Review: DANGEROUS LIES (Shades of Leverage) by Claudia Shelton

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DANGEROUS LIES (Shades of Leverage Series, Book 2) by Claudia Shelton

Publication Date: July 22, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

1243FEB9-49F6-4991-B2FB-540D91BB13DETo ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Granger, responsibility isn’t just a word. It’s his Code of Honor. But when assigned to protect Coercion Ten’s latest target, she challenges his authority, defies his rules, and wreaks havoc on his personal willpower. Fighting for her isn’t a problem. Giving his life for her isn’t a problem. Forgetting their world-stopping kiss? Definite problem. And if he can’t concentrate solely on keeping her safe, it may cost them both their lives.

Journalist Liz Walkert’s missing father sent her a cryptic message that she was in danger. What he didn’t tell her was why. Unbeknownst to Liz, her family has been in Witness Protection all her life. Mitch may be her bodyguard, but his protection comes close to being control, the one thing she has none of in his presence. After a kidnap attempt and a narrow escape from attacking CT forces, they both realize they’re going to need to focus on the mission and fight their attraction if they have any hope of surviving.

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3.5 stars Donna

This is an action-packed suspense, with danger around every turn. Some situations could seem improbable, but that only added to the thrills. I liked Mitch…the alpha-I’m-in-charge leader of this mission, especially when his thoughtfulness was at odds with his behavior. It gave him a nice depth to his character. I just could not understand his attraction to Liz beyond the physical one. She was all over the place. Petulant, frightened, sullen, shrew, and then sweet or sexy. Her behavior didn’t always match the situation or her world-traveler experience, or how she reacted to Mitch’s instructions when there was imminent danger. However, the romance progressed nicely with the physical relationship kept behind-closed-doors. All in all, this was an exhilarating, fast-paced story that truly kept you wondering how it would end.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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About the Author

Award-winning romance author Claudia Shelton could write her name before she started grade school. Now, she writes about alpha heroes and the women strong enough to love them. Most times, there’s a splash of suspense, intrigue or adventure, woven in to the story, plus a lot of sexy and sass. Plus in her writing world, the “good” guys always win.

Claudia’s debut novel, Risk of a Lifetime, released to 5-star reviews, reached Amazon’s Best Sellers Romance Series Top 100 and was named one of eBooks Galore top reads for 2014. She is also a two-time Daphne Du Maurier (Unpublished) finalist for excellence in mystery.
Nowadays, her time is spent on writing, social media and getting to know her readers. When she’s not in author mode, she loves spending time with family, friends and her two sweet, conniving rescue dogs. And, relaxing on her swing with a good book is always great a good idea.

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Review: DEVOTED TO LOVE: A Devoted Lovers Novel by Shayla Black

 

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DEVOTED TO LOVE: A Devoted Lovers Novel, Book 2 by Shayla Black

Publication Date: July 2, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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C8E7857A-5A53-4C8C-B60D-D21A535B0BDFHe was sent to guard her body… he didn’t expect her to steal his heart.

Her sister’s wedding was hardly the place to find a hook up, but after one look at friend-of-the-groom and special operative Josiah Grant, small-town Texas beauty Magnolia West immediately fell in lust. After a stunningly sensual night together, Maggie is prepared for the two of them to go their separate ways. After all, she’s not a happily-ever-after kind of girl. But Josiah—and danger—change her plans.

Josiah isn’t looking for love…but Maggie rouses his body and stirs his heart like no other woman. She’s got a rocky romantic past, and a smart man would steer clear. But when the murder quotient in Kendall County rises and all signs point to a mysterious group nearby who have been harassing Maggie’s family, he can’t leave her unprotected—especially when he realizes he’s fallen hard for her.

As tension mounts and the menace closes in, Josiah will do anything to prove to Maggie that their love is real…but can they stay alive long enough to share it?

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Donna review 4.5 stars

This was my first Devoted Lovers book and I had no problems keeping up with the characters. The beginning started like any other “meet at a wedding” trope, but the hints of upcoming danger added a nice edge. The smoking hot sex scenes also built onto the growing tension. Josiah is a Dom, but that didn’t overshadow their relationship or the story, rather it added a lusty heat to the bedroom. I connected with both characters to a point – I didn’t quite feel the love between them, only the lust and like. That didn’t ruin the story for me as their relationship and trust did build despite Maggie’s on-again/off-again behavior. (The “due to their pasts, they were both leery of any type of relationship, but powerless to stay away from each other” angle.) As for the antagonists in the cult, thankfully they weren’t completely stereotypical, instead showing a nice depth to their evil. I enjoyed this read and can’t wait for the next installment.

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

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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imageShayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels. For over fifteen years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold well over a million copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past seven years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and a very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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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…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Review: HER OTHER SECRET: A Novel by HelenKay Dimon

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HER OTHER SECRET: A Novel by HelenKay Dimon

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

BEC793FA-320E-44F0-9C96-6973BF5B3A49Is it the perfect escape?

