Sourcebook Christmas Guide Roudups

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CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE ROUNDUPS

‪MISTLETOE IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo Book 5) by Kari Lynn Dell for $5.68 https://amzn.to/2EgBW7F
Gift this to: Anyone who loves all things Texas or rodeo, and fans of second chance romance
Suggested gift pairing: A cute Texas cookie cutter, or a bag of Texas Pecan coffee for a warm and authentic treat. (Because a horse won’t fit under the tree!)

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COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE (Holiday, Texas Book 2) by Dylann Crush for $4.99 https://amzn.to/2EbGoVv‬
Gift this to: The friend who loves Christmas more than any other holiday, and fans of small town cowboy romance
Suggested gift pairing: Anything Christmas related – bonus points if there are cowboy boots involved.

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ROCKY MOUNTAIN COWBOY CHRISTMAS (Rocky Mountain Cowboys Book 1) by Katie Ruggle for $5.68 https://amzn.to/2LayGMJ
Gift this to: Anyone who has ever wanted to live on a Christmas tree farm (!) or cowboy readers who like a little suspense
Suggested gift pairing: A pine-scented candle, or a favorite piece from a local artist (in honor of our folk artist heroine)

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COWBOY SEAL CHRISTMAS (Navy SEAL Cowboys Book 3) by Nicole Helm for $5.68 https://amzn.to/2LbAvJt
Gift this to: The friend whose favorite holiday movie is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or anyone who thinks horses and heroes are a winning combination.
Suggested gift pairing: Cute notecards, a framed photo, or an invitation to a holiday celebration because Christmas is all about connecting with the people we love!

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A BILLIONAIRE WOLF FOR CHRISTMAS by Terry Spear for $5.68 https://amzn.to/2EbI0P3‬
Gift this to: The friend who has a long checklist for her perfect guy (billionaire, doctor, wolf shifter) or anyone who loves a trope mashup!
Suggested gift pairing: If you can’t find a half-naked billionaire to put a bow on, then how about an adorable book themed tote to throw a copy into.

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MY FOREVER HOME (Rescue Me Book 3) by Debbie Burns for $4.88 https://amzn.to/2Lb5rt8
Gift this to: Dog lovers, and fans of
Suggested gift pairing: A puppy! (just kidding) For the minimalist friend, give this along with making a donation to a local no-kill rescue shelter. For something that’s easier to wrap, pair this with a cozy pair of red mittens for a soft and sweet gift.

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Don’t forget gifts for you! At the holidays we always spend so much time thinking about others that it’s easy to leave ourselves out. Treat yourself this Christmas and enter to win all 6 holiday books! Then cozy up with a blanket, a hot cup of whatever you like, and get lost in a wonderful romance.

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Giveaway

5 Sets of Casablanca Christmas Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: MY FOREVER HOME (Rescue Me) by Debbie Burns

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MY FOREVER HOME (Rescue Me Series, Book 3) by Debbie Burns

Publication Date: November 27, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

683FC058-AF3E-4819-91E7-268645CE8F1DLove comes to the rescue.

Vet school drop-out Tess Grasso dreams of having her own pet therapy business, but she meets one disastrous obstacle after another. There’s no denying she has a way with animals, so in the meantime she puts her skills to use at a local no-kill shelter. Between helping her furry companions and a budding relationship with fellow dog lover Mason Redding, Tess begins to find fresh confidence…

What Tess doesn’t know is that Mason is recovering from an accident, hoping to get back to his pro-baseball career. He’s afraid the truth will ruin everything—and he’s right. But in the midst of hurt and betrayal, a free-spirited stray Husky enters their lives, and teaches them a few things about faith, love and forgiveness.

