can’t wait to help him mend all those broken hearts he told her about.

When her attempts to help only complicate things between them, Gaia begins to wonder what would happen if she opened her heart and was honest with Aaron…and herself. Maybe her number one rule has been wrong all along…

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Excerpt

Karma lifted her sunglasses. “How goes the challenge of the century, Sister?” She stretched her long legs over a lounge chair next to her private pool.
“More like the challenge of the millennia.” Fate plopped herself on the lounge chair beside her.
“I referred someone to you.”
Fate’s eyes widened. “Pan? You sent Pan?”
“No. Why? Did someone else send him?”
“I doubt it. He said he heard rumors and wanted to volunteer.”
Karma laughed. “What did you say?”
Fate sighed. “A resounding ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’”
“Good. I’m not sure he has ever made up for that horrible practical joke he pulled in the sixteenth century.”
“I confronted him on that. He seemed to think the whole thing was wildly exaggerated, and it may have been. You know writers…if the truth isn’t quite dramatic enough, they’ll embellish it. But he did give me something to think about. Instead of trying to find someone with opposite faults, I should be looking for someone with common interests. Faults can be overlooked if you’re happy and living a better life because of your mate.”
“Exactly true. Is that what you were doing? Looking for someone who is basically a saint?”
“No. Why would you say that?”
“Hon, our sister is so riddled with faults, I can’t think of anyone with opposing assets.”
Fate let out a huge sigh.
“Here.” Karma produced a pitcher of ice water and two tall glasses.
“Is that all you got?”
“I’m in need of hydration. If you want something else, get it yourself.”
Fate snapped her fingers and held a sparkling orange mimosa. “Some hostess you are.”
“I’m not hosting a party, Sister, and if I were, you’d be crashing it. I was just lying here, enjoying the sun. Alone.”
Fate rose. “Well, pardon me. I didn’t realize I needed an engraved invitation to come to you for support.”
Karma waved away her remark. “Sit back down. Of course I’m here for you if you need a shoulder to cry on.”
Fate shook her head. “Unbelievable. I’m not in tears. I just thought two heads would be better than one.”
“So you’re rethinking my offer to help. Hey, if you want me to come up with a list of assholes to punish by setting them up with her, I can help you and myself both.”
Fate laughed. “Yeah, right. Like any of our gods wouldn’t see that coming.”
“Who said it has to be a god?”
“What are you suggesting? A human who knows nothing of the paranormal world? That’s exactly what she doesn’t want.”
Karma shrugged. “Well, it’s either that or a paranormal. Flip a coin.”
Fate was about to laugh until she realized Karma might be onto something. There were plenty of men, both human and paranormal, who could give Gaia a run for her money—so to speak. And some knew about gods and goddesses, even worshipped them.
“Most men would cower from her, but there are a few with the self-confidence to stand up to her and not crumble when faced with her abilities,” Karma was saying.
“Perhaps…” Fate tapped her lip as she mentally ran through a list of men she’d destined for greatness but whom she hadn’t found mates for. There weren’t many. “Is there any world leader without a mate?” Fate asked.
“None who actually deserve one at the moment.”
“How about someone smart and selfless? Do you know of any heroes with very high IQs?”
“Aren’t those two things antithetical? How smart is it to run into a burning building or sacrifice yourself in another way?” Karma asked. “We’d be back to square one.”
Fate snorted. “Well, there goes the only suggestion the modern muses came up with.”
Karma gave a slight shrug. “Gaia isn’t all bad, you know. In fact, deep down, she has some very positive traits.”
Fate snickered. “Must be deeper than I’ve ever looked.”
* * * *
Aaron wandered aimlessly around his large living room. He had immediately retired from the Boston hospital where he’d worked for thirty years as a cardiac surgeon. Kind of necessary since he’d been diagnosed with essential tremors. At last, he dropped into his favorite chair, and as soon as he did, his black-and-white cat jumped onto his lap.
“Hi, Cat. I’m sorry we never gave you a more imaginative name, but you came when Ruthie called, so in a way, it’s your fault.” He scratched behind the cat’s furry ear, and the feline began to purr. On the housekeeper’s day off like this, he had no one to talk to but his cat—not that he talked to Mrs. Rivera very much. He had to keep his family’s magical witch power a secret, and it was easier to do if he didn’t communicate much with people who had no knowledge of magic and the paranormal.
“Can I confide in you, Cat? Of course I can. You won’t tell anyone, will you, boy?” He sighed deeply. “My hand trembled during a transplant. I can’t afford to nick an artery if even one finger trembles.”
He ran his currently steady hand over the cat’s soft back. “I have a beautiful million-dollar home in Brookline, but what’s a home without a family in it? No offense. You’re part of the family, but you don’t take up much room. What are we doing here?”
He answered, “I’m talking to myself. That’s what I’m doing.”
He let out a huge groan. Despite feeling odd about it, he continued his musing aloud. “My wife died two decades ago. You weren’t around then. I’ve raised my daughters, and they’re both living their own lives in their own homes, starting families. My nest is empty. Again, no offense. We’ll call it empty-ish.
“I miss my daughters, who I could talk to frankly about our Wiccan roots. I have one useless power. The power of invisibility.” He chuckled bitterly. “I might as well be invisible right now. Couldn’t have gotten a useful power, like my girls’ power to save one life a day with supernatural intervention.”
Cheek resting against his fist, he thought about how pathetic he seemed. He couldn’t stand being this way. He hadn’t told anyone about his diagnosis. “Maybe it’s a good thing they’re not here. The girls would worry, and I don’t want to burden them.