 Whitaker Island is more than a getaway. For Tessa Jenkins, the remote strip of land in Washington state is a sanctuary. Fleeing from a shattering scandal, she has a new name, a chance at a new beginning, and a breathtaking new view: Hansen Rye. It’s hard not to crush on Whitaker’s hottest handyman. At six-foot-three and all kinds of fine, he’s also intensely private—and the attraction between them soon simmers dangerously out of control.

…or a private trap for two lovers?

After a devastating family tragedy, Hansen finds the pebbled shores of the faraway island to be an ideal refuge. Letting down his guard for the sexy, impulsive Tessa is an unexpected pleasure. But there’s another newcomer to Whitaker. He’s no stranger to Hansen. And when he’s murdered, the crime casts a threatening shadow. As suspicion falls on Hansen, all his secrets are about to collide with Tessa’s. Now the pasts they were determined to outrun are catching up to them. So is a killer who’s putting their love—and their lives—on the line.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I had fun reading this story. The witty repartee between Tessa and Hansen was easy and never seemed forced. The residents of the island added to the mystery and enjoyment, showing enough banter and secrets to make me hungry for more. I see a lot of future stories hiding in Whitaker.

Even though Tessa and Hansen were both hesitant to start a relationship, neither bogged down the romance with overdone reluctance. It all flowed nicely into a sexy story. As for the storyline…it was mystery upon mystery, with suspense and danger thrown in. Just when I thought I had things figured out – something new came up. The book was a bit convoluted at times, but that added to the who-done-it theme that wrapped up neatly in the end.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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About the Author

HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. Odd transition, right? She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin, Samhain, Carina Press, and HarperCollins. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: WOLF INSTINCT (SWAT) by Paige Tyler

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WOLF INSTINCT (SWAT, Book 9) by Paige Tyler

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

9CF36CFE-8068-490B-A07E-4BEE00567544He’s a wolf shifter.

She hunts monsters.

How can she be The One for him?

SWAT werewolf Zane Kendrick will do whatever it takes to take down the man who attacked his pack. His search takes him to Los Angeles, but when he meets Alyssa, the smart, sexy agent who comes to his aid, he’s immediately interested in pursuing more than just the next lead. All his wolf instincts tell him that she’s The One.

FBI agent Alyssa Carson has investigated some weird stuff lately, and finding missing people drained of their blood definitely falls into that category. When following a clue leads her to Zane, she agrees to work with him and his team. She’s attracted to the gorgeous Brit, but she doesn’t have time for anything but finding answers.

When Zane and Alyssa discover the sinister truth, it’ll take everything they have to make it out of this mission with their lives—and hearts—intact.

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Donna 5 Stars

What fun! This installment in the SWAT series had mystery, danger, action and of course…romance. I was wondering what would befall Zane and was a bit worried that it would be the stereotypical human damsel. I needn’t have worried. Alyssa turned out to be an FBI Agent tasked with working on possible supernatural issues, so she was not completely clueless to the possibility of the paranormal. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t shocked though. I love that she is a strong woman, but never crossing the line into bitch-mode, thus making Zane’s attraction more than just “she’s the one”. Their relationship developed nicely, letting us see Zane’s Alpha side without it going Neanderthal. Ms. Tyler gave them each a depth that made me care about them.  As always, I love the SWAT Team’s camaraderie – now including Alyssa’s people. The book has me excited for new expanding possibilities in the series…I only wish I didn’t have to wait.