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Excerpt

“So, were you heading out of town or are you just getting back?” he asked as he turned the truck down a narrow alley. He was really hoping the thief had dumped Tess’s stolen suitcase and backpack in one of these Dumpsters.
“That’s a good question considering what we’re on the hunt for,” Tess said. “Neither, really. I got back from Europe about a month ago. I’m staying put in St. Louis for a bit. I was on a sales call.”
Mason parked the truck at a row of three Dumpsters, two trash and one recycling. “Europe, huh? I’ve never been, but I’m taking my parents in January.” He slipped the truck into Park and switched his wipers to low. “You can stay here if you’d like. I’ll call you if I see anything.”
Tess unbuckled her seat belt. “Thanks, but they’re my bags. I’ll Dumpster dive.”
They headed out into the drizzling rain together. Mason picked what seemed like a clean spot on the closest Dumpster’s lid and lifted it. It was cleaner inside than he’d imagined and a quarter full of tied bags of trash, a computer monitor, and a silk plant that showed more dust than green foliage.
Tess moved to the adjacent Dumpster with him. She stepped close enough to him as she peeked inside that he caught a whiff of her scent—soft, sweet, and subtle. It mixed with the stink of the Dumpsters, confusing his nostrils.
When the third Dumpster, the recycling bin, proved empty as well, they climbed back into the truck and Mason continued cruising through the streets and alleys around the park. On the fifth stop, they surprised a dog who’d been hanging out behind a Dumpster that was out of the rain under a roof overhang. Mason was only a bit surprised to see that it was John Ronald.
The magnificent animal dashed away to about the distance between home plate and second base, then turned and stood in the rain, watching them with pricked-at-attention ears. Mason whistled loudly. The dog, which Mason guessed was mostly husky mixed with something big and long-legged, responded with a single wag of his tail.
“That,” Mason said, “is my dog. He just doesn’t know it yet. Or maybe he does, and he’s still trying to deny it.”
Tess looked from Mason to the dog, and back to Mason. “He’s watching you like he knows you, that’s for sure.”
Mason wished he’d thought to bring some treats in the likely event they’d run into John Ronald on this Dumpster prowl. He whistled again. After a few seconds, probably determining that Mason was empty-handed, the dog turned and trotted away, his long legs making fast tracks.
“Not today, huh, John Ronald,” Mason said under his breath.
Tess was suddenly studying him intently.
“What did you mean, ‘your dog’?”
He shrugged. “He’s a stray who hangs out near my building. We’ve had a few moments, but I haven’t been able to get close enough to catch him. If I ever do, I intend to keep him.”
Her mouth opened a fraction of an inch, calling Mason’s attention to the fullness of her lips a second time.
“And why John Ronald?”
Judging by the incredulous look that had spread across her face, Mason’s best guess was he’d done something either impossibly wrong or impossibly right. He just didn’t know which.
Hoping it was the second, he opted for the truth, letting it fall out in a display of rare vulnerability.
“The first night I saw him, I was up in my loft. It was six or seven months ago—early spring, I guess—and the moon was full. I told you, I’m on the sixth floor. I have a decent view of the street below my loft. After I spotted him, I stepped out on my balcony. The white patches on his body and above his eyes stood out in the moonlight, and I could have sworn that he was looking up at me. I was afraid if I went downstairs and outside, I’d scare him off, so I dropped him hot dogs from my balcony, and he ate them. He even caught a few before they hit the ground.
“When I ran out of them, I headed down as fast as I could. I think he knew I was coming. He was already at the end of the block, but he was looking my way like he was waiting but needed the distance to feel safe. He watched me for a while, but then he turned and left like he did just now.”
Mason shrugged, thinking of all the interactions he and the dog had had since that first night. He’d been doing his best to catch the stray, but hadn’t had any luck. “I leave him food on the street under my balcony. Sometimes he leaves me things too. Odd things. A dead crow once, but also trash. I know it’s him, because one time I spotted him carrying a hat. By the time I got downstairs, he was gone. The hat was waiting for me by the building door.”
Fresh tears blossomed out of nowhere, brimming on Tess’s lower lids. She blinked them away without shedding them. “But why John Ronald?”
“Because calling him Tolkien didn’t feel right.”
She dropped his gaze so quickly that Mason knew she’d gotten the confirmation she’d been looking for. “Not all those who wander are lost.” It was such a quiet whisper on her lips that Mason almost wasn’t sure he’d heard it. It was said so softly that he suspected it wasn’t even meant for his ears.
She shook her head as if she’d just heard something she didn’t quite believe. He was about to ask for clarification when she abruptly returned to the truck.
Mason climbed in after her, wondering if perhaps the universe had just shifted for him a second time in a month, only this time much less painfully so.