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Buy Links

KindlePaperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of THE GODDESS GETS HER GUY by Ashlyn Chase

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the Author

An award-winning author, ASHLYN CHASE specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse, and for the Red Cross, and has a degree in behavioral sciences. She lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE COST OF HONOR by Diana Muñoz Stewart

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THE COST OF HONOR (Black Ops Confidential Series, Book 3) by Diana Muñoz Stewart

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

7C76234A-2A67-495B-A06D-3DA3DB6B1B7FShe saved him. But to save her, he’ll have to walk away…

The only male to be adopted into the notorious Parish family, Tony Parish always did right by his vigilante sisters. But when an attempt to protect one of them went horribly wrong, he had to fake his own death to escape his fanatical family. As “Lazarus,” he disappeared to Dominica—only to awaken face to face with the woman of his dreams…

When Honor Silva plunged into stormy waters to rescue a drowning kiteboarder, she had no idea resuscitating the sexy stranger would bring life-changing love—and life-threatening danger—crashing into her world.

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Donna 4 stars

I was glad that I liked Honor and Tony right away, and that they just went with their desires instead of fighting it. Yes, he had his secrets, but that didn’t stop either of them. This romantic suspense had a lot going on – constant danger, mysterious murders, and sexy romance. I enjoyed almost all of it. My main problem that was not resolved for me, was the reason for his faked death. If he was that close to his family, why was there the need for his action….and why oh why was there a need for their actions. It made no sense to me and frankly, it ticked me off. It shows how much I liked the rest of the story with all it’s twists and turns, to rate it a 4, because one of my favorite things in books is a group dynamic. A closeness with those around them. I did not get that from this book. I hope there is a book 4 in this series, as I liked the writing style and all other parts of this story.