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

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Excerpt

“Are you?” he asked. “Happy being an FBI agent, I mean.”
“Yeah.” She smiled. “The pay isn’t the greatest and I practically live in hotels, but I love what I do.”
“That’s what’s important.” Zane leaned forward, resting his forearms on the table. “I am curious how you find time for anything resembling a social life since you’re never in one place very long.”
She snorted, remembering how Christine had ragged on her about this same subject. “Social life. What’s that? As far as I’m concerned, if the FBI wanted me to have a social life, they’d issue me one, like my sidearm and badge.”
Zane lifted a brow. “Are you saying that a woman as beautiful as you hasn’t gone on a date with anyone in a year and half?”
Coming from anyone but Zane, that question might have irritated her. But for whatever reason, it didn’t. She especially liked the compliment. “While I’m not going to come out and put an exact time frame on it, I’ll admit it’s been a while. But if we’re going to discuss our social lives, how about you? Don’t tell me a big, good-looking man like you isn’t involved with someone.”
Zane’s gaze turned molten in the sun coming through the window and she felt her stomach do that funny flutter thing that had only started happening after they’d met. “If I were involved with someone, do you think I would have kissed you like I did last night?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “Would you?”
He lifted his mug and took a long, slow sip of coffee. “No, I wouldn’t have. I’ve dated a few women since moving to Dallas. Probably more than a few, I guess. But it never felt right with any of them, and after a while, it didn’t seem worth the effort. Then I met you and everything felt different. That’s why I kissed you.”
She’d just been messing with him about kissing her if he was involved with someone. His response was a lot more real than she’d expected. The part about why he’d kissed her made her warm all over. But the stuff about him not connecting with anyone since leaving London hurt more than she would have thought possible.
“You broke up with your fiancée a long time ago,” she pointed out. “Are you saying that in all that time, you never met anyone you could see yourself falling for?”
He didn’t answer at first, pausing to slowly chew his Pop-Tart. When he did finally answer her question, he kept his gaze fixed on the mug in front of him. “This probably won’t make much sense, but for people like me, it can be difficult finding that perfect person we’re supposed to be with. Some might even say it’s impossible.” The words were so soft she had to lean forward to hear them. “When the woman I thought was the right one for me walked out, I didn’t think it could happen again. But since meeting you, I’ve started thinking maybe I gave up too soon.”
Alyssa didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t a declaration of love or anything, but still…
Picking up her mug, she got up and poured herself more coffee. She held the pot up in Zane’s direction, but he shook his head. She didn’t necessarily want a refill, but it gave her a chance to think about everything he’d said. The guy had just unleashed a lot. It would take a while to absorb it all.
Like those three simple but significant words: people like me. Just that fast, the big, sexy Brit had confirmed he was different. Surprisingly, that acknowledgment didn’t bother her as much as she thought it might. While she’d discounted the possibility of him using some kind of spell on her, part of her wondered if Zane was putting out some kind of supernatural pheromone to attract his victims with and make them easier to subdue. But one look at him sitting at the table chewing thoughtfully on his frosted brown sugar Pop-Tart made her toss that ridiculous idea right out of her head. Zane didn’t need to put out any pheromones to lure her in. All he had to do was look at her.
She shook her head. One smile from him and she was ready to throw caution to the wind. Was she really that easy?
Alyssa walked back over to the table with her coffee, thinking about the other stuff Zane had said—especially the part where he’d confessed he’d given up on the idea of finding someone until meeting her. She’d never thought of herself as the kind of woman who cared about romantic drivel, but when Zane said those words, she had to admit there’d been some serious feels going on. Part of her wanted to wrap her arms around him and hug him. The other part wanted to throw him on the floor and bang him like a cheap screen door—but that part was only making noise because it had been so long since she’d gotten laid.
“So,” she said, ignoring her chair and instead sitting on the edge of the table right in front of Zane. “I’m guessing you think I might be this perfect someone you’d given up hope of ever finding? Do you mind if I ask what makes you think that?”
Zane pushed his chair back a bit to make room for her, his dark eyes meeting hers. “You’re not going to like this answer, but…it’s complicated.”
He was right. She didn’t like it. “You’re going to have to do better than that.”
“Let’s just say the first time I saw you at that club, taking down Stefan’s goon, I knew you were someone special. And even though I’m still not sure if I’m comfortable with the idea—actually, I’m downright terrified—I’m also sure you’re The One for me.”
That sounded so romance-bookish Alyssa almost laughed out loud. The serious expression on Zane’s face was the only thing that stopped her. It might be crazy as heck, but the big, sexy hunk seemed to genuinely believe it.
They sat there looking at each other, Alyssa cupping both hands around her mug, breathing in the warm coffee while Zane seemed to be holding his breath like he thought she might bolt for the door at any second. Which was crazy since this was her room.
“Okay,” she said, setting her mug on the table. “Assuming you’re right and I’m The One for you, what do we do now?”
Zane grinned. “Kissing would be nice, yes?”
His big hands were coming up to wrap around her hips, tugging her forward off the table and onto the chair with him until she was straddling his thighs. As sexy as that position might be, Alyssa couldn’t help laughing. “Seriously? That’s the movie line you’re going with to get into my panties?”
Zane buried his fingers in her hair, tugging her mouth closer to his. Just before their lips met, he flashed her that thousand-watt smile, which made her pulse skip a beat. “I don’t know,” he murmured, his coffee-scented breath warm on her skin. “Did it work?”
Alyssa hadn’t realized exactly what she’d said—about getting into her panties—until right then. But as she gazed down at Zane and his beautiful smile, she decided letting him have his way with her unmentionables sounded like a really good idea. After that, who knew what she might let him get into?
She didn’t bother to answer his question. Instead, she lowered her mouth to his and kissed him hard enough to pull a growl out of him. And what an interesting growl it was, rumbling up through his chest and straight into her open mouth, making little tingles and shivers dance all over her body.
Apparently, she was into guys who growled.

Excerpted from Wolf Instinct by Paige Tyler. © 2019 by Paige Tyler. 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

5 Copies of WOLF RISING

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the author image

Paige is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She graduated from The University of West Florida with a degree in education in 2000, but decided to pursue a full-time career as a writer in 2004. Since then, she’s written over fifty books in several genres, including paranormal, contemporary, western, sci-fi and erotica. She loves writing about strong, sexy, alpha males and the feisty, independent women who fall for them. From verbal foreplay to sexual heat, her stories of romance, adventure, suspense, passion and true love will leave you breathlessly panting for more.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review: THAT SECOND CHANCE (Getting Lucky Book 1) by Meghan Quinn

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THAT SECOND CHANCE (Getting Lucky Book 1) by Meghan Quinn

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Synopsis

246EDDC9-69CD-4D8E-A991-40BE2540261AUSA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn delivers a smart and cheeky romance about love’s power to lift hearts . . . and curses.

It was supposed to be an innocent night, celebrating my brother’s birthday. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. We’d vowed to be on our best behavior after all . . .