 

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter to win one of five copies of SIT, STAY, LOVE by Debbie Burns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Debbie Burns lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour, Review, Fun Facts & Giveaway: SUMMONED TO THIRTEENTH GRAVE: A Novel by Darynda Jones

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SUMMONED TO THIRTEENTH GRAVE: A Novel (Charley Davidson Series Book 13) by Darynda Jones

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

6394CE20-7D7D-4428-B206-3414B4ED0C9AGrim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series! 



Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for eternity—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She’s missed her daughter. She’s missed Reyes. She’s missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. Now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

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First Grave on the Right
The concept for First Grave came about while Darynda was working as a sign language interpreter in her hometown. She stole many of the names from students at the schools where she worked, including Reyes, Garrett, and Amber. As far as Darynda knows, they have all forgiven her for her thievery.

Second Grave on the Left
Uncle Bob is a combination of two people: Darynda’s oldest brother, Luther, and the principal at the high school where she worked for several years.

Third Grave Dead Ahead
This was originally titled Third Grave Straight Ahead, but Darynda’s web designer, Liz Bemis, asked her to change the name to Dead Ahead. Firstly, it fit the content better, and secondly, Liz got tired of spelling the word Straight wrong while updating the website. Dead is much easier to type.

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Quentin Rutherford makes his first appearance in this book. While his first name was stolen from Darynda’s little brother and his last name stolen from yet another Jr. High student, Quentin is physically sculpted from her oldest son, Jerrdan, a bona fide blond-haired, blue-eyed devil with a sparkling smile that melts even the staunchest of hearts. And, like Quentin Rutherford, he was born Deaf. Not that he let it stop him for a second.

Fifth Grave Past the Light
This book was fun to write! Darynda was trying to come up with something truly creepy to throw into the book, and she figured what would be creepier than having an apartment full of departed women crawling up the walls, skittering across the ceiling, and huddling in the corners? Also, it is one of the hotter books, so that was fun, too. Because, you know, Reyes.

Sixth Grave on the Edge
Darynda really wanted to open this one on a humorous note. She wanted to have Charley on a stakeout with a departed elderly man, who also happens to be naked, riding shotgun. Which begs the question: Are we really stuck in (or out of) whatever we are wearing when we die for all eternity? ‘Cause that would suck.

Seventh Grave and No Body
Osh’ekiel was originally supposed to be in one book only. And he was supposed to be a very bad guy. But Darynda fell in love with him while writing the book and decided to redeem him and give him a bigger role. Just how big his role would become didn’t come to Darynda until plotting Eighth Grave. He has been one of her favorite characters since she wrote that first scene with him.

Eighth Grave After Dark
Darynda wanted to really turn the tables on Charley and force her to have to stay in one place, thus the sacred ground of the convent came into play. It was fun and challenging to write a “locked room” mystery, so to speak, but that’s why she loves writing so much.

The Dirt on Ninth Grave
One of Darynda’s favorite books in the series, she looked forward to writing this book ever since she came up with the concept while plotting Sixth Grave. Part of what makes a romance so fun is the falling-in-love part, and she wanted Charley to fall in love with Reyes all over again. This book was doubly fun because the audience knows all the characters’ backstories, and they get to watch in anticipation as Charley slowly unravels the mysteries of her past, while seeing her fall head-over-heels for the same guy all over again.

The Curse of Tenth Grave
This book had one of those too-close-for-comfort calls. Right before Tenth Grave went to print, after going through editors and copyeditors and readers of all shapes and sizes, a savvy proofreader let Darynda in on a little secret: A Sherpa is part of a culture, not an occupation. Thanks to this razor-sharp reader, Darynda narrowly escaped insulting an entire culture in one fell swoop. Aka, her worst nightmare. Her gratitude is unending.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
Darynda dreamed of going to Scotland for so long, she finally decided to just put it in one of her books. She had Charley accidently materialize in the magical country, only to find out weeks after finishing the book that she would finally get to go there herself. In person. For realsies. It was even more magical than she’d imagined it would be, and she can’t wait to go back.