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

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Excerpt

As Honor opened the door to lead Laz into her chocolate store, she cursed her cowardice. Why hadn’t she kissed him? She could see he’d wanted her to. Could feel the scorching heat between them. And yet as he’d looked down at her, too handsome to be real, she’d froze.
Inside the store, the cool air smelled of sugar and chocolate and spices. And well it should with cases of chocolate, shelves of wrapped chocolate, fudge and elaborate displays of green and gold boxed chocolates.
As Laz looked around at the store, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and let it out with a satisfied sigh.
When she opened her eyes, she found him staring at her mouth. Heat rushed through her. She should’ve kissed him. Should’ve kissed him. “You like?”
He grinned.
“I mean the store.” What was wrong with her? “Do you like the store?”
His smile widened. “It’s a great store. Best I’ve ever seen.”
It was. It was, in fact, a perfect candy store. Her chocolatier’s dream. She was glad he enjoyed it, but one thing made her nervous. Well, many things about him made her nervous, but right now this. Getting him to taste something.
Time to bite the bullet. She pointed at the rows of dishes in the glass case, white china, filled with different types of chocolate and truffles. “What’s your favorite?”
He put down a chocolate bar whose wrapper he’d been reading. “My favorite? Would it disappoint you if I said I’m not a huge chocolate fan?”
Would it disappoint her? Was he kidding? “Are you trying to cause me physical pain?”
He laughed. “No. I love chocolate.” He moved closer to her, front to front. “Can’t get enough. You have anything with some bite?”
Biting. Yes. What? She was losing her mind. Oh, he was so hot. But this was her chance. Her chance to make up for her missed opportunity. Bold, Honor. Be bold.
She leaned past him, into him. Her entire front caught fire. She gathered up a jar of chocolate  sticks, took one out. Putting the jar back, she brushed his bicep. Hopefully he didn’t notice her shaking hands.
She held up the chocolate stick. “I invented this.”
“A small, chocolate straw?”
She pulled off the plastic wrapper. “It’s a kissing stick. The middle is filled with a warm surprise, but as you can see, it’s a little large for one mouth to suck on.”
He grinned at her. “I think I might need a demonstration.”
She grinned back. Oh good. That was what she’d wanted. “The things I do for my craft.”
She put the chocolate straw in her mouth, up to the center, tilted up her chin. He dipped down and captured the other end of the stick.
Heat. Heat like she never felt before shot through her body. She clutched at him, had no choice, no way not to. Her body took over, closed down her mind. Closer. More. Closer. Now.
The chocolate reacted instantly, melting against their lips. Her hot and needy tongue licked the chocolate from his full lips.
The cayenne warmed her already tingling mouth, and she found her boldness in her desire. She probed the kiss, begged him to let her inside.
He did. Eagerly.
She moaned and moved into him. He put his arms around her. He’d given her the first move, but he was taking control now, demonstrating his own need.
His body was hard against her, mouth pulling at her, tasting her. The chocolate melted, leaving the cayenne slick between them.
The jingle of the bells over the door brought her to her senses. What was she doing? In the middle of her store?
She broke off the kiss, licked her lips, stepped back from him. They stared at each other. Their breathing heavy and much too loud. The heat in their mouths was nothing compared to the heat building between them. She couldn’t have mumbled a single word.
What was this?
What was happening to her?
She’d never felt this way about a man. She’d thought it was a myth, this type of attraction—the kind that drove away doubt and common sense. She needed to take him to her room and rip off his clothes.
But was this unique for him too? Or did he act this way or feel this way with all women? A bolt of pain, real pain, pierced her chest. She had to be cautious. This was her first experience with these feelings, this desire, but that didn’t mean it was his. Maybe he did this to all women.
He licked his lips. “Sweet.” His voice was thick with need.
Though she wanted to grab another stick, take another chance with feeling his firm and eager body against hers, she found her voice and a better idea. “My grandfather usually finishes the tour around five, so we have some time. Would you like me to show you the rooms?”
His eyebrows jumped. “That sounds fantastic. Let’s start with yours.”
This man had just read her mind. Not that you needed to be a mind reader. She was sending up red signal flares that burst into the air between them spelling out, I’m going to take you hard. You’re mine.

Excerpted from The Cost of Honor by Diana Muñoz Stewart. © 2019 by Diana Muñoz Stewart. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Black Ops Confidential Series:
I Am Justice (Book 1)
The Price of Grace (Book 2)
The Cost of Honor (Book 3)

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Giveaway

3 Sets of I Am Justice and The Price of Grace

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Having earned her MFA in Creative Writing, DIANA MUÑOZ STEWART went on to write several novels that garnered awards and recognition in the paranormal, science fiction, and contemporary romance genres. A believer in the power of words to heal and connect, she blogs and provides web-content on health, writing, and social issues.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: WISH UPON A COWBOY by Jennie Marts

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WISH UPON A COWBOY (Cowboys of Creedence Series, Book 4) by Jennie Marts

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

Synopsis

3EF56CD5-1B90-41A9-9480-EBFCC05C0855Hot on the ice and tall in the saddle…

Rancher and hockey coach Logan Rivers’ attempts to hire a housekeeper are hindered by women more interested in marriage than meal-planning. So when snarky Harper Evans arrives with zero romantic interest in him, he couldn’t be happier. But as he gets to know her, he finds himself hungering for more than her cooking.

Down-on-her-luck single mom Harper Evans came to Colorado with one goal: to find her son and bring him home. Temporary work for a local rancher seems perfect, but to keep the job she has to deny her feelings for the hot cowboy who’s heating up her kitchen.

Logan’s secret learning disability has caused a financial mistake that could cost him everything. With the holidays approaching and a storm closing in, he and Harper have to save his ranch and fight for her son. But can Harper trust the cowboy who is offering her both a home—and his heart?