But it only took one rowdy night with my brothers to flip my world upside down. One unlucky encounter saddled us with a family curse and the promise of doomed relationships. I laughed it off immediately. “Yeah, right,” I thought. “A love curse. Ha!”

Boy, was I wrong.

Word spreads quickly in a town like mine; rumors about that night soon made us the most eligible yet untouchable bachelors in Port Snow, Maine. As a subject of endless gossip and speculation, I could kiss my dating life goodbye.

It would have stayed that way if Ren Winters, the new girl in town, hadn’t crashed into my life. Brave, beautiful, and smart—her vivacious thirst for a fresh start has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can have one too.

Everyone wishes for that second chance . . . but could this really be mine?

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Donna 5 Stars

After reading this, I am moving to Port Snow. I loved the people in the little town and how they interacted. I liked Ren right away with her slightly awkward introduction to Griffin…who was of course, wonderful. They had a wonderful flirty banter that never seemed forced, but rather flowed off the page and made me smile. The same holds true with Griffin’s family and their teasing and fun verbal sparring. The love story moved at an appropriate pace and the heat level was just right. It all came together to make a lovely contemporary romance that still has me smiling. I can’t wait for book two, and hope Ms. Quinn decides to write more than just the two…I want more.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

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About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.

Never miss another NEW RELEASE, text READ to 474747.

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Review & Giveaway: SOLACE ISLAND (Solace Island Series) by Meg Tilly

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CLIFF’S EDGE (Solace Island Series Book 2) by Meg Tilly

Publication Date: May 21, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

40FFF8DE-69FC-44FB-8731-7F0521226ACAMeg Tilly returns with a second gripping romantic suspense novel set on the idyllic Solace Island in the Pacific Northwest.

Eve Harris is all set to house-sit and run the bakery she shares with her sister while Maggie goes on her honeymoon, but there’s one problem—the house is already occupied. By a movie star. He claims to be her brother-in-law’s friend, and not only does he insist on staying, he also offers to help. Playing house has never been so tempting…

Rhys Thomas is looking for a place to lie low after wrapping up his latest film, so when Luke offers up his house as a safe haven, Rhys sees the perfect opportunity for a little R & R. But rest is the last thing on his mind as he and Eve grow close.

But Eve and Rhys are not as alone as they think. And as danger trails Eve, it will take everything Rhys has to save the woman he loves.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I enjoyed this romantic suspense installment in the Solace Island series. The looming danger started off with a bang and made me edgy wondering when the axe would fall. Granted, the villain was a bit questionable for me regarding logistics and probability, but not enough to ruin this sexy romance. Although Eve made me frown when she came across as a bit of a harpy to Rhys in the beginning, that changed rather quickly so we could get down to the budding romance. I liked her and related to her. I was pleased that Rhys didn’t play as the stereotypical famous actor. He was personable, had a deep past and was an all-around nice guy – easy to fall in love with. Their romance flowed nicely into quite a sexy relationship. It was a fun trip back to Solace Island and has me anxious to visit again.

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

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter Facebook Paperback Giveaway HERE

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

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: DEFENDING HARLOW by Susan Stoker

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DEFENDING HARLOW (Mountain Mercenaries Series, Book 4) by Susan Stoker

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author Guest Post

A Mountain Mercenary’s Sneak Attack with Author Susan Stoker

Defending Harlow is book 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series. Each book features one of the men who were recruited by the mysteries “Rex” to work on his team to help rescue kidnapped women and children. In this book we meet Lowell “Black” Lockard who was a Navy SEAL before he became a Mountain Mercenary. He joined the group because after his stint in the Navy, he realized that he was happiest when he was being useful, helping others. He’d been close to his fellow SEALs when he’d been on active duty, but somehow he was even closer with his fellow Mountain Mercenaries.

They worked together, they played together, and they simply enjoyed spending time with each other both during missions and when they were living their lives in Colorado Springs.

Black loves that his friends have found women that completed them. Gray met Allye when he rescued her from a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and they had to swim for hours to safety. Ro met Chloe when her brother was holding her hostage in his house and was about to pimp her out from his strip club. And Arrow met Morgan when they’d been down in the Dominican Republic to rescue a child who’d been kidnapped by her non custodial father. Turns out, Morgan was one of the most famous missing people the United States had ever had, and she’d been held for over a year before she’d accidentally been found by the Mountain Mercenaries.

He loves that his friends are happy, but realizes that he is…bored. He wants someone to laugh with. To talk to at the end of the day. To break the routine of his life. He envies his friends for having that.

Meeting Harlow is a turning part in Black’s life. She makes him laugh and he’s intrigued more than he’s ever been by a woman before. And realizing they went to the same high school once upon a time makes him even more curious. But there’s a problem…Harlow has had bad date after bad date and she’s sworn off dating forever.

But Black won’t give up. He decides to “trick” her by refusing to call what they’re doing as ‘dates.’ They’re just “hanging out.” And the more he spends time with her, the more he likes her…and vice versa. Harlow will have to decide whether or not to take a chance on Black, and he’ll have to figure out how to neutralize the threat looming over Harlow and the women’s shelter she works at or else the semantics of what they’re doing will be a moot point, because someone might end up dead.