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
This book has one of Darynda’s favorite epiphanies EVER!!! She thought, what if someone out there in the universe, a child perhaps, knows everything about Reyes and Charley? Everything starting from their supernatural heritage to their human identities? And what if that person wrote a book about them? Or a series of books? Say, perhaps, a set of children’s books and Garrett just happens to stumble upon them while doing research? How fun would that be? And the international bestselling children’s book (fictionally speaking) The First Star was born.

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave
By far the hardest story in the series to write, penning the last Charley book was a bittersweet experience. But Darynda knew she had to go big or go home, so what better way to go out with a bang than to end the world as we know it by starting the zombie apocalypse? Because that’s what writers do. We start apocalypses.

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Excerpt

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave_Excerpt

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Cori 5 Stars

The conclusion to this epic series was everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved it! Charley and Reyes are one of my favorite couples and this series never got old for me. I devoured this last book the same way I devoured the first book. The series has humor, mystery, danger, great characters and an epic romance. If you haven’t read the series I highly recommend it for paranormal romance and mystery lovers. I’m sad this series is over, but I’m excited for the spin-off series featuring Charley’s daughter. I’ll be grabbing it as soon as I can get my hands on it. Darynda Jones created a unique world of characters I love and will revisit again and again.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Hardback

Amazon Series Link

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GiveawayEnter for a chance to win the entire Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones, an ARC of the epic finale, Summoned to Thirteenth Grave, plus fun swag!
https://read.macmillan.com/promo/charleydavidsonseriessweeps/

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today  bestselling author DARYNDA JONES won a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. A born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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

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

Publication Date: October 30, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

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

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

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

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Excerpt

First Earl I See Tonight_excerpt

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

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

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About the Author

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

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

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

SOCIAL LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Excerpt Reveal: SHADOW AND ICE (Gods of War) by Gena Showalter

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SHADOW AND ICE (Gods of War) by Gena Showalter

Publication Date: October 23, 2018

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

A3C3B991-CE26-44E2-A833-ECC1FFB8EDFDGena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

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Excerpt

Wearier by the second, Shiloh scrubbed a hand down his face. “This is my first All War. I knew it would be tough, but I am my home’s strongest competitor, and I believed I could do…anything. I was wrong.”
“You sound as if you’re eager to die. Good news. I’m happy to help.”
“I’m sure you are, but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to kill, either.”
“Ah, I see. You’d rather make your people suffer.”
Shiloh glowered.
For the “privilege” of participating in an All War, a realm’s sovereign had to give the High Council thou­sands of children. The exact number depended on a combatant’s order of elimination. The faster you were eliminated, the more your realm had to pay. But in order to forfeit a war entirely, sovereigns had to hand over even more children.
From infancy to the age of eighteen, boy or girl, chil­dren were chattel, commodities raised to be Enforcers.
Only the winning realm was exempt.
“My people already suffer,” Shiloh said. “Our realm is overcrowded.”
Iviland was overcrowded as well, more and more im­mortals born or created every day. New realms were desperately needed.
In the beginning, whenever a new one was discov­ered, multiple armies invaded at once. Battles raged, the trespassers hoping to seize control. Violence spread far and wide, ultimately destroying everything, leaving the lands uninhabitable.
Under the guise of saving future domains, ruling factions created the High Council and All War—an on­going battle between a single representative from each otherworld, the new realm acting as the arena.
In the past few months, the people of Terra had begun fighting back and setting traps. Not a first, but definitely a problem on days like today. The citizens weren’t bound by assembly rules. But then, they had no supernatural abilities and were no match for immortals.
Knox had seen no sign of a human army today. Maybe they’d fled in fear? To them, combatants were gods.
Knox, they’d nicknamed Loki, the “evil trickster.” A moniker he bore with pride.
“When I killed a woman I respected, a part of my soul died,” Shiloh said, pulling him from his thoughts. “Why can’t the realms reach terms without bloodshed?”
“Greed.” Why else?
Movement at the side of a mountain. Knox slid his gaze across the ice—at last. Zion. A man of six and a half feet, like Knox, with dark hair, wide shoulders and a body honed on the most savage battlefields with no hint of softness. Also like Knox.
But unlike Knox, he refused to use the weapons he won. Reasons unknown. The choice angered Knox, even though it aided his cause. Such a waste.
He tightened his grip on his most prized possessions—the daggers he’d taken from his first victim. The blades were serrated, hooked at the tip, and had brass knuckle hilts. With a single blow, he could slice, dice and pul­verize.
Zion reached the check-in point and spread his arms, all Here I am, come and get me. Embedded in his arms were jewels, each one set in specific patterns, as bold as the man himself. On his hands, a pair of spiked metal gloves able to punch through anything.
I want. I take.
Locked on tonight’s target.