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Excerpt

Logan walked back to stand next to her, their shoulders not quite touching as they looked at the tree together.
“I love the star on top,” she told him. “Some people like to put an angel on the tree, but I’ve always preferred the star.”
“Yeah? Why’s that?”
“I don’t know. I guess I think of the star as a promise of something amazing ahead. Like the star the wise men follow in the Christmas story. They don’t question it, they don’t second-guess it, they just believe. And it led them to everything they would ever need. They didn’t have to earn it or even deserve it. They just had to follow the star, and the promise would be fulfilled.” The lights on the tree blurred and transformed to tiny twinkling stars as she blinked back the tears filling her eyes.
“Sorry. I love the Christmas star the most, but I think stars in general are amazing. They’re so far away, and we shouldn’t even be able to see them, but we can. I think each one is like a little miracle, and maybe they shine so brightly because they hold so many of our wishes.”
She shook her head. “Gosh, that sounded so dorky. I sometimes think sappy stuff like this, but I don’t often say it out loud. I didn’t mean to get all gushy.”
“It’s not gushy at all.” Logan gazed up at the star. “We always put the star on last, but I don’t know that I’ve ever really thought about what it represents. But I like what you said, that the star is a promise of something amazing ahead.”
They were standing shoulder to shoulder and not looking at each other, but she still felt as though they were seeing each other. As though here in the glow of a hundred tiny, sparkling lights, they were each giving the other a small piece of themselves, holding it out to see if the other would take it and cherish it, or refuse it with scorn.
“I guess I’ve always thought stars represented whatever it was that you wanted,” he said. “Like your deepest desire. You know, you reach for the stars like you’re going for something you really want.” The back of his hand grazed hers, and his pinkie finger twined around hers. “We’ve always used the stars to guide us. The night sky was the original GPS. If you’re ever lost or can’t find your way, you can use the stars to lead you home.”
His words were doing nothing to quell the emotion building in her throat. She’d always loved the Christmas star, loved what it represented, but she didn’t think she’d ever said her feelings about it out loud. Or maybe she had.
Her son loved everything to do with space and the stars. She’d hoped to get him a telescope for Christmas this year. He loved to learn about the stars and the planets. One morning at breakfast, he’d told her he wanted to be an astronaut, to fly into space and be among the stars.
Harper remembered smiling and asking him why—and having her heart shatter into a million pieces when he said it was so he could be with his dad.
Thinking about Michael and Floyd and all she’d lost had pain piercing her heart. She missed them both so much. So much that she couldn’t see the right path to take or the correct choices she was supposed to make. She needed a star right now—needed something to guide her, to lead her to her deepest desire. She felt more lost than she’d ever been.
She stared into the lights of the tree and prayed for guidance and wisdom and for something to give her hope to hold on to. The ache in her chest felt as if it might turn her inside out and swallow her whole.
She started to tighten her hand into a fist and realized her fingers were now completely entwined with Logan’s. A surge of warmth had flowed through her a few seconds ago when his pinkie had gently looped around hers, but when had she taken his hand? And why was she squeezing it now as if he were the lifeline she’d been looking to cling to?
A sob threatened her throat, and she let go of his hand. She didn’t want to cling to anyone. She’d been down that road before, hanging on to other people, holding to the idea that they would save her. But there was no one to save her now. Not Michael, not her grandmother, and not the tall cowboy standing next to her.
The only one who could save her, and her boy, was her. The only one she could truly count on to come through for her was herself.

Excerpted from Wish Upon a Cowboy by Jennie Marts. © 2019 by Jennie Marts. 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 Sets of Cowboys of Creedence Books 1-3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

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

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

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE OUTLAW’S HEART by Amy Sandas

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THE OUTLAW’S HEART (Runaway Brides Book 3) by Amy Sandas

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

6B06EF2E-E22C-48F8-9088-284FC26A68F1Three runaway brides
Determined to escape their fates
Flee West to find freedom that can only be had
in a cowboy’s arms…

Desperate to escape an unhappy marriage, Boston socialite Evelyn Perkins flees west in hopes of losing herself to the dusty frontier. But when her train is boarded by outlaws, Evelyn is taken for ransom. Despite her terror, Evelyn fears being returned to her husband more. Refusing to cooperate, she becomes the responsibility of a man whose steady gaze threatens to pierce her brave façade and reach the wounded heart within.