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Synopsis

E91B720F-CCD3-4946-ABE1-0C48AE0BA083Lowell “Black” Lockard, former Navy SEAL, has watched his fellow Mountain Mercenaries settle down with the women of their dreams, but he’s convinced he doesn’t need love. Then he gets a call from Harlow Reese—a chef at a local women’s shelter—and begins to reconsider his decision.

After being continually harassed by a local band of punks, Harlow asks Lowell to give the women of the shelter lessons in self-defense. She doesn’t expect him to take such a special interest in her safety, but he insists on escorting her to and from work, never taking no for an answer. Not that Harlow minds the personal touch…especially when it’s coming from her former teenage crush.

Despite her long history of bad dating luck, seeing Black again makes Harlow rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Easy on the eyes and hard to forget, the man has morphed into an alpha stud. And Harlow may be exactly the type of woman Black is looking for. Making her feel safe isn’t only a duty; it’s a pleasure. But the threats are escalating. The motives are a mystery. And as the danger burns almost as hot as their passion, there’s much more at risk than their hearts.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

This is my favorite of the Mountain Mercenaries series. Harlow and Black were both characters that were easy to bond with and I loved watching Black’s ingenious plan to win her heart play out. It was sweet, romantic, and had just enough sex to spice it up. Black’s fellow mercenaries interacted more, and their banter made them feel like a close-knit group with unshakable bonds. Just what I love in a group series. The action flowed quite nicely with the budding romance, never appearing gratuitous or forced as it reached its climax. I only have one request….I want to know more about Rex! I guess I’ll just have to wait impatiently for book 5.

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

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Excerpt

Neither said anything for a while as they drove toward downtown.

Finally, Harlow asked, “Where are we going?”

“The Pit.”

“Where?”

Lowell smiled. “Since this isn’t a date, and we’re talking about the shelter, I decided I should take you to the place where me and my team conduct business. The Pit.”

“It sounds scary. Please tell me there aren’t snakes on the floor and Indiana Jones isn’t going to pop up and run pell-mell through the place being chased by members of an ancient civilization because they want their artifact back.”

Harlow stared at Lowell when he threw his head back and laughed loud and long. She couldn’t help but chuckle herself. The man sitting next to her was so different from any man she’d dated in the past—no, wait … this wasn’t a date. Nope. Not even close.

“I can’t wait to tell the others that. No, Harl, The Pit is a combination bar and pool hall. It’s pretty much a hole-in-the-wall kind of place.”

“Why do you do business in a bar?” Harlow asked.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. The Pit is where we were interviewed when we were first asked to join the Mountain Mercenaries … I’m assuming you know about the team?”

She nodded. “A bit. Loretta told me. I’m sorry if she spoke out of turn, but she was trying to reassure me that you knew what you were doing and could help us.”

“I can help you,” Lowell confirmed. “And in a nutshell, me and my teammates are all former Special Forces soldiers, and we work for Rex, getting women and children out of untenable situations.”

“Why mercenaries? I mean, it doesn’t sound like that’s what you guys really are.”

Lowell shook his head, and a small smile formed on his face. “Why do women always concentrate on that word?” he asked, more to himself than her.

Harlow answered him even though he hadn’t really asked. “Because. It’s weird that you call yourselves something that you technically aren’t. I wouldn’t start a catering business and call it Harlow Photography.”

“Point taken. I don’t know why Rex chose that name. Probably because it was catchy and sounded better than Colorado Badasses, or Your Worst Nightmare.”

Harlow couldn’t stop the bark of laughter that escaped. “True.”

“The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what we’re called. We’re six men who go where we’re needed and do what we have to do to rescue those who need a helping hand. I know women are empowered, and there are many who are just as talented at what they do as we are. But the fact remains, there are a lot of men out there who feel the need to subjugate and beat down the women and children in their lives. They take advantage of teenagers who are too young to know better or those who have had horrible lives. They hurt them and force them to do things against their will. It’s not right, or fair, and me and my friends are playing a small part in trying to right those wrongs.”

Harlow wasn’t sure how their light and playful conversation had turned so intense, but she turned slightly in her seat to better look at Lowell. His teeth were clenched, and the hand on the steering wheel was holding on so tightly, she could see his knuckles turning white. He obviously felt deeply about the topic and his job, and Harlow couldn’t be more proud of him.

“I’m proud to know you, Lowell Lockard.”

He looked at her in surprise. “What?”

“The world needs more men like you and your friends. I don’t know why men like the ones harassing the shelter are the way they are. Why they feel the need to exert their power over those they deem weaker than them. But I’m glad you’re there to help tip the scales. Other than the high-speed-chase guy, generally I haven’t been afraid of my bad dates, I’ve just been disgusted by or disappointed in them. But I know there are a lot of women out there who’re in bad marriages and relationships, and it helps knowing there are people who care. People who will put their own lives on the line to help get others out of those situations, if asked.”

Lowell pulled into a parking lot of a dark and seedy-looking building, and Harlow wasn’t surprised to see the neon sign above the door that said The Pit. This was exactly the kind of place where she imagined Lowell and his fellow badasses would meet.