Anticipation resurged and redoubled, burning inside Knox, and growing hotter by the second. Zion was a warrior he would gladly slay.
“Come.” Knox jumped from his perch, falling down, down, landing a few yards away from the check-in point. Though the impact jarred him, he walked forward without a hitch in his step, boots crunching in the snow.
Shiloh jumped, as well, and hurried to catch up.
As they passed the invisible wall that sealed them inside the clearing, Knox experienced a familiar and abhorrent vibration from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. His ability to control shadows had just been neutralized.
“So nice of you to join us,” Bane said, his tone as smug and condescending as ever.
Like most Adwaewethians, he had pale hair, golden eyes—and a beast trapped within. When the creature took control of his body, his appearance changed. He became a monster, hideous beyond compare, strong beyond compare, and developed an appetite for blood. No one and nothing was safe.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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About the Author

Author pic- Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfan

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Release Launch, Review & Excerpt: CROSSING HOPE by Kimberly Kincaid

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CROSSING HOPE (Cross Creek Series, Book 4) by Kimberly Kincaid

Publication Date: October 15, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

549930BC-E975-4789-A659-CC0678C989FAMarley Rallston would rather be anywhere other than too-small-for-a-map-dot Millhaven, Virginia. But thanks to a heap of debt, what was supposed to be a quick trip to fulfill her mother’s dying wish has turned into an extended stay with the family she never knew she had and the father who never wanted her. To top it off, now she’s being forced to do community service with the town’s biggest bad boy, when all she wants to do is make enough cash to get out of Dodge? Life can’t get much worse.

The only thing Greyson Whittaker cares about is his family’s farm. He’ll do anything to keep Whittaker Hollow in the black, including live up to his rough, tough reputation by running the place by himself, no matter the cost. Mandatory community service with the daughter of their biggest rival is the last thing he wants or needs. But the more time Greyson and Marley spend together, the hotter their attraction burns, and the more the unlikely pair begins to realize that forbidden fruit just might taste the sweetest…

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I enjoyed reading this lovely installment in the Cross Creek series. Greyson and Marley were absolutely made for each other. At face value you would wonder about their mutual attraction, but I think they saw themselves in each other, and were immediately drawn in. However, I wished I had liked Marley sooner. She’s been there long enough to give something to those around her, to loosen up the barrier she had built – no matter her reasons. That being said…I loved Marley and Greyson as a couple and how they helped each other grow. I love the family, life in Millhaven and of course…the steamy romance. This is one of those stories that left me smiling long after the book was done. Now the only problem is waiting for the next one.

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

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Excerpt

Marley’s boots clapped to a halt on the linoleum at the same time her heartbeat cranked way, way up in her chest. She blamed the former on the way the deputy—who had nervously picked her up from The Corner Market—had stopped short beside her, as well as the sight of her oldest brother Owen’s best friend standing a few feet away, his face locked in disbelief. The latter was entirely the fault of the man planted next to Lane, though. Between his tanned skin, the tall, muscular frame that nearly gave Lane’s a run for its money, and the inky black tattoo curling from beneath the sleeve of his T-shirt all the way to his left elbow, Marley really couldn’t help the visceral reaction.

Even if the guy was leveling her with a dark and stormy gaze that said he didn’t like what he was looking at in return.

“What the hell is going on here?” Lane’s voice crash-landed in Marley’s thoughts just in time to chase the flush from her face. What did she care what this scowling stranger thought of her, anyway? She had bigger problems at the moment, thanks.

Case in point. “I, uh,” Deputy Collingsworth stammered, turning roughly the color of summer strawberries as he cleared his throat. “I made an arrest.”