Gabriel Sloan has his orders, but the haunting shadows in the pretty young woman’s eyes spark an intense protective instinct he can’t deny. Every look, every touch brings them closer together. He would do anything to protect her, but dangerous men are on their trail, and soon the two must face Evelyn’s darkest nightmare— or risk losing the unexpected joy they’ve found forever…

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Excerpt

“ The tall, muscled man who’d stared at her across the fire was even more intimidating up close. He had expansive shoulders, thick arms barely contained in his pale-colored cotton shirt, and powerful legs encased in worn denim. In a graceful economy of muscle and movement, he folded his large body into a crouch, bringing his face even with hers.
And what a face it was. Strong and beautiful in a way she’d never seen before. He had a broad forehead and a long, straight nose. His jaw was sharply angled, as were his cheekbones, but his mouth was wide and his lips were soft and full.
But unsmiling.
Startled by his unexpected proximity, Evelyn flinched when he lifted his hand, realizing belatedly that he held a canteen and was offering it to her.
He did not react to her obvious fear. Instead, he remained still—his expression flat as his eyes held hers. “It’s water,” he said.
His voice matched the rest of him—richly complex and powerful. Something strange rolled through her at the sound. Like anticipation of a storm when you hear the rumble of distant thunder, but warmer.
Her lashes flickered as she glanced down at the canteen. She was unbelievably thirsty, but how could she trust anything offered by men who held her captive?
“If you want to survive, you’ll drink the water and eat the food,” he said quietly. The words were just between them. Still she did not reach for the canteen. “You want to live?” he asked, raising a brow.
Evelyn lifted her chin, regaining eye contact with the man, despite her uncertainty and fear. “Yes, I want to live,” she replied, surprising herself by the conviction in her words.
With a single, short nod, he extended the canteen a bit more. “Then drink.”
She lifted her hands to take the water, but because of the binding rope and her frozen fingers, she couldn’t grasp it.
Realizing her predicament, he gave a quiet grunt, then set the canteen on the ground and reached for her wrists. His large, warm hands surrounded her curled fists. He held them in silence for a moment—as if his only intention was to share his heat and offer comfort.
Though Evelyn felt the icy stiffness in her fingers dissipating, she resisted the instinctive desire to accept anything more. But she didn’t pull away.
And she wasn’t sure why.
“Don’t be scared,” he stated, still in a private tone. “You won’t be hurt.”
She searched his gaze in the darkness. She wanted to believe him, but she knew far too well how easily a man could hide wicked intent. “I am not so naive,” she replied, her voice barely more than a murmur of sound.
He did nothing to indicate he heard her reply as he released his hold on her hands and deftly loosened the ropes. He did not remove them altogether, but he allowed for a bit of freedom to use her hands more effectively. Then he picked up the canteen and offered it once again.
Evelyn managed to bring it to her lips this time and took a few long drinks. The water soothed her throat, but it also made her very aware of her empty stomach. Lowering the canteen, she offered it back to the man who remained patiently beside her. Watching her in silence.
His nearness was discomfiting. As were his size and his quiet manner.
She had no idea what to make of him. There was strength in him, something his muscled form attested to without effort, but he displayed not the slightest hint of temper or violence.
Of course, Matthew hadn’t either…until something set him off.
The outlaw took the canteen, never shifting his gaze from hers. Not even when the voices around the fire rose higher in discord.
“Shit,” the young one named Ramsey exclaimed, frustration clear in his tone. “We can still ransom the woman. I mean, look at her.”
Evelyn stiffened under the sudden flood of attention. The man crouched before her was still watching her carefully, and she feared she might have revealed her trepidation when his brows lowered over his gaze.
Did she really believe she was better off with these outlaws than in her husband’s hands?
Yes. Yes, she did. But that didn’t mean she was not in danger.
He stared at her for a moment longer before he rose to his feet and walked away without a word, leaving the canteen on the ground beside her. She couldn’t keep her gaze from following his powerful form as he melted into the darkness beyond the fire while the others continued discussing her fate.
She expected to release a breath of relief at being left alone again, but it didn’t come.
“With her fancy clothes and fine airs, there’s gotta be someone somewhere who’ll be willing to pay good money to get her back.”
Evelyn listened to the exchange with increasing tension. These men were right about one thing. Her husband would no doubt be willing to pay a small fortune to get her back. But there was nothing in the world that would convince her to tell them that.

Excerpted from The Outlaw’s Heart by Amy Sandas. © 2019 by Amy Sandas. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Runaway Brides Series:
The Gunslinger’s Vow (Book 1)
The Cowboy’s Honor (Book 2)
The Outlaw’s Heart (Book 3)

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Giveaway

5 Copies of The Cowboy’s Honor

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Amy Sandas’ love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.

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