He stopped the engine, brought the hand he was still holding up to his mouth, and kissed the back of it. “Stay put. I’ll come around.”

He went to let go of her, but Harlow held on to his hand. “This isn’t a date,” she said, not sure if she was reminding him or herself. “It’s a work meeting. I let you pick me up, but I should’ve driven myself. And I can open my own door and pay my own way.”

Lowell leaned into her, and Harlow forced herself not to pull back.

“I know this isn’t a date. You don’t date. I heard that loud and clear, Harl. But in my world—and make no mistake; when you’re with me, you’re in my world—a man opens a door for a lady. He walks on the outside of the sidewalk, he picks her up whenever possible, and he pays for drinks and meals. If it makes you feel better, you can think of this as a business expense I can write off on my taxes.”

Harlow stared at him for a beat, then nodded. What else could she do? She didn’t want to like Lowell’s world, but she had to admit it felt good being there. She’d had doors shut in her face when men had entered ahead of her and hadn’t held them open. She’d had to pay for her own meals on dates. And she’d even had an experience when she’d literally almost been run over by a bus in Seattle because she’d been forced to walk on the outside of the sidewalk near the curb.

“Okay,” she said.

“Okay,” Lowell said with a small smile. Then he squeezed her hand once more and climbed out.

“Not a date, not a date,” Harlow chanted to herself quietly as Lowell walked around his car to come to her side. He opened her door and held out a hand. Taking a deep breath, Harlow put her hand back in his and allowed him to help her up and out of the low seat.

He didn’t let go of her hand once she was standing next to him, though. He simply shut the car door with his free hand and led her toward the door of the bar.

Not a date, she told herself once more as Lowell smiled at her and pulled open the heavy wooden door.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Susan Stoker’s DEFENDING HARLOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

 

Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: SMOOTH MOVES by Marie Harte

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SMOOTH MOVES (Veteran Movers Series, Book 2) by Marie Harte

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

E9FDB385-D64D-404F-8262-FBA0ACC3FF02He may be all brawn
But when it really counts… His heart is all gold

Former Marine Cash Griffith is a brawny beacon for trouble, always finishing a fight that someone else starts. Working at his family’s moving company, he does his best to keep a low profile, but he can’t help but tangle with the newest employee, Jordan Fleming.

When Jordan joins Vets on the Go! she has her hands full with her new job and her rebellious teenage brother, not to mention going toe to toe with the obnoxious, arrogant, incredibly hot Marine at work. Soon their battles turn to camaraderie, and one kiss leads to a connection neither of them expected. But when dark secrets come to light, will their bond break…or strengthen into a happily-ever-after they desperately desire?

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Donna 5 Stars

Oh my, I loved this story of the Vets on the Go. Cash had me intrigued in book one, but now he is my favorite guy. Rough around the edges, but a teddy-bear inside. I just knew he and Jordan would make a good pair. They each had the cutting wit and tough-guy persona that sparked between them. I was actually surprised to like Jordan as much as I did. Their romance was sweet with a huge dose of sexy thrown in….and I loved it. One of my favorite parts of this series is the camaraderie between the co-workers and family members. It just works and makes me want to apply for a job there. The dialogue is smooth, the romance is touching, and the group dynamic is nicely written. It ticked all my boxes.

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

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Excerpt

Smith left them, and Cash glared at Smith’s back until he disappeared into the office. “I hate that guy.”

“I think the feeling is mutual.” Jordan wondered why.

“Has he been bothering you?” The look in Cash’s dark-green eyes warned her the man spoiled for a fight.

“Nope. He’s easy to get along with.”

Cash seemed disappointed. “Oh.”

“And he rarely talks. We got the Jasper job done in one day. Would have been back sooner, but traffic sucked.”

He let out a long sigh. “So what’s this favor I ‘owe you’?”

“I need you to talk to my brother.” The admission she couldn’t handle her own family felt easier while looking at his chest.

“Your brother?”

She glanced up, saw his interest, the way it lit up his face, and did her best not to stare at his firm, kissable lips. Damn it. She needed to focus on the man’s irritability, not his sex appeal.

Jordan swallowed. “How about I tell you about it over dinner tonight? And before you get any weird ideas, this is in no way a date. I do not want to have sex with you. I am not flirting or leading you on in any way. This is strictly to help my brother.”

He just stared at her. Unfortunately, behind him, Reid and Smith stared at her as well.

She felt her cheeks heat and wished she could sink through the floor.

“Man, I heard that,” Smith just had to say. “She in no way, shape, or form wants you, Cash. Not fucking at all.” Smith laughed as he walked away. His shouted “Rejected,” followed by more laughter, boomed down the corridor.

“Please tell me I can hit him,” he said to Reid.

“No. But I’m curious to hear why Jordan thinks she has to have this conversation with you,” Reid said. Jordan privately thought of him as Cash-Light. He had the same good looks but not as concentrated. Reid had a more slender build than his bulky older brother, and he had gray eyes. Not the mysterious, deep green of Cash’s. The debonair Griffith as opposed to Cash’s raw, wild bad boy.

“I’m not harassing her. Jesus, Reid.” Cash ran a hand through his hair, which caused his massive biceps to bulge. “Tell him, Jordan.”