“I can see that,” Lane replied tightly. “What I meant was, would you care to elaborate on exactly why it is that you’ve arrested my best friend’s little sister?”

Marley’s gut fluttered, but she refused to let the sensation get anywhere near her face. She’d known exactly what she was doing when she’d claimed those groceries as her own. Even if the steel bars and jail cell were a whole lot more real now that they were standing starkly in front of her.

Deputy Collingsworth straightened. “She was shoplifting at The Corner Market. Travis Paulson caught her red-handed, and she admitted it, to him and to me. What else was I supposed to do?”

Shock streaked over Lane’s face, but it didn’t last. “Radio me, for starters,” he hissed, and the guy next to him released an audible, oh-please scoff that sent Marley’s brows hooking up. She opened her mouth to tell Lane and the deputy and God and anyone else within earshot that she didn’t want any special treatment.

But Lane was already shaking his head, the thought forgotten. “You know what, never mind. We’ve got a more immediate issue to deal with here.”

“Okay,” Woody said, enough of a question hanging in his voice that Lane huffed out a breath.

“I’ve also made an arrest, as you can see.” He jerked his chin at Tall, Dark, and Scowling. “And we can’t put two people of the opposite sex in the same jail cell.”

The guy’s face changed then, sending another curl of heat through Marley’s blood. “By all means. Ladies first,” he said, gesturing grandly at the single cell. His smirk was its own entity, taking over his unnervingly rugged and (ugh) undeniably good-looking face as if it had a life of its own. He could fill Wrigley Field with his arrogant attitude and ultra-cocky bravado. Even then, he was brimming with so much of both that he’d probably have to use a crowbar to cram it all in. Too bad for him and his sexy little smile, Marley was packing boatloads of backbone, herself.

And she was in just the mood to let it fly like a fifty-foot flag.

“Oh, no. Really. Age before beauty,” she maintained, planting her hands on the hips of her cutoffs and smiling so sweetly at the wide-open door to the cell, she damn near needed a root canal. “After you.”

The guy’s black brows shot toward the tousled waves falling over his forehead. “It wouldn’t be gentlemanly of me to step on your cute little toes. Please. I insist.”

Oh, my God, was this guy even for real?

~*~*~*~

ABA34093-042E-4E11-AAA5-E73780A6573E

Buy Links

Kindle $3.99 | Amazon Paperback $9.99

Amazon Series Link

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✦Cross Creek Series by Kimberly Kincaid✦
1. Crossing HeartsReview | Kindle
2. Crossing the LineKindle
3. Crossing PromisesReviewKindle
4. Crossing HopeKindle

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About the Author

C1A7FA93-44B0-4B39-B4D7-34DA97C29F46Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a USA Today best-selling author and 2016 and 2015 RWA RITA finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.

Facebook ✯ Website ✯ Twitter ✯ Goodreads ✯ Pinterest ✯ Instagram

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3E803D5B-9477-4725-BF82-CA67558FC351

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin

8A78D430-EEBE-48E5-854F-CBB8FA556F54

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

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy shit.

He kept it?

Holy shit.

He remembers me!

~*~*~*~

Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Paperback provided by Berkley Romance.

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About the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

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COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL (The Haywire Brides) by Margaret Brownley

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis

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

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

STOP THAT WEDDING!

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

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98FA3600-05B5-4DB9-899A-F745E67D48B4

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~

Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

www.margaret-brownley.com

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

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MAVERICK (Cat Star Legacy) by Cheryl Brooks

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

“You have got to be kidding me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah. So I’ve heard.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~

Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of MAVERICK

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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

5F76F0DD-1595-4593-8827-8CE9050DB9CA

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

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

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

Injured in the line of duty

Desperate for a new beginning…

Searching for a place to call their own.

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

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

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

~*~*~*~

D9F755C8-9587-4E36-BB59-C111C2AF8842

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

Oh.

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

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

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

Gabe watched her suspiciously. Why?

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

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

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

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

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

I do believe they have these things called airplanes.

Really? Havent heard of them.

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

Why arent you with yours?

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

Marines are pussies.

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

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

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

Gabe shrugged. Im sure he doesnt think so.

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

But he sat. And he watched her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~

Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

5 Copies of COWBOY SEAL REDEMPTION

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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