A sucker for a pretty body more than a pretty face, Jordan felt every time she looked at Cash as if she’d been hit by a two-by-four because he possessed both. She nodded, distracted, wondering how much he could really bench-press.

“He is harassing you?” Reid asked, frowning.

“What? No, not at all.” She felt like a moron and forced herself to meet Reid’s concerned gaze. “Sorry. I meant I agreed with Cash. He’s fine. I just wanted to make sure my offer of dinner wasn’t confusing.” She wryly added, “You know your brother does better when things are laid out on the table.”

“True. Subtle he is not.”

“I’m right here,” Cash growled.

They both ignored him. “So you’re good then?” Reid asked her.

“Dandy.”

“Great. I’ll see you tomorrow. Cash, I’ll be—”

“At Naomi’s. Shocker.” Cash shrugged, but Jordan had a sense his brother’s new relationship bothered him.

Reid didn’t seem to notice. “Have a good night, you two.” He started down the corridor. “Oh, and Cash, close up for me, would you?” Reid didn’t wait for his answer as he disappeared into the stairway.

“Why not? Not like I have a life or anything,” Cash muttered as he walked into the office. “Well? You coming?”

Jordan hurried after him and helped him turn everything off and lock up. They walked down the stairs and exited the building to the parking lot. She took a moment to watch the sun hide behind some purple clouds. Orange rays penetrated the sky-blue horizon and dotted through indigo and pink clouds, painting a picture. She wished she could bask in the moment, letting go of the worries dragging her down.

But Rafi hadn’t been around for breakfast this morning, and she knew he’d avoided her on purpose. Between yesterday’s conversation and the call she’d earlier received from his school advisor, she’d come to the end of her rope. And the timing couldn’t have been better, with her brother spending the next few days at their parents’ for a change.

Cash stopped at his car and turned to her. “Your place for dinner, you said?”

“Yes. Follow me. It’s a ten-minute drive. I’ll text you the address in case you get lost.” She sent it to him before getting into her car.

He followed without too much of a hassle since the hour had passed six. Once at her place, she parked and waited for him. The apartment complex didn’t look like much on the outside, but she had a furnished, one-bedroom unit for under a thousand in rent, and the landlord seemed like a nice lady. Since Jordan was ex-military, the woman had foregone the $200 nonrefundable cleaning fee and full rental deposit.

After letting them both in, Jordan took a glance around. The addition of Rafi to her tiny apartment made life cramped, but Jordan had lived under worse conditions. The place was clean, fitted out, and, if not to her taste, at least nothing to be embarrassed about. Yet she felt a case of nerves as Cash shadowed her, his large presence impossible to ignore.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

5 Copies of The Whole Package

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.

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: SEAL WOLF SURRENDER by Terry Spear

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SEAL WOLF SURRENDER by Terry Spear

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

782E2A20-60C3-4D26-ACDB-D4A446E7F7A2For a shifter with no interest in she-wolves…he sure is territorial.

Wolf shifter and former Navy SEAL Brock Greystoke isn’t interested in she-wolves. The last one in his life ambushed him with the intent to kill. So when he’s tasked with helping his cousin’s friend get to a wedding, he has no intention of getting involved with her…

She-wolf Natalie Silverton has inadvertently crossed a group of dangerous criminals, and she’s in dire need of a bodyguard. Good thing Brock is there to protect her. At every turn, their work—and play—brings them closer to catching the criminals and to each other, but Brock will have to get them out of this alive if he has any hope of winning Natalie’s heart.

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3.5 stars Donna

I enjoyed the storyline in this SEAL Wolf installment and the garden store aspect added a nice touch to the story. The action rarely let up and helped to show the camaraderie of the pack while dealing with the antagonists. I liked Natalie and Brock as a couple, but wished there was more emotion in their romance, something to make me feel their attraction and blooming love instead of just being expected. It felt flat for me…which is a shame since I enjoy her books. That being said, I couldn’t put the book down until I saw how everything fell into place.

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

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Excerpt

Using her GPS, Natalie drove from the airport toward Granby, but somewhere along the way, she took a wrong turn, then another. After fifteen minutes of rerouting directions on her GPS, she called Angie. “Hey, my GPS is going crazy. Can you guide me there?”

“I’m sending a SEAL to the rescue. I’m in the middle of toasts. Here, talk to Brock.”

“No, that’s okay, I’ll just—-”

“Tell me where you are,” a sexy, deep–baritone male voice said. “I’ll meet you there, and you can follow me here.”

Ugh, if it didn’t mean so much to both of them for Natalie to be there, she would have just skipped it. She wondered if the SEAL was as sexy–looking as he sounded though.

She blew out her breath in an annoyed way. “I’m at—-” She looked around. “I don’t know where. I parked at a garden nursery called the Denver Garden Center.”

“There are four of them.”

Of course there were.

His voice calm, as if he was used to helping women in distress, Brock asked, “What are the intersecting roads?”

Oh, just great. “Wait just a minute.” She couldn’t see any intersecting roads! She looked at her GPS. “Um, I think I’m off North Boulevard.”

“Okay, that’s the nearest one to the restaurant. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

“You can just give me directions.” Otherwise, she would be thirty minutes late instead of fifteen.

“It’s your call, Natalie. I’m one of Aaron’s cousins, Brock Greystoke, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Brock. Yeah, it will save us both time, so just give me the directions.” And hopefully, she could make it there without having to be escorted the rest of the way. She could hear all the noisy lunch guests having fun without her. She preferred working with plants more than partying with people. And she had a total love–hate relationship with the GPS. She loved it when it worked. She hated it when it got her lost.

“All right, I’ll stay on the line and get you here that way,” Brock said.

She could listen to his calm, soothing, masculine voice all day. She imagined hers sounded frazzled and annoyed. “Okay.”

“Turn right onto North Boulevard. Stay in the right–hand lane. You’ll turn on the first exit to the right.”

“Okay, leaving the nursery. I’m on North Boulevard, coming up to the first exit on the right.”

“Good,” Brock said, and she was glad he didn’t sound as if he thought she was an idiot.

“Okay, exited North Boulevard.”

“Go down to the third signal and turn left on Elm Street.”

“Oak Street. Ash Street. Elm Street.”  

Brock chuckled. Okay, she knew she sounded silly, but she really, really hated getting lost in a strange city, especially when she was already late! She was really nervous about meeting all these strange wolves. Despite working in her parents’ garden shop and being used to meeting customers—-human customers—-or presenting educational programs to humans, she wasn’t used to meeting a lot of wolves.

“Keep going. You’re nearly there. Stay in the right lane, and at the third signal, you’ll turn right. Dallas’s Steak House is three buildings down on your right.”

“Thank you. I so appreciate it. I’m nearly there.” She should have just thanked him and signed off, but he wasn’t ending the call either, and she felt more at ease knowing if she missed the steak house somehow, Brock would redirect her and make sure she got there all right. “Okay, I see the steak house, and I’m pulling into the parking lot.”

“You’re driving a blue Toyota?”

“Uh, yeah.” She turned to look at the deck leading to the front door of the restaurant, where a large fountain was flowing into a basin.

Wearing blue jeans, a dress shirt, cowboy boots, and a Stetson, Brock was standing next to the fountain, appearing bigger than life, but he looked as though he was into roping steers rather than scuba diving as a SEAL wolf. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a sensuous mouth, curved up in a slight smile, greeted her. His gaze was intense, all–consuming. She parked her car and joined him.

“You must be Natalie, Angie’s best friend. Brock Greystoke, Aaron’s cousin.” Brock offered his hand to her and she shook it, but then worried hers was a little clammy from sweating out the drive there. She should have wiped her hand off on her skirt before she shook his hand.

“All Angie’s talked about was one of us running to the airport and picking you up so you wouldn’t get lost. You know, instead of staying at the hotel, you could stay with any of the families in the town of Greystoke out in Wolf Valley. That way, you won’t have to make the long drive there in the morning for the wedding. I know how it is when you want to have your own getaway vehicle though. Oh, and welcome to Colorado. Angie said you’ve never been here before.”

“Thanks, and no, I haven’t.” How could she tell the darkly handsome wolf she preferred staying at her own hotel because she didn’t want to put anyone out? They’d insist she wasn’t, but she just needed…her own space. She wondered how much Angie had told her new pack members about her.

She sighed, and Brock opened the door to the restaurant for her. The noisy conversation inside was nearly deafening, partly because of their enhanced wolf hearing. That was why she preferred her garden nursery to this.

The aroma of hickory–cooked steaks did appeal though.

“Are you ready for a good–sized steak after all the flying and rushing to get here?” Brock asked.

“Yes. I hate being so late.”

“Don’t worry about it. We just started at noon, and it’s only a quarter of one. Everyone is enjoying cocktails and appetizers first.”

Natalie figured no one would realize she hadn’t been there earlier since no one even knew her and Angie would have been too busy enjoying herself. But Natalie hated arriving late to anything, as if she were the star of the occasion and needed a big entrance. Yet she was vitally aware of the man walking beside her, his arm brushing hers as they moved closer together so that customers could get by them. When a waiter nearly ran into her, Brock adroitly slipped in behind her, pulling her out of the waiter’s way.

Heat spread through her whole body, and Natalie tried to think of anything other than the way his body was pressed against hers in the sudden crush of customers as a large party was leaving the restaurant. “Angie told me you and your brother, Vaughn, are Navy SEALs. Are you just here on a visit?” she asked Brock.

“No, we’re both out of the navy now, retired. You know how it is. We didn’t look like we were aging, so as soon as we could, we retired. Both of us had been private investigators. Vaughn hooked up with a jaguar policing force that’s called the United Shifter Force, and he has a mate now. They live out here, but their headquarters is in the Houston area. They travel there whenever they need to for a mission. I’m doing the PI business on my own now.”

“You look like you wrangle steers too.”

He smiled at her.

She felt her face flush with heat. Maybe that was the wrong thing to say to him. She saw men wearing western wear in Amarillo too, so she was used to seeing it.

“I help out on Aaron’s ranch when I can. I just like getting out and riding a bit. Do you ride?”

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About the Author

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